Monday, April 17, 2017

Eight Things a #GirlMom Hates to Hear

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. When I was younger, that was my plan in life - finish college, get married, have three kids. Specifically, I planned to have two boys and, then, a girl - because, you know, it's so easy to plan those things. 

Well, I did finish college, get married, and have three kids, but that's where my little plan derailed. You see, all three of my kids are girls. 

Yep. Three daughters - each one unique and different from the other in so many ways. The oldest is the intense, determined, independent one. The middle one is the high-energy, silly, unpredictable one. The youngest is the girly, tender hearted, fashionista one. They are as different as they can be - except for the fact that they are all distinctly lacking a Y chromosome - and I wouldn't change them for the world! 

During my 14 years as a #GirlMom, I've gotten lots of comments and advice about my role. Some of it has been insightful and helpful. A lot of it has been just downright annoying and rude. So, in case you are wondering or trying to figure out what to say - or what NOT to say -  to your friend who just had another girl, here are a few things you should NEVER say to a #GirlMom.
1. Are you going to try for a boy? Since my youngest is now nine years old, I don't get this question too much anymore, but when I did, it was infuriating. The answer is "NO!" We love our daughters and this question insinuates that having a boy is somehow better. Also? Trying again is not guaranteed to produce a male, so the idea of "trying for a boy" is kind of ridiculous anyway.

2. You better start saving now for the weddings!! Okay. A) We are already painfully aware that the financial burden of the weddings will fall on our shoulders. We do not need this reminder.  B) Not every wedding has to cost a bajillion dollars. C) We are so very, very tired of hearing this comment! Take a pause and come up with something else. 

3. Look out for the teenage years! Well, I've recently entered the teenage years with my oldest and I can tell you a couple things. First, the crazy hormone stuff starts well before the teenage years - as in fourth grade. Second, girls are not the only gender who go through puberty and, from my understanding, guys can have some pretty erratic mood swings, too. Last, it is honestly not nearly as bad as I thought it would be based the number of times I received this warning when they were little. 

4. I feel sorry for your husband/their dad! Why?!?! Why do you feel sorry for him?? Am I not parenting these children, too? Are you implying that he doesn't love his daughters just as much as he would love a son? Do you assume that he would prefer to have sons?? And, above all else, please remember it was HIS "chromosome donation" that made these tiny humans into females in the first place! Don't feel sorry for him, please! (As you can tell, this one really gets under my skin!) 

5. They'll be best friends!  I heard this one a lot after we found out the gender of our third child. I only have one brother, so had not experienced life with a sister. I was promised by many people that these girls would be best friends. Let me tell you, they have their moments as best friends. However, they also have their moments of despising each other and being outright mean to one another. There is plenty of sibling rivalry in our house and the fact that all three are girls, I believe, only makes it worse sometimes.

6. I hope their Daddy has a shotgun! Maybe this is a Southern one, the implication being that their Daddy is going to need a weapon to fend off all the boys. I have many problems with this statement. For starters, I can pretty certainly assure that boys who came calling on me were just as scared of my mom as they were of my dad (and I mean that in a good way, Mom!) Similarly, any boys who come calling on my daughters better have the same respect for me that they have for my husband. Also, if you ever said this you obviously don't know my husband. He does not need a gun because he has a computer and, if you plan to date one of our daughters, he will know everything there is to know about you (including your address, your parents' employment, and anything you may have ever posted on social media) before you ever step foot onto our front porch. Finally, we have no intention of scaring off every boy who wants to date our daughters. What kind of parents would that make us?!?

7. At least they won't stink and eat like boys do! Um, obviously you have not met them. The first question they ask when I pick them up from school is "What's for dinner?" and I DARE you to smell my middle daughter's tennis shoes without a gas mask. Seriously. I dare 

8. Well, at least you'll have someone to take care of you when you're old!  Is this the consolation prize for having daughters? There's nothing good about it until I'm 90?? Please!

Having three daughters wasn't my original plan, but parenting rarely goes according to our plans, right? I'm sure having sons would have been wonderful, too, but I'm very happy with my three girls. No matter whether we have sons, daughters, or some of each, parenting is full of challenges and joys. Instead of thoughtless comments like the ones above, let's use our words to support one another and celebrate!

Do you have boys, girls, or both? What comments drive you crazy? 


Friday, April 14, 2017

6 Signs You Need a Vacation

Two of my three daughters have been on Spring break this week, but the oldest was on a different schedule and had school Monday-Thursday. So, while a lot of people I know were lounging on the beach or hiking in the mountains, I was still here - carting one kid to school, picking her up from drivers ed 😳😱, and trying to keep the two out of school kids from being bored out of their gourds - and me from being bored out of mine. 

Through all of that, I've come to this conclusion - I NEED A VACATION! 

In case you are wondering if you might also be in need of a vacation, here are some signs to look out for.
1- You have trouble sleeping. - This week, I've had trouble falling asleep. Then, I wake up at midnight feeling like I've been asleep for hours already (which I haven't). After that, I find myself waking up at 5:00am even though I could actually sleep a little later. 

2- You are super, extra moody. - My family might say this "symptom" is par for the course these days, but I can tell you that, this week, it's been worse than usual and more difficult for me to keep it in check. It doesn't take much to set me off and my sentences are laced with unnecessary curse words (at least inside my head).

3- You've lost your motivation and you just don't care. - Theoretically, I could have gotten a lot done this week. I could have cleaned the house, sorted through kids summer clothes from last year, organized a closet or two, kept up with the laundry, and/or several other things. You know what I've done? Absolutely nothing. You know what else? I don't give a flying flip about it.

4- Everything gets on your nerves.  - And, I mean everything. Your kids, your spouse, your pets, your clothes, your job, your schedule, yourself -  it all drives you crazy for no apparent, extraordinary reason.

5- You have a serious case of Facebook envy. - All those pictures of my friends on the beach, at Disney, or standing by some mountain waterfall??? They make me want to hurl my computer across the room and watch it explode into smithereens. (But, seriously, I love you guys!)

6- You actually spend/waste time creating memes like this - Basically, just so that you have something pretty to post on Facebook, too. And, as a means to avoid all that stuff I mentioned in #3. 
(BTW- this is an actual photo I took from my November vacation with the hubby in Key West. Can we go back, please?)
Are you currently experiencing any of these pesky symptoms? If so, grab a margarita S.T.A.T and meet me somewhere under a palm tree!! 

It's been a while, but I couldn't resist this week's Finish The Sentence Friday prompt, so I'm linking up with Kristi from Finding Ninee.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Coffee Dates With My Daughter

"This is so frustrating! With the different drop-off schedules at the girls' schools and since we live out in the boondocks, there is this awkward gap of time that I cannot figure out what to do with. It's not enough time to come back home and get the oldest, but if I take her with me to drop the others off, what are we supposed to do for 30 minutes?" I lamented.

"Why don't you just take her to Starbucks or something?" he replied.

"Really?!?! You want me to take her to Starbucks every single day??" 

"Well, it doesn't look like you have much of a choice, does it? Just look at it as some quality mommy-daughter time." 
This was a conversation I had with my husband back in August as we were gearing up for the start of the new school year. I was feeling supremely irked by the schedules I was facing, the fact that my husband travels A LOT for work and, therefore, cannot help often, and the fact that we live so far away from both of the schools our three girls would be attending. 

I had racked my brain trying to come up with a solution to this particular timing conundrum. I had calculated minutes and mileage. I had run through different possible scenarios in my mind and kept coming up short on a viable solution. 

"Why don't you just take her to Starbucks or something?" he casually suggested, as if it was a very simple solution to a problem I had made far more complicated than was necessary. (Can you imagine?!?) Then he tagged on this little gem, "Just look at it as some quality mommy-daughter time," and, somehow, turned my frustration into something that looked like a positive opportunity. (Salesman!)

And, pretty much, that was that. Problem solved. 
So began the routine. Every school morning, I wake all three girls at the same time. We do the typical things - getting dressed, packing lunches, scarfing breakfast, and yelling at each other to "Hurry up!". Then, we're out the door. We drive 30 minutes and drop the youngest two girls off at their school. Afterwards, the oldest daughter and I head to Starbucks for our almost daily coffee dates. We're "regulars" now and we know the morning cashier by name. She knows us and what we usually order - though, once in a while, we shake it up and throw her a curve ball. We grab our drinks, my daughter laughs at how much cream and sugar I add to mine, and, typically, we head back out to the car where we sit and chat for about 20 minutes before the final five minute drive to her school. 

During those chats we've discussed politics and social issues. We've talked about friends and relationships. We've laughed and watched videos on our phones. We even have a habit of checking the departure schedule for the nearest airport and pondering where we might go if we were to bypass school and drive directly to the tarmac! Some mornings we talk a lot and others we spend more time quietly people watching and surfing our devices. 

That awkward space of time I dreaded and resented has, instead, become something I cherish. (Don't tell my husband he was right! 😜)

My daughter is in a very academically advanced and challenging program and there has been plenty of stress and tears this year - for her and for me. She is feeling immense pressure (in 9th grade) to choose a college; choose a major; choose a lifelong path.

There are days that I am drowning in motherhood -the schedules; the homework; the to-do lists; the hormones that come with mothering three tween/teen girls. I think to myself on occasion, "I can't wait until they're all grown up and out of my hair!" 

Then, I sit there with her in the mornings and I am brutally aware that these days won't last much longer. This week she starts driver's ed, so next year she'll be driving the last leg to her school while I supervise from the passenger seat. The year after that, these coffee dates will be gone because she won't need me to drive her at all. The year after that, she'll be applying to colleges and preparing to leave. 

I'll get my "wish" and I'll want these moments back. 

So, for now, I'll hold on tightly to that awkward space of time and appreciate it for the gift that it gives me - time with my oldest, precious daughter; time to bond and be together; time to laugh and time to chat; time that is slipping through my fingers and will be gone too soon.

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