Tag Archives: family

People I Have Encountered as a Parent That I’d Like to High Five in the Face…

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Since becoming a mom, I have encountered a number of people that really need a high five in the face….sounds a bit violent?  Well perhaps once you see my reasons you will understand.  Here they are:

1.)  Time Management “Experts”

First of all, these people never have kids.  Seriously, if I only needed to manage my own time I would be a Time Management Expert as well.  Nothing is more frustrating than a perky, beautifully put together, recent college grad telling you how to better organize your day.   When I had my first two children I worked full time, and commuted to get to the office.  This meant that everyone had to be out the door on time, but also with all the gear for the day in tow as well as looking presentable.  My employer at the time liked to have the occasional seminar for us where a Time Management Expert would come and talk to us about how to be on time, organize our day etc. etc….She would tell us things like, “Try leaving the house fifteen minutes earlier than you have to, to create a buffer for yourself if you start to run behind.”  Lady,  I could leave the house an hour before I am supposed to, since I probably haven’t been to bed, but these things are still going to happen:  First, the toddler will get fully undressed while I am buckling the baby into his seat.  Then, while I am dealing with redressing the toddler, the baby will either spit up or have a diaper explosion which will require me to remove him from the seat to change him.  While I am doing this, the toddler will undress again, this time losing one of her shoes in the process.  Then, the baby will decide he does not want to go back into the seat and will refuse to sit, thus causing a wrestling match that will go on for several minutes while the toddler tosses the shoe I just spent fifteen minutes locating out of the vehicle.  I won’t notice this until I arrive at daycare, and will then have to go back and retrieve the shoe.  So, take your fifteen minute buffer and stick it.

Then she would tell us about how to allow ourselves time to get ready and look professional when we arrive at work.  My favorite tip was to lay our clothes out the night before for the next day….really?  First of all, anything I lay out the night before is going to go missing since my toddler likes to hide things in the toy box, laundry hamper, any available drawer, under the bed.  I was late for this seminar because my car keys and cell phone were stashed in the caboose of a sit and ride train toy…Second of all, I could lay my outfit out a month before I have to be at work, it isn’t going to stop the baby from spitting up all over me, the very second I cross the threshold into daycare….

If you want a working mom to take a Time Management Expert seriously, hire another mom…have secret underground meetings about tips no one tells you about.  How to hog tie, and bribe with Smarties….just a suggestion.

 

2.)  Grocery Store Eye Rollers:

Oh I’m sorry, are you not enjoying my child’s tantrum?  Strange, because I love it!  In fact we rehearse this before we leave the house because it makes running a bunch of errands sooooooo much easier.  If you aren’t going to get off your high horse and help me carry this stuff to my car while I desperately cling to this writhing, screaming child, then at least keep your eye rolls to yourself.  Thank you.

3.)  Doctors that Don’t Listen:

There is not a team of scientists on this planet that can rival a mom with a sick child and access to Google.  We will do anything to help our children, so don’t treat us like we are overreacting when we show up in your office.  We don’t get paid to worry this much, you do.

4.)  Parenting “Experts” with No Children:

NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is more infuriating than someone without children telling you how to parent your children.  How on earth can you even call yourself an expert in something you have never actually done?  Do you need some engine work done on your car?  Well I just read a book about it so why don’t you tell me all about what a terrible parent I am while I tear your car engine apart for you?  I also took a course recently online about the importance of cardiovascular health.  Why don’t you hand me a scalpel and I’ll take care of that blocked artery for you while you tell me why I shouldn’t bed share? Seriously, stop it.  If you don’t have children, don’t tell me how to raise mine.

You know you have a larger than “normal” family when…..

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I hate the word “normal.”  Unless it is being used to describe temperature, rainfall, or a setting on your appliances, it can be a very frustrating and sometimes insulting way to describe a person or a situation.  Who gets to decide what’s “normal” in society?  There was a time when it was considered “normal” to have a large family.  Years ago it wasn’t unusual at all to have six or more children in a family and in fact it was considered a blessing and at times a status symbol.  In fact it was considered strange if you didn’t have lots of children.  Fast forward to today…..by the third child you start to get raised eyebrows and unwanted remarks.  My personal favorite is the always popular, “You do know how this keeps happening don’t you?”  Hilarious…..just once I’d like to respond with a perfectly straight face, “No, but could you please tell me because I’d sure like to figure this mystery out.” If you have more than three children the assumptions are usually as follows:

1.)  You own a farm.

2.) You are having lots of children for religious reasons.

3.)  You are trying for a specific gender.

4.)  You are trying to get your own reality tv show…..

Here’s the thing, there are some people, apparently not the “normal” ones, who actually want a large family.  Some of us love the chaos and insanity that comes with having extra little people running around our homes like amazing little maniacs.  We love the fact that dinner will be a crowded table with lots of voices either sharing bits and pieces of their days, telling fart jokes or fighting over the last roll.  We love that there will never be a clean towel left, the laundry will never be done, someone will always be missing a shoe or a homework assignment because someone else put it somewhere “safe” and that when anything gets broken, it will collectively be no one’s fault because there really is safety in numbers.  We love that our many children will always have each other in this life, and even though they regularly try to kill each other off at home, heaven help the kid on the playground who dares to mess with one of them.  We love that the bathroom will never be free, we won’t sleep for years, and those moments when we peek into a room unseen and witness our older child helping a younger sibling learn to read, or simply giving them comfort after a hard day.  It is truly magical.  So call us crazy, but we love it.  Will we complain about it, blog about it and sometimes lose our minds over it?  Of course.  But we would not have it any other way.  So, for those of you wondering if you are one of us crazy ones who have a larger than “normal” family here is a checklist:

1.)  When grocery shopping, if a product is marked as “Family Sized” it means that you need two, possibly three of them.  Also, at some point in time you have had a cashier look at your cart and ask if you work in a group home…..

2.) Your grocery bill is often more than your mortgage payment.

3.)  You feel like you run a 24 hour diner, with rude guests who refuse to tip and often complain about the service.

4.)  You own a mini van and you still need one of those storage things for the roof, and your spouse drives a second vehicle if you all go away on a family vacation.  This is because of a lack of space and not because your spouse doesn’t want to drive with all of you….although I would suggest you make him take the one who gets motion sick….just saying….

5.)  If, like myself you do not live in a mansion, your bathroom will require the use of a finely tuned and closely monitored schedule to keep everyone clean and avoid world war three.  You also wash at least two loads of towels a day, constantly question if anyone uses any of the toothbrushes in the pile on the sink, and keep the folks at Lysol in business dealing with toilets….

6.)  You are always playing referee to such arguments as, “That’s my spot!”  “That’s my cup!” “That’s my shirt!”  “Those are my snow pants!”  Etc…..

7.)  You live with what feels like a small village of people and yet no one ever knows how anything got broken or who put the empty carton of milk back in the fridge.

8.)  There is always an empty carton of milk in your fridge.

9.)  You never sleep because someone is ALWAYS awake.  I am pretty sure they take shifts.

10.) Keeping track of everyone’s doctor’s appointments, after school activities and homework assignments is like some sort of marathon in your house.  This should really be considered for an Olympic sport and the time management gurus come to you for help.

11.)  Getting everyone to school on time fully clothed, with their lunches and both shoes should also be considered an Olympic sport in your home.  I’m deadly serious about this.  I’ve written letters to the folks at the Olympics….they think I’m joking….I’m not.

12.)  You haven’t spoken to your husband since the fourth child came along, but you are pretty sure he’s the guy with the beard that shows up around dinnertime to eat at your 24 hour diner…he also doesn’t tip.

13.)  And last but not least, even though your life is utter chaos,  your house is a disaster, you don’t eat, sleep or shower and your account balance regularly hits 0, you know that one day they will all move on and have their own lives.  Suddenly, as quickly as it all began it will be over.  Your house will fall silent.  And that very thought breaks your heart into a thousand pieces.  So you will take a breath, pour some wine, and savor every last minute of it all.  Because you simply wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

 

 

Rarely mentioned causes of parenting insanity…

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Parenthood….it’s amazing, magical and fulfilling in ways that you never imagined possible. However, it is also more than a little exhausting and chaotic at times…or all the time…..As parents there are a lot of little details about this that we like to keep to ourselves. I mean let’s be honest. If we share all of the things that make this journey challenging, no one else is ever going to join our little club of crazy. Children are simply incredible. Watching little people that you created with your own body as they grow and learn and develop their own personalities and interests is nothing short of miraculous. Every day brings a new skill, or giggle, or facial expression that sends all of us parents into a state of complete joy. However, with all the miracles of development come the frustrations. Those things that babies, toddlers, preschoolers simply do not understand yet. They have a completely different set of logic than we do. You will notice I left out preteens….that’s because they lack logic completely. Or so I’ve decided…It’s these breakdowns in communication or lack of understanding that send all of us as parents to the brink of total insanity at least once a day. At least. We all know about lack of sleep and the impact it has on our sanity and our ability to function so I’m going to skip that completely. It’s common knowledge. Let’s cover some of the other sanity crushing moments in parenthood:

1.) Color Changing Dinky Cars:

I don’t know if they even make these anymore, but for my nine year old son they were a really big deal when he was little. I hated them then as well. My two year old stumbled across one the other day. Turns out he only likes the color of the car when it is cold….try explaining to a two year old clutching a dinky car in his hot little hands, why it won’t stay the same color it is when you run it under cold water. Try explaining this for hours….

I believe that the inventors of this “technology” should be punished. They should be given a bucket of color changing cars in cold water and placed in a Nursery School class. Then, take the bucket away and leave the cars with the children. Good luck to you sir…good luck.

2.) Voice Automated Phone Systems:

Have you ever tried to call your bank, hydro company or a government office while home with children? Most of these places have hours that require you to call when all or at least most of your children are in the house, and awake. “For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!!!! Red truck please!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!! Red truck! Mommy!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!! Mommy!!!! MOMMY!!!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” But at this point you have already given up. And I know what you are thinking, just take the phone into another room and shut the door. It won’t matter. Somehow those systems are designed to process the voice of a child, while you are on a different floor, in another room, with the door shut tight. I am pretty sure they are designed to prevent anyone with children from bothering them.

3.) The Family Portrait:

Sigh….will any single attempt at anything in this world cause a parent to morph from a logical, mild mannered adult into a fire breathing, foaming at the mouth, raging lunatic faster than the family portrait? Usually you have paid someone to take this photo for you. So, time is of the essence. Suprise! Toddlers have no sense of time and zero interest in the fact that you are paying the photographer by the hour. Interestingly enough, neither do preteens. Toddlers also have no interest in personal hygiene. Imagine you have just bathed a group of puppies and you need to get them to a dog show, but on the way to that dog show is a large puddle and a cotton candy factory. It may also start to rain chocolate at some point in the journey. This is essentially the same thing as trying to keep a group of children, in their lovely new clothing, clean long enough to take a decent family portrait. If you do manage to get that group of children in front of the photographer while still clean, brace yourself. They will not, at any point in time all look at the camera at the same time. Nor will they all smile together. Every family portrait we have shows two parents with extremely forced smiles on their faces, one child smiling at the camera, one child trying to run away while I am holding them from behind, one child scowling and looking at their feet and another child, looking back at the rest of us. If you are brave enough to attempt a family portrait, put something strong in that coffee cup….you are going to need it.

4.) The Pantry:

Every family has the cupboard that houses all the snacks. They are not out on display like the fruit bowl, because children will bug relentlessly for a package of cookies, not an apple. For little ones, once they see their older siblings taking delicious, usually forbidden treats from this magical cupboard then it’s game over for mommy. You will resort to insane threats to keep your older children from getting busted by the little ones. Things like, “If they see you, you will lose your electronics FOREVER!” Or, “Honestly I will sell you to a travelling band of gypsies!” This same cupboard brings up the issue of trying to keep snacks available for school lunches. If I didn’t have to buy a steady supply of convenient and school safe snacks for my kids lunches I am pretty sure I would be a millionaire by now. So, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to threaten them within an inch of their lives for constantly ( with ninja like stealth) cleaning those snacks clear out of the pantry. In fact, if it wouldn’t increase our hydro bill I would rig up some electric fencing around the pantry. It’s my only logical solution.

5.) Valentine Cards:

For any parent out there with a school age child, this is one of those things that require very little explanation. I will admit that I am a huge dork when it comes to holidays. I love any excuse to decorate the house and bake themed cupakes (and eat a jar of icing with a spoon while hiding in the laundry room). However, convincing a small child who cannot sit still, to sit still long enough to “help” write out 25 or more Valentine Cards is pretty close to my definition of hell. Also, this year my toddler is experiencing his first Valentine’s Day celebration in nursery school and he is convinced that I am stealing his Hot Wheels Valentines Cards. He simply does not understand that there will be an exchange of cards. He is determined that I am a Valentine stealing monster and I had to hide them. I can’t even utter the words “Valentine’s Cards.” Should be an interesting party…..

6.) Working From Home:

Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? The best of both worlds. Watching your little angels grow while earning an income all snuggled in your cozy home. Bliss. Picture this if you will: You are on a conference call in your home office (kitchen table). You have Treehouse on the television, fishy crackers in a bowl, all the bases covered to keep little ones busy for a few minutes. Then, just as you are about to contribute your brilliant marketing ideas that are sure to take the company to the next level, you look over to the livingroom. Your two year old is standing at the baby gate, naked, holding a poopy diaper. As you watch, completely helpless, that diaper becomes a lariet, being swung around and around while he squeels with glee, spreading the contents as far as the eye can see. And because you must remain professional, there is nothing you can do about it. Not a damn thing. You will simply use your tears to clean up the poop when the call is over. If that doesn’t push you over the brink, check your pulse. It may be too late.

7.) Family Movie Night:

We are all determined when we become parents that we will never yell and we will certainly never tell our children to shut up…I mean what kind of monster would ever do that? Enter Family Movie Night. We go into these evenings with the best of intentions. A lovely evening with our family together all comfy and enjoying a movie together. Sadly there are very few movies out there that will hold the attention of a preschooler for two hours, the baby couldn’t care less and the fidgety eight year old is determined to get his blanket and position just right while chatting incessantly about what just happened in the movie while asking questions about what happened next because he was talking and missed it. The preteen will constantly scowl and hiss angrily at the eight year old for talking, the preschooler will choose that time to fire up his battery operated guitar, and a fight over the blanket will ensue causing the bowl of freshly popped poporn to hit the floor. If at some point in the evening, you do not reach your breaking point and suggest that everyone just shut up and watch the movie, you are a better parent than I.

8.) Television:

Try and explain to a toddler that their favorite show is over…..I dare you. I will be especially impressed if you attempt this at 3pm when said toddler has not had a nap.

 

Taco Tuesday….

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Most directions for making tacos read something like this:

1.) Brown 1lb of ground meat in a frying pan with some oil

2.) Add seasoning mix and water

3.) Warm tortillas in microwave and serve with salsa and sour cream.

 

So, when the kids very excitedly asked if we could have “Taco Tuesday” I thought sure, what the heck.  My directions for making tacos would read a little something like this:

1.) Start browning 1lb of ground chicken in a frying pan with some oil.

2.) Open seasoning pouch and attempt to pour into frying pan.

3.) You are completing these directions while balancing a sick baby on your hip and while using the spatula with your right hand even though you are left handed,  because the baby will cry if switched to your right hip.

4.) Because of step 3 you will now flip the spatula out of the frying pan, sending it to the floor along with the seasoning pouch.  The seasoning pouch will be open.

5.) You will now use your foot in a frantic attempt to stop the dog from licking the spatula and eating the seasoning mix off the floor while still balancing the baby.

6.) At this point both of your older children will enter the kitchen in need of something and no it can’t “wait just one bloody second!”

7.)  You will now give up on the mess on the floor and ask the dog if she would like some @#%&* sour cream.

8.)  The smoke alarm will now go off because in all the excitement you forgot to turn the burner down and the meat has scorched in the pan.

9.)  The smoke alarm will upset the baby.

10.)  You will now pull a pizza out of the freezer and inform the house that the next person to utter the words “Taco Tuesday” will lose their electronics for a month.