Mommy Hangin' On

A blog about one mother's desperate attempts to hang on to some kind of cool.


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

May I Take Your Order, Please?

Nobody tells you to go out to eat as often as you can for the first 6 month of your child’s life, because that’s pretty much your window of opportunity until your baby has learned to tie his or her shoes.

Dining out with a toddler is all around awful. Now, I’m not including McDonalds in this category, because I don’t consider a place with an indoor jungle gym someplace that I generally enjoy. My daughters refer to it as "Old McDonalds", which kinda makes you think…

Anyway, most parents think that with some careful planning things will generally be okay. The most organized moms bring lots of things to entertain their tot: favorite toys, books, crayons, even ordering as soon as you sit down to lessen the "wait time" for your precious little one. But usually, by the end of the meal, you’re offering them equal packets and mini jellies, your I Pad, cell phone…anything to get them to sit still for 7 minutes or so in order to wolf down your food.

Before our most recent trip to the local diner, I took lots of time before hand to talk about what our experience would be like in order to prepare them for a successful meal. We discussed why manners are important and how polite people behave at restaurants, we rehearsed what we would eat, how we would talk to the waitress, where we would sit, and what would happen if we had to go to the bathroom.

I felt really prepared and confident that we would have a nice family night out. I forgot, however, to actually talk about who the waitress is, so upon entering the diner, my two year old walked up to the first person she encountered, which happened to be a 90 year old man with a walker, and proudly announced that she would like some chocolate milk.

There’s always next time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Death of shopping, at least the fun kind.

I love shopping. All kinds of shopping. I love sale shopping, virtual shopping, garage sale shopping, and fancy store shopping. I especially love scanning the racks, trying on things I can't afford, playing with makeup at the counters, and trying on endless pairs of shoes. Having my two lovely daughters, however, ruined this favorite pastime, at least for the time being.
On the rare occasions that I have attempted to bring one or both of my daughters shopping with me, I have left either so frustrated that I wanted to scream, exhausted from chasing their little asses around, or just plain close to tears out of depression over the fact that I can no longer browse for clothes, books, shoes, purses or whatever it happened to be that I was looking for, or didn't know that I needed.
Oh sure, they LOVE the grocery store, which happens to be the one exception to my list of shopping loves. Although they love shopping for food, it's still usually not so fun for the adult chaperone. One problem is that they want to help.
Now, let me begin by saying that I am not anti-old person, but let's be clear about the fact that the elderly are the archenemy to the mommy-on-the-go. Nowhere is this more evident than at the grocery store. There are battles over produce, the deli line, and the right of way. Sure that cute little old lady may seem friendly, but she will battle you to the end over the best ears of corn on the cob and will cut ahead of you in line as soon as you turn your back to grab the latest issue of People, but I digress.
The point I wanted to make is that old people like little kids, when they're sitting quietly in the front of the cart, which they almost never are. The elderly especially love the giant, double dog daddy, four alarm shit-fit, which usually happens at the front of the store, where the greatest number of shoppers can watch and enjoy.
Then there's the shopping cart. I've tried all kinds of carts and all kinds of ways to use them: ride in front, ride in back, stand on back ledge, the kind with the double giant seat section, and my favorite the race car...favorite because it has the least amount of room for my crap, is completely awkward to control, and looks ridiculous. The best part is that the girls ride in it for about 17 minutes, then I'm forced to continue to push this jalopy while chasing the girls around the store anyway.
On our last visit to Target (yes, I've settled to do most of my shopping there), I thought they might not allow us to return. In the span of 3 minutes, one daughter chose a beautiful pink ceramic piggy bank, which fell to the floor the moment she picked it up and smashed loudly into a million pieces while my other daughter attacked the Johnson & Johnson display and the whole shelf of baby lotion came tumbling down. Two employees came running to see what the crash was and I contemplated pretending not to know my daughters for a second or two, but alas took responsibility. They were very nice about it. Turns out at Target, you don't HAVE to buy it if you broke it ;)
Then there's the "hiding" or as I like to call it "giving mommy a minute". I can clearly see the pink bedazzled shoes under the rounder and like to pretend that I'm shopping at Nordstrom, while scanning the clearance rack in the children's section, and pretending to play hide and seek.
The fitting room is fun, too. I love that the exact moment I've stripped down to just my underpants is the moment when one child sneaks out under the door and proceeds to attempt to crawl under my neighbor's door, who happens to be a miserable, child-hating 90 year old lady.
Good times.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keep it Fair, Mommies

We all just want to fit in.  We want things to be fair.  Nobody wants to show up in jeans for the soiree when everyone else is wearing party dresses.  I liken this comparison to when you show up to drop the kids off at dance class (or wherever you take YOUR kids early on Saturday morning), wearing huge sunglasses and hoping that all the rest of the mothers look as crappy as you do.
Recently after returning from a trip to Florida, my husband brought each of my daughters a large princess lollipop.  Of course, he laid his gifts out on the kitchen bar so they would see them as soon as they awoke.  Not surprisingly, they assumed that they would be having candy for breakfast. 

After explaining to them that they would have to wait until at least 10:30 before they would be allowed to enjoy the monster sized pops, they were swiftly hidden.

Later, when it was finally time to enjoy the pops, my eldest daughter was distraught to discover that her princess pop was (gasp) broken.  Always the problem solver, she asked if she could have her younger sister's pop.  After being told that that wouldn't be fair, she asked the most logical question that I've heard..."Well, could you at least break Natalie's???" 
Once again...we just want things to be fair.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What NEVER to Wear

So, what do we wear when sweatpants are not an option?

 I've thought long and hard about this: What exactly is appropriate when you're a middle-aged mommy who's not quite ready to surrender to Coldwater Creek?

Now although I do want to maintain somewhat of a coolness factor, I do not want to be noticed because I'm trying to look, well, too cool.  After a recent trip to Vegas, I was bewildered by the number of  women trying to dress much younger than what their driver's license says.

 First let me say that I hate the terms "Cougar" and "MILF" and while some woman can get away with leather pants and skinny jeans when they're forty, more often than not, trying to dress much younger than your age is a slippery (downward) slope.

You know what I mean. We've all been amazed at the mall when we've encountered women in teenager miniskirts with granny faces, ladies wearing knock off Manolos with 80's bangs, middle aged women attempting to rock the Victoria's Secret "PINK" line, and last but not least, the original grunge girl trying to re-wear the initial trend and not understanding that the new trend is "inspired by" and not a chance to bust out the ole' Doc Martins.

I think it's best to play it safe and leave the skintight animal prints and synthetic pants to the younger sect.

Do not lose hope.  It is possible to look somewhat cool and still feel comfortable showing up at the park with your kids.

After receiving a few, be they backhanded compliments, (most recently the hated, "I didn't think you were that old!"), I have learned a few things that seem to always work for me:  a denim jacket (in a current shade), a cool scarf, nice hoop earrings, a flattering (and somewhat expensive) pair of sunglasses, and my personal favorite, a beautiful, bright colored lipstick that looks great on you and makes you feel and look (age appropriately) smokin'.  ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sweatpant Intervention

 Before I had children, I would be out and see mothers dressed in, let's say less than flattering clothing, and think to myself, "Have they just given up?"

Now having two children of my own I realize the answer...sometimes.
I must now share one of my most humiliating fashion moments.  Prepare yourself.

First let me explain that on this dark day, I decided to make a "quick" trip to Target, subconsciously knowing that  there is no such thing anymore, but I digress.  I quickly threw on a t-shirt, my trusty black cropped sweats, (the horror), and some awful pink flip-flops. I thew my hair into a messy ponytail, and sans make-up, the girls and I headed out. 

I was doing a pretty good job of keeping the kids in (or at least near the cart), avoiding the princess section, and grabbing just the necessities: milk, bread, fashion magazine, Twix.

I spy, of course, my former boss in the card section.  She is looking glamorous and well put together as ever.  I try to swerve left, but alas am spotted.  We have an awkward, short conversation, then I excuse myself as my youngest child is sweeping the floor with her belly.

Humiliated that I was spotted out looking so slobby, I slink through the checkout and head home to fill the kiddie pool.  Preparing to change into my bathing suit, I realize that there is a rather large hole in the ass of my favorite sweats.  In addition, I have luckily worn white panties beneath them, further advertising my homeless lady ensemble.

The moral of the story is:  I had become that woman that I had dismissed as pathetic not so long ago.  Soon after that my younger sister staged a sweatpant intervention.  After confronting me, she confiscated all but 2 pair and forced me to shop for some actual suitable clothing.

So, I'm wondering...what is the minimum effort that moms should put into their appearance before leaving the house?   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

There were four in the bed

Oh the nighttime struggle...

I'm posting this in the hopes that all of you moms out there will offer some advice.

It seems that my daughters want to sleep with me.  Oh yes, they'll take daddy in a pinch, but it's really me they're after.  I'll admit, I do enjoy the initial cuddle at bedtime.  The snuggle, the stories, which always seem to end with rainbows and unicorns, but it's the rest of the night that's the problem.

On average, I probably wake up 4 times a night.  My youngest would prefer that I face her.  She will awaken from a dead sleep the moment that I roll over and insist that she "needs me", which means she is looking for some literal face time.  Although it is completely dark, she knows.

  I have crept out in the dead of night, long after everyone has been certified as sleeping, headed to another locale, be it the couch, another child's empty bed, the futon in the basement...wherever it may be.  One child or the other seems to have mommy radar and rises from the dead to look for me not ten minutes after I have found a comfy spot to rest.  I hear the midnight mommy call and try to ignore it.  I have tried fans as background noise, earplugs to block out their cries.  Their father seems immune to it as he does not stir.

They always find me.
How do they know?


Hello and welcome.
My name is Jen and I drive a minivan.

 If you also feel that you need a support group to deal with this sad fact of life, I am here for you.  The day my cute little SUV was traded in for an awful, blue minivan was the official death of cool for me.

 Largely pregnant with my second child, I somehow allowed myself to be convinced that a minivan was the answer to our future travel challenges. 

True: we would need two giant car seats, as our first daughter was just one.
True: the double stroller was a ridiculous monstrosity and I would have room to store other things.
True: the double DVD player was kind of cool.

I was still resistant.  Now 2 years later and driving my second minivan, I have noticed some perks to driving the MV, as I now refer to it. 
  • I like to think of my MV as my own personal "invisibility jet" as I virtually become invisible to the outside world while driving it.  I have not been pulled over for speeding, or any other traffic violation since I began driving it
  • I don't get ogled by men anymore and on the rare occasion that an ogling does occur, I simply flash the "really dude, I'm driving a minivan" look...invisibility restored.
  • When going out with my childless friends, I don't have to drive.  I've got the giant car seats in the back.  It's a built in designated driver.
  • There is enough food that my children have dropped on the floor and under the seats that we could easily survive for a week or so if stranded in a snowstorm or lost in the backwoods of NY somewhere.
I have accepted my fate as a minivan driver, but that doesn't mean that I like it...