Tag Archives: Parenting

Alone Again (un)Naturally

relax

My husband just doesn’t understand me, not even for a minute.  My kids might be mildly amused by me (if they even noticed).  But the reality is, I am filled with unabashed glee when left entirely alone for a few glorious days.

 

My better half would rather rake sunflower seeds than spend any significant amount of time by himself.  This might stem from having a job which alternately finds him either in the isolation of a home office or the insufferable free-for-all of an airport.  Not sure.  But I love it and look forward to.  When his annual Guys Ski Weekend rolls around – conveniently after the exhaustive holidays have passed – I become giddy.  Leaving soon?  I ask innocently over my coffee cup on the morning of departure, willing my words to sound curious (instead of eager).

 

It’s only a couple of days.  72 hours really.  Actually, only 48 (of time awake) if I’m nit-picking.  But most women know:  it’s awesome.

 

In the weeks leading up to it you know I got busy.  I made an impressive list of all the incredible things I was going to do to make my life an organized Garden of Eden.   I also planned new exercise regimens, compiled lists of time-saving chore hacks and amassed healthy recipes to try.  I researched new shows to binge and books to download and selected restaurants that I’ve been dying to try.

 

Welp.  Almost immediately my noble intentions swerved sideways so I accomplished little to none of the aforementioned plans.    Because again, it was only a handful of hours of leisure, amiright?

 

Still, I made the best of it.  Here’s what went down:

 

Day One:

 

As soon as the last of the male-stench had exited my building I started off by cleaning it — which (I cannot be alone here) always makes me immeasurably happy.  I blasted Donna Summer Radio.  And Def Leppard.  And Miranda (Ironic Moment of the weekend:  just how much Black Shelton is played on this station).  Anyway, within a few hours my home got just the way I like it.  The best part:  it actually stayed this way for a few days.  This turned out to be serendipity: when unexpected downpours thwarted my high-heel-wearing Girls-Night-Out, my gleaming home became the venue of choice for an evening that’d been in the works with a great friend.  No problem – there was nary a drop of pee on my toilets and I had a pot of meatballs simmering.   We drank wine in yoga pants, shared a meal and caught up for hours.  It was divine.  And not once did any intruder barge in to open the refrigerator and peer inside for eight straight minutes.

ski 3

 

Day Two:

 

Alright, maybe I was moving a little slower today (*shakes head ruefully, mouths Pinot) but I couldn’t stay down for long.  The crazy New England winter weather had flipped its fickle switch and brought an unexpected spring-like day.   Off I went outside, work gloves and wheelbarrow in tow, to clean up all the downed trees from the wicked storms that had turned our property into a war zone.  Now to be clear, this is not usually my gig.  I’m actually a big fan of gender-separated workloads and live quite happily mopping floors while the men in my life mow the lawn and fix stuff.  But I was looking for some bragging rights.  I’m pretty sure nothing screams my wife is hot more than the image of her hauling away branches bigger than her own body.  So I became one with my yard and had some fun with it, even stopping midway to post a pic when I came across a beer pong ball, hidden since a June party.  Go ahead fellas, keep sending me those shots of your raised beers at Après happy hour.  Mamma’s at home, gettin’ it done. #Iamwomanhearmeroar

ski lol

 

After that, I cleaned myself up and went out to do a little food shopping, my brain swirling with the memorized Instagram images of all the roasted Brussel sprouts, toasted quinoa and sweet potato chips I was going to make because I just knew it was all going to melt my pesky muffin top in the New Year.  Turns out, by the time everything was unloaded and put away the sun was going down and death-defying drops in temperature mocked the earlier beach day.  My morning workout of manual labor started to catch up with me and I was dragging.  I declined an invitation to go out, threw on some sweatpants, grabbed a comfy blanket and my book and clicked on a cheezy movie.  Okay, maybe not a woman roaring anymore but …. #STILLawesome

 

Day Three:

I awoke to find it was still frigid outside so naturally I figured The New (Exercising) Me would have to wait a little longer.  I read the Sunday paper to the backdrop of Frank Sinatra Radio and a funny thing happened.  Nobody rolled their eyes at my nostalgic tunes or came sniffing around asking about bacon. I putzed around doing laundry and cleaning out my closet before devoting the afternoon to peeling, cutting, roasting and portioning my newly acquired root vegetables for the week.  (side note:  The New (Healthy) Me had no idea how time consuming this was when I started.  I think I’ve figured out why all those Facebook recipes are on fast-forward).  I continued tidying up things around the house – you know, nothing major, just all those things we walk past every single day and ignore – stopping every now and then to get lost in a random photo album I’d come across.   Not gonna lie, melancholy showed its morose face for bit.  The grey day began to drag.   I checked in with my oldest and made plans to see him during the week.  Then I texted the skiers and told them since I hadn’t heard from them all weekend I was keeping busy posting awesome old pictures on social media.  I wasn’t ……

 

lol ski

 

…. but their lol-responses delighted me.

 

When my husband called that night and coyly asked if they were missed, I responded truthfully:  yes, they could come home in the morning.   I was done.  And getting kinda lonely.

 

It’s pretty wild how quickly a couple of days go by.

 

You hear that?

 

It’s the sound of silence.

 

It’s pretty awesome.  You know, for a couple of days

 

Read any good books lately?  Start one here:  A Collection Of Eyerolls:  A Momoir

Chapter 1, Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

 

 

 

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. 

 

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Dear Santa …

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I’ve made it clear that I’ve long given up on sending out holiday cards and letters (here’s why) but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a Christmas list.

Santa, most people know by now I am a fabulous yet flawed mom.  If I’m being honest, I am super flawed.  This parenting thing is hard and sometimes it seems there’s more opportunity to fail than succeed (despite what Facebook photos want us to believe).  I guess like most moms, I could really use a few things to help me up my game and become better in the new year.

So if you and the elves can swing it …

First off, I’d like to request a stronger heart.  Surely you already know I am overcome with pride that my oldest is adulting. He is living in his own apartment and working and schooling and contributing to society and well, successfully doing all the things that keep him from residing in my basement. This is no small feat so believe me, I am truly and greatly thankful.  But just because all is well and good on the surface here doesn’t mean it’s perfect.  You see, this independence-thing may be a bright light but it also breaks my heart a bit little each day.  Maybe you could put a little something shiny under my tree that makes him want to call home … or check in … or show that he remembers he has a family at all?  Even occasionally, that’d be great.

I’m also going to ask that you bring me some extra backbone to stop shielding my daughter — who’s also flown my coop – from life’s financial realities.  Santa, please know I couldn’t be more thrilled that she is living a life most only dream of (that is, if you dream about seeing extraordinary places, being one with nature, saving the environment, helping children and making those around you pale in comparison to your genuine goodness). But if you’d only given me a little push to hand over ALL her bills to pay on her own, she might start to realize that the awesomely fun jobs with the most perks … don’t usually end up being the most lucrative.  (Santa, please don’t use that ugly hashtag enabling.  I get it. It’s just hard.)

Maybe while you’re unloading you can sneak a little perspective into my stocking? I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that my handsome freshman crushing college (President’s List!) should really be front and center in my thoughts but my overwhelming urge to throttle him for his laziness at home always seems to throw shade at that.  That he makes me scream the loudest in my own home is my personal irony.  If you promise to bring me a little help to recalibrate my thinking then maybe this kid just might make it to his sophomore year to continue doing great things.  (And for the record, that Facebook post was legit, people.)

I don’t particularly need any but if you could spare a bit of common sense, I swear I’d share it with my youngest.  Check your naughty list:  he’s my adorable charmer whose foolish behavior defies the fact his parents have been to this rodeo three times already.  He truly believes he has mastered the art of pulling the wool over my eyes (*Morgan Freeman [narrating]:  Alas, the boy has not.) so if you can swing it, I’d definitely re-gift that gem and pass it on to him.

I might ask for a few tips to help me be a better wife (pffft, who are we kidding? no need there) but since I’m on a roll, do you think maybe you could throw in some willpower for the new year?  Not to be a better mom, but definitely to look a lot less bloated.  Honestly, my friends are entirely out of control.  They eat, they drink, they dance (they battle for a karaoke mic) and if I’m not careful I know one day a mortician is going to struggle adhering my lipstick correctly because of the permanent smile they’ve engraved in my wrinkles.

Santa, I know I am enormously blessed and you know I’m just teasing with all this.  But you should also know that every mom simply wants the exact same thing every single year but we never. ever get it:  a slowdown of life.  You know, that proverbial pause button. This gettin’-old sh*t is not for the weak.  With each flip of a calendar page my life flashes before my eyes and a glaring proclamation of time passage hits me like a smack to the head.  I speak for the masses here:  we’d all like that to stop, please.  Come on. The only time moms want a fast-forward button is during the teething, ‘tweening, and telling-us-we’re-lame stages.  I’m at the last stage here:  my youngest is now driving (you know, on occasion, when he’s not grounded) and he knows if he tells me I’m lame, he’s back to hoofing it so really, enough already.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, as the years go by I’m learning that the only gift worth a damn is time, specifically time with our kids.  It’s the only collateral they’ll ever have worth anything to us.  We all want it and can’t get enough of it.  We want time to sit with them and talk … and watch TV … and play a game … and laugh … and drive to the store … even time to do nothing at all.

If it’s not too much trouble, could you just let our kids know that?

Thanks and – once again — sorry about the cookies (shrug. boys).  Maybe we’ll try some kale next year. That’ll keep them away.

 

Merry Christmas y’all!

xoxo

Eyerollingmom

 

Read any good books lately?  Start one here:  A Collection Of Eyerolls:  A Momoir

Chapter 1, Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

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. 

 

A Momoir, Chapter 4: A Mom’s Plea to Seth Rogen: Enough with the Masturbation Already

rogen

I first realized my teenaged son was looking at porn when I innocently picked up his Ipod.  It wasn’t a cell phone.  It was – I thought – just a music player.  Remember those blissful days when you just didn’t know things?  I had no idea his shiny new birthday gadget connected to the internet.  At all.  I only became aware of its mystical powers when I moved it off the bathroom counter (that’s right:  in the bathroom.  Sigh.) and it suddenly turned on.  Well I’ll be, I thought, this isn’t Nickleback.  Just kidding. Of course I did the Mom Screech when I stumbled onto it but looking back all these years later, I guess it was more than a little amusing.

He was my firstborn son and thankfully, was pretty discreet about all things adolescence.  Trust me, I’d heard plenty of horror stories from friends about crunchy socks strewn on the floor and apocalyptic sheets stuffed into bottoms of hampers.  Really now, save for that wee bit o’ porn, I’d managed to get through the grossest stage of his young male development relatively unscathed.

But fast forward a few years.  Now my youngest two sons are teenagers and I’m about to lose it.  Don’t get me wrong.  They’re not heathens or sexual sociopaths or Jared Fogle wannabes.  They’re fine.  They’re just… well, I’ll say very comfortable in their almost-men skin.  And by this I mean sometimes-naked-almost-men skin … usually viewed as a blur …  running down a hallway … after a shower … because (naturally) … all the towels are still in their rooms.

At first I wanted to blame rap music.  You know, all those songs about so many hos, so little respect (you feel me, dog?).  Thanks to crude lyrics and really (really) bad swear words in every other line that they insist on belting out in my car, it’s clear my sons have become desensitized to offending their mom.  I resist the urge to constantly complain about their taste in music because (a) I know sounding like John Lithgow’s Reverend in Footloose would color me crazy and (b) looking back at some of the stuff I sang back in the 80s (um… Cocaine… Touch Me… White Lines… I Might Like You Better if We Slept Together… just to name a few off the top of my head) doesn’t really give me a steady leg to stand on.  But man, oh man, they are far from embarrassed in front of me.

Worse than the music they prefer are the movies they find hilarious.  It might be just a coincidence of scenes I’ve happened to walk in on, but I’ll be damned if Seth Rogen and his friends aren’t – you know (cough) releasing energy —  on any given weekend in my home.  And smoking (don’t say pot, Mom, it’s) weed.   Oftentimes in the same scene.

Gaaaack.  How are they not embarrassed to watch this in front of me?

What’s a mom to do?  Apparently (*shrugs) gather together for Sunday night family viewing of Game of Thrones.  When in Rome (or rather … Westeros…)

I appreciate the openness of our relationship, I really do.  It’s just colossally different than the relationship I shared with my own mom.  Good lord, like it was yesterday I can flash back to when she took us to see Jaws.  It was a double feature – and immediately after we were duly scarred for life of ever entering ocean waters again, the Deluxe Theater in Queens was showing the (at the time) risqué flick Lifeguard (ahem, for the young’uns:  a sexy, Baywatch-esque summer sleeper).  My sister and I sat like church mice, hoping my mom didn’t realize we were still there when the movie began.  Fat chance.  The steamy opening shot of suntanned boobies wasn’t on the screen a minute before she was yanking us out of our seats.

Dayum.  Different times for sure.

Ah well.  I suppose as parents we have to take the good with the mortifying, right?  While I’ve seen my share of blurry, hairy asses to last me a lifetime, my kids are also un-embarrassed to talk to me.  And I do love the ease in which conversations flow between my he-men and me.  I didn’t talk to my mom about anything R-rated, let alone which 8th grade girls were doing less-than-ladylike things in the back of a school bus.  Gawd, would you ever?  So I do try to keep an open mind (and my face from scrunching too tightly) when we do talk.  Our open dialogue isn’t always a laugh a minute and we’re far from yukking it up over condoms and opioid use.  Some of our chats see blips of discomfort (the school bus detail — good lord) but there’s never been a rock-paper-scissors shootout between my husband and me to see who’s Going There This Time.  I imagine if your kids are comfortable talking, any conversation’s a pretty damn good one, even a squirmy one.  It’s all good.

I’m still not a fan of those masturbation flicks (hell, maybe my inner fear of millennials living in my basement is at the root of that psychosis) but I guess it could be worse.  So, I’m sorry for the judgement, Seth Rogen, and really, no hard feelings.  I hope you’ll accept my olive branch (but seriously, can we talk about all those bongs…?)

 

Read any good books lately?  Start one here:  A Collection Of Eyerolls:  A Momoir

Chapter 1, Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

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. 

 

 

 

Party On, Dude! Some Risky Business Happened at My House

tom cruise

You did it.  You got caught.

 

Your best friend did it.  She got caught.

 

My kid did it.  Oh, he totally got caught.

 

Totally.

 

We left our house overnight and The Party happened.  You know, the pull-the-drapes-so-the-neighbors-don’t-see, call-in-the-masses and take-advantage-of-an-unsupervised- 24-hours kind of Party.

 

(I’m sure right about now Kristi and Schnidt are flashing back a few decades and howling with laughter.  Quite possibly Nancy is flashbacking to throwing up in my mother’s washing machine.  But I digress.)

 

Man, oh, man, these stories are so much more entertaining when someone else is telling them.

 

Naturally I became aware of The Party by the next morning.  The kids were duly distributed at friends’ homes and the house was supposed to be empty.  My oldest was leaving within hours after us for a work commitment.

 

Wouldn’t you know that work commitment had been cancelled?  Um, as a matter of fact, no, we didn’t know.  Because my son neglected to mention that.

 

Fortunately, my husband and I swing on opposite sides of the rage pendulum.  That’s a good thing.  We’d be on the DCF watch list for sure if we were both crazy pissed at the exact same time.  So while his fingers gripped the steering wheel during the two-and-a-half hour drive home and a steady mist of steam exited his ears, I naturally tried to offer perspective.

 

Didn’t we do it, too (because… doesn’t everybody)?  Didn’t we laugh, laugh, laugh when my sister walked in on teen Beer Pong in her own basement? Didn’t we kinda sorta expect this someday?

 

He seethed.

 

I reached.  Didn’t we have friends who would be relieved, even thrilled if their less-than-social kid threw a party?

 

He gripped the wheel tighter.

 

When we walked in, the house was empty.  The Guilty stayed away.

 

I expected to return to an immaculate home.

 

I did not.

 

Funny what make that rage pendulum swung back in my direction.

 

Apparently I’d shown my cards too soon with my litany of text messages to The Guilty (beginning with “REALLY?????”) because once The Guilty realized the jig was up ….  Apparently so was his attempt to cover up.

 

I found the curtains still closed.

 

I found the beer pong balls (that cackling you hear is coming straight from my sister’s house in Jersey).

 

I found the one (because hello, there’s always ONE) lone bottle cap wedged under the counter stool.

 

I found that every one of my towels was used for the hot tub.  (This ticked me off immeasurably since a few of my luxurious — cough, borrowed —  Carnival Cruise Lines beach towels have gone missing.)

 

I found the Red Solo cups neatly stacked … yet still sitting on the counter.

 

I found the bag of empties, smartly collected, yet (stupidly) placed in full view with the recycling.

 

I found toast still in the toaster, egg shells in the sink and overflowing dirty dishes.  (I’m fairly certain these have nothing to do with The Party but seriously.)

 

I found that The Guilty is either the dumbest kid in the stratosphere … or the laziest.

 

And I can’t for the life of me decide which is worse.

 

I tried to pin the coincidental breakdown of the washing machine on him. While the repairman worked, I sipped my coffee and told him my story, fully disclosing that I was anxious to see if the awful grinding sound was a haphazard load of hot tub towels gone awry.  When he handed me a sock that had lodged in the pump, my dreams of a magic bullet were squashed.

 

So I was steamed.  And there were consequences.  And it is very (VERY) unlikely that it will happen again (she says with fingers crossed and sister laughing).

 

But there were no damages.

 

And no police helicopters ala Project X.

 

And no Guido the killer pimp.

 

And nobody went running naked through my neighborhood (surely they would have been covered in fluffy cruise line towels).

 

And well, clichés happen.

 

 

I do love how stories like these bring out even greater ones.  On the Monday morning following The Party I went into work still reeling a little.

 

My laughing co-worker immediately told me her best story (for we all have one) of her brother and herself throwing ridiculous parties all throughout high school — until the one time it got completely out of control.  They met in the bathroom and made the decision to call the cops on their own party.

 

 

Called the cops on themselves.   How great is that?

 

See?  There is always a better story out there somewhere.

 

Always.

 

 

 

 

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

 

 

Read any good books lately?  Start one here:  A Collection Of Eyerolls:  A Momoir

 

 

 

Chapter 1, Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

 

Chapter 2, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

 

Chapter 3, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

 

 

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. 

 

Chapter 3: Sorry, We’re Tied: ALL Kids Are Filthy

chap 3

Kids are filthy.

From a sweet baby’s very first up-to-his-earlobes explosive poop to a darling daughter’s bloody bathroom waste basket to a teen son’s crunchy socks next to his bed (let’s do this together, shall we: ewwww), our kids are an abundance of nasty from the get-go.  The intensity of it simply grows as their size does.

Most parents usually evolve through these stages of mess and mayhem. I can’t speak for everyone but I know I am not alone in my transformation, having begun as the Organizer of Playsets After Bedtime (because, hello, Luke Skywalker, you do NOT belong with the Riddler) to where I am presently,  throwing up my hands in defeat and closing doors to the war zones I don’t want to see.

Oftentimes offspring go through transformations, too.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happens but there’s an undetected moment in their lives when kids go from not bathing at all to taking forty minute showers. It may seem unexpected but at least for boys, it actually follows the natural progression of your hand lotion disappearing (again, in unison: ewwww).

I remember meeting someone for the first time and our cordial chatter revealed the ages of our children.  I think at the time my oldest might’ve been thirteen but his were a bit older.  At one point this dad rolled his eyes dramatically and quipped about paint peeling off the bathroom walls.  I smiled politely and moved on because I had no idea what he was he was talking about.  Before long, I did.

Ohhhh, the steam, now I get it ….  I’ve since had to repaint my bathroom.

I think we can all agree that every parent believes she has the world’s worst kid-and-hygiene story (“I’ll take Toenail Clippings in the Kitchen for $500, Alex”).  Arguably the most reviled aspect of parenting, yep, it’s a total bummer.  Every parent can relate to the appalling conditions of kids’ bathrooms because there’s really nothing like it.  For years I commuted using NYC subways and yes, those smelled better.  If I’m being honest the sheer concept of a kids bathroom is not something I was privy to until a few years ago.  I may be living like a filthy American these days (looking at you, separate potty room) but I actually grew up sharing a bathroom with four other people and raised my own family of six sharing one, too, for quite some time.  Personal sinks are sweet luxuries indeed — until it dawns on you you’re the only one cleaning them.  I may be fortunate enough now to have my own (ahem, master) bathroom but sadly it didn’t come with a moat — so keeping out the unwanted is an everyday struggle.  Now that I’ve seen how the other half lives, I don’t want to share.  I’ve never been a fan of the family bed and I am now less enamored of a family bathroom.  So yeah.  Get the fkkk out, spawn, and take your hash-marked boxer briefs and clumps of drain-clogging hair with you (and … while I’m at it … feel free to grab your dad on the way out).  There aren’t enough adjectives for gross.  At what age does a sanitary bathroom become important and why are there so many unanswered questions about it? How does toothpaste even get on mirrors?   If not on the mirror, why must it remain in a goop in the sink until it becomes cement? Are the fifteen empty shampoo bottle for a science project?  Do you really not see the pee hitting the floors/walls/heater ???   Gaack.

We love the stuffing outta them but our kids are disgusting.

Curdled baby vomit on our clothes (and no, the smell never comes out)

Poop, poop and more poop (and, in the case of boys, continuing FOREVER).

Bloodied knees, broken bones, cracked teeth.

September backpacks containing June lunches.

Service for six place settings under beds.

Yogurt spoons under couch cushions.

Insert your favorite find here:  _______________________________________________

I’ve no doubt a friend could top you.

Childhood is dirty and grimy but we all signed up for that.  Thanks to What to Expect When You’re Expecting (how in the world did our mothers ever do without it?)  we all knew what we were getting into.  What we didn’t see coming (because we expertly drowned out our own mothers) was the speed and monotony in which filth flies at us beyond diaper duty.

The good news is, there’s relief if you want it.  You just have to want it bad enough and change your behavior – not theirs.   We have to essentially, well, give up.  Raise that white flag and sing that annoying song from Frozen.  When I finally realized Barbies and Bratz were living harmoniously despite which bin I strategically placed them in each evening, I gave that up.  When I saw that every other ‘tween on the planet was wearing a similar stained hoodie at the bus stop every day in lieu of a winter coat, I gave that up, too.  Eventually I also stopped stripping beds and taught my kids how to change their own linens.  My kids spend ridiculous amounts of time cleaning their bodies – only to put on dirty clothes and sleep in smelly sheets and I am the only one bothered by this?   Really.  Who’s the crazy one here?

I totally get why it’s a struggle for some moms to give up.  The older our babies get, the less they need us.  Throw in a cell phone and kids can communicate within 160 characters and go a few days at a time without a complete sentence grunted in our direction.   Letting go of the actions that keep us maternally connected is extremely hard.  It’s in our DNA:  we need to be needed and it’s sad to watch that slip away.  What we don’t need is the constant thanklessness that comes with say, doing laundry:  When that epiphany hits it’s like a Costco-sized tub of Tide falling on your foot.  Good grief, how many times was I going to throw half a basket of clothes into a washing machine before realizing they were still neatly folded from the last time I’d cleaned them?  Cue the veins bulging.  Think about it: doing daily laundry for four able-bodied beings capable of keeping my grocery tab at triple digits each week.  I began to realize I was perpetually irritable most of the time. I’m not sure what it took to hammer that last nail into my Whirlpool coffin but one day I just stopped.  I was younger than junior high when I’d started doing my own laundry (you were, too) and here I was enabling my adolescents far beyond that.  I was suddenly embarrassed by it.  So I walked away from doing their laundry with nary a threat or a door slam and never looked back.  What’s that sound, you ask?  Freedom bells ringing.

That was definitely one of my Great Mom Moments to date but I haven’t reached Grand Master Level just yet.  To be clear, there’s still a tsunami of mess in my home at any given time if I don’t keep up with the nagging but I’ve grown wiser as well as weary.  I now dangle car keys until rooms are picked up and I’ve been known to make bacon and refuse to slide it over until trash cans are brought in, dogs are walked and the mystery smell is unearthed in the mudroom.  When things are gettin’ done I guess the strategy doesn’t matter.

And their bathroom?  Please.  I still rarely go in there.  Some days I just can’t do it.  But they’re learning:  now I won’t let their boy/girlfriends come over until they clean it.   Ahhh, the enchanting effect of the adolescent significant other.  I do believe I’ve come up with another chapter.  Stay tuned!

 

*   *   *   *

 

Missed Chapter 1?   Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Missed Chapter 2?  Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

 

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.

Kids, I Love You. Now Cut the Crap.

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A friend shot me a note the other day which read simply, “Can you please write a blog about boys pissing on the toilet seat?” …   To which I immediately replied …

 

“No, but I can write one about boys pissing into cups and Gatorade bottle and leaving them in their bedrooms … and then hurling them out the window when their mom loses her shit over finding them…”

 

(My friends know:  this is 100% truth and the reason my husband will not drink out of plastic cups anymore.)

 

Honestly.  So many stories still untold.  It’s like the Naked City – only there’s usually actual nakedness (because kids can’t find towels because they’re still wet and scattered on various floors).

 

There’s a reason why all these gems float around my head and never make it to the page.  I’ve found myself in that interesting yet ironic state of Perpetually Pissed and Profoundly Proud Parenting:  when my entire emotional state fluctuates between one extreme and the other.

 

Kids cause that.

 

I don’t know what to write about half the time because by the time I’m done revealing reasons of happiness or reflection I usually want to throat punch someone.

 

If you think about it, it’s a pretty remarkable paradox.  And no matter the ages of my kids, and despite how many times I remind myself that much of what now happens in life is out of my hands, these kids still have complete control over which way that pendulum swings.

 

My 3rd kid just graduated high school and of course, it was the momentous, magnificent whirlwind of ceremony it should have been.  (Disclaimer:  this coming from a mom who has repeatedly deemed graduating high school No Big Deal because really, aren’t you supposed to?)  But the Kid did alright.  Acceptance into a damn good school, a couple of nice scholarships and a bona fide bang-up senior year chock full of awesome memories.  My heart’s been full for seemingly months at a go and I will not lie, it’s been a fine, fine time for us.

 

Welp.  My boast balloon burst as soon as I got the text message at work asking if I’d left him a template for the Thank You cards he was writing following his grad party. A template.  Followed by his query, “How do I address an envelope?”  Good God.   Off to college he goes?

 

To quote a very agitated tween, I just can’t even.

 

Bringing up the adolescence rear in our household, my youngest, too, turned his sophomore year into an impressive array of academic and athletic accolades.  Really, he’s the Mayor.  So adored.  So praised.  But yet astounding that he hasn’t yet choked on the ridiculously short leash we have him on due to all the stupid choices he keeps making.  He seems to keep forgetting he is our fourth child and we have seen this movie.  And we know how it ends.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

To quote another very agitated tween, I’m shaking my head.

 

But wait — the Jeckyll and Hyde of emotions isn’t limited to the confines of my home anymore either, for even those that have flown my coop (some states may refer to them as “adults”) are adept at keeping my angst ablaze.

 

Like … my oldest, off in his first apartment (yay!), carrying a full-time job AND full-time school course load (hooray!), excitedly bragging about booking flights for his first “grown-up vacation” (wow!) …   which he planned … on the very weekend of his sister’s college graduation.  Are you kidding me?

 

Or … my daughter (she of the above reference)  … announcing upon said graduation (pride!) that to begin her first job (congrats!) she would be driving cross country (what?) … to  Utah (ummmmmmm)  … alone (whaaaaaat???) … and …  not to worry .. because everything will be fine

 

(End note:  in the end, she did not.  Due to sheer logistics, not parental pleas. Naturally.)

 

Sigh.  Remember when we thought baby colic and constipation was a thing?  (*slaps forehead)

 

A very wise friend once declared “Little kids, little problems.”

 

These aren’t problems, I know.

 

They’re just slices of life that keep that damn pendulum swinging.

 

And parents already know:   life’s pretty amazing dodging that thing.

 

 

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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. 

 

 

Young Love: View From the Back Seat

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When I was in high school I remember doing whatever I could to get my boyfriend’s mother to like me.  I tried everything.  But despite my always cheerful and ever valiant attempts she always remained, I’ll say, cool towards me.  When I finally reached the brink of my adolescent insecurities I unloaded on my beau with a frustrated, what the hell?

He just shrugged.  “She likes you,” he offered lamely, “but she knows it’s not like we’re gonna get married or anything.”

Um, say what? You can imagine: at seventeen, that stung.  She knew.  Heck, deep down we both probably knew, too.  But she put it out there and there it stayed.  And I’ve never forgotten.

I can’t be certain, but maybe because of my early experience, I’ve grown into a mom lacking enthusiasm for adolescent romance.   For me, it’s always been a great source of curiosity when anyone else did.

Like my sister, for instance.  I’ve forever marveled at her unaffected exuberance of really, truly basking in teenage love.  She’d fawn over her kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends, buy them super nice presents at Christmas, happily accept their friend requests on Facebook and exude genuine excitement over anything about them.  Every high school relationship was treated as The One and it was utterly fascinating to me. Consequently (and alas, one by one), every high school break-up consumed her with incredible sadness — for a really long time.  It all seemed crazy to me.

I guess I never bought into the hype because well, adolescence is (pick one) silly, volatile, melodramatic and (most of all) fickle.  Let’s be real.  Is there a more ridiculous time in any life cycle?  When my daughter was in middle school (before it was the norm for third graders to carry cell phones) a young boy called our house and left a very detailed message on our home answering machine asking her to go on a date to the movies.  I listened to it, rolled my eyes towards the heavens, promptly deleted it and told my daughter about it – many, many years later at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Why?  Because it made for a great family laugh and — like Carrie Bradshaw being broken up via Post-it note — there are some dating behaviors that are beyond reproach.  Rest assured:  no daughter of mine was ever going to the movies with any kid without a clue.

That was all well and good (and, okay, somewhat controllable) in middle school, but it seems before I could throw in another load of laundry – and despite my inclination to ignore them — I’ve acquired a slew of significant others in my life.   And it’s become harder to remain, I’ll say, cool towards them.

My eldest son, a young adult so not-sharing of information I couldn’t tell you his favorite color, suddenly started showing up with a stunning girlfriend.  Turns out they’ve been together for months.  She is well-spoken and personable and bright and — dayum! —  pre-med.  She possesses such exceptional attributes it  is impossible not to enjoy her.  She’s a darling.  Dang.

My high school senior has been with his girlfriend for quite some time, too.  As much as I tried to remain aloof and indifferent towards them, her ability to get him to do homework and come in before his curfew has broken down my tough demeanor.  She is an absolute delight to be around and I completely adore them together so of course it worries me. Again, 17.  Double dang.

My youngest, teetering on 16, might trouble me the most.  He’s been spending his time with such a sweet and charming young lady I find myself lamenting, this – they — would be perfect …. in about ten years….

Good grief, what is happening here?  Of late I’ve been wondering which is worse:  that these kids’ impeccable choices are turning me soft, or that maybe my sister was onto something.

It’s a tough seat to sit in for sure.  And because moms were once teenagers too, we know with assured wisdom that as much as young love blossoms with ferocity, it will also (more often than not) fade with some sadness.  Being invested in our kids’ relationships carries weighty fallout when a happily ever after doesn’t happen.

My little girl, now an extraordinary and beautiful young woman, is experiencing her first real break-up and – I have to be honest – my whole family is feeling the strain of her sorrow.  (Truth:  her grace and reflection while deep within heartache far surpasses her mother’s 1980s coping method of Diet Coke and cigarettes.  Geeze.  I thank God those DNA strands didn’t swim too strongly.)

We liked him.  We Sally-Field-really-REALLY liked him.  They shared a lengthy time together and we were all a part of it in some small way.  But it just wasn’t meant to be.  So now we’re all sad.

And my heart is hurting having to watch her go through this tough time.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten him that bathrobe for Christmas.

I should’ve known better than to think my sister was smarter than me.

 

 

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.