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Life may be a stage, but don’t be a backstage mother

I have two daughters and they are both dancers. I love dancing. I love dance recitals. I loathe having to be backstage at dance recitals. Dance recitals seem to bring out the worst in lots of peeps, especially moms who put monumental pressure on themselves. They are the ones who are backstage trying to put the finishing touches on their daughters so they have “perfect” hair, “perfect” makeup, and the most “perfectly” fitted costume so they can perform “perfect” routines. To make matters worse, they expect me to be just like them. Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

I wish these moms realized that when they work so hard to make everything “perfect”, their kids will feel pressure to be “perfect”. This could work to harm their feelings of self-worth because they might see your expectations as too high for them to achieve. So the very thing these chicks feel they must do to be better moms could result in the opposite result of what they intended. (LITTLE WHITE LIE Alert!)

That’s right, you are actually not doing them any favors, mommy dearest. You should probably ask yourself this – are you  striving for perfection in your kid so that you look like the perfect mom? Think about that one and then think about this. “Perfect” does not exist. It’s a load of CRAP. Quit trying to reach this unachievable level of “success”. Take the same advice that we give our kids – just do your best. No one’s best is perfect, but your kids won’t care, or even notice. They’ll just be happy to have you there. That’s success.

I’ve been in the dance world with my daughters for almost 5 years now and a backstage volunteer at many dance recitals and competitions. I’ve almost lost my mind from all the chaos of the catty girls and their mothers, but my daughters like when I am there so I suck it up and do it. (that’s me doing my best, btw) Over the years, with the help of some of the other moms, I compiled a list of tips. These have helped me escape with my sanity, mostly because they have made me laugh (and kept me from hurting anyone…yet).

Top Ten List of Backstage Survival Tips

  1. Booze. (just make sure someone else is driving you - actually this is a perfect time to punish the mother in law or a great opportunity for a little student driving for your teen – shouldn’t others get to experience all this fun?? BONUS)
  2. Bring a lighter and practice making blow torches out of half empty bottles of Aqua Net.
  3. Put in your iPod ear buds to drown out the whining. If that fails, crank up some Barry Manilow tunes and let the kids have a listen. (it will scare them out of their damn tutus and might even shut them up completely)
  4. “Hey, girls – who is wearing the stage lipstick that will adhere the best to duct tape? Let’s find out!”
  5. Suggest to the girls that dancers have to become comfortable with nudity when changing costumes backstage. Then immediately explain that they should never become comfortable with nudity while ON stage. (Life Lesson  #18 from me, Mrs. Supermom – again, should scare the piss out of them if done right)
  6. Ask the question, “So what’s your favorite show on the Disney Channel?” Let them each take a turn telling you, then inform them that Disney just announced they were going off the air. Sit back and enjoy the mass hysteria. Hope that makeup is waterproof, girls!
  7. Booze.
  8. Tell them that Mrs. Supermom is dealing with some anger issues and is heavily medicated for their safety, but just in case, they should probably not get to close to her. (also in this same spirit, refer to yourself in the third person)
  9. Bring your hot glue gun and offer your services for any last-minute  “alterations” to costumes.
  10. Bobby pin origami. Tell the girls you read that Selena Gomez is holding a contest for the best bobby pin “art” creation. First prize is a date with Justin Bieber. Sure, you know how hard it is to mold a bobby pin, but the point here is to keep the girls busy. You might get lucky and score enough free time to go pee!

 

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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I’m Bringing Lazy Back

I have only been a MOGS (Mother of a Girl Scout) for less than two years, but I have quickly learned that it can bring out the worst in people – especially during Girl Scout cookie season. The most memorable MOGS moments I have had was when our (previous) troop participated in a cookie booth last year at a local grocery store. One of our customers that day was a woman who was so unbelievably rude to our girls. She accused us of not giving her correct change (yet we did) and then stormed off taking her cookies, her attitude, and her correct change with her! It left the girls and us MOGS pretty speechless (and MAD). I love puns so I thought it would be a great time to take out some aggression on this awful customer while sticking with the Girl Scout cookie theme. Here is what I said to all the other MOGS there:

She just committed a Do Si Don’t and this troop was totally Trefoiled! Clearly she needs a Thin Mintervention or perhaps a Samoational rescue. At the very least, that woman should be Lemon Chalet Cremed. I don’t know if I want to Tagalong at this booth anymore. I am a Dulce De Mess and Thin Mintcidentally, I hope we don’t have anymore customers like that!

Dang it, I thought it was pretty clever and most of the moms did laugh (yet nervously) except for one who kind of gave me the eye roll. As I do with all people who lack a sense of humor, I ignored her. But after the booth was over, she came up to me and said she needed to discuss something with me. I assumed it about my misappropriation of Girl Scout puns, but I was wrong. She asked me if I had ever washed my daughter’s Girl Scout vest. (yeah, I know, I was thinking the same thing – WTF???) Well no, I had not washed it because I had done such a crap job of ironing on the patches that I was afraid to wash the vest for fear that they would all fall off. She then politely suggested that perhaps I could take the vest to the dry cleaners. Really? Wow, thank you for that! I then made a crazy counter proposal – maybe I could even just spot clean the vest?! She agreed that yes, this was acceptable. Woo hoo! SO glad we could figure out such a huge dilemma – what a relief, right? (so now I’m the one rolling my eyes)

In honor of my daughter’s nasty Girl Scout vest, I changed the words to one of my favorite songs – “Sexyback” by Mr. Sexy Back himself, Justin Timberlake, and emailed it to this woman so she would know that I was taking her advice very seriously. The moral of this story is – when life hands you Lemon Chalet Cremes, write a hip hop ditty and send it to the bitch!! Here it is:

I’m bringing lazy back….(yep)
You’re only jealous of my art of slack….(yep)
A clean vest doesn’t mean that you’re all that.….(yep)
I have some mad skills that you others lack….(yep)

Take it to the cleaners.

Dirty vest…
Covered with Thin Mints,
Doesn’t look its best.
Is it all cotton or is it permanent press?
Too bad this momma’s a domestic mess.

Take it to the cleaners.

Come here, vest.
Go ahead, just spot clean it
Turn it to the back.
Go ahead, just spot clean it
Smells like pee.
Go ahead, just spot clean it
Even a patch can’t cover the ick.
Go ahead, just spot clean it
Look at that filth.
Go ahead, just spot clean it
This vest looks so vile.
Go ahead, just spot clean it

Get yo’ lazy on!

 

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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It took me 40 years to be this good.

Two years ago, I guested blogged for a friend and wrote the following entry about turning 40. Yes, that means I am now 42 and I am not only fine with being

that age, I don’t really care who knows that I am that “old”. I am happy to still be here, especially since I had friends who didn’t get the same opportunity.

I have never understood why so many people dread turning 40. I feel more secure with myself than ever. I know who my true friends are and what I have to do (and what I shouldn’t do) to keep my sanity and remain relatively happy with life. Did I know that when I was in my 20’s? HELL NO. I didn’t even know it less than a decade ago. In my opinion, the idea that “40 is Fatal” is one of the biggest LITTLE WHITE LIES out there. So I hope you will enjoy this blogging flashback – or I guess in my case, a blogging HOT FLASHback! (ha HAAA)

So this year I turned 40. Big deal right? Not to me. But apparently it is to some members of my family, as well as some of my misguided friends. First, my parents – who thought it was cute to call me repeatedly and bust out laughing when I answered. Also my best friend – who bought me a pair of boob suspenders to keep “the girls” up (yes, these are available in some stores and online – who knew?). My husband, who unfortunately is 15 months my junior and talks about how I “robbed the cradle”. But most surprisingly, my 7-year-old daughter who couldn’t believe her mom was going to be such a big number.I mean, my mom is 40 – WOW, that is majorly into the double digits and takes forever when counting to get to it. (her words)

Why is this such a topic of conversation? After all, I don’t look 40, at least in my humble opinion. I definitely don’t act 40 (if you know me, you’re nodding in agreement). Age is a state of mind, right? And my state of mind is screaming “25”! I am young, vibrant and hip. I can name every Jonas Brother and I dance with my kids to the songs on my iPod (some of these songs are even currently played on the radio). I try to dance like Beyonce’, even though I am mad white. I can also balance a damn good beer pyramid on top of my knees (see photo). Doesn’t that all add up to one bad ass momma?? Well to me, it does – and that’s really all that matters.

I decided to embrace my image of myself and laugh off everyone else’s opinion about this number that had turned into such a phenomenon. It sure as hell didn’t hurt that my husband decided to whisk me off to Orlando, Florida for a little mini-vacation (sans our two kids, woo hoo!) in honor of my birthday. We stayed in a fabulous hotel right beside the Universal Studios theme park. While relaxing poolside, I came up with a list of the Top Ten ways to survive your 40th birthday based on my experience that weekend. Maybe some of these will help you when you’re upset about a birthday. (Hint: the most important thing to do is find a way to laugh about it!)

  1. Relish the fact that a 70-year-old man hit on you at the pool bar and remind yourself that you’ve still got it (at least with folks who are probably pissing themselves while talking to you – but who cares, they’d hit that!). BOO yeah.
  2. While looking for chairs at the hotel pool, if your husband slyly tries to steer you close to the high school sunbathers, calmly say (audibly) “Holy Jailbait, Batman!!!” smile widely, and keep walking towards other spots.
  3. Just keep drinking…..just keep drinking…(this option is not for the weak, by the way, but it is crucial for maximum stress reduction).
  4. Pretend the screams coming from the roller coasters at the theme park next door are really intended for you! (Tip: if you are faithful in following the advice in #3, you will be able to convince yourself of almost anything).
  5. Channel your inner DIVA. (or is that COUGAR? on second thought, skip the damn verbiage and just order another double martini)
  6. Keep reminding yourself that it takes a lot less time at the pool bar now when ordering a drink (because let’s face it, you ain’t gettin’ carded).
  7. Follow the advice of the very happy Jamaican waitress at the hotel restaurant and just “ting a tong”. The tong I always choose to ting to bring me to my happy place is “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. I dare you not to have a smile on your face after listening to that one! Up for a challenge? Try dirty dancing to it…go on, I dare you…(just do NOT let anyone film you…trust me here…).
  8. Follow the advice in #3 BEFORE you put your bathing suit on. Even if you are still able to see what you really look like, you probably won’t care.
  9. When your husband makes a crack about all the blackbirds that seem to be gathering around your lounge chair at the pool, simply tell him that the birds are actually ravens who can predict the likelihood of his getting laid on this trip. And to quoth the raven? NEVERMORE.
  10. Don’t count what your age is in dog years. Dogs your age are dead.

Most importantly, remember that when your child tells someone that “My mom is 40!” You should finish the sentence with…. “and FIERCE, baby!”

 

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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Daddy Rocks

Father’s Day always makes me think of many important events of my past. This year I was struck with the memory of early in my first pregnancy of receiving the book “What to

Expect When You’re Expecting” from one of my mom friends. Having heard about the book in the pregnancy arena many times, I..wait for it…expected to get it as a gift. What I didn’t expect is what she said when she gave it to me. “See this book? It’s a load of crap. I want you to read it and know that nothing about being pregnant is as clear cut as what is contained in a book. Nothing about being a parent can be summed up in any kind of book either. The first rule of parenting is to trust YOU.”

Those words really struck me, all the while scaring the shit out of me. I wanted all the answers to be in one book. Doesn’t everyone?? The fact that the unknown could not be described in print made me nervous and feel inadequate before I even had a chance to actually screw up. But her words could not have been truer. I read the book and also many others through the years. The topics ranged from my role in raising a confident toddler to dealing with daughters who aren’t having their periods, yet are having intense unexplained mood swings… (please pray for me). Some of the information is helpful, absolutely, but ultimately the decisions about how best to parent lies with the parents.

(LITTLE WHITE LIE Alert!) You don’t have to read and follow the advice in a ton of books to be a good parent. How unexpected!

So while reminiscing about my first pregnancy, I couldn’t help but remember how disappointed I was with the choices in maternity fashion. And while this seems to have gotten better over the years, much of it still sucks. Do designers believe that women who already feel like they are fiercely unattractive want to wear clothing that only helps to make that a reality? These tent dresses and oversized polyester shirts are things that most of us wouldn’t wear in Size “Beach Trip Weight”! So why now? Pregnant women should feel like they are rockin’ it!

Recently on my Facebook page, I said that I wished there had been a company that made maternity t-shirts with snarky sayings when I was pregnant. Several moms said they too would’ve gladly sported one of these instead of the more typical preggerz garb. They agreed that it’s important to keep your sense of humor through this uncomfortable time! I requested suggestions for these humorous sayings and received about 100 contributions (from moms, dads and even non-breeders). The best 20 are listed below.

Today we salute the dudes who knock us up.  Happy Father’s Day!

The Happy Daddy Top 20 Tank Top Booby Traps

Shoulda put a Nuva Ring on it

My husband said he would pull out, but now look at my big ass!

I know what I did last summer…

‎My husband knocked me up and all I got was this crappy t-shirt.

All daddy wanted was a blow job….

Preggo® – It’s in there!

What can I say? He went to Jared.

JUST DID IT

It was either this or get a real job

Mommy’s little tax deduction

‎Next time I’ll just ask for flowers

9 Minutes of Heaven. 9 Months of Hell.

Damn you, tequila! DAMN YOU TO HELL!

Sometimes what happens in Vegas, does NOT stay in Vegas

Who’s Your Daddy??

Designated Driver

I didn’t want a Klondike bar THIS bad

MILF to be

‎Next time I’ll have a headache..

‎If only I had taken Katy Perry’s advice and kissed a girl

 

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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It’s My Kid’s Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Kid birthday parties. Who cringed when you read that? Most of us moms have been to countless of these and in many cases would rather have a raging case of PMS with no Midol in sight than attend one of them. It can be especially stressful when it’s your own kid’s party and you’re hosting a crapload of sugar-seeking, sweaty young kids at your home who are desperate to be entertained. WINNING! (not)

I recently threw a party for my 6-year-old and decided to have it at our house because we have a backyard pool. I thought it would be easier and definitely cheaper. Overall it went off without a hitch, but the day did have its moments. The worst being when the dad dropped off his kid and said, “My daughter can’t swim at all and doesn’t like water. See you in 3 hours.” Outstanding! Thank you so much for bringing your kid to free daycare today, asshole. Shouldn’t the parent of the child who can’t swim want to stay for safety purposes?? That puts no pressure on the “responsible adult” to keep this little landshark from drowning, huh?! Fantastic.

Well despite the fact that one kid clung to the side of the pool, terrified to move, the entire time (and you know who I’m talking about), the day was a success. I’ve started to believe that the period of panic before the party is probably tougher than the event itself. I stress way too much about what could go wrong (a kid puking in my house.. something besides the birthday candles being set on fire.. a child forgetting to take a dump somewhere other than the pool..). I am not a big worrier by nature, but I have to admit that kids make me nervous - especially when a bunch of these little shits are together en masse.

So this year I decided to make a list of survival tips for kids’ birthday parties. I got so cracked up at the thought of using some of these that I forgot to have my usual pre-party freak out. Maybe they’ll help you too. Party on.

Top Ten Tips for Surviving Your Kid’s Birthday Party

  1. Pre-party, get your doctor to prescribe something for anxiety.
    If you have a male doctor, blame it on your period. Talking about your period to any man tends to freak him out and make him agree with whatever it takes to shut you up.
    If you have a female doctor, she probably already prescribed something for you anyway because she knows you’re a mom and could snap at any moment. If not? Tell her you could snap at any moment.
    Taking something that has been prescribed for you is perfectly legal and you won’t get in trouble for being bombed at your kid’s party!
  2. To save money, do NOT give out goody bags. Tell the kids their reward is that Mrs. Lion did not spank them at the party. (talk in the 3rd person too – they’ll be too afraid to question you)
  3. However, DO give a prize for the quietest child, and announce at the beginning of the party that you will be doing so. If you’re really brave, just hand the winner one of the crap birthday gifts that your kid received at the party. (that’s a bonus money saving tip for you)
  4. Ask each kid who their favorite person is who’s attending, figure out who has the most votes, and then let THAT kid run the party. Let’s face it, they won’t listen to your anyway if you’re in charge.
  5. Hold up a beer and ask which kids know what it is. The ones that do probably have the cool parents that are worth getting to know socially. (you might as well get something out of this)
  6. Play some Tom Jones music at the party. When the kids request the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber, tell them that this will be those boys in about 40 years so they might as well get used to it now. (those little musical jerks might even lose some fans over this – you’re welcome, parents!). If they want female singers, put in Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ because that’s where all those little Disney mini hookers are going to end up anyway.
  7. If any of the kids seem bored and ask you what they can do, tell them to fix you a sandwich. (in the same spirit as #5, you’re in hell so you might as well get something out of this)
  8. If a child actually says she’s bored, hand her a box of Clorox wipes and your Swiffer. If you’re really brave, have her clean up dog poop in your yard – or if you’re lucky like me, in your house! (don’t ask)
  9. Make the following announcement – “Any child who invades my personal space has to rub Mrs. Lion’s feet!” Works EVERY time – no one will get near you. (don’t forget to keep the 3rd person theme going)
  10. Wear your t-shirt that says “Gold Diggers. Like hookers….but smarter.” Some parents will be too afraid to let their kids stay. For the kids who do stay, make sure to explain the meaning of each of those words. That should reduce attendance at future parties.

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

 

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I’m not so much a trophy wife, I’m more of a thanks-for-participating-ribbon wife

The title of this blog is based on a very popular status update posted on the Little White Lion Facebook page. The concept resonated with a lot of peeps and I received some email about it. Everything from, “you are a trophy no matter what”, to “what the hell IS a trophy wife”, to “my asshole husband doesn’t deserve a piece of rusted metal, let alone a trophy”… you get the idea. By posting that I was not trying to diss myself but rather make fun of myself because, unlike a “trophy wife”, I am certainly not perfect.

While I am a “recovering perfectionist” (translation: I gave up on that crap), I do try my best to keep me, the house and everything and everyone in it, in order. Despite my efforts, overall I remain a domestic mess. When that coil thingie in my oven broke, I wanted to throw a party! Not because I actually ever use my oven, but because all the pressure was off to even try to use it. But it gets worse. Recently, my kids were at my mother-in-law’s house and saw her ironing board sitting out in her laundry room. They asked me what it was!! (OOPS ..oh aren’t they just precious playing a joke like that, ha ha haaaaa….meh) So, you get the picture.

I don’t beat myself up too much about my failures as a domestic goddess. I believe in going with what you’re good at and capitalizing on it as best you can. We all have our talents that make each of us the bomb diggity. It’s rewarding to put your focus here and own it! At the very least, be proud of your strengths and feel good about the little things that set you apart from others.

This morning, one of my kids asked me, “do you think I’m pretty?” I told her yes but said the better question was, “do YOU think you’re pretty?” In addition to recognizing their gifts, I’m trying to teach my girls to be their best affirmers. If you depend on others to pump your ego, let’s face it, you’re screwed. One day I will share with my daughters my personal daily affirmation which is a twist on the Stuart Smalley classic from Saturday Night Live:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me…but if you don’t like me, you can kiss my ass!”

For now, I’ll settle for sharing a short ditty that is about my ass, all in the spirit of being your own #1 champion. A few years ago, I discovered a beautiful thing called a velour track suit. Not cotton, not spandex.. velour. Something about this fabric magically transforms my mediocre ass into something more spectacular. And who doesn’t like that, baby?! Because of this, I went out and bought 6 track suits; same brand, same cut, different colors but all velour. A few of my friends made fun of the fact that I chose velour (mixed with a little elASStic as I like to call it because it’s earned the title)… Why not cotton? Well velour is cotton, but more luscious. I may not be the perfect “trophy wife” but dammit, I can rock a velour track suit! Here is my tribute.

“Just Like Cotton” – to the tune of “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure

Show me, show me, show me
Your boo-ty magic
80% cotton weave
She said
Track pants made in China
She said
They turn this mom into a MILF
Show me that elASStic
And I promise you
I promise that, my bum will a-maze you
My bum will a-maze you

Ve-lour
Soft and fuzzy
Ve-lour
Wash with colors only
Ve-lour
Just like cotton

 

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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It’s good I have this bumper sticker with all the stick figures so you know I’m having a breakdown

Recently I passed a minivan with one of those bumper stickers announcing that the mom driving said minivan had an amazing kid who had made the honor roll. I really detest these stickers. Not because I don’t think it’s great to have a kid who makes the honor roll, but rather I question that the family vehicle is the best place to advertise that he did. So where do you draw the line in praising children’s accomplishments? It’s as if people believe they are not good parents unless they’re using every square inch of their bumpers to tell us about their kids. (LITTLE WHITE LIE Alert!)

Years ago and shortly after my oldest daughter learned how to read, we passed a car with an honor roll shout out (I like to call these moving billboards, “honor rides” or “stationbraggins” depending on the model). My daughter innocently asked a very good question: “will you still be proud of me if I don’t make the honor roll?” The answer to that is a resounding hell YES. But her question is related to why I don’t like these damn stickers. We all have something to be proud of, and who’s to say that your kid making the honor roll is a bigger deal than my painfully shy child making a new friend at school? Both are full of win. My kid’s triumph won’t be on a bumper sticker, yet I am just as pride filled about her success as you are of your little smarty pants.

This has zero to do with me not believing in healthy competition. I’ve always preferred that my kids work for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons at their school’s Field Day, rather than receiving the expected “participation ribbons” just for not playing hooky that day. So I totally get and appreciate the excitement when your kid gets good grades - even if mine doesn’t. But I also think there are other moments deserving of kudos. Like the time my youngest pulled out a booger and asked me if I thought it looked like Jesus. I realize her doing something like this won’t help get her into college, but with a killer sense of humor, she might be better able to survive the ups and downs that life hands her. (and for the record, I think somehow documenting her discovery on a bumper sticker would be EPIC)

As for the original “honor ride” that prompted this post? The minivan was an older model and the sticker was worn and peeling. That former honor student may now be a high school dropout or the latest unwilling victim of a Maury Povich paternity test.. anything is possible! And it totally cracked me up to think about it. Why? My kid found Booger Jesus. Your move, Einstein.

This whole thing inspired the following status on my Facebook page: “I’m so sick and tired of these bragging bumper stickers about kids being on the honor roll or kicking Chuck Norris’ ass, etc. I’d like to see more realistic statements like, Everyone in this minivan is wearing pants.. we rule! I asked for more sticker sayings and received suggestions from drivers who were equally annoyed with other people’s “perfect lives” being put in their faces. The best 20 are listed below. Today we salute REALITY! (with a big shot of snark)

The Top 20 “Reality Bites” Bumper Stickers

My kid may not be on the honor roll, but he can hold my beer without spilling it while I drive

My kid can’t read your stupid bumper sticker

Six kids on board and giving them all guilt trips. Catholic parents ROCK.

My daughter is in high school and I’m not a grandparent.. yet

My dog can lick your dog’s balls

Coffee + Activia = I have the right of way

My degenerate beat up your honor student

Grades are overrated when my kid can burp the alphabet

My kid may have been held back in Kindergarten, but she’s now big enough to beat up everyone in Math club

I can drive, text, and beat the shit out of my kids at the same time

My kid flunked Science but was smart enough to help me set up a meth lab in the basement

Caution: one hand on cell phone and the other around my kid’s neck

My kid just outscored me on our 5th grade Science quiz!

Points if you’re behind me and you hit the kid I throw out the window

Gas, cash, or groupons…no one rides the minivan for free

Low IQ isn’t just a number. It’s a way of life.

My underachiever got your honor roll student pregnant

Life’s a beach! (and then you have to clean sand out of your ass crack)

My kid broke into a tampon dispenser to pay for the parking meter

My other kid is Lindsay Lohan

(many thanks to our Twitter friends, @StumpWoodley and @darinlovesbacon for their contributions, as well as @WhatRedSaid for finding Jesus in her nose–Karen Hockins)

Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved

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The Mother Load

A couple of weeks ago, something really cool happened to me. The company where I had been doing some independent contracting decided to bring me on as an employee. It’s a small company for now, but they are expanding and really wanted me to be a permanent part of the team. Knowing several people who are unemployed, and with the current state of our economy, I did not take this lightly. Did I strut around my house like a rockstar for a few days? Oh hell yes! But other than telling family and a few friends, my celebration ended with that victory lap around my crib.

Recently a few of my friends have quit their jobs to stay home with their kids. When women make this decision, it always seems to be met with huge fanfare and a lot of “atta girls” for making the right choice for their families. Each one of them broadcasted it on Facebook that they would now be staying home with their kids. A storm of “Likes” followed, along with all positive feedback. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the kudos being awarded this decision – in fact, in every case, I posted a “congratulations” and even threw in a few, “you won’t regret it’s”. I’ve been there, and while I don’t regret it, it’s just no longer the path for me.

So here I was, more firmly planted back in the workplace and seemingly more “away” from my kids than ever before. I didn’t send a mass email or post the news as my Facebook status. I simply changed my employer in my Facebook profile info and waited to see if anyone noticed or commented. No one did and that was fine, but I did wonder while I wasn’t viewing myself as a total badass for my accomplishment. Was this a case of “mommy guilt”? Whatever it was, I was pretty content to think of it as “no big deal” until… enter REALITY. (that &%$#* son of a $#*&%!!!) As soon as I was given new employee paperwork to fill out at work, all hell broke lose at home. Join me as I summarize the timeline of the first days of starting my new job:

Day 1 of new job: The vet calls to say the dog is ready to be picked up from being boarded. I show up for what I think is a 5-minute deal. I’m told that he has a serious ear fungus/infection. Here’s the short version: They ran tests. He should be OK. But before you go, we need to explain every little medical “what if” detail to you while you’re here. Oh, and here’s a million drugs for him that cost more than your car… Good thing I have my job! Which speaking of, I’m really late. No big deal. I’ll explain that the dog is like our “firstborn child” and I’m sorry the appointment took all morning. I’m sure my boss is an animal lover despite the fact that he shoots a wide variety of wildlife creatures on the weekends and posts photos of the carnage in his office. But yes! ..he’ll understand. First days are just practice anyway, right?

Day 2 of new job: Oldest daughter wakes up with a high fever. Dad has very important meetings all day and can’t stay home with her, so that leaves me. No biggie. They will understand at work. These things happen and are out of our control. I resist worrying that my “mom-ness” is showing to my co-workers. One of my well-meaning male friends says, “oh no, aren’t you afraid that right out the gate you’re looking like one of those women?” I should have punched him to calm my unsettled nerves, but instead I decide to have a beer and end up having 5. Luckily, I have a job now and we can easily afford the luxury of beer! (even though everyone knows beer is a necessity)

Day 3 of new job: Oldest kid wakes up with a high fever. Dad is running meetings all day and can’t stay home with her, so that leaves me. No biggie. They will understand at work. These things happen and are out of our control… (holy mother of God, everything is repeating, it’s the f’n Groundhog Day movie!) Except now my co-workers hate me. Did I mention I am a key person who is supposed to be working on a very important audit??! Yeah, they are probably wiping snot all over my chair in my absence. Can’t really blame them. I am starting to smell my own suckage.

Day 4 of new job: Oldest kid wakes up with a high fever. Dad is now out of town on business. I take her to the doctor and she is diagnosed with a flu-like illness (can’t we just call it the flu? you’re just as screwed as you are when you have the flu.. what’s with the “like”? FLU would be taken more seriously, dammit!) There is no treatment but she is not to return to school until the fever is gone for 24 hours, blah blah blah. That’s OK because now I too am feverish. OUTF#CKINGSTANDING. Kid takes one couch. I take the other. I doze off and have nightmares about whether or not someone at the office will be willing to pack up all my shit when I get canned… then I wake up and realize that there is no shit since I HAVEN’T STARTED THE JOB.

Day 5 of new job: Still wallowing in flu-LIKE (bastards) misery. Despite the fact that the oldest and I are on day 4 of being stuck sick at home, we are handling it just fine. We’ve put Barbie doll heads on top of coffee stirrers, we’re communicating by playing recorders from her Music class, and we’re considering setting fire to my youngest daughter’s Justin Bieber doll while she’s at school… NOTHING to see here..

Day 6 of new job: Kid is feeling better. I still feel like asscrack. Despite that, I try to go to work for a couple of hours. The only saving grace to being drugged up and feeling like shit was that I too incoherent to know if my co-workers were welcoming me back or openly swearing at me. “F#ck you” does sound a lot like “bless you” when you’re taking cough syrup with codeine, just so you know. I’m running way behind all day and that continues as I’m trying to run kids to activities after school. My daughter’s soccer coach makes a snide comment about how I’m lucky soccer practice isn’t on the other side of town since we’re never on time and the field is only a mile away from our house. I call him a jackass under my breath and claim victory. (I NEED a triumph.. work with me here)

Day 7 of new job: I discovered head lice on my two daughters late the night before. (apparently in all the glory of the last week, I missed the letter from school that it was going around..YAY!) I thoroughly treat the cranium critter circus on both kids and send them to school as instructed. Despite the fact that I have 18 trash bags full of bedding, clothes and stuffed animals that need my attention, I feel I should go into the office for awhile because I really need to work… ok, ok, it was because I didn’t want to deal with all the bagged lice-ridden shit! While sitting in a meeting about the audit – the audit I had all but managed to dodge, by the way - I notice some co-workers are staring at me. I figured it was just because they hate me until I caught a glimpse of my reflection in my boss’s iPhone. I still had a lone barrette on the top of my head that I had used to pull hair away in my search for lice. Despite looking like a total dumbass, I leave it so I can better see if any of those damn parasitic f’ers are jumping around on my head. I’ll have to rely on my boss’s phone to see them because I know none of my co-workers will alert me.. they all want me to die (BELIEVE ME, you idiots were having more fun than I was!) At this point, I’m hoping their wish for my demise comes true, especially after I get home and see those 18 bags of crap. I am certain that setting fire to them would be easier than de-licing their contents. (but we can’t afford new crap if I’m going to get canned, so I don’t torch it.. YET)

So after enduring a small piece of hell, I learned something that I’m sure I’ll never forget. No matter if you’re a “working mother” or not.. you’re a mother working. The load is still heavy. The reward is still great (even though sometimes you have to search for that fulfillment… yeah, total realist here). The word “mother” stays intact no matter what personal decision you make for your family, and my choice to work outside the home was the right one for me. And after the last week of mad mothering, I was tempted to wear a t-shirt that said, “You can’t really blame me for being batshit crazy, it came free with the vagina.” One thing’s for sure, I’m definitely going to start telling people about my new job! (if I’m ever able to work a full day, that is..)

“Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life.” ~ Anonymous

Don't be shellfish...
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“Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house”

That’s a Fran Lebowitz quote and it’s awesome… and seemingly spot on. A couple of years ago when my youngest daughter was 4, she hit a milestone that every parent dreads: she said her first swear word. (yep, she was only 4… shut up) Our family was on a road trip and had stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. While waiting to order, she looks at me and said, “Mommy, fox is not a bad word. But F#CK is!” I was mortified, but not half as much as the four blue hairs sitting right behind her at another table. If those old ladies could’ve gotten away with beating me over the head with a big slab of chicken fried steak, they would have. After all, what happened automatically makes me a bad parent, right? Not in my book. (and for the record, what she said was accurate…)

This turned out to be a good learning moment for my daughter, as well as one for the parent who might have been responsible for her learning this word. **cough** Little ears are always around us and they pick up on everything. But would I rather her learn the F bomb from me with a lesson about not repeating it? Or would I prefer she learn it from her peers or Eminem and just hope she asks me about it? As much as I would like to teach her everything, there is a fine line between helping your kids to learn and exposing them to something they are not yet ready to understand. I believe it’s up each parent to make the call about what we want to try and control, what they can handle.. and whether or not we can deal with the fall out of them having this knowledge. (warning: this can be scary shit!)

As for the angry blue hairs that were so ready to revoke my Mother of the Year award, I don’t believe it was any of their business to be so angry about my child (CORRECTLY) dropping the F bomb. Since I am both a mom and a writer, I am constantly amazed by what offends other people. People take things personally that have nothing to do with them and I can’t relate to why they put so much energy into it (not to mention, where they find such energy)! When I was younger, I used to be much more sensitive about things but I’ve totally mellowed since becoming a mom and growing a bit more mature (those of you who know me can stop laughing now, m’kay?). Getting upset doesn’t really help anyone, plus it puts the focus into getting upset rather than finding a solution to the issue. So I put together a helpful – and ok, snarky – chart about how to deal with a situation where you took offense.

Despite my obvious smartassedness here, I do believe there is a time and a place for everything. And as much as I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, there are some situations where it should be a no brainer that you just can’t express yourself freely. There is probably no greater example of this than what I’ve witnessed while watching music awards shows. If you win an award, is it really necessary to tell the world that your agent is one big bad ass motherf#cker? It’s TV, dude, you can’t do that because it’s out there for the masses. Plus they’ll bleep out the bad stuff anyway, so your boy might hear that he is a bad agent, while your mom might think you called her a bad mother with a big ass. The good news is that the peeps at Teleflora would be happy to send flowers with a card that tells your agent that you think he’s a bad ass motherf#cker, so not all is lost. (while you’re at it, you might want to send some to your mom too)

To illustrate my point, please flashback with me to the Grammy Awards show of 2010. When Lil Wayne and some other artists performed his song, “Drop the World”, well over half of the lyrics had to be cut out, which destroyed the entire “performance” (a term I use loosely since the censoring took away the majority of the lyrics and the music right with it). Why did they even bother letting him perform this song? Or maybe other words should have been included in place of the ones that were no no’s? I like Lil Wayne, but this disjointed 3 minutes would have been better served if I had taken a pee break or by just listening to him on my iPod. Like with many situations that I find absurd, it inspired me to rewrite one of my favorite dance songs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lkdqoLt44&ob=av2e). This is dedicated to the F Bombshell in all of us.

No F Bombs on TV (to the tune of “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band)

Your rap we heard…contained swear words
Far more than can be bleeped
Per censor’s rules, we must refuse

Lyrics that are dir-ty
So we’ll take them out baby

No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV
Take half of the song out baby.

No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV

Can’t take the thrillz, of crude rap skillz
From of-fen-sive homeys
Didn’t bleep it out. We turned it off
We turned off the juice
We just removed the song….yea…

No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV
We just turned it off baby
No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV

Lil Wayne and company.
Were setting the lyrics free, mute button did apply
The sound just went bye bye
Can’t take the thrillz, of crude rap skillz
They were so dope baby, but we had to say nope

No F bombs on TV….hey baby
No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV
But we turned it off, baby
No F bombs on TV….baby
No F bombs on TV

I…I..I…I.I.I..can’t hear the lyrics
I…I..I…I.I.I..can’t hear the lyrics

Don't be shellfish...
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10 Perfect Examples of Wearing the Cone of Shame in Style

A pet lampshade or the “cone of shame” is more officially referred to as an Elizabethan collar, E-Collar, or pet cone. Its purpose is to prevent the animal from biting or licking a wound before it is fully healed.

While these are usually made from plastic or cardboard and are typically quite boring, these people decided to get a little creative with them…

Source:  makemelaugh | dailypicksandflicks

Don't be shellfish...
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