Common Excuses My Kids Use to Avoid Sleep

In my house we have a special kind of song and dance at bed time because I have multiple kids sleeping (in their own beds) in one room. I have mastered how to stagger bedtimes so that they each go to sleep on their own, in chronological order.. but on nights where their bedtime refusal game is strong, it screws with my whole system, and we all hit demon mode in the end. I say a little hymn every night before I start this ritual, but some nights…. we had no fighting chance to begin with. And they have their arsenal of reasons why going to sleep was inevitable from the beginning.

1. Someone saw a shadow, and now there is a monster in their room

They are moving around, sitting up and talking to their siblings and now they have caught a glimpse of their own shadow and have convinced themselves that someone, or (usually) the more chilling version that some THING is in their room. Trying to show kids how a shadow works when you’re running on fumes is something for science, not tired moms.

2. I can’t put on my BLANKETS!!!

The same blankets I expertly placed and smoothed and tucked onto your tiny body before I left the room? THOSE BLANKETS? Someone find

me the nail gun so I can make sure this atrocity doesn’t happen again.

3. Ummmm, MAHMMM, my doll needs blankets too!!!

FFS.

4. The ice in my water melted, so naturally I can’t drink it now

My kids have this weird fetish with ice water, but only at bedtime. Throughout the day, cold water from the tap will do just fine for their sophisticated palates. At bedtime, however, water must be precisely the correct temperature with the exact ice cube count for them to be satisfied. And, God forbid, the ice melts just a SMIDGE and all hell breaks loose.

5. Someone is talking to me in the monitor

yeah – it’s ME. Telling you to lay down and GO TO SLEEP. {eyeroll}

6. I forgot to tell you that next year, on my birthday, I want to have cupcakes instead of cake.

I know birthdays are exciting, but seriously? Yours isn’t for 9 more months, kid. And therefore, not even on my radar. My mind races at night with all things I need to do too. Is this what it looks like inside a child’s brain on it’s way to sleep? Birthday, cake, ice cream, shadows, puppies, Legos, YouTube, ponies, baseball, homework, ABCD…., birthday, blankets, princesses, water, birthday, cake…….

7. It’s really important that this night in April we discuss my future Halloween Costume

See #5. I believe this applies. And, let’s be honest, you’ll change your mind 20 more times before October rolls around. That’s why I don’t have the luxury of getting my Christmas shopping done early. Because if I did, you would turn your nose up at half of your presents because they aren’t “cool” anymore.

8. I need to explain to you in detail the reason why two weeks ago, on Tuesday, I peed in my pants (or got sick, or spit milk out of my nose)

Something “traumatizing” happened and now my poor kid has been trying to figure out why for weeks. I can honestly say, this one is my fault. I over obsess when I do something stupid and embarrassing. Sorry, kid. You inherited this self-reflection and need to replay the moment over and over, from me. I wish I could say it gets better… but it doesn’t. And the embarrassing things you do, only get more awkward and unforgettable (For you. The good news is, everyone else you’re worried about remembering already forgot).

9. There was a tooth fairy sighting, and we are scared

I can’t even make this shit up. This happened. Twice. Next time I see the tooth fairy, we are going to have words.

And the ever-famous….

10. But I’m not tireeedddd….

 

Every mom has a list like this. It’s unique to your children’s choice of excuses on a given night, but you have one. Because all kids look for every excuse in the world to get out of going to bed at night, while we moms are praying to the Gods of Sleep that today is the day they all magically drift off without a production at bedtime. Because WE are exhausted. We are DYING to go to sleep. We’ve been thinking about it all day.

It’s been our oasis through the long, hot, and sometimes lonely,  hike of the day: cleaning up after them, breaking up toddler fist fights, and sitting through episodes on YouTube where grown adults sit and open up plastic eggs with the tiny toys we never want in our house. We’ve licked every wound, washed every dirty hand, wiped every butt, cleaned and re-cleaned every room in the house.

We’ve made it to the top of the greatest mountain known to mom, the one that takes hours and hours of prep and even more time to conquer…. we did the laundry. And now, we just want to slip into the endless abyss of nothingness until around 1 or 2 am when the middle of the night shit show starts because someone woke up with one leg out of their blanket. But we can’t. Because our kids won’t JUST GO TO SLEEP.

 

Until next time… be the mom that gets some sleep. You deserve it.

 

MomTransparenting

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Father’s Day is Different for Us.

Years ago I went through a divorce that changed my family completely. Not only did we separate to different homes but eventually my kids’ dad lost his rights and ability to share in their lives and because of that it’s been years since they’ve seen him.

Most days, this is our “norm.” They have gotten used to how our family has changed and what our dynamic has become without their dad as someone to rely on, confide in or spend time with. Most days, it seems as if they have done their processing of this and have moved on to acceptance. This is our family now. It’s different and that’s ok.

Then days like Father’s Day come around and my kids get thrown into a day of mourning. They are reminded of all of the parts of a family that they used to have but no longer do. They spend the day sullen and wondering where he is, what he is doing, and if he is thinking of them, too. They pull out piles of paper and crayons, glitter and tape and construct some homemade, heartfelt cards in hopes that one day, soon, they may see him again and be able to show him that on days like this, they were thinking of him.

But the cards sit in a corner in the living room. Days pass, and then months. And eventually, once I know that they have moved on from the hurt of that day, I package them up and put them into a box in the attic with the rest of their hand printed and misspelled cards made out to their dad with care. So they know that they can retrieve them whenever the time comes … if ever the time does come.

Am I doing my kids a disservice by allowing them to create these shows of affection for a man who hasn’t bothered to call or write in over a year? Who hasn’t seen their faces in so long that they’ve had 5 birthday’s between them that he hasn’t been a part of? A man who doesn’t even know that one of our children has completely transformed from the female gender he was assigned at birth into a little boy, because he’s since come out as transgender. He hasn’t seen my youngest do a perfect cartwheel or my oldest pitch a no-hitter. He doesn’t even know what team they are on or what sports they play. He isn’t aware that my oldest is “gifted,” my middle is struggling, my youngest is affectionate and sweet. He doesn’t KNOW any of these things and yet they still want to share these days dedicated to him WITH him because, he’s their dad.

I don’t know what’s “right” in this situation. I never anticipated that when I celebrated our first Father’s Day as a family that one day this day would be just the opposite of a day of celebration, but more of a yearly remembrance and memorial service for the life they’ve lost. I hadn’t expected on our very first Father’s Day that this person my first child and I were honoring as a beacon in our family would one day be totally removed from us and living a different life. One that was completely separate from ours.

I wasn’t prepared for the first Father’s Day without him. I didn’t expect my young kids to feel compelled to put their hurt aside, break out the crayons, and open their hearts so deeply despite every pain they felt. I wouldn’t have imagined they would have been so thoughtful and proud to take time out of their day to create a loving gestures for someone that seemed to not give them the same consideration and time in return.

But, after our years of experiencing this day together, I know now that come Sunday while we celebrate with my dad, the one who has become like a stand-in for the dad they once knew, my kids will ask me to make their dad a card. Cards that will end up in the corner of my living room. Cards and pictures that will be filled with hand prints and glitter, with little hearts and their names adoringly scribbled on all sides with the words “I love you” plastered on the front. Cards that will end up curled up around the edges and withered with age and stains before enough time has passed that I can safely package them up into a bin in the attic with the rest.

I wasn’t prepared for the first one, but this time I’m ready with extra markers… and glitter.

 

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Some Days I Hate Being A Mom. And I’m Not Afraid To Admit It.

Let’s stop pretending like parenthood is all unicorns and rainbows, ok? There are great days. FANTASTIC days, sure. But there are other days that I feel like an imposter. Like I am living someone else’s life. As if I have no clue what I am doing and it’s only a matter of time that someone finds me out and I am exposed. But why do I feel that way? Because some days… I am not a huge fan of being a mom. Some days I sit and day dream about what my life might be like right now if I hadn’t had kids.

I wonder what kind of home I would have with clean carpet and marker-less walls. What kind of car I would drive that isn’t filled with cracker crumbs and car seats? I think about what career I would have, what kind of hobbies I would have taken up. What I would do with my time if I didn’t have baseball, soccer, karate, gymnastics, school events and scout meetings every night of the week?

I consider what kind of wardrobe I would own if I wasn’t concerned every morning about what food would get whipped at me by tiny hands and find its way plastered onto my shirt by lunch. I think about if I would be caught up on my favorite shows, if my pets would get more attention. Would I feel less tired? Would I have more time to go to the gym or would I eat healthier if I didn’t pick leftover chicken dinosaurs or macaroni and cheese off my kids plates every night?

What would my stress level be like if I didn’t have to fight irrational tiny humans every day to brush their teeth, go to sleep, put their coat or socks on or do their homework. I question if I would have gray hair and crows feet; dark circles and under eye bags. Would those have shown up years or even a DECADE later if I didn’t have kids?

I day dream about my trips to Europe, my girls nights that would be followed up by a day spent on a date with my couch ordering takeout and binge watching Netflix. Without any interruptions to wipe someone’s butt, clean up someone’s spilled milk or kiss a boo boo.

I ponder these things on my bad days and wonder what kind of life I would have had, if I had chosen not to have kids.

And then, something happens. Usually something small. My daughter will smile. Or my son will bring me a portrait he drew of just the two of us. My oldest will hand over a test he scored 100% on that we studied for together for hours last week. And suddenly, I am catapulted back into reality and it’s GOOD. I look around at my stained carpet, my sticky table, the blind my kid broke when he threw a basketball in the house and the sink filled to the brim with dirty sippy cups and I. AM. HAPPY.

I might have my moments where I wonder if I’m cut out for this parenting thing. If I had done things differently, if I wouldn’t be in the financial situation I’m in or if I might have planned better if I wouldn’t have soooo many consecutive years of sleepless nights under my belt. But they are fleeting moments. I can honestly say there are some days that I absolutely HATE being a mom. But I don’t hate the wet, sloppy kisses. I don’t hate the sweet and high pitched “I love you, mommy”s or the tiny arms wrapped around my neck for a hug. I adore their chubby little fingers and their stinky feet. When they fall asleep and are covered in a layer of sweat and drool, I don’t hate that.

I might hate seeing the sunrise every morning, especially when I was up at 12:30, 2:15, 4:45 AND 5 am. But I don’t mind all of the extra cuddles I was lucky enough to soak up during the times of the night when my child was sleepy and affectionate.

Laundry, dishes, and vacuuming are not my favorite chores, but making my child’s favorite meal, finding a special outfit for their big day at school, or cleaning up after a day of making cookies with my three favorite people makes it a little less terrible.

I might not have the fancy car or the plush couch. I may have a bank account that lingers around a balance of three figures on a GOOD day, but I get to spend my days watching personalities grow. I get to witness wonder, reasoning, and the development of logic and love. I am sitting front row to a live show that involves three beings I created as the main characters. And it’s kind of amazing.

My days might be long and arduous but the bad is sugar coated in kisses and sweet scents and the good, the good is just so damn good.

I miss regular “self-care”, hanging out with friends, traveling to places with more adult beverages than costumed princesses and I miss high heels but, honestly, life is a hell of a lot more comfortable with unshaved legs in yoga pants anyways.

So, sure. There are days that I hate being a mom. But that doesn’t mean that I would trade those days in for anything else. Even on the days I hate being a mom, I still love my job, I love my kids, and I am honored to be the one that they call “mom” in the first place. 

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Our “First” Family Photos

When my son socially transitioned so many things changed. His appearance, his pronouns, his past. After a playdate where he was exposed in a raw, unexpected way, he didn’t want friends to come over and see pictures of him “dressed like a girl” again.

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So he asked me to take down all of our old photos. Years of memories, family events, holidays, birthdays and school concerts. Any proof of our past that included him were essentially erased from our home. At his request. And as much as it pained me, I’ve said from the beginning I wanted nothing more than to be supportive, accepting, and to show him that even if I make mistakes along the way I will always LOVE and respect him no matter what. 

That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss having the memories hung on the wall. The cute photos I had of him as a toddler (albeit in a dress). But, I also understand that for him those photos can be hurtful.

They can be reminders of a life lived as someone else.

Someone who didn’t make him feel as his true self. And because of that, I had to stuff the old photos away in a box and not look back.

When I first started sharing our story I was contacted by a photographer. One who graciously offers to take new photos of families when their children have transitioned to give them a replacement to all of their old family memories hanging on the wall. She does this as a way to show support to the trans community, support to the individuals, and support to the families.

One thing I wouldn’t have thought of in the beginning was to schedule sessions with photographers to replace all of our framed possessions, but I didn’t have to think about this one. Someone is out there doing that part for us, and she’s amazing.

We made the day special. I let him bring any extra outfits of his choice, and he chose a mustache. (Of course he did!) She took care to make sure to get some extra special shots of him, and him alone. As well as countless family and sibling photos to replace the precious memories I had hanging on the walls of our home.

She knew this day was important to us and spent time to make sure the final product was just perfect. A worthy replacement. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

Being a single mom, I don’t often spring for family photos. Any pictures of my family happen to be spin-off of a larger family event. Weddings, parties, something (honestly) not on my dime, because I simply can’t afford luxuries like professional photography.

Many of my “family portraits” were taken with a timer while I was desperately trying to scurry my way into the frame before it was too late.  And even then, it takes far too long (and too many) to get one good shot that I can consider even shareable, better yet frame worthy.

I met an entire community of people when my son came out as trans to me. One that welcomed me with open arms and showed me support when I needed it most. They became and extention of my family and I share some of our biggest hurdles, and biggest wins with them. Our first “family photo” included. 

If you have a child that transitioned, I HIGHLY recommend taking the time, spending the money, putting forth the effort to replace the old photos you can no longer gush over.

It’s well worth it and I couldn’t be more appreciative to have been able to do this for my incredible son. They turned out perfect and so did he, in every way. 

Find Our Astounding Photographer On Facebook Here: Painted Leaf Photography

(I was not paid for this endorsement, this is not a sponsored post. I think what this photographer is doing is amazing and  abundantly supportive of the trans community and I wanted to share our experience as a family, but in no way was asked to)

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If you’re looking for more trans youth related stories of mine please check these out: 

The Day I Told Someone I Have Two Girls And A Boy, And My Son Was Devastated

My Son’s First Haircut, A Rite Of Passage

My 5 Year Old Is Transgender And I Don’t Want Your Advice

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DIY Self-Care Techniques To Decompress After The Holidays

Nothing says “I’m ready for a New Year” like a string of holiday festivities spent with the people in your life you had zero control in choosing, and even less desire to spend that much time with.

Between the creepy relatives, overindulgence of pie and alcohol, and your kids spending weeks being gushed over like they are part of the royal family, everyone in the house needs a serious sage detox before it’s too late.

If you’ve made it through Christmas you’re probably looking at your tree now barren of gifts and wondering how the fuck you manage to do this year after year without committing yourself.

Your bank account is empty, your stockings are ripped down from their expertly placed hook and now strewn on the floor like the rest of the abandoned socks in your house, and the Christmas tree is dropping pine needles like your kids drop crumbs of food on your freshly vacuumed carpet.

You NEED. A. BREAK.

Since it’s still the season of below freezing temps and frostbite, no one wants to leave the house anyway. Here are some solid ways you can get your energy and self-esteem back right in the comfort of your very own home:

Create an In-Home Spa Sanctuary– The first thing you’ll want to do is really set the scene for healing. Any space can be transformed for optimal soul rejuvenation with the right tools. Establish aromatherapy by collecting your most soothing essential oils (or just your favorite hairspray will do) and spritz the area to create a fragrance of something other than dirty underwear and soggy dog. You can lather yourself in lavender body lotion for added calming effects, but if you don’t have that, Aveeno can have remarkable therapeutic effects.

You probably don’t keep candles in your house anymore, because, kids. So just take your kids’ iPad and drape your most used towel with the worn thread count over it to create an ambiance of mood lighting to help get your mind right. You can really amp up the tranquil atmosphere in your home by adding some plush robes and fancy tea to this relaxation ritual. But since you’re a mom now, you already know you can’t have nice things, instead throw on one of your husband’s over-sized t-shirts and reheat your coffee in the microwave. Let’s get this party started.

Massage – I know, you’re thinking I’ll never have the time. But, alas, you birthed the essential tool to complete this spa staple. I’m sure you’ve heard of cupping and hot stone massages, but have you ever tried tiny feet shoved into the small of your back while you’re trying to relax on the couch? It really loosens the joints and muscles allowing for optimal rejuvenation and removal of those nasty toxins. Your kids will likely not even need to complete a lesson on how to effectively apply desired pressure during this technique, but just in case, maybe you should kick them first so they get a thorough demonstration? It will aid in your overall wellness goal.

Facial Masks – Yogurt masks are a thing. Whether or not they are supposed to come straight out of your refrigerator is another story, but hey… minor details we can overlook. I find GoGurts work well for this because they have a sweet taste and a delightful color. Just take the whole tube and spread that sucker all over your face canvas. It’s cool and refreshing straight out of your refrigerator and if it gets on the furniture, you can assume there was already a spread of some food there before you got there. If you can’t beat em, join em?

Mani/Pedi – This one is tricky, but it’s definitely doable. Get your least favorite towel and the LIGHTEST shade you can find and announce to your toddler it’s time to play “nails”. She will jump all over the chance to reenact her favorite YouTube videos of grown adults playing with toys and talking in baby voices. If you’re really brave, you can let her do your fingers too. It buys you another three minutes to “relax” while she paints your entire hand in an overwhelming scent of shimmery chemicals that will take an entire bottle of acetone to remove. But hey, self-care is important, right?

Take a bath – You have two options here. You can either opt to knowingly allow your kids to destroy your house while you lock yourself in the bathroom with threats of decades-long grounding if they even THINK about bothering you (someone BETTER BE BLEEDING!). Or, you can go the more conservative route and slap your bathing suit onto your still detoxing post-holiday pie body and round up the little monsters for a family bath. The kids will think it’s a blast while you sit and enjoy a lukewarm tub filled with bubblegum flavored bath bombs and your child’s urine. Be extra efficient and apply your GoGurt bath just before you embark on this endeavor. That way you effectively wash it off while your kids splash water all over your bathroom floor with your tears.

Getting through the holidays can be B.R.U.T.A.L. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to recharge your mind and body and start the New Year off with a soul rejuvenating BANG. Everyday household items can be easily transformed to spa tranquility staples with just a few simple steps. Make it a “fun for the whole family” kind of event and get the kids involved in this DIY dumpster fire and before you know it your house will be filled with yogurt, bubbles, and nail polish just like any other day of the week. Except for this time, you’ll have lavender scented skin and iPad induced mood lighting to push through. And think of all the money you’ll save by dishing out your very own sanity instead! You’ll be wondering why you don’t do the home spa thang more often! 

And keep in mind, if all else fails, there’s always Benedryl. And wine. 

Nama-stay home, you got this! 

 

If you enjoyed this check out some of my other humor pieces here:

2018’s Hot Toys Guide For (Sarcastic) Parents

So Many Parts Of Parenting I Did NOT See Coming

5 Things I Learned About Dating Apps – A Cautionary Tale

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Mom Transparenting

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