A Working Mother’s Day

30 Oct

First let me apologize ahead of time for this rambling post – read on you will understand why.

A glimpse into a working mother’s life.

You wake up while it is still dark and hate your life until you get the coffee pot going. Take a sip and enjoy the silence until you look at the clock and mutter a foul word under your breath and head into your children’s room in attempt to get kids up for school. Here you take some verbal abuse from people who don’t even pay rent, let alone clean up after themselves. After turning on all the lights, tossing off the blankets and spraying them with the water bottle you keep for the cat, they move to the kitchen. 

Magically you have morphed into a short order cook and you find yourself wishing you had added a shot of Bailey’s to that coffee. Breakfast leads into a mad dash for everyone to scream they need the bathroom at once, and you find yourself arguing with a 5-year-old about who needs to poop more. In between the rushing and yelling you somehow toss together your kids lunch, sure you should have made it ahead of time but you were up until 11 the night before watching Game of Thrones praying that the kids were not going to walk in on a guy getting a bj or his head cut off. Today’s lunch consists of stuff that won’t send another kid into anaphylactic shock.

You contain the chaos and head to school only to look back in the mirror to see that your daughter’s hair makes her look like Amy Winehouse. Knowing you shouldn’t ask, you find out that no one brushed their teeth, combed their hair or wiped. GREAT! Somehow you make it to drop the kids off at school only to be cut off by a prettier mom in a nicer car while pulling out of your parking space. Of all the days, this was the one you didn’t shower or put on at least some eyeliner.

Sitting in traffic you reach down for that glorious cup of coffee you so needed, only to smack yourself on the forehead because it is sitting on the counter next to your frozen lunch entree and your cell phone. AWESOME!

Work is basically like being at home where you listen to people complain about stupid things and everyone wants you to do things for them that they could really do on their own, best part is no one wants to share their snacks with you and there is often crappy music coming from someone’s computer. 

At 3 p.m. your work line rings, it is another mom asking if they can pick up your kid for a playdate, where you have to pick your kids up before dinner and no they won’t be doing homework. You have no idea how they got your work number but explaining that they can’t call you at work doesn’t do any good. You attempt for the 19 millionth time that this isn’t going to work out and hang up only to see your boss standing there giving you a look like your personal life is effecting productivity. Your phone starts to ring again, you answer it and its your mother. WINNING!

The day ends and driving home you hit traffic, only to make it the kids’ afterschool program right at the cut off time. You children of course are the only ones there and it is dark outside. The guilt sets in. Then quickly switches to anger after the staff reminds you that they charge by the minute once you are late. Your kids grill you about why you have to pick them up when it is dark during the ride home. I AM AN ASSHOLE!

You get home get the homework drama going and create a dinner of fish sticks, mac and cheese, frozen pancakes, and baby carrots (kids need veggies). You have wine and goldfish crackers, thinking that once they go to bed then you and your mate can have proper dinner will.  RIGHT!

By the time dinner and homework are done you get the kids into bed (which takes about 2 hours and so much yelling your voice is going hoarse and your partner gets a migraine) only to lean in to kiss them good night and get a whiff of something that makes you gag. When was the last time they had a bath? Three days ago? A week? You make a mental note and collapse on the couch and fire up your computer only to be reminded that your kid signed up to bring 100 paperclips and 100 wine corks to class for the 100th Day of School Celebration. You look to the right of you to ask for some help gathering materials only to be met by a snoring partner who had passed out on the couch.

Heading to the trashcan you secretly hope that you might just have drunk enough wine this week to pull it off. 

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Kids Really Don’t Know How to Play Pokemon!

24 Oct

Kindergarten has brought some interesting things into my life – massive amounts of paperwork, tons of emails from over-achieving parents, cute little girls with lisps, knock knock jokes and so on. Most of it I get or choose to ignore, but the one thing that keeps me bashing my head against the wall is Pokemon.

No I am not talking about the cute cartoon that follows Ash and Pikachu through the the Japanese countryside, but the card game. Will someone please tell me how to play this game????? According to my 5-year-old first you need cards, then another person and a coin. You draw a card, flip the coin, then read him what the card says – which all results in him winning.

According to the YouTube video above, which features my favorite drunk from True Blood sitting in the front row, the game will change your life (much like sobriety or Jesus) and takes almost a half hour to explain. It’s just that simple!

Now I can honestly tell you that a group of kindergarteners, not even 3rd graders, are going to sit through instructions on how you are supposed to play the game. They are just going to make it up as they go along. And while this brand has been around since 1996, the general concept is the same. Parents have to shell out money for cards, kids trade the cards, play some sort of game that doesn’t involve math but violence, parents then shell out more money for cards/binders, and your kid wins!

Oh, and since your kid is kicking ass on the Pokemon battle field you might have to buy more cards.

Now when the get older and you are stuck trying to force them to clean out all their crap from their room and pack for college you might want to refer them to this link http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/old-pokemon-cards/

Mommy is this safe for Dolphins?

9 Oct

Kids will say the darnedest things, especially kids who can’t read.

My boy is just dabbling into the world of reading and since much of reading is recognizing shapes and making your brain associate them with sounds, I have started recalling what his “reading” was like before. Since words looked like a bunch of scribbles on a piece of paper he latched on to symbols that were in his everyday life.

Here is a small taste of toddler thinking vs. the hard work of graphic designers and logo creators. Sorry logo designers you need to work harder, tap into that 3-year-old brain I know you are just trying to shine through!

Exhibit A: The Dolphin Safe Logo

photo courtesy of Logo.net

photo courtesy of Logo.net

This kid though that his can of tuna was telling him that the tuna salad sandwich he was about to eat was safe for dolphins to eat also. Somewhere under the sea he imagined a porpoise dinning on a delicious tuna on rye. Mmmmm….sandwich

Exhibit B: Poison

image courtesy of clker.com

image courtesy of clker.com

This doesn’t mean stay away, this substance might kill you. No this symbol lets you know that pirates love this stuff. Sure they love to wash their clothing, scrub the floors, and don’t forget spray stuff on things. “Mommy, they are very clean but they won’t change diapers!” Luckily for me I worked hard at getting the real message across and it did stick. The kid won’t be adding a sprinkle of Ajax to his pasta.

Exhibit C: BTHA Safety Lion (if this one doesn’t ring a bell next time when you are at the store check out the back of the box of that toy you are about to get your kid, if you don’t see it you might want to not purchase that Ninja Turtle, because it most surely did come into contact with some radioactive ooze)

Official logo of the British Toy & Hobby Association, which means your kid's toy was not made in a sweatshop and most likely not covered in lead paint.

Official logo of the British Toy & Hobby Association, which means your kid’s toy was not made in a sweatshop and most likely not covered in lead paint.

While most kids who even read aren’t going to get this logo, my kid called it the red lion picture but was highly confused when he would open up toys and there was no red lion to be found in the box. Like it was some sort of indication that there was an extra hidden prize, making all toy boxes in to a Cracker Jack hunt. Cue meltdown when the red lion never appears.

Exhibit D: Not Tested on Animals

Are you checking your shampoo for this symbol right now?

Are you checking your shampoo for this symbol right now?

Now I know you think that most kids won’t even look at this, but when you spend hours (yes, hours) in the bathtub anything with in reach will be turned into a toy. “Why is there a bunny on this?” “Do bunnies take baths?” “Can our bunny take a bath?” “Do bunnies wear lotion?” This image was just a cue to ask a crazy amount of questions and pester your mom. Originally it was about bunnies, but it always morphed into something else; “Where is God right now?” “How do you work?” and ended me telling my kid to stop asking so many questions and shouting “I don’t know, okay!”

Finally Exhibit E: Caution Floor is Wet

image courtesy of sinoconcept.com

image courtesy of sinoconcept.com

Well obviously this tells you that there is going to be a dance party in a tiny house! Cue the Delight!

Video

Why You Shouldn’t Get Your Kid a Cell Phone

20 Sep

A great explanation to why you should not get your kid a cell phone by Louis C.K. Not to mention you teenager might post photos of themselves getting wasted or wearing something that makes you blush. He also sheds light on why everyone is texting and driving that makes perfect sense.

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One more reason to LOVE Amy Poehler!!!!

17 Sep

Can this woman do no wrong?

Not only is she BFFs with my personal hero (Tina Fey), she is a proud Feminist, funny as hell and now she has a YouTube page that features women who have great jobs along with other inspirational snippets for young girls.

Her Smart Girls YouTube page features little videos (like the one above) with music performances by young female performers, interviews with girls from around the world, an “Ask Amy” section where she answers questions about all kinds of topics (crying, stress, letting go, and of course parents). There’s even a “Boys’ Minute”. Check them all out and spread the word to every little girl, preteen, teen and mommy you know!.

What is a Preteen? Do I have one? Is it evil?

13 Sep

I have been living on the edge or living in denial or living in fear. Crap it might be a combination of all three. Most of all I have been asking myself over the past few weeks, which has become a colorful personal hell, if my child’s behavior is natural preteen behavior? Then that question is followed by well what is a preteen anyway?

Just calm down for a second!

Just calm down for a second!

Most articles, parenting books, marketing material for anti-psychotics, etc. say my child should not loose her mind until she is 10. According to my good friends at Merriam-Webster preadolescence is “the period of human development just preceding adolescence; specifically :  the period between the approximate ages of 9 and 12″. And Urban Dictionary says a Tween “is a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.” (okay well what if she likes girls?) followed by “Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up.” And if you ask Peggy Orenstein it is a made up term by marketers in the 1980s, while interesting it doesn’t really help me for this situation so it gets filed away under the MMMMM, that’s interesting file.

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Well that’s no help this kid is not 9 yet, crap she just turned 8. She is a wonderful and beautiful little girl who is curious and astoundingly loving one minute, then I turn my back for a second and she is rolling her eyes at me and muttering under her breath.  There is the back talk, the freaking out about the littlest things at the drop of the hat, and the meltdowns/tantrums that have my PTSD from the toddler years acting up again.

Recently the mood swings got so intense they have been driving me to watch Mommy Dearest clips in the middle of the night to remind myself that I am actually a great mom.

So what happened, how did it get to be like this?

I first blame the Disney Channel, secondly the milk we have been drinking (damn hormones), and third I place full blame on my child’s brain and the massive amount of growth that is happening up there. Recently I watched a TED Talk on the teenage brain by Adriana Galavan, which not only made me feel smarter but put things into perspective fore me.

Sure the kid is only 8-years-old, but she is still growing and I have no idea what is going on in that brain of her’s. And really it comes down to that most of what is going on up there are massive exaggeration

woman-cryings of little things. The best part this is only going to get worse as she reaches into high school.

So while my daughter may not be considered a tween/preteen just yet, she is well on her way and it is about time that I pull my resources together and prepare for the all out war that is going to take place in my home.

My first step to gaining back my sanity was to take a refresher course in breathing. Not only is it good for me to remind myself that I need to take a breath before I start yelling (otherwise you pass out) but to also not lash out in anger or frustration just because this little person might have hurt my feelings. Next step is to tell her to do the same thing, sure it is met with more eye rolling and maybe a slammed door, but I have put it out there and I didn’t turn into Joan Crawford nor did I pass out.

If that doesn’t work I plan to just let the chips fall where they may. Someone told me long ago that you can’t talk to crazy, and boy to I have no plan to when my kid has surely lost her mind.

And once the storm has subsided I have begun to take time to check in with myself (Yes, Wilson we did it. We survived) and then check in with my not-yet-preteen. These outbursts are exhausting and she needs to know that I love her even if she pushes me toward the edge.

So to all the parents of not-yet-preteens out there, stay strong. Labels and age ranges are just confusing. It’s only gonna get worse (well that’s if you read all the horror stories out there about middle school). No really middle school isn’t all bad (I have lived through that one and I must say this is worse). And if you haven’t told yourself you are going a great job – I will. You rock! Now go watch Faye Dunaway turn into an evil Joan Crawford right before you eyes.

Tooth Fairy’s Digging a Financial Hole

3 Sep

The Tooth Fairy has finally given into keeping up with Jones. 

This should have been the headline last week when Visa, Inc. announced the update to their app, which found that the price of a tooth for most parents has soared to $4 a pop. With the announcement, it seamed like every news organization in the country from Associated Press to KQED had to profile some parents who gave examples of what they pay their kid when the loose a tooth. It all stems from this AP story where parents chime in with how much they are dolling out, ending with a mother actually admitting to shelling out a $100 bucks. And they are all doing it because some other parent chimed in and said they were giving their kid a certain amount. Never to be outdone, parents need the feel to top whatever price was suggested.

Image

Dwayne Johnson in wings as the tooth fairy.

What is going on here? Isn’t there enough pressure to be a super parent without having to keep up with the Jones when it comes to your children’s teeth? Being the Tooth Fairy is a very intimate thing. It is a treasured rite of parenthood. I understand getting a gauge of what to put under your kid’s pillow when their first tooth gets wiggly, but you have check yourself on how high are you going to set that bar. 

I am the type of parent to keep the expectations low, so when I do decide to go bigger my kids take note. Like adding a piñata to a party. If you start off your kids birthday’s with a piñata, they and your other guests will expect one…EVERY FRIGGIN’ YEAR. So just like your kids party, placing $20 bucks under your kids pillow when they loose a tooth is only creating the expectation that the Tooth Fairy is going to crack open his/her wallet each time and put a twenty there. 

Can you afford this pressure? I know the app/articles said that the average price of a tooth is $4, but really do you have ones lying around your house like that? 

I have two kids and have learned over the years that it is good to explain magical creatures with a map. Listen kids we live in a county where the Tooth Fairy can only give a certain amount depending on what tooth is under the pillow. So what your buddies tell you on the school yard is not what you are going to get because they have a different zip code/apartment number/county address (fill in the blank). 

Often the Tooth Fairy hasn’t even left money, but things found around the house since her ATM card was stolen or she didn’t have time to go the bank or the neighbors didn’t have change for a $20. 

If the Tooth Fairy had to keep up with whatever rate the kid was getting up the street she would go broke. So media companies when you want to write a story about how much the price of a tooth is why don’t you do the math. Twenty teeth at $4 a pop, that’s $80, add in the now estimated $241,081 to raise a child (without college tuition) and I think the price is too high. 

Give your kid what ever loose change you can find in house and call it a night, they won’t judge you for it. The Tooth Fairy on the other-hand will be forever a cheap bastard.