Fire & Rain – The Remix

April 20, 2013 at 7:25 am | Posted in Kids, Parenting | 3 Comments
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Those of you who know me know that I love music. When I had children, I vowed not to get sucked into today’s tween rock and kiddie music. No Justin Roberts & The Not Ready for Naptime Players or Naked Brothers Brand for me and my kids. And certainly no Teletubbies! They would listen to some of my favorites – mostly gentle folk and acoustic rock music from the 1970s up to today. And this has gone over pretty well so far.

But after last night, I’m not so sure.

On the way home from a busy evening of karate, dinner with friends and an early-in-the-season ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s, my two little darlings decided to dissect James Taylor’s Fire & Rain on the way home. Maybe they were over-stimulated. Maybe it was the sugar. Maybe I need to re-consider my music choices after all. But this is how the conversation went:

JT: Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone…

“Where did she go, Mommy?”

“She died, Michael.”

“Why, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Michael.” (Even though I do know – she died of a drug overdose. How does one explain this to a 4-year-old?)

“Maybe she ate too much candy.”

“I don’t think so, Michael.”

“Yeah, maybe she choked on a Tootsie Roll!”

“No, Brady, I don’t think that’s quite it.”

“Well, maybe she didn’t take very good care of her body.”

“Probably right, Michael.”

Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you. I walked out this morning, and I wrote down this song. I just can’t remember who to send it to…

“Why can’t he remember where to send it, Mom?”

“I’m not sure, Michael.”

“He’s stupid!!”

“That’s enough, Brady.”

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny times that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought that I’d see you again.

“Why doesn’t he have any friends, Mommy?”

“Well, I don’t know if he…”

“Hey, Mom, why can’t he see her anymore?”

“Because she died, Brady.”

“Who?”

“The person James Taylor wrote this song about.”

“What was her name?”

“Suzanne.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because he says it in the song, if anyone was listening, boys.”

“Why did she die?”

“Haven’t we already been through this, guys?”

Been walking my mind to an easy time, my back turned toward the sun. Lord knows when the cold wind blows itll turn your head around

“Why is it cold where James Taylor is, Mom?”

“It’s a metaphor, Michael…”

“Maybe he’s on the moon! It’s really cold on the moon!”

“Brady!! He is NOT on the moon! You can’t even go there and you can’t breathe, so how could he sing? I think he’s in Antarctica.”

“Michael, he’s just trying to say that he’s sad about his friend.”

“No, Mom, he’s probably at the North Pole. It’s really cold up there and windy. Does he have to wear gloves to play the guitar?”

“He’s NOT at the North Pole!”

“Whatever, Mom.”

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus, you’ve gotta help me make a stand. You’ve just got to see me through another day

“Is he saying a prayer to Jesus, Mom?”

“Sort of.”

“Why, what does he want?”

“Well, he just needs help with…”

“Hey Mom, if you say ‘Oh Jesus’ and you are not saying a prayer, Jesus won’t listen, right? He’ll be all like, ‘Oh no! Here comes that Brady again with his fake prayers! Don’t listen to him!’ And you won’t get what you want. Right Mom?”

“Uh, it’s a little more complicated than that….”

“Hey, Mom, does Santa need help from Jesus?”

“Santa?”

“Is he all ‘Hey, Jesus! I need to make some toys here! Can you help me?’ Next Christmas I’m going to leave Santa one of my dollars because it costs a lot of money to make all those toys. Then he’ll have more money to make toys. And he can help Jesus.”

“Ok, sure, guys. Why don’t we listen to some Iron Maiden?”

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Parking Lot Angels

March 17, 2013 at 7:50 am | Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment
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I started this blog thinking I would write a lot about my horses, my obsession with the Real Housewives franchise, all things beauty-related, and other light-hearted topics. But what I’ve found is that I often write about what is in my mind and heart at the time, and very often that is parenting. I find parenting to be daunting, demanding and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I thought since I could boss a 1,200-pound horse around and keep my business clients in line I could easily handle a couple of kids.

Haha, good one, universe.

As any dedicated parent knows, raising your children will challenge you on every level. And if you are blessed with one who doesn’t fit the “typical” mold – like my Brady – then you need even more patience, love and skill. These things don’t come naturally to me. Ok, well certainly love does, but patience, not so much. And skills have to be learned. I have so much to learn.

But apparently I have lots of help from above. Because just when I think I am the worst parent ever, when I am down in the dumps about my ability to deal, thinking no one could do a worse job… the strangest thing happens. An angel finds me. And this seems to happen most often in the supermarket parking lot. I’m not kidding. Four times now, I have had someone – generally an elderly person – walk up to me out of nowhere in two different Hannaford parking lots and say something like this:

Angel: “Hi! Was that you and your little one laughing just then?”
Me: “Yes ??”
Angel: “I worked in child welfare services for over 30 years, and it is so good to see someone taking care of their child in the right way.”
Me: “Thank you ??”  “Thank you!!”

Or

Angel: “How old is your little boy?”
Me: “3.”
Angel: “I can see you really love being a mother. Just by the way you’re talking to him and laughing with him. I see too many mothers acting like they can’t stand their own kids. You’re doing a great job!”
Me: (thinks: “I guess you didn’t see me losing it 20 minutes ago in the car.”) Says: “Thank you so much! You made my day!”

And the truth is, she really did. Because God knows I am trying! I guess He knows, so He sends me some angels to help me.

Even this blog has become a source of inspiration. A while back I posted an article about my struggle to restart my childrens’ book, which had stalled out creatively and energetically. Out of the blue, an old friend whom I hadn’t heard from in 20 years appeared in my Comments section with the most amazing advice on how to jumpstart my efforts. I took the advice, it worked, and now I am nearing completion on the book. Angel.

Where will you see or hear your angels today?  Will a random stranger approach you, or will someone close to you say just the right thing? Will you simply hear a whisper on the breeze or the muffled rumble of the ice shifting on the lake to tell you that change is coming, however subtle? If you are open to it, somehow you’ll get the message that everything is going to be ok and that life goes on, despite what may feel like small tragedies or giant victories.

Listen. Look. Pay attention. It’s there, it’s powerful, and you don’t want to miss it.

xo

Saffron Gets A Bad Rap

March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Beauty, Honey Pony, Horses, The Real Housewives | 4 Comments
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A dear friend from down south once told me that the following is a very “Yankee” exchange:photo

Friend: “Ooooo, I love those shoes!”
Me (the Yankee): “Thanks!
(hushed whisper) 9-West. Marden’s Factory Closeout Store. $19.99!!”

Apparently we frugal Yankees are extremely proud of a bargain and not only seek them out, but then proceed to tell everyone who will listen what a steal we got. Apparently this does not happen in other parts of the country. I did notice Lisa Vanderpump giving Kyle Richards the business about showing up to an event in identical shoes and insisting that Kyle must have gotten them “off the sale rack”. Kyle looked none too pleased about this accusation. I would have been like, “Yeah, I did, bitch. Are you really stupid enough to pay full price?” Yankee.

And recently, I read an article about spending habits that put forth the following hypothesis: One’s idea of “expensive” is directly related to the first thing they buy that day. So, if you go online and buy a $200 bathing suit (Ahem, Spanx with tummy control and lots of DD boob lift.), then you’ll think that the $180 pair of jeans they try to sell you at check-out (“People who bought this also bought…” The ultimate keeping-up-with-the-Kardashians/Joneses ploy.) is not really all that expensive after all. But if you pop into T.J. Maxx for a quick browse and stop first at the $5.99 tights rack, well, you might not drop $149.99 on that Michael Kors bag, even if you CAN compare it to the MSRP (that’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, for those of you who are not rabid bargain-hunters) of $289.00.

So all this got me thinking about my own spending habits and what I consider expensive. A little look into my spending psyche:

Beauty Bucks

– Getting talked into spending $60 on foundation that is not the right color or texture for your skin by the adorable and heart-breakingly hip make-up store girl with the perfect cats-eye eyeliner = face-too-dark-from-spray-tan-21396414[1]EXPENSIVE

– $20 self-tanners that leave giant brown stains on the couch in the precise shape of your bodacious booty = EXPENSIVE

– Spending just about any amount of money on anything (short of plastic surgery) that will make you look even 5 minutes younger = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Travel Tariffs

– Spending $65 to have a car service meet you at the airport when you could easily grab a filthy, smelly cab complete with bullet-proof glass between you and the driver into town for $25 = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Thinking those leopard-print spandex pants the cocktail waitresses at the Jungle Bar in Miami Beach are wearing are super-duper cute and rushing right out the next day to buy yourself a pair = EXPENSIVE (I don’t care what they cost. You don’t look like she did in them and you will never, ever wear them out in public when you get home. Let’s just agree that you got caught up in the moment. And the mojitos.)

– Anything you buy at the hotel gift shop, mountainside ski shop, surfside cabana or in-room amenities bar = EXPENSIVE x2

 

Equine Expenses

– Spending $400 on fancy schmancy full-seat breeches that are just going to get dirty the second you put them on anyway (you know your horse is going to rub his snotty nose on them, right?) and probably won’t keep you in the saddle during your new green show mount’s inevitable spook/swerve/buck at the judge’s booth = EXPENSIVE11235[1]

– Spending $60 on a double-hot-pink halter with your cute-as-a-button pony’s name stitched on the nose when a $19.99 one would do the trick just fine = NOT EXPENSIVE

– $5.00/bag for pine shavings that sawmills otherwise consider trash = EXPENSIVE

– $150 for chiropractic work, $80 for acupuncture and a $50 massage (this is for the horse, not you!) so that Lightning won’t flip over on the crossties the next time you slap a saddle on his back = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Food Fares

– Paying $45 for the most amazing piece of Kobe beef you’ve ever tasted in a charming and elegant restaurant setting without anyone climbing under the table and squirming into your booth because they “need to snuggle you” or standing on their seat to stare at the poor old lady sitting behind you = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Spending $8 on clearly pre-processed meatloaf in a place that is supposed to be making everything from scratch. At least they have microbrews to get you through the meal. But of course they’re out of the one you really like = EXPENSIVE

Best SaffronSo what is truly expensive, anyway? The first time I heard that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, I thought it must be really outrageous and who in their right mind would pay for it? Then I went to the Hannaford and there it was: $14.99 for a small jar of saffron threads. I mean, I suppose compared to the Cream of Tartar that’s a little steep, but I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper than an organic cucumber. I guess it’s all relative, especially if you’ve just been to the Dollar Store.

So the next time I’m feeling down and need a little treat, I think I’ll go splurge on some saffron and live like the rich people do. Care to join me?

xo

When Did THAT Happen?

February 27, 2013 at 11:24 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Lately, I’ve been stumbling across various situations that remind me of my age and stage in life. I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis exactly, but I’m definitely in a contemplative mood these days. Here are just a few of the nagging questions that have been on my mind:

When did I go from…

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee...

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee…

Racing around in a hotrod to carting around a carload of kids?

Styling my hair with texturizing mousse to detecting the distinct aroma of Eau de Playdough in it?

Wearing high heels every day to wearing out a pair of sneakers every three months?

Being applauded for increasing clients’ product sales to being reprimanded by a 3-year-old for forgetting to buy applesauce?

MMmmmmm.

MMmmmmm.

Choosing a restaurant for their marvelous martini menu to choosing one based on their mac & cheese magic?

The 5:45 a.m. spin class to the 5:45 a.m. wet-bed-sheet-stripping workout? (The kids’ of course, not mine. I’m not that old yet!)

 

And for that matter, when did I go from…

“I’ll call you when I get there” (from a payphone, which you can’t find anymore) to thinking it’s not ok to leave the house for 10 minutes without a phone? (Remember when phones had cords… and “dialing” actually meant the phone had a dial??)

Being one of that group of girls at the bar (you know, the ones who dance on it) to being one of that group of middle-aged ladies (you know, the ones who are passing around a single pair of

Not actually us (just for the record)

Not actually us (just for the record)

reading glasses because some idiot printed the menu in mouse type and it’s too dimly lit to read anyway. Also, if we don’t get some food to go with these drinks soon there’s going to be some serious heartburn to deal with in the middle of the night. Where are those 12-year-olds who work here, anyway??) Goodbye crazy times…

Sleeping ‘til noon on Sunday to thinking it’s so cool that I can get up at 5:30 before everyone else and get so much done? (Is cleaning the toilets before anyone else is awake really that fulfilling? Maybe it’s the pre-dawn cat-licking [see So Crazy Right Now] that I am attracted to…)

Being a hot mama to having hot flashes?

 

And finally, when did I go from…

Galloping the length of the beach on my hotrod horse to thinking a nice easy trot down a

Going sideways is pretty slow.

Going sideways is pretty slow.

familiar trail (without any bucks or bolts) would be just fine?

Hopping up and riding bareback in from the paddock to carefully picking out the best footing for my 26-year-old gelding while I stumble through snow drifts and glide across glare ice?

20-mile trail rides to 20-minute tail brushing sessions?

 

But most importantly, I’m glad I’ve recently gone from…

Caring so much about products, businesspeople and price points to realizing the only truly important things in life are your babies, your buddies and your boyfriend (otherwise known as my husband!). Let’s try to keep it all in perspective, shall we?

xo

So Crazy Right Now

February 9, 2013 at 8:23 am | Posted in Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Do I have to get slapped in the face with crazy the second I wake up?

“Oh, Michelle, you’re not crazy. Don’t say that about yourself!”

It’s not me I’m talking about, people.

Let’s start with the first thing I see/hear if I make the mistake of not getting up before everyone else in the house does: Monty the licker. Don’t get too excited. Monty is a CAT. He’s a crazy, obsessive-compulsive, over-bearing, hyper-demanding CAT who will come into my bedroom first thing in the morning screaming like a banshee and start LICKING… me, the comforter, the sheets, the pillows… anything he can get his tongue on. I have no idea why he does this and I have never met a cat like him. He came from the shelter as a “stray” (although after years of having him we’re pretty sure someone dropped his nutty ass off) and now he lives with us. Lucky, lucky us.

That’s crazy #1 to start my day.iPhone Download 2012 057

Next comes a whole heap of hooey from number-one son, who leaps into my bed (risking a severe licking from said cat) ranting about the dream he just had. You know, the one about the talking buffalo from Bugaboo Creek (I can’t believe I was stupid enough to take him there. I thought it would be fun. I thought he would get a kick out of it. [I certainly didn’t go for the gourmet food, although I’m still fantasizing about the 10,000 lb. chocolate cake we had for dessert.] I must have forgotten for 5 1/2 seconds that kids with Asberger’s Syndrome are anxious and literal and the first questions he would ask about the giant talking buffalo head on the wall was, “Can he get out of there? Is he going to come over here? Can he see me? Is he talking to me? When is he going to talk again? Does he know my name? How did he get up there? Where’s his owner? When can we go home?” And that a trip to the bathroom would entail hands clapped over ears [even though the buffalo was not talking] and a 20-minutes-out-of-our-way walk to successfully circumnavigate said buffalo without a chance encounter.). And so, of course, the mania about the talking buffalo continued on the 30-minute car ride home and then right into the night, where Brady insisted he had spent his dream time wandering the house trying to save himself and our family from it. And all this because “Trick”, his giant stuffed horse (whom he regularly pretends is a stuffed cat even though he has 26 stuffed cats), was pretending to be a giant talking Buffalo all night long and continually bamboolzing Brady with his shenanigans.

And that, my friends, was crazy #2 to start my day.Brady Michael Buck Teeth

Then, number-two son, being fascinated and flummoxed by all things big brother, picks up on Brady’s train of thought (if you can call it that) and is high-tailing it through the house shrieking that there’s a buffalo in their room and we should head for the hills. Brady screams back that it is only TRICK (the giant stuffed horse/cat) PRETENDING to be a buffalo, and so a bellowing fight ensues between the boy in my bed and the boy in the hall. This goes on until Michael can be convinced to join us and take his licking like a man. Meanwhile, I’m still just trying to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and shake off the dream I had about frozen margaritas at a swim-up bar in Cozumel. As if.

That was crazy #3.Michael Kissing

And so eventually we all stumble downstairs, where my wound-just-a-little-too-tight husband is insisting that there’s a strange red light on in the back-up power generator and since there’s a BLIZZARD coming (Or maybe it’s just 4 inches of snow, I never know for sure with his overreactive nature. Also, have you ever noticed how men over-call the number of inches something is? Like snow or… other stuff? That’s a topic for another day.) I’d better cancel all my plans and hunker down to wait for the generator company to make an emergency service call. Now. Today. Before it’s too late.

Come on. Red wine keeps. Is it really an emergency if the power goes out?

Hello, crazy #4.Boys2Men

And finally, the chaos in my own mind, whirling and swirling about what needs to get done today, what can’t possibly get done today, and how much Advil it’s going to take to get me through the day. And, course, what color eye shadow I am going to wear. Priorities, people.

So now you see why I always try to get up before everyone else. A mother’s work is never done, but at least she can fend off the crazy a little better when fortified by a cup of tea and a few minutes of pre-dawn silence. Here’s to 5:30 a.m. May it arrive free of wet beds and bad dreams. Those are for 6:10 a.m.

xo

Model Behavior

January 26, 2013 at 7:58 am | Posted in Kids | 10 Comments
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“Children with Asperger’s Syndrome need very clear and concise social guidelines,” said Brady’s wonderful and well-meaning therapist. “Social norms and behaviors are like a foreign language to them. They need to be taught very specifically how to handle social situations. Brady will mirror your behaviors and reactions to the world at large. YOU are his best and more important role model.”

Oh great.

Maybe that’s why my kid can swear like a truck driver. (But honestly, why give truck drivers the bad rap? The expression should be “swear-like-a-Catholic-school-raised-middle-aged-marketing-professional-turned-housewife” because really, I am amazing at it.)
Monty

Or maybe that’s why he falls apart at the slightest frustration. Demands perfection from himself. Lies in bed and worries at night. Falls in love with every animal he meets and then frets about them for the rest of his life.

But I can’t say I’ve ever thrown myself on the floor when a stranger in a store smiled at me. Or shouted “Nipples!!” when someone asked me how I am today. Those are pure Brady.

This behavior modeling thing is a lot of pressure to put on a mother who already puts a lot of pressure on herself. I’m back to that perfection thing again: If I’m not a perfect mother, how can I raise incredible kids? Notice I didn’t say “perfect” kids. I don’t need my kids to be perfect, just me. Something about having no regrets. How will I live with myself if they don’t turn out all right?

And what is the ‘perfect’ behavior to model for your kids anyway? Is it ok to show them your weaker side? Like that you get completely pissed off, too, when you can’t get that last drop of (organic) ketchup out of the squeeze bottle? (You paid about $4 more for it, you damn well better get to enjoy it on your locally-grown bison burger. Or your Ballpark Frank. Whatever gets you through the meal.) Is it a bad thing for them to see that you lose your patience while driving and drop a few choice words?

(Recent conversation in the car:
Brady: “Cut it out, you jerk-off!”
Me: “Jerk-off?? Where did you hear that?”
Brady: “You say it, Mom, when you’re mad at some idiot in front of you who’s not going fast enough.”
Me: “Oh… uh… Well, don’t say it, it’s not nice.”
Better than some of the other words I’ve chosen in the past, I guess.)

What about when I’m tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted? How about when I’m Cute Bradyhormonal? Are you trying to tell me that my kid’s going to grow up to be a chocolate-gobbling, wine-swilling, weep-at-Hallmark-commercials wussy boy? Or what?

This parenting stuff is hard, and it’s totally compounded by having a child you needs a lot more from you than your average kid. And don’t most parents hand down a whole heap of crazy to their kids anyway? Haven’t we seen some of the best and brightest come from really screwed up homes? And vice versa – nuts from seemingly perfect backgrounds? I know we’re dealing with something different when it comes to Asperger’s because these beautiful children are so very literal and need such clear and complete guidance. But really, how badly can I mess it up? (Ok, probably pretty badly if I’m not careful. Maybe Mommy needs a little more herbal tea…)

So I ask you, how did your parents contribute to your complete and total insanity? And what are you doing to wreck your kids’ lives? Also, if it takes a village to raise a child, can I send Brady over to your house when he’s really driving me nuts? Then you can explain why it’s not ok to leap into the chair of an unsuspecting guest, rake your fingers through her long dark hair, and throw your blanket over her head in a crazed giggling fit. I’m sure you can handle it.

xo

Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Finish My Books

January 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, The Real Housewives, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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Last winter, I embarked on a potentially misguided journey to write and illustrate a series of Roundpen Standingchildren’s books about my pony, Honey. Before I adopted her, she had fallen into the wrong hands and suffered severe neglect. My idea was to create books for very young children that introduced the ideas of animal neglect and rescue in hopes that this would plant the seed for future adoptions of abused/shelter animals.

Well, this experience has left me frustrated, flummoxed, and (to quote Lisa Vanderpump) flabbergasted (say it with a British accent: “flah-buh-gahstud”). It’s not that it’s so hard to do, it’s just so hard to find the time to do it. My ideas flow like wine (but really, what doesn’t in this house?) and the words to three books are already written. But actually sitting down, pulling out the paints and creating – now that’s the hard part. It takes not only time, but creative energy. And I just don’t have much of that left after spending each day coming up with ever-more imaginative ways to keep two little boys entertained, enthralled and even-keeled.

So here, I humbly submit the Top 10 Reasons why I just can’t seem to finish illustrating even the first book in the series:

1)      I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

2)      The pony has chronic diarrhea.  (Just try dealing with this during a freezing-cold New England winter. Frozen tail poopsicles anyone?)

3)      I have to re-heat my cup of tea for the 450th time today.  (No, I don’t know where I left it last, either, so I have to find it first, ok?)

4)      I’m checking my blog stats. Again.

5)      Somebody’s butt needs wiping.

6)      FaceBook.

7)      There’s a Real Housewives of Anywhere-on-Earth-That’s-Better-Than-Where-You-Live-and-Don’t-You-Forget-It marathon on Bravo.  (I cannot help it, I’m addicted.)

8)      That text message from my newly divorced girlfriend about whether or not the guy she thinks is cute thinks she’s cute and if maybe he’ll pass her a note in Algebra today.

9)      I have to blowdry my hair. And you know what that means. It means I actually have to take a shower first.

10)   I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

Any suggestions on how I can get out of this funk and make these books happen would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone wants to come over and wipe the kids’/pony’s butt, that would be great, too. Thank you for your support.

xo

Where Did the Time Go?

November 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Kids | 8 Comments
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I am a stay-at-home Mom. Although “stay at home” is not really the right term for what I do. I’m more like a drive-everyone-everywhere-keep-30-appointments-a-day-put-100,000-miles-on-my-car-per-year Mom. But on the rare days when I actually do stay at home, I have a lot to get done. A LOT. So, I get out my little To Do list, the one I make each week (No, I don’t want to talk about how many weeks “fix my pedicure” has been on this list. You do the math.), and choose a few items to get accomplished. You know, easy stuff, like shave the cat and re-spackle the dining room. I might as well choose these types of things for all that I seem to be able to get done.

Before I was a stay-at-home Mom, I was a work-at-the-office marketing professional. I handled many projects on a daily basis for a number of different clients and managed millions of dollars in marketing budgets. I was well-known for my ability to create successful campaigns, rally the team and get the job done. Now I can barely get the dishes in the dishwasher.

Why is that?

And I’ll admit it: when I was a working woman, I scoffed – actually scoffed – at the stay-at-home Moms, especially the ones who complained about how busy they were. I mean, how much could they possibly have to do in a day?? What was so hard about juggling a couple of kids, their laundry, and a grocery list? Well, karma has a funny way of giving you a good swift kick in the ass, and I guess I’m learning my lesson. The woman who used to be able to do it all now celebrates actually having enough clean underwear to get through the week.

For those of you who have small children, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t (or whose kids are so old you’ve forgotten and now you’re scoffing at me and thinking I’m completely incoherent and incapable), here’s a little sneak peek at where the time goes:

Today’s Schedule:

5:30 a.m. – Rise early – an hour before the kids – to fold yesterday’s laundry and put in a new batch, look over some paperwork from Brady’s school, and take a quick shower.
5:45 a.m. – 3-year-old Michael wakes up 45 minutes early, crying because he has wet his bed.
5:50 a.m. – Drop early morning projects to strip both Michael and his bed. Carry Michael out of his room, shushing him the whole time not to wake up his brother.
6:02 a.m. – He woke up his brother.
6:05 a.m. – Put wet bedclothes and jammies in washer. Break up fight between kids over whether or not Snoopy really flies his doghouse in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. Commence making school lunch and breakfast.
6:15 a.m. – Fix broken dump truck. Hug crying child who brought it to you. Fill request to “Snuggle with me, Mommy?”. Forget grilled cheese is cooking for lunch.
6:30 a.m. – Leap off the couch to the smell of smoke. Chuck charred cheese sandwich. Check for more cheese – nope, there isn’t any. Make PB&J instead. Remember that the school has banned peanuts. Decide that Lunchables might not be such a bad thing after all.
6:35 a.m. – Fulfill request for juice x2.
6:45 a.m. – Finish making kids’ lunch. Start making breakfast.
6:47 a.m. – Feed whining cats.
6:48 a.m. – Break up physical fight between boys over whether or not the toy crane they are playing with can talk. Remove crane. Argue in circles with 6-year-old about removed crane. Threaten to throw crane out window.
7:00 a.m. – Continue to attempt to make breakfast.
7:05 a.m. – Answer question about how many Quarter Horses can fit on a cruise ship. Discuss.
7:10 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:11 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:12 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:13 a.m. – Threaten to flush breakfast down toilet.
7:14 a.m. – See two little faces appear at the table.
7:20 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:30 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:35 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:40 a.m. – Remove plates from table to cries of, “HEY!!! I was eating that!!”. Shoo kids upstairs to get dressed.
7:42 a.m. – Check the clock and realize there is no time for that shower. Try to make the best of it with extra make-up and deodorant.
7:58 a.m. – Realize you have not made the best of it.
7:59 a.m. – Sigh.
8:00 a.m. – Prod the kids to put on the clothes that are laid out for them.
8:01 a.m. – Break up a pillow fight gone bad. Remove cat from bathtub. Retrieve stray Advil from under vanity.
8:05 a.m. – Scream that if they don’t get dressed RIGHT NOW they will be late for school.
8:08 a.m. – Threaten to send them to school in their pajamas.
8:09 a.m. – Answer the question, “Is it pajama day today?” with your dirtiest look. Explain to befuddled child that no, in fact, it is NOT pajama day, and everyone will laugh at him if he wears his Sleepy Cuddle Bear top and Thomas the Train bottoms to school.
8:12 a.m. – Answer whining cries by helping with shirts, socks and other difficult geometry problems.
8:15 a.m. – Manage to complete the final 15 minutes of morning routine (teeth brushing, shoe tying, backpack packing, coat-finding) only by growling orders through clenched teeth and/or roaring.
8:30 a.m. – Rip out of driveway, only to find you have left your cell phone behind. Back up to the door and run in. Come back out to find anxious 6-year-old on front step because he “missed you”.
8:35 a.m. – Strap 6-year-old back into seat and tear out of driveway again.

Now, at this point, I have been up for over 3 hours, and here is what I have accomplished:

  • 2 kids dressed, fed and teeth brushed
  • 2 cats fed their first can of food; the second can was forgotten, so I will return to find a fresh set of scratch marks on the new dining room table leg
  • 1 bad make-up job and possibly still-stinky underarms
  • 1 bed stripped to the mattress which will be forgotten until bedtime, at which point kids will use the 5 minutes it takes to make the bed as the perfect excuse to jump on the trampoline until they are so wound up it will take an extra hour for them to fall asleep
  • 1 load of laundry in the washer with soap and fabric softener added, but not turned on
  • 8 pillows – decorative, therapeutic and sleeping – on the floor in my bedroom, along with my comforter and top sheet
  • Countless breakfast dishes littering the kitchen
  • Pile of paperwork from Brady’s school that was due today but that I was unable to address due to wet bed emergency
  • 2 freshly poured cups of juice that we forgot to take with us in the last-minute hustle

I won’t bore you with the list of occurrences that will come about when I later try to make a few appointments over the phone and check my email, but suffice it to say that this mother, who was “never going to use TV as a babysitter I mean come on how hard can it be to keep things going in a simple 4-person household and my kids will be busy with their creative play and engaging activities anyway” now turns to the DVD player as the ONLY WAY to get dinner made on a daily basis. And even then, I have to stop what I’m doing to skip the scary parts. You know, when Snoopy cries over Schroeder’s sad music or when Lightning McQueen the race car gets chased by a tractor.

And that, my friends, is where the time goes. Gotta run.

xo

Bedazzled

October 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Beauty, Kids, The Real Housewives | 6 Comments
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I wore sparkly, bedazzled jeans to school drop-off, gymnastics, karate, and the grocery store today.

I know they were completely out of place in those venues. I realize they might have been a bit over-the-top. Even 6-year-old Brady, after rubbing my bejeweled butt for a minute, proclaimed them to be “weird”. But I just got them and I love them, so shut UP!

I also love make-up and hairspray (raised in the 80s, anyone?), and those things are hard to love here in Maine. There’s a whole juggernaut of plain-Janes running around. A regulation-sized soccer field full of Sporty Spices. Hey, I’m sporty. I mountain bike. I ride horses, and that is a dirty-ass sporty sport! But I still like spangled jeans and sparkly eye shadow.

This is probably an ongoing surprise to my Mom, who had to fight me into every dress I ever wore as a little girl. They were mostly reserved for Sundays at church, and I can still remember asking her why God cared if we were dressed up or not. Could He even see us? “Of course He can,” she replied, “It’s HIS HOUSE!” And now I’m appalled at what I see in church – spaghetti-strap tank tops that show your titty tattoos and short-shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush (are you even wearing underwear??).

But I digress.

The thing is just that… I love BEAUTY and everything that goes with it! Putting on make-up every day is like my own personal art project. Can I wear green eye shadow with this purple top? Does this shade of lipstick make my skin look grey? Will I ever be brave enough to wear those false eyelashes out in public?

I guess the real question is: How much is too much for a stay-at-home mom?

This is probably very dependent on where you live. Those babes on The Real Housewives of Orange County/Beverly Hills/NYC/New Jersey are always dripping with double-decker glam. Whether it be for a trip to the opera or a quick jaunt to the grocery store (as if they actually EAT), it seems sequins and 5-inch heels are never off limits. How do they tend to their kids in those get-ups? With small children, I have to bend over constantly, and this is no small feat in low-slung jeans (hello, butt-crack), short skirts (um, other crack) or low-cut tops (that’s technically not a crack). And try doing that while maintaining your composure (and dignity and modesty) while wearing platform wedges! Of course, if you’re lucky, your kid will throw a fit in whatever public place you happen to be and you’ll have to pick up all 38 pounds of whirling, writhing, screaming child in your razor-thin stilettos and carry him out. Meanwhile, you were wondering if those shoes could actually hold YOUR post-baby poundage, never mind you plus the butterball that is your 3-year-old. Good luck with that.

It’s tough being a Mom who still wants to look hot. Or at least human. I was recently at a 5-year-old’s birthday party that was held at a gym. I thought I looked cute and somewhat appropriate in my embroidered sleeveless top and white capris. Then in walked a mother ‘from away’ (Mainer talk for ‘you don’t live here’) wearing a tight black top and jeans with carefully placed rips all up and down the front of them. And in the rips were…. wait for it… GOLD BEADS!!! Rows and rows of them!! I scoffed and turned away. Clearly this woman did not know what to wear to a child’s birthday party! But on the inside, I died a little. I wanted to wear jeans like that and get away with it!!

So how to marry the two? Here is what I propose:

– The false eyelashes and red patent-leather handbag make the cut when you’re going out to dinner, not to the soccer field.

– Save the heavy glitter eye make-up and over-the-top lipliner for drinks with the girls, but don’t be afraid to dust on a little shimmer here and there on a daily basis.

– If you’re going to wear high heels of any type with your kids in tow, make sure you have the hubs with you to handle any “Pick me UUUPPPP!!!!”s that come your way.

– Bouffe (I think I made that word up) up your hair like crazy for weddings, evening parties and trips to the big city, but let’s keep it casual for the girls’ softball team, ok?

– And never, ever, under any circumstances does mascara make your butt look big. So slather it on, girls. Every day, all the time.

xo

The Perfect Follow-Up

October 3, 2012 at 9:59 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Many thanks to my BFF, Paula, who gave me the inspiration for this entry.

We were chatting about how there is a lot of bragging that goes on in FaceBook posts – about people’s lives, kids, jobs, etc. – and noting that the reality is probably much different from the sunny, Wisteria Lane perfection that many people portray. With that in mind, I decided to grab some recent FaceBook posts and take a guess at what the actual event might have been like.

Hope you enjoy this take on perfection…

What the FaceBook post said: “Meet our new puppy, Snuggles! He is the sweetest!”

What really happened: Mom promised the kids a dog if they did the dishes and scrubbed the toilets every night for a month, assuming it would never happen. The little bastards did it, so now she has to make good on her promise. Enter Snuggles, a “Shitz-a-Doodle-Poo-Huahua” (Shih Tzu/Labradoodle/Chihuahua mix) that the kids fell in love with the minute they saw him. This little darling pooped in the cardboard carry-box on the way home (yup, it soaked through the cardboard onto the car’s upholstery), chased the cat into a permanent under-the-bed existence, and is now in the process of chewing up every shoe and table leg it can get its needly little puppy teeth into. But isn’t he just the cutest thing??????

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Great ride on the beach with the horses today. Diablo was feeling so perky for his age! So many people were out enjoying the beautiful Fall day. Maryann, so glad you love the feel of the sun-warmed sand J . What an adventure!”

What really happened: Three horses headed out for a mid-Saturday-morning ride. Diablo, the “perky” one, spent the entire time bouncing, jigging and cantering sideways unless he was allowed to gallop full-speed without stopping. The “many people” included kite-flyers, wind-surfers, and dog-walkers, resulting in complete chaos and spooking the horses at every turn. Spook #53 (one of those front-legs-splayed-out-and-spin-to-the-right kind of shies) unseated Maryann, who got to experience the sand with her cheek. The outing also included being chased into the marshes by an unruly dog and a confrontation with a Port-a-Potty tanker truck. Quite an “adventure”!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Thanks to the Allens for a great party last night! Can’t wait to do it again!”

What really happened: Do I really need to go here? The Allens are the most annoying people on the block. They are also the richest. The only reason anyone shows up at their “parties” is to eat their high-end steaks and let their kids jump in the rented bouncehouse. This party was particularly entertaining, as Mrs. Allen (20 years her husband’s junior), had a few too many Cosmos and ended up in the pool, rendering her dress completely see-through. That WAS fun!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Yay Tiger Cubs! Great win today on the pee wee football field – we’re so proud of you!”

What really happened: The team is currently 1-9 (for those of you who don’t follow sports, that’s 1 win, 9 losses). After countless hours of practice in the rainy, muddy, mosquito-infested field (where, of course, Mom’s iPhone gets no reception so she really is reduced to watching), endless piles of filthy, slimy uniform laundry, and limitless complaining about being dragged to games and practice, this poor little motley crew has finally outscored another team. Who cares if it was only because the opposing team’s entire defensive line was out with strep throat? It was still a win! Go Tiger Cubs!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Just canned 14 pounds of tomatoes and pickled some beets! Next up, gluten-free macaroni, then I’m going to re-tile the bathroom!”

What really happened: All right, let’s face it. This is exactly what happened. And this person is one of those pain-in-the-ass do-it-yourselfers who makes the rest of us look and feel like lazy-ass idiots. YES, her homemade tomato sauce (from canned tomatoes she grew herself) is astoundingly better than yours (maybe you shouldn’t use Ragu as your “base”), and her death-by-chocolate soufflé is to die for. Even more annoying, she cooks and bakes constantly, eats everything in sight, and is STILL skinnier than you. Get over it – some people really are better than us, and they are going to flaunt it forever on FaceBook! Argh!!!!!

xo

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