Willow…

I am not 100% sure how many times I paced the birthing room they had us wait in. I anxiously chewed on my fingers, checked the clock, and walked to the door to peek down the hall. I had been waiting my whole life for the two of you. Papa took me in his arms, hugged me tight, and we just held each other for a few moments. Both of us praying that you and Brody were ok as you made your way into the world. I reluctantly released Papa to check the hall for the 100th time. Only this time instead of empty beige walls, two nurses were rolling an isolette towards us. And in that isolette were two little heads covered by knit hats. My heart squeezed, my breath escaped, I turned back to Tony already crying. We clung to each other as they brought you into the room.

I didn’t know where to look first, my eyes and heart wanted to soak it all in as fast as possible. I touched both of your cheeks, committing your faces to memory. Just in case….

Much later,when the chaos had cleared, your Papa tore himself away to go check on Zoey (who was just a baby herself) and put her to bed. She was being cared for by family, but had never been away from us before.

Brody was fast asleep next to me. The nurse finished your bath and placed you in my arms so that I could hold you skin to skin. For the billionth time that day I reminded myself to be careful, you weren’t mine yet… I had heard so many awful stories… Everybody told me over and over to shield my heart as much as possible. You weighed 6 pounds and 1 ounce, but somehow seemed so much bigger. With your head laying over my heart, you let out a sigh, it had been a big day, and in that moment I knew what had been true since the moment I heard about you. I was yours, I had never shielded my heart, I had fooled myself, but the reality was you were my daughter before I ever knew you were coming.

I have spent the last 5 and half years watching you blossom and grow into this spectacular force that stands before me in my kitchen, hands on her hips, stubborn pout on her face, as she justifies why her twin brother is tied to his bed.

You are the smallest of your siblings, but you are also by far the bravest. You need to climb the highest, jump the farthest, and run the fastest. Nothing scares you, and that terrifies me. I worry sometimes that I take your independence and strength for granted, that I forget that you are still just a little kid, so I get taken aback when you do need to run and hide in my arms and bury your face in my neck. I am always going to be humbled to be your safe place.

I think about the indominable spirit that lives in your tiny little frame. You have already conquered so much. To think that not too long ago you could barely see out of one eye. You have tolerated hours and hours of eye therapy every night, eye patches, exercises, headaches, doctors, and frustration. All tough stuff for even grown ups to deal with, but you are conquering it all. Your vision made recognizing letters, shapes, and numbers difficult. Somehow you have not only conquered your visual challenges, but you have managed to catch up in record time, and soon you will start reading.

I look at you sometimes and I wish I was half what you already are.

I know these days are numbered, days when you still want to be around me, to hold my hand, the butterfly and snow man kisses you give as we listen to Papa sing his lullabies at night. I wish I could hold onto them for just a little longer, but I know that is selfish. I am also excited to see what you do next, to see who you grow into. 100% for sure you are going to continue to be spectacular.

So my little Brown Eyed Girl… my mighty Willow tree… thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me to be your Daddy. I aspire to be the man you think I am. I love you with everything I am.

Summa, Summa, Summa Tiiiiime

Summer is here!!! Yay… woo and hoo… Listen, if you’re like me (and I assume you at least aspire to be) you are probably living your best life right now. Just filling your days with super fun activities. Me and my little horde started a garden so that we can make our own calming aroma therapy sprays, There is nothing like getting your hands into the earth and you know… gardening or whatever. We spend our days combing the beach to add to our sea shell collection. That is, when we are not keeping up on our academics. We try to hit at least 3 museums a week.

Ok ok ok… I respect you too much to lie to you. We are basically just phoning it in. My kids have been sleeping in until at least 800 a.m., and it is glorious. My younger daughter informed me that she doesn’t hate showers anymore. That might have something to do with the fact that she hasn’t had one since school let out 2 weeks ago. What? She is in the pool EVERY DAY. I have learned a few things about life the past couple of weeks. Like Pop tarts will not ACTUALLY kill your kids, or no matter how many times I make eye contact with them, and assure them I am paying attention, they will say, “watch me” 5,000 times before they do whatever trick they want me to see.

The biggest lesson I have learned this summer, and this is tough to admit, I …. hate playing. I know… it came as a shock to me too. I am basically a giant man baby who should not be left unsupervised. When Tony comes home from the station I am pretty sure that he is just as surprised as I am that the house is not on fire. To clarify, I love the chasing, the tickling, the wrestling… but the rest of it? Thumbs down.

Normally I could just accept my shortcomings and be confident in the fact that I am at least mediocre in the rest of the parenting arenas, But thanks to my husband, that isn’t an option. You see HE is GREAT at playing. He will drop whatever he is doing to build a space fort, or a Barbie princess tent, or play a made up game where the rules change every 5 seconds. And he… LIKES it. Now before you get a sappy grin on your face, and let out the inevitable “awwww”, can we at least take into consideration how this impacts me? I have given my very life force to these children. I smile all the time at the things they do, and the things they make. God knows I do not have the collagen left in my face to be smiling all day. I should be resting my facial muscles. And do you know how many times a day I wipe their butts???? I am TOO invested to just let him have the title of “Favorite Parent”.

Just yesterday my daughter handed me a doll, “That’s King Ben, you need to be the dad”. Apparently she didn’t appreciate my diatribe about toxic masculinity and the outdated patriarchal institutions that further enslave us as a society, because 5 minutes into it she asked if she could be excused to go clean her room and eat her vegetables. “It’s ok Daddy, I’ll just wait until Papa gets home to play this game.” My son will saunter into a room, “Where’s Papa? I want to play Vampire Ninja Space Detective!!” I’ll play with you Buddy. “Uh…. well…. that’s ok Daddy, how about if I just yell for you like I am on fire when I need to be fed/hugged/can’t find something/ or you want to sit down for 5 seconds?”

Tony, bless his heart… he will try to throw me a bone. He will offer to take over the scheduling, and the cleaning, and the cooking, etc. so that I can be the fun Dad for awhile. And I appreciate it. He just does it all wrong (i.e. not the way I do it), and despite what you might think, you can’t just fold towels any way you want. There is a code. And that code must be followed.

Sigh… I will admit that watching this big giant man hold the tiniest plastic tea cup, pinky outstretched, with a princess Tiara on his head is beyond adorable. Ok, and maybe watching him patiently explain to Brody why he needs a “blah blah blah” to build his space fort makes me involuntarily smile. And you know… I do have enough leverage (in the form of video footage of him dancing and twirling to Disney songs) to comfortably keep me in trips to Target for a lifetime. Maybe this arrangement isn’t that bad.

I guess we can’t be everything to our kids, and luckily for all of us I don’t have to be. Besides, I guess if I really want my kids attention all I have to do is go to the bathroom by myself.

#girldad

There is a lot on the old interweb about “Boy moms” right now, and how tough it can be to raise the Tasmanian devils that seem to possess our little guys 90% of the time. Hell, my husband and I WERE little boys and yet Brody often baffles us. So to the boy moms out there, I feel you…. I do… but let me tell you, being a girl dad isn’t all Wonder Woman dress up tea parties and giggles. The screams alone can be deafening. And have you ever had to clean poop out of somebody else’s vagina?

As a young gayling growing up in the 1980s… ahem…late 90s rather, I was pretty sure the female anatomy would forever remain a mystery to me. I definitely never imagined that I would be having daily arguments with little people about keeping their vaginas healthy and itch-free. I mean… it seems to me like the first time not wiping/ washing/ etc. didn’t work out, you would want to do better. But nope, every day we get to argue about whether or not the, “It’s my body. It’s my choice” rule applies to wiping and washing.

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The squealing… it’s constant. They squeal when they are happy, when they are sad, when they are furious, when they see a pony, if someone looks like Wonder Woman, or if they are on fire. If you are not careful you will find yourself running up the stairs every 30 seconds convinced their limbs have been severed. That’s why I am developing a device that differentiates the sub sonic sounds into threat levels. That way you know what level of intervention is necessary. By the way, I will crazy murder, and finger paint in the blood of, anyone who tries to steal my idea. Patent Pending

Just yesterday I overheard my poor husband and my 6 year old in a heated conversation. Zoey had gestured to a pile of dolls, and asked Tony to hand her the Belle doll. Here is where he went wrong, he then asked her which doll was Belle… Zoey was INCENSED.

Z: Are you trying to be funny Papa? Belle, from Beauty and the Beast…

P: I understand your words honey, but I don’t know who that is!

Z: SHE’S BELLE!!!!! She’s like only my 906th favorite doll in the whole world!!!!!!

Now at this point I should have intervened and rescued him, but I have a strict policy against interacting with them when they are like that unless I absolutely have to. Plus, if IIIIIII have to know all of the princesses, super hero girls, super hero princess girls, or whatever, so does he.

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They cry a lot. I mean like an EXORBITANT amount. I am continuously pushing fluids into them because I fear dehydration. My girls will cry because they are sitting too far away from each other, or because they are too close and breathing on each other. Willow cried last night because her brother went into the bathroom she was thinking about using. Oh yeah, and yesterday they both threw a legit FIT over having to share their Pretty Princess dress up tiaras, boas, and costume jewelry. I was like calm down, we share in this house…. and I just put this stuff on.

The things they want to play are extremely complicated, much like trying to navigate the minefield of their emotions. You need a script, a back story, and a 20 minute class before you even get started. And even though you think you are prepared, inevitably you will draw their anger because they changed said script, and you just unwittingly killed Princess Barbie Power Monster or whatever. Nothing makes the back of my hair stand up like hearing, “Daddy, will you play with me?” Not even if it would cure cancer…. is something I think, but never say because I am obsessively afraid that might make them grow up to be a stripper.

They both know every one of my buttons and heart strings, and are not afraid to use them against me. And just when I think my eardrums are going to burst from the volume of her shrieks… she wraps her little arms around my neck, and whispers in my ear “You’re the best Daddy in the whole world.”, and I know without a doubt that I will play dolls, or make-up, or fashion show, or anything else their amazing little imaginations desire. Because nothing beats butterfly kisses, or watching them twirl around in the sun, giggling because of the way their dresses spin. There is no greater feeling in the world then they take your hand and smile up at you.

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Actually, you know what? I take it back, being a #girldad is the best thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t change a single thing. Well… except that bit about the squealing.

Ah… summer time…

Can we all agree that now that the weather is warm, and people are opening doors and windows, that we are all going to just pretend not to hear each other screaming bloody murder at our kids? Every summer all my neighbors get a bouquet of flowers, plate of chocolate chip cookies, and a card that says, “Brace yourself. It’s gonna be loud.” I feel like it’s just a fun little way to remind them not to call CPS every day.

Still, despite my best efforts, there seems to be one or two that cannot decipher societal norms. Unfortunately they are also the ones who conveniently seem to be jogging, or walking their dog, by my house when I am outside with my kids. Never when I am inside… hiding from them… you know, behind the curtains.

Let’s talk about old man Bob. Bob walks his 3 geriatric dogs 97 times a day. Every day. So for the next ninety something days of summer break I get to participate in the following daily exchange:

“Oh hey there Hurleys! Imagine running into you here. Outside of your house. In summer. So what was B getting into this morning? That W sure does sound like a scamp! Is Z still putting glue in her brother’s hair?”

Move it along Bob, nothing to see here. Besides, I think the acoustics are such that you hear better from your house. I mean, I assume that’s why you can hear me from so far away, but the demon horde living in our home can’t hear me from the next room.

I sort of feel like I should be wearing a body cam. If for no other reason than to prove that I start the day as Mary Poppins. Joan Crawford is just where we inevitably end up.

qMary Poppins Short TakesWalt Disney Films
Mommy-Dearest Paramount Pictures

Our neighbor Joyce is THE worst though. She wants to be all “judgey” just because she lives 3 blocks away, and can still hear me yelling at my captors. She’s a single mom and only has one kid. While we hear a lot about her 9 year old’s accomplishments, we don’t see much of her as she is allergic to sunlight, grass, dirt, concrete, and fresh air. Also, she is apparently busy working on being the next 9 year old to get into Princeton…. or whatever. Joyce really chaps my hide.

“You know, if you gently redirect them to a positive activity you don’t have to yell. Yelling is the same thing as locking them in a dungeon, or tying them to a sticker bush. 100% for sure it will turn them into drug addicts.”

Hey Joyce, how about you refocus yourself on down the road? Be sure NOT to look both ways when crossing the street. Hee Hee. Not kidding. I despise you.

I think this summer, if we hear our neighbors getting loud with their kids, we should just send over a sheet cake with, “You’re doing great! Only ___ more days till school!” written on it. Unless it’s that Joyce. If you hear her yelling, record it and send it to Princeton Admissions. That’ll teach her.

All The Help I Can Get

I have been reading a lot lately about how easy 70’s, 80s, and 90s moms had it. I get it. I mean nobody had CPS on speed dial, a pediatric consult wasn’t required before making snacks for your daughter’s Girl Scout meeting, intolerable play dates were not a thing because you just opened the door and pointed them toward the park or… patch of grass… or street… or whatever. OH OH OH… and in the 90’s at least, the clothing was baggy and less binding. I guess they did have it pretty sweet.

But… could they turn on the T.V. from their phones while hiding in the bathroom?!? No Becky they could not. And too bad because this is a magical, game changing, life saving tool. I can turn on the television, put on The Magic School Bus, control the volume, and summon my kids away from whatever they are destroying. All while huddled in my shower scrolling social media.

I know that the “good parents” are going to chime in with how we are supposed to limit their screen time. Mmmmm hmmm… but look my floors need to get done, and I am not creative enough to pull off some sort of crafting adventure, or reading scavenger hunt. Also, I suspect those crunchy “good moms” might be swiping their kids Adderall. I am just saying that level of involvement and time commitment on Pinterest, just to keep them occupied in order to clean up whatever is sticky at that moment, isn’t occurring in nature. My guess is Adderrall…. or the devil. Guuuuurl you know I don’t judge. I would seriously sell my soul myself to be rested enough and to poop alone.

Let me back up a little bit to when I was about 6 and my mother and I were at K-mart. She was talking to the lady in customer service and the man ahead of us had just put out a cigarette in the ashtray. Yes, that’s how old I am. They let you smoke in K-mart way back then. Or maybe that was just in Butthole, Louisiana? Anyway, I could see that it was still lit and I was curious. So what did little 6 year old Mikey do? I reached down and put that used nasty cigarette butt IN MY MOUTH and inhaled. I then proceeded to cough so hard that I puked. I did not stop puking until long after we frantically made it to the parking lot. I think that might even be how I caught the gay (J.K. don’t email me)! You know what would have avoided that? An iPad.

I am not kidding. You give my kid their pad for 10 minutes and they will barely move. So until someone takes my suggestion seriously that chloroform air vents be optional in all mini vans and SUVs, the iPad is gold. Say what you will, but did you know there are 5 dwarf planets in our solar system? Because my 5 year old son does. He can name them and tell you anything you want to know about them. You know why he knows that Becky? iPad. My girls are obsessed with pretending to be Kacy Catanzaro from American Ninja Warrior. She is this incredibly strong female athlete my girls worship, you know how they found her? You guessed it. iPad. So let’s all stop pretending like we aren’t at least tempted to glue those things to their hands some days.

Oh and I was just reading that we can track our kids while they are out of our sight! You guys…. we can put GPS on our children! I guess we SHOULD be shoving them out the door to go explore like previous generations of moms and dads, I mean we have access to satellite imaging and NASA technology for the love of Kelly Clarkson! Alas, we could never do that though could we? No we could not. A huge sarcastic thank you sent out to Detectives Stabler and Benson and the creators of Law and Order SVU. Life ruiners the whole lot of them (Just kidding Chris Meloni please answer my letters).

It does seem like there is a lot of pressure on parents today, we have to somehow feed, clothe, and nurture our babies, while at the same time keeping them safe from a world that appears to be infinitely more dangerous than the one we grew up in. We know too much about the damaging effects of… everything. It is all so incredibly daunting. So grab your phone, head into the bathroom, crawl into the tub, and cast Paw Patrol to the T.V. while you scroll through Facebook or that Snapogram. Give yourself 10 minutes of peace. It is ok to make your life easier sometimes. I promise.

Ugh… effing nature

You guys… he wants me to “camp”. Like in nature! Seriously he is planning on dragging me out into the legit forest, or the jungle, or whatever. I’m not 100% sure what the difference is. What I DO know is there are bugs and dirt there. And I think we can all agree nothing good happens in the woods.

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Credit: Warner Brothers

Let me give you a little background on my childhood camping experience. There is none. In fact, when Tony and I met he tried to trick me into becoming an “outside person”. We were newly dating and I was still successfully keeping all my crazy tucked in.  Also he’s a hot firefighter, so I was willing to put myself in danger for love. With much repidation, and feigned excitement, I consented to try this camping thing he kept going on about.

On our first trip Tony had all of our supplies purchased, he loaded up the truck, and even bought me some really cute sandals. When we arrived I put on my best “can do” face and pretended to be enthusiastic as I asked how I could help. You can imagine my glee when he pointed to a chair and told me to sit down. He built the little tent, he made the fire, he organized and set up the… you know…. other things. He did it all. He brought torches to keep bugs away, he made me a beautiful dinner, and the next day he drove me into civilization to eat indoors. It was all very “Brokeback Mountain”. I enthusiastically agreed to go again.

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Credit: AP/Focus Features, Kimberly French

On our second camping trip I grabbed and unfolded a camping chair as soon as we got there. I was thinking to myself that I would let go of the fact that I was unfolding my own chair. I mean he seemed very busy. As I settled in I called out my faux offer to help as I put my feet up. “Sure! Can you gather kindling?”, he yelled back. After finding out that “kindling” is just an outdoorsy way of saying little sticks, I went ahead and did my part. Still despite the hardships I was able to enjoy myself. I even learned that you can see the stars at night out there in the wild! Seriously, it’s not just a made up thing on T.V.!!!

Our third trip… that’s where it all fell apart. My shoes…. my beautiful shoes were taken from us in a devastating mud mishap. I …sob escapes… I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave them behind in the quicksand to save myself. Tony was so impacted by witnessing this tragedy that he drove us directly to the mall and replaced them upon returning to civilization.

OH! Let me tell you about the showers. They were abysmal. I had barely rinsed the all natural, vegan, gluten free coconut scrub off my face when the water turned frigid. As I reached to adjust the knob, I was confronted by a black widow spider hanging near my face. I turned to flee and my shower shoe caught the edge of the shower stall and I was airborne. Luckily there was concrete to break my fall.

Later, during our afternoon hike (Yes, the fateful hike that took my shoes), I was chased through the forest by a bear. Ok, ok, ok… it was a chipmunk, but he was aggressive! In fact Tony nearly lost a leg because of that little shit, but more about that later. But worst of all, he made me do stuff! Like work stuff! As you can imagine I shut that shit down. We had been dating long enough by this time that I was pretty sure he was hooked. I mean I had slowly started introducing him to all my other personalities and he was doing a good job at rolling with it. Anyway that was our last camping trip. For awhile.

A few years ago one of our very best friends gave me a trip to See Sam Smith at an outdoor concert venue that boasts a camping site. Seriously… they are super proud of it and people love it. Our friend even bravely offered to take care of the kids! You might wonder how I was convinced to go back into nature after the shoe trauma of our previous trip. I know. It was tough, however I soldiered on.

Also, I was desperate to get away from my kids. I love them, but we had been together EVERY DAY for YEARS. We all deserved a little break.

Oh and of course camping had evolved. And we were able to eat at restaurants and go to the movies. #Glamping

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But now… now he wants me to go into the forest again. And this time he wants me to bring our kids!!! Listen, they don’t just give you the title Helicopter Dad, you have to earn it. Can you imagine what that’s going to be like out there in the jungle? I mean does he not remember what happened to my shoes?

Pray for me y’all.

I was so busy trying to look like a good listener that I forgot to you know actually listen…

Does anyone else like to completely emotionally flog themselves by reading “Parenting articles”? I am not 100% sure why I like to start my day off in a panic over what household items are actually killing my kids, or by beating myself up over how I fail to measure up to these super moms who have time to clean their kids’ ears EVERY week, but it is one of my favorite forms of self abuse.

I recently read an article that said you should repeat 1 or 2 things that your kid tells you so that she feels like you are interested and listening. If you don’t there is a 100% chance that by puberty tbey will murder you in your sleep and post it on that Snapagram.

While I still believe my destiny includes rising to super star fame as an interweb sensation, It ain’t going down like that.

Now you may be looking down your judgey noses at me for having to be told to listen to my kids (Ugh. You probably never even dropped your baby either), but let me remind you that there are 3 of them. And they will tell me stories about places IIIIIII took them too. About things I witnessed. And when one tells me their version, the other 3 are bound to want to retell me the same story.

“And then the princess, but she’s not really a princess right? She’s just a pretend princess? And then the princess took my hand. This hand right here Daddy. And she…. no it was this hand because you were sitting next to this hand, so it had to be this hand…”

Right, I was there 30 seconds ago when it happened.

My son will talk about the formation of rocks for hours. Did you know that the largest volcano in our solar system is on Mars? Because I do. That’s a thing I have to know now. He likes to “quiz” me so I kind of have to pay attention to him, but up until now with the others I could get at least get away with listening to the tone of the drone, and then matching it with the appropriate responses.

But oh no, if I didn’t have enough “Mom guilt” about GMOs and … whatever hidden danger we are worrying about this week, now if I want to avoid their descent into the world of stripping and serial killers I have to listen to them too?!? When does it end? Parenting is so hard.

So I have been trying to take each of my kids into my room for snuggle/ chat sessions where they have 100% of my attention. No distractions. And as it turns out they seem like nice people. Yes, I still get lost in the drone of fart stories, booger jokes, and which Super Hero girl is the toughest, but you know what? I also found out that my daughter misses me when she is at preschool sometimes. I found out that my FIVE year old baby boy thinks he has a girlfriend (Hey, does anyone know if they even have all boys boarding Preschool?). And My oldest daughter doesn’t want any kids because “it seems like too much work”.

My kids are ridiculously cute, smart, and hilarious… and still I get so caught up in schedules, chores, appearances, etc. that I forget that none of that matters. I forget how much I love hearing my son laugh about his imaginary booger picking monster friend who only speaks in farts. I forget that my favorite sound in the world is W’s baby girl voice, or that Z is gone for MOST of the day and is having experiences and exposures that are opening up her world. I could miss all of that if I don’t put the fucking vacuum down and click in with my babies. Plus… I mean… vacuuming does kind of suck dirty balls.

Can we… not?

Guuuuuurl.  Sancti-mommies and Sancti-daddies…

 I just wonder what has had to occur, psychologically speaking, to result in this behavior.  Please tell me who hurt you?  And furthermore, what about our history together has given you the impression that I am open to hearing your nonsense? Seriously, please tell me so that I can immediately eradicate it from my personality.

And they start out almost immediately right?  You are sitting in the waiting room of the Pediatrician’s office, pleased as punch that you have managed to keep this baby ALIVE for the past few weeks.  You are exhausted, you smell, the baby smells, both of you are covered in various yuck that has spewed from your adorable little bundle of grossness.  And this impossibly cheerful mom leans in and says…

”Has she rolled over yet?”, before you can even respond she continues, “My little Engelbert is the first toddler accepted into Yale.  I attribute it to the fact that I only breast feed him in a magical meadow, while a herd of Unicorn grazes nearby.  Let me have your email.  I’ll send you this article I just read about Organic produce.  Do you know that non organic grapes are really just filled with poison, and will definitely kill your family?”

I mean sister.  You really are going to want to loosen the pony tail.

I have been to more than one pre-school board meeting that has nearly erupted into a full on rumble over someone having a forward facing car seat, or accidentally bringing Muffins with gluten in them for snack.  Girl, these parents will shut down entire schools over a classroom having a marker containing “Volatile Organic Compounds”…

I was at a school fundraiser where an innocent discussion about birth stories resulted in handcuffs and restraining orders when a “friendly rivalry” between Becky 1 and Becky 2 escalated.  Apparently one of the mothers insinuated that her organic, gluten free, vegan, all natural, childbirth was more bohemian and painful then the other woman’s.

Or how about the time I was lectured about “coddling” my 2 year old twins by a woman who was, AT THAT VERY MOMENT, breastfeeding her 5 year old?

Blink.  Blink.

Why do we do this to each other?  Why do we feel we have to blow out other people’s candles so ours will burn brighter?   Why do we suck our teeth and roll our eyes at the parent struggling with an unruly toddler in the store?  The very least we should all do is shoot the parent a smile and look of solidarity.

At bedtime, as I tuck my amazing little monsters in, I reward myself with a pat on the back and a sheet cake just for getting them through the day alive. Being a parent is not easy. Let’s all agree to stop making each other feel like shit about it.  In fact, I think we all should agree that if any of us finds ourselves wanting to “Sancti-mommy” any other parent we should…. Pause for dramatic effect…. Be BANNED FROM TARGET FOR ETERNITY!!!!!!

Ok, I got caught up.  Let the punishment fit the crime.  How about if we just agree to knock this crap off. I say we look for ways to build each other up without judgment.  Who’s with me?

 

Looking for the Win

It was not my best parenting day…

My son, in all of his perfect adorableness, was being a … well…being a 4 year old boy. I however had reached a level of emotional exhaustion that left my patience below zero and his stubborn was set to high. After battling with him about seemingly everything that day, I finally lost it when in open defiance of my repeated request to not throw books, he hit his sister right in the eye with the biggest hard cover one we have. I snatched him up and carried him kicking and screaming into our room for a quiet time. Truthfully I just needed him one side of a door and me on another.

I slumped into the wall as I shut the door, trying to hold back the tears as I started to beat myself up for having lost my temper and raising my voice to such a decibel. No. Let’s be honest… totally honest… I screamed and yelled. I did not raise my voice. I yelled like a crazy person.

Daddy? I don’t like that.”

I looked down to see that both my daughters had come into the hallway. “What don’t you like?” I asked my youngest daughter, trying to sound interested as I tucked the guilt away for later, struggling to focus on her words.

You were mean to my brother. You did not take a breath. You let your big big emotion get TOO big and you screamed at him. And we do not like that.” She said, her eyebrows knitted together in a scowl, both hands on her hips.

It felt like a punch to the gut as the air escaped my lungs in a WOOOOOOOSH.

Before I could respond Z added, “You should apologize to him Daddy.”

I felt the defensiveness rise up my neck spreading to my cheeks. I could feel my heartbeat quicken as guilt and shame washed over me. I am no stranger to parental guilt, my favorite past time some days is beating myself up over any parenting hiccup. I looked down at my daughters’ faces and something dawned on me. A light bulb moment if you will.

My 4 and 5 year olds were able to come and express their feelings to me. They felt safe enough to tell me they were mad at me . They were not afraid to challenge me when I was wrong. I grew up in a house where the expectation was that I was seen and not heard. My thoughts and feelings meant very little, if anything. The expectation was that if wasn’t happy, I better pretend to be. In OUR home though my babies were able to come to me and share some really big emotions and observations. Some stuff that was super hard to hear, and I bet not easy to say.

I leaned down and pulled both of them into my arms, kissed them on their cheeks, thanked them for their honesty, and assured them I would fix it. Then I took a deep breath and walked back into the bedroom. “Brody, may I talk to you? I owe you an apology…”

Instead of emotionally beating myself into a bloody pulp for being human and making a mistake, I chose to lean into the win. My kids can come to me even when it’s scary. My kids can tell me that they don’t like something. My kids stand up when they see something they don’t agree with. And just as importantly, I took an opportunity to show my son that when a man makes a mistake he owns up to it and apologizes. In return the smile that engulfed his face as he lept into my arms, squeezing my neck, taught me a lesson too. Maybe I can be a little quicker to forgive myself, to not beat myself up every time I trip up a bit.

I have an idea. Let’s all look for the wins today. My guess is you deserve it.

But if he LOVES me, why does he use such MEAN words…. like “budget”?

I would just like to send a shout out to my husband for always trying to teach me how to do new “adult-y” things…

For example, this whole budget thing. Before I leave to go shopping Tony starts doing this nervous little dance. He bounces from one leg to the other while stammering about how much money is in the account.  He then reminds me, for the hundredth time, that we still have to be able to afford the week.

Like I get it… the kids need to be fed “EVERY day”.  Sheesh… it was ONE time.

I need a bottom line do not go over number.  I appreciate the effort, and I love him to death for having faith in my ability to self regulate, but boy is it ever misplaced.

Up until recently I believed “budget” to be one of those made up words that doesn’t mean anything… you know… like “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”.

My previous attempts at joining this new “money saving” fad have been limited to going to Target and (mostly) JUST getting the stuff on my list.  Then of course preening around the house for the next 4 days, planning what I should wear for the parade they will inevitably hold in my honor.  You know…if I am honest the only reason those trips were even successful was due to Tony coaching me the entire time on the phone.

You have this! 

Stay on course!

Michael no! 

Do NOT go anywhere near the kid’s clothes! 

No, we do not need a dog bed.  I don’t care if it IS 40% off!   We don’t have a dog.

 OOOOOh wait!  I went to Wal-Mart once!  On purpose!  That should count as a money saving type thing.

Funny story though.  As I was walking in I had my baseball cap pulled so far down over my face, so as not to be recognized, that I couldn’t TOTALLY see where I was going and tripped and  bumped my head as I fell into the cart return.   My request that they drag my body across the street to Target before calling 911 was BRUTALLY rebuffed.  Long story short, I am no longer even allowed in Wal-Mart.  So win win.

 Times they are a changing though. I would like to point out that I have recently joined the whole coupon clipping / responsible shopper set! It’s true!  I bought little bedazzled scissors, and a cute little container to keep all my coupons organized in. The girls and I picked out stickers and glitter glue to decorate it.

I haven’t actually started though  because I just got everything set up… in May.  So…I mean… it’s a process.

In the meantime I will just do my part to stimulate (tee hee hee) the economy.  That’s still a thing right?  Saving the economy?  Or wait… is that recycling?

 

 

 

 

 

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