Teacher's Pet

My kids are very different than I was as a young girl. The most obvious diffence is that they are boys. But, basic anatomy aside, my kids have strikingly different temperaments than I.

And, frankly, I don't know what the hell to do with that.

I was the fat kid with glasses who loved nothing better than to while away the hours with my nose buried in a stack of books. The library was my personal heaven, second only to the Scholastic Book Fair. I looked forward to the spelling bee every year, and preferred to spend my time in class with my hand in the air rather than passing notes to the cute boy next to me (who was probably too busy calling me fatty pants or turtle neck to notice that I would be a stunner at the end of my 26 year awkward phase...).

I was your classic Teacher's Pet. I did my homework, early and often, followed the rules and collected gold stars. I was quiet, focused and driven to be the best even at a very young age (legend has it that I declared my desire to attend Harvard at the age of 5). While I did play JV and eventually Varsity softball, my role was more to raise the team GPA than RBI stats.

Now I have 2 boys. And they are B-O-Y-S in every sense of the word. If you ever want to finish the philosophical battle of the impact of nature versus nurture, just spend a few minutes at BadAssMama Central. My boys were going "vroom, vroom" with Matchbox cars before 6 months. They have never seen Star Wars or any movies with fighting in them, yet Wrestlemania/light saber smackdown takes place every night at 6pm. Sharp. I already shop at a wholesale club for weekly groceries just to keep up with their obscene appetites (heaven help my bank account when they are teenagers). But, thank goodness they do eat so much because if they didnt't they would likely shrivel into nothing given how much they MOVE. Every day. They are zooming - both physically and verbally - from the moment they rise (still at an ungodly hour...) to the second they collapse in the bed - kicking and screaming - each night.

I think this is really one of the biggest challenges of motherhood - how do I help my kids become the best version of themselves that they can be, without trying to make them into mommy clones. Now, don't get me wrong. There are a few character traits that I'd like to pass along. But just like our parents wanted us to have more opportunities than they did growing up, I don't just want my kids to be better versions of me - I want them to be the best version of their own unique selves.

That would just be SO much easier to do if they were more like me...

Guest Blogger: D'Angelo Thompson - Makeup Mondays

The BadAssMama is thrilled to welcome back my dear friend and guest blogger, celebrity makeup artist D'Angelo Thompson, with his latest edition of glamour tips. Enjoy!

Understated Color Makes a Powerful Impression

I was leaving brunch on Sunday at Red Rooster in Harlem and walking towards me was iconic American actress/activist Ruby Dee and of course I graciously held the door.

One thing that popped out for me was the perfect hint of coral shimmer lipstick she was wearing. If your not feeling the bold spring lip colors this season keep it simple and chic like Mrs. Ruby Dee.

I love classic lipsticks with shimmer by brands like Estee Lauder, Orlane and Sisley.


Confessions of a Momzilla

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It's official. I've become THAT mom. The one I always vowed I would never become. I am officially a nagging, hovering, obsessing, perfection-demanding Momzilla.

Let me explain.

As anyone who knows me, or has spent any time reading this blog knows, The BadAssMama is a recovering perfectionist. Heavy emphasis on the "recovering" part. I am very hard on myself, often harder on those nearest and dearest to me. I like things to be done well, done right, done efficiently. This has made me pretty successful in my academic and professional career. It has been nothing but crazy-making as a mom, mainly because "perfection" should be banished from your vocabulary when it comes to life with kids, especially little kids.

Particularly MY kids.

Logically, I know this. It's SO obvious. Yet I continue to beat my head against the wall trying to make things perfect and, more specifically, trying to make my kids perfect rather than just letting them be kids.

So, as the first day of Spring approaches, The BadAssMama is trying to turn over a new leaf. Do a little Spring cleaning on my attitude and approach to parenting. A little less focus on structure, a little more focus on fun. A little less focus on perfection, a bit more focus on reality.

Wish me luck...

Seriously kid?

You know the old phrase "Be careful what you ask for?" Well, The Hubs and I made the mistake of asking God for smart kids...without being very specific. 

Case in point - TRUE conversation at BadAssMama Central at the dinner table:

Angel: Mommy, where do babies come from?

Me: (after whispering "shit" under my breath) Well, the mommy has an egg and the daddy has a seed and together they make a baby.

Angel: Oh. Mommy, I really want a real sister. Can you and Daddy get me a sister?

Me: Um, well baby when mommy's get older they run out of eggs. If I had more eggs, I would give you a sister. But I don't have any more eggs.

Angel: Does Daddy have more seeds? 

Me: (not liking where this is going) Um, yes. 

Angel: Does Auntie Sheryl (my sister) have eggs?

I swear I can't make this shit up...

Confessions of a BadAssMama - Don't Say My Name

I have a love/hate relationship with the word "Mommy."

Let me explain.

From the moment the stick turns blue, it's the thing we all dream of - the first time our little bundle of joy will utter the words that make our hearts melt. Then, before you know it, they're four years old and you hear the word "Mommy" over 137 times in roughly 20 minutes. Usually accompanied by a request. Or demand. In a whiny tone. Often at the top of their lungs.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of the words, "Mommy, I love you."Particularly at the end of a really bad day (either work or kid related). Problem is, for as many soul melting Mommy moments like these, there are SO MANY MORE episodes of incessant repetition of "Mommy? Mommy! MOMMY!!!!"

Most often between the hours of 6 and 8pm.

Or around naptime.

Particularly when trying to stretch out the bedtime routine for as long as possible.

I think I'll ask the kids to call me George. Somehow, hearing the name "GEORGE!" over, and over, and over might be less frustrating. I'd probably forget that they were talking to me and find it hilarious that they keep screaming shit at their new imaginary friend.

Or maybe I'll just buy some earplugs....

March Madness

I care nothing about college basketball. Yet like the millions of stark, raving basketball lunatics out there, the month of March is generally filled with mania for TheBadAssMama. But not in a good way.

Let me explain.

I dread the onset of March every year. Part of it has to do with the fact that, unlike California, spring does not actually start until mid-June here on the East Coast (a girl needs some sun! Work with me people!). Part is the hangover from the roughly 187 family birthday parties and other gift giving occasions between November and February. But mostly, I hate the month of March because that is when my sister Stacy passed away.

It's been 17 years today. It still hurts. It always will.

Most years, I eat my way through the month of March - attempting to ease the pain with ice cream sundaes and macaroni salad. While I invariably gain a good 10 pounds by April 1st, it rarely if ever makes me feel much better. Sometimes the month sneaks up on me. It's kind of like PMS (work with me, ladies - you know what I'm talking about). Nothing in particular is wrong, but the entire world seems to be crumbling around my shoulders. Once I realize what's wrong, the relief doesn't come then either. The sadness only deepens, with more specificity.

This year, I tried to set a safety net for myself - to keep from falling completely into the emptional abyss. I started by tackling the food issue. I invested in a month of food delivery service to give myself a baseline of healthy eating to balance out the predictable cookie binge. I've also made an effort to do something I enjoy every day - be it lunch with a friend, high tea with my sister, a kick ass yoga class or snuggling up with my boys at the end of a tough day.

I'm also declaring the month of March a "drama-free zone". There is enough real life drama going on this month. I don't need to fabricate additional noise, and quite frankly I don't have the emotional wherewithall to deal with any one else's drama right now.

Finally, after years of keeping it on my list of new year's resolutions, I am finally learning to be kind to myself. March is hard enough - hell, LIFE can be hard enough without beating myself up at the same time. So, for the month of March I am not stepping on a scale, questioning my parenting skills or doing things just because I'm "supposed" to.

If I can do these things then maybe, just maybe, I can make it through the month with a sliver of my sanity remaining. More importantly, I want to honor my sister's memory. I know that she would understand my sadness, but I also know that she would kick my ass if she saw me drowning my sorrows in cake for yet another year...

A Perfect Day

There are few certainties in life. But what I've learned after 5 years on this mommy gig is that when things are going really well, prepare for all hell to break loose.

Let me explain.

It all started when Angel was about 6 weeks old. After weeks of waking every 90 minutes from a wicked case of baby acid reflux, one morning I found myself calmly rousing from what seemed to be a peaceful, full night of sleep. My first thought was "Great! The GERD has passed. This whole baby thing might not be so bad after all!" Until I tried to nurse and realized that Angel would not wake up. His breathing was fine, but he was definitely feverish. By the end of the day, we were admitted to the hospital with a case of the flu.

The next perfect day came when Angel was around 6 months old. I was back to work by then and finally falling into a nice morning routine. Nurse the baby, put him in the swing, work out, shower, dress, drop him to th sitter and catch the 7:32 train. I remember it was a Monday morning. Angel was usually up by 5, but this morning he was sleeping peacefully. I went to the basement with the baby monitor and finished my whole workout. I rushed upstairs to check on him - still sleeping. So I took a shower, did full hair and makeup and got dressed. What a great morning! I went to get Angel dressed and wake up my little sleepy head. Then I felt his head. Fever of 104. Work clothes off, sweats on, off to the doctor we go.

Over time, I learned to roll with the punches a bit better. Fevers would come and go, we learned when to give Motrin and ride it out vs. when a trip to the pediatrician was truly warranted.

Five years into this mommy thing, I've learned to expect the unexpected - particularly when things are going really well. And yesterday was just a little TOO perfect. I couldn't have scripted a better day for myself. 7:30am yoga, church, followed by high tea at the cutest little restaurant I've ever seen with my sister. When we got home, the boys were still in pajamas playing video games under a sheet tent with Daddy. So, I change into sweats and cleaned out my closet. Then the coat closet. Then the kitchen. I made a healthy dinner that the boys ate willingly, we read lots of books, everyone played nicely and went to bed without incident.

Cue the vomit.

I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that the curse of the perfect day is alive and kicking. Little A is a bit perkier this morning, though his belly is still grumbly. Victor seems unscathed thus far. As for me and The Hubs? We're just rolling with the punches...

Just another day in the life of a BadAssMama.