Friday, July 25, 2014

Saint Nathan, Patron Saint of Downtrodden Husbands

My husband and I were laying in bed, talking quietly the other night. My body had finally gotten back on its usual schedule after having my son, meaning Aunt Flo had finally shown up (sorry if that's TMI). This is how our conversation went.
"You know....I had completely forgot that you even had a period. It's been so long, I think I just blocked it out," my husband said. (Which, as a side note, I have a hard time believing. I've made it my mission to educate my husband on anything and everything to do with my uterus for years. Frankly, if I have to spit a kid out of it he can at least know how it works and the repercussions of its activities. I don't think it's too much to ask. As a result we've had conversations over the years that have ended with him leaving the room or saying things like "STOP saying mucus lining!" or "keep your mysterious lady-parts a mystery, please" or "this is female propaganda" when I showed him a copy of "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" at the bookstore.) Anyway:
"You blocked it out? Jeeze, it's not like my PMS was that bad. I mean, aside from some crying, binge eating fried food, and a little irritability you got off EASY," I replied. This is about the time that my husband took on the hallow-eyed expression of a man who had seen too much and could only recount his traumatic experience in hushed tones and with the aid of a stiff drink.
"You don't know. You just don't know how hard it is for me." Then he shuddered. HE ACTUALLY SHUDDERED.
"Uhm....say what? Hard for you?!? I am the one who bloats up to Liza Minnelli-like proportions. I am the one who gets the backaches, headaches, and cramps. I am the one who cries during ASPCA commercials, damn that Sarah McLachlan and her sad puppies. Not to mention the overwhelming and all encompassing fatigue. Please, please tell me how all of this is hard for you."
"Well. I have to deal....with you. I love you, by the way."
"Uh-huh. Right. Well, I didn't realize I was in the presence of a living saint. You've just been canonized St. Nathan, patron saint of downtrodden husbands and the menstrually abused. Your feast day is tomorrow, so don't come home without fried pie....and whatever you want."
So, there you have it ladies. Spread the word about St. Nathan and his martyrdom to menstruation. When in times of need your husbands and boyfriends can hold fast to the idea that they are not alone, and they can whisper a prayer to St. Nathan. Perhaps they'll be answered with a miracle and a bottle of Midol, a box of chocolate, and a copy of "Love Actually" will appear. I'm working on an idea for a prayer card. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 21, 2014

How Tivo Saved My Sanity

There's no doubt about it: Tivo saved my mommy-mind. I can't begin to tell you how much I love my new Tivo. LOVE. Let me try to paint you a picture, so you can understand the depth of my feelings:

It's Tuesday night, at 6:59 p.m. Both of your adorable, cherub faced sons are fed, bathed, and snuggled into their  pajamas. You've had a long day, but you've managed to stay reasonably calm and zen-like even though your eldest child took a dump in his pants for no apparent reason earlier that day and your youngest has been nursing non-stop since lunch. Finally, an hour until the kids' bedtime you sit down to watch the bright spot in your work-week evening: the newest episode of Pretty Little Liars.
Now, before you presume to judge me, hear this: I have no real defense for myself. I like a show marketed for teenaged girls for reasons only known  to God and my inner-psyche. My husband teases me mercilessly for watching such a show, but the only thing I can say is that it's mildly entertaining and it beats the hell out of watching Backyardigans or whichever cartoon my son has deemed to be the flavor of the week. I can only take so much children's programming before I start a downward spiral that ends with me crying and eating an entire box of cookies. Teen aged programming on ABC Family may be a small step up from Barney, but it's a step up none the less. Now, back to my picture painting:
6:59, one minute before the show starts. You tell son #1 that Mommy is going to watch her show, and send him into his room to play. You begin to nurse son #2 so he'll be content and hopefully fall asleep before Aria, Hanna, Emily, Spencer, and Alison get their first text. Cue Pretty Little Liars. As you start to get sucked in to an hour of mindless television BAM! You get hit with your first "Mommy! I have to go potty!" You detach son #2, who begins to scream because you took away his snack before he was ready, and rush son #1 to the bathroom before you have another accident on your hands. After you hurry your son through the bathroom and wash his hands you get back into television viewing range in just enough time to catch the theme song, which means you've missed the first 5-7 minutes of the show. Awesome. By now son #2 is hysterical and has decided to make you pay by refusing to latch, shrieking at the top of his lungs, rendering you basically deaf to all other sound. While the decibel of your youngest son's screams pierce your ears and stab your brain, your eldest son will then decide that he has something important to tell you, that he can ONLY tell you if he can sit in your lap while he does it.
Up to this point you haven't been able to hear much of anything, let alone the snappy dialogue of a bunch of 28 year-olds masquerading as teens. You also haven't been able to SEE anything, either. The first half of the show is over and your kids are nowhere near done with their verbal assault. Your zen-ness from earlier in the day has disappeared and has been replaced with frustration, guilt over your frustration, and an intense and all-encompassing desire for everyone (including you) to go to bed. You give up, letting the little terrorists win.
The end.
Not a very pretty picture, is it?
But, thanks to Tivo, I never have to have another Tuesday night like that again. I can record my shows and watch them after the kids are blessedly asleep. And I know what some people may be thinking, "It's only t.v. Is it really that important? Spend some time with your kids, you horrible parent!" Well, no, it's not the end of the world. But, since I don't even get to pee by myself anymore, let alone go to a movie or concert, I rely a little more on t.v. for entertainment than I used to. I'm a stay-at-home Mom, so I am literally with my kids 24/7. Sometimes, in order to stay sane, a little "me" time is necessary. I read a lot, go to the gym, watch documentaries and stuff like that, but I also like to have some junk t.v. in my line-up.
Ask other parents of young kids what they plan to do on any given Wednesday night and your answer is probably going to be either watching "x" show, taking Jr. to tee-ball practice, having happy hour part 2, or sleeping. Since we got our Tivo the problem has been solved, and now everyone is happy. My eldest son can sit in my lap while we read the same three books over and over and over,my youngest son can nurse uninterrupted, and I can relax and know that I still get my "me" time, it may just be a few hours later than it used to be.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My PG-13 Gym Fantasy

The other day I went to the gym and while I was there, working out, I had a very vivid three to five minute fantasy. If the MPAA were to rate my fantasy it would most likely get a PG-13 rating. And I know what you're thinking. Get your mind out of the gutter! I didn't have a smutty fantasy, oh no. My fantasy would receive its rating due to the violence level involved.
I was on the stair climber/elliptical hybrid machine that I love after working up a sweat in the weight room. I was listening to Pandora, climbing my stairs to nowhere, when I began to daydream. Usually my daydreams are about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep or hot cups of coffee enjoyed in silence, like most moms. However, on this day my daydream/fantasy was a little more macabre.

Here's how it went: I realized as I climbed my stairs to nowhere, that I didn't want to be on this machine anymore. All this climbing, and I never got anywhere! While I didn't hate the machine I was on (at least it didn't hurt my knees), my gaze was drawn to the tall stair climber. The one that has steps like an escalator and which I invariably almost fall off of every time I try to use it. Full of indignant fury at this...this...injury waiting to happen, I charged over to the machine. A mob of similarly minded women appeared behind me with torches and pitchforks. A bonfire was lit under the stair climber, and my sisters-in-arms and I danced wildly around its charred remains. One of my new comrades shouted "VIA LA REVOLUTION!!" and we charged through the gym righting wrongs. For example.....
"Hey! Sweaty guy who uses the machines and touches every surface and then leaves WITHOUT CLEANING THE MACHINE WITH A SANITIZING WIPE. The wipes are FREE and are placed throughout the gym. How hard is it to clean up after yourself?!? Do you think I want to do hamstring curls while laying in a pool of your sweat? NO! Your punishment is to clean every last piece of equipment in the gym. TWICE! So say we all!"
or
"You! Yeah you, Chatty Cathy sitting on my favorite ab machine talking on your phone! I will grab your phone and throw it in the stair climber bonfire if you don't MOOOOOVE!!" etc, etc.

This went on for a minute or two, allowing my subconscious to vent all the frustrations that my conscious mind is too polite and shy to voice. Around the time I got to fantasizing about photobombing every gym rat's selfie in the weight room mirror, I was wrenched back to reality by stumbling on my stairliptical (I use this machine every time I go to the gym and I still don't know what it's really called). There I was, still climbing my stairs to nowhere; no bonfire, no angry mob of sister comrades. I got off my machine, and wiped the handles down with a sanitizing wipe (because that's what polite people do) and headed out of the gym. I was kind of glad that it had all been a daydream because 1) I want to be allowed back into the gym, and 2) I'd hate to find a Youtube video of my exploits entitled "Security Forces Tackles Sweaty Mom Gone Crazy". However, I was glad that I had had the fantasy because it had provided a sense of comic relief for me at the gym. Sometimes, we Moms take "getting our body back" way too seriously. Trust me, ladies. It is NOT worth a life time ban and pepper spray in the face from some 20 year old kid in security forces who doesn't understand in the least what stretchmarks are, let alone sympathizes with your post-baby pooch. I needed to relax, and take a step back.
So I went home, took a shower, and ate a piece of rum cake. Why? Because eff that stair climber, that's why.