Am I selling myself short?

 

Am I selling myself short?

I am looking to branch out my blogging self.

The kicker is, I need a THING to write about. Or a BRAND. Or a PRODUCT.

I can’t write about being a MOM anymore because that ship has sailed on the Scary Mommy Yacht, Huffington Post Parents Sailboat and every other parenting blog known to the blogsphere.

I thought, well maybe I could write about being a mom to a teenager. After all, I do have one of those living in my basement at the moment. But, since he rarely talks to me, he doesn’t give me enough material to write a daily blog about his life. No cash there.

Oh, and then TWINS. Thought maybe I’d struck gold with that BOGO that took place nearly nine years ago. But here’s the thing, no one cares. No one cares that I had twins. Now, they did care when I was PREGNANT with them. I was the talk of the town, mall and OB facility.

“What are you having?” – them.

“A boy … and a girl …” – me as they looked at me, their mouth wide open and eyes as big as the moon.

“Really? Oh how fun! – them.

“Super …” – me, thinking to myself, “I pee every 15 minutes, my entire body hurts and I have a map of the world on my stomach from stretch lines. Do you need to know how to get to New York? Here, let me look …”

BUT NOW, now that they are almost 9 years old, that novelty has worn off. No one even asks me, “Are they twins?” anymore. It’s a bummer really. I shoulda blogged then, but … that wasn’t a thing and I was too tired.

So, then what am I left with? My marriage.

Do people really want to know how we live our lives in the mid-west?

Do people really care that the other night, I was walking around my 2-acre property, in the pouring down rain, looking for the shed key that I APPRENTLY lost while my husband stayed inside, my guess is watching me run around like a duck all the while the key was behind the microwave? I only went out in the storm because I thought he was gonna’ divorce me for losing the ONLY shed key that we own. Stupid Melissa.

Do people really care that we text each other about the most mundane daily events … like when he forgot to uncover the OLD CAT’S SHITTER and then the OLD CAT TOOK A SHIT NEXT TO THE BOX ON THE GARAGE FLOOR because we have to COVER THE OLD CAT’S SHITTER because he HATES IT WHEN THE KITTENS USE HIS SHITTER AS THEIR SHITTER. I too have forgotten to open Jerry’s SHITTER at night to find a pile of shit and a blob of piss on the garage floor. I’d prefer the days when he actually left us rodents by the front door.

And, do people really care that when we are driving on the highway, he feels it is the perfect time to lecture me about pool usage in the summer as if I am his teenage daughter, rather than his 39-year-old wife of nearly 17 years. “If I come home from work and the backyard is a mess …” … Seriously, I think we can all GUESS what I told him as he began THAT sentence.

Hmmmmmmm … maybe I outta change my blog page to simply “MELISSA’S FOLLIES” and leave it at that. It’s not super witty, but maybe I will become a household name among parents …

“Did you read Melissa’s Follies yet today? Her kids are on spring break … and she’s at her breaking point. Today, she tried to scare birds away from their nests as they chirped at her and nearly pecked her eyes out! She’s a hot mess that Melissa!”

 

 

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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/

 

 

 

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.

 

‘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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting #likeaboss

I’ve been a mom for 13 years now, and most days, I still don’t have my shit together.

It’s a damn miracle three kids manage to get out the door and on the bus to school most mornings. Between the fighting, bickering, eating, teeth-brushing, hair-combing and making lunches they won’t eat, I deserve a Gold Medal.

Hell, all moms do. (Dads too – because one year when my own mom worked in the summer, my dad, a teacher, was off. He had to brush my hair every day. One time, he had to put my hair in pig-tails for those lovely 1980s photo sessions. One pony is higher than another. But he rocked picking out my jean bibs and sunglasses!)

Today, I managed to brush and braid a section of KK’s hair while she turned her head like the little girl on the movie, “The Exorcist.” Only, at least KK doesn’t have the ability to turn her head in a 360 degree motion. And she didn’t do the projectile vomit either. Winner-winner, chicken dinner.

As moms, or parents, we often put our children’s needs above all else. And we look worse for the wear for it. At least I do. I sweat, I curse … hell, I almost damn near cry when I am trying to brush hair or get them out of the shower. I don’t know how I survived newbornhood and toddlerhood.

When did I eat? When did I shower? When did I pee? When did I clean? When did I sleep? How did the house not fall apart at the seams when I felt my life was doing just that every single day?

My cousin in Texas, she had her fourth child in December. She has mastered the art of nursing a baby while making a one-handed peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

So, today, I am going to open the floor to my readers.

What do YOU do that you never thought you would as a parent?

Use the hashtag #likeaboss when responding – because damnit, we are all bosses!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

School-aged hoarders — HELP!

If I didn’t have three kids, nor a husband, I am pretty sure I could live in a “tiny house.”

I hate clutter. I hate saving every single piece of art work. I hate having school reminder papers strewn about my kitchen counter. It drives me flippin’ insane.

My kids – at some point in their lives – have been mini-hoarders of shit.

Thank God my oldest has outgrown the need to save every single piece of scrap paper. His room, aside from one container on his dresser, is a clutter-free zone. Granted, it still smells like a giant bottle of Axe Body Spray exploded and coated every inch of the room, but otherwise, it’s in tip-top-shape.

But, the twins room. Oh Lord.

If that room were the first room a robber would lay eyes on, I’m pretty sure he/she would call the producers of “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” There’s no way in hell they would enter that room. It’s the room where toys go to die. It’s the room that underneath the bed, a monster would never sleep because he would be poked to death by some unknown object – like a loose bobby pin or uncapped pen.

Once upon a time, I bought cloth baskets for the twins to separate their items according to toy theme – cars, dolls, markers/stickers/pens, electronics, etc. It was my hope to have the room look organized. Clean. Clutter-free.

But what happened was the twins took that as an open invitation to cram as much shit into one cloth basket. It’s a game – who can cram the most off-the-wall-random-shit into one basket.

There is no winner.

The nice, square baskets have lost their shape. They now resemble octagons. There is no shelf big enough for an octagon full of eraser tops, half-used pencils, miss-matched pieces of jewelry, earrings without backs, broken watches, Pokemon cards, Shopkins, Legos … you name the toy, somewhere in my twins’ room, you will find its long-lost friend floating in a bin or basket.

Earlier today, I was trying to locate a snowflake stamper … I ended up filling two bags full of garbage instead. Included in the bags was a Disney Frozen candy container filled to the brim with OLD CHRISTMAS CANDY FROM LAST YEAR!

And that is the real problem – I cannot go through their stuff when they are HOME because they will go bat-shit crazy when I toss out a doll minus a head or the smallest Lego piece imaginable because someday, down the road, “THEY MAY NEED THAT TOY.”

So, I do what I always do and just transfer more random shit toys to the basement. I now know where the concept of “Toy Story” came … random, sad, lost toys trying to find a new home. A place where they will be played with and loved on a daily basis by some chubby, sticky hand of a toddler.

But for me, I am thinking about renting out a Dumpster and just hauling the basement bins directly inside. I wouldn’t even dissect the bins. I would simply just drag them up the eight steps and haul them into the Dumpster.

If the twins don’t care enough about what’s inside the bins to even play with the toys, why are we keeping these bins? It’s just more clutter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The True Faces of Parenthood

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Squinting your eyes, you can see them in the distance. Signs include strollers, baby carriers, diaper bags and a sluggish-zombie-like pace. Parenthood is the hardest task anyone will endure during their lifetime.

And, it’s a daily struggle that all people who have children understand.

New parents walk around with haggard expressions on their faces, wearing miss-matched socks, or no socks at all. I have seen moms flipping around in flip-flops in February simply because that is the only pair of shoes they were able to locate under heaps of clothing and other shit in the morning before leaving the house.

Yoga and gym pants became daily attire – they are the quickest items of clothing to pull on your legs in the morning. If you’re lucky, you will remember to change your underwear, even if you haven’t showered in a couple of days. T-shirts covered in spit-up or strained carrots, peas and Lord knows what else are worn out in public. And that’s only because you have changed your shirt twice before leaving the house and are slowly running out of clothes because you haven’t had time to wash any in the past month. You have stopped giving a shit.

Hair is either pulled back in a ponytail or hidden underneath a baseball cap. No one has time to gel, dry or style hair anymore. Gone are the days of making sure every strand of perfectly-colored hair is in place. We take a glimpse in the mirror, take a swig of mouth wash (rinse and spit because who has time to actually brush their teeth) and then pray to God we don’t see anyone while we are in Wally World. We secretly hope no one is there snapping photos of us that will end up on “The People of Wal-Mart” website. But, then again, we don’t honestly care. We don’t have time to care.

Dark circles form under our like dirty little pillows. And they never go away and we always look tired. No amount of concealer, makeup or sleep will make them disappear. They are our permanent tattoos signaling our demise into parenthood. It sucks.

How did our lives get turned upside down? The answer is simple – It happened when we agreed to become parents in the first place.

But why didn’t we see the writing on the wall? We grew up around our parents, or other guardians. Surely we must have seen the looks of desperation in their eyes. We had to have been witness to the pure exhaustion on their faces at the end of the day when they tossed us into our bedrooms and told us not to move. There must have been some sign that we all ignored as kids and teens growing up. Or were we all just wearing rose-colored glasses making us oblivious to our surroundings? And if we were wearing rose-colored glasses – where are they now? I seem to have lost mine, but it would be great to find a new pair to hide my dark circles …

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’ Workshop site, www.humorwriters.org and for “Great Moments in Parenting.” She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com.