Tag Archives: annoyances

The “Ultra Super Secret” Secret to Parenting

Confession #305: Sometimes I want to prove to those that “know it all”, that they actually know NOTHING by giving them my kids for a week.

I’ve figured it out!

I have figured out the secret to parenting!

Do you want to hear it?

Ok, I’ll tell you.

Listen VERY carefully because if this secret gets around then grammas will lose all power to give “advice” and mothers in law will never again be able to torment their daughters in law with the “correct” way of doing things.

Now, seriously, pay attention because I have 3 kids and I grow weary of repeating myself:

The secret is to stop. 

Stop thinking there’s a secret that every other mom out there got and you were left out.  I’ve got news for you- there’s no secret club, no secret handshake, and the closest thing to a secret password is “Good night”.  Your mom and mother in law DO NOT know more than you.  Sure, they’ve had their kids- and one of them must have been amazing enough to either have grown up to be you or to marry you, but seriously, that’s where their insight stops.  Every child is different, and although they might have gotten their newborn to sleep through the night right after coming home from the hospital, breastfed effortlessly, had all of their children potty trained before they could put two words together, and were able to train all of their children to say “please” and “thank you” by the time they were 2- months, that is- it doesn’t mean squat.  #1, memories fade, and just like fishermen describing the fish that got away, mom stories tend to take on a life of their own the older their children get.  (Need more evidence about that?  Read HERE.)

Ya know, when my boys were born, they latched on the moment they popped out.  Practically jumped on the boob!

Ya know, when you were a child, I had you potty trained by the time you could walk- in fact, you took your first steps on the way to the potty!

You’re going to run into trouble if you don’t get that child to start sleeping through the night.  All my boys slept through the night from the first night they were born- 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.!

Seriously?  Lets stop the madness, shall we?  The secret to parenting- like I said, I’ve cracked the code, people- is to stop denying that its hard and to just deal.  I’m not going to continue to listen to all the advice- if you can call it such- of those that have gone on before me, for a multitude of reasons (not the least of which being that I think most of my forebearers are currently on crack).  Its usually not advice at all, but degrading comments wrapped up in a pretty packaging that shines brightly on their own parenting history.

#2-I’m my kiddos’ mom, and I know my kids and what they are and are not capable of- although someday I’ll probably come up with my own wacked out stories… oh, I’m sorry, “Mommytales”.  I know that no matter how much fun I make his bed seem, the Mini Master will still see it as a punishment and will fight with every fiber of his being to keep out of it. I know that Bug is, well, Bug, and he’s bright and funny, but he also fails to understand that his brothers are his BROTHERS, not his maids.  I know that Camo is a boy- not a patient with ADHD- and no amount of drugs is going to change that.

Well, maybe an amount, but nothing that would be good or legal.

In fact, if I was to pinpoint the ONE thing they ALL have in common?  Its that NONE of them are cookie cutter versions of either of their brothers, and I’ve had to change up my parenting style to fit each one.  Well, that, and I think the exhaustion level has increased.

These are the things that I know.

I think the main issue with parenting is when you have “those that have been there” coming to tell you everything you’re doing wrong.  It begins to make you question your own parenting skills and you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with your kids-or yourself- which actually CAN cause major problems.

I’m just all fired up because, apparently, I know nothing as a mom.  I’m doing it all wrong because my 2 1/2 year old still insists on sleeping with us and the other two are boys- active, forgetful, and rough.

And, to my amazement, not allowing any of them to die thus far doesn’t win me a mommy award.  Heck, it doesn’t even put me into the running for one!

Oh, btw, sorry if you only started to read this because you thought I knew it all.  I don’t.

However, if you’re still searching for the secret, I’m sure there are a multitude of moms, mother in laws, and Grammas out there just DYING to tell you their “secret”…

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Mary Poppins, I ain’t

I’m in awe that my children have survived thus far in their lives- after all, I have NO idea what I’m doing.

I’m a little ashamed of myself, really.  People who don’t have kids, or have been parents for, like, a minute, always seem to have all the answers.  I’d say it must be all those parenting books they’ve read, but I’ve read those books, too, and according to the “all knowing ones”, I know nothing.  Its shocking that my kids haven’t been taken away.

I admire all this “parental genius” that is still being thrust upon me after 12 years.  You’d think some people would see my pre-teen and would decide to bypass me when doling out their “wisdom of the ages”, but no.  They generously give of their insight, even if they’ve never had a need to use it or have ever used it themselves.  Its selfless acts like these that give me hope for future generations.

One would think that someone would see my 3 beautiful boys- 2 of which are in school and smarter than any boys I’ve ever known, and the other who is already showing signs of super android intelligence- and figure I know what I’m doing; they might see how generous my boys can be or take notice of how well they can behave (for OTHER people, mind you, but still), and those people might write me off as having it all under control.

Thankfully, those people are NOT fooled by pretty packaging.

Those astute individuals see the one moment my boys step out of line in their presence as a cry for help and the perfect opportunity to point out what we’re doing wrong as parents.  Those amazing individuals are never-ending in their pursuit to help mold me and the hubby into the perfect parents they know we can be with the same level of perfection that they themselves have had for the last 5 minutes and 53 seconds.

Do they care if the actions committed by my kids were normal, not out of the ordinary, and unavoidable?  No!  These wonderful people -diligent in their quest to right the wrongs of toddlers everywhere- toss logic to the wind as they step in to heroically save me from basic parenting situations.

So, I’d like to say thank you to all those wise, admirable, selfless, self sacrificing individuals who go out of their way to help me with parental “advice”.  I might not say it much, but -even though you don’t have boys (or kids) my sons’ ages (or at all)- I’m so grateful to you for offering up your opinions- most of the time without me even asking.  I know that I’ll never have the same treasure trove of knowledge that you do, so my only hope and prayer is that one day you have others in YOUR life so very willing and able to do the same for you that you’ve done for me.

A Moment of Silence for Sanity Lost

I’d like to take a moment of silence to honor a dear friend I lost today- my sanity.

I’m pretty sure I lost it between the cereal and candy aisles, but after much fruitless searching, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t anywhere to be found.

And, before you point it out, I am fully aware that asking for a moment of silence here at Boystown is, well, a laugh, but I’m a big fan of lost causes.

Anyways, while there’s quite the possibility that it was stolen from me, my money is on the assumption that it fled in mortal dread the moment the shrieking began, so I probably won’t see it again.  I’ve put together a few search parties and I’ve looked into advertising on milk cartons and billboards, but I’m pretty sure its no use.  My sanity is long gone and will most likely never return.  That doesn’t mean I’ll stop looking for it, but it just means that the longer its gone, the more I’ll cease to miss it as much.

Today will forever be burned into my mind, but I guess that’s the way it is for anyone who’s lost something so precious.  What started out as a simple trip to the store ended in turmoil, chaos, loss, and sadness.  The saying is true- you really never do fully appreciate something til its gone.  I should have held onto it tighter, but you just never stop to think that the combined strength of an 11 year old, 5 year old, and a 1 year old could rip something so seemingly strong from its owner.

And, once torn away, that was it.  It was gone.  Maybe it had wanted to leave, I mean, it was able to hang on through Camo’s TODDLER years.  TODDLER years.  Camo.  That’s not even willpower- that’s an act of God.

All I can figure is that my sanity stared into its cold, bleak, dark future that lied ahead- what, with Nicholas now at the walking/talking/ maiming/torturing stage and Camo hitting his pre-teens- and it simply… let go.

And I get that.  If you don’t see hope, its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Poor sanity.  It must have been so scared.

So, in this moment, I will silently bid my old friend farewell.  Apparently, the question of how many kids it takes to destroy a lightbulb has been answered.

The answer is 3. ESPECIALLY if they’re boys.

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I do my best thinking in the shower.

Now, I’m sure there are many medical reasons why this is possible- maybe the warm water increases circulation or the water pressure from the shower head helps knead out the stress from my shoulders, which lowers my blood pressure and THAT helps with better circulation.

I personally think, though that it has nothing to do with medical reasons and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that its the ONE place in this house where I can hear myself think without fear of interruption.  With the water raining down on me, it drowns out the incessant pestering.  For the 5 minutes I get to take for myself, I get a chance to recoop and relax.

Yes, 5 minutes.  I learned long ago how to take “Army showers”.  5 minutes is the perfect amount of time to get the necessary stuff done while ensuring I’m not gone long enough for fires, explosions, or massive bodily harm to occur with the boys.

It IS long enough, however, to get some serious thinking done, and today I was thinking about my life.

Its amazing to me how we measure ourselves by what we are rather than who we are as individuals.  People in our lives- not our personalities- usually define us.  I  get it- its difficult to really find a distinction

  • I have kids- I’m a mom.
  • I have a husband- I’m a wife

We even measure ourselves by what and who we are NOT.  In my case, I’m not a career driven woman- I’m a stay at home mom.  I’m not like my brother and sister, with their medical field goals- I’m…

What?  Lacking a true career path?  Lazy?  Without ambition?  Settling?  Ordinary?

During those precious 5 minutes, I thought about who I really was- not according to others or labels thrust upon me- but ME.  What makes me, me?

  • I’m outgoing.
  • I’m sarcastic.
  • I’m a wanna-be chef.
  • I’m goofy.
  • I’m friendly.
  • I’m a neat freak.
  • I’m determined.
  • I’m sensitive.

Its true- I’m also ordinary.  My job is SO ordinary and boring that -not only do I NOT get paid for it- but most people don’t even want to waste time writing it out, so they write SAHM.  Its not considered a career choice; its an in-between- something you do when you’re in between jobs.

I’m called a “housewife” which -horror of horrors- evokes images of Peggy Bundy, sitting on a couch, eating Bon Bons.  Even worse, that’s what MANY people imagine when I tell them what I do for a living.  I’m curious about the title “housewife”, by the way.  No one ever refers to a woman as a “workwife”.  Its funny- even as I’m writing this, my computer recognizes “housewife” as a real word and there’s a red squiggly line under “workwife”.

I’m asked frequently when I’m planning on “going back to work”, as if I’m on vacation.  If this is vacation, I’ve been gypped. 

I’m just sayin’. 

I’m also told constantly about work at home opportunities- because I’m OBVIOUSLY not busy throughout the day.  I get it, times are hard and they know I’m not getting paid for what I do, but when I WAS working, we managed to still have money troubles, so what it looks like to me is that #1- you always find a way to do what you REALLY want to do, #2- a lot of money does NOT equal financial security, and #3- God apparently thinks pretty highly of our decision to have me stay at home because He always makes a way for us to get by.

Its true- I’m an ordinary, SAHM and housewife.  Just so we’re clear on what my “non-job” entails, though:

  • I’m a referee, breaking up fights.
  • I’m a cop, determining who’s at fault.
  • I’m a judge, deciding the punishment.
  • I’m a nurse, aiding the wounded.
  • I’m a chauffeur, driving to and fro.
  • I’m a nanny, taking care of kids.
  • I’m a day care provider, taking care of my kids’ friends when they’re over.
  • I’m a maid, cleaning constantly.
  • I’m a cook, feeding the hungry.
  • I’m a sales clerk, trying to get my kids to buy what I’m selling.
  • I’m a banker, lending money to my kids.
  • I’m a pastor, teaching my kids about God.
  • I’m a spin doctor, putting a twist on any bad situation.
  • I’m a lawyer, defending my kids.
  • I’m a pet store owner, taking care of our cat and fish.
  • I’m a plumber, cleaning hair and toys out of drains.
  • I’m a hairdresser, fixing cowlicks and constructing “faux hawks”.
  • I’m a teacher, helping my kids learn.
  • I’m an event coordinator, putting together birthday parties and such.
  • I’m a hostess, welcoming friends and family into my home constantly.
  • I’m a therapist, listening to people’s issues and helping them through it.
  • I’m a drill sergeant.
  • I’m a mommy group organizer.
  • I’m a friend.
  • I’m a daughter.
  • I’m a wife.
  • I’m raising 3 of tomorrow’s best and brightest men.
  • I’m a mom.

And all this WITHOUT getting paid.

Maybe ordinary is really quite extraordinary.

Public Service Announcement

Do YOU or someone YOU know suffer from an MTD?

MTDs- or Mentally Transmitted Diseases- are a growing concern in our society. To date, 1 out of every 2 people suffers from this condition, and with the advancement of technology and breweries -combined with the declined use of birth control- that number is on the rise. Studies have shown that by the start of 2012, more than 75% of the U.S. will come down with some degree of an MTD (w/ nearly ALL of California being affected).

Mentally Transmitted Diseases -also referred to as ‘Chronic Stupidity’ in most medical journals- is a tricky condition with a quick progression and no known cure. After contracting it, most patients won’t notice a difference, but their condition will most definitely be visible to the rest of the unaffected population- often through words and actions, but sometimes through just a few wordless expressions.

The horror of this disease is that, if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, you could accidentally and unnecessarily expose yourself. More often than not, it can take repeated exposure to contract an MTD, but for some -the really young, really old, or those with a hereditary connection- it can sometimes take just once.

So, how can you protect yourself and those you love? Nothing is guaranteed, but with a few simple precautions you can decrease the chances of contracting what can be a lifelong, debilitating disease.

~Remember ‘the 3Rs’

  • If you have found yourself in a situation where you’ve noticed that the person you’re speaking with is particularly stupid, REDUCE your exposure, if at all possible. Obviously, if this person is your boss, this will be next to impossible, but there are 2 other Rs to ensure your safety: REVIEW all information given to you and RECHECK all facts that pertain to you. (The chronically stupid often offer up needless information. For example, a coworker says to you,”I heard its going to rain today- it rained in Germany yesterday.” Chances are, they’re wrong on both accounts, but you only need to recheck the weather in your area, since even stupid people can be right 50% of the time. You can disregard the Germany reference OBVIOUSLY, unless you’re planning on traveling there anytime soon.)

~Wear Sunglasses

  • Ok, so maybe this form of protective eye gear won’t always work, but the theory is that if they can’t SEE your eyes, then there’s a chance they won’t be able to look directly into them. Direct eye contact seems to be a frequent source of transmission for MTDs. Why? Well, the most we can deduce is that since stupid people TRULY believe what they’re trying to convey to you, their words mixed with eye contact can cause you to question all you believe.

~Ignore them and/ or stare at them with a blank expression

  • MTD patients enjoy back and forth banter, so if you take this away, they will often leave you alone. Use this precaution with care, though, because stupid people often carry blank expressions and you take the possibility of passing for one.

~Distract them

  • Its a long shot, but if all else fails, you will need to distract the infirmed with something shiny and RUN.

So, what are some of the signs and symptoms, and what can you do if infected? We’ve already discussed a couple, but in the event that there is an infected person reading this, here’s a run down:

~a glazed over look when you ask a simple question (an exception should be noted not to necessarily worry in the early morning/ pre-coffee hours)

~an affinity for offering up pointless information during important times

~an inability to distinguish between the gas and the brake peddle (an exception should be noted for those with the occasional mental lapse during frustrating times- like driving with kids or stupid people)

~the confusion over what a turn signal is and how to use it

~noting a long line, and then deciding to either stand aside and make their own line and/ or waiting til their asked to get in line and cutting to the front

~the inability to ever admit wrong doing and/ or the inability to apologize when wrong

~the idea that all their thoughts and opinions will magically be known to you, although they have failed to open their mouths

~the idea that you CARE about all their thoughts and opinions

~the inability to distinguish between thoughts and opinions that matter

The list goes on and on, but I’m sure that you’ve gotten the point.

If you’ve found yourself in any of these descriptions and you’re wondering about what to do next, here’s the answer:

~Do something that requires you to use more brain-power than normal and DO NOT STOP until you feel your mental capacity increasing.  If you’ve gone for too long without help, it may take a while and you may not remember what it feels like to be using your brain, so try answering a few simple questions, such as:

  • Is it a good idea to text/drink and drive? (the answer should be ‘no’)
  • Are raising animals EXACTLY like raising kids? (you might want to answer ‘yes’ because of how they can act, but as long as you truly realize the answer is ‘no’, you’ll be fine.
  • Is it ok to leave your baby in the bath by itself while you play games on Facebook? (um, ‘no’)

The feeling that follows  will be like a light turning on or like you’ve just woken up- you might feel groggy and out of sorts.  Eat something, you’ll be fine- you’re on your way to recovery.

~If, however, that exercise doesn’t work, I’m sorry, but there’s no hope.  RUN, don’t walk, to the nearest clinic and get a prescription for birth control, or better yet, ask for sterilization.  You shouldn’t feel bad, though- you probably don’t understand anything I’ve just explained, so… Look!  Something shiny!

Remember- only YOU can prevent MTDs.

Zoology is the study of my home

Wanna know the difference between my house and a zoo? There really isn’t one.

Sure, the animals are different, but in the end, if not for certain safety precautions taken, my little animals would eat us alive. Yeah, they LOOK cute and cuddly, but there’s a reason why they have a sign out in front of the bear cage that says ‘Do Not Feed The Bear’. Its not because they’re trying to cut down on the costs of diet products for the poor guy- its because if you get up close, he’s likely to rip your arm off!

Cute and cuddly looking, they may be- friendly? Well, that’s to be questioned.

Today has been – how shall I say it?- difficult. Of course, if you were to look up ‘difficult’ in my specialized dictionary (that I’m planning on having published one of these days because it really is remarkable), you’d see some poor soul about to jump off a cliff rather than face the burning flames about to engulf him.

Have you ever heard the warning sound that they play on TV announcing,”This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system’? Now, have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to that sound for an entire day??? I do! I can tell you! Its the sound of a screeching 4 year old when he starts to get annoyed at his 10 year old brother who is INTENTIONALLY annoying him!

All day.

Today.

Up until about an hour ago.

After that, they banned together- with Cameron’s friend-, rode a skateboard 4 feet in their room, slammed it into the mirrored closet doors, and cracked one. Amazingly, when asked what happened, neither one could come up with stories that matched.

That’s when I shut them up in barrels like Mark Twain spoke of and fed them through the knotholes.

No, I didn’t do that- although, don’t think the thought never crossed my mind. No, that’s when they were confined to their beds. Come on now- I’m not a monster.

Yet.

Anyways, so to say that today has been “trying” is putting it lightly. Part of me is already questioning my sanity for having a third, but I’m sticking to that old saying (IS it an old saying?) that you can’t lose what you’ve already lost. There’s really nowhere to go but up from here, so there you go. Besides, we’ve made our beds- now all that’s left is to hide under the blankets.

Besides, I’m banking on the hope that ONE of them will make it big in life and support me and Corey in the lifestyle we’d like to become accustomed to.

And then, when they’re older and have little hyenas of their own, I can look at them adoringly and say,”Some animals eat their young.”

Hey- I just want my boys to know they have options.

Mommy Guilt

In the last 10 years that I’ve been a mom, the biggest annoyance I’ve found isn’t with kids that argue- although that IS annoying; it isn’t with finding the curdled milk sippy cups stuffed under the couch that I had told my preschooler to put in the sink…a week ago- though, that IS disgusting; it isn’t even with the constant battle over messy rooms.
No. The biggest annoyance?
Mommy guilt.
Its like a fly that won’t leave you alone.
“You should take your kids to the park!”
Bzz.
“You should be spending more time with your kids!”
Bzzz.
“Your kids should have nicer clothes!”
Bzzzz.
“You should be breastfeeding!”
BZZZZ!!!
Now, usually these statements that go through my mind are followed by the tiniest, most pitiful of whimpers in defense of my actions, and they usually all stem from me trying to do something for myself or something out of my control:
But its raining.”
But you’re trying to eat, sleep, clean, etc.”
But you can’t afford it.”
But your boobs were getting ripped off by that little creature and you look SO much nicer with a set.”
The problem is that they’re merely whimpers and its difficult to hear whimpers over loud, blaring THX surround sound volume.
Its a bit pathetic, actually. Personally, deep down, I know I deserve a medal just for keeping them alive. I mean, if you knew me, you’d understand- I don’t have a green thumb. Mine is black. Plants only come to me if they’re looking for a way to die. I’ve tried growing plants from seeds- they die. I thought that my problem was that I didn’t know how to nurture them into mature, strong, independent plants, so I bought plants that were already mature, strong, and independent. All that did was prove that I know how to take away the will to live from plants of all ages. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw one plant take its own life when it realized who was taking it home, because it was slumped over the stake in its pot (describing the type of plant it was) as if it was trying to drive it through its heart. That one was brown by the time we reached my house.
All that to say, I’m doing a pretty awesome job of just keeping 3 kids alive and thriving, so I shouldn’t feel bad when things don’t go EXACTLY according to my wacked out fairy tale idea of mommyhood, right?
So, I’ll TAKE that shower so I’m not stinky and dirty looking! I can wrestle 5 minutes to myself. I washed my hair last week anyways.
I’ll eat that sandwich- heck, I’ll eat it at the table sitting down! Ok, that’s pushing it. The counter maybe. I’ll eat it AT the counter. A half a sandwich. Ok, a piece of bread! I’ll eat that piece of bread without fear of neglecting my kids!
And I won’t worry about the breastfeeding, bottle feeding battle!  If I choose to breastfeed, well, God gave me 2 boobs for a reason, right?  Isn’t one of them supposed to be a spare?  And if I choose to bottle feed then I will accept the consequences of possible BPA poisoning and psychological damages that stem from not having a mommy who gave him her boobs to give him life.

Oh, who am I kidding?
I WILL win the Mommy of the Year award!
Um, can you send it to the tired, dirty looking, boobless, anorexic gal rocking back and forth in the corner? Yeah, that’s me.