Sunday, March 31, 2013

In Defense of the Smart Phone Moms

Hi there, let me just...pull
Okay. Hang on while I climb up. Now hold my hand cause mama is scared of heights. Thanks.

Okay, listen up. I have to say something. 

I am SO tired of hearing/reading about people dogging out mothers on their smart phones. There are a variety of reasons, of which I will get into in a second. But the first and most important reason is hey, guess what? It is none of your business.  

My office. 
A lot of mothers, me included, work from home. That means, as a freelancer, I attempt to almost always be available so I don't miss out on something important. Small price to pay for getting to be at home with Lady Baby. So I check my email a lot, I look at Facebook a lot, and I text a lot. Sure some of it is for fun. But a lot is for work as well. I think it is okay for me to miss one trip down the slide to send an email about a job or to return a quick text about a problem. Back up off me people. I have a lot of balls in the air here. I don't have the luxury of leaving my phone/job at home when we go somewhere. So yes, I can be seen on it quite often. And I don't care what you think. Cause we gotta eat.

Most moms who stay at home are with their kids A LOT. And by a lot I mean most of every day. That is a lot of "hey mom" and "watch this" and "guess what." I don't begrudge any mom that takes her kids somewhere for them to have fun and then she dares takes a few minutes, or even many minutes, and plays on her phone. Sometimes we need a break. And guess what? She has her kids doing something. And assuming they are safe, why shouldn't she get a break? Seriously. You judgers, do you answer every question, and spend every second playing with your kids, and never ever look away for any reason? Doubtful. Would you be happier if the mom on the smart phone were looking at a book, or a magazine, or talking with her friend and not looking at her kids? Do your kids sit and watch TV while you do other things? Are you beating yourself up about that? I am not. Nor do I feel bad that I checked my email the other day during a play date.

We are all doing are best. For many, our phones provide a much needed avenue back into the world of grown ups. Our kids will survive us not watching their every move when they are having a great time playing with their friends or picking flowers or pushing a mini shopping cart around. It may even do them good to understand that they are not entitled to our undivided attention every second of their lives. Oh the horror for them to know there are other things beside their little faces the we enjoy looking upon. 

Seriously. Quit bashing each other, moms. We are all doing our best. And if that is taking a break at the park and playing a little Words with Friends or texting with our BF while breast feeding or reading Twitter during a dance class, then Back. Off. We need it. More importantly, we deserve it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Potty Post Update

I feel like to grasp the full reality of us sharing our bathroom three ways, I wanted to share a pic of the bathroom. (Please notice the lack of linen closet. There is instead a little shelf situation with a shutter for a door that is in the wall for q-tips and advil and the like. Don't get me started on the closets. Three. In the whole house. Yeah. Three. But look at the trim work. LOOK AT IT.)
Raise your hand if you were picturing a bathroom that was a little bigger. Like one that would fit a full size sink. The one in here is for a small boat. I can hear your gasps from here. 

I realized I didn't mention how fun it is when we have overnight house guests. At one point my dad said, "Invite me back when you get another bathroom." Yup, it's really that fun. When Lady Baby is sitting on her mini potty she pulls it out and puts it in front of the bathtub. And then whoever else is in there gets to step over her. And bodder her. Relentlessly. So. Fun

Tomorrow is the beginning of spring break. Cause preschoolers need spring break. I am going to hide in my tiny bathroom and cry.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Family Bathroom.(alternate title: No One Potties Alone Except the 3yo)

How many bathrooms do you have? We have one. Uno. A single tinkletorium. We live in a cute little bungalow that was built in the twenties and apparently flappers and dandies and mobsters were not well versed in the art of hydration beyond their moonshine and therefore did very little of the weeing. I am sure it had nothing to do with how expensive toliets and bathtubs were. Because we choose to live in a house that we love, in a neighborhood we love, we also have to deal with a few ugly truths. I feel it is only right that I share so others will understand. With great crown molding comes great responsibility.

I have advice for all those families who have at least two or more members and are looking at a house with one bathroom. It is doable, but you gotta know what you are getting into. Don't shudder and stop here because you don't want to to know. You need to know. Please, you have to understand. Dear must be prepared. 

1. If you are a couple, with no chilrens, one bathroom seems laughably doable. You are in love, you are not modest, there is nothing you don't want to share. I cannot stress enough that you will not always feel like this. Sometimes, you just don't want to put on makeup when your one true love is cutting his toenails. Cause that snip snip snip makes it hard to put on your face when your skin is literally crawling. And forget about feeling lovey dovey. When you are in the shower and someone must shadoob, it's a game changer. Game. Changer. We have never lived in a house with more than one bathroom. The only couples closer on this earth are the ones that crouch over a hole together in the jungle.

2. If you are a couple expecting, or have, a tiny one, you will look at your sweet little house with one bathroom and say, "we have a few years before potty training. We can totally add a bathroom on before our perfect child can even walk, much less be dropping it like its hot in a toilet instead of a diaper." But you probably won't do that. Because who wants to do construction when you have a newborn? And who can make any decisions about tile and shower heads when you haven't slept in a month? You could end up with a pink toilet with a squishy toilet seat and a heart shaped tub (I am sure that is what my subconscious would pick out). And once you have a baby, you are spending money on diapers and yoga pants and a rooftop carrier and coffee. Trust and believe that you will have one bathroom when that child is being potty trained. Please see #3.
The family that potties together stays together.
3. When a child is being potty trained, there is no putting them off. There is no, "hang on, mommy needs a minute to be alone." When they start a'knocking, let that kid in. The alternative is just not worth it. Especially if you have a runner in your hall (ours is sisal  which is code for impossible-to-clean-nooks-and-crannies). So therefore, one must be prepared to cut all visits to the toilet short. When you walk in, don't plan on committing to a long sit down. Ain't happening unless you are the only one home. 

4. With kids, you can NEVER count on being alone. If you need to do some sort of "landscaping" or you want to bleach your mustache alone, wait until everyone is out of the house. Otherwise, there is a chance you will permanently scar your children and give them something to tell their preschool teacher. No one wants to overhear, "my mommy has a hairy bod-ee and she pulls the hairs out with stickers and it makes her cry." Awk-ward. Also know you will not pee alone. You will not poop alone. Even if they don't really need to go, they will pretend they do. And then they will sit on their mini potty while you sit on the big potty and chat you up like you are just two people, sitting at the bus stop. 

5. There will be an uneven division of time. Someone will always get more. Ladies, you know what I am talking about. The men. Every one of my friends does not understand what takes their husbands so long in the b-room. I often wonder if we have a i-pad hidden in there I don't know about, or maybe an escape hatch lets him sneak down to the corner for a beer? This Is 40 hit the nail on the head. Get out of the bathroom and help me dammit. I don't get to sit in the bathroom while someone else monitors Lady Baby's scissor usage during craft time or finds something not embarrassing to pack in her lunchbox. You shouldn't get to either. (I totally yelled that in my head).

This is a true text that happened just this morning: Me (6:26am) I'd like to take a shower soon. I literally texted my husband from my bed to the toiley down the hall to get out because I had to bathe. This is what I am talking about people. We actually discuss at night the bathroom schedule in the morning. Like it's college. Except with work and responsibilities and a kid who is going to wake up and probably ruin the schedule anyway. And now Her Highness is throwing me out of the bathroom. Just yesterday, I am getting out of the shower and she comes in, sits down and says, "Mommy, please stop boddering me." I had to leave the bathroom so my child could deuce. Never mind she has a masters degree in boddering people on the potty. It's her bathroom...I'm just using it.

I just want y'all to know what you are getting into. Do I love my house with its awesome crown molding and high ceilings and front porch? Yes. Would I love to have a bathroom that does not have a revolving door? Absolutely. One of these days. Until then, it's all family all the time in the thunderbox.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Will Wreck This Car. Sweet Lord, I Will Wreck It.

I think my child wants us to die in a fiery car crash. In the car, it is on and on with the requests, demands, questions. "Mama look at this." "I can't reach my baby." "Mama roll my window down." "Mama, play Call me Maybe." "Tie my shoe." "Where is my chap stick?" And On. And On.  There is one thing that gets me every time. That makes me want to wreck the car out of frustration, if I don't do craning around trying to see what she is talking about. It is the following conversation:

A: Mama what is that.
Me: What?
A: That thing?
Me: Where?
A: Right there. * I look back in rear view mirror and she is pointing in a vague area toward the front of the car*
Me: Up here? *I gesture in the same vague way to dash/mirror/steering wheel/air around my head area*
A: Yes. That thing right there.
Me: This light?
A: No. NO. That thing. That thing right there.
Me: This?
A: That.
Me: This?
A: That.
Me: This?
A: NONONO. That.

We do a ten minute session of this. Basically just substitute every single thing in my field of vision in the front seat for "this light" and her answering me in the negatory. Awesome.

Do you know how crazy this type of thing can make a person? It ends with both of us out of breath and screeching at each other and totally confused. I feel like that only thing that can stop the madness is me getting smacked in the face by the airbag.

The worst part is 99% of the time, I never figure out exactly what she is asking me about. I get that she just wants to know things. She is three and curious and interested. But I am barely hanging on to my sanity as it is because we are late for school and I forgot her lunch and my tights are cutting off my circulation and my coffee is cold because I just dumped what I made an hour ago into my cup when we were running out the door and I forgot that it was show and share day and OH MY GOD FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JEEZUS I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT KID. It is like the dudes from Night at the Roxbury being interrogated by Home Land Security. 

The only thing that makes these intensive questions semi-tolerable is that I am not the only one subjected to it. The other morning Lady Baby was helping Hubs iron his shirt and they went through a whole "what's that thing, no that" and it made my heart sing. Then I offered to punch him in the face too.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Badger vs. the Timer

Earlier this evening...

Me: Toodles, please pick up all your dress up clothes.
A: *stone cold silence*
Me: If you don't pick them up, I will put your princess dress (her most prized possession, the ripped up Little Mermaid dress that shows entirely too much bosom) in time out tonight and tomorrow.
A: *ignore ignore ignore. evil giggle to herself. more ignoring.*
Me: Dress up clothes in the bin. Now.
A: *waves of "you are dead to me" roll off her tiny body*

I go about my business cleaning the kitchen. Hubs is sitting on the couch talking to his parents on the phone, while Lady Baby gives his foot a full physical. She continues to ignore the fact that she is supposed to be cleaning up the den. Even when Daddy reminds her. She just continues to doctor his ailing foot. As if no one asked her to do anything, like clean up her own mess.

Me: Here is a timer. When it goes off in ten minutes, if this den is not clean and all dress up clothes in the bin, you will lose your dress.

I slam the timer down with the flourish of a mother who has done a good job.

A: wahhhhhhhh. *whine whine whine* heeeelllllppp meeee. waaaahhhhhhhaaaa. *starts to pick up a dress*

"This is how you parent," I think to myself. I am getting it done. DONE. She respects me because I am her mother, and I am in charge. I am setting limits and making rules. I am in charge you little El Diablo. You will not beat me.

Hubs (laughing to his mom): "Oh my god. Thea just brought the timer in, set it for ten minutes, and told your granddaughter to have everything picked up before it went off or her Ariel dress goes to time out. As soon as she walked out, A walked over to the timer, turned it to thirty minutes, set it back down and kept playing."

I overheard all that and my head exploded. Literally. Right off my neck, all over the kitchen that I had just sort-of cleaned. Then I laid dying in a fiery pool of righteous indignation mixed with desperation and feelings of inadequacy.

Well played Honey Badger, well played.

Someone please get me a conference call with Dr Sears, John Rosemond, Scary British Jo from Nanny 911, and Tiger Mom. I imagine them as The Avengers of parenting. I think it will take all of them to take down Lady Baby. 

So cute. Next time do your job, stupid.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Fantasy is Slightly Depressing

Tonight I realized my fantasy. I bet I have your attention now...

My in-laws were driving through town tonight on their way from Hub's sister's house in SC to their house in Delaware. They are staying at a hotel because they cannot stand the amount of dog hair in my house my MIL broke her leg and can't get in and out of our house. I am 100% sure the dog hair free room was an added bonus. When we were visiting in their room, I casually suggested that maybe I should get a room and spend the night there alone. I looked at the bed that my mother-in-law was propped up on, and I literally wanted to weep. As my child ate candy off the floor, and bounced on the bed, and chattered to her grandparents about her imaginary monkey and being a princess , all I could think about was everyone getting out and leaving me alone in that room.

As we walked down the hall to the elevator, I mentioned that staying alone in a hotel room for a night was my fantasy. Alone. All night. Sleep. Alone. Watch TV. Alone. More sleep. Alone. "That sounds amazing," I said. Hubs looked at me like I was a very sad woman that was probably in need of some serious therapy.

After we got home, we were standing in the hall talking about bath time for Lady Baby. She walks out of her room, buck naked, balls her fists up, and screams at me "No bath. NEEEVVVEEERR." I thought about the hush of silence in that hotel room.

I put clean sheets on our bed while I listened to Her Highness alternating between sobbing and laughing in the bathtub, and I though about the king size bed that someone else had to make up.

While I fed the cat and did her nightly 'betes injection, and then fed the dog, I thought about no one needing to go out to poop or pee in the night, or squalling loudly at 4:30am for their food, because waiting until 7am is just not acceptable. Because the hotel has a strict NO PETS, especially old ones, policy.

When I brushed teeth with my delicate flower and closed my eyes for half a second because I was so tired and opened them to find her scrubbing the old toothpaste out of the sink with her toothbrush, I thought about the luxury of being in a bathroom that was clean. By someone else. That was not me. And brushing my teeth alone, without being micromanaged by someone three feet tall. I could set my toothbrush wherever I wanted and put the toothpaste on myself. Sweet. Bliss.

As I sat down to write this, I thought about how much I could write with one 24 hour period of silence. In my luxurious suite with a mini fridge and free wifi. And I could watch what I wanted, instead of having to watch the end of Skyfall, which I already saw in the theater. I could even watch the last Twilight and the only person judging my selection would be me. 

My dream is a night with just myself in a hotel room. It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be right down the street at the Hilton Garden or the Doubletree or the Hampton (they have great beds BTW). I am not picky. It just seems downright luxurious to sleep in the middle of bed that someone else made up, in sheets I will never have to wash, on pillows I didn't have to buy. To poop alone, on a toilet I didn't clean, with no one knocking on the door, or chatting me up while sitting on their mini potty, and using toilet paper that someone else purchased, that I pulled off the roll myself. Then waking up whenever I want, and laying in bed and having a cup of coffee that I didn't make, while watching anything that does not feature a mouse, a monkey, or an idiot kid that pets wild animals, and possibly looking at a magazine or reading a book. 

That is my fantasy. That is my dream. Does that make me the tired mother of a three year old? Absolutely. Does everyone of you with kids now have a new fantasy that they probably didn't even realize, but now can't stop thinking about? Most definitely. 

NYC. Corner Room. Fancy Schmidt. Yes Please M'am.


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