Saturday, January 12, 2013

Top 9 Reasons Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Isn't the Hardest Job in the World

Don't get me wrong. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. Sometimes it downright sucks. It definitely makes you crazy: shifty eyes, an unfocused gaze, slurred speech, an inability to comprehend anything beyond a first-grade level. Lots of yelling, some swearing, possibly tears and moments of violent aggression. A state-of-mind similar, perhaps, to drunkenness--or some forms of mild retardation.

Some stay-at-home moms start to look pretty crappy, too. You know one when you see one. The token spit-up stained sweatshirts, oily hair, over-grown eyebrows. It's even scarier when you see it in the mirror.

Not to mention the pressure of surviving each new day...changing diapers, doing dishes, surviving a grocery store trip with two wild children, one of whom is intent on knocking over every display in the store. Excluding passing banter with your husband, sometimes conversations with another bonafide adult are days apart. It's not easy. Its actually really, really hard.

Whatever. It's still not the hardest job in the world. Here's why.

1. I know what my goals are. Keep the kids alive. Don't burn down the house. I set the bar pretty low, but at least I know what my expectations are.
2. I'm my own boss. Not some asshole in a suit.
3. I can't get fired.
4. If I'm feeling really lazy, I can wear jammies all day. And so can my kids.
5. I might not have time to shower, but I can still make time to order some awesome shit online.
6. I can start drinking wine at 5:00pm. Heck, some people are still at work at 5pm!
7. I can work out every day! If my kids are healthy, and weather is agreeable, I can load them up in the Double Bob, hit up Stroller Strides and go for a run. Or throw those little fuckers in the bike trailer and ride uphill. It might not be Pilates, but it burns a boatload of calories.
8. I don't have to worry that the nanny isn't spending enough time reading to my kids. Those days when we watch back-to-back movies all day on Apple TV? I've only got myself to blame!
9. Each new day is a new adventure! That's right. It's never the same. Today your baby barfs when you give her milk. Tomorrow it's soy products. You never know what you're going to get! Wow! That's the beauty of it!

To be sure, it's a thankless job. No one comes home and says, "Hey, the house isn't on fire! Both kids are still alive! Honey, great job!"

But if something goes wrong, I'll know it's my fault. There's some freedom in that. And those tears, those blowouts, those tantrums, those projectile-vomits...I'm the one that's there to see it, I'm the one that's there to witness it. I'm the one that's there to chase the tears away, to clean up the puke, to sanitize every corner of the crib. And when the smiles come, when the "I love you's" come, when those absolute squeals of happiness come, it makes it all worth it.

Almost. :)

P.S. And if you think I wrote this to cheer myself up after being stuck inside with two sick kids for almost three weeks, you might be right.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Going to be a Reality T.V. Star!

Just kidding. But I was asked to try out for not ONE--but TWO reality T.V. Shows! So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The first casting call is from a company in New York called Castle Pictures. According to the link they posted on my blog page, they are casting moms in a new reality cable show. "This ain't Real Housewives, this is more like Actual Housewives," reads the website. "As in women who live in the actual world, have actual Cheerios stamped into their rugs and wipe actual snot out of actual noses."

So far so good. We have a lot of "actual snot" in our house.

The site goes on to describe how they're looking for four mom-bloggers who will invite camera crews into their homes to capture the humor in their daily lives and to document their "real, unfettered mothering moments."

Then I'm asked to send in a 2-4 minute video that demonstrates both my "talent for monologue" and my "situational humor." gets better. The SECOND casting call was from a British outfit called KEO Films. They are looking for families who would take the "once of a lifetime opportunity" to spend a week living with the Amish--and being filmed for a reality show. Living with the Amish! Oh, the humanity.

Both these casting calls were posted either in the comments section of my blog or on my QuestionableParenting Facebook page, both of which have been hugely neglected for the last four months. So it was a kick in the pants to see them. But if there is one thing that would make really, really boring and ugly reality T.V., that is me being a mom. And so, for your reading pleasure...

Top 10 Reasons I Will Never Appear on a Reality T.V. Show
1. When I catch a glimpse of myself in my bathrobe, inch-thick glasses and a juice mustache--yelling at one of my kids or stubbing my toe on the highchair and cussing--I wonder how I manage to keep my husband from running away with a waitress. Frumpy moms do NOT make good T.V. Let's keep it pretty, folks.
2. I don't want NO ONE, not NO ONE witnessing my "real, unfettered mothering moments." No one wants to watch a baby sling a shit-filled diaper all over the living room or see me hang too many groceries over the back of my double Bob and flip it over with my kids inside. I'd like to maintain custody of my children, thank you very much.
3. I'm not exactly drowning in a "talent for monologue" or "situational humor." Sure, sometimes I write funny shit, but I'm not very funny in person, unless I'm really, really drunk. Which brings me to point #4.
4. No one needs to see me select and uncork my bottle of wine at 4:55pm so I can pour myself a nice glass at precisely 5pm without breaking stride.
5. The camera would rarely get a clear shot of my face, since it is always hovering over my iPad while I do some online shopping. In fact I'm pretty sure when my kids are asked to draw a "picture of mommy" in school there will be an iPad where my head should be. (Hello, Amish.)
6. Princess-speak runs rampant in our house and gets really old, really fast. Sure, it's cute the first time you overhear Strawberry Shortcake say to Princess Aurora, "I went to the grocery store and bought some cheese." "You did, Strawberry?" "I did, Aurora! I followed my heart!" But when your kid wants to play, "Pretend I touch the spindle, and I die" 50 times in one day or play "Under the Sea" on repeat, you kind of want to walk into a fast-moving truck.
7. No one needs to follow me to Zumba class where the average age is 50 years old and there are belly dancing belts are involved. NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS.
8. I spend a good part of my day unpacking my online purchases, then repacking them and emailing my husband the shipping labels so I can return them since we don't have a printer. That's just not good t.v.
9. On the rare occasion that my husband and I go out to dinner and I'm looking good, it's only a couple hours until my eyelids fall to half-mast from drunken fatigue and I appear to have some sort of speech disorder. Again, not good t.v.
10. I love going to Stroller Strides, but I don't think the general public needs to see moms breastfeed and do power lunges at the same time. (Actually, some perverts would probably be into it, but that's just messed up.)

Get it, people? No one will PROCREATE if we unveil the ugly truth about motherhood and being a stay-at-home mom. Writing about it is one thing but seeing it in all its glory is quite another. There is no more unglamorous job in the world. True, the benefits are out-of-this-world...the unconditional love, the perfect moments of sheer joy..but that mushy stuff won't translate.

If you see a frumpy mom on T.V. taking their kid to soccer practice, you're not going to say, "Wow, she's a great mom!" You're going to say, "Wow, she looks like shit." At least I would. So I will do the world a favor and keep my frumpy ass off television and in my living room, drinking wine and online shopping, where I belong.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Christmas Was Better Than Your Christmas

Most families do boring shit on Christmas, like happily opening presents, lounging around in jammies, eating turkey and drinking egg nogg. LAME. Not my family. We like to spend it in the emergency room.

This is the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW we've gone to the E.R. on Christmas Day. It's pretty awesome, and it could be the start of a catchy new trend. I know, you're totally jealous. But before you start hating me, let me fill you in on all the gory details.

Last year, my husband stabbed himself in the hand with a wine bottle opener. True, we'd been drinking mimosas since we woke up, and it was probably the second bottle of wine we'd cracked. (For some reason, various family members think our house is a free-for-all on Christmas Day, and they come over and booze it up. While Ian and I are very light drinkers, as hosts, we like to make wine available to those members of our family with drinking problems.)

It was an epic and bloody battle, but let's just say the wine bottle opener won. Ian staggered into the dining room with blood spurting from his hand, then promptly sat down on the floor and passed out. (Disclaimer--he didn't COMPLETELY pass out but he ALMOST passed out.)

Luckily, we live two blocks from the hospital, so we jumped into the Jeep and cruised right into E.R. The doctors laughed, stitched him up, billed us heavily, and before we knew it--we were back home.

This year, we weren't so lucky. Holland, our 19-month-old, got a balance bike for Christmas. (I know, I know, she's pretty young for a balance bike but RELAX that's not how it happened.) After many long hours of eating, opening presents, and more eating, we decided to go for a "nice family walk" by the Bay. Holland quickly tired of cruising on her balance bike and wanted to walk, while Marley rode her Disney Princess bike with training wheels. Marley asked me if she could go down the "steep hill" down the road, which she has ridden down many times with no problems. I said, "Sure!"

I got a weird feeling in my stomach, but she'd gone down this hill so many times, what could go wrong? I ran ahead to the bottom of the hill to watch for cars, and Ian walked with Holland and the rest of the family.

"It's clear Marley, go!" I yelled, and Marley sped down the hill like a bat out of hell. But she handled it like a true champion and made it to the bottom. Then, a scream rang out.

It was Holland! She had tripped over Ian's foot and face-planted into the asphalt. Ian quickly scooped her up.

"She's OK, she's OK," he yelled. I took a closer look.

"She's NOT OKAY!" I shrieked. "SHE'S MISSING HER TOOTH!"

Well, I guess that's an exaggeration, because there was a broken, bloody stump left where front tooth used to be. It looked terrible. It looked painful. It looked like MY BABY KNOCKED OUT HER FRONT TOOTH HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

"Weren't you holding her hand?" I asked, which is apparently the WRONG THING to say to the person who was supposed to be watching the baby when she fell and knocked out a tooth. A family fight promptly ensued.

So we all jumped in the Jeep and drove to the emergency room on Christmas. Again.

24 hours later, after one trip to the E.R., one trip to the dentist, one traumatizing tooth extraction, three doses of antibiotics and two doses of Tyelnol with codeine, my baby was happily toddling around like nothing had happened, sans a front tooth.

As the dentist pointed out, it could have been worse. She could have broken her nose, or part of her jaw. She could have had a concussion.

Now she's my little Toothless Wonder. I like to think it gives her character. And her smile still lights up a room, gap-toothed and all.

So when people ask me, "How was your Christmas?" I like to think I have the better story.