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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

20 facts about Raising Boys

From the moment I conceived my boys I knew my life would never be the same. I read all the books, I followed advice, I even gave up drinking caffeine. I did all I could to be prepared for how my life would change.  But, no book can tell you, no advice will fit perfectly, you just figure it out. You pull up your big girl panties, keep a firm hold on your sanity and wing it; like every other boy mom has since the beginning of time. I won't leave you completely alone though, here are 20 facts I have figured out about raising boys:

1. Raising boys is like a bar scene. Someone is always yelling, everything is sticky,  and the same music plays over and over.

2. For the first decade you will never sleep in. You can let them stay up late, lay cereal out, have the tv on and bedroom door locked but somehow they will find a way in just to ask if you can get the milk out of the fridge even though it's on the counter.

3. Boys have a fascination with all things gross. They love farts, boogers, burps, pee and poop. You will, at some point, be called to the bathroom to be shown some gnarly poop monster in the toilet . Swear.

4. Boys have no ability to aim when they pee. You can put a barrier around the toilet seat. You can put targets in the effing toilet, yet somehow they will find a way to pee on the floor and the back of the toilet.

5. Thanks to # 3 and 4, you will develop a strong stomach. You will be able to see poop, pee and puke without gagging. That's because at some point you will have one or all three of those on you. Deal with it.

6. Mom is the primary word in their vocabulary . If I had a penny for every time I heard it in a day, I would be living on an island with my own maid.

7. You will learn the actual meaning of patience. When it's bedtime your kid will become a philosopher and drink gallons of water. You will repeat the same thing twelve times in a row, you will tell them to pick up their clothes every day for the next 18 years.

8. The grocery store is hell on earth. You will never know a vacation like the two hours of peace you have when you can go to the grocery store alone. Get a sitter or sign up for curb side groceries, it will save you hours of misery.

9. You will swear there are elves living in your kids closets.  I have no clue where the dirty clothes come from or where the other matching sock goes. World mysteries.

10. You will have no problem with bribery and white lies. I have no qualms about bribing my boys to get a few minutes of peace or prevent a fight from happening. Tell me one mom who doesn't and I will kiss your feet!

11. You know what takes longer than your kid telling you a story about minecraft? Nothing.

12. Dinner time looks like this: 6:00: "Mom did I eat I enough, my belly is so full?". 6:15: "Can I have a snack?" Swear, every single time.

13. "Please don't pick your nose". "Stop farting before you poop on yourself". "Keep your hands off your wiener please". Yes, I have said all of those at some point, multiple times.

14. You even mention the idea of maybe going to a store at some point during the next week if it's a rainy day and they immediately take it as a blood oath and will ask you 1,000 times when you are going.

15. Dark circles under your eyes appear when you have a child, just like stretch marks, and they never fade away. Become acquainted with concealer.

16. You will become father time. How many minutes they have will be the most asked question in your home. 5 minutes is sometimes 5 minutes, but could be a half hour if you want it to be.

17. You will be able to compete in shower Olympics. Even now, I can shower and be legit clean in 10.5 seconds.

18. You will master the behind the driver seat swat. My boys know they are never out of reach.

19. It will actually take longer to get everyone in the care than to actually get where you are going.

20. You will become the finder of lost things. Doesn't matter what it is or where it was lost, you will be able to find what no one else in your house can.

These little boys are gross but I love them more than they will ever know.  I have held them; I fed them; kissed boo-boo's and in the very beginning, I came to the realization that I would do anything to keep them happy and safe. I made those little boys and those little boys made me a mom.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Working mom

Before I had my oldest son back in 2006, I had no clue what life was like for a working mom. I was in college and worked a few jobs. I thought I was busy and hardworking. Then I became a mom. Holy shit I didn't know what exhaustion was until I spent the entire day and night with a crying infant. But, as time went on; I started getting in a routine and just like any other job I started figuring it out. Just in time for maternity leave to end. Now, I have never been the stay at home mom kind of gal. I don't say that in a negative way AT ALL. Being a stay at home mom is an incredibly hard job and one I could never do. But, I'm going to take the hit and say it... being a working mom is the hardest job ever. Life is chaos as a working mom.

Before kids, it was work and come home to prank around the house until bed and back to work. Oh hell no, now once you leave job number 1, your next shift kicks in. It's time to be chauffeur, cook, maid, entertainer, and the million other duties we have as moms. There is no relaxing and "getting off work", ha! Your paying job is sometimes a day off from the chaos at home! The time you "relax" at night is the hour or two you have once the kids are in bed which winds up being you falling asleep sitting up on the couch.

Once I was used to the constant exhaustion, I noticed when I started back to work how different I was treated. I'm a mom. Taking sick days to stay home with a sick kid or requesting a day off to take my kiddo to their dentist appointment is how life is for a working mom. Would you like to take my kid to have a tooth pulled at the dentist? Good luck! You will sit through an hour of screams and more negotiations than a hostage situation. I think I would rather sit through a full day of work place safety training than to sit through a dentist appointment with my youngest son. But, for a working mom it isn't optional.

This is not 1940, a lot of women are moms and they do have jobs outside the home. We are sort of bad ass like that. Being a mother is not a weakness of ours, it's a strength. Mothers are some of the toughest people you will ever encounter. We take care of everyone and still manage to get to work on time in heels with coffee in hand. So, I beg you, stop asking if a woman is capable of fulfilling the position because she has two kids at home. If you wouldn't ask a man that question you don't need to ask a woman that question. Let me see any of my male counterparts do half of what I do in a day and still have time to train for a marathon... not happening. It's sad that we are still living in a society where women are not seen as equal. I have been asked in interviews for new positions and raises whether I would be able to fulfill the duties of the new position with two kids at home. That's just wrong. The fact that I sit in front of you in an interview with my shit together, my research done and looking damn professional should vouch for my ability to fulfill my duties, not the fact that my kid may have a fever at some point and I take a sick day. I guarantee you I will take care of my sick kid, show up to work (probably sick, because we always end up with what they get) and still have my work done while people who have no excuse stay behind on work. You can't imagine how much harder we have to work to be seen as equal as a male co-worker or someone who doesn't have young kids.

So, working moms... I salute you all!

I know your struggles. I know how hard it is to climb the ladder and be taken seriously in a career who considers motherhood a black mark. We are tough sons a bitches and we are raising kids who are going to know they are loved and come first. They are going to remember how hard their mom worked and how they were taken care of. They won't know the guilt we have when we can't be there for every party at school, you are doing your best to balance a life most will never know. Keep doing what your doing and take some time every once in a while to pamper your bad ass self... you earn it every day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lawyers, custody and tears

For the last year I have been knee deep in family court with my ex-husband. My life has been filled with constant drama and rivers of tears. The stress has unbearable at times. Every conversation has been nearly impossible. Something as simple as a grown up conversation about kids shoes, ends in a war where both sides become casualties. I have learned a lot about myself, and everyone else involved in this hard chapter in my life. I have struggled just trying to stay afloat as this storm passes.

Since the best lessons are best learned the hard way, I thought I would share some of my best lessons.

1. You have to separate your past relationship from your current obligation as a parent. Your marriage ended, things suck for a while either before, during or for a bit after no matter who left whom. You just have to grit your teeth and make it through. Be grown up enough to seek counseling if you need it or a shoulder to cry on.

2.  Both are to blame. News flash, it takes two to tango. No matter what happened, there are two people at fault in a divorce and guess what, each one thinks their farts smell like roses so don't look for the other person to mend your wounds or kiss your boo-boos t any point in the process.

3. Stop being self-centered. This isn't about you. Yes, ending a marriage is about the people involved but it's a million times more about the children. They suffer when parents can't get their heads out of their rears and parent together.

4. Stop putting the kids in the middle. The worst thing you can do is put your kids in the middle of your grown up shortcomings. They don't need to know who was at fault; because again if you refer back to number 2 it's going to be each other anyways.

5. Your kids are apart of BOTH of you. No matter how much you hate one another now or what has transpired, the kids were created from both sides. Don't lose focus of that. No one is going to love your kids like the other parent does; so, no matter if the other parents is referred to as "the bitch down under" keep that them in focus.

6.  Put yourself in their shoes. Your kids think the sun rises and sets out of BOTH of your asses. How do you think it feel to have the two most important people in their lives at war with each other? If you have to, grit your teeth and ask how the other parent is. If you have to fake it, smile when they talk about them. They just want their lives to be peaceful and happy.

7. Compromise is not a foreign concept. No matter what happens you are not going to get your way in everything. Divorce and child custody is no different. There has to be compromise from BOTH sides.

8. Kids are not prizes to be won. The expensive gifts, trips and toys do not replace time spent and conversations with your kids.You can try to buy them everything and spoil them but you are creating kids that feel entitled and demand more. Stop trying to buy love and just show it.

A year later,  I still have to consult with attorneys and end up on the other end of conversations where I am screamed at by someone who has long since labeled me the enemy. I hope in the next decade, I can look back and think how silly all of this was and how dramatic it didn't have to be. But, until that time I am stuck in the trenches of a war that seems to have no end. I am balancing a million different sides and trying to keep my kids happy and myself sane. So, for those of you in the same boat, welcome to divorce... the life of lawyers, custody and tears.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Happily ever after...


I have posted about the race. I have posted about the beautiful country we explored. But, I have not posted about the best part of our trip.....We got married!!!!!

I admit I am still on the honeymoon high, but I hope to stay that way for the next foreseeable decade or two. 

When we started planning we looked at venues and guest lists and one thing became clear, planning a wedding is stressful. The deeper we got into it the more we realized it wasn't us. We are the kind of women who never stand still. We are always on the go and always looking for our next adventure. So, why not start the biggest adventure of our lives with an unforgettable trip together to another country. Once we knew eloping was what we wanted we narrowed it down and decided on Iceland. Amazing decision. The trip, the country, the ceremony, it was so gorgeous and memorable. I am so glad we made the decision to elope, we will never forget our wedding day.

Now that the dreamy trip is over and we have settled into our every day grind, I still can't believe I got to marry my best friend. I am so completely in love with her. And, I know just like our lives thus far; there will be obstacles. I know there will be peaks and valleys. Despite the struggles we have faced together and the people who have tried to constantly burst our little bubble, loving her is the easiest thing in the world. I would rather go through all the bad stuff with her than the best with anyone else. She is who I want to live my life with and in Iceland I committed myself to her in every way I possibly could.

I have been through enough to know that marriage is more than a big party or a ceremony or pretty rings. I have been through hell  but, now I know what love looks like. Now, I know what happiness feels like. Now that I am genuinely loved, I will fight every day to work through anything that comes our way.

So, as we enter into this part of our lives, we bring with us a past we both hope to forget; and baggage that could fill an auditorium. We enter into this marriage knowing we have found the person we were meant to love forever and we will do so, from this day forward as long as we both shall live. 

How amazing it is to have found someone who genuinely wants to see me smile for the rest of my life.