I Was Told There Would Be No Math…

Every Mom Blogger on the face of planet Earth has written a post like this.  So I probably shouldn’t, but its my Blog and its my brain so I’m going to do it anyway…

I’ve been a Mom for almost 11 years now.  Every day that I delve deeper into Mom-hood, I realize how little I actually knew about being a Mom beforehand.  I mean, I knew the basics and I felt relatively prepared for the role but there is A LOT of shit that no one tells you.  Moving past the heartfelt homemade papier mache Mother’s Day gifts and those snuggly quiet moments with Les Petites, there are a lot of get your hands dirty times that are sort of glossed over when we look back on our Mothering histories.

Like breastfeeding.  Everyone tells you how much you HAVE TO DO IT.  Absolutely no one, like ever, tells you how freaking hard it is.  Even if its all going well, the milk is flowing and the little bundle is latching.  The trials and tribulations of the simple act of feeding your child are the stuff of nightmares for every new mother, even when she’s on baby 2, 3, 4, or whatever.  NO ONE tells you that your baby will lose weight after they’re born and that you need to get them eating tons to gain it back.  NO ONE tells you that you will be judged by every nurse, family member – hell STRANGER passing by that you are doing something wrong.  Don’t give formula!  Your baby is too skinny, give formula.  Drink beer.  Don’t drink beer.  Hold the baby like this.  No like this.  She has gas.  He has colic.  And that’s just one aspect of being a new mom.  I’m not even going to talk about poop… for anyone.

As your kids grow older, new fresh surprises creep up on you.  Things like math homework.  Sure, doing homework with your kids is an expected thing.  But seriously, someone even breathes “place value” and I get the sweats.  Think think think… how does place value work?  How the hell do I explain it?  No wonder parents get called out for doing their kids homework all the time.  Teaching cranky and hungry kids new math is another spine chilling nightmare.  Enjoy your newfound power struggle.  Like getting them to bathe and eat vegetables isn’t hard enough?

We all know now that being Mom equates to more dishes, more groceries and piles and piles of laundry.  Some of the latter being so dirty and smelly you need a shower after sorting it.  Much of it is freshly laundered only returned to the hamper by your young one in lieu of actually putting it in the drawer.  Proximity to the laundry that smells like the depths of hell necessitates yet another load to fluff and fold.  Good times.

And all the toilet flushing.  So much toilet flushing.  Why didn’t anyone tell me that as a mother of potty-trained plus kids I should allot several minutes each week to flushing toilets that other people haven’t flushed.  Why?  Add in another time allotment for toilet paper roll replacement.  This is not so bad since you can multi-task this while you visit the loo (you know, those 2-3 minute windows each day when you get a chance to be alone… if you’re lucky).  You know this because you are the only one who changes the roll so you are bound to be the one who has to change it.   You just need to pray that someone has left a spare roll behind for you…

A Glimpse at The List

We’ve been talking lately about how this time of year can make us Moms nuts.  We all have the internal to do list that is running as a soundtrack to our lives, but at Christmas the list is longer, louder and mega stressful.  Moms by nature suffer from a little ADHD otherwise we’d never be able to juggle it all.  My soundtrack sounds like this today….

  • I need to finish Christmas shopping
  • Don’t forget the teacher gifts for the last day of school tomorrow
  • Don’t forget the co-worker gifts for the last day of school tomorrow
  • Doctor’s appointment for the Shorty at 11.  Pick-up bagels on the way and a gift basket for the awesome staff at the Doctor’s office that we’ve seen a little too much of lately.
  • Wrap the gift for the nanny.
  • I need to sit and check emails.
  • What should I make for supper?
  • What should I make for the pot-luck on Saturday?
  • Ack, will it be snowing when we need to drive up the mountain roads to Squamish on Saturday to catch the Polar Express? (oh yes, this is a thing!)
  • Do I have everything for our post Christmas trip?
  • Order a turkey for Christmas.
  • Plant the tree in the front yard so the city doesn’t fine us for forgetting to do this in the first place.
  • I hope we don’t have too much frost that will kill the tree.
  • I hope it snows on Christmas Eve for the kids.
  • I hope it snows on Christmas Day… again, for the kids.
  • I hope it melts on Boxing Day.
  • I hope it doesn’t kill the new tree.
  • I better schedule that conference call with the record company.
  • What should I make for supper?
  • Did I get the kids the right gifts?
  • Will the kids hate their gifts?
  • Will Christmas be ruined?
  • Don’t forget those last gifts.
  • Did I forget to send my aunts a Christmas card?
  • I need to answer that email about the DVD we’re making.

  • I better call the school to let them know we won’t be back from holiday for the first day after the break.
  • Crap, I forgot to call the school to tell them that Shorty is sick.
  • Oh geez, I hope the rest of us don’t get sick.
  • I need to get groceries.
  • Should I start buying for Christmas dinner, is it too soon?
  • Oh man, is the tree starting to lean?  Is it going to fall over in the middle of the night?
  • When was the last time I watered the tree?  Will it set the house on fire?
  • Check email.
  • What should I make for Boxing Day brunch?
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • Is Shorty #1 ok?  She seemed a little sad yesterday.
  • I should try to connect the charity I’m working with to that foundation I read about online.
  • I better plan a play date for the Shorties for next week.
  • I need to wrap presents.
  • When can I wrap presents?
  • How can I get the Shorties out of the house so I can wrap presents?
  • Maybe we should go out for dinner.
  • Where should we go for dinner?
  • If we go out for dinner with Shorty spread the croup all over the restaurant?
  • I need to do groceries.
  • Oh crap!  It’s snowing…

You get the idea…  And to all a good night.

 

 

What’s Your Threshold?

As I move into middle age (the middle ages?) I know myself.  More and more over time, I have come to learn about my level of tolerance.  I could tell you that I have a fairly low tolerance for things like gin, gluten and perhaps even sugar.  Alternatively, I have a fairly high level of tolerance for pain, tequila and a person’s right to marry who they love.  There are some things in life where my tolerance has improved – say with wine or long haul air travel (arguably, the latter probably due to the proliferation of frequent flyer upgrade certificates).  But its clear overtime, that my threshold for stupidity, arrogance and poor service is at an all time low.

We’re mid-renovation… can you tell?

Honestly.  What is so hard about taking on a job and finishing it… correctly… and on time… and leaving the place in the same (or better) condition as when you found it?  Seems like the basic tenets of home renovation work, doesn’t it?  Except that my friends, is a rarity. Imagine hiring a contractor who delivered the job on time, on budget and as promised without a thousand things to be corrected/ fixed/ repaired.  Sounds like heaven right?  Well its about as common as a Snowman in the Sahara.

vectorstock_506605You don’t need the gory details.  Trust me, its as boring for me as it would be for you, so I’ll save you that tsouris.  Its just that I’m done, the kids are done, J is done.  Its been 5 weeks and its going to be 5 more at some undetermined date in the future and its nothing but heartache (and back ache from all the packing and unpacking and cleaning and scrubbing).  We want our house back and we want to get back to normal, whatever that is.  It might be fun if we were getting a spanking new whatever at the end – but we’re fixing something that was broken so the big pay off will be to have it look exactly as it did when they started.  The drag is that in the meantime, the house is taking a beating and so is everything and everyone in it…

So that’s my new understanding about myself.  I have a very low threshold for contractors and missed deadlines and shoddy workmanship.  Maybe my tolerance for gin will increase after this?

Gradual Entry Smradual Shmentry

Its back to school week.  Time to get those little brains back in gear and for us parent types to get back to work.  But school’s proving to be a bit of a tease.  Shorty #1 for instance, was engaged for a solid 30 minutes for her first day at school today.  30-freaking-minutes.  It was barely worth picking out a great outfit for that.  Why did we rush back from holidays?  Really!   I remember getting homework on the first day when I was a kid!

Tomorrow, Shorty #2 is embarking on the first days of her educational career in this little game that the schools like to call “Gradual Entry”.  It helps them acclimate to their new surroundings, a new routine and ease them through separation anxiety I suppose.  But for parents it completely SUCKS.  For the next three weeks, we get to tell our employers how we’ll be late for work while we follow our little ones into a new childcare scenario.  Preschools, daycares, kindergartens – in this town, every last one insists on a program of gradual entry.  So that means for the last 8 years of our parenting careers, through various caregiving and new educational ventures avec les petites, we’ve had to scramble around for the first few weeks until we can get into a regular routine over and over again.

I’m sure for some kids, this is a necessary step.  But for mine, they’re kissing us goodbye before we can even shed a tear.  “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out Mom, I wanna go check out carpet time sans parents if you know what I mean.”  Its like playtime-interruptus when we come back a mere 60 minutes later to collect them.  You can see the look in their eyes and all they want to say is; “Really?  That’s it.  I didn’t even get a friggin’ snack.”  They just want to roll.  Full time, lets go!  But no, we follow along with the rules and wait patiently (with toes tapping and phones on silent) while the Shorty learns the ropes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like spending time with my kids.  I want to see them in their new school environment, watch them flourish, be part of their education career.  That’s all good.  Its just tough when you also have a full time job in an office with people counting on you to be there for that conference call or 10am meeting.  But tomorrow, I will rise with the sun and put a smile on my face while I sit in an extraordinarily small chair for one hour watching my kid make new friends and figure out where the tiny little toilet is.  I’ll smile and cheer her on as she ventures into the next stage of her life… gradually.

Back to School is BS!

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I am the first to admit that I am a shopper.  I am Chief Acquisitions Officer in our house.  What’s that you say?  You’re running low on underwear?  NEVER FEAR, I know the way to the nearest Winners.  The spatula broke making eggs this morning, do NOT panic, I’ll have it replaced by dinner time.  Broken glasses?  Its going to be OK, a new pair will be en route via courier within 24 hours.

I know where to go, I know when to go and most of all, I know how to get a deal.

I think that’s why the whole “Back to School” shopping season makes me want to punch a poor defenseless, adorable critter of some kind.  It makes me nuts – the flyers and advertisements, TV spots and radio ads.  All trying to wind me up and stress me out that school starts in a matter of days and my kid will be a horrible, miserable failure if she’s not properly outfitted with a brand new backpack, lunch bag, water bottle, various items of stationary (which we buy from the school anyways) and a brand new fall wardrobe perfectly styled with the latest in pre-teen fashion.  If I don’t get my sh*t together soon then we may as well consider Grade 3 a write-off.

Preparing the Shorties for school is to be sure, a necessary summertime chore.  Don’t panic.  I am on the case.  However, I do take umbrage with retail turning my last HALF of summer break into a shopping season second only to Christmas?  We’ve only kissed the Shorties goodbye for their first day at Summer Camp to only be bombarded by retail with You-Need-This and For-The-Love-of-God-Do-Not-Forget-That.

And do we need a new backpack EVERY fall?  Really?  If the one from last year is still hanging by a thread, is it not ok to rock it until it falls apart around mid-November?  Would it be a crime against nature to buy the new backpack then when its actually needed?  Will Shorty become a social outcast, a pariah, if she doesn’t have a new bookbag on September 1?

It is also true that the Shorties do need winter clothes.  Sure they’ve grown 5 centimetres (or more) since spring sprung, so we do need to load up on jeans and sweaters before the fall rains arrive.  But how many times has that post Labor Day week been one of the hottest on record so we can probably give the winter woolies a beat.  We’ll MAKE it if we wait til October to start stocking up, right?

So lets save the shopping panics, drama and worst of all CROWDS for Christmas and give us moms a break.

Its Mother’s Day Suckas!

Have you remembered the Mom(s) in your life yet?

Have you remembered the Mom(s) in your life yet?

I really hope you’re paying attention.  Its that time of the year again when you need to make sure that you bestow ALL the praise, glory and most of all gifts on the woman who carried you around for 9 months and has the stretch marks to prove it.  And by the way, in addition to your own sweet mother, you better be sure to remember the mother of your children too.  If you don’t, well no one can help you from the deep freeze you’re about to experience.  Oh yes, the 9 months per child of bloating, weight gain, exhaustion, insatiable hunger and uncontrollable nausea earned the women in your life a whole day in their honour.  Every year.  And God help you if you forget it.

As for me, I have every intention of languishing through the whole day.  Would I like coffee in bed?  Why yes, that would be lovely?  Oh should we go out for brunch (and lunch and dinner too)?  Certainly, that sounds divine.  What was that?  You want to fold those loads of laundry and clean up the kitchen?  Sure, that would be fabulous.  I’ll suck every last second of laziness out of the day and hold it tight in my heart to get me through to next year.  I will.

In other Mom news.  I was quite taken by old Princess Kate.  She kind of blew me away this week.  So much so that I was a little skeptical of the timeline of her labor and delivery of the sweet brand new Princess Charlotte.

You see, I just happened to be flying home from London Heathrow that day. I was about to board the flight and my phone buzzed with the the BBC alert that the Princess was in labor.  My first instinct was “Thank God neither of my birth stories began with a Breaking News Alert.”  Then I climbed on the plane, took a Gravol and proceeded to sleep for the next 8 hours (see how much I relish the lazy?).  I was awoken by the crackle of the PA through the airplane full of Brits and Commonwealthers like me with the announcement that the Princess was safely “delivered” of a daughter.  About an hour later as we landed in Vancouver and my iPhone popped back on 3G, there was the photo of Kate, Wills and little Charlotte (Char? Lottie? Cher?) all perfectly dressed, coiffed, make-upped and packing in the car to go home.

What. The. F*CK?

So I started to do the math.  8hrs + 1hr and carry the 2.  No.  8hrs + 3hrs for a media blackout + 1hr on the final approach and… I couldn’t make it add up.  When I had my kids the first 2 weeks (let alone the first 8 HOURS) were a complete disaster.  We’re talking lucky if I showered, tear-ravaged, hunched over, pain managing, boob swelling good times.  I couldn’t bear the thought of guests coming to drop us dinner and see the baby (oh, just for a second) let alone standing in front of the Lindo Wing for a full photo call with the world press.  Aside from the dream team that was required to help Kate get to that state (and for the love of God, do not read that as criticism because if I were her I would insist on 3 times as many glammers and groomers to get myself into shape for the scrutiny of a world press media hit), the grace and sheer patience that she must have to be able to pull that off with a genuine smile on her face is not only inspiring, its unbelievable.

Can you imagine their car ride home?  How many times did he have to thank her?  How many times did she utter the words “You owe me?”  Not to mention the serious amount of red and gold Cartier boxes that greeted her arrival back at Kensington Palace must’ve been nothing short of phenomenal.  At least, I hope it was.

Her beloved departed Mother-in-Law won the hearts and minds of the masses as “The People’s Princess”.  With that move, Kate just made herself the universal “Mother’s Princess”.  Godspeed Katy Cambridge.  Godspeed.

Do Not Go Softly Into That Good Night… Dishwasher.

Its been about 4 weeks since my dishwasher died.  It wasn’t even a year old and it just up and leaked.  It took over a week to get the service guy in.  He arrived with his tool kit and shoe covers.  He opened her up and had a look.  I stood beside him in my slippers, wringing my dishpan hands wondering if today was the day I could load her back up again and take her for a long awaited spin.  Alas, the answer was no.  The repairman sat me down at the kitchen table.

He gave a slight shake of his head, “I’m afraid there is nothing we can do.”

I let out a small, almost inaudible yelp.  “Really?  Nothing can be done?”  I whispered looking down at my tattered cuticles.  It was then that I was plunged, head long into the stages of grief.  “It can’t be.  This dishwasher is brand new.  Its only seen one Christmas dinner, one Thanksgiving.  It has never even experienced the Easter brunch?  Its impossible!”

“No.”  He said.  “I know it’s not fair.  Life can be cruel.  Cheap foreign made appliances can be cruel.”

My shock quickly turned to anger.  “No!  It can’t be!”  I repeated, “This dishwasher is brand new.”

It was then that I called the manufacturer.  Their pithy phone number 1-800-ShittyBrandName made it so much easier to remember in my blind rage.  I punched the 1 for english and the 9 for home appliances and the 7 for products still under warranty and the 3 for products that were still under warranty and had a file opened already and then 8 for the products that had met their untimely demise.  I waited patiently for the operator to pick up as I had so many (SO MANY) times before.  Finally, there they were, on the line to help in my time of need.

“How can I help you?” she sang (ok, growled)

And it was then that I found myself in the vortex of what happens when your dishwasher dies while still under warranty.  The sadness crept around me like a dark shroud.  What difference does it make any way.  The dishwasher never really loved me at all.  It was a fickle friend with all its error codes, half run cycles and leaks.  It never handled my plastics well, leaving them a sopping wet mess.  And wine glasses – just forget it.  I explained all the morbid details to the operator, who connected me to another operator and yet another.  I sent and resent paperwork over and over again to prove that the dishwasher was still under warranty.  I climbed into the darkness, digging with my bare, pruny hands into the depths of dishwasher-less despair.

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Every day, I would pull on the long yellow gloves with their flocked lining.  Still damp from the last load.  I would fill the sink with the hottest water I could stand and let the water run over the plates.  Layering the towels on the counter, I would carefully wipe the cutlery sure to get every last morsel of food from between the tines.  Exhaustively rinsing the glasses to remove all the bubbles and ensuring that every fingerprint was polished off, returning them to their homes in the cupboard.  The ritual of washing the dishes became my therapy.  My catharsis as I looked across the kitchen at the gleaming stainless steel door of my dearly departed dishwasher.  With every pump of the dishsoap into the sink, I said another goodbye to my fickle friend.

And like that, the telephone rang.  “Yes, we have your replacement dishwasher ready.  It will be delivered on Monday.” the voice said.

I almost cried!  “Monday?  Really?”

“Yes indeed.  Sometime between 9am and 5pm.”

“That’s such great… wait.  What?  Do you mean I have to take the whole day off work to sit at home and wait for you to deliver this thing?  Seriously?  You have got to be kidding me……” I went on.

It’s been a month since we closed the door on our dishwasher.  Its the end of an era really.  Her replacement will arrive tomorrow and a I am sure a new saga will begin.  You see, BrandName is replacing her with the exact same model so undoubtedly we’re in for another tumultuous relationship.  But for now, I will smile when I think of my dearly departed friend and welcome her replacement with open arms and perfectly manicured hands.

Another Year Older

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Tomorrow I will turn 43. Forty-f$&@ing-three. How the hell did that happen? I don’t feel 43. Well, maybe in the middle of the night when I have to get up to pee for the 473rd time and my knees creak and the soles of my feet burn and my back aches. But in my brain, I feel like I’m still in my 20s. Sure I’ve lived the years between then and now. Lots of life. Career, marriage, kids, houses things like that. Lots of things that grown-ups do. And sure, on a Friday night at 9pm I would much rather be tucked into bed with my kids, in flannel pjs, watching Frozen (again) than heading out for a night on the town. I suppose these are the fundamental differences that simply come with age.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to be younger, I like the boldness that comes with being in my 40s. The balls I never had in my youth to speak with confidence and determination. I mean I just bought my first red lipstick this year! Its just that some days I wake up and wonder how time can move so quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was a teenager lying in bed dreaming of my future and now I’m lying in bed wondering why the hell I have to pee… again.

Mrs. Robinson was 42 for pete’s sake. I’m going to be older than Mrs. F^&#ing Robinson! Got that? Holy shit. That sexy old broad with the seam in her stockings and the grey streak through her mane. I’m OLDER than that. Jesus.

The good news is that its 2015 and people like Gwyneth Paltrow (Oh Goop-y!) and Jennifer Aniston are the same age as me. Its cool. Forty is the new thirty, or so they say. Middle age, menopause – pshaw. Aaliyah said “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.” But my Grandmother taught me to always subtract 10 – so if anyone asks how old I’ll be tomorrow, I’m taking a page out of her book and saying 33. You won’t rat me out, will you?

Book Review: Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

I need to read more. The trouble is when. I know, I know. I’m on airplanes all the time, surely I could read then. But if I did, when would I catch up on all my TV and movie watching? Seriously, when would all that solitaire playing get done.

Truth is I love to read, but at the current break neck pace at which my life seems to be moving, I am either too exhausted or too distracted to concentrate. The good news is that my book club is back on track and someone (very gratefully) suggested that we read Amy Poehler’s new autobiography, Yes, Please. Come to think of it, it might have been my idea. See… Distracted.

I am a fan of Amy Poehler, I’m not going to lie. So chances are I was pre-destined to love this book even if it was a piece of shit. The good news is, it’s most certainly not a piece of shit and I did love it. Not only is she funny, self-effacing and candid (all qualities I admire), she is completely relatable. As a busy working mom, you will recognize her struggles with chasing a happening career all the while beating herself up about being a good enough mom to her two kids.

As a card carrying member of the business of show, I like to read her stories about building her career. The dues paid and the hardwork. I also appreciate her position as a woman in the business and how she navigates through gender issues and glass ceilings.

Her approach to her relationships and her strong and realistic account of what it’s like to be a 40-something woman in this world, caring for a family and navigating business is compelling. It’s a good read. A quick and easy read with great anecdotal stories.

All moms should read it!

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Airport Observations

Air travel can reduce us all to the lowest common denominator. I mean, where else are we held in a small confined place, behind armed guards at the mercy of major multinational corporations? It’s quite gross when you really think about it like that.

Sitting in an airport, sharing the experience with thousands of other people can really bring out the worst. Slimy washrooms, shitty food, long line-ups and the reality that you have zero control over how this experience is about to go down can be a real trial of patience.

I’m sitting at the gate watching the various people carry their literal and metaphoric baggage around with them. From the guy sleeping in the middle of the floor, blocking an entire bank of seats. The woman applying a full face of make-up. The kids crying. The cheapskate who is bound and determined to avoid bag check fees and has wandered to the gate with a roller bag, a duffle, a garment bag and a back pack. Or how about the girl with the blanket and full size pillow?

Ahh the charm and glamour of it all. No, it’s all about bad coffee, farts and pissy people everywhere. People say enjoy the journey. I’ll just wait til I get there if that’s ok with you.