Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

Dear Prison Slang Mommyblogger

Dear Prison Slang Mommyblogger,

We have hit the terrible twos and I need help! Our two-year old daughter recently learned how to climb out of her crib. When I try to place her back in for her nap, she hits me. Hard. I tell her “No!” in a firm voice, and she just laughs at me. How should I handle the situation so she stops hitting me and stays in her crib? Please help!

Frustrated in Poughkeepsie


Dear Frustrated in Poughkeepsie,

So your little jitterbug has the rabbit in her, and thinks it’s funny to split your wig. That’s off the hook, but you can handle it with the help of Prison Slang Mommyblogger!

Dig this out: when dealing with toddlers, you can’t be flipping the script. You have to be consistent, and stick to your guns.

If your little cell warrior continues to bug out, tell her in a firm voice that she needs to stay dead mouthed until she gives you a dime of flat time.

If she makes jackrabbit parole and gets on the bricks again, calmly place her back in her crib and explain that she needs to max out in the big house until you tell her she’s done with her flat time. Otherwise the bling bling will be rolling right back in to give her an LWOP. If she treats you like a lop and tries to sleep you, Give her one warning, and calmly place her back in the bling. You can give her a binky through the bean slot if you need to.

She might cry and say you crossed her out, but like I said, don’t be copping deuces. Consistency is key with toddlers. Put her back in the can until she stops buggin’ out.

If she calms down, you can let her walk down her paper with some cho cho in front of Sesame Street

That should get things stitched up for you.

Good luck,

Prison Slang Mommyblogger

Translation:

So your child climbs out of her crib, and thinks it’s funny to hit Mommy.. That’s a tough situation, but you can handle it with the help of Prison Slang Mommyblogger!

Thy this: when dealing with toddlers, you can’t cave in. You have to be consistent, and stick to your guns.

If your little napper continues to throw a tantrum, tell her in a firm voice that she needs to stay quiet until her two minutes of time-out are over.

If she climbs out again, calmly place her back in her crib and explain that she needs to stay put until her time out is over. Otherwise Mommy will march right back in, and then she will be in time-out again. If she continues to disrespect you and tries to hit, Give her one warning, and calmly place her back in the crib. You can give her a pacifier in her crib if you want to.

She might cry and say it’s unfair, but again, it’s important to remain consistent. Put her back in her crib until she calms down.

If she calms down, you can let her finish her nap with some ice cream in front of Sesame Street as a reward for good behavior.

That should take care of it.

Good Luck,

Prison Slang Mommyblogger

Monday, September 18, 2006

 

Say, for example, Peter and Paul get into a fistfight and then turn on you...

According to a recent study, mothers who work are spending more time on work obligations AND more time on family and child-related obligations. This of course, leaves very little time for themselves (if any). Being stressed out and overwhelmed, it turns out, raises cortisol levels, and high cortisol levels have scary health-related ramifications.

You can read the article about women and down time on cnn.com, and you can find it here. The author emphasizes the importance of “Me Time” for all women, particularly mothers, and particularly mothers who work outside the home.

I struggle sometimes with “me time”. I try to carve out time to have dinner with friends and family, sans my two-year old. I have a pretty active social life, and I hate to miss out on ANYTHING, but frankly, most of the time I feel like I am doing most things in a depressingly half-assed fashion.

It’s hard to be a good friend when, not only do you have very little free time, but when you do, your mind is so numb and frazzled from fielding obligations around the clock that it’s hard to put together a coherent sentence.

As my sister Julie once said, it’s possible to be a good mother and a good employee, but rarely if ever on the same day. I will take that a step further by saying it’s possible to be a good friend, a good wife, a good sister, a good mother, and a good employee, and good to myself, but never, ever, all on the same day.

This is where the GUILT comes in. With their SEVERE lack of time, working mothers are forced to steal from Peter to pay Paul. This leaves us with an angry and disenfranchised Peter. Except it’s not Peter that’s getting stolen from . It’s your kid, or your husband, or your best friend, or your boss that’s getting the heave-ho in order to make room for something else.

If I spend three hours taking in a play on a Saturday afternoon, that’s three fewer hours to spend with my daughter. That leaves me feeling incredibly guilty, so I bail out on the monthly get-together with the neighborhood ladies. And so on.

When I get too busy and distracted (which is often), I feel like the worlds WORST mother. It is so hard to live in the moment when you are constantly rattling through a mental to-do list in your head. When I say constant I mean CONSTANT. The to-do list. It never stops.

There are days when I feel I am failing everyone, including my child, and myself. I am doing it all, just not very well. It begins to make a person feel like they just suck. I feel terrible for my friends when I check out mentally, because then I start doing rude things like not returning phone calls or e mails, because I am so crazed and overwhelmed that by the time I finish the dinner dishes I can hardly even speak. The best I can manage is to put my daughter to bed and stare mindlessly at Law and Order reruns.

Oy.

Here are my questions:

First off, I am looking for commiseration. I want your sob stories.

Then, I want to talk solutions.

How do you find “me time”, and when you do, what works to bring mental peace and clarity?

What are your challenges to “me time” and how do you make it (and keep it) a priority?

Friday, September 15, 2006

 

Freak Filter

The following are all honest-to-God questions I answered today on a psychological assessment for a job opportunity. Do you think I'll get the position?

Note: my actual answers may have been changed for comedic affect. The questions, and the options given for potential answers however, have not been altered in any way.

137. Sometimes I get angry enough to smash things.
XTrue
False

139. I feel I am not as smart as I used to be.
XTrue
False

159. If we expect the worst, then we won't be disappointed.
XTrue
False

17. Most social reformers are not really sincere.
XTrue
False

33. Sometimes I feel I could just scream.
XTrue
False

90. Utilities should be allowed to raise rates because they have been regulated more than most other industries.
XTrue
False

120. People who act like they're better than me make me feel bad.

XTrue
False

119. I sometimes feel like I lock myself inside.
XTrue
False

75. There is so much government control that commercial business is rapidly being destroyed.
XTrue
False

38. Beer can collecting has become popular because

Xit's fascinating to meet collectors from all walks of life.


it's fun to impress friends with rare acquisitions.


it's an inexpensive hobby.

2. People who raise tropical fish do so because


they are challenged to breed fish that have never been bred.


Xthe serenity of the fish is a welcome change from daily life.


it's a hobby the whole family can enjoy


10. People patronize the arts because

they seek better or unique methods for self-expression.


they want to make exposure to the arts available for everyone.


Xthey're "uppity" or trying to appear better than others

Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

What's wrong with "Us"?

Let me be the first to admit that I am a subscriber to “Us” magazine. I eagerly anticipate its weekly arrival in the mail and I devour every page like a starving dog with a bowl full of kibble. It’s not right. But I can’t stop.

What is my fascination? What is our fascination? How has this seemingly contagious case of voyeurism caught on like wildfire across the country, and why oh why does anyone care about what Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, or Nicole Ritchie did this weekend?

Do you care as much about what your own family and friends are up to? Your neighbors? Who your single friends were recently spotted with?

Having read nearly every reputable gossip rag for over a year, I can not think of one interesting thing uttered by any of the three women I mentioned. They are quite possibly, the most boring people alive. Their conversational skills possess the banality of a plastic bowl of a low-quality, freezer burned, melted vanilla ice cream. Their teeth, hair and jewelry blind the viewer, strategically rendering them less likely to notice their duller aspects, like their views on life (or decided lack of them), their vocabularies, their actual accomplishments, and seemingly, their brains.

Yet, their images are everywhere. I know their catch-phrases and I know about their legal troubles. Are these the kind of women my daughter will look up to? Will she try to emulate them? Good Lord, the thought of it chills me to the bone. Check your brain at the door, accomplish nothing but greedily obtaining gratuitous publicity, and look good while you’re doing it. This is considered the pinnacle of success? In pop culture, it seems to be just that. What the Hell are we doing?

Consider women who have ACCOMPLISHED things with their lives. Women like Jane Goodall, Ann Richards, and Mother Theresa. They are all women I respect and admire tremendously. They have changed the world with their hard work, love for their fellow creature (both human and non-human), and their clever minds. These are women who have inspired, and who have created things. Important things. They had ideas. THESE are the women I want my daughter Maggie to know about.

And what am I doing about it? Nothing.

I am often too tired and distracted (did I mention lazy?) to make the effort to block out the media, and create a more thoughtful, carefully orchestrated environment for my daughter to soak up like a sponge.

All day at work I field phone calls, and e mails. I pay my bills online. I remember 30 passwords from rote memory. I barely hang on, juggling 24 moving piece parts each day, none of which require any form of complex thought. People pop their heads in my cubicle, which lacks a door, interrupting my already fragmented train of thought with random questions. I am distracted by the phone conversations of every person around me, which I can hear every word of.

Then I go home and find something in the fridge to make for dinner. Then I clean up dinner, play with my daughter, and put her to bed. Finally, I find a nice, comfortable reality television show to watch before climbing into bed.

This is what I do, because it’s easy, and I am often too exhausted and distracted to be thoughtful. And yes, I am aware that I offer up a giant, enormous cop-out as an excuse. Apparently, so do a lot of Americans.

Sales of expensive flat-screened TVs are up. The explanation for this, based on an article I read today, is that people are investing their entertainment dollars in big screen TV’s and leaving their homes less and less. They buy these TVs to avoid having to go out to movies and the expenses associated with various forms of entertainment that as a by-product, also cause us to interact with others. That kind of freaks me out. Everyone seems to want to live on their own island with their own garage and their own flat screen TV. Is human interaction really that scary?

This is chasing the American dream! Stay home, tune out, buy stuff, ignore your neighbors and stalk celebrities in cyberspace!

Just give me my magazine and leave me alone with my sweet, sweet escapism.

Why do I love to read my “Us” Magazine so much? Am I shallow? Yes! Sometimes I am! But I try to be decidedly un-shallow in many aspects of my life. I am conscious of the ridiculousness of it all. Particularly, I am painfully aware of the utter lame-ness my own behavior. I have bought in, and am a happy shareholder, of American Pop Culture. Because it’s mindless, and it’s fun, and Sweet Jesus I am too tired to do much else. Give me my gossip rag and stop talking at me.

I have the disease. Call it boredom. Call it escapism. Call it loneliness. Call it exhaustion. I want to know about the love life of that beautiful ditzy miscreant. How do they stay in shape? Who does their hair? It’s all so fascinating! But really it’s not. It’s a diversion from the banality of my own distracted life.

When I stop and think about the big picture, I get freaked out. I want to lead a thoughtful life for myself and for my family. A lot of the time, I feel like I am failing.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

I have to say I agree with Eleanor. And my manner of thinking is often among the smaller-minded. Often, but not always.

For the time being, I will keep my subscription to trashy publications. Because like I said, it’s mindless entertainment for a frazzled mind. And the state of my mind is decidedly frazzled on a regular basis.

On that same note, I pledge to try to maintain an awareness that much more is possible from this underutilized mind of mine. The best way to fight mind-frazzle is to stubbornly carve out a little time to consider the big picture. To think about whether you are living the life you want to live for yourself and for your family. To quiet one’s distracted mind.

I think yoga is good for that. Does anyone know a good yoga instructor? I hear Gwennyth Paltrow LOVES yoga.

Monday, September 11, 2006

 

Remembering

The pain of September 11th, 2001 is still fresh. I can’t bear to watch documentaries or films about that dark day, because they seem voyeuristic and intrusive towards those who were killed. It hurts to watch it all over again. It’s excruciating to think about the people who kissed their kids goodbye and went to work just like any other day, and died in the flames of a collapsing skyscraper that was smashed and broken by hatred.

To those who have used the atrocity of the crimes that were committed against human beings that day to further political agendas: Shame on you.

Peace and healing to those who lost loved ones that day. The entire country has mourned with you for five years. My heart goes out to you.