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Modern Mommy Madness

I could slap you with hundreds of heart-felt stories of those who have been helped by the nonprofit Scary Mommy Nation.

But I won’t.

Not that you aren’t good people, but most of you would skip over it or go to the next page. And I don’t blame you, because I would normally do the exact same thing. I get it. We don’t have extra money. We need our money. Why should we just hand it out to random nonprofits who want to feed total strangers?

I have a dog in this particular fight because I donated my time to write an essay that I didn’t think anyone would ever read. And now it’s going to be published, in a book, that will be released on Monday, November 17. (If you want to buy the book, there is a picture of it on the right side of…

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8 Children’s Shows That are Making me Crazy

My oldest child is almost 10. Which means I’ve been exposed to the annoying barrage of children’s programming for 10 years. 3,650 days of the talking animals, the sing-song-repetitive bullshit, the nonexistent story-lines, and the guest-stars. When it comes to kids shows I’ve seen them all, from Barney to Blue’s Clues, Upside Down Show to Sesame Street, I’m a walking episode guide. I will stop at nothing for 22 minutes of downtime from this crazy-train called Motherhood.

Now, before you come at me with the suggestions of the American Academy of Pediatrics and their proposal for limiting, if not, eliminating television access for children under the age of 2  please understand: I really don’t care. The AAP isn’t living my life, or raising my kids, and I’m obviously not the only one who is allowing my children TV time, because if I were, they wouldn’t be a billion different shows for children on TV. So lets just acknowledge that, at times, I’m a mad woman on the brink who needs a break and continue from there.

In allowing TV time for my children I’ve opened myself up to a whole new world of wonky… the shows themselves. While I’m able to get a small block of time without someone saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mom, Mom.” on loop, I now have some personal preferences about the shows that are going to drive me to the loony bin first. Here are my top 8 maddening children’s shows.

Dora The Explorer:

Oh Dora, you had some redeeming qualities but in the last couple of years you’ve really jumped the shark. Once you made Swiper a good guy it was over for me. He’s a “sneaky fox who steals all your stuff”, you said it yourself… over and over and over again. Children live to yell, “Swiper, no swiping” at the damn TV and now, now he’s your buddy and you’re having slumber parties with him? I think not. Dora has obviously never seen Sleeping With the Enemy.

Go, Diego, Go!:

Like Dora, I used to think Diego was okay. I enjoyed the fact that he spoke Spanish and rescued animals, but then they brought Rosie Perez in for a bit to play “Click the Camera” and my mind exploded. Guest-star aren’t always a good thing. It was like Diego was dropped onto the set of White Men Can’t Jump and I’ve never been able to stomach the show again.

Max and Ruby:

I’ve hated Max and Ruby since the first time my mesmerized child sat in front of it. Ruby is a demanding, self-righteous, bitch and I just want to cover her mouth with duct-tape, while Max says one word, over and over, on every show to drive you right to the edge of sanity. And where the hell are their parents? They take the bus to Grandma’s alone? NO. Hell no.

SpongeBob SquarePants:

This show is not for children. At all. I know some adults enjoy it but I am not one of those adults. Between SpongeBob’s voice, Patrick’s blatant stupidity and Squidward’s pompous attitude that’s the trifecta of bullshit. Not to mention I don’t need a cartoon to introduce my child to the words: dumb, idiot and stupid. I’ll wait for the kids at public school to do that.

Sam and Cat:

My 9-year-old LOVES Sam and Cat. I believe that one day my tombstone will read “Killed by Sam and Cat”. Cat’s annoying monotone voice haunts me when the show isn’t on. With Ariana Grande’s increasing popularity as the second-coming in the pop world, I’m hoping that means Sam and Cat won’t be filming anymore episodes.

Caillou:

Caillou is a bratty, whinny, Charlie Brown wannabe. Avoid Calliou at all costs. Calliou is like kid heroin… hard to kick. Trust me on this.

Curious George:

Aww, Curious George… these once-cherished, children’s books have been made into an animated show, and ugh. George is still a free-to-roam, up-to-no-good monkey who never gets in a bit of trouble. The Man with the Yellow Hat is still the biggest parenting pushover in the biz. No thanks. I’ll just read my kid the book.

Yo Gabba Gabba:

I have no desire to watch my children experience a 30 minute acid trip, and that’s exactly what this show is. It’s only redeeming quality is that Biz Markie does a small rap segment on some shows. That’s cool as hell. Otherwise, skip Yo Gabba Gabba.

 

The Difference Between Feminism and Good Manners

I identify myself as a feminist. Feminism has gotten a bad rap over the last 30 years and now the mental image connected with that word is somewhere around a man-hating-militant-beast. I can assure you I am none of those things. I don’t have penis envy, I have wallet envy. In my world, feminism is the thought that women and men should be treated equal on all levels. I married a man with whom I am equal. If we have established gender roles, such as, he works while I take care of the children that is not because I am less of a person in our relationship, it is because it makes financial sense.

This morning I needed to go grocery shopping. Of course it was raining because, you know, Mother Nature is a feminist too. Obviously… no one gets a free ride around here. I was walking from my car holding an umbrella, my 20 pound baby (in his car carrier), and the hand of my 3-year-old. As I approached the store entrance there was a man, around the age of 60, standing by the door, staring at me. My assumption, as a member of the human-fucking-race was that this other member of the human race would open the door for me… note-to-self: don’t ever assume anything. He did not. He just stood there. As I went to place my baby carrier on the ground, in the rain, I muttered something along the lines of, “Thanks for grabbing the door.” to which this Archie Bunker impersonator replied, “I thought y’all ladies didn’t want doors opened for ya anymore.”

Touché Archie. Touché. I don’t want you to open a door for me because I’m a lady. You would offer to open the door because I was struggling, and having good-manners isn’t about what you are packing in your pants, it’s about common decency.

When women decided to ask for the same rights as men, sadly, some men took that as if we didn’t want them to have good manners at all anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Now I’m raising 3 sons, and teaching them there is a difference between rescuing the princess and just being kind to your fellow-man, is the most important lesson they will ever need to know. Human decency didn’t have to go out the window with the suffrage movement and I don’t care if it’s an old lady or a big strapping guy, if you get to the damn-door first you hold that sucker open, because that’s just good manners.

My kids might be assclowns… they might fart on each other’s heads, never put the toilet seat down, always forget their lunch bags at school, play too much Minecraft, sing Gangnam Style at the drop of a hat, have a full glossary of words that they shouldn’t have, and fight me tooth-and-nail over meals, but they will be assclowns that know to offer help to someone who needs it.

My kind of assclowns.

Aging, Sisterhood, and Clarity

Getting older can be a real buzzkill. One minute you’re 18 and the world is laid out in front of you like one of those naked chicks acting as a human plate in a European sushi place, and the next minute you’re attempting to do 8 minutes of abs on the floor of your baby’s room but all you hear is your hip cracking with every reverse curl.

It can bring you down. Okay, I’m being nice, it can get you down and make you stay down.

But today I had this epiphany about aging. Although my body and gravity are far from BFF’s now, aging has given me something I never had before… a bit of clarity. Clarity about our place in the universe, and mostly about the feelings I have towards my friendships with other women.

We all know at least one woman that we look at and say, “Damn, girlfriend has got her shit together. I wish I had my shit together like that” and contrarily we also know many who we look at and say, “Bitch needs to get her shit together. I’m so glad I’ve got my shit more together than that.” I think I’ve fallen into both of these categories at some stage of my life. Some more than others. What freaked me out about having these types of attitudes and opinions about other women, was the fact that I’d pegged it as jealously, and the idea that I was jealous of someone else’s success made me feel pretty sick about myself. In hindsight, I wasn’t jealous. Not in the slightest, but I didn’t know better then.

Recently though, I’ve started to realize that being enamored of someone didn’t make me a jealous person. I didn’t want what they had, I didn’t want to take their mojo away from them. Well, maybe I wanted a little bit of their good stuff to rub off on me, but I’m not a mojo sucking vampire. That’s when the truth jumped up and bit me, some people just have that “it” factor. That little thing that makes them a true shining star in your day. Even when their life isn’t going according to plan, even when things are really screwed up, you won’t know because they shine bright in your You-niverse and that’s all you see.

Ironically it took someone, telling me, that I had that “it” factor in their eyes, which brought me to this mind-blowing-moment. Me? Who-the-hell would look at me like that? My first thought? A crazy person, but this is actually someone I love and respect. I was just so floored with this revelation that I needed to take a step back and see myself the way she saw me. Sure I’m old and tired, sarcastic and silly… but maybe, just maybe, on a good day, I can be the center of her You-niverse, that little thing that makes her say, “Hahaha, Yes!”

Women are usually their own worst critic and rarely give ourselves the props we deserve. I’m that type of woman, normally… but I’m gonna bottle up that good feeling from today, take her amazing compliment, keep it in the kitchen, and whip it out when I’m feeling down.

So I guess this is growing up.

The Accidental Slut Run

Another Wednesday, another running day.

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve gotten off my ass and started running again. I’m still not very good at it but I was actually looking forward to hitting the pavement this morning. Monday’s attempt at a run was awful. I had to run later in the day and by the time I was able to go, it was 97 degrees out and I forgot my hair tie. I turned around halfway. Mission aborted.

Today I was gonna rock it. Although It’s not easy to digest that I’m using my “me time” for something physical when I’d prefer to be watching crappy TV or reading a good book, it has to be done. I have to do something. Running it is.

Now I’m rocking a new playlist, a new pair of kicks and holding my head up high. The baby and I hit the main road outside my development with a nice breeze and the Florida sun shining in the sky as we go.

5 minutes in and I’m surprised at how good I feel… maybe my body has resigned itself to the fact that the brain is the boss here. You hear that old, tired, body? I run the show! Mind over fat! A lawn truck drives by and the occupants whistle and honk. Shit, I actually look good doing this? Me? I can’t even process that idea as Adam Levine croons in my headphones.

So this is what doing running right feels like? I make a mental note to text one of my crazy marathon friends when I get back home. She’s gonna be so proud of me. Hell, I’m so proud of me. Now I can almost feel the skip in my step. I’m not a runner, I’m a freaking supermodel. Take that, self-deprecating me!

It’s around the 11 minute mark of my 30 minute workout that the second catcall comes, this time from some old guys in a white van. What? I must look phenomenal today. Maybe it’s because of that full moon, maybe it’s because I’ve lost 5 pounds? Who knows? Who cares? Just enjoy this feeling knowing disgusting old men find you wanton. Actually, that’s a bit of a creepy thought but whatever, just keep running.

At the halfway mark I see the baby is asleep. Good baby, the perfect running buddy. I’m making a mental checklist of the things I’ll need for dinner and this time, a County garbage truck honks and waves. Okay, something is up. I look down… nope, no nipples showing, running skirt looks okay… hmmm, maybe the Rosie the Riveter look is back in. Eat that Betty Boop! I’m not usually the person who relies on the compliments of others but when you’re not afraid for your safety, a honk during a workout can feel pretty good for your self-esteem. Although… 3 honks in one day? That’s a bit over the top? I ignore that thought and continue on… almost done, 5 more minutes.

I’m almost home, basking in the glory of a really good run and some very enamored spectators when I hear another whistle… this time from a neighbor I know…

“Hey, good run?”

{taking off my headphones} Yeah, one of the best. {I’m smiling ear to ear}

“Yeah… Ummm…”

{He looks uncomfortable, why does he look so uncomfortable?}

“Your skirt is tucked into your shorts.”

That’s when I turn around to see the reason behind my popularity this morning.

My behind.

My cute little black running skirt has been tucked into the attached purple shorts for 30 minutes!

While I was running! In public! In my hometown! With my baby!

Am I surprised? Nope, not one bit.

Whatever. That was the best I felt while working out in a long while. Maybe I’ll invest in some of those little running shorts that the Olympians wear.

I’m sure to get some super honks then.

 

Why Everyone in This Place Can Go Pound Sand

It was Saturday morning. I was half asleep when I heard Hubby tinkering around in the bathroom. He was heading off to work for a couple hours before he had to rush home and take our eldest to his soccer game. I said a silent prayer in my head about being blessed with such a man… that should have been my first clue that this day was doomed.

I do a ridiculous amount of laundry, partly because of the multitude of bodies that occupy my house, partly because I secretly think they get dressed at night and frequent neighborhood house-parties while I’m sleeping (especially the baby, he’s a party animal) but mostly because I believe these suckers just throw outfits they don’t like (or those that don’t fit) right into the laundry basket. “Mom, will take care of it. Whatever.” Grrrrrr!!! Due to the amount of time and energy I dedicate to laundry, I was more then pissed when my oldest couldn’t find his uniform shorts 5 seconds before Dad was due home. There really is nothing like emptying drawers and laundry baskets in a massive search for shorts at 8 AM on a Saturday. When he finally had the correct shorts on his gangly legs I barely got a “thank you” before he ran out the door. “This Mom shit is for the birds” I thought, as I went to procure a second cup of coffee.

After getting Middle Monkey settled with breakfast I finally had a moment to use the bathroom, but when I finished up, I realized that there was no more toilet paper. I now made a second silent comment about my wonderful husband, mostly complied of four-letter-words. “Monkey???” I called for my 3-year-old from the toilet… surprised that the one time I wished he was in here with me, instead he was no where to be found.

“What Mommy?”

Hey buddy, can you bring me a roll of toilet paper? 

“Bring it where?”

{Are you kidding me} Bring it into the bathroom. Please? 

Have you ever found yourself in capable hands, but those hands are not very reliable, and maybe even questionable? I don’t often ask for much around here, I’d like to consider myself a mothering-bad-ass, so to speak, but I knew, that the 3-year-old knew, where the toilet paper was. I knew, that he could reach it. I knew, that he possessed the skill set to bring me the toilet paper, but, above all, and this is the most important part, I knew, he was fucking with me. Well played kid. You learned from the master. As I sat there, contemplating my next move (with the very real possibility that it would be without toilet paper) I thought back to the day before where I had said no to his request for fruit snacks, where I had scolded him for kicking his brother, where I had turned off Sponge Bob for one of my cooking shows, where I had rushed him to get to school, made him sit for quiet time before electronic time. Shit, I wouldn’t have brought me the toilet paper either.

It was at that exact moment the commode room door squeaked open and I found myself staring at a sweet little hand, holding a perfectly new, perfectly clean, roll of Charmin. “Here you go mommy” said Monkey as he handed the toilet paper into my needy space. “Wow. Maybe this day is looking up!” I thought to myself as I walked back to the living room.

That’s when I saw him.

The baby… or should I say, “The Mummy”.

My 6 month old was still in his excersauser, but both he, and the toy, were covered in toilet paper. An empty roll was beside him, a trail of toilet paper was coming from the garage and he was laughing. Actually, he was cracking up with laughter… {traitor}. It’s hard to yell at someone who’s just, literally, saved your ass. So I let this whole toilet paper incident slide with just a stern talking-to while he helped me clean up the mess and unwrap his baby brother.

When the baby went down for a nap, I finally got a free minute to take a shower. After washing my hair I discovered that my amazing, fantastic, hard-working, hubby had used up all the body wash without replacing the empty container. More expletives, but this time I sung them, Gloria Gaynor style.

I knew better than to ask for help from the Middle Monkey on this one.

Did you know shampoo makes an excellent body wash?

 

 

 

Points Plus for the Rest of Us

Okay, I started the Weight Watchers.

It needed to happen. The 3-year-old has been tapping my big belly for over a month now and asking when his baby sister will get here. That’s when I have the privilege of explaining to him that Mommy is done having babies and he’ll just have to go through his life surrounded by brothers. This is usually followed by tears and questions of who will be the one to save him from a chilled heart with their sisterly love? Thanks Frozen. So you see, the only answer was diet and exercise, or a reversal of my tubal ligation, but HAHAHAHAHA, NO!

I’ve been planning to change my drinking eating habits for a while now, but the fact that I’m attending my 20 year class reunion, coupled with the whole Frozen-sister debacle has kicked this fatty into high gear. I’m a mom on a mission. That mission, to be out of maternity pants in 45 days, if I can’t pull this off I’m going to have to resort to Spanx and starvation… so fingers (and saggy boobs) crossed, this works.

I haven’t tried the Weight Watchers in 3 years. I’ve accomplished my goals with this program in the past, but that was over a kid ago. I love that the plan allows for flexible fruit and vegetable intake, but if I get my hands on anything, the children want a bite before I can even grab it. I love that I can gain extra points through exercise, but here’s the downside… none of these “activity points” are REAL Mom things. Yes, they have running while pushing a stroller, but let’s be real, unless you are going for an “actual” run, with a child, the only time you’re running-with-a-stroller is while attempting to catch another child who’s gone too far ahead of you on his bike. Or you’re trying to catch a ball that’s rolling into the gutter and the earth will freaking implode if it’s lost… and you’re usually not doing that for a steady 10 minutes, but 10 minutes earns you 1 activity point with Weight Watchers.

Just to put it in perspective, a tablespoon of honey is worth 2 points, while a delicious glass of wine is 4 points. You see where I’m going with this.

So here’s my idea… Like the Girl Scouts allow you to design your own patches, I’ve come up with my own activity point system for Mom stuff. These scenarios aren’t always pretty, but they are real, these are straight from the trenches of motherhood people and I think I could have earned about 10 extra points today alone!!!

Hysterical, Physical Toddler Temper Tantrum: 5 points for every 30 minutes

We were privy to a lovely tantrum-session tonight that lasted an hour. I think 2 glasses of wine would have been a good reward, or a burrito, or a frontal-lobotomy, instead I rewarded myself after bedtime with a celery stick. Go me.

Homework: 2 points for every 30 minutes

Homework time often makes me feel like a cattle-herder of sorts, grabbin’ up all them little doggies while they try to make excuse after excuse to stay away from the task at hand, “I need the potty. I need snack. The baby is so cute. Can I kiss him? Mommy, were you ever my age? Were you nicer than you are now?” You should get activity points for this, shit, you should get a medal for this.

Packing the kids up for and schlepping them to athletics: 2 points for every 10 minutes

I know it seems to be sedentary, but there is so much mental preparation and mindfulness that goes into these practices and games for a mom. Everything needs to be washed, easily accessible in their rightful place, the uniforms, car-pools, coordination… it’s almost like producing a Olympic gymnastics routine. Timing is everything and it’s exhausting.

Laundry and Housework:

Gotta hand it to Weight Watchers… they have these down for activity points! Woot! But you only get 1 point for 10 minutes of work. The think-tank over there has obviously never tried to do laundry with children around. I’m giving myself an extra 10 minutes every time.

Serving Meals: 2 points for all meals combined

Half the time in my house the kids act like this is a diner. I’m not Flo, and no, I’m not getting up at 6 AM to make you eggs on a school day, but people do, hell, you probably do, and that deserves points. Do you know why so many restaurants fail? Because making meals is hard. It’s tough stuff, and it’s even more difficult now that you’re on the Weight Watchers. These kids want scrambled eggs (with cheese), bacon and toast while you are having a 1/4 cup of non-fat greek yogurt in a corner with a baby spoon. Go ahead, take the points, you’re gonna need ’em.

Weight Watchers is like an adult potty chart, but instead of stickers I get wine.

I’m running tomorrow. It’s totally worth the extra points.