Category Archives: shopaholism

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!

giftcards

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.

bloomiescatalog

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

Then and Now

Mike travels for work on occasion.  Sometimes he goes to New York and sometimes he goes to London.  When it’s New York, it’s usually a three or four day trip, but when it’s London, it’s usually a week.  A very long week.  This week, he’s in London.  He’s been gone since last Friday.  Sigh.

Editor’s note:  When I tell people that Mike is going to London, they almost always ask, “Are you going with him?”  Is this actually something parents with two small children, a dog, two fish and an algae eater do?   (Note to self: Feed fish.)  With a week’s notice?  Of course I want to go to London.  I also want to get in and out of Target without buying a “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” movie. 

When the boys were younger, Mike’s trips were a challenge difficult unbearable.  Once when he arrived home after a week away, I literally broke out into a fever after keeping my s–t together all week.  Then there was the week when “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” happened.  That was unfortunate.

Editor’s note: Single Mamas are rock stars. 

Now that the kids are older (and they’re out of diapers and they sleep past 5:00am), Mike’s trips are totally manageable.  Of course, now that I’ve said that, a piano will fall on my head.  All kidding aside, between school, activities, and homework, we have a predictable structure and a steady rhythm, and the week has gone by fairly quickly.  In addition, the house is a lot less messy and there are fewer pairs of socks scattered on the floor.

Editor’s note: I always thought the kids made motherhood so damn messy.  Apparently, the husbands are in on it, too.

Best of all?  Shopaholic binges while spouses are away are guilt-free because any Mama who singlehandedly puts two crazy monkeys to bed for seven nights in a row deserves a new pair of shoes.

Still, there’s a downside.  The weekends are lonely, my bed is almost always full of uninvited men, I have to take the trash out (oops, I forgot), and the boys miss their Daddy something awful.  For a long time, Mike could’ve been in Barcelona or the bathroom.    (Actually, there was a trip to Barcelona once.  And, no, I didn’t go with him.)  At such a young age, the boys did the “out of sight out mind” bit that babies and toddlers do so well.  Whoever provided food, milk, and a warm bath was all that mattered.  (Similarly, I did the “out of sight out of my mind” bit that Mamas do when they feed, rock, and change poopy diapers all through the night only to be woken up before dawn and forced to finger paint.)  If the boys acted out (and they did), they had no idea that it was because they missed Daddy.  They just sensed something was different.

Now, Dylan and Riley know exactly where Daddy is.  Literally!  Mike programmed his hotel into Google Earth, so the boys can explore the streets of London on the computer.  They also know precisely how long he’ll be gone…sort of.  Riley doesn’t quite grasp the concept of time yet (although I have to give the kid some credit for identifying George Washington on a one dollar bill this morning), but Dylan is all over the calendar.  All week he’s been saying, “After today, four more days,” then, “After today, three more days,” and so on.

Thankfully, after today, Mike will be on his way home at last.  (Grateful Mama!)  With all of the changes between then and now, though, one thing remains the same:  On Saturday morning, when Mike is jet lagged and the kids are whiny and they need to eat breakfast and get dressed and packed up for soccer, I’ll be on my way to a well-deserved pedi cure.

Do you or your spouse travel for work?  How do you and/or your kids handle it?   

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Filed under business travel, Grateful Mama, shopaholism, Single Mama