This House is Maid for a Nanny, Sister!

Sometimes, when my four kids are wearing on my nerves and the dust bunnies are plentiful enough to stuff a mattress, I think I need a nanny.

Then I feel like nannies are for rich people, which definitely counts me out. I mean, I have a hole in my shoe but have to wait for payday so I can buy a new pair. On sale. With a coupon.

So since I'm not upper-crusty enough to afford a nanny, I start thinking it might be cool to have a sister wife. Someone else to help shoulder the burdens of domestic drudgery. An extra pair of hands to, you know, clean the sticky handprints off the front of the refrigerator and pick up Legos. And scrub the boys' toilet, because yuck. And to relieve me of my duties when I straight-up don't feel like doing them, like, "Hey, can you take over laundry and bedtime tonight? There's a new episode of 'Teen Mom' and a pint of Haagen-Dazs calling my name."

But then I think ... a sister wife is an actual person living in my household. Not Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons. She would probably want to watch TV and eat ice cream too and then nothing would get done. She'd have needs and feelings. And, like, feelings for my husband.  And she'd also be, like, feeling my husband. Literally. I don't think I could handle all that. (Nor could my husband, for that matter. He's not twenty any more.) Plus, sister wives tend to have more kids, and Lord knows that's not the way to restore order and cleanliness up in here.

So then I think maybe I should hire a housekeeper. Yes! A housekeeper wouldn't be after my husband (well, if she knows what's good for her). She wouldn't ask for any of my ice cream. She'd have her own home to go to when she finishes cleaning mine. Housekeepers don't take care of kids, but I could do that while she's deep-sanitizing the crapper.

Then I remember the hole in my shoe. And the waiting for payday.

Well damn. If you need me, I'll be chasing after my own kids and cleaning my own toilet.

... But at least I'm not sharing my ice cream.

Super-Awesome School Shopping Roundup! ... Or Not

It's almost time for back-to-school shopping. If I were a good blogger I'd do some sort of roundup of the best places to shop, with price comparisons and a handy printable timetable of deals and coupons and a convenient list of stores that offer price matching.

But ... I tell stories about poop and do bad hair tutorials. So there's that.

Luckily, though, I did find a really nice site as far as all that info is concerned. The woman who puts this together at Passion for Savings is a genius (and far more patient, and much better at math, and probably prettier, than I am). It's totally comprehensive, man. You know what a coupon weenie I am so it's nice to have a simple, straightforward guide with all the legwork done.

My goal this year (besides saving money because three school-aged kids = ouch) is to find three things, primarily: durable shoes, durable jeans, and durable backpacks. Seriously, by the end of last school year my kids were looking like tattered ragamuffins with scuffed-up and holey ... well, everything. But I was too cheap to purchase replacements that late in the game, so I was like, "Here's some duct tape. If your lunch falls out of the hole in your backpack just pick it up. What's that? You don't like the way your toe pokes out of your shoe? Just be grateful it's not cold and rainy."

I'm kind of depressed at the lack of hand-me-downs in my house. You'd think that having four children of the same gender would practically guarantee that I'd only have to buy clothing occasionally. And that the things I do buy would last from child to child. But my boys are hard on clothes. Like, I might as well just cut to the chase by taking a brand-new pair of jeans and running them across a box grater and beating them on some gravel for a few hours and unraveling the bottoms. Because that's pretty much what they look like once the dudes have worn them for a month or so. I swear they're in Navy SEAL training instead of elementary school.

I'm hoping this year I don't have to run all over the earth looking for a yellow folder, because y'all? Last year there were exactly ZERO yellow folders to be found. Like, anywhere. I swear I went to five different stores and they were all out. Yet it was on the mandatory school supply list, so I called in a few favors and stood on a few corners and wrote to my congressman and staged some protests and resorted to some bribery and did things I'm not proud of and promised to offer up my next newborn in exchange for the elusive yellow folder. (Joke's on them, I'm not having any more kids.)

Despite it all, I'm actually kind of excited about school shopping. Are you? Anybody got any rockstar back-to-school shopping tips I need to know?

Ten Boy-Mom Problems

I can't tell you what problems you'd face with, say, fifty cats in your house. Or the challenges life would bring if you were born with an extra nose or only one boob. But if there's one thing I know about, it's the hurdles involved with raising an all-dude brood. Mine are still on the young side - no stinky, hormonal teenagers for another few years, thank goodness - but even little men present a unique set of dilemmas. You've read Ten Boy-Mom Musts? Here are ten more crazy things you can expect if you're blessed with a boy (or several).

#1: You can say "sayonara" to silence. If I had a nickel for every time I shushed someone or reminded them (for the eight millionth time) to use their "inside voice," I'd be enjoying an early retirement on the beach in Ibiza. With a boob job and a tummy tuck. And a frosty drink. Wait, what? Oh yes. Little boys are loud, is my point. Even when they're within a one-foot radius of each other, they still feel the need to bellow. Especially if they're excited ... which boys almost always are, about one thing or another. And P.S.? Their toys are loud too. Yay!

#2: Gender-neutrality? Good luck with thatIn a valiant attempt to make my boys as well-rounded as possible, I have provided them with a slew of baby dolls, kitchen playsets and other toys typically geared toward girls. I have made impassioned speeches about how there are no "boy colors" and "girl colors," but simply colors, period, and how it's okay to wear whichever one makes you feel happy. They've asked me to paint their fingernails, and I've gladly obliged. But as they get older, they are leaning more and more toward activities of the masculine persuasion (and are downright disgusted with anything they perceive as "girly") - despite my best efforts to quash a "boy stuff vs. girl stuff" mentality. Most boys are ... boyish. It's something a boy mom has to accept. Which brings me to number three ...

#3: Rough is routine. One little boy can be plenty rough all by himself - but you put him with a male friend or family member (or several) and it's a recipe for a wrestling match. They push and shove and punch and tackle and wallow, whether they're happy, angry, or anything in between.

This can be especially problematic for two reasons: one, they lose track of their surroundings and damage your crap (I've had holes - multiple - in my walls and a broken TV screen to back up that claim). And two ...

#4: The ER staff will know you. Intimately. You know how they say kids are expensive? They're not joking. When you have a boy, you should automatically tack a couple hundred bucks onto your monthly expenses for out-of-pocket medical costs (and, at the very least, a bunch of Neosporin and gauze). Concussions, chipped teeth, broken bones, nasty gashes and road rashes - boy moms encounter a steady stream of these and must be prepared accordingly. Well, as prepared as you can ever be when your kid comes to you with an injury that makes your stomach turn.

Should I also mention that the frequency and variety of injuries will be such that you'll secretly panic inside every time, thinking somebody will surely report you to the authorities for abuse? Yeah. It's like that.

#5: Weapons are everywhere. Along the lines of roughhousing and ER visits, parents of dudes must face the fact that little boys can - and will - turn almost anything into a weapon. When my oldest son was a toddler, I swore that he'd never play with toy guns. Not even water guns. But guess what? Life happens, and somewhere along the way he encountered his first Super Soaker and was hooked. Four boys later, and my once weapon-free closets are stocked with a plastic arsenal. I'm telling you now, though, it doesn't matter if you outlaw weapons: they'll make them. Out of empty wrapping paper/toilet paper/paper towel tubes. And sticks. And Legos. And leftover sticks from corn dogs. And any-damn-thing that can be aimed, flung, or jabbed at someone repeatedly.

#6: Kiss your girly dreams goodbye. I used to fantasize about my daughter wearing my wedding dress. Or bequeathing her my high school journals, filled with stories of my friends, crushes, and drama. But I'm pretty sure my boys aren't gonna want to read about the "magical" New Year's Eve kiss I received my junior year. And I can almost bet that nobody's going to be clamoring to wear my wedding dress (but hey, boys? If that's your type of thing, it's all yours, man). When you don't have girls, you're less likely to do these types of things. And you have to make peace with it. But wanna know a secret? That's not the worst part. The worst part comes when people don't understand that you're cool with having all boys, and they act unnecessarily sympathetic - like your life is somehow incomplete without female offspring, and you're going around pining for the daughters you never had. Now that's irritating.

#7: Oh, the pressure! As the mother of a boy, you feel a huge - gigantic - obligation to make sure that they don't grow into that douche-y ex-boyfriend that every woman has. The problem is, you're not sure what exactly makes sweet little boys grow into bad dates and insufferable bedfellows. There's no manual that tells us how to ensure that our dudes develop into ideal mates (or at least close) - and if you've never been a man yourself, it can be hard to tap into what makes them tick, adult-relationship-wise. So you do the best you can, but it's all trial-and-error. And then you have to wait until they grow up to see if it worked.

#8: Stains stink. Trying to keep boys' clothing pristine is like trying to jump into a pool and stay dry. And figuring out how to treat the endless parade of stains - from grass to blood to pudding to mud to Popsicles to poop - is a never-ending guessing game. You'll spend hundreds of dollars amassing a collection of stain removal products so impressive that your laundry room will rival the detergent aisle at the grocery store. And you'll hold your breath as you run the pre-treated item through the wash, and then snarl and swear and grit your teeth as it comes out still bearing the faint trace of spray paint or gum or permanent marker that you tried so hard to banish. You'll toss out tons of stuff because nobody wants a hand-me-down that looks like you tried to tie-dye it with spaghetti sauce. Yeah, you'll get to shop for new clothes for your boys, but here's the next boy-mom problem ...

#9: Boy clothes are boring. It's true. If you want easy, boy clothes are where it's at: outfits are a snap to put together because there are only a handful of styles and everything goes together. But it's not fun. Boys aren't all that into accessories. It's not like you get to choose ruffly socks or a coordinating hair ribbon or the perfect necklace. The boys' clothing sections in stores always pale in comparison to the girls'. You might get to pick out, like, a belt or some sunglasses once in a while ... but that's about the closest to accessorizing that you're gonna get.

#10: Sometimes you just. Don't. Know. I can comfort my boys when they're sad or scared, praise them when they do well, correct them when they do wrong, and be happy when they're happy. But when it comes to completely, 100% identifying with their feelings and concerns, let's just say that one little thing stands between a mom and her total understanding of her sons. And I do mean one thing - also known as the penis. Because as much as I can empathize with the boys, I will never be able to completely understand why the male appendage requires so much airing out, or the allure of pulling on it all the time, or why its facing the "wrong way" (whatever that is) in your Ninja Turtle briefs is cause for alarm. Don't even get me started on the questions that ensue on the occasions when it, uh, points north instead of south. It's hard to teach them about a body part that you don't have, so I resort to stammering uncomfortably scientific explanations for stuff like that.

Just remember: when applicable, "Ask your dad" can be a boy-mom's best phrase.

WTF Wednesday: Whacked-Out Searches, Vol. 2

Forgive me for the graphic ... I'm not awesome at "The Photoshop."

Few things are more amusing (and, okay, downright disturbing) than checking out Internet search terms. It's like snooping into other people's computers, kind of. So when I need a laugh, I bring up the search terms that have brought people to my blog and try to figure out why - and now I'm sharing some of the funniest with you. These are actual things people have typed in, mind you, that have led them here to Fighting off Frumpy. Some are obvious, but some ... well ... see for yourself.

#1: Really black people. I'm seriously pale. I make a piece of paper look like a manila envelope (see here for proof). So this one baffles me.

#2: Camel toes and pit stains. I did once write a post featuring both camel toes and pit stains, so I'm guessing that's how this search led to my blog. I'm not, however, too proud about that.

#3: Real poop for sale. Someone's looking to buy real poop? Seriously? They should have sent me an email while they were on my site, because I would totally sell them some real poop if they're looking to fork over some cash. I have an abundance around this piece. (Poop, not cash. Unfortunately.)

#4: Fart perfume. This search term is a little unclear: is the person wanting to smell like a fart or disguise one with perfume? Either way, I'm pretty sure this post about an insertable fart silencer is the reason they ended up here.

#5: Does beer hops irritate my contact lenses? I'm neither an optometrist or a substance-abuse counselor ... but if you're rinsing your contacts with beer, you probably require the services of one or the other. Or both. Just sayin'.

#6: Big '80s hair and a cigarette. I don't know how this search landed someone on my blog, but I do hope that they ended up finding this gem of a photo:

It's my mom in the '80s. Big, bleached-blonde frosted 'fro, tan-from-a-bottle, and hella blue eyeshadow. And an ashtray. Surely this picture satisfied all the searcher's "big '80s hair and a cigarette" needs.

#7: Is holding in farts mannerly? Well. Clearly I've established myself as the Internet's foremost expert on manners, so people are seeking my advice. And in this case, dear reader, yes: holding in farts is mannerly. Especially if you're, like, on an elevator. Or a date. (Or in Target.) But it's also uncomfortable, so I encourage you to let it out at your earliest convenience. A word of warning, though: farting when you think you're alone is the equivalent of sending up a beaming beacon of light like the Bat Signal, and people will miraculously appear out of nowhere. Trust me on this one - I speak from experience.

#8: Cute guy in Eye Mart AND Sexy guy in Eye Mart. Two different searches about - I can assume - one delicious bit of Eye Mart eye-candy? I have noooo idea why this brought someone to The Frump, but now I want to know what Eye Mart this Greek God of Optometry works at because it's about time for my annual exam.

#9: Proper etiquette for placing your penis in your pants. Um ... erm ... eh .... I've got nothin'. I mean I guess I understand why that particular term led them here, but for starters, I haven't got a penis of my very own to properly place in my pants. And as for the members of my household who are endowed with such things, well, they don't wear pants all that often. Except for my husband, of course. Maybe he could help someone answer this question.

#10: Legos strung all over the house. Finally - a search term that brought someone to the right place. Searcher of this term, I feel your pain. Literally. Right in my bare feet.

(If you wanna see Whacked-Out Searches, Vol. 1 - click here!)


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