Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Circles Of Motherhood.

I was at McDonalds yesterday and met a young mother. Before I saw her infant, I knew she had an infant.

It looked like nighttime punched her the face, creating those dark circles under her eyes. Her thong was crawling up out of her sweatpants and her hair was was barely in a ponytail from the previous night.

She was beautiful.

We've all been there. But when I visited this place of chaotic Toddlerinfantville, the competition was less.

These days, it seems you need to enter a club before associating with other moms. The ticket includes organic food, breastfeeding, sleek strollers, and wooden toys.

If you don't have all of them, you're judged, criticized and outcasted before you can say, "My nipples kill."

C'mon ladies, play nice. There's no need for a verbal throwdown if someone allows their child to play with a plastic toy.

My new McDonalds friend summed it up by saying, "I was prepared for motherhood to be hard. And it is. But what's harder, is the judgement from other mothers. That part isn't in the books."

What is this phonomenon? Why are new mothers shredding instead of supporting? Are we all so fucking insecure that we need to rip someone a new asshole to make ourselves feel like we're doing it right?

That can't be the answer.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think new moms should try a new route for a while. Give others permission to make their own choices and be the person they need to be. Lighten up for crissakes and enjoy paving your road.

Let others make shitty mistakes. Your job is to be there when they learn from them. Because we all make shitty choices along the road. No one is exempt from mistakes.

And we shouldn't be. It's how we learn and grow. It's expected and needed.

How else will we become wise old grandmothers with rollers in our hair?

Friday, July 24, 2009

City Girl Camping.

I'm taking my family camping in about a month. We tried this for the first time recently, and while we forgot the rain-preventer-covering-the-tent-thing, we did a respectable job.

And that's saying a lot, since the people from whom we borrowed the tent, had no idea how to set it up and lost the instructions.

Apparently, we're not the only amateur campers.

It didn't rain (thank God), but I had other worries on my mind. I was terrified a bear was going to jump on our tent and eat my babies like Junior Mints.

So I remained awake listening to cracking branches, rustling leaves and what I belived to be footsteps. Bear footsteps. Big ones.

This was probably unecessary worry, since we staked our tent on the lawn of our friend's cabin. To say we were "camping" is a far reach since we had 2,000 square feet of convenience at our disposal.

But still, we were lying there like fucking bait for wolves, bears and other evil creatures that growl and howl. We looked like mouth-watering burritos rolled up in our sleeping bags.

My anxiety surprised me a little because I'm not necessarily a city girl. I attended keggers in the hayfields growing up. I've peed behind bushes on the way home from parties.

So you see, I'm not averse to nature, I've just never slept in it.

Unless you count the time my boyfriend and I pitched a tent and I wrote, "You're cute" with my fingers on the tent. I had no idea tents were so tempermental. Apparently you're not allowed to touch them?

It rained. No, it poured. I woke up all pissed off thinking someone was throwing water at my face. I was barely awake before I was yelling, "What the fuck! This is stupid. I have a dry bed IN A WARM HOUSE and I'm choosing to sleep on fucking mud? This is ridiculous...."

To which my boyfriend replied, "You're the fucking idiot that touched the goddamn tent. Oh my GOD, you are dumb."

All the other campers were a little annoyed at our domestic dispute at 3 am. I know this because someone yelled, "Either shut the fuck up or leave. NOW!"

We left. Covered in mud, mosquito bites and the bitter taste of a break up.

I can't believe I'm going to do it again, but the faces on my daughters when they woke up in a tent for the first time was priceless. They couldn't believe they survived a night in the "wilderness". They walked with their chests puffed out a little more, proud of their courage.

And I have to say, there was something about the trees and breeze that filled me with peace when my fear stepped aside and allowed it in.

Besides, since I've already experience the worst camping trip in the world, everything else is bound to trump it. Jellystone, here we come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Apologies for the sporatic posting. I'm writing a book, so my free time is spent writing the book instead of the blog (aka "Hyper-writing").

Today's topic is hair.

I got a wild hair up my ass one boring day at work, so I grabbed a spot at my salon over lunch. My very gay stylist explained that I'd look so fabulous with short, blonde hair.

I replied, "Sure, what the hell, go for it". He almost died of a heart attack. A transformation! Finally, after all these years of trimming my bangs he was allowed to make me over. He actually gasped with delight.

After shaving my hair like a landscaping tree and dying it bright blonde, I was indeed transformed.

Into what, I'm not sure. I gained about 15 years. I went from a young, vibrant woman, to The Old Woman In A Shoe.

I don't mind aging, but fifteen years in one hour was a little fast. Dark circles even appeared under my eyes, a direct symptom of this disease of a hairdo.

I screamed at the mirror, realizing there was nothing I could do. All my beautiful brown curls were dead at my feet. Tombstones of younger, better, sexier days.

My husband was suckerpunched. I left the house with long brown hair and came back looking like Edie Falco with a twist of Little House On The Prairie.

Take Edie's hair, add a little bit of mullet, but tendrils on the side. Honestly, I can't explain it.

He slapped his hands up over his mouth and just stared. Blank. I stood there, looking like a psychotic lawn gnome.

All I could say was, "Yeah."

He stared at me the entire night. Watching me pour Lucky Charms into a bowl, watching me brush my teeth, watching me watch TV...this went on for days until the shock wore off.

I had no choice but to wait it out. For-fucking-ever.

Unfortunately I was in three weddings that year. It's horrific to think these couples are looking through their wedding albums and seeing the disaster on my head.

I over-drank at their receptions to make myself look better...to myself. It's a shame when you have to wear your own beer googles.

But, what can I say. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I explore. I try. And I learn.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Kid Is DATING?!?

If this isn't happening to you right now, be prepared. It's going to happen and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Your sweet little baby is going to date.

My friend is experiencing this right now. Her son is 13. He has a girlfriend. So now what? Do they force him to tag along on all grocery trips? If she grabs dry cleaning, she fears the girlfriend is going to sneak over for a quick make-out session with her son.

I can imagine my friend paying for her bill at the cleaners, "Here's my fucking card. Hurray! My teenager has the run of the house!"

It may be ironic that while my friend is paying for her clothes at the cleaners, her son's girlfriend could be rushing to grab her shirt off the floor before The Mom returns. Sweet Jesus, this is too much.

This is a whole new set of fears. Wasn't it just last year my friend was worried he'd choke on a Lego? How is he kissing a girl already?

My sister recently experienced this "passing of the torch". Her son, 20, had an accident and was rushed to the hospital. He asked for his girlfriend before anyone else. Ouch.

There was a mild tug-of-war between my sister and the girlfriend over the hospital bed, deciding who was going to give him his juice.

"Here's your juice, baby."
"No, he likes it with ice cubes, I've got it."
"But he told me he didn't want apple juice, so I've got it."
"No really, he's always liked apple juice, since kindegarten..."

But in the end, my sister waved the white flag. It's time. Her son doesn't need his mommy for juice anymore. Plus, his girlfriend is amazing. She's an inspiration to all of us and a great addition to our family.

My sister released him gracefully, realizing that if she gives him space, there will be space for her. If she crowds him, she only crowds herself out. It's a sick truth.

But what about those tender years between 13 and 20? I dated an incredibly religious boy throughout high school and even we carved out that special time when his mom ran out for groceries.

"You're alone? I'll be over in 5 minutes." I raced my '72 Valiant down Highway 61 faster than you can say, "Hormones". I now understand that I wasn't fooling his mother, since every time she returned from an errand, I was standing in her kitchen. Blushing. Sometimes with my shirt buttoned incorrectly.

It wasn't a major deal, condoms weren't being ripped open with our teeth or anything, but there was something cool about having the parents out of the house. We were pretending to be adults and it felt good to be trusted.

Did we make out? Hell yes. Did we do things we shouldn't have? I don't know, maybe.

Let's face it. It's natural to have hormones rushing through your body when you're a teen. It's normal to have your insides burn up and melt when you connect with someone.

And frankly, I know a lot of mothers/wives who would love a "Re-rush" of hormones to kickstart their marriages, but that's another conversation.

So what are we to do? Trust and hope our values and morals trump the fiery hormones blasting through our teenage children?

Or demand they tag along on every errand like a fucking 3 year old? My God, the regression would be painful, wouldn't it? You'd look in the rearview mirror to see your 16 year old son sucking his thumb. Creepy.

My daughters are 9 and 7, so I'm not quite there yet. But I'm guessing that if I don't trust them, they're going to give me good reason not to trust them.

It's the 'ol self-fulfilling label prophecy we learned about in psych 101. If we label someone, they eventually live up to it.

So I'm going to hold my children with an open palm. They'll define themselves, and re-define, and re-define again, throughout their life. That's what life is...evolution.

I'm hoping they never give up their self-worth or dignity while trying new things. Yes, it's important to explore. I just hope they remember the moral compass I installed in their hearts.

You know, the one that says, "KEEP YOUR SHIRT BUTTONED AND YOUR JEANS ON!!!!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shameful Techno Catfights.

A few years ago, I IM'd my friend a backstabbing note about someone in the office.

I sent it to the victim instead of my friend. That was classy.

She stood up, looked into my cube and said, "I wasn't supposed to get that, was I." Uh, no. She wasn't supposed to receive that little nugget of acid on her screen.

My blood ran cold, my heart stopped, and I think I began twitching.

The world stopped and jammed its finger in my face and said, "Shame on you, Kelly." If only I could have crawled into a dark cave. Forever.

But instead I defended myself. Against what, you ask? I have no fucking clue, but no one puts baby in a corner and I was in a corner.

Nevermind that I deserved to be there and I was the idiot sending scathing messages about her, to her.

I'm happy to report I've matured greatly since this harsh lesson in bashing other people. It's never worth it.

It didn't really didn't matter if my victim knew about my shitty little attacks or not. I knew, and for that, I paid the hefty price of self respect.

And not-so-surprisingly, technology isn't novacaine. Trust me. It hurts the offending party whether it's via text, IM, facebook, twitter, or vmail. It rips up their feelings all the same.

There's also the realization that other people may not want to hear me rip someone a new asshole. Let's face it, I wasn't tarnishing anyone's reputation but my own.

Plus, there's karma, man. We get what we give. It's truly that easy. Give good, get good. Done.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boundaries.

There are all kinds of classes available when you have a baby. Baby & Me, Toddler Town, Crawling Creatures...whatever, I don't really remember the names, but you get the point. There were shitloads of advice out there when we had babies.

But what happens when our kids get older? What about the gap of 9-15 years? We're on our own?

Good Christ, I'm here to say that I could use some trained help in this area.

I may not be the only parent out there having a hard time setting boundaries with older kids. When they were babies, it was easy. "Don't touch that or you'll be electrocuted." Life or death situations are simple.

I mean, I want them to live for crissakes.

But when they're older...oh man. Now they negotiate and I find myself counter-offering showers, meals, and cell phones. This isn't life or death, it's preferences, choices, and contributions.

I'll ask my 7 year old to pick up her shit (trust me, there is plenty of it), and somehow she'll turn it around not do it.

Four hours later I'm looking at the same pile of shit that I requested to be removed.

Sometimes I get confused...is this the same pile of shit or did she put it away and take it back out again to form yet a new pile of shit? I didn't recall seeing Barbie in that position this morning.

So yes, I tend to be a walking mat. It's my deseperate need for approval. It knows no boundaries, which is why I have a difficult time establishing them.

My first clue was when I pulled up to a store and starting walking to the door. I looked back to see the girls still sitting in the back seat.

They were waiting for me to open their door like a fucking chauffer. Nice.

Yes, I have created this beast, but I'm determined to turn it around.

Kids feel safe when they have boundaries. Otherwise, they wander aimlessly trying to find the line. Is the line here? Nope. How about here? Nope.

At some point they have to wonder, "Does anyone fucking care?" They need to know that someone is looking out for them. I keep swirling that little nugget of information around in my head when I start backing down like a wet washcloth.

So that's what I'm working on. Being the Mom, with a capital "M". The Head Honcho. The No-Bullshit-Rule-Establisher/Maintainer.

It's difficult, but I'm getting there. I'm not their friend, I'm their Mother. They have plenty of friends, but only one Mom (again with the capital "M" - I can't help it. It's the way I'm rolling today).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ginger or Mary Ann? Desperate For Attention Or Sexy?

This is not new news. Everyone preferred Mary Ann to Ginger on Gilligan's Island. You know, the one that wasn't slamming her tits in everyone's face or staring at the Professor with a "come hither" look.

And according to a Sex & The City survey (yes, there is one out there), not many men preferred the sex kitten, Samantha, either. In case you never watch TV, Samantha would be the modern day Ginger.

After all, if a woman is wearing sex on the outside for everyone to see, what's left to be special for him?

So why are women wearing the look of the sex on their faces everywhere they go? You know the look I'm talking about. The pursed lips and sideways glance that seems to say, "I'm a tiger in the sack."

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. We're all tigers, get over yourself.

I mean, why else is Kanye West singing, "I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed"? Men (or partners) want to have something special for just them.

There's also the case of "faux gay" behavior to get attention. I honestly don't get it, but that could be because I'm 39 years old.

Christmas parties are filled with pictures of women grinding on their friends, making out with their friends, doing body shots on their friends' breasts...And hey, for record, I know these women are indeed not gay.

It was all about shock value. But what about true value? What about being who you really are?

And by the way, what happened to hugs and laughter?

I meet my friends for Happy Hour, but there's no tongue and I like it that way. I can't imagine waking up the next day saying, "Sorry I bit your nipple last night."

Save it for the sack for crissakes. Some things are meant to be private.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bitter Old Peeps.

My husband and I were dining out recently next to a group of geriatrics. One was sick and started barfing. This was alarming. Chaos ensued. Staff was huddled around the old man with washrags and buckets, asking if he was okay. Busy little bees swarming around the hive.

My husband leaned across our table and said, "You know what I'm loving about this situation? The other grandpa that's still eating his dinner."

He was right. The other old guy at the puking table was still shoveling salad into his mouth, oblivious to the drama around him. He paid $10 for his salad goddammit, he was going to finish it. He didn't care if the paramedics made an appearance. He had a meal to finish.

I'm thinking there's an unwritten rule that once a person hits 80, they're exempt from etiquette.

I was waiting for prescriptions the other day when this little old lady budged in line. She marched right up to the front as if to say, "Fuck you, I'm old and need my shit more than you."

She may be right, but the rest of us in line looked at each other wondering if anyone was going to call her out on this offense. No one dared. Karma can be a bitch.

Then there was the time of the "Michael's Craft Store Debacle". The hubbs and I went to a store and parked next to an old woman. He smiled and waved at her. I knew immediately she was not happy.

She pulled out and parked on the other side. My husband was still undisturbed by her fury and smiled at her again. She said, "Do you have to park that close to me? You were inches from me, you asshole, and another thing..."

So there we were, in Michael's parking lot, my husband getting a verbal ass-kicking from an 80 year old woman. The end result was her flipping him the bird and telling him to fuck off.

Talk about being suckerpunched. He didn't know what hit him. As we walked through the store he kept saying, "I still don't know what I did to invite the 'fuck off' comment."

Personally, I wasn't aware old peeps still flipped the bird. I was impressed and disturbed at the same time.

The key is respect. I do think there's a loss of respect for the older generation. But I'm confused as to why they're not respecting each other. (Or other people for that matter.)

It's as simple as either aging with grace and dignity, or bitterness and scorn. Everyone's journey is separate and individual. I'll have to remind myself of this if I ever get into a tussle with a 93 year old.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank my lucky stars that my parents and in-laws are choosing the route of grace and dignity.

And let it be known that I respect the hell out of them for it.