Today was a snow day, no school. By 7:30 in the morning my kid says, “Mom, I’m bored what am I supposed to do?”
It’s January, the beginning of a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate, an opportunity to look back on 2012 and come up with New Year’s resolutions for 2013. For starters, I’m not listening to “Gangnam Style” one more time during hockey car pool. I’m not turning up the volume and I’m not listening to 8-year-old boys screaming “Hey sexy lady” out the car windows.
This morning my son threw up his breakfast. He’s not sick. He’s just stressed out about hockey tryouts. He’s 8. This is ridiculous.
“You are awesome,” I tell him. “I’m so proud of you, whatever happens.” On it goes, my cheerleading. But he’s not listen- ing. He’s waiting for the roster.
If he makes Mite 1, he’ll be one of the last kids picked on a roster of 14. If he doesn’t make it, he’ll be a dominant player on Mite 2. And I have no idea what I should want for him. To be one of the best play- ers on the team who gets a zillion minutes of ice time every game, or just another kid on the third line who never gets on the ice for a penalty kill or the last two minutes of a big game — BUT…
Owning the dog hasn’t turned out exactly the way I planned, but then neither have a lot of things in life, such as parenting my kids. I’m not sure what I thought parenting was going to be like or what the plan was.
Once upon a time in my children’s life, I was the most powerful person on Earth. I fed them and changed their diapers and controlled when they got to watch Thomas or Teletubbies. When it came time for Christmas I bought them stuffed Pooh bears and adorable, soft, fluffy polar bears, dolls and trains, play kitchens and plastic food. The toys made me happy; they made my kids happy.
Being a parent may be one of the toughest jobs there is, if you exclude being a coal miner, any sort of day labor in the hot sun, jobs where you pick up road kill, tasks where you are chained to someone else, anything that involves getting up before 6 in the morning, or driving a school bus filled with 8th graders. But at least with those jobs there are employee benefits — there are no such things with parenting.
Turkeys are good
Have some pudding
A raw turkey is terrible
Nothings better than gravy
In our house we have a wine stash labeled “Thursday night wine.” This complex labeling system was started after an incident with a pricey burgundy wine I once put in my chili. I don’t know the first thing about wine other than sometimes I need to cook with it and sometimes I need to drink it, such as on Tuesday afternoon after taking three kids to Costco to buy toilet paper.
The Harvest Moon shines over the parking lot as I am walking into the grocery store, I stop in front of a display in the middle of the store and snarl at the fun-size candy bars, growl at the glow sticks and watch as bags of candy corn slowly empty onto the floor after I’ve slashed them open with the sharp edge of my bad attitude. When it comes to Halloween, I am more of a werewolf than a princess.
Eventually, when I’m not there and my son wants to experiment and cross boundaries, he will pee on a tree, a bush, a curb or outside some bar on a Saturday night. But for now, he’s 8, and I know he’s testing his boundaries and testing me and he doesn’t really have to pee.
I lose things all the time: socks, flip flops, shoes and boots, grocery lists, my car in the zoo parking lot, my youngest child in an amusement park, my oldest at off-ice training, the ability to be respectful when I’m being yelled at by school crossing guards, and also, and especially, my keys, my phone and my sunglasses.
Last year my husband stood in our outdated kitchen, the one I was supposed to renovate six years ago when we bought the house, and tried once again to make toast. As he once again stormed down the stairs to the fuse box, muttering grown-up words, the children and I once again scurried around the house turning off all the lights. I realized in one of those “aha moments” that I couldn’t put it off any longer. It was time to face my fears. We needed a new kitchen.
On the trip home we sat in traffic, caught in gridlock, watching the signal change and going nowhere. As a man walked back and forth along the side of the road, my daughter asked, “Mommy, what does that man want?”
Summer is so over for me. We have hiked it and biked it, been to parks and been to camps and been camping; we’ve gone to the lake and the pool; we have sprayed it down with bug spray and covered it in sunscreen. I’m out of tricks, and I’m letting everyone watch too much television.
I am tired all the time. A friend of mine is also tired all the time. It turns out we are tired because we are stressed out, we are sleeping on the wrong pillow, we drink too much coffee, we don’t take the right supplements or drink enough water or eat enough protein, and our chi is wonky. We also don’t get enough sleep because we have children.
One afternoon in my parenting journey I went to see a nutritionist because I decided there was something wrong with my kid. He only ate five things, okay, maybe seven.
A monster sleeps in my basement. Curled up on the secondhand couch in the playroom is a living, breathing, snorting, snuffling, growing pile of washed but unfolded laundry.
I am now sending my 5-year-old daughter to karate in her older brother’s shirts because they are long enough to cover the gigantic smiley face he drew on the butt of her karate pants in permanent orange marker.
One of my friends, whom I have been friends with forever, who is one of my very best friends in the great big whole wide world, hates dogs. She recently told me, “You know, the older I get, the more I despise dogs.”
Are you sick of paying the high costs of medications for your child? Does it make you crazy that after 10 years of parenting you can diagnose an ear infection by yourself, but you still have to go to urgent care for the amoxicillin scrip?
Last year I was a room parent for one of the first-grade classrooms at my children’s school. This year I decided the second-graders were better off without me and my efforts to impress the wellness committee with veggie skeletons and cauliflower brains at the Halloween party.
Today is the first day of our family vacation in Texas. I’m super cranky. I could blame it on flying by myself with three kids, renting a car, getting lost, finally finding the hotel, then getting everyone fed, bathed and in front of a television. But that’s not it. I am not a good traveler.
The other day, as my husband was clipping my daughter into her car seat, he picked up a pickle slice from the floor of my minivan. I was so busted.
In the wee hours of this morning, I woke up with the dog snoring in my ear, his leg over my shoulder. Owning the dog hasn’t turned out exactly the way I planned, but then neither have a lot of things in life, such as parenting my kids. I’m not sure what I thought parenting was going to be like.
This is my “Mom Brain” in action. I’m in a book store browsing titles, and I do a double-take on History and Lice, which was what I read on the spine of a book called History and Life.
I live in fear of those cable television shows where they videotape some unsuspecting woman, stage a fashion intervention where all her friends and family tell her how awful she dresses, then throw away her entire wardrobe, give her lots of money to go buy new clothes and cut off her hair.
My son has started to say things that are not appropriate. Some of it may be prompted from an incident last summer when I broke my toe and said things I should never say in front of my children.
Some days when I get to feeling sorry for myself and the fact that I don’t have a job I can escape to, a place where I can away from all these kids every once in awhile, I start to dream about having a cubicle or a desk drawer where I can find a pair of scissors and a roll of Scotch tape.
I have friends who tell me they don’t need a man. If anything happens to their husbands they will never marry again. They do everything by themselves anyway. Really?
My youngest child is now 4 and she goes to all-day preschool, every day. This prompts such questions as, “What are you going to do with your time now that your kids are in school all day?” But “in school all day” is a complete misnomer.