Mama’s drinking wine tonight because this is how we left Starbucks today. Let’s just say, my Cascara Latte didn’t cut it after this.
My glass of sauvignon blanc came to the rescue at home and is reminding me to have a gratitude attitude. Thanks to Starbucks whose amazing staff immediately made a sobbing four-year-old a new hot chocolate and mopped up our mess with a smile. Another thank you to the old men sitting across from us who didn’t even blink an eye when we made our scene. Also, a huge thank you goes out to the woman who gave me a smile and a knowing nod as I walked past her holding a pile of dripping napkins.
To the group of college students standing next to us: you’re welcome for the reminder to refill your birth control.
Listen, no one’s nominating me for Mother of the Year. I let my kids watch way too much YouTube. I bribe them with treats in order for them to listen to simple directions. And we all know I feed them too much mac and cheese and myself too much wine. I have sung our bedtime song at warp speed for the last week and I didn’t even know my older kid had a day off from school yesterday until the night before. The one area I could feign superiority was fast food.
I can count the times my kids have eaten fast food on one hand. Three of those times, all they ate were a few fries. Each trip to a fast food joint was done out of pure necessity while finding ourselves in no man’s land on a road trip. I have never stopped at a local fast food joint on a whim and I have certainly never, ever brought fast food into my home.
I have a lot of work to do. And the girls had dance class just down the street from a local hotbed of fast food restaurants. And I bribed my kids with their first Happy Meal. “If you get dressed immediately after class without argument, we can get a special treat.”
And now this is sitting on my dining room table.
I literally have nothing left to make me feel a false sense of superiority over any other mother. Well, I did read a story about a mother putting root beer in her baby’s bottle… I’ll hold that image close tonight. Cheers!
Mama’s drinking wine tonight because she’s trying to convince herself that the novelty of a meal kit will result in her children actually trying chicken.
My children are picky eaters. I take that back. My older daughter is a picky eater. Her little sister is a big follower (seriously, that kids needs to learn some leadership skills). This means dinnertime without a drink is just basically masochism.
I tried to seriously pump up the picky one about meal kits until she was literally begging me to order one. Well, the day has come and the menu is chicken. Tomorrow’s menu involves mushrooms. These are two of her least favorite foods. I must also note that she’s never tried a mushroom in her life.
So, this wine is going to get me through the process of following a multi-step recipe to create a meal I am pretty confident my kids won’t eat. Cheers!
I’m a liar. I’ve admitted it before and I’ll admit it again: I am an equal opportunity liar. I lie to my kids. I lie to other adults. And today, I’ll publicly admit that I lie to myself. Hey, I may be a liar, but at least I’m fair. Here are my 5 most frequent offenses.
I’m not drinking any wine tonight.
At 7 a.m. I am ready to face the day. I’ve got a cup of earl grey in my hands, the day is set before me, and neither of my daughters has sobbed because their sister is looking at them. I think to myself, “You know, maybe it’s good to take a night off once in a while. I think I’ll skip the wine tonight.” Come 5 o’clock and I’m trying to prepare dinner with one of my kids screaming in time out and the other crying on the couch because her sister just hit her for knocking over a block tower, and the only solution is sauvignon blanc. Then I tell myself that my dry day will be tomorrow.
Organic mac & cheese is healthy.
Dehydrated cheese in any form probably shouldn’t be considered a healthy option, but the word organic is like a glorious invitation to lie to myself. You slap the words “organic” or “natural” on a box or wrapper and I’m willing to set everything I know about health and nutrition aside, if only to mitigate my guilt. If a company’s marketing department plays their cards right, I serve up mac & cheese or cheddar snack mix to my kids with the confidence of Jamie Oliver serving his kids kale chips and hand-battered baked fish fillets.
I can give my kids a haircut.
You know what happens when you mention homeschooling to a teacher? They start asking about parents’ teaching certifications or master’s degrees in the field of education. Well, guess who else has specialized training in order to learn their craft? In my time as an amateur children’s hair butcher stylist, I’ve transformed luxurious locks into an uneven bob and may or may not have given one of my children a mullet after a particularly unfortunate attempt to trim some bangs. Every single haircut I have given my children has ended in tears – there’s and mine. Yet, every six months, when their hair is getting a little long and ratty at the ends, I think to myself, “Well, I could probably manage a little trim…” And the cycle continues.’
Someday my house will be clean again.
I have a friend who has been impeccably neat since birth. When we were in high school, her bedroom was immaculate while you couldn’t even see the floor in mine. She had a system to organizing her CD’s, while I once spent the better part of a week sleeping next to a pile of clean laundry on my bed. Now that she has three children, she has let her house go a little bit. Meaning – the horror – you might find a stray dish in the sink when you enter her kitchen. Someday, when her boys are older, her house will be clean again. Mine won’t. This does not, however, stop me from constantly blaming my messy house on my kids, and crying that old mom lament, “Someday my house will be clean again.” Not if it never was in the first place, it won’t.
I’m not going to get upset if I read the comment section.
Yes I am. I most certainly am. Comment sections on the internet are where the world’s sociopaths like to come and play under the shroud of anonymity. They judge, they spew venom, they hurt, they enrage, and then they go on about their daily business while their innocent victims cower behind their computer screens and wonder what kind of world they are raising their children in. Every article I read on the Internet turns into a game of Russian Roulette. I hover my cursor over the comment section, thinking “maybe this time I’ll find some like-minded people and some mature discussion.” I won’t. It’s a bullet every time.
You may be thinking that five lies isn’t so bad at all. That’s the life of a realist, not some delusional freak who lives in a fantasy world of her own creation. You’re right. Five lies isn’t bad. But I’d clearly be lying if I claimed that these are the only ones I tell myself. If I were you, I’d be pretty confident that a “Lies I Tell Myself: Part 2” was in the works…
Because sometimes you get to shop at Whole Foods all by yourself, which means one thing. You get to eat all the cheese. “Would I like to try that triple creme brie with some strawberry rhubarb jam? You bet your ass I do!”
Throw in some fancy crackers and a hunk of soppressata, and I had the fixings for one hell of a charcuterie board. Not bad for a night at home with the fam.
Once I put the cheese board out, how did my children react? They ran into the fridge, took out the package of processed American cheese singles, and begged to have one.
If I was a glass half empty kind of girl I’d be drinking due to my children’s horrifying palettes. But Mama’s glass is half full tonight (not for long), because I’ll toast to anyone who leaves more cheese and hard meats for me!
Because I’ll never be a television chef. Gordon Ramsey will never call me a donkey, Rachel Ray will never say anything I’ve made is yum-o, and, most tragically, Scott Conant will never be so swept away by my cooking that he asks me to immediately flee the Chopped studios and run away with him. Why? Because I cannot cut a damn onion without looking like I’m watching the series finale of Parenthood.
I just chopped an onion for dinner, which means that moments ago I had tears and snot streaming down my face. What everyone wants to see in someone preparing their food. I decided nothing paired better with broken dreams and a Tammy Faye Baker look than a glass of red. Then I thought of the silver lining.
I’m pretty sure this onion “allergy” gives me an excuse to make boxed mac and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, and/or pasta with jarred sauce for the remainder of the week. I mean, when Mama’s suffered this much to make dinner for her family, she deserves a break. I’ll drink to that!
My morning started with a healthy dose of what my friends and I like to refer to as RLS (Roommate Letdown Syndrome). After an amazing long weekend with some old college roommates, the first day back to the grind was a tough one. Fast forward an hour and a half later and I was strolling into a meeting 5 – okay, 10 – minutes late after being caught in road paving traffic. My boss was in attendance, an agenda item I’d completely forgotten about.
From there I was frazzled and off. It was one of those days where self-doubt consumes you and you feel like the jig is up – this is the day everyone realizes that you are basically inept at life.
I then stopped at the grocery store and got in the line with the new cashier. This meant watching the people in the surrounding lines leave in droves well before me.
I got home to find that nearly everything had fallen out of two of my grocery bags. When I climbed into the trunk of our SUV to retrieve them, I bashed me head against the roof of the car. I immediately let out a chorus of expletives that I was immediately grateful no one else was in earshot of.
Onto my favorite activity – making dinner! On tonight’s menu – chicken. This means dinnertime will be filled with both of my children shouting about how repulsive their meal is.
Then I got on the treadmill. Ever so subtly, the day’s offenses melted away.
I got off with a different perspective.
I got to have an incredible weekend with people I love dearly.
I got to (finally) meet the kind, thoughtful, lovely fiance of a friend I love with my whole heart.
My children got to play with the adorable, soulful, and vivacious children of one of my best friends. And they hit it off big time!
I have a job. One that, even on rough days like these, I love.
I have money to stop at the grocery store whenever I need to. I have a car (with a hard ass roof) that gets me there.
My children have the greatest grandparents in the world. My mother and father-in law took care of my kids all day, as they always do, so that I can go to work knowing they are safe and loved.
Today is Irish dance day and my father-in-law, the most caring and generous man in the world, took them and brought them home so that I didn’t have to rush like an insane woman to do it.
I made dinner before my kids were home from school. Let’s be honest, the entire list could be deleted and, if only this remained, it would be reason enough to celebrate.
When I arrived home, I discovered that my husband had washed all the dishes (we were both WAY too tired after our trip to deal with our takeout dishes last night). Oh, and, doing dishes or not, I get to be married to a man that makes my heart burst with love and whose sense of humor makes me, sometimes begrudgingly, laugh every day.
My children came home from dance happy, healthy, and adorably messy. Hair askew, wearing not quite the right dance uniform, they fill my heart and soul with more love than I ever imagined was possible.
Lucky number 11 bonus – my mom and brother are on two separate trips to one of my favorite places in the entire world and I cannot wait for them to get back so I can hear all about it and live vicariously through them.
I could be home drinking in frustration, but instead I am sipping wine with a heart of gratitude. Because it really is all about perspective. And if any of you want to drink because my positivity is making you sick, go for it. I totally get it. I’ll probably be right with you tomorrow, but for now, October 11 is a good day…
Because my children are full throttle into their new after school routine:
Step 1: Get yourself into a state of undress. Pants are optional, shirts are forbidden.
Step 2: Fill every container you can find with dirt, grass, and, today, a grub you discovered.
Step 4: Study the grub and insist Mama look at it for an extended period of time.
Step 5: Mama fills herself a generous portion of wine because you are now covered head to toe in dirt. And now you need a bath. And you HATE baths. In fact, you have sobbed during EVERY bath this week. Wine gives Mama hope that maybe tonight’s bath will be different. Wine makes Mama care just a little bit less when it’s not different at all.
Sure we have a few weeks left until the equinox, but, essentially, summer’s end has come. As a gal who has spent the last two months reveling in sunshine, lazy mornings, and pool time, I don’t welcome it. In fact, the end of summer leaves me feeling like a discarded teenage girl who has been unceremoniously dumped by the love of her life.
Remember that girl in high school who was desperately in love with her boyfriend, ditched her friends to hang with him exclusively, and could be spotted writing his name in hearts on her notebook? Remember when he dumped her and he was no longer the dope dude she was going to marry some day, but the evil bastard who needed to be destroyed? I’m that girl. The ex is summer.
Sure, I could make myself feel better by thinking of all the joy that fall has to offer, like hay rides with the kids or a wardrobe that hides the effects of the sangria and s’mores I indulged in this summer, but I’m not ready to move on yet. In order to give fall all of myself, I need to get over summer. Fall deserves that much.
So, allow me to channel my inner angsty teenager and focus on all the nasty shit summer has put me through.
Putting My Kids Into a Hot Car
Trying to put my three-year-old in her car seat on a hot July day has done more damage to my back than any amount of winter shoveling ever could. No matter how long I run the air conditioner, the seat is still too hot and that kid contorts herself like a Cirque de Soleil acrobat in order to wriggle herself free of my grip. This is especially awesome when some impatient dipshit thinks it’s a good idea to wait for a parking spot inhabited by someone with kids.
There’s nothing like the first flying insect of the summer season coming into your house to make you long for an icy, barren January day. You know what was in my house this summer? A cricket. Apparently a cricket in the house is considered good luck, but when you see a bug the size of a small rodent spring across the room at you, it’s a tad disconcerting. Plus, I had to catch and release the damn thing because the Internet told me I’d face several years of bad luck if I killed Jiminy Cricket.
There are certain things people ask of you only in the summer months. One of those things is going camping. Oh, it’s summer you say? So it sounds like fun to you to erect a shelter the size of a powder room, cram into it with your entire family, and wake up damp, cold, and uncomfortable? Thanks for the invite. Now I get to choose between being labeled a diva or lying awake at 4 a.m. convincing myself that I can hold my pee until dawn.
Summer heat always arrives with it’s douchey counterpart, humidity. I don’t know about you, but I never feel quite as confident as I do than on a day my hair grows exponentially larger with each passing moment spent outdoors. Add to that enough sweat to make people wonder whether I’ve peed my pants, and I feel simply irresistible.
Who, other than a vampire, hates long days of sunshine? Parents who like watching Netflix with a glass of wine in their hands at 9 p.m. It doesn’t matter how opaque their blackout shades are, my kids are not sticking to their 7:30 bedtime in the summer months. This means that when I’d typically be considering a third glass of wine and one more episode, I’m getting someone a third glass of water and begging them to read the next book on their own.
I feel ready to move on already. All I need is for fall to swoop in with a pumpkin latte and summer will just be somebody I totally never stalk on Facebook.
Because since 2 a.m., the girls have had 3 fevers, 2 nose bleeds, and 47 bouts of sobbing over mouth pain due to the 137 or so sores in their mouths and throats (a rough estimate). Furthermore, one of them wants to chug the entire contents of the Tylenol bottle while the one with the actual fevers has refused to take any medicine since 10 a.m. Both are troubling. Since the poor monkeys were so miserable, Mama let them watch YouTube videos all day, which she now wonders is a torture tactic utilized by the U.S. government. If it is, it should be banned along with waterboarding. Oh, and it’s the last official day of summer vacation. Cheers!