Off Duty Mom

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

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Reasons Why I Cried

Today, I had an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.

I reasoned that it couldn’t be that much worse for me than a sausage biscuit from McDonald’s.  And, I knew that the chocolatey goodness would heal what ails me.

Yesterday, my day began with an e-mail sent to my entire office from our boss.  She publicly congratulated the temp who has been working in our office for quite some time now for the fantastic improvements she had made on our website design.  Our old website, apparently, had been unappealing and not user-friendly, though this was the first I had heard those complaints from anyone.  So, I guess it fucking sucked secretly.  Guess who designed that website?  This was the first thing that made me cry yesterday.

I had lunch alone (as I usually do, but not by choice — by virtue of the fact that no one seems to eat lunch in my office except for me) and ordered a Reuben sandwich and a side order of sauteed Parmesan broccoli from a lovely organic/locally sourced cafe in our city.  When it arrived, my side order of broccoli included one floret.  ONE.  I finished my entire side order in one bite.  I didn’t have the energy to argue with the waitstaff or kitchen.   And, I was late for a meeting, anyway, so finishing $10 worth of food in fewer than 10 minutes was, I guess, a benefit.  But, later I cried because I hate feeling like I’ve been a victim.  More on that in another post, maybe, if I feel like telling you all of my dark, gloomy shit.

Please take a look at http://amominspired.com/2012/05/23/i-surrender-again/ from which this photo was borrowed.

When I came home, it looked like a bomb went off in my house.  The kids had completely destroyed it.  The nanny had a very long day with my little monsters.  I absolutely don’t blame her for the mess.  But, I was totally deflated when I saw it.  And, within 30 seconds of coming home and seeing this, my dog went nuts-o at the front door.  An appointment I had scheduled was a half hour early.  She knocked on the door, enraged my mutt, woke my napping preschooler and subsequently walked into a living room that appeared to be inside of Tornado Alley.  I hadn’t even had a chance to set down my purse yet when this happened.  No, bitch, we didn’t say 5:00.  The appointment was for 5:30.  No, it is not okay.  I’m pissed.

I didn’t cry about it at the time, but I did a little later when the nanny left and I ended up cleaning spilled juice off of the side of the refrigerator.

Just as I was putting my oldest son to bed, then, sirens wailed outside.  Fire, EMS and Police flew through the intersection near our house in our neighborhood that might normally be referred to in short stories as a “sleepy little town.”  The usual peace of our community was interrupted by some major emergency that must have been only a few blocks away.  I don’t know what happened.  I bet my neighbors do, though.  They ran out of their house and looked down the street.  When they realized that the emergency situation was too far down the street to be seen from the vantage point of their patch of sidewalk, they actually got into their car and followed the last ambulance that roared by.

When I thought for a moment about how first responders run so bravely toward situations that others run away from (well – most normal people run away from things like fires, robberies, or natural disasters), I welled up with emotion.  I sometimes can’t believe that there are people in this world who dedicate their whole lives to a profession where they might lose their own, just for the chance of helping others in need.  It all seemed so…touching.  So, I cried.  Then, I laughed at myself for crying about that.  Then I cried again because I am so pitiful.  Then I laughed again because I was crying about being pitiful.

I realized that a nice glass of white wine would be helpful.  But, we were out of it.  Can you guess what my reaction was?

We hear a whole lot about Postpartum Depression, but I don’t think that anyone talks enough about how being a mother continually messes with your head.  Forever.

Mothers are constantly filled with fear that their children will come to harm.  They are saddened by the passing of time and they miss the times when their babies were babies.  Moms are continually surprised by how parenting can be difficult.  They deal with tantrums, illnesses, the heartbreak of watching a child experience heartbreak, the worry a child won’t fit in, the worry that a child will fit in with the wrong crowd, the concern that a child might not make all of the smartest decisions even though he’s been “raised right.”  Mothers worry about whether their children are being appropriately educated.  Are kids “liked” by their teachers?  Do they have learning obstacles or disabilities?  Are they being challenged enough?  Are they on the right path?  Will they be exposed to the best life choices?  Will they have all of the opportunities they deserve?

I feel every day as though I am just barely hanging on.   I wonder, though, how any mother is NOT suffering from depression and anxiety.  I think it might be part of the job description.  Consider this fair warning if you’re thinking of starting a family.  THIS is what they mean when they say, “Your life will never be the same again.”

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“All the World’s a Stage” (and my kids will probably try to set it on fire)

I refer sometimes to my older son as The Destroyer of Worlds.  Before having children, I had no idea how quickly a home could start to resemble something out of a documentary about Sarajevo.

The baby is now joining in.  His big brother is teaching him about how fun it is to throw all of the couch cushions on the floor and climb Mount Ultrasuede.  There are a few things I’d hoped my elder son would teach his sibling.  How to turn the living room into the set of Saving Private Ryan was not on that list.

Is this the living room? Has anyone seen the remote? Or my shoes? Or the dog?
(Special thanks to http://www.cinemotions.com for the image from “Saving Private Ryan.”)

Years ago, I listened to my husband recap stories about how, when he was a boy, his friend and he would put bottle rockets into PVC pipe, hoist the pipe onto their shoulders and launch explosives out one end.  At each other.

I used to think it was all very funny.

I am not laughing anymore.

And, recently, my mother asked me what my plans were for the kids for the summer.  Would we be sending the preschooler to theater camp?  Would the boys try gymnastics classes?  Might the baby like “Mommy and Me Yoga”?  Anyone up for summer classes at the local community center?

No.  No, indeed, I’d not be releasing my two tornadoes upon unsuspecting Art Camp counselors or Nature Walk leaders.

We have the most amazing nanny.  Truly, we adore her.  She’s been a fabulous addition to our family.  But, even she looked like my children (who she loves) were going to send her to the nearest clock tower where she’d happily put herself out of the misery caused by my little monsters by hurling herself to her own welcome demise on the pavement below the other day.  I have no illusions about my kids being easily handled by untrained 18-year olds working at YMCA swim camp for summer break.

My boys are beautiful, loving, sweet, fiercely independent, smart, creative and athletic.  I didn’t know it was possible to love anyone or anything this much.

All of those amazing qualities have their dark sides, though.

Beautiful children sometimes know that their cuteness gets them stuff.  Loving children can learn that withholding their love can be a great manipulation tool.  Sweet children don’t always understand why Mommy isn’t sweet to them all the time; they don’t always understand why Mommy has rules such as “Don’t run in the street even though it might seem so fun” that make her seem so mean.  Fiercely independent children may be born leaders who will not be victims of peer pressure, but they also don’t really listen to their parents, either.  Smart kids can learn more than how to read at age 3:  they can learn how to push your buttons, too.    Creative kids can believe that your walls are the perfect canvas for their work.  Athletic kids will be fit, active and happy…and hard to catch.

So, indeed, raising my little men is an enormous job.  I have tons of help and I have no idea how so many women do it (and do it so well) alone.  But, for now, I will keep the Gymboree teachers, private piano lesson instructors and t-ball camp counselors out of my karass.  They ain’t ready for what my boys bring to the table.

Maybe next year…

 

Why is everything WET?

Apparently, if one is in possession of a penis, learning to control it is a lifelong battle.

I doubt even this would help me…
Image borrowed from NotSoSouthernLiving.blogspot.com

As the mother of a three-year old boy, I can say that it is a rare day that passes when I am not wiping urine off of something on which urine does not typically belong.  To date, I have cleaned someone else’s pee off of clothing, toilet seats, closed toilet lids, floors, walls, bathtubs, my own legs, my sons’ head (go ahead and try to figure that one out), three different beds, the living room carpet, our back deck, a car seat, dining room hardwood floors, my leather Jeep interior, toys and a dirty (but not previously that dirty) pile of laundry.

It seems as though the seemingly endless stream of pee does not end with early childhood, either.  Some suggest that even into the teen years, urination plays too much of a role in people’s lives.  A Crabby Old Fart I’ve read about seems to believe that bathroom time is excessive for older kids, too.  Though, at that age, the bulk of time spent behind a bathroom door is more often time spent primping, slathered in hair product, contemplating their own gift of beauty to the world.  This gentleman maintains, though (and humorously so), that frequent urination in the young is a symbol of laziness and defiance, not an indication of medical incontinence yet to come.  Hilarious.

Aside from all the peeing, of course, there are a host of other issues our sons ultimately have to face as the owners and operators of man-parts.  As was pointed out in another parenting blog, uncircumcised boys (fairly rare still in the U.S., I think?) must contend with what I thought was a potentially emotionally difficult procedure daily.  If you read this linked post and you are raising boys, I’d love to know what you think about giving your son the memory of having an…um…hands-on mom.

Of course, as they get older, moms must deal with another issue associated with raising boys.  As it was put in Bridesmaids,  “Everything is covered in semen. I literally broke a blanket in half.”  Now, I hope not to reach this lovely milestone of boy-parenting for some time yet, but I imagine that by that point, I shall no longer be fazed in any way about anything associated with bodily fluids any longer.  After being puked, pooped and peed on more than once, your gag reflex starts to become less and less prominent.  Parenthood seems to have a way of making us all into iron-stomached folk.

Having never had a penis attached to me personally, I also do not understand the inability of adolescent and young adult men to control the emotions associated with its existence.  If popular culture is any indication, seeing so many music artists using crotch-grabbing as a piece of choreography would suggest that men are constantly acutely aware of their baggage.  Perhaps I am fortunate to have internal lady-parts since I don’t have a constant reminder of sex dangling off of me every time I put on pants.

Thar she blows!
Photo found through JesusIsCreator.org

On that same note, it pains me to think that one day my sons will begin to experience some sort of vagina radar that seems to become active in young dingle doo-dahs that seem to lead horny guys to fresh meat much in the way the forked twig seemed to lead ancient folk to water.  This seems like a terrible affliction.  Many young men I met as a younger version of myself never seemed to learn how to handle this malady.  For the sake of my boys’ safety, I hope my husband and I can instill in them good manners, respect, kindness and gentleness so that they never have to have their asses handed to them by the irate father of a defiled young lady.  (As a side note, in such an occasion, the boys would get their asses handed to them a second time at home, too.)

I love my boys.  But, you can add this to the list of “Things They Didn’t Tell You To Expect While You Were Expecting.”

So, lesson learned.

Pee-Pees are hard to deal with.

That’s what she said.

The making of a well-adjusted grown-up

I don’t really like people.

This is not a revelation or grandiose admission.  I’m just sort of throwing this out there.

But, it occurred to me quite some time ago that I am just not really a “people” person.  I am annoyed by bad driving, poor grammar, religious extremism, uneducated commentary, snobbiness, crooked baseball caps, republicans, loud laughs, cat owners, and the implication that my hand should not be shaken firmly because I am a woman.

I often say that I hate people, but that’s not really true.  But, people — all people, really (including my own family) just get on my nerves.  Most of the time.

I don’t mean to imply that I am superior.  I fully expect that I irritate other people, too.  In my mind, people aren’t really meant to work with, eat with, shop with, talk with or really see other people all of the time.  I treasure my moments alone.

Now, I am not considering selling my belongings and living in a cabin in the woods with just a huntin’ hound and a shotgun to ward off young’uns and lookie-lous.  But, I do value the few moments I get from time to time to sit in silence, by myself, and do nothing.

I used to fear that my antisocial behavior would mean that I’d be a terrible parent.  I think I’m hanging in there okay, though.  I do enjoy spending time with my children.  I also enjoy when they’re both sleeping peacefully.  A whole lot.

Generally, I think that my irritation with the general populace came about when I realized what it meant for me to be an only child.  I like having my stuff and my space.  I don’t take orders well at all which makes me a pretty miserable employee.  I don’t like to share with others which makes me a terrible “team player.”  I am bossy and always have been which makes me pretty difficult to be married to.  And, I just noticed that I ended that previous sentence with a preposition and it is eating me alive, but I’m trying to work on “me,” so I am going to leave it there, but it is worth mentioning that my grammar nerdism makes it a little tough to make friends.  There aren’t a whole lot of other people out there who would happily discuss when one must use “lie” instead of “lay.”

So, all of this has me wondering if your position as a child in a family helps to shape the rest of your personality.  Am I am who I am because I am an only child?  Did I forever mold my kids’ personalities by virtue of the fact that I decided to have them both and to space their births three years apart?

Feel free to weigh in here.

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A Humbling Moment

When I started blogging, I did so for my own good.  I was in a funk and realized that it was mainly because I had so much in my head and it was all just too overwhelming.  I had to empty out a bit so that there’d be room for other stuff in there like memories of my baby son’s first words, thoughts about a kick-ass 1st birthday party for my youngest, and an aptitude for math.  I’ve always believed that I sucked at math because my brain was too full of other stuff.  Now that WordPress has let me get some thoughts out, it turns out that overcrowding was NOT the reason my math skills were less than desirable.  Hmm..  Weird.

At any rate, I never expected to be able to reach so many people, hear responses from so many parts of the planet, and have my mental vomit qualify as high-quality by readers.

To my surprise today, I received notification that I’d been honored with another blogging award.  Thank you so very much, Smommy, for the kudos.

Award image courtesy of Smommy.wordpress.com

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