Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Motherhood & More: Wrapping up public outlet before the kids discover it*

This is it, guys. I think I’ve said all I can say on the nature of parenthood and my children.

I mean, probably not because I am wordy and super into over-sharing. But I also am in great danger of repeating myself and it’s much more forgivable to do that over a glass of wine with friends than in this column space for everyone one to see.

Of course, I could keep discussing with you the impressive stubbornness of my daughter.

Just this morning, we woke up 30 minutes late for school and instead of hurrying to catch the bus, she slowed down her movements to a comical degree. That’s the logical step when your mother asks you to go faster, correct? Her hair was half-brushed, but she was all the way dressed so I’m calling it a win.

Or I could talk about my son and the recent introduction of back talk into his behavior repertoire. This goes hand in hand with his need to always be right, no matter what, and his refusal to give any ground when he’s sure of himself. Obviously, I always am wrong in these situations.

Or maybe I could discuss the kindness of my daughter and how she is the first to check on someone when they’ve gotten themselves hurt and the first to offer comfort and assistance. And how she has single-handedly tamed our shelter kittens just with her will and need to love them.

And then there’s my son, who is determined and introspective, who wants to learn all he can about everything and who’s already starting the fourth Harry Potter book when he’s only 8 years old. We could talk about how sweet he is to other children, especially those younger than him. Except his sister. That goes without saying, right?

But at this point you probably know all of that already, don’t you? You know me, you know my children. You hopefully can see the pride I have in each of them, even when they push me to the brink of sanity.

And maybe you can see that my parental complaining is intentional. I like to use this space to show solidarity with other parents.

Kids are weird. When we see someone else’s child acting weird, we can stop feeling like we’re screwing up our own because weirdness is an inherent trait they all share.

You are welcome.

So I am running out of ways to share all of this with you and life is becoming overwhelmingly busy. It’s time to streamline for the good of the family.

If you’d like to keep in touch, I do have a blog I hope to update more often: But I make no promises — life and whatnot.

I’ve really, really enjoyed my time in this space. I love having a reason to stop and think and analyze. It’s been cathartic and challenging and wonderful. Thank you for allowing me to be here, but it’s time to go.

Also my kids can read and I live in fear of them picking up a newspaper and seeing what I’ve written about them.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Sept. 28, 2016.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Motherhood & More: Taking a stand against the bedtime routine* **

For the safety of my children and the preservation of my mental health, I have given up on bedtime routines.

For as long as I can remember of my time as a mother, since my son was born, bedtimes have been the worst. They are fraught with anguish, disagreement over exactly how tired the particular child is and futile attempts to persuade said heathen to just go to sleep already because Mama needs a break.

Whining and fighting and refusal to listen to reason or yelling have been the norms.

As soon as my son got easier, my daughter was born. She gives new meaning to stubbornness and outright ignoring any attempt to bend her to my will.

Somehow we got into a ridiculous routine of stories and snuggling and various feats of mental persuasion and voodoo trickery that had to be performed in a certain order before she would consent to stay in her bed.

Of course, this only worked part of the time, maybe 60 percent. The other times I wouldn’t do something properly so there would be screaming and flailing about and I would lock myself in my own bedroom in hopes that by ignoring her she would eventually tire herself out.

I know that everything got out of hand because I allowed it, but I only allowed it because I was so tired and wanted, just once, to be able to walk downstairs and feel good about how bedtime went. So I went along with the crazy.

My husband, who had bedtime every other night, never encountered these issues. Ask me how I felt about that. Go on. Ask.


So after a particularly bad routine recently, wherein I was kicked in the face by one of my lovely angel children after the other one had worn my patience down to the quick with a refusal to be agreeable about anything, I stomped downstairs announcing loudly to my husband that I was done. Finished. Never again would I be subjected to this torture because I refused to participate in it anymore. No more bedtimes. None. Zero.

It was liberating.

In the time since my stand, I have had to endure minor whining about how Dad’s had too many bedtime turns and now it’s Mama’s turn, but I refuse to be persuaded. I’m not walking up those stairs anymore, kids. As I say to them daily, you are responsible for your own actions and those actions have consequences. You did it. You suffer through the penalties.

Now, obviously this doesn’t mean that I ignore them at bedtime. I’m happy to read them a story downstairs on the couch and give hugs and kisses. But I’m not setting foot into their rooms because that’s how it will start. That’s how they’ll draw me back into their madness and in no time I’ll be performing again in the minor hopes of a smooth transition to sleep.

I figure I’m only helping them out by ensuring they become self-sufficient people.

Tuck yourselves in, kids. I’m out.

*This column was originally published in The News-Enterprise on August 24, 2016.

**Alternate title: Go The Fuck To Sleep

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Motherhood and More: Age truly is only a number, not a promise of maturity*

I turned 35 this month.

I’m still waiting to feel different, older, mature, more “grown up.”

I’ve never really worried about aging. I don’t care all that much about looking old, I don’t worry about wrinkles or losing my youth. At this point in my life, one year is much like the next – albeit with children who have ever-evolving parental needs.

When I was younger, I thought 35 was the epitome of grown up. By 35, I should know what I’m doing, have a life plan and fully understand retirement savings accounts.

But for me, now, I’m kind of still waiting to feel like an adult. I’ve got bills, I have responsibilities, I have small people requiring my care and attention. But what does it mean to be an adult? Sometimes I feel aged like cheddar and wine. Sometimes I feel 16.

I was speaking with a friend on aging a few weeks ago and where we hoped to be by this age. I came to the conclusion that it’s all a giant, delusional myth.

No one has their life together. Everyone is taking it as it comes, never really knowing if their choices and decisions are exactly the right ones. None of us are adulting, truly “adulting,” because we don’t really know what it means.

And I’ll wager that our parents felt the same way when they were our age. We thought they knew everything about everything because they were able to speak with confidence when they told us to stop acting like fools. They were authority figures. But really, they were figuring it out as they went, too.

All that is to say that I don’t really feel old or what I thought old would feel like.

At this age, I should have wisdom and maturity and growth. And I do have days like that. I mean, I have a mortgage and someone has to be available to make dinner for all the wild children who live in my house. Two. It’s only two, but if we’re going by number of dirty socks strewn throughout the house it’s more like 14.

But much of the time I have the mind of a 12 year old, giggling at inappropriate jokes, writing melodramatic poetry or secretly lusting after Lisa Frank unicorn folders. I think that’s just how it is, for most of us.

At a certain age, we want to appear like we know what we’re doing. We’re all faking it, though. We do what we can to seem responsible and grown up but still really want to have ice cream for dinner most days.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on July 27, 2016.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Homemade Friday: Dottie Angel Frock and Greenwood Tank


I think my sewing mojo is busted.

There are many factors that could contribute to the fact that everything I've tried to sew lately has ended up less than stellar. I mean, I've been super sick, ridiculously sick, full-on worst sinus infection of my life sick. Then there's all the meds I'm on to fix said sickness, which are helping but also hurting as I spend most of my days now dizzy and woozy and whatnot.

And then, also, Sebastian is at his first overnight camp, his first time staying away from home in this type of setting with people he has never met before.

I'm stressing and worrying and can't stop obsessively pouring through the generous amount of photos the camp provides online to parents. (Thank you internet. Let's be best friends.) So while I can't tell if he's made friends, or what he's doing at every minute of every day, or whether he's homesick, I can see his face and see a bit of his experiences.

So, anyway, the last two items I've sewn have been kind of disappointing. First up was a Dottie Angel Frock that I cut out possibly a year ago. This was the second time I've sewn this particular pattern. This is the first one:

I think I like the idea of this dress more than I like the actual dress. Or - if I tweaked the pattern, the dress actually would be perfect. It's light weight, but also can be layered. It's got big front pockets for carrying all sorts of things - cucumbers and snow peas from the garden, maybe? Eggs from my imaginary chickens? One of my new kittens?

Also pictured - a sewing project that worked well.

But the neckline is not right. I think the first time I sewed the dress I graded between sizes because my hip to bust ratio is rather large, so I'm usually two different sizes - much smaller on top. But maybe I didn't do that with the second one? I didn't take any notes and it's been so long that I don't remember what I did. Obviously I have to fix it. If I do anything other than stand completely still the whole thing falls off my shoulders. I think I may just sew a seam up the back of the dress from the waist up. It probably isn't what I should do, but will at least make the dress functional.

And I want it functional because I think that it could be really wearable, and I love the colors. Here's a better photo that shows that:

Next on my sewing table was another Greenwood Tank from Straight Stitch Designs - also my second time sewing. And also completely wonky. I think that I should have used a regular stitch instead of a straight stitch on the neckline and armbands, because, once again, it's too wide. And also too stretched out.

This was my first Greenwood Tank:

I loved this one. It was a bit wonky, as well, but not nearly as bad as this new one. But that fabric isn't as stretchy as the fabric from the most recent, and I think that's why I got into trouble.

I was thinking about sewing up some pleats on the front and back, and try to make it look like I intentionally made it all too big. We'll see. I'm wearing it now because it's really comfortable, even if it looks weird.

So there you have it. Misshapen clothing. I gotta go sew something easy to make myself feel better. (My daughter is begging for an Elsa dress. I'm not sure I should do that until I'm over this slump.)