You know what I am talking about, the too perfect and know-it-all moms…
I know what you’re going to say: “But Paige, you preach that every mother should be valued and not judged”. Correction – real people should be valued, but I choose to mock stereotypes all I want! And as for why I have decided to call them “over-balanced” ? Well everybody knows that too much of a good thing will make you sick! So to make the rest of us real mom’s feel better here we go…
- Too-Perfect-Mom: Nothing ever falls out of her car when she drops the kids off at school. She attends every event and brings homemade baked goods for all occasions. She’s never late and never looks like she just rolled out of bed. You have never seen her raise her voice to her angelic children and when you describe your chaotic day, she just gives you a sympathetic smile. She is NOT in the running for Mother of the Year! (But you could be if you submit…)
- Fashionista Mom: Always perfectly coiffed, trendy and never stained. Whether it’s early morning drop-off or coming from the gym, she never looks frumpy or disheveled. We all have our good days, but she’s never had a bad one.
- Know-It-All-Mom: She is an authority on everything. She tells you what you’re doing wrong as a parent (and possibly everything else) and how to correct it.
- Age Defying Mom – She has given birth to four kids and looks like she is 18. Perfectly toned, perky boobs, no wrinkles and she eats pizza and cupcakes at every party. The only consolation is imagining she has a plastic surgeon on speed dial, but alas, you’re sure she just has good genes.
- Overly-Talented-Mom: She’s athletic, a fabulous cook, crafty and decorated her model home. She sews all of her children’s darling clothes and made a breathtaking mission out of dried pasta and baking soda for her child’s school project. Everything she does is flawless and fabulous. I have a friend like this, but she’s crazy, so I still love her.
In revolt of over-balance, I present you with Paige:
- I am mildly athletic, if you count that I don’t usually trip when I walk.
- When I cook dinner, my husband tells me to focus on the main course and he’ll handle the rest
- The only thing I’ve made with my glue gun is a mess
- I forgot my daughter’s snack day at preschool… EVERY TIME FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! (sorry Miss Jill!)
- My best clothes are Target sales rack and my nanny has had to intervene when I tried to leave the house in a pathetic state
- I have a small fortune worth of half-empty water bottles floating around my car
- When I am on my “A” game, I close my windows before I yell
- The only thing I consider myself an expert on is being a crazy, off-balance mommy
Are you over-balanced? If so, what’s the secret? Prozac and wine??
If you’re off-balanced, like me? What’s your shining moment? I can hear what you’re thinking, that’s a funny one, you should enter my Mom of the Year Contest.
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?
First, a confession. I have told you in the past that I have seen the Twilight movies, but I love Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood, Black Dagger Brotherhood and The Gates. To make this statement requires me to swallow my pride. When Twilight fist came out, I teased my friends for reading teeny-bopper books. I told them I am not into vampires. Then I read Twilight and was hooked on the series. But I maintained that it was just those books and I would not read any other vamp books… Well, clearly, I ate those words.
As I was watching True Blood last night, it occurred to me that my children have all the same powers as vampires, so I can only surmise that vampires do exist. Here’s the “proof”:
- Vampires defy gravity with their jumping and sometimes flying abilities – My son scaled the dressing room wall at Target Saturday to retrieve a toy I took away from him. He regularly climbs door jams and other objects for sport.
- Vampires suck the life out of you by sucking your blood – My children have one up on the vamps here – they can suck the life out of me without even leaving a puncture mark.
- Vampires keep odd hours, awake at night and sleeping during the day- My children enjoy keeping me awake at night and then recharging their batteries during the day, while I struggle through work sleepless.
- Vampires can glamour you to erase unwanted memories- Vampires have to learn this trick. My kids started erasing my unpleasant memories the day they were born. 6 hours of labor while waiting for an epidural – that must be a rumor, I don’t remember that. When they have been naughty or unruly, they simply come up, snuggle me and whisper I love you in their cutest voice and I am putty in their little supernatural hands.
So yes, I believe in vampires now, but I am not afraid of them. I know a vampire is no match for my kids!
I attended my daughter’s preschool back to school night this evening. This means, getting to know a new group of parents, some of which have their oldest in preschool. New parents always worry me because they may not have given up their ideals and sanity yet. They say admirable things like, “How do we know what our kids learned in school today so I can ask my child about it?” I respect this, but the easy way out is “what did you do, what did you learn and what was your favorite part”? They are still trying to do everything right (bless their hearts). I have to say, all of the moms I met seem very nice and down to earth, but time will tell who is as off-balanced as me. I have decided to show them the “real me” as early as possible in hopes of bringing them to the dark-side of reality parenting. Or maybe they are already there…
Last summer, there was an evening when I had too much to liquid fun and I was acting like a child. I was throwing food at my friends (trying to start a food fight, not out of malice) and generally acting silly. My husband was getting irritated with me (how could this be?!) . I turned to my group of friends and proclaimed, “This is the real me!”. I will never live that quote down, but I have also embraced it in many ways. Here’s more about the “real” me. Yes, it’s another list of confessions.
- I loathe the idea of owning a dog. My kids want one very badly and I am dead set against it. When I hear dog, I think hair, fleas, chewed up furniture, doggie breath and more responsibility. It is a threat to my precarious life balance. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs – when they belong to other people! I am also not a huge fan of overnight dog guests, but have made exceptions for my dearest friends. (Devon – I am high-fiving you right now).
- I let my kids eat food they have dropped on the ground (there’s no dog to clean it up). Correction, I tell my kids they have to eat what they drop, because I am not giving them more. Now, this is only in my house, when the floors are reasonably clean, and maybe outside if it’s not too public of an area…
- I love the idea of playdates that involve cocktails. I NEVER drink when I am responsible for someone elses children AT ALL and I never have more than one if my husband is out-of-town. This is not a joke and if you drink while watching my kids, you will learn about mama bear. But, if you bring your little one over in the afternoon and you’re staying and want to have a beer with me, that is my kind of playdate!
- I am perfectly comfortable letting my children’s teachers be responsible for their learning. I will do all the homework and read to them, but frankly, I am exhausted at night and do not feel compelled to do extra credit as a mom. I am glad there are professionals to ensure my kids are brilliant.
- I recycle, but I drive a diesel SUV, do not compost, never made my own baby food, use disposable diapers and pull-ups and loved having drugs to ease the pain of labor.
- I bake the bread for church, but mostly to make up for how often I miss Mass (meaning mostly absent) and to see a friend who I never get to see unless it is baking time.
- I don’t like cold water so I spend more time watching my kids swim than swimming with them.
- I cannot do math. Period.
What’s the real you? You can tell me, I promise to use a fake name when I blog about it!
I am not going to lie – I am a big fan of instant gratification. Just call me Veruca in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” – I want it now! One of my friends calls it the Sod-It Syndrome. She can’t wait for grass to grow, she would rather have sod. I could provide endless examples of my impatience and you know how I love a good list. However, I will refrain this time… nah!
- I sometimes inadvertently get drunk trying to reach the happy buzz place to quickly
- I have turned myself orange more than once trying to achieve a dark spray on tan in 24 hours that usually takes a week
- I invent scheduling conflicts to get my performance reviews back from my manager earlier.
- I, like most Americans, have done my share of accumulating debt in college because I couldn’t wait for a time when I could afford shopping (or excessive drinking)
- I researched the earliest pregnancy test because one extra day of waiting was too much for me
The irony is that it drives me nuts when my kids can’t be patient. Seriously, good things are worth the wait little pumpkins! (And do as mommy says, not as mommy does!)
So are you a seed or a sod person?
I like to quote the Wizard in the “The Wizard of Oz” when he says, “Don’t look behind the curtain”. For me that means I usually appear to have it together, but it’s typically held together with scotch tape and dental floss.
I was reminded of my wizard mantra yesterday when my friend and I agreed we were ‘going to pull it together’. You know, the day where you vow to catch up on everything. Why do we set such lofty goals?! So I went for it. I am 90% caught up on work, filled out my daughter’s preschool paperwork (that was due weeks ago), worked on a birthday present for a friend, blah, blah, blah.
I am really proud of myself. I started congratulating myself on being amazing until I looked behind my curtain…
- I picked up my house and cleaned my stove, but there is mold in the shower
- I fed my kids dinner BEFORE soccer practice, but it was a microwave meal
- I arranged to take a family with a new baby dinner tomorrow, but I went store-bought instead of homemade
- I did the grocery shopping, by putting a fake meeting on my work calendar
- I had to put my friend’s son’s first day of school in my calendar so I wouldn’t forget to ask how it went on the correct day
- I took my FIRST shower for the “day” at 10:00 pm
I also have a few standing tricks I pull to appear more together than I am:
- I use dry shampoo so I don’t have to wash and style my hair as often
- I have big drawers behind cabinet doors where I store all the kids toys at night
- I keep a stash of cards, presents and wrapping paper so I don’t show up without a gift (because I am not organized enough to mail birthday cards)
- I have dimmer switches on my lights so you can’t see the dust if you come to my house for dinner
Now, I could easily say that I work smarter, not harder (with the exception of the mold in the shower) but the point is, we all do the best we can. We can usually make things livable, but rarely perfect. I did not write this list to put myself down, but rather to keep a firm grip on reality. I can only do what I can do and it is what it is. (Yes, I am going for a cliché record). If my shower was mold free (it will be Thursday) and the meals were homemade, I would be even more off-balance than I already am.
Therefore, I am celebrating the chaos behind the curtain! Please join me in this celebration and share your tricks for keeping it together or giving the appearance that you have it together.
The day after receiving so much traffic from being freshly pressed, thank you Freshly Pressed Gods, I am faced with what to write about. Do I follow in Lori Dyan’s footsteps and discuss the overwhelming, thrilling experience of having 2,000+ hits in a single day? I loved her post, and could certainly discuss the excitement of the day, however, I am going to stick to what I always do, write about what is pounding the hardest in my head and/or heart.
I am humble, grateful and…
I am overwhelmed by a day so filled with love and hope. Yesterday would have been a great day just celebrating 10 years of marriage to my husband. I realize how lucky I am to have a wonderful partner to share in the joys and struggles of life. I know that 10 years would not have happened without him being who he is.
However, in addition, I was given the unique gift of discussing love, marriage and children with so many people yesterday. I was humbled by the kind words people shared about my perspective. But I feel the need for full disclosure: I am not positive and grateful every day. Children and marriage are tough! Some days, I am the crazy lady who closes the windows so the neighbors don’t hear me screaming at the kids. I am the irrational wife who takes out a bad day on her husband by being cranky and hard to please. My blog is called Slightly Off-Balance for a reason – I am on an emotional roller coaster, just like I suspect most people are.
What made yesterday different is that each comment on how important it is to be positive reinforced my resolve, commitment and appreciation of family. Readers yesterday took my feelings and gave them more strength than ever. Even the gentleman who said I might be delusional (I loved his honesty) was a reminder that every day is not Hallmark cards, flowers* and anniversary dinners. I read every comment and will finish responding to each one, not only because I appreciate the time people take to read my thoughts but because I will go back to those comments to get me through the hard days. A hundred plus strangers are now part of my marriage enjoyment/maintenance/survival toolkit – wow, that is a gift. I told my husband last night at dinner that on bad days I am going to read what I wrote yesterday and the subsequent comments to remind me of my priorities.
Now, it wouldn’t be a post from me if there wasn’t a flip side - Things were going so well yesterday that I felt like anything was possible. In addition to the joys I have shared, we had some good news on a business endeavor yesterday, it felt like I was charmed. I was ready to take my luck to Vegas! So as I sat at dinner with my husband last night, drinking too much wine, I started to think that more good things could potentially happen. I got it in my wine and love filled head that my husband was going to propose to me to renew our vows and that he had an anniversary ring. (I am pausing so you can finish laughing). Although I am well aware that it is a bad economy and we had agreed no gifts, I decided he had been planning for so long that it was still possible. I thought the waitress was pushing dessert hard and looking at my husband in a knowing way, I pictured the ring arriving on my dessert plate. I even went as far as texting one of my friends my ludicrous thoughts while my husband was in the bathroom.
You know how the story ends, there was no new ring, no “proposal” and I didn’t even get flowers (pausing to remind myself of appreciation and love), but there was a lot of chuckling when I told my husband of my crazy thoughts. You see, he knows who he is married to, my thoughts did not surprise him or upset him, he looked at me fondly the way we look at our children when they are being insane. That look of amusement and love was almost as good as a new ring…
Thanks for being part of the ride!
and 9 other things that have changed since becoming a mom.
Kids change your life – that will not surprise anyone. They unequivocably impact it for the better. Their unconditional love, wonderment and laughter are gifts to any parent. However, there are few changes in my life that are less desirable. After being a mother for six years, I do not notice the changes very often, but when you notice one, the others become apparent as well.
For me it started with getting dressed this morning. Since I am not still not feeling well, I was looking for something comfy to put on. I reached in the underwear drawer and pulled out a pair that screamed comfort – blue cotton ‘full-butt’. Without thinking I started to cut the fraying elastic band pieces before putting them on. I laughed and thought, ‘oh yeah, my husband bought me new underwear for Christmas and told me to THROW THESE OUT’! So of course, I put them on. The thing is, I don’t wear sexy underwear everyday anymore because comfort and function are more important and, newsflash, I don’t have sex everyday anymore. Hmm, not every week either… This got me to thinking about a few more changes:
- I don’t buy nice furniture. The day I had kids was the day I stopped spending money on furniture they would destroy. When they are older, I will replace the battle weary stuff, but for now, I don’t want to stress over them using the dining room table as a percussion section.
- I think twice about hangovers. Going out on a Saturday night is all fun and games until you have a 3-year-old and 6-year-old that want to have a 7:00 am dance party!
- I shop at Marshalls, Ross and the like. I was a Nordstrom girl before kids and now I just want what’s cheap, especially for my stain attracting kids. My son is the oldest and he had a bunch of Ralph Lauren baby clothes, now he gets Costco and sometimes Wal-Mart.
- I shower at odd hours. I always sleep until at least my kids wake me up (sometime longer thanks to my sweet husband) so I usually have to jump and go into mom or work mode. I try to be showered by 2:00 pm everyday…
- I look for the “clean version” on i-tunes. Once you have been asked, “Mommy, what’s a hoe?”, you realize it’s time to edit the playlists!
- Date nights come dangerously close to urban myth. Not only do you have to get a sitter, etc, you have to not be exhausted from working and parenting to enjoy said date night. The showering and underwear issues have to be taken into account…
- You start to belive in conspiracy theories. For example, I am positive that my kids strategize at night to determine who will wake me and my husband up at what time during the night. They have a beautifully orchestrated plan that gets us up every two hours, yet they pull 10 hours of sleep per night.
- You feel like you’re having sex in your parents house. You never know when a little one is going to come in your room, even if you think they’re sound asleep. Everyone gets signed up for therapy when you hear “Daddy, are you hurting mommy?”
How has your life changed?
Are you ready…
I have a psychic.
I have never believed in these things until a dear friend referred me to this psychic. I have spoken to her twice in the last 4 years and she predicted my daughter’s birth down to a description of her and her personality. She predicted my friend’s twins and other things that one could not be vague enough to guess. She’s the real deal. It drives my husband insane – an admitted side benefit but even he knows she hasn’t been wrong.
I share this because I am a little intuitive (or just another symptom of the craziness) and I feel like something really exciting is brewing in my life and I want my psychic to give me details. I was always the kid that tried to find or guess my presents and if I feel like something good is going to happen, I want to know already!!
So why haven’t I called? I am trying to practice patience and live in the now. I get very focused on goals and the future and am training myself to not miss the present. This is part of balance for me. Live in the present, enjoy my friends and family more and appreciate my blessed life. Instead of working after dinner tonight, like I always do, I built Lincoln Logs (and knocked them down!) with my kids. I skipped a meeting to have lunch with a friend this week – it felt great! I am taking a day off next week to take my kids to visit their godmother/my childhood friend that I don’t see as much as I’d like to. I am not abandoning my job, but I am putting more emphasis on the things that really matter. When I look back in 20 years am I going to remember the deal I closed or the cherished time with loved ones? This also means whatever good thing is coming will get here when it’s time and I will love what’s here now.
For those that know me well, there is a distinct possibility that I will blog about a call with my psychic next week, but I am trying and will be honest if my inner child wins…