I'm DONE. With the School Year, and Jerks Who Comment.


Are you done? I sure am. It's been a long busy school year and I'm overdue for plenty of down time and alarm clock free mornings.

I made this meme yesterday, and it has gone viral. It makes me happy to know that I'm not alone in feeling ready for summer and there are about half a million moms who like me, are limping to the school finish line.

But here's the thing, I got a few pretty awful comments about what I said up there.

Like, just plain AWFUL.

Why does a total stranger feel the need to say this...





and this.....








My oldest son turns 18 next week, graduates high school, and then a few weeks later heads off to college. And you know what my biggest concern is? He has to share the world with assholes like the above. People with zero sense of humor who feel the need actually type the words "Go fuck yourself" to someone they know absolutely NOTHING about.

Stephanie Hatfield O'Balles- I'm gonna pray hard for you. I'm gonna send good and happy thoughts your way today. And then when the karma bus slows down to pick you up, I'm gonna make sure to give the driver  a BIG, FAT TIP.

Signed, a mom with AMAZING kids. 



The School Year - Make. It. Stop. NOW!



It’s that time  again moms. The end of the school year.  How quickly another year has whizzed by only to find us here, whimpering for a life boat, or at least an original lunchbox idea. (Preferably one that does not require the culinary gumption of the Barefoot Contessa, and miniature die cutters so at 5 a.m., I can gleefully cut out organic cheese into the shape of the space shuttle.) Yep, it’s time to again reflect on how little, and I mean a SCANT amount of gas, we moms have left in the school year tank. Fumes, people, FUMES!  It is now mid May, and  I can only hope and pray that I have enough fumes to hang on until June 6. It’s gonna be close. Real. Effing. Close. 

The next few weeks hold an insurmountable bevy of school related activities. We have the end of the year classroom parties, graduations, field trips, teacher appreciation weeks, sports banquets, school dances, and most likely a few classmate birthday parties thrown in the mix. (Dear Lord - NO more birthday party invites. Just NO. We have all simultaneously hit the laser tagging, bounce housing, roller skating, sleepover-ing, bowling party WALL.)  All of these activities require us weary moms to work together in unity. Happily! Gratefully! In Unity! That’s right. Leave it to a pack of wild moms, drooling and begging for June, to be forced into civil and cooperative party planning when all we really want to do is hit the summer highway, and leave the parent school association in our dust. At this point, the only thing we can manage to do in unity is swear, and send each other texts like “When the %^* was that project due again?” and “R U #$^%*ing kidding? We have 2 make what 4 what? By tomorrow?” We are, however, staunchly united in one simple statement of solidarity- Make. It. Stop. 
Make it ALL. JUST. STOP. 


Make the breakfast cooking STOP. 

I curse myself for having morphed into that mom who cooks a hot breakfast every day.  What was I thinking?  I never worked at Denny’s. Hell, before I got married I could barely scramble an egg. Now several mornings a week I have scrambled half the damn carton by 6:30 a.m., because once you drive down that wonderful hot breakfast highway, there is no getting off the cold cereal exit.    Damn you September mom, who was mixing up whole grain pancakes then pouring them into autumnal themed pancake molds.  Or, baking from scratch fruit filled muffins, egg burritos, and Belgian friggin’ waffles. This week’s breakfast menu includes toast. Probably only one piece. Want two? Knock your brother over. Just go ahead and take him out, I don’t care.  If we have butter consider yourself lucky.  Out of bread? It’s saltine city sweetheart. Protein has left the building. Sure you can have orange juice, but please drink it out of the jug. I have also quit washing the sink full of morning pans, plates, and cups, so if you use a glass you better run. Fast and out the front door.  Whatever dirty breakfast dishes I find I’m throwing out. Hey, simple living is in. I’ve walked through the Swiss Family Robinson house at Disney World. They survived. 

Make the lunch packing STOP. 

All 4 of them. Every day.  And this is coming from a mom who owns cookbooks based solely on school lunch recipes, has a Pinterest board dedicated to lunchbox ideas, and often prints out cute notes to tuck inside. “You’re A- mazing! I’m bananas for U! Orange you glad it’s lunchtime!”  I know.  It’s September mom at her best. This all has led me to announce this week that  I am no longer packing school lunches for the current school year.  Done. Over. El fin de almuerzo. The lunch lady split people. I. Just. Cannot. Pack.  Another effing lunch.  No more sandwiches cut out like dinosaurs, no more ka-bobbed  fresh fruit, and googly-eyed muffins, and  no more homemade baked goods. Boys, it’s time to meet a sweet little girl I know. Her name is Little Debbie. Meet her BFF, Nutty Bar. Oh, and if you are looking for fiber, there is a four month old apple at the bottom of the produce drawer, three grapes,  and some cranberries I bought last Thanksgiving. And I think one petrified mozzarella stick. Hey, kids, aged cheese is, like, gourmet!   “Orange you glad you had toast for breakfast!”

Make the laundry STOP. 

Clean p.e. uniforms, clean dress uniforms, clean gymnastics tops, golf polos, soccer socks, tennis shorts. Day in. Day out. I know  I’m supposed to be full of laundry joy,  like that old laundry saying says, “Be grateful for all those little blessings of clothes.”  By now, buttons are popping off, sleeves are constricting growing arms, navy dress shorts are faded, white shirts are dingy gray. My once bright and crisp looking boys are borderline trailer park fashion models by mid-May. Nobody has worn matching socks since February. Toes are coming out the front of shoes. Belts are peeling.  “Mom, I need new school shoes!” Yea, no way I am buying new school shoes in May. And NO, I am not climbing to the back of the closet  to dig out the next size up shorts for a few weeks of wear.  No, I don’t care if you go to school looking like you slept in a ditch last night. It’s Catholic school, tell them you are embracing your inner John the Baptist. Wear flip flops. Hey,  even the new Pope ditched his flashy duds. No bath? No teeth brushing? No hand washing?  Fine by me. Water loves you back kid. It’s called saving the planet. 

Make the school sports STOP. 

Please. No match tie breaks, or extra holes, or overtimes. No playoffs, shoot outs, no championships. Please just lose already! Throw in the towel. Throw down your racket. Throw the soccer ball in traffic. Throw the golf ball in the drink. Just. Stop. Playing. Sorry, but I just don’t see you on  ESPN’s top plays of 2030.  Guess what? I’m totally fine with that. You know where I really need to be after school? My couch. Not a field, a fairway, a court, a pitch, or a set of bleachers.  Me, the team bus driver, is filing a complaint with the NTSB claiming lack of mandated rest, and compromised health.  Nobody should be driving children to sporting events when they possess the blood sugar levels of a gnat and got the same amount of sleep last night of your average bat. I’m personally lobbying next year for extracurricular activities that take place inside an air conditioned building, like a book club at Barnes & Noble, that includes free caffeine for everyone over age 40, plus transportation to and fro, with healthy snacks on board.

Make the bedtime routines STOP. 

The showers, the story reading, the school bag packing, the clothes laying out, the homework signing. Check. Check.  CHECK! Think early October. Our bedtime routine was executed with military precision and perfection. Everybody peacefully tucked in and the next morning’s necessities lined up waiting by the door. I have since gone AWOL. Out of sheer and total burned out-ness, I have become the mom who doesn’t give a crap anymore if anyone is actually ready for bed or the morning at all. Do it all yourself. Just sign my name on your work, read for five minutes, (anything- the TVGuide channel will do) unpack or don’t unpack your backpack, sleep in your clothes, I just don’t have the energy anymore.  You’re on your own little people, time to become independent, because I currently have the keen supervisory skills of a drone who is nose diving with dead batteries. Please charge me and plug me back in one day in late August. 

Luckily, it will all stop soon enough, and then something just plain awesome will happen. The first week of August, long after summer camps have filled their days, after vacations have been enjoyed, pajama parties endured, matinees watched, lightning bugs collected, red, white, and blue popsicles licked, and after we have all had our fill of  long lazy naps taken during  afternoon thunderstorms, moms all around the country will start getting back in school mom control. With a twinkle in their eye (and the promise of not having to hear “I’m bored” for at least another 4 months) they will be dancing down the aisles buying new school uniforms, crayons, spiral notebooks, and tennis shoes. They will cavort with other moms about how they are so  flippin’  glad school is starting again,  and how they just need to get into a real “routine” again. 

Lord, right now I am just trying to make it through the “routine” another few weeks. Hurry and make it stop!


10 Things Moms of Teen Boys Must Know



My favorite blog post last year came from a kindred spirit, and someone I truly believe is living the same life as me, albeit just a few years behind.  Rita Templeton, also a mom of four boys, and blogger over at Fighting Off Frumpy wrote an absolutely hilarious piece titled "10 Things Boy Moms Must Know"  As I read each point  I literally found myself yelling out “AMEN! Yes! Preach it mama! TRUTH!”  and when it ended at number 10, I slumped in my chair. Keep going! You have only scaled the tip of the testosterone iceberg!   Then it hit me- she hasn’t experienced the teenage boy. Well holy AXE spray, zit cream, and hairy legs, I. AM. THERE.  I am treading water in the teen angst cesspool (also known as their bedroom) desperately gasping for sanity,  in male adolescent hormone infested waters. Waters that run deep, wide, smart-mouthed, and scruffy chinned. Where dirty boxer shorts,  crumbled up and forgotten homework assignments,  lost ear buds, sweaty socks, and junk food wrappers are forever afloat. Unfortunately, these waters do not come with a lifeboat. (Honestly, I don’t need a lifeboat, I need a pressure washer and a bullhorn but we will get to that in a sec.) Don’t get me wrong, my teenagers are great kids, they do well in school, are witty, empathetic, amusing, and are actually growing into really cool adults. But there are minutes, days, sometimes weeks where I -in teen terms-  like, TOTES. CAN’T. EVEN.  wrap my mind around their behavior. 




I wish someone would have told me...........




1. Everything will smell.

Their car. Their closet. Their bathroom. Their bedroom. The hallway that leads to their room. It will be a funky, sweaty, noxious, musty, foul, deodorant soap covered perspiration,  “I am no longer a little boy” type of odor. No candle, plug in, floral spray, or wax melt comes even close to touching it,  so stop trying. When they move out, painting the room and replacing the carpet may help. (MAY.)

2. They will suddenly want to wash their own sheets. 

They will bounce down the stairs with all of their bedding wrapped up in a tiny ball, duck into the laundry room,  and out of nowhere suddenly want to start the washing machine with no help.  Don’t ask. Don’t help. Don’t acknowledge. Move on mom. This doesn’t involve you. Just a boy and his dreams.

3. There is no frustration greater than teaching the male brain how to drive.

I’m almost done teaching my second son how to drive. I’ve got chewed up cuticles, severe hair loss, and a prescription to reduce heart palpitations to prove it. No matter how cautious, careful, and smart of a driver they appear to be, and even with mom riding shotgun, dents will happen. So will things like, “Does yellow happen before or after green?” and "Is 65 the FASTEST I can go?" Shoot. Me. Now.

4. When not sleeping, they are eating.

Ever wake up at 3 am to what sounds like raccoons in your kitchen digging through the garbage for food?  Folks at Costco finally give you your own parking spot up front? Then you get it. I live in  “Never Enough Burritos” land.  Someone please invent a pepperoni pizza patch that I can slap on their arms that will offer 24 hour continuous nourishment. 

5. When not eating, they are sleeping.

Never, ever, EVER did I think when I had a house full of babies that woke everyday before sunrise that I would ever sleep in again.  But teens? They SLEEP THE HELL IN!!  Like until NOON. Comatose almost. Not gonna lie, it’s freakin' awesome. Awesome until they have to wake up at the crack of dawn, like, say, for school. Then you are totally screwed.  Invest in a bullhorn, and pray for Saturdays. 

6. They will take risks.

Big ones. Mind numbing ones.  Risks that your shy, overly cautious, hesitant little boy would never take.  (Personally, I think the part of the brain that kept him wary and watchful is now controlled by images of boobies and butts, but who knows.)  Basically, boy brains are fearless, reckless, and sense zero consequence. If you’ve ever uttered the words  “Not my kid” take it back. Take it back right effing NOW. Trust me.


6. They think they know everything. 

Yes, that cliche is true, and they will actually say this to your  face. I literally recorded mine saying it to me. Even he laughed.  This brazen way of thinking must  somehow be a survival mechanism. Perhaps if they had an authentic grasp of adulthood and what real life will throw at them someday, they may not even want to reach 18. Let’s just allow them to keep thinking they know everything. Why ruin the party?


8.  They will not want to hug much anymore. 

Like ever. But keep trying. You will become the physical form of kryptonite, and when they see you with your arms outstretched they may run away in horror. Keep trying anyway. Because out of the blue one day they will toss their arm around your shoulder and give a squeeze, a grin, and say “I love you mom.” (It may only occur when your trunk is full of Doritos and Cheez-Whiz but hey, take what you can get.) They may seem aloof and un-wanting of your affection, but don’t believe it. They want it. Hug when and if you can.

9.  Showers. All day. Every day.

Go ahead and buy the low flow shower head on their 13th birthday, as it will save you about $500 a year. Kids you previously had to  beg, bribe, and literally chase down and throw into the shower now spend one fourth of their entire day in there. And yet, still #1.  Washing diligently? Probably not, but just don’t be that mom who knocks and cracks an embarrassing joke. Just don’t. 

10. You thought your newborn grew overnight?  You won’t believe these spurts. 

The mere fact that these boys that I have to crane my neck and look UP to now used to fit in the football hold under my arm is mind boggling. But it happens. And it does so at warp speed.  They will go to bed one night with the voice of a Vienna Choir boy and walk out the next morning Pavarotti. Pants that one day you have to roll up will be capris the next. We have skipped three whole shoe sizes at one time. Must have something to do with #4. In the blink of an eye you will go from holding the soft padded hands of a little boy to holding a hand that feels like your husband’s.  Your boys will become men right before your eyes. And if you must know ONE thing, it’s pretty darn cool raising men.  




Husband, Just Live My Life for Mother's Day

Love of my life, father of my four glorious children…….

I want you to wipe down the wall behind the toilet. It’s a lovely shade of maize and smells faintly of Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning. Start about 6 inches from floor, work your way up. Higher. Yea, I didn’t think that was possible either. Wear gloves. Hazmat suit totally optional.

I want you to fill out all the forms for the next 6 months. That’s right. ALL THE FORMS. The 20 pages I will get next month for school registration renewal, the field trip forms, the insurance forms, the athletic forms, the camp forms, the club forms, the order forms, the return forms, the rebate forms, the warranty forms. Man oh man I am so gonna miss doing that.

I want you to memorize four social security numbers, four shoe sizes, four pant sizes, four shirt sizes, and four underwear sizes. Sizes are subject to change spontaneously and without any type of notice What. So. Ever. There is no systemic, equal, or gradual increase in any or all of these sizes. One day you are buying a size 3 shoe, next week a 7. Go with it.

I want you to cut out coupons for the next 6 months. Alphabetize and file by expiration date, store, and food group.  I want you to know, just plain KNOW what coupons to NOT cut out, and you can’t ask me. Hint: I don’t buy pop-tarts,  everything in the house always needs disinfecting, and we don’t have a cat. And you see that stretchy bra like thingie they sell by mail order on the last page of the coupons? It  looks mighty comfy. I like pink.

I want you to make all the well child doctor appointments for the next year.  Go ahead and make appointment for 7:00 am so they don’t miss school. It’s always easy to get people clean and dressed and in the car by 6:30 a.m. A total ball! Don’t worry, there is drive thru coffee on the way. Drink it fast because it will get cold while you sit in the pediatrician’s waiting room for 2 hours watching a new mom try to console a screaming colicky infant. Bring that hazmat suit you used earlier, to defend against the 2 year old with green snot dripping out of his nose hacking up a lung on your lap. The peds office is blast I tell ya! Remember, you’re the one who didn’t buy the  “I have a headache” excuse. See where it got you?

I want you to gain and lose exactly 28 pounds, four times, and over the course of 40 weeks. Oh wait, really only 20 weeks because over the first 20 you will vomit up your small intestine, as well as what is left of any actual fluid left floating in your  wilting veins. Don’t worry, eventually it’s totally awesome packing on 15 pounds in just one month because you realistically haven’t eaten a morsel in five. Sure, the skin on your stomach won’t know what hit it but come on, stretch marks are IN baby! It’s not like bathing suit season is soon or anything.

I want your penis to triple in size.  Stop it. Don’t get too excited. This will not be for yours or my enjoyment. I would like it to triple in size and at the same time I want the feeling of someone touching it to be painful, annoying, and downright horrible.  Oh, and it has to now nourish a person, as in keep them alive, for like, over a year. And I want you to have to wear the ugliest underwear on the planet for your new awesomely large beverage dispensing penis.  Then suddenly, I want it to shrink to 5 sizes smaller than it was before. There. I feel better now.

I want someone to pull a watermelon out of your lower abdomen after a quick slice and dice with their scalpel. No biggie. Then I want them to  hand you the watermelon, a maxi pad the size of a pool raft, a trial size bottle of baby shampoo and say “Now while you recover, don’t lift anything heavy, like say,  a watermelon. Godspeed!”

I want you to meet me on my running route every day and at several different places, with water, holding a poster that says, “You are hauling ASS hunny! I am soooo  making dinner tonight!”
I want you to pick out both the movie and the restaurant. I swear to God I don’t care. I just cannot make one more damn decision or be in control on ONE. MORE. THING. Just pick it. (No place with TV’s hung high playing ESPN.)

I want you to not bring me breakfast in bed. Do not let my kids make and/or bring me breakfast in bed. Do not let anyone make/bring me breakfast in bed unless their name is Ina Garten, and I have awoken to discover I slept at a Four Seasons last night, on Martha’s Vineyard, next to an open window with a cool breeze wafting in smelling of lavender.  Then, by all means…..

I do not want you to draw me a bath. I want you to erase the drawings in the bathtub. Even the one I ‘accidentally’ made last week when I dropped an entire bottle of red nail polish in there. Sorry about that. I had my foot propped up on the side of the tub, and roughly 3 seconds to try to make 4 toenail-less toes look, well, not so horrific. On that note, don’t buy me cute sandals.

I want you to drink English tea and eat scones with me while I watch Downton Abbey. Don’t talk. Don’t frown. Don’t ask questions. Just sit there and sip, nod, and smile gingerly when Violet cracks a good one. Then clean up and ask me, “Will there be anything else this evening my lady?”

I want you to know that being a mom to your 4 boys (reminder again- YOUR swimmers had the AWOL females)  is the most outrageous, most fatiguing, most mentally taxing, mind numbing, non-stop disaster inducing, tear generating, nerve ending,  aggravatingly thrilling, unbelievably herculean thing I have ever or will ever do. EVER. It is the laughing until it hurts and you cry kind of fun that I never want to stop having. EVER. And I really don’t need flowers, cards, candles, or dinner out. I just need you guys. All of you. All the time. Simple.  But if the spirit moves you to, oh, I dunno, empty the dishwasher, or bring me a cup of coffee……please don’t hesitate. I’ll take it.





When the College Acceptance Letter Comes......



My firstborn son received his college acceptance yesterday.

In a matter of a few seconds, I felt all the feels; joy, excitement, worry, anticipation, relief, gratefulness….exuberance to just name a few.

But I also felt something I didn’t expect.

I felt a release.  I felt his release. 

As my husband, myself, and my son all stood around starring at the computer screen reading “Congratulations!” I felt a metaphorical rush of air hit my face, and I imagined it was from my son spreading his wings and finally flying out of our nest.  

And for the first time, I wasn’t sad about it.  I want him to go. 

All I could think about was this thought, “It was all worth it.”

That moment when a childhood becomes adulthood, where your baby’s life dreams are just beginning and their childhood dreams are ending, and as a mom, you get to see it, well, it was all worth it. 


To the moms out there with kids not yet of college age, it’s gonna be worth it.

It was worth the months of puking, the stretch marks, the labor pains, the new body.

It was worth the years of sleepless nights, the red faced cries, the poop explosions.

It was worth the terrible twos, the tantrums, the household disasters, the reading of Good Night Moon 4,876 times, and the hearing the word “NO!” yelled at you for years.

It was worth the skinned knees, the vaccines, the runny noses, the earaches, the head bumps, the cavities, the braces, and the scary loud coughs waking you at night. 


It was worth the thousands of lunches packed, the countless meatloaves made, and the endless trips to the grocery store to feed a boy who is forever hungry.  

It was worth the late nights of spelling word practices, math fact practices, diorama making,  science project fiascos, and  book report writing. 

It was worth being the mom taxi, the 5,000 hours spent in cars going to school, to sports, to the doctor, to anywhere and everywhere you needed to be. Even when I was so tired I could barely see the road.

It was worth the teen years, when hugs were few and far between, when their days were 15 hours long, and my grudges were even longer, when cars were dented, dinners went uneaten, attitudes exploded, and tears fell. It was worth the stress that comes when a kid is expected to be a mature young man, yet still had the heart and playfulness of a young child. 

And last night, as all of those milestones flashed before me, I know the only thing that flashed before my son was the future, not the past. And I’m ok with that. 

In a sense, sure, a lot of my “work” is done, and I do feel like I deserve a moment of “I did it. He’s going to college. Can I have a nap now?” But I know that is not the case. I know my childrearing doesn't end at the age of 18, and I know he still needs his mom. But I am over the moon excited that slowly but surely, he will be making own decisions more and more, and need me less and less. That’s a good thing. 


I’m going to go up to his room later today, and probably stare at an empty bed, and it will hit me that next year I will be staring at an empty bed all the time. But I will not be sad about, because the happiness on his face last night told me everything I need to know. 

He’s gonna be ready. And it truly was all worth it.