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Bad Parenting Moments: November 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

I am the most boring person alive.

Apparently, the sound of my voice is so unappealing, uninteresting and unremarkable that it can disappear into thin air. I am the David Blaine of speech. There was a full movie made about the trials and tribulations of King George VI. A full, 118 minute film centered around his and a speech therapist's struggle to make an unsure monarch worthy of his title through bold speech. I have my own movie, that takes place daily, where a woman in sweat pants and slippers from a company titled "My Friend" beats a dead horse with words that can only be heard if you are over 4 foot 8 inches tall. The matinee offers the most bang for your buck as all four children are home. You can see slow motion running and several mouthed, "I thought I told you not to..." as another child runs to me holding a first-aid kit and a mid-size to large-ish clump of their own or a sibling's hair. It's not all glamour and glitter, though. Even if I'm wearing a real bra and regular pants, my words are still magically as light and soft weighted as a single feather in flight. As useless as a Snuggie. As unreasonable as attempting to put on Spanx fresh out of the shower. As hopeless as my deep desire that Footloose be remade with the original cast. Kevin Bacon would reprise his role and be the town's aging and heartwarming shoe salesman; happily selling Capezio dance shoes to all the children he's freed to dance out loud. The kicker is, they wouldn't even KNOW that he is the hero and wouldn't be able to appreciate that they are buying jazz shoes from a legend. It has so much potential. Call me, Fox Searchlight.

I digress. I spend all day speaking and saying nothing. Because, if you aren't heard, does a bear still shit in the woods? Exactly.

But, to wax philosophical, am I really saying anything worth listening to? In between the "gentle reminders" to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, go to school, get in the car, stop eating glue, no you can not have another snack, clean up, stop riding the baby, if you were hungry you'd eat an apple, no more t.v., did you finish your homework? and, time for pajamas!; Did I say anything fascinating?


Really, it's not that I don't have anything to offer, it's that the children and I are in the prime of our parallel living. They are trying to test boundaries. I am trying to set them. They are trying to break barriers. I am trying to duct tape a five-point car seat harness. They are trying to LIVE. I am trying to keep them alive. They are trying to break the barrel lock to the basement door and eat the candy I've hidden there. So am I.

When our parallel travel becomes a four-way stop, I wish on stars, full moons, sleeping bedheads and all of the words whispered and left unsaid, that we've made moments of and spoken of substance; that more often than not, our words were worthwhile and important. I pray that our future conversations, be they mundane or magical, all fall on listening ears.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

PSA: Please Don't Be A Holidick Or Jerky Turkey

As Thanksgiving and the subsequent winter holidays speed toward us like a runaway Polar Express, I watch, in magical wonder, as relatively normal people become bitter, angry, humorless and resentful online, and, in real life. It's getting cold outside and frankly, so are our hearts. I understand how this could happen given the enormous amount of pressure we place on ourselves, our families, complete strangers and innocent bystanders during the holidays and, true, there is NO excuse for the suddenly shocking shortage of alcohol on your store shelves, but, I beg of you, check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Could you be a holidick?



1. a person set on ruining a custom, festivities or any event or celebration directly related to or, in commemoration of some event or in honor of someperson.


1. of or pertaining to joyless festival; lack of festivity; lack of joyous celebration: a holidick mood.

2. unsuitable for a holiday: Why are you looking at me with that holidick stare? or, Setting my santa hat on fire was a holidick move.

(synonym: holidouche)

Dear friends, let's remember what the holidays are all about: grace, giving, joy, peace and making sure, for a few short weeks, you drink just enough to embrace the fun in family dysfunction, yet, not so much that you discuss Aunt Jolene's Oxycontin dependence over mini pumpkin cheesecakes. Remember, don't be a BAH HUMBUG, just kindly pass the Rum...bug. It's the best I could do. Sue me. Please don't.

Remember, no matter who gets the largest part of the wishbone, we're ALL winners. Pass the Pinot Noir.

Rusty likes to throw snowballs at defenseless young women. Rusty is a holidick.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

There's some SWAG in Santa's bag!

When I was a child, my originally Jewish but, by then, formerly Mormon father used to take us to Grandma's house for some good old fashioned, Christmas Eve merriment. Wait, didn't you just say your dad was originally Jewish? Stop being so smart, readers! Yes, my dear Grandma Ada would buy a tree, decorate it, make cocoa and buy a red, Santa hat. She did this because she loved us even if Christmas wasn't her speed and was outside of the festively decorated box she considered "normal". We wanted Christmas. Grandma Ada made it happen. That's the kind of lady she is. But, this story isn't about my badass, Jewish Grandma. (HI GRANDMA! I LOVE YOU!) This is about the holidays. It's about families, stress, drinking, eating and trying not to punch people directly in the throat.

Want some goodies? Have you been naughty or nice? Guess what, we don't care. Naughty, nice or anywhere in between, you can win!

Nineteen of your favorite mom humor bloggers had a meeting and we all agreed. There's a brand new book that we think you NEED to read this holiday season. The title says it all:

Click HERE to see what folks have to say about this new age Holiday Classic. Yes, I can call it a classic. This is my blog. It's a classic to me.

Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat is a heartwarming (yes, really!) collection of hilarious holiday-themed personal stories and observations written by none other than Jen of the well-known blog People I Want To Punch In The Throat.  If the holidays have you stressing about gift giving, cookie decorating, or where in the world to put your Elf on the Shelf, then you need to take a parenting time out and read a chapter or two. And now you can have a chance to peruse the pages for free. Consider it our holiday gift to you. We are teaming up to give away 19 copies of the book. All you have to do is enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter link/form below for your chance to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy! BOOM! THROAT PUNCH!

Jen generously donated an autographed copy to every blogger participating in this giveaway so that we could increase your chances to win. This giveaway is open to US residents only. "But wait, that's not all!" we say in our best Price is Right announcer voice. We couldn't get a bunch of tech-savvy moms together for a book giveaway and not bring you an eReader, right?

SO, we are also giving away a Kindle Fire!

NINETEEN winners will receive a copy of Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat and ONE lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle Fire! What are you waiting for? Get clicking!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unidentified Flying Childhood

On the way home, I caught sight of a falling item through the bare branches lining the highway. It appeared to be hurtling through the sky. Ready to crash land at any moment. I continued to drive.  The item continued to fall with the same speed and ferocity while never reaching a target. I was mesmerized. I drove. It fell. I watched. It fell. The smoke trailing behind the object serving as the only indication of motion. A picture of perpetual movement with no visible progress. I know that feeling.

I am not the kind of mother who spends all day quietly crafting in the evergreen scented warmth of my kitchen, oven slightly ajar to release heat and the smells of baking. I do not cry when my children leave to begin a new school year or lose a tooth. I am a believer in progress. I am thankful for each new phase. Stepping stones signaling passage from dependence to independence. I celebrate forward motion as I watch them create a life, separate from me and my expectations of who they are. I watch their light bulb moments with curiosity and eagerness. Some days, it seems as if it is moving so quickly. Some days, perpetual movement with no visible progress. We become stuck in the day to day minutia.

I have been in varying stages of parenting young children since I first stepped into the role in 2006. Every two years, another infant. Every two years, a rearranging of the family structure. A re-learning of infancy. A re-tooling of our resources, abilities and boundaries with ourselves and each other. Every two years, my well defined parenting taste buds mature and I must further develop my palate.

When pregnant with our last, I knew we were pushing the reaches of our abilities and resources. I knew we were done.  Thus began a new vision of parenting. A model where another baby would not come home in a striped hat of pink and blue. Things are changing. The baby on my chest is the last. The chalk throwing 2 year old looks older. The 4 year old seems tall, lanky with no sign of his baby cheeks. The 6 year old, a shorter and wittier version of young adult me. Time has finally started moving. Swiftly.

I used to feel unable to say that the fully dependent times are trying. It is difficult to admit that, on some days, you feel like you are hurtling through space, in a dark void filled with only screams, dirty diapers and the incessant need of you.

We are a society that is so focused on the past and future that we neglect our present. In either judgmental hindsight or thoughtful foreshadowing, we ignore the now in its hideous imperfection. The hindsighters who watch you navigate moments of DEFCON 1 parenting and, with lustful implication, say, "Oh enjoy it, it goes by so fast." In hindsight, do we all view childhood as a shooting star? Beautiful, rare and blindingly brief.

Perhaps, in some ways, this is true. We pine for what is gone. We long for what is just outside our future reach. In the present though, we are frozen in lack of noticeable progress. We look forward to the abilities, competencies and skills they have yet to grow into. We pine for full cheeks, soft bellies and toothless grins.

I don't like to drink from the, "This is as good as it gets." fountain. I cherish the soft days of baby. I laugh through the wild rumpus of toddlerhood, I marvel at the knowledge of my newly school aged children's vivid understanding of the complicated world around them. I watch as they embrace every moment as it is happening; maybe children are the only ones who are truly able to.

Peter Pan never wanted to grow up. Wendy, Michael and John, even after the adventure of Neverland, wanted to go home to their mother. I think we all carry a bit of this as we fly through life. Half child/Half grown-up emotion hoping our children slow down, believe in fairies and, no matter where they are in the adventure, always fly home.

Life is happening while we court the great reckoning of longing versus progress. And, while we're here in this daily fall of non-visible momentum, the smoke is signaling that we're traveling. Swiftly.


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Monday, November 5, 2012

The H Word.

I hate the term housewife. This is generally said as I lift a roast out of the oven. I did not marry my house. It's too old, it makes embarrassing noises and, frankly, it's a bit small, if you know what I mean. When I hear, "housewife", I channel Betty Draper. Not in the, my hair and makeup are perfect way, but in the, I hate everything and everyone around me way. Technically, I work from home; however, my house and I are not in a relationship. It is merely the storage unit overflowing with the products of the life we've created.

In the 50s, the role of the matriarch was to keep a clean and presentable appearance and home. To dress children well and ensure they were fed, polite and delivered to and from school. The picture of the well dressed mother, peering out the window to ensure supper was on the table before the wheels of the Thunderbird turned the corner and shifted from drive to park. 

Then, we changed. We grew and brave women started the hard work that continues today. We were freed from the prison of the 50s housewife stereotype. Except, we weren't.

Women are CEOs, politicians and soldiers. We have made great strides in the workforce. We still struggle to receive equal pay for equal work, but, there is no denying our progress.

However, inside the walls of home, the role of the stay-at-home care provider still struggles to find its new normal. This role has shifted. It is more hands-on. It is more engaged. The expectations of a full-time caregiver are robust. 100% tuned in to not only the physical requirements of the job; food in bellies, clothes on back, but also immersed in social and emotional development. And, you must not only be switched on to library outings and play groups, play dates and socially enriching opportunities, but, in the midst of this, you must be engaged. Present. Not just inside the home, but, in the real and imagined world of the child. At classes, at school, at sports events and recitals and classroom parties. Constantly. This hands-on/deep end of the parenting pool is newer; stemming from the emotional and natural parenting boom of the 70s. The rollover era of peace and love moving child rearing in a new direction. This move was and continues to be great, except for the quiet expectation that tagged along...the monkey on the back of progress. Yes, the 50s era housewife.

Ham! Mother fuckin' HAM!

In this brave new world of ultra-connected parenting, there is still the covert expectation that you go steady with your home. To promise to clean, organize, decorate, cook (equal parts delicious and nutritious) meals and make hospital corners until death do you part.  And, there is a ticking clock.  Attempts should be made to do it all before the doorknob twists. signaling not the end of the parenting work-day...because that never ends, but the traditional work day of someone else.

Few are brave enough to come right out and state this is the expectation, but, the nagging feeling of impeded progress is there. Sadly, we have not helped ourselves as we continue to feel the pressure internally to do more and more and then, even more with the same number of hours in the day. The expectation of perfection and the seamless oneness of our multiple functions. Measuring our proficiency of every part of our enormous role to determine a day's success. We could blame society, but, we continue to place this expectation on ourselves. Instead of separating our parenting from "housewifery", we combine them into one role. One overarching rainbow from child birth to clean toilets. On most days, I fail my home. I do not dust, clean blinds or mop. I do not scour floors or counters, but, I am an overextended and present parent. On the days when I put on my date-night pants and do my laundry, organize the roaming piles of paper and items needing attention, clean and plan elaborate meals, I am not as present for my children.

"We can have it all!" Well, we can. We do, but, only when we measure our success by the happiness of our children and stop measuring success by how many items are left on the to-do list.

I am an imperfect, stay-at-home parent. If you call me a housewife, I will hit you in the face with my Frittata pan.


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