where you bin?

It would be a gross understatement to say I am an untidy person. I am an absentminded, scatterbrained, disorganized mess, most of the time. That’s not to say that I WANT to be that way, or that I don’t TRY my darndest to be neat and organized. Oh I try.  By God, I try. Throughout my home I have baskets and bins for every occasion, for every item imaginable. The problem is that I either a) put too much stuff in the bins and or b) I don’t put the assigned item in the appropriate bin.

For Example:

I have a basket for keys/cell phones/wallets/etc. sitting squarely on the ledge, just by the entrance to the main room. If each and every time I walked in the house I placed my keys and cell phone in the bin, then I wouldn’t have an issue.  But do I? Unequivocally, no, I do, not. I put them pretty much everywhere else but the the bin. My pocket, the diaper bag, the kitchen sink, the coffee table.

But what I do put in the bin is everything else, like receipts, hair clips, and Rubios’ kids meal toys. So even if my keys are in the bin, it takes me a year to find them.

Hence the NY Resolution to be clean. Clean encompasses a lot: clean as in tidy, organized and sanitary. I’m fairly good at the last one since I’ve become somewhat of a germaphobe since the birth of my girls. But the addition of two kids to my life means a TON more sh*t that I have to organize and put away.

Toys are a major accomplice to my clutter problem. They are EVERYWHERE. And even though I have bins for them, they still seem to invade every square inch of my house.

So here’s my game plan:

1) I’m going to cut back on the toys – no more buying toys! There’s a recession and we just don’t NEED them. My kids like the tupperware better than the manufactured toys anyway.

2) I’m going to get rid of the ones we don’t use or are too similar to others we like better. (Laura Lee, want one of our stand up toys?)

3) I’m going to try a new company called rentAtoy. It’s like Netflix for toys. A high school friend of mine, whom I just reconnected with, is their Chief Marketing Officer, and I think it sounds like a great idea.  It would certainly help with my lean, green, cleaning machine goals of 2009 since they are eco-friendly, economically friendly and organizationally (is this a word? why is it not coming up as unrecognizable by the freaky compoter brain?) friendly. I’ll get new toys every month and when the kids are bored with them, I’l send them back and get new ones.  I might even get a Wii. Bring on Wii Fit and RockBand, for all my spare time.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

humble pie in a blanket

Although in my previous post I claim to be close to comatose and unable to blog, I feel compelled to join in on another PROMPTuesday from San Diego Momma.

Write a story about when you last were humbled, felt humbled by the presence of something/someone in your life, or lay prostrate at the feet of the universe and said “I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I will now relinquish control and let you take over.”

Luckily I had this post saved in my drafts from months ago.  I just dusted it off and finessed it a little. Here goes…

My children teach me lessons in humility every day.  It’s what I love and hate the most about motherhood…the way I am forced to see myself for who I really am.  It makes me strive to be a better person and for that I am so thankful.

I can remember one instance in particular in which I felt humbled beyond recognition.  It was a quintessential A-Ha moment…My 2nd daughter, Lexi, was 6 weeks old. I was in the height of my sleep deprivation and at my wits’ end. And I mean WITS’ END.  Like, call the looney bin, end.  On this particular night, Lexi was inconsolable, as she had been for a few weeks straight, and I was rocking her to no avail, in my Dutalier rocker which I HIGHLY recommend, btw. As she wailed on like a banshee in my arms, my mind raced with all the things I had to do: fold the laundry, wash the dishes, workout, check emails, remove the chipped crusty polish from my nails, plan my toddlers b-day party, shower, brush my teeth, eat, sleep, and call the plumber. As the list raced through my mind I became more anxious, more upset, and more frustrated. Why is she crying?…Why won’t she stop?…I really have a lot to do…UGH! I just wanted it to stop.

Finally, in a rare moment of clarity, the following obvious yet profound thoughts ocurred to me:

  1. Babies cry.
  2. Babies are helpless.
  3. I am her mom.
  4. I am the only person (except her dad) that can help her.
  5. That is what moms do.

Ding Dong Mary, THIS IS MOTHERHOOD!  Moms hold, protect and love their babies. They stop everything else to do so.

They Surrender.

Obvious? Simple? Innate?

Maybe for some, but not to me. The reality of what being a mom means hit me like a flash of lightening in my weakest most raw state.  This little wonder, this miraculous gift from God, is my life, my blood, my everything. She is dependent on me for everything.  Nothing I need to do is more important.

The laundry and dishes, the plumber and nappy nails could wait.

At once, a sense of peace and clarity came over me. I could breath. I could see my baby, through and beyond the tears – hers and mine. She would not remember this moment, nor any of the moments to follow for many years to come, but this moment is what our relationship would be built on forever. In 5, 10, 15, 45 years from now, none of the things I had to get done will matter, but she will know that I am the person who loves her the most in this world. Not just because I conceived her, carried her and pushed her out my nether region. But because I raised and cared for her in sacrifice, surrender and pure love.

In that moment, I was humbled. I saw the higher plan for me and my role as mom. It was beautiful and moving, more than the words on this page can accurately describe.

Out of that moment came my 5 S’s of Parenting: Surrender, Survive, Sweat, Sacrife and Shhhhhhhut the f up. Any new or soon-to-be moms may want to check them out.

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never say never – part 2

It occurred to me the other day that my out-of-shape a$$ will be running a half marathon in a few months, up the HILLS OF SAN FRANCISCO…really???  So, this week I dusted off my running shoes, put air in the jogging stroller tires and hit the trails, running.  No, it was jogging.  No, who am I kidding, it was walking swiftly with a few slow sprints mixed in.  I need to start training for my training, that became painfully clear.

While on my first day out, about 5 minutes into the run, only traces of the bribery lollipop were left in the form of a bright blue stain on Lil’s lips which were uttering, Mom I want to go home.

Ugh!

By the time I repeated Just a little bit longer, Lil for the umpteenth time, my desire to work it on out had completely dissipated, so I headed home, after only 15 minutes.

At some point that evening, between the “Oh, I hate this show!” and the “Turn it up!” I exclaimed to my hubbie every 10 minutes of the Bachelor: After the Rose (It really was the most dramatic one ever), I had a flashback to running with Lily in the jogging stroller one night when she was just a baby, before baby #2 was even a consideration. We ran past a dad whose toddler was watching a DVD player in the stroller.

I remember thinking, Oh you’re kidding me! You can’t mix nature and exercise with TV. How dare he? That is the lowest of the low. I will NEVER do that.


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Yesterday my run/walk was 45 minutes. Booya!

We do what we gotta do, right parents? Can I get a what what?

generation gap

SC 1 – INT. PEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE LOBBY – DAY: Mama Mary sits with her two darling daughters, Lily and Lexi, patiently waiting to be seen.

CUT TO: Young triscuit-muffin nurse walking out into lobby.

Friendly Nurse: Lexi Godwin.

Mama Mary: Oh, that’s us.

Friendly Nurse: (Addressing Lily, the Toddler) Oh hi sweetheart.

Mama Mary: Inner Monologue – Oh, we have a nice nurse today.

Friendly Nurse: You’re a cutie.

Mama Mary: Inner Monologue – Bright and perceptive as well.

Friendly Nurse: And I love your shirt, it’s adorable.

Mama Mary: Inner Monologue – LOVE this nurse!

Friendly Nurse: Are those roller blades?

Mama Mary: Inner Monologue – Oh sweet, sweet youthful nurse.  They’re roller skates, dumbsh*t darling.  As in Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu and every tween girl circa 1980.   Though you are hot and skinny and in the prime of your life, I’m sorry that you will never know the joy of leg warmers and sweaty-palmed couple skates at Aquarius Roller Rink.

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Mama Mary: Yes, they are.  Isn’t that cute?

FADE TO BLACK

i don’t like gogs, Mommy

So, I have a parenting dilemma…

I’m afraid…of a lot of sh*t.  I’m afraid of heights, confined spaces, big dogs, creepy crawlies, free-falling roller coasters and unicorns, just to name a few.   I’ve learned how to live with these fears, but I really don’t want my children to learn these fears from me.  So, herein lies my dilemma…how do I keep from passing on my many fears to my daughters if I’m too afraid to teach them how to not be afraid?  But to that point, I wonder, is fearfulness a trait that is learned or rather is it inherent in a personality from birth?

Ever since Lily was born she has been afraid of things, even before I had a chance to teach her one way or another, so I do think some of it is genetic.  Things like loud noises and hmmm…dogs scare the crap out of her, and they have since Day 1.

It’s an interesting predicament I find myself in, when the things that scare her, also scare me.  I want to be the strong, invincible mommy, but sometimes I am having a freak-out of my own.

Case in point #1 – The other day, while at my brother-in-law Greg’s house, their GIGANTIC German Shepherd was let into the house while Lily and I were alone in the livingroom.  He ran ran through the room and the poor girl was terrified.  And I must admit, I don’t blame her.  I am scared sh*tless of this dog.

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So, although I tried to calm her by saying, “Don’t worry Lily, he won’t hurt you,” I was actually freaking the f out too.

I know I inherited some of my fear of dogs from my mom who won’t come within 10 feet of a dog.  And I am also fearful because one of my younger nieces was bit twice by a dog on her lip and is scarred for life.  Nevertheless, I really shouldn’t be so petrified of my own family’s trained, lovable dog.

“I don’t like gogs, Mommy,”  she said, the next day over her mac n’cheese and tomato lunch.  Inner Monologue  “I don’t blame you, honey.”  Whatever I did end up saying, probably didn’t comfort her much because I have a feeling she can see right through my facade.

Case in point #2 – Last week at PlayWerx, an indoor jungle gym activity center for kids,

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Lily went into the climbing apparatus and somehow made it all the way to the top.  When she screamed “MOMMY!’ from the tippy top I knew I would have to go in after her.  I left Lexi on the ground playing with another mommy/baby team and headed into the miniature, seemingly harmless labyrinth.  As soon as I hit the first tunnel, in which I had to crawl on my hands and knees up to the next level, I felt a rush of claustrophobia sweep over me.  My vision blurred and my breathing became shallow and fast.  Inner Monolgue – “Are you kidding me that I have to crawl through this thing right now? Breath Mary, breath.”  Once I reached the top I was fine and my anxiety attack passed.  But I thought to myself…no wonder Lily is afraid.  She’s got a chicken sh*t for a mother!

So, all you parentals out there who are kind enough to read my blog, any advice for this cowardly lioness?  I really don’t want my girls to be afraid of the simple things in life, like: thier friend’s pets, swinging upside down on the monkey bars, walking the balance beam, the hair in their 8th grade science teacher’s ears (like our beloved Mr. Boiko – RIP), science fair projects, or speaking in front of the class (yes, even though I love the stage I am terrified to speak in public).  I guess I need to tackle some of my fears first before I can be a decent role-model.  Or maybe I just send Daddy to the jungle gym next time…

Those Friends – Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday’s post…we all have those friends that we’re so connected to that no matter how much time passes between visits, you’re still as close as always when you do get to see them.  This past weekend I got to spend time with my Reno/LA pals and this week I am having the time of my life with my girl Jenny Jen and her family.  From the second this tall, lanky skinny, off-the-cuff gal with an awesome Baltimore accent started work in my office, we became fast friends.  Whether it was shop talk, girl talk, or I really need to vent talk, Jenny was my gal.  She moved back to Baltimore a few years ago and every time I see her it hurts to know that we don’t live near one another.

Yesterday our families spent the day at the Zoo.  We just picked up right where we had left off…finishing each others sentences, comparing mom crushes and toe nail color (we both have trendy black this week), commiserating on the hardships of getting back to pre-baby weight after the second kid, and reminiscing about the crazy days of television production.

Our kids danced and played together all day.

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My oldest, Lily, and her youngest, Stella, are 5 days apart.  Oh how I wish they could grow up together.  And her oldest, Shelby, and I are like soul sisters.  Since Shelby has been a baby, Jenny has talked to her about me as “Aunt Mary, the one who likes to sing and dance, just like you.”  So as she’s grown up, she remembers who I am, even though we only see each other once or twice a year.

At some point in the day, somewhere between the pandas…

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and the giraffes…

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Jenny and I looked at each other, as our kids bounced around, squealing and holding hands, and we both said “oh man, it hurts.”  We have so much fun together…what a bummer to not be able to have this fun all the time.  Such is life…we make decisions that are based on what is right for ourselves and our immediate family, i/e job, school, etc. and sometimes that means we sacrifice other aspects of our life.  So, we move far away from our friends, send them cards/gifts on special occasions (which Jenny is AWESOME at, especially with homemade crafty gifts) and keep updated on each others lives via facebook and Skype, and just look forward to the infrequent but special times you do get to be together.

We still have a couple more days together this week so I won’t have my pity party quite yet.  Instead I’ll just “have a good one (silent d silent n),” as she would say, and be thankful for her in my life.

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never say never

Until I became a parent, there were certain things I told myself I would never do…

1) I thought I would never sink to bribing my children…This photo cost me one Wiggles episode and some Yogos.  Why do you think she’s so happy?

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Parental bribery comes in many forms…If you eat your peas, you can have some dessert…If you stop whining, we can go play outside…If you pick up your toys, you can have a longer bath.  The ethics of it all may be questionable but I call it doin’ what you gotta do.  Don’t feel shame, embrace the bribe!

2) I also thought I would never base my life around my kids’ naps or bedtime…This photo was taken just after I said it was time to leave the park cause it was time for nap…She’s half bummed and half happy cause nap time means binky time.

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Yes, in a previous post I turned my nose up at routines, however that was primarily meant for real little ones.  After 6 months or so, a child will develop natural nap/sleep habits.  Some moms stick to them and some don’t.  My personal experience is that if I don’t stick to Lil’s nap schedule, I will be paying for it in temper tantrums and whines later.  No amount of fun at the park or anywhere for that matter, is worth it to me.  So…I base my life around Lil’s nap and nighttime schedule.  Yes, I am that person.

3) Last but not least…I NEVER thought I would dress my kid in Crocs

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What is with these things?  Kids just L-O-V-E them!  And I actually love them now too…they’re easy to put on, fun to dress up with the little Jibitz, and great for the beach, park or pool.

Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes, it’s best not to pass judgement. I don’t think I took that adage seriously until becoming a parent. Yes, I’ll take some ketchup with my words, that would be great, thanks!