Are You There, Me? It’s Old Me.

I just asked my kid to get his hands out of his pants. Again. For the 379th time today. I have asked his sister the same thing, approximately half as many times as well. They are 5 and 3. Where do we go from here?! Or, more importantly, how did I get here?!

What I mean is, I used to have a job outside these four walls. I showered, got dressed, applied makeup (usually while stopped at traffic lights, whatever) and went out into the world. I had coffees and lunch dates and adult conversations. Itscocktailthirty was usually a martini or four, made with top-shelf liquor. But today…
Coffee – from our coffee maker (it’s not even a french press), lukewarm by the time I transferred it into a to-go cup. That I hastily rinsed the remnants of yesterday’s coffee out of.
Lunch – finally happened around 3. Because every time I tried before that, my lunch ended up in someone else’s mouth. Seriously, these two eat like teenagers.
Adult Conversation – Toss up between a conference call which I spent mostly muted because the kids could not stop talking over me and sporadically mumbling half-sentences at a girlfriend as we browsed the aisles at Whole Foods and fielded phone calls from our business partner spouses. With our kids, of course. Because when are we not with our kids???
Itscocktailthirty – Wine. From a box. At 4pm sharp. Okay, maybe it was 3:45. But I round up to the nearest whole hour.
It could be worse. We could be out of wine. Or I could be pregnant. Or my kids could have their hands down someone else’s pants. See? Silver lining, people.

Why, Target? WHY?

(Editor's Note: Yes, I know it is March. I wrote this weeks ago and did not have a chance to post it. Now seems like a good time, and it also fits for FTFS. Because swimsuit shopping in January is nothing if not stupid. )

Finish the Sentence Friday
I am a Target shopper. And while the list of things I enjoy about the Target (say it with me now, Tar-jay) far outweigh the things I don’t, there is this one little thing.
Bathing suits in January. WTF, Target? 
Are you trying to make me feel bad that I don’t have vacation plans? Do you really think I’m looking to try on bathing suits even though I haven’t recovered from my holiday binging? Maybe you are passively-aggressively telling me it’s time to revisit the gym. Either way. Not cool.
But here’s the other thing about Target and the January bathing suits. By May, the only bathing suits you can find are size 2 or size 16, tucked away at the end of the “up to 70% off” clearance rack. And good luck to you if you wanted a top and bottom in matching sizes. HA.
So during my tri-weekly trip to Target, I spotted the cutest swimsuit. And because I am a seasoned Target shopper, and I know how the game is played, I added it to my cart along with a couple others. Because that is how the swimsuit game, in general, is played.
I got home, psyched myself up, and took out suit #1 to try on. It was a one-piece, made by Spanx, that looked phenomenal on. You know what did not look phenomenal? The angry red lines on my thighs from where I had drag the suit up to get it on. It was like trying to wrestle a sausage into its casing. RETURN.
Inner monologue: “It’s okay. That’s how Spanx work. We know this. I’m sure the next one will be better.”
Suit 2: On the one hand, my boobs look phenom – they are in the right place again, and this thing must have padding because they’re a lot more ample than usual. On the other hand, not only are the bottoms cutting into that unfortunate place that draws extra attention to back fat, if I were brave enough to turn around – I’m not – I’m pretty sure there would be butt cleavage. RETURN.
Suit 3: Appears to be an exact replica of suit 2, different pattern. I know better than to even try.
Dejected, I return the suits to the Target bag and commence "itscocktailthirty." It’s February. I am fat and finally understand what is meant by “a whiter shade of pale.” I know better than to try on bathing suits at this time of year, but Target has left me no choice.
The next day I present the suits at the Target return counter, avoiding eye contact with the skinny twentysomething counter girl who is helping me.
"So is there anything wrong with these items?" (At least she didn't add ma'am.)
"Um, no, they just don't actually, you know, fit." 
“Oooooh, I love this suit, it is totally  cute! I bought it but had to go up a couple of sizes because it is juniors.”
My head snaps up – “Did you say JUNIORS?”
“Oh yeah,” she says. “I had to go up to like a medium.“
“You should really have a sign warning people about that. Where the line is between 'adult' and 'junior' sizes. With flashing lights and bright colors. Especially in swimsuits. But thank you for telling me. I feel MUCH better.”

Things I Wish Were Still True

It is cold and flu season. Which means everyone is sick, or recovering from being sick, or about to get sick. Fun times all around. And inevitably, you have a mother/grandmother/random person who interjects their two cents about treating “sick” – “just make them a hot toddy with lemon, honey and a little whiskey.”

Dude. My kid is 3. Whiskey, really? I mean…I like your style, but I don’t think that is allowed anymore. Which makes me think of other things that are no longer allowed, but I totally wish still were. Like…
  • No carseats, seatbelts optional. Then I would be feeling like a rockstar for buckling my kids in at all, rather than feeling like a jerk for forgetting the booster seat in the other car. Again.
  • I will put you in the car. I was a nightmare as a child. As a result, every time we went to a restaurant, my mother would park within sight of a window table in the restaurant and insist on being seated at said table. 9 times out of 10, she started the meal with two children at the table and ended it with one in the car. Who had been there since right around “can I take your order?”
  • I’m just running in. Any errand that can be completed in five minutes or less should not necessitate extricating children from carseats, locating errant shoes and socks, and bundling up in outerwear. We live in Maine. And I can see you from the store. You know who else I can see? Nosy McNoserson calling social services from the car next to mine. Dammit.
  • Go play outside. You know, by yourself. With no supervision. For several hours. Just steer clear of the ice cream truck. That dude is creepy.
  • Itscocktailthirty for kids. Also known as the whiskey rule. “Oh, rub some Jack Daniels on their gums for teething! Make them a hot toddy for their cold! They’ll feel much better!” Maybe, maybe not. But they will likely be in an alcohol-induced stupor. But they can get that from hand sanitizer, too, so…no judgement here.
So I’m (mostly) kidding. I buckle my kids up. I don’t leave them in the car unattended (often). And I’ve never let them have alcohol (on purpose). Because, unfortunately for us, it is a different world now than the one we and our parents grew up in.
Sad, because I know I would have made an awesome Betty Draper – only I totally would have held onto my hot husband and been nicer to my kids.

ecard credit: Alysson Homa

Being Sick – The Silver Lining

Moms like to talk a lot about how we never get a sick day. And in large part, that is true. But every once in a great while, some bug or virus comes along that leaves us no choice but to succumb to being sick and take a sick day. No, it’s not the same kind of sick day it was before you were a mom – where you lay on the couch for hours on end watching Lifetime movies and drinking tea, not getting up until you feel ready. Still – it’s your body’s way of saying “hey, stop putting everything else first and ignoring me. I’m going on strike.”

Turns out there are actually good things about sick days, I realized today. A silver lining, if you will.

Asking for Help: No matter how old you are, most of us never get too old to want our moms when we’re sick. Yes, our moms – you know, the people who feel the same way about us as we do our tiny humans? And when you are close enough in proximity to your mom to send out an SOS call and have her come by? Bliss. And the fact that she dresses your kids, packs their lunches, brings them to school and leaves you a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee when she goes? Even bliss-er. (Yes, I am aware that is not a word.)

Not Asking for Help: And getting it anyway. Ry had already left for an early meeting when I realized I needed help yesterday morning, hence calling my mom. But since I didn't ask for his help at all yesterday and even managed to throw something into the crock pot for dinner, I got a pass out of feeding the kids dinner and bedtime. Heck yeah!

Skipping #itscocktailthirty: I go through a nightly "should I or shouldn't I have a glass of wine" routine. But since I'm trying to get back on track with eating healthy and working out, I've been struggling with not drinking as much. No problem the past two days – the only things I want to drink are coffee and tea. Oh, and entire bottles of Nyquil.spring flowers

Taking "Me" Time: When my mom left with the kids yesterday morning, I climbed back into bed with my coffee and watched The Bachelor. Then I took a super-long, super-hot shower.  I didn't return any work calls, because I literally can't speak. Later in the day, I didn't feel guilty about letting Ry do everything for the kids. Today, the only things on my agenda (aside from driving the mom taxi to and from school) are cuddling with my girl, watching shows and drinking hot beverages.

Karma, Baby: I believe in karma. Which made me grateful for the fact that I randomly bought myself flowers on Monday for a little color. It's like I knew I would need a "get well soon" bouquet – to me, from me. It also, strangely, made me grateful that I lost my voice and could not yell at kids. We all had enough yelling on Monday.

I miss talking to my friends on the phone. I felt like a weirdo at kindergarten information night grabbing my throat when I tried to talk in some weird "I have no voice" Ariel the Little Mermaid sign language. It is not fun being sick, but it is necessary, and for a couple days anyway I'm kind of okay with it. As long as I feel better by the weekend.

Things are looking good, though – A just declared "Mumma, I can hear your voice, you're better!" so it must be so. 

tea for two



I Am Judging Me

I confess, I ended my night last night with The Bachelor. Ugh. Every season, I say "I'm not watching that trash." And every season, I end up watching it. Kind of like how every day, I say "I don't need wine to get through my evening with the tiny humans," and every afternoon at 4pm I start making eyes at the Black Box. Yes, it is exactly like that. 

But these Bachelor people are geniuses. I imagine that "casting" and "scripting" for this show look a lot like this:

Step 1: Call modeling agencies for casting call. Note to models: You must be an aspiring model and claim something else as your primary profession. We prefer kindergarten teachers, professional cheerleaders or "consultants." Bonus points for really obscure professions like "mortician" or "rodeo clown."

Step 2: Sort through applicants for signs of emotional instability and general confusion over current events and politics. Anyone who can correctly identify the Speaker of the House is automatically disqualified. Anyone who can correctly identify past contestants of The Bachelor, Teen Mom or The Jersey Shore is automatically passed through to the next round.

Step 3: Final interview questions, including:
"How do you feel about hot tubs?"
"Are you opposed to wearing a bikini in completely inappropriate settings like ski mountains, elevators or while sky diving?"
"What are your thoughts on sloppy thirds, fourths or seventeeths?"
" Have you and six of your best girlfriends ever dated the same guy?"
"Has an ex ever taken out a restraining order against you?"
"On a scale of one to ten, how desperate are you to find a husband?"

Step 4: The finalists. We need at least one of the following:

  • Emotionally unstable girl. She cries all the time. She cries when she gets a rose and when other people do. She cries when she receives a date card and when she does not. And when she gets sent home (it usually doesn't take long, because unless she is super-hot the guys catch on pretty quickly) she goes bat-sh*t crazy talking about how she was "the one" for The Bachelor and how some day he will realize it and show up at her door. (Or she will show up hiding in the bushes with binoculars across the street from his house. Same difference.)

  • Super-Hot Mean Girl. This girl acts like Cruella Deville but looks more like Giselle. None of the other girls ever speak to her on dates or at cocktail parties, but she assures The Bachelor it's because they are jealous and she is just misunderstood. We're not sure if he believes it or not, but she generally sticks around until the overnight fantasy dates. Gee, I wonder why. Side note: every self-respecting Bachelor feigns shock and awe when their season airs about SHMG. "I just didn't see that side of her." Yeah dude, we know what "side" you were focused on.

  • Party Girl. This girl is there for the awesome dates and the free drinks. She is marginally interested in The Bachelor but only as a vehicle for prolonging her stay at the house. She always has a drink in her hand, glassed-over eyes, and comes up with the best group date suggestions. "Let's all go skinny-dipping!"

  • Token Girl. She's there because we are being politically correct, rounding out the pool. We know this because she never has one on one time with The Bachelor, we aren't sure what her name is, but she keeps getting through to the next round until at least the final 8. She is usually smart, pretty and totally unsuited for reality television. We hope she was at least compensated for her appearance.

  • The Best Friend. This one really thinks the way into The Bachelor's heart is by playing the friend card. She usually alerts him to the fact that SMHG is mean under the pretense of "I would want to know if I were in your shoes." The Bachelor usually responds to this news by saying "thanks, Sweetie" and hugging it out. Then not advancing the BF to the next round and giving the rose to the SHMG.

  • There for the Wrong Reasons Girl. Maybe she has a boyfriend at home. Maybe she's a lesbian. Either way – she's a fame whore who has zero interest in The Bachelor and is using reality TV to launch her career as a model/country singer/infomercial host. I kind of like her style.

  • Everybody Else. The rest look the same. They mostly have names that end in "ee" or have the same name so they have to be referred to by first name and last initial (Candy C and Candy M). If any of the Real Housewives are sent to rehab, any of these girls are ready, willing and able to step in and seamlessly replace them without anyone being the wiser.

Step 5: Showtime. Add all the girls together and watch the drama unfold. We promise, there will be many firsts and certainly "the most dramatic rose ceremony EVER."

Step 6: The Aftermath. The Bachelor and his "choice" are likely not together for "after the final rose." If they are, they are trotted out with Trista & Ryan, Molly & Jason and Ashley & JP. If not, it leaves more time to introduce the new Bachelorette (the most popular and marketable of the jilted finalists) and promo the upcoming season of Bachelor Pad. Because we obviously can't wait to see more of these people and their shenanigans.

I know this, yet I still watch. As a result, my Monday nights, until further notice, belong to the two B's: The Bachelor and Black Box. Cheers!

Stay-At-Home Moms Vs. Working Moms

Now that I'm thirtysomething, the majority of my peer group are parents to youngish children. That means ultrasound photos on my Facebook newsfeed, sharing mommy blogs and joking (sort of) about if drinking and hands-on parenting are mutually exclusive.

It also, for moms, means defending their decision to stay at home with their kids. Or not stay home with their kids. And here's the thing about the whole "stay-at-home moms vs. working moms mompetition" – 

I don't care what you do with your kids or with your job.

I am not judging you. I don't really care why you're working…or not working…or thinking about working. And if I have to read another blog where women are defending themselves about working, or staying at home, I might scream. (I mean, aside from this one, of course.) 

I am confident that we are all doing what works best for ourselves, our kids and our families. So can we please all agree to knock it off with the mompetition where we tell each other why the choice we have made is harder than anyone elses? It is not. You know what else it is not? Anyone else's business.

If you want to, and can afford to, stay at home with your kids – you are an awesome mom. If you want to, or have to, go to work part or full time – you are an awesome mom. Stop justifying your choices and engaging in the "stay-at-home moms vs. working moms" mompetition. No one who is worth it would ever ask you to. 

Night Out: Husbands vs. Wives

Husband's Night Out: 

(The morning of said night out)

Him: "I'm going to go to a game tonight with [insert guy friend’s name here]."
Me: "Okay, what time is the game?"
Him: "Seven."
Me: (Mentally calculating drive and parking time.) "Okay. So you'll be here for dinner, pjs, and leave around 6:15-6:30."
Him: (Blank stare.) "No. We're having a beer before. Leaving here around 5:00. Okay?"
Me: (Painfully biting tongue.) "Sure thing, jerk." (The "jerk" is silent.)

Wife's Night Out:

(Early evening, said night out)

Me: "You remember that I'm going over to [insert girlfriend’s name here]'s house tonight right? I sent you a text when we scheduled it last week and I mentioned it again yesterday and also this morning?" 
Him: (Blank stare.) "Oh. Seriously? Tonight? Right. Um, okay, sure, okay." (Deer in the headlights look.) "What time are you leaving? It's not, like, dinner, right?"
Me: "Yes, dinner. I was hoping around 6:30. I fed the kids. You just have to put them in pjs and put them in bed."
Him: "Yeah…it's been a really long day. But…go. You should go. We'll be fine." (Looks totally unconvinced.)
Me: "How about this? I will bathe them and put them in pjs. Then you literally just have to put them in bed like half an hour after I leave. Okay?"
Him: (Still looks totally unconvinced.) "Sure thing, jerk." (The "jerk" is, of course, silent.)

We really aren't so different, after all, are we? HA. 

(*Please note, this post has been slightly exaggerated. Because it makes a better story that way, obviously.*)

Best Friends & Orange Soda (Gratitude – Day 16)

First thing's first – this is a judgement-free zone. So don't, you know, judge me.

Okay. Now. K and I have been looking forward to the new Twilight movie since the last one came out a year ago. It has been a long time. Strangely, our husbands do not share our enthusiasm or want to rush out to see it on opening weekend. Weird. 

I think we actually saw the last one – I know I did, anyway – alone. But that isn't fun and it feels kind of sad. So this time, we picked a movie theater halfway between our houses, enlisted our husbands to watch the tiny humans and saw it together. On opening day. With a bunch of other 30 and 40 something ladies and a handful of teenagers playing hooky. Best movie date ever.

And as if watching my favorite movie series with my best friend wasn't enough, she even went to get the snacks. When she returned to our seats, she was carrying a giant orange soda and a box of  Sno Caps – best movie theater snacks ever. Best friend ever.

So today I am grateful for my best friend and that she knows my favorite movie theater snacks. That is one of the only things about aging that I enjoy – as I get older, she gets older and our friendship gets older. And it seems more and more important to hold onto my people, especially the ones who knew me before I was a wife and a mama. 

I hope sometime in the next year or so (here we go New Year's Resolutions!) to take more time out from being a wife and mama to connect with my people as people. As the people we were and are separate from our tiny humans. It is important. Taking a break is important. 

Friendly Neighbors (Gratitude – Day 15)

This morning was not a good morning. The kids were up too early, I was up too late because R was coughing all night and then up too early with them. I was relatively confident that today would be "Phoning it In (Gratitude – Day 15)" aka the day where I say how generically grateful I am because I am tired and crabby and a constant "attitude of gratitude" doesn't fit on me for an entire month.

But somehow, we got ready for school, and we got in the car on time. My coffee even made it – thankyoujesusandalsomyhusband. We were okay, but kind of blah.  Oh, and I didn't yell. That much. Tiny gratitude.

And then I pulled out onto the main road, and I saw this lady and her husband and their dogs, and I immediately smiled. Because I know them. Okay, I don't really know them, but they are my friendly neighbors. They wave to every single car that drives by with these huge smiles on their faces. Like you are their best friend, and you made their morning by driving by. They are that enthusiastic. 

When we first moved here, I would see that friendly neighbor woman and her dog, and when she would wave I would think:

  • "Does she think she knows me?" followed by
  • "Um, is she crazy?" and then
  • "I don't care, I kind of like her. I'm waving back!"

And then one day, I saw her with her husband (man-friend, whatever), who turned out to be just as enthusiastic of a smiler and waver and I smiled and waved even bigger in return. Because I was all "oh my gosh, my friendly (possibly crazy) neighbor lady has a lobster! He loves her so much that they have set out on this wild smiling waving mission together. That. Is. Love." 

I think they aren't really crazy at all. Maybe a bit eccentric. But I think they are making the world better. I think they are AWESOME. Because I can't even tell you how many mornings I am in a terrible mood before I drive by my friendly neighbors and they turn my day around. And I am just one person who travels that road every morning. I bet they are making lots of people's day better, lots of times per week. 

And that, my friends, is a TRUE "attitude of gratitude." My friendly neighbors are living it. So today – and lots of other days – I am grateful for my slightly eccentric friendly neighbors. They totally rock.