I Can’t Tell You If You’ve Found “The One”, But Neither Can Anyone Else

I don’t know about you, but I am getting very sick of these obnoxious articles popping up all over the internet which list a thousand bullshit ways to know if you’re with the “right” one. They’re all “communication” this and “respect” that, with their condescending listicles that make newlyweds feel all smug and amazing but leave the rest of us wondering where the hell we went wrong.

It drives me crazy. I’m no relationship expert, (seriously, not at all), but I do know that if your husband of fifteen years doesn’t declare you the most beautiful lady in all the land every single time he looks at you, it’s not exactly a reason to go filing for divorce.

I think that people need to understand that marriage is hard. There is no foolproof checklist or “list of fifteen things” that will quickly determine whether or not you married “the one.” There are over seven billion fish in the sea (actual world population), so who the hell knows if the right one swam up to you and put a ring on your FINger (haha, get it?).

Your husband probably won’t support every decision you make, even the big ones. He isn’t likely to make you feel sexy when you’re bumming around in stained sweatpants and fuzzy slippers. He surely won’t always be honest with you about everything. He might not help around the house enough (or at all). Perhaps he rarely shows his appreciation for all you do, not even with a simple “thank you” once in a while. He probably doesn’t plan date night very often (or ever) and maybe his definition of romance is never leaving the toilet seat up. He’ll sometimes get you really shitty gifts on birthdays and holidays, or none at all. It’s very possible that he’d rather be watching football or playing video games or taking a nap on the couch than partaking in family outings on his days off.

You’re not always going to finish each other’s sentences, or constantly be making each other laugh, or having deep conversations over glasses of wine every night. Hell, you may not even see each other for more than a few minutes a day.

There will be times when you’re madly in love with each other, and times when you’re literally miserable being in the same room together. Times when you look at him and somehow simultaneously love and hate his stupid face at the same time. He probably has similarly mixed emotions about  your stupid face.

But you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. I really think it’s normal, this imperfect, undefined version of marriage. So this isn’t the part where I list all the crap he does do or should be doing to make up for all the shitty stuff. In real life, every relationship is different. What doesn’t work for you might might be working just fine  for someone else, and vice versa. Nothing is ever set in stone, so stop pretending that it should be. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can breathe a nice big sigh of relief that you and your darling aren’t headed straight for Splitsville simply because the fucking internet told you so.

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Why Having “Only” One Kid Is Harder Than It Seems

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Recently a very sweet reader commented to me that she only has one kid, but can still really enjoy all the stuff I write about on my blog. ONLY one kid, she said.

My kids are about three years apart, so I had “only” one kid for a while myself, and let me tell you, having one kid is not necessarily easier than having two. It’s probably not even much easier than having a whole litter of ‘em, actually.

Now that I have two kids, a nice chunk of my day is admittedly spent prying my children off of one another, mediating arguments prompted by such pressing matters as whether it’s time to watch Princess Sofia or Scooby Doo and who gets to eat the last package of fruit snacks. But I have to say, in between those annoying moments of fighting, my home is constantly filled with the joyful sounds of children playing together. Frequent fits of giggles and shrieks of laughter, freckled by mischievous moments of quiet scheming, then followed by even more explosive laughter– these are the sweet, sweet sounds of siblings getting along. And to me, they’re some of the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear.

I think that if you could bottle the blissful sound of children’s laughter, it might just cure every illness under the sun.

Just to clarify, I’m not implying that having one child will leave you with a dull, laughter-less home. Not at all. Every kid is hilarious in his or her own little way. But we do tip the laughter scale around here a lot more than we used to before my daughter came along.

Particularly for a new parent, caring for “only” one child can be one of the loneliest feelings in the world.  In fact, I was extremely depressed for most of the three years I spent as a mother of one child. The door would close in the morning as my husband headed off to work, and the seemingly endless hours of loneliness would begin. I’d look down at my little guy, and he’d look up at me, his eyes as big as his expectations for the day, and I knew that keeping him content for those long hours was all on me.

It’s a pretty big job, and not an easy one.

Fact: there is really only so much coloring, finger-painting, and shape-sorting you can do before you start to lose your ever-loving mind.

Some moms like to fill their toddler’s schedules with exciting play dates and Gymboree classes. And that’s great. But what about parents who, like I was, are new to their neighborhood and don’t have a ton of mommy friends with whom to set up playdates? And the Gymboree classes? Um, have you seen the pricetag on these freaking classes? I can roll a big ball around and sing The Wheels on the Bus to my kid at home for free, thankyouverymuch.

Another problem I had when my son was an only child was the sharing thing. At home, all of his precious toys were his and his alone. Without the frequent wails of “but it’s MY turn!” from a jealous sibling, sharing was a foreign concept to my little guy. So you can imagine that play dates were a BLAST back then. I’ve always found it an awkward situation when your kid has engaged in a knock-down, drag-out, tug-of-war match with another kid over some shitty toy, and the parents need to step in and encourage the angry toddlers to “take turns” with said shitty toy. Either no one listens and the match rages on until the toy is removed and both children are sulking, or the other kid hands it over and your kid ends up looking like the jerk. Nope, my kid was never the one to hand it over. Not back then, anyway.

So moms of “only” one child, do yourselves a favor and give a little (or a LOT) of credit where it’s due. Raising kids is tricky business, no matter how many you have.  Every type of parenting comes with its own set of challenges- one kid, two kids, ten kids, twins, triplets, whatever.  The bottom line is that you are raising a living, breathing, human being who is depending on YOU to keep him or her thriving and well, 24/7. It’s a big damn responsibility. And I think that, even for those parents raising a whole boatload of kids, we’re all just figuring out this parenting thing as we go.

Although for the record, I do NOT want a whole boatload of kids.

15 Things That Happen When Your Child is Obsessed With Dinosaurs

If you have a kid who’s really into dinosaurs, you know that just saying they “like” them is not merely enough. My son, for example, was completely and totally obsessed with dinosaurs for at least three years of his life. I think it started the very moment he laid his tiny toddler eyes on his very first T-Rex. It must have been love at first sight. And from then on, it was all he would ever talk about and think about. We had all the books, toys, stuffed animals, movies, TV shows, clothes, EVERYTHING. It was just dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs for his entire toddlerhood and beyond.

Now that he’s a big boy of six whole years, he’s moved on quite a bit. Video game characters seem to be all the rage these days, but I know his prehistoric pals will always have a special place in his heart. And, holy crap,  I can’t even believe what I’m about to say, but I actually kind of miss those dinosaur days. He drove me a little insane sometimes with the whole obsession, but looking back, it was pretty damn adorable.

If your little T-Rex head is, or was, anything like mine used to be, then you’ll relate to most (if not all) of these things:

  1. You’ve learned that there is no such thing as a brontosaurus, and apparently there never was. Yup, your science teacher was dead wrong. Nowadays it’s all about the brachiosaurus.
  2. You notice that Dino Dan is clearly on some very powerful hallucinogens, but we’re supposed to just accept it and watch the show anyway, no questions asked
  3. Your visit to the Museum of Natural History starts on the fourth floor, where all the cool dinosaur bones are. Don’t kid yourselves into thinking you came to see anything else (except maybe the giant blue whale- he’s pretty damn cool).
  4. You are way better at correctly pronouncing loooooong dinosaur names than you ever thought, thanks to the little lesson in phonetics under each name. At this point, there is nothing you can’t properly sound out. Micropachycephalosaurus? Epidexipteryx? Xinjiangovenator? Bring it on.
  5. You can never have too many dinosaur encyclopedias. And no, there is no limit to how many pages you’ll be asked to read every night.
  6. Shopping for kids clothes in a store with not even a single dinosaur tee shirt in sight is a complete waste of time.
  7. You will happily pay an inexcusable amount of money for any article of clothing with a really cool-looking T-Rex on it.
  8. Three years old is not at all too young to watch Jurassic Park for the first time.
  9. Barney does NOT count as a dinosaur. Never has, never will. Thank you, lord.
  10. There is no storage bin spacious enough for your child’s vast toy dinosaur collection. And every time you attempt to close the lid, there’s at least one tail sticking out somewhere preventing you from doing so. Better luck next time.
  11. People like to say it’s just a “childhood phase”, which you find hilarious. What kind of “phase” lasts at least THREE YEARS?? We prefer the term “healthy obsession”.
  12. Your child learned the difference between a carnivore and an herbivore before he knew his ABC’s.
  13. You saved money on Halloween costumes, because he (or she!) just wants to be T-Rex every year.
  14. Playing “pretend” has taken on a whole new meaning in your house; there are days that your child won’t answer to anything but “T-Rex”, and you occasionally have to explain to random strangers why your child is roaring very loudly at them for no reason.
  15. You wonder if the dinosaur obsession might continue beyond childhood, and your little one will might even someday choose a career in paleontology. And then you can’t help but think of Ross from Friends.
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So. Much. Roaring.

 

An Ode to the Dishwasher…Sort Of

I’ve picked on laundry. I’ve picked on grocery shopping. Kids clothes, playgrounds, social media, assholes, the Tooth Fairy— I’ve bitched and moaned about it all (side note: click a few of those links for some of my whiniest/funniest blogs, and don’t mind my shameless  self promotion). But for some reason, I’ve never really tackled the wretched task of doing dishes. At least not at length like these other topics. And doing dishes is one of the most loathsome daily rituals of all. I’m really not sure how it has escaped my wrath all this time.

Well, that ends today.

My dishwasher was a birthday gift from my husband three years ago. Some might find a dishwasher to be a rather unconventional gift, but I thought it was a fantastic idea. After all, all the jewelry in the world won’t reduce the spread of bacterial growth while leaving your cups and glasses with a streak-free shine.

Not that I have anything against jewelry. Because I don’t. Are you listening, Big M? Nothing at all.

Anyway, the day that the dishwasher was installed was probably one of the best days of my life. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but I assure you, it most certainly is not. Because owning a dishwasher instantly improved my quality of life.

Prior to having a dishwasher to call my very own, I had spent countless hours of my life slaving over the kitchen sink, washing dish after dirty dish, bowl after dirty bowl. So many glasses and plates and coffee mugs and UGH, the horrible never-ending silverware. An endless supply of utensils in every shape and size littered my sink every single day of my life. Not to mention how much precious time and elbow grease was wasted scrubbing away at dirty pots and pans on a regular basis.

And the baby bottles! Ugh! So many pieces! Why all the pieces, Dr. Brown’s? Avent? Playtex? Why do you hate parents? Why??

For some reason, my family produces an astonishing amount of dirty dishes every day. No amount of paper plates or plastic silverware seems to even slightly reduce the mounds of dishes from piling higher and higher with each passing hour.  The kids seem to really enjoy taking a tiny sip of water and immediately tossing their cups into the sink, and then repeating that process every half hour. I can’t believe I actually used to hand wash something like THIS every day:

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And it isn’t just about saving time, either. I’ve actually lost layers of skin on my poor little hands from all that scouring and harsh water, leaving them constantly cracked and bleeding and swollen and just totally gross.

So yea, getting the dishwasher was one of the best things that ever happened to me (my life sounds pretty exciting, huh?).

Now don’t get me wrong. Owning a dishwasher doesn’t alleviate ALL of the pain associated with doing dishes. It doesn’t load itself. It doesn’t empty itself. Sometimes it ruins shit (why do they even still make things that aren’t dishwasher safe?) It certainly doesn’t have any clown-car-like properties that enable you to easily place every single item inside before slamming the door, hitting the power button and sitting down with a nice glass of wine. Sometimes I spend more time mashing and maneuvering than if I would just whip out the old dobie pad and get the job done with my own two hands.

Sometimes I spend so much time mulling over which configuration of dishes will leave me with the least amount of leftover items to wash by hand that I forget there was ever a time when I didn’t have the luxury of that decision to make.  Which is really not cool, because it’s really important not to forget where you came from (in this case, that would be a dishwasherless home).

I do get kind of pissed at my dishwasher whenever there is an excess of tupperware hanging around my sink. I’m sure we can all admit to “accidentally” tossing some innocent pieces of tupperware in the garbage once in a while just because it’s such a pain in the ass to clean. It takes up too much precious space on the top rack of the dishwasher, has all kinds of edges and hard-to-reach spots, and always ends up with that inevitable greasy film that’s impossible to get rid of. I guess my qualms should really be more with the tupperware than the dishwasher here… so screw you, tupperware. Just screw you.

It also sucks when I’m emptying the dishwasher and come across a pair of cooking tongs harboring crusted breadcrumbs from last night’s chicken cutlets, or a rogue spinach leaf clinging to a fork, or the worst– hardened cereal bits glued to yesterday morning’s bowl of raisin bran. Like what’s the point of using a dishwasher if you have to rewash some of its contents anyway?

Still, although it doesn’t perfectly clean every dirty dish in my life, nor does it grow a pair of extendable arms that reach into the cabinets and put away the clean stuff for me (are you listening, KitchenAid??), I love my dishwasher simply as much as one can adore any inanimate object that makes life a thousand times easier.

And all that time I save on washing dishes frees me up to complete other important tasks, like helping the kids with homework, cooking healthy dinners, folding loads of laundry, and of course, pouring myself glasses of wine.

 

Random Thoughts: Am I The Only One?

Like most people in this world, I often wonder if I’m the only one who thinks a certain way or feels a certain way about, well, anything. Sometimes I do weird shit, sometimes I think weird shit, and sometimes weird shit just happens to me. But I know I’m not alone. So I’ve compiled this extremely random list for you today.

I wonder if I am the only one who…:

  • has absolutely no clue how to defog the car windows when it rains. Should it be all the way hot? All the way cold? Is there some kind of a shortcut? Why is this so difficult??
  • has no idea how to use a barbecue, with no intention of learning how to do so. My klutziness doesn’t go well with open flames and it’s terrifying.
  • drives like a total idiot when I’m following another car. What if I lose them? What if they lose me?? Why can’t we all just use our GPS like normal people and meet there???
  • doesn’t understand when people say they “forgot to eat” or “haven’t eaten all day”. How is that even possible? What and when I plan to eat next is like the default setting in my brain.
  • breaks at least one glass, plate, bowl, jar, or bottle per week. I once broke five dishes and seven bowls at one time. Read that ridiculous story here.
  • secretly loves every single song on that damn Frozen soundtrack, and sometimes puts it on without my daughter even asking. It’s time I came out about this one. Dammit, it feels good to be free.
  • still gets a big kick out of stepping on crunchy leaves in the fall. It’s freakishly satisfying.
  • prefers to park my car further away and just walk more. I’m usually a lazy person, but who the hell has time to wait around for the perfect parking spot?
  • can’t make coffee without spilling coffee grinds everywhere. Ditto for the milk if it’s from Costco (you Costco people get it).
  • deletes my Facebook app once every few months, then re-downloads it less than 24 hours later. Who knew the most passionate love/hate relationship I’d ever have in my life would be with a stupid website?
  • always has to think for a second when asked how old I am (but could never fail to quickly recite my children’s ages, birth weight, and the exact minute they were born, if asked).
  • screams “you’re welcome” at strangers who fail to say “thank you” when necessary.
  • occasionally talks out loud to no one in particular….in public.
  • finds wearing socks under a blanket to be physically impossible.Okay…pants, too.
  • feels a surge of pride every time I successfully retrieve an object using only my toes.
  • wears my watch on the “wrong” hand. With a dead battery. If only righties could be lefties two times a day like broken clocks, then all would be right with the world.
  • rarely used my double stroller after having my second child because I kept forgetting how to open it.
  • gets extremely annoyed when I turn on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel for the kids and realize it’s either 20 or 50 minutes after the hour. Why can’t they just make 30 minute episodes??
  • is grossed out by cold pizza. If it tasted better cold, they would serve it that way in the first place.
  • kinda feels bad for telemarketers. They’re just trying to do their job.
  • unfailingly ends up with the most spastic cart at the supermarket. And it gets more squeaky, more wobbly, and more spastic with every item placed inside.
  • unfailingly ends up in the slowest checkout line at the supermarket. Often behind the type of person who pays for groceries with their checkbook.
  • didn’t learn how to “close out” an app on my iPhone until about two years after purchasing it.
  • quickly changes the channel the second I hear Sarah McLaughlin’s voice. (I’m definitely not alone there, right? Those commercials are the WORST).
  • saves certain outfits or articles of clothing for “special occasions,” and then never ends up wearing them at all. Where the hell do I ever go??
  • thinks window shopping should  mean buying windows instead of buying nothing.
  • occasionally talks on the phone in the bathroom. They can’t really SEE you, you know

I could probably go on all day, but that’s all the time I have for rambling right now.  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what’s on your list!