Category Archives: Mother’s Day

It’s Not You, It’s Me

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I’ve been thinking for days about what to write for Mother’s Day. This is a “mommy” blog after all. It’s just that my life is so crazy that I’ve put Mother’s Day on the back burner. There’s no time for it. Whaa?! I can’t believe I wrote that either, but it’s true. I’ve packed Mother’s Day up (like everything else in my house) to be celebrated some other time (date TBD).

This isn’t to say that Mike and the kids haven’t showered me with cards, pictures, gifts, and flowers. They totally have. That, and I had a lovely brunch with my mother- and sister-in-law where I ate the most delectable pesto-buttermilk dressing on top of a southwestern BBQ chicken salad. I do feel celebrated, appreciated, and loved (and full). It’s just that I’m distracted. I’m preoccupied. I’m busy.

It’s just…it’s not you, it’s me.

Last year on Mother’s Day, Mike flew to London, and it broke my heart. Today on Mother’s Day, we dropped Mike off at the airport for a flight to New York right after brunch. We went straight from Burt & Max’s in Delray Beach to the JetBlue Terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. My heart isn’t broken this time. It’s just tired.

Chaos has become our new normal. I don’t remember the last time I had nothing to do. I don’t remember the last time I felt present. I don’t remember the last time I stood still.

It sounds a lot like motherhood.

I’ve been packing up my house in a very serious way for about three weeks, and I’m not nearly done. In fact, there’s one closet in particular that I just can’t bring myself to clear out because it’s filled with very difficult “toss or keep” questions that make me want to fill a shopping cart at Anthropologie.com instead.

The closet aside, my house is as clean and clutter-free as it’s ever been. There’s a wall adjacent to my living room and across from my closet office that’s stacked with cardboard boxes five wide and five tall and growing bigger each day. Every room in the house has been staged just right…but not for us. Not anymore.

The word that best describes how I feel right now – how life feels right now – is temporary. Mike rarely unpacks his suitcase before he has to zip it up again, and I spend most of my days sealing our belongings in boxes to be opened again eventually (date TBD). I’m suspended between…everything.

I can’t help but daydream about the first night we fall asleep in our new house. I imagine this glorious deep breath I’ll take after the madness of the move is over and the strain of Mike’s endless trips eases up. I look forward to the sleepy laziness of the next morning when the boys climb in our bed too early with their morning eyes and hair. I look forward to lingering over a hot cup of coffee (or three) and having nothing particular that needs to be done immediately. I look forward to taking it all in, being present, and standing still.

It’s sounds a lot like Mother’s Day, and I can’t wait.

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Filed under Mother's Day, motherhood, moving

The Moments I Cherish The Most

momentscherishmost

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the moments I cherish the most on this wild ride. For me, it’s definitely the funny ones. It’s the unlikely and unexpected moments that make me pee a little bit in my pants from laughing so hard.

In case you haven’t noticed, motherhood is difficult. I mean, really difficult. There’s so much at stake, there’s never enough time, sleep, or patience, there’s always a mess to clean and a load of laundry to fold, and no one ever wants to eat what I cook. If I can’t shed a tear from a good old-fashioned gigglefest every now and again, then I’m doomed.

Motherhood is chock-full of big, great, breathtaking moments.

There are miraculous moments. Birth! Pink, crying babies wrapped in hospital blankets.

There are beautiful moments. Squishy thighs. Tiny fingers. I love yous.

There are fun moments. Puddle splashing. Tickle hands. The Tooth Fairy!

There are milestone moments. First smiles. First steps. First days of school.

There are proud moments. Soccer goals. Graduations. Thank yous.

There are sad moments. Goodbyes. Loss.

There are moments of disbelief. I’m pregnant! There are moments of fear. Getting lost. Getting sick.

There are moments of awe. Discovering shadows. Walking into Kindergarten alone.

There are moments of triumph. Riding a bike without training wheels.

There are moments of gratitude and guilt and joy and peace and regret and so on and so on. The sky’s the limit on this incredible journey, and they’re all astonishing. Every single one of them.

But the moments I truly savor – the ones that fill my tank and thrust me forward no matter how flipping exhausted or worried or scared I am – are the moments that make me laugh so much that my belly hurts. The moments that make me forget, even if for a few seconds, just how impossible this job is. The moments that make me think, If I weren’t laughing I’d be crying!   The moments that, even if they’re miserable when they happen, like a tantrum at 39,000 feet or a mural drawn with a Sharpie on the living room wall, eventually become the very best and most memorable ones. The moments that, in the deepest, most ridiculous trenches of parenting, make motherhood worth all the havoc and chaos that come with it.

Like when Dylan caught me putting a tampon in my back pocket. When he asked me what it was, I told him it was a cheese stick and he was okay with that. Or when our babysitter called us in a panic because he was chanting in his bed, “Can’t breathe, can’t breathe, walls closing in around me!” (He was quoting Alex from the first Madagascar movie.) Or when he told everyone he encountered, including the guy at the deli counter, “Mommy is at home taking yucky medicine that makes her poop.” (I was prepping for a colonoscopy.) Or when he cut his finger at camp, and at the emergency room he whispered in my ear, “I want to see dead people.” Or when the preschool called to inform me that he had streaked through his classroom. (That one took a little while to be funny.)

Like when Riley informed me that I would die when I turned 50. Or when he produced a puppet show that ended with an adorable monkey shooting three adorable little “fishies” in the head. (I should get that kid checked out!) Or when he pulled the emergency string in the bathroom at the hospital and a dozen doctors and nurses stormed in only to find him sitting on the toilet pooping and humming with his hand in the cookie jar on the string. Or when he demanded that I wrap him up in toilet paper, and when I said no he threatened to throw a pie at me. (Thank you Tom and Jerry.)

These are the kinds of moments I live for as a mother. The kind that force me to put aside my anxieties and frustrations.   The kind that compel me to be present.   The kind let me step outside of the grueling hamster wheel of life and have a magnificent and well-deserved laugh and, if I’m lucky, a snort from deep within my core.   The kind that reassure me that everything will be okay, because if I can laugh at and with my family and, more importantly, at myself, then most likely I will survive the long, winding, unpredictable, and funny ride of raising my two boys.

Happy Mother’s Day.

What moments do you cherish the most?

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Filed under Mother's Day, motherhood

Breaking The Cycle (Or Not)

What do I want to do for Mother’s Day?

Hmm.  Let me think.

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What the last lady said.  The one wearing the apron.

I feel this way a lot of the time.  In fact, it’s why I started writing this blog almost three years ago.  I had an overwhelming, chest-tightening feeling that my feet were cemented into my kitchen floor and the world was spinning around me at a nauseating speed while my adorable but nagging children pulled at my shirt (and I very much dislike when they pull at my shirt).

The stuck feeling is one of the more unfortunate, long-lasting side effects of being a Stay-at-Home Mama.  (Others include blurry vision, loss of sanity, a penchant for hiding in closets, and alcoholism.)  Symptoms are worse on weekends than on weekdays, especially on Sundays when laundry piles are high (how does that happen I’ve been doing laundry all week?), the refrigerator is empty (how does that happen when I’ve been grocery shopping all week?), and the stale parmesan cheese shreds and popcorn kernels imbedded in the couch cushions can no longer be ignored.

It should come as no surprise that on Mother’s Day (a Sunday), nothing pleases me more than having a few precious, un-rushed hours of kid-free, mess-free, shirt-pulling-free, and guilt-free (mostly) shopping.

Ahhh.

Last year on Mother’s Day, I bought these yellow beauts:

shoes

The year before that, I bought this pretty lady:

Happy Mother's Day!

I don’t remember the year before that, but my guess is that I squeezed the squishy thighs of my brood and then got out of Dodge.  See you later, chumps!  Shopaholic Mama is outa here!

I pretty much do what I want on Mother’s Day (for at least a few hours), which generally entails being alone with a credit card in a shoe department, which makes me a Grateful Mama that my kids, my husband, and my family are cool cats about the whole thing, which got me thinking…

When Father’s Day rolls around, I assume Mike wants to hang out with the boys.  In fact, I expect that he wants to spend time with them, which makes my fondness for running away on Mother’s Day feel a little bit kind of a lot selfish.

When Riley was born, Dylan had a hard time.  Actually, to say he had a hard time would be an enormous understatement.  Not only did he experience an extreme case of sibling rivalry, but he also had (not yet diagnosed) sensory processing disorder (SPD).  Knowing what I know now about SPD, I can’t imagine the chaos he experienced inside his body when our lives were turned upside down with a new baby.  In the midst of great joy, it was a difficult and sometimes miserable time.  For all of us.

At one point – okay, at several points – it seemed like all I said to Dylan was “no.”  No this.  No that.  No.  No.  No.  To break the cycle, a teacher suggested that I commit to spending one entire day without saying no.  For instance, if Dylan kicked me, instead of saying, “No, don’t kick Mommy,” I was supposed to say, “Wow, Dylan you’re really good at kicking.  How about we go outside and kick a soccer ball?”  Or, if Dylan shook the Pack n’ Play in which his infant brother slept, instead of saying, “Stop that!  You could hurt your brother!” I was supposed to say, “It sure looks like you want to shake something.  How about we make a band and you can shake the maracas?”

Oh, that was a harrowing time!  I bring it up because I’ve decided on this Mother’s Day, I’m going to break my cycle.  Instead of running away, I’m going to stay put and soak in – and try to appreciate – the chaos, popcorn kernels, shirt-pulling, laughter, tears, and amazing-ness of motherhood.

I, The Runaway Mama, hereby commit to spending the entirety of Mother’s Day with my family (gulp) instead of leaving them high and dry for a jaunt of shopaholic bliss.

At least that’s the plan.  It’s possible that, in the end, I’m going to hightail it to Bloomingdale’s despite my lofty promise here, but I assure you I’m going to make an effort.  That, and I plan to do some pre-Mother’s Day shopping tomorrow because my clever husband recently traded in some credit card reward points for some mouth-watering Bloomingdale’s gift cards.  For me!

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The way I see it, this is a win for Shopaholic Mamas everywhere. As it turns out, if you spend gobs of money, you’ll be rewarded with gift cards so you can do more shopping!  The cycle will never be broken!  [Insert evil laugh.]

Speaking of Bloomie’s, they recently mailed out a (very thick and juicy) “Mom Knows Best” catalog.

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Inside are oodles of gorgeous and summery clothing, jewelry, makeup, and fragrance suggestions alongside some priceless nuggets of “good advice” for moms.

Editor’s note:

Dear Bloomingdale’s,

Please don’t hate me for making fun of you.

 I’m just having some Runaway

Stay-at-Home Shopaholic Mama fun. 

See you soon. 

Sincerely,

The Runaway Mama

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Jewelry speaks louder than words.” – Bloomingdale’s

In my house, the Xbox speaks way louder than (my) words.

“Good things come in pairs.”

Indeed.  Pinkeye comes to mind.

“Invest in gold.”

My money’s in Lifeway Kefir.

“Things always look better in color.”

Except for crayon on the wall.

“When in doubt shine!”

My skin does have a bit of a sheen.  Did I shower today?  Yesterday?  The day before?  I can’t remember.

“You can’t go wrong with black and white.”

I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t worn anything white since 2006.

“Better to be an hour earlier than a minute late.”

I’m sorry, but once you become a mother, “an hour earlier” ceases to exist unless you’re referring to the ungodly time your children wake up in the morning. 

 “Time waits for no one.”

Especially in a public bathroom. 

“A great scent is the best accessory.”

All I ever smell is pee.  (#boys) 

 “A woman’s work is never done.”

I know this to be true if nothing else because of laundry.

“Elegance is a way of life.”

Whoever wrote this is not a parent.

“Seal everything with a kiss and a bow.”

This is excellent advice if you want to embarrass your six-year-old son at school.

 “Dress up, even when you’re not expecting anyone.”

Ha!

“Be bold, brilliant, and beautiful.”

Especially at the pediatrician’s office, PTO meetings, and teacher conferences.

“Look chic in your sleep.”

For whom?  The four-year-old who insists on sleeping in my bed?  I’ll pass.

 “Learn to multi-task.”

Duh. 

“Put your initials on everything.”

Especially if you ever want to see your preschooler’s backpack, lunch box, Sippy cup, jacket, and/or spare clothes again.

“Make all important decisions in the bath.”

Whose bath?  The last time I took a bath was when I had postpartum hemorrhoids.

“Never leave the house without lipstick.”

This might be true, but I’d be in deep shit if I didn’t also leave the house with enough food and water to survive at least 36 hours with my kids. 

“Use the good crystal every day.”

Can “good crystal” go in the dishwasher?

“You’re an angel and a devil.”

After coffee/before coffee. 

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

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Filed under Grateful Mama, Mother's Day, motherhood, sensory processing disorder, Shopaholic Mama, shopaholism, shopping