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This Is Your Brain on Drugs

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Actually, this is what happens when your dishwasher is full, you have a few things left over and hide them in the oven because you have company coming over in 5 minutes, then forget anything is in the oven and pre-heat said oven for dinner.
 
Maybe next time I’ll hide stuff in the microwave.  
 
Looks like I’ll be needing the super sized margarita glass with dinner tonight.

Myth of the Superwoman

Today I read an article about the impossible standards women set for themselves on ‘having it all’ in life. Perfect job. Perfect house. Perfect children. Perfect body. Basically the Executive Stepford wives. You can read that article here:

http://www.glamour.com/inspired/2013/08/why-women-cant-have-it-all-according-to-barnard-college-president-debora-l-spar

It’s an interesting read and while I agree, the idea that you can be beautiful; a hard ass executive (or whatever title in your field of interest); have the perfect family and still have time to do whatever it is that you love, is a myth, there are more than just self promoting factors to consider.

Trying to do it all is a lofty goal but there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done. That’s not to say it won’t get done, but you either never sleep or have hired out a few of those things.

For me, the idea of having it all is a wonderful idea but I know that it will never be a reality for me. I care too much about my children to give up time with them to advance my career. Hell, I STILL haven’t finished college because with how fucked up my reproductive tract is we were told ‘now or never’ on getting pregnant and it STILL took us two years and a round of meds to make me actually ovulate. Then the girls came and I pushed it back. Then I went back to work and now I fear I may never finish.

I don’t have time to work out, and as such am fatter than I ever thought I’d be in my entire life. I could try and schedule time, but I only get to see my kids for an hour or so a day (after school/work and before bed) so I don’t want to cut into that. I am usually too tired to work out AFTER they go to bed and I am not anywhere near close enough to a morning person to wake up at 5 AM and go for a run.

I dye my own hair, but only when I feel like it. Truth be told, I’d love to rock some bright ass blue hair, but I’m pretty sure that would be grounds for dismissal or at the very least a stern talking to from my boss.

I shave and/or wax the errant hairs that appear more and more frequently on my face. (I swear I’m part yeti at this point, I was smooth as a river rock on all but my legs and pits before children, now I have a beard I call Jerry.)

I want a lot for my career, but I know living where I do there’s only so far I can go. It’s big fish in a small pond syndrome. I don’t want to be the top of the pond. I just want to learn a lot and be mid- to high level executive by the time I retire. I don’t need a fancy title or a million connections (because guess what, just because you have ‘power’ and ‘authority’ doesn’t mean you’re not an asshole). I want to be able to provide the best schooling I can for my kids. Period. Nothing else matters to me.

But in all that, accepting that I will never be the one that has it all, I have to say that I notice that it’s not just women putting the pressure on themselves to be the top of the top. Personally, in the last month alone I have felt the pressure from both home and work to be the best.

My boss wants 100% from me at work. No distractions. Nothing pulling my attention away from the task at hand. I get that, I really do, but I’m a working mother. The week Phoebe spent in the hospital was beyond my control. Having to take Edie in for her cast and then cast removal was something that was necessary. Edie getting strep this week and having to stay home was a requirement (and just plain considerate to the other parents) of her school.

Then there’s home. This week I have been alone. My husband is out of the state on business so it’s me and the ladies. Not the easiest set up for me. I’ve done it pretty well. Both children are still alive, the house hasn’t burned down. The dog hasn’t run away. And I’m pretty sure I wore pants to work today so I consider this week a win.

However, the life of wife and mother is a constant drain as well. At home, these strange people that live in my house and expect me to take care of them, seem to think I should give 100% here as well. I need to clean, do laundry, bathe them (well, the big hairy one bathes himself for the time being… thankfully), feed them, clothe them, play with them, read to them, do their hair, do their grooming, make their beds, pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, feed the dog, remember that we have a dog so I can buy her groceries as well, take them to the doctor, pick them up from school, take them to birthday parties, etc…

Then I have this strange obsession. Something I never thought I’d have because I was convinced I wasn’t creative for the majority of my formative years. I love to craft. I decorate cookies (like the royal icing, took me 12 hours to do these style). I sew. I quilt. I built and assemble. I paint. I glitter and modge podge with the best of them. I want to devote 100% of myself to that.

When you add it all up that’s 300%. Add in sleeping and daily maintenance activities for myself and I have already triple or quadruple booked my schedule.

So while I think it’s true that women are pushing themselves to have it all, do it all, be it all, I think that there are external factors as play as well.

We need a national Secretary of Humanity that will work with the Secretary of Education and whoever else to make sure that we are advancing as a society. If we keep on this trajectory of constantly need to do more but without the foundation established to work or fully understand of what ‘more’ really entails, we’re bound to crash and burn back into the dark ages.

Perhaps maybe not the dark ages, but I really feel that as a society we’re pushing in the wrong directions. And that not just for women. The time allotted for maternity leave is laughable and non-paid. The term ‘paternity leave’ just earns you a big dumb look when you bring it up. The hours people devote to their jobs are just insane and as a result family life and education is taking a big hit.

We’re rapidly dropping on the international education measurements. We expect more work and less quality human time with the people you love. Hell, most people can’t even tell you where their food comes from or how a cow is slaughtered (or tofu is harvested if you are a vegetarian).

In the end it’s the person making the choices that need to be responsible for what percent of the pie gets doled out where, but I think there are things that we can shift in the way we advance society as a whole to make it better for everyone. Women included.

The difference between boys and girls…

I’m always being told by my friends that have boys how different my girls act. I always kinda laugh because I don’t feel like they’re all that different. I know my perspective comes from only being around the girls all the time, but still, they’re pretty rough and tumble.

This is evident to me on a daily basis as they seem to think that fart jokes are the epitome of high class humor. Can’t really blame them for that, but the hundredth fake fart gets old.

Today’s example of how unladylike my ladies truly are comes from our drive home. Husband drops the ladies off at pre-school every morning and I usually collect them to bring them home at the end of the work day. (Our pre-school is open 10 hours a day. It’s an actual school, they work on letters and everything else you find in pre-schools. Both girls can now write their name and are just starting to learn to read. They know all their letters and stuff, blah blah blah. AWESOME school, great teachers, and expensive…)

Anyway, the ladies are in the back discussing their day of dinosaur making and poking each other when it went quiet for a minute. Usually they’re really chatty so I take notice when something’s off. Suddenly I hear, from Miss Phoebe in her little Phoebe voice:”Hey. Look at my butt.”

Edie giggles and says “OH! I smelled it and it STINKS!”

Phoebe giggles and replies “smell it again”.

“Peeeewwwwww!”

“Do it again.”

“Peeeeeewwwwww!”

“Do it again.”

“Peeeeeewwwwww!”

This went on for like two miles.TWO MILES! In rush hour traffic, which isn’t the same as big city traffic in our little burg, but it still takes at least 20 minutes to go 4 miles.

So this proves that my girls aren’t as delicate as they pretend to be around other people. I can only hope that this trend continues through their lives and they hang out with the awesome boys instead of the douchey ones.

For now I’m happy to have my 3 1/2-year-olds laughing at farts and giggling about stinky butts. Image

Weekend Successes and Failures

In keeping with the ‘Pin Perfect Life’ theme I thought I’d share our successes and failures from this weekend. 

Successes:

~ Managed to clean master bedroom/post hurricane disaster area

~ Played board games with our gaming friends

~ Went grocery shopping for week

~ Folded and put away 5 loads of laundry

~ washed a few more loads of laundry

~ served frozen waffles and bananas for Sunday breakfast (seriously, I usually do cereal… without milk because I’m not a morning person)

~ Cut and numbered the table flags for my upcoming work event this week

~ made Ranch porkchops from scratch and served with scalloped potatoes (boxed) and corn (frozen with butter sauce off the cob)

~ did dishes that were sitting in the sink WHILE dinner was cooking (but I still have the handwash only stuff to do…)

~ took a nap

~ Cleaned the coffee pot with vinegar

~ made my favorite summer drink and food at home instead of buying it from the store (Passion Tea Lemonade and cashew chicken salad- just makes me happy thinking about it)

 

 

Failures:

~ smashed Phoebe’s finger under our heavy heavy dining room table when I moved it to get her foot unstuck 😥

~ cut my finger putting the knives into the knife block

~ Didn’t get anything done outside (too hot and/or raining)

~ Tore a giant hole in the scrap fabric bed I was making for the dog (which will turn out ok because if I ripped a hole in it, it wouldn’t stand a chance on her claws)

~ Failed to get to the dog food store for the 5th day in a row to buy new dog food (it’s all the way on the other end of town) so I keep snagging some from the bag of food my brother left for when his dog stays here

~ A million other things that I always think “I’ll get that done” and then never get to

~ Didn’t manage to finish all the centerpieces for my work event this week. I’ll get them done, but it would have been nice to have them finished before Monday. I’m actually pretty happy with how they’ve turned out so I guess that’s a win, but time management for the fail)

~ Failed to take over the world and make profits from stealing underwear

 

Sigh. Someday I’ll be better at getting everything done. Until then though I must admit I had a good weekend. We took the girls to a picnic at the park on Friday night. We played games and got lots of stuff cleaned on Saturday WHILE having the girls home (if we do big projects, we usually plan them for when the girls are at their Grandparents house). We played bingo with the girls last night and I introduced them to Calvin and Hobbs. Sometimes it’s worth not finishing that to-do list to have some quality time with your family. 

My dirty little secret…

Ok, so it’s not really a secret so much as something that everyone that’s ever met me probably already knows. I suck at cleaning. I hate it and love it at the same time.

I long for a clean and tidy house but so often life gets in the way. While we can somewhat keep up appearances in the main living areas, our bedroom is ALWAYS or almost always the last room on the cleaning docket. This has been true for my entire life. I will volunteer to do dishes before I clean my room. Bad example to set for the children and it just adds stress to my marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s not food sitting in there. We have a no eating in your room rule in our house. It’s usually just random detritus that accumulates from the rest of the house. Well, that and laundry. I hate laundry too. The problem is that the dirty laundry starts to pile up (first world problem much?) and then the dog decides that she needs to build a nest out of it and I never get around to washing it then. Then you find yourself in a day like today… waking up in the morning and wondering what the hell that smell is that makes you want to gag.

Our bedroom smelled like 3 months of dirty laundry that had been slept in, rolled around on, and cuddled with by the dog (who always seems to stink no matter what, even right after a bath). Probably because that’s exactly what it was.

Well no more. I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties, and got to work. Two giant piles of laundry have been bagged or basket-ed up and moved to the laundry room (which also needs cleaned). Two bags of trash (mostly random crap from our pockets, things the girls have brought in to us in the bedroom, and empty shoe boxes) have been removed and sent to the holding area by our back door to await whomever has the bad luck to step out that door next and thus the responsibility to carry the pile to the trash cans. All our sheets are being washed. I vacuumed the floor, edges and corners, cobwebs, and ceiling fan. I wiped down the nightstands and dressers. I Fabreezed the crap out of everything and even flipped the mattress.

In return for getting the bedroom cleaned I now smell like a truck stop restroom and feel like a sack of potatoes (lumpy, dirty, and musty). I will get off my butt and shower here eventually, but I felt the need to share with you all my dirty little secret. I HATE to clean my bedroom.

The things they don’t tell you when you become a parent…

There are a lot of things that you never understand until you become a parent: the love you can feel for someone other than yourself, gladly giving up things you love so that your kids can have things they want and need, and the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

There are also some things that aren’t discussed. Even when you have kids and know that others will understand what you’re going through, we are told it’s best to hide what we’re thinking lest we be thought of as bad parents. I’m here to put those thoughts into words and let other parents or parents-to-be know that they are not alone.

1) You can love your kids with every ounce of your being and still want to have time away from them, when they don’t know where you are or what you’re doing. Generally this happens when they won’t stop hanging on you, won’t stop screaming for no reason, or are just generally being too much. It’s normal. It’s ok. And it’s a good idea to actually HAVE a break once in a while so that you can be a better parent. (Just make sure there is SOMEONE watching your kids while you have this break, or do something as simple as locking the door to the bathroom while you take a bath or poop.)

2) All those things you swore you would never do when you had kids suddenly become negotiable. I swore that my children wouldn’t watch TV or movies until they were like 5. I certainly would never allow them to watch anything in their bedroom. Yeah, that all changed when I realized I needed to have at least 30 minute spurts to do things like fold laundry, do dishes, make dinner, or shave. (Not in that order…) Not only have I allowed my children, now 3 1/2, to watch TV (mostly Sesame Street, Dora, or Caillou) and movies (so so thankful for everything Pixar) but I even let them watch movies while they go to sleep occasionally. Not every day mind you, but more than once a month.

This rule also goes for things you thought you’d never let them eat, things you didn’t want them to see when you broke the TV rule, bedtimes, not brushing their teeth as often as they should, and many other things you planned on but in reality it’s easier to placate them occasionally for the peace of the household.

3)  You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to hate yourself for them. It might be something really little and in the end insignificant, but you’ll still feel like the worlds worst person. This one kinda goes without saying, but it’s not really talked about. Shit happens. Recognize it. Learn from it. Be better from it. Teach your kids that you’re not prefect, they’re not perfect, the world’s not perfect. Teach them to apply this lesson to all aspects of their life.

4) You won’t sleep. Ever. Again. Well not really, but there will be days it seems like it especially in the beginning. Then when you get a routine set they switch it up on you. The first time they sleep through the night you wake up totally freaked out that something happened. Then quickly you get used to all the extra sleep you’d been doing without. Then all of a sudden they decide sleep is no longer something they’re interested in and you get to experience a while new realm of sleep deprivation. Then you go back to work and it becomes that much harder to function on 2 hours of sleep. You deal with and try to not be cranky with them but it’s hard when you’re so so tired. For me, when that happens, I find myself trying to remember that I only get them for a short time and I need to be grateful for the moments I get to share with them one on one.

5) There will be days you wonder what the hell you were thinking having kids. The reasoning will vary but you’ll wonder nonetheless. Sometimes it will be because you now no longer have the freedoms that you once had like picking up and taking a weekend trip or drinking more than 1 hard cider on Saturday. Other times it will be because you are completely overwhelmed and have NO IDEA how to deal with these little balls of anger. You’ll feel like you can’t do it anymore, like you shouldn’t do it anymore for their sake, like you want to run away. The expense associated with them adds up, quickly. The mess and clutter takes over your house. The snot you have to wipe, the butts you have to wipe, the boo boos you have to wipe all weigh on you eventually. And the first time you step on a lego barefoot in the dark you’ll find out just how many curse words you can string together and probably invent some new ones.

6) If you are the one that was ‘lucky’ enough to carry your precious little peanut then you get all sorts of things to remind you that you grew a human. Stretch marks on your stomach and boobs.   Phantom kicks long after you’ve delivered. Continued pain after you’re no longer pregnant, often new pain from how things played out during your delivery (can we say c-section?). And if you’re really really lucky you’ll be afraid to sneeze or cough for the rest of your life. Yes, I’m talking about peeing. God forbid you get the giggles during cold and flu season, you’d best share the diaper supply with your little one if that happens.

7) You have a strange urge to one up every other woman you come across with your pregnancy and birth story. It’s ingrained in your DNA. There’s no logic. It also goes along with all women eventually talking about their births no matter how little they know each other or how the conversation started. I can’t speak as to if this is true for males or those that happen to create their families non-biologically or unconventionally (adoptive parents or those that use a surrogate).

8) There may be some kids that are an exception to this one, but most likely you’ll look at other kids like they’re orcs. I can only assume this has some deep seated biological function in order to help promote the survival of your own offspring. And to be completely honest I will admit that I wasn’t smitten with my own offspring upon their exit from the depths of my loins, but as time went on I found myself enamored with how cute they are and find myself judging other peoples kids next to mine.

9) If you’re in a committed relationship you will find yourself wondering if it would be easier to do this whole parenting this without your other half. This is true especially in the beginning and super true when you’re the mommy up feeding the baby (or in my case, babies) while your husband sleeps. You just want to punch them, for no reason, for sleeping when you can’t, for not having all the weird pregnancy issues, for breathing so… fucking… loud.  There is often no logic in the beginning. Later on the thought stems from your different experiences in your own childhoods that lead you to your current parenting decisions. This is when good communication really comes in handy. It’s important to talk and be truly honest with each other or else the offspring are the ones that suffer the most.

and…

10) You loose all sense of privacy… for everything. Well, ok, not for sex, but for pooping, showering, peeing, picking your nose. It’s all gone. If you’re not quick enough or forget to flip the bathroom lock you all of a sudden have an audience. Not only that but it will be BOTH kids, crying and snotting all over the place while they fight over a toy, when the dog comes in and hack up a sock and 1/2 a tube of glitter chapstick on the rug and then suddenly your in-laws come for a visit and the back door wasn’t locked. At that point you give up all pretense of privacy, wipe the kids, wipe the dog, wipe yourself and then tell everyone to get the hell out of the bathroom.

It’s not glamorous. It’s life. Kids are great, especially mine. They’re the most beautiful, smartest, funniest, fantastic kids in the world and I had the worlds toughest pregnancy with the most intense birth ever.

In all honesty, despite the minor hiccups that come with parenting I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my little ladies with all my heart and would do anything for them. I love my husband with the rest of my circulatory system and I love my dog despite what she may hack up or poop out. There are good days and bad, but in the end I can’t imagine life without my kids.

I hope this helps shed some light on parenting in general and the things that no one wants to talk about. When you feel all alone or too embarrassed to let anyone know what you’re going through, know you’re not alone. When you have a bad day, kiss your kid(s), tell them you love them, and do better the next day. If all else fails, forget your plans and have some low key family time together be it at a park or a play place. And remember, you’re only human and so are they, but you’ve been doing it for a lot longer and they’re still learning how to do this whole life thing.

In the end, we’re all the same. There is someone, somewhere out there that is experiencing or has experienced what you’re going through.

What’s Under My Couch

On this episode of “What’s Under My Couch”…..

 

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And the winners are:  A half consumed bottle of Vitamin Water, a few toys, a few colorful IKEA bowls, a pen, some snacks….and a potato.  It’s not glamorous people, but there you have it.

-Katy