When Staying At Home Sucks

Posted on Feb 13, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

I am so, so grateful that I can stay at home with Elisabeth.  I know I am very blessed to have that as an option, and I try not to take that for granted.  And I love, love, love my daughter more than anything.  She is smart and funny and sweet and entertaining and our time together is priceless.

I just needed to put that all out should Elisabeth ever find this blog post and think I think otherwise.

Because some days being a stay-at-home mom sucks.

I have no desire to get in the working mom v. stay-at-home mom debate.  Who cares?  For those of us fortunate to have the choice, if working fulfills you, that probably means you’ll be a happy, healthy role model for your children, and so that’s probably what is best for your family.  If staying at home fulfills you, that probably means you’ll be a happy, healthy role model for your children, and so that’s probably what is best for your family.  But I’m willing to bet there are some days when working moms think, “Aghhhhh I hate my job and just want to be at home with my kids!”  Because I know for a fact that there are some days when stay-at-home moms think, “Aghhhhh I need to get out of my house and away from my kid(s)!”

Um, maybe I shouldn’t speak for all stay-at-home moms.  But if I’m the only one that feels that way sometimes, I’m going to be pretty embarrassed about admitting it on the blogosphere.  But seriously, some days are tedious and tiresome and just plain boring.  There, I said it.

Anyway.  Those days are rare.  Very rare.  I just happened to have one yesterday.  And now I need to blog about it because I feel partly guilty about harboring such feelings and partly in need of a good vent.

I went to bed Monday night with a raging headache.  I woke up on Tuesday morning – in the 5:00 hour – with a raging headache.  Knowing before 6:00AM that your day is probably going to suck, sucks.  Elisabeth decided to wake up at 6:15AM.  She told me she had no intention of returning to dreamland by emphatically throwing her lovey on the ground, followed by her pacifier.  Point taken.  And so our day began…

…And never ended.

Besides a short trip to the family gym on base, the pounding in my head kept us home.  I just was not up to going anywhere or doing anything.  No amount of Tylenol helped.  As nap-time approached, I prayed that Elisabeth would give me a good 2-hour respite from her.  You see, Elisabeth has gone back to her bad-napper ways.  We had a good thing going for a while.  Consistent, 1-hour naps, twice a day.  Some days, she’d even give me two 1 and 1/2 hour naps!  Those were the best days.  But now she’s dropped to one nap, and inexplicably, it has gotten shorter.  I was told that when babies drop to one nap a day, they usually sleep for a longer stretch of time.  Not my kid!  She’s been giving me about one one-hour nap a day.  That’s probably way more than you ever wanted to know about my daughter’s napping habits, but all that to say – she doesn’t nap nearly enough!

So of course, on this day of all days, Elisabeth outdid herself.  45 minutes.  She slept for 45 freaking minutes.  Uh-uh, that is not okay.  I spent the better part of the next hour listening to her scream on and off while trying to get her to go back to sleep.  I finally had to admit defeat.  It was shortly after 2:00PM.  I was expecting Damon home at 4:30.  I could get through another 2 and 1/2 hours.  Even if Elisabeth would be a tired hot mess (and she was), it was only 2 and 1/2 more hours on my own. 

Except it wasn’t 2 and 1/2 hours.  Damon got delayed at work and didn’t make it home till 6:50.  Got that? 6:50PM.  Remember how I said my darling daughter awoke at 6:15AM?  That is 12 hours and 35 minutes of exclusive one-on-one time with a toddler.  Well, minus the 45-minute nap.  I repeat: 12 hours and 35 minutes with a (SLEEP-DEPRIVED, IRRITABLE) toddler.  No other human interaction.  Zero.  I don’t know what all the fuss is about waterboarding.  This, this is real torture.

What does a 12 hour and 35 minute day with a sleep-deprived, irritable toddler look like?

It looks like reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” fifteen mind-numbing times in a row.  It looks like cleaning out your toddler’s closet, while she pulls out every diaper from the changing table, every book from the bookshelf, and every toy from her toy bins, so after the closet is effectively clean, the rest of her room is left in mass destruction.  It looks like trying to make dinner while your over-tired, whining kid claws at your legs begging to be picked up but you can’t pick her up because you have to stir the quinoa SO SHE HAS A HEALTHY SOURCE OF PROTEIN AT DINNER!  WHY DOESN’T SHE UNDERSTAND THAT!?

I was furiously scrubbing dishes when Damon walked in the door.  “I’ve had a really long day,” he said.  And unleashed my rage.

“I know you’ve had a hard day!  Flying jets is soooo tough, Mr. Pilot-Man!  Did your day involve washing approximately 13,579 dishes?  Did your day involve scraping chewed up broccoli off the floor?  Did your day involve negotiating nap-time with a cranky midget!? I don’t think so!”*

Okay, most of that rage was in my head.  However Damon must have sensed all was not well and quickly said, “Why don’t you go take a break, hon?”

I dropped the dishes and bolted for the bedroom, shut the door and climbed into bed with a book.  A non-picture book, at that!**

Those three minutes by myself before Damon came in and asked me where to find Elisabeth’s PJs were splendid. Probably the highlight of my day.  And that probably sounds pathetic.

Like I said, these days are very rare. But when they happen?  Suckity suck suck suck.  Eloquent, I know.

But without these days, I wouldn’t appreciate the great days we have 99% of time.  At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

*To be fair to my husband, he does other work besides flying jets.  I don’t know what, exactly, but I know he works very, very hard for us.

**If I’m being technical, it was my iPad.  A book on my iPad. Does anyone read real books anymore?

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The Only Workout Song You Will Ever Need

Posted on Feb 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s February.  Which means your resolve to uphold your New Year’s Resolution is probably waning.  Actually it’s mid-February, so that resolve is probably completely gone. If your resolution happened to involve working out a) please stop crowding my gym classes every January and b) it’s your lucky day, because I am here to re-motivate you! A good playlist can do miracles for your workout.  Perhaps you’ve read about the motivational power of music or seen articles highlighting the best songs for getting your exercise on.  Last November, my friend Sarah posted her list of top 10 workout songs.  While I’m sure this list is excellent, I am not actually familiar with much of the music listed because at the time Sarah posted it, I was listening exclusively to the N Sync Christmas Pandora station.  But it got me thinking: What would my perfect playlist be? Oh, poor, poor me.  I already knew the answer – I’ve known it for years!  It’s just that since Elisabeth came along my running routine has been inconsistent at best, so I had forgotten. For shame!  I’d probably be running monthly marathons by now had I remembered!  But I must not dwell on what could have been.  Instead, right here, right now, I’m going to share a secret with you. Brace yourself.  This is going to revolutionize your workout. You don’t need an entire playlist to get you through a workout, you need only one song.  What song, Diana?  What song?! The only song you will ever need ever again* is: Celine Dion’s, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. *Crickets* Okay, you’re confused, I get it.  Celine Dion? For my workout?  Just trust me.  Go get your iPod or smartphone or whatever it is you listen to your music on these days and give Ms. Dion a listen. But I don’t have Celine Dion in my music library.  She’s lame.  LIAR!  Falling into You was a magical album.  I know you secretly love it.  This is now the second time I have declared my love for Celine on this blog, and if I...

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It’s All About Poop: That and Other Lessons I Learned My First Year (and Two Months) of Motherhood

Posted on Feb 2, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

My baby is fourteen months.  That means I’m two months late publishing this post.  So without further ado, the most important lessons I learned during my first year (plus  two months) of motherhood, not ranked in order of importance.  Feel free to pass this along to expecting or new parents – this info right here is priceless.  1) Your conversations will mainly revolve around poop.  Deal with it.  While in Hawaii, my dad asked me what I had found most surprising about being a parent.  My response?  “How much I talk about poop.”  It’s gross, but it’s true.  When I was pregnant, I went out for coffee with a few other moms and the entire conversation was dominated by talk of poop and nursing.  How cliché!  I vowed I was not going to be one of those moms that could only converse about a baby’s bodily functions and breastfeeding.  Then I had the baby, and realized that all moms are those moms.  It is unavoidable.  Because that is what your life primarily revolves around, at least for the first six months or so.  Hubby comes home from work:  “Hey hon, the baby had four massive poops today!” Go to play group: “Hey ladies, how do you handled your child’s constipation?”  To the flight attendant on your cross-country flight: “I’m sorry, but I have to ignore the fasten seat-belt sign.  My daughter just pooped up her back.”  The babes poop.  All.  The.  Time.  And since a baby’s bowel movement is a major indicator of his or her health, it’s kind of important to pay attention to.  So no matter how uncomfortable you are talking the potty talk, get over it. 2) Celebrities aren’t lying when they say they lost their baby weight by breastfeeding.  I always assumed when I saw someone like Heidi Klum modeling lingerie like, three weeks after giving birth, and then credited her weight loss to breastfeeding that she was a) lying through her perfect white teeth to seem more relatable or something and b) had a personal trainer and chef to whip her back into shape mucho fast.  BUT SHE’ WASN’T...

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What Would Martha Do: The Birthday Blowout

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 in Pinterest Stole My Cool

What Would Martha Do: The Birthday Blowout 3

Elisabeth and I recently attended one of her little buddy’s first birthday party.  It was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” themed and it was so freaking cute.  I have got to give this mom props.  She is moving in a matter of weeks.  She has no furniture but “stick furniture” – the stuff the base loans you once they have packed up and shipped out all your real stuff.  Besides being sans furniture (and most major kitchen appliances, I would assume), she was and is undoubtedly dealing with the major stress of organizing and executing an overseas military move.  Yet she pulled off a seriously awesome first birthday party for her little guy. Colorful lanterns hung from the ceiling to look like the little caterpillar!  The food served was all the food the very hungry caterpillar ate – strawberries, oranges, sausage, cheese, cupcakes!  I mean come on!  So cute!  So creative!  Even birthday boy Jonas had an adorable little onesie that corresponded with the theme.  I was admiring her handiwork when I realized, We are crazy.  The whole lot of us.* This mom is probably one of those women who pulls together cute and creative theme parties effortlessly.  I’ve seen some of her baking creations, so I assume she is talented in these sorts of things.  But while coordinating a move?  And without a Kitchenaid?  My goodness!  That is love for child right there. If it were me, and I were moving, I would also have thrown Elisabeth as rockin’ a party as possible.  Even though she wouldn’t remember it.  Even though it would probably cause me unhealthy levels of stress.  As it was, Elisabeth’s party fell just days after Damon returned home from deployment and on a holiday weekend.  What was that about unhealthy levels of stress?  Yet I’d be damned if she didn’t get a memorable first birthday party.  (Um, a second first birthday party.  She also had a party when we were visiting the states.  She is so the first child.)  I blame – as I often do on this blog – Pinterest.  Because Pinterest has placed...

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Cookie Hell. Or, That Time Girl Scouts Turned Me Into a Dealer

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

I do not do drugs.  I do not condone drugs.  I never experimented with drugs.  But maybe if I had, I’d be better prepared for dealing with Girl Scouts now.  Stay with me. While I don’t believe in doing drugs, I do believe in volunteering.  Last year I wrote about volunteering with Girls on the Run, a wonderful organization dedicated to making health and fitness fun for young girls.  While we don’t have GOTR on NAF Atsugi, we do have Girl Scouts, another organization committed to building girls of strong character.  Or something like that. As you may be interested to learn, I was once a Girl Scout.*  So when I learned that the Atsugi Girl Scouts were looking for volunteers, I thought, Why not?  I figured it would be a great way to get more involved more in our community and give back a little of my time to an organization that had given so much to me.** I was wrong.  Very, very wrong. Due to my schedule, I was unable to volunteer as a leader.  Instead I was asked to take on the role of Cookie Manager.  (Co-Cookie Manager is more accurate.  I have a saint of a partner, Kat, who is way more on top of this thing than I am, bless her soul.)  It wasn’t really what I had in mind, and truth be told, I didn’t really know what the job entailed.  Again I thought, Why not?  If that’s what they needed me to do, by all means I would manage me some cookies. What I failed to take into account is that people go bat-$&!% crazy for girl scout cookies.  Straight up psycho.  People want their cookies, and they want them now.  Let’s be real for a second – they aren’t even that good.***  But it’s as if we as Americans have some weird, nostalgic connection to these cookies that compel us to buy, buy, buy and sell, sell, sell.  And the fact that they are only offered -gasp!- once a year in -gasp again!- limited quantities strikes an urgency in us to get...

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Mele Kalikimaka

Posted on Jan 11, 2013 in Travel Traumas

Mele Kalikimaka 4

I want to be in Hawaii right now.  But who doesn’t, right? That’s where Damon, Elisabeth and I spent a wonderful but far-too-short week last month for our Christmas vacation. Growing up in Southern California, I always longed for a White Christmas.  Snow was such a novelty!  When I was young, we spent several holidays visiting my grandparents in Ohio.  We built snowmen!  We made snow angels!  We caught pneumonia!  Man I loved those Christmases. Eventually we transitioned to exclusively California Christmases.  No more snowmen.  No more snow angels.  Our California Christmas tradition?  A walk on the beach. A walk on the beach!?!  That’s, like, the ANTI-Christmas!  Despite our protestations, my parents dragged my brothers and me to the blasted beach year after year after year.  We (the brothers and I, not the parents) would grudgingly trudge through the sand complaining about the horrible burden placed upon us by living 10 minutes from the ocean.   I still love the idea of a white Christmas, though having now experienced several unpleasant winters as an adult (think: Snowpocalypse 2010), I am slightly less attached to the white, fluffy stuff.  And after a somewhat eventful last year (a new baby, travel that included 3 continents, 4 countries and countless states and cities, a Permanent Change of Station to Japan, a deployment, etc., etc.), nothing sounded better than a relaxing week by the beach. Even the monstrously long travel day (yes, day – over 24 hours thanks to delays) it took to get to Kauai didn’t damper my spirits.  Because I wasn’t traveling with the baby alone!  As soon as we had settled into our (inexcusably small for an international flight) seats on the airplane, Damon whipped out his iPad and headphones. “Excuse me, what are you doing?” I asked. “I am going to watch a movie,” he responded. “No, you’re not,” I replied and promptly plopped Elisabeth into his lap. That was the start of my responsibility-free week.   Well, not totally responsibility-free.  I still had to feed the kid and stuff, but it was the closest I’ve come to responsibility-free in...

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