Motherhood/Parenting, Random, Uncategorized

Homecoming

75a7cf508587495cafa7cf790d089863As of last weekend, all the high schools in my area have finished with homecoming festivities; and I am very thankful.  No, it’s not because all the nice restaurants were a madhouse and you couldn’t find a decent cocktail dress within a 100-mile radius. It’s because I can finally go to any grocery store with a floral department or Hobby Lobby and not see the photos like the one attached to this post.

Today’s topic is going to get me de-friended by my Texas bestie but really y’all this is something I will never get used to no matter how long I live in this state.  Now I get that the traditional thing is to give a girl a corsage or flower of some sort before going to a formal dance/homecoming/prom but these Texas mums have moved beyond a flower.  I’m attaching a link here to something I found the other day. It’s a blog post about 50 Gigantic Homecoming Mums everyone has to see.  These things are truly ridiculous.  They are like a car wreck you just can’t take your eyes off of.  High schoolers turn these mums into a competition of sorts – who’s mum is bigger, tackier, has more flair and do-dads, etc.  And let me tell you, these things aren’t cheap.  A small mum is easy $100 with the average mum costing $200-$300.  It’s insanity.

For years I have mentally told myself we have to move away from Texas before my kids get in high school. Now, with high school fast approaching, I’m starting to get worried because we have no prospects for a move. I wonder, will my son have to help foot the bill for this monstrosity? Will my daughter expect to get one of these fugly things and will subsequently want to hang it on her bedroom wall after Homecoming like her peers? I’ve already started campaigning for a move to Florida. It’s about the only Southeastern state we haven’t lived in.

Photo Disclaimer –  I don’t know those girls or the school they attend. I did a Google search for Texas Mums and this was the first one that popped up. Apparently, it came from Pinterest. Whatever, if you find this post and you know these girls and want me to take it down just message me and let me know.

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting

Scared

Not a lot scares me. I will try pretty much anything once.  I squash my own bugs.  I do my own stunts.  Of course, I’m apprehensive about some things.  I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel that way from time to time.  Yet, I only have two real genuine fears.  The first is dying young like my mother.  I’m afraid I won’t get to see my children into adulthood; that I won’t get to see them become decent people and productive members of society.  My second fear builds off the first.  I’m afraid for the safety and security of those I love, especially my children.  I’m afraid something will happen so that they will not reach their full potential.  That second fear has many addendums to it. The fear they will be injured or killed. The fear they will make poor life choices. The fear of war or global societal collapse that would prevent my kids from reaching their goals in life.

Over the past few years, I have added yet another addendum to that second fear.  I fear for my son and how society is and will treat him because of his gender. Over the last 20 years and certainly over the last year, it seems like being born male is the worst thing that can happen.  Our society seems to have a bullseye on anything and everything that has to do with being male.  As a mother of a boy and a girl, I am not okay with this.  I expect, no scratch that, I DEMAND, both of my kids, regardless of their sex, get a fair shake at life.  I have been wrestling with this topic since I started this blog last November.  I have a lot to say on the issue. So much to say that I’ve written at least 10 blog entries only to delete each one and start again.  I have done research, gathered quotes, read other blogs and think pieces and I still couldn’t find the right words.  Then I read an article posted on the Today Show Facebook feed that said everything I wanted to say but somehow could not. I applaud the author, Nadine Bubeck, for having the guts and voice to speak out and say what needs to be said.  I’m begging everyone with a child to read what she wrote.

Regardless of political or social leanings, if we truly want equality for EVERYONE we have to stop building up one gender/race/orientation/etc. and tearing down the other. Didn’t we learn this stuff in kindergarten?  Be nice, treat everyone with respect and clean up your own mess?  It shouldn’t be that hard people.

 

 

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

Extracurricular Shuffle

img_1748Y’all, I’ve seen a sign that the end is near. No, I’m not talking wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. I actually saw parenthood from my Mother’s point of view – which is a bonafide miracle.  I saw her point of view last night as I sat on a hot as Satan’s balls metal bleacher in calf-high grass watching my son play middle school football. My Mother refused to let me participate in any extracurricular activities. She had every excuse in the world from “We can’t afford it.” to “The Girl Scout leader is a whore who sleeps with all the Dads.”  Yes, that last quote is true. She actually told me that when I begged to be a Brownie. I desperately wanted to wear that cute little uniform complete with knee-high socks and beanie and sell (i.e. eat) those delicious cookies. As I got older, I realized all of her reasons were just excuses.  If I had really wanted to do it, we could have swung the instrument rental or registration fee.  The fact of the matter was my Mother was selfish and lazy.  She didn’t want to cart me 20 minutes across town to a game, practice or meeting. She didn’t want to sacrifice money for her cute clothes so I could have some god awful hot pink tutu that I wore once on a stage and immediately went into the toy box.

When I was old enough to understand, I vowed if I had kids that had the talent or ambition to play sports or an instrument or whatever, I would move heaven and earth to let them have the opportunity.  And, the opportunities they have had.  Between my son and my daughter, they have done soccer, t-ball, swimming, football, basketball, art, theater, golf, dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, band, choir, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and I’m probably forgetting a few more things.  Some of these endeavors have lasted for years while others only lasted a season. I have spent more hours shuttling children from one place to another and sitting on the sidelines or in waiting areas for various lessons to wrap up than I even want to think about.  We have spent enough for a few nice vacations on instrument rental, extra training camps, and hot pink tutus.  We have heard the dreaded, “I don’t want to do _____ anymore. Can I quit at the end of this season?” So yeah, last night as sweat rolled down the back of my legs and the white trash lady behind me rang a cowbell the size of her face everytime our team made a touchdown, I completely understood my Mother’s point of view.

Look, I know I have it easy. I only have two kids and neither of them is at the top of their chosen activity.  I have a cousin with four daughters who all play multiple sports.  I have friends that do elite or select kid sports.  You know, the teams where the kids are recruited like professional athletes and travel all over the state or region for games. These families are never at home. They can’t remember what home looks like.  They barely have time for school and jobs before they are on to the next game.  I actually texted one of those friends last night and told her she’s a saint for being an elite sports mom because I don’t know that I could do it.  Maybe if my kids had really remarkable talent, I would sacrifice and make it happen for them but I don’t know. That’s one of those instances where I’d have to be in that position to accurately make that call.

Tonight, when I sit on a well worn couch trying to read a book while waiting for my daughter to get out of ballet class, I will remind myself I am doing what I always said I would for my kids. I’ll be thankful for an hour that I get to sit on my butt and practically do nothing.  And, I’ll mentally pat myself on the back for not being a selfish twit by allowing my kids the opportunities I never had. But, I swear if that lady sits behind me at another football game and rings that damn cowbell in my ear one more time I may have to snatch it from her and knock her across the face with it.

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

Orientation

interior of abandoned building

I hated the majority of my Middle and High School experience. Were it not for a close group of girlfriends I met my 8th grade year, I’m not really sure I would have made it out of school. I wasn’t a bad student. I got decent grades and actually loved the learning aspect. I hated the busy work. I hated the halfassed curriculum and poorly thought out assignments. I hated the teachers who droned on like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off about absolutely nothing of consequence. Even at the tender age of 13, I knew I had better things to do with my time than detail the parts and pieces of a worm and memorize the capital of some Western European State that would get renamed a few years later.

A few nights ago I found myself once again roaming the halls of a middle school, only this time it was for parent orientation. We were given our kids’ schedule and were expected to follow a modified bell schedule for our kid’s classes.  Of course maps weren’t available, so you had to rely on your powers of deduction to find the classrooms.  After going through the motions for two hours, I realized a few things.

First, the middle school experience hasn’t gotten any better.  The building still smells. When you’re short and there are 18,000 people in the halls taller than you it’s nearly impossible to find your classroom.  You will be late to class.  The teacher will give you the stink eye for being late even if your schedule says the wrong room.

Next, educators are still the same. The principal is clueless and only the office staff know what’s going on. Most of the teachers still treat you like you’ve done something wrong even when you haven’t because they expect you to be surly.  To the teacher’s defense, 13 year olds are typically very surly.  Then you have your different types of teacher. There are the ones that have been there forever and are so good you hope every child you know gets to have that teacher just once.  Then there is one that has been teaching forever and should not have become a teacher or at minimum retired 20 years ago. There is the teacher who thinks they are cool and aren’t and the one that is but doesn’t let it go to their head.  There’s also the hardass and the doormat. And, finally, the ones just punching the clock and praying it will all be over soon.

Finally, the kids, err I mean adults, are still basically the same. There are the perfects with their perfect make up, hair and outfits. They are so damn perky you want to slap them because let’s be real no one is that damn happy over mundane crap even if you are trying to have a positive attitude.  Back in the day, they would have called to each other across the hall about a sale at the Gap or maybe a party.  The other night I heard one simper, “Hey Karen, are y’all doing lacrosse again this year? I sure hope we see Chloe next week!”  You know perfect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Chloe but there she is pretending to care.  There’s the smart kids, the greasers, the hipsters, the artists, the jocks and the suck ups.  You remember the suck ups?  They are the ones all up in the teacher’s face as soon as the bell rings. There were several of those at orientation night. Personally, I know I reverted back.  Much like I am today, I didn’t have time for all the fake bullshit.  I was a jaded adult in a child’s body.  With zero f$cks to give, I was uninterested and above it all. I gave the teachers the ‘Yeah, I’m here because I have to be, now thrill me’ look. In short, think Daria with thing for Disney.

I think the thing that struck me the most was despite how much things have changed since I was in school, it’s interesting to see how much they are still the same. While I’ll never understand the pressure to have a million subscribers on my social media account, I will know what it’s like when simpering Becky or no neck Evan blackballs my kids that never want to grow up or haven’t hit their growth spurt.  Hopefully just being able to remember all those personalities and things that never change will help my guide my kids.  If it doesn’t help at least I showed my face at orientation so the administration will know who I am when I have to raise hell on my kid’s behalf.

Photo credit: Free picture. I’m broke not copyright infringement intended.

 

 

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

School Slacker

abc books chalk chalkboard

According to all things WordPress and Facebook, I have been an epic slacker blogger in the last two weeks.  Time got away from me.  It happens to the best of us, does it not?  Mainly, I was busy interviewing for a paying gig – I think I was ghosted. And, I was getting my kids ready for school to resume. Being the epic slacker that I am, I refused to go to every big box store within a 20 mile radius looking for one orange folder with brads and one green folder with pockets but no brads.  I chose to buy the pre-packaged kit offered by the PTA.  For the first time in my kids’ school career, I am regretting that decision.  While it did save me some time there was so much extra in that pack now residing in my junk closet that will never get used.  And, since my kids started back two days ago, I have had to go nightly to a store looking for something that my kids need tomorrow that wasn’t included in said pre-packaged kit.  What a rip off and time suck.

While we’re at it, let’s discuss the money drain. Holy smokes, I honestly don’t know how some parents do it.  I would be willing to bet more ramen noodles get sold in the months of August and September than any other months of the year. Let’s face it, with these fees we are all broke as a joke. So far in the last three days, it’s been $25 dollars per kid for a p.e. uniform, a $35 art fee, a $15 lab fee, a $75 choir fee, and $40 per kid technology fee.  This is a public school I’m talking about, not private. And, thank you baby Jesus, it is public because I know it would be double the price if it was private.  No wonder more people are homeschooling.

I’m not even going to talk about dress code and back to school clothes shopping. That will be a separate blog for a different day.  Let’s just say being a girl sometimes sucks and I wish we had uniforms. Consider that last sentence a preview.

On a positive note, in the last three days, I’ve thoroughly cleaned my house and I’ve mowed the lawn, edged and cleaned out the flower beds. This joint looks like a showplace or as close to a showplace as a really lived in, mismatched furnished 25 year old house can look. I guess I haven’t been a complete slacker. I shall resume a regular posting schedule soon.

P.S. For some reason when I publish blogs, Facebook is not including the thumbnail picture I include on most of my blogs.  I thought it might be because I sometimes use stock photos instead of my own. But, I have found this is the case no matter what photo I use. If anyone reading this is smarter than me and knows the solution I would love to hear it.

P.P.S – Today I used a free stock photo. Yes, I took the obligatory first day of school photo. No, my children weren’t holding signs. None of us were that into it. Apparently, we are far too slacker for that.

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting, Musing

Last Days

backyard chain grass parkI’ve always been fascinated by time but as I have become well and truly middle aged, I’ve become acutely aware of how quickly the years seem to pass, how short some days seem  as opposed to how long others seem, how some moments feel like just yesterday when in fact they happened 10 or more years ago. As July draws to a close, I know we are in the last days of Summer. Yes, I am well aware the temps are in triple digits and many in my state of Texas haven’t seen a drop of rain in over a month. But, according to my school district and the email they just sent out, Summer will officially end in a couple of weeks.  I’m not ready –  not in the least.

No, I’m not worried about new outfits or school supplies. I’ve got that covered – sort of. I’ve bought two shirts and plan to buy the pre-packaged school supplies on orientation day.  I’m gonna be super slack ass this year. I’m not ready because I don’t want to send my kids back to school.  A few years ago it hit me that I really enjoyed summer time with my kids and I didn’t like it when it ended.  I think it all started when the kids became more self-sufficient – probably around age 7 or 8.  They could pour their own cereal without destroying the kitchen. They could do their own projects without me hovering over them or reading the directions. They could ride most of the rides at the amusement park. We were no longer working around naptimes and they knew to speak up and let me know if they were hungry, needed the restroom or were just bone tired without throwing themselves to the ground and staging an epic hissy fit. Essentially, summer time became fun again not just for them but for the whole family.

As this summer draws to a close I see changes on the horizon.  No, not the change of routine back to school. This change has to do with the kids.  They have been spending more time in their rooms alone, not out of punishment, out of wanting alone time.  My son asked for more music on his device. My daughter has been in her room reading. Beloved toys are all but forgotten – even timeless toys like legos only received a few days of play.  The days of “Y’all go play while I do X” is rapidly disappearing. The kids are growing up. I know this will probably be the last summer both of my kids want to hang out and do fun things with mom. Next summer I will have to come up with more creative ways to encourage both kids to engage in family time and not spend all their time on a screen, at a camp or with their friends.  I know this is yet another phase of life – all completely normal and expected.  Deep down, I know this. But, every time I get to one of these phases I find that I’m rarely ready to let go and move on to the next phase. In these last days of summer, I’m going to try to cram in a little extra fun. I’m going to try to have a few more days of childish whimsey, if not for the kids then for me. The days are so long but the years are so short.

Standard
Motherhood/Parenting

Old Mom vs New Mom

boxing glovesWell, I’ve made a command decision, despite all the lovely fodder it gives me for this blog, I just cannot take another minute of these new moms on my mom’s message board.  (Insert record scratch sound effect here.) Before I go any further, this is not me being the Mommy Police or a Mommy Shammer.  Honey, you do you and screw what others think. No shame here. If you raise a kid and they don’t end up in jail, on the streets or dead you did a good job.  Now back to the matter at hand.  It is exactly that phrase that I just typed, “you do you and screw what others think” that has led me to this exodus from the message board.   These poor ladies have no idea how to think for themselves.  In the 9 years since I last had a baby or toddler, it is like women are so inundated with information that they cannot think and research for themselves without asking 2,000 complete strangers their opinions.

Initially, I thought I was just over overreacting about the level of ridiculousness these new moms are putting out there but then I decided to really pay attention for one day. I read everything these ladies posted for one random day. Lord have mercy, let me name a few.  What type of sunscreen should I put on my 2 year old? Did you keep them inside for the past two years?! Can I take a 3 year old to the night showing of the touring production of Lion King? Will my child need earmuffs/plugs for the fireworks demonstration on Independence Day? And, don’t even get me started about some of the other non-kid-centric things they ask about.  After that one day of truly paying attention, I’ve decided this ‘gotta ask everyone and their momma their opinion on everything’ is either generational or it’s the old mom vs new mom thing. Or, gasp, maybe it’s both.

I’m going to go with new mom vs old mom theory for now.  The reason I say this is because I remember asking more experienced moms about big things like feeding schedules and potty training when I was a first time/young child mom but for most of it I figured it out on my own. I was certain one of my kids would go off to college with a pack of diapers under one arm and case of beer under the other.  Thankfully, I had plenty of older moms reminding me that no child goes to college in diapers, to keep the faith, be consistent, and when the kid is ready it will happen. They were right. I still ask moms I trust about things, only now instead of when is my kid ever going to poop in a toilet it’s when should I let my kids date or did your kids get the HPV vaccine. The thing is I’ve always asked family and friends whose opinion I value about important things not random people on a message board.  So, I don’t understand why these new moms aren’t asking their own friends and family? I know having a baby can be isolating but surely they have someone somewhere they can shoot a text message.  I mean at this juncture I wouldn’t be surprised if they are asking Siri questions about child rearing.  And, whatever happened to the tried and trusted What to Expect books?  Those things were like my Bible until my kids there 2 or 3 years old and by then I figured they were still breathing and it would all be okay. Of course, I still hit issues outside of the books and a google search but that’s when mothers intuition usually kicked in.  Are these message boards screwing with these ladies mother’s intuition?  I don’t have the answer but I do know the next time I have a teen mom question I won’t be asking about it on that damn message board.

P.S. Y’all, I’m so excited. I have 48 followers and some aren’t even friends or family. Holy freakin’ shitballs. Forty eight people might actually want to read what I wrote at some juncture in their week.  Now, let me be a greedy ass. Can we get it to 50? It’s such a nice round number. Even if we can’t get it up to 50, I’m thankful and grateful for all 48 of you.

Photo Credit: Some picture I lifted off the internet. No copyright infringement intended. Blood/turnip. You know the drill. I’m broke and I do this for free.

Standard