Mother’s Day is rounding the bend and I find myself reflecting upon not only my job as a mother but how my own mom has influenced my parenting. For those of us with a pulse, we can all agree motherhood wasn’t exactly what we had expected. For me, my bundle of joy came with a generous side of anxiety and fear, which was nice. Then truly experiencing things like sleep deprivation and a shift in your relationship with your spouse, also throw a nice fireball into the mix. All of this new love and new fear is just the beginning.
I’m not sure if it’s because my mother had six children, but I never really felt this anxiety from her that myself and other moms talk about these days. I imagine having six kids is like herding cats. It was chaotic to say the least but even in the chaos, she did not flip her shit like I do with my one and only. How? Maybe with six kids you learn a new level of disassociation. I’m not sure. I can’t ask her because she’s dead. Continue reading →
Social Media can be a tricky thing. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry and it can make you viciously angry. Chatting with my women-folk about the ups and downs of social media, we all agreed that the worst feeling social media brewed inside of us was the feeling of being inferior. Life isn’t perfect but some have the gift of portraying it that way. I am not one of those people. Here’s some insight to how to look past the perfection and be ok with the messy.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA PORTRAYS LIFE
You’ve all seen it. The picture of the incredibly decorated cakes, sitting atop a counter that has absolutely no clutter whatsoever. The counter itself looks like it costs more than my entire kitchen (and probably does). The children are donning the latest fashion trends from the boutique you’ve never even entered because you can’t afford it. Their hair is coiffed in a fashion that looks professional. Everyone looks happy and in love.Continue reading →
Thank you so much for the plain, white butter dish and the amazing tube socks you got me last year for Christmas. While they both have come in handy I can’t help getting this twinge of severe annoyance anytime I see either of them. Like the socks are saying, “He has no idea who you are” and the white butter dish is whispering, “I’m out of butter again and it’s HIS fault. Kill him in his sleep.”
We here at Mommy Dearest Inc. are fully aware that it is the thought that counts and maybe sometimes, thinking so much can overwhelm the most thoughtful of people. There are also cases when people wait until the last minute and then end up giving you a cappuccino set and an espresso set on the same holiday and you don’t even drink coffee but I digress. Continue reading →
We are so tickled that we have made it one year, making you laugh and/or roll your eyes in disgust here at Mommy Dearest Inc. Wow, what a year! We started this venture so unaware of what launching and running a blog entailed. The old saying, “The blind leading the blind” really rings true when observing us trying to figure out Word Press. The night before the launch, Theresa and Susan tried to code something and the entire site shit the bed. Thank God for Dennis (our Web Guy), who had that baby up and running – $125 later. And then, on the morn of October 20, 2015 we launched MDI and the followers just started pouuuurrriiing in. It was like an overnight success amongst our moms, aunts, sisters, cousins and a handful of friends. What a shock to learn that launching a blog was not the only thing you have to do for it to be successful. Who knew? Continue reading →
Parenting these days is tough and there’s no denying that all of the information out there can be confusing and contradictory. Since there has been so much helicoptering in recent years and not enough Xanax to go around, experts and non-the-like are coming out with articles, posts and books about letting our children have more freedom. Our kids, like our eggs, have to be “Free Range”. There’s only one problem, sometimes when people try and put to practice this exciting, “Free-Range Parenting” or what our parents used to call “Parenting”, they end up in the slammer. Continue reading →
I remember the day I hit my breaking point. I hesitantly entered the conference room and there he was, Napoleon in khaki floods, staring at me with laser beam eyes, his face full anger and disgust. After the one-hour, fun-filled abuse fest, I was going to shuffle ball change out of that dank, old TV Station in nowheresville, NJ, never to look back.
Working for a Sociopathic Narcissist has its benefits if you are fresh in your career. Mostly, any new boss after that one will seem nurturing and sane. Secondly, the Sociopathic Narcissists are usually quite intelligent so you can learn a lot from them if you can handle the heat. And most importantly, working for a Sociopathic Narcissist prepares you to become someone’s bitch and I hate to say it but becoming someone’s bitch pretty much sums up parenthood.
Planning and plotting the education of one’s offspring in the city of Los Angeles feels like navigating a dark labyrinth, filled with venomous snakes, deep ditches and fire bombs being tossed at you from unknown locations so you never know where you are supposed to be looking as to not die a firey death. Reggio, Montessori,Waldorf, Public, Private, Charter, Experimental, Progressive, Immersion, Preparatory, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, predominantly White, predominately Black, predominately Asian and super-diverse are just some of the things you have to educate yourself on in order to understand what is right for your child.
As I reflect back on what was the insanity and ridiculousness I lived while being educated by nuns, I always come back to the one monumental positive I took away from my all-girls school, the positive that has made my life what it is today. And that is, no one ever said I couldn’t do something because I was a GIRL. In fact, no one ever mentioned any sort of limitations because of one’s sex ever because it was a non-issue. We did everything boys did, we just did them without them. We went to school makeup-less, with wet hair, in unflattering uniforms, eating cookies and laughing about things we probably wouldn’t have spoken about while walking in between buildings if boys had been around.
Here are my Top Seven Reasons Why Single Sex Education Rules the School –
You can eat whatever you want
You can order cheese fries topped with bacon and literally talk with your mouth open while eating them and yes, it’s still gross but no one really gives two fecks. You could get pizza, fries, a salad, a chicken sandwich, ice cream and soda for lunch and no one was like, “Eww, you’re a cow”. My friend’s daughter told me she had friends in school who would barely eat because they were embarrassed to do so in front of boys. WTF is that? That ain’t right.
Getting ready for school meant maybe showering
Hours of hair and makeup? I think not! A top knot and some Zinc Pink and I was on my way baby! I did spend quite a bit of time searching for one, matching regulatory knee sock every.stinking.morning. Which brings me to my next point.
I know I grunted and groaned about this one because there was not much personal expression in green and blue plaid skirts and knee socks but seriously, no one was like, “Ugh, I wish my navy blue blazer was as nice as her navy blue blazer” because all of the navy blue blazers were equally ugly as shit. Also, no one got to dress slutty and isn’t that really what we all want for our girls? A place where you don’t feel like you have to dress in shorts shorter than your ass or don a tube top to go and learn Geometry? I know it’s all I can hope for.
You dated after school and on weekends. There was no boy distraction in class, no breakups in the cafeteria, no lusting after Jake Ryan in study hall. Study Hall was time for us to discuss what boys’ penises looked like and maybe sometimes, just sometimes, we might have studied, but never in the Library because that’s where we planned our keggers and talked about what penises looked like while some of us gasped in horror.
Conversation was not censored
We would discuss why our nipples got hard when it was cold outside while we tossed tampons between each other while pondering if pubic hair got gray when you got older. Do you think girls talk about this stuff in front of boys when they are fifteen? They don’t because after school when the boys came around, we talked about music and where we were gonna score some beer for the weekend. It was liberating to be able to be yourself and to talk about things that were on your mind and to know that you would all laugh hysterically and you never had to put the filter on except when a teacher passed you by.
When you attend an all-girl school, you usually have an all-boy school close by. When one of you has a dance, it’s like an explosion of wonder. All of these coeds in one place! It’s magical and special and fun! They’d have their proms and we’d have our prom and they’d have their games and we’d have ours and everything was done in multiples which meant for a robust social life, not gonna lie.
7. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
When we’d see a man or a boy on campus in Grade School we used whisper under our breath “Sound the alarm!” and it would really make us giggle. They looked funny, awkward, almost like intruders when they came around. Later, in High School they were allowed to visit us in the parking lot and in the cafeteria after school, so it became a lot more natural but if one stepped on campus before 2:30pm all hell would break loose. We’d run to the window like there was a fireworks display or a three-headed unicorn.
We were one thing and they were another but we were not inferior to them in any way, shape or form and the most important thing our all-female staff did was never mention that we might come across that notion in the outside world. I went to college where I learned about girls’ insecurities regarding participating in class and eating in front of the opposite sex or not studying something because “Engineering is for Boys”. I always grabbed these conversation bulls by the horns and I debated and lectured these young ladies as if I were Gloria Steinem on a hot day because I was given that foundation of being a secure, strong woman who did not doubt herself because she had a vagina. Also, I was able to school everyone in my dorm suite regarding aging pubic hair. That, if for nothing, is a great reason to consider an all-girls school.
Nothing infuriates me more than a panel of privileged, white men telling me what I can and cannot have. I’ve read numerous articles and studies about how a woman must choose between work and raising a child and how even when she does, she’ll never be satisfied. This is hogwash and I am starting to think that women are extremely whiney regarding their guilt and dissatisfaction about their status in life. Stop whining ladies, you are your own worst enemy. If you get your butt in gear and organize your life correctly, you most certainly can have it all. Below are eight steps to becoming the ultimate woman.
Spend less time whining and more time doing.
Instead of moaning about there not being enough hours in the day, grab yourself a double espresso, mix that with your favorite energy drink and WHAMMY! Suddenly you will find that being tired is a thing of the past. There are 24 hours in a day for a reason and if you have a clear “To Do” list, you can utilize every hour available to you. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 8 hours of sleep per day to live a long, healthy life but they don’t know what it feels like to have it all. Plus, you are in your prime, this is when everything is yours for the taking. If you sleep now, you’ll miss your chance. We’ll sleep when we’re dead, ammiright?
Give Equally to Everyone and Everything.
Women spend a lot of time complaining about having to choose between thriving in their careers or being a good mother. This always give me a good chuckle. If you just get up a little extra early and go to bed a little later than you’d like to, you can accomplish it all. When you get home from your fruitful career at 8pm, you actually have plenty of time run up to your children’s beds to read them “The Little Prince”, kiss them and tell them you love them. Take five minutes to relish in their angelic states while they sleep before you get to work.
Use your time wisely.
Don’t throw on your yoga pants and take that bra off when you get home from work, it will only make you lazy! After the kiddos are down, you get to business in the healthy lunch department. Pay your Instacart shopper a little more to divide your bags into food groups so when you start putting the groceries away, you can save six or seven minutes by having your food pregrouped. Also, Sunday Funday, my ass. This is the most opportune time of the week to get your shit together. I find that if you use the Planet Box lunch boxes, you can split up all of the organic food you’ve bought and grown at home into glass storage bowls and then just grab them from the fridge when you are making lunches. Do not, I REPEAT, do NOT ever let them eat lunches made at school. It makes you look weak and it will give them ADHD. Just because a school says the food is organic, doesn’t mean it is.
The more projects you have at work and at your child’s school, the better you’ll be able to manage your time. If you have a lot on your plate, you will thrive. There is nothing more fulfilling than to see your hard work come to fruition. So, your boss is asking you for something unthinkable in a completely unreasonable amount of time and your inbox is exploding with an email chain from Harlow and Skyler’s moms about how the committee needs you to complete the spreadsheet regarding possible allergens (environmental only, don’t be a baby) in the school yard so that you can all tackle ridding your children’s educational setting of poisonous pollens and the like? Skip lunch that day (you really shouldn’t be taking a lunch any day unless it’s a business meeting). While you are packing your child’s lunch, pack one for yourself. Your thighs have been touching lately anyway and we all know that’s a sign of not having your shit together.
Don’t Neglect the Big Guy/Gal!
Yes, yes, you’ve only slept four hours a night for the past three years but nobody likes a complainer and if you want to keep your significant other’s eyes on you, you’d better find time to keep that body slender and save enough energy for passionate love-making every night of the week except Sunday (Mama’s got lunches to organize into the wee hours and that lemon tree is not going to prune itself). Keep things spicy between you and your loved one by hitting up the adult gift store before dinner on date night (once a week minimum if you don’t want to get divorced) and make sure you are constantly replenishing your lingerie collection. We don’t want them to get bored! Yes, after your passionate love-making session you will need to excuse yourself to really take advantage of the hours left in the night to pay the bills, return Harlow’s mom’s emails and come up with a brilliant campaign for that multi-billion dollar account you just landed at work. You’ve got this.
Don’t neglect yourself.
There’s nothing more unattractive than a women who doesn’t take care of herself because she thinks she’s “too busy”. Request a lock on your office door so you can get that landing strip groomed while never having to leave the office! Celebrating a full bush is in no way a power play. Don’t have an office? Don’t fret, reserve the conference room for a “very important meeting” in a pinch. You can even take a conference call to be super-efficient. No one has to know! Keeping yourself groomed to enhance your love life while working at the same time? GIIIIRRRLL, you are the epitome of time management!
Balance Your Damn Life
So, you are up for a promotion but you’ll need to land a huge account in Europe first, where you’ll have to spend an entire week wining and dining a gaggle of Middle Eastern businessmen. Unfortunately, little Betsy has to build an entire Mission out of toothpicks and her project is due the following week. Dad has poker night and a lot of important meetings himself so just pack up Betsy, grab the Nanny and head to Spain – The Missions’ birthplace! After you’ve landed that multi-billion dollar deal, Madrid here we come! It’s in Betsy’s best interest to have a list of interviews lined up with Spanish Historians who focus on the American Missions. She’s sure to get into Harvard and once again, you’ve nailed it, Mama!
Keep Your Social Life in Tact
Between reffing your daughter’s field hockey games, date night and trying to keep up with your exercise regimen, your evenings can get pret-ty full. Don’t let that hold you back from showing off those amazing culinary skills you’ve been working on for all of these years! Cooking is a form of affection and love, so invite people over at least once a week to show them you care. Don’t be one of those losers who order-in when people take the time to get a babysitter. UGH, the worst. Make sure your flowers are fresh, your table setting is magazine-worthy and your guests, well let’s just refer to the old expression, “Show me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are”. POWER, POWER, POWER! You can squeeze in a coffee with “Linda, The Stay at Home Mom” any old day but to get ahead, make sure that dinner table is full of extremely interesting and successful people. You’ll be the talk of the town and we all know the way to people’s hearts (and vacation homes) is through their stomachs. Show them what you’ve got woman because you’ve got everything.
I know it can get overwhelming but nothing great is easy. It’s your job as a woman to be successful, raise amazing children, nourish your family, invest properly, avoid wearing active wear outside the gym, keep a clean car, have a picturesque home, emotionally invest in your marriage, your children and your friendships. If you really look at the big picture, it’s not that much so please, for women everywhere, stop complaining because you can have it all…just lean in, ladies…but not too much because you don’t want to look desperate.
“Pass the bread”, my father requested. As my sister reached for the bread basket, the rest of the table held their breath, shut their eyes, winced and prayed for a clean delivery. Nope. As her arm moved in slow motion across her dinner plate, it innately collided with her glass of milk, turning it over onto the tablecloth and undoubtedly drowning someone else’s pork chops and apple sauce, causing chaos and dismay throughout our dining room. This happened almost every night for probably more than a year. We’re not absolutely sure why but we chalked it up to subconsciously looking for some sort of attention from our very busy, very stressed-out parents. When you are one of six children, you sometimes had to pull out the big guns to get noticed. Good grades, bad grades, runaway threats, expulsion, broken limbs, car accidents, awards, parts in plays, visits from the local police or small sectors of the FBI. You had to make yourself known if you were going to stand out. My sister’s was the spilt milk, mine was the visit from the small sector of the FBI on the night of my older sister’s wedding rehearsal but hey, no one’s keeping score here. Growing up in a big family was empowering and degrading at the same time. If you weren’t taking care of your shit, no one else was either so you had better learn to use the washing machine early, pour your own damn cereal and bribe your older siblings for rides from point A to point B if you ever wanted to get anywhere. It was survival of the fittest in a clan that size and while it made me who I am today, it is also one of the biggest reasons I decided that my first born would remain my one and only. Here are the reasons from my own experience that helped me shut the garage door after birthing my first and only offspring.
My mother would forget my sister and I (and occasionally a friend or two) almost every Friday after swimming class at school and we would have to go on to wait in the school Convent where the nuns would serve us up warm diet coke and brownies and continuously call my house only to receive a busy signal as our crib was teeming with phone disorder-laden teenagers. Eventually, one of us would make an emergency breakthrough on the line and tell my mother that she forgot us. How could she not realize her two youngest babies had never arrived home from school? I mean, she called me “Whoever you are” after running through everyone else’s name so maybe that explains it but in her defense, she was pregnant for 10 years straight with only quick smoke breaks in between each pregnancy. How was she ever to rid herself of “Pregnancy Brain”? Truthfully, she never did.
My child’s life – I arrive everywhere at least five minutes early, with prepared snacks and water in case of immediate hunger and inability to make it the ten-minute drive home. She won’t have to wait in a convent ever, for many reasons but it’s really the warm, Diet Coke I’m trying to avoid here.
I was fourteen years old the first time I ever flew on an airplane. Exotic was hitting up Avalon instead of Stone Harbor, NJ during the summer months. I would beg my parents to go to Disney World and my father’s response would be, “As long as I am paying six private school tuitions, you’re probably not going to meet Mickey”.
My child’s life – My kid is four and she’s already explored the likes of Mexico (twice), Italy (twice), Spain, Australia and bits and pieces of the U.S.A. She has an annual pass to Disneyland. If we had another kid, we’d have to rent some furniture during the summer months and call it “The Summer House”.
Nilla Wafers were a real treat. Do you remember those? Yes well, my mother would pick up a box of them every Sunday and we’d house that box in 20 minutes or less and then there would be no more “treats” for the rest of the week.
My child’s life – We talk about whether we’ll hit CoolHaus Ice Cream or Sprinkles Cupcakes on Wednesdays after school. She’ll never have to rummage through my purse to find some Baby Aspirin or a loose Life-Saver to get that sugar high like we did when we were kids.
My mother would give us all a teaspoon (or tablespoon depending on your age and state of awakeness) of Dimetapp. Yes, you heard me, the cough medicine. She’d sit us up on the countertop and disperse the liquid sleep/cough aid to her children before bedtime. We were all ok with this since it tasted of grape and the Nilla Wafers had been gone for days.
My child’s life – While I won’t deny the fact that I have exaggerated my child’s cough and announced to an entire international flight that she has been coughing for days while dosing her with Benadryl before a long haul, we do not drug her (no matter how tempting) so that we can get a good night’s sleep. I am not knocking my mother’s brilliance or desperation here but really? My poor, tiny liver. If I had more than one kid, I’d ditch the announcements to fellow passengers and line them up on the ticketing booth to dispense the drugs. Like mother, like daughter.
There was no way my parents could have or would have wanted to volunteer or be involved parents in school and outside activities. They were tired, they had no urge and quite frankly, I don’t blame them but you do it for your kid. By showing support for the community your child is involved in, you show your child you are invested in their success. Don’t get me started on my neglect issues, stay with me.
My child’s life – I give way more than I should and she’ll probably roll her eyes when she spots me putting away library books, the day after I ran the Dance-a-Thon and won the fight for healthy lunches at her school next year but she’ll know I cared, she’ll know I was invested…and I will bask in the glory that I am an amazing parent, much superior to my own. If I had more than one, I’d slow down at drop off while I forced them all out of a moving car.
I couldn’t get away from the chaos. It was everywhere I turned. Loud voices, instruments, televisions, peace was few and far between and I relish in quiet. I had no idea that I loved peace and quiet so much until I was well-into adulthood. Big crowds were a part of my identity, until I learned that I suffer from Claustrophobia, of course.
My Child’s Life – We bring her to spend time with her eleven cousins over the summer and winter breaks and it’s so great for her. It makes her feel important, like she has this huge family and over the years she’s even stopped physically pushing them away from her while screaming “NO!!” in her loudest voice, arms extended like Elsa trying to escape Arandelle after the Coronation took a bad turn, so I’m feeling pret-ty positive about her progress. If I had more than one, I’d be surrounded by the chaos that I thought I loved but was actually slowly killing me. My children would be killing me slowly. That’s something to contemplate, really.
I realize my life has been full of love and companionship. I’ve rarely ever felt alone and I wouldn’t change all of the crazy for all of the money in the world. We’ve made choices for our family that work best for us. We love to travel, live in LA and provide her with experiences I wasn’t allowed to dream of (mostly because I was in a drug-induced state of slumber). It doesn’t matter because in 20 or so years, we’ll all be reading, “How my Parents Ruined my Life by Making Me an Only Child” By: Stella Masciopinto. Stay tuned, it should be a good one.
This year the Mommies at MommyDearestInc. have a few special requests and while we’ve tried to be nice, we have yelled, bitched and possibly drank too much wine while having a good cry over the finale of “Grey’s Anatomy”, we can assure you that everyday we are just doing the best damn job we can. Yes, sometimes we are just trying to get through the day and others we deserve medals for the amount of crap we accomplish from sunrise to sunset. Please, we beg of you to overlook the short-tempered days when we’ve dropped our arms, said, “fuck it”, ordered Chinese food and popped on “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” so we could lose ourselves on the internet. We are only human, Santa, we are only human. Below you will find our Christmas List. We obviously don’t expect all of the items found there but one or two Christmas Miracles would be much appreciated.
The Mommies at MommyDearestInc.
MommyDearestInc.’s Christmas Wish List
Some god damn peace and quiet.
Just once (we don’t want to be greedy) we’d like for our children to go get dressed the first time they are asked.
No more crying. When the child is upset, they will simply say so (even if they can’t talk yet).