Tag Archives: Motherhood

Chill out, moms

Today was Declan’s Christmas party at school, and I had a HUGE freak out when I (mistakenly) thought that several of his classmates had brought gifts for the other kids. (There was goodie bags and various other holiday accouterments in his backpack, I was in a rush and didn’t look at them, then I filled with rage, etc.) I was wrong, but during the time between when I saw all the stuff and actually opened and saw what it was, I was PISSED. My initial reaction to the thought of buying or making gifts for an entire class of 3-4 year olds that don’t even know each other’s names was OH HELL NO. THIS WILL NOT BE HAPPENING. And while my rage was unnecessary (this time), you can’t blame me for believing that’s what happened. Because some of you moms need to CALM DOWN.

Look, I’ve made it crystal clear that I’m much more Rosanne Arnold than June Cleaver. And while I don’t want to be a June Cleaver, I don’t begrudge my June Cleaver friends, or blame them for being so, well, June Cleaver. If you truly love crafting and baking and sewing and making ridiculously cute everything, that is awesome and I’m jealous. I have some truly gifted friends and I am AMAZED at the things they pull off just for the heck of it.

I'm her, but with cuter hair.

But lately, with all the Christmas stuff going on, I keep hearing over and over how STRESSED everybody is, and how BUSY the holidays are, how HECTIC things get. And maybe it’s because my kids are still young, I dunno, but it seems a lot of this stress is ridiculous.

I understand creating memories, family fun and the beauty that comes from making or creating something. I do, really. But if making the perfect Christmas cookies drive you to binge drink like me, don’t do it. That’s what the grocery store is for. So you want to bring something to your child’s Christmas party? Great! But instead of these:

The creator of these cookies blogged that her baked goods took 14 hours to decorate. Pass the meth.

How about these:

Even I can make these. Or buy them.

Why set the bar so high? The kids don’t care. Think back to your childhood. What made you happy: the fact that you got to eat cookies at your desk in school, or the fact that your cookies looked like pieces of art? Exactly.

If you are so stressed out over holiday parties and baking and decorating and shopping and wrapping, you are doing it wrong. A little stress is understandable; it’s a busy time of year. But if the cause of your headaches and hair-pulling are related in any way to frosting, bows or Hobby Lobby, do what the Roseannes of the world do: nothing. It’s much easier.

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A change we can believe in

Like most of the things I care about in this world, I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. Which I don’t want to do, because a couple of weeks go by, then I think “Oh gawd, so much has happened, anything I post is going to be long and rambling and stupid, so I’ll just wait until I have time to do a recap” and then the next thing you know, it’s been 6 months and I’m full of shame and have to quit the internet.

Anyway, even though I haven’t had a super good post ever lately, my blog has been on my mind like always. Paul and I are working together on a full-blown redesign and relaunch of Domestic Disturbia, and I am STOKED. I am ready to put my blog out there with the big dogs and get as famous as, um, all those other totally famous bloggers who are so famous I don’t even have to name them. You know who you are.

The new and improved site is going to be not just my place to rant about how bad I suck at everything I do. It’s going to be more personal, more humorous, have more features and look really freaking awesome (it is the BEST to be married to an amazing web designer). So we are brainstorming and scouring the whole entire internet 24/7 for ideas to copy inspire us, and my little brain is just bursting at the seams with the things I want to include on the new site.

For my faithful followers, I’d love to hear from you, too. What are things that make you read a blog? What makes you come back time and again? What DON’T you like on a blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I know we are all super busy and tired during the holidays, so hopefully this is the right time to be a slacker. Stick around, it will be worth it, I promise!

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Birthday boredom

In 12 days, I’ll be 34. Blah. I don’t really care about the number. I feel anywhere from 16 to 76 most days, so being officially another year older doesn’t really change anything about my life.

Normally, I make a pretty big deal about my birthday. Yea, I’m obnoxious about it, but why shouldn’t I be? Why isn’t everyone obnoxious about their birthday? It’s the ONE day a year that is all about YOU. Anniversaries have to be shared. Holidays are celebrated by everyone. But unless you are a twin (or triplet. Or a Gosselin), your birthday is YOUR day. I say make the most of it.

I’m not totally selfish. I try to make the most of others birthdays, too, if they want me to. For years, I did the exact opposite of what Paul wanted to do for his birthday, all in the spirit of celebrating him! Finally, I realized that he wasn’t being humble when he said he didn’t want a party — or any more surprise parties… whoops — and didn’t throw him one this year, but it hurt. Not that his birthday is about me…

Anywho. Maybe it’s from being an only child (ok, most likely it’s from being an only child), but I’ve always liked to do something really fun for my birthday. The fact that it’s 3 days before Christmas makes it more challenging, but I’ve never used it as an excuse. People always say “Aw, it must suck to have a Christmas birthday… do you hate it?” Hell no, I don’t hate it. I love it.

As a child, at least in my experience, having a holiday birthday heightens the excitement. All the decorations, all the music and lights… those all mean my birthday is coming! Well, mine AND Jesus’s, but his celebration is covered. It adds to the build up and the experience. There is a rule, though, for holiday birthdays, no matter the holiday. Unless the child specifies, do NOT group the two together! Do NOT wrap my birthday present in Christmas paper. I wouldn’t do that for you if your birthday was in, say, March. (I don’t wrap presents, actually, so regardless of when your birthday is, your present would be in gift bag from Walgreens.) So just because a person has a birthday on or near Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday with a decorative theme, does NOT mean you get to get a two-fer out of the deal. So don’t even go there.

This is all kinds of wrong.

I have to say, though, as much as I love birthdays, namely my own, I’m just not feeling it this year. Paul keeps asking me what I want to do, and I keep changing my mind. Part of me wants to gather up my friends and hit the town for dinner and drinks in nice clothes (nice clothes = no baby food stains or nursing bra). Part of me wants to have a nice dinner out with just Paul. Part of me wants to get together with some friends and family and the kids and hit up a cheap and early dinner. And still another part of me wants to just stay in, order take out and eat cupcakes.

I’m not down in the dumps about my birthday, things are just so much HARDER now. A night on the town means a sitter, my mom, typically, which is fine except I like to celebrate with my mom. And anybody else that would be a sitter, I’d probably rather them be with us. Plus, a night out on the town means a late (late for us, which isn’t that late) night, which means a tired mommy and daddy the next day, which kinda sucks.

If we go out with our friends and our kids, it would be an early night, which is a good thing, but it would also probably be a giant damn mess, and nobody would be able to carry on a conversation because there’d be 87 kids dropping food and needing to go potty and the waitress would hate us and none of the women would get to eat (you know it’s true) and it would be annoying.

A date night out with Paul is always awesome, but for birthdays, I like to celebrate with a crowd typically.

So then there’s a fun night in. I can con Paul into picking up dinner and doing the dishes, I’d spend the evening with my short list of fave people, and it would be no fuss, no muss. But is that exciting enough? Sigh. I’m ridiculous.

What’s a girl to do? I dunno. Maybe I should say screw it, and go to Vegas with 30 of my closest friends, family and kids, hire a nanny, get the “Rainman suite” and call it a day. Who’s in?

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Food for thought

So one of the best things I’ve done in the past few years is join the gym. I have wanted to for a while, but was afraid to take the plunge. I didn’t want to add a monthly expense to our already pretty tight budget and then not go, to be perfectly honest. The last time I joined a gym was the year Paul and I got married. I swore I’d go to Curves religiously and lose tons of weight and be a svelte bride. Instead, I bought a whole bunch of work out clothes, went like 4 times, got a new job that was a 45-minute commute each way, and could never get there during their working hours. So svelte I was not.

But after Paul won big on Jeopardy!, we each allotted ourselves some “fun money,” and I used about half of mine on the first few months of membership fees to get the ball rolling. And I love it. LOVE it.

I am not going to lie and say the childcare isn’t a huge plus, because it is. On these hot, miserable summer days, when we are all driving each other nuts, I can throw on some work out clothes, grab a bottle of water, and drop my boys off in a fun room filled with toys that aren’t ours, and go watch Bravo or read my Nook on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Score! But as I keep going and working out more and more, I am realizing that I am enjoying the exercise more than the break from my kids. That’s a true Christmas miracle right there.

This is totally me now.

I’m certainly not going to be running any marathons any time soon (or ever, I HATE running), and I’m not entering any bikini contests (you can thank me later), but I feel SO GOOD lately. I’m challenging myself daily to eat better and exercise harder only for the sense of pride, not for the number on the scales. I am loving pushing myself and accomplishing something, even if it’s only  a few extra minutes on the elliptical or a few extra reps on the machines. It feels GOOD.

It’s also been a long time since I truly took care of myself like this. I fully accept and admit to being heavier than I ever thought I would be, and I have been for going on 10 years. When my parents divorced and I became estranged from my paternal side of the family, my self-worth and self-esteem plummeted. I turned to food and booze in a big way. If I wasn’t so practical, I probably could have easily replaced food with drugs, so I guess in that sense, I’m lucky. For the first 5 or so years after the split, I used food as a way to comfort myself and punish myself religiously. I ate because it felt good, but I also ate because I didn’t think it mattered any more what I looked like. I went from being a confident and self-assured young woman to a shell of my self, and I filled that shell with crap.

Once I was in the habit of self-medicating with food and gaining nearly 100 pounds (I used to be mortified to even admit that to myself, now it’s just part of my journey), I of course entered into a horrid spiral of even MORE self-loathing because of my size. I used to be the picture of health. Dancer, cheerleader, active and pretty. I worked out, I played and practiced and I loved it and loved myself. By the time I left college, I didn’t recognize myself. Then I go on to a low-paying career working ungodly hours at a newspaper, which is basically a recipe for junk food and more booze. So I got bigger. And hated myself more.

Somehow during this darkest time of my life, I met the man I would eventually marry, and he saw through all my garbage. I don’t know how I got him, but I did. And I don’t thank him enough for making me feel beautiful at 9 months pregnant, at my heaviest, at my smallest (since knowing him) and everywhere in between. He seems to genuinely find me attractive no matter what, which never ceases to amaze me, because I think he’s the most gorgeous man alive.

Enough sap.

Jeez, enough romance...

Anyway, over the years, I gained my confidence and self-worth back, thank god. I have amazing family and friends that have supported me and I worked HARD to get my heart and mind back to whole. So there was no excuse any more to leave my body behind.

So I’m working. There’s no rush, and there’s no competition. After 2 kids, I’ve given up my Victoria’s Secret dream, and probably won’t grace the SI Swimsuit edition any time soon. So be it. I don’t care. I don’t care if I always have a flabby stomach or stretch marks or cellulite. It doesn’t matter. But what does matter is how good I feel, how much better my health will be, how much more energy I am gaining and how exciting it is to top my own best over and over.

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I could have told you that.

Well, color me surprised. A new study out this month proves that a kid’s whine is actually the most annoying sound in the world.

No shit.

Seriously, I hope this study didn’t cost money, because to me, this is the biggest no-brainer on the planet. And while you don’t have to be a parent to agree that whining is absolutely vile, I have to say that since becoming a mom (and especially a mom of a toddler/preschooler), it has become Public Enemy No. 1.

Crying and tantrums don’t phase me. If I hear another child crying in the store, for example, I immediately feel my nurturing instincts kick in. If I see another child having a tantrum over something, I basically just give the mom a look that says “Been there! Kids suck!” and carry on my way. Same with my own kids. If Declan is truly angry at something and throwing a fit (like he did at the store Sunday in the entryway in front of everyone, thanks honey), I just ignore him til he’s done. It is very easy for me to keep my cool when he’s acting like a lunatic. Mainly because I know that when he’s in the middle of a meltdown, I could offer him a pony covered in ice cream, and he wouldn’t give in. So I just let go and let it happen. But whining? No. No, no, no. I cannot tolerate it for one second.

Whining to me is just plain old greed. It’s the International Language of Spoiled Brat. Because no one whines for something they truly need, like water when you are really thirsty. You whine when someone brings you water but you wanted a coke/a beer/a sippy cup of apple juice. You whine when you are given an inch but want the mile. You whine when 2 episodes of Dora aren’t enough (it’s enough. It’s always enough). Whining makes me angry. Whining makes me want to scream profanities at my child, or take him to a homeless shelter or Holocaust Musuem to say “YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT IT BAD??? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!” But that would be an overreaction to a 3 year old’s wish for chips instead of carrots.

So yes, had I been a participant in this study, which should be under review by the Geneva Convention because they had to listen to whining, buzz saws and baby talk WHILE DOING MATH, I would have lost my mind. I may have even done some whining.

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Brotherhood vs Motherhood

So the past couple of days have worn on me. I’m trying really hard to get Simon on a decent sleep schedule without doing any tough sleep training. We’ve gotten into a decent system, but bedtime sometimes takes upwards of 90 minutes of nursing and getting him to fall asleep on his own with minimal crying. Luckily he will usually sleep for at least 4-5 hours after that, but I don’t go to bed at that exact minute, so I am sometimes only getting sleep in 2 hour increments through the night. Other times he does great. He definitely is affected by what I eat, or at least I think he is. I love him so much that I’ve cut out cheese, and that is saying A LOT. Cheese is totally in my top 10 things I love the most. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Anyway, I have kinda snuck in some cheese over the weekend (I’m weak!) and he has been mega gassy and not sleeping as great. Plus his naps are everywhere, and I’m not really sure what to do at this point about that. Basically, I’m just winging it right now, which is stupid, because I’m tired.

So after a couple of long days and nights, with him fighting sleep all day and into the night and me feeling burnt out, I got to take him for his 4 month well check today. Which means vaccines. Those always help, right? Blah.

So the good news is that he is super healthy and perfect, according to our pediatrician. 16 lbs, 14oz (88%) and 25.5″ (65%). I hope he’s not short like me. Anyway, 3 shots and one oral vaccine later, I have one miserable little baby. He started the day pretty pissed since he did not go to sleep until 10 p.m. last night because he was gassy (I stupidly tried rice cereal, so I don’t know if that did it or what) and was up twice and then up in the morning at 6:45.

Our afternoon turned into a shit storm of Simon crying and screaming, not sleeping, not wanting to nurse and an upset tummy. Oh yea, don’t forget about Declan in all of this. That poor child had to hang out at the doctor’s office and other than a trip to the library afterward, sit around and not be entertained by me for the rest of the day. I tried to play with him and do things, but Simon was MISERABLE. So Mom of the Year here let her 3 year old watch 3 hours of TV in a row. Yea, nice. I kept hoping Simon would just fall asleep and stay asleep in his bed and we could go outside or do something, but every few minutes he was up screaming until he finally fell asleep on me in the living room. Poor Declan just wanted to play with us so bad. But he never complained, not once.

It did get better. All afternoon, the only time Simon was happy was when Declan was with him. He would be in full-on scream mode and Declan would do one of his signature moves, and Simon would just giggle away. He cheered him up all day. Declan was sincerely worried about Simon, too. Before his appointment, Declan warned Simon that his shots would hurt “but then you get a lollipop!” All day, he doted on his brother, and it truly made Simon happier.

At the end of the day, I thanked Declan for being so patient and understanding with me while Simon didn’t feel well. He said “that’s ok, he feels better now!” and went on about his business. Declan is a better mom than I am, and I’m totally ok with it. I guess sometimes a boy just needs his brother.

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Let’s get to it.

Alright, if I’m going to do this, let’s get started.

The topic that has been on my mind so much lately has to come out. I’m going to explode if I don’t.

Can we talk about how ghetto Dora is?

Seriously, that is the most low-rent show on TV. The writers, illustrators, voice actors and anyone else involved are all guilty of phoning it in every.single.time.

First of all, let’s talk about her image. Her look. I know I have two boys, so I am no expert on little girls’ fashion. But there is not a mom I know that would dress their little angel in this mix of crap.

Look at her. First off, her clothes don’t even fit. Listen, I’m lucky to get Declan in more than 2 articles of clothing at a time. But at least his rain boots and polo shirt fit when he wears them.

Dora

Second, look at this color combo. Pink, orange and yellow? No. She’s not a Push Pop, she’s a child.

Then there’s that damn backpack. Wow, what a great gimmick. A talking backpack that eats whatever random crap you don’t use. Creative. Oh, and then there’s Map, who apparently can’t talk to Dora but can talk to you, the viewer. Again, clever.

A monkey whose only purpose is to wear red boots. A trio of bugs that play instruments. A troll? Why?

And what about those stars? They are just randomly thrown in to move the plot along, but that’s a pretty weak tool.

Oh god, and Swiper. Don’t get me started on that fool. First off, he is the lamest villain ever. All you have to do is tell him not to swipe, and he doesn’t. Wow, scary. And that mask isn’t fooling anybody, even dumb Boots. The thing that really bugs me is that sometimes, Dora saves him and they are friends, but then in the next episode, he’s trying to steal her shit. Not cool. He needs to get some morals and she needs to quit trying to be his friend.

I avoided Dora like the plague that she is for as long as possible, but Declan fell in love with her while I was in the hospital giving birth to his brother (thanks to my mom. I’m still bitter). I tried to make him forget about her once I was home, but sleep deprivation and raging hormones got the best of me, and now I know all the damn characters and Declan can count to 10 in Spanish (the ONLY redeeming factor to the whole debacle). I’ve tried to push Diego more, he is WAY cooler. But that little Spanish harlot stole my boy’s heart, and I’ll never forgive her. Never.

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