Friendship: Mental Vitamins

Do you have one of those friends where you can go months without talking to or seeing each other, but still think about them often? Maybe you send a funny text every once in awhile or comment on their Facebook post. Then you get really lucky, the stars and planets align and you finally get to meet her for coffee. Like in the flesh where REAL hugs and LOLs can be exchanged. After you have taken 20 minutes to order that triple venti non-fat latte because you were too busy talking 100 miles an hour, you get to sit down and really talk. And laugh (a lot.) And probably complain about your current woes. But basically, you can just pick up where you left off the last time you saw each other. You don’t judge one another for not having been “a better friend” and simply take each other for who we are, flaws, busy lives and all…and mostly that “all” is some really awesome stuff. And life is good. The crappy stuff just doesn’t seem quite as crappy anymore.

Well, today I was extra lucky and got to have coffee with a friend I had not seen for months. Mentally I feel like I just took a handful of vitamins! You see, she filled me up. I like to think that my glass is usually pretty full, or at least two thirds full. But then my kids come and knock it over (jerks!) And who gets to mop it up? Yeah. Me. And of course that cup had the last of my favorite drink in it and it probably got all over their homework (which I told them 20 times to pick up off the table and put in their backpack already fer fucksake!!) *Sigh.* Then I sit there with an empty cup, soggy papers and probably an extra load of laundry to do. And then grumble some extra profanity to make myself feel better.

And even though I go to Target a million times a week, I somehow always forget to buy more of that favorite beverage of mine. I always manage to remember all the random shit my kids politely request (demand) and usually 20 other things I have good intentions to cook up into some delicious meal EVERYONE will love…(Hahahaha! Even I couldn’t type that with a straight face!! Why is it Target makes me feel like my family’s nutritional Nirvana is actually achievable? Maybe it’s the heady excitement of saving 5% with my Red Card and doubling down on the savings with Cartwheel. Or maybe Target pumps in extra oxygen like a Vegas casino to get you to spend more money.)

Sorry. I digressed there. Where was I? Oh yeah my empty cup. Why is it as moms/wives/sisters/daughters we rarely make our needs just as important as our family’s? It’s really stupid when you think about it. Would you let your best friend neglect themselves like that? Hells no! And why do we think that our husbands and kids would ever hold some good self-care against us? (Okay, maybe if they’re being super assholeish that day they might…but glass full. GLASS FULL!)

Life has been full of challenges lately, and I had been isolating myself from my friends. Whether that was to wallow in self-misery or protect them from catching any of my crap as if it were headlice, I don’t know. I was a cranky wife and mom and somehow my family didn’t institutionalize me. But lately I’ve been trying a lot harder to get out there and be a friend. To others AND to myself. And you know what? It’s pretty f’ing awesome. Am I the perfect, patient, ever-loving person I aim to be? He’ll no. But I’m trying. Really. I am.

So. The point of this post is to thank all of my friends who put up with my neglect and take me for who I am — drama, insanity, bitchiness and all — and still manage to like me anyway. Thank you. And I want all of you, dear readers, to pledge along with me: we will do a better job of taking care of our friends, and thereby ourselves. Let’s call it the circle of happiness.

 

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False Advertising: I Call BS, Teddy Ruxpin!

Do you remember “Teddy Ruxpin” — that talking teddy bear who kept hounding you to be his friend like some creepy little stalker? Even though I was a bit too old for him when he originally came out, I’m distressed to see that little bastard is back.

Yeah. And have you seen the commercial for him? I most likely saw it between nail-biting, pivotal episodes of Paw Patrol. Yeah. I really need to address our family’s TV watching habits. But I digress. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

There are just so many things wrong with this commercial, I think I got a cramp. Where do I even begin?! Well, here I go:

The Setting:

A cozy living room which children have never stepped foot in. EVER. Notice the WHITE carpeting, the WHITE couch with perfectly fluffed throw pillows, the jauntily draped throw blanket. Nope. NOT REAL.

REAL would be white carpeting that looks like a crime scene, complete with juice box spills, ground-in goldfish crackers, random illegible graffiti (God help me that better not be Sharpie!) and random brown stains of dubious origin. REAL would be throw pillows all on the floor, some with feathers coming out, fringe shredded. REAL would be a couch that looks like someone had a food fight on it. And that throw? Nope. Destroyed, stuffed under a couch cushion, or hidden in someone’s room so another sibling couldn’t call dibs on it. And not that you’d be able to tell from a TV commercial, but I guarantee you it had an unsettling smell that you just can’t quite place.

And where are the other toys? Don’t these kids every PLAY fer crissake? Where are the 80,000 foot-crippling Legos, half-naked dolls, 20 lightsabers, random game pieces, leaking sippy cups and goddamnit! THAT’S what those jerks did with my nail polish!!!

So no. That home has never been stepped foot in by anyone under the age of 27.

The Kids:

Don’t you think for one second that those children are not heavily sedated. And you know their moms are behind the camera giving them withering, one eyebrow raised glares that say, “Don’t even THINK about misbehaving or so help me GOD you will never see an electronic device as long as I’m alive!”

Really. And a group of five perfectly groomed children all smiling and sitting crisscross applesauce at the same time, patiently waiting their turn to press Teddy’s paw? No. Never. Try five crying, screaming nightmares, demanding, “NO! I get to go first!” or “Teddy’s Ruxpin is stupid and so are you!” Or how about, “Hey Sam, where does your dad keep the chainsaws? Let’s play chainsaws!” That damned bear wouldn’t be in one piece for for more than 2 minutes in the hands of those kids, much less chainsaw wielding ones.

And I’ve saved the best for last.

The Mom:

Totally not real. I bet she’s never even had a kid! Look at her: freshly showered, straightened hair, flawless makeup, WHITE pants (White pants? Are you INSANE lady? What is your freaky obsession with white?!) And she sits there primly enjoying a cup of herbal tea, overjoyed to see this over-medicated playdate happily playing for hours with a toy she shelled $100 for.

No. No. Real would be: Shower? *sniff* nah. I’m good for another day or two. Hair? Oh yeah. I suppose I better make an appointment for my annual root touch-up and trim. Make-up? Unless I’ve splurged on a sitter so I can go on a date night with my husband, odds are it’s not happening — maybe some mascara if I’m feeling particularly fancy that day, like if I get to go to Target or something. The WHITE pants? *sigh* When’s the last time I owned a pair of white pants that even made it out of the bag without some stain on them? Black yoga pants it is!

And what is she even doing being in the same ROOM with these monsters??!! If I’m going to fork over $100, that better buy me at LEAST 1 hour where I can flop on the couch by myself and screw around on Facebook while I chow down on food that I have hidden from my kids. That mug? Oh yeah. There better damned well be hot, freshly-brewed coffee in it at a minimum. Liquor if we’re truly getting real here.

No. I don’t think I could be friends with this woman. God knows she’d never speak to the hot sexy mess that I am either.

So Teddy Ruxpin. Not happening for me. I guarantee you it would be shoved in the bottom of a toy bin, quietly plotting on ways to come to life in the middle of the night, “Will you be my friend?????”

No. Just. No.

 

Paw Patrol. I have questions.

If you don’t have small children, you’ve probably never heard of “Paw Patrol,” a show on Nick Jr.  about a group of talking pups, all trained and outfitted with specialized rescue gear. (Example: “Marshall” the fire dog and his puppy-retrofitted fire truck with ladder and water cannon, “Chase” the police dog and his police cruiser with megaphone, bad-guy trapping net set slinger and so on.) These pups are all led by “Ryder” — an adolescent who is in charge of the safety of everyone in Adventure Bay.

I don’t know which is more disturbing: the fact that supposedly sober grown-ups invented this storyline, or that I know vast details about it. But wait. There’s more.

The mayor is none other than Mayor Goodway, a power pump, power suit wearing, high strung hot mess of a woman who —and this is not a type-o—carries a trouble-making chicken named Chickoletta around in her purse. Mayor Goodway and her beloved poultry pet are constantly getting into ridiculous snafus requiring rescue from none other than Ryder and the Paw Patrol, whom she of course calls from her smart phone. Which was in her purse. With a chicken. Eew.

So this show is supposed to teach teamwork and how to be a helpful member of your community. I support that wholeheartedly. Our world needs more of that. However, the underlying messages leave me scratching my head:

  1. Adventure Bay seems like a town riddled with poor leadership choices. It is governed by a chicken toting woman who acts like she has about 4 more IQ points than said chicken. The citizens are protected by a kid and dogs, albeit well-equipped dogs. And Ryder is the most mature person on the whole show.
  2. Mayor Goodway’s archenemy is Mayor Humdinger, the maniacal, greedy leader of the neighboring town. Is this the most poorly veiled current political commentary ever? Can’t we all just get along??!
  3. There are only 2 female pups: “Skye” the helicopter piloting “eye in the sky” and “Everest” the snow rescue dog. These female protagonists have only minor support roles at best. The only other real female role model is Mayor Goodway. Hello? Purse chicken? Honestly!

Paw Patrol is one of my daughter’s favorite shows, and frankly it’s come to my rescue a few times when I needed to get stuff done. Like create a blog. Is this something I should be showing my daughter? Will this encourage her to be an empowered, intelligent woman? Or will she become a barnyard animal hauling, vapid excuse for a woman?

I think I better get going on teaching her to read and write…and use the big girl potty. Maybe not in that order.

My first ever blog post: I have arrived!

Warning: There are days when my quota of cursing is pretty high. If that is offensive to you, I apologize. But I do recommend you find another blog to read if that’s the case. You’ve been warned. If you decide to complain about it, I WILL send you to your room. My blog. My rules.

Now that we have that out of the way, a little about who I am and how I got to this place. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 9 1/2 glorious and exhausting years. I’ll be honest. There are days where I just mail it in mom and wife-wise. But in general I do my best to keep our family in one piece and hopefully raise children who will be good citizens and not serial killers one day.

My first rule is “be kind.” That’s not to say that I personally haven’t broken that rule 50 times before breakfast, but it’s a goal at least. When another parent tells me that my kid was polite, generous and was kind and cared for someone, I know I must be doing a good job. Or maybe they do it in spite of me. I’m not sure some days.

A little bit about my family dynamic.

My husband: I have a husband of 12 years who works insane hours at a stressful job that he’s really good at. He really is one of the smartest and loyal people I know. Sure, there are days where I really feel like dope slapping him and the little things get the best of me. His motto for life is, “Go big or go home.” Sometimes that’s really awesome because he immerses himself in the things he loves and his enthusiasm is contagious. Other times I wish he be more enthusiastic about putting his dishes in the dishwasher or not leaving 20 pairs of socks pile up in his office. But at the end of the day, he is a super hero and more than I could ask for. Somehow he puts up with my BS. I need to get over myself and let the small stuff go more often.

1512833_10207717846968820_3907882682562017329_nMy 9 year old son: I’ve come to believe that his main goal in life is to see how long it will take to wear out all of my buttons. Like he seriously stomps on them trying to see if he can get me to stroke out. He’s gotten close. Often. But he’s always had this larger-than-life personality with strong opinions and loves people fiercely, always looking out for the little guy. As much as he makes me want to completely lose my mind, he goes and does something so sweet and kind it makes me want hug the stuffing out of him.  Other days it’s back to strangling, but…

 

My 6 year old son: It always amazes me how different siblings can be. For as intense and trying as my 9 year old can be, my 6 year old somehow just manages to go with the flow and thinks being in 1st grade is the best thing since Legos. He puts up with a lot (and I mean A LOT) when it comes to his big brother, but when it comes down to it he adores him and is the sweetest thing when it comes to his little sister. But cross him and he will go grouchy old man you like that. One day I expect I’ll find him camped out on the front lawn on a folding chair, yelling at passers by “GET OFF MY LAWN!” Then again, last night he said, “I wish I could hug you forever, Mom.” You too, buddy. You too.

My 2 year old daughter: I never expected to have 3 children, and sometimes it still hasn’t sunk in. But when I think about it, she really completes our family. When her brothers are violently trying to murder each other, she can walk into the room and they will pause the killing just to adore her. She has 2 pinky fingers so she can have a brother on each one. She will go through life with her 2 body guard brothers who will take out anyone who messes with her. But that’s not to say she really needs them. She is a freaking Amazon warrior princess physically and mentally. She takes names and demands her fair share. While this will probably be a good thing when she’s grown up, I sometimes wonder, “what just happened?!”

I think I’ll save more about me for another post. I mean I need to build the suspense and all. If you think my family is nutty, I am the grand piece of work.

So there we are. I’m not here dole out sage parenting advice (heck, if I actually took any sage advice, I probably wouldn’t be so crazed now, would I?) But I do feel that the world would be a better place if we all could laugh at ourselves and WITH others and be encouraging and respectful of one another. That’s not to say that I never bitch for sport or anything. Quite the opposite – I’ve achieved pro status at this point. Ask my husband and children.

The point of this blog is to share some of my insanity and hopefully have you laugh along with me (and probably feel like you really do in fact have your act together.) Thanks for visiting.