Posts Tagged ‘SAHM’

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014

This post is the first entry of what I’m currently calling “You can’t make this shit up”.  

Every day August is in preschool from 1pm – 4pm.  That is three blissful hours all to myself.  Because we did not own a car last year, it was easier to stay in the neighborhood then to go home and come back again.  Hence the beginning of my journey with a nearby gym.  (To protect the innocent, and my membership, I will not name my gym for fear they may kick me out. )  Although we recently purchased a car,  (that’s right people, after seven or so years without a car in San Francisco we finally caved and bought one in October) I have become so addicted to the gym that I continue to go at least four days a week.  Monday through Friday (excluding Wednesdays) I am at my gym between the hours of 1:20pm and about 3:30pm. These are what one might call the “off hours”.  Typically this means that the gym is less crowded during these hours, however, in my case it ALSO means that the crowd is, well, let’s just say, atypical.  The average age in the locker room during the above mentioned hours is what I would guess to be sixty years old.  The average age continues to entertain me everyday, some more than others.  

And so concludes my introduction to “You can’t make this shit up”.  Some entries will be dialogue, and some will be mere observations.  I hope to have MANY “You can’t make this shit up” entries for you in the future, but for now I have just two. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

February 20, 2014, 2:43pm

“Achoo,” I sneezed while putting on my boots one day in the gym locker room.

“Bless you, ” said the woman dressing the the right of me.

The woman two aisles over to the left said, “Bless you, you must own a cat.”

I giggled of course, but then I could tell she was serious and waiting for a response, “Umm, nope, no cat.”

“Oh, must be a dog then,” she replied.  At this point I’m thinking she thinks I have an allergy.

“Nope, no dog either.”

“Oh my. I hope you have a boyfriend or a husband at least,” she said expressing concern for my sad life. 

“This is getting awfully personal for a sneeze,” the woman to my right said expressing her concern for this discussion.

I took a little longer than everyone was comfortable with to reply to her question.  I mostly hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my life with these ladies, and I was curious whether I could get away with no answer.  I couldn’t.

“I have a husband and a four-year-old son,” I proudly responded.  Although I thought about saying I had no one just to see her reaction.  

“Oh well, that’s good.  I hope you have a lover too.  I didn’t get to be seventy-nine years old, and this happy with just a husband,” she stated much to my surprise.  

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014, 3:03pm

Usually I try to keep my head down as much as possible for fear I might turn to glass if I look up too often.  However, for a brief, although not brief enough, moment I looked up while putting lotion on my face.  Two aisles over to my left, a woman about seventy years old was brushing her entire body with a hairbrush.  I do mean entire.  She left no stone unturned. I should have stopped watching after the first glance, but I had to see where she was going with this.  I wish I hadn’t.  Although it did leave me wondering, “Is this some way of achieving a younger looking body?  Maybe this is similar to how Marcia Brady brushed her hair 100 times every day?”

You can’t make this shit up!

Has this happened to you?

February 24, 2014

The first two hours of my day began with August asking me to build him a LEGO house.  He’s usually very good at playing by himself for long stretches of time, EXCEPT when he’s tired.  Today he was tired.  So, I put him off until I was done with one cup of coffee, one bowl of hot cereal, putting away the clean dishes, washing the newly dirty ones, and saying good-bye to my husband as he left for work (It all sounds so 1950′s when I write it down like this).

I went into his room, grabbed a spot on the floor next to him, and began building.  Normally, I don’t take architectural direction from a four-year-old, but since he had been begging for two hours I reluctantly began to build him a LEGO house.  After building what I thought was a damn fine house with a slanted roof and a window for the entry, I presented it to August.  

“Ta-da.”, I exclaimed brimming with pride.

“What is it?” he said as if he’d never seen a house before.

“Umm.  The house you’ve been asking for.”

“Oh.  Can I see it?”

“Um, well, okay, “I said knowing full well where this was going.

And so the quick destruction of my house began.  He hooked his LEGO trailer bed up to the bottom of it, he ripped off my masterpiece of a roof, tossed it over his shoulder, and replaced it with some LEGO-crafted airplane wings, and it just went on from there.  He had spent two hours begging me for a LEGO house, and spent ten minutes destroying it beyond all recognition.  

Sometimes, I don’t know why I bother.  Does this happen to you?  Your kid asks you to build something, you do, you become completely attached to it, and he destroys it without even the slightest hesitation?  

What’s New?

February 3, 2014

Ever since I’ve become a SAHMAM (Stay-at-Home-Most-Awesome-Mom) the question I have come to fear the most is “What’s new?” It seems like a sweet and simple question, but really all it does is make me feel bad about myself.  Every time someone asks me this question the same thing happens to me.

First, I smile big in order to make time for myself to think of something, anything to say in answer to this question.  Once the smile is over, and I’ve realized that nothing is coming to mind, I say, “Umm, hmm, umm…” again to stall.  I always think, “Come on, there MUST be something new with you!”.  Then I remember what’s new:

  • August had athlete’s foot last week – (not quite the something new that I was hoping for)
  • August composed a song called “I love you” – (I think this is cute and funny but not everyone will)
  • August wrote a book called “Where does Eeyore sleep?”- (this isn’t what’s new with me, it’s what’s new with August)

And that’s it.  That’s all I got.  So, I go with the last one, “August wrote a book”.  And now you see the problem with this question.  For a SAHM, it’s not what’s new with you, it’s what’s new with your child.  And the people who usually ask this question don’t understand this.  Of course my fear is that I’m alone out here; that I’m the ONLY SAHM who feels this way?  Do other SAHMs have an interesting answer to the “What’s new?” question?

Here’s how I wish I could answer this question:

  • I got a paid writing job working from home
  • I’m traveling around Europe starting next week and I don’t know when I’m coming back
  • My best friend from France is coming to visit (okay, so I don’t have a friend from France, but imagine how cool it would be if I did and they were coming to visit)
  • My article got published in the San Francisco Chronicle
  • I’m taking a writing course

So I’ve decided after being asked this question yet again recently that I would at least sign up for another writing class.  Then next time someone asks me “What’s new?” at least I have a decent answer that doesn’t involve my son.

How I know He’s Growing Up

December 17, 2013

I always hear parents say, “They grow up so fast. Enjoy this time, it goes by quickly. This is the best age; enjoy it; it doesn’t last forever.”  To be perfectly honest, my reaction is usually a polite smile but inside I’m thinking about how I don’t entirely agree.  Until recently, that is.  

One of the very first things I looked forward to when my son was born was his independence.  It sounds harsh, but being the baby of the family I’m not used to someone relying on me for their every need.  I got through the first six months knowing that everything we did for him and with him was one step closer to him relying more on himself than me.  It started with milk. The more milk he gets the stronger he gets.  And the stronger he gets, the more independent he gets.  Then it moved on to tummy time. The more times he’s on his tummy, even though he hates it, the stronger he gets and the more independent he gets.  That moved onto bigger things like putting him into his own bed, sleep training, scooting, crawling, talking and then finally walking.  

The stronger August got, the stronger I got, and the more I was able to appreciate all the little things about raising a little person. And trust me, I do enjoy all the little things – as many as I can.  I try to remind myself every day that this person is growing and some day he’ll be a teenager and then it’s all over.  But man, lately, he’s really becoming independent, and below are the ways that he’s showing me…

  1. He doesn’t cry every morning when he wakes up (He did this for the first two years of his life until we took the side off his bed – I would have done it sooner if I had known!)
  2. He goes to the bathroom by himself in the morning without asking us to help him take off his pajamas. (Every single morning, he’d either call us loudly from the bathroom for help or drag us out of bed to simply take off his pajamas which we KNEW he could do by himself. Then, one morning it stopped and now he does it without us even knowing about it)
  3. He can and does completely dress himself (Of course he doesn’t dress himself all the time, but the point is that he can and does sometimes.)
  4. He plays happily by himself for a good amount of time in the morning. (We have a clock that turns yellow when he’s allowed to come bother us.  Not only does he abide by this rule, but he doesn’t even notice when it goes yellow anymore.  These days I get up because I feel guilty that he’s been playing by himself for so long.)
  5. He can put on his own shoes. (He actually WANTS to put on his own shoes, rather than me begging him to sit still while I put them on for him.)
  6. He wipes his own butt successfully. (I know this sounds like nothing, but after years of diapers wiping one’s own butt is a big deal!)
  7. He has recently learned how to zipper. (This really got me.  Zippering is tough, I’m still learning how to do this myself.)
  8. When we’re in a store, he puts things back where he found them. (I’ve been reminding him for what seems like forever to put things back where he finds them, and the other day I just turned around and he had done it completely unsolicited.)
  9. He told me that he enjoys preschool becomes it gives him “some privacy” from me. (Ouch, but hey, I enjoy preschool for the same reasons.)
  10. When we park on a hill, he knows better than I do which way to turn my wheels. (And he’s right every single time.)
  11. Recently he told me, “I’m tired of telling you which way to turn your wheels.  You’ll have to look at other cars to figure it out.”

And there you have it.  Careful what you wish for I guess.  He is in fact growing up and becoming more independent at an astonishing rate. Honestly, it’s not that I want it all to slow down, it’s more that I don’t want to forget any of this and I want him to remember at least some of it.

Painting the Orange Bowl

October 24, 2013

Those of you who know me….brace yourselves.  Grab a seat, and maybe a strong drink.  But don’t drink while you’re reading this, because you might just snarf from sheer disbelief.  And no one likes to snarf.  Those of you who don’t know me, just grab a strong seat.

Let me begin by telling you I am NOT, I repeat, I am NOT a joiner.  I like to watch other people join, and I like to be invited to join, but I DON’T like to join.  A few months ago I was asked to be the Program Enrichment Co-chair for my four-year-old son’s preschool.  That’s the invited to join part, but I found myself considering their proposal.  To quote Sandra Boyton, “Should I stay, should I go…?” In the end I decided to take the position.  When else in my life will I have the opportunity to be such a big part of my child’s life.  After all, I only have about ten more years (if I’m lucky) before he hates me, right?  

What does this position mean?  It means my co-chair and I throw THE BIGGEST party of the year for the preschool – The Annual Halloween Party.  This party is in two days and counting.  We have planned, delegated, shopped, begged for donations, bought our costumes, and said a few prayers in the hopes that we haven’t forgotten anything important. 

Last night I found myself covered in orange from the 100 newly painted paper bowls, tearing apart old crocheted sweaters so we would have black yarn for our “spider webs”, researching recipes for the cinnamon rolls I’m making for the Saturday morning set-up crew, and handwriting labels in paint no-less for our activity tables.  I stopped, looked around and smiled because I realized that I was having fun doing something I NEVER thought possible. If ten years ago someone came up to me in a New York City bar and whispered in my ear just before my last shot on the pool table, “You’re going to be painting bowls for your son’s Halloween party, and you’re going to love it”, I would have glared at them till they walked away, and laughed it off with my friends over one more Vodka/Cranberry.

 Being a full-time Mom really gives me the luxury to every day become what I want.  Somedays that’s a Pulitzer prize writer, somedays it’s a Rockette, and somedays it’s a gym trainer.  But somedays it’s a Mom.

A Note to Myself

August 1, 2013

The director of our co-op preschool sent out an email to all new and returning families entitled “Count down to preschool 19 days to go!” today and it really brought a smile to my face.  It wasn’t because I’m so excited to start the school year, or because August is entering his second year of preschool, or because I’m looking forward to my new Wednesday workdays (it’s a co-op so each parent must work a shift once a week at the school).  A smile swept across my face because all the things the director was reminding us to do before school we had already checked off our list.

  1. Toilet training – CHECK
  2. Find well-loved clothes that are DYING to be played in – CHECK
  3. Spare set of well-loved clothes to leave at school – CHECK
  4. Lunch bag  - CHECK
  5. Easy to open snack and water container – CHECK
  6. Get child prepared to be without me – CHECK
  7. Get myself prepared to be without child – CHECK

But as I was smiling over the completeness of my check list I realized that new moms and dads were out there worrying over all the things I worried about last year, and don’t know how their child will possibly manage.  So, I’m writing this note to them, and to myself last year.  God knows I could have used a nice note telling ME that it was all going to be okay.

Dear Self and others,

General:

I know it’s a little overwhelming to think about how you’re going to accomplish all these things in the next 19 days, but just know that you don’t ACTUALLY have to finish everything.  If you show up with just yourself and your child in tow on the first day, it will still be okay.  Even if you forget the snack, the water, lunch bag, extra set of clothes, and your kid pees all over their clothes it is still OKAY.  Everyone will still love you, and even better they will understand.

Toilet training:

The toilet training thing is a scary one, but hey you know what, that’s partially what the spare change of clothes is for.  And better yet, if you don’t bring a spare set the school has literally buckets full of spare clothes, shoes, and socks for those just in case moments.  The kids just figure it out, and the teachers/parents are there to help.  Awesome, huh?

Naps:

Naps, yep, I know you’re concerned about that.  How will my child manage without a nap since we’re in the PM class or how will I get them home in time for their nap if school doesn’t even end until 12pm?  One idea is to change their nap time to either before school (if you go in the PM) or later in the day (if you’re in the AM).  The other secret is that the naps do end, and absolute worse case scenario – put them to bed early and enjoy some extra adult time!

Snack Time:

You might be thinking – my child isn’t going to eat their next meal if they get a snack.  They do though, and if they don’t then just make sure that snack the next day is a good one! And it’s great because they must eat what you pack them or eat nothing because there is NO snack sharing!  Woot!

And the snack/water containers…this was a little tough to figure out, but after seeing what the other kids have and what the teachers recommend you’ll figure it out.  Watch the kids and see what they can open themselves and get that.  Besides you needed a few more hundred bottles, right?  I know we did!  (Umm, sarcasm…)

Clothes:

This is an easy one – if you care about any item of clothing (including jackets, shoes, socks or hats) don’t send your kid in it.  Although I have to say we’ve lost sunglasses, hats, and fleeces several times and they’ve ALL come back to us.  (Name labeling helps, of course) Amazing considering all the clothing flying around this place, but it’s true.

Separation stuff:

They might cry on the first day, for the first week, after three weeks, or never.  But the teachers are great.  They really do care, and they are all so good with them.  Just trust that your child can do this and so can you.  After all, they DO continue to go to school without you, right?

Now go enjoy the next three hours off, seriously, please, you deserve it.  You’ve spent three years bathing them, feeding them, being up at all hours of the night, and changing your clothes (and theirs for that matter) five times a day all the while cleaning your house, doing dishes, making dinner, and trying to maintain a loving relationship with your partner.  YOU DESERVE THIS!

And if you’re still worried,  Molly (the director’s partner-in-crime) is great about checking on the kids for you. She’s just a phone call away.

Okay, that’s it!  Have a great year, and remember you too will have this perspective next year.

Love, Jennifer

My Top Ten

July 25, 2013

Not sure why, but I’m feeling like doing my own version of the “Top Ten at Ten” (even if it is only 7:17pm).  

Top Ten Reasons Why Being a SAHM is the Bomb:

10.  You don’t have a go to a gym anymore because chasing your kid around is exercise enough.

9.  Finally, you’re in charge.

8.  All those years of listening to your mom say, “Because I said so” have paid off – it’s now you’re turn!

7.  A typical day consists of food, playground, food, nap, stroll around the neighborhood, food, bath, bed – seriously, THAT is an AWESOME day!

6.  No meetings in stuffy board rooms with a bunch of people that you could care less about saying shit about other shit you don’t care about.

5.  You can take your time eating your lunch because no one is watching the clock.

4.  NAPS! (Sure these go away eventually, but if you’re really clever you can still have “Quiet Time”).

3.  You can relax over the weekend because you completed your errands during the week.

2.  Your new boss as a SAHM will never fire you, never lay you off, and will appreciate you longer and better than anyone ever possibly could.

AND the number one reason why being a SAHM is the bomb….

1.  Your new boss loves you unconditionally and will give you more job satisfaction by merely smiling at you.

 

Okay, so what’s a Top Ten good things without a Top Ten bad things….let’s see if I can come up with ten.

Top Ten Reasons why being a SAHM can suck…

10.  No ten days of paid vacation ever happens as a SAHM – not unless your new boss is coming with you.

9.  No health care or sick days.

8.  The notion of a “quiet cup of coffee” is a thing of the past unless you decide to get up at 5am – or if you do it’s not until it’s gone cold.

7.  Stylish clothes is simply a waste of money (of course this could be a positive thing too!).

6.  Showering becomes optional.

5.  You start to hear your mother in every word that comes out of your mouth.

4.  Having to be nice to moms you can’t stand because your kid might like their kid.

3.  Being THAT MOM who’s screaming at their child to walk faster because you’re tired of him stopping to name every car make and model along the way (Or is this just my kid?).

2.  Wiping butts (Seriously, when you decided to become a SAHM did you ever think you’d wipe so many butts?)

1.  Although try as you may, you do lose touch with all your single friends and friends without children.  It sucks but unless they were a REALLY good friend, you might as might say your goodbyes now.

I guess I could come up with ten bad things about being a SAHM.  I got a little stuck around #3, though.  The truth is that being a SAHM will ALWAYS be better than any other job I could possibly imagine.  I just hope that I don’t have to pop out thirteen more babies to keep this job.

 

Come to my, I mean, our party

July 4, 2013

August’s fourth birthday party is coming up.  And to be fair, it’s really his first real birthday party.  The first year we invited only our friends and celebrated the fact that Brent and I had not killed each other nor August during the first year.  The second party we had at a playground and it was MAYBE fifty degrees with a wind chill of forty on August 16th. (Par for the course if you know San Francisco weather at all.  We have our winter during the summer months and our summer during the winter months.  Somehow this city doesn’t know which side of the equator it’s on.)  The only people there was our family, the devoted babysitter, and a few tough friends who came with coffee in hand and a scarf around their neck.  The third year we had so few people to invite that we opted for a party at August’s grandparents in Texas where it was 110 degrees in the shade (That’ll show you San Francisco.  We’ll take our party somewhere else!)

So this year, finally, August has true friends to invite.  We have completed our first year of preschool, and he has made quite a few (ten to be exact) friends.  He was very specific with who was allowed at his party.  And I quote, “I don’t want any crying at my party.  In fact, we should have a sign ‘no crying’.  So no babies.  Also, I only want to invite kids I play with – no one that I don’t play with.”  Who am I to argue with that logic?  The party is set for August 17th (the day after his birthday), and we sent out the Evite last week.  Since then, I have become obsessed with it.

I check at least twice a day to see who’s “viewed” it.  And I’m confused by the people who have viewed the Evite but not responded.  What are you waiting for people?  A better invitation?  It won’t happen.  I check my email three times a day to see who’s responded (Yes, I realize that I could check responses and views at the same time, but then I would only be peeking at the Evite twice a day. ). And I get giddy when the responses come in “Yes”.  This party has become MY party.  I’m a bit too attached, I know, but I can’t help it.  I’m really excited for August to have a party with all his favorite people around him.

All this has led me to wonder – is this normal?  Do all parents become this obsessed with their children’s parties?  Do their “yeses” and “nos” feel like our wins and losses? Do your children’s parties throw you back to high school when you waited around for the phone to ring, or the mail to come with that special invitation? Maybe it’s just me.  Am I alone out here?

Well, if I am alone out here, but your invited to our party, please respond, and please respond yes.  If you do respond with a “No”, just understand that August and I might not ever play with you again.  And when that happens, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There’s always tomorrow

June 26, 2013

Ever have one of those days where EVERYTHING your child does drives you insane?  And by everything, I mean everything.  The worst part is that you know it’s not them, it’s you.  August wasn’t acting any differently today. I just had less patience for it all.  

The repeating sentence seemed like it was repeating more than usual.  Or it felt more unnecessary for me to respond than usual.  Do you know the “repeating sentence syndrome”?  It’s when your child says something like, “Did you see my train?” over and over again even though you’ve already come in the room, and you’ve seen it.  He even looked up and saw you look at his train, but he’ll keep repeating his question until you give some sort of verbal response.  Ugg, that shit really gets to me.  I don’t have a response for everything.

There’s also the non-response I receive from him for my questions.  Which is truly ironic because he requires instantaneous responses to his questions and statements.  However when I ask him “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” as I watch him grabbing his crotch I get nothing.  Radio silence.  Nada.  Nothing. Crap just once couldn’t you answer me the first time I ask you? (That REALLY sounded like my mother just then.  Great.)

I’m fairly sure that these things would drive any good, fun-loving, caring, and devoted SAHP (Has anyone used this abbreviation before?  Well, if not, I’m calling dibbs on it here.  It stands for Stay-at-Home-Parent.  So when I become rich and famous you’ll know why).  But then his excuses for getting up from “Quiet Time” (He doesn’t regularly nap anymore, so we have quiet time.) were even killing me today.  His latest, and usually my favorite, is “Can I schedule an appointment at 3:33pm with you today for cuddling?”.  Not cute today.  My answer was merely “LATER!”.

But it wasn’t ALL bad.  Just two minutes ago he came in for a second hug, just because.  Always nice to get a hug.  And he wrote this awesome letter to his teacher today.  August is going to the summer program at his preschool, but his favorite teacher is not working and won’t be back until the Fall.  He’s been missing her so I suggested we write her a letter. Below is the letter, and so ends my post because, well, on days like this I like to end on a high note. 

Dear Sally, 

I miss you.  I love you.  You’re never coming back.  My mommy told me so.  I don’t know when I’ll see you.  I never see you in Blue Room.  I never get to have Dance party with you and Mommy on Thursdays.  I love you so much I can’t love you anymore.  I love mustard!

Love, August

(Note: I did NOT tell him she was never coming back; I told him she’d be back after he turns four. )

My interview with August

June 20, 2013

There are VERY few (in fact by few I mean one) blogs that I read regularly.  But I really do enjoy the Crappy Pictures blog.  Every now and then the writer will put forth a challenge, and today, the challenge was accepted:  Interview your child.  

What a great idea!  I wish I had already thought to do this the past three years, but hey, better late than never.  The idea is that you conduct an interview with your child once a year to really get a picture of who they are becoming, who they are now, and what they’re thinking.  Even if it’s what their thinking in that split second I’ll bet a decade from now you’ll still cherish that answer.  Below is my interview with August. 

  1. What is the meaning of life?  I don’t know
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A tow truck driver
  3. What makes you the most happy?  Playing with Anne, Sally, Vicky, Desmond, and Adalai (friends and teachers from his preschool)
  4. When do you feel most loved?  When my friends give me a hug (I was quite impressed with this answer.  It’s great to know that he feels love.  Although I was kind of hoping for a plug here.  Like “I feel love when you hug me Mommy”.  But you can’t win them all, right?)
  5. If you had only one wish what would you wish for?  Trains (I was quite impressed with this answer….just kidding, very predictable actually.  He’s completely obsessed with trains these days.  In fact for the past two birthday parties we’ve been invited to, he has insisted that what that person really wants is….trains)
  6. What is the funniest word you have heard?  weroisgnogirodngoidhglndlk (You get the picture.  He basically made up a word)
  7. What is the meaning of love? I don’t know
  8. What is the hardest thing to do?  Make pizza and cake (We just made both of these things)
  9. What is the easiest thing to do?  Read a book; go to the zoo, and color. (He answered this question by looking around his room. He saw a book, crayons, and a zoo map.)
  10. What is the best thing to do?  Everything
  11. What is the worst thing to do?  Hit
  12. What makes you mad?  When two of my friends both want to be co-pilots (I think that would frustrate me too!)
  13. What would you do if you had all the money in the world?  I would give some to somebody else (I swear this is what he said!  Gotta love this kid.)

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