One moment you think they’re 100% potty trained, and the next they’re unleashing 2 quarts of urine into a highchair in an Applebees 10 feet away from the bathroom. You might think you’ve taught them to efficiently wipe their own ass, but a year later you’re still finding 10 car pile-up level streaks in their underwear.
I know I’m going with all the most disgusting comparisons– but you see what I’m getting at. You always have to be on your toes. That’s why we’re so exhausted all. the. time.
It could be my anxiety taking the lead all the time, but I rarely ever let my guard down. Once I do, something always goes wrong. Something gets broken. The kids decide to start World War III up in the play room. I get distracted by their antics and don’t realize that the reason dinner isn’t cooking is because I have it on the wrong fucking burner.
The entirety of winter break, I felt on my guard. Every other minute it seemed like there was a fire to put out… luckily not from having the wrong burner on. I could. not. wait. for it to be over. Many people were counting down to the new year, but not me. I was counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until I got to send the kids back to school where they could annoy anyone other than me for the majority of their waking hours. I started the car early to make sure it was warm. I had the lunches ready to go. Their outfits picked out.
Does wanting to get rid of my kids back to the hallowed halls of elementary school sound awful? Ask any parent who gets stuck indoors with their spawn for two weeks and ask the same question. You’ll basically be categorizing 99% of parents on earth as awful, because we’re all going insane. Get cooped up inside of a house with anyone for that long and you’re bound to feel some friction.
I was so excited for the kids to gtfo, and that is where I made my mistake. I was so comfortable in the notion that they’d be going back to school, and I’d finally be able to get back to my routine of getting work done without having to pause to break up fights, take toys away, and solve menial problems that are considered by children to be the absolute end of existence as they know it, that when–2 hours after I’d dropped the kids off– I got an email about my 10 year old starting FAMILY LIFE classes soon, I about fell out of my chair.
I AM NOT PREPARED!
It’s not his first family life class, or even his second–and it’s not like I’ve shielded him from anatomy other than his own for his whole life. No. We’ve had plenty of conversation about penises and vaginas. I made sure to let him know early on that girls do not pee and poop out of the same hole (trust me, there are plenty of GROWN ASS MEN who believe that)- but this isn’t just “Oh hey look, you have a peepee” kindergarten level, and it’s not “those saggy things are testicles” last year’s level. This is his last “family life” class before middle school- where shit gets really weird, voices start cracking, and interest beyond friendship develops.
Thing is- I’m happy about anything he learns from someone who has experience teaching kids about it that is NOT me, but I am woefully unprepared for him to come home spouting off knowledge about sperm fertilizing eggs and giving me that horrified look like “oh my god, you and my father have sex.”
If you need me, I’ll be hiding under a table and forcing his father to deal with the aftermath.
Contrary to popular belief, the Grinch does not crawl back into a hole in a far away mountain once Christmas has ceased to echo into the dark recesses of his lair. He takes up residence in my home. Like a grim reaping body snatcher.
I am the Grinch, aka, the meanest mommy ever.
There are no elves on shelves, present prisons, or threats of the naughty list left that will work. The kids have another 360-whatever days to earn back their place as “Nice”, so they can be as awful as they normally are without much worry. Or so they think. Because I don’t play that game.
Christmas being over is not a reprieve from good behavior. The watchful eye of Santa is always watching. Only now, the gifts are already here. They’re tangible. I can put my hands on them.
I didn’t even have time to come down from the high experienced while watching the kids unwrap gifts I so painstakingly picked out, wrapped, and placed under the tree. No opportunity to shoo away the sugar plum fairies still dancing in my head. The plate of crumbs from Santa’s mostly-eaten cookies was still sitting on the mantle. The shredded paper still on the floor, the echoes from the glee while shredding them hadn’t even stopped echoing through the house when I heard it.
Arguing. Fighting. Screaming. Shrieking. Over the very gifts they had been given just moments before. The ones meant to signify good behavior, love, sharing, cheer. It was the absolute opposite of what I think of when I think “Christmas”. It was the seventh circle of hell, and I let my children know in no uncertain terms that it was absolutely unacceptable. At first, I was very calm about it- “Quit being a dick to your brother. It’s Christmas.”
By the fourth time I had to get up from what I was doing to walk my ass up the stairs and warn them when I just wanted to be relaxing, I broke it down in a way I knew they wouldn’t understand.
“If you don’t start being kind to one another–which is BASICALLY THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS AND WHY YOU WERE GIVEN THE GIFTS YOU ARE PLAYING WITH– you will lose them.”
I dunno, y’all. It’s like they just don’t take me seriously until I’m a stark-raving psychopath.
It was the morning after Christmas. Everyone was still in their pajamas (new pajamas for the boys, as per Christmas Eve tradition). My repeated warnings and chances had not been heeded in the slightest. I heard the screaming kick back up in new, obnoxious ways. Not only were they arguing about the other making noise, but they were refusing to share toys that were given to both of them to… wait… what’s that word? OH. SHARE. SHARING TOYS. What a novel fucking concept, am I right?
A strange, rage-filled calm possessed my body as I slowly walked around the house collecting every. single. present. they received on Christmas and put them in a box. This includes the things they were refusing to play with together, and their pajamas. YOU’RE DAMN FUCKING STRAIGHT I HAD THEM TAKE OFF THEIR CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS.
They needed to get dressed, anyway.
I then informed them that if they wanted to get them back, they would have to earn them.
You can think it’s harsh, you can think it’s overkill, you can think that I ruined Christmas– but Christmas was lost the second they started treating each other like garbage instead of at least pretending to get along in the name of the spirit of the season.
One chore per present.
It’s not that I expected them to be scrubbing on their hands and knees like Cinderella after she’s promised she can go to the ball. I just hoped it gave them some time to think about why they were given gifts in the first place, and what they did that was so wrong that they lost them all. And like the movies, a Christmas miracle occurred.
No, not much cleaning got done, but the boys started to work together to get the chores done. Without fighting. For the most part, anyway. They actually had fun doing so, which is the biggest shocker of all– especially to them.
I’m not happy about having to pull the Grinch card after Christmas. I’m not happy about them forcing me to go to such lengths. I’m aware it won’t last forever- I’m frustrated, not delusional. But it worked, for at least a little while, and maybe even taught them a lesson in the process. Oh, and I now don’t have to do a couple loads of laundry or clean the microwave… so, yeah, win/win.
Screw the Elf on a Shelf. The Christmas Repo Reaper is where it’s at.
It’s not quite time to count down to the new year (although I know many people who can’t wait for this one to be over) but there IS still time to get in some quality Netflix bingeing time, and I’m here to help!
I watch a lot of Netflix, y’all. A lot. And not just because I’m part of the Stream Team. Being totally serious here– it helps me focus while I write, so I’ve almost always got it on during the day. My FAVORITES of the year may not all be brand new (some I discover way after they premiere, which is shameful, but kind of like finding hidden treasure)- but they are all Netflix Originals, and worthy of getting totally obsessed with.
In no particular order:
Starring Eric McCormick (Will & Grace)
“The last surviving humans discover how to send consciousness back in time to the 21st century. Inhabiting seemingly random people, the “travelers” work together to try to save the human race.”
Season 2 premieres the day after Christmas! The first season was twisty and interesting, and I can’t wait to see what the 2nd has in store!
A movie from Australia I discovered while perusing my recommendations one day-
“A scientist develops a revolutionary drug that alters the brain’s sense of time, creating a virtual reality directly in the user’s mind. The government attempts to take over her project, claiming the drug can solve overcrowded prisons.”
Of course, nothing goes quite as smoothly, or as planned.
I’ve recommended Glitch before, an Australian series, but it’s worth another rec. because season 2 just started streaming a few weeks ago!
“A police officer in a small country town finds his life turned upside down when six recently deceased residents return from the dead in perfect health.”
How are they all connected? WHY are they back? What does it all mean? Both seasons 1, and 2 will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Another second appearance on my recommendation list, but because season 2 just started streaming and it was fantastic!
NOT ONE TO WATCH WITH YOUR KIDS AWAKE.
“From director and creator Joe Swanberg, this Netflix-original comedy anthology series explores diverse Chicago characters, modern romance technology and culture. Scenarios include a married couple hoping to reignite their sex life, a couple looking to spice things up with another woman, and middle-aged dating. The series features an impressive array of stars, including Jake Johnson of “New Girl,” comic Hannibal Buress, actor Orlando Bloom, actress/model Emily Ratajkowski and actor Dave Franco.”
Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off, and visits characters from season 1 while adding and expanding to not just romantic relationships, but friendships and parenting- NONE of these are easy.
“For 10 idyllic years, young Mija has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja – a massive animal and an even bigger friend – at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when family-owned, multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where an image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission.”
People say this is like a Disney movie for adults, and in a way, I agree. It has some of the elements- little girl who turns into a hero, animal best friend, harrowing tale. It broke my heart and gave me hope all at the same time.
5. MASTER OF NONE
“Comic Aziz Ansari and writer Alan Yang are the creators of this Netflix-original comedy, which is loosely based on Ansari’s real-life experiences. Ansari plays the role of Dev, a New York-based actor who is struggling to identify what he really wants, both personally and professionally. The series reveals glimpses of Dev’s younger years, and explores current aspects of his life, including modern etiquette (regarding texting and social media), and being young and single in the city. Other important people in Dev’s life are featured, including Dev’s parents, played by Ansari’s real-life mother and father, Fatima and Shoukath.”
It’s back for season 3, and honestly, it’s the BEST yet.
4. SANTA CLARITA DIET
As moms, we always feel like zombies, but what if you actually became one?
“Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star in this Netflix-original series as married realtors, Sheila and Joel, who are living a quiet life, raising their teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, Calif. Their world unexpectedly changes when Sheila goes through a dramatic transformation that sends her down a road of death and destruction — but leaves her looking and feeling better than ever. Barrymore and Olyphant also serve as executive producers, alongside showrunner and creator Victor Fresco (“Better Off Ted”).”
The description makes it sound a lot less funny than it is, because you WILL laugh. I can’t wait for season 2!
3. ALIAS GRACE
“Based on the 1996 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, “Alias Grace” tells the story of young Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who is accused and convicted of the 1843 murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Stablehand James McDermott is also convicted of the crime. McDermott is hanged, but Grace is sentenced to life in prison, leading her to become one of the most notorious women of the period in Canada. The story is based on actual 19th-century events.”
I was pulled in by Grace’s story-telling. What really happened? Did she do it, or is there more going on here than meets the eye?
“When two children go missing in a small German town, its sinful past is exposed along with the double lives and fractured relationships that exist among four families as they search for the kids. The mystery-drama series introduces an intricate puzzle filled with twists that includes a web of curious characters, all of whom have a connection to the town’s troubled history — whether they know it or not. The story includes supernatural elements that tie back to the same town in 1986. “Dark” represents the first German original series produced for Netflix.”
German dubbed in English, it reminded me a little of Stranger Things only… well, for lack of a better word- Darker. An amazingly twisted, creepy, and fantastically done science fiction story that I finished in a few days and was SO sad when it was over.
1 STRANGER THINGS 2
DID YOU REALLY THINK I’D MAKE THIS LIST AND NOT INCLUDE STRANGER THINGS???
“Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983 — inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences. When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.”
I don’t want to give ANYTHING away about season 2 (it got spoiled for me the DAY it started streaming because people suck) so I won’t go into detail, but I loved season 2 more than season 1 and I didn’t think that was possible.
It was hard narrowing it down to 10 (+), because 2017 has been FULL of so many amazing shows and movies on Netflix, and they aren’t even done yet (Black Mirror on 12/29! AHH!), and because I didn’t even get a chance to watch everything I wanted to!
Honorable mentions go to: Love, The Discovery, 13 Reasons Why, Gilmore Girls: a Year in the Life, , The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, GLOW, and so many more I could honestly keep typing forever.
What were YOUR favorite Netflix shows & movies of 2017?
Upon realizing I have not seen any of my friends in a ridiculously long, unacceptable amount of time, I’ve been trying to rectify it. It’s not only tough because we all now have children of different ages, but due to work schedules and other such things.
When it comes down to it, though, I have never really considered myself that busy of a person. I’m a stay at home mom who works for myself- so I don’t have a work schedule– I do have things I need to get done as far as blogging, and writing, and maintaining my social media accounts– but many of those can be done on mobile, or postponed at least for a little while. I’m basically free all the time.
When it came down to actually make the plans, to find the days we have free at the same time, we hit a wall. And not just because she works a lot– but because of me. Yes, the me with no life because I’m a stay at home mom/homebody who has nothing better to do.
She offered up Wednesday, and I said- sure! Wednesday is free…
In between the hours of 11am and 2pm because before 2pm I have to
Get the kids ready for school
Take them to school
Come home and work out
Get myself presentable
By then maybe I’d have an hour or two to hang out with a friend.
After then, I have to
Run and grab the kids from school
Bring them home and get them started on homework and help them if they need to
Help them get snacks if they need assistance
Figure out what to make for dinner and begin preparations
Do more shit around the house
In between all of that, whenever I have the time to sit down, I have to
Take care of the animals
Toss in a load or two of laundry
Whatever work I’ve been putting off I should probably squeeze in here at some point
Those golden two hours are nothing to sneeze at. That’s 120 minutes of complete free time to work with. Only it wasn’t. Because I forgot the day was a half day of school, and that meant I had to toss up everything I already had to do into the air to pick up the kids at 11:30 which meant the golden hours were gone, and now if my friend wanted to spend time together, it had to be with kids in tow, and my brain was exhausted just thinking about it and I thought to myself- holy shit. I really am busy.
I may not be out running errands all over town every day, or running from job to job. My kids don’t participate in sports (yet), and I don’t babysit nor do I run a carpool- but damn if I don’t have trouble finding free time.
I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re a mom, you’re busy. Even if people think you don’t do anything all day. Even if you don’t think you really do anything all day- you’re CONSTANTLY DOING SOMETHING. Not just for yourself but for someone else. You’re keeping the ship afloat.
Should you, at times, say ‘screw responsibility’ and make time for your friends? Absolutely. Get a sitter, or ask your significant other to stay home with the kids, but definitely. Just never let anyone tell you that you never do anything. You should probably be doing something else right now. But you’re here, reading this, taking a break. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– you deserve it!
Why do I still get my kids dressed in the morning? Because they can’t be trusted to put together anything even resembling a coordinated outfit. Is it that important for them to be coordinated? Probably not, but I must do it. I can’t let them leave the house looking like it’s laundry day every day and there’s nothing left that matches that’s clean.
I mean, it IS laundry day every day, but I don’t need other people knowing that.
Do I physically help them put their clothes on? BE SERIOUS. Of course I don’t. They’re semi-capable of putting on pants without falling over. I am nearby when they get dressed in case they start freaking out about things being impossible to get right-side-out. I don’t have time in the morning to argue that they are more than able to reach into a pair of pants and pull inside out leg out. This means I get to see if clothes are buttoned wrong- something I’d obviously fix, or shirts on backwards- something I’d obviously call out.
Something called to me Thursday morning. It was out of place but not so out of place that people might notice. Without even thinking, I reached over and tucked Holden’s front pocket back into his pants because it was poking out, and… I don’t know…. why not.
Afterward, I paused for a moment and thought to myself- is that weird? Is what I just did weird? I’d never reach out and do that to someone else, or even tap them on the shoulder and say “excuse me, but your pocket is sticking out” like I would if they had toilet paper hanging out from the top of their pants, or underwear stuck to the back of their shirt by the embarrassing miracle of static cling. But I do these things for my kids because they’re my kids, and the boundaries are pretty fucking fuzzy. Possibly even nonexistent judging by the fact that they walk into the bathroom and take massive shits while I’m in the shower and that comes from a level of comfort not experienced by any other humans on earth outside of family.
Try to remember to check your parental instincts at the door when necessary. And maybe stop checking on your kids so much. Am I talking to myself here? Yeah…. probably.
@DianeAuten There is no other way
@DianeAuten I'm so glad you're enjoying it!
Minecraft Stole my Children goo.gl/fb/VG9w3M
I don't know what I want for dinner, but I can guarantee it's not any of the 14 things my husband will suggest.
@ThisIsAstartes Best worst little shits on the planet.
What's that smell? A lot of pants on fire. pic.twitter.com/bVK0FnJgeB
I'm officially done parenting. Here's how I did it: holdinholden.com/2018/01/im-o…
I’m Officially Finished Parenting. Here’s how I did it goo.gl/fb/TBJQPJ
Some people meal prep to be healthy throughout the week. Some people meal prep because they want to be lazy for the rest of the week. I meal prep to prove to my kids that humans CAN eat the same thing day after day without dying.