You’re Stronger Than You Think

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“Mommy I’m scared. I can’t breathe.”

You never want to hear your child say that to you. And when my four-year-old daughter recently said it to me one night around 2am when her cough went from 0-60 out of nowhere, I didn’t waste a second getting her to the emergency room.

This isn’t going to be the kind of thing where I pat myself on the back for getting my kid the medical attention she needed one scary night just in the nick of time. It’s a fairly basic requirement to keep your kid alive and I did what any normal parent would do in the situation. In fact, I spent the following seven hours pacing nervously around her hospital room, mentally berating myself for all the things I may have done wrong that, in my frazzled state, I thought may have landed her in that room in the first place.

You see, I’m THAT mom. The one who thinks the worst, all the time. The one who worries, who panics, who overthinks and overreacts. I know, I know. We’re parents, we all do that. But when the shit hits the fan, I retreat back into my shell like a terrified turtle — frozen, shaking, crying, feeling sick to my stomach and envisioning every worst-case scenario on earth.

Maybe this is you too. Maybe you’re a worrier, a crier, a freaker-outer like me. Maybe not by nature, but when it comes to your kids at least. Maybe you also often wonder how quickly your legs would turn to jello and your lunch would come back up if your world were to suddenly fall apart at the seams. If so, maybe now I can offer you some hope.

I drove as fast as the gas pedal would allow, flying past red light after red light, one eye glued to the road and the other to my daughter strapped into her car seat behind me. Finally at the ER, we sat for a minute and waited for a nurse while my baby cried and clung to my shoulders, calling out for me in between her tiny gasps for air. I could feel my body trembling from the inside, felt the desperate sobs gathering at back of my throat and the tears welling forcefully under my eyelids. I felt myself breaking down.

This is the moment you are not prepared for as a parent, should you ever find yourself in this situation. This is something you will not learn to handle in a parenting class or a self-help book. This is that make-or-break moment when you are faced with a choice. You can choose to fall apart in this moment, let your anxiety win, let the terror wash over you and just lose your mind completely. 

Or this is the moment you quickly realize there is no choice to be made, and that there never really was. And I promise you, you won’t fall apart. No, instead you will be hypnotized by the adrenaline. Your mommy autopilot will kick in. You’ll push that terror so far back inside that you may never see it again. You’ll put on the bravest face you can muster for your child and you WILL power through it. You got this, mama. 

So in perhaps the strongest moment of my entire life, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and shook it all off. I held my little girl in my arms as tightly as I could and I swore to her that she was going to be absolutely, positively fine. Inwardly, I made the same promise to myself.

If you’re the type who is normally good under pressure, this probably isn’t as big of a deal to you as it seems to me. But in that moment, I will never forget the way I looked fear dead in the face and told it to fuck off. For just a little while, for my sweet, scared baby girl, I was her superhero. I didn’t recognize myself, overcome by this sudden strength I never knew I was capable of. I’m grateful for it, and I sleep a little better now knowing I had that cape all along, tucked away and waiting for the day I’d need to put it on. I really hope I never need it again, but if I do at least I know it’s there.

In case you’re wondering, my daughter is perfectly fine now. I may have kept her calm, but her amazing nurses and doctors kept her alive. I can’t thank them enough.

The Ten Super Moms I’ll Never Be (No Matter How Hard I Try)

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I’m just jumping right in today, as the title basically speaks for itself. Here we go!

  1. Super Healthy Mom – Her kids don’t have a clue what the hell gluten is, but they are terrified of it. She thinks Ronald McDonald is the spawn of Satan, and she’d rather die than be seen holding a Happy Meal. While her grocery bill is quadruple the size of a standard grocery tab, the three-acre, fully organic garden growing in her backyard keeps her away from the wicked, non-locally grown produce items desecrating the aisles of the nearby supermarket. Oh, and GMO’s are sure to be the cause of earth’s apocalypse. She told me so.
  2. Super Workout Mom – We all remember this chick, right? That horrid “what’s your excuse” woman? Shhh, I know, I know. I want to punch her in the face too. Thankfully, not all the Super Workout Moms are as bitchy as she is, but they do all seem to share a knack for making the rest of us feel like giant walking blobs of shit. Somehow, her post-pregnancy body is even better than her pre-pregnancy one. But it makes sense, since she’s a busy one: she lifts 100-pound CrossFit weights with just one pinky finger all weekend long, and she’s training for a 26-mile marathon every other day of the week. She’s got at least twenty pairs of those Lululemon yoga pants, which is good because she doesn’t ever take a day off. I guess I wouldn’t either, if my kids could play handball off my abs.
  3. Super Career Mom – People often ask this mom “HOW do you do it all?” but no one really knows the answer (maybe not even Super Career Mom herself). Somehow she balances a great career with being a great mom. I haven’t much to say about Career Mom, because her mysterious ability to be both a boss at work (literally) and also be a boss at home is seemingly impossible and somewhat mind-boggling. Yet somehow she does it. And she’s got the financial ability to purchase a decent home in 21st century America to show for it. Kudos.
  4. Super Clean House Mom – You know how you turn into a psychotic house-scrubbing maniac every time company is coming over? Well Super Clean House Mom is like that all the time, even without the looming threat of some snarky relative pointing out that the blades on the ceiling fan need to be vacuumed or whatever. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but this OCD mom’s BFF is probably her precious Swiffer Sweeper. Not a single speck of dirt occupies a surface in her home, and her family just seems to KNOW better than to leave their crap all over the place. I’d be impressed, if I weren’t so busy looking at my dusty fan blades.
  5. Super Well-Behaved Kids Mom – Is it positive reinforcement? Negative reinforcement? Is reinforcement even needed, or did she just win some kind of secret parenting lottery which granted her perfectly angelic children? Whatever it is, Super Well-Behaved Kids Mom is doing something right. Her kids clean their room, set the table, get good grades, say “please” and “thank you.” And they’ve NEVER sold one of their birthday gifts to a kindergarten classmate for five dollars (yes, my son did that). These kids are seriously flawless. Come to think of it, there’s actually a 50/50 chance that they’re aliens. If so, then they really need to head back to their home planet, because they’re making the rest of us look bad.
  6. Super PTA Mom – Super PTA Mom wants to change the world, one bake sale at a time. And thank goodness for that, because someone has to deal with all these pesky school politics and holiday fairs. Considering the fact that afternoon dismissal regularly conjures a social paralysis in me that I haven’t experienced since the first day of high school, it’s probably safe to say that not everyone is well-suited for such a job. Hats off to you, PTA Moms. Seriously.
  7. Super Fun Mom – If moms were government organizations, this chick would be the post office. Neither snow, nor hail, nor rain, nor sleet (or however the hell it goes) will keep this determined mama indoors with her kids. She’s at the park, the museum, the movies, the zoo, the amusement park, the NASA Space Station boarding a rocket ship for a family tour of the moon. She is, hands down, THE MOST FUN MOM EVER. The only video games her kids play are the ones where they all dance around the living room together, and I’m pretty sure she only owns a computer for the purpose of researching more fun shit to do. She kind of makes me hate fun.
  8. Super Friend Mom – This mom boasts a pretty impressive lineup of BFF’s, especially for someone at least a decade or two out of college. Her kids’ playdate schedule is booked solid thru next year, and she actually still talks to people ON THE PHONE. Like, just to say hi and stuff. Her stress levels are probably much lower than most because she does “girls night out” at least once a month (gasp!). She’s kind of like an adult reminder that the “popular girl” doesn’t always grow up to be a total loser after all (to the sad disappointment of wallflowers everywhere).
  9. Super Holiday Mom – She has the kids’ Halloween costumes purchased in August, Christmas shopping finished by September, and Easter baskets ready to go in February. She’s always at least one holiday ahead of everyone else. Her outdoor decorations seem to defy the laws of physics, with displays so dazzling they occasionally cause traffic accidents on her street. Her Elf on the Shelf has a more exciting life than most Hollywood celebrities, and every December you find yourself wondering if Super Holiday Mom’s husband is Santa Claus himself.
  10. Super Pregnant Mom – She’s nine months pregnant, wheeling a double stroller through the supermarket with one arm, and pushing a cart full of groceries with the other. To her, the giant round bump in her mid-section is nothing more than a mere mosquito bite. She accomplishes more in her third trimester of pregnancy than some people do in their entire life. It’s almost as though she doesn’t even realize there’s a person living inside her.
  11. Super Not Super At All Mom – I’m none of the above, as you might have guessed. I’ve certainly tried to be all of these moms at one time or another, but I’ve failed pretty epically every single time. It’s okay though. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Super Moms don’t really exist. A Super Mom is only “super” on the surface. Beneath the façade of awesomeness is a regular mom, like you and me, who is just as flawed as everyone else. It’s great to be inspired by her, but try not to be too envious. Super Jealous Mom is not a Super Mom at all. Now excuse me while I go attempt to practice what I preach.

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.

 

Eight Ways Life Improves After Having Kids

I was watching some Seth Rogan movie with my husband the other day when I got the idea for this blog post.  Honestly, I can’t recall the name of the film, but it was one of those movies where he plays the typical role of the endearing idiot, and by the end he’s become Zany Dad of the Year or something.

There was an underlying theme in this movie that revolved around your social life going straight to hell after you have kids.  There was a scene in which the husband and wife were discussing this point with one another, and my husband and I were bobbing our heads in agreement, all “heck yea, we have NO life” during the entire scene.

But instead of detailing every reason under the sun that life blows after kids come along, I’ve decided to go the opposite route and cheer myself up with some of life’s biggest improvements once you take the old parenting plunge. Because I’m all about optimism, folks.

Ha! I’m a hoot. I really just thought it might make for better reading material.

1. You have a built-in excuse to get out of things – If you have kids and have never once used them as an excuse to get out of going somewhere or doing something, then you need to go see where you can apply for sainthood. Because EVERYONE uses their kids as an excuse once in a while. Don’t feel like attending Great Uncle Milford’s 95th Birthday party? How convenient that your son seems to have suddenly come down with a 102-degree fever. Woke up with a case of the Mondays? Your boss will understand that the rash your daughter just developed overnight needs some serious immediate medical attention. You see where I’m going with this? Just don’t abuse the power, or people will start thinking your kids have some kind of undiagnosed autoimmune disease and begin unleashing all kinds of unwanted health advice upon you.

2. Oh, the cuteness – Kids are unbearably cute (especially your own).  Seriously, your kid can pretty much hiccup a certain way and you’ll think it was the most adorable thing you’ve seen since that viral video of the baby panda sneezing. Sometimes you’ll just take one look at those kids and want to squeeze the crap out of their tiny little delectable faces, until their cheeks are all mushed up and their noses are all squishy and they can’t even see you through their eye slits, and then you want to squeeze a little more.  My kids have been known to cause a condition I like to call cuteness overload, and I love every sickeningly adorable minute of it. I’m sure you know the feeling well.

3. Less hangovers – Before kids, I was always plagued by terrible hangovers.  Maybe I was a lightweight, maybe I didn’t know my limit, or maybe it just never really mattered how crappy I felt in the morning when there wasn’t a little person nearby depending on me to keep them alive for another day. But hangovers after you have kids? Are nothing less than a form of actual torture. So most parents avoid the horrors of hangovers by not pounding tequila shots every time they hire a babysitter.  I usually like to thank myself in the morning.

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4. You literally MADE a person – I don’t know about you, but I continue to be astounded by this fact on a regular basis. I mean, I’ve made a lot of cool shit in my life—everything ranging from Thanksgiving dinner for 30 people to this awesome little website you’re currently perusing—but nothing, NOTHING, compares to singlehandedly (well, I had some very minor help) creating an actual human life form. TWICE. How fucking amazing is that?

5. Halloween candy galore – If your kids consumed all of the Halloween candy they received on their trick-or-treat route every year, they’d eventually become walking advertisements for childhood diabetes medication. So they need a little help with their sugary stash, and that’s where you come in. Sure, I could sit here, all pretentious, and act like a never-ending supply of Blow Pops, Kit Kats and Twix is actually a very bad, very dangerous thing, but who are we kidding? Admit it, November 1st is inevitably the most gluttonous day of the year for parents– and oh, how sweet it is.

6. Kids are hilarious – I can’t keep count of how many times in a day my kids crack me up.  As I’m typing this I’m chuckling because my daughter is walking around wearing nothing but a pair of ballerina slippers on her feet and a pair of underwear on her head. Yesterday my son said to me “when me and Little D start school next week, you’re gonna do the happy dance, right?” (kid, you have NO idea). I was dying. You also tend to find humor in some of the things that come out of your own mouth.  “Take your finger out of your butt!”, “stop putting mushrooms in the Brita pitcher”, and “rub mommy’s back and you can have cookies” are some of my own personal favorites.

7. It’s a good excuse for a messy house – I shouldn’t really say it’s an “excuse” for a messy house. More like it’s impossible to keep a neat home with children in it, so you can just go ahead and give up trying. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten that little itch to start cleaning shit, then broke my back scrubbing down every square inch of my house until it was sparkling like the top of Mr. Clean’s head, only to find myself standing in the middle of what appears to be the aftermath of a small tornado less than 24 hours later. I’ve since made a solemn vow to myself and my sanity to never go all June Cleaver up in here again. I suggest you do the same. 

8. They can go get stuff– Those of you with kids who are still too young to do this don’t yet understand how frickin cool it is.  I’ll never forget the first time I encountered the sheer awesomeness of “go get mommy the remote” and watched as my two-year-old nephew toddled over to the TV stand to retrieve the remote for my sister. I know this makes me sound like the laziest person in the world, but once your kid starts bringing you stuff, you’ll be just as amazed as I am. I mean, we do enough for them. They’re merely returning the favor.

 

Putting My Kids First: A Nasty Habit

Do you have a nasty habit of putting your kids first?

Well of course you do.  You’re a parent. It’s part of the job. It’s unavoidable (kind of like Frozen, which I’ve chosen to weave into today’s blog after my daughter watched it on repeat all morning).

If you didn’t bother to put your kids first, I would think you were a total jerk.  And I’d be right.

Because once you have children, you can no longer claim your life as your own.  Your children are now your number one priority, and everything you used to do for yourself gets pushed all the way to the back of your to-do list.

There are times when you have to try to put yourself first, usually only when your own sanity is at stake, but realistically the kids come first and they always will.  It takes some getting used to at first, but after a while you realize that what you want just doesn’t matter anymore.  Because all you really want is to make your children happy.  Sacrifices are made, and all of that “me, me, me” crap becomes a thing of the past.  It’s all just another part of raising children.

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But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still kinda suck.

So here’s how I know I’ve got that pesky “putting the kids first” bug:

  1. My wardrobe sucks, but theirs sure as hell doesn’t.  Winter, spring, summer, fall– these kids need new stuff every time the temperature jumps a degree or two.  New sneakers, coats, dresses, tee-shirts, the works.  Brand new everything, practically all year round.  But my summer wardrobe shopping? Basically consists of a grabbing a few tank tops off a “3 for $10” table at Old Navy and calling it a day.  I’m actually still wearing the same pair of banged-up old sneakers I wore when I was pregnant with my first child SIX years ago.  I guess my style sense flew right out the window with my common sense the day I whispered the words “it’s okay, I’m on the pill”.
  2. I haven’t been to the hair salon in over a year. Who has time for that? Have you ever heard of the “hombre” hairstyle?  The one where half of your hair is one color and the other half is a different color altogether?  Well, that’s the only stylish thing I’ve got going on in my life, and it was a total accident.  Apparently, going a full year without redoing your color or highlights is “trendy” these days.  I never thought that cosmetic negligence would actually someday become fashionable, but this is awesome. I don’t know who this hombre is, but let me tell you, he is mi mejor amigo.
  3. When I receive Visa gift cards for birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day, etc., I usually use them on diapers, kids’ clothes, groceries, or gifts for someone else.  I like when I get one with special instructions, like “this is for a manicure and pedicure”.  Because then I slap a nice coat of polish above my overgrown cuticles before I head over to Pathmark to cash in on my “gift”. I do like to pamper myself.
  4. Date night is dead.  It’s gone from fun, romantic dinners at swanky restaurants to basically anytime my kids fall asleep before 8p.m. on a night when there is a good show on and a bottle of wine lying around.
  5. I know every word to every song on the entire Frozen soundtrack, but the only way I can identify a new singer on the radio is if they’ve ever starred in their own Nickelodeon show.  That’s actually okay though.  Reindeers are better than people, just like the music of my youth is better than today’s shitty pop music. (Off topic side note: reindeers really ARE better than people.)
  6. My lunch consists solely of sandwich crusts, spare chicken nuggets, and leftover mac and cheese. I sometimes look at healthy food and feel a twinge of nostalgia, remembering the pre-baby days, when I used to have those fancy salads for lunch because I was watching my girlish figure. You know, the ones with the cool, retro ingredients like arugula, dried cranberries, maybe some hearts of palm.  And I remember when I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting calories on fast food because I just spent an hour on the treadmill and didn’t want it to go to waste.  Gosh, I can’t believe I owned a treadmill. And I even USED it! Sigh. The memories.
  7. Vacation options have gone from anyplace with white, sandy beaches and exciting nightlife to anywhere that grown men and women dress up like giant cartoon characters and then make you wait in line to charge you twenty bucks for a picture.
  8. Book choices are not quite the same, either.  I used to read like a maniac, plowing through the year’s bestsellers faster than Amazon could deliver them to my door (back in the prehistoric, pre-Kindle era).  Now the only books I have time to read cover important issues like overeating caterpillars, misbehaving dinosaurs, and home-destroying, hat-wearing felines.
  9. Sometimes, in the winter, I DON’T wanna build a snowman.  But I do it anyway. Because I’m not shitty like Elsa.

I know I do a lot of complaining about raising kids.  It’s just really, really hard so I can’t help it. Plus I’m kind of a chronic complainer so it goes along with the territory.  But just to be clear: I love my kids more than life itself.   And I’m sure those of you with this nasty habit of putting your kids first feel exactly the same way about your own little ones.

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Screw You, Summer

It’s summer. Oh, yay.

I’m less than thrilled about it.

Oh summertime, why must you complicate my life year after sweaty year?

Why must you constantly resurface after springtime’s sad end, bringing with you unbearably humid days, itchy mosquito bites, bored children, disappointing bikini bodies, sunburn, and debt-inducing electric bills?

And this year, as if there aren’t already enough reasons for me to loathe the summer, apparently now great white sharks have begun infesting the waters surrounding the New York/New Jersey coast line.

GREAT.WHITE. SHARKS.

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Fuck. No.

At least in summers past you only ran the risk of maybe losing a toe or two to some kind of flesh-eating bacteria found in those disgustingly polluted waters. But sharks won’t be looking to merely nibble on your toe a little. Those motherfuckers will take off your entire leg and probably a nice chunk of torso to go along with it.

But I digress. My point is this: I am clearly not a summer person. It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s overrated, and it’s way, way, WAY too long.  And right now, it’s only the beginning.

After this last brutal winter, I saw a meme floating around the internet that said “the first person to complain about the heat in the summer is getting smacked.” Well, get your sweaty palms ready for my face.  If I deserve a smack for saying I’ll take two feet of snow over heatstroke any day, then so be it.

I didn’t hate the summer quite so much when I was a little younger, back when summertime meant fun outdoor happy hours and long, relaxing days on the beach with friends.  Of course, summer was fun then.

But then I found myself nine months pregnant one sweltering Fourth of July, just five miserable days away from my due date, swollen kankles like something out of a Shrek movie, at least fifty pounds heavier than than I had been the summer before, feeling like a hippopotamus trekking through the Mojave in search of a baby elephant to swallow (yes, I’m aware that elephants don’t live in the desert, but work with me here), and I thought, I am done with you, summer. This is just a little too much for me.

You know what I find hilarious?  When people talk about “the lazy days of summer”.  LAZY? I wish I had the time for laziness in the summer!  I wish I could be a daiquiri-holding, sun-bathing, pool-dipping summertime lazyass for even ONE DAY during the summer. Just one!

Instead I find myself wasting away hours of my life in boiling hot amusement park lines for two-minute rides and shelling out a half month’s paycheck for some shitty lemonade or a crappy stuffed animal that will get thrown in the toy bin ten seconds after we get home.  Or I find myself at the beach, hunting my kids down to reapply their sunblock and keep them out of the shark-infested water every fifteen minutes. Or if I’m really lucky, I get to go to my favorite place on earth: the park.

It seems like you always have to be DOING something with the kids in the summer. If you’re not busy with vacations, day trips, parks, barbecues, block parties, pools, carnivals, the beach, etc., then you’re epically failing as a parent and maybe even a human being.

And why wouldn’t you be doing any of that? It all sounds like a blast on the surface—at least to those of you without young children. But those of us with young kids aren’t fooled by the seemingly “fun” activites that summer brings. To anyone constantly dragging their kids through hot crowds, who find themselves in a permanent state of terror at the thought of their little one falling into a pool without a pair of swimmies on, these summer days are nothing short of exhausting.

While some days really do end up being fun — and those are the times that keep you planning one insane outing after another – some days just leave you dreaming of the first day of school.

Which is, like, really, REALLY far away.

Misery loves company, folks. Please tell me I’m not the only one counting the minutes until Labor Day?