Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Habits of the Mom Who Knows When to Say, "Aw, Fuhgeddaboudit!"

The following is a revised version of a piece I published on Yahoo's Shine last November.  Suggested for your reading pleasure is, you guessed it, a nice glass of wine.  If you don't drink, how about some chocolate or a nice piece of cake?


I read a list of mothering suggestions, entitled "10 Things Happy Moms Do," and I thought, How lovely, but can I really practice anything on this list without a serious personality makeover, if not a lobotomy?  I thought the author of the post, blogger HybridMom, had some lovely ideas, but her advice seemed like just not enough gas to take you to Happyland, if you know what I mean.  So I've taken it upon myself to comment on her ideas and add a few of my own.  

1. Find time for yourself
HM: Happy moms know they deserve a little time to themselves. When you know you're going to have a little room to breathe later on in the day, it's easier to take on everything that's in front of you. Our formula? Take 2 hours out for yourself every 3 days.

MNS: Hey, if you've got kids that you conceived on purpose, you're probably old enough to remember the McDonalds slogan, "You deserve a break today!"  And you do, but how are you going to do that, between meal planning and preparation, cleaning just enough so that you don't have teams of roaches and mice racing across your floor, doctors' visits, taking the kids to soccer/ballet/music, playdates, making sure you don't look and smell homeless and just trying to be a decent wife?  So here's my formula. It's as easy as 1-2-3! One time a month, take two hours plus three days for yourself.  Once a month, pack a bag and plan where you'll go two hours away.  Don't forget your major credit card with the lowest balance!  Drive to the nicest hotel you can sort of afford and check in for three days.  Imagine how great you'll feel upon your return!  Everyone will forgive you because you'll be the wife and mother your family had only dreamed about.

2. Don't make a happy baby happier!
HM: We all do it...you see your baby's head at what you're sure is an unnatural angle snoozing in their car seat. You just know he'd be happier if his head was straight.  So you move him. And he wakes up. And screams. Or, you see her playing happily in the sand. You just know she'd be happier on the slide. So you interrupt her and move her to the slide.  And she's angry. And she lets you know she's REALLY angry.  Here's the thing, she was happy. It can be hard to do, but if your kid's not complaining, leave him be!  Happy baby = Happy Mommy.

MNS: You're not kidding about this one!  If it ain't broke don't fix it, I always say.  Now if your child is playing happily with a friend and another mommy friend of yours is watching over both kiddos, I'm sure she won't mind if you ask to go to the bathroom at the nearest Starbucks! What a great way to sneak in a coffee break.  Just make sure you bring your friend and her kid back a treat.  Note:  this is NOT the time to go on your 1-2-3 trip.  
3. Embrace the mess
HM: So your house doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. That just means it’s cozy! Your children have hands coated in dirt from the playground and faces coated in spaghetti from dinner. It’s not gross—it’s an adorable photo op! Life is about how you look at things. Next time that pile of laundry that’s been sitting on the chair for three days starts to get you down, just remember… it’s probably feng shui.
MNS: Amen sister.  See everything in a whole new light!  Or not.  Because by keeping the house semi dark, no one will notice the chunks of food on and underneath the table, which you know is just a pre-set kids snack!  The toys all over the house aren't a broken leg waiting to happen. It's your children trying to design an obstacle course because they know mommy has no time for the gym!  And the piles of books, bills and mail all over the place - simply showing the children the importance of reading and math!  But if the garbage is overflowing, for God's sake, get your husband/partner off his ass and get him to take it out.  
4. Make time for your friends
HM: Your family can survive without you while you make time to see friends. You are a woman with your own identity and its imperative that you and that identity go out for some margaritas once in awhile!
MNS: Of course, you have to see your friends, but why do you have to go out?  Who can afford a sitter only to have substandard and pricey margaritas at some burrito joint? And hey, you need to keep your money for the 1-2-3 plan! My solution is the Boozy Playdate!  Kids love bread and cheese or chips and salsa and you and your mom friends won't have to feel bad about your clothes from three years ago and lack of make up in public.  And no worries about your kids seeing you tipsy.  Don't you want them to know, hiccup, that alcohol is a joyful part of life and is to be enjoyed responsibly?  
5.  Stop blowing yourself off
HM: While you may be the one taking care of everyone, it doesn't mean you can't also get what you want. Help your family realize your needs are as important as theirs and when mom is happy, everyone is happy, but when mom is not....
The only way not to blow yourself off is to completely blow yourself off. Neglect yourself into an unhygienic, flabby, angry mess.  Then snap, preferably at dinnertime.  Tell everyone, "Do you think I'm your slave? Look at me, I haven't brushed my teeth in days! I mean, do you think the dishes wash themselves?  And you kids, could you just do one thing I ask?"  Then lean against the wall and slide down to the floor. Sit there and sob. Say, "I love you all so much, but where is there time for me?  I have lost myse-e-e-e-elf.  Your family will call grandma immediately, thereby enabling you to use the 1-2-3 plan with their blessing.
6.  Get in the zone
HM: Take 10 minutes to do absolutely nothing but rest. Take a break from your day, close your eyes, breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  Repeat several times. Think about a place you love that is relaxing, spend 10 minutes there in your mind.
MNS: Since you don't know what rest means anymore, you might have to look it up.  But if you go online to look it up, you will start replying to messages or looking up old boyfriends on Facebook, and if you find a real dictionary you will look at your dusty shelves and either actually dust them, or just get depressed.  So, you need to open a bottle of wine.  Smell your first glass for 10 minutes.  It's a great way to practice breathing.  Then drink the whole bottle.  Now you are the living definition of zoned out!
7.  Remember your dreams and goals
HM: Everyday we are encouraging our children to reach their full potential. But sometimes in the midst of being a parent we forget about our own dreams and goals. The best thing you can do to encourage a child is to lead by example –happy moms hold on to their dreams and goals and don’t let go.
MNS: Sad but true.  I once dreamed that I'd have a big career, live in a big house, drive a beautiful car and live a life of relative ease. I work part time and parent full time.  (Oh boy, do the math on that one...)  I want my children to know those happy moms who have accomplished big things.  So I simply open my alumni magazine and let my children marvel at all the people I went to school with - the presidents of corporations, the professors at prestigious academic institutions, the doctors and lawyers, the scientists, those dedicating their lives to serving the poor overseas.  If your daughter asks, "Why haven't they written about you in this magazine?" just rub her hair and chuckle, "Oh sweetie! Because then I couldn't be such a great mommy!"
8.  Be lighthearted
HM: Don't be the uptight mom. Be silly and dance with your kids to their music or tv show tunes. Be romantic and pull your partner into a waltz. Dance in slippery socks in your kitchen while making dinner.
MNS: Lightheartedness is much easier to come by after you've followed through with #6.  
9.  Bend the Rules
One of the best parts of making the rules is occasionally breaking them. Maybe it’s taking your child out of school for half a day on their birthday, or waking them up in the middle of the night to see a sky of shooting stars.  Happy moms know how to turn the mundane into fun.
MNS: Now this is just plain silly.  Who in their right mind would wake a sleeping child in the middle of the night unless the house was on fire?  As for turning the mundane into fun, why not have the kids wear their Halloween costumes while they do chores like Swiffer the floor, or for older children, clean out the garage?
10.  Mind your own business
HM: Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Stop seeking the validation of others and be confident in yourself.
MNS: Create your life the way you want it?  Take care of your family?  That's how you got in this mess in the first place, am I right, or am I right?  You get up everyday resolving not to sweat the small stuff and to be more patient, kind and loving, and by 10 am when it has taken two hours to leave the house to go the playground, you're bitter, frustrated and swearing, and considering filling your Sigg bottle with vodka.  If the only way you can feel better is by dishing about that bitchy mom and her obnoxious kids, the one you see at the playground everyday but won't give you a boo, s--t or howdy, then have at it! That said, Mama, you should be confident of several things.  First no, you are not in control, not of yourself and not even of your children.  Second, this is a wild ride, a beautiful journey that you are lucky to be on.  And when your children are successful, independent adults, you will look upon these days with a smile and think, "I kicked ASS!"


  1. Hey Keesha! I'm popping over from voiceBoks to say HEY! Your blog is adorable!! I used to be a dancer ... until I had kids. So seeing your header made me remember those days ... except I wasn't pushing a stroller when up on stage! But it still reminded me of being in the spotlight! I loved it ... it's been a LONG time! Thanks for the memories!!
    Ro :)

  2. Love your post especially since you included some mommy time in there. Moms have a hard time to find a relaxation time. Hope to see more exciting posts. Thanks for connecting via voiceBoks and for coming on over at Espanol para Ninos (Spanish for Kids).
    Wishing a wonderful day,
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

  3. Love this one! Spot on! Especially about the wine! ;)

  4. Hilarious! Love your replies. BTW, if I were to close my eyes for 10 minutes, it would turn into an hour and a half unless awoken by the variety of screaming that can only be caused by injury, or the sound of something breaking. My house would be ransacked by my two nutty boys & Ben would have pooped on the potty & not wiped or bothered to put his underpants back on... then I'd be spraying any "suspect" surfaces with Clorox to make sure no one was coming in contact with fecal matter. Just sayin'

  5. This had me in tears. Pure awesomeness...

  6. I liked the part about looking back on this time and thinking you kicked ass. Totally hoping for that! :-)


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