Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sister Wives

My husband and I were on the couch last night watching Sister Wives, the TLC show about the Polygamist family living in Utah.

I started to wonder, “What are my thoughts on the Brown’s life and modern day Polygamy”?

I believe it is brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

The good: Each woman gets a ‘sister wife’ to help her do the chore she hates most. Crazy-eyed Christine stays home and takes care of the kids (because it is what she always dreamed of doing...), Janelle works outside the home (because one woman’s dream is another woman’s nightmare), and Meri does a little of both (we don’t know why but if you saw her you would understand). What woman would not like this type of set-up?

The good: Kody obviously likes to have sex, as evident by the 13 kids running around the compound. The current wives must have had a team meeting one day and said “We are all exhausted! We simply don’t want to have sex anymore with our long-haired husband or squeeze out anymore of his kids.” (I feel you sister…or sisters) Because of their polygamist set-up, the solution was easy. They went and found him a hot little number (Robyn wife #4) who was younger, had more energy, fewer kids, and a true attraction to King Kody.

Thursday Night:

Kody: (knocks on door of first wife Meri) Hey Meri, good to see you. You know tonight is our night. I will be back in five minutes, be ready.

Meri: Oh Kody, I would love to but my head is killing me. Don’t worry though, I saw the way Robyn was looking at you today, why don’t you go visit her instead?

Kody: (getting very excited because Robyn is much hotter than Meri) Meri, are you sure? I don’t want to mess up the schedule.

Meri: My love, you know we can always do it next Thursday. Now go down the hall and have yourself some good old fashion fun.

Once he leaves, Meri runs to the inter-house polygamist intercom and calls the other two wives. She tells them she got out of her weekly wifely duties and makes a plan for them to meet in the communal living room and watch re-run’s of Grey’s Anatomy while giving each other mani-pedis.

The Good: Think about how much your husband drives you crazy. Think about what an idiot he is sometimes. Now imagine you have a team, you and your sister wives, who are constantly plotting and planning ways to improve him. When your husband says something like, “I always help around the house!” You smile and press your inter-house polygamist call button. Suddenly, all the doors to the separate apartments in your big polygamist style home open up and out walk the 4 other wives who say in unison “BULLSHIT.”

The Bad News: This set up is SO ONE-Sided! The women are stuck with Kody and it is considered VULGAR for them to even think about another man. Not. Fair. At. All.

Let’s just say one of them got a little bored with their husband, realized he wasn’t that good around the house, and would probably never be able to fulfill some of their deep rooted fantasies. Is it fair that they have to die alone with him while he takes a new wife every few years to keep the excitement up?

Is it wrong if one day they looked outside and saw a beautiful, young Venezuelan handy man, building a cabinet with his bare hands, shirt off, red bandana holding back his long, dark Venezuelan hair and thought, “Maybe he should join our family, maybe he should rotate through my bed once a month.” Shouldn’t they get a chance to follow my dream? (Did I say ‘my’ dream? I mean ‘their’ dream…that is so weird. I don’t know where that came from, the handyman we had was from Brazil not Venezuela….completely different.)

Here is the problem, although there are many men who want multiple wives, I can’t think of one woman who wants another husband. Most of us are so close to killing the one we have, the thought of anymore would bring us to our knees. I don’t need any more husbands messing up my house, peeing on the bathroom floor, or drinking milk out of the carton.

Although the fundamentalist Mormons seem to have cornered the market on the multiple wives things, I realize that many Christians, Jews, and professional athletes live similar lives to Kody. They too are married but have mulitple women and kids on the side….their wives just don’t know about it. So in this aspect, Kody has a point. The women he married knew what they were getting into…Elizabeth Edwards and Elin Woods, not so much.

Lets give Kody some credit here. If you are going to sleep with multiple women, have kids with people other than your wife, then at least be man enough to admit it and take care of them. Cheers to the Polygamist Mormon’s…what a concept!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The New Grandma

Has anyone seen Grandma? You know, the one we all grew up with…the lady who was slightly overweight, wore Christmas sweaters and had a house that always smelled like sugar cookies. She was the woman that would be sitting in her chair, knitting a new scarf, and waiting for her grandchildren to run into her arms as they squealed with delight. You may remember her as the woman in the kitchen, making family Holiday meals, while letting you lick the spoon. Does anyone know what happened to her?

Unfortunately, She’s gone and there is a New Grandma in town!

So much of my childhood was shaped by the relationship I had with my grandmother that I truly don’t know who I would be without her. This was the woman whose entire life revolved around her children and grandchildren…who saved all her money so she could pass it on to us, and whose only desire in life was to make sure were well fed and happy. I can’t remember a swim meet, school play or graduation where I didn’t look up and see my grandmother’s face looking down at me, BEAMING with love and pride. She loved me unconditionally, never said an unkind word to me, bought me Esprit when my mom thought it cost too much, and never made me finish the vegetables on my plate. One time she told me, “Kelsey, I hate to admit it, but I used to love when you got sick. Your mother would call me and I would rush over to your house. We would just sit together on the couch for hours while I rubbed your feet. They were the best days of my life.” She is not the only one that misses those days…to say I could use a foot rub is an understatement.

Let me introduce you to the New Grandma, the one who doesn’t play by any of those old rules. I don’t think any of us who grew up with mothers in the 70’s and 80’s should be shocked by the change, but for me, it has taken some getting used to. Our mothers were the first generation that coined the term “Women can have it all.” They fought for equal pay, better childcare, and less domestic duties. They told us we could be whatever we wanted, hired maids to do their housework, and showed us that you can have a family and a career.

So why are we still surprised that they are so different from the type of Grandma we had? I believe it is the expectation (or sometimes Hope) that we all have that gets in the way. We each had a vision of how our kids relationship would be with their grandparents, and when it turned out differently, we were stunned.

This may be similar to how men felt when they truly accepted the fact that their wives would never be waiting for them at home with a smile on their face and a scotch in their hand saying to him “Dinner is on the table, the kids are quiet and bathed. Let me take your coat, and then slip into something more comfortable.” Those days are over and we all better get used to it…

I believe women in their 20’s and 30’s need to know certain things before they start a family. They need to know that being pregnant is not always beautiful (most the time it is downright miserable), breastfeeding is so hard at first that you think you may die (it does get easier, once your nipples develop callous like scabs that numb you from the pain…awesome) and sex 6 weeks after you have had a baby is about ONE YEAR too early (what the hell are they thinking?) They also need to know about the New Grandma, who is she and what is she like.

Here are some things that are good to understand…

1. The new grandma loves your kid, but not enough to have them come over to her house. She just redecorated and really what will they play with anyway? (She doesn’t keep toys in her house…like she has told you before “been there, done that.”)

2. She loves your kids… in 1-2 hour chunks of time. She would like to spend more time with them but unfortunately she has a meeting, or lunch date, or hair appointment, or just wants a nap (she loves her sleep!)

3. She loves your kids but will not watch them on a regular basis; she just can’t commitment to that type of thing. For consistent help, you need a nanny or a babysitter. So what if she is 10 miles down the road, sixteen dollars an hour really isn’t that much, right?

4. She loves your kid, but not on Saturday nights. That is when she goes out on the town with her husband or, if she is single, a 75-year old man she just met on Match.com. Do you know how many people over 70 are participating in online dating? Do you realize woman don’t start to really enjoy sex until their 50’s? Yes, we know and it makes us feel sick…sorry, it’s the truth.

5. She loves your kids but has nail appointments every 2 weeks and hair appointments every four. She would love to come to the soccer game, just not THIS month. And let’s not forget the New Grandma doesn’t sit on the ground, she will need a chair with a footrest…. Why? Because she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it. Thank you Gloria Steinman.

6. The new grandma travels, A LOT. Many have over 100,000 miles of air travel each year. They pride themselves on how they pack, how they fly, and how they know the best hotels. They love getting out of town. And every now and then they say something like “Oh, I wish you could come. But, you have the kids…I remember those days”. I always answer “But Mom, didn’t you always drop me off at Grandma’s when you went on trips.” And she replies, “yes, honey we did…but that was a different time.”

7. The New Grandma has LOTS of opinions…about everything! From what you should feed your kids to whether or not your husband is doing a good job. The Old Grandma believed your business was your business. They New Grandma, not so much. She lets you know what she thinks about your husband, your marriage and your house. They are not afraid to tell you “I would have never allowed your father to do that.” You normally respond with “That’s true mom, but have you seen Dad lately, he is a miserable, beaten man.” Here is the news flash, we know they are idiots, don’t help us enough, and sometimes drink too much and watch football all day. But wait a second, you know who that reminds me of….my Dad when I was young. Weird!

8. The New Grandma does not want to be called “Grandma”, at least not in public. She wants to come up with a catchy name, something she thinks sounds young. My dad suggested that my kids call him Denis. Although this was very practical, it just wasn't endearing enough for me....

There are so many more things I can’t think of but, but feel free to add to the list. Luckily though, there is one thing that the New Grandma and the Old Grandma have in common. Something that won’t change no matter how many times they see our kids or what they choose to be called. That thing is a Grandmother’s Love.

At my house, when the door opens and my kids see their Sassy, it is like a Rock Star has arrived. They run screaming and yelling into her arms, and although she isn’t wearing a Christmas sweater (more likely a bomber leather jacket and a feather boa scarf) the joy and excitement they feel is just the same. Their Love for her is so Big and so Real that I always just smile and say “Thank you God.”

Even though how a grandma acts has changed over the past 25 years, what their job is remains the same. To give kids the understanding that by just being born, they became someone’s greatest joy. When I watch my kids with my mom, whether they are baking, playing puppets, making up stories of pirates and princess, dancing to music, reading a book, or just getting a hug, I realize they are so lucky. They are just like me, growing up in a family where they feel treasured and loved by someone who absolutely delights in their life. To all the Grandma’s out there, both Old and New….thank you. We wouldn’t be who we are without you…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stop the Madness!

I can't stop thinking...about everything. It is becoming a real problem. I mean really, who has time to constantly revisit important topics like turkey or PB&J for my sons lunch, swim lessons on tuesday or wednesday, hair up or hair down, pancakes or waffles, long flannel pjs or short flannel pjs? On the subject of pajamas, my husband has an opinion but neither of them involve flannel...so his advice really does not solve any of my problems, it just creates more. I am not deciding whether to go to war or not, put inside this little brain of mine, it feels just as important.

Recently my brain is killing me. I don't know what has happened in the past year but I swing between extreme boredom and extreme anxiety...and I used to be normal (what is normal? My definition of myself before I went crazy). My whole life I have been busy, working towards this goal or that goal, finishing school, moving to NYC, partying in NYC, getting engaged, moving to Kansas, hating Kansas, getting married, getting pregnant, having a boy, having a girl, new jobs, stand up comedy, trying acting, trying writing, and trying to stay afloat. I have recently learned, from the help of a friend what my problem is.... she said, "For the first time in your life you don’t know where you are going so you don't know what to do." And she didn't even charge me $150 for the sage advice. But she is right; I have nothing on the horizon except maybe a neighborhood BBQ or a trip to Target. And I know this is a good problem, but still, it has left me with a void. I can't seem to stabilize my ship when it isn't plowing 55 mph ahead through the choppy waters of life. Am I the girl who can't just float and enjoy the water, the sun and the peaceful feeling of having nowhere to go? Yes, I am that girl and like my pseudo counselor than said, "well then, you are never going to be happy!"

She swears there was supposed to be a comma after that sentence not an exclamation, but I am not buying it. Why? Because she is right. If I am not going anywhere or doing anything or trying to accomplish something, who the hell am I? To be honest, I don't know but I need to find out. I have been so overwhelmed the first 33 years of my life with ME, what I want, need and must do, that now that there is a little breathing room ,(provided by the wonderful flexible job I have and the incredible people that help raise my kids) I am lost and off balance. Like my grandma always says, "oh my love, let that be your worst problem!" And it is, thank you God. But still, I can't seem to find my place in the world.

Right now my world is that of mothers and it is very divided. I am not a stay at home mom and I am not a corporate working mom...so who am I? I do not belong with either group and it has left me feeling weird. To tell you the truth, I can't really relate to either group.

Moms that think it is fun to cut construction paper in the shape of a spider or who look forward to going on the class trip to the zoo are wonderful people. They deserve an award. For me, I know I would need to do crystal meth in order to be able to spend more than 3 hours with a bunch of 5 years olds. They are so cute but filled with so many questions that I get nervous just being around them.

My son: Mom, why is there high tide and low tide?

Me: Well Honey, because that is the way it works.

Son: No mom, WHY?

Me: Because! The ocean if weird like that , the water goes all weird and sometimes it is high and sometimes it is low and it has something to do with the moon and the earth.

Son: That doesn't make any sense...I will ask Dad when he gets home.

Me: Good idea and by the way, life doesn't make any sense, get used to it!

The other group, the working moms, are so accomplished and driven. They are the brilliant, well dressed and completely overwhelmed moms who somehow find a way to be OK getting home at 8pm and leaving the next morning at 7am. They love their kids but understand their place is not at home but out in the world making a name for themselves. They have big jobs, big titles, and big childcare bills, but they are happy with it. Could not do it that way either....

Me, I am confused. I want to work, but not too much. I want to be with my kids, but not too much. I want to go on field trips, but maybe only once a year. I want to have an amazing job where people respect me. I want to be surrounded by creative, intellectual people, but not if they expect me to work on the days my kids are sick or have Halloween parades.

So today I am beginning a journey, it is going to be called "Stop the Madness!" This is going to be about trying to breathe and find a place in myself that can be ok with just being ok. I don't want to create anymore drama in my life just for the fun of it. An example of me creating drama is when for 14 days straight I asked 100 people if they though I should pay $40 extra a month to let my kid stay 30 minutes later at preschool. Is that too much money? Is it bad for my daughter? Is it good for my daughter? Does she need to nap? Do I need to work more? WHO GIVES A SHIT!!!

I am addicted to this type of thinking and it needs to stop. Or my husband is going to kill me, if I don't get to him first. That will be another list for another day.

So I am going to write down some of the things I am thinking about and let my computer come up with a solution. She (my computer) is going to help me because I am going to put it down on this blog and then turn it off. Lets see how it goes.... here is the list of what I am thinking about today that really isn't making the world a better place:

Do I need to get a kettle ball to lose these last 10 pounds?

Will the bouncy for the block party be on too much of a slope to be safe?

Can I really trust my IUD?

Is sex once a month too little or just right?

Should my daughter stay in preschool even though she cries every time I take her?

Will gray nail polish work on my hands or make them look dull?

Will I get fired?

Will I not get fired and end up working in this job for the rest of my life?

Can I really trust my IUD?

Will the roaches we have go away?

Why do we have roaches and where the HELL are they coming from?

Is the carpet cleaner I used really organic or will my kids do worse on the SAT's b/c of my cleaning compulsion?

Should I keep my nanny or let her go?

Will I die if I let my nanny go?

Should I cut my hair 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches?

Does an IUD really work?

Is sex one time a quarter enough?

Why do I miss dancing with strangers to "It's getting hot in here." so much?

Will my boobs ever stop grossing me out?

Will my son get beat up b/c he likes to memorize Middle Eastern Countries and repeat them to the class on sharing day?

Will my daughter be a bully and super bossy like I was? (It is not looking good!)

Will I ever be on Oprah?

How well does an IUD work?

Why doesn't Oprah know about me?

Is washing my hair 3 time a week too little or too much?

Is spray on foundation worth the extra cost?

Those are just a few, but it feels good to get them out...