Tag Archives: boys

Happy Mommy Day to Imperfect Mommies Everywhere

Today at church it was brought up how differently being a mom is today compared to past generations, with all the ‘in your face’ expectations that we have now.  It used to be that you’d only hear advice/criticism from those closest to you (other than the silent judging from the strangers you might encounter on the street or at the store), but nowadays we’ve got all the Internet to tell us how badly we’re doing and how we could be (and should be) doing things/parenting/ life in general better.  Strangers on the other side of the world can suddenly become Cyber SuperParents, boldly exclaiming from the comfort of their computer chair (or table at Starbucks) how you can-nay, SHOULD- do all.  the.  things.

Its gotten to the point that, even those you know IRL (that’s “In Real Life” in computer speak- don’t you feel more knowledgeable?) will post carefully crafted pictures and posts to depict “The Perfect Life”- when you know full well that their life looks NOTHING like that.

I know.  Don’t try to lie.  I’ve been there.  I even have all the photos I DIDN’T post (because they weren’t “perfect” enough) sitting on my phone/computer because I can’t bare to delete them…because they’re pics of my boys, and my boys aren’t perfect and I love those silly, imperfect photos… just not enough to share with all of my Facebook world because, come on- my boys look dirty/silly/not posed/are picking their nose/my mom-skills could possibly be judged based on how they look or what they’re doing.

Which brings up why in the WORLD we have people on our social media sites that we even try to call “friends” if we question whether or not posting something will get us judged, but that’s another topic for another day.

Someone told me once that they only post the good stuff to social media because they don’t want anything negative to pop up in their memories, and I get that, but -for me- sometimes I LIKE to see the struggles I’ve gone through because it reminds me in that moment of all it took to get to where I am NOW.

I should also point out that, even when we don’t talk to our kids constantly about how they should look or act or anything (you know- healthy self image and self esteem and all), what kind of a message are we sending when we take for-freaking-ever to take that perfect shot JUST so that everyone we don’t know personally will ooo and ahh over it.  Honestly.

If we’re constantly told as moms (and dads) to “enjoy it while it lasts because it goes by so fast”, then shouldn’t we be posting about more than just the perfectly posed Instagrammable moments?  I’ve never heard anyone ever say,”Enjoy it while it lasts- it goes by so fast- except for the bad times.  Don’t worry about enjoying the bad times- like when the kids are throwing a fit or whatever- you’ll never miss that.”  Actually, I said that to my Grammie once and she wisely brought up that there’ll even be a day when you’ll miss the tantrums, because at least you knew where your kids were.  Now that my boys are getting past the baby stage, I actually have times where I miss those late nights, holding them when they couldn’t sleep, watching HGTV and the Food Network, knowing that I was the only person that could calm them down.

I should also point out that I’m pretty positive that not waiting on the ideal shot until a picture is taken is something that even my boys will get behind, because it means that they won’t have to spend 30 minutes of each and every major holiday morning waiting for all their brothers to just get it together, stop messing around, and for the love of all that is sacred and holy can we just smile already so we can take the dang picture to show everyone how happy we are, dang it?!?!

(Not perfect, but one of my absolute favorite Christmas pics!)

Here’s to all you fabulous, perfectly imperfect mamas out there.  You guys are amazing- make up or not, posed or not, perfect kids (BWAHAHAHA- man, that was a good one) or NOT.  You’re in good company.  I hope you all get the best scribbled cards, special rocks, and fistful of weeds- and maybe even a rollie pollie or 2.

From my Imperfect Brood to yours

Welcome, Foolish Mortals

Lately we’ve been acting as hosts to ghosts.  They’re actually very well known ghosts- perhaps you’ve heard of them?  Their names are “Not me” and “I don’t know”.

Not me and I don’t know have been extremely busy spirits, doing everything from tearing up the boys’ room to finishing off 3 bowls worth of cereal in one sitting.  Its extraordinary.  I know if I had died and had time on MY hands, I’d kick back and relax, but not these guys.  They’re constantly up to something.

Just recently these pesky poltergeists have even started to follow the boys to school!  I had naively thought that MAYBE the ghosts would take their own Summer vacation-

-yeah, I know its not Summer anymore, but its still Summer-y weather.  I thought they might be as confused as me and take a late vacation-

but there was no such luck.  If anything, they seem to have increased their activity!  I’ve almost started to wonder if our home is the newest spot for the ghost dimension- like Fort Lauderdale for the netherworld.

Rather than take an extended holiday, though, Not me and I don’t know started school with my boys and began a new year of shenanigans.  When asked why he was lying under his desk instead of sitting in his chair, Bug replied,”I don’t know,” which -I’m assuming means,”I don’t know” told him to do it, the naughty spirit.  And when asked who’s fault it was for Camo not being able to find his PE clothes, both boys answered,”Not me.”

I’ll admit, I’m a little worried that we’ve gotten so much supernatural interference in this house, but I’m hopeful that sooner or later, those restless spirits will find their peace and leave this place.

Until that day, though, its very apparent that Boystown will be hosting travelers from the Great Beyond.

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.

Armegeddon: The Tween Years

Lately, I feel as though there should be an announcer in our home, yelling over a microphone,”Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!”

I say something, I get a snarky comment.  I make an observation, I get a rude look.  I ask for something to get done, I get an argument.  I demand for something to get done, well, let the battle begin.

Nothing is easy lately- not that it ever really WAS, but it certainly isn’t getting any easier.  People told me it would get easier once kids get older, but now I have to ask- how old?  13?  16?  18?  21?  The day they have their own kid hit their tween years and they get it?  HOW OLD???

I can’t even ask for a simple request of,”Can you please put your dishes into the sink?” without it turning into a throwdown worthy of Pay Per View.  Suddenly, I’m the witch from a thousand Disney movies, all rolled into one horrifying mother figure, all because I’m trying to teach my son skills that will keep his future wife from maiming and/or killing him.

Its a scary thing, puberty.  If the changes could JUST be confined to his voice, we could all just have a laugh and call it a day, but no.  Suddenly, along with the hair, height and hilarity, there are evil things called “Hormones” lurking about.  Testosterone runs wild, waiting for the chance to take a joke too seriously, overreact to an everyday situation, or duel to the death over an imagined injustice.

Its enough to make a mom want to throw up her hands and ask,”Brangelina have adopted so many kids- maybe they’d be interested in 1 more…?”

And, I know, “This too shall pass”, but- really?  You’re going to put your brother in a head lock because he messed with your deck of Pokemon cards?  Come on.

Soooo… yeah.  Now that puberty has hit, its apparent that everyday will be a battle; sometimes us parents will win; sometimes heads will roll; but in the end, I’m almost certain the hubby and I will win the war and our obnoxious tween will come out a mature young man.

I think.  I hope.

How long does puberty last again?

While Mom’s Away…

For the last 6 years (roughly), I’ve had a weekly date night with my bestie, Alli.  What started out as a night designated to watching our favorite TV series together gradually became an excuse to hang out, drink coffee, and eat stuff we wouldn’t have to share with our little people, all while speaking in complete sentences and using adult words.

With her being a single mom and without a ready sitter at all times, I usually happily head to her house for our get togethers, and my hunny has always supported this.  Many times he’s even all but PUSHED me out of the house, claiming I’m nicer when I’ve had my girl time.  I do NOT disagree.  As a mama, I’m more relaxed when I’ve had time away- even when its just a couple of hours a week.

My hunny is a terrific dad, so I’ve never questioned what happens while I’m away…

until last night.

All I can figure is that our children multiplied like gremlins after I left and terrorized dear hubs into submission.  Toys had been strewn about the room, crammed into every corner, and paper planes littered my once-clean table, counters, and kitchen floor.  Goldfish crackers had been smooshed into the sofa and carpet, and a bottle of milk was on its side, slowing dripping its contents onto the floor.  But if that wasn’t enough evidence that a 3:1 ratio is bad in this house, sweet hubs elaborated:

“You know how, when you left, Cameron was holding Nicholas?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, as you were driving away, Cameron looked at me and said that Nicholas had peed and he could feel it through his shirt.”

“Ew.”

“Yeah, he thought so, too, when I pointed out that it wasn’t pee.”

After I finished gagging/laughing, he went on:

“Oh, and Jacob tried to jump the baby gate after his bath, but it ended up falling over- on Nicholas.”

“So, what you’re saying is, our youngest almost died from massive internal trauma?”

“Pretty much.”

And, if I thought I could escape by curling up in my bed, I was wrong.  The Mini Master left me a snack on my side of the bed.  Always the little sharer, he must’ve realized he was almost finished with his cracker and he hadn’t left me any, so he spit some of it out for me.

Now, I’m really wondering if this was a fluke or if last night was a regular occurrence and I just happened to come home before Haz Mat showed up.  In any case, one thing is for certain: while the mama’s away, the mice don’t just “play”- they throw a rave on steroids.

Dear Pre-Pregnancy Life,

Today, while I was out shopping, I passed by a rack of size 12s and I thought of you.  Just for a moment- because the Mini-Master decided it wasn’t right that I should have my eyes anywhere but on him- but in that moment, a mix of emotions filled me like you wouldn’t believe.

I tried to deny the way that I felt, but all the great memories got to me.  I thought about the trip to Hawaii when we were 17 and how I had complained about my hips and thighs then.  I was 17- I HAD no hips or thighs, at least, not like now.  I had a teenage body, void of birthing hips and stretch marks, wrinkles and less than ample boobage.  I thought about that night when my friend was describing me to someone else and she used the words “flat stomach”.  Now the only time I have a flat stomach is when I make the choice not to breathe or sit down by wearing too-tight pants.

As I walked through the store, my eyes drifted to the purses, and I thought of my ever present addiction- the one I’ve had to put on hold ever since needing a diaper bag.  Even as trendy as diaper bags have gotten -and mine is PRETTY cool- they’re still diaper bags.  They hold everything, though, so carrying a purse as well is kind of superfluous.

I strolled slowly by the cosmetics aisle and I thought about when I used to put on make up.  I guess “used to” isn’t exactly correct; I still do occasionally, but its almost like building a sand castle near the tide now.  Why put on make up when its going to be mauled off by messy face kisses and grubby hands?

I looked over at the men’s aisle as I headed toward the electronics and I thought about how many times Date Night has been thwarted.  We used to have money to do stuff!  We used to have the ENERGY to do stuff!  We used to not need a sitter crazy enough to watch 3 boys so we could do stuff!

I perused the DVDs, looking for something kid friendly- KID FRIENDLY.  I remember when our DVD collection didn’t include a single ‘G’ rating; when we didn’t need to say,”We should probably wait til the kiddos are in bed” when deciding what to watch on TV.

Buying new stuff would have to wait, though.  I wasn’t here to buy a movie- I was here with a purpose.  I headed to the kids/ baby department for the wipes.

Dear, sweet, Pre-Pregnancy life- as I made my way to the back of the store, where all the baby stuff was located, I kept thinking of you and how even trips to the store were different back then.  Lingerie meant Victoria’s Secret, not Kohl’s Clearance; necessities meant chocolate and other junk food, not diapers, wipes, baby food, and Gerber’s Puffs; PJs meant Frederick’s, not cotton PJ sets from Kmart; and toys meant, well, nothing by Fisher Price.

I have to tell you, though- as I stood there, comparing prices on sippy cups, diapers, and wipes, it hit me what else is different about this new life compared to you.

  • I waste less time on TV.  Oh, sure, the TV is on, but as a kind of defense mechanism, my mind has tuned it out so as not to hear the constant chatter of cartoon characters.
  • My husband and I have fallen in love with each other in a whole new way and we’ve learned to get creative with Date Nights.  (To be honest, that was done out of pure necessity.  It was either get creative or start carrying around each other’s photo so we didn’t forget what each other looked like.)
  • And, also, to be honest, my diaper bag IS really cool.  I’ve had loads of people ask me where I got my “purse” from.  I don’t correct them.
  • And my body?  If I ever have the money or the desire for it, I can get cosmetic surgery, but I’m not really disappointed with my wrinkles.  The stress wrinkles are linear badges of honor, and laugh lines should be cherished- and my boys make me laugh.  A lot.

Actually, Pre-Pregnancy Life, a lot of the feelings I had while I debated the different sippy cups were feelings of thankfulness.  You never got to hear a 5 year old tell his 11 year old brother that girls are made to be friends- nothing else; you never knew the pride that can come from looking at progress reports (and making a mental list of private colleges to send such smart boys); and you never knew how sweet and extremely gross -all at the same time- it could feel to have your face mauled by a 9 month old that has just eaten breakfast.

Sure, some things changed when we parted ways, but right now, as I sit next to my youngest who is slightly snoring and listening to my two older boys singing a duet of “Lollipop” in the next room, I’m pretty sure I made out better with the exchange rate.

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.