Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Blog Posts of 2009


Ross reminded me last night that not only is the year rapidly winding down, but the entire decade is. It seemed like such a big deal in 1989 and 1999, but this year, I nearly overlooked the fact. So strange to think about people reliving the ’10s and the ’20s isn’t it? Crazy, man.



Anyway, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my bests posts this year. There have been some duds, but here are my personal favorites, month by month…



January: I Love Eating Crow (Proof that I don't always have to be a perfect mom)


February: Shopping Gripe #4,563 (Yeah, I bitch too much about customer service LOL)



March: Litters of Babies (Who doesn't like to rag on Octomom every now and then)



April: Here Lies Erin's Fat Roll.....RIP (This one got a whole lot of response -- even via email messages)



May: Momologue (How much bragging is too much?)



June: The "I Just Don't Get It" List (Apparently what I don't know COULD fill a book....or a blog post or two)


July: 10 Things Every New or Expecting Mom Should Know (A post that may make you reconsider having children altogether)


August: Brothers (They have their moments.....and those moments take my breath away)


September: I Was Gonna Write a Kick Ass Post About Zombie Dogs, But Demi Moore Sucked It Out Of My Brain (Sometimes even my dreams are crazy)


October: Momma's Do's and Don'ts for the Playground (You never know when advice like this could come in handy LOL)



November: What Dreams May Come (A completely honest, soul baring post )



December: Beware of the Mom Zone (Because it’s great to feel better about your own parenting skills)



{Let me know if you’re doing a year in review post, too- I’d love to check it out!}


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ode to my Andrew

I take him aside to let him know how proud he's made me, how beautifully he played his saxophone at the concert last night, how I noticed that he always knew exactly when to come in, when to play softly,when to hold a note, and when to let it go.

And under the bright hot light of my scrutiny, he writhes. He is that uncomfortable in his own skin these days. But when I look closer, he is pleased, so pleased, to hear my words, even though they are causing him such obvious physical discomfort. He rides high on my praise for at least an hour.

These tweens are disguised to us. They are too tall for their own good. They've sprouted pimples overnight. They are rough and coarse, reflexively rude, chronically out of sorts. They are hard to like. But really very easy to love.

I will not stop complimenting my twelve-year-old son, even if he makes it harder and harder for me to want to do so. I will not stop, because he is no different from you or me in his need for, or desire for, validation. Or it may be that he requires more of it as he hurtles towards the undeniably fraught adolescent years. I will not be fooled by my child's adolescent shell. It is just armor, nothing more. I will not forget that within lies a stunning vulnerability and softness.

He is nearly as tall as me now. His feet are larger than mine. But never have I been surer that he is my baby, that he will always be my baby, even when I am eighty and he is sixty. Then I will see through his thinning hair and bulging middle to the infant I cradled and fed and loved sixty years earlier, the memory no less potent for its age.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ms. Manners goes to the movies

Literally every single one of these things has happened to me. It's time to lay down the law.

Dear Movie Goer:

1. Even the movie preview guy tells you to turn your phone off - yet somehow you're so enthralled with the 80's movie concession montage that you forget. So right at the climax, someone (who doesn't know you well enough to know that you're at a movie) calls you, and we're interrupted with Sprint's latest rendition of "Baby Got Back" in no more than 10 total tonal sounds.

2. And please, if you're the culprit above, for the love of muffins -- DO NOT ANSWER! Even if your mom calls and says your dad just had a heart attack - take that crap outside. It's not like you'll be able to hear her anyway - no...noooo don't turn up the volume. Great. Now I can hear her too. "What's happening? Oooh is the movie good? Did you see the first one? Okay I better let you go. Wait, did you get that package I sent? Good okay, well better go. Wait..."

3. Oh, and if you think it's acceptable to "text" during the movie because it's "silent" - you're forgetting that the brightness level of your phone's screen in a dark theatre is equivalent to a nuclear explosion . I use my phone as a flashlight in dark places, so please - "OMGYG2BK dis moV iz the BEST u shud b hre!! ok TTYL CU soon" can WAIT.

4. I don't care if you're at the movie with Helen Keller, there's no need for a play by play. With hands, words, actions, noises, anything. And if you're too dumb to know what's going on, and you have to ask, there's a perfectly comprehensible rated "G" movie in the adjacent theatre.

5. Rest assured the actors cannot hear or see you, so yelling at Ms. Getting-Ready-To-Be-Murdered to "Get out of the way!!!" isn't going to do anything but make my want to throw my popcorn bucket at you.

6. Speaking of popcorn, I know it's a dark theatre and no one can SEE you shoveling the popcorn into your mouth, but I know that sound isn't a cow chewing its cud - its really you...cramming handfuls of grease into your face. An X large bucket of buttered popcorn has over 2000 calories. Even if you're sharing that's enough to feed you for ONE DAY. So lay off - just because you had a "light dinner" and just because it has the word "corn" in it doesn't mean it's healthy and you need to shovel it in like a madman.

7. I realize you haven't been on a date in over 15 years Mr. Divorcee, but that Old Spice bath you had before you came isn't going to impress her. That goes for you too Miss On My First Date. That Baby Phat stuff is spendy, so lets not use a whole bottle in one night.

8. I don't care if you're going to "Veggie Tales" - don't bring your baby to the movies. I also don't care if he's "Normally so quiet" and "Never cries in movies." Get a babysitter or sacrifice your movie night.

9. Oh, and speaking of kids. Please don't bring your 5 kids to the 3 hour long "Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Maybe Hotel for Dogs, maybe even Paul Blart Mall Cop - but for the love of Pete even I know they won't "Just fall asleep if they get bored." No, they'll run up and down the aisles (just like at church) because you refuse to contain them!

10. No, I will not scoot down. I wanted the middle for a reason, and I got here 30 minutes beforehand to make sure I got this seat. So take your 20 person party and go up a few rows.

11. The cup holder to your right is yours, the the cup holder to your left is mine. It's not for candy, or your coat, or your purse....or even your napkins. It's for ME.

12. If you want a foot rest, bring your ottoman. I can go without the stench of dirt, sweat socks, and dog $hiz in my face so keep your feet off my chair.

13. Yes, I heard that. And that. I know you thought you could quietly let out that fart or burp during a loud part in the movie, but your ass is closer to my ears than the speakers are.

14. Did you pee before you came? Do you have plenty of popcorn and drink to last you? Because you don't need to get up and leave every five seconds. What's the point of paying $10 for a movie if all you're going to do is get up and down four hundred times, squeezing past me and obstructing my view?

15. Don't clap. Just don't. Applause is for live shows only - no one who cares can hear your obnoxious approval.

16. Is that...is that a DOG in your lap? How did you even get that in here? Actually, I'm not even mad. That's amazing.

17. If I completely turn around in my chair and stare at you, clear my throat loudly in your direction, kick your chair, or say "SHHHH", that means you're doing something to annoying - so quit it and take my hint.

18. Every single rule above applies in the PREVIEWS too!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beware of the Mom Zone

Sometimes I think one of the hardest things about being a mom is resisting the siren call of stereotypical mom clothes.

And by stereotypical mom clothes, I mean clothing that doesn't take too much effort, clothing that celebrates comfort over style and function over form, and clothing that, if I am truly honest with myself, I would not have been caught dead wearing prior to giving birth.
I'm not trying to be a smart-ass: it really is hard.

We moms are tired and rushed a lot of the time. Time and money are tight, but our bodies?Not so much (not mine anyway).

And I think that drinking in the silky skin and shiny hair of our children - our beautiful children - goes a long way towards satisfying our inherent need to feel the presence of beauty in our lives.
And that's not necessarily a good thing.

Ease and practicality might not sound like the worst things in the world but the problem is, if you continually let them start to dictate your wardrobe choices, your fashion confidence starts to erode.

Once you start to become unsure about your ability to pull off fun and stylish clothing, you become less and less apt to wear it and enjoy the boost of confidence it provides. It becomes a vicious cycle and before you know it you're telling yourself that you don't care about what you wear or looking good anymore anyway: you're a mom now.

I don't pretend to be the most fashionable person in the world, but I have established a mental list of clothing items that I consider to be beyond the pale. If ever I find myself softening my strict no-go stance on these items, it indicates to me that a strong dose of retail therapy is in order.

In keeping with my firm belief that we moms have to stick together, I'd like to share my list with you:

1. Crocs. Straight up: they are evil and hideous and have no place on the feet of anyone between the ages of 12 and 65. I don't care if they're comfortable and easy to clean and practical: so are flip flops. I will never, ever wear Crocs and you shouldn't either. Seriously, trust me on this one.

2. Clothing with your children's picture on it. I know it's easy to get wrapped up in how gorgeous our kids are but don't, just don't. If you must broadcast their beauty, give fashion a fighting chance and opt for the World's Greatest Mom mug as opposed to the sweat shirt.

3. And speaking of sweat shirts...I'm not big on 'em at all. Ditto for sweat pants. With the exception of the cute yoga pants that have been all the rage the last few years, I don't think any clothes designed for wear in the gym should be worn outside the gym. Sweat suits might spell comfort for some people but to me they just say, "I've given up."

4. Your husband's clothes. I'm sure some young ingenues can roll out of their sexy beds and into their sexy boyfriend's clothing and look all sexy as hell, but chances are you can't. Once you're past a certain age, rumpled and baggy isn't a fashion statement it's just dumpy. Remember those photos of Katie Holmes wearing Tom's jeans a while back? She's like 5'10 and 100 pounds and she looked like she was wearing a potato sack. If Katie can't pull it off, neither can you.

5. Pants with pleats in the front. They are dorky. You know this: I know you know this. But one day when you're feeling self-conscious about your tummy, you're going to find a pair of pleated pants which are a nice color and reasonably priced and butt flattering and you're gonna to think: I should just get these - they aren't so bad. But they are. Pleated pants are the banana peel on the slippery slope towards full-on mom jeans: do not allow them to throw you off balance.

That's my list. How about yours? Which clothes do you consider strictly in the mom zone?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Christmas Card Conundrum

Reading this post is going to truly be a waste of your time.

Seriously, I’m just warning you. If you want to jump ship now, I don’t blame you. Because this post is going to be 2 minutes of your life that you will never get back.

My burning question is:

How do you display the holiday cards you receive? I mean, DO you even display them? I really want to display mine, but in a tasteful manner.

More classy than the year I just taped them to the wall, you know?

Google annoyed me because when I tried to see what other people do, I got images like this:





WHICH LOOKS JUST LIKE THE YEAR I TAPED IT TO MY WALL.

So help me out here….what do you do?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More words I've totally made up

To continue my quest to invent more "Words That Should Be in the Dictionary But Aren't"..........I give you:


pewblurt (pyoo'-blurt) n.
A wrong word or phrase said out loud in church when everyone else is silent. (Something like this comes to mind)

shrinkspiracy (shrink-speer'-a-see) n.
The baffling mystery of clothes that used to fit fine, but "something happened to them in the dryer." Usually correlates to an overindulgence in Cool Ranch Doritos.


perpendicutot (pur-pen-dik'-u-tot) n.
Any small child who is physically incapable of sleeping vertically in a bed, mostly your bed, resulting in their feet or head digging into your ribs all night.


chiaberry (chee'-a-berry) n.
The strawberry that starts to grow grey fuzz and infects all the other berries in the box.


debeautiflate (dee-byoo'-ti-flate) v.
The process by which you start off an evening out with your hair looking primped and perfect, but by the time you get home and look in the mirror it's all wilted.

caraoke (car-ee-o'-kee) n.
Singing along to your car radio or cd player.

caraokabort (car-a-ok'-a-bort) v.
Abruptly halting your singing when another car pulls alongside you, usually punctuated by a faux-yawn or cough.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Man-child

He is slipping away from me.

This boy, my boy, whom I know less well each morning. How long before there's an utter stranger sitting at the table and requesting breakfast, as if it's the most natural thing in the world?

He has fine blond hair on his legs now. It catches the light, and I gasp. He turns, questioning. I see blemished skin on his face. His hair needs to be washed.

But the physical care of him is no longer my province. I clamp my mouth shut.

Our eyes meet, level. His lashes will be the stuff of girls' dreams. Maybe they already are. I'm not sure I'd know.

"Did you want something, Mommy?," he presses.

and yet sometimes he still calls me "Mommy"

"No, nothing at all," I say. He unfolds himself from his seat. His arms and legs needs special attention, so disproportionate are they. And so very slender that I fear they might buckle underneath him, a thoroughbred's sinewy legs, no padding to slow them down.

Life has been so different since he started middle school. This is the time for our children to make it on their own. Now, we will not be asked to come in to volunteer in the classrooms, or bring birthday cake, or accompany them on field trips.

My son is on the cusp. No longer a boy, not yet a man. A lot can happen in the liminal space he occupies. I am trying to trust that we have prepared him well for the contingencies, whatever they may be.

His voice has not yet betrayed him, and in its high, sweet register I take refuge. I suppose this is the way it will be, then. I will carry my firstborn's selves with me, and superimpose them on the man he is at twenty, at forty, at sixty.

My son is at the gate. Any minute now he'll be off. I sit a little forward in my seat and scan the track. I am preparing myself to watch him go.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Eternal Question

Sometimes I look at my children and I am filled with enormous amounts of amazement and wonder. I think about their endless opportunities. I envision their delights in future discoveries and the anticipation of countless adventures. Their laughter and the heartbreaks. The gigantic emotions. I think about the pride in every accomplishment, the triumph of success and the butterflies of first romance.

In these moments, I am often appalled when it brings about feelings that the best of my life is over. I know that I shouldn't relate their future to mine. I don't ever want to be jealous of their youth. The answer to my self-loathing is that I need to start living again. And not just through them.


Is this a common mistake for mothers? Do we sacrifice our own passions for that of our children? Do others feel that the only thing that they have to look forward to is the incredible journey that time will bring about for their offspring? I hope this is just a stage that I am going through because I'm so lost. It is like I don't know who I am or what I want for myself. I am trying to learn how to be a good mom. I am sure that a huge part of that lesson is to be a happy well rounded individual. Once again I am struggling to find a way to have it all. Why do some people make it look so easy? Why am I filled with guilt? Have I done something wrong?


I love my children and I want the best for them just like everyone else. I am filled to the brim with excitement for them. I need to find an ounce of enthusiasm for myself but I don't know how, what or where. Like most things it may be hiding in the cushions of my couch.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A few sniglets

OK, for those of you who don't know, Sniglets are "words that should be in the dictionary but aren't"

Here are a few of mine:


namenesia (naym-nee'-sha) n.
The horrifying moment when you are having a conversation with an acquaintance, and a third person joins in, expecting you to introduce your friend but you've completely blanked on their name.


spreeject (spree'-jekt) n.
An item that gets jettisoned in the check-out line after a shopping spree because it didn't make the "do I really need this" cut.


goldfissure (gold'-fizshur) n.
The after-effect of someone stepping on a goldfish cracker that makes it exponentially harder to clean up than when it was whole.


momstroke (mom'-stroke) n.
The swimming style exclusive to mothers enabling them to swim while keeping their hair dry.


purge-atory (purr'-ja-tor-y) n.
The state of limbo for school memos, kids doodles, scribbled phone numbers, and Chuck E. Cheese prizes wherein they get kept in the kitchen until you decide it's time for the garbage.


dechapication (dee-chap-i-kay'-shun) n. The decapitation of a chapstick into it's own cap.


fauxflection (fow-flek'-shun) n.
The extremely pleasing and flattering reflection of yourself in a mirror that makes you look skinnier than you really are.


girdlelock (gir'-dl-lok) n.
The exasperating realization in the ladies room at a formal event when you need to pee badly, but have rendered it impossible with Spanx and "Shape-Wear".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Emily (alternatively titled "Welcome to the Jungle.....Gym")

OK, so I was originally going to just write this as a reply to Emily's question in my last blog post......but (shockingly) it got a little longwinded.

Emily, the only thing I can tell you, is as a mother you have to grow a pretty thick skin. Most women who openly interject their parenting views are doing so more out of the need for validation than anything else.

EVERYONE has doubts that they are doing right by their child(ren), but we all have this Supermom complex that makes us think we have to be superior in all things parenting.
If I had to tell you "how to deal", I would just caution you not to take anything to heart. for the next four months you are going to hear, read, and think a TON of different things regarding how to bring the twins into this world, and how how to raise, nurture and care for them once they are here.

Parenting is A LOT of trial and error, and even within your own household you aren't going to be able to parent all children the same, because they aren't the same child. And kids are really resiliant. They aren't going to shrivel up and blow away if you decide to give them a multi vitamin instead of the ones with extra iron, and a seperate one with omega 3 fish oil. Whether you breast feed them for three months, 6 months or not at all is really NOT that important when you look at the big picture. And trust me, the only moms who insist that you HAVE TO have a C-section when they aren't medically necessary are only doing it to serve their own selfish vanity. (I mean, why subject yourself bigger hips, when you can just have an incision scar on your belly that no one but your hubby will see anyway)

At the end of the day YOU are their mother and YOU are the one who is going to inherently know the best way to parent them. You all may hit some bumps along the way, but they will be be worth it.

And as far as those other moms........simply smile and thank them for their advice, but decide for yourself whether or not you're going to follow it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Because I'm the best mom in the world


OK, now that we're all done laughing at this post title......I can freely admit that I am, in fact, NOT the best mom in the world. Why is it then that I'm always recieving emails from readers asking me for parenting advice? I don't get it. I am flattered, don't get me wrong, but honestly, I'm really not any better at being momish than anyone else.


BUT, since I like actually having readers feel they can talk to me on that level, and I'm such a freakin' people pleaser, I have wracked my brain to come up with some thoughts on motherhood that I hopefully haven't written here before.


While very pregnant with my first child, when I heard the word "mother", I thought of my own. I still wasn't able to wrap my brain around that fact that in a few short days I would be one. (No, not even the swollen feet, and crazy sciatic nerve were enough to clue me in.) The title of "Mom" was surreal to me for the first few days.


Through the months I fell in love with, "mom." It felt natural. Beyond expectations, I felt it suited me. I felt closer to myself and to the mothers who had raised me. My mother and grandmother who I grew up loving and admiring and laughing with.

Over the many years of watching and learning from them......and through much trial and error in finding my own mothering style, here are some things I have learned.


1. Eat dinner as a family as much as possible. In my opinion, "The family dinner" is the most important event that bonds a family. It is the one time that the family sits down together to share their day, discuss topics, and listen to each other.

2. As a mother, you will blow it from time to time. Never be afraid to apologize and admit to your children if you have made a mistake.

3. As much as you teach your children, be willing to listen and learn from them. My children are my greatest teachers.

4. Set strict limits on TV, video games, and computer use. This is really HARD to enforce but is well worth the fight.

5. Teach your children good nutrition by offering them nutritional food. Never keep sodas or lots of junk food in the house and make them a nutritious lunch for school.

6. Remember Mr. Roger's wisdom and let your children know every day that you love them "just the way they are." Don't expect them to be anything but who they are.

7. Be an example to them. Kids learn most by watching you than by anything you say. And they remember everything so be your best around them as much as possible.

8. Expose them to the arts. They won't get enough of them in school.

9. Give your children space to find out who they are. Our children are more like our ancestors than like us, so don't identify yourself with them or assume they are like you. Most likely they aren't.

10. Teach a code of ethics and set rules that you can stick too. Kids need and want limits. And they need something to pull from when times get rough.

11. Follow your heart when it comes to parenting. You will never parent each child the same because each child is different.

12. Let your children make mistakes and learn from them. This is the hardest thing to do. You cannot shield them from pain. Life is difficult and they need to learn how to deal with their problems and learn from their mistakes.

13. Try not to take everything too seriously. When things don't turn out just the way you had thought they would, find joy in the new turn of events.

14. Develop trust through communication and honesty. If you aren't honest with them, how can you expect them to be honest with you?

15. Let the punishment fit the crime. Simply grounding a child isn't necessarily the best punishment.

16. Your kids don't want you to solve their problems, they want to solve their own problems. They simply want to know you sympathize.
17. Don't forget to be joyful!!! Children are an endless source of joy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembrance Day


It's hard to know how to begin a post on a subject like Rememberance Day. How do you find the right words to express to the men and women who have so selflessly provided such nobel service in protecting our freedoms that we cherish?

I have met many vetrans in my life, and have listened to their stories of war. Their naked honesty in their relfections have always left tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine. It's very humbling to hear of what they sacrificed to give me what I have today. It is a gift I feel has not only been given to us as a country, but to each and every one of us personally. It is one we should each feel personally grateful for.

It sounds inept to simply say that I am at a loss for words in thinking of the horrendous sacrifice that was made for my future and the future of my children. Sacrifices that are almost incomprehensible to most of us in this day and age; that were given without question or hesitation.

May God watch over them and bless them, and let us not forget forget them for what they have done for us. Regardless of how you feel about war, members of the military have a difficult and often thankless job to do.

So to those brave members of the military, and to the families that tirelessly support them.......Thank You.



In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Friday, November 6, 2009

What Dreams May Come

She dances in and out of my sight, especially at night, when I am in the otherworldly twilight between wakefulness and sleep. She's got auburn hair, of course, and she has fickle eyes, today blue, tomorrow brown, or even green. She holds one dimpled hand up in front of her mouth when she giggles; it's a shy and endearing habit. All sweetness and light, she leaves a delicate and thoughtful footprint wherever she goes.

Now and then she can be intractably stubborn, but it is easy enough to distract her, and finally, to delight her. Her big brothers trip over themselves in their desire to show her the sun, and the moon, and everything in between.

She wears this dress when she is three, and I never forget how she looks in it: she is a fairy, a sprite, an ethereal creature. She is my daughter. I hold on to the dress long after it's too small for her, and, decades later, when I am past old, I come upon it in the attic, and with my fingers I trace out its intricate pattern. I bury my head in it but am able to catch only the faintest musty odor. There is no piece of her remaining in the folds of this garment.

***********************

Her name is Melody, and she waits for me on the other side of a door; I do not yet know which door. Perhaps it is only when I am close to death, when I curl my tired hands into my boys' warm and vital palms, that the directions I must follow to find her will open up to me in the way of a road map, bulky and awkward but finally reassuringly detailed. Maybe she is my next life's work. I will be grateful if that is so. Oh, do not doubt that I am content with how things are; I know that I am blessed to have three lovely and loving boys, gentle souls all of them. But there is room for one more. There is room for Melody, the girl in the dress, the girl who visits me when I am most vulnerable, most receptive, most willing to entertain the idea of her.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oblivious or Obnoxious?


Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to today’s episode of OBLIVIOUS OR OBNOXIOUS?

Yes, it’s the game show where we describe several real-life scenarios and you decide which character flaw best describes the offender.

Scenario number one:

You park in the elementary school parking lot to pick up your child from school.

When you get back to the car you discover a Cadillac Escalade parked illegally and perpendicularly thereby blocking you in.

Seven minutes later the owner of the car comes out with her fifth grader and climbs into her massive vehicle without giving you a second glance.

So, audience,which is it?

Oblivious?
Or
Obnoxious?


Next scenario:

You are in the supermarket trying to make your way down the cereal aisle.

There are two carts parked side by side forming an impenetrable barrier, but no cart-pushers in sight.

As you nudge one of the carts out of the way you hear an exaggerated “huff” behind you. You glance backwards only to get the ol’ stink eye.

Oblivious?
Or
Obnoxious?


Our final situation:


You go to a restaurant to grab a sandwich for lunch. The place is mobbed, customers wander around aimlessly with their trays in hand looking for a place to sit down. A man sits with an empty plate and coffee cup while reading a newspaper.

Audience—
Oblivious
Or
Obnoxious?


We’ll tally up the answers left on the comments board and find out what you think.

Are most people obnoxious with a Herculean sense of entitlement or are they oblivious –so wrapped up in their own selfish universe to take other people into consideration?

Tune in next time when we look at chronically late people on…

OBLIVIOUS OR OBNOXIOUS?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In case you didn't hear, you're life sucks! (Oh, and contest winner)

I want to thank you all for the suggestions with regards to my new product review blog. I have chosen a winner.........drumroll...........OLIVIA. You're suggestion of "Mayhem's Material Musings" was absolutely perfect. Please email me with your address info so I can get your gift to you ASAP. And if you're interested in hearing my opinions and whatnot on products, websites, places, etc.....head on over to http://mayhemsmaterialmusings.blogspot.com

And now on to tonights post.....

According to a recent report motherhood is just about the most depressing job you can have.

Here are direct quotes from the study (slightly edited, but the content is unchanged):

“People who change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers.”

Um, is there an option we’re unaware of? If we didn’t change diapers or feed our kids might we be happier?

“Almost 11 percent of personal care workers -- which includes child care…reported depression lasting two weeks or longer.”

Two weeks? That’d be great! I was expecting eighteen years.

“During such episodes there is loss of interest and pleasure, and at least four other symptoms surface, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.”

Oh my gosh. They’re right. In layman’s terms motherhood causes lack of sleep, increased intake of fried foods, Defcon-4 level exhaustion, constant brain-farts and the general nagging feeling that we’ve let ourselves go.

“Just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in preventing depression. The overall rate of depression for full-time workers, 7 percent, compares with the 12.7 percent rate registered by those who are unemployed.”

But wait, we do work full time, and yet, we’re unemployed. It’s a paradox wrapped in an enigma.

So, those of you who take joy in the intoxicating smell of your baby’s freshly washed hair, or fall into fits of laughter watching your toddler maneuver his way around a plate of spaghetti; Those of you who plaster your refrigerator with your children’s “masterpieces” or swell with pride watching your second grader read chapter books to himself at night......

You may think you’re happy.

But you’re not. You fool. You poor deluded diaper changing, food serving, unemployed-yet-working doofus.

Your life sucks.

They have the reports to prove it.

Numbers don’t lie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My own personal Britney Spears

OK, I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of Britney Spears. I remember watching a couple of years ago when she was going through her very public meltdown.

"WARNING: This person will self destruct in 3, 2, 1....."

And I'll admit it; at first it was titalating.

Then shocking.

Then horrifying.

And then.......just fantastically sad.

"Britney's Bloopers" was something that we could all get a good laugh at, or at the very least, a chance to shake our heads doubiously.

But after the head shaving incident, I didn't want to watch anymore. Her Mach 3 downward spiral into self destruction, was no longer amusing. It was concerning, if not downright alarming.

With each car crash and pantiless paparazzi shot that appeared in the "rag mags", it was obvious that she was a young, misguided troubled little girl who would not let anyone around her help her.

Some of us may know a real life "Britney".

I happen to have one in my family.

Our "Britney" is a drug addict who suffers from severe mental illness.

She is not from a broken home, or a child of abuse. In fact, quite the opposite. She was raised in a normal, loving, 2 parent middle class family.

Every "cry for help" was answered.

We rooted for her when it looked like she was turning a corner, but we are never suprised when we hear that she has fallen again.

She has been given second, twenty second, and seventy second chances.

Bad things have happened to her. We all know that worse things are yet to come.

I remember when Robert Downey Jr. was in court for the umpeenth time on drug related charges, and he looked at the judge and said; "It's like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger is on the trigger, and I like the taste of gunmetal."

It was then I understood the true meaning of being an addict. It is a disease that so many of us feel that people should just be able to "get over". Before going through this in my own family, I know I felt that way. "If they just tried harder. If they just had a bit more self-discipline".

But no matter how much money, fame and power these celebrities have, clearly they have a disease that is far more powerful.

So even though my every instinct is to judge the actions of celebrities like Britney Spears.....maybe even make jokes about them, I have to remember our "Britney".

I wouldn't wish what she is going through on anyone.

I sincerely pray that she can turn things around.

Because look at how far Britney Spears has come in the past two years. And if she can do it, maybe there is hope for our "Britney" too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Company Spokespeople.....can you think of anyone more inappropriate!

Hey, have you read about my contest and giveaway? No? Well, check it out here. There's still a few days left to enter and win.

OK, so I know I'm a bit behind on the times where the fashion world is concerned, but could someone please tell me when Mikhail Gorbachev became the face of Louis Vuitton??

Okay, so Social Studies may not have been my strongest subject in High School, but wasn’t he, like, the leader of Russia, and like, a communist?

A bit strange to see him promoting a luxury item that the average Soviet citizen would be able to afford in about, well, never. They would never be able to afford that bag.

So, since apparently advertisers feel they can choose a celebrity with absolutely no relevance to their product or service, I would like to humbly suggest the following:

Britney Spears: Hanes Underwear

Michael Vick: ASPCA

Tom Cruise: Prozac

Victoria Beckham: Weight Watchers



Barry Bonds: Partnership for a Drug Free America

Paris Hilton: Home Depot

And Hugh Heffner: Campbell’s soup-for-one.


Oh, and while I'm at it, would you, Mr. Advertizing McSellthestuff, would you mind not using 20 year olds to sell anti-wrinkle cream; it demeans us both.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mommas Do's and Don'ts of the playground

Hey, have you read about my contest and giveaway? No? Well, check it out here. There's still a few days left to enter and win.




I like to do what I can to help parents out in the game of, well...parenting. I have learned that carrying and birthing the children is the easy part and it is all the stuff that comes after that is extremely difficult.

I have also learned from experience that taking children for an afternoon at the local park isn't all flowers and smiles.

Today I will give you Mommas list of Playground Dos and Don'ts. You can thank me later with some chocolate...or....a new pair of shoes. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

Anyways, when preparing to go to the park,
pack a small bag with diapers and wipes because as soon as you step foot on the playground, your little one will release his/her bowels. Guaranteed.

Make sure you pack snacks and drinks also because as soon as you get there they will be hungry. Feel free to pack yourself a bottle of Coke. Just because you will need it.

It is always a good idea to bring sand toys. Tonka toys always made my boys happy....for about 5 minutes. And then they would walk over to the nice little boy playing with his own little tractors and Hot Wheels and swipe them out of his hands.

Bring along your "calm, perfect Mommy face" because you will need it when your children misbehave by stealing other children's toys and hitting them with them. Remember these words. "Taking other kids toys is not allowed. Oh, look at that bird over there". As your child looks, take the toy that he/she stole and give it back. Then keep finding ways to distract your children as you walk away from the nice little boy/girl with the black eye.

You're welcome. I do what I can to help.

Play with your children. They like it when Mommy chases them around acting like the Playground Monster. They like it even more when you catch them and tickle them.

Socialize with other parents. You never know. You may just meet a life long friend...for you and your children.

Never, ever go barefoot at the park. You and your children. Ewwwwww. Gross. Disgusting. Gag. Puke. I have never, ever let my children roam around in a huge kitty litter box barefoot. Ok, maybe I did a few times. But I never did it.




Always wear a bra because people will talk and kids will ask many questions. And the friends you hoped to meet on your outing to the playground will never come over to say hi. Unless they are slimy Dads.


Do not spend your time chatting or texting on your cell phone or reading an interesting novel. Firstly, because you will be interrupted a gazillion times by children wanting you to watch them go down the slide for the thousandth time. Secondly, because you may get caught up in it all and not realize your children have been kidnapped.


Do not discipline other parents children no matter how much you want to spank their bare asses. They are not your children. Parent your own kids.....drink your Mommy juice and go to another area of the park to get away from the "bad ones". Remember to always keep the "calm, perfect Mommy" face even when you want to yell, scream and throw a tantrum.




And last but certainly not least, have fun, because your children will thank you for it years down the road and you will miss the moments. Honest.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time for a contest.....and a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Alright, my loyal blog readers. It is time for a contest. Let me give you the lo down.

A reader has asked me to create a new blog. One where I test and review products, websites, books, restaurants, blah, blah, blah. Of course being the complete narcissist that I am thought "Well, heck, I would LOVE to write yet another blog."

Here is where you come in: I need a name for this new blog. And my demands are simple.

1. In following with my other blogs (Mayhem with the Morrells, and Mayhem Momma's Movie Reviews) it must somewhere in the name contain the word "Mayhem".

2. It must be original, catchy, and clever

3. It must explain in the name what the site is about (ie....reviewing aformentioned products, websites, books, restaurants, blah, blah, blah)

The contest will run until midnight on October 31, and the winner will be determined by yours truly. And you can enter as many submissions as you like. Not only will you achieve bragging rights, but I have a sweet little suprize giveaway for the winner. Nothing major, but fun (and free for you) nonetheless.

Please post your entries in a comment to this blog post. Good luck. Get those brains a workin' and thanks in advance for all your great ideas.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holy pickles and milk, Batman!!

Just a couple of years ago I was the mother of three little boys, a fact which sometimes necessitated that I take all three of them to the grocery store. As surely as I sit here typing this, I could guarantee you that each of my boy-laden grocery trips would draw out comments from observers. The comments were usually pretty predictable:

1. "You certainly have your hands full."

2. "So, are you trying for a girl?"

3. [On the occasional good day.] "Your boys are so well-behaved."

4. [On the more typical day.] "Ma'am, did you know that your son is whacking your baby with a package of hot dog buns?"

5. "Wow, I can't imagine your grocery bill when they're all teenagers."

That last one always just made me smile and shrug. Sure, I know growing boys eat a lot, but how bad could it be, really? I mean, they're probably hungry after school, so you fix them a hot dog, right? No big challenge for a frugal-minded shopper.

Well.

Let's just add this one to the (growing) list of challenges I didn't see coming. Because these sons of mine are bottomless pits of extraordinarily high metabolisms. Kind of like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, except not green. And no cocoon. And I can't put them on a bookshelf when they're done. So, not at all like The Very Hungry Caterpillar actually, except, my stars, they're HUNGRY.

Case in point: my eldest son can polish off a gallon--a gallon--of milk in a day and a half. At this rate, I'm wondering if we should just get a cow. My youngest son ate an entire jar of pickles the other day. An entire jar. In a day.

We haven't cut out sugar altogether (because really, why would such a life be worth the living?), but I do try to offer them primarily high-protein snacks (eggs, nuts, cheese, peanut butter, etc.) that will sit in their bellies awhile. And yes, they're eating complete and (mostly) healthful meals. No, they're not filling up on sodas or juices. And no, nobody is anywhere in the vicinity of being overweight.

They're just stinkin' hungry.

I'm left standing here holding the proverbial grocery bag, wondering how we're going to afford both college and all the pickles. As the one who has been genetically (and happily, and expensively) appointed to feed them, I'm trying to do it sensibly. But high-protein foods tend to be more expensive foods, don't they?

This leads me to my point, which is to ask anyone who is reading this, especially anyone who has raised multiple sons without going through grocery-induced bankruptcy, how did you do it? What are the best kind of snacks for growing adolescent boys? (Preferably snacks that are easy and cheap and leap into the dishwasher when done. I'm all about the realistic expectations.) Please share with me any suggestions you may have, and if you know of a dairy and pickle farm for sale.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Self Improvement classes now available in the Labor & Delivery wing

There's this scary aspect of having kids in that it forces you to be a better adult.

Not a better parent, just a better person overall.

You can't grab a bag of chips for dinner, lest your kids take note and develop their own crappy eating habits. You can't whine about your weight lest your kids develop their own self-esteem issues around weight. You can't yell asshat! at the screen every time Sean Hannity opens his mouth. Occasionally you have to you turn off the TV altogether and open a book.

You have to make the bed. (Well, at least you probably should.)

You have to watch your language when you smash your head on the couch. Hard. You can't talk about your neighbors/teachers/parents/kids' friends behind their backs. You have to make good on promises. You have to make good on threats.

And probably, most daunting of all, you actually have to wait until the big red hand becomes the white walking person before you cross the street--which could only be more annoying if there were zero cars coming, and not the single 1992 Lincoln going 5 miles an hour that's still six blocks away.

There are definitely times I don't know that I'm up for this. Even twelve years later, it all seems like a huge freaking personality transplant, like all my insides and vital organs have been sucked out my ears then replaced entirely with new stuff that's programmed to set examples actually worth following.

Parenting is hard.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Baby

Today I have been married for 12 years. I know this is not as impressive as say, 40 years of wedded bliss, but in this day and age, it's an increasingly rare accomplishment. So I'm proud, but I'm also puzzled. Why did we make it this far when so many don't?


It's clear from reading some blogs, that there are those who consider their marriage a necessary evil; an institution to be endured until such time as their parental obligation to provide a stable two parent family is fulfilled. It's clear that many people feel trapped, unloved, unappreciated. For them I wish I had some sage advice. I wish I had some prescription for fixing what's wrong. But I don't. And I don't really know what we've done right, if anything at all.


Many people in both our families predicted several times that our marriage would fail. First because I moved in with him after one date essentially. You laugh, but for someone who had previously been in relationships based mostly upon my willingness to sit through one sporting event after another, during which of course, conversation was strongly discouraged, and communication took the form of paleolithic grunts and gestures, intelligent discourse can be damn near erotic.


The first time Ross demonstrated the capacity for abstract thought, the earth moved for me. Nevertheless, because he was 10 years my senior, twice divorced, a different religion and already a father...I'm sure my mother worried that he could be some kind of sexual deviant or homicidal maniac. I suppose he certainly could have been, but I was not in a hurry to condemn someone who moved like he did in the kitchen. You know what they say about men who can cook.


Still, neither of those things are that upon which one can base a successful marriage. And, truth be told, I did not enter into a living arrangement with him with any intention to marry. Rather, it was a not unpleasant way to extricate myself from my current living situation which had become unpleasant unto unbearable due to the volatile relationship between my then boyfriend and his family whom we had been living with at the time. I had become so accomstomed to being awakened by the sound of breaking glass and shouted obscenities that I often just yawned and rolled over. The one time I did venture out to inquire as to his safety, I was greeted with a resentful glare from his uncle and silent, but smoldering malevolence from him. Gee, you're welcome. No really, I habitually wake at 3:30 am anyway. (You know, when my parents "forced" me to break up with that guy and move to Waterton to work, I really resented for them at the time....but was that ever a life saving moment in my life. It really NEVER would have worked out with us).


So in Waterton, I met this really great guy, who was a chef, with a really nice car. We "hung out", as there wasn't really much to do in the way of dating up in the mountains. I moved in with him right away....three months later, I got pregnant with our first son. Seven months after that boy was born, on my 21st birthday, he proposed. I think that every young, unmarried woman has fantasized about how she would one day be proposed to on bended knee. This proposal was all that and more. It was romantic and clever and completely unexpected. I wept, and eagerly accepted, having determined around the third month of co-habitation that I had somehow managed to stumble into a really great guy. And we were married 12 days later. You see, I wasn't going to let him change his mind.


Suddenly, 12 years have passed and 3 children are growing impossibly fast. And I can only say that I don't know when we would have time to get a divorce. Marriage isn't easy, nor is raising children, and I KNOW we've both had moments where we have wondered what the Hell we had gotten ourselves in to. But those moments are fleeting, and quickly swallowed up by the joy, the responsibility and the busyness of our lives together. We simply have never had time to really stay mad at eachother. A sick baby, a seemingly impossibly tight budget, job stress.....those are the things that have drawn us together in desperate unity rather that driving us apart. We try to seek comfort in one another rather than somewhere to lay blame.


We have a strong relationship, but like any other married couple, we have our issues. However, they seem to be mostly of the sort that after a good nights sleep and the fresh perspective of a new day, don't seem to be worth the effort it takes to sustain a long arguement. Neither of us is really the type for whom an admission of wrongdoing or oversensitivity is fundamentally compromising. And often there isn't even a spoken truce, just a smile and kiss which we've both come to recognize and accept as the implicit, "I'm sorry I was an ass/bitch".


So, despite our haste, it turns out we're a well-matched pair. I am patient where he is high strung. He is blythe and easygoing where I am a worrier. He pays the bills because I have no head for numbers...I keep house and manage our boys' schedule of endless obligations because he is not an organizer and works really hard at holding down TWO jobs to help support his family. He is a fun loving Dad, I am a somewhat reserved Mom. We keep eachother from being too serious; but make eachother act like a grown-up sometimes. He can help the offspring with Math, Science, and Technology. I am pretty useful with English, History, and Social Studies. Yes, he drives me completely nuts sometimes, and I him, but we truly like and respect one another. I consider him my best friend. I miss him when he's gone. I seek his advice when I have a problem.


I occasionally fantasize about The Rock (I know, he's not the brightest paint in the pallette, but I
don't want to converse with the man) and I know of a couple actresses that strike my husband's fancy. But I wonder if the brawny Mr. Rock would sit up all night with a sick baby so I could get some sleep. I wonder if he would bring me ice cream and keep the kids outside all day when I have a migraine. I wonder if he would possess the uncanny awareness of exactly when I have reached my whining saturation point and suggest with just the right amount of concern and not even a hint of accusation, that perhaps I might like an hour by myself.


I would like to think that the success of our marriage is due to hard work and committment, and some understanding of marital dynamics. I would like to say that I made exceptionally good choices in my quest for a life partner. But really, I think we have just been extremely lucky. We've been through job loss, family tragedy, and financial woes. And after 12 years I have to think we have what it takes to weather any such a storm that we are faced with. I suppose time will tell.


So here's to another twelve years. I may have to reevaluate when we become empty nesters. The discovery that one cannot stand one's spouse after the children have departed seems quite common. But somehow I doubt that will happen. I think we'll be sunning ourselves on some Meditarranean nudist beach, letting it all hang out, blind to the wrinkles and the flab, and planning our next post-parental, mid-lfe adventure. -- OK, maybe not.....more likely we will be able to maybe do a little travelling in the midst of being in the throes of grandparenthood. I can't wait.


**Dedicated to my wonderful husband***

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Laundry Quandry

Am I the only one who whole-heartedly SWEARS she will never, ever, ever let the laundry pile get that high again???

Because it was pure torture to wash, fold, and put away that many clothes.

And yet, I still fool myself into believing that I have a laundry gameplan in place:

I know! I will organize our laundry.
A basket for whites and a basket for colors.
I will do one load every day, just so that enormous pile never comes to life again.

(Day 1 of my plan) Wow, I am brilliant. Doing laundry when the load is relatively smallish will be so WONDERFUL. How easy! Why have I never done this before?!


(Day 2) Shoot. I missed a day. Oh well, tomorrow I will do TWO loads.

(Days 3 & 4) Holy CRAP!!!!! That pile scares me.

(Day 5) Well, it's Friday. Who seriously does laundry on a FRIDAY?!


(Day 6) Today's Saturday. I'm not wasting my day doing stupid laundry.

(Day 7) *Hyperventilating at the height of the laundry pile.* I will survive. I will survive. I will survive. Surely no one has ever died of washing and folding and putting away that many clothes. But I think I will. I think I will be the first to die of it. This is the woooooooooooorst everrrrrrrrrr.

And the kicker?
When all the laundry is finally finished and clean at the same time....IT DOESN'T EVEN FIT IN THE DRAWERS! I end up breaking a sweat trying to stuff and squeeze and compress the clothes in there so I can will the drawer to shut.

Obviously my laundry's only mission in life is to make me look like an idiot.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Forgive me if I sound preachy!

SIGH. I wasn't going to enter the Mommy Wars fray. I've been there before and I've always emerged battered and bloody. What's more, I don't think I've ever engaged in a debate or a discussion of this nature where there was a clear victor. Why? Because there is no right way to parent. There is no right answer for any one of the multitude of parenting dilemmas. If there was, it would make things a whole lot easier, and we wouldn't have to verbally bludgeon each other when our approaches to parenting issues diverge. We wouldn't have to work so hard to villify and invalidate each other to soothe our own insecurities.

The reason there is no one answer or any right way is because children are not built on an assembly line according to a list of factory specs. There is no quality control. And we do not get to shop for a model that best suits our character, meets our needs, and lives up to our standards. Each and every child is wonderfully and wholly individual; utterly unlike any other being on the planet. What. A. Miraculous. Thing. And how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of parenting philosophies, beliefs, information and techniques at our disposal to aid us in the daunting task of raising those miracles to adulthood. Applying one parenting method or strategy to all children is a little like making every woman wear size 6 jeans. It leaves the party in question uncomfortable and demoralized.

When I had one very well behaved and complacent child, I had a lot of opinions about those who weren't. Naturally, it was because they were being raised wrong. Wrong being, unlike mine. I made much of issues that only a small percentage of the American collective acknowledged or cared about. I said a lot of I'll nevers, and no child of mines. They were words I was forced to eat, along with a heaping helping of well done crow and several slices of humble pie when I was given a child who was not well-behaved, was not complacent, and who challenged every single parenting ideal I posessed. I was knocked off of my high horse and then trampled by it.

And in the end, the only thing that mattered to me was keeping him alive, and raising him into an autonomous human being without one or both of us being maimed or rendered completely insane. In other words, I learned that sometimes, you just do what you have to do, philosophy be damned.

I learned, through much of the well meaning but completely naive advice that was freely given by friends and strangers alike, that nobody else knows what is best for my child. I learned that my own instincts are usually the right ones and to trust them. Though I am usually about the last person on earth you will find quoting scripture, I learned what Jesus meant when he said "Judge not lest ye be judged." And I learned that "disagree" does not have to be synonymous with "disrespect".

I'm not perfect by a longshot, and I don't have all the answers. But I've been a parent for 12 years now, and what I do have is some perspective. And I can tell you that in ten years, what you fed your child, how you disciplined your child, how you sleep trained your child (or didn't), how you potty trained your child (or didn't) and whether you put them in daycare or stayed at home, doesn't matter even a fraction as much as how much you loved them, nurtured them and believed in them. What you put in a child's belly isn't half so nourishing as what you put into their psyche. What you put on a child's bottom isn't half so absorbent as that child's amazing little brain. And there is no confusion over who is the Mommy, regardless of where she goes to work. I promise.

It seems especially sad and pointless then, that we are dividing ourselves into warring factions over these issues; judging, maligning, shaming and belittling. It's so hard to be a Mom. Why do we need to make it harder for one another? Did Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Stady Canton, Susan B. Anthony and Bella Abzug work so tirelessly to gain women the rights and privileges they deserved only to have us turn on one another? I think not. In fact, I think they would be pretty peeved by the way womankind has cast aside the unity they labored so long and hard to achieve for the sake of petty one upmanship.

We can do better, ladies.

Because despite my current state of disheartenment, I do believe in the power of women. I believe in the indomitable spirit of Motherhood. Alone we are formidable, together we are invincible. Let's come together and kick some ass that is truly deserving. Famine, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, mysogyny, tyranny, opression, racism, genocide, ethnicide...all of these could be instantly eradicated if we put half as much energy into fighting them as we do fighting each other.

So, who's with me? I want to see a lot of damn hands waving in the air.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My sweet, sensitive hubby

(Alternate title: "I'm a piece of meat")

Me: Say something nice.

Him: What?

Me: Say something nice to me.

Him: Why?

Me: You're in a crappy mood and you're being a real ass. So say something nice to me.

(a moment.....)

Him: Nice Boobs.

Me: Thank you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cures for Morning Sickness

OK, so I recently found out that my dear cousin, Emily and her husband Mark are expecting their first......and second. Yup, it's twins!!!! She's apparently had some serious morning sickness going on and is wanting some ideas to stave off the nausea.

Now I know every pregnancy is different, and some things may not work as well for people as others, but here are a few things that I found to be a Godsend when I was pregnant -- and I've done it a time or thrice. Here are my top 5 suggestions:

1. Drinking Sprite, Ginger Ale or Lemonade or peppermint herbal tea

2. Eating Salt & Vinegar chips -- apparently, nausea can be caused by excess saliva, and the chips help dry up your salivary gland.

3. Buy a small vial of lavender or lemon oil and dab it on your wrists whenever you start to feel sick.

4. Sometimes morning sickness can be caused by not having enough protein in your diet.....so load up a little more. -- and carbs too.....crackers, dry cereal and toast are great nausea cures

5. Stay well hydrated.....morning sickness can be brought on by dehydration

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

Webster's Defines Mid Life Crisis as "a period of psychological doubt and anxiety that some people experience in middle age."

In my callous, ego-centric and myopic youth, I often chuckled at the sight of a balding fiftiesh man, nattily attired and driving a red hot muscle car down the ineterstate with the top down, heedless of his comb-over flapping comically in the wind; a banner proclaiming his dotage to the world. "Get a Life, Grandpa" I would mutter, more shaken than I cared to admit at the glaring reminder that youth is fleeting and mortality looms. I have death issues, you see.

If I had looked more closely, with more experienced eyes, and without the self absorption that is the hallmark of youth, I would have seen his smile of utter contentment and confident indifference. I would have seen someone high on life, and quite clearly not searching for his lost identity or mourning his misspent youth, but rather, enjoying the just rewards for a life of hard work and sacrifice.

In other words...that car is not a metaphor for anything other than the fact that for the first time in his life, he has no children bleeding him dry, his mortgage is paid, and his nest nicely feathered. He can afford what he wants, and he has the chutzpah to drive it with no excuses or apologies.

As I edge ever closer to forty, a prospect that would once have had me curled up in the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth, clutching a jar of Creme de La Mer to my breast, I realize that it isn't middle age that's a time of crisis. On the contrary...as I get older, the easier things become. If I am honest I have to admit that while I certainly don't relish the thought of growing old, nor would I voluntarily return to those years of twenty something angst and uncertainty.

Its been a long time since I had to survive on condiment sandwiches and kool-aid until payday. Or wonder if that guy I'm seeing is going to disappear like a fart in the wind at the mere mention of committment. Or ponder why my new infant takes more comfort from the roar of the vacuum than the beat of his mother's heart, and why that feels like my fault. Undoubtedly, such tribulation built my character and forged me into the adult I am today, for which I am duly grateful.

But ya know...for the most part, I'm liking where I'm at. And I most assuredly am not experiencing any psychological doubt beyond whether I really have the butt for low rise boot cut jeans.

For that reason, I am submitting the following for the kind people at Webster's:

Dear Sirs:

I submit that the term "Mid-Life Crisis" is an egregious and misleading misnomer. I would like to respectfully request that it be revised as follows:

"Mid-life Respite"


I introduce the following visual aid to illustrate my point. Dude looks pretty happy to me.




Thank you for your kind consideration of this matter.

Sincerely Yours,
Mayhem Momma

(Dedicated to bloggers compelled to lament ad nauseum about getting old.

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." ~Samuel Ullman )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ready, Aim......Misfire



Are we all in agreement that men are the lazier of the two sexes? The slightly less competent, less capable versions of women? Yes? Yes.



So, why is it that God decided to gift men with the piece of anatomy that requires precision and effort while urinating?



It’s just not right, if you ask me.



Now, don’t get me wrong: I am very thankful to have been born with a vagina. There has never been a single moment where I debated pulling a Chaz— I’ll gladly take the aches and pains of menstrual cramps, childbirth, and leg shaving for the trade-off of donning lipstick, birthing children and adding an extra few inches to my frame with heels. Plain and simple, I enjoy being a girl.



But, I often marvel at the fact that my husband seems incapable of replacing the roll of toilet paper correctly or mastering the simple recycling process. He can’t seem to do anything with precision, so why expect him to master a bull’s eye with his penis? Especially at two o’clock in the morning… in the dark? It seems an awful lot to ask, doesn’t it?



As I weaned the last of my boys off of diapers, I wondered if I should have saved years of frustration for both myself and my children’s future partners by insisting that they pee sitting down. Masculine, it’s not, but the trade-off may indeed be worth it. Because, really, I’m just not sure men are cut out for something so complex. And I can think of far better ways to spend an afternoon than cleaning up mis-aimed pee pee.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Advice for First Time Mothers

When you’re pregnant, people are filled with unsolicited advice for you: What you should eat. What you shouldn’t eat. How to sleep, how to exercise, how to tell what gender the baby is, how to do everything. And it doesn’t stop once the baby arrives. People love to offer their two cents, but I don’t recall receiving much advice that was actually helpful. In the least. Here’s what I wish I’d been told:

1. Don’t rush home from the hospital. You have nurses waiting on you, room service, clean linens appearing without you ever having to load the washing machine… It’s a pleasure cruise compared to what’s waiting for you at home. Milk it for as long as possible.

2. It’s a baby, not an alien. In other words, don’t stress yourself out with fancy baby crap. I shopped around for changing tables for months. You want to know the only place all three of my children ever got changed? The kitchen counter. It’s the perfect height, requires no climbing up the stairs and diapers easily fit in a drawer below. The fancy stuff is fun, but most times unnecessary.

3. Accept all babysitting offers. People love new babies and will be thrilled to hold your little one while you shower, cook a meal or take a nap. Holding a newborn is a joy. A two year old? Not so much. Take people up on their offers now, they have a very limited shelf life.

4. Point the penis down to prevent leaky boy diapers. (Why on earth does nobody tell you this?)

5. Don’t buy infant clothes. You may not be able to resist a few pieces, but don’t go crazy. People will be giving you plenty and you will most likely just use the same few pieces right out of the dryer. And don’t take the tags off of anything until you absolutely need to. Before Drew came home from the hospital, I washed every item through 6 months and folded them in his drawers. He never wore three quarters of them and I couldn’t return or regift a thing.

6. Resist anything with a million snaps or buttons. As adorable as they may be, they’ll bring you to tears at three o’clock in the morning. Elasticized layettes will be your best friend for the first few weeks.

7. Keep an emergency diaper kit in the car. I remember showing up for our first pediatrician appointment with no diapers, no wipes and no change of clothes. It takes getting used to schlepping around all of that crap, and newborn diaper blow-outs are inevitable. Be prepared.

{But when in doubt…}

8. Ask for help. Once you’re a mom you become a member of “the mom club.” We’ve all been there before– I’m never ashamed to ask a stranger with kids if she can spare a few spare wipes should mine run out and am happy to give that crying kid at the park some goldfish. We’re all human, you know?

9. Enjoy it. Not because it goes by so fast (and it does,) but because as exhausted as you may be, the first few months are truly the easiest. If you should have another child, you will wonder why you thought a single newborn was so tough. But you’ll never believe it until you’re there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

OK....Seriously.....What Happened to all the Spoons

So last night I had these weird dreams and they were kind of all over the place but one thing I do remember really well is me punching Jay Leno in the face because (a) his new show sucks EXACTLY the same amount of ass as his old show, it’s just on earlier so it’s harder to avoid and (b) that was totally messed up for him to ask Kanye West about his mom and make him cry because I wanted to see D-Bag Kanye, NOT Sad Tortured Kanye, and basically with that one question Jay RUINED my whole Well-at-least-I’m-morally-superior-to-SOMEONE vibe.

When Kanye jumped up on that stage and yanked that microphone from the hands of that poor little crazy-rich country girl (known only to me as “Eat a Sandwich”), he more or less handed me several days’ worth of feeling like I’m NOT the biggest ass on the planet, and I had every intention of channeling that feeling into some kind of big confidence boost while I pimped myself out for a promotion at work. "So Erin, tell me, what would you say are your biggest strengths? Well, I’m definitely NOT the biggest ass on the planet, Dave), but then he had to go on Jay Leno’s crappy new show and be all regretful and apologetic and everything, and THEN freaking JAY had to go and ambush him with that question about his mom, and Kanye just sat there all sad and grief-stricken and DAMMIT I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL SORRY FOR THIS GUY. I’ve always really enjoyed hating Kanye, and the stage-jumping-mic-stealing thing was this awesome excuse to hate him even MORE, but then stupid ass, and completely NOT funny Jay Leno, had to go and make me feel GUILTY for hating KANYE WEST. Dammit.



And now I’m NEVER going to get my promotion. Dammit.

Jay Leno is SUCH a dork.

So in my dream I punched him and stole one of his eleventy-billion cars. What? It’s not like he’d ever miss it.

Also, at some point in this dream I realized that Michael Jordan has been sneaking into my house and stealing my spoons.

Have I mentioned that we’ve lost all our spoons ? Because we have recently. I don’t know how or why but we have about half as many spoons as forks and, inexplicably, a TON of butter knives. I could swear we started out with the same number of them all but maybe we didn’t; I never really paid that much attention to how many spoons we had until we didn’t have any. But now we constantly have to grab dirty spoons out of the dishwasher and *gasp!!* HAND WASH them so we can pretend to be civilized while we dine instead of eating with our fingers or stabbing at our food with one of our hundreds of butter knives.

Every night one of us washes the spoons for dinner and we just look at each other with question marks like “What the heck, dude?” but none of us has any answers, because it’s not as if we’re finding them in weird places, like under the fridge or between the couch cushions or in the backyard or something. They’re just… gone. Disappeared. Vanished. Vaporized. No mas spoonas.

So freakin weird.

The truth is, it took us a while to notice the spoon depletion because we’ve never been too matchy-matchy in the eating tool department — our utensil drawer’s always been a kind of mish-mash of stuff we either started out with or was given to us or we grabbed from the mouths of homeless people or whatever. And now that I’m typing this I’m realizing that probably all of YOU have beautifully shiny matching sets of forks-knives-spoons-etc. and by divulging our “shabby chic” (WE don’t live in squalor – WE’RE “shabby chic”!) approach to silverware, I’m probably also revealing some really devastating deficiency in my psychological makeup or something. You know, like those tests you had to take in high school to determine what kind of career you were most suited to, and they told you there were no wrong answers but later you found out that if the results said you should be a florist that really meant you were TOTALLY MESSED UP IN THE HEAD and should probably be in an institution or something. But you didn’t know that until you compared results with your friends and they were all “FLORIST?!? HA HA YOU FREAKIN' NUT JOB!!” and you were embarrassed and sad and felt like blowing them all away with some kind of automatic weapon but you didn’t because (1) you didn’t actually HAVE an automatic weapon and (2) that would just prove them right. And obviously practicing that kind of self-restraint meant you were NOT a nut job after all and you thought to yourself “See? I’m not crazy! But look how pretty the daffodils” and then you spent all afternoon looking at the pretty daffodils.

Anyway in my dream Michael Jordan was responsible for the Great Spoon Shortage of 2009. After I punched Jay Leno, I drove home really fast in my new car and caught Jordan red-handed, all hunched over in our tiny kitchen with a fistful of spoons. At first he looked embarrassed and started to apologize, but his apology quickly turned into this long speech where he told me what a bitch I was because I never really believed in him, and really I deserved to have my spoons taken away because I couldn’t recognize greatness when it was standing right there in front of me.

And now that I’m typing THIS, I’m realizing that between Kanye West, Michael Jordan and that tool Joe Wilson (who was also in my dream but just on the peripheral, giving cocaine in the corner to a line of Republicans waiting to get high, so he never actually said anything), it’s kind of like someone opened up a big can of Douche Baggery on the entire world recently. What the heck's going on here?

It’s like that book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, where it rains food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and everybody walks around with their forks (or spoons) in their pockets to catch the stuff as it falls from the sky, but in our case it’s not raining food, it’s raining ASSHOLISHNESS and all the men are catching it right in their mouths.

No spoons required.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Enough with the Vampires already


Vampires. They're everywhere lately; I can't seem to turn on the TV, pick up a magazine or surf the web without being bombarded by them. The entire world seems to be under their bloody spell, and I just don't get it. Their recent resurgence in popularity started with the "Twilight" series, which everyone was (or is) completely obsessed with. It was like the Harry Potter phenomenon with a dash of blood and a heap of sexual chemistry (or so I gather). Then HBO came out with the show, "True Blood" in which vampires live among the rest of us, slurping manufactured blood. It's hard core, hard to watch television that would freak even Buffy out. I couldn't get through a single episode.

I enjoyed the TV show called "Moonlight" that was on a couple of years ago. But it wasn't really because I was excited about vampires. It's because I had a bit of a crush on the shows main character, Mick St. John (sexy Aussie actor, Alex O'Loughlin -- yummy)

But for some reason, I just can't get into these pale, perverted anemics that everyone seems to adore. The frail, fanged look just doesn't do it for me. I prefer my men with a little more meat on their bones, and I'm a bit of a stickler for good dental hygiene.

So help me out here; am I alone in wanting my heartthrobs mortal? And if you are counting down the days until the New Moon release, what's up with this fascination? I doubt I'll join you on the dark side, but I'd sure like to understand it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I was gonna write a kick ass post about zombie dogs, but Demi Moore sucked it out of my brain

So last night I was in bed almost asleep when I suddenly had this great idea for a blog post; but I knew I'd forget it if I didn't write it down, so I left a note on my dresser and went back to sleep. But when I woke up this morning I found it and all it says is "DOG ZOMBIES" and I have no idea what the heck that means. I don't know if I was planning on writing a post about dogs that chase zombies or dogs that are zombies, or what..... I'm totally disappointed because a post about dog zombies sounds AWESOME. I feel like I've let the whole world down.

I blame Demi Moore, because I dreamed last night that Ashton was beating her and it was my job to save her from him, but she wouldn't listen to me because she was really in to astrology and I thinks horoscopes are a load. So I had to convince her that I believed in them too. I was all, "Demi, Murcury is in retrograde right now, and that's the best time for a Scorpio like you to seek help".

And she was all, "Well, if Murcury is in retrograde....."

And I was all, "It is....it IS". Even though I have absolutely no idea what that means. But, I guess I was pretty convincing, because she let me help her back her bags and drive her to the shelter. Ashton tried to follow us, but I got all up in his face and screamed, "YOU LEAVE DEMI ALONE, DUDE. SHE'S A SCORPIO AND MURCURY IS IN RETROGRADE, YOU ASSHAT!", and he backed off like a scared kitten.

I have no clue what that dream meant.

All I know is that it was enough to knock the memory of whatever awesome dog zombie idea I had right out of my head; lost forever. Now the world will never know my brilliant thoughts on zombie dogs, and I blame Demi Moore. (Come on, Demi. Don't know that horoscopes are complete B.S.? Join us here in the real world, okay babe?)

Anyway, here I am just coming off a summer of pretty slim blog posts, and a bunch of people wondering and asking me why I don't blog so much anymore. And all I can say to them is, "Sorry. Apparently I had a kick ass post about dog zombies, but it was erased from my head by Demi Moore".

And they're all like, "...???..."

And I'm all, "Do I have to explain EVERYTHING to you people?"

Now, this is important, so pay attention. Some crazy force took over my body and made me look up Demi Moore's birthday and it turns out SHE TOTALLY IS A SCORPIO. JUST LIKE IN MY DREAM. I am now a believer.