Tag Archives: parenting humor

Welcome to summer school, kiddos

Well friends, we almost made it. Just a few more days left of school! Who is ready for summer!?

Summer school, that is! Yay! Oh yes, I know you kids were looking forward to a carefree summer full of sun and fun but learning never stops. Especially when you will be home for the next three months, wreaking havoc on my home and sanity. So welcome to Mama’s Summer School for Wayward (and Slightly Feral) Children! Get ready for exciting learning opportunities, such as: 

Are These Socks Dirty or Clean? A Symposium On Hampers

When Pants Attack! A Lecture Series On When Pants Are Optional & When They Are Mandatory

This Is Called A Dishwasher 

Proper Aluminum Foil Application On Leftovers

There Is Pee All Over The Floor: Who Should Do Something About It (YOU!) & When (IMMEDIATELY!)

Nutrition 101: If You Were Really Hungry, You’d Eat The Apple I Already Offered

Nutrition 102: No, You Cannot Have Another Snack

The Planet Is Boiling Alive & You Have Irish Peasant DNA: Sunscreen Basics For Genetic RedHeads

This Is Called A Broom 

Wet Towel Math: How To Calculate How Many More Times I Need To Yell At You To Pick Up Your Wet Towel Before You Are Grounded

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream About Screen Time: A Seminar On How To Earn Back Your Tablet

And later this summer, we’re going to take some refresher courses before you head back to actual school, such as:

Why We Don’t Wait Until The Second-To-Last Day Of School To Tell Mom About All The Missing Library Books

Where Is Your Snack Bag From Last Year: Fun With Hazardous Materials

You Need How Many Cupcakes!? When!? Son Of A…: School Fundraiser FUNdamentals 

Curse Words Belong In The Home, Not In The Classroom

Please Learn To Tie Your Shoes, People Are Going To Start Judging Me

What I really want for Mother’s Day

What I really want for Mother’s Day:

A standing ovation every time I put all the laundry away. And while we’re at it, roses thrown at my feet every time I clean the bathroom. Which you then scurry about and pick up so I don’t have to.

Acknowledgement in the form of a shiny trophy or perhaps a gift card to the snooty fancy wine shop for being the Carrier of the Mental and Emotional Load for the family. Complete with a heartfelt speech about how stoically I carry this burden and ask for nothing in return. 

A legally binding contract, signed and notarized, that any and all sibling fights from henceforth shall occur out of my direct eyesight and earshot. 

Gasps of wonderment on a regular basis at my mastery of taking ordinary ingredients from the kitchen and transforming them into a meal, NAY! a feast! every. single. day. A feast where every dish is overflowing with love (and butter) no matter how meager the contents of my fridge. I want you so in awe at this otherworldly power of mine that you are tempted to point at me and shout “WITCH!” because how could anyone take something as simple and common as a potato and turn it into a towering mound of pure comforting flavor using merely heat (and butter) if they weren’t the bride of Satan? 

For you to bend the knee like I am Khaleesi, Mother of Ungrateful Dragons. I want you to cower in awe at my ability to rip apart my own body so that you could be freed from the captivity of the womb. I want you to gaze in reverence at my tireless efforts to then help you gain independence even though you curse me and call me a she-devil, and marvel at my self control in continuing to rule benignly and not fall into the easy trap of tyranny because you refuse to brush your teeth every morning. 

And then! Then I want you to straighten the knee so I can pull these godforsaken ballet tights up because putting on ballet tights is a life skill you refuse to learn. 

Piggybacking on that former request, I would also like a dragon. 

Or three. 

And a fur-lined cape. 

And lastly, the ability to summon from my very cells, from my very core, the pure, staggering, unconditional love I feel for you until I am so overwhelmed by the power of this deep affection that I transform into a fearsome goddess-like entity, with eyes ablaze and lightning crackling between my fingertips. And I will rise into the air, a terrifying and beautiful manifestation of pure maternal being, and in a reverberant voice I will declare “BEHOLD!” as I place my hands upon your brow so that you, for a brief moment, can see yourself as I see you. As the most perfect creature to ever grace this plane of existence despite your inability to ever pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.

What I will actually get for Mother’s Day:

A breakfast at 6:30 a.m. consisting of PopTarts and a questionable looking banana, two homemade cards with adorably misspelled words, and a macaroni necklace held together by glue that is still wet. 

What I will say:

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

What I will mean: 

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

Welcome to Family Fight Night!

Hello everybody! And welcome to what is bound to be another epic Family Fight Night! We’re your announcers for the evening, Stan Boomvoice and Tucker McThundercords. 

It’s going to be hard to top last night’s bout, with its triple battle royale over the bathroom light, the Nintendo Switch AND Mom’s meatloaf, Tucker. 

It is indeed, Stan. Oh! And speak of a certain devil, here she comes, ‘ol El Diablo herself, aka The Cleaner, aka The Diva of Devastation, aka The Salty Witch with a Wine Glass. Trust us, you don’t want to mess with this mama. She’s coming out strong from the kitchen, carrying what appears to be…is that…a homemade casserole, Stan?

I believe it is, Tucker. You can definitely smell what she’s cooking. Gutsy move, that’s a gutsy move. Especially in light of her big finish last night, The Maternal Flex. I mean throwing the entire dinner into the trash can after everyone complained! I tell ya, Tucker, no one saw that coming! At this point one has to wonder if she’s simply just taunting her family with these meals made from scratch when they clearly prefer Burger King every single time. 

I’m inclined to agree, Stan. Oh-ho, and what do we have here? Looks like it’s Daddy, straight from the bathroom, aka The Pillar, aka The Keyboard Smasher, aka the Zoom of Doom. Standing tall at 6’2” and weighing in at a respectable post-pandemic weight of 180, he is every inch the mild-mannered father at the moment but when he whips out his famous Dad Voice Stunner, look out! 

Wait, wait, wait! Do you hear that? Sounds like the Second Grader Crusader, aka Doomfist, aka The Silent Fart Assassin, is making quite the stomping entrance from his room, fresh off a punishment for unsanctioned brawling with his sister before dinner. Look at his face, Tucker. You can tell he’s just itching for a fight tonight. If there is one thing The Crusader believes in, it’s extreme fairness and something in his expression makes me think he feels he’s been wronged. 

And from the corner, literally, it’s the Kindergarten Killer, aka the Cutthroat Cutie, aka Princess Black Heart. Don’t let the abundance of pink and glitter fool you, folks. She’s mini but mighty. That’s not the pitter patter of little feet you’re hearing. That’s the thump of war drums. 

And we’re off! The Crusader is coming out strong with his patented Fairness Doctrine, which is deflected easily by Mom. You know she had to be expecting this, Tucker. I talked with her before dinner about her strategy for tonight and she said, in no uncertain terms, “Who the hell are you? Get out of my kitchen!”

Those are strong words, Stan. Strong words from a strong lady. Oh! But The Crusader isn’t done yet. He’s gearing up for the Guilt Powerbomb, accusing her of not even caring about him! I can’t believe he went there!

Looks like Princess Black Heart is seeing an opportunity and might be hoping for a tag team here, Tucker. Despite the fact that she was also disciplined for her part in the earlier melee, she’s pulling out The Unexpected Apology followed by Siding With Mom! Talk about gutsy. She must get it from her mama, oh my! What do you think Mom will do next, Tucker? 

She’s in a tricky position alright, Stan. Even just being perceived as using the illegal Playing Favorites move can bring her down and bring her down quick. …Oh! But what’s this? I can’t believe it! The Crusader just executed the perfect Subtle Elbow right into his sister’s ribs! Oof, that’s gotta hurt! 

But he wasn’t quick enough, Tucker! Looks like Daddy saw and is now entering the ring. And he is NOT happy. 

No he is not, Stan. He only uses the What Did You Just Do Repeater on rare occasions. And it’s clear Princess Black Heart knows her role here, playing up her apparently extensive injuries to the audience. 

Wow, they are really going at it! The Crusader with the Moral Outrage and The Pillar with the Moral High Ground. Do you think Mom will step in here, Tucker?

She’s on her second glass of wine, it’s not looking good, Stan. 

Looks like Dad is getting ready to throw the hammer down with the Reality Check…except wait…what’s this? OH! The Crusader, out of nowhere, with the Tattle Tale! Princess Black Heart has been stealing flowers from the neighbor’s garden to make a witches brew in a hidden bucket full of water under her bed. Which is where the weird smell permeating through the entire house is coming from! Oh, I tell ya, Tucker, now the Diva of Devastation is paying attention!

I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Princess Black Heart, in a desperate move, is pulling out the ‘ol Play the Parents Off Each Other Hail Mary. OH! It’s a high risk move, but one with high rewards if she can pull it off, Stan. …BUT NO! NO! It backfired spectacularly! Oh, the humanity! 

And it looks like Mom and Dad are gonna tag team it for the final blows of the night, Just Desserts Means No Dessert followed by the crushingly effective Brush Your Teeth, It’s BedTime!  

Wow! I mean wow. What a fight, Stan! What a fight. Truly a bout for the ages. 

At least until tomorrow night, Tucker!

Right you are, Stan. Right you are. Goodnight everybody! 

How to play with your kids in the snow

There are some people in this world who will tell you that there is no “right” way to play with your children in the snow. These people are wrong. And probably serve their children fruit as “dessert.” 

There is a right way. Oh sure, a few details might vary and there is some accounting for individual family quirks, but on the whole, no matter how good of a parent you are, snow days follow an almost scientific formula. At least according to the data I have collected over the last seven years. 

First, any proper snow day begins by the children waking up at dawn, looking outside their window and then immediately running into your room, where they jump on your face and loudly ask if they can go play in the snow. They will then repeat this question every five minutes and whine “but you PROMISED!” over and over and over again until you finally roar “FINE!” at the top of your lungs and they scamper away squealing with delight like the relentless, adorable gaslighters they are. 

Then begins the thankless task of gathering all the outerwear, which were scattered to the distant four corners of your house the last time your children played in the snow. In between muttering obscenities about missing gloves and yelling about how in the world can all the snow boots only consist of the left snow boot, you remind everyone to go potty. Because once all these layers are on you are NOT taking them all off again. 

The next half hour is a blur of stuffing tiny humans into snowpants and socks and sweaters and hoodies and hats and one glove while still looking for the other stupid glove and sunglasses for the kid who can’t go anywhere without sunglasses and scarves and ya’ll peed, right, because I’m not taking all this off again and ah-HA! there is that other stupid glove and what do you mean you lost the first glove, it was literally on your hand, and coats with stuck zippers and I told you the other snowboots were probably by the door and push harder, when did your feet grow, why are you growing all the time, and HEY, I found the glove, it was in mommy and daddy’s room, I told you stay out of our room.

Finally everyone is ready. 

Everyone has to pee. 

Repeat. Repeat it ALL. 

Now if you have a big backyard and can simply open the door and release these loud toddling bundles into the wintry wild, stop reading here. Go contentedly sigh and enjoy a glass of wine in your dumb peaceful house or something.

For those of you who are like me and have small children in a city and thus need to “go somewhere” such as a park to play in the snow, the worst is yet to come. 

Once you finally “get somewhere” (which, regardless of how you get there, will include many complaints and gritted teeth threats) there will be approximately ten minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. This is the brief moment in time where you remember why you decided to have children in the first place and why you love them and your family and your life and how did you possibly get so lucky as to be able to share a life with these people? 

Then, just like the cheap plastic sled they sit upon, it all swiftly goes downhill. 

Soon, someone will run over someone else with their sled because the kid on the sled didn’t listen and the kid climbing back up the hill didn’t listen. Everyone is crying. 

They need a distraction. LET’S BUILD A SNOWMAN! Is there any activity that is more wholesome? Nope. At least for the next three minutes, after which you realize that you are the only one actually building the snowman and you can no longer feel your fingers. 

Luckily, someone will always, inevitably, suggest a snowball fight. What could go wrong? 

No aiming for the face, you yell over and over again. Surprisingly the kids abide. Eventually, however, you will hit one of the children in the face. By “accident” of course and not some subconscious urge. They will cry. You will feel awful (mostly). You will offer cookies and hot chocolate as consolation when you go back home. They will accept and immediately pop up like nothing happened. 

You stay until both feet are completely numb and you’re pretty sure you’ve already lost three fingers to frostbite. When you finally can’t take it anymore, you give a five minute warning. May as well have been announcing you murdered Memaw AND Grandma AND Daniel Tiger. The wailing. The keening. The dramatic protestations that if you really loved them you would let them play for just a little longer. 

Through sheer force of will (and some light dragging), you eventually wrangle them home and inside. Everyone violently disrobes, snow and ice and boots and gloves and hats flying, everything wet and gross and dirty. You are too tired to gather them all up even though you know you will later regret this. 

It’s over. You survived. 

Only a thousand more days until spring. 

How to Have a Proper Family Movie Night

Excitedly announce you are having A Family Movie Night! 

Wait for the cheers and applause that never come.  

Watch as everyone immediately starts to argue about what to watch. 

Browse Netflix. 

Calmly make a suggestion. 

Get greeted by groans and dramatic tears. 

Gently remind everyone this is supposed to be fun. 

Browse Disney+. 

Argue some more. 

Break up fist fight. 

Argue some more. 

Take weapon away from preschooler. 

Let out primal maternal scream. 

Make executive decision to watch a movie everyone has seen 576 times already.

Bring out snacks during opening credits. 

Listen to complaints that it’s the wrong brand of root beer, no one likes popcorn anymore and can we order a pizza?

It’s all we have, when did that happen, no.

Listen to more groans and dramatic, loud protestations. 

Get angry.

Start yelling back. 

Now everyone is yelling. 

Dog is barking. 

Everyone is yelling at dog to stop barking. 

Order stupid, dumb pizza.

Pause within first five minutes for Potty Break No. 1.

Answer first question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Politely ask kid who keeps repeating every line to stop repeating every line. 

Start absentmindedly discussing the grocery list with partner. 

Get shushed by kids. 

Exchange look with partner and secretly do lewd gesture behind the children’s back. 

Answer 12th question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 3. 

Shoot down request for more candy. 

And more root beer. 

And the popcorn no one likes anymore but is somehow all gone. 

Remind kid who keeps repeating lines to stop, please. 

Tell shusher kid to stop shushing repeater kid.

Break up “I can’t hear, shut up” wrestling match on floor. 

Answer 33rd question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 7. 

Throw a pillow at the kid who won’t stop repeating every line and scream “knock it off!”

Pause movie so you can have family discussion on why that wasn’t actually child abuse. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 12. 

Sigh in relief that it’s finally over and you can stop stress eating pizza. 

Watch end credits until the very, very end to prevent preschooler meltdown. 

Practically hurl kids into their beds. 

Begin the unnecessarily violent movie the adults have been wanting to watch forever. 

Sigh contentedly. 

Immediately pause and escort an escaped child back to their bed. 

Resume movie. 

Jointly fall asleep 12 minutes in. 

Wake up on couch unable to turn neck for the next three days.

Forget whole horrifying ordeal by day four because you do not brain good anymore ever since the children systematically killed off all decent remaining brain cells. 

Repeat next week. 

Stickin’ it to the man (and everything else)

Hey, here’s something you might not know. According to historians it was the ancient Egyptians who invented stickers. Archaeologists have actually found remains of sticky paper plastered on Egyptian market walls that were used to display the price and description of goods.

Here’s another fun tidbit. Modern stickers got their start from a man going by the very fancy moniker of Sir Rowland Hill. He invented an adhesive paper in 1839, which eventually led to the first postage stamps. 

Oh, and, amusing little fact, another man with an excessively fancy name, R. Stanton Avery, is credited with inventing the first self adhesive label in 1935, leading the way for the sticker as we know it today.  

All of which is a very long way to say I don’t know why all these people listed above hate me and want to ruin my life. All I know is that they have been very successful in their endeavor. Because stickers are indeed destroying my life. And my home. And my wardrobe. And whatever little bit of my sanity that is still sticking around. (HA! GET IT! “STICKING”! HA! HA!). 

OK, fine. Maybe you’re right. Maybe all these people had no idea the destruction and havoc their invention would wreak on my small little world. But even so, just because you can invent something, doesn’t mean you should. So screw you, anonymous, innovative Egyptian merchant! I hope you drowned in quicksand or however ancient Egyptians typically died back then. 

They’re just everywhere. Stickers on the walls, the floors, on every stuffie, on at least half the books. Oh, and on me. All over me. My arms, my legs, my clothes, my shoes. One minute there is a child sweetly asking to sit on my lap and the next I am covered in stickers from head to toe. With everything else, they have the fine motor skills of a drunk baby panda, but give these kids a sheet of stickers and they suddenly have the dexterity and rapidity of a seasoned neurosurgeon. They could cover the entire world in stickers in roughly 45 minutes. 

I don’t even know where these stickers are coming from. How are my kids keeping their supply line going in the middle of a pandemic? They’re not even in school. We’ve been doing remote learning since September and the city has been on some level of lockdown since March. Is there a neighborhood black market for stickers that I am unaware of? Did they finally figure out my Amazon password? 

WHO KEEPS GIVING MY CHILDREN STICKERS?

That last question isn’t rhetorical. I want names. Addresses. Lists of weaknesses and biggest fears. I will have my revenge. 

You know, back in my day, we had respect for the sticker game. We played with them the way God intended, by moving them from the sticker sheet immediately to our sticker album. And there they would stay for all eternity. There was none of this free range sticker nonsense the youth believe in today, just putting stickers wherever they feel like whenever they feel like. 

And I hear you. I do. It could be worse, you’re saying. It could be the dreaded (*whispers*) glitter. But nope, I disagree. I would actually prefer glitter. Because while glitter never, ever goes away, the worse that will happen if it gets all over me is that I will look like either a stripper or a fairy and honestly, I’m fine with both. 

But stickers? I get covered in those bad boys and 1. when I rip them off it also rips off my body hair and 2. they always end up still stuck on my clothes after I put them in the wash, leaving their weird residue all over everything. And this may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not the type of mother who is going to Google “how to get sticker residue off of clothes” and then actually try to get the sticker residue off of the clothes. I am the kind of mother who gets angry and curses and then just walks around in clothes with permanent sticker residue on them because I am tired and lazy. 

I don’t really have an ending for this rant. Other than I WILL FIND YOU NEIGHBORHOOD BLACK MARKET STICKER DEALER. You can run and you can hide, but I will FIND YOU. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a butterknife and try to scrape the stickers off our hardwood floors and the ceilings because the little one has discovered she can climb all the way up to the top of the unsecured bookcase now. 

Where’s My Coffee? A Remote Schooling Pop Quiz

Q: If I wake up at 7 a.m. and remote schooling starts at 8:30 a.m. for my first grader and 8:45 a.m. for my preschooler, at what time will I take my first sip of coffee? Please show your work.

A: 9:07 a.m. Because the children got up at 6:59 a.m. and began immediately fighting and demanding things and the dog pooped all over the only carpeted area in the house and everyone wanted something different for breakfast. Carry the one nerve I had left over.  

Q: If I am helping one child with a math assignment in the dining room and then the other one yells for my help during her small group live instruction in the bedroom, where will I eventually find my coffee after a frantic search?

A: On top of the bookshelf in the hallway.

Extra credit question: Will it still be hot?

A: Nope. 

Q: What is my favorite brand of coffee to make at home?

a. Starbucks

b. Dunkin

c. That fancy one I can’t pronounce 

d. Any that finally finds its way into my hands. 

Q: Where do I most often find my coffee?

A: In the microwave. Where I warmed it up 40 minutes ago.

True or False: Whoever finishes the pot of coffee has to make a new pot.

True. RYAN. 

Q: If my preschooler is having a meltdown because she can’t cut out her shapes perfectly and my first grader is going on another angry rant about how he hates school and he knows everything already so why does he even have to get on Zoom, will I slip out to the front porch or the back porch to enjoy five minutes of peace with my cup of coffee?

A: Trick question. They discovered that’s where I hide last week. The answer is now the basement. 

Q: During the afternoon, if I scour the entire house for 20 minutes for my coffee but still cannot find it, where is my coffee?

a. The coffee never existed in the first place because I am going insane. 

b. An interdimensional portal that opened up because it’s 2020.

c. Does it even matter? It’s just easier to get a new cup and find the old one six months later when it has grown fur and possibly consciousness. 

d. In the bathroom where I optimistically brought it an hour ago in the vain hope of finding two minutes to brush my teeth.

True or False: Some people don’t drink coffee. 

False. Probably. Who are these people? And what mystical elixir do they drink to prevent familial homicides? 

Q: If it’s a half day Wednesday and both kids have different schedules and extra long Zoom sessions, what will you find in my coffee mug?

A: Correct. The answer is indeed whiskey.

Q: What is an appropriate amount of coffee to drink in the year of our Lord 2020?

A: ALL OF IT. 

Essay Question: How is coffee made?

Little caffeine fairies collect the magic beans in the enchanted forest and give them to dragons, who roast them. They are then collected by really hip dressed baristas and distributed to the masses, who mix it with hot water to make that bewitching hot bean potion that keeps the world running with its life-giving and slightly addictive properties. 

Ode to the Mystery Bruise

Oh, Mystery Bruise

There you are, yet again

And there have you always been 

For at least as long as I can remember

Which, granted, isn’t that long

Ever since my memory was obliterated by the incessant demands

Of tiny, adorable humans 

They who sprung loudly from my loins

Ginger haired and exhausting

My mind now filled to capacity 

Each and every day

With tasks both mundane and material 

That are involved when raising juveniles not quite yet delinquent

Big. Purple. With a hint of bluish tint

Ringed by an unholy yellow 

You loudly announce your presence, oh, Mystery Bruise

With every disrobement 

With every bathroom trip

There was a time when my thigh was flawless

(Stubble notwithstanding)

Oh, twas a sight, ye youthful femur o’ mine

Alas, now the top of that ham 

Is the heart and hearth of your home

Oh, Mystery Bruise 

Whenceforth you came? Why do you stay?

I have heard tale of your existence in others

On the side of the hip

Or the shinny shin shin

Enfolding the feminine forces in this world

Who already fight all kinds of unseen battles 

Every day, and every sleepless night, and every in-between

Yet your mystery grows, Mystery Bruise

Your origin a puzzle wrapped in an enigma

Smothered in a conundrum and sprinkled with mild violence  

Did it happen when a toddler used my body as a trampoline?

Or when a preschooler made of all points

Used me as their amusement park?

Are you the result of that stupid end table

I keep running into?

Or perhaps from that time I bumped into the steps while running to stop the children from hitting each other

With actual weapons? 

Is it all the bile rising up to the surface from all the curse words I swallowed?

Or from all the screams I buried down deep

Each and every time they howled how they hated me

Because the grilled cheese had the wrong cheese?

(As if any cheese any time any place could ever be wrong)

Is it the homeless ink from every lost chapter I never wrote

Because as soon as they see the laptop they lay across me like pampered cats?

Or mayhap you are just a reminder that I am human, Mystery Bruise

And not just a mother

That I am not merely put on this Earth for their every whim and desire

The point is, oh, most mystifying of contusions

You’ve always been there for me

Rarely changing

Just staring up at me every time I shower 

A constant and only slightly concerning presence in a chaos-filled world 

A reminder of some permanence in an ever shifting reality

Or maybe you are simply a visible representation

Of the bruises concealed in my heart

Your mottled surface itself an ode to the mysteries of the soul

An ever-present monument of why we love and fight so hard  

No matter the reason, nor the cause

I want to thank you, oh Mystery Bruise

For always being there

Which I believe I already mentioned

But you’ll have to forgive me, for it has been a rough week

Of Remote Schooling

Of Life

Of 2020

And of simply being stretched too thin

Which is why I am hiding in the bathtub with my computer

A little (lot) drunk and singing your praises

Because you are here and yet need nothing from me

Oh, Mystery Bruise, your silence speaks volumes  

A van after my own heart

It’s been said that fortune favors the bold. Which, if true, would explain a lot about my life. At best, I can probably be described as casually feisty. And that’s only after an entire pot of coffee. 

So, fortune doesn’t so much favor me as ignore me most of the time and then suddenly remember I’m there, which is when she surprises me with either a slightly larger than normal tax return or a weird skin disease, depending on how she is feeling that day. 

It’s worked out fairly well so far, however. I love my life even though there is a shocking lack of money, jewels OR vast kingdoms in it. It’s also usually a pleasant surprise when things just happen to fall into my lap and work out. 

Take, for example, how my family and I recently found ourselves the proud owners of a van. A Honda Odyssey, to be more precise. From 2003, not to brag. Tan in color, in case you weren’t jealous enough. It’s a van totally suitable for a woman such as myself who firmly grabs life by the coattails and just hangs on for dear life.

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How we acquired this van is also very on brand with my lifestyle. It was already parked in our driveway. It was the van our landlord’s handyman’s right hand man, Jacob, used to haul right hand handyman stuff around in. He was all like, you guys want this? And we were like maybe? And he named a decent price. And we were like, I mean it’s already here everything.

That was big selling point No. 1. Because I personally would rather shove some butter knives slowly into my eyeballs than set foot on a car lot. 

Selling point No. 2 was that I have spent the last 16 years riding around in the car I got my last year of college. A car, may I humbly add, that now has two, count them two, working doors thanks to George and Mike down at Alewife Auto. I don’t know if any of you have ever had the pleasure of riding in a two-door 2004 Hyundai Accent but it’s basically one step above a clown car. There was barely room for me in there. Then I added a husband, a dog and two kids. Plus all our crap. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in any car with small children, but they need to take every single they own. And no less than 47 snacks. The breaking point though was our recent vacation to the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We drove four hours each way and we were packed tighter than…well, then nothing else I can think of because nothing else in the world has been packed as tight as we were in that car in all of history. And while painfully unfurling myself from the pretzel position I had been sitting in upon arriving home, I said to myself “never again.”

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Then, what do you know, lo and behold, there was a van! Ours for the taking! Once the check clears (fingers crossed)! Fortune had briefly glanced my way again and shrugged her shoulders!

Her name is Brunhilda. Our van, that is. Because she’s going to be towing around a bunch of tiny ginger Vikings. (And yes, my friend Melissa and I came up with the name after drinking beer with a very high alcohol content). 

I haven’t driven her yet. But I did go sit inside. Y’all. Y’ALL. The sheer amount of SPACE in these things. It felt like it went on forever. Like that dolly zoom effect they do in movies where suddenly all perception is distorted. I probably could have done a cartwheel in there. If I wasn’t so scared that doing a cartwheel at my age would result in a permanent injury. 

Needless to say, I have big plans for our Big Lady. 

Road trips. 

Camping trips. 

Drive-in movie theater nights.

Carpooling somewhere, anywhere, with anyone, anytime.

Daytime mommy naps followed by daytime wine drinking. Followed by another mommy nap. 

My new writing office.

A podcast studio every Thursday. 

World’s smallest rave party. 

Live down by the river if things get worse.

The possibilities are endless. 

I’ll admit, it’s nice to be excited about something. This year, oof. This year. Well, you already know. It’s the kind of year that makes buying a 17-year-old van one of the lone bright spots. 

But hey, hasn’t it also been said that life is not about what you have, it’s about what you do with what you have? And what I have now is an old ass van named Brunhilda. And the name of a dude willing to paint a van mural of a mostly naked Viking woman riding a pink unicorn that is shooting flames out of its mouth. 

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The 5 stages of house cleaning with children

 

Stage One: Optimism(-ish)

Hey kids! Come here please. …Guys? Come on, I know you hear me. …BECAUSE I SAID SO. 

Don’t make me start counting. One! TWOOO…good choice. OK, now before you start groaning, hear me out. Today we’re going to clean the house! Yay! 

(Fifteen minute pause for loud whining and fake tantrums)

Wow, those are some really good points you guys made there. I’ve totally changed my mind. Of course I’m kidding. Now start cleaning. This entire house is a disaster. But hey, we can make it fun! We’ll blast some loud music and chug coffee while we do it, alright? Fine, root beer in your case. Trust me, there is nothing better than having a clean house. You’ll see. Now who wants to hear some Tupac? Ugh. Fine. Taylor Swift. 

Stage Two: Frustration

OK, let’s start with your rooms. I want you to put any toys you don’t want anymore in this bin and put any trash or broken toys in this bin. Dirty clothes in the hamper, books on the bookshelves, toys in the toy box. Yes, I know. It does sound like a lot of work. Because you guys have not cleaned anything since the last time we did this even though I tell you to clean your rooms daily. 

Look, watch how easy it is. Take this thing. Do you want to keep this? You do? This thing I have never seen you play with? It’s your favorite toy? Oh, your favorite toy of all time? That’s interesting because I’m pretty sure it’s actually half of a plastic hanger. OK, OK, OK, fine! You can keep it. But how about we put this marker that doesn’t work anymore in the bin. Oh, it’s also your favorite toy? You named it Mr. Marker? Yeah, no, sure. You have to let me get rid of this baby rattle, though. Really!? You will? Oh, good job, kiddo, I’m proud of you…Hey, why is this empty? WHO’S BEEN TAKING TOYS OUT OF THE “TOYS TO DONATE” BIN!?

Stage Three: Bargaining (Followed By Anger)

Look, guys, if we all work together we can get this done in an hour, tops. And maybe, if you kids do a good enough job, and stop with all the complaining, we can have ice cream when we’re done? I don’t know, whatever flavor is in that ancient tub in the back of the freezer. We’ll even throw some M&M’s on top. Yes, fine, marshmallows too. Just keep cleaning. 

Wait, why are you crying? Yes, you have to get rid of it. It’s one-third of a broken Mardi Gras beaded necklace. No, you do not love it. Oh stop it, it is not your best friend. You own 189 stuffies. Make one of them your best friend, alright? 

What the…is this a freakin’ SANDWICH IN YOUR LAUNDRY BASKET? 

Stage Four: Depression (Followed By More Anger)

I just wanted a clean home. Is that too much to ask? Other moms have clean homes. Probably. 

Oh, who am I kidding? What’s even the point? It’s just going to get messy again. Life is meaningless. 

No, just because I’m laying here on your floor in the fetal position does not mean you can stop. Just step around me. Well, someday when you have your own children you can lay in their filthy, gross rooms in a puddle of your own existential crisis while they pick up one single Lego at a time at the speed of molasses. 

Wait, is that…is that all the donation toys UNDER YOUR BED!? SON OF A …

Stage Five: Acceptance of Corner Cutting

Oh, just throw it under the bed. I don’t care! Let’s just get it done. No, of course we can’t just stop. What lesson would that be teaching you? Now go shove all these broken Transformers into your closet. 

(Opens bottle of wine, take giant swig straight from bottle)

Yeah, whatever, you can keep it. Go put it on top of the old washcloth pile. It’s next to the naked Barbie pile. Behind the generic Magna-Tiles pile! And when you’re done with that shove these half eaten baby board books haphazardly into your bookshelves. Well, shove harder then. 

Yup, alright. I’m calling it. We’re done. Everyone into the kitchen for some ancient freezer-burned-flavored ice cream. 

We’ve earned it.