Sunday, March 27, 2011

For All Moms Who Need A Reason to W(h)ine.....


I fully advocate the use of ending each day of 'mommyhood' with a glass of wine (or 2).  I have several reasons why, but, mostly because I feel my life is the official definition of Murphy's Law.  I love my children (now 5 and 2) unconditionally....however, sometimes I do have to remind myself of this.  Does this make me a bad mother?  Perhaps to some people.  A normal mother?  Most likely.
In my home, wine is called "survival juice".  It's my serving of fruit per day.  If I find myself feeling somewhat guilty for indulging because my day has been relatively uneventful (however rare this may be), I pull from my continually growing list of reasons why I own a small refrigerator dedicated solely to the storage of wine bottles (otherwise known as a ‘wine fridge’).  I would personally like to thank (and kiss!) the genius mind behind this invention.
I am sharing this list with my fellow mothers, so that you, too, may pull from it in times of need.......a need for laughter, tears, or a reason to pour yourself your favorite liquid grape.

1.  Your dream job was to be a stay-at-home mom, until your dream then became how to find a job to keep you from staying at home.
2. Your 4 year old decides a busy check-out line at Walmart is the most appropriate time to repeat (loudly) the 'choice phrases' you used while in a fit of road rage earlier that morning.

3. You are a mother to a newborn (enough said), and you find your pre-schooler eating frozen chicken nuggets out of the freezer because he told you he was hungry an hour ago, and you completely forgot.

4. You realize it may be years before you actually get to shower or use the bathroom without an audience

5. You can’t remember the last time you brushed your teeth or washed your hair.....and for this, there is a reason to *toast* the invention of gum and dry-shampoo

6. You feel like every cough, sneeze, and runny nose must be that rare disease you heard about on Dateline....and then find yourself researching every symptom on Google (again, here is another reason to *toast a glass* - to the invention of internet search engines!)

7. The nurse at your pediatricians office is now one of your closest friends because you talk to her more than your friends and family combined

8. Facebook has become your only connection to the outside world
9. You go to a destination an hour away from home, only to discover that your baby has saved up all bodily ‘excrement' for that particular car ride.  When you reach the public restroom, you realize you have forgotten to pack any diaper wipes.  Thankfully, your baby is small enough to fit in the bathroom sink, and there happens to be a functioning hand dryer (completely disregard everyone who is staring at you.  Or just ask them if they wouldn’t mind trading places with you for a few minutes).

10. On a day you feel like you finally have everything "together", you venture out to the dentist's office for your 4yo's first teeth cleaning, with your  7mo strapped into the stroller. While filling out 9 pages of paperwork and trying to keep said 4yo from bouncing off the walls, you hear someone say "ma'am, is that your baby crawling down the hallway?"

11. While reprimanding child #1 for bad behavior (which includes some very embarrassing moments in front of others), child #2 has a poop “explosion”, which she then turns into a paint party all over the dining room chair. You throw child #2 into the tub, forget child #1's dinner in toaster oven, which then starts a 'small' fire
And finally……..
12. You will be traveling via car, plane, boat, or otherwise, with your young children anytime in the near future.  And then, of course, after the return of said travel.

I raise a glass to all of my fellow mothers out there.  This job ain’t easy.  We’re all doing the best we can (presumably), and that’s all we can do.  

Cheers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am a pretty BIG deal



It occurs to me, quite regularly, how easy it is to feel incompetent as a mother.  As a wife.  As head of a household (which, I know, husbands & fathers feel is their job, but, let's be real.  We all know who's keeping the Titanic from hittin' an iceberg)

I constantly walk around consumed with the feeling that I can't provide, keep up, compare.  The fact that I am inept must be blatantly obvious to all outside observers.  I might as well wear a flashing sign on my shirt that says "LOSER".

I'm not a MILF.  My youth is fleeting (and I do use the word *youth* loosely).  My body has literally flown south for the winter (and will probably never migrate north again).  My cuticles are in complete dissrepair.  I haven't had any kind of *spa experience* since 2008.  My favorite ensemble is a pair of fleece pants and an old t-shirt (complete with holes).  I am not UP on the current trends.  I couldn't even tell you what movies are in the theaters right now.

But, then, comes a moment of clarity.  A moment that makes me stop.  Take a deep breath.  And smile..........I am completely necessary to the 3 people I love most in this world

Without me, my husband would not be able to find his toothbrush, a bar of soap, his belt, a bandaid, the front door........

My children wouldn't have clean clothes, a hot meal, a referee, a boo-boo kisser, a tushie wiper, an activities director, a cheerleader or a voice of reason.

To them, I could rope the moon.  I could turn coal into diamonds..............I might as well be Gandhi.

Nobody loves them like I do.  And no one will ever love me, or need me, the way they do.

To the world, I am just one person.  But to these 3 people..... who hold my heart....... I am the world.

And I think that's pretty cool.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Someday.....

So, this post is more of an "additive" to a smaller version I wrote some time ago.  In it's entirety, it was also featured on The Mom Blog Network!  My first *taste of fame*.  However fleeting.

If you are a close follower, please forgive the initial repeat!!  I thought I had posted this in full length version, but, alas, not.  Kind of like my life.  Thoughts only occur in snippets.  I blame that damn mommy brain !!


…..when my children have a home of their own, I’m going to visit them.  Frequently.  I’m going to put strange objects in the toilets, use Sharpies to decorate their walls, cry and whine if they get on an important phone call (maybe even try to climb up their leg).  I may even run around naked and pee on their floor (carpeted, preferably).

…..when my children are old enough to cook, I’m going to ask them to make me dinner.  Without saying “please”.  I’m going to tell them I want macaroni and cheese, and when that is prepared and ready to eat, I’m going to tell them I don’t want macaroni and cheese anymore.  I would like a hot dog instead.  And when they prepare that hot dog, I’m going to tell them I’m not hungry anymore.

…..when my children are able to make fun of my taste in music, I’m going to force them to re-listen to the Wiggles, Hannah Montana, and the Fresh Beat Band.  Then I’m going to put in an Elmo DVD, and put it on “repeat”.

…..when my children are old enough to have a job, I’m going to make them sign every last penny over to me.  I’m going to tell them it is payback for every toy I ever bought them that they “had to have”, but never played with; for every trip to the doctor for injuries that were self-inflicted; for every bottle of wine and prescription of Xanax mommy needed.

…..when my children are old enough to drive, I'm going to sit in the backseat and kick the driver’s seat.  Repeatedly.  I’m going to throw cheerios and crackers at them, scream, yell and complain.  I’m going to use my most annoying tone of voice to say things like, "are we there yet??", "I'm hungry!!" and "I have to go to the bathroom!".
It's going to be great.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Operation: Destroy Mom's Sanity



Is in full effect.

And for the record, there's not really that much left at this point.  However, I desperately cling to that tiny portion hidden in the deep corners of my soul.  I covet it.  I nurture it with bubble baths and wine.

But, there is only so much a human being can take before they crack.

I need to preface this story by telling you about the menacing OCD that plagues me.  Daily.  I wipe, clean, dust, mop, pick up, put away and throw away ALL. DAY. LONG.   I can't stand clutter.  I don't like knick-knacks.  And if I haven't used something in 6 months, it's new home is the Salvation Army.

Now, I realize most people aren't familiar with a year-round school calendar.  I wasn't either until I moved to the south.  I grew up in a school system that followed a traditional school year.  The one that was designed back in the days when kids needed to be home during the summers to help their parents work on the family farm.

But, those days are over.  And somebody realized that most parents can't handle their kids being home for 3 consecutive months.  And God bless 'em, I say.

So, here in the south, our little elementary kids go to school all year long.  They have what is called a  "staggered entry" and a system that runs on 4 "Tracks".  Each track is out on 'vacation' at different points in the year.

This mother feels that the year round system is working pretty well for my family.  My kid is "tracked in" school for 2 months.....and just about the time I really start to miss his presence around here.....POOF......he's "tracked out" for 4 weeks.

So......... the first few days go really well.  It's fun to have him home.  Fun to re-connect with him.  He gets to play with his sister.  She actually enjoys his company.

Then............. the psychosis sets in.  They require 'round the clock entertainment.  By ME.

I've now got two kids on totally different schedules, who enjoy completely different things.  One needs a nap, the other wants to go the park.  One wants to fight with light sabers, the other one can barely walk a straight line without falling on her face.  My house becomes a battle zone.  I have no time to clean, or shower, or grocery shop, or eat.  The days are spent yelling, whining, complaining (by all 3 of us), threats of boarding school, and sometimes locking myself in the bathroom for a good cry.

I can't run a simple errand without having a 10 minute debriefing about how they are supposed to handle themselves in public.  And somehow, begging a 2 and 5 year old to help me maintain my mental "wellness", just doesn't have the desired affect I had hoped for.



The toy room looks like a Class 5 Hurricane ransacked it............



My "office"/loft space, which I vowed would not have ANY toys in it when we first moved into our home.....



There is not one square cubic foot of space in my home that doesn't have some kind of toy strewn on it.....



And lest you think my home is the only place where chaos reins,
I present to you, my 2 month old car............






All I need to make my life complete is some yellow caution tape.  And I don't just mean for the house.  I'm going to wear it around myself like a Miss America ribbon.  No joke.

Friday, March 11, 2011

To all Invisible Moms.....

Do you ever hear a song, or see an AD, or read a story, and it just resonates with you?  It's exactly what you needed to see or hear, at that particular moment?

Well, today I'm going to share MY moment, with you.  It's a little long, but, WELL worth the read.

I would LOVE to give DUE credit to the woman who wrote it, but I have NO idea who that is.  And maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.  A story from one invisible mother to the next.  Being passed into the hands of  those who need it the most, and at just the right time.

You're welcome.


It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. 

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' 

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. 

I'm invisible - The invisible Mom. 

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. 

"Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?" 

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'

I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'

I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner,celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built,
and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof?
No one will ever see it.'

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
 
No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will
become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
 
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Destination: White Padded Cell



Okay, so (not that I'm keeping count),.....my toddler, just barely 2, had 8 stage 5 meltdowns in less than 24 hours (and 12 of those 24 hours were spent asleep).

She hates to be clothed.  Hates to be buckled into a car seat.  Hates the stroller.

My 5 year old can't shut up for longer than 30 seconds (and that's being generous).  He has no concept of volume control.  He has never met a stranger he won't carry on a ceaseless conversation with.

Neither of them travel well.  Period.  Or sleep.  Especially out of their own element.

Together, the 3 of us in a room, make each other somewhat homicidal.

So.....what sounds like a great idea??

Packing us all into an airplane for 6 hours with a bunch of strangers!!  And then, just for the added fun, let's throw in a time change from EST to PST, and see how many suicidal thoughts a human being can have!!

I actually start having panic attacks 2 weeks prior to traveling.  Anywhere.  And I'm not talking the self-diagnosed kind.  I mean the kind that actually require medicinal intervention.

(Ugh)

Wasn't there a movie about this??  Or, maybe it was just a nightmare I had.

I'm strongly considering passing out Xanax to everyone in a 5 row vicinity of us. But, then again, misery loves company, right?

(Consider this a favor.  A WARNING.  Do not take ANY United Airlines flight from the east coast to the west coast, anytime in the next 3 weeks.  Trust me.  I'm quite certain even the flight staff will be terrorized for weeks after)

Did I mention this is training for my semi-cross-country-road-trip in June?  With both kids.  And me.  JUST me.

(Double Ugh)

Yes, people.  I own it.  I AM, infact, insane.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I know there will come a day when.........

1.  I don't have to raise my voice 37 times in a 12 hour period.  Or, have to repeat the same statement......... "I said no!"..... 8 times, just to get the point across.

2.  I won't have to say things like "put the dead grasshopper down!"  OR "stop trying to feed your sister the dead grasshopper!!"

3.  Blood, sweat & tears will not be a part of my every day existence.

4.  A shower will last longer than 45 seconds...................and will actually occur daily.

5.  I will be able to exit a room, where my 2 children remain, and World War III will not break out.

6.  The only body orifice, or excrement, I will have to wipe, will be my OWN.

7.  Grocery shopping will not involve strapping anyone into a straight jacket, or preventing anyone from hurling themselves out of the shopping cart, all while trying to "coupon".

8.  I will once again use a razor, tweezers, and nail polish...........on a regular basis.

9.  I will cut up my "mom jeans" and elastic waistband pants and use them to light the fire pit ........(OK, maybe NOT the elastic waistbands.  Those are pretty comfortable)

10.  I will not live in fear of random, public humiliation.  At least, not on a daily basis.

11.  I will not  recite "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and "Goodnight Moon" in my sleep.




And, if you are a mother with older , or grown, children, laughing to yourself because you know most of these things will never be a reality... .............please, just let me live in my delusions of grandeur.  Your cooperation is appreciated.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stripped: The Ugly Truth





I compare motherhood to standing in front of a mirror, completely naked, and critiquing every inch of my body.  And for me, that never goes well.  I am my Own. Worst. Critic.

Don't fear.  I will not be stripping naked for you literally.  I am being strictly figurative here.  I will not put that evil on you.


I feel like everyone around us functions pretty well as a family unit.  While my kids and I are more like a walking comedy routine.  We could have our own reality show entitled: "Diary of an Unfit Mother: the story of a woman who makes you feel better about your own parenting"

Am I the only one here??

Am I supposed to WORSHIP every moment of my time with my children?  Is being a stay-at-home-mom supposed to feel like Heaven on earth?  ( Because, listen, in my Heaven, I've got a nanny and a maid ).
Do I have to be-friend every other mother at the playground just because we all birthed children at some point?  Is it horrible that I don't want to have a necklace made out of my childrens' baby teeth?

I mean,  I haven't been able to complete a thought since 2005  (Can you still call it "baby brain" when your babies are 2 and 5 ??)

I'm not even sure I could define the word "patience" right now.  I am much more familiar with the term "patients", because that's usually what my children tend to end up as.

Did I miss it when they passed out the maternal manual??  Did I not get the 'once-you-turn-into-a-mom-everything-falls-into-place' gene??

PLEASE, somebody help me feel normal!!

I'm constantly frazzled.  And forgetful.  I actually lit the stove on fire, for the 2ND TIME yesterday.  I started a grilled cheese sandwich, walked away to change a diaper, then remembered I needed to shave my legs, and brush my teeth.  Sure enough, ten minutes later, I couldn't figure out why it smelled so 'smokey' in the house.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.......Being a mother does not come naturally to me.  I have NO idea what I'm doing.  My defining moments as a mother, are usually the ones that make other people laugh, and me cry.

And, YES,  I struggle with the fear of failing my children on a daily (if not hourly) basis.  I love them.  Honestly and truly.  And I don't want to screw them up.  I'm not even quite sure how we'll afford college, let alone years of therapy.

As if to totally sum up this point, my 5 year old says to me, as I drop him off (late) for school this morning:

"Mom, how come we were on time yesterday?"   
(( because that is the rarity around here.  And even a 5 year old notices it ))

Me: "We were?  Wow, that's impressive.  We actually did it once this school year!"