The things Moms think

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Admit it, if you’re a mom you’ve had these thoughts at one time or another. Possibly weekly, or daily or even hourly.  There’s nothing wrong with thinking them. In fact I think it’s kind of healthy. The problem is we don’t express them for fear of looking inept or being judged by other moms. Guess what? Those moms have thought it too. When people ask us about life, we sugarcoat it. We gloss over the tantrums, the screaming, the tears, etc. Why? Because we have an innate desire to show success at the most important job in the world. I know a girl who only talks about and shows the good things about motherhood. If you ask her, her child never threw a tantrum, never misbehaves and never makes a mistake. I dread seeing her Facebook posts because I feel like she’s putting on a show. We are raising human beings. And these tiny little humans didn’t show up with instructions. It’s the toughest job and everyone starts out flying blind. If you’re lucky, you have family or friends that you can vent to, express the exhaustion, the tears, the wanting to pull your own hair or give yourself a rudimentary hysterectomy.  So for those of you that don’t want to say it aloud, allow me to put it in print for you…..

“Oh my God, why is this child screaming?”

You’ve fed him, changed him, rocked him, soothed him, bounced him, sang to him (which in some circles can be considered a punishment), gave him his pacifier, read to him….nothing can soothe the savage beast that is your child. At some point you have probably questioned your abilities as a mother. Calm down, it’s not you, it’s him. Every child/infant just screams sometimes. Why? Because they can. You can easily go insane trying to appease his every need and when you have exhausted all the options, you start to wonder if you’re inadequate because your baby just won’t stop crying. My pediatrician told me something when Bean was very young. As I sat in his office on the verge of tears and exhaustion, he very calmly and rationally said “No baby ever got hurt from crying, just let her cry. If you know all her needs are met, just let her cry.” Now this may go against all of your motherly instincts, and it will be hard, but they will survive and more importantly so will you.

“What the f*&k was I thinking?”

When you found out you were pregnant you probably had visions of a perfectly organized nursery, a peaceful little bundle of joy and a happy picturesque existence. Do you know why you had those thoughts? Because that is all you have seen or been told. Your friends who had kids before you aren’t going to tell you about the sleepless nights, the endless shitty diaper bombs, crying & and the spit up….oh god the spit up. They aren’t going to tell you those attributes of Motherhood until you’re fully invested in the game because, as the old saying goes, Misery loves company….and play dates. They didn’t want to scare you off. Because friends without kids will never truly understand the servitude to which you just sentenced yourself. So now they have someone to commiserate with and then the foul ugly truth comes out. You didn’t know your little bundle would wake every 2 hours to be fed. You didn’t know your boobs would hurt beyond any pain you’ve ever felt. You didn’t know that one tiny human would be an all consuming endeavor. No one is ever fully prepared for Motherhood. I have a friend who told me I was the best birth control because I told my friends what it was really like to be a mom. So as you’re bouncing a beautiful baby on your hip while warming a bottle with the other hand and mopping up a spill with your foot, you catch your reflection in the microwave door. You see the disheveled hair, the tired eyes, the lackluster skin and you briefly wonder what the fuck you were thinking when you thought this would be a good idea, fun even. Well it is fun. It’s hard work. The hardest job you will ever have. But it is fun too. Hang in there.

“If I ever meet the creator of Frozen, I’m going to slap them.”

Let it go, let it go. Apparently the director issued a formal apology for the frigid hell she released on Earth. It’s been over a year and I am still trying to find the right way to tell Bean “No I don’t want to build a freaking snowman”. It was cute at first. And Olaf is pretty funny. But good lord, please Disney come out with something new soon, so I can have some peace. I’m kind of tired of having my eyes pried open at 6:45 am and asked that irritatingly adorable question. Everyone is talking to about how Frozen is teaching girls about strength and not needing a man. Well I can teach Bean that just fine without the musical numbers and pungent reindeer.

“I really hate the word WHY.”

Your toddler will learn several words early on. Usually 1 to 2 syllables. “No, yes, up, food, snack……and WHY” Why is the bane of my existence. It will range from the normal “why is the sky blue?” to the ridiculous or even awkward “why do my farts smell?” please resist the urge to reply with “because you’re full of shit.” It won’t go over well and will actually lead to more “whys” The best is when they simply answer everything you say with “Why?” They want to know why they have to get in the car. Why they have to eat their lunch. Why they have to go potty. Why they have to do anything. You will grow to hate the word why. My best advice is to fight fire with fire. When they ask why, turn it right back around on them.  Ask them why they think the sky is blue? Or why do they think they should eat lunch?

“Fuck this shit”

At some point you will inevitably think this and I can promise it will be more than once. It may be because of the never-ending pile of dishes or laundry. It may be because of the mindless car pools or PTA bake sales. Sooner or later you will have a moment or 2 of weakness. You will crumble in the face of yet another fundraiser or dirty diaper.  You will crack under the pressure of not only keeping this small human alive, but also nurturing them and teaching them things.  It is vital that you remember this next sentence. This moment happens to every mother.  You are still kicking ass. Our job never ends. We don’t get holidays, or sick days. We don’t have assistants. We have family and friends. Every now and then, take advantage of that. Let your mom or MIL take the kid for a while. Read a book. Relax. Take a walk by yourself. Just because you fall victim to this thought, doesn’t mean you aren’t a total ROCKSTAR! So yes, go ahead and think it. Say it aloud (away from the kids), it may actually make you feel better to verbalize it.

“How did my mother do this?”

Yeah, this one pops into your head often. My mom has 3 kids. All drastically different in personality and demeanor. All 4 years apart. She did it all 3 times over. Willingly. I have 1 child. And she seems to embody personality traits of all 3 of us plus my husband. On a daily basis, I wonder how my mother did this. How she answered “why?” so many times without the help of Google. How she survived PTA and fundraisers, soccer games and band rehearsals. I can honestly say that my mom is my hero. All moms are heroes. I look back at my childhood and admire the job my parents did. I try to emulate that experience for my own kid, hoping that she will have the same sense of imagination and problem solving skills that I got growing up. And at the end of the day, I think I figured out how my mom did it…..Margaritas!! 🙂

 

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Tovolo Popsicle Molds

tovolo review

So you guys already know that I am a fan of the DIY popsicles. I found these awesome molds on a clearance shelf at Williams-Sonoma where I paid a whopping $2.25 for them. They can be found on a multitude of websites including Amazon. Bean loves them because they are just like Ring Pops, but I can make them however I want. The possibilities are endless and they are the perfect serving size for the kidlets. If you don’t already have some DIY popsicle molds, I highly recommend these, especially if your kidlets love Ring Pops or jewelry of any kind 🙂

Parental Accountability

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So there’s been a topic in my local news for a while now and it just made headlines again. A then 18 year old girl who faced criminal charges for a sexual relationship with her then 14 year old girlfriend is now asking for part of her sentence to be reduced to normal probation instead of community control. I’m not going to go into the entire story as it is long, but you can find the entire story and details if you Google it.

The premise is that in order to draw attention to her “cause” and not be expelled or jailed for what equates to statutory rape, the accused girl’s parents started a gay rights campaign #FreeKate. They claimed that she was being punished for being a gay teenager. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She was being punished for having a blatant disregard of rules and laws. She engaged in sexual activities with a minor on school property. Once the parents of said minor found out the accused’s age at the time(18) they took the legal route as they thought their then 14 year old daughter had no place in a sexual relationship of any kind, gay or straight. This is the parent’s right, as the state of Florida has a clear law about the age of consent. So the accused’s parents decided to go this route to smear the other girl’s family and create a lie. The girls’ school did not expel her for being gay. They expelled her for breaking school rules on multiple occasions. The courts did not sentence her for being gay, they sentenced her completely disregarding a Cease & Desist order when she chose to contact the minor after being explicitly ORDERED not to. Her behavior boils down to one thing. The way she was raised and the examples she was given.

Parental accountability comes into play here in a big way. I DO NOT know her mother personally, so I cannot comment on the examples she chooses to set for her family, but I do know her father and step-mother personally and professionally. Having personal & professional experience with her father and step-mother I can honestly say I see where she gets her disrespect for rules. They have chosen to break society’s rules and laws on several occasions, stealing and defrauding people, resulting in either termination or being asked to quietly resign from jobs or else face criminal charges. They set up a GoFundMe account for Kate’s legal fees, and shortly after the account was closed her father opened a new business. Odd coincidence……Her father was let go from the police force for his “abuse of power”. These are the examples she had. Is it any wonder she showed no regard for laws.

When her parents decided to start their #FreeKate campaign under the premise of this being a gay issue, I took personal offense to it. I have a gay family member, and it disgusted me when they decided to use this ploy to try to escape the law. At some point her parents have to take accountability for the examples they showed her while she was growing up. Instead of finding loopholes, perhaps they should have shown her how to face her problems head on. Perhaps instead of being underhanded, they should have shown her how to be honest and own her mistakes. Instead of being allowed to slink out the back door with their tail between their legs, they should have had to “face the music”, showing her that when you make mistakes, you have to face the consequences. When I make a mistake, I tell Bean I messed up and now I have to fix it. I tell her when I’m wrong, just like I tell her when she is wrong. If I never hold her accountable for her actions and choices, she will never learn anything other than she can act however she pleases with no repercussions. And that is not a child for which I want to take credit. It gives me a sense of pride when I hear Bean say she messed up on something or didn’t do something right. Then I can show her how to deal with it, how to find a solution, instead of how to find a loophole to get out of it.

I understand that #FreeKate is a sensitive issue and this is simply my opinion. To watch her family try to take advantage of peoples’ good nature for what amounts to yet another scam is infuriating. Other people are welcome to their own opinions on the matter. But I want to lay my head down at night knowing that Bean is being taught that for every action is an equal but opposite reaction and she has to live with those consequences. Will I be there to hold her hand if she gets into trouble? Of course. Will I tell her that we will face her problem together? Always. But I want to know I did right by my child and taught her the right path.

Keep those toes in the sand…and on the right side of the law!

Power Plays

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So anyone with children old enough to form one syllable words has no doubt experienced what I’m talking about. Power Plays. These are utilized by parents and children alike. Bean is a pro as far as D is concerned, less so successful with me, unless you count me questioning why I ever thought bringing a tiny dictator into the world was ever a good idea as a success.

Every kid has an angle, a niche, that they feel is their strength and they will exploit it to the best of their astonishing abilities. Some kids throw tantrums, others prefer a more stoic approach. Then there’s the dramatics, the criers, the screamers (often these are also criers), the bargainers, the guilt-trippers. The list goes on and on. If you’re lucky, you might not have to deal with this until the teenage years, but I’ve heard tell of parents that have to deal with it with kids as young as 2. Um no. Hell no. Just No

Bean tries with me. There was a time in my mothering life that I wasn’t so resolute. But that was long ago and I refuse to raise an ungrateful entitled child. So Bean and I go head to head often. At least once a week. It’s usually not serious, usually over something like brushing her teeth. She whines and fusses, I stand my ground, say my peace and walk away. She ends up brushing her teeth and all is well. But every once in a while, there’s a big one. A blow-out of epic proportions. Tonight was one of those nights.

Upon leaving Scarlett and Clark’s house (grandparents), D asked Bean for a hug & kiss before he got in his car (we drove separately). She refused and then instantly changed her mind. This is a routine for her. It’s her initial Power Play. It lets her control the situation. She plays this game with him often. He works a lot. He works shitty hours. So they don’t get to see each other as often as either one would like. So she feels the need to assert her influence over him and see how long she can keep him hanging. It’s gotten better, but not without (mental) battle wounds, mostly inflicted on D and me to the tune of “You’re a mean mommy, I hate you, I don’t want you anymore, you’re not nice, etc”. It starts to lose its sting after a while though. So back to the Power Play. The back and forth went on in the driveway for about 7 minutes. That’s about 6 minutes too long in my book. But D hates the idea of disappointing her and leaving her upset. So the back and forth continues. He asks her “Do you want a hug and kiss?” she responds with “I don’t know.” Again, that doesn’t fly with me. It’s a yes or no question. If you don’t know, I’ll make the decision for you. The power play escalated into her in hysterics and D frustrated. Bean and I left and she proceeded to scream at me until I told her that she wasn’t to make a sound until we got home. Harsh? Maybe, but it’s better than being screamed at by a person a fraction of my size. The bad behavior continued through her bath and bedtime. She was sent to bed immediately after her bath where she proceeded to draw D into another Power Play lasting about 15 minutes. All this over a hug and a kiss.

This is just one type of Power Play, there are others:

The Statue: This approach is often favored by older kids who have a little more of a grasp on psychological warfare. They think that by withholding interaction they are punishing the parents. HAHAHA are you kidding me?! I can’t wait for this tactic to take effect. My kid will intentionally sit her room and brood in silence? Bring it on!

The Screamer: It’s pretty self-explanatory. This approach is a favorite among toddlers and young girls. Mainly because that demographic can reach octaves that can cause an adult’s brain to hemorrhage. This Power Play has surprising stamina, even though it requires a great physical effort on the child’s part. The good thing is that after the Play is over, the Screamer is pretty much exhausted.

The Puppy Dog Eyes: Watch out for these if you’re emotional, pregnant, or even the slightest bit inclined to stop and snuggle with puppies at adoption fairs just for fun. The kids who utilize this tactic are usually pretty good at guessing who the weapon will work on to their benefit. They have perfected the head tilt, the chin quiver, and the sad eye upward gaze. This approach is especially effective if the perpetrator has brown eyes as they more closely resemble actual puppy eyes. Just say no, or get a spray bottle filled with water. It works in training real puppies, why not kids 🙂

The Hurricane: Imagine the damage a hurricane will cause. Now shrink it down and contain it in your house. Stuffed animals thrown forcefully about, doors slammed with the force of storm worthy winds and a path a general destruction and disarray left in its path.

The Teeter Totter: This is Bean. It’s so frustrating. She wants something, but the terms aren’t exactly to her liking, so now she doesn’t want it. Oh wait, she does! Oh no she changed her mind again. Hold on, she wants it again. Never mind she doesn’t. This can go on and on, indefinitely. It has the ability to wear down the mental resolve of any parent. I actually have caught myself saying “whatever” more often lately because I am just worn down from her back and forth and her ever fickle and touchy demeanor.

The Spazz: This one is a combination of the Screamer and the hurricane in addition to adding a physical characteristic. Usually stomping their feet or even full on body tantrum. They will hold their breath to make a point. They will work themselves into complete exhaustion. They know no bounds and have no shame. Beware the Spazz. Avoid at all costs. Appease at any cost. Otherwise you won’t be able to have nice things.

The Hail Mary: Welcome to a special level of Hell. This special Power Play is reserved only for those with a strong will to live. Otherwise you might not survive. The Hail Mary is the last ditch effort. Every child has a Modus Operandi, a favorite if you will. But the Hail Mary can and will be used by every child at some point in their lives. They may save it for when they are 16 bargaining for a car. Or 18 begging for an off campus apartment in college. Or 6, desperately wanting Daddy to bend to her will. No matter the circumstances, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES give in. If you do, you will set yourself back years. And Your child will smell the weakness and use it against you for the rest of their life, and they will more than likely outlive you.

No matter the reason, remember who the boss is. It most certainly is not the tiny totalitarian brooding in his/her room right now.

Good luck, keep your hands and arms inside until the ride comes to a complete stop and stick your toes in the sand when it’s all over