I was on the phone with a friend last week and she was frustrated. Her husband was trying to help out by making bacon, but he was burning it. I teased her by saying, you can’t ask him to be more helpful and then criticize him when he tries. She disagreed.
This sparked a conversation of the “life rules”. The ones that we want others to follow, but that we occasionally want to break, such as ’don’t ask for help then criticize it’. So I have decided to publish in writing a “new” set of life rules to use at your discretion when you need life to work in your favor:
- Life IS fair. This means that if something is unfair, you have the right to be upset, cranky and consume chocolate and wine.
- You CAN have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you wash it down with wine.
- You CAN look a gift horse in the mouth. If you don’t like the gift or the strings attached to it.
- Treats others as you would like to treat them. Especially when you’re mad at them, they deserve it or you have run out of chocolate and wine.
- A penny saved is a penny wasted… if there is a sale on shoes!
- Good things come to those who DON’T wait. Carpe diem baby, make things happen, take action!
- If you want something done, don’t give it to a busy person. I am a busy person and can’t handle anymore. Why should the people who aren’t busy get a pass?
And a few that are perfect just the way they are…
- Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned - Two words: Lorena Bobbit.
- Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die - Even if we know we will live for years, eat, drink and be merry!
- Tomorrow is another day - which means I have another opportunity to
be a better momdemonstrate that I am enough.
What other life rules do you love or need revised?
Today was one of those days. I didn’t sleep well last night, thanks to an adorable, yet snoring child in my bed. It was grey and drizzling outside and frankly, I am pms’ing (apologies to my male readers). My plan was to go inward metaphorically. I would hide from the world and maybe even skip yoga because it’s just a crummy day.
Then I got a text from a friend that she’s having a tough week too. I decided the best way I could support her and anyone else having a tough day was to dust off the blog (Oh my! Does anyone have an extra feather duster and some Pledge, because I have been gone too long!) and share the 3 things every
mommy woman person needs. Hopefully, you all know what you need, but consider this a reminder, permission or just a loving nudge to be good to yourself!
- The Real Story – You are awesome, without having to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. If you are, please don’t tell me, I am fragile today. Here’s my shining examples of not being perfect-
- Every mom feels guilt. We were tired so we only read the top sentence of every page of our child’s book (sadly when they learn to read, I have to find other ways to cheat). We tell our kids we left their favorite movie at a friends’ house so we don’t have to hear it AGAIN. (Notice I say hear, because I am guilty of not even watching it)! We pick going to get a massage over watching a ballet practice. I think I have said enough to win mother of the year, I am moving on…
- Every mom yells. Our preschool teacher is amazing, like off the charts patient, kind and creative. AND she has FOUR kids! FOUR! She was recently asked, do you ever raise your voice and she said of course she does. If she says she does, than I know its okay that I do! That is one benefit of rainy days, I know my windows are closed so that my neighbors can’t hear me yelling!
- Every mom gets behind on housework. A note to the working moms – the stay at home moms have laundry piling up too! Even the cleanest houses and those with cleaning ladies have their bad days! (My blog isn’t the only thing that needs dusting…) You can’t perpetually hide the kids’ toys, husband’s junk or pet paraphernalia!
- Pick your poison. We all have our coping mechanism alcohol, caffeine, sugar, carbs. Okay, I pick all of them! There may be people out there who don’t need any of those, but I am not confident enough to be friends with somebody like that, so I choose to think we all have our vices. One mocha Prozac vodka latte please –with whip!
- Pick your distraction. TV (Somebody should give the Nobel Peace prize to the inventor of DVR, because that person keeps the peace in my house), books (Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?!), magazines (I get more than I have time to read, but it’s comforting to know they are there to fill my head with gossip, recipes, fashion and homemaking!). What’s your distraction?
- Pick your escape. Book club, bunko, mom’s group – these all could be bucketed as an excuse to get together and drink wine. Yoga – hmm, add wine and it might be utopia… The point is to find a way to blow off steam and smile!
- The sounding board. You know, the one you call and say, “I am going to kill my kids”, but she doesn’t call CPS (although you might appreciate if she did). Or the one you can call and say “should I be mad at my husband for …”. Or the one you tell, “I really need to pull it together” and she tells you that you don’t have to.
- The one that takes the high road. Just like we need the in-your-corner (even if it’s the corner of crazy and whack job) friend, we need the one who puts it in perspective, plays devil advocate and tries to make you a better person. Let’s be honest, we only call that friend when we’re not afraid of heights. But when we’re capable, the high road reminds us that there are people with bigger problems and helps us find gratitude for our blessed lives. She is also not a mind-reader, so when you tell her to “F” off in your head, she probably can’t hear you, I don’t think…
- The vice connection. She is my personal favorite. When the going gets tough, the tough get cocktails and she’s the gal stirring the drinks! She’ll split the whole chocolate cake with you and insist on opening the second bottle of wine. Who can have bad day while in a sugar induced coma?
The moral of the story- There is someone with a messier house, a shittier day and no wine in the fridge. Call the friend you need, meet her for yoga and have a snickers and cabernet on stand-by. You deserve it. Yes, you!
- Armored Car
- Sling Shot
- Ear Muffs
DefensiveOffensive Driving Handbook
- “I Brake for Crossing Guards” bumper sticker
When preparing for battle, one must have the necessary tools and a solid strategy. Elementary school drop-off is no less than war. The meek do not survive (or their kids are late). Here’s what you need to know:
- Know Your Allies - Some inexperienced soldiers think that the crossing guard is the enemy, since she can bring a group of over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, stressed out parents to a grinding halt with her long-range stop sign. Wrong people! She keeps our kids safe at frequent risk to herself! Make friends with her, smile and wave every morning, give her extra space and give her an eye contact check before proceeding. The next thing you know, she will let you slide by, before she allows the 5 minute parade of scooters, bikes and strollers.
- Know Your Enemies – They are any parent who thinks their kid is more important than yours or that where they are headed next trumps your next destination. They park to close to the right hand turn into school, blocking traffic and requiring you to make crazy swerving maneuvers to get around them. Another enemy is anyone who disregards the crossing guard – shoot them dirty looks. If possible, use a bull horn to shame them publicly. In dire circumstances (or with the repeat offenders) do not be afraid to sling shot your cold Starbucks at their car***. Hey, your coffee wouldn’t be cold, if they followed the program.
- Practice Offensive Driving – I use my large SUV (or armored car as I call it from 7:40 – 7:55 am) as a child safety device. I purposely drive 25 mph (the speed limit in a school zone!!) to slow down the other speed demons who are a danger to the kids. If they tail gate me, I slow down to 23 mph. It’s “offensive” driving because I find their disregard for children’s safety offensive.
- Set The Example – My elementary school actually has quite a well-thought out drop-off plan that works when people respect it. Set the example, work with the program, not against us. Drop your kid and keep moving, don’t stop to chat while taking space for another little pumpkin trying to get out of the car safely. Take notice that the darling children who open your car door to let your kids out say ‘have a nice day’ every. single. time. Thank them! And tell those sweets kids to have a nice day too!
- Have a Back-Up Plan – There are days… oh there are days… when the enemy pushes you too far. What you normally refer to as ‘silly drivers’ in front of your children starts to sound more like an Ice-T album. Just use the ear muffs! Don’t let your child hear you lose it! If you forget the ear muffs, crank your radio and try to swear under your breath.
- Believe in Karma – I believe in karma and know that karma hangs out with the sheriff and CHP. One of those three musketeers will catch up with the insane drivers.
In a delightful twist of demon driving fate, I just opened the following email from our principal:
“Please remember to be courteous to students, parents, and staff when picking up your children. It is inevitable that you will have to sit in traffic during drop off or pick up. We ask for your kindness and patience during these times.”
I love our principal, she is a charming lady who carries herself with class and tact. Her message is perfect and reminds me why I am not the principal, because I would have sent the following:
“It is freaking alarming that some parents show such a blatant disregard for the safety of others. To those parents that think their time is more valuable than others, think again. If you have a legitimate time constraint, arrive at school earlier! Remember, the person you cut off today may turn out to be the one hosting your child for a playdate tomorrow or teaching your child to read in class while you’re causing mayhem on the road!
***Because the world is a ridiculously litigious place, I must inform you that this post is for entertainment purposes only. I do not encourage or condone any acts of violence or vandalism towards another motorist, even the stupid and selfish ones. Follow the law! Especially the one that tells you to drive 25 mph in a school zone and obey all traffic rules!
I love massages. I love the fluffy robes, arriving early for the sauna and steam room and drinking the spiked water (spiked with citrus fruit or pineapple – what’s in your massage water?)
I consider myself a connoisseur of massages. But scheduling a great massage requires some planning. I don’t have time in my day for any more planning. Therefore I usually end up waiting until I feel like a human pretzel and look like the hunchback of Notre Dame before trying to get on the schedule at one of my favorite place. It goes something like this:
“Hi, I’d like to schedule a massage”
“Great, when would you like to come in?”
“Um, we’re pretty booked up, can you do 2:00?”
“No, that’s the one time I can’t do. Could you squeeze me at 11:00 am”?
“I’m sorry ma’am*, we completely booked, perhaps another day?”
I think to myself: Another day?! I am in pain and need to be unpretzeled immediately, otherwise, chop me up and serve me with mustard!
*Ma’am?! I have never smoked, I don’t have a gravely voice, nor do I have a soft or meek voice, I sound “average aged” in my opinion. Could you please call me miss or chick or senorita?! Uh-oh, is my “average aged getting older”? I digress…
When my dreams of massage are massacred and I am faced with not needing to dress up for Halloween, I usually just resort to Advil and wine. (Don’t judge, it’s later in the day in Europe!)
But now I have a new option…
The economy massage businesses that ar popping everywhere. You know- massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing and without the fluffy robes, sauna and fruity water. They look like a nail salon, sound like a nail salon and well, smell like a nail salon. Which means… yep a nail salon with a back room.
I am leery of such places, but many of my friends has been raving about the new place (including a conservative friend in law enforcement), so I decide to go for it…
I approach the notion of the econo-massage place with the mantra, it’s cheap, you get what pay for so I set my expectations low.
I called to make an appointment. They were wide open, could see me whenever I would like.
Should this be a red flag? Nah, it’s cheap!
I get there and it really does smell like nail polish remover..
But it’s cheap!
She takes me to a private room. This is actually a surprise to me, some places use a common area.
Cheap, but private, cool!
She tells me to take my clothes off (she does not say disrobe).
I think of the seedy “happy ending massage parlor” stories and decide I will be leaving my underwear on thank you very much. (I would ditch them at the comfy robe
She leaves the room and when she comes back she is someone else. This seems odd to me.
But, hey it’s cheap.
She put on music.
Wow, nice touch for a cheap place.
She starts the massage and two minutes later she leaves.
Huh? Massage code clearly dictates that once you start, you don’t stop. If you have a runny nose, wipe it on your sleeve. If you have to pee, hold it. If you’re coughing, suck on a hot stone, but keep on rubbin’.
She comes back four minutes later.
This may be cheap, but I better get my 4 minutes!
It starts off fine, but never feels like it gets past the light touch warm-up.
This may be cheap, but dig into my sore muscles!
She asks how I am doing so I ask for more pressure.
“Later” she says.
It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap.
The door opens and I hear my masseuse and another woman arguing in another language. After TWO minutes, I lift my head up to glare at the women destroying my escape time and it’s the woman who walked me in! I can only speculate there was some client stealing going on. As I stare, they continue to argue. When I say, “really?!”, it ends.
Cheap massage, cheap massage.
Then “later” hits… As I lay on my stomach, SHE CLIMBS ON ME.
Her knees are digging into the back of my knees, she is putting all of her weight on my back with her hands. I have gone from human pretzel to human jungle gym (something I am quite used to… with my kids, not strangers!)
It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap.
Then I hear a metal on metal sound as she begins walking on my back. I have heard this is a common technique, but how did I not notice the bars on the ceiling? At least then I wouldn’t have been caught off guard?!
It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap!
As I lay there, I think, how did my conservative friend (and others) fail to mention the acrobatics?! Fluffy robe and sauna, hell, I would settle for somebody on the ground!
When the massage ends, I flip my head up to make sure I got my extra minutes and I had. She leaves the room and I decide this will be my last econo-massage.
So what do I do when it’s time to pay for the interrupted, arguing, climbing all over me massage? I tip her generously, because I am sucker and leave.
Bottom line, busy moms who like fluffy robes, fruity water and massages done with hands should make an appointment in advance and treat it like a hair appointment – let nothing including sick kids get in their way!
I recently had the
pleasure privilage misfortune occassion of being called for jury duty. In all of my previous juror summons I was released the night before, including the time I forgot to call and was lucky that I was released and did not face a bench warrant. (Although secretly, I would like to play up my bad girl image just a tad – do bad girls say tad?)
I am truly very interested in serving as a juror. I am fascinated by the process and the cases. My dilemma, as with all things in my life, is the luxury of time. If I miss work, my work does not magically disappear, it waits for my return. (Thoughtful and gracious my job is, huh?) I imagine a time in the future when I don’t work as much, the kids are less dependent and then I can bask in the Perry Masonesque experience. (This may coincide with the time that I will be able to use a handicapped parking placard due to my advanced age).
As I sat in the parking lot watching people walk in and progress through the metal detectors, I felt a familiar tightness in my chest. It felt like… the pressures and stress of parenting. I immediately whipped my head around to ensure that I had not inadvertently brought a kid with me that should be somewhere else. Thankfully the car seats and boosters were empty, but my neck did hurt from whiplash. (I have accidentally had unsuspecting stow-aways in the past, but that story is for another time).
After spending the morning in one of the little courtrooms in my small town, I began to understand why it felt like parenting…
- You’re asked to pass judgment on something you did not witness. You’re given two sides to the story, but each side has different perspective and has the ability to lie. And thus we have the daily life of a parent.
- Weapons are prohibited because the temptation to use them can be high. Has anyone ever thought of putting a metal detector in my house around 5:00 pm on any weekday night? Don’t bother- I know how to make a shank out of a Crayola.
- Almost anyone can serve on a jury or be a parent, but not everybody should. I live in a unique county that is a blend of affluent people, average folks and backwoods country characters. Despite the written reminder, the simple dress code of ‘no shorts, no tank tops and must wear shoes’ was broken by several prospective jurors. There was even a fascinating gal who took the strategy of sharing with everyone that she had a mental disorder that would get her off of serving on a jury. But if that did not work out, she planned to stop registering with the Department of Motor Vehicles or renewing her license, but she did state that she would, of course, still drive. You can see where I would question the appropriateness of this woman upholding our laws.
- There’s other people telling you how to do it, when you really just want to go with your gut. Think of the millions of parenting books out there. Do you know which ones I follow- Betty Crocker and The Idiots Guide to Bartending. If chocolate and booze won’t make me a good parent, I find it hard to believe anything else will. As for being a juror, I consider myself a balanced, objective person – give me two seconds to look at the defendant and I’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt if they’re innocent – or at least well dressed.
- Your time is not your own. My kids run my schedule, unless I am at jury duty. At jury duty I can be forced to sit quietly (the quietly part is especially tough) for hours before I am told that my vacation interferes with the length of the trial and that I will be summoned again within 60 days. You know what this means…
Numbers 6 -10 on why jury duty is like parenting are not far off!
Aside from the fact that this post may dash any political ambitions I might have, what do you think about jury duty? Would you rather parent your kids after a birthday party double-header the day after Halloween or sit on a jury for a civil claims litigation?
I volunteer in my son’s second grade classroom every other Monday morning. I think it is important to be present in my son’s education. I appreciate the opportunity to witness what he is learning, and how is learning, in order to be consistent at home. Our teachers have the critical task of educating our future leaders and I want to support them in their efforts.
All of the above is true…
But let’s get real…
I want to observe my son’s classmates to determine who are appropriate play dates! As I help the teachers, I envision each of the kids coming over…
If I see this in class…
I envision this…
If I experience this,
I imagine, I will have a playdate that goes like this…
Parenting is tough, I want to keep my son from having friends like…
At least not until he’s old enough for me to enjoy the trouble with him!
What ways do you weed out the Eddie Haskells and Dennis the Menaces?
I am in Seattle on a business trip. This is such a frequent occurrence, that I might be better off telling you when I am home. Most nights, I go back to my hotel, eat dinner on my bed and work. Hey! I pull the sheets up, stop worrying about crumbs in the bed! Furthermore, why are we discussing my bed?!
Last night was different. I went over to the mall for a little retail therapy. Well, based on my husband’s voice it may have been more than a little retail therapy… Let’s just say my credit fraud alert kicked in – no joke. Wells Fargo literally shut me down as I was trying to purchase a coat at Nordstrom. (I assure you I overcame this obstacle!) I share this much detail because it is fairly exciting that I was even in Nordstrom. When I had kids, I gave up Nordstrom for Old Navy. But let me tell you, Nordstrom and I are old friends and picked up right where we left off…
I digress. Big shopping night out blah blah blah… this post is not about Mama still knows how to shop –
she does I do (third person is weird)! This post is about Mama’s still got IT. You know, IT… getting picked up on!
I was standing in Macy’s trying on coats. I was admittedly trying to find a cheaper version of the Nordstrom coat I had already purchased – yes I do weird, time-wasting stuff like that! I was looking in the mirror and saw a young guy standing behind me, I turned around because he seemed like he was going to say something.
Pause. When I say young, I mean young. No 5:00 shadow (and it was 7:00) and he might have been 25, maybe…
Anyhow, when I turned around, I startled him. He stammered a bit and said, ‘oh, I am sorry…’ I asked him if he thought I was an employee and he stammered some more. He said he thought I had a name tag. I said there were plenty of sales women floating around and turned back to my coats.
He didn’t leave and again looked like he was going to say something, so I turned back around. He stammered again and then asked if I worked around here.
Here’s the thing, I am shy. STOP LAUGHING, I really am. I rely on the other person to lead the conversation in a stranger situation like this. I knew he was trying to make small talk and it was so
unsettling embarassing to me that I began to stammer. I said, ‘no, I live in California, well, yes I sort of work near here when I am in town’. Shut up Paige and think of how to mention your husband! I turn my body a bit so my ring finger is showing, hoping that will send him on his merry, young boy, way, but he doesn’t seem to catch on. Now I am even more embarrassed so I turn back to the mirror and he still stays! AWKWARD!! I want to just blurt out, ‘I am married!’ But I don’t want to seem presumptuous because maybe he was just admiring my coat for his age appropriate girlfriend.
He then asks ‘if you’re from California, why shop here? Isn’t the shopping in California great?’ BAM – opportunity! I turn back to him, smile sweetly and say, ‘I have two young children and shopping is so much more fun without them!’ I then turn back to the coats.
A millisecond later, he was gone!
So mama’s still got it. She doesn’t know how to use it and doesn’t want to. She’s uncomfortable with having it and hopes that nice young boys do not target her for being their personal Mrs. Robinson.
I know you still have it, tell me a story about your IT!
I am a professional. I am a mother. I am human and need a coping mechanism, for life’s normal stresses. I have tried cocktails, sweets, exercise, retail therapy, gossip, movies and have done many of these things at the same time!
Below are a few words of wisdom that I either personally learned or discovered through a friend. Stress is unavoidable, but follow these lessons to get the most goodness and least ill-effects form a popular mommy coping method – cocktails!
- Beer and Poptarts will cure a hangover brought on by Jager and Root Beer
- If you run our of shot glasses, a belly button makes a good substitute
- Using reusable ice cubes is far more acceptable than putting ice that can melt into your white wine
- If you suspect your friend is drunk, but there is no alcohol in sight, give her a second hug and take a deep breath. You can’t hide the smell.
- If you stupidly decide to give up alcohol during the week unless you’re with friends, start returning dishes, kids clothes or anything else you can find. When they invite you in for glass of wine, it would be rude to say no…
- Liquor is a requirement for karaoke, either for the singer or the listeners, but everyone can’t be sober.
- Wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.
What lessons can you share?
Or, at a minimum, I am hanging out with 4 Bad Mommies today, as a guest blogger. Although, I’ll tell you a secret: they’re not bad mommies. They’re honest, funny and definitely worth a visit.
Come over and check out Why I Am Glad School is Almost Out!
I had just finished getting dressed. I was feeling good, because although I have gained a few pounds from business trips, vacation and Lent being over, I could still button my shorts. Some may say I set the bar low, but when you like food as much as I do, hoping for shorts that button is sometimes aggressive.
My son walked in and said, “Mommy, what’s on your shirt”? I looked at my shirt thinking there might be a stain or a hole, but saw nothing.
“Honey, where, what are you talking about?”
He drags his cute little hand across my mid section – you know, the gut area, and says, “This, what is this?”
Shorts buttoning doesn’t guarantee there will be no “leakage” – why can chubby boobs falling out of tops be cute, but muffin top is not? When is muffin top coming into style?! And although, I will usually be my own worst critic, the muffin top was not bad (on this day, in these shorts, with this shirt).
“Honey, that is mommy’s tummy pushing against the waistband of her shorts. As you get older it is harder to have a flat stomach (my son has an 8-pack)”.
My son giggles a little, “Why is it harder to have a flat stomach”?
“Well, honey because grown-ups don’t have as much time to play and get exercise. You ride bikes, swim and play outside all day. You get plenty of exercise. Mommy has to try to make time in her day for exercise.”
Here’s the part I didn’t say out loud:
See if I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more time to exercise too. And if I wasn’t your typical stressed mother of young children, I wouldn’t need wine and cocktails and chocolate.
Actually, that’s a lie. If I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more wine and cocktails and would still find things to do besides exercise, like read, write and take naps.
Back to the conversation.
“So if you get enough exercise, your shirt doesn’t look like that?”
Now here’s the part where I should be that great mom, that thinks about promoting healthy body image and fitness over appearance. But I was on an emotional roller coaster. Starting on that high of my shorts buttoned, then slammed down to “What is that?”.
I dug deep, looking for the good mommy who makes this a positive lesson…
“Honey, let’s stop talking about Mommy’s fat and get going”.
Yep, that was all I could muster.
I’ll try harder next time.
And I’ll eat healthier. And drink less. And work out more.
Or just buy bigger shorts.