Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Namaste, Gwyneth Paltrow

I just attended my first PSO meeting.  No, I am not part of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra nor do I geek out regarding Particle Swarm Optimization, although it turns out that PSO is a very popular acronym.

This PSO is the new PTO, and stands for Parent Support Organization.  It is a group of parents that wish (or feel obligated) to volunteer time, funds or participation in a myriad of elementary school activities.

She was there…

Gwyneth Paltrow

As was she….

Elle MacPherson

And I sat next to her.

Reese Witherspoon
Ok.  None of these women were really there, but they may well have been because 95% of the women there looked just as good- or even better.  Then 3% were working moms, and the other 2% were Dads (who, thankfully, were not in lycra).  Me?  I was in sweatpants, a loose vintage tee, and a tube bra that I barely had time to throw on before sprinting out the door (which, btw, was my workout for the day).

Intimidated, party of one please.

I wish I could say that this was an isolated incident, or that I will have to put up with my insecurities only at the once monthly PSO meeting, but this isn’t the case.  Every morning the play yard is humming with perfectly made up yet beautifully natural women in fitted yoga gear that are seemingly set out to destroy me.

My head spins.  Are they all attending a class together?  Why wasn’t I invited?  What was her birth plan?  Who is her plastic surgeon?  And, is yoga wear the official wardrobe choice of SAHMs everywhere, or only those in Los Angeles?

I took to the experts, meaning that I posted this important question on my Facebook page.  Here’s what the gang had to say.

“Be happy it's yoga, girl. Here in Tribeca, it's full-on off duty model wear each and every morning. Like, who walks their kids to school in open toe'd booties? Not me.”
Lawyer & (Working) Mother of a Toddler in NYC

“It's to make us working folk jealous. As in, 'I get to go work out and sculpt my body while you go to work, sucker'… This mama fits in workouts when I can (and I do, and they are a priority)--but I'll be the first to admit the exercise will go out the window if either of my children need anything."
Stephanie Sulzbach, Working Mother of 2 Children in Connecticut

"I'm in awe of working moms. I'm a new stay at home mom and I can't imagine how you working moms do it. You totally rock. Being a mom is full time. If you are working full time as well, I applaud you."
Katy Oliver, New SAHM in Massachusetts
The bottom line is simple.  We all have vulnerabilities, whether about our bodies, our wardrobe, our parenting, our career choice or our decision to stay at home and work as a “Domestic Engineer”.

At first, I hoped just one person at the PSO would look at me and think, “damn, I wish I could spend my day at an exciting job like hers instead of heading to a boring pilates class before returning home to turn on the crock pot and watch Soap Net all day”.  (This one likes to change up her workout routine.)

But on second thought, I changed my tune.  I don’t wish for that.  Why not?  Because I was there learning how I could help with the Halloween Trick or Treat Extravaganza just as much as she was.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Lessons I Wish Someone Bestowed Upon The Cast of Teen Mom at Least 9 Months Ago

A good percentage of my college years were spent wondering if anything I was learning would actually be applicable in my career.  More than a decade (and a half) post graduation, I am still waiting to find the connection.

What is far simpler to find, though, is the commonality between lessons I learned (while wasted) in college and discoveries in parenting.  Ironically, they are also tidbits someone should have bestowed upon the entire cast of Teen Mom a minimum of 9 months ago. For example...

Nothing good happens between the hours of 3-5am.

Going into the library won’t give you the plague.

Whether of tequila or medication, shots are gonna hurt.

The greatest dance parties are girls only.

Employ the buddy system.

Sometimes the simplest words can be the hardest to say.

Always disco nap.

Believe it or not, there will come a time when gaining 15 pounds in 6 months is a good thing.

Read something for pleasure at least once a day.

The last bottle you pound solo should be as a toddler.

Cup O’Noodles, significantly tastier than Top Ramen, are underrated culinary perfection.

Oh, and whether it's because class is back in session or Mom is headed back to work, Mondays will always suck.  So take a time out, remember your college days, and let me know what I missed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Beloved Emmy (and Oscar)

I will not win an Emmy on Sunday, nor did I win an Emmy during the Creative Arts Ceremony held on Saturday.  In fact, I am not nominated to win an Emmy this Sunday, nor was I nominated to win on Saturday- which as the presentation for those that do more of the hard work, is likely where I would have won if I could have.

Still, the weekend got me to thinking as to what I would do with an Emmy if I won one.  I began to envision places I would keep it in my home, and anticipated it could be a highly functional tchotchke.

I ran right out to purchase one, but failed at that as well.  So, I bought an Oscar instead, and put him right to work as...

A Spare TP Holder

A Banana Hanger

A Hipster Garden Gnome

An Accessory Display 

Part of a Killer E.T. Reenactment

A Butt Holder

And A Shoe Horn

Clearly the opportunities are endless, but I had yet to determine it's best use.  Then Jimmy Kimmel came to me in a dream...

It's really difficult to pin down the exact monetary value of an Emmy (or Oscar for Catsitter of the Year).  That said, I am sure I could find some idiot to pay a bunch of money for it on eBay.  Then I would take that money and put it to good use in my Operation Christmas Child project, described here:

Congrats to all the Winners!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Play. That Is All.

"I'll buy you anything you want.  Sky's the limit", my brother told my 4.5 year old.  Her eyes lit up like was heaven on earth as she decided upon two new costumes.  One was for an astronaut and the other a doctor.  Days later, I endured real injuries from all of the fake falls I took so she could nurse (or doctor) me back to health.

Next was "I want to play the xylophone".  I've always known she has an ear for music, as her absolute favorite lyric is "California Gurls, we're unforgettable... daisy dukes, bikinis on top", but her asking for a xylophone caught me by surprise.  What then surprised me even more was when she cried, a mere five hours later, distraught because my husband had not yet purchased her said xylophone.

It is impossible for parents not to wonder who their children will be as adults.  I'm sure my mother could never in a million years have imagined that I would be where I am now, figuratively or literally.  I'd be lying if I said that seeing my pre-schooler in scrubs didn't make me proud or that I didn't call my mother immediately after the xylophone request, but my reasons for doing so weren't motivated by pressure or expectation I put upon either of us.  It was purely just to share in her joy.

As children we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up.  As teens many of us go out of our way to break the rules so we can feel more like grown ups.  Then as young adults, when the time is finally upon our doorstep, we don't want to let it in for fear that we will get old too quickly.

This poem, by Anita Wadley, is posted at the entrance to my daughter's classroom.  I thought it definitely deserved the share.  I hope you read it, enjoy it, and then go play.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Hopefully) The Only Thing Chris Brown Will Ever Have In Common With Me, My Grandmother & My Kids

“I really want a tattoo but don’t know what to get” is one of the more ridiculous things I have ever heard come out of someone’s mouth.  If you are about to permanently mark your body, shouldn’t you be pretty darn passionate about the addition?

I find it highly unlikely that Chris Brown expressed similar doubt before recently inking this:

Unfortunately, though not admittedly, his inspiration is a work with which he is all too familiar.

Honestly, I am fascinated by tattoo culture.  I love to hear the meaningful story of their significance, or at least pray there is one, and am intrigued by the science of choosing one body part over another.  I believe tattoos can be more reflective of personality, spirituality and aura than most verbal communication, especially for this chick.

And, I put my money where my mouth is.  I have four, but you’d never know it.  I got the first when I was 18 and it’s a nickname my father called me every day until our last together.  The second and third are each the union of one initial and an object, one for each of my daughters.  The fourth (and likely not final) is an expression of love for my family.

I have never regretted them for a moment, although I have wondered if I will someday look like this woman:

Where hippy turns a bit hypocrite, though, is when I wonder how I will react if either of my girls ever asks for one.  Like many of the obstacles I know I’ll face in the years of parenting to come, I hope to keep my heart fully open, and my eyes in a precautionary but open-minded squint. 

I am practicing it now, as I type in a Google search for “the future of ouch-less tattoo removal”.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, But Not Everywhere

I consider you family.  I’ve shared some of my most intimate and embarrassing stories on these pages.  I’ve shared my strengths, such as my unmatched ability to consume obscene amounts of fountain Diet Coke, and my weaknesses, like how I legitimately start preparing for Christmas in August.

The holidays have always been a really big deal for us.  Looking back, I know now that I was a very (very) fortunate child.  I think "spoiled" has a negative connotation, and I don't believe that I was, but I do have many happy memories that look just like this:

Me & Grover, Christmas 1977
After that, I set my expectations high.  Each year my father would let me help him pick out a beautiful piece of jewelry for my mother.  On one shopping trip, I spotted a tiny yet beautiful opal ring.  It was love at first sight, possibly my first ever love, and if we weren’t reunited on Christmas morning, I’d be broken hearted.  I was ten and the ring was 75 bucks.

Santa came, and clearly he’d had yet another busy year in his workshop, but no ring.  We always save our stockings for last, and I’d hoped mine would save the day.  No such luck.  Then, just before the stocking was bare, just before I had a moment to react as the spoiled, ungrateful child I never wanted to be, my father tossed me a perfectly wrapped ring box.  The feeling stays with me till this day, as does the opal ring.

I didn’t know then that some children would react the very same way to receiving a desperately needed pair of practical shoes, or even a jug of water.  Thankfully, I guess, most children never do.  Hopefully, we make up for that lesson learned as adults…  (Hint: This is where you come in.)

For the last few years, one of my favorite holiday to-do's has been gifting less fortunate kids via Operation Christmas Child.  The idea is simple.  Pack a shoebox (or plastic tub of the same size) with items for a child in need.  You choose the sex, age range and what to pack.  Then drop it off at one of numerous locations nationwide.  Choose where you’d like it to be delivered, domestically or overseas, and track it’s arrival.

I have given only two boxes each year, one from each of my daughters, but have wanted to give much more.  I am hoping each of you can help me to do that.  Together, we can give the gift of a smile on Christmas morning.

Here’s the deal.  I’ll buy the tubs, pack them, wrap them and deliver them.  There is a $7 shipping donation required per box, which I will cover, but I’d love for you to help me collect the items to fill 'em up.  No donation is too small or large, as long as each individual item fits into a shoebox.  (I’ve listed some suggestions below.)

The holidays are still a few months away, but the sooner we act, the greater difference we can make and more smiles we can create.  So, early or not, get in the spirit now. 

And this year, instead of celebrating the season of giving, celebrate being able to give…

Now, some housekeeping.

* Click here to check out Operation Christmas Child.

* There’s a list of suggested items on their site.  I have included personal items like soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, combs, band aids, socks, underwear, flip flops, and sun hats.  Or something a little more creative like flashcards, crayons, stickers, a yo-yo, a jump rope, puzzles, coloring books, sidewalk chalk, and a personal holiday card.  The possibilities are endless, and the dollar store is a great resource.

* If you’d like to donate, please email me directly.

* Collection Week begins November 12th, so please don’t delay!  Thank you in advance... and Happy Holidays!