...and then I got arrested

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My life is beginning to resemble a bad telenovela...except without the dramatic music and random sex.

Let me explain.

The BadAssMama is not prone to exaggeration. While I can veer into the realm of the dramatic at times (who me? NEVER!), the series of unfortunate events that have become of my life in the past 2 months is quite frankly becoming a bit tiresome. Truth be told, it's beginning to piss me off.

I have been MIA on the blog for a bit because I've just been trying to keep my head above water. I started off waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now I'm just pissed that I seem to have so many fucking pairs of shoes...

Come to think of it, I think I've shied away from writing because at this point I barely believe myself. First it was a new drama each week. It then escalated to several times per week and, for the past week - daily drama. Let's go through some of the highlights:


  • My boss and mentor leaves the company, followed by a major restructure
  • Minor surgery (yet again)
  • The early-winter-preschool-cough turns into pneumonia and a 6 night stay in the hospital for Victor
  • Little Angel gets pink eye
  • I get bronchitis
  • Victor gets pink eye
  • I get pink eye
  • Pink eye round 2 for Little A and Victor
  • Victor gets an ear infection and random traveling rash
  • Little Angel's mysterious cough returns
  • I lose my voice for 10 days
  • Someone hits my 4-day-old SUV 
Then, a light at the end of the tunnel. A long-planned trip to Puerto Rico to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving. We go to the pediatrician to get the medical all clear (post random rashes, lingering coughs and ear infections). I take a trip to urgent care to make sure that the allegedly viral sinus/throat thing that has rendered me mute for over a week won't suddenly kill me on the plane. We pack our bags, load the car and head off to the airport for 8 days of 80 degree weather and some much needed relaxation while Abuela plays with the boys.

Right...

We get to the airport without incident and board the plane smoothly. After a minimal wait on the runway, the pilot informs us that we need to head back to the gate to check a small electrical issue. No worries - the kids are behaving and we have plenty of snacks. Victor falls asleep on his own and Little A plays quietly with his...I mean MY iPad. About an hour later, we're informed that the issue is corrected and we take off.

For about 45 minutes.

Then, I notice that the lights on the plane are flickering. That can't be good. 

The pilot gets on the PA to inform us that, unfortunately, it's not going to be a great flying day. The minor electrical problem is larger than they thought, so we are going to have to head back to JFK and change planes. The flight attendants cheerfully remind the folks in the exit row that their assistance may be needed in the event of an emergency (not exactly what you want to hear when traveling with small children...or at all). The pilot lets us know that the ground crew is well aware of the issue and, while all other systems are operating properly, there will be some fire engines and emergency crews waiting for us on the ground.

Putting on my best game face, I tell the boys that today is the BEST DAY EVER! We're going to see fire trucks AND get on a brand new plane. To which they reply, "AWESOME!" (their new phrase of choice). Angel and I exchange glances and do our best to keep calm for the boys. As promised, there are several fire trucks on the ground waiting for us, but we land without incident and board another plane within the hour. Ten hours into our three hour flight, we arrive in Puerto Rico. 

Perhaps we should have just turned around and gone home after we saw the fire trucks...

The next day was relatively uneventful. We toured Old San Juan and had an early pizza dinner in the hotel room since the boys were too hyped up to nap during the day. After bath and books, the boys went to sleep without incident and The Hubs and I settled down for what we hoped would be the start of our peaceful vacation.

Then the vomiting began.

Little A began to vomit around 1am Thanksgiving morning, and continued to do so for the next 36 hours. Other than the vomit, he actually was in good spirits and played or watched TV throughout most of Thanksgiving day. We hoped that it was a 24 bug, or just something he ate (since the rest of us were feeling fine). Around 10pm Thanksgiving night, we learned that we were wrong. Little A spiked a fever of 103 and Victor woke up saying that his belly was hurting.

Shit. 

By midnight, it was clear that all hell was once again breaking loose. Rather than face the prospect of an emergency room away from home, Angel and I agreed it was probably best that we head home (that's 2 days into our 8 day vacation, for anyone keeping score). I changed our tickets around 1am and had our bags re-packed by 2. By 5am, we were up and out the door by 6 for a 9am flight.

The flight was uneventful (thank God!). I'm guessing that was to prepare me for the fun that would await once we arrived home. We were back at BadAssMama Central within an hour, at which point my husband dropped like a rock. While I took the boys for a cruise on the trusted nap route, Angel entered what I can only imagine to be the first circle of hell. He stayed in bed from roughly 2pm until 9am the next morning...

So, for the past 3 days I have been literally surrounded by vomit and liqui-poo. I'm pretty sure that I'm sick as well, but I can't afford to succumb because heaven help us if both adults are incapacitated. My house is officially a hot zone, and I'm pretty certain that I'll be arrested (or at least be placed on a no-fly list) for bringing some version of the ebola virus onto an airplane. 

Oh, and today the traction control went out on my 9 day old truck. 

Really, I don't blame you if you don't believe me. I barely believe this shit myself...

Tie a knot and hang on....

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I have officially reached the end of my rope.

I've been a bit MIA over the past week because, frankly, all hell continues to break loose at BadAssMama Central. After Victor's 6-day hospital stay (as if that weren't enough), it's been non-stop chaos on all fronts. Crazy work hours, crazy kids, several rounds of pink eye, sinus infections, ear infections and random traveling hives have worked their way through both of the kids and The BadAssMama. With the exception of 3 weeks of no sleep and pretty much missing the past 2 months of work, The Hubs is probably faring the best out of all of us...and that ain't saying much.

Today, I glimpsed a dim-yet-promising light at the end of the tunnel. We head off for Thanksgiving vacation in the next few days. And while it won't be a drink-in-my-hand-on-a-beach-with-no-kids function, at least I'll be able to skip the morning rush, meal preparation, cleanup, housekeeping and work for a bit. Victor's roving rash has disappeared, my voice is starting to come back, and Little Angel's never-ending sinus thing seems to be clearing up for the moment.

Perhaps it was this slight break in the action that made me realize just how f'ing EXHAUSTED I actually am. I have had no sleep, no exercise and no semblance of a balanced meal in God knows how long. I am an emotional and physical train wreck. My nerves are fried, senses numbed and my patience is literally non-existent.

I don't know whether I want to get on the treadmill or drive to Baskin Robbins.

Parents of small children come to know these nearly-impossible-to-navigate stretches of time all too well. When the hits just keep on coming, sometimes the best you can do is just try to make it through the week. Or day. Or hour. Hell, sometimes it takes more than you think you can muster to get through the next 5 minutes.

But you do it. Because you have to. Because your kids are counting on you. And because, at some point, we have to believe that things will get better, easier, lighter again.

And on those days when you've truly come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on tight...

Litte Miss Perfect

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I've been known to be a bit of an over-achiever.

Shocking, I know.

At a very young age, I wanted to be the best. At everything. All the time. I'm not quite sure when or how I got the message, but like many little geeks-in-training, I learned from a very young age that perfection was a virtue and mistakes were unacceptable. While this approach resulted in a lifetime battle with yo-yo dieting and ragged self-esteem, my endless pursuit of perfection did serve me well on the education and career front.

Then I became a mother.

It's funny. My generation of women grew up in a post-feminist world where we were told from a very young age that we could be anything we wanted to be. We could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan (all, apparently, while smoking unfiltered cigarettes). Problem is, many of us mistook the ability to be anything for the need to do everything - and do it all perfectly. While a manageable affliction when we were single, and even early on in marriages (sure, you work every night until 9pm - you can sleep in on the weekend!), this becomes a damned-near fatal disease when mixed with children.

Once the babies arrive, we find the pattern of behavior that brought us career and oftentimes personal success is slowly-but-surely killing us as moms. We strive to be perfect on the job and on the home front. To be the perfect employee, perfect wife, perfect sister, perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect mother. Early on, we learn to live on adrenaline and Diet Coke - trading much needed sleep for another load of laundry or last minute Power Point review. The baby will be awake in a few hours anyway! I might as well get a bit more work done...

The BadAssMama is going to tell it to you straight. Perfection is a myth. Work-life balance is a lie.  True, both my career and my family are important to me. But after many sleepless nights and attempts to be all things to all people, I have finally come to realize that just because I can be anything doesn't mean that I have to DO everything right now, all at once. And just because I strive to be the best, doesn't mean that I will BE the best in all things at all times.

I haven't figured it all out, but I do know that Little Miss Perfect has got to go...

Top Ten Signs You Might Be Losing It

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Here I am at the close of yet another weekend that passed in a blur. One filled with gymnastics, karate, haircuts, new shoes (for the kids, not me...sigh) and not one but TWO birthday parties. Somewhere along the way - after a series of daytime tantrums and middle-of-the-night demands - it dawned on me that I might be losing it. Control of my house/life/sanity that is.

If you're a mom (or a dad, or anyone who has been around young kids for any uninterrupted stretch of time), you've likely felt this sensation at one point or another. I think it hit me right about the time that my 4-year-old had such an f-ing insane temper tantrum that his nose began to spontaneously combust...or bleed, take your pick.

So, in celebration of parents everywhere who find themselves wondering "What the hell happened?, I bring you The BadAssMama's Top Ten Signs That You Might Be Losing It:

10. Your two-year-old thinks he's the boss. And he might be right...

9. Nap time is your favorite time of day

8. You top off coffee cup with Riesling every time you fill your kid's sippy cup

7. You find yourself saying, "Is it Monday yet?" every Saturday around 10am

6. The whining begins at 5:42am...and you feel like your kids are actually going easy on you

5. YOU actually threw the biggest tantrum of the day

4. You consider taking your kids to the daycare at your gym, then going out for a drink rather than hitting the treadmill

3. There is more screaming in your living room than on The Real Housewives of New York

2. You can't remember the last time you made it through the day without screaming "Don't make me come in there!"

1. The thought of being hospitalized for that nagging cough that's been lingering for the past 6 weeks is beginning to sound appealing...

Mommy Play Dates

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The Hubs and I have never been good about the weekly date night. Ever parenting book or magazine article I've ever read extols the virtue of the weekly date night. "Get a standing babysitter!" "Don't talk about your kids!" "Make time to remember when it was just the two of you!". I don't know about you, but the whole thing just felt like another item on my never-ending-to-do-list. By the time we wrangled the kids into bed, the siren call of a semi-solid night's sleep seemed oh-so-much-more-appealing than re-applying my mascara and having grown up conversation for 3 hours.

Don't get me wrong, we do make time to connect on a regular basis - we even get out of the house on occassion. But our couple-time usually involved sushi and a movie in the comfort of our own living room.

What I have been missing, however, is the company of my girlfriends. The epic girly-girl trip to Vegas in March notwithstanding, The BadAssMama has been sorely lacking regular time with my girls. While I love my husband and my boys, there's something about the company of other women - especially other moms - that recharges your batteries like nothing else.

So, while I've blatantly ignored the advice on weekly date night, I have partnered with a few of my nearest-and-dearest LI mommy-friends to institute a monthly girls night out. Unlike the ladies nights of my younger days, these typically involve nothing more salacious than a local casual dining restaurant and happy hour-priced cocktails. But then again, I didn't have to worry about getting two tiny lunatics off to school on time the next morning back in the day either!

We had our first Mommy Play Date last night. The group was small (I have a sneaking suspicion that the group will grow in the coming months). While it was a simple affair of dinner, drinks and non-kid talk (mostly!),  it served its purpose: a closer connection with my girls, and a reminder that I am more than just a run-down mommy.

I can't wait for next month....

When Mama's Burnt Out

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I had an interesting appointment with my therapist this morning (yeah, I said it - The BadAssMama is in therapy. Get over it...). I walked her through the drama of this past week, and confidently declared that I was actually doing just fine.
I think it took everything in that sweet woman not to laugh in my face.

Instead, she calmly replied that while she was happy that I was taking everything so well, I was likely still running on adrenaline (a.k.a. working mother's crack) and should not be surprised if I found myself crashing in the coming days. Her recommendation? Be kind to myself and get plenty of rest.

Yeah, like that's going to happen.

But, wait a minute...why SHOULDN'T I? My kid was just in the hospital for 6 days. I haven't had more than a few hours of sleep in close to 10 days. What is this strange disease that we as mothers have that makes us think we can keep going-and-going-and-going with little need for sleep, less need for food and no need for help?

I say enough! The BadAssMama is calling a time out. I am going to mark off a mental health day on my calendar and spend some much needed me-time. Part of questioning my priorities is making sure that I finally put MYSELF on the to-do list as well!