Nicey Nice

Published August 10, 2018 by sarcasmica

Do you ever meet people and think, “Dang, why can’t I be more like that?”? For me it usually happens when I meet warm, caring, nice people. Not just a nice person, but one of those people that lights up a room with their smile when they see you and usually follows it up with a genuine interest in how you’re doing. Someone who you walk away from feeling like they really listened to what you said and left you feeling all warm and happy inside. They may have even thrown in a tight warm hug for emphasis.

This is not me. This will never be me, but it’s always something I feel I lack and find myself chastising myself for not being.

However, tonight I went deeper after experiencing this feeling. Would I still be ‘me’ if my personality shifted to that ideal? The answer I found was “Nope.”

If I were a warm and fuzzy Nicey Nice, I would not have my biting, sarcastic, cynical sense of humor that has gotten me through some Life Shit. Not just Life, but the shitty parts; death, illness, death, broke ass-ness, kids, challenges, marriage, starting over in 4 states in five years.

Not to take anything away from Nicey Nices, but if I didn’t have these sharp edges and spikes, I don’t know that I would have come out of all the muck with the same outlook and perspective. Who knows? If I had somehow experienced a lobotomy and grown up shiny happy people, my life and perspective might be amazing and bubbly. Can you imagine?! All positivity and optimism from moi? What would this nonsense be called? Rainbow Sprinkles? Serenity Sings?

Ugh, seriously thank goodness for dark clouds and muddy puddles, I say.

There is something to be said for the comic relief, right? What is life without shedding some light on the craziness we all experience so we can all have a good laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all?

Can you laugh about your kid’s tantrums over coffee and no makeup with Nancy Nicety? Can you vent about the reality of marriage over margaritas with Martha Effing Stewart? …ok, bad example, she served time. But maybe all that attempted Nicey Nice is what eventually cracked her. It’s not for the weak, apparently.

I know I may not always be inclusive. I may not always be fully listening. I may not give warm hugs and dazzling heart warming smiles, but hopefully I make you laugh at something you thought was unlaughable at least once. That is what I bring to the clique, sarcasm and dark clouds.

…and you better wear pink on Wednesday, bitches.

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August Mom In Full Swing

Published August 8, 2018 by sarcasmica

It is August, y’all. The origin of the very term: August Mom. I’m getting by. I’m getting through.

“But are you ENJOYING your children???? You will MISS this time very soon, you know. I wish I could have this time back with MY children.”

Oh yea? Then take mine. Go ahead, I dare you.

Four weeks left until school starts. One is signed up for camp for one blissful week, the other is doing ‘chore camp’ here at home. We don’t even mind because he gets paid and I get to say my house is a mediocre-level of clean without having to do it myself. Win/Win.

A few weeks ago we cut our kids’ screen time more than in half. I was a lazy mom, i’ll go ahead and say it. I allowed screens to take the place of imagination, productivity, and physical activity in the name of convenience, sanity, and zen. I’m still a lazy mom, but it’s for their own benefit. It’s not my job to entertain you. I did that for the first 4-5 years of your life. Now you get to operate that big brain and all those limbs on your own. Get to it.

I have noticed a difference and we are not turning back. We have slowly weaned them back to a more reasonable amount of time from the 1-2hr/day limit we started with. Now I will go over the 1-2 hours for car rides, doc appointments, errands.

They still moan, but not as much. They still badger about when they get their time, but not as often. You know what they do? They make giant messes all over the house with toys that we all trip over and step on. They use 20% of the toys at their disposal instead of whining they don’t know what to do with 100% of them. They sleep better – and this is the biggest benefit, hands down. My ADHD kid has never been an easy go-to-sleeper. Lately he is conked out after tucking him in. Once in a while he’ll pop back up for anxiety reasons, but more often than ever in his life, he gets to sleep and stays there. The other benefit is playing outside more. We live in the pacific north west and sometimes it feels like we have two seasons: Raining all the time and too damn hot. (a/c is not a readily accessible convenience here so summers can be tough for weeks at a time) The outside play in the hot evenings has definitely contributed to the better sleep and I’m not complaining about that.

They still bicker with each other. They still fight over toys. The house is just a constant shifting mess, but we are five weeks and counting until school.

We seem to have scrapped the one small family vacation we dared utter out loud we wanted to do, so I’ve had to improvise with museum trips and zoo trips. Naturally this is the best behaved any of us are for the day. Having witnesses is a highly undervalued parenting tool, in my opinion. Of course all hell breaks loose for us all in the gift shops, but beggars cant be choosers.

We are now off to the dentist. Summers: Recreation and Medical Appointment catch-up. Fun fun fun!

Holy Shit

Published July 12, 2018 by sarcasmica

So. much. information.

I feel like stay at home moms get a bad rap for mental abilities. Let’s face it, kids dull your pre-kid brain, but fully awaken brain power you never thought you would need.

Example: how many theme show songs must one know? When your toddler is singing one, it becomes immediately apparent how important those lyrics are. We all know “fuckin truck” really means “fire truck”.

Who knew dosing charts and side effects could occupy your day? When you have an infant running a temp, it’s imperative knowledge.

I could go on and on, but frankly right now I do not possess the stamina. Why? Because I have reengaged my pre-kid brain. I have reengaged it like a mutha trucka. Not only am I immersing myself in a language unused for a decade, I am having to actually physically display my use of the language among strangers who are professionals in the field. So. Embarrassing. And im doing this after a night of incremental dreams constantly interrupted with my body waking me up just to remind me im not at home. I cannot sleep the first night away in a hotel and last night was no exception.

In addition to the language, I have driven 4 hours away from my home base to do this in a town I know nothing about and where my childhood friend lived before passing away 5 years ago. I have navigated the hotel info and driving directions (thank God for smart phones!) and lots and lots of solo time.

I have just left the workshop for a lunch break, and y’all…it’s all I can do not to run away! I am so far out of my element I am feeling like a new dad in the diaper aisle. …scratch that, a new dad in the delivery room…watching his wife’s episiotomy while holding his newly circumcised baby.

But I have to go back for another workshop.

I know I can, but using this much concentration on a room full of people over 5 feet tall is seriously exhausting! The classes are 2.5 – 3 hours long with a 5 minute break.

I left the first one for a bathroom break after an hour when the fingerspelling started blending into “bkksfglairyp”

Perhaps it’s the 3 cups of coffee I’ve had in an attempt to awaken and fuel long dead brain cells. Im fairly certain im sweating a mix of caffeine and inferiority.

I have one session left and im wondering if showing up after a few cocktails at lunch will be better or worse for my concentration.

At least the playing field is leveled for my husband who is at home now with both kids while they are on heavy screen restriction.

Mwahahahaaaaaaa

No seriously, help me.

Tonight I better sleep like a husband.

Wardrobe Woes

Published July 10, 2018 by sarcasmica

I have not worked in ten years. I will soon be attending a workshop for my field in the hopes it will kick start my unused vocabulary and signs. Languages are funny. It turns out if you don’t exercise the vocabulary, it simply goes away and moves into the brain of someone who appreciates it and will use it regularly.

So on the eve of my very brief trip back in time to when I was a functional member of a workforce that gets paid in currency rather than body fluid, I should be stressing about the possibly (and likely) language barrier. Instead I’m freaking out about my wardrobe.

I think it’s just a weird form of denial, actually, but I cannot choose what I’m wearing. Do I go weekend casual with jeans and a t-shirt? It’s going to be 90 degrees and I have no idea how widespread the a/c will be. Do I go professional and wear black from top to bottom as is the interpreter uniform? Again, 90 degrees. … also the last time I wore slacks was at a funeral five years ago. We all know those suckers aren’t making it over the thunder thighs.

Do I represent myself as I am? Grocery shopping yoga pants and a hoodie?

What the hell, man? It’s like my only options are homeless yoga dropout, or failed professional.

I guess I should find something in the middle…. like Moms Night Out attire. Ambiguous. Non committal. .. with makeup and hair.

What have I gotten myself into?! It’s like all the ways I can stand out and announce that I don’t belong are determined to happen.

I know that I can do this, but the question is can I do it in jeans? And what about the shoes?!!

 

Summer Brain

Published July 3, 2018 by sarcasmica

It has begun.

Summer home with my kiddies. We are in the honeymoon stage now…honeymoon of a doomed relationship, that is. It feels like it’s going according to plan, but it isn’t.

I have established rules, but I’m too brain dead to enforce them. The first 2 weeks of break the kids got up (AFTER 7:30) made-ish their beds and picked up rooms before any fun screen time begins.

So really, I would wake up, stumble to their rooms, see 35% of what was asked actually is done, realize it’s after 8 and no one woke me up with tattling or whining and then let bygones be bygones.

We have actually had a fairly scheduled couple of weeks which has helped immensely. I caught myself in the early July trap of “this isn’t so bad! It’s actually going pretty quickly.” but I know that fades near the beginning of August when things come to a grinding halt until September.

I know my brain is already starting to summer mush because I told my daughter today that I would consider getting her a pet. The residual mom brain is still firing because I gave her a completely impossible stipulation; IF you can keep your room cleaned and dresser top clear, I would consider the tortoise she’s been asking for since she was 5.

It wont happen. She immediately charted out 30 days on a piece of paper. Later at bedtime I was comforted by her littered room.

She has as much shot at the tortoise as I have at the Sports Illustrated cover.

Dipping Back In The Work Pool

Published June 20, 2018 by sarcasmica

I had a life before kids, like most folks. Through a series of frantic, chaotic, not always in my control events, I stopped work to be a stay at home mom and traveling wife. I loved working as much as a non-millionaire employee could love work. I loved my co-workers. I loved the challenge my job provided. I was on the verge of meeting new challenges and changing levels when we abruptly had to move to another state at the beginning of the second semester when my son was 2.

I was an educational interpreter in an elementary school. I had good days and bad days. I had people I had to work with professionally that I’d rather punch in the throat, like most jobs, but overall it was amazing. It was always different, but it was consistent. Anyone who works with school age kids can probably agree that it is controlled chaos on a daily schedule. Add to that the comedy of being in a very niche position, and there were all kinds of hijinks to keep me entertained.

After settling into our first move, I actually applied for an interpreting job and was offered a position. After paying for the background check and TB test, my husband got an offer in yet another state. We moved again. After that I vowed not to attempt work until we were for sure settled somewhere. Leaving the comfy work environment I had in Arizona was very hard and it took me a very long time to let go of the expectations of being a SAHM and just missing my life.

A bajillion moves and ten years later (holy shit, how has it been an entire decade?!!?) I have tossed my resume back into the ether.

I am terrified I will get called into a job.

This is more of an agency hiring scenario. I’d be an agency employee instead of a school district employee. At this point, I understand that far easier than understanding sign language.

EEK!!

I could say this whole time I’ve been keeping my skills razor sharp with workshops and videos, but that would make me a big fat liar pants. I’ve done zilch. I’ve watched videos here and there and have used the captions. … then go back and watch the signs and have a false sense of “oh, yea, totally got that. yup.”.

I have committed out loud to a workshop four hours away. I wouldn’t recommend immersion with professionals is the best way to brush up on a language, but oh well. I’m a non-conformist.

It’s getting down to the wire and I’m having to book my trip for this workshop and I just find myself looking for any and every distraction possible. I have filled an Amazon Fresh order, written a blog post and made chocolate chip cupcakes. Any and all distractions welcome just to not have to face this tremendous nerve-wracking trip. I keep telling myself I’m a bad ass because i’m going alone…. when in reality I am feeling like a big wuss. I don’t wanna go. Ironically, I want to go with an interpreter because I know i’m not going to catch everything. Hell, i’ll be lucky to understand 25% of the workshops i’m going to!

I have 22 days to pull my shit together. The kids on summer break are not a great asset at this point. Still, I have to do it or I am convinced my brain will turn to mush if I don’t get back to work and start using my grown up words and thoughts on a daily basis.

Celebrate

Published June 15, 2018 by sarcasmica

This is gonna be a long one. It’s going to be rambly, too.

So here we are. My son graduated from elementary school last night. WE graduated from elementary school last night. Yesterday was his celebration, today is mine. That’s right, I am celebrating all the shit that goes along with being a stay at home mom across four elementary schools, 2 states, four cities, 2 years in occupational therapy, one fizzled out fencing, robotics, band, and countless IEPs and playdates.

WE did it. The staff that was involved gets summer break, I get this post… and the pizza I am about to order. No shame here, just relief mixed with emotional overload. Some call it a breakdown, I call it the last Friday of the school year.

Added to the relief of school being over, he turned 12 last week. Twelve. Firmly into tweendom. Some fun quotes from the week:

him: “Mom, how old do I have to be to say bad words?”
me: “I’m 41 and still barely cuss in front of my mother. You figure it out.”
him: “Ok. So i’m almost 12, and that means I can say ‘ass’.”
me: “No. No it doesn’t.”
him: “Well, i’m gonna start saying it on Friday because it’s my birthday and i’ll be 12 and that is old enough, mom.”

When I was 15 I asked my oldest brother if I could start cussing…. since he was the one I learned most of the colorful vocabulary from, it seemed fitting. He punched me in the arm and said, “That’s for just thinking about it.” I decided to go a tad easier on my kid. .. still a “no”, though.

In the background my daughter has completed first grade with flying colors. I have to tell myself to recognize her effortless achievement because it is still valuable. She loves school and has blossomed with friends and work and teachers. It still matters and it is still work for her, it just doesn’t require a team of people. I sometimes need reminding of that.

When you have your babies, everyone loves to tell you to savor it. “Enjoy it, you have no idea how fast it goes.”  “Relish this time with your baby, before long they will be in school.”

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11 days in

brunch
My son just before going into a shaping helmet

 

I used to say hopefully, “Really? Here’s hoping!” because babies are not easy…. the trick is, you don’t know how easy it is until they get older. I mean sure, the whole “keep them alive” thing is mega stressful when they are limp little meatloaves, but how interactive is their life? Not very. They sit where you put them, they poop and piss their diaper and it doesn’t even always require immediate clean up! Sure they suck your brain cells and sanity slowly on a nightly sleep-deprived basis, but you really aren’t expected to be a fully functioning human being before they reach three months. They don’t talk. They don’t argue with their siblings. They don’t even eat yet, so no dishes are involved! (except maybe for bottle duty which is sort of a pain)

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The elusive Sleepicus Newbornium

New parents are fun to watch. .. once you’re on the other side, of course. It’s fun because they have no idea how easy the initiation really is compared to the rest of that kid’s life.

I used to think once I got them to school I could hand off a lot of the stress and work. Once they’re in school, surely a parent’s life gets easier, right?!!

*record scratch*

No. Not for my first kid, anyway. School equaled lots and lots of work for me. It was a little work for him, which translated into a mountain of work for me.

We did this at four different schools. Getting to know layouts, teachers, teams, administrators, parents, schedules, cafeteria standards, holiday breaks, new friends. My son has started over four times and he’s just now graduating from elementary school.

When you ask him, of course he’s ready to leave for middle school. The first thing he will tell you, though, is that he is going to miss having a recess and he is dreading, absolutely dreading math. He’s not half bad at it, either, that’s the kicker!

So here I sit and sigh looking back over the last 12 years of life with my oldest. I try not to look too far into the future, because that’s where panic lives. My son, while waiting for an Amazon package containing the choice of some very valuable gift cards, said “Mom, ‘now’ is the least amount of time we have. You can’t spend all your time looking in the past because there’s nothing to be done about it. You can’t spend all your time waiting for what’s coming because then it’s here and that’s all you have. Now is really important and we shouldn’t waste it.”

(I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the jist)

With those words, I try to value each tuck in at bedtime with him because what 14 year old wants his mom to tuck him in? Sure we’ll hopefully continue to have deep and meaningful conversations, but soon those will involve friend drama and – dare I say – girls (blech) but right now it’s just about the end of school, his best friend moving away at the end of the summer, his favorite new song, and minutiae of individual days. I know that I will blink and he’ll be in high school stressing about finals and dances. And I’ll be stressed out about texting and driving and drugs and sex. But that is for another day. Today I want to enjoy his face when he gets off the bus with his little sister for almost the last time as they will no longer ever be at the same school at the same time. My babies are both growing up, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting older, right?!

I’m doing my best to look forward to summer. His summer before junior high. My daughter’s summer before second grade. My summer before (hopefully) going back to work. This time is precious with them as I fully know there are lots of parents who don’t have the option for it. …. and who also hopefully know how much work it is for us who stay home in the tornado.

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