Thursday, December 20, 2012

How does your last year look?

Last night I was having dinner with a friend and we were reflecting on our past year.  She mentioned that she wasn’t really in the holiday mood and was pretty much looking forward to 2012 being over.   She told me that she started off last year dating a new guy, moving into a new apartment and excited about her job.  But she is ending the year not dating anyone, frustrated at her noisy neighbors and overworked and underpaid at her job.   When you look at your life in such a way as that I guess she had a point.
Which led me to think about my past year…(if this were a sitcom I would insert some music and make the screen fuzzy to insinuate time travel)….
At this time last year I was starting a new job that WAY underpaid me (but it was a job so I took it!), living with my son at my parents’ house, driving a car that didn’t belong to me (thanks Mom and Dad!) and probably not dating anyone (Ok, sorry about  not know this last fact, but I truly don’t remember my relationship status, which leads me to believe no one of value was in my life at the time).
So here I am in a job that pays well (thank you holiday bonus!), driving a new car I pay for, living in a house I rent and still not dating anyone of mention… If you compare apples to apples, or oranges to oranges, or whatever the heck you want to compare my past year was pretty good!
But I digress… while discussing our success and/or failure of 2012 my friend and I came up with as Oprah would say an “AHA! Moment.”   Basically I think you can determine your attitude about yourself and your past year if you measure it against a goal.  Last year about this time my only goals were to pay my bills and not fight with my mom over turning lights on and off in the house – she is a consistent “Turn the lights off” person and I tend to be a “leave a light on for someone” person.  As you may imagine our lighting philosophies tended to lead to some royal battles.   So I started this year with reasonably attainable goals.  Once I started accomplishing these little goals I was able to really start enjoying my year; new job!  New friends! New travels! New dates! A few bad dates! (Ok, they get explanation points too because, let’s be real, my dating life is HILARIOUS at times) and on and on my list went with new things.
I decided last night that my goal in life (at this moment) is to be a good mom.  Really, simply, that is it.  I have a job that allows me to put my Little Man first.  I have friends who know my son is my priority and I only will date people who understand that as well.  Sure, my long term goals will be to retire wealthy, buy a beach house and travel to Europe.  Of course my professional goals are to get promoted, be recognized as a leader and contribute to our society.  However, for 2013 my one simple goal is to be a good mom and I am happy to say that I am 100% committed to the task. 

As for my friend?   I am not yet sure what her 2013 goals are but I may suggest finding a new place to live as her neighbors really are noisy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I guess moms can be embarrassing too.

 I have always been the type of mom who makes sure my Little Man is dressed nicely, is polite and well behaved.  Since I am a single mom who works full time my Little Man often tags along with me to work events and community projects I am a part of.  I’ve always stressed manners and have taught him to make good impressions on people (I mean really, I don’t want to be the lady with the kid who looks like a hobo and has runs around like a crazy kid!) 
Apparently over this last week my son has noticed that having his mom around is not the coolest thing.
Exhibit 1: I pick him up at the school office.  Little Man comes down to the office and the secretary, teacher and other moms all talk about how “cute” and “adorable” my Little Man is.  They go on and on about his blue eyes, his smile and his manners.  Of course as a Mom I eat this up. Little Man just stares at me giving me the stink eye.
Exhibit 2:  I take Little Man with me to the office holiday BBQ.  My coworker brought his boys so Little Man is happily swimming and playing with the other kids.  It was getting time to leave and I noticed that my Little Man had HUGE grass stains on his pants.  “Little Man” I yell, “Come over here” I then proceed to tell him that we are going to his Pop Pop’s Holiday Party and he can’t be dirty.  He looks at me, gives me the eye and whispers “Can’t you just call him Granddad?”  His attitude was like a little gangster who just got called out in front of his crew- he was so frustrated with me for using “baby” words and pointing out his good clothes got dirty.  Oops!
Exhibit 3:  We have a few high school and college boys who live on our street.  Little Man likes to play catch with them when they are home on break.  The other night he got all dressed and ready to play, but unfortunately the boys had to go inside.  Not to let my Little Man be disappointed, I volunteered to play catch.  (Side note: One random thing I can do pretty well is throw a football.)  So there we are,  out in the front of the house tossing the ball and I am coaching my Little Man on the best way to throw a spiral.  “Straight like this,” and “stop throwing high, just aim here.”  Little Man kept looking behind him and over his shoulder, glancing up the street.  I couldn’t figure out what his deal was.  Then I heard it “I can’t believe I’m learning football from a girl!” 
Duh! My Little Man was embarrassed that his Mom was playing with him AND was good at it.
Well Little Man, lesson learned for both of us.  I will do my best to stop being embarrassing and you do your best to keep hanging out with me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Baby Got Back

Maybe my OCD when it comes to having things correct is getting a bit out of control?
I have blogged before about my addiction to proper grammar, so I won’t bore you with that rant.  However I have come to realize that I am pretty much made up of the attitude “if you are going to do something, do it right.”  Seems like a good thing to insist on as a mom, employer, friend, etc.  However I think I have taken my belief a little too far.
First of all, I am stickler for doing homework properly.  In my house this means neat handwriting, full sentences with complete thoughts and taking your time to understand your work.  My Little Man HATES doing homework with me.  He prefers to slide it by his Nanny who happily ok’s his work and gives him hugs and snacks, or my Dad who is usually a bit distracted and trusts that he has gotten it all correct.  I want my son to be learning something, but I also don’t want the teacher who corrects his work to think I’m one of those parents who is too busy to care about his education. I mean, I don’t pick him up from school, I don’t volunteer in the classroom, and I barely pack his lunch.  The least I could do is send him to school with a good round of well thought out completed homework.
The second area of life where I have accidentally over influenced my Little Man is on his outfits.  I just don’t deal well with kids that don’t match.  (Yes, I know all of you parents out there that it is GOOD to let your kid express himself through choosing his own clothes, and yes I know I am probably stifling my son’s creativity.) However, watching my son walk around in two forms of camoflauge paired with stripes and argyle socks stifles my sanity and I am not going to put up with it.  I happily provide my son with plenty of outfit choices and I always buy things in a set so that he can see what matches with what.  I supply basketball shoes for basketball attire, sneakers for the athletic look, boots for skinny jeans and deck shoes for the casual weekend.  Yes, I may go a little overboard with my son’s wardrobe, and yes I did just have to buy him a new dresser to hold his gear.  But, my OCD self is much happier toting around a color coordinated appropriately dressed kid.
This past weekend I realized that my desire to have everything “right” has probably crossed the line.   I found myself teaching my son the words to “Baby Got Back.”  Somehow my Little Man heard parts of the song.  I still am trying to figure out how this song got played in 2012 when it was popular in 1998 but I digress…  I hear my son singing some words like “I like big butts and I lie”.  Oh stop right there! If you are going to sing a song, sing it right Little Man.  “No baby” I tell him, its “I like big butts and I cannot lie” and I go on singing the words.  First, he is super impressed that his Mom knows all of the words (ok, one talent I have his memorizing cheesy rap songs).  Second, he tries to follow along.  “When a girl walks up with a circle thing in your face you go crazy!” he sings.   “No baby the words are…” and I continue. 
Then I realize that not only am I teaching my son inappropriate lyrcis, I am teaching him in public, on a crowded street and other people can hear me.  Ok, I think to myself, I have officially taken my control of all things to make them correct to a whole new level.  I must stop and let go, and I am choosing to do it with “Baby got Back.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I swear I didn't plan this blog.

I’m a planner. I admit it.  If there were a planning addiction group I would join it.  Then I would plan on becoming it's President.
I plan random things.  I never was one to plan really big picture things.  I never planned where I wanted to go to college.  My parents suggested a few places, I got in, and I went.  But I did plan every last detail of what I would pack, what my room would look like and how I would make new friends.  I was never one of those girls who had their wedding, kids, job after college planned out.  I planned a road trip to D.C.  met a guy, got married then pregnant on our honeymoon (Let me tell you NO ONE plans to do that!).  I then planned the nursery, our house furniture and my labor and delivery schedule. 
I like to plan. I find it comforting to know ahead of time what to expect.    I plan my outfits, my hair styles, and I always plan on being on time (ok, I’m a bit OCD I tend to plan to be early).  You would think all of my planning would make my life an organized peaceful existence.
Until you’re planning involves others!
My family learned years and years ago to sort of ignore my planning.  I call it planning; they may call it slightly overexagerated expectations of others – Tomato/Tomata. Once I planned a wonderful warm Thanksgiving dinner, with pressed cloth napkins, place cards and classical music in the background.  I got a Crazy-Ass Family Turkey Day complete with party crashers, tears over the Turducken (Turkey/Duck/Chicken) and three types of sweet potato casseroles. DEFINTELY NOT in my plan.
I planned my son’s nursery and existence to match mine.  I had a huge fear that my house would be the type of house you walk into and because of its red, blue and yellow Duplex boxes combined with playschool power wheels the house would scream “A KID LIVES HERE”.  I promised myself my son was coming into my life and I would maintain our adult existence. For the first 8 months of my son’s life he was only allowed toys that were green, khaki or white. I planned the color scheme to coordinate with my furniture and other d├ęcor.  His burp cloths, blankets, floor mats all nicely matched my throw pillows and sconces.  Life was color coordinated peace.  Until he learned to walk and needed things with wheels and sounds, and apparently things with colors are GOOD for children.  Needless to say my plan went out the window.
My planning prowess has reached a new challenge, that of the world of dating as an adult.  Typically my plans for an evening out revolve around me, my schedule and my commitments.  Enter in a grown man with a job, maybe a kid, maybe a hobby and my planning gets all out of whack!  As I get older (maybe more mature) I find myself wanting to date guys with grown-up jobs, you know the guys – those that have responsibility, maybe a few people working for them, budgets, meetings, so on.  These guys are interesting, can have an actual conversation and have a lot of potential.  Know what the downfall of this guy is ??? 
His plan doesn’t always conform to my plan.
Total challenge for this self-declared President of the Planners Addiction Club.  What do you mean you will be late to drinks because you have a crisis at work?  Or, you can’t take my random call in the middle of the day because I want to plan what we are having for dinner?   And so it goes more and more interruptions to my planning perfection.
Just this morning I was talking to someone about his plans for the day.  I asked typical planning questions like, “what time are your friends coming over?” and “how long are they staying?”   His answer, “I don’t know.”  I suggested he didn’t pay too much attention to details in his life.  He replied “I let life happen.”
It hit me. 
Maybe all of the times I spend trying to plan the small details of my life I should relax and let some of life just happen?

Good idea.  I will get right on it, I will just have to plan to add “letting life happen” to my schedule!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I love you baby, but please roll over….

Being a working mom is busy, being a working single mom is rough, being a working single mom when every last one of your babysitters is out of town and you have a HUGE deadline and a sick kid is just plain miserable.
I am always the first to say that I am thankful for a great job with a flexible schedule.  I have amazing parents who are good babysitters and I have a village of friends who help out in a pinch.  What is that old saying, “when it rains it pours?”  Yep, it was pouring germs in my house all week and weekend.
My Little Man came home from spending Thanksgiving with his Dad with an awful cough.  Because I missed my baby so much I let him stay home from school to recover (I shuttled him between grandparents and babysitters and took a turn at home with him for a few hours on Thursday).   I was able to get a few meetings and phone calls in, loaded him up with Nyquil and planned on a day of meetings for Friday.
Friday came and the cough was worse, I emailed the office and declared I was working from home. Loaded my baby up on some cough medicine, Tylenol and Disney movies and even did a few rounds of laundry.
By Saturday my Little Man was still coughing and we hit the Doctor’s office, where they immediately sent us to the Hospital for X-rays.  My Little Man came down with a case of Pneumonia.   What!?!   We stopped at the pharmacy for his medicines and I loaded up on every variety of Lysol and Bleach I could find.
I gave him a dose (ok, two doses of his meds) tucked him in, and went to work.  No, I didn’t go back to replying to emails or checking phone messages – I started disinfecting. Every surface, vent, pillowcase, dish, nook and cranny got scrubbed, bleached, sprayed and sanitized.
Mommy has a big week ahead and I am taking no chances!  
True confession – I am not afraid of germ.   I am afraid of coming down with the flu or a virus and not having my mommy or someone to take care of me and my Little Man.
What is worse than being sick?  Being a sick mom! 
Seriously, do you realize how bad it is when the Mom has the fever or a stomach virus?  Moms don’t get to stop their jobs and remote in.  I still will have to make lunch, help with homework and bath time, sign permission slips and walk the dogs.  Someone still has to drive carpool, clean the dishes, pay the bills and remember what uniform day it is at school.  So needless to say, my biggest fear is being sick when my village is on vacation.
 Crap, crap, crap!  My Village is in California for the week!
When my Little Man is sick, he gets all cuddly and wants to be hugged and snuggled.  He’s cute. I don’t mind.  But when he has GERMS with a big G like Pneumonia I spend my time balancing his hugs and avoiding his kisses.  I mean I love my kid, but my week is way too packed to get sick today.  I successfully avoid him during the days and take an entire bottle of Vitamin C to create my force field.
I happily go to bed early and am in a deep sleep, when all of a sudden I feel something breathing on my face… Uh oh! GERMS!  (I can’t scream or yell, I mean he is only 7 and has no idea what he is doing spreading his big G GERMS all over me)
I gently pat his back, tell him to roll over, and spray his pillow and mine with Lysol.
T Minus 5 days until my village returns.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A little hearing can go a long way

“Mom I can’t hear."  
What?!?!?  Not this again.  

When my Little Man was 3 we realized that he was pretty much deaf.  He was toddling through life reading lips.  You know when a little kid gets on your lap, grabs your cheeks and looks you in the eye and you think, isn’t that cute he loves me?  Well, my baby boy was doing that all of the time and I just sat there thinking he loved me so much.  Turns out, he couldn’t hear and was doing that to read my lips.  (Insert tear and heartbreak here)
Fast forward a few years, a few ear surgeries and a lot of Dr. appointments later and I think we are all in the clear.  Then I come home to “I can’t hear."
Crap, Crap and double Crap! 
I immediately go into super mommy mode.  I call the surgeon and insist on the very next appointment.  I call the pediatrician and book a backup appointment; I rearrange my work schedule and get Little Man out school in time for the appointment. 
Yep, ears are blocked, partly infected, partly gooey buildup and a whole lot of who knows what?  The Dr. was able to get the left ear clear and gave us meds for the right.  Little Man is now seemingly back to normal (or as normal as you can be on 50% hearing) and we proceed through our days – me being Supermom and him being Awesomekid!
Until he becomes the pitcher at the baseball game.  We are at the fields, I’m in the bleachers sporting my mommy gear talking to the baseball mommies, Little Man enters the field and takes the pitcher’s mound.   Not to brag, but my Little Man is a good baseball player, like naturally good, he can basically catch anything thrown at him and has really great hand/eye coordination.  I look at him and he is so excited to be playing Pitcher.
Then it happened… the first ball gets hit right at him and he can’t find it.  Next ball, hit towards him and it goes under his legs, then the next he catches but misthrows to first, and on and on.  It was like watching a person who had never played ball before.  I started shrinking down and trying to hide between the mommies.  The coaches were yelling, the dads were yelling, heck even the kids were yelling!  No matter what was hit towards him, he just couldn’t get the ball. 
Then I overhear a mommy from the 2nd row bleacher “I don’t think that kid can hear” she says.
Oh CRAP!  That is right!  They put this big helmet over my little guy’s head to protect him from the balls, but it also must be blocking out all of the sound. I forgot to tell the coach that my Little Man was only playing with about 50% hearing.  I now shrink even further down into the cold bleachers.  How did SuperMom overlook the one thing I had been focused on all week?!?!?!
Somehow we made it out of the inning and my Little Man got relieved as pitcher.  He had a great rest of the game and the team won.
When I asked him about being pitcher, he told me it was “Awesome!”   I’m glad to see that my Little Man didn’t let all of the yelling from the fans and the coaches get to him. 
Wait, who am I kidding?  He couldn’t HEAR them!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hamsters, Dogs and Frogs

“Mom I need a hamster” my little says as he sits down next to me.  “Buddy, you have a dog.  We aren’t getting any more animals” I remind him. “Yes, but Mom, my dog doesn’t DO anything” he says back.  Cliffy, our 9 year old half St. Bernard half Mastiff is basically a lazy lap dog trapped in the body of giant puppy. 
“Watch this mom” my little guy tosses the tennis ball in Cliffy’s direction and all Cliffy does is raise one eyebrow in a look that might as well say “You think I’m getting up to chase that thing?!!?!”. 
“See Mom!  My dog doesn’t DO anything” my little man huffs.
Good point, little man. I do realize that we have the laziest dog on the planet and he isn’t much for a game of fetch but I refuse to allow a hamster into my home.  Sure they are all cute and cuddly at first but in reality it is a rodent and I say NO WAY to rodents.
“Buddy, you have two frogs” I remind him.  (Side note: Thanks to my crazy sister I am now the very much stressed out owner of two African Water Frogs.  My sister thought they were the cutest Christmas present ever and just had to gift them to my little man.  Well, two years later I am still worrying about Max and Ruby, our water frogs.  Know what is harder than finding a dog sitter? Finding a FROG Sitter – I digress)
“Yes, but Mom I really want a hamster, something I can play with and love and teach tricks to.” My son is nothing if not persistent. 
“Little Man, you can play with Gogo and PopPop’s dogs when you want” I try the distraction method.
“No Mom, I really want my very own pet to play with.” “Little Man, you are just going to have to wait until you are older for me to get you a live animal to play with” I think the discussion is over.
A few minutes of thinking later, my little man comes back… “Fine Mom, I will get a fish.”  
“Buddy, how the heck are you going to play with a fish?” I ask. 
“Well, it blows bubbles and I can watch it.”
If life were only that easy…

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Les Miles, Testicles and One Baby

One day a few years ago my ex-husband arrived at the YMCA to coach our son’s Tee Ball Team.  Most people would think “Oh, that is so sweet”  Nope.  He arrived wearing a bright purple LSU T-shirt with big YELLOW Letters stating “Got Lesticles?”  Umm.. Ok, for one I get the pun, Les Miles, Testicles, Lesticles as in relation to the daring plays the LSU coach calls. However nowhere in America is it ever ok to walk around wearing a shirt like that.  I mean, really?  Who wears that?! And moreover, who wears that to the YMCA Tee ball game?  Needless to say, I asked  him not to wear the shirt anymore.
 Fast forward a few more years to my house last week.  My little man is sitting on the toilet doing his thing, and for some reason likes to keep the door open and have conversations with whoever may be in ear shot. 
“Mom” I hear him say.  “What are these things called again?”  Oh no! I think, what in the world can he be talking about?  The mind of a 7 year old is always an adventure.   
“What things buddy?” I ask him.  “These things, they are testicles right?” 
 “Yes, that’s what they are” I yell from the other room.  “But what do they do?” he asks. 
 CRAP! Why can’t he have these conversations at his dad’s house?  “Um, Buddy they are for when you want to have a baby” I reply.  “But, I have two of them?” he asks.  “Yep, you should have two” I reply.  “But, what if I only want one baby?  I don’t need both of them right?”  “Umm, guess not buddy” I reply. 
 OH BOY! I am NOT ready for the birds and the bees talk yet.
 A few hours later we are sitting around the dinner table with my Mom and Dad.  My Mom loves me and really loves my little man, but every now and then she will question my parenting style, and in my defense my little man doesn’t do much to help my rep out.  For instance my little man loves to take off his clothes and shock my mom, usually he accompanies his nakedness with a song or a little dance – something that will certainly gain a few laughs from the crowd and deep stares from my Mom.  Or he will take on a new accent and style of dress, most popular but also most frustrating for my mom is when Sam gets all ‘ghetto’ on her and turns his head in just a certain way and pulls his pants just far enough down for some sag. 
So, here we are at dinner, enjoying a nice meal when my little man decides to be funny.  He tilts his hat, rolls up his sleeves, and pulls his pants low (Think Bieber at the AMA’s) stands up at the table, throws some sort of gang sign and decides in his most ghettorific voice to ask my mom if she has “Lesticles”.
Really?! Crap!  How the H.E. L. L. did my little man learn about “Lesticles”? 
That shirt was banned from my existence three years ago!  Moreover, why did he decide to bust a move at the dinner table and challenge my Mom to a duel of Lesticles?   He’s all poofed up and proud of himself with his new word and tough guy persona and my mom just sat there giving me the eye.
Let’s just say that I had Sam sit down, poured myself a large glass of wine and prayed he would ask his father about the birds and the bees.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The other day I was asked by one of our students to appear in his student film.  I must say I was pretty flattered. 
He must have seen me in some public speaking role, or maybe he overheard me give a tour or a presentation? Or just maybe he was impressed with quick wit and personality?
Like any professional actress would, I asked him what my role was going to be (Visions of Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels or Reese Witherspoon in one of her romantic comedies flipped through my mind).
“Drunken Middle Aged Mom” was his response….
“Um, I’m pretty busy these days” was my only response that didn’t include tears or shock. 
I may be a mom, and I may like my wine, but I refuse to be type cast as Middle Aged!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No women really like showers.

Truth: No women really like showers. 
No, I am not talking about hot steamy with your man showers, we ALL like those. And I am not talking about the daily ritual of cleaning yourself showers, we all need those.  I’m speaking about the kind you have in the middle of a perfectly decent Saturday afternoon, they usually follow the words “baby” or “wedding”.  Dear Lord, all women DREAD those showers.
I have to be honest, well it is my blog, and honesty IS my policy, but I hate showers!  I have planned them, attended them and even been the guest of honor at them.  I still just can’t get excited about them. 

First of all, I have no idea why men aren’t invited and properly guilted into attending?  Why is it assumed that women are the only ones that want to spend their day with their friend, watching her open presents, discussing the intricate details of either the wedding cake or the best breast pump? I am sure some men would love to sit around and chat it up about things like colors for the flowers and whether the new parents should use a diaper genie or cloth diapers.
The second thing I don’t really get about showers is why the planners insist on them being at the most awkward time in the middle of the weekend?  Don’t we all have busy lives and save up all of our errands and family things for Saturday or Sunday?  Where was it written that showers must be in the middle of the day and last for hours?  Why don’t we have a happy hour shower?  Or a dinner party shower? 
Lately I have noticed (thanks to Facebook) that people are going all over the top crazy with their shower themes.  It used to be that you got a little card in the mail with the fill in the blank…
“Let’s all shower with love:_________.  On_____ at ____.  ____ is registered at_____”  easy invite. 
Not much fuss.  You knew the decorations were probably going to be either white for a wedding and pink or blue for a baby.   I blame Pinterest for the invasion of shower party planner craziness.  Now invites arrive in handmade boxes with ribbons, guests are encouraged to dress a part, and everything is themed and matched just perfectly for the special day.   As a party planning fan, I am all in favor of creativity and a good theme.  I am just a bit scared to see what the first birthday party will be like if the baby shower is already over the top!
Finally, my last reason I don’t care for showers is the whole “watch the person open the present thing”.  It is awkward.  No matter what end you are participating in it is weird.  When my family and friends threw me a surprise baby shower I was so grateful for the wonderful people who came to wish us well with the new baby.  But, the hard part was feigning excitement when you are opening your 30th box of new born diapers, or getting hand washable nipple guards. (Yes, they exist)  More uncomfortable is being the gift giver and sitting patiently through the bride or new mom opening one present after the other, reading the card out loud, passing it around and the oooing and aweing over each little sock, picture frame and teething ring. 
I am not going to put down all showers.  Sometimes they are great way to catch up with old friends and family you only see on the shower/wedding/funeral circuit.  Also they can be great learning environments - you never know when someone may need you to make a wedding gown out of toilet paper or a bouquet out of old ribbons!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sisters For Life

The other night I stopped by my old Sorority house while I was in town on business.  I wanted to see the renovations and get a quick glimpse at what has been happening at the house, it has been 15 years since I pledged.  I didn’t realize the girls were having a meeting and getting ready for recruitment of their new class of sisters.  I was invited to impart some quick words of wisdom on the girls.

I walked into the room and sat in the back, trying to blend (but, really who am I kidding?! I’m 33 and wearing business clothes, they are 19 and 20 and wearing cute tanks – but I digress).   I sat in the back and took in the room.  I saw beautiful faces paying attention to the girl who, I am assuming, is a graduating senior.  I saw a few girls whispering to each other and few more exchanges silly faces.  All in all I saw the faces of my sisters.  The girl who was standing was reading a story about sisterhood and what it meant to her.   Eerily (or maybe because I’m emotional) this girl looked JUST like Emily who read a very similar story when I was rushing.  They could have been twins! (Ok, maybe not, but the story, the room, the memories, it brought me right back to listening to Emily’s story and her reading a Maya Angelou poem in the formal in 1997).

Filled with lots of memories and even more emotion, it was my turn to speak to the girls.  No pressure right!?
I started by giving them a pep talk about how unique they are.  I encouraged them to spend the next week finding out what makes their house different compared to all of the other houses on campus.  Every sorority has a formal, hay ride and cute dates at the date functions.  I urged the girls to figure out what makes their sisterhood unique.  To seek new members that fit the sisterhood, not the events.  My brain quickly turned to lazy Sunday mornings sitting in the TV room surrounded by sisters debating which one of us was going to have to drive to Publix to pick up the sub order.  These days my Sundays are generally spent sipping coffee, watching morning TV and checking Facebook to see where my sisters are and what they are up to on their Sunday with their families.   My emotional self then turned to memories of getting ready for a night out, of fighting for a spot in front of the Hall Mirror and borrowing the curling iron, flat iron and even at times the crimping iron.  Silly as it sounds; I told the girls how much I missed those nights getting ready with 40 or so other girls. 
The girl who spoke before me talked about how she just knew her sisters were going to be there for her forever – she referenced her graduation and her wedding.  Yes sister, they will be there for your wedding.  But more than being a bridesmaid your sisters will be there for when you lose your first job and are afraid to tell your parents, when you have your first fight with your mother in law and you have no idea how to tell your husband, when you decide that your boyfriend, roommate, job, family, kids, and friends are all too much and you just can’t take it anymore – your sisters will be there for you in those times when you are growing up, grieving, and just plain dealing with life.

My colleagues once asked me why I stay in touch so much with my sorority sisters?  My answer was – they are the people who I can be me around.  Just me.  No explaining, no pretending, no makeup, no brand names, no titles and no meetings.   Sisters are the people in your life who met you, loved you and continue to love you no matter what. 
I didn’t have the time to explain all of this to the girls last night.  Honestly, I didn’t want to burst their bubbles.  They are full of hopes and dreams and to them the most important times ahead are formal and hayride and even a wedding.  I trust that they will pick the most amazing sisters to join their chapter this year, and I know that they will have the most spectacular school year ahead.
More importantly, I know that when they come back 15 years after they pledge they will have the best sisters and friends a girl could ever ask for.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's only a week....

This week starts a new challenge for me.
No, I’m not restarting my 90 day challenge nor am I training for a new race, nor did I decide to take on any extreme sports….  I am becoming a ‘One Week On, One Week Off Parent’.  
For the past five years I have put up the argument that my little man needs to be with his Mommy as much as possible.  Sure, he can see his Dad whenever he wants, and yes I encourage long weeks away on family vacations with the “other family.”  But all in all, I knew that I had my little man at home with me most of the time.  I was content, my little man with me and all was right in the world.
Then it hit me!  My little man is growing up.  He has friends and not all of his friends live in my neighborhood.  He has sisters – you guessed it, they live at his Dad’s house.  He has toys and games and bikes and an entire little life and I am not part of it. 
I asked my little man his thoughts on going to his Dad’s for one week and my house for one week?   His response was something like this: “Mom, why are we STILL talking about this? I told Dad this so many times. I am o.k. with staying for a week.  I would like it.  Plus, really Mom, it’s just a week.”
Ok, little Dude, I hear you.  It really is ‘just a week’.   I can try to do this.
So, after much deliberation, a few long talks with girlfriends and other single parents and a few sad thoughts, I gave in.  I am going to try this out and see how it goes.   I packed up not one, but three bags of stuff for my little man – baseball gear, baseball uniforms for a week, swim gear, ear meds, summer homework, summer reading lists, school supply list and directions a mile long on all the ins and outs of having my little man for a week.
My little man was set and I was mentally prepared for my one week "off".    I dropped him off and unloaded his luggage while his step mom looked at me with crazed eyes and an overwhelmed expression.  Apparently, in all of the debating and fighting back and forth about our one week on/off program, my ex -husband forgot to mention to his wife that our little man will be with them for a week!  She will now be handling the camp drop off, the lunches, the pick-up and the homework, meals and all the other fun of having three kids at home for the summer.
I quickly hugged and kissed my little man and ran out of the house as fast as I could.  I swear I could see the steam coming off the step mommy and I was not about to be a part of that conversation.  I will be happily enjoying my “off week” and I might suggest to Super Step Mommy to repeat as I do  - “it’s only a week, it’s only a week, it’s only a week….”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pin what?

I admit it – I don’t like Pinterest.
Ok, I said it.   Don’t judge me.

Let’s just say that I can’t keep up with the Pinterest Peer Pressure.  You know the pressure… you surf online, see your friends pinning things to their little personalized Pinterest boards.  You ooh and ahh over the uber cute cupcakes and the super fun peg boards they are going to make out of wine corks.   You wonder if their dinner that they pinned on their board actually turns out as good as it looks in the picture.   You imagine that they made their origami pinwheels while wearing the sassy new heels they pinned while sipping on their tropical drink that was pinned to their vacation board.
I’m sorry friends; I don’t care what your imagination holds.  I love you all, I do.  I hope that you all have houses that look exactly like the new house pin board you created and that your babies’ nursery turns out exactly like you pinned it to be.   But really, I can’t keep watching you Pin.
However, I can’t keep up.  I admit it.  I don’t have time to Pin (ok, well, I have time to Pin, but I have a job that doesn’t exactly allow me unlimited pinning).  I also have realized after reading every issue of Martha Stewart Magazine that I am not Martha.  Nope.  I burn myself every time I get within five feet of a glue gun and they have revoked my membership card at Michael’s Craft store.  I am not artsy or crafty.  I tried my hand at bedazzling once (Read past blog entry) and I really should just leave the crafts to crafters.
I see some of my friends Pin things that they want to purchase.  I get it – it is kind of like making a shopping list, but in public, for you, your friends and thousands of others to view, and without any coupons… That’s where you lose me Pinterest.  I might be all for using your service if you included a link to the online store, or maybe even a discount coupon.  But, really, just pinning a picture?  I’d rather get the catalog and at least be able to tear of the picture and tape it to my fridge, and then I could use it as a reminder of what bathing suit I’m trying to fit in.
I think Pinterest is leading its users to create unrealistic expectations.  Pinners (or whatever you call people who Pin) start pinning the most perfect image of whatever they look at.  For instance, my friend is planning a nursery.  She is pinning everything that is white and spotless and organized, every lotion has a cap on it, every toy is in a bin and there is no diaper pail in site.  Do you know how disappointed she will be when she realizes what a working nursery actually looks like?  – baby poo stains on everything, Crayola marks on walls and furniture, toys everywhere except in the extra cute monogrammed book box, and laundry haphazardly placed.  I’m not setting her up for failure – just a dose of reality.
Next I have friends who are pinning all kinds of awesome birthday party ideas.  Like being a parent and throwing the required kid birthday party isn’t stressful enough?  Now us Mommies can surf online and find the most perfect party ideas, share them with our friends and try to mimic the photo.   Really moms? Are you all crazy?  Why in the world would you post a picture of what you are expecting the party to look like?  That is just nuts! I’m all about surprising the guest.  Especially after I baked a Baby Einstein Caterpillar cake for my Little Man’s First Birthday, (homemade, green icing, lots of circles to the caterpillar) it was pretty awesome.  I went to the store and came home to a cake mess.   The dog had decided to be the taste tester and ate the darn thing!  So, thank the lord there was no Pinterest then.   I would have felt so much pressure to fulfill my Pinterest Picture Perfect Party.  Instead, I called Publix and convinced them they could make a Baby Einstein cake on a rush.  Emergency averted, no one was the wiser.
So friends, may I suggest making your life a bit easier? Less peer pressured and stress free… Stay off Pinterest!  Just cruise the internet like any normal internet viewer and get some good ideas.  Print some pictures off the net and move on.  Realize that no one’s house is as pretty as it is on Pinterest, and that no normal Mom can actually make every single item at their kid’s birthday party.  Just relax, enjoy the ride and call Publix when you need a cake.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We survived!

Last night I helped celebrate my friend’s little boy’s eighth birthday.  While we were checking in at Chuck E Cheese and ordering the requisite pizza and tokens, the cashier smiled at us and gave us the ‘single mom’s discount’.  (In all honesty, it was just a few extra tokens and three large soda cups) but we were excited that he recognized the fact that we were there, pulling off a birthday party for our little men and no daddy’s were around.
Author's note:  This is NOT a man bashing column today –more of a celebration of being a strong mommy. 
My friend lost her husband suddenly a few years ago. It was tragic. She was left with a little boy and a pre-teen girl and a lot of stress and uncertainty.  How the heck does one recover from losing the love of their life?  A bit after that my other friend ended up going through a very traumatic divorce and was struggling to hold it together for her little boys.  Meanwhile, I was sifting my way through single mommy hood and recovering from a bad relationship as well.  If you would have run into the three of us a few short years ago, you would have either run for cover or bought us a case of wine!
Through the power of sisterhood, womanhood and a few Xanax we rallied around each other.  We took turns holding one another up, babysitting each other’s kids when one mommy was just too tired, overwhelmed, or let’s face it – depressed to do it.  We were each other’s dates for Valentine’s Day.  We forced each other to get up and put on a cute dress and make up, and sometimes we had to remind each other to eat and hit the gym.  We took turns hugging each other’s kids, nursing boo boos and trying to fill in the gaps that were missing. 
Last night I smiled and laughed as I sat in the booth at Chuck E Cheese.  How the hell did we survive the last few years?  Now our kids are turning 8, 5, 4 and even one teenager.  They are all polite, healthy and loving little people.  I am not quite sure how we survived the last few years, but I sure am proud of what we have accomplished.  I am looking forward to more nights with our kids, a few glasses of wine and no more Xanax.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Expectations

Today my daily affirmation said to “let go of all perceptions of what a relationship is supposed to be like”.  Hmm, I thought, this is actually rather timely.
As you, my bloggity blog loyal reader know, my friends and I are of the dating age. And as such, I use us as fodder for this page.  Just this past week we had been discussing how with the increase in social media, internet, text, our expectations have increased when we are entering into a relationship.
Back in the day (ok, you know I’m not THAT old), but it used to be that you would meet someone out or get set up by a friend, they would call you, you planned a date, you met, you made small talk, got to know one another, etc.  These days with online dating you pretty much fast forward all of that.  You answer questions, post pictures, list your favorites and basically give your date a “how to guide” on getting to know you.  Add in there the creation of text messaging and before you even meet a person face to face you have already gotten in your head a pretty good example of what this person is like (or, let’s be honest, what you WANT this person to be like).  Your expectations are set pretty high and you still haven’t even met the person yet!
The next hurdle is getting over the expectation of what status your relationship is in.  I constantly refer to my Dad and his wise advice when I was in college.  He told me “it is ok to date”.  Ok, duh! You might say.  But what he meant was; back in his day (1970 something) people dated.  Guys invited a girl out to dinner or to a movie.  They may even have two dates in a weekend with two different girls.  It was ok.  My Dad saw my sister and me getting asked out by one guy, having a good date, and then being stuck to each other for the foreseeable future.  We didn’t date – we committed.   I am not saying that everyone should go out and become crazy daters.  I am just suggesting that we put back into perspective that a date does not mean you are going to get married, have 2. 5 kids and a dog and live happily ever after.  It just means you wanted to see if you are compatible, have fun together and possibly could explore the thought of a second date. 
For most women, this thinking is very hard to do.  Most of us (and some men too) see our date as the future Mr. /Mrs.  We adopt the mindset that because we share the same interests and our online profile told us we were perfect matches we are going to be together forever.   We are projecting that our date is going to be the perfect relationship partner.  We can also back up our hypothesis because our online match maker agrees with us.  In our heads we are going to be Mr. and Mrs. Perfect.   Maybe yes, maybe no? 
To make the complication even worse we started changing the subject of first dates.  I remember my very first date I had from an online site.  The guy told me he hated first dates from Eharmony. I asked why? He said that “all you hear about is the sob story of someone’s past, why they got divorced, why they are still single etc.”  He had a really valid point.  While this information is very important for a relationship, topics like divorce, kids, marriage, used to come up after a few dates. These days, because you have already cleared those hurdles online, first dates tend to be a bit more intense. 
The other hurdle to keeping expectations low is that when you meet someone online you know their goals (it is a listed category!)  Want kids? Want to be married? Want to retire early?  You learn so much about the person online that you inevitably fast forward yourself into their painting of their cozy life.  I just talked to my friend who is dating a good guy.  He has a great job, owns a house, wants a family, has enough money to support a family – seems like a great catch.  The problem was that she wasn’t completely smitten with him.  She liked him ok, and could possibly grow to really like him.  Why did she settle and stay around for dates 2,3,4,5 etc.?  Well, because she fit into his picture of a future.  She wants kids, wants a man with a good job and someone who likes his family.  His perceived relationship and her perceived relationship were perfect matches.  Their personalities and lifestyles?  Not so sure.  But she was willing to pass up other guys and put her time into this one because of her expectation of what a relationship is supposed to be.
I am not judging or saying there is anything wrong with her choice.  Maybe they will be happily ever after and their match maker is completely correct?  All I am suggesting is that I remind myself to follow today’s affirmation and stop trying to fit relationships into what a perception is and just go with the flow of what reality is offering.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Get STRONG not Skinny

This past week I was listening to Anne Hathaway talk to Matt Lauer about her role in Batman.  She told him the directors of the movie asked her to “get strong, not skinny”.  I love that message!  It is so simple, yet one that I needed to hear.   And I’m assuming most of my bloggity blog readers may need to hear as well.
I can’t tell you how many times I talk to my coworkers, friends and family about getting skinny, losing weight and fitting in to clothing that is a size too small.  Each day I commiserate with friends about putting on extra pounds, making bad choices and being out of shape.  We all know what to do, we all know how to fix our dilemma, yet for one reason or another choose not to do it.
When I heard Anne (cause you know we are buds, so I can refer to here as Anne) talk about getting strong and how great she felt kicking and fighting during the action scenes I felt a twinge of jealousy.  I want to be strong! I want to be able to kick and fight like a guy. 
True confession – I did take a boxing class once. I did ok, but when it came to the kicking part, my girly girl came out. In my past life as a cheerleader I perfected the pointed-toe long-leg high-kick. My tootsies can face the stars and my legs will stay straight as an arrow.  This is perfection for dancing and yoga, not the same effect at the boxing gym.  I kicked like a girl!  I told my boxing coach I jumped and kicked like a girl.  He didn’t understand… From my perspective, I kicked to be pretty, I kicked to have great form, I kicked to look good and be liked. 
After hearing Anne, I want to kick to kick some butt too!  I want to be strong and stand up to that darn punching bag and kick the crap out of it and look tough doing it.
I am not saying that I will be tough overnight, nor am I saying that I will ever be Anne’s version of Cat Woman.  However, now I realize that instead of being skinny, I want to be strong. Instead of focusing on pointed toes and straight legs I want to focus on muscle and where my legs will take me.  I am sure that I will still revert back to being a girly girl and worry that my form isn’t perfect, but in the meantime I am going to focus on bringing strength to my life and seeing where my new self will go!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm bringing Silly Back...

“Mom, you have GOT to learn to roller blade! These things are AWESOME!” I hear at 7:45 a.m. coming from my driveway….
1.        I despise roller blading
2.       I haven’t had coffee
3.       I am still in my PJs and there is no way I am going out of the house, donning a helmet and putting my feet into holders on wheels right now.

“Little man I say, I’ll think about it” thinking I’m buying myself some time, at least enough to enjoy my coffee and watch the Today Show.
“Mom, you are just no fun anymore” he replies.
Typically this comment wouldn’t bother me.  However, this was the 2nd time in a week that my little man has pointed out that I am not as fun as I used to be.
Last week he went for a scooter ride and I went for a run.  We did 2 miles and were pretty hot and exhausted.  Since we were at the beach, we took off our socks and shoes and went to the ocean.  My little man dove right into the water.  I watched.  I didn’t want to get my workout clothes sandy and I really didn’t want to swim in just my sports bra and shorts.  Plus, my little man is a great swimmer now and doesn’t need me to hold onto him in the ocean.   I was standing at the water’s edge so proud of him for being a good swimmer, when he asked me to come in and play.  I said no.  I told him to swim closer to the shoreline.  He asked again for me to ride the waves.  I said no and warned him about the undertow.
After he got out and we dried off he commented that I no longer swim with him.  “Remember when you used to go running and then jump right into the ocean with me Mommy?”  Yep, I do remember that, and it was a lot of fun I thought.  I told him that I don’t have to do that anymore because he is such a strong little man that he doesn’t need me to help him.   He replied that “I’m just not silly anymore.”
That stung.
I guess that while I was on my mission of teaching my little man independence and confidence I got sidetracked.  Instead of focusing on fun and laughing I have been trying to teach him how to entertain himself and make friends with the other kids at the beach.
I learned that night that I really need to just let go more often.  While my little man doesn’t need me to hold his hand in the ocean he still may need me to help him catch the perfect wave and share some good memories.  I promised him the next time we run I’ll go swimming with him after.
That being said, I do draw the line at rollerblading.  Sorry happy blog readers, but I am just NOT getting onto those things. They scare the daylights out of me and my little man cannot convince me otherwise.  But, I know he will try….