Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Thank Goodness He Ate the Sour Crouch

Happy New Year! Goals started and failed and re-evaluated and started again and then dropped and left for 2017. It happens. Always. Every year. The one constant. 

Yet for the boys they hold a very literal and special meaning to the idea of a “do over”. This year was all about their academic goals and being their personal best. As mother, I’m all in!

So, because I fear of the Italian Moliok and superstition of not consuming a pig and fermented cabbage on New Years Day would bring gloom and doom to Camp P, I ventured off bright and early on 1-1-2016 to gather up a piggy and some kraut. If I’m gonna do this, ingest this delicacy and force it onto my kids, I’m at least gonna do it in better quality format. 

Whole Foods surely must sell and offer up a cleaner pig? Surely organic sauerkraut would taste better than the Eagles nest pouch of slop. So I decide to leave the boys home alone while I run to the grocer. Ten minutes into the ride and with only freeway cement between them and myself, I freak out. 

  

Source:  yahoo images. 

I rethink my whole leaving 3 boys alone and no amount of pork or sauerkraut can change my luck. But I proceed on after calling them 3 times and forcing them to stay on speaker phone with my parents who I remind you are 35 minutes away by car. Yet, I guess we would know if the $h*ts gonna hit the fan even if we can’t help. 

Anyways, I try to select the best piece of pig $26.99 a pound can buy us and after a stressful attempt to walk away from the garbage, I make my purchase. 

The kids survived their Home Alone event and as far as I know there aren’t any burglars having a fake shotgun tear up their minds. I survive the whole ordeal of coming to terms I have to prepare up a pig for health, wealth, prosperity and whatever else legend says. 

Now I have to get the boys on board. So naturally I add some white wine to…I don’t know maybe tenderize the meat? Umm no, because wine makes everything fine. And then viola! Piggy on some kraut. I tell the boys it’s a must and put the fear of the Italian superstition wrath into their minds. I also explain their goals won’t be met if they don’t at least try a little. Because working hard for success isn’t enough anymore, we have to eat pig flesh and soiled cabbage to succeed in 2016. 

They hold their noses, take a deep Ujjayi breath and bite, chew and swallow. Instant luck for the next 365 days!  

 Source: yahoo images 

So fast forward to February when typically most people, including myself, damn you Starbucks, lose sight of their resolutions. Well not the 3 P’s. Report cards came and the results were as follows:

Peeno – all M’s or E’s with +’s. Or whatever alpha character was assigned to denote above average or excellent or emerging. It’s kindergarten and you know that crazy alpha numeric point system you need a masters degree to figure out. All I need to know is will he be able to read and can I assign him chores?

Noochie – straight A’s oh except for Religion at a B+. So close little fella. He has since spent every night in 3rd Quarter having a one on one with the big guy up above. 

Nickelbass – WTF?!? All A’s and B’s. My boy who worked so hard and all the pork and cabbage in the world could not make him perform how he did. This kid worked so incredibly hard and busted his a$$ to achieve the marks he did! Amen to that!

So upon further review and 3 sets of eyes waiting for my reaction to their report cards, I literally jump for joy. I go into the whole Vince Lombardi of what it takes to succeed speech,  how incredibly proud I am and always go the extra mile because it’s never crowded talk. They are delighted. I am delighted. And then Peeno chimes in.”Well you know mommy, thank goodness you forced us to eat that sour crouch, because now we became smart!”

Eh! However they want to relate my fear of superstition to, well then, God Bless. They became smart and we don’t have to eat pork and kraut until 2017! And when in doubt my friends, eat the sour crouch! 

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It’s Gonna Be Alright Because N-Wide is on My Side

Awe F*^k goes the too smart for his bridges first grader. And the teacher giggles. But she can’t let the F-bomb drop and dissipate without consequence.

So she summons my then first grader to the podium where she frantically taught art skills to rambunctious little tikes. Perfectionism can be a curse when the tissue paper flower gets saturated with just a wee bit too much Elmer’s.

For my little Nooch is just that, a class-A perfectionist. Don’t start talking about how apples don’t fall far from trees now either.

It was what it was that Spring Day in May. Imperfect. He tried so hard to apply just the right amount of glue to his perfect tissue paper flower to make the perfect Mother’s Day Card. It was cut perfectly with perfect little bubble letters adorned in every color of the rainbow including the pastel palette, bright palette, spring glitter palate and classic color palette. I mean it’s not Crayola if wide tip washable markers don’t come in 50 shades of the original eight.

But it was all perfect and colorful until the glue runneth over and melted the tissue paper flower and made 50 shades of Crayola bleed all over his perfect Mother’s Day poem. He went from Roses are red, light red, deep red, off red to violets are blue, green and with yellow marble hue to what the f*^k is up with this glue.

So the teacher offers him an option. She could penalize him for dropping the F-bomb or leave it up to mom. Now naturally to some, leaving it up to mom might be the harsher of the sentence, while a 63 year old grandmother of 24 might impose the more lenient of penalties. But instead, as a perfectionist has to make the perfect decision, he tells his teacher he needs to think about it.

She is astounded. My what big bridges you have there little fellow. For you just dropped the F Bomb in class and you are telling me you need a moment to think about who will implement your punishment. Yet, she is laughing hysterically on the inside.

She sends me an email followed by a voice message with a giggle in her tone, about the events of the day. She further proceeds to indicate, that after several minutes, a pro and con list and summoning of a few fist grade colleagues, Noochie has decided to allow his mother to administer the punishment.

So as I learn of the daily news and think long and hard as to what would be the appropriate consequence, I accept and relay I will report back tomorrow with his penance.

Later that evening after I’m sure he squirmed all through after school snack, homework, dinner, and baseball practice, I mention to the little guy we need to have a talk.
Instantaneously, I am sure he had visions of a trip to Bath and Body Works. Perhaps they may have bubble gum flavored soap.

“Well my son, I appreciate you wanting to make the perfect Mother’s Day Card for me. I’m sorry the glue took on a mind if it’s own and wouldn’t stop flowing from its BPA laden bottle, but you have to have a sense of self control with your words. Plus curse words, in English, Italian or any other language for that matter must be refrained from,” I declare!

He is just kinda nodding his head, taking it all in and then says, “It’s gonna be fine.” Little dude. It’s not fine my man, you can’t drop F-Bombs.

I proceed to ask how he can be so nonchalant about using this language and he replies, “It’s gonna be fine. I’ve heard and know so because nationwilder is on my side. And if nationwilder, like the whole wide nation is on my side, then mommy it’s gonna be fine!”

Well, there you have it my friends, you can take the F out of the Bomb but you can’t take the bomb out of the kid. Or something like that. And I guess, when you feel like you are down and out, you’ll always have nationwilder on your side. Unless you are my offspring. We use another four letter word to protect us, it starts in E and ends in e.

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Asphalt Soup and the Math Goes Whoop

I’m pretty confident I am ready for the school year to be complete. I really am over fourth grade. In fact, I was over it back in 1980 something too. Now it’s all coming back to me because I have little children. Little children that still need my help with homework. What they don’t get is I need Google and I need sleep. Oh thank heavens for Google. Education is just different these days. Seriously how in the world did I get a college degree and start and manage a business? I think we were still on cut and pasting in the fourth grade. Oh and fractions and decimals, that $h*t didn’t start until Junior High.

So after an eight-hour day of work, dinner, baths, homework (sort of) and getting three kids to bed, sometimes mommy dearest can make mistakes. Especially when it comes to checking fourth grade Math homework. It happens, people, let it go! A free pass for incorrectness should be an excusable mishap given most nights I wrestle my three-year old to get to sleep. Oh and laying in bed with my five-year old while he reads to me, it is sweet on most odd days but every other day including Holidays, I sometimes want to pull my hair out. Just say the word already. It sounds like shout.

My patience runs low on energy at about 8:00p.m.  Plus fourth grade Math homework is waiting for me after ‘Splat the Cat‘. I am not a bad mom, I’m real. You know it parents, frustration with a capital F. Oh my friends, that is a whole other blog post bubbling in my veins but for now we focus here on Math mistakes.

Because they can and will happen. And when I am exhausted, the last thing I want to do is help my son with his Math homework. So if I incorrectly add and multiple then divide by ten thousandths and make my ten-year old change his answers, I think I get a free pass. If the stupid a$$ decoder using our answers gives us *asphault soup, then so be it. If asphalt is also misspelled, than please excuse that as well.

20130430-215138.jpgSo, please Mrs. Teacher do not reprimand my son for being mischievous. I made him change the answers and the two freaking words with one misspelled fit in the boxes so with much sleep deprivation and mommy exhaustion we decoded *asphault soup instead of getting the said better code of alphabet soup. I mean really, no need to send an email.  No need to hand out the pink detention slips.  Although I wouldn’t mind sitting alone in a Library for an hour with complete silence. 

Because in all reality, why after two hours of working through the problems do we have to then play Pink Panther and decode the secret riddle anyways? Just turn the $h*t in and call it a day. Yep, that’s what happens when you have that attitude. My son is still calling me out for it. He was summoned to the teacher’s desk for being naughty. It was I Mrs. Teacher and I am freaking tired. So if school does not get out for summer soon, this mama will be face planting in *asphault soup.

So, I ask, what BIG mistake have you made when helping little missy or junior with their homework?

*Asphalt purposely misspelled to fit on a line.  Namaste!


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Uh Oh, It’s a No Go on The Spaghetti O’s

Uh oh, no, no on the Spaghetti O's.

Uh oh, no, no on the Spaghetti O’s.

Who gets denied the opportunity to contribute to charity?  Whose donations do not qualify as a viable food source for a hunger center?  Who gets the ixnay on the spaghett-tay?  Well, we do of course. 

Over Spring Break I took the kids to the Library.  Given our Spring Break week looked more like Winter Break, we had to forego a trip to the zoo and spend our time indoors.  I figured a nice quiet place surrounded by books would do the three little guys and myself some good.

It was also that one time of the year where I can drastically reduce my library fines.  You see, I am very good with money.  I pay all my bills on time.  I can set up and hold to a budget.  I even manage my business’ finances.  It’s all good.  Yet, when it comes to returning library books and movies on time, well there is a bit of a problem.th[9]

I now have to lock up the kids library books in my closet.  This way in order to grab the next book they have to return their current book to me.  It is one way I can monitor the books and avoid calls from The Library Association of Unretunred Library Items.  I have bought more books and movies that seriously we could open up our own institution to borrow and lend books, DVD’s and CD’s.  In fact, I just found Thomas’ Snowy Day Surprise hidden in a moving box from 2005.

Do you think they will accept its return this late in the game?

Anyways, when I have a chance to reduce my fines, I’m all for it.  I have picked up trash, donated used books to schools, volunteered my time during children’s story hour and most recently had an opportunity to donate canned goods.  So on our latest trip over break, while the little monkeys were climbing the book shelves, I was negotiating a fine reduction.  $1.00 off fines for every canned good item.  I was so happy to donate to the hunger center that I was willing to empty out my whole pantry.  I even told the Librarian to keep the extras. 

I wanted to show the kids it is not just about doing something to get something in return.  That giving more is always the better option.  Until the Librarian started to indicate to her assistant that the many items I turned in need to go into the unacceptable bin.  I’m sorry, come again?  Black beans do not qualify.  What could the volunteers possibly do with black beans?  Garbanzo beans do not qualify.  Artichokes are not a real vegetable item.  Low sodium soup is not acceptable.  I guess there is a need for iodine.  Probably for an electrolyte boost or something.  Oh and Spaghetti O’s, what was I thinking?  No really, she said, “You really shouldn’t feed your children this as nothing in this can is real.”

thCAR9DJUZNow if any of you know me personally or have been following my blog, I do not feed my children Spaghetti O’s or their equivalents.  Not that I am knocking on Chef Boyardee or Campbell’s, but I believe in raw, whole foods without added dyes, processed ingredients or genetically modified substances.  I know it is not everybody’s thing but it’s how I choose to raise my little guys.  It is how I choose to nourish them and my own body. 

So naturally I explained to the Librarian and her assistant, that someone brought these over to my house and I agree I would never give the kids such a delicacy as Spaghetti’s O’s.  They just peered at me through their Librarian lenses and in disbelief, said “Mmm hmm.”  So along with a lecture on healthy and nutritious foods I should feed my children, my Spaghetti O’s were denied as well as the beans o’ plentiful and my library fines remained the same.

So, finding Thomas’ Snowy Day Surprise just tickled my fancy.  I cannot wait to return this item.  Yet, I will probably receive another fine as it is now probably a discontinued item on the Librarian’s List. 

Who else owes their retirement in library fines?  Have you ever been denied an item for donation?  Since when did hunger centers get so picky? 

I mean hunger is hunger.  Legumes are high in protein and filling via their carbohydrate content.  Now Spaghetti O’s on the other hand, well shame on me for trying to donate those, but I figured it was better than putting them in the trash.  Well, my good lesson to the children on giving more than necessary all sort of backfired.  They were ashamed of me for trying to give away “bad food” to the homeless.  The Librarian was able to pull off her signature move by lowering her glasses and gazing at me with sternness as if  I just shouted in her institution.  It was a total belly flop and complete waste of a Spring Break morning.

So, where are you at in library fines?


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You Wiped My Son’s Eyes

20130402-141335.jpgYesterday morning was off to a rough start. I woke up late. It was cold and the thought of bouncing from bed to shower just made me want to pull the covers over my head. I needed a gradual good morning. One that allowed sipping some hot coffee, curled up under the blanket by the fire.

I had the choice to act now and get a head start before the kids woke up. This would lead to my being present at the breakfast table with them. This would allow me to control the “I wants”, sibling bickering and a nicely prepared breakfast ending up in the trash. The nutritious breakfast taking second place to M&M yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice.

The other option would be the gradual good morning. I chose this option. Despite past experiences, I decided to roll with it but was convinced I could stay mindful. I could start the turkey bacon and sip the coffee. I could wake the kids up, have breakfast on their plates and then jump into the shower. I could let them carry on with their bickering with an occassional diversion from getting ready to mediate. I could do this. I did.

It was frustrating. There were many interruptions. I forget my eyeliner on one eye. I forget to plug in the curling iron. The nutritious breakfast took a hike for sugar laden yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice. I refused to get upset. I refused to be frustrated. I calmly put the yogurt back into the refrigerator. I put my other eye’s liner on. I plugged in the curling iron. I mediated. I took deep breaths. I referred them to brush their teeth and get their school bags.

I carried on. It was getting closer to crunch time. My oldest sounded the 8:01a.m. alarm. I knew the bus would be coming. I stopped. I had to make a choice to get them out the door. I wanted them off with smiles and hugs. I refused to not be mindful. I refused to let the chaos win. The chaos fought me hard. One went out the front door, one out into the garage, the other climbed into my car. Stop. We are not leaving yet. Come back in. They all did, eventually.

All he wanted was his snow boots. I tried to explain to him he wouldn’t need them today. He kept asking about the weather. Through the hair dryer I could hear him saying it is sunny now but a dark cloud is coming. He wondered if the cloud meant rain or snow. I had a choice to stop the hair dryer and crouch down to his level, meeting him face to face explaining he would not need the snow boots. I chose to put on his tennis shoes. I didn’t see he was frustrated. I didn’t let him explain. All he wanted to tell me was that if it was going to rain or snow and he didn’t have his boots he would have to stay on the asphalt during recess.

20130402-141259.jpgI had a choice to listen or be the parent in charge. I chose to be the parent in charge. I chose to not listen. He walked out the door with his head hanging low muttering a statement which really was asking for permission. He was going to grab his snow boots anyway. I saw his fingers grasp the boots. I removed them from his hands and put them back on the shelf. He grabbed them again. The bus was coming.

My oldest took off without a hug or a kiss. My baby was climbing into my car and then the bus stopped. I took the boots from his hand and threw them into his bag. I told him he was not listening. I chose to be upset. I kissed him off quickly and with his head down he walked down the 150 feet path of cement.

I was defeated. I let the chaos win. I did not send them off as I intended. I motioned for him to run. He never looked back. He never picked up his head. He stayed at the same defeated pace. Still yet I was upset. Upset that he didn’t listen. But really it was I who didn’t listen. I was too busy giving in to chaos. I made a choice to ease into the morning. A choice I knew would have repercussions. A choice I knew could lead to farewell defeats.

Then she grabbed a tissue as he boarded the bus. She wiped his eyes and hugged him. My heart sank. My eyes dripped with water. I wanted nothing more to run to them and get them off the bus. How could I let this happen. I was mindful of what she did. It bothered me. It stung. I felt like I failed. I made a choice.

Parenting isn’t always easy. Especially when you have multiple children and you are a working parent. It is a fine balancing act; getting yourself ready for work and children off to school. The intentions are good. The breakfast is nutritious. The lunches are packed. The schoolbags are ready. The teeth are brushed. Everything is in place. But what our little ones want most is to be heard. I know in this instance I was only acting on motherly intuition. I only wanted the absolute best for the children. But sometimes, we need to stop and just listen. Our children can provide an enormous amount of teaching. If we just choose to listen.


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$182.13 and You Got What?

Some people decided to drink their St. Patty’s Day away. Others suddenly turned Irish for a day. Some looked to the leprachauns for luck and inspiration. I went broke on my three little clovers. I decided to forego the festivities and spend the day with my little men. We had a great day filled with a mommy workout, a free lunch due to their creative coloring artwork submissions to a local cafe, boys haircuts super pimped out style, a trip to the grocer and an all hands on deck homemade dinner. It was the “Patty’s Day of Perfection”. Well almost.

After it took more of a workout to get out the door Sunday morning to get the kids to my gym than my actual workout, I got dooped by the gym childcare center. Apparently somewhere between a gym name change and last Saturday they now require a key card pass to check the kids into the kiddie zone at the gym. I’m sorry but I seem to have missed that memo. It required all this paperwork, new credit card on file, blood type, shoe size, a photo ID of me with the kids, me separately and then each kid separately. By the time I checked into the workout class they were already 3 towels of sweat into their groove and by the time I busted my first bead, class dismissed. Huh?

Then off we went to gather our free brunch courtesy of childhood doodles. As they each cashed in their lucky leprechaun coloring pics, I was standing in between them and the mob of drunks from the local college who needed a quick carb fix before round two of their Guinness frenzy. Yikes. When you tell children some people just act silly on St. Patty’s day and they look at you with a questionable gleam in their eyes, do know they know. Anyways, we carried on through our brunch while I distracted them by spilling Vitamin Water all over my lap. Oh boys, time to go, mommy made a mess.

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Luckily it was a “National Holiday” or something observed for all things Irish and nobody was getting their haircut on a Sunday afternoon. Most people don’t down 10 pints of Guinness and crave a haircut. Most people. So we had the whole place to ourselves. Now let me tell you these boys got the royal sports spa deluxe treatment for free. I’m talking haircut, scalp massage, wash, wax, dry, finish, hot towel facial wrap and neck and shoulder massage. They definitely got the MVP VIP upgrade. I can only imagine how they talked their way into this one.

When I went to the ladies room I didn’t expect to come out and see the three amigos getting massages and wrapped in towels. But I do know what I will do the next time they are getting too wild and crazy. I will institute the mommy hot towel wrap massage session. They were so quiet. I totally would have paid extra for this service and I even inquired how I can pay in advance to secure this MVP VIP treatment in the future. I actually read six uninterrupted pages of my book I downloaded last August. Count them. Six. Six whole pages.

Now with nothing but time and booze free fun ahead of us, we headed to the grocer for a few things. The kids begged and pleaded for each of them to have their own cart. Peeno had a mini me and Noochie and Nickelbass got the express shopper dual basket cart. So we were off. Mama duck and her three little ducklings cruising from aisle to aisle. Now when there is one cart and eight hands, I can usually put things back onto the shelves (a few aisles away of course – and I do apologize in advance for messing up the store). But when there are four carts and three sets of grabby hands, I cannot be responsible for what happens.

So, as they were unloading their carts and I was desperately trying to open a fruit stick for Peeno before he had a major meltdown, the cashier was scanning and scanning and scanning. It wasn’t until my oldest asked, “Umm Mommy, do you have money? Like a lot?” I immediately threw down the fruit stick, well, tried to shake the sticky thing, and peered up at the running total. $170.00 and still scanning. Then the cashier pages Customer Service Baggage Help. Oh no that could never be a good sign. So when all was said and done I had to hand over a card because cash wouldn’t cut it as my total was $182.13. Cha-ching! Now mind you I had just gone grocery shopping three days earlier.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

When we got home and I began to unload the groceries, these are some of the items we now have in stock. Two pineapples, a cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, hydroponic tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, potatoes in every family to include Idaho, Yukon, Red, Sweet and Yam. We also have every variety of Kids Cliff bars in triples. Three mega size shower gels, deodorant for a five-year old, protein powder for a nine-year old, bananas, more bananas, another pineapple, almond bites, ice cream sandwiches, 4 pints of ice cream and frozen pizza in plain, BBQ chicken, Greek, pepperoni and sausage. We also have sesame sticks, trail mix in everywhere color of the rainbow and I no longer have a pot o’ gold.

But we learned about economics and bartering. We learned that sometimes it takes 4 bags of coffee to get the grinder to explode work and grind the beans. We learned that our grocer has a baggage help person on staff. We learned that coupons are pointless when it comes to keeping hands from getting stuck on a conveyor belt. We learned that mommy cannot just whip out a card when the green stuff runs low. We learned teamwork and most importantly we learned that spending time together, no matter what the cost, is worth it. Even if after $182.13 and my bags didn’t even include mommy juice wine.

After the initial shock of cost and the full stocked pantry, we were able to use our ingredients to prepare a delicious dinner. Like all hands in the cart, we had all hands in the Sunday dinner food prep. It was lovely and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t get a sitter for two hours at $10.00 bucks a pop for a quiet budget wise trip. Sometimes the most unplanned and out of budget mishaps turn into the best adventures.

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. - James Russell Lowell

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. – James Russell Lowell

So parents, do you bring your children to the grocer? Do you leave them at home with a sitter? What did you do back in the day?


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It’s a Pinterest Account Not a Rite of Passage

I have to work this Sunday. My clients typically do not want to hear me say things like I want to be home to tuck my children into bed, it’s family day or I’m sorry my boys have a game. They want me on call at all times of the day. I don’t blame them. Technology has given us the quick fire response. The hitting of a key or button has induced this constant state of urgency among people. Hell, I’ve even trained my clients by being Suzy on the spot for the past ten years.

There is a huge disconnect between real people time and world-wide web time. I think real people time is now getting the short stick. I never want to lose my passion for my career nor make my children feel like they are a nuisance. There is a fine line between work and home and it’s a delicate art balancing it all.

I have extreme working mommy guilt. So, I over commit and over schedule things for myself with respect to being all in for my kids and their school events. Usually I get flustered. Not because I can’t handle it but because it takes me away from what matters most, my children. So the past twelve months I have said that one syllable word, no, more than I ever have. So instead of Room Mom I am just parent volunteer now. I get the same amount of hands on time without the planning and organizing task. Simple. So you might think?

Anyways, I am working this weekend because I volunteered to help out in my middle son’s kindergarten class for their Valentine’s Day Party. I was delegated the task by Room Mom #2 to bring the sweet treat. Yet, because of all the allergies and sugar addictions I had to submit what I would be bringing. If you know me and how I bake it’s a pinch of this and a smidgen of that. So, I had to actually find a recipe. Room Mom #1 recommends for me to set up an account on Pinterest for ideas. Really? I am quite qualified to come up with some original and festive treats on my own. She gets really bothered and indicates to me she sent me an invite on Pinterest.

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)

Alrighty then, Pinterest to the rescue. I had no time to set up an account but since everyone is pinning, I could too. Pinterest is a creative ideas, arts, crafts and motivational posters sharing world. It forces us to now steal or is it pin other’s ideas and have all our friends ooh and ah us. Don’t get me wrong, there is some hot things on there but is it forcing us to lose our sense of creativity?

So, I find M&M bars and candy bark. I get approval from Room Mom #1, Room Mom #2, Grand Master Head Room Mom, teacher, aide, school nurse, school psychologist, principal and district superintendent. These delectable treats are a go.

So I make them up the night before the party while entertaining a friend, cooking dinner, doing homework and watching my children NERF each other to exhaustion. Now the easy part, set the timer and let them bake. That is until your newly potty trained son is running around naked from the waist down shooting his NERF gun at our guest. What the? He proceeds to tell me he peed on the basement carpeting. So, I pseudo clean that up and tell him to go upstairs and get some clothes. In the meantime, his other brothers come running down the stairs to tell me, this same child now pooped upstairs. Oh my heavens.

In the midst of all the chaos I forgot about the baked goods. Oh they were baked alright. They were definitely done, toasted, burnt and disgusting. I am two glasses of wine into the evening, 1.5 children tucked into bed and 11 minutes away by expressway to the grocer. No thank you.

So the next day I planned on giving myself an in home manicure at 5:00 a.m., working a half day plus a few and then stopping to pick up some M&M cookies. Bars or cookies, who’s keeping track? Fault numero uno right there. The PTA secret service is, that’s who. Anyways I woke early and began my manicure prep. Now I must disclose here that last Saturday I treated myself to a manicure. I was asked 40 times if I wanted a shellac/gel manicure and I kindly replied each time, “No thank you!” I do not have time to come back and get it removed and keep up with that kind of routine. This is a small treat I do for myself once in a while.

So naturally when I went to remove my polish on Valentine’s Day morning, it should come off, right? I didn’t insert my hands into an ultraviolet light drying contraption. Why won’t this polish come off? Come on already. I soak them and still no polish removed. My nails looked hideous and my skin was forming 2 inch paper cut lacerations from the acetone bath soak. I can’t even call the nail salon because it is 5:30 in the morning. The day must go on and it does.

So when I get the kids off to school and tuck myself into my office chair, I call the nail salon. I explain to them I did not have a shellac/gel manicure and that my nail polish will not come off. The nail representative replies, “Oh we use a gel topcoat to make your french manicure last very long. You can come here and we can take it off and do another manicure for you, okay?” No it is not okay. I need this polish off. This is not what I asked for. I reply, “I am not wanting another manicure. I want my polish off and now maybe a refund for my inconvenience.” Her reply, “NO, I will not give you both. You don’t like that we tried to do something nice for you well than I am too busy to talk to you!” Click. Are you for real?

Time to forget the nails, I needed cookies. And the M & M cookies were there all right at the store. Yep, one pack of ten cookies left. A whole table of M & M cookies sold out. So I had to get chocolate chip brownie stuffed cookies instead.

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)

I arrive at the party start time not set-up time and run into the classroom. The room moms turn and give me a stern eye with folded arms while proudly displaying their VISITOR badge. One proceeds to say, “We were getting nervous because we didn’t think you were coming.” Right, I know because being on time now constitutes late. Then Room Mom #1 goes through my bag and says, “Umm, where are the M & M bars?”

I explain what happened and they become frantic and all like, how are we going to serve these without the Head Room Mom’s approval? So I grab the cookies, run down to the nurse and principal and they okay them. There, done. It was in that moment that I realized I had been in my son’s classroom and school for at least 12 minutes now and never even acknowledged him. That’s when I put my foot down to these women and said, “I’m here for my child and his friends. I am going to say hello to him now!”

I ran over to him and could see the disappointment in his eyes and just gave him the biggest hug. I wanted to bury myself in his shoulders and cry but these Pinterest freaks are not getting the best of me. So, I gather myself and walk over to the orange table to help the children assemble their bead necklaces. Now mind you they have been inserting micro-mini beads on a wire for the past fifteen minutes. Owen J. turns to me and says, “I’m done, can you tie it together?” Sure buddy, I sure can.

See because in the eyes of a child you can do no wrong. A cookie is a cookie and being on time is whenever. Until I go to twist the wire and my severely numb, acetone cracked fingers get pierced by the wire end and I drop the necklace. A gazillion beady things go flying everywhere and Owen J. starts screaming and crying, “Noochie’s mom ruined my necklace!”

photoI literally dropped to my knees. My poor son was horrified because nobody wanted his mom near their necklaces. Room Mom #1 walks over and just when I thought she would put her hand on my shoulder and reassure me she goes, “How about you just put those cookies of yours on the plates. You did bring the plates right?” Huh? I was supposed to bring plates too?

I’m banned as a parent volunteer, I am sure, for life. I feel horrible for my son as I think I did more harm than good, by being there. He will always have the mom who ruined Owen J’s necklace.

Just as the bad mom stigma couldn’t get any worse the teacher called out all the children whose mothers helped out because they get to go home early. No, no please don’t. I can’t take him home because I have to finish up my work day at a client’s house across town. In front of the room mothers, my son, his teacher and all his peers I had to mumble, “He can’t come home with me because I have to work.” The words I have hated saying since all three of my boys were born.

I want you to know if you are that mom or dad struggling daily to be all in for your kids and your career, that it is okay to fail once in a while. It is okay if you don’t have the perfect craft or cutest felt frog to pin the heart on. It’s okay if you ruined Owen J’s necklace. It’s okay because I demonstrated to the kids that nobody is perfect. That accidents can and will happen. That how we respond under crisis is when our true character is formed. I told the orange table this and the blue table and green and red. I still got just as many hugs as Room Mom #1 and Room Mom #2.

Nobody is perfect. You don’t have to have a Pinterest account to make you a good parent. Being there for your children, no matter what happens, is what matters most to them. And I can promise you that if you are ever that mom or dad, struggling, hurting or treading in the deep end, I will not push you under but help you float! I promise!

So I ask, do you juggle family and career? Do you have mom or dad guilt? Do you Pinterest and if so, do you think it makes you a better parent? Do we volunteer to out do each other or to be involved in our kid’s lives?