My 20 Mostly Unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Who knows– maybe I’ll actually accomplish one or two?

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  1. I will be wide awake when the ball drops.
  2. I will find a clever use for empty Play-Doh containers, large coffee cans, giant pretzel bins and paper towel rolls, instead of putting them away for “future craft projects” until they begin spilling out of my hall closet and end up in the garbage anyway.
  3. I will exercise more, starting with running.  Toward cheese fries. The curly kind.
  4. I will also learn how to spell “exercise” without using auto-correct.
  5. I will potty train my two-year-old using the simple “take off your pants and just go in the damn toilet already so I never have to purchase or change a single diaper again” method.
  6. I will land the job of my dreams after someone reads my blog, finds it to be the best work of literature since Catcher in the Rye, and immediately gives me a book deal, writing job, or the opportunity to review Nickelodeon TV shows for a living.
  7. After I’ve landed this job, I will move out of my cramped and freezing apartment into a beautiful home, thus becoming the type of person who says “these taxes are an outrage! Don’t they know I have a mortgage to pay?!”
  8. I will stop staring off into space like a socially awkward gnome when picking up my son from school and actually attempt to make conversation with people.
  9. After I start speaking to people at my son’s school, I will quickly find a person who is exactly as sarcastic, anxiety-ridden, and jaded as I am, and then become fast, best friends with her.  This person and I will discuss the extreme hardships of parenting, as well as the extreme hotness of those Hemsworth brothers, over bottles of red wine on a regular basis.
  10. I will stop letting my son watch TV on weekdays.  Instead, he will study the political and socioeconomic themes from late 17th century French literature before going to bed on his Ninja Turtle bed sheets every night.
  11. I will get my daughter to stop sleeping in my bed.  Also, she will no longer need to be gripping at handfuls of flesh from my arm, deeply digging her nails in while squeezing as hard as possible, to drift peacefully off to sleep every night.  I’m serious, that is how she goes to sleep.  I’ve created a goddamn monster.
  12. I will pay off my hefty student loans using the amazing salary I make from the fabulous job I have as a result of going to college in the first place.  (There’s that sarcasm I mentioned before.  Future awesome best friend, do you have student loans to pay off too?)
  13. I will teach my children to always clean up after themselves. By the way, does anyone know where I can purchase two child-size Harry Potter wands?
  14. I will selflessly replace the excessive amount of television I watch with charity work.  If I find homeless people and watch TV with them, is that considered charity work?
  15. I will reorganize my bedroom, starting with my closet.  I will toss anything that doesn’t fit me well or is out of style.  I will then relocate to a nudist colony.
  16. I will carve out more “me time.”  By carving out a hole in my wall and climbing in.
  17. I will find a foolproof way to keep my kids from drawing on the furniture.  And themselves. And each other.  And me.  But mostly the furniture.
  18. I will start being more honest with people.  Like this: if you read my blog, you are an awesomely amazing human being and I truly love you.  If you’ve never read my blog, you suck.  If we are related and you have never read it, you are dead to me.  Honesty is the best policy.
  19. I will find the person who invented video games and beat him senseless with a PS3, then send the broken, bloody game system to my husband in a box.  Love you, babe!
  20. I will be a nice person.  Ok, a nicer person.  I will be a nicer person.  Or maybe a nice-ish person.  Fuck it, I’ll just be a person.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year, with much success, love, joy and all of that other wonderful crap for 2014!

MILF Envy

Back in my early twenties, motherhood seemed more like a good way to settle down in my mid-thirties than a thing that was unsuspectingly about to take control of my entire life.  I used to walk around, head in the clouds, like I had the sweetest-smelling shit of all, telling myself “when I become a mom, I’ll be the MILF-y kind who looks hot all the time, still hangs out with my friends, has an amazing, easily-balanced between home and work kind of job, and would never even THINK about driving a minivan.”

Now that I am a mom, well, I’m still not that into minivans.  But the rest of that stuff is just plain hilarious.  What is it about being a single twentysomething that turns you into a know-it-all bitch?  No offense to my one or two young, childless readers.  My qualms are mostly with my own obnoxious younger self, not you fabulous bitches.

The dictionary merely defines motherhood as “the state of being a mother.”  I’d like to add an alternate definition to that: “the state of being in a permanent, childbearing-induced rut.”

It feels like motherhood has left me with a severe inability to get my shit together.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally just incapable of looking and feeling awesome. Ever.

While I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way, I also know that there are moms out there who haven’t been quite so physically defeated by this hurricane we refer to as parenthood.  And whoop-de-doo for them.  Go buy yourselves a Sephora gift basket or something.  Maybe reapply your mascara on a roller coaster or during a high-speed car chase.  I don’t care.  You and I aren’t likely to ever be very close anyway.

The thing is, I love my kids and they’re the best and they come first and yada, yada, yada, but I miss giving even half of a shit about what I look like when I leave the house.   I don’t really want to add the obvious subtext here that my kids are the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I’m blessed and all that sentimental whatnot, but I will.  It’s all gravy, folks.  I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing.

But sometimes, I think, it’s okay to vent about the fact that you’re falling apart from the inside out, and that you look and feel like you’ve been hit by a truck most of the time.

I have come to a point where I don’t even care anymore about how I look.  Last year, the full-length mirror in my bedroom broke and I didn’t bother to replace it for about six months.  I could have replaced it sooner, but my need to see how my sweatpants matched my sneakers just wasn’t motivation enough to haul two kids out to Home Depot with me to lug home a gigantic mirror.  And really, who needs another daily reminder of the ever-widening hips, increasingly disappointing wardrobe selections, deepening under-eye circles, and sudden appearance of a new wrinkle every other week?

I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting dressed up to leave the house both excites and terrifies me.  Switching out pajama pants for skinny jeans, slippers for knee boots, hoodies for fitted, cashmere sweaters—in theory it sounds appealing.  Looking sexy is empowering.  When you look great, you feel great.  It really is true.

But when your skinny jeans leave you looking anything BUT skinny, and they slouch messily around the knee area of your boots instead of perfectly hugging your pant leg the way everyone else’s seems to, and your cashmere sweater gives you pre-premenopausal hot flashes, and you find yourself daydreaming of cozy Old Navy pajamas, you can’t help thinking “what’s the fucking point??”

And that sentiment really sums it all up.  What IS the point?  Why bother wasting my time with nice clothes that will end up covered in tomato sauce and toddler snot?  Why bother putting makeup on if taking it off is just another thing to check off my to-do list before I go to bed?  Why even bother putting in my contact lenses if it means I’ll eventually run out and have to purchase more?  Like diapers and groceries, those things aren’t cheap.

I don’t have a solution for any of this, so if you’ve been hoping for some advice or perhaps a sudden epiphany at the end, sorry for wasting your time.  I’m a lost cause.  It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t put on a bra yet, I’m not wearing a single unstained article of clothing, and I honestly can’t even remember if I’ve brushed my teeth today.  Hell, I haven’t taken a selfie since before they were called selfies.

Does this count as a selfie?

Does this count as a selfie?

But I can tell you this much: I have faith that it will get better eventually.  I don’t know when, and I don’t know how.  But someday, somehow, Mommy will look and feel good again.  She has to, right? RIGHT?

I honestly have no idea.

Do you?

Toypocalypse 2013: Some Post-Christmas Observations and Declarations

Remember when you told yourself that the holiday hell would be over on December 26?  Well, take a look at the current state of your living room.  Does it look a little like a Toys R Us warehouse imploded on itself?  That’s because December’s fat lady has yet to sing, darling.  There’s still much to be done.

Has anyone seen the kids?

Has anyone seen the kids?

Here are some of my post-Christmas observations and declarations from this year’s edition of the yuletide insanity-fest we call the holiday season:

Why don’t toy companies just throw a toy in a box and leave it alone? Maybe if they wouldn’t shackle every inch of the damn thing to a piece of indestructible cardboard, then perhaps they could save a few bucks on materials and charge a little less for the overpriced, plastic piece of crap.

Never purchase a talking toy with no off button.  The only way to shut it off is to back over it with your SUV.

If a child is too lazy to peek inside a plain, white, unmarked box, throwing it immediately aside to move on to the next package as though it were just a pair of socks and not the ONLY gift he asked for all year long, then he kind of deserved to think Santa didn’t bother to bring it.  At least, for a little while.

10a.m. is not at all too early for a drink on a holiday (mimosas, anyone?).  Especially not when you’ve been on autopilot for the past 48 hours, alternating between cooking, baking, gift-wrapping, and occasionally pausing to feed the children.

If you stash 25 empty cardboard boxes in some random corner of your bedroom, simply because there was nowhere else to put them at the time, you WILL inevitably fall and bust your ass in the middle of the night when getting up to pee.

Getting socks for Christmas as a child? Couldn’t be lamer.  Getting socks for Christmas as an adult? Totally awesome.  You can NEVER have too many socks.

For some reason, toy companies believe that they need two versions of every toy they make: the regular version and the pink version.  Just because your child has a vagina does not mean that every single toy she owns must match her lady parts.  It is perfectly acceptable to purchase non-pink toys for a little girl.

Did you like to use your couch for sitting?  That’s a shame.  Because you probably won’t even see it again for a week.  You’ll find a place for all these new toys when your desire for a soft spot to place your ass finally begins to outweigh your disdain for reorganizing the kids’ bedroom/playroom.

Taking the tree down is nowhere near as much fun as putting it up.  Wine helps.

Of all the clever little spots where you creatively placed your elf on the shelf in the past month, you’re about to put it in the very best place of all- the attic!  Buh-bye, creepo!

Remember when you were buying all the kids’ gifts and you knew you were doing it partially for your own benefit, because their little excited faces on Christmas morning would just be so priceless?  Channel that feeling on December 26, after you’ve been forcibly extracting toys from boxes, unscrewing battery compartment covers with your blistery, screwdriver-holding hands, and exhaustively trying to fit “part B” into “slot F” for three straight hours—with no end to the toy-assembling madness in sight.

Though the spoiled brats, ahem, kids, have about a thousand new toys to play with EACH, they are still nonstop fighting over the same stupid toy.  You can take the toy away, hide it, toss it, or throw it under the tires of your SUV with its talking counterparts, but the bratty darlings will simply find something else to fight over.  Give up trying to break the endless cycle — just let them kill each other.

School is out for a week.  All rules about no TV-watching and no video game-playing are nullified.  Activate winter zombie child mode and don’t look back ’til it’s 2014.

Good news: now that Christmas is finally over, New Years is only a week away! WOOHOO!! Party time! Oh wait, you have kids.  Never mind.

Mommy’s Little Secrets

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We all have ’em.  Here are some of mine:

I sometimes have to try REALLY hard not to laugh when my son is sounding out words when we are reading together because he sounds like a dying moose.

I occasionally “borrow” a few bucks from my kids’ piggy banks for takeout when I have no cash on me.  Also, my son doesn’t know it, but he paid for his last two school trips, as well as his teacher’s holiday gift, with his very own money.  I’ll put it back…..someday.

When I was pregnant, I used to deliberately leave my coat wide open (even in the dead of winter) so people could see my big belly and give me a seat on the train.

I re-gift.  When my kids get doubles of something on Christmas or their birthday, or something outside of their age range, I don’t exchange it at the store. It just goes in the good old re-gifting pile up in my attic.  Sorry, friends with children.  What can I say?  These birthday gifts add up.

I broke the blinds and told my husband that my son did it.  Twice.  Okay, three times.  I’m very clumsy.

I have wiped my kids’ noses with my own hand.  Many, many times.

I’m a big co-sleeper.  My kids honestly believed their crib was just a large prison for stuffed animals.  It isn’t because I’m some attachment parenting hippie chick looking to strengthen the bond between mother and child and all that.  It’s because I don’t like getting up out of bed in the middle of the night to tend to crying babies.

On that note, I also breastfed my daughter for thirteen months.  Go me, right?  Wrong.  I’d have probably stopped A LOT sooner if she would have just drank  from a damn bottle.  I thought people were just joking when they said “I’ll stop when the teeth grow in.”  They are not kidding.  Um, OUCH.

Every time I make my kids a box of mac-n-cheese for lunch, I end up eating half of it.  It starts with “just a taste” to make sure it’s cooled off, and goes downhill from there.

My son has been occasionally watching PG-13 movies for a while now.  At his four-year-old checkup, while lying on the examination table, he reenacted a scene from the first Ghostbusters movie where a woman is possessed and rambling demonically.  I had to tell his doctor that he was “in a big monster phase.”

We sometimes eat McDonalds.  And Burger King.  And Wendy’s.  Not often, but it happens.  It’s cheap, easy, and freakin’ delicious.  Get over it, Jamie Oliver.

Neither of my children have ever watched a single episode of Barney.  I simply won’t allow it.  Of all the obnoxious TV shows for kids out there, and believe me, my kids have seen them all, I draw the line right in front of that big purple jackass.

My son often watches TV on school nights.  From the TV in his bedroom.  He knows how to operate Netflix and he picks out whatever he wants.  Usually I can hear whatever he’s watching to know that it’s okay for kids, but one time my husband caught him watching Breaking Bad.  Whoops.

I accidentally turned the hot water on my daughter during a bath when she was two weeks old, resulting burns on her leg, arm, and back.  I honestly thought I wasn’t fit to be a mother anymore, until I found out that almost everyone has their own “I almost killed my own kid” story.  It doesn’t usually happen even before the umbilical cord falls off, or result in spending a whole night in the hospital, but whatever.  She’s alive now, right?

When my son was a baby, we didn’t buy him any Christmas gifts.  Blobs don’t care about gifts.

Every morning, I find myself psychotically screaming at my son to make sure he’s brushed his teeth before we leave for school, as though there will be a dentist standing outside each classroom checking for plaque buildup and bad breath.  Yet on the weekends, if I even remember to ask if his teeth are brushed, it’s usually a lot closer to dinnertime than breakfast.

The last parenting book I read was What To Expect When You’re Expecting.  The best piece of parenting advice I ever heard didn’t come from some hoity-toity parenting book or child-rearing expert; it came from a stand-up comedian.  Louis CK, a hilarious, divorced single dad who regularly jokes about how miserable his kids make him, had something to say in one of his acts that led me to reexamine the way I view child punishment.

(sorry for the shitty quality).

As I’m writing these, I’m beginning to wonder if you are all nodding your heads in agreement, or teetering on calling CPS.

So what are your dirty little mommy secrets?

Talking Christmas With My Kids

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I really, really want my kids to have a great Christmas.  It’s practically a requirement for me, as a parent and lover of all things Christmas, to make sure every holiday season rocks their little green and red socks off. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting harder every year to keep Christmas awesome while keeping my sanity in the process.  

Today I fantasized for a quick moment about happily handing over some candy canes and hot chocolate to my kids, then engaging in a mature conversation with both of them (yes, even the two-year-old) on how to behave at Christmastime.  It went a little something like this:

Our tree exists purely for festive decoration.  There is nothing festive or decorative about a half-naked Christmas tree.  Please stop incessantly removing every ball, toy, ribbon, and bow that has been placed on the bottom half of the tree, or else next year Mommy is installing an electric fence around the entire living room.

Our vicious Christmas tree guard dog.

Our vicious Christmas tree guard dog.

The gifts that are already wrapped and placed under the tree right now are NOT for you.  Stop shaking them before you accidentally break the new wine glasses Mommy bought Grandma for Christmas.  I’d hate to have to replace them with the ones I bought for myself.  Nobody comes between me and my holiday buzz.

Santa brings your gifts on Christmas Eve, not me.  But, just so you know, Mommy and Daddy (mostly Mommy) tell Santa EXACTLY what to get you every year.  And then we pay him.  LOTS OF MONEY.  That’s right.  Mommy and Daddy give entire paychecks over to Toys ‘R’ Us, ahem, SANTA CLAUS, in exchange for him to bring everything on your wish list come Christmas Eve.  It’s a real holly jolly kind of business transaction.

That tattling little elf on the shelf is ALWAYS watching.  This means that when you feed your broccoli to the dog under the table during dinner, Mommy might not see you, but that creepy elf dude sure does.  So stop doing it before he rats you out to Santa.  Dog farts are masking the pleasant aromatics of my Christmas cookie-scented Yankee Candles.

If we end up spending over two hours in line waiting to take an overpriced picture with that credit-stealing fatass in the cheap, red suit, you had better be smiling brighter than the sun when we finally get to the front of the line.  I don’t care if you have to pee so bad you might leave a yellow stain in his lap; I don’t care if your mouth is drier than the Mojave and your sippy cup has nary a single drop of juice left; I don’t even care if you just caught a glimpse of Santa secretly grabbing an elf’s ass and now you’re mentally scarred for life.  You better just plop yourself right down on his germ-infested lap and put on the biggest shit-eating grin you can muster. You’ll deal with the rest of it in therapy later on.  We have Christmas cards to mail out, for pete’s sake.

There are children all over the world who are much less fortunate than you.  Like, starving children who own nothing but the clothes on their back and maybe a stuffed animal they once found in the gutter.  Remember these poor babies on Christmas morning when there are no gifts left to open and you even think about throwing a bratty little tantrum because Santa got you the wrong action figure or whatever.  I truly hope the six-year-old boy from Bangladesh who made that action figure kept it for himself when no one was looking.

Mommy loves playing with you.  Really, I do.  But on Christmas Eve, as well as the day or two before that, my to-do list will be at least seven miles long and I’ll have not even one minute to spare for coloring, reading, playing LEGO’s, card games, hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, couch forts, or really anything at all besides cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, baking, and running errands.   I can, however, flip on the TV show of your preference, if you’d like.  But only if it’s DVR’d or on regular TV.  I won’t have the patience to fumble around with that exhausting “On Demand” menu that day.

I know you’re Dreaming of a White Christmas, and Walking in a Winter Wonderland, and thinking about all that redundant “Let It Snow” bullshit.  But the people who wrote those snowy seasonal classics probably never had to visit several family members residing in separate boroughs of New York City in one day.  Holiday traffic is bad enough by itself; throw a blizzard in and I might as well just pull over on the side of the Belt Parking Lot, whip out a fishing pole, then catch and make dinner right there under the Verrazano Bridge using the EZ Bake oven I bought my nephew for Christmas.  So do me a favor and go tell Frosty you’ll see him in January.

Everybody loves Christmas cookies.  They’re fun to make and yummy to eat.  You can even get a little messy while making them.  But you need to understand that the key here is a LITTLE messy. The goal should not be to cover yourself in flour, from head to toe, then do the same to everyone around you (see picture below).  At least try to keep the flour within a ten-foot radius of the kitchen table.  Just try.  Do it for Santa.

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Per a new holiday tradition, I will allow you to watch A Christmas Story with Daddy on Christmas Eve, despite the fact that you’re probably a little too young for it.  But be forewarned, you are never to ask for a BB gun, lick a frozen pole, utter the “queen of all dirty words,” or ever even consider owning a giant leg-shaped lamp.  Or else you’ll be downgraded to watching A Muppet Christmas Carol by yourselves next year.  No offense, Kermit.

The reason the delivery man keeps bringing all of those boxes to the door, you ask?  Oh, it has nothing to do with online Christmas shopping at all.  I’m actually building a small village out of cardboard boxes for bears to hibernate in during the winter.  Where is it, you ask?  I can’t tell you, there are bears already living inside.  It’s much too dangerous.  Now stop asking questions and go lay under the Christmas tree to stare at your reflection in the shiny balls.  It’s fun.

Christmas day is December 25.  Putting the Christmas tree up DOES NOT magically change the date to December 25.  Today is not Christmas day.  Tomorrow is not, either.  Nor is the day after that.  You *MUST* stop asking me every fifteen minutes if it’s Christmas yet.  It is not Christmas yet.  Do you understand?  Christmas. Day. Is. Not. Here. Yet. Believe me, when December 25 rolls around, you will be WELL aware that it is Christmas.  Until then, do us both a favor and keep your ugly sweater on, alright?