Archive for the motherhood Category
Because that’s what mommies do? Part two

When I picked the big girls up from school the other day, Rachel greeted me with her usual knock-me over-like-you-haven’t-seen-me-in-a-year hug and screech of “Mommyyyyy! You baaaaaaack!!!!!!” Because 4 hours to a 4 year old is like an eternity.

So as I struggled to stay upright as she attempted to bring me down like I was the 50 foot woman, she asked, “You were cleaning the house?”


So I responded, “Uhhhhh….What?”

“You were cleaning the house?” she repeated, still trying to knock me off my equilibrium.

I gave a little laugh, and looking back, it was probably more of a huge snort and guffaw, because I certainly do a lot of things when the big girls are at school and it’s just Zoe and me, but cleaning the house is not exactly one of them.

Then I started to get all paranoid that Rachel thinks our house is so unbearably unkempt that of course I was cleaning it all morning long while she was singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with her friends.

NOT me.

So I rubbed her little head playfully. “What made you ask that?” No really, what made you ask that???  Did she tell all of her classmates how Mommy had to dig hurriedly through the basket of laundry this morning to find something for her to wear, or did she repeat some of the curses that flew from my mouth as I tore their room apart looking for their water bottles, or maybe she told everyone about how my bedroom more resembles an IT nerd’s wonderland than a romantic boudior?

I guffawed some more because guffawing is awesome. “No, I wasn’t cleaning the house, silly!”

That’s when her teacher, Ms J, came breezing over and said, “Oh! I told her that’s what you were doing when you weren’t here — that Mommy goes home to clean the house!” She smoothed Rachel’s hair and gave her a squeeze.

Huh. So I said oops! and that I was actually running errands and voting for the President and stuff. And then I checked my calendar to make sure that it was indeed still 2012 and I had not time traveled back to the Betty Draper days.

Now I’m not a staunch feminist. I don’t think. I just thought it was kind of a weird thing to say. Is my daughter going to think that this is in fact what mommies do? Or worse…is she now going to have massively unrealistic expectations for a clean house when she comes home from school?

I could just see it: I pick them up, they joyfully tell me about their day in the short car ride home, and then we walk through the front door and commence tripping over the shoes and blankets and toys that were all strewn about as they dressed for school and are still in the exact same places they were when we left.  And she’ll scold me: “Mommy! You did NOT clean the house while you were gone!”

So I wasn’t so sure how I felt about this whole “Mommy goes home to clean the house while you’re at school” thing.

Until someone obviously smarter than me (which it’s not hard to be, by the way) pointed out that maybe Ms J told Rachel that I was going home to clean the house so that when she misses me, which she is prone to do about halfway through the day, she doesn’t think that I’m off doing fun things without her. I’m just home cleaning. 

Well. That makes a bit more sense than Ms J living in the 60s. Deep down I didn’t really think she was the type to be all, “Rachel, your mom’s home scrubbing the floors and washing the windows in her heels and pearls because that’s what mommies do, so you’d better get ready for a life of servitude young lady. I knew I liked her.

And let me tell you, Rachel — going to the grocery store with a toddler is loads of fun. Loads. YOU ARE MISSING OUT, KID.

turkey hat

Fact: We don’t do cool crafts like this at home. It has LEGS.

So the next time I dropped her off at school, she gave me a hug and said, “You going to go clean the house?”

I patted her on the head, gave her a kiss, and gave her my best boring-sad face, “Yes. Yes, I am.”

And then as soon as she was safe in her room, I skipped off down the hall, my 2 year old’s hand in mine, because the joke was on her.

I was really going to Starbucks.


(Pssst! Visit Because that’s what mommies do? part one!)


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Beep beep beep beep

A friend sent me an adorable song called NICU at Nite by Hugh Blumenfeld, and I cried all the way through it. It sums up the experience perfectly:

Up in maternity the mamas all coo
watch their babies grow fatter and gurgle but a few
are in the neonatal unit where the babies go beep beep beep

If you don’t already know my story, I delivered my identical twin girls at 31 weeks after 2 weeks of bedrest with severe preeclampsia. (You can read my very badly written posts about it starting here and working backwards if you like. It’s painfully obvious WHY no one was reading my blog back then.)  They lived in the NICU for 38 days, only giving us one little scare, then continuing to be perfectly boring for the rest of their stay. We were lucky, and we still are. At 4 and a half, you would never know the early struggles they faced.

Claire basking under the bili lights in the NICU – 3 days old

The NICU is an emotional roller coaster for many parents. It was a way for life for us for 5 weeks. We struggled, we adjusted, we grew. We came home with two healthy babies — we were lucky, and we still are. Now perfectly normal 4 and a half year olds, you would never know the scary start they had at life.

Today, November 17, is World Prematurity Awareness Day.  The work of the March of Dimes is unparalleled in not only supporting those in the NICU, but in raising awareness, funds, and conducting research on premature birth and birth defects so that all woman can have a healthy pregnancy and all babies have a chance.

May they all grow happy and healthy and strong
May we never know the difference before too long

So thank you, March of Dimes. Thank you to all of the nurses and doctors who care for our tiny babies in the NICU. Thank you for those who have supported us all through the years. And even though this song is lively, upbeat, and fun, please take this day to not only be grateful for all of the healthy preemies out there, but also to remember those who didn’t get to come home, those whose beautiful little lives ended too soon.

For more information about the March of Dimes and how you can help give more babies a chance, visit their website.

Also, if you’d like to hear more about my personal experience being a NICU mom, you can watch my Listen to Your Mother essay.

And thank you.

Linking up with Jessica from Four Plus and Angel and Natalie from Mommy of a Monster & Twins. Thanks ladies!

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A Roxanne kiss

One of my favorite things about the de-cribbing is that I can now sit on the floor and talk to the girls, rub their backs, and give them their final goodnight hugs and kisses (twenty times, but who’s counting?) without a crib rail puncturing my intestines.

As I tried to exchange final “goodnight, this is the real deal, I’m outta here, so you’d better get it now” kisses with Rachel, she giggled uncontrollably and tried to move my face in weird positions.

“Rachel, stop it. Give me a kiss and lay down.” (I know, I’m so motherly and sweet, right?)

We leaned in and I gave her a peck on the lips.

“No, Mommy, not like that!!”

“Like what?”

“Not like that!”

“Like what?”

“Not like that!”

“LIKE WHAT???” In the mind of this lunatic, I mean, four year old, I apparently needed guidance in the kissing department. Well four year old, let me give you a few numbers of some people that I’m sure could disagree. Only I don’t have their numbers. I don’t think I even know their names. College was kind of a blur, you know.

“No, Mommy, like this.” She continued to do some weird grabbing of my face, but I still wasn’t sure what “this” was.

“A Roxanne kiss.”

“A whaaaaa?”

“A Roxanne kiss!”

She leaned in towards me, her head slightly tilted, lips puckered, eyes closed, and all at once it hit me. Thanks to the magic of Dreamworks and my letting my kids watch a few too many DVDs, my daughter was trying to make out with me like Roxanne makes out with Bernard not realizing that Bernard is really Megamind. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s fantastic the first 93 times.

“Uh, oh, honey, uh, we, uh, don’t, uh….That’s not how Mommy and Rachel kiss. That’s how Mommy and Daddy kiss.”

“Mommy and Daddy?!?!?!”

“Um, yeah….only girls and boys kiss like that. Well not just any girls and boys, but more like boyfriends and girlfriends. I mean, boys and girls who love each other. Definitely not boys and girls who have just met at a party and maybe have a few drinks in them and are looking for a good time. I mean, you don’t want to kiss a boy unless you really like him, like really like, and maybe not even until you’re like 18. Or older. And under adult supervision. I mean, I don’t want to watch you kiss anyone, but you shouldn’t ever be alone with a boy until you’re like 35. Are you getting all this?”

I think I drove the point home, don’t you?



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Toddler Smackdown: Costco Style

Like any good smackdown, it happened on a Wednesday.

Let me tell you something about Zoe. This girl is a charmer. At home? Total terror. In public? Instant sweetheart, people magnet, and reason women say their ovaries are exploding. Strangers flock to her like moths to a flame. bees to honey, Kardashians to a flashbulb. She says her cute little hi to every moving object within 10 feet, and if you deliberately ignore her, I’ll kick you in the teeth. In my mind.

On this particular Wednesday, due to a case of increasing fatigue (mine) and depleting blood sugar (hers), the charm started to wear off. She tried to stand in the cart. I semi successfully tried to coax her back down. She begged me to hold her. I told her that the accessory of “toddler hanging from my neck” didn’t quite go with my outfit. She wasn’t having it.

Then I did the unthinkable.

I put a 2 lb block of cheddar cheese in my cart.

I’ll give that time to sink in.

The world was starting to fade at her increasing hunger (cue the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” memo), but not enough that she didn’t start feverishly demanding that I hand her the cheese.

So I handed her the cheese. Problem solved. And I waited for my adorable toddler to come back and shower me with affection and all of the onlookers to bask in my mothering skills.

But instead she was all, “Open this damn cheese, woman!”

And in my best motherly, sing songy, please-don’t-embarrass-me-in-public voice, I was all, “Zoe, I can’t open the cheese here, honey. We’ll just have to wait until we get home! Mkay? Mkay! ”

So then she was all, “NOOOOOOOO! Sslkngdvegnlkaslknelh!” Which loosely translates to “Open this motherbleeping cheese right now or I will cut you with the fingernails you have neglected to trim for weeks!” It’s true. I rarely remember to trim any of my kids’ nails until one of them claws me in the face.

I did my best to ignore her pleas in the most motherly of fashions: by giving her a good old pat on the head, followed by a sympathetic “Oh, honey,” as I continued pushing the cart. But inside I was begging for her to just forget about the damn cheese.

Can I also mention that we were at Costco on the one day when the only samples in sight are beef jerky and some stank French cheese that even the cheese lover herself wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole? I should have told them we were coming so they could prepare the goldfish crackers.

So I walked on with my cart, my cheese, and my inconsolable tiny dictator down the aisle to the milk that I buy four gallons at a time.

While Zoe continued to think I was just being a bitch about the cheese, I stood waiting for another mom to grab her own bulk milk. Her daughter, trying to figure out why she was thrashing about the cart, incredulously looked Zoe up and down.

This, my friends, was a bad idea. There she sat, sucking on her drink, smugly eating her snacks. Like a blonde, blue eyed instigator, staring at my child who already thought that the entire food related world was against her.

Let me tell you: Zoe has two older sisters. Also known as: She doesn’t take any shit.

“NO!” She screamed, pointing an accusatory finger at Blondie.

In stepped Gentle, Loving Intervention Mom (that’s me), “Zoe, calm down…she’s not doing anything to you. Oooh look at the pen! Want to play with Mommy’s phone? Here! Let’s –”


“Zoe! Stop that.”


I turned around just in time to see Blondie pulling her nasty, germ ridden, and probably forked tongue back into her mouth while simultaneously giving my daughter the stink eye.

Oh hell no she did not just do the preschool spit at my child. Sitting there nicely, shoving your good behavior in our faces while eating your delectable treats in front of my starving child wasn’t enough, huh?

As Zoe screamed more at the insult, I chucked my 2lb block of cheese at Blondie’s head and shook those adorable pigtails loose. In my mind.

I told Zoe to calm down as I made eye contact with Blondie’s mom (who was not a Blondie herself) and gave her my best “I’m a mom, you’re a mom, hey aren’t these kids just so silly???” look.

The woman looked right through me and pushed her cart on down the aisle. Her nose was so high in the air, I’m sure she could have gotten down that pallet of bottled water from the top shelf.

What the hell? I don’t know about you, but I expect a little camaraderie from moms with similar aged kids, especially when they do things that are so ridiculous and just plain little kid like. You may think less of me for having a child that points and screams NO at your child (which she learned from her sisters, but your kid did kind of have a creepy stare. Whatever), but at least I didn’t disregard her spitting at another adorable, albeit equally instigating little girl. And don’t tell me you didn’t hear it. Come on. I think the people over in the bulk electronics heard that, dear.

I finally made it to the snack area where I tore open a box of organic, all natural fruit leather faster than you can say “organic, all natural fruit leather” and handed it over to Zoe, who was wasting away before my very eyes. All was well, and she was able to turn the charm back on long enough for us to check out and book it to the car.

And who do I see loading up her bulk snobbery into her own car, parked right next to mine, but Blondie and her non Blondie mom, who of course still ignored me, but whatever. My child was happy again, and I was feeling friendly. Generous even. Maybe if I caught her eye I could give her another smile, mention how silly these darn kids are. I mean, what’s the point in harboring this hostility towards one another?

But then she took her cart, walked it a few feet, and parked it next to the curb, in the middle of the parking lot.

As I walked my cart back to that wacky and apparently invisible  “Cart Return,” I knew I had to let it go. It wasn’t meant to be. I now knew that she just plain lacked common decency.

And I may have stuck my tongue out at her as I drove past. In my mind.

*sigh* Charming the crowds is oh so exhausting and hunger inducing.

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That time you guys were all right

Something weird has happened lately. I’ve flipped my Twitter and Facebook usage.

Most non tweeters don’t understand Twitter, and you really won’t until you start to use it. And then you’ll get addicted. And then you’ll start to loath Facebook.

I like to say that Twitter is where people go to get real. We complain, we swear, we chat, we share, we boast occasionally, and we complain some more. And then Facebook starts to look really lame and full of people bragging about the things that make their life look perfect, while those of us on twitter fully admit that we’re merely jackasses disguised as semi responsible adults.


Meanwhile, over on Facebook, you see this:

facebook status update

Yay you.

Or this:

boring facebook status half marathon time

Congrats. I only have 3 more donuts to go until the end of this box. Who's awesome now?

Or even this:

boring facebook status update

You realize that 90% of your friends just gave your the good old eyeroll, right?

But that Mark Zuckerberg, he’s a crafty one, getting rid of all of the notification emails that gave me validation that someone cared about the jibberish spouting from my fingertips or the insanely cute picture I just uploaded of someone throwing a tantrum. Now I have to actually visit the damn site to do my business, and then I just get sucked in to everyone else’s mundaneness (mundanity? mundanosity? mundaneousness?).

In addition to Zuck’s genius, my beloved Tweetdeck was a little too hard on Pearl, my Mac, and I’ve been using Twitter web (gag) for the time being and feel like I am missing a lot and just don’t tend to spend much time there. I miss you Tweetdeck. Someone buy me a new Mac so I can see you again.

So I’ve been on Facebook a little more, and it’s proved to be very useful. If you know me well, you know that I hate making decisions. I like to pawn that stuff off on other people, like my husband. Or my dog even. Or social media.

I use it for important shopping related questions:

Facebook status update

16 comments and you guys were no. help. at. all.

Interior decorating advice:

facebook status update twin bunk beds

Y'all were torn on this one. But the consensus seemed to be twin beds. That maybe later turned into bunk beds. Naturally, I've done nothing.

But I really like to pawn my parental decision making off on you guys. Like this:

Costco facebook status update

The majority rule on this one was "HELL to the NO."

Or even this:

Facebook status update sick kids

Every single one of you here and on Twitter voted to send her. I love you.

Don’t go all thinking I don’t want to hang out with my kid. If she stayed home we could have done all the fun stuff that Rachel hates, like watch Tangled. But I PAY for Mother’s Day Out, and so they need to GO to Mother’s Day Out as many days as they possibly can. We go Monday/Wednesday, so we already miss all of those damn Monday holidays that I coveted when I worked at a financial institution. So let’s reserve staying home for head wounds or puking, mkay?

And then this:

Facebook status update sick kids

Again, I rely on the internets to tell me what to do.

We have this bad habit of going to the doctor for absolutely nothing, but staying home to ride out serious illnesses like the flu, making it to the doctor after the 48 hour window for Tamiflu has practically closed. That crap made my kids inSANE anyway, so I’m not sure I want to take that on again.

I also tend to see dollar signs whenever I do anything. We have a high deductible health care plan, meaning we hand over our first born for everything until we meet our deductible, no copays. So I tend to skirt the issue of going to the doctor unless it’s truly necessary. You know, like to use the potty.

Unfortunately I don’t know what necessary is. Thankfully you guys do, because later that day I was the proud owner of 1 nebulizer, 1 antibiotic, 24 doses of Albuterol, and 1 pneumonia diagnosis. She’s doing breathing treatments every few hours, or as she puts it, “Iss time to do my smoke!”

I think I’m actually going to teach her to say, “Iss time to get my smoke on!” so we could really look like parents of the year when she repeats it to her teacher?

So thank you, valiant, brave, and early morning Facebook and Twitter users who help me make those tough parenting and shopping decisions. When I’m out of milk and bread or when the rest of the class comes down with pneumonia too, at least I have back up.


PS: See that running related status up there? That’s from my good friend, who just completed a half marathon. She’s a badass, as are all of the others who did the race. My poking fun at her status is all in good fun. She has a right to be proud of herself.

PPS: You see all of those comments on my FB posts? Did you know you can also leave those comments on my fanpage? I know! So cool. Come on by! I like it when you talk to me.

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I was THAT mom. And that one. And that one.

I always hear women refer to themselves as “that mom.” Usually in a negative context and likely taking their impressions from behaviors they’ve seen in others that they don’t really wish to emulate. Like “I was that mom who had to drag my three kids kicking and screaming out of the library in the middle of story time and THEN I was that mom who yelled ferociously at them in the car because they ruined everything!”

Not that I would know. Ahem.

Being “that mom” doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Before Christmas there was a day when I was lucky enough to be several moms — moms that I had been before, and many I had not.


I was that mom who had her hands full out shopping by herself with two rambunctious 3.5 year olds. I know I had my hands full because at least 7 people stopped to tell me that.

Two minutes in I was that mom who threatened to “turn around and leave this store right now if you don’t put that back and stay with me!” …Target and your dollar section, I curse you. But also I kinda love you? It’s a complicated relationship.

I was that mom who bribed her kids with the opportunity to unshelve the entire toy section if they would just stay put and let her look at the kids’ shoes for 2 minutes please!

Yes, I was that mom whose voice everyone constantly heard calling out “Claaaaairrrrre! Raaachellllll!” Then in a frantic half-whisper because you don’t want to yell, but yeah you kinda really want to yell, “Get over here!!!” when the bribing didn’t work.

I was that mom who actually survived lunch in a busy restaurant with two 3.5 year olds. And actually got to eat. And actually enjoyed it.

And I was that mom who saw the couple next to her, juggling not even one year old twins, an older child, and all the gear that comes with and yearned to tell them that it gets easier.

But instead I was that mom who smiled but held her tongue because really? It doesn’t get that much easier. It just gets different. Less crap to carry, more crap to deal with, really.

And for a moment I was that mom who kind of liked being someone’s “See? It won’t always be this hard.”

Then I was that mom who dragged her kids to another store with no cart in which to put them, and prayed that they wouldn’t disappear or break anything.

And yeah, I was that mom who yawned and tweeted on her phone while her kids were engrossed in God knows what.

But then I was that mom who had to go back into that store after her kids were half buckled in their seats because she had that kid who insisted on taking that stuffed puppy into the store and promptly abandoned him in favor of that shiny Lightening McQueen display.

I was that mom who had to drag her kids out of the store because apparently they thought we came back in to play with more toys.

I was that mom who went home frustrated because I was that mom who waited until the last minute to try and find simple black dress shoes for her kids at Christmas time. But in that mom’s defense, getting out and going shopping isn’t the easiest or most enticing thing to do with three kids, especially during the holidays.

But I was that mom who braved the ridiculous holiday shopping with her two crazy girls, had a fantastic lunch, didn’t lose any kids, and lived to tell about it. And actually enjoyed it.

If by enjoy you mean “I only went 2 places but damn I feel like we ran all over town because I am freaking exhausted.”

So then I was that mom who put on a Strawberry Shortcake DVD so she could put her feet up a while.

Did I find any shoes? No. So I may be that mom who sends her kids to school in their Christmas best with their dingy old Stride Rites on their feet.*

What mom are you?

*After coming home, taking a break from shopping, and recharging our batteries, we piled everyone back into the car for a family shoe seeking excursion. And found shoes at the first place I ran into. No one else even got out of the car. What. The. Hell.

eating out with twins chipotle

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The Ultimate House Cleaning Checklist

I wonder…Are you one of those people who has it together enough to clean your house every day? Or do you feel like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle?

Wonder Friend

Today I’m honored to be featured over at Wonder, Friend. Missy just revealed her shiny new site design and a new guest posting series, and I am ecstatic that she asked me to be her first. Guest poster, that is.

Missy is one of those writers with whom so many of us can identify, because she’s so real, honest, and has the dry sense of humor that I absolutely love. I think we must be a little like long lost blog mates, because it seems like everything she writes is so in tune with what I’m currently thinking or feeling. Often I think I could have written her posts myself. Only not as well. And bonus? I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with her, like multiple times, and well, I just plain adore her.

Now that I’ve gushed over her enough, head on over to Wonder, Friend and read all about my Ultimate House Cleaning Checklist.

 What the what? Comments are closed here so you can spend your time at Wonder, Friend! Don’t be shy!


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On the separation issue

When I entered the girls’ MDO to drop off some books for their Christmas book exchange later that day, the director caught me in the hallway.

“Can I run something by you real quick?”

“Sure,” I answered, feeling much less apprehensive than the last time she asked to talk to me. The girls have been doing well in school, they love their teacher, and no one’s come home with any notes pinned to their shirts informing me that they gave little Billy their best left hook. I mean, I don’t even think either of them is left handed, much to my dismay.

“The other day…when you brought them to school separately,” she started, referencing one day in which Claire stayed home sick and another in which Rachel was throwing the tantrum of the century and I had no choice but to leave her home with her father while I took Claire to school, “…they’re really different when they’re not together!”

I nodded in agreement and told her that yes, I do notice the difference when I have one without the other, and honestly, I was thrilled that the school noticed. It doesn’t happen often, but taking them on separate errands is one of my favorite things to do. Each one of them flourishes as her own person, talking to me, and paying attention to her surroundings instead of her sister. She has me all to herself and lets me further into that vibrant personality that I know is there, but is so often masked by the “unit” that is a set of identical twins.

As a twin parent, I love seeing that their teacher can distinguish between the two of them, not just by what they’re wearing, but by the small nuances in their looks and the vast differences in their personalities.

And I knew what she was going to say next.

“What would you think about putting them in separate classes?”

I fumbled for an answer to bury the “Whatchoo talking ’bout, Willis!” that immediately tried to escape my lips. I knew she must have valid reasons, and I prayed that those reasons didn’t involve fist fulls of hair my girls were pulling out of each other.

The issue with my girls is that they do just about everything together. They sleep in the same room. They wake up together, eat meals together, play together, bathe together, and now they go to school together. Even when they’re not getting along, I can’t get them to give each other some space and engage in separate activities. They always want to do what the other is doing, and they’re so comfortable with one another that they have absolutely no qualms about fighting, taking toys, or stabbing each other in the eye with a crayon.

But that wasn’t the issue here. Although she told me that they do fight occasionally, the problem is that they often have trouble transitioning from play time to learning time, which isn’t that hard to deal with when it’s just one kid. But in their case, Rachel might stall sitting in the circle by pulling out toys or abandon an art project in favor of riffling through the cabinets, and then Claire is often tempted to do the same. So instead of having to coax one child back into the activity, the teacher and her aide are wrangling both of them.

Welcome to my world. Here let me thrown in a 23 month old so you can really get a feel for it. Ahem.

The director explained that she felt each girl would really flourish individually not having her sister to distract her. Instead of modeling each other’s behavior, they would start to model that of the other kids. (The ones who actually do what they’re told, I presume.) “Just a thought,” she said, and encouraged me to talk it over with Christian.

Man, few things will make you feel like a bad mom more than a suggestion from your kid’s teacher, director, or principal. Over the (agonizingly long) Christmas break I emailed some questions to their teacher. She told me that yes, they fight, but not every day. Sometimes they get physical with each other, but never the other children (whew!). They play together in class, but don’t shut out other kids, and on the playground they usually go off and do their own separate thing. She explained that Rachel started out as more boisterous than Claire, but recently Claire has been doing her share of swiping toys, hitting, or pulling hair, again just between the two of them, thankfully. But the main issue seems to be that they are a distraction to each other. And this is where she and the director feel that they would benefit being apart, so they can model the other children as opposed to each other.

And I know she’s right. I know that Rachel and Claire can seem like completely different kids, in a good way, when without their other half. I know that their behavior, good and bad, is often led by one of them. I know they would benefit from time apart. I actually complain that they need time apart, and school is the only chance for them to really get it on a regular basis.

And yet still I hesitate. My first instinct is to say, “No. Keep them together.” But why? Why, when I know this will be a good thing for them, do I resist it?

There’s just this thing with twins that makes us think that they need to be together. They’re a set, a unit, both in our minds and in front of our eyes, we often fear that we’re taking something away from them by splitting them up, even for a few hours a day, when in reality, we could be doing them a disservice by insisting that they stay together.

I know several twin moms who have separated their kids in school, and many who have chosen to keep them together. Here in Texas, the parent gets the final word on whether or not to separate. Maybe one twin willingly takes a backseat to the other, so separation will help him come out of his shell and build his confidence. Maybe the twins fight constantly, and separate classes give them a much needed break from each other, along with the satisfaction of having their own friends and teachers. Or maybe one twin relies heavily on the other, and separating them at this point would be truly traumatic for him. We fall in none of these categories, meaning I needed to rely on my mom instincts, which I often admit I am mostly without.

When they were babies, Claire was the leader, the front runner, the spunky, outgoing one, while Rachel was the quiet, shy, sensitive one. In the past year that’s changed. Rachel talks to every single person she sees, asking them what they’re doing, where they’re going, and whether or not they have to go potty. She’s gained a bit of confidence and no longer relents to what Claire wants to do all the time. She doesn’t give in as willingly anymore. On the other hand, Claire’s turned inwards a bit. She’s still a feisty, fun loving kid, but she no longer dominates play time like she used to. Her mood and emotions are determined largely in part by whether or not she’s getting along with Rachel. Now she’s the one who hides her face in my leg when among strangers, and she’s the one that often misses her sister more when they’re apart.

In separating them, I worried that they would miss each other, that one of them would have to leave her comfortable surroundings and acclimate to a new class, new teacher, new room. In keeping them together, I worried about the strain it would place on the teacher and the class aide. I was afraid that they would be burdened by having to focus on my girls so much. My good friend Vanessa, twin mom to boys 4 days older than my girls, assured me that I was raising strong willed and confident girls who would each do well in their own environment if I chose to separate them. My good friend Reba, an elementary school assistant principal, spoke from an administrative standpoint. She reminded me, “This is their job. This is what they are paid to do. Don’t worry about them. If you want your girls together, keep them together, that’s all there is to it.”

I had three long weeks to weigh my options, but from the get go I knew what I was going to do. I knew separating them would have its benefits, that they would still have plenty of togetherness at home, and that a separation could even encourage them to appreciate that togetherness. Yet a part of me was still sad. They’ve already changed classes once this year. They both absolutely adore their teacher. But mainly…well, I’m just not ready. Again, just like last time, it’s me, not them.

I’m not ready to separate them. I want them together. They’re little, only three. They’re each other’s best friend (and worst enemy, but we’ll stick with friend for now). They have plenty of years to follow their own distinct paths, and that may very well begin next fall if I grow some balls. But this year, their first year at school, they’re together. And I need to know that they’re there for each other. Even if it’s just for confidence’s sake. Even if it’s just to have someone to play cars with. Even if it is just to take each other’s toys.

The comforts of home, right?

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Is motherhood really the hardest job on the planet?

Christian’s all crazy about this new comedy station on the radio, and heard the following clip on his way home from work. Give it a watch; it’s pretty funny.

So at dinner he asked, “Do you think that being a mom is the hardest job in the world?”

I scrunched up my face. “Mmmmm…not really,” I said. “It’s pretty difficult a lot of times, but I definitely think there are harder jobs out there. It’s all relative.”

“Like what?” Obviously he’s humoring me, because even he admittedly doesn’t completely get the struggles of being a stay at home parent. “Any job you can do in your pajamas can’t be that hard,” he quotes the comedian. Ah, my husband. Always the jokester.

But is motherhood really he hardest job on the planet? Or is that just something we say to make ourselves feel like martyrs for not earning an income, sporting yoga pants day after day, or not having showered since…uh….yeah.

The truth is, there are harder jobs. Brain surgery comes to mind. A social worker who has to witness the injustices that some children are forced to endure. Right hand man to the President. Or how about being the President? I wouldn’t want any of those jobs {but I will take Derrick Shephard’s income, thankyouverymuch.}

Those people are trained in those fields. There’s no training for motherhood. We have to wing it most of the time. How about Dr. So and So coming in, toting, “Hey, I’m gonna take care of that aneurysm for you today! My training? Well, about 9 months ago I decided I wanted to be a brain surgeon, and, well, here I am!” Not so much.

Some jobs are physically grueling. Others are emotionally draining. Motherhood happens to be a lot of both, depending on the day, the mom, and a multitude of surrounding factors. Each mother’s experience is different from the mother sitting next to her at the bouncy house.

My days with three children that are so young can be quite difficult. But that’s difficult TO ME. I have days when the constant whining, crying, fighting, and neediness make me want to scratch my eyeballs out with my jagged fingernails. But I don’t have children with special healthcare needs or disabilities. I haven’t felt the crushing weight of PPD or PPA like so many others. I’m not a single parent. It seems selfish of me to complain that my days are so difficult when there are others who have more hardships than I do.

What one person struggles with, another seems to do with ease. Some working moms don’t see how stay at home moms do it, being around their children all day every day, barely getting five minutes to themselves to eat lunch or even shower. Others envy the fantasy of staying in their pajamas all day, playing tea party or hide and seek, or heading out for fun errands that the workday doesn’t allow.

For the most part, though, they’re both wrong. And they’re both right. Some days are easier than others. Some are pure hell. It changes almost daily,

When Zoe was a baby and Rachel and Claire had barely turned two, I thought I was going to die. I was so tired from multiple night nursing sessions, alternating naps, and just not having enough hands to accommodate everyone. It never failed that right when I sat the big girls down for lunch, the baby would wake and need to be fed right then. I distinctly remember simultaneously nursing Zoe and cutting up orange slices for her sisters. Day after day my back ached from carrying around a crying infant while two toddlers yanked at my pajama pants, begging for my attention that was so hard to split three ways. It was unequivocally the hardest year of my life.

But it got easier. We found our groove. I now have three girls who still need me a lot, but are pretty self sufficient for their ages. They may throw ridiculous hissy fits over the color of their spoon, but they can tell me how they’re feeling or what they’re wanting for the most part.

I get to play dinosaurs, princesses, play doh, and hide and seek. We spend time outside playing catch or swinging. And yes, sometimes I do stay in my pajamas all day. Don’t tell my husband though, because sometimes I change 30 minutes before he comes home so he doesn’t think I’ve just been in my pajamas all day.

But sometimes I don’t want to play dolls or build with blocks or do crafts. Some days I don’t want to be responsible for teaching them. Sometimes I want to shut them out and do something for me. Sometimes being able to go to a job just to get out of the house looks mighty enticing. Although at my last job I couldn’t send my employees to time out when they screwed up or acted like idiots.

There really is no concrete manual to being a parent. There’s a higher, more complicated level that most jobs don’t have. The hard part isn’t the lack of free time or the scraping dried applesauce off the windows. It’s not the employees who are always knocking on your door begging for more juice. No, the hard part is worrying about their safety and well being, figuring out what’s best for their individual needs, and deciphering whether or not you’re scarring them for life by letting them watch Cars every day.

I admittedly suck at a lot of aspects of parenting. I don’t know how to handle a lot of disciplinary situations with my three very different kids. I stumble through what probably are very important teaching moments. I don’t always know what to say. I turn on the TV when I need a break, mental or physical.

I’ve ended days in a crumpled heap or wrapped in my husband’s arms, sure I failed my children because they defied me to the point of insanity, I was too distracted by my to do list, or I just didn’t feel like parenting that day. The good thing is that I get a second chance to do it all again right the next day. The bad thing is that I have to do it all again the next day.

Is parenting a difficult job? Absolutely. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting at times. Some more than others. But is motherhood really the hardest job in the world? Probably not. Is it the most important job? Definitely. Do mothers {and fathers!} deserve tons of credit for raising tiny humans into what we hope become kind and responsible adults? Of course. Do we sometimes not get that respect, especially from said tiny humans who scream at us and throw yogurt on our newly mopped floors? You bet.

But at the end of the day, even though I was never the girl who cherished her dolls and said, “I just want to be a MOMMY!” I still love being here with them.

Well, I like it.

Ok, let’s just leave it at “I’m gonna do it again tomorrow.”

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New Years…when you’re a parent

When you have kids, New Year’s takes on an entirely different meaning.

Correction: When you have kids, New Year’s takes on an entirely different meaning unless you’re on of those lucky bastards who has a nanny, baby sitter, or selfless family members in town willing to sit with your kids all night and maybe even get up with them in the morning so you can sleep off the previous night’s bender.

When you’re a parent, you’ll look forward to a pajama party with good friends, where everyone wears silly Happy New Year hats and watches their kids destroy someone else’s house for a change.

You’ll {gasp!} abandon your drink in favor of an intervention of what could have been a fatal blow to the head from a plastic golf club.

You’ll start chugging water the instant you feel a slight buzz, remembering that dastardly Halloween party you went to, the 7am wake up call that your kids gave you, and the splitting headache that accompanied it.

Your kids will rue the day that they distracted you from getting a second piece of sopapilla cheesecake, the jerks.

Your thighs will thank your kids for distracting you.

So will your scale.

You’ll carefully weight the options of taking your kids home because they’re getting cranky and rambunctious, or ignoring their obvious cues of fatigue, grabbing another beer, and shouting, “WHO WANTS TO WATCH CARS???”

“Pajama jeans” will be added to your 2012 Christmas list.

You’ll get super irritated at your drunk and insanely chatty spouse on the drive home. Because remember, you were the one chugging all the water?

You’ll go to bed before midnight.

But you won’t go to sleep because outside your window it sounds like the Battle of Stalingrad what with all of the fireworks the a-hole neighbors are setting off up and down the street.

You’ll welcome a sleepy three year old into your bed when she wakes up sad.

You’ll breath a sigh of relief when she asks to return to her own bed.

Actually, scratch that. You’re not really breathing at all because you live in Austin and it’s cedar season. So you get up at 4am to take an allergy pill and lay in bed waiting for it to take effect, wondering if one can actually function on 2 hours of collective sleep.

You’ll bring a sweet little 21 month old to bed for snuggles at “it’s too early” o’clock, then shamelessly distract her with an iPhone game so you can catch a few more Zs.

You’ll marvel at the numbers 8, 4, and 5 on your clock when you realize the other children have just woken up. You now believe in miracles.

You’ll stand in the middle of your kitchen, one kid in your arms, one tugging at your pajama pants, and shriek “Happy freakin new year!!!!” only to be drowned out by all of the screaming of hungry and cranky children.

Amidst the screaming you’ll wonder where in the world that third child got off to.

You’ll get to make memories like these:

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