Wanda Says….Random thoughts on a Thursday.

I spent five hours working on a blog post today and I still wasn’t happy with it.  Am I overthinking this?  Probably.  Does it happen to you?

I ignored all the volunteer fundraising work I was supposed to do today so that I could work on a blog post.  So that means I didn’t accomplish much of anything.

I went to Target to do some shopping and left part of my purchase at the store.  What the hell is wrong with me?  I just walked away from the cashier’s counter and didn’t grab one of my bags.  Now I have to go back tomorrow with my receipt and hope that they believe me when I tell them I’m a moron and left without my toilet paper.  Nice.

Today my kids were arguing and Bryce said, “Stop being a douche bag, Bryn.”  He is four, and he called her a douche bag.  I am a terrible mother.

Dan’s been in NYC for two days, and I’m so ready for him to be home.  He gets to run meetings with high-end retailers, like Frye and Juicy Couture.  He gets to go to the Frye showroom.  I get to clean toilets and wash everyone’s underwear.  Life isn’t fair.

I think I’m in a sour mood today.  But this made me laugh when I saw it on Facebook.


I don’t think this needs further explanation.  It just sounds like good, solid advice to me.

Here’s hoping Friday is better than Thursday!  😉

Wanda Says…Keep calm and head to Chicago!

Chicago-skyline-2[1]This past weekend I went to Chicago, alone, for a girl’s weekend with some of my college friends.  I needed a break from my stay-home-mommy-madness.  I needed a break from laundry, dieting, cooking, and repeatedly asking small people to brush their teeth and put on their shoes.

I love Chicago, and it is my favorite city!  Aside from being beautiful with endless cultural opportunities and diversity, there is a comfort and familiarity that always draws me in.  Lakeshore Drive, Michigan Avenue, State Street, Navy Pier, Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain and the Shedd Aquarium all hold memories for me that span the first 25 years of my life.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Some of my favorite memories include prom dress shopping at Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales, attending the Taste of Chicago food festival, Cubs games, making a music video at Navy Pier (which I am still extremely embarrassed about), attending a friends fairy-tale wedding at the Hilton Towers, and endless nights of fantastically bad behavior while bar hopping with friends.

The weekend was amazing!

We spent time in downtown Chicago and went to Macy’s to look at the holiday windows.  We had lunch at the Walnut Room and I felt the holiday spirit begin to rear it’s glorious head as I drank wine and allowed myself to be sucked into the moment .

Macy's Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room

Macy’s Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room


I believe!










We walked the city and visited Cloud Gate, or as the locals call it, The Bean, at Millennium Park.


The Bean!

We drank endless bottles of wine, ate tapas and sang at the top of our lungs in a lovely little dive bar.  We reminisced over old memories and we laughed until our sides hurt.


I froze my ass off, but it was worth it!

I want to thank my friends for making themselves available to me when I desperately needed to escape from my life for a few days.  Thank you, Jennifer, Katie, Amy N., Amy D., Jenn L., and Melissa.  Thank you for being the wild, wine-drinking, fun-loving, adventurous women that you are!

I also want to thank my mother-in-law for the first class plane ticket to Chicago!  You spoiled me rotten for my birthday and gave me a much needed boost to restore my sanity, and I can’t thank you enough!  🙂

Wanda Says…On my daughter’s opinion of wine and other nefarious substances.

Red RibbonThis week is Red Ribbon Week at my daughter’s elementary school.  You know, the whole ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ campaign. Yesterday was ‘Put Drugs To Sleep Pajama Day.’  Bryn wore her favorite pajamas to school and they had an assembly in the cafeteria.  Great.  No big deal.

I’m all for educating kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, until you (insert name of elementary school here) try and fuck with my wine.

My husband and I are causal drinkers.  We enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the evening.  We especially love wine.  It’s relaxing, it tastes good, and one glass at the end of a rough day is just enough to smooth out the edges of my stay-home-mommy-madness.

Bryn came home from school yesterday and this was the conversation she initiated with me:

Bryn:  Mom, we learned about drugs at school again this year, and guess what my teacher said.  Did you know that alcohol is the same as drugs?  Beer and wine is alcohol, and that’s the same as drugs.  My teacher said so.  So when you and daddy drink wine, you’re eating drugs.  When daddy drinks his Blue Moon Beer, he is eating drugs!  (She looks scandalized because now she thinks we’re drug addicts).

Me:  No, that’s not true.

Bryn:  Yes it is.  My teacher said so.

Me:  Bryn, alcohol is similar to drugs because if you consume too much of it, it can be harmful.  It can impair your senses and make you sick.  But if an adult drinks one or two glasses of beer or wine, it’s not the same as taking drugs.  Alcohol is not illegal like the drugs you’ve learned about.  It’s not the same.  It’s important for kids to learn about the dangers of drug use when you’re young so that when you are older you can make good choices and recognize unhealthy behavior, like taking drugs or drinking to much alcohol and acting irresponsibly.  Of course kids shouldn’t drink alcohol any more than they should do drugs, but an adult of legal age having a glass of wine is not the same as taking illegal drugs.

Bryn:  Yes it is.  My teacher said so.

Me:  Bryn, it isn’t the same.

Bryn:  Yes it is.

(At this point I’m trying not to raise my voice.)

Bryn:  I’m telling daddy that he eats drugs when he drinks his wine.

Me:  You go ahead and tell daddy that, and let me know how that works out for you.

After dinner, my husband poured himself a glass of wine.  I watched as Bryn eyed the wine with a practiced stink eye.  And then she said, “Daddy, guess what I learned at school today.”

I think I speak for both my husband and I, as well as many other parents of school age children when I say this…

Dear (Insert name of elementary school here), thank you for teaching my child that her parents, and most of her friends parents, are potential drug addicts.  Thank you for trying to deprive parents of the liquid life-support that we need in order for us to get through a school year.

How am I, and all the other parents, supposed to endure the endless hours of homework, common core bullshit, and instrument practice you send home each day?

screaming womanDo you have any idea how hard it is to sit for 15 minutes every night and listen to my child attempt to play the flute for the fifth grade band?  That shit is excruciating, and I can listen and be supportive and give her a thumbs up for her attempts to blow air into that God forsaken metal tube, and tolerate the horrific noise that sounds like dying birds only because of my dear friend, Chardonnay.

Chardonnay understands that I need to stay calm and composed when I am unable to help my daughter with her fifth grade math.  Pinot Grigio understands when my daughter has three to four hours of homework every night.  Sauvignon Blanc is prepared to help me comfort and calm my child when she is overwhelmed and exhausted over the ridiculous responsibilities and pressures put on elementary school kids.

Additionally, let’s consider the extensive volunteer responsibilities you demand of parents.  For example, the only way I am even willing to volunteer at the school Halloween carnival in the food booth line, standing on my feet for two hours asking a thousand people if they want cheese on their hamburger, is because I know I get to go home and enjoy a glass of wine after my shift!  You cannot ruin wine for me, so stop trying.

wineSo, (insert name of elementary school here), take a moment to consider the impossible position you just put two hundred parents in tonight, trying to reassure their kids that we don’t do drugs.  Better yet, why don’t you just calm down, and have a glass of wine.  🙂


Wanda Says…Have you checked your spam folder lately?

Have you ever really examined the contents of your spam folder? I have Yahoo as my personal email provider, and I’ve heard they’re the worst for spam.  It’s probably true, given the high quantity of suggestive advertisements sent to me on a regular basis.  I never open the emails, but I do get some entertainment from reading the email titles.

local slutsMy favorite and most reoccurring spam is from the Local Sluts. I’m always getting emails from the Local Sluts, asking me to join.  This is a real thing, people. I’m not making it up.

What makes me laugh about this is that I had no idea the local sluts were so organized. I also had no idea they were recruiting publicly.  I always assumed that trade to be more of a back alley sort of thing.  But no more!  The sluts have gone public and they want your membership!

I am curious what they do at their meetings, though. Do they meet at the library?  Do they have membership tiers, discuss recruitment and offer incentives for bringing in new members?  Like, if you sign up four new sluts, do you get a bonus or a prize?  And what does it mean to be a Local Slut?  I have so many questions, but I have a feeling they make you actually show up to the meeting before they dish about the details.  Just like those assholes who sell timeshares.  They make you sit through two hours of property sales pitches before they give you your two free movie tickets.

stilletosAnd I’m the most non-slutty person there is. I’d never pass the slut test. I don’t even know how to flirt properly anymore.  My idea of flirting is to waggle my eyebrows at my husband and smack him on the ass as I walk by.  Also, I don’t look good in short skirts and stilettos.  I’m more of a Capri pants and cardigan twin set kind of girl.  I can rock a pony tail and sweat pants all day long, but a skin tight mini-dress…not so much.

I just realized I’m being very unfair to the Local Sluts. I’m making assumptions about what they wear based on the name of their group, and that’s wrong.  Maybe sluts don’t even dress slutty anymore.  Maybe they wear mom clothes!  Oh my God!  That’s why they’ve been trying to contact me so aggressively!  They’ve seen me out in my yoga pants and baggy t-shirts, and I had no idea this was the new hot!  I’ve been flaunting myself all over Target, and the grocery store, and the neighborhood, grocery ladygiving the impression that my mommy hotness was somehow up for a membership grab, and those sluts have been going crazy trying to recruit me!

Fortunately for me, I’m not looking to make any major career moves right now. Some time ago, when I was contemplating what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I asked my daughter what she thought I would be good at.  She said, “You’re good at speaking, and snuggling, and loving.”  I told her I couldn’t make a career out of those things and she asked me why.  So I told her that one, the only career suited to those qualities went against my moral code, and two, Daddy would have a problem with it.  She had no idea what I was talking about (thank God) and looked at me like I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I’m currently unavailable and uninterested in becoming a member of the Local Sluts. I would say that I’m flattered by the invitation, but that would be a lie.  Thanks for all the effort folks, but please direct your emails to more interested parties.  If I was single, and even a little bit slutty……nope, not even then.

If you ask me what I do all day, I will punch you in the throat.

WORLD-S-OKAYEST-MOM-Women-s-T-ShirtsI became a stay home mom almost four years ago after the birth of my second child.  Prior to that I was a working mom, and at one time in my life I was a single working mom.  So having experienced the parenting challenges inherent in those situations, you can imagine how thrilled I was to have the opportunity to be able to stay home with my kids.  I thought it would be fun and I imagined all sorts of scenarios involving playdates, an immaculately clean house and home-cooked, healthy meals I would make for my family every night.  I mean, how difficult could that be?  I would be home…with my own kids…ALL…DAY…LONG.

Cue the hysterical laughter.

The reality for many of us, or at least for me, is that being a stay home parent is a lot like being stuck in Groundhog Day hell.  You tend to repeat the same activities over, and over, and over. My life often feels like an endless loop of housework, laundry, toddler drama, managing school drama, homework, cooking and hygiene.  And the hygiene management isn’t even for me.  It’s amazing how difficult it is to get a school age child to care about showering or brushing their teeth, or teaching a potty training toddler how to wipe without creating a disaster area that requires a hazmat team to clean up.

make_the_donuts[1]Sometimes, when I’m doing housework, I imagine that old Dunkin’ Donuts commercial where the old man goes through his morning routine, saying in a dreary voice, “It’s time to make the donuts.”  Here’s my rant about housework, so bear with me…If I spend an hour cleaning my hardwood floors, in another hour they look like shit again.  I do the dishes so that we continue to have more clean dishes to dirty.  Laundry is an endless cycle of wash, dry, fold and repeat.  Nobody likes a dirty bathroom, and with young, potty-training children in the house, I could clean the toilets daily and they may still look and smell like gas station toilets, which is just gross.  And the toys…oh, dear God, the toys.  I can pick them up, but the second I put one away, three more magically appear out of thin air.  Is it me, or do crayons and Legos have the ability to multiply on their own?

Now let’s talk about caring for young children and running household errands.  For the sake of providing a brief, yet complete picture, let’s just say that taking care of young kids is a lot like what I imagine it would be like working for a bi-polar, incontinent dictator(s), except without the threat of death or having your fingers cut off.  “I want milk!  No, I want orange juice.  Give me some orange juice!  No, I want milk!  I have to have milk!  Now I have to poop!  Mommy, wipe my butt!”  So demanding!  And grocery shopping with toddlers is like willingly entering the seventh circle of hell.


In my first year as a stay home mom, I was a raving lunatic about the house.  It was my job to take care of the house, and how could I do that if everyone keeps wrecking it?!  One day I said to my husband, “Imagine you went to work and finished a big project.  And then someone comes into your office and destroys your project and tells you to start over.  I bet you’d be pretty pissed about that, huh?  That’s what every day is like for me.”  My husband suggested we hire a housekeeper to help me out.  I got upset (over-reacted), and said absolutely not because if I’m home there’s no reason to pay someone money for something I can do myself.  (Again, cue the hysterical laughter.)

wine-parents-mother-drink-family-funny-ecard-e7d[1]I did actually have several emotional breakdowns.  A couple of times I just started crying in the middle of folding laundry.  I began to resent the dust on the floors and the animals for constantly shedding their hair. I was short-tempered and impatient every time someone got out a toy or dripped something on the floor that I just cleaned.  I wanted to scream over spilled milk. I felt isolated, spending up to ten hours a day alone with my kids and the only person I had to talk to was more interested in playing with his toe jam than in having a conversation with his Mommy.  In short, I was a hot mess.

I was depressed.  I thought what the hell?  Is this my life?  When did I become this person?  I used to have a career!  I used to feel respected and like I was a valuable member of a team.  Now I feel like I’m just here to cook, clean, chase kids and make everyone else’s life easier. I worried that my value would be diminished in my husband’s eyes because I no longer had interesting and intelligent news to contribute over our dinner conversation.  It’s hard to feel valuable when the extent of your daily news is how many times our son went pee-pee on the potty, how many loads of laundry I did, or how I struggled to help our daughter with her fourth grade math homework.  (And fourth graders do hard math these days, so don’t judge me.)


There are some women who seem to be able to do it all. They can keep a nice house, go to the gym every day, cook homemade meals with organic, unprocessed ingredients, grow their own vegetables in a garden, volunteer at their kid’s schools, and also volunteer at church every week.  They make it look effortless.  I’m convinced that these women take drugs, or they’re just really good liars, but that’s pure speculation on my part.  Regardless, I’m not one of these women, and I’ve learned to be perfectly fucking okay with that.

I have now allowed myself to try and let go of most of my self-imposed expectations, and I accept having a not-so-perfect house.  I understand and accept that my sanity and my family’s overall happiness is more important than clean floors and picked up toys.  I understand that playing games with my son and reading books with my daughter is more important than trying to live up to an impossible standard of perfection.  I’m learning that sometimes doing less really does equate to more.


What changed?  First of all, my Wanda reminded me that depression is an asshole, and we don’t choose to be friends with assholes.  Second, I reminded myself that attitude is everything.  The outcome of any given situation is largely dependent on the attitude you adopt while dealing with it.  And up until that point my attitude sucked.   I also realized that I have to take advantage of this gift of time I’ve been given with my kids and my family and stop stressing about unimportant things.  Now, when my son walks up to me at 10am on a Wednesday and says, “Mommy, can we just snuggle?” instead of thinking about the dishes in the sink or the laundry in the dryer, I just embrace that time with him.  In those moments, I feel like I have the best job ever.

1375266_183307995188929_1395468096_n[1]Sure, I look around my house and see stuff that needs to get done.  Some days I tackle those things and some days I don’t. Some days I get a small amount of time to myself, but most days I don’t.  Some days, I want to walk outside and beg a stranger to have an adult conversation with me, but I never follow-through on that impulse because that’s just weird and I don’t want to be the neighborhood weirdo.

I’ve learned to embrace yoga pants and pony tails.  I’ve accepted that I will not wear make-up every day, and some days I just feel fortunate to get a shower alone and my teeth brushed before noon.  I still battle with the stay-home-mommy-blues, but I take what good things I can get, where I can get them.  I’m trying to find a balance between making myself happy and doing what I need to do for my family.  This is difficult, but I keep trying.

And the most incredible validation comes when my husband walks over to me, usually after spending a weekend taking care of the kids, kisses me and says, “I don’t know how you do this every day, but I’m so thankful that you do, and I appreciate you so much.”  That makes me feel respected and like an important member of our family’s team.  And I thank God every day that I have a supportive  and understanding partner, because if he walked in after work, looked around the house and asked me what the hell I did all day, I swear to God, I would punch him in the throat.

Wanda Says…WTH!

That moment when you think you’re alone in the bathroom. Showering, washing your hair with your eyes closed. And then you open them and see a dark figure pressed against the fogged glass. A scream builds in your throat and you start to jump away…only to realize it’s your kid, and you can’t scream because you will scare the shit out of him, and he’s only 3, and you care more about his feelings than the fact that he almost gave you a heart attack.  So you choke back your scream and refrain from losing your shit.

Good mommy.

I just want to read, all day long.

I need booksI need to read like I need to breathe. I obsess over books like a tweener obsesses over her favorite boy band.  For me, books have always been powerful and transformative.  They have the ability to educate you, move you, change and enthrall you.  There are many books I’ve read over the years that made a distinct impact on my life, in one way or another.  I just felt different after I read them, and I love the feelings that stay with you for days after finishing a book like that.  I also love how just the title of a book can make me recall a specific age or experience I had at the time when I read it.

Most of the women in my family loved to read, and around the age of nine I discovered that my grandmother had a not so secret addiction to Harlequin romance novels. I remember the covers being so glamorous with beautiful men and women embracing on pirate ships or in front of old manor houses.  What nine year old bookworm wouldn’t be curious?   So of course, I read them.  I would sit quietly and read adult romance novels and wonder to myself what all these strange words meant.  Words like manhood and maidenhead.  I think my mother would be very surprised to learn that I received my first lessons in sex education by reading about forbidden love on the high seas.  I remember asking my brother once what a throbbing manhood was, and if my memory is correct, he said, “I don’t know.  A car part, maybe?”  Thankfully, due to my lack of understanding common romance language, it was a long time before I realized what was happening in those books.  Of course now, so many years later, when reading a romance novel I’m quite eager to discover what some enflamed hero did with his throbbing manhood.  Yeah, don’t judge me. You know you do it too.

Anyway, as a stay home mom of young children, reading is now my primary form of escape.  I spend most of the day accommodating the needs of my family, so reading feels like a luxury to me.  I have to negotiate time in my day to read.  I make deals with myself.  Like, if I do housework for an hour then I can sit down and read a chapter of my book.  During that precious time, I do not like to be interrupted.  This is important, because if you know people who are voracious readers, then you know how much we hate being interrupted while reading.  Hate, as in I could rip your damn face off if you don’t let me finish this chapter.

What really makes me crazy is when my kids constantly interrupt those few sacred moments I get to read so that I can watch them do something they do all the time.  It’s not like I read all day long, or even every day.  My children wait until they see me pick up my book and then decide that the fate of the world rests on whatever attention they need from me right at that moment.  It goes like this…“Mom, did you see that?  Did you see me run that race on Mario Cart?  Did you see me win again for the ten thousandth time?  Mom, do you think I should breed pigs or sheep on Minecraft?”  Or, in the case of my three year old, he says, “Mommy? Mommy?  Mommy? I love you.  Mommy?  Mommy?  Can you come with me to the bathroom?  It’s lonely in there.”   (I’m only slightly exaggerating here).

And what I want to say, but never do, because despite my inner monologue I am a loving and supportive mother, is “No, I didn’t fucking watch you play Mario Cart…again…because you play it every day…and I don’t give a damn about swine breeding on Minecraft…and no, I don’t want to keep you company while you poop in the bathroom…and I’ve been waiting for a year to read this damn book, so please, for the love of God, stop calling my name!”  This is when I take ten deep breaths (and maybe leave the room) so that I don’t crush their tender feelings.  I realize these things are important to them, and that’s why I give myself a time out.

I used to hide in the bathroom.  I pretended to be having “stomach problems” so that no one would bother me. That’s how desperate I would get for ten minutes alone with my book.  That strategy worked until my then two year old was potty trained, and he got curious and wanted to know if my poops were like his poops, and could he come in to check.  He’s a poop expert now and no one goes to the bathroom alone, ever.  He would stand outside the bathroom door, banging loudly, yelling, “Mommy?  Mommy, do you have the dia-neah?  Do you need help, Mommy?”  So that means no more covert bathroom reading for me.

The upside to all this is that my children, like their mother, are growing up with a passion for books.  And I love that they love books.  Some of the best nights in my house are spent reading with my kids.  My daughter frequently lies in bed with me to read. We each read our own book, but we lie side by side and spend time together lost in our stories. It has not escaped my attention that my daughter is the same age now that I was when I discovered Fabio making out with a pirate wench on the deck of a ship.  But unlike my grandmother’s house, my novels are password protected on my Kindle, and there will be no stories about lovin’ on the high seas for her.