Top 10 things you should experience before parenthood

Top 10 things you should experience before parenthood

Parenthood is not a walk in the park. Is it rewarding? Absolutely – especially as your children age and you realize you didn’t scar them for life.

But, before embarking on the longest journey of your life, there are a few things to consider, or experience:

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COMMON CORE MATH

#10: Find a First Grade Math book and start studying it now. Common Core is the worst form of math ever created. Start learning it now, before you have kids. Maybe by the time you child enters first grade, you will understand it enough to form a support group in your kid’s school. You will have a bigger following than the school’s PTA.

#9: Store a container of milk on the kitchen counter. Leave it there for a week. After it’s set out in the heat, open it up and take a whiff. That is will be the same odor you will smell after you realize your kid dropped their sippy cup in the car, and you can’t find it for a week or longer. It will smell like death, and probably, so will your car.

#8: Ask a friend to borrow a bin of Legos. Drop them over your floor. Walk on them without shoes. Walking on Legos is a rite of passage into parenthood. If you can walk over Legos with bare feet and not bat an eyelash, you will survive parenthood.

#7: Borrow a child. Attempt to take a shower or simply go to the bathroom. Listen as that child screams “MOM” or “DAD” 10,000 times in a matter of minutes. That will be how you use the bathroom for the rest of your life. Enjoy showering and peeing in peace now.

#6: Buy stock in the following items: tissues, toilet paper, napkins, Band-Aids, plastic cups, diapers, baby wipes, milk and hot dogs. Those items will magically disappear right before your eyes. And if you think you have “one more gallon of milk stored away” – think again. Eventually, a neighbor may see your FB post about being out of milk … yet again … and they will drive down to give you theirs.

#5: Be prepared to no longer have a social life with friends. Your social life will now consist of playdates, baseball games, softball games, tournaments and birthday parties. The days of making a split decision to grab a nice dinner and movie are gone … at least until you can afford a babysitter and escape for four hours.

#4: Learn how to control your gut instinct to throw up at the first sight of … well, throw up. Kids cannot control their bodily fluids. It doesn’t matter if the trash can is right next to their bed. They will miss and the vomit will end up on their floor. Hold your breath and pray as you are forced to clean up the mess at 2 a.m. (Because that is when kids get sick the most often – in the middle of the night.)

#3: Take a class in negotiation. It doesn’t matter how many children you have … you will be forced to bribe them to do the most mundane activities – like brush their teeth, pee before bed or get dressed.

#2: Take a VACATION with your partner. Once you have children, and you take them with you, it’s no longer a VACATION. It becomes a TRIP.

#1: Before having kids, set your alarm for every three hours. This is how often you will be up once you bring a newborn home – probably less in reality. And you will never get a full night of sleep again.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at http://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/

 

 

Spring – the time of non-stop sports and crappy meals

I love, love spring.

But it isn’t for the reasons you think.

Plus, that first phrase is laced with sarcasm.

I hate the spring because it’s the one season of the year when I not only don’t really see my husband, but I rarely see my kids either.

Actually, no, that’s not true either.

I do see my kids – from afar as they kick around a soccer ball, catch baseballs or run the 400-meter relay in track meets.

Spring is the one season where my three kids have a sporting event EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. OF. THE. WEEK.

And we only have three kids in sports. My daughter isn’t even in dance or gymnastics. It’s a good thing too because I have no idea what day we’d cram that into our schedule.

Spring is also the time of the year when the dinners I prepare are far worse than the already subpar meals I cook on a daily basis. It’s pretty much grab-and-go. We won’t have a family meal until mid-June.

The other night we had chicken patty sandwiches, with a few side dishes that I don’t recall. Maybe pickle slices?

Last night, it was chicken in a crockpot. (I feel that when I make a crockpot meal that that is putting forth a lot of effort to feed my kiddos. But, in reality, it was just chicken that cooked all day rather than it cooking in a pan, waiting to be burnt. Plus, microwavable rice! SCORE!)

Tonight, it was more chicken – baked, not fried – with fries and a random southwest salad premade from Wally World. Earlier before THAT meal, my daughter ate four turkey/bacon pinwheels — also premade at Wally World.

My teenager eats two dinners. One after track and then another after soccer. I am going to need a third job to feed him when he enters high school.

Is there a day after Friday that I am not aware of? Is there an extra 24-hours in a week that is hidden away from moms like me as other parents watch and laugh at our poor ability to juggle careers, school, homework, dinner, practices, games and meets?

Think about it. It would make for excellent TV.

But then who would watch it because no one watches TV since no one is ever home anyways.

Follow Parenthood: The New Crazy Train on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/

 

 

 

Middle school sports – a tough road

“Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today …”

Today’s youth take it all in. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they understand what is happening in the world around them. Don’t think for a second they are oblivious.

And, for those of us who are parents to middle school-aged children, we have our work cut out for us.

We tell our children to be patient, kind and understanding. We tell them to do their best, never give up and shake off the negativity that comes over them like a dark cloud on a sunny day.

But what happens when what we tell them as parents isn’t what is presented to them in school or in extra-curricular activities?

Do we intervene and pull teachers/coaches aside, expressing our concerns in private? Do we demand that our children be “put on a team” because it’s “unfair” that he/she tried their best for two years in a row, but in the end, didn’t make the cut? Do we tell our children to speak up for themselves knowing they may not want to hear the truth?

Being a parent of a student athlete is tough.

We encourage our children to “go out for the team” and cringe if they are cut, knowing we will have to put a band-aid on their emotions. But, what if they aren’t cut, but instead make the team to only “suit up” and never play?

Which is worse?

At the middle school level, it’s the experience of being on a team that is the life lesson. No one cares how many wins or loses a team had – because no one is being scouted or recruited by colleges or pro-sports teams.

My dad coached basketball for 25 years. He allowed every player “play time.” And, when his team was ahead, instead of running up the score, he allowed for his “second string” to hit the court. It was his way of allowing them to show him what they had learned at practice.

It isn’t like that anymore.

Middle school students are still trying to figure out where they belong, but when coaches, who should otherwise be role models, cater to only a select few, what is that accomplishing?

Nothing. It accomplishes nothing except creating a mindset that that player is unworthy.

And those select few players will never forget that feeling. And parents are left picking up the pieces.

 

 

 

Finding balance in fitness

Finding balance in fitness

Let me preface this blog with this statement: I’ve never been an athlete – unless you consider marching while carrying a saxophone “athletic.” So please, do not think for one minute that I am a “balls-to-the-wall-fitness-chick.” I am the farthest thing from it. But I do like working out.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Growing up, if the sport had a “ball” of any kind – basketball, volleyball or softball – you can bet I was opting out. Lacking coordination and gumption, the idea of having balls fly in the air around my head scared me.

Cross country and track were never options because those required running. The only time I ran as a young girl or teenager was after the ice cream truck in my neighborhood.

What was a “good time” was swimming and dance (As in the kind where my parents paid an arm and a leg for me to learn how to use “jazz hands” while making “jazz squares” in overly-priced costumes that I loved!).

Eventually, I grew up – maybe.

But as we age, our bodies change and the way we worked out in our 20s and 30s doesn’t help – at least not for me. Cardio used to be “my go-to” form of workout. Raise the heart-rate and burn calories.

And it worked.

Until it didn’t.

My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I have to pay attention to every single piece of food or drink that goes into my body.

It sucks.

The days of eating bread, pasta and any other “bad” carbs are gone. Those items are reserved for “special cheat days.” And I love pasta!! Who doesn’t?

The days of eating processed food are gone. I barely even go into my pantry any more unless it’s to get my kids something for a snack. The less I go in there, the less processed food will magically find my mouth.

It’s just better for everyone if they get their own damn snack now.

So, now not only do I just stare inside my refrigerator for endless minutes at a time trying to decide which fruit or vegetable to eat, but I am working out differently too.

Inside the LaGrange Yoga Studio is a fierce-force-of-nature. Most days by the end of planking, squatting, push-up-ing, burpeeing and whatever else this force of nature throws at us, I just want to cry or melt into the floor. Sometimes both. Sweat pools in places it shouldn’t; and it also drips off of my body like rain drops falling from the sky, splatting on the floor beneath me.

But, this fierce-force-of-nature is the best motivator I have ever met since moving out to BFE. Julie is kind, compassionate and doesn’t judge. She inspires and keeps it real.

I know making the decision to work out is a tough one.

I know that saying you will exercise is easier than actually driving to a fitness center to workout. And, some schedules allow for people to only work out in the early mornings while others are only able to work out at night. Plus, adding in family time — exercising gets pushed to the back burner until eventually, it’s off the stovetop all together.

And yes, I know that it costs money to workout when so many people have treadmills or exercise videos at home. I give you credit, lots of it, if you workout at home. I literally work from home, and somehow I have taught my brain to shut off “mom/wife brain” for several hours a day while I write. However, I cannot shut that part of my brain off long enough to workout. My brain wanders into the far corners of my basement where clothes need sorted and toys need to be tossed into a bin to go to Goodwill. The kittens walk all over my yoga mat and then nip at my legs while I am crunching The phone rings. You name it – I am doing everything BUT working out.

So, yes, for me, paying a fee to workout is my motivation. I split my time between MetaFit classes; simple fitness classes; “Fit and Fab 50” classes; and today, I even stuck around for a Silver Sneakers class. (Don’t let the name fool you – those ladies are anything but “silver …”)

It’s not cheap, but really … what’s your life worth to you?

fitness

My December Saturday

My December Saturday

The clock read 8:15 a.m.

I finally had the chance to sleep in today. It was wonderful.

After saying fare-thee-well to my in-laws (who are awesome), I drank two cups of coffee and did two crossword puzzles (I am slowly becoming my grandparents).

I did all of that while sitting on my ass in front of the television where Seth and I began pondering on whether or not we outta buy the Pressure Cooker XL. (We didn’t buy it … but we thought long and hard … figured the nearly $200 investment wasn’t that great for something that got mixed reviews.) Plus, will it really make me want to actually COOK? That’s not a risk I am willing to take.

Eventually, I got off my ass and showered.

That’s all I did. I didn’t do my hair or “put on my face.” It’s all natural baby! Don’t be jelly!

And then something happened.

A co-worker thinks I have adult ADHD. It’s a running joke in our newsroom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a joking matter, but if you have been following me for the past five years or so, you know me well enough to know that he telling me this doesn’t offend me. I also know that it’s a real medical condition and that people suffer from it (don’t read more into this than you outta …).

Anywho, I decided against my better judgement to bake cookies. My grandma used to bake the most mouth-watering treats. We’d literally would fight over her cookies. She doesn’t bake anymore, so I attempted to bake sugar cookies today.

Dear heavens above, they were the most ass-tasting cookies I have EVER made!

After I baked the ass-cookies, the twins decorated them. Then they tried them – over the trash can – where the cookies ultimately ended up after the tasting. My oldest ate his over the trash, told me it was gross and finished it anyways.

He must love me … a lot.

The ass-cookies are now on a plate – awaiting the arrival of my aunt and uncle who promised to try them. I have a legal form ready for them to sign in case they get food poisoning.

After that crappy experience, I decided to make home-made Christmas gifts. Fucking Pinterest hates me.

I had two wine bottles … that I painted and then wrote the words “Noel” and “Snow” on them. I ended up having to repaint “Noel” because a kindergarten student has better handwriting skills than I will ever possess. The “Snow” bottle remained.

Then I opted to make my brother and cousin signs for their house.

Um … thank God for extra paint, because those bitches have been repainted more times than I can count since I had to write on the blank canvases (see the above paragraph).

But you know what, I had a fantastic day with my family. And that is all that truly matters in December.

A breast cancer warrior with a heart of gold

Sometimes, life’s a bitch.

But, sometimes, a person comes along who encompasses an attitude of “Screw it, I’m gonna life my life to the fullest!”

She saw the glass as half-full – always craving the next taste of life.

She hated bees.

She argued with her parents and siblings, but made up soon after.

She didn’t hold grudges. Life was too short for such nonsense.

She loved her family.

She loved her husband.

But, most of all, she loved being a mom. It’s all she ever wanted in life.

So, when she felt a lump in her breast during her third-trimester of pregnancy, she knew she would do anything in her power to rid her body of the cancerous lump.

Funny thing though, her doctor’s weren’t overly concerned with the lump. And at one point, she herself even thought it would dissipate after giving birth to her son, Frankie.

But it didn’t.

The diagnosis came back as breast cancer.

And, not just the “typical” breast cancer that some women have. Nope, she was diagnosed with the “Head Bitch of the Disease.” She tested positive for an abnormal BRCA1 gene. Abnormal BRCA1 is a harmful gene mutation that increases the risk for a woman getting breast and/or ovarian cancers. It is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

She didn’t even blink an eye when telling the doctor of her course of treatment.

She wanted her breasts removed … and since BRCA1 thrives on estrogen, her other female reproductive organs were removed from her body too.

She was barren.

She was crushed. She wanted three kiddos. But, she was OK with just having Frankie if it meant she could be his entire world.

And she was.

She was his entire world for 19 months.

Jenny Metzer-Bassett died on April 24. She was only 31 years old.

She didn’t want a timeline for her life on Earth. Ultimately she knew her fate.

But for 19 months, she did what she set out to do. She was a warrior. She was the bitch that beat cancer – maybe not in the sense that you think – but she did. She didn’t let the diagnosis get the best of her. She lived her life.

We can all learn from Jenny …

When faced with adversary and bad news – forge forward with a positive attitude and screw the rest.

#RIPJENNY

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2015/05/10/warrior-mom-fights-cancer-battle-moment-moment/

 

 

 

 

 

‘Dress-up’ days at school = hellish mornings

“PING-PING” — the cell phone chimes.

It’s an alert that I ignore.

Two seconds later, I open two folders from two different children, who happen to be twins.

Two pretty pieces of orange paper fly out and land at my feet.

Two seconds after that, another sound emits from my phone telling me someone from town has posted a notification on a parental social media page.

Finally, after reading through the messages, notes and notifications,  I want nothing more than to throw the cell phone or burn the folder.

Fuck me: It’s a “SCHOOL-WIDE DRESS-UP DAY”

“We’re ‘groovy’ for reading … Wear your GROOVY clothes tomorrow!”

Fuck me again. Didn’t we just have “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER!” Day?

I don’t have time for this shit.

Sure, I get the reminders (obviously), but still, there’s a part of me hoping the twins weren’t paying attention at the end of the school day when THEY too are reminded of the impending “DRESS-UP DAY.”

For “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER” we went ALL OUT. And by that I mean, they were themselves.

“You have written books about yourselves before … remember?” I tell them.

“Oh, yeah” they say seconds later.

PERFECT.

Then “GROOVY DAY” comes along. Damnit.

Just because I was BORN in the 1970s doesn’t mean I own shit from that decade.

Thus begins the 7 a.m. full-blown-temper tantrums from two different children. One on the top bunk. The other on the bottom.

“I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR! WHY DON’T I OWN ANYTHING GROOVY?”

Um, because it’s 2016, not 1976.

We fought about pants, shirts and accessories.

“Here, wear this shirt and those jeans … I will braid your hair like your gramma used to do back in the 1970s. You’ll be fine” I said to my daughter as she sat in her bed with her head down, contemplating whether or not she’d be the laughing stock of first grade.

Finally, she agreed. She left wearing a multi-colored shirt and black pants. At the advice of another mom suffering through the same morning bullshit, I added a peace sign on her face. We didn’t have time to dig out the paints. I used lip-liner. It will probably be there for another 20 years.

As for my son, I dug around the clothes until I found a kinda-sorta tye-dyed shirt he made with handprints in kindergarten. He refused the lip-liner-drawn peace sign.

They got on the bus.

PEACE OUT!

I get it. Sorta. Dressing up somehow builds school moral or some other bullshit.

But you know what …

As a student, we NEVER had random dress-up days. We had ONE day per year we were able to pretend we were someone else. It was called HALLOWEEN.

But guess what, students are no longer allowed to dress up for Halloween. It’s against some lame-ass education regulation.

“Some people don’t believe in Halloween.”

No shit.

But ya know what I don’t believe in … searching all over my fucking house looking for “groovy” or “character” clothing.

So, the next time my phone chimes, papers fall and notifications blow up my social media page telling me about a “dress-up” day, I’m gonna pretend it never happened – kinda like what the education system did with Halloween.