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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Have You Laughed Today?

We need more funny.   There are just too many negative, heart wrenching, horrible, tragic, craptastic things that really screw up a good day.  I find the best way to combat the uglies is to laugh.  Not just ha ha, but a HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA kind of laugh.  The kind of laugh that makes you lose control of your bodily functions.  Don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about because you’ve all farted while having a good laugh.  Maybe you’ve peed.  There is always the possibility that you’ve done both at the same time.   I’m not speaking from experience, I’ve just heard stories .

In an effort to bring more laughter to my very small and minute corner of the interwebs, allow me to deliver to you some funny.  If you get through this and you don’t laugh at least once, even just a snicker or a smirk, then I will be truly be worried about you.

Have You Laughed Today?

Before we get into this too deep, you must take the pledge.  That’s right, I’m making you take a pledge.  Now repeat after me:

I <say your name here> (and I really mean say YOUR name.  SAY IT!) promise to laugh at least once during this post.  If I don’t smile or giggle even once I promise to remove the proverbial stick from my ass and read it again.  If I still don’t find it funny,  I promise not to be a spreader of internet herpes and I will just move along.  I also promise to be an ambassador of funny and will make it my goal to make one other person on this planet laugh today.  If I cannot make it happen today, I will try even harder to make it happen tomorrow.  I make this pledge and promise to myself because having a kick-ass sense of humor is so much better than being an asshole.

OK…Now that the technicalities are out of the way, let us begin.

The other night I saw a commercial for Casey’s pizza.  I swear at the end it says “penis for pizza”.  Since I possess the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy this makes me giggle.  I then had to ask my Facebook friends for words that make them giggle.  If you can make it through this list of words without laughing once, you may be too mature.  Try it:

Dictator, flatulence, scrotum, doodoo, poop, balls, sack, super duty, Uranus, tits, penetration, lubrication, thrust, erector, weiner, poppycock, tallywackers, vagina, jackwagon, underwear,  lake titicaca, farts, annnnnd….dooky.

I lose it at dictator, but again I am immature.

You all know that as parents/grandparents/guardians of kids (both of the human and furry varieties) we find the most random crap around the house.  I also took this to the Facebook just to see if the level of nasty around my house is equivalent to those of my friends. For those of you wondering what I meant when I said that I find “saucy underwear”, just think of a kid who over-trusted a fart.  I guarantee you will laugh at the responses to this post:

 

Laughing yet?  NO????  Surely you’ve laughed at least once so far???  If not keep reading because I have some pretty funny friends.

 

Why don’t you try this from my friend Kerry at House Talk’N.  She is determined to bring back the dickie <giggle, she said dickie>.  Watch this vlog and try not to snicker every time they say “dickie”.

 

If you are feeling like a terrible parent thanks to Pinterest, you can always check out this post by Nicole Leigh Shaw on Nick Mom and know that you aren’t alone.

Need help figuring out if you can be friends with the other moms?  Have them answer this short questionnaire devised by Kim on In the Powder Room (who I now know is destined to be my sister-wife)

Surely you’ve seen this video that has been all over the interwebs.  It had Farmer Bob laughing so it must be funny:

Are you laughing yet?  You better be because laughter kicks ass.

No?  Here’s my last offer.  If you can read this (and you MUST listen to the clip at the end) from my very dear friend Katy and you don’t at least smile…you have issues.

Now go, complete your mission and make someone else laugh.

 

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.

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- 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 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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Opinions, Farts, and Fraternities. What?

You know what is hard? Being funny is hard. Entertaining people for FREE is hard. Rocks are hard. Trying to be kind to assholes is hard. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. For some, shutting their nasty pie hole is hard. Not gagging when I wipe my kids’ butt or when I brush my teeth is hard. Surviving this last week of summer vacation is hard.

You know what isn’t too difficult? Laughing. Being nice. Scrolling on by something you don’t like. Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pouring and drinking a glass of wine. Dancing to a great song. Wasting the day away on Facebook. Watching a Johnny Depp movie. Being nice. (This one is so easy I had to mention it twice)

My dad always told me that opinions are like assholes because everyone has one.  Most people wouldn’t sit down in a five-star restaurant and rip an earth-shattering fart because it just isn’t appropriate.  While it may hurt like hell to hold in that fart, it just isn’t done.  You clinch your cheeks and you pray that nothing escapes before you make it to a more appropriate fart-ripping venue.  Once you are in the comfort of your own gaseous bubble, you let that baby flow and you sigh in relief.

These interwebs have made us more open to farting in public.  Except we do it verbally and verbal farts are by far the worst. More disgusting than the ones that come after eating onion rings  with a side of deviled eggs.  Their smell is revolting and they have a tendency to linger for days.  They can take the most wonderful post about babies and rainbows and unicorns and turn it into a post about religion and politics and gun control.  Before you know it, that one verbal gassing has spread and it forces others to start releasing their own juices and before you know it, the entire post smells worse than a fraternity house after a two-day kegger leaving an unsuspecting house-mother in its wake.

It takes hours to clean up the mess and days to air out the house.  The house-mother can often be found in tears constantly dousing herself in Lysol wondering why in the hell she took this job.  The pay sucks and the rewards are few and far between.  Yet she stays.  She learns to breathe through her mouth and to stay locked in her room on the weekends.  She stays because she loves it.  She adores the conversations, the company, sometimes she even joins in and farts with the best of them.  When it’s right to do so.

I’m not gonna argue with you, sometimes it just feels good to fart.  It feels good to let it out and to share it with those around you.  It is refreshing and damn it, you just feel better when all is said and done.  It doesn’t mean that those around you enjoy it.  That they want to take a deep breath and inhale your aroma.  That they enjoy your gas as much as you do.   That it is the right place and right time to let one fly. Unless you ARE at a kegger, then by all means….let em rip.  Most people would never even know.

What in the hell was I talking about?  Right, opinions.  It’s normal to have them.  It’s also normal to want to share them. It’s just common courtesy to not be an asshole about it.  It’s easy to do, just squeeze your cheeks.

Opinions, Farts, and Fraternities

 

What is Home?

home (n): the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.  A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household. 

According to Dorothy there’s no place like home, but what really makes a home? Is it square footage or the color of paint on the walls? The piles of laundry or the knick-knacks on the shelf? Maybe it should be home is where you change the diapers. Home is where you cook the bacon? Make the babies? Lose your shit? After spending some time away from my physical home  I came to the realization that home, contrary to its definition, is not a brick and mortar type building but more of an emotional shelter within us that we can take with us wherever we may be headed.

I packed my bags to leave the farm for a few days and head to the city. I have to be honest, I had my reservations. It wasn’t because I was leaving my cozy kitchen or the pillow on my bed, it was leaving my babies. Leaving the loves of my life. Leaving my home.  Farmer Bob is beyond a competent parent, but mama was leaving and no one can do it like mama can do it (or so we like to tell ourselves). Would they eat well? Shower? Brush their teeth? Who would wipe PITA’s butt? I knew I would miss the hugs and the smooches, the “I wuv you mama” before bed, the Dutch ovens at night…oh wait.

As I departed my plane in Chicago and headed for the exit, I saw the smiling face of my very dear friend DG waiting for me at the baggage claim. It was at that very moment that I knew I was home. Wait? How could that be? I don’t live in Chicago, I damn sure don’t live at baggage claim four. How could just that one moment, that one smile, that first of many hugs fill me with a sense of home?

Photo by our beautiful friend Kristi at Necessary Indulgences

Photo by our beautiful friend Kristi at Necessary Indulgences

Friendship does that to you. Being enveloped by those who know you and are still willing to be seen in a public place with you. Seeing the joy in their eyes as you talk about your kids and realizing that it isn’t because they are thinking about their own littles, it’s because they truly love yours as their own. Never enduring the awkward silence because there are more words than there is time. The tears as you leave because even though you miss your own family, there just wasn’t enough time.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Home is so much more than the physical attributes of a house. Home is in a hotel room in downtown Chicago discussing important things such as potato chips and cake balls. It’s in the hotel bar where no matter which way you turn there is a friendly hug waiting to swallow you up. It’s a quaint apartment filled with baby gear, hummus, and hot rollers. It’s sitting around a table in a busy restaurant trying to catch just a few minutes with every smiling face. It’s laughs and hugs. Jokes and stories.  Home is being with those that you love, no matter where that may be.

 

Respect

 

See more amazing pics from the book signing in Chicago over at Necessary Indulgences, then buy the book here!

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?

 

 

 

 

Hello? It’s My Girls I’m Looking For

Do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them over your shoulder like a Continental soldier?
Do your boobs. Hang. Low.
 
~Credit:  The middle school playground

Let’s cut to the chase.  Boobs are what I’m talking about today.  Just typing the word is funny.  Boobs.  Breasts. Titties.  Funbags. Mammaries.  Bewbies.  Jugs.  Hooters.  Tatas.  They have many names, but there is something about the word boobs that makes me giggle.  Yes, at times I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy, but you have to admit that it’s funny.  BOOBS.  You know what isn’t funny?  The shape of my boobs post helping-my-children-survive-their-first-year-of-life and serving as the Dairy Queen.  It is not a pretty picture.  NOT. PRETTY.

Hello?  It's My Boobs I'm Looking For

Let’s reminisce for a second.  I know you girls are with me on this.  Remember when you could leave the house without a bra on and your perky little mammaries were right up where they belonged?  Remember the days when you didn’t have to pick those bad boys up just to wipe the pool of sweat out from underneath in order to prevent chafing?  Remember the days of looking in the mirror and thinking to yourself, damn I have a spectacular rack?

Five kids later I’m left looking in the mirror and wondering what in the HELL has happened here.  Now instead of a couple of fabulous melons,  I’m left with a couple of shriveled up deflated balloons left over from a birthday party that occurred in 2002.  I used to think  that the old vagina really took a beating from pushing out five watermelon-sized nuggets.  Not true my friends.  Not even close.  The boobies are the ones that have suffered the most dramatic long-term effects from years of misuse/overuse. These poor girls have taken on an entirely new identity and their own spot on the couch.  Sorry vagina, you no longer get all my sympathies.

Do you sit around and say things like damn, I think I dunked my floppy butterfly in my coffee this morning.  No, you wonder how in the hell could you possibly be lactating?  You aren’t lactating you dumbass,  your tits ended up in your coffee as you sat on the couch reading an article on your laptop.   We don’t brag to our girlfriends that we actually went out without pants and no one even noticed our vagina whipping in the wind.  No, we know we are living on the edge if we have to run a forgotten lunch up to the school and we don’t even put on a bra first.  Will they see those nippies peaking out if they look to see what kind of shoes I’m wearing?

When we lay down in bed at night do we have to scooch our vagina out of our butt crack because it flopped right on over and set up camp?  No, we have to dig our bewbies out of our armpits just to avoid any major night-time nippie tweaks.  When you can’t find your pillow at night, do you bend over and rest your head on the pink taco?  No, you  pull one of those milk duds right on up and lay your head on it.  It may be the old flat hard kinda smelly kind you keep tucked away in the linen closet in case of emergency, but with some well placed deodorant and a little fluffing it would get you by for a night.

Do your kids walk up to you and use your chooch-a-roni for punching bags?  No, they walk up and try to go three rounds with the twins.  At this point they are down on a three-year-old level and bear a similar shape to a punching bag, so you might as well let the little bugger get in a workout.  The tube socks are flexible and if you do it right it could entertain them while you get some laundry folded or the dishes put away.  Not to mention  it really teaches them some dexterity and helps with speech development as they stand there and repeatedly say PUNCH, PUNCH, PUNCH as they are working out.  Gives an entire new meaning to the word “funbags”.

When was the last time you looked at your va-jay-jay in the mirror and thought where in the hell did that hair come from?  Unless you are twelve, it’s probably been a while.  Now what about your boobs?  Be honest here ladies, you know you have been giving the girls their monthly fondle (you DO perform a monthly fondle don’t you?) and you suddenly scream out, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?  Then you realize that where there is one, there is two.  HOLY SHIT, there is THREE!  What do I do now?   Pluck the bastards?  Braid them? Leave them alone?  Are they like grey hairs and if you pull them out three more appear?  AM I TURNING INTO A SASQUATCH?

So to my dear boobs. cans. jugs. hooters. punching funbags.  chesticles.:   I am sorry for the years of neglect.  I’m sorry for taking you for granted and not always offering you the support you need.  You have accomplished so much and I have been unfair in giving all the credit to your southern neighbor. You have worked hard and the years have not been good to you, so from here on out I promise to lift you up when you are feeling down.  I promise not to diminish the impressiveness of your  work resume and I will quit comparing you to the cavernous being that was once my vag.  I will try to erase the memories of your youth and perkiness and embrace your now floppy and elongated appearance.  Together we have done amazing things, so please quit hanging your head.  Chin up butter cups, we have some good years left in us.

Oh, one last thing.  Could you do me just one more favor and go ahead and cancel the rest of your trip to the southern hemisphere?  If you could make that happen, that would be simply fab.  mmmmmmkay?

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank some of my best girls for the inspiration for this piece.  Once again you are a reminder that we are never, EVER alone in our thoughts and feelings.  I would be curled up in the fetal position ashamed of my saggy titties if it wasn’t for you.  I LOVE YOU.

 

A Day in the Life of a Working Dad

Today I offer you a guest post from my friend James Hudyma, creative genius behind Dads Round Table and all around nice guy.  His Twitter bio is as follows: Dad. Husband. Teacher. Minivan. Some hair. Some gut. Strong coffee. Guitars. Songwriter. EduDad. Dads Round Table.  I think he may have left off a few things.  Words like:  Talented.  Supportive.  Funny.  

We see posts all the time about working moms and stay at home moms, so I thought why not try to get the point of view from a working dad.  I knew James was (is) a teacher so I asked him to write something for me as a dad that not only works hard to provide for his family, but works even harder to be involved with his kids.  I was fortunate enough to receive a quick, affirmative response from James and I danced a little jig when this arrived in my email.  I want to thank him profusely for taking the time to write this for me, and I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the life of a Modern Working Dad.

A Typical Day in the Life of a Modern Working Dad

One of my favorite books is Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Featured in the book are two very different renditions of the same experience.  One has a tiger. One is more realistic.  In the spirit of this book I am going to tell two tales about A Typical Day in the Life of a Modern Working  Dad.  One is blog life.  One is more realistic.

Ebbs and Flows of Joy and Pain: A Modern Working Dad

Saying good-bye to my children each morning is a dagger in my heart.  As I give them one last hug and kiss I bask in their love and look lovingly into their eyes and I tell them with all my heart they are my reason for living.

As I drive to work my mind lingers on the beautiful faces of my children and I shake my fist at a world where both parents must work.  When I arrive in the parking lot I meditate quietly to clear my mind and focus on how these hours away from my family are financially necessary.

My eyes often wander to my desk where portraits of my family greet me; I smile externally but inside my heart is alight with a bittersweet glow.  Bitter because I pine to be with them at that moment but sweet because they bring me so much joy.

**

I could go on but I’m starting to make myself sick.  I love my kids.  I would die for my kids but the art and poetry these bloggers paint their feelings with only makes me feel like a horrible failure as a parent.  Whenever I think of my kids it makes me feel happy but I don’t think about them all the time.  That would be weird.   Right?

Next is more realistic story.

Wednesday

Morning

It takes forever to get out the door because my wife has to give the kids one more last-hug-and-kiss and then one more last-hug-and-Dancing with Daddykiss.  We tell them we love them and to have a great day.  When we finally leave for work I feel no guilt about leaving the kids in the care of our nanny.  Why would I?  My wife, also a teacher, is guilt ridden even though she was raised by a working mom.  Why is that?

The Commute to Work

On days my wife and I take separate vehicles I just crank the music and rock out until I get to school.  On days we drive together we’ll talk until I drop her off at her school and then the rockin’ begins.  We always talk about the kids.  Mostly we worry.

The Work Day

I teach.  When I see my family pictures on my desk it makes me smile.

The Commute Home

Loud music until I get home or until I pick my wife up from her school.  We talk about the kids.  Mostly we worry.

Afterschool Activities

no-hands

 

I take the kids to their activities.  We sing songs and talk on the way there.   When the activity begins I watch a bit and play on my phone a bit.  The parent not on a phone judges us.  I feel guilty and play on my phone a little less.  On the way home there is more
singing and talking.

Whoever isn’t with me is with mom.   We really believe one on one time is important so even though it would be more efficient, we book our children’s activities on different days.

Family Dinner

My wife cooks with the assistance of whichever kid is home with her.  We always eat dinner together.  It’s a time to connect, practice manners, and talk about our day.  I do the dishes with whichever kid was out with me.  After all is said and done we go outside to play.  If the weather is bad we head downstairs to play.

Bedtime Routine

Bath.  Read books and do homework.  Snack.  Brush teeth.  Tuck in.  We alternate kids so if I tuck in my son tonight, I’ll tuck in my daughter tomorrow night.  I tell stories.  My wife sings songs.

The Kids are Asleep

This is the only time I get to myself.  If I’m going to go out with friends, this is when I go.  If my wife and I take time for each other, whether that time is at home or on a date, this is when we take it. Most nights:

My wife reads.  I write articles for Dads Round Table.  We go to bed.  We talk about the kids. Mostly we worry.

**

Most of my struggles as a working dad are the same as any other parent.  As far as balancing work and home, I will leave you with this:

I’m a dad.  I do my very best to be the best dad I can be.  I’m a teacher.  I do my very best to be the best teacher I can be.  Finding a balance between the two can be difficult but I’ve found I’m happiest when I prioritize family first.  My kids get more of me than my career and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want thank James from the bottom of my sweet little heart for writing this for me.  It is so nice to not only get the view from a dad, but to have a little help here on the old blog.  Be sure to follow James on his website, on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube

Johnny Depp, Party of Two, Your Table is Ready

I’ve been doing some deep thinking about  resurrecting this  mission of meeting up with you for months.   Seriously, this post has been in my drafts since February.  I add things, I delete things.  I’ve started over multiple times and I’ve stayed up many a  night wondering how to make it work.  I’ve made lists and I’ve written some real crap.   I don’t know why in the hell I worry so much about it.  I am certain that some many would say to me to just move the fuck on, but for some reason I just can’t let it go.   I have this nagging voice in my head that won’t let me give up.  I swear it feels like I’m trying to do something not just for myself, but for so many of my friends who support me and what I’m doing here on a daily basis.  My thought processes have been so random lately it has been hard to come up with the perfect approach.

First it was  making one of those pics asking for one million Facebook likes and then you would agree to set something up.  Surely that shit works for all those people whose faces show up in my news feed.  If hundreds/thousands/a million people think it should happen, then it will.  Right?  I then had a glass of wine and remembered how redonkulous those are so I made this one, just to add that special touch to this post.  Totally not the least bit embarrassing.

Um...no.

Um…no.

Hey!  How about a working with an amazing company to create something inspired by you?  Hell yeah I did that.  I worked with my amigas over at A Girl and Her Band to create this AMAZING headband, appropriately named Captain Jack,  that is now available on their website.    For now I had to use a miniature version of you to show it off, but I will bring one with me when we meet so that we can do something incredible for these inspiring ladies.

Captain Jack

Since I can’t rely on getting one million Facebook likes to make something happen, I am going to have to rely on my writing skills for this.  Sonofa….  Trying to decide which path to take here has been difficult.  I did the letter, I’ve done the movie review, I’ve even gotten my ass up at four in the morning on a whim holding on to that slim chance that I would have a chance to meet you.  I could sit here and blabber on about how much I adore you and how much I think you are all that and a bag of chips and how all your movies are spectacular, but even my five-year-old could read through that bullshit.  What could I possibly write that would be different from the millions of other letters that you receive?

It was when I was talking with the Enabler and she asked me:  If you had the chance to actually sit and talk to him, what would you talk about?  Holy. Shit.  Why did I not think of this sooner?  I need to brainstorm over wine more often.

Let’s just imagine for a minute can we, you and I at a table in a quaint little restaurant.  I have a salad because I probably can’t really eat out of fear of having something in my teeth, or having gas;  you have a full plate of delightful food and I am extremely jealous because I’m starving.  Both of us would have wine of course, except I would most likely down the first glass to calm my nerves.  Don’t be alarmed, this will make the conversation much more interesting for both of us.    We would get the bullshit out-of-the-way immediately.  Yes, I have five kids.  Yes, they are all mine.  Yes, they were all planned.  Yes, they all have the same daddy.  Yes, I’m happily married.  Yes, we really farm.  Oh wait, you thought that YOU would be answering all the questions.  I just assumed that you would be so intrigued by me that your list of questions would be never-ending.  My bad.

Once you were finished with all your questions,  I am confident that I could come up with some suitable conversation starters.  I usually suffer from a serious case of verbal diarrhea, especially when I’m nervous, so there is no doubt that it would lead to many foot in mouth moments so please be sure to bring your sense of humor.  Rest assured I would at least make the effort to appear like I have half a clue. I am fairly educated and I read quality  <ahem>  literature (like my own book, I Just Want to Pee Alone) when I have time (which isn’t very often)  so surely I will be able to keep up with the conversation.  I joke, but really these days I am just trying my best just to form logical thoughts and form coherent sentences.  Thanks to my kids I don’t know how much I have left upstairs so I need to seize the moment and utilize what I’ve got while I still have it.  The amount of quality adult interaction that I get to enjoy really is limited, so don’t be scared to just tell me to shut the hell up if I happen to get a little wordy.

In all seriousness though, I don’t want to interview you.  I am sure you sit through so many of those snore-fests you don’t need another session of the same boring-ass questions.   I’m not a journalist trying to land that big movie star interview in order to further my career.  I’m a mom who writes for a little bit of mental therapy.  I put my thoughts out there for total strangers to read with the hopes that maybe I will give someone a smile or encourage someone to make a change.  If it’s a good day I will help someone get just the laugh that they needed to push them up from the depths of grumpiness or help that stressed out momma realize that she isn’t alone.  That the very same shit that she has dealt with today, happened in my house yesterday.  Luckily for me, very few people (translation my family and a handful of friends) would even know who I was if they saw me walking down the street.  Anonymity definitely has it’s perks.

I have absolutely no agenda and I have no wonderful story to tell you as to why I deserve to meet you.  I lead what many would consider an “ordinary” life on a farm in the middle of Kansas.  I have nothing spectacular to tell you about myself besides I have five amazing kids and one very supportive husband.   I can tell you that I’m a devoted fan, a devoted wife and mother to my family, and a devoted writer and entertainer for all my friends.   I drink, I swear, I say what I think and do what I say I will.  I make people laugh, I make my kids cry, and I have terrible indigestion right now because I know it’s time to hit the publish button on this post and the people, they will read it and they will roll their eyes, and for fucks sake I hope they share it and blow up the internet.  I suppose I will leave the rest up to the power of the interwebs, fate….and you.

Peace.  Out.  xoxo

 

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.