Pick & Choose Parenting Doesn’t Exist

If I have to yell at a kid to get out of my room so I can change my bra one more time I might lose it.

This is a thought I have at least several times a week. I’ve been at work all day, I’ve picked up the kids, and all I want is a pair of yoga pants, a sports bra, and a loose-fitting tee shirt to go with my warmed-up leftovers and hopefully, a glass of red wine (if I’m lucky). But I can’t even get past the sports bra part because I have small boys running into my room asking for help with opening a squeezable applesauce container, or the separating of two Lego pieces, or (and this is my personal favorite) the wiping of a small bottom.

Hands over boobs, I try not to yell. I really do. We’ve had the conversation about knocking before we enter mommy and daddy’s room, but you know, kids. As soon as I get the look on my face, the six year-old backs out slowly, and the three year-old starts whining because he wants his applesauce.

All I want is a sports bra.

And as I see them back out of my room, all I can think of is, ‘I can’t wait for the day when we all get home from a long day, and they’re just ‘chill’. They do their own thing. They’ll eat dinner because they’re hungry (with no whining about how they don’t like pork chops any more), they’ll head outside with friends while I make dinner (and not stand underfoot while I mess with a hot oven), they’ll stay out of my hair for 10 minutes while I change clothes, while I go through the mail, while I let the dogs outside.

And then, almost immediately after that last thought is done I think: that will happen. It will happen really, really soon … especially for the oldest. In five years he’ll be eleven years old and he will come home, demand a Hot Pocket, and then settle himself on the couch or in his room … and he probably won’t want to say a word to me. I’ll be hard pressed to get him to tell me about his day. Once dinner is done, he’ll want to disappear to him room for the remainder of the evening, and I’ll have a blissfully perfect evening.

Except that it won’t be. There won’t be the sound of belly laughs coming from the room they probably won’t share anymore. They won’t decide half-way through cooking dinner that they ‘want to hold me’. There won’t be snuggles on the couch as we watch Bubbleguppies before bedtime. There won’t be Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late as we all squeeze onto the bottom of the bunk beds that are now probably single beds. And they definitely won’t wake me up in the morning by creeping into my bed at 615am while asking to listen to the ’50 Nifty United States’ song on YouTube.

If I wanted to give up bathrooms that had 1 inch deep puddles and toys strewn all over the tub, I’d also give up the smell of freshly washed toddler hair. If I wanted to give up a backyard that’s overrun with toys and playground equipment, I’d also give up the shouts and giggles of little boys spraying each other with water guns and chasing bubbles.

And so, since parents don’t get to pick and choose which parts of parenting they’d like to keep and which they’d like to throw out the window — I’m stuck here, really just wanting to change my bra in peace.

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Parenting in the summer

As the boys get older, the summers get easier.

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The Mouse was born in June, in Texas. There are a million arguments as to weather or not a summer newborn is easier to deal with than a winter newborn, and I think I’ve decided that it really just depends on where you live. As a mother living in the state of Texas that has birth babies in both the months of June and February I can absolutely attest to the fact that a winter baby is easier.

Well, if you can count February as a ‘winter’ month … because I’m pretty sure February 23rd, 2011 had a high temperature around 60*. But I digress.

The point is, by July, being outside with a newborn (or even just getting into a scalding hot car that’s been in a parking lot for 45 minutes) sucks. It sucks really badly. Thank goodness I went through that with the first kid and not the second, because being cooped up in the AC with one baby (as miserable as it was) is WAY better than being cooped up with a newborn and a toddler/older sibling. As these rambunctious boys get older though, the less and less I worry about the heat, and the more and more I apply sunscreen, make sure to hydrate them, and then kick them out into the backyard.

This past weekend we drove a couple of hours north into Oklahoma for a family reunion. There were two ponds, one big cabin, a bunch of trees, and two sweaty little boys.

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Both of which who loved every. single. second. of it.

This was the first time my kids had seen an honest-to-god lightening bug. It was the first time they had swam in a lake/pond. The first time they had ridden in a canoe or tried their hand at fishing. It was the first time they had met many of their (my) cousins, and the first time the Mouse had jumped off of a two-level dock and made my heart beat right out of my chest.

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I let them run, I let them scream, I let them eat whatever-the-hell they wanted to. They stayed up late, they made new friends, and for the most part they created their own fun/activities. I made sure they weren’t bleeding, I made sure they had sunscreen, I made sure they had floatation devices … and then I tapped out. I spent my time chatting with my cousins, playing cards, and focused on letting myself enjoy the reunion more than I was babysitting.

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And it was bliss … for both me, and my kids. I might complain about the heat down here in Texas (and Oklahoma), but seeing my boys during summer makes it all worthwhile.

Mostly. (fans self)

Since I was in the middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma during all of this – I wasn’t able to post a bunch of these to Instagram in real-time, but I did get some of them up. If you’re not following me yet, head on over and check me out.

Cheating on my DSLR – iPhoneography

A funny thing has happened in the past couple of months – I’ve sort of stopped using my DSLR.

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::gasp::

There’s not one specific reason why I haven’t been taking pictures with the ‘real’ camera, but there are a few things that have contributed to it. For example, I’ve been traveling for work quite a bit lately, and there was no way I was going to lug the Canon along with me. Also, I tend to like to edit my photos at least a little on Lightroom, which is installed on my home PC, and not on my work Mac which is use for 110% of everything else I do.

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But for the most part? I really like the instant gratification of ‘iphoneography’ … even though it’s not truly ‘instant’. I like the convenience of using a ‘point and shoot’ camera, and then having the ability to edit and post to whatever source necessary right away. I like that I don’t have to carry a huge camera around with me. And I like that I seem to know what I’m doing, whereas with my DSLR, there’s a 50/50 shot of me NOT getting a decent shot since I always shoot manually (and let’s face it – I’m still learning that shitz).

In short, for me, using my iPhone is easier. Since my phone is glued to my person 24/7, I always have my favorite camera with me, and thus, I take more photos. Since I don’t have to worry about the mathematics of a manual mode in the iPhone, I tend to be more thoughtful of the subject and construction of the image itself, and not about the camera set up.

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This past week I was in Boston for a work conference (at Harvard Law School of all places – which is GORGEOUS) and I made sure to snap some pics of the city and campus as we walked around. First, I now know why people in Boston put up with the horrible winters … because of the fabulous summers. Second, OMFG SEAFOOD. Third, with the city and campus being so absolutely gorgeous, I found myself first wishing that I had lugged the DSLR with me for the trip. But by day three, I looked back at the iPhone images I had captured and decided that I was really and truly pleased with what I had snapped with just the iPhone.

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This isn’t to say I’m throwing in the towel and getting rid of the Canon. But, as someone who has always really loved photography (even if I’m not a pro), I’ve always felt that I HAD to do a DSLR, and I HAD to shoot manual for my photos to be considered valid (by others and by myself). Which … is dumb. Really dumb. So, while I will still probably break out the Canon every once in a while, this is me coming to peace with my love affair with my 5s point and shoot.

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Oh, and Afterlight. I would be lost without Afterlight.

If you want to follow along with my iPhoneography obsession, follow me on Instagram. It’s my favorite!

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