Bedtime: A Step-By-Step Process of This Mom's Struggle for Peace and Quiet

Here's the real deal, folks...bedtime routines are imperative, but can be complete bullsh** and a waste of time.  Reality is we are just trying to survive until they fall asleep. I think we can all relate.  I thought I would just give you a quick look into the real-life, daily events that lead up to the peace and quiet that comes with a sleeping (eventually) kiddo.

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Step 1: Dinner...maybe.  I don't know if it's his age (3 years 8 months) or just the fact that he has become a complete asshole at meal times, but dinner is a struggle.  I don't know if he's really hungry, he says he is.  So I make dinner.  It's unacceptable.  At this point the dinner could be ice cream with candy on top...he pushes it aside. "Chocolate milk, please." Ummm, nope, not happening.  Full meltdown.  Throw away the dinner and pray he ate well enough during school and snack time to sustain some sort of normalcy.  So fuck dinner, apparently that's not gonna happen.

Step 2: Bath.  Crying because he didn't get to put in the bubbles.  Get the kid in the bath.  I'm in the splash zone.  Soaked.  Sit and listen patiently to a full reenactment of the movie Jaws staring a Darth Vader and a whale we bought on vacation (please note: he has actually never seen the movie Jaws so I have no clue where this is coming from, but it's pretty damn accurate.) Clean up dishes while listening to the sound of what can only be described as a deluge of soapy waters being haphazardly splashed about.  Pray that the lavender aroma and warmth of the tub are working some kind of magical spell on him, making him tired, and feeling restful, only to realize this is the exact definition of a "pipe dream."

Step 3: Pajamas.  How dare I even suggest putting on pajamas while he runs around naked, only to refute any argument for actually wearing nighttime clothing?  He ends up in a t-shirt, no underwear (obviously that's too much) and a full Kylo Ren costume (complete with mask, gloves and a light saber.)

Step 4: Crazy Hour.  Now I don't know if this is just specific to my child or if it's a universal law that all children lose their damn minds during the twilight hours, but it's definitely  a thing.  Full bat-shit crazy mode. There he is, running in circles, light saber battling with the dog and shouting "the weapon is mine" at the top of his lungs.  Mom losing patience.

Step 5: The Pre-Crash Famishment. Because dinner wasn't an option he's now bargaining for a snack...ugh.  You give in.  Pirates Booty and pudding is officially "dinner."

Step 6: Clinginess.  The tired is sweeping over him.  He's feeling full from the above mentioned snack and now it's time to adhere himself Mom. "Just snuggle me! I need my blanket! Read that book again.  Now this one.  Now tell me a story. I'm thirsty.  I have to pee again!" Initially you try to lay him in his bed but that's literally the most offensive thing that has happened to him all day and he's now in full meltdown, so you try the couch.  Eventually you're both in your bed.  Mom is passing out, the dog is snoring, and kiddo is wide awake and conversations are starting to take on a "whose on first" vibe.  No one is making any sense and you have to pee so badly, but you can't move or its all down hill from there.

Step 7: The Crash...it finally happened.  He succumbed to the need to sleep. You can finally finish the dishes, take a shower, have a glass of wine, read, catch up on a show, oh wait...and pee...alone!!! Whatever you want to accomplish, now is your time.  This is the peace and quiet you've been craving. You peel off his Kylo Ren costume and do a little happy dance.   Quietly.

Step 8: Move the child. I put him into his own bed. Usually without any issue, but occasionally you lay him down and he freaks out, almost levitating above the bed as if it's some sort of magic trick and refuses to entertain the idea of snoozing in the expensive Pottery Barn Kids twin bed with organic mattress you painstakingly picked out for his Star Wars themed big boy bedroom and so you just put him back where he started.

Step 9: Time for Mom to sleep.  It only takes 5 seconds for you to fall asleep because this whole process has you so bone-weary that your eyes just shut and you're done...

Step 10: Mid-REM crisis: "Mommy I have to pee! I want to sleep on your bed! I need my blanket! I'm thirsty! Is it time to wake up?" You're startled awake, ripping you from your dreams.  Oh hell no! ...back to sleep...You are allotted 6 inches of the queen sized bed.  He has the rest, but still manages to kick, slap, and sweat or drool (and on a great day...pee) on you while you struggle to eek out just a few more hours of some-what quality shut-eye.

And it all repeats itself the next night... The struggle is real, Moms.  Respect.

 

Truth Bomb: Mom-Shaming

image Mom-Shaming is like a sickness. Take something beautiful and corrupt it with words that decay the very thing we love. What's up with all the negative these days? I have a kid. SO WHAT?  He's topic of a lot of my conversations and generally the highlight of what's going on in my life. But when others make the choice to Mom-shame, wether it be other mothers or childless acquaintances, it shows the gross disrespect for what it takes to be a parent. You think any of this is easy? It's not. The general attitude these days is so negative. Maybe it's the political climate or the economy, or maybe I just know a bunch of assholes. I don't know what the answer is but let me list some observations of Mom-Shaming and maybe you will get the idea of what we're working with:

The Childless Life Expert: The person with no children who thinks and says everything that comes to their mind, even when it's A) extremely wrong B) extremely offensive or C) unsolicited commentary on how you live your life. Yes I have a child and am a devoted parent. No, I don't live my life as carefree and reckless as I used to. Yes, it is a lot to deal with. No, I don't hate my life...so stop insinuating that I do. It's like this: when I leave the house to socialize (sans kiddo) I need that time away. I liken it to how you feel when you get out of work or finish a big project. We just need a break. It recharges the batteries but when people say such things as "thank God I don't have kids...that must suck" or "you need to get out more, that must suck" I want to run back home to my child...who, by the way, I have left and given up valuable time with. Let's face it, you're not being cool or sound intelligent when you say this...you're just a dick.  Just because I have a child doesn't mean that I'm not human.  I miss hanging out at the bar til the morning hours, movies whenever I want and eating at great restaurants that don't have an animatronic band and serve shitty pizza. I respect the fact that a lot of people I know have chosen not to have children. That's great. That's not my life but I appreciate yours. When you shame me it hurts, and that's the truth.

The Relatively Annoying Shamer: This is a relative (like, for example, a mother-in-law) that judges and comments on every parental move you make.  The little digs, the persistent side-eye, or the flat-out ignoring of your rules...you become like a ticking time bomb.  All parents appreciate advice when we need it, but when the relative in question disrespects your authority every time  you step through their door it puts distance where the distance doesn't need to be.  When this happens, do yourself a favor and nip it in the bud.  A respectful, "I appreciate all of your advice and thoughtful consideration of our child, but please remember to adhere to my rules so that we present a unified front and create a cohesive family unit."  You're the parent and what you say goes, and that's the truth...Sometimes Granny has to back the hell up.

The FB Shamer: Yes I have a child and I post about said tiny person on social media.  I am proud of my accomplishments as a parent.  If I hear you say one more time "do you post enough pictures of your kid, I mean geez," followed by an eye roll Someone better hold me back.  I will come across the room and put you into time out or put soap in your mouth. You must spend too much time with the "Childless Life Expert" (aka DICK) that I mentioned above.  How dare you think that your opinion on what I post to social media regarding my child is a place for you to shame me? You post your stuff and I'll post mine but please...leave your judgment for politics and poor fashion sense.  I think my kid is adorable and that's the truth, so deal with it or unfollow me.

The Mom-On-Mom Shame: This is when one Mom shames another Mom/Parent. The worst offense of them all, I believe, because you should know what we're all going through. It's hard enough without having another Mom commenting on your choices as a parent. We all have the same end goal. Survival. So why do we feel like we need to judge one another on how we choose to raise our kid. Listen, he's mine...not yours. So if I don't choose to breastfeed my child until he's 4 or he's not speaking Mandarin in his after school oboe lessons; if he happens to eat a happy meal once in a blue moon or doesn't live off of wheatgrass and barely, it's our choice and by any stretch of the imagination is he going to grow up any less loved or cherished than anyone else's child. I am thankful with every sunrise and sunset for a happy, healthy child. I know some people cannot say the same, so shame on US ALL for this type of preconceived notion that what works for us should be the way everyone else does this parenting thing. The truth is NONE of us are really doing it ALL correctly.

If you're finding yourself in one or all of the categories (remember: to be honest, I have totally been guilty of one or all of these at some point so I'm speaking from experience) please reconsider what seems like no big deal to you, but is actually a huge problem.  It's hard enough to be a parent, but it's even harder to feel isolated from friends and society.  Being a parent is just a part of who I am.  My interests are diverse and expand beyond poopy-diaper discussions.  At the end of the day all that I want is to raise a happy and well-rounded child, and you want me to raise a happy and well-rounded child, so stop shaming and start supporting cause this shit ain't easy...#truthbomb.

 

How having a child in preschool is giving me a middle school complex

When my son started preschool I honestly thought it would open a wide variety of social avenues for both of us but I'll be honest, it hasn't.  In fact, I almost feel like parenting is cliquier than middle school was, and middle school didn't go well for me.  I wasn't "cool" or part of a crowd so much that I really felt like I belonged.  I was awkward and chubby and never quite fit into the standard idea of what was 'acceptable' the middle school hierarchy of what is deemed 'normal.'  Girls were mean and boys were meaner.  There was no winning.  I wasn't popular and I really didn't like putting myself out there, but I genuinely thought I was awesome...it was everyone else who seemed to have a different opinion.  It was just hard and I hated it.  imageReal talk: when I joke and say Tina Belcher is my spirit animal...I'm not really joking, total truth! We've all felt insecure and misunderstood. So why is preschool giving me serious flashbacks? Well, it's because once again I find myself feeling those old, familiar feelings of exclusion creep back in.  This time by members of the same peer group...other moms.  

I'm a single parent, currently staying home to be there with my son to help ease his transition into school full-time.  I'm not any different than moms with husbands or partners at home.  We all struggle with the same things. All parents battle against sleepless nights, potty training, how to get your child to eat, sick babies and skinned knees.  I do all the same things the other moms do.  So why do I feel so different?  It's such a weird feeling to describe.  I often feel like I'm wearing the invisibility cloak (ok, Harry Potter references probably don't make me any cooler) and it's like they, the other moms, just don't see me. I could be standing right next to them, wearing the same brands and frequent the same places, but for some reason I just don't fit in.  I felt the same way walking down the school hallways.  Lonely.   It isn't that I don't like some of the moms, it isn't that some of them don't acknowledge me.  I'm grateful for the people who I have met that choose to greet me with a kind "hello" and a smile.  I don't want this to diminish those Moms who go about parenting with the true spirit of community and support.  Let's face it, they are not all that  way.  There are those who judge and there are those who choose to, by whatever motivation, harbor some deep-rooted insecurities of their own.  For some reason it bothers me and that's the truth.  I can say a million times that I "give zero f#&%s" about what anyone else thinks, but I do care and I care who it affects my child.  Leaving me out leaves him out, and that is something he just doesn't deserve.  He's a highly social boy with a loving heart who is kind and sensitive.  I love that about him, his dad loves that about him.  That's the person we are working so hard to raise.

In a particularly hurtful example of how  we have been affected by this type rejection my sons feelings were affected and it killed me.  Almost the entire group from his preschool class worked amongst themselves to plan a Disney day with the kiddos.  We've all chatted about Disney and it was apparent that nearly everyone is an annual pass holder, and so are we.  On this day they all met for a group day at the park.  The next day, however,  all of the kids were talking about it amongst themselves at school.  I had no idea this had all transpired or I would have been more prepared for the tears and obviously painful conversation that occurred at pick up.  My son said to me,"all of my friends went to Disney and they didn't invite me." I told him it was ok and maybe we could go next time...but then he said,"they don't like me, they didn't want me to go."  I couldn't help it, the tears just fell out of my eyes.  I tried hard to hold them in.  I am NOT A CRIER.  Now that I'm a full-grown adult don't let shit get to me. But this totally broke my heart. I explained to him that they did like him and that I would take him to Disney anytime he wanted to go.  He's 3 years old so most of the rudeness and flat-out thoughtfulness of everyone else it lost on his innocent sensibilities and he got over it. I, on the other hand, felt completely cut to the quick. Do I think this incident was intentionally meant to hurt me or my son...NO! I choose to believe this was just an unfortunate thing that happened.  But it sucked, big time.  For the purposes of full transparency I'll say this: we can't go to every birthday party or join every activity like everyone else.  Our family is split between to households and juggling time with Boo is a delicate balance of scheduling and planning each week and weekend between the two parents and sometimes a grandparent.

I'm not writing this for sympathy and I'm not writing this to point fingers at any particular set of moms or another.    I'm simply stating that how we treat one another as mothers and parents (although I never hear of the "Dad Clique" but I assume it's a thing) can directly color the way we treat our children and the other children in our community. Whether it be at preschool or the elementary school bus stop or at the soccer field, or dance class... respect each other as members of the same tribe.  Being exclusionary creates division where division doesn't need to be.  I'm not saying that we all need to be best friends, but how do you know we wouldn't be?  I just didn't think at 36 I would feel like a the middle-schooler again...Where do I stand? Who do I talk to? Are my clothes ok? Will they like me? But what's super messed is that at one point I found myself asking the question: will they accept my son regardless of me? And sometimes the narrative in my head would be so loud I'm surprised the other moms couldn't hear my internal dialogue echoing  "just like us, we're cool, just please accept us."  US, as in, totally hoping that some asshole adult would give my son and I some sort of preschool mom clique seal of approval.  Nope, no more.   I just can't.  I'll smile and talk to anyone willing to return the social niceties, but I won't be made to feel like I'm not good enough to be let into some secret club of people who deem themselves better than myself or anyone else and I surely won't let my son fall victim to that kind of mentality.  In an ideal world all mothers would stand in solidarity of one another and we would all genuinely be good friends, but this is reality.  Reality is we all don't fit in, we all don't have to.  At this point in my life I have to be able to deal with the fact that I still don't fit in, just like in middle school...but maybe other mothers feel the same way.  If you've ever felt excluded, over-looked, under appreciated or like a social pariah, come join me at the 'nerd table.'

All Love,

W & Boo

 

Mom Purse: WTF is in there?

Let me just preface this by saying that I hate wearing a purse.  In my former life I would never wear a purse.  Cash and keys in pocket and out the door.  Now, with a child, I'm just proud I'm not leaving the house without luggage.  So while I was walking around the grocery store the other day and realized...this purse is heavy as F%$#! Then I stuck my hand in there..."WTF is in here?!?" In an effort to be as transparent as possible here's what I found in there after I removed the 47 crinkled up receipts and about a dozen expired coupons: sunglasses (severely scratched so thank good they're cheapos from the drugstore), Disney passes, 14 pounds of loose change, enough singles to make a stripper jealous, 4 tubes of lip balm and 2 shades of lip gloss that I NEVER wear, a beer ticket (you know, just in case), some Boogie Wipes (because I have used a sleeve in the past and thought that maybe that was my "rock bottom"), hand sanitizer, hair ties for pulling up my barely brushed tresses, a lollipop stick (that was still wet), my hard case wallet that holds my debit card, Costco membership card (hallelujah) and my variety of discount cards for ice cream, cupcakes and coffees from around town and the piece de resistance...hidden in one of the pockets was a unwrapped and unused (obviously) tampon that I found Boo swinging around by the string one day in the middle of Target (not pictured...you're welcome.) Feel free to share what's in your purse because we all know it's a disaster in there.

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