Even psychos (toddlers) can be taught empathy.

Toddlers are psychopaths. They have half your DNA and none of your humanity. That’s why being a parent is so fucking exhausting- you have to teach those little fuckers how to be a human being. I saw something on the internet once that went something like “kids are great, and maybe even the best, but they are learning to be human beings through trial and error.” Which basically sums it up.

Biggie is 5, so that’s 5 years of us teaching him manners, and feelings, and putting in the fucking work. And now I am happy to say we have an extremely well mannered and sweet little man who is only a dick to his little brother like 3 times a day on average. Speaking of the little one- he yells at you to stop it, and thinks slapping the shit out of you is playing. Also he tantrums whenever you tell him something he doesn’t want to hear- so let’s just call him a work in progress.

We’ve always drilled into them manners, and the meaning of family, and being nice. Within the last year or so we began teaching Biggie about not judging someone based on how they look. (The Greatest Showman gets like half the street cred for this). He knows we treat people based on who they are on the inside. It can be hard to give them diversity in life sometimes, but we try to give them experiences and interactions that show them all the color that the world can offer.

This year though, for me, it’s also about teaching them about protecting the environment and giving back. Dading and I had a charity softball tournament yesterday, and we did the Walk to End Alzheimer’s today. The kids did the walk with us, and I explained to Biggie in 5 year old terms what the walk represented. I told him how much money we raised and what it went to. I want the boys to grow up knowing what it means to get involved and give back. I told Biggie to take a water bottle to the officer that was directing traffic today. He knows not to litter because it’s bad for the environment AND someone else will have to pick it up, which isn’t cool. He knows plastic ends up in the ocean and hurts sea turtles. He knows about recycling.

Look, we aren’t perfect. I still use plastic straws at restaurants and forget my reusable bags at Publix. But they see us try, and they understand why. Raising kids is about so much more than trying not to kill them (it makes total sense why animals eat their young) and getting them to adulthood semi-successfully. I want them to grow up to be human fucking beings who believe that love is love and who a person is lives on the inside. That family watches out for each other. That GIVE YOUR BROTHER THE FUCKING TOY HE WAS PLAYING WITH DON’T BE A DICK.

And as I’m writing this next to Biggie, he just said to me “You know how much I love you? Double super much.” So yeah, pretty much crushing it at this parenting thing 😉

The Pandora’s box of family vacation.

So this past weekend we took a last minute trip to the Georgia Aquarium. We packed everyone up and left at the crack of dawn for the nearly 9 hour drive. Honestly, when you take car trips with kids tack on like an extra 2 hours for snacks, pee breaks and the baby blowing out the car with farts and faking you out thinking it’s a code brown.

The boys did great in the car, true story. They are good car travelers. They have that going for them, at least. When we got to the hotel that afternoon they were jacked from being cooped up in the car and the excitement of staying in a hotel which is a rare occasion. When it was time for bed, they were so excited at sleeping on the pull out couch that all we heard was fits of giggles and playing. Which is adorable- for like 5 minutes. There’s no way at least 2 neighbors on either side didn’t hear me unhinging my jaw at them. No one filed a noise complaint, probably out of pity.

This thriller non-fiction continues at 4:45 am, when Biggie woke up crying that he was thirsty. And again at 6am, same deal. He said his throat hurt. Then when we head down to the hotel lobby for breakfast, he proceeds to barf in the trash. He also feels hot as fuck. Dading makes a morning run to CVS to get Motrin. When I say run, I mean literally run. It’s downtown Atlanta people- you don’t drive if you value your sanity. Running was the faster option.

We finally make it to the Aquarium- which if you haven’t gone it’s a must. With or without offspring. If you think this story now has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention. Smalls is in full meltdown mode at the aquarium. Will he let anyone but me hold him? Fuck that. Does he stop screaming when I do pick him up? Bitch, please. I am in full mom stress sweat mode at this point. Literally sweating like climate change has just punched me in the face. We get hand stamped and head back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. After that back to the aquarium until they close. Annnnd back to baby meltdown mode until he gets food. The kid gives new meaning to the word “hangry.”

Once we get back to the hotel for the night the story takes a more sinister and smelly turn. Put baby on potty to poop, baby goes. Then Biggie goes. Before he can flush the baby is trying to shit on the hotel floor. Cue mom panic yelling. Biggie jumps off the potty, Smalls gets on. After that fiasco, and me checking the now sewer smelling room for any stray deposits, Biggie yells that Smalls is shitting on the floor in the bathroom. Put baby back on potty. End chapter.

Did we have an amazing family vacation? Absolutely. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Did we think about donating them to the aquarium? More than once. (I wonder if that would be considered tax deductible?) We were reminded that this is why we won’t take them to Disney for the foreseeable (or ever) future. In all, an amazing, stressful, super fun and chaotic car trip with two little kids. So fun that tonight they are with my parents so we can recover from it. 😉

The parroting of parenting.

Think you’re ready for parenting? Repeat everything you say at least 4 times in an increasingly more annoyed tone until you don’t even give a fuck anymore. If that sounds good, parenting might be right for you. 90% of parenting is just repeating yourself over and over until you die inside. (More than you already are as a sleep deprived adult responsible for keeping little monsters alive).

Why do we have to repeat ourselves so much? I know I tend to rapid fire directives at the kids, so I try to slow down and give one instruction at a time. Does it help? Depends on the day. Does it make me homicidal? Abso-fucking-lutely. And don’t even get me started on the distraction of TV or iPad. The house could burn down around Biggie and if he’s on his iPad he wouldn’t even look up. I have caught the dog having an Iron Man action figure lunch on the carpet right in front of him and he was totally clueless. Listen dude, we give you the electronics so we, and you, can check out, but don’t you dare ignore me when I talk to you.

I know for a fact if I mentioned ice cream, or pizza, or something along those lines they would hear me. Or god forbid Dading and I even THINK about having a conversation- the needs and demands come out of the woodwork. So obviously it’s selective hearing.

One of my pet peeves in life is having to repeat myself…. so yeah. This is not where I thrive in the parenting department. Polly wants a glass of wine, not a cracker.

Momster.

I lost my SHIT on Biggie yesterday afternoon. He got a splinter in his toe at the park, a pain more excruciating than being eaten alive by a gator, if his reaction was any indication. When we got home and attempted to remove it, he went crazy. Blood curdling screaming, fighting and crying. This is why people get put under for surgery. I think what got me was the screaming. We had the boys birthday party the day before and I was tired, people. I was trying to get down for a nap with Biggie but this damn splinter was preventing that. I was so angry with him, and I said angry words and things I shouldn’t. I lost control of myself. We had to hold him down like a screaming banshee (literally what he was) and finally got it out. I was so white hot angry that he was carrying on about something so small.

After calming down, we talked. About how mommy’s and daddy’s lose their temper, and make mistakes. About how he was being very dramatic and making things difficult when we were trying to help him. About how he didn’t need to be scared because we would never hurt him or let anything happen to him. We explained what forgiveness was as the three of us snuggled in bed, and we forgave each other. And I cried. And I let him see me cry. I hope that by seeing that we make mistakes he will give himself the grace to make his own. And I want him to see us say we are sorry, too. When we woke up, the first thing he said was he was sorry for how he acted.

I was stuck between feeling like a shitty parent and forgiving myself for being human. It wasn’t the first time I had lost my temper, and lets be serious, it won’t be the last. Kids and cool heads don’t always mix. The amount of pressure on parents in today’s society is huge. We are expected to do it all, all the time. And kids I’m here to tell you, I don’t always measure up. And dammit that has to be ok because I am a human fucking being, and I am doing the best I can. I hope my kids see that, even when Momster rears her sleep deprived head.

The day my 4 year old killed me.

Yesterday was the first day of VPK for Biggie. He was so excited and we were so proud. (And overjoyed at the drop in tuition!) We have an app for school where we get sent pictures and updates throughout the day. As I am headed to the bank on my lunch break, I see that they took pictures with a board with their age, their teacher’s names, and what they want to be when they grow up. And when I read what Biggie said he wanted to be when he grew up, I almost cried.

He said he wanted to do what I did when he grew up.

I thought my heart was going to explode. We always tell them about our jobs, but the fact that he remembered and said it on his own when asked was such a big deal. Because Daddy has a cool AF job too- but he wants to do what Mommy does- that floored me.

I spend so much time wondering if I am getting it right, if Biggie will get anxiety from me, if I yell too much or lose my patience too much with them. And I guess that one picture tells me that I am getting it right. Something else he learns from me is that Mommy’s work too, that they have important jobs and work hard for their families. My kids will only ever know a dual income family, and I hope that teaches them so much about gender equality, and team parenting. They listen guys, and they see our efforts.

Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.

#JudgyMomSquad

There are two kinds of moms in this world: judgmental moms and fucking liars. We all judge- it is the nature of the beast. Own it, embrace it, and try to keep it in check.

How can we not be judgmental? Being a mom is your whole identity in the beginning, and it takes work to remember that’s not all that you are. The world judges us for EVERYTHING we do. We all think we are raising our kids the best way possible, and how dare you have an opinion that differs from mine?!

With something as wrapped up in our DNA as fully as parenting is, how can we expect anything less than passionate, tired AF parents who have strong, sleep deprived opinions on how to best get these monsters to adulthood successfully?

I’m not saying I am proud of it, but I do it too. I think the most productive way to combat it is to surround yourself with a tribe of like-minded parents. That way you have a good support system that you can be yourself around. It creates a safe space for all involved to share freely.

For example, I surround myself with moms who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I need that kind of honesty to help get me through. I would not do well on Mom Facebook groups, and I’m ok with that. If you can, that’s awesome! I need to have a tribe where I can say my kid is being an asshole and they commiserate and get me. Isn’t that what it’s all about- having a support system for whatever walk or mindset of parenting you are in?

So own your judgyness! Accept, embrace, and try to find ways to chill the F out when you can. Don’t alienate people, and if you are you need to figure out how to slow your roll. I think it’s a little unrealistic to assume a tell-it-like-it-is mom and a crunchy helicopter mom would do much for each other support-wise, but we don’t have to be dicks to each other because of that. Be nice, being a parent is hard enough.

The danger of “boys will be boys.”

I legit cannot stand this term. It’s 2019, that term should be banned from the Urban AND Oxford Dictionaries. I think it is so dangerous and debilitating in society, and to our children. Obviously, there is a biological and hormonal difference between boys and girls. Venus and Mars, all that noise. Boy moms and girl moms have such different experiences and frustrations. Like one of my favorite memes from the internet I am always repeating: Boys are less drama than girls, but harder to keep alive.

This phrase isn’t talking about any of this. It’s implying the “boys club” mentality. It’s the mentality that got Trump elected, that gets rapists a slap on the wrist, that victim shames. It’s the mentality that gives boys a pass for acting in a way that society deems “normal to their gender.” It widens the gender gap, and teaches our kids that there is one.

I know I already talked about raising boys in 2019 in another blog, but bear with me.

As a boy mom, and damn proud of it tyvm, these are the things my boys will know:

1. Consent. How to get it, and what to do if you don’t.

2. A girl can do ANYTHING you can do, and there are times she is going to do it better.

3. There is no such thing as gender specific jobs or chores. This is not 1950.

4. Absolutely nothing you do is excused because of your gender.

How about instead of saying “boys will be boys,” or “typically dramatic girls,” we just say “typical asshole kids?” It rolls off the tongue so much nicer, doesn’t it? The world is going to try and fit our kids into as many little boxes and check marks as it can, for their whole life. How about we don’t help it out?

So yes, you will proudly see me on the Gram posting #boymama- but it will never be an excuse or pass for anything they do or say. The only thing it will do is make me crazy, which it totally has. 🙂

The shit show of family outings.

Today we all went to Home Depot, including the dog. First of all, I live in South Florida and it is hot AF right now. Going outside is limited to a “needs-only” basis at this point.

So of course, per the laws of the universe, someone immediately started being unhappy. Smalls was pissed he had to sit in the cart. And once we got in there, he shit his pants. So I trekked him back to the car for a diaper change in the thousand degree heat. Then back to the store, where he continued to scream about having to be in the cart, being held, the injustice of his situation. Because I no longer wanted to hear the screaming, I took him and the dog back to the car, so Dading could finish shopping with Biggie. Again, long trek across the store back to the parking lot.

What do I look like at this point? Like a hot fucking mess. Covered in sweat, hair all frizzy and crazy looking. I pass a mom with her maybe 9 year old son in tow. The conversation went as follows:

Me: I thought the dog would have been the bad one but nope, it’s the baby. He’s been tantruming.

Mom: I would put him in the cart and let him scream. I have 4 kids. You gotta do what you gotta do. Are you ok?

Me: Oh yeah, I’m good. Dad is with the other one shopping.

Mom: I’ll put you (looks at Smalls) in my cart and push you around the store and let you cry.

I know I must have looked like a frazzled new mom. She doesn’t know I’m not. But she asked me if I was ok! That was so awesome. You always read about moms looking out for each other, but that’s the first time it happened to me with a stranger. For a hot minute, we were allies in the shit show that is parenting. So thank you, Home Depot mom. For taking one second to check on me.

Moral of the story: avoid taking children out in public at all costs. Next time we’ll leave them in the dog crate and just take the dog 😉

Stitches: another rite of passage

We hit another parenting milestone on Friday, people. Biggie got taken out by a toy to the head at preschool and had to get one stitch. Dading and I are getting way too good at restraining children for medical purposes. Luckily, their aunt is a doctor so she was able to stitch him up, and the stitch comes out tomorrow. Is it bad that I kind of hate the kid who hit him a little bit, even though it was an accident? Considering he is 4, Biggie was very brave about it, and I was proud of us for handling business.

It does remind me that parenting life can change on a dime. One minute your Friday night plans consist of dinner with friends, the next you’re fighting a toddler in an exam room. That part of parenting can be really stressful- the times when it hits you in the face and you just have to hold on and get through it. We’ve been through way worse with Smalls and his asthma and hospitalizations, so this wasn’t even on the spectrum of “oh shit” moments.

It does reiterate my belief that when they turn 18 you should get a big ass trophy, for getting them to adulthood without killing them or allowing them to kill themselves.

Third time is not the charm.

So the topic of a third kid is something I have been talking to DadingWITHOUTanxiety about a lot lately. When we had Smalls, we weren’t sure how we would feel about any more kids in the future, so we didn’t do anything permanent at the time of my C section just in case. Now we’ve been talking about making it permanent and I have felt so conflicted about it. He does not want any more kids, because he feels fulfilled with Biggie and Smalls.

My feelings have been more complicated. I think in this instance it has a lot to do with biology. I am still at prime baby-having age, and I adore my children. (Just because I complain about how annoying they are, doesn’t mean I don’t love them guys. Facts are facts.) It’s scary to think about closing that chapter of our lives permanently. Who doesn’t love babies?!

So I have been doing mental lists of pros and cons about baby #3. Because I need to feel at peace with the decision also. There are a lot more cons than pros. Firstly- the cost. We desperately need to be in a bigger house. The kids share a room and that’s becoming a logistical nightmare at bedtime. Childcare- moving ain’t happening if we continue to have to pay preschool tuition. If I told you how much we paid a month (assuming you aren’t in the trenches with us) you would vomit. How can we have another kid when we are so strapped as it is?

Then of course there is the fact that our hands are full (literally and figuratively) with these two little beasties. We want to give them the world, and being more financially stable would make that a whole hell of a lot easier.

Last night, I made my final decision. I decided I also do not want any more kids, because I have been unhappy lately with how little time Dading and I get to spend together. We barely have any time and/or energy to commit to just us, and it’s also really hard to get time away from the kids to do that. I told him last night that I don’t want to sacrifice our relationship by having another child. I want to be able to enjoy the boys as they grow and can do more things with us as they become more independent. I want to be able to have more date nights and mini childless vacations with just him. Our hands, and hearts, are full with the boys. And writing this, I feel at peace with the decision. I don’t want the boys to grow up too fast, I love them at every stage they have been at so far, but I am excited for the adventures that lie ahead. The baby stage is over for us, but I realize maybe that is not the bad thing it feels like. Because now, there are a lot of things in the pro column for what is to come.

My bank account has favorited this blog post. Probably Dading, too. 😉