Social media makes moms feel like shit. Mama Tries Blog is here to make all of those highlight reels of other people’s lives a distant memory. When a trip through your news feed leaves you feeling inadequate or depressed, check in with Mama Makes You Feel Better. In comparison, you’re Mother of the Year. This series is sponsored by that time I let my girls use lipstick & then promptly left the room.
Mama Makes You Feel Better Tonight with a glimpse of her messy couch. It’s well established that I am a mess. But we have reached new heights in my home this week. In fact, my husband just said, “Nooo, don’t post it,” with a look of real concern when I told him I took a picture of the couch. He has some sense of shame. I, clearly, have none.
So, here it is in all its glory.
That’s laundry that needs folding, stuffed animals, toys, and a book bag from school that I’m quite certain was supposed to be returned yesterday. It’s shocking even by my low standards. So, naturally, I did what any good mom would do–I gave my kids the iPad, ordered pizza for dinner, shoved that pile over, and starting watching a true-crime documentary on the OWN Network.
I had good intentions. I really did. I was totally going to run. I put on my running clothes, fit my newly short hair into a little pony, and laced up my sneakers. Then I just checked Facebook “really quickly” and gossiped on the phone with my mom “for a bit.” The next thing I knew, my kids were whining about me feeding them because it was apparently past dinner time.
I still told myself that I’d run. Then, because apparently tonight we are living in an alternate universe, no one wanted any leftovers. Far be it from me to let leftover mac and cheese go uneaten. Seriously, has any mother in the history of boxed mac and cheese thrown out leftovers? No! Good mothers eat that shit directly from the pot while their children aren’t looking!
And since I am a damn good mother, I literally just found myself standing in front of my stove, eating mac and cheese from the pot, in running clothes I never ran in. Let’s be honest, this means I’m not wearing running clothes at all. I’m wearing stretchy, comfy clothes that I don’t have to pretend “shrunk in the dryer.” I’m also quite certain that the eating of the cheesy carbs has negated any last whispers of athletic motivation I had left.
Are you feeling bad that at 6:30 on a Friday night you’re already starting to drift off on the couch? Feeling guilty for ordering pizza yet again? Feeling lame that your wild Friday night consists of drinking wine and catching up on the latest episode of This Is Us (I’ll be right there with you in about an hour)? Well, Mama Makes You Feel Better tonight. Just think of a sad, delusional mother wearing running gear in order to shove cheesy carbs down her throat. I guarantee, whatever you’re doing is more glamorous.
Mama’s making you feel better tonight with a good old holiday mashup. What’s a holiday mashup you may ask? My living room.
The family is going to be chopping down a Christmas tree tomorrow, so my husband brought down the ornaments from the attic. Sounds like we’re pretty damn on top of shit, huh? Not if you look closely enough at this picture.
Sure, you’ll see some silver balls and leafy wreaths, but, if you look closely enough, you’ll also see some things that don’t belong.
Maybe you see a painting on the mantle with some hand prints. Those aren’t just any hand prints. Those are turkeys. That there is some old fashioned, homemade Thanksgiving decor. Not too bad. I mean, Thanksgiving was basically a week ago.
Look again. In case you were wondering, we aren’t goth. Typically, one would not enter our living room to find skull-emblazoned lacy throws hanging from the mantle. You won’t find my husband or me rocking heavy black eyeliner and Manic Panic. No, you’ll just find us on the couch consuming booze instead of taking down outdated decorations. That cloth, along with the terrifying booing pumpkin on the mirror, have been up there for a solid six weeks.
So, if you are lamenting the fact that it’s already December and you haven’t decked the halls in your house, yet – have no fear. At least your living room isn’t a holiday smorgasbord.
Mama makes you feel better because your kids have normal hobbies. Some kids collect things. Perhaps yours collect shells. Or stamps. Or Pokemon cards. Maybe you complain because sometimes your lives seem to revolve around that collection. Wow, that must be rough for ya’ll. Your kid showing an interest in something that can teach them about their world, their history, or ignite their imagination.
You know what my kids collect?
Used cups. That’s right. The little cups they use to swish and spit when brushing their teeth cannot be thrown away in this house. They are stored securely in their rooms. And by securely, I mean, they’re everywhere.
A glimpse under any bed, dresser, or book shelf reveals a collection worthy of awe and reverie. Used paper cup collectors from around the globe would marvel at what my children have meticulously collected.
What is the purpose of this collection? Well, who doesn’t find themselves in need of a cup now and again? Need a place to put the change you have stolen from your parents’ pockets? Grab a cup. Did a beaded necklace break and you’d like to store the parts so your mother can throw them away when you’re not looking fix it? Well, there’s a cup right behind the door jam perfect for that.
Whenever we attempt to dispose of a cup, my husband and I are met with angry protests. We have learned that our children are not above rummaging through the garbage.
When we last ran out of cups, my judicious daughters ran to their rooms to fill dust-covered cups with water. And we let them. Because it filled them with pleasure to make use of their beloved collections. Mostly, we were too lazy to go downstairs to fetch clean cups from the kitchen.
Because you’re not the only one who spent money and/or time on your child’s Halloween costume, only to have them refuse to wear it. We have been planning our Star Wars themed costume for months. We went through three garbage cans in order to find the perfect one for R2D2 (or, Arty D2, according to a certain kid in this family), and my husband worked for hours getting the design right. Which is why, when it came time to put it on, she flat refused.
So, yes, I posted the adorable family pic above on Facebook, and don’t we look like the happiest darn family on the block? What I didn’t include in the caption is that this kid cried for 15 minutes prior to the photo being taken, and only put the costume on long enough for us to take a family picture – – and that was after we threatened her with no trick or treating. Because Halloween, after all, is about Mom and Dad getting the photo op they earned with countless trips to Joann Fabric and Home Depot!
So, take solace. You are not the only family on the block who brought a child in a sweat suit door to door to beg for candy last night! Now, go raid their candy bag and feel better!
Because you aren’t the only one who forgets your children’s milestones. I recently had to fill out some paperwork for my soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter. It was all fun and games until I got to the questions about her “Developmental History.” Say whaaat? You expect me to remember how old my kid was when she pulled herself up to stand? I can’t even remember to sign the field trip permission form that I got yesterday, but I’m supposed to remember something that happened over three years ago? At least, I think it was three years ago. Seriously, how old are kids when they do this?
For a while I considered just writing “typical age” across this entire section, but then I realized that I had gotten a little too specific on previous answers. On the question about accidents, you might notice that I wrote in that she chipped her tooth when she was two. With that type of ridiculous specificity, they would now know that my “typical age” answer was not due to my practicality in form completion, but know that it was my pathetic attempt to avoid saying, “I have no clue.”
So, like any reasonable mother who never got around to making a baby book, but is overly concerned with stranger’s opinions of her, I lied. Well, in my defense, I searched through old emails and iPhotos to find the answers. When I came up short on a few, I googled the typical ages for these milestones and put it down on the form. Now the occupational therapist would think I was Mother of the Year for sure. Unless she receives the form late, which will most likely be the case. I’m not good at mailing things.
In related news, my own mother was aghast when I told her that I do not have a baby book for either one of my children. She then suggested I have a third baby so that I could get a baby book and do right by that one. Well played, Mom. Well played.
Because every school project is a fail. It begins in an idea stage full of beauty and grandeur, and then quickly deteriorates into garbage. You see, Mama often forgets about the school project until the very last minute and is left to throw something together in a rush.
This time around, Mama forgot that a certain first grader was Student of the Week until the very morning of her reign’s commencement. Since my daughter was still sleeping, I set it out her Student of the Week responsibilities, ready to be filled out when she awoke. Gone were my illusions of creating a page full of cascading colors and brilliant responses, and the realist in me set her up with a dull pencil.
Then I saw the attached note that said we should send in 5-10 of our child’s favorite photographs. Regardless of the fact that we take roughly 40 photos a day, I haven’t gotten a picture developed since 2014, so this proved to be…challenging. While rummaging through a junk drawer I happened upon our Christmas cards from the last two years – looks like those add up to 5-10 photos to me! Done and done. I’m sure her teacher was very impressed.
Because your child is not the only one on the block completely terrified of losing her teeth. I didn’t lose a tooth until I was well into 2nd grade and all of my friends already resembled jack-o-lanterns. Needless to say, I could not wait until my chompers started falling out. This means I was completely unprepared for the terror my own child felt at the prospect of losing her first tooth.
When it comes to the first, I get it. If I woke up one day with a loose toe and it just fell off a few months later, I suppose it would alarm me. By the third toe – especially after I had clearly seen that new toes kept growing back – I think I’d be all “Oh, another toe just fell off. Sweet, I needed some more cash.” Not my kid.
Last night, right after bath time, the third tooth fell out. What was the reaction? She burst into tears so hysterical that she literally gave herself a bloody nose. She gave herself a bloody nose, people! And since her mom is just the tops, I took a picture of the poor kid in full on bloody hysterics.
The good news? She’s currently got five wiggly teeth.
Because tonight’s dinner is mac and cheese. Literally. I didn’t realize we were out of milk until it was too late. The one element of nutrition in this meal, gone. Mama’s dignity, gone. The mac and cheese, gone. Apparently my kids dig carbs, butter, and cheese. I wonder where they got that from…
Because you are not the only one who has a teeny little piece of you not hate when your kids are sick. I’m not going to go so far as to say I like when my kids are sick. I’m not a goddamn monster. But I am a mom of two cold WASPs who are not cuddlers. Except when they are sick. When the internal temperature of my girls rises above 98.6, they suddenly want to snuggle up with some blankets, a lovey, and their mama. Currently, both girls are rocking strep throat, and, while I’m not going so far as to withhold the Tylenol, I am getting in every single cuddle I possibly can until the fever breaks.