You Are Not Alone

The one comment I seem to get most from people since I’ve started this little writing adventure not too long ago is “your blogs make me feel like I’m not alone.”

So first, I want to say a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone for your awesome feedback and kindness. Words cannot express how much I appreciate you all taking a few minutes once or twice a week to actually read the insane crap I have to say. Imagine that! I can barely even get my own family to listen to me when I’m screaming at the top of my lungs for them to get their butts to the damn dinner table. And you wonderful people do it voluntarily! I love you guys. Seriously, I do. I hope that you’ll continue to support me and help my silly little blog keep growing and improving every day!

But, more importantly, what I really want you all to know is that no, you are not alone. Not at all. Not one bit.

If I’ve learned ANYTHING since becoming a mom, it’s that while motherhood requires you finally put on your big girl pants and grow the hell up, like immediately, it also unavoidably makes you a little bonkers. Actually, it makes you a lot bonkers. How can it not? Face it, you probably won’t even have a minute alone to pee for at least ten years. Who wouldn’t go nuts? So no, you are definitely not alone….

If you have, on more than one occasion, told your child that the car was “broken” so you couldn’t make it to the park that day, you should know you aren’t alone.

If you’ve also told him that the Play Doh had gone missing, or that you were all out of finger paint, or that the supermarket wasn’t selling his favorite flavor of ice cream that week, then you are not alone.

If you have ever purposely spent thirty minutes sitting on the bathroom floor, pretending you ate some questionable sushi, playing Candy Crush or reading It Sucked and Then I Cried; How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita on your Kindle, then you are not alone.

If it’s three a.m. and the baby is crying, and you know there’s either a Hershey surprise in her diaper or a bottle needs to made ASAP, but you kinda just roll over and pretend not to hear anything in a silent little battle of wills with your husband to see who will get up first, you are not alone.

If you always end up getting up first anyway, you are not alone.

If you are beginning to wonder if your husband isn’t just pretending to be asleep, you are not alone.

If you’ve ever seen a mom or dad on one of your kids’ shows reading a book to their child and thought “I really should be doing that right now, instead of just letting him watch this shit on TV” but then you just kept letting him watch that shit on TV, you are not alone.

If you ever worried that since you don’t buy every organic, pesticide free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan-friendly, nitrate free, ultra-expensive, cardboard-tasting food in the health-food supermarket or whatever, you are slowing killing and possibly causing brain/growth/social/developmental/behavioral damage to everyone, then you are most definitely not alone.

If you’ve ever been sad that you couldn’t afford to give your child the best birthday party ever, or the most Christmas presents, or the vacation of a lifetime, then you’re not alone.

If you’re not at all comforted by the people who tell you it’s better for them not to be spoiled by that kind of stuff, you are not alone.

If you’ve ever forgotten to finish up the last few doses of that annoying ten-day antibiotic your kid’s been taking for her third damn ear infection this year, you are not alone.

If you ever caught yourself watching SpongeBob after your child has gone to bed for the night because you haven’t changed the channel in four hours, you’re not alone.

If you find yourself wondering, at least ten times a day, what the hell it is that you are doing wrong, because you KNOW you are doing something (maybe everything) wrong, then you are not alone.

If you thought it would get easier as they got older, but it hasn’t and now you’re sure that it’s only getting harder by the minute, you are not alone.

If you’ve ever screamed at your kid in public, then received death stares from everyone within earshot and went home feeling like the biggest piece of shit on two feet, then you are not alone.

If you ever actually felt bad for your child because they are stuck forever with YOU as a parent, then you are not alone.

But if you tell yourself that you are trying your best… but then wonder if that’s even really true, then you are not alone.

If you ever found yourself tearing up while going through adorable old pictures of your child as a newborn and suddenly felt like you maybe wanted to have another one, but then five minutes later you found your kid in the bathroom holding an empty bottle of baby powder in one hand and an unraveled roll of toilet paper in the other, the whole room a sea of white, and then almost reached into your own body and tied your tubes yourself… Then you are not alone.

If you’ve ever wondered if antidepressants really work, or if you know for a fact that they do (or don’t), then you are not alone.

If you’ve ever looked at the clock and saw that it was 3 p.m. and you haven’t even brushed your teeth yet, nor changed out of your pajamas, nor showered (that week), then you’re not alone.

If you’ve ever looked at the calendar and realized you haven’t even left the house in four days, you are not alone.

If lately your face has touched not a single drop of makeup, nor have your feet seen a shoe fancier than a flip flop in several months; and if you consider wearing leggings or jeans of any sort to be “dressing up,” then you are not alone.

If you are not even embarrassed to admit the last four facts to anyone who will listen– especially if that means you will get to engage in actual adult conversation with another human being who is old enough to buy a bottle of wine you can both drown your sorrows in together, then you are not alone.

If, despite the fact that you’ve nodded your head in agreement to at least half of these, you still wouldn’t change a single thing, then you actually might be alone.

Because I think we all can admit that we have regrets, and make mistakes, and we all have at least a few things we would have done differently, if given half the chance.

But if you still know that, no matter what, you’d totally run in front of a speeding truck for your children without hesitation, and if you didn’t think it was possible but somehow you love those crazy kids even more today than you did yesterday, and you will love them even more than THAT tomorrow, then you are not alone.

And if your life is permanently one big hectic ball of insanity and unpredictability and boredom and stress and hardship and anxiety, and having kids is a thousand times harder than you ever imagined it to be but still you wouldn’t change a single hair on their beautiful little bodies, then you are NOT alone.

And you never will be 😉

The Epic Dinner Fail

9 a.m. I really want to make something awesome for dinner tonight. My family rocks, they deserve a great meal. I’ll make a big pot of sauce! And spaghetti! And chicken cutlet parmesan! With meatballs! And garlic bread! And a really nice salad on the side, so we all get our greens of course. You know, I rock as a mom. I really do.

10 a.m. I can’t wait to start cooking. Shit, wait. I have no chop meat. But meatballs are Little M’s favorite. Okay, no problem. I’ll just go to the store and pick some up after I finish the dishes.

10:30 a.m. I actually need a shower first. I’ll go out and get the chop meat after.

11 a.m. I just remembered we have no lettuce either. I can grab some when I get the chop meat. Eh, who am I kidding? My kids wouldn’t touch a piece of lettuce if it were dipped in chocolate and covered with sprinkles. But I’ll still get the chop meat, Little M really likes meatballs.

11:30 a.m. Lunch time! I’ll go out and get the chop meat after I make the kids’ lunch.

12. p.m. Oh, Little D fell asleep. I’m not waking her up just to go to the store. I’ll go out and get the chop meat after she gets up.

1 p.m. Hmm. Don’t think I have time to get the chop meat now. The kids have doctor’s appointments in a little bit. I can always swing by the supermarket on the way home. Yep, that’s what I’ll do.

2 p.m. Why is this stupid office always crowded? A thousand doctors in the damn practice, and yet none of them are ever here. Where are they? What are they doing? Do they all specialize in pediatric neurosurgery on the side? And why won’t this snot-covered little boy sneeze on his own mother? Ick.

3 p.m. I should be on my way home by now. My beautiful dinner won’t cook itself. And if I have to shove one more tongue depressor at Little D in a feeble attempt to distract her from trying to run out the door, I’m going to stab someone with a dirty needle from the big red biohazard box. Am I ever getting the hell out of here??

4. p.m. Jeez, I thought that would never end. Oh look, it’s the supermarket! Imagine me dragging these miserable kids in there right now for freaking MEATBALLS? HA! Bye supermarket!

4:15 p.m. Um, so I just spent two hours listening to one kid beg me every five minutes to go home so he could play Wii while trying desperately to keep the other from crawling around on the filthy, germ-infested, doctor’s office floor. And I’m pretty sure I’m already showing signs of having swine flu. As awesome as breading, frying, and slapping a pound of cheese on a bunch of chicken cutlets sounds right about now, I think I’ll pass. Spaghetti will do just fine.

4:20 p.m. You know what? I really think I need a glass of wine first. I deserve it after that hellish afternoon. Bottle opener, where are you??

4:30 p.m. Mmm… That was a really good glass of wine. I should just have one glass. I’m probably just going to feel really tired if I have any more. But it was just so damn good. Ah, what the hell? One more glass, and then I’ll start to cook.

5:00 p.m. Ok just ONE MORE GLASS. I swear!

5:30 p.m. Wait. What was I planning to make for dinner again?

5:45 p.m. Hi, can I have a large pie with mushrooms, pepperoni and extra cheese?

Summer Bummer: Wake Me Up When September Begins

Before all of you summer-lovers roll your eyes and go back to getting your tan on or whatever, hear me out.  Why?  Because sometimes I’m hilarious.  Not because you’re going to agree or anything.  You probably won’t.

So I am no fan of the summer.  Sun, sand, surf… Blah blah blah.  None of it really rings my bell.  See here for my thoughts on summer vacation and here for my thoughts on the beach.  The thing I hate most about summer is that it is so damn HOT.  I actually get anxiety attacks from feeling overheated (don’t believe me? Go ask the doctor who prescribed me FOUR Xanex a day.  No I don’t take it all, but it wouldn’t be illegal if I did).  I just don’t do heat.  It’s not for me.

I know I seem a little cynical about summer (and a lot of other things too, I suppose).  But I promise I’ll be happier once the weather cools down.  Well, except for in the dead of winter when it snows a lot and I’m stuck in the house with two insanely bored kids while Big M works back-to-back twelve-hour shifts with no days off, and I die a little more inside with each new flake of falling snow….

But we’ll cross that blog when we come to it.

For now, summer is the one on my shit list.  Here are twelve reasons why this season gotsta GO.

  1. You know that feeling when you just want to stay in your pj’s all day and be a big bum?  Maybe you drank a little too much last night, or you’re just in a crappy mood for some reason, or you were up until 3 a.m. watching reruns of WEEDS.  In January, go ahead and rock those pj’s til the sun goes down.  No one cares. In July? Hello, guilt!  You are a shitty mom, a shitty human being, and you should probably relocate to Antarctica until you’ve grasped the importance of daily Vitamin D intake for you and your family.
  2. Some dickhead mosquito just bit me on the bottom of my foot.  I smashed him, and now he’s a dead dickhead.  But my foot is still itchy.
  3. Little M starts a full day of kindergarten in September. A FULL DAY.  Six hours a day, five days a week.  You do the math.  Comes out to one happy freaking mommy.
  4. If that stupid ice cream truck creeps down my block after 8 p.m. one more time, there will be a new reason for calling him Mr. Softee. One that involves my foot and his little creamsicle.
  5. Leg shaving.  Summer: occurs once every other day or so.  Winter: occurs once every other month or so.
  6. When the weather cools off I get to stuff my feet into little boot-shaped pillows and joyfully wear them with almost every article of clothing I own.  They’re called Uggs, and I don’t care if men think “Ugg” is short for “ugly”.  My extremely cozy feet and I respectfully disagree.
  7. Ain’t no traffic like summertime traffic, cuz summertime traffic don’t stop.  Case in point.  This little clusterfuck took place somewhere near the entrance to the Staten Island Expressway during rush hour on a sunny August afternoon.  The kids slept off all the energy expelled at the beach in the hour and a half that it took to drive a whopping ten miles to our house—and then they stayed up til 11 p.m.traffic
  8. I’m so over cleaning sand out of my car.  And my kids’ butts.  And other places…
  9. You might think your little Spanx-brand tankini was the best two hundred bucks you ever spent, but there isn’t enough control-top polyester in the world to hide that gut.  You know what might?  A big, thick, sweater.  Just saying.
  10. Pumpkins are a superfood.  Hot dogs and hamburgers are not.
  11. Fall TV.  Because I no longer give a shit how much “talent” America has.
  12. Frizzy is NOT the new flirty.  There is nothing flirtatious about looking like you used your SteamVac to style your hair.  Unless you chemically straighten or live in some warm, zero-humidity paradise, the safety ponytail gets old sometime around mid-August.

So What Do You DO All Day?

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I’m a stay-at-home mom, an occupation which, by the very nature of its poorly chosen name, implies that I merely STAY AT HOME all day.

Fellow SAHM’s, is that hilarious or what?

I think that in order for a person to be dumb enough to even ask me that question, they must be imagining that perhaps I am doing what THEY would be doing if they were staying home all day– like painting my nails or washing my car or catching up on the last season of True Blood or whatever.

And it makes total sense, really.

Because my nails ARE painted.  I had a mani/pedi before a wedding back in June and haven’t gotten around to removing the bits and pieces of leftover polish yet. So yep, the nails are painted.

And my car?  Freshly washed.  I mean, it rained this weekend, right?  Nothing chips away at bird shit like torrential downpours!

And you KNOW I’m all caught up on my True Blood.  That’s the one with the vampire who counts the numbers on Sesame Street, right?  Haha, I’m joking!  I can’t even pretend that watching a True Blood marathon in the middle of the day wouldn’t give my children nightmares until 2015, so you got me there.

To the idiot who is stupid enough to ask me that question, we’ll call you Jackass from here on out: I want you to know that what YOU do during your free time is completely different from what I do in my free time.

You know how I know that? Because, unlike you, I DON’T HAVE ANY FREE FUCKING TIME.

Jackass, my day begins not whenever I choose, nor simply when I wake up. Nor does it begin even after a nearby alarm goes off that I can bash with my fist in order to enjoy ten more blissful minutes of restful sleep.  My day begins whenever my children decide it’s time for me to get up, usually by poking me in the face or smacking me in the head or screaming in my ear until my eyes have opened fully.  I then rise from bed and change the first of many diapers for the day, cook the first of many meals for the day, answer the first of many random questions of the day, and referee the first of many fights for the day.  I then painstakingly get my children and myself dressed and out the door with less than a minute to spare, drop one child off at school or day camp, or maybe soccer practice if it’s a weekend, then proceed to drag the other along with me on my daily errands, praying that she will let me get at least one thing done before she throws a total shitfit and tries to eject herself from a shopping cart or a stroller or maybe even a moving vehicle.

I then return home and take advantage of her nap time by doing some awesome dishes, a chore that’s nearly impossible to do when my daughter is awake because she gets such a kick out of removing the plates and silverware (knives, in particular) from the bottom rack of the dishwasher whenever it is open.  If I’m lucky enough for her to still be asleep once I’m finished with the dishes I can then fold up some awesome laundry, another chore that’s difficult to do when she is awake because she likes to steal and unfold clothes when I’m not looking and then hide them away in various spots around the house.

Once this is done I make lunch for her and then usually choke down my own lunch while standing over the sink.  After lunch, we go pick up my son and spend the remainder of the afternoon breaking up fights, handing out snacks, setting up activities to divert them from killing one another, and fielding some more endless random questions.  Oh, and in between all of that I attempt to clean the house and prepare dinner for everyone, too.

On really fun days we spend the afternoon at the park, where I perform this really cool magic trick of splitting myself in half so that I can easily chase both children around the hot, crowded playground while they run at full speed in opposite directions.

After dinner is finished and all cleaned up, the next hour is spent scrubbing little asses and feet in the bathtub and then getting everyone pj’d up and ready for bed. Which is a joke, really, because bedtime is always just a game of “who can stay up the latest?” This is a game I lose more often than not.

Once everyone is finally asleep I’m usually pretty exhausted and so I head off to bed myself.  Then I wake up and repeat a similar process the next day.

Even if the next day is Saturday.

Or Sunday.

Or Christmas.

Sorry, “me time.” I guess we can try again another time.

Oh, Jackass.  Come on, now. I’m totally kidding around.  My life really IS as simple you think it is.  In fact, you should come over and hang out one day to see firsthand just how I slothfully I lie on  my couch all day, inhaling Bon-Bons Peggy Bundy style, drinking bottles of Cabernet and ordering new tank tops online with my Macy’s credit card.

See for yourself how my children sit quietly in separate corners of the house, feeding themselves healthy food and entertaining themselves with educational activities throughout the day.

Watch in awe as the pots and pans magically arrange themselves on the stove, and the food flies right out of the refrigerator and chops itself up on the cutting board, all to be cooked by osmosis.

Watch, my dear Jackass, as the laundry leaps from its basket directly into the washing machine, and from there into the dryer, even taking the fabric sheets with it as it goes.

Be mystified at how *POOF* groceries just materialize in my cabinets and fridge, literally forming out of thin air and neatly stocking themselves in the shelves right before your very eyes.

See my amazing dog use his opposable thumbs to refill his very own water bowl all day long, and then witness my vacuum cleaner plug itself right into wall and begin to remove smashed up Cheerios from the carpet fibers all on its own.

And after that, you can go ahead and hop back in your time machine and return to 1925, when it was typical to openly assume that a mother’s job (working, stay-at-home, and everything in between) made her ANYTHING less than a fucking superhero.

I really think you need to go call your own mom right now and tell her she’s amazing.  Do it.

But first, did you have anything else you wanted to ask me?

Didn’t think so.

Jackass.

 

Family “Vacations”

My family and I have just returned from our vacation in Ocean City, Maryland.  It was a good trip, albeit far too short, but we all had a really great time.  I spent the morning cleaning out the car and unpacking our stuff, then uploading all of our vacation pictures and displaying a few favorites on Facebook and Instagram.

Ok, you got me. I’m full of crap.  I’ve never unpacked less than 48 hours after returning from vacation and I probably never will.  It sounded good though, right?  My suitcases are actually still quite full and sitting in the middle of my living room floor, the only items removed being daily necessities like toothpaste and contact lens solution.  And I still have at least ten empty water bottles littering the floor of my car, along with a plethora of toys, blankets, and various umbrellas as well.

But I really did take some nice pictures, though.  Like these:

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So even though the trip was fun and I have the photographic evidence to prove it, that’s not to say it was all hunky-dory every single minute.  (What on earth would I write about if it were??)  Any parent who has ever spent at least one night away from home with a child will tell you that there is no such thing as “the perfect family vacation.”  I’m using quotations to emphasize just how mythical that idea is.

Here are my five least favorite things about vacation:

1-Traveling.  Whether it’s eight agonizing hours in a car or three miserable hours on a plane, traveling with kids is the absolute worst way to start a vacation.  Unfortunately, it’s usually the only way to start a vacation.  For us, driving on the way there was actually pretty awesome since we left at 7 p.m. to ensure the kids would sleep throughout the whole drive (thankfully they did).  Our options were to leave late and possibly check in sometime after midnight or leave early and possibly spend five hours driving with a  pissed off toddler in the backseat.  We felt physical exhaustion was the way to go, so we chose to leave late. 

The ride home wasn’t nearly as pleasant, however.  You know what’s even more fun than sitting in traffic for half a day?  Sitting in traffic for half a day while listening to every season two episode of the Fresh Beat Band booming through your car speakers.  On repeat.

2-Crappy Hotels.  Due to unforeseen circumstances (I forgot), I booked our trip kind of last minute and ended up with very limited hotel options. So I just selected one with a decent price and fairly good reviews, and hoped for the best.  

But of course it sucked. 

I officially loathe the people who gave this hotel its good reviews.  May all of their internet connections be severed indefinitely, and may they be rendered unable to write a faulty review ever again.

When we got into our room, exhausted from the long car ride and anxious to rest our heads, we immediately discovered that there were flies buzzing around all over the place.  So we told the front desk that we wouldn’t stay in that room, and five minutes later two guys showed up at our door armed with fly swatters and bug spray.

Um, say what?  I KNOW you are not about to start killing flies up in here.

We got to a new room eventually, and the next day decided to hit the beach.  Those of you familiar with my blog might be aware of my ill feelings for the beach, but that’s mostly because the beaches here in Staten Island leave much to be desired.  As in, I desire sand that will not stain my bathing suit orange and I desire water free of sharp, broken shells and hypodermic needles.  I guess I’m just picky like that.

The beaches in Maryland are clean and relaxing enough even for a beach-hater like me.  We spent practically the whole day by the shore having a great time– Little M splashing around in the waves and Little D throwing fistfuls of sand at all of the passersby. But we stayed for so long that I must have forgotten to change Little D’s diaper at some point and, as we walked back to our room, she ended up peeing all over me.

So I made a mad dash for the room to clean us both up, but to my unpleasant surprise, my key card wasn’t working when I got there.  I couldn’t even get in the door! I then had to stand there as patiently as possible, covered in an aromatic combination of sand, sunblock and urine, while it took three different people to get the damn door to our room open.  Good times.

3-Unavoidable exchanges with random strangers.  Being originally from Brooklyn, I generally don’t interact well with people I don’t know.  It started off as a safety measure and eventually just became a natural part of being a New Yorker. Whenever I venture beyond the great Empire State, I find overly friendly people to be very irritating.  Like just shut up and keep to yourself, weirdos.  Big M says this is me being bitchy.  He might be right.  Oh well.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

There was a lady I kept seeing on the beach who I then ran into one night on the boardwalk.  She yelled loudly to me “hey! you look different with clothes on!”  Awkward much?

And, of course, there were a few of the usual “are ya’ll from New Jersey or New York or somethin’?  I can tell by yer accents!” Mystery solved, detectives!

But let me not forgot the incessant elevator chitchat that accompanies any typical hotel stay.  Since our hotel’s elevator was borderline homicidal and closed on just about every part of my body at least once, I had the same conversation about how obnoxious it was every time I found myself next to someone on it.  Constantly having to talk about it was more painful than whenever it actually closed on me.

4-Going out to eat. I think the worst part of vacationing with your kids is going out to eat too much.  I can take going to restaurants in small doses, but back-to-back meals spent wrestling my daughter into her highchair while keeping her from violently tossing her apple juice at the waiter’s head is just asking too much.  Kids are too unpredictable for such formal settings– even kids that are well-behaved.  My nephew was an amazingly well-behaved toddler, for example, but he still projectile vomited across a table and down my sister’s shirt at the diner once.  You just never know what can happen with young children.

One particular restaurant where we dined during vacation did not bother to put a changing table in the restroom.  They were “kid-friendly” enough to have fancy Rubbermaid highchairs and to serve kids meals in cute little sand pails, but not enough to give a crap about where you could wipe your kid’s ass.  Have you ever crouched down to change a shitty diaper while holding a squirmy toddler over your knee in a cramped bathroom stall before?  Well, now I have.  Next to child birth, it might have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

On our last day of vacation, we tried to have lunch in a restaurant but Little D decided to start screaming at the top of her tiny little lungs the moment we walked through the door.  After getting a dirty look from every single unsympathetic asshole in that restaurant, I finally just said f*** this and walked out.  Big M got the food to go and we ate outside on a boardwalk bench with the sweltering afternoon sun beating down on us, while Little D dropped more greasy spaghetti in my lap than she put in her mouth and Little M almost got crapped on while trying to catch a seagull.

5-Never-ending bathroom breaks.  Whenever we go out in public, Little M takes so many bathroom breaks that he sometimes makes me wish he were still in diapers.  At home, he can go half the day without peeing once, but as soon as we go out he suddenly has to go every five minutes.

If we go out to eat, he unfailingly needs to use the bathroom the very minute the food arrives.  If we are in a line somewhere, he always starts doing his little peepee dance as soon as we are next in line to go.  The night we went miniature golfing, he had to stop us at the 2nd hole, the 12th hole, and then once again on the way out, for good measure.  At the beach we couldn’t even tell him to just go pee in the damn ocean, because that’s when he suddenly had to do number two.

Car rides are the worst of all.  On the way home from Maryland, we’d been driving for several hours when he said he really had to go.  So Big M pulled into a rest stop and brought him to the bathroom, but then he then refused to go in the toilet. Frustrated, Big M brought him back out to the car and we continued on.

Suddenly, a few miles later, he began crying and  screaming “I HAVE TO GO COCKY RIGHT NOW!!!!” causing Big M to immediately pull the car over and let him shit in the grass right there on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.  I am not kidding, that actually happened less than 20 minutes before we got home.

I guess it’s true what they say.  A vacation just isn’t over until someone defecates in public.

It’s good to be home.