The Mom Code: We’re All On the Same Team

Remember when you were in college or even high school and you would get all dressed up to go out on a Friday night?  Remember when you tried to convince everyone that it was to attract a dude?  Remember when that was a bold-faced lie?  Let’s be honest ladies, our whole lives we have been motivated by impressing/competing with other females.  It’s not entirely our fault.  We can thank biology/evolution for a lot of it, but at the end of the day the female-to-female relationship has always been tumultuous, to say the least.  Being a grown-up (ish) and a mom doesn’t change that.  Only now instead of trying to have better cleavage than the other girls, you’re trying to replicate everything you see on Pinterest or prove you’re a better mom by pushing yourself to your limits all the time. Girls, let’s cut the bullshit.  We’re all on the same team.  These are just a couple things to help ignite the conversation; mixed with a little humor, of course, because feelings are gross.

  1. Don’t be a bitch. I mean, you can totally be a betch.  Just don’t be a bitch.
  2. Talk about all the awful things you think or feel. I don’t know about you, but when I hear other moms say things like, “I could have beat him to within an inch of his life,” or “I’m going to drink my body weight tonight,” or “I’m thinking of running away, would you like to come with me,” I feel like I’ve found a soulmate.
  3.  If you’re in a parking lot with a lot of open parking spots, DO NOT park right next to another mom car (mini-van, large cross-over or full-size SUV). I get this one is really specific, but it drives me crazy. It’s a dick move regardless of who you are, but especially other moms.  You know kids swing those giant doors open like they’re on an episode of Miami Vice.  As if going anywhere with kids isn’t stressful enough, now I have anxiety about my kid or myself dinging your precious Honda Oddessy. The way I see it, if my kid dings your car and there are more than 2 open spots in the vicinity, you deserve it. Give a mom some space! 
  4. Don’t hate; Commiserate. Yeah, my kid is having a meltdown at Meijer.  Don’t even try to pretend like your’s has never done the same thing.
  5. It’s okay to have a sense of self. Just because a person(s) has come out of your vag does not mean you have lost all aspects of who you were before they were born, including your sense of humor. For some reason, it seems like moms lose their edge when they have kids.  Why? I’m not saying to need to watch Andrew Dice Clay with your kids, but you can still keep your four-letter vocabulary, your slutty clothes, and your favorite bottle of vodka vaulted for when your kids aren’t around. We’re still adults.  We’re still women.  And one day our kids will be gone, and I’d like to think that I could one day have a conversation with someone that has nothing to do with giving birth, breastfeeding, or the PTO. Plus, let’s be honest, a dick joke is always funny.

All jokes aside (just kidding jokes are never aside), as moms we are all fighting the same battle, keeping our shit together.  It’s a daily battle.  As a young mom, it took me years to find the confidence to find other mom friends.  I was always convinced that everyone was judging me.  Having a baby daddy does not make me a bad person.  Now, I have a great group of mom friends who I learn from every day, and who I hope learn things from me too. I am no longer afraid of the mom group because I’ve realized we are all just making it up as we go and trying not to say fuck in front of our kids. We are all on the same team. If we don’t work together, support each other, embrace each other, they win. They, of course, is our children.  They. Cannot. Win.

**Disclaimer: I am guilty of all of these, except the humor part. I have too many issues to not use humor as a defense mechanism.

 

When Your Baby Becomes A Kid

Having a baby is the most life-altering thing any human being can do.  Man, woman; gay, straight; single, married, it doesn’t matter.  Whether it’s your genetic material or someone else’s, having a baby in the house is going to fuck your day up.  These days you can’t throw a rock and not hit a blog post or book or article about the trials and tribulation of having a baby.  But no one talks about what happens when they’re not babies anymore. I mean we all know teenagers suck, but what about those wonderful school-aged years when the only they’re doing at the speed of light is learning what not to do. Not to mention, being influenced by other kids.  Correction, other, shittier kids. You know longer have full control over what they learn and how they learn it, which totally sucks!

My oldest son recently turned 8.  I, believing the lies told me by my parental predecessors, thought things would be getting easier by now. We’d be able to have a wrongmeaningful conversation, common interests, and even a developing sense of mutual respect.  Boy was I wrong. What I got were conversations that contain the word “um” approximately 8,000 times about people I’ve never met and things I’ve never heard of, the constant demand to fain enthusiasm 24/7, and a never-ending need to talk myself out of striking a child.  You spend years teaching your child to talk.  Then, you immediately regret that decision.  They never stop talking.  Never.  Ever.

now I get itHe’s reached the age where he is trying desperately to understand adult conversation and nuances. However, he has the attention span of the fruit fly so he zones out halfway through the answer to a question he just asked.  So when he says the words “Ooooh! Now I get it.”  That means he has no idea what the fuck I’m talking about. He’s just moved on to whatever random thought just came into his head like, I wonder if now is a good time to bring up that thing I did at Grandma’s house  months ago that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about right now.

And I swear to God listening to this kid tell a story should be illegal under the Geneva Convention. It is the most torurous experience in my life.  “Mom. I, um, went to Jack’s house and um we played this game um that has this um thing and you have to do this other thing to  um make this one thing happen.  It’s just like the one I played at um I don’t remember his name’s house. You remember?”  Ummmmmmm……what?!?! For Christ’s sake.  I would almost rather work at a college bar on a Friday night full of Sorority bar crawls that’s four deep with dumb bitches who have never had anything stronger than Malibu….almost.  But of course I can’t tell him that.  I have to pretend to be interested and care, because he needs validation.  I need a boob job and a wine of the month membership, but you don’t see me bitching!

So, if you’ve just had a baby, enjoy these moments when they sleep all the time and don’t speak.  Trust me the spit up and shit is worth it.  Just remember, the day is coming when you will have to interact.  And they won’t be like those cool kids on sitcoms.  Rudy Huxtable isn’t real. (Too soon?)  Kids don’t make witty jokes or say the funny thing at the right time.  They will, however, rip ass in the middle of the grocery store and laugh relentlessly.  So, it’s not all doom and gloom.

As for me and my first born, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The other day I made some smart ass comment and he goes,  “Is that sarcasm?”  I’ve never been more proud as a partent.  He’s such a great kid with all kinds of creativity.  He’s sweet and kind and thoughtful and a great big brother.  He has more love and generosity in his little finger than most people do in their whole bodies.  But if this phase doesn’t pass and soon, I would recommend buying stock in duct tape and Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio

 

 

The Real Reason We’re So Happy You Just Had A Baby

 

As I am a woman of a certain age, my Facebook feed is blowing up with pictures of babies.  From firstborns to fifth-borns and everywhere in between. There are babies fucking everywhere! I know when each of my kids was born, those posts of their first moments/days were always the most Liked and commented on, which got me thinking, “Why are people always so excited when someone else has a baby?”  I have a theory.  SHOCKING!

OMG BabyNow, I am not judging anyone for being excited about babies.  I even find myself getting giddy when someone I know endures the worst pain known to man only to be rewarded with little to no sleep, sore nipples, and a body that will never be the same no matter how much weight you lose.  But I think it goes beyond our biological encoding to reproduce and “aww, babies are cute.” Cause not all babies are cute, there I said it. My youngest looked like a lizard for the first few months of his life.  Seriously, that giant mouth on a newborn is terrifying.  Anyway, I think people with kids get so excited about their friends having kids because simply put, misery loves company.

I’m not saying that having kids is all miserable, but it’s pretty damn close.  I love my kids more than almost anything, but when I see one of my kidless friends announce the birth of their first child I can’t help but think, “HA!  Suckers!  suckers You fell for it.  You had a great life of doing whatever you want whenever you want, and now you’re screwed!”  For years those of us straddled with kids have seen posts of you getting dressed up to go out drinking every weekend, going on vacation whenever you want, going to the gym, taking a shower, sleeping, the list goes on and on.  We saw these posts and shook with envy.  We would curse you by saying, “One day.  One day they will suffer the same fate as us.”

In addition to hoping you suffer through the same misery that is having children, we just want to be able to do stuff with you again.  We can’t afford the three vacations to Jamaica every year, and drinking all day with a 2 -year-old is typically frowned upon.  Now that you have kids too, you’ll be forced to come over and drink shitty light beer on our couch just to say you had a “night out.”  We miss hanging out with you. Ruining your life as you know it is the only way to get you back.  So we make you think that you really need to have kids too.

xanacThen we took it a step further.  We make parenthood seem like the greatest gift on the planet.  Bloggers wrote about the joy of being a parent.  But there must have been a typo because what they meant to write about was the joy of Xanax.  We fooled you, like the generation before had done to us.  “Kids are great,” they would say.  “There is no greater joy.”  Bullshit!  A childless vacation is a greater joy.  Sleeping til whenever the fuck you want is a greater joy.  Taking a shit by yourself is a greater joy.  The day will come when you realize all things you once took for granted, and you will attempt to make a deal with the devil to finish a cup of hot coffee, just once.

So, welcome to the club!  We are so happy you are here.  If you need help or have any questions be sure to direct them to honest parents.  You will recognize the moms by the sweatpants and lack of makeup.  You can recognize the dads because they will actually have a child near them.  We will be here if you need us, and we will do our best not to blow smoke.  We will tell you that being a parent is exhausting, hard, neverending work that never receives thanks or appreciation. There are no more sick days.  There are no more Sunday Fundays.  Most days, I don’t even get to sit down for more than 20 seconds without someone needing something or shitting their pants. Your whole world is these little people who require all you have and then some more. While it most certainly is not always the most fun you will ever have in your life, being a parent is certainly the most challenging, and I’m still hoping for the most rewarding. Fingers crossed.

fingers crossed

 

**For all of you reading this who are struggling to have your own bundle of disaster, never give up.  Never stop trying. There is always a way to become a family.**

 

 

 

A Powell Family Christmas Card

As a family, we have a grand total of three pictures of all of us together.  Three. With the most recent being taken on Halloween, and all of which were taken on a cell phone. Even if we had a good picture of all of us, I’m still not sure I could do the Shutterfly Super Mom Christmas Card thing.  I simply don’t have the time, the money, or the care.  So, those of you who have been wondering what the Powells have been up to this year.  Allow me to divulge…

Reed 20171202_165251
Age: 7
Grade: 2
Reed will be 8 in a matter of weeks. If you talk to him you’d think he was turning 18.  He insists on participating in adult conversations about which he knows nothing.  Which isn’t annoying at all.  He has a comment for any and all situations.  If you want to know a random made up fact about anything, just ask Reed.  He hates girls and still pisses all over the toilet and floor every morning.  The only subject in school he gives a shit about it Art, which is fine.  He has amazing talent.  We’ve already started saving for Art School, and are accepting the fact that he’ll probably live in our basement for the rest of his life.
Greatest Accomplishment: Gaining just enough weight to not be concerned about his health.

Claire
Age: 2 20171201_184148
Claire will be three next month, despite the fact that is transitioning to 5t clothes as we speak.  She’s a bit of a beast.  She’s the quintessential threenager.  Everything is hers, nothing is her brother’s, and “no” is the answer to every question.  At some point, she came the conclusion that we care about her opinion. I assure you, we do not. She will be starting pre-school in January.  They will be focusing on her speech while she is there.  It would seem I have given birth to a Pentecostal minister who only speaks in tongues.  She loves food and hates pants.
Greatest Accomplishment: Making Reed uncomfortable by stripping naked to play in the basement.

Samuel
Age: 1 20171128_085549
Our little Sammy just turned 1 in October.  He is a real asshole.  He is in the process of cutting his final 4 teeth, and they are taking their sweet ass time.  In his defense, he is finally sleeping through the night, which only took him about a year to do.  I don’t want to say he’s a Mama’s Boy, but he makes Norman Bates looks like a well-adjusted, independent man of the world.  His interests include screaming, crying, open mouth kisses, and laughing at his brother.
Greatest Accomplishment: Figuring out how to walk on the hardwood in socks.

Josh
Age: 41 20171123_135149
Daddy got himself a big boy job.  No more working on cars and having people ask him for free/cheap labor.  Now he gets to sit at a desk and get fat just like the rest of us. While he would love to go to the gym at least three days a week, we have three children.  You take sleep over pretty much anything.  Despite all the changes he has seen over the year, he still hates most of humanity and drinks enough Bourbon to keep Kentucky in business for the foreseeable future.
Greatest Accomplishment: Establishing a new poop schedule based on the new work schedule.

Leah
Age: None of your damn business 20171209_112654
I have had yet another insane year.  I have started and stopped a diet/work out plan about three different times now.  Since February of this year, I have lost zero pounds.  If anyone breaks down and needs a spare tire, just give me a call.  I started drinking coffee for the first time in my life this year.  I officially feel like an adult.  I never wear makeup anymore, and rarely even shower.  If I have to put pants on that aren’t sweatpants, I bitch incessantly about it.  My life revolves around peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, diapers, and saying the word, “No” about a thousand times a day.  And as of January, it will be one whole year since I have had a haircut.
Greatest Accomplishment:  Not getting pregnant.

We hope everyone has enjoyed their 2017 as much as we have, and are looking forward to 2018 as much as we are. Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas. Be Nice, Damnit!

A couple of weeks ago I was out grocery shopping with my two youngest (ages 1 and 2).  Our typical routine consists of getting those hot deals on all things processed at Aldi, then boogying over to Meijer for the fancy generic food they just don’t have at Aldi.  Nevertheless, by the time we get to check out at Meijer everyone is in a Code Red situation.  The 2-year-old is tired from running through the store, the 1-year-old probably missed his morning nap and is fighting an internal battle on whether he’s more hungry or tired.  At this point, it’s a toss-up.  There is a meltdown just around the corner.  I know it, the cashier knows it, every retired person in Bloomington-Normal shopping with us on a Thursday morning knows it.

Needless to say,  I try to make it through checkout in record time.  I place everything on the belt in a way that makes sense for bagging.  If I’m buying booze (HAHAHAHA “if”)… tenorWhen I’m buying booze, I keep it for last so I can have my ID ready. However, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are there are too many variables.  Too many things out of your control.  Those sons-a-bitches who design these stores know that stressed-out parents like me will do anything to shut their kids up in the check out lane so they fill it with candy, and toys and random shit that no one on this planet ever needs….ever.

So, the 1-year-old starts fussing because it’s feedin’ time.  The 2-year-old wants all theKung Pao miniature princess dolls that as soon as we get home, will mean jack shit.  I’m shoving every cracker I have in the diaper bag down the baby’s throat, while trying to distract the girl one with anything that won’t cost me any more money.  I get all the groceries on the belt, I’m sweating like George Costanza housing Kung Pao Chicken, and now there is someone behind us in line, which for some reason elevates my stress level.

We get all checked out.  Bags back in the cart.  Debit card swiped, then inserted because I can never remember which one it is.  At this point, my anxiety is to a max.  I still have to get everything and everyone in the car, home, out of the car, fed, and napped.  Ugh….

Then, the woman who had braved standing behind us in line looks at me and says, “Wow.  You make that look so easy.  I remember doing it, but I don’t remember it being that easy.”

BIQWWmlCQAEN7hOI almost burst into tears and hugged her.  At first, I thought “Well, Gotcha Bitch!  Cause I’m a fucking wreck!”  But I took the high road and said, “If you were in my head you wouldn’t be saying that.  But thank you very much.”

That woman, whoever she is, has no idea what she said meant to me in that moment.  When you go anywhere with little kids you feel like a pariah.  The minute you walk in you can actually hear the eye rolls.  I can’t say I blame them. Other people’s kids are annoying.  Just remember that we’re doing the best we can.

So whenever you see a mom, a dad, anyone straight up owning a stressful situation, whether it’s kid related or not, give them credit.  If you’re thinking something nice about someone, say it. It sounds so simple and yet it’s something I’ll admit I rarely do.  Why?  Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up?  Especially this time of year when everyone is stressed out, be nice.  Find the good.   You never know when you could be making someone’s day.  I know I will never forget that woman at Meijer who made all of my stress and efforts seem worth it.  She made me like everything was going to be ok, and there was nothing I couldn’t deal with.  So, whoever you are Meijer Angel, Thank You! And as for the rest of you, I know people suck but try to be nice.  Maybe they won’t suck as much.

be-nice-gif-10

 

Who Needs Christmas When There’s Thanksgiving

Nothing fills me with rage more than watching people put Christmas trees up on November 1.  I am of a rare breed who thinks that Thanksgiving is the single greatest holiday in our calendar year.  It seems as though the rest of society would beg to differ, but fuck them. What do they know?  Now sit back, shut up, and listen while I tell you why Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever.

butter a carb

First of all, Carbs.  Your argument is invalid.  It is the one day a year we celebrate, unbrazenly, those macro-nutrients we strive to avoid year round: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy. Even the vegetable get de-healthyfied: green bean casserole, corn casserole. My God, I am salivating just thinking about it. Even Christmas with all it’s hammy glory can’t compete with the salty, starchy, carby deliciousness that is Thanksgiving.

Secondly, Football.  All day.  On a Thursday.  Is there anything better than going all Kirstie Alley at the Thanksgiving table, then slipping into a turkey induced mini-coma while listening to Cris Collinsworth commentate the Detroit Lions (because they play every year for some reason) getting their asses handed to them?  Don’t bother answering because the answer is no. No, there is not anything better than that.

Thirdly, wine.  Admittedly, this is not exclusive to Thanksgiving, but honestly, there is wine 2nothing like having a bottle of nice smooth, buttery Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay with a giant turkey leg.  Yes, I said bottle. We all know you’re not surprised.

Finally, (this one might be specific to me, but it’s my blog so suck it) the Traditional Sabaduquia Thanksgiving. No, I did not sneeze mid-sentence, and no, it has nothing to do with the Flintstones. When I was growing up I spent every Thanksgiving with my dad and his family.  It was a small group. Just me, Dad, my step-mom, my uncle, aunt, grandma, and grandpa.  It was really the only time of the year we all got together. Everyone in the family had their “thing.”  My grandmother would scream at my grandfather so he could hear her.  He would, of course, turn his hearing aid down so he couldn’t hear her.  My uncle always ate white rice instead of mashed potatoes for some reason.  My aunt would always sleep for the majority of the day. God bless her with her three jobs.  My dad would count down the minutes until we were done eating and could start drinking and gambling.  And my step-mom, spent the day dodging my grandmother’s passive-aggressive comments.  The whole thing was orchestrated imperfection.  I loved every minute of it.  We would eat, gamble, drink, then eat again.  We would all stay up way too late, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard in all my life.

My grandmother has since passed away, and my grandfather is in the hospital after a serious accident.  Since I now I have three kids, I have taken on the tradition of hosting Thanksgiving, even following my grandmother’s world-famous stuffing recipe.   I miss those days of hilarious chaos in a way I can’t even explain.  I would do anything to have them back.  Even though it will never be exactly the same, I am so happy to practice the same traditions, and introduce new ones for my family.

Thanksgiving is about pure, unadulterated, family time.  There is no tree. There are no presents. There are no over the top decorations. There are no expectation. There are no ulterior motives.  It’s about reflecting on all the things you already have, not all the things you want. It’s about spending time with the family that drives you nuts, but recognizing that what drives you nuts are the things you will miss the most when they’re not there.   It’s about creating traditions that your family will hold dear for the rest of their lives.  But mostly, it’s just about the carbs.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgivin