All posts by Kelly

Loud Kids and the Moms Who Hide from Them

Actual photo of my child whispering.

I don’t have any answers.

Usually, when I sit down to write one of these posts it’s because I feel like I have something useful to share, or that I’ve worked through whatever parenting issue I’m addressing and can (at least attempt to) pass along some insight. Whether it be as serious as postpartum depression, or as silly as spending too much money at Starbucks, I generally don’t like to inundate you with my woes about something unless I’m somewhat on the other side of said something, and can maybe help you get there as well. 

Not this time though. This time I am smack dab in the middle of it, and because I have spent so much money at Starbucks recently (see above) and can no longer afford my fancy shrink, you people are going on the journey with me. Welcome. Mind if I lie on your couch for a while?

Ok, here goes. The noise in my house is killing me. Not literally, no, but figuratively AF.

Let me back up. When I was about five-years-old, I remember yelling into my dad’s ear about something while we were playing. He, always fancying himself a comedian, then secretly went into our kitchen, pulled out the ketchup and created a stream of bright red “blood” tracing from his ear down his neck. “You made my ears bleed!” He bellowed. I’m sure my fancy shrink would have lots of thoughts about how this impacted my young mind when it comes to men and trust issues, but since he’s not here, we’ll go with what I know. And what I know is (a) that was a shitty thing to do to a small child and (b) I totally get it now. Kids are fucking loud.

I have two sons. One is on the verge of turning three and the other is about to turn seven. To say they are “loud” would be like saying Ernest Hemingway had “a tiny bit of a drinking problem.” The noise that these two humans create from the moment they wake up in the morning until the moment they finally pass out at night is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and I lived in NYC for a very long time.

Don’t be fooled by their cuteness.

To be clear, I am not just talking about all the yelling they do when they’re fighting with each other. It’s also the shrieking to high heaven like Oprah just gave them a car when they’re excited, and wailing like Brad Pitt when he finds out what’s in the box when they’re sad. They’re loud when they’re bored, and they’re loud when they’re playing. They’re loud when they don’t get what they want, and they’re loud when they do. It’s just constant. The noise is constant. And I am not handling it well. In fact, I am not really handling it at all. I’m just trying to keep my head above water in a sea of piercing sounds.

Now please, fight the urge to tell me that I will miss this one day. That I, huddled in the corner clenching my sons’ stuffed animals after they leave for college, will look back and wish for them to be wrestling naked on my living room floor squealing with delight as they bash each other into every piece of furniture we own because, as my oldest son explains it, “we show our love through fighting each other.” Do not tell me that I will miss this.

In fact, don’t tell me anything at all. The last thing I need is one more person yammering in my ear.

I think what I really need from you right now, what most moms probably need from you right now, is for you to know that there are few things more valuable to us than the sound of silence. Even if it’s just for a moment. Because let’s face it, most of the time a moment is probably all we’re going to get. 

A moment to catch our breath.

A moment to think about how to navigate the next challenge, settle the next fight, soothe the next tantrum.

A moment to stare off into space, or look at our phones and silently judge strangers on the internet.  Or, I don’t know, maybe even just a moment to pee without the overlords banging on the door the whole damn time.

So like I said, I don’t have any answers on this one, and I’m not necessarily looking for them either. I just needed to tell you that my kids are extremely loud. And I really wish they weren’t.

Thanks for listening. Your couch is really comfy. 

Why I’m Rejecting Working Mom Guilt

Anyone who has ever tried to work with a baby on their lap will appreciate the hilarity of this photo.

Working mom guilt. Just typing the phrase alone makes me cringe. Not for the reasons you might imagine though. I’d venture a guess that when you think about this phrase, you picture something like this; a mom in heels, running frantically from a school drop off to an important meeting, forgetting that her kid’s lunch is still in her purse. Or maybe you see a mom crying at her desk because the nanny just sent her a video of her baby’s first steps.

Perhaps you picture yourself and a moment in your own professional life that has shot like a dagger through your heart because you weren’t with your children for a particular milestone or celebration.

Am I right?

Those are all common images associated with this notion of working mom guilt, and they are very real scenarios for many women, but that’s not what makes me cringe. What makes me cringe is the saying itself – working mom GUILT.

The very definition of this word insinuates that working mothers, myself included, are doing something wrong. Not something hard, or something that can come with challenging moments or even sadness sometimes. Nope, guilt doesn’t mean any of those things; it means you’ve done something for which you should feel ashamed, like stealing money from your workplace or cheating on your spouse.

No wonder so many working moms feel negative about their experience. The very term used to describe what we go through suggests that we’ve made the wrong choice. When often, working isn’t even a choice for us at all.

Listen, do I feel sad when I have to say goodbye to my two-year-old in the morning, and he’s sitting on our front steps waving at me with the cutest damn face ever? Yes, of course, I do. Do I wish that I could volunteer in my first grader’s classroom regularly, so I have a better sense of how his teacher operates? Without a doubt.

no working mom guilt here
Getting a visit at work from my guys is simply the best.

But do I feel guilty about loving what I do for a living and providing financial security for my family? Absolutely not. What I feel can better be described as what I call the working mom anger.

I feel anger that most of the women I talked to about this topic told me they went back to work before they were ready because their maternity leave, if they ever had one, was too short. I feel anger that many of us end up apologizing to our employers if we leave early for something child-related, even though we know it will have zero negative impact on their bottom line.

One of the moms I spoke to explained this best when she stated, “I’m more likely to feel guilty for leaving the office early to take care of my kids than I am to feel guilty for leaving my kids. I think that is a societal/cultural issue.” Indeed it is. And it’s high time we demanded a change.

How will employers ever revise their policies if we keep acting like it’s our fault there’s an issue? The problem is not your guilt, ladies. The problem is that we haven’t been shouting from the rooftops about how unnecessary all the hoops we have to jump through in order to both work and parent, are in this country!

Why are we still accepting of the fact that all over the U.S., women are given zilch in terms of paid maternity leave? Even in our Government, as one of my friends who is a federal employee notes, “You simply have to use your annual leave/sick days. If you don’t have enough you can enroll in a program and hopefully get approved or get donations for six to eight weeks of paid leave, but nothing more than postpartum recovery (six-eight weeks). Everything else is LWOP (leave without pay) if you don’t have enough time in your bank and want the full 12 weeks.”

You guys, that is insane. We’re talking about six weeks to three months here – anyone who has ever had a baby or been around anyone who has ever had a baby knows that at six weeks postpartum you are still hormonal, sleep-deprived, peeing your pants and getting up multiple times a night to feed your child. I honestly just cannot fathom how any company, much less our FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can rationalize this.

Did you know in Canada, women can get up to a full year (and sometimes more) of leave? It’s true. One Canadian mom I spoke to explained, “We get a percentage of our wage. So, while we make less than when working, we save in other costs (i.e., childcare) and we can also split the leave with our husband so he can take time as well.” When I asked if she thought this led to fewer feelings of this so-called working mom guilt, she responded, “I don’t know if it helps alleviate the guilt because I think, working or not, we are so incredibly hard on ourselves. However, I’m more ready (both physically and emotionally) to go back as compared to others who go back much sooner.”

Can you imagine what a shift there would be in our own country if we adopted this policy? If working moms knew from the beginning of their journey that they were valued as mothers and employees, with the two not standing in opposition to each other?

My plea to all the working mothers out there is that you stop internalizing these feelings you’ve been led to believe are your own fault, your own “working mom guilt”, and start verbalizing what you want, what you need, and what you deserve, in order to function in both roles. Let’s start talking about change, not guilt. Lord knows it isn’t going to happen until we demand it!

Saving Money and Starbucks: A Parent’s Struggle

kissing starbucks cup
I don’t always match my straw…

If you’re anything like me, saving money is something that you think about doing a lot more often than you actually do it. Thanks, Target! I have recently realized however, that my kids’ toy cars are nicer than my actual car. So I decided it was time to really buckle down in order to buckle in to an upgraded vehicle. For this, I turned to the experts. Seemingly every financial Tom, Dick and Suze I read had the same advice: give up expensive coffee drinks if I want to get ahead on saving money. In theory, this seems reasonable. Buying these drinks isn’t a necessity, especially when I have a perfectly good coffee maker at home. How hard could it be?

But then I tried to do it. I failed miserably.

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My Kid’s a Thief. Now What the Hell Do I Do?

The funny thing about parenting (and running a funny parenting blog) is that you never really know what’s going to come next. You may think you have it under control, that you’re navigating the choppy waters successfully, avoiding all the circling sharks, but the next thing you know, bam! You cut your toe open on a jagged lego piece and the sharks move in the for the kill.

That’s a bit dramatic I’ll admit, but it’s exactly how I felt the day I found out my five-year-old son was a thief. Continue reading

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: A Retrospective

I realize the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired several weeks ago, which in this day and age is equivalent to an entire lifetime, but with two kids, a job etc. etc. I will most likely never be the first to write about anything pop-culture related. I did have some thoughts while watching the show though, so I decided to share them with you today, a month later. We’ll call it a “throwback” post so it seems cooler. Some of my thoughts were fleeting; Is Bruno Mars really that short? Should I get hair extensions? Oh look, there’s Kylie Jenner, again. This sandwich could really use some mustard, just to name a few. But some stuck with me longer and here they are, in no particular order.

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How I Ruined Date Night with One Simple Mistake

My husband recently turned 37 and to celebrate I decided to take him to a restaurant in our neighborhood that serves a 96 ounce steak. We did not order this steak, but I just wanted you to know that there is a place on the health-crazed, kale-obsessed Westside of Los Angeles that will still serve meat in massive quantities, and for this I am thankful. I digress. The only problem with my plan was that none of our regular babysitters were available. In these instances we have one of two choices. Continue reading

Mom Brain: A Rant

mombrain_steam2
Mom brain mad as hell and she ain’t gonna take it anymore!

Something has really been bothering me lately. I mean, lots of things bother me constantly, but for the sake of this post, I’m just going to focus on one of them. It’s this thing called “Mom Brain”. Mom brain, for those of you who may not know, is what us moms say about ourselves, or what other people say about us, when we’re having a forgetful moment. Can’t find the phone I just had in my hand 45 seconds ago? Mom brain! Drive away with my coffee on the roof of my car after standing in line with two fussy kids? Mom brain! Call the dog by my son’s name while trying to put a leash on my baby? Well, that’s just a normal Tuesday. Just kidding, blame mom brain! My friends and I have all used this saying hundreds of times without giving it a second thought (probably because our brains are so tired from being moms – see what I did there), but the more I started thinking about it, the more I started paying attention to the incredibly intelligent and talented women in my life attributing any little error in speech or memory to their “mom brain”, the more I thought, This. Is. Bullshit. Continue reading

The 2016 Trump Games

This is not a political post. I want to start there. There are hundreds, likely thousands, of people more qualified to write about the world of politics as it pertains to Donald Trump than I am. People whose job it is to analyze his every word and anticipate his every move. I am not one of those people.  But, like millions of other Americans, I am utterly fascinated by the man.  Similar to the way I am fascinated by the fact that people religiously watch a woman pop zits on YouTube or that everyday on my “news” feed there’s a story about Kendall Jenner. But fascinated nonetheless. Which leads me to this post.

The million dollar question on everyone’s minds right now is, of course, what will Trump actually do if he wins the White House? My best guess is that no one really knows at this point, not even Trump. So instead of focusing on Foreign Policy or Women’s Rights, instead of worrying about what impact he will make on the major issues facing our Country, or how Melania Trump will re-decorate the Oval Office,  I’m sticking with what I know. And what I know is, kids. Continue reading

Colin Dearest

It’s time for another edition of “Ask the Experts” where we task our very wise (and very child-free) friends with answering your toughest parenting questions. This week we’ve recruited Reality TV Development Executive and one of Kelly Dearest’s besties, Colin Devenish. Now, Colin may be better known for his love of poker and sports (see below) than his child-rearing abilities but that may all change after this post. Behold, Colin’s take on all things stinky kids, minivans and why preschoolers are really just Network Executives in disguise.

Colin's happy place, sans children
Colin’s happy place, sans children

Dear Colin, 

My nine year old could care less about personal hygiene. She lies more often then not when I ask her if she brushed her teeth, changed her underwear or used actual shampoo in the shower. It’s a real problem and I am worried that people might start calling her the stinky kid. Can you help?

-Kathleen 

Dear Stinky,

Does your nine-year-old live out loud? Does she have no Plan B? Is she all-in? I’m just asking because we’re casting for a precocious pre-teens with halitosis show for the Breath Mint Network and I feel like your daughter could potentially be a good fit. While it is worrying that your kid is gonna be the one with the cloud of dust and pack of flies following her into her teen years, I’m gonna say this actually isn’t that big of a deal. Adolescence has a way of self-correcting even the smelliest kid’s hygiene failures. All you need is one cute boy she has a crush on telling her she reeks for soap and toothpaste to start getting real interesting to her. In the meantime I’d plug your nose and pour yourself a tall Scotch. You’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Dear Colin,

I have never seen myself as a “minivan mom.” I’ve always seen myself more as an “Aston Martin Mom.” However, I have had three kids in 4 years and I had to give up my dream of an Aston Martin for the time being and settle for a Honda Odyssey. It was a tough pill to swallow but there are worse things, I suppose. My question to you is, how am I supposed to drive a small-sized yacht, with three crazy kids in the back, park in the only parking that exists in LA, which is “compact” and still keep my “cool” (in more ways than one)

Respectfully Yours,

Needs her Mojo Mama

Dear Mojo Mom,

One of the greatest challenges of working in TV is not going to Defcon 4 everyday. Why? Because expectations are unreasonable, money is tight, time is short and no one will face reality when the IDEA of something feels better.

Ahhh, but you did ask about the kids and an oversized car. Let’s dig into that a little bit. The Aston Martin isn’t happening Mojo, not if you wanna send the ankle biters through college and pay for them to eat organic kale salads and avocado toast everyday and have every damn Apple product that comes out for the next 18 years. Given all that, the aptly named Odyssey will probably be the best vehicle to pilot you through these choppy childhood years. So the only X factors here are the kids and the means to contain their uncivilized behavior and that pesky parking issue. I say you put a steel-cage in the back and treat every trip to the store or soccer practice like a championship WWE wrestling match. Lock ‘em in, swallow the key, and let them batter each other to their heart’s content. Then blast some of that music that made you feel cool in the 90’s (they call it oldies now), and try to pretend there’s not three feral animals in the back of the car engaged in some Revenant style beatdowns. As long as the kids can’t smack you while you’re driving, or physically exit the car, you should be ok. Oh and just start valet-ing everywhere. Is 5 bucks here and there worth saving you from flying into a homicidal rage? I am no accountant, but I’d say yes.

Dear Colin, 

I feel like my son has a split personality! He is basically a complete asshole to all children and adults, friends and strangers alike, when we are in public, yet the sweetest most loving child when we are alone. I suppose I could keep him in the house and continue crafting all damn day, but I like people and wanna be out in the world. HELP!

Thanks,

Borderline Schizophrenic Mama

Dear Borderline,

I’m pretty sure your son is a network exec. The bad news is he’s gonna be completely unbearable, unreasonable, insane, malevolent, vicious, simple-minded, tyrannical, maniacal, callous, callow, petty, ridiculous, vindictive, cheap, asinine, oh hell, where was I? Oh yeah, the good news. The good news is if you don’t like him you can fire him in a year and start over. Honestly though, in my experience with network execs, very few of them are actually certifiable schizos and some of them might actually be human. In general, when they are unkind to us humble development folk, it tends to be because they are afraid of something. Maybe your son is anxious to be around people and being around them makes him act out. I’d ask him how he feels when he’s outside the house. As a shut-in myself, er, I mean as someone like me who’s super well-adjusted and calm, I bet he just gets nervous around people. And if that’s not it, fire him now. It ain’t gonna get any better.

colinvisit
Summer 2011 in NYC. Neither one of us knew what to do with the kid so we ate burgers and looked at dinosaurs.

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