Category Archives: Parenting

Boys, Girls, and College

boys girls collegeI had plans to write a really funny and witty post about the differences between boys and girls and the preparation of college, but I may be falling a bit short (can’t you tell by my title?).

I had this brilliant idea to interview some friends who had experienced their son, daughter or both going to college (like I had the best idea in the world, because, umm, I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been done before).

I’ve been sitting on the results for a couple months. Results that really aren’t as dramatic or drastic as I thought they would be. Or surprising.

What I discovered is that boys prefer to just bring three to four pairs of shoes (holes and all), whereas girls will load an extra car full of them (as one friend put it, “enough for a display at Nordstrom”).

As if they might die if they come across an outfit that doesn’t have the perfect shoe to match. And they might. Actually, they probably would based on personal experience.

We should have bought stock in Steve Madden had we known it would be a problem.

In my opinion, college should be about sweatpants and Skippy’s but I didn’t go to college so I suppose my opinion doesn’t really matter here. Although, I did live in concert tees and Adidas in high school so I can’t be that far off.

I learned that girls need to have utensils, matching dish sets and a glass for every occasion.

You know, for those elaborate dinner parties they plan on throwing on the floor of their five foot by five foot dorm room. Chances of the Queen of England showing up is pretty slim, but you never know.

A boy? Oh, a Spork will suffice. Preferably plastic so they don’t have to wash any dishes. For those of you who don’t know what a Spork is, it is an eating utensil that looks like a fork but can be used as a spoon. I’m guessing this is the greatest invention for college boys since, well, condoms (which also happens to be an “essential”).

Boys need to be reminded that they should probably start a list, as well as reminded not to forget underwear and socks (not ALL boys mind you; some are very organized and a bit anal, but not many so don’t get too excited, moms of boys who have yet to experience the joys of college prepping).

Girls have their lists drawn up, laminated, and notarized by mid-April.  And their items all bought and organized alphabetically a month prior to their first day of class.

Girls need to take stuffed animals from their youth, photos of every friend from here to Timbuktu, pretty little lights, and stationary. You know, in case they want to write a letter.

Although today’s youth can barely write script and tend to send thank you cards via Facebook, but I digress, and that’s a topic for another time.

Boys are more simplistic. I saw some photos of boys dorm rooms on Facebook and with the exception of one or two, most are fine with a college pendant and their letter from high school football.

Don’t let a girl in there, boys. If given the opportunity, they will fill those blank walls. And fast I’m sure of it.

The long and short of it is that boys focus on functionality and don’t stress out. For girls, it’s all about the decorative touches, and the stress levels are through the roof. Like, duck if you see it coming. Like, “Sybil” crazy stress.

How are they the same?

They both pack snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Pretty much enough snacks to last nearly four years. And depending on how far or close they are, they packed enough clothes for two to four seasons.

I don’t know why that last sentence surprised me. I thought for sure a sweatshirt would be good enough to get a boy and/or a girl through winter (if my memory serves me right, winter coats were an unnecessary piece of clothing at the school drop off line).

That pretty much sums it up. Girls stress out if they don’t have enough shoes and matching mugs. And boys can get by with crocs and a fork you can eat soup with.

So, for all of you with inquiring minds, who were losing sleep over it, there it is. You know what to expect. Either run for the hills, or accept the idea that you will have to do a lot of hand holding.

Whatever the sex of your child, college is a pretty cool experience. So, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. It’s over before you know it.

It’s Gonna Suck Until It Doesn’t

imagesDH and I are going to be empty nesters. We will be coming home to an empty house within the next 48 hours. After eighteen years of tears, laughs, fights, hugs, hard lessons, and all that parenting involves, our job will be done.

It is the night before we leave to take our only child to college. Tonight will be the last night she spends in her own bed. The last dinner we’ll have as a family in our home, at our table. Tomorrow morning will be the last time I get to make her dairy-free pancakes.

Well, until that first break. I do realize she’ll be back. But you know what I mean.

It’s been a revolving door all weekend with The Kid’s friends coming to say goodbye to each other. Some of these kids I have known since birth, some since the age of five when she befriended them in Kindergarten, and some only the last four or five years. But it all feels the same. It sucks. And I’m trying with everything I have not to cry and blubber like a big fat baby.

Don’t get me wrong. I am excited for The Kid and her friends. I look forward to seeing what the future brings them. I know they are going to have the time of their lives.

It’s still going to suck. For me. These first few weeks, they are going to suck. I know they will.

But then, I hear from some well-versed empty nesters, that once they are gone, and you get used to them being gone, it’s not so bad.

For some, it’s more than “not bad” but down right awesome. Every once in a while I will catch a glimpse of some empty nesting friends on Facebook and it looks like they are having the time of their lives.

A few weeks ago, The Kid visited with my family down south for a week and a half, so we got a good taste of what it would be like.

I have to admit that we had a great time. We didn’t feel (as) worried, or stressed. We were at ease. It was like before we had a child. And it was kind of nice.

Because let’s face it, as wonderful and rewarding as it is to have children, it’s stressful as hell. I don’t care how many offspring you have.

Will I sob as I turn to leave her behind in a place that is completely foreign to her? Will I bawl like a two-year-old in the car during our three hour drive home? Will I cry every time I walk by her “empty” room the first few days?

You betcha.

Then after I get all that out and get used to the idea, I think I.m going to be alright.

It’s still gonna suck though. This initial feeling. And I’m not looking forward to it.

UnknownSo, stay tuned. Who knows, you might actually get to see a picture of me hanging from the rafters.

 

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. It means different things for different people. For some, it means four generations of mothers/daughters dressing up in the same outfit and flaunting their threads at the local Chinese buffet.

For others, it means hosting a party and inviting every mother within a ten mile radius.

And others still, a nice quiet day with the family or breakfast with mom is all they wish for.

I have done all of the above at least once in my nearly seventeen years of being a mother (except the twinsie thing; as cute as that may be, it’s just not for me).

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and appreciate your mother. Or if you are a mother, for your children — those little creatures you’ve helped bring into the world and raise — to appreciate you. Or both, of course.

Since I am lucky enough to still have my mother, I will stop and show my appreciation with a phone call, an e-card and a gift she practically ordered herself. She knows I appreciate her. But it’s my day too. Call me selfish, but I’m still raising my kid and that shit is hard work. I need a f*cking break.

Every year there is really only one thing I want to do. Be alone. I know, I know. I should want to spend the day with my kid. I’m being completely selfish (again). What kind of mother am I? But can I ask one question? If I do decide to spend Mother’s Day with my child, what makes this day any different from the rest?

I have a friend who used to get completely incensed at me for wanting to just be left alone on Mother’s Day. “Mother’s Day is so you can spend the day with your children.” No. Not for me, it isn’t. Oh and hey. Do me a solid. Don’t judge my decision and I won’t judge yours.

I love my crotch fruit more than I do myself or any other being, dead or alive. I will lay myself down in front of a speeding freight train and move mountain and earth for this kid. I will drop what I’m doing at any given moment if she needs me to. I am there for her through thick and thin. I don’t need to spend my Mother’s Day with her to prove that.

Quite honestly, I would like to let my family off the hook. Go. Go do something else. Go to the mall. Go to a museum or for a walk. Go read a book. Go pick your nose if you want to. Just don’t do it within ear or eye shot of me.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAYAnd when The Kid is a grown up with children of her own? A phone call or card will be fine with me. I know we are always mothers until the day we depart this fine world, but my job will be done. It will be time to pass the torch.

So, what am I doing today? What I always would prefer to do, whether I get there or not…sit on the back deck with a good book and a pitcher of margaritas. Alone.

I think I make it pretty easy. So, happy Mother’s Day to all mothers near and far. I hope you get what you want. Now, I’m going back to my margarita so leave me alone.

 

The Day She Stopped Believing In Santa Claus

images

This time of year inevitably brings about the curiosity from children on the cusp of what to think of Santa. You can see it in their eyes. They aren’t quite sure what to do. Their brains start to wonder how it’s possible but yet they are afraid of the answer.

This is how it went down in my house when The Kid was on that very cusp about 7 years ago:

Her: Mom, is there a Santa Claus?

Me: Yes honey, of course there is.

Her: Mom, please. I’m asking you to tell me the truth.

Me: Well, what do YOU think?

Her: Mom, just tell me. Please…or I’m screwed.

Did our 9 year old just say “screwed?” Yes, yes she did.

After DH reprimanded her for using bad language and after I stopped laughing because come on, that was funny, I needed to know what she meant. There are a few different meanings to “screwed” and although I knew she wasn’t referring to the one “screwed” that I automatically think of because I have a dirty mind, I needed clarification.

Me: What do you mean by “screwed” exactly?

Her: Well, what am I going to tell my children? How will I know if there is a Santa or not if you don’t tell me the truth?

And that’s how it happened. It is known as “the night The Kid stopped believing in Santa” around here and it saddened me. A little.

There was a part of me that was happy the facade was over. No more lying to my kid’s face. No more having this big, fat lie of a man taking credit for all of my hard work. No more trying desperately not to slip up, hoping some loud-mouthed brat on the school bus wouldn’t break her heart.

But it was sad because it was the end of her innocence. She had stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy the year before and I’m not even sure she really ever understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. I’m not even sure I understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. That right there is just plain creepy. If I saw a large, life-sized rabbit hiding eggs in my house, I’d probably stab him with a kitchen knife.

Because a fat man in a red suit coming out of my flue like a raccoon who went into the wrong hole is any less creepy. The only reason I wouldn’t stab him with a kitchen knife is because he is bearing gifts. Eggs? I don’t need to elaborate.

But I digress.

I knew it was coming. I’m pretty sure she was a little apprehensive the prior year. I could sense it. I’m guessing she was afraid to say she didn’t believe anymore for fear of receiving fewer presents. Little did she know it really wouldn’t have made a difference. One of the perks of being an only child? Maybe.

Even though she doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, she believes. She believes in the magic. The love and the generosity. The giving and of course, the receiving. And now that she’s driving? The crowds and the traffic.

Santa may be a lie, but only in that there is no fat man in a red suit flying all over the world delivering toys (damn, kids are gullible). But the spirit of Santa, what he stands for, is alive and kicking.

Merry Christmas my friends. Let the spirit of Santa be within you. And if your kids hate you for lying to them for the past 9 years? Eh. They are going to probably hate you in about 4 years anyway, so get used to it.

 

The Stage of Invincibility or Welcome To the Teen Years

Teen-age-mouse-comic

I remember when The Kid was an infant and I was carrying her around in one of those convertible car seat numbers. DH and I were at this store where they sell plants. I don’t know why because my thumb is just about as green as a carrot, but there we were.

A lovely woman walked up to me and said, “Enjoy this stage because it’s the easiest.” I looked at her like she was nuts.

I was in the throe’s of midnight feedings, witching hours and projectile vomit. Not to mention the dairy factory hanging from my chest that made more milk than was demanded. There was no way in hell that she knew what she was talking about.

It turns out, she did know what she was talking about. She was totally and completely 110% correct. The terrible twos were just that. And the threes were beyond awful. I didn’t think anything could be as hard as the threes.

But alas…there was something. The Teen Years. It’s like trying to pass a rock through your rectum. It’s really hard.

I remember being a teen. I sucked. Although my teen isn’t as horrible as I was, she’s still a teen. I will put money down that even Mother Teresa wasn’t all that great when she was 16. Okay, maybe she was. Bad example.

I’m talking about the attitude. You know the one? Yeah, that. Sometimes I fear her. My kid. The kid I pushed out of my down below. The kid I gave life to. The kid who is 31 years younger than me and weighs as much as that one persistent chin hair that keeps appearing out of nowhere.

When I ask a simple question like, “did you do your homework or empty the dishwasher,” I am met by Sybil, the girl with 16 personalities. Accompanied with the ever-present eye-roll. The eye-roll that is universally understood. It says, “I hate you, you are annoying, now go away.”

On top of that, there’s the worry. It was so easy when you knew exactly where they were. Which was usually within yards of us.

There was the quiet fear of injuries from jumping on beds or if they were going to decide to play Hide & Seek when you turned your back for 2 seconds at Kohl’s. Instantly turning us moms into crazed lunatics, screaming for our children, thinking they were gone forever, when they were merely feet away, mocking us from under a clothes round.

These days there are boys (or girls), and cars, and drugs, and alcohol everywhere.  Not to mention social media. Hoping they don’t befriend some deranged stranger who may come and chop her up into little pieces behind the mall.

All these things make you worry so bad, the grays are doing double-time. The wrinkles making a map to Hell on your forehead.

There is also the very simple, scientifically proven fact that teenagers’ brains aren’t fully developed; therefore, allowing them to truly feel they are invincible. This little scientific fact lasts until a human is into their twenties. God help us.

So, what is my advice to survive this stage that is called Teen-dom?

  1. A thick skin
  2. Advil
  3. Strong vodka
  4. Enough patience to make Job (you know, that guy from the bible?) seem like a toddler
  5. Prayer

Other than all that, teens are great. You know, if you like to sit through the same episode of *Caillou 2,000 times while someone is hitting you in the face with a mallet.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. Perhaps the mallet isn’t necessary.

*For those of you who are blissfully unaware of who Caillou (kie-you) is, he is an annoying and whiney little 4-year old who was created to make the lives of parents everywhere absolute hell on earth.

Beg My Partum

Women talk about the joys of becoming a new mother. The moment you hold your child for the first time. The tears, the joy, the overwhelming amount of love that oozes from every pore of your body, every part of your being. You see this in movies, on TV shows, in books. Friends, family members, strangers inform you of this joy of joys.

So, when you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and awaiting the arrival of your precious baby, all you can think about is that moment of bonding. When the doctor/nurse takes that bloody and shat on 8 pounds of pure joy that was made with love between you and your hubs/partner/lover and places him/her gingerly upon your bosom. The moment that your 8 pounds of pure joy suckles on said bosom for the first time.

Every time you think of this moment, you are overcome with emotion. Your eyeballs leak gobs of tears. You start to sob from the joy of it. You cannot help yourself. This is a moment you are anxiously, patiently waiting for. The absolute best moment of your life. You are so sure of it.

Then it comes. The moment you have been anxiously, patiently waiting for. You pop that 8 pounds of pure joy out of your vagina. Well, you don’t pop her out exactly. It’s more like a ripping, tearing, pulling and stretching of your vagina to China and back so that the circumference of a small dinner plate with shoulders can get past your lady bits.

The doctor/nurse/whoever (you don’t really care if it’s the homeless man down on Main Street because you are just so glad the worst pain known to man is finally over) hands your bundle of joy over to you. The moment of truth is upon you. The moment you have been waiting months for. You make eye contact. Well, kinda. 30 second old babies really can’t focus, but you, umm, make eye contact and, and, wait for it…nothing.

Because all those movies, TV shows, books, family members and friends?  Not one of them told you that you could possibly suffer from something called Postpartum Depression.

The LaMaze class that you forced your poor husband/life partner/other to attend so that you can learn stuff to help you during your labor and delivery?  Stuff that completely goes out the door because all you can think of is getting this human out of you so that you can have your life back. They didn’t even warn you. Not. One. Word. Ever.

I hold my newborn as if the guy at the market just handed me a bag of potatoes. Actually, I was more excited about the potatoes because they were on sale. I look at my baby. I look at my husband.

He can see the look on my face, the blankness behind my eyes and because he fears that I could possibly drop his baby on the cold, hard, tile floor — the same floor that shares the afterbirth and whatever else that just spewed from my body — he takes her from me. And bonds with her. Okay, so she doesn’t suckle because that would be weird and a total waste of time. But they bond.

And so it goes. What are some other signs? I’ve broken it down for you:

  • The “midnight” feeding that ended poorly for the unsuspecting nurse whose only crime is being on-duty during this crazed new mother’s stay. That and wheeling the new “breast-fed” baby into said crazed mother’s room while she’s TRYINGTOGETSOMESLEEPDAMMIT!
  • The intense panic you feel when your visiting mother goes home after staying with you for a few days. “Please don’t go, mommy. Please please please don’t leave me. I promise I will make up for all the broken curfews, D’s on my report cards and sneaking out at midnight. I promise. What’s that you say? You didn’t know about the sneaking out at midnight part? Oh.”
  • The night you swear that your sweet little angel is going to turn her head on her shoulders because you are pretty sure you gave birth to the devil herself. Or Regan.
  • The times you spend on the phone with your new child’s pediatrician while you soak on a sitz-bath all but licking the wounds of your poor, sore arse that was ripped to smithereens so your baby could have life. Those times you spend crying to him. Begging what in God’s name are you to do with a baby? You have some experience, but you were twelve and was only paid a dollar an hour.
  • The times you don’t want to hold her. After you nurse your baby, you hand her over to your husband, visiting friend or the homeless man down on Main Street (this last one is just a joke…don’t do that.)
  • IMG_3647

    This. This is the look of the day, err, summer. I wasn’t kidding. I have about 23 more photos just like this to prove it. And that smile? I had to paste it on.

    The same faded, stretched out elastic waist-banded “bike” shorts and breast milk stained t-shirt is your “go to” outfit for three months. Okay, so it’s really your everyday outfit but no one tells you about your fashion faux pas for fear of losing a limb.

I thought I was normal. I did. Didn’t every new mother have maniacal thoughts and act like a complete lunatic?

I make fun of my experience, because I decided long ago that humor is how I would deal with things that aren’t so pleasant. But it really is anything but funny.

Here’s the thing: Postpartum Depression is real. It’s actual. It is not satisfactual. It happens to more women than you think. If you are suffering from this, you are not alone.

The most important thing to remember is that Postpartum Depression is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. So, get on your high-horse or soap box or whatever works for you and scream to anyone who is listening and get the help you need. You will be happy you did. And so will your baby. And your husband. And your mother. And your neighbor. And…get my point?

 

I Am Suffering From a Big A.S.S. Problem

Note: This is not a book review

couch

I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”

So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.

Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.

I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.

I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.

I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.

And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.

But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.

I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.

I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.

But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.

Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.

I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?

Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?

Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.

But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.

I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets.  We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.

I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.

The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.

Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.

I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.

I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.

Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.

I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.

Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.

September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.

It Feels Like the First Time

Note to Dad: This post is about S-E-X and a certain daughter of yours. Do not read any further if you think you might have nightmares. You have been duly warned.

That's right brother, don't you touch me or I will CUT you.

That’s right brother, don’t you touch me or I will CUT you.

When people talk about sex after kids, the first thing that comes to my mind is not sex after kids, but sex after babies. Like right after. It’s been a long time. I mean, it’s been a long time since I gave birth to my kid. 16 years, 4 months and 10 days to be exact.

So, can I legitimately talk about this subject? Do I have the right? Damn straight I do. Because having sex for the first time after healing from childbirth is like having someone clean out your insides with a scythe that has been wrapped in 60 grit sandpaper. Sure, that sounds pretty painful. That’s because it is.

Not something soon to be forgotten with time. No matter what they say. It’s a lie. Like saying that you will soon forget about the pain of pushing an 8 pound person out of your nether-area. Your lady jewels. Your motherly loins. That, too, is a lie. Because 16 years, 4 months and 10 days later I remember that shit as if it happened just yesterday. It’s as fresh as a daisy in the subconsciousness of my mind.

I dreaded it. “Six weeks” the good doctor said. When I arrived home after my postpartum appointment and the hubs was waiting with baded breath, looking for the green light, I should have lied. Six months probably would have been more like it.

I wasn’t dreading it because I dislike sex. I was dreading it because I know precisely what went on down below during childbirth. Things got pulled, stretched and ripped in places that should NEVER have been…well, at least ripped. Apparently, pulled and stretched is acceptable given the fact that we are the lucky God-chosen gender to have been given the gift of child bearing. But I digress.

Between walking like a stud with the biggest set of scrotums known to man for 2 weeks to avoid any chafing and spending 3/4 of my time sitting on a sitz-bath for 10 days to relieve the horrid pain exuding from my bottom, the last thing I needed was to have all that down there invaded by the exact thing that got me in that situation in the first place.

No, I wasn’t holding any grudges. It wasn’t his fault that this was how we chose to have a family. We both agreed to it. We did. But dang, a little advanced notice would have been nice. You know, maybe before we got into this situation called being pregnant?

The light turned GREEN and it was game time. The pain made my toes curl, took the breath out of me, made me want to cry out for my mama. But I didn’t do that. Cry out for my mama. That would have been weird. And a major buzz kill.

But don’t worry. After that first time, all is well. Every time after that is hunky-dory. Back to normal. Have all the sex you want. Well, that is if you can come out of your lack-of-sleep induced coma from having a newborn wake you up at all ungodly hours of the night. Then by all means, carry on. You’re a trooper.

The Birds and The Bees As Told By Katherine & Michael

It’s safe to say that I grew up with a fairly unconventional mother. Sure, she was young. 21 when she had me. That was still the generation when women were getting married out of high school and popping out babies pretty much as they were saying “I do.”

So, she wasn’t the only young mother on the block. Still, when I think of all my friends’ mothers, mine was pretty much one of a kind. You can take that either way. There is no right or wrong answer by the way.

She was very much unlike her own mother who was a complete kook. You know, making shit up like “you only get three orgasms in your lifetime, so be careful how you use them.”

Doing things like sniffing the crotch of her only daughter’s underwear to see if she could detect the scent of semen (this coming from a woman who only had 3 orgasms in her lifetime? How she could differentiate between semen and hollandaise sauce is beyond me).

Running into an old friend at a wake and yelling out across the room, “HEY AGNES, I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU SINCE OUR TWATS WERE FACING EACH OTHER IN THE DELIVERY ROOM!!”

Ok, so that last one was a little reminiscent of something my mother would do. And she once told me someone died in my childhood bedroom. But other than that, nothing alike. Just had to get that in. Maybe one day I’ll tell you other reasons why I not only believe this, but know this. It’s a good story.

At the age of 10, my mother turned to me. In front of my entire family. In the living room. On a commercial break. During the “The Waltons.” And said, “please make sure you come tell me when you are ready for sex and I’ll get you on birth control.”

Say what and come again? I’m 10, mom. Please. Now if you don’t mind I would like to finish brushing Barbie’s hair. She’s getting ready for the ball. Ken is taking her (umm, to the ball, not uh..well, you know). Ooh, I think I get it now. Sorry, a little slow on the uptake.

Fast forward 4 years. I was in a conversation with a group of girls in the locker room at school. They were talking about blow jobs. “Oh yeah, gag me with a spoon!” I replied. Completely not letting on that I had no idea what they were talking about.

It was something you do when you get your hair done, right? Except it didn’t feel like it was something you do when you get your hair done.

So, I asked my mom when I got home. After all, I wasn’t afraid to. She said I could talk to her about anything. “Hey mom, what’s a blow job?”

“Oh honey. I have something I’ve been saving for you,” was her reply. She left the kitchen only to come back holding a book a few moments later. Oh great, she was going to give me a reading assignment.

This was back in the day when I would scan the pages of “Black Beauty” and brag about how great the book was. When I say “scan” I mean wave it in front of my face like one of those Japanese fans they hand out in church on a hot day.

What was this book she wanted me to so desperately read? “Forever” by Judy Blume. I heard of Judy Blume. She was that children’s writer. What the hell was she giving me a kid’s book for? “Here, read this. Come to me with any questions you have.”

judyblume-forever

So I read it. Cover to cover in less than a week. I did not scan it. I did not use it as a fan. I did not pass Go. I did not collect $200. I read it. The whole damn thing.

Well, hello teen porn. How do you do? This was nothing like the time I walked over the highway to Carrie Hoadley’s house on a Thursday afternoon to watch the XXX movie we found in her dad’s closet. That scared me so bad, I was certain I would die childless.

Judy Blume? This was different. It just was. Probably because I didn’t visually see anything that permanently scarred the insides of my eyeballs.

So, that was pretty much my sex talk. I’m sure mom told me about fallopian tubes and periods and how babies grew. But I don’t remember. All that comes back to me when I think about the mother/daughter all-important coming-of-age discussion is Katherine.

Rock on Katherine. That does not mean I give permission for The Kid to ever act out in this way before she’s, what? 29? Pfft. That’s silly. I am very hip after all. And totally contemporary. 28 would be completely acceptable.

 

The Epidemic of Mother Guilt

It's a conspiracy

It’s a conspiracy

We moms talk about guilt. Every single mother I know suffers or has suffered from it. In one form or another. Whether they had a single episode or have experienced chronic guilt. It happens to us all. It’s pretty much an epidemic. I mean, seriously. Every time a bout of it flares up, we should be quarantined.

We feed off of each other. “Oh my god, little Johnny wet his bed last night. It’s totally my fault. I yelled at him two Wednesday’s ago because he tried to feed his goldfish the meatball sandwich I was saving for my husband’s late night snack. I scarred him for life. I’m the worst mother EVER!”

“Oh, don’t feel bad, let me tell you what I did…” As if it’s a competition. My guilt is worse than your guilt. And the winner is…umm, I hate to break it to you, but we’re all winners.

I have the habit of labeling my forehead with a big “L” as in LOSER with my forefinger and thumb. Like I’m twelve or stuck in 1985 or something. “I’m such a loser mom. I’m totally getting Mother of the Year.” I mean, how many of these damn awards are there? How can we ALL be recipients of the most prestigious award known to mothers? Apparently, it’s possible.

Mother guilt causes sleepless nights, crying jags, severe regret. We take away their phones, tell them they can’t go to a party they’ve been dying to go to, ground them for a month, take the car away, send them to their rooms without supper, put their favorite doll up on a shelf. All because they broke a rule.

But they broke the rule. Not us. So, why do we have to suffer? Why do we feel bad?

Remember when our parents would punish us and they would say, “this hurts me more than it hurts you?” And we would give them the stink eye because we couldn’t believe they totally just said that. I mean, if that’s the truth, then just don’t punish us, right?

And then we would get punished for giving them the stink eye. But I digress.

Well, now the torch has been passed. And we finally, finally, finally get it. They were telling the truth. It does hurt us more than it hurts them. Because they freaking get over it. For us, it lingers. Like when you eat enough garlic to raise the dead. Seeping out of your every pore. Except sometimes way longer.

We feel bad because we love them unconditionally. We love our little crotch fruit with every fiber of our being. Let’s face it, the feeling isn’t likewise. Sure they love us. That goes without saying. But when we die, they will get over it. Eventually. That’s the way it should be. Dang, I’m digressing again. Sorry.

So, should we stop the Mother Guilt? Yes, we should. Will we? No, we won’t. Because we can’t dammit. We just can’t. Like I said, it’s an epidemic. It can’t be stopped. And our children will always do something to piss us off. It’s a vicious circle. With no way off. So, enjoy the ride. And I’ll be sure to pass along my crown to you.