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Showing posts from 2014

To Parent or Not To Parent. That is the Question

Can you believe that not everybody likes my blog? I think it's funny and I usually get a good chuckle when I write a post. It's always a shock when someone doesn't seem to like my blown-out-of-proportion, dramatic, passionate, and sarcastic virtual musings. I try not to take it personally, but my blog is very personal so it puts me between a rock and a hard place if someone thinks what I wrote sucks. Or, maybe they don't think it sucks, but they disagree with my point of view. (What a shame.) Here's an example, recently someone in my life read my last post and was very confused about why I would write a whole post outlining how awful it is to be a parent and then end with a statement about how I love my children more than anything else in the whole wide world. I should mention that this person is a DINK. No, I didn't call them a bad name. This person really is a DINK- Dual Income. No Kids. Not all DINKS want to be DINKS but some do. I think it's great that…

What Type of Parent Are You? A Quiz.

What type of parent are you? Take this quiz to find out. (We promise it's as fun, and as accurate, as BuzzFeed.)It's 5:30 am on a Monday morning. You are:a)running on the treadmill while your youngest plays with Barbies. She's talking to you, you can't hear her over the thudding but you nod and say, "Yep, uh, yep" every few minutes. This is the only time of day you have "to yourself".b)Asleep. You were up until 3 watching a SyFy movie and checking email so you are beat.c)Up packing lunches for the kids and writing personalized, hand-written notes to tuck into their lunch packs.Ok. So, moving on. It's now 6:45. Where are you and what are you up to?a)you have fed the kids and the pets, made the beds, and are now standing over your third grader saying, "Brush your teeth. Brush your teeth. Brush your teeth. Brush your teeth" while your four year old clutches to your leg.b)in the bathroom. What am I doing in there? I'll never teeeell.c…

You'll Thank Me for Not Cooking

Thanksgiving is the day of the year that reminds me how inadequate I really am. During the days leading up to the holiday, other people are rushing around making meal plans and buying groceries. I am doing whatever it is I do on any other day-which is not meal planning or grocery shopping. Growing up, I'd watch the women of the family organize and orchestrate every holiday. They planned the meals, braved the insanity of food buying, set the table, and started prepping the food days in advance. The meal itself took less than a half an hour, of which they took part in maybe 15 minutes because they were busy adding last minute items to the table followed by clearing plates and getting coffee and dessert ready. They basically shoved their food down before concluding the day by washing and drying the dishes. There are two reasons why I was witness to this process and not a participant. The first is because I was not invited in. My mom and grandma just wanted to get the job done. It wa…

I Want to be a Master of Love

Lately all sorts of relationship articles have been popping up in my news feed. Like the terrible one about how you should have sex with your husband every day. Good for you, honey. Moving on. I read one this week that has really made me think. I suggest you take a look at it. It's in the Atlantic and it's called Masters of Love by Emily Esfahani Smith. Smith's article discusses the science of marital happiness. You should really read it because my "Cliff's Notes" will miss a bunch of important stuff.In the article, Smith writes about research done by psychologists at the Gottman Institute. By researching interactions between couples in a Love Lab, these experts concluded that there are Masters of relationships and Disasters. Those who are Masters are really good at keeping two elements central in their relationship: kindness and generosity. Sure, you say, that seems so obvious. Well, not to me. I took a scan of this article and it clicked with me. Then I re…

Default Parenting

I didn't take any drugs during either of my kids' deliveries, I swear. However, I must have been on drugs at some point in the hospital because I think I signed very important paperwork and I just don't recall when. It's a little scary and disconcerting, honestly, because I don't remember reading the fine print, or signing my name, but I clearly signed myself up for something- for life- and frankly, I'm not very happy about it. It was such a foolish thing to do but it must have been the post labor hormones and is definitely one of those parts of labor (like the burning and the delirium) that oddly, I can't recall. Yes, it must have been in the hospital that I signed myself up to be the "default parent." Like a responsible new parent, I gave their names for their social security numbers and birth certificates. I watched the video and signed that I understood shaking a baby can kill it, and signed that I understood how to properly install a car sea…

The Art of the Marital Nonviolent Protest

To make peace with an enemy one must work with that enemy and that enemy becomes one’s partner. – Nelson Mandela Isn't it interesting that,often, our hormones dictate how we first determine life partners? We are attracted to a person- their looks, their smile, laugh, and yes, their personality, their values, their beliefs, and in many ways their lifestyle. In our culture today, we decide if we want to spend the rest of our lives with someone because they are attractive, they believe in what we believe in, value what we value, and our ideas of the future are similar. (This is not a comprehensive list, or a thesis paper, so you must give me a break. I give myself 60 minutes tops to power blog post and I do not research on anything before writing. I know, real quality here.)Anyway, I'm curious about this dude who is the founder of eharmony.com. I always see him on TV, touting the success of his online match making site. The company has a big assessment that you take that suppose…

Thanks, Nose, for the Memories!

I have a big nose. People without a big nose think it gives me character. People who also have a big nose agree that my nose is big. For most of my childhood and teen years, I hated my nose. There it sat, right in the middle of my face, big and ugly and ruining my chances of modeling or getting a good date. As I have aged, and got that good date- for life-I've cared less about my big nose, except for those awkward moments because it always seems runny. My nose has become more to me that just a bulls eye on my face. It's become a memory generator. Given the fact that on many days I can't remember where my glasses are when they are on my face, or what someone said to me five minutes ago, I'm awed by how our senses can pull us back to remembering and to recalling so many specific details of the memory, or even how you react now about the overall feeling you had at the original moment. My big nose is good at connecting me to memories. I'm fascinated how many times, in…

The Spice in my Life

Having kids is a cool experiment. You mix your genes and out comes this person who is sorta like you, sorta like your partner and sorta like your great aunt Helen. Then, this is nuts- you have another kid and they are sorta like you, but not in the same way as the other kid, sorta like your partner, but again, not in the same way, and could basically be a carbon copy of your sibling. How does that happen?! I have no idea, and I'm not about to explain it to you. I was a history major, remember, I know nothing about the human genome except that it's some sort of project. So, my two genetic gifts are my salt and pepper. My Sugar and Spice. My Sugar is sweet and shy and very cuddly and rarely questions my authority. Except when my sugar OD's on the sweet stuff and then she goes haywire and is a tyrant who screams as loud as she possibly can, stomps her feet like she's trying out for the Blue Man Group, and waves her arms like she wants to fly to the moon. Mostly, though, …

Five Hour Energy Can't Cure Child-Induced Sleep Deprivation

I woke up this morning in the five o'clock hour, as I do several times each week. Trying my best to exert the least amount of energy as possible, I dressed, drank a glass of water, downed a piece of toast with peanut butter, and headed out the door. Pitbull thumped in my earphones as I shuffled in the cold, misty morning. As I crested a hill and caught a steady pace, I closed my eyes for a moment and considered keeping them closed. I wondered if I could master "sleep running". It is a great idea and a wonderful way to kill two birds with one stone. I could catch some z's and get in my weekly mileage quota, all at the same time. Then I thought of my mother-in-law and my promise to be a safe runner, and I opened my eyes and pushed harder, pushing my body and mind awake. As I trucked along I thought, "I wonder how much faster I could be if I wasn't so tired all of the time?" And then, I thought about all of the things I'd be better at if I wasn't …

Improved Means to an Unimproved End

Ugh. I get sooo sick of people complaining about technology. They act like it is some sort of demon that is destroying the world. It's killing our social skills, making us more insular. It's causing us to have car accidents. It's making us bad parents. Blah. Blah. Blah. The internet, and our ability to access it anywhere, anytime, is the new TV; the new rock and roll and rap. It's the new cigarettes; new weed. It's big and bad and terrible and will be the demise of civilization. Not to call her out, but a personal example of the schism between the old guard and the new is illustrated during a conversation between me and my mom. While she does use the World Wide Web for work and did buy a Kindle last year, she is more or less fearful of technology. She's pretty much a ludite. When I'd send her a link, the lady used to re-type links into her Internet browser (you know, like wwww.blahblah.com/thiehriehru5858456u468945798&$%%&%&. She thinks someone…

The Language of Love-ASL

I know three languages. Obviously, I've got English covered. For nine years I was a student of Spanish and studied abroad in Costs Rica. I've lost my Spanish language abilities over time because I don't read it or speak it very much any more besides counting to ten with the kids, watching some Dora the Explorer, and singing a Pitbull song. It's been years since I actively practiced but I can still speak it conversationally and can eavesdrop on conversations and understand every third or fourth words. It seems, with langauges, it's easier to read or understand than it is to speak. That's the case with my third language. In addition to my mastery of English and my conversational Spanish, I comprehend Andy as a Second Language. That's right ASL, the real language of love. It's best way to learn a langauge through immersion and that's what I have done for the last thirteen years. It was hard at first and I was often confused and misinterpreting what I …

Easy Tip for the Perfect Summer Vacation

Ahh, summer vacation. Toes in the sand. Sun on skin. Lazy days by the lake. Idle trips to cultural attractions. Hikes reaching breath-taking views. Yummy dinners. Great company. Good times. Everyone looks forward to vacation, whether it's a big one that has been dreamed about for years, or a quick get-away to escape an otherwise hectic life. For anyone with a family (that means EVERYONE), however, vacation is an oxymoron. I've written before about my 2 month summer work hiatus with the kids, and Andy's assertion that my time not at work is my "bon-bon" summer. Well, this summer, I am a part-time working girl so my bon-bons are limited to long weekends and the big cake was a 4 day adventure along the New England coast. I knew that giving up the lazy days of summer, mornings in pjs, coffee on the deck would be hard so, of course, the 4 day family adventure had to be the best trip ever, or else. I mapped it all out weeks in advance. I checked the weather daily, plo…

I'm Sorry. So Sorry.

Note: I wrote this before seeing the Pantene commercial or the recent Huffington Post article. I'm good like that. I am always saying sorry. It's mostly because of my big mouth and inability to think before I speak. I can't blame it all on myself, though. Some of it is situational. Being a parent and saying sorry go hand-in-hand. I'm always either apologizing to my children or someone else, on behalf of my children. I apologize to my kids every day. "Sorry, you can't eat ice cream for breakfast. Sorry, you can't stay up until midnight watching cartoons." Every day I break bad news to the kids and tell them I'm sorry before doing so. Then, there's all the people we encounter on a daily basis and my flow of apologies that come along with our interactions. "Sorry my daughter hit you in the ankles with her little shopping cart. Sorry my kid hit your kid in the face with a sand bucket. Sorry my kids are screaming on this airplane." Somet…

I Worry. It Worries Me.

"I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in And stops my mind from wandering Where it will go." When I was 15 I would sit in the recliner at night, doing my homework, and I'd start to experience shortness of breath. After many nights of hyper-ventilation, my mom took me to the doctor, who performed a series of tests and determined that nothing was wrong with my body. My mind was another story. I didn't have asthma or cancer or any other illness that had entered my mind during those few weeks. The doctor told me and my mom that I was likely experiencing anxiety each evening. He explained that it happens to many people during quiet moments in their day, and this is what he suggested was happening to me. When I was relaxed and idle at home, my mind would wander. When tasks weren't directly in front of me, distracting me, my brain would find a way to go to a dark place and get stuck there. This dark place of worry would, well, worry me, and the shortness of breath …

You Seem Like Nice People

I was raised by people who were raised by people that believed children should be seen and not heard. When I was a kid, if it was summer, kids were outside. If it was winter, kids were in another room. At family functions, kids ate at the kids' table. At the public pool, the lifeguard blew the whistle and the kids got out so the adults could swim. Kids watched what TV shows their parents watched (for me: bowling, baseball, and WWF wrestling). Kids didn't go out to dinner or brunch. If they did go out to eat, parents didn't let the server stand for 15 minutes while the kids debated between mac 'n' cheese and chicken fingers. When kids talked, the adults didn't stop mid-sentence to listen, with bated breath, to whatever the kids had to say. (Like, at my house, when I am interrupted by "Knock, knock, who's there? Stinky underwear!") Parents didn't plan non-work day agendas to be filled with fun kids' activities like going to the park, the in…

26.2

Running a marathon is a lot like having a baby. I haven't really done too many things that have challenged my physical, mental, and spiritual strength outside of these two things, so perhaps that is why I can so easily draw the parallels. In any event, this week, as I reflect back on last weekend's 26.2, it has made me nostalgic about the birth, and pregnancy, of my girls. Here's why: From the moment you think about it, you can't stop thinking about it. Once the spark is set in your mind, the fire builds. You may tell no one, at first, or you may tell everyone, but either way, it's all you can think about. The idea of it makes you equally excited and terrified. You can't wait for it to happen and you can't wait for it to be over. It makes you change all of your habits. You need more sleep. You need to drink more water. You can't drink alcohol. You have to pay attention to what you are eating and truly consider what you consume as nutrients and fuel. …

How to Not Talk to Your Kids About God

Easter. A Holy day. A time of celebration in the name of the Savior. I guess. What do I know? I didn't go to church today, nor have I gone in well over a year. I was raised Catholic by someone who was not raised Catholic. My mom married into the faith and decided to keep carrying the Catholic torch while my Dad decided to never again step foot in the church for worship. Every Saturday afternoon, I would ride with my mom to church, carrying my baby doll, Guiseppe. I would rise when everyone else rose, and sat when everyone else sat. I would shake hands and say "Peace Be With You" even if it was totally weird to shake hands with all the strangers around me. I would sing to by baby and sit on the knee rest. After, we would stop at the gas station and I would get Skittles. It was fun and it seemed to make my mom happy. I attended CCD on Mondays after school. I would listen to the stories about Jesus and I learned that it was important to be a good person. I learned there wa…

I am a Bad Mom Because My Kids Scream at Price Chopper

Before I had kids, I knew nothing about raising kids. There is no book that truly helps a person understand how to gracefully, and stresslessly, succeed at being a parent. Parenthood is experiential learning at its best. We experiment, reflect, and try again. And again. And again. Some days are better than others. What I am writing is no shock to anyone, anywhere. As parents, we provide children with support and guidance, we share stories that are the foundation for morals, we act as role models, we set rules and boundaries. We reward for jobs well done and offer repercussions for bad choices. We comfort and cradle and lift up. We love. We forgive. We do this day after day, year after year. And nobody ever told us how to. We just do it, some days better than others. Another fact we all know is that our children are not us. They are their very own people, with their own personalities, strengths, and quirks, who make their own decisions. They are people. Young people, with brains that…