Smart phones

Hi blog world!

It’s been awhile.

If you’re on any kind of social media, I bet you’ve been privy lately to the post(s) about moms being on their smart phones too much.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Read this (I’ll wait):

http://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/dear-mom-on-the-iphone/

Apparently it was written in 2012, but it has made it’s way into the “news” recently.

Well, I read it.  I’m a mom who is often on my iphone.  And I got pissed.  Mostly for what this response says (please read it or you won’t really understand the rest of this blog):

http://www.remakingjunecleaver.com/dear-mom-telling-me-to-get-off-my-phone/

I mostly agree with the author directly above.  Why “mostly?”  Well, first of all, I think her version of their day before and after the park is probably inflated.  I am a SAHM and have been for almost five years and I love my children so much, but our days are not sunshine and moonbeams.  I do a lot of wonderful things with them everyday, but I am certainly not “on” for the entire day, all day, minus the time we’re at the playground as the blog above is suggesting.

And I am definitely on all sorts of technology way more than I should be throughout the day, but that’s more because of my desire to stay connected to the outside world and to have adult conversations and interactions.  I’ll be completely honest with you (as I don’t think the second author above is doing)…I don’t *like* doing “kid stuff” that much.  I don’t think playing with dolls or figurines is super fun.  I don’t like making forts.  I don’t like pretending to be characters.  I don’t even really like play dough (although I tolerate it more than I do some other things).  I don’t think this makes me a bad person, and I don’t think it makes me a bad mother either.  I read to my children – A LOT – because I enjoy books and I really like reading.  We dance because that’s another thing that I like to do.  But, most of the time when I’m home with the kids, they are either playing by themselves/together or I “set them up” in an activity (get out the art supplies, give them the play dough and accessories, fill up the water table and make sure all the pieces are clean, etc) and then I go and do one of the one million things that needs to get done (cooking, cleaning, laundry, making shopping lists, organizing clothes/changing out clothes for the new season, writing Mother’s Day cards to the grandmas, etc).

My to-do list is so long that I often can’t even think about all the things I need to be doing.  If you count all of our house projects, the daily and weekly maintenance chores that have to happen inside and out of the house, the tasks that school sends home (this week was teacher appreciation week and we had a list of things to do for that), navigating the parks and rec offerings and signing the kids up for that, calling back the multitude of doctors we all have, figuring out why that weird charge was on the credit card, calling the insurance company AGAIN to try and sort stuff out with them, filing the mounds of papers we let go because of everything else in life….I mean I have only scratched the surface.  I could – quite literally – go on and on.  But that would get depressing for me and boring for you.

When I’m wasting my time on Facebook or NPR or looking at all the emails I haven’t taken care of yet, I mostly don’t feel bad for my children who are blissfully playing and enjoying life, I feel bad for me because I’m ignoring the endless sea of things I have to do because sometimes it’s almost easier to ignore it than it is to try and conquer it.  Right now, at this very moment, there are so many things I could be doing (and my kids have been in bed for quite some time), but I’m choosing to write this blog instead.  See what I mean?

Awhile ago, I posted this on my FB page:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html

I am nearly 100% with the author of that one.  I don’t have a single memory of any adult actively playing with me from my childhood.  We played by ourselves (my sisters and I) or with friends.  I think I turned out alright.

My point is that not only do you not know what the rest of the day has been like for the “mom on the iphone” at the park, but her day may NOT have been all about her kids (as the second author suggests).  And so what?  She’s still allowed to be on her phone, and you’re still not allowed to judge her.  If she’s anything like me, she’s trying to get shit done while her kids are having a blast at the playground.  Just like I’m trying to get shit done while they’re squealing with glee while at the water table or when they both climb into the crib and play “house” for a half an hour.  So, if I’m wasting my time on social media, I don’t feel bad for my kids who lead a life where they get to play pretty much all day, everyday, I feel bad for me because I’m not getting the shit done that needs to get done.

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Selfish?

There are oh so many things that drive me crazy as a mom.  The list would be miles long if I had to type it all out.  But, recently, I think I’ve found the thing that drives me the absolute most crazy…the fact that whenever I am trying to do one of the three things I need to do to get ready in the morning in the bathroom (brush my teeth, brush/blow-dry my hair and put my face cream on), one or both of my children come into the bathroom with me and completely wreck the place while they know I’m distracted.

They unroll the toilet paper, take things out of the garbage, put things into the garbage that shouldn’t go into the garbage, put tissues and/or toilet paper that is unused into the toilet, remove all the Q-tips from the container, remove all the cotton balls from the container, attempt to use any one of the thousands of products we have in there that they shouldn’t use (deodorant, face cream, mouth wash, razors, tweezers, makeup, the list goes on and on), climb up onto the counter, climb up onto the toilet, jump on the scale, bang on the mirror, open every drawer and every cabinet, and just generally make the room into a living hell for me.

My bathroom is very, very tiny and I’m claustrophobic and I feel that I should be allotted 10 minutes (or less) to myself in there to do the three simple things I need to do.  So, this is a daily battle with my kids because they won’t stay out of the bathroom when I’m in there and, when I lock them out, they spend those ten minutes on the other side of the door screaming and crying as if someone is murdering them with an ax.  Thank goodness we don’t live in an apartment building anymore because I’m sure someone would have called CPS on me by now.

So, I can either lock them out and listen to the screaming and crying while I’m trying to get ready and not let it upset me (which seems impossible), or I let them come into the bathroom and I yell at them for ten minutes about the myriad of things they’re doing that they’re not supposed to be doing.  I’ve tried putting on a video or TV show for them while I get ready but they somehow inherently know what’s going on and – at least my little one – find their way to the bathroom anyway.

It drives me absolutely bonkers every morning.  The only way I’ve ever not had this be a problem is if I manage to blow-dry/brush my hair and put my face cream on while my husband is still home and then I brush my teeth in the kitchen sink – no joke – later.  

I don’t know how many of you watch Parenthood.  If you don’t, you should.  It’s truly a great TV show.  Last week, one of the adult children accused his (life-long) SAHM of being selfish.  She responded with, “Selfish?  Okay, let me put this into some perspective for you.  I spent over 30 years of my life taking care of four kids.  Some of whom are still living in my house and coming home for lunch.  And I spent most of my adult life compromising myself and what I want for your father.  I have always put myself second, or third, or fourth or fifth or sixth.  I’ve cooked your dinners.  I have packed you school lunches.  I have driven you to play dates and practice and done your laundry well past when I should have.  And now, when I assert one thing that I want, one thing, you and your dad and everyone else can’t take it.  So, that’s selfish?  Excuse me.”

YES.  Yes, yes, yes, and more yes.  I am using that speech someday.

Piggy Bank Woes

Readers, I have come across a parenting “issue” that I’m not sure how to handle, and neither is my husband.  Would you all be kind enough to weigh in?

Here’s the thing:

My four year old daughter was born in late November.  So, near the end of the year, she gets LOTS of stuff between her birthday and Christmas, and then there is a long, long stretch of time where she doesn’t get much of anything.  We are not the sort of people who buy her toys just because.  For one thing, we don’t have the money for that.  For another, she has PLENTY of toys.  She has enough toys for four kids.  Seriously.

But, she has come into the age where she wants things.  She sees them in the store, or at a friend’s house, and she wants them.  She has quite a lot of money in her piggy bank because we’ve given her all of our change over the years and put every gift of money she’s ever gotten in there.  So, for awhile now, I’ve been making her find out how much the item she wants costs, and we have literally gone into her piggy bank and taken money out and used it to buy the items.  It’s been working out just fine.  She’s learning about money, and I don’t have to spend my money on things I don’t think she needs.

Well, soon, she’s not going to have enough money in her piggy bank left to buy the things she wants (let me tell you, she has expensive taste!).  We’re not quite there yet, but we will be soon.  So, my question is, what do I do then?  I didn’t get an allowance as a child, and I don’t really believe in an allowance.  I think it is the responsibility of everyone in the house to help out.  I think that we – her parents – cloth her and feed her and keep her warm in winter and cool in the summer and so she has to pitch in.  It’s just her duty as our child and a member of this house.  And she does “help” already.  Of course everything she does needs A LOT of assistance from an adult and it always takes FOREVER for her to do her “chore,” but she does get some stuff done.  

But, I have to figure out a way to pay her (I guess?), for the things she does do, even if it is in a small way.  I was thinking maybe I could make her a sticker chart and every time she completes a “chore” successfully without (much) help, she’d get a sticker and then maybe each sticker is worth $0.25 (or some other small amount)?  So then I could deposit that money in her piggy bank and she could keep using her own money to buy the things she wants.  Does this sound reasonable?  Does anyone have any other ideas or something that has worked for you?

I’d love to hear your comments here or on Facebook 🙂

Happy March to all of you!

Toys

I’m sitting here at 5:15pm, smack in the middle of the worst part of my day (4pm to 7pm in case you were wondering…) and listening to my kids dump bins of toys out onto the floor and laugh with utter glee.  It’s not quite late enough for me to be in the kitchen putting the rice on for dinner (since that only takes 20 minutes) and I’ve already let them watch their fair share of television for today.  So I’m sitting here listening to the mess being made and thinking about how I am going to have to spend my time (and worsen my back pains) later picking up all those toys.

Yes, yes, yes we make them “help” clean up.  That’s so ridiculous to even say.  You all know that you do at least 85% of the work, maybe more.  My general rule is to let them play all morning and not pick anything up, and then we “clean up” before lunch.  The same thing applies in the afternoon and we have a large, whole family cleaning frenzy before the bedtime routine starts.  Every night.  Every damn night.  Many of these nights, I am the only adult in the house since my husband works A LOT, and so I pick up so many toys.  Oh so many toys.  And I have for four and a half years.

I’ll admit to being a bit of a control freak and a very orderly, neat, clean person and so I like things the way I like them.  That boils down to me literally not being able to handle the toys being halfheartedly picked up by the kids or my husband.  Which means that I clean up many more toys than a mom who is more laid back than I.  I wish I could be that way, but it’s just not in my DNA.  So, when I hear the dumping sound of toys, it makes my skin crawl because I know I’m going to be hunched over in the very near future picking up the colossal mess.

I need to find a mom who is a massage therapist so that I can babysit for free for her so she can give me free massages in return because, let me tell you, four and a half years of picking up toys has really taken it’s toll on my back.  And I see no end in sight.  Any takers?

Odds and Ends

Want a re-cap of my life as of late?  If so, read on…If not, don’t 🙂

We live in the Pacific Northwest (and have previously lived in Seattle) and the SEAHAWKS are going to the SUPERBOWL!  I’m so thrilled for the team and I really, really want them to win.  I feel like the rest of the country is routing against us because of the comments Sherman made after the game.  I will say two things about that.  One, is that the interview was given two or three minutes (maybe?) after the biggest game/play of his life.  He was just asked to be pumped up for three (plus) hours of football and then was given a few seconds to “compose” himself before giving an interview.  I’m not sure what anyone would have sounded like/said in such an instance.  That is a tough situation to be in.  Secondly, if you haven’t read his explanation of what went on, please do so here:

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/01/20/richard-sherman-interview-michael-crabtree/

I probably won’t change your mind about Sherman or the Seahawks, but just know I’ll be routing for them on Sunday until I have no voice left!

In kid news, my two daughters spent the last week with their grandparents (my in-laws) here.  My oldest saw “Frozen” for the fourth time in a theater and has watched the YouTube clips of “Let it Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and “For the First Time in Forever” approximately 1,000 times.  I’m not even close to kidding.  She is absolutely obsessed with that movie.  Both girls had a fabulous time with Grandma and Grandpa!  It’s very, very hard living 3,000 miles away from our families, but it sure is nice when we get to spend quality time with them.

We’re going back east at the end of March…just me and the girls.  The thought of flying alone with them (for about the 20th time) is already giving me night sweats.

I’ve been planning my KID FREE 35th birthday weekend in Chicago in April!  It’s going to be so much fun!  I can hardly contain myself!  I’ve never left the girls before and I’m due!

This past Friday night I went out with the ladies to an 80’s dance party at a club.  And I got hammered.  And I really, REALLY, REEEEEEEALLY paid for it on Saturday.  That is not happening again for quite some time.  It was bad.  And good.  Bad on Saturday.  Good on Friday night 🙂

And I still can’t find a job.  I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to find one until both girls are in school.  Which is 3.5 years away.  What I’m looking for (part-time, pays well, doesn’t require prior experience) does not exist.  I either have to go back to teaching (which I really don’t want to do) or wait until they’re in school and I don’t have to worry about covering the cost of childcare.  In the meantime, if any of you want to give me a good paying part-time job,  let me know 🙂

I’ve still been getting up at 5:20am to go to the gym so I’m exhausted and going to bed.  It was good catching up 🙂

And the award goes to…

It’s Sunday night (even though I post on Mondays) and I’m watching the Golden Globes. It’s amazing to be on the west coast for a lot of reasons, but two of the big ones are sporting events and awards shows. They’re on so eaaaaaaarly! It’s amazing! I can actually watch them and get to bed at my normal time – 9:30pm! Woo! (Hey, cut me some slack. I am getting up at 5:20am to go the gym, remember?)

But I digress. I’m watching the Golden Globes and it’s making me feel like I have no idea what’s going on in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I could care less about who’s dating who, or who wore what, or all that nonsense. I really, really hate show business for that whole “entertainment tonight” side of it. But I do enjoy watching television shows and movies, quite a lot. How is it then that I don’t know what any of these movies are, and the only TV shows I know are clearly not the “hot” ones right now?

I have children! That’s right! I don’t go to the movies, and I get to watch TV between 8 and 9:30pm…but that is only when I don’t have to pay the bills or clean up the kitchen or job search or write an email to a teacher or make a shopping list for the next day or any myriad of other things that I put off until the kids are asleep. So, in the end, I don’t watch that much TV either. I think we can safely say that I’m out of the loop.

Oh well. I guess I’ll have a really long list of movies and television shows to watch once my youngest leaves for college 😉

Happy New Year!

Hello blog world.  I’ve been gone for awhile and I apologize.  Lately, my days have been running together and, every time I think about blogging, it’s not Monday.  Then, when it is Monday, I never think of it.  I really should just save a post and put it up on my day, but, you know how it goes…

My parents are here visiting and so I find myself with some time to myself and it happens to be Monday!  They flew in VERY late on Christmas day and leave on the 2nd.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day in 2013.  I literally wrote 2012 on a check just last week!  I am a year behind, I guess!  I said this in my post about my daughter’s fourth birthday: the days are long, but the years are short.  This year has flown by for me.  We bought a house in July and so it seems that every spare second we have is dedicated to upgrading our “new” home.  Between that and all the normal chores and errands and classes and routines, I find very little down time anymore.

However, about three weeks ago, I started going to the gym from 5:30-6:30am every weekday morning.  Now that we moved we are literally a 2-3 minute drive to the gym and, since I’m usually up between 5:30 and 6am because my beautiful daughters don’t know the meaning of sleep, I figured I didn’t really have any excuses anymore.  I can go and come back with plenty of time for my husband to get on the road for work by 7:10am.  It really has been a win for everyone.  I feel better and really love having that time for myself.  The girls are blissfully unaware that I’m gone since they’re usually still asleep when I leave, and I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving them at the sub-par “daycare” that they have there.

It’s not an actual gym – just a workout room within the confines of our community’s recreation center – and so the daycare facilities leave much to be desired.  We tried them once and both my kids were crying after about 15 minutes.  The employees don’t speak English as their first language and all the other children there looked pretty miserable and had really runny noses and so it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  Hence, me going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning!

I guess this is my new year’s resolution…about a month early.  I can’t wait to see how crowded it is at 5:30am next week when everyone else in the world decides they need to start working out 😉  Are any of you making resolutions?  Care to share what they are?

Have a happy and safe new year!