Top Ten Ways Busy Moms  Can Carve Out Some Precious ‘Me’ Time

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New moms, toddler moms, moms with tweens, teens, young adults and even moms with baby hippos, finding time for oneself in a non-stop kid-infested world can be downright challenging if not impossible.  There is always SOMETHING that NEEDS our attention or SOMEONE who desperately NEEDS our help.  OH MY GAWD, MOM WE RAN OUT OF TUNA.  You know, that kind of drama is just a pimple on the face of a pre-pubescent girl in the world of scenarios.  Being a SuperMom is downright exhausting!

Feeling the pressure?  Especially with the start of a new school year which brings fundraisers, bake sales, the ever popular candy bar sales and of course, who can forget EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY IN THE WORLD IN THE HISTORY OF EVER BEING HELD ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT.

Been there, done that.

Now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’ I’ve had the luxury of sitting back and taking stock of all the madness that was their childhoods.  Here are some of my fave ways of regaining some sanity,  taking some breathing room and really just savouring a few minutes for that much needed break.  I mean wine.  Much needed wine.

Ask for help – For God’s sake woman, you do not need to rule the world all in one day. Ask Hubby/ spouse/significant other/pet llama to pull some weight and help take one of the little darlings to dance class or gymnastics or cyber crime unit day, or whatever it is those young kids do nowadays.  Remember the old ‘take turns’ you learned in Kindergarten?  Yeah, that still applies.  There is no shame in asking somebody you trust to get Kid A to Place A so you can sit down and have a glass of wine.  NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT STATEMENT.  Do we have to review the whole labour/delivery thing?  Okay….

Read a Book – Remember those? They have covers and pages and words that are not accompanied by little bunnies rolling down hills. They have actual words bigger than ‘the’.  You are able to read said book whilst child is swimming, dueling, wrestling, skating…etc.  You do not need to spend every waking minute watching your kid drown in the pool during swimming lessons.   THAT’S WHY THEY HAVE LIFEGUARDS.    Even if you read ONE SENTENCE, you will feel almost adult-like.  Amazing…

Sign up for some scheduled class- Fun Fact: There are adult classes to learn new and exciting things like yoga, or exercise, or spin class or vibrational cooking…whatever the hell you want! Schedule yourself on your mommy calendar just like you scheduled all of your kids’ activities. That way, you practically guarantee a space for you.  STICK TO IT AND DON’T GIVE IT UP OR YOU WILL DIE.  That’s how you have to approach it.  Your health, mental and physical, may depend on it.

Lunch Break Walk-  I admit this one is kinda lame, especially if you work at job where leaving is like an episode from Prison Break, but it does have its merits if you can swing it.  If you work outside the home, it’s probably one of the only times you get to adult so cling to that and hang out with the co-workers you like and invite her/him/them along.  Could be a fun half hour.  Or lame.  Totally lame.  Crap shoot, really.

Repeat this phrase: “No, that doesn’t work for me” – Seriously, you are allowed to say ‘no’ and not just to all of your offspring. I mean to other parents, especially the snooty moms who have all kinds of time on their hands and sit back and drink wine on their porches and bake REAL HOMEMADE ORGANIC PRESERVATIVE FREE COOKIES AT THE BAKSALES and don’t invite you to sit and drink because you’re too busy RUNNING AROUND CARTING ALL OF THEIR KIDS AND YOURS TO ACTIVITIES.   Yeah.  Stop that.  Practice being a ‘snooty mom’.  And baking is overrated.

Extricate yourself from the situation – Just totally remove yourself from being involved.  In anything.  Be involved with your child, but don’t feel you have to join all the PTA meetings and the council meetings or the Society For Being a Mom Organizational Association…thing.   Pick one committee in which you can participate without overstretching yourself and do that.  There is no rule anywhere saying you have to be involved in EVERY school function, committee, organization or whatever.  ONE THING.

Carpooling is your new best friend – It’s best when everyone can lend a hand and carpooling can be a lifesaver….when it’s not abused. Or your generosity is not taken advantage of.  Fair is fair so outline the rules going in with other parent(s) so everyone is on the same page.  Make sure Johnny is aware who is driving or picking up so he can expect Mr. Jones to be there and not Mrs. Lazynski who wears her hair funny and smells a bit ‘off’.

Chores – When the kiddos are in charge of their own shit, it takes on a whole new meaning. As moms, we tend to think that ‘taking care’ of the kids equates to doing everything for them.  Not so fast.  They need to take SOME responsibility for their stuff, so start doling out things they are capable of handling and EXPECT them to follow through.   For example, if Tuesdays are hockey practice give him/her the responsibility of having their bag packed with ALL of their gear and having it ready at the door by the expected time.  If they get to practice and something is missing – a natural and logical consequence would be to miss practice.  They HAVE to take responsibility for their shit at some point.  They won’t forget next time.  I SWEAR TO GAWD IF YOU GET IN THAT CAR AND DRIVE HOME TO GET THE MISSING GEAR AND THEN BACK TO THE RINK I WILL THROW A GLASS OF WINE AT YOU AND MAKE YOU LICK IT UP.  It’s only practice.  They’ll live.

Lie – Sometimes, in life telling the truth can be downright harmful to everyone’s health. Especially, yours.  In the interest of healthy lifestyles, lying comes in as one of the top things to do when you are desperately seeking wine time.   Oh, sure…don’t get on that high horse, you’ll get a nosebleed.  HOW DO YOU THINK THE SNOOTY MOMS GET TO SIT ON THEIR PORCHES.  That’s right.  That headache has suddenly reappeared and Johnny may have to miss ONE NIGHT of Judo.  The kid has been kicking his sister for years, I think he has that move down pat…

Alcohol? Why yes, please –  Basically, it’s all about the wine, so enjoy!  You’ve earned your glass so kick up your feet and indulge in a glass or five before somebody notices you can no longer drive.

That’s it.  Your list to freedom and some peace among the hectic, no holds barred world of kids, activities and school functions that make being a parent the joyous roller coaster ride it is…Good luck and may the wine be ever in your favour.

 

 

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Parenting Tips For Surviving The Teen Years With Grace, Dignity and A Little Less Drunkenness

Adolescence, otherwise known as the slow descent into madness, or those lost years mommy raided the liquor store in search for more wine, or when the little darlings morph into bigger versions of Teletubbies gone awry, is a trying time for everyone; parents, teens, grandparents, teachers, babies, the dog, the mail-delivery person, the librarian with the big ass mole, the nice policeman who escorted you home after being caught outside the liquor store after hours banging on the doors pleading for them to “PLEASE OPEN I NEED WINE! I HAVE TEENAGERS!!!”….

The brains of average teenagers are still developing and pushing the limits. It’s one of the many fun and interesting ways they determine their place in the family; their role in the world and their intimate social circle. It’s also annoying as hell.

Limit setting and parents sticking to them is the key element to any good survival during this emotional roller coaster. They will yell, scream, slam doors and then use the ever favourite “Jan’s mom let her do it”. “AGAIN WITH THE JAN’S MOM?! I’m not Jan’s mom! I don’t care what Jan’s mom let her do! WHO THE HELL IS JAN?! Jan’s mom can stick it!! “ Natural and understandable responses to an illogical and peer-pressure kind of tactic that only ensues argumentative combative behaviour. BAD FORM, TEEN. But that’s what they know. Knee jerk emotional responses to having their asses slammed into a room with nowhere to go but to a ‘Jan’s mom’ kind of response. Stick to your guns! Not literal guns, but your limits. Stick to your decisions. You get it. DON’T CAVE!  

I could say here that communication is the key to any good relationship and speaking in quiet tones and providing a caring and open environment for them to participate in mature dialogue will assist in curbing the emotional upheaval….but that would be utter bullshit. Seriously. Teens are a ball of emotional crap wrapped up in a brain-fugue ire that speaking at all will only escalate the already shitty attitude they possess. I tend to throw my hands in the air and say “Jesus, help me with this child! Give him the necessary good sense that he needs to see the light!” and then proceed to speak in tongues. This generally confuses the shit out of the teen and he is so freaked out he turns around and goes to his room to try to call his father saying “Mom has lost it! Come home now!” And will never ask to go to another party/borrow the car/jump off a bridge, again.  

As a mother of three teens who are now adults, I can say you will survive. Motherhood be damned, the adolescent years are the most trying times; following of course after toddlerdom when the word ‘no’ was the prompt to put more toys in the toilet; the righteous pre-teen years where buying the right shirt was a major meltdown affair and of course the roaring twenties where there’s university exams, classes and staying out all night. Actually, now that I read that statement, being a parent kind of sucks. There is no decade safe where you can really sit back with your feet up and relax and say, ‘yep. We did it. We raised our kids.’ A parent’s work is never done and even now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’, I can say I still worry. We still argue (yes, Miss H even with Son), we still have to set the limit and toe the line and all that parenting lingo you read in all of the Parenting 101 books that kinda only work when the kid is already well-adjusted, graduated with a PhD and on his way to his own wedding. All those nice parenting books you bought will surely serve better as a nightstand where you can lay your bottle of wine after an afternoon of endless pleading and begging with the mail-delivery-person to please rescue you from your torment only for him/her/neutral to pry your death grip from his/her/neutral arm and run madly up the street….damned mail-delivery persons! (being politically correct is wordy, but not expensive)

Suck it up, Mommy/Daddy you’re a lifer now!

Ahhh, think back to the day when that adorable little pink baby was first placed in your arms and you promised him the world! And now, well now, he’s still kinda adorable and you would still give him the world if he wasn’t so damned stubborn like his father and have the intelligence of a snail. Then he comes home with decent grades and you think “Yesss. Finally, he has turned a corner. He is growing up” then he dents the car, or floods the basement with the garden hose or goes bowling with a frozen turkey and throws it through the front door.  

Yup.  

A teenager. The universe’s way of reminding you that young people can be stupid. We are the force that guides these young impressionable teens into adulthood with common sense, values and a wealth of information to make solid decisions; like bowling with a frozen turkey is way better suited in the basement using the hockey net. Duh…ANYONE KNOWS THAT.  

That’s why we also have wine. For when those guidelines are a little skewed, those decisions are a little off the mark and we struggle with guilt, ire and Jesus.

Good luck, fellow parents. You are not alone during this traumatic and challenging time. Remember, they will be around FOREVER. Also, the liquor store is open daily until 11pm. Make sure to get there early.

You. Are. Welcome.

 

    

 

18th Birthday Story – Rock Star Edition 

Today is my son Kyle’s 18th birthday. A milestone in any young person’s life, I thought I would re-post this story in honour of him. AND, for purely motherly love and embarrassment, because nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY better than an awkward story about when you were 3years old.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KID!!!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, here is a special story about the first time my son learned to speak. It’s all very dramatic and tears at your heart strings so get out your tissues…okay, it’s actually an embarrassing tale of music and Walmart, but still. It was traumatic for one of us. Maybe two of us. The innocent lady who witnessed my child’s descent into the debauchery and the morally deficient world of rock music and was probably scarred for life and myself, who led him there.

Once upon a time, in a land called Grand Falls Winsor, lived a nice little family with a mother, a father two daughters and a young son. They all lived happily in their house playing and frolicking in the meadows. ( okay, there were technically no meadows in GFW. AND we don’t frolic as a rule. Only on very special occasions like Christmas, or when some of us are really drunk. No pointing any fingers, just sayin’. ) Anyway, the boy, who was three years old, had not begun to speak any language intelligible to any human life form. The mother, being very concerned, took said young boy to a Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist was a young woman of very good bearing and simply stated “There is nothing wrong with the boy. He will speak when he’s ready. Go home and rest your head, lady” 

So, the despairing mother took her young boy home and after a lengthy car ride listening to the young son speak something akin to the Cantonese and Ancient Tibetan Mongloid tongue , wearily escorted young child into the house. It was during this phase in the young mother’s life that she began experimenting with music. Music she adored when she was young and single and had somehow lost in the day-to-day tedium of Barney and Caillou episodes (it should be noted here that Caillou was seen as an evil child full of whininess and annoying shit that led the mother to bouts of anxiety and desperate pleas of “LET’S ALL GO OUTSIDE AND GET SOME FRESH AIR BEFORE MA HEAD EXPLODES!” ) Yeah.

One day, while playing her music very loudly, she noticed her young son sitting very attentively. The daughters, heard the rendition of Bryan Adams’ “I Wanna Be Your Underwear” and asked repeatedly to hear the ‘underwear song’. Mother was happy to appease her young daughters as she found this tune particularly humorous, obliged…often. After the young daughters had ventured off to school, the mother took young son to Walmart for a bit of shopping in the afternoon. The son, being very sleepy and ready for his nap at that time, was readily dosing in the cart and humming a tune the mother recognized as Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself For Loving You”…Joan rocks. The mother, knowing the son was unable to speak, allowed the son to sing the song at will, while all the Walmart staff looked on adoringly saying how cute the little boy was singing to his mother. Yeah.

As the mother approached the checkout line, she noticed a woman behind her who seemed particularly taken with the young boy. She was smiling and cooing to the child as the mother flung her intended purchases on the conveyer belt. Knowing the young boy was securely occupied, the mother paid close attention to her groceries when suddenly she heard a most familiar sound. “I WANNA BE!” being sung behind her. She went swiftly over to her son. Could it be? Was that him? Had the spell of the Cantonese speak been broken and replaced with the x-rated lyrics of an old Bryan Adams song? The lady who had been occupying and smiling at the young boy thought the boy to be speaking to her. So, she replied “What do you want to be?” The mother, knowing the son was merely repeating the words to a raunchy song, attempted to intervene by pointing to a random balloon and distracting the boy. Alas, the boy could not be sidetracked. Again, he sang out “I WANNA BE!!“. Full of fear for the next line, the mother hurriedly began to throw her groceries onto the belt all the while, the nice lady said again, “What do you want to be?” and leaned closer to hear the boy. The young boy looked innocently up at the woman, his sparkling blue eyes dancing with joy as he sang, quite in tune I must say, “YOUR UNDERWEAR”.  

The lady, aghast and shocked by what she had just heard, recoiled in horror and glared at the young mother. Washed with embarrassment, and stifling a laugh, the mother simply retorted “Oh, it’s a song his father taught him” and pushed the cart out of the store, praising the child for his speech and promising to teach him more ‘appropriate’ songs. Like more Joan Jett, whose song son repeatedly sang henceforth as “I hate myself for lubbing you….” yeah. 

The son, now thirteen and three quarters has had a varied singing career. I have been called regarding his poor song choices including the popular titles “My Humps” by the Black ‘Eyed Peas, “I like Big Butts” and the infamous “Save a Horse Ride A Cowboy” which I am totally not responsible for. That last one was definitely Hubby’s country music influence. I did teach son how to do an awesome rendition of Blue Rodeo’s Bad Timing when he was four. I wish I had recorded it. 

Brought to you today in honour of son’s 18th birthday, and to all the women and men who care for their children everyday unconditionally, allow them to sing dirty rock songs to stranger and endure endless episodes of Caillou all in the name of love. 

Speaking and not singing. So proud!

Talking to Teenagers Mother’s Day Edition

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NOT a teen prom pic. although, it would make those grad pics a little more interesting…

Since Mother’s Day is drawing near and there are some mothers out there who need your love, I have compiled a list of tips for dealing with the strangest and complex of animals, the Teens.  Read it.  Frame it.  Present it to her on a silver tray with her FULLY PREPARED BREAKFAST, FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATE and you will be her favourite person EVER.

You. Are. Welcome.

Teens don’t want to talk to you and often appear dazed and confused at the best of times, so having any kind of logical coherent conversation is a minefield of babbling randomness or total silence.  It’s a crapshoot, really.  AND, they would rather be connected to their phones than anywhere in your vicinity.  They don’t even want to acknowledge your existence in the universe let alone in their sphere of the world, so having any kind of repartee demands skill on your part…and actually paying attention, which let’s face it, to some of us is quite difficult.

Here are some tips when talking to teens to keep in mind:

  1. They think you are lame and so far from knowing any of the real shit that goes down that it amazes them that you are able to operate a motor vehicle or any other major household appliance, so keep whatever you want to say short and to the point.  They already think you’re dumb…don’t make it worse by trying to expand your street cred with them by going on long explanations of the mechanics of making paper airplanes.  I’m begging you.
  2. Feed them first. They respond well to food of any kind and are more likely to talk to you whilst downing their fourth hot dog, than after said meal and The Walking Dead comes on.
  3. Trap them in the backseat of a motor vehicle with their friends by offering to drive them wherever they want to go. They often forget you’re there and will start spilling stuff with their bestie, unknowingly giving you fodder and further gossip for later wine dates with the other moms…not that I’ve done that of course.
  4. Don’t try to be their friends. Seriously, they have those already.  They need parents.  Do that.
  5. Try not to trivialize the drama that they have going on. My eldest is a total drama queen, while my middle child is more level headed and logical.  We see the drama emanating from D1, but instead of making fun of her, we try to be listeners and silent supporters.  She just needs to vent most times.  She vents and moves on.  AND THEN we roll our eyes and mock her endlessly…we’re allowed.  We voted on it.
  6. Humour is awesome. I think we’ve been through this before.  There’s ALWAYS a good time to use sarcasm and puns to prove a point.  They realize they’re being silly…and maybe a bit DRAMATIC.  AND then they’ll stop it to save the onslaught of mockery and endless teasing they’ll have to endure later.  Because that will happen…oh, yes it will.
  7. Using the dog as an excuse for your overprotectiveness is quite okay. For example “I only texted you a million times last night because the dog was obviously worried you would forget to feed her the next morning and was up all night pacing and panting.  So, really.  YOU NEED TO BE HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THIS DAMNED DOG.”  See?  Like that.
  8. Guilt is in your repertoire for a reason. So use it.  “You’ll be sorry for that when I’m not here to take care of you anymore because I’m locked up in some home for the insane due to the torment you and your brother and sister did to me for all of my adult life.  And THAT is why I need wine.”
  9. Hone your poetry skills for those late night texts that go unnoticed by your little darling and are spread around the bar at 2:00am to her friends who now think you are either A) a poetry genius or B) as drunk as they are. Either way, you win.  AND, don’t worry about coming up with something original.  Using Dr. Seuss rhymes and other children’s authors is highly recommended.  It makes them remember their long forgotten childhoods of you reading Hop on Pop for the millionth time when they were four. They get all sentimental and want to go home…or will text you begging for you to stop.  Yay you!  Epic win…
  10. Distraction is your friend.  Learning the art of distraction is so much a skill I highly recommend.  You can use it during an argument with Hubby: “I know, the Visa bill is high this month and Oh MY GOD ISN’T IT YOUR MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY NEXT WEEK?!  We so have to get something for her.  GET ON THE PHONE AND CALL HER RIGHT NOW! When was the last time you called her?!  WE NEED TO KNOW IF THERE’S ANYTHING SHE NEEDS. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DRIVE OUT THERE!”   The visa bill is forgotten and it’s his fault his mother’s birthday is next week and he callously forgot…bastard.  Anyways, you can use this ‘technique’ on the kids too: “You are so right.  I had no idea that it was so difficult being you.  By the way, did you know that Sephora is going in the mall?  Have you SEEN their new website?  Maybe you should apply for a job there!  Let’s see if you can apply online…”       So, so easy….

The Sentimentality Of A Turnip

D2 Kindergarten grad

D2 Kindergarten grad

That’s what popped into my head today.  That and the entire lyrics to “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem.  I think they both have stuff in common…I’m not about to go into an in-depth analysis of the song, but aside from the copious amounts of swearing (which is always near and dear to ma heart), the song talks about getting his life back together, and becoming clean….yaddah, yaddah, yaddah….yeah, whatevs.  I’m not sure why it mysteriously came flowing into my mind today.  I’m not currently strung out on meth or battling my inane addiction to vicks vapo rub or eating copious quantities of laundry detergent that I need some rapper dude to sing this in hopes it will turn my wayward behavior into more appropriately streamlined society-approved activities.  ‘Cause we all know the power of a song.  Remember Elton’s Crocodile Rock?  Sent a myriad of teens out wading around croc-infested waters seeing if those suckers would dance.  Crazy teenagers.   Left a whole population limbless and wondering what could have possibly gone wrong?  Yeah.  Back off the demon music, kids.  The Devil wants you all dancing his evil dance and drinking his purple koolaid.

The sentimentality part is just how some people are not capable of articulating their emotions adequately enough so those of us around these “emotional fuckwits” are left thinking the above phrase: “They have the sentimentality of a turnip”.  Sufficient summation in my opinion.  I came to this conclusion today when I remembered Miss H saying to me at a gathering a couple of weeks ago she became overwhelmed with emotion that her youngest daughter , who once would only wear a dress, is now growing up and leaving the dressy-dresses behind.  Miss H was sad that the little one was growing up….that’s when the thought of a family member, whom at one time scoffed at mothers who cried when their kids went off to school for the first time; that’s when I came up with the “sentimentality of a turnip”.  Perhaps she (family member, not Miss H) was suffering from the turnip disease and needed to release her inner sentimental emotional side for us peeps to see.  Perhaps she just wasn’t in tune with the rest of us estrogen laden mothers who hated to see the little ones grow up so fast, which means we in turn are getting older.  Maybe we want to hold on to their little hands a little bit longer so we can remember what it’s like to be five and seeing the big wide world for the first time. Maybe we want to be able to dress the little girls in dresses a bit more before they opt for the short skirts or holy jeans or *gasp* the Goth look! Maybe we want our little boys to marvel at how much we are a heap of mysterious information that only Mommies know like how to make the perfect PB &J sandwich and how to make his blanket smell better.  Or maybe we just like to be called Mommy a little bit longer. Maybe.  Not that it’s happened to me personally.  Not that I’ve been thinking all of that since D2 has her prom dress ready and proudly hanging on her closet door for her soon to be grad celebrations.  Not that I have been lamenting my older age, my lack of babies around the ‘hood and how fast everybody seems to be flying through life.  Not that that’s happening to me.  I’m just putting it out there for the other peeps who may be suffering in silence and hide behind the old turnip disease instead of shedding a tear or making a comment.  I’m putting myself out into the wide world so that the others can step forward and say ‘yeah, I cried when my youngest no longer needed his pacifier, or yeah I was sad when I had to give away the majority of Barbie and her Summer home to the Goodwill.  I was sad when Bob the Builder toy work bench no longer suited my son’s play time.  He’s opted for Black Ops instead.”  Yeah…I hear ‘ya.  But, sometimes a little emotion just reminds the rest of us mortals that you too are human.   Just sayin’……