When Is A Vacation Not A Vacation

If you know me, you know we haven’t been on a vacation since our 2012 Honeymoon.  We took the kids to Indianapolis this last summer, which barely qualifies but it was more than enough.  So, all of the following is based solely on my friends experiences, and you know…common sense.

Dear Dads,

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Moms HATE big, elaborate family vacations. There I said it.  You’re not doing us any favors, especially if your kids are under 5. While we crying babyappreciate the sentiment, taking our kids on a road trip, plane trip, to the beach, and especially to a strange place to sleep is so much more work than it is worth to us. Simply providing entertainment and your presence does not automatically make our lives easier.  No one looks at the daddy to shut up the crying baby. Imagine if  your wife planned a trip to tour the corporate location of your company for a week. But in the week leading up to the trip you had to prepare a 5 day presentation for all the VP’s of the company.  That’s what a family vacation is like for a mom.  It’s everything awful about our everyday lives, extrapolated.

Going on a family vacation with little kids is a lot like every other day of our lives, except its ten times more work with 100 times more exhaustion.  We go to the beach.  It’s hot. There is sand EVERYWHERE!  We can only go for 45 mins at a time because of naps.  Dad passed outShe’s constantly worried about someone getting sun burned and/or drowning in the ocean.  “Did the baby shit his pants?  Did the girl just eat sand? Did I look like that skinny bitch when I was 22?” But she’s super happy for you that you got to throw the kids into the water and be a hero for ten minutes before you pounded 7 Miami Vices and passed out on a lawn chair.  yay……

And spare me the whole, “I want to create childhood memories for my kids” thing.  I am all about that, but you do realize kids remember next to nothing before the age of 5, right?  The only person who is going to remember it is your wife, and those memories will not be fond ones.  I know you feel like you’re providing some kind of memorable experience for your kids, but honestly  it doesn’t fucking matter. Do you think a 3 year old knows the different between the pool at a beach resort and the pool at the local Radisson?  Cause they don’t.

We love you for trying.  We love you for working so hard to provide such trips, and we know that is how you show us you love us. But the next time you’re thinking of getting the whole family a trip to Disney, an all-inclusive Caribbean Resort, or anywhere more than a few hours away (and any of your kids are under 5)  stop and heed my warning. Save your money, marriage, and sanity by booking a hotel on the other side of town that has a pool.  Take the kids swimming every day.  Let them eat junk food. Go to the local arcade/amusement park. Then take the kids home and let her have the hotel room to herself.  A sitter a few nights that week so you could spend some alone time together wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  But not every night….not every night.

Now, if she’s telling you that she actually enjoys listening to the kids cry for hours in the back of the car, you yelling at them, trying to anticipate every situation and need, pretending like she’s not miserable, and isn’t day dreaming about being at a Mexican swim-up bar with someone who strikingly resembles Jason Mamoa then she’s either lying to you or the Xanax has kicked in.

Jason Mamoa

 

 

Second Annual Powell Family Christmas Card

Well, we’re doing better this year. We actually had family pictures taken!  I know, I know.  It’s almost like we have our shit together. But don’t worry, we still don’t.  Another year has passed, my kids have grown, my husband has established himself in his job, and I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.  So from our ever growing, changing, moving, dysfunctional family to yours, Merry Christmas!!

Reed
Age: 8
Grade: 3 20181123_133357
In a matter of weeks my eldest child will be 9.  He looks like a 9 year-old, he smells like a 9 year-old, he has teeth 4 sizes too big for this face like a 9 year-old.  Despite being forced to take a shower every day, he still smells like the human equivalent of moldy drywall.   He wants nothing to do with girls, and will put more effort into not brushing his teeth than it would take to just brush his  teeth. He is still kicking ass in his art class.  And even though he’s not at the top of his class academically, he makes everyone in class laugh. And honestly, I couldn’t be more proud.
Greatest Accomplishment: Learning that you can, in fact, pee in the toilet without peeing all over the floor.

Claire
Age: 3
Grade: Preschool20180808_110844
Claire started preschool last January.  Thanks to a slight speech delay, she qualified for public preschool, which means it’s FREE!!!!  Her language has improved greatly and she now talks non-stop.  Non. Stop.  She has discovered that she gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks, and has continued to live her life as such.  Her hair looks like she should live at Grey Gardens, and she’s still doing her best to mess up the curve by rocking straight up size 6t clothes.  She got her room painted purple this year. And while she loves all things girly, she will still pile drive her brothers like she believes professional wrestling is real.
Greatest Accomplishment: Not shitting in her pants….as much.

Samuel
Age: 220180926_145941
This blogs namesake turned 2 this year. If I called him a whiny little bitch, I would be doing a disservice to whiny little bitches everywhere.  We have the terrible 2s coupled with severe separation anxiety, which makes for an expensive drinking habit for Mommy.  He is talking so much, busting out new words everything day like, “What the heck?” and “God Damnit!” He’s a regular chatty Cathy.  This year he also moved into a big boy bed, and really loves the whole not sleeping in a cage thing anymore. Most recently, he has started potty training and will tell us if he has to go potty to “make water.”
Greatest Accomplishment: Has mastered the art of Chinese water torture in the form of “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama…”

 

Josh
Age: 4220180915_125004
Josh has been kicking ass and taking names at work.  He also discovered that he and his boss, also named Josh, are exactly the same person. So, that’s not weird or anything.  You know how most people get softer in their old age, not my man!  He still hates everyone as much if not more than ever before.  He still has the same protein shake every day for breakfast, he still puts a fried egg on his cheeseburger, and he still keeps a cleaner house than I do.  However, now he does all of that in dress pants that hug his ass and brown wing tips.
Greatest Accomplishment: Randomly joining Sam’s club while bored on his lunch hour one day.

Leah 
Age: Still none of your damn business. 20181020_183832
I have learned how to survive on little to no sleep each and every day.  I’m currently lobbying to be in a clinical trial for coffee that is distributed intravenously.  My current career path has me competing with 12 year-olds for babysitting jobs, in addition to some marketing consulting.  You know, because 3 kids of my own, one extra, a husband, and a house just isn’t enough. I’m learning to not care so much what people think. Turns out I can care less!  Who knew? Nothing get’s me more excited than when something is on sale, whether I need it or not. And I’m sickeningly aware of all the things that make me “basic;” for most of which, I feel no need to apologize.
Greatest Accomplishment: Recently bought the best pair of leggings at Aldi for $6.

 

Merry Christmas all you filthy animals!!

 

 

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.

 

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.**

 

 

 

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

 

The Shit Remote…

Remember your friend from college who used to insist on taking a picture of his defecation and text to everyone in the group?  If you don’t, lucky you.  If you still have this friend, maybe you shouldn’t.  If you are this friend, stop it!  Now, imagine that giant shit that your friend is strangely proud of had a remote control right next to it.

Allow me to explain.  A little backstory: my daughter, now 2 and a half is recently potty trained.  We’ve got it pretty much down, but she still has this thing.  She always starts to shit in her pants.  She won’t finish in her pants, but she gets the turtle head out of the shell before she says she has to poop.  I think you get the picture.

John wayneOne day she started her daily shit in her Dory underwear per usual.  We ran to the bathroom, her doing her best John Wayne impression. Because walking with shit in your pants is really hard work.  We get to the bathroom with enough time for her to finish her shadoobie in the appropriate arena.  I peeled her underwear off of her, careful not to smear shit all over the front of the toilet…again.

Meanwhile, my 1-year-old is walking around chewing on the remote control for the TV because, well, I’ve just given up as a parent.  Keep in mind, he is obsessed with the toilet.  We’ve already lost a DVD to him taking it for a little swim in the porcelain kiddie pool.  Typically, he only keeps her company while she’s pinching one off.  He’s just sitting in wait for her to be done so he can go to town in the toilet water like God intended.

After my successful removal of the shit stained underwear, I ran upstairs to start a load of laundry, because….poop.  When I came back downstairs I noticed the 1-year-old didn’t have the remote anymore.  Not too strange as he usually leaves random stuff in random places all day long.  I walked into the bathroom to see the girl one still sitting with a look of pride on her face over the stench that was coming from the toilet.  “Good Girl!” she shouted as I asked her if she pooped.  Her legs were slightly separated, and as I looked into the potty, I see something shiny.

“What’s in there?” I asked.

“I poop!!” She replied.

I took her off the toilet to wipe her nasty ass when I see it.  A giant, grown man turd nestled next to our small, black television remote.  My 1-year-old had sneaked it between her legs, mid shit mind you, and then continued about his business as if nothing had happened.

What. In. All. The. Fuck?!?!?! I got a pair of latex gloves that I normally only use when I cut up jalapenos and plucked the shit covered remote out of the toilet. gag There was no question in my mind to throw it away, but I knew that if we were going to buy a new one, we would need to know what the old one looked like.  So, I kept it out to show my husband when he got home from work.

The minute he walked in the door was halfway through both a Bud Light and the story of what happened to our remote.  This sick bastard, says we should keep the remote.  I’m sorry.  Are you fucking kidding me?  There was literally nothing between it and shit.  He replied, “Literally everything in this house has got to be covered in shit at this point,” and threw it in a bowl of rice to dry out. While I can’t argue with his logic about shit in the house, at least 2 of our kids have straight up shit on the floor in the living room, it’s totally different to see it…in the toilet…touching something you hold in your hand every day.

Much to my chagrin, the remote works.  The rice worked, in case you were wondering.  The fucking thing is sitting in my living room.  While I have disinfected it with a bleach solution, I still refuse to use it.  My husband just laughs at me.  To which I simply reply, “You didn’t see it! You don’t know!”

 

You don't know

 

Our Lord and Savior, Chuck E. Cheese

A few years ago when I was blessed with only one child, my mother and grandmother came to visit.  My son was only 3 at the time, now 7.

A little back story, Glamma and Granny, respectively didn’t think that Mommy exposed to the children to religion enough.  Mommy thought they have the rest of their lives to make their own decisions, and that religion is a very complex issue that needs to be addressed carefully.  Nevertheless, we agree to disagree.

During this particular visit, the grandmothers were doing a bit of recon on the toddler.  Asking questions like, “Do you know who Jesus is?”  “Has Mommy taught you about how much Jesus loves you?”  I don’t think they were ready for the answer they received.

My mom, or Glamma, for these purposes, asked my son if he knew who Jesus was.  He replied with a very unenthusiastic, “Yeah.”  Regardless, the grandmothers were very pleased that he at least recognized the name.  Maybe I’m not such a godless heathen after all.  Glamma continued her questioning with more detail, “Did you know that Jesus loves you so much he died for your sins?” My son, still unphased by the grossly age-inappropriate question, replied, “Yeah” without even looking up from his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Finally, Glamma asked him, “What else do you know about Jesus?”  The boy, finally realizing he was involved in an actual human conversation, looked up at Glamma with deep, sincere eyes and says, “Glamma, do you mean, Chuck E. Chesus?”

About a year later I was sitting on my patio with the same child.  Who was still an only child…those were the days.  Anyway, it was a Friday.  Good Friday to be exact.  In a moment of religious guilt, I asked my son if they told him what that day was at school.  He answered, “Yup.  It’s Friday.”  “You are not incorrect, my darling child,” I responded. “But today is also a special Friday.  It’s Good Friday.  It’s the day we celebrate that Jesus died for our sins.”  I was terrified this was going to turn into a morbid conversation about the details of His death. But instead, he looked at me like a teenager looks at an adult who calls it “The Facebook” and says, “That’s the mouse, right?”

 

Chuck E Cheese.gif