Thanks For The Advice. Now Go Away.

It always amazes me when people without kids give parenting advice to people with kids.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, psychologist, uncle, aunt, or stranger… You. Don’t. Have. Kids. You have no idea. Really. The holidays, and reunions, and Sunday dinners just don’t matter. They are not enough experience to make your advice valid in my eyes.
We parents know that (secretly, of course, and only to the other non-parents) you roll your eyes and judge us. We know that you’re the first one who’s packed up, because you know where all of the three things you brought are. And we see you running an Olympic-qualifying race to your car to get away from us. Surprisingly, we don’t blame you. We envy you. You get to go home to your quiet house, and eat, and sleep, and go out again when you want/where you want/with whomever you want (or don’t want). You get to still in the stillness of your recently vacuumed home and look at all of your nice things. Things that are on display so visitors can see them. Things that aren’t just a picture you have to find in your phone that you show to your friends because the actual item is locked up in the closet behind three dead-bolt locks and a pit bull so that no one gets near it and breaks it. The glass votives and breakable figurines. The china teacup collection that contains a cup and saucer from every city or country you’ve ever visited. And since you can actually save money, you have a decent job with lots of vacation time and good benefits, and you’re able to leave the five-mile radius, you travel often.
You don’t know what it’s like to be punched (or kicked-the elbow and heel of a toddler are remarkably similar in the middle of the night) in the kidney while you’re dreaming of a life of peeing alone and sleeping later than 5AM. The life you used to have. The life you’ll never have again because your going to be stupid and do this at least one more time, if not four, and you’ll be broken and old by the time you are able to go out again without, not only your original plan, but three alternate plans. When you didn’t have to schedule everything five weeks in advance, and then only write it in pencil because someone will probably get the chicken pox, have a fever for no reason, throw up on the way to a play date, or just not be willing to leave the house. When you didn’t have to plan (and pack) for World War 3 every time you left the house.
You don’t know what it’s like to pass by all the wonderful foods, drinks, books without pictures, new electronics, and shiny jewelry/purses/etc. at Costco because you’re making your third trip this week for diapers, Lysol, and the pallet of peanut butter and mac and cheese that only they carry.
You don’t know the extreme gymnastics that go on when you bolt from a bed because your potty-training toddler just wet your bed. You put everything you have into the washer, take them back to their own bed, only to find that they moved to yours because there’s is already soaked.
You don’t know what it’s like to scrape dried “poop paintings” off the walls at 3AM. And you can’t tell me to just “make them stop doing that”.

See, it doesn’t work that way. I didn’t have anyone constantly leaning over me telling me what to do, and how to do it, and when/where/why to do it. My kids are, and will be, ok. If I mention something about them to a non-parent, it is probably because I think it’s a funny story (now that I’ve gotten over the pain of it being my reality). I’m not asking for advice.

I’m. Not. Asking. For. Advice.

I would never dream of giving you advice for the project you’ve got at work. I can’t tell you how to improve your golf swing. You see, I don’t golf. How could I possibly know the ins and outs of something I’ve never done?

If you become a parent, I’m here. I’m happy to help in anyway I can. If you want to know where to get good, cheap mattresses in bulk, I’m your girl. If you want to know how we stopped the poop paintings, just ask. If you need directions to Costco, I know all the shortcuts.

Know this: I wouldn’t switch places with you for the world. I love being a mom. I love having these stories to tell. I love being able to say that my ribs are intact, my kidneys are fine, and my walls are clean. I love being able to say that I survived all of it. I love my life, my stories, and my kids. I would do it all over again. (If I could go back in time. We are too far along to start all of this nonsense again, and both Barry and I have taken steps to ensure that we are defective, so it’s invalid at this point in the game.)

All of that love for what I have doesn’t make the green-eyed monster go away. It just makes me grateful for what I have, hopeful for what I will do in the future, and feel even more blessed that, when the day is done and the errands are ended, there are people to come home to. While I may never again know what it’s like to grab my little tiny purse with only phone, wallet, and keys and leave to spontaneously meet a friend and shop til I drop, I do know late-night snuggles, sprinkle and chocolate sauce pancakes, and the joy of giggling faces and holding hands while first steps are taken.

You can have your china and your eating out budget. I’m very happy with my garage sale Tupperware and a peanut butter sandwich.

That is all.

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What Not To Say. (Unless You’re Connecting With Your Kid)

There are phrases we all pick up. We hear someone else say them, they are absorbed into our vernacular, and soon we sound just like our kids. Or like other adults who have kids. Thankfully, the following blog didn’t hit home as much as I feared it might.

(In order to know the words you shouldn’t say, you’ll have to go read the original blog post. I’m not copying it. It’s not mine, and I don’t know how to do the stuff I have to do to give credit to all the people I’d have to give credit to. I do, however, know how to link things (hopefully it worked properly), so click it and come back.)

Read the post.
Answer the question.
See if you agree with me.

How many of these “no-no’s” do you do?

#1-harder to say than “totally”.
#2-I say and text this all the time. A friend around my age did it to me, and I thought it was a grown-up thing to say. We are, after all, wise enough by now to actually know, right??? Oops.
#3-I try to avoid saying “balls” if at all possible. Just because.
#4-I just can’t.
#5-I don’t live in prison or in the ‘hood’, and I’m less edgy than Punky Brewster, so I really have no reason to say it.
#6-again, harder for me to say than the actual word. If I have to spell it, AND sound it out in my head, then I’ll just say the word I’m trying so hard not to say.
#7-I do say this. Jessup says it to me, and, like a good mom, I respond to him. In his own language. It’s called ‘being a good mom’. I’m trying to connect people!!!

Some of these words are things I’ve heard adults older than me say. Especially adults on the internet. Although, if we are really being honest, how many actual adults are fiddling around on the internet? Aren’t they all at their grown-up jobs being ‘responsible adults’?

I’m going to go swing in the back yard, call my friend Cherry, drink my grape Kool-Aid with my crazy straw, and maybe catch an episode of Punky Brewster…which my phone automatically capitalizes for me.

That…hits…me…right in the feels…

That is all.

Brain Dump Friday – The Craziness Returns

I don’t want to say too much…but I could actually get paid to be a professional doodler. Doodling. Who would have guessed?

It was a bright revelation after the week I had. I managed to let both of my children down in the course of two days. I know it happens…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It does. The internet at home has gone down about 10 times this morning and it’s making me want to kick something. It’s so irritating. I can only guess that the internet is as shocked and bewildered by the weather as I am. Six inches of snow at the beginning of the month, and then 95 degrees and humid enough to melt your face off 15 days later. I’m glad that modern-day Boone, Iowa isn’t like England in 1915. I don’t understand them. I’m catching up on Downton Abbey. It would be nice to have people running around cleaning and cooking, but I can dress myself, thank you very much. And I don’t need people listening to every word I say. None of it is that important, but it’s mine. By the way, every time the new maids’ name is mentioned (it’s Ethel), I think of Romeo and Ethel The Pirates’ Daughter from Shakespeare In Love. I’m not going to explain, you either know or you don’t, and if you don’t, you should. Also: Falling Skies. Oh my goodness! Scary and wonderful. Well, I’ve got things to finish up. Sorry I was gone for so long. I’m back. That is all.

Hi, my name is Vicki, and I’m undesirable…

(Everyone together: “Hi, Vicki!”)

I don’t blog when I’m down.

Ok, that’s not totally true. I’m blogging right now.

I’ve had a lot on my mind, but every time I sit down to write, I get whiney-sounding, and I don’t want to whine here, so I delete it and go about my day.

Too bad for this post…I’m breaking my rule. You can just skip to the next post if you’d like. In fact, you probably should.

You’re not going to, are you? OK…I warned you.

I’ve been looking for a job for quite some time now, and I’m not finding anything. It’s getting me down, and the more rejection I face, the more down I get, and the more down I get, the less I care about finding a job, and the less I care about finding a job, the more pressure I feel, and the more pressure I feel, the more down I get…

It’s a vicious spiral.

I can’t even get a job at Walmart. I hate Walmart, but I would work there, and I’d be a great employee. But they don’t even want me. Nobody does. Cue world’s smallest violin…

It’s just that it’s all pretty overwhelming right now, and I’m having trouble with what’s fair and what’s not fair. It just seems stupid that we can’t do something that would greatly benefit our son (and us-financially) because I can’t find a job. It’s a huge weight to bear, and I don’t like it. It makes me want to stay in bed all day. It feels like it’s all my fault. And the worst part is that it’s a tiny amount now to earn him a scholarship and save almost half of his college tuition for four years. Yeah…almost half! But it’s too much right now, and that’s just the way it is. It’s not fair.

There I go sounding whiney…time to go lay down in the dark and probably not sleep. That’s what I do.

On a brighter note, I got a new toothbrush and I really like it. New mouthwash, too.

And I get to spend the whole day tomorrow with my girl. One-on-one days with my kids are the best!

I’m going to choose to see the best, and make the best of what I can.

Oh, and…while it may suck to live on a budget, it’s sucks more to have three things pop up in one month. One month that was so perfectly planned and is now shot to **insert your own word here**. That’s why we are changing things. We get up and dust ourselves off, make the best of what we will try to save out of the mess that is May, and try again next month.

If you need me, I’ll be praying in the corner. And some crying. Hopefully, mostly praying. At least I’m not pregnant. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just thought about something worse than what I feel now, and that would be worse. So…at least that’s not a possibility.

That is all.

P.S. Can I put two “ly” words together like that? Well, I did it. Sue me. Well, don’t sue me…but if you threaten to, I can just send you the $5 I have left, and we’ll save some court fees. ;)

Also, would you pray for me…that it turns around? That I find a job I can at least stand to go to? That we stay on track? There are lots of things to pray for, but those are the big ones. For now. Thank you.

Brain Dump Friday – My Life Is Boring, But Busy Edition

It’s SHOW NIGHT!!! I went to the preview night last night to record it, and IT’S SO AMAZING! I loved it! The kids have done a great job and worked so hard! Jessup went from bit parts and big parts with no lines to the lead role, and I think he’s doing really well. I hope this is a hint of what’s to come. So many of the kids who are usually in the plays aren’t in this one. I don’t know why. It’s nice to see new kids getting the roles though, and to see new talent up there. I know this…Jessup can’t wait to get his hair cut! He’s had to let it grow out because he’s a “Greaser” and they have longer hair. Jessup gets his hair cut every five weeks, like clockwork. I wish my video-taping skills were as good as the play deserved. It takes up the whole stage, and in order to get the volume, I had to be close. It’s not terrible, but having someone there to take pics for me would have been really helpful. Trying to record AND take pics was difficult. Today is going to be such a busy day. It’s good though, because it won’t drag on. I hope. FPU (Financial Peace University) started this week as well. The class is bigger than we thought it would be. That’s a good thing. It means more people are changing their family tree. We are a busy, busy family. I feel sometimes like I brag about Jessup more than Ainsley. I hate that. Ainsley made the honor roll. It seems like she does everything he does (drama, orchestra, honor roll, etc.), so it’s hard to brag about her without him being included. I want to encourage her to do something new. Something he doesn’t do… We’ve tried, but it hasn’t worked so far. Except for sports. He did track, she did basketball. They each did only one season, and both got it out of the way in 7th grade. So, even when she’s different, she’s still similar. They even both have blue as their favorite color. sigh. I need to find someone who can make my dining room chairs not wobbly. I don’t know how to fix them, and they’re really old, so we need to do it before they break. I am making supper for Barry’s parents tonight before the play, and I’m excited about it. I’m pretty sure Ma thinks that I don’t or can’t cook, and while she’s partly right, I can cook. There’s a difference. My Brother-In-Law, Richard, is coming over as well. It isn’t the same without Becky, but she’s hopefully having such a good time in Spain that she won’t be too sad. (BECKY: It’s recorded…you can see it when you get back!) I don’t want to make her feel homesick, so I try not to tell her how much she’s missed, but there is a definite hole here without her. I had my follow up appointment with my doctor yesterday and got a clean bill of health. YAY! This isn’t very random today. Nor is it interesting. I saw an SUV with the license plate GRMSVAN the other day. It wasn’t a van. It was an SUV. I really wanted to point that out. Also, I assume the GRMS stood for Grandmas or Grams, and not for Germs, but I thought it was funnier saying Germs Van, so that’s what I choose to see. I have a personal plate all picked out for my car, and for my other car (Jessup’s car is technically mine), so when I need new stickers this year, I might get new plates as well. I’m not going to say what they are. This was an actual conversation between Jessup and me. It shows how annoying I am.

Jessup: Say there was a tough math problem…

Me: All math problems are tough.

Jessup: No, I mean a really hard one.

Me: Oh, so it has letters in it.

Jessup: Ok, yeah, whatever. Can I please finish? …

Me: o_o

I’m pretty annoying. I think math is hard. I don’t understand the point of the Harlem Shake. I think it would be fun, though, for our youth group to do it. Since it’s almost all boys, I don’t think it would get too out of hand. Then again, our youth group is almost all boys. Jessup seems to think that marriage is a one-way street. That when he gets stressed out, he will able to talk and talk and talk and then go away, and his wife will just sit there and digest all that he has said. He doesn’t realize that she’s going to have things to say back to him, and that she’s going to talk (probably) more than he does. I think it would be really fun to not tell him, and see what happens, but I should probably figure out a way to prepare him for the fact that she will not be his mother, and she will get mad when he dumps and runs. That sounds funny. I meant in a conversation, but the other will make her mad as well. That is all.