How to do Homework: Two Perspectives

This is what we look like doing homework together. Dad is an integral part of the children’s education. Or, wait…maybe this is the UPS guy.

How to Do Homework
by Smalls, age 7

1. Get off the bus. Take as long as humanly possible to walk the 50 feet from the bus to the front door.
2. Ask Mom if you can go play with friends, willfully denying the existence of such a thing as homework.
3. Ask Mom for a snack, then ask for another snack. Continue over and over until dinner.
4. Beg Mom to let you watch TV despite the fact that you’re well aware you have no screen time on school days.
5. Whine about how much homework you have.
6. Pull out a homework sheet, glance at it and start crying, insisting that you haven’t learned anything even remotely similar to it in class. Continue crying and stomp away when Mom tries to help you.
7. Just generally whine and complain.
8. Insist on playing with the dog whom you ignore at all other times of the day.
9. Wander off.
10. Whine some more.
11. Play with a toy you haven’t laid hands on in five years.
12. Finally, do a page of homework. Complete it in approximately 4 minutes after spending the past 45 minutes avoiding, whining and complaining.
13. Realize that your homework sheet is two-sided. Cry and slump down in your chair until you slide onto the floor under the table.
14. Repeat until homework is finally completed many, many hours later.

How to do Homework
by Biggie, age 9

1. Get off the bus. Drop backpack on the lawn assuming your mother/sherpa will bring it into the house.
2. Ask Mom for a snack. When Mom reminds you she’s not a delivery service, point out that getting your own snack will just distract you from your studies. Also remind mom that she picks out healthier snacks than you do. Dig in your heels and enjoy this battle of wills.
3. When Mom opens the refrigerator door to pour herself a much needed glass of wine, appear suddenly between her and the wine. Linger there while mentally cataloging your snack options.
4. Ask Mom if you can have the leftover mac n’ cheese. Eat it cold with your hands.
5. Ask Mom for another snack. Repeat until dinner.
6. Stage a sit-in to protest the injustice of your younger sister having less homework than you.
7. Yell at your sister for whistling or singing or breathing while you’re trying to concentrate.
8. Storm off to your bedroom, slam the door and turn on very loud music.
9. Climb up to your top bunk and read a non-school book until Mom comes to track you down.
10. Realize you’ve left a page of homework at school but try to hide this fact from Mom who is constantly nagging you to be more responsible.
11. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Spend an additional 20 minutes reading a non-school book in the bathroom.
12. Offer to take the dog for a walk.
13. Try to negotiate with Mom for a 10 minute break after each page of homework you complete.
14. Suck it up and finish your damn homework.
15. Head directly for the door and attempt to flee before Mom reminds you that you have piano lessons.

 

30 Reasons Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is a Sucky Job

stay_at_home_mom_kid_chaosEvery stay-at-home parent is well aware of the benefits of the job: the ability to be home with your children during their formative years, no scrambling for child care, and pajamas are perfectly acceptable “work clothes,” just to name a few. Unfortunately, few moms or dads have a realistic view of the pitfalls of the job when they decide to become a stay-at-home parent. That’s why you have me, dear readers. I’m willing to tell it like it is even if that means risking the ire of the happy, happy, stay-at-home mommy mafia.

I will admit that I drafted this list after a particularly trying week. Ad Man has informed me that he will be out of town for much of the next month…a month that will feature Small’s 7th birthday party and family visiting from out of town. Did I mention that he’ll be in Austin at South By Southwest for “business?” Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Anyway, please feel free to pass this along to anyone who may be considering dedicating his or her life to this challenging job. Friends don’t let friends become stay-at-home moms without full disclosure of the risks. Knowledge is power.

30 Reasons being a stay-at-home mom is a sucky job:

  1. Pay is far, far below minimum wage
  2. Kiss adult conversations goodbye
  3. Zero growth potential
  4. Physically demanding
  5. Tiny “employers” are often vocally critical of your work
  6. Most accomplishments go unnoticed
  7. No days off, no vacation time, no sick leave
  8. No combat pay for physically or emotionally dangerous work
  9. Feedback from superiors generally limited to silent reproach and judging from afar
  10. Requires an impossibly wide breadth of knowledge including, but not limited to: identity and recommended treatment for various rashes, latest research on the effect of BPAs on growing brains, rules of obscure playground games, names of all characters from every Star Wars episode (even the one with JarJar Binks), removal techniques for a wide range of stains, trigonometry, etc, etc…
  11. Despite #10, you’re left with absolutely nothing to add to your resume
  12. At least one person is actively working to thwart your progress at all times
  13. Stating dissatisfaction with, or openly criticizing, the job is strongly frowned upon (Oops!)
  14. Rules of the game are always changing
  15. Increased risk of substance abuse
  16. Limits social opportunities
  17. No training program
  18. Wardrobe options are limited
  19. Workplace is always messy and often sticky
  20. Drinking on the job is frowned upon
  21. Requires contact with bodily fluids that are not your own
  22. Must be available to work early mornings and late nights
  23. No awards, promotions or perks
  24. Very little opportunity for travel
  25. Excessive contact with brain numbing children’s entertainment
  26. Company car is crusted with food and perpetually smells of spoiled milk and old vomit
  27. Job causes irreparable brain damage
  28. Your boss is unpredictable, irrational and prone to emotional outbursts
  29. Schedule may change at any time with no warning
  30. Much of the day is spent trying to keep employers from killing themselves

Do you have anything to add to my list? What about you moms who work full-time outside the home? Would you describe your jobs as sucky for any of the reasons above? Surely at least one of you has a boss who’s unpredictable, irrational and prone to emotional outbursts, right?

Feeling Like a Failure? Lower Your Expectations!

antidepressants_funnyWhen I was working in production in Los Angeles, my boss and friend, Tom made a point of sitting down every January to write out his personal and professional goals for the year. At the same time, he’d revisit his previous list to determine which goals he’d successfully completed, which ones he’d fallen short on, and which ones to reevaluate and revise going forward. Thankfully, he got me in the habit of doing the same.

Now, I’m great at writing down my goals for the year, but I have to admit, I kind of suck at looking back and evaluating my success. I’d like to believe it’s because I’m such an optimist, always looking to the future with no time to dwell on negatives. Sadly, pretty much everyone who knows me, knows that’s far from the truth. In reality, looking back at things I intended, but failed, to do is just really f*cking depressing and I generally like to avoid it at all costs.

This January, however, I am forcing myself to confront the 2014 list and acknowledge my progress (or lack thereof). Lucky me, I also ran across my goals for 2013, so I have even more data to consider…and to haunt me for the next twelve months. Without further ado, let’s strip me bare and judge me. It’s for my own good.

My Goals for 2013

  1. Heal back and neck
  2. Get fit
  3. Drink green smoothie or juice every day
  4. Atlanta or LA — make a decision and make it happen!
  5. Get a job (or not, depending on #4)
  6. Get finances in order (Make appointment with financial planner)
  7. Refinance house
  8. Be more creative (drawing and writing)
  9. Read more nonfiction
  10. Exercise brain — learn one new thing every day
  11. Learn French
  12. View aging as an interesting science experiment, not a failure
  13. Stay in better touch with family and friends
  14. Spend the holidays on a beach

Reading through it now, I find this list charming in its naivaté. 2015 is looking back at it and shaking its head with a knowing smile. “Aw, bless 2013’s heart…so young, so hopeful…” There are exactly two items above that I can cross off with authority. I have, indeed, been more creative, with writing at least. And, I suppose cake decorating. I have also succeeded in reading more nonfiction. So there, 2013!

As far as the other thirteen items on the list go, well, I can say I gave at least most of them a shot. I actually did get more fit and drank a lake of green smoothies in 2013. Had I evaluated this list in January of 2014 as previously scheduled, I’d have proudly checked off those two goals. But no, I had to give myself an additional year to backslide on my fitness progress and go on a kale strike. So, let’s say success in 2013, less so in 2014.

I did French lessons online and was very consistent for a few months. Unfortunately, as I wrote more, I conversely spent less time studying French. You’ll see that this trend continues through 2014. Something had to give! There are only so many hours in the day! I have two children and a puppy to raise! Other excuses like that!

Goal number four is the one that makes me chuckle the most (sometimes, we laugh to hide the pain). This particular goal…deciding between staying in Atlanta or moving back to Los Angeles…has been on every single one of my annual goals lists since our first January in Atlanta. I’ve made exhaustive pros and cons lists for each possibility and the race always ends in a dead heat, hence, the inaction. I suppose we’re choosing to stay where we are by not choosing to leave. Alas, the internal cage match continues. And, now, on to my goals for 2014:

Things I Will Do In 2014:

  1. Paint our bedroom
  2. Spend more time writing
  3. Spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet
  4. Read four classic books I should have read in high school
  5. Exercise five times a week…even if just thirty minutes of walking
  6. Learn to bake a pie
  7. Practice French five days a week
  8. Have at least two girls’ weekends away
  9. Get back to LA
  10. Cook one new recipe a week
  11. Write at least two blog posts a week
  12. Build a file of blog posts so I’m not always playing catch-up
  13. Volunteer at the girls’ school
  14. Meet with financial planner
  15. Introduce kids to one new veg and one new fruit each week
  16. Take a knife skills class

Reading through this list, you’ll see that I attempted to be much more firm with myself. No more of that wishy-washy “get fit” or “learn French” crap. This time, I threw some numbers behind my promises…”practice French 5 days a week.” Five and nothing less! How is one supposed to succeed unless one has her goals very clearly defined?

I started off 2014 strong. Did I paint my bedroom? Yes, I did! Did I spend more time writing? Absolutely! Did I spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet? Well, um, not exactly. But, I did take one whole week off from my computer. That should count for something, right?

I managed to get away for one girls’ weekend this year. Fifty percent isn’t too bad. I started walking at least thirty minutes a day starting from when we brought Birdie home and taught her to walk on a leash (a triumph in itself). I also started doing hot yoga, which I thought I would hate, but ended up loving. Hey, I could count that as learning something new! Oh, never mind…that was 2013. As for doing actual, vigorous exercise at least five days a week, well, that was a lofty goal so I’m giving myself a pass on that one. On this year’s list, I’ll shoot for a much less onerous three times a week. Or maybe twice. Twice is good.

Actually, that may be just what I need to do in order to reach a 100% success rate…make my goals less ambitious! In an effort to end this post on a positive note, I have drafted a list of goals for 2015 that I know I can achieve:

MommyEnnui’s Far More Attainable Goals for 2015:

  1. Get out of my pajamas at some point every day (even if just to change into a fresh pair)
  2. Make a healthy, non-processed meal containing actual fruits or vegetables once a week
  3. Complete the Monday New York Times crossword puzzle at least once a month
  4. Walk the dog a minimum of once a day
  5. Think about getting a job
  6. Listen to others tell me what an important job I’m doing as a stay-at-home mom (try to believe it)
  7. Volunteer at the girls’ school, or at least boldly write my name on the sign-up sheet and then claim I have an unforeseen conflict when the date rolls around
  8. Learn to bake a pie (I’m adding this one, because I plan to do it this weekend. I’ve even bought ingredients. See? I’m well on my way to success!)
  9. Learn to see aging as a natural process that occurs between Botox appointments
  10. Speak to my husband in the evenings instead of sending him an occasional text from the adjacent couch while watching Project Runway
  11. Stop believing I’ll ever make a decision whether to stay in Atlanta or move back to LA
  12. Apply sunscreen to my face at least as often as I sunscreen my tattoos

Think I can check off twelve out of twelve when next January rolls around? I’m suddenly feeling more confident than I have in years! This is going to be very good for my self-esteem. How about you? What are your goals for the year? Need help making them more achievable? I’m here for you.

Christmas Miracles and Everyday Madness

xmas_tree_before_1214It’s been an eventful few weeks since I posted anything fresh here for you. First, a bit of an explanation. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday. The tree was always up on the day after Thanksgiving and every inch of the house was covered in something that lit up, jingled or played holiday songs. More than once, I walked into the room at my parent’s house and had a motion-sensing, dancing, singing Santa scare the living shit out of me. As far as holidays go, my mom never wavered. She was all in.

Not surprisingly, since her death, the holidays kind of suck for me. Add to that an always lingering residual bit of depression, a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder and the stress that comes with planning a major holiday and a child’s birthday party at the same time, and you’ve got the perfect storm. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at writing in the midst of a storm.

Now for a little public service announcement…If you are considering getting pregnant (or knocking up your wife, significant other, or surrogate) I would highly recommend that you carefully plan the fateful insemination so as to avoid having a child born in December. Or the beginning of January, for that matter. Many moons ago, my darling Biggie was our Christmas miracle. She was born on December 12th after three years of trying to get pregnant culminating in three rounds of in vitro. But here’s the thing…we really should have timed the whole miracle thing much better.

Everyone worries about the kid when they find out he or she has a Christmastime birthday. “Oh, the poor thing! He/she really gets the shaft having his/her birthday so close to the holidays.” But, I say…remember the parents! (Or, in our case, the mother. Let’s be honest.) Ever try making candy flames while shopping online and addressing holiday cards at the same time? It’s a challenge even for the sanest parent and we all know that’s not me.

The last few weeks have been such a blur, I’ll just try to fill you in with a few main events. First, there was the aforementioned birthday party, which was another sleepover because I’m a masochist. I did put my foot down this year, though, telling Biggie she could invite only two girls from school and two girls from the neighborhood. Last year’s sleepover was significantly bigger and a bit of a debacle actually (at least for me).

campfire_cake_1214For once, Biggie liked and went along with my idea for the party theme… a camping themed, birthday slumber party. The girls slept in an eight-person tent Ad Man and I just barely managed to erect in our downstairs living room. But, before that, there was an outdoor scavenger hunt, pizza, a movie by the fireplace and a campfire birthday cake. I’ve included a photo of the cake here because I think I got more comments about it on Facebook than I’ve gotten on any cute kid or puppy post ever. Honestly, that cake was the highlight of my last few weeks. It came out so much better than I’d ever imagined. In fact, I’m considering never baking another cake for as long as I live. Why not retire at the top of my game, right?

Despite all the preparation that went into Biggie’s party, it actually turned out to be fairly easy and she was happy. Yay for me! I have to savor the little victories in parenthood because, lord knows, they can be few and far between.

Unfortunately, there have been some low points in the last few weeks as well…for example, when our Christmas tree came crashing down yesterday. I will elaborate, but I should first mention the wonderful way my day began. I was lucky enough to spend the day with a friend’s sweet, beautiful, eight week old (ish) baby boy. Oh man, is he delicious! We had a lovely day of snuggling, snoozing (him, not me), smiling (both of us) and sniffing his luscious new baby smell (Birdie and I). It was a bit of a challenge managing a puppy and a newborn at the same time, but I still found myself thinking, “See? I’m not too old for a baby. I could totally do this again!”

That is until I was attempting to calm little man who was squawking with hunger while I tried to heat up his bottle as fast as humanly possible when we heard an ungodly crash from the adjacent living room. Squawking turned to screaming, Birdie ran around like there was a squirrel in the house, and I reluctantly peeked around the corner only to find shards of glass and spilled water everywhere! The poor Christmas tree that had been so elegantly dressed just moments before, lay sadly in a bed of its own debris.

xmas_tree_after_1214I had the sense to put the the baby in his bouncy seat and unplug the tree lights before one of us was electrocuted in a pine-scented cloud of sparks. That was the last coherent thought I had, however. I looked at the mess, the hungry baby, the bottle of precious breast milk warming on the stove and the puppy threatening to run through broken glass and picked up the phone to call Ad Man. Luckily, another Christmas miracle occurred and he actually answered the phone. I said something like, “I need you! Come quick! The tree fell and there’s glass and water and I have a baby and a dog!” in not my calmest voice. Ad Man’s office is only three miles away, so after telling me to put the damn dog in her crate and doing about twelve additional things at the office, he headed home to face the destruction.

Eventually, Ad Man arrived, cleaned up the mess and we took inventory of our destroyed ornaments. By then, the baby was sleeping contentedly with a belly full of warm milk while Birdie slept off the adrenaline rush from dodging an enormous falling tree. As it was too early for a drink and I was babysitting, I got my stress relief from gazing at the perfect, peaceful face of little man. Demonstrating my remarkable skills of denial and self-delusion, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought again, “I could totally do this.”

The following day, I was again entrusted with the care and keeping of another living being, but the outcome was less successful. Birdie tends to be a pain in the ass about getting her nails clipped, so I’ve given up trying to do it myself and now take her to Petco for monthly pedicures. Because she apparently has the same short memory as her adoptive mother, she blocks out her nail terrors and is super excited to go to the pet store every single time.

Yesterday’s trip was no exception. She bounded out of the house with her tail wagging as soon as I said, “Birdie, want to go to the store?” We hopped into the car and I carefully lowered her window to a level where she could stick out her snout and enjoy the breeze, but not hang half her body out the window like a teenage boy in a limo after prom. In an abundance of caution, I hold onto her leash with a death grip the entire time she rides with me. I’d like to point out that Ad Man thinks I’m a neurotic freak (for this, and many other reasons). He just loops her leash through the seat belt and lets her hang out and gulp oxygen to her heart’s content.

Luckily, I can rarely, if ever, be convinced that his method of doing something is better than mine. And, it’s a damn good thing I stuck to my neurotic guns, because I’d just pulled into the Petco parking lot when Birdie jumped out the damn window! Of a moving automobile! Who does that?! Freaking the f*ck out, I managed to pull the car over and park all the while clinging to her leash. I’ll never forget the panicked look she gave me as she dangled outside, with just her eyeballs reaching the level of the now completely lowered window. I steeled myself for what I would see as my mind ran wild with images of her wrecked body flashing before my eyes.

Instead, I opened the passenger door and she hopped right back in, fresh as a daisy. It was as though she jumped out of a moving vehicle on a daily basis! A woman in the parking lot who had witnessed the whole scene called to me, “Is your dog OK? Are you OK?!” In a state of shocked disbelief, I told her yes. Birdie and I caught our breath and continued into the store as planned because, well, I didn’t know what else to do.

Not once did I think to wonder how the car window had gotten rolled down. That is, until we were back in the car on our way home and Birdie had her nose and paws out the 3 inches of open window I allowed her when the stupid thing rolled down again! All I could figure was that it was broken and would roll down whenever she put pressure on it. However, after we returned home and my scrambled brain started chugging back into action, I thought to myself, “You dumbass, the dog was stepping on the window button!” Erg. Anyway, this was the very difficult way I learned to always, always turn on the child safe window locks whenever doggie Evel Knievel is riding shotgun. Public service announcement #2.

Aren’t you glad you read this whole rambling post? I provided you with two nuggets of wisdom so you don’t have to learn them the hard way like I did. I also told you a couple stories that undoubtedly made you sit back and think, “Holy crap…I’m glad I’m not her!” Don’t say I never gave you anything. Have a great holiday! I’ll have lots of updates in the new year. Now, go tether that Christmas tree to the closest immovable object you can find. You’ll thank me someday.

Kanye West Answers Your Parenting Questions

kanye_headshotDearest readers, I’m busy buying useless crap at the dollar store to fill Biggie and Smalls’s Christmas stockings just like Jesus would do, so I’ve asked my close friend Kanye West to fill in as guest blogger on MommyEnnui today. Kanye and I go way back. He grew up in the Chicago suburb adjacent to mine (at least 45 minutes from the mean streets of Chi-Town…don’t let all that tough talk fool you) and we loitered in the same malls as teens.

As you may know, Kanye’s soon-to-be wife, Kim Kardashian, gave birth to their first child North West this past fall. Because, in his words, Kanye is full of “awesomeness…beauty, truth and awesomeness,” he is more than qualified to provide some sage advice. Here, he answers your most burning questions about his new bundle of joy and advises you on your parenting dilemmas.

Q: Kanye, every morning turns into a battle with my daughter over choosing an outfit for the day. Do you have any tips?

Kanye: Imma tell you what I do with my babygirl. I pick up the phone and call my friends Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Donatella Versace and I have ‘em each send over a bunch of fly outfits in baby size and that gives me lots of options for dressing North to coordinate with what I put Kim in that day. Whether she flyin’ on a Lear to Paris for the Louis Vuitton show or she just playin’ in her private 20 acre park with the nannies, my girl be dressed to the nines at all times. When she gets older, she won’t question my fashion advice because I’m a fashion God, yo.

Q: How do I teach my child about managing money?

Kanye: Well, North is in a position of a level of royalty like the Prince and Princess of London, so she ain’t never be worryin’ bout money, you feel me? But, I grew up with a single mom, rest her soul, in [the middle class suburbs of] Chicago so I know all about bein’ poor. I would just tell your kid, “Havin’ money isn’t everything, not havin’ it is.” Tell him Kanye said that. You should also tell him, “The less said about the pterodactyl the better.” Yeah, I said that, too. [That was actually Mark Twain.]

Q: My daughter worries that she’s not as thin or as pretty as other girls in her class.  How do I teach her that beauty isn’t everything?

Kim_Kanye_c_uKanye: This is a hard question for me to answer because I only surrounded myself with objects of exquisite beauty. My BabyMama Kim is the most beautiful woman of all time! I’m talkin’, like, arguably of human existence…the top 10 of human existence. And, North, she the most beautiful baby in the history of the world. Maybe the universe. As a matter of fact, North should be on the cover of Baby Vogue. Everybody knows it. Anna Wintour knows it; Obama knows it. Even the Pope knows it! Anyway, tell your daughter that the world needs people that aren’t, like, good looking because without them, the perfect people wouldn’t be so special. She shouldn’t try to go into entertainment though. In my business, beauty is a talent and it sounds like she don’t got no talent.

Q: My son says he wants to be a rapper just like you when he grows up.  Do you have any advice for him?

Kanye: Imma stop you right there. That just ain’t possible. I am the number one human being in music. That means any person that’s living or breathing is number two. I mean, my music isn’t just music, it’s medicine. Every time I make an album, I’m trying to make a cure for cancer…musically. But you can tell your son, if he works really, really hard, wears limited edition Nikes and he dress fresh at all times, maybe he can grow up to be the second best artist in the world. Or, third…after me and Michael Jackson. Oh, then there’s Jay-Z. So, fourth. He could maybe be fourth.

Q: My daughter is very shy. How can I help her become more confident and outgoing?

Kanye: That one’s easy. Just give her this advice from Kanye, “Believe in your flyness…conquer your shyness.” Boom…done!  Also tell her Kanye says, “I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.” She’ll like that.

Q: What were your favorite books as a child?

Kanye: I’m not a fan of books. Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig [Jane Austen] up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talkin’ to people and livin’ real life. I would never want a book’s autograph, you know? I’m a proud non-reader of books.

Q: My wife is scheduled to give birth to our first child this spring and we’ve decided not to find out the sex beforehand. We’d like to give our baby a unique name. Do you have any suggestions?

Kanye: You want your baby to have a name that’s strong and confident…a name that don’t bow to the man so, when it grows up, that baby can rise to the highest pinnacle of truth and awesomeness. If it’s a boy, you should name him Hermes, Summit or Kanye. If it’s a girl, I’d go with Apogee, Apex or Kim.

Q: Do you have a special routine for getting North to bed at night?

Sweet_North_WestKanye: If I’m not on tour, in Cannes on Jay’s yacht, or writin’ my feelings down on paper to keep their heat from setting me afire inside, I like to spend as much time as possible with my babygirl. Me and Kim try not to be away from home at the same time so one of us is always there watchin’ over the nannies, makin’ sure they not leakin’ shit to the press.

So, when I’m around, I sing North to sleep with this lullaby I wrote special for her. It goes like this, “Stop everything you’re doing now/ Because baby, you’re awesome/ Don’t let nobody get you down/ Because you’re awesome/ You don’t need to listen to the haters/ You must be tired of running through my mind/ Can I come inside?…I’m also awesome…/ I’d rather do nothing with you/ than something with somebody new/ Because baby you’re awesome.”  And one more thing, I never give my babygirl a fur pillow. Fur pillows are hard to sleep on.

*Please note, this is a work of satire. Kanye, it would be a waste of your precious time to sue me. I haven’t received a paycheck in 8 years.

Advice to My Teenage Self

1987I recently read an article, “What I’d Tell My Teenage Self” comprised of career and life advice from staff members of the TED blog to (of course) their teenage selves. I began thinking about what advice the adult me would give to the teenage me if given the opportunity. As you’ll see below, I have plenty of wisdom I’d like to share with my teenage self. Chances are good though, that me as a teen would take one look at me as a 40-something year-old and ignore every word that came out of my mouth just as I did to all other adults in my life at the time.

Regardless, here are 18 pieces of advice I’d give to my teenage self:

1.  No one cares if you have a zit or a cold sore or if your hair is less than perfect. They’re all too freaked out about their own zits to even see yours.

2.  Nothing is as bad as it seems at 2 am. Take a melatonin and get some sleep.

3.  Spend less time with your boyfriend and more time with your girlfriends. In fact, try not having a boyfriend for a while.

4.  Take Shop class instead of Home Ec. You’re going to have your whole life to cook and clean. How often will you get to play with power tools?

5.  Spend less money on clothes and more on concert tickets.

6.  You’re smarter than you think. Demand more from your teachers, your school and your guidance counselors.

7.  Take a test prep course for the SAT and go to the best college you possibly can. Work your ass off to pay for it. Do not settle.

8.  You might want to consider antidepressants. That heavy, dark cloud that follows you everywhere is not normal teenage angst.

9.  I know this is cliche but, please, please, please wear sunscreen at all times.

10.  Your friends are going to leave you at The Cure concert so they can go party with the band. You have the car and a curfew so that’s OK. Grown-ass men who want to hang out with teenagers are creepy.

11.  Your body is young, strong and beautiful. Do not spend another moment wishing it were different.

12.  You are not awkward and uncoordinated despite how the grade school gym teacher made you feel. You can be athletic. Find a sport or physical activity you enjoy and stick with it.

13.  Call your parents when you’re going to be late. They’re worried sick about you.

14.  Do things you think you can’t do. Learn a language. Play an instrument. Surprise yourself.

15.  I know you love Esprit clothes, but they’re essentially grown-up Garanimals. Remember, a true fashionista doesn’t dress in one designer from head to toe.

16.  A light hand with eyeliner is always best and that asymmetrical bob is not your friend.

17.  Your mom isn’t going to be around as long as you think. Spend more time with her. Judge her less. Ask for her advice.

18.   Aquanet will deplete the ozone layer. Put down the hairspray. Bigger is not always better.

How about you, readers? What advice would you give your teenage self if you could?

Crazy Stuff I’ve Had to Tell My Kids

underpants_head_v.2I am constantly amazed that any child ever manages to live to adulthood.  Seriously, it’s like every single one of them has a death wish.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time, I went about baby-proofing every room in our apartment despite the fact that I wouldn’t give birth for another 8 months and the child wouldn’t be even remotely mobile for some time after that.  As most parents do, I had visions of my kid sticking a knife in an electrical socket, falling down the stairs, cracking open her head on the edge of a glass table, chugging a bottle of Draino and diving into the toilet head first.  I knew a helpless baby or curious toddler could get in no end of trouble and believed I could protect my kid from all foreseeable dangers.

What I didn’t realize, however, is that my children would get themselves into precarious situations I could never in a million years have predicted.  Because, you see, children are stupid.  They do and say stupid shit ALL THE TIME.  And, it starts at a much younger age than you’d expect.  Not all of it has the potential to land them a spot as Darwin Award nominees, but it’s generally all either ridiculous, annoying, messy, embarrassing or all of the above.

Because of our children’s bouts of utter stupidity, we all find ourselves telling them things we would never have had to say prior to having kids.  There are just some things you shouldn’t have to say to another human being!  I have numerous examples from my own experience and have gathered many others from friends with children. I’m hoping to make this a recurring post, so in the spirit of laughing together so we don’t cry, please share your stories in the comments!  Enjoy…

“Take the turtle out of your underwear!”

“Don’t headbutt your sister.”

“You need to keep your eyes open when you’re riding a bike!”

“You do NOT wash your hands in the chocolate syrup!”

“You can’t do yoga with pizza in your mouth.”

“Don’t lick the television.”

“Get your sucker off the cat!”

“No pole vaulting in the living room.”

“No, the ducky doesn’t belong in your underwear.”

“Don’t put mud down your pants.”

“No those are not bite marks around my nipples where you used to feed. They just look like that.”

“Don’t point the arrow at your sister.”

“You have to wear underwear with dress pants.”

“No, that’s NOT what the hand-held shower head is for.”

“You can’t feed the dog Play-doh!”

“No, you can’t touch my boobies.”

“I’m removing all mirrors in the house so you can’t watch yourself cry during fits of rage.”

“Stop smiling meanly at your brother.”

“Your penis is not a drum.”

“No, mommy doesn’t have a ‘front butt.’ It’s called a vagina.”

“Is that your booger on the wall?”

“I don’t think you should practice the recorder in the shower.”

“Your arm will always be longer than your neck, so no, you won’t ever be able to lick your elbow.”

“Stop riding your brother like a pony!”

“I’m going to throw away any ammo or weapons I find that are not put away in the weapons closet.”

“Sweetie, girls can’t pee on trees like little boys. I am so sorry. No, don’t try!”

“Stop rubbing the hamburger on your face!  A bear is going to eat you.”

“You know I don’t like you licking my clothes.”

And, my personal favorite…“I don’t like the vengeful way you’re eating that cheese.”

One additional note, on occasion your significant other can be no smarter than his or her progeny causing you to have to ask things like…“Are you aware that your daughter is dipping her binky in your vodka?”

I would love to hear the crazy shit you’ve had to say to your children or significant other!

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