This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Rough Morning

It has been a rough morning here at Casa Caballero.  I woke up late (again) and that always means a lot of yelling and rushing which is bad enough in and of itself.  My kids do not seem to understand that "we're running late" means move faster, and I get frustrated.  Even more frustrated than having to get up at all makes me.

This morning, the oldest was really pushing my buttons.  First he comes downstairs in just a t-shirt and jeans.  It is currently 28 degrees outside.  I told him that he will need to go and put on a long sleeved shirt, which causes him to slump his shoulders and roll his eyes at me.  I continue to prod everyone along, calling out "25 minutes until the bus is here!" then "20 minutes!" and "15 minutes!" and I find him sitting in the floor in front of the space heater in the den.  The same kid that I just made go and change into long sleeves, is trying to get warm and just sitting there.  I can feel my temper rising....

Then there is the problem of breakfast.  We have no less than 6 different kinds of cereal, Eggos, Pop-Tarts, breakfast bars, and bagels. However, my 11 year old claims that there is nothing to eat and wants to just have a fruit cup.  As I was explaining to him that a fruit cup is not breakfast, and he is arguing that he'll just eat an orange, I hear the trash truck.  Great.  I missed it.  So now, with 10 minutes to go until they need to walk out the door, he is grumbling into his Cheerios and I am still providing the countdown as I try to get a brush through the 6 year old's hair and the 9 year old is rushing around looking for her library book.

Finally, I yell into the kitchen where he is sipping the milk out of his bowl like he is at a garden tea party without a care in the world that he has 4 minutes to get his teeth brushed, get his jacket & backpack and get out the door.  He gets up and slams his bowl into the sink, splashing milk everywhere and stomps upstairs to brush his teeth.  I am zipping the 6 year old into her jacket and yelling up the stairs to him that he is out of time and he comes slumping down the stairs at a pace that is just above standing still. 

He won't look at me.

The girls both give me hugs and kisses and head out the door towards the corner where the bus picks them up, and I say to the 11 year old "Hey, what is wrong with you this morning?"

He still won't look at me, but I can see his eyes turning red and welling up just a little bit and he says to the wall "Apparently I can't do anything right because I was trying to do what you said and you just kept yelling at me."

Dagger to my heart.  There is no time to address this because the bus is a block away, but I tell him that I love him and that we will talk about it when he gets home.

Sometimes, it is hard for me to remember that he is just 11.  He has been the oldest, my helper, the responsible one, for so long that I expect more of him.  But he is just a kid.  And he is a sensitive kid.  And I can be insensitive without meaning things the way that he takes them.

Yes, I was yelling all morning, but I was not intentionally yelling AT him.  At least not ONLY at him.  I was yelling because it is my nature to freak out and yell to get things done faster.  I yell out the time they have left to make them all move faster, I yell because they are in three different places in the house and I need them all to hear me, and I yell because I am, in general, a loud person. 

He isn't.  He is quiet, for the most part, like his dad.  And his dad often tells me to "quit yelling at him" when I don't realize that I am.   I am also sarcastic with my kids, and usually they love it and laugh, but running late at 6:30 am may not be the best time for me to look at my kid and say something like "Seriously?  A t-shirt?  It is 28 degrees outside and you are wearing a t-shirt? Go put on something with long sleeves." and then follow that with a shout out about how much time they have and that they need to hurry up. 

I will tell him all of this when he gets home.  I will try to explain that I was not mad, just frustrated.  I will point out how he contributed to that frustration, and I will apologize for my reactions to...well, to everything this morning because it was not his fault.  It was not his fault that "we" woke up late.  It was mine.  It was not his fault that the trash didn't get to the curb.  It was mine.  It was not his fault that I was yelling.  It was mine.

Hopefully, he will understand and he will forgive me. 

Probably, he will be over it by this afternoon and not want to talk about it because a heart-to-heart with your mom when you are an 11 year old boy is not something that you look forward to.

But it is definitely going to happen because even if he is over it by this afternoon, I won't be.  I need him to know that I love him and that I am sorry.  I want him to know that he is a good kid and that I am proud of him.  I can't just assume that he knows. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Don't Need Any More Moxie

First things first -- I have been nominated again for The Circle Of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms contest.  PLEASE go HERE and vote for me.  I am not expecting to win, but I'd LOVE to stay in the Top 25, and I'd be over the moon to do at least as well as I did last year (I think I was #9).  You can vote every day, once a day, and you can vote from your computer and your phone, you can pester your friends to vote, your family.....just sayin'. 

Now, if you follow me on Facebook, you may be aware of the drah-ma that happened last Friday night.  As a general rule, I don't have trolls on my page.  I don't post enough controversial stuff to warrant them showing their true nature I guess.  Last Friday though, I was worrying that I had lost my blogging mojo and before I knew it I was in the process of dealing with the oldest girl and her pranking her big brother so I was writing the post about all of it (that post is HERE).  I posted the following status on my Facebook page:
So here I was, worrying about how I had nothing -- NOTHING, I tell you -- worth blogging about, and as if on cue, my kid rocks her stupid immaturity and poor decision making skills like no one's business and BAM! Blog is writing itself!! Should be done sometime tonight, so look for it in the morning. :)
 If you follow me here, or on Facebook, then you should be able to see the sarcasm and cynicism dripping off of that status.  Unfortunately, not everyone could.  I received the following comment from a person named "Moxie" who will one day, no doubt be the PTA Mom of the Year:
I'm sorry, are you really talking about your kid that way?? Don't you realize that her decision skills are in direct relation to your parenting ability?? This is OUTSTANDINGLY, offensive, and sad to me. I'm a mom of a little girl, that will one day too soon start making some of those bad decisions, and I hope to DEATH, I never project my lack of positive reinforcement of my children on facebook, in front of the whole to see. I'm sorry for your kids.
This hit me like a smack across the face because I received the notification of this comment at the precise moment that I was writing about how my daughter and I had resolved the situation.  And because I had given no indication as to what the issue was, I took offense that she assumed that the bad decision was a reflection on MY parenting skills.  But that last line...."I'm sorry for your kids."  That one really got my ire up.  This is how I responded:
Wow. Are you new here? You don't know anything about me, my kids, or the situation because I haven't published the blog post yet. So let me enlighten you on a few things before you get all high & mighty on MY page:
 First off, I have 4 kids (all between 4 & 11) & the kid here is 9 years old so I expect her to make some bad decisions.
2nd of all, the bad decision that she made tonight has NOTHING to do with my parenting except for what happened afterwards when she & I resolved the issue (there will be details in the blog, but since you've already made up your mind that I'm a horrible parent, I doubt you'll read it).
Third, this is a HUMOR page. So perhaps you should read that status again & rethink your rush to judgement. If you still feel the same, feel free to hit the "unlike" button.
Fourth, I did not call my daughter stupid -- I said her immaturity was stupid. If you think immaturity is not stupid, then you obviously sprang from the womb as a responsible (& rather judgemental) adult.
Finally, do not compare yourself to me. Don't tell me that "you'd never" or that your kid is somehow better off or that you "feel sorry for my kids." Because frankly, you are not me. Your kid will have her own problems & you will no doubt cause some of them.
I am sure that the people who have been here a while understood this post & the spirit behind it. Perhaps they can explain it to you if you don't get it.
She apparently did not like that.  This was her response:
It's not a judgement I'm making. It's a fact. I'll ask you to spend some time thinking about the world before the facebooks, blog sites, or any other fast paced communication thing.. And the damage it caused knowing because we heard it, or heard about it when our parents discussed openly their disappointment in us.. How cutting and hurtful those words were.. How you would lay your head down at night feeling really awful about what you'd done, with a shred of hope that not the whole world knew. That is not the reality. In my previous comment, I had not judged you as a person, only as a parent, making a bad decision to broadcast their child's (9 years old) unfortunate decision to do something, sometime later that would be shared, not only with her Moms close friends, but any number of her 3000 plus fans that could be potentially viewing this. I will say, I can't say you are a bad parent, because, I really DON'T know. But as a parent, I feel like this is a sad way to deal with your confusion as to her decisions. And, if this is a humor page, as the page CLEARLY states, say something funny. And, let your daughter make mistakes without having the embarrassment of having however many people read it, without even her consent. Tell me when she laughs. Your page was disliked after reading your original comment. I don't waste time on people that throw their family under the bus for a cheap laugh.
I find it interesting that she says it wasn't a judgement, but then says that she had judged me to be a bad parent, then says that she doesn't know if I'm a bad parent....then she says something about my confusion at my kid's actions.  The only confussion I had was about what she was trying to say because she wasn't making much sense.  Rather than attacking her grammar and lack of cohesive thought, I posted this:
Buh-bye then. And further proof that you don't know what you're talking about: my daughter DOES know that I posted this. She DOES know that I am blogging about it. We DID talk about it. Because just like every immature decision she makes, there were lessons taught and tears shared. Lessons that I will share with my fans. And it will be funny to me one day, but it will be funny to my fans now. I don't need "fans" like you.
My kids know that I am a writer and that I write freelance and for this blog.  They know that any and every stupid, crazy, and unbelievable thing that they do has the potential for becoming a blog or a facebook post.  And I DID talk to my daughter about it.  I even let her read the post after I posted it.  So I take great offense at this person's attitude, insinuations, and accusations.  Several other people jumped to my defense, and we attempted (in vain) to point out to her that she was misunderstanding the post (and my page) and she continued to get nastier and nastier.  She made silly threats, accused all of these people coming to my defense of being my friends and making claims that the people who agree with her just weren't commenting (delusional much?)

For a while, it was sort of....well, fun.  I don't get people like that very often.  Most of my fans are awesome.  And they get me.  So this was new and different.  I admit that I perpetuated it a bit and it was a bit of an ego boost to see people coming to my defense.  I likened it to watching reality TV:
Moxie, I know that I should never "feed the trolls", but this is sort of like watching an episode of "Honey Boo-Boo" -- I know that what I am seeing is just chock-full of ignorance, but I just can't look away. I will no doubt end up dusting off the ban-hammer that I so rarely get to use since most all of the people here have a sense of humor. I may even report you to FB for making threats....
But it just went on and on and on and she just wouldn't stop. (To post the entire thread here would have made this longer than anyone wanted to read, so I just pulled a few of her comments and a few of mine).   And it was, by this time, nearly three in the morning.  So I posted one last thing and it must've worked because she did not come back:
You said that we were talking about children and these people all showed I was hosting a very public humor page and YOU showed up with your judgeyness. You are welcome to your opinion, it just doesn't mesh with anyone else's here. You are acting like we're trying to change your mind -- we're not. You said you unliked the page, why are you still here? I am past being amused by you and your comments.....
Luckily, she never responded.  I doubt that she will read this since I have so offended her with my horrible parenting skills, but I hope that you see what I do here. 

This isn't just about Moxie and her delusional ideas about how I should parent my kids.  This is about The Mommy Wars -- its about how your way is better or worse than my way and therefore I am better or worse than you.  It's about passing judgement on someone without knowing their story.  When I see a mom that is so apparently apathetic to what her kids are doing at the grocery store, I sympathize.  I've been there.  When I see a mom roll her eyes behind her kids' backs, I get it.  When I see a mom picking up fast-food for dinner I know it might be because she has worked all day or because it's a kid's birthday, or any number of reasons. When I see a mom who has to physically restrain her child from knocking things over or harming another kid, I wonder if there might be an ADHD or an Autism diagnosis to explain the behavior.  I do not automatically assume that this is the mom's "fault" when I see a kid act out.  I don't know their story.  But I do know A LOT of moms who all have different stories.  Because they are all different.  Because their kids are all different. And because their situations are all different.  So I have a hard time picking a side in The Mommy Wars.  I am on the moms' side. One of my favorite quotes is "There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good one."  To that I say, AMEN.  We are all facing this motherhood thing with different backgrounds, different kids, different circumstances, and we will all have different outcomes.  And we all rock.

I hope that one day Moxie realizes that, but if she doesn't, well... I think I have enough "moxie" for now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's Never Over

So it's Friday night, and I wanted to write a blog because I have been writing freelance stuff all week.  I started this afternoon.  I stared at the flashing cursor thingy (which was totally mocking me, by the way), and I thought "What is wrong with you?  You have written over 14,500 words this week on traumatic brain injury, premise liability, boating safety, and other legal issues.  That was new.  This is YOU.  THIS is your thing!  Write!" 

And still I had nothing.

Sure, I started a few things.  I would write a few words, or a couple of sentences -- I even managed a whole paragraph once -- but I always "backspaced" them away because, well, they sucked.  I was really getting discouraged.  I thought I had lost my blogging mojo. 

I went back and looked at some of my most popular posts and I realized that it wasn't me.  It was my kids.  They were growing up and they weren't doing the same stupid stuff that they used to do.  They weren't shredding the mattress cover or cutting each other's hair or coloring the walls.  My kids are acting more normal and depriving me of great blog material.  No wonder I had nothing. 

Then, as if on cue, the 9 year old proved me wrong.

She was having a friend to spend the night.  We were going to order pizza and watch movies by the fire.  I sent her 2 brothers over to my mom's to hang out until bedtime so they could have girl time (her little sister stayed).  I gave them a snack and I started to watch "Revenge" from last Sunday on the DVR, telling them that we'd order pizza in a half an hour or so.  They went upstairs and I heard giggling and laughing and all was well.

Or so I thought.

Skipping the commercials, it took me 40 minutes to finish my show.  I started upstairs to ask what kind of pizza they wanted, and was met on the stairs by my 9 year old. 

"Mom, I have to tell you something."
"We were pranking [her big brother] and....and...."(dissolves into tears).
"And what?"
"And I told her not to but she did it anyway."  (More tears)
"Okay.  Hold on.  Take a breath.  Start over."

This is the tale I was told:  My daughter and her friend wanted to "prank" her brother while he was gone.  It started fairly benign with molding clay on his light switch.  Then they decided to spray perfume all over his room.  Again, although incredibly smelly, also fairly benign and easily fixed.  If they had stopped here, we would have had a little scolding, and gone on with our evening of pizza and painted nails and Disney movies. 

But they didn't stop there.

They took his hair gel and squirted under his comforter and all over his sheets.  Sheets I had just washed.  Now it was getting annoying.  I was going to have to rewash his sheets and his comforter and I was going to have to figure out how to make his room smell like a boy again.

Then she told me that her friend had the idea to paint on his wall with glitter nail polish.  (I don't know why, we were not to the whys at this point, we were stuck on the "what-else-did-you-do").  So the friend got the glitter nail polish, even though my daughter told her not to do it.  She didn't come get me.  She took it into her brother's room and painted on the wall.  She still didn't come get me.  She didn't want to get her friend in trouble. 

So instead, she decided to try to fix it.

(SPOILER ALERT: She made it worse.)

My daughter is very artistic.  She received lots of art supplies for Christmas.  So she went into her room and got her acrylic paints and took them to her brother's room to try to paint over what her friend had done with the nail polish.  Now, to her credit, she expertly mixed about 6 different colors and matched her brother's wall color almost perfectly.  Not that it mattered, since her brother's room is painted with a satin finish, and she was using acrylics.  What did matter, was that in the process of all of this mixing, she got paint all over the carpet. 

THIS is when she decided it was time for her tearful confession. 

I turned to the little girl (whom I happen to like very much) and asked her if this was true and she said yes.

I made my daughter show me the damage.  I got some cleaning supplies and did what I could and I called her mom, my friend.  I relayed what had happened and we both agreed that they should come and get their daughter.  I told her (and her daughter) that I really liked her and was glad that she and my daughter were friends, but they had made a mistake tonight.  I also told her that I really hoped that she could come back another time, but that tonight they had abused the privilege of having a sleepover. 

Now don't get me wrong, I applaud my daughter for coming to me, even though it was a little late.  I let her know through the long discussions that we had tonight that I was proud of the fact that she told me but that I wish she had come to me sooner.  I let her know that there would be consequences beyond the end of the sleepover, and I talked to her about how I understood not wanting to get her friend in trouble. 

I explained that in the grand scheme of life, this was a very small thing; but that I wanted her to remember 3 very important lessons from it that would serve her well throughout life as the bigger things came up:  1) I want her to remember that she made a mistake.  She knew it was a mistake, but instead of confessing, she tired to cover it up and in the end it was a much bigger mess than she or I could handle.  I told her that if she remembered that, she could save herself a lot of trouble in the future.  2) I wanted her to remember that sometimes telling on a friend will keep them out of trouble.  If she had come to me and said "My friend wants to paint the wall with nail polish even though I told her it was a bad idea."  I could have kept all of this from happening and no one would have gotten in trouble.  3)  I told her that I loved her no matter what she did.  I told her that I would get angry at her and at what she does sometimes, but I would always love her no matter what.  We talked a long time.  She was very upset because she knew that she was wrong and because the evening had not turned out like she had planned at all.   She apologized to me, and in the morning she will apologize to her big brother.

I was going to wrap this up with a clever remark, but I am being verbally assaulted on my Facebook page right now and I cannot focus on being witty or clever.  The bottom line is, I realized that my kids still have loads of potential for future blog posts.  They may not be about how they are domestic terrorists who destroy the furniture or how they lock me out of the house so that they can have a butter and cheese picnic, but this is a parenting humor blog (for the most part) and I am a parent forever.  I will always find the humor in what they do and there will always be lessons learned. 

As for the verbal assault on my page, well, that is just more blog fodder for another day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yep. I'm Pathetic

Hey, y'all remember me?  Things have been INSANE here in Casa Caballero, and I have been neglecting my blog -- sorry!  Let's see.....what have y'all missed?  I had the flu, as did my husband and the 11 year old; the 9 year old had pneumonia, Christmas happened, oh yeah, and I got a job.  It's a freelance writing job, which means that I have finally achieved something that I have been working for -- being paid for my writing.  Unfortunately, it's not for writing MY stuff, but writing their stuff for them, but hey, a paycheck is a paycheck.  Not that I've actually been paid yet....but I'm not worried.  Yet.

This freelance thing sort of fell into my lap and stuff like that never happens to me.  Normally, the things that fall into my lap are being put in charge of a class party 3 days before it is supposed to take place.  So I am obsessing.  I want to do a good job, and I want to make sure that I am not rushing to meet deadlines.  Friday, they sent me 7 topics to work on.  I finished them all this weekend (plus the one that they had given me earlier in the week) because I was afraid that something would happen with the kids and I wouldn't have a chance later this week.  So last night around 9 PM I sent them all off to be reviewed. 

Now I am methodically refreshing my inbox to see if they have responded.  I am certain that they have other stuff to do besides read the pieces I wrote.  At least, I know that LOGICALLY. 

However, when left to my own devices, I am rarely logical.  So I am illogically obsessing over it.  In addition to refreshing my email to see if they've responded, I've also re-read every single word that I sent them at least 10 times.  I found some stuff that I want to change, but I am afraid to change anything until I hear back from them.  What if they really liked that part?  Then I start worrying that I haven't heard from them because this was the first full assignment that they sent me and they hated it and don't know how to tell me.  Sigh.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am a grown woman and that I should not be this anxious about anything.  But still....what if they hate it all and I wrote those nearly 5,000 words for nothing?  It bothers me....I'm pathetic.

I must now go and refresh my inbox again......