Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Top 10 Things We Really Do and Don't Want for Mother's Day

Listen up husbands and children everywhere! This is a list of what we mother's really do and don't want for Mother's Day this year, so pay attention!!

1) We want to sleep in. No getting up with the baby or when the kids come in asking for something to eat or to turn on the TV. Today will be the day I pretend not to hear the little voice in monitor.

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 2) We don't want to cook breakfast. This means either you are cooking, or you're taking us out somewhere. The McDonald's drive-through doesn't count.

3) We want to be able to pee and poop alone, every time we have to go for the entire day. This means no toddlers following us in and staring us down until we tell them they can flush it. No husbands asking where the remote/washing machine/dishwasher is located. No animals heavy breathing outside the door.

4) We want to be able to get showered and dressed in peace. That is if we decide to shower and dress.

5) We want a few hours alone. Completely alone as in no one else in the house. Gather up the tribe and leave so we can nap, read a book, catch up on Scandal or any other damn thing we want to do in peace. There is a common misconception that we want to be surrounded by our children and families all day. This is not true. This is a myth created by men so as not to have to figure out how to entertain everyone on their own. Take them to the park, take them to the movies, hell, take them water skiing, we don't care. Just get out.

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6) We don't want any gifts that are living. No plants or animals. We have enough things to keep alive without having to worry about another feeding another dog/cat/fish or remembering to water a plant. Some days we can barely remember to feed our children.

7) We do not want appliances as gifts. That vacuum or steam mop is the perfect way to land yourself on the couch. We don't want reminding of all the cleaning we have to do.

8) We would love you to do a load or two of laundry. We have already told you where the washing machine is (see #3) so go ahead and make use of it. We promise the machine won't eat you.

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9) We don't want to change diapers or put kids down for naps. We do this every day. Those of us who are SAHMs or who work from home do it all day, every day. We would like a break from it.

10) We don't want to decide what to do for dinner. This includes shopping for and/or cooking it and we definitely don't want to clean up afterwards. Taking us out somewhere is your safest option. Again, McDonalds doesn't count.

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So there you have it. If you follow this list the mother of your child(ren) is sure to be a happy camper this Mother's Day.

To all the mammas out there, did I miss anything?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lice - Worse Than Being Trapped in a Horror Movie

While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, an article from the Today Show popped up about lice. Just typing the word makes my head start to itch. This article claims that the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks lice are no big deal and that school shouldn't be missed because of the creepy crawlies. Then there's this guy who thinks it is a wonderful idea to allow kids to remain in school with lice. Really? Are you seriously ok with even the threat of having to spend all those hours combing through your child's hair with a nit comb, or spending hundreds to take him/her to a professional lice removal company?

Last year was a hellacious year for lice outbreaks. My four older children and me got those little buggers numerous times. The school nurse said it was the worst she'd seen since 1997 when she started working at the school. Now, my kids weren't sent home, I discovered them after they complained that their heads were itching. I treated, made sure all the live bugs were out and the following day they went back to school, but were checked by the nurse before they could go to class.

My reaction when one of my kids tells me their head itches.

I get that they pose no health risks and aren't physically dangerous. Do I think kids should miss school if they have nits (lice eggs)? No, I don't. The eggs are so firmly embedded on the hair shaft that they don't pose a risk. Do I think a kid should be allowed at school when they are known to have live bugs crawling through their hair? Hell no I don't.

According to these articles, kids are more likely to catch lice outside of school than at school. They list playdates, overnight camps and sleepovers as possible primary sources. I call bullshit. My kids don't go to overnight camps, rarely have or attend sleepovers and are pretty much past the age of playdates where they roll around and climb on top of each other touching heads etc. I don't know about at your kid's school, but at my kids' school, they share headphones when working on the computer and they have a "comfy couch" in the classroom that the kids are allowed to sit on at various times during the day. Both of those are great opportunities to pick up little bugs. Is it unlikely? Maybe, but I can promise it is even more unlikely that they are getting them from home.

The fact that they pose no health threat is debatable. Maybe no physical health threat, such as disease, is present, but you'd better believe there is a mental health threat - my mental health - which inadvertently threatens the well being and safety of my children, husband and anyone else I may come in contact with at any given time. Have you ever come across a mother who has had to sit and comb through five children's hair, three of whom range in ages from eight to ten-years-old and have long hair, and then had to sit through their husband combing through their hair? All the while boiling hairbrushes and washing sheets and pillows and putting stuffed animals in to black garbage bags in hopes of suffocating the little bastards? (The lice, not the kids.) If you haven't, be glad. It is not pretty.

How I look after picking through five children's heads for lice.

I was up until almost midnight one night going through my daughter's hair and guess what? She didn't go to school the next day. Not because there were still live bugs in her hair, but because she was up past midnight and was utterly exhausted. To do a thorough job of getting the nits out you have to basically check every strand of hair and that takes a shit ton of time. Let me tell you, buy the time I had to do that for the fourth time over the course of about three months, I was done, exhausted, spent, beyond frustrated. I seriously contemplated shaving everyone's heads just so I wouldn't have to do it again.

There was a girl in my son's class who continued to have lice throughout the year. One of my other daughters said she actually saw the bugs crawling through the hair of a girl she sat next to because they were so big and she had so many. We had to postpone my other daughter's birthday party, miss another child's party and cancel plans to go to the annual parade because I was yet again combing through the hair of five children and myself. I would be irate if I found out any of my kids went to a sleepover at someone's house, or to a birthday party of a child whose parents knew they had lice and I wasn't at least given a courtesy heads-up.

What I wish I could do when I find out a parent has sent their
kid to school with live lice in their hair.

In my opinion, if a child has lice and it is known, that child should be sent home to be treated. The following morning the child should be checked by the school nurse and if there is no evidence of live bugs, they should go to class. I have made it abundantly clear to my daughters that they are not to share hair ties, headbands or hairbrushes with anyone from school. I have literally threatened them with their lives if I find out they have. Treating a household for lice is worse than being trapped in a horror movie.

Moral of this story? Keep your lice infested crotch-fruit home until there are no live bugs in their hair. And before you complain about having to take time off work think about this; maybe if that other parent had kept their spawn home when they discovered lice on their head, you wouldn't have been put in a position to have to take time of work to comb through your kid's hair.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Life Felt Like a Blank Street Sign


That is such an ugly word, not matter how one looks at it. Most people don't get married thinking "I'll just get divorced if I don't like it." At least I know I didn't.

When I married my first husband it really was until death do us part, or so I thought. Our wedding day was one of the most wonderful days of my life. I remember a family friend saying that the way I felt on my wedding day was the happiest I would ever be.

She was right. Until the birth of my first child, and then my second.

By the time my daughter was born, I knew the marriage wasn't working. I tried to ignore the feeling in my gut telling me it wasn't meant to be. The joy and excitement of my child's birth simultaneously covered and highlighted my doubts. I don't believe my then husband was ready to be a father. He liked the sound of it, and he loved our daughter, but he wasn't ready for the responsibility. Everything fell on me. The laundry, the cooking, the grocery shopping, the bill paying, the cleaning, the childcare. All the while he spent most of his spare time playing video games. I was exhausted and I felt utterly used and taken for granted.

I tried everything to get him to see how his actions, or lack thereof, were making me feel. I tried talking to him, yelling at him, crying, writing letters. It would seem to sink in for a week or two and then the old habits would start creeping back in. My life felt like a blank street sign. I was there, I was visible, but there was nothing to see.

I remember about three weeks before I was due to go back to work I was trying to get my ex to bond with our daughter. The way our schedules were meant that he would be with her two and a half days during the week, my mother would have her the other two and a half days and I would have her on weekends. I went out to lunch one day with my mother as a trial run to leave him on his own with the baby for a while. The fridge was full of pumped breast milk, nursery was stocked with diapers and wipes and off I went. Not even 30 minutes after I had left did he start calling me to see how long I was going to be. She was crying. She wouldn't eat. He couldn't calm her. I needed to come home.

I was devastated. It was the first time in almost 12 weeks I had been out without having our baby with me. I just wanted to run away and cry.

When our daughter was six-months-old I found out I was pregnant again. Yes, I'm part of the 1% of women who gets pregnant on the pill. I was not happy at all. It wasn't like with our daughter when I screamed from the bathroom "We're pregnant!! We're pregnant!!" as I went running downstairs waving the stick in the air. I was pissed, scared and angry. How could this happen? I was on the pill. We had barely had sex since the birth of our daughter.

As soon as I told my ex he was ecstatic. He got a big goofy grin across his face and exclaimed how wonderful it was. I told him he was crazy. It wasn't wonderful at all. What the hell were we going to do? We could barely afford the one we had. How were we going to afford to have two babies in daycare? I would have to stop working, we would have to sell one of our cars and find somewhere cheaper to live. I hadn't dropped all the baby weight from the first, now I was going to be even fatter. I could not look past all my fears and doubt to the pregnancy for what it was - a blessing, a miracle, a gift from God...blah...blah...blah.

Another baby was not something I wanted, but I bit the bullet and got on with it. I told my mother, who wasn't happy. She knew things weren't good between my ex and I, she knew we couldn't afford another and she knew what a delicate state I was in emotionally. I was run ragged. But the months went on, I got bigger, I saw the heartbeat during the ultrasound, started to feel movement, and found out we were having a boy on our daughter's first birthday. Again my negativity started to be masked by the natural bond I was forming with my unborn child.

I stopped working a month before my due date. I wanted to spend a little time alone with our daughter before having to turn all my attention to a newborn. I felt incredibly guilty about not being able to have spent more one-on-one time with our first born before bringing another child into our lives.

In the year after our son was born, we moved twice. Once in to a horrible house I didn't want to live in to begin with, but agreed to because it was cheaper that our previous place, had a screened in pool and a big back yard. What we didn't know was the bathroom was infested with roaches (I discovered that the first time I turned the faucet on in the tub), the pool was overrun with snakes and there was a pitbull living next door who would come under the fence and growl and bark at us through the kitchen door. We lived there for five months before moving. A month after that I told my husband I was no longer in love with him. Three months later our son turned one and the following month my husband finally moved out.

I battled with myself for ages over what do do. Should I tell him I wanted out? Should I just make it work for the kids' sakes? Then one morning after months of getting a nervous knot in my stomach when I realized he was due to arrive home from work in less than an our, and instinctively pulling away whenever he tried to show me affection, I realized that if I was going to do it all on my own, I may as well literally do it all on my own.

After he moved out, he admitted to me that he had been having an affair from roughly two months after we met until about four months before our wedding. We were together for almost two and a half years before we got married. It was with his ex, the one he was with before me. He had also slept with his best friend's sister when I had been out of town visiting my parents. I was devastated. What was the point in him telling me that now? We were over, he had moved out. I realized it was simply to make himself feel better, to clear his conscience. There was absolutely no benefit to me in him telling me about it. One last selfish move.

Over the following two years, I went from thinking that no one would ever want an almost-thirty, divorced mother of two, to realizing that I still had a lot to offer. Those two years ended up being two of the best years of my life. I had no money and basically no help from my ex - financial or with the kids - but my babies and I were healthy and we loved each other. We were happy. We were a team. We did everything together.

I also found time to date. I was reminded that I was still attractive and desirable. Men still wanted me, kids or not. I dated younger guys, an old flame from childhood, a musician. It was when I started a new job that I met my now husband. I was drawn to him the moment I first laid eyes on him. Little did I know that my boss was also his brother, or that he had dated someone else in the office who I would have to continue to see, day in and day out, knowing that she had thought she had broken his heart not long before. He was also divorced and a father of twin girls who are a year older than my daughter. This coworker was the fist relationship he had been in since separating from his wife and, like me, he had needed to feel alive again. He needed the attention that he had so long gone without from his ex. He was never truly in love with her, just as I was never truly in love with any of the men I dated until I met him. But for a while he thought he was and she hurt him.

I remember after we had been dating for about three weeks, he told me they had been together for a brief period. I couldn't stand her face, her voice or anything about her. She tried to keep some drama going between them but I chose to ignore it. I knew that feeding into it wasn't going to help anyone. He and I have never spoken about it, and I suppose we should as I still harbor quite a bit of resentment over the whole situation and I do have some unanswered questions, but it is in the past, we have both moved on, and part of me feels that is how it should stay. I'm not sure what good it would do either of us at this point to bring it up.

My husband and I have definitely not had a perfect, bump free relationship. We have certainly had our fair share of problems and obstacles to overcome. But we have managed to get through them all. Surgeries, unexpected pregnancies, struggles and court dates with exes, problems with children, financial worries. You name it, we've probably dealt with it. There are a lot of people who wouldn't have been able to handle it. It would all have been too much and they would have thrown in the towel. Somehow, it has made our relationship even stronger. I am more in love with my husband now than I was in the beginning.

When I look back on everything I realize that, as awful and devastating as divorce is, things will get better. Life carries on and, if you choose to allow it, it can be amazing. Full of adventure, self rediscovery, love and affection.

I didn't marry my first husband with the intention of ever divorcing him. When we married I was truly in love with him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Having children with him showed me a side of him that I had known all along, but chosen to overlook. He is an amazing father to our children now. He is there for them and has stepped up to the plate in a way I never thought possible. Divorcing him was the single most difficult decision I have ever made, but it was also the best.

My children now live in a home filled with love and affection that wouldn't be there if their dad and I had stayed together. They have a beautiful baby sister and two wonderful stepsisters. Their family has doubled with people who love them. Most importantly, I am happy and loved. Without a happy mother, my children's chance of happiness would be so much less.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Are Flowers Just Flowers?

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:                             Baking In A Tornado                       The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                          Spatulas on Parade                                           Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                                                The Momisodes              More Than Cheese and Beer                             Southern Belle Charm                                 Confessions of a Part-Time Working Mom                                                The Lieber Family                            Someone Else’s Genius                             Climaxed                     Stacy Sews and Schools                                      Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                         Searching for Sanity

My subject is “Are flowers just flowers?". It was submitted by Confessions of a Part-Time Working Mom.

Here goes:

Are flowers just flowers or is there some deeper, hidden meaning behind them? When I was younger I loved to get flowers. I didn't even care who they were from. As I grew older getting flowers from a boyfriend was the ultimate excitement. Birthday, anniversary, just because. It didn't matter, I was a sucker for flowers.

Then one day, I can't remember where, I heard that if a man sends a woman flowers for no reason it means he feels guilty about something or is apologizing for something he's done. Well isn't that great. There went the romance of flower giving. 

After my first marriage ended I found out that he had been unfaithful to me for the first two and a half years of our relationship. Basically until about four months before our wedding. I immediately started thinking back to all the warning signs there had been that, at the time, I just didn't notice or seemed innocent enough. Looking back it was so obvious.

I don't like to admit this, but he really screwed me up. He told me about the affair (yes, just one, long affair with his ex) after he had moved out and we were separated. There was no need for him to have told me about it, we were already over. He claims it was because if we had any chance of getting back together he couldn't go on living with the secret. Well, not that there was before, but there was definitely no chance of us getting back together after hearing that. I was hurt and angry but most of all I was embarrassed. I felt like he had made a complete fool out of me. The only good that came out of him sharing that was the weight lifted off his conscience. He felt better having unloaded that terrible secret he had been hiding all that time.

After we separated I slowly started dating again. I reconnected with a childhood boyfriend who lived 4,000 miles away form me. We went on two amazing vacations to Brazil and Hong Kong, he came here a couple of times to visit. We started trying to figure out ways for him to be able to move here. It was amazing for a long time, but whenever he sent me flowers, I couldn't help but wonder why. After we broke up, I dated a little here and there before I met my now-husband. 

The first time hubs came over to have dinner at my house he brought me a single rose. My initial instinct was to wonder why. What had he done, what was he apologizing for? Then I realized we had only just started dating and hadn't even had the "will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend" conversation yet. It was a sweet gesture, that is all.

With all that being said, here are the top five reasons I think a man sends a woman flowers;

1) He loves her and wants to show her he appreciates her.
2) He cheated and feels guilty.
3) He loves her and wants to brighten her day for no specific reason.
4) He lied about something and feels guilty.
5) He loves her and feels like he doesn't tell her often enough and wants to surprise her with something nice.

I don't think every man sends their woman flowers out of guilt. Do some? Sure they do. Are there some total shit bags out there who run around doing whatever they want while you're picking out color schemes and cakes for your wedding? Yep, there are. Do they send flowers because they feel guilty? Maybe. Maybe they take you out to extravagant dinners or buy you jewelry instead.

Are there men out there who buy their women flowers simply because they love her? Yes there are. Just as there are men who take their women out to dinner and buy them jewelry when it isn't their birthday or anniversary. If my husband were to send me flowers today would I think it was because he felt guilty about something? No, I wouldn't. There was a time where I would have. After all, my first husband scarred me deeply and it took a long time to recover from. Not because I was still in love with him, but because I had difficulty accepting that it wasn't because of me that he cheated, it was because of him. It wasn't anything I had done or not done, it was because of his own immaturity and insecurities that he did that. Hubs and I have been together long enough that I have been able to work through a lot of my own insecurities, making me much more comfortable with myself and in my relationship.

Does my mind ever wander to the what if? Of course it does. I may have come a long way since my first marriage, but I am still human. But if he sends me flowers on a whim, for no apparent reason, I'm not going to question why or dissect what it could possibly mean. I know what it means. It means he loves me and wants to show me he appreciates me, or he want to brighten my day for no specific reason, or doesn't feel like he tells me he loves me often enough. 

Flowers always have a hidden meaning, but it isn't always a bad one.