Saturday, February 8, 2014

To Parents with Well-Behaved Children: Sucks to Be You

It's easy to judge people without kids who judge people who do.  We've all heard non-parents complain about our crazy-ass kids and our crappy parenting skills. It's easy to write them off as douchebags, because what do they know about raising kids? There is no way the 24-year-old pharm rep in the 25-inch-waist jeans has pushed a nine pound baby out of her vagina, so why is she giving me the evil eye? What if there HAD been a fire in the elevator? She would have been thanking my kid for pressing the button.  Easy target!

Today, I'd like to judge a different group of people. People WITH kids who always seem to be well-behaved, who enjoy judging parents with kids who behave badly, who are usually doing one of the following:
a) Screaming
b) Throwing shit
c) Breaking shit
d) Throwing and breaking shit
e) Eating other people's food while throwing and breaking shit.

Basically, I'd like to judge the moms who always seem to be judging me and my kids. You know what I'm talking about.

The moms who watch us in horror at dance class. While my five-year-old is gyrating inappropriately to Kidz Bop on the dance floor, my two-year-old is thrashing about and screaming Exorcist-style. (She's pissed I didn't let her drink breastmilk from another baby's bottle and do somersaults in the middle of Marley's dance class. Now she's punching me in the head with a juicebox.) I'm talking about you. 

The moms who stare at us in shock when Holland chomps into my arm at school pick up because I didn't let her run into the school office and rummage through the trash. I'm talking about you.

The mom with the perfect ponytail with her perfectly-styled daughter who watched Holland grab a head of lettuce at Boneys, take a bite out of it, then launch it into the citrus section yelling, "weeee!" I'm talking about you. 

What, this is not normal behavior? Princess Fucking Junior never gave you this trouble? That's right, run away mommy. Don't expose your daughter to our trainwreck. But guess what? You'll miss seeing Holland grab a handful of chocolate-covered pretzels out of the bins, jam them in her mouth, then knock over a basket of butternut squash. Come on, you can't pay for entertainment like this!

Your perfect little angel never did this kind of shit? He doesn't need to be coaxed into the carseat with a Thomas the Train sticker every fucking time you get into the car or he has a meltdown? Your kid doesn't run out of storytime at the library at lightening speed, hijack another kids stroller and crash it into the coffee cart? 

Your kid doesn't enjoy launching her $12 Munchie Mug at cars while riding in the bike trailer? She doesn't unbuckle herself, stand up, and ride chariot-style down the streets of Coronado while other drivers honk in horror, warning you of the iminent risk of trauma-induced coma?

Well that's great your kid is perfect. Please, indulge me with your cold stares. Shower me with your judgement. But you know what? It's not my fault my kid is more challenging than yours. It doesn't make me a worse parent or you a better one. Some kids are just harder.

And don't feel sorry for me either. At least my kid isn't boring. While your kid is sitting in a corner, silently reading a book and brushing up on his literacy skills, my kid is eating a puzzle or locking herself in a car. While your kid is building a stupid tower, my kid is dismantling the DVD player or trying to vacuum the dog. 

Your kid likes to play princess? My kid will take a bite out of your perfect dessert display and shove Ariel cupcake toppers down her diaper before you can say "Happy Birthday." Your kid rides a balance bike? My kid repels into storm drains. While your kid is potty training, my kid is washing her hands in the toilet after her sister pees in it. 

The days when Holland doesn't make me cry, she makes me laugh. Sure, sometimes the laughing part doesn't happen until I am very drunk, but it still counts.

So don't feel sorry for me, or give me one of those "Holy shit your kid is CRAZY" looks. Because the days when my kid IS perfect--when she doesn't put my iPhone in the clothes dryer or smear toothpaste all over the doorknob, when she actually colors with the markers instead of drawing on her face Braveheart-style, when she's not knocking out one of her teeth--well, those days are far more rewarding to me than they are to you. They are beautiful and awe-inspiring and are worthy of colossal celebration. Since your kid is so perfect you miss out on these moments. Sucks to be you.

Hobbies. What Hobbies?

Hobbies. I've been thinking about hobbies lately.

Hobbies are like, totally important. In my twenties, I used to say that girls who couldn't get enough dates didn't have enough hobbies. And for the most part, I was right.

Hobbies make you prettier. They make you cooler. They give you a purpose, a passion, a driving desire outside of yourself. Whether you're sweating, escaping or creating, everyone needs a hobby.

I used to have a ton of hobbies. I danced. I painted. I wrote restaurant reviews. I volunteered at a nonprofit. (Hello, La Jolla Friends of the Seals!) I was even a "big sister" to an underprivileged little girl (because I was so qualified to be--ahem--a role model.) I snowboarded. I (attempted) to surf. I penned ominously depressing yet awesomely dark poems.

(And in case you were wondering, yes, I usually had plenty of dates. True, they were all assholes until I met my husband. But at least I wasn't sitting at home drinking alone. That came later.)

But are different. Now that I'm on my ninth year of marriage with two kids, not only do I contribute exactly ZERO dollars to our family's income, but I have NO hobbies. This is bad.

Unless you count these.

1. Drinking wine. Sure, I love to drink wine, but I'm not sure this counts as a hobby. I'm not exactly a connoisseur. I really don't give a shit where the grapes come from. White, red, cab, pinot, chardonnay... If its wet and it runs downhill, it goes in my glass. And drinking wine doesn't require much skill, unless you include strategizing sneaky ways to incorporate it into your day before 5pm. (The girls are trying to drown each other in the bathtub? Pour a glass of wine. The dog puked and Holland smeared it around the living room with the new bath rug? Grab a bottle. )
2. Making lists. I fucking love making lists. Who doesn't love a list? I make several lists everyday. Grocery lists. To-do lists. I even have an ongoing "To Buy" list that includes everything from a warm puffer jacket, the new Tory Burch gladiator sandals (when they go on sale, of course), some eucalyptus oil, and the play-doh toy that squirts out the play-doh like snakes. You see looks good! You want it! Put it on the list.
3. Pretending to write a blog. I can't really write depressing poems anymore, but I do enjoy writing this blog. Too bad my last post was in OCTOBER, what the hell?
4. Sneaking takeout sushi. I cannot figure out enough ways to incorporate sushi into my diet. Unfortunately it gets a little pricey so I limit myself to lunch specials and takeout happy hour. I will look for any and every opportunity to eat sushi. I will even purposely avoid going to the store so we run out of food. Nothing in the fridge? I guess I'll grab some sushi...
5. Sneaking burrito bowls from Chipolte. Whoever thought of the burrito bowl is a damn genius. All of the goodness of rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce without all the pesky carbs of the tortilla. Freaking fabulous.
6. Online shopping. Duh. Read more about my online shopping addiction here. 
7. Snowboarding. I don't get to snowboard much anymore. We used to have season passes at Mammoth but driving 8 hours with two children makes me want to throw myself in front of a bus. We did go to Big Bear last winter, and everyone got the flu. I forced myself to go to the top of the mountain in 10 degrees with a 103 degree temperature. And you know what? I fucking rode down that mountain. So snowboarding isn't a complete fail.
8. Reading self-help books on parenting. This just sucks on so many levels. I went from reading 50 Shades of Grey and the Twilight Series to Setting Limits with Your Strong-willed Child and It Takes Two to Talk. Eff'ing lame!
9. Yoga. Yoga is still in my life, THANK GOD! I need it now more than ever, and honestly don't know how I could survive motherhood without it.
10. Watching Parenthood. God I love this show. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll stay up all night watching it on Apple TV when your husband leaves town.
11. Running. Yes I still wake up early to run a few times a week, but I hesitate to call this a hobby. You're supposed to enjoy hobbies. Let's face it: running sucks and if you actually like it you're crazy.
12. Brushing up on dance moves from the 80s and early 90s. I used to dance Flamenco. Now I teach my girls the Macarena. To be truthful, it's actually quite fun. Right now we're working on the "running man" and the pimp's limp. Stop: Hammertime!
13. Looking at pictures online of celebrities and models with long, side-swept bangs. Because a decision is looming...bangs or Botox? Bangs are cheaper but my husband doesn't like them. And I pay the bills!

So yeah. These are my hobbies now. Kinda depressing. But like Scarlett O'Hara said, tomorrow is another day!

So I make this pledge: I will write in this blog. I will dig out my old oil paints. I will read a real book that has nothing to do with parenting. I will go to Cardio-hip hop.

Motherhood can take my energy, my heart and my soul..but it can't take my hobbies!

Namaste, bitches.