Stress Baking & Bonfires

img_20180628_114949136.jpgI’ve been doing a lot of stress baking lately. There is something zen about baking for me. Perhaps it’s because it’s an activity that engages all of the senses: hearing the whir of my 6 quart KitchenAid stand mixer, the smell of my favorite Penzey’s vanilla and the aromas coming from the oven, the feel of a perfect dough, the sight of a cookie just kissed with golden brown…and of course taste. I think what clinches it for me is when I can deliver a surprise treat to a friend and it makes their day just a little better. After baking off a double batch of cookies, my blood pressure seems to return to normal. (And the fact that I can bribe my kids for good behavior with said baked goods is a bonus.)
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“So why all this stress baking?” you ask. We’re into week 3 of summer vacation and hell has hit. Already.

Right now the drama between First Born Male Child and Young Son has been over F’ing Pokemon cards. Yes. Pokemon cards. The number of screaming, ranting cage match fights I’ve had to break up ought to earn me a ref’s jersey and whistle. (But I’d have to immediately hide the whistle because those assholes would go crazy and try to shatter each other’s ear drums with it or drown out the other’s voice whenever he spoke….that last one’s not a bad idea, actually….)

Anyway. The fighting usually starts over trades. FBMC gets YS to trade a good card. A little while later YS realizes he’s been bamboozled, the trader’s remorse hits and that’s when the real shit hits the fan.¬†It has gotten to the point where if I hear one word about Pokemon attacks/energy/evolvement/health and other crap, my lip curls back and I start growling and cursing.

What makes all of this crap even worse, is my husband supports this behind my back. He has taken the boys to stores to buy these Statan’s calling cards…multiple times! Then when I lose my shit over the betrayal, he says, “But I made a new rule that all trades need to be approved by me first.” Well, that’s all good, Mr. Boss Man. But considering that all of the back alley trading goes on while you’re at work or out fishing, I’m left to deal with the resulting wreckage and carnage. Thanks for nothing, traitor.

So here’s how I’m dealing with this. I’m going all batshit crazy Mean Mommy Monster. You see, for Father’s Day I got my husband a portable fire pit under the premise of making s’mores and memories. In reality, I plan on using it for Pokemon cards. Anytime the boys fight, I threaten to use their cards for kindling. I’m hoping to get to the point where all I have to do get out the fire starter whenever I need their behavior to do a 180.

So neighbors: if you see smoke coming from my backyard, grab a lawn chair, a skewer for toasting marshmallows and come on over. I’ll supply the stuff for s’mores and will most likely have plenty of baked goods and booze. Oh. Feel free to bring your personal hell and toss it in the fire if you want. We can make a video and post it on YouTube for other moms to use an example to their inmates. Guaranteed to go viral, I say! This may just become my new zen activity…

And for those of you who actually¬†like Pokemon cards, here’s the most powerful, rarest one yet!

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Bracing Myself for Summer

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I guess I’ve been feeling in a bit of a slump. Or maybe I’ve been overwhelmed by all of the end-of-the-year craziness of band concerts, recitals, everyone suffering through spring fever and just being done with the school year.
I keep reading how moms everywhere are so anxious for summer to come so they can do all sorts of fun stuff with their kids and relax. So here’s what I wonder: Am I living on the same planet? What kind of medication are they taking or giving to their children? How can I be doing things SO wrong? Or are they just lying their fool heads off in some mass mommy shaming conspiracy — or are gaslighting themselves??

Don’t get me wrong. We all need a break from the infinite demands of the school year — kids, parents and especially teachers. I get it. I’m looking forward to a little less structure for awhile.

June is great — everyone is reveling in the end of school, playing outside in the beautiful weather as much as they want and just taking a break from the hustle, bustle and responsibility of the school year. But then July hits like a hot steamy freight train. Playing outside is no longer fun, friends start hating on each other and the “I’m boooooored!” complaints come flying full-force. By August everyone is stabby and homicidal. I’m supposed to love spending all this quality time with my kids. They just make it really, really hard in the summer.

And do I need to even mention the messes that will be created 24/7? Oh yes, now not only do I have to nag them about cleaning their rooms, picking up their toys and the playroom inside, now that hell has expanded to the outdoors. Every bike, scooter, water toy, and piece of sports equipment will be drug out from the garage and basement and left outside…Every. Damned. Day. Then they will decide outside is too boring or too hot and will want to come inside with their friends to trash the inside of the house, eat their body weight in snacks and suggest elaborate picnics that I could make for them. God forbid they would actually clean up after themselves without me having to hound them 20,000 times. Maybe there’s a way I could get Alexa to nag for me. I know my kids think I enjoy being a raging lunatic by the end of the day, but no. Not so much.

I see article after article about creating “bucket lists” to accomplish over the summer. Or the conflicting articles saying we should just let our kids play and have fun (“The 70s summer”)… or we should structure our summers full of activities and educational experiences to keep away the boredom. Ugh. Which is it?!?

What it all really comes down to for me is the Mom Guilt. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Have I made them read and do math flash cards enough so they don’t lose their hard earned skills over the summer months? Do all kids fight as much as mine? Do other moms yell as much as I do? Do they fight because I yell, or do I yell because they fight? Maybe I have been poisoning them with the copious amounts of sunscreen I make them wear. Where are the matches so I can set my hair on fire?

Oh. If one more person tells me that I need to get a pool pass and live there all summer, I will be setting their hair on fire. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a lot of anxiety and very little patience. Keeping 3 children from drowning themselves or other kids in opposite ends of the pool is not my idea of a super relaxing time. I’m not even going to go into how much courage it takes me to don a swimming suit and strut around with my pasty white, hail-damaged thighs and arms all exposed. I’d rather jump out of a plane from 30,000 feet. I can’t be responsible for all of the emotional damage I will inflict from people having to see that.

So friends, I will be trying to keep a good attitude about summer break, but I can’t guarantee anything. If you see me wandering aimlessly around Target late at night (because that is the only time I will not have children with me for the next 3 months) — either avoid me completely if you’re not up for hearing an epic rant…or come give me a hug, a Starbucks and tell me I’m pretty.

PS — I need some blog topic ideas. If you have any, post them in the comments!