I Forget

Mom, you forgot the cheese on my sandwich!

Mom, why didn’t you pack my water bottle?

Mom, I needed that permission slip today and you didn’t send it.

Mom, you promised you’d do laundry today so my shorts would be clean.

I’m not perfect.  I’m not organized.  In all honesty, I’m barely staying afloat.  I forget cheese and I forget to send snacks.  I forget who has practice on Monday and who has it on Thursday.

Things like water bottles and buying birthday gifts for that party on Saturday (that we just got the invite to on Thursday) often slip under my radar.  Permission slips get lost in the sea of papers that come home from school every Friday.  Laundry?  I’ll get around to it when all the uniforms are dirty and underwear needs to be recycled.

Your heart sinks when the kiddos remind you of something you have forgotten.  You kick yourself every time you get that email from a teacher asking if you signed that math test or if you saw that permission slip.  Your blood boils a bit when you are making that late night run to the grocery store because you completely missed that you have snack duty the next day.

You tell yourself that one of these days you will get your shit together.  You buy calendars and you make message boards.  You download the right apps for your smart phone.  This is the week you say I won’t forget anymore.

But you do.

You still forget.

After a few days you forget to use the message boards that you hung in your kitchen.  You forget you even have the apps on your phone and tablet.  You find yourself still forgetting the little things.

The little things that seem huge in the moment, but once you move on you realize that those small moments aren’t the things that really matter.

You start to think about all the things that you don’t forget. Things like:

Birthdays and concerts.

Ball games and spelling bees and art shows.

Those three really long nights in the hospital with a cranky baby.

Who likes green beans and who prefers corn.

When each baby took their first steps and uttered their first words.

Broken legs and the number of stitches on their chins.

The look of excitement in their eyes as they experienced their first fireworks display.

The time they painted the basement.  With poo.

The pride in their eyes when they told you that they aced that big test.

The overwhelming joy you felt when you watched them earn that first purple ribbon at the county fair.

The tears you cried as you listened to them sing at their first (and second, and third, and fourth…) school program because you realized that the time is passing way too fast.

All the hugs and kisses and the millionth time you heard “I love you, Mom”.

The snuggles when they are sick and the times they streaked naked across the yard.

The time you healed that broken heart with some hugs and maybe a little bit of retail therapy.

So while I forget the little things from time to time, I now realize that I am remembering what is really important.

And I wouldn’t trade those moments for a slice of sandwich cheese.

 

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: I Forget

 

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You Might Be a Parent IF…

When we become parents we seem to make an instant transformation.   It is a transformation similar to Superman going into the phone booth;  Average Joe going in, superhero coming out.  Minus the capes and the super powers.  Hold the phone, we do have powers.  Amazing powers that allow us to do amazing things.

You Might  Be a Parent IF...

You might be a parent if….

You can brush your teeth and hold your 3 year olds wiener while he pees.

You can brown up some hamburger, fix someone a drink, and cut up some veggies all with a baby on your hip and a toddler or two flailing on the floor because you aren’t fast enough with the milk.

You can stop mid-bite to go wipe someone’s ass only to come right back and resume business as usual.

You can whip up six dozen cookies at the last-minute when your kid tells you they forgot that they needed to take snacks for the school program….which happens to be tomorrow.

You aren’t afraid to catch vomit in your bare hands.

You can lay down on the couch and still know exactly what your kids are doing. With your eyes closed.

You take your kids out to dinner and you spend more time in the bathroom than you do at your table.

You can answer all their questions with movie quotes.

Big boogers no long scare you.  You will pick it and you will wipe it on your pants and you just won’t give a shit.

You schedule all well child checks months in advance so that you are guaranteed an on-time appointment but you can’t remember to schedule your yearly hoo-ha check.

You can’t remember to take your grocery list when you go shopping but you know exactly where Sally’s red sparkly headband is that she wore three weeks ago.

Laundry.  So much laundry you actually consider turning your home into a nudist colony.

You can play two different board games at the same time while catching up on your Words With Friends matches, and you manage to win them all.

Your most popular phrases are “get your finger out of your butt”, “we don’t eat boogers for lunch”, and “no, I don’t want to smell your fart”.

Your living room decor no longer consists of beer can pyramids and wine bottle trees.  Instead you discover non-commissioned works of art using mediums that you are certain should be removed by men in hazmat suits.

Your bathroom always smells like pee, no matter how often you clean it.

You can change a diaper in the dark and not leave any residue behind. Except for that shitty smell on your hands that can only be removed by amputation.

You can tiptoe through a bedroom at three in the morning and not step on a single Lego, but attempt it in the daylight and you are damning them all to the depths of hell.

You aren’t against taking a glass of wine and your tablet or smart phone or even Goodnight Moon into the bathroom and locking the door, whether you have to poop or not,  just for a few minutes of alone time.

You do laundry because hampers are full, not because you have a shirt that is dirty that you want to wear to the bar tonight.

You can discuss the contents of your child’s vomit over dinner and continue eating as if you are talking about rainbows and unicorns.

You do math homework.  Or at least you try.

You use glitter.

Most of your conversations are centered around poop, farts, burps, butts and boogers.

While we may not be huge fans of some of the things we do now (I for one am not a lover of vomit), we wouldn’t change any of it.  Except maybe the poo on the walls.

 

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You Want to Ban WHAT?

We all have special causes that we support.  Things that we feel so strongly about that we send in money, or we take a pledge vowing to do something.  I took a pledge to never use the r-word and to teach my children to do the same.  I support my friend Drew and his mother and their efforts to support research to find a cure for childhood cancers.  There are hundreds of thousands of causes out there.  Most are very important and deserve more attention than they receive.  Others….not so much.

The newest “cause” sweeping the interwebs is this new effort to ban the b-word.  Nooooo, not bitch.  Bossy.  Yes, I said bossy.  Go ahead and roll your eyes and then come back to me.

According to dictionary.com, bossy is defined as  given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.  Sounds like my girls (and their friends, and my boys, and every other kid you come across) any day of the week.  

I get it, truly I do.  We need to empower our girls and help them to be confident and assertive.  We want them to be leaders and we want them to be strong.  We want them to succeed and achieve all the goals that they have set for themselves.

#banbossy has pulled out all the stops.  They’ve recruited Beyoncé and Jane Lynch.  Even Condoleeza Rice is on board for this.  All strong, confident, successful women.

Women I’m sure have all been called bossy a time or two and judging by their level of success, I’d be willing to bet the word fits.  You just cannot achieve all that these amazing women have achieved without ordering people about and being overly authoritative.  If you think otherwise, I’ve got three million dollars with your name on it.  All I need is your bank account number and social security number and I’ll deposit it into your account by tomorrow.

Beyoncé said it herself in this promotional video.  ”I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”   Um….hello pot, kettle calling.   Boss (n): a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates.  

How interesting.  We should not tell our girls that they are bossy (domineering), but instead they are the boss (one who dominates).  I’m no genius here, but something is a little off.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am not a big supporter of this cause.  It’s absolutely redonkadonk, so I thought I would put together a list of things that should be significantly more important than the drive to #banbossy.  (in no specific order)

  • Making sure my children are fed, clothed, and loved.
  • Feeding the homeless
  • Finding a cure for cancer and hundreds of other diseases.
  • Farmer Bob really needs some new work jeans.
  • Educating our kids to be respectful and kind to others.
  • The fact that I shaved my legs yesterday.
  • Atrocities around the world.
  • Will winter ever end?
  • Will my kids have math homework tonight?
  • I need to go grocery shopping.
  • Chin hair
  • Pharrell’s new album
  • Cleaning my toilets
  • Creating jobs
  • Helping those in need
  • Teaching our kids right from wrong
  • What should I cook for dinner tonight?
  • I really should call my mother today
  • Why does oil-pulling sound so gross?
  • How can these little people have so much gas?

The point is, what in the hell are we doing here?  There are so many other solutions to this *cough* problem.  Maybe we should just take a minute as parents and look in the mirror.  Our kids are our responsibility.  It is our job to teach them and to guide them.  We cannot wrap them in bubble wrap and expect them to emerge from their plastic cocoon as functioning adults.  I feel like Susan Powter “STOP the INSANITY!”

When I asked my eleven-year-old her thoughts on this, she looked at me with that look of “are you freaking kidding me?” and informed me that it’s dumb.  Her words, not mine.  She will openly admit that she is bossy and she has no problem with that.  Confidence….she has some.

So instead of trying to ban the word bossy, maybe we should focus more on instilling in our girls (and boys) the self-confidence that they need to succeed in life.  With self-confidence comes the ability to succeed.  It doesn’t matter if someone thinks you are bossy.  I bet Beyoncé would agree with that.

You Want to Ban WHAT?--You Know it Happens at Your House Too

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Are We Going to Be Okay?

Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have.  We’ve been told that time and time again.  None of us are perfect, and those that pretend to be are full of shit.  We all screw up, we all make mistakes, we all pray that we haven’t fucked something up so badly that it can never be repaired.  We all have those days in which we just want to throw up our hands and scream to the heavens “I QUIT!!!”.  

How do we handle this difficult journey of parenthood without completely losing our minds?  We reach out to friends.  We ask them for a kind ear and for some sort of guidance.  All else fails, we hope that they bring over a big ass bottle that we can finish off together.  Sometimes our friends don’t live close enough to share a bottle with, but knowing that a kind ear is awaiting you on the other end of the line (or in this case on the other side of your computer) is just what we need to keep moving on.  To keep fighting.  To reassure ourselves that we are surviving this parenting gig and that it will all turn out OK.

When a very dear friend sent me this story, I knew I needed to share it because she needs to know that she isn’t alone.  That we all have lost our shit at one point (or more) on this journey.  That she isn’t a terrible monster of a mother.  That she will be OK.  She gave me permission to share it here with the hopes that she will be offered support and love.  That she may be offered suggestions that will help her during this hard time.  That we can help build her up, not tear her down.  

Please read her story, and feel free to leave encouraging comments below.  Thank you all for your support and for being a part of this amazing village.

Yes you will!

Yes you will!

I am at a loss. I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know where I went wrong. I’ve tried to be an involved parent. I’ve tried to be a loving parent. I have been stern when I needed to be. I have given things that weren’t needed, but were wanted….when I felt that rewards were warranted.

I felt blessed with wonderful children. I felt loved. It all felt right. Then, things changed.

My son became a teenager and within a few months, I no longer recognized my child. What happened? I’ve gone nowhere. I’ve changed nothing. And yet, one night, after encouraging him to change his clothes because he was going to the movies with friends, I was treated to the most unbelievable behavior that I have ever seen from him. An explosion of anger that I would dare tell him what to wear. And it escalated to the point to me finally saying, “wear whatever you want. I don’t care. I was just trying to help. See if I give a shit anymore.”, leaving his room and taking a seat in the living room.

The next thing that happened forever changed me.

My son walked into the living room, with a large knife in his hand and said, “you know what, since you don’t give a shit, I will just slit my throat right here and you won’t ever have to worry about me again.” How did it go from me encouraging him to change clothes to him threatening suicide? He then turned around and went into his room. I was so terrified that I was unable to move….for 30 seconds. And then I jumped up, ran into his room, took the knife from his hand and we both sat down in the floor and cried.

I cried because I was terrified and relieved and confused and angry and everythingallatonce. He cried because he knew he upset me and that he was just so mad, he knew that was the best way to get my attention. He knew that I had a dear friend whose 13 year old son had shot himself in the head (details as to what/why and how are few and far between because it was a good kid, he was alone in the room and no one knows what happened) and how that had a profound effect on me, watching my friend go through that. My son knew of my reaction to that news, so he had a pretty good idea of how I would react to his threat.

We talked about suicide and how it was not something that you threaten people with. We talked about did he really feel like doing that? The answer was no, but that he just wanted to get my attention.

We talked about how so many kids just “wanted to get someone’s attention” with that and that the consequences were that they were dead and may not have really meant to be, but that they were. And that they left behind people with so many questions and such confusion as to what happened. I played out a scenario for him. He wanted my attention after arguing. He threatens to slit his own throat. He attempts it. He succeeds. I couldn’t save him. He dies in my arms. I am crying uncontrollably. His sister walks in the room to find me covered in his blood, him lying in my arms. And all I could do was cry that we just fussed over him having to change clothes. I didn’t know this would happen. That is how that scene would have played out. And I would never have been able to get over that I caused my son to do this, simply by having an argument with him…an argument, this time, over clothes. We talked about how nothing….NOTHING….is worth suicide. Especially not getting into argument over clothes.

We talked about how things, when we are teenagers, seem SO MUCH BIGGER than they actually are and that when you have feelings like it would be better to end it all, you need to talk to someone. He told me that he just sees so much on tv, about teenagers committing suicide over bullying and that suicide for teenagers just seems to be everywhere and that when he or his friends get upset that is what a lot of them think of first, because they hear of so many kids doing that. I couldn’t believe that this was something that he and his friends talk about, but dang if I wasn’t glad that he was sharing that with me.

We got past that point, but not without me worrying about every little fuss we had, whether or not he was thinking of suicide. I’m telling you, when your kid threatens something like that, it stays with you, permanently.

Then right around Thanksgiving, he had approached his dad and I about allowing him to have his cell phone past 9:00 PM. He pleaded his case. He felt that he should be able to keep it all night, as he was now a teenager and was responsible. We listened. After discussing it, we told him that we would extend it by one hour, but that wasn’t good enough for him. And instead of accepting what we offered, it turned into another huge argument. There was never any yelling or screaming during the negotiation of his phone, but it wasn’t going his way and he had such a defiant attitude and refused to listen to our reasoning, because it wasn’t what he wanted to hear and so it kept going on to where he looked at his dad and said, “I don’t know how you put up with that crazy, fucking bitch.” Now, let me tell you….my son has never seen me be a crazy, fucking bitch before and neither has my husband, really….until that night. I come up off my chair and got up in his face, pointing my finger and spitting while trying to coherently scream at him and I lost control.

The smirk on his face caused me to lose it and I slapped him.

And then I couldn’t stop hitting him.

Until my husband had to literally pick me up and pull me away. I have never, ever had that happen to me before, but I knew that it was there inside of me, because it was how my father was with me and I have worked so fucking hard to not be him and in a matter of seconds, I turned into him. Only it wasn’t my father…it was me. And I was devastated, because I just gave my children a memory of me, that I never wanted them to have. Ever.

My son ran into his room, I ran outside, my daughter was crying, my husband didn’t know who to go to first.

I did this to all of them.

I did.

What the hell happened? Now, I know there will be some people who say that I was 100% in the wrong. I accept that. I make no excuses for what I did. I am the adult. I should have had more control of myself. Then there are some people who will say that he deserved it because he never should have said that. Do you know what my kid said when I went into his room to apologize profusely, after calming way down, yet still crying? “Mom, I deserved that. It wasn’t your fault. Please don’t cry. You weren’t wrong. I hit you first, but in a different way.” Then I cried even harder, because, yes, he hit first, verbally, but I still had no right to that reaction. No right. And here we are, two months later…well, almost….and we still fuss and I still feel like I have no idea where my sweet, young, loving boy went.

I wonder will I ever get him back.

I wonder how much damage I have done from that one night.

I wonder how I got here with him.

I see news reports about a local 17-year-old boy, killing his dad and sister, because he felt like he was abused and although, I don’t know the background of that story, I wonder, Oh god….could that happen to me? Every parent thinks that they are doing a good job raising their kids. No parent thinks that they are raising one that does stuff like that. And yet, they did. And I wonder is that a possibility with mine? Or is it all just hormones and normal teenage angst?

Are we going to be okay?

And I pray that we are.

 

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One Little Toy

She opened all her gifts with a smile upon her face. She was truly grateful and excited to wear the new clothes, and try on the new boots. To model the new earrings and slip into those new jammies. The pile at her feet consisted of most of the items on her list, yet I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was disappointed.

Why on earth would a child be disappointed on Christmas?  What did I do wrong?

Oh. My. God. It hit me like a ton of bricks and took the air from my lungs.

No toys. Not one. single. toy. Nothing for her to play with that came bearing her name.

Who doesn’t buy their child a toy for Christmas?

As I looked at her face, the one that appears to be older than its actual age, I held back the tears as I realized that I am the one that failed to buy their child a toy for Christmas. I am the one that forgot that my oldest child is still exactly that. A child.

In my defense, her list was limited.  In my defense, she didn’t express too much interest in toys.  In my defense…..nope.  Not this time. No excuses.

I dropped the ball.  Screwed the proverbial pooch.  I failed.

While I often look at her and see a girl who wants the responsibility of an adult, I forgot that she’s still a little girl.  A child.

While she struggles with asking to do “grown up” things, she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

While I struggle with her asking to do “grown up” things, I forgot that she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

I frequently catch myself wondering when these kids are going to grow up a bit.  Wishing they would stop acting so childish.  Hoping for a little bit of maturity.

What in the hell am I doing that for?

The time is coming, sooner rather than later, for grown-up behavior.  Before long there will be dances and dates, tears over a broken heart and requests for gas money.  There will be jobs (oh yes, there will be jobs) and there will be bills and there will be adult responsibilities.  There will be too many activities and not enough hours in a day.

Who looks forward to that?

Now is the time to bathe in their innocence.

To drink from their fountain of youth.

To live vicariously through their young eyes.

To savor the carefree lifestyle of being a child.

To play with all the toys.

To truly LIVE.

Because we all know that being a grown-up is severely overrated.

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: One Little Toy

 

 

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The Day I Give Johnny Depp a Glimpse at “Normal” Life

Hold on to your hats my dear readers, there is absolutely nothing controversial about what I am about to admit.  Are you sure you can handle this?  Take a deep breath before you read this next statement…. <and in…..and out>

I’m a tad bit enamored by Johnny Depp.

<GASP>  It’s a shocking development that is for sure.  I’ve tried to hide it, but I just can’t do it any longer.  It’s time to lay it all out on the line.  You know that I have never invited him to the farm.  I would never ask him to have dinner with me.  I’ve never gotten up at four in the morning to catch a glimpse of him in person.  I sure as hell would never begin to speculate about how it would really go down if he actually showed up at my door.

That last sentence is a lie.  I totally would do that.  Especially after seeing my friend Ilana (of Mommy Shorts fame) interview Taye Diggs (hottie mchotterson)  on her very own couch.  Ilana has kicked off an amazing new show on Ulive that you simply must watch (please come back when you are done).  Take a few minutes to watch her episode with Taye while I fetch a hot cuppa joe (seriously, watch it.  He takes off his sweater and his smile is delicious).

I get asked over and over again what I would do if JD ever showed his handsome face on the farm.  Until that happens for realz I cannot say for sure, but I say we have some fun speculating.

Who IS that coming in my driveway?

Chances are, when he arrives I will be sitting out on the patio with a good book like  I Just Want to Pee Alone and my coffee.  I will most definitely still be in my jammers with some pretty amazing bed head dreaming about a maid to come take care of my housework.  The sound of a car approaching the house will no doubt wake me from my dream and I will be shocked back into my glamorous reality.    He will get out of his car all Rico Suave-like and I will spill my coffee on my fancy fleece PJ’s.  This will come in handy as it will disguise the fact that I peed myself.  I will ask him not to hug me since I haven’t showered in who knows how many days and the coffpee perfume doesn’t really mask that. (Wait a minute, who am I freaking kidding?  There would be hugging and hopes that the coffee smell overpowers all the other odors.)

Once we get past the initial awkwardness of my inability to form a coherent sentence void of multiple obscenities,  we would discuss what I am reading and he would undoubtedly ask me to sign a copy of IJWTPA for him.  Of course I would do it because who wouldn’t, but at this point I would have to invite him in because I don’t keep a pen in the glove compartment of the Little Tikes Coupe.

I could make time....

I could make time….

I have read many an interview in which he wishes for a “normal” life.  That he didn’t “ask” for fame, it just happened.  That some day, he just wants to “live life.  REALLY live life.”  His wish is my command.  These toilets don’t magically scrub themselves, meals don’t appear out of nowhere, homework doesn’t get done without a fight, and this farm doesn’t run its self.  No one here is any more special than the others, so I hope he brings some rubber gloves.  Here’s how I picture it:

What’s that?  You need to use the bathroom?  Super, while you are in there here’s the toilet brush and some cleaner, the clorox wipe-down from last week has expired and these boys can just never seem to hit the hole.  Don’t forget the floor, because that isn’t water around the toilet.

Hey, go in the laundry room and switch that laundry over for me.  Is there a problem?  You put the clothes in the machine, put in a little bit of soap and press the start button.  NO, NOT SO MUCH SOAP!  Damn it.  Guess we’ll do a second rinse on this load.

PITA is screaming?  Oh, he just needs his butt wiped.  If you’re lucky it was a clean one.  Have fun.

The sheep are out, be a champ and run out there and chase them back in.  WAIT!!!! COME BACK!!!! I forgot to tell you……..to be careful not to scare them or they’ll scatter.  Oooops.  I hope he figures that out. Nope.  Poor guy.

Have a seat for a little bit, time to pay some of these bills.  Oh, not that one.  We can’t pay that one yet.  Nope, not that one either.  That one will be OK, but not that other one.  Money doesn’t grow on trees around here, you have to time these things just. right.

I should probably grab a shower.  You hang out with PITA and if you could whip up some grilled cheese or something for lunch, that’d be great.  Really?  You need a recipe?  Bread, cheese, bread.  Toast it up.  Here’s the griddle, figure it out.

The kids are home from school.  Can you start them on their homework while I run this part and some seed out to Farmer Bob?  I think they’ll be OK with you, they know your face well enough.  You’ll be fine.  Trust me. <snicker>   Besides, after that incident with the last babysitter I hid all the duct tape and rope.

Oh, and PITA is on the pot again so you’ll need to tend to that while I’m gone.  From the smell of things, it’s not good.  I told him to lay off the blueberries yesterday.

Helloooooo?  Anyone home?  Johnny?  Oh shit, they found the tape. <finds JD asleep in the recliner, kids running amok.  Breathes sigh of relief and goes to cook up some grub>

After filling our bellies and putting the kids to bed we would finally have time to chat.  I would bring out the wine, remember that he doesn’t drink, rejoice because that means more for me, and we would stay up into the wee-hours of the night solving important worldly problems like why I am so inept at playing string instruments, why I fed PITA blueberries, and why so many critics disliked The Lone Ranger.

He would undoubtedly admit that this “normal” life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  He makes a few phone calls and arranges for maid service once a week, because I shouldn’t have to work so damn hard.  He tells me to call my boss and quit my job and hires me to create and run all the social media accounts for his publishing company and himself.  He gives me strict instructions to only create and post at my leisure, because writing a book should be my first priority.  Book?  What book?  Why the one he just signed me to write.

I would then ask him for a signed copy of House of Earth: A Novel and he would retrieve the one from his bag that he brought just for me. First edition of course. <swoon>

He would struggle with telling me good night, we would exchange phone numbers and make plans to get together next week in order to squeeze in a “business” dinner at his place.  Sans kids.

 

 

I’m Mediocre and I’m OKAY With That

I’ve been having some issues lately.  Mental ones I suppose, since physically I feel pretty good (except for the terrible case of writer’s ass, but that’s my own fault).  Issues I’ve had a hard time diagnosing due to trying to fit ten pounds of shit in a five-pound sack on a daily basis.  Go here, go there, do this, fill this out, write this check, go back over here, answer this phone call, respond to this email, wipe this ass, clean up this vomit, do the laundry, go back to the first place you went, and don’t forget to cook supper.  Of course expected to do it all with a smile on my face and confidence in my eyes.  You all know what I mean.  Living in the fog of bullshit and the appearance that we know what in the hell we are doing.

I realized that I can’t continue the act.  I just can’t.  I can’t pretend that I have it all together because I don’t.  I can’t pretend that I have the slightest clue what I’m doing with my kids because quite frankly I’m winging it.  I won’t pretend that life is all rainbows and glitter because there are days when shoveling a barn full of cow shit would be more enjoyable than dealing with the cards that we have been dealt.  I’m here to make a confession today my friends.  I just have to get this off my chest and run with it.

I’m mediocre.

That’s right, I said it.  Mediocre.

Now I don’t want you all to be making comments to smooth the waters and boost my ego, that’s not why I’m telling you this.  I’m telling you this because I want you to know that it’s OKAY to be mediocre.  DO YOU HEAR ME?  IT’S OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE.

Yes, I’m yelling at you because I want you to hear me.  Say it with me:  IT’S OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE.

I'm Down With It

I’m Down With It

I don’t mean to settle for being mediocre, we should never settle for being mediocre.  What I do mean that it is OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE from time to time.

No one is going to run from you screaming if they see you in yoga pants with no makeup on and your hair in a messy bun at the grocery store.

It isn’t going to kill your kids if they eat pizza and ice cream with a soda chaser for supper every once in a while.

You aren’t going to burn in hell for yelling at your kids to PICK UP THEIR SHIT.

The teachers at school aren’t going to think any less of you if you forget that permission slip.  For the third day in a row.

While your tween may be raging pissed at you for not letting her have a Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram account because the rules say you must be 13 and damn it, she’ll have plenty of time to lie about her age when she gets older.  She will get over it.

If you don’t clean the toilets today, you will have a second chance to wipe them with a clorox wipe clean them tomorrow.

Taking the kids out for dinner and a movie is always a great surprise.  Even if by “dinner and a movie”  you really mean running through the drive-thru and the kids eat in the backseat while the DVD player is on.

Having one of those days in which you just want to run away to a tropical island with Johnny Depp while you catch up on some reading while having drinks in your private cabana?  Totally normal.  Maybe not the Johnny Depp part, but you know what I mean.

Getting so tired of stepping on Legos and looking at Barbie’s skinny ass that you just want to throw it all into trash bags and forget about it?  Join the club.

Fighting the urge to send your kids outside to play then locking the door behind them is nothing to be alarmed about.  As long as you don’t actually act on it.  For too long.

Oh, you locked yourself in the bathroom this morning in order to take your morning constitutional alone?  Pooping in peace is an acceptable expectation. Never properly acknowledged (as you could probably tell by the constant knocking on the door), but completely acceptable.

Cereal for dinner?  Fuck it, why not.

Shushing your three-year-old because you are trying to watch your friend on Good Morning America?  Hell yes that’s acceptable.  It’s not everyday I get to say I know someone famous.

Here’s what I want you know.  On those days in which you feel like you are failing as a parent, you aren’t.   When you see that kid with the perfect lunch, know that their mom probably just went shopping and re-stocked.  They will most likely be eating peanut butter and jelly with a few cracker crumbs and marshmallows by next week.  No matter how bad you think it is and how alone you may feel and how much you believe you totally suck as a parent, know that you aren’t alone and you don’t suck.

Know that I’ll be right here, becoming even more comfortable with my mediocrity and I’ve got your back.

 

It’s Hard Being a Kid

Oh my beautiful spawn. You are growing up so fast. Too fast if you ask me, but your dad and I, we can’t stop time. We can’t roll back the clock and keep you little forever.  Someday (sooner rather than later) you will pack up your shit and move out spread your wings and leave this nest and it is our job to make sure you are ready. Prepared. Functioning.

We can tell by your eye-rolls, door slams, and frequent foot stomps that you think that your life under this roof really sucks at times. Like really, really bad. Like oh. mah. GAWD, I don’t even know how you live here bad. I know you aren’t old enough to totally understand our methods, nor do you really care at this point, but believe us when we say that we really kinda-sorta know what we are doing when it comes to raising you. How do we know this?  Because we were you once.  Living the miserable life of a kid.

Let us take this opportunity to clarify a few things for you. Try to help you understand that in fact we are NOT total assholes (well I might be, but your dad not so much). That there is a method to this madness. That we are NOT, contrary to popular belief, the meanest parents on the planet. That in fact we do the things we do because we love you so fucking much it hurts.  That this parenting gig is a long-term, full-time job that requires (and demands) long-term results.

Let us start with allowance. Believe it or not, you get one. It may not be cash money like you want, but you get a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your body. We know it pisses you off and you hate it, but you are a part of this family just like the rest of us and around here everyone contributes. No one gets a free ride. I tell my friends that ask if I give an allowance that in lieu of cash money, we allow you to live here. While I know that sounds brutal and unfair, I was not put on this planet to be your maid. Your dad and I are your parents and it is our job to teach you how to be actual grown-ups. Sitting on your ass playing video games all day while screaming for snacks isn’t going to cut it.  I have chores, your dad has chores, you have chores.  It’s how we function around here.

We know you really want that iPod touch. Earn it. Get up off your little behind and get to work. We give you plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond and earn a little cash. Do it, save it, buy it yourself. You’ll respect it more and see that a little bit of work isn’t going to kill you.

The Tooth Fairy doesn’t bring you a twenty or a fifty?  Tough shit. What have you done to earn that kind of money? You put your dirty fingers in your mouth and wiggled, completely grossing your mother out in the process.  You accomplished something that every single human on the planet has also done. <golf clap> Until your teeth are made of solid gold you will take your four quarters and be happy with it.  The Tooth Fairy, along with Santa and the Easter Bunny, are meant to add a touch of fun and whimsy to your childhood NOT to cater to your every desire.  Just enjoy it while it lasts.

That project is just too hard?  I tell you what, I will sit by you and give you some suggestions.  You want me to do it for you?  Not gonna happen.  I already went to school.  I busted my ass and passed all on my own (with some major prodding from my own parents).  Now it’s your turn.  You will survive, not without a few tears and frustrations, but you will do it.  I’ll be right here encouraging you, supporting you, loving you.

Your report card came and you earned all A’s? Congratulations, we are SO PROUD of you!!!!! What’s that? How much are we going to pay you? Hmmmm….here’s a dinner around the family table.  Oh look! I even made cookies!  If you would like financial compensation for doing what you are required to do, get a job. Here you get paid in praise and hugs. Dinners and cookies.  Enjoy your successes because you EARNED them, not because you are getting PAID for them.

I understand that your life is hard, but you know what else is hard?  Parenting is hard.  Being an adult is hard.  Having responsibility is hard.  Seeing your friends have stuff handed to them for doing nothing is hard. Working is hard.  Life is just really fucking hard.  That’s the entire point of all of this.  You can’t get by in life just waiting for someone to hand you what you want.  What you think you need.  I mean you can I suppose, but you won’t be doing it here.

I know this whole being a kid thing is mind-blowing.  That you think you already know everything there is to know about everything.  That competing with your friends is a tough gig.  That you are required to have moments filled with angst and anger toward your parents.  That damn it, at times your life just sucks rotten eggs.  Been there. Done that.

I also want you to know that we are right here.  Your dad and I.  While we may not shower you with the things you want, we will always be here to give you the things that you need.  To support you and love you unconditionally.  To reward you appropriately when we see fit.  To correct you when you need it and to have your back when it seems like no one else does.  We are here to dry your tears when someone hurts you or something goes wrong, and to celebrate with you when everything goes right.  To show you right from wrong and to correct you when you fuck up (and you will).

No matter how much you think we suck.  No matter how hard you stomp your feet or roll your eyes at us.  No matter how loud you yell and no matter how many times you tell us that you hate us.  We will always be here.

Because damn it, we are your parents and we love you.  Hard.

Parenting

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What Do We Do Until?

As I read the news (AKA my Facebook and Twitter feeds) over the last couple of days, all I could think about was this:

WE ARE SO FUCKED.

Seriously F-U-C-Ked.

Until we have the desire to change.

Until we have to desire to care.

Until my friend Keesha can tell her son that the color of his skin doesn’t matter.  That he can walk down the street and be seen as a BOY, not a brown boy.

Until I can confidently tell my daughters that society doesn’t really give two shits about what size they wear.

Until my bestie can take her bi-racial children out in public and someone doesn’t ask her “what are they?”.  They are children you tool.

Until we actually care about a cause before a tragedy happens.  Not just after.

Until my friend Bliss can get the insurance coverage she needs in order to help her Autistic son get the therapies that he needs to succeed instead of a constant stream of “we don’t cover that, it’s not necessary”.

Until we can take our kids out to the park or to the movie or to the grocery store and don’t have to constantly worry about who is lurking in dark corners.

Until….

Until we can use our words to help each other instead of to constantly attack/belittle/discourage each other.

Until my friend Courtney can tell her kids that their dad is going to be just fine.  That they’ve found a cure for cancer.

Until our nightly news actually contains more positive news stories than negative.

Until it isn’t about white/black/hispanic/asian/gay/straight/purple polka dots, but instead it’s about us as human beings.

Until those that work “for the people”, actually do work “for the people”.

Until my nephew can get the life saving medicines that he needs without a battle with the insurance company, because contrary to what they may believe it actually won’t be better if he is no longer with us.

Until we stop fighting against each other and instead we work with each other to make a difference. To encourage change.

Until us mothers can put down our mops, toilet brushes, and baby wipes and quit fighting over who is a better mother and just be. Well, just be mothers, friends, supportive and encouraging.

Until our kids can go to school and not worry about what Snotty Sally or Jackass Joseph are going to say (or do) to them during the day.

Until our news feeds are no longer filled with Amber Alerts and posters of missing adults.   Abused animals and murder suspects.  Bombings  and shootings.

Until…..

 

 What Do We Do Until?

 

 

 

 

Mom, Are We Poor?

Poor

What. In. The. Hell.  Not quite the question I expected to get from my eleven year old as I conducted my normal post school day interrogation   Upon further questioning it came to light that a classmate had asked her if we were poor because she didn’t have any school pictures to bring home like some of the others.   If there ever was a time in which I ever wanted to suggest to my child to tell someone to fuck off and mind their own business, this was it.  Um…have you seen school pictures lately?  Horrendous.  Besides, the condition of my checkbook is no business of a fifth grader.  Not even my own.

After drying her tears and reassuring her that we are in fact not poor,  I  felt it the opportune time to inform her that we are not what many would consider rich either.  While we are not financially strapped and are able to provide our kids with the things that they need, it takes some planning on our part to be able to give them the things that they want.  More importantly I  wanted to stress to her that while we may not be monetarily rolling in the dough, we are rich in so many other ways.  Ways that she may not understand at this exact moment.  Ways that don’t agree with her “cater to me right now” mentality.  Ways that maybe some of her friends don’t get to enjoy.

We live in a ninety-year-old house.  Not just any old house mind you, Farmer Bob grew up in this house.  While it doesn’t have sparkly new fixtures, cable TV and brand new carpet, it has things that are so much better.  It has character and memories and an outhouse.  We have a fort in the trees and hay in the barn to play hide and seek in.  We have open space to play baseball in the yard and plenty of room to get away from each other if we need to.   We have food on the table and clothes on our backs.  We have fun together, we fight, we argue, we love.  We are a family.  

Being rich in the monetary sense would be fantastic don’t get me wrong.  To not have to worry about how to cover this bill or that bill, to be able to give our kids a few of the things that are wanted whenever desired would be an amazing feeling.  The question I have to keep asking myself is would I be willing to sacrifice so many wonderful moments  in order to have the financial stability to satisfy what would undoubtedly become insatiable appetites for shit that serves no other purpose than to allow our family to slowly disintegrate into seven separate entities instead of one strong familial unit?  The answer to that…HELL NO.

It is never easy to tell our kids no, you don’t need that.  As parents we have this primordial desire to provide for them, to satisfy their every desire.  We feel as if we are failing them if we can’t serve them everything that they want and need on a silver platter.  Maybe we are actually failing them if we do throw all their earthly desires at their feet with no request for repayment.  Are we raising a generation of entitled assholes?  I hear how kids talk to their parents, my own included.  I see the look of fear in a mother’s eyes of what might happen if she says no to that toy, my own included.   It scares the shit out of me.  Scares me that as parents we allow it.   That it seems that we really are raising the kind of adults that we ourselves can’t stand to be around.

What scares me even more is the thought that these kids won’t grow up to appreciate the things that don’t cost a fortune.  That they won’t understand that you don’t have to be rich in the financial sense to be rich in so many other ways.  That family comes first and the rest of it is just “stuff”.  That we have riches that far exceed anything that money can buy.  That in fact, some of the best things in life truly are free and can’t be captured in some stupid school picture.