A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mommy Blogger

When I was an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles my life was pretty glamorous, at least on paper. I was married, without kids, Ad Man and I had plenty of time and money on our hands. I wore the finest in lady-lawyer pantsuits. I spent time on movie studio lots, went to premieres and loaned my bathroom key to celebrities in my office. I never could have foreseen what my days would be like 10 years, 2 cities and 2 kids later. I’ve recorded one average day in the life of MommyEnnui below. Brace yourself for the excitement and please keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times.

another_day_in_paradiseThe alarm on my iPhone goes off at 7:30 am because Biggie and Smalls have gymnastics camp this week. Feel the pain of having to get out of bed before I’m damn good and ready and making sure the kids leave the house looking somewhat presentable. Seriously dread the start of the school year which is coming in 2 short weeks. Curse the Atlanta Public School District. Curse my friends in Los Angeles whose children don’t go back to school until after Labor Day. Curse Ad Man just for fun.

Jump in the shower and ignore the fact that my legs are less than silky smooth. No time to shave today. Figure no one’s checking out my legs these days anyway. Quickly blowdry the front of my hair and hope no one notices that the back is still dripping. Contemplate yet again whether I should get my bangs cut or keep growing them out? Bangs or Botox…bangs or Botox? Realize I have to make a decision before my hair appointment first thing tomorrow morning. Know I’ll never actually decide and will let my stylist make the call.

Things I can count on to happen every single day…Smalls throws a fit and cries when getting her hair brushed and I threaten cut her hair short. Biggie realizes she’s forgotten something vital just as we’re pulling out of the driveway. The girls complain that their car seats are too hot, they stage a sit-in under the tree and refuse to enter the car. (I have no doubt they would do this if we lived in Canada.) Envision myself tying them to the bumper and dragging them to gymnastics.

xanax_better_momPick up their neighborhood friend for carpool to camp. Chat with my friend, her mother, who’s rocking a similar “disheveled mom” look as me. Notice that my friend is at least dressed in workout wear. Feel bad for not even pretending today. She mentions her fear of the start of school but remains fairly calm (or at least well-medicated). Full-on freakout mode shouldn’t hit for at least another week at which time we’ll support each other with beer on on the porch and offers to share Xanax. Feel deeply grateful to have found friends who are as neurotic as I am.

On the way to camp, realize that I’ve put my bra on twisted not once, but twice. Hope this isn’t a bad omen for the day.

Go home to blow dry the rest of my hair and brush my teeth. Watch a stupid segment on the ‘Today Show’ with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Feel offended on Tim Gunn’s behalf for this clear waste of his time and talent. Count the days until the new ‘Project Runway’ season starts. Changing of the ‘Today Show’ guard. Think about how much I love Hoda and and would really like for her to find a good man. Wonder how she manages to restrain herself from slapping Kathie Lee Gifford.

heidi_montag_manipediConsider folding clothes and cleaning up the kitchen. Decide to get my nails done and write instead. Hop into our crappy, 8 year-old Passat station wagon and drive to the nail salon. Count the numerous very fit, very blonde, stay-at-home moms in workout gear, getting mani/pedis. Think about how no one in this place has any true understanding of the reality of everyday life for 90% of the people in our country. Realize I should hardly be one to judge. Defend myself in my own mind, pointing out to a nonexistent other person that I spent time on Skid Row and produced a documentary on homelessness in LA. Know that nonexistent person would say that doing a documentary about something is nothing like living that experience. Make myself stop having an imaginary conversation with no one.

Go to Starbucks to write. Lunch is an energy bar and an iced green tea. For the 5,000th time, think about how annoying lunch is, occurring in the middle of the day when I’m trying to get stuff done. Such an imposition.

Sit outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Take in the blue skies, temperature in the low 80s, and lovely breezes. Realize that not one part of my body is sweating…a rare state indeed. A 50-something year-old woman sits down to share my table and we can’t help overhearing the couple at the next table, who are obviously freshly divorced, argue about who’s going to pay for their kids’ private school. The woman and I eye each other nervously. The bitter couple leaves and my table mate says cheerily, “Man am I glad I’m single!” We chat about the pros and cons of marriage for a bit and she goes on her way. Acknowledge that I’ve had an amusing chance encounter with a stranger. I usually try to avoid those.

Check email. Check Facebook. Start to look at sandals on sale, but stop myself, recognizing the classic signs of a writer procrastinating. Peruse my extensive list of topics to blog about and reject all of them. My brain is too fried to actually craft an essay of any quality, so I decide to spew out a stream-of-consciousness, day-in-the-life kind of thing. Doubt anyone will read it. Write it anyway.

I know it’s time to stop writing when I have to pee. Head to Target because I need a couple things and because the bathroom there is fairly clean and smells like Froot Loops. Feel happy that Target has finally decided to ban guns in its stores so I can discontinue my boycott. Three weeks without Target was a serious sacrifice. That alone should show my dedication to the cause. Spend $96 on nothing. Forget to pee.

Get back in the car and consider the fact that I never once forgot to pee or eat a meal before I had children. Blame them.

Inhale a banana and peanut butter and greet the girls when they’re returned to me from camp. Ask how their day was and get vague and unsatisfying responses. They do, however, insist that I watch them do cartwheels and bridges in the front yard for the next half hour. Suggest they come inside for a snack and watch a TV show. Acknowledge that a better mother would stand outside all day cheering on their impressive gymnastics skills. I am not that mother.

bath_salts_0714Spend the rest of the afternoon alternately listening to squabbles over whose turn it is to choose a show, reminding Smalls to go to the bathroom, thinking about the fact that I have no plans for dinner and doing nothing about the situation. Pry the girls away from the television and attempt to entice them into taking an early bath in order to avoid an evening drama. Fail in that attempt. Instead, the girls busy themselves by planting land mines of tiny toys with sharp edges all over the house.

Text Ad Man to ask when he’s planning to leave the office. An hour and a half later, when I’ve given up on him and started cooking the girls an inspired meal of macaroni and cheese, raisins, and almonds, finally receive a text back saying he’s going to be late. Think, “No shit” but do not reply. Pour a sizable glass of wine.

Biggie and Smalls beg to take a bath together then spend the entire time fighting over tub toys and who’s taking up more space. Smalls cries and complains during hair washing, because the child apparently has the world’s most sensitive scalp. Plan to call the Guinness people if we all survive this bathtime. Listen to yet more high-pitched arguing and threaten to take away their reading time before bed. Plan what I’m going to wear to the ceremony when I receive my parenting award.

Supervise the drying off, hair brushing, donning pajamas and brushing teeth process. Just as the last preparations for bedtime are complete, Ad Man walks in. The girls squeal, “Daddy!!!” and run to hug and kiss him like they hadn’t seen him just this morning. Give Ad Man a dirty look, say, “They’re all yours,” go refill my wine glass, and take off my bra. Consider my job complete. Spend the rest of the night zoning out in front of the TV with a computer on my lap, thinking about how I really should be working out instead.

Lather, rinse and repeat tomorrow.

Hot and Bothered

As a writer whose life is an open blog, I’m often asked for advice on a number of sensitive subjects. Luckily, I have no shame. Today’s topic is how to spice up your relationship after those white-hot first months as a couple have passed. I’ve found that social media and electronic technology are wonderful tools for staying connected with your partner, which will enhance your relationship both in and outside the bedroom.

Below, you’ll find a number of sexy tips along with real life examples from my own 16-year marriage to the handsome and talented Ad Man. I don’t mean to brag, but as you’ll see, our sex life is still smokin’ hot even after two kids and many long years together. Here are some things that have been successful for us:

1. We try to keep our lines of communication open at all times.

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2. We surprise each other with flirty text messages during the day. For example, I’ll entice him with something like:

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Ad Man’s texts rarely vary, but they never fail to get me all hot and bothered. Two of my favorites are:

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3. I take photos and email them to him at work so he feels more connected with the girls and I at home. Here’s one from a few years ago…

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4. Because Ad Man is often out of town for business, he posts photos on Instagram so it’s almost like I’m there with him. Almost.

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5. Sometimes we even bring technology into the bedroom.

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6. I’ve taken advantage of Facetime and Skype to have intimate conversations with Ad Man while he’s on the road. I don’t have video, but a few months ago I called him via Facetime late at night, all wet and completely nude. Our conversation went something like this…

“I’m running around naked because your daughter just barfed all over her bed, herself and me! Why doesn’t this shit ever happen when you’re home?!”

Well, I hope you’ve picked up a few tips for using technology to help keep your sex life fresh and exciting. These are just a few examples of what has worked for my marriage. I’m sure you’ll think of many others. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go text a sultry photo of my bare derriere covered in mosquito bites as yet another reminder to my dear husband that if he doesn’t call the exterminator tomorrow, he’ll be sleeping in the back yard. Yep, we’re sexy like that.

MommyEnnui’s ‘Sex Tape’

sextape_promo_computer_picI’m thrilled to announce a project of which I’m super excited to be a part. Sony Pictures has a movie opening on July 18th titled ‘Sex Tape.’ The movie stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as married couple Annie and Jay who are looking to spice up their sex life after ten years and two kids have put a bit of a damper their formerly steamy relationship. The couple sets a goal to try every position in the ‘Joy of Sex’ in one night and to film themselves doing so. Unfortunately, they wake up the next morning only to find that their private video isn’t so private anymore. Hijinks ensue, of course, as Annie and Jay go to any length to retrieve and destroy the video.

I haven’t yet seen the full movie, but I will tell you that Ad Man and I both laughed our asses off watching the extended trailer. Here’s a sneak peek just for you!

But that’s not even the most exciting part! In the film, Diaz plays a “mommy blogger,” so Sony approached some of their favorite bloggers to write posts for Annie’s mock blog on the ‘Sex Tape’ movie website on Tumblr and one of those bloggers was me! They’re even paying me which makes this my official first paid writing job. I can now call myself a writer with a straight face! Looks like I may just have found myself a career after all.

MommyEnnui’s guest post, ‘Hot and Bothered,’ provides tips for spicing up a relationship with the help of social media and electronic technology and is illustrated with examples from my own exceedingly sexy 16-year marriage to Ad Man. Please check out my blog post here and go see ‘Sex Tape’ when it opens this coming Friday…unless, of course, you don’t like to laugh, in which case I’d recommend staying home and watching ‘Meet the Press.’

Planes, Ferries and Taxis

mommyennui_office_st.john_0714I had a post all written and polished to a shine for you this week, but unfortunately, it’s going to have to wait due to circumstances outside my control. Let me tell you though, It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to tell you about it! What I am not excited about, however, is the fact that it is now Thursday and I haven’t posted a damn thing all week. So, here’s a quick update.

It is 4th of July Eve and we’re getting ready to hop back into the car tomorrow to drive up to Ohio where we’ll be dropping Biggie and Smalls off at my dad and stepmom’s house and then getting the hell out of town. This will be the girls’ first extended visit without Ad Man and I and the first time he and I have been away together without a child since before Biggie was born. We’ve known about this trip for months so you’d think we’d have spent all that time hatching a plan for how and where to spend those blissful child-free days.

As I’ve told you before, however, Ad Man and planning don’t mix, so as of yesterday, we still had no firm plans. Oh, we’d thrown around some ideas. Our friends offered us their lake house in Ohio which would have been easy and peaceful. We thought of heading to Chicago for a few days since every time we’re back home we spend the trip shuttling back and forth between suburbs and never actually spend any time in the city. I haven’t gotten my fill of the beach this year, though, so we started looking at Portland, Maine, Nantucket and other charming East Coast towns. We considered flying to New Orleans but Ad Man was horrified by the thought of the heat and humidity…as if we don’t currently live in hot, humid Atlanta.

Finally yesterday, I said, “Why don’t we just hop on a flight to some Caribbean island? We have frequent flier miles and how often do we have a few days alone together?” Two hours later, we were booked on a flight from Dayton, Ohio to St. Thomas and a ferry to St. John! I’m so incredibly excited! We decided on the US Virgin Islands because the USVI is one of Ad Man’s clients and because my passport is expired. Oops.

I’m nervous about being away from the girls for so long, but they will absolutely be in good hands. And, our children generally only act like little shitheads when they’re at home. Elsewhere, they are well-behaved and polite…practically unrecognizable. Regardless, I’m sure they will keep Grandma and Grandpa nice and busy and that we will, no doubt owe them a weeklong spa vacation somewhere after this. (The grandparents, not Biggie and Smalls.)

But, before we hit the road, we’re throwing one last dinner party (Ad Man’s genius idea) so I’d better get cooking. My new bikini is getting more use than expected this year!

Update to my update: After a long day of planes, trains and automobiles–well, actually, planes, ferries and taxis–we arrived last night in gorgeous St. John! Ad Man and I were so exhausted after the journey, we had dinner on the beach, took a quick swim in the pool and were in bed by 8:30 pm. Ad Man snored while I watched a marathon of ‘Ray Donovan’ with Liev Schreiber on Showtime. (Great show, by the way.)

Today, after a morning swim, laying around in the sun (while Ad Man went for a run), and breakfast by the pool, I’m blogging with a view of the ocean. Not a bad gig! I’m missing Biggie and Smalls terribly though and was heartbroken to hear that Smalls had a rough time missing us at bedtime last night. Everything I see or do, I think, “The girls would love this.” As much as I was looking forward to some kid-free time and as good as this is for Ad Man and I, I can’t help wishing the little shitheads were here.

I’m planning to do some writing this week, but most likely won’t be blogging unless I get the go-ahead to tell you about my mysterious project. Until then, enjoy the above photo of the MommyEnnui office this week. I could get used to this!

 

I Wore a Bikini and Lived to Tell About It

bikini_suitcase_0614Every summer for the past few years, I’ve gone through a ritual of trying on bikinis…many, many bikinis. I’d search endlessly for the perfect one to flatter my mom-body and maybe even magically erase a few pounds. I started this annual search after realizing that there were women who looked just like me walking on beaches and wading in pools while daring to wear bikinis. (Such bravery!)

I didn’t look at middle-aged bikini wearers and think, “Ooohh…she’s a little old to be wearing a two-piece” or “Wow, look at that belly roll. She certainly doesn’t belong in a bikini.” Instead I thought, “What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t have the confidence to do the same?” Each year, I’d take a glance in the swimwear store’s sadistic dressing room mirror and resign myself to spending yet another summer in my old ten-pound-when-wet tankini with the stretchy panel guaranteed to flatten my stomach and push every abdominal organ up into my chest cavity.

But, the following beach season, determined not to pass my body issues onto Biggie and Smalls, I’d march right back into the bikini abyss. Because I’ve previously given you a tour of the effect of two pregnancies on my physique and because I’m human (duh!), you know this carcass is far from perfect. This fact continued to trouble me no matter how many times I tried to impress on the girls that no one is perfect and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I just couldn’t manage to absorb that lesson myself.

But this summer, something miraculous happened. Someone sent me this blog post by Karen Lee of ‘Girl on Saturday’ titled ‘I Wear a Bikini Because…Fuck You.‘ (She had me at “fuck you.”) In the essay, Karen lists a number of reasons she wears a bikini including: 1) “I don’t give a shit,” 2) “My belly has earned it,” and 3) “I have daughters.” Now, THIS is the kind of woman I want to be! To say I had an epiphany wouldn’t be an exaggeration and I can’t thank Karen enough for the jolt out of the blue telling me to, once and for all, get the hell over myself!

And so I did. I tried on just a few bikinis this time before deciding on one from J.Crew. It is a lovely shade of “Matisse Blue,” AKA, bluish-greenish. The top is supportive enough for my ample bosom and the bottom is small and stringy enough to give the illusion that I actually have an ass.

But here’s the thing I’m most proud of…I actually wore it! In public! I took baby steps debuting it first with friends at a private pool in Hilton Head, South Carolina before stepping out on the beach where any number of people could have seen me and judged the tautness of my flesh and the appropriateness of a “woman of a certain age” wearing a bikini. But, you know what? Despite my fears, no one paid a damn bit of attention to me and I didn’t die of embarrassment. In fact, not one person gave a shit.

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Posing in my old trusty tankini with Smalls

On the other hand, I felt great! I was able to swim as close to naked as possible, a benefit also noted by Karen in her blog post, got some sun on my belly which hadn’t seen natural light in about fifteen years and, moreover, it didn’t take three days for my swimsuit to dry. Did I look great? Hell no! I looked like a 45 year old mother of two who tries to stay fit, but hasn’t been to yoga in weeks and sometimes has wine and cookies for dinner when the kids are in bed. Ad Man and the girls thought I looked beautiful, though, and I was happy. It may have taken me a few years to get here, but I’ve finally realized that that’s all that matters.

One final note, the photos above are all you get. It’s going to require several more years of therapy for me to willingly post a picture of myself in a bikini!

 

Making Garden Mountains out of Molehills

garden_after_3_0614My apologies for being AWOL lately. Actually, my physical presence has been right here as usual. It’s just my brain that’s been absent. As some of you might remember, I began this blog last September just as Biggie and Smalls were headed back to school. Now that we’re on summer break, this is the first time I’ve attempted to write with two children all up in my grill for most of the day. Let me tell you, it isn’t coming easily. Even when the girls are, miraculously, entertaining themselves and I have a moment to think, they interrupt me approximately every ten minutes for a snack or to referee some argument. Smalls is in a serious tattling phase so virtually nothing Biggie does or says goes unreported these days.

Sadly, we’ve also had a close family member pass away this week from pancreatic cancer after having been diagnosed only two months ago. The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for people we love dearly and to say I’ve been distracted would be an understatement.

Since there’s been a short lull in “Operation Make the Downstairs Habitable Again,” I dove headfirst into a gardening project. In fact, my car is sitting outside at this very moment filled with bags of topsoil, mulch and manure. (Aaahhhhh…the bouquet!) Biggie and Smalls have been begging me to plant flowers in the yard for the last few years. Because I’m a terrible mother who cares more about the aesthetics of my house than making my children happy, I’ve attempted to get them excited about various grasses and other, more architectural, plants, but to no avail.

This year, the girls helped me plant some herbs and tomato plants, but were still intent on adding flowers to the mix. In a moment of weakness, I told them we would plant their own little flower garden by the mailbox. In hindsight, I’m sure they envisioned running to the garden store, grabbing some pansies, digging holes and sticking them in the ground. But, because I’ve recently been craving a creative project not requiring sidewalk chalk, glitter glue or Play-doh, I managed to turn a little flower garden into a big production. (Hence, the bag of hot cow shit in my car.)

I’ll add a photo gallery below as the project progresses. I’m hoping a good outcome with this little mailbox garden will give me the confidence to tackle other landscaping projects I’ve been putting off for the last seven years. Either that or I’ll do permanent damage to my back and go bankrupt paying my chiropractor, acupuncturist and gardener which will mean we can’t afford to send the girls to college, they won’t be able to support themselves and we’ll all end up out on the streets. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the former outcome.

Update: the mailbox garden was a success, but not without a few obstacles…lots of digging, some serious back pain and many trips to the garden store. Some schmuck–most likely the contractor who flipped our house before the owners preceding us bought it–dumped crap loads of pea gravel into numerous areas of the yard, the corner by the mailbox unfortunately being one of them. Biggie and Smalls helped me with small bits of the project like mixing up the soil and planting the mondo grass but, truthfully, they were far more excited about the annuals they bought and planted in a pot.

Someday, I’ll learn to allow small projects be small projects but for now, I’m really happy with the outcome of my mailbox garden. Even the mailman stopped to say how great it looked and, of course, I claimed I did it all for him. Tackling the landscaping the the front yard was actually on my list of things to do once the girls were both in school so I suppose now I need to move on to the rest of the weedy mess!

 

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Five Telltale Signs that I’m a Mother

You know that old cliché about the married man who takes off his wedding ring before going out to a bar? Well, I might be able to take off my rings and claim to be single, but the stench of motherhood is not quite so easy to shake. I suppose I could try to flat out deny the existence of my children, but here are some telltale signs that would give me away every single time:

enormous_purse1. My purse is freaking enormous! I yearn to be the kind of chic woman who goes out for the evening with a sparkling minaudiere that fits in the palm of my hand and contains only a credit card, a tube of lipstick and a little cash for tips, but that just ain’t gonna happen. First of all, who the hell has time to switch out her purse on a daily, or even weekly, basis? I can just see myself heading out for a night on the town. Ad Man would be standing at the door, glaring at me because I’m running late, as usual, and he simply cannot abide tardiness. I’d be shouting instructions to the babysitter while trying to apply mascara, hopping on one leg to buckle a sandal and reminding the kids to pee before getting in bed, all the while leaving behind a trail of all the crap in my “daytime handbag.”

In order to dig down to the few essentials I’d need in my miniscule “evening bag,” I’d first have to remove the following: an extra pair of underwear for Smalls (just in case), two water bottles, an extensive selection of snacks to keep the kids from getting hungry and turning evil, a pair of socks from that one time we went to the bouncy place, sunscreen, four special rocks, a dead flower, a wadded up piece of gum wrapped in a Target receipt, twenty other Target receipts, seven old grocery shopping lists and one to-do list with not a damn thing crossed off. The chances of doing that without forgetting something imperative, like my ID or an industrial strength concealer, are pretty slim.

bingo_arms2. My body is a veritable roadmap of motherhood. I generally have the c-section scar tucked neatly away, but other things are harder to hide, like my poochy mid-section, the one bulging vein I blame on Biggie, the permanent dark undereye circles and the crevasse that bisects my forehead. And then there are the things I just don’t have time to deal with, like the constant five o’clock shadow on my legs and the floppy “bingo arms” that would be easy enough to firm up if I could just get my ass to yoga on a regular basis. You’ll be relieved to know that I’ve had my bikini line lasered. I find that a permanent solution is always worth the time and money. I’ll be the first one in line, with a grocery bag full of cash, when permanent Botox is invented!

Since birthing two children, I’ve learned to “dress for my body” as women’s magazines have been imploring me to do for years. This means I generally try to stick with A-line everything. I used to love me a good empire waist top or dress, but since pregnancy left me two full sizes bigger in the boobage area, an empire silhouette now makes me look like a 45 year-old carrying in-vitro induced triplets.

Effie_Trinket3. My makeup routine has been pared down to the bare minimum. I haven’t really been a big makeup person since I stopped applying it with a spatula in high school. And, I never got the whole eyeshadow thing. In my mind, it’s a fine line between painting one’s eyelids iridescent green and going full-on Effie Trinket. In fact, I recently decided that, at my ripe old age, I should at least know how to properly apply eye makeup. So, I dug through my makeup “reject pile” only to find the MAC eyeshadow I bought for my wedding sixteen years ago. Something tells me it’s time to just write that skill off permanently. (See? You gotta love a permanent solution.)

Despite the fact that my maquillage has always been at the natural end of the L’oreal spectrum, pre-children I was reluctant to ever leave the house without the basics: concealer (always concealer!), blush, powder, lipstick and mascara. My routine these days really depends on where I’m going. I no longer care about looking “done” around school moms and other women my age, so I’ve designated an “I-Don’t-Give-a-Shit Zone” that extends from the carpool line, to the grocery store, to Target, to the girls’ dance studio and home. Occasionally, I gerrymander the IDGAS Zone beyond the usual boundaries to places like IKEA or the gynecologist’s office. Seriously, who has the time and energy for constant faux beauty?

4. My brain is now merely a repository for random details like my kids’ friends’ summer camp and travel schedules, which of the natural, crunchy peanut butters is the yucky one and the twelve items I’ve promised to add to the girls’ Amazon wish lists in the last two days. My short-term memory is now completely shot. The kids have to ask me over and over for a glass of milk or to change the outfit on the Polly Pocket doll that one of them is wagging in my face. By the way, whoever invented those dolls and is now rolling around in the Polly Pocket fortune, needs to come to my house and change those goddamn dolls’ clothes every three minutes! He or she owes me at least that much.

Wait. What was I going to say? Ah yes, it must have been the fact that, even if I did manage to shake the kids, slip off my wedding rings and meet someone in a sleazy bar, I’d never be able to remember his name or whether this roofie was in my drink before I left for the bathroom or not. I guess I’d have to hope any mystery men I ran across found “bumbling” an attractive trait.

5. My body clock has been forever changed. Long ago, when I was a married, but childless, career woman, Ad Man and I would often work late into the evening at our respective offices in Santa Monica, California (mere blocks from the ocean, I might add). We’d eventually meet at home and end up eating dinner around 9 pm or so. On a weekend night, it wasn’t unheard of for us to head out at 11 pm to go see a band play or connect with some friends at a bar. Now if you called me at 11 pm, I would first freak out and assume that someone was dead. If that weren’t the case, I’d be more than a little pissed that you interrupted my blissful REM sleep.

mom_in_pajamasI am no longer eating dinner at 9 pm or leaving the house to go out in the wee hours of the night. These days, if you want to spring some spontaneous evening plans on me, I’d better receive notice no later than 4 pm. If you wait until 4:30, there’s a very good chance I’ll already in pajamas with a glass of wine in my hand, counting the hours until the kids are in bed and I can kick back with a month-old episode of Project Runway. Just off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that would be enticing enough to make me put my bra back on once I’ve retired it for the night.

So, you see? There’s no going back to my pre-kid days even on a lark for one evening. I am a far, far different person than I was a mere eight years ago. And, really, let’s be honest…who’s going to be fooled by a woman sitting in a bar at 4 pm, wearing jeans, a well worn t-shirt and sensible flats, her face free of makeup except for a swipe of borrowed ‘princess pink’ Lip Smacker, surreptitiously stuffing handfuls of stale Goldfish crackers into her mouth from a purse the size of a Volkswagen Beetle?

Summer Camp for Moms

girls_at_campThe frenzy starts in January. Just as I’ve handed over my last dollar (and then some) for some holiday necessity or another, summer camp application season begins. Emails and texts pour in from friends trying to coordinate their kids’ camp and vacation schedules and arrange carpooling. I know of a guy who actually created an Excel document to keep track of his daughter’s camp schedule in addition to the summer plans of four of her closest friends! I don’t go that far, but I do have the camp and travel schedules of our best neighborhood friends scrawled on my calendar.

The most frantic parents are the ones with two kids who have signed only one child up for camp for a certain week, but have no plans for the other child. I completely understand the panic because I’ve been that parent. If there’s anything worse than having two kids at home with nothing to do, it’s having one kid home who’s used to being entertained by a sibling. It’s like a month of parenting crammed into five days and should be avoided at all costs if you value your sanity.

It doesn’t help matters if you live in an affluent neighborhood and your children have friends who come from families far wealthier than your own. Those are the kids who have their entire summer filled with horse camp, space camp, a sleep-away camp where they can raise llamas, drive Jet-skis and learn to program their own video games or any other place that sounds like kid nirvana. And, of course, they spend the last few weeks of school filling your kid in on every detail. Believe me, it’s not easy making an artsy-crafty day camp at the neighborhood park seem as exciting as a week of floating around in zero gravity.

kids_kayaksIf you’re not on-the-ball by February at the very latest, you’re pretty well screwed if you’re looking to get your kids into the “good” camps even if you are the proud owner of an offshore bank account. This deadline throws many moms and an occasional dad into a major tizzy but it’s really not a problem for me. There are two reasons for this: 1) We’re generally still broke in February, and 2) I’m rarely, if ever, on-the-ball. So, when summer eventually rolls around, Ad Man and I do our best to convince the girls of the epic awesomeness of any inexpensive camp that isn’t already full. It’s a damn good thing I’m a lawyer and he’s in advertising. I never imagined that skills learned in our professions would help us sell shit to our own children, but now I’m damn glad we’re both trained master manipulators.

But, here’s the thing…I want to go to camp! Why do the kids get to have all the fun? I’m the one who spent the past nine months making school lunches, getting my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to get them on the bus, volunteering at school, helping create dioramas and science projects and successfully not murdering the children during their daily homework meltdowns. They’re young and creative…they should be able to come up with their own fun, right? I’m the one who’s old and jaded. I need a change of scenery, peace and quiet and plenty of wine to get all sunny and blissed out. And, actually, zero gravity doesn’t sound too bad either. Lord knows, my face could use a break from gravity for a while.

I don’t need color wars, a climbing wall or archery. I sure as hell don’t need to help take care of llamas. In fact, what I need is a couple weeks during which I don’t have to take care of any creature other than myself. I don’t want to cook a meal, referee an argument or remind anyone to go potty. I don’t want to have to figure out how to entertain two bored children when it’s 100 degrees out and everyone we know is out of town. I want to be the one who’s bored! Me! I want there to be nothing at all I have to do, not just nothing I want to do. No unmade beds, no dirty dishes, no laundry to fold and no one’s work and travel schedule to organize my life around.

I have, however, compiled a list of the things I do envision being part of my perfect Mom’s Summer Sleep-Away Camp:

  • Each camper’s spouse or partner will be required to stay home so campers don’t have to spend a moment worrying about their children. If Ad Man has to work, he’ll need to figure out childcare his own damn self.
  • The minimum session will be two weeks, though a four week session will be strongly encouraged in order for campers to reach maximum relaxation.
  • The camp will be on a beach, but also have a seaside pool where lunch and luscious fruity cocktails will be served. Straight up hard liquor will be available the night before campers are scheduled to head home.
  • The camp must be on an ocean (no trying to get away with some sand dumped next to a lake) somewhere that’s warm during the day but where it cools off enough at night for perfect sleeping conditions and bonfires on the beach.
  • The location must be somewhere with no mosquitoes whatsoever.
  • I will have my own butler who knows how I like my tea and who will apply sunblock and spray me with self-tanner every morning so I can maintain a lovely faux glow.
  • surf_instructorsThere will be surfing lessons with handsome, young instructors. Each instructor will undergo extensive training during which he will be taught to refrain from uttering the word “ma’am” and to never, ever tell a camper that she reminds him of his mother.
  • Men, other than similarly well-trained employees, and all children will be strictly forbidden.
  • Spa services including mani/pedis, facials, massage and acupuncture will be available around the clock at no additional charge.
  • No make-up will be allowed so one’s natural healthy glow may shine forth and so I don’t have to so much as look at an eyelash curler the entire time I’m there.
  • The camp kitchen will serve delicious, healthy meals customized to each individual camper’s specific preferences. Campers will not have to prepare or make any decisions regarding food for the duration of their stay.
  • palapa_exteriorEach camper will have her own private palapa on the beach with high thread count sheets and down comforters. The palapa pictured here should do just fine.
  • My closest friends will, of course, join me at camp.
  • Chai and breakfast will be delivered to me in bed every morning.
  • Lunch, dinner and cocktails will be served poolside or on the beach, in the company of friends.
  • The only forms of exercise allowed at camp will be walking on the beach, yoga, surfing, swimming, snorkeling and possibly ziplines because they sound like fun. Anyone caught doing crunches will be sent home immediately.
  • There will be no internet connection and no cell phone service. I will have to fill MommyEnnui readers in on my adventure upon my reluctant return to reality.
  • Campers will have access to lots of books and expensive foreign fashion and design magazines…you know, the ones you read in Barnes and Noble, but would never buy for yourself.
  • There will be no waking before 8:30 am. Bedtime is at 11 pm, sharp.
  • Each palapa will be stocked with wine and dark chocolate in case of late-night cravings.
  • Dress while at camp will consist only of bikinis, floaty caftans and flip-flops. There will be no judgment of anyone wearing a bikini who wouldn’t dare ever do so in real life.
  • In case of inclement weather, the new seasons of ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Call the Midwife’ will be available for binge-watching.
  • Finally, and most importantly, the bill will be sent directly to my dad.

Who wants to join me?

Stuff I Found…

jaws_kids'_book_illustration_crop…When I should have been putting away the laundry I folded two weeks ago.

Every Week, Two Anonymous Students Sneak Into a Classroom and Blow Everyone’s Minds

Eight Million Flower Petals Over Costa Rica

In Photography, Perspective is Everything

Reasons for Admission to an Insane Asylum from the Late 1800s

Pixar Artist Turns R Rated Movies Into Awesome Kids’ Book Illustrations (photo above)

Famous Album Covers Rendered in Legos

Industrial designer Scott Summit Makes Beautiful Prosthetics

Flower Explosions by Martin Klimas

 

Fever Schmever…the Show Must Go On!

Biggie's Illin'May madness continues at the MommyEnnui household this week so I will have to make this a short post. Please forgive me. I have, however, prepared a little quiz for you:

It’s the eve of the last week of school and the calendar is loaded with exciting activities. Biggie and Smalls’s dance recital is mere days away. Next week is my last one alone before I begin spending virtually every waking hour with my darling children for the next eleven weeks (not that I’ve counted or anything). Question: What will happen next?

A.  The weather will be gorgeous and the girls will be well-behaved and excited about the beginning of summer break,

B.  I will relax and look forward to the summer because I have crafted the perfect combination of family vacations, weekday activities, weekend road trips and enriching summer camps,

C.  I anticipate that summer break may be a bit stressful, so I schedule a week of yoga, massages and drinking white wine at lunch on charming bistro patios with my dearest friends, or

D.  Biggie will start running a fever the day before the dance recital, I will drag her to the urgent care clinic the moment the words, “Mommy, my throat hur…” come out of her mouth, she will get the 273rd positive strep test of her life and I will scramble to the closest all-night pharmacy with the intention of cramming 24 hours worth of antibiotics into her before she’s scheduled to hit the stage for her big hip-hop dance debut.

Quelle surprise! The correct answer is D.

Yep, I’m writing this from the now-dry-but-still-unpleasant basement where Ad Man has carved out a path to my desk and another one to the chair where Biggie is still in her pajamas, deep in an iPad coma. The cleaning women (the two other loves of my life) are upstairs making the house inhabitable for another two weeks. We shall see how the day unfolds.

After two doses of antibiotics, Biggie is feeling better and things are starting to look up for the recital tonight. Smalls will also be performing this evening, dancing both ballet and jazz. That is, unless she gets off the bus this afternoon running a fever. I’ve been more than a little concerned that I’ll have to stay home with a sick Biggie while Ad Man takes Smalls to the recital. I do not have high hopes for him successfully negotiating a costume change and turning a high ponytail into a low bun at intermission.

Cut to the afternoon. Biggie is now officially well enough to go to the recital. This fact was confirmed when I heard her singing an original number at the top of her lungs in the shower and then walking around the house saying, “No applause, please. No applause.” In other positive news, Smalls arrived home in good shape. I’ll be holding my breath for the rest of the week, however. Biggie just yelled “Moooooooommmm! [Smalls] won’t stop licking me!!!” Stay tuned.