Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Failing at motherhood sucks


I failed so bad today.

So, I yelled at my daughter tonight. What's new, right?
But this time, I really yelled.

The girl whose mom never stays to watch.
It wasn't fair to her, I see that now, but I couldn't help it. 
I didn't yell at her because she left her uniform in a heap in the floor again. Or because she left the kitchen door wide open again or because she was mean to her little sister again. 

I blew up because while I was getting them ready for their umpteenth soccer practice that week, she said, "you don't ever stay to watch our practice."

I snapped. I screamed at my 7-year-old. She couldn't possibly be serious saying that - when all I ever do these days is spend my waking hours getting them to school, to practice, cooking, cleaning, correcting homework, helping with fifth grade science projects that make me want to gauge my eyes out - that she couldn't possibly NOT see how hard I'm trying every day. 

With one man down in this household, I won't lie, many days suck. Let's take Mondays for example...

Please read the rest of my blog, published here first at Cincinnati Moms Blog.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'm NOT just a homemaker


I saw some life insurance policy paperwork lying out on the counter the other day that caught my eye. Looking at it made me a little ticked. It wasn't the sad realization that my husband is readying things for our financial future when something happens to him that made me so upset. Nope, it was one little word on the bottom of a questionnaire that sent me into a shit fit.

The form offered a short line in which to write "spouse's occupation," and my husband wrote: HOMEMAKER.

Ok, aside from the fact that it's not 1955, and I'm sure that word doesn't even exist anymore... I'm aggravated, hurt and offended that this is the one word my husband chose to describe what I do every day of my life. No, I'm not saying my husband is a chauvinistic brute. He knows better - his mother and sisters are nurses, his youngest sister is a teacher. His grandmother inherited and ran a successful grocery store chain after her husband died. So I feel it necessary to explain to my husband why this description of me just isn't going to cut it.

You see, I worked really hard to get my degree from a prestigious women's college 20 years ago. A college that for more than 170 years has been trying to break down and shatter stereotypes that women are just here to cook and have babies - to "homemake." It is a highly-decorated and esteemed higher learning institution where women have come to learn the same things that men are learning, to play the same sports as the men are playing, to be the best at whatever they dream. I'll admit I was never great at math or science (I may have bribed a biology lab partner to do all the pig dissecting sophomore year), but I could read and write like hell and it's the only thing that put a diploma in my hand and I'm damn proud of it.

Featured in a text book. I've come a long way from graffitiing the principal's car in 1986.
For years, I worked as a writer and editor at newspapers in the Midwest. People picked up their newspapers and read stories I crafted (probably crafted in less than an hour because this old girl loves a deadline) and they may have even shared those stories with their family or friends - probably printed or saved them, too. I walked into a local restaurant the other day to find framed on their wall a feature story I wrote years ago about their owner. Every once in a while, I get an email from a man whose son was killed in car crash years ago in a Memorial Day motorcycle accident that I covered when I was a reporter. A total stranger who I've never met gets my prayers most every Memorial Day. A column I wrote years ago was published in a textbook to teach feature writing. Some college kids could be reading my shit for homework, so that's pretty cool for me. I spent a good chunk of time after my babies were born freelance writing for the local daily paper, doing phone interviews and writing between naps, diaper changes or breastfeeding. Even then, I still considered myself more of a writer than I ever did a homemaker/wife/mother of three kids under age 3.

I work part time at my daughter's preschool now, as a one-woman media/publicity department. I write press releases and stories for publication, take pictures, update their web site, create and send out direct media. But more importantly, I'm Miss Andrea to 50 preschoolers who trust me, who give me hugs, who tell me stories each day about butterflies they caught, where they saw a fox or how they lost a tooth. They trust and come to me when they are crying on the playground, want to tell a secret or have an accident on the floor.

For the past couple years, I've volunteered at the grade school cafeteria. This is not a pretty job people, as I'm sure some of you may already know. It's like helping hungry, angry, little people in a ketchup splattered, Jell-O stained, stale bread-smelling, windowless room for two hours a day. And none of them ever say "please." But I go anyway because I love my kids. I love the smile on their faces when they get to see mom standing there with gloves and an apron on cleaning spilled peaches from their lunch table.
Yes, I am home most days with four kids. I'm dealing with a lot of laundry, a lot of missed pee in toilets, a lot of fights over Barbie dolls and a few piles of dog poop the new puppy might leave for me. I'm trying not to piss myself jumping on the trampoline with the twins. I'm singing Ariana Grande songs out loud in the car with a 5-year-old who doesn't care that I have the suckiest voice ever. I'm failing at way too many Pinterest recipes that my kids won't eat and constantly wiping fingerprints from every glass surface in this house. I'm coordinating play dates for my kids at the park when all I really want to do is watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix with a glass of wine. I'm taxiing the kids to and from practices and games and friends' houses like I'm some 1980s Tony Danza.

But here's the thing... yes, all that "homemaking" takes a lot of my time, but in no way does it define me. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to see my kids more than I would if I had a full-time job. I love that I'm able to drop everything to come and get them when I get that barf call from the school secretary. I love that they can come home from school and ask me for homework help instead of some babysitter (love is probably too strong a word here). But I'm letting you know, I'm not the homemaking robot you think I am. I'm more than just Mom-Cleaner. I'm more than just Wife-Cleaner. I'm more than just Dog-Cleaner. I'm more than just House-Cleaner.

I have beautiful, creative - sometimes twisted - thoughts that I love to write down. I have dreams and aspirations of doing something great for the literary world (says the lady who for one hour stood in the Target toy aisle contemplating the purchase of a fart gun). I want to teach my kids a love for reading and writing and the art of communicating honestly and completely uninhibited - without reservation. I am a storyteller. I am a friend who will listen (and probably give a painfully honest opinion, too). I am a lover to four messy, stinky people. I am a believer in a God who somehow has got to have a purpose for me. I am a juggler of life. I am all this and more.

I ask you, dear husband, can you fit all that on one line of your questionnaire?



This post originally ran here at PopsugarMoms on Sept. 21, 2017. Link below:
https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Why-Homemaker-Bad-Word-44051265?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=post&utm_campaign=moms

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This Is Why I’m Having A Love-Hate Relationship With Back-To-School


I’ve been counting down the days. It’s getting close. I feel like I’m in a marathon race in which I’ve fallen on my face a dozen times, but I keep getting up because there’s a big prize at the finish. That prize likely consists of hours of alone time and possibly a margarita at noon, but it’s there. I’m salivating. I’m in the home stretch.

Back-to-school is almost here, y’all. For some of you, it’s already arrived. For some of us, there are a couple weeks left of summer break.

Summer bucket list item #27: the carousel
We’ve got just enough time to finish off that summer bucket checklist that I so optimistically posted in the kitchen back in May. You know the one, it has “TONS OF SUMMER FUN” on it. The Mary Poppins activity planner in me created it, thinking it would be a good idea to list countless exciting adventures like amusement park days, Omnimax Theatre trips, lemonade stands, pottery painting, pizza-making nights, crafts, and even hiking for God’s sake! She was fired around week three of summer vacation — yes, it was the pottery that broke her (pun intended).

At the start of the summer, we were all about our bucket lists. We were crafting the shit out of paper plates and pipe cleaners thanks to our Pinterest friends. We bought the kids all the candy they wanted at the matinee showing of Trolls. We hauled their beach towels, sand toys, sunscreens, and Capri Suns in our canvas totes over our shoulders every day for a week in Florida. We bared our muffin tops at the splash park. We did cannonballs off the diving board because the kids begged us to.

But let’s admit, summertime wears us down. The hot, sweaty days at the park, the whiny days at the pool, the sibling bickering from morning to night, the “I’m bored” chants from four little people who couldn’t possibly know what true boredom is, and of course, the mealtime preparations every day for 80 days straight. Summer has become an unbearable eternity.

So we count the days until they put on those brand new backpacks filled with freshly sharpened No. 2s and all the other school supplies you painstakingly gathered, and march them through those big double doors at school. The school that will keep them most all of the day for the next nine months. It means I will be able to sit at the pool alone for a couple hours on those last few summer days. It means I could probably schedule a massage on a Wednesday morning and stop for an iced mocha afterward. I could drink it alone. My heart just skipped a beat. It could possibly mean I could take an afternoon nap before the bus gets here, and I could listen to a completely empty house save only for the hum of the air conditioner.


All this sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. Here’s where the love-hate part comes in.
We all know what misery comes with back-to-school, and it starts with a capital H.


I’m already having anxiety about the holy hell that will be the homework my fifth-grade son is going to bring home. It’s a lot of fractions and geometry and figuring out how many more miles Sally needs to go on the train to catch up with Paul, who left three hours ago with a sandwich he divided into 6/8 or something. I just hope for Paul’s sake he has wine for Sally.

I’m not ready to handle. Not only will it be impossible fifth-grade homework on the kitchen table, it’ll be two times the second-grade homework, which has apparently gotten a lot harder than it was in 1983. They are doing some serious wizardry in 2017 classrooms because I have to consult Google for every question in that math workbook. I only hope kindergarten homework on top of it all won’t send me over the edge.

I’m not ready to handle the 6 a.m. alarm clock buzz to drag four kids out of bed in order to get them dressed, fed, brushed, packed up, and dropped off for that 7 a.m. school bell. And packing lunches — for four kids every day for nine months? I’m hyperventilating at the thought.


We all know back-to-school also means we undoubtedly turn into Taxi Mom. Get those minivans cleaned out ladies because we are going to be living out of them for the next nine months. School pickup and drop-off, academic team practice, piano practice, soccer practice (make that four different soccer team practices), gymnastics league — I’m 1 or 2 miles away from running the minivan into a ravine some nights.

Baring it at the splash park
But I think the worst part about back-to-school — at least for most of us middle-northern-part-of-the-country moms — has got to be when cold weather shows up at our door. The nippy September mornings, cold and rainy October days, the frosty November mornings when you can’t possibly find the energy to roll out of bed, and the frigid, snowy December days when the last thing you want to do is look for four winter coats, hats, boots and mismatched mittens. I’m exhausted thinking about it.

I guess these sweaty park days and popsicles on the swing set don’t sound too bad right now. Yes, summer is dwindling down. We’re in the homestretch. We’re exhausted, yes, but there’s a fresh new version of exhaustion coming soon.

Soak in those 90-degree days. Sidewalk chalk the hell out of that driveway. Let them stay up to catch fireflies. One more cannonball. We need to finish strong, moms. Keep at the list. Eye on the prize.


This blog post was published Aug. 15, 2017 at ScaryMommy.com, linked below:









Friday, August 11, 2017

Countdown til Back to School: 5 Survival Tips


If any of you moms are like me, the final weeks of summer leading up to that glorious return to school have got you feeling like you are running the longest, sweatiest marathon - a marathon in which there are no cups of water lovingly shoved in your face when you need refreshing. Some of us want to faint and give up - but we can't because we know the other runners will literally trample our bodies. That's what the last few days of summer can feel like for mothers of little ones.

The kids are bored. You know this, because they've only said it about eleventeenthousand times.

I know you are exhausted. Me too. So here's where we need to help each other. We need to ask fellow moms, sisters, our faraway Facebook family members whose kids are grown (the ones who tell us they'd "give anything to have their little ones back home)." Ok then, I'm asking you, tell me what to do with them. Because at this point, anything is better than the Nick Jr. marathons I find myself turning on during these waning summer days.

It's raining marshmallows: because let's face it - you're out of ideas
In the meantime, here are a couple of my own suggestions for anyone who might be struggling with ideas for the kids before we send them off to school for nine months. Here are my easy go-tos for keeping the kids occupied at least a fraction of the day when you just can't think of anything else.

Let's finish this marathon to back-to-school together, y'all. Pinterest, eat your heart out.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THESE FUNNY TIPS, PUBLISHED HERE, AT CINCINNATI MOMS BLOG:
http://cincinnati.citymomsblog.com/back-to-school-survival/

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I need to be in the picture

For years I hardly put myself in pictures with my kids. "I'm too fat," I said. "My butt takes up the entire frame." There's probably an entire decade of photos in which I'm only in a few.

I watched them play at the beach today - sandy butts and sun kissed hair - digging holes, finding shells, skimboarding - and I was reminded of how these days are going to be gone soon.
This time is going to disappear into a memory faster than our sandcastles melt into the sea at dusk. I want them to remember me. I want them to know mom loved getting buried in the sand. She loved getting knocked down in the waves. She loved hearing giggles about how they just peed in the ocean. She loved paying too much for ice cream waffle cones and letting them stay up a little late to watch terrible B-grade Netflix movies. 

Yes, my butt is still big and probably always will be, but I need to be in the frame. I need to be in these memories. I need them to know how much I love them here and now, in this picture, in this time. Hopefully no amount of time will ever wash that memory away.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Apology from Miss Judgypants


I owe a lot of people some serious apologies.
I'm getting to an age where I need to own up to some stuff and let it go. I am not saying anything here to absolve myself, I don't want a pat on the back for admitting anything here. I just know we all go through life meeting all sorts of people in different situations, from hella different backgrounds and we all have different baggage we carry around. There are surely going to be times when we don't identify with everyone we encounter... and sometimes we judge. Ok, many times I judge. I am a terrible Judgypants.

I am the last person who should be sizing anyone up, so here I am telling you all I'm sorry.
Where do I begin?

To the homeless man I encountered on the street while sightseeing in San Francisco last week - whose scruffy beard was unkempt and whose clothes were filthy - I'm so sorry I judged you, too. My first thought passing you on the street was the wonderment of how on Earth you let yourself get here, begging on this noisy street each day. I looked away when our eyes met, and I was saddened that you stand on this corner almost as invisible as the tattered trash can sitting behind you. It wasn't until my walking companion turned around and went back to give you money, that I stopped to see you a bit more. I saw there were drawings at your feet. People like me only see a dirty man begging for money, yet don't have time to see there is an artist inside you with just as much creativity as anyone inside the San Francisco Art Institute. The day I saw you there, the day that the famed Batman actor Adam West died, you had sketched out a quirky, colored pencil drawing of Batman against the Golden Gate Bridge, and with the most painfully beautiful, sad blue eyes, you asked me to take it for free. You smiled at me and I felt like I might hit the pavement begging you to forgive me for not seeing you as a person. Why couldn't I see this person who was once probably a very creative boy who got As in his art classes - that the dirty hands before me on this street probably once held his mother's grip crossing a street as a child. Blast you sweet-hearted homeless man for making my heart ache more than it ever did for any high school crush I had.

...I don't want to pass on the Judgypants baton to my kids, either. There is too much beauty in the world, too many good friends who could be lost to the girl who lives a life with her own internal gavel. Being a 41-year-old mother of four, I thought I had everything and everyone figured out. I think I'm smart enough to say I judged myself wrong, too.

Please read the rest of my post here at Cincinnati Mom's Blog:

http://cincinnati.citymomsblog.com/apology-miss-judgypants/

The street sketch of a true artist.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Uh oh. We got a DOG.


We got a puppy.
Coming soon... Juno
Ok, I know what you are thinking. It's probably has something to do with me not having time to care for anything right now because I've got four kids with endless commitments, practices and games, a husband battling cancer and days where I don't brush my teeth or shower til dinnertime. Yes, I know. My husband doesn't want a dog either and keeps telling me not to get it - but then again he probably never planned to meet and marry an obnoxious, compulsive, high maintenance Italian girl either, but look how that turned out for him. I swear he's close to divorcing me and kicking me out of the house over the decision I made about this dog, so I'm kind of holding my breath.
But hear me out. I swear I have good reason.
We lost our German shepherd Keeley almost a year ago. The days and weeks after that vet visit were heartbreaking. The kids were roaming the yard to find tufts of her dog fur - that they tucked away in their dresser drawers. One of the twins was so distraught she would lay on the dog bed, crying "WHY GOD?" (She is the most likely in the family to win an Oscar). They reminisced about playing with her and taking her for walks -- because even in her old age, she enjoyed walking up the street, sniffing (peed on) mailboxes and barking at neighbor dogs.
We actually missed finding her piles of crap in the yard.
The puppy who sold us.

This house was due for either a puppy or a baby, and since there was no chance in the bluest of hells for the latter - puppy it was.

I've decided happiness needs to make a comeback here. I'm aiming to get fun, laughter and smiles on leash and pull them all back into this house where they've been missing for too long. 

Please read this entire post at Cincinnati Moms Blog where it was published first.