Parenting: it’s guaranteed to make you sick

When my kids get sick my gut reaction is always the same: a wave of annoyance and then an overwhelming feeling of mom guilt.

Of course, I know what I should be feeling: concern for my child’s health, empathy over their current situation, even a little sadness that they aren’t feeling well.

Instead, though, I seem to always fall short. Take the other night for example. My youngest was in my room having stolen both my phone and my bed. It was a quiet night until I heard it. The sound no parent wants to hear, but can immediately recognize.

The sound of puke hitting the floor.

Instead of being the good mother who runs to be by their child’s side, I find myself muttering ‘for fuck’s sake’ under my breath and cursing our lack of paper towels.

I hate when my kids get sick.  It’s not only the fact that instead of becoming snuggly, tired and sweet my kids become whiny snot monsters wrecking havoc on the household; it’s because they are determined to take me down with them.

My kids are amazing at timing their sneezes to land directly in my face, and they also manage to insist on sleeping their sickness off as close to me as possible just to up the ante.

During this particular sickness, I was fortunate enough to have the stomach flu hit just as we had run out of laundry soap. With a serious concern with the state of both of her ends, I finally attempted to venture out a few days after the start of ‘shitmageddon’ only to have my little one fall asleep in the car. My need for a home that didn’t smell like sewage was overthrown by my daughter’s sheer need for rest.

After a few days of insanity, I found myself desensitized. My little one would find her usual spot in the kitchen (in case you were planning on eating that day), let me know she wasn’t feeling well and then proceed to puke all over herself.

I guess after shitting her pants while sleeping in my bed a little puke on the tile floor was a welcome change.

And now, with a family party on the horizon and plenty to do, she has managed to pass her stomach flu to me. So after days of cleaning up bodily fluids, I now get to experience it first hand. It could be worse though.

She could have given it to my husband.

 

 

How to get skinny for free (cause I’m a cheap and chubby)

Why do they call it a weight loss journey? To me, a journey implies a fun little trip where you can stop for ice cream along the way. The process of trying to lose weight to me is more of a hike. It involves running shoes, drinking lots of water and it is often much harder than you anticipated to reach your goal.

I am certainly not the first mother who wants to lose the mom jeans and get into skinny pants, but I am trying to reach my goal with a twist.

I want to lose weight without spending any money.

I’m not even talking about avoiding buying protein shakes, skinny pills and exercise equipment. I am talking about not spending any money at all.

Yeah, you can say I am pretty cheap.

Why should I have to spend money in order to withhold delicious carbs from my body and sweat out all my poor choices? All I need is to work my ass off (literally) and get a little creative.

The first thing I did was find a willing gym partner and then take advantage of their kindness. My sweet sister has a membership at Planet Fitness that includes unlimited guests. The first time I accompanied her to the gym I simply showed some ID and from then on out I simply had to give my phone number. Now most people would probably just get their own membership. I really do love the gym and it’s really inexpensive to sign up. They even give free tootsie rolls to the chumps like me who are too cheap to sign up. I love it-but I don’t want to pay for it.

While relying on a partner to lose weight is not always the best way to go, I always have my plan B: YouTube.

I actually love finding good quality workouts online to be able to workout in the privacy of my own home on my own schedule. I am actually working on this seven day ab routine that has made my abs hurt in the best way ever. I also love a good old Tae Bo routine. Especially one like this from back in the day where Billy Blanks sweats his butt off and there is always sexual tension between him and the blonde in the first row who keeps yelling, ‘yes sir’ with a little bit too much enthusiasm.

One of the best free weight loss options for me is to embrace running. Since I am not a natural runner, I need a little help with some good tunes and a good app to help get my butt in gear. I love C25K. I can start off slow and build my way to running a 5 k and looking good while doing it.

While exercise is part of weight loss, what I really need is a personal assistant to slap my kid’s leftover nuggets out of my hands and into the trash. Since I need a free option, My Fitness Pal is the perfect pick. I love how easy it is to find the calories on my favourite foods so I can quickly determine how much ice cream I can eat without having to skip a meal.

Of course, there is more than just fitting into a bathing suit motivating me to trim my waistline. I have three girls looking up to me to learn how to have a healthy balance. As much as this little experiment will teach them about healthy living, I am hoping they can also learn that there are ways to get what you need without spending money unnecessarily and utilizing the resources around you. #cheapandchubby

 

 

 

Mom’s night out

 

 

Just because I am a mom doesn’t mean I have stopped being me. It actually took me a long time to work that out. It took years of parenting for me to figure out that while I am a mother, it does not completely define me. I love being with my children and I love being their mother, but before I was a mother I had a whole other life for 28 years and I loved that life as well.

One of the ways that I work towards keeping my life in balance is spending time with good friends. I love having mom friends who would never judge a dirty house or a bad parenting moment because I know they have them too.

A few months ago I got the opportunity to reconnect with some friends that I had not seen in 16 years. When I last saw these friends I was fresh out of college, with a super hot pre-baby body and all the time to hang out in the world. Almost two decades later I have a mom bod, wrinkles and I am piled with responsibilities, children and mom jeans.

I could have of easily said no, or opted out at the last minute. The thought of staying home and soaking in a tub with a glass of wine often trumps any ‘plans’ I may make, yet for some reason I decided I was going, come hell or high water.

And so I found myself knocking on the door of a friend I hadn’t seen in 16 years and yet when she opened it one of the first things she said was, ‘you haven’t changed a bit.’

Well, she may be a wonderful liar, but truth be told, sometimes I need a break from being a mom. Sometimes I need to be around people who don’t want to hear about my kids’ latest ailments and are instead interested in knowing where I would like to travel to or what the next step is in my career. Of course I couldn’t avoid bragging about my kids completely, that would be way too hard for this momster. But I still got a chance to be Melissa for the night, instead of just ‘mommy’.

While the night was fun and I loved a chance to be out late without worrying about my children (I have a wonderful husband) and got to blow off a little steam. In order to be the best mom I can be sometimes I need to get a chance to just be a woman out with her friends. In order to not let the insurmountable responsibilities of parenthood and adulthood overwhelm me I need a chance to once in a while step away from them a remember what life was like at 20 before marriage and children and a mortgage.

And of course by the end of the night I want nothing more to climb into the comfort of my husband and wake up to the sweet faces of my babies, demanding breakfast and attention and their mom.

 

 

 

What the (S)hell??? Getting crafty with my momster

After a winter down south. my momster has finally returned to Canada after escaping our frigid winter. Of course she came home to plenty of snow and freezing temperatures and of course I took my first opportunity to bring the kids up for a visit.

Not only is my mom’s house a great refuge for the kids, but it is also a perfect place for me to rest my weary bones after three motherless months. Not only was there plenty of homemade food on the menu (any food I don’t need to make is good food) but also red wine which is always very much needed by the mid-point of March break.)

Craft time

The next morning my mom announced we would be crafting. Now my mom will occasionally be creative (we decorate gingerbread houses every year) but we don’t often sit down to make a mess on purpose at grandma’s house. Let’s just say Grandma’s house is full of many expensive things that I often have to remind my children not to touch. Every time my mom allows my children into her home she is actually rolling the dice on an insurance claim.

So when it came time to start this craft project my mom surprised me by leading us into this secret room in her basement set up with folding tables and covered in shells. I was able to glean that the project we were about to attempt consisted of gluing shells to a piece of styrofoam with hot glue. I quickly realized that a) this was not a craft designed for my four, six and seven-year-old and b) I was expected to take this monstrosity home once constructed.

Control freak crafter

So I tucked in to create this structure. I was partnered with my two younger children who were unable to help due to the high possibility of third-degree burns from the hot glue gun and my inner control freak need to make sure this god-awful tacky piece was going to be executed to my specifications.

Since my mom had gathered all the ingredients for this project, she decided that my two nieces and I would construct our sculptures in the shape of a Christmas tree and then pulled her own ‘special’ supplies. Not only was she making a half moon candle holder, but she would be gifting this monstrosity. Even with her hand-picked shells, upgraded shape and candle, she gave up about 20 minutes in realizing this was the kind of gift that could end a friendship.

Our ranks start to crumble

As the hours dragged on, the kids slowly melted away. I simply took a meal break and returned as Shelly (as my creation was later named) began to take form. My mom became my second in command, searching for the smaller shells to fill holes while I threatened to gift her Shelly for mother’s day.

“You know Melissa, people will pay good money for these in Florida. They cost $240 US in stores.”

“Well mom, you can take Shelly with you next year and set up a booth on the beach.”

Once complete, my mom tried unsuccessfully to convince me that Shelly was beautiful and I tried unsuccessfully to leave Shelly on her mantel.

The funniest part of the whole thing is that all it took was naming the statue for my kids to become attached. They were seriously bummed I wouldn’t display Shelly on the coffee table and fought over who got to have her ‘sleep’ in her room. I finally had to settle the fight by putting her in a place of honour in her guest bathroom for all to see.

So, of course, I felt the need to write this blog to explain Shelly and how she came to be. My mom still may get a special gift for mother’s day this year.

 

An open letter to my period

First of all how dare you?

While some may refer to you as a friend or even a visiting aunt, to me you are the worst kind of guest. You show up, often with little notice, and ruin my plans, sex life and more clothing than I care to think about.

You also are a pain-literally. You come with cramps and back pain and a general feeling of garbage. While I will admit, there has been a time or two I was overjoyed at your arrival, more often than not my reaction ranges from mildly annoyed disbelief to full-fledged moody bitch-mode.

Can you blame me?

I have literally spent twenty years carrying pads and tampons around like they are some dirty secret hidden in my purse while wondering why I can’t seem to get the hang of wearing white shorts and playing volleyball on my period like the girls on the commercials.

Instead it seems I have to adopt an uniform of black yoga pants, granny panties and hot water bottles.  I spent my youth hiding the fact that I menstruate from classmates, siblings and boyfriends, but now I have a much bigger challenge.

I have to hide it from my daughters.

I should say that while having your period in a normal, natural thing for a healthy woman; I just can’t bear to break the fact to my daughters that they will be getting this ‘blessing’ for the better part of their adult lives. Keeping these girls in the dark isn’t easy. Not only does my lady friend leave my bathroom looking like a murder scene more often than not, but my girls aren’t too keen on giving me privacy. The fact that they haven’t yet been scarred for life is a true testament to my cat-like reflex skills and ability to scare off my young.

While the day is drawing nearer that I will have to break this fact of life to my oldest, for now I will continue to enjoy the one perk of this monthly curse.

I get a week of track pants wearing, chocolate eating, moodiness, ‘don’t you dare mess with these hormones’.

That is until the hot flashes start to kick in.