Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Juffrouw has spoken!

The playground on the farm we camped at in Brabant this weekend
WARNING: Insecure Mama Post

Just when I thought I was keeping my head above water in my job as a mother, BAM a huge wave of insecurity hits me in the face. It all started last week when my 4 year old son's juffrouw (pre-school teacher) had a very disappointing conversation with Baby Daddy.

Apparently, my most brilliant-genius-of-an-offspring is being "held back" by none other than his primary caregivers, Mama and Baby Daddy. When Baby Daddy told me this, it was an arrow through the heart. All of these years I thought I was a half-decent Mama. Wrong! Juffy with 14 years experience teaching snot noses says I am doing it wrong somewhere and my baby is too much of a "baby" for his age.

Of course, I got offended. I became all insecure and had dreams of putting tacks in Juffy's chair and shooting spit balls into the back of her nappy hair.

Since I would probably be locked away for carrying out my plans, I decided to take a step back and think again about what she said. Ok, she was right. I do baby my son a bit too much and do a lot of things for him, like getting him dressed and tying his shoes. I also began to observe other mamas and see how they "parented".

MISTAKE! I then became super-duper insecure. I was failing and I was taking down my family with me. I panicked, I had to do something fast, but I was too down on myself to think of ways to improve the situation. I was bogged down deep in Mama depression. My kids were gonna end up as a drug dealer and prostitute in a few years. I failed in just 4 years.

Unexpectedly, I had to take my son to school this morning. I had to face Juffy. Me, Misfit Mama who can't even teach her kids the basics of living had to face her Judge at the Pearly Gates of class 1/2/C. I walked in with my head held low like a submissive canine. I mumbled good morning and walked Luca over to his best friend and Best Friend's Super Mama.

After giving my son a goodbye kiss, I walked out and Super Mama was waiting for me just outside the class. She started talking about how crappy the weather had become and then how she had told her husband they should move to Spain but she couldn't because she would miss her family too much.

Tears welled in my eyes and I said, "I know what you mean," as I tried to control my quivering lips. I couldn't lose it with Super Mama! She would never understand, she was my hero! Mother of 3 boys under the age of six: together, cool, perfect, everything I was not.

But I got a case of diarrhea of the mouth and it all came out. Ok I thought now Super Mama was gonna think I was Crazy Mama! She listened and grabbed my arm and said "I know how you feel. It happened to me too just recently with my oldest son and his teacher." She told me the story and I couldn't believe my ears. It was worse than my story!

She told me how she insecure she had become! (No not Super Mama, I was astonished.) She then told me how she chased away the insecurities: A wise friend told her to try looking at the situation in positive way and not as a problem, turn it around, otherwise she was gonna live the rest of her life insecure and depressed if such tiny problems in life got her down.

So true! Why was I letting something so tiny in the grand scheme of my son's life get me down? Sure, he is a baby but it's not the end of the world. I can easily help him. I am not a failure as a mother. I am doing my best and I am not perfect. I am just a mother, learning as I go along. There are gonna be problems big and small but no matter, I have to believe in myself and my abilities. Not for me, but of course for the snot noses...so they can grow up to be happy, life-loving, healthy and most importantly successful so Mama can early retire and sit by their pool and drink Cosmos all day (Ok, maybe watch the grandkids too)!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A massage for Mama or a MASSAGE for Papa?

One of the most confusing things about living in Amsterdam for me is which massage salon is a place for Mama to get a massage and which one is for Papa to get a "MASSAGE"? Of course, Mama could go to the same salon as a Papa, but why would a Mama pay for a MASSAGE if she could just get one from Papa for free?

This may sound like a silly thing to wonder about and maybe I'm naive, but it really does bother me. Maybe because I think my 'hood is one way and really it's not. Just in two blocks of my family packed 'hood, there are 3 massage salons. So are there more stressed Mamas in my 'hood or more stressed Papas? I decided to analyze the salons for myself:

Massage Salon # 1:

Windows: Completely blacked-out. And check out the middle above window. I have never seen a window so blacked-out. Maybe that's where a Papa goes when he is bad!
Door: Also blacked out, no flashing welcome sign to draw attention. You could walk by without taking notice. A Papa would have to be "invited" to such a place.
Sign: Either Lanna Thai really likes her name or Lanna Thai is code name for something that requires no peeking, thus blacked out windows and doors.We know its not Lanna Thai food or there would be spicy smells filling the street. Instead it normally smells like trash since the trash spot is just in front. And there is no "Open" sign so how would a Mama or a Papa know when Lana was home?
Misc: Well  I live close-by so I have seen from time-to-time Lanna and her "sister" sitting in front painting their toenails. "Daddy" probably doesn't like the smell of the polish so they have to go outside.
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Definitely a place for a Papa, but not just any Papa. Maybe a place for really naughty Papas who need to go to Time-out. This Mama would never go into a place totally blacked-out unless its the closet and she is trying to get away from the kids.

Massage Salon # 2:

Windows: The windows are a bit friendlier than Salon 1, even though you can't see what's going on inside. There are legit massage posters in the windows, too. However, I'm not sure how safe I would feel in a place with brown paper bag covered windows.And the windows/doors above are open and inviting if they even belong to the salon.
Door: The door is also covered in this brown paper stuff, so I couldn't even get a little peeky-poo inside. There is actually a door on the other side that looks the same. So I think you have to really be a regular to know which door to-go-a-knockin on. I would hate to disturb someone in the middle of their MASSAGE.
Sign: Either the owner is Arabic or inside you get to massage someone who has just gained Thai citizenship. It really makes me wonder what happened to the old Thai massage. Then again you know some Papas really like their Thai new. And there is an OPEN sign and it was flashing red...hmmmm...but no opening hours posted outside. Which leads this me to the conclusion: when the red lights a burnin'...
Misc: Even though this salon looks a bit friendlier, I have never seen a Mama or a Papa or a New Thai, for that matter coming, going, or hanging around outside. But we know someone is inside to turn the sign on...hmmm
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Again a place for a Papa to go, and I think this salon is actually more Papa friendly. Even though the massage posters look relaxing, I'm not sure a Mama would get too much relaxation locked up in a brown paper bag.

Massage Salon # 3:

Windows: Mama likey! Nice poster in the corner of the window, yummy! I know he won't be massaging Mama  but it gives a Mama something to dream about. And look, open windows! There is life inside! And sweet little plants and flowers! There is actually air in this salon!
Door: You can't see the door from this side, but on the opposite side there is a non-blacked out door. Its all glass and it has a big "Welcome" sign on the front with actual opening hours. LEGIT! LEGIT!
Sign: The sign says it all! There is no cryptic meaning, no special secret massage code. Xini-lai has a massage salon! If you walk in,  Xini-lai will give you a massage. Or maybe you will get a Xini-lai massage. No matter, I saw two very friendly girls smoking outside and one inside sitting looking all professional (and not in a Debbie Does Dallas kind-of-way) sitting at a reception desk
Misc: This place is legit for the simple fact that Luca's pre-school teacher was standing just outside of the salon when I took this photo (you can see half of her around the pole). She must think I'm a looney tuney because I quickly illegally parked my car, jumped out and started snapping photos. I tried not to make eye contact, and if I was lucky she didn't notice me (as I almost mowed over her shopping bag in the process). A pre-school teacher would never hang-out in front salons like the previous two.
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Mama, Mama, Mama! Finally a place in the 'hood for a Mama to go for some relaxation! You can see through the windows, there are living creatures inside, Juff Mary is standing just outside, hot naked man on window...all good reasons for a Mama to get a massage! So at least 1/3 of the salons in the 'hood are for Mama...that's not fair!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The biggest mama cliche

Our KnutselMuur or craft wall in the dining/living room
I was getting my daily dose of celebrity gossip today and I read somewhere that Charlize Theron can't remember what life was like before motherhood. I guess she has recently adopted a little boy and now her life is complete, blah blah.

It really irritates me when mommies use these cliches. I am sure it could be true for some, but come on, be real, of course life doesn't begin when you have kids. Hopefully you had a life before kids. Hopefully you have lived and gained valuable experiences that you can share with your kids.

So I honestly asked myself the question (as I climbed down from my soap box): Do I remember what life was like before motherhood? Heck yeah I remember:
  • Lying in bed until I felt like getting up
  • Making last minute plans to meet my girlfriends
  • Having girlfriends and having plans
  • My waist and having to wear a belt to hold my pants up
  • Wearing normal pants and not having to wear yoga pants and circus tents
  • Brushing my hair
  • Shaving my legs
  • Painted toenails (being able to see my toenails!)
  • Hangovers
  •  Money
  • Yelling "shit" when I stub my toe
  • Not having to give a narration of my bowl movements
  • Taking a shower alone (or better yet taking a shower with just Baby Daddy, but thats how we got snot noses in first place so maybe not good idea)
  • Watching TV/Movies that would make Walt Disney blush
  • Reading, Reading, Reading (books that would make Seuss "Hop on Pop")
  • Conversations about politics, movies,and other superficial things
  • Ahhhh, being superficial!
  • Fertility problems and the fear of never having snot noses
  • The life long dream to have a family
  • The hole in my life until I pooped out the first snot nose

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mama's Day to me!

My one day out of the year finally arrived and I had only one wish: not to have to wipe anyone's crap trap except my own. No diaper duty, no toilet duty. Just for one day out of the 365. So I tell Babby Daddy this is my only wish. Besides saying "shit I forgot tomorrow was Mother's Day" he said "No way" to my only Mother's Day wish.

Fine. After 4 years of being a mama, I have learned to have rock bottom low expectations when it comes to Mother's Day. I think kids should appreciate their mother everyday, but come on...who ever really appreciates their mothers the way she should be appreciated...very few I am sure! We are all too busy being mothers!

So this Mother's Day I took matters into my own hands! I grabbed my purse and told Baby Daddy to watch the kids on Mother's Day Eve. I got on my bike and drove straight to the liquor store. Mama was gonna get a Hangover for Mother's Day!

When you are handed lemons, make lemon drops! I never, ever drink alcohol for the simple fact that I am so hungover the next day. I swear I can just take a whiff of whiskey and want to lie in bed all day (I said "want"...the snot noses would never allow it!) But I decided I was gonna celebrate my motherhood! Mama bought herself some Guinness Stout in a bottle!

As soon as I returned home, I popped one open! Yummm chocolate beer. I sat all by myself, for two seconds before I was covered in kids. I was just about to pop open another when I stood up. Mama was tipsy! From one beer. Cheap date!

So I decided I would wait to have one more after I put the kids to bed. It was one hour later before the last snot nose was down and I was too tired to continue celebrating surviving another year of motherhood. No worries, I still have 3 Guinness left...maybe next Mother's Day!

PS...It was my best Mother's Day yet!

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Mine!

Once upon a time, there was this mama who was shopping with her two perfectly misbehaving kids in the supermarket when she passed by the candy aisle. And what a coincidence, just at that moment PMS struck this poor mother making her do the unthinkable: buy a nice king size chocolate bar all for HERSELF.

She knew the only way to accomplish this mission was to distract the little snot noses, so she quickly sent them on a milk run, giving her just enough time to slip the bar into the basket undetected. Phase One of her Mission accomplished! The chocolate was hidden away in the shopping basket and the two little snot noses were none the wiser. Now for Phase Two: paying for the chocolate and somehow getting it from the basket to shopping bag without discovery.

Bells went off in this most desperate mama's head with the perfect plan...she gave the kids money to ride the toy train at the front of the shop where she could still keep an eye on them while checking out. Off they went and the chocolate was paid for and safely placed in the bottom of the shopping bag. "All mine," she thought!

By the time this PMS crazed mother reached home, her mouth was almost dripping just thinking about that first bite of her own little piece of heaven. She imagined how the chocolate would melt on her finger tips just before she could get it into her mouth. She would chew slowly each little square savoring the pure ecstasy of her treat. Ahhhhh a mother's ultimate orgasm.

So inside she rushed and by the time the groceries were unloaded (except that one bag) and the kids all settled, she had to come up with another diversion so she could slip away undetected!

Desperate times called for desperate measures so she quickly put on Dora the Explorer on the laptop. Her good friend Dora would keep their attention for at least 10 minutes, and that was all she needed.

She all but crawled away and hid in the last place the kids would ever look for her...the shower! She quietly slipped the bar out of the grocery bag under her shirt and tip-toed to the solitude of the shower room.

She passionately ripped off the paper exposing the smooth darkness of her very own special dark. She took one last look at the perfectly chiseled squares, each bulging with the sweet cocoa aroma. "My precious", she said and she couldn't take it any longer. They had to become one. Her hands quivered. Just before the drool began to cascade down her chin, she sank her teeth into her creamy piece of escape.

The rich, bitter-sweetness filled every corner of her mouth and her taste buds screamed out in pure bliss. Just at that moment the door flung open. Busted. The two little weasels probably smelled the chocolate the second the wrapper came off. And she knew they wouldnt leave without at least one piece of her Precious. Sure enough, the begging began and she was defeated. Each grubby hand was rewarded with a chunk and they scurried off leaving the poor mother broken in her defeat.

She stepped out of the shower back into reality and held on tight to what was left of her guilty pleasure. And at that moment she smiled and realized it was one of the many truths of being a mother: sometimes a quickie is better than nothing!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One bad Mama

This is how the daycare walks the babies to the park, its a stroller for 4 kids.
I just realized today that I am one bad mama. No, not "bad" in the cool sense of the word, but bad in the not-so-great sense. I'm not at all the mother I thought I was gonna be when I sat on the couch every nite stroking the growing alien in my belly.

Way back in 2007BC (Before children) I thought I was gonna be one bad ass mama. I was gonna be this really cool chick who just happen to be a mama giving motherhood a new meaning. I was gonna have it all, especially holding on tight to "Me"". I was gonna walk the streets pushin my very expensive buggy and all the other mamas would whisper, "Wow how does she do it? She is the coolest mama in the hood!"

And then I gave birth...

And then instead of wearing clothes, I wear my yoga pants everyday.

Instead of having the perfectly styled hair, my scalp goes days without seeing a brush.

Instead of me strutting down the street proudly pushing my babies in the buggy, I am so insecure sometimes, I just stare ahead.

Instead of everyday being a celebration of life, I often spend the entire day fussing, disciplining and trying not to smile.

Instead of being the coolest, laid-back mama at the playground, I'm constantly worried if my daughter is gonna fall off the slide head first.

Instead of enjoying every precious minute with my babies, I'm prayin for bedtime to come quickly.

Instead of keeping the romance alive with Baby Daddy, I'm watching the back of my eyelids by 10pm every night.

Instead of a glass of wine in my hand at the end of the day, I have a poop diaper in one and a snotty tissue ball in the other.

Instead of being a Bad Ass Mama, I am a real Mama...insecure, tired, disheveled, yelling but HAPPY!