Monthly Archives: February 2017

White lies I told my children this week*

*or possibly just today

The sun doesn’t like it when you wake up before he does.

Mommy can’t play cars with you until she drinks ALL her coffee. It’s the law.

I’ll come help you find the green car in five minutes.

No, it hasn’t been five minutes yet.

I still have three minutes.

Maybe I’ll let you go play in the snow after breakfast.

Nope, we’re all out of yogurt.

Oatmeal tastes just as good as yogurt.

Daddy ate the last piece of bacon.

What’s in my mouth? Green beans.

You can’t eat the crayons. Look, it says right here on the box, “toxic.”

You have to poop in the potty once you turn three. It’s the law.

I can only read this book three times. Then it has to rest to regain its strength.

If you sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” more than 10 times in a row, the spider dies. Horrifically.

Netflix is broken.

Hulu is broken.

Amazon is broken.

My phone is broken.

The banana from “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” is on vacation with his wife. He’ll be back next week.

The playground is closing. We have to go home or they’ll kick us out.

You have to go in the stroller. The sidewalk is closed to kids today. Only Mommies can walk on them.

We can’t listen to Christmas music when it’s not December because then Santa doesn’t get the royalties.

Fish is just sea chicken, baby.

Nope, we’re all out of chocolate.

Broccoli tastes just as good as chocolate.

Cookie Monster LOVES broccoli.

No, we can’t watch it. Everyone on “Sesame Street” is in a very important meeting right now.

Mommy ate all her broccoli while she was cooking in the kitchen.

I will pay for your entire college education if you try just one bite of broccoli.

Nope, we’re all out of crackers.

And applesauce.

And raisins.

Dessert is for closers and broccoli-eaters.

All the water has to stay in tub or the bathroom floor will start to melt.

No, you can’t have a sip of Mommy’s juice. It’s her medicine. The doctor wants her to drink all of it.

According to my watch, it’s bedtime in five minutes.

It’s been five minutes.

If you don’t pick up all your toys, you forfeit them and they are now legally the property of your baby sister. It’s the law.

Well of course you should always be honest, honey.

Night, night! Remember, it’s illegal to get out of bed after 8 o’clock!

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Confessions of “Threenage” Drama King

He’s moody. He’s disrespectful. He hates everything I do.

Yup, my little boy is growing up. I can’t believe he’s a teenager already.

Oh wait. Sorry. That was a typo. I meant to type threenager.

He’s three.

THREE.

I always thought people were exaggerating when they talked about the Terrible Twos. My angel was just that when he was two. An angel. He was sweet. Polite, even. And, oh, how he loved me. Every day was an emoji shower of hearts and googly eyes with this kid. He loved his Momma.

LOVED.

Me and my stretch marks I got from giving him life were firmly entrenched on that pedestal. And I loved it there.

LOVED IT.

So, of course, these same people had to be exaggerating about when their kids turned three. They just had to be.

They weren’t.

Not at all.

AT ALL.

My angel has fallen. Only now I’m apparently Satan.

Because no matter how many tantrums he has, no matter how many times he screams directly into my face, and no matter how many toys he hurls at my head, I’m always the bad guy these days. I am mean Mommy. A mean Mommy who yells for no apparent toddler reason. And only a mean Mommy wouldn’t let him jump off the back of the couch onto the cold, hard floor or hurl a heavy wooden toy car at his baby sister’s still somewhat soft skull.

I know he’s manipulating me. I’m just surprised it’s working so well.

And, oh, how it’s working. So incredibly well. Because he’s hitting below the belt, right straight into my uterus, by making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he now prefers Daddy to mean ‘ol Mommy.

Now, since having kids, I’ve tried to be the mature one, no matter how much it goes against my basic personality. When my son calls me a stupid poop face, do I respond with “at least I can wipe my own butt!”? No. Except for that one time. Because I’m the grown-up now.

So as much as I want to respond with this new development in the family dynamic by setting fire to all his stupid toys and slashing his security blanket with a knife, I can’t.

Because I’m the…sigh…grown-up now.

But it’s slowly killing me.

KILLING ME.

As the mom, and as the primary caretaker, you get used to a certain level of favoritism. In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s our payment for all we do in lieu of actual money. Daddy got laid and I got 10 months (IT’S ACTUALLY 10 MONTHS) of discomfort and extreme farting, followed by a scalpel to my gut and shredded nipples and weird-smelling yellow poop in my hair. Followed by 3 a.m. feedings and hours of theatrical Dr. Seuss readings and cleaning up spills roughly every 23 minutes.

So, yeah, I get to be the favorite parent.

Except now I’m not. And again, I’m trying to be the mature one but IT’S NOT FAIR. *throws nursing bra against the wall*

Daddy is indeed great. That’s why I married him, in fact. He’s wonderful. But Daddy gets to leave and go to work.

So, by the very nature of our parenting arrangement, he always gets to be the fresh parent. The one who hasn’t had to say “stop it” 1,987 times or play “This Parent Is My Jungle Gym” for nine hours straight.

And trust me when I say I’m so happy I have a partner who works at a highly demanding job all day and can come home exhausted and yet still swoop up both kids immediately before he’s even had a chance to put down his computer bag (making sure to pet our dog in the chaos to boot). He’s a very hands-on parent and the kids love it. And the stupid dog loves it. And, of course, I love it.

Except I’m starting to hate it.

Because that’s the thing. Daddy always gets to be the hero. And I am the swamp demon who hasn’t showered and won’t let them eat cupcakes for breakfast.

But I guess it’s only fair that Daddy now gets his day in the sun. He deserves it and I selfishly hogged my son’s favoritism for almost three years.

But, still, it stings a bit.

At least until I remember I’m still his baby sister’s favorite.

But where’s my gold star?

The one thing I probably hear the most since having children? (Besides “whoa, you look tired”).

“You are so lucky you get to stay home with your kids.”

There are different versions of this, of course. All with fun varying degrees of passive-aggressiveness.

“I’d love to spend all day in my pajamas doing nothing.”

“I hope you appreciate it. I die a little inside when I drop my children off at daycare.”

“It must be nice not working a real job and having all that extra time for your little writing hobby.”

But what it all eventually boils down to is “you, lady, have it made and are not allowed to complain.”

It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s not actually luck. It’s a decision we made based on our economic reality. We are right in that not-so-sweet spot of middle class where my income would have been pretty much the exact price tag of a semi-reputable daycare facility (and trust me, we looked at all of them, including JoJo’s Discount Kid Farm).

And it doesn’t matter that it is actually just like a “real” job (albeit with a much less strict dress code). If it wasn’t a job, we wouldn’t pay other people to watch our kids when we can’t.

And it doesn’t seem to matter that in this country we treat stay-at-home moms with the same level of respect we treat line jumpers and broccoli pizza. Because Americans love nothing more than demanding a woman do something and then treating her with disdain when she does it.

Everyone still feels the need to inform me that I have somehow hit the life jackpot.

None of that really bothers me though. I spent many years as a journalist, which just did a terrific job of stomping my give-a-crap meter to death. Plus, I really do love that I’m able to stay home with my littles. They’re great fun to be around and super chill about when the microwave is dirty.

Still, there is one thing about my stay-at-home status that I do struggle with, one thing I can’t quite get over. Because the hard part is also the best part. I have no boss. No higher-ups. No co-workers or peers. No one to play witness to my day.

Which means I can be Super Mom all day. Racing cars on the floor, reading books over and over, handling potential meltdowns like a seasoned hostage negotiator. I’m goofy. I’m delightful. I’m gentle yet firm, like a white, female Morgan Freeman.

But then, about 20 minutes before my husband gets home, all hell breaks loose. Only this time, it’s the 17th time its broken loose. And…

I.

JUST.

CAN’T.

ANYMORE.

So I lose my temper. Which makes everything one thousand times worse. Meaning when he walks in the door, 4 out of 5 times, I am losing my mind and both kids are crying and the stupid dog won’t stop barking. (And that fifth time, everything is on fire and I’m calmly sitting on the living room floor drinking wine straight from the bottle).

And that’s his most common image of me. Screaming, yelling, crying, cursing, laughing manically, with macaroni in my hair and baby poop on my pants. But did he see the 147 times I didn’t go insane when it was completely warranted?

No.

No one did.

Because it’s not just with him. In public, when my toddler is walking with the speed of a sloth high on oxy, do I yell at him to hurry up? No. Even though he is slowly killing my soul because, seriously, how is it humanly possible to move this slow? No. Even though it’s 8 degrees out and my back is screaming because I’m carrying his sister, who is the world’s heaviest 15 pounds? No.

And when he asks me 33 times in a row if he can have a cookie when we’re done shopping, do I explode that 34th time? No. Or when he spills my expensive coffee even though I told him explicitly to knock it off before he spills my expensive coffee? No.

No one sees these things. What they do see, however, is when I finally do explode because he purposely hit his baby sister because I wouldn’t buy him some dumb toy he doesn’t even really want anyway. And all they see is the horrible mother holding a screaming baby and yelling at the adorable toddler who has perfected the giant crocodile tear.

It’s not fair, you guys.

No one sees the good stuff. No one sees Super Mom.

And yeah, yeah, even though no one saw it, I know it still counts and my kids will grow up to be great humans because I am a great mom when no one is looking and blah, blah, bibbity-blah. But this is 2017. If you go somewhere and don’t take a selfie, did you really go? If you walk somewhere and aren’t wearing a Fitbit, did it really count? If you prick me, do I not bleed? I do, but only because I tweeted about the random cray-cray who stabbed me. #anyonegotabandaid

I want credit, dammit. A gold star. Where are my stickers and lollipops for not biting my kid back when he bites me for the fourth time that day?

Sigh. Guess I’ll just have to settle for more wine and…ugh…an intrinsic sense of self-worth at a job (mostly) well done.