Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tell Me Again How You'll Do Parenting Better

Parenting is a piece of cake, amiright?
I used to be a really good Mom... before I had kids. 

I  judged everybody's parenting, and I assumed that I would absolutely do it better.  Spoiler alert:  I am decidedly not doing it better.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that in many ways I'm doing it worse. 
If you haven't yet had the pleasure and frustration of raising a child (or three), it can be really easy to stand on the outside and pass judgment.  Until you're actually in the trenches, battling wills and minds with a small, yet surprisingly willful human, you don't really understand how insanely difficult it is to raise a child. 

If you find yourself saying any of these five statements, stop while you're ahead.  Because I promise, you're going to screw it all up, just like the rest of us.  

1.  I'll never have kids who scream in restaurants.  Then I guess you plan to spend the next five to ten years of your life dining at home for every meal, because unless you've requested that your child have his or her voice box removed after birth, you're basically guaranteed to become that asshole restaurant patron with a screaming child.  Pro tip: dine before 5pm, when you're less likely to encounter child-hating singletons/people liable to give you and your offspring dirty looks. 

2. I would never let my kid wander off like that.  Newsflash: kids move fast.  In the two seconds you glanced down to get your car key out of your pocket, your child probably ran out into oncoming traffic, trampled some plants in the median, walked into the ice cream parlor and ordered himself a vanilla cone with sprinkles.  The only way to make it through your entire parenting career without losing sight of your child is to keep him on a leash at all time, which, strangely enough, is only acceptable for actual animals.

3.  My kids will always obey me.  Man, I needed that laugh.  The only thing your children will obey is their own desires to do stupid shit that's sure to annoy you.  Your kids - toddlers, especially - will not obey you in the least.  If you tell them to take their pants off, they will scream "no" and run as fast as they can and hide in the closet.  Order your daughter to eat her dinner and enjoy her bloodcurdling screams and the face full of food she'll throw at you.  Oh, I know, your child will be different.  I'll be sure and remind you of that the first time you complain about how your kid never does what you ask. 

4.  I'll make sure that my child doesn't wake up before 8am.  It's so weird how kids have this thing called a mind of their own and they don't really give two shits that you're not a morning person.  Do you know what kids like to do between 5-7am?  Wake up and annoy the Hell out of their parents by asking for things like attention and breakfast.  Trust me, we've all tried to change our children's habits - we've bought the okay to wake clock, purchased blackout shades, begged them to go back to sleep - but the harsh reality is that there is an 89.7% change that your days are going to start before 7am.  Yes, it sucks.  But Starbucks opens at 5:30am and I'm sure I'll run into you sometime when you're ordering a venti triple almond milk cappuccino at 6:15am.

5. I'm never going to yell at my kids.  Unless you are Buddha, I promise you are going to yell at your children.  You know why?  Because you are tired, and aggravated, and kids sometimes act like total assholes.  I don't care if you meditate for an hour every morning (you should - it helps) and are one of the calmest people on the planet, your kid(s) will eventually drive you to the point of such rage and frustration that you will explode.

It's easy to point out how parents are screwing up when you have the luxury of lofty ideas, a full night's rest, and no actual children.  In the world of imaginary parenting nothing goes wrong.  But in the real world, the one where parents are tired and stressed and kids are cranky and difficult, every day something goes wrong.  If you are a perfect parent then, by all means, enlighten the rest of us plebeians about your secret to parenting utopia.  Until then, let's all agree to shut up, mind our own business, and let parents screw up their kids on their own time.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here, Read This

Five great summer reading books
Remember when your three day weekends used to look like this?
The impending Memorial Day Weekend means that it's almost officially summer.  In the days of my youth - meaning before I had children and began to age prematurely - long weekends would have meant a trip to the beach, an icy cold adult beverage, and hours of uninterrupted reading time.  These days, three day weekends mean only one thing: that I have one extra day during which I have to occupy my children.  Needless to say, I won't be lounging on a beach reading an engrossing novel, though I can guarantee that I will definitely be enjoying lots of adult beverages.

Currently, the only uninterrupted reading time that I get happens after my kids have gone to bed.  I'm usually so tired by then that I can't keep my eyes open for more than five pages, but I still enjoy escaping into a good book after a long day with my offspring.

On the off chance that you have a relaxing, child-free holiday vacation planned this weekend, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite, can't-put-it-down titles that you should download immediately.  Don't worry, there's not a single parenting book listed.  

Re Jane
Inspired by Jane Eyre (one of my all time favorites), this is a charming read about a Korean-American girl from Queens and her journey to discover who she is and where she belongs.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
I'm not usually one for memoirs, but this one was really engaging.  It sounds awful - the Author's account of her spiral into raging alcoholism - but it's not heavy handed and the ending feels hopeful and cathartic. 

Circling the Sun
This is the story of Beryl Markham, whose book, West with the Sun, you probably had to read for high school English class.  It's about her extraordinary life as a champion horsewoman and aviator in Africa, and it also delves into the love triangle between Markham and the duo made famous in the movie Out of Africa.  A fascinating look at a little-known woman.


The Beautiful American
If you were intrigued by the photo going around the ol' Facebook recently of the woman bathing in Hitler's bathtub, you definitely need to read this book. A fictionalized account of Lee Miller's life in 1920's Paris, when she was the lover of artist Man Ray and before she became a famous war photographer, it's an intriguing read and brings up questions about the emotional cost of being a survivor. 

Everything I Never Told You
A heartbreaking look at the secrets families keep from each other and the damage that's wrought as a result.

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you get at least an hour to yourself to enjoy a good read, and that you're able to stay awake even after a glass (or three) of sparkling rosé.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Your Teen is REALLY Up To

what your teen is really doing when she's studying
We were probably (okay, definitely) stoned. 
My 20th high school reunion is next month.  Setting aside the fact that I am SO FREAKING OLD, let me just point out that when I was 16, the state-of-the-art technology for teens consisted of a pager.  I don't really feel equipped to parent kids in the digital world in which we live.  Sure, vinyl may be "back" but in between spinning vintage 45s of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin, the kids are Snapchatting, sexting, and snorting each other's ADD medication.

Now that I'm a parent myself, I have a lot more sympathy for all the sh*t that I put my own Mother through.  I was a terror, and while my Mother always says, "you weren't that bad", I think that she may simply have selective memory loss from the PTSD she sustained while raising a teen.

Despite the technological advances, I don't think that teenagers are that different today than they were 20 years ago.  In the end, all teenagers want is to rebel against the establishment (their parents) and get some (any) sex.

Which leads me to ask: What the F*ck was my Mother thinking?  

The car.  I had my own car - a beater Chevy with 110,000 miles on it - that broke down more often than it ran.  As far as I'm concerned, no flighty 16 year old has any business piloting a metal cylinder of death down public thoroughfares.  While I'm sure that providing me with a car was well intended, I can tell you that I was not up to anything good while behind the wheel of that automobile.  When I wasn't hotboxing said Chevy, I was either driving slowly past my recent crush's house or committing minor criminal offenses like stealing traffic signs.  Even if I hadn't been up to no good inside my Chevy, I backed into a pillar on my way to my driving test, so I can't imagine why my parent thought it was advisable to hand me a set of keys and send me on my way to terrorize the pedestrians of Marin County. 

The clothes.  Let's just be blunt: teenage girls like to dress like hookers.  Hey, I get it: if I still had perky boobs, a flat stomach, and an ass free of cellulite, I would walk around in as few pieces of clothing as possible without risking being arrested.  However, that doesn't mean I think it's appropriate for preteen girls to strut down the street with their ass hanging out of a strip of cloth being marketed as "shorts".  My Mother wasn't strict by any stretch of the imagination, so I can count on one hand the number of times she forbade me from wearing some slutty piece of attire, but I also remember that I simply took the offending garment with me and changed into it once I got to school.  I mean, come on, we all did it.  When the handicapped stall wasn't being used by an actual kid in a wheelchair, it was basically a Wet Seal dressing room.

The phone.  I had my own phone in my room because I was a spoiled only child, but back in the old days, that was pretty normal.  How else was your teenager expected to have important conversations about who is the cutest boy at school and whether or not the dumb kid cheated on the math test?  In hindsight, I don't think that teenagers should have any privacy, save for the one or two times a day they are taking very long showers.  Do you know what happens when teenagers have privacy?  Nothing good.  I was smokin' dope, talking to weird (older) boys, and sneaking out my bedroom window at all hours of the night.  Remove their bedroom door from the hinges, seal the windows closed, and don't give them an iPhone.  Teenagers don't need any contact with the outside world - Nell turned out just fine in the end!

The sex.  For much of my high school career I was hideously ugly, so I didn't actually have sex until much later than many of my peers.  This certainly wasn't due to lack of trying - I threw myself at any number of dudes who refused me point blank (their loss) - so I would assume that given the opportunity I would have gained a reputation for being "loose".  Once I did get down and dirty with a member of the male species, all bets were off.  I wonder, sometimes, what my parents thought I was doing when I stayed out so late studying.  I may have gone to private school, but no class was so hard as to warrant six hours of studying, unless you would classify making out as boning up on human anatomy for Biology class.

At present, I'm considering becoming Amish before my kids are teenagers.  Sure, the outfits aren't very flattering, and my Husband looks terrible with a beard, but it has to be better than laying awake at night hoping my kids are remembering to use birth control after they sneak out of the house.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Panties, not Poise

Thinx review
Does this look like the face of a woman who wears adult diapers?  I think not.
The other day, when I logged onto the ol' Facebook, one of the targeted ads that came up was for adult diapers.  I realize that I've discussed at length my inability to sneeze without peeing myself, and that I currently reside in Los Angeles, where a woman of my "advanced" age is basically considered a Senior Citizen, but I don't think I've quite reached the adult diaper stage of life.  However, as I sat there staring at the picture of an attractive woman who looked happy and confident because she knew she wouldn't have to change her pants halfway through the day, I thought, "maybe I do need adult diapers." 

Thankfully, my bladder leakage hasn't reached adult diaper proportions, but when Aunt Flo makes her monthly visit I always carry an extra pair of pants in my bag, or risk wearing one of my children's sweatshirts tied around my waist.  You'd think that by the time a woman is in her mid-thirties, she would've figured out how to manage the monthly flow, and would feel confident enough to buy herself a pair of white jeans, but thanks to the whole natural birth thing, I'm like a teenager all over again.  Without the acne and the overwhelming desire to sleep with guys who don't know my name.

I was just about to click the adult diapers link, thereby relinquishing any hope of ever again being a MILF, when another ad caught my eye for something called Thinx.  You've probably heard of this item, unless, like me, you live under a rock called "children", but basically Thinx are absorbant underwear that can be used in place of panty liners or pads.  Well, this is a revolutionary idea, especially for someone who was just minutes earlier considering ordering adult diapers, but also because for every pair of Thinx purchased, they donate money to AFRIpads, which trains women to sew and sell reusable pads.  Not being able to wear white jeans during that time of the month is certainly a #firstworldproblem, considering that many girls in developing nations don't have any access to affordable feminine hygiene products.  Obviously, I clicked the link, rejoicing in the fact that I would still be able to retain my MILF card while simultaneously helping girls in need.

I ordered three pairs of the underwear - two pairs of thongs to use in place of panty liners (which I hate), and a pair of hiphuggers to use at night instead of a bulky pad - and hoped they would arrive before my monthly visit from Aunt Flo.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the underwear.  The cuts are really cute and they totally don't look like period underwear.  Thinx have lace waistbands and a comfy fit, which I appreciate when I'm bloated, crampy, and basically hating life.  Thanks to the remodeling my kids did to my vajayjay, tampons aren't always enough, so with the Thinx thongs I'm able to ditch the panty liners and just rock my cute new undies.

Two caveats: you have to rinse them out before putting them in the laundry (gross) but you get used to it after a month or two.  Once you've given birth and taken care of children, your ick threshold decreases significantly, so it's not that big a deal.  Also, Thinx aren't inexpensive.  I usually buy my intimates from the bargain bin at Target because I'm cheap, so shelling out $24 - $32 per pair was a big change, but if you use this link, you can save $10 on your first order!  I think that ultimately you end up saving money by not having to buy as many horrendous feminine hygiene products, but math was not my best subject, so don't quote me on that. 

You have the right to wear white jeans again without resorting to adult diapers, no matter what the cost. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Are You REALLY Ready to Have Kids?

are you ready to have a child?
This is your morning on kids.
So, you're thinking of having a child.  Congratulations!  You can now have tons of unprotected sex with whomever you've decided is a good candidate for daddy duty.  I sincerely hope that he knows you've stopped taking the pill and is also on board with your family plan, but that's on you. 


I'd like to assume that you know what you are getting into, but it's come to my attention recently that many folks considering taking the parenthood plunge don't have a clue, so I'm going to share some of my hard won wisdom in the hopes that it helps you in your decision to go from "hottie" to "mommy".

1.  Children are not accessories.  Unlike the season's hottest bag, just because everyone you know has a kid, it doesn't mean that you need to have one also.  I understand that in a world of perfectly curated Instagram feeds it can appear as though children are just cute little droids who like to wear designer clothes while going on local cultural outings, but keep in mind that for every perfect photo there are at least ten that were deleted because Junior was sticking out his tongue or having a potty accident in those Ralph Lauren shorts.  Also, when you're tired of your child, you can't just send him to MaterialWrld and hope you get a decent trade in value.

2.  The mess is epic.  Kids are messy.  They are also dirty and gross and prone to picking their noses at inopportune moments.  I don't care how much help you can afford, unless you have a full time housekeeper assigned to follow each of your offspring around every hour of every day, your house is going to be a disaster.  There will be LEGOs on the floor, hand prints on the windows, and half-chewed food crushed into your carpets.  If you want to live in a house that looks as though no children reside there, don't have children.

3. You're not getting "it" back.  I don't care what word you want to use in place of "it" - your body, your lady parts, your marriage - once you have a kid nothing returns to the way it was before you became a parent.  You can do 600 sit-ups every morning while simultaneously exercising your kegel muscles and finish this grueling regimen with a kale smoothie and a laxative, but you're still not going to look good in your pre-pregnancy jeans.  Once you've grown a child, birthed a child, and fed a child, there ain't no way you're going to be able to sneeze without peeing yourself.

4.  Pregnancy sucks. The unavoidable truth about pregnancy is that you will gain weight, have horrible gas, and fiery heartburn.  Don't limit yourself to a pregnancy diet of wheatgrass and misery because you're afraid to gain weight.  Enjoy porking up - your growing baby needs fat for her developing brain, and you need lots of extra calories to gestate a human - and eat what you crave.  If anyone gives you a  hard time about your weight gain, feel free to scream "F*CK YOU I AM GROWING A HUMAN" and then eat several donuts.  If you do not want to create a hospitable environment for your future child because you are too worried about maintaining your girlish figure, I'd like to suggest you not have children and instead seek out a therapist to discuss your extreme vanity. 

5.  Children need their parents.  I don't care how many nannies, night nurses, and au pairs you hire, your kid will still want his parents.  It can be annoying at times, specifically when you feel like running off to a tropical island, but when your kids are hurt or upset or going through any number of issues, the person they want most is Mama or Dada.  Your life is going to (and should) change dramatically when you have a kid.  In the beginning it will feel as though you are never going to get back to a semblance of normal, and while it does eventually get easier, you will never again be able to do whatever you want without thought as to how it impacts another person.  If you are not prepared to focus your life around another being's needs, then it might not be a great idea to have kids.  Come to think of it, it might not be a great idea for you to have a pet either. 

Now go forth and make some babies!  I'd like to suggest you get kinky on your living room couch, because assuming all goes well, it's one of the last times that piece of furniture won't be covered in graham cracker crumbs. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Momsuit

the perfect swimsuit for your mom bod
NOT the perfect Momsuit.
Summer officially starts in just a few weeks, which means I'm going to have to buy a bathing suit.  If there is a more convincing reason for day drinking than shopping for swimsuits after birthing a baby or two, I have yet to find one.  Okay, maybe shopping for bathing suits with my gorgeous teenage niece after having given birth to two children.  That would definitely require a three cocktail pregame right there.

The last time I purchased a bathing suit was sometime before I got pregnant with the Muffin Man, way back in 2012 when I had a yoga-toned bod and boobs that didn't point due south.  I've never been a huge fan of my toothpick-with-tits figure, but compared to what I'm rockin' these days - pancake boobies, a pregnancy pooch, and ass cellulite - I'll take that any day.

The problem these days, aside from my postpartum figure, is that you really can't be prancing around in a string bikini when you're trying to keep up with two busy toddlers.  I may not have any boobs left, but that doesn't mean I want one of my nipples to flop out while I'm digging a hole with my three year old.

If only there was something called a Momsuit®, the perfect bathing suit for your postpartum body and life.  

Sun coverage.  I don't know if it's just because I'm old and tanning was all the rage in the Paleolithic age the 80's, but it seems that becoming a parent also makes you afraid of the sun.  We may have wiled away our summers baking on Stinson Beach, but now everyone is slathered with sunscreen and hiding underneath a hat so big it could pass as a duck blind.  Forget teeny tiny bikinis, those expose too much of my already sun-damaged skin to harmful UV rays.  Give me long sleeves and a high neck any day.  In fact, why not just throw a burka over me, top it off with a giant straw hat, and call it a day.

Pockets.  Do you know how much shit you have to carry on your person at all times when you have children?  Wipes, kleenex, snacks, and water bottles are only the begining!  The Momsuit® would have giant pockets to hold all of my kid's crap, plus an extra waterproof pocket for my most valuable possession: my iPhone.

Easy access.  I'm not using this term in a sexual context - lord knows I do not want more kids - but rather in the literal sense in that I need to be able to get in and out of my bathing suit one handed and as fast as humanly possible.  Most of the time I end up holding a child while I pee, so I can't be struggling to get myself out of a wet swimsuit with a 30 pound kid balanced on my hip.  The Momsuit® would easily unzip in just the right places to ensure quick, one-handed potty stops.  

Flattering.  Obviously, it needs to look good on my postpartum figure, so the Momsuit® would also have padded cups (when necessary), built-in spanx in the tummy and hip regions, and some sort of design element that hid my flabby ass.  It can't be too sexy though, as you don't want an inadvertent nip slip or to expose a thatch of errant pubes (come one, ain't no mom got time for a Brazilian wax). 

Lighting.  I may be afraid of the sun, but I don't want to look like Boo Radley on the beach, so the Momsuit® would also come with some sort of aura of flattering lighting that makes me look tan and well-rested.  Oh sure, I could go get a spray tan or use self-tanner before hitting the beach but since I can't find time to wax my lady party that's not exactly a realistic expectation, is it?  The Momsuit® would magically disguise all of your weird t-shirt tan lines and would make you look less like a (literal) red neck and more like a celebrity.  Okay, maybe not a celebrity but less like a Mom and more like a human. 

Come to think of it, a wetsuit might be just what I'm looking for. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Take a Mom Selfie (Giveaway)

Verizon HTC 10 Giveaway
It's time to up your #momselfie game with a new FREE phone!
Let's be honest: unless you sent your spouse/baby daddy a link to my Mother's Day gift guide, you're probably going to be getting a gift that you don't actually want, if you get a gift at all.  Thankfully after almost ten years together, the Hubs has learned to always provide me with a gift receipt, because he knows that nothing makes a wife happier than basically buying her own present.

Just in case your Husband has not yet learned to ask you point blank what you want, or if he forgets to make sure to include a gift receipt, I'm here to give you something you might be really excited to receive: a NEW HTC 10 phone!!  Like, actually new.  We're talking in the package, sparkly, unmolested-by-children new.  And not "new to you", like your last phone, which was a hand-me-down from the Hubs when his work upgraded their phones.

In conjunction with the launch of the HTC 10 and Mother's Day, I'm hosting a fantastic contest in which I'm giving away two HTC 10 prize packages that include a new phone, a bunch of accessories, and a case.

The new HTC 10 phone launches tomorrow, May 5th, and it has all these fancy features including high res audio (for when you're pumping Baby Beluga) and a super high-tech camera with faster auto focus, 12 million ultrapixels and image stabilization on both the front and rear cameras.  Sounds amazing for when you're trying to capture that Insta-perfect shot of the kiddos, amiright?  It turns out these features are also ideal for capturing an incredible selfie, which is what I'm all about this Mother's Day.

Too often as Moms we get lost behind the camera.  Whether it's because we didn't have a chance to shower this week and think we don't look good, or because we're too busy snapping shots of our littles, I fear that many of our children are going to have a hard time remembering what their Mom actually looked like because there aren't any photos!  So, no more excuses: grab yourself and your kid(s) as well as any other Moms, Grandmas, Step-Mothers, Mothers-in-Law and anyone else in your life who wears a "Mom" hat, and come take a Mom and Me selfie for a chance to win.

Here's how it works:

1.  Come and see me at the Verizon Store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica TOMORROW, Thursday May 5th between 10:30am - 12:30pm.  I'll be there with Rose taking lots of selfies.

2.  Take a selfie as a Mom, with your Mom, or for your Mom, and share it on your social media channels with the hashtags #momandmevzLA #HTC10 #verizon

3.  I'll pick the winner of the HTC 10 prize package.  I love funny captions, silly selfies and sweet babies, so if you're bringing that, you've got a good chance of going home a winner.

Even if you don't win a phone, I promise we'll have a good time.  I may even bring homemade cookies, but you'll never know if you don't show up.  Good luck, and Happy Mother's Day!

This post is sponsored, but all opinions and bad selfies are my own.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Buy Your Momma Something Fabulous

mothers day gift ideas
I promise, your Mom wants more than just a weed.
Ah, Mother's Day, that special holiday each year where most women who have kids would prefer to spend the day alone but will, instead, be forced to fake enthusiasm for homemade cards and inedible pancakes.  This year, the only thing I've requested for Mother's Day is two hours to myself to attend a yoga class.  I'm sure that when I return home after my two hour sabbatical every single dish will be dirty and my home will look as though it's been vandalized, but those two, sacred hours of alone time will be worth the six hours of post-yoga clean-up.

In case you'd like an actual, physical gift to go along with time to yourself, I've put together my annual Mother's Day gift guide so that you have a helpful cheat sheet to send to your spouse.  Because let's be honest: unless you tell your Husband exactly what you want, chances are he's going to get you something horrible, like, say lingerie *shudder*.

mothers day gift ideas

 1.  Simple, chic, and affordable, this personalized pendant necklace is the perfect gift for a new Mom's first Mother's Day.  Bonus points for the fact that they are made in LA!

2. Top Shop is consistently on point, and this bomber jacket is no exception.  The ideal piece for Spring.

3. Chrissy Teigen is my ultimate woman crush.  Not only is she beautiful, but she's hilarious and she's an out-of-this-world cook; I'm sure her cookbook won't disappoint.

4.  I know that clogs are kind of a love it or hate it item, but my inner dirty hippie has a total clog obsession.  I love how the style of these Sandgren clogs look totally 1940's but still modern and chic.

5.  Moms are powered by coffee, and this is the perfect eco-friendly cup to take anywhere and everywhere.  It's also a chalkboard, which I promise you will use more often than you realize to entertain your children.

6. Motherhood has a way of prematurely aging you, and Arcona is the only skincare I've found that actually makes me look (slightly) better.  It's expensive, yes, but totally worth the money when all of your relatives tell you how good you look.  My Mother's Day gift to myself this year is a facial at the Arcona studio.

7.  Even Moms with a black thumb should be able to keep an air plant alive, and this planter is so chic - I love the gold accent.

8.  It wouldn't be a Mother's Day gift guide without a pair of super comfy pjs!  This set from Splendid is extra soft, and the shorts are perfect for warmer nights.

9.  Summer days mean trips to the beach...loaded down with all the crap your kids require to enjoy the surf and sand.  This giant bag is big enough to hold every. single. thing. and made of washable oil cloth, always a plus when children are involved.  It's available in a variety of fabrics (I would choose a black and white chevron) to ensure Moms of all styles will be happy.

Happy Mother's Day! May it be filled with lots of sleep, very few tantrums, and someone to clean up the kitchen after your kids make you breakfast in bed.

P.S. - for more gift ideas, be sure and follow me on Pinterest, where I'll post other goodies that strike my fancy.  You can also check out last year's gift guide.