Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving (My feet are killing me.)

Well, for you Americans out there, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Which means that you are going to be spending the next day cooking your ass off. I never worry about the calories that are associated with Thanksgiving because I have spent every waking moment of the week before preparing the house for the holiday. Cleaning is a must. The house certainly cannot be a pigsty on Thanksgiving. No that is damned un-American.

I have been to the grocery store every day this week. It is incomprehensible. I could have sworn that I purchased everything for the Thanksgiving meal a week ago. Oh, I was so smug and self satisfied. I was completely ready. I did not realize that the powers that be were going to get their last laugh. SERIOUSLY I HAVE BEEN TO THE GROCERY STORE EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Do you even know how fantastic that is? Because everyone in the entire town has gone to the grocery store every day this week. It is like they are conspiring against me. Do they know when I am headed that way? Is there some kind of internal alarm that tells everyone to go to the grocery store? And why does everyone have to walk SO DAMN SLOW? It isn't as if they rearranged every thing in the store the week before a major holiday. They especially wouldn't when that holiday is dedicated to seeing if you really can shoot a pants button across the room if you eat too much.

And do people not know how the aisles work? One side is for going down the aisle and the other is for, you guessed it, going up. But there is always that one guy. The guy that apparently has never shopped for his own food before. I appreciate your attempts to fly little bird. BUT STAY IN YOUR LANE. Talk to that person that you haven't seen since last Thanksgiving on your own time. I am guessing if they have to fill you in on a year's worth of gossip; y'all probably aren't that close anyway. Save everyone some time and stalk them on Facebook.

Can I tell all of you parents that had the Thanksgiving gift of their children being in school until Wednesday something? You are the luckiest damn bastards ever. I was once like you. I had three blissful days to prepare for the holidays without the children in the house. But oh no, not this year. The school district decided that a whole week off for Thanksgiving was the way it was going to be. Like Sisyphus, I am damned to hell. The time I should have had to clean the house and get everything just so is gone. In its place has been: separating my girls for the thousandth time, trying to figure out who made Charlotte cry this time, constantly reminding Adelyn to feed her lizard, yelling at Paige for the 653rd time to put her shoes in her room, telling the girls that it is November and they can't wear shorts and sandals, shoveling out the family room every day, looking for the remote (AGAIN), doing approximately 9000 loads of dishes and laundry, and. . .oh yes. . .GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE. Not that I mind having more time with my children. They are my kids and I love them (most of the time).

But every errand is a circus. "No, you can't get a candy." "No, you can't have a beef jerky." "I'm not buying marshmallows today." "Excuse us, sir. She wasn't watching where she was going." "WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING." "Where is your sister? No, not that one. The other one." "Oh, there you are." "Don't touch that." "I said don't touch stuff." "DO NOT TOUCH THAT." "No, I don't want cash back. Because I don't need any cash back. What do you need $20 for? No, that's not happening." "Hold onto the cart, please." "Hold onto the cart, Charlotte." "CHARLIE, hold onto the cart NOW." "Just get in the car." "Get in the car." "GET IN THE CAR." "Stop touching your sister." "Stop 'not touching' your sister." "No, that does not mean that you can touch her." "I swear. I made you. I can unmake you." "Go to your rooms." "Because I said so." "Your dad is NOT the boss." "In the hierarchy of this family it goes: mom, dad, the dog, the cat, and then you." "Yes, the dog is above you." "BECAUSE IT  ACTUALLY LISTENS TO ME." "GO TO YOUR ROOM."

I know there are some of you that actually really enjoy your children. You love every second with them and would never look fondly towards the days that you can just show up on their doorstep for the holiday and have to do nothing. You never look forward to having them FaceTime with you and hearing your grandchildren giving them the kind of hell you experienced. I think you are all big, fat liars. But for the rest of us out there we get to look forward to Thanksgiving. We get to eat our fill of food. We can drink large amounts of alcoholic beverages in the afternoon on a Thursday and not have people surreptitiously mention AA meetings. Then we get to go beat the snot out of our kids in a no holds barred game of football or soccer in the front yard. And maybe, maybe you just trip the one who can't EVER seem to put their damned shoes away. (And sometimes that one is your husband.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Horror

It is that time of year again. I remember looking forward to Halloween when I was a child. It was so much fun. The costumes, the candy, and the general loosening of the rules were just the best. It was the one time of the year when it is entirely appropriate to knock on a stranger's door and demand free stuff. Who doesn't love that?

I will tell you who. Grownups. Halloween is just another holiday that is destined to end in exhaustion, my pocketbook being empty, and the large potential of me yelling at some asshole teenager that doesn't have the common sense to realize that he is just too old to be trick or treating and if he rushes ahead of my kid for the candy bowl ONE MORE DAMN TIME I WILL NOT HESITATE TO CUT A BITCH. There is also the high possibility that my episode of nearly psychotic rage will send me straight to my wine fridge to "calm my nerves". 

When did Halloween stop being fun and start being a burden? I like to blame parenthood. (I don't blame my kids. I blame parenthood. There's a difference.) I remember a party that my newly wedded husband and I threw for Halloween. It was a blast. Everyone came in costume. We collected keys at the door because people were going to get trashed. (We were young, and most importantly not parents.) The old guy next door threatened to call in a noise complaint. Good times were had. 

Fast forward ten years and I find myself looking at one of my favorite holidays with dread. These days you can't throw a sheet over your kid and say he is a ghost. Toilet paper mummies are a thing of the past. Now it is about who has the best costume. Who spent the most. Was your costume hand made? Did blind nuns make the lace for your daughter's Elsa costume? Does your yard look like a movie set from a horror flick? No. Well, maybe next year you will do better.  (Did you see the Johnson's yard this year? It is like they didn't even TRY.) 

Halloween has become a contest of the super moms. Last year I was up at midnight the night before Halloween trying to finish up costumes (Because yes I am the mom the makes all my kids' costume, but it is mostly because I can make them better for less than the bullshit ones at the store. I'm crafty but I am also cheap as hell.) and trying to make themed snacks and party favors for Charlotte's kindergarten class's party. (Because OF COURSE I WAS THE STUPID ROOM MOTHER TOO.) By the time we were ready to go trick or treating I was exhausted and absolutely did not want to walk around in the dark. Seriously, the thought of pilfering peanut butter cups didn't even brighten my time. (That's when you know things are just bad.) 

This year I am taking a different approach to Halloween. Yes, we decorated the yard. BUT we decorated it as a family because we enjoy it. We did not wait to see what the neighbors put up so we could rush out and get better decorations. What is up, is up. I am not putting anymore effort into that. (Until I have to take it down....even then meh.) Yes, I am making my kids costumes. BUT I am making them because it is something special that I do for my kids every year. Am I going to freak out if the costume isn't exactly like what the character wore in the movie? No. This isn't comic con. My girls aren't going to care if the costume was perfect. They are going to care that their mom made it for them and that they got a shitload of candy. 

I have decided to stop making Halloween into a contest with everyone around me. This year I just want to have some fun with my kids. (And steal some peanut butter cups.) This year I am rising above. When I get that inevitable snarky comment from another parent, I am just going to smile and move on. (And be stabbing them in my mind.) 

But... that damn teenager better watch it. Some things you just can't rise above. (Better make a trip to the liquor store.) 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Yoga Pants Mom

We've all seen them. The moms that seem to rock yoga pants every day. It seems like they wear yoga pants for everything but doing yoga. In a world where your worth as a mother seems to be measured by the clothes you wear, the clothes your kids wear, the lunches you pack them, your weight, your hairstyle, your shoes, your kid's shoes.... I was going some where with this...

I want to tell you that I see you, Yoga Pants Mom. I see you. I know that your choice of clothing has nothing to do with your skills as a parent. Some days in my house I am lucky to take a shower and feed the kids. Let's not even talk about doing my hair or putting on makeup. There are days that it is 4:45 in the afternoon. My house is a mess. I haven't showered. The only concession that I have made to being a functioning member of society is putting a bra on. (And to be honest once I know that no one is coming over and we aren't going anywhere I might ditch that too.) Today is one of those days. It is Saturday. I just want to relax. I'm an adult. I do what I want. I can be a functioning member of society tomorrow.

Moms, we are judged so harshly by society, the media, and even each other. I have got to tell you. It is exhausting. I am so busy with my own life, why would I and why do I take the time to speculate about yours? Maybe you aren't feeling well. Maybe you have been deep cleaning your home and just took a break to get a coffee. Maybe you are chasing a toddler around and jeans just are NOT conducive to that. Maybe you feel your best when you are in yoga pants or sweat pants. Maybe you are dealing with issues within your home. Maybe you just didn't feel like the whole process of getting dressed, doing your hair, and plastering on some makeup was worth it today. Maybe you are battling depression and this is just the best you could do today. Or maybe you are actually on your way to the gym.

Maybe it is none of my business. And it isn't. Your reasons for anything you do are yours alone. You are the only one you have to answer to. Hold your head high, Yoga Pants Mom. You are rocking this today.

I see you, Yoga Pants Mom. And I promise that the next time I see you I will smile and nod. Because you are rocking this motherhood, wife, life partner, step-motherhood, life. Life is a hard road sometimes. And sometimes it calls for some damn yoga pants.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kill It! Kill It With Fire!

There are few things that mothers fear more than lice infestations. The mere thought of one can send us running for the shower to scald the image out of our brains. Some of you have been lucky enough to never have to deal with creepy crawlies on your precious progeny. You might look down on the mothers that have been in the trenches battling the demon scourge plaguing their wee ones. "She must not keep her house very clean." "Don't they ever bathe." "I mean, it isn't that hard to avoid something like that."

I was once like you. I looked down on those poor mothers, who are now my comrades in arms. I would like to apologize for every snide comment, every disgusted look, and every eye roll. I am so sorry. I had no idea. I was living in a fool's paradise. And to those mothers who are reading this and thinking that it won't or can't happen to them, you are wrong. Lice can happen to anyone, any where, any time. I should know. It just happened to me.

Say you are wrestling with your youngest daughter on the couch. Suddenly you pull back in horror as you see something moving in her golden locks. No! It can't be. As you pick her up and take her to the kitchen (holding her at arm's length because ew) you pray to every deity that you have ever heard of that this isn't really happening. But your prayers have been in vain. There are lice in your daughter's hair. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCK FUCK. (Pardon the language. As I am sure the other veterans of the lice war can attest, there is really no other appropriate response.)

Let me tell you, the first thoughts you have are swear words, then the heeby jeebies, and then you just want to shave your head and set yourself on fire. But the best part is calling anyone your children had contact with recently to tell them of their impending doom. "Oh hi, this is Addy's mom. I have to come get her from the sleepover early. Yes, right now. Why? We have lice in the house. . . You might want to get yourself checked out." Or my personal favorite was getting to call my sister (who always seems to have her shit more together than me) because she had been up to visit the week before.

You have just got to be patient and tenacious. Eradicating the demon scourge of lice takes time, determination, and a fine toothed comb. If you find the little bastards on a weekday you can go to the doctor to get some prescription lice medicine. If you find them on a weekend, get thee to the nearest drug store and pick up some lice shampoo and one of the more expensive fine tooth combs. Make sure it has stainless steel teeth.

Once you get home CHECK EVERYONE AND THEN TREAT EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF THE PRESENCE OF LICE. They can be unbelievably hard to see. Comb through every person's hair with the comb. If you want to be super crazy you could do what I did and boil the comb between people. Then recheck and re-comb everyone every day for a week. If you don't see anymore of the little assholes, retreat according to the directions on your package. If you find a live one, RETREAT EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY. Boil your hairbrushes and combs. Wash everything with hot water regardless of color and care guidelines. Dry everything that can be dried without issue. (Don't dry your wool or silk items. Just don't.)

It really can happen to everyone. Lice can get transmitted through a friendly hug, sharing hair brushes, sharing a pillow or blanket, etc. Lice don't discriminate. They aren't choosy. You have hair and delicious blood pumping through your veins? Newsflash! You are a lice smorgasbord!

As to those suspicious looks you are giving to the parents have dealt with this, they are looking at you the same way. As far as they know your kid might have given the lice to their child. There is a healthy dose of paranoia that comes with lice. Where did they come from?!?!? Who is responsible for this?!?!? Assigning blame won't help though. Your kid still has lice no matter where they got it from. Odds are that parent and child are just as grossed out and embarrassed as you are. Since lice can't materialize out of thin air, someone had to have given it to the person that your kid got lice from.

The main thing I didn't expect from this particular parenting battle was the emotional issues that rise from it. My youngest daughter thought I didn't love her anymore because she had bugs in her hair. My middle daughter was in tears because she prides herself on her appearance. Her image of herself got shattered. My oldest daughter thought her best friend wasn't going to like her anymore because of the lice. There were a lot of tears. Some of them were mine. I felt like I had failed them somehow. I had failed the motherhood mission. I couldn't protect my children from this. Worse, I almost didn't want to hug or snuggle with my girls because I didn't want lice. (From what I understand that is pretty normal.)

Just remember that this too shall pass. There's going to be a lot of laundry, work, and tears. You aren't lepers. You just had something bad happen to you. You aren't a bad parent because lice happened. It is part of parenting. Everyone has had a lice scare at some point in their life. Hopefully, it is just a scare. But if it is not, it is going to be ok. You will get through this. I promise.

Here is a helpful link from the CDC on lice.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

School Supplies

Hello, dear friends. It has been a couple of weeks. My kids were at their grandparents' house, and I felt no blog posts were necessary. They are back now and I shall resume. It has been a busy first week of August. Our oldest daughter turned eight yesterday. Sometimes they grow so fast, you wish you had a remote that could rewind back to the baby days. Sometimes you think, ten more years until college.

School starts next Wednesday. Which means that school supplies must be purchased. How is it that I am always buying a new backpack every year? The only thing wrong with the old one is a little dirt. They need a new backpack or the elementary school gods will smite them. Although, I remember the fun of getting school supplies. I remember the new smell of crayons and notebooks, and how they could somehow dull the sting of the knowledge that summer was over.

The list wasn't as long as I remember them being. The items on it threw me for a bit of a loop. Why am I buying copier paper for the school? Has the funding for the educational system sunk so low? As Whitney Houston said, "I believe that children are our future. Teach them well, and let them lead the way." Not to get into a political rant, but our children will someday be running this country. We have to stop stealing from our children to fund our frivolity.

Their backpacks, loaded to the seams with supplies, are waiting by the door for the start of the new school year. I can't help but feel a little melancholy. Another summer is gone. Did they have fun? Did I spend enough time doing the things they wanted to do? Or did I use the words, "Not right now, I'm busy" too much?

Yet, as I sit here and watch them fly up and down the sidewalk on their scooters, I know they won't remember the times I had refused to leave the house due to high temperatures. This summer will be the summer of scooters and days at the pool. The summer they got a trampoline they rarely jump on. The summer they spent almost three weeks with their cousins. I will remember it as the summer when we got back on track. The summer we found an even keel again as a family. The summer Adelyn informed me she was entirely too old for Hello Kitty and wants her clothes to come from Justice.

It was the summer they started to really grow up. It makes me proud and sad at the same time.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Snarky Gandhi Cat

I am not good at this whole blogging thing. I'm just not. I am cool with that. The last time I blogged my mother told me that it seemed like I was angry with the world. Well, that got me down. I quit blogging (Which I really enjoyed. Sorry, Mom, it is true.) and tried to figure out why I was so pissed at the world (if I was in fact pissed at the world). I have come to a few conclusions.

1. I am not pissed at the world. I simply suffer from a lot of extra time and I am EASILY irritated. If something annoys me, I have been known to fly off the handle and rant about it. Like ombre, for example. I hate it. That stuff is everywhere. Hair, clothing, shoes, makeup, FOOD. Who has time to dye twelve hundred shades of blue frosting for one freaking cake? Well, actually I probably would, but why in God's name would I want to?

2. This kind of goes hand in hand with being easily irritated. I'm cranky. I am like a cat. I am happy for short bursts of time. During these times, I bounce around and pounce on various things. I play and make things. The rest of the time I like to nap in a sunbeam and I will bite you if you bother me. I also can't be bothered to pretend that I am in a good mood. I am who I am. And who I am is cranky. Sometimes. Let's not forget the spontaneous bursts of incandescent happiness and joy. I think my husband lives in fear of these moments of glee because anything can happen. ANYTHING.

3. While I am cranky and easily irritated, I am really non-confrontational. I am like a snarky Gandhi. My basic domestic policy is "You all annoy me. Why can't we all just get along?".  I dislike it when the kids fight because they are loud and fighting makes me nervous. I came from a big family. Big families have lots of disagreements because there are just so many people. Everyone is shouting and the parents are trying to keep people from killing each other. I just wanted to go to my room and read a book. I am still like this.

4. While I love my children, for the most part I just want some peace and quiet. Kids are so loud. Actually after spending some time at the pool with my girls this summer I have come to realize my kids aren't so bad. Kids are just loud, evil minions in general. I thank my lucky stars we didn't have three boys instead of three girls. My girls might be loud, but most of the boys I have met are loud and destructive. At least this is how I feel now. I will probably change my tone in about ten years. Three teenage girls will probably send me the rest of the way into psychosis. Won't those blog posts be fun?

5. If I see myself as a snarky Gandhi cat, imagine how other people see me. My husband and my girls spend a lot of time with me so they are used to my .... issues. Yeah, let's call them issues. I am pretty sure that most people think I am bat crap crazy. My mom must be like, "What have I loosed upon this earth?" And my siblings are probably thinking, "Kill it! Kill it with fire!!" I don't blame them for it. I blame me. I spend most of my time trying to fly under the radar, and then I get pissed when no one notices me except for when I show my snarky Gandhi catness.

6. I have a dark sense of humor. 70% of the things I say are sarcastic. They are specifically engineered to try and make someone laugh. Unfortunately, most people think I am being serious and a snarky pain in the rear. Sigh.... it is a real problem.

The whole thing has made me realize that people don't see you how you see yourself. I might not think I am that weird. Clearly, I am. I am cool with it. It took me almost seven months, but I am finally cool with it. I am sure there are more snarky Gandhi cats out there. I am sure they will read this and think, "Yes, yes, YES! That is it exactly!" Just like I am sure that there are some people who will get offended. (Probably my family.) I don't mean to offend you guys. Most of the time I don't get you either. That's okay. We're family. I don't have to get you. I love you despite your bat crap crazy ways. Just like I know you love me.

Snarky Ghandi Cat

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hairbands, Headaches, and Hell on Wheels

My head is killing me today. I probably should have put off this post until tomorrow, but I find that if I put it off one day nothing will stop me from putting it off tomorrow either. (And the next day... and the next day... you get the idea.) I am trying very hard to stick to a weekly posting schedule. (Look, at me!) I can't promise this will last. I procrastinate.... a lot.

The kids have been out of school for a week. God, help me. Today was/still is one of those days. I have a blazingly bad headache and the girls feel the need to run, squeal, fight, cry, and generally make as much noise as they can. As a result I have banished the little darlings upstairs. I can still hear them but the noise they are emitting is blissfully muffled. (Sometimes.) I love my children. (This has been my mantra today.) Do you ever want to say to your kids "If you loved mommy, you'd stuff a sock in it and take a nap"? Oh, this is me today.

It is like children have a way to detect when their parents are stressed or feeling ill. Beep. Beep. Beep. "Look, the MIOHLN (Mom Is On Her Last Nerve) sensor is going off. You know what we have to do, troops. Paige, play the cymbals with the lids to the pots. Charlotte, you run in circles and giggle incessantly. I will sing a Katy Perry song at the top of my lungs. Let's move, move, move." I swear this has to be the explanation.

I need some Tylenol. Since this means moving from the couch, it is probably not going to happen. I would go take a hot bath to help relax but this means two things would happen. One, I would have to get up. Two, I would get settled in the tub and someone will need to go potty. Then, someone will have pulled someone's hair. Then, I will have to settle a dispute about who gets to play with what toy and whether they should play library or Barbies. The end result would be that I will get frustrated by the gross lack of privacy in my home. I will get out of the bathtub more tense and cranky than when I got in.

It is on days like this that I am thankful for my husband. Once he gets home I will say, "Your turn" and head of the rest and get a better grasp on my patience and sanity. These are the days that I NEED my husband. These are the days that I have great respect for the single moms out there. I can barely hold it together some days by the time Brian gets home. Single moms don't (necessarily) get that break everyday. So even though I am having a "Poor, Pitiful Me" day, I am really one of the lucky ones.