summer reading

Why Summer Reading Is the Worst

Summer is winding down…only three weeks to go. I just finished Round 5 of “do your summer reading project before I take away your phone, your make-up, your other books, and everything else you hold near and dear to your heart” with Child #2.

This battle is getting really old

I thought about it the other day and I realized, not only have I been arguing with my kids about this for years, I’ve been fighting this battle since Hubby was in high school. Yes, you read that correctly. I distinctly remember fighting with him the summer before our senior year about his summer reading assignment procrastination. I, of course, had mine done the first week we were off in June, and he had yet to crack the book open three days before school started. I realize now that this should have been a warning sign to me and that any offspring of his were likely to carry the “summer reading project avoidance” gene. Lucky me, both offspring are recipients of this gene.

In all fairness, Child #2 isn’t usually THIS bad with reading avoidance—in fact, when she went into middle school, all sixth graders had to read Wonder. Not only did she read the book in record time (allowing me to read it, too), she used her birthday money to buy the next book in the series. It was a poignant, entertaining, heart-warming, and altogether WONDER-ful book. The kids were excited about reading that year, and I thought it was precedent for things to come. Finally, no outdated bore-fest…just fun and relevant reads for the kids to have them thinking even when school is out. After all, isn’t that why they DO summer reading anyway? To keep the kids’ minds engaged?

I Was Wrong

The summer reading project is apparently NOT going the way of the updated, modern novel. Nope. This year, she and her classmates have to read Animal Farm and compare it to the Russian Revolution…using quotes by dead literary guys. Yup. What a freaking buzzkill on summer.

She begged me the other day to help her with the assignment and I hated to admit to her that the summer reading book and assignment were crap. Me, the person who got excited when the teacher said to take out our silent reading books. Me, who read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in fifth grade. Me, who understands and appreciates how important reading and education really is.

Seriously, I was left scratching my head after I read the assignment, unable to offer her any sage advice. Which is another reason summer reading projects and assignments are crap. The kids have to rely solely on their parents and friends for deciphering the assignment—there’s no teacher to talk to or help you when you don’t understand it.

Seriously, we can’t find better books for these kids???

I mean, Animal Farm was written seventy years ago. I get it, we need to study history or we’re doomed to repeat it and all that jazz, but maybe couldn’t we put the heavy topics on the back burner for the summer? Yes, the kids need to engage their minds and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but aren’t there more books like Wonder that the kids actually love? I mean, NOT ONE OF HER FRIENDS HAVE FINISHED THIS BOOK. And you’re talking those honors kids that, like me, usually have it done in June.

It’s hanging over their heads and they are avoiding it like they avoid changing for gym. Seriously, this summer reading book has brought a blight on summer. It’s always there, taunting them. And taunting me, too. I mean, I’m the one who has to scream and yell and threaten. And why? Why do we have to do this? I’m pretty sure the choices of engaging, relevant reads for teens are endless.

Here’s a few GOOD summer reading suggestions

What about something by John Green? The Fault in Our Stars had me sobbing (quite like Wonder). Rainbow Rowell is another YA writer with great stories to tell. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone? AMAZING. You want something “old”? How about The Outsiders? Dicey’s Song? The Westing Game? Virtually anything by Judy Blume.

There are literally THOUSANDS of books that teens will enjoy AND get something out of. But no. Let’s assign them a seventy-two year old book that’s really NOT for 12 and 13 year olds.

You’re never going to make everyone happy

I know this…believe me, I know this. I should have this tattooed to my forehead and walk around with a mirror, just to remind myself of this.

But maybe if we TRY to branch out beyond the dusty old bookshelf in the back of the now defunct school library and ask the kids what they’re reading, what they would like to read, and discuss come the first week of September…like a book club or something. Maybe then we’ll make summer fun again, like it was meant to be.

Am I Running a Diner Here?

I love summer, but I’ve got to tell you, I think I may lose my mind with over a month left until school starts up again. The kids are killing me. According to them, every day in the summer is a party. All the rules of September through June seem to go out the window. Besides the endless activities and “can so-and-so sleep over?” and “can I go to so-and-so’s house?”, there’s the problem of our summer eating schedule. Which…is largely due to the activities and the sleepovers and the going to friends’ houses.

September through June, our meal schedule goes something like this:

Between 7:00 am-8:00 am: Breakfast

Between 12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Lunch

After school: Snack

Between 5:00 pm-6:00 pm: Dinner

Loosely, of course. Weekends are a little different and it’s subject to change to depending on what we have going on at night, but still, everyone GENERALLY follows this plan. In the summer however, it seems “Everything Goes”. Apparently over the kitchen doorway is a sign that reads “Mom’s 24 Diner! Eat What You Want, When You Want!!!” (And pout when Mom gives you a hard time about it.)

I follow the September through June dining plan all year, including in the summer. I am hungry for breakfast by 8, lunch by 1, and dinner by 6. My body doesn’t say, “screw that, it’s summer”. My body like routine and normalcy. The rest of the house, however…

Here’s Child #1’s schedule:

8:00 am: Wake up. Have coffee. Lounge around. Ignore mother’s requests to eat breakfast.

10:00 am: Eat breakfast.

10:30 am: Eat breakfast again.

11:00 am: Ask what’s for lunch.

11:30 am: Eat lunch.

12:00 pm: Have snack.

12:30 pm: Ask what’s for dinner.

1:00 pm: Stare into the fridge and announce there is nothing to eat. Walk to McDonald’s.

1:30 pm: Work out.

2:00 pm: Go out with friends.

4:00 pm: Return. Ask about dinner again. Have a snack. (At no point is Child #1 using the paper plates, bowls or cups I have asked him to use because he makes too many dishes and he isn’t the one who washes them.)

4:30 pm-7:30 pm: SLEEP.

8:00 pm: Ask about the dinner he slept through. Offer Child leftovers from missed dinner. Child may or may not eat leftovers depending on mood.

8:30 pm: Go back out. Get food while out.

10:30 pm: Return. Make pasta.

11:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

11:30 pm: Have ice cream.

12:00 am: Make more coffee. Immediately go back to sleep.

Child #2’s schedule varies greatly from Child #1:

11:00 am: Stumble out of bed and reject all breakfast choices.

12:00 pm: Lie around and moan and groan about being tired. Reject all lunch choices.

12:30 pm: Take a nap.

2:00 pm: Wake up and announce she’s STARVING and ask when is lunch? Reject lunch choices.

2:30 pm: Eat seven hundred and fifty two mini pretzels and ask about going to the movies/bowling/sleeping at a friends’ house, etc. etc. Clean room for the hundredth time this week when told that she cannot leave the house till said room is clean and laundry is put away.

4:00 pm: Go out with friends.

7:30 pm: Return and wonder where dinner is. Offer Child leftovers from dinner. Child refuses leftovers.

8:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

8:30 pm: Whine about hunger pains and still refuse leftovers.

9:00 pm: Go back to sleep.

12:00 am: Wake up to the smell of coffee brewing and make a cup. Stay awake for the next 3 hours binge watching “The Office”.

And repeat. Add in Child #1’s work days and Hubby’s work days, it’s a wonder we ever get a normal meal in this house. Some nights Hubby and I shrug our shoulders and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for ourselves. A few weeks ago I ate an Eggo waffle for dinner. Last night I had a block of cheddar cheese for dinner. And I didn’t even have any good wine to go with it.

And you know what pisses me off? I’m following a normal eating schedule here and they’re the ones getting annoyed that they can’t eat at their leisure. Today I got a text in Target from Child #2 wanting to know when dinner would be because she was hungry. It was 4:00. And yesterday I got a “what’s for lunch” text…I was at the beach.

I’ve got to laugh at all my friends on social media posting all the fun things they do with their kids during the summer…hell, we can’t even get a meal together, let alone DO anything outside the house. I almost long for the days when it was just picky eating I had to worry about. Now I have one that is grazing 24/7 and the other I have to force-feed until she’s “starving” at the most inopportune times (kind of like when we were trying to potty train her all those years ago…). I guess that’s part of life when your kids are teenagers and doing their own thing with no regard for anyone else in their house (Pretty much the Teenage Mantra). Maybe next year I’ll install a vending machine in the kitchen and make some money off of them at least.

Why Dance Recitals Are the Worst

I realized this weekend that my poor daughter is the unfortunate recipient of a woman who was not meant to be a “girl” mom. Sorry, kid. I am never going to get excited about “girlie” things like make-up and hairstyles. I will not make a big deal over her Sweet Sixteen, her prom, or even her wedding. I’m going to roll my eyes at the girl drama and the giggling over boys. And I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to ever understand dance recitals.

Yesterday, she had her “dance” recital…even though she doesn’t dance. She goes to gymnastics classes, and for the past four years or so, she went to a gymnastics school THAT DIDN’T DO RECITALS. No costumes, no dress rehearsals, no dance routines. Just gymnastics. She went every week and learned gymnastics…not a three minute routine to be performed at the end of the year. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, the weekly trip gymnastic school was a bit of a trek and it was wearing us down…so we found something closer. The trade off was that this school had an end of the year recital. Now when she was about five years old, she did ballet for a hot minute and there was an end of the year recital. She had a poufy tutu, glittery tiara, and a pair of fairy wings. The kids swayed back and forth on the stage for about three minutes. Some just sat on the stage and cried. It was adorable—an enjoyable hour out of my life that had actually brought a tear to my eye despite my hardened heart, so I figured…how bad could this recital be?

Holy crap, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I did gymnastics in the stone ages, they held the recital in the high school auditorium and I wore a black leotard and we bopped around to “Eye of the Tiger” while doing one handed cartwheels and front walkovers. Afterwards my mom took pictures with the Polaroid and we went to Buxton’s for ice cream. Sure, I was pretty awful at gymnastics, but at least my parents didn’t have to go broke to watch and “celebrate” my mediocrity.

That’s what I had been prepared for. That’s NOT what happened.

First off, the classes spent the entire YEAR prepping for these routines. They hardly learned ANYTHING else but the routine. My kid didn’t even learn anything she didn’t already know how to do because they were so focused on the recital routine. I basically paid tuition for  her to learn a three minute routine. 😒

A three minute routine…with an $80 costume. A mesh shirt, tank top and shiny leopard shorts…that’s $80???? Really?????

In addition, we paid a whooping $22.50 a person for these tickets. Because the high school auditorium isn’t good enough anymore. Nope. These kids need to have their recital on a “theater” stage. I’ve gone to concerts whose tickets cost less than these recital tickets. Like famous people with boatloads of talent concerts. In much better venues. It shouldn’t cost a family of four almost $200 to go see their kid do a tumblesault on a mat in shiny shorts and a tank top for God’s sake.

And the emails…oh God, the emails. Every single freaking day we got emails. First it was about volunteering to help out. I laughed so hard when I got that one that I seriously peed myself. Spend my day off with a bunch of screaming and giggling girls from the ages of 3 to 17? No thanks, I’d rather scrub the toilets with my toothbrush.🤨

After that came the emails about buying tickets. Not only were these tickets expensive, you were given a timeslot that you could wait in line to choose your seats for those tickets! Bonus…if you volunteered to help out you got to pick your tickets early!

Uh what?😳

I really didn’t care where my seat was as long as I could see my kid on stage and the seat was in the theater. I refused to join the line that formed in the rain in front of the dance school the day the tickets went on sale. I bought my tickets three days later. (By the way, we were in the 8th row…practically on top of the stage.)😛

But the emails didn’t stop there. Next came the emails about the “studio run through day” and the dress rehearsal and picture day and all the days that the actual classes that I paid for were cancelled to accommodate  these special days.🤔

And even then it didn’t end. Finally came the emails about what tights to wear and how to do your hair and how to do your make-up so it was “stage ready”. Those emails really made me roll my eyes…I would be lucky if I could get my kid’s hair in a ponytail, let alone get “stage make-up” on her. But of course, there were a lot of “girl” moms following these instructions to a T. At the dress rehearsal, Hubby and I watched with open mouths as a mom rolled in a suitcase the size of ME and started pulling her daughter’s costumes and make-up out of it. There was another one who had her daughter’s costume changes on a rack that she wheeled into the building! She had a color coded chart that displayed which accessories and costumes went with which routine. I bet she even changed the kid’s hair for each routine, too. YOU SHOULD NEVER NEED A COLOR CODED CHART FOR A DANCE RECITAL UNLESS YOUR KID IS ON DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!!!😱

If that wasn’t enough torture, finally the recital day came. The damn thing was so freaking loooooong that they broke it down into two interminably long shows, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, presumably so that parents didn’t have to sit through five hours of a dance recital. My kid was in one class with one routine…but lucky us…her class was in BOTH shows! Why????????😩😩😩

Side note: I was the worst parent ever and I just let a mom friend whose daughter was in the class take my child to the first show. I’m sorry, I have better things to do on a Saturday than watch a bunch of pre-teens in too tight costumes leap around on stage for hours on end. I only endured one half of the second recital and let me tell you…it was WAY TOO LONG.

I get it…there’s a lot of work that goes into pulling one of these shows off, but again I ask…why do it? Do they think the parents will be upset if they don’t? I bet you more than half the parents would celebrate a no-recital policy. I personally would be willing to pay MORE just not to have to suffer though another recital. Sure some of the kids were really good, but most were just average. Some were even more uncoordinated than I am. I felt bad for these kids. There they were, up on stage in front of everyone, dancing away and most people weren’t even watching them…they were looking at their phones and praying for the intermission so they could leave.😕

I’m sure those die-hard “girl” moms out there are saying, “But I WANT to see my darling princess all dressed up! I want to see what she learned all year! I WANT to buy her a plastic trophy and get all excited about her ‘special day’! I don’t care if she’s completely sub-par at dancing and has no real talent at all! And I want to pay a $hitload of money, too!”🤩

Not me. I love her and I think she’s beautiful, but I want to see her do what she excels at. I want to make a big deal about THOSE things. I want to see her sing a solo in the school concert. I want to see her make honor roll. I want to watch in amazement at her You Tube video editing skills. Sure, she can do more gymnastics stunts than I ever could, but I’m not going to lie to her and exclaim “Oh my GOD you were AMAZING!” like the mom on the sidewalk in front of the theater did to her kid (who was by all accounts, pretty unforgettable and actually tripped over her own two feet). They’re NOT amazing. They’re…okay.

What are we setting these kids up for when we constantly celebrate mediocrity? Why do we have to give up eight solid hours on an already packed weekend to watch other people’s kids be average? Why are we showcasing EVERY FREAKING THING THESE KIDS DO??????

By the way…I confess that I DID get her flowers and make a big deal about the fact she kept her “stage face” on and smiled and got through the routine despite the fact she was recovering from a week of strep throat and was full of antibiotics and Advil. To me, that’s a bigger accomplishment than anything. She could have come home or refused to do the recital and let her classmates down because she felt like crap, but she pushed through and I made sure she knew that was a big deal in my eyes.

See, I’m not the worst mom in the world…I’m just average…like the restof you.

The Bad Mommy Meal Preps

I follow this fitness/nutrition blogger on Facebook. She’s young, kidless, her boobs haven’t discovered gravity yet, and she gets paid to blog about her fitness journey.

I don’t know why I follow her exactly…her life isn’t anything like mine. Usually I feel awful about myself when I read her blog and look at her pictures. Then I have to remind myself that she spends 3 hours in the gym everyday. Who wouldn’t look great if they spent that amount of time at the gym (well, except for that guy who wanders around the gym talking to people and not actually working out)?

The other day on her blog she posted pictures the usual pictures of her firm ass cheeks and then of her meal prep. She said she spends at least an hour a day meal prepping. It’s time consuming but it affords her the flexibility to spend time doing other things (probably living at the gym) and not giving into cravings. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

I promptly broke out into a fit of laughter as I gazed at the pictures of her bland and boring meals without any jealousy at all. I wouldn’t eat that stuff every day if you paid me! And spend hours prepping for meals I wouldn’t even feed my dog? What a waste of time! Who can afford to spend an hour a day prepping their meals??? That’s not even counting the time spent eating the meal! Oh wait, a kidless fitness freak who gets paid to do that, that’s who.

And that’s when it hit me. Despite the fact that I don’t look like this fitness guru, I STILL spend about 16 hours a week “meal prepping”. What?!?!? Why the hell can’t I bounce a quarter off my butt? Oh, wait, probably because I don’t eat a diet of tofu and veggies and live in the gym. I should share my “meal prep” saga with all you other moms out there feeling bad that you don’t have chiseled abs or toned arms. So here we go, dear readers…meal prep Bad Mommy style:

SATURDAY: Stare at myself in the mirror hating every inch of my body. Jiggle my arm fat with disgust. Pinch way more than an inch on my belly. Try to get my nipples to point straight out without actually lifting my boobs. Vow to do better with eating next week. Inform Hubby and kids we are eating healthier next week. No going out to dinner. No ice cream for dinner. No junk food. No alcohol. Hubby and kids roll their eyes and nod their heads. Total time: 0.5 hours

SUNDAY: Spend 2.7 hours pinning recipes on Pinterest. Ask Hubby and kids what they’d like to eat this week. Receive shoulder shrugs and a round of “I don’t know”. Tell them they’re eating what I pick if they don’t give input. Create week’s menu on chalkboard in kitchen without input from family. Scour this week’s supermarket circular for sales. Cut coupons. Compile list of groceries needed to make the meals on this week’s menu. Total time: 5 hours

MONDAY: Make eggs for breakfast. Eat eggs by myself because no one else wants breakfast. Give leftover eggs to dog. Grab expired yogurt and a bruised apple for lunch because there is nothing else to eat in the house yet. Give list to Hubby to go to the store. Pat myself on the back for divvying up the work (I’m not the only person who eats in the house after all). Field 4 phone calls and 7 texts from Hubby while he is at the store because he doesn’t understand the very explicit list. Take out items to make meal number #1 when I get home from work. Realize that list wasn’t explicit enough for Hubby and he got the wrong type of meat. Go to the store myself to get the right meat. Cook meal. Burn meal. Yell at kids because they won’t eat the meal. Eat my own meal in silence. Throw out their meals, clean up kitchen and declare the kitchen closed. Fume as they disregard my statement and make pasta and cereal. Clean up the kitchen a second time. Resist urge to pour wine. Total time: 4.5 hours

TUESDAY: Make eggs for myself for breakfast. Remind family that there is cereal for breakfast. Remind them that they will be hungry when they don’t eat. Make salad for myself for lunch. Ask daughter if she wants a salad. Ignore her eyerolling and laughter at the suggestion that she eat a salad. Come home from work and inform Hubby that he has to cook tonight because the recipe is too complicated. Discover that I forgot an ingredient he needs and go to store. Hubby makes meal, Hubby makes a giant mess and uses every pot, bowl, and utensil in the kitchen. Kids eat meal, I clean up meal. I make salad for tomorrow’s lunch so I don’t have to rush. Pour 5 oz of wine in a glass and drink slowly. Total time: 3.5 hours

WEDNESDAY: Realize I forgot to take the meat for tonight’s meal. Run to store to grab something to throw in the crock pot. Pick up a bagel on the way to work. Realize I left salad in fridge at home. Beg Hubby to bring me my lunch. Come home on lunch and throw food in crock pot. Eat dinner. Clean up dinner. Drink 5 oz of wine quickly and have half a second glass. Total time: 2.3 hours

THURSDAY: Realize I still forgot to defrost the meat. Have cereal for breakfast. Grab a bag of lettuce, cucumber and a knife to make salad at work. Go out to dinner. Have yummy cocktail at dinner. Have 8 oz of wine at home. Total time: 0.2 hours

FRIDAY: Say screw it. Order sausage, egg, and cheese from the deli for breakfast. Order from the Italian place around the corner for lunch. Go out to dinner. Have a pitcher of sangria at dinner. Total time: 0 hours

SATURDAY: Stare at myself in the mirror hating every inch of real estate on my body. Vow to do better with eating next week. Inform Hubby and kids we are eating healthier next week. No going out to dinner. No ice cream for dinner. No junk food. No wine. Hubby and kids roll their eyes and nod their heads.

And repeat…

Photo Credit

Mother's Day

What Mom Wants for Mother’s Day

Wondering what to get your mother for the big holiday coming up this Sunday? I’ve decided to put my dislike for this day aside (see Mother’s Day Misery) and help you all out in your gift giving enthusiasm. Here are a few simple rules to follow in order to make this Mother’s Day the best for your mom.

The Rules:

#1. Don’t cook your mother a meal…unless you plan on cleaning up the ENTIRE meal.  This means scrubbing the waffle iron clean and running the dishwasher. This includes the knives you use and the mugs she drinks out of. It also mean you need to clean up the milk you spill on the floor and the flour that ends up on the ceiling fan. Not willing to do that? Then no breakfast in bed and no elaborate French dinners. Mom does NOT want to clean up your mess. She also does NOT want to go out to eat with a million other moms. So what to eat? Order take out or make burgers on the grill (and don’t forget—it’s YOUR job to clean it up). Some moms are partial to Sangria, chips and guacamole for lunch on Mother’s Day…hint, hint, mi familia. 

#2. Don’t spend a lot of money on a gift. I’m not kidding. Mom doesn’t want an expensive gift. Spending money doesn’t show you care. What means more than an expensive gift? Get her something she’s mentioned over the last few months—tickets for a movie she wants to see, a book she wants to read, gardening tools for her garden, a gift card to get a pedicure…Prove to her that what she says really DOESN’T go in one ear and out the other.

#3. DON’T get her something that “typical” moms like, if you know it’s not her thing. Some moms really don’t like flowers, chocolate, or jewelry—don’t get those things for your mother if you’ve never seen her wear a piece of jewelry, she’s on a diet, and flowers make her break out into hives. Also, don’t get her a gift that YOU want for yourself. No mom wants to hear, “Oh you don’t like video games? I guess I’ll have it then.” (She probably WOULD like a bottle of wine though…I mean, only if it’s her thing. 😉)

#4. She does not want to chauffeur you around on Mother’s Day. Don’t make plans if you don’t drive. (She also doesn’t want to entertain your friends on Mother’s Day, either. Don’t ask if they can come over.)

#5. She does not want to be the ones to make plans for Mother’s Day. Do not wake up on Sunday and ask her “what are we doing today?”. DEFINITELY do not ask her “What’s for dinner?”.

#6. She doesn’t want to do any of her “normal” chores on Mother’s Day—so the best present you could give her actually doesn’t cost a cent. Vacuum, clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, dust, iron, wash the windows, weed the garden, wash the dishes, and go to the grocery store. Sounds like a lot? Yeah, moms do a lot every day.

#7. She really doesn’t want anything homemade—if you’re over the age of 10. Put the crayon down.

#8. She want you to get along with your siblings…for just one damn day. It’s really NOT that hard…just don’t touch them. Or look at them. Or breathe on them. Or be in the same room as them.

#9. Give her a hug and kiss. I bet she wouldn’t mind hearing that she is loved and appreciated. (Don’t kick your brother while he is giving your mother a hug, either.)

#10. You know what mom wants the MOST? Let her sit and relax. Bring her a drink. Don’t annoy her or pepper her with demands. She gave up her body for you for 9 months and pushed your big head out. GIVE HER SOME PEACE AND QUIET. She deserves it.

What I Learned From No Alcohol March

So March is (almost) over. Thank God. I survived Alcohol Free March!

I love to challenge myself and my family. I’m a tad bit competitive, so I was slightly disappointed when hubby refused to participate in this with me (and I didn’t want the kids to participate since they would beat me—they’ve gone YEARS without a cocktail). Still, this was something I wanted to try to do and by announcing it to my Facebook followers and anyone else who would listen, I set myself up to being accountable not only to myself, but to hundreds of other people as well.

Why did I want to torture myself during one of the longest months of the year (and the month with the biggest drinking holiday to boot)??? Well, if I’m going to be really honest, it was because I don’t fit in my jeans and I wanted to lose 10 pounds. Without changing my eating habits or going to the gym more, of course. This seemed like the easiest way to shed some weight before bikini season (not that I wear a bikini). Especially since I noticed I was having a cocktail or two on almost a daily basis. Oh, the empty calories! While I didn’t think it was a “problem”, I knew it was becoming a bad habit, and it wouldn’t hurt to give up it for a month.

Surprisingly, it was a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be to not drink, believe it or not (most of the time). I’m sad to report that I did not lose 10 pounds, but in the process, I learned a thing or two, which I didn’t expect.

  1. It is much easier to say no to a drink to begin with than it is to have a delicious bottle of wine sitting in front of me and only have one glass. Why is this? Probably the same concept of “you can’t eat just one potato chip” (which I actually can because I don’t like potato chips which is totally weird because I’ll take the potato in any other form…but I digress). I’m also convinced that once you have that first glass of wine, your inhibitions go down and you have “just one more” because the wine worked and you’re relaxed and don’t give a #$&*.
  2. I don’t need to drink when I’m stressed. It’s strange though since we all walk around and say, “Oh God, I have so much stress today, I need a drink.” We really don’t need it do we? We just think we need it. When I said I could make it through March without alcohol, the Universe said hold my beer. March threw a lot of crap at me—I almost thought I was being punked by the Universe. I knew a glass of wine would relax me, but I held strong and went to the gym instead. The endorphins made me feel a lot better than the wine would have. And it made me rethink the whole “I need a drink” talk. It makes us sound like raging alcoholics even when we’re not at all. I like wine, but I never need wine. I have coping mechanisms. You do too.
  3. Having alcohol in the house doesn’t make me want to drink it. (Having a half drunk bottle of wine does, though, which is why I finished the open bottle on February 28. It’s like I’m worried it’ll go bad or something.)
  4. Peer pressure doesn’t bother me…okay, maybe it bothers me, but I can say no to peer pressure. People sitting around drinking while I’m not doesn’t bother me either. Hubby actually asked if it would be okay if he had some Scotch. Um, Scotch? Gross. I did however lean in for a deep sniff the day he uncorked a bottle of my favorite wine.
  5. I’m not sure whether it’s because I thought that without drinking I had more calories to play with, or I have some sort of oral fixation, but I found myself eating  dessert almost nightly. A few times I hear myself actually say “I should have to ice cream tonight since I can’t have wine”. Up until about three quarters of the way through the month when I got on the scale and said, WTF???? After that, I started eating healthier. Or at least trying to. This is probably why I lost ZERO pounds. Which was kind of weird for me because I thought it would be the opposite…I incorrectly assured that I would have more willpower over food without alcohol. After all, how many times have you been out having a few drinks and all of a sudden loaded nachos are screaming your name at 1 am???
  6. The difficult part was dining out without alcohol. Having a drink when dining out has become a habit more than anything else. Once upon a time, we could rarely afford to dine out. And when we did, we certainly couldn’t order expensive drinks. The only drinking we did back then was at weddings and when we bought bottles of two buck Chuck. Fast forward many years later and we can afford a cocktail or two with our dinner out, and it’s become a need to order it because I can. Most of the time I only order a drink because we’re out…and I like the sangria at this place or the Moscow mule at another place, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to have them even if I don’t actually want it. It’s like I have started to associate certain restaurants with certain drinks and I don’t think the place would be the same without them. You say Jose Tejas and I literally think Margarita and I must order it because how can I go there and not get their margaritas??? Hubby calls this “running up the bill”. You know how I broke that habit this month? Eating a lot of fast food. They don’t serve alcohol at fast food joints. Seriously though, eating at home was much easier. I don’t associate any foods at home with alcohol (maybe pizza and wine, but I could eat pizza out of a box while sitting on the sidewalk so that didn’t deter me from eating pizza).
  7. I didn’t save any money because I’ve bought at least 6 bottles of wine in the last month.
  8. Oddly, I did not sleep better, which was one of the “side effects” I was looking forward to. I had to take Z-quil quite a few times. This may have more to do with the dog waking me up in the night rather than the lack of alcohol.
  9. The headache I wake up with almost daily has nothing to do with red wine and everything to do with aforementioned dog. Or maybe it’s my sinuses. Either way, I can’t blame it on the alcohol.
  10. It takes 21 days to break a habit.

Sunday is April 1st. It seems anti-climatic actually. I thought I ‘d be dragging myself across the finish line with a bottle of wine and corkscrew in my hand, waiting till the clock struck midnight on the 31st, but I don’t think so. In fact, I think I’ll probably head up to bed around 9 with my friend Mr. Z-quil. Have I mentioned that stuff is the $hit? And good news, it’s non-habit forming, too.

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It Doesn’t Get Easier

The other day we had a snow day and before it actually started snowing, we all went out to breakfast at local diner. As we were sitting there waiting for our food, a couple with two little boys came in and were seated next to us. The little kids did what all little kids do when out to eat with their overtired and underappreciated parents—they climbed on them and begged for their phones and complained they were hungry and tired. The parents looked absolutely beat.

When we got up to leave the father of the two young boys asked me, “Does it get easier?” I looked him right in the eye and lied to him. “Oh, yeah, it gets easier,” I told him. I wanted the poor guy to have hope. After all, it’s the only thing that kept me going when my kids were younger…the idea that someday this parenting thing would get easier.

Because the truth is, it doesn’t get easier at all, does it? In fact, in some ways, it’s actually harder. You would think that when your kids are teenagers (and adults) you’re going to somehow get a break. And of course, you do. But for every break you get, you get a new problem.

Then: You don’t get any sleep because your kids are up at dawn.

Now: You don’t get any sleep because you’re up till after midnight waiting for them to come home.

Then: They fling themselves on the ground in the toy store if you don’t buy them the toy that they have to have.

Now: They throw a fit in the phone store when you tell them you’re not buying them the latest phone that they have to have.

Then: You fight with them about eating their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Now: They eat more than a small country at every meal.

Then: You have to arrange playdates for them with moms you already know.

Now: You can’t really trust their friends and you don’t know their families.

Then: You have to drive them to practice, friends’ houses, the mall.

Now: They’re the ones driving.

Then: You have to buy diapers.

Now: You have to buy pads and tampons and explain how to use them.

Then: You have to beg them to shower.

Now: You have to beg them to get out of the shower.

Then: They cover their arms because they colored on themselves with magic marker.

Now: They cover their arms cuz they gave themselves hickeys.

Then: You need to find a babysitter if you want to go out without them.

Now: You don’t want to leave them home alone because they may drink your beer.

Then: They want to be a puppy.

Now: They have NO IDEA what they want to be.

Then: You have to lock up medication and chemicals so they don’t accidentally ingest them.

Now: You have to lock up medication and chemicals so they don’t purposely ingest them.

Then: They want to wear a princess costume to school.

Now: They want to wear a belly shirt and shorts that are wedged up their butt crack to school.

Then: You have to remind them four hundred times to do their homework.

Now: You have to remind them four hundred times to sign up for the SATs.

Then: You realize you can’t help them with third grade math.

Now: You realize you can’t help them with eleventh grade Advanced Chem.

Then: You dread going in their room because you never know what you’re going to find.

Now: You dread going into their room because you never know what you’re going to find.

Then: They don’t want to leave you alone.

Now: They don’t want to be seen with you.

Then: You cringe over the prices of preschools.

Now: You have a heart attack when you see the prices of college.

Then: School calls because they bit someone.

Now: School calls because they were vaping in the bathroom.

Then: They don’t ever stop talking.

Now: You have to play twenty questions to get them to say two words to you.

Then: You have to wait till they go to bed to watch anything good on TV.

Now: What they’re watching shocks you.

Then: They get in a fight with their best friend over a sticker.

Now: They get in a fight with their best friend over a boy.

Then: They splash water all over the bathroom floor and leave the cap off the toothpaste.

Now: They spray body spray all over the bathroom and leave the cap off the toothpaste.

Then: You have to have that uncomfortable “where babies come from talk”.

Now: You have to have that uncomfortable “please use birth control I’m too young to be a grandparent talk”.

Then: You find the remnants of their allowance in the washing machine.

Now: You find the remnants of their paycheck in the washing machine.

Then: It breaks your heart to see them hurt or sad.

Now: It breaks your heart to see them hurt or sad.

Then: They make you proud every day in some small way.

Now: They make you proud every day in some small way.