It’s true, I’m making an appearance on my own blog. What will she write about after being MIA so long, one would ask. There really aren’t enough words or time or ears with that much storage to spare. So let’s cover a little bit of my favorite things and call this a trifecta cameo!
If you’re a parent or a caregiver of any kind, you’ve probably been faced with some of your darkest days. You’ve looked deep into your minion’s eyes and tried to get to the belly of their inner beast, only to find your own. It’s not pretty. Everything you thought you knew about yourself, everything you thought you could take on and overcome like a flawless action figurine, gets pooped on before you even figure out how to say bilirubin. (Go ahead, look it up. I’ll wait.)
But I suppose some of the best teachers are the ones you think are A-holes at the time. Not that my children are ever A-holes. Except a few times I’ve thought maybe they’re practicing for it. Then I feel like an A-hole for thinking that about my own flesh and blood because the moment I’m thinking it is the moment they do something ridiculously adorable or sweet or genius or remarkable or appreciative. And I become the A-hole. I’ll do better tomorrow.
In the meantime, I thought I’d reflect on what my little teachers have taught me about myself so far. I’m only about four years into this parenting gig but I can tell you we parents learn a LOT in that first week. Such as how to refrain from asking the nurse 500 times how anyone expects you to take this baby home and know what to do with it. They really don’t like to be asked that.
16 Things My Children Have Taught Me about Myself
1. I don’t actually want a perfect/better/ideal body.
You know how when you’ve had maybe a little too much wine and you’re happy and laid back and loving life and you’re with your best people and you say things like, “Who cares if one boob is smaller than the other? It’s what makes me ME!” No? Okay me either. Anyhow – I don’t think I got off to a good start with this one so let me re-phrase.
The point IS: I hear many the mom talking about herself like she isn’t good enough or as though if she just lost five more pounds she’d be perfect, and that’s just not the way I want my daughter to think about herself. Nor do I want my son growing up to judge other women by their weight. Therefore, I don’t say it about myself because I don’t want my kids to hear me say it and think I’m not happy with who I am. Not saying it has translated into not thinking about it.
Let’s not confuse this with my other goals for my body – like staying strong, being healthy and fit and respecting what my body can do – those are the things I would like my kids to learn from me. But having children has taught me that there are more important things in life than having a perfectly flat stomach 365 days out of the year.
2. I have no clue what boys are really thinking.
Having a boy has convinced me that I will never truly understand the way my husband thinks. Likewise, I know. But I’m slowwwwly learning to stop speculating. Men are painfully simple. Women not so much. As soon as I think I know what my son is thinking he reminds me how complicated I’m making it. Just the other day I thought he was maybe thinking, “Man I really love playing with dirt.” When in fact he was thinking, “Playing with dog poop is wayyyyy more fun.” Note to self: What you think the men in your life are thinking and what they’re actually thinking are not the same thing.
3. I am a really fun mom, until you mess my $#@! up.
I’m the mom who loves to do crafts with the kids or play with glitter and sand and make galaxy dough and paint windows with colored soap or make elephant toothpaste (it’s all fun and games, though, until someone gets peroxide in their eye). But as soon as somebody messes up my homemade paper mache maraca, I’m no longer stoked about the situation. Call it immature, but the inner child in me still doesn’t like my creative focus disturbed. Which leads me to…
4. Sometimes the only way to save the day is to bake stuff.
It’s a weird thing, this baking love of mine. It’s really evolved. I used to bake to eat the goodies. Now I just bake for therapeutic reasons and then feel shocked when I find two dozen double chocolate chip cookies sitting on my counter. My children have taught me to embrace the tried-and-true cure for a bad day and just bake it out. They’re happy, I’m happy, and loved ones everywhere are left trying to figure out why their trainer friend just pushed 800 calories into their laps and ran away to get back to baking some more junk that she won’t eat.
5. I am better at the hard stuff vs. the easy stuff in life.
I’ve always been this way but my tiny people have really alerted me to this fact. I have no problem quitting a salary-paying job for unreliable income, or accomplishing lofty long-term goals or teaching boot camp up to the day before giving birth. Yet most mornings I can’t put on mascara without poking my eyes out, I get sweaty palms at the thought of clothes shopping and I’m nearly incapable of long phone conversations anymore. Parenting makes you figure out what you’re good at so that you can focus more on those things. I’m hoping to use this insight to get out of helping my kids with their math homework in a few years.
6. I still don’t understand why girls are so freaking mean.
I thought it was a junior high thing/high school thing. I’ve been corrected. Girls can be just as mean at 3 and 4 years old, it’s just that they don’t hold quite the grudges yet. So even though Lila may come home from preschool and tell me yesterday’s friend is no longer her friend, I’ve learned that they’ll forget about it tomorrow and be good to go. Fast-forward to the aggressive line of cars waiting to pick up kids after school: Yep, girls are still mean. And I still don’t get it.
7. I’m not a mommy-group person.
Maybe since I’ve never been a group type of person the whole mom group thing just doesn’t appeal to me. I think they’re great and they can be very useful tools for many moms and kids, especially if they’ve just moved to a new town. When I was pregnant the first time I figured maybe I’d find me a good mom’s group. But the post-partum me realized I already had a pretty great mom’s group – they’re my married with children/married without children/unmarried with children/single friends. And they don’t judge me if I tell them all my kids ate for breakfast was toast and cheese.
8. I will probably never be patient enough.
*Sigh* I want to be that patient person/wife/mom. I do. And I’ve gotten better. But my patience could use some work and I’ve come to realize I may have passed that trait down to my daughter. Luckily my sense of humor gets me through it. But even Jiminy Cricket would deem me a hopeless cause most days.
9. I don’t know everything.
I know, I know, this is shocking to all of us. Becoming a parent makes you sickenly aware of all you don’t know. Want to give someone’s confidence a kick in the jewels? Hand them a baby and make them raise it. “Oh, you think you know everything, do you? Well, Google called and they’d like you to start paying per click.”
10. I have a lot to learn.
This goes right along with the above but I’m so abundantly aware of it, I thought I’d address it all on its own. There are so many things we can’t possibly wrap our minds around and yet having any number of children makes you feel like you must learn it all NOWNOWNOW! And yet, the only thing you truly want to do right now is maybe snuggle a bottle of wine and catch up on mindless television shows (which you haven’t watched for over 4 years, but whatever). From business skills to self-improvement to toddler hair how-to, from fitness resources to recipes to how to make and stick to a family budget – plus all the things beyond and in-between – I’d like to go back to school now because this real world stuff is some restless subject matter.
11. Carbs are NOT my enemy – flu viruses are.
Seriouslyyyyyyy. Let’s re-examine our true adversaries, everyone! Saltines become your FRIENDS when you have kids! Woke up with diarrhea thanks to Junior who came down with a stomach virus last week? Saltines for breakfast. Can’t even summon the energy or desire to eat real food because your princess brought home the ‘ol fever/chills/slow death combo? Saltines for five days. I’ve learned to stop treating any kind of food like the devil because sometimes toast is what’s for dinner.
12. I still really enjoy a good puzzle.
I’m completely ok with my husband making fun of me late at night because what began as me picking up after the kids in the living room resulted in me finishing all their puzzles for 30 minutes. No shame.
13. I am my mother and my father and it’s ok. Usually.
I know what you think about your children sometimes – you wonder if you’ll pass down all your worst traits and hope instead that they only take in the good ones. About that: Both outcomes are inevitable. While I’m actually quite proud I take after both my parents in certain ways, becoming a mother is like walking around with two thought bubbles following you around all the time. It gets super complicated when those thought bubbles start arguing with one another. Many times I just stop and stand there thinking, “Who’s going to win THIS internal battle, Mom or Dad?”
14. Being a wife is easy. Being a great wife takes serious self-reflection.
Fact: I am a serial monogamist. Marriage works for me, I like having a husband and I enjoy being a wife. It was just much, much easier being a great wife before kids. Kids, although remarkable and rewarding and wonderful, can unexplainably take up every room, thought, moment and ounce of energy. Kids change a marriage – sometimes for the worst but optimally for the better. I vow for it to always be for the better, which takes focus, introspection and being humble and putting the marriage first. So put that in your oatmeal and chew on it.
15. Teaching my children to laugh in life is more important to me than teaching them to obey every rule.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a rule follower and I spawned a rule follower (jury is still out on Luke). But sometimes I find it more valuable to teach my kids that laughing at mistakes and moving on is more essential than focusing on what they might have done wrong. Unless what they did wrong was not listening to me. Then that’s crap.
16. Never wipe a crumb off a kid’s face and eat it.
What? You think this one’s a no-brainer? Well let me just tell you that although it should be common sense, sometimes you’re not thinking quite clearly as a parent. So when you wipe what you think is couscous off your son’s face and in lieu of a paper towel you just lick your finger….well, don’t. Because it’s not couscous.
One thing you quickly learn as a parent: What you once thought was completely realistic about your life, your concept of time, your daily events and expectations…is now laughable. Realism now looks like showers every other day and flipping other parents off while you commandeer the after-school pick-up lane (my kids are not of school-age yet, but I’ve heard the stories). So I understand that amid the chaos of child-rearing we must let unrealistic, magical things happen once in a while so our kids can be just that – kids. This is why I have always loved books – realistic or not, they’re a wonderful way to feed the imagination.
So before I continue on about unrealism, let me just say that I love reading to my daughter each night before bed. I’m so thankful she’s a book nerd like her mother. I’ll agree to read anything from her collection. And like most children, my daughter has a pile of favorites we read often. One of those favorites is Disney’s Cuddly Princess Pals. It’s a cute book, really. It’s just that lately I can’t help but notice how unrealistic the words sound coming out of my mouth when reading it. I mean, what the heck am I teaching my daughter? Let’s have a look:
This book is about three adorable pets that get “adopted” in one way or another by Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora.
First up: Berry – “The Sweetest Bunny.”
This bunny’s probably the most realistic animal in the book. She falls in serious like with Snow White one day while the princess is out picking blueberries and follows her back to the castle, unbeknownst to Snow White. Okay, so far so good. But waitaminute – “Snow White was surprised to find Berry hiding in her bucket of blueberries!” the same bucket she had gathered blueberries from for baking a pie. Umm…eww? Can’t say I’m down with that, princess.
Berry’s story ends with her becoming the royal bunny – and sharing all her meals with Snow White. Sorry, daughter of mine…you will never be allowed to eat your meals alongside a hangry, needy bunny who is on a perpetual cleanse.
Moving on: Pumpkin – “The Dancing Puppy”
Pumpkin is one of my daughter’s favorites. I can’t really blame her – just look at that cute face and big eyes. Sucker! Cinderella’s prince adopted Pumpkin for her and even gave the dog her own tiara. Because that’s practical. I’m super excited for the day my little girl wants to bring a dog home, give it a crown and a sparkly bow and necklace and buy it a water dish with a glass slipper on it. I’m going to have to give Dave Ramsey a call and ask for advice on how to afford my diva dog spawned by Paris Hilton herself.
I get it, folks, I love dogs too. But what happens next is one part sweet and a dozen parts worrisome:
They prance together at ALL the royal balls! So basically the prince is chopped liver (which would never get fed to Pumpkin unless it were organic). After everything he’s done for Cinderella? Really? As a huge Cinderella fan, I’m disappointed in my girl. And what about the weirdness in the fact that Cinderella only dances with a dog at these social functions? Awkward. No, thank you, I can’t say there’s a valuable lesson here. Luckily my daughter is 3 and dancing with a dog is totally acceptable for another year or two.
Saving the best for last: Beauty – “The Sleepy Kitty”
Alright, princess Aurora, I’ve got some beef to pick with you. I mean come ON. Napping? Again? Then again, if I had three bossy tiny women hovering around me all the time I’d probably never want to wake up either…
So Aurora discovers this sleeping kitten who matches her dress color perfectly and she’s all excited to keep her because napping alone is seriously boring.
So as I read this last part of the book to my daughter I start to feel my blood pressure go up. Sometimes I change the end slightly so I don’t set her up for total disappointment in life. Something like, “Before long, the kitty was spayed so that she didn’t keep breeding lazy pets and Aurora began contributing around the house more.” But alas, this is how it actually plays out:
Man, Prince Phillip, I was really feeling sorry for you for a minute. But if we’re going to live in your fantasy land, let’s go ahead and add some wine to that tray and sub out the sweets for some bread and cheese, mmkay? I mean if we’re going to be totally lazy we might as well chub out.
I guess the lessons I can teach my daughter from this book include: Don’t eat animal feces, adopt a pet stick and get your iron levels checked. Have I missed anything?
It’s reflection time. I’m taking a moment to soak in all the little details that have shown their faces among the big happenings around here the last few weeks. All work and no play would be boring and obnoxious, after all. Times like these are when I’m grateful to my kids because they remind me to step away and get some play time in. Mostly they remind me by tearing the house apart and then drawing all over it. That’s when we go outside, breathe in the autumn air, ride bikes and crash nose-first into the concrete.
So here we have the second installment of “The Tuesday Tank.” This is where I share with you small tidbits I’ve either learned, read, cooked, purchased, attempted or simply found worth acknowledgment. You can catch the first installment of “The Tuesday Tank” here.
Read on, curious people.
~It just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start with breakfast.
You like oatmeal? You like eggs? You need 3 Minute Egg-White Oats from pbfingers.com. Possibly the most satisfying way to eat breakfast without overeating. This stuff happens in a microwave with a bigger-than-normal bowl (seriously, you will think I’ve lost my oats when you see how much it expands when cooked). My favorite way to eat this so far is by mixing in almond butter, pure maple syrup and flaxseed. Preferably before (or after) a good run or cardio workout.
~Speaking of breakfast, let’s speak of more breakfast.
I’m a big fan of steel cut oats but very rarely make them because they’re so dang time-consuming. Enter: Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. I finally walked into Boise’s new Trader Joe’s not knowing what to buy and walked out with vino (duh), hummus and this brilliant timesaving container. Now I can enjoy my steel cut oats any day I want in under 10 minutes. Lila prefers to call them “steel cut oh’s.”
~We’re on a roll, so let’s talk bread.
Specifically, oatmeal pumpkin spice bread. Yes, I’m a fan of the pumpkin bandwagon this time of year and yes, I jumped on it with this recipe a couple weeks ago. It makes 2 loaves and my intent was for the hubby to take one to work to share but turns out it was Friday. Whoops. Two loaves of fall-bliss-in-a-bite down this family’s hatch! It was originally a Paula Deen recipe but some nice people at Pop Sugar took the heart attack out of it.
~Now that you’re stoked about gluten, maybe this will make you feel less guilty about consuming it:
~Drink your wine instead of doing an hour of exercise?
I managed to steer clear of reading this study as it was circulating Facebook but after multiple clients came in the studio doors claiming they could just go drink 8 glasses of wine and call it a week’s worth of exercise, I finally gave it a look: “Is Drinking Wine Better Than Going to the Gym? According to Scientists, Yes!”Well folks, the bad news is they’re talking about ONE glass in this case and they’re also only talking about red wine. Which, from this red wine lover’s point of view, is not a problem. But you’re more likely to see me getting my sweat on so that I can enjoy TWO glasses of the good stuff. Sooo…not really encouraging science to me, but maybe you’ll find a way to justify it.
~Hey parents, bath time just got easier!
I’ve admittedly had a Lushaddiction for over a decade now, so when the connoisseurs of homemade bath and beauty products opened up a store nearby I leapt at the chance to go with my favorite females. While I left with a few yummy things, my favorite new find was their “FUN” line – yummy smelling multi-purpose moldable soap for kids (and adults who like to act like kids). Lila flipped for this stuff and honestly, so did I. Bath time smelled even better and both kids were completely entertained while washing their own hair with this Play-Doh-like stuff. We’ve only tried the Blue Fun bar because the sleep-inducing smells of chamomile and lavender sold me (earlier bedtime for the kids means earlier wine time for mom), but we will definitely be trying them all.
~So about this parenting thing, how’s it working for our marriages?
“How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage” is worth thinking about. Even if you don’t agree with it I think we can all applaud the author who, when met with criticism about her viewpoint, rebutted by saying “her outlook has had a positive impact on her children by giving them a sense of security in their parents’ relationship.” Read the original essay, “Truly, Madly, Guiltily” in The New York Times, here.
Today I’m letting Lila take over the blog. I figure I could give you a recap of last weekend’s FitOne 5K but as this was my 14th year participating in it (13 of those years have been consecutive alongside the women in my family – yay tradition!), I want to give you a look at it from a fresh perspective. While I did walk while holding Lila on my chest in a baby carrier when she was two months old, this year was her first year of hands-on participation and thus, she had her own opinions on it. Brace yourself for the pinkness…
Saturday morning, 7:50 am – At home
Mom says to wake up but I’m tired. Sweep. I want to sweeeeep! She says there’s a race and she is happy and aren’t I excited and we need to get out of bed and go. But I say no race! Sweep time!
Then she doesn’t sound happy anymore and asks me if I want to stay home with Daddy and Luke.
I’m out of bed and so escited for the race!!
She helps me get dressed and put on my blue Daisy socks and red Minnie shoes. She wants me to wear a special shirt for the race but I don’t want to. It’s not pretty. She puts it on me and I think it’s too big maybe because she takes it off and I get to wear my pink Minnie shirt. She tells me I have to eat something like every morning. She must really like breakfast since we have to eat it evy day. I’m not hungry because I’m busy showing my daddy my pretty pants with the pink stripeys but I make her think I’m eating some peanut butter on a spoon. She puts on me my favorite pink jacket and Luke is waking up. No Luke, just me and mommy. You stay with Dad and stop whining. We get in the car which is my favorite because we sing songs and Mommy doesn’t know what color things are so she asks me to tell her. So I do over and over while singing loudly because it’s my favorite.
8:30 am – In a parking lot
My mom says we are meeting evyone. Like Grandma? She tells me yes Grandma and lots of other girls I like. We get out of the car to wait and she puts something on my shirt with numbers. One number is 3 like me! I like this race right now. Evybody gets there and we start walking a lot. Is this more of the race? I get to hold hands with my cousins and they swing me and it’s my favorite. There are lots of buildings and people and it’s loud. We walk by the market my mom and dad go to with wine and I ask if Daddy is at the market but Mommy says no he isn’t because he is up to his ears in grapes. I don’t think I would like to have grapes up to my ears.
8:50 am – Waiting at the start line
There’s music and it’s loud and it makes me tired. Peoples are dancing but I don’t want to dance because I want to sweep. Some lady is shouting into a black stick thing and peoples must like her because they clap a lot. Evybody holds me and we take pictures. I’m not sure why we’re taking pictures because it’s sweepy time. Planes fly in the sky but when I show Mommy she tells me it’s a helicopner. It looks like a plane to me. Maybe Mommy doesn’t know planes like she doesn’t know colors. The sun is so bwright, can I sweep now? Evybody are really happy in the morning and other girls are wearing tutus but they don’t look like they’re in dance class like me. There are lots of balloons in the sky floating by themself and I bet some peoples are sad the balloons got away. Is the race where we run after balloons?
9:20 am – Race start
My cousin holds me and we walk again with music and peoples clapping and smiling. Is this still the race? I don’t know all the peoples but Mommy tells me I have to walk. No way! I think I’ll just keep on letting peoples hold me. There are old girls wearing funny socks. They’re too big to wear funny socks! I think I want my mom to hold me now. We are walking on the road where the cars go! I hope we don’t get squished.
10 am – Over half-way done
We have walked a lot! Not me though. Mommy tells me I’m making her sweaty and I get someone else to hold me that I like. I guess they want me to walk more but there’s a lot of peoples and I might get runned over I think. Some peoples are running too and one bigger girl looks like she is sick. If running makes me look like that I don’t think I will do it. Most the bigger girls talk and laugh and cheerleader girls give me high five. Is there dance class here like at school? My mom says we should run down the hill because we are almost done. She has crazy ideas like running without my stroller. Grandma isn’t running so I think I will not run too.
10:15 am – Race finish line
We must be at the end now because we get to walk through a bunch of balloons and peoples are happy and there is a big park! My favorite! Nobody is running now but evyone is still sweaty. There must be a good thing to being sweaty since my mom is always sweaty and so are these peoples and they seem happy. I need to go potty. Mommy and Grandma take me but we have to get in a big line with more sweaty girls and I have to go potty so bad. Mommy tells me not to touch anything in the potty because it’s gross. The toilet water is blue and there’s no flushy thing like at home. I try to open the door to get out after I pee but I guess my mom doesn’t like that because she is going potty now. She says the whole world doesn’t need to see her bare bum and I don’t know really how the whole world would see it because that’s a lot of peoples and they’re not all at this park right now.
10:30 am – Snack line
They have chocolate milk!!!!!! This is the best race EVER! And circle bread! They have circle bread! AND APPLES! So many favorite things! I like this race. I give my mom my cheese stick and she lets me drink the chocolate milk right there while sitting on the grass with evyone. I better drink it too because I don’t know whens I will see it again. I’m very very happy and now I’m ready to walk by myself. Mom thanks me for showing up at the end of the race. I was here the whole time, she’s so silly! You’re welcome, Mommy.
11:00 am – Walking back to car
We are walking AGAIN! This time I get to walk all by myself with evybody and there aren’t so many peoples now. Just our peoples. I like this more better. We parked the car a long time away I guess. We have to cross the road at the light but I don’t want to hold anybody’s hand. Mommy tells me she doesn’t care and makes me hold her hand anyway. I think it’s good I held her hand though because in the car home we get to sing more songs very loudly and I have to tell mom how many numbers there are because she doesn’t know. Someday maybe she will remember her colors and planes and numbers. I tell Mommy guess what! And she says what and I say I like this race! Maybe we do it again tomarra!
Let me just clarify something up-front: There are a LOT of things I never should have said I’d never do once I became a mom. Guaranteed I have done every one of them. I also once said I’d NEVERRRRR marry a farmer because I grew up in the country surrounded by farmers and I thought there might be more to life than farming. Guess what, I (happily) married an urban farmer (who would love to become a rural farmer if the opportunity presents itself) and I’m more than good with it.
There are so many things my pre-mom self was just clueless about and sometimes ignorance really is bliss because in time we all learn what and when we need to. That being said, there are a few things I still agree with my pre-mom self about.
Parents are annoying.
In my 20s before I had kids I would go to my niece’s soccer games and witness all these parents getting worked up about the team dynamics, talking behind other parents’ backs, complaining to the coach and trying to come up with the PERFECT snack to bring the team the next time they were put on snack-duty. “What the?” I used to wonder why it had to be so dramatic. Annnnnnnnd…still wondering. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of down-to-Earth parents out there and we’re lucky to be friends with some of them. If only some parents wouldn’t attempt to ruin it for the rest of us who just want to show up, give our kids a creative and healthy outlet, maybe have some adult conversation and get on with the rest of child-rearing. Some parents are annoying, I stand firm on that.
Kids are gross.
My own kids included. I mean of course kids are cute, they’re funny and they smell good after a bath. But around that 1-year mark when the sweet baby smell wears off and they start really truly sweating, things get real. Feet stink in a way that only industrial quality bleach can remedy. But of course we can’t bleach our kids’ feet so they just keep on stinking. Snot mass-produces, bodily functions get more potent and their breath should come with a warning label. They’re constantly rubbing their hands on you, especially if you are wearing any color other than black. For some reason they start licking you. A lot. As many times as you pull off a wardrobe change, wipe noses, wash hands, and brush teeth, kids are still gross (yes, even cute kids).
Dance recitals should have mimosa bars.
I grew up spending many a day at dance recitals since I danced until I was 12 years old. Not that I was a mimosa drinker then (I have SOME class, come on now) but I always thought there should be some kind of draw for the parents at those things. Fast forward – I figure the solution should be mimosas, because don’t mimosas solve most problems? Particularly in the morning when an army of small ballerinas are running amok in a hot and crowded high school gym. This past May we attended our first dance recital as parents and I am confident in saying my pre-mom self was a genius (but sadly, no mimosa bar was present).
I hate highly dislike Barney.
As a child he freaked me out. As a teenager he creeped me out. As a non-mom I wanted to drop-kick him. Presently I’m a bit terrified my kids will actually want to watch the Barney show and I will have to be the evil mom who denies them that. Is it his voice? His purple-ness? His frustratingly catchy sing-a-long-songs? I don’t really know. But I really, really can’t handle Barney.
Moms who judge other moms are bizzare.
I never understood why becoming a mom should mean you get to judge how other moms do their mom-thing. So a mom wants/financially needs to stay home with her kid – more power to her. A mom wants/financially needs to go back to work – awesome. I’m not going to judge because I’m really just figuring this whole parenting thing out as I go. I don’t know what works for your kid, I barely know what works for my kids and some days I’m apparently clueless. As long as you’re not complaining to me about the situation you chose or will not do anything to change, I’m judgment-free and happy to co-exist with you. Don’t judge me because my kids go to day care and I won’t judge you because your kids don’t. My pre-mom self never could figure out the judgmental mom. These days if mom-judging is occurring in my vicinity, I will be the woman swiftly sashaying out of the room or park, fading away from conversation and never inviting the offender to drink wine with me.
Children’s toys are the coolest.
I can’t tell you how often pre-mom me offered to open any one of my niece’s new toys because I wanted to be the first to show them how it worked. Kids have seriously cool stuff! And everything I played with as a kid is now back in style, so Lila’s pretty stoked that I’ll play My Little Pony with her. There’s the Wii, there’s Twister, there’s really cool Lego’s and big soft blocks and glitterly markers and crafts and Nerf guns and puzzles and interactive books…the only problem is I get offended when my kids don’t want to play with me. Jerks.
A screaming child is the uncoolest.
You know the drill – your kid is screaming bloody murder and throwing a grade A fit in the grocery store/library/movie theater/anywhere and you want to crawl into a fetal position and hide somewhere – anywhere – before you have to deal with the non-parents who are looking at you thinking, “Control your child.” Whether you are the parent this is happening to or the childless bystander, it’s uncool. Sometimes parenting is all about leaving things up to a higher power and just taking a big humble leap into the grocery store/storytime hour/latest kids movie in the hopes you’ll all get out of there alive and not be asked to never come back.
Got anything you could add to this list?
Oh and if you want to laugh hard in agreement about a list of things people with no kids really DON’T know, watch this:
I’ve decided that by the end of this year I’m going to figure out a house cleaning system I can actually stick with.
Are you laughing yet?
If you’re laughing, you’re either on the same mission as me and the mess of your house is making you hysterical, or you’ve given up and you’re wondering why I even care at this point (especially when there’s wine to be drank instead). Or maybe you’re laughing because you’ve figured it all out and your house is spotless and you’re wondering why I’m making it so difficult. “Just clean, Crystal. Just spend a little time each day cleaning.”
My turn to laugh.
You see, I’ve read all the blogs (ok so I’ve read two blogs) with the tips about cleaning a little bit each day so that it all adds up in the long-run and you don’t end up overwhelmed. I get it, I do. It makes complete sense to me and that’s how I’ve been trying to operate since I started caring about my house again, which was right after I stopped breastfeeding because I’d had plenty of time to sit and look at my filthy house while nursing my insatiable son. So I’ve tried that theory and here’s how it breaks down for me on a typical day when I’m not working at the studio or on the winery and I’m home with the kids:
Wake up to picked-up living room and the quiet before the storm, kids wake and eat breakfast. Walk away to get ready and return to formerly cleaned area to find it’s been demolished by 18-month old via yogurt tossing and soggy raisins (all thrown impressively from high chair in kitchen).
*workout/kid’s activities/lunch time/nap time/shower time and a load of laundry later*
Clean a little, walk away, return to said cleaned area and find the entire contents of 3-year-old’s room instead.
*kid’s activities/work phone calls/snack/errands and a load of laundry later*
Do the dishes to make room for more dishes which will need cleaned after dinner. Make dinner, do dishes. Bathe kids, get them ready for bed, put them to bed, prepare client’s workouts/winery to-do list for tomorrow, put toys away in living room, feel minor accomplishment, pass out.
Sooo…I’ve got a handle on dishes and the living room is picked up at night when no one is around to see it. Laundry is on a constant rotation. End of story. So I guess I’m saying I’d like to branch out a little so that when we have company over we don’t have to spend hours power washing the entire house. Is this achievable? Who out there knows the secret to a clean house with toddlers/preschoolers running amok? Or is the secret that you just have to not give a hoot? I’ve tried that way and as it turns out, I give a hoot. No matter, I’d love to know what you’ve come up with.
I have signed up for these emails in the past, back when I only had one child and thought I had a messy house. Ignorance is bliss. I obviously didn’t implement them though…maybe that’s when Luke arrived, who knows. Apparently this woman breaks the daunting task of cleaning down into small, doable steps and simplifies it so that you can stay on top of cleaning, laundry, organizing, and family schedules. I have just signed up and got blasted with 20 emails. That does not make me feel organized, it makes me feel manic. But I’m going to give her method a try.
I like the look and feel of this blog, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Though one of her posts appealed to me right away – How to Get a Handle on Paper Clutter. Yes, please. With a house as small as mine, two businesses and two kids that make a lot of art, paper clutter is a big ordeal. Within this post she’s got a tip for clearing the kitchen counter which I plan on utilizing this weekend, I promise!
I think I could like this woman, mostly because she’s honest about the fact that she hates to clean, doesn’t have time to clean, but knows she needs to pull her @#$! together and clean. She’s also tried Flylady in the past, so maybe this one’s a winner. I have a lot of reading to do, which is time I should probably spend cleaning, huh?
This simple line from the about page is what sold me: “The goal is to make a home, not a pristine house.” This blog provides short cuts to making and organizing a home you feel good about nurturing your family in. We’ll see about that.
That’s it, that’s all I can handle, and I’m not even sure I can handle all of that. But I’m gonna give it a go. Any takers? Any nay-sayers? Anybody got another way short of hiring Merry Maids? This is gonna take a lot of wine…
There are definitely a few things my kids despise that I can’t blame them for – ear drops (currently dealing with this debacle), me licking my fingers to wipe their face (which I swore I’d never do), a really @#$! hot seat belt buckle, sun block (I never have liked the feeling of the stuff, either), melted ice cream, and flies, among other things. But there are a few things they balk at and I want to pull my older-wiser-trust-me card and tell them how one day they’ll look back and wish they’d taken advantage of the situation.
Before I list off those things, let it be said I completely recognize that children hate these things for developmental reasons and their need for more autonomy and it’s all good for their self-confidence, blah-blah-blah. Let’s just put the child-rearing psychology aside for a moment and have a chuckle.
Feel free to add to this list if you have things your children hate and you not-so secretly wish you could trade places.
1. Time out
Whenever Luke hears “Do you want to go to the corner?” he promptly says “nuh” (no). Once he’s in the corner he cries as though we just told him he’ll never eat again. Pretty standard reaction from a toddler. But as an adult, let’s think about this: You’re telling me I get to go to the corner, by myself, not talk to anyone, and relax, until I feel like I’m ready to come out and engage reasonably with other people? Pfft! Hell yeah I want to go to the corner! Show. Me. The corner!!! I will stay in the corner all DAY if you want me to! Just slip a little food and water my way once in a while and you won’t have a problem with me again.
2. Nap time
This is a given but I couldn’t skip over it. Although instead of my daughter’s favorite stuffed kitty, just toss me a bottle of wine to snuggle up with.
3. Getting their hair washed
My kids actually love bath time, but when it comes to rinsing the shampoo out they each take a deep breath and wave their hands around as though they’re going into the deep end. I pour cups of water over their head and we do this as quickly as possible so that they’ll start breathing as quickly as possible. I’ve tried being more gentle about it but they’re all business when it comes to getting their hair washed. Not me. I can’t wait for that hair appointment every 6-8 weeks so my wonderful hair dresser will massage my scalp while washing my hair. Having my hair washed is heaven. I would gladly let my mom wash my hair for me again if it wasn’t at all weird now that I’m 32.
4. Having their outfit chosen for them
Luke’s still young enough he could care less what he wears, but Lila – my sweet, opinionated, princessy, giggly, short-fused spaz – has a very clear idea of what she wants to wear that day. I just don’t have a frickin’ clue what it is. Obviously, because when she tells me she wants to wear her pink skirt with the sparkles on it and I grab the pink skirt with the sparkles on it and she tells me that’s not the one, that she wants the other pink one (that’s really purple) with the sparkles on it (which it doesn’t actually have) and she melts into tears because I should know better…I want to grab her by her fairy wings and tell her how one day, ONE DAY, she will wake up in the morning, run to the coffee pot, run back to the bathroom to get ready for work and realize all her laundry is in the washer and she has nothing to wear but has to be out the door 5 minutes ago. Then, THEN, she will wish someone had picked out her clothes for her regardless of the pinkness or the invisible sparkles.
5. Being bored
I know I have only begun to tread into “I’m borrrrrred” territory. My kids don’t actually say it yet but I can tell when they’re bored. Luke starts throwing major appliances into the kiddie pool and Lila starts crying because her cup of milk isn’t in the same spot she left it in. The inside of our house has been toilet papered countless times because of boredom. All hell breaks loose and war is imminent. It’s up to Mom or Dad to think of something fast or no one is having a good day and there will be multiple wine bottle casualties. I only wish I could get bored. If I were bored I would get a lot of things done. Or I would catch up on a bunch of shows I started watching while pregnant the first go-around and haven’t laid eyes on since. Or I would just laugh at everyone else running around doing stuff, not being bored. Being bored would be a hoot.
6. Long, social meals enjoyed anywhere but home
We very seldom go out to eat with the kids. Mostly because we don’t want eye daggers, hate mail, or tire slashing from the restaurant staff. Once Luke has finished his meal and there is no more food left within a 5-mile radius he’s over it and tries to haul off anytime we look away. Lila gets restless, starts asking a bunch of weird questions and talking in what can only be described as baby-talk meets rabbit. The dynamics are a train wreck. I would love a good long sit-down meal with friends at a restaurant where we don’t have to cook or clean. Some day we will hopefully have those kind of outings again but in the meantime we’ll keep enjoying our meals at home so I can inevitably get pulled away mid-bite because Luke pooped.
7. Anything on TV not involving princesses, Mickey/Minnie Mouse, PBS cartoons, or sing-a-long music
Our mornings typically go like this: Lila wakes up, snuggles me for 5 seconds, plods into the living room with her slippers on, plops down on the couch and begins her first sentence with “I wanna watch…” You know what I want to watch? Something funny, or R rated, or something with anyone in it besides Elmo and crew. The entire last season of Dexter and definitely more cooking shows so I can drool over whatever America’s Test Kitchen is onto this week. The list is pretty long because we haven’t really watched anything without falling asleep. As it is, Daniel Tiger has actually appeared in my dreams. I’m pretty sure the only on-screen person who used to appear in my dreams pre-kids was Mark Wahlberg.
8. Saving money on the water bill
In child-rearing, everything is just a phase. Well we’re in this phase where our money gets flushed down the toilet. I mean I think it’s super sweet how Luke likes to be in the bathroom with me as I’m getting ready in the morning. He watches me, talks to me, throws my hair brush in the garbage, and flushes the toilet about 80 times because it’s hilarious. Then he proceeds to the hallway bathroom to climb up on his stool, brush his teeth and make sure the sink faucet runs for 15 minutes. The kid is adorable, really he is. And his adorableness is evident every month our water bill comes due. You know how before you had kids “they” always warned you how expensive kids are and you just smiled and agreed because, yes, obviously, that made sense? You had noooo idea, did you?
Most lessons we learn over time, or by doing it the hard way, or via social embarrassment. And then there’s some lessons we never learn (“that last shot seemed like such a good idea”). But if there’s anything I’ve learned lately it’s that my kids know more than I give them credit for. I may have to teach them how to pee without touching anything in a porta-potty, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got these 10 lessons down already.
1. Take care of the Earth
Lila says: “Plant a seed and it will grow. And sometimes it grows those hot spicy things my parents are so obsessed with.”
2. If you’re gonna take a selfie, learn how to do it correctly.
The annoying kissy duck-face phenomenon is out, apparently. That I can handle.
3. Eat your veggies…
“If I have to eat this, you can suck it up, too.”
4. …But don’t overeat.
Dang you, serotonin!
5. Let ‘em know who’s boss.
If you want to be the Alpha, never show fear.
6. Rock your style.
There’s so much that confuses the eye here, but her happiness is clear. You could make anything look good with a smile. Anything except men’s crocheted shorts, that is:
7. Practice excellent quality control.
“Hey slackers, this one’s empty!”
8. Work hard, party hard, and pay the consequences in the morning.
She definitely shouldn’t have had that last cup of milk.
9. Love the one you’re with.
We don’t know where Eddie’s tongue has been, but Luke doesn’t seem to mind. They say dogs have a sixth sense about people. Eddie peed on Von’s couch the first time they met. They still don’t get along. In Von’s defense, he has never peed on a couch, that I know of.
I’m going to do us all a big favor here and just cut to the chase in telling you why this blog exists: We are all busy. Busy, busy, busy. If you’re a parent, you’re busy. If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. If you’re a student, you’re busy. If you’re a parent and a student who works…you’re amazing. At least in my sense of the word. But my point is we’re all so busy that I’m actually bored of hearing the word ‘busy’ all the time! (Did you see that? I just used the words ‘busy’ and ‘bored’ in the same sentence.) So that’s why I’m here, essentially. I’m busy, just like you. And rather than keep all the areas of my busy-ness separate from each other I feel I’m in a phase in my life where it makes sense to consolidate – all while doing something I truly love, which is writing.
Here’s a little background about me, summed up in 10 sentences:
Girl grows up in a tiny Idaho farm town. Girl wants to get away and leaves for the Big Apple. Girl gives it a good run but hauls butt back to a medium-sized Idaho town to settle down. Girl graduates with Journalism degree. At this point girl safely calls herself a woman and embarks on her first career in event planning and marketing. Woman hates it, leaves it, becomes a personal trainer and starts her own business. Woman marries man (you’ll meet him) and gains a step-son (he’s a cool cat). Man becomes wine-maker, woman becomes pregnant…twice. Woman and man keep each of their jobs, open a winery and raise two small humans. Woman and man never have a clean house or bathroom privacy…AGAIN.
Now that you know who you’re dealing with, you may still be wondering why I would start a blog that blends the subjects of wine, fitness, and kids. Here’s my one-word answer: Balance. As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry long enough to know and have seen a few things, I’m probably one out of a small bunch of fitness professionals that are sick of the all-or-nothing mentality. I don’t like fitness fads, I loathe diets and highly marketed “health” foods and meal replacements shakes, I rarely do the same workout more than twice, I tire of superficiality QUICK, and I truly believe moderation is the ONLY key to a healthy life. Instead of going into a tirade about my entire outlook on the fitness industry, you can just check out my fitness philosophy post here.
With that said, I do honestly love working out, eating healthy food and discovering yummy recipes. And I enjoy finding ways to do all that while riding the crazy train of life. If that’s something you’re into as well then pull up a chair!
So back to balance. I love wine. Wait, scratch that. I am lost without wine. And believe me, you don’t want to be with me if I am ever found lost and without wine. Was my husband a winemaker when we met? Nope, and that’s why I think that in another life I must have been some kind of saint who did saintly things so that karmic forces caused me to meet this man in this life. But he’ll tell you I was a wino who turned him into a wino and things just escalated. Believe what you will. Or you can read this post about our humble little winery.
With all this wine loving going on, I think it’s important to note that we are not wine snobs. In fact, if you’ve googled us at all you know by now that we make some pretty crazy wines. And don’t think we haven’t been snubbed somewhat by the wine industry for doing so. But that’s okay, we’re not worried about it. So since I love wine and I love writing, I figured I could give you all the perspective of winery ownership (and drinker…ship?) from a non-wine snob point of view. The kind of perspective where you’ve gone to work all day, possibly spent the entirety of it on your feet, you’ve picked up the kids, you’ve managed a healthy dinner (or maybe just dinner), your house is a mess, there’s so much crap to do yet, it’s bath time and bed time and laundry time and The Voice time and tomorrow’s to-do list-making time…but all you want is a glass of !@#$% wine. Maybe it’s our wine, maybe it’s not. Either way, this blog presents a story about how the wine in your wine glass or red solo cup may have gotten there and what winemakers and winery owners like us do behind the scenes (here’s a teaser: We drink a LOT of wine).
So, balance. Now here’s where we throw that notion out the window: We have two children 20 months apart in age. Of course I think they are beautiful, smart, funny and perfect. I also think they are wild and demanding sanity-crushers who can make Lindsay Lohan’s meltdowns look few and far between in comparison. I am home with these beautiful tornadoes two days a week during the work week and I know you stay-at-home-moms are saying “seriously, Crystal? Big flippin’ deal.” Well I applaud you. Really, I do. I chose to take my studio hours down to two days a week so that I could be home with my crazies and I love my days with them. But I am not enough for them the other days so that’s why they go to this amazing place called day care and they love it and I love it and they learn so much more than I think I could teach them in the same number of hours. But on those days that I am with them I try to make our time together count. So this is also a blog about those days and what we do. I hope it will help some of you parents out there who run out of ideas or just need to know that your kid is not the only kid who does that weird thing with their face while looking in the mirror…
…Which leads me to one last thing that I think is definitely worth mentioning and will probably be mentioned repeatedly throughout the blog: I want your feedback! It often takes a village to pull things off at the Potter House. It takes grandparents, nieces, brothers, sister-in-laws, friends, fellow business owners and a world of winemakers to help us accomplish what we end up accomplishing. Same goes for this blog – please let me know what YOU want to know about, what you want to learn and your own experiences with any or all of the above topics. I welcome fellow bloggers, winos, parents, winemakers, writers, personal trainers, fitness lovers, etc. to leave comments and contact me any time! I will always do my best to respond to every comment and email. You can email me at email@example.com, find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
Can't we all just get along? Where wine, fitness, and child rearing come together.