Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chores, Ugh!

I hate chores. It's bad enough when it's just you that you're picking up after. But throw in a couple of kids and a spouse and things start to get out of hand.

In our house, the laundry is never ending. Dishes can magically fill the sink between bedtime and breakfast. Shoes and socks litter the floor like wrapping paper after Christmas morning. Meals must be prepared, served, and cleaned up - at least 3 times a day. There are 3 beds to be dealt with, one of which is a crib. There are 2.5 bathrooms to clean, one of which belongs to the kids. In the course of a day, my living room can go from spotless to looking like an episode of Hoarders due to the sheer number of toys that make their way out of the bins. Even with a house cleaner helping out every other week, I never seem to be able to get a handle on it. And don't even get me started on our poor little, neglected backyard!

When you're a little kid, you do chores because you want to please your mommy and/or daddy and you think it's fun. Hooray! I put the blocks away the fastest! Did you see me, Mommy?

Then you come to your senses and start to resist the chore requirements. This typically leads to parents forcing kids to do chores through 1) threats (ok, fine, "consequences") - you can't go play until your room is clean - or 2) bribery - here's your allowance for doing x, y, and z.

Then you eventually move out of your parents' house and chores become something you do to prove that you're responsible enough to have moved out of your parents' house. For example, you vacuum and dump the trash before your parents come for a visit. Or it's something you do before a party. For example, you flip a coin with your room mate to see who has to clean the bathroom.

Then, one day, you realize that you've made a significant transition regarding chores. You make your bed, without realizing it, before you leave for work. You load, run, and unload the dishwasher without arguing with your spouse/room mate about it. You find yourself wanting to vacuum so your carpet looks nice. Your clothes are clean, folded, and put away. You may even have a houseplant or two that are still alive.

Welcome to adulthood!

It's not that chores become any less, well, chore-y. It's just that after 20 plus years, the tasks that you have despised since you were a kid have finally become just part of your day. And, like it or not, you've come to realize the importance of doing these chores. I know that it's gross and unsanitary to not clean the toilet. I know to vacuum my floors so I'm not walking around on dirt, hair, and who knows what. I know that if I want to eat off clean plates, I have to wash them. And I know that laundry doesn't magical fold or hang itself up.

And now that I'm not just an adult, but also a mom, I know why kids are assigned chores. One less bed to make, one less room to pick up, one less table to set or clear, one less load of laundry to put away, one less bag of trash to take out. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog?

People write blogs for many different reasons.

There are blogs that are professional, political, psychotic.

There are blogs that are meaningful, meaningless, moronic.

People blog to share information, insight, infatuation.

Some are for gossip, some make you laugh, some make you cry, some make you think.

Most are personal. And all of them mean something to someone.

Yes, there are many different reasons to write a blog.

The authors of blogs can write exactly what they wish they could say out loud. They can tweak their drafts until the words are just right. They can give real, deep thought to their arguments before advocating an opinion. They can pour their souls out on to the Internet as a form of free therapy. They can write whatever they want without giving much thought to how someone reading it will react. There are fewer social restrictions on the Internet.

And there are many reasons to read a blog.

It's where you can get professional, political, and psychotic information.

It's where you can get meaningful, meaningless, and moronic information.

People read blogs to gain insight and get the latest gossip on the latest celebrity.

But most blogs are personal. And I believe that there is one main reason people read personal blogs - pure and simple curiosity.

Reading someone's blog is like being handed the key to their diary. You're able to read about a person's trials and triumphs. What they dream about, worry about, love, hate, and hope for. You can learn about their relationships, past and present, with spouses, kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, family, and friends. Personal views on politics, money, and religion all come out. It's not like talking or listening to a person in person. It's so much more.

Readers can come and go as they please, virtually undetected. There's no social obligation to laugh, comfort, or offer advice to the author while reading a post. If you do want to leave a comment, you can write whatever you'd like, even if you use words you would never say out loud - nice, mean, or otherwise. Or, you can just read about the author's life and move on with your day. The only one you're really answering to is yourself.

I write for therapy, a creative outlet, and perhaps because I'm a bit narcissistic.

You read out of curiosity.

Simple as that.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Bedtime at our house has gotten ridiculous. There. I admit it.

It all started when Monkey was 5 months old. See, as a new mom, I read every bit of child-rearing mumbo-jumbo there was. So when it came time to actually get some sleep again, I decided that we needed to train our baby how to sleep. After a lot of reading, I settled on a modified version of the "cry-it-out" method of sleep training.

It worked great! Within 1 week, Monkey was falling asleep on his own. Within 2 weeks, we had cut out night time feedings. Within 1 month, he gave us 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

It boiled down to routine. Nurse, bath, jammies, books, songs, sleep. Same time, every night, no exceptions (within reason, of course). Start to finish, he was sound asleep in 30 minutes.

Flash forward to today and we still follow the same routine, minus the nursing.

Bath, jammies, books, songs, sleep. Same time, every night, no exceptions (within reason, of course). And it was working great.

Until Monkey hit the "terrible twos" in all it's glory.

7:00 - Monkey, it's time to get ready for bed.

"I want to keep playing with my trains... No, I don't want to pick up my trains... No! I don't want to get ready for bed! I want Mommy to put me to bed!"

7:10 - Ok. Yes. Go ahead and use the potty. Yes, you'll get a sticker. Ok. Come on, get in the bathtub.

"I want the Thomas bubbles in my bath! No! Not like that! I want Mommy to put the bubbles in!"

7:15 - Hold still. We need to wash your hair tonight. You have food/sand/sunscreen in it.

"I don't want to wash my hair! No! One rinse and we're all done! I want Mommy to give me my bath!"

7:25 - Lay down so I can put your overnight diaper on. Monkey! Come on!

"I want to pick my jammies! No! Not those ones! I want Mommy to put my jammies on!"

7:30 - You can pick 2 books.

"I want lots of books! No! Not those books! Long books! Two more because I'm two years old! I want Mommy to read to me!"

7:50 - Ok. Get up on the bed. Time to turn the light out. What songs would you like tonight?

"I want lots of songs! No! Not those words! Two more because I'm two years old! I want Mommy to sing to me!"

8:00ish - Ok. Time to go to sleep. I love you. I'll see you in the morning.

"I want more cuddles! I don't want you to leave!"

Monkey, I have to go do some things. I'll come check on you later. I'll be right downstairs.

"I don't want you to go downstairs!  Leave the door open! Wider! You go downstairs and do the dishes and then come back and do more cuddles! I want my mommy!"

I love you. Goodnight.

"whine/cry/pout/kick at the wall/mess with the blinds"

8:30 - Finally he's asleep. *sigh*

Did you notice the theme?

Despite everything we have tried, Monkey refuses to have anyone but ME put him to bed. He can sense my presence a mile away, so unless I'm far, far away, he throws a fit until I go up to his room. You can imagine how difficult this is when we have the demands of an infant too. Between the two boys, bedtime has become a 2 hour plus ordeal. By the time I get back downstairs, I'm exhausted and ready to put myself to bed. But, of course, I still have other responsibilities as well - dishes, laundry, general pick up. If I'm lucky, I might get in a little time to relax. If I'm really lucky, I might get to have an actual conversation with my husband.

10:00 - Time for me to get into bed. Finally.

10:30 - Lights out.

12:30 - First cry from Budsy. *sigh*

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Am A Mommy - Part 1

I have two boys. Let's call them Monkey and Budsy. I have to say that for the most part, I L-O-V-E being a mom. Of course this is extremely hard to remember when I'm trying to get home from the park and the baby is crying because he's hungry (didn't I just feed you?), the toddler is crying because he apparently doesn't want me to drive on the freeway, and the CD of annoying children's songs has started over yet again, but, yeah, overall I love being a mom...

I believe it is impossible to forget the birth of your children. Monkey let me know he was ready to meet us at the crack of dawn on a Friday. I felt the first twinge of a contraction at 4:00 am and immediately sat up in bed.

This is it! Today's the day! Wake up the husband! Get out the watch! Start timing frequency, duration, and tolerance levels! Call the grandparents! Come quick! The baby's coming!

I had taken the classes, practiced my breathing, and mapped out every conceivable route to the hospital. I was ready. This labor thing wasn't so bad. I would make it through without the epidural, just the way I envisioned.

Then everything stopped. I felt bad. Everyone was sitting around my living room. Staring at me. Waiting for something to happen.

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

Finally at 5:00 pm the contractions started again. By midnight, I felt like I needed to go to the hospital. I clearly remember thinking "surely I'm close to the end". Contractions were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, and had been going like this for 1 hour. 5-1-1. It was in the book. I was still in high spirits and tolerating the contractions pretty well. My plan was falling into place.

Call the doctor! Call the hospital! Get the bag! Get in the car! Make the light or go right through it! Are we there yet!?

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

After checking in at the hospital, they checked my progress. Two and a half centimeters.

Wait. What? That can't be right. I'd been laboring for hours! Two and a half centimeters?! What the hell?!

They hooked me up to all the monitoring equipment. Poked my arms a million times trying to place an IV. Made me lie in the bed to get a good reading on the baby's heartbeat. The contractions kept coming. They were getting stronger and closer together. My water broke. I couldn't concentrate on my breathing. I couldn't get a handle on what was happening. Holy crap! Isn't this over yet?!

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect. I can tell you this - Nothing truly prepares you for childbirth.

I finally gave in to an epidural at 8 centimeters. I had been up for 24 hours. Laboring for 12. I was exhausted. I couldn't tolerate it any more. I felt defeated, guilty, sad. I had failed. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't been so hard on myself. After all, he was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

Finally, after 17 hours of true labor, our Monkey made his debut on Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 10:45 am. I still tear up when I think about that moment. My husband got to announce that it was a boy. I immediately started crying. I had never felt such joy in my entire life! He was perfect. Ten little fingers, ten little toes. Dimples from the first cry. Big, beautiful, blue eyes. My heart nearly burst from the love I felt for this new little person.

Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 10:45 am. I became a mommy.

From Miss to Ma'am - The Beginning

So, here I am. Finally. Or, regrettably. I suppose only time will tell... Now then, where to begin. Well, I've been toying with the idea of writing a blog for a long time and figured that now is as good a time as any. My ultimate goal with this blog is to have a place to share my thoughts on life in general. I don't claim to be a writer, but I'll try my best to use proper grammar and keep my posts interesting. I'm sure they'll be ranting at times. Hopefully endearing. Perhaps a little amusing. I promise to write from my heart, as long as you promise not to trample on it through comments. There will be times when you agree with my posts, and times you adamantly disagree. And probably a few times when you find yourself so bored, you go back to doing whatever productive thing it was that you were taking a break from in the first place. Please just bear with me as I dive into this unknown territory.

So, let's get started. I'm a married, 30-something, stay-at-home-mom to two young boys. From the outside it looks like I'm a pretty typical adult.

I own a home, pay bills, go grocery shopping.

I do the laundry, run the dishwasher, and pay the house cleaner to vacuum my floors.

I wake up way too early, even on Saturdays and Sundays, and stay up way too late every night.

I drink coffee - lots of coffee... Did I mention I have two young boys?

So, yeah, from the outside, it looks like I'm a pretty typical adult. But when did this happen? At what point did I make the shift from a "miss" to a "ma'am"? It certainly wasn't when I graduated from high school. I don't think it was when I graduated college. I'm pretty sure it wasn't when I got married - believe me, many childish things have occurred since then. I know I became a Ms. when I started working. It's possibly linked to the first time I was called Mrs. W at the grocery store when I was 17, but then again, the cashier probably mistook me for my mom per the borrowed Rewards card.

When did this happen? I don't feel like a "ma'am", but I think that's what I am. Then again, I still have many a "miss" moments. Oh, I think this is going to be fun!