An Abode to Unload

I think pretty much everybody has thought about what their dream house would look like - or at the very least, the cool details it would contain. Like built-in storage or a spa tub the size of Texas or under-cabinet pot racks so you wouldn't risk an avalanche every time you make dinner (or is that just me?). I have a Pinterest board full of such revolutionary items, but I can't seem to find a pin for the one thing I want most: a "decompression room."

See, every time I walk in the door, I'm immediately bombarded by kids. But not so they can heap adoration upon me and tell me how sorely I've been missed ... oh no. From the millisecond my foot makes first contact with our floor, someone is whining. Or tattling. Or asking if they can do this or have that.

I don't understand this in the least, because when my husband walks in, they're all, "Daddy! Yay, Daddy is home! Welcome home, Daddy!" and smother him with hugs and kisses. I mean, yeah, that's bombardment ... but at least it's the good kind. With me, though, it's a swift and determined takeover. "Mom-mmyyyyyy, my brother has been on the computer for way too long and it's my turn!" "Mom-mmyyyyyy, now can we have a Popsicle?" "Mom-mmyyyyy, Daddy promised we'd go outside but he's been sitting on the toilet playing his iPhone!" ... all against the backdrop of the toddler whining like he's been abused and neglected during my entire absence, because of course.

What I need is a room between the garage and the house that serves as a buffer. A no-whining, no-tattling, no-request-of-any-kind zone. Preferably soundproof, with someplace comfy to sit and a mini fridge. (Or, you know, a minibar.)

Oh, the possibilities. As long as it picks up on the Wi-fi.

I could chill in the room for a few minutes to unwind from whatever I've been doing and mentally prepare myself for whatever lies waiting for me in the house. There'd be a place for my shoes and bra, which would come off right away, and a supply closet full of comfy pants. (And maybe a direct chute to the laundry room so I wouldn't have to come collect the dirty clothes later.)

Of course, it probably wouldn't do me much good - because unless I could somehow procure a completely silent garage door (unlikely), my kids would still know I was home. And they'd know where I was. And they'd clamor at the door like a horde of hungry zombies.


Okay, so the decompression room sounds great in theory, but I'm not sure how well it would work out in real life.

Maybe I'll just start dropping by the bar down the street instead.


Jalapeñ-oh,no!

When it comes to breakfast (and, okay, any other time of the day) I never met a sweet thing I didn't like. Pancakes. Waffles. Doughnuts. Fruit crepes. Cinnamon rolls. My husband Curtis, on the other hand, is more of a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy and always wants bacon or eggs or hash browns ... or all of the above. However, since I'm the one who does most of the cooking, you can guess which type of breakfast we typically go with.

The other day, though, I decided to be gracious and cook a breakfast he'd like. So I whipped up this concoction of eggs and shredded potatoes and bacon crumbles and cheese and onions and green peppers. I even made him coffee, which I don't drink (although there are times when I sorely wish I did). Then I decided to top off the meal by slicing him some jalapeño peppers, which he loves. He was going to be so happy. This was going to be a WIN.


Unfortunately, in my fervent bid to be an awesome wife, I turned into a not-so-awesome mom. Because while I was chopping up the jalapeños, my four-year-old, Coby, came waving a tube of yogurt at me. "Mommy, can you help me open this please?"

I grabbed the yogurt, ripped the top off the tube, and handed it back to him with a smile. And then got right back to cutting peppers. All was well with the world until I heard a blood-curdling scream from the living room, followed by a high-pitched wail.

"My mouth! Something's wrong with this yogurt!"

With a sinking feeling, I gingerly touched my finger to the tip of my tongue and felt an immediate and intense burning sensation spread across the surface. The same jalapeño-ey fingers that, a moment ago, had been all over the top of Coby's yogurt tube. The part where his mouth went.

... Oops.

At least I didn't pepper-spray the entire house on accident like Curtis did that one time.

But hey, let's just say I was introducing my son to spicy foods via a medium he really enjoys. Like strawberry yogurt.

That sounds better, doesn't it?




PS - Are you a blogger, or have you ever wanted to know what it's like inside the mind of one? Check out this hilarious BabyGizmo video collaboration I got to be a part of (twice!): Sh*t Mom Bloggers Say.

That Awkward Age


Think for a minute about the parties you went to when you were younger. I don't mean the ones where you played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and ate birthday cake; I mean the kind your parents would have disapproved of. The kind that involved alcohol and loud music and things people get arrested for doing.*

*Mom, if you're reading this, I'm just basing it off of ... you know, other's people's stories. I was too busy at the library to ever go to any of those parties. Yeah, that's it. The library.

Anyway, at those parties - and even the ones you went to later, like in your early twenties - there was always "that person." You know: the one who was a lot older than anybody else there but trying to fit in just the same. In the earlier years, this was the person who probably supplied the booze; in later years, when you were old enough (barely) to buy your own, this was the person who was just ... kind of pathetic. The person that was clearly trying to reenact his or her "glory days" by hanging out with a much younger crowd and trying - and failing - to be cool. And the older and more uncool they actually were, the harder they tried - like middle-aged hoochies in shorts they bought in the juniors' section, baring cottage-cheese thighs and crepe-paper cleavage. Or the skeezy older guys who hit on girls young enough to be their daughters. They may have thought they were hip and youthful, but in the minds of the kids they were hanging around, they merely served as a cautionary tale of what happens when you get old.

I swore I'd never turn into that person. But, like, I also swore I was going to be a perfect mother and we can all see how that turned out.

At the awkward age of almost thirty-four, I don't have much of a choice. If I want a social life that extends beyond children's birthdays and please-buy-this-overly-expensive-product-and-then-agree-against-your-better-judgment-to-book-your-own-party parties, I pretty much have two choices. One, go to a dance club feeling all hot and then walk through the doors and realize that everybody there is 21 and all their body parts are still firm and feel like an old piece of crap all night while watching them stumbling and grinding on each other and saying to their friends, "OMG, I'm sooooooo drunk right now." Or two, go to a sedate bar where everybody is quietly sipping martinis in dim lighting, looking like off-duty lawyers.

I don't like either of those choices. Because although I adore dancing, I'm of an age that automatically makes me "that person" at dance clubs. The old, overreaching one. And I appreciate a good martini and a relaxed ambience, but sometimes an oldster just wants to shake her (aging) ass to a good beat.

It's hard out there socially for us thirtysomethings, y'all. We don't exactly fit in when you plop us into the middle of a club full of people who were born when we were in, like, high school. Yet we're still young enough to sometimes want more than soft jazz music and an overpriced cocktail.

My friend Lindsey and I were talking about this the other day (she totally forgave me for the time I messed up her car, thank goodness) and she had a brilliant idea: someone needs to open up a club exclusively for people in their thirties. With a dance floor - devoid of perky twentysomethings - that plays at least the occasional '90s hit because seriously, who in this age group could resist getting down to, say, a little bit of Sir Mix-a-Lot?*

*If you just chanted, "I like big butts!" in your head, we could totally be BFFs.

The place would open at like seven in the evening so we have time to eat first - because when you're in your thirties you have learned that drinking on an empty stomach is a bad idea. It would close by one o'clock because hello, that's past our bedtime ... we still have obligations in the morning outside of sleeping off our liquor consumption. There would be awesome two-for-one drink specials since, in your thirties, you have real bills to pay like the mortgage ... or at least that arm-and-a-leg you forked over to the sitter for a night out. There would be a section to chill away from the dance floor when it gets too loud (because while "too loud" wasn't a thing in our twenties, it's a recipe for a headache these days). And an ibuprofen dispenser in the bathroom. And it would have a complimentary shuttle service: because by now we're mature enough to know that "whoever is the least drunk" is not a viable option when it comes to transportation.

I think it sounds like a fabulous, magical place. Who wants to open up the first location?

Hip-hop-hooraaaay! Ho! Heeeey! Ho!


Six Happy-Mom Hacks


There's a wise old saying that goes, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." (Well, okay, it could be a wise old saying or it could just be something that was invented to put on a decorative wall plaque.) Either way, it's relevant: we moms are the backbones of the household, and the internal "climate" has a lot to do with how we feel. If I wake up feeling good (on payday or a good hair day, for example), stuff gets done. I'm productive. The house is more likely to be picked up, I'll be slower to snap at someone, and the probability of a well-rounded dinner on the table is much higher. But if I'm not having a good day, I can quickly slip into "screw-it mode" and let everything around me slide - and, in turn, make pretty much everyone as grumpy as I am.

Moms are vitally important to the well-being of the home and everybody in it. When the shiz hits the fan (sometimes literally, because kids are gross), Mom comes to the rescue. We are the driving force behind this well-oiled machine. So what keeps us happy? The stuff on this list. Pull out a few of these and watch as the entire family benefits. Trust.

Say the magic words. There are three little words that can make a world of difference, and every mom needs to hear them from time to time: "I'll make dinner." Alternately, the three-word combinations of "Let's order pizza" and "Let's have cereal" are just as powerful. Because sometimes when our figurative plates are full, the last thing we want to do is figure out how to fill those literal plates at dinnertime (especially when we're pretty sure our efforts will be met with wrinkled noses and whines of, "But we don't like fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-nutritious-meal-you've-worked-hard-to-concoct!").

Clean up after your damn self. We're not asking you to keep the house Martha Stewart-spotless. But here's a news flash about moms: even though we like a clean house, we don't actually enjoy cleaning it any more than you do. Additionally, we are not the only people in the house who are capable of keeping the place decent. So please, do us a solid. Wipe the seat off if you pee on it. Throw the wrappers/empty juice boxes/paper scraps in the trash can instead of stuffing them between the couch cushions or under your bed or just leaving them in the middle of the floor. Put your dishes in the dishwasher. Toss your dirty underwear in that clever invention we call a "clothes hamper." Or, if you really want to see Mom smile, get crazy and fold and put away a load of laundry! A little housekeeping help goes a long way.

Don't come a-knockin'. Seriously, when Mom is behind a closed door? KEEP. THE DOOR. SHUT. Doors were invented for a reason: to keep other people out. If we wanted to use a public restroom, we'd go poop at the gas station. Don't knock. It doesn't matter what we're doing in there. It doesn't matter how long we're going to be. Us closing the door is not a signal to ask questions or make complaints through the crack.

Stop the spur-of-the-moment invites. There are few things as annoying as unannounced company, so it would greatly benefit you to ask before inviting someone over. I think I can safely speak for all moms when I say it'd be nice to know in advance so we can, oh, put on a bra and perhaps something other than stretchy pants. Or clear the sink of last night's dishes. Or take care of the stuff we need to take care of WITHOUT the addition of someone else's kids. You might always be ready for company, but that doesn't necessarily mean Mom is, so run it by us first.

Be practically perfect (in public). We're proud of our families - after all, we've literally put blood, sweat, and tears into cultivating and tending to them. But if you really wanna get on Mom's good side? Make us proud in public. Use the manners and etiquette we've been pounding into your head gently teaching you since your infancy. Nothing validates our efforts, or makes us feel like better moms, than remarks from the general public about how well-behaved or polite our children are. And for our spouses? Be a team player. The odds of good public behavior are dramatically increased when both parents are involved in whatever family outing we're on - not glued to the phone, or walking ahead while we struggle with a stroller or a stubborn toddler.

Toss us some thank-yous. Motherhood is a thankless job. I mean, doing things for our families 24/7 is part of the job description, so we don't expect high praise all the time, but a little appreciation once in a while (and not just on Mother's Day when it's, like, an obligation) would be pretty sweet. Think about it: you have your own personal chef. Maid. Chauffeur. Nurse. Stylist. Psychologist. Teacher. We keep track of your appointments, applaud your successes, coach you through your failures, advocate for you, and match all your socks. We're on call every hour of every day, and let our own needs go unmet so yours can be not only fulfilled, but exceeded. So it'd be nice if, sometimes, you were like, "Hey Mom, thanks for the clean clothes/homework help/assistance in molding us into respectable citizens." Throw in a big hug and we'll be putty in your hands ... because, pssst - the more appreciated we feel, the more likely we are to keep up the good work.

... Just sayin'.


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