Divorce is The New Black

“Mama said they’ll be days like this…”

We all have “those days”.

I’m finding when you have young children you have more of them. Lot’s more. Days where a glass of wine sounds like a good breakfast. Days where all you do is referee the most ridiculous fights (But he won’t stop looking at me {punch, kick} but you don’t see the Don King “dolla dolla bills”. Days where you’re wondering how your college educated, brilliant mind is scooping shit out of a size 5 pull-up. Days where you would pay good money to only have to do this 50% of the time.

Which brings me to my point.

Hubby and I spent our 20’s attending weddings. Everyone was getting married.

Then our 30’s at baby showers. Everyone was getting pregnant.

Now here we are, staring at 40, and EVERYONE is getting divorced.

The majority of my divorced and separated friends seem happy about it. They are out “livin’ la vida loca” and I’m reading about it on Facebook while picking peanut butter out of my hair and finding dried snot on my shirt.

I love my family. I wouldn’t change a fucking thing about where I’m at right now. But… when I have an extra stressful day at home of repeating myself a trillion times to deaf little ears… I day-dream about having a weekend free of children.

Cause right now I’m on 100% of the time. My husband works 6 days a week and when he walks in the house at 7PM… you’d think the Ringling Brothers circus just pulled up in the driveway. He’s the awesome novelty act while I am the warden.

“Daddy’s home!! DADDY!!! DADDY!!! DADDY!!”

{and they run to their Father and meet him before he even gets a foot in the door with hugs and kisses and stories about their day}

And I’m standing in the kitchen, making dinner, wearing the baby, hair stuffed into some off-kilter pony-tail.

I’m the Ogre that makes them wash their face, and “grab your backpack”, and “please sit on your bottom”, and “take your hand out of your pants”, and “STOP TOUCHING YOUR BROTHER”!!

And then I hear about all my divorced or separated friends who get their kids at a specific time, a time when they are well rested and the house is picked up, and they haven’t seen them in 5 days so they have super amazing trips planned, and “fun time” on the agenda. They get to have a different relationship with their children then I do.

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes… when I listen to their stories I’m a twinge jealous.

I used to be super fucking fun.

Before kids, I was the person you called when you wanted to feel better, I was the one who had everyone’s stomach hurting with laughter, I would do stupid, reckless and hilarious shit. I was a hoot.

But my kids don’t get to see that side of me because I’m too busy. And that kinda blows.

So at night, after an especially draining day and thankless unpaid hours of doing what I do because I have to… I’ll talk to a girlfriend who’s now a single Mom. And she’ll tell me all the fantastic stories about the myriad of 22 year old’s she’s out kissing and how she has her child this weekend and they are going to Disney or a movie or a concert… and I’ll be half listening to her while the other half of me is listening to the baby monitor… where in the other room I overhear my husband reading a goodnight book to our 3-year-old, while the 9-year-old sits with his baby brother, who is cooing and giggling… and I think about how ridiculously lucky I am that I don’t ever have to share them, or worse yet, miss them.

Although they drive me batshitcrazy I couldn’t even handle the emptiness I’d feel even having to miss one fucking second of their lives. Not one tear, not one poop, none of it.

Full-time Motherhood is a mind numbing siege.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the Universe.

 

 

 

A Toddlers Guide to Clean Eating

Today was the 3-year-old’s last day of school. They had a sweet little show where the kids sang songs and did dances. It was completely adorable and for a tiny millisecond you can almost forget that cute little angel is your psychotic toddler.

This is bad.

Never forget.

Don’t even think about forgetting the fact that in an instant they can go from “Aw” to The Exorcist.

I’m telling you this not to scare you (but lets face it, fear is your friend with a toddler) but to keep you on your toes. The very toes he’s going to pound with his fists during the next tantrum.

In our normal, everyday life I make pretty good choices on what to feed my kids. This usually depends on my exhaustion level. We don’t do a lot of fast or frozen foods, or candy, or sweets. The oldest has juice, but not the 3-year-old. And when they don’t eat shit, you can really see a difference in their personality. At least I can see the difference in my kids. I can probably see the difference in your kids too but they aren’t my problem.

That’s why it is totally my fault what is happening right now. Letting my guard down today was a huge mistake and I’m paying for it. In spades.

It’s to the point of Masochism. I knew what the outcome was going to be but I allowed it to happen anyway. Touche peer pressure.

After the little play they had an Ice Cream Social to end the school year.  My very hungry caterpillar had a loaded ice cream sundae, with chocolate sauce, and mini-m&m’s. Then he ate a brownie. And I’m watching him consume all this junk and saying to myself, “he never gets treats like this, it’s only one day. How can I deny him when he’s not allergic, he hasn’t been bad, all his friends are doing it?”.

But I know better.

Then his teacher gave him a lovely end of the year gift… a beach pail filled with toys, and his name on it. So sweet of her. As I loaded the kids into the car I was busy looking at everything and reading her card to me {a tear-jerker for sure}. I missed the fact that a pack of Skittles was also in the pail. 3-year-old didn’t miss a beat and started pigging out on Skittles.

By the time we got home things were going downhill.

“I don’t wanna take a nap, I big boy”

Big boys take naps.

“Not Daddy, not big brother.”

Daddy’s at work, I can assure you if he were home, he would be napping.

“YOU MEAN MOMMY!”

{Oh Hell No! I’m nice Mommy. You’re Fidel Castro with a sugar high. Don’t get it twisted}

I’m sorry you feel that way.

Once we arrived home he seemed to chill out a bit. We watched some mindless children’s programming but he barely took a bite of the sandwich I made him.

As nap time approached I gave him lots of notice. All met with a very specific type of anger that is the true symbol of a sugar crash.

He’s in his bed right now pitching a fit reminiscent of Veruca Salt.

Note to self, stop at one bowl of ice cream and next time, make sure you have enough wine.

The Flat Stanley Magellan

The school year is almost over…. we can taste it.

It’s like the last mile of a marathon (not that I’ve ever run a marathon but I see the way those people look by the end). Crazy, wide-eyed, desperate. I really thought we were finished with the difficult parts of this school year. We could just cruise through that last mile and let the adrenaline be our guide.

I was so very wrong.

Come to find out, this isn’t a marathon… I would welcome the old-fashioned, user-friendly, 26.2 miles with open arms right now. A course mapped out for me by someone else? Bring it. Tunes and friends and a cheering crowd? Can I get an AMEN?? A marathon would be my homeboy. But alas, this is no marathon.

No, I just discovered this is a Tough Mudder race… and we still have to go through the electrocution cables.

My 9-year-old son brought home ONE LAST project. The mountain I see laid out before me is large, it’s daunting, I’m exhausted, he’s exhausted… but if we can just climb this last peak, just push a little bit more… there, oh yes, there, is glorious summer awaiting us. No homework, no projects, no mundane bullshit.

We can go back to basics.

But first we have to actually do this freaking thing.

So, I guess Boy Wonder had the assignment to write a paper on an explorer. That part, is already done, as he’s been working on it at school. Good job buddy, ’cause if you brought home an assignment for a whole paper too, Mommy might have had a moment similar to The Shining… “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, would have been an understatement.

Ferdinand Magellan is our man. With the written part already complete, now we are left to do the bullshit busy work of creating our own Magellan. What the teacher sent home is pretty much a Flat Stanley. Which would be fine if our Flat Stanley Magellan was about to travel the globe, or even be displayed, but this whole assignment is just ridiculous to me because school is over in 5 days. 5 FREAKING DAYS!!! Where will they display this? What is the purpose? If this had been me in the third grade I probably wouldn’t have even bothered. But it’s not. Boy Wonder wants to complete the task, and do it right.  But that won’t stop me from designing the projects I think we should submit.

Here’s what we are working with… yeah, I know. I think this teacher is just about as over this school year as we are.

{I don’t blame you girl… I feel you}

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But how about Flat Stanley Magellan as…

Sprockets? Sprockets might be a good one…

[When this is over I will totally do the Sprocket dance]

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Or my girl RuPaul… “You Better Wurk!”

{Believe me Ru, this is work}

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But this is how I really feel…

{So much so, I. Just. Can’t.}

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Alright, alright, my fun is over. Time to get down to business.

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Oh Magellan… you are super creepy looking. And I still have to go to the craft store to buy material for you clothes??

I think we should just go with RuPaul and call it a day.

The Anniversary Registry

I grew up on Long Island, NY.

Not Staten Island, don’t get it twisted.

Just don’t.

Even though I had already lived in FL for about 8 years when I got engaged to be married (to a boy from Long Island) I discovered there is a whole “Long Island” thing to getting engaged.

Registering at Fortunoff.

Fortunoff was a department store that originated in Brooklyn. In the ’70’s everyone was leaving their lives in Brooklyn and the Bronx and made a mass exodus for the suburbs. When I grew up in Long Island it was full of people who had grown up in NYC and the surrounding areas. Since I’ve moved to Florida it’s a pretty different world over there, but I digress.

Fortunoff had an amazing bridal registry. My Mother and soon-to-be Mother-in-law guided me through the motions of all the things I’d need to set up house. Considering we had already been residing together for some time (the new American way of progressive relationships) I took their help and picked out china patterns and stemware and crystal and all sorts of beautiful things that every bride is expected to need. I had these delusions of grandeur with my juicer and Kitchen-Aid mixer while I whipped up interesting and healthy snacks for my fictional set of identical triplets. Images of Hubby and I entertaining our friends “Mad Men style” with barware and highballs while playing bridge. The truth of the matter was, I wasn’t very handy in the kitchen or the house when we got married. And on the day of our wedding I was already 27 years old… 3 kids seemed like a reach (little did I freaking know about what the future had in store for me then). And our friends don’t play cards, or drink highballs. The American wedding Registry has become almost like a lottery of sorts. You get engaged and bam… people buy you things. But have you really actually accomplished anything?  And don’t get me started on the baby registry. Why do you need 5 different diaper bags? For your second kid? The answer is… you don’t.

Overall Hubby and I were pretty practical. I recall looking at a friend’s bridal registry when attending their wedding and they had registered for (I shit you not) a kegerator. We didn’t go that far into left field. We still had a slight bit of restraint.

I can happily remember for months leading up to the big day, I would come home from work to find Fortunoff boxes eagerly waiting for me at the front door of my apartment. Another beautiful place setting, and a card of loving congratulations from someone who had known me before I was even a thought in my parents head. It was a magical time, full of hope and promise and downright fear. Fear that we were too young, too old, too different, too similar, to get married. Could it ever work? Would we want to wake up to each other every morning and go to sleep next to each other each night? Until death parts us? Pretty heavy stuff when you know the statistics about divorce.

And over the years we’ve been to a shitload of weddings, bought gifts off a lifetime of wedding registries and traveled back home a million times to see our friends and family members tie the knot.

Next week we will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.

We still use the good china (although some of it is chipped), I broke out the crystal champagne glasses last night to toast the engagement of another friend (although we rarely use those with all the kids around), the silver need to be polished, the jucier got used twice until I realized I don’t “juice” or “green drink” and now it’s somewhere in the garage, the kitchen-aid mixer is my right hand and I love that freaking thing.

I mentioned to Hubby last night that when it comes to wedding culture and etiquette I think, as a whole, we are all doing it wrong. Getting married is easy. Staying married can be hard. The next wedding I attend maybe I’ll grow a pair of balls and give the happy couple a savings bond. In both of their names. If they are still married when it matures they can have it.

I’m not saying that you should stay in a shitty marriage. Some relationships are unhealthy and need to end. Irreconcilable differences are just that. If someone is toxic and unwilling to change, then getting the fuck outta there is the only option you have. I am saying that just “getting married” will be the easiest part of your marriage.

For my 20th wedding anniversary I’m going to make an anniversary registry. This time I’m going for the kegerator.

False Sense of Security

I like to consider myself a smart cookie.  I’m college educated and still pretty quick-witted.  I’m also in “okay” shape.  I can run pretty fast if I’m being chased, or if a cold beer is waiting for me at the end of the run.  But sometimes you can’t prepare for things… sometimes adrenaline takes over and all the knowledge you thought you possessed has fallen by the wayside.  Sometimes fear glues you to the ground as lightning is hitting you from the heavens and you are immobilized.  I’ve never experienced this before this morning, and I hope I never have to experience it again.

Today is Memorial Day.  A somber national holiday with beautiful weather where you can smell summer in the air. Shit, I live in FL we’ve smelled summer in the air since February… you can smell the end of school in the air today, and the humidity dripping down your cleavage (in the shade). It’s HOT.

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Our house has a pool.  It’s a beautiful pool but the heater has been broken.  But now it’s crazy hot, and although my oldest isn’t fond of a cold pool the 3-year-old wants into that water… he’s been waiting for Memorial Day. And now it’s here.

We’ve been planing a family BBQ today.  And since we had a soccer tournament this weekend we ended up inviting some of those friends too.  It was going to be a lot of people and we spent the morning tidying up (which is so much easier and more enjoyable with my Hubby to help, but that’s a different blog).

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So the middle monkey begged to get into the pool at 10 AM.  My Mother has given me this children’s life-preserver/flotation device that he uses at her house (where he often swims) and he loves.  I HATE letting a kid swim in a flotation device. especially a kid as big as my 3-year-old.  He and I went for swim lessons twice a week for all of last summer.  He CAN swim but he’s not confident.  So, I geared him up in his life vest and continued working on cleaning the patio… within 5 feet of him.

The 3-year-old swam for over an hour…

“Mommy, watch this!”

{Jump, Splash}

“Daddy, watch what I can do….”

{Swims to ball, throws ball, jump, splash}

Buddy, make sure you jump away from the wall!

Honey, make sure you jump away from the stairs!

He’s having a ball and I’m having a hundred million little panic attacks in my brain.  Water and kids scare the shit outta me.  I didn’t get him this far to have something stupid happen.  So, when he’s been in the pool for almost 2 hours and says he’s cold, and wants a towel, I’m thrilled.

We take off his floaty, towel him dry, grab him a drink and hubby and I start talking about the game plan for cooking and guests, and “will so-and-so show up” and “Oh, I hope they can make it”.

That’s when I heard the SPLASH!

I look to the pool and see that my 3-year-old has jumped into the middle of the water.

Without the floaty.

Alone.

The definition of bravery is the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening.  This sight was both things.  But I just screamed to my husband while I was frozen to the floor.

He acted swiftly and without hesitation.  Jumping in the pool with all his clothes and shoes and phone (Lifeproof case)  and quickly grabbed our boy from the pool.  He was fine and in one piece barely spending a nano-second under water.

He was more scared by my scream then anything else and I, I was more scared by my immobilizing fear.

He really thought he had that life vest on, and maybe, just maybe, he really would have been able to swim without it.

But I wasn’t going to chance that.

He starts swimming lessons at camp in 2 weeks.  No more false sense of security. We’ll have the normal mommy safety net out then

Next time I’ll be right there.  No fear.  Just there.

 

This One is a Girl

As a general rule, I don’t discuss a woman’s pregnancy status with a stranger… that is, unless she’s about-to-pop, dropped-to-the-knees, 9 months pregnant and wearing a shirt that says “Baby” with an arrow pointing to her belly. I thought this was the common consensus of “normal” people. Obviously, I’m giving too many people credit for being normal.

We’ve had a soccer tournament for the 9-year-old this weekend. After losing our game this morning we went out for lunch and a bit of day drinking with our son’s teammates and their families. I love day drinking on a holiday weekend. Something about it screams “I’m still young” while twirling like Maria in The Sound of Music. It was lovely.

We are having a huge barbecue tomorrow with lots of family and friends invited. Which means I had to do some serious shopping at Costco. Hubby and I don’t usually shop together but since we were right next door to our local Costco, the whole crew went shopping. So there’s the 5 of us… 2 carts, and a whole lotta crazy. I’m pushing the sleeping baby while hubby is pushing the 3-year-old (and he’s muttering something about fruit smoothies and butterflies.) Yeah, don’t ask. I find I’m a lot happier when I don’t ask.  We find all the items on our list and hit up the checkout line.

If you’ve ever been to a big-box-store, especially on a holiday weekend the checkout line is the fucking worst. Especially with kids, especially with 2 carts, especially after a touch of day drinking. It almost makes you want to throw up your hands, say “Fuck this” and leave. But we had to put on our adult panties and complete the task. Sometimes being an adult is lame.

As we’re waiting in the line the older woman behind us starts talking to us…

“Well what a lovely family!”

{Yeah, thanks lady… I’m thrilled we meet your standards…}

Oh, thank you.

“And are they all boys? My word!”

{That’s not the word that I’d use}

“Oh but I’m sure… THIS ONE (pointing at my belly) is a girl!”

{OMG!! Is this lady fucking serious? I have a 3 MONTH OLD BABY in an infant seat right in front of me, I know I’m not “thin” or “in shape” but for Christ sakes I’m not pregnant}

No, THIS ONE (pointing at my post-pregnant pouch) is just fat. I’m done having babies.

The only cool thing about being mistaken for pregnant is the look on the idiots face when you set them straight.

If you need me I’ll be planking next to a glass of wine in the kitchen.

The Parenting Paradox

The one cool thing about getting older is you give less fucks. I really could care less about what someone thinks about me. Unless it’s someone I actually like, then, of course, I’d prefer that person like me back. All of a sudden I’m in middle school again… I’m the girl in the Gap overalls my Mom got on sale at the outlet stores. See me? Right there… Yup. I vividly remember how hard it was to make friends, form relationships, and feel like I fit in. We lived in a completely different world then. All of my friends lived near me. I rode my bike everywhere, I walked to school.

Now, fast forward what seems like a hundred years and here we are.

Adults.

Adults with little joiners of our own. And we are watching them forge relationships. Ones that, sometimes unfortunately, we need to be a huge part of. Our children’s childhood friendships come with extra “built in” friends for us. The friend’s parents, sometimes even their siblings befriend our other children. And then you’re not only dealing with you own family dynamic, but you’re forced to blend and mold that to accommodate other families and their dynamics. It’s a balancing act that can sometimes seem like a never-ending siege of power struggles and alpha dogs.

So here is the paradox. What happens when you dislike your kid’s friend? Or worse, the friend’s parents?

Now you’re thrown into social situations with people you would normally distance yourself from. Crazy, right-wing bigot? No thanks, I’m good. Religious, preachy zealot? I gave at the office.

But your kid likes their kid. So now you have to maintain a personal relationship with someone you would normally cross the street to avoid.

I’m just starting to feel the pressure with my oldest child. He has school friends, religious school friends, soccer team friends, and we live in an area that requires plans be made, and followed up with, that’s right, you guessed it, the parents.

I can’t remember the last text message or phone conversation I had that didn’t involve me making plans with an adult I met through my child, so he could play with their child. Ultimately, it is my son’s decision when choosing friends. I only hope that his father and I have given him the proper tools to choose wisely.

I must say, lately, I’ve been pretty lucky. My son seems to be able to sense crazy pretty quickly so he’s figured out the parents and/or children he doesn’t want to be around on his own. Which is AWESOME. Thanks buddy. But this same cycle is already starting with the middle guy, and soon the baby will have friends too. And although I enjoy having a diverse tapestry of relationships in my life I would like to have some personal responsibility about the people I want to weave in.

So although, I really don’t give a fuck about people’s perception of me anymore, I care deeply about how people perceive my children based on my actions. I don’t want to be “that parent”.

The one that people cross the street to avoid.