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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Pay Sucks, But the Hours Are Crap

In honor of Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I'm keeping the kids home from school today to:
  • Wash and fold laundry
  • Grocery shop
  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe down the counters and appliances
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Dust
  • Sweep the downstairs
  • Vacuum the upstairs
  • Clean all five bathrooms
  • Pay bills
  • Cook dinner
  • Give the dogs baths
  • Groom the dogs
If they're lucky, they might get 15 minutes to gulp down a sandwich.

Of course I don't usually do this much in one day. But don't we as parents always want more for our children than we have ourselves?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dear New Mommy

Disclaimer: All situations discussed in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real children, living or dead, and their annoying tendencies is purely coincidental.

Congrats on your baby! There's nothing quite like seeing your newborn for the first time, huh? Hard to believe that bundle of joy will someday make you so furious you'll wish you could send him back from whence he came.

You're probably bawling your eyes out at the suggestion you'd ever feel anything but unadulterated love for your baby. No, I get it. You've just given birth and your hormones are all wonky. You get weepy if the mail is an hour late. Wacky emotions aside, you simply can't fathom your child ever being so unpleasant you'd like to kick him to the curb. I was delusional once, too.

You see, there's this grand conspiracy among mothers. Motherhood is like a cult. We're not supposed to tell prospective members the bad stuff. That's how we suck you in. Truth is: mothering can be a real motherf****r. Not always. Sometimes you'll be so enamored with your child you could pee yourself ... which, incidently, you're at a higher risk for now that you've given birth. However, there will be days, weeks--maybe even months--when you won't like your kid a whole lot.

You're so over the moon right now, you couldn't care less that your belly went from solid to stripes. But when your little one begins to shed that soft baby skin to reveal the monster within, you'll be like, "I got stretch marks for this?!"

(Artwork by my mega-talented son)
Witnessing your infant's bodily functions firsthand is no biggie, right? You get spit on and shit on daily; that comes with the baby territory. In fact, the two of you actually bond during poopy diaper changes. And you won't mind when she's five, and you have to wipe her butt because she can't spread her own cheeks far enough. You'll just be glad she stopped hiding behind the recliner to do her number twos. But when a couple years have passed and you're repeatedly finding floating fecal logs in the bathroom, you'll be good and fed up. A kid who has total recall of entire Spongebob Squarepants episodes should remember to flush the freakin' toilet.

Speaking of toilets, your days of going solo are coming to an end. Once your little guy is mobile, you won't be able to piss in peace. If he doesn't come in with you, he'll pound on the door or slide his tiny fingers underneath it, wailing until you relent and let him in. As he grows, he'll need you to unravel life's mysteries whenever you're on the pot. "How come Buzz Lightyear didn't know he was a toy when he lived in a toy store?" "Why don't my arms jiggle like yours when I wave?" These toilet trivia sessions won't stop until he's about 12, at which point he'll be holed up in his own bathroom for unusually long periods. (You don't wanna know.)

Remember that romantic evening about nine months ago? Maybe your hubby (or baby daddy--I don't judge) sprung for a fancy dinner at Outback and plied you with middle-shelf booze. You still don't know how your panties ended up on the bookshelf across the room. The point is you had sex. Wild, spontaneous ... loud sex. Well, that ain't gonna happen again for a while. Why not? For starters, look how exhausted you are these days. Waking up every few hours for feedings doesn't exactly leave a lot of energy for sexy time, does it? It won't get much better when your little girl is sleeping through the night. You're still gonna be worn out from chasing after her all day. When you do find the energy to climb back up on that horse--or whatever you've nicknamed your man's genitalia, make sure you lock your bedroom door. You don't want Junior telling his preschool teacher how he saw you and Daddy wrestling in bed, do you? Honestly, with all the kiddie cockblocking that goes on, it's amazing couples manage to have more than one child.

Not only that, but your love life is now dependent on the social life of a high schooler. If you do convince a teenager to spend her Saturday night playing Chutes and Ladders with a toddler, that romantic night out will run you about 10-15 bucks an hour. That's not counting the cost of dinner or your bar tab which, let's face it, will be pretty steep because Mommy needs to drink.

I bet you can't wait to hear your baby's first word. When she achieves that milestone, jot it in her baby book and savor that feeling of pride. The day will come when you'll wish she'd get stricken with temporary vocal cord paralysis. Not enough to choke her, mind you; just enough to shut her up for a while. It's kinda cute when your 11-month-old says no after you tell her to do something. It's less cute when your 11-year-old does it. It won't always be what she says that drives you nuts; it'll be the fact that she talks ... and talks ... and talks.

Now, how's this for irony? That tween who takes 20 minutes to describe what she ate for lunch will morph into a teenager who answers all your questions with "no one," "nothing" or "nowhere." Once a teen clams up, you'd have a better chance of getting a mafia capo to break his code of silence.

Oh, honey, you think you're sleep deprived now? Soon enough you'll be up 'til the wee hours fretting over who might be texting/sexting your son, and worrying he'll crack the parental lock code you set up to keep him innocent and porn free. Just try getting a good night's rest after you've committed some (real or imagined) parenting faux pas that will potentially scar your child for life.

New Mommy, I know this is a lot to take in. At least now you know what you're up against. Like I said earlier, motherhood isn't all bad. (I did so say it; if you don't believe me, reread paragraph three.) It has its advantages. You get to board planes before everyone else, and some stores offer special parking for parents with small children. What's more, complete strangers offer you unsolicited parenting advice, so you get to meet lots of new people. And, if you haven't damaged her too much during her formative years, your grown child might even visit you at the shoddy nursing home she's dumped you in.


My little angels before they became ...

... my little monsters