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Why My Kids’ Chores Don’t Make Me Lazy

Why My Kids’ Chores Don’t Make Me Lazy

Let me start by saying I can be a lazy mom. If you haven’t gathered that by now, I think you might need to seek some counsel. Either way, I was laying on the sofa this week, eating Bon Bons and watching my shows (you know, just like all of us lazy moms) and read this article about a mom chastised for showing pictures of her kids doing chores.

Sanctimommies lit their torches and charged the gates on this woman’s child-rearing techniques. She was called lazy, told to hire a maid and lambasted for being the next Miss Hannigan.

Like, I know you sanctimommies love being right, but I am going to have to tell you you’re fucking insane.

First of all, have you ever tried to teach a kid to clean something? Let me just bring you up to speed since your maids seem to be taking care of the lion’s share of things, lately.

This took place four minutes ago at my house:

Me: We need to pick up these crayons.

4: Oh man! All of them?

Me: Yes, all of them.

4: But, WHHHHYYYYYYYY?!

Me: I don’t want the dog pooping the rainbow again. It’s gotta be done.

4: Okay. *picks up three of the 347 on the floor* Done.

Me: *Deep breath* You need to get them all. You see that one by your foot?

4: Where? *Looking at ceiling*

Me: *Eyeball twitching* By your foot. That grows at the end of your leg.

4: *Looking directly at it* I don’t see it.

Me: *Sweat dripping down my forehead* Wiggle your toes. You’ll touch it.

4: …

Me: …

4: …

Me: …

4: Ohhhhhh! Got it.

 

This is what it’s like teaching a child to clean up after himself. If you think this is the lazy parenting approach, you’ve got another thing coming. I would 100000% rather pick up the crayons than have to go through that routine another 346 times.

Secondly, here’s the thing, for your argument of “let kids be kids” and play games and lay around like Julius Caesar. My plan is to not let adults be kids. Meaning, I don’t want my adorable four year old who can’t find a crayon become an unfortunate 40 year old, living in my basement and on Hoarders season 63 amongst his newspaper collection and tribe of hamsters.

It is important to teach your kids to clean. I am living proof that if your kids don’t know how to clean they become parents who don’t know how to clean. No, it isn’t fun. Yes, it’s easier to pick it up yourself, but I will be DAMNED if you’re going to tell me this is the easy way out.

Now, back to these crayons. *Cleansing breath.*

Gettin’ that Worm: The Life of an Early Bedtime Mom

Gettin’ that Worm: The Life of an Early Bedtime Mom

It’s 6:25 pm.

All four of my kids are asleep.

This is how it has been most nights since my twins were born. Hell, this is how my life has been for as long as I can remember.

In high school, my best friend was a night owl. As soon as it got dark, she would want to eat fudge, watch scary movies and carry on until dawn. I barely made it past dusk and fell asleep with a chocolate mustache. Then, I was up with the birds reading Seventeen for hours until she cracked her eyeballs open.

Not much as changed, except replace best friend with husband and life has come full circle.

There’s not much I can do. By the time 3 pm rolls around, I can barely function. It’s movie time for the kids and my brain is mashed potatoes. I barely ever follow through with the promises of dinner not out of a can and board games. We are all in our pajamas by 5 pm. If my husband’s home, the kids will stay up until 8. If not? I am crashed with them by 7.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t get up before the sun every day. My kids and I are kicking the day in the face by 5 am. We all leap out of bed like we are auditioning for a musical and seize the shit out of the day. I clean, play, sing, dance, and exercise before my husband wobbles to the bathroom.

Sometimes, well a lot of times, this can mean we miss out on a lot of stuff. Activities that take place at 6 pm make me weak. There’s no way my family of early birds can do more than watch Homeward Bound after 5 pm let alone swim laps in a pool.

There’s times when it pays off. Like for my bi-monthly mom group that starts at 845 am. I am the first mom there with all four of my kids who are dressed, fed and fully prepared to enjoy every ever-loving second of play time. Other moms will roll in with feathers from their pillows still in their buns casting me confused looks like I have a hard drug habit in order to arrive early let alone on time.

So, before you judge me for having my sugarplums nestled before Jeopardy, know that if it comes to an early morning showdown, the Mommy Mack clan has this shit locked down.

What’s your bedtime/wake-up routine? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Uncrunchy Mom: Why We Aren’t Always Eating Organic

Uncrunchy Mom: Why We Aren’t Always Eating Organic

I’m a ’90s baby. I blame my excessive chin hair on the copious amounts of Surge I consumed during my tween years. There was no such thing as “crunchy” parents or “organic” foods. We all ate Cool Ranch Doritos, red dye #5, Little Debbies and we loved every artery-clogging second of it.

Going from ’90s baby to Millennial Mom comes with its own set of challenges. I was extremely proud of myself for learning a new grocery shopping regime. I try to skirt more on the edge of the store (meat, produce, dairy) than in the middle aisles packed with sugar and happiness. This seemed to be a brilliant life hack and just enough for me not to feel guilty about my inability to sustain my own garden.

However, I quickly learned I am slowly killing my children during a visit with a friend. Said friend was over for lunch and quite literally gasped when she looked in my freezer.

“Is that Tyson chicken?!” She screeched.

“I know, right! Not even a nugget! Aren’t you proud?”

“Tyson?! she continued, “That chicken is packed with hormones! Don’t you know they keep those chickens in cages?!” She screeched.

I stared at her dumbly. First of all, the fact that the chicken wasn’t in the shape of a dinosaur was quite possibly a first for me. Secondly, what other option was there for chickens besides cages and coops? I grew up on a farm, if the chickens weren’t in cages they were chasing me around the yard trying to peck my eyeballs out. I could only imagine the damage Tyson’s chicken army could manage.

After my holier-than-thou ex-friend left, I took to the internet to see what all the fuss was about.

Big mistake.

I got caught in a black hole succubus of information. I sat there green around the gills watching slaughterhouse videos, reading studies on cancer-causing kids’ snacks, listening to podcasts about children hitting puberty in kindergarten after drinking a cup of non-organic cow’s milk.

I never felt so confused, sickened and irate in one moment.

What the fuck can my kids eat?

It wasn’t just chicken, I quickly found out. There were horror stories on every. damn. thing. Unless I was raising a small herd of animals in my house, singing lullabies to them each night, planting and harvesting crops, milking my own cows that I fed tears of angels, I was never, ever, ever going to raise children that didn’t have three nipples and tumors the size of watermelons.

Then, I watched an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit where they debunked all things organic. I felt a little less guilty, but only a little since I hardly ever take nutritional advice from two magicians.

Like all things parenting, I decided to take a strict middle of the road stance. My kids continue to eat processed foods, but I also buy organic stuff sometimes too. Yes, they ride sugar highs like a magic carpet sometimes but they don’t have beards in preschool, yet.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not entirely lazy either. I’m just right.

But, really, who the hell can keep up?!

I won’t ever be the mom who gives her babies sippy cups of Mountain Dew but I also will never, ever have a chicken coop.

I care a little but not enough to be full blown crunchy and start making my own soaps.

I’m like the instant oatmeal of mothers.

What about you? Does your family do all organic? Tell me more in the comments!

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Uncrunchy Mom: Why my kids aren't always eating organic | MrsMommyMack.com

 

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5 Reasons I Let My Kids Play Games Alone

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Play Games Alone

Some days, I look at parents with one kid and think how in the hell do you do it? Might sound crazy coming from this nutcase who has four kids, but really, how do you entertain that child 24/7?

When my oldest goes to preschool, my middle child is lost and looks to me for every step in her day. She doesn’t know what to do with herself. Playing seems like teaching her Mandarin. She just doesn’t get it without her partner in crime. She’s on my heels the entire day asking me questions about ants, snakes, Rudolph, vaginas, presents, ants, snakes, Rudolph…you get the idea. By the end of the day, I am skipping to my son and my daughter runs into his arms like he’s returning from Vietnam.

Once we are all nestled back home, most of the time, I don’t play with my kids. I have trained them to play with each other. Yes, I love being able to eat without being asked where babies come from, but also I feel they are learning some very, very important traits.

  1. They learn to deal with people they don’t like. Some days, I swear, every 13 minutes I am hearing, “Sissy did this!” and “Brother broke that!” Early on, I would hold a mediation, dole out timeouts, make everyone hug and sing Kumbaya. Not anymore. Unless I see blood, they are working it out together. Sure, you might think your brother is an asshole, but you need to learn how to deal with him or you’re playing by yourself, sweetheart.
  2. They learn they aren’t so wonderful. When I play with my kids, I can’t help but be constantly wowed by everything they do. In the middle of a game of Chutes and Ladders I am smooching them up because they counted to three only after restarting six times. I just can’t believe I made that little drop of heaven. Now, their siblings aren’t going to stand for that shit. Take too long counting? Game’s over or you lose your turn. While sometimes my heart breaks when I see my daughter get snubbed by her older brother, I swallow it. Life isn’t always going to have someone kissing them for merely breathing oxygen. Some days, you’re going to have to swallow your pride and learn something new.
  3. Oh the stories they’ll tell. Playing with another kid is not the same as playing with parents. There’s more imagination, less kissing and more misbehaving. I want them to be able to have stories of each other to tell their kids for years to come. The games they played, lessons they learned and joy they experienced is the best gift I can give them.
  4. I cherish my time with them. The last thing I want my kids to remember of me when they are older is the angry way I played Candyland. If my kids were relentlessly demanding me be their puppet master, I would definitely not enjoy the games and adventures we do go on. I want them to be cherished memories and not a blur of frustration.
  5. They won’t give up on each other. I use this hands-off technique because my mother used it on me. While, as a kid, I wanted to drown my brother in the kiddie pool on a daily basis, now, as an adult, I can’t imagine life without him. He still is the one person in the world who pisses me off more than anyone, but that’s nothing new. I have been getting pissed by his antics since age three. I know how to say “sorry” hug it out and could never, ever imagine a holiday or month without seeing him. No matter what happens to me and what happens between them, I want to be sure that every holiday season, birthday and celebration, my four kids got each others’ backs, just like my brother always has mine.

What did I miss? Tell me how your kids play together in the comments!

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Go Fish: Losing My Shit During Kids’ Card Games

Go Fish: Losing My Shit During Kids’ Card Games

As I have mentioned before, I have a hard time realizing my kids are growing up and teaching them new things. So, this week, I geared myself up to do something new. I dusted off a deck of playing cards. This week we we learned how to play Go Fish! Well, my four year old “learned.” My three year old bent and licked a couple cards and then yelled at her brother for not taking her card shark skills seriously.

So, my son and I were going to play cards. Up until this point, I have avoided playing cards because 52 Pickup is not my favorite game. However, I knew I needed to do something new and this was about all I could handle.

We started.

His little hands worked feverishly to make a tiny claw to hold his hand of cards. I was astonished he was able to hold 25% of the cards in the right direction. He was so cute staring intently at his hand and furrowing his little brow.

When did he get so big?

What’s going through his precious, brilliant little mind? 

How did I create such utter perfection? 

He vaguely knew the rules of the game from playing it on my phone before.

He started, “Do you have a K?”

“Go fish.”

“Okay, honey, you have to pick another card.”

“Oh yeah,” he said while digging through the pile. “I think this game would be more fun if I was a lion. Can I be a lion?”

“Well, sure, I suppo-”

“RAWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!” He screamed in my face with spittle flying every which way.

“Whoa!” I squealed. “Okay, you can be a lion but not so much of a lion that the babies wake up. If that happens, Mom will become a Grizzly Bear.”

“Okay! Your turn, Mama.”

“Do you have a six?”

“Go Fish.”

“Aren’t you going to look at your cards?”

“I did. No six. Go Fish.”

“Okay,” I said as I drew a card.

“Do you have a six?” He asked.

“You just told me you didn’t have a six,” I said, ever-so-patiently.

“Well, I do. I have two sixes.”

“Okay, but remember when you have two you put them off to the side out of your hand.”

“Oh yeah,” he said and then delicately plucked the two cards from his vice grip and flung them into the three-year old’s waiting hands never to be seen again.

“It’s still your turn, honey,” I said as I watched him maneuver his hand around.

“I am just going to dig in the pile for a 10,” he said and started flipping cards over in the middle.

“No, no, no. That’s not how you play. You have to ask me for the 10. That’s cheating.”

“That’s right. No cheating. Do you have a six? I changed my mind. I’m not going to ask for my 10.”

“Wait, you have another six? You were supposed to give that to me when I asked for it.”

“I didn’t have one then,” he said. “I have a six and a 10.”

*Deep cleansing breath.*

“But, you didn’t draw another card since I asked.”

“I found it on the floor.”

“Fine. Okay. Here’s my six,” I lamented.

Meanwhile, the three year old has a chunk of the six of spades hanging from her lip.

“Me play!” said three year old screeches.

“You are playing, my love. You’re the Official Cardholder. It’s a very important part. Dare I say, the most important part.”

“WHAT?!” my four year old Go Fisher screamed. “I WANT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!”

“You’re right. Mommy misspoke. You’re both so important. I think President Obama himself wants you on his team. Now, do you have a 10?” I ask through gritted teeth, giving up on my letting-him-win strategy and pulling off the Band-Aid.

“Go Fish.”

Comment below with your parenting tasks that drive you bat shit crazy.

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Merry Fucking Christmas: The Holidays as a Mother

Merry Fucking Christmas: The Holidays as a Mother

One of my brother and my’s favorite stories of our childhood is how every holiday season, without fail, my mother would lose her ever loving shit on us and scream, “MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS!” She would proceed to slam her bedroom door shut and, I assume, cry into wrapping paper for the next three hours.

 

As a child, all I could think was, “What a flipping psychopath! What mother screams f-bombs during Jesus’s birth month!? What is the number for CPS? This woman cannot be trusted with children.”

 

Now, as a mother, I have come out of my self-indulgent fugue state and remember things a bit more accurately. I remember laying like King Caesar on the couch, covered in chocolate covered cherries, watching TRL while my mother sweated and hurled box after box of decorations up from the basement. I craned my neck around her as she twitched with rage while the tree fell down for the seventh time and I shushed her so I didn’t miss a minute of Britney’s latest album release.

 

I remember her holding it together as she gingerly unwrapped each Christmas ornament from the prior 15 years, remembering how sweet her swine of children once were. I also recall the rubber band of sanity snapping in her brain as the dog lifted it’s leg on the  ornaments and my brother and I guffawed with gaping mouths of taco Doritos while my poor mother lost her ever-loving shit.

 

We deserved much more than one violent, “Merry fucking Christmas.”

 

In an all-encompassing “what goes around, comes around,” I am now the mother. I am not just the mother of two hideously unappreciative heathens, but four. Well, I will admit, mine are still little and Christmas joy prances across their faces quite merrily still. But, the holiday rage is still bred into my veins.

 

The questions on locale for the holiday parties start around August. Where do we have Christmas this year? Is the million dollar question you don’t want to answer. It’s not just one party, either. It’s LOADS of parties.

 

The choice is yours.

 

Do you want to scream “Merry fucking Christmas!!!!!!” every day as you scrub feces off the baseboard in anticipation for guests. OR do you want to scream “Merry fucking Christmas!!!!” into your pillow as you wake Christmas morning and think about stuffing three pairs of chubby legs into three pairs of tights and then those same legs into snow pants and then into car seats and drive at least an hour one way with your vehicle busting at the seams with: crushed gifts, spilling side dishes, pack and plays, toys, diaper bags, eight month old french fries and a sleeping husband?!

 

Pick very carefully.

 

Then, there’s the joys of 24/7 sugar highs the entire month of December. Everywhere you look is someone shoving a sugary treat in your childrens’ yaps. The threats of calling Santa lose their muster around December 2nd and Mom is back losing her shit like normal. Riding the sugar high roller coaster daily with four kids should deserve some sort of Medal of Honor.

 

What about trying to get four equally fair Christmas lists? You know what my son wants for Christmas? A fucking claw machine. As in, the $3,000 machines at arcades that you can win shitty toys with after you put a kidney in the slot. He’s four so trying to get him to just “forget” about the claw machine is never.going.to.happen. That’s super easy to pull off.

 

So, there’s the stress of managing an Amazon wishlist under your covers because kids are for sure always sleeping with you and there’s nowhere to hide. You add one pencil to one list and you HAVE to add three more pencils to the other three lists or this will be the one thing that sends them to therapy for their entire 30’s. You may be running on 45 seconds of sleep and dreaming about a Black Friday killing spree, but you’re ready.

 

Then, you wake up Christmas morning at 2:30 am because kids don’t know about clocks and you went to bed at 2 am so that should be plenty of sleep. You crawl down the stairs muttering, “Merry Fucking Christmas” with each creaky step. You swear to yourself this is the last year you put yourself through it. Next year will be different. Next year we are taking on the Asian minimalist life and everyone gets a rubber band for Christmas and they will LOVE IT! We won’t leave the house the entire month of December and our Christmas tree will be OUTSIDE so there’s no needles being pooped out.

 

But, it never fails, every damn year their little eyes explode with happiness. Your old, hardened Grinch heart shatters into a million pieces. You record so many videos your phone is full but you don’t give a shit. So, you giggle with pure glee as you snap photos of them up to their eyeballs in wrapping paper. You silently sob as they scream, “Thank you, Santa!” You swallow 367 lumps in your throat as your husband wraps his arm over your shoulder, hands you a coffee and whispers, “Great job.”

 

These are your little MIRACLES! Look at how precious my family is! And GRATEFUL! They are such blessings from the great Lord above! Praise you Jesus on this glorious day!

 

And that’s how they get you. Merry fucking Christmas, moms. You’re gonna need it.

 

Tell me about the times you completely lost it during the holidays in the comment section!

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One Track Minds: Don’t Suggest Fun Shit to My Kids

One Track Minds: Don’t Suggest Fun Shit to My Kids

One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, hit the nail on the head when talking about children and their one-track minds. He joked about how he and his wife were nonchalantly talking about ice cream and his child screamed “CHOCOLATE!” for the remainder of their road trip. Despite their desperate pleas, the child never stopped.

This is what it’s like having a toddler.

Every.
Single.
Day.

I don’t know if this is something new for us Millennial Parents, because my mom seems to have completely forgotten about kids’ leech-like minds. For example, we took a trip to the zoo recently. Boy were we excited! After an an entire morning packing, a half-hour drive and a good 20 minutes getting us out of the vehicle, we arrived! My mom, my 3-year-old son, one-year-old daughter and I grabbed our tickets and headed in, right past the gift shop.

“PRIZES!” My son exclaimed at unnerving volumes.

I began my spiel of, “Oh now, nice! Aren’t those pretty? Look! I think that LION KNOWS HOW TO TALK!” In a 100% effective way to distract him from the fluorescent monkeys.

My mother, however, apparently had a stroke on the trip over and blurted, “I will get you one of those prizes on the way back, my dear, sweet baby angel!”

I whipped my head around in hopes my son was (temporarily!) missing and did not hear my mother’s pirate mouth. No such luck.

From that moment forward, no matter how many white lies I told about the animals abilities to talk/walk/play poker at night, my son was over it.

“Yeah, I’ve seen enough animals. Time for a prize!” He said after merely passing a chipmunk on the way to the first animal exhibit.

That was it. That’s all we heard. Every step we took further away from the gift shop, the more my son hated animals for even existing. So, the trip lasted a quick lap around the zoo and my son raced into the gift shop. My mom then proceeded to tell my children they could have anything they wanted because, Lord knows we should give the little hustler the Taj Mahal. After careful, intricate, meticulous, hair-pulling deliberation, my son chose a pen. That was his prize. My daughter “picked” a monkey (she’s 1, let’s face it, I handed it to her and it was the best thing that ever happened to her) and my son could have had anything in the store and he picked a pen. Priorities.

So, after the zoo trip, I have been coaching friends and family not to speak of anything children might even fathom to enjoy unless you have it in your pocket and don’t ever want to see it again. Things have been moving smoothly, until today.

You see, I just got myself a double stroller and my husband has been taking our car to work. That means: anywhere we want to go is by foot with me pushing 60 pounds of toddler through 85 degree weather. Today, we had to drop some paperwork off at the insurance office. It was only a little over a mile away, but it’s hot, my kids are squirrely and I’m fat. By the time we got there, I was red as a plum, we were all out of water and I had to shit. In other words, we were done.

The receptionist decided she wanted to strike up a conversation, however. She was: talking to the kids, advising me to put more sunscreen on due to the fact that I looked like I was melting and then asked if we WERE HEADED TO THE PARK NEXT. 

Instantly, I had visions of taking her padded headband and shoving it down her throat. But, there were too many witnesses.

My son instantly shot up, “YEAH!!!! The park!!! Let’s GO!!!!!!”

Mind you, the park is three miles away and I’m nearing cardiac arrest. So, don’t judge me for not schlepping us across town.

After shooting the deepest death glare I could muster at Little-Miss-Parky-Pants, we left. I tried so hard to change the subject. So fucking hard.

I pointed at a seagull, “Hey buddy! Look! It’s an eagle!”

“Cool mom! Maybe he wants to come to the park with us?”

Next attempt, “Aren’t you getting thirsty? I bet you can’t wait to get home to have some SODA! What a treat!”

“No thanks, Mom. I will be thirsty at the park!”

Again, “Don’t you want to wash down that soda with some ICE CREAM! You can have Mom’s special ice cream she hides in the ice maker for after you go to bed!”

“Hmmmm, maybe later, Mom. We gotta go to the PARK!”

Finally, I shot it to him straight, “OK, Mom didn’t want to tell the lady at the office this, but the park is closed today. We can’t go there! But we can go tomorrow and you can tell DAD all about it when he gets home from work?”

Pause…

“OK!!!! Now, let’s go have soda and ice cream all day!!!!”

So, now I have to deal with the guilt of: not killing myself trying to get them to the park, LYING to a CHILD, and the fact that my husband will have to hear about the park for an entire two hours tonight when he gets home.

Looks like tomorrow I’m getting a workout.

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