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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

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!

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A Busy Mom’s “Guide” to Pumping Gas

October 21, 2011 17 comments

I have decided to introduce a new series within my blog – “A Busy Mom’s Guide to…”  As a busy mom, I make daily trade-offs to get things done, keep my sanity and have a little fun amidst the chaos.  Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom (or a busy dad or just a busy person) you know perfection is not realistic, so I plan to celebrate my less than perfect moments through this series.

When you see a busy mom’s guide title pop up you can expect that I will share an “alternative view” on how every day tasks are accomplished, I will even provide a handy “necessary tools list” at the beginning of each post (consider it a warning of the insanity to follow).  Let me know what you think…

My inaugural busy mom guide will be to pumping gas:

List of Tools for Pumping Gas

  • Pajamas
  • Breathmints
  • Hairbrush
  • A bra
  • A willing stranger

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I took my son to school in my jammies, thinking who would see me…  I don’t have to get out of the car and I can head straight home to get ready.

This plan was working fine, I dropped my son off, waved to friends and nobody was the wiser thanks to a big pair of sunglasses and being strapped into a car.

Then I got a text from my nanny, letting me know that she was running late.  I realized that she might not have time to get gas in my car before taking my daughter to gymnastics “jumping class” so I thought that I would go to Safeway and get gas. Again, who would see me…

As I am pushing buttons to get the pump going, a friend drives by on her way to Starbucks and texts me, “nice boxers”.

I set the pump up and jump back in the car to stay warm, but I am smart, I frequently open the window to make sure I hear the gas pumping.

I finally jump out to check my progress and have pumped six bucks worth of gas in a large SUV and realize that I was listening to the person’s pump across from me…

I panic, wondering why the pump didn’t keep going… did I accidentally use diesel?  No, we’re good. Again, I am smart…

So I start to fill it manually and it still acts like I am topping off the tank.  Being a responsible parent, with my daughter in the car, I put the pump back, end the transaction, start the car and check the gage – ¼ tank – WTF?

I start the whole process over again.

It still keeps shutting on and off.  Damn! I am cold, I reek of gasoline and have been out in my pajamas entirely too long.

I see a guy at a nearby pump and ask him for help – he has seen me struggle and smiles.

He thinks my trouble is because Safeway doesn’t clean their valves very often, so he pumps my gas (that’s the guide advice – did you catch it – have strangers help you).  He also comments on the pjs – “nice shorts”, I blush and explain that I was dropping my son off at school.  He tries to make me feel better by explaining that he did the same thing – yet he is in jeans and a t-shirt!

As I am chatting with him, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in my window.  I still have the ponytail I fell asleep in the night before – aka a rat’s nest that resembles hair.  Would carrying a brush in my car be so hard?  The thought of the hairbrush makes me think about toothbrushes and I realize, I didn’t even brush my teeth!  Not that I am trying to impress my gas pumping savior, but a little hygiene is simple common courtesy.  How do I get a mint out of the car without leaving him to do my dirty work?

As we’re standing there, I get a chill, which reminds me I have no bra on!  I am in a flimsy tank top and an old sweat shirt.  Where is that killer bra my friend Lori has when I need it?!  Knowing her she has an extra one in her pocket!  I think to myself, “Great, I have a rat nest hairdo, bad breath and “headlights”, this poor guy will never buy gas here again!

At this point, I have developed such a complex that I am practically fidgeting.  I feel bad that he was helping me and being subjected to my aforementioned issues, so I called it quits at ¾ of a tank.

It’s times like these that I miss full serve!

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...

Volunteer or Controlling Mom?

October 18, 2011 4 comments

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…

or 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?

Imagine a messier life?

September 15, 2011 11 comments

Imagine you were given the gift of four days to tune out all other distractions and focus on your passions, your hopes and dreams.

Suppose you were supported by a group of strangers who are now dear friends.  These people helped identify roadblocks to your dreams AND ways to bust through them.

Picture sitting in a beach community being encouraged to chase your dreams and live your life on your terms and by your personal priority list. 

Between the sounds of seagulls and waves crashing you hear people saying ‘go for it’, ‘you can do it’ and ‘you deserve it’.

No, I did not have a wonderful dream, sustain a head injury or consume too many cocktails at book club.  (That was all the week before! 😉

Last weekend, I lived this experience.  I spent four days in Santa Barbara, attending the Life Launch program I told you about.  This program gave to me what I hope to give to others; a sense that you’re not alone, that people are in your corner, that anything is possible.  It focused on the good in each person and supported each person’s life journey.  I was reminded this weekend that everyone is slightly off-balance; that we all have fears and obstacles, but with the right support, we can do great things.  This weekend was a prelude to a coaching certification I hope to obtain, when the time in my life is right. 

That time for that certification maybe now, if I can figure out how to juggle work, family and an intense 8 months program that requires 10-12 hours per week.  Stop laughing!  Or at least bring it down to a giggle.  I know, ‘where I am going to find the time’?  If I do this, will I miss more soccer practices, ballet or my own yoga classes?  Will my husband forget that I even knew how to cook dinner? (Hmm… this might be a benefit).  Will I completely disappear from this blog  – I have already been delinquent as of late.  Will people think I am selfish for adding something else that is about me?  Will the mold in my showers run rampant?  Will I start to wear dirty clothes and stop washing my hair?  Okay, I already don’t wash my hair that often… Life would certainly get messier.    But maybe a messier life is a fuller life.  Maybe, messy is good.  You can’t argue with the fact that an empty room may be clean, but is empty, whereas a messy room is full of living; mementos of life’s adventures.  (Do you think my husband will buy any of this?)

These are all questions I have to answer, but my gut is telling me to give it a shot.  I have a little more research to do and I’ll keep you posted.  But I’ll make you a promise, I may have less time to blog, but I’ll try to post the messy pictures! 😉

Twas The First Day of School

August 10, 2011 6 comments
T’was the first day of school and all through the home
The kids were ready; teeth brushed and hair combed
 
When the alarm clocks when off, I was prepared for the worst
I pictured cranky, slow-moving kids who might possibly burst
 
But they wore the clothes they laid out and ate breakfast with haste
The consumed what I served, no meals went to waste
 
I planned to arrive early, but secretly just hoped not to be late
So when I yelled put your shoes on, to my surprise, they were great!
 
They stood by the door, shoes on, ready to go.
It was me who was lagging, I had to look good, you know.
 
Dear son’s now a second-grader, so he played it cool
Little diva has one more year til she attends brother’s “big school”
 
We stepped on to campus with 25 minutes to spare
There was time for “how was your summer? and “did you cut your hair”?
 
We said hi to his former teachers and all our of our friends
On mornings like this you’re glad summer does end.
 
Dear son loves his new teachers and had a great day
He set up his desk, did some math and lots of play
 
With school in we have routine and need not invent so much fun,
But that also means now, I am again, on the run.
 
With school comes homework – both his and mine
Then there is soccer practice, dinner and early bedtime
 
So while I’d love to tell you more about the great day that we had
I must pull dinner out of the oven, and be on time to practice, being late is normal looks bad.
 

I’m a Bad Mommy

May 31, 2011 2 comments

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!