Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mommy Karma

So I posted before about being a working mom (and making no excuses for it and, by the way, damn proud of it)....but there are some things about being a working mom that are hard for people to understand. One of those is the fact that I, quite honestly and sincerely, want to do little else during my off time than be with my son and my husband. I know, boring. But that's just me. Mostly my friends who also have kids understand this but my single and childless friends struggle with the concept. And it's not that I blame them for not getting it and it's also not that I think they are all morons because they are single and/or childless. After all, I went a very long way in my life being childless. Bam-Bam wasn't born until I was almost 34 years old. So perhaps what I'm dealing with here is karma. Or whatever you call it.

This inspired me to share with you what I call my "Mommy Karma"....details of those things about being a Mommy that I never understood before and quite frankly that I judged without really understanding. It is for this reason that I try my best to reserve judgment of other mothers and fathers (unless they are blatantly neglectful or abusive) for fear of more wrath of Mommy Karma.

Here is a list of things I have learned from my own hard-headed past comments or thoughts that now bite me in the ass when I think of them:

"Why don't they just get a babysitter? How hard could that be?"

Now I know that it's very hard indeed. Especially if you don't have the luxury of Grandma and Grandpa (which we don't). You can't just leave your kid with someone off the street that you don't know. And now that I'm a mom, I cannot envision leaving my precious boy with some strange teenage kid that will be texting all night and not paying attention to my kid. We basically have one person that we really, truly trust with him and her time is limited. So, we prefer to take BB out with us whenever possible.

and to go along with that one....

"I don't see why having a 'no kids' policy is such a big deal."

Well, guess what, it is a big deal. My kid is my family. If you don't want him, you don't want me. I used to think people were ridiculous with this one. And it haunts me. I would always prefer to do anything when my child is invited. And quite honestly, if you're going to do something 'no kids'...well, I'm not really interested. As a working mom, that is my outlet. I rarely go out. Rarely. I don't want to. Once maybe every 3 months alone with my husband. And before you tell me that is unhealthy, remember that I have 40 hours a week at work away from him. I'm good. I don't need any more "me" time. So please don't be offended if I am not interested in doing a 'no kids' thing with you. It's not you, it's me.

"Why do you have to be so rigid about the kids bed time? Just let him stay up late once in a while. What's the big deal?"

Now I know that our little boy is very entrenched in his routine. He put himself on a schedule, practically from birth - from eating to sleeping and everything in between. Thank God for him being such an easy child. Not all kids are like this and maybe it is ok to deviate from the bed time (and we do a little from time to time) but the plain fact is that no matter how late the kid goes to bed, he wakes up at approximately the same time. Which means he is a CRAB all day due to lack of sleep. And that is a giant pain in the ass.

"How can you let your kid act like that at the store? What's wrong with you?"

Now I know that sometimes no matter how good a parent you are sometimes your kid is just going to embarrass the piss out of you. You WILL get those looks from all of those superior people - some who have kids and some who don't, and lots of old ladies who think you're one of those terrible permissive mothers that allows you child to walk all over you. Yeah, all of you people staring...I am smiling because I don't know what else to do. Get over it. Some day you'll get yours.

"Your kid would eat his vegetables if you just make him do it. I mean, who's the parent here?"

This is near and dear to my heart because I REALLY got Mommy Karma'd on this one. I have a kid that so abhors not just vegetables but most fruits. I have tried the method of just giving him what we eat and he is the most stubborn little shit alive. He will refuse beautiful, attractive foods like red pepper slices, lettuce, even peas and will only eat things that are pretty much white or very light in color. I have resorted to using the techniques of The Sneaky Chef and yeah, he mostly eats macaroni and cheese (with hidden cauliflower, naturally)....I make no apologies. It has helped a) make dinner time more pleasant and b) ensure that my child has a daily bowel movement. You simply cannot (at least not at age 2) force any food on your least not an extremely picky one. Only make it available (which we do and he still refuses almost every time). So, if you think you're better than me on this one - whatever - and in the immortal words of one of my favs, Miss Kathy Griffin...suck it!

Do you have a "Mommy Karma" moment to share?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Tonight I took our recently adopted dog for a walk as my dear husband was feeling a bit under the weather this evening. I've been thinking about how nice it is to have a dog in my life again. This dog reminds me of another I knew a long time ago....

I grew up with Muffin. The best dog in the entire world. She ruined me for all dogs. She was loyal, playful, cuddly, easy-going...she was awesome. Muffin was the kind of dog that would spend the whole night with me when I was sick. She would comfort me when I was sad. She was a part of my birthday present when I was 8 years old. She came a few months after our original puppy, Taffy, had to be put to sleep because of a heart defect. I have to tell you that was heartbreaking for a little kid. (And by the way, I did NOT name these dogs. These names were the brilliant idea of my 90 IQ former step-mother. Even at 8 years old I thought those names were terrible.)

Muffin was really smart, too. She learned all kinds of tricks. I taught her every one of them. I always had kind of a gift for that. I taught her to sit, lay down, stay, shake hands and roll over. She was not the best on a leash, but of course this was many years before Cesar hit the scene to tell us all that a dog should not walk you.

She lived to the ripe old age of 15. I was 23 years old when Muffin passed away. I remember the scenario pretty vividly. My dad was in the hospital (again) and was preparing for more blood transfusions. Dad lived with his pancreatic cancer for 6 years - unheard of with pancreatic cancer but he had a rare type. In the last couple of years he would go into the ER several times due to low hemoglobin levels. He was always losing blood and would get really weak and need several pints. This time around was pretty bad and they needed to keep him for observation. He needed about 4 units. If you know anything about blood, you know this meant that he was basically missing half of his blood. Crazy, I know. Anyway, I asked Dad if I could do anything for him. He looked at me and simply said, "Muffin." And I knew what he meant.

You see, Muffin had been getting a little senile. She was having trouble holding her bowels anymore. My dad loved that dog so much. Every evening, as sick as he was, he would clean the basement floor with bleach water after Muffin had used the basement floor as her toilet. She could not be in the house anymore so spent her time in a makeshift pen in the basement. Dad made sure she had plenty of room, food and water, a nice fluffy bed, toys, etc. She had cataracts and had trouble recognizing us sometimes so was beginning to get a little snippy with us, which was SO unlike her.

So, that day from my dad's hospital bed he asked me to take Muffin to be put to sleep.

I said to him, "Dad, I was thinking I'd get you some magazines or something. That's what I meant when I asked if you needed anything."

He explained it like this, "Pussycat, I can't do it. I don't have the physical strength anymore but I don't think I can handle taking her in to do that. I know this is a big favor but I need you to do this for me."

I couldn't say no. This was the guy who had always been there for me. The guy that, in spite of his faults had always done everything he could for me. He asked me this favor and I had to do it.

The day I took Muffin in to be put down it was overcast. Muffin went outside and ran around in the back yard, which is something I hadn't seen her do in a while. I took her for her last walk around the block and she seemed almost peppy. She had a treat (a Pupperoni) and was just really, really happy. I wondered if maybe this was a mistake. Maybe I should do it another day. You don't know how hard it was to take her that day, especially seeing the old Muffin again.

I thought I'd just take her in and leave her with the vet but I soon discovered that I just couldn't do that to her. Not after everything she'd done for me. During those times of my childhood that I felt like nobody loved me or I was in the way, she was there to remind me that I meant everything to her. She comforted me through skinned knees, the flu, a broken heart. Now she needed comfort and I was going to give it to her.

I said goodbye to Muffin that day and cried a lot, maybe more than I ever had. And maybe I was crying for more than just losing her but for the knowledge that my dad would never get better. In a weird way it prepared me for losing my dad. Though I'd lost a grandparent already at that point, I'd never experienced anything like losing someone that I lived with every day. Muffin was the first. I imagine her now with Dad in heaven or whatever you want to call it. It comforts me to imagine her keeping him company.

Yes, it's nice to have a dog in my life again. That kind of love is priceless.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts

Hello there, bloggy people. Today's post will be 100% random thoughts that are bouncing around in my head. I'm in the mood for something different. So, here goes.

  • The dog that we adopted a week ago is a really good dog. I cannot help but wonder what would possess a person to voluntarily give up this dog. We really lucked out. By the way, she's laying on my couch now. I just turned around to look at her and she looked up at me with those big, brown eyes as if to say, " are you sure it's ok for me to be on the couch?" Yeah, sweet girl, it's ok (as long as you're on the blue blanket.)

  • I wonder why nobody recycles medicine and why hospitals don't stock pile expired meds for poor people who come to the ER. Wouldn't that be an easy way to make sure people get the medications that they need and also help recycle these meds that we can't flush down the toilet? I mean, what are we supposed to do? Let old drugs just pile up?

  • I'm preparing to cook no less than 4 meals this weekend, which should feed us 8 times. I'm just getting myself mentally ready for it. And honestly, I LOVE doing it. It makes me feel good to cook nice meals for the family so we don't end up eating crap during the week because we're all so busy.

  • I'm getting kind of sick of Jennifer Aniston.

  • I have a lot of laundry to do so I am very glad that we got our dryer fixed. And I'm even more glad that we have the DTE (our energy company) Home Protection Plan that covers all appliances in our house so we never have to pay for it. Yes, it costs us $30 a month, but I see it as appliance insurance. Besides, if our furnace dies, the plan pays for itself. Not bad when absolutely no one in this house is handy. (Sorry honey, but you know you're not.)

  • My husband just handed me my contraceptive jelly inserts (i.e. birth control) because I left them sitting out for the last 3 days since they came in the mail. bad. Nice thing to just leave lying around the house.

  • Yesterday Bam-Bam made me a turtle (out of construction paper) at day care. He couldn't wait to show it to me when he got home. What a sweet boy!
  • I'm nervous because I know that I am in need of an entire mouth full of dental work and do not feel mentally prepared to deal with it. I am terrified of the dentist and almost choked to death on one of my crowns once, thanks to that stupid dental assistant with the slippery fingers. She tried to hold me down when she let go of it because she wanted to retrieve it. I was like - step off, chick, I am f'ing choking here. Anyhoo, thanks...I am even more terrified now.
  • I really like watching Go Diego Go. That is such a cute show! I talk to the TV for that one. My kid probably thinks I'm nuts.
  • It's Sweetest Day today, which I have never really considered to be much more than a Hallmark holiday. However, the hubby and I are going to have a very rare night out. I think we've done it maybe 4 times since Bam-Bam was born.
  • I just bought two supplements which I hope will assist me with this insane PMS problem I've been having. I did some research and found that 100 mg of Vitamin B6 daily is helpful for PMS and mood issues. I'm also going to use Melatonin for some of my sleep issues. I'll let you know how it goes. Taking the first one tonight.
  • I could probably use a little s-e-x some time soon. Hmmm, where is that leopard print underwear again. Oh, and mental note...maybe I should do some strategic shaving. TMI, I know. And get your mind out of the gutter. I don't mean that kind of shaving. Just grooming.
  • Sometimes I think I am not so much smart as I am savvy. Just very good at making people think I'm smart.
  • I am, at this moment, jamming some corn chips in my pie hole. They're not that good, so why the hell do I keep eating them?
  • Ever notice how there is always some kind of sports on TV. Annoying.
  • Should I be afraid of the Swine Flu? Sometimes I think I should be more concerned than I am. I definitely don't think that the vaccine is a good idea. Freaks me out. Way too new.

That's it. Hope that wasn't too boring to read. Just needed to get those things off my chest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes, I am a working mom....

I was inspired by something Melissa said on Rock & Drool about someone she knows who was on Dr. Phil and was a voice for the SAHM's out there (for the record, I also checked out this woman's blog). I would like to throw my voice out there as the voice of the working mom. What's the saying? Fair and balanced. Anyway, let me begin by saying that I did not see the episode of Dr. Phil and have no idea about the content but have some idea after looking at Jessica's blog. This is just a topic that has been near and dear for a while that I have meant to discuss and didn't think to do it before now.

So, yes, I am a working mom. I am a career woman. I enjoy my job. And you know what - I probably don't HAVE to work. I could cut corners and not work. But I want to. And I don't have fancy cars or a fancy house or huge bills to pay, though we would be scraping a bit if I didn't work as I make more money than my dear, underpaid government lawyer husband. I have a career. My kid goes to day care every single day. And I like that he goes there, though I do miss him and it's not always easy. And, don't get me wrong, if I became independently wealthy tomorrow, I would probably drop everything and stay home with him and go on lots of fun vacations and do lots of things. But I'm not independently wealthy....and I am not suggesting that SAHM's are even remotely in that position. The thing is, I like my job. I like going to work each day. I like knowing that Bam-Bam is socializing with other kids, learning lots of things that I would never think to teach him. I think he gets great value from day care. And NO, I am not saying that out of guilt. I actually do really believe that. And that is my right.

I also realize that there would be great advantages to having Bam-Bam stay at home with me. I get that. More time for bonding. Being there for certain milestones, etc....Here's the part I don't get....why, why, why do some mothers find it necessary to belittle other mothers for not doing what they do? What is up with these Nazi SAHM's who think that they are so superior to working moms? That somehow we aren't like REAL moms...that we just live this life of luxury (which so off base!). Conversely, why are there working mom's who think that SAHM's just sit on their asses all day watching their "stories" and are bored, sad little creatures?

Let me tell all you ladies something - get off your fuckin' high horses. All of you! On both sides. Not one of you is better than me and I'm not better than you. Not any one of us is more or less of a mother than the other. Maybe what we should really be doing is supporting each other as mothers and women. Maybe we should acknowledge that we both have a difficult job to do as mom's. That is, raising our kids the best damn way we know how.

I do not lead a life of leisure or luxury. I work hard. Really hard. So do you. I think the last thing that either of us needs is to be judged for what we do or don't do. And then I wonder to myself - why do some people find it so necessary to be judgmental? If they were really secure in what they're doing and didn't need validation that it's right, well, then they wouldn't have to put others down in the first place. Just my take. And, yes, I've had therapy before. That's why I use fancy words like validation.

So, all you bitches out there....get a grip. Stop acting like bitches and support your fellow women. None of us sees what anyone else is doing in their homes day in and day out. And we should not judge each other or say that each others kids are getting messed up for one reason or another. I'm not going to sit here and justify what I do by telling you all of the hard work that I do. That's not the point and I don't really care if you agree with my choices or not. The point is, why can't we all just learn to appreciate each other and stop judging each other. And, ok, I'll stop calling you bitches.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PMS on Steriods

Ok, I admit that I may actually have inherited a little bit of my mother's tendency to be a hypochondriac. I'm also too damn smart for my own good. Sometimes I think that if I were a dumb person I could just walk around in blissful ignorance, never knowing about all of the terrible diseases and maladies in the world. Not reading up on natural medicine. Not reading all of the articles on But, I'm not blissfully ignorant. I am overly self aware. Is that possible? Yes!

Here's what I think I have now - it is called PMDD. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. And I really think I have something on this. It is sort of like PMS on Steroids. I've never, ever been a PMSer. Ever. I always wondered what that must be like. But I have to tell you that in the last year or so, I have turned into a crazy person with my PMS. Once a month for about 7-10 days before my period, I turn into a total nutjob. Surly - check. Anxious - check. Insomnia - check. Depression - sometimes. Paranoid - I ate "those" brownies...yes. Hungry for all things salty, sweet, not nailed down - check.

Here's what Wikipedia says and it is TOTALLY me:

PMDD is premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that is so severe it can be debilitating due to either physical, mental or emotional symptoms. Treatment is recommended because PMDD interferes with the sufferer's ability to function in her social or occupational life. The cardinal symptom—surfacing between ovulation and menstruation, and disappearing within a few days after the onset of the bleeding—is irritability (PMID 11571794). Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include[3]
feelings of deep sadness or despair, possible suicide ideation
feelings of tension or anxiety (YES!)
panic attacks (YES!)
diarrhea (Sometimes)
mood swings, crying, (Sometimes)
lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts. Typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them (Sometimes)
apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
yeast infections
difficulty concentrating (Yes)
fatigue (Yes)
food cravings or binge eating (Yes and No...but great desire to binge eat)
insomnia or hypersomnia (TOTALLY!)
feeling "out of control", (Yes!)
increase or decrease in sex drive.
increased need for emotional closeness, (Yes! I can get needy.)
physical symptoms: bloating (yes), heart palpitations (yes), breast tenderness (yes), headaches (yeS), joint or muscle pain (yes), swollen face
Five or more of these symptoms may indicate PMDD. Symptoms occur during the 2 weeks before the menstrual cycle and disappear within a few days after the onset of the bleeding.

I SO have 5 or more symptoms. And this always happens right before my period. As soon as it starts, it's over.

Here's the fun part about it. It's something that frequently happens to pre-menopausal women. So, I guess that means I couldn't possibly have it. Right? Guess again, bitches. I'm 36 freaking years old. Easily in that window. How the hell did this happen?

So, I really need to get this thing under control. It is manageable at this point but it seems to be getting worse. I'm trying to explore some natural remedies so if anyone out there is familiar with this, your advice is wanted.

I'll try not to snap at you. You're safe....Aunt Martha is visiting now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Addition to the Family

Let me begin by saying - no, I am not pregnant. Not even close. But we have a new family member joining us. She is a beautiful, loving, kind, sweet German Shepherd mix that is 3 years old and needs some love and a good family. I am so excited because after having met her last Sunday, I feel like she really belongs in our family. She was spayed on Tuesday and comes home tomorrow. I'm NOT a girlie girl, but I insisted that we get her a very princessy dog bed. It's purple. And I want to take her to be groomed a couple times a year and get little bows and nail polish. Is that wrong? And she has a pink, flowery collar that matches her leash. She is going to be the hottest dog on the block. She wasn't abused but she was neglected and I guess I feel like I want to give her the love she missed before. And maybe it's my way of reaching out to a kindred spirit. Just seems right. Can't wait!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

All I Want

Although I spend a great deal of my time trying to sort out the past and the things I have gone through, I must say that I wildly prefer the present. I realize that I truly have all that I could possibly want and need. That's a pretty damn good feeling. My son is a constant source of joy. My husband is a great man and a wonderful father. I live a relatively sedate lifestyle (by choice) and relish the small things in life. I could not ask for more. Here is a short list of those things that I love so much:

1) The way my son cups my chin and says "Oh, Mommy," and then plants a kiss on me.

2) How my husband empties the dishwasher for me because he knows how I hate to empty.

3) When Bam-Bam and I drive past a local turkey farm (and yes, we live in a major metropolitan area, NOT the country) and he shouts "TOOOOOOOOKEEEEEEYYYYSSS!!!!!"

4) How hubby is totally cool with the fact that I like flowers but I despise gardening, therefore I will never be one of those ladies puttering around in the yard all weekend making it purty.

5) Bam-Bam's love of all things aquatic.

6) Ok, so we have a few annoying neighbors, but I love our home. It's just right for us. Just the right size, nothing too fancy and modestly decorated. I would love to pick it up and plop it out in the country somewhere.

7) I have some amazing friends. I don't see most of them very much but they are so special to me. What I like is that they come from all walks of life - stay at home and working moms, single people, gay men, white collar, blue collar, democrats, republicans....I don't care who you are - I love you all for different reasons. You are our adopted family.

8) I have a job that I really love that allows me time to balance my family life with my work.

9) I've had the good fortune of living for 36 years and hope to live at least 36 more (and then some). The way I've seen people die young, I am thankful for every single birthday I am given and never get pissed about growing older - it is truly a gift.

I think that sums it up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You're Cuter Than An Intrauterine....

My birthday is just a few days away, so today I received a card and a letter from my Mom. And a small gift. And it annoys me. Is that wrong? So, you may not have the entire background on why I am annoyed. The 60 second backstory is that she took off on me and brother when we were 7 and 10, respectively. Left us with our dad (a good guy with bad taste in women) and an incredibly abusive step-mother. Went to Boston and got married to our step-dad. Called us with the news. And basically rarely ever called us for anything else except maybe birthdays and Christmas. Prior to that, she was divorced from my dad for a few years and basically passed us off to whichever of the cheapest babysitters in town would watch us while she both worked as a waitress and in her free time did whatever the hell she wanted with her friends. She picked up hitchhikers with us in the car, talked incessantly on the phone with her friends while she was around us, ignored us in every way possible including forgetting to bathe us and clothing us in dirty laundry...basically did everything but mother us. So we were not mothered from the time we were about (me) 3.5 and (my bro) 7.5. Very fucked up situation. She moved back from Boston after 3 years but was pretty hands off. We ended up both back to live with her for a couple of years as teens. She basically lorded over us constantly that the minute we turned 18 we were no longer her problem and we'd better be ready for it. That gives you an idea.

I wrote her off just over a year ago after she moved away for a second time 5 weeks after my son was born. She promised up and down that she would be calling so much it would drive me nuts. (A girl needs her mother after she has a baby...or a mother-figure of some sort.) She moved and never called, never communicated. It was very hard on me. More on that later. It didn't help the Baby Blues that I was fighting. Just in the last few months I have loosened up and told her she is free to email me and send letters if she desires. I do not want to speak to her by phone and she is clear on that so she doesn't call. Too hard to wait for calls that don't come. She's probably fine with that because calls cost money anyway.

So today she sent a letter telling me all about my birth 36 years ago. How happy she was to have "her girl" and how much I was loved and wanted and still am. Guess what? I'm not buying it. She detailed her contractions, the entire birthing process, the exact moment I was born, how she shit on the doctor with the first push. I don't frickin' care. In my eyes actions speak louder than words. Right? Am I wrong to have this reaction? I am just so done with her and she is so full of lies. So, I know I should just brush it off and move on but it does annoy me. And by the way, that $20 gift card for Bath & Body Works....if she knew me better she would know that I hate that store. But she doesn't.