ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 40 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 8-year-old Junior, our 5-year-old Everett, our baby and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Packing up, moving out and moving on: When your baby isn't a baby anymore


When my sons—there's three of them—were newborns and sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom, I kept a little plastic tub at the end of the bed. I filled it with everything I'd need when they woke up in the middle of the night: diapers, wipes, onesies, bibs, footie pajamas, pacifiers, diaper rash cream, extra nipples, gas drops. It saved me from having to search frantically for things when I was half asleep and they were fussy.

I never really emptied the tub in between kids. I just pushed it to the side (and eventually under the bed) and refilled it when I had the next kid. I know it might sound weird that it contained items from nine years ago—when Junior was a newborn—but it was a comfort thing. Like look, I don't have any more babies but I have this little tub of newborn stuff and that's kind of the same.

Further down that thought train was this: When I have time to sit and cry and reflect on the fact that I no longer have a baby in my life, I will empty it.

Then last night, my best friend let me and Chuck babysit their two month old while they went to dinner around the corner. The kid was a piece of cake, but my friend was gone from 7:30 to 11:30, and I'd forgotten how all consuming a baby can be. Cam plays by himself now. I don't have to carry him everywhere. He feeds himself. I don't have to burp him or rock him to sleep.

Simply put, I have a bit of freedom in my life again. More of me.

This baby...he wore me out. Chuck too. After my friend picked up her baby and said good-bye, I felt wonderful. I grabbed Chuck and said, "Thank you for agreeing to have a third child, but I officially know that I am done with babies. I don't have baby fever. I don't long for a baby. I am ready to move on with my life."

I went upstairs to grab the heating pad from the closet for my shoulder—holding a baby for four hours hurts—and that's when I saw it: the little plastic newborn tub. It was sitting there on the shelf. For the first time in nine years it was empty. 

I ran downstairs with it. "Where did everything in it go?" I asked Chuck.

He told me that barf pans were getting scarce when we all had the puke bug and that he had dumped the contents of my little baby tub onto the floor in a moment of barf pan desperation and let someone yack into it.

I waited for the pang of sadness. I had had ceremonious plans for that tub! I had planned to sit down and go through all the leftover newborn items and have a good cry. That act was supposed to be my official good-bye to babyhood.

But the truth is that every day that Cam, Everett and Junior have grown is a step in the good-bye to babyhood direction. And the good-bye isn't just a one scene act. It's a process—one I had unknowingly started a long time ago.

I remembered what I had said to Chuck just minutes before.

I don't long for a baby.

I went upstairs and put the empty tub back into the closet. I stared at its...emptiness. The Universe had confirmed what I knew in my heart—I am ready to move on with my life—and even better, the Universe had let my husband do the dirty work of emptying it.

I went back downstairs and lay down next to Chuck. We were asleep in five minutes.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yes! This is EXACTLY what it's like

If you're thinking of having a baby, or if you already have children and you think you may want more, I want you to click on the image below and watch the video.

A friend forwarded the link a few days ago with the message "So cute!" but when I watched the video all I saw were squirming toddlers. And then suddenly I was everywhere I'd ever been trying to hold my very mobile toddler, Cam (who now weighs almost 30 pounds). My older son's karate class; the mall; the grocery store; Mystic Aquarium; the driveway.

Just watch it—and remember: Your baby will turn into this. Without the fur or snout. Obviously. And you won't be wearing a mask or gloves. Unless that's your thing. Because I don't judge. But I do offer free birth control...in the form of baby pandas.

Just watch it!


https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/5s2fk8/trying_to_take_a_picture_with_23_baby_pandas/?ref=share&ref_source=link

Friday, January 27, 2017

Can love trump vomit?

Minutes after I wrote my last post in early January, Chuck ran upstairs and said he felt sick. He covered his mouth with his hand—for dramatic effect of course—and sprinted to the bathroom.

One man down. (Loudly and with much fanfare, I might add).

Minutes after that, toddler Cam raced into the room and started doing a weird hiccup + half burp thing. I knew from experience that it meant one thing: toddler spew.

Second man down.

Two days later, Junior came home from school and said he wasn't feeling right. He'd already had the bug (around the time of my birthday), so I wasn't too concerned. Then he dashed to the bathroom and yep, you guessed it, yacked.

Third man down. 

One day later, Everett got off the bus looking positively green. He'd already had the bug (on my birthday), so I didn't pay much attention to it. Then he grabbed the puke pan from Junior and proceeded to vomit.

Fourth man down.

That left me, the cheese, standing alone. I ran to the bathroom (what else was there to do?) and started jogging in place, humming the theme song to Rocky. I punched the air. I bleached the toilet. I did jumping jacks. I Lysoled the cat.

"You can do this! This bug won't take you down!" I shouted.

I called Chuck and boldly announced that "I am the one person who has not gotten this bug! I am woman!"

I had earned my bragging rights. I've had three children vomit in my bed on several different occasions. They've breathed on me. Whimpered onto my shoulder. I've laundered their soiled clothing. Fed them Jello through straws. And so on. And so on.

And then on inauguration day, I felt decidedly queasy. I texted Chuck an SOS while he was at work. Junior, Everett and Cam looked on (yes, everyone was home from school) as I finally got intimate with the puke pan I had so meticulously been cleaning for the last six days.

On television, the inauguration made for an interesting backdrop to my yack attack.

"Mom!" Junior and Everett cried. "Are you okay?"

I looked up over the brim of the pan and watched Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (see also Anita Hill) swear Mike Pence into office as Bill Clinton (see also Monica Lewinsky and/or impeachment) stood rows away smiling like a Cheshire cat. It was almost time for Donald Trump (see also lewd comments) to descend into the stands. 

No, I definitely wasn't okay.

My three sons gathered around me. 

"Get her ice!" Junior shouted to Everett. 

"Yes! And she needs a popsicle!" Cam raced around their gangly legs, thrilled to be part of the action. When he saw his brothers pull the blanket over my feet, he threw me his stuffed bear.

"We'll get you water!" Junior and Everett shouted as they went to the kitchen. "We'll take care of you now."

And they did. With kindness, thoughtfulness and tenderness.

I may have been deathly sick but what I realized is that these little men have more class and dignity than some of our fearless leaders. It makes me proud. It makes me want to scream again that I'm doing my part. It makes me believe in all the reasons I ever had for wanting to become a mother. 

Most of all it makes me sad and embarrassed. We have every damn right to demand better from them...and from ourselves. But hey, silver lining: No one's been sick in a week. Small victories, right? 

I'll take them.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

You can lie down with me if you want (I told you, I'm a pervert!)

A good friend of mine loaned me this book before Christmas:



Normally I shy away from "self-help" books because they tend to be heavy handed and bossy, and I hate when other people tell me what to do ("Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet. I'm a first-born and a Capricorn").

But I picked up the book and started reading, and some of the content really struck a chord, specifically her chapters on how productivity can be a compulsion for some people ("Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet. I'm a first-born, a Capricorn and a Type A").

Until I read this book, I generously patted myself on the back for my productivity. Because of inconsistent childcare as of late—oh, the things I'd love to tell you—I've basically been managing a full-time freelance graphic design job during my toddler's nap time and after bed time. I also work a part-time, on-site job and I handle all the housework, grocery shopping, meal prep, clothes shopping, homework and transportation tasks for three children. Oh, and we have a cat and a dog.

My husband Chuck helps when and if he can but he works more than an hour away and easily logs 50-85 hours a week, which means that during the week I am essentially a single parent. And I almost forgot—we also help run a family restaurant.

(Good Lord! Does anyone else need an energy drink?)

Like I said, I've been cranking along, applauding myself for my ability to be busy—and be successful at being busy—when along came this book. It really blew some fresh air under my skirt.

There's one passage that, if I can be crass for a moment, blew not just fresh air under my skirt but a rip-roaring, cow-tossing tornado. And not just under my skirt but into my unmentionables ("Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet. I'm a first-born, a Capricorn, a Type A and a pervert"). It reads:

"Burnout is not reserved for the rich or the famous or the profoundly successful...If you're tired, you're tired, no matter what. If the life you've crafted for yourself is too heavy, it's too heavy, no natter if the people on either side of you are carrying more or less."

Here's why that hit me: I realized that because I am no longer working full-time in an office, I have been overcompensating with extra work and duties—because I feel guilty. I feel guilty for my flexible schedule. For grocery shopping during the day with my toddler. For not slugging to an office every day at 8: 30 a.m. Even though I'm making more money freelancing than I did I Mulletville Corp, I try to skimp on childcare when I work from home to save money.

Not only do I feel guilty, but that guilt feeds my need for productivity. No one's going to tell me I don't work a full-time job! I do x,y and z and I work.

But I'm tired and it's not fair. I mean, what asshole would try to cram a full-time workload into a two hour nap time? What asshole is looking for a merit badge from her friends, family and husband when all those people are looking at her sadly and saying, "Slow down. Be easy on yourself"?

Me, that's who. ("Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet. I'm a first-born, a Capricorn, a Type A, a pervert and a woman who is not very nice to herself.")

After I finished the book and put it back onto the bookshelf, I found this book, which my mother gave me six years ago:


When I wrote a blog post about it, I had scoffed at the idea of needing someone's permission to nap. I get now what I didn't get years ago: I don't need someone's permission. I need my own. Resting is not for the weak. It is for those who enjoy closing their eyes and replenishing their spirit.

It is especially for those who have been awake all night with puking children.

So here, for 2017: "Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet. I'm a first-born, a Capricorn, a Type A, a pervert and a woman who used to be not very nice to herself."

Now where is that vomit covered fuzzy blanket of mine?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy birthday to meeeee, happy birthday to meeeee, happy birthday dear mooo'ooom, now where's the suppository? And many mooooore....

"Happy birthday, Mom!"

The tired, somewhat haggard mother looks lovingly at her children, who are aglow in the soft, warm, yellow light of her birthday candles. It's been a long month, but it's her birthday. It's finally her turn to celebrate. She's got big plans. A new bottle of wine. Fuzzy slippers. The promise of a movie that she likes instead of that damn curious monkey or that creepy blue engine again. She opens her mouth, makes a wish and starts to blow out her candles. She stops. Freezes is more like it. Something catches her eye. What is it? The shiny glow of a new birthday car parked in the driveway? A roomful of presents? An envelope containing a one-way ticket to Paris—her Golden Ticket out of town!?

No, it is a child clutching his stomach, whimpering, "I'm going to be sick."

Suddenly there is vomit everywhere. Not on her cake—whew!—but on the floor, the chair and the sibling next to him. Even the dog is covered in it.

She stands up, sighs and says to her husband, "Every year. On my birthday. There is puke."

She is right.* 

January 2009: My first birthday as a new mother "blew serious chunks."

January 2010: Junior's stomach bug came on "like a mini storm front"—hah!

January 2011: I may or may not have drank too much vodka.

January 2012: I may or may not have drank too much vodka.

January 2013: There was so much vomit, I mused about my family's puke personalities.

January 2014: I may or may not have drank too much vodka.

January 2015: I may or may not have drank too much vodka.

* Kind of right. But wtf.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thank you Mr. Heckenspeck for infecting the damn town



The month of December was challenging, which is why I've been MIA.

Actually, MIA sounds way too exciting for where I've been. MIA makes it sound as if someone kidnapped me and took me to a secluded island and made me change my name and live a childless life of pina coladas, tanned cabana boys and afternoon naps when really, I've been living a childful life of kid puke, snotty noses and no naps because EVERYONE in the house has been sick.

See, the town of Mulletville Lite is on the small side so when you hear someone coughing at the grocery store, you know it's just a matter of time before everyone in the town gets it. And that's what happened: I saw Mr. Heckenspeck hacking up a lung by the frozen meats on Dec. 1 and sure enough, Junior soon had it. Next was my husband Chuck. Then our middle child, Everett. Then my poor mother. Then toddler Cam. 

Cam got it the worst. By the time he caught the bug, we were three weeks into December and I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't leave the house for the month, so I had stopped performing those basic and normal human tasks of, say, getting dressed and combing my hair. I was actually entering that sticky area known as crazy-sick-but-not-sick mom, where I knew I looked off but was coming to embrace it and maybe even enjoy it.

(Insert evil cackle.) 

Along with Cam's cough came a fever and stomach bug. He was a trooper of a puker, but I'd forgotten the very terrible part of puking toddlerhood, which is that the kid wants to be held as he or she pukes and so you end up getting slimed.

So that's where I was the Wednesday afternoon before Christmas: Standing in the living room in my rattiest pajamas (I'd run out of decent clean ones) holding Cam as he puked down the front of both of us. Hair clipped up in a rat's nest/beehive thing. Holey socks. No bra. Dark circles. Etc. Etc.

Over the sound of Cam's wails I heard the bus.

The town's policy is that a bus driver won't let your kid off without seeing some form of parental life, so I opened the front door, stuck out my arm and waved. Of course--of course--as Everett was crossing the street he slid on a patch of ice, face planted in the road and started screaming.

I stuck my head out the door and called. "Are you okay? Can you get up?"

"Screeeeaaaammmm. Screeeaaammmmm."

Junior, who's on the same bus, stood over Everett like a scientist who had just discovered a new, digusting bug. He yelled to me, "Mom, you should come out here. I think he's unconscious."

"Screeeeaaaammmm. Screeeaaammmmm." Was it Cam or Everrett? I couldn't even tell.

"He's not unconscious! He just needs help getting up!" I called. "Help him!"

The busdriver sat there watching. The kids on the bus sat there watching. I know I looked like an asshole--my kid was lying in the road crying--but I was covered in a screaming toddler and vomit. I was shoeless. Braless. I was trying to maintain a modicum of decorum but that's the hardest part of parenting, isn't it? We find ourselves grasping for the right way to be in the most uncomfortable and challenging scenarios. We find ourselves looking like an asshole when really, we've been living in a hovel of illness and puke for way too long and don't even recognize ourselves in the mirror, and what we need instead of judgment is a kind word or two.

I waved for the bus to leave but like a good bus driver she sat there.  

"Junior!" I shouted. "Pick up your brother! Please!"

Junior must have heard the desperation in my voice because he leaned down, grabbed Everett by the arm and gently brought him to his feet. Everett was whimpering but unscathed. They made their way to the front door and came inside. When the bus finally drove away I put Cam down and assessed the situation:

Pukey kid
Pukey parent
Pukey rug
Crying kindergartner
Small man-child of a fourth grader why wanted to know why I didn't come outside

"Look at me," I said to them. "I'm doing the best that I can." Hearing those words made it worse for a minute: I was doing the best I could but it still wasn't good enough. There was still more that was needed of me. I went into the bathroom and started to cry. Then I laughed. Then I cried. Then I laughed again.

It's all okay though. I'm doing the best that I can. And for 2017 that will be just fine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When your neighbor makes you the worst smelling turkey ever

Last week I changed my blog header to the snowy frog scene and bam, it snowed.

Curious, ey?

If you're like me, you're spending this week in a pre-Thanksgiving frenzy. I don't cook, but Chuck and I do go away with the kids, which means packing and wrangling, driving and bickering.

For the last five years we've shared a timeshare condo on the ocean with my parents and Chuck's. It's right in Connecticut, so the drive isn't more than an hour and I swear I'm not complaining—ocean view for the holidays? Yes, please—but the condo is one story so we sleep in close proximity (all 10 of us). We have snorers. We have sleep talkers.

We have a toddler.

Toddlers have the propensity for destroying rooms, meals, and lives.

Think I'm being dramatic? I bet you $100,000,000 you've never had a toddler.

I'm hoping this year will be less stressful than last. Cam had just started crawling and the condo we were staying in was dressed in industrial style, uber modernistic furniture. Steel legs on chairs, dagger edges to the coffee tables, pointy sides to the beds, you get the idea. Add a few Matchbox cars to the floor and suddenly the place is a rollerskating arena of death, especially for senior-aged family members who've had a few too many cocktails.

Oops! Did Grammie just plummet face-first into the steel bolts of the fireplace?

Cam slept well in the Pack 'N Play the first night. (Why the hell do they call it that anyway? It should be called the Please Sleep in Me. Please.) Lulled into a false sense of well-being by Cam's feat, Chuck and I drank and ate way too much at Thanksgiving dinner the second night* and of course, Cam woke up screaming every 30 minutes after we put him to bed.

Around 11 p.m. we decided we couldn't spend the whole night like that. Despite the 15 fans we'd brought for white noise no one was getting any shut-eye. Chuck and I packed up Cam and all of our stuff and started for home. On the way, I called our next door neighbors who were dog-sitting and let them know we'd be home.

"We let her sleep at our house and we know you've missed her," they said, "so we'll bring her back home."

I told them that wasn't necessary. We were straddled with a baby who wouldn't stop screaming. We'd be okay without the dog, but they insisted.

An hour later we pulled into the driveway and found our neighbor Bob standing in our driveway, holding our dog. We stepped out of the car with a still screaming Cam and smelled...

...skunk.

"I'm sorry," Bob said. "When I opened my door your damn dog ran into your yard after a skunk. I chased her into the woods. We both got sprayed. I opened your door to see if I could find a towel and she ran inside. So yeh, it reeks!"

Bob had been drinking. Or he was high on skunk fumes. It was hard to tell. If you've never smelled skunk spray right after it happens, it has a sweet onion pungency to it that makes your throat burn and your eyes water. When we went inside it was even worse—but I had to put our screaming monster-child to bed.

"I'll open the windows and crank the heat," Chuck said, "if you deal with the kid." He winced—from the skunk or our child, I didn't know.

Bob followed us inside and apologized. Chuck put the dog on our screened-in porch and started to wipe her down. Thankfully she'd only been sprayed on her snout. I put Cam in his crib. He immediately stopped crying.

"Little fucker," I said as I shut his door. The upstairs was safe from the smell but it was brutal downstairs, where Bob had parked himself on the couch. He was examining his shoes.

"The thing is," he told me, "when I ran out the door to bring your dog home I grabbed the first pair of shoes I found. These aren't mine, and they stink. I'm scared to go home. I think they belong to my uncle."

Chuck returned from the porch. "I got most of it. She's fine."

"I feel terrible," Bob said. He rubbed his shoes.

"It's fine!" I lied. "We'll probably just go to bed now. The upstairs isn't bad."

"Let's get the air moving. Where are the fans?" Chuck asked. "Oh right, they're all at the condo."

Bob wasn't moving. "Let's just go to bed," I urged Chuck.

"Right!" Bob said, standing up.

"No," said Chuck. "I need a drink."

"Yes!" Bob said.

And that is how Thanksgiving ended. With watery eyes and burning throats, we tied one on with Bob. Eventually he got over his shoe worries. Eventually Chuck and I went to bed. And the best part—the part I am most thankful for—is that Cam slept until 9 a.m.

In EPT (Exhausted Parent Time) that's fucking noon. 

Happy holidays to you and your family. Like myself, I hope you have a skunkless, toddlerless time!

For more holiday merriment, check out these Thanksgiving posts from years past:

I have no idea what day it is. Plus, quit bitching about your gift cards 

Happy Thanksgiving, Buttfart Face! 

 • If you were in line tonight at a liquor store, I am thankful for you
 
Anyone wanna trade grannies?

Because a frozen turkey is riding shotgun, that's why  

Is that a drumstick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

* Slight exaggeration for dramatic effect. In other words: We were okay to drive. I don't take drinking and driving lightly.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I wonder if all those years of karate will actually pay off

When you're a parent (heck, even before you actually become a parent), you live in a constant state of wonder:

I wonder how the hell I'm going to get this baby out of me.

I wonder when he will sleep for longer than an hour.

I wonder when he'll stop being so fussy.

I wonder if my mother will always criticize my parenting.

Etc.

Etc.

(The joys of parenting!)

Most of the time, you wonder about the firsts: first tooth, first step, first solid food. They're exciting, yes, but there are a whole slew of firsts that never make the baby book.

For me, I couldn't help but marvel at this bodily first with Junior. Also, the first time I had food poisoning and had to tend to two children. And the first time my kid said a bad word, even though it wasn't intentional. So many exciting firsts.

Just last night, when I was home alone with the three boys and Chuck was still at work, this first happened:

We were all upstairs when we heard a strange noise from the kitchen. Junior—who always has been my code-red child, the one who screams "RUN" and then totally books off, the one who shouts "Call 9-1-1!" even though it's not really a crisis—turned to me calmly and said, "Stay here, Mom." As he went downstairs, he put his arms into his karate stance. He came back a few seconds later and said, "All clear. It was the cat."

It all happened so fast, and yet so slowly. I stood there for a moment and stared at him. At nine, he's a solid guy. I can wear his shoes. I mistake his shirts for Chuck's in the laundry. He's as tall as my shoulders and yet, he's been my Junior, my first, for so many years I didn't recognize the "stay here, Mom" voice or the calm young man who confidently stepped down the stairs.

He saw me watching him and asked what was up. I didn't tell him what I was thinking. I ruffled his hair and told him to brush his teeth. That's the thing about children: They're so much more than that first tooth. They keep changing and surprising you and some days, you find yourself wondering who the heck this new little person is.

See? I told you it was all about the wondering.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cranky ass Tuesday. Sorry, Parents magazine. But hey you? You're awesome

I'm going to start this post off in an unruffled way by saying—calmly—that I am a lover of magazines. If I had to assign a level of love to my well, love, I'd say I'm borderline freaky (yes, flasher at the bus stop) about them.

Every once in awhile I treat myself to Bella Grace—which is a beautifully designed, stunning magazine full of gorgeous photos—and the usual smattering of homey-cozy magazines, but I don't have 88 billion subscriptions.

If I had 88 billion subscriptions, like I'd really want to have, my husband Chuck would leave me. Because I don't read a magazine and get rid of it. I keep it forever.

FOREVER.

Seriously, we trip over small stacks of magazines in our home all the time. Surprisingly, no one gets upset. Probably because for every magazine my son trips over, I trip over a train for him. The other son? Legos. Chuck? AV cords and cables. I guess you could say we are a home of happy trippers.

(With achy feet and bruises.)

Anyway. Because I love magazines, I usually grab the free copy of Parents magazine from the pediatrician's office. I want to like the magazine, I really do. Before I even had kids I would stare at the magazine cover at the grocery store check-out and think, Someday I'll buy this. But no, even though they ditched that absurd column, I still have anger issues with the publication.

In fact, just the other day I raced into the bathroom, where Chuck was trying to poop in peace, and shouted, "WHO MAKES LUNCHES LIKE THIS FOR THEIR KIDS?" I shook the page in front of him:


(He's so sweet. He actually agreed with me before asking me to leave him alone.) 

That's a photo from Parents' September 2016 issue, called "Simply your lunch strategy." Simplify, ey? By hollowing out a few small tomatoes and stuffing them with chopped veggies? As if. The tomatoes are for Wednesday's suggested lunch. The next week's menu calls for Cobb Salad and homemade egg drop soup.

What the fuck? I ate half a granola bar that was stuck to my kid's shirt yesterday for lunch because, with three children and three different jobs, I don't have time to breathe—never mind stuff small tomatoes so my well-fed, coddled children can stick up their noses at them in the school cafeteria. And egg drop soup? Sure, I'll make it. Then I'll feed it to the garbage disposal, which is the best eater in my house when I try to introduce "new and healthy" dishes to my children.

I know what they'll eat, and I make it. That's where I'm at.

The picture below pisses me off too.



I know I'm projecting, but that woman looks miserable. She can't even keep her eyes open! She's holding that heavy ass toddler. The kid next to her is sitting on the counter, which, in this age of helicopter/velcro parenting is a big safety no-no (even though he's probably eight). She probably has had to pee since noon but can't catch a bathroom break. And she's being asked to "be silly" by wearing a fake mustache.

The poor woman probably has 30 loads of laundry to sort, tubs to scrub, a marketing campaign to finish—oh, and small tomatoes to stuff for lunch (!!) and yet, we want more of her.

We want her to laugh and play and be silly so she can "Spread the love."

She probably doesn't have enough energy to spread her butter on her own toast!

I've had it. When is enough enough? When have we crafted, given, prepped, smiled, encouraged, fed, bathed and clothed them enough? When did this sacrifice-everything-for-children-movement start? When did peanut butter and jelly, an apple and carton of milk (all organic, of course) stop being enough? Why must we origami their miniature vegetables too?

More importantly, if I'm not eating well because I'm too busy making sure they're eating well, when did that become okay and/or expected? How about an article about a mother (or father) who makes herself a delicious omelette for breakfast, then sits down and eats it—this is a big deal if you have a toddler—and then chucks cereal and milk in a bowl for her kids after she's done? Icing on the cake: She feels full, content and not at all guilty.

Right?

I'm not all piss and vinegar today. I promise. Even though I'm never reading Parents magazine again, I want to commend them on their article (also in the September issue) on balancing work and life, because it had this line:




If you're reading this post and you also want to hug the woman wearing the fake mustache because you give until you bleed, I want you to write down this line and tape it to your fridge. You don't even have to be American. You can be from outer space for all I care. Just know that you should be basking.

BUT NOT WHILE WEARING A FAKE MUSTACHE.