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.

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Aunt Flo Gone Wild

So this is what it’s come to…

Pitiful.

It’s almost as if my body has decided to revolt against me.

Menstruation after motherhood is straight up cruel.

I’m wearing a pair of leopard print, full bottom, granny panties to bed. Sayonara thong back. Why you ask? Oh the reason is ridiculous. After giving birth to 3 beautiful boys, I had a tubal ligation. A procedure I would do again in a heartbeat, because I know we are done having children. But I definitely would have thought twice about this decision if someone had warned me about what having my tubes tied would mean to my body, my menstrual cycle and my energy level.

The baby is 4 months and 3 weeks old. This is now the 6th time I’ve had my period since his birth. Crazy right? And this time, Aunt Flo decided to get here a week before she was scheduled. There is nothing worse than an unwanted and unexpected house guest when you have a family to think about.

Many family members act differently after you have another child. You can have jealous brothers and sisters, wishing that they too where adding children to their mix. Your own parents can either be supportive or think you have lost your damn mind, and usually, your other children are either pleased or disappointed by having a new sibling… but Aunt Flo? Aunt Flo had handled it the worst.

She never just walks in through the front door at lunchtime anymore… Nope, now her flight comes in at midnight or 2 am. You’re groggy and tired and well… bleeding like you’re dying. Aunt Flo can do that to you. Because you’ve known her a long damn time. You’re used to her bullshit. But after kids? Her bullshit has been magnified 10 times over. I really wouldn’t mind the old Aunt Flo, with her old ways. But the fact that she’s waking me up every 2 hours for clean underwear is incorrigible. I mean, the bitch has been in my life for 24 years. I should already know what’s up. Now she is no longer comfortable with the bedding I have, the towels I have, the tampons I have… now, after 24 years of “sisterhood” Aunt Flo needs pads again. Really?  What in the sweet fuck is that? Pads? I’m not 12.

Nope, not 12. The 3 children in front of me asking for fruit snacks and Slurpees are a daily reminder of my age. Sadly, Aunt Flo hasn’t gotten the memo. That bitch never checks her inbox. EVER! Honestly, after that last 5 months of the new Aunt Flo, I’m really starting to miss the first time Aunt Flo showed up unannounced.

It was a track meet in the 8th grade and I was 13. I was wearing green short shorts with gold trim (think 80’s) and my stomach hurt horribly. Of course I thought it was nerves. I had just finished a 100 yard dash and I was warming up for my long jumps. I was young. I was gangly. I was boobless. I thought I had years to go until I met Flo. That’s when Aunt Flo decided to sashay into the track meet. Decked out in a flowing red dress, red hat as if she was about to watch the Kentucky Derby, 6 inch stiletto heels and all. I left the track meet in pain and shame, dreading to tell my mother that we’d have to set up a room for my “unannounced visitor”.

I begged Mom not to tell my father. Although we were close I just didn’t think that “my” Aunt Flo was any of “his” business. Of course, he brought me home a dozen white roses and I cried. I didn’t want to have to hang out with Aunt Flo every 28 days. I didn’t want to be a “woman”. I was still just a girl.

Aunt Flo and I have never been besties. I mean, how could we be? Always wondering if she was coming… or going because Hubby had already come. Pregnancies were a lovely and wanted distraction from her monthly visits. But then our final son was born. And I guess Aunt Flo really missed me. Or she is now working with Tampax and the pad companies as a lobbyist… either way, she’s obviously teamed up with Lady Macbeth and they are, at present, playing a high stakes game of Texas Hold-em in my uterus.

Lady Macbeth just took the pot with a straight flush. I need to go lay down.

19 kids and counting? That Duggar woman is starting to seem like the smartest chick on earth.

 

My Toddler, Chuck Norris

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I cook almost every night.

Sometimes it’s an escape.  I day-dream that I”m a world-class chef about to serve my love on a plate to some A-list celebs.  They rant and rave about the party in their mouth.

Sometimes it’s a freaking chore and a half because in actuality I’m cooking for a bunch of little boys who would prefer frozen chicken nuggets and Velveeta shells and cheese to any of my homemade delicacies.

Back in our heyday… BC (Before Children), the Hubby and I would dine out quite a bit.  At least 5 nights a week.  It was a complete and total waste of money but in BC world, money didn’t matter.  We worked, we ate, we drank.  I vividly remember leaving my job (where I got to wear pencil skits, fitted button down shirts and heels) and going to a bar… ALONE… and indulging in many dirty martinis.  BC was the shit.

Fast forward to now… AD (After Delivery), and dining out is a novelty.  And with 3 kids you have to be prepared that their behavior will quickly go to shit and you won’t even get to eat.  That’s happened on numerous occasions.  One kid will act up right after we order and we will run from the restaurant, to-go boxes in hand.

Saturday night we went out for dinner with the children.  We had a fantastic time, the food was excellent and they were really well-behaved.  It was bliss and completely out of the norm.

We had leftovers from that dinner which our waiter kindly sent us home with.  I’ve been dreaming about this doggie bag for two damn days!  I couldn’t wait to be able to quietly and without interruption enjoy them for lunch today.

But the best laid plans can always go to shit.

The big kids were at camp, the baby was taking a nap and it was just mommy time.  That in itself should have had me on high alert but I was just so excited for my food.  The microwave beep made my mouth water!  I was super hungry.  I hunkered down with a huge plate of food on the coffee table while I sat down to eat on the couch (a big no-no in front of the kids).  I was watching some amazingly mindless daytime television and had just popped the second bite of food in my mouth when the phone rang.  I absent-mindedly answered it expecting to hear a solicitor on the other end.

It was not a solicitor.

It was camp.

My 3-year-old had been running, slipped, and fell (headfirst) into a metal bleacher.  He was fine, but bleeding and they thought he needed to see a doctor.

I put down my fork, packed up the baby, and rushed off to Middle Monkey with speed and focus that I had forgotten I possessed back in BC.

The fifteen minute drive to camp felt like hours.  It was raining and there was a cop behind me.  Sometimes having a wonderful imagination is a bad, bad thing.  This was one of those times. Visions of my beautiful but precocious child bleeding and crying blurred my vision.  When I finally arrived at camp I didn’t even turn off the car or move the baby, I just threw my car in park, left it running and went to assess the damage.

As I met the camp director at the curb she filled me in…

“He’s doing great.  He’s such a trooper.  The cut looks deep.  We have it under control.  He might need stitches.  He didn’t even CRY.”

Wait? What?

“Yeah, he didn’t even cry.  Not at all. He’s unbelievable.”

{Unbelievable is an understatement}

As I walked into the nurse’s office I found my little man, sipping on a juice box with a big gauze pad taped to his forehead.

“Hi Mom.  I fell.”

I heard buddy.  You okay.

“Yeah, I okay.”

Does your head hurt?

“A little.”

Holy shit.

My kid is Chuck Norris.

This little boy, who cries when he can’t have two packs of fruit snacks… This little shit, who annoys his brother to the ends of the earth, where he is finally forced to use physical violence to subdue him (barely) and then he cries like a hungry infant… This MONSTER, who weeps when I ask him to pick up a book/a toy/a sock, or worse, put down the toilet seat… This terror who sobs when he has to finish his dinner to get desert… doesn’t cry when it’s the real-time for tears?

The time when he could really be hurt and everything should be super scary is the time he has decided to be cool, calm, and collected.

Fuckin’ Chuck Norris.

And he really didn’t cry.

Through 3 hours at the emergency room, through 5 stitches in his forehead (right above his eyebrow) he was the biggest 3-year-old badass I’ve ever seen in my life.

When we arrived back home he ate an ice cream sandwich and fell asleep watching The Lego Movie.

I’m just sitting here watching him sleep and counting my blessings that this was our first trip to the ER with 3 boys and it was only for stitches.

My leftovers can wait until tomorrow.

 

Incessant Questions: Why Motherhood is the Longest Job Interview Ever

I almost cracked this morning.

Legit, straight jacket, get thee to a nunnery Ophelia, cracked.

I was depositing a check into the ATM at the bank, an action I have done countless times.  An action that, is so simple, a trained chimp can do it.  Shit, my 3-year-old can most definitely do it.

But there I was.

Depositing a check.

And the machine had so many questions. Pin number?  Language choice?  Deposit?  Withdrawal?

Questions that should have been easy to answer.  Answers that I use everyday… but this morning,  I sat there, dumbfounded.  Shocked at the slow reaction time of my brain.

Then it happened.

I started to laugh.  And not just a giggle, a full on, no-holds-barred, belly laugh.  I sat in my car laughing for at least 6 minutes.  I laughed to long and so hard, I scared the baby.

After 3 consecutive days with all of my children, I am questioned out.

These kids are like little sponges, small but powerful and mighty super computers.  They all are little Johnny 5’s yelling at me… “Input! Need more input! Input!!! INPUT!”

I am their Encyclopedia Britannica.  The source of the start of all knowledge.  And I am tapped out.  I’m tired of talking.  I’m tired of answering.  I’m tired of questions.

Because there is a 5 year age difference between my oldest 2, I’m slowing discovering that the questions asked of me are on 2 different levels of my consciousness.  The 3-year-old asks questions of evolution and general ideas about life and science…

“Where do lollipops grow?”

“Will I be big like Daddy one day?”

“Is Daddy your brother?”

“How your ‘gina (short for vagina) work?”

“Where did I grow?”

While the 9-year-old asks questions of fact…

“Do I have soccer tonight?”

“What did you pack me for lunch?”

“Do I have to read everyday this week?”

“When does so-and-so get back from sleep away camp”

“Can I play with my cousin on Wednesday?”

This huge age difference forces me to recesses of my brain I didn’t know existed.  If the average human only uses 10% of their brain, I’m pretty sure the average mom is forced to use more.  Where the hell is Alex Trebeck when you need him?

Of course, like every mom, I want my kids to be well-rounded, inquisitive and knowledgeable.  I answer all their copious questions with as much of a straight face as I can keep and to the best of my knowledge based upon their level of understanding.  But, MY G-D… I feel like I am on the longest job interview EVER!!  And I don’t see the end in sight.

No one likes interviewing for a job.  Personally, I’d rather have a root canal, it is quicker and less painful.  If you are interviewing for a job that means one of two things… either you are out of work (in that case the job interview is really high pressure because you need a job) or you hate your current job and are looking for something else (in that case the dream job just seems to be right there… you can almost touch it… also very high stress).

But here’s the thing about the job interview that is Motherhood…

I ALREADY HAVE THIS JOB!

It’s mine.

My resume has been checked and is on file.  Background check?  Done. You little animals have my DNA.  References? Ask your father. And your grandma. Ask your other grandma.  But the incessant questions will continue, no matter what.

They will always have questions for me.

Maybe about quantum physics or my past, or their future, or what color is made when you mix red and white… and no matter how much I’d like to hide in the closet with my headphones on listening to Prince’s Purple Rain album in its entirety, on repeat… I can’t.

At least not today.

Because they asked for Chicken and Dumplings for dinner and I’m gonna make it.

At least with that, I just have to follow the recipe.

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.

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Life Chef (Top Chef for Real Moms)

Life Chef

I love cooking competition shows.  I mean, I, really, really love them.  Top Chef, Knife Fight, Kitchen Nightmares, Iron Chef…. that shit is the bomb.

You will often find me making dinner watching episodes from the DVR while hushing the children… “I wanna see Anthony Bourdain rip this guy a new one.  Can you just give me a minute.”

Of course, due to that fact that my whole life is based around taking care of my family and playing out little mini movies of things that might never happen in my head, I came up with an idea…. Ding, ding, ding.  Can you smell it? That’s me, thinking.  This IS your mother’s cooking show.

It started with this FB post…

“I used to really like Top Chef.
But now that I have a bazillion kids I think Top Chef is bullshit.

Now here’s a cooking show idea that we would all totally watch…. Take a world renown chef and strap a 3 month old baby on them in a front carrier, then give them a 9-year-old who needs help with 6 pages of algebra…. and just for shits and giggles, chuck in a 3-year-old who wants to “help them cook”.

Here’s my pitch ‪#‎NBC‬. I call it ‪#‎LifeChef‬

I really think this could be a cool ass show.  But replace world renown chef’s with just parent chefs… people who have kids who try to actually cook a meal.  Shit, even if you’re just taking something out of the freezer with a gaggle of kids… that’s still cooking.  I’m down.

So tonight, as I had to run off to soccer, I thought more about Life Chef, now it’s a kinda funny baby to me… and I posted more on my FB page…

“Tonight, on Life Chef, our favorite Outnumbered Mother hits up the last soccer game of the regular season with the whole fan-damily in tow.
Can she reheat the rigatoni afterwards without everyone starving to death, while wearing the baby, giving 3-year-old a bath and helping the oldest with a 3-d diorama of Ferdinand Magellan (that’s due on the 30th and she just found out about today)?

Tune in and find out.”
‪#‎LifeChef‬
‪#‎ThatWhcihDoesntKillMeMakesMeDrink‬

But sadly, tonight wasn’t my night… I can see Bravo with the sad music as my update episode plays…

“If you’re been waiting with bated breath for tonight’s Life Chef results….

I would have been kicked off the show.

Got home, heated oven, put baby to bed, got big guy in PJ’s, played a game with middle monkey and then, only then, realized I had yet to put the rigatoni in the preheated oven.

“Outnumbered Mother… please pack your knives, your front carrier, your paci’s, your pack N play, your son’s algebra HW, your annoying toddler, your husband, your baby, your older son, his soccer ball, your shitty attitude and go.”

#‎IJustWantedToMakeTheFinal3‬
‪#‎LifeChef‬

Padma Lakshmi would be happy to see our 5 little silhouettes fade into the horizon.

After all, she’s a Mom now too…

 

Bad Birthday Cake Karma

My oldest is about to be 9….

While I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I’m going to have a 9-year-old, I’m also trying to plan his birthday party.  As everyone knows, one of the most important parts about being a kid, is desert, and so birthday cake is a big part of the whole birthday party spectacle.

This scares me.

Frightens me to my very core.

I have Bad Birthday Cake Karma.

It all started back when my oldest turned 1.  Although I do like to bake, I wouldn’t have even attempted to make a cake for the 1st birthday of my 1st child. Way too much pressure. So I instead did what every overwhelmed parent of a 1-year-old does… I went to the supermarket and ordered the coolest and prettiest cake I could find. It was this three-tiered job that looked like The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party had mated with Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat. We ordered it in advance and when the day of the party came around, hubby and I were way too busy finishing up the house for all our guests. So we sent a relative to pick it up. When they arrived back at the house I attempted to pay the relative for the cake…

“You don’t owe me anything.”

Of course I do, it’s for the cake.

“I didn’t pay for the cake.”

You what? You didn’t pay for it?

“I thought you had already paid, so I just picked it up and left.”

I looked at the beautiful, AND STOLEN, cake. The one that I picked out to celebrate the birth of my wonderful son. “Shit, I’ll go back and pay for it tomorrow”.

Months later my hubby and I joked about the cake…. and I couldn’t recall if I ever did pay for it. I still can’t recall.

This was the beginning of my Bad Birthday Cake Karma.

Fast forward to this past December. My middle child was turning 3 and I, once again, ordered a cake from the same store. By now we’ve gotten a bit older, and wiser, and lazier, and decided to have the party at an indoor play-place. I went to set up the venue and sent hubby to pick up the cake.

An hour later he walks into the party empty-handed.

As I looked at him with complete disdain….

Really dude? You had one job???

“There was an accident.”

Are you okay? The car?

“The cake.”

Oy Vey, Bad Cake Karma strikes again…

It seems the bakery only had VERY LARGE boxes. So large, in fact that the box couldn’t fit in the shopping cart and had to be rested on the top. As my hubby walked to the checkout another shopper accidentally rammed him with her cart. The cake fell to the floor in a mangled, sugary heap… leaving hubby and the other shopper to stand over it in wonder.  As he scooped up the now, totally unrecognizable cake and brought it back to the bakery department to be fixed, he was told the cake decorator was on lunch break and they “might” have a new cake ready in an hour. Of course, the party was starting in 12 1/2 minutes. Isn’t that always how it goes? So hubby ran back to the party and once again we sent a family member to pick up the cake.

This time when I went to pay for the cake…

“No, the receipt said, no charge.”

What do you mean, “no charge”? This is getting ridiculous… We don’t take things without paying for them. We aren’t fucking thieves. 

And there it was in black and white, “No charge”.

This time I was going to investigate…

When I went back to the market on Monday, receipt in hand and story in mouth, the cashier looked it up for me in the computer… it seems the stranger involved in the cake-tastrophe had PAID FOR OUR CAKE. A simple accident and she took responsibility that wasn’t hers to take. It was a lovely gesture. But I still get a bad taste in my mouth when I think of cake. Actually, just the words “Birthday Cake” make my hairs stand on end and I break out in hives.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Fingers crossed that my Bad Birthday Cake Karma comes to an end this year. Cause I can’t take this shit 3 times a year for the next 20 years.

Cake Karma Update…

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My son turned 9 this year… Not 7.
And the Bad Birthday Cake Karma continues.