Mom Skills

I’ve been a mom for so long I can barely remember who I was before then. I remember I had nice nails, and no gray hair or wrinkles but that’s about it. The rest is such a far off blur I’m not sure if it even happened. Did I really sleep until after the sun came up? Did I know where everything in the house was at all times and what people were asking before they uttered a word? Before becoming a mom, did I know that the fridge is actually 3 dimensional inside? “Mom! Where’s my?” To which I reply, “It’s in dryer”. “Mom! Where’s the?” “Look behind the ketchup.” “Mom! Have you seen my?” “It’s in the car.” I can do this all day. The one thing I wish I remembered though and possibly the most perplexing is whether or not I knew how to change the toilet paper roll when it was empty before I was a mom? Cause clearly male or female, there is no one in my house except me that has that God given talent. Does the skill accompany motherhood? Seriously, all the time. Which also brings up the question of why is so much being used and what do they do when it’s empty and they need it? I don’t even want to know. Day after day there’s an empty cardboard roll hanging on the holder. Occasionally there’s a new roll sitting on the counter above it waiting to be rehung. Who do they think hangs the new roll? I asked my son what they do in his apartment when the roll is empty and he just stared at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. How do all-men households manage it? My kids are so smart, why can’t I teach them this one easy skill? I’m so confused.
I guess as much as I try to make my kids responsible, self-sufficient people, there will always be certain things they just can’t do without me. I think it’s God’s way of letting moms know that we will always be needed.

Mom of the Year

“Mom! You are the worst!” Ah! Motherhood at its finest. It’s the first week of January and I’ve already dropped out of the running for Mom of the Year.  I usually make it a little longer.  This might be a record.  Whatever the definition of Mom of the Year is will never be me anyway.  I can’t fly a helicopter and I’m not real great with a lawnmower.  You’ll never see me hovering over my kids making sure they don’t experience anything unpleasant or mowing their way clear of any obstacles.  I might, however, point out some big rocks in their path, but I won’t move them.  They need to figure things out for themselves.

My kids set their own alarms and make their own lunches.  They know how to clean the bathrooms and cook the basics.  If they are cold it’s because they forgot a sweater and if they don’t bring their PE clothes they wear the loaner ones from the school.  At least the loners don’t have a big L on the front like they did when I was in school.  Forgot their homework? Bummer. They will have to explain that to the teacher.  I’m not bringing anything to school that they forgot and I won’t sign anything in a rush in the morning.  They know they need to be prepared for their day ahead of time and it works for us.

I can’t help with their math homework because it’s not how I was taught it and It doesn’t make sense to me.  I can only understand History since I was there for some of it and English since it hasn’t changed very much.  Mostly, my kids are on their own for things like this just as I was at their age

My kids have plenty to eat even if sometimes its take-out, lots of clothes, even though they aren’t all name brand because who cares anyway, and they are loved. That’s the best I can do.  We spend a lot of time laughing and enjoying life.  My kids are happy and I think we have raised some good people.  I think if you are a mom and you aren’t called the worst once in a while you might be doing something wrong.

Christmas Break?

It’s officially Christmas Break today.  I look forward to this time all year when we can spend time with our kids without the hectic schedule that we live the rest of the year.  To prepare for this special time I have already shopped, wrapped, baked, sent packages and cards, and cleaned the whole house.  This week I planned to do nothing but watch cheesy Christmas movies and play games with the kids.  Then I woke up this morning.  I thought I somehow I ended up in someone else’s house.  I’m not sure what happened when I went to sleep last night but it wasn’t good.  I know it wasn’t the elf because quite frankly he’s been a little lazy this year and hasn’t caused any trouble at all. He barely moves. As I turned a 360 in my kitchen I couldn’t believe my eyes.  First of all, the dog hair on the floor was like a light dusting of snow. The kitchen counter had groceries all over it like someone delivered the supplies for 6 meals and scattered it everywhere.  The sink was overflowing with dirty cups.  It’s not a crime to use the same cup twice people!  The kitchen table, oh my beautiful kitchen table, could barely be seen with the amount of random stuff on it.  Among the chaos was a hanger, art supplies, a laptop with headphones from the 90’s attached to it, the cat, candy wrappers, and a tube of toothpaste.  Toothpaste?  I found a bowl in the fridge with half eaten mac and cheese and the spoon still in it. Ugh.  There was a fort in the living room using every blanket, pillow, and chair in the house. I wondered why I woke up so cold. My bedroom had 12 stuffed animals in it and I didn’t even hear that happen.  Next to the toilet was a Target bag with a sandy wetsuit and Dora the Explorer towel in it. I’m confused as to why that is 1. In the house at all and 2. Next to the toilet.  Alexa! Beam me out of here please!  I can’t even find my husband for moral support because he’s off coaching some team doing something.  Who knows?  I pushed open my son’s bedroom door to ask what in the world had happened overnight and quickly closed it again because it was causing me to have heart palpitations.  I mean really, I offered to do his laundry when he came home last week from college and he said he’s an adult now and would take care of it.  The look of the mountain of dirty laundry explains why he showed up last night to the water polo game in dress slacks.   My little woke up just then and asked me to make pancakes.  I don’t even know what the look on my face was exactly but she walked away mumbling that she’d have cereal but went back to sleep instead.  I quickly shook off my anger cause, you know, it’s Christmas, but I know I taught them better than this.  I rushed around the house cleaning up because the mess was driving me crazy. I scooped the litter box with the cat constantly trying to use it while I did.  I don’t even know why that happens.  It’s not like I have the urge to go while I am cleaning the toilet.  I vacuumed and found my $25 lip liner that the cat took off with, mopped, washed, took out the trash-which isn’t my job, dusted, and organized everything.  Perfect.  Clearly Christmas Break is only a break for the kids.  For moms it’s more like Christmas Work.  So if you want to stop by my house you better do it now before they all wake up.  After that I make no promises.  

All That Static

I used to think dryer sheets were a waste of money like bottled water or organic bananas, unless you eat the peel-in which case you are weird, until I ran out of them and folded my first load of laundry. Ridiculous. It took me at least thirty minutes to get through one load. Thirty minutes! Every piece of clothing was clinging to my body for dear life and I literally could not shake it. The door bell rang and I had to answer the door with a sock stuck to the side of my head and the rest of my hair standing on end. Normally I’d say it’s not a good look for me but I don’t think I’ll see that salesman again so it’s cool. Not only were all of the clothes sticking to me but I was shocking everything like a live wire-my kids, animals, the mailman. I felt bad about the dog but the cat not so much since he seems to be quietly plotting my death anyway. So now I’m at work with my scrubs clinging to my body in a most unflattering way. No one else seems to be having this problem and it’s a tad uncomfortable. I can’t survive another load of laundry like this so I guess I’ll need to go buy dryer sheets on my way home. Lord knows I can’t skip a day doing laundry or it multiplies like Gremlins.

Goodbye Big Brown

A few weeks ago we said goodbye to our old sectional couch affectionately referred to as “Big Brown”. For a decade and a half that couch was a part of our family. Laying on it felt like a much needed hug. One time I made my sister pee her pants from laughing when I stood on the couch and walked around in a few circles before laying down, just like a dog getting comfortable on its bed. I snuggled my babies on that couch and fell asleep 5 minutes after the movie started every time we watched one. I loved it but it was time for a change since it wasn’t getting any younger and was showing its age. Like whoa. When we decided it was time to let it go, I advertised it online and to my surprise it sold immediately. Within 45 minutes it was gone. A guy had shown up with a small pickup truck and about 30 tie downs. I asked him if he thought he could really get the whole thing in his truck to which he replied, “I’m Mexican, just watch”. Um…ok. Darned if he didn’t fit all 5 pieces of that giant couch in the bed of that truck with skill I have never seen before. He climbed around his truck with the speed and accuracy of a spider monkey. It looked like something Dr. Seuss would write about. It was a tall tower of upholstery and a sight to see as it zoomed down the freeway and most definitely south of the border. Adios Big Brown-thanks for the memories. Since then we’ve been looking everywhere for a comparable couch. The new one had really big shoes to fill. Every couch we saw my husband sat down on like he was on a bench waiting for a bus where I, on the other hand, ran and sprawled out on it like hot lunch. I mean really, how will we know if it’s comfortable unless we act like it’s in our living room? We must have sat and slinked across 100 different couches in several different stores. We couldn’t agree on anything. I prefer to sink far into a couch that I have trouble getting out of and he wants a nice firm waiting room type deal. No thanks. We finally compromised and got the one I wanted. Purchasing it took about 5 seconds. The sales girl had me click a bunch of boxes on her iPad and then she waved it over my purse and my credit card was charged. Done. On delivery day I’ll be anxiously awaiting its arrival all decked out in comfy sweats and fuzzy socks. I’m so excited to have a new couch just in time for cooler weather and sappy holiday movies. Clearly it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I almost had to call out sick from work today because I woke up and didn’t have any creamer. I can only blame the crazy California weather and not myself for this. I went to bed last night in my usual warm weather garb of a tank and flannel pants.  Sometime in the night the weather turned super cold, which made me burrow far under the covers to keep from freezing.  When it was time to get up there was no way I was getting out of bed and into the frozen tundra any earlier than I had to. So, after snoozing my alarm a few times more than usual this morning, mentally ticking off the things I wouldn’t have time to do before work now, I decided that coffee was a must. I sprinted to the kitchen to get it rolling. Energy and warmth. Mmmm, sign me up. I turned on my Keurig and in the time it took to warm up, I fed the dog, peeled the cat’s teeth from my ankle one by one, and ran back to my room to get my slippers. Geez, it’s only October why is it so cold?  I got back to the kitchen and pressed the button to start brewing. Everything was perfect until I opened the fridge and noticed that I was out of creamer. I immediately fell to the ground on both knees and shook my fists at the ceiling, quietly sobbing “Nooooo!” I’m sure if anyone but my dog and cat were watching I would have appeared a tad dramatic. I didn’t have time to go to the store and since I usually add a little coffee to my creamer, there was no way I was drinking it black. I said a little prayer that I wouldn’t say or do anything I would regret today being without my morning coffee, and laid my head down on the counter for a bit. It’s my Little’s birthday today so I have lots to do and I can’t be cranky. How will I manage? I fell back to sleep for a few minutes and when I woke up I rushed to my room to get dressed. I didn’t have time to straighten my hair so a frizzy bun it was. I brushed my teeth super fast, which I tell my patients all day not to do, put my makeup on at record speed and I was ready to go. At lunchtime I went to the grocery store to buy a birthday cake for my Little. There’s no shame in my game. Yes, I went at noon on the day of my child’s birthday to get her a cake. Let’s think less about the fact that it isn’t homemade and more that it would make it home-without me eating it. I haven’t had coffee, give me a break. I forgot creamer, dang it, so I planned to go back after work. The rest of the day was A-Ok. Turns out I made it the whole day without incident. I was my usual charming self all day and was quite productive. I got off work on time and headed out. I decided while I was driving that it is crazy to think that I can’t function without coffee, since today was just about perfect, so I skipped the store. I might never drink coffee again. When I walked into the house and looked in the mirror I noticed that I only had mascara on one eye, a toothpaste stain on my shirt, and my hair looked like an orangutan. Whoa, I needed to rethink the coffee thing. I got right back in the car and headed to the store for creamer.  


So many fun things happened during our trip to Disney. Most memorable? Maybe when the automatic flusher didn’t work in the bathroom stall I was in. I’ll explain. There are two reasons I think I am intermittently invisible. One, I never get anyone to acknowledge me when I am at a store, bank, or anywhere in public when I need assistance actually, and two, automatically flushing toilets never see me. So when I turned around to find the button to push to flush it manually, I was surprised that it was so high up the wall. Seriously like eye-level. What the heck? Since I absolutely will not touch those disgusting things with my hand, I prayed I could successfully reach that button with my foot. I did a few squats and lunges right there in the stall to prepare my leg for the high kick. I did a nice round house donkey kick type thing and hit the button right on the middle. Nothing happened. I tried again and the only difference I noticed was, Ow! I’m kind-of out of shape and how the lady in the stall next to me ran out of hers really fast. What’s her problem?  I was ready to give up and just leave when I noticed that the automatic flush button was actually where it was supposed to be, low on the wall, and I was kicking the knob on the toilet seat cover dispenser. Geez. 

Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

In August my husband and I celebrated 22 years of marriage. I still love him, I really do, but marriage isn’t always easy. Like soundly sleeping and hearing him trying to fix a leaking toilet at 2am. Deep in a dream I couldn’t comprehend what the clanking metal and dripping water sounds were. Was he remodeling the bathroom? Was he working on a chain gang? Lights blazing like it was noon, he worked on that toilet for a good 30 minutes. When he finally came back to bed and fell asleep 20 seconds later, lucky him, the cat snuck in and made a mad dash across our foreheads. Arms and legs flying, my husband jumped up and ripped the covers clear off of me. Geez. The two of them went 3 rounds before I saw the silhouette of a cat flying and the door slam shut. He ended up having the mother of all allergy attacks since he is allergic to cats. To convince him to let me get a cat, I swore to him that it would strictly live outside only. Oops. He settled back in bed with a wad of toilet paper shoved up his left nostril, sorry ladies he’s all mine, grumbling about “your damn cat” and 10 seconds later I heard snoring. Are you kidding me right now? Meanwhile, I lay there freezing thinking about everything and nothing with the irrationality you only experience in the middle of the night. What was that noise? Do I smell smoke? I need to clean out the fridge. I got up and checked the house for monsters, faulty wiring, and expired milk. I went back to bed wide awake where I stared at the ceiling for another hour listening to the still running toilet and Darth Vader sleeping next to me. Now I know how Lucy and Ricky made it work. Separate beds and a husband that worked nights. When I finally fell back to sleep it seemed like 5 seconds before my alarm dinged welcoming me to the new day. Well this should be a fabulous one.
Marriage isn’t easy. It’s survival of the fittest. Some days I think my husband hung the moon and the stars. Other days I just want to punch him. It’s a delicate balance but for better or worse, it’s a great life.

You Can’t Go Home Again

It’s a beautiful day for a long walk in the old hood. My Middle has a water polo tournament at my old high school so between games I found myself wandering around. I felt like even though the trees are bigger the whole street looks smaller somehow. I’m like a giant now trying to relive the good old days. I lived there for 20 years and don’t come back very often but when I do it takes me right back to the early 80’s when we rode our skateboards down long scary hills and waited for the ice cream man every afternoon on hot summer days.

I just chalked my entire day up to watching water polo, but not really paying attention to the game schedule, didn’t plan on going to church. I later found that I actually had enough time to make it to the second service since I was walking right by there. Unfortunately, I’m not dressed for church, as I don’t usually show up in a tank and shorts, with my crazy curly hair flying every which way but loose, so I asked God for forgiveness and kept on walking passed trying not to make eye contact with any of my fellow church going friends. I’ll be there next week!

I breezed passed the house where the old people that were always naked lived and noticed the new owners put curtains on the large sliding glass doors that we used to try not to look into but pretty much always did, like I just did. It’s about time. As I walked by my old house I had to stop myself from checking the mail out of habit in the old hideous mailbox that was never replaced, and stopped in my tracks when I heard a wood chipper in the backyard. There were two workers cutting down the tree that my dad planted in the 70’s that we used to play under. What is going on? I wanted to run over and tell them to stop. What were they doing? Barbie and Ken got married there. Don’t they know how much of my young life I spent there? That’s where I learned to tie my shoes. If it wasn’t for that tree I might not know how to today. I was supposed to live in a mansion and be a scientist married to Donnie Wahlberg according to the many MASH games we played under that tree. Now how will I prove that? Stop what you are doing immediately! They are chopping down my memories. Will I
forget it all now?

Clearly anyone looking at me would just see a crazy lady swinging her arms around with tears in her eyes but not actually uttering a single word standing outside of a stranger’s house. They would have thought, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.” But this is my house! Who authorized this?

I guess I just can’t except that change happens and I think about everything we’ve done to our house now that probably destroyed some other kid’s childhood memories. I’m sorry for that. It’s sad for me to think that even though I chose to leave the neighborhood it didn’t stop time and life still went on. I didn’t recognize a single person that I saw today in the neighborhood and, well actually, come to think of it, I hope that none of them recognized me either.

Parents These Days

I can’t help but cringe when I hear someone comment about kids these days.  The fact is that kids haven’t changed at all.  Parents have changed. Kids only know what we teach them.  Sadly, parents today think that their household should be a democracy.  I’m sorry, when my kids were little I really didn’t care what their opinion was about what was best for them.  That wasn’t their job.  They needed to learn that life isn’t always pleasant, and they would have to deal with it.


Today I was at Home Depot and witnessed the best meltdown from a 4 year-old that I have ever seen.  The one and only time my son threw a tantrum at a store wasn’t as impressive because I just stood next to him and asked him if he was done.  Seeing that he wasn’t fazing me a bit, he said yes, got up and that was that.   Clearly the little girl today was very good at it.  She obviously didn’t want to be there as I could tell by her constant screaming.  After about 10 minutes of absolute mayhem that echoed throughout the warehouse, her mom snatched her up and quickly walked out of the store telling her that if she couldn’t behave they were leaving.  I swear over her mom’s shoulder I saw her smile.  Well duh, what kid wants to be at Home Depot?  I didn’t even want to be there and I was just returning something.  Bravo little monster, Bravo!  I’m sure this wasn’t her first performance and I wondered if it would work if I tried that the next time my husband dragged me there.


I can’t help but wonder what the kids of today will be like in 10-15 years.  Can you imagine grown adults acting like that?  I can just see going to the dental office with a throbbing toothache and the dentist throwing a tantrum and refusing to work.  Crossing his arms and stomping one foot yelling that he wanted to go home.  Can you imagine?  “I’m sorry, we won’t be able to see you today, the dentist is in time out and is going down for a nap.  Perhaps we can reschedule when he feels like it?” But wait, my tooth!


Let’s get a grip parents, there is no one to blame for misbehaved kids but us.  Like Mr. Bill and Gumby, kids are what we shape them into. If we aren’t careful, we will be raising a generation of spoiled brats that won’t be able to function in society and will undoubtedly be living under our roofs forever.

Oh Noooooooo!