Thursday, April 23, 2009

I posted a few months ago about Dancing with the Stars and how much I loved watching it because it was a mindless escape for me at the end of a busy day.

Watching the show has a whole new meaning now because I've gotten my daughter hooked too. And she loves it more than me. We bond over discussions of dancing, fashion, music, hair and makeup. And then she sings the songs and practices the dance steps she's just seen - usually with me as her partner lifting her up, holding her outstretched leg in the air, and "flying" under my legs. (I'm sure there's a technical term for that, but I'm not Carrie Ann Inaba.)

This time with her means a lot to me for a lot of reasons, the main one of which is that it causes no conflict between us. We enjoy each other's company, share our opinions - sometimes differing, sometimes not - and don't fight about it.

Like most mothers and daughters, we have a lot of power struggles. Wardrobe, hairstyles, bedtime, food... the list goes on and on. Sometimes I think we'll be mortal enemies forever, and I'm truly scared for when she becomes a teenager and the struggles will get more intense.

So I enjoy and cherish and try to soak up as much positive time with her as I can. "Dancing" (among other things) provides that for us. I hope she also enjoys, cherishes, and soaks it up. Because she may not know what's ahead in the teenage years, but maybe when she gets there, she'll look back and realize that her mom really isn't the biggest b*#ch in the world.

Maybe the second or third biggest, but definitely not the first.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Ever feel like the weekend isn't long enough? I usually feel like this EVERY Monday, but even more so today.

Saturday started slightly differently but no less busy than usual - no Irish dance class, so we substituted Mommy/Daughter getting our nails done together. Errands - Target for birthday presents, Home Depot for plants, Costco for a few things, Starbucks for caffeine. Home for a few minutes, then chauffeur Katie to a birthday party. Pick up wine for a Pampered Chef party I'm co-hosting, then head home.

Two hours until I have to go to the party. Time to rest, have a snack, and maybe check Facebook. Until the bomb drops.

As I get out of the car, my husband is mowing the front lawn - not unusual for a Saturday afternoon. Until he says to me: "Don't freak out. We're hosting brunch tomorrow. The count is 16 of us."

Me: (silently) Don't freak out? Are you kidding me?

Him: "I've got M {my sister} on the phone ordering food. They'll deliver it at 10:30."

Me: (silently) I'm freaking out. What about drinks, plates, forks, MY MESSY HOUSE, etc., etc., ???

Him: "It's all going to be fine. I'll do most of the cleaning and preparing - all the "heavy lifting" - if you could just do some stuff now, and maybe not go to church tomorrow, we can definitely do it all."

Me: (silently) Okay...but I will take care of the kitchen, and all the little details. Like clean tablecloths, clean towels in the bathrooms, drinks, plates, forks, glasses, etc.

Me: (out loud) "Alright. It is what it is. I have two hours now, and all three of us have about 4 hours between 7-11 a.m. tomorrow to do what we can to get it all done."

Spend the next hour or so finally getting rid of (truth is: HIDE) the clutter in the kitchen (numerous piles of paper from school, bills, and whatever else), and run the dishwasher. Check.

Throw tablecloths in washing machine. Check.

Calculate I don't have nearly enough matching plates of "everyday" plates, so will use china. Check.

Calculate I don't have enough OJ for mimosas (but plenty of champagne...hmmmm....) - call cousin to ask her to bring some OJ with her, along with a fruit salad. Check.

Realize I don't have enough chairs for 16 people to sit at the same time. Then realize I can borrow some from a great friend. Still not enough chairs, but I can stand, and so can my husband, and do the kids REALLY need to sit? Probably not. Check.

Then sis and I go to Pampered Chef party and we get home at 11:15 or so.

Throw tablecloths in dryer to be ready for tomorrow. Check.

Sleep. Well.

Wake up at 7:15 - plan to go to Starbucks. My husband is outside reading - not freaking out either. Encourages me to go to Starbucks, and stay there to drink and enjoy my coffee. And not to freak out - we have plenty of time to get stuff done.

So I do. I sit there and read the paper and drink my coffee. And then I look out the window to see Target is open at 8:00. I can do this. I can go buy those patio dining chairs I've been planning to buy, get some clean hand towels for both bathrooms, and tablecloths for the outside tables. So I do. And get home at 9:00 with 2 hours left to finish cleaning, set up dishes and glasses, make mimosas, shower, hair, makeup, and get dressed. Perfect.

My husband and sister have done an AMAZING job getting the house in order. (The main level anyway - and don't open any closets!) So I finish the last minute details (towels, table cloths, centerpiece, plates, glasses, forks, napkins) and transfer most of the food from "catering" serving dishes to my own. Check.

Shortly after 11, the guests arrive. The guests of honor are my mother's cousins from Ireland, visiting their son and his family who now live in DC. They are right on the heels of my Aunt, cousin, and her family. And brunch is wonderful. We visit, we laugh, we chat, we eat. A lot. A spontaneous basketball game breaks out and the moms claim credit for the talent of their children and grandchildren. A minor injury here or there, and lots of smack talk. (Mostly from my husband.) The food is good, the kids are good, and we simply enjoy being together.

Three short hours later, with full bellies and after the obligatory group photos, the guests leave. (But not before my WONDERFUL cousin does the dishes for me - despite my not terribly heartfelt "don't worry about it" she does it anyway. Because she knows me and knows they would still be sitting there until I got home from work on Monday. And perhaps longer.)

And yet, the weekend is not over. It's "opening day" for little league, so we head to the baseball field to watch my son and his team play REALLY WELL (they actually kicked little league butt!) and then head home. Check.

And then take my sister to PetSmart for a Kitty Climbing Post, and then home. Check.

Then go home. Eat a little. Update status on Facebook. Demand kids put pj's on, brush teeth, go to bed. Check, check, check.

Fall into bed. Collapse really.

It's tough when weekends are just as busy - if not more so, than during the week. But when they are busy with joyous occasions, it really doesn't matter. Less sleep and more chores than usual makes me yearn for a three day weekend at least every other week. But inevitably, I know it would get filled with more plans, birthday parties, playdates, baseball games, Pampered Chef parties, and family brunches.

And to that I say - BRING IT ON.

Because I'd rather have joy and fun and be busy and lose a little sleep so that I can spend time with my family, and extended family, and with friends. Because they are what make my life rich. Sleep and quiet time are fine and needed and help re-charge the batteries - if only to give you the energy to spend enriching your life with the people and things you love.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter is a Religious holiday and, like Christmas, has become quite commercial. Tacky plastic eggs filled with candy and trinkets, chocolate bunnies, and peanut butter filled chocolate eggs. Yet, to me, that is just as much of the holiday as the religious aspect. They are intertwined - even though one has nothing to do with the other - Jesus's resurrection and Cadbury caramel eggs? How did THAT happen?

I posted what I thought was a lighthearted quote on Facebook the other day about this very irony, but that was offensive to at least one friend (and perhaps others who haven't told me?). And I felt badly at the time. Yet it also got me thinking over the past few days.

I am a big proponent of everyone believing in whatever they choose. And that is up to them. It may not be what their parents, children, or best friend believe. It may be a different religion, a different God, or none at all. But that is okay because I believe that ultimately, "religion" is about the relationship between a person and their God (or Gods if that's what they believe).

I'm also a big believer in acceptance of other religions. I grew up Catholic - and will probably always consider myself Catholic, despite my now practicing and raising my kids in the Episcopalian faith. I have friends and family who practice other religions, and some who don't practice any religion at all. And I LOVE it. My children and I can embrace the faith and beliefs of others as much as our own, or learn why those who don't follow a particular religion have chosen not to.

It is troublesome to me that some organized religions promote the belief that others who are not followers of that faith will suffer at the gates of Hell, or that they are immoral, or that they are not doing God's work. The idea that one type of faith is superior to another is something I just cannot grasp. To me, that is completely contradictory to what religion is supposed to be. I believe that God (my God at least) loves all people, whether or not they go to church every single Sunday, or are hetero or homo sexual, or on birth control or not, or have had an abortion, or volunteer at the soup kitchen, or quotes the Bible, or shouts "AMEN" during the sermon on Sunday. Does God really look at a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim, a Greek Orthodox, an Episcopalian, a Presbyterian, a Mormon, a Buddist, differently?????? Does he value one over the other? Does he give one a better seat in heaven? I can't believe he does.

(How God deals with truly evil people - Hitler, child molesters, Osama Bin Laden is a much larger and much more philisophical question! Perhaps another post...?)

Thanks for reading, and God bless.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Work to live

I'm sitting here at a friend's beach house listening to my kids, husband, and our friends and their kids, and other kids from the neighborhood, play wiffle ball on the beach. The amount of laughing and smack talk emanating from the 8-10 yr old boys (and their fathers) is mind boggling. And FUNNY! I love how the boys abuse their fathers both with words and physically, and the dads just take it. How the alliances between them all form and break faster than the waves on the beach - on the same team one minute, and pegging each other with the ball the next.

I've been thinking for some time now how important it is to work to live and not live to work. And it's mornings like this - sharing with friends, bonding with the kids, exploring the beach - that reinforce that sentiment even more strongly.

I love my job and the people I work with. But it's not all my life is about. I work so that I can take a vacation like a Disney Cruise, or a weekend with incredibly generous friends at their beach house, or with the girls for Moms Gone Wild (3rd annual coming up in September!), and refresh and renew. To live and enjoy life.

And forget about work for a while.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The World According to Mom

A friend of my husband joined another friend to start this journey - in short, connecting blogging moms from around the world:

from: Her Bad Mother

In any case, the whole point of this exercise was this: to consider a standard entre-mamans question from my own perspective, and to invite other mothers - mothers from around the world - to do the same thing and share their answers.

David and I - in partnership with Global Voices Online - are launching an experiment to see if we get a global conversation going between moms who blog. We want to see if it's possible to travel the world and make friends, virtually, solely on the Vernian voyage power of the momosphere. We want to see if we can pull together a global playdate in 80 clicks.

I have to say I love this idea, and am very excited to participate.

I too have had the many many mixed emotions of being a mom - the happiest I've ever been, the lowest I've ever been, and everything in between. It's the hardest job I've ever had, sometimes the most frustrating and exhausting one, and yet the most satisfying one. I think we parents tend to talk in extremes when describing parenthood - it's the most [insert whatever emotion here]. Because our children bring us to the extremes, without their even knowing it. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So... to 5 (of the many) things I love about being a mom:

1) Seeing my children show love for each other: it's rare that they are in that position - to actually show each other how much they love each other. 99% of the time they either ignore each other, or are fighting with each other. But every once in a while, they come together on something - him helping her read, she cheering him on at his favorite video game - and I feel like my heart will explode with love.

2) Watching "kid" movies: I have to admit that I love to watch the movies they love to watch - mostly. We've seen "The Incredibles," "Cars," and each of the "High School Musical" movies too many times to count. But family movie night - on the couch under blankets with bowls of popcorn - is a time I absolutely cherish.

3) Being a "soccer" mom: okay, not a soccer mom exactly, since neither plays soccer. But I love taking my kids to Irish Dance class, or baseball or basketball practices/games. Truthfully, I don't always love it. I'd rather sleep in on Saturday mornings, or be home drinking tea in front of the fire on the crisp (COLD!) fall afternoons than be driving all over the county to a practice or game. But seeing him sink an 8 foot jump shot, or hit a home run, or watching her march and dance in her first St. Patrick's Day parade makes the early mornings and frozen toes fast forgotten.

4) Snuggling.

5) The mom network: my closest friends are moms. And I wouldn't know any of them had it not been for my kids. I thank God I was able to send my kids to the nursery school they went to, because my closest circle of friends are connections I made through their (now former) classmates' parents. I still find it amazing that having children the same age makes you immediately connect. Amazing, strong, talented, funny women that I otherwise would never have met, touch me and share my life through every up and down. I have my children to thank for that.

I could go on, but 5 is 5, so I'll finish up by saying something I've heard a lot before, and mostly from my husband: having children gave my life purpose. I know what I was put on this Earth for. Thanks to God and my kids for giving me that gift.

And thanks to David Wescott and Her Bad Mother for the opportunity to share.

Links to other moms who blog:

Angel At Home - South Africa

Reading the Tee Leaves - USA