Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Ways College Prepares You for Parenthood

Remember what life was like in college? I know, lack of sleep has me barely able to remember what I did yesterday but college I can remember.  Ah the care free days of partying with friends, going to class and the biggest stress being where we were going on Thursday night.  Lately I’ve been having a lot of memories of what those days were like and it’s actually funny how having kids can be so similar to those college days. I know what you’re thinking: How on earth can college be similar to raising kids? Well I will tell you: Here are the top 5 reasons having kids is exactly like being in college.

1.     College:  The all-nighter. That’s right you pulled one or 85. You blew off studying all month and then in one night you had to soak in six months of information for your exam the next day. The result:  You were in fact up all night.  You have no one to blame but yourself and beer.  You are not learning a whole semester in one night. You’re screwed!

Parenting: The all-nighter. That’s right you pulled one...times infinity. You had to do it.  No one gave you a choice. Your baby/kids won’t sleep. He or she is teething, having separation anxiety, sick, bad dreams, looking for a binky, wants a unicorn, needs a snack, needs a drink,  wants to read 865 bed time stories, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, they miss you, they heard a something that sounds like a baby deer looking for its mom. You have no one to blame. You’re screwed!

2.     College: The sloppy roommate. Everyone had one. The roommate who couldn’t pick up after themselves. The bathroom was a mess, their room was a mess, the dishes never got done, and if their friends came over you knew the house was going to be completely trashed.

Parenting:  The sloppy roommate.  We all have them. Kids are slobs. They don’t pick up after themselves. They manage to get toothpaste on the walls, the floor, the ceiling and the dog! The dishes are broken and when their friends come over the house looks like a Toys R’ Us gone wild! 

3.     College: The Drunk Idiot.  We all remember the guy or girl who just didn’t know when to say when. The night we had to make sure they got home okay and it never happened without an argument. They would argue they weren’t drunk and they wanted just ONE MORE! They were full of bad decisions that you felt responsible for. No you are not going home with that guy, trust me you do not want to eat a sandwich or anything else from that place next to the bar, yes you are talking too loud, and yup I’m pretty sure you did in fact pee your pants.

Parenting: The Toddler A.K.A The Drunk Idiot. A toddler never knows when to say when. Their whole lives revolve around too much juice followed by too much fun. There is ALWAYS an argument when it comes to sitting in a chair, getting in a car, or acting normal in public. They are always asking for ONE MORE SNACK or ONE MORE CUP OF JUICE and no matter how many times you say no they don’t want to hear it. They puke on themselves more times than you care to have to deal with and they definitely pee their pants on the regular. If it weren’t for college this stage of parenting might in fact do you in.


4.     College: The irrational/paranoid friend. Everyone was out to get them. They were the person who showed up to every party or event ready to start a fight. The smallest of things sent them off and there was no getting them back at that point. After an argument with them you would feel completely drained for days.

Parenting: The irrational/paranoid child.  Life isn’t fair. Everyone is out to get them. You are the worst parents on the planet for using the two letter word NO. How dare you say NO! No? Who says NO? After a child/toddler tantrum I feel completely drained for days…okay maybe weeks!

5.     College: The roommate who refuses to allow anyone to hook up EVER. They are somehow always home, or early to bed, or in the middle of watching a movie, are suddenly having 12 of their closest friends over at 1am or worst case scenario are crying in the corner over their latest breakup.

Parenting: Children refuse to sleep in order to prevent you from making any other children.  They are in fact always home, late to bed, early to rise, wake up in the middle of the night, and will cry in the corner on cue.

All joking aside in the end I loved college. It was a short amount of time that I thought would last forever. I spent it with amazing people and  I accomplished more than I realized I could. I don't doubt that parenthood isn't pretty much the same.  


Monday, February 24, 2014

Repeat After Me, DO NOT Repeat What Mommy Says

Today Alyson of The Shitastrophy joins us for Motherhood Monday with a post about getting caught with her tail between her legs and wishing she had bit her tongue...well at least in front of her son anyway. We've all done it, said something about someone in front of our kids that we shouldn't have. We don't all get caught but let Alyson's story be a lesson to you before it's too late. I have a special love for Alyson, not just because she says it like it is (which I love) and is always hilarious when she does (which I also love) but because she is originally from NJ and because we share a like for a certain four letter word. So let's lighten things up today and have a laugh. Learn about her here and you will love her as much as I do.

Originally from NJ, Alyson now lives in the Midwest but has kept her sarcastic cynical Jersey attitude. She has to make a conscious effort to not curse in most conversations. She is the mother of two kids that provide constant fodder for her blog, The Shitastrophy. Her husband lives in fear that every thing he does or says will be highlighted in her next post, Face Book update, or Tweet. Alyson loves her two huge Bernese Mountain Dogs, even if they do eat their weight in food each month. You can follow Alyson on her blog The Shitastrophy, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google + 

I have had (see how that was past tense, you’ll know why in a second) a habit of saying things when my kids were around that in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have. I was not aware that they were actually listening or I would have not said anything in the first place. I am sure everyone has had this, at least I hope so. One day though I realized my kids do listen, and that they will repeat what I say.

Last year my oldest was in second grade and just turned 8. This kid never listens to me. To get his attention I have to actually scream his last name at him! I blame this on the fact that his class had 4 Jacob’s. I went to school with 6 Allison’s, Alison’s, Alyson’s so I know how this can be. Whenever I want him to do something, or have a conversation with him, I have to practically hit the floor right in front of him to get eye contact. What this kid lacks in attention though he has double the dose in memory. For those that know me, he clearly does not get this from me. Just when I thought he never listens I learn that he actually does listen, just not when I want him to.

His school had a pickup procedure that entailed parking your car and walking up to a general area to collect your child. It was a gorgeous September day and I was running a little late for pickup. Thank God because that meant only a few people would hear my horrible parenting move. I pulled into the lot like I was right out of NASCAR, got out of the car and ran up to get my two chitlins. Jacob was standing on the top of the church staircase talking to a little boy from his class. I was not a super fan of this child’s parents and apparently I had said something about my lack of love for the mother within earshot of Jake. Not good.

Soon as I walked up to get Jake the other boy said to me, “Why did you call my mom crazy?”

Uhhhhhh What? My mind went blank. Fuck.

“Oh honey, I didn’t call your mom crazy.” I totally called his mom crazy. I grabbed Jake’s arm and told him we needed to get his sister and leave.

Jacob looked at me and said, “No Mom you did call his mom Crazy, remember?”
“No honey, you must have misunderstood me. I would never do that.” Uh, yea I totally did that. How the hell was I gonna get out of this?

I was giving Jacob the stink eye but he was not even aware of it, typical. I looked at the little boy standing on the stairs and he was genuinely upset, who wouldn’t be? I called his mom a name that I shouldn’t have. I never thought that this little guy would have heard my unflattering comments about his mom. When you are in 2nd grade you still like your mom. Hell some people even still like their mom in adulthood.
Jacob further helped dig the hole I was halfway in when he continued demanding that I did in fact say that.

“Yes, Mom you did call his mom Crazy. Remember we were in the car and you were on the phone with so and so. You said his mom is CRAZY.”

I looked at the little boy and thought, it’s official I am an asshole. I explained to the little boy that I would not have said that because that would have been wrong and mean. I am totally going to hell for lying to this kid, while I am on the church steps nonetheless! I couldn’t cop to it. How do you shatter a 8 year old’s opinion of his mother. Cause seriously that chick is totally crazy.

I got Jacob by the elbow and literally pulled him away from the scene of the crime. All the while he was demanding, loudly for anyone within a 15 foot radius, that I did in fact call her crazy. Thanks buddy.

I then turned into my mother when the phrase I hated hearing as a child came out of my mouth to my son, “Jacob what happens in our home stay’s in our home.”
Oh my God! I not only lied on church property, hurt an 8 year old’s feelings, but I just became my mother all in a matter of minutes. WTF just happened?


Sunday, February 23, 2014


It was four years ago this month that our lives changed forever. It was four years ago that I heard the words open heart surgery in a way that I knew was going to forever change my world.  You are here. You are loved. We have two beautiful boys and there isn't a day that goes by that I am not beyond thankful for all of it. You are strong. We are stronger. We are blessed. We are loved. We are here. We are here...each and every day we are here.



They grow.

The next day.

The day after.

They change.




We change.

They grow.

They are.

We love.

They love.

We look for the fast forward...

And then we desperately search for the rewind .

We yawn.

We laugh.

We cry.

We hope.

We pray.

We kiss.

We hug.

We feed.

We play.

We love.

Over and over...

Again and again...

We love.

They are our children.
Together we are a family.


Time and time again…there is love.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Cried At My Son's Teacher Conference

Today Amy Bozza of My Real Life joins us for Motherhood Monday with a post about trying to find the attention balance when you have more than one child.

Amy Bozza, author of the blog, My Real Life, lives in NJ with her husband and four children. Amy is a middle school administrator, writer,  blogger, and piano teacher who has been published as a contributor in the best-selling book I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can find Amy on Facebook at My Real Life or at her blogs at My Real Life and Bozza Writes.

I Cried At My Son's Teacher Conference

Teacher conferences for Baby and Monkey in the Middle were last week.
I went in pretty confident that I knew what the teachers were going to say.
Both boys are smart, do well, need to slow down, pay more attention to detail and write neater.
Monkey in the Middle (3rd grade) is all about structure and the rules, has a lot of friends and seems happy.
Baby Monkey (1st grade) doesn’t talk much, but enjoys his friends and seems happy.
I was dead on with both conferences.
However, at Baby’s conference, I was thrown a bit of a curve.
Nothing terrible.  Nothing of extreme concern.
His teacher mentioned that they have a chart on the board where kids move their name magnets to show who is buying lunch and who brought their own lunch.
When the kids come in, in the morning, the first thing they do is move their magnet to the appropriate lunch space.
Apparently, if Baby Monkey doesn’t get there first, he rearranges the magnets so that his can be on top.
When they read books on the carpet, he makes sure he weasels his way in between everyone so that he can be front and center.
She said, “He never does anything wrong or breaks the rules, but you can tell that it is very, very important to Baby to be first.”
And, while it is age appropriate (what first grader doesn’t want to be first) the fact that he is rearranging magnets to be first and weaseling in-between people got me thinking.
He’s such a laid-back kid.
And he’s kind of had to be.
He has an older brother who has anxiety and requires a lot of our time and attention.
He has a younger brother who is a toddler and requires a lot of our time and attention.
He often gets his needs attended to second.
Or third.
Or fourth.
And he never complains.
It’s outside of his control, and so he goes with the flow and lets it go.
But, at school, by moving those magnets or smushing in-between his friends on the carpet, he can control being first, and so he does.
And as I thought about it on the way home, I started to cry.
This kid is such a good boy, and yes, there are great lessons to be learned in having to wait your turn and be patient and realize that you aren’t the center of the universe, but every now and then, we all deserve to be the center of the universe, and I want to be sure that he knows that he IS the center of our universe.
He’s not alone in the center of our universe, but he is there, and I don’t ever want him to feel like he’s hovering on the outskirts and we’ll get to him when we’re done with everyone else.
So, I gotta do better with my Baby Monkey.