fit to flirt
there comes a time in every marriage when you just gotta go out and flirt. with other people.
my married girlfriend and i were talking today and she was expressing a strong desire for a girls night out. now, i can’t speak for everyone, but any girls night out i’ve ever been involved in there’s been flirting. and lots of it. my friend was saying that she’s been feeling kinda crappy about herself lately, her husband tells her she’s beautiful and yada yada yada, but it just wasn’t making her feel any better. sometimes we women have a lapse in self-esteem that only drinks bought by Nameless and Faceless can cure.
i mean, let’s be honest. when you have little kids your marriage becomes about them. this becomes your conversation after you’ve put them to bed:
“what did colt eat today?” “has jett rolled over yet?” “what color was their poop after lunch?”
is it any wonder you start craving for a stranger to tell you your shirt brings out the color of your eyes? after all, when your husband sees that shirt the only thing he tells you is how many times he’s seen your son puke all over it.
now please understand i am talking about HARMLESS flirting here. there is such a thing. i’m not condoning affairs, i’m not encouraging you to exchange numbers or room keys. unless of course your hubby has pissed you off and then i suggest you and the kids dress up super cute and hit the town to play a little game i like to call “are you my stepfather?”
i can talk the talk but my husband knows i’m totally out of the game. after all, if i did get any stepfather offers what would i say? “wanna come back to my place and count my stretch marks?” gil affectionately calls the aftermath of my stomach ‘the anti-cheat’ so he can rest assured i’m not sneaking gentleman callers into the bedroom.
when i go out for girls night i am finding it hard to have fun now. ‘fun’. interesting word. it’s constantly transforming itself throughout your lifetime. it starts out meaning swing sets and chasing ice cream trucks. then it becomes too many long island iced teas and a walk of shame, and now it means catching bubbles in your hand with a ten month old.
i notice it’s my childless married friends who choose to get their flirt on at the bars. when they give me shit for not wanting to go out i tell them to go out drinking, get home at 1:00am, set their alarm for every 15 minutes until 6am, and then run on a treadmill until 6pm. THEN come bitch at me for being a boring friend.
many of my equally exhausted married with children friends opt to do their harmless flirting at the gym during daylight hours. i find this location even less appealing than the bar. i feel my most unattractive when working out in a gym. gorging myself in a restaurant is pretty high up there too. if you happen to find me doing either of these please do not make eye contact with me, and just walk away.
the gym is a horrible place where the devil is your spin instructor and every work out is an audition.
men comparing and contrasting the row of spandex asses on the elliptical machines in front of them. women stretching out their bodies on mats to prove how limber they are. i can always tell the single or unhappily married women at the gym, they are the most stretchy. i, however, work out in my husbands sweatpants (i prefer looser quarters for my jiggle to wiggle) and find nothing sexy about sweat pouring off everyone’s bodies stinking up the equipment. not to mention i run awkwardly at best. i run like elaine dances. it should never be done in public but being in shape is important to me so i must endure the humiliation.
speaking of humiliation, a few days ago male perfection stepped onto the treadmill right beside mine. automatically i pushed back my shoulders (aka stuck my boobs out), slowed to a brisk walk because he can’t see me run, and reached to turn the volume down on my ipod cause i’m sure he could hear the show tunes blasting from my headphones. too bad my hand got tangled in the headphone cord which pulled it out of my ipod and sent it flying over to HIS treadmill. the ipod landed just horribly enough to prominetly display the blue, pink, and yellow orignal broadway cast of THE WEDDING SINGER album cover. he stops his workout to pick it up, gets enough of a glimpse of it and hands it back to a very flushed faced me.
suddenly the treadmill is a time machine running me back to junior high where i am the most unfortunate looking girl in the school.
i mumbled “thanks” without even looking at him, faked an exhausted exhale, reduced the speed to snails pace and hopped off. never mind my entire workout had been 3 minutes and 42 seconds. i wonder if he noticed the time displayed on the screen? WAIT A MINUTE! I AM MARRIED! not only do i not need to care about what this object of perfection thinks about me but i’m not even allowed to care! i am legally and morally required to be my show tune loving self because i was already cast as a wife in someone else’s script so i don’t have to audition for his! the awesomeness of marriage finally hits me. it’s like permanent permission to be as dorky as i am. how comforting that i have already tricked somebody into loving me forever so i don’t even need gym guys approval. but it’d be nice to have it….
i don’t seem to be a good candidate for gym or bar flirting, but i think it’s important to keep looking for places to exercise this right as a wife and mother. i believe flirting should be a lot like ‘fun’; the way you do it changes once your married, it shouldn’t end, but it best be altered!
i despise the phrase “stay at home mom”. it pains me to type it. it sounds like a prison sentence. unless you happen to live at neverland, or a bar, how much does that suck? the four walls start to turn on you after a while and you know it’s time to call for backup, otherwise known as: The Nanny.
if you happen to be a “____ __ _____ mom” who doesn’t need or want to work but needs and wants to go to the gym, get a manicure, work on her blog, or have lunch from somewhere other than a drive thru, you’ll need a nanny.
and as only a true “____ __ _____-er” knows, the nanny is for you, not the kids. you’re the fully developed human in the house having to basically co-parent with this stranger so just like the kids didn’t have a say who you picked to be their father, they shouldn’t get to decide who their nanny is either. sure it’s an added bonus if the kids happen to like her but it’s really not the priority. you’re there most of the day with them so the couple of hours a week you step out for yourself it’s not the end of the world if they find her boring or think she smells funny. so long as she doesn’t smell of alcohol…..
i realize my entire blog could be titled ode-to-a-narcassist.com since i can even twist the nanny to being more for me than the kids but if it weren’t for me the kids wouldn’t even exist so i feel my point is justified.
too bad gil didn’t. he insisted i stop being selfish and hire someone for the kids, not a “friend for me to hang out with all day”. well god forbid i should be able to enjoy the company of anyone older than an embryo.
i gave in and did it his way. at first. please note it was easier to find a husband than it was to find a nanny. five minutes before i delivered the boys i finally found one. an older woman with 26 years experience. she was a mother herself, took excellent care of the babies, kept a very organized nursery, blah blah blah. by the time the boys were three months old she and i were having a personality conflict. she didn’t like mine. and since i only like people who like me, she had to go.
i decided to do it my way this time and hire the perfect person for ME. no more of these people i only knew about through the recommendations of strangers. no more craigslist searches. yes, gil MADE me post an ad for the caretaker of our children on craigslist. i wrote one that only jesus was qualified for. i got two responses, one from a man saying he’d like to cook for me in a loin cloth, and the other from a woman who requested a picture of my husband before she sent her resume. i sent her a picture of a friends husband and deleted the ad.
this time i was going with who i knew in my gut was the only perfect person to raise my children with me.
a nineteen year old, former high school student of mine (yes, i taught high school. that’s another story).
this probably doesn’t sound like the best candidate for a new mother with infant twins and three stepchildren but i chose her because i know her. (and because babies fall asleep within 30 seconds of lying on her chest which was a huge selling point for me.) i know where she comes from, i know her family, i know all her stories. i know her husband. yep, she got married at 19. to a south african. but he’s a pretty great guy who’s not entirely in it for the green card so leave her alone about it.
she’s young. she hasn’t nannied for 20 families and she doesn’t have her own children, but what she gives me no one else can. peace of mind. i can leave my babies in her care and have PEACE OF MIND. the ‘mama traumas’ never once enter my mind- is she beating them? does she neglect them? does she ignore them when they beg to be held? does she leave them in front of a tv and read a magazine? is she stealing from our home? is she sleeping with my husband? all these worries that moms can’t help but wonder about since they never REEEAALLLY know their nannies, i don’t have. which is a great relief considering all the other things i’m busy worrying about.
the downside to this familiarity is that she argues, okay, fights with me. a lot. but in the way a couple who have been married a really long time do. this is different from fighting with a strange bitch in your house who is trying to tell you how to parent. that kind of fighting makes me shout: “i don’t care if you have 36 children and gave birth to them all by yourself in the back of a van in the middle of a shark tank. NO ONE knows MY children as well as i do!”
except for sami. and she just might love them as much as i do too. okay, impossible, but she’s pretty close.
the reason sam and i fight is because she parents colt and jett as gil does. like they are her fourth and fifth children. she doesn’t agree that they need to go to the doctor every time they have dry skin. she doesn’t rub their head for 45 minutes after they bump it on the side of the crib, and she thinks it’s perfectly safe to feed them chunks of food bigger than a fingernail. she thinks i’m a huge pain in the ass but we are far more similar than she’d like to admit. her husband even calls her the “younger, blonder version”.
at the end of each day i decide to let her live because i see the boys smiles and hear their squeals when she walks in the door in the morning. i watch them reach up for her and give her kisses during the day, and i wipe their tears away when she leaves in the evening.
as incredible as she is with them she is even better with me and doesn’t know i appreciate that. i am so blessed to have a friend like her during the most challenging, transforming year of my life. to know even when she doesn’t agree with me she always supports me because we have the same objective: to make sure these boys are safe, happy, healthy, and not jerks.
for the record it looks like my selfish quest for a nanny happened to be the right fit for the whole family so everybody wins. i know she is perfect for us because she knows that the sun rises and sets in those little boys eyes and we parent better together than any couple i’ve ever met. if she sticks around she’s going to be directly responsible for two beautiful men with gigantic hearts, charismatic personalities, confidence and open minds (thanks to the pink pacifiers she insists on buying them).
sam’s own mother died very unexpectedly this past january. her death is teaching me to let people know how much they are appreciated and loved. i’ll start with her daughter.
thank you sam for being an irreplaceable part of our family. i find it very ironic that at a time in your life when you need to be the one being taken care of you choose a job taking care of an entire family. this is either the most unhealthy thing i’ve ever heard of or a testament to the strength, perseverance, or sheer beauty of your character.
perhaps it’s all of the above.
you’re doing great kid.
ever since i created life all i seem to think about is death.
when i was pregnant i had panic attacks before every ultrasound because i’d convinced myself one or both babies were probably dead. i could never wrap my mind around the idea that they were going to come out. somehow, through my whole pregnancy, it didn’t really sink in that at the end of the vagina (or in my case, operating table) a person would appear. let alone two. i never read one word or learned one thing to do with the babies once they were born.i spent the entire 36 weeks and 2 days preparing for the upcoming week of the pregnancy. that seemed like more than enough to study. i had to learn the many different reasons for the many different types of fluids coming out of my body. i had to worry about twin to twin transfusion syndrome. had to google every possible sign of premature labor. and let’s not forget the endless hours of kegel exercises i was instructed to do by everyone from the doctor to the ice cream man (i admit i only did about 4 and thank goodness cause what a waste of time all that vagina squeezing would have been given i ended up with a csection).
it’s really a wonder how anyone works while pregnant with all the required squeezing and googling….
i told myself to stay focused on how to keep the babies safe while they were inside me and i’d worry about how to keep them safe on the outside if we ever got that far .
i’ve spent most of my life as a human contradiction so it came as no surprise to anyone that although i didn’t believe these babies were ever gonna hatch, that didn’t stop me from the most obsessive nesting my family & friends have ever seen. i had my entire hospital bag packed when i was 16 weeks pregnant. it sat by my bedroom door month after month until one day my husband needed the suitcase for a trip and dumped out all of my neatly organized birthing equipment. i threw my most hormonal tantrum to date. i even installed the car seats right after the baby shower and drove around with them empty for two months. gil found it necessary to tell me how creepy he found this every day and refused to ride in my car.
i remember waking him one night when i was 6.5 months pregnant because the high chairs were not assembled yet and i was starting to panic. he sleepily muttered something about babies not even using high chairs till they are 6 months old and if i continued to be psychotic he’s sleeping in a hotel.
i’d like it to be known that this is not me. was not me. i had never been THIS person. i’d never been obsessive compulsive or anal retentive about a single thing. in fact if we were voting on personality types i’d have been voted ‘least likely to give a shit’.
before i got pregnant i can’t remember a time anything kept me up at night. i always slept like a baby (THAT’S the oxymoron of the year!). looking back, this nesting hyper-drive must have been my way of telling myself i would psychologically be prepared for motherhood as long as every detail of my home was. and it did help.
for me motherhood is extremely out of character. i’m one of the most selfish people i know so this whole putting- someone- elses- needs- before- my-own thing is to say the least totally unnatural and very very terrible. i am also organizationally challenged so to be sure i am the mother my sons need me to be i go overboard. i would now be voted ‘best person to know in the event of a natural disaster’.
my diaper bag is stocked like nothing you’ve ever seen. i have sunscreen, wardrobe changes, a lifetime supply of wipes in ziplock baggies, 240 diapers, infant tylenol, teething rings, baby food, bottles, cases of formula, blankets, fire extinguishers, the how to survive a volcano eruption handbook, and you get my point. the stroller with the two boys in it weighs less than the diaper bag. but i need it that way. i need to know i’m prepared for the explosive diarrhea in the middle of the mall, for the chance we get stuck in stand still traffic for two days and the kids need food, for this gi gAN TIC responsibility.
since the boys recently began crawling our house is looking as loaded as the diaper bag with the endless amount of gates, locks, and padding. no one in the house can figure out how to use a toilet anymore but at least we’ve made it thru another day with no casualties!
even though we live in fort knox and have a nanny so there is aways an extra set of eyes on the boys, we still have a potential near death moment every freaking day. i really don’t know what’s wrong with jett. colt seems accident prone which you can’t fault him for, but jett really seeks this shit out. he will find the one item in the entire house that could cause him to spontaneously combust and he will crawl toward it with more ambition than i’ve ever had for anything. if you prevent him from getting it he obsesses and looks at you with hate in his eyes for saving his life. self-destructive nature….no idea where he gets that from…..
so yeah, every day i’m terrified i’m going to drop the ball and something’s going to kill them. so again, i go overboard. i put my hand on their chests 4 times a night to make sure they are breathing which is probably the reason they’re still waking up all night long at 9 months. the boys have three pediatricians, a GI specialist, an allergists, an acupuncturist and a masseuse. very rarely does a week go by without a visit to at least two of them. my husband and skids call me the “munchausen mom” but i believe that’s a misdiagnosis. i don’t take them to doctors for attention, i take them to so they can assure me they are healthy and fine and that i haven’t done some terrible damage to them, yet. and i can exhale. for a moment. but just a moment. cause once i learn they are okay i start to fear i am not. am i terminal and don’t know it? will i die soon and not see my kids grow up? will today be the last day i kiss them? what are they going to do without their mother? since i’ve had kids i find the pressure to stay alive overwhelming!
my husband thinks i need a therapist on speed dial and a shipment of zanax fed-exed every day. as the days go on, however, i’m starting to think he’s the crazy one along with people like him who have several children and with each one become more relaxed. i don’t think it is what everyone claims it to be-that you get more seasoned with each one and the neurosis of being a first time parent wear off and by the fourth kid you just strap him to the roof of the car and off you go. it is clear to me that your mind must just shut off at a certain point. your emotions must have to shut down somewhat or how could you survive? if with every child you went through anxiety like this every moment of every day how could you function? no one would have more than one kid. so you must have to stop “caring” to a point. it’s got to be as if a self protective shield goes up when another baby is on the way that says ‘fuck it. what will be will be. i gotta get some freakin sleep’.
it’s not an accident there is an I in the middle of anxIety. there I am surrounded by all this fear. but i am not alone. i am squishing two other people in there with me. so as i see it i can get on some sort of horse tranquilizer, or be prepared to attend a lot of family counseling sessions with two very angry men (make that three) pointing fingers at me.
the moral of this parenting story is that there is no way not to screw up. i can go down the safe path of baby proofing their lives and keeping them healthy but it will likely result in two highly neurotic men who wear bubble wrap to work.
piss off pets
once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up loving all god’s creatures. she became a teenager who argued with kids at school who killed an insect in the classroom rather than releasing it outside. She went to college and cried hysterically when a maintenance worker killed a mouse she found in her dorm room. As an adult she threatened to divorce her husband for attending a hunting trip with his friends and yelled at her step kids for going fishing. she cherished her two golden retrievers and one day decided she absolutely MUST have a great dane as well. so she cried in bed for three days until her husband relented. her dogs were the loves of her life. riding in the car with her wherever she went, they often went to work with her because she felt terribly guilty leaving them home alone for more than two hours. she got a job managing an animal hospital because she treasured animals so much. she had her own dogs groomed and massaged almost weekly. her husband often threatened to leave her if she didn’t stop letting the great dane have his side of the bed every night. her dogs ate only the best dog foods money could buy and she never walked past them without petting and kissing them.
and then the woman had babies. and now the dogs irritate the fucking shit out of her.
from the moment i brought the twins home from the hospital i completely turned on my dogs. i didn’t see it coming, i don’t know what flipped in my brain but i went into full PISS OFF PETS mode. each day that has passed their very presence frustrates me further. the chorus of barks i used to find so entertaining when they would interrupt my husband while he was on business calls now ends the babies’ nap time which unleashes the beast within me.
their jovial frolicking in the pond behind our house that used to warm my heart now sends me into battle with a 145 lb dinosaur, i mean, dog, as i attempt to drag his soaked, filthy, dead fish stanking body off of the rug my children are playing on.
when i used to see them lying in the middle of the floor with their bellies exposed i couldn’t help but run to rub their tummies and massage their ears. now as i dart across the house in the race against time to make bottles for screaming babies i nearly trip over my furry former friends causing me to scream out:
“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE UNDER MY GODDAMN FEET?!”
my intolerance for animals has grown so severe that even feeding them becomes a major inconvenience. i consider the end of each day to be 6pm. bath time hell has ended and the boys are cozy in their cribs for their four hour nap before the night shift starts when the cute cuddly baby bears morph into some sort of screaming, demanding, wide awake creatures from hell sent here only to terrorize me into insanity.
at 6:01 it takes every ounce of my energy to crawl to the couch and pull my legs up to rest my feet. i shut my eyes and try not to think about how i could be so exhausted when i did nothing but feed babies, change diapers, apply orajel, and clean an endless amount of bottles.
i try not to think. period.
then without fail:
a vocabulary of curse words race through my mind.
Eyes snap open and glare angrily at the three neglected faces in front of me begging to be fed. i am too annoyed to notice the sad, lonely, heartbroken look in their eyes. i don’t want to notice it because i don’t want to feel that stomach churning guilt that i do before i go to bed every night for completely replacing them. i don’t want to notice that they have sat quietly every day for months on end living for the slightest bit of eye contact or a tender pat from me. i don’t want to notice that although they must be experiencing a jealously i can’t imagine they are so much more amazing than humans because rather than react aggressively towards the babies and i, they sleep outside their nursery door and they wag their tails with excitement every time i come home.
our great dane, who my husband was terrified would accidentally hurt the boys because of his size and rambunctious nature, has been the most gentle and cautious of all. he barks in the faces of anyone visiting the babies warning them they better be good to his puppies.
one of our goldens did bite jett a few weeks ago while he was petting her. i’m very surprised i didn’t kill her and even more surprised she still lives with us. she since has not been allowed near the babies, but seems to be trying to make up for her behavior by coming to get me every time she hears them crying.
i don’t want to notice all of this but i do. instead of the guilt making me more compassionate, however, it makes me furious.
“CANT YOU SEE I AM OFF DUTY RIGHT NOW?! PISS OFF!!”
it angers me that they need to be fed and fed NOW! angers me they need to be exercised. angers me they need to be let outside. angers me they need to be loved. angers me they NEED!
i have realized my limitations and i am not proud of them. i am at my maximum capacity to be needed. an ounce more and i become resentful. it used to feel so good to be needed. but that was many moons ago when i had holidays and vacation time off.
the all consuming love i feel for my children and the responsibility i have to make sure all of their needs are met is to say the least, overwhelming. is it that not only can nothing else compare to the love i feel for them but is nothing else as deserving of it either?
in my defense 5 children require a tremendous amount of love. especially when one is a teenager since it takes less effort to love a serial killer than it does one of those. anything else needing food and love from me right now, be it dogs or husband, are unfortunately subject to my wrath and left to starve.
maybe finding a better home is the right thing to do…… for my husband.
i’d never get rid of my dogs!
leaf of absence
the only thing more draining than living with five kids is that three of them play sports.
every other hour there is a soccer practice or a lacrosse game or a tournament for months on end. now look, i love my skids and am very proud of their talents and accomplishments. I really, truly want to support and encourage them in all they do. INside.
hockey? wrestling? skeeball? i’m your girl. i’ll be in the front row with pompoms, but a soccer field in the middle of a florida afternoon? kill me.
soon after having the twins i began to realize they were a built-in excuse to stay in air conditioning. i couldn’t go to most of their athletic events anymore and no one could get mad at me. they were my get- out- of- jail- free card.
each sunny afternoon i would have to say, “Oh no, boys are down for their nap, I can’t go” frown.
“Crap, boys can’t be around large groups of kids till they’re vaccinated” sad face.
“Babies can’t wear sunscreen until they’re six months old. It’s too dangerous for them to be in the sun” tear.
now that they are eight months old the entire family’s pretty much caught on to me and i’m out of excuses. so there i drove sunday afternoon, babies in tow, to my stepson’s lacrosse game somewhere between purgatory and hell.
it was 846,000 degrees that afternoon. if you flapped your arms quickly enough to air out your armpits you might possibly have felt some hint of a breeze.
i layered the babies in sunscreen before leaving the house and continued to add a layer every 20-30 minutes while outside (yes, i’m one of THOSE moms). i brought our dome-shaped tent with us where they played, laughed, and pulled at each others bonnet-like hats i insisted they wear.
after the fourth or fifth time of knocking the tent over with their super human baby strength, i got tired of fixing it and took them out of the tent. i passed one off to daddy who was very engrossed in the game and i kept the other. my husband immediately put his on the grass in front of him which worried me . what no-nos would he find on the ground to put in his mouth?
i kept reminding my husband to make sure he was watching what baby Jett was doing while i was busy entertaining Colt (yes I’m aware of the irony of having kids with football teams for names).
“All okay on your end honey?”
“Yup” he said without ever removing his eyes from the game.
“You’re sure he’s not putting anything in his mouth?”
“He’s good.” (barely a glance down at the baby) “SCORE!!! YEEEEEES!!!”
as soon as the cheering parents quieted down i heard it. Jett gagged, then coughed, and a mother seated on the other side of my husband looked at me and yelled:
“You’re baby! He’s coughing up leaves!”
she might as well have said he was sitting on a land mine. my sweaty crotch leapt off the lawn chair, plopped Colt in the tent, and ran to
beat my husband in the face with a hammer my son. it took me about a moment and a half to get to Jett and in that moment i visualized every unimaginable horror from having his stomach pumped to his funeral. (i call terrifying thoughts such as these ‘mama traumas’ and they pop into my head multiple times a day ever since i had the boys. i’ve tried everything short of a lobotomy to stop them and i’m pretty sure the condition is incurable).
when i reached Jett he had pulled a tiny brown drool covered leaf from his mouth and was clenching it in his fist, smiling up at me with pride. i searched his mouth. clear. searched around him, no leaves. had he swallowed some? or could it be that the woman’s panic and baby’s gag had been from this one tiny leaf? if he had swallowed any he certainly didn’t seem to mind. and for the record, my babies gag on EVERYTHING. even when there’s nothing in their mouth. they just gag.
even though Jett was as fine as could be and the mother seemingly overreacted, i still went looking for a hammer. not only could our child be at risk for……for…….some sort of toxic leaf syndrome, but more importantly, my husband made me look like a BAD MOTHER in front of another mother! are there greater grounds for divorce?
that woman whom i will likely never see again is walking around the planet considering me someone who neglects her baby and lets him choke on things.
and why is it that mothers blame the mothers? why not blame the fathers whose fault it usually is?
she was sitting right next to him. she MUST have known he was the one in charge of Jett. she had to have heard me continuously caution him to pay attention and still she yelled, accusingly, at ME.
unless……….mayyyybe she yelled to me because she saw his dad was too involved in the game and knew she’d have as good of luck as i did getting his attention?
maybe she wasn’t passing blame or judgement but only looking out for our baby? perhaps she understood my frustration because her husband can’t parent and watch sports at the same time either?
i realized i was the one accusing, blaming, and judging me for being a bad mother because i felt like one. no matter who i put in charge of my babies they will always be my responsibility. i will always ultimately blame myself for every leaf they eat no matter who feeds it to them.
and who am i kidding? other mothers probably will too.
hmmmm…. i wonder if the threat of dangerous leaves at the field will excuse a few of my absences in the future?