More Than ‘Mom’

More Than-Mom-.jpg

Being a Mom is simultaneously the best and most heartbreaking thing
I’ve ever done. The best because I have loved harder in the last five
years than I have my entire life. Heartbreaking because it makes me
more vulnerable than I’ve ever been (and because I’ve touched more
poop than I ever had). Before kids I thought breakups, and friend
fights, and losing a job was hard. After having a child I saw the
bigger picture. From the little things like schooling and if they were
hitting their milestones soon enough to the bigger worries and
heartbreaks like SIDS and childhood cancer, one thing was clear. I
wasn’t fully prepared for the love and anxiety that came with having
kids and I had no idea how absolutely consuming parenthood actually
was.

I realized, of course, that becoming a Mom would be life changing. I
knew that my life would be different. I had no idea, however, that
once one has children, ones life can seem to fall into a prewritten
supporting actress category. I didn’t realize that as a Mom I would be
bombarded with media telling me what I should like now (for the record
that’s wine, yoga pants, and weird wraps that supposedly suck your fat
out). I didn’t hear what the wise women were saying when they talked
about how as Mom’s we still had to take time for ourselves. It’s not
about getting a break from the kids, its about staying in touch with
who we are. When my kids were newborn I was, as we all are, consumed
with simply keeping them dry and fed. As they grow there are small
moments of down time appearing that could be used for whatever I like.
But who am I if I’m not being a Mom? Isn’t it selfish of me to want to
do things just for me when I can’t even seem to do all the things I
want to with them?

The most common anxiety for a mother is probably that she’s not enough
for her kids. Doesn’t spend enough time with them. Doesn’t play enough
with them. Doesn’t do enough crafts with them. Doesn’t tell them
enough how special they are. We spend so much time trying to stifle
this anxiety that at the end of the day we sit exhausted on the couch
thinking of all the things we could be doing.  Things like reading
that book you picked up 3 years ago, making food that isn’t cut into
bite sizes, maybe spending some time in bed with your spouse NOT
sleeping (wink-wink). Instead we take a pass and go to sleep because
we know we need the energy to do it all again tomorrow.

I’m not sure when all this mom guilt started. Probably around the time
we collectively started overthinking everything. We have a ton of
information available now giving us studies and stats on everything
from the best colors to expose newborns to how messed up kids will be
if they don’t have family dinners. There is absolutely no way to do
everything “they” say is good for your child. At some point we have to
decide that love and instinct count for something and that we ARE
doing a good job because we’re doing the best we can. That needs to
include doing the best we can for ourselves. Between work and taking
care of a home and kids we forget to take care of the person that is
holding it all together.

I am  writing today to renounce the idea that self love and
preservation as a mother is somehow selfish. Everyone will benefit
from you putting yourself first. Your kids will see that your time and
interests are as important as theirs. Your spouse will see you do the
things that drew you together in the first place. Your parenting will
be complimented by the happiness that all the things you love brings
to it. So start that garage rock band, join a political campaign, do
that art project you’ve been putting off. Take a night course. Go on a
solo vacation. Say “Yes!” to that thing in the back of your mind
whispering “I wish I could…” instead of answering with a “I can’t
because I have kids.”

It’s time to get rid of the notion that we don’t deserve “me time”
because we haven’t lived up to the expectations of some make believe
Good Parenting Checklist. It’s time to make yourself a priority
because everyone around you already thinks that you are. You are a
great Mom because you are a great person. Not the other way around.

Advertisements

A Vacation with Kids

Vacation With Kids

Is there anything more stressful and tiring than a vacation with children?
No. There’s not.

Have you ever heard someone say they needed a vacation from their vacation?
Those people probably had kids.

What is a vacation with kids?

Basically the crying, screaming, and sleep deprivation of everyday life are broken up with a few Instagram worthy moments of visiting zoo’s and theme parks. At the end of the day you’re in some strange room or hotel and the kids are super wired and extra overtired and nobody sleeps well. Then you get up and do it all over again.

There’s also the travel. Both of my wee ones get carsick so add “Drugged” and “Stupor” followed by “Loopy” into the mix, bringing a weird menage a trois of the lesser known characters of Snow White to the car.

So needless to say, although it was great to get out and do things last week, I’m looking forward to things being back to normal now. The husband is back to work (Praise Banana) the kids have caught up on some sleep (Bless Thor) and I am back to procrastinating on my housework and writing things (Hail Coffee).

Have a peaceful week!

Finding My Neverland

Finding My Neverland

Do you remember what it was like to be free?
A child’s freedom is tangible, infectious, and enviable.
A child’s joy is not confined by social boundaries or expectations. It runs on happiness and curiosity and slows only to give way to wonder.

image

When did we lose that exuberance for life? Why did we listen when the unspoken voice of society told us to “sit down, shut up and act our age?

Somewhere along the journey from our wide-eyed childhood, someone taught us what fat meant. Said no one too many times. Broke our hearts.
We learned about violence and prejudice. About expectations and acceptable behavior.
We became cynical and cautious in order to protect the spark of joy we still had deep inside.

My hope is that we learn to get it back. That we will play with our children and see the world through their eyes. That we will put aside caution and social expectations and instead find that  spark and fan it till it’s a wildfire burning away the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves.

Life is too short not to find the magical. Too hard not to strive to find as much happiness as possible. Too precious to walk a path made for us, instead of carving out our own.

Too wonderful not to enjoy.

I don’t want to grow up any more. I want to grow down. I want to see the world through the undiluted eyes of a child. I want to be happy.

I want to be free.

The Mom Night-Life Scene: Decoded

Mom Night-Life

I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking about whole-bottle wine-a-thon’s after the kids are in bed.
About getting out of the house with your girlfriends and dancing the night away while they sleep (And consequently the epic hangover that you have to parent through the next day).
About tawdry nightclubs for Mom’s to unleash their inner freak (No? Just me? Sorry).

In actuality I am just going to tell you about last night. About the underbelly of parenting. Some might say the hardest part of the day isn’t DAY, it’s the night. Probably that someone has a crappy sleeper like I do. Someone out there understands, I know you do.

Let me preface by saying my 1 year old not only doesn’t sleep through the night yet, she still night nurses. Yeah. So…leave your judgement at the door but feel very free to give me tips on how to make that stop.

Also, I’m just gonna guess on the time-frame that all this happened cause when it’s after midnight EXACT TIME HAS LOST ALL MEANING!

6:30PM Rock/Nurse Baby and lay her in crib.

7:00PM Rock/Nurse Baby and lay her in crib. (At this point Samuel L. Jackson becomes my spirit animal. Go the eff to sleep, kid!)

7:30PM Rock/Nurse baby and lay her in crib. THANK EFF! She stayed. I notice that the 4yo has passed out backwards on my bed without brushing her teeth or using the bathroom. I’ma just let that happen.

8:00PM Plop 4yo unceremoniously in her loft bed and shut her door.

PLAY MARIO KART LIKE A 12YO FOR AN UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF TIME. Yes, I’m 30 but when the kids are asleep I’m allowed to be a child again.

11:00PM Drift off into sweet sweet oblivion.

12:30AM Baby decides she wants to get up. I’ve taken my allergy pills at this point. They help with allergies and they make me sleepy so I usually take them before bed. Side effects include NIGHT EATING LIKE A BOSS. Seriously I scarfed down half a hotdog bun with cheez whiz and a bunch of Cheezits (at least there was a theme?) and put the baby back to bed.

4:30AM Baby gets up again. I go to pee and notice one of my 3 cats (yes, I AM a little insane to have that many cats along with kids) has brutally murdered a small creature in the bathtub. What the hell is this, Cat-Dexter?! I’ve been down this road before. I just left it there. Ok? I was not picking up dead mouse in the night. Don’t worry I got to it later. In the fuzzy ,pre-coffee first lights of day. This is my fur-family, I will clean up the mess. Sanitizing the bathtub isn’t too big of a deal. Wrapping the mouse in plastic seems a tad weird but what if I don’t dispose of it properly and it’s family came looking for it? Thank God for crime shows.

6:00AM The rooster child I birthed decided it was time to rise. I did not agree. The other 4yo rooster child did however. I gave the big kid netflix to watch via my phone in bed and tried to get the baby to sleep. No dice. Face clawing of Real Housewives of New Jersey proportions ensued. I went to the bathroom to find out the murderer moved the body from the original crime scene prompting me to clean it up ASAP before one of the children found it.

7:00AM I had coffee and put a stop to the NOT-AT-ALL uplifting morning flute melodies big kiddo was playing. I decided to chronicle this night that, murder aside, wasn’t all that weird or abnormal at all.

I am completely aware that I signed up for this.
And most of the time I am so used to it that I don’t even think about it or notice extra tiredness during the day.
Honestly the thing I’m most upset about is the Cheez. It’s not even “cheese”. I ate so much fake orange. That can’t be good for a person.

5 Situations That Make a Socially Awkward Mom Cringe

5 Situations That Make A (2)

Do you shudder at the thought of large crowds? Come home after events and analyze every meaningful conversation that you had till you’re convinced people think you’re crazy? Do you identify with the Socially Awkward Penguin meme so much that you’re convinced you should just move to Antarctica? If so, you might be socially awkward and being at these 5 places probably drives you batty.

1. Doctor’s Appointments: From the time you find out you’re pregnant to all the well-baby checkups that first year, the doctor’s office is your new home away from home. It’s not bad enough that they pack you into a tiny waiting room like a bunch of hugely pregnant sardines. No, people also have to chat. Polite chitchat is not your friend. It starts out fine but then your mouth starts talking faster than your brain can complete thoughts. It’s hard to get your foot in your mouth with the huge belly but you manage it every time.

2. Playdates: If they’re coming to your house you’ll clean for days before hand in preparation for tiny hands to mess things up. If you’re going to theirs you’ll worry about having to make conversation and if the other Mom’s will think you’re weird. Your child will inevitably recruit other kids and start a small riot and you’re left wondering if she’s the “bad kid” or “gang leader” in the other parent’s minds. After mulling it over for months you chalk it up to youthful curiosity and fun and hope you get invited back again. Not because you want to go, but because that would mean you haven’t been blacklisted.

3. Waiting in Line: There’s someone behind you. There’s someone in front of you. Do you stare off into the distance? Should you mention how nice the weather is? Oh God, my child just asked that woman what the mole on her face is. Maybe I can just go on my phone…oh great I just realized I’ve been standing here laughing at stupid Facebook messages. I look like a wingnut! I’ll just talk to my kids like a really attentive Mom. Nobody can find fault in that surely. I’m just here to do some banking, this is too much!

4. Birthday Parties: I’m not sure what age you’re supposed to just drop them off and leave but someone needs to establish a number quick! Should I socialize with the other Mom’s? I don’t wanna. Follow my kid around to make sure he doesn’t break anything? Awkward. Just give me a freaking hotdog and some cake so I have something to do with my hands and people will leave me alone. If you’re lucky that one Mom you get along with is also there and you can follow her around like a lost puppy piggybacking on her good manners. Why don’t they serve wine at these things?

5. School Committees: If you’re on one of these babies it’s probably because you’ve been “volun-told”. Someone volunteered you for the job. You now hate them with a passion equaled to the burning fire of a 1000 suns. (You’ll get yours Cindy. The zoo trip is coming up and I feel your arachnophobia makes you well suited to take the kids through the spider exhibit.) You can sit around meetings quietly listening and risk the group thinking you’re not helping. Or you can throw out some ideas and risk being the “bossy” one. Dear God these need to come with a manual. Or be done via text because it’s easier to cringe and hate myself after I speak without anyone seeing me.

5 Reasons Toddlers Will Survive the Zombie Apocolypse

CURLY BRACKETS TO

If you haven’t heard of the show “The Walking Dead” you live under a rock and won’t be reading this post anyway since I hear the WiFi is pretty spotty down there. If you are reading this post you’ve probably at least heard of the show. Maybe you’re a fan like I am and root for your fav characters to survive. They don’t all survive, however (cue millions of Beth tears). Do you know who would? Toddlers. They’re crafty little humans that get underestimated because of their size and tendency to poop their pants.

“But how?!” you ask. “They can barely speak and their biggest threat is being almost as cute as Norman Reedus!?”

They can exist on very little sleep: No walker is going to get them in the dead of night. They’ll be up every 1.5 hours and will wake for something as little as a floorboard creaking or someone peering into their crib to check on them. Sometimes they’ll just stay up most of the night on high alert, and still be awake enough the next day to refuse their nap.

Kids will eat anything (or exist on nothing at all): From stuff they found in the garbage can to leaves and dirt outside, kids will eat anything (except what you lovingly prepare for dinner). Starvation will never be a problem no matter how sparse the pickings because they have trained themselves to exist on 2 Goldfish Crackers and a sip of milk per day.

Oh, and everything they don’t eat is applied directly on their body for camouflage.

They can make a weapon out of anything: They have lots of practice hitting their siblings (or parents) with different toys to see which one leaves the biggest bump. Kids learn young how to position Lego to inflict the most pain and slow you down. If a walker actually catches up with them they’ll turn their super cute chubby toes into iron-like daggers and leave bruises on their thighs till they let them down. They’re at a stage where violence still doesn’t bother them so they’re ruthless.

They’re super good at being quiet when things are going down: You know when a toddler’s quiet that means something is afoot. They’re into SOMETHING. The dead are coming? You won’t hear a peep as they fashion a flaming spear out of a baton, fork and matches they found in Dad’s pocket.

This is also the trait that allows them to sneak up and scare the crap out of you. Good for ambushes.

They prefer to live in makeshift shelters and forts: Throw a blanket over a couple chairs and they’re ecstatic. Every night in the wilderness in a homemade tent or tree fort is gonna be like Christmas. They won’t ask to go traipsing through the forest to find better lodgings that are probably already occupied by the dead owners. No, they’ll be content to stay put and make another bedroom out of the bedding of anyone who bites the dust. Err…gets bit (same thing).

no-walkers-allowed

I can’t wait to meet up with all you parents out there in the post apocalyptic world. The more toddlers we have together the safer we’ll be (that logic doesn’t work in ANY other situation). Which skills will your kiddo will bring to the gang?

Don’t Forget To Love

Your Daily Reminder

The hardest thing about getting older is not grey hair, lack of energy, or feeling like you’re always working towards some distant goal that you never reach. All those things are true at times, hard at times, but the biggest crusher is definitely death.

When we are children and death happens we’re a bit protected by the bubble of innocence that encompasses us until life starts poking holes in it and letting the feelings we’ve been hidden from hit us full force.  As we age in years we also become more mature mentally and realize that mortality is fleeting. Your’s, mine, theirs. Your time with someone can be cut off so fast, so completely that it takes your breath away. Your heart hurts and your brain struggles to understand.

I can’t understand. In the last 5 years I have lost 4 people (as of yesterday) from my family. My Aunt and Uncle in their mid life a mere 3ish years apart. I can’t understand but I have learned some lessons the hard way. Ones we all know in the back of our minds but forget sometimes in the daily grind. So here’s your daily reminder to…

Cherish every moment.

Always say “I Love You”.

Always call them back.

Visit as often as you can.

Hug!

Tell people what you like about them while they’re still here.

Enjoy your family and friends. Don’t live with death hanging over your head, but with a lot of love in your heart.

In Memory of Uncle G

Easter: Great Expectations & Their Crappy Realities

Almost every movie out there gives Canadian children unrealistic expectations about holidays. Take today for example. First day of Easter holidays for my husband and it snows, then rains, and the roof starts leaking.
If we want to do an Easter egg hunt it’s going to go down a lot differently than kids rolling around on green grass covered hills in light spring dress clothes like you see in the movies.  Its not just here in Canada. As “adults” we all imagine the perfect holiday’s we’re going to throw and how magical they will be based on all the ads and movies and tv we’ve seen over the years. There’s another side to this whole Holiday game though.

Let me show you what I mean with a little game of “Expectation vs Reality”.

Egg Hunt: Expectation

Shorts! Spring dresses! Green grass!

Egg Hunt: Reality

I can’t see anything! This isn’t worth it for off-brand chocolate and plastic grass my cat will inevitably eat and then half poop out.

Spring Fashions: Expectation

It’s time for dresses and cute jumpers! Now that it’s April we won’t have to ruin the look of it by putting a big bulky jacket over top……right?

Spring Fashions: Reality

Wrong! If my kids were to go out and play today they would literally have to wear a snowsuit. We still have that much snow.

Family Dinner: Expectation

Cheers bitches! I love you all and even though you said you hated me and I’m cut out of the will last night, our family bond will conquer all in the end.

Family Dinner: Reality

“I KNOW you took my Lisa Frank pens in 6th grade, you dingle berry! I told Mom and of course she did NOTHING. NO I won’t let it go because you steal everything shiny and good from my life!”

Church (if you’re so inclined): Expectation

God this movie, like Whoopi, never gets old does it?

Church: Reality

Don’t look at me like that. I’m not hungover! I’m just closing my eyes because I’m really into the sermon.

So that’s my Easter reality check for the day. After all is said and done its worth it to spend time with the family. Also, I’m not knocking the copious amount of chocolate bunnies and eggs I get to mutilate.  Hey that’s one less candy that’s going to rot my child’s teeth right?
Whatever the tradition in your family, make the best of it and have a great (or bearable at least) holiday!

5 People Who Really REALLY Hate Parents

I’m sure since becoming a parent you now have your own list of people who drive you insane. And right there at the top are these assholes. The people who really really hate parents.

1. Children’s Toy Packaging Inventors: I’m not sure if this is an actual job title or if the makers of children’s toys just email hell and ask Satan’s Minions to send up their best work. You rip off a plastic dome, undo little ties of rope, cut through cardboard, risk death cutting through plastic ties with a large kitchen knife, and realize in the end you need a damn screwdriver to get the final plastic device – which appears to have no actual purpose – off the back. Meanwhile, your child is having an epic meltdown that can not be consoled by anything other than the toy…and that’s when you find out it doesn’t come with batteries.

Read the rest at ScaryMommy! Click below for more!

5 People Who Really REALLY Hate Parents CONTINUED…

Texting While Menstruating: Is It Worth It?

There are really not enough commendations out there for women who go through emotional hell each month with their periods and come out the other side without seeing the inside of a courtroom or police car. Its a turbulent time. Emotions are high. You’ve put on some water weight and want to break the scales into a million pieces. Maybe someone says “You’re so emotional today, are you PMSing?!” and you want to break them into a million pieces.

Now I like to think of myself as a fairly calm person most of the time. I don’t always blame everything on PMS or my period and I’m not prone to paranoid rambling texts on a normal day. This day however, all signs pointed to Emotional-ville and I hopped aboard the Crazy Train with gusto.

The quickest way to start a fake fight that’s not actually happening is texting.
You cant’ read tone in text, sarcasm is lost sometimes, and nobody knows what the other person is doing so they assume they’re ignoring them if they don’t reply right away. If you add hormones into this mix its basically a uterus shaped atom bomb.

Below I’ve outlined the 6 stages of messaging my husband while he was busy at work. It is with shame and indignity that I have to ask myself, and you, “Should I be allowed to use technology while menstruating? Is it really worth the bumpy ride on the Crazy Train?”

Stage One: Emotional Turmoil

This emotion floods in like the period you just started. Life is so HARD and everything that can go wrong will go wrong in that first day. So you turn to your husband for some support.

“I’m so upset.  I’m sick & have a doctors appointment for tomorrow. EVERYTHING SUCKS!!!”

*NO REPLY*

Stage 2: Delusional

Obviously the fact that he hasn’t replied means everything you ever thought he was is a lie. It couldn’t be that he’s busy at work, or dealing with a difficult client. Nope.  Life as you know it is obviously falling apart. Your head is swimming with the horrors of custody battles. That’s if the not-so-sweet release of death doesn’t get you first based on the sore throat and ear you’re bemoaning.

“I feel like we’re headed for divorce and Google says I have cancer. I’m probably dying.”

*NO REPLY*

Stage 3: Window of Saneness

A brief moment of good sense creeps back in your mind. You feel like maybe you’ve been overreacting just…a tad. OK so maybe he’s busy. He is at work. I’m being crazy.

“Sorry  I’m so emotional. I’m all over the place. Period.”

*NO REPLY*

Stage 4: Liam Neeson

The next obvious reaction is to ponder the merit of the radio silence being due to someone else having his phone and laughing gleefully at his crazed wife messaging him in a period induced psychotic break. You threaten said kidnappers in the best way you know how.

58958982

“If you kidnapped my husband I will find you and go “Liam-Neeson-With-A-Kidnapped-Daughter” on your ass.  I will find you……..and I will kill you.”

*Husband Finally Replies*

Stage 5: Cold Treatment

So you hear some details about how busy he’s been coupled with an “Love you” and it sinks in even more how…slightly over the top…you have been. You can’t give up there, however. If you act too happy to hear from him right away it would be like admitting that your “overreactions” were something to be ashamed of. Liam Neeson never apologizes. Why should you?

Here’s where you insert your best bitch face emojji.

Followed by this gem.

image

His reply? “That’s good I guess.”

Stage 6: Normalcy Returns

You find yourself able to chat about the kids and bills without ripping anyone’s head off. Maybe you even still like him a little bit. Maaaybe you can admit to your self that no, you probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a keyboard of any sort on Day One of your period.

BONUS STAGE!

When you text your friend aka his office manager the following message.

“Well if he’s not busy and just ignoring me tell him to go fuck himself. If he’s busy tell him I love him and have a good day.”