"Bitch, don't even think about it. I'm not worth the trouble."

“Bitch, don’t even think about it. I’m not worth the trouble.”

Last month, the family said goodbye to our beloved family pet, a 3-year-old Beta fish named Kelme. Kelme lived a shit-ton longer than any fish I’ve ever had, but yet, he too inevitably met the same fate as countless goldfish from the County Fair before him. As Kelme swam over the rainbow bridge to that great toilet in the sky, I promised the kiddos we could get another fish when we came home from vacation.

Unfortunately for me, the kids cashed in their fish chip today.

Look, I’m not a horrible mommy, I want my kids to have a pet. But I am completely allergic to anything with fur – besides my husband – and while a fish is the lowest possible maintenance for a pet alive, there still is some maintenance. Maintenance that gets added to my plate because I know my kids would completely fuck it up and I really don’t feel like throwing money down the toilet (pun intended) on buying a new fish every month because they can’t figure out how to correctly clean a bowl.

So off to the pet store we went. Once there, my older 2 kids couldn’t decide on a fish unanimously which was a pain in my ass not much of a surprise. As we needed a new bowl too – because I threw out all reminders of Kelme upon his death –  I realized that my best option would be to pacify everyone. 2 fish, for 2 brothers. Yay. Problem solved. Happiness ensued. The end.

Nope, not that easy.

After purchasing everything it would take to keep 2 overpriced fish alive for as long as possible, we settled into the car and started the trip home.

“So guys, what do you want to name your fishes?” I questioned. The 4-year-old spoke up first, “I’m calling mine Dog. Because I wish that’s what he was.” Touché, kid. “Dog… nice. Good name. How about Fido? That’s a dog’s name.” Then he rethought, “Actually, I think I’ll call him Sushi.”

Sushi? OMG, the laughter came from my gut in waves. “A fish called Sushi! That’s an awesome fish name. You are so funny, buddy!”

The 10-year-old was holding back his laughter as he said, “That’s a terrible name. It’s so offensive.” I laughed even harder at that. Something about offending a fish seemed a bit hysterical.

“It’s not offensive,” the 4-year-old balked. “I like sushi and I like my fish.”

“Dude. Sushi is fish. It’s made from raw fish.”

“Is that true, Mom?” I looked in the mirror to see wide 4-year-old’s eyes, filled with horror.

“Yeah, buddy, that is true. But that’s what makes the name super funny.”

Once again my 10-year-old’s voice of reason cut me off at the pass, “That’s like getting a pet pig and naming it Bacon, or a cow named Cheeseburger. OFFENSIVE!”

At this point, I didn’t even want to look at my preschooler’s face. I could just picture our next family meal. He’s not currently a good eater and now that he’s been introduced to The History of the Origin of Meat, Part II, I couldn’t see that stage coming to an end in anytime soon.

I shouldn’t have been worried.

“Wow, Mom! So we can get a pig?”

Oy Vey.

PS. The fishes are very happy in their new home and have been nameless for 12 hours. I’m really pushing for Bacon and Cheeseburger.

"Bitch, don't even think about it. I'm not worth the trouble."



When you become a doctor you take the Hippocratic Oath. When becoming an American citizen you take the Naturalization Oath. Babies have their own Oath. If they could speak, I’m sure this is what they’d say:

I hereby declare, I will be equal parts completely adorable and utterly disgusting.

I will respect nothing; All your worldly processions are fair game.

I will always have a full diaper when you are walking out the door; If I  am dressed for a special occasion there is sure to be an explosive surprise.

I will spit up on you while you are swathed in your only clean shirt.

I will refuse all nutrients you present to me, while I attempt to digest everything else which may cause me great bodily harm.

I will not be ashamed to cry: in public, without warning, and for no apparent reason.

I will never be tired when it’s naptime, but I will be completely exhausted when you have something to do.

There will be moments of snuggling bliss, followed by flailing and headbutts without warning.

I will sense your complete exhaustion like sonar and insist on those times to be held, rocked, and sung to.

I will defy all the laws of physics and baby proofing, rendering your mortal chains worthless.

I will remember my favorite tune, book, or show and insist on your repetition of these things until you crack.

I will prevent sleep, showers and meals. I will start this trend the minute you take me home from the hospital.

I will crawl before you want me to, I will walk before you’re ready, I will run, fast and far.

I promise to grow up in the blink of an eye, turning a year old before you can say, “When did you get so big?”

I will be worth it, at least until I am a toddler.



I woke up feeling really good today. Like, unreasonably good for December 22nd. The shopping is done, my work as “class mom” for preschool is over until the New Year, the kids have just started their holiday break… THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER! We have the most valuable commodity to me right now, time! We are so busy in our normal day-to-day we never have any time to do anything that isn’t scheduled. And now we have no schedule for 19 days?! Bring on the fun. Bring on the lunacy. Bring on the crazy festivities.

“Let’s go have our picture taken with Santa!”

Is wasn’t until I had all three of my children, dressed in red polo shirts and khakis (holy shit, they look like Jake from State Farm), in the car before I thought, “Shit, this might be a very stupid idea.” Hindsight people, hindsight.

It was a very stupid idea.

We ventured off to the Bass Pro Shops who advertise a “Santa’s Wonderland”. The hubby and I took the kids to this last year. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my youngest son, and we had a really nice time. There was barely anyone there. We walked right up to Jolly Old Saint Nick and got a picture (for free). The kids played with the carnival-like set up that had a “Paul Bunyan” theme. We aren’t really the outdoorsy-types (read: we don’t like to kill our own food) so most of those things were lost on the children. But it was effortless last year. So I ventured the trek to Bass, 30 minutes away from home.

As we parked the car I discovered things were very different this year. The place was PACKED. We approached Santa’s Wonderland with more fear than wonder and ventured to the line to meet Mr. Kringle. This is Heavy B’s first Christmas… we needed to get this picture. That is when a store employee handed me a card that said, “Come back at 12:30”. It was only 10 a.m. Apparently, the rest of Florida had caught wind of free Santa pictures and he was in high demand. WTF are we going to do for 2 1/2 hours at the Bass Pro Shops? We attempted to go play some of their “holiday wilderness games” but my kids, apparently, aren’t the biggest assholes running around town. Watching my 4-year-old patiently wait on a line for 20 minutes just to have his turn absconded from him by a 40-year-old with a neck tattoo is not my idea of festive family fun.

Sidenote: I have NO PROBLEM with anyone with tattoos. This bitch just happened to be an asshole, and have one, on her neck. Glad we cleared that up.

So, in the spirit of the holidays and the fact that I thought it might be a mistake to go Red Ross on some chick in front of all 3 of my kids, my practicality kicked in, “Well, I guess the Santa picture just isn’t meant to be. Let’s go home.” Unfortunately, I had already placed the thought in their little kid heads and the 4-year-old looked at me with the big puppy-dog eyes, “Please Mommy, we have to see Santa. My brother needs his first Santa picture, and I want to smell him.”

He wanted to SMELL Santa?! How adorable… and disgusting. Fingers crossed he didn’t smell of beef and cheese.

“Okay! Santa it is. We’ll go to the closest mall.”

Just like that, I piled my children back into the family truckster and ventured to the local (but 40 minutes away from our town) mall.

While driving, the little voice in my head (the one I barely listen to anymore) said, “But you don’t go to the mall. And you’d never go to the mall 3 days before Christmas.” I should listen to that voice more often.

The mall was the exact scene you would except from a suburban mall 3 days before Christmas. It was a hot-fucking-mess. Crowded, everyone trying to go, go, go. A nightmare. My kids looked really small there, among all those strangers. The older boys held hands, navigating behind me while I pushed the stroller. We asked a mall employee where we could find the big man and navigated to his Christmas village. I think the 4-year-old started to run. He was very excited.

That’s when we saw the sign: Santa will return to the North Pole at 12:45.

Are you fucking kidding me? It was 11:30.

We discussed leaving. We discussed putting a flame-thrower to this awful plan and going home. We tried. We failed. No picture with Santa. That’s when the 9-year-old chimed in, “Well, now we just have to do it. We’ve gone too far to go back.” I knew exactly what he meant.

We went to the food court in the mall. The kids ate sandwiches from Subway while talking about Santa. The baby slept. We walked the long trek back to the North Pole and arrived just as it opened, 12:45, to find 25 families ahead of us.

The boys had more patience than Mommy. Of course, the baby’s diaper was about to burst so I changed him while on-line in his stroller. I’d rather the whole mall see my baby’s junk then have him piss all over a mall Santa.

It was finally our turn. Santa asked the boys if they were good and what they wanted for Christmas. Then he told them where to sit and made some cute jokes. I never really saw the monkey attempt to smell him, but he didn’t report any bad smells afterwards either, so that’s good. Right?

We left the house at 9:30 and arrived home at 3 p.m.

Next year, I’ll let my Mother-in-law take the kids to have their picture with Santa.

I need a drink.

P.S. The picture is fucking adorable.

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As a mom, I’m not one for empty threats. I’m not overly fond of threatening my kids at all, but in my world, when all else fails, threats work. After 4.8 billion times of making the same request to an audience that’s chosen to ignore you, eventually you’ll start chucking anything out there. “If you don’t pick up your toys I’ll throw them all away.” The problem with that threat is, it’s usually an empty one, which you realize when you’re astute and stubborn child says, “Fine, I was tired of these toys anyway.” That’s when it dawns on you how much time, energy and money it will cost to follow through on that threat and you change your tune. Now your spawn has you by the balls, and they know it. I learned this early on, when I only had one child. Now I only make threats I’m damn sure to follow through on.

At least I thought I did.

While getting ready for school this morning the 3-year-old was being his normal,willful, 3-year-old self.

“Okay, let’s get dressed,” I repeated once, then twice, then many, many more times, over and over again before he finally muttered, “I not listening to you.” That was plainly obvious. That’s when I whipped out the big guns. SANTA threats. “You know who really doesn’t like when little boys don’t listen?” I answered in a very serious tone… “Santa.” His name hung in air as I spoke it in a type of whisper, almost like Harry Potter speaking the name of Albus Dumbledore… with reverence. The monkey’s eyes grew very wide. That little shit was listening now. Gotcha. “Yeah, Santa is watching everything you do,” I continued, “and if you aren’t being good, and listening to Mommy and Daddy… {here it comes, the kicker} he’ll give you a lump of coal!” The 3-year-old looked relieved? {Really? What?} “Yeah, Cole doesn’t like to listen either.”

Oh shit.


“No, not Cole your friend, a lump of coal,” I tried to clarify, failing miserably. “What’s a lump of coal?” he said curiously.

And there you have it, the emptiest threat of all! A threat he doesn’t understand.

As I started to think about how to explain coal to a 3-year-old I found myself laughing. Sure, coal is mined and widely used here in the United States but we live in Florida. You don’t have coal miners here. Sure, we have charcoal, but that’s not coal. Have I ever even seen an actual lump of coal myself? I just accidentally broke the cardinal rule of dealing with a toddler, “It doesn’t exist if I can’t see it.” This is Mom 101 here and I’m failing like an out-of-state Freshman. I had to come up with something quick to cover my ass. Something he’d understand. Something that would make sense to him as the equivalent of coal, as the anti-gift from the jolly Saint Nick that would leave him spinning in place all day, thinking about how he needs to start listening so he doesn’t get screwed on Christmas morning. It had to be real. It had to be tangible, and it had to be something that wasn’t an empty threat.

“Coal is a brand new iPad without a charger, and no one else’s charger will work either.”

The monkey got really quiet.

“I’m gonna listen from now on, okay Mommy?”

Mission accomplished.

I’m sure this will come back and bite me in the ass when he eventually learns about fossil fuels.



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I’ve been stuck in a bit of a parenting rut.

Life as I’d known it had come to feel like the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle. Instead of lather, rinse, repeat, it was more of: get up, tend to the needs of 3 small dictators, repeat. I didn’t even know it was happening. Not really. I felt my patience thinning, I heard myself yelling a bit more, I tended to catch the majority of my exasperated sighs as they were leaving my lips, but I excused away all that behavior as just par for the course as a mother. Now I see it for what it really was… burnout. Everyone is always talking about mid-life crisis. This was mom-life crisis.

This past weekend was my 20th high school reunion and I had a laundry list of reasons I wasn’t going: cost, travel, the fact that I’m an insufferable control freak. I wasn’t going. Case closed. Then my husband caught wind of the event. “You’re going!” he said with conviction. “You need a break, we’ll be fine without you.”

There it was. My biggest fear hanging in the air like a garbage fire…

They’d be fine without me.

As I made all the preparations for my weekend out-of-town, I left my husband with all the tools for success. Of course I wanted my family unit to continue smooth sailing while I was away, I love these people. They are my everything, but what if they barely even noticed my absence. What if they didn’t miss me when I was gone or get excited upon my return? I wanted my husband to enjoy his time with our sons but I found myself hoping it wasn’t a total cake-walk. If he could tackle two days without me hiccup free, what would that say about my ability as a mother?

As a stay-at-home mom I’ve become accustomed to equating my self-worth with their happiness and well-being. My only joys coming from their successes my only sorrows being supplied by their failures. I felt insufferable guilt when I choose “me time” over “their time”. This is the kind of thinking that landed me in my mom-life crisis in the first place and if I let it continue I would find myself more resentful, more miserable, more insufferable to live with as time went on. I was too close to the problem to see that my mindset was the problem.

I embarked on my trip with a pang of guilt, a cocktail in hand and a feeling of loneliness. I tried to look on the bright side, since the birth of my youngest child, 8 months ago, I could count on one hand the amount of hours we’ve spent apart. The older two and their normal boy behavior had been driving me to the brink of sanity lately. They would all be fine, and maybe some time apart would be good for all of us. As I sat on an airplane, making the return trip to the place I’d called home for 18 years, I got a bit excited at the thought of seeing my best friend since childhood. Laughing big laughs and eating rich foods, drinking lots of booze and staying up later than my bedtime was guaranteed. I watched the beautiful horizon from my window seat and thought about how flying in a plane is so much like parenting. Sometimes it seems like the world is standing still, but time is in fact moving, and you are traveling at a faster pace than it seems. When I landed in the city I began to enjoy the busy around me that was none of my business, unlike home where all the busy was my only business.

As soon as my best buddy enveloped me in a hug I realized how much I’d needed this trip. Connecting with the people I knew when I was just becoming the woman I was destined to be, the mother I would eventually become, was both mind-blowing and cathartic. We ate too much, we drank too much, we laughed so much that my unused abdominal muscles began to feel again under the scar of three c-sections.

My reunion was surreal. The memories I had of these shadows from my background weren’t the same way I had been remembered. Their memories were better. They rewrote my teenage history for me in a way that made me like myself more, appreciating all the small things they’d taken away from our brief times together. It was surprisingly comfortable; for strangers that no longer have much in common, except for the past.

When I arrived back at home I was greeted by a cleaner than normal house, 3 little boys with open arms, big wet kisses and excitement in their voices. My husband was cooking something from a box (not my normal homemade fare) and as he flashed a boyish smile at me I returned the favor with a relaxed grin. “I’ve missed that smile,” he said as he hugged me. “Looks like you handled the weekend like a champ,” I said, fearful that maybe I just wasn’t as good at my job as I thought. Scared that maybe anyone can do it…

That’s when the boys chimed in…

“Mommy, we slept on the couch last night. Mommy, we woke up in our soccer clothes. Mommy, I had gum for the first time. Mommy, we had Ramen noodles for dinner. Mommy, I haven’t taken a bath since you left.”

My husband and I let out big, heavy laughs… “Like a champ? Not so much, but I handled it.”

Mommy’s home now, with recharged batteries.


In the guerrilla warfare that is parenting, sometimes we forget about stuff. Okay, lot’s of times I forget all the stuff, but considering the complete love I have for the written word, it’s really a damn shame that I can’t show my face in the public library. It’s not like they have my picture hanging up next to the check-out… Oh shit, maybe they do? Do they? This is the kind of thinking that has turned my away from borrowing books. That, and the fact that a private testing facility found saliva, sperm, DNA, and herpes on copies of 50 Shades of Grey in am Amsterdam public library… Actually, that fact is just more of a reason for me to stay away from the library… after the wanted poster.

When my oldest child was 2 I was a hot mess. I couldn’t handle any of the responsibility that came with being a stay-at-home mom. Cleaning? Nope. Cooking? Nope. Being a functioning member of society? Nope. I was able to sustain his needs for food, naps, clean diapers and love, while the rest? Well… all that shit went out the window. At the time, since he was my only child, we spent a great deal of time at the local public library. Because books and quiet and other kids with clueless moms.

This one day we borrowed a whole mess of books, Blue’s Clues, Bernstein Bears, Sesame Street, all the things that my little munchkin found amusing. I was just happy to have him occupied, especially by books. It wasn’t until 4 weeks later that I remembered about the books. I mean, I remembered that I had them, shit, he wanted to read them every night, I just forgot they didn’t belong to me. Come to find out, that people who actually remember to return library books, make a note on a calendar about the day they are due… these are basic life skills I didn’t have at the time. I’m getting there… slowly.

That next morning I collected all the books and sent them with the hubby to drop off at the library, because why do something yourself when you can just pass the buck to someone else? Hindsight people, hindsight.

It was 8 weeks later when I learned that was the wrong choice.

Not surprisingly, I feel the same way about mail that I do about library book due dates, I don’t pay attention to either of them, so when I finally opened the “bitter, yet surprisingly chipper” letter informing me of my massive library fines for OVERDUE BOOKS and a list of the replacement costs of said books, I panicked. When I called my husband to inquire about the whereabouts of the literature it seemed that in those 2 months they had been misplaced. Gone girl. They were nowhere to be found.

“What do I fucking do now?” was my sentiment over dinner.

Of course I did the most logical thing a mother could do over a mound of missing books, I wrote a check to pay for the replacements and cried. Because replacement books are freaking expensive from the library. Ridiculously expensive, and Blue and her clues drive me batshitcrazy.

It was a couple of months later when I discovered my driver’s license had been suspended BECAUSE I BOUNCED A CHECK TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. Mainly because I hate checking the mail and secondly because I hate keeping a check register. I’ve since gotten a bit better at these things but not much.

There is a great deal to be learned from the “Bad Check Writing Class”. On the one hand, your delinquent check amount is now doubled and oddly, they only accept cash. You have to learn (with a group of 50 or so strangers) how to write a check and how to keep a proper check register. You know, all the stuff everyone else already knows… and did I mention it takes 8 hours in a small room to learn that? Good, memorable times. On the other had, you are now entitled to spend 8 hours with the people Maury makes his money on, so… Yay for me!

It’s been 7 years and I’ve been afraid of the public library ever since. Even though I paid my debt (twice). So fearful, in fact, that my 9-year-old, book-loving son, doesn’t have a library card. I was pretty sure that if I took him to get one, they would want to see my driver’s license and the words PERSONA-NON-GRATA would flash on the librarian’s little screen, along with the most-wanted poster they all have memorized. Librarians are like the IRS of the printed word.

Today he came home with a form from school for his own library card…

“Mom, you just have to sign here.”