2013 Parenting:

6 a.m. Wake-up

6:17  Hit snooze for the second time

6:30 Get up, make bed, let the dog out, make the coffee, wake the kids

6:36 Scream upstairs “If you don’t get out of bed now you’re going to be late and miss the bus! And I do NOT want to drag everybody out of the house just to drive you to school!”

6:45 Pour the cereal. Pretend it’s nutritious. Deliver silent self-lecture on how eating cereal with milk is no worse, and probably way-better, than something totally unhealthy like Toaster Strudel. Give the kids vitamins as a back up measure. Remind self to buy kid version of fish oil to add to their regimen.

7 – 7:37 Walk in circles around the living room, alternately yelling at kids to “hurry up!” and “put on your shoes!” Add in three extra laps while trying to remember what I was walking to get in the first place.

7:38. Crap. Totally forgot to let the dog back in. He’s not in the yard. Must have jumped the fence. Again.

7:47 Walk with kids to the bus stop, two minutes late. Again. Spy the dog in the distance, running in circles on a neighbor’s lawn. Reason that he must have learned that trick from me. Debate whether to a) go with the kids to get the dog and risk missing the bus; b) leave some or all the kids at the bus stop and run for the dog, risking them being kidnapped or hit by a car(s); or c) wait for the bus and hope the dog stays put or finds his own way home. Opt for c. He doesn’t stay put. Silently hope that he doesn’t find his own way home.

8 Turn on “Oscar’s Oasis” for the preschooler and put the baby in her “cage”. Turn on my computer and check Facebook. Recall that once upon a time I had dreams and goals but am too tired to remember them, much less care. Play “Gems with Friends” on my phone instead.

8:12 Notice that I have 43 emails alerting me to LinkedIn connections and endorsements. Vow to figure out how LinkedIn works. Tomorrow. Perhaps that’s the key to making this work-at-home thing profitable.

8:17 Read an article about how tween girls are bullying each other on Instagram. Now I have to figure out Instagram, too, including learning that the cool kids just call it “Insta.” Post the article to Facebook.

8:27 According to friends’ comments on my Facebook Instagram story post, predators are stalking kids who play online video games (like Gems? NO!!!) and using social media like Facebook (duh), Twitter (that’s still around?), Pinterest (thought that was just for craft projects…what’s next, Etsy?), Tumblr (huh?), Reddit (wha?), GooglePlus (that took off?) and MySpace (WTH – MySpace? I have to worry about Facebook’s trashy cousin again?) to meet and groom kids… Sidebar: start wondering why anyone needs StumbleUpon? Stumbling upon things is the easiest thing to do online without help… My friends recommend keeping track of all of my kids’ accounts and passwords and monitoring these daily, if not hourly. A few even reference the violence in video games and how it causes sociopathic behavior. They say that kids should never be allowed to play video games without a parent watching. (What?!! Well, then what is the point of video games?!!)

8:43 Eye the liquor cabinet and wonder if it’s too early for a cocktail. Maybe one with coffee in it? I’ve had LinkedIn and Twitter accounts since 2009 and still haven’t made time to monitor MY OWN feeds. I don’t even know MY OWN passwords. Realize that there’s no way I’ll ever remember those long-buried dreams if I’m up to my earlobes in under-age Insta feeds.

9:05 Click on Pinterest to look for a crock pot recipe. Am re-directed to a galaxy, nay, a universe, of mommy-blogs. Wonder who in the hell has time to photograph a sage-rubbed roasted chicken with all this newsfeed stalking (and, um, parenting) we’re supposed to be doing?

9:37 Have finally cleared the inboxes for my seven (why?!) email accounts. 236 messages (in addition to the LinkedIn alerts) have come in since 11 p.m. 222 are advertisements from companies I’ve bought something from in the past. Seven are newsletters from charities I’ve donated to. Four are related to the kids activities. Three are actual, honest-to-God, missives from actual honest-to-God people. Remind self to unsubscribe from all these mailing lists. Attempt to do so but 12 minutes and 2 successful unsubscriptions later, quit. Maybe if I just start a new email address I can ignore these accounts…

10 Google various therapeutic programs I’ve been meaning to research for the kids. Horseback riding, scouting, karate, swimming…  Realize that every kid needs therapy today because every kid has been diagnosed with a condition. When I was a kid we called these therapy sessions “lessons” and “sports” and we called the conditions “weird”, “annoying”, “energetic” and “rude”.

10:15 Put the baby down for her nap. Thank God. She was making me feel guilty with all that quiet play she was doing in her cage.

10:32 Phone rings. Lady says she has my dog. Consider asking her to keep him… Get the baby up, put the kids in the car, go get the dog.

11:30 It’s too late to make up the missed nap. Lunchtime!

12 Try to keep the baby awake for just a little bit longer by playing “crawl parade” on the floor with both girls. Crawl parade is hell on the knees. And boring. The girls love it.

12:17 Still crawling. Maybe this will be the next exercise craze. Maybe next year Beyonce will release an exercise video called “Crawling Back to Sexy” or something. It could be like hula hooping. Reflect on the posse of overweight ladies I saw hula hooping on the sidewalk last week. They would look no more ridiculous crawling.

12:19 The TruGreen guy is looking in the window. Watching. How long has he been there? Put the preschooler at the table with a coloring book and lay the baby down for a nap before answering the door.

12:43 Am now a TruGreen customer. Not really sure what TruGreen is, just wanted the pushy salesman to go away. Google TruGreen. It’s pesticides. Realize that pesticides on my lawn don’t really mesh with my commitment to eat organic this year. Vow to cancel TruGreen. Decide to blame it on the hubs in order to spare myself the last ditch “don’t cancel” sales pitch.

1:04 Back to the computer to do some worky-work, as opposed to mommy-wifey-work.

1:30 Still haven’t put anything in the crock pot. There’s still time if we eat late and use the “high” setting. Look at JustaPinch.com and Recipe.com, then decide to use the tablet because it’s more portable. Browse the Epicurious and Cook’s Illustrated apps for recipes.

2:30 Crap. Got lost in a world of electronic recipes and phone calls from doctors’ offices. Throw some chicken breasts, potatoes, onions and carrots into the crock pot, make a wish, and hope the crock pot will work its magic. Toss in garlic salt as an afterthought. Wonder if the garlic salt contains iodized or sea salt. Briefly consider if any of the veggies are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of things to always buy organic. Glance at the massive size of the chicken breasts on top of the veggies and guiltily recall the “Food, Inc.” documentary. Consider building a chicken coop and raising chickens in my own backyard. Remind self to call TruGreen and cancel. No point raising chickens on chemically-treated grass.

2: 39 Ugh. Realize that if I raise my own chickens for meat then I’ll have to slaughter, pluck and disembowel them, too. Google “slaughter chicken.” Vomit in mouth. Decide that steep price for organic chicken is really not so steep.

2:47 Google “pest control”. What use is going organic and chemical-free inside my home if I’m paying Terminix to spray the outside. Maybe I should cancel Terminix, too? Still haven’t called TruGreen…

3 Who knew you could kill ants with Borax? Damn you, Pinterest! I’m sucked in again!

3:23 Child #1 is home from school, soaked. Wants to know why I didn’t pick him up from the bus stop. Doesn’t understand when I explain that I was busy saving our family from pesticides and hormones.

3:47 Homework is hell — on me. His meds have worn off and the privacy cubicle we erected as a homework station has only peaked his little sister’s curiousity. She keeps whining that she wants a cubicle, too. Fine, let her think that. Twenty years from now when she’s working under florescent lights in a room filled with softly playing radios and cat meme screensavers she won’t want that cubicle so much, I think.

4 Recall something about lost dreams. Start walking circles in the living room. At least the chicken in the crock pot smells good.

4:13 Yell at kids to get their cleats and shin guards on for soccer, er, therapy. Yell, “If you don’t get in the car right now you’ll both be late!”

4:32 Realize, five minutes away from the soccer field, that today is my day to be “snack mom” and I have brought no snacks. Give self silent lecture on how ridiculous it is for parents to sign kids up for sports/therapy so that our little fatties will burn 220 calories and then we fill them with 550 calories worth of Rice Krispies Treats and Gatorade. Decide to pretend I didn’t know it was my turn. Aren’t these kids all about to eat dinner, anyway?

5:25 Home for the nighttime rush: dinner, more homework, baths and bed… and then it all begins again tomorrow.

Lean in? Lean in?!! — I just wanna lie down.

Dear Rudy and Lucy,

You are babies now. You don’t know how to read, but that’s okay.  I don’t want you to read this now anyway. Now, Rudy, you delight in your ability to run, jump and roll. And you, Lucy, are fascinated by the simple existence of your hands and feet. So this won’t make sense to you until you’re at least 10 or 11 years old, hopefully older. You won’t understand this until you look in the mirror and all you see is wrong. I will show this to you then, and I will hope that you will memorize these words and write them on your hearts.

The world is wrong. You are beautiful.

Please know that when I see you I see nothing but beauty. You are perfect and I am constantly amazed that such perfection once grew inside of me. Nothing about you is accidental. God doesn’t make mistakes. You will be who you were meant to be.  You should know that real beauty is multi-faceted and for beauty to exist it must vary. A single rose is not stunning when it is in a bouquet of identical blooms. If everyone had the ideal face and body, ideal would become average. We are all exceptional only in our differences.

I don’t yet know what you will look like as women, but I suspect you will grow to have the same broad shoulders, strong arms, thick legs and wide hips I have. The signs are there already. The world will tell you to hate these things, that they don’t meet the so-called ideal, but I hope that you will enjoy their strength. Where other girls will whimper and have to rest, your muscled legs will carry you with ease. When other girls will quit and lay their burdens down from exhaustion, you will be able to hoist yours — and theirs — back up, and keep on moving. You will be survivors. True, your hips may never look as the fashion designers intended in some styles of jeans, but those hips will guarantee that no one ever sees you from behind and mistakes you for a boy. And one day, when you become a mother, a midwife and your husband may look on you and on those hips and marvel at how perfectly your body has performed that most primal of tasks — just as mine did when each of you joined our family.

The world will tell you that beauty is narrow. I tell you that it is as wide as the ocean and, used wisely, has just as much power and potential.

Form follows function. Remember that. Your body is only as beautiful as it is functional. There is nothing pretty about incompetence. For every so-called flaw, there is also a purpose. Those strong legs, arms and shoulders will serve you well in most any sport. You will be able to shoot, spike, stroke and swing with an ease many women — and some men — will covet. Others may run faster, jump higher and tumble through the air effortlessly. Still others will sashay on display, dance with abandon and sail over hurdles. No one needs to be good at everything — but everyone can be great at something. That is the real trick of life: to find the thing you are great at and put your energies there.

Olympic athletes rarely look like fashion models, and fashion models rarely look like Olympic athletes. Their bodies were made for different things. None has a ‘better’ or a ‘worse’ body; they are simpy suited for separate purposes. All are only as beautiful as the strength of the personalities that carry them. If something about yourself fails to meet a certain standard, you should first reassess the standard to make sure it applies. There may be times when you need to work on yourself, but other times it may simply be that you are applying the wrong standard.

The world is harsh — so be gentle. Be your own port in the storm. Surround yourself only with people who love you. Criticize yourself only when doing so will lead to refinement. There is nothing wrong with being scrutinized or coached, in fact, such judgment is essential for growth. But listen to harsh words only when they come from people who want to make you — Better. Stronger. Faster. More resilient. More beautiful.

More — You.