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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.


I always knew I’d have children.  That was just something in the cards for me.  I never thought I’d have 3… but that’s for another blog.  I remember being a teenager and talking with a friend about where we saw ourselves at 35… I said, point-blank, married with kids.  And she said she was never having kids because she’d never be able to be “the mother she wanted to be”.   At the time I thought her words were so bizarre, so strange.  How could she know the future?  You are the person who decides how you will act, what moral compass you will follow.  You dictate your future.  At 15 I was really into that whole dogma.

Now, looking back on that conversation, I’m shocked at the words of wisdom provided to me by a person who was so young.  She was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY right on.  I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mom, although I do have my moments of total insanity.  But I’m not “that mom”.  That imaginary figment could never fly around here.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will always be able talk to me, about anything, and I won’t judge them.

Mother I Am…

They talk to me, about anything, and I judge the ever-loving shit outta them.  I judge them so hard I’m Judge Judy.  I don’t always hand down a sentence but believe me, I judge.  And they aren’t even teenagers yet. Oy.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My kids will always be able to pick the radio station in the car.

Mother I Am…

Fuck that.  After hearing Timber a million times I’m picking the radio station.  “When you have a car you can listen to what you want.”  {Did I just say that? My mother used to say that}

Mother I Thought I’d be…

I will actively play with my kids all the time.

Mother I am…

I can’t believe I even thought this was possible when I was younger.  Like, I actually resented my mother at times because I didn’t think she played with me enough.  And she played with me a lot!  Between the housework, the siblings, the drop-offs and the pick-ups, I’m lucky if I get to eat a meal sitting down.  Play with you?  Another game of Candy Land?  We’ve already played 5.  You must be joking.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will travel.  We will see the world together.

Mother I am…

Traveling costs money.  Traveling with small children is a mind numbing siege that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.  The last trip we took was a 2 hour car trip to a soccer tournament and I actually considered putting duct tape over the mouths of the older 2.  Travel?  I don’t fucking think so.

Mother I thought I’d be…

Each of my children will have their own personality, and I won’t let their behavior, good or bad, change how I feel about myself.

Mother I am…

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  When they accomplish something fantastic… I too, feel fantastic.  When they act like animals… I see that as a direct reflection of my parenting failures.  Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it right.   But it’s still how I feel.

No, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be.  Far from it.  I have cobwebs in my house, I’m not hip, I’m embarrassing, and I’m not always fair.  But I am here for them… 24/7, no matter what.

And I’m laughing.

And I’m trying.




The school year is almost over…. we can taste it.

It’s like the last mile of a marathon (not that I’ve ever run a marathon but I see the way those people look by the end). Crazy, wide-eyed, desperate. I really thought we were finished with the difficult parts of this school year. We could just cruise through that last mile and let the adrenaline be our guide.

I was so very wrong.

Come to find out, this isn’t a marathon… I would welcome the old-fashioned, user-friendly, 26.2 miles with open arms right now. A course mapped out for me by someone else? Bring it. Tunes and friends and a cheering crowd? Can I get an AMEN?? A marathon would be my homeboy. But alas, this is no marathon.

No, I just discovered this is a Tough Mudder race… and we still have to go through the electrocution cables.

My 9-year-old son brought home ONE LAST project. The mountain I see laid out before me is large, it’s daunting, I’m exhausted, he’s exhausted… but if we can just climb this last peak, just push a little bit more… there, oh yes, there, is glorious summer awaiting us. No homework, no projects, no mundane bullshit.

We can go back to basics.

But first we have to actually do this freaking thing.

So, I guess Boy Wonder had the assignment to write a paper on an explorer. That part, is already done, as he’s been working on it at school. Good job buddy, ’cause if you brought home an assignment for a whole paper too, Mommy might have had a moment similar to The Shining… “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, would have been an understatement.

Ferdinand Magellan is our man. With the written part already complete, now we are left to do the bullshit busy work of creating our own Magellan. What the teacher sent home is pretty much a Flat Stanley. Which would be fine if our Flat Stanley Magellan was about to travel the globe, or even be displayed, but this whole assignment is just ridiculous to me because school is over in 5 days. 5 FREAKING DAYS!!! Where will they display this? What is the purpose? If this had been me in the third grade I probably wouldn’t have even bothered. But it’s not. Boy Wonder wants to complete the task, and do it right.  But that won’t stop me from designing the projects I think we should submit.

Here’s what we are working with… yeah, I know. I think this teacher is just about as over this school year as we are.

{I don’t blame you girl… I feel you}

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But how about Flat Stanley Magellan as…

Sprockets? Sprockets might be a good one…

[When this is over I will totally do the Sprocket dance]


Or my girl RuPaul… “You Better Wurk!”

{Believe me Ru, this is work}


But this is how I really feel…

{So much so, I. Just. Can’t.}


Alright, alright, my fun is over. Time to get down to business.


Oh Magellan… you are super creepy looking. And I still have to go to the craft store to buy material for you clothes??

I think we should just go with RuPaul and call it a day.