Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Setting My Mothering Priorities Straight... Dang, I am good.

Disclaimer: It's my version of things, and in my version, I cannot be bound by the requirement of complete accuracy.

Seriously?? I have to confess… Shh, don’t tell anybody, but for some gosh for shaken reason I am pretty shocked at my mothering skills and how dang good they are prioritized on a daily basis. To tell you the truth, I actually suck at a lot of things, but for the most part, I have to say I do have my priorities straight about being a mother.

For example, today at the pool I chased Emma down with a can of sunscreen kicking and screaming, grabbed her in a monkey hold and sprayed her from head to toe... only slightly hitting the lady out tanning at the edge of the pool. Lack of cancer priority at it's best. CHECK.

You see, in my world, it's all about having your daily priorities in order if you want to chalk up points with the mothering skills, and getting my whites whiter than white is never, ever going to be a top priority. Helping my girls paste glitter to their artwork, even if it is on the wall, that's a top priority. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom to get a bit of peace and quiet, everyone needs to escape now and then, but this is acceptable, for a mother who has her priorities in line. But then, do I really have my priorities in tact as a woman, wife and mother??

With that, I thought I would see what the professionals think of mothers and their priorities. I decided to look up some simple steps to providing sanity and prioritize myself as a mother… Here you go, the first one is great. Dr. Phil suggests that all mothers “Take a step outside”. He then says “What a simple thing to do! Find a time when they are all in a safe place, behind baby gates or otherwise entertained for a minute or two, tell them you are right outside and will be back in a minute, go out, and close the door”

Hello, Dr. Phil… Debbie Cluff here. I have to pee with the door open because if I don’t they bang on it (not very peaceful). Also, as long as we’re on the topic of minute or two, can we talk a little about silence? As it turns out, SILENCE is my sworn enemy, especially if I am leaving the kids in the house for 2-3 minutes ALONE. You see, every time it is silent in this house, they are up to no good. For 8 years, all I wanted was ten straight minutes of peace and quiet. These days, as soon as ten straight SECONDS of peace and quiet lapse, it means that the kitchen cabinets are being emptied or the dog’s tail is being tugged or the fireplace grate is being licked. You really think I can walk outside while the kids are in a safe spot for a minute or two?? Get real. Instead I suggest change in meds followed by a frantic change back due to unacceptable personality changes. Simple. The doctors visits alone will give you some time to drive back and forth, the waiting room, etc.

Next, he suggests, “Take a bath. For those who haven’t been there, this may seem silly, but I guarantee that with many children in the house, bath time is sacred and often skipped in favor of sleep”. Dr. Phil, have you tried to take a bath with a 4 and 6 year old?? Should I mention the great leg shave/bleed of 2010? And another thing, skipped instead of sleep… SO I should be bathing and sleeping all in one day? Interesting concept, but how do you juggle that with sex with the husband?? All three? Seems a bit much.

Since these tips are SO wonderful, we should do the next step in prioritizing ourselves as mothers, “Do your hair and nails”. What a wonderful concept. Let’s get out the hair clips and the nail polish remover, then the actual nail polish. Wow, that will attract 2 little girls like white on rice. I think my girls have a six sense for when it is time for “nails”.

After reading the great list of setting my priorities straight from the professionals, I am thinking I totally am a rocking mom.

With that, I will leave you with one of my top priorities with my kids, college funding....

Emma comes running up to me. "Mama, you take my dress off?"

"Why do you want your clothes off?" I asked.

"Cause I want to dance!" she answered. Like, duh, Mom.

"So, you have to be naked to dance?" I obviously asked.

"Yes, Mama! It's more fun!" she replied.

I just looked at Tyler and started cracking up. "The upside to her wanting to be a naked dancer, though, is that we can spend her college fund on an European vacation...."

He was not amused. "You're not funny, Debbie. Emma, keep your clothes on!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day.

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should...

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother bandage up little hurts
And nurses all our ills...

And Father struggles daily
To live up to "HIS IMAGE"
As protector and provider
And "hero or the scrimmage"...

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad's heart,
Where no one else can see
You'll find he's sentimental
And as "soft" as he can be...

But he's so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his wife...

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness...

For all my many readers I have to say for sure that I love my husband. I drive him crazy, nuts, whatever, but all in all he picked me and sticks with me. Here are the top 10 things I do to drive my husband crazy, and PROMISE not to do on father's day...

1. Ask dumb sports questions.... Asked a question that seems so logical in my mind, and is most definitely an insult to his favorite game. Then I get the eyes rolled back in his head and the look in his eye that says “are you kidding?” are common signs that I’ve crossed the sports-lingo line.

2. Have a Diet Coke obsession. I’ll admit I like a nice 48 ounce of Diet Coke or two a day. I’ll even admit that I’m fairly partial to the flavorings and which drink I will take that day – I’m am a plain vanilla girl, don’t ask me to drink plain jane Diet Coke either, I think because I am more of a Diet Pepsi girl. Evidently he thinks this is odd. I still can't figure out why

3. Do you hear that noise remark? In my defense, hubby does have a hearing problem (or so I like to think ;), but come on – everything from clunking car noises to humming appliances can drive me crazy and I drive him crazy making him find the source and eliminating it. My favorite is when I freak him out that he has to jump out of bed.

4. Start a sentence with “I was thinking…” - These words alone make him nuts – probably because it’s usually followed by something that involves work on his part – and directing on mine. But I have to admit that most of the time that is the end of the sentence because my ADD kicks in and then I forget what I am going to say.

5. Take furniture measurements and then send him to pick up said furniture – assuring him that IT WILL fit in said vehicle. Do I need to tell you that I am inept at taking measurements? – Good thing hubby figured out a long time ago that me and tape measures don’t mix! It might seem that anything handy and me will not fit. It is even funnier when it is raining and he is trying to smooch something in the car. In my defense, I really forget that we don't have a 15 passenger van. That should be blamed on my parents.

6. If I have a can of spray paint, I have to use it. My mom told me once to just not buy it and I actually think my sister mentioned that exact same thing today. I guess I didn't listen and that is why my door is half green and half brown. I had a half a can of spray paint and thought, hmm... what would this door look like brown. It looks good. BUT now what do I do?? Do I even need to go into the Painting Disaster of 2010??

7. Make plans and never put them on the calendar and then forget. Okay organization is not my strongest point – thank heavens I married a very organized marvel of a man who seems to remember everything (even things that happened 10 years ago in our marriage, but can forget the simplest of things when going to the grocery store). But I would like to apologize not only to my husband, but the entire world for forgetting about something. I am just so happy every evening when I get into bed and realize that I actually remembered all my kids when leaving the grocery store.

8. Drive, drive, driving Miss Daisy/ Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer. My husband has a tendency to be the main driver in the family, but on those rare occasions that I get behind the wheel. I swear he holds on for deal life. Usually words like "where is the fire" and "are you trying to kill us" are common. Now, if I am not speeding (which I have to say if I was on the I-5 in downtown L.A.... he would not be complaining) I am in the slow lane going super super slow. SO, at least I am consistent... you get the fast or the slow. AND sometimes these dang utah drivers just make me so mad I have to show them where I learned to drive.

9. Develop pack-rat ways. Getting back to my organizational inabilities – I realize I live in what I have deemed “organized chaos.” I can generally put my finger on something important within a few hours or possible a day if I need to. And I do see his point that my piles of stuff drive him nuts, but seriously, if he would just ask I could find it. It makes sense to me and I am home the most. And sometimes papers just need to be piled on the desk, for no reason.

10. Park poorly in the garage. He complains that I use the entire garage for just one SUV and then he has to "squeeze" his into the other side like he's driving an obstacle course. Yet, most of the time he just parks in the driveway because he can't fit in. Anyhow, the garage is so not in my zone, so if it is not clean, it is not my fault. Step it up, baby.

So, Happy Father's Day, Tyler... and thanks for putting up with me ;)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways… yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in heck I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia!
And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our butts! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car... We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks!

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 80's and 90's or any time before!

The Over 30 Crowd

A Son's Perspective

My son had to write about his greatest influence. It was on Mother's Day, so he chose to write about his dad ;) It was such a good essay...