Sunday, March 27, 2011

Virtues I do NOT have.

Getting ready for church is no small feat in our house.  First of all, everyone needs to be clean.  At the same time.  In the spirit of portraying ourselves as something we generally are not, we like to show up at church freshly bathed and wearing clean clothes, looking like a wholesome, All-American family.  Occurrences of all five of us being bathed and cleanly dressed all at the same time are rare.  The boys usually bathe at night.  Small gets a Bio-Hazard Bath when he has a particularly eventful day in the diaper department, and then sporadically throughout the week.  Mommy showers sometimes.  But on Sundays, we all bathe or shower before church.

Bio-Hazard Bath . . . straight to the sink; do not pass GO.
Hubby had to go in to the office today, so the arduous task of getting everyone ready for church was left solely to me.  We needed to be at church and in Sunday School class at 9:45.  Naturally the process began at 6:45.  Small had an eventful morning – see reference above.  I stuck him in the bath first.  Large came into the bathroom when he heard all the splashing and general fun-having, so I got Small out and ran a bubble bath for Large and Medium.  Honestly, getting them ready for church was a breeze.  They bathed without splashing, dressed themselves for church, and met me downstairs for a hearty breakfast of cold cereal and gummy vitamins. 

The hard part of getting ready for church is ME.  I got everyone settled and preoccupied so I could have a few minutes of alone time to get ready.  I just colored my hair on Friday night, because I’m a party animal like that.  (Doug walked in to the bathroom and saw this: me, still dressed at 8:30 pm in my workout capris and tank top left over from the yoga class I took at 8:30 that morning, with my hair parted dramatically at 20/80 and slathered in an orangey paste.  I winked and asked him if he wanted to “hit this.”  He immediately announced that he needed a beer and took off for a friend’s house.)  Because this morning was a wash-my-hair day, my legs look like shag carpeting. 

My biggest challenge came when I put on my stockings.  I know, who wears stockings anymore?  (And who says stockings?  Well, ME, because I hate the word pantyhose.)  I decided to wear stockings this morning because my legs are so white (and hairy) that I really felt it is what God would want me to do when visiting His House.  Putting on stockings is like stuffing a sausage, and it looks just as sexy.  As usual, I stuck my thumb through the material as I was attempting to stuff that last bit of fat leg into the reinforced panty part.  I could almost hear the little threads of fabric screaming for dear life . . . “Must!  Hold!  On!  Just!  Stretch! A Little!  More!”  Nevertheless, I continued inserting my wobbly bits into the stockings and reminded myself that when I am making my weekly prayer for patience perhaps I should also pray that the hole doesn’t visibly extend below the hem of my skirt before the service is over. 

We made it to church on time, and I was able to offer my silent apologies for being so cranky last week, and AGAIN to ask for patience with myself and my family.  So I’m gonna put his out in the Universe - these are the virtues with which I need help, in no particular order:
  1. the Willpower to put down the Thin Mints, for the love o’ pete.
  2. a little Solitude.  Just a little.  Even just using the potty without an audience will suffice.
  3. Humility when I know that chick in the convertible BMW is checkin’ out my Swagga Wagon.  Because I got it goin' on!
  4. enough Patience to not get frustrated when Medium says, “um, I think I forgot to wear underwear.”
  5. the Fortitude to build a strong army, even though I always get stuck with the tan guys, who are seriously outnumbered by Medium’s green guys.
  6. Frugality until my replacement Starbucks gold card arrives in the mail.  Currently I’m paying cash for my caffeinated goodness.  What are we, cave men?
  7. Common Sense.  If you found your yoga mat to be directly behind Cap’n Balsac (he of loose shorts and increased flexibility,) you’d move, right?  Me?  Halfway through the class before I realize my mistake. . . .
  8. Sobriety.  At least until next Friday at 3:30 or so, when my girlfriend comes home from work so we can go to our Happy Place.
  9. Vitality, especially at 6:45 a.m., and preferably in the form of coffee.
  10. Modesty.  I’ve been told I could use some.
It seems I have plenty to work on this week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Okay, I'm better now.

After re-reading my last post, it occurs to me that perhaps I should not write when I am in the throes of PMS. 

I sounded so whiny.  I remember telling a friend once that “we all have our sh*t.”  It’s true.  Everyone faces challenges, and what may seem insignificant to one may be monumental to another. 

You know I likes the country music and I worship at the altar of Ms. Dolly Parton.  Currently, Trace Adkins sings a song called “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and the lyrics are:

You’re gonna miss this. 
You’re gonna want this back.
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast.
These are some good times,
So take a good look around.
You may not know it now,
But you’re gonna miss this.

Cheesy, yes.  Gouda.  Brie.  Kraft American cheese product.  Whatever you want to call it, the lyrics still ring true. 

Small has been here an entire year.  ALREADY a year has passed!  He’ll be walking (our kids are late walkers) and talking coherently soon.  Medium will be in all-day school next year and we won’t have our afternoon snuggle-time any more.  Large is getting increasingly independent and doesn’t need his mama as much.  

Motherhood is an exhausting adventure, and I still think, as women, we are very quick to judge each other.  I am guilty of it too.  After my last post, I heard from many working-mom friends who reminded me, without saying as much, how lucky I am that I am able to stay home.  Some moms are better moms for being able to work outside the home, and some don’t have the choice.  Some moms do it on their own.  I know that I need to stay home, and even though I miss my friends and colleagues and I sometimes ache for adult interaction, I do the best I can with the choices we’ve made as a family.  Some days I need to b*tch a little, just to get it all out of my system. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are You a Happy Mommy?

So I’m reading this book called The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Meg Meeker, M.D.  Of course, I’m only on Chapter two because I barely have time to read it. 

I saw Dr. Meeker briefly on the Today show and decided that maybe I should check it out.  The premise is that mothers need to find what makes them happy.  It’s not a parenting book, and it's not about how to be a better mother; it’s about how to be a happy mother.  Two different things. 

Before I even purchased the book I started thinking about whether or not I would describe myself as “happy.”  Sadly enough, I don’t think happy is an adequate description.

1.    I’m often frustrated.  I spend the bulk of my time picking up.  I feel like my house is ALWAYS cluttered.  There’s stuff everywhere: legos, laundry, dishes, the little end pieces of the yogurt squeezables that they cut off and then leave sitting on the counter, books that Small has pulled off the shelves, carpet samples from a month ago when I had this brilliant idea that we need new carpet,  [The previous owners had girls. . . . and white carpet.  We have three boys.  White carpet ain’t gonna cut it in our home.] mail, magazines, clothes that need to be put away, stuffed animals, uncapped toothpaste, hangers, art projects, jackets that haven’t found their way to the closet because I’m apparently the only one in this household who knows where the closet is located, pacifiers, wayward sippy cups, baby gates, the Netflix movie that arrived weeks ago and still hasn’t been opened, empty wrappers, half-drunk juice boxes - the list is endless.  I know it is my responsibility to teach the boys to pick up after themselves, but there’s always more.
2.    I’m exhausted.  My job is not hard.  It’s not hard to drive the boys to various practices, it’s not hard to push them on the swings, and it’s not hard to do a load of laundry.  But it’s monotonous.  It’s the same thing over and over.  There’s always more laundry or more dishes or more vacuuming to be done.  It starts at 6:30 am and doesn’t end until I collapse into bed.  I often stay up later than I should, either watching some mindless show that allows me to veg for an hour, or reading, because it’s the only time I can carve out for myself.  I know I will be tired in the morning, but late at night is the only "me" time I have.
3.    I’m lonely.  I miss having colleagues with whom I had something in common.  I have plenty of mommy friends, but what draws us together is our children, not a mutual love of literature or a shared hobby.  It has been eight years since I was employed outside the home; I have now stayed home with the boys for as long as I was a teacher.  I plan to go back eventually, but for right now the time isn’t right. 
This is what HAPPY looks like . . . 
4.    I’m envious.  I admit it.  I am one of those women who looks at other mothers and thinks, “wow, she really seems to have her sh*t together.”  Motherhood is such an important job, and I don’t want to f*ck it up.  I don’t need my children to be perfect, but I want them to be happy.  I put so much pressure on myself to do all the “right” things that I set myself up for failure because a lot of it is beyond my control.  They are independent little beings, and my role is to help guide them.  I can’t MAKE them be happy, and it’s difficult for me to relinquish that control. 
5.    I’m lucky.  I have healthy children, and that, in itself, is a blessing beyond words.  I know that this is not always the case.  Things happen.  Babies get sick.  Pregnancies fail.  Bad things happen to good people.  I can’t explain why we got so lucky, but I know that I should wake up every morning and be thankful for our health and many, many other gifts.  This is something with which I have always struggled.  Intellectually, I KNOW I have been given SO much and I have a lot for which to be thankful.  And yet “happy” is not a word I would use to describe myself.  What the hell is wrong with me?

As I said, I’m only on chapter two of 10 Habits, but already the author has suggested a couple things that have forced me to be introspective:
  • that mothers need to recognize their own importance.  This is difficult when you’re trapped beneath a huge pile o’ laundry, you’re out of juice boxes, and you’re force feeding green beans to unwilling participants.
  • Mothers need to continue to cultivate their own friendships with other women.  Again, easier said than done since many of us are trapped in the same whilrlwind of activity, none of which is mommy-centric.

There.  I have bared my soul.  It’s a rainy, gray day and I’m afraid my mood matches the weather.  I tend to convince myself that external things will make me happy and I know I need to look inside myself because that’s where it resides.  I’m not unhappy, but I’m not happy, which makes me wonder how other mothers view themselves.  I think we tend to portray ourselves as we want others to see us, but that’s not necessarily our Truth.  Ask yourself: how do you think other mothers view you, as opposed to how you view yourself?  I’m curious.

On a side note, if you ask Medium, he’ll tell you, “coffee.  Coffee makes Mommy happy.”  ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Happens When Two Straight Girls Hit South Beach?

I apologize for being out of commission for so long, although, strangely enough, I didn’t receive any complaints . . .

Knock, knock, knock - Is this thing on?

I got back from Miami, then we had Small’s birthday festivities, and then Hubby left town for 4 days.  I’ve said it before: I have the UTMOST respect for Military wives and single moms.  It’s tough knowing reinforcements are not coming.

Anyway, my trip to Miami with BooBoo (my sister-in-law) was fun and we made a lot of new gay boyfriends.  I hope that no one finds that offensive, because I certainly mean no disrespect.  I realize homosexuality is a hot topic and people have different opinions, but this is MY blog.  I don’t believe it’s necessary for me to point out that there are plenty of gay men and women who treat marriage and partnership with a tad more reverence than certain celebrities.  (I'm talking to you, Porn Family Sheen.)  But I’m not here to debate.  I know what I believe, whom I respect and support, and who I may have let feel me up at a bar simply because he was not a perv and because he had a genuine appreciation of the girls.  Take THAT, 9th grade boyfriend, who had to wait, like, 7 months to get that far!

We left Friday evening to head to the airport, as we had a 7 am flight out of Baltimore.  I was WAY tired, however, because the nice doctor at Patient First gave me some very special medicine to help with the Bronchitis AND Strep Throat I contracted two days before our trip.  FOUR days before our trip, Small’s pediatrician gave me prophylactic Tamiflu to prevent me from catching Small’s flu, since, in her words, “Mommy NEEDS her Girls’ Weekend.”  BooBoo started complaining before we even hit the highway.  Granted, she was complaining about my running commentary regarding her driving skills, or lack thereof, but it was unnecessary and downright hurtful for her to threaten to call Hubby to “take his side” regarding Travel With BoyMommy.

She also made several snide comments regarding the size of my luggage.  Is it NOT general knowledge that I am a princess?  I’m no Ginger; I’m more of a MaryAnn.  But I have a habit of spilling and I have a propensity for wearing white shirts.  Spillage + White = Spare White Shirts Clothing.  BooBoo packed a small duffel bag, and I would not be able to testify in court on her behalf if asked if she even changed underwear while we were gone.  After all her eye rolling and sighing when we had to check my bag, guess which one of us got stopped by security?  It wasn’t me.  You know why?  Because I am smart enough to travel without my pocket knife.  My rocket scientist SIL, who likes to "pack light," didn’t check all the bag’s nooks and crannies before borrowing it from her teenaged son.  

Sucka.  I’ll just wait for you over here while you get molested by the well-meaning TSA agent.

We arrived in Miami after enduring a packed flight.  (Side note, I sat next to a very nice gentleman who flagged down the flight attendant for extra napkins when I SPILLED my beverage on my WHITE SHIRT before we even landed at our destination.)  As we waited patiently for my suitcase at baggage claim, I made the following observations:
  1. cruises are frequented by older people who speak loudly and wear “sensible” shoes.
  2. the state uniform of Florida is apparently an embroidered shirt paired with jorts.

Once we got to the hotel, we checked in at the front desk and it was clear that we were in the minority.  The Gay and Lesbian Task Force was having their annual pool party at the hotel, but it was about 95% Gay, 4% Lesbian, and me and BooBoo.  They gave us wrist bands when we checked in.  Wrist bands meant we could gain access to the party, but it also meant . . . cheap beverages. 

We spent the afternoon at the beach.  I am serious about my sunscreen.  In fact, “serious” does not do justice to how I feel about my sunscreen.  While BooBoo spent the day lounging in the Florida sun without anything to protect her from harmful UV rays, I slathered on SPF 70.  SEVENTY, folks.  That’s a sweater in a can.  Guess what?  Still got burned.  We ordered a few beverages from our beach attendant, Juan Carlos, but the drinks were mediocre at best, AND I think I offended him when I kept calling him Juan Valdez.  He pro’lly peed in my drink.  BooBoo went back up to the hotel to “visit the powder room” and met some friends, so we decided to call it a day and go party. In the elevator on our way back up to the room, we ran into some nice boys who invited us to a bar so that we could be privy to their Drag show.  Hell to the yes.

BooBoo went to the lobby and I agreed to meet her after I changed from “hot mess” into “hot mess with a strategically placed barrette because surely those gay boys won’t notice my dirty beach hair.”  When I arrived in the lobby, however, BooBoo was nowhere to be found.  Turns out, she got suckered into escorting a 350 lb. Black man to the Ladies Room.  It seems he had partaken of some wings that had “done messed him up,” and he really needed to skip the line that was forming at the Men’s Room, but since he was not a guest at our hotel he needed BooBoo to escort him.  She was like the Foreign Diplomat of the Facilities.  Line to Men's Room, 20 deep.  Line to Ladies' Room?  Step right up!  Welcome to our world, fellas.

We made our way to the bar and we met a group of boys who happened to be discussing Midgets.  As you recall, we had been told that a Midget Convention was in town, but I had my doubts.  (We did NOT see any Little People while we were there.  One might say there was a shortage of Midgets.)  (Hehe.  I’ve been waiting all week to say that.)  Naturally we felt a kinship with this group of six gay men who were heading to the same establishment.

The rest of the evening was a bit blurry.  There was beer, boys, drag queens, boobage, and a HILARIOUS walk back to the hotel.  Hilarious because it was raining, and apparently I found this to be can’t-stop-laughing hysterical.  We hadn’t eaten, so we saddled up to the bar at the hotel before we went to bed.  According to BooBoo (and my vague recollection) I voiced my appreciation of the bartender’s “nice rack.”  Because I’m full o’ compliments, and I’m starting to think I might be a little obsessed with boobs. 

The trip was fun.  It required a lot of effort to get there and return home, but it certainly was nice to enjoy some sun and warm weather after a gray, cold winter.  I missed my boys, and I was met with hugs and homemade “welcome home” cards – so maybe Mommy’s being away was refreshing for everyone.  Hubby did a great job with the boys and the house while I was gone, but he was ready to get back to work!  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Updates on my Glamorous Life

Greetings from the Home of Sickness and Infection.  I have been a bit under the weather.  This week has been a blur of ibuprofin, cough medicine, and some bonus codeine, so I’ve gotten a little behind on the blog.  I feel I owe some updates.

Mr. Mackey from South Park - giant
head & tiny glasses.
Picture him with a mustache, cowboy boots,
and a wallet chained to his jeans
and you'll know what
The Redneck looks like.
  1. I spoke with my brother, the Redneck, who assures me that he is no longer wearing Mr. Potato Head glasses that are too small for his ginormous noggin.  In my last post, I expressed my concern that the rims of his glasses might be hanging on for dear life lest they snap from overextension.  Apparently he is now wearing contacts because his glasses were . . . ahem . . . “getting too tight.” My response, naturally, was “are you sure your head wasn’t getting bigger?” 
  2. Regarding my boyfriend, Frank, the CraigsList scammer . . . I reported him to the Federal Trade Commission and the “authorities” at CraigsList, but unfortunately I had already deposited the rubber check into my bank account.  I called my bank immediately and notified them that I was pretty sure I had deposited a fraudulent check.  Meanwhile, Frank keeps emailing me and asking me, in what I can only refer to as an English Teacher’s Nightmare, “why are you keeping me so late this way? what happen to you? i need to hear from you asap.”  Here’s an idear Frank.  Get yourself a fraudulent check and, quick like cat, find someone to teach you about grammar and mechanics.
  3. If anyone needs a perfectly lovely chandelier, I seem to have some extras

We’ve had a rough winter, considering we’ve had broken bones, allergic reactions, a stomach bug (which was really more like a stomach tornado that ripped through our home, destroyed our dignity, and left in its wake a huge pile o’ laundry that needed to be sterilized and/or burned,) the flu, (even though we ALL had flu shots,) an ear infection, and now bronchitis and strep.  Hubby says I need to stop advertising that our home is a cesspool of germs.  Um, hello, how am I gonna get my well-deserved sympathy and attention if I don’t tell people they should feel sorry for me?  I swear, sometimes it’s like he doesn’t know me at all.

In other news, my SIL, BooBoo, and I are headed to Miami for a girls' weekend.  Coincidentally, South Beach is the chosen locale for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Winter Party Festival, AND, if Hubby and his brother are to be believed, a "Midget Convention."  I have doubts about the validity of the latter, (and I'm pretty sure the term is Little People.)  Rest assured, however.  IF we have the pleasure of experiencing both a Gay and Lesbian Dance Party and a Midget Convention, or perhaps even Gay and Lesbian Midgets, I will be sure to write about it here upon my return.  Stay tuned . . .