Off Duty Mom

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

Archive for the category “Poetic Rantings”

And it has come to this

It is possible to be lost in a familiar place

To be both empty and full.

Sometimes it just happens that way.

And there might be a moment that passes by on a cloud

With a whisper and a breath like honeysuckle in August.

It might be possible to realize that it is all sort of a joke

That isn’t really funny

When you’re the only one left in your neighborhood not

Riding a bike to Whole Foods, toting reusable cloth bags.

And they don’t make bikes that come equipped with sidecars

For your munchkins (of which there seem like there are so many that you might as well sell your house and live in a shoe).

And, it is even harder being cool enough to have mojitos after work with the gang

When you have to leave a paying job for a thankless one from which you will never retire.

But, you were never really cool, anyway, and there are very small people in your life who remind you of that every chance they get.

frazzledYou sway from tired to wired depending on whether coffee or Xanax were easier for you to reach.

You hear a bump in the night and are more certain that it will soon be followed with the sounds of someone stuck upside-down in a trash can, inches away from a crib

Than you are that it is someone in the rumpus room trying to steal your big screen.

‘Cause you can’t afford a big screen, anyway.  You’re saving for Disney.

And it has come to this.

So it goes.

There was a time when you’d be lost in Vonnegut at midnight.

And before that you’d have been lost in the bottom of a filthy mug

In a place you’ve since forgotten, but you still remember that it was too sketchy to risk sitting on a chair or, you know, touching anything.

But, now you seem to have forgotten what midnight looks like,

Except, of course, when it comes into your world because of an emergency

And the connector of those circumstances and these

Is someone else’s vomit on your feet.

So it goes.

You’ve tried and tried to hide and cry alone in a bathroom for Just. One. Goddamn. Minute.  PLEASE.

But there’s never not a knock at the door.

So it goes.

I believe I can see the future
Cause I repeat the same routine
I think I used to have a purpose
But then again
That might have been a dream
I think I used to have a voice
Now I never make a sound
I just do what I’ve been told

So it goes.

 

 

Advertisements

Hooray for Mother’s Day!

Off Duty Mom is proud to feature a special “Hooray for Mother’s Day” special publication!

************************************

GUEST POST BY:

Meredith Ethington

My hands are literally cracking and bleeding. My husband said to me innocently when I was complaining, “Can you just try washing them less everyday?” I scoffed, “No! I wash them when I wipe a butt, and before eating, or fixing a meal, and after going to the bathroom. Which of those should I skip?”

I was thinking about how my hands look like they belong to a 90 year old woman even though I am just a young, 35 year old mama. And, I thought of all the beautiful mother’s day poems out there about a mother’s hands. They are beautiful aren’t they? But, my hands? Not so much. Do these poems really get down and share the nitty gritty that every mother experiences everyday? Not really.

So, I crafted a short little poem of my own, which is ironic since I pretty much hated every poem I had to read during my high school and college years. But, this one came to me pretty quickly.

Busy, Dirty Hands (A Mother’s Day Tribute)

I’m thankful for my mother’s hands, which keep us kids at bay,

From destroying everything she loves, each and every day.

It seems that when I need some help, she says, “Do it yourself!”

So, then I climb up  very high and reach up on a shelf.

Her hands know how to clean up each and every mess I make,

When the shelf falls down, and I move on, to wreak havoc in another place.

Her hands know how to feed the baby, while making dinner too.

They send a text, and help with homework, while the house feels like a zoo.

Those hands wipe our bums 10 times a day, and rarely she complains,

Except, of course, when poop floats in the tub, and she’s almost gone insane.

Her hands are patient when we draw on the couch with a bright red pen,

She uses them to cover her mouth when she wants to remain quite zen.

Her hands catch every single thing that comes out of my mouth,

chewed food and vomit, are just two that no longer gross her out.

Her hands clean up the crusty things that come out of my nose,

when I wipe them on the wall, she says, “That isn’t where it goes!”

Her hands know how to clean and wipe, and clean and wipe again,

They do the same thing over and over, to clean up our pig pen.

Her hands show me so many things, like how much she must love me.

After all those hands have one dirty job, taking care of little ol’ me.

-Written by crazy toddlers everywhere

Meredith is a native Texan, recovering perfectionist, and mama to 3 kids living in Utah. She has been blogging for over 5 years, but just recently decided to make her blog public and get real about motherhood. Her tag line is “far from perfect, but blogging about it anyway”. Because that is exactly what she wants to do. Her goal is to be honest and not just blog all the happy, pretty moments. You can find her over at Faking Picture Perfect.

What We Deserve

hand

 

 

 

 

 

My mother once told me that my first words were
“Me do.”
I said it, she claims, emphatically.
I am sure I meant it, too.

I had been raised with an ideal:
An idea that I’d be beholden to no one.

When a friend of mom’s asked me one time
In mid ’85 whether I’d marry rich one day and live high and fine
Driving Hubby’s Lamborghini
Wearing thousand-dollar bikinis

I looked her straight in the eye and said:
“When I grow up, I will make my own money and buy my own car.”

But, no one seems to say that anymore.

And no one seems to encourage it to be said.

And, when the Lambos don’t come easily, we hear that “it’s just not FAIR.”
As if fairness were determined by equality.

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” I hear from the mouths of babes.
Never is there a drive to work to find a way
But instead if you don’t have a pencil
That must mean you don’t have to do your homework today.

Or it is my job to give you one.

And, if I don’t, then it is my fault that you have failed.

And, if your computer broke this morning,
Then clearly you should not be held responsible
For turning in a paper that was assigned two weeks ago.

And it is the doctor’s job to keep you healthy,
Your mom’s job to keep you clean,
Your dentist’s job to make sure your teeth don’t rot,
And the Rev’s job to make you believe.

Nothing is up to you, anymore.

Put your hands out.
God and the Fates will provide.

Because you deserve it.

Teachers are told to adjust student workloads
For each according to his need.
No child should struggle, they say
As if struggling didn’t make us all free
Or didn’t build character.
Maybe, instead the struggle is the KEY.

For if every man, woman and child embraced the struggle now
We’d all learn just a little bit more about how
We can build ourselves into mountains
For it was pressure that forged the Earth’s peaks.

The Weeds Behind Me

fire2

Today, I realized that it’s been lost
Sold and on fire, destroyed like Faust.
I recall seeing signs, blazing, “We will never forget”
But we did.

About everything.

A whole generation knows nothing of ones before.
They choose purposeful ignorance, opt to be whores
For attention.
It is about ME, they imply, not my Great Grandma Finch
Whose first husband died the night he was lynched
In Arkansas. Not Ar-Kan-Sas.

You might wonder why the schools don’t teach
About Booker T. and W.E.B.,
Wounded Knee, Kennedy, Gandhi and philosophies
Of togetherness.

Well, they do.

They teach it, over and over, to deaf ears and blind eyes,
To Orwellian automatons, in self-selected coveralls of
Skinny jeans, 60-dollar tees, an air of sleaze and a set of Beats.
And they cry about harassment, racism, and having to WORK,
Of sexist comments and how GW was a jerk
Without the slightest hint of irony at all for the absolute lack of knowledge and experience they possess.

All they know is Martin Luther King
Once upon a time had a dream.
And they can tell you that the dream was to end racism.

But, they can’t tell you a thing about Coretta, Malcolm, Louis, Rosa, Cesar, Bobby, or others who shared that vision
Except that one of those people sat down one time when she was tired.

They can’t pronounce “Tiananmen” because they’ve never heard of it.
Or “Gorbachev,” “Emmett Till” or even know of South Central before they burned it.

The only “Wall” they’ve lived knowing preceeds “-Mart.”
And it all makes me sad.

Worse yet, we try to teach a generation of kids who not only don’t know that their ancestors swung from trees in Birmingham, burned for the color of their skin,
But, they really don’t care.

This is a generation that wasn’t even old enough to remember the Trade Center collapse,
Let alone Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, or the Day the Music Died.
And, I first chuckled that teens had never heard of Nirvana, John Hughes, the Spice Girls or the Beatles.
Then I realized that this was an intellectual tragedy like I couldn’t dream of.
There was, kids, a world before Dubstep.

Believe it.

I used to write research papers by investigating information found in…BOOKS.
Now, the very suggestion of doing that would bring terribly confused looks
From students who appear to need to be surgically removed from their “smart” phones.
And I wonder when we will finally redefine the word “smart,” then.

They don’t know where they’ve come from and don’t care where they’ve been.
And yet they all think they will earn “big G’s,” drive a Lex and be freed
From the tyranny of their parents and the “system” upon turning 18.
And, they don’t know that when you’re 18, you’re still pretty stupid.

And, so Pat O’Leary hides the wire to his earbuds through his Hollister shirt
Adamantly refusing to read Swift or learn about how his ancestors survived tenement living in NYC
Only to be spat upon, labeled non-white, forever a slave to the New Country’s “dole.”
Because he couldn’t care less about how they paid the toll
For him to even sit in that seat and receive a book today.

Lily Locklear doesn’t even know she’s 3-quarters Crow
But, she’d rather chant in her head, “You don’t know –oh –oh”
“You don’t know you’re beautiful.”
Indeed, she doesn’t, but that is a whole different topic altogether.

And, Marcus knows how to design his own Nikes online and pay a few hundred for them,
But he’s never heard of Stokely Carmichael and he doesn’t own a pencil OR a pen.

Zooey is half Jewish. She thinks. Maybe.
But, she couldn’t tell you what that even means.
Is it a culture? A religion? An identity?
“What’s the difference, anyway,” she wonders as she draws on her hundred dollar jeans
With the same Sharpie she used to draw all over her best friend’s arm while they were supposed to be learning about Quadratic Equations.

And, it is a tragedy.

Not like the Challenger, which I actually remember.
But like that of the American Cheetah,
Which had existed but now is extinct
And our children’s minds, their heritage, their culture, their identities,
Too, are depleting, once having been beautiful, hopeful and strong.

I was not alive to witness Woodstock or Pol Pot; too young to really remember when AIDS first made the world stop.

But, I learned about them.  And, I grew.

And, now I say, “I, too, sing America,”
But the trail I leave behind me is growing thick with weeds and ugly from neglect
And, I can’t convince many 14-year olds to sing with me anymore.

 

Merry, Merry 12 Days ’12

O. M. G.

Check me out, y’all.

I am being featured over at Momma Be Thy Name in the annual “Momma’s 12 Days” contest.

Head over there to read my post:  “Singing (So I Don’t Cry)” to get out of your funk and get into the holiday spirit, ODM-style.

Sure, your in-laws are coming over in a few days and your house will never be clean enough to avoid sarcastic commentary.  And, your sister-in-law is a bitch any time of year in any home or location.  But, silly Christmas posts are fun.  And, you can win prizes.

Yup.  Prizes, dudes.

What are you waiting for?

DO IT!

You know you wanna.

A Mom and Her “Friend”

“I’m a mom of two,” she said today.

“My days and nights don’t end.”

“Now, now…there, there, it can’t be that bad,” offered a “friend.”

“There’s poop and puke, croup and tears

“Then there’s colic, too

“And, why the hell did no one tell me age three’s much worse than two?”

Her friend looked shocked.  “What do you mean?”

She didn’t help at all.

“I just always think being a mom is such a terrific ball!”

“Come on,” she said, “you know it’s hard always being ‘on.’

“There’s never a break – a chance – a breath

“And something’s always wrong.

“Strained peas in hair, temper tantrums, midnight feeds and more

“I’m sad to remember five years ago

“When my life was such a bore.”

“Me, too,” “friend” said. “My childless days were the worst I had!

“Carpools, playdates, chores and more

“Make ME so very glad!”

Reaching in the fridge just then made her smile a bit.

She poured a glass of wine just then

And took just one small sip.

She slid the dirty glass to “friend” and smiled like an elf

Then she kept the rest of the bottle

To finish for herself.

The “Off Duty Mom” Story

When I was very young, my mother would grab a novel as evening approached and place it on her nightstand. Then, when I was tucked in, she’d put on a flannel nightgown, sit on her bed, put a pillow in her lap, prop up her book and declare herself “off duty.” Inevitably, I’d come into her room, she would sigh with exasperation, flop her book down, look at me over the top rims of her glasses and say “WHAT?!” I’d ask for a glass of water/midnight snack/ trip to the potty/ snuggle to ease my fears of nightmares/ answers to questions about the meaning of life…

numerous times.

I never understood the desperate need to have one MOMENT — one breath during which no one was throwing up on me, crying, throwing a tantrum, repeating “MOM — MOM — MOM.”

Until now.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: