Monday, May 23, 2016

A Day in the Life

I'm a big fan of the phrase, "Never compare your insides to someone else's outsides." 
In other words, don't compare how you feel to how other people seem to be doing. Because you don't know their insides. You only see their outsides. And they're usually more well-presented than their insides. This is why I strive to never paint a picture of perfection on this blog. On Sunday morning, my girls are all dressed in cute dresses, can sit mostly quietly through church, and look pretty good. I might even be wearing pantyhose. But my house has tumbleweeds of dog fur, my clean laundry is in piles, and our life is chaos much of the time. I'm OK with this. This is just the phase of life I'm in right now.

But today was particularly chaotic. HurricaneDebbie was in rare form. So I thought I'd share the messy insides of our family life:

HurricaneDebbie (HD) started the day by taking my glasses off of the nightstand and running around with them. I'm thoroughly blind without corrective lenses. If she hadn't brought them back, I would not have been able to find them without walking into a few walls. By the time I got to my contacts, I probably would have injured myself.

HD is experimenting with the boundaries of obedience. If she crosses her eyes and frowns when I ask her to do something, what will happen? If she starts to do what I tell her to do, but moves at a speed of 1 millimeter per second, what will happen? If she flat out says "no", what will happen? And if she just hides, what then?

She was determined to be a human blanket for her baby sister. Or at least work out any kinked muscles by leaning an elbow into her tiny body. Poor LittleFritter had no idea the imminent danger that lurked nearby all day long.

When we went to the playground with a mom-friend around noon, I insisted that HD wear her sun hat. She initially protested. And then just took it off whenever she thought I wasn't looking. Over and over.

Potty training is going well; and having an independent 2 year old seems like a good idea. Until they insist on trying to clean up their own poop accidents without telling you. Of course she did this while I was feeding her baby sister. I'm getting better at playing "where's that smell coming from?" But I despise that game.

HD had to try on multiple pairs of shoes before leaving to get her sisters from school. I've learned that I should tell her to put on her shoes 30 minutes before we actually leave. And have a backup pair hidden for when she somehow misplaces all of her shoes whenever we're running late.

Despite trying my iced coffee before and not liking it, she decided to take a giant drag from my coffee cup while I was getting LittleFritter in the van. She decided she didn't like the mouthful she had, and spit it all out onto the van floor. Have kids? You need WeatherTech floor mats. Worth every penny.

HD was playing in the front yard with her sisters before dinner. She decided she needed to wear her bathing suit. Then she decided she needed to take it off. Our dinner guest pulled up just in time to see a naked HurricaneDebbie streaking across the lawn. The whole neighborhood saw her streaking across the lawn. I was barefoot on the porch, holding the baby. It was a lovely white trash moment.

I ordered her inside to put clothes on, or just be naked inside. Her choice. She chose to lock the screen door while we were still out on the front porch. Then she couldn't figure out how to unlock it. Thankfully, HeyMama had left the back door unlocked, and ran around the house to let us in.

My friend who came over for dinner also has multiple young children. We agreed that toddlers are evil. And if there was such thing as toddler boarding school, we'd absolutely send them. I like babies. I like 4 year olds. But that 2-3 phase? Not so much. 

And that's why Mommy was drinking wine before dinner. And during. And after...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Patriotic Duty

Sorry, this is a little leftover from Patriot's Day and the Boston Marathon. Given recent primary results, I couldn't help myself...

Why Is Mommy Drinking?

Some people have observed that moms like to talk about drinking. Wine is the typically discussed beverage, but margaritas, martinis and scotch certainly qualify as well. I've heard non-parents question this phenomenon. As I have been drinking this evening, I thought I'd weigh in and help clarify things. 

Mommies aren't really different from other people. So let's discuss some things that might make the average non-parent want to sit back and knock down a cold one.

1. A co-worker that questions your every decision. Whether it's your boss or someone you manage, the effect is the same. When every idea is met with, "I think we should do XYZ instead", "I don't like that", or "Wwwwhhhhhyyyyyyyyy?", getting anything done requires herculean effort, and you spend much of your day in negotiation. It is exhausting. It might make you want to scream, "Just shut up and do what I say!" Or it might make you want to drink.

2. Getting stuck next to a crying baby. What is everyone's travel nightmare? Being stuck next to the crying baby on an airplane. Parents fear upsetting their neighbors on flights so much that there's a trend of packing cutesie little goodie bags to apologize for their noisy offspring. Because no one wants to listen to a crying baby. Sit down on a plane and notice a gaggle of families with small children seated near you? I bet you order your drink before the plane even leaves the gate.

3. The person who doesn't know when to stop talking. Maybe it's your cube-mate who chatters at you all day long while you're trying to actually get stuff done. Maybe it's your neighbor who conveniently runs into you when you're running late, and takes 10 minutes to say something that only needs 30 seconds to communicate. Maybe it's the family member at Thanksgiving dinner who doesn't know which details to leave out when discussing his last visit to the proctologist. That person might make you want to shout "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!!!" Or maybe they make you want to drink.

4. Having other people spill things on you. That guy on the train who just managed to spill his coffee down the back of your new dress? That new waitress who just dumped your soup in your lap? You are now wearing substances never intended to adorn clothing. And you don't have the chance to change your clothes anytime soon. You might want to hide from the public all day. Or you might want to drink.

5. Constant interruptions. You just started working on something, and then the phone rang. And as soon as you get back to work, your boss stops by your desk. And as soon as you get back to what you were doing, you suddenly have to go to the bathroom. Now. And as soon as you remember what you were trying to do in the first place, the fire alarms go off and you have to leave the building. And then it's noon and you haven't accomplished one single bleeping thing all morning. Maybe it lights a fire under you and makes you more productive than you ever have been before. Or maybe you just want a drink.

6. Sleep deprivation. Ok, so I'm not sure that sleep deprivation makes me want to drink. But it really makes it harder to negotiate with the constant questioner, drown out the crying baby, not yell at the talker, get past the large stain in the crotch of your pants, and remember what the heck you were doing before the 3 kazillion interruptions began. So mustering your self-control in challenging situations might make you feel proud of yourself. Or it might make you want to drink.

Why do mommies want to drink? Because our lives consist of a daily abundance of 1-6. My colleagues are 7, 6, 2, and 7 weeks old. They hate my ideas. They never stop talking. They all do some amount of crying. I'm covered in milk, spitup, and boogers. And they specialize in tag-team interruptions. 

Want to torture someone? Deprive them of sleep. And make them listen to a crying baby for hours on end. Oh wait. That's my life. Right now. (No, really. The baby's in the next room, swaying in her Mamaroo. She's crying again. It's that time of day where nothing consoles her. We've tried everything. It all only makes her more upset. We mostly have to wait it out and then we can eventually soothe her. I'll try again in a few minutes.)

After every article that talks about the challenges of parenting, you get commenters who say something along the lines of, "Well you signed up for this. Stop complaining." Yes. I did sign up for this. I adore my children. And if I can raise them to be kind and successful adults, it will be my greatest achievement. But when a marathoner talks about how Heartbreak Hill really slowed her down, do you say the same thing? When someone complains about their chatty neighbor, do you say, "Well you moved in next to them. Suck it up buttercup." Or when their boss shoots down every single idea they have, say, "You took the job, idiot. Get a new one or shut up." Well, if you say these things, you're a jerk. But I doubt you do. Because actual empathetic people acknowledge that there are frustrating aspects to life. And people need to vent. Some days are worse than others. And sometimes you get those days for years on end.

Mothers Day is coming. If you have co-workers who are moms, take them out for lunch this Friday. And buy them some drinks. And while you're out, could you pick me up some earplugs? The crying's really getting to me.