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All Aboard the Hot Mess Express

In the train station of life, I am the conductor of the Hot Mess Express.  My kids are the cowboy bandits Rowdy McGee, Ruckus Brown, & Ryder “Big Stink” Calhoun — the fastest Nerf-gun slingers in the South.  Their goal?  To rob me blind of sanity and Goldfish crackers.  The train leaves the station at “Oh, Shit, We’re Late” thirty and pulls in around “Sorry, We Hit Traffic (But Not Really)” o’clock*.  Needless to say, my ability to conduct chaos is ASTOUNDING not the greatest.

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Since becoming a SAHM, I’ve found that my resourcefulness as far as managing the clock goes is…. well.  Lacking.  When I had a 9-5 job, I had to be efficient at all times.  If I wasn’t on the road at Time A, there was no way that I’d be at work for Time B.  And if I couldn’t get out of the office at Time C, then I was going to be fifteen to twenty minutes late for pickup at Time D, which cost me $5 a MINUTE.  Y’all, I’m frugal as hell.  I’m not paying anybody, but anybody, to watch my kids for five bucks a minute.  So get outta my way, slow-moving eighteen wheeler on the freeway!  Momma’s burning gas and rubber to save $75 and you’re impeding my progress.

I don’t really know what happened when I left my job to stay home.  I’d been momming for eight years, so I knew that being at home — ALONE — with the ankle biters would be no easy task.  I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting with my feet propped up, lovingly stroking their heads, reading a bajillion Dr. Seuss books, sipping on luke-warm cocoa.  I’m a lot of things, but gullible ain’t one of them.  So all I can think is that maybe, just maybe, I thought I’d have more time on my hands being at home all day vs. going to work and then struggling to get all the things done.

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Sigh.  Could there have been a time when I was really that stupid?  Me thinks so.

And summertime — sheesh.  Summertime is the worst time-sucker of all.  I’ve been telling myself for weeks now to invest in room-darkening curtains.  I’m a cheap ass, but really… I feel like those would be a sound investment.  Because eight o’clock rolls around and my kids see half a glimmer of a fourth of a sunbeam and they’re all, “PARTY TIL MORNING” and I’m all, “OH HELLLL NAW”.  No kidding, I’ve been trying to write this very post for three days. THREE DAYS, Y’ALL.  Rowdy, Ruckus, & Ryder are about to find themselves hogtied if they don’t cut out the hoopin’, hollerin’, and general shenanigans**.

When we do manage to get out the door on time (read: minimally ten minutes late), my kids are clean, dressed, pressed, and look like little gentlemen.  I try to come out looking somewhat presentable, but sometimes my appearance is that of a frontierswoman who fought a bobcat — and lost.  I think my most favorite “getting ready” activities are hollering, “PUT ON YOUR PANTS” from my bathroom and explaining to my husband the million reasons I’m not ready but the children are.  Like, are you kidding me, dear?!  Don’t call me darlin’, darlin’; I’ll be ready once the children stop urinating on the floor.

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You’re probably wondering why I’m still not on the stick after 8.75 years and three children.  And I wish I could tell you.  What I can tell you is that if you looked at the alarm app on my phone, you’d think I was in the business of timing heists.  I’ve got an alarm for EVERYTHING.  Departure times, arrival times, bath times, eating times, times we could ideally leave, and more realistic alarms for when we’ll actually be getting in the car, and an additional timer for when we’re all in the car but we haven’t actually left the driveway just yet.  Think I’m joking?  Think again.  Those little alarms are the only things that get my ass in gear — who cares if they also give me anxiety?!

One day I’ll have it all together.  hahahahahahaha

No, I won’t.  I can’t even finish that paragraph without lying my backside off.

One day, I’ll try to focus on being less anxious to get out of the house before noon and just roll in the reality of this: I do have children.  BOY children.  And I know there are mommas out there who are also boy moms.  I know there are moms out there who also have 3+ children.  I know those women manage to get out the door dressed, unscathed, and on time.  I’m not even going to be bitter about it, because that’s just not my life right now.  And that’s okay.  Because those women likely have other issues that I’m not dealing with, and if life has taught me anything, it’s the grass ain’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence — and if it is greener, it’s probably fake.

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So to you moms out there who struggle with promptness like I do***, raise up a glass of sasparilla, whiskey, milk… whatever you’re drinking and tell yourself this: just don’t forget to turn off your straightener.
*Obviously, these times vary because time management is an unfamiliar concept as a mother of bandits.

** Not really.  But only because I have no idea what hog-tying entails.

***Before anyone jumps on the, “If you can’t be on time you’re just rude” comment — don’t.  If I do nothing else, I consider other people’s feelings as well as their (valuable) time.  This is something written in jest, but also something that I genuinely struggle with.  So make nice, or move on.  kthanks!

 

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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The Floor is Lava

Bedtime (bed-tahym) n. –

  1. the time at which a normal person usually goes to bed
  2. the time at which my children shift gears to FULL. FLIPPING. TROTTLE.

Bedtime around here has always been a bit painstaking.  When Gabe was first born, he had serious acid-reflux that, of course!, always triggered at nighttime.  His tummy finally settled as he grew and when he was about two he would put himself to bed.  He still does this (thank God!), but now he wakes up during the night to either a) pee or, B) have a full-on night terror.  Good times, y’all.  Connor has never, I mean NEVER, been a good sleeper.  Not even now.  He’s four and an acrobatic, ass-kicking ninja from the fiery ball pits in the sky.  Co-sleeping with him is less like co-sleeping and more training to kick Chuck Norris’ ass — with your eyes closed.  To date, Mason has been by far and away my easiest to put to sleep and the most likely to stay asleep — until lately because: erupting teeth.  Can’t really fault him for that, and most nights he still sleeps pretty well.  HALLELUJER.

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When your kid gets out of the bed for the millionth time to “go pee”.

Those of you who are parents know my plight well.  You probably read all of that and pictured your own sleep-anxiety-riddled spawn and experienced a cold chill down your spine.  No, that’s not winter coming; it’s bedtime.  In t-minus eight(ish) hours.

For those of you childless individuals, I have a pretty graphic example of what bedtime is like — around here, anyway.  I’m sure there will be some Betty Badass momma who is scoffing at my inability to keep my children in their beds (we’re not even going to talk about their pajamas).  But this example is coming from a real, live, nannyless parent.

Imagine, if you will, a less-chaotic opening scene from Titanic.  “Rated E for Everyone” Rose and Jack are enjoying each other’s company playing, I dunno.. freaking Rook.  And then, out from nowhere, an alarm sounds.  A band of pirates (read: the children) ram into the ship, causing it to collide with an iceberg (read: your patience).  Your recently thought “unsinkable” vessel plummets into the abyss.

THEN SHIT GETS REAL.

I’m gonna let you guys in on a little secret: there is a way to train for bedtime.  It’s painful and a bit legendary — but it’ll save at least a few hairs from being ripped from your noggin.  If you’re still hangin’ in there, then follow along:

  1. Journey to the worst part of your town and find a group of stray cats.
  2. Pick the leader of the cats and bring it home (make sure you’re up to date on your shots).
  3. Give said stray cat laughing gas and a wine cooler.
  4. Now try putting that cat in a bubble bath.
  5. THE FLOOR IS LAVA.

If you can survive that, then there’s a 62% chance that you’ll survive putting children to bed.  Notice, please, that I said survive.  I didn’t say you’d be successful in getting your kids to stay and sleep in their beds.  I mean, I’m not a miracle worker here and Jesus has bigger fish to fry than making my kids stay in bed.

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I’m not going to lie to y’all, though; there is something infinitely more terrifying than sleep-allergic children that exists (and oddly enough, my preference).  And that is when the kids who never put themselves to bed… PUT THEMSELVES TO BED.  Gah, y’all — I just made myself dry heave a bit.

When Connor puts himself to sleep it isn’t because he’s trained himself, or that he’s super tired, or just needs some quiet time (what is that, anyway?!).  No, no.  It’s because at 1:15AM he’s going to be puking.  In his bed.  And down the hallway.  And then in my slippers — in my room.  I mean… I just can’t even.  And then after the puking?!  He’s totally fine and ready to roll, leaving me a gagging, half-asleep, pants rolled up to my navel hot freaking mess.

You may be thinking, “There’s an obviously better option here, Sarah; pick your battles!”

Oh no, friends.  It may seem obvious.  Sure, most people would rather be a bit sleep deprived than swim in an ocean of Kool-Aid vomit.  But I’m not necessarily one of those people.  I can’t say I’m one of those, “If I don’t get my eight hours of sleep…” people, because let’s face it: I haven’t gotten more than 4 hours of sleep (not consecutively) in going on nine years.  But I am one of those, “If I can get at least forty-five minutes of sleep I won’t hit anyone with chicken nuggets at Walmart” people.  Y’all — I’m not trying to go to Walmart jail for assault with frozen foodstuffs.  So as terrifying as it is to watch my kid’s head spin around like he’s in need of an exorcist, all the while spewing what I can only hope was something he didn’t find off of a public restroom floor, I’ll take puking kids over sleep-deprived Mombie any day.  Because kids are going to throw up, anyway, and I’d rather be somewhat alert to deal with it.

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I can’t be the only one here who deals with that bedtime struggle.  Hit me with some of your favorite bedtime stories below!

**The above post was written entirely out of humor.  No animals were trapped and given wine coolers or laughing gas, nor were children harmed in the making of this post.  I, on the other hand, might possibly have a bruised lung courtesy my ass-kicking ninja child.  All crappy, can’t-take-a-joke comments will be kept on this page so that people with a sense of humor can see what a turd you’ve been.

 

cropped-untitled-22.jpgA SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse wearing monkeys who live there.

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Stuff Southern Mommas Say

As a kid growing up in the South, I learned the difference between sarcasm and sincerity real fast.  I learned that tone only makes up about 40% of each individual way of speaking; the other 60% is all in the body language.  And y’all — ain’t nobody got that tone and body language down-pat quite like we southern mommas.

Before I had kids, I only thought I’d inherited the gift prematurely.  Psh!  I was a timid little dormouse until I had kids.  These days I speak sarcasm so fluently, most people think I’m the nicest, most sincere person they’ve ever laid eyes on.  My kids are little smart-asses, too, but they don’t got nothin’ on their momma.  Y’all call it being passive-aggressive; we call it issuing a dare.

Oh, sure; we mean what we say.  But the true brilliance of SM language is the ability to almost speak in code with the eyes.  You may HEAR, “Go right on ahead and touch that fence”.  But if you’re paying real close attention to the shifting of our gaze and the clenching of our fists, then you know what we really mean is, “Go ahead and touch the fence, smart ass.  But we’re not going to the hospital and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna listen to your bitchin’.”  So this brings me to the topic at hand: stuff southern mommas say.

  1. Excuse me?!
    Y’all, when you hear this you better hit the ground runnin’ and hope to God we can’t get our flip flops off in time to chuck it at the back of your head.  I have said, “Excuse me?!” so many times to my kids that the last time I sneezed, the boys both cleaned the entire house and offered to cook dinner.  Poor babies hadn’t even done anything — that time.  But momma don’t play.  And if momma ain’t playin, ain’t nobody playin’.
  2. Go ahead and touch (insert object here) after I said not to.
    This is the ultimate “don’t even think about it”.  Most of the time I don’t even have to come through with a punishment because whatever it is my kid(s) has (have) touched is punishment enough.  Case in point: I told Connor not to touch my straightener the other day.  Now, I’m not above baby-proofing and there’s no way in hell I’d have that thing low enough for Mason to get to it.  But Con is old enough to know (and I’ve reiterated enough) that the damn straightener is HOT, and just like the oven, we don’t touch it.  So what’s he do?  Well, the little smart-alec went in and just barely touched the plate.  I mean just barely; it didn’t even leave a mark.  It scared him more than it hurt.  But he knew to “suck it up, buttercup” because I’d already told him, “Uh, don’t touch that”.  However, sometimes the kids slip up and still come running after doing something less than intelligent.  In those cases, we hit ’em with…

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  3. Don’t come runnin’ to me.  I don’t want to hear it.
    Here’s the phrase that often gets us southern mommas in a fair amount of hot water, but we don’t care.  Listen, a kid’s gotta learn at some point in his or her life how not to do stupid things.  We like to call this “experience”.  If you haven’t experienced something, you’ll never know the rewards or pitfalls that whatever-it-is can bring you.  It’s kind of like riding a bike: once you learn, you never forget.  So in the bicycle ride of life, you gotta bust your ass a few times before you’re riding a Tour de France.  Also, on a less logical basis, this really means, “I TOLD YOU SO.”
  4. Bless your heart.
    This one has been done to death, but there are so many possible meanings to this phrase.  Sure, we may mean we’ll pray for your momma and them — but probably not.  Generally speaking, we’re telling you in the nicest way possible to get over yourself.  Hey, sometimes we all need to hear it.

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  5. Oh, honey.
    “Oh, honey” is simply a less condescending way of saying, “Bless your heart”.  Sometimes we even mean, “Oh, honey”.  However, the sincerity is limited to the death of a loved one, a bad hairdo, or getting into Ole Miss but not LSU.  If you’ve been “oh, honey-ed” recently but haven’t experienced any of the above scenarios, then someone out there thinks you’re a few bricks short of a house.
  6. Lemme say it one more time.
    For the love of God and all that is holy, don’t make that woman repeat herself.  Unless, of course, you enjoy frostbite.  Then go for it.

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  7. God don’t like ugly.
    Stop runnin’ your head about your cousin’s sister’s fiancé.
  8. Did I ask who put it there.
    No, I didn’t mean to insert a question mark.  This is a STATEMENT, y’all.  Not a question.  And if you value your hide at all, you’ll pick up whatever it is that’s on the ground, table, or couch FAST.
  9. I know you did not!
    Gabe’s teacher reminded me of this one yesterday and I laughed out loud.  I’m constantly saying this to my boys.  The look on my boys’ faces when they hear this — Lawd.  I can’t even put it into words.  It’s definitely a “deer-in-headlights meets aliens are coming” kind of face.  For those of you who are lucky enough to have never heard ya momma say, “I know you did NOT!”, let me fill you in on the meaning: your ass is grass.  You will soon to meet your Maker.  Hit the deck, Bud, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.  In short: you’ve really screwed yourself and there’s no gettin’ out of it.
  10. You’re killin’ me, smalls.
    Okay, so this one may not be limited to us southern moms.  But I know for certain we say this A LOT.  And, really, it speaks for itself.  Say the kids aren’t really being bad, just… “plentiful”.  Coming in and out, in and out, in and out… letting out the “bought air”.  Or runnin’ wild in the heat of the day, all up in your house?  You don’t really want to jerk a knot in anyone because your own momma taught you to pick your battles.  So the next best thing to clotheslining your own spawn is to simply let out an exasperated, “YA KILLIN’ ME, SMALLS!”  The kids get the message, count their blessings that there is still breath within their lungs, and for a solid two minutes there is peace.  It’s only fair — about ten minutes into more rough-housing, one of the aforementioned statements is going to come rushin’ out of your mouth faster than a Nascar at Daytona.

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  11. Lastly, You are my sunshine.
    I don’t want anyone leaving this post thinking that us Scarlett O’Haras, Blanche Devereauxs, or Ousier Boudreauxs do anything less than love our kids.  They are the lights of our lives.  Our reasons for loving anyone from the mud to the moon.  And, yeah — sometimes they are our emergency trips to Target for a big-ass bottle of Tylenol and a box of wine.  But they teach us as we teach them.  They love us as we love them.  And one day they’ll leave the nest and have children of their own.  Until that day comes, we’ll be back porch sittin’, summer day spendin’, and on the couch cuddlin’ with our littles.

    Until they piss us off.  Then they better run.

 

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Our Favorite Easter Books (with links!)

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We love reading in our house; I have read to my boys from the time they were born.  So naturally, every holiday, they each receive a book.  I love that there are so many titles these days that encompass various holidays, and Easter is no different.  Today I am sharing with you my very favorite books for this upcoming Easter, complete with links to each title.  I hope you will find something for your littles that will be pure magic for them.

Board Books (baby – 3)

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  1. P is for Peter
  2. Llama Llama Easter Egg
  3. Little Blue Truck’s Springtime
  4. Happy Easter, Mouse!
  5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Easter Colors

Picture Books (4 – 8)

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  1. How to Catch the Easter Bunny
  2. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
  3. Happy Easter Curious George
  4. Tiny the Louisiana Easter Bunny (there are other state titles, too!)
  5. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick

 

Chapter Books (9-12)

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  1. Bunny Double We’re in Trouble
  2. Heidi Hecklebeck and the Tie-Dyed Bunny
  3. Galaxy Zack: A Galactic Easter
  4. Junie B. Jones: Dumb Bunny
  5. Captain Awesome and the Easter Egg Bandit