I Wish My Kids Would Stop Trying to Kill Each Other

kids fightingI am willing to pay someone to get my kids to stop fighting. Cash, outright. I’ll even throw in some old jewelry and a special shout-out on my blog. Please someone, anyone, just hypnotize these little monsters into thinking they actually like each other. Any takers?

These. Kids. Never. Stop. Fighting. And I’m losing my damn mind.

Sometimes they get along. Sometimes they laugh and giggle together and chase each other happily outside, and it’s music to my ears. Like the sound of actual angels singing into a set of Bose speakers on full volume in my living room. There’s never a happier moment than when the monsters are frolicking together through the house like little bundles of smiles and joy and awesomeness and wonder.

But that’s so rare I could cry.

Most of the time they are at each other’s throats, one crying, the other screaming, some piece-of-shit toy at the forefront of the madness, ready to be forgotten five seconds after finding its way into the victor’s grasp. Because they don’t sincerely give a crap about the toy they are fighting over. Or the TV show. Or the bag of chips. Or who got to go in the car first. Or whatever is causing all hell to break loose. It’s all just a battle of wills, a reason to claim the victory over a sibling. Or maybe it’s all just a ploy to entirely strip mommy of her sanity and thus gain unlimited access to the snack cabinet.

I can’t deal with it anymore. I can’t even take a five-minute shower anymore without the shrieking sounds of “GET OFF OF IT!” and “NO I HAD IT FIRST!” piercing the bathroom door. My showers, my five minutes of peace and quiet, are no longer the sanctuary they once were.

Mealtime is a nightmare too. Why doesn’t she have to finish her broccoli? Why can’t I have the blue cup? She’s sitting to too close to me. He keeps kicking my chair…AHHHHH!!!! Mommy’s about to go eat dinner on the bathroom floor with the door locked.

Sometimes I pretend I don’t hear it. I simply say to myself “it’ll stop eventually” or “they’ll work it out themselves.” But who am I kidding? What I’m really thinking is “let those little assholes kill each other.” I then attempt to appear oblivious to the increasingly loud screaming and potential violence erupting in the next room. I quietly pray they will just leave me out of it, begging some nonexistent peacemaker to sprinkle some happy dust over the entire house. But any fool can tell I’m only delaying the inevitable. It’s usually mere seconds before I find myself tangled up in their angry clash, screaming loudest of all, tossing kids in timeout chairs and taking away tablets and TV privileges.

You would think the threat of losing their precious YouTube would be enough to keep them at peace with each other at least once in a while…

Maybe I deserve this. My brother and I did some pretty intense fighting when we were kids. One time I turned on the blow dryer and put it down his shirt and held it there until he was screaming in pain. I know, I know, that’s bad. But he knocked out my front tooth with an actual hockey puck once. So I’d say our psychotic sibling rivalry was warranted on both ends. (Side note: Mom, Dad, sorry…?)

And now the powers that be have decided I should have a little taste of my own medicine, I suppose. They’re shoving a metaphorical blow dryer down my shirt, turning it on the highest setting, and burning away my sanity. One petty little argument at a time.

An Open Letter to Netflix

netflixMy Dearest Netflix,

First I want to say thank you for seeing me through the many highly productive, wine-fueled television marathons I’ve come to cherish over the past few years. Thanks for catching me up on The Walking Dead when the rest of the world wouldn’t shut up about it. Thanks for introducing me to underappreciated gems like The United States of Tara and Raising Hope. Thanks for being my patch when I was weaning off The Office but couldn’t get Jim and Pam off the brain. Thanks for the parental control options that give me a reason to feel slightly less crappy about the kids binge-watching on their tablets while I get work done. Thanks for filling many a late-night hour with old rom-coms I’d almost forgotten and new ones I won’t publicly admit I’ve watched.

Basically, Netflix, you’re awesome.

You were awesome long before August 4, 2015. But a few days ago, when you announced that you’d be allowing your employees up to a year of unlimited maternity and paternity leave, you brought “awesome” to an unsurpassable level of fucking fantastic-ness.

A year of maternity and paternity leave. A year! Unheard of.

For me, this is a majorly sensitive subject. When I got pregnant with my son unexpectedly at the tender age of 25, just months after getting my first huge promotion, I promptly learned I was ineligible for paid maternity leave from the MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION where I worked simply because I hadn’t signed up for short-term disability (because a baby is totally a disability, right?). My story gets uglier, but I won’t get into it. Let’s just say I don’t work there anymore.

My story aside, I’m writing today to simply say a heartfelt thank you, Netflix. And I think I speak for moms and dads everywhere in my praise….

Thank you from the mom who is forced to leave her child in the care of another, merely weeks after giving birth, because she can’t afford not to work.

Thank you from the moms who can’t afford to go back to work at all because child care is so damn expensive.

Thank you from the exhausted parent who often stumbles blearily into work on two hours of sleep after being up all night with a crying infant.

Thank you from the parent who is tired of missing milestone after milestone.

Thank you from the parent who wears guilt everyday like a pair of tired mom jeans.

Thank you from the parent who spends too many extra hours just commuting to work, wasting away precious time that should be spent with family.

Thank you from the parents who have opposite schedules, causing stress on their marriage because they never see each other.

Thank you from the mom who contemplates quitting every morning as she leaves for work.

Thank you from the parent who fights the urge to wake her sleeping children when she comes home at night, just to spend some time together.

Thank you from the mom who wonders how the bills will get paid if she is fired for taking yet another day off to care for her child.

You see, Netflix, although you can’t employ every parent in the nation, we thank you for leading by example. We thank you for setting a precedent, one that should have been in place for decades. We thank you for doing the one thing that other countries around the world already see as a no-brainer.

We thank you for proving what most other companies don’t have the balls, the decency, and the common sense to admit: there is NOTHING more important than family.

Signed,
One Grateful Mama

Eight Truths About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

Doctors and parenting magazines alike will have you believe breastfeeding is a one way ticket to eternal health for your children. And maybe it is, I’m not a doctor. But like anything in parenting, it’s not exactly heaven on earth.

I breastfed my son for six weeks and my daughter for 13 months (exclusively), so I feel I have some input on the subject and I’d like to share my thoughts. I promise not to sound like some pro-breastfeeding advertisement, like so many articles I’ve read touting the whole “breast is best” thing. There are pros and there are cons, like everything in the world. Take it or leave it.

1. Yes, it does hurt at first. The Breastfeeding Police don’t want you to know that– they want you to think your kid isn’t latching on correctly or that you’re doing something else wrong to cause the pain. But that’s bullcrap. Your milk ducts get clogged and swollen, your boobs fill up with more milk than Sunnydale Farms, and your nipples get so chapped from the constant moisture that you could slather on 80 pounds of nipple cream and still it won’t help. What will help? A little time. You just have to wait that part out. Eventually you find your groove and it’s all gravy from there. Well at least until they start teething (yes, seriously).

2. It really does promote bonding. Like serious amounts of bonding. I guess they sort of look at you like you’re a giant walking ice cream sundae. They can’t get enough. My daughter, now three years old, still looks at me like I’m dessert. And she hasn’t nursed in two years. She is decidedly more attached to me than she is to my husband — like really, really, really attached to me — and it’s been that way since day one. I am no scientist, so I can’t say with certainty that it’s a direct result of the breastfeeding. But it sure as heck feels that way. Like in my heart and stuff.

3. Sometimes, you just can’t do it. And that’s totally okay. I breastfed my son for only six weeks, and I will tell you why. He was HUNGRY. So, so, so damn hungry. Your body is supposed to like miraculously make just as much milk as your baby needs. But my son wanted to eat every freaking half hour. It was insane how hungry he was. When I finally gave in and gave him a bottle, he gobbled it up like I’d been starving him for weeks. And maybe I had been. They say it’s “rare” that a woman is unable to provide enough milk for her child, but I think that’s phooey. Here’s why: stress causes a decline in your milk production. Stress! What new mom isn’t stressed out? So I say go with your gut. And don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.

4. It’s okay to go public. I didn’t, and it’s a big regret. My daughter used to pull my nursing cover down when I was nursing her (yea, that’s another thing that happens when their motor skills kick in). At the time, the mere thought of anyone catching a glimpse of a little exposed nipple by accident was terrifying to me. I used to think moms who would breastfeed openly were totally nuts. But I was wrong. You know what’s nuts? Cowering in a dirty public bathroom stall to feed your hungry kid. Which is something I’ve done countless times, despite how gross it is. Now I think that’s nuts, and it’s no way to live. I’m not saying you should walk around the mall topless or anything, but feel free to do what’s comfortable and don’t worry what others might think. Just let them stare; it’ll probably be the highlight of their worthless day.

5. Sex? No thanks! I’m pretty sure this is a biological thing, but your sex drive is severely diminished when you’re nursing. Tell hubby to purchase some good hand lotion, because that’s all he’s getting for a while. If he complains, tell him to quit his bitching. When you stop nursing it comes back times a thousand. You’ll be on baby #2 before you know it.

6. You’re hungry. All. The. Time. It’s like your pregnancy never ended. Actually, it’s worse. Because when you were “eating for two” before, one of you weighed less than a cantaloupe. But the good news is that you’re somehow magically burning calories while you breastfeed, so you can skip the gym and have another burrito.

7. The breast pump is the creepiest-looking contraption ever invented. You’re literally being milked, Bessie. It looks weird, it feels weird, and it’s a tremendous pain in the ass. The only thing worse than all that pumping is the prospect of it going to waste. Whoever coined the phrase “stop crying over spilled milk” never spilled eight ounces of that freshly-pumped liquid gold. Hell hath no fury like a nursing mom whose milk has gone to waste. Dads, take note and be VERY CAREFUL when handling those precious bottles. Your life may be on the line.

8. The Breastfeeding Police won’t like this, but I’m telling it like it is: I see virtually no difference in the health of my exclusively breastfed child and my non-breastfed child. If anything, it kind of feels like the one who breastfed gets sick even more than the other one. It’s just an observation I’ve made, one that shouldn’t sway anyone’s decision to nurse in either direction. I just kind of hoped I’d find myself in that germy pediatrician’s office a lot less with the breastfed child, and it hasn’t worked out that way. Maybe my supposedly magical breast milk is just no match for those slimy monkey bars at the park or the snot-covered play doh at preschool.

breastfeeding

Peeing & Parenting

pottyThere are two types of things no one warns you about before you become a parent:

~ stuff that can’t be described because you need to just experience it for yourself
~ stuff that’s just too gross to discuss with others.

Today’s topic falls into the latter category. I’m talking about pee, and the long, complicated relationship parents inevitably develop with it over the course of raising their children.

Because…there’s just….so much of it.

I’m not sure if maybe it’s just my kids or what, but for me parenthood has basically turned into one long golden shower since literally the week my first child was born.

He peed in his own eye, in case you’re wondering. A steady stream of newborn urine from his tiny, newborn weenie directly into his tiny, newborn eye.

This post comes on the heels of a rather harrowing experience, in which I had to beg a Duane Reade employee to let my son (who was peepee dancing up and down the feminine hygiene aisle) to use their locked employee bathroom—only for him to end up making it all the way to the foot of the bowl before simply giving up. Right down the front of his light-colored jeans. Here’s how that went down:

Me: Just hold it in for one more second
Him: I can’t! I’m peeing already! Mommy! Pull down my pants, I can’t open my jeans!
Me: No! Don’t pee! Hold it a half second more! (fumbling with his fly zipper)
Him: But it’s too late, mommy!
Me: (Finally getting the pants down, which is when all hell broke loose) Aim at the toilet! THE TOILET!! YOU’RE PEEING ON ME! STOP PEEING AND AIM FOR THE DAMN BOWL! (To my daughter) STAND BACK, YOU’RE GONNA GET PEED ON!

By the time he was done, there was pee on all of the following:

~ the wall
~ the floor
~ the sink
~ his pants
~ my shirt
~ my pants
~ my daughter’s shoes
~ everywhere but inside the toilet bowl

Not a full hour prior to this incident, by the way, I was squatting on the bathroom floor of the pediatrician’s office, holding a urine sample cup under my three-year-old daughter’s hoo-ha, our eyes interlocked, as we both waited desperately for at least one or two drops to hit the bottom of the plastic cup. It never did.

And for the hat trick that day: fast forward several hours and she ends up peeing on me in her sleep while I was changing her overnight diaper. Not wanting to disturb her sleep, I changed her clothes, slid four towels under her and figured she would be fine for the remainder of the night. Woke up later to find her using the towels as blankets.

In the early years of raising children, it seems that every single outing involves a potty incident of some sort. Loaded diapers leaking onto clothes; frenzied trips to find public bathrooms; wet mattresses, car seats, play pens, couches, rugs, etc.; and, of course, the sheer torture associated with everything potty training: it’s all just a typical day in the life of pee-covered parents of young kids.

Fun fact: once, in the early stages of my daughter’s potty training, I found her on the floor of the bathroom after she had clearly missed making it to the bowl, and she was finger painting in her own urine.

Being a parent to one toddler and one longtime bed-wetter, I have washed countless urine-covered kids’ bedsheets by now.  I’ve witnessed the faces of all four Ninja Turtles covered in pee, I’ve seen a urine-soaked Mario and Luigi, a yellow-tinted Elsa, Anna, and Olaf, and, of course, all the weirdos in Gabba Land have swam in the piss of my children. If you have ever been to my house, there’s a pretty good chance you sat in a spot that’s been peed on at some point. Sorry.

Quite frankly, I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t think I can wash another set of sheets that will inevitably be soaked less than 48 hours later. There’s only so much of that disgusting smell one human being can take. Is this even really normal? Why wasn’t I warned about the pee? WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THE PEE????????

My son is almost seven and my daughter will be four at the end of this year; so I’m realllllllly hoping to finally see the end of the peepee era for my family soon. As always, I’ll be sure to let you know (in graphic detail) how that goes.

Mom Guilt: The Working Parent Edition

work mom delilah

Want to hear something ironic? I work for a parenting magazine, and a huge part of my job is finding fun stuff for people to do with their kids and sharing the stuff I find with the community. But I spend so much time looking for fun stuff other people can do with their kids that it takes a load of time away from me doing fun stuff with MY own kids.

First, let me say this: I love my job. Let me repeat (and not just because my boss may or may not browse through my blogs from time to time), I LOVE my job. I can’t say I’ve ever had a job that I love, doing something that I truly enjoy, and feeling like I am making valuable contributions to society using the skills and creativity that I have always known I possessed. As much fun as it was slinging pastrami sandwiches at a kosher deli in Brooklyn for eight years, it wasn’t exactly my calling.

But this job? This is as close to “my calling” as I’ve ever been. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with quite a bit of stress and pressure, but what job doesn’t? At least, what CAREER doesn’t?

I did the Stay at Home Mom thing for a very long time, and it certainly had its ups and downs. Now that I’m working, I never realized just how much of myself I was available to give to my children when I was literally always available for them. We could pick up and go whenever we wanted. There were no schedules to coordinate, no deadlines looming, no emails to answer first. If we wanted to go to the park, we went. If we were low on groceries, to the supermarket we’d go. If they wanted to watch all three Toy Story Movies in a row, I knew we would just play together later. We were together all the time and they loved it.

And I…liked….it. Kind of. Well, as any Stay at Home Mom will tell you, being around your kids 24/7 can be draining. There are no breaks, no real help from anyone else. It’s on YOU to keep those kids happy around the clock. It’s tough stuff. So when the opportunity arose for me to take a job where I could keep a flexible schedule and often work from home, well, mentally and financially speaking, turning it down was never an option.

So while I’m very familiar with the Stay at Home Mom depression, I’m new to the whole Working Mom guilt. And, boy, is it something else entirely. When I tell people I can work from home, I think they envision this utopian ideal wherein I’m simultaneously baking cookies, overseeing fun craft projects, and emailing my boss all in perfect unison. How lucky I must be, to be able to accomplish so many tasks at once!

Well, in fact, I DO accomplish all of these things at once, but perfection it is NOT.

Allow me to set the scene for you.

It’s 3:30pm on any given weekday. My son is working on his math homework, that hellish Go Math common core homework book open in front of him. He’s crying a little because he doesn’t understand how to solve 15-7 by “making a ten” first. Quite frankly, neither do I, and I’m about to cry along with him. At the same moment, my three-year-old daughter is climbing on my back, shoving her Princess Sofia floor puzzle in my face and begging me to help her finish it. I glance over at the clock and see that if I don’t start dinner soon, I’ll have hunger meltdowns thrown into the mix. So I get up and head to the fridge to start cooking.

I wash and chop and slice and prep while my son reads his “book buddy” to me, hoping he’s actually reading what it says and not just making up random things to avoid using his brain. My daughter lingers dangerously over the cutting board, narrowly missing my razor-sharp knife with her tiny fingers as she tries to reorganize the veggies in a futile attempt to “help” me cook. I stop for a quick minute to check my work email, remembering something important I’d forgotten to do earlier. I see that I have 15 new emails and realize that the thing I forgot to do has spiraled into into an entirely new problem, and I absentmindedly spend another 20 “quick minutes” attempting to rectify it.

Suddenly I hear the sizzle of hot liquid hitting the stove and I realize my potatoes are boiling over, which is my reminder to check the oven and find that I’ve overcooked the crap out of the chicken. I look up and find Princess Sofia puzzle pieces and sliced vegetables strewn about the living room— my daughter’s passive aggressive way of displaying her resentment for my ignoring her. My son hands me his homework to check and I try to explain that “We bilted a snwmn” is spelled incorrectly, which immediately prompts a tantrum because, according to him, it IS spelled correctly and I’m the MEANEST MOM EVER and he just wants to go play video games but I WON’T LET HIM and his homework is DONE…..

And then my night-shift-working husband emerges from hibernation, bitching about us all making too much noise and waking him up, and wanting to know why the house smells like burnt chicken.

Fast forward a few hours; dinner is done, baths are done, husband’s off to work, kids are tucked in bed. And me? I’m on the couch, laptop open, typing away—finally able to get some work done.

The sad part is that I actually AM lucky to be able to do this with my family because I’m home from work in time to make dinner and oversee homework. Some working parents don’t get home until well after the kids are sleeping. And as insane as the afternoons with my family are, it’s a whole other type of insanity when you don’t even get to see your kids during the day at all.

The part I hate is when my daughter looks at me with her heart-meltingly innocent baby blue eyes and asks me “mommy can you play with me?” and I have to say no because I have work to do. Or when my son’s school sends home a note about yet ANOTHER school fair and I try to move heaven and earth to make it there, every single time, because I never want to let him down.  Or when I’m up very late, typing away into the wee hours of the night, and it causes me to wake up like Oscar the Grouch, ready to bite the head off of anyone who dares to ask me for plain Cheerios after I’ve already poured milk on an entire bowl of the honey-nut ones.

Sometimes I worry that my kids’ happiest childhood memories will be overshadowed by mental images of Mommy hiding behind a computer screen.

I love that I love my job. I don’t know how many people can say that and mean it, but I love having a job I enjoy, a job I’m proud to do. And financially speaking, I REALLY love that I can finally start putting some money away to someday, somehow, possibly, hopefully, maybe be able to afford my family’s first real home. Or our first trip to Disney. Or maybe even start up a college fund (well, after I’m done paying for my own college loans).

As stressed as I feel most of the time, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I’m sacrificing a lot, I know. But I do believe that in the end, it’s worth it.

I just wish it wouldn’t feel like my kids are the ones making the biggest sacrifice. Hopefully someday they’ll understand why.

Winter: 10 Things I Hate About You

sled (2)I used to really like the winter. At least, I felt like enjoying winter was a requirement of anyone who despises the summer. Like you can hate one, but not the other. Otherwise, you’re just a complainer.

Well, screw that. I AM a complainer. I own it. If I want to hate the summer, I’m gonna hate the summer. If I want to loathe winter, I’ll do that too. Hell, if I want to go outside one day in the middle of May and trample on a bunch of spring flowers, or maybe smash some giant pumpkins in the street sometime in October, I’ll do that as well. Screw the seasons. All four of them. Yea, I said it.

But since it’s winter, and most people hate the shit out of winter, I figured I’d dedicate a blog post to it and maybe give the people what they want. Plus, the Super Bowl is on right now and I need something productive to keep me busy in between the commercial breaks, and blogging about the weather seems productive enough.

Dear Winter. You suck. Here is why:

1. I always spend more time dressing my kids in snowsuits, coats, hats, gloves, boots, scarves, two layers of pants, three pairs of socks, and two shirts with an extra sweatshirt than they spend actually playing in the snow. Like, wayyyy longer. And it just doesn’t seem fair.
2. Not every type of snow yields decent results when building a snowman. The light, powdery, fluffy stuff is impossible to roll into a ball. But the kids don’t understand that and want to know why we’re building a “snow lump” instead.
3. Have you ever dragged children around on a sled, cross-country style, in the freezing cold? Maybe it’s fun for some people, but an Olympic athlete I am not. I’m usually huffing and puffing worse than an 85-year-old chain smoker by the end of my block, meanwhile my kids are begging me to “pull faster!”
4. There is no graceful way to slip on ice. There’s a painful way, a mortifying way, and an ass-bruising way, but no graceful way. Except maybe if you’re Kate Upton.
5. Shoveling. Because potentially throwing your back out and/or risking potential cardiac arrest beats the dangers of an icy walkway. Right? Right??
6. No one wins with board games. NO ONE. Young kids holding tiny game pieces + everyone being forced to take turns + someone having to lose eventually = mommy chugging wine before noon.
7. This might be mostly an NYC thing, but getting a parking spot is a pain in the ass enough on its own, without having to worry about needing four-wheel drive to be able to pull out of it.
8. After Christmas, wintertime holidays are nothing special. I mean, they’re great excuses to get a day off, but I work from home on those holidays anyway. And don’t get me started on the most pointless holiday in the whole damn calendar: Valentine’s Day.
9. There is no deeper hell on earth than a nasty mid-winter stomach virus sweeping violently through your home, complete with green-tinted children and vomit-covered couch cushions. And of course, the promise that you’re up next!
10. I’m not a fan of facial pain. That’s right, facial pain. You know, the kind of pain you feel when it’s so fucking horribly cold outside that it literally makes your FACE HURT? Well, I don’t enjoy that.

For argument’s sake, the winter does have its moments. You can drop off and pick up your children from school without a bra on and no one will ever know. Trips to the park are entirely off limits. The sun sets about ten seconds after it rises, so you can put your kids to bed as early as you want. The phony conversations you have when you run into acquaintances are cut short because everyone is freezing their asses off. That being said, I’m still looking forward to the end of this winter. I doubt I’m alone in that.

Ten Ways to Combat Stress (Or However Many I Can Come Up With)

stress

See stress-reliever #9 for details.

I’m just going to preface this post by saying I have no business, at all, whatsoever, telling people how to combat stress, since I could probably be the poster child for how NOT to deal with it. I think I might be more stressed out lately than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Want proof? Go check the date on my last blog post. I still had Halloween decorations up (and not the kind of Halloween decorations that are hiding behind the Christmas tree). Blogging is one of my favorite things on earth. But ain’t nobody got time for that these days, you know?

Anyway, I guess I’m kind of just mentally searching for ways to, well, calm the fuck down. Ease up. Relax. Stop feeling like the walls around me are closing in. And if I actually manage to come up with some decent stuff, I want to share it with you. Just in case you are as stressed out and mentally imbalanced as I am to think anything I say actually works. So good luck to us both.

I’m going to list as many “stress relievers,” as I can, with my ultimate goal being ten. If I make it there, awesome. If not, well, at least it was a quick read.

Oh, and please don’t expect those boring, traditional de-stressing techniques from me. At no point would I ever suggest you light candles, take a bath, take deep breaths, listen to Enya, or write your feelings down in some type of journal. Unless your feelings involve a lot of cursing.

1. Keep watching your favorite TV shows. You don’t have time for TV? Make time. I make a ton of time for TV. You know why? For the exact reason that people say you shouldn’t watch it. Because it’s completely mindless! That means I don’t have to think about anything that really matters while my shows are on. I’m free to wonder who the new crazy bitch on the Bachelor will be, or why they can’t just let Darryl and Carol do it already on the Walking Dead, or what the hell Penny was thinking when she cut off all her hair on Big Bang Theory. You know, the kind of stuff that doesn’t matter in real life AT ALL. It’s the perfect way to zone out of your own real life problems.

2. Make your husband fix all broken household appliances. Or do it yourself. Or hire a fucking handyman. Whatever it takes just get it done. Non-functional crap around the house doesn’t directly cause stress by itself, but it often serves as the straw that broke the camel’s back. My dishwasher recently broke, and it stayed that way for two months. Two fantastic months of handwashing thousands of dishes and sippy cups and plastic takeout containers Tupperware. Because after working all day and cooking and cleaning and and doing laundry all night, I TOTALLY had an extra hour to spare for hand-washing dishes, like, 1955 style. I guess l’ll sleep when I’m dead, right? And now that the dishwasher is finally fixed, the toilet in our only bathroom took a nosedive. I need a basin and a gallon of water to flush it manually every single time, and plunging is my new workout routine. I can’t even talk about it without wanting to literally dropkick my husband the person who broke it in the first place.

3. Cut out the people who suck. This makes me sound like I’m one of those people moaning and groaning on every social media site in the world that they can’t trust anyone, and their heart is delicate but they’ll protect it with the fire of a thousand suns, and yada yada blah blah blah. But really, those are the people you should delete on Facebook and in real life too. I’ve come to realize that if you want to vomit every time you think of a certain person’s face, you probably shouldn’t be friends with that person. Not on the internet and certainly not in real life. So move on.

4. Have a glass of wine or two or ten. This is self-explanatory. Just don’t do it alone if you’re the crying type. And if you do it alone, I recommend having Youtube and a list of awesome 90’s music or movies nearby. Good times.

5. Make some new friends. Not that I have any fucking idea how to do this. But it seems like it might help, if you can figure out where to find some people who are as awesome and cool as you are.

6. Buy stuff for yourself sometimes. Last night I was on Amazon ordering some stuff that my kids need, and I hesitantly added a hat to the cart that I wanted for myself. I proceeded to checkout, reviewed my order, then stared blankly at the screen for ten minutes in a silent self-debate over whether I really needed to spend $19 on a hat. And then I deleted it from my shopping cart. But then this morning, my ears were really cold and I was all like WTF? I should have bought myself the damn hat. So don’t be like me. Keep your ears warm. Buy the damn hat.

7. Plan a night out, but don’t expect it to make you feel any better. Going out is fun. I haven’t really done much of it ever since the time I got drunk and fell and broke all my teeth (true story), but it’s definitely still fun to do once in a while. However, do not expect one night out to cure any kind of stress you are feeling. You will probably just drink too much and end up without teeth very hungover, causing you to fall a day behind with the endless crap on your to-do list. Even if you aren’t a big drinker, just know that one “much needed” night out, though fun, will not leave you feeling refreshed and stress-free. It’s just a night out. Don’t get your hopes up. But definitely still go.

8. Clean something. I know it doesn’t sound very fun, but I find that cleaning gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and also leaves surfaces in my home shiny and stuff. I fucking loathe doing it, but after a full day of scrubbing, mopping, and organizing, I usually feel amazing. Well, at least I feel amazing until my little bulls-in-a-china-shop children come stampeding in and wreck the place. But until that  happens, I like to sit back and enjoy the stress-free feel of a sparkling clean home.

9. Have your cake and eat it too. I hate that saying. What the hell else would you do with it?? Stare at the damn thing? Anyway, nonsensical idioms aside, you should eat cake. It’s delicious. Obviously, it won’t help with your diet woes, but like I said, IT’S DELICIOUS.

(I seem to be grasping at straws here. But I will think of a #10. I promise).

10. I give up. Now the stress of finishing this blog has ended for me, so at least one of us is less stressed out, right?