Since I’ve had kids, my reaction to cancelled plans can usually be summed up in one word. An exclamation, really. A feeling. an overabundance of joy summed up by 3 letters:
There was really no greater feeling than knowing you don’t have to prepare not only yourself, but your kids, to go out for some things you really didn’t want to do all that much anyway. People say the older you get, the more excited you get about cancelled plans, but I don’t think it’s age. I think it’s preferring lazing about rather than trying to corral your insane children in public. It’s not having to get them ready, think about what they need, what you need, what everyone needs. Being on time. Worrying about someone having to potty. Trying to FIND a potty. Worrying about snacks and drinks and blah blah fucking blah, the bajillion things you worry about as a parent when you’re not in the comfort of your own home. You’d just rather stay in the comfort of your own home, am I right?
No having to put on pants, or makeup, or brush your hair. No having to pick out clothes for the kids or keeping them from getting food or boogers on them. No having to have patience because there are witnesses present. You can just be you. And not even the best version of you. The grossest, laziest version of you. You can pick your nose, couch surf, eat an entire bag of chips. None of these things you could do if other people were around.
Well, okay, technically that’s not true. You COULD do all of these things, but they’re likely to get you some weird looks and possibly a few phone calls.
It’s not that I hate leaving the house. I’m not a hermit, or agoraphobic. I do things all the time. I enjoy things outside the 4 walls of my house. Hell, my house can drive me crazy from time to time, but more often than not, I just prefer the relaxation in knowing that I don’t have to do anything. That I have no obligations other than to keep everyone in this house alive. SO, when I get that phone call telling me I can do exactly what I like to do most days- which is nothing- I breathe a sigh of relief.
OKAY KIDS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT PANTS ON!
One less fight to have that day.
I was wrong in my line of thinking that had me believing ALL the best plans were cancelled plans, because this morning, after I’d been waiting weeks to get my hair done, I got a message from my hair stylist informing me she was sick and would need to reschedule my appointment.
Hair appointments are my ME time. My time to get away from life. To just sit and do nothing but gossip and read trashy magazines and NOT listen to my kids bitching about everything. It’s one of the only plans I make I actually look forward to, and when they get cancelled, it’s awful. It’s horrible. I then find myself sitting on the couch vegging out, which any other day I would relish every moment of, feeling angry and sad.
My life can really be summed up in two reactions.
There is no in between.
Does anyone else feel this way??
I’m not the type of mom who believes in participation trophies, or not defining a clear winner. I think kids need to learn to lose because losing is a part of life, and there’s really nothing wrong with it. If anything, it should motivate you to practice more and try harder. There’s always room for improvement, and practice makes progress, therefore, there’s no reason at all to be a “sore loser”. Those are the things I teach in my household.
…aaaaaaaaaaand it seems that my kids missed the memo.
I loved board games before I had kids. I have so damn many of them that they’re overflowing in the front room of my house. I’d love to PLAY all of these games (I’d also love to put them away, but I digress), but every time I’ve tried since exploding children out of my uterus, it’s turned into madness. Screaming, whining, tantruming, sore loser-y madness. MY BELOVED BOARD GAMES!!! HOW COULD YOU?!
when my kids aren’t screaming family game night is a great time, and how can I deny such time spent with family without electronics and other crap? Simple answer: I CAN’T!
Confession: in order to keep family time moderately civil, I’ve started…. throwing games. Yep. I let my kids win from time to time. Don’t you judge me.
LOOK, sometimes, when we’re playing games, and I see the shit starting to go south, and their faces are starting to turn blood red, and I know they’re about to blast me and pretty much shit on the rest of the day because no matter how much I try to tell them losing ain’t no thang, it never sinks in, and it’s the end of the world, and perhaps that means I failed somewhere down the line, and maybe this is the longest run-on sentence in the history of this blog– I DON’T CARE, I THROW THE GAME. Everyone’s happy! I mean, there are equally as many times that I whoop their asses just to prove a point as I let them win, but that’s not the point. The point is that yes, occasionally I LET THEM WIN since they’ve always kinda sucked at games and can’t win on their own.
In my parenting world, it’s all about choosing my battles wisely. Sometimes, it ain’t worth it to teach them the lesson of losing. If that makes me shitty, so be it. But, again, my shitty parenting is not the point.
THE POINT is that I was sitting at the table playing tic-tac-toe with my seven year old, which I usually whoop his ass in (much to my delight and his utter dismay), when he beat me. Not just once, but three times. And not out of luck– the kid schooled me. Moments later, my husband got his ass whooped in a game of squares by our nine year old. And I started to realize, this has been happening more and more lately. We’re winning less and less, and not because we’re throwing the games. Not because we want to avoid tantrums. Not because we JUST WANT THE GAME TO END BECAUSE OMG IT’S TAKING SO FUCKING LONG I MIGHT ACTUALLY DIE AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE. But because they’re BETTER than us. Smarter. Sharper.
It’s finally happened. I’m finally to the point of parenthood where it’s truly all downhill from here. First it’s silly games. They’re already better than me at math. Next thing you know, they’ll be having to help me with computers and technology, and it won’t be long before they’re shipping me off to the old folks home because they don’t want to wipe my ass EVEN THOUGH I WIPED THEIRS FOR YEARS, THE FUCKING INGRATES.
I’m gonna need them to start throwing games so that I win to keep me from losing my shit.
Parenthood has officially come full circle.
I had this whole big plan to write this blog about the endless stream of CRAP our kids bring home from school and claim it’s art. I still believe that, but I had a weird realization.
Could it be that I just don’t understand art? Is that why so much of it just looks like splatters thrown on canvas, clay clumped into pointless shapes, and garbage superglued together into… well.. whatever? Am I just not sophisticated enough?? There’s plenty I find beautiful, inspiring, showing talent beyond measure, but the junk my kids bring home? No. I struggle to even keep a straight face while I tell them how wonderful their creations are.
BUT, as hideous as they are (and man, are they hideous) we must hold on to these little pieces of…. art. Why?
At the end of the world, when we’re all gone, their hideous turd-mound looking clay pots are going to be all that’s left to learn about our civilization by.
So, you’re scratching your head, right? You’re over there like “LOL, the fuck is this crazy lady going on about?”
But I’m about to blow your mind. Or, I’m about to prove that the past few weeks have finally shit on the last bit of my sanity and pushed me over the edge. I’m not wearing tinfoil hats yet, so I’m pretty sure you’re going to be on my side.
Believe it or not, I watch a few shows about history. Excavating, ancient times, past civilizations. On these shows, they always find a majority of the same things:
The occasional bone, decrepit structures, and, wait for it… what archaeologists call “primitive pottery.”
And what, prey-tell, does this “primitive pottery” look like?
And what does THAT look like??
The. same. bullshit. my. kids. bring. home. from. school.
Are you following where I’m going with this?
What if, these long-lost ancient civilizations weren’t wiped out by famine, disease, or volcanoes…. but by their EVIL CHILDREN?!
I’ve long been convinced that children are trying to destroy us. From the tantrums to the whining to the arguing, to the sass, to the plagues they bring home and the homework we have to help them with– they’ve been trying to bring us down for as long as written history exists. BUT– what if– they’ve succeeded before?
Are their weird, disfigured clay creations really useless pieces of crap, or are they priceless artifacts of last remnants of humanity once they’ve succeeded in wiping us out?
Think about that next time you wanna chuck that shit in the trash while they aren’t looking.
I’m SURE you’ve heard by now, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock (or having a life at all) I just celebrated my birthday. Ripe ol’ age of 84.
Seriously, though, leading up to this birthday was a sense of dread. I’m not a big fan of birthdays. Why? Because since I had kids, they’ve fucking sucked. Why? Because I never get anything.
Before you go off on me about being needy, or selfish, or whatever word that’s going through your head right now- I never get anything by choice. By angry choice, but by choice.
Every. single. year. my birthday rolls around and my family asks me what I want. I hum, and I haw, even though I know what I want, I have a list of things I really want, I’ve wanted them forever. I hum, haw, and consider not even saying it out loud, because I know, even if someone agrees to get one of these things for me, once the day comes, I won’t go through with it. I won’t let them get it. I’ll tell them not to.
Why? Mommy guilt. Good ol’ mommy guilt.
Every time I think of a gift that I want, even if we have the money for it, I think about all the other ways we could spend the money instead.
Well, the kids need new shoes. He could really use a new dresser.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The bathroom needs a new faucet. Could really use a new blender since I dropped the last one. We should really start saving for a new washing machine.
There is ALWAYS something that I feel like we need more than something I just ‘want’, and I begin to feel horribly selfish and guilty for “wasting” the money on myself. Once you get on that train of thought, you really begin to believe that you never deserve anything, because you will always put needs over wants, and others wants over your wants, and before you know it, you’ve gone years without a birthday, mother’s day, and Christmas present.
The kids look like Gap models and you look like an extra from The Walking Dead. Your ratty old purse is just fine because “it still works.” Your ugly ass shoes you’ve been wearing since before you had kids can stay because your kids could use new shoes first…. even though their shoes are totally fucking fine.
You will ALWAYS find an excuse if you search for it, but the fact is this– you deserve something for you every now and then. YOU DO. DON’T ARGUE WITH ME. Stop making excuses to put yourself last. Your kids will be fine. You can get a blender later. Your purse/shoes/pants is/are nasty.
Treat yourself. Do it, even if you feel guilty right now, you’ll be so glad you did later. Maybe not right away– the guilt is hard to shake– but hopefully, getting something for yourself for once will feel good, lift your spirits, and help you see that you are absolutely worth a “want” every now and then.
How do I know this to be true? Because I finally accepted the gift, and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone is fine. No one is suffering because money was spent on me.
JUST. DO. IT.
And for the love of all that is holy, DON’T SPEND THE GIFT CARD ON THE KIDS.
Every weekday morning when I wake up, I follow a very structured routine. Spend 5 minutes wondering why school has to start so early and trying to convince myself to roll out of bed. Pee. Wash my face. Help the kids pick out clothes, if they need me to. Help them make breakfast, if they need me to. Make myself something. Sit down at the dining room table, and read. And by read, I mean scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. I know, my time would be better spent reading newspapers, but give me a break, I just want mindless entertainment before I’ve had my coffee. Lately, it’s been kind of treaturous navigating the depths of my Facebook newsfeed, but it’s part of my rock solid routine, so I do it anyway.
I usually find the same things: tons of cat videos. Recipes. Makeup ads. Random life updates from friends, family, and acquaintances. The more than occasional political rant.
I’m used to it. I expect it. It’s aaaaaaall part of the routine.
But while I was scrolling this morning, minding my own groggy business, I got an enormous kick to the side of the head. Didn’t need the coffee to wake me up, the rage did quite fine on its own.
Nestled in between a spammy meme and a news article was a post from someone who’s name I don’t quite recognize but somehow made it onto my friend’s list. It’s not that I’ve never read or heard the exact words she’d so angrily typed out before, but my reaction to them never changes.
It was a complaint about all the parents complaining about snow days, and the statement wrapped up with this little gem:
“Why did you even HAVE kids if you don’t like spending time with them?”
Man, I swore to myself that I was going to write a funny blog this week, and maybe it’s the pain talking, but I’m feeling quite unhinged about this, and so I need to get this out while it’s fresh on my mind.
I’ve been a parent who complains about snow days. Many times. EVERY time. I’ve complained about teacher work days. I’ve even complained when my kid has the sniffles and has to stay home sick. My complaints have nothing to do with not wanting to spend time with them. It has nothing to do with not wanting them, or being unappreciative.
People who pull that statement out of their ass, and they do it often, any time you so much as say anything that isn’t laced with BS about how much you love your kids, are saying what is basically the equivalent of the favorite of children everywhere: “if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”
These things are not mutually exclusive. If I love something, someone, I don’t have to like it/them all the time. If I love something, I don’t necessarily want to exchange vows with it. Just because I complain, doesn’t mean I don’t like something.
When I complain about snow days, holidays, teacher work days, it’s not because I don’t want to spend time with my kids. I don’t know why I have to explain this, but I will, because, well, I’ve already come this far.
I complain because I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my kids are going to spend the entire day fighting. They get along SO well when they have time apart, and I want them to get along. I want them to have time with their own friends, without each other, without me. Form their own opinions. Get a mental break from constant sibling shenanigans. I also know that when they spend this time home, it means I can’t get the shit done I need to get done. Things get behind. And yes, I like my alone time. I like the quiet. I like to be able to concentrate- and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting those things, and enjoying them when you get them. There’s no rule that says in order to really want and/or deserve your children, that you must crave to spend every single second of every day with them. That’s called smothering. I want my children to learn to be independent. I want independence.
If you’re expecting other parents to never complain, constantly be positive, enjoy every minute of parenthood, you’re asking them to be fake as fuck. It’s not realistic. It’s not going to happen. Not in real life, and not online. Cut it out and let us bitch and mourn for our lost alone time.
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