I shop online for pretty much everything – clothes, shoes, appliances, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, cases of gum - anything. I wasn’t always this way. I used to love going into stores – the bright lights, all the pretty things, the smell of new clothes and plastic shopping bags! (OK sorry, that last one might be weird). But it changed when I became a mom and it seemed impossible to take the kids shopping. In fact, I remember the exact moment I said I would never shop in a store again. I had both girls with me and was going to try on a bathing suit. Ella was around six and Vanessa was about three, still in a stroller. Since the stroller wouldn’t fit in the fitting room, I sat Ella on the bench and put Vanessa on the floor on my jacket in our small dressing space. I turned around for a split second to look at myself in the mirror and Vanessa crawled out under the dressing room door. This may have been fine if the dressing rooms were tucked in the back of the store. Instead, they were right in the middle of the place. She crawled away fast like a little bug scurrying for it’s life. I tried to open the door and couldn’t – it was completely locked or stuck or something. It tried for seconds to open the door, twisting the knob furiously. In a state of panic, I crawled under the door after her. Do you know what that must have looked like? Here I was a giant grown woman, wearing an ill-fitting bikini waaaaaay before it was flattering. I was crunched up like a ball to make it under the door – all my milky white middle was stacked like rolls on top of each other and my big fleshy ass was high up in the air. When I caught up to her I picked her up to hug her because I was glad I didn’t lose her. And, holding her was helping to cover up my half undressed body. Look, I never care about being overexposed but it has to be on my terms. Because then I am sucking in or I know my tits are hard (and looking perky) or I am standing in a position that flatters. This was not one of those moments. At all. I walked back towards the dressing room, still using Vanessa as my body shield. I found Ella playing with a tampon that she clearly pulled out of my purse. She held it up and said “candy?” I shook my head in disbelief and defeat. That would make this a perfect shopping excursion – everyone seeing me leave the store with my runaway baby and my other kid sucking on a vagina cork. That night I started my online Amazon account. Can you blame me?
Nothing is sacred when you have children. Not even the bedside table and that one drawer that everyone knows usually holds private things. Clearly not respecting that fact, I found Vanessa rummaging around in my personal drawer looking for a pen. OF COURSE instead she whipped out my vibrator - I was only mildly stunned by this because truthfully, I haven’t used it in quite some time and kind of forgot it was there (well, now at least something good comes out of this! Happy Day to me!) Thank God it is a mini, bullet-like thing and so when she asked me what it was, it was easy for someone uneducated in sex toys, to believe that it was lipstick in a purple case. When she went to turn up the base to see what color lipstick it was, it turned on. She asked why it was buzzing. Damn her! I stumbled a little and told her it was also lip plumper and the vibrations would tickle your lips and make them bigger. This was going down a sick path of lies and producing really terrible mental images. I grabbed the hot little device and told Vanessa to head into the kitchen and we’d go find that pen she was looking for. As I walked out of the room I opened up Adam’s underwear drawer and threw it in there - I was certain that the girls would never have a reason to rummage through his boxers. And well maybe his find would be my lucky gain….well now, Happy Tomorrow to me too!
Sometimes my girls are in a mood and I will ask them “why the puss face?” Today Vanessa tried to say something similar and she yelled “Ella you have a pussy face”. Oh my. That would be unfortunate.
My mom is always telling me not to say things in front of my kids, if I am worried that they might repeat it to the wrong person or at the wrong time. I hate admitting when she is right – but I have to hand it to her this time.
If you know me, you know I am pretty open about anything and everything - whether it is right or wrong, I am the same way with my kids. And sometimes I turn it up a little just to be funny for them.
Case in point….the other day, I was taking a shower and since like most moms, the bathroom is no longer a private place, my kids were standing outside the shower doors, knocking on them and trying to talk to me like I wasn’t trying to have a personal moment. The water made it hard to hear them and the hot steam, made it even harder. As their voices were muffled under the constant cleansing stream, all I could think was “Fucking – go away….let me be”.
But they didn’t – they wouldn’t. It was if they waited for me to go in the shower, to determine that this was the optimal time to engage in conversation. So as I was shaving all my parts, I thought it would make them laugh and get grossed out enough to go away if I told them something silly.
My youngest was mid-sentence about an annoying thing her sister did to her when I said "Vanessa, please, stop talking, I am trying to shave my asshole and I cant do this with you going on and on.”
She cracked up. So did I. Because isn't it ridiculous that I would say that to a child? (I’d say it was ridiculous to say I was shaving my ass, but hey, I am Italian and firmly believe that all women should groom generously).
And wouldn’t it be just my ridiculous luck that the next day, Vanessa told her class that her mom “shaves her butt”. I am not even sure I can put into words the feeling I had when she told me she said this and that she got in trouble for it. Ok – I was glad she didn’t use the curse word, per se but OMG – this was wrong on so many levels – I honestly didn’t even know how to do damage control. So I let it go. I never brought it up again. It was too embarrassing - which again, says a lot for me. I really don’t get easily embarrassed.
Luckily, in having a good kid (for the most part), the teacher didn’t seem to really want to bring up something uncomfortable for either of us – so it became something never addressed, never to speak about again. It was a definitive end to the subject of my end.
Each day I have to pick my kids up from aftercare at their school. This after-school assistance is basically a program that the town offers for working parents so that we can get our kids up until 6pm instead of the school-day dismissal at 3:00. The parking lot for this pick-up is really quite narrow. True to form, I am also often late which leaves the parking spot choices pretty slim pickings. The other night, I didn’t even bother trying to find something and instead, I parked in a non-spot and got myself in a jam. As the girls and I were trying to leave, I had to keep maneuvering the car back and forth to try and shimmy out of the spot. It reminded me of that scene in Austin Powers where he is stuck in a hall on a that little cart. Back and forth, back and forth. At one point, I guess I got a little impatient or heavy with my foot and I stepped on the gas and my car smashed into the school wall. The kids and I all jerked forward. In unison -I yelped, Ella yelled “Mooooom!” and Vanessa gasped. We then all started laughing. I am such a bad driver that I hit things all the time – but the school?! Really?! I got out of the car to look at the potential damage to the building. The tannish brick wall had a huge black streak on it but nothing else. My car, ironically had no marks. I am so not sure how that was possible, the impact sounded like my bumper would be crunched! Another mom standing near the scene, grabbed her son close to her upon hearing the loud smash (she was a little over-dramatic if you ask me - but who am I to judge. I just crashed into my kid's school). As we pulled away I asked the girls not to say anything to Adam – especially since my car had no evidence of the incident. Flash-forward two days and Adam picks up the kids. At dinner that same night, he mentions that he knows I hit the school and tells me that the kids showed him “mommy’s mark” on the wall. I look at the kids like “what the hell?!” But, whatever. I always said if I go somewhere, I want to leave my mark. Not really what I meant, but I guess I can consider it done at the local elementary school.
One year I was a chaperon for my daughter's school trip to the Liberty Science Center. This wasn't the best fit for me, considering I don't know much about science at all. Or Math, or History or, come to think of it - how the hell did I graduate?! Well whatever...of course I had to have a kid in my group that asked a hundred questions about each exhibit. I got by most of the day by reading the plaques that told the purpose of each display but when there was one station - the sedimentary table (or something) which didn't have a plaque - I made something up when he asked me a question. I mean, how hard this could be? It looked like a wooden table with a bunch of rocks, sand and some water. Well or course whatever I said was incorrect and the little shit just had to call me out on it - he was like "Mrs. M, that's not right" and he proceeded to tell me and the kids in our group the correct thing. At that point he had gotten on my nerves; I cut him off mid-sentence and said briskly "Ok so maybe what I said wasn't right, but I'm not here to answer questions, I'm here to make sure you don't get kidnapped or die on this trip". I should have known this would freak out a kid like this and I honestly didn't mean to scare him but I couldn't handle anymore questions!! Feeling bad I told him to stick with me to head to what I proclaimed was the next exhibit - the gift shop!! And I told him I would welcome any question about shopping - and he could bet his ass I'd be right this time.
Sometimes I go shopping. OK, I go shopping a lot. Too much, if you ask Adam. And even if you don’t ask, he’ll gladly tell you that I am “bankrupting” our family. Seeing that he obviously will never understand my actual need to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, bags – anything that isn't nailed down in one of my favorite stores - I realized I needed a strategy to deal with his complaining and my charging.
So of course I go right to my girlfriends and ask them what tactics they use. And I am not surprised that I am not alone in this situation and they all have creative ways to trick their husbands into thinking that a shopping spree didn't just take place. Some of my faves….
•Use a red pen and draw a line through whatever price is on the tag and then lower it. Even if you leave the tag on, you can say you bought it for a bargain- then hold up the tag with the red discounted slash and say “see!!!”
•Put the purchased items into grocery store bags as if you just went to the food store and then carry them into the house. You should have a few decoy apples or something to make it look legit. What is supposed to be bread in your bag is really a new blouse! Yay for him not caring about what food you buy!
•Say that you bought something for yourself to make yourself feel better so that you were in a good mood for your family because it’s “that time”. Cry and ramble on about a million other things if that further impresses your PMS craziness and you know it sends him running away from you. Discussion, over.
•Order things to your office or a friend’s house. If you are only using your purse or computer bag to smuggle in the goods, and depending on the size of the order, you may have to make a few trips over a few days to bring your new things into their new home.
•If you must use a credit or debt card while at the store, at least pay half of the total in cash so it doesn't seem so bad, if and when he sees the bill. Be sure to throw away the receipt! Cash and charges are each transaction line items and will add up to the actual sale total. (Why are the stores not helping us here?! Tsk!)
•Cry and say that you need new things to make him look good! It’s not easy being a woman….and eye candy too! Geesh!
•Have a secret area in the garage, foyer, bedroom or wherever you first enter your home so that you can stuff the bags in that hidden area and go and retrieve them while he is busy or sleeping.
•Buy a sexy pair of underwear with your total purchase. Lead his mind in another direction. But – be aware – you will need to seal the deal. Don’t leave him hanging…get it done so you can get to hanging up your stuff!
•When he asks if what you are wearing is new – just say “I’ve had this for years!” Have a function or something in mind where you might have worn the item and say it with conviction. Make him feel bad that he didn’t remember how good you looked when you wore it the first time. SMH.
•Tell him a friend gave it to you because she didn’t like it any more, grew out of it - anything that comes to mind depending on what he knows about your friend and what he believes would be the case.
•Buy a little something for him too so you don’t seem so selfish. Present it to him before you start putting away your new pretty things.
•Tell him your mom or dad bought it for you. If you are a total wise-ass and want to have some fun or just to demonstrate that you two could have bigger problems - tell him that your boyfriend did.
A few years ago I worked a PR event with a celebrity guest of honor, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. I don’t really follow that royal stuff but it was very exciting to meet an actual Prince. Or maybe he was a Lord. I don’t know – he had a fancy name and was Princess Diana’s brother (I really rocked this PR job…nothing like knowing the details! Eeek!) In the green room we had tea – I am guessing because he was English and they seem to like their tea time. (Shit – I am really making a lot of assumptions here!) So I am going to say that this was not one of my better career moments. And for more than just these brainless things……
While the Prince/Lord was relaxing before his appearance and enjoying his hot, lemony brew, I worked hard to make sure the pastry plates, tea pots, tea bag box and sugar bowls were always full for the guests going in and out prior to the actual event start. I also kept the room clean – throwing away unsightly used teabags or half eaten treats.
As Charles was talking to someone, I started to clean up a bit and collected teacups that were sitting around the room, seemingly finished. Just as I walked towards the back of the room, I heard him say “someone has gone and thrown away my tea”. With his lovely English accent, it was hard for me to tell if he was pissed (doesn't everything sound better when someone says it with a nice accent?)
I kept my back towards him while I hovered over a garbage can. If he saw my face he would know I had tossed his drink since I was beat red and my mouth was open so wide, I could have caught flies. Or maybe I just filled up with air because I can’t even believe what I did next – I actually spun around holding a blue and white porcelain cup with a drop of liquid in it and a gnarly, used teabag plopped on the saucer and said to this Royal guy “I think this was it….?" and sort of handed it to him.
He looked at me like I was crazy for offering him a cold cup of tea that could have belonged to anyone. Not to mention that I practically just pulled it out of the garbage can.
I felt like I was having an outer body experience – looking down on myself saying “Stop standing there with this gross offering. Just turn and walk away.”
Before he could respond to me, a colleague said she’d get him a fresh cup. She too looked at me like I was an idiot. Yes, well cheerio, I was definitely going to hide in a pile rubbish….and do a little thinking about my next career move.
The other night at bedtime, I was reading a story to Vanessa. I was partly falling asleep myself and anxious to go into my own bed. I read a little faster to finish up the story. Vanessa asked me why I was rushing. I told her that I had forgotten to take my medicine. With a worried look on her face, she promptly asked me if I was sick. Her concern made me feel bad and quite honestly, I didn’t want to lie. So I told her “No honey, Mommy isn't sick, just crazy” and I chuckled. She replied “Ohhhhh, you need your ‘chill pills’”. Well, isn't she just a clever little thing? If I wasn’t surprised, I’d be worried. I have never called them that before. Now, who would say a thing like that? Hmmm…I can just hear Adam mumbling under his breath if he is mad at me “your mother really needs to take her chill pills…” and he thinks the kids don’t hear it. At least, on the necessary occasion, I’ll just come out and say “your father is being such an asshole.” Sorry, but I did say I didn’t like to lie to them, right? Well, I guess if the conversation with him gets hot, I always know I can tell him I gotta go pop my ‘chill pill’.
A few years ago Adam and I were vacationing in the Dominican Republic and we were happily getting our drink on at the pool. As with any good resort - afternoon pool games were planned! At the encouragement of Adam and strangers around me (because I really need to impress people I will never see again apparently), I agreed to enter a poolside Arm Wrestling / Beer Drinking competition. Not wanting to seem like an outsider, and honestly thinking I was cool in the moment (Ugh, when I look back on this now) I got out of the pool and walked on stage while trying to get everyone around to chant with me “Nuevo Jersey!” . I think I actually thought that whoever was called up next to compete with me, would feel intimated by my massive support system of earlier mentioned, strangers in DR. (PS – I don’t really speak Spanish so let’s just imagine how annoying I sounded saying “Nuevo Jersey” over and over again in an intoxicated, Jersey girl accent. ) And clearly – I was annoying to the monstrous German woman who was now my challenger. Shit. I am tall – an “eek” under 5’8” and overall big in size – but this woman cast a shadow on me. I think the one piece bathing suit she had on was actually one of those horrible looking wrestling outfit things that I find to be more like pornographic lederhosen. Anyway – the game was to chug a mug of beer while being in the hand-in-hand position and as soon as the first empty beer can hit the table, the guy holding our hands in position would release them. You know where this is going, JA?! (That’s German for “yes” – BTW). That woman drank her beer faster that I can inhale air and slammed my arm down with such ease, it was like I was made of rubber. The announcer guy felt bad – or was just an evil person – and told me he’d give me one more shot with this woman who looked like Flash - Fucking - Gordon. I didn’t want to admit defeat so I did the challenge again. Rumor had it she opened her second can of beer with her teeth before guzzling it down, while I was busy trying to chug as fast as someone with a past full of funneling experiences at frat parties. Needless to say, I didn’t win and while he claimed her victorious, I just sort of toppled over into the pool…which had to look just pretty….to drown myself. But Adam and my new stranger friends convinced me to just drown my embarrassed feelings instead. For the rest of the trip, I was fondly greeted around the resort as “Nuevo Jersey”. Sorry Jersey!! I really should do us all a favor and promise NOT to represent our great state while traveling outside of the US.
Collection of comic strips that illustrate the madness of my life - career, marriage, motherhood...me!
Click on any of the categories above or the "previous" link at the end of the page to see some moments that have stripped me of my sanity.