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.

 

Snow Day From Hell

Before any of you complain about your snow day, I’d like to share MY snow day with you. Today my husband had to work, but he asked me to go online and order him tickets for a concert he wants to go to in the summer. This proved to be a comedy of errors that I can only laugh about now. There were quite a lot of tears shed and serious threats to “No Alcohol” March. I got NOTHING done at all today and I don’t just mean I lounged around and was lazy. I mean, I was so distracted by acquiring these concert tickets that I couldn’t function.

How is that possible, you ask? You just click and order, really not that hard, right? Let’s look at this in real time, shall we?

10:27 am: I realize I forgot about the concert tickets hubby wanted me to order him. I text him for the link.

10:32 am: Hubby sends link and “fan club” info (what a dork).

10:35 am: For some reason, my computer is having trouble loading, so I try the Chromebook. I am able to pull up several tickets, but they only give me 1 minute and 15 seconds to claim them. By the time I am able to contact hubby via text to check if the tickets were what he wanted, the tickets are gone. I try again and different tickets pop up, but they’re not too far from the original ones. I click “place order”. After putting info in, the Chromebook starts giving me error messages and I can not complete the purchase.

10:51 am: I pull out my phone and while squinting at the tiny screen (and trembling because a countdown clock has that effect on me) I am able to get tickets and click fast enough, but then it only gives me a few minutes to fill in my account info. Now I have an account but apparently the password I THOUGHT it was…was not. (This is also a SUPER annoying drawback of technology—a bazillion account numbers that all have to have different requirements…who can remember them all????) At this point, I know if I request to reset the password, I will lose the tickets AGAIN and have to start all over. So I decided to create a new account with my secondary email. I quickly change the email information and voila! I have a new account. I am able to order the tickets literally five seconds before time runs out.

Go me. I got hubby the tickets he had wanted and a VIP package to boot. Happy birthday, Happy Anniversary, and Happy Father’s Day!

11:00 am: I am so pleased with myself until I read over the receipt. I nearly drop my tiny phone in the toilet. In the process of changing the email address, I only changed the first part, not the part after the @. Which wouldn’t be a problem except one email address is @msn.com and the other is @outlook.com. Now my etickets are floating in cyberspace, quite possibly landing in the inbox of a person with a similar email address.

11:02 am: Panicked, I pull up the account (with the wrong email) and I am able to see the tickets. Relieved, I print them out, but then I realize that the etickets were still getting emailed to the wrong address. Now, I doubt HIGHLY that the person with that wrong email address would also print out the tickets and try to use them, resulting in chaos on the day of the concert, but having insane anxiety and OCD like I do, I know I will not rest until I am sure the situation is completely resolved.

11:09 am: I call the 800 number at the bottom of the concert website and am put on hold for over ten minutes. A perky girl on the other end of the line answers and sympathizes with my plight, but explains that she can’t do anything about my problem and I will have to call Ticketmaster directly. She gives me the number and bids me good day.

11:21 am: I try the number about seventy-six times and get a busy signal (more dumb-asses that undoubtedly put the wrong email address in). On the seventy-seventh try, the phone rings. The automated voice on the other end assures me that chances are, my problem can be solved by checking out Ticketmaster.com (they can not be). The annoying voice further assures me that if I say my order number, I will be transferred to an agent who can assist me. As I speak the number, my stupid call waiting beeps and the number is cut off (it was a telemarketer nonetheless). This causes the automated voice to have spasms and put me on hold until the next available representative can help me. It explains there is a high volume of callers and the wait time may be more than ten minutes.

11:56 am: TWENTY-SIX minutes later (I feel like Phoebe Buffay waiting on the phone in “The One With the Screamer”) another perky voice answers my call (what do they put in these peoples’ coffee???). She says her name is “Kelly” and asks how can she help me. I explain the whole situation, trying not to cry—I am nearly hysterical at this point in time, imagining that my credit card info is being sent to this random email address and someone is stealing my identity as the moments tick away.

11:59 am: “Kelly” puts me on hold AGAIN, but then quickly comes back on to assure me that the problem is resolved. She says the order is cancelled and the old tickets will be null and void and new tickets and a new order number will be sent in the next 10-15 minutes to the CORRECT email address. She assures me that no credit card info has been sent in any email. She asks if there is anything else she can do for me today. I say no, I thank her profusely, and hang up the phone.

It’d be great if my saga ended there. But it doesn’t.

12:15 pm: I still haven’t received the email. I make a sandwich to distract myself.

12:30 pm: I still haven’t received the email. I take a shower to distract myself.

12:52 pm: Still haven’t received the email. I watch a show and put my phone in the other room so I don’t obsessively check it.

1:07 pm: I log onto the site with the “wrong email” account and see that the tickets are still on there. Fuming, I click the CHAT button in the lower right hand corner. I am number 33 in the queue.

1:19 pm: A chat bubble pops up—“Martin” would like to help me. I explain the situation. “Martin” then tells me that he cannot help me and that I need to call the 800 number I called before. He asks if there is anything else he can do to assist me today. I angrily close the dialogue box.

1:24 pm: I call the 800 number AGAIN. I am assured that my call is important, but there is a high volume of callers. I am not shocked. I twiddle my fingers.

1:49 pm: My call is answered by “Andy” whose native language is clearly not English. His heavy accent on my hard-of-hearing, nearly-nervous breakdown ears makes me want to cry. I explain the situation and give him my order number. He then tells me that my order number does not exist. I think I am hearing things. I explain the situation again, realizing that “Kelly” had deleted the order and created a new one. “Andy” tells the tearful me that he can’t help me and I have to call another 800 number. He asks if there is anything else he can do for me today. I hang up on him.

2:00 pm: After a brief session of kicking the ever loving crap out of my punching bag, I dial the other 800 number. I am put on hold due to…you guessed it…the high volume of callers.

2:20 pm: I switch ears since the left one has gone numb.

2:22 pm: I switch back to the left ear because the right ear feels too weird.

2:31 pm: Someone named “Andrew” picks up. For a second I think it’s “Andy” screwing with me, but then I realize his English is perfect. I explain the situation. He chuckles and says “Wow, that’s quite a pickle”. I resist the urge to snap at him. It’s not his fault…yet. He checks the order number and assures me that the order IS still there (WTF “Andy”???) and the ticket order was never deleted. He says that the account was changed from the incorrect email to the correct email (password and everything changed…how weird is that?) and that the tickets are in there. He says the original tickets are still valid and the order was never voided and whoever I talked to did it completely wrong. (WTF “Kelly”???).

2:34 pm: I don’t trust him. I log into the account and see he’s not messing with me. I tell him that I still want the original tickets voided and new tickets sent. I will not feel comfortable until I get new tickets in a confirmation email. “Andrew” says he understands and puts me on hold again.

2:45 pm: “Andrew” says he has sent the new tickets via the correct email address. I make him stay on the line while I check. “Andrew” starts drinking something through a straw. The email is not in my inbox. It is not in my junk mail. I want to cry. I am ashamed to say that I tell “Andrew” this.

2:47 pm: “Andrew” send emails again. I can hear him chewing a sandwich. He tells me there is a “Queue” for the emails to go out and I have to be patient. (I have to be patient???? Is he kidding me???? I think I’ve been MORE than patient!)

2:51 pm: I receive email confirmation AND tickets. I cheer. “Andrew” swallows whatever he’s eating and asks if he can help me with anything else today. I thank him profusely and ask him if he can open up a bottle of wine for me. “Andrew” clears his throat and disconnects the call on his own.

Photo credit

 

 

This Is the List That Never Ends…

The other night I told my husband I had made a list for him for BJs, our local wholesale store. After some off color jokes (from him, of course), he says to me after dinner, “Well aren’t you going to go with me?” I looked up from scrubbing a pot and replied, “No, I thought you could go in the morning.”

He looked like I had run over his puppy. “Well what else are we gonna do tonight? We might as well go now. ”

What else are we gonna do tonight? What else are gonna do???? Buddy, I’ve got a to do list as long as my arm. I am never lacking something to do. And even when I think I’ve finished everything, even when I check off everything on my list, I can add ten more items without blinking. It’s mathematically impossible for me to ever get everything done. At this rate, I’ll still have a to do list twelve years after I’m dead.

It isn’t because I’m lazy. I rarely sit during the day—I usually don’t sit until nighttime. At least, that’s when I will allow myself to sit because once I sit, it’s hard to get up and get going again. If I am sitting on the couch, it’s never because I’ve run out of things to do. I’m sitting there because I’m beat and I should be doing other things.

Most of the things I “should” be doing are self imposed. I have very few things on my to do list that other people expect of me. In fact, I could probably neglect 80% of the to do list and nobody else would even notice. Or, they would notice, but not right away. I could leave off “go to the gym” and nobody would notice until I gained thirty pounds. I could leave off “write blog” and nobody would notice for several months when there was absolutely nothing else to read. I could leave off “cook dinner” because they would just want to go out to eat anyway. I could NOT leave off “go to the grocery store”, however because my family would notice THAT within minutes. So why do I stress so much about getting it all done if nobody really cares but me? Why do I have heartburn and hair falling out and perpetual anxiety? I need to stop caring about things that aren’t as pressing as I let myself believe.

So that’s why I’ve made a New Year’s resolution today. I make a resolution every year and usually end up breaking it by January 14th, so I’m thinking, if I don’t actually make the resolution until January 14th, I should make it to the end of January, right?  This year, I’ve vowed to not focus on my to do list as much. Ha. Yeah, this is probably the hardest resolution I’ve ever made. Hell, vowing to exercise every day and only eat cottage cheese would probably be an easier resolution to keep. Resolving to learn a foreign language and master the oboe would probably be easier.

I’m wound a bit tight—I really don’t know how to relax and let things go. It’s really hard for me to sit and watch a movie and not feel guilty about what I’m not doing. It’s really hard to relax while reading a book and not notice that the bookshelf needs to be dusted. It’s super hard for me to waste time doing nothing at all. But not anymore. This year is different. I’m gonna let myself relax without feeling guilty. Hell, no one else in this house feels guilty about not getting anything done…why should I be the person giving myself a heart attack over every little thing around here? This is the year that I tell my to do list to suck it. This is the year I go “to do list-less”. No more lists. No more stressing, no more obsessing. It starts today—just as soon as I finish everything on today’s list…

The Bad Mommy Balancing Act

I had a lot things planned this week. I was getting my butt back to the gym after an injury. I was back to meal planning and was determined to carry out my plans whether my family threw fits about what we were eating or not.  I was participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so I needed to write 1,667 words a day. I wanted to catch up on my blogging (I’m trying to reach 10,000 views for the year, so feel free to share any of my blogs and help a girl out). I was getting caught up on laundry, cleaning, dishes…all the stuff I’ve been neglecting. Oh, and I was working at my job that pays the bills every day, of course. I was determined to be Supermom this week. Supermom, Superwife, Superwriter, Supernurse. I was gonna do it all. I bet you can guess that hings didn’t go as planned.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me just say that nothing catastrophic happened this week. What happened this week was what happens in everyone’s lives week after week after week…sick kids, computer glitches, forgetting to take meat out to defrost, broken appliances, gimpy husbands, missing homework, and so on and so forth. Nothing that couldn’t be solved in a 23 minute episode of a sitcom. I realize my “problems” are not unique—if anything, that’s why you read my blog—because my life is the same as many of yours. But nevertheless, my carefully outlined to-do lists (Hubby isn’t the only one with to do lists), did not get completed. To do lists for me have become like a competition with myself. How much can I get done? How fast can I get it done? Can I check off stuff on tomorrow’s to do list today???

The lists didn’t get done and I fell behind. Monday’s list didn’t get done till Tuesday and Tuesday’s list got pushed to Wednesday, and by Friday, I was two days behind because of…life. Life got in the way. Life gets in the way of everyone’s plans and we survive. survived. Yet, when Friday rolled around, did I shrug my shoulders and say oh well, because you can’t stop life from rolling at you full steam? No. I did not. What I did do is beat myself up for not getting it done. (not literally—my family would definitely have me committed if I started punching myself. It’s bad enough I felt so crazed this week that I started talking to my clothes—hmmm, maybe I could use a vacation in the looney bin). I didn’t blame the technology that failed me or the family members that needed my help this week. I blamed it on me. In my eyes, I was the one who failed to be Superwoman. And it made me feel crappy. I didn’t see what I had accomplished this week (I’m a day ahead of my writing schedule for NaNoWriMo), instead I focused on what I hadn’t done (this blog, the dishes, the dusting…oh my God all the dog fur in the house). I downed half a bottle of Santa’s Little Helper wine and went to bed feeling like a loser, with a headache to boot.

This morning, though, I woke up and decided that I was NOT going to beat myself up anymore. I was going to accept the fact that I was human and just one human, at that. I need to give myself a break when I don’t meet my insane expectations. Because I realize I set myself up to fail by making my lists unobtainable—as if it says something about my character if I push myself to the brink of exhaustion. But for what, though? And at what expense? My sanity? My health? Aren’t Type A personalities more likely to drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke? Shouldn’t that alone make me rethink my expectations?

I blame the internet for my stress…Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram. With the dawn of this social media, we can see that Suzy Sunshine has just made her entire family’s Christmas gifts from reclaimed wood and her newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood. She’s created Christmas cards from recycled newspaper and her children’s footprints. We are constantly reminded that someone out there is doing it better than us. But what we don’t see is Suzy Sunshine chewing Valium like tic tacs and her hair falling out from stress.

Suzy Sunshine needs to give herself and break and so do we. I know…easier said than done. Maybe what stops me from giving myself a break is the fear that if I let myself slide this week, what’s to stop me from sliding next week? And the next? And the next? Until I don’t hold myself accountable to anything any more. I mean, no one at home seems to really hold me accountable. They do their own clothes and they don’t really care if their pillows are covered in dog fur. They don’t care if we eat at a restaurant every night of the week or I gain twenty pounds from eating tater tots instead of real food. Everyone gets to school and work on time and they always have food to eat and beds to sleep in. I’m not really a bad mommy…I just think that I am. But what if I slip so far that I really do become the bad mommy I think I am?

So, I can’t let myself slip too far. But I also can’t stress myself out. Motherhood is a balancing act. Hell, LIFE is a balancing act. We’ve all got to figure out the point where we are comfortable with less stress and where our breaking point is. We’ve got to acknowledge our shortcomings, but stop letting them define us and make us ignore all the good things we do and all the positives in our life. FELLOW MOMS…WE CANNOT BURN OURSELVES OUT! Life isn’t like a box of chocolates as Forrest Gump said it was. Life more like a diet. We need to eat salad and go low carb sometimes, but damn, we need that box of chocolates every once in awhile, too. And maybe a bottle of wine.

#WhyIDrink Wednesday: Because My Kids Refuse to Get Along

My kids fight. I know, I know, all siblings fight. I’m sure I probably even dropped my halo every once in a while when I was a kid and fought with my own siblings. But my kids do more than just fight…they just NEVER get along. It seems whenever they are together, there are tears (and sometimes blood) shed.

The sad part is, my kids aren’t even together too much anymore. The older one has ninety-seven hours of football practice a day, so his contact with his sister is somewhat limited. Most of the time, there is peace in our household. The other percent of the time is fraught with screeching that can make glass shatter.

You see, my son is a typical brother and nothing gives him more pleasure than the fact he can make his sister have a melt down literally in less time it takes for a bullet to leave the chamber of a gun and lodge between your eyeballs. Oh, by the way, that’s what her screeching actually makes my head feel like…like someone has shot me right between the eyes. I’m thinking the headache that might accompany that sort of thing might actually be less painful.

He’s got a whole repertoire of “digs” that’ll make her go ballistic, ranging from “you smell” to his new favorite “you’re fat.” You wouldn’t think such stupidly constructed statements would cause such disruption, but unfortunately, the insultee in question is an eleven year old girl who is quite easy to insult. (I apparently do it without meaning to about seventeen times a day, usually by just glancing in her general direction. That’s enough to send her wailing and crying into her pillow for at least ten minutes.)

I don’t do it on purpose, by my son LOVES to poke the bear. The bear usually retaliates…she’s the one who’s usually causing the blood shed. She’ll start with  a screech, which usually progresses into a slap…and in the case of today’s incident…a plateful of french fries flung at him in a restaurant. And he laughs and dodges the fries, egging her on more, not realizing how much stress this causes me. Why can’t they just play nice with each other? Why can’t they build each other up instead of break each other down with their constant barbs? And what is taking the waiter so long with my wine????

Maybe one day they’ll get along…I can only hope that at some point in time, there will be many more peaceful moments and they’ll actually be more like they are in this picture:

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(You can see how surprised I was to catch this rather tender moment…shocked actually, if you judge by the shakiness of the camera). This picture was taken THREE years ago…I’m still waiting. Meanwhile, waiter, I’d like a refill on my wine because this is #whyIdrink.

 

#WhyIDrink Wednesday: Because I’m a Bad Mom

Today, I was a bad mom. I did everything wrong. Even the things I started out doing right, I screwed up.

I let them sleep as late as they wanted, despite my resolution the night before that we were going to get up early and get something done today. I just didn’t want to start the day with a fight.

I made the 11 year old get dressed when she didn’t want to. I didn’t sit on her bed and stroke her hair and lovingly ask Why she didn’t want to get dressed. I just yelled myself hoarse for an hour before I threatened to take stuff away while cursing loudly.

I didn’t go to my son’s football scrimmage that he MIGHT have gotten in for one play…I went to the grocery store instead because he’s going to want food when he’s done…more than he wants his mommy to watch him play football.

I made them read their summer reading books. I didn’t try to negotiate…three pages and you can stop. Five pages and you can go out and play. I made them sit there and FINISH the &*$@ summer reading books before they were allowed to do anything. I yelled. A lot. They both gave me the finger when they thought I wasn’t looking.

I made the 11 year old pick up her Legos. I didn’t help her. I took her phone away when she refused. I took the iPad away when she refused. She threw her Legos at me. I shut the door and let her scream. The Legos are still all over her room. I’ll probably pick them up when she’s in bed.

I didn’t make my son another dinner after our late lunch and milkshakes for dinner. I didn’t let him have a bowl of cereal after he made a pound of buttered pasta. I yelled that he was eating me out of house and home. He yelled back that he was a growing boy. I gave in.

I asked the 11 year old to empty the dishwasher. She cried that she just emptied it this morning…I told her to take it up with her brother—he’s the one who makes all the dishes. They yelled, they slapped each other. I yelled at them to stop, but I was too tired to punish anyone.

I think I said goodnight when they went to bed. They don’t come down looking for a hug and a kiss anymore. I don’t bother to remind them to brush their teeth or wash their face. They don’t listen anyway. I kiss their heads when they’re asleep…and silently apologize for not doing it by the books, not being a better mom for them.  I beat myself up for a little while after they’re asleep, hating the way I handled things. A glass of Shiraz later, I promise myself I’ll do a better job tomorrow. And maybe this time I will.