10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst

I feel the dread rise up every day at around 3PM. Dinner time is coming. Before I became a mom I thought my family’s evening meal would look like one of those Hamburger Helper commercials.

You’ve seen them: the mom slowly places a casserole dish in the middle of the table. The children’s eyes grow wide with delight as they hold their forks and knives, poised and ready in each hand. The husband licks his lips and looks up adoringly at his wife for browning meat and mixing it with a $2 box of pasta and a pouch of questionable spices.That’s how dinner was going to be. Everyone would come to the table hungry. Everyone would appreciate my meals. Everyone would eat while talking and laughing about their day.

Yeah right.

10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst

1. You have to make it. This sounds easy to enough but considering that 5PM is when children are all on the brink of hunger-fueled insanity and exhausted, this is next to impossible. Small children and babies want to be held while you throw lasagna into a 400 degree oven. Older kids beg for snacks and swipe ingredients when you’re not looking. There will always be someone crying at your feet or tripping you with their body while lying like a starfish in the middle of the kitchen.

2. My husband comes back from work tired and needing a moment to himself before jumping into home life. I get it, I truly do, but that “moment” needs to hurry up and be over because I can’t wrangle children and cook at the same time.

3. I never know what to make. How many times can I make spaghetti or cook chicken breasts? I want to try new recipes but straying from the same old meals increases the risk of rejection so no.

4. By the time dinner is actually done my children’s hunger has morphed into anger that they’re being required to eat. They no longer know how to put food into their mouths unless I keep barking orders throughout the meal.

5. Then comes the nitpicking. “This is too hot.” “I don’t like these spices.” “What is this?” What is this? It’s called rice. Remember, those small white grains that you loved last week? Oh and those “spices” are butter and salt. Your food is too hot? Have you considered blowing or waiting? No? Too hard?

6. I can’t sit down and just eat. I have to jump up every 5-6 seconds getting something for someone. A different fork. A smaller spoon for said rice. More water. Who spilled their milk? Another napkin. I’m not sure why I even make a plate for myself. It’d be smarter to just eat over the garbage disposal, shoveling food into my face, when the meal is done.

7. Dinner takes forever. I always find myself sitting alone with the child who is eating the slowest and probably hoping I’ll just say, “Ok, screw it” and throw their food in the trash. I’m not a mom anymore, I’m a probation officer and my job is to supervise you until you stop stalling and take those last five bites.

8. “What’s for dessert?” “How many bites?” “I dropped’ my food!” By dropped do you mean conveniently let your broccoli fall to the floor? No worries, I have more. Dessert? Dessert is the fruit in your lunchbox that you didn’t eat. As for how many bites, I’ll let you know when you’re done.

9. Poop. Why does someone always have to poop during dinner? And why does that someone always need me to help them?

10. The dreaded “I’m hungry” that a child has the nerve to say 5 minutes before bedtime. You can ignore it and send them to bed knowing that they’ll probably wake up at 4:00 begging for sustenance or give in and hand them a string cheese. Neither one will make you feel good about yourself.

Cooking for a family with young kids is a pretty thankless job. I do it because they need to eat and I want them to be somewhat healthy. That said, I’m losing my mind. If you need me, I’ll be drinking wine in the kitchen.

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Dear Mommy, Thank you

Dear Mommy,

I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but thank you. Thank you for carrying me inside you for 40, no, 41 weeks. I know it wasn’t easy. You were sick. Really sick. And you still went to work, sneaking away to toss your cookies in a stall several times a day. One time you thew up in the car. That wasn’t pretty. You still can’t look at chicken breast the same way. You were so tired but didn’t want to show it because you were worried about your job. You cried a lot.

Thank you.

The day you had me was hard. I could feel how scared you were that something bad would happen. You mind was racing, hoping everything would go as planned. As the pain clutched your body again and again, refusing to let go even though you begged, you cried, wondering if this would last forever. You were afraid but you kept talking to me, telling me that you wanted to see me.

When I showed up you gently touched my face. I could tell you were tired, sore, and broken, but you still smiled and me like I made you forget about everything but my eyes.

Thank you.

Those early days were hard. I didn’t sleep like other babies. As I screamed in the dark you held me. I felt your warm tears fall as you rocked me back and forth. The only light was that of the moon and you sang with your shaky voice and patted me on the back until I finally got comfortable enough to close my eyes and let myself go heavy against you. We did this over and over. More times than I can count. During the day your eyes looked heavy, your face blotchy and exhausted, but every time you looked at me your eyes sparkled like I was your greatest treasure.

Thank you.

Life hasn’t gotten much easier. Sometimes I get so angry at a world where so many things don’t make sense. I scream. I hit. I throw things and laugh. You catch me when I fall. You sit with me and whisper the pages of books into my ears. You take me places and show me corners of this giant planet. You tell me the names for everything around me. You crouch down and pick up the meal I tossed down from my highchair. Sometimes you get angry and tired, and it’s my turn to meet you where you are. I snuggle against you and lay my head down on your chest and you look at me like we’re meeting for the first time.

Thank you for being someone I feel safe enough to let my emotions fall where they lay. Thank you for rubbing my back in the dark until my mind quiets enough to relax into sleep. Thank you for helping me feel safe where there are so many unknowns. Thank you for being mine.

I love you.

-Baby

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Dear Mom of The Difficult Kid

Dear Mom of the Difficult Kid,

I know you feel judged.While the other children are laughing, yours is crying.

While the other children are playing, yours is tantruming.

While the other children are holding hands running through the park giggling amongst the dandelions, yours is hiding behind your knees, clutching your pants for dear life, begging to go home.

While the other kids are listening, yours just tried to hit you. In public. Again.

Strangers are full of stern advice. “All that child needs is a good spanking.” “Looks like someone needs to learn some respect!”

Friends give you a sad smile and politely look away while you try to talk your little one down from the edge once again.

You feel a failure at the one thing you’d give anything to excel at.

You feel like the entire world is pointing at you and shaking their heads.

You’re scared for the future.

You walk through life hand in hand with a child whom you love more than life but wish, even if it’s just a quiet wish from the smallest corner of your heart, that you could somehow make everything just a bit easier.

But you keep trying. You keep going to the park even though you know how the outing will end. You keep teaching. You keep hugging. You keep guiding. Because even though it’s hard, above all else, your child is yours.

Yours to keep. Yours to love. Forever.

Don’t waste your time imagining what other people are thinking. Don’t waste your days looking longingly at other children who seem so easy, or wondering what if this and what if that.

Maybe, just maybe, you and your child were paired for a reason that will only reveal itself once they’re grown and the sidewalk meltdowns are distant memories; thin and faded like old photographs.

Until then, keep trying. Keep teaching. Keep mothering.

You’re amazing.

xo Another Mom of a Difficult Kid


 

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A Toddler’s Food Diary  

A Toddler’s Food Diary

Breakfast

– Milk

– Three small bites of the oatmeal I gestured to and made monkey sounds at until my mom made it. The rest of it is currently in the sink.

– Six Tic Tacs that mommy gave me so that I’d be quiet during an episode of Orphan Black.

-Three Cheerios found between the couch cushions.

– Half of a string cheese.

Snack

– The scent of one banana.

-1/8th a square of toilet paper.

– What may have been a raisin.

– The liquid from a baby wipe (sucked it out while she was in the bathroom).

– 3-4 pieces of hardened debris from last night’s dinner. Found it in my highchair.

Lunch 

– 12-15 grains of rice

– Tablespoon of shredded chicken

– 1/3 of a carrot stick

– Half of a bread crust found in the trash

– Milk

– My own tears/snot

(Nap)

Snack 

– Four crackers (I crushed the fifth one and sprinkled it into her bra)

– A bunch of halved grapes

– More couch snacks. I think it was an apple chip.

– The dust between buttons on the remote

– One pump of lotion

Dinner

– Nothing

Before Bed

– 6 gallons of my own bath water

-Milk

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The Two Step Trick To Getting An Amazing Post-Baby Body  

So you just had a baby. Congrats! Now before you get too comfortable, you should know that celebrities generally take between 10-15 seconds to lose all of their baby weight so you’re already behind schedule.

Remember, the goal is to remove all traces that you were ever pregnant from your body as quickly as you can. Nevermind that you just made a human. That’s nice and all, but the real miracle here is how fast you’re going to shed that weight.Yes, yes, we know your body might be in some pain right now and you may be healing from surgery or a tough labor but you’re not going to let a few genital stitches get in the way of being a MILF, are you?

Yes, your organs are trying to resettle themselves back in their original positions after being pushed around by your baby’s growing body, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the gym in between feedings.

Yes, your hormones are all over the place and you may be feeling overwhelmed but you know what will turn that frown upside down? Being a size 0-6.

You’re not eating for two, anymore. Oh you’re breastfeeding? Good. That burns calories. Eat just enough to make milk for the baby and not a cracker more.

You know what’s even more sad than women who neglect and abuse their kids? Women who have muffin tops. Your baby will be so proud of you once you can wear confidently wear a bikini. Taking great care of a newborn is noble and all but what about crop tops? Imagine the selfies.

Now, put your baby on the floor for a second and sit down because I’m about to tell you the two step trick to getting an amazing post baby body. Billions of women around the world use it. It’s 100% free, 100% painless, and is 100% easy. It works every single time for every woman who has ever tried it.

The results are incredible.

Are you ready?

Ok here it is.

The two step trick to getting an amazing post-baby body is to first, have a baby. Then go look in a mirror. Do you have a body? Good.

You now have an amazing post-baby body.

Because what you did was amazing.

You had a baby.

Congratulations.

Now go be together.

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My Kid Is A Shitty Sleeper

Did you know that sleep deprivation, like waterboarding, is considered a form of torture in international courts? That makes sense because as I sit here with my coffee at the kitchen table littered with plastic licensed Disney cups, half-eaten string cheeses and cracker crumbs, I gotta admit, I feel traumatized.

Last night was hell.

First, I want to say that my toddler didn’t always sleep like this. Early on I established a routine: dinner, a bit of play, warm bath, pajamas, milk, and then bed. It was great. He slept from 7 to 7 every night and I felt like a real smug bitch. “Oh, your child doesn’t sleep well? That’s too bad.” I’d nod sympathetically silently thanking God for making me such a capable parent and giving me a child that isn’t a direct descendent of Cain.

That’s all over now and last night proved it.

How is it that my son is now wide awake, bumbling around the living room while I feel like I got hit by a truck full of sedatives and some of those sedatives got in my mouth and then I rolled down a hill and landed face down in a lake of NyQuil? How is it that a child who woke up approximately 1,400 times between 9PM and 5AM seems rested, refreshed, and ready for the day while I’m about to put an ad on Craigslit for a sister wife? My only requirement is that she’s uglier than me, can bake, and likes getting up with kids.

The fist time he woke up was at around 9:15pm. I’d just fallen asleep so a sensor went off in his baby head to to summon my presence immediately.

“Why don’t you just ignore him?” Great question. I’ve actually tried that and instead of giving up like a child in say, an orphanage might, he just escalated until all of the other children (yes, I’ve done this more than once and am still failing) were also awake and crying. My home sounded like the rapture.

I did what all the books say. I went in, keep the light off and tapped him on the back. “Hey there little buddy,” I said to myself, “It’s time to shut the fuck up. Mommy loves you.” What I actually vocalized was “Ok…ok….shhhhh” while rubbing his back for a moment before walking backward out the door.

He responded by standing up in his crib and screaming until I think his head popped off. I sat by the door for a second and told both God and Satan that I’d worship whoever helped me first.

It worked! He stopped. I laid back down and had just closed my eyes when I heard him again. The small whine gearing up for a full-scale fire engine howl.

No problem. This was just the second time. I went back in and this time had the good sense to give him a little crotch squeeze to test diaper wetness. In the two hours since he’d been in bed he’d managed to completely fill up one of those expensive overnight diapers full of chemicals to suck moisture away from your baby’s downstairs pats. I feel guilty those diapers because I wonder if whatever they’re made out of of is poising his future sperm. Maybe his children will be born with Huggies logos on their faces or something.

How was he so wet? Part of me wonders if he has diabetes because I remember in the Babysitters Club books Stacey’s first diabetes symptom was excessive pee. Note to self: check that book out from the library for research.

I changed his diaper even though I know the fresh breeze on his junk will just wake him up further. He’s starting at me in the dark and although I can’t see him very well I know he can see me clearly on account of his toddler night vision.

I laid him back in bed. “Your genitals are dry now, baby. Go to sleep.”

One thing that continually surprises me about toddlers is how physically strong these babies are. You know how ants can lift 300x their weight? Toddlers are like that. Their bodies are composed of the following: a steel ball for a head, a protruding stomach where they store food in lieu of eating regularly, and solid lean muscle from the neck down.

If a toddler doesn’t want to lie down, you’re not going to make them. They will twist and contort and they’re not afraid to break one of your wrists.

Do you know how long you can rub a kid’s back in their crib until you can no longer feel your arm? 18 minutes.

Alright. Maybe a little milk to help settle him down. I know this is a mistake. Feeding kids at night is like getting a gremlin wet: it always ends in chaos.

Fifteen minutes later, he’d had milk, been rocked in the glider aka hopelessness chair, and it was coming on midnight. Just as I was considering tapping out and getting my husband (who has to be for work at 5AM), he began relaxing against me.

Time to attempt a crib placement. The second his body hit the $99 mattress he sleepily rose like a phoenix from the ashes and began crying again. “I need your body heat to sleep, mother.”

“Why don’t you just cosleep?” BECAUSE COSLEEPING SUCKS AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT. If I wanted to sleep with 3 inches of bed to my name and a foot in my face, I’d join a an orgy harem. At least them I’d probably be issued some flowy see-through Princess Jasmine Hammer pants. And I have other kids. If one sleeps with us, they’ll all want to and then I’ll be forced to abandon them for a new life.

There’s always moment during a disaster of a night when a parent goes from trying to do what’s best to throwing in the towel and declaring a 24lb person the winner. At one point you just have to accept that sleep isn’t part of your path. It’s not your destiny. I did that at around 2AM.

The rest of the night was a blur. All I know is that it’s sometimes easier to abandon the idea of night being for rest and just wait for the sun to show its stupid face.

We try to rationalize why a child might only sleep for 30 minutes at a time between midnight and 5AM. Teething? Maybe. Getting sick? Possibly. Just wanting to hurt you? Who knows. Maybe the room is haunted. Maybe there’s paranormal activity disturbing your baby’s spirit. Maybe your house is built on ancient burial grounds and under a curse. Maybe your baby will never sleep again until you burn some sage and hire an old priest and a young priest to bless him. I don’t know.

The only thing I do know is that I can’t open my eyes all the way. My head hurts. The sun feels too bright like it’s showing off, and I hate everyone a little bit.

Today at school drop off there was a mom ahead of me in a black coat and I kept thinking, “Look at her in her shiny black coat like she’s the Queen of France. You think you’re the Queen of France, don’t you? Car all clean like you’re something special YOU AIN’T SHIT!”

I’m fine.

My face hurts. If I allowed myself, I’d probably cry just a little bit. It’s not just the one night of sleep deprivation. It’s not knowing how many nights this will last while simultaneously feeling like it’s probably your fault.

Today I’ll operate on autopilot. I won’t change my clothes because since I didn’t sleep, technically it’s still yesterday which means this outfit is still good.

Note to other moms: Spare me the fucking advice, please. And to those of you with great sleepers, I’m happy for you, but the time to throw that in the faces of the suffering isn’t 7AM after a night we’d rather forget ever happened.

Anyway. My coffee is cold now so I’m going to heat it up. Have a blessed day.

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Dear Husband, You’re Not Dying. You Have A Cold.

Dear husband,

Having a cold is hard, I know. I hear you coughing, sniffling, and moaning…do you have a fever? I’m happy to run out and get you some medicine if that’s what you need. A cold washcloth, sure. Orange juice? Fine. But hubby? There’s something I need you to know.

You are not dying. You have a cold.

Please, I need you to cool it on the dramatics. The “I’m on my last breath” voice is a little over the top. Calling out to Jesus to heal you is scaring the kids. Is army crawling on your forearms and stomach from the bed to the bathroom really necessary, Lieutenant Dan?

I understand you’re feeling tired, but are you really unable to move right now? Honey, you just took a four hour nap. The last nap I had was after eight hours of labor and even then a nurse woke me up to remind of my responsibilities. Can I get a little help with the kids?

Not to make you feel bad, but when I have a cold, I don’t get to lay up in bed like I have malaria with a touch of blindness. More juice? Um, ok. You think you have the chills? Alright. You need a back rub. Now wait just a damn minute.

You know you don’t have the plague right? This is a cold. You know those things I too get somethings but have to keep going on with normal life. 

Nobody brings me juice (I don’t ask for it). Nobody keeps the kids away from me so that I can sleep. Nobody treats me like I’m on my damn deathbed.

Husband, I know you’re not feeling well but 1) I’m not your mama 2) You’re a grown ass man and 3) You are not dying so I’m going to need you to pop a couple Sudafed and after this second nap, please rejoin the family.

I love you.

xox Me

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The Real Reason Motherhood Is So Hard

Motherhood. It’s hard, but few understand why.

It’s not the day to day tasks, really: caring for children, kissing boo boos, and all of that.It’s the giving. The endless giving of yourself.

You’ve never given so much in your life.

You give until it hurts and then you give some more.

You give until you’re scraping the bottom of your giving well and then say to yourself, “I’ve given everything I have. Every moment. Every possession. Every selfish part of me, I’ve given it.” And then you give some more.

You give until it feels like you’re cutting off pieces of yourself.

You give until you become afraid that there won’t be any of you left.

You give the little treasures that you tucked far away with lock and a key.

You give and give and give.

You give at 3AM when you’re so tired that you’re hallucinating, walking into walls, and putting the remote in the freezer.

You cry and scream “I have nothing left” and then you give some more.

And the audience says, “Well you chose this so don’t you dare complain” and you try to explain that while, yes, it hurts, yes you’re bleeding and feel alone, you wouldn’t change a thing.

And then you keep giving while warm tears fall on your cheeks.

That’s what makes motherhood hard. It’s not the diaper changes or hectic dinners, it’s the giving.

Cry if you need to. Get away for awhile if you can, although you probably can’t.

Maybe one day your child will turn to you and say, “thank you,” but most likely they won’t until it’s their turn to hold a squishy baby who can’t settle at 2AM or a toddler who needs a hug even though you’re touched out at 4PM.

Keep going. Keep loving.

Keep giving.

This is motherhood.

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Dear Mom of the Tantruming Toddler in Target

Dear Mom of the Tantruming Toddler in Target,

I know youre embarrassed. I can see your eyes darting left and right as you try to scoop your screaming, hysterical child off of the grocery store floor. Your face is red. Im pretty sure those are tears in your eyes. Youre wearing black stretch pants and a sweatshirt, and like me, your hair is a bit of a mess and probably hasn’t been washed in a few days. I know you saw me watching you but I want you to know something: Im not judging you.

 

Im not thinking you should be doing something else or being more or this or less of that. I’m not wondering why you brought a kid into the store because I don’t expect you to hire a babysitter to run errand. I’m not wondering why you can’t “control your child” because I know toddlers aren’t robots, they’re people. Wild people, who lose their crap (sometimes literally) in public.

 

I’m not wondering why you aren’t a jedi master who can’t magically end your child’s tantrum with a glare or mind control because you’re not and neither am I. I’m not wondering why your toddler doesn’t respect/fear you enough to do whatever you say the minute you say it because you’re a mom, not Putin.

 

You want to know what I AM thinking about?

 

Im wondering how much sleep you got last night. Hell, Im wondering how much sleep youve gotten in the last two years. Im wondering if like me, your toddler still gets up at night even though youve tried everything. Im wondering if your toddler woke up at the crack of dawn asking for Netflix and eggs that he probably wont even show interest in until you start eating them to avoid wasting more food than you already do.

 

Im wondering when was the last time you ate a full meal without having little hands grabbing at your plate or a little body sitting in your lap. Its probably been awhile. Im wondering if like me, the only thing youve had to eat today are the leftover scraps of breakfast your child rejected and half a cup of coffee. Did you put the other half in the microwave and forget about it? I did, too.

 

I’m wondering if you’re as excited as I am to simply get out out of the house even if it means your kid will ask for every toy they see, kick their shoes off in the car, need to pee 200 times, or end up wailing in the shopping cart.

 

As you pick up your screaming child, I wonder if its nap time and like me, youre just trying to finish up your errands and get home. Youre probably hoping he doesnt fall asleep on the way home but know he will. So instead of an hour of silence, youll have an afternoon of well, drama, more tears, and room temperature coffee while waiting for an acceptable time to move on to a slightly stronger liquid.

 

I wonder if, like me, youre surprised how hard motherhood is, but wouldnt change anything for the world. I wonder if, like me, you love your child more than words can even start to express and would do it all over again in a second. Minus some of the tantrums.

 

Im wondering if youre OK. Youve picked up your little one now and are rushing out of the store. Youre leaving behind a full cart of groceries. Ive been there. I hope your day gets better.

 

xo, Me

 

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