Not Another Tear-Jerking Mother’s Day Post

This will be the third post in my mother’s day series, and it’s a slight departure from the rest.  I don’t consider my blog among the set I have lovingly dubbed the “sip and swear” bunch.  Said blogs top my favorites list and are daily reads, if not survival guides, for me.  But just because I don’t often write it, doesn’t mean I don’t think it.  So this post will be somewhat out of character for my writing, but not far from the truth on a lot of days.  Below is a clip of my stream of consciousness on a day when AT&T had me ‘rethinking possible’ in ways the marketing team hadn’t envisioned, and a catch-up session with an old colleague nearly turned into a sobbing plea for a job, any job.

It’s not even Monday for crying out loud!

Ugh! Is that daylight or did my neighbor just get home really really late?  Crap, it’s daylight.  Screw you daylight savings time.  I was cooking dinner with Bradley Cooper.  At his house.  God knows he wouldn’t come into this house.  [laughing] As if that was the most absurd part of the dream.   Thank god I can smell the coffee brewing downstairs.  Too bad it’s half caff.  Oh well, I can just have more of it.  Shut up brain, there are no sounds of children awake, go back to sleep, maybe Bradley will still be there making carbs and pouring me another glass of something expensive. I hate you sunlight, never again buying an East-oriented house.

Yep, that’ll be little one.  How can he be up already when he went to bed at like a million o’clock?  Aaand there’s the other one.  Crap, I forgot to get those flax and cardboard waffles he likes from the Whole Foods that’s a million miles from my East-oriented house.  Wait, we have Nutella.  So not Paleo but I’m not a caveman.  I’ll be a caveman tomorrow.

OMG, seriously you don’t like Nutella anymore?  But you did yesterday [oops].  Oh it’s because you want almonds on it. No wait, let mommy hel — [4,000 micros-slivers of almond explode from the countertop to the fridge, the ceiling to the floor. Awesome]  Dear God, please give me the strength not to yell at my precious little creations today.  Amen.

Is little one seriously spilling milk out of his spill-proof sippy again?!  I have so got to invent a sippy cup.  It can’t be that hard. At least I know it can totally suck, no pun intended, and still sell like Viagra.  Pun completely intended.

Okay, breakfast is on the table, for the kids anyway.  That should buy me at least 5 minutes to pee and get my flipping coffee!  Or so you’d think.  What is this sticky stuff on the floor?  Never mind. If these pans are coated with NASA-grade non-stick material, I’m now totally okay with the shuttle program shutting down.  Good call, guys.

Hubby!  I love you, going to pee now.  Now go make me a coffee.

Okay, conference call at 9.  Crap! That’s now.  Coffee is my breakfast.  Let’s see…Cars? Bolt? Sid the Science Kid?  What will keep you quiet while Mommy tries to sound like a grown-up who’s had more than two mouthfuls of coffee?  None of the above?  Awesome.  Okay that’s my ringing.  Bathroom with the door locked it is.  Did I shut the baby gate?  Better check.  Seriously, did little just take his diaper off again?  Ooh, maybe he’ll potty train himself.  Yeah, right [laughing].  Pigs are definitely more likely to fly through my kitchen and do the dishes from last night.

Can’t hear a word I’m saying, much less any she’s said the past 5 minutes over the incessant chanting “mommy, mommy, mommy” at the bathroom door. I wonder if she’s hiring.  Thank god she’s a mom and she’s cool. She gets it. That’s what recap emails are for.

Surprise, surprise, nobody on the other side of this door was caught in a bear trap or severely dehydrated.  Seriously, what the hell is sticky on this floor?

When is this spilling milk phase going to end? Where did it even come from?  I thought I hid it up —  ugh.

That’s it.  Nap time is job applications instead of blogging from now on…after I wash that load of laundry for the second time and then follow the sticky floor trail to see where it ends/begins.

Oh you’re not napping today?  Fabulous.

Is it lunchtime yet?  Some breakfast would be freaking great.  I guess reheated half caf coffee will do.  I love my kids.







The 5 Moms [Who Taught Me Everything I Know]

When I was pregnant with my first, I spent most of my time on the baby registry, typing the birth plan, and picking colors for the nursery.  I also spent a little bit of time thinking about what kind of mother I’d be.  I read a book or two, signed up on Babycenter and, against the warnings not to, listened attentively to any and everyone offering advice. Even though so many moms told me I’d be annoyed by unsolicited, even well-meaning wisdom, I actually welcomed it.  And contrary to my typical self-critical nature, I’m pretty proud of myself for trusting my gut, and listening when someone volunteered a well-meaning pearl.  Because, as it turns out, I’ve learned more so far from the moms I know, and even the moms I don’t know, than from any parenting website or book authored by experts.  What I’ve learned, I’ve learned from the following 5 types of mom:

1. the Mommy

This is the mom who was born to be a mom, whose qualifications for motherhood far exceed the basic biological ones. She carries her pregnancies gracefully from morning sickness to the 4th trimester and never looks fat or unpolished. She can discipline her children in public without raising her voice or getting stares.  She always gets amazing deals on her baby gear and children’s clothing and consigns like a pro. She’s the room mom, the mom who can function on an hour of sleep, and the mom we all secretly kinda want to be.  And she could be at home with her kids 24/7 and not go nuts. This mom teaches me grace under fire, something I so don’t naturally possess.

2. the Working Mom

This is the mom I tried to be for a while.  She races through her days on coffee and adrenaline, and crashes halfway through her guilty pleasure tv at 9pm.  She gets it all done, but still feels guilty. She doesn’t know how other moms do it.  Her to-do lists have baby to-do lists.  If she had a quiet moment, she’d fill it with a task.  Well, first she’d die of shock. This mom knows she’s a great mother, but has to be reminded.  She can run a web company all day then leave it sitting on her desk like the dish from her packed lunch to go home and be with her daughter.  This mom reminds me that you can be an amazing mother and kick ass at work.

3. the Boy Mom

The boy mom is unsure what to do when she learns at her 20-week ultrasound that her first baby will be a boy.  For some reason she envisioned ballet slippers, and ribbons for every be-ruffled little outfit, and someone to beg to wear the wedding gown she had preserved that will become the least-fashionable garment ever made by the time her daughter gets married. But when she meets that little boy, the Boy Mom would be happy enough to twirl if she had 14 more boys and not a single girl, except that twirling will quickly leave her repertoire now that she’s a mom of boys.  She’ll embrace the world of cleats and mud and Neosporin and girls that will never be good enough [hisssss].  And her skin will get thicker as their skin does.  This mom teaches me strength.  And for the girl moms, I didn’t forget about you.  I see the love you have for your precious daughter, and I promise you I’ll raise boys that would cherish and respect her.

4. the Oh-boy Mom

This mom gets a little carried away sometimes, bless her heart.  She doesn’t know it, and she probably doesn’t even know that we know it.  She’ll be the one who brags that her 12 month old knows all the letters of the alphabet and insist that you order the Leapfrog DVD’s she’s been using, lest your giggling, drooling 2 year old get “left behind,” as if you asked her.  Okay, yes, I may be a little bitter toward this mom, but still she teaches me, if accidentally, to let my child be a child and to let him be who he is, not who I, or anyone else, need him to be.

5. the Ultimate Mom

This mom is the lost earring that turns up on the playground 6 months later, when you thought it was gone for good.  She’s the last slice of cake in the break room after your boss yells at you.  She’s our savior, our heart, the one who gives us the courage and strength to go on when we’re down to the last ounce of hope in us, and she is that hope.  She’s a warrior who’s seen more battle than you may ever see.  She’s the mom who went through 36 hours of labor before her c-section, making my paltry 20 look like a pelvic exam.  She’s the mom who crumpled into a heap on the floor when she thought all was lost, but then rose like a phoenix from a pile of ashes.  She’s  Tripp Halstead’s mom, she’s my friend Holly, one of the strongest moms I know. She’s my Mom.  And that mom taught me how to be brave, how to get up after being knocked down and, sometimes, how to just get up in the morning.

To all of these moms, especially mine, I’m so grateful you shared your wisdom with me.  You make me a better mom every day.

Which mom are you?

[I dedicate this post to my Mom, the Ultimate.  Thanks for all you do. I love you!]

For the Dads: Staying Out of the Doghouse on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is May 12th. I’m giving you plenty of warning.  Hopefully some of what I’m about to tell you will find it’s way into your brain, and on May 11th generate an Outlook-style reminder that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, thus inspiring the greatest works of gifting and celebratory genius known to man [rather than, or perhaps in spite of, a panic-induced frenzy through Target, dragging your sugar-bribed children through a selection of greeting cards no fewer than 80 billion in number, pleading that they remember Mommy doesn’t like purple but loves pink, not baby pink, but coral pink!]  In case you read that and in your little, er, logical man brain thought ‘that’s weeks away, I’ll set my Outlook to remind me on May, wait, what date was it again?’, let me be more clear:

Unless you want to negotiate with the dog for your sleeping arrangements starting on May 13th, you should understand one thing…Mother’s Day is the single most important holiday a woman with children will ever celebrate in her lifetime.  Ever.

But what about…’

More important than her birthday.

Yeah, but there’s our…’

More important than your wedding anniversary.

But, surely it’s not…’

More important than Christmas? Uh huh. And if you said St. Patrick’s Day, or the start of football season, it’s possible counseling and/or marriage counseling, respectively, may be in order.

Last Mother’s Day, I wished my new-mommy friends a happy first Mother’s Day and envisioned for them a week of lavish first Mother’s Day gifts and pampering, and a day spent soaking in the glory and gratitude showered on them by their children’s father and the world, or at least their feet soaking in a jet tub filled with a solution of supposed rare sea salt.  But to my dismay, I learned that for some, their first Mother’s Day had been like many other days, with the exception of a purple card filled with a forged baby signature [you don’t share a blood supply with someone for 9 and a half months and then not know their handwriting, come on].

I counted myself lucky being married to a hopeless romantic.  But even my husband hadn’t totally realized that to me, the experience of becoming a mother, that which I’d likened to a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting with God, had been something of a rebirth.  And since I’d endured 20 hours of back labor followed by a c-section, it felt physically similar. For me, having found a new and enlightened purpose in life and becoming what I wanted to be more than anything ever, Mother’s Day became my new birthday.  No other celebration would have the same type of importance, if the same level of it, from that moment on. On my children’s birthdays, I celebrate the event of their births, which gave them life.  On Mother’s Day, I celebrate the event of their births, which gave me life.

To be fair, it’s a difficult concept for guys.  Suddenly, there is one more mother to think about, and you’re not his mother after all.  But it’s important that you understand how wholly changing the experience of motherhood is for a woman, and how much of her self-worth is tied up in it.  If you thought our self-loathing in the run up to swimsuit season was tough, you ain’t seen nothin until it’s time to throw a first birthday bash or select a preschool.  Most of us scrutinize, if not agonize over every move we make as moms, from the breast-or-bottle debate to which summer camp to send our kids.  What you see on the outside, multiply it times 10,000 to get close to how much we have going on on the inside.

So this Mother’s Day, do yourself a favor and make sure she knows you get how much being a mom means to her, whether she gave birth to her first child last week, or is due with your fifth next month. Even if you don’t get it, just pretend and shower her in gratitude for the stretchmarks, the weak bladder, and the daily internal chaos she endures to raise your children.  [I mean gifts and spa treatments okay, in case your logical brain checked out again.]

That is, unless, you speak Labrador.

[This post is dedicated to my husband, who makes every day special, including Mother’s Day.  I love you, McB!]