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

super-mom-real-order-professional-organizing

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.
Advertisements

Top 30 Parent Procrastinations

Parenthood is exhausting, and everyone is guilty of a little procrastination now and then. Below I’ve listed some of the most common tasks that tend to get put off because, well, there’s just a lot of other stuff you’d much, much, much rather be doing instead.

mom meme

1  Kids’ haircuts – My mouth says to the hairdresser “make it short like his daddy wears it.” But my head says “make it so short that that I won’t have to see you again for at least two months.”

2  Timeouts – Mommy’s giving you just SEVEN more chances before I’m finally willing to give in and listen to you bitch and moan in the corner for five minutes.

3  Dresser drawer cleaning – These newborn socks look like they run pretty big.

4  Dental checkup – Aren’t their teeth going to fall out anyway?

5  Play-doh time – Or any “crafty” activity wherein setup and cleanup time is exponentially longer than actual play time.

6  Back-to-school supply shopping – There’s no greater reminder of summer’s end than purchasing twelve marble notebooks in one day.

7  Washing car seat/stroller covers  –  Am I the only one who feels like you need to a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering to figure out how to get these covers back on after you wash them?

8  Baby proofing – I’ve found that there are two kinds of parents in this world: those who start putting child locks on the cabinets the same day they get a positive pregnancy test, and those who prefer to wait until their toddler crawls under the sink and attempts to spray Windex in his mouth.  Guess which one I was?

9  Dishes – As long as we have clean sippy cups, the rest can wait.  And yes I do have a dishwasher. But no, it doesn’t empty and fill itself.

10  Vacation planning – Can’t decide between boringly cheap or excitingly expensive.

11  Birthday party planning – Can’t decide between balloons, bouncy houses and magicians, and ‘Well I never had big giant parties when I was a kid either!”

12  Cooking dinner – It takes a LOT less time to order pizza than it does to defrost chicken cutlets.

13  Mailing thank you cards- Seriously, kudos to those of you who actually still remember to do this at all.

14  Cleaning the bathroom – Unless someone missed the toilet (again), it can wait until Mommy’s in a bleachy mood.

15  Potty training- Because incessant diaper changing will always be more appealing than plopping your kid’s bare ass down on a public toilet seat and praying the Lysol fairy has paid a very recent visit.

16  Finding a babysitter – Nobody is buying that these kids are sweet little angels who go to bed by 7pm. No, not even Grandma.

17  Reapplying sunblock – You did it when you when you left for the beach, right? Good enough. (Get over it, horrified mom whose child never leaves the house without a hat, sunglasses, and at least three coats of SPF 110).

18  Going to the park – If you’re like me and you just LOVE trips to the park. Ya know, because sarcasm.

19  Getting out of bed – How about a little Dora before breakfast, sweety?  Mommy’s still recovering from last night’s wine-infused Game of Thrones marathon.

20  Changing the channel once the kids have gone to bed – Admit it, you know you are guilty of absentmindedly watching a little after hours Yo Gabba Gabba or Bubble Guppies.  “What time is it?? It’s time for lunch!” No, asshole.  It’s time to find the remote.

21  Breaking up fights – I really don’t care whose turn it is to pet the dog or feed the fish or whatever bullshit you are fighting over now. Leave mommy alone while I purchase noise-cancelling headphones on Amazon.

22  Bottle/pacifier weaning – Pacifier and bottle addiction is real, people. And it affects millions of toddlers, every single day.  Is your child ready to detox? Mine isn’t.

23  Bath time – Just what every exhausted parent wants to do at the end of a very long day– clean someone else’s ass.

24  Christmas shopping – Sure, you could try to be be one of those anal nutjobs who finish Christmas shopping before the Halloween decorations go up (no offense, anal nutjobs).  OR… You could wait until just before the window for free shipping by Christmas closes, pulling an all-nighter on your iPad and crossing your fingers that a mid-December snowstorm doesn’t derail any of your precious pre-Christmas expected delivery dates.

25 Laundry – The good news is that I ALWAYS have a load of laundry in the washing machine, pretty much at all times.  But the bad news is that it’s probably been in there since last week (and for more of my thoughts on laundry, see here)

26  Getting dressed – It’s 1pm and I’m still in my PJ’s, as are my children.  Doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon, either, so….

27  Changing a nasty diaper – It can at least wait until Dad smells it and possibly decides take action first. Unlikely, yes.  But worth a shit.  Shot, I meant worth a shot (hashtag: appropriate typos).

28  Coming home after running errands by yourself – Just drive around the block a few more times until the song ends. Unless they play another good song after that.

29  Food shopping – This is the only errand that should be excluded from #28, since no one wants ice cream melting all over their trunk.  See here for more of my thoughts on food shopping (shocking spoiler alert: I’m not a fan).

30  Checking on the children when they’re being suspiciously quiet in another room – You’re sure something pretty bad is going on in there, but, it’s JUST SO QUIET…..

A Sea of Despair: Postpartum Pools of Pain

A few months ago I wrote about my struggle with depression and anxiety, and I was taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive response I received afterward.  It took me a long time to work up the courage to tell my story; I was admittedly afraid of what others might think of my decision to publicly reveal such a personal experience. But the kindness and support that followed was so moving that I’ve decided to revisit the topic today.

When I wrote that post, it was intended to be a one-time thing.  I don’t typically take myself too seriously, not on this blog nor in real life, and I’d rather others do the same.  But then something happened that I didn’t expect. Many of you reached out to me after reading my story to tell me how much my words had spoken to you, and that you understood everything I had gone through because you, too, had dealt with a similar struggle. It seemed that, like with many other aspects of motherhood, the difficulties I had experienced were also felt by many others. Apparently, I wasn’t as alone as I’d thought.

According to the American Psychology Association, up to 16% of new mothers experience postpartum depression.  Frankly, I think their numbers are off.  Perhaps a mere 16% actually report their feelings to a doctor, but I’m willing to bet a nice chunk of ladies simply suffer in silence.

With so many of society’s misconceptions about motherhood, it’s easy to see why so many women find themselves adrift in a sea of despair after becoming a parent for the first time.  Having children is rarely all you think it will be and more.  Sure, the highs are high and they feel amazing.  But the lows? Are so very, very LOW.  And you’ll find that these lows often fill the extra-wide gaps in between the fleeting, infrequent highs.

It seems like every time I flip on the TV I see some sappy diaper commercial featuring a mother tenderly singing her little one to sleep, humming soothing lullabies and swaying gently in a pastel-colored rocking chair. Unfortunately, those commercials are total crap.  Because they never show the four hours leading up to that endearing moment where the baby has finally drifted off—you know, the part where mommy’s  precious little angel was screaming and crying inconsolably until mommy “tenderly” considered chugging a fifth of vodka and sawing off her own ears.

For me, the hardest part of becoming a mom was learning to adjust to how shockingly different life becomes after having kids.  I got pregnant in my mid-twenties before I got married, and it was very unplanned.  While some women feel they are ready to settle down and start popping out some little people at that age, I was definitely not one of those women. 

Before I got pregnant, life was like standing on the roof of Rockefeller Center and looking down at the world below—breathtakingly beautiful, wildly exhilarating, enchantingly romantic.  Oh, to be young and carefree, just dreaming all day and playing all night.  Such blissful endless freedom. Nothing but opportunities at your door and time on your hands.

Until one day you pee on a stick and your life changes forever.

It took me such a long time to adjust to my life being so vastly different after having kids that I never even realized I was depressed.  The transition was happening at such a snail’s pace that I didn’t know it was actually changing me, like as a person.  For years I was just living my life in robot-mode, going through the motions, completely unaware that I was dying inside a little more every day.

From the very beginning I should have known I was in trouble, because when they tried to hand my son to me a few hours after my c-section I didn’t even want to see him.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love him or want him, I honestly just didn’t know what the hell to do with him.  What did I know about babies? I was practically still one myself. And that instant connection parents always describe?  That immediate gush of awe and amazement that everybody talks about after they’ve given birth? Yea well, I didn’t get it. Not right away, anyway.  I loved my little boy, of course.  But the fear and confusion and pain in my head were clouding the feelings in my heart.

I got the hang of motherhood quickly, I think.  A lot more quickly than I thought I would, at least.  There are women coping with such severe postpartum depression that they can’t even take care of their children.  Thankfully, that wasn’t me (and my issue technically might not even fall under the actual definition of “postpartum” depression, but who gives a shit about definitions?) Like I said, the depressed feelings I had were growing very slowly over time. Little by little, I was falling deeper into my own sea of despair.  And I was totally unaware that those feelings would culminate after a miscarriage and eventually bring me to a debilitating breaking point.

Some women don’t ever have a real breaking point. In some ways, a “nervous breakdown” is almost a luxury, as long as you bounce back from it. Because it takes you to such a low point that you literally have nowhere to go but up. And then it motivates you to stay up.

Motherhood is hard.  Like, crazy hard.  Every feeling you experience as a parent is magnified exponentially.  You’re not just tired; you’re exhausted.  You’re not just scared; you’re terrified.  You’re not just confused, you’re helpless. You’re not just lonely; you’re the last person on earth!

I wish I could say I had advice for those of you who are still drifting in your own sea of despair.  All I can say is that it will get better eventually.  I’m living proof of that.  Eventually, you will begin to feel more comfortable in your own mommy skin.  Someday you will start to realize that, even though the bad feelings are horrible, conversely, the good feelings are great.  The love you feel is unconditional. The pride you feel is insurmountable. The bond you feel is unbreakable.

Actually, I do have one piece of advice.  Whatever you do, don’t lose track of YOU.  I know that’s easier said than done, because becoming a parent takes over virtually every aspect of your life until you are pretty much unrecognizable to yourself.  But try hard to hold onto as many pieces of yourself as you can, and then use them to make you whole again when you find yourself falling apart.

Because your baby needs you. And in the end, the only one who can really save you…is you. ❤

382705_2705058153719_1429860384_n

**Update** It has been pointed out to me that I should mention if you are feeling this kind of depression that you should see a doctor.  This is absolutely, 100% true.  I didn’t go for a long time, and I probably could have saved myself a LOT of pain if I had.  While I do believe that you’re the only one who can save yourself, I think professional help will pinpoint how to do that.  And sometimes you may even need the help of medication because you can’t really do it on your own–this was the case for me at my lowest point. And it’s perfectly okay.  There are a thousand excuses not to go, and I’d know because I used them all.  But you’ll only be fooling yourself.  Thanks to aviets at Mom Goes On who pointed this out to me!

What Most Of Us Are REALLY Thinking At The Park

I have a confession to make.  I absolutely hate going to the park with my kids.  Before I started this blog, I might have been hesitant to openly admit such a thing.

Other parents seem to genuinely love the park.  As soon as the spring arrives and the weather warms up, I constantly see “off to the park with the kids on this gorgeous day!” pop up all over my Facebook news feed from other moms. Friends and family tell me that they spent the entire day at the park and loved every second of it.  People really seem to adore that place.

Now don’t get me wrong; that’s totally cool.  If you actually enjoy the park, then that’s awesome for you.  I really wish I had whatever genetic indentation I would need in my DNA to enable my experience at the park to be enjoyable, but  more power to you for having it. Seriously.

Unfortunately, to me, there is literally NOTHING enjoyable about taking the kids to the park.  To me the park is like hell, if hell consisted of rowdy children, bored-looking parents, bacteria-ridden play equipment, rubber flooring, and randomly scattered foliage.

As I mentioned, before I had this blog I wouldn’t have been so eager to share my harsh feelings on this subject.  I would have been scared to come off looking like a crappy mom or a big jerk.  But I’m learning more and more, with every blog I write, that I’m rarely alone in my parenting thoughts.  And hating the park is likely to be no exception.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that the majority of you are already nodding your heads in agreement.  Maybe even some of you “off to the park” Facebookers will secretly be with me on this.

I mean, can’t we all just finally admit it, once and for all? The park sucks.

Below you’ll find a collection of thoughts I’ve had while at the park with the kids.  You will most likely find them shockingly similar to your own thoughts.  If so, I would love to know. And if not, go post that shit on Facebook or something.  No one needs that kind of positivity around here.

Just kidding!  Maybe.

What Most of Us are REALLY Thinking at the Park:

Oh look, our kids are playing. Awkward silence, awkward silence, more awkward silence…. Ugh I can’t put off the obligatory small talk any longer. “So how old is she?…Oh, she’s adorable…..My daughter is two….Aw thank you… Yes they do sure grow up fast….” Gag.  Soon I’m going to start pretending I don’t speak English.

Of all the kids in the park, of course my kid decides to play with the hacky, rashy, booger-covered one who is definitely carrying some mutant strain of coxsackie and chicken pox, heretofore known as poxackie.  I might as well round up the pediatrician and the pharmacy now and be ready for it.

How old do your kids need to be in order to become the highly unaware sitting-on-a-bench-checking-her-phone-while-the-kids-play-by-themselves mom?

Clearly there is no minimum age, since I’m pretty sure that baby poxackie over there belongs to her– and he needs a babywipe or ten to the face ASAP.

Pleeeease, baby, don’t pick that play structure to climb. Look! There’s a little one over there that’s just the right size for you! Ok, I guess the tallest one it is.  I just love being that psycho mom who literally climbs inside the jungle gym with her kid to keep him from plunging to his death.  And now you want to climb up that ginormous slide? By yourself? Oh, silly me. Of course not by yourself. Mommy’s here! Climbing the ladder right behind you! So let’s get this shit over with.

If I have to climb up this damn slide one more time, I’m going to strangle myself with a swing chain.

Swings! That’s a great idea! Standing in place definitely beats chasing these kids all over the park.

20 minutes of “standing in place” later: “Push higher, mommy! Higher! Really high!!!” Oh, how I wish I were.

Time check: 2:30p.m..  Seriously?? We’ve only been here for 45 minutes??  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I swear it feels like three hours.  So time stands still at the park, but naptime is over before I can finish my coffee.  Of course.

Poxsackie’s mom has some really cute sunglasses on. I wonder if they’re cheap and just look expensive, or really expensive but look like they could potentially be cheap. Either way, I wonder where she got them. Oh shit, where are my kids??

When the heck did they turn on the sprinklers?? Uh-oh. There are some big kids in there playing a bit too roughly. Do I go grab my kid and get soaked, or stay dry and just leave her alone? Eh, she’ll be fine.  How bad could they be?

Not my best decision. Where’s that band-aid I had in my bag for the last year and a half? When did I lose it? Why do I never have a band-aid on me when I actually need it?? Well, on the bright side, she’ll probably be too upset about her boo-boo to want to stay here any longer.

Wrong. Do I not know my own kids?

Is that sunburn? Crap! I forgot to put sunblock on these kids! I mean, it’s not like I’m at the beach or anything.  I knew I should have brought my big diaper bag. There’s definitely some sunblock in there.  And band-aids.  And probably some bribery candy for when it’s time to leave, too.  But who the hell wants to lug a giant bag around the park? You can’t climb up a slide wearing a giant diaper bag.  And how on earth does that mom who always just wears the little Louis Vitton shoulder pouch always have everything she needs?  Are those things like tiny bag-shaped clown cars?

I will literally pay you in lollipops not to go anywhere near that sandbox.

It’s so freaking hot today.  Where’s the damn shade, anyway? Would it kill them to plant a few more trees around here??

“Mommy I have to pee!”  Come again? You have to PEE? Here? At the park? The PUBLIC park?? In that nasty filthy bathroom over there??? Are you sure you can’t just hold it?? At least try for me? No??? Fine. But forget the poxsackie. You’re about to get a toilet bowl STD.

Ok, I think I’ve had enough. “Kids! Time to go!  Yes I know you want to stay but it’s time to go.  Mommy is two monkey bars away from a nervous breakdown right now.  No, NOT one more time on the slide….  Not the swing either! LET’S GO! Oh don’t you dare start crying.  Shut those waterworks down, missy.  Now where did your brother go? What?? THE ICE CREAM MAN IS HERE??”

Shit.

At least one of us is having fun.

At least one of us had fun. It’s all that really matters….. Right?

My Good Mom Challenge

I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately. I haven’t been giving lil’ ol’ me enough credit.  I feel like my house is always a disaster, my kids are always bored, my husband and I are always fighting, we’re always broke, we don’t eat healthy enough, I could go on all day.

You might have read my recent post on Mom Guilt. The post garnered more attention than I had expected, which led me to believe that I’m not the only one walking around wondering “who the hell let me be in charge of another person’s life and entire upbringing?”

So I’ve decided today’s post will be on a much more positive note.  I owe it to myself to give a little credit where it’s due.  We all do.  We aren’t bad parents, and we’re going to prove it.  Today I’m challenging myself to find ten things that make me a good mom. This way, whenever I question my skills at this shit-show called parenting, I can bust out this little list as a reminder that maybe I’m not so bad after all.  And I encourage you to do the same, fellow guilt-ridden friends!

unnamed

 

Okay, now.  Where to start……

  1. We dance.  My daughter, especially, loves to dance.  She’ll shake her little tail feather to almost ANY song she hears, even the theme to Star Trek (much to her daddy’s delight). So I take advantage of the fact that this is the easiest activity on earth that we can do together, and we do it almost every day.  True, there are selfish incentives (i.e. this is my version of “going to the gym”) but the bottom line is that it makes my kids happy, and really, it’s so damn cute watching them bop all around the living room that I don’t mind at all.
  2. I bake muffins.  Like, I mean, I’m the kind of mom who bakes muffins. And I do it all the time. I even do stuff like hide veggies in them and scale back the sugar to make them healthier.  Yes, I’m sure lots of moms bake muffins. But if somebody had told me ten years ago that I’d be an apron-wearing, muffin-baking mom of two someday, I’d have been all bitch please. So the muffins are kind of a big deal to me.
  3. I breastfed.  Now, don’t go all OMG on me for saying this makes me a good mom, because there are at least a zillion moms out there who formula-fed their kids and could easily run circles around me in the parenting department. I’m NOT saying that breastfeeding makes anyone a better mom at all.  What I am saying is that the very act of allowing another human being to nibble on my BOOB for thirteen months straight is kind of a marvel in itself, when you think about it.  And my daughter barely ate any real food (she still doesn’t), so my boob basically kept her alive for over a year. It’s pretty cool, in a sorry-for-talking-about-my-breasts-so-much kind of way.
  4. We go to the park. And let me tell you, I HATE THE PARK. In fact, I’m currently brewing up a blog that will effectively convey my contempt for trips to the park with the kids, so stay tuned for that one.  From the germy equipment and booger-eating children to the boiling hot sun and bitchy parents, I hate practically everything about the park.  But still, we go.  As soon as the weather starts warming up, I drag my sorry, playground-loathing butt to the nearest set of snot-covered swings and slides as often as I can bear.
  5. We read.  I loved to read as a child and I really want my kids to love it just as much as I always have.  Now, if I said we read together every night while everyone drifts off into a peaceful slumber like they do on TV, I’d be flat-out lying.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t still read a-plenty.  When my son was younger and obsessed with dinosaurs, I used to read the dinosaur encyclopedia to him almost every day.  The DINOSAUR ENCYCLOPEDIA.  Did you know that there is no such thing as a brontosaurus anymore? And that a T-Rex’s tooth is roughly the size of a banana?  Well, I do. Because we do the book nerd thing around here, and we’re proud of it.
  6. I say no.  Sometimes, saying no is a lot harder than it sounds. It would be a lot easier to just say sure, you can have ice cream for breakfast.  Or sure, you can give your sister a smack for throwing your Lego creation across the room.  Or sure, you can watch Walking Dead with me. It would be easy to just let them do what they want and avoid the meltdown at all possible costs. But instead, I draw the line. I’m sure you do, too. We keep the Pandora’s Box of “sure you can” closed most of the time.  It makes us better parents than we realize.

Just so you know, I’m struggling to come up with four more, which is rather contradictory to my original objective, which was reminding myself that I’m not really a crappy mom.  Like, really, Jeannine?  Six things?  That’s all ya got? Ugh.  I need a coffee break. I’ll be back with 7-10, and they’ll be much better than “I bake muffins.” Hopefully.

  1. I let them help out. Would the muffins taste better if my daughter didn’t stir the batter for fifteen minutes? Probably. But what fun would that be (for her)? And taking out the garbage would be a lot faster if my son didn’t insist on helping sort the recycling every time, but I think it’s teaching him an important lesson about the environment that he should know. Letting them help can be a pretty big pain in the ass, and it requires a LOT of patience, so it doesn’t happen EVERY time I’m doing something.  But we do it as often as my patience allows, which is often enough.
  2. The love is in the little things. I can’t walk past a really cool Super Mario tee-shirt without getting it for my son because Mario is his absolute favorite. And I let my daughter pinch my arm until she falls asleep every night because it relaxes her, even though it kinda hurts like hell.  And I hug them and kiss them and say “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” at least a hundred times a day. And I have cutesy little nicknames for each of them that I’ll probably still be using when they’re all grown up and embarrassed by it.  And I let them use up all the hot water for their baths at night because they have fun in the tub even though it leaves me with nothing but freezing cold water for my own shower.  The little things are so little on their own, but they add up.  May not always seem that way, but they do.

    552410_982561826225_1282382149_n

    Good Dad/Good Uncle alert! That’s Big M as Mario and my brother as Luigi. It was at least 95 degrees that day, but they sweat it out, giving Little M the best birthday ever.

  3. I take pictures.  Zillions of pictures.  And then I place them into labeled family photo albums in chronological order. It sounds like the sort of thing that someone with OCD would do, right?  But I’m far from OCD, so I’m kinda proud of this habit.  It’s really important to me that my kids have these childhood pictures to treasure as they get older.  Pictures are memories, after all.  And who knows?  Maybe if they have all of these bright, shiny, smiling images to look back on, they’ll forget about all the yelling….
  4. I originally wanted to make #10 “I’m doing my best.” But then I thought: what the hell IS my best, anyway?  What does that even mean?  Some days I play with my kids for hours at a time, keeping them happy and busy all day long. Some days I need to clean and do laundry and cook and do all that not-so-fun stuff that keeps a home functional. On those days, my kids are entertaining themselves.  Some days I’m the best mom in the world, and some days I totally suck. I mean, can anyone really say they are doing their best when there is no real definition for “best”?  So instead I will make #10 be that I care. I care about my kids. And my husband. And my home. And even myself. I care and I think it shows in the things I do.  I can’t give everything and everyone 100% all the time – no one can do that! But I always care, and I do what I can for the people and things that I care about.  Isn’t that all we really can do?

So now it’s your turn.  Take the good mom challenge with me.  Stop wallowing in parent-guilt and tell me what makes you a good mom or dad.

Mom Guilt

I’m a sucky mom.

Well, realistically, I’m probably not all that bad.  But I still think I suck at parenting.

Please don’t give me that stupid “you’re a GREAT mom!” spiel that people deliver whenever you whine about your mom guilt.  I don’t need to hear it.  It doesn’t make anyone feel better and we both know it.

You’re probably a sucky mom too.  I’m guessing that’s why you’re reading this right now.   Well, you know what?  Your best friend also sucks.  So does your sister, and your cousin, and so do your coworkers, and your neighbors, and every single stranger you pass on the street.

We all honestly believe we suck at this mom thing.

Mom guilt is one of the shittiest feelings you will ever know, and it NEVER goes away.  Once you have kids, you’re a victim of mom guilt for the rest of your life.  You are destined to spend the remainder of your days on this earth second guessing every decision you’ve ever made when it comes to your kids, comparing yourself to every other mom you know, criticizing your parenting skills (or lack thereof), and regretting your choices before you’ve even made them.

Today my daughter asked me to read her a book, but I was in the middle of folding two million loads of laundry so I quickly put the book away and turned her attention to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Awesome parenting right there.  “Sorry baby, The Very Hungry Caterpillar can wait until later.  Ooh look at the TV! It’s a special DOUBLE EPISODE! Woohoo! Now please go take your zero-nutritional-value fruit snacks to the couch and watch your show.  Folding Daddy’s underwear is slightly more important than your growing literacy skills right now.”

So then I stood there like a jerk, folding away, feeling all crappy because it wasn’t the first time I did that to her and it surely wouldn’t be the last.  I almost felt bad enough to change my mind, but by then she was so engrossed in Mickey that shutting the TV might have caused a meltdown that neither of us were in the mood for.

Stupid social media doesn’t help with the mom guilt either.  Because people don’t exactly Instagram pictures of their kids parked on the couch watching Nicktoons on a warm spring day.  No freaking way.   And when it comes to old Facebrag, EVERYONE is mom of the year.  They’re all taking their kids to parks and museums and libraries and freaking Disney World, and all of their kids are reading way above grade level and getting straight A’s and joining NASA’s space program, right on track to becoming the first preschoolers to land on the moon.

Just once, I want see someone post: “The school called today.  Junior farted in someone’s face at lunch and landed detention for a week.”  It would be a refreshing change, donchathink?

Some pictures don't make the Facebook cut.

Some not-so-shining moments fail to make the Facebook cut. Why do you hate Mommy?

Social media antics aside (because as you probably know, I could go on all day about that topic), when it feels like everyone else is raising the perfect kid, it’s hard not to feel like you’re doing everything wrong.

But I have a secret.  And no, it isn’t that everyone is a wonderful parent – because that’s just not true. Some parents really do suck, like in real life and not just their head.  You do know that, right?  That you aren’t the worst mom in the world?  ‘Cuz I’m pretty sure Casey Anthony grabbed that title a few years ago.

My secret is that there is NOTHING you can do about the never-ending mom guilt. Nothing! It will always be there, hanging over your head like a poison-filled rain cloud. Okay, maybe that’s not such a big secret, but it sure makes me feel better.

You can practically bust your ass trying to be the MOST AMAZING MOM EVER, planning enough activities, outings, and educational moments to fill every waking minute of every day, but it will never be enough.  In your mind, you are still going to scar your children for life somehow, and you’re going to give yourself a nervous breakdown in the process.  Stop trying to be perfect.

No one is perfect.  There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Some parents appear perfect, and I don’t know what the hell is the deal with those people, but they aren’t perfect either.  They probably just put on a good show and we’re all buying it.  Behind the smoke and mirrors of those so-called perfect parents you will find regular old people, like you and me, who feed their kids chicken nuggets and let them watch all the Spongebob they want.

I think the trick with mom guilt is to channel the guilt.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.  Pinpoint exactly what you feel shittiest about and use it to motivate the hell out of yourself.

I’m not telling you to do it every day.  Hell, I’m not parent of the year and neither are you (right?).  But once in a while, when you get those days where you are just feeling like one big steaming pile of mom garbage, and you are literally on your hands and knees praying that your kid doesn’t turn out to be a giant asshole because you suck so badly as a parent, you’re going to have to take action.  Pick your sucky ass up off the floor, grab those crazy kids, and go do something awesome together.  Anything at all.  Whatever will put a smile on their little faces and alleviate the sting of mom guilt for at least a day or two.  Like I said, it will never go away, but at least there can be a temporary fix. And that’s better than wallowing around in self-pity, right?  Hmm, I guess there is something you can do about it after all.

Oh, and don’t forget to post the pictures from your day on Facebook 😉

`

25 Signs You’re A New Mom

The feeling's mutual, kid. Still love you, though.

The feeling’s mutual, kid. Still love you, though.

I’m not exactly a new mom.  My kids are five and two, so I’m not quite new to this parenting rodeo.  But like most moms, I’ll certainly never forget the long, sleepless nights, the crazy ups and downs, the seemingly endless stress, and all of those bittersweet moments that go along with having a new baby.

So I put together this list for all the new mommies to relate to, and maybe delight in knowing that everyone else kind of loses it the first time around (and sometimes the second and third time) too.

As for the older mamas?  You ladies might feel some combination of nostalgia and extreme relief looking back on that “new mom” whirlwind in your life.

Either way, here you go!

1. At least once a night, you jump up out of bed just to hear the baby breathe.

2. You have more baby bottles than forks and spoons combined, and you often find yourself ransacking the house for items to fill the empty bottom rack of the dishwasher because the top rack  is always maxed out.

3. You have threatened the life of at least one telemarketer (or relative) for calling during the baby’s nap.

4. You play rock-paper-scissors with your spouse over who has to change the next dirty diaper (and somehow you lose every time).

5. You find yourself searching every corner and crevice of your house to see where that nasty odor is coming from— and then realize that it’s you.  You’re the nasty odor.  You smell like a person who hasn’t showered in over a week.  Then you sigh because there’s no one around to watch the baby while you go take a shower so you’re left to stew in your own stench for a few more hours.

6. You proudly relay your baby’s height, weight, head circumference and frequency of bowel movements to all close friends and relatives at the start of each conversation (and a quick conversation it will be, as they are likely thinking of a good excuse to get off the phone with you).

7. You will do almost ANYTHING to quiet a screaming baby, even if it means continuously running your dryer with the baby nestled on top, or wasting gallons of water letting him listen to the faucet run, or pacing the floor for hours at a time while swaying, bopping, rocking, and humming, or even watching an endless stream of loud and horrible rap videos all night long (I tried all of the above with my colicky first child).  Seriously, whatever works – no matter how ridiculous it seems, you’ll try it.

8. The last home-cooked meal you had (while sitting down!) was on Thanksgiving, and you certainly weren’t the one who cooked it.

9. Waking a sleeping baby is an offense punishable by termination of friendship and possibly loss of life to the offender.

10. Coffee.  Just coffee.  Lots and lots and lots of it.

11. Your trips to Babies ‘R’ Us “just for diapers” are doing more damage to your bank account than your wedding did.

12. The next person to ask “is the baby cold?” is getting smacked.  Hard.

13. Same goes for the next person to ask “where is his hat? Doesn’t he have a hat?”

14. The next person to say “just sleep when they sleep” will be forced to wash every dish in the sink, fold five loads of laundry, scrub the toilets, and wash the kitchen floor.

15. Your diaper bag: a quick trip to the store or leaving town for a week?  Who could tell?

16. Your DVR is an absolute lifesaver at 2a.m.

17. You’re officially part of the wonderful world of children’s television, where torturously catchy songs will play on an endless loop in your head for the next five years or so– songs with absurd and repetitive lyrics like “there’s a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy;” or “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’M THE MAP;” or “when we’ve gotta go, gotta go, gotta go, we know how to pee and poo, just sit on the toilet like a grown up would and see what we can doo doo doo doo!”

18. You choose the color for your rare mani/pedi carefully; it will linger on your nails for the next three months or until chipping away completely on its own.

19. Your pediatrician is on speed dial, and you could probably navigate the route to his office in your sleep.

20. What was once your living room is now an obstacle course of large, brightly-colored objects, designed to hold or occupy your baby for any period of time – none of which work nearly as well as merely holding him yourself and utilizing your only free arm for household tasks.

21. And that other arm? The one holding the baby?  Let’s just say the Incredible Hulk has NOTHING on you and your freakishly strong baby-holding arm.

22. Remember when you created your first resume and listed “excellent at multi-tasking” as one of your skills?  Ha! You didn’t even know the DEFINITION of multi-tasking until now.

23. Google is somehow simultaneously your very best friend and very worst enemy.

24.  You’ve officially been peed on by another human being (and I really do hope that’s a first for you).

25. Remember how much you loved the baby yesterday?  Well, that love just doubled today.  And tomorrow, it’ll triple.  And the day after that, it’ll quadruple.  It never stops.  Someday, your baby will grow into a precious, baby-faced toddler, and she’ll say “I love you” for the first time ever, and your heart will explode into so many pieces that you’ll need a broom and dustpan to pick them all up.

Try to remember that feeling after your sweet little angel has her first ever public meltdown.