Category Archives: homemaking

Ladybro 2018: Travels with Myself

Overheard on my FaceTime: “Mommy, why did you go away?”

Mommy: “So I can poop alone.”

An over simplification, to be sure. However, that snarky snippet holds a nugget of truth.

Mommy went on vacation with her friends- A “ladybro” if you will, aka bro-ing out with her lady friends-to have a complete thought. To spend time with people who have known her for decades.

Mommy went on vacation with her friends because Mommy likes to travel, and generally, Daddy does not.

Mommy went on vacation with her friends because she has a very intense job, in addition to motherhood, and needs to be reminded, at times, that people move through the world and experience joy, and sunshine, and karaoke.

Finally, and quite simply: Mommy went on vacation with her friends because she wanted to. Daddy is a person who thinks it’s important Mommy does things she wants to do, and helped Mommy work out all the details to make it happen.

I want my girls to grow up and have an image in their head of independence. Of knowing that they are able to do things on their own. That hopefully, they will have more courage and more know-how to pursue travel, and experiences, and the figuring out of the things, earlier in their life than I have.

And if, despite my best efforts, they don’t, that it is never too late to learn new things, to explore, to dream, and find new parts of themselves.

I don’t want my children to fall prey to the STILL pervasive trope of Mom being unable to leave because Dad cannot handle the children. If Dad went away for ten days, I GUARANTEE no one would ask him, “But who is watching the kids?”

“The same people who always watch my children when I don’t,” I tell them, “Their father, and their grandparents.” (And yes, some extra help from grandparents, because they can’t watch themselves when Dad is at work and they aren’t at school, and I’m not there. And no, I didn’t set up the schedule before I left, as their father is a sentient being who knows when he needs childcare.)

I understand that vacations aren’t a universal choice for ways for women to take care of themselves. However, in the spirit of the ladybro, I DO believe it is universally important for women, and specifically mothers, to put themselves and their needs on the list of Things to Do-and to sometimes put themselves first. The house, the kids, the responsibilities, whatever they may be- we are programmed to feel it will all fall apart if we are not tending to them, day and night.

There are times this is true. However, the majority of the time, it is not true. The truth is that we are made to feel guilty if we delegate, neglectful if we share responsibilities or simply let things go, and anxious things won’t be done “right” if we don’t do them ourselves.

Who makes us feel these things? Sometimes it is a specific person in our life- a friend, a relative, a parent. But most often it is the anonymous Everybody who controls our inner voice. Everybody thinks we are a selfish, terrible mother if we do not do All The Mom Things 100% of the time.

I also know I wasn’t born with any special know how of how to run a household. I have learned, and am learning, by doing it. Particularly in heterosexual couples- if your husband DOESN’T take care of the kids, no, he won’t know how to do it. Or the laundry. Or anything else. But these days there is an excellent chance your husband lived on his own before he lived with you. He didn’t always have dirty clothes; nor did he starve to death. Therefore, it is highly likely he can remember how to take care of himself without you around, and probably also figure out your offspring need the same basic things.

Will he do them “right?” Maybe. It is likely he will make mistakes. However, as a mom who has left the house with no diapers, arrived at school with no backpacks, and lost an entire bag of clothes on the last family vacation-my own shortcomings keep me humble. I also know that the more times I do something, the fewer mistakes I make.

Yes, I miss my kids, and my husband. And they miss me. But like I told my daughter:

“When you are a grown up,” I told my daughter, “If you decide to have babies, Mommy will help watch them so you can go on vacation with your friends whenever you want.”

ladybro

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Thursday is Tip Day!

I think in the new hip world of social media, a new tip or trick that makes life allegedly easier is referred to as a “life hack.”

I’m not that hip.

But I do love a tip!

With that in mind, Thursday is now Tip Day here on Crinoline Logic.

Today’s Tip:
In exchange for the double memory loss brought on by the second child, I have some flashes of genius.

So here is one one of my genius moments: Put toddler socks on your small baby. They go up over the knee and don’t fall off. I current have 2T-3T socks on my 5 mo old.

Also, budget friendly as you get more uses out of big socks!

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Check Your Floors!

I’m a terrible housekeeper. My house goes through a regular cycle of order, chaos, and recovery, motivated mostly by the idea of visitors or the need to use a clean fork. When I was working full-time, I had a cleaning person come every other week for awhile.

I miss that.

Being home all day most days, the state of my house has started to mean more to me. Not because it is a reflection of my wifely skills, but because the mess makes me nuts when I have to see it all day. Also, my life is way easier when I can locate both my daughters’ belongings.

I’ve been looking for inspiration to assist my quest to make my house more “doable.” I have a mom-mentor friend who shared a bunch of strategies with me that have helped a lot.

One day, on my Facebook feed, I found this cleaning schedule from Clean Mama.
(I just tried to paste it in here but it crashed my post 3 times.)

One of the daily directives is “Check your floors.”

This inspired a lively conversation amongst some of my other domestically disinclined friends. Check for what, exactly? Are they still there? If they are dirty? Cluttered with items?

In this spirit, we did check our floors, and this is what I’ve found so far:
1. A tater tot
2. A waffle
3. Two earrings (not a pair)
4. Squished blueberries
5. A stuffed frog
6. An oven mitt
7. An unused birthday candle, broken

I could go on.

I’m not sure how this has helped my homemaker sensibilities, but it has made me create new rules about where my toddler can eat.

One step at a time.

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Wrapping Up the Holidaze: Traditions Part 2

Happy New Year, Peeps.

This new year presented itself as the first in my memory where I did not make it until midnight. Never a good sleeper, I have made it to midnight to ring in the new year every year since childhood. But the efforts in nursing a baby and raising a toddler led to a TKO this NYE, for me and my spouse. Kids:1 Parents:0.

I promised a follow up on traditions, and so I’d like to share the two that my young family have created.

The first started at my oldest’s first Christmas. I am not big on giving people gifts “just because.” And by this I mean, “I want to give you a gift because I love you but I don’t have a ton of cash so here is a scented candle.” Nobody needs another scented candle.

I also wanted these gifts to be a meaningful representation of love, and Christmas. I wanted them to be from my child.

Now, each year, my child-and now children-give a donation to an organization that represents their current interests. These gifts are “In honor of” and the response from family and friends has been extremely positive! This year, the girls are into Cinderella. I translated this into a donation to the “Make a Wish Foundation.”

Do the kids get it? I’d love to say “Oh, yes!” Honestly? Ummm, not yet. My 2 1/2 year old did understand the part of making a dream come true. (It’s Bibbity Boppity Booo, Mamma!) But they WILL, and when they are old enough, they will each choose their own organization, and, hopefully, their own funds (someday) to this yearly tradition.

The second is a new take on “The Feast of the Seven Fishes.” I’m Italian, and on Christmas Eve, I grew up sitting down to a grand feast of seven fish dishes.

Two generations later, my family has become the host to less-than-enthusiastic seafood eaters on Christmas Eve. What to do? Switch it up! It is now our tradition to improvise with “fish inspired” cuisine in addition to two actual seafood dishes. This year, we had Goldfish Crackers, Phish Food Ice Cream, and fish shaped chocolate amongst our edibles. Next year? Who knows!

I’ll be back soon to say what’s up to 2014.

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The Terrible Truth

Parenthood-especially for women- is billed as this transformational, magic experience. TV is filled with uplifting stories of individuals following the “wrong path” until their newborn filled them with motivation to get it together . Mothers are shown nestled in pillows and flowy robes, their babies cooing or-better yet-sleeping.

Lovely, isn’t it?

Perhaps, also, this WAS your experience. If so, my hat is off to you. Your life is now on the straight and narrow, and/or you and your baby and spouse/partner/involved parties are snuggling happily in your matching loungewear.

For the rest of us, however, there emerges a terrible truth: you plan. You procrastinate. You prepare. You despair. And then: the baby arrives, there is a huge rush of adrenaline, and then, you realize that you are just YOU. Still. With a baby.

What a fucking letdown this was for me. Add that I had postpartum depression and anxiety after my first, and not only was I still me, I was the most anxious, difficult, messy version of myself when I first became a parent.

Despite being a borderline cynical realist about most things, I really, deep down, believed parenthood would make me “more”-organized, patient, crafty, housewifey-
Ummm, nope.

The only thing I have become more of is humble. I fail, in this role, all the time, as myself, my best self, my worst self, and everywhere in between, yet, every day, my girls trust that I will continue to be there, to be the parent. Just me-except with kids-is alright by them.

And finally, it’s alright by me, too.

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Stuff

While on maternity leave, I became one of those people who enthusiastically participated in reading Facebook memes and joining Facebook challenges. It was a way to occupy myself while nursing at all hours of the day and night, and, quite frankly, I don’t have the attention span right now to actually read something substantial.

One challenge posted by a dear friend was to go through your “stuff” and give away/throw away the number of things that matched the date for the entire month of December.

“I can totally do that!” I thought, ” We have way too much stuff!”

December first came, and I started my mission. I have, each day, given or thrown away the number of things that matched the date. Today, I identified 13 things that needed to leave my house.

I won’t bore you with pictures of my discarded stuff. But I will tell you this: This challenge has brought to my attention two stark truths for me. I keep things out of hope, and out of laziness.

The hope piece is generally that a) I will fit into/need this article of clothing again or b) I will make time to re-paint this picture frame/mail this postcard, etc.

The laziness piece is “Oh I will go through this/sort this/recycle this tomorrow.”

In both situations, the same truth appears: for most of the stuff I keep, that hypothetical “again” or “tomorrow” has never arrived.

I have unexpectedly forced to see the truth in so many of my actions and motivations, as evidenced by the “stuff” I’ve been able to tell myself, “Honestly, you don’t need this.” Much of my stuff leads back to goals either unrealistic to begin with or found unnecessary and abandoned.

“Stuff,” is complicated for so many people. For so many of us it is the physical manifestation of what is inside our heads; hence, why it is so hard to sort through and release. I also acknowledge that “stuff,” and the accumulation of it, is a privilege, and evidence of privilege-as is being able to let some of it go.

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