I thought having both kids home all summer, with their more-active ages and interests, that I would have all kinds of fun (read: obnoxious) things to blog about. Oh, the stories that would be created! An endless stream of material to keep my fingers happily typing until Back To School time rears its ugly head again.
That shit didn’t happen.
Instead, I have found that my brain just isn’t functioning the way it did before. Cognitive thought when you have two kids at home that do NOTHING BUT FIGHT all day every day is basically impossible. There are no funny stories, unless you count me describing in detail how I am going to sell them on Craigslist for $5, because any more and their asses would be brought back in 20 minutes asking for a refund, as blog-worthy.
No, what summer has done is make one thing abundantly clear: I like my kids better when I don’t spend ALL of my time with them.
Raise your hand if that statement made you cringe. I get it, it’s not the nicest thing to say. I chose to be a stay at home mom, and as obnoxious as I find the children to be, I enjoy it. I didn’t always intend to BE a stay at home mom, but sometimes, life just happens and you follow an unfamiliar path and you find yourself years later writing a blog about how obnoxious your kids are and here we are.
Some stay at home moms don’t want to be stay at home moms, but due to shit-ass pay and expensive-ass daycare, don’t have much of a choice. Some working moms don’t want to be working moms. Some stay at home moms LOVE the stay at home mom things, and some working moms love working. I’ve met all of these moms, and many of each. We all have our own struggles. The one that always affects me the most is when I see working moms refer to themselves as “part-time parents”. They feel bad about what they might be missing, time they can’t get back, firsts they didn’t see. I’m not kidding when I say that it hurts me that any mother or father would ever feel that way.
Maybe none of you need me to say this, maybe one of you does. Either way, I want to say it. And I’ll keep it short because time isn’t something any of us have in abundance.
As someone who spends all day with my kids by choice, kids that annoy the ever-loving shit out of me- I know that spending time AWAY from them, which is incredibly rare, makes their a-hole tendencies a hell of a lot less annoying, which means I spend less time scolding, feeling frustrated, and
sitting in the corner eating my hair wondering why I had kids in the first place. I know the time missed while at work can’t be gotten back (much like my sanity and patience), but the time you do get is probably pretty damn amazing. And probably THAT much less annoying, too. Maybe not all the time, because, well, kids are kids, but hey. I spend most of my days looking forward to putting my kids to bed. You probably spend yours looking forward to seeing your kids awake. I never get to let absence make my heart grow fonder. Y’all are likely more calm, and patient than me. At times, I worry that my kids ONLY see me as mean ol’ mommy because we spend so much time together that it’s hard not to be irritated with each other.
Whether we stay at home, or go to work, this thing we call parenthood isn’t easy. You’re not a part time parent just because you aren’t with your kid/s 24/7. There’s no such thing as a “full time” parent, either. We’re ALL “all the time” parents always, because even when we aren’t with our kids, we’re thinking about them, worrying about them, wondering about them, being annoyed by them, and loving them. There’s no break from that shit! You do ALL of that AND work outside the home. Most days, I can’t even manage to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer before mildew sets in. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little, but I truly can’t imagine doing it all AND holding down a full-time job outside the home on top of it. The shit seems impossible, and you get it done. I admire you! Maybe it’s not much, but I just thought you all should know.
Parenthood doesn’t just change you, it changes how you see the whole world around you. I don’t mean that you suddenly love everyone because you’re just SO HAPPY to have a precious little crotchfruit, but things just aren’t the same. Life changes, routine changes, even your brain changes. The “I would never!”s turn to “Oh well”s, and you quickly realize that parenthood isn’t just changing diapers and rocking babies to sleep. Parenthood is… well, it becomes this giant, hulking bunion on your life. Only, you create an emotional attachment to this bunion and don’t want to get it surgically removed. Even though sometimes you might want to.
With all of these changes, we somehow manage to find a way. Even if the way is slightly shameful. Even if we’re just lying to ourselves because we’re so fucking sleep deprived that it’s the only thing we can do to not run into the hills and never look back.
Here are five TRUTHS of life with kids that I never could have imagined before having them, but have become the cornerstones of my life as a parent. And probably yours, too. Don’t be ashamed, fellow parents! Own this shit! At least you know you aren’t alone!
1. Just finished grocery shopping? Time for take-out!
The last thing I ever want to do after dragging two kids whining about how their legs don’t work around the grocery store is COOK.
2. BECAUSE I SAID SO!
I used to explain myself to the kids during their first few years. Why they should or shouldn’t do something, the reasoning behind it, but that is exhausting. It’s not like they really listen anyway. Those 4 words are my BFFs, and I use them more than a stripper uses clear stilettos.
Is a perfectly acceptable answer when you don’t feel like explaining how something works. DAMNIT JIM, I’M A MOM, NOT A SCIENTIST!
4. Yes, the TV IS a qualified babysitter!
Look, sometimes I just wanna take a shit in peace. Screw all those shitty studies and Judgy McJudgersons that will claim you’re a crap-ass parent because you let the boob tube do some of the heavy lifting. You got to restock the lake with brown trout WITHOUT fingers wiggling under the bathroom door and/or being bothered for a snack!
5. Ketchup is a vegetable!
…and Pop-Tarts are a fruit! Kidding. They get their own special food group and are a childhood diet staple. I file them under “fuck cooking!”
Do what ya gotta do, and have no shame! The kids will turn out just fine. Not so sure about us, though…
Marilyn Monroe is probably saying “WTF?” right now, y’all. The internet is littered with beautiful pictures of her that have inspirational quotes written on them. Woman-positive, body-positive, positive-positive. Problem is, she didn’t say most of that shit! No harm, no foul, right? The messages are good, they make people feel good about themselves, so what’s the problem? Me? No, I don’t have one! I’m all for life-affirming, women are awesome, body positive messages, no matter who said them.
My “problem”, if you wanna call it that, is with something she DID say. Sang, actually. She may not have come up with it, but that’s beside the point. Since it came out of her mouth, it took on a life of its own. It’s been used in ad campaigns, TV shows, movies, probably even on the cards people give each other. These 6 words shaped the world… or at least the way a lot of the world looks at women.
What in the hell could POSSIBLY have that much influence, even decades later?
DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND
Last I checked, I’m a girl, and diamonds are not my best friend. I do have to admit that I’ve never been much for jewelery. I have plenty of earrings, a few necklaces, but I’ve never requested diamonds for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or anything else. It’s not that I don’t LIKE diamonds, they’re sparkly, and I like sparkly, but… Diamonds as my BFF/best gift ever? What the hell am I gonna do with a diamond? No no no. If we’re going to start naming inanimate objects as best friends, there are things I hold a hell of a lot closer to my heart than a stone.
I would consider all of these things best friends over diamonds:
Take out. Enough to leave leftovers for the next day so I don’t have to cook two days in a row. I’d make that shit my maid of honor.
Stretchy jeans that don’t give me a fucking muffin top
CROCK POTS. Oh for the love of YES, bless you, Crock pot!
The DVR for allowing me to consume as much mindless television as I want
Netflix, for reminding me I don’t need to go outside today. Or tomorrow. Or ever.
But not diamonds.
Can we just stick with the fake women/body/life positive messages? Being showered in diamonds doesn’t sound too bad, but I’d rather stuff my face with Reese’s and then have Marilyn tell me to feel good about myself.
I sure feel uplifted. Don’t you?
With one kid home for the summer, and the other phasing out naps in preparation for his first year of school, we are subjected to each other’s habits, annoyances, sounds, likes, and dislikes all day every day. ALL DAY EVERY DAY. No matter how much you love someone, would walk over clear Legos for them, if you spent 37 hours in labor with them, spending that much time with ANYONE is bound to make you nutty. It reminds you of every little idiosyncrasy that you find annoying about them. Hell, maybe it was once even something you LOVED about them, but only when it was in small doses. This is why I laugh when people go on and on about the FUN of summer break. Sure, activities are great, spending more time together can be fabulous- but it is also a giant TEST. A test of how well siblings get along, hours in the day kids can talk without EVER SHUTTING UP, and of how much patience you have when people aren’t looking.
During these harrowing months, I do my best to go about business as usual. We have a schedule, which has become more flexible over the years, but for the most part it’s kept. It keeps this household from completely fucking collapsing on a daily basis. This includes when we have breakfast, lunch, when they can play on the tablet/computer, and a number of other things that probably don’t need to be scheduled but I schedule them anyway. This includes MY TV time, because there is only so much Cartoon Network one person can take. Not them. They’d watch it all fucking day if I let them, but me. It drives me bananas. I can’t handle it. I want to scream when it’s on, and I’ll be DAMNED if I let them convince me to give up my precious TV time where I watch what I want just because they’re both home and “bored” in a house full of toys. NOPE. SORRY, SUCKAS. GUESS WHAT WE’RE WATCHING?
Why? What’s so special about Soap Operas? Has 7 years of being a stay at home mom had so much of an effect on me that I have morphed into the stereotypical bon-bon eating, roast-making, soap-watching, soccer mom?
I can make a mean roast (sometimes. That’s a lot of fucking work!), but I don’t eat bon bons, and my kids don’t play soccer (except in the back yard, which almost always ends in some stupid fight over the ball not cooperating with them).
I grew up on Soaps. My mom raised me on All My Children (RIP). Having kids didn’t flip some kind of mom-switch and change me. They have always been my guilty pleasure, only, I’m not guilty. Are the plots absolutely ridiculous? Duh. Is the acting at times questionable? Sure. I know these things about them, and accept them. Watching Soaps during the daytime hours isn’t just for the fun of watching something totally absurd, or for the sentimentality. Sometimes it’s not even because they’re good. My hour and a half of “TV time” has become something much more over the years.
Soap time isn’t just time to indulge, it’s ME time. MY time. My ONLY time. It’s the one quiet time in the day I use to collect myself, rest, relax, ACTUALLY sit down without people claiming they need me, bugging me, poking me, annoying me. Soap time = Sanity time. It’s my Quasimodo at the top of the bell tower yelling “SANCTUARY!” moment. With Parker awake at all hours and Holden out of school, I need that time even MORE, and I absolutely refuse to give it up. It’s in the best interest of everyone.
Moms. Dads. If you need a moment, take it. Step outside. Read a book and tell the kids to shut their pie holes. Lock yourself in the frickin’ bathroom if necessary. And don’t feel guilty about that shit! I have taken my moment every single day for almost 8 years and the kids are just fucking fine, and thankfully, so am I. Now, pass the bon bons.
There I am, minding my own business, attempting to get into programming on TV- since it seems like everything season finale’d at the same time leaving me with NOTHING- when my eyes are accosted. I’m offended. Mad. Annoyed. Shocked, yet… not really. I shake my head in disbelief.
“That’s not what we all look like!”
My husband looks up from his computer and just kind of laughs. He’s heard that same statement from me a million times, because this crap has happened a million times. There, standing before me (well, in the television screen) is a “mom”, decked out in some khakis or hideous capri pants, ugly ass unstylish flats, and a freshly pressed button up shirt with the sleeves perfectly cuffed. Have you seen them? They’re like Stepford Moms.
Don’t get me wrong, the actresses are all beautiful, but the person deciding the wardrobes needs to be kicked in the junk, and I don’t care what kind of junk that is.
Why does this annoy me so much? It’s not like NO mom dresses that way, I’m sure some do- but it’s every single show. Every mom character. Every commercial. Did I miss the memo that motherhood has a uniform? I can get past the overbearing personalities they stereotype us with. The crazy helicoptering. Even the implication that we’re all perfect cookie-baking, play-date organizing, sanctimommies- but I can’t get past the clothes. If I see one more pair of ill-fitting capris, or the “I gave up” mom flats (note: I wear flats. But they are CUTE FLATS. There is a fine line!), or the perfectly pressed button-up or polo, I honestly might scream. I don’t even OWN a button-up “dry clean only” shirt, and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t wear it around my nasty ass kids.
Don’t believe me that this is a phenomenon? HA!
I love her, she’s hilarious, but NO.
Don’t even get me started on that print.
Tell me, is there anything that even REMOTELY says “party hard” about this button-up & cardigan set to you? I don’t think so.
The fact that she’s raising the roof makes it that much worse. STAHP!
You can’t hide that shit under an ugly red sweater, lady! You look like Mr. Rogers with boobs.
Both of you? Really??
Oh, for the love of…. They’re taking the Dads down with them. Will this never end??
It’s like the curse of the 80’s-90’s mom jeans. I shudder at the thought. Is this to be our legacy?? Why can’t we be portrayed as cute? Stylish? Maybe some NON mom-jeans? A shirt without buttons? Flip flops? Shit, even pajamas or leggings would be more realistic than this sanitized boring crap put on television moms. Just fucking stop with the buttoned, cuffed, sweater set, waiting for a flood, stereotypical suburban bullshit.
Once your kid figures out they can embarrass you,your life's pretty much over.My husband learned the hard way! Story: holdinholden.com/2014/06/the-…
Mosquitos are like the asshole at the party that no one likes, but refuses to go the hell home.
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