Hey you there: Are you stressed?

My mom broke the unspoken rule of motherhood the other day.

She asked me if I was stressed.

I lied and told her everything was fine.

She didn’t need to know that I can’t even go to the bathroom without someone screaming, “MOOOOMMMM!!!” Most summer days, I don’t shower until 10 p.m. My husband comes home to a ragged, dark-circles-under-eyes, exhausted as hell wife with her dirty hair in a clip, pulling her bangs away from her face. The days I do appear showered and put together, he wants to know where we are going that night.

She doesn’t need to know that every day my kids fight, whine and argue like they are trying to set a world record for “Aggravating Mom the Most.”

She doesn’t need to know that me working from home when my kids are home is getting increasingly more difficult as my kids age. I thought it would be easier, but it’s because my children no longer take naps. Back, long, long ago, I had two to three hours of peace and quiet during the day. That was MY time. A time when if I needed to nap, I could grab 20 minutes and feel rested. If I needed to work, I could. Now, my kids surround me like a bee to a flower. Buzzing, buzzing … all the time.

She doesn’t need to know that rather than be a mom to my 14-year-old son, I am now his personal taxi service for all high school sporting events. Who has practice at 5 p.m. on the weekdays? Answer … my son.

She wanted to know what she could do help ease my stress. She let me know that she is there for me if I needed to talk. I actually told her I have no time to talk – that is what talk-to-texting is for where I don’t need to have a conversation for 20 minutes, explaining why I am stressed.

Besides, no one cares!

A day later, I confessed I was stressed. Who isn’t?

Moms are all in the same boat – making our way through muddied waters called Motherhood. Day in and day out, we experience the same crap. And it doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, working-mom or whatever-type-of mom.

Being a mom is stressful enough without adding all the extra shit – like laundry, cleaning, cooking, dishes and sleeping (if we are lucky).

To know that we are responsible for our children is an insane amount of stress – especially if we don’t want our kids turning into assholes later in life.

We have to dole out the chores, the punishments, the rewards, the explanations. We have to set good examples.

We have to make sure they are associating themselves with the right kind of people.

We have to make sure they receive proper nutrition and the right amount of sleep.

We have to control how much screen time they have on a daily basis.

The list is endless.

And it’s not just moms … this goes for dads too. Parenthood is the hardest job I have ever had in my life. Some days, I yearn for my college days where the only person who I was in charge of was me. I’d give anything to pull an all-nighter, cramming for an exam. I’d give anything to have two days to write a 10-page-double-spaced paper on revolution. I’d give anything to live in dorm with 200 other people.

This isn’t saying I don’t wish I was 19 years old again. Because, I don’t. I don’t miss my teens, 20s or what’s left of my 30s (which is six months). Those years are who made me the crazy, loud, fun-loving, honest, hard-working mom I am today.

So, yes, I will continue to pretend everything is fine; and that I am not stressed because no one wants to be weighed down by my problems because we all have them – it’s just how we deal with them that makes us … us.

If it slithers, creeps or crawls …

Apparently my kids never got the memo about my strong dislike for nature.

It should be noted that I live in the country with a creek running behind my house, surrounded by farmland.

For most, this would be paradise. And 80 percent of the time it IS paradise.

Until I start seeing creatures that slither, creep along and otherwise scare the living daylights out of me.

Last night was perfect for a stroll through the park. Trees, fishing ponds and benches dot the two-mile loop of the paved path.

It was perfect until I saw something flopping out of the corner of my eye near the tree-line.

I screamed and did that pathetic “girly move” where I moved my hands up and down in a super quick motion while jumping in place. I was trying to make the creature more afraid of me.

I looked like an idiot.

My friends walking behind us quipped up, “You OK??”

“Yup, sure am … it was a bird!” I said picking up the pace.

Later that same evening, while sitting on our deck underneath the pergola with twinkling white lights, our son presented us with a gift.

The tiniest frog known to man-kind.

I moved away in my chair. My husband gathered the small frog in between his two fingers and put it on my friend’s toe.

She also screamed.

And all of us live within a country-block of each other. You’d think by now we’d know what to expect living out here.

Snakes are slithering through our yards. A craw-daddy with large claws has taken up residence in a mud-hole behind our basketball hoop. The coyotes hold nightly conventions in the woods behind our house.

Two weeks ago, while on her riding lawn mower, my friend ran over a snake.

This week, I almost stepped on a snake in our yard.

And granted these snakes are mostly your small, yard snakes that eat bugs, but a snake is a snake is a snake.

Why did I think moving to the country would be an ideal environment to raise our children?

And now we have tiny frogs that are multiplying in and around our house at lightning speed. And our son has a keen eye to find them.

“Hey mom!! Quick!! GET ME A JAR!”

Then he plopped the frog inside. I thought it was dead … until it hopped … and scared me half-to-death.

I hate living out here in BFE.

The author, Melissa Linebrink, was recently awarded first place in 2017 Ohio’s Best Journalism in the “Best Overall Blog” category. She also placed first in the same category in 2016 for her blog, “Parenthood: The New Crazy Train.”

 

 

Motherhood is.

We are everywhere.

We can be found at school functions, in grocery stores and churches. We are at swimming pools, the beach and ball parks during the summer.

No place is safe. No one is safe.

Moms are starting to lose it, and other moms are starting to take notice.

A crying 9-year-old here; a smart-mouth teen there.

A 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum on the floor while hurling a sippy cup 15-feet across the room. A pre-school-aged child lagging behind you at Wal-Mart, waiting to see how long it takes you to turn around, demanding their presence at your side.

At the heart of every chaotic scene is a mom who wants nothing more than to crumble at her feet and assume the fetal position. But she can’t. She has to take control of every situation and try to either improve it or end the behavior that started it in the first place.

Nearly every day, I feel like I am walking around my house with a large, “WARNING: CRAZED MOTHER” sign dangling around my neck.

All I am asking of my 14-year-old and 8-year-old twins is to make their beds, clean up their rooms, get dressed and brush their teeth. There may be an occasional “empty the dishwasher” or “feed the cat” notice. I am not asking them to move a mountain. But they certainly act like I am. So, when they fail to “do their summer chores” and I start screaming through the house, they act like they either A. don’t hear me or B. can’t see me.

The slogan in BFE this summer is “There is no summer fun until the chores are done.”

Right now, my daughter is sprawled out on the floor, begging me to open the pool. I still have two baskets of laundry to fold and put away. I asked her earlier, when she declared for the 100th time today that she was bored, if she wanted to fold the clothes on my bed. She turned and went back to her room to craft accessories for her non-American Girl Doll.

“I’m still bored!” I heard her yell through the door.

Meanwhile, my 14-year-old who missed lunch two hours ago is telling me there is nothing to eat in a house with a stocked pantry and refrigerator.

“Mom, we don’t have anything. I want like buttermilk pancakes, um, or pizza rolls, a burger, that’s it, oh stuffed French Toast too,” he is telling me wearing only a pair of summer shorts because getting dressed isn’t on his “to-do” list until apparently this evening.

So, in a nutshell, my kids are bored and starving – and we’ve only been on summer break less than three weeks.

 

Introducing 2016 Ohio SPJ award-winning blogger Melissa Linebrink. Melissa is a creative, witty blogger who doesn’t sugarcoat the hardships of everyday parenting. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/

 

 

 

Personal hygiene and kids – don’t mix

 

Kids are gross.

I just spent 10 minutes, maneuvering my body in ways I never imaged while on my son’s top bunk. There I proceeded to scrape snot off the walls.

True story. I even used a SOS-type pad to remove even the hardest stuck-on goo.

Apparently walking the four steps to the ground is too much for him. Plus, he would have to walk an extra five steps to the bathroom where the tissues are kept.

It’s just too much for a tired 8-year-old boy.

Now, he has a mini tissue box stuffed in the corner of his bunkbed. Mounds of tissue will begin to accumulate any night now and will litter the bed like freshly fallen snow.

This comes about three hours after I asked my daughter, KK, why her hair has been greasy ever since Dec. 20.

To which she replied, “I only wash it with conditioner … that way I only have to touch my hair once, instead of twice.”

She now has “shampoo-plus-conditioner in one” now to avoid any confusion on whether or not she needs to wash or just conditioner her curly hair.

(Blame all goes to my husband, Seth, on this one. I have straight-thin-as-an-arrow-hair while he has the beautiful, thick curly hair that our oldest, Ethan and KK inherited.)

I’m not entirely sure what happened over Christmas break, but my husband and I learned a lot about our children.

Mainly, they would rather do anything than worry or care about personal hygiene.

Even the teenager is tossed into the mix.

He is on a mission to grow his hair. I’m not sure how long this will last, but I have told him repeatedly that if he grows his hair long enough, I will cut it and make it into a usable wig for myself.

I give him to the end of this week before he is begging for a trip to the local barbershop. (Peer pressure from his classmates is going to win this non-battle-battle of haircare.)

Usually lack of personal hygiene care only shows its dirty head in the summer months.

But, in the summer, noses rarely run and since we have a swimming pool, showers, hence hair-washing, only takes place every couple days.

Don’t judge – in our house, if you are in the pool for an extended period of time, especially within the hour before bed, there’s no need for a real shower. Sure, sure, I know all about chlorine … but sometimes, kids just need to be kids. Besides, I survived just fine. Yes, my hair may have tinted a slight green but back in the 1980s my mom banned me from doing anything to my hair except getting a perm, so having it turn green was kinda cool in my book.

Ah, but now we are back into our routine; and new rules are being enforced (such as using a tissue for snot and washing hair with shampoo which I assumed they knew all along, but I was wrong).

Now if only I can convince my teenage son to actually grow his hair until the summer, I may just have enough to cut and use as a ponytail!

 

Melissa Linebrink is a columnist and award-winning part-time reporter for The Chronicle-Telegram. Read her award-winning blog athttp://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. She can be reached at mlinebrink@chroniclet.com or 329-7243. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Linebrink

The Chronicle-Telegram

Reporter/Columnist

440-315-7303 (cell)

440-355-6494 (M-Th – home; Friday – office)

440-329-7243 (office)

mlinebrink@chroniclet.com

mlinebrink@yahoo.com

 

Heartbeat

Middle of the night, Oct. 30, 2001

From the depths of my dream, I heard the landline phone ringing on the side of my husband’s nightstand.

“BBBbbbbrrrrinnnnggg …. Bbbbbrrrriinnnggg …”

I grabbed it on the third or fourth ring. In a groggy voice, I whispered a simple, “Hello? …”

The person on the other end wasn’t as quiet. In fact, I heard fear and sadness in her voice.

“Melis … my dad died …”

I swore I was still dreaming.

“WHAT?”

“He and my mom were walking and he just had a heart attack on the sidewalk,” my former college roommate turned bridesmaid in my wedding (now the Godmother of my twins) said.

I quietly padded down the hall and down the five steps, into my living room, so as to not wake my husband.

There, on the couch, I just sat and listened to my best friend share the worst day of her life through the telephone.

Sarah’s mom was an OBGYN nurse. She had seen her share of scares, but this was something completely different.

Sure, heart disease ran in Bob’s family, but no one in a million years thought he would die from a heart attack. That only happened to “other” people’s parents.

Not a father of four grown daughters and a handful of grandchildren to boot.

Not to a man who wasn’t retired.

Not to a man who had yet to see his youngest daughter marry and have two girls of her own.

Not to a man who loved his wife and God.

But it did.

To this day, no one knows why Bob died on October 29, 2001.

But what I do know is the passing of Bob Bednarski shook my friend’s family to the very core.

It also opened my eyes to realize life is fragile.

And I never want to see anyone go through that again. It’s not fair.

For one Grafton, Ohio mom, she got lucky. Others aren’t so lucky.

On April 3, 2016 the mother and grandmother suffered what doctor’s refer to as the “Widow Maker” – mostly this type of heart attack hits men, but this time around, it hit her.

Her family called 911 and began CPR.

They did everything by the book.

Moments later, Brent Payne, a part-time police officer with the Village of Grafton, arrived. En route, he heard the words “full cardiac arrest” come across the scanner.

He knew what he had to do, and he was prepared.

Tucked away inside the trunk of Brent’s patrol car was an AED unit. The AED, or automated external defibrillator, is the device that may have saved the woman’ life. An AED is a portable electronic device that can automatically restart a heart rhythm.

“I always have it on my shift in case of incidents like this,” Brent said. “After speaking with paramedics on scene, they determined that if I did not have the AED with me and able to deliver the initial quick shocks, she may not have made it to the hospital with any signs of life.”

But, if any other officer had shown up at the Grafton woman’s door, no one is for certain what the outcome could have been.

You see, up until April 3, there was only one police officer on the Grafton Police force who carried an AED unit – Brent Payne. And, he was a part-time police officer. To say he was meant to be covering the night shift on April 3 is an understatement.

I don’t know if Brent truly understands the gift he gave to the family in Grafton, Ohio.

I hope he does, because in my gut, I know that rather than planning a Mother’s Day celebration, they would have been planning her funeral in early April.

I’m not sure if my friend’s dad would have survived his heart attack if a store nearby carried the AED units as some do now. But, that was in 2001 – and protocol is different now.

While Sarah’s dad is forever watching his family from Heaven, the Grafton mom has been given a second chance at life – that alone is the best Mother’s Day gift of them all.

 

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, www.humorwriters.org. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com.

 

A ‘trip’ on ‘vacation’ — assho!es a-plenty

cancun

Sometimes, as adults, there is a need to escape the everyday norm. It could be a long-weekend spent together while the kiddos visit the grandparents. Or, it can be a vacation – away from it all.

A friend of ours phrased it well, even though you may disagree. He said, “A vacation is MINUS the kids, a TRIP is with the kids.”

Either way, we left Ohio and our beloved children for six days and flew to Cancun, Mexico.

Even the drive on the way to the airport was pure bliss. Thirty-minutes of adult conversation. We never heard “I’m bored” or “She’s touching me!” being screamed from the backseat every 10 seconds.

So, there we were … in Cancun, staying at an all-inclusive resort. Adult beverages, nightlife and the most scrumptious meals on the planet Earth were at our fingertips.

Until we realized we weren’t there alone … and I’m not talking about the other ADULTS staying at the resort.

No, I am referring to the spring-breakers. College-aged students living the dream for a week in Cancun, without parents, roommates, professors or classes.

Minus manners too if you asked us.

By the final day, I wanted to wear a hand-made sign declaring, “PICK UP YOUR OWN SHIT” … My friend added: “YOUR MOMMA AIN’T HERE!”

It was classic.

Empty beer and margarita cups littered the tables situated within the pool. We removed them. It wasn’t our job, but it was gross and bothered us. Our husbands told us time and time again, “You can take ladies out of the USA, but you can’t take the moms out of them.” Or something like that.

Inside the sports bar, assholes left half-eaten cheeseburgers, nachos and hotdogs on paper plates when a trashcan was less than 20 feet away.

Where in the world did they leave their manners? Are they like this at home? Are they like this in their college dormitories or apartments?

Those were our thoughts as we walked from table to table removing the assholes’ shit they left behind.

Our vacation continued by watching the near-three fights break out amongst various nationalities, except no one from the United States was acting like an asshole. It was everyone else, shouting out phrases no one understood. My guess, they were calling everyone else assholes for different reasons.

I loved watching people call the hotel manager after someone took their poolside chairs. Now would be an ideal time to note this asshole was like 60 years old complaining. The manager told him, “You can’t save chairs.” He didn’t like that answer. The group he was arguing with kept blowing him kisses – that just pissed him off even more. It was hilarious. It was like the time my brother got in trouble for something I did and I reacted the same way, telling him to “kiss it.”

Add, “Watching Groups of People Argue Over Which Country is THE BEST” is a must on everyone’s “Bucket List.” Clearly the country that did NOT get BANNED from the alcohol at the all-inclusive resort were “better.” But not by much by our standards.

And, let’s not forget the group of 15 guys fighting with five other guys and three girls over the style of music being played over a loudspeaker. Our friends nailed the reason for the fight – the five guys were close to “Closing the deal with the three girls and taking them up to bed after talking to them for five hours when the other guys came over with their bad music.” BUZZ KILL … or … well, some kind of kill.

Upon leaving the resort, I assumed our journey back to the USA would go smooth. What else could go wrong? Oh, you know, our bus driver could run 15 minutes late and then make up time by driving in the middle of the road, cutting every other vehicle off – including bicyclists and motorcyclists. By this time, hands were being laid upon a Bible brought from Ohio. Our lives flashed before our eyes.

After coming to what felt like a screeching halt in the airport parking lot, we staggered out of the bus as if we had just topped of a bottle of tequila. I kinda wish I had because it would have made the next scene “that much more hilarious.”

Again, a group of four ladies were standing in the customs line, while the rest of us were waiting to be X-rayed, poked and prodded when they picked THAT time to … you guessed it, take A SELFIE.

The man behind the ladies spoke up, told them they were basically assholes and to move along because they were holding the line up.

Long story short, Mexican security showed up, but they weren’t as intimidating as I imagined them to be at the border. They just laughed and shook their heads while moving the ladies through security. They wanted those selfie-bitches OUT of Cancun.

Good news … after we made it past customs, we all headed toward the duty-free shop and bought tequila and/or Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. That made THE VACATION all worth … THE TRIP (WITH COLLEGE-AGED KIDS).

 

 

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, www.humorwriters.org and Great Moments in Parenting. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter @train_crazy.

 

 

December – Thank God’s it’s almost OVER

Dear Faithful “Parenthood: The New Crazy Train” Readers,

I apologize whole-heartedly for my near month-long absence from entertaining you all.

I am blaming it on my children for during the month of December they go from being normal to rambunctious within a matter of seconds.

They do not give a rat’s ass about “Elf on the Shelf” watching over them – regardless if we even have one of those damn things (which we don’t).

They do not give a rat’s ass that “Santa” is watching over them – they don’t care about the “Big Jolly Elf.”

Between holiday parties, family gatherings and wrapping presents (which about 80 percent are still under the tree since once they were unwrapped at warp speed, they were tossed into the “I don’t want this shit” pile) I feel like I have had about 10 minutes to myself.

And now, now we are in the smack-dab in the middle of Winter Break – minus any snow.

I have begged them to play with their unplayed-with-toys. They don’t care. My husband and I spent a lot of time picking out that stuff, only for them to toss it like a piece of trash. A flick of the wrist, and boom, it’s in the pile, along with the wrapping paper. It’s a sad state of affairs in our house.

I have never wanted it to snow so much in my entire life like I want it right NOW. I know, I know … what you all thinking … and I do too … I hate bundling them up with winter hats, coats, scarves and boots for them to slam open the door 15 minutes later declaring, “WE ARE DONE!”

But, without snow this year, they are stuck inside because it’s been raining cats and dogs in Ohio.

I hate Ohio weather. It’s muddy; and it’s ugly outside now too. It’s not even warm enough for hot chocolate.

Back to our Non-Winter-Winter-Break. It sucks. You know, as a parent, that winter break sucks when your kids WANT to go back to school. I want them back in school. I wonder if I could make the school district a trade: You take my kids the rest of this week (minus New Year’s Eve) and I will keep them the first snow day we have in Ohio. I promise …

Sincerely,

A Mom