Tag Archives: mom groups

Mommy/Daddy Bloggers The Crazy and The Brave

 

 

 

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I have always loved to write.  For as long as I can remember, I was writing short stories, long stories, poems etc.  So it was only natural that when I became a mom, that love of writing became my way of finding humor in not so humorous days, and of reaching out to my fellow moms.  I have never understood why we try to hard to appear perfect as parents, since there really is no such thing. Everything I write about parenting tends to be dripping with sarcasm and not even remotely serious, because honestly if you can’t laugh at yourself as a parent, you aren’t going to make it out with your sanity intact.  That’s not just my opinion, that’s Science.  Having my writing published was always kind of a bucket list thing for me, so you can imagine my excitement when a friend, working for a parenting website, decided my writing was funny enough to do just that.  I was ecstatic!!!! Thousands of people would read articles that I had written.  “They will appreciate my honesty” I thought.  “They will relate to me” I thought.  Wrong.  I was in absolute awe of the number of people that read my articles.  But then the comments started rolling in…..now don’t get me wrong. I am totally open to constructive criticism, and of course people are entitled to their opinions, but holy crap!  Swearing, threatening, flat out calling me a terrible mother…I am pretty sure most of the “helpful” comments came from people who hadn’t even read the article.  One woman accused me of making fun of children with behavioral issues which cause them to hit their heads off of walls.  First of all, I would never, under any circumstances do anything of that nature.  I reread my article three times and I still have no idea where she got that idea from.  Especially since the article was about annoying moms on-line.  Ahem, point made….

I had been reading lots of posts by parent bloggers.  Some made me laugh, some made me cry and some filled my heart with joy.  Others I disagreed with, or just didn’t find interesting. I responded the same with all of them. If I loved them I shared them and if I didn’t, I didn’t.  Either way, I put my phone down and simply went on with my life.  It never even once occurred to me to read the comments. Not once. Until I had my own comments to deal with.  So I decided to check the comments on other writers articles to see.  Was I just a really crappy writer, or are people just nuts?  Oh. My. God.  That is not a road you want to go down unless you have several hours to spare and a bottle of wine to sustain you.  It’s like a car wreck that you can’t look away from. Like a really twisted social experiment that people don’t realize they are participating in.  And the interesting part was that the comments were the same regardless of the content of the article.  In fact, the actual topic of the article often had NOTHING to do with the contents.  Here are the most common comments, regardless of the topic:

1.)  Vaccinations:  Remember before you had kids and the two main topics to avoid at a dinner party were religion and politics?  After you have children those things no longer matter.  The only topic that you absolutely do not want anyone to mention is vaccinations.  Unless you want your home to be featured on an episode of COPS, you simply do not bring it up.  Period.  What I found bizarre was that no matter what an article was about, someone at some point will comment about vaccinations. “How I Got My Child to Sleep in Their Own Bed” BAM! Vaccinations. “The Importance of Color Choice in the Nursery” BAM! Vaccinations. And four hundred comments after that one comment about vaccinations is dropped like a roadside bomb, and no one even knows what the article was about anymore.

2.)  Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding:  Again, why?  The topic could be “My Child Has too Much Homework” and then BAM! Feeding.  “The Best Car Seats for Baby” BAM! Feeding. And one more time, the second that comment is made, the sanctimommies come  running from all sides and actual content of the article? Who could remember?

3.)  You are lucky to even have a child:  This one kills me….honestly I cannot even fathom the pain of infertility and the idea of dealing with miscarriages is just beyond devastating.  That being said, parents absolutely need to share the frustrations that come with having children.  We need to vent and hear other parents vent and realize that we aren’t the only ones with a two year old who only eats macaroni. Or that someone else’s child refuses to sleep in their own bed because their imaginary friend is taking up too much room…It is vital that we reach out to our fellow parents.  On every single article I read about any sort of frustration or trial of parenting the comments would appear.  “You shouldn’t complain.  You are lucky to even have a child.”  “At least you have a child to feed at dinner time.” Etc, etc.  As much as my heart hurts for these people, I have to question why on earth they are torturing themselves by reading articles about the trials of parenting…And if they must torture themselves, don’t jump all over the author.  He or she didn’t tie you to a chair and force you to read it.

 

So I learned a few things from my little, self serving investigation:

1.) People actually are crazy.  However, parents are by far the craziest people out there.

2.)  I am not as thick skinned as I thought….

3.)  Mommy/Daddy Bloggers are the bravest people on the internet.  Seriously.  Swearing, death threats, verbal abuse and full on attacks on their parenting skills don’t stop them from writing articles and posting. They are sharing their parenting experiences and personal triumphs and traumas with the most terrifying, judgemental  and self righteous group of people on the planet. Other parents. I have nothing but respect.

 

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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.

Parenting induced insanity the sequel….

 

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9.) Bathrooms:

This is an area that I thought I was prepared for….the trouble with bathrooms is that the level of issues simply change with the changing ages of the children in the home. So, there are always any number of things to push you over the brink. Wet towels are a constant. Mountains of wet towels. I don’t know why one preteen needs four towels for every shower, but apparently they do. I also wonder if my big kids are running a secret dog grooming service that I am unaware of. The amount of hair left behind when they finish in there is terrifying. For some reason, whenever hands are washed (if hands are washed) some sort of flood happens and the area surrounding the sink looks like something out of natural disaster footage on the 6 o’clock news. Oh, and someone will always place a full roll of toilet paper directly in the flood waters. This means that the next time you reach for some, you will be met with a lovely pile of mush. Potions will be made out of half full bottles of shampoo, sculptures will be carved out of bars of soap and no matter how much you beg, plead and threaten, things that should be in the toilet will be found on the outside of the toilet and things that should not be in the toilet will regularily be a cause for some emergency amateur plumbing. And it won’t matter how often you clean that bathroom. Within two minutes of you leaving triumphantly with your cleaning supplies in hand, that room will look like the nasty truck stop bathrooms you once refused to use.

 

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10.) Car trips:

This may be the only other area of parenting that can rival the family portrait for causing a typically mild mannered parent to completely and absolutely lose their mind. Family trips always seem like such a wonderful idea. Until you actually set foot in the car. If you already have children, and those children travel well, you are my hero. My children do not….at all…even a little. There is a brief window of time when your infant sleeps peacefully in a car seat while you embark on a six hour road trip with the occasional nursing stop. When this period ends, so does life as you know it in a car. There are an assortment of travel types. The barfer, the crier, the “are we there yet?” and the kid who is always sooooooooooooo bored. Someone will always be hungry, thirsty, nauseous, or need to pee. No amount of pre-planning, snack packing, gravol dosing or activity providing, will prevent any of this. At some point in the trip a fight will break out in the back of the mini-van that will rival that of a professional cage match, someone will spill something that won’t be found until it starts to smell, and a diaper blow-out will leave you on the side of the highway trying desperately to clean up and air out. By the hundreth “are we there yet?” your husband will ask that you book the van in to have privacy glass installed behind the front seats. The memories made once you arrive at your destination will make this hell on wheels all worth it, but when heading out, maybe dose yourself with some gravol, and perhaps invest in some ear plugs.

 

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11.) Gum:

Kids LOVE gum!!!!! In our house it has always been a rite of passage.  A sign that one has now matured enough to be trusted with not swallowing this mouthful of chewy joy.  But not swallowing gum is merely the tip of the ice berg in gum induced insanity. Somehow the gum rarely stays in the child’s mouth.  I don’t know how but they seem to manage to leave chewed gum everywhere.  Under the couch in the rec room, by the bathtub,  on nightstands, beside the garbage can but not actually in the garbage, in hair, on clothes and on the floor of the minivan…..My husband outlawed gum in the van after this discovery in what we now refer to as “The Great Gum Prohibition of 2014”.  However the ban was lifted when he recalled the few minutes of silence that could be purchased when offering gum on those fateful road trips.  Parents are shameless back trackers and hypocrites when it comes to trying not to lose their minds.

 

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12.) Homework:

Have you done any grade four math lately? Open some wine and brace yourself when that time rolls around.   How about a family tree when every single person in the tree has been divorced and remarried more than once? Did I mention you are also required to give this project pizazz and it’s grade two, so you need to find a way to explain why there are so many folks on the tree without paying for a lifetime of therapy?   Or, my personal favorite, the research project on the Canadian Beaver?  When your turn comes I have two of those Beaver projects in my basement.  Just let me know….it will cost you a bottle of wine.

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.

 

Mommy Groups

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Ah mommy groups……I can’t stand them.  It’s not because I don’t enjoy being with other moms.  In fact, we all need to be with other moms.  It’s extremely important to our sanity and I am blessed to have found a small group of fellow moms who also like to keep it real.  The trouble with most mommy groups is that they are supposed to be a safe place.  A place where you can vent, share and feel like you really are doing ok, and you aren’t alone on this crazy journey.  It should be a judgement free zone.  Instead, when you express how worried you are about how little junior is barely speaking at the age of two, there is always some “helpful” member of the group who chooses that moment to announce that their precious angel was fluent in three languages at ten months of age.  Or, the other member of the group who will tell you it’s because you haven’t enrolled junior in a high priced nursery school program where they teach Mandarin and Spanish.  We need to stop this nonsense already.  In my opinion mommy groups should be run more like AA meetings. Everyone sits down and one at a time each mom would stand up and make her declaration:

“Hello, my name is Mary, and I’m a mom.  Last week I used jelly beans to bribe my toddler into silence during a dance recital for her sister.  That’s right, sugary, filled with artificial colour and flavor, jelly beans. I’m not sorry and I’d do it again!”

“Hello, my name is Dana, and I’m a mom.  I let my children watch television.  TELEVISION. There is simply only so much finger painting a woman can stomach in a day.”

“Hello, my name is Anne, and I’m a mom. I bought cupcakes from the store and put them in a container from home to donate to the school bake sale.  I said it, STORE BOUGHT CUPCAKES.  In order to bake I would have to put my six month old down long enough to wash the dishes piled in my kitchen.  It’s just not happening. ”

“Hello, my name is Ellen, and I’m a mom.  I am pretty sure I hit Mary’s mini van in the parking lot before I came in. ”

“Hello, my name is Jamie, and I bed share.  I got tired of nearly dropping my breastfeeding infant on the floor when I fell asleep watching The Late Show.  Now, I take her to bed and we sleep.  We SLEEP. It’s glorious. ”

“Hello, my name is Adrian, and I fed my toddler chicken nuggets and macaroni for dinner every night last week.  Every damn night…..”

And instead of collective gasping , widened eyes, and terribly misguided and judgemental advice, everyone would simply be offered a hug, reassurance that their child or children will be just fine, and then they would serve cookies.  Now THAT is a mommy group that even I would join.