The Puzzling Logic of a Tween

I’ve told my 12-year-old that he can call me at work — if it’s important.

Well, apparently I should’ve been more specific, because this is one of the calls I got this week:

“Mom, will you look at this hat online real quick? It’s really cool and it’s on sale!”

(Um, no.)

This along with various other calls inquiring when I’m getting home, if I’ve left yet to come home, and—again—when I’m getting home.

However, the other day I was driving home when I noticed that I had a text. From the same son who’d called me repeatedly about various trivialities. So I casually picked up the phone (when I came to a stop, of course) and read the text. Here’s what I saw:

“Mom, the vacuum cought on fire.”

(Yes, I kept his spelling intact despite my editorial urges to fix it.)

Really? A marked-down skater hat ranks an interrupting phone call, but a fire involving a household appliance only warrants a text?!

As you can imagine, I nearly drove off the road calling him back to see if the house was burning down (considering the text had been sent a half hour before I saw it). Fortunately, it wasn’t a FIRE as much as it was a yucky smell coming from the vacuum, presumably caused by my dear son sucking up a wad of paper towels. (He “didn’t see them.”)

So, this story has somewhat of a happy ending (although I can’t vacuum now until I get to the store to purchase a new belt). But, can someone tell me how this is logical in the mind of a middle-schooler? Ugh.

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Image by mrceviz

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Things I’m Wondering Today

Has it really been a week since I’ve blogged?

Why am I choosing to watch Dora the Explorer when I am the only one home?

Why have I allowed a stray puppy the size of a small grizzly to stay in my home for the past two weeks?

And is it really possible for one puppy to pee THAT much? (If you’re wondering if he’s house-trained, I think you’ve just found your answer.)

Does any other mother struggle every morning just finding clean underwear for her kids?

Does any other mother struggle every morning wrestling dirty underwear away from her dog?

Is it possible for me to lose weight while eating only M&Ms?

Could I possibly be a BIGGER procrastinator?

These are things I’m wondering today. And now I’m also wondering if I’m going to get these stories done I need to edit. Because I’ve been thinking about things I’m wondering about today instead.

More to come soon…

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Reflections on Bedtime

Or “Why Are My Kids Still Up at 10:05 on a School Night?”

Before you become a mom, you dream about how it will be. What you will do… what sweet things your kids will whisper in your ear… what words of wisdom you will pass on to your offspring.

In my pre-mom dreams, my children began yawning at 6:30, took baths with a “yes ma’am” and a smile, climbed into their L.L. Bean matching pajamas, and then drifted off into a peaceful slumber before I could finish the first storybook.

They did not, I repeat, did not repel from baths as if they were made of electricity (which, incidentally, would explain a lot), insist on sleeping in their underwear (even when it’s 10 below outside), and no matter how early I got them to crawl under their covers, manage to stay awake past 10:00.

Nor, in my pre-mom dreams, did I ever yell utter this phrase:

“Okay, boys, I mean it—NO CARD TRICKS IN BED!”

Oh, pre-mom Paula—dear, naive pre-mom Paula… if you could see me now…

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Forget "Super Mom" . . . I’d Be Happy with "Mediocre Mom"

After Boys #1 and #2 were born, I went back to working full-time. For a year and a half, I even left my house at 5:00 am so I could drive an hour and start working at 6:00. That way I could get off at 3:00 and be home by a little after 4:00. Whew!

My middle sister watched the boys for me until they were old enough to go to school, and even then she would help me take and/or pick up her nephews. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.

Was my house always clean at the time? Definitely not. Did we always have the laundry caught up? Heck no! But at least I had an excuse (or so I thought): I work full-time away from home.

After getting pregnant with Boy #3, I had a bit of what we’ll refer to as a “freak-out” as the thought of working full-time seemed a bit too much for this mom to handle. I knew other moms did it all the time, and did it well. But I also knew I was not “that mom.”

So I worked at a more flexible job as a freelance writer for a marketing agency. I went in to the office most days, and some weeks I worked more than 40 hours, but at least I could go in the evenings or work at home if I needed to. It was better, most of the time.

Fast-forward two years and the agency I was working for decided to close up shop. Fortunately, the company I previously worked for full-time was looking to hire for the same position I had held, only part-time. Perfect. I started out committing to 32 hours a week. Less than 40 but enough to make it worth my while to drive there four days a week. I could do it, I reasoned. After all, my kids were all older now. I had officially been a parent for nearly a decade. I had it under control, right?

Uh, right . . .

I started finding it harder and harder to make 32 hours a week . . . then 20 hours . . . and now I’m struggling to show my face in the office 15 hours each week. Between sick kids, inservice days, and staggered elementary and middle school schedules, it seems that I’m always having to juggle my work schedule to be there for my kids.

Take this week, for instance. I’m on Day 2 of Operation Home With Kids after Boys #1 and #2 both sustained injuries at baseball on Sunday. (If you haven’t already, read why I feel guilty about this.)

Okay, so I’ve been home for two days, and the kids aren’t sick enough to be needing constant attention. I should be able to handle my mom duties, right? I should be able to do everything those “Super Moms” I envy do every day when they’re home with their kids.

But, alas. Weigh, if you will, the evidence: laundry is still stacked halfway to the ceiling in our bathroom, two of the boys have been in their underwear for two days (yep, the same pair), and Boy #3’s main food groups today have been “chocolate” and “peanut butter.”

I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will never be “Super Mom,” but at this point I’m thinking that “Mediocre Mom” or “Hasn’t-Gotten-Her-Children-Taken-Away-Yet Mom” is looking like a lofty goal.

So, is it me? Is it just my personality, or is it something more? Can I blame it on the fact that I’m closer to 40 than 30? Can I blame it on my dilapidated thyroid, or my self-diagnosed ADD? Or should I just quit looking for excuses, suck it up, and try harder? Does everyone else find parenting this hard, or I am just too darn tired?

And if you are one of those “Super Moms,” could you tell me how you do it? (In an effort to be nondiscriminatory, this blog will accept advice both of the legal and illegal kind.) Thank you.

Cute image courtesy of mommytrack’d

Serving up Monday Topped with a Dollop of Guilt

I hate missing my kids’ activities, as all us moms do. Sunday was one of those days when I had committed to helping my Bible study group cook and serve a meal at church but had to miss Boy #1’s baseball scrimmage to do so.

After serving the meal, I called Husband to see how the scrimmage had gone. This is what I learned:

Boy #1 had been hit in the head with a baseball not one, but two times.

Then Boy #2 had slipped on the playground equipment and hit his mouth, splitting his lip open and giving himself one giant fat lip. Poor baby.

Of course, the one game I missed.

Nothing like a little mom guilt to start off the workweek!