Confessions of a Former Sanctimommy

Are you a sanctimonious know-it-all bitch? Do you, look down your nose at the decisions other people make in regards to their children? Then you’re in the right place. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

I used to be just like you. When it came to parenting I thought I had all the answers and I would hand those little answers out like candy on Halloween. You want to know what the big difference was between Halloween and my parenting advice? On Halloween you ask for candy. You head to the door of a neighbors house wearing your best Princess Leia costume and you say, “Trick or Treat.” When it came to me, doling out my parenting expertise… no one asked for it. That, is what made me a Sanctimommy. That, is what makes you a Sanctimommy. Unsolicited advice. So the first step to conversion into a normal, emphatic person and friend is to shut your pie-hole unless someone asks your opinion.

I know, easier said than done.

We all know, you have this whole “parenting thing” on lock. You’ve told us, a million times. I’m sure you think you’re being a good friend or mentor by sharing the pearls of wisdom you’ve acquired to the rest of us, but seriously, honey, it’s not nuclear fission we’re talking about here. There isn’t a correct way to do everything, for every kid. No… just stop. There isn’t.

Do I have to give you the whole “people are snowflakes” talk again? Really? Okay here it goes… people are like snowflakes, each and every one of them different and special. We all have different shapes and sizes that we come in, with different wants and needs. The way you handle your perfect kid might not work for the way I handle mine. I know your way is right, I know it, but what you don’t seem to realize is that it might not be right FOR EVERYONE ELSE and when you finally realize that, when that cartoon light-bulb above your brain activates, that is when you will shed your Santicmommy skin and become mortal. Just a mommy. A flawed but desperately trying Mom.

The birth of my 2nd child was my light-bulb. He is the polar opposite of his brother. When he took his first breath was when I realized that there was no correct system for every single person. Now, don’t get me wrong, of course I still have opinions about parenting, strong and loud opinions. Keeping them to myself isn’t always easy, I’ll admit that, but when it comes to chucking that shit to strangers on the internet, I put my hands in my pockets and walk away. That’s what you should do girlfriend. Hands to yourself. Don’t type anything. Just go and live your perfect life, with your perfect family, and write down all the answers you obviously have, as a memoir, a how-to-parent book if you will. Then you can give it to your future daughter-in-law at her baby shower… I’m sure she’ll appreciate the parenting advice. Wouldn’t you have loved to get a book like that from the mother of your baby daddy? No?

Now do you get it? Did it sink in now?

Thought so.

 

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Hey Lady, Your Bigot is Showing

I’m really in the wrong profession.

This whole “Stay-At-Home-Mom” thing isn’t very lucrative and since I obviously have a face or a demeanor that makes every batshitcrazy person on earth feel like they can confess their innermost thoughts to me, maybe I should be a shrink, or a probation officer… or a priest.

Okay, the Priest thing is a bit far-fetched.  Firstly because I’m a woman and secondly because I’m Jewish.

I never thought much of what other people thought of my religious beliefs.  Maybe because I was born into Judaism, maybe because I grew up in a proverbial melting pot of religions and different ethnicities, maybe because I watched a large amount of Sesame Street in the 1970’s.  Whatever the reason, I really believe that a person is defined by their actions, and that is what makes them a good human being.  But as I’m getting older I’m discovering the hard way that more and more people are walking around with bigotry and hate in their hearts and their minds.  And now that I have brought 3 children into this world this fact is extremely discouraging.

My husband’s cousin and I went out for lunch today.  The baby had just gotten some inoculations at the Doctor and was a bit crabby.  When I finally was able to get him to nap I was just super excited to get some girl time with my friend and enjoy some delicious lunch.

I’ve always been friendly and, come to find out, my cute baby is a conversation piece to many people.  I’m always happy to oblige… I mean how can you dislike someone standing with you and complimenting your child?  I can’t.  I’m a sucker for the kid compliments.  And it’s usually a pretty welcome part of life as my days are mostly spent without adult interaction, unless you count the bag boy at the supermarket.  So, when our waitress started with the small talk I was more than happy to oblige…

“So, my daughter has a 2-year-old.  And she wants to have more… but her husband put his foot down and said only after their son is 5.”

Wow, 5? That sounds pretty arbitrary…

“Yeah, I told her, that’s too much of an age difference.”

{My first 2 kids are 5 years apart, but to each his own}

“Well, you know what the real problem with her husband is?”

What is that?

“He’s a Jew… {at this point she must have seen the shocked look on our faces}  You know, Jews are notoriously stingy with money.”

Oh are they?  Well I’m a Jew.

“Oh but you’re a woman… I don’t know, are lady Jews stingy?”

{Shock.  Disbelief.  Is this chick crazy?}

I don’t think so, but then again I also don’t think my religious practices or my lady parts have anything to do with how I spend my money.

{Can she see this conversation is nuts?  She has to know how bizarre this conversation is?}

“Well, he makes my daughter work… and pay for daycare too.  She can’t stay at home and she can’t even drive his new car.”

I hate to break it to you… Louise, is it?  But I don’t think that being a Jew is your son-in-law’s problem.  I think the problem is that he is just… a dick.

And there it is.  The elephant in the room.  Some people are just assholes.  And because they are assholes people will take what they lack in their personality and group them together by the whole of their parts.  And you know what?

I’m tired of it.

Judge me on me.

Judge me based upon my actions and nothing else.

At that exact moment, what I wanted to do was bitch slap this lady and scream in her face, “Hey lady, your bigot is showing!”  What I wanted to do was talk to her manager and have her fired for being such a judgemental piece of shit.  I wanted her to feel as bad as she had made me feel just to show her how shitty it felt.

But that’s not me.  That’s anger.

I haven’t been that person in a very long time.

I don’t need you to feel bad so that I can feel better.

I can feel better just by remembering that I am better… better than this whole conversation.  Because I can walk away and go back to my life filled with love and poops, laughter and tears, food and wine, stitches and skinned knees, laundry and little bickering voices, and baby belly laughs.

I will have pity in my heart for that woman because she doesn’t know any better.  And she’ll never have the pleasure of getting to know me.

Period.

I still tipped her 15% because she did take our order, serve our food, refill our drinks and promptly bring us our check.  I appreciate the fact that someone else waited on me.  There is value in that.  Her son-in-law might be the cheapest bastard on the planet.  But I am not.

She performed her job.

As for her people skills?  She should probably avoid public speaking.  Unless it’s for the KKK.

Tonight I’ll read my sons The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss before bed.

And hopefully, if the time ever comes, they too will be able to turn the other cheek no matter what side of bread you choose to butter.

The Mother I Thought I’d be Versus The Mother I am

I always knew I’d have children.  That was just something in the cards for me.  I never thought I’d have 3… but that’s for another blog.  I remember being a teenager and talking with a friend about where we saw ourselves at 35… I said, point-blank, married with kids.  And she said she was never having kids because she’d never be able to be “the mother she wanted to be”.   At the time I thought her words were so bizarre, so strange.  How could she know the future?  You are the person who decides how you will act, what moral compass you will follow.  You dictate your future.  At 15 I was really into that whole dogma.

Now, looking back on that conversation, I’m shocked at the words of wisdom provided to me by a person who was so young.  She was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY right on.  I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mom, although I do have my moments of total insanity.  But I’m not “that mom”.  That imaginary figment could never fly around here.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will always be able talk to me, about anything, and I won’t judge them.

Mother I Am…

They talk to me, about anything, and I judge the ever-loving shit outta them.  I judge them so hard I’m Judge Judy.  I don’t always hand down a sentence but believe me, I judge.  And they aren’t even teenagers yet. Oy.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My kids will always be able to pick the radio station in the car.

Mother I Am…

Fuck that.  After hearing Timber a million times I’m picking the radio station.  “When you have a car you can listen to what you want.”  {Did I just say that? My mother used to say that}

Mother I Thought I’d be…

I will actively play with my kids all the time.

Mother I am…

I can’t believe I even thought this was possible when I was younger.  Like, I actually resented my mother at times because I didn’t think she played with me enough.  And she played with me a lot!  Between the housework, the siblings, the drop-offs and the pick-ups, I’m lucky if I get to eat a meal sitting down.  Play with you?  Another game of Candy Land?  We’ve already played 5.  You must be joking.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will travel.  We will see the world together.

Mother I am…

Traveling costs money.  Traveling with small children is a mind numbing siege that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.  The last trip we took was a 2 hour car trip to a soccer tournament and I actually considered putting duct tape over the mouths of the older 2.  Travel?  I don’t fucking think so.

Mother I thought I’d be…

Each of my children will have their own personality, and I won’t let their behavior, good or bad, change how I feel about myself.

Mother I am…

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  When they accomplish something fantastic… I too, feel fantastic.  When they act like animals… I see that as a direct reflection of my parenting failures.  Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it right.   But it’s still how I feel.

No, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be.  Far from it.  I have cobwebs in my house, I’m not hip, I’m embarrassing, and I’m not always fair.  But I am here for them… 24/7, no matter what.

And I’m laughing.

And I’m trying.

 

 

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 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.

There Can Only Be One Superman

I asked the 3 year old about his day at school on the drive home today… His response,

“Joe didn’t wanna play Superheros with me.”

Really? Why?

“I wanted to be Superman.”

Why couldn’t you both be Superman?

“Mom, {very serious} there is only one Superman. ”

{Tell that to Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill}

Oh, sorry my bad. So who did Joe play with?

“No one, he played alone.”

And who did you play with?

“I played alone too.”

I see, what did you play?

“Superheros”

How ’bout that. And Joe?

“He played Superheros too.”

It’s obviously worth playing alone if you get to be Superman.

 

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