I’m not the betting type, but I would be pretty confident putting a hefty sum of money on that you wouldn’t at all be surprised if I told you that I got weird looks when people ask me how being a mom is going and I’m like “I dunno, dude. I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”
Not weird because I call everyone dude– WHO DOESN’T???– but people really think I’m kidding.
I snort. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I dunno, I might not survive.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m a shit parent. I don’t really think my kids are shit kids. But MANY days test me to the point where I really think I might not make it out of motherhood alive. I will perish from stress, or my head exploding, or sleep deprivation, or insanity. Or maybe a combination of all of those. Children are like the ultimate product testers, and the product is us parents.
How far CAN we push them? How long IS the battery life? How much CAN they bend before they break? Will they explode under pressure? How much does it take before they short circuit?
Not very far. Not very long. Not very much. Yes, absolutely. About 2 weeks of winter break, followed by a 5 day weekend thanks to snow, followed by only a 2 day week, only to be capped off by another 3 day weekend thanks to a holiday.
Yes, you read that right. After 2 weeks of whine-filled winter vacation, my brain had finally relaxed, knowing they’d be going back to school and I could get back to my usual grind of silence & writing, only to have my dreams and my sanity crushed by a disgusting storm full of stupid white snow that crapped on the very next school week, cutting it down to 2 days. By that time, I was so far gone, that I’d completely spaced that the following Monday was a holiday, meaning, yet another long weekend and shortened school week.
I’ve been through a lot in my years as a parent, y’all. Sick babies. Sanctimommies. Developmental “delays”. Baby therapies. Extreme sleep deprivation. Thirteen hour car rides. Being puked on while on an airplane.
These could have ALL been my breaking point, but no, I somehow made it through, and I thought to myself–if I can make it through all of THAT, I can make it through anything parenthood has to throw at me! Those were only the previews.
I don’t know why I bring this on myself. I don’t know why I have to go and jinx it. I didn’t ask for the snow! It’s all part of the curse! The main event, friends. Could I make it through the triple whammy of holiday-snow days-holiday? If that wasn’t enough, fate decided to toss in a 9 year old with a raging case of the man-cold, a little brother who seems to have decided to whine in between every word he speaks, and a bored husband with less patience than me. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell fellow parents how the time was spent, or how much time I spent nearly tearing my hair out, or hiding in the bathroom, or wishing all the rock shows I’d gone to actually made me lose my hearing like my parents always threatened.
Yeah… I was 99.99999% positive I was doomed.
And then, somehow, miraculously, it was over. I found myself driving the kids back to school this morning, each of us in one piece. Just like all the other times I thought I would fall apart, I didn’t.
I wanted to end this by giving you some uplifting note about how we can all make it through our most trying times as parents, even when we swear we’re about to sell our kids (and spouses) on the black market, but… sooner rather than later, the kids will be dating, and all bets are off.
There are so many different ways I could start this blog– and I’ve been sitting here for I don’t even know how long typing out each and every one of them, but backspacing them into oblivion because nothing feels quite right. I wanted some kind of unique opening, something to really pull you in and keep you reading. Maybe it would be mysterious, or interesting, or alluring. Maybe it would have you guessing what I was writing about, only to be wrong. Maybe you would instantly know what I was writing about and agree. None of those openings came to me, so I’m just going to get right down to it.
YOU ARE NEVER “TOO OLD” TO DO SOMETHING.
There. I said it. Now that felt right.
Most of us have heard it our entire lives. Too old to believe in Santa. Too old to play with dolls, or Legos, or matchbox cars. Too old to be sleeping with a stuffed animal or a nightlight. Too old to still be playing so many video games. Too old for this, that and everything.
But never have I heard it as often as I do now that I’m over 30. And not just people saying it to me, but people saying it to themselves, to each other.
And never have I heard it as often as I have since I strayed away from natural hair color.
I’ve been basically every color of the rainbow at this point, from black to platinum, red, pink, all kinds of shades of purples and greens and blues, and with every new color comes an onslaught of new comments about said color.
And not the kind you think. Sure, I hear some people tell ME I’m too old to still be dying my hair crazy colors, but mostly it’s women commenting on photos I post telling me THEY would love to do the same, but they’re “just too old.”
This breaks my heart, ladies (and any gentlemen who happen to feel that way, though none have ever expressed so to me).
How did we ever get it driven into our brains that we’re EVER too old to do something to express ourselves, something we enjoy, something that makes us happy? That once you’re a certain age, fuck it, time to get serious and be boring and just be happy with what you’ve got–stop doing new things, stop striving for success, stop reaching for new dreams, or making new goals, or finding new interests?
There’s no rule, no law, written or unwritten. No one can enforce this except, well, ourselves.
Much like the opening of this piece, I’ve been trying to find the right words to help get my point across. I wish writing for a living meant that all the words to help motivate you to treat age as what it is- a number- would come to me. To help explain eloquently and convincingly that, if anything, the fact that you’re “too old” should motivate you even MORE to do these things because you’re sure as hell not getting any younger, and why ever put yourself through living a life full of things you want to do but never did simply because of this notion in your mind, or the fear that others will say that you shouldn’t because of your age– but I don’t, and I’m not that eloquent, and I know it’s easier said than done.
My opinion might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll say it again- You’re NEVER TOO OLD.
Dye your hair crazy colors. Read the comic books. Play the video games. Jump out of a plane. Go back to school. Travel around the world. Learn an instrument. Try something completely new and crazy and scary (that is legal).
You’re NOT too old–and if anyone says otherwise, you’re also never too old to use your middle finger.
It’s a bittersweet moment when your kids going from watching all cartoons to watching real programming. And by real programming, I mean the kind that doesn’t want to make you scream. The kind you can actually watch together. While it’s awesome, because, FINALLY, you can actually enjoy TV together again– you wonder– am I actually going to miss Paw Patrol? Is this the end of Disney (NEVER!)? What shows are actually appropriate now??
I’m curious– as a parent– how do you decide when to move on to the next stage of television? For me, it’s not the ratings (PG, G, etc.) that are the be all end all deciding factor. Of course, that plays into it, but it’s also a gut feeling I get from the show, and from where I believe my kids are in maturity.
As I sat down with the kids to watch Netflix’s new series- Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Streaming Jan 13th), I definitely had that pause. It’s a dark book series, for sure. Were they ready for such dark undertones? Because the series definitely follows that path. Would they understand the Baudelaire orphans’ incredibly intelligent banter? Neil Patrick Harris is unshakably lovable no matter what part he plays, but were they prepared for just how evil, manipulative, and murderous Count Olaf is?
I took the chance, and I’m really glad I did. What I’ve noticed about opening your kids to new, more intelligent programming, is that it opens up more conversations as well. Lots of learning, and discovering, and thinking– and while it might get under my skin a little to have to stop and talk during a series I’ve found myself really getting into, I love that they’re paying enough attention to HAVE questions, and not just zoning out. I love that we have another show to watch together, and not me leaving the room, or playing on my phone, or them complaining that it’s boring.
Is this me recommending you take a chance on some more mature shows for the kids? Absolutely.
Is this also me recommending Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? ABSOLUTELY.
January 13th. Pop on Netflix and let Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton- KRONK- but seriously, can’t get enough of him) lead you down a dark and dangerous path. You and the kids will love it!
It’s a record! My family made it all the way through the holiday season and into the new year WITHOUT getting sick. But, the streak could only last so long.
Yesterday, in the middle of being snowed in, my oldest complained of a headache. Headache quickly turned into a fever, which quickly turned into him being horribly miserable. I always feel awful for my kids when they’re feeling this nasty. I don’t want to go near them, because I don’t want to catch it (I’m a miserable sick person), but I also want to comfort them.
How do you go about comforting your kids when they’re sick?
I always try to tell my kids to just rest- lie down on the couch and let your body focus on recovering. Watch some TV. Just relax! They’re completely unlike me in that regard. They have zero interest in slowing down. They don’t want to veg out, or nap, or anything else. They WANT to be up, and around, and playing with all the new stuff they got for Christmas.
It drives me nuts, but I can’t strap them to their beds or tie them to the couches, so I have to find ways to help them feel better while they’re up and about.
Healthy well-rounded meals, early bed times (hey, if they won’t nap, I’m gonna make SURE they get extra sleep somehow!), lots of liquids, warm ones if their throats hurt, hand-washing- LOTS OF HAND WASHING, and a (clean) handful of Ricola.
Ricola has become a serious staple in my household, and I don’t think we’ve ever spent a year as healthy as we have been while using the Immunity Drops (being completely honest!)–but even when we’re unhealthy– it’s there to help.
Have you tried the Dual Action Cough Drops? They are a sore throat’s dream. From the unique blend of ten natural Swiss alpine herbs, to natural menthol and soothing syrup center, they’re the best thing I’ve ever used to comfort my kids when their throats are sore and scratchy–and they’ve really been saving us these past 24 hours with the sickly one!
Ricola Dual Action Cough Drops come in two yummy flavors: Swiss Cherry and Honey Lemon.
Effective, natural, delicious- quiets down the house, your throat, your kids. Run out to your local CVS or Walgreens and stock up…. because I’m not sharing!
I’m sharing #Ricola in my life as part of a Ricola sponsored series for Socialstars™
I don’t know if you know this- but there’s a storm a’comin’ for these here southern states. I don’t know if you know this, but these here southern states are never EVER prepared for these kinds of storms–whether they dump a foot of snow or so little it barely dusts the still-green grass– any kind of white precipitation means our states are closed. Don’t come here. Don’t try to use the roads. Don’t try to go anywhere. Don’t think you can escape your frickin’ family, because you can’t. You’re snowed in. Deal with it.
My kids are thrilled. Nothing could make them happier than the prospect of snow to play in and possible cancelled days of school. I remember those days. Only… we could have a foot of ice on the street and the buses would still come even if you broke your ass trying to walk to the bus stop, but I digress. I used to love the snow. I would play outside until my fingers froze, and I’d have to come back in and sit by the fire and listen to my mom lecture me about frostbite, but I didn’t care. I went full Frozen Anna and built a snowman, and nothing was better than that. It’s almost like kids don’t even notice how cold it is until they’re crying about the tingles in their extremities from being frozen to the damn bone.
We woke up this morning going from there being a winter storm warning to it being a guaranteed SNOWPOCALYPSE. Guaranteed snowfall. Possible “blizzard-like” conditions. Basically, this means we aren’t going AN-EE-WHEREEEEEE.
My kids reaction:
7 year old: I can’t wait to make snow angels!
9 year old: I can’t wait to have a snowball fight!
20+ years ago, I had the same reaction, but as time passed, my love of all things flurry falling from the sky faded away and deep within me grow a dark, icky brown mound of hatred of all snow types. I hated that it trapped me. I hated that it ruined my plans to get out of the house. I NEEDED TO LIVE! I NEEDED TO BE PRODUCTIVE! I HAD THINGS TO GO! PLACES TO BE! This hatred has boiled within me for for well over a decade now. Unfortunately, not enough to melt the evil that is snow, but yeah–boiling.
Yet still, most recently, something again has changed. No, I didn’t go all Grinch, and my heart didn’t grow three sizes, and I still f’ing HATE SNOW… but only because I hate the cold, it’s evil, I don’t like it when it makes my face hurt, I’m clumsy, I don’t wanna slip and die. Not because it ruined my plans.
I now hear that snow is coming down, and I think, “well, at least I don’t have to go anywhere.”
Is this it? Is this how it ends? Is this how I die? Is this the final stage of life? I went from loving snow, to hating snow because it ruined my plans, to loving that it ruins my plans.
If this is it, if this is how it ends- comfy on my couch, snowed the fuck in
6 Things Moms of All Sick Kids Know goo.gl/fb/D74HPA
Some parents use school holidays for family time. I toss the tablet at my kids in hopes they'll dislodge themselves from my butt for 5 mins
If by "any plans tonight" you mean "are you gonna take off your pants & plant your ass on the couch all night?" then yes, I have plans.
Put this in a pamphlet, print it out & hand it out to young girls everywhere. THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW! holdinholden.com/2013/12/a-pr…
@MrsBHise thank you! I'm loving it (even though it's super sore). One more session to go!