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. 😉

Love is Love.

I’ve had this potential blog topic written down for a while, but since it is Pride Month, I thought it was fitting. There are so many things that we have to teach our kids that I feel like our parents didn’t have to worry about. The world is a bigger and more diverse place- or maybe the world is the same but freedom of expression is more prominent and tolerated than it was back then. I’ve already blogged about consent and other things like that, but another big one is the LGBTQ community.

We teach our kids to love, and embrace those that are different from us. That what’s on the inside is what counts. We haven’t yet really had the talk with Biggie about how boys can like boys and girls can like girls, but it’s something that is coming.

A few months back, a boy in Biggie’s class wanted to wear a dress, or was wearing one, and Biggie got upset. He told him that boys don’t wear dresses. Our response to him was that if the boy wants to wear a dress he can, and it’s ok. Biggie already knows that pink isn’t for girls, and blue isn’t for boys. He knows colors are for everyone.

It’s so important to us to have tolerant kids. I don’t want my kids to have to learn it later in life, like I feel like I had to. My upbringing wasn’t necessarily as diverse or tolerant as I feel it could have been, and I am proud of where I have come. I want acceptance to be a natural part of their lives. It’s important to us that they feel comfortable in their own skin and their own opinions.

One day Biggie is going to ask the question, and I want to be prepared with the answers. I have good examples for them of what non-heterosexual love looks like, and I hope that helps them understand, as it did me when I was younger. I want them to feel as I do- that the world has a lot of hate in it, and love is love, no matter what it looks or doesn’t look like.

I am nervous about explaining it to them. I feel the weight of the important teaching moment, and how it will help mold the type of people that turn out to be. All we can do is lead by example and trust that when the time comes, we will be ready.

Have any of you had that talk with your kids? I would love to know the details, so drop me a message 🙂

Single Mom Week: a memoir.

Dear Diary, it’s day 3 (I think?) of being solo. The day we took Dading to the airport is the day I got a stomach bug. Since then we have done swimming lessons, and a zoo trip, errands and the day to day hustle.

And I have been struggling. Oh, how I have been struggling.

Today was also Therapy day, which was much needed. I told her how I felt like a failure- my single mom friends do this literally every day and they aren’t sucking like I feel like I am. Everything is thrown off. There is this big absence that even Biggie is struggling with. We all miss Daddy.

But she had a good point: co-parenting is OUR normal. It’s what we are used to. She told me if I’m going to judge it, judge it in the positive. We are a strong family unit, and we function better that way. I totally agree.

I know as parents, and especially moms, we always feel like we don’t measure up. So you can imagine how I feel being a hot fucking mess after 3 days of being on my own (2 were no school days they count for double right?) I feel like a failure. I should be rocking this, nbd. But I am so NOT doing that right now. I am exhausted from this stupid stomach bug. Exhausted from having a 4 year old that could argue a Supreme Court Justice into a homicidal rage.

I feel pathetic writing this, but I have to live my truth. We are a two-parent unit and that’s how we roll. I am not superwoman, and I am tired. And for now I just feel like I don’t measure up. It’s not a comforting feeling. I feel like if Dading was home he would be crushing it, and wouldn’t be losing his shit on the kids as much as me.

I thought I would enjoy the free time at night after the kids went to bed, and getting to work on some of my hobbies. But I did not factor in not feeling well, or how disruptive it is when your family has a major schedule change. We’ve been apart before, but never this far away or for this long. It permeates literally everything. And it’s upsetting to see how much it affects the kids.

I’m glad that this is not our normal. We are all very much looking forward to Friday when he comes home.

All the single moms…

So DadingWITHOUTanxiety is flying to Nashville on Sunday for work, and will be back on Friday. For those doing the math, that means I am going to be flying solo next week, and the adults in the house (ME!) will be outnumbered. See also: Monday is Memorial Day and school is closed, so I will not be able to ship the heathens off to school. Is this making you anxious just reading it yet?

I feel ridiculous when I think about my single mom friends, and how they #MomHustle all day every day. You guys are amazing, and I tell you all the time I have no idea how you do it. Sorcery, I imagine.

Dading deserves a vacation, even if it’s just for work. He works hard for our family, and has picked up my slack many, MANY times when I was down and out with anxiety. I want him to go have a good time. That doesn’t mean I am looking forward to having no backup with Biggie and Smalls. Part of me is excited to rise to the occasion, to show myself that I can survive with the boys on my own. The other part, possibly the more sane part, asks me what I’ve been smoking.

I may win the Favorite Parent award, because you guys know there’s going to be multiple nights of Chick-Fil-A and lots of screen time for Biggie. #SurvivalMode.

If Dading comes back and we still have two kids and I didn’t kill one, I’m putting that in the win pile. Thoughts and prayers and sage burning for me, guys. I need all the help I can get.

The struggle (with self-care) is real.

I have officially been overdoing it lately. Like, wayyy overdoing it. The kids have been going through various bouts of illness ( this shit always comes in waves as you know) and we are totally over it. I have picked up some freelance transcription work, some “take surveys for money” stuff, and have been pushing to get my inventory posted to my Etsy store so I can start telling people about it. The survey stuff is pennies and really annoying, but I try to use it as filler for dead time. The transcription work is really fun, because previous jobs and training have made me a speed typer so I figured why not get paid for it? However fun, it is time consuming and has to be done at night when I should be getting ready for bed.

Which brings me to the major issue- SLEEP. The phrase “you can sleep when you are dead” is actually a threat when you’re a parent. You actually spend time contemplating how little sleep it will take for your body to give you the finger and tap out. I went at these freelance jobs all at once and too hardcore. I was looking to spread my entrepreneur baby wings all at once, and didn’t pace myself. So for now I’m trying to put most of my efforts into the Etsy store to give my brain a little break.

I am totally not a perfect mom, so please don’t think because I have my hand in many different cookie jars right now that I am succeeding at life. I am paying for it, guys. I am TIRED. Like jealous of animals who eat their young tired. Like full Mommy Monster “I will unhinge my jaw and lose my shit” tired. My anxiety is starting to sniff around and my heart races. And I KNOW better! I know the vicious circle of stress-anxiety-sleep and still have not managed to grab sleep by the balls and make it my bitch yet.

Nor have I been eating right or exercising. I will never understand why moms of small children don’t have the bodies of Olympic athletes. Like literally ALL we do is run after small children. ALL. DAY. LONG. Someone needs to do a case study and explain to me the science behind this. I’m not the mom that finishes what her kids eat all the time, I’m the mom that just eats on the go, and that’s my downfall. Those 20 pounds I lost last year have come back, if not more.

And tonight is the Games of Thrones Finale so of course early bedtime isn’t going to happen today, either. If someone out there can help me figure out how to get to bed earlier I am totally open to suggestions. For all the #MomBoss #SuperMom #DoingtheBestTheyCanMoms out there- take care of yourselves. We are busy with just the kids alone, before we add on all the extra stuff we have to or want to do. So tomorrow I’m going to try to get to the gym for the first time in forever- send positive vibes!

Raising boys in 2019.

I have had this as a potential blog topic for quite a while, but it feels especially relevant now. The older I get the more I have opinions on women’s rights legislation, and politics in general. I don’t claim to be a feminist- I really just feel like a mama, trying to raise decent human beings in this ever increasingly hateful world I feel like we live in. I am anti-Trump, believe love is love and this world needs more of it, and I firmly believe no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.

I am also an Atheist. I do not say this to exclude anyone from my blog, because this is a safe space for everyone and of every faith. I am trying to be as honest as I can on here, and my religious preferences shape how I live and raise my kids. I used to be a Christian, and struggled with my views on abortion. Now having kids of my own and having different religious views, I feel so much different. I also work in an industry where I see what happens to children born to parents who don’t love them, and this has also greatly altered my perceptions. If you totally disagree with my political and religious views, I ain’t even mad! We can all still come together under the common umbrella of “raising kids is hard AF” and voila!- we are back on the same page again 🙂

No matter what views you have, raising boys in this era comes with a lot of challenges. Not including the normal “boys are less drama than girls but harder to keep alive” mantra, of course. If you have girls at home, please leave comments below on what unique challenges you face, I want to hear them!

How do you raise boys to be respectful of women in a world where women are fighting for equal rights, equal pay, and personal safety? Dading and I already know we have to teach the boys about consent- this is NOT something they just know on their own. That if you have to buy a girl a few drinks before she accepts your advances, that is NOT consent. That their bodies and that of their partners (boys or girls) are to be respected and treated as something of value.

I want to raise boys that hold open the door for a mama with a stroller. That help an elderly man that fell on the sidewalk. That don’t bully and give into peer pressure about what they should or should not have done with a girl yet. I want boys that LOVE hard and fearlessly and without prejudice. I want boys that are tolerant of all religious and spiritual beliefs, no matter their own preference. I want boys that will stand up for what is right, not give in to what is easy.

So how do we do this? In a nutshell- kids learn by example. Society doesn’t seem to be setting a good one, and that bar is set pretty low right now- so we have to work even harder. It doesn’t matter what parental units you have or don’t have at home- work with what you got.

Biggie and Smalls aren’t old enough yet to ask about politics, or understand gender pay gaps. But when we watch The Greatest Showman and Biggie asks why Zendaya’s and Zac Efron’s characters are sad, we have an amazing conversation about diversity and acceptance, and how the only thing that matters about a person is what’s on the inside, not the color they are. (Seriously this movie is an amazing teaching moment, watch it with your heathens).

So we lead by example. We weed out negative intolerant people from our children’s lives. We surround them with love and structure and boundaries. We encourage reaching out for help when it’s needed, and never to lash out in anger. If you ask Biggie what family does, he will automatically tell you “watch out for each other.” We ingrain in their heads that as brothers they are responsible for each other and will always have each other to rely on.

And when they are older, I look forward to their questions about politics and legislation. I hope by that time we have put in enough hard work that they can see for themselves where the issues are. I hope they fight to change them. The world isn’t ready for them 🙂

Cool story, bro

I’ve been home all week with Biggie, who has MRSA on his leg. Today is the first day he’s been able to walk on it, and will be going back to school tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed this time with just the two of us, but the kid is also driving me nuts. It was also scary because it’s the first time one of them has had something like this, and I had to draw back on my vet tech days of abscess draining. If that grosses you out, you’re a wimp! 🙂

So yesterday I’m doing wound care in the bathroom with Biggie while DadingWITHOUTanxiety has Smalls in the shower with him. When he took him out, he pooped on his towel. Then in the toilet (he’s started showing interest in the potty so we are looking forward to a #DiaperFree2020). Then ran out of the bathroom, where he pooped on the rug. And the couch. The dog had also peed on the floor during all this. Basically I’m saying it was a shitshow, literally and figuratively.

The impressive part was that Dading and I didn’t go full assault on each other in the chaos. Although over late night Taco Bell after the kids went to bed I did ask him why he let the baby shit on the floor. LMAO.

Life is crazy people, laugh or you will cry. Hope this helps some of you laugh through your mid week hustle.

Mom Friends- the Unicorns of Parenting

Something that has come up more than once in therapy sessions is the topic of mom friends. My anxiety has been in check lately, hence why I haven’t been posting much about it, but this topic was one that caused anxiety.

I am a social person, and I also need mom friends. I know this about myself. Play dates and commiserating with fellow moms is so therapeutic for me. It allows me to spend time with my kids and other adults at the same time, and I enjoy finding new and fun places for us to go and see. For DadingWITHOUTanxiety and I, it is important for us that our little monster’s lives be full of playmates and experiences that help stimulate their little brain cells. (And hopefully don’t empty our bank accounts even more).

However, I have learned that it is REALLY hard to find your mom tribe! I thought it was me, like what is it about me that I can’t get anyone to put in some effort to get the kids together and do things? I felt like I was the common denominator, so I must be off-putting somehow. Everyone always says they don’t have time, that they are too busy to even text me back about plans. And I think to myself- we’re busy too! We have two kids, a puppy, two full time jobs and swimming lessons. If I can do it, why can’t everyone else?

And this is where KAT comes in (Kick Ass Therapist for those of you just joining in). She explained to me that not everyone has the same goals and priorities that I do. That not everyone can do it. And I sacrifice other things to make this a priority- down time and even more of my sanity. But it’s important to me, so I do it. Other moms have different priorities, and they sacrifice for those also.

Something else I’ve learned through talking to other moms is that it is OK that different parenting styles can make friendships very difficult. I felt so guilty about this, and I thought it was just me- but I know now that it is a common sentiment. It is really, really hard to bond with another mom, even a friend from before kids, when you have totally opposite parenting styles. It’s something that I have struggled to accept, but in the end it’s not something I can change so I’ve stopped fighting so hard.

Mom friends are unicorns. Mystical, magical, and are they even real? But I know now that when you find those that share your parenting style enough that you can parent your kids as a village when you are together, those that make efforts to spend time with you and your kids also, that you have found something real and important. It’s ok to be selective and wait for the right ones to come around. And it’s ok to let the others move to the background when they don’t. We as parents need all the support we can get. So go out and find your unicorn tribe, because they actually do exist. 🙂