Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who’s the Shrew?

Dear God, my mother was a shrew.

Well, maybe not a shrew.

She was 40 when I was born. (I was 40 when my first was born.)

She was tired. (I’m tired.)

She was a yeller. (I, of course, NEVER raise my voice above a soft whisper. #lying)

She used to tell me I was a very intense child. (Okay, she didn’t really use the word “intense.” “Difficult,” “challenging,” “handful,” and occasionally the word “problem” came up.)

My youngest is a very intense child. By intense I mean . . . oh never mind.

(She’s one of those kids about which we say: If she had been born first, she would be an only child.)

My mom was a full-time wife and mom.

I was the light of her life. And, as an only child, the one who took the heat for EVERYTHING in her world.

She was a perfectionist. Her house was uber tidy.

And my mom was impatient. A lot.

As a kid I hated all this. I thought I will NEVER yell at my kids. I’ll be gentle, patient and kind. And I won’t ever let a tidy house come before a little fun.

I will be SUCH a better mother. Cuz it’s so easy. I’ll just do it ALL differently . . .

Because my children ARE the light of my life.

Okay. Well, I do like my house a little clean. (Let’s just say, Lysol Wipes are my BFF.)

The kids do drive me crazy when they leave their Lego out on the floor.
Okay – I yell when I find three week old yogurt in the bottom of the backpack. (Wait . . . was that yogurt?)

Oh Crap.

Let’s see:

Old. Check

Tired. Check

Impatient. Check

Rigid Household Maintenance Standards. Check

Oh Dear God. I’m a shrew.

Turns out... my Mother? She was a flipping saint.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is everybody really having sex THAT much?

I think my husband and I have a fantastic sex life. Until, of course, I watch something like "Grey’s Anatomy." Where everyone is getting it on like bunnies.

Hot, romantic, casual, funny, spontaneous sex.

And then there’s the Housewives of . . . oh any fucking city, with their silicone lubricated sex.
Jesus, there was even a bit on Regis and Kelly.

It turns out that everyone else is not just having sex constantly. No, it is some kind of romantic, sexy, hot interlude. There are chocolate covered strawberries, hot baths and rose petals.

My question? Where are the kids banging on the door?

You can’t toss me on the bed, cuz it’s covered with unfolded laundry. (Dear God – is it even clean laundry???)

Kitchen table ? Covered with the fucking science project.

And the fantasy that my husband will pick me up and carry me to some clean surface is kinda shattered. Do you know how old he is and how much I weigh? #arthritis #nothappening

Our lives are more like this:

Husband, home from work, late #taxseason, dishing out leftovers from last night’s takeout. I’m on all fours, sorting through the kids backpacks for the latest lost permission slip. If he leaned over, brushed my hair aside and tried to kiss my neck, I would probably topple over (cuz I’m kinda like a cow, I tip easily) and if he could finally get up off the floor (hopefully HE’S not injured, cuz he’s no spring chicken) I would be pissed.

I would be pissed because now I can’t remember who we decided is picking up the kids tomorrow. Cuz there’s the track meet, trying to be coordinated with soccer practice, and the other one’s ballet class and saxophone lessons. Just typing that makes my juices dry up.

Like I said, a real magical moment.

There are several factors working against me and this bizarre goal I have of knocking it out like bunnies.

Number One – I am old. Old and tired. Tired. Dead. Tired.

Number Two – Menopause is a gift that keeps on giving. Oh wait? It doesn’t give… anything – you know what I’m talking about. Now before the big moment we have to go to the store. Not for condoms. Cuz that ship has sailed. No. Now? We go for lubricant. (Sadly, not cuz I have a high Freak Number. You know, like you know, those Real Housewives of Atlanta, Candy Coated Nights!)

Number Three – Kids.

Number Four – Kids.

Number Five – Soccer practice, ballet, piano lessons, sax lessons, working with the tutor.

Number Six – How exhausted I am after soccer, ballet, piano, sax, tutor, showers, teeth brushing and oh shit . . . I guess they need to be fed dinner also? (So demanding, those kids.)

Number Seven – Work. Mine. His. All consuming. All the time.

Number Eight – My slight problem with TV watching. I mean if there is something new on Bravo that night …

Number Nine – The 10:00 p.m. knock on the door. "Mommy, I’m worried about something." "Mommy my leg hurts from soccer." "Mommy my sister is asleep and I’m lonely. How come you guys get to watch TV and we have to go to bed?"

Number Ten – Did I mention I’m old and tired?

So when I hear people talking about doing it a few times a week, I just want to scream: A week? Did I hear you right? Don’t you mean a few times a MONTH?

And by few times, don’t you mean .032?

Cuz me and my husband? We’re bunnies too. Just you know, the old ones you find in the petting zoo that have given up. #ButOhSoHappy

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day Mama.

My Mama has been gone for five years.

And she wasn’t in the best place the five years before that.

She was my Mama and I loved her. And she loved me.

I was an adopted girl (just like my two daughters). My parents were 40. (I remember 40, that’s when we adopted our Blondie. And back then? We called her Baldie.)

I was an only child. (Something my oldest can only long for!)

And I was the light of my parents’ lives. And I knew it.

So here is the most important thing my Mother taught me, that I am trying to teach my daughters:

Things will always look better in the morning.

When all of us are falling apart at night, I ask my girls – What was it that Gammy always said? I knew we had it wrong when Blondie answered: “I’ll give you something to cry about—right, Mommy?”

Well, yes . . . that was one of the things Gammy said, but I meant the other thing she said ALL THE TIME!

This is the mantra in our house (the” morning” thing, not the “something to cry about” thing). So many things can trigger a bedtime meltdown. And my girls can have a bad time at bedtime also. (Bah da bing.)

And doesn’t everyone’s anxieties come out at night? Or is that just me cuz I watch too many scary, crime procedural shows.

My husband and I often lie in bed at night at 10:00 and worry about our business, or a staff problem or a client issue. I have to grab his hand and say, “Remember what my Mom always said! We can deal with this tomorrow.”

And in the morning? Nothing is as looming.

My mother gave me many other gifts: stability, music and dance lessons, great schools, a dog, a college education, freedom, independence and some (often misplaced) trust, along with a lot of self confidence. (The self-confidence thing? I may have been born with some of that.)

I knew who I was, where I came from and that I was loved. Loved AND the most important thing in the world to two people, no matter where I went or whatever stupid choices I made. (Hey, my 20’s were a little rough.)

These are the gifts I so desperately want to pass along to my daughters. Along with always remembering that “Things will look better in the morning.”

So on Mother’s Day? I say, “I love you, Mama!”

Happy Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Mommy Bus is Pissed

First let’s talk about the Daddy Bus . . .

The Daddy Bus is supposed to leave at 7:20.

But Daddy is a pushover for his girls!

Cuz if you leave any later than 7:20, school drop off goes from serene to entering the Vortex of Death (otherwise known as the “Drop Off Circle”).

So back to the Mommy Bus.

I have said before, and I’ll say it again. I like to run a tight ship.

Which doesn’t always go my way with two kids, three big dogs and a couple of handfuls of employees.

I employ all sorts of techniques to keep things running: checklists, flip charts, computer task lists, notes on fridge and, of course, yelling.

So yesterday the Daddy Bus was sick. Something else I can’t control. (Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps, Man!)

So I’m going to run Blondie to school.

So when I tell her that I’m leaving at 7:20 cuz Daddy is sick? She doesn’t seem to really believe me.

7:20. 7:21. Let’s Go!

7:22 I don’t care if you aren’t ready. Get your stuff and go.

7:23 Just put your shoes on in the car. And forget about combing your hair.

7:24 No sunscreen yet huh? Again, do that in the car. (Hey, it’s Palm Springs. She’s fair skinned. Sunscreen isn’t even a choice in our family.)

7:25 Complete meltdown. (Hers. Not Mine.) This is not FAIR!!!

7:25 If you’re not ready in the next 60 SECONDS the MOMMY BUS IS LEAVING.

7:26…0h well Blondie. You missed the Mommy Bus. The next bus leaves at 8:00 when you sister goes to school.

7:26…Hysterical wailing (Hers. Not Mine.)

Now the retarded thing about all this is that Blondie is dedicated to school. It is VERY important to my kid to get to school on time. She loves a routine herself. And the thought of walking into her Math class 35 minutes late? And having people LOOK at her? Absolutely horrifying.

But you know what? The Mommy Bus has a schedule. The next departure time was the elementary school Mommy Bus at 8:00 a.m. And that bus was a walking bus.

So Mommy walked them both to school. Blondie with the reddest blotchiest face you’ve ever seen. She is calmer, except for the little hysterical crying hiccups she’s got going.

Me however? I spent the day doing a little victory dance.

Here’s the good thing about this. Which btw, is another version of Big Picture Parenting. (Parenting that sucks in the moment, but has some promise of payoff in the future.)
Yeah, this morning sucked… for both of us.

But you know who will be the number one passenger on the Mommy Bus at 7:19?

At 7:19. Teeth brushed, hair brushed, sunscreen on. And she’ll probably even be wearing shoes!