13

Today I officially have a teenager. I know what you’re thinking – OMG YOU LOOK AMAZING FOR SOMEONE WITH A 13 YEAR OLD!!! I totally agree. But holy shit, she’s thirteen!

I’ll be honest, I’ve never kept anything alive this long. This is my personal best. *self high five* I’d like to take a moment to thank my friends for talking me through countless near-jail experiences in the passed 13 years. Also, the Twitterverse for allowing me to bitch about my child openly. To Mike, for helping make me a parent and being my partner in this, the most challenging job I’ve ever had.

And most of all – Soph. For letting me be her mom. For forgiving me when I fuck up – and I totally do. For being self sufficient when I can’t be 200% Mom or when I just want to sleep in. For loving me and all my flaws – a never ending list. And for just being her – my reason for existing, getting up every morning, my ultimate motivation for the things I do, everyday.

It’s been a whole baker’s dozen years of parenting and I’ve learned a lot.

  • Parenting is the hardest job in the history of jobs. Period. It can also be the most rewarding.
  • There is no book that will walk you through. [Though the Dr. Sears The Baby Book is a DAMN GOOD reference for new parents. And a lot of the others in his series. Just my opinion.]
  • There is no love stronger than what a parent feels for their child.
  • Every child is different. What worked for Timmy might not work for Sally.
  • It’s totally okay to have favorites. I do. 🙂
  • Common sense is no longer common.
  • Pass something down from generation to generation.
  • There are fewer things more irritating than people telling you how to parent your child. *ahem* MOM!
  • Keep family traditions and start new ones.
  • Disciplining your child will evolve as your child grows. Time out is effective when they are 3, where as no cell phone is more effective when they are 13.
  • Help educate your child. It’s not all on the teachers of the world. Teach them about music, talk to them about events happening in the world so they get the facts from you not kids on the bus. Talk to them about hate, racism, sexism, all of it…so they aren’t naive but educated.
  • Children learn from watching you. How to love, how to hate, how to be thankful and appreciate.
  • Tell your children where they came from. Teach them their culture and history.
  • Be honest with your kids. Age appropriate honesty, of course.
  • Have them learn the ACTUAL names for their parts, not foo foo names.
  • Help them find an outlet to express themselves.
  • Make sure they understand kindness, generosity and forgiveness. And practice it.
  • It’s okay if they hate you. It doesn’t feel good but it’s okay and it will pass.
  • When things get heated – no matter the age – walk away to cool down. At some point screaming is no longer constructive. Otherwise shit is said out of anger, high emotions, etc. And if they need to walk away to get it together – let them.
  • Set realistic expectations and goals for and with your children. You want to see them succeed and not fail at something they never had a chance at to begin with.
  • Growing up can be hard. Let them know you are a safe place to talk about scary things like girls/boys, peer pressure, etc.
  • Let them dress themselves. Don’t let them leave looking like a bum or someone who works a corner. But let them find their style.
  • Be authentic in your parent/child relationship. Don’t act one way in public and then another behind closed doors.
  • Teach them to be better than you.
  • Don’t push your kid in any one direction – sports, academics, etc. Provide them guidance but don’t force them into something.
  • Learn to say no. And MEAN IT.

My two goals as a mother are to ensure my kid is happy and healthy and that she’s a kind, well rounded and productive human being in society. Soph is already the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life so if I succeed at those goals, it will just be icing on the cake.

Happy 13th Birthday, kiddo.

tweenaging

Tweenaging. Yeah it’s a verb and it’s not just a phase or “kids going through puberty.” It’s a mother fucking affliction. Especially for the parents.

My daughter is currently tweenaging and it’s a nightmare. False. It’s worse than a nightmare. Everyday it’s something new. Not good new like YAY I get new shoes! Bad new like you found gray hairs or stepped on a lego and have reached a whole new level of pain. It can be a new mood, an emotional breakdown about something new, a new fad, a new favorite color, a new found dislike, a new BFF or a new girl who is being a bitch. Or my favorite – a new attitude problem. Honestly – I’m pretty sure this is what it’s like to be living in the Upside Down. It’s bizarre and completely unknown. I JUST CANNOT ANY MORE. 

This. This right here – tweenaging – is why parents go crazy. I thought the 3’s were bad. WRONG. The tweens are bad! I’m one eye roll or door slam away from emailing my doctor and asking her to up my meds for my own sanity. And the worst is yet to come. Shark week isn’t even upon us yet. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE HELL FIRE THAT WILL RAIN WHEN IT DOES????? Oh sweet Lord Baby Jesus. If you aren’t the praying type now but you have a cute little bundle of joy…. just wait. You will be. And children are mean. Notice in scary movies they make the creepiest, demon possessed characters children? It’s for a reason. They are evil. To one another, to their family and definitely to their parents. It may not be intentional but goddamn. Their words can catch you so off guard and cut you so deep.

Today alone the tween affliction has graced us with:

  • Talking back about not letting her go to a stranger’s home. {Sorry – if I don’t know them you aren’t going to their house to “hangout”. Lame, I know.}
  • Attitude when I asked her to put away something she borrowed from me. 
  • Mumbling and “you are so mean” blah blah blah because I told her she needed to keep her phone on her at all times. BACK STORY: My Dad was picking her up for gymnastics and we both called her 2938 time and she didn’t answer. We were concerned for her when she didn’t answer or come out to be picked up. {How mean of me to be concerned about her safety!}
  • Yelling because her chrome cast software updated and “looks different” (but is working totally fine) and she doesn’t like it.
  • A melt down because her “life is so hard and stressful” with no known root cause of said melt down. {Insert massive eye roll here}

All in less 12 hours. She’s a joy, isn’t she?

We went to Gatlinburg this past weekend. I did my best to say yes as often as possible as we were on vacation and things are supposed to be a little more carefree. She went to fun places, got to do fun stuff, ate all the crap she wanted, I bought her stuff… you get the idea. On the last night she asked me to bring her our hair stuff from my cottage (I stayed in the in-law cottage out back) and I said she could come with me to get it since I was going there for the night. I got a, “Can’t you just help me out for once?!” It’s amazing someone in my family didn’t have to bail me out of the Gatlinburg jail, y’all. I told her ass to put on shoes and come with me to get the hair stuff she needed. Oh and you best believe for that 100 foot walk to my cottage I read her to riot act! Reminded her that I have more than helped her – I gave her ungrateful ass LIFE! Rude.

Honestly, I don’t know how people survive more than one child. They deserve medals of honor. This one might kill me. If I make it out a live – I might write a book about surviving this period (pun intended) of her life.

 

 

s t r e s s e d

Stressed doesn’t begin to explain what I am feeling but it’s a start. And overwhelmed is a gross understatement. Burnt out, exhausted….just don’t do it justice. I’m confident there is not a word for the magnitude of pressure that is building in my head, the migraine that I’ve had for what seems like forever, the never-ending list of things I need to do/clean/cook/pay/review, the nagging ear ringing, or the agony I am in when someone says Sarah/mom (or any other variations of those) because I’m afraid I won’t be able to deliver. So. Much. Pressure. I can’t answer any more questions. I can’t read any more emails. I can’t solve any more problems.

I HAVE OFFICIALLY EXCEED MAXIMUM CAPACITY.

I know. I’m a mom. We aren’t supposed to have a maximum. We have super powers. Well I’m all super-ed out. There I said it.

This mom is all super-ed out.

 

Confessions – 3rd ed.

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  • When I buy anything for myself, I have major guilt about it and instantly want to return it. Even if it I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It’s as if I don’t deserve what I bought.
  • I will have a 10-year-old on May 20th. OMG. This also means I will have been a parent for 1/3 of my entire life. Honestly, I think I deserve a damn party.
  • I did a major closet purge. And I then bought some much-needed clothes.
  • There are days I want to do nothing but watch Law & Order SVU reruns and eat ice cream…allllll day loooong.
  • When I’m in the car by myself I usual drive in complete silence. OR jam to Arabic music. One extreme or the other. Usually silence though.
  • I keep the house as a crisp 68 degrees. Which means as of late when the temperature as been dropping as night I wake up to it being about 64 in the house. If you come visit – wear a parka!
  • Fairly certain that I could eat Five Guys or Chipotle every day and be totally fine with it.
  • Writing in my planner gives me joy.
  • Browsing for books, buying books and adding to my eBook collection is one of my hobbies.
  • I enjoy shopping for office supplies more than clothes. They are one size fits all.

 

These are my confessions.

Don’t guilt me.

I get it. I’m a bad mom. I work full time, I don’t attend every gymnastics practice, I’m not on the PTO, I rarely if ever volunteer at school, I don’t go to church often if ever, I cuss like a fucking sailor, I like my Lady and Diet, I’m not a super fit mom and I lose my temper. I am a bad mom. I get it. You judge me for the way I talk to my daughter like a human being, a young adult instead of belittling her like a 4-year-old. You judge me for not watching my language, for my crazy hair and casual appearance. You judge me for small house, my old car, hell even my mixed family. Admit it – you judge the shit out of me.

It’s okay. I judge the shit out of you too. So we’re even. But don’t – don’t you dare guilt me. Don’t try to make me feel bad for not going to church every weekend or not attending every gymnastics practice. You don’t know me. You have no idea what is happening in my life. You don’t know that sometimes I have to convince myself to get up in the morning, to work through the depression and overwhelming anxiety and push through to be a functioning parent and wife. To find the energy to make a home cooked meal most nights, to study with my kid at night and drive to BFE for the next gymnastics meet, socialize with people when I don’t want to and drive all the way home in the same day. Or to do simple things like laundry, dishes, even getting the mail sometimes seems like a daunting task. So don’t you sit on your PTO pulpit and give me dirty looks for bring in store-bought goods for the class party or not sitting outside on the weekends to gab with the entire neighborhood because I would rather sit in the dark, alone in my room. Do not make me feel bad for not attending every baby shower, birthday, wedding, or party for your mom’s dog’s brother’s friend named Bob because I’m struggling with myself and don’t want to be around other people. DO NOT. DO NOT GUILT ME. EVER.

 

Long live the Elf!

It’s Elf on the Shelf season. I know that most parents dread this since it’s really more work for them but I LOVE it! Our elf’s name is Simon and he’s always full of new surprises.

Sophia is 9.5 and has the memory of an elephant. She literally remembers every single thing that Simon has ever done. We are constantly searching for new ideas and find that “Oh we’ve done that” is the common theme. BUT since she’s older – Simon gets to be more sneaky/fun than ever. Bwahahaha!

Best of all – Sophia is terrified Simon will provide a bad report to Santa so during elf season she is on her best behavior. As in, I woke up this morning and she asked if there were any chores she could do… as she was folding her laundry. YES. You read that correctly. Volunteered for chores AND folding her laundry….WITHOUT being threatened to do it. HOLY SHIT! As parents it’s our duty to take advantage of this gift and manipulate our children to do what we want. Right? If you need help in this area I strongly advise referencing Baby Sideburns – How to PROPERLY use your Elf on the Shelf. She’s got brilliant ideas!

Here’s what Simon has been up to:

*Follow me on Instagram to keep up with Simon’s shenanigans.*

So yes – I’m the exception and love elf season but can you blame me?  Parents everywhere should revel in this time of behavioral bliss from our children and take advantage of these few weeks. Oh and be sure manipulate the shit out of our children to get what we want for a short period of time.

LONG LIVE THE ELF!!!!