Confessions of a BadAssMama - Take 5,382

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I would like to run away from home.

Not forever, like in an I-don't-know-who-you-are-anymore-we've-grown-into-two-different-people-these-hands-weren't-made-for-wiping-boogers sort of way. More of an I-need-a-fucking-break sort of way. Not the kind that can be satisfied by a mani-pedi or trip to the spa. I mean a sit-in-a-hotel-room-drink-green-tea-with-a-great-book-by-my-damned-self sort of way.

I don't need a girlfriend's weekend. No romantic getaway for two. The BadAssMama is craving some good old fashioned, high quality alone time. Two days should do the trick. Three, max. I don't even need an exotic island destination. Any quiet, clean, relatively well-appointed hotel location will do (remember, I am a bit of a snob. I own my story, deal with it...).

Problem is, with a full-time job, part-time blog and all-the-time kids, there really is never a "good time" to get away.

But that can't stop a girl from dreaming...

Ink it Pink - Sharpie campaign to support breast cancer research

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Hey folks,

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and breast cancer is a disease at the top of the BadAssMama's "Seek and Destroy" list. I'd like to ask for your help to spread the word about Sharpie's "Ink it Pink" campaign.

Here's the rundown:

This October, pink is the new black in the world of celebrity and fan autographs as City of Hope and Sharpie kick off their second annual “Ink It Pink” campaign to help fight breast cancer.  Now thru the end of October, City of Hope is asking celebs and every day Americans to pick up a Sharpie Pink Ribbon marker and “Ink It Pink” when signing autographs. For every signature submitted to sharpie.com, Sharpie will donate $1 to City of Hope, which is one of the nation’s leading breast cancer research, treatment and education centers.
 
Last year, in its inaugural “Ink it Pink” effort, hundreds of A-listers lent their signatures to the effort and THIS year, acclaimed rock artist Grace Potter is giving her support and kicked off the campaign this past Saturday, September 24, during her band’s concert in New York City’s Central Park. Take a peek!
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4PQAFWaMSs
 
We would love for you to “Ink it Pink” with a Sharpie Pink Ribbon marker and upload it to Sharpie.com and encourage your readers to do the same for an easy way to help a great cause. 

Karma?

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They say whenever a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Well, apparently whenever The BadAssMama needs a break a child gets a fever...

Dead ends, curve balls and general disappointment

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If I had my druthers, snow would never fall in the Northeast, weekends would last 5 days, I could eat rocky road ice cream all day and still fit into a sample size (um, technically I guess I would have EVER been able to fit into a sample size to use the word "still"), pre-eclampsia and cancer would not exist, I could have a rewarding, high-paying job that still allowed me to take my kids to and from school every day,  and Jimmy Choos would be free every Thursday. 

That would be pretty awesome (especially the ice cream and Jimmy Choo parts....). 

Unfortunately, life doesn't always work out the way you would like - or even the way you planned. Conceptually, I get this. As a parent, it's my job to help my kids navigate the inevitable disappointments of life - both big and small. The problem is, I'm not exactly the best role model when it comes to accepting when things don't go according to plan.

Don't get me wrong. My life is awesome. I have an amazing husband who loves me in spite of myself, two brilliant and completely batty children, incredible friends, supportive family, great career. But sometimes, life throws you a curveball. Plans change, options fall through, roads end. 

After the year I've had (trust me, it's been one HELL of a year...with an emphasis on the hell part), I just wanted one thing to come easy. A silver lining, if you will. A big, fat softball lobbed straight down the middle of the plate after months of dodging fastballs to the head. I thought I had one lined up - all signs pointed to yes, until the answer was no (or at least, not now). 

And then I cried. Sobbed. Blubbered, really. For about an hour.

My husband was there to pick up the pieces. Friends and family had my back. But at the end of the day, it was up to me to decide what to do next.

So that's what I'll do. I don't know what my next step will be, but I know that it's up to me to put in the leg work. I'll take some time to be pitiful (I think I've earned it), but at the same time I'll do my research, make a plan and get to work.

I guess that's the best advice any parent can give their child when things don't work out the way they plan. It's ok to be disappointed, to feel sad. But you can't let it end there. At the end of the day, you're the only one who has to live your life - so you have to put in the work to make it what you want it to be. We can't control everything, but luck favors the prepared.

Maybe I'm not so bad at this "managing change" thing after all...

Cleaning out the attic

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My house has been over-run with kiddie stuff. Not quite sure how it could be any other way, given the two-boys-under-the-age-of-five, but it never ceases to amaze me just how much STUFF kids can accumulate.

Don't get me wrong, my kids aren't the so-spoiled-I-have-everything-that-I-ask-for type kids that you want to slap every time a commercial comes on (although when you're just trying to get out of Target before the meltdown, a good old-fashioned shut up gift can be a life saver...). But, admittedly we do live comfortably. The boys have plenty of toys and books to choose from (both purchased and passed down from my I-never-get-rid-of-anything husband).

But it's not the toys that are the problem. It's all the gear. Clothes, spoons, shoes, diapers, wipes, pull ups, Wet Ones, snack bags, bottle sanitizers. As the kids get older, most parents get a bit wiser. Rather than having multiple outfits to choose from on any given day, my kids literally have 10 shirts per season and a variety of jeans. If they need a dress up outfit, we buy it the week of the event because they grow out of things so quickly if I bought it in advance, it likely wouldn't fit anyway.

Unfortunately, this was not the case when my kids were younger. And, as a result, we literally have an attic full of clothes from preemie to 2T.

Today, we finally decided to tackle the problem. Angel invited a friend with a new baby boy over to sort through the stuff. Rather than donate everything, we wanted to share the wealth with someone we knew. Believe me, there is PLENTY to go around.

As Angel brought down bag after bag, box after box, I couldn't help but reflect on how quickly the years have passed. How the delicate preemie days blend into the terrible-two's. How my tiny baby boy is nearly up to my shoulders. How I can't really remember Victor as a baby (how did he get so HUGE?), but can't remember our family without him either. With every box came another memory, another milestone. About an hour in, I excused myself - allegedly to take a break.

Instead, I came into the office to cry.

I've never been big on collections. I don't keep things. I've been known to throw out taxes before the 7-year-limit just to make room in my files, and the thought of keeping a scrapbook makes me break out in hives.

But today, after my husband goes back to work, I'll take some time to build a collection of memories from the boxes that have over-run my attic. Not a big one, mind you (no need to go CRAZY or anything), but I will keep a few select pieces before sending the rest to the donation bin.

And I wouldn't be surprised if a few more tears mix in with all the baby clothes...

What the hell happened?

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There is a distinct difference between moms of preschool girls and preschool boys. While that might seem obvious, my weekend crystalized the fact for me...and pretty much everyone on my Facebook page. This quote from a dear friend, in response to my check-in in at the National Diesel Truckin' Championships captured it best:

"Who are you, and what have you done with Sherice??"

Let me explain.

I may have mentioned once or twice that The BadAssMama leads somewhat of a double life. Nothing involving crime-fighting, espionage or swinging (get your minds out of the gutter, folks), but costume-changes are a factor. During the week, my armor-of-choice includes power suits and stilettos, dresses and semi-fashionable jewelry. I spend my days discussing long range plans, product positioning and budget gaps. After 7 (on a good day) and each weekend, I trade in the Prada for jeans and t-shirts, sweatpants and sneakers, boogers and peanut butter. My conversations are more likely to involve monster trucks and skeletons than world affairs,
and my audience consists primarily of my two tiny assassins, The Hubs and variety of 3 to 5 year old boys.

So, while my girlfriends with preschool girls attend art fairs and princess parties, I go to the monster truck rally and the National Diesel Truckin' Championships.

And guess what? I wouldn't have it ANY other way.

While I am a sucker for a good Jimmy Choo red patent leather peep toe (I bought them, by the way - FIERCE!!), at my core I am and will always be a tomboy. I love to wrestle with my boys, play monster-ghost hunter in the basement, pretend to be astronauts. True, little girls can and do all of these things as well (case in point), but there is something about the sheer abandon in the imagination (and often physicality) of little boys at play.

So, I happily trade my girly-girl credentials to roll in the dirt, roar like a lion and cheer on the purple dump truck as he smokes the red dump truck in the quarter mile. I am a mother of preschool boys...and I love it.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

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They say that preschoolers thrive on routine. So, while we try to shake things up a bit in the middle of the day (mainly on the weekends, of course, since Angel and I are at work Monday - Friday), we try to keep the morning and evening routine relatively...routine. The kids rise at roughly the same time each morning and are in the bed by 8 or so each night.

Funny thing is, just like Mommy and Daddy like to keep a consistent routine, so do my kids. A routine of mischief and mayhem.

The mornings go a little something like this. Victor wakes up with a cheery, "I wake UPPPP!!!!" sometime between 5:45 and 6:15. He makes morning pee, I get him dressed and he plays quietly while I work out. Well - I would LIKE for him to play quietly. Most mornings, he's throwing things at me or trying to lay across my back while I do push ups while screaming at the top of his lungs that he wants his brother to wake up and play already.

Angel's morning mayhem mainly relates to being a cranky bastard. Some days are better than others, but he's definitely not a morning person. Don't get me wrong. Some mornings are a dream - everyone cooperates, I get in a full workout and actually get to walk out the door fully clothed before racing to the train.

But those days are few and far between...

The evening ritual is where they like to pull out all the stops. From the moment we pick them up from daycare, they know the clock is ticking until bedtime. And under no circumstances are they going to go to bed without a fight.

It starts with horseplay at the dinner table. Some nights, it's simply making gross noises to make the other one laugh. Sometimes they argue with each other across the table. Tonight, they decided to see how far they could throw their watermelon while I was in the bathroom.

Good times.

Invariably, there is the whiny-crying-pleading session over playing just a little bit more before we go up for bath. Then we have to pick toys for the bath. And another toy. Maybe just one more. Bathtime can go smoothly or resemble the Titanic, depending on their mood.

Books are easy. They love books.

Then the battle really begins. Just one more book. Can we read a BIG book? Can we read LOTS of big books? Once we declare lights out, the litany of excuses begin:

  • I need to make pee
  • I need to make poo
  • I need water
  • I need to make pee again
  • I want you to rub my back
  • I want you to rub my belly
  • I need another toy for my tunnel
  • I want you to rub my back for A LONG TIME
  • I want to sleep in your bed


Every night, I know it's coming. I hope that it' just a phase...but it's been 4 years.

I have to go now - apparently Angel needs to make poo.


Tell me lies...

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We've had a few milestones at BadAssMama Central this week. My big boy started dressing himself each morning ("Because Spy Kids know how to get dressed, mommy..."). And the baby boy told his first lie. It went a little something like this:

Mommy: Victor! Why did you spill your grapes all over the table?

Victor: I didn't do it.

Mommy: Oh really? Well, how did they get there?

Victor: Swiper did it.

Mommy: Of COURSE he did...

Perhaps I should have made this into a teaching moment, explaining to my boys that we should always tell the truth. That the truth will set them free. Or that mommy can tell when you're lying because she has magical powers...

But, let's face it. Honesty is not always the best policy. I'll be the first to admit that I lie to my kids on a daily basis. Sometimes to smooth over the issues that are not quite age-appropriate ("Babies come from the baby department at the hospital store, honey"). Sometimes to get out the door on time ("I'm sorry, the TV's broken. Let's see if daddy can fix it when mommy gets home from work"). And sometimes just because I'm too tired to fight ("Chuck E. Cheese doesn't do birthday parties anymore. How about the Children's Museum?"). Mother of the year? Not by a long shot. But I have managed to avoid being trapped in a loud, germ-infested pizza play land for the past 4 years.

While I don't want my kids to lie to me,there are select instances when it is OK to lie to a mother. Hell, there are lies that many moms tell themselves on a daily basis just to make it through! Here are a few:

- You look GREAT in those yoga pants. They are so flattering...and slimming!

- Did you get a makeover? Those dark accents around your eyes really make them pop...

- Are you losing weight?

- I'm sure no one else noticed when you started snoring in the middle of the conference call

- You never get more than 4 hours of sleep, yet you always look SO fresh! What's your secret?

- I don't smell anything...


Yes, honesty is the best policy. But a well-timed lie can save you from mommy rage.

Breathless

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Have you ever felt like you were drowning?

Not from anxiety or fear, but from a sense of being utterly and unmistakably overwhelmed? Chances are, if you're a mom, the answer is likely hell to the yes. Anyone who reads this blog with any degree of frequency knows that The BadAssMama suffers from chronic over-work and under-sleep. Despite my best intentions, I continue to keep a running to-do list in my head roughly the length of the Amazon River. Full time job, full time family, part time blogging, occassional exercising. Family, friends, laundry. Day care, nap time, play dates. Books, bed, bath. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Jeez, Louise. I need a drink...maybe two.

Seriously - send liquor. Now.

I've made a vow (more than once) to carve out time for myself on a daily basis. To pepper my playlist with ample amounts of me-time. Eh, not so much. There are just SO many things to get done. And my unique disablity is an ability to keep myself running from the moment I rise to the second I drop around midnight or so.

I am painfully aware that much of this is of my own doing. I have a thing about keeping my house in order. Advanced planning. Solving problems before they actually occur. While this skill set has allowed me to achieve in my professional life, it may very well kill me as a working mom. I need to learn to let things go. I'd really like to let some things go...

It's finally starting to catch up with me. I'm irritable, impatient and generally cranky on a regular basis. I don't think the general population is catching on quite yet. My husband is painfully aware of the issue.  My kids have developed the useful ability to simply ignore me when I scream like a banshee.

I have no snazzy comebacks. No new vows or lessons learned. I'm simply here to admit that I'm drowning and I really need to find a way to get some air.

If you have any ideas, I'd LOVE to hear them...