Please do not be alarmed. You are not about to be subjected to thirtysomething mama’s flashing video cameras. But I have seen such an occurrence…
I am taking about working mothers on business trips or any mamas on a girls night out. It is amazing how you can take your typical suburban soccer mom, remove the kids, add alcohol and see the transformation. She goes from pony-tail, hoodie wearing mom to plunging neckline, trippin’ in her stilettos mama.
I had such an evening (minus the plunging neckline – it was a work event people!) this week while on a business trip. A few co-workers and I went out for drinks. I broke my two cocktail at a work function limit (okay, I more than doubled it…). I knew it was time to switch to water when I am in a photo booth with one of MY EMPLOYEES, hamming it up for the camera. After the photos we stop to each call our kids to say goodnight and then start researching karaoke bars… that’s when not only did I need water, but a taxi back to the hotel!
What makes moms (and dads) go from nose wiping angels to boozin’ babes? I will tell you: We live to close to the brink of insanity! When given a small break from parenting we digress. Not only do we shed some responsibility temporarily, we shed our ‘set the example’, ‘do the right thing’ personas. And guess what – it feels great! Well, actually it feels hazy and not as great the next morning, but still worth it!
Pictures have been omitted to protect the guilty!
Last night I physically pushed my daughter up to achieve her goals…
We were at the birthday party of my seven-year old Godson. The party was held at one of those bounce places and had some bounce apparatus I had never seen before. Among other cool structures they had a “spiderweb” that was a two-story series of elastic straps that form webs. There were five or six level of webs that the kids had to climb up to get to the top in order to zoom down an inflatable slide. And PS – this particular room was pitch dak except for black lights, a few laser lights and disco balls.
My three-year old wandered over to the spiderweb saw that this was the favorite of the big kids and jumped in line without hesitation. (There was a long line because only four kids could be on it at once since kids, struggling to get to the top would often fall a level or two!) I saw my son as he approached the halfway mark, he was struggling, but he did it, he’s always been able to defy gravity. As I watched the other kids, I repeatedly tried to talk my daughter out of attempting this (I know, bad mommy). My son finished and came over, stunned to see his sister in line. He, being my conservative child, said “Mommy, you’re going to let Sissy do this? I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s really hard!” This certainly did not help my apprehension.
As we approached the front of the line I asked the employee if there was an age limit, hoping she would rescue me from my fears. Was I afraid my daughter would get hurt – no. I was worried she would attempt it, not be able to do it and be frustrated, possible even cranky. The wise 14 year-old employee said, “There is no age limit, but it will probably be pretty tough for her, you can go in and help her”. Grrreeeaattt… I watched as one of my girlfriends (who is stronger than me) tried to get her four-year old up and after a while, they came back down. ‘What am I doing in this line?’ I thought!
Getting her up the first level was easy, I just lifted her up… and she sat on my head. Then it got tricky, I was trying to climb up and push her up at the same time. Fortunately, my son (who could likely beat my in arm wrestling) yelled, “Mom, climb up the side, it’s easier”. We slowly started our climb. Was I smart enough to figure out how to support my weight on the series of webs to help my daughter? No. I took the old fashion, sheer tenacity route. I would hold on to the netting wall with one hand while I hoisted my 38 pound “baby” girl with the other. I’d then have her hold on to the side while I got my dead weight to the next level. We were doing ok until she started to fall…
HER arms were getting tired, um, hi, what about your pack mule’s arms??? She slipped and fell through a level of webs. I grabbed her and told her to hold still. (I needed time to run this physics problem in my non-math brain). I realized that while heavy, she is narrow and could slip through the webs and potentially go straight down – at least 10 feet to the trampoline bottom. Oh and she’s upside down so she was going head first! Hello neck injury! She was starting to panic, “Mommy, help me, I am falling”. This may be what saved us, mommy adrenaline to the rescue. My common sense told me we would be fine, these things were built for safety, right?? But my emotions were sounding the alarm – my daughter was upside down, in the dark, scared and every muscle in my body hurt (I may need to go see that Gym guy everyone talks about). I was also afraid if she slipped, I might too and fall on top of her. I said to her, “Sweetie, don’t worry, mommy is going to get us back down”. HA! “No, Mommy, I want to go to the top, push me up!” I wanted to cry, I wanted my husband, hell, I wanted my son, he probably could have saved us both!
But my daughter had a goal, and while she was scared, she was determined. She inspired me, I dug deep, told myself our lives depended on it. I got her flipped upright, I steadied her on the level above me and threw myself up like Shamu coming out of the water onto the ramp at a marine water show. The higher I got the more I realized I didn’t want us to fall, so I clenched my teeth and up we went.
The top was like a dream. The angels were singing, “Eye of the Tiger” was playing in my head again and when I looked down at the bottom of the slide, I could just make out the shocked and impressed faces of my husband and our friends. As I pushed my daughter onto the platform, I romanticized us sliding down together in victory. I yelled”wait for mommy” as I hoisted my tired body up onto the platform and looked just in time to see her bound down the slide… without me.
As I came down, I saw her high-fiving everyone. I couldn’t wait to hear the “Thank you Mommy, we did it!” But by the time I got to the bottom, she was off to her next adventure without me. When I asked her about it this morning, she was very blaze. I said “wasn’t that hard?”. Her response was, “No, can we do it again sometime?” Ugh!
But isn’t that the essence of being a parent? We push ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically to do the best for our kids. We help them achieve their goals so they can grow to be independent and not need us anymore?
I would love to hear all of your stories on pushing yourselves to help your kids achieve their goals!
I am learning so much from scaling back my career to spend more time with my family.
But let me give you some background. I have always over-scheduled myself and wanted to be involved in everything at the same time. I was Student Body President in middle school, Panhellenic President in college and have served on more committees since I was in the 5th grade than I can count. So naturally, when my son started kindergarten I over-committed myself. I signed up to be assistant room mom, field trip chaperone, classroom helper and art docent. It ended in disaster with me having to break my commitments and be rescued by my stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) friends so I could fulfill the requirements of my day job.
This year, with my son in first grade, I didn’t sign up for ANYTHING, but did tell my son’s teacher that I would volunteer in the classroom as time permits. (See, I can learn from my mistakes!) With my conscious decision to balance my life and devote more time to my family, I have been spending more time at my son’s school. The trick is I am not in charge of anything, but I show up and act as a worker-bee whenever possible. Today this worker-bee got to help teach my son’s class about bees and pollination (wanna know something interesting about bees?).
I met the other mom in the school office and we headed for the classroom, then she continued to walk past it – where the heck was she going??? I followed her and found myself in the elementary school garden. The garden? Who knew? Not me. It was big enough to have one or two classrooms full of kids inside exploring its treasures. But wait, there is more… We then walked down to the “lower garden” that was even bigger. How did I not know about this magical place? Do other parents know this is here? I bet the working ones don’t…
If I start a list (and I love lists) on the benefits of cutting back at work I will definitely include discovering that my son has a garden and the joy of visiting it with him!
What discoveries have you made that brought you joy?
This post is brought to you by Markham 2005 Petit Verdot
So some crazy lady posed as me and wrote a post about breaking up with wine a while back! Do not be alarmed, I have found said crazy person and contained her in a bottle with a good cork. To cabernet, I mean commemorate my love of wine (proven by the fact that I have drank it 10 times in the last two weeks) I want to share with all of you some of the many reasons why I love wine:
- All I have to do is un-cork a bottle to erase the longest of days.
- I don’t have to share it with my kids (unless I want them to sleep better).
- I feel sophisticated when I swirl it my glass (and I feel like a dumb-ass when it spills out).
- Wine goes good with my one true love: food. Yes, any food.
- Wine and chocolate. Period.
- Wine is complex, temperamental and will spoil if not cared for properly, just like me.
- The antioxidants in wine make me a better mom – it’s science people!
- Wine gets better with age, just like moms and children.
- Having a glass of wine to cope sounds more civilized than drinking rubbing alcohol.
- Wine doesn’t talk back, wet the bed or throw temper tantrums!
I love awards. I love honorable mentions, cash prizes and glossy photos on the front page. But the best awards are those that come from someone you respect and admire. It is also amazing to get recognized for doing something you love. I was touched to get an award from one of my favorite bloggers, Lori Dyan. If you like my blog, don’t read hers, because it is so much better than mine that you might break up with me! She’s funny, honest and will broach any topic. Check her out!
The Blogging Award she bestowed upon me is the Versatile Blogger Award and there are some rules I have to follow:
1. Acknowledge the person who nominated me. Lori Dyan – my blog crush! (No need for a restraining order!)
2. List ten things I like.
- Laughing so hard I pee my pants, my husband does the laundry
- Snuggling with my kids, after their baths, at bed time, when they smell clean and yummy
- Long road trips when the kids sleep and my husband and I get to finish a conversation – he’s a captive audience!
- Eating fresh fish while watching a Hawaiian sunset
- Sushi, beer and beer with the girls
- The sound of my waterski or wakeboard cutting through perfect water
- Cocktails – any kind, any occasion
- Seeing the world through my kids eyes
- Hearing that my writing resonates with someone.
3. Now I have to nominate ten other bloggers. This is hard because I have come to follow and love so many great bloggers, but here are 10 in no particular order:
- Simply Diane… – She’s funny, likes to multi-task and loves to shop – what’s not to love?
- The Marriage Project - We could all follow her plan to be a good wife and laugh along the way!
- The Candy Shoppe - Everything she rights is touching, poignant, hilarious or all three. A true artist.
- The Rock Pool - A group of female bloggers sharing the diverse and global perspectives – very cool.
- Because Chutney Goes with Everything - She writes on all sorts of topics and had me crying with laughter over pooping at work.
- Confessions of a Recovering Cynic - I recently discovered her and she is my kind of humor! (Slightly depraved)
- The Zany Housewife - I want to have cocktails and play Canasta with this hilariously fun blogger!
- The Highly Uninteresting Adventures of Average Girl - Her posts on parenting and life are far from average!
- My Morning Chocolate - I aspire to be Jen in the kitchen. Her blog fuels my passion for food!
- Conflicted Mean Girl - I know you are already a recipient, but you’re so good that you need at least two of these!
Now I am off to drink a glass of Hall Cabernet and celebrate my award!
I hate - we don’t say hate in this house - I strongly dislike my son’s Wii.
I swear that video games lead to at least one tantrum or mild freak out session in my house per day. My son’s Wii melt-downs can be classified into one of the following:
- He gets upset when time is up. (I set a one hour per day limit)
- He gets upset when someone beats him or he can’t beat a level
- He gets upset because he doesn’t get to play on a given day even if it is because he was at a playdate, birthday party,etc. (I am sorry, you are having a fairytale life and couldn’t squeeze Wii into your amazing social calendar!)
What makes it worse is that my better half (who in this case is not better) often contributes to the problem with wise actions like letting him play right before bed (which is prime melt-down time) or my personal favorite, overriding my one-hour rule with, ‘Oh, honey, I know he already had his hour, but I told him he could play with me’”
I realize that it is not the Wii’s fault and it is a parenting issue, but I am in no mood to be reasonable. In an effort to cope with my Wii frustration, and end Wii struggles, I am considering the following (none of which would happen in front of my son, because that would be another tantrum!):
- Use the straps on the controllers as a sling-shot to launch the console
- Donate it to a clay pigeon range – Pull!
- Give the Wii swimming lessons
- Sponsor a grape stomping competition on the console – wet and crushed – that oughta do it!
- Controllers as pins, console as bowling ball
- Wii Field Trips: beach, lake or snow
- Donate it to a ‘kindergarten hardware engineering’ class – sounds altruistic, yet fatal
- Drop the system at the front door of the Playstation headquarters – it’s not that I like PS any better, I just figure it won’t come back that way
- Tell my daughter there are princess stickers inside that she can have if she can get them out
- Go crazy like Office Space with a copier on the whole system
Watch out Wii, you don’t want to be left alone with me…
My husband left for a business trip this morning. He was gone before the sun came up. My daughter had me up from 2:30 to 4:30 am and I was trying to catch a few extra winks when my husband called to say good morning and make sure I got up okay. He was worried that he had not re-set the alarm clock, although unbeknownst to him, I had set my own alarm. So I drug myself out of bed and started the morning routine. When I walked into the kitchen, he had laid out my son’s lunch bag, put out everything for his lunch that didn’t need to be kept cold (down to the knife to make his sandwich) and arranged his homework. This was such a sweet gesture, but I wasn’t shocked…
My husband is better at… well everything sometimes. He gets up (usually before me), gets our son dressed, packs his lunch and starts breakfast. He does the laundry, the grocery shopping and the cooking. He volunteers in my son’s class twice per month and helps coach his sports. He has tea parties with our 3-year old daughter and knows my son’s weekly spelling words better than me every week. Oh yeah, and he’s the bread-winner.
There are days when I definitely feel like the lesser half. This is not because of anything my husband says or does, but just because I have a nasty habit of keeping score when I am losing. (Ironically, I don’t keep score when I am ahead). I often jokingly say, “What do I bring to the marriage?” But those are thought for another day.
Today, I want to celebrate and appreciate having a better half. I have shared in a previous post that he is my best friend. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is my partner in all of this chaos. He keeps me as balanced as I can be (which is still off-balance). My kids are lucky to have a dad that is not solely devoted to his career. Our family and our life works because my husband is great. People often ask how we juggle two careers, two kids and still appear it to have it together most of the time. The answer is often simple: I have a better half!
I got the BRILLIANT idea of writing a “parenting handbook” in which I would pass on my super secret, full-proof parenting wisdom. If this feels like a to-good-to-be-true gimmick, then you’re on the right track! NONE of my parenting advice is full-proof and it is rarely wise, but I’ll share it with you anyways for the amazing low price of $20.00 – that’s the price of my co-pay on my kids therapy, from being subjected to my “wise” advice.
Because I have SO much wisdom to share, I will break it down into sections, starting with meals. Meals are tough in our house. I think this is because I am a control-freak and try too hard to prove how great of a mommy I am (a-hem) by getting my kids to eat what I think they should, when I think they should. So here’s how you do it:
- Eating games: Show me how a dinosaur eats (and every other possible animal) This will not teach great table manners. As it turns out Dinosaurs and other “cool” animals are VERY messy eaters!
- Reverse psychology: “Do not eat your chicken because I really liked it and I am going to eat yours when I finish mine”. The problem with this approach is the possibility of, “Here you go mom…”
- Fun with counting: “I bet you can’t count all the bites you can eat!” This is my crowning glory as I get my kids to eat and can check off working on their numbers. I am huge multi-tasker, so the only way I could improve this is to incorporate reading or social skills. Hmm…
- Cool names. Turkey Lurkey is one of their favorites and it’s chicken, not turkey. We have confused our share of waiters and dinner guests with our secret code names for food.
When these fail (absurd as that may seem…) here is Plan B (read the fine print):
The following is meant for entertainment purposes only. Use of the below tactics is done at your own risk.
- Negotiation: “I’ll give you $5 to eat your whole dinner”
- Fear: “Your friend Aiden barfed one night because he didn’t eat his dinner…” (I really used that one in a less than spectacular parenting moment)
- Proximity: Duct tape the little darling to the chair until dinner is done.
- Supply and Demand: Starve them for a few days, then they are bound to eat just about anything.
- Peer Pressure: All the cool kids are eating this.
- Listen to Their Bodies: Feed them whatever they want. If they are craving it, their body must need it.
What other parenting challenges would you like for me to solve? I am taking requests!
Since the beginning of time, women have had diversions: bridge club, garden club, Bunko, book club, and the myriad of at-home parties - Stella and Dot, Pampered Chef, Cookie Lee, Southern Living – you get the idea. Let’s be honest: these are all excuses to get a few hours away from the kids, husbands, boyfriends, pets, whatever and enjoy some time with the girls.
These events are a time to catch up on each others’ lives, share parenting horror stories and exchange beauty tips, recipes and laughs. The theme, activity or reason for gathering is arbitrary, as long as we come together as women to blow off steam. I remember my shock the first time I attended book club, with my book in hand, to find that half of the women don’t read the book and we rarely discuss it. (I, being an avid reader, was slightly disappointed, but the second cocktail made me feel better.) In summary, our gatherings are the male equivalent of grabbing a beer after work (or so I suspect).
To my knowledge, all of these female gatherings include wine, cocktails or other appropriate alcohol (I’d go to Spanish Club if they served Sangria). Maybe that’s just my group of friends, but I remember my grandmother pulling out the terrifying jug of Chablis (that poured like maple syrup…) to offer with the iced tea for her bridge club. (Emily Post had nothing on those women who were steadfast enough to drink that with a polite smile). Depending on if the gathering is day or evening dictates how much consumption is socially acceptable. Occasionally, there is the added thrill of a gutsy gal exceeding the quota and being the entertainment for the evening.
This last Saturday night I attended a Passion Party. This is the pinnacle of the secret female gatherings. A consultant comes in to provide ideas and products to make life more interesting in the bedroom. *If you are conservative, stop reading, but may I remind you that if you’re a mom, you likely had sex to have a baby and if you’re not a mom, your parents likely had sex to have you – get over it!
Glad you’re still with me. But, lucky for you, the Grapefruit martinis make the evening just fuzzy enough not to articulate. (But I do believe we made the party consultant blush with our comments!) Therefore, if I am not going to provide details of the evening, why do I bring it up? Because it highlights all that is perfect about girls evenings. They are uninhibited, real and can bond perfect strangers. (I can now tell you – but I won’t - who has handcuffs in their homes and who is the most knowledgable about toys). As women, we openly discuss menstruation, children’s’ poop and weight; how is sex any more taboo? We are empowered to speak the alcohol induced truth and share our “wisdom”, humor and most embarrassing stories. We laugh so hard we understand the importance of Kegel’s.
After such an evening, we are rejuvenated - we have the smug smile of somebody holding a juicy secret and some of us anticipate the arrival of unmarked package, while dreading the visa bill. For me, I felt more romantical (it’s my favorite made up word) towards my husband and was more patient with my children. I feel closer to my girlfriends and somehow feel like a stronger woman in general.
So I am huge supporter of female gatherings and all the “secrets” shared there. I also like pages 6-9 of the summer catalog, but that’s another story…
MSN did a piece yesterday about the Seven Deadly Sins . It got me to thinking about my sins as a parent:
Lust: With our busy schedules, traditional lust is not a daily occurrence around here. However, I will admit to lusting after shoes and purses. My shopping budget is about as scarce as lust, so I lust after the material things I gave up when I gave birth to the products of traditional lust.
Wrath: I have shared with you the dangers of the crazy mama bear. They say there is no greater wrath/fury than a woman scorned. Wrong! There is no greater wrath than me if you so much as look at my children in a threatening way. Only I can give them that look.
Pride: This is practically a gimme for parents. Have I told you my six-year-old and three-year old can water ski? Yes, I have, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to tell you brag again. I would post pictures of my kids to show the world how stinkin’ cute they are, but it goes back to that wrath and over-protective mama thing. So, pride – check.
Greed: If honesty compensates for greed than let me be clear: I would love to be rich, but not famous. I want enough money to choose my activities, to only work on things I am passionate about, to work less and enjoy life more. But it’s not just money, I want more time too. Time with the kids, time with my husband, time for myself, time for my friends. Call me Veruca: I want more and I want it now.
Envy: I envy moms (and dads) who appear to have more balance in their lives than me. I say “appear” because if they are anything like me, you shouldn’t look behind their curtain either.
Gluttony: Covered that with my post about Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs. I use sweets and cocktails to achieve balance in my slightly off-balance life. When I really want to show my kids how much I care for them I say, “I love you more than chocolate” and sometimes I mean it.
Sloth: I have had 7 different posts that mention my inconsistent showering habits (really, I counted). Sloth is practically my middle name! I dare say I envy those who have more opportunities to be lazy than me. Do I get double points for a sin about a sin?
Bringing little angels into the world drives us to commit sin on a daily basis. Does that make me a great parent, a bad parent or just totally normal?