One of These Things is Not Like the Other

  Babies R Us, Motherhood Maternity, Target…those have really been the extent of my shopping experiences over the last few months while I’ve been pregnant. Throw in a random trip to J.C. Penney and Macy’s and that just about covers it. Most of it has been to buy practical things…some new maternity shirts, gifts, clothes for my daughter, and some necessities for the new arrival. I haven’t really bought anything for myself because I figure what’s the point in buying new clothes when I don’t know what post-baby has in store for me.
   But, my good friends at Victoria’s Secret (actually we’re not really good friends, more like acquaintances, but I digress) sent me some coupons in the mail. Some were for percentages off your purchase when you spend a certain amount. But there was one for a free pair of underwear. There’s not a lot that’s free in the world and my motto has always been if it’s free, it’s for me. So I decided to cash in on my coupon. I took my daughter on a nice little stroller ride through the mall and stopped in Victoria’s Secret. Well, I’m surprised an alarm didn’t go off when I stepped foot inside. Let’s just say with my bulging pregnant belly and bouncing two-year-old in the stroller, I didn’t exactly blend in. To my right were some women checking out the latest lingerie…they needed to eat a twinkie. To my left in the “Pink” section were a bunch of teenie bopper girls wondering what sweatpants to buy. It is apparently very important which word is on your butt, silly me.
So I waddled over to the table to get my free grub when a bubbly girl asked if I needed help. I’m surprised she didn’t ask me if I was lost or if I needed directions. I told her I was just picking out my free underwear. She did point me in the right direction and then asked if she could help me with anything else. I looked at her, looked at my belly, looked at her again and politely said no. When she realized she wasn’t going to make a dime off of me, she slowly strolled away.
   As I rummaged through the table, I realized that some things have changed since I had been here last…mainly the sizes. I think the size small could have fit my two-year-old. What grown woman could fit into those? I have wash clothes bigger than those underwear. Obviously, I was starting to feel like getting the free pair of underwear just wasn’t worth it. But, I kinda already felt like I committed, so I figured I might as well follow through. So, I sifted through to sadly determine my “new mommy” size and get to the register. Once I got there, the Barbie behind the counter asked me why I wasn’t using my other coupons. For the love of Pete, just give me my free underwear and let me get out of here! I pointed to my belly and told her it just wasn’t practical right now. I got an “oh”. Yeah, “oh” is right. So, she wrapped up my non-purchase and I was on my way. I dodged my way through the dental floss undies and super padded push-up bras. Luckily, my daughter was too obsessed with her cheerios the whole time and didn’t say much. I just couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was feeling kinda dumb being in there, but they did send me a coupon. And if you know me, I haven’t met a coupon I didn’t like. Maybe they need to add a line of fine print on the bottom of the coupon that says, “pregos steer clear, if you come in, you’ll find one of these things is clearly not like the other.”

Calgon Take Me Away!

   It’s been a long day. I’ve been up for almost 18 hours. I just want to lay on the couch and catch up on my three episodes of “Glee” that are in the DVR. But, that’s just not going to happen. It’s the witching hour. Moms, Dads, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the time just after your child’s bath, just before bedtime, when they have somehow gotten their second wind and are ready to party like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. It’s the time when your speed is set more like Barry Manilow’s “Mandy.” It’s time for bed…A.K.A. mom’s chill time.
  I try to give the “let’s chill” signal by dimming the lights and getting my daughter a little snack. We do a little reading which is always the same book because that’s what she loves. I wish she would realize it’s no longer Valentine’s Day and Elmo has figured out who sent him “this beautiful valentine.” But that’s o.k. It’s really cute the way she gets excited each time we read it like she’s never heard the story before. Sometimes this works, other times, I try to lay down while she tries to pull me off the coach with all her little might. She gets frustrated. I get frustrated. She starts to cry. I feel like I want to cry. What on God’s green earth could you possible want? You’re clean. You’ve being fed. Most times, you’ve had a pretty good day with lots of playing and attention. Can’t Mommy just chillax? Ha! Yeah, No.
  Since I wake up for work when most people are enjoying their sleep, my couch/DVR time is really limited and precious.Sometimes I get up to see what she wants, other times I just let her work it out herself. Meantime, I’ve paused “Glee” on the DVR for the third time. If my husband is home, he can see the frustration building. I can feel horns coming out of head and the female dog inside me is barking to come out. It kinda feels like Michael J. Fox in “Teen Wolf.” (but not nearly as funny) You just can’t control it. And bam…it happens. I start yelling like a crazy woman. My husband sometimes just sits there, other times tries to take control of our daughter and tells me to calm down. My daughter usually just stands there and looks at me, probably wondering what my problem is. There just comes a time of the day/night when you can’t take much more. Then of course, I feel bad for losing my temper. But, I just wanted to watch my “Glee”.  Is that too much to ask?

  Some parents have told me they just put their children in their bed or crib and let them lay there and cry it out until they get so tired they pass out. Different strokes for different folks I guess. If I do that, I still have to hear her scream. I still can’t watch my “Glee”. Problem not solved. Oh Calgon, Take Me Away! (or just let me watch my “Glee”) 

The Perfect Present

   Many men search and search for the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Where do I go? What do I get? What does she really want? Jewelry, flowers, a fancy dinner…they’re all great gifts, but not really what I’m looking for this Mother’s Day. Although if they did come my way, I wouldn’t say no! (Mama didn’t raise a fool!)
   Although I’m only about to celebrate my second year of this joyous holiday, I’ve quickly come to realize being a mom can sometimes be a thankless job. Don’t misunderstand me though, the rewards are great. Seeing your child do something or say something for the first time, or just getting a big old hug and smile are heart-warming. But sometimes, you just need a little something extra.
   As mothers, we do so much besides take care of our children. Often times, we’re the cooks, the maids, the organizers, the financial planners…etc. And those jobs are just ones that have to do with the house. Many of us work outside the home, which brings on a whole other dimension of responsibilities and headaches. We do all these things with hardly ever getting a “thank-you” or a “good job” or a “hey, can I help you with that?”. I’ve learned all the hats we wear as mothers just seem to come along with having a uterus.
   So this Mother’s Day, it would be great to actually hear the appreciation through words, not just gifts. They say actions speak louder than words. But, not when those words are never spoken. Although you may know you are appreciated, it would be nice to hear it once…and really it probably will only happen once! I’m not talking about a sappy litany of appreciation and love sponsored by Hallmark. A simple, “Thanks, you’re the best” would really be the perfect present. Guys, if your little ones can’t the words out yet, it’s your job to be the spokesman. Those words will never rot and smell bad in a vase in a week. They’ll never be forgotten at the bottom of the jewelry box or be spent on something foolish. They’ll actually be something remembered, something treasured…the perfect present.

I Just Want to Enjoy a Movie!

   I just want to watch a movie. Period. Plain and simple. I wish. Perhaps I should clarify by saying I just want to enjoy a movie. That is actually the task at hand that is turning into mission impossible these days. Because of my nutso schedule, the only nights I can stay up to do this are Friday and Saturday. Wouldn’t you know those are the nights my daughter wants to party likes its 1999. Ironically, the movie I have been wanting to watch is “Little Fockers”. We’ll just leave it at that, you can make your own jokes. The last time my husband and I actually went to the movies we tried to watch it, but it sold out while we were in line. Figures. (That will tell you just how many times we get out to the movies these days)

  So for the past two Friday and Saturday nights, I’ve dreamed of just sitting on my couch with my husband, enjoying a movie and some snacks. Instead, we’ve been battling with my daughter to go to sleep. During the week, she’s down at a reasonable hour. The trouble is, so am I! We’ve filled her with food, locked up all the toys, and even laid her on the couch to make her relax. Sounds pretty good, right? Wrong. She climbs up and down the couch, bouncing back and forth between my husband and I non-stop. I’ve even taken her downstairs and tried some old school tactics like rocking in the chair. When that doesn’t work, the hard-core tactics take effect which include putting her in the crib and letting her cry. That last time until I get so frustrated, I called my husband in for back-up. I yell, he tells me to calm down, he takes over. She eventually falls asleep and so do I. By this time it’s 11:00 and the last thing I want to do is watch a movie. Forget about enjoying anything.
  My husband asks why we just can’t put the movie on while she’s up. Really? Have you met our daughter? Have you just not witnessed what has happened over the past two hours? Like I said, I could easily watch a movie. But, I want to enjoy a movie. It seems like I’d have better luck winning the lotto these days. Movie? Lotto? Odds are looking pretty slim for both!                    

Finding Mom-ME-Time

    Every expectant mother hears it…”just wait until that baby comes, your life is going to change, forget about having any time for yourself.” Yes, your life does change. Yes, your free time is severely restricted, but does it mean you have absolutely NO time for yourself and your previous passions in life? It doesn’t have to, but a lot of times it ends up that way. You just have to learn how to put the “me” back in mommy.
   First let’s clarify..”Me” time is not doing the dishes or tidying up the house. At times, that’s what it ends up being. “Me” time is reading a book, catching up on a hobby, meeting up with friends….whatever make you happy.

   I will be the first to admit, when my daughter was first born I longed to get out by myself, but once I was out, I turned into a guilty worry wart. I constantly wondered what she was doing, if she was crying, if she was eating, if she missed me. Truth be told, most times she could care less! Yes she was fed, yes she cried a bit, but many times she didn’t even realize I was gone!
  She wasn’t taking my mom-ME-time away, I was, along with the help of my crazy runaway train of thoughts and guilt. Taking a trip to the store, or the gym, or even, wait for it…a trip to the spa ( I know craziness) is not going to ruin your child’s life or make you the worst mother of the year. It’s taken me nearly two years to realize that, but I’ve finally seen the light. I’ve also learned that if you have people you can ask to babysit or if your spouse or someone else offers to take care of your child so you can get some “me” time, take them up on it! There’s gonna be a day when no one will offer! Don’t get me wrong, I do still feel a tinge of guilt when I leave her to do my thing, but once I’m out I’m now able to enjoy myself. I also find when I get back I am refreshed and in turn feel like I can a better mother because I’m not so stressed out and am not acting like such a female dog, if you know what I mean.
  It seems like men have no problem finding “me” time. Maybe I’m wrong, but if they want to go out and do something, they just do it. They don’t seem to feel guilty. Maybe we all need to take a page out of their book.
 Now…time to go make that manicure appointment!