Off Duty Mom

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

Archive for the tag “boys”

I’ve Found Him

I was a total nerd as a kid.

I got picked on — big time.

The cool girls used to throw popcorn at me when I ate lunch alone in the cafeteria in 7th grade.  I was usually alone, cafeteria or not.

I didn’t date a whole lot, but I grew into myself as I got a bit older.  However, when I was a younger teen, I would snuggle up on my side in my bed with a pillow and I would lay my head on it and pretend that it was my boyfriend who was letting me nuzzle into his shoulder.

I had daydreams about meeting a boy who would not know that I was such an outcast and he’d like me just because I have intrinsic value.

I had this incredibly silly fantasy that this magical boy would really know the real me and he wouldn’t judge me because I wasn’t wearing the coolest clothes.  He would know all of my idiosyncrasies like how I only ever eat French Fries two-at-a-time.

Eventually, I met an amazing man who became my husband.  We fell in love and made a house a home and are living happily ever after.

But, it was just a few weeks ago when my oldest son, age 5, mentioned that he wanted to eat his fries “just like mommy” and he popped two Five Guys hand-cut French Fries into his mouth.

Somewhere in my torn adolescent soul I felt sure that my time would come and I would meet the man of my dreams and he would fulfill all of my silly musings about love and he would make up for all of the emotional bruising I had muddled through.

I just never expected the man of my dreams to be my 5-year old son.

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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.

Being Better

Women.

Can’t live with ’em; can’t shoot ’em.  Am I right?  Yeah?

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyone?

I kid.

I was listening to a popular morning show on the radio yesterday.  A young employee of the station (but not a regular on-air talent) was being “featured” in a segment they were doing about dating.  This girl (a very recent college grad) sounded kind of like Dahlia from “Suburgatory.”  She came off as arrogant, infantile, self-centered and, like, totally annoying, you, like, know?

I judged her from that short segment and decided that I hated her.  Then, I decided that if I told anyone that I hated her, men would call me “jealous” and would suggest that it was the fact that she was young and (presumably) attractive that I decided that I felt this way.  Having this imaginary fight with unidentified men in my head made me pretty pissed.

I thought about why I had had such a strong reaction to this young lady.  I decided that I didn’t want her speaking for or representing me.  When people turn on a source of media and they hear someone talking arrogantly and obnoxiously about her experiences with men, I didn’t want that to be connected to me in any way.  I didn’t want anyone to make the mistake in thinking that the opinions expressed by one naive 22-year old were in any way the views held by the larger consituency.

Then I felt petty and stupid.

You see, since I became a mom nearly 4 years ago, I have slowly but surely become more interested in women’s issues.  Why is there no national standard for long-term PAID childcare leave for new mothers (and new adoptive parents and fathers, too, for that matter)?  Why am I still earning 70 cents to my male counterparts’ dollar?   Why do some politicians want to discuss the contents of my uterus?  Years after the inception of Title IX, why are girls’ athletics still underappreciated, under-funded and under-attended?  Why do boys still outperform girls in mathematics and science?  Why is the US one of the only  industrialized, 1st-world countries who has never had a female head of State?  On television and in movies, why are all of the female characters either sex objects or wounded little kittens?   Oh, wait, they aren’t.  Sometimes they are lost souls who are unlucky in love and are just waiting for some handsome, wonderful men to come make their lives complete.

What the fuck?

And, here I am contributing to the bullshit.  I am a woman.  Every day the world will judge me by the way I look, the way I talk, the way I dress and the way I act.  After that, the world might give a shit about how smart or strong I am.  I just better not be too smart.  I also better not be too strong.  I better not be “too” anything, really.  Too tough?  She must be a lesbian.  Too pretty?  She must have had work done.  Too thin?  She must be anorexic.  Too hardworking?  She must be shirking her duties in her personal life like parenting and housekeeping.  Too high-earning?  She must be a ball-busting bitch.  Too maternal?  She must not have any skils or drive.

And, yet, here I am.  I am sitting in my car, judging a person’s worth and character based on 3 minutes of hearing her voice.  I am part of the problem.

Since becoming a mom, I have also realized that the point of the sexual revolution fought so hard by our mothers is to provide us with options and to allow us to select any option we wish and throw up a big middle finger to the world while doing it.  WANT to be a ball-busting bitch?  Do it.  WANT to be a stay-at-home-mom?  Do it.  WANT to be a snob?  Do it?  WANT to be all full of silicone and collagen?  Do it.

You.  Have.  Choices.

My hope now, for myself, is that I will learn to respect that more.  It is tough enough out there with my 70 cents at the societal dollar store.  I think I ought to start being a whole lot more accepting and respectful of a woman’s right to choose to be whomever she wishes to be.

I have an important role as the mother of boys.  I can be a part of molding a generation to be better than my own has been.  I can teach my boys to judge others not by the length of their skirts or the size of their waistlines, but by the content of their character.  I can teach my boys not to say (or think) stupid shit like that ass-clown on “The Amazing Race” did last week when he lamented “I lost to a freaking GIRL.”

It is an important role we play as moms.  I wish the country in which I live recognized that more readily.   I wish western culture were more interested in equity, honor and responsibility and less concerned with breast size, hair type and fragility.

I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to raise two men. I hope I do right by them, help them find their ways in this world, help them find self-worth, help them become well-rounded and courageous, and help them grow up to be men who will make this a better planet for all of its inhabitants.

My kids wear pants

In March and April, stores seemed to be bursting with adorable, tiny pink dresses awash in a sea of tulle and lace.  There were daisy-covered fabrics, giant grosgrain bows and white patent leather Mary Janes as far as the eye could see.  My visit to Macy’s children’s clothing department left me in awe of the beautiful items one could purchase for one’s selected springtime-holiday-celebration-or-religious-observation-of-choice.

IF YOU HAVE A LITTLE GIRL.

If, however, you are the proud, heavy-wallet-wielding mother of one (or more) fabulous young boy, you are shit out of luck.  Learn how to sew, sucka.

Certainly, I understand that young men do not care about fashion and don’t beg for the latest accessories like their pre-teen female counterparts might.  But, in the case of  a 3-year old boy, guess who does his shopping?

Thank you to The Children’s Place, the ONE black and white sweater vest you offered was lovely.  And, yes, Macy’s, the 20 square feet of Angry Birds T-shirts were lovely as was the T-shirt with the screen-printed necktie on it, but I was hoping for something a little more appropriate for pictures in my mother’s garden.  Perhaps if the little girls’ section hadn’t been at least SIX TIMES the size of the “Boys 2-7” section, there might have been room for something other than racks upon racks of basketball shorts and one three-piece suit in a size 6.

I can't be the only one who thinks this is cute...

Let me expand my rant to include non-special-occasion clothing as well.  My boys (ages 3 years, and 10 months), do NOT run around solely in wrinkled camo cargo shorts and Phinneas and Ferb tees.  I buy (with MONEY — just like moms of girls) khakis, polos, sweaters, jeans, vests, dress pants, oxfords and ties (if I can find them).  On a daily basis, my older son looks mostly like a Gap ad.  Though, it would be freaking nice if Target started carrying more of these items as the Gap bill isn’t something I love.  I’ve bought lovely things for my preschooler at Janie and Jack, The Gap, Old Navy (but their sizes run so small and their cuts are so wonky), J Crew, and so on.  I am sick of it.  My kid’s sweater shouldn’t cost more than my pumps.  But, I also shouldn’t have to settle for putting him in Garanimals, either.

My sister-in-law once asked if my children owned sweatpants.  They do not.  They play and get dirty in anything they are wearing because kids play and get dirty — period.  No biggie.  That’s why God invented washing machines.

But, is the retail industry trying to tell me that girls don’t play and get dirty?  Ummm…I’ve BEEN a little girl and I can say that we DO.  So, 14 racks of frilly dresses are no more useful for girl moms than the 3 total racks of all of the very limited boys’ clothes in the same store.

I also have yet to come across a single all-boys clothing store.  Yet, I can think of at least five all-girls’ clothing stores within 10 miles of my house.  What’s up with that?

Again, I reject the argument that girls are just more into clothes than boys are.  With children under 7, I do all of the shopping, anyway, and my kids would wear what I buy no matter what their gender would have been.  Shouldn’t stores be catering to mothers, not the kids, anyway?  I have the purse, people.  And, even if my boy never cares about clothes, I always will.  Don’t you want my money?

So, my kids wear pants.  Not dresses.  Does this mean I am doomed to roam aimlessly back and forth along the 4 feet of wall space devoted to boys’ clothing in a department store?

Hmmm…

If you are the mother of an adorable little boy and you appreciate outfits, perhaps one day you will be able to shop in my affordably-priced, boys-only clothing emporium where we will carry beautiful things for mothers to buy for their children.  I haven’t invented it yet, but when I do, at least I know that I will have the corner market.

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