Confessions of a Slacker Mom

I was raised right. My mom provided me with the basics that I would one day need in order to care for a family of my own.  Through her example I learned what it takes to support a husband and children; how to provide them with a good home to house their souls, good food to nourish their bodies, and a kind, caring manner with which to nurture their hearts.  So, what the hell happened to me?
The fact is that I am a slacker mom.  While I started out with an idealistic view of the kind of mother I would be, that ideal died the same agonizing, torturous death that most of my parenting rules have suffered.
I know.  Some of you are getting short of breath right now.  Your heart is racing and your chest is constricting.  You’re very dedicated to your family.  You’ll do almost anything to provide them with warm, comfortable, memorable lives.  And now here is a mom who has fallen from grace.  One who has given up the holy grail of motherhood—perfection.  Now you’re worried.  “Will I give up and become a slacker, too?” Or worse, “Who is DisgruntledMom?  Do her kids play with mine?”  The answer to both questions is—maybe!
Some of you know you’re slackers, some only suspect, or worry, that you’re headed down that path.  I’ve put together a few things that I know about myself (I’m not proud but I’ll own them!).  As you scan the list, if you notice any similarities between my life and yours, sorry, but you may in fact be a slacker mom!

Cleaning:

  • I’ve been known to dust around lamps, books, etc.
  • I will sometimes vacuum the hairballs & big piles of dust off of the hardwood floor rather than sweep.
  • Mop???
  • I will lay towels under the toddler’s chair to catch dropped food.  It’s so much easier to fold up the towel and shake it over the trash than to sweep the food particles off the floor. This rule isn’t even necessary if you have dogs!  Helpful little creatures.
  • For years I didn’t buy cookware, dishes or utensils that couldn’t be washed in the dishwasher.  The Hubbin did recently shell out some cash for high quality cookware that has to be hand washed.  It literally takes about 40 seconds to wash each pot, and there’s no scrubbing the burnt crap off the bottom (and there’s always burning involved because I’m no damn Betty Crocker!).

Cooking:

  • I cook a lot of one-pot meals more for convenience than for a love of casseroles.
  • I’m not above the occasional McMeal.
  • I love the summer because I can make entire meals of cold foods.  I don’t have to cook and nobody minds cold foods on hot days.
  • I love to barbeque.  (Okay, I love for The Hubbin to barbeque)

Around the house:

  • If I can’t use Gorilla Glue, it isn’t getting fixed!
  • I don’t buy clothes that I’ll have to iron
  • If my clothes do wrinkle, I hang them in the bathroom while showering to “steam” out the wrinkles rather than iron.
  • I utilize a creative relocation method of my mail stacks to make it look like I’ve cleaned the counter.
  • I haven’t had window coverings over two windows because I just don’t know what the measurements are.
  • I’ve been known to buy The Hubbin new clothes rather than sew a button on the old ones.

So, maybe you’re not a slacker mom, but aspire to be one.  If so, I think I’ve just given you several helpful hints to get you headed on your way to that goal.

I know that my home may not be as perfect, warm or comfortable as that of a more dedicated mom, but it’ll create some lasting memories of it’s own!  And the memories will have to suffice because I have no idea where the hell I put all the memory books I had planned to fill out!

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3 Generations of Potty Pics

A warning about my family.  If you are using the bathroom near any of us, you better hope there isn’t a camera around.  Here are three generations of evidence to support that warning…

OK, not actually USING the toilet but still, someone thought it was a good time for a picture!
OK, not actually USING the toilet but still, someone thought it was a good time for a picture!
I've got the crown, the throne, no wonder I've always thought I'm the queen!
I've got the crown, the throne, no wonder I've always thought I'm the queen!

And the most recent victim…

Just because your busy saving the world doesn't mean you can't stop and take a crap
Just because your busy saving the world doesn't mean you can't stop and take a crap
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The Underground Escape Network

There are a growing number of items in my house that have gone missing.  Not little things like my watch or that crappy mechanical pencil that I got to commemorate my tenth year of working at that crappy old job I had (although that’s missing too!).  No, I’m talking about things that are either very important or are big-ticket items.  They are the kind of things that just shouldn’t be disappearing and when they do, I walk around the house, asking the universe, “are you kidding me?”  It’s incomprehensible that these things can just vanish.  They have literally been disappearing in a “there one day, gone the next” kind of way.

Among the things that have gone MIA are:

  • The keys to the new front door we just installed: This complicates our comings & goings but the children still fit nicely through the window and usually let me in right away
  • My tool kit: It wasn’t a huge tool kit but I was always very careful to put it away because The Hubbin’ doesn’t always know where his tools are and it was handy to have a screwdriver available when I needed one.
  • The telephone: Yep, no kidding.  The phone is gone.
  • An exercise ball: One of the big ones that you sit on.  You know, really big, hard to lose.
  • A stroller: We took this on vacation and I know it made it home.  Now, it’s gone.

All of these missing items, along with the toys that seem to disappear by the hundreds, have me convinced that there is some kind of an organized escape plan among my household items.  I’m pretty sure that they have mobilized to form an underground escape network in order to get away from us.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I had a good opportunity to flee, I probably would too.  I’m just a little miffed that they’ve banded together against me.

I’ve been suspicious for a while.  I frequently walk through the house and find toys on the floor and something about them seems off.  Like they’re trying to be still.  Especially when they’re close to the doors.  Sometimes they’re even camouflaged.  Hiding behind a wicker basket, on the lower bookshelf, hanging from the dog’s leash.  Almost hidden.  Every time I find them, they’re very still and stare straight ahead with a blank look.  Like they are trying to avoid eye contact.

So, when does this escape happen and where do they go?  They must wait for the times that The Oldest and The Middle leave the door open.  That, right there, gives them 30-40 opportunities a day.  Once they get out, where do they go?  Is there a nexus of escapees that meet the fugitive on the other side?   Do chewed-up GI Joes and one-legged superheroes guide them to a better life?

I’ve tried to figure out which direction they would go once they escaped.  Going East would be a bad idea because the people who failed to secure the early intervention that would have made me a more well adjusted member of society (aka The Parents) live just East of us.

Now, The Parents do come over a lot, always carrying a bag of toys that I don’t remember the kids having taken to their house.  And when everyone has left, and I’m alone in the room, I open the bag; laugh my Wicked Witch laugh and whisper, “Welcome back, you little bastards.”  And they stare straight ahead.  Avoiding eye contact.  Those unshakable bastards!

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The Death of Rule #178

Before I was a parent, my YCS (Younger, cooler self) was an idealistic young thang. She had very lofty plans for her future children and her role as a mother. Everything would be perfect. She would go above and beyond to be the best mom she could be. In her mind was a list of rules to which she would adhere and use to raise the healthiest, most well behaved and well adjusted children in the neighborhood. Of course, as you can guess from my previous posts, those rules all died vicious, horrendous deaths. The following is an account of how one of those rules went down in flames.

Rule #178- I Will Never Buy My Children a Portable DVD Player.

My rationale behind the rule was solid. I thought that kids should be able to entertain themselves on a road trip (OK, maybe it was an “if I had to do it you can do it too” mentality, sue me!). There are plenty of things to occupy a kid during a road trip. There are books, toys even hand-held video games (another rule; different dreadful end; we’ll talk about that one later). Looking back, my rule and the ideas that spawned it were based on a delusional idea of what it was like to have kids. I also overestimated my ability to withstand torture.
It was the middle of summer. We were embarking on our yearly trip to our state’s capital. Essentially we take the kids to the zoo so that we can see how real animals behave and feel better about our parenting skills. Plus, the boys get to see animals pooping and humping in a simulated “natural” environment. Everybody wins!
The car was packed, we hit the road and before we got off the ramp and onto the interstate the kids had been through every book, toy and snack I had packed for the 4 ½ hour drive. The Oldest was only four at the time. Now, we knew he talked a lot at home. He had developed a continuous stream of conversation that lasted throughout the day. An RSS feed, if you will, of every thought that entered his mind. And believe me, this kid has thoughts ricocheting through his brain at an unbelievable rate. We never thought about how that chatter would translate to an even smaller, enclosed environment.
Another unfortunate decision on the part of me and the Hubbin’—we chose to take the scenic route over a gorgeous pass that is so mountainous it is impassable during any other time of year. How were we to know that the road was under construction in several areas and that most of the pass was down to one lane. The trip took 5 ½ hours and that kid talked THE ENTIRE TIME! I found myself bouncing my head against my window as I fantasized about biting off a piece of the glass and chewing on it. You know, just to ease the pain I was feeling. That boy talked so much that I was actually worried about his oxygenation level. All that talking, combined with the high elevation, it couldn’t be healthy!
Before we even made it to our destination, the Hubbin’ and I looked at each other and, with a shrug of resignation, I asked, “So, we’ll get a DVD player before we head home, right?” RIP Rule #178

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An Amazing Offer…For a Seven Year Old

I was up to my elbows in dishwater and Gerber Peas. The Baby and The Oldest were laughing in the living room, The Middle was screaming in his bedroom (he was there for his own safety; bad day, long story, never mind that), and the dog was panting and cowering at my feet (thunder storm!). The phone rang and I knew when I had to say, “Hello?” the second time that some telemarketer on the other end was scrambling for the line and about to spew a pitch at me. The call wasn’t actually for me though.

Now, I know enough Spanish to know who the telemarketers are calling for. They call for my and The Hubbin all the time. But, I was a little shocked that they were already calling for my son. How did they get his name?

I politely informed the caller, “he doesn’t speak Spanish.” That usually sends them away. Not this time. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said “may I please speak to Mr. (The Oldest)?” I peaked into the living room in time to see his Sponge Bob underwear get snagged by the handle of the rocking horse as he ran by. The ricochet effect threw him to the floor and his baby brother immediately belly flopped onto his head. “Alright,” I said. “Telephone,” I held the phone to The Oldest and he looked at me with a mixture of fear and awe. In all fairness, he had a reason to be concerned about the phone in my hand. I’ve been promising for years to call Santa…and the police. “It’s for you,” I told him and snuck into the kitchen to the extension.

Needless to say, it didn’t go as well as the caller had hoped. My son didn’t quite get the low APR and cash back on certain purchases offer.  The dud eventually hung up and The Oldest is back to the “Do Your Chores and Save Your Money” plan for making new purchases. Is it wrong for me to have denied him his 1st credit card offer?  Especially now, when his credit rating is the best it will ever be.  He does have Plan B- as in Beg Mommy and Daddy until they give in.

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I would kill for that child.

I couldn’t help it. He hurt my baby (okay, DMS is 5 yo, but still…).

He came into my yard, and he attacked my child. I heard DMS screaming and before I heard the entire story, I knew I was going to kill him. Not only did he attack my child but he brought his friends with him. Now, I don’t know how old he was or even if he had a rational explanation for what he did, I only reacted. The way any other sleep-deprived mother would. I went after him.

I found him at home. At least, I think that was him. I took DMS (the victim) and his older brother with me to do a witness identification. They led me right to him. Him and his posse. They were hanging out, buzzed, acting like they had been busy all day and had no time to assault my child. Whatever! I aimed and shot and then I watched as they writhed around, dying yet still trying to escape. There was no escape. I even invited the boys to come and watch. They wouldn’t, they were too scared. But now they know, Mommy gets things done.

And then, I’ll be damned if that kid (DMS) didn’t go to the other side of the yard and get stung again! I swear, I’m running out of wasp spray. And my relationship with the Buddha is in the crapper now too.

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What is a Disgruntled Mom?

OK, here I am.  Ready to lay it all out on the line.  (For future reference…this is probably where the court transcripts will someday start.)

Am I a disgruntled mom?  I can say that I am 100%, definitely, entirely, kind of, a little bit disgruntled…I think.

What is disgruntled?  The definition I have of disgruntled is, “one who is angry or dissatisfied.”  Based on that–yes- I am disgruntled.  I should clarify though that I’m not “angry or dissatisfied” with being a mom or with my kids.  That’s just my general state of being.  I’ve never been one of those people who are naturally chipper and exuberant.   I had rose colored glasses once; I traded them for a pack of cigarettes.

My being disgruntled has more to do with having a humorous disgust with things that happen in my life now.  My younger, cooler self (YCS) would be horrified if she could look at what her life will be like.  There are no more random, last minute cross-country road trips to catch Metallica in concert.  No more Trans Ams with T-tops and kick-ass Pioneer stereos.  No more trying to decide whether a shopping spree or rent should come out of this pay check.  Nope, my life is full of responsibility now.  I gave up fighting, I gave up cigarettes, I even gave up the f-word.  Now I’m responsible for shaping impressionable young minds and enlightening them with the lessons that will allow them to be productive members of society.  It isn’t easy.  My YCS would never have thought that she’d one day have to actually tell someone, “you are not allowed to pee on your brother!”

Sometimes I wish I was like the warm, happy, approachable mothers I see all around me.  The kind who join mommy support groups and trade recipes and scrapbooking tips.  The fact is, I don’t fit in and I’m fine with that.  I view the world from a slightly skewed perspective.  But I know I’m not alone.  There are other moms out there who don’t fit the mold.  And if I had a drink, I’d raise a toast to you.

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