Will I ever ‘rock’ motherhood?

I ended up watching reruns of Jersey Shore tonight.  Okay, so far in this blog we’ve established that (#1) I feed my kids McDonald’s on a regular basis and (#2) I watch trashy tv.  Don’t judge.  It was supposed to be my monthly night out with the ladies.  It was low-key.  Just a little dinner at Ruby Tuesday and then off to the cheap movies so MOMS Club Becky could see Zac Efron in New Year’s Eve.  MOMS Club Becky has finally gone public and admitted that she has a crush on Zac Efron and is very relieved that he is now of age.  She was a little worried when she started thinking he was cute during all those High School Musical movie nights with her daughter.

Back on subject –  I’m still contagious; therefore, no dinner out; no movie.  Fine.  But I’ve had a bad day.  It started off good. I felt good this morning. Got a lot accomplished.  Took the kids to the library.  It was one of those days where I was feeling like a really decent mother.  I think we can all relate to those days.  I know I’ve heard from more than one mom that they get really excited and proud at the end of the day, when they can say, “I was a good mother today.”

I think we all strive to be excellent mothers’ every day.  In reality, that’s not going to happen.  Life doesn’t work that way.  The kids lose their minds; we lose our tempers.  Or running to soccer practice, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, you name it, leaves us little time to really talk to our kids and enjoy them.  So, I’ll be honest, most days I’ll take being a ‘decent’ mom.

Today, my seven year-old came home from school and told me she was being picked on.  Up until now, I’ve had the answers.  Mainly, because the questions were easy.  The kids had a boo-boo; I kissed it and put a band-aid on it.  One kid wouldn’t share a toy; I told the kid to share.  It’s all been so simple.  Sometimes irritating and tiring, but easy.  It was all so black and white, but now I’ve entered this gray area and frankly, I’m freaked out.

This is how it goes in my head….Maddie comes home with more problems that I don’t know how to deal with, I screw her up so badly that at 18 she runs away and joins the cast of Jersey Shore.   My fear is that one day she will be dressed like a tramp, passed out over a wine barrel and “smushing” random boys.

Snooki passed out....dressed like a tramp

Okay, we can also safely assume from reading this blog that (#3) I overreact.

My gut reaction to Maddie’s dilemma is to find out which girl  is picking on her, track down her bitch mother (In my scenario, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and let them have it.  Alas, this is not responsible or effective.  I know that.  I’m a nice Christian woman from Fawn Grove and I have no intention of yelling at this woman, but the thought of it comforts me for just a few minutes because it’s something to do during a time when I’m not sure what to do.

It’s nights like these, when I don’t know exactly what to say or do, that make me feel like a lousy mother.  It wasn’t a good mothering day.  I’m slowly beginning to realize that I could really screw up my kids.  I know I’m being a little hard on myself and, perhaps, it will all be better tomorrow, but right now it just sucks.

I know I’m going to have days like this and I hope that in between these days will be days where my kids smile and I can go to bed and say, “I rocked motherhood today.”  Today, just wasn’t that day for  me.

So, I’ve come up with a game plan.  Not just to deal with this particular problem, but all the other ones that I’m sure are waiting for me.  I’m going to pray.  Pray that I am given the wisdom and patience to raise decent human beings, I’m going to ask for help when I don’t know the answers and I’m going to tell this feisty, red-headed, rock star of a kid of mine everyday that she is a source of unending joy for me.  And then I’m going to hug her and keep hugging her and I’m going to make sure that she knows that no matter what happens to her outside these four walls that I’ve made a home out of, that when she comes back through these doors she’s loved more than anything.

Who could not love a child that does this?  After feeling generally defeated last night, my husband went upstairs to talk to Maddie.  He came back down smiling.  I asked him why and this is what he told me, “I told Maddie that in the long run it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as she likes herself.”  Me: “Okay. What did she say?”  Maddie: “Oh, I like myself.”

Okay, so I will go to bed knowing that I maybe didn’t ‘rock’ motherhood today but my kid likes herself.  I’ll take it.

Blog, Interrupted

Interrupted, by what, you ask?  By tiny, blister-like sores all over my hands and feet.  Are you still reading?  Did I gross you out, yet?  Good.  I’m grossed out and it’s my body.  Turns out I have hand, foot and mouth disease.  A viral condition mostly seen in preschoolers but, in true Michelle Joyce fashion, I caught it and I caught a really, really bad case of it.   I have a history of catching viruses and then having it turn into some horrid version of itself.  Anyone who knew me when I was pregnant with Jane can attest that when I get sick, I really get sick.  I won’t share the chronicles of The Hemorrhoid That Wouldn’t Die with you.

So, when I started with the fever and then the sore throat, I thought, “Okay, I can deal with a little head cold.  I’ve given birth for Pete’s sake.  What’s a little sore throat?”  Then I woke up the next day to this….Yes, that’s me rockin’ out my with hand, foot and mouth blisters.  So, I figured after seeing the little buggers all over my hands that I wasn’t in for a traditional upper, respiratory infection.   Then came the mother of all sore throats.  I can’t swallow without wanting to cry.  I can’t eat, I can’t drink, I can’t sleep all because it feels like someone is scraping my throat out with Freddie Krueger nails.   It’s been horrible!  Now, here comes my true dilemma…

I want to whine and complain and cry and bitch about this.  I do.  It makes me feel better in some small way to cry when I feel this miserable.  But, after the crying, comes the guilt.  Why guilt?  Because I know there are thousands, maybe millions of people out there having a way harder time in life than me.  So, I have a little sore throat.  What do I really have to complain about?  My throat hurts so I’m lying in bed all day while my saint of a husband  waits on me hand and foot.  He takes care of the kids, cleans up the house, doesn’t complain when I burst into tears and brings me anything I ask for in record time after I send him a text asking him to do so.  I would kill me if I were him.  I would.  I hit the husband jackpot.  And since I’ve had two of them, husbands that is, I can tell the difference between a bad one and a good one.

Yet, I still want to complain.  It’s a part of my genetic make-up I guess. But one I would like to change. I want to be the woman who smiles though it.  I want to  be the mother that when she is holding back the hair of her vomiting child sings to herself, “You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re going to wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.”  Thanks Trace Adkins for coming up with that song. You single-handedly made every mother in the universe feel guilty about wanting bedtime to come sooner than it did the day before.

I guess it’s all about attitude and mine sucks.  Well, not anymore.  Miss Suzy Sunshine is coming to Fawn Grove.  Yep, she’s coming to town so Miss Negative Nancy hit the road.

Maybe I’ll start after my throat feels better.  It hurts soooooooooo bad!

 

Buy Fresh, Buy local

Today was my weekly trip to the Central Market in York.  First of all, let me say I love this place! I’m mean, I’m seriously head-over-heels in love with a place where there is so much food.  See, I love food.  I do. I admit it.  I love cooking it and I love eating it.  I love thinking about food; I love planning what food I’m going to eat.  There really is nothing about food that I don’t like except for the tiny inconvenience that I gain weight if I look at food.   It’s a horrible dilemma.  But, I’m learning to love food in moderation.   I’m not letting the fact that my clothes don’t fit me anymore interfere with my food obsession.

So, weekly I travel to York from Fawn Grove to do my local grocery shopping.  Is it convenient?  Hell, no!  Is it worth it? Yes!  This all started for me about 6 months ago when my dear friend, Becky (whom shall be known heretofore as “Cupcake Becky”) took me to York College for a film presentation.  Let me back up a bit – I have two friends named Becky and when I speak of them to other people they often ask, “Which Becky?” This led me to classify my Beckys as – Cupcake Becky and MOMS Club Becky.  Cupcake Becky gets her name because she makes, and I am NOT exaggerating, the best cupcakes on the planet.

Becky's cupcakes!

Have I had every cupcake on the planet?  Well, no, of course not, but this does not stop me from making this declaration.  It is the best cupcake I have ever tasted and I have tasted a lot of cupcakes.  I am, as my dear friend Genevieve once described herself, a cupcake whore!  Sorry, if I offended anyone, but it’s the truth. I will do almost anything for a cupcake.  Anyway, check out Becky’s cupcakes at www.the-cupcakery.net, order some, and then sit back and enjoy the world’s finest cupcake!

Back to the film, Becky took me to see a film called…I can’t remember. Seriously, can’t for the life of me think of it, but it’s not important.  The message of the film is what resonated with me. It was all about the dangers of confinement farming. Confinement farming, for those that don’t know, is when the animals live almost their entire lives in a building.  Never seeing the sun, or putting their hooves on grass.  Sad for the animals, bad for us.  It examined local farms and the health benefits for the animals and, ultimately, those who consume the animals. The film was great but it was a statistic that was mentioned in the question and answer session after that really got me thinking.  Are you ready to have your life changed?  Hmmm, are you sure?  Here it is…York County spends $900 million a year on food and of that $900 million, only $4 million goes to local farmers.  Hello?  Are you kidding me?  Let’s do the math people – that’s less than 3%!

Disturbing, isn’t it?  Has anyone looked around York County lately?  We’re nothing but farms! Why aren’t we buying our food locally?  We have great resources to help us.  Check out http://www.buylocalpa.org.   This led me to examine my shopping habits and I came to the realization that I sleepwalk through my grocery shopping.  So, I went to Central Market and fell in love.

What do I love about thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love the fresh, organic produce.  I love getting my milk in old-fashioned, glass bottles. I love the selection of cheeses.  Smoked cheddar, perhaps?  Fresh mozzarella, anyone?    I love the freshly baked bread, the crab cake sandwiches that melt in your mouth. I love the greek salads, the meats that come from happy cows, the pies, and don’t let me forget the granola! Lots and lots of granola.  I didn’t even know I liked granola until I discovered Just Plain Jane granola!

Oh, my.  I’m getting dizzy thinking of all the food.  Okay, so tomorrow I’m having a lunch playdate with my mommy friends.  I plan on incorporating my finds in my  lunch menu!  I believe MOMS Club Becky will be there!  But, not Cupcake Becky.  I should have ordered cupcakes for dessert!  Damn….next time!

Breaking News: Hurricane Vomit makes landfall

Fawn Grove, PA – Hurricane Vomit has left its mark on the small Pennsylvania town of Fawn Grove after making landfall nearly 24 hours ago.  Beginning at 8 am on Monday, the vomiting continued throughout the evening and into the early hours of Tuesday.  Vomit left Fawn Grove around 8 am this morning after Moose the dog, not to be outdone by his vomiting, human sister, threw up on the feet of Joyce family matriarch, Michelle.  No one was injured.  Though damage to the house is still being assessed.

Ahh…the joys of parenthood. First steps, first words, kindergarten graduation, all night vomit fests….wait, what?  Those first few moments after giving birth are magical.  You stare at this miracle that you just pushed out of you and you picture their life.  All the firsts….then the next morning you wake and realize that with all the good will come the bad.  My seven-year old daughter will get any stomach bug being passed around the elementary school no matter what. In addition, she will vomit when she gets strep throat.  I deal with a lot of vomit.

Alas, when she woke me up Monday morning by vomiting on me, I just prepared myself for another round.  This was different.  Linda what’s-her-name-from The Exorcist has nothing on my kid.  I have never seen so much throwing up and she wasn’t even eating or drinking.  That’s right…no drinking anything from 8 am Monday morning until 2 am Tuesday morning.  In addition to the mounds of puke-soaked sheets and dirty laundry, she really wanted to give me something to do…worry.

After an afternoon trip to the doctor, who graciously gave me antibiotics for strep just in case, she finally started resting.  I woke this morning comforted by the sight of my child resting soundly and then waking to ask me if she could eat a popsicle.  Yes, you may. Have 20 popsicles!  I untangled myself from the random blankets that had been thrown on the bed when I ran out of clean sheets.  Made my way out to the living room and discovered this.

The ariel view of my living room after Hurricane Vomit came to visit.  I think my sick kid is down there somewhere.  I just can’t find her yet. I’m what my friends call a “neat freak.”  Is there something freakish about wanting a nice, clean, sparkling home for your family?  Not in my book.  A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s my motto.  Which is why this picture is so disturbing to me.

I’m off to clean up the debris.  I’ve been walking around the house all morning with the smell of vomit lingering under my nose.  At this point, I can’t tell if every room has been vomited in or if I’m smelling myself.

I’d better clean up quickly though.  The only image running through my mind right now is of my adorable seven year-old and me sharing a slice of pizza on Sunday.  Why did I eat off her plate?!?!

General Jane

Report:  Day 5 of Jane-eats-exactly-what-I-make-or-she-doesn’t-eat

I have a tiny, little terror living in my house.  It’s not supernatural, paranormal or ghostly, no….it’s a 3 year-old!  Parents of 3 year-olds know exactly what I’m talking about.  They have the faces of angels and the attitudes of hormonal, out-of-control, 15 year-old teenage girls who date bad boys and give you the finger behind their bedroom door.

I have no doubt that if Jane continues to act like this she will one day be a powerful dictator of some small, third world country.  Okay, most likely, not. She will grow out of this phase and move on to a more lovable, adorable portion of her life.  But until then, Jane thinks she rules the roost.

To demonstrate her dictatorship, she refuses to eat anything that is not some form of baked snack cracker or chicken nuggets.  McDonald’s chicken nuggets.  That’s right…I feed my kids McDonald’s. (crickets chirping)  I think I hear a lot of judgement in that silence.  You can judge me all you want but when your child refuses to eat anything that doesn’t resemble a nugget-shaped piece of chicken, you become desperate. Desperate to feed her.  To nourish her.

I used to be desperate.  Not so much anymore.  I began to realize that Jane was actually committing psychological warfare.  She wanted me to think she would waste away to nothing at my incapable, unfit motherly hands.

Then on day 12 of Jane-would-only-eat-Lucky-Charms-morning-noon-and-night, I came across this gold mine of a website, www.superhealthykids.com.  Love it, love it, love it.  After looking at the recipes and skimming through the pages, I began to feel the cold grip of Jane’s dictatorship loosening from around my neck.  I was going to do this.  I was going to get her to eat healthy.

So, began my project at the beginning of the week.  It has not been an easy journey.  Monday’s attempt at a yogurt parfait got a lukewarm reception.  Jane didn’t understand why her Cheerios were not swimming in milk but laying out on top of yogurt.  She wondered why the yogurt was white instead of the usual blue, pink, orange kind she usually eats and then she asked why in fact she had Cheerios instead of Lucky Charms.

Day 2 and 3 and 4 were not successful either.  She told me the smoothie made her throw up while her older sister looked at me like I was a saint of a mother for giving her a milkshake for breakfast.

But, alas, on Day 5, I’ve had success.  It came in the form of Pumpkin Waffles!

Not only did Jane eat them, she helped make them too!  Here’s the recipe….

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Mix the wet ingredients.  Mix the dry ingredients. Combine wet into dry and enjoy!!

Jane was a happy customer!

Michelle