Life comes with a certain expectation of bad things. As a mom, I fully expected exhaustion and weight gain and crumbs – ridiculous amounts of crumbs, everywhere (I underestimated here). As a middle aged woman I begrudgingly expected divorce (of friends), defiance (of teens) and death (of parents). There’s not a whole lotta surprise there when it comes to the circle of life.
What I didn’t expect were the explosions of unfairness that are both unanticipated and paralyzing. The numbing cancer diagnosis of friends (worse, younger friends). The out-of-nowhere brain bleed that grips a group of friends to its core. The unimaginable loss of child.
If I can be blunt, this past year saw a whole lotta f**kkked up sh*ttt happen around me. In addition to providing solid proof that love and friendship keeps us all afloat — it also provided a resounding wake-up a call with a simple, shrill message: Now.
Love now. Enjoy now. Embrace now. Do now.
So I am.
I am doing.
I’ve talked about writing a book since forever and I’m not waiting anymore to try to publish it. I’m publishing it right here, right now, one chapter at a time (just like Kendrick Lamar and Carrie Underwood drop tracks. I think I can be cool like that). Maybe if enough people enjoy it, it’ll catch on like the Faberge commercial. Maybe it’ll end up somewhere, someday. Maybe my gal Tina Fey will send me a tweet.
And maybe nothing will happen. At the very least, I will show my kids that I did it before it was too late.
Because life is too short to wait.
I haven’t chosen a title yet so feel free to pick your favorite:
A Momoir: Parenting Essays to Put a Tear in Your Eye (or a Drink in your Hand)
I Love Parenting (and Other Lies…)
Kid: I Hate My Mom (Me: OMG, I Did, Too!)
And away we go!
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Yes, Billy Joel, We Will All Go Down Together
My obvious disclaimer: I am not a parenting expert. None whatsoever, of any kind. I never will be. I gave birth. Four times. That – along with a blog that perpetually pokes fun at those birthing miracles – taps my credentials. It may not be much but it’s far and wide a way better reason to heed my warnings over say, Oprah’s. I’m actually fairly particular about my own experts. For instance, I don’t want my fitness instructor or nutritionist to have a muffin top or bat-wings (I don’t actually have these professionals in my life but I feel very strongly that if I did and was handing money over to someone for vanity purposes they should without question look a LOT better than me). I also don’t want my hairstylist to have Farrah feathers either, no matter how awesome she looks. And while I may not go often (maybe a few times in summer to look slimmer instead of exercising) I don’t want the owner of the tanning salon to be Oompa Loompa orange. So yes, I completely understand having advice standards. I’m also personally critical of accepting guidance from anyone that can’t one-up me, so I tend to tune out other moms unless they’ve got older kids or – trump! – more kids than me. Kate Gosselin, no offense taken, you can stop reading this now, I get it (your ex, though, maybe he should?).
But here’s why you might want to keep reading this:
I am shamelessly flawed, and not afraid to show how.
I do more things wrong as a mom than I do right, yet my kids (appear) well-adjusted.
I mercilessly mock stupid parents and – because there’s no shortage of them – it makes for some funny stories.
All of that and — the bonus – to date, my kids don’t have assigned probation officers gives me some pretty ample street cred. Quite possibly, this is the support group you never knew you needed, but always wished you had. I feel when parenting’s concerned, there’s always strength in numbers and when that fails, there’s always, always wine. This book will give you both. (In the case of the wine, just pour a glass and read; I’ll bet you’ll be able to visualize me joining you. Really, I’m as good as there.)
Other qualities you might admire: I’ve never lost a kid at a mall (Disney, yes, but I won’t shoulder that blame alone: there were 14 of us…) but I have been known to lose track of my 10-year-old’s last shower.
and … I suspect that if Children’s Services ever caught wind of the actual number of times my kids’ sheets are changed, well there may be some action taken.
and … I confess I have signed homework sheets that I never really checked. I’ve also feigned sleep when I heard a screaming child in the middle of the night just to allow my husband the experience of flying out of bed like a rocket to deal with it.
and … I’ve allowed electronics to entertain my brood for hours at a time, just to talk on the phone a little longer or clean my house or finish my Netflix binge.
and … I’ve been known to throw my kids out of the house on a beautiful day and lock the door behind them. True story: none died of dehydration or were snatched by a dingo.
and … when my kids peed their beds I’d simply change their jammies and flip them to the other end. (I used to know a mom who’d go mental whenever this happened. She’d rip her toddler out of bed – no matter the time – and throw her in a bath, frantically changing the sheets and carrying on like a lunatic. What a psycho. Obviously we weren’t friends for long.)
and … I will admit without shame that – until they were old enough to realize – I skipped pages of bedtime stories.
and … I have not always enforced regular teeth brushing with my toddlers because, I’d reason, they’re just going to fall out anyway.
and … I have driven past the library only to hear a tiny voice in the back say in wonder, “Hey, I remember this place, I think I was there once…”
And that’s just the little kid stuff. Wait until you get a load of all the teenage nonsense I’ve already dealt with (because really, have we even truly parented until we’ve taken a bedroom door off its hinges?) You’ll quickly see I am far from perfect. My house is always dusty and my inability to remember details makes it impossible for me to recall the name of the last antibiotic any of my kids were prescribed. A profound failure at keeping baby books, I do try to write down the wonderful, embarrassing and quite ordinary things that happen in our daily lives. When I noticed my little guy’s Spongebob underwear clear through his tiny white tee-ball pants, I jotted it down. It was without question the cutest thing I’d ever seen. And when my toddler loudly pointed out during an extremely crowded Easter mass that, “Mommy, look, they drink wine like you do at home!” much as I wanted to die, I wrote that down, too. Apparently I also wrote down that my daughter could get her ears double pierced but I don’t remember that (because I am quite certain that little minx hit me up while I was cocktailing with friends when THAT request came in). Still, it’s all good stuff.
I’m actually glad I wrote down a lot because my memory is junk. There’s something profoundly unsettling that I can recall every word to We Didn’t Start the Fire but I couldn’t tell you where my kid is going after work because he only told me three times an hour ago… Ugh. Don’t get me started. I digress…
I love all my kids. Fiercely. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t daydreamed about shipping them off to a faraway island. While kids can make us crazy, teenagers can make us alcoholics. Hell, they can make us question every certainty we know in life and can cause nervous tics just by entering a room.
So for all the moms who have ever had a child declare in a silent waiting room that they’ve discovered your mustache …
And for all the moms who ever realized – too late — with mortified certainty that the word FART was written in Sharpie on their Thanksgiving tablecloth…
And for all the moms who have ever gotten that 2am phone call from a kid needing to be picked up “… or the police will bring me home …”
This book is for you.
Hope you’ll keep coming back.
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Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.