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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mommy tip #1- Don’t ever join a playgroup; they suck


I recently saw someone who looked familiar.

“I know you don’t I?” she said eyeing me carefully. When we made eye contact I knew that she had been in a playgroup with me.

“No, I don’t think so,” I said breaking into a cold sweat praying for the store clerk to hurry up with my purchase.

“Yes, you have 2 little boys…..” she trailed off.

Caught, I had to engage and pretend that I just remembered who she was. I escaped after some quick small talk. As I left the store, I reflected back on those early years when I was stuck home with my first baby, wandering the world aimlessly in search of any activity that would kill time. There was a community place we would go for two hours every Wednesday, where kids could play and moms sat on couches, glassy-eyed, chatting about potty-training, making homemade baby-food, nursing, and other riveting topics. One day a mom I had made small talk with in the past, approached me and said “I told my playgroup about you and they said I could invite you to join us!”.

She was so excited to tell me this great news, and I was so caught off guard, that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I would rather gouge out my eyeballs with sharp objects than join her playgroup.

“Um, ok….when is it?” I asked.

So of course I got sucked into this playgroup after being home for about a month with my one-year old. This was essentially my first taste of the world of stay-at-home “Mommy-hood”, and to say it was a shock is putting it mildly.
First off, there were 5 of us in the group, and I was the only one who had not emptied out my dining room and transformed it into a playroom.

“Oh, but where’s your table and chairs.” I asked staring at the heaps of toys, baby swings and train tables.

“Everything is in storage,” they would say with their soft robotic voices.
“Your china and silver?”
“We don’t need it anymore,” they would say smiling lovingly at their two-year olds.

WTF?

Was I the only one who someday dreamt of eating a meal with
another adult off of something other than a Wiggles paper plate while actually sitting down on a chair??? As I went from house to house and saw the same set-up I started to wonder if I was naive or maybe selfish.
It became increasingly more and more clear to me that I was not like these women. Myself and one of the other girls was pregnant and two others had just had their second. Being home with a one-year old all day was exhausting and extremely difficult while pregnant, and I seemed to be the only one to complain or be tired.  They all were always smiling and seemed to love very minute of being home with small children.

One time they were all talking about when the older kids turned 3 and went to preschool, how we would deal with the trauma of leaving them at school.

“Honestly, I’m going to drop him off, peel out of the parking lot and chain smoke cigarettes all the way home,” I joked.

Crickets chirped.

A tumbleweed rolled by.

4 Stepford wives stared at me in horror.

It got to the point where I dreaded going. I began to feel more and more guilt for not basking in the joy of motherhood and wondered every week if maybe i was just a miserable horrible person. My son didn’t really care about playing with any of the kids and I basically went to kill 2 hours, but hated every minute of it. I couldn’t just quit though. What would be my reason?
“You guys are all just a little too happy, and seem to love your children a little too much…..I quit.”
My plan was to claim I was too overwhelmed when I had my second
baby in the summer and quit the group. June couldn’t come fast
enough.

The “playgroup leader” came to visit when I had the baby. (I’m not making up that title in case you all are thinking that sounds a little crazy, this is what I was dealing with.)

“So, it’s really crazy having two babies 18 months apart, and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to playgroup anymore….You make it look so easy,” I said.
“Oh well, I’ve been taking drugs for postpartum for three years, so nothing upsets me,” she said with her smile that I could now see was a little dopey.
Nervously, I changed topics, ” Well, Lena makes it seem like a
breeze too with her two boys,” I said focusing on another playgroup member.
“She is heavily medicated,” she answered matter-of-factly.
“Okay…..what about Jill and Kelly?” I asked incredulously.
“I’m pretty sure they are still taking something to take the edge off too,” she said as though we were talking about eating m&m’s.
So here I was for 9 months feeling bad about myself and hating this playgroup and these bitches were in drug-induced fogs the whole
time!!!!
I could not believe it. I quit the playgroup and now whenever I see a mom that seems just a little too happy, I think to myself, it must be the Zoloft.

Safety First


Recently, my father had to bring my kids somewhere and I had to make arrangements to get him my extra car seat and booster seat.

“Well, I’ll just put Sam in the car seat and put a seat belt on Michael.” my Dad said.

“No Dad you can’t do that! I think you will like get arrested or something!”

” Uh, he’s as tall as me, it’s fine,” he responded, annoyed with my overly-safe child-rearing. This is a common theme of conversations between my parents and I. I heed advice from various authorities such as my pediatrician, the DMV and the Surgeon General, and my parents basically tell me I’m a loser. This began pretty much as my first one was born and the Dr. told me not to bathe him until his umbilical cord fell off.

“Well, this baby is filthy,” my Mother would say with disgust.

Her best friend also put in her two cents, “Oh yeah, we would bring our babies home from the hospital and put them right in the kitchen sink….And we didn’t use organic baby wash either, we used whatever was by the sink, even if it was Cascade.”

“And I think you and your brother turned out ok,” my Mother would close all of these types of conversations with this.

And we are fine to a certain extent, but thinking back to our days of rolling around in the backseat minus even a seatbelt, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, it does seem a bit unsafe. That being said, we definitely have made some much-needed safety improvements, but a little throwing caution to the wind would probably help our
anxiety levels a bit too.

I called a neighbor that has a son in 3rd grade to confirm that I was right about the booster seat law.

“Oh yeah, we just took him out of the booster last month, I think the guideline is 70 lbs. And 4’9.”

Ok if this is true, basically what that means is that my college roommate, my great grandmother and Kelly Ripa should all be buckled into booster seats when in a moving vehicle.

Really?

Melted snow=Easy access


So the downside to the melted snow is that my neighbors will be outside with easy access to me and my kids. This is not good. Last summer, I got a phone call from a neighborhood mother who has a preschooler, like me. Our kids have played together minimally, mostly because A – I don’t really care for this woman and B – her kid is completely out to lunch. Also, as a side note, she recently moved here from New Jersey and essentially talks like Fran Drescher from ” The Nanny.”

“Hi, I just wanted to call and tell you we mailed out some invitations, Jacob wants to put on a show in the driveway and we invited some friends to watch it.” she says when I answer the phone.

“Ok..let me just check my schedule,” I cut the conversation short and told her I would call her back. Let me also mention that we avoid playdates with these people because the house is beyond filthy and the yard is filled with piles of dog shit at all times. The invitation for ” Jacob’s Show” comes the next day and is slated for a day I had planned to meet a friend at a park with our kids.

” So now I have to cut my day short and run back here!” I complained to my husband. ” Then don’t go,” he replied.
“Well nobody they invited is going to drive here for this! We are the
only ones in walking distance, and this poor kid is going to be like in the driveway with a top hat on, waiting for someone to show up!”

So of course the day comes and it’s a hot, gorgeous day at the park. Annoyed, I rush home to make it for the 3:00 showtime. I peer through the blinds and see no sign of life; no chairs in the driveway, no props, no stage. I don’t think this kid is winning any awards for set production anytime soon. At 3:35 we head over. We stand at the foot of the driveway, staring at the house waiting for them to come out.

“If they don’t come out soon, we are leaving. I’m not standing here all day,” I said to my 3 and 4 year old.

“No! Let’s knock on the door! We want to see the show!” they shouted and started to run on the grass towards the door.

“Get over here,” I said between gritted teeth, ” Don’t go on the
grass or near the house.” Just then they come out with another little boy from preschool, and Jacob’s little brother and the mother. All the kids immediately start running around the yard.

“Is anyone else coming?” I ask, carefully navigating the yard in order to avoid dog poop. “Oh no, Andrew’s mom just dropped him off and nobody else could come.”

Of course.

After about ten minutes of idle chit-chat I ask, ” So, when does the show start?”

The mom laughs like “the nanny” and calls out to her son, ” Jake, Michael’s mommy wants to know when the show is starting!”

He stops playing and we are all staring at him. “Oh well, there’s no show……it’s really just a play-date.”

I thought my head would explode. This brat tricked us into coming over for a play-date?”. Arms crossed I walk over to him and say in my fake “nice mommy” voice, ” Mikey and Sammy were excited for a show, so you are going to have to go ahead and put on a show.” He just stared at me and ran away.

So now I’m stuck in this poop-infested yard with Fran Drescher. Great. I look over and notice that the kids are now playing in a sandbox that has no sand, just filthy water in it.

“Get away from there!” I scream like a maniac.

“Whaaaatt? That’s just our pool….” Fran Drescher says with her thick accent.

My fake mommy voice is long gone.

“No….it’s not a pool….it’s a sandbox filled with still water and Legionnaire’s disease.” I said with disgust. “Ok, you guys, let’s get going.”

” Oh no, you can’t leave before the cake! Jacob and I watch the “Cake Boss” and he wanted to design a cake all by himself, wait till you see it!”

OMG.

It’s not enough that my kids now have West Nile Virus from the “pool” and all of our shoes are filled with dog shit, now we have to eat filthy baked goods?

Out she comes with this lumpy cake that has been squirted with basically an entire can of Redi-whip and jabbed with 25 twix cookie bars. The kids eat a a couple bites and we leave.

As soon as we get home I soak their entire bodies with hand sanitizer and I keep saying ” I cannot believe there was no show.” The kids agreed that it was totally unacceptable. I was so glad that my kids, even though they were 3 and 4, got the fact that these people were ridiculous.

The next day, I’m driving down the street and the mom flags down my car. I considered flooring it, but gave in and as I started to slow down, my 3 year old said, ‘What does this fucking guy want now?”

My sentiments exactly. We are working on the swearing, but I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I Heart Swearing


I recently have come to realize I might have to give up something that I have really been holding out on. 

“We have to talk about your cursing.”  My husband greeted me with this after he spent the day with the kids while I worked. 

This is a long-time battle that I will of course lose, and should if I am a good mother, but don’t want to.

I just feel that I have already sacrificed so much since I first became pregnant 6 years ago.  Like what you ask? Hmmm….let’s see.  Of course there’s the obvious; my sanity, my career, my home and any piece of furniture or decorative item inside of it.  Then there’s my figure, which was never modelesque, but at least I had a moderately flat stomach and breasts that didn’t shoot to the floor like a couple of tube socks with tennis balls in them.  The list goes on; smoking, drinking, an entire closet of designer shoes that will never fit again because my feet grew one full size between both pregnancies, my youth, my skin minus stretch marks and wrinkles, etc., etc.   If I want to say the occasional “motherfucker,” I think I’m entitled.

So apparently my older child was opening the car door and accidentally hit his 3 year old brother in the head with it.   The three year old balled up his fists ready to explode with anger and said “You fucking…..” stopped himself abruptly and jumped in the car.  Both kids were silent as the buckled into their seats. 

“Sam, what did you just say?” my husband asked calmly.

“Nothing.” he answered with tears welling up and a quiver in his voice.

“Not nothing, what did you say?”

“I called the car a “fucking.” He replied shakily.

My husband, trying not to laugh, explained that it’s not appropriate to call things or people “fuckings.”

But isn’t it???? Isn’t it sometimes so appropriate? Sigh.  Another sacrifice to add to the list.

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