The Dolly Mama

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PMS: Part-time Maddness Syndrome March 26, 2012

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 3:54 pm
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Im going to broach a subject that most people are scared of, uncomfortable with, and mystified by: PMS. That’s right pre-menstruation: that time of the month when women everywhere become unidentifiable to the people in their lives. I realize most men who might be reading this are cringing right now, but stay with me. I hope to shed some light on this frustrating and somewhat despised phenomenon.

As we were taught in Sunday School at a young age, God gave woman the amazing gift of being able to bear children, to procreate, to further the homo sapien species. For this to be possible, however, a woman must also endure the monthly emotional assault of PMS.

Before I go any further, I would like to apologize to all husbands, boyfriends, children, friends, companions, co-workers or anyone who may have ever been in the path of a pre-menstruating female. But please keep in mind, this IS a condition to be taken seriously. The term “PMS” is truly something to be feared and respected. It is not a term used lightly by women as a cop-out for sympathy or excuses.

We’ve all been there: zapped energy, tummy bloating, cramping, uncontrollable crankiness and mood swings, unending hunger and crazy food cravings. The week or so prior to our “monthly visitor” these characteristics take over our bodies and we temporarily become someone else. I used to not even recognize myself when this would descend upon me. “Why am I crying?” “Honey, please stop breathing, its driving me nuts.” “What, you also wanted a piece of this large pepperoni pizza?”

I feel in order to be fair to ourselves and all those around us, I should outline a few simple guidelines to follow when we recognize some of these symptoms beginning to set in.
1.) Men and children: stay the hell away. Run, run as fast as you can to get as far away from Ground Zero as possible. There is no reason you should also be taken down by this horrible display of aggression.
2.) Women: Just own it. Admit to yourself and others that you are menstruating and that’s just the way it is. It’s a real, unexplainable emotional roller coaster and that is all everyone else really needs to know. If you aren’t happy with the way I roll my eyes at everything you say, or cry because my scrambled eggs aren’t scrambled enough, well, that’s just too bad.
3.) Women: Use this phrase as often as you can: “It’s not you. I’m just menstruating.” It’s amazing how those six little words can quickly end a discussion (and heavy petting).
4.) Remember, this is the time of the month you may do irrational, out-of-character things, so stay far away from shopping opportunities. In the log run, this will help you avoid post-purchase anxiety and obsessive questioning by the spouse.
5.) Allow yourself to give into your cravings for gallons of ice cream, pounds of chocolate Kisses and the Chocolate Molten Volcano dessert at Chili’s. I have read that this is actually a legitimate, intentional bodily craving. Our bodies loose quite a bit of blood/iron during menstruation and those cravings are actually our body preparing for that loss. Pretty cool, huh? I mean, there are healthier ways to fulfill your body’s iron craving, but they are not nearly as fun. And with the large amount of mind you also loose during that week, why not give yourself a little pleasure.

I think that should just about cover it. Follow these simple guidelines during your next cycle and hopefully it will make for a much smoother PMS week for everyone. And just think, after all this is done, we have menopause to look forward to.

 

40 and Fabulous? March 21, 2012

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 9:37 pm
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Well, the Dolly Mama has turned 40. I actually did in January, but it’s taken me this long to come to terms with that large number. I’m really not that terrified by 40, I’ve been preparing for it all year, so it was kind of uneventful to be honest. It’s the weeks following that has been an adjustment.

I keep getting the same thing – “Oh, 40 isn’t old,” “You are only as old as you feel,” “You are a young 40-year old!” I appreciate all the support and I honestly partially agree with all those broad statements. I don’t think anyone else who is 40 is “old,” I do believe that if you act old you will be surprised at how fast your body will catch up with you and, sure, I’m a pretty immature 40 year-old, so I’ll give you that one. But I am a little bitter about some of the “truths” I was never told about getting older. Let me share some of the things I’ve discovered about myself after turning 40.

First of all, does 40 remember what the word motivation means? Wow…the verb “motivated” seems to have just disappeared from my vocabulary. The kids seem to be enjoying my lack of motivation these days though. “Mom, can I play the Wii for 23 hours today?” “What?” responds mom from behind a computer with a blank screen. “Oh, sure.” I really have to conjure up a great deal of energy to find motivation to do just about anything these days…hence my absence from The Dolly Mama blog.

That leads me to the second “truth.” You will lose energy. It’s like it evaporates from your body as quickly as your wrinkle cream evaporates from your face. Even if you start out pumped and full-of-life, before you know it, you are on the ground again. Coffee doesn’t help, my former beloved Diet Coke doesn’t help, alcohol just makes me sleepy, and well, exercise takes energy so….

I used to think that if I “thought” I wasn’t 40, I could fool my body into thinking it was still young. Last year at this time, I was probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in in my life. I was running faster than I thought I could, I was stronger, blah, blah. I hit the big 4-0 and my body decides to be difficult and disagree with me. Currently, I am suffering from a strained hip (which is such an old person injury) and a pulled butt muscle. What the heck is that about?? I’ve been a runner pretty much all my life, and now I can’t even sit down without grimacing. It’s just not fair!

The next almost instant change I’ve noticed since turning 40 is my ability to keep focus. Wait, what was I writing about? Oh yeah, focus. Anyway, I drift in and out so much, going from one subject to another in a split second. I can be enthralled in a task, a story, a show, etc., and the next thing I know, I forget where I am. The other day, I was looking directly at my child as he was talking to me, and when he finished he said, “well, can I?” I had no idea how to answer this question, because I had no idea what he just asked me. Forget about making a singular trip to the grocery store. I’ll go in for one thing, come out with something else because I got distracted (which is no difficult task), and have to go back.

Closely associated with the lack of focus is my ability to sleep. I am so tired at the end of the day, but as soon as my head hits the pillow, my mind starts to wander and I either can’t fall asleep or I wake up several times a night with something stupid on my mind. This lack of sleep does not bode well for a woman of 40 who has no energy or motivation. Just sayin’.

There are a lot of other little things that I could discuss about being 40, but you probably don’t want to hear those.

So, here is the part of my blog where I say something highly motivational and life-changing, but I just don’t have the energy….

 

You, Me and Wii February 21, 2011

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 3:30 pm
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As I sit here and type, my two boys are in their 11th consecutive hour of playing MarioKart on that highly addictive, do-anything game system, Wii. We fazed into the 2000s by acquiring a Wii system just this past Christmas. We delayed our introduction to the land of Wii for fear it would be all my children would want to do with their time…and we couldn’t have been more correct. Ever since we added this piece of machinery to our entertainment options, my kids have tunnel vision. All they see is the little green light on the Wii machine and the little blue light on the Wii remotes. Anything outside that periphery is a lost cause these days.

Im not too sure if getting the Wii was a good thing or a bad thing. Since it’s the “new” toy in the house, we have been fairly relaxed with rules for the Wii. As a matter of fact, currently we only have two: No Wii in the morning before school and no Wii before bed. Sounds do-able right? Even with the consistent enforcement of these rules, every morning the kids wake up and the first thing that comes flying out of their little puckered mouths is, “Can we play the Wii?” And I then have to be the evil mom and tell them “no” and remind them of the rules we set. Then a huge fight ensues and everyone falls into the poopy mood pit. You wouldn’t believe the fit these sweet little boys can throw when told they can’t play the Wii: their faces turn green, their eyes roll back in their heads, they begin to convulse and unidentifiable words come out of their mouths. It’s like watching an exorcism.

To say there aren’t any positives about the Wii isn’t really fair. The number one positive is its ability to babysit my kids. If I’m trying to be productive and I need the kids out of my hair, I turn to the Wii for assistance. I know that when I push that “on” button, the kids will be occupied for however long I need. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that if I were to walk out the door, go to the grocery store and shop for an hour or so, I’d walk back into my house and my kids would have never noticed I was gone. Nope, they’d still be sitting on the couch in front of the TV playing MarioKart, faces glazed over, drool oozing out of the side of their mouths, Wii remotes glued to their palms. They also say that video games help to sharpen kids’ hand-eye coordination, yada, yada, but I think that is a claim made by the game system companies so parents will believe they are doing a good thing when purchasing their product.

I still haven’t made a clear, impartial assessment of the Wii. Even after two months, the “newness” hasn’t worn off and the desire to be surgically attached to MarioKart still strongly exists. Currently I wish I could just throw the darn thing out of the window most of the time. But I’m told that after a while, the Wii gets “old” and the kids won’t play it as much. So, I’m just holding my breath, waiting for the day when I am no longer dreaming of Yoshi and Bowser or unconsciously humming the tune that plays when creating your “Mii” character. I am anxiously waiting for the day when I can once again lure my kids out of the house without a fight, or have a conversation with them about something other than Rainbow Road.

 

PARENT PROGRESS REPORTS DONT EXIST January 24, 2011

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 11:39 pm
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I recognize its been a while since I’ve blogged for The Dolly Mama, but I committed to myself when I started this blog that it was going to be for fun, a release, a stress-reliever. Lately, I’ve been a little lacking in inspiration, so I decided it was just time for a little brake! I don’t want to bore my readers to death with contrived or forced blogs just to keep up with a schedule. However, I would like to get back to a more regular schedule, so…we’ll see if I can make that a reality.

If you have kids, don’t you sometimes just look at them and ask yourself, “Hmmmm, I wonder how I am going to screw them up?” For all of you perfect parents out there, this may be completely irrelevant, but honestly, I’m just weird enough to wonder that. Here is an example of some of the things that lead me to ask this question:

1. My 4 year-old picks up knives and strikes a Michael Myers pose…frequently.
2. My 7 year-old wants to dress up as the Grimm Reaper…every Halloween.
3. My 4 year-old thinks jumping from the couch to a rolling desk chair 5 feet away is fun.
4. I fall victim to using the TV as a babysitter.
5. My 4 year-old has already taught himself to burp on command.
6. It takes me at least 12 times to say his name before my 7 year-old acknowledges that I am speaking to him.
7. I frequently complain about the fact that I can’t find my corkscrew in front of them.
8. When given the opportunity to “free draw” in class at school my 7 year-old almost always brings home pictures of some kind of monster, alien or a person missing a body part.
9. I don’t always make them brush their teeth or take them to the dentist on a regular basis.
10. My 4 year-old knows most of the words to Baby Got Back, and sings it often…and I laugh.
11. My 7 year-old thinks the funniest thing is jumping out of a dark corner and scaring the crap out of his little brother and his mommy. Mommy does not think its funny.
12. I almost always forget to look in their backpacks until right before they leave for school.
13. My 4 year-old mentally keeps track of the size of his poopies and compares one to the next.

So, you get the picture. One of the reasons I believe that parenting is so difficult is that we have no way to really track our children’s progress when it comes to mental stability or character. Most of the time we have no idea how we faired as parents until our children grow to adults. We all make mistakes, we all struggle to find the perfect balance of discipline, fun, and teaching moments. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that our kids will learn from our mistakes and that Griffin won’t end up wearing a white mask and carrying around a machete when he is a grown man.

 

My Grown Up Christmas List December 13, 2010

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 6:27 pm
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As we are deep in the throws of the Christmas season, my kids are fine-tuning their letters to Santa in hopes to receive all the wonders that Toys R Us has to offer. As I was helping the kids with their Christmas wish lists, I began to think of what mine would look like and how different it is now than it was when I was my kids’ ages.

Here’s a little sample of what I came up with for my Grown Up Christmas List:

* Peace (and quiet) – Just 45 minutes a night in the bathtub is all I ask for a total body and mind renewal – without being interrupted by “Jake hit me!” “Well, Griffin took Humongosaur away from me!” Calgon, take me away….far away!

* Experiences – My house is full of “stuff” that I continually have to pack up and ship off to Goodwill. I don’t need more “stuff.” I want more experiences. Not getting any younger over here, so I am determined to mark some things off my “bucket” list. I want to learn more too. I’d rather fill my mind with stuff than my house.

* Confidence – I want the confidence and the courage to do some of those things in the aforementioned bullet point.

* Relationships –I want to spend more time this year investing in some important relationships in my life. I am very fortunate to have an awesome group of friends and too many times I find that I let those relationships go without the maintenance they deserve.

* Mind-altering or body-numbing drugs

* For the practical girl in me – a maid and a chef. Oh, and a nanny.

That’s just the top few things that popped into my head when creating my hypothetical list to Santa. I realize my list does not consist of things that are easily stowed away in a big red bag in the back of a sleigh, but Santa, I have the utmost confidence that you can come through for me.

 

The Election Day Quandary November 1, 2010

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 8:46 pm
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Tomorrow, my kids will be out of school. Tomorrow kids all over the country will be out of school. Ya know why? So us adults can get out and vote. Isn’t that ironic? Schools are closed to give everyone an opportunity to exercise the most defining right we have as American citizens, yet, because my kids are out of school they will be home with me, which means I might not be able to get out of the house to stand in line for an hour with two small children to cast my vote. The irony…

Here’s what I propose to other socially conscious moms like me who realize the importance of having your voice heard, but have the arduous task of dragging the kids along with you to the polls:
* No matter what, get out and vote.
* Pick a time that best suits you and your kids…whether its early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, you know when you can best manage your children’s tantrums or spastic bursts of energy.
* Pack a bagful of toys/games that they love and that you know will occupy their little minds for a few minutes at a time. If you have an iPhone, download some new, fun games and be prepared to relinquish your phone power for however long it takes. This means, of course, you will have to resist your desire to send a text to your friend about what the woman next to you is wearing or peruse your mobile Facebook, but remember, this is all a sacrifice for the greater good.
* SNACKS! You know what I’m saying with this one. On Election Day Eve, head to the store and fill a re-usable grocery bag full of yucky, delightfully disgusting, only-for-special-occasions snacks that you would normally NEVER have in your house, and pull them out when all Hell is about to break loose. Nothing can sooth a whiney kid better than a Double Stuffed Oreo.
* Bribery. Yes, I do stoop this low. “If you stand here nice and quietly for mommy so she can vote, we will go to (insert super-duper treat location here, like ice cream, Toys-R-Us, etc., depending on your budget.).” Enough said.
* Threats. Yes, I do stoop this low too. Sure, threaten to spank them, take away a favorite toy or put them in time out, but if you really want to see them squirm, threaten to ruin their future if you aren’t able to put your vote in. Explain to them that the reason you are doing this is for their own good, that if the “right” person doesn’t get voted into office their taxes could go up, their education could suffer, their healtcare could diminish, their freedoms could be compromised! It may be a little over their tiny heads, but if you say it with enough passion and conviction, it could scare the poop out of them.

So, I hope these little suggestions will help you in your plight to be a responsible American citizen. It doesn’t matter which way you lean; to the right, to the left or in your own direction, the important thing is that you don’t make excuses. Read the paper, watch a reputable media outlet, research online, but make an informed decision, then get out and vote. It’s not a privilege that should be taken lightly or ignored. Heck, if you are in a bind, bring your kids over to my house and I will watch them while you vote! Happy Election Day!

 

Validation Through a Bottle of Apple Juice… September 22, 2010

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken — dollchandler @ 5:27 pm
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Kids and food…not a good combination. I’ve learned over the past few years that the word “kid” could easily be the derivative of an old American-Indian word meaning “always difficult to feed.” In my house, the kid/food battle is ongoing.

I try to teach my children good eating habits, but so many times I’ve caved in to the “give them what you know they will eat” pit that leaves so many parents dumbfounded. When it comes to food, kids are sneaky and manipulative. They know that there is not a whole lot they can control in their lives, but they can control what goes into their mouths and they use that power against us. (The other power they posses is the ability to use the potty, but that’s another blog altogether.) I’ve always thought that if I just put it on their plates and offer them nothing else, they will eat it. WRONG. Even if they know they will go to bed hungry, they can and will still say “no” to an unappetizing dinner option. I don’t want my kids to starve so I have taken on the “give them a little of what they want, and a lot of what they should want” method of adolescent feeding.

I try to explain to my kids why we make the food choices we make. For example, “what is the benefit in eating meat? Its full of protein which will make you grow up and be big and strong.” For two boys, this is always a winner. I also talk to them about why we DON’T eat some things. My kids are easily tempted by the crazy, sweet, full of junk cereals that crowd the shelves. I just simply tell them that they are too full of sugar to eat all the time.

I’ve always thought this hasn’t been sinking into their little sugar-filled minds, but then, the other day I had an epiphany amongst the aisles at Wal-Mart. In a hurry to get out of there, I told my oldest son to head down the juice aisle and pick out a bottle of juice. I had no idea what he would come back with, but that’s the chance I take when I give up my grocery authority. I was halfway down the next aisle when Jake comes hobbling after me with a gigantic plastic bottle in his two hands. All I could see was a big picture of an apple on the label. “Well, good, at least he got apple juice,” I thought to myself. As he got closer, I noticed a huge grin on his face behind that huge bottle of juice. He proudly handed me the bottle and said, “Mom, does that say ‘no sugar added’?” I said, “Sure does.” He smiled and said, “that’s why I picked this bottle, Mom. I knew you would like it because it doesn’t have sugar.” As I wiped a tear from my eye, and the triumphant music quit playing in my head, I took the bottle out of his little hands, and said, “Yes, you are right. That is exactly what I would have picked.”

I guess sometimes all of this nagging about eating right does wear off on their little minds. Everyone wants something really bad and sweet or greasy every once in a while and that’s ok. But teaching your kids the basic foundations for living a healthy life is so important to do while they are young. Their little picky palates will change as they get older and hopefully some of that jibberish about vitamins, protein, and chemical additives will start to make sense when they are old enough to make their own food choices. So, go on parents, rock that broccoli! Praise those peanuts! Don’t make healthy choices the odd choice, make them the norm.

 

 
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