Whenever my husband tells me he’s going out of town on business, my stomach sinks. I feel pressure under my tongue like I’m going to vomit. I expect it’s similar to how I would feel if I were to find out I was expecting a third child.
Ok, maybe not that bad… but close.
I know it means I will inevitably be late for work, arriving frazzled, in border-line meltdown mode. That’s how I feel when I am 5 to 10 minutes late, even if I work through lunch. You can imagine how I feel when I’m actually out sick. I was racked with guilt when I was in the hospital with MRSA.
I am not normal.
My life is planned down the second.
Alma demanded braids this morning. That’s all it took to ensure I was 5 minutes late. Hard to believe? I frequently have to decide whether to pee before work or arrive on time.
My “lunch breaks” are spent buying milk to store in the work fridge and canceling all of the appointments I can’t make because I can’t even use a vacation day to see a Doctor. I’m just so valuable.
So valuable that I could create a daily list of criticisms longer than my grocery list. We have two kids. It’s a long-ass list.
I see the sunrise on the way to work. I watch it set on the drive home. I know, I know… there are people who would say, “Be grateful you have a job.” Oh, I am.
It’s so awesome to be able to afford to enjoy absolutely NO time with my children or husband.
Well, I do have my weekends. This past weekend was a blast. We had a party to celebrate our son’s 2nd birthday. I ate too much, drank too much wine and had to delete all pictures where you could see my arms. (Not a fan of my arms right now. I have “drink too much” arms. Not even lugging around a 30 pound kid can cure that.)
Birthday parties are a blur. Afterward you question whether you were rude to anyone, did the food taste good and WHAT HAVE WE DONE BY GIVING OUR TODDLERS CAKE AND CHOCOLATE??
Nothing compares to post-birthday party meltdowns.
Sunday, we took the kids to a state park to enjoy the great outdoors. Nothing great about my daughter demanding I carry her for miles through snake-infested woods, sweating my ass off and constantly having to stop so she could throw sticks in the river.
My son had a blast. He’s a future hiker.
Alma… she’s a future shopper.
She spent an hour before leaving crying hysterically because we wouldn’t let her wear a white lace skirt and light pink church shoes to go hiking.
I knew we made a mistake when after just a couple of minutes of walking she started saying, “I’m sweating. My knees hurt. I’m hungry.” Her “knees” hurt?
Yeah, that’s a new thing. “I can’t walk up the stairs because my knees hurt. My feet hurt and my arms and my toes.” She’s a classic bullshitter.
The day at the park started out with us saying, “Maybe the kids will be ready soon to try out camping.”
It ended with us saying, “Let’s never leave the house again.”
We’re terrified to even go out to eat anymore.
HELP, we’re being held hostage by two very small people with astonishing strength and an inability to communicate effectively!!
You’d think all of the action of the busy weekend would wipe the kids out and they would sleep like logs.
My daughter slept like a log, if you picture a little blonde log rolling out of a bed at 2 a.m. and screaming incoherently, “I don’t want i! I don’t want it!” (I have no idea why she was saying that)
Throw in the fact that this weekend one of the dogs snatched away a piece of bread packed with the other dog’s medication and then proceeded to projectile vomit around the house for an hour and you might begin to understand why I have “drink too much” arms.
I wasn’t just a Kmart kid growing up. I was a thrift store kid. While my mom was shopping for clothes at the local “Kidney Store” in the ghetto in South St. Pete, I would be rewarded for good behavior with the thrift store goodie bag. It’s a plastic bag for a buck that’s crammed with stuffed animals with matted fur, plastic toys missing parts and the occasional plastic gator or frog for the swimming pool.
Not only did the thrift store have a particular smell, like that musty nursing home death smell, but so did the goodie bag. Should’ve poured bleach in the bag and given it a couple good shakes before playing with it. I guarantee one of the bonuses packed inside was the pox or the plague.
You would think it would make me appreciate the fact that my children have all new toys to play with. But, I am beginning to realize my kids don’t appreciate ANYTHING and neither do we. Toys are broken, discarded and tossed in the trash by the kids before I even notice they’re gone. Stuffed animals are loved passionately by my daughter for a few days before sitting unused in her closet for months.
My stuffed animals were loved until they were unrecognizable. A stuffed bunny would become a lump of brown fake animal flesh missing eyes. Gone are the days of horror story dolls missing limbs and beheaded Barbie Dolls.
Our kids are spoiled with new, new, new.
It’s missing a part?
Toss it in the garbage.
It stopped working?
We’ll buy you a new one.
You want to look like “Lulu, Ladybug Girl?”
We’ll spend $100 making that happen. It’s not even for Halloween. It’s just parenting in 2014.
I spent big money buying the kids a “hunting cabin” for Christmas only to have my husband take it down within two days because it just “takes up too much room.” A hunting cabin. When we were kids, that was a picnic table covered with a sheet. We would sit underneath and play Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” on cassette tape for hours.
Wanna play banker? That just requires a handful of Monopoly money and dad’s calculator. Now? You need to buy a functioning cash register complete with coins and a conveyer belt for the fake boxes of cereal and canned goods.
Don’t have a Slip ‘N Slide? As children, we would take our busted pool floats and tape them together and stick the water hose on it and BINGO, Slip ‘N Slide.
Don’t even get me started on birthday parties. For our birthdays growing up, we would get to choose what meal we wanted for dinner. (at home) My mother would bake our birthday cake and we would sit down as a family of 5 and get a grand total of maybe 10 presents, half of which would inevitably be clothing.
Now, you’re expected to throw a massive bash for your toddler with all of the dozens of “friends” they don’t really have and rent a bouncy house complete with a water slide. The kids get an enormous Publix birthday cake decorated with a bunch of gaudy crap for whatever “theme” you choose. There was no “theme” when I was a kid. The theme was, “it’s your Goddamn birthday, here’s some presents and you can daydream about balloons because those things cost money and take too much time. Hop in the above-ground pool after cake and go to bed.”
And it was a great day. Every birthday. Because I spent it with my family and it was all about me. It had nothing to do with the amount of money spent. There was no trip to Disney. And you appreciated every single eyeless, limbless, matted and treasured toy in your closet.
Maybe I should give my kids a Thrift Store goodie bag and see how many minutes before everything inside ends up in the garbage. Then, I’ll scream at them, “That cost a whole dollar and came with a rare infectious disease from a previous century!!!”