Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

I’m honored

I was touched to be recognized by a fellow blogger…

I received word the other day that I had been recognized by the “Sweet Alexei” site for my work as an up-and-coming blogger here.  Please visit her site, too, and show her your love at http://sweetalexei.wordpress.com/

Sincerely, I offer my thanks for this recognition.  Her blog is pretty awesome, too, so do check it out.

I have been asked to recognize other bloggers, too, for their excellence in writing.

My nominees are:

1. Pile Of Babies — a witty, charming, hilarious blog about motherhood…

2. Jean Day Friday — very funny high school teacher talks about work, life and parenting…

3. The Wandering American –fabulous cultural and political blog by a young American living in China…

4. 25 Pills A Day — touching, inspirational and often funny musings about chronic pain, life’s obstacles and difficulties.  Trust me, this blog is amazing…

5. Rants from Mommyland — hands-down the best mom bloggers out there.  I aspire to this…

Liebster Award Rules:

(Copied from Sweet Alexei who copied from The Diary of a Reluctant Mother)

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (Not sure if I followed this rule or not… oops…)
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.
Many thanks again for this recognition!  Read more great mommy stuff here.


Owning Up

In a recent post, I lamented the fact that popular culture has generaly sucked of late and that my children are, essentially, growing up in a vacuous abyss of mindless, useless, thoughtless “entertainment.”

I admit today, publicly, on the internet, that it’s, like, not all bad or all that new.  In fact, I will admit here, for the first time, that I have, um, actually enjoyed the abyss.  A little.

Since my youth in the 80’s and 90’s, I have been interested in movies, music, books, and television.  Perhaps I have been too interested, really.  Nevertheless, I admit here today that there may be in inherent cultural standard for television-watching, or that there just may at least be some kind of a benefit to brain-rotting entertainment media altogether.

If I hadn’t had baseline familiarity with The Smurfs, Blossom, Saved By The Bell, and Saturday Night Live (when it was good), there would have been a whole slew of conversations in which I couldn’t participate.  The 14-year old version of water-cooler-conversations included chats about The Real World (the ORIGINAL in New York — how cute was Eric?) while we sat on the bleachers trying to do as little as possible in gym class.  It was hard enough just growing up.  Period.  But, to add in additional awkwardness and ignorance of youth culture and contemporary society was probably no better for my upbringing than watching too much Spongebob Squrepants would have been.  So, being the pop culture junkie that I am, have been, and always will be, I will now admit to a list of 10 awesomely awful things I admit I LOVE, even though throughout my lifetime of the late 1970’s to today, I have likely watched, seen, heard or read far more stimulating, interesting, valuable and relevant examples of American media.

Whodunnit?

1.  Clue – This is just about my favorite movie ever.  I can’t even pretend to be able to give you good reasons why it ought to be or why you should remotely agree with me.  It’s campy, pointless and was likely produced for $23.  AND I LOVE IT.

2.  America’s Next Top Model – This one hurts a little.  And, I would be lying if I said that admitting to enjoying this show wasn’t made easier by the fact that I am totally anonyous on this blog.

3.  LMFAO – IAM sexy and I DO know it, y’all.  This makes me dance in my car.  I hope they keep coming out with ridiculous music so I can blast this and sing loudly when I drop my kids off at school one day.

Ahhh..a sea of khakis, hair product and teen angst...

4.  Dawson’s Creek – I didn’t get into this until after it had really picked  up momentum, and I was a little older than their target demographic, but whatever.  Dawson.  Pacey.  Joey.  Awesomeness. 

5.  James Bond (even with Daniel Craig) – I am desperately in love with James Bond.  The character.  No matter who plays him (except maybe Roger Moore.  And Timothy Dalton).  And, he loves me, too.  I am sure of it.  Why wouldn’t he?  I am very lovable.

6.  Debbie Gibson – I am not so much of a fan today as I was at the height of both her fame and my adolescent awkwardness, but I was the ULTIMATE Debbie Gibson fan.  My first slow dance was to “Foolish Beat.”  The boyfriend with whom I shared that dance also loved the song.  And now he’s gay.  True story.  Not saying one thing leads to another.  Just sayin’.

7.  Jimmy Fallon – He laughes at his own jokes, breaks character, and is getting a little old for his man-child persona.  But he makes me laugh so hard I sometimes pee a little.  To be fair, though, after having two kids this is not hard to do.

8.  Entourage – No, people, it never sucked, never ran out of steam and never lost its edge.  And, I DO hope there’s a movie.  And, it WILL be better than the “Sex and the City” movies.  (How could it NOT be?  How could ANYTHING not be?)

9.  Real World/Road Rules Challenges – I DVR this and have the priority for it set on “high.”  I can’t get enough.  I am likely the only person who watches it religiously who knows what “Road Rules” even was, but that’s okay.  I have come to a place where I am at peace with my love of Johnny Bananas and Mr. Beautiful.  I really don’t need counseling for it at all.  No, really.

Tommy want wingie. Off Duty Mom want more Tommy.

10.  Tommy Boy –  yes, really.

There you go.  Therapy complete.  I feel better now, thanks.

You know, anyone can admit to liking John Hughes movies, Justin Timberlake, and Modern Family (which I do).  But only someone who is ready for real honesty will put it on the internet that she once owned a pink, knit Debbie Gibson hat.  Yup.

Now what?

This is hard.

That’s what she said.

No, seriously, this parenting stuff is tough.  I had no idea.

In my late 20’s, my husband and I decided that we’d casually try not to not try to make babies.  As our high school health teachers insisted, getting pregnant was really easy and can happen even after only one night of adolescent ridiculousness, so we assumed that our lackadaisical attitude about birth control would naturally result in a sweet bundle of joy.

Wrong.

Infertility is enormously common.  When I was 16, I thought that infertility happened to old, gross people only or was a result of too much ‘shrooming in one’s youth.  I was apparently ignorant about sex and drugs.  At least I knew everything I needed to know about Rock and Roll.

My gynecologist told me to give it a year.  A YEAR.  At that point, insurance would label me infertile and would allow me to seek out a specialist.

That year passed.  I saw a specialist.  Another year passed.  Then another.

Finally, I became pregnant.  Then, I miscarried.  That was the single worst experience of my life.  But, within a few months, I became pregnant again and gave birth to my healthy, beautiful first son.  A second son followed a few years after that.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

I spent three years in doctors’ offices, having vaginal probes, ultrasounds, blood draws every few days, getting my uterine cells scraped, taking ovulation drugs, even getting surgery.  Then, I had a baby.

When my maternity leave ran out, the only thing I could think was, “Now what am I supposed to do?”

I was (and still am) so torn about what to do with  my life now that my identity has changed.  I spent years of my life focusing so hard on having a child; on eating right and taking my vitamins and seeing my doctor and journaling my routines.  Now, lady, you got your damn baby.  Now what will you DO with him?

Well, I don’t know, fucker.  I never THOUGHT about that.

Am I stay-at-home-mom material? (Nope.)  Can I handle seeing my kids for only an hour or so nightly then only on weekends when I also have to do laundry, go grocery shopping, run errands and catch up on other work? (Nope.)  Will my job let me work part-time so that I can find that magical “balance” that everyone seems to tell me I must find in order to keep my sanity?  (Nope.)  Am I prepared to give away one third of my annual salary for a nanny to care for my children in their own home?  (Nope.)  Do I want my child raised institutionally in a center with 30 other kids whose diapers may or may not get changed all day?  (Nope.)  Have I thought about how my child will get to and from preschool at the hours of 8 AM and 11 AM while I am at work?  (Nope.)  Do I want my kids at a babysitter’s house every day where they just stare at the TV all day?  (Nope.)  Does my family want to provide full-time childcare so that I can have my own life?  (Nope.)  Does my husband want to quit his job to be a stay-at-home-dad?  (Nope.)

So, now what?

I don’t know.

I went back to work and we decided to go ahead and give away that third of my salary for that nanny.  She’s spectacular.  She’s exactly who I’d pick if I could hand-pick anyone on the planet to be with my kids if it wasn’t going to be my husband or me.

But, I still feel empty.  Or I feel as though something isn’t quite right.  Or I feel as though there must be a better “balance.”  I don’t know what I feel but it isn’t the pure joy I imagined I would have once chiildren came into my life.

The problem is NOT my kids.  Sure, I complain about them and their tantrums, poopsplosions, hard-headedness, terrible sleep patterns and tendencies to get into and destroy everything of value in my home.

But, ultimately, the problem is ME.

I have an obligation to provide for my children and family emotionally, financially, spiritually, nutritionally.  I have a duty to myself to become a strong person, good role model, and productive member of society for my own mental well-being and so that I show my boys the type of woman I hope they’ll admire and one day marry.  I have a responsibility to my husband not to allow him to shoulder the entire burden of providing for this family’s needs and wants,; and to provide him with a good partner in life — someone who is whole, who is happy, who is capable of standing by his side.

So, now what?

Lady, you wanted these kids so badly.  Now what are you going to do — how are your going to shape your lives together – how are you going to live out this dream now that it is all so real?

I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Laying down the law

 Having posted recently about not understanding some people’s affinity for some of the worst popular music of all time (which I insist was all made after 1995), I started thinking about pop culture more.

Truthfully, I am obsessed with movies, music and tv from the 80’s and 90’s.  I even tried out for VH1’s “World Series of Pop Culture” with a team of other pop-culture addicts.  I am still floored that we didn’t make it past the first round.  There just couldn’t have been anyone better than we were.

But, in my pondering about the pop culture of my youth in that last post, I made reference to the fact that my parents banned hardcore rap in my house right at the height of the gangsta rap movement when everything was very political and driven.  They, of course, never listened much to the lyrics to know anything beyong the fact that they were violent (or so they had heard) and used racial slurs.  A whole lot.

That has led me to think at length about other things my folks banned at our house.  Warning:  this list is odd.

1.  The Simpsons — My mother insisted that Bart Simpson (who she didn’t know by name, but instead referred to as “that child”) was “disrespectful.”  Most of my questions, however, regarding her reasons for disallowing this program in her household were simply met with a pursed-lipped sour scowl and disapproving head shake.  So, I am still not 100% certain what her beef was, but I think that she probably heard the “Eat my shorts!” tagline once and decided that it was NOT for her precious baby girl’s ears.  It’s funny how philosophical, political and deep the social commentary is on this show, though.  It’s a shame mom never got the chance to learn that guns are “for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!”

Is that Immanuel Kant or a Tracey Ullman spin-off?

2.  Married With Children — This show was notoriously forbidden in my home as a kid.  I never really showed much interest in watching it, though, so I am not really sure why my mother so vehemently protested against this in my presence.  It kinda made me want to watch it, actually, though, so let that be a lesson about getting your kids to do (or not do) what you want them to do (or not do).  But, I always thought that the show was a little…contrived.  At my age as a young teenager, I didn’t really get the winky humor.  My husband would now cringe since he was actually a big fan, but honestly, I just never really found it that appealing. 

Keepin' it classy.

Hey, Baby.

3. Dirty Dancing — Now, I know that the only reason I was not allowed to see this movie was because of the title.  I know this, of course, because my mother told me that “no child of mine is going to watch something called Dirty Dancing!”  Fast forward to a few months after the movie’s release when on a chilly February night I showed up at a friend’s house for a huge sleepover birthday party where the featured presentation involved Patrick Swayze’s gyrations and a botched back alley abortion procedure.  Scandal.  I thought for sure mom was going to turn me right around in the doorway and march me back home where everything was safe and we could peacefully watch “The Cosby Show” snuggled on the couch as a family.  But, she didn’t.  I stayed.  I saw the movie.  I had a nice time with my friends. I didn’t subsequently become a mass murderer.  Crisis averted.  And, now it’s my mom’s second favorite movie.  First is still “White Christmas.”  Nothing’s ever going to trump that.  Not even shirtless foxtrots.

NOOOO!!!! Casual shopping!!!!

4.  The mall — Well, to be fair, the mall itself wasn’t completely off-limits.  I just wasn’t allowed to drive there, be driven there by anyone who received a license after Nixon’s resignation, be left alone for any length of time there, or “hang out” there without a specific purpose.  To this day, I cannot browse.  It isn’t in my nature.  The desire for it was sucked out of my soul via my mother’s version of the  Ludovico Technique, apparently.

5.  Earrings — The rule in my household was that I would not be permitted to have piercings of any type until my 13th birthday.  Granted, piercing anything other than one’s ears was  not heard of in 1989 among the suburban masses, so their intention wasn’t to ban my becoming a punk, but was to ban my growing up too quickly since earrings somehow signified (perhaps to my father more than to my mother) maturity.  My mom’s needle-phobia wasn’t putting her in a position to want to rush me out to Piercing Pagoda to watch a dart gun press metal alloy through her daughter’s flesh, either, I am sure.

As a parent myself now, I wish I could say that I am more reasonable than my parents were, but that would be a lie.  I am totally irrational and have ridiculous rules and look forward to embarassing my children by dancing at their school dances.  One might say that I have learned NOTHING from my parents’ example.  They made things difficult for me and they made me want them to walk three steps behind me in public.  But, I maintain that they taught me everything I needed to know about how to have a loving marriage and how to raise a clearly briliant, thoughtful, well-adjusted child.  Who is also beautiful.  And a genius.  And just awesome.

“Bikinis, zucchinis, martinis, no weenies”

 

With his phenomenal lyrical prowess, it is shocking -- shocking, I say -- that Juvenile didn't go further in his career.

The older I get, the older I get.

I barely understood my own youth culture half the time.

Then, I became a teacher. I thought I was young and easy to relate to at 22. But in actuality, I had no patience for or frame of reference by which to truly understand pants that start at your thighs, giant, tire-sized piercings or obsessions with Justin Bieber.

If I can’t even relate to a Juvenile (yeah–that was really his stage name. I don’t think irony was intended) song that came out the same year I graduated from college, I don’t know how I will be able to connect with my kids’ generation.

Yet, I still try to understand that song from the 90’s. I heard it today. Here’s what I gathered:

The gentleman insists that his female companion reverse her direction and move her pear-shaped physique in his direction. Repeatedly. Perhaps this young woman is afflicted with some type of malady that increases the size of her hindquarters and also causes her to be hard of hearing. If, indeed, she were suffering from hearing loss, that would be unfortunate since she’d miss the opportunity to hear the veritable cornucopia of words that rhyme with “yeah,” most of which, not surprisingly, are actually the word “yeah” itself. Fascinating.  And it doesn’t end there.

Ummm...it's not just me, right? I can't be the only one who doesn't understand how some people get to be famous.

Does Britney Spears really resurrect the world’s worst pick-up line from about 1982 and ask, “If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”  Did Will Smith not teach his kid better writing ideas other than “I whip my hair back and forth?”  Did Nicki Minaj just say that her panties were coming off?  Did the Black Eyed Peas really tell me to, “Get up off [their] genitals?”  Just when I didn’t think it could get worse than “My Humps.”  But, then, I realized that J. Lo’s 2011 song features a briliant piece of artistry: 

“That badonkadonk is like a trunk full of bass on an old-school Chevy
Seven tray donky donk
All I need is some vodka and some shonky-tonk
And watch she gon’ get Donkey Kong”

>sigh<  I just don’t even know what to say about that.  Luckily, someone else did:  http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/music/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=29514912&page=10

 

There's a novel idea: THINKING. Thank you, Chuck D.

I used to think that my parents were so lame because they thought that 10,000 Maniacs were a riotous punk bank (they must be with that name, right?) and that Nirvana was shocking for busting up so many guitars.  And, forget gangsta rap from my youth of the late 80’s — I wasn’t allowed to listen to it, but at least it had a message.  And a point.  If you tell me that 9-1-1 is a “joke,” I can at least understand your plight in the American ghettos and the idea that your community is continually ignored by the very system that is supposed to save human lives.  What I will not soon understand is Rihanna begging to be loved like she’s “a hot pie.” 

I don’t know what I would do if I had to listen to my kids hear Katy Perry ask to see someone’s peacock, cock, cock, cock. Honestly. That’s a real song, people. I wish I were kidding.

When my 3-year old is 16, what crap will he be listening to?  And what stupid shit is he going to do to his hair?

What I’d love to know is whether I am just old and out of touch or if popular culture is just becoming that much more vapid. 

Your daughter's role model. I actually found a picture that wasn't overtly sexual. Winning.

Of course, I prefer to believe that youth culture sucks.  I don’t think that’s all there is to it, though. 

Truth is, I am now my parents.  How did that happen?

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