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Peanut Butter Shame and Logistical Juggling

March 11, 2015 4 comments

I often say that the hardest part of my world is juggling logistics.  It’s not getting my work done or being a mother; it’s juggling the two without missing a work deadline, leaving a child behind or forgetting a birthday present while pretending to be sane.  I make very detailed plans for each day and if one thing goes wrong, the house of cards will fall.  Here’s what happens when things go wrong:

This is what my morning plan was (with a few small edits):

  • 5:45 am Wake up (aka check email on my phone, look for meetings changes and check Facebook to see whose birthday I forgot)
  • 6:00 am Begrudgingly get out of bed (Daylight savings is killing me)
  • 6:00 – 6:45 7:00 Shower and get dressed Put out work dire drills that I was too tired to deal with the night before (Daily showers are a luxury, so are showers with privacy)
  • 6:45 – 7:00 7:00-7:05 Get the kids up with loving tones and positive affirmation Start with kisses and loving tones, realize it is fruitless, switch to mommy voice and physically drag the kids out of their warm beds that I desperately want to climb into
  • 7:05 – 7:30 Make breakfast, make lunches, physically dress my daughter to speed things up, attempt to clean-up messes from these activities
  • 7:30-7:50 Drive carpool to school
  • 7:50-9:00 Gym (To keep this mamma sane!)
  • 9:00-11:00 Buy new shorts for son’s lacrosse game, food for school fundraiser, two birthday gifts and hair barrettes.  List requires three different stores
  • 11:00 – 4:30 – Cram in my full time job in 5.5 hours since the husband is out of the country on business travel (but I think he is on all expense paid break from Crazyville) and the nanny leaves at 4:30

This was a doable day, until things went wrong…

As I pulled out of the garage to drive the kids to school, I realized it was raining.  This meant after school sports would be cancelled and carpools jumbled. (Note in my list above I was not picking up any kids from school)  As I pulled up to pick up the first carpool kid, I asked my son if he had his phone so that I could text him the new plan once I mooched off my village to make a new one. Today he had no phone.  His excuse was since I had taken video games away for the week, he assumed he wasn’t supposed to bring his phone (aka he saw no purpose in having it with him).

After picking up the first kid, we went back home to get the phone.  My son runs in and is back in under a minute (love that fast kid!).  But if you know the story “If You Give a Cat A Cupcake”, well that is actually the story of my life.  As I put the car in reverse, my daughter says, if we’re getting brother’s phone, than I want my umbrella.  I will spare you the next 5 minutes of your life where she tells her brother, with conviction, where her umbrella is not. 6 gray hairs later, we’re en route to the next pick up. As I drive, I congratulate myself that because we leave earlier enough, this little detour will not make the kids late for school.  That’s when the silly putty really hits the fan-

Rainy day means the kids eat inside. Which means no peanut butter in lunches.

You already know what I packed my son for lunch, right?

At that moment, my son was carrying the one thing the teacher has forbidden due to severe allergies in the class, the one thing that makes me an insensitive, absent-minded and dangerous parent, yet the ONLY source of protein my son will eat that does not require a heating element – the dreaded PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH!

I immediately start reworking the morning in my head to make time to swap out his lunch before lunch time (otherwise known as the looming hour of parental shame).  I tell my son not to open his Tupperware of non-weather checking, lazy lunch-making mommy shame and that I will bring him something else in time (or, I thought, I will simply head for the border).

I pick up the final kid, beg for afternoon carpool help and speed off drive with caution based on inclement weather.

I drop the kids and the umbrella off and head to the gym to think through this day on a treadmill and because it is the closet place to get water since I have had no breakfast (I really wanted to order the fitness omelet at the gym but who has time for that when you need to run errands and make the lunch swap before I am called into the principal’s office?!).

While on the treadmill at a slower pace than normal (because frankly my heart was already racing and the adrenaline was burning my water breakfast) I calmly desperately decide that I would have to combine errands and attempt a one stop shop. So I set off for Target of course, thinking it would be my salvation.

They have birthday gifts, hair barrettes, food and some version of athletic shorts. But as I look through the pocketless shorts (because you can’t have boys pants’ing each other on the Lacrosse field)  I realize I am doomed.  They simply won’t work.  If I try to make them work, I will be driving to the sporting goods store the night before the game with two tired children in tow.  I’d rather be called into the principal’s office about the sandwich.  The sporting goods store requires jumping on the freeway in rush hour.  It also means that I can’t buy the groceries, because I want them to stay cold.  I relied on my trusty motto of wisdom and grace when faced with a daunting logistical situation – “F-IT” (Which is short for just go and deal with the next problem when it hits.)

I checkout with barrettes and questionable birthday gifts and make record time to the sporting goods store, buy several pairs of shorts that I say I will return later, but won’t, and as I am checking out the next problem hits-

My cleaning lady calls to say she is at my house – an hour early.  (Now I realize this is a first world problem and I am very fortunate for all of my problems, but again, this post is about logistics, not if I am deserving of sympathy or an involuntary psychiatric hold.)  I barrel back towards home and the logistical nuances start piling un.  My son’s sheets are still in the dryer, I have left clean laundry on the dining room table (that they need to dust, decrumbed and eradicate peanut butter residue from), I can’t stop at the grocery store that I will drive right by, I still have to do a lunch swap.  It’s 10:00 and I have an 11:00 conference call for work.  At this point, I am counting the drive home as additional cardio.

I race in, let the cleaning lady in and flip on the oven to make a more appropriate lunch for my son (aka frozen mini tacos in a thermos).  I decide I’ll swing by the grocery store on my way home from my son’s school and then the day will be back on track (minus the lack of shower).  But it’s 10:18 and I have a conference call in 42 minutes!

Now at this point I contemplate abandoning operation lunch swap, I could call the school, explain what happened and ask them to put my son in isolation to get his protein fix.  But some of those kids with peanut allergies are my friends’ children.  I strive to be a model supporter of peanut allergies.  I take extra precautions when having peanut allergy kids over, because I really care and don’t want to be the cause of any epi-pen parties.  I also can’t take away my ten year old son’s rainy day fun of Heads Up Seven Up (Do they still even lay that???) and have him sent to school Siberia.  So I could just skip the grocery store and deal with that logistic later.  But that plan had already backfired a few times, so I put an end to the logistical juggle-

I declined the conference call.  Some days work must come first, but sometimes I have to surrender to the chaos of life and know when I have been beat.

I calmly drove to school and when I walked in the office, my son’s teacher was standing there.  I told her why I had come and asked if she wanted a PB&J for lunch.  She said while my trip wasn’t necessary, she appreciated me taking the welfare of the other students seriously.  There were a few jokes about the weatherman and then I headed to the classroom to make the swap.  Because it was recess, I then went to the playground and told my son the new carpool plan, told him he had a new lunch and walked away feeling more at ease.

From school I went to the grocery store and contemplated one more errand, but decided it was time to head home and try to catch the last part of my work call.

When I arrived home, I raced to my computer to login and saw that the call had been cancelled.  In all my logistical juggling I had missed that email.  Now I had time to make my first meal of the day. And you know what they say-

If you give a mom a meal, she is going to want a shower to go with it.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

7 Life Rules You Need in Writing

May 23, 2012 4 comments

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:

  1. Life IS fair.  This means that if something is unfair, you have the right to be upset, cranky and consume chocolate and wine.
  2. You CAN have your cake and eat it too.  Especially if you wash it down with wine.
  3. You CAN look a gift horse in the mouth. If you don’t like the gift or the strings attached to it.
  4. 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.
  5. A penny saved is a penny wasted… if there is a sale on shoes!
  6. Good things come to those who DON’T wait.  Carpe diem baby, make things happen, take action!
  7. 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…

  1. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – Two words: Lorena Bobbit.
  2. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die – Even if we know we will live for years, eat, drink and be merry!
  3. Tomorrow is another day – which means I have another opportunity to be a better mom demonstrate that I am enough.

What other life rules do you love or need revised?

The Compliment That Almost Broke My Heart

My husband and I went together to drop my daughter off at preschool last Friday.  We don’t typically go together, but it was the end of a long week and we thought it would be fun.  As we were walking back to our car, one of the other moms stopped us as she was walking in.

“You two are so cute, coming together!  I don’t know how you do it, you both work full-time, but you’re always smiling, you’re very involved with your sweet kids and I can only imagine that your house is amazing.  And you, Paige, look great”.  My husband I both started laughing in disbelief. I glanced down at my short, average body and glanced back at her tall slender frame and thought she must usually wear glasses.

“Just hide in my house for a day and you’ll see why I always say, ‘don’t look behind the curtain’.  You’ll hear me yelling, you’ll see the messes and you’ll figure out that I am crazy, but thank you, you are very kind”, I said as we headed to the car.

That brief interaction sent me into a tail spin.  I started mentally listing, by category, all of my faults and short comings:

Positive and Smiling?

  • I typically only use the F word when I am upset.  I use the F word daily, multiple times per day.
  • My best friend thinks I should pay her as much as I pay my therapist.
  • When it comes to parenting, I have been asked to write a book… on what not to do!

Amazing House?

  • If the kitchen cabinets aren’t re-done soon, the house may be condemned
  • There is always mold in my shower!
  • I am better at math than decorating, and I barely passed high school math.

This list continued as I walked back into the house.  By the time I sat down to my computer to work.  I was on the edge of a melt down.  I felt like a fake.  How could this high energy, fit, sweet mom be praising me?!  I decided to write this blog post on how upset I was to be given praise that I didn’t deserve.

Then the most magical thing happened…

Before I could start this post, I checked my email.  In my inbox was a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Gardner.  The post was entitled, ‘Today Call me Enough’, as she was guest posting on the blog, “Just Be Enough“.  Hello?!  Before you even visit the blog, which you should, the title should be smacking you in the face – it left a big nasty red mark on my cheek!  Here’s the magical part… I read it and stopped making my ‘why that sweet mom is crazy and I don’t have it together’ list.

I have decided the appropriate response to the sweet mom at preschool is thank you

Thank you for recognizing that I work full-time but make parenting my priority.  Thank you for pointing out, when I couldn’t see it, that I do a pretty damn good job of juggling it all most of the time.  Thanks for not expecting me to be perfect, even though I sometimes am crazy enough to expect that of myself.  I have tons of help from my husband and others, but I do the best I can.  It’s not perfect, but it’s enough

It’s interesting, I have no trouble listing my failures and flaws on this blog.  I use humor to mask the negative feelings, but at the end of the day, I am comfortable being truthful if it helps others feel “normal”.  It’s much harder for me to share my accomplishments and pride.  I thought about creating a second list of all the great things I do, but find it too hard to “brag”.

Why is it so much easier to focus on the negative instead of celebrating the positive?  I always push friends and family to celebrate their strengths, I tell them not to be so hard on themselves.  I marvel at their greatness, but I am relentless in measuring myself.  I think many of us fall into this camp.  We push ourselves so hard to be perfect, to succeed and ultimately just drive ourselves crazy… or to drink… or to chocolate. 

Since Friday, when I have felt ambition or perfectionism getting the best of me and when I set my intention at yoga on Saturday, it was simply, “Just Be Enough” and you know what, I already am.  On the days when I’m ‘not enough’ or ‘slightly off balance’, it’s still enough, but with extra amusement.

Do you want to do something brave?  Do you want to help me be brave?  Comment on this post with one of your strengths or one proud moment.  Did you make an amazing dinner?  Did you rock the project at work?  Did you finally catch up on your laundry (at least for one day)?  Did you get some quality time with your kids?

Need more inspiration?  Watch this short video from Brene Brown about the Gifts of Imperfection and being enough.  I am currently reading her books and her work is resonating with me. 

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for being amazing just the way you are.

3 Things Every Mommy Needs

April 25, 2012 7 comments

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!

  1. 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!

2. Vices

  • 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!

3. Friendship

  • 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!

A Busy Mom’s Guide to School Drop-Off

October 27, 2011 18 comments

Necessary Tools:

  • Armored Car
  • Sling Shot
  • Bull-Horn
  • Ear Muffs
  • Defensive Offensive 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!

Fluffy Robe Lover Meets Econo-Massage

October 26, 2011 11 comments

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?”

“Today please”

“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 joints establishments.

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. 

WTF?!

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!

Categories: Humor, Life, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

5 Ways Jury Duty is Like Parenting

October 20, 2011 6 comments

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

 

Turns out my parenting skills may be transferable to jury foreman...