Tag Archives: motherhood

Portrait of a Harried Mother

It’s Groundhog Day every Saturday in my house, but I don’t have Bill Murray playing the piano or making ice sculptures. Instead, I have two kids with early morning extracurricular activities and zero motivation to get their shit together to participate in these activities.

After a long week of dragging the kids out of bed by their ankles, shoving them into their school uniforms, and tossing them into the hallowed halls of their elementary school, probably with their hair and teeth brushed, they decide to sleep in on Saturdays.

Usually I would praise Jesus, the Sandman, and everyone else for this great miracle, but I can’t, because WE HAVE SHIT TO DO.

The morning prep is a one-parent job because the other one is trying to scrub yesterday’s stink of their body. So that’s one parent to….

1. Feed the dogs, let them out, clean up the poop they’ll leave in the house even though you just took them out, dammit.

2. Convince The Boy, who is too tired to be bothered with pants, to cover up his junk.

3. Rip the nasty pull-up The Girl uses for a toilet off her body so her girl parts can air out and not smell like the hind end of a horse.

4. Feed the beasts, I mean kids, while nudging the dogs out of the way because they are part Hobbit and think it’s time for second breakfast.

5. Beg, plead, threaten, bribe, and anything else that can be thought of to get the kids to put on their clothes. One of these days I will take them to soccer or dance completely naked. I bet they would get dressed for me after that.

6. Shave The Girl’s head when she runs screaming in terror from the hairbrush.

7. Pin The Boy down and scrub the plaque off of his teeth with steel wool, or whatever is handy.

Finally, they are ready and it’s the other parent’s turn to shower. There are approximately 15 minutes to make the magic happen before leaving the house. Today, this was my result. I am so hot I can hardly stand myself.

Wow. Feel my MILF-y smolder.

Wow. Feel my MILF-y smolder.

I wish Bill Murray were here. He’d make the chaos of the morning all better. And he can remind to not drive angry.

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Why I Am Done Having Kids

Whenever I’m asked if I would have a third child, I usually laugh it off and say that I couldn’t handle another one, but that’s a lie.

The truth about why I will remain a mom of two is a multi-headed Hydra; I am too old, too tired; too angry; and too selfish to have another child. Imagine sharing that with someone, even another mother.

There would be the usual, “Why, I was 35 when I had my last baby. If I can do it, you can!” Or, “Oh, the sleeplessness passes quickly. They’ll be toddlers before you know it.” And then there’s the most useless platitude of all, “You are a great mother. You could handle one more.”

The only two kids I'll ever have

The only two kids I’ll ever have

No, I really can’t. But, how can you argue that with someone? Especially if they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

When I was pregnant with my other babies, I struggled with gestational diabetes, hip pain that felt like dysplasia, and cankles that would make Dumbo say, “Whoa.” I will be 35 in a scant two months, which means I get all of the above, and it throws me into a whole poopstorm of risk. I really don’t want to be a beached whale worrying for nine months about how many problems my unborn child could have.

And here is where part of the selfishness comes in. I successfully avoided varicose veins and stretch marks in my pregnancies, and I have managed to lose all of my pregnancy weight. Honestly, I fear that I won’t be able to dodge the bullet again and all of my hard work will all go to waste. I am not Victoria Beckham, and I will not snap back to a model-perfect body moments after having a baby.

See? Selfish.

“But, once you hold that beautiful baby, you won’t care about the weight or stretch marks,” some moms would say. Yes, I will remember. I have struggled with my body image for as long as my memory holds. Cute babies do not counteract that. They only distract me until I look in the mirror and see my puke covered body.

As every new parent knows, puke is the least of my worries. I would have to deal with leaky boobs, Tucks tacos, a three-inch layer of grease in my hair, and wearing the kid’s blowouts.

Then there is the sheer exhaustion associated with newborns. As it stands, I am ready to pass out before the kids do, and when I do fall asleep, I am a LOG for seven hours. Get up every two hours? Oh, hell no.

“But your husband can help,” I can hear someone say. No, he can’t. I am the food source, and I don’t produce enough to pump and nurse.

Plus, do you know what kind of bitch I am when I’m exhausted? Or, when I am stressed out? My poor children have been on the receiving end of my outdoor voice more than once. Actually, it’s every morning when I am trying to get them to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, and move faster than a snail in reverse. It’s also when they’re fighting, not listening, or being general punks.

Not only would the newborn face a lifetime of me yelling in its face, but the kids would remember me as a bitter old woman, too stressed out to function as a loving mother. While becoming Mommy Dearest would give them plenty of fodder for a tell-all memoir, I’d much rather be remembered as a bumbling mom who tried her best, and gave them just enough neurotic behavior to be funny.

Speaking of funny, I have discovered that I am a witty little writer. Blogging has become very important to me. It’s not an escape; it’s a source of energy. It feeds my soul and makes me feel like something more than a wife and mother.

“But, what’s wrong with being a mother?” Nothing at all. It has enriched my life beyond description. But, I am a multi-dimensional being with needs beyond making sure the tiny humans in the house are wearing pants.

So, when do I find time for writing when I am nothing but a mother? Do I type as I breastfeed and miss out on bonding? Or, do I write in the two hours between baby sleep cycles, becoming even more of a zombie than normal? Or, how about when the kids need help with their homework?

“You’ll find a way to make it work. It all balances out in the end,” I will hear. Maybe it’s true. Or, maybe I will get everything done and it will be even more half-assed than it already is.

Can I honestly say to my husband, “Thanks for the support, but I need to write/nap/shower. Can you sacrifice a doctor’s appointment or fixing that leaky sink I’ve been nagging you to take care of?”

No. Something has got to give, and it will be me. And I don’t want it to be me. Instead of taking on added responsibility, I will take pains to avoid it. I will give my children the attention they deserve, my husband support when he needs it, and my writing the involvement I need to make me happy. If that means facing the judgment of mankind, so be it. Bring it on, you sanctimonious bastards. I tackled the mountain of laundry, and I got seven hours of sleep. I am ready for you.

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An Open Letter to Failing Pinterest Moms

Dear Mom who Fails Miserably at Pinterest,

It’s OK. No one is really able to do any of those crafts. Honestly. You know what the truth is? It’s all staged.

The “no-sew” projects? It’s all a guerrilla marketing ploy by JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s to lure people in to buy yards of fabric and ribbons that will end up a tangled mess, and you will throw it in the trash while screaming, “I HATE FELT! It’s itchy, and annoying, and stupid. Screw you felt, I’m going home.”

Image

T-shirt dress? More like cruel hoax.

You see this? No one can do this. They are two totally different t-shirts that have been made to look like one had been turned into another. You know how I know? I’ve tried this crap. I’ve tried making new shirts out of the old, and what happens? The sleeves are shredded, and start unraveling the minute you try to fold and twist, just so. Twist and fold, my ass.

Not going to happen.

Not going to happen.

And this? I tried it with my husband’s shirt. It MIGHT work if you are 4’9” and your man is 6’4”. When I tried to put the shirt under my armpits, I couldn’t button it. AT ALL. I am not Sheera, Queen of the Hooter People; I am a normal woman, so if I can’t do, ain’t no one able to do it.

One, two, three... I'm starting to lose count of how many hooks I need.

One, two, three… I’m starting to lose count of how many hooks I need.

How many mop hooks are you going to buy to complete this bright idea? A bagillion? Might as well buy yourself a silver plated spice rack. And who the hell wants their spices in a closet? “I need to season the soup, let me walk halfway across my kitchen to find the bay leaves.” No. I want it in arm’s reach, because if I step away from the stove, I will be distracted by dogs, kids, husband and that soup is going to burn faster than you can say, “stupid mop craft.”

Spoon plus mirror. No.

Spoon plus mirror. No.

No. Just no. You can’t tell me someone in the world has time to do this, make it look like the picture and not like some crack whore spray painted some spoons and glued them together. Some 19-year-old intern at Home Goods made this to try to sell more mirrors. Because when the average person tries to make this, they will fail, and then need a new mirror. Enter Home Goods, the savior of the Pinterest fails.

Dear, sweet mother, please hear me now. More people fail than not. By the inherent nature of technology, we are sharing EVERYTHING. And people may or may not be telling the truth. People take photos of these projects they have allegedly completed, and we all think they are mother of the year.

Hippity hop onto Pinterest fails.

Hippity hop onto Pinterest fails.

These insecure, lying wenches have ruined it for all of us. They are not perfect, and if they are, they are sacrificing quality time with their children to be that way. These expectations are not real, and you do not need to live up to them. You need to be the mom who plays, shouts and loves those babies with all of your might.

You do not need to be perfect; you just need to be a mom, Pinterest fails and all.

Courage,

A Pinterest Failing Mother

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May 9, 2014 · 10:40 pm

Coming Out of the Blogset

When I started blogging and tweeting earlier this year, only my husband and three dogs knew I was doing this. Frankly, I’m not sure how much they cared, as long as they got their belly rubs. But, recently, I’ve decided to come out of the blogging closet, or blogset, to use a fun portmanteau.

At first, I kept things quiet because I didn’t know how long I would keep up with it. I have a tendency to go from, “Hey! Look at this fun thing I’m doing!” to, “Well, looks like I need to do this thing,” culminating in, “Hey! Look at this NEW fun thing I’m doing!”

I am Dug, from Up. Squirrel!

Squirrel!

Squirrel!

After gaining some traction with my blog and tweets (big hugs to all of you), I started to feel like I was leading some sort of double life. People asked me what I did over the weekend and I’d reply very quickly, “Nothing! Why do you ask? What did you hear? I spent all of time with my children. Coloring. And reading the bible.”

I could have been doing those things. Or, I could have been hiding from my children drinking wine in a closet, while trying to whip up bon mots for Twitter. Either one.

One night, I thought I’d tell two of my very best friends about my great secret. Of course, with the way I am with the word putting together, they probably thought I was going to tell them I was pregnant with baby #3, even though they know better.

I started off with, “So… I have some news.” And anyone who has friends, knows that in your 20s, this means someone is announcing an engagement, in your late 20s/early 30s you’re telling everyone you’re pregnant, and in your 40s, it means you’re telling everyone either that you’re getting a divorce or you’ve found a new wine you really like. Or both.

My blogging news was met with a much better reception than if I had announced I was pregnant, because once again, my friends know me way too well. And the next day, I had one following me on twitter and the other had read my blog in its entirety.

Have I mentioned that I heart my friends?

Every up has its down. Just like every rose has its thorn. Just like… sorry. Channeling my inner Bret Michaels there.

So, I was out for a work happy hour and I mentioned to a co-worker that I blogged. And then he asked about my blog. I felt like a doofus saying, “I blog about motherhood.” Somehow, it seemed like I could have easily said, “I Instagram photos of my dogs.”

Heeeyyy... So... I blog. And I'm not weird at all.

Heeeyyy… So… I blog. And I’m not weird at all.

Instantly, my great passion seemed ridiculous.

In retrospect, I SHOULD have said, “I amusingly write about the ups and downs of motherhood.” Or something like that. Anything else would have been better.

It wasn’t until I wrote about my personal loss that I let anyone else know that I did this. Everyone was very kind, but I still feared some backlash. Not about the one particular post I shared, but… the other posts.

So… I may have referenced people I know in other blog posts. Not by name; I’m not stupid, but if they read it, they would know it was them. And… I may have to see one of those people on a semi-regular basis. Yeah. Awkward. I can only hope they are not big blog readers. Or, that I can distract them with something shiny if they get to that post.

I’m screwed, aren’t I?

All I can do is embrace my blogginess and ask everyone to love me, even if I might have tossed a little snark their way.

Who knows, I may even become more bold in what I write, because if I have already ticked off family and survived, does anything else matter? The only thing I probably won’t do is put my kids in my blog or on Twitter, but that’s mainly because I think their combination of brilliance and stunning good looks would just make other parents sad. Plus, this is all about me, obviously, so I’ll keep the attention where it is most important.

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According to Art, Motherhood Stinks

I have been combing over possible blog topics in my mind, and none really spark with me. I have considered discussing how I make friends as an adult (or, don’t, in truth), postpartum depression (I thought that would be a comedy fest), or, even, an ode to the never-ending story of laundry.

Clearly, my well is running dry.

I did discover the Wikimedia Commons, which has a treasure trove of images that I can use without fear of the copyright police chasing me. It does haunt my dreams and leads me to draw things on my own.

I started by searching for ‘illustrations of mothers.’ Not what I expected. I found:

Wake up woman, and torture your son-in-law!Jesus healing a mother-in-law: Clearly he never had one. Sometimes it’s just best to let them go. Not that it’s a commentary on my own mother-in-law or how my husband feels about my mom. (I do believe my butt is completely covered now)

A man gathering parts of his mother’s body and sewing them together:
So….. someone dismembers your mother and tosses them into the river. And, you gather that stuff up and sew it together? What is this? Frankenstein? That didn’t end well, and neither will this sick story. I think I am going to put it in my will that if I am dismembered and scattered in a river, I should be left there. I’ll be just like the Little Mermaid.

A woman fishing her dead son out of a river: Seriously? What’s with the death and rivers, artists? Can’t we use a river for frolicking? Or peeing in? Like normal people?

Way too many kids, not enough wine.

Way too many kids, not enough wine.

A mother with her 8 children, who all look to be 8 and under: So, it’s not the eight kids I have an issue with; it’s the fact that the mother looks so young and well rested, despite the fact that she’s surrounded by infants and toddlers. And that one kid holding a finger to his lips Dr. Evil-style is totally plotting something. I would have lost my crackers if I had 8 kids under 8, one of whom was most likely going to become an evil genius and create sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Mother and daughter in corsets: Now, there’s a way to bond with your daughter; strap her into a garment that will cut off her circulation and squash her intestines. Mother of the year. Hmm… I may need to save this one and pull it out when my daughter refuses to wear jeans. I can hoist it high and declare, “Well, I could put you in a corset instead.” I’m sure it will work. Either that, or its my corset that’s too tight, causing me to be delusional.

Moral of the story here, folks… as a mother, you will be expected to torture your body to look beautiful, and then be drained of energy by the delivery and rearing of many, many children. At the end of your years, you will become a reviled mother-in-law, more than likely meeting your end in a dirty river, unless you happen to come across Jesus, who will bring you back to life with your son-in-law screaming, “Wait! She was fine the way she was!”

And that concludes today’s lesson on what it means to be a mother, as depicted in art. Now go and enjoy your edification. And avoid all rivers!

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Rise, Shine, and Yell Your Way Through the Morning

I am not a morning person. I am also not a night owl. That pretty much leaves nine hours in the day that I am not sleeping or dragging my ass through routine tasks. The worst time has to be the morning, when I am trying to herd my tiny cats, I mean children, toward the door and get them to school.

The sage words I’ve heard on the topic are that I should should get everything ready the night before, and that will allow me to sail through my morning, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Yeah. No. I could pack lunches, lay out clothes, and have backpacks waiting by the door, and it would still take twice as long as I think, because I have children. Children that move as slow as turtles tromping through peanut butter.

Complicating this is the fact that I am prone to speaking at a high volume. Okay, I yell. A lot. My mother says I inherited it from her, and she inherited the gift from her mother, and so on and so forth all the way up my family tree to Eve, the first yeller. She probably had to yell at Adam to pick his damn fig leaf up and get a fresh one. My mother very optimistically says that since she yells less that her mom and I yell less than her, that one day we’ll eliminate the horrible gene. I am not convinced of this quite yet.

My morning usually goes a little something like this… Alarm goes off, hit snooze two times, drag myself unwillingly into the bathroom, pee and then go downstairs to release the dogs from their crate. Unleash the krakens in the backyard, let them in, feed them breakfast, and then let them back out so they don’t take a dump in my living room. Because, seriously, I hate poop. And when I have a crapton of things to do (see what I did there?), the last thing I want to do is clean up dog poop. Next, comes coffee prep because if I am not caffeinated, I might have to shiv someone. The world is a cold and scary place without caffeine.

By this time, the kids are awake. In theory, they are supposed to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and be prepped for school transportation. What REALLY happens is the kids stay in their pajamas, and play with their toys. Or, worse, they get into my purse, knock over laundry I need to put away, and generally wreak havoc on EVERYTHING. I threaten my daughter with jeans, and since she hates them with every fiber of her being, that spurs her along to put on her usual uniform of leggings and a t-shirt. Yes, even in winter. Occasionally, I’ll find my son buck naked and playing with Legos. Or DS. Or reading a book. I throw his clothes at him and check on his sister. This usually results in me finding her dressed, but with a used pull-up lying in her room. I throw that out and go back to my son, who has returned to Legos.

Then, the yelling begins. “Holy Mary, mother of God, why are you not dressed?” The boy then leaps up, cattle prodded by the shouts and proceeds to throw his underwear in the air, shrieking about about how I am the bad mommy there to hurt him. Seriously? I have never hurt him physically. Emotionally, yes. That’s why I’m saving up for therapy. Physically? No. I grab the clothes and help him into them. “Why do I have to get you dressed? You are seven. I should be able to trust that you are getting ready on your own!” My voice rises in pitch and anger. There are more shrieks, accompanied by my son’s monkey-like hold around my neck as I wrestle him into his navy pants. Every couple of weeks, I notice that the pants are way too short on him. I let him wear them, because there is no way I can find a new pair with the amount of time left in the morning and vow to pick up a new pair on the way home. That never happens. Poor kid always looks like he’s waiting for a flood.

Finally, I get the kids downstairs. They race around grabbing the iPad, iPhone or anything else that lights up and rots their brain. I argue with them, vainly snatching at the electronic devices and telling them they need to get ready before they can play anything. The next five minutes is taken up by me trying to pry what they want for breakfast out of them. Cereal? No response. Oatmeal? No response. Eggs and toast? Nothing. Then, a request from my daughter for Doritos. Well, I’d like Cadbury creme eggs for breakfast, but that isn’t going to happen either.

As I feed my tiny beasts, I work on making lunches. I struggle with this. I try to be thoughtful and keep all of the peanut kids in mind and not make PB&J too often because no one wants to be banished to the peanut table like a biblical pariah. Poor peanut pariahs, eating their sad turkey sandwiches, wishing for some insensitive mother to stop sending peanut products to school. That leaves me with the option of sending my own sad turkey sandwich or having my son buy lunch. Luckily, my daughter is in daycare and they have a perma-peanut table for the peanut pariahs. Since I’m usually throwing together vegetables, fruit and whatever else looks edible into my daughter’s lunch before someone needs something, like for me to take a banana peel, I make a split-second decision that I cannot deal with this lunch crap anymore and he’s buying. I don’t care if it is the orange chicken he hates.

Now that the kids are not naked, have food in their bodies and will not starve by mid-day, I move on to the dreaded tasks of combing hair and brushing teeth. When my son brushes his teeth, he stops every few seconds to ask if he’s done yet. My daughter looks at the toothbrush and says she’s done. Then she breathes her brontosaurus breath on me to confirm how clean her mouth is. When I insist on taking my turn brushing, she cries, whines and tries to hide behind the toilet. I am about to lose the cheese on my cracker. I just want to be done with the teeth. I know that next, I have to try and brush her hair. She has very fine hair, which is prone to tangling. I went through four different brushes (including a “detangling” brush – my ass) before I found one she would tolerate. I still manage to rip out wads of blonde hair as she sobs. In the end, she looks more like a mismatched hobo than anything else, but I can’t complain. I am really just too tired to do so.

You’d think that I should be done with the insanity now, right? No. There are socks, shoes, and backpacks to pull together. I can’t count how many times I thought I was ready to walk out the door, and I realized that my daughter was missing her socks. Honestly, by the time I get to the dropoff, I am ready to shove those kids out the door and throw their backpacks right at their heads. I am toast.

I love my kids. Between the hours of 9 and 8.

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