Happy Mother’s Day, Or Something Like That

I never planned on having kids. It was never a dream of mine as a girl or a teenager. I wasn’t getting married either. But then I met my husband, and it all changed.

I Am Mother - Hear Me Roar, And Sometimes Sputter For Help | TheFurFiles

Since that first little head squeezed his way out of my vagina, I’ve stayed-at-home, worked part-time, and gone back to school twice. Except for the occasional meltdown – OK, frequent meltdown – I’ve been lucky. Everyone has been healthy (knock on wood), they’ve all done well at school, and for the most part, they are caring human beings. We’ve never really experienced too many bumps in the road – not big bumps anyway. That doesn’t mean however, that it’s been easy. I’ll never forget the first time my kids had to go to daycare/the after-school program. Whooosh, they were NOT happy. My daughter especially.

“Remember when you sent me there?” my daughter says every time we drive past the dreaded Children’s Castle Daycare. (We still live in the same neighbourhood.) I’d gone back to school for the first time to study architecture. She was four. I don’t think it was as bad as she makes it sound. It’s just that it was such a huge change for her. “Yeah, I hated that place,” she says. “They made us do the weirdest things, like they told us that we couldn’t have our dessert unless we ate all of our sweet pickles. And then they made us brush our teeth by swishing milk around in our mouths. Doesn’t milk have sugar? It’s probably why I had so many cavities as a kid.”

“OK, I get it,” I always reply. “I feel guilty enough about the whole thing.” And I did feel guilty sending her there. I mean, who wants their babies to be unhappy? It was a struggle between doing something to better myself, and being there for my children every second of every day. Looking back, I’m glad I did what I did. I agree with whoever said that a person has to be happy with themselves in order to be a good parent. Besides, my kids got (and get) more of me than most.

Being a mother is tough, no doubt. It pulls a person in so many different directions. It can make you happy, sad, frustrated, embarrassed, and both angrier and more full of joy than you ever thought possible. And tired. Did I mention just how tired being a mother can make you? Like exhausted. Like completely spent. Like almost unable to function. Like you’ve been hit a truck, and dragged down the road about a hundred miles, and then run over – back and forth, back and forth – a few times, tires marks (gauges really) on your chest, your limbs are all broken, your face is pretty messed up from being scraped against the gravel, like you are pretty much unrecognizable as even a human… OK, OK, you get the picture.

Anyway, yeah. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

The REAL Survival Guide To Parenting Teenagers (That Doesn’t Involve Killing Anyone)

We’ve all heard the suggestions on how to get through your child’s teenage years:

Set boundaries. Pick your battles. Know when to get close, and when to back off. It will all be over someday, just hope they make it through alive…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But nobody ever gives you any REAL help, like any ACTUAL hands-on, idiot-proof advice. Well, not until today anyway…

May I present to you twelve concrete, “these really work, try them” tricks/methods that are guaranteed to help you make it through this game. And believe me, raising teenagers can feel a lot like playing strip poker. It’s only fun if you’ve been drinking… 😉

The REAL Survival Guide To Parenting Teenagers (That Doesn't Involve Killing Anyone) | TheFurFiles

1. Keep some extra cash in the bank for those times when you need to get away, read: when you think you just MIGHT kill someone. Go far, and go for as long as possible. Go by plane, that way it’s harder for them to track you down. It’s also nice to have a little money saved up for when you just want to reward yourself for getting through a particularly hard day by buying a new pair of shoes or some very expensive jewelry. Diamonds make me breathe better, I don’t know why.

2. Get a gym membership, or have some other physical way of relieving stress. This also comes in handy for combating those very blunt and unintentionally (but sometimes intentionally) hurtful comments like, “Wow, do you ever look old. You are turning into grandma,” Or, “Since when do you have a tire?”

3. Have a sock full of batteries on hand for the times you really need to come out swinging. Just kidding, it’s only supposed to be used as a threat.

4. Invest in a stand alone freezer. This is particularly important if you have boys, or if you have children who play sports or are part of any sort of large social group like Girl Guides or Cadets. When they bring their friends over, you’ll be glad you’ve stocked up on Pizza Pockets, otherwise say goodbye to your steaks.

5. Buy Advil because you WILL get headaches.

6. Have some kind of disinfectant to be used on stinky shoes and/or socks. I find throwing things into the wash with a bit of ammonia or colour-safe bleach seems to help. For unwashable items, baking soda usually does the trick. It’s better than nothing. Your entryway or mudroom will thank you, and so will your guests.

7. Get Gravol because someone WILL throw up at some point, most likely from drinking WAY too much alcohol. Probably underage. And probably against your best advice.

8. Have an old blanket in your car for the reason stated above, and for when you are transporting those people home from parties.

9. Put away the good china until your kids move out. and purchase some plastic dish ware.  Teenagers are inexplicably rough on everything – at least mine are – and this will keep you from replacing your dishes every few months. We go through glasses in our house like John Mayer goes through women.

And finally, three things you absolutely MUST have…

10. Condoms. You may not need to use them anymore, but there will probably come a time when you want to hand a few of these out, or slip a few into someone’s purse.

11. A hammer. Yes, teenagers are THAT hard to wake up in the morning, especially after they’ve gone to bed at 3 a.m., which they will routinely start doing around the age of fifteen or so. Don’t you know, Facebook can cause a person to burn through the hours like nobody’s business?

12. Patience, but more importantly, luck. You will need as much as you can get. Seriously – no SERIOUSLY seriously – good luck. You’re gonna need it.