My girlfriend, a mother to only girls, recently forwarded a blog to me written by a mom of boys detailing her “Top 10 Things She’s Learned” from them. As a mom of two boys, I could relate and even chuckle at a few of her lessons. But, I couldn’t help thinking she’s either sweetened this up a bit or her boys are still little. I grew up with four brothers and gave birth to two boys. Quite frankly, I thought I was prepared to raise boys since I have brothers. How much different could it be? Oh boy is it different! My brothers were disgusting, but it wasn’t my responsibility to civilize them. I have to admit some of my lessons have not only come from raising boys, but also growing up with boys and living with a husband. Here’s my Top 10:
1.“I need to go to Michael’s,” is as likely as saying “I love to go shopping.”
2. Bed sheets are only needed when you have a woman in our life, whether it be your mom or lover.
3. Bodily functions are to be displayed, hailed, and admired.
4. It’s more important to change your socks then your underwear.
5. A new wardrobe everyday is better than doing laundry.
6. Peeing outside is better than cleaning a toilet.
7. Cleaning a plate of leftover food is more disgusting than digging in the dirt, your nose or your pants.
8. Mother is never said like this, “Mah-THER”.
9. Food and ego stroking make any man yours...forever.
10. A good wrestling match can end an argument but not a relationship
It’s not easy being the only female in the house. If not for my boys, I wouldn’t know how to throw a hatchet, burp the alphabet, or throw down a good wrestling match. And if not for me, my boys wouldn’t know decorative towels exist, boogers don’t belong on the wall, or a bath in pool is not the same as showering
Love is in the air. Well, not for all of us. When I asked my girlfriend about her plans for Valentine’s Day, she said, “you know I hate this holiday.” Then she goes on to tell me how her and her hubby acknowledge the day by showering their daughters with not only love but gifts. I completely agree with her. This highly commercialized holiday brings out the rebel in me. Before the Christmas decorations are cleared off store shelves, we’re bombarded with hearts and love. I just want to say no. Let my hubby show his love on June 29th, give it to me on October 2nd, heck I’ll take any day he wants to give me a romantic gesture without marketers barraging him with guilt. But, it really is kind of a double edged sword for my beloved. I say don’t worry about Valentine’s Day but if he doesn’t, not even a card, I get hurt. It’s not really fair, I know that. I don’t want to be left out. I too have been sucked into the commercial vortex. Sad,but true. Let’s face it, guys are easy. To show my love all I need to do is give my hubby a big, juicy piece of meat. Get your mind out of the gutter, he loves beef and a thick, rare piece of prime rib is the way to his heart. As I started to think about it, I realized this is just holiday filled with expectations and work. Not only am I expected to prepare this gorgeous piece of meat, but do it with my legs shaved and dolled up with something-something to offer up for dessert. He loves brownies! As I spend the week planning and organizing a romantic evening, I realized I get screwed by this holiday, in more ways than one.
Ah-mazing! I thought it could be my wristwatch. It’s not my gray hair, crows feet, flabby arms or the use of the words; like totally or awesome. But no. There are numerous ways I show my age and it’s not by the use of a fanny pack, thank you very much. But I had no idea the biggest indicator of my age is punctuation or more specifically, my spacing. A friend kindly suggested I no longer double space between sentences. When did this happen? Of course, I googled it right away. BIG mistake. And the controversy I created on Facebook and Twitter over something as simple as spacing shocked me. I cannot believe the number of people dedicated, and I don’t use that term lightly, to either protecting the double space or enforcing the single space. I was also amused at how insistent my Talkalicious friends are of their views. I was sent links, books were quoted and tempers were flared. Wow, all this over spacing? A friend even approached me the next day to make sure I read her information after I declared myself a double spacer. Go ahead and admit it, you’re counting my spaces right now. I thought about going both ways, but I’m just not that kind of gal. Who knew people had such strong feelings towards punctuation? And people wonder why I don’t like politics. Finally I did what any sensible person would do. I contacted a college English professor and asked her the proper use of space. And no kidding she said, “either is still acceptable.” Of course, MLA (Modern Language Association) says one space, while APA (American Psychological Association) suggests two spaces. Oy vey! She did mention either is correct for less formal writing. FWIW, I’m not a grant or professional writer, I’ll do whatever I feel like that day. By single spacing this blog, I wanted to prove to myself that this old dog can be taught new tricks. BTW you single-spacer non-wristwatch wearin’ youngin’s, a watch is just another place for more diamonds!
I knew it was coming. I even tried to prepare for it. It’s like when you know your boyfriend is going to break up with you, but you try to do it first to let him down easy and to save face. But it happened and I was a bucket of tears. Thank God not the ugly cry, but the pathetic cry as tears well up in your eyes and one slowly rolls down your face before it really starts to pour. A cry like this will make your worse enemy feel sorry she ever said or did anything to hurt you. But it wasn’t my boyfriend or an enemy, it was my boys. It happened Christmas morning, I was sick with the flu, trying not to faint as I hooked up their new Xbox and my 11 year-old declared, “Mom, we know.” “You know what?” “We know you’re Santa.” That’s it. I would go into the gory details of their discovery, but let’s just say I think they had their suspicions and our house alarm was the final clue to the mystery. I thought I’d feel relieved. For the better part of 2013, I had been poking and prodding to figure out what exactly, if anything, they knew. Nothing. I also kept telling myself I was ready to move on. After a while you do get tired of putting out the reindeer food, eating the cookies, waiting until everyone is asleep and let’s face it as they get older the longer you have to wait. Now I had to ask them, “what do you think?” Then they started to tear and thank me. My hubby watched this display with disbelief and shock. His boys were crying along with his wife. When did his family become a bunch of saps? My cry was not of a broken heart or hurt feelings, as I explained to them, but because it was an end of an era. I’m no longer a mommy to little ones. Rather, I’m speeding into the teen years and quite truthfully, I’m scared. Let’s face it, from now on my Christmas will not be littered with enthusiastic exclamations of, “This is the best Christmas ever!” “I got exactly what I wanted!” “How does Santa do it?” “I’m the luckiest boy alive!” Now it’ll be, “thanks Mom.” Then it really sank in for my boys as my 10 year-old in a panic asks, “Mom, does this mean Christmas doesn’t exist?” “Yes son, Christmas is cancelled.” I had to have some fun or else I’d be a hot mess for a long time. After some reassurance Christmas continues even if you know the truth about Santa, he let out a huge sigh of relief. But I also explained that as a family we get to redefine how we continue to celebrate the spirit of the holiday. And simultaneously my boys said, “let’s go to Hawaii.” Nice, I see they’ve already moved on. Yow know what? They haven’t asked about the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny.
The holiday season is in full swing and while it’s my favorite time of year, it can also be the most stressful. Ok, who am I kidding, I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. Before all the hustle and bustle turns me into a woman that looks like she stuck her finger into a light socket, I decided we should take action. During Thanksgiving, I know you’ve seen on Facebook and other social networking sites sharing posts about the people and things we are thankful for during the season. But I say, let’s not forget to salute ourselves this holiday season. Let’s face it ladies, no matter how loving or giving your partner is, you make or break the holidays. If I left it up to my hubby, Christmas would consist of football, beer, wings and maybe a string of lights around the front door. I could list all the jobs we fulfill, but I’m getting tired and stressed just thinking about it. So, I say let’s take a few minutes to remember and say, “thankful I’m a woman.” Let’s take this time to appreciate all the beauty we bring to our family and friends. Let’s remember the greatest gift we can give our loved ones; ourselves. What makes you beautiful in their eyes? Is it your sense of humor, spontaneity, intelligence, kindness or do you make a mean lasagna? I love being a woman and more importantly I love the special something we bring to the table. No pun intended. For the next two weeks on my Facebook page I’ll be posting reasons why #ThankfulI’mAWoman. I hope you’ll join me and have some fun. But more importantly, I hope this gives you the opportunity to remember what makes you special this holiday season.
This has been on my mind since I first heard about the study on the correlation between the size of a man’s testicles along with his testosterone level and his ability to be a nurturing father. Okay, great. A bunch of scientists decide to test men and release this information without really clarifying their finds. The two questions that keep popping up my mind...how big is big and is size relative to the rest of the toolbox? I’m starting to really appreciate my “back in the day” dating rules. Afraid of diseases and financial distress, I asked for a medical report and credit rating. This was not easy, but a girl needs to know what she’s getting in to. But now this? What are women supposed to do? Do we look for a handful, a naval orange’s worth or a couple of marbles? It’s irresponsible for scientists to release this kind of data and not give a guide to help women. I have to admit, checking his size would make me a bit uncomfortable. Here’s what I say. I don’t know how my hubby’s tangerines measure up, but I will tell you he’s a great dad. Women need to pay attention to how their man treats them. My theory has always been if the man loved me and treated me with respect then he would make a good father. So far, so good. It didn’t take an anthropologist’s study for me to figure this out, I did it on my own. With that being said, if you’re dating with the hopes of finding the perfect man, best friend and father, do it my way. Any man willing to give you the world instead of beating it up will probably turn out to be just the kind of father you want for your children. Don’t be so hard on your man, he’ll try his best even if he does it differently from you. Clothes that don’t match, dirty kids and using a remote control car to feed the baby is okay, your kids will turn out fine. In fact, if they’re anything like mine, they’ll spend their life with more smiles than tears.
I’m feeling a little like Brittany Spears right now, prior to her breakdown. “Oops, I did it again.” I’m the Room Mom...again. I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m not the kind of mom who enjoys volunteering in the classroom. I don’t like kids, but I do like a good party. Decorating cookies or playing games with a bunch of elementary kids is not my idea of a party, but I can throw it down anytime and anyplace. I love the misconception that comes with being the room mom. First, I don’t have all the time in the world. It’s a priority. Secondly, I ask for help because I cannot do it on my own. I’m trapped in a room with a bunch of kidlets amped up on sugar and just excited about the day. Think back to when your child is bouncing off the walls over his/her birthday...now multiply that by 30. Lastly, I ask for a donation because I need it. Think of it as a way of saying thanks to the person who is planning, caring and sharing time with your child. I can’t tell you how many noses I’ve blown, tears I’ve wiped and messes I’ve cleaned up. Be careful of what and who you talk about in front of your kids. Their mouths are like a volcanic eruptions, because things just spew out everywhere leaving a path of destruction. I’m not easily shocked, but it has happened. Every year I ask myself...why do I add this stress to my life? It’s simple, I like knowing the kids. One day I’ll look at back on these kids and say, “I remember when that kid snotted all over my favorite shirt.” Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, lesson one...never wear anything cute because it will get ruined. The other reason why I do this job is to remind me to never become a teacher. I only have the kids for a short period of time and that’s enough for me. There’s not enough money, corporal punishment (oh, wait that doesn’t exist anymore, maybe it should) or love in this world for me to be anything other than a Room Mom. Elementary school goes by so fast. I’m okay with hanging out with your precocious little rascals for a couple of hours.
All the hoopla surrounding the royal baby got me thinking about Prince Harry and my life. You don’t see the connection? The royal baby just pushed poor Prince Harry to fourth position when it comes to the throne. Is that bad? No! You see I made the mistake of declaring myself a queen at a very young age. Princess, no way. I wanted to rule my world. When my little sister was a toddler she said, “I’m the princess.” And I replied, “I don’t care because I’m the queen.” Did I mention she’s 15 years younger then me? Over the years, I’ve ruled my castle and family. At one point my hubby even gave me an e-mail address with my royal title, Queen Chris. Recently, I was exhausted. The kind of tired when your body has the pedal to the metal but your engine is in neutral. I was too tired to get up, but too tired to sleep. I decided to let my kingdom run itself and retreat to my room. And a funny thing happened. I became a princess. My hubby waited on me hand and foot. I did nothing for an entire day, except watch ‘MadMen’. As I indulged in a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream served by my hubby, I thought, this is what it feels like to be taken care of and not because I was sick. The job of Queen is tough and thankless. I assess the needs of my people, care for them and prevent disasters from coming to my kingdom. I also devise plans to keep my kingdom productive and lucrative while at the same time making my people feel loved, appreciated and respected. Truth be told I often feel more like Cinderella than a Queen. But a Queen’s job is never done until she abdicates her crown, and that’s not happening anytime soon. While some might think Harry is saddened by his drop in hierarchy, I say no way. He gets all the perks without all the responsibility. Let’s face it, because of Harry’s recent escapades, his little nephew will never get to strip naked with a bunch of women in Vegas. Bummer.
This young girl and when I say young I mean she’s 30, asked me how long I’ve been married. I said, “almost nineteen years.” Wow, talk about sticker shock. We continued talking about love, finding the right person, blah, blah, blah. While staring at my wedding ring she asked, “aren’t you supposed to upgrade your ring at 10 years?” What is she trying to say? I looked down at my ring and said, “nope.” At one point I thought I should upgrade my ring. Why shouldn’t I? I’m giving my hubby and his children the best years of my life. I deserve it. So, a few years back I did visit a jeweler about the endless possibilities for my hubby to show me just how much he loves me. As the jeweler talked, I listened and the more he spoke, the more I didn’t like what I was hearing. I ran out of the store, called my hubby with the ugly, hyperventilating cry reserved for the most devastating moments and confessed my crime. This was a moment of growth for me. A wedding ring, my ring was more than just a cluster of diamonds given to me by someone. It’s was the start of our journey together. Call it my Oprah “ah-ha” moment right there in the jewelers. This was not just any old ring. It reminds me of where we started. He was a graduate student, I quit school to support him and we lived in student housing. It reminds of the choices and sacrifices we’ve made for each other. I don’t want to forget where we came from or take for granted the life we’ve created. In fact, I designed my ring with the specific purpose of having it dismantled so pieces of jewelry could be fashioned out of my “little old ring” for future generations. My ring has not been upgraded nor will it ever be. Why limit your bling factor to something you already own? Looking at it my hands, wrists, ears and belly button...they could use some more sparkle.
It was bound to happen, I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. I thought I’d be questioning parenting techniques after I became a grandmother. But nope, I ask myself all the time...what are these new parents thinking? Especially when it comes to their strollers! It’s become a stroller stampede and the size of these things are as big as Hummers and parents treat them as tanks, meant to run over anyone in their way. It’s as if my life has become a live version of Mario Kart. It’s just a matter of time before I slip on the banana peel while Bowser comes from behind and crashes into me. Where is the rocket booster when I need it? The size of these things are out of control. Not only do you have the kids packed in, but all the stuff your bring with you. Now I understand when it’s your first kid. You pack everything you can think of, “just in case.” By the time child #2 and/or 3 show up, the supply list should get smaller. You should have the confidence of MacGyver, knowing you can fashion a diaper out of a to-go carton, if need be. I particularly enjoyed watching a mom attempt to bring a stroller into the handicapped bathroom. She got so frustrated and I was dumbfounded...why is she bringing a stroller into the bathroom? Look, I know what it’s it like to have more than 1 kid. At one time, I had one in diapers and another potty trained. So, I said, “I’ll watch the little one for you.” When I looked in the stroller to smile at the baby, I was greeted by a 4 year old...in a stroller. Are you kidding me? Get your kid out the stroller, get your stroller out of the already crowded bathroom and make your child walk. My boys are 17 months apart. At one point I had to lift one to pee and stand the other in the stall and threaten...”do NOT touch anything!” I think you’re missing the point of walking. Don’t you wonder why after a day at Disneyland you’re exhausted but your kid is still driving you nuts? It’s because your little one as been acting like a Prince or Princess on the royal carriage eating snacks while you did all the work. It’s time to get your kidlets off their royal behinds. And quite frankly it’s looks weird when your kid’s knees are up to his shoulders as he sits. And just because you have a stroller, does not give you the right-of-way. You can try to use your stroller as a weapon to push your way through a crowd, but...I’ve got great birthing hips, and I’m not afraid to use them.