Let’s Hear It For The Moms

Today is that special day to honor women who are livin’ in the ‘hood.  Motherhood, that is.  And for those of you who plan to pay tribute to a special mother you should know this: if you haven’t been shopping yet all the good Mother’s Day cards are gone.  But if the founder of this holiday, Anna Jarvis, had her way, we’d all be sitting down with a quill, ink and parchment to pen our ode to mother because a pre-printed ditty means you’re just too lazy to show the love.

Lighten up Annie, it’s the thought that counts.

I found it odd that the first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1914.  This is true despite the fact that women have been having babies since, well, the beginning of time.  It took that long for someone to say “I really should do something to acknowledge the woman who carried me around for nine months, endured twenty-seven hours of labor, changed my stinky diapers, chauffeured me to soccer practice and raffled off a kidney to pay for my dream wedding. What can I possibly do to express my profound love to the woman who has given everything to me? I know, I’ll give her a three dollar card from Hallmark.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

If you look at what a mom is really worth, you might reconsider that meager token of love.  According to salary.com, a stay-at-home mom would receive $122,732 a year for all the duties she performs which includes being the Domestic CEO, housekeeper, chef, van driver, and psychologist.  I don’t know about you, but in fourteen years I’ve never seen a dime.  Clearly we’re not in it for the money.  Because I’ve got a collection of hand prints with glitter, macaroni glued in the shape of hearts and crayon declarations of love that are worth more to me than any paycheck.  And that’s just fine because glued and glittered love tokens are priceless.

Until I became a mom, I had no idea what my mother went through.  The waiting started when she was pregnant and I was three weeks late. The waiting, as I’ve learned, never stops except you add worrying to the equation. She waited and worried when I got the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.  She waited (and waited) while I took piano lessons and went to softball practice. Once I started driving, she waited up (and worried) when I was out too late at a Fleetwood Mac concert.  She waited (and waited,  but did not worry) when I had to try on every Gunne Sax dress in the store.  Twice.  She did not sell her spleen to finance my nuptials.  But I pretty sure if I’d wanted a Cinderella-style gown, a horse drawn carriage and a pair of size nine glass slippers, she would have.  Because that’s just what mothers do.

Mom, I get it now.

So to all women in the sorority of motherhood, whether you had natural child birth, an epidural, a c-section or boarded a long-haul flight to bring your baby home, you totally rock.  You give it up unselfishly for those young ‘uns every day (don’t worry daddies, you do too, but your day’s in June).  Today is your day, moms.  Enjoy it.

And I’m not worried if all the good cards are gone when I go shopping for my mom. Because I’m pretty sure a Thank You card really says it all.

Sometimes It’s Just A Sandwich

Had you going there, didn’t I?

It was only a craving. It was just a sandwich. Couldn’t happen. I asked for double knots and I got them. Because if I’d waited for The Husband to take care of business, I’d have been knocked up again. Men are so touchy about that sort of thing.

But that recent craving, which was very real, got me thinking about being pregnant what seems like so long ago. About how endless those days of two in diapers seemed at the time. About how fast they really do fly by if you’re not paying attention. And it made me kind of wistful.

Now I face the reality of mid-life signaling that phase of life is really over. And life moves on. As it should. Now it’s closer to the empty nest than the full house.

I often think if I’d started this motherhood gig a little earlier in life, I’d probably have a brood of five. Maybe it’s being an only child that made me want more than one. Or maybe it was just one too many margaritas.

Perhaps it’s the hormones of perimenopause that make me oh-so sentimental about motherhood right now (Am I the only one who tears up during Hallmark commercials?). There are times, like now, that I wonder what it would have been like to have a little pink wrapped bundle in my life.

But then I count my blessings when the boys start bickering over stupid things. And on those days, an empty nest doesn’t sound half bad.

Showin’ the Love Because the Pen Works Both Ways

Just so you don’t think that I’m the Wicked Witch of the West because of my flying monkey threats and all, today I want to say as much as I like to write nastygrams, my pen has another side. When someone goes out of their way to do something nice, I like to show the love.

Today I’d like to give a shout out to my friends over at Montana Parent Magazine who are kind enough to feature my blog on their home page. Check out their current issue online, the archives and their great book reviews. If you’re a local, their calendar has everything parents need to know. And you need to know.

So head over and show ’em some love. Tell them mom, interrupted sent you.

See, I can be nice.

Getting In Line

Yes, I’ve been offline for the week. But rest assured I have been IN line. Because I have been to Disney World.

Apparently, the entire nation was on spring break this week. And everyone took a secret vote to meet in Orlando.

The funny thing was, even with the throngs of humanity descending on the parks, everyone I encountered was pleasant and friendly despite the wait to do just about EVERYTHING. (the only adult snapping I witnessed was of the parental kind and directed at whining children to the tune of – “Do you know how much it cost to bring you here? Now get in line, quit your crying or I will GIVE you something to cry about.”) You waited in line to get your bag searched to enter the park. You waited in line to enter the park. You waited in line to ride even the minor attractions. You waited in line to order food. You waited in line to pee. You waited in line to catch the bus back to the hotel at the end of the day. And everyone seemed happy about it.

I am impatient. I hate to wait. But for some reason this week, I didn’t care. I was on Disney’s Happy Hookah.

But to me, that is part of the sheer brilliance of Disney marketing – an oversized mouse lures you to a place where you are a captive audience in the name of providing zippity do dah family fun to your children (which they do), you whip out your wallet to pay $7 for a hot dog and $3 for a Coke (and you do), and make you rationalize waiting in line for a 120 minutes for a 3 minute ride. And you enjoy every minute of it.

I still think there’s something in the water. But I’ll keep drinking it anyway.

He’ll Always Have Paris


Almost one year ago, Older Boy announced he wanted to participate in the school language class trip to Europe. The deal was he had to come up with a way to earn half of the $4000 price tag to get there. He spent a good portion of the summer as a street musician where he earned a surprising chunk of change. Older Boy also did pet sitting, lawn mowing, flower watering and grocery bagging to earn his cash. He saved birthday money and Christmas money. And when he counted up his stash this week – grand total earned: $2001.53. He made it.

And it’s a good thing, because today was the big day.

The buzz has been building for almost a month now. Packing, re-packing. Meetings with classmates about the trip. A few jittery moments. (One notable moment occurred when he was packing. He came out of his room and said, “I just felt like an adult and I didn’t like it.”) The teachers, who have led numerous groups on this very trip, told them when they got on the plane, they’d forget where they came from and have a great time. And from what I saw today, those teachers were exactly right.

Older Boy was up at the crack of dawn, no easy feat for a non-morning person, which was to me the ultimate measure of his excitement. His suitcase was already by the door. I was feeling like the portrait of the modern, hip parent who believes in the idea of giving your kid freedom and the growth that comes with independence.

At least until we headed to the airport.

In keeping with The Husband’s traditional guaranteed on-time airport arrival, we were the first ones there. Parents and kids trickled in. And pretty soon, the kids were scanning their passports to get the boarding passes for the first leg of their journey. A journey that for many of us started a year ago at the first informational meeting.

And then the moment came that I suddenly dreaded, the moment I had to say good-bye.

I wasn’t feeling quite so modern or hip anymore. Despite all my big talk about wanting him to be independent, there I was hugging Older Boy a little longer than I really needed to. Because I seemed to be the one having trouble letting go.

Today I took my little boy to the airport. I snapped a mental picture of him as he waved goodbye and headed for the plane with his friends, promptly forgetting about me (as it should be). And I’m glad I have that freeze-frame image in my mind. I’m guessing when his trip is over, I won’t recognize that little boy. Because I suspect I’ll be picking up an independent young man.

It’s A Shock Alright

 thought that upon Older Boy entering the teenage years, parenting would get easier in the sense that it’s not that hands-on, high energy, goalie parent thing like when they were little.


What I’m starting to realize is that my job just got much more difficult.

Problem is, I remember all the shit I pulled when I was a teen (my mother will without question verify this).  Numbskull stuff.  Stuff that when considered long enough, makes me thankful that I’m still alive.

In short, I was an idiot with a teenage brain.  Which is exactly why I’m so worried now that I have one of my very own.  And I feel relatively clueless as to what to do.

I’m not afraid to make unpopular decisions as a parent.  He doesn’t have to like me and I feel certain that he probably won’t for awhile.  But I wanted a little more guidance and maybe a better understanding of why kids do what they do.  So I did what I always do – I went to the bookstore.

There are a million books out there on parenting.  I wanted one that would be honest and real and not shelter me from the things I needed to know.  I wanted something based on facts and science.  That’s when I stumbled on NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  Flipping through the book, there it was, the chapter I so desperately needed -The Science of Teenage Rebellion.

I should probably have prefaced this with the fact that Older Boy is not a bad kid. Not at all.  He’s testing the waters of personal autonomy and making decisions for himself.  I know this is normal.  In fact, I’d probably worry if I had a compliant little follower who didn’t rebel.  Plus, I’m kind of bossy (read: control freak) so I tend to pontificate a little more than necessary.

One thing I learned that surprised me was that the need for autonomy occurs a lot earlier than I expected.  I thought when kids were 17 or 18 would be the peak time for rebellion.  Wrong.  According to this book, the need for autonomy peaks around age 14-15.  So maybe he’s pretty normal after all. But that isn’t making my job any easier.

I had another surprise – arguing is good.  Personally, I find it exhausting and highly stressful.  And from my perspective as an only child, well I just don’t get it.  But the book equated arguing with honesty – a fact that apparently we as parents don’t realize (See, stress and exhaustion above).  And the biggest surprise of all – certain types of fighting are actually a sign of respect.

Maybe I’m loved after all.


Learning To Wobble

It’s obvious that I’ve not participated in NaBloNoPo, which challenges bloggers to make a daily post in November.  I’ve been participating in NoBloInNo (No Blog posts In November) this month during which I’ve failed make even one post this month.  Outstanding indeed.

It’s been a bitch of a month of parenting and quite frankly, I just haven’t had the energy to even think about this.  I thought the high energy days of parenting were long behind me with the toddler years where I played goalie parent. I was mistaken.  I settled, quite happily I might add, into my current role as The Wallet and Car Keys.

But when Older Boy started testing the limits, well, all bets were off.  And it’s a test I feel like I’m failing.

Today in yoga class, oddly enough, the universe spoke to me about parenting through the words of my teacher.  As we all struggled, she told us that she had difficulty with this pose for years.  “You have to learn to let yourself wobble.  Sometimes you might even fall.  But trust that balance will come,” she said regarding this twisting pose which tested our balance.  Those words hit this control freak with great force in terms of parenting.  I am wobbling.  And some days I sure feel like I might hit the ground face first.  I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time with this parenting thing.

So I’m going to let myself learn to wobble in parenting and know that I can’t control everything.  I’m also going to trust balance will come in my parenting.  It’s all I have.

Note: I’ve also been frustrated in dealing with the technical aspects of this site.  People tell me they post comments, yet they never appear or that it’s very difficult to even post a comment.  As a result,  I’m looking into moving this blog to another service.  I will post an update when that happens. 

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Maybe it was just me, but today the sky was just a little more blue. Sounds were a little more clear. And I think that Mr. Bluebird landed on my shoulder if only for a moment. But what was the reason for this Zippity-Do-Dah kind of day?
The most wonderful time of the year for Stay-At-Home-Moms, the first day of school, of course.
I’m sure a collective sigh from SAHMs went up across the valley at 8:31 a.m.
Teachers, we love you.

The World According to the 13-Year-Old

Older Boy is 13. Dare I say, very 13. (My mother is quick to remind me that I was very 13 once myself.) And he isn’t afraid to call it as he sees it. His observations lack that one, often crucial ingredient – tact.
So it was no great surprise while we were in the truck the other day, he started laughing in the backseat. “Mom, you should see your arm, like where your tricep should be. It’s an arm goiter!” he announces breaking into another spasm of laughter. Of course, Younger Boy joins right in.
Then Older Boy reaches up to give the arm goiter a poke with his finger. “Look! It’s like a tether ball game. Let’s see how many times we can make it go around.”
Then one night I’m standing in the kitchen after a long day of yard work. I’d just showered and put on one of The Husband’s really big, old gray t-shirts. Older Boy walks in, looks me up and down says, “Mom, you’re kind of letting yourself go here. You’re one step away from a trailer park in that. All you need is a baby bump and a cigarette.” And then he gives me that final look of “don’t ever show up in public to pick me up looking like that.”I couldn’t agree more.

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It’s a Kid’s Life – Part 2

At exactly what point do we lose the ability to spend an entire afternoon doing this?
I, for one, am going to follow his lead.
Life’s too short to be too serious.
And just for the record, I did NOT require that he suit up like this to soak in the hot tub. Although it wouldn’t be a huge stretch since I am a Sikorsky when it comes to helicopter parenting.

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