I made the insane 50 yard trek to the mailbox the other day and collected the shitstorm of mail that awaited for me. I. Hate. The. Mail. Everything I really need to know, I find out electronically nowadays. Kim K’s naked again… yup. Light bill is due… yup. Babies born, marriages started, marriages ended… I got you interweb. Thank you for being the most amazing form of paperless currency in my life. No mess, no stress. Yay me.

So, back to my shitton of mail: American Girl catalog… no girls here, Pottery Barn… you’re 10 years late on my income, Tax Collector???? What? I’m reading this shit. Oh, wow, it’s time to renew my registration… really? Wonder why? Then I looked at the date, and I realized that my birthday is less than 5 days away. What.The.Fuck?

My birthday? It feels like we just celebrated that? If memory serves we went to that yummy Japanese teppanyaki place. You know, the one where they cook in front of you on the table? And the kids were super adorable and well-behaved that night. The 3-year-old shared fried rice with me, he had just learned to use chopsticks too, pretty well I might add. The 9-year-old ate EVERYTHING on his plate, including scallops. And the baby? What did the baby do? Hmm, why can’t I remember? OMG, because I was still pregnant. The last time I celebrated my birthday I was STILL PREGNANT!

That’s how fast it all goes. Whoosh, a year! Over. Leaving me sitting here to scratch my head at the sheer speed of it all. Mind. Blown. I really have nothing against ageing or birthdays, as far as I’m concerned getting older is much better than the alternative… being dead. Yet, it’s so hard to believe that a year ago we weren’t yet a party of 5, because I feel like we’ve been our completed family forever, but the time bandit and that damn calendar has reminded my old brain that it’s wrong.

Sometimes, on a Sunday afternoon, when my kids are being utterly ridiculous with their, “I’m bored,” and their, “There is nothing TO DO!” bullshit, I think to myself, ” I didn’t sign on for this,” but I did. I really, truly did, I just hadn’t read the full job description when I accepted the position.

So this year, when I blow out my birthday candles I’m going to wish for the ability to breathe in the good things, the little things they do that make me proud and happy, joyous and in awe of their little souls, and the ability to cast away the annoying parts, the stupid behavior they pull when they are hungry or tired or just mad. Just maybe, maybe, if I can do those things I won’t be as surprised when the County tax collector reminds me of my birthday next year.

Most importantly I’m giving myself a fabulous gift this year. The gift of self forgiveness. I am my worst critic, and I really need to cut that shit out because it only distracts me from enjoying my life. No one gets all of this mom-shit right all of the time. That’s just a fact I have to keep reminding myself of.

Wonder where my birthday dinner will be this year?

I really don’t feel like cooking.


It happens every year.

As the calendar tumbles its way into November I start to have little, baby panic attacks with every mention of the yuletide season. That Hershey’s kiss commercial with the little kisses shaking like bells makes me shake. The sight of Salvation Army bell-ringers makes me think less of Phoebe Buffay (she once fought for the coveted bell-ringing corner) and more of every small detail hiding on my to-do list. The party invites, the meal planning, the gift giving, the teacher gifts, the tips, the details of my middle child’s birthday extravaganza, make me break into a cold fucking sweat.

This year is going to be different.

This year is going to be fun.

I am not going to buy into the holiday hysteria that corporate America is forcing down my double okay, fine, triple chin. I refuse to spend another holiday season like Clark Griswold.

I won’t do it.

Do you want to know why? Because every year, I stress and I cringe and I worry, and eventually, IT ALL GETS DONE ANYWAY! What’s the point of buying into the hysteria? My kids have never gone without, my family hasn’t ever missed out on the worthy and beautiful gift of hilarious memories and real love. They get it all! I get all of it done, and I won’t have their memories be of mommy, hair in curlers and a robe, running around like a lunatic because she doesn’t have red and green swirled taper candles. They get all the things and usually they still want more. That’s the megalomania that got us into this mess in the first place. “Whomever dies with the most toys wins,” and they play with it for 5 damn minutes and then they forget they even wanted it in the first place. If I get a hug or a thank you that’s an awesome bonus, and my kids aren’t even huge, ungrateful, assholes. I’ve definitely seen much worse, but they are. just. kids. This year I will keep my expectations of their happiness through material things very low.

We all have that Facebook friend who, right at this very minute, is bragging that she already has all of her holiday shopping done. I always laugh when I see these posts because not only does homegirl have to now come up with a place to hide her children’s goodies for the next 2 months, she also will find that 1 week before Christmas one of her kids will come to her with an updated Christmas list. Ruh Roh, news flash… you’re never “done” Christmas shopping. Not until December 26th anyway.

Corporate America will continue to play to our fears as long as we let them. Black Friday is the perfect example of our holiday hysteria realized. They play on your fear of missing out. The idea that people will leave their Thanksgiving tables, full of booze and triptafen, in order to get “deals” that don’t really exist is the biggest mind fuck in the universe, and this year will be no different. The day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be eating turkey and waffles in my pajamas while I watch normally sane individuals fight over ugly Christmas sweaters and gaming consoles on the news. Let’s not even think about he poor retail workers who have to leave their families to run a pretzel store in the mall so Aunt Edna can have more subsistence to knock-a-bitch-out who tries to take her marked down TiVo.

In the hoopla that is “the need to have all the things” we’ve lost the message of the holiday season, the real message. As someone who lives in a mixed faith household I often cringe when I hear people say that they refuse to answer holiday greetings that don’t mirror their own beliefs. The holiday season is just a time to magnify what we all should be preaching everyday, “Kindness to your fellow-man!” And if you aren’t someone who talks about that on the daily, then I’m pretty sure no material objects will ever really give you what you’re looking for. Every religion has this as their primary teaching, especially around the holidays, and if you think I’m going to snub my nose at someone because they greet me with “Happy Kwanza” as opposed to “Happy Hanukkah” or “Merry Christmas” you are sadly mistaken. I’ll just let my heart swell with the fact that someone thought to greet me in the first place, because we all need it. I most definitely need it because the majority of my day is spent talking to an individual who cannot yet talk back. We need to feel that connection that is the real meaning of the holidays, and I have to say, writing this down, throwing my middle finger up at all the material shit that everywhere I turn makes me feel like less of a mom, has been really cathartic.

I feel better already.

Bring on the holidays!


You again?

Back in High School, you never gave me the time of day,

That is fine, actually, better than okay,

I moved, and found myself very far away,

I barely remember you.

When I received your first friend request I was in a giving mood,

The sun shined on a dog’s ass that day, my kids ate all their food,

And the world was pretty good,


You entered into my circle, our in-common was the past,

But then I saw the drivel you post,

Wasting my time, wasting your time,

How long would this shit last?


Anger and violence, bitterness and revolt, was all your timeline showed,

Conspiracy theories, ridiculous videos, pictures of scantily clad hoes,

You were relentless and argumentative, condescending and strange,

So I hit the unfriend button and went on with my day.

Virtual freedom.

Hours passed, then days, then months, maybe a year.

Hadn’t even thought of you, your ranting and your fears.

Then today, the pop up came… “you have a new friend request,”

I looked up, and saw your name,

And laughed my fucking ass off as I hit decline.

Peace out.


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.