Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Things Husbands (Don't) Do

My little munchkin is home sick this week. She has her second round of Hand, Foot, and Mouth (evidently this is something that is quite common among kids these days), and can't go to school all week. So I spent yesterday at home with her, and will again today, with grandparents coming to assist the rest of the week.

Last night, as we were getting ready for dinner, my husband picked some old food out of her high chair. I apologized for not getting it earlier, and he said "don't apologize, I totally get it, I've been home alone with her before too and I know what it's like."

Following this comment, I looked around. The house was (almost) spotless. Dinner was made. The baby was cheerful. The dog was passed out. Let's just say, this is vastly different from what I come home to when Dad has been home alone with Molly all day.

I'm not writing this post to complain about my husband. He's a fantastic dad. He helps out as much as he can, and as much as he knows how to. But I often have to remind myself that his brain does not work the same way that mine does. I can simultaneously be feeding the baby, cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, and feeding the dog. My husband can focus on one of those things at a time. It does not make him a bad husband, dad, or housekeeper, it just makes him different.

I know all of my mom readers have gone through this. How many times have you said "Why can't he just help out?" "How does he not SEE the pile of toys in the middle of the floor that he just walked over?"

Give your husband a break. I guarantee he is not out to screw you over, make your life more difficult, or be a lazy bum. I have to remind myself of this a lot. Instead, when I come home to a crazy house when Dad's been home all day, I look at my daughter who spent hours playing with Dad, and sometimes, I actually get a little jealous. Can you imagine being able to just focus on ONE thing? Can you imagine not seeing the dishes, or the dirty windows, or hearing the washing machine beep? I think Dads actually have it pretty great.

Today, try to ignore everything else. Focus on your kid. Forget the dishes. Forget the laundry. Just have some fun. Be Dad for a day..I think you'll like it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I Love Concerts - {Lady Antebellum}

Last year, my brother Robbie and his friend Alex decided to start a company. They had both been involved in the club scene in Orono, Maine and when they moved on, they put their heads together, and came up with Waterfront Concerts in Bangor. Since last summer they have brought huge acts to the city including BB King, Lynryd Skynyrd, Tim McGraw, and this past weekend, Lady Antebellum. Being the very fortunate sister of one of the owners of the company, I got the hook up as my Christmas present and found myself and Jim in the very front row for one of my very favorite bands.

I'm a weird person when it comes to concerts. Most people go, oogle the famous people on stage, sing along, have a good time, and move on. While I do all of that, I always find myself thinking a lot about the true person behind the personality on stage. I think it was watching the movie "Selena" when I was a teacher that did this to me, and then shows like American Idol, which show every day normal people who are burst into super-stardom. It boggles my mind that the person on stage was at one point, just as normal as you and me.

So, maybe this is why, almost a full week after the show, I still think about it. I wonder what the people who were literally three feet away from me that night are doing right now - are they just sitting around shooting the shit? Is Hillary Scott just hanging out in her sweats watching Grey's and hoping that someday she'll meet McDreamy? It's crazy to me that their "normal" could very well be just like my normal. Tomorrow they'll wake up and get ready to work, only they'll face thousands of people in their workday whereas I may just see two or three.

Next time you go to a show, take a second, and think about who really is up there. When they belt out a long note, raise their arms, and then take an extra long look at what is in front of them, imagine being in their shoes. I bet that no matter how long they've been doing this, it still blows their mind that they've made it there every time they are on the stage.

I first fell in love with Lady Antebellum when I saw them open for Kenny Chesney two years ago at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. I'd heard of them before but they were so amazing live that they became a fast favorite after that show.  Their music speaks to me, and many of them even bring tears to my eyes. I was so excited when I heard they were coming to Bangor.

Here are a few pictures and videos from the night (professional photographer disclaimer: this is with my point-and-shoot, not my nice camera). And yes, Charles Kelly is just as gorgeous as he looks on his album cover. And yes, he looked me in the eye. Twice. Really, I swear, I'd remember :)

I take no responsibility for my husband's hat. He came to a country concert with me, so he felt it only appropriate to buy a hat at a gas station beforehand.

Here's Robbie, looking all busy and important. :) Thanks for the tickets bro!

I hope they come back to Maine soon! Thanks for a great concert Lady A and Waterfront Concerts!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breaking the Rules - Survival Mode

Before you become a parent, you have a long list of things you'll never do to YOUR kid. You'll never pick them up just because they want you to, or let them watch tv, or give them something they want just because they are whining for it.

Let me tell you, you're in for a wake up call.

About three seconds into parenthood you realize you're a big sucker. Those big eyes, those little lips. You already know you'll do anything just to make them happy. But you tell yourself, you'll stick to your standards, because it's what's best for this little miracle in your arms.

But the reality of parenthood sets in quickly and although it drove me bonkers to hear it when I was pregnant, there really was so much I didn't know until Molly was actually here. And while I still have standards, a parenting style, and parenting beliefs about what will be best for my daughter, I'm learning that nothing is set in stone, and you are literally learning and changing your opinions every single step of the way.

Before we had Molly, my husband and I adamently agreed: No baby in the bed. It would not happen. I'd heard too many stories of couples who had grown apart because they had a kid in their bed many nights. At first we did well. Molly slept in her pack and play and eventually her crib. But then we hit the growth spurts, and we went into what I call "survival mode." When your child has been up literally screaming her head off from 6pm the previous evening until 5:00 the next morning, and the only way she will calm down is when you lay her down between you and your husband in your bed, you do it. You do it because you love your child and don't want her to cry any more, but you also do it because you love your sanity. You're in survival mode.

Sleeping in the bed isn't the only rule I've broken in order to survive parenthood. I swore up and down I would never EVER place my child in front of the tv in order to get some things done. But one day, she was crying, ohhh was she crying, and my husband was running last minute errands, and I had to pack us all up to go away on a trip in just a few hours. So I bit my lip, felt guiltyguiltyguilty, and put Molly in her exersaucer with "Yo Gabba Gabba" on the television. She stopped crying. She started laughing. I packed up three people and a dog for a lengthy trip, and loaded the car in 25 minutes. Survival mode.

Last week Molly discovered the art of a temper tantrum. It was cute at first. She'd sit down, throw her arms and forward on the floor like a hopeless mess, and get over it in about 30 seconds. Tonight, she was in rare form. She needed to eat dinner, I needed to unload groceries, and her face was the color of the very ripe plum in our fridge. So I did what no well-respecting non-mom would do: I whipped out my phone, activated my YouTube app, turned on the beloved Yo Gabba Gabba, and watched my child stare at a screen while she silently ate her cucumbers and spaghetti and I put the groceries away, fed the dog, and made our dinner. It was indeed, survival mode.

So the next time you are at the mall, and you see a mom cave in to her screaming toddler with a treat, or your co-worker or good friend tells you about how their little one watched "Tangled" twice in a row that afternoon, don't judge them. Give them a break. I guarantee they are great parents, who have just found themselves in a moment of truth and chose pick their battles just to survive.