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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Mama’s Boys are Growing Up

I have no one to blame but myself.

I mean, raising mama’s boys was almost a goal. I loved how much they needed me. I loved doing things for them.  It was my twisted pleasure to find myself at 2 am sleepwalking between nursing a baby to comforting a boy who woke with a nightmare to helping another boy to the bathroom.  I took pride in refusing help; taking all my boys with me to doctor appointments or errands, snubbing carpools to drive myself crazy instead. I catered three different meals at night, picked up their toys because it was easier, zipped my son’s jacket at five years-old and tied shoes at 10.

They asked and I answered. “Can you pack my back pack? Can you get me a snack? Can you can you can you…?”

‘Yes! Mommy can!’ was my war cry.

And mommy did. Again and Again.

See honey, no one else will cut off those crusts, make you a perfect scrambled egg or wash your Spiderman shirt so you could wear it every day like I can.

Was it dysfunctional and co-dependent? Yup. Would I do it again? Probably.

Because back then, we were all one happy needy bunch of love and it was good.

But now that my boys are 6, 9 and 12, I see things a little differently.

In fact, I see them at 30…

They would of course still be living at home because why would they leave free room, board, a stocked fridge and complimentary housekeeping?

There would be hair scruff in all my bathroom sinks, dirty underwear and socks on the floor and loud snoring from every bedroom.

I probably would suffocate from all the gas inhalation.

Or die from embarrassment when they run in on me in the bathroom to demand justice when one of them uses the others deodorant or finishes the last bag of chips.

I may as well just put a cot by the washing machine and sleep there.

And I could never just sit and enjoy a cup of wonderful, steaming coffee in the morning since I’d be dragging their asses out of bed for work – if they had jobs – and making them eggs, three different ways.

All of a sudden, raising mama boys didn’t look as appealing.

So lately I’ve been loosening those ties, and giving my boys more independence and responsibility. They now get themselves dressed in the morning, wash up and tie their own shoes. They do the recyclables and empty the dish washer. They put their clothes away and make their own snacks. They know what they have to do and do it.

Well, usually.

Okay, sometimes.

It’s a process.

But we’ll get there. Because now I see that you don’t mess with the natural order of things. Children grow, you lovingly guide them on the road to being responsible and then you gently shove them out to greener pastures.

Of course they must still call daily, visit at least once a week and marry girls you deem appropriate.

I may no longer want mama’s boys, but mama’s men just might work.


But not yet... sigh

But not yet… sigh


All Bout That Bass…

At least half the days I wake up in the morning I feel as though I probably gained five pounds overnight. It could be because it was a Monday and I had just come off a weekend of baseball field snacking, movie munching and Saturday night dinner out, or it could just be a random Thursday feeling bloated, or maybe that my nightly sundae had gone off the deep end of the bowl.

Whatever the case, it genuinely amazes me when I do get on that scale and it informs me I am basically the same weight, which these days is a solid five pounds under my skinny weight.


It’s a weight I haven’t maintained for any period of time since my crazy mid-twenties when I ate zero fat and skipped happy hours and dinners with friends for gym class. Even then I could barely pull it off, which is why I’m so amazed that after some months on Weight Watchers and some months after, I am still living the skinny jean dream.

I really thought that losing this amount of weight would liberate me. “That’s great,” my friend said, “Now you’ve got a nice cushion.” I totally agreed, thinking I could loosen the restraints a bit. I was already imagining the enormous ice cream I could eat later.

But it’s a lie!

There is no relaxing when it comes to weight management. Now at my thinnest point in decades, I still feel the weight anxiety almost every day. Who am I kidding? It’s every day. Am I eating too much? Can I maintain this? The funny thing is that I was happy with my weight being five pounds heavier. I was actually still okay, 10 pounds heavier. But now that I’m low, I have a hard time seeing myself – or that number on the scale – going up. So while my pants size is down, my general anxiety over my weight has not decreased at all. I feel no cushion. And I’m still having fat days.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the craziness of it. She is trim and exceedingly fit, but still tells me, she can’t relax. She feels she must exercise every chance she gets and she’s got to work it hard. She knows her body needs days off; that it’s literally aching for them, but her brain won’t let her. ‘If you do, you’ll get fat,’ it says.  Trust me, she’s far from the only friend caught up in this cycle.

It’s ridiculous.

So when does this madness end? At 120 pounds? 110? What is the magic number?

The answer is… There is no magic number. It ends when we decide it ends.

I’m finally realizing that my body issues are not necessarily with my body but with my brain. Okay, stop laughing people who know me. Physically, I eat healthy and exercise regularly. It’s obviously the mental aspect that needs work because it’s become pretty apparent that self-image really is in your head.

So I’m making a point to appreciate what I’ve got; to lighten up a bit mentally and indulge a bit more.   I work hard to keep myself thin, so I’m also going to give myself the pleasure of enjoying my body.

And my ice cream.

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Yeah, yeah. I know. The hat…


Homework – To Nag or Not To Nag?

It was 10pm last Sunday night and I knew where my children were, two already asleep and my 12 year-old on the verge.

I went in to say goodnight and found my boy warm and mushy and wanting of hugs; which was perfect because I was exhausted, layered in my comfy pajamas and wanting to hug. I had just enough ounces of energy left to rub his back, almost ready for bed myself when he said, “Uh, I just remembered. I have homework and I might have a test tomorrow.”

Immediately I went from a sleeping dog to one who senses danger. I’m at attention, ears perked, heart pounding. As usual, I had reminded him about his homework at least half a dozen times; more, if you counted the silent but overt raised brow directed at his untouched backpack. In response, I had been ignored, grunted at and eye-rolled.

My bright goodnight smile darkened and my arm tickling sweet circles on his back halted. “Are you kidding?” I asked, although clearly it was a rhetorical question. He was not kidding.

And the mad scramble began…

The next morning when all that was left of the insanity was a harried overtired mom and a cranky child; we had a discussion on time management, his responsibility to his work and of not making me the nag. It was brief, as the circumstances seemed to speak for themselves.

Waiting till the last minute is something I have a hard time understanding. When I have an assignment, I’m at it the first chance I get. How else could I double check, edit or revise? How could I even sleep with the ‘assignment’ looming over my head?

The answer is that I can’t. Which is why barring a special circumstance, my children do their homework when they come home. This worked fine through elementary school, but now that my oldest is in middle school, the same rules don’t apply.

First off, he doesn’t always come home right after school. He plays on the school soccer team. He also plays in a basketball league and of course there’s his year round baseball training. On top of that he attends Hebrew school two days a week and has just started guitar lessons. I’m sure it seems like a lot but he loves and manages it all, and if something has to give, it gives. As long as it’s not his schoolwork.

Thankfully he’s a good student, but weekends are especially challenging and I admit to tossing semi-constant reminders  very subtly his way – ‘What would you like for lunch? Hey, did you do your homework? Okay, grilled cheese’.

But this weekend, I vowed not to be the nag and to make him responsible. So I reminded him on Friday evening and told him he was on his own. Then I watched the hours and days pass with mounting anxiety.

Would he forget? Could I let him go into school unprepared? I really didn’t know if I could, even if ultimately the lesson was to his benefit.

Thankfully, I wasn’t put to the test. Sunday evening I found him sitting in his room, his book bag flattened, an explosion of binders and books strewn about.  He caught my eye and gave me a self-satisfied smile.

At bedtime, as we were saying goodnight, wrapped in our warm sleepy hug, he whispered, “Mama, don’t stop reminding me to do my homework. It’s good.”

Nothing better than knowing your nag isn’t a nag.

It’s appreciated.

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Okay, so it’s 9:15pm. Baby steps.

Yup, I’m annoying. It’s a talent.

My six year-old rolls around the carpet of my floor while I try to squeeze in my half hour on the elliptical and try to finish up an episode of Masters of Sex, which is now on pause because of the rolling child who is supposed to be out front with my husband and his brothers doing yard work.

“What’s the matter?” I ask, each word a small puff of exertion.

His head is somehow underneath his behind and he mutters something I can’t make out. “I don’t understand what you’re saying when you’re upside down and talking to your butt.”

That gets him all silly. “Hi butt!” He says, “How ya doing?”

I wait for the ridiculous to work itself out so I can find out the actual problem and get back to my show. Finally, he sits up and the frustration bursts out in a gush, “I wanted to rake, but daddy said I can’t and he let everyone else!”

Apparently it is serious.

“Did you ask daddy if you could rake too?” I ask.

“YES!” He exclaims completely exasperated.

There must be more to the story but I work with what I’ve got, “Well, maybe there aren’t enough rakes. Did you ask to take turns?”


There is no way he did this.

“He wants me to shovel,” He complains. “I don’t want to shovel!”

“Shoveling is fun!” I say, “Why don’t you try for a little and then switch with one of your brothers.”

“I don’t want to shovel. I want to rake!”

I’ve got about 12 minutes more on this machine and I have exhausted my diplomacy skills. I can see that without physically going outside, my child will continue whining and waiting for my help. That’s when I stop trying to solve his problem and focus on a few of my own.

“Well, I know you haven’t brushed your teeth yet. Please go do that.”

He looks at me horrified. That’s not why he came to see me. He wanted retribution not a chore.

But that’s what I do to my children. Sometimes it happens right at the beginning and sometimes it closes out the conversation, but ultimately I seem to turn every interaction into a nag.

For example…

Imagine you’re contently sitting on the chair watching your favorite episode of Austin and Alley?

I’ll interrupt, “Don’t you have homework to do?”

Maybe you just finished your lunch.

I’ll remind, “Don’t forget to put your dish in the sink.”

You innocently walk into the kitchen for a hug.

I’ll note afterwards, “Gee, looks like the recyclables haven’t been done for a while.”

You’re happily brandishing a large bag of gummies from the candy store

I’ll scold, “You haven’t eaten dinner yet.”

You’re so excited that Daddy said you can watch a movie.

I’ll look at the clock, shake my head and tsk, “Sorry guys, it’s late and there’s school tomorrow.”

I’m the bearer of bad news; the annoying voice that always interrupts their games, their fun, their relaxation. I’m Debbie downer. I’m the waa waa waa. I’m… I’m the annoying mom!!

So be it.

At least I’ve managed a few extra minutes on my elliptical and my kid has clean teeth. Now get outta here. Don’t you have some work you should be doing? And comb your hair.

I’ve still got seven minutes.

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