The "Real" Housewives

I’m watching a season preview on Bravo of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Wow.

First of all, I hate that term – housewife. What does that mean? You’re married to your house? Irks me. Implies that I should know a lot more uses for baking soda than I do.

Second, that’s a lot more cleavage than I tend to see amongst my “housewife” pals.

Third, the only gate in my community is our computer’s firewall.

Fourth, an “executive house keeper?” Is that a cleaning lady with an advanced degree? When does that come in handy?

Fifth, I didn’t know I needed a personal creative director. How can I get one of those?

Sixth, I’m totally gonna be addicted. I just know it.

But really, would anyone watch a show about actual, real life, stay at home mom housewives? I’m guessing the reason why we watch shows like the “Real Housewives” is because they are so not living our lives. If we have a few minutes to watch an entertainment show, seeing someone else telling their two year old 50 times in one day that we don’t throw our food on the floor, run at the pool or that yes we have to change your diaper after a nap because we do that every day would be a little too much reality with our post-baby bedtime glasses of chardonnay or pints of Ben and Jerry’s.

Let’s just be honest: we don’t want our reality TV TOO real!

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Eating Crow

I said I would never. I swore up and down. I made fun of the hubby for giving in. Nope. Not going to do it. Not for me. Doesn’t matter who is there.

And then I realized I was always asking the hubby how his “friends” were. Ick.

And then I realized I’m trying to make a go of this whole blog-world, which means I should have some sort of understanding of new media, technology and this big bad Internet.

And then I was working out and one of my friends asked if I was on cause she just joined yesterday.

So I caved. I did it. I gave into the peer pressure and joined, gulp, Facebook.

Oh boy. What have I done? Please don’t let it be like high school again where I hope some cool people ask me to sit at their table. Cause I really hated high school.

Well, back to my humble pie with a side of crow. Yum.

Some Days You’re a Super Hero

Most days, I’m not sure if I’m doing enough as a mom. The dishes may be piled in the sink, the dust bunnies hopping out from under the bed, my socks turning a tinge of gray from the floors that need washing. I wonder if I’m playing enough with peanut or reading enough stories or picking the right activities. I wonder if peanut’s engaged enough, challenged enough, resting enough. On those days, we just go with the flow and I figure we’re doing okay.

Then there are the days when I feel like a super hero. Days like today, when we’re out the door by 10am and mama actually has clean and blown dry hair. Days when I take peanut to the local children’s museum to check out the model train exhibit in the midst of his serious new train obsession and manage to spend two hours there exploring a number of the interactive exhibits. Days when to compensate for a quick grilled cheese lunch, I’ve made a healthy avocado dip for some steamed veggies for peanut’s post-nap snack that are ready to go whenever he wakes. Days when the dishes are done, the kitchen in order, the mini grocery list done for a quick pre-dinner trip to gather a few odds and ends. Days when I’m feeling so together that on that grocery list are some chocolate chips so we can make some homemade cookies later.

Those days make me feel like a super hero as I listen to peanut recount all his adventures on the ride home and he giggles when I chime in with a comment or observation, as I watch him observe a new activity and internalize it, as I see him dance around the house while we make lunch, and as I enjoy the relaxation that comes with a long nap (peanut’s, alas, not mama’s) after a morning of activity.

Those perfect storm kind of days don’t always come together, so I cherish them when they do, ride the wave of energy and breathe a little easier when I’m able to feel that productive as a parent and still have time to post here and chat with an aunt for an hour on the phone. Sure, I didn’t solve any world problems or find a cure to a horrible disease, but I filled a need without exhausting myself or second-guessing myself or feeling inadequate. I had time to myself. I felt in control. As a bonus, I shared some fun experiences with my little one. So to him, for today, I hope I’m a super hero. Or at least one fun mama.

Here’s hoping I didn’t just jinx the rest of my afternoon!

Guilt – the Gift of Motherhood that Keeps on Giving…and Giving…and Giving

Peanut’s second birthday is fast approaching. I’m not sure if it snuck up on my because we’ve been so busy this summer going from one thing to the next or if I’m just in denial about it (how can my baby be 2?!).

Whatever the reason, I’m totally not as on top of it as I was last year. Last year there were hard copy invitations that went in the mail to family. There was a theme. A schedule. Decorations that were hand made well in advance. Special cakes. Hors d’oeuvres. A mess of family in town. Handmade favors for peanut’s pals.

This year, not so much. And it’s not that I don’t care – I do, deeply. I want him to have a special day. I want to start building up that bank of birthday memories and traditions. But, due to several very legitimate reasons, it’s looking like most of our family won’t be able to come down for his birthday. Although this makes me sad and disappointed, I understand, I truly do. So, what to do, what to do?

These are the moments when I’m almost tempted to pack it up and move back home. Not that this would solve anything, in fact, it would cause more problems than I care to deal with (jobs, a crappy real estate market to try to sell our home, the fact that I actually really like it here), but when I think about how much easier events like birthdays would be for peanut…

And then I remember that all of my birthdays after age 5 were spent with just my nuclear family and I certainly don’t feel slighted or any worse for it. There were always lots of cards in the mail (always with the best sentiments in the text underlined by grandma), calls in the evening, presents from the family with breakfast, your favorite dinner, a cake. Some years there were parties with friends at McDonald’s, the ice skating rink, the roller rink, sleep overs.

So this year, we’ll keep it small (and mean it!). We’ll have a special family dinner and cake, even if it is just for the hubby, peanut and me. Maybe we’ll go on a special outing. And then we’ll totally steal a great idea a friend did for her little one and schedule a weekday play date with peanut’s pals with a few special treats to commemorate his birthday.

And I’ll try not to feel guilty that there isn’t a petting zoo, a clown, a moon bounce or a room full of relatives on peanut’s special day. To assuage that guilt, I’m sure I’ll go overboard making a crazy cake for peanut. Hmmm…an elephant? A lion? A whole zoo? A train complete with caboose? Oh, the possibilities are endless!

As is my denial that my baby is going to be 2! Can’t be. Really? Nah. Don’t believe it. Are you sure? Oh my, I think I need some cake NOW!

Dear Mr. President:

I have a number of bones I’d like to pick with you — health care, No Child Left Behind, US environmental policies, the war in Iraq — but let’s focus on a simple issue. One, that with a little common sense and thinking of others could be avoided:

Traffic jams on I-75 during rush hour caused by presidential motorcades.

I understand that it must be very important for you to use government resources (Air Force One) to fly down to Atlanta for a fund raiser at a private Buckhead residence. I understand that for your safety, roads must be closed down. I dealt with enough presidential motorcades in DC to understand the difficult logistics that precede the movements of a president.

But do you have to come and go during rush hour in a major city?

It might not seem like much of a big deal to you, but I’m sure a number of people were inconvenienced waiting to on-ramp to the closed-down highway as you came and went from Dobbins Air Force Base. One of which was the hubby who actually left the office a bit early in order to get home to our whiny peanut (who spent the afternoon acting out in any way he could think of in order to communicate his apparent belated displeasure that we left him for a few days) but who still didn’t make it home until nearly 6.

Sure, not an earth-shattering issue, of course. But I imagine you could have raised even more funds by locking peanut in the room with your glamorous, check-writing guests and not letting them leave the squealing, magnetic letter tossing, tantrum-throwing “entertainment” until the coffers reached a certain amount. I’m positive you could have raised a lot more money a lot more quickly without causing any traffic jams on 75.

Just a thought.

Another concerned citizen,
High Heeled Mama

A Tale of Two Cities

Or, more accurately, two women.

There’s southern mama who is up and at ’em, meeting the day with a few activities in her back pocket (probably next to the grocery list and an extra pack of goldfish), who has a daily schedule to keep to between meal times and nap times and bath times, and who is lucky to remember to finish a thought not to mention a sentence when trying to chat with the hubby during dinner.

Then, there is me, the woman who existed before mama. After a weekend of lazy mornings, spontaneous decisions and incredible meals, I’m happy to say she’s still inside the mama above.

Leaving the peanut was easier than I thought it would be. Okay, the act of leaving was not easy, I did cry when we left the house when he was more interested in helping grandma make the coffee than giving me a squeeze, but being away from him wasn’t nearly as painful as I feared.

Our hotel was fabulous, in a great location. The room looked like this:

Well, more accurately, our second room looked like that. Our original room looked like this:


Or at least it smelled that way. So much for a smoke-free hotel, huh?

Maybe it was this guy sneaking a smoke break?

The weekend was full of spur of the moment decisions, punctuated by evening dinner reservations at some of our favorite spots. We hit up the National Portrait Gallery across the street from our hotel one afternoon, spent practically all of Saturday at the Newseum (which was totally awesome and I would highly recommend going…although maybe not with young kids), walked through Lafayette Square after dinner one night, had a lovely Sunday brunch, went to a movie, had tapas and sangria, read the paper in bed, had conversation after conversation with the hubby about where we have been, where we are, where we’re going, joked about nothing at all. It seemed strange that when we have a date night, we have a hard time not talking about the peanut, but somehow we spent most of the weekend finding plenty of other things to talk about.

Grandma and grandpa survived the weekend (thanks again). Peanut was apparently an angel most of the time. Apparently that went out the window as soon as we dropped grandma and grandpa off at the airport this morning. He’s been cranky and whiny all morning. Of course that might have something to do with the fact that he didn’t nap yesterday after the hubby and I returned.

The flowers (thanks honey), champagne (thanks M&J), cocktails (thanks Ten Penh) and ability to sleep past 7:15 were just what the doctor ordered. And although I’m buried in laundry and the mundane daily tasks of my mama life, it’s comforting to know that the me I thought I lost is still alive and well.

Now that I know it’s possible, I better start planning trips to visit her a bit more often. She’s a pretty good time. And she had some sassy shoes, if I do say so myself.

Because You Loved Me

Last night, on the way home from an impromptu shopping trip to find some kind of new semi-sexy outfit for our anniversary dinner, I came across “our” song on XM. You know, the song for our first dance at our wedding? And yes, it was the ever-cheesy Celine Dion “Because You Loved Me.”

I feel like I should be embarrassed by this cliche of a choice, but to be honest, I don’t regret it. And the lyrics still stand true, maybe even more so, after 10 years.

Last year, I wrote a sappy anniversary post for the hubby that pretty much sums up our married life. Not much has happened in the last year – we’ve got another year of parenting under our belts. We took seven trips home and one trip to the beach. We went on a few dates. We laughed a lot. I cried a bit. We’ve struggled with how our marriage looks so different after adding parenting to the mix. We’ve stood over peanut’s crib watching him sleep and wondered how we could create something so absolutely perfect.

You know, same old, same old.

I feel like after a decade of marriage I should have some words of wisdom or insightful perspective to share. But I don’t. I do know, for me, that as long as we can talk about it, it’s okay. That our marriage doesn’t look like any one thing, it adapts, shifts, molds itself to fit the current challenge. It’s not always an easy road, but I still want to go to sleep with the hubby beside me. He’s still the first person I want to talk to when I’m happy, sad, lonely, excited, worried, confused. And that those sappy lyrics sum up how sometimes one or the other of us has to carry the other for us both to be successful at living our best lives as individuals, a couple and a family:

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

So, hubby, even though I’m totally stressing about packing and leaving our little guy behind, thank you. Thank you for loving me more than I probably deserve, caring for me with a gentle hand and making me laugh. Thank you for being a wonderful father and making the transition from couple to family such a natural progression.

And thank you for this trip to celebrate where we’ve been and where we are going. I can’t wait to see what’s next for us.

Happy 10th Anniversary (a day early), honey, I love you.

Separation Anxiety


The hubby surprised me on Mother’s Day by telling me about the anniversary trip he’d planned for us. (This Friday will be our 10th anniversary! Yikes! Where does the time go?) We’re headed back to the town where it all began.

Shortly after our wedding in 1998, we moved to Washington, DC. I was fresh out of college, newly married and ready to take on the world. Looking back, I have no idea what the heck we were thinking, but it was probably the best decision we could have made for us and our marriage. Funny how things work out for the best when you trust what your soul is whispering. I should try that more often.

So, since I’ve been not-so-subtly hinting for several months that mama needs a vacation, he put one together. Some may say, DC…in July…for a romantic anniversary trip? Sounds strange, but I think it’s a perfect solution – a town we know, restaurants we love, a boutique hotel, and no peanut.

My parents are coming down Thursday to stay with the little guy while we’re away. We get back Monday and they’ll fly out from here on Tuesday to attend a conference for my dad’s work (thanks again for totally rearranging your lives to do this for us). This will be the very first time we’ve left peanut alone for longer than a date since he was born and he’s mere weeks away from being two.

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to spend that much dedicated time with the hubby without having to parent. We are great at parenting together, if I do say so myself, but in the busyness that is parenting, we often forget the hubby and wife part of the deal. I know we aren’t alone in walking that line. So I am very excited about this opportunity.

And at the same time, I’m terrified of leaving my little guy. Not because grandma and grandpa won’t do a fabulous job, because they will. Not because I think we’re going to have a bad time, because we won’t. But I’m afraid I’m going to miss him. That I’m a little less me without him. How quickly I’ve become dependent on this little guy and his routines which have become the meter of my own days. Do I even know how to be spontaneous anymore? What if I don’t miss him enough? What if he doesn’t miss me?

Oh such petty concerns that totally have my mind racing.

Luckily, I have plenty to distract me this week in preparing for my parents to live in my house without me. You know, post-its on where the extra TP/paper towels/light bulbs are, directions to the grocery store/the zoo/the hospital (just in case), outlines on peanut’s routines (cause if you don’t get the tuck-tuck right at naptime, he will let you know!), instructions on how to work all these crazy remotes. I’m sure I’m going overboard. But if it makes me feel better, I’m going to do it.

I cut one cord to my child nearly two years ago. This weekend, I will cut another, much less physical, much harder to see, and somehow much stronger cord by giving the peanut and I both a little taste of independence.

Luckily I’ve got one heckuva a great hubby to lean on while we’re gone.

And reservations at one of the best restaurants in DC the night we arrive so I can dive right into that relaxation thing one glass of champagne at a time.

Random Scenes from a Weekend

Remember when weekends were spent in bed or on the couch with coffee, the paper and 90121 reruns? Remember getting showered and dressed just in time to go out for dinner and drinks, maybe a movie, and you TiVo’d Saturday Night Live because you might not be home in time?

This weekend was full of scenes that the pre-child me would not have predicted:

  • There was the Saturday morning poop detail when I realized a child left alone in his crib too long so the hubby and I could get a few more winks of pre-8am shuteye occupies himself by taking off his poop filled diaper then pointing proudly at his naked bottom half when you come in to say good morning. Ah, nothing like starting your morning with an early bath and load of laundry.
  • There was time to myself Saturday morning while the hubby ran some errands with peanut. I did some really luxurious things like blow-dry my hair and go to the library without entering the kid’s section (although I did buy myself a sassy new hand bag (at half-off) for an upcoming childless trip with the hubby).
  • There was the Saturday evening “date” — really more of a date for peanut since we were sitting for a friend’s seven month old little girl. The hubby and peanut left around 9…and I was quite pleased to have a book and a remote all to myself for a couple of hours. And the sad realization that I haven’t been out that late since the last time I babysat for a friend.
  • There was the Sunday morning shower, and by shower I mean getting drenched in the grocery store parking lot while loading up a car full of groceries and strapping a squirmy kid into a car seat as it poured down rain the likes of which Atlanta hasn’t seen in a year and a half.

Ah, how times change.

*******

In other news…the hubby FINALLY managed to secure himself an iPhone (happy father’s day- anniversary-yearly bonus-tax incentive gift, honey!) today. We were talking about it this afternoon when the peanut entered the room with his play phone. The hubby jokingly asked, “hey, is that your iPhone?”

To which peanut responded by sticking his play phone in his eye.

Priceless.

Toddler Logic

I’m one of those sick parents who doesn’t mind tantrums. Honestly, I don’t. It’s the whining I can’t stand. Those days when nothing you do is right and there’s an incessant power struggle that is just completely unwinnable by either side.

But the tantrums are actually humorous to me. They tend to be about the most ridiculous things that I can’t help but laugh when peanut’s laying on the floor screaming “no front door, no front door” as we’re about to walk out the front door instead of the side door. Uh, sorry kid, who knew you didn’t want to go out the front door, you know, the door you insist upon exiting 99.9999% of the time?

Today’s lunch time was no different. Peanut was already tired from having woken at 6am and playing outside with two of his pals for an hour and a half in the heat and I could tell that we were well on the road to cranky town. I had shared a few of my pretzel sticks with him as we were eating together. He grabbed one, took a bite, looked at the remaining half in his hand and started to tear up.

Bwoken,” he looked at me.

“Mm-hmmm, because you took a bite. Yummy!”

Pwetzel, bwoken. Fix it.” He held out the pretzel to me, the tears spilling from his eyes. “Fix it.”

Needless to say, the fact that I couldn’t fix the pretzel since he’d eaten half of it already was unacceptable. Luckily, we were easily distracted by a banana.

And, not surprisingly, he fell asleep for his nap in about 3 seconds.