Friday, September 24, 2010

The Truth About Lydia is Not Pretty. Or Clean.

I have been having a rough week.  Do you ever have them?  Where being the Mom makes you wonder how you ever became qualified to become the grown-up in the room?  The truth is that I am totally overwhelmed.  I suck at this job. I not only suck but I suck sweaty monkey balls.  I can't afford to screw this up, these are my kids we're talking about. 

But this isn't new.  Earlier this year I wrote a post called The Truth About Lydia that chronicled some of the schmidt that seems to define my life and my total inability to cope with it.  I have written a couple of other posts about how I am an unfit mother, how I am prone to breakdowns, and how I tend to have really bad mornings that turn into totally sucktastic days.  I also had a whole series of posts that were supposed to document my journey towards self improvement (both in terms of my ass, my hair, and my house) because 2010 was going to be MY YEAR. 

But guess what?  It's September.  Soon the leaves will fall and then it will be Halloween.  Then I'll blink and it will be the Holidays and then the year will be over and what will have changed?  Nothing.  I'm still a giant boobstain.  In yoga pants that are the exact same size.  I still yell at my kids and then feel awful about it.  I still rush around every morning having conniption fits because we are running so effing late.  I still suck.

So here is the real unvarnished truth about Lydia - part deux:
  • I start everything and finish nothing.  The laundry, the 400 scarves I have tried to knit that are only six inches long because they're taking too long, my son's baby book, the diet, the daily exercising, pretty much anything good for me...
  • I average less than seven showers per week.  At the beginning of the year it was five and now its more like six.  Nice.  Especially when you consider that on some days the only time I can take a shower is right before bedtime so I'm nice and fresh for about twenty minutes and then I fall asleep.  And by the morning?  The sleep dirt has made me all grubby and Lydia-y again.
  • If I show up somewhere and I'm clean, everyone is like: "Wow! Lydia, you look awesome!"  And I'm all: "Yes.  That's because I bathed."' 
  • My youngest will be two in a couple of months and she still doesn't consistently sleep through the night.  Maybe once or twice a week she does.  The nights when I can sleep are amazing but they make the nights I can't that much worse.  Maude help me. I had no idea it would go on this long and it has not helped my Hair Trigger Bitch Syndrome (HTBS).  
  • I'm way too hard on my daughter Thumbelina because she is my first born and she's a girl and of all my kids, she is the most like me.  And the older she gets, the more I become aware that this perfect and lovely little person is going to turn out just like me and that is a total parenting failure.  Why can't she be more like her father? Because he's awesome. I can't believe I just said that.
  • Every meaningful adult interaction seems to end up becoming a conversation about me because I'm horrible. Would you like an example?  Someone says: "I'm so tired." and then I say: "So am I! You have no idea because the baby still isn't sleeping and last night I had orange juice after dinner because I think I'm getting a cold but something about the acid in it gave me funny dreams and hey why are you walking away? Crap, I did it again." 
  • My littlest girl is completely obsessed with feminine hygiene products.  Ask Kate, she'll tell you.  If you show my baby a tampon, she gasps with joy, jumps up and down clapping and then says: "OOOHHHHH! I want dat! I want dat POP!" Then throws a tantrum when she's not allowed to unwrap one and shoot it out with the applicator and then carry it around by the string.
  • My cat is bulimic and I am so over cleaning it up.  If it's in the guest room or someplace I don't have to look at it, then I don't always get around to cleaning it right away and that's just gross.  I need help.
  • I think the cat may also have a death wish or maybe he just wishes that I was dead because he is forever writhing around my ankles in the dark or on the stairs and seriously, a neck-breaking fall is imminent. I have no idea which one of us will survive but I'm guessing him.  Because even though he's really old I'm pretty sure he has more than one life left. 
  • I screamed at Hawk yesterday for wiping away his baby sister's tears.  Yah.  I know.  I thought he'd made her cry because he'd been putting his hands all over her face and she hates that.  In fact, she'd bonked herself and he was comforting her.  Mom of the Year!  Me and Dina Lohan tied again!  
  • Thumbelina is a litigator in training.  Every conversation with her is a negotiation.  Or an interrogation.  And I can't win.  And I think she may end up as either Miss Alabama or a Blackwater mercenary for hire.  Possibly both.
  • I don't need anything else to feel guilty about.  Not one more thing.  I wear my guilt like its a backpack filled with chemistry text books that I can never take off.
  • I have had the laundry completely done and the house clean twice in the past year.  And that was to my standards - it was not Aunt Mary clean or anything.  There are people who have that knocked out every single week by the time the kids come home from school on Monday.  How. Do. They. Even. Do. That?
  • I think I hear about half of what people say to me.  Because my mind is constantly buzzing with all the things I should be doing and haven't done and thought were funny and did I return that email?  Maybe my mind isn't as full of buzzy, drunken bees as say... Offspring #1.  But that's not saying much.  I need to focus.  Clear my head.  Maybe do some yoga.  Wait, did I schedule a parent teacher conference?  Crap.  What were you saying?  
  • I have a really, really good friend who lives 45 minutes away and she as may well live on Mars for all that I see her.  I have been waiting for the military to move her somewhere near me for five years and they actually did and we act like she's in Okinawa because I have to drive 45 minutes to get to her house. 
  • Kate just reminded me that this breakdown may have a little something to do with Pissy, Missy and Sissy.  And that they may be visiting me right now.  Kate's a lying a whore.   
  • I just looked at the calendar.  Kate may be right.  Sorry about calling you a whore earlier.  No I'm not. 
  • Awesome.  So now I'm just subject to the whims of hormonal imbalances.  I'm not even crazy like a normal person.  That's just perfect.
  • I was so anxious for school to start and now I miss them so much that every day I can't wait for them to come home and tell me everything.  And they get home and it's a total cluster of tiredness and did you wash you hands and stop bugging your sister and use your manners that I can't wait for bedtime.
  • Thank Maude for Kate because she totally gets that I suck and still likes me anyway.  And knows that even though I am the worst mother in the world, at least I'm trying.  And she always forgives me for my freak-outs and break-downs because she actually values me as more than the person that makes food, drives to t-ball and finds lost binkies. 
Sigh... I feel a little better now.  Thanks for letting me vent.  Maybe I don't suck sweaty monkey balls after all.  Maybe they're just the usual kind.  Besides, its practically next year and next year is going to be awesome.

xo, Lydia   

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. Thanks for that. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one who's constantly running for president of the Bad Parent Club, campaigning in "stretchy pants" a la Nacho Libre. I stress because I love/value my kids so much and want them to have great childhoods. Ahhh, but reality comes to bite me in my 4-kid-hips-sized posterior way too often. My husband's a teacher, and says the good parents are the ones who constantly feel like they're screwing up or not doing enough; the bad ones are sure they're doing just fine. You and Kate are very validating to those of us living real, messy, busy lives. Chin up, and know you're not alone.

  2. Lydia, you took thoughts STRAIGHT OUT OF MY BRAIN and put them on the internet. I need not go into specifics because EVERYTHING YOU SAID IN THIS POST APPLIES TO ME. Except I only shower four times per week.

  3. Oh Lydia.... you do not suck monkey balls. You are a normal human, real life, in the trenches mommy. What you just wrote about and described is my life... completely. The only difference is that my Toxic Tween, Thing 1 and Thing 2 homeschool. Being a mom is SO effing hard. If anyone had the nerve to tell us this before our little bundles of lovely and poo arrived we'd have been runnin' for the hills.

    I totall get you about being so hard on Thumbelina. Toxic Tween is our first born too, and she Heaven help us all.

    Oh... forgot to tell you... my 8 year old doesn't sleep all night either. Never really has. IT SUCKS.

    So it's ok... life will get better. I promise.

  4. We love you, Lydia!!! Don't be so hard on yourself!!

  5. Awww Lydia, thanks for writing a post about me. :) I just wish I had a "Kate" of my own... she seems to give you balance. Here's to no more sucktastic days... xoxo

  6. Yeah, along with everyone else, gett the heck out of my head!! This morning #3 puked, and as I am on day 2 of a migraine my actual thought, upon seeing the puke was, "great! now I really can lay on the sofa all day!" No mommie guilt if a child is sick! Right? Right?? Ahhh, furk!

  7. You had me in tears until the baby with the tampons. Good thing, as the mascara was already making really attractive marks down my cheeks...after I struggled to get it on this morning. It will all get better,really. I promise. That is for both of us.

  8. At least you didn't wake up to find that your boob was being used as a pillow. It is like you can't even have a moment's peace - not even in your sleep.

  9. Yesterday I took my own child to the babysitter so I could watch someone else's child in peace. And I still didn't get any laundry folded and the kitchen was a bigger mess than usual, and the car started spewing out a ton of exhaust and it stalled out at a red light IN. THE. GHETTO. while I had two babies in my car, and my cell phone was dying and I forgot to bring dinner for my son so he was grumpy and hungry and slamming the doors of my friend's china cabinet that had real china in it. Basically, I think we all have days/weeks/months/lives like this. I mean, right?

  10. It makes me feel better to know that i'm not the only one who sometimes looks and wonders who was smart enough to put ME in charge of three kids.

  11. I love you Lydia! I think you have been living my life and I'd say "Give it back!", but then I'd be a lying whore. Sometimes it's good to be a whore, but mostly on request, but this isn't the place for that story..... You are so not alone and now I know that I'm not either. Though I seem to be the only one in my sub like me.....

  12. Lydia, get a dog. They eat their own vomit. And if you're lucky, they eat their own poop too. Cats are the devil.

    I have also learned that the less you shower, the less the perfect mommies in the pick up line at school ask you to bake cupcakes for some church bake sale. They might put you on the prayer list, but they won't ask you to help.

    Your yoga pants haven't changed sizes? That's AWESOME! Yeah, you might not have lost any weight, but you haven't gained any either! That's a major accomplishment in my world.

    Your oldest daughter is a free thinking independent soul who is confident enough to know that her opinions have value. Your son is caring and gentle enough to comfort his baby sister. Your baby takes joy in every thing and is too busy thinking about her world and too sleep at night. Your kids are amazing. You are an amazing mom. That means you are an amazing woman, cause stupid women don't make amazing kids.

    So suck it up. You're awesome, no matter how often you shower, which around here is about 4 or 5 times a week. The most humbling and hardest lesson I've learned? See myself as my husband sees me. HE thinks I'm sexy even with my boob stains and HE thinks I'm brilliant cause I didn't bounce a check this month and HE thinks I'm amazing cause I know Friday is both spirit wear day and gym day and the kids have to have spirit shirts and gym shoes and I'm the only one who knows where they are.

    Your husband feels the same way about you. Enjoy it. :) Now, sit down, have a nice big selfy steam with caramel and whipped cream, then change shirts and conquer your day!

  13. I could have written every single one of these about myself. Especially the first one, about starting things and not finishing them. If good intentions were worth anything, I would be awesome. Funny thing is people constantly say, "you're such a good mom" They only say that because I have 4 children and I manage to survive day after day. I feel like such a fraud when they say that. I also hear "I don't know how you do it?" Do I have a choice? I look forward to your daily thoughts. A sense of humor is "how we do it"

  14. You are an awesome mother, Lydia. :) I love you, too!

  15. I had to turn in my mom of the year award the other day at the Pediatricians office. He said the following things: You should be brushing their teeth every morning and night and flossing every night. Uh oh. Also, the maximum amount of TV they should watch is one hour a day. Um....There were more, but these two...well, Big.Fat.Fail for me. :)

  16. "My littlest girl is completely obsessed with feminine hygiene products. Ask Kate, she'll tell you. If you show my baby a tampon, she gasps with joy, jumps up and down clapping and then says: "OOOHHHHH! I want dat! I want dat POP!" Then throws a tantrum when she's not allowed to unwrap one and shoot it out with the applicator and then carry it around by the string."


    I think we have the same cat.

    If Thumbelina turns out to be Miss Alabama, she's doing great. If she becomes Miss South Carolina, you have to worry. Some-a US Americans and such.

  17. You just described my life, only the cat that pukes everywhere is my baby who throws up all over me/the floor/whatever is closest to the projection and my Thumbelina aka The Drama Queen is 6 going on 13. And I've forgotten what sleep is, my 3 yr old STILL doesn't sleep through the night due to night terrors and sleepwalking.

    Thanks for the laughs and reminder that my OMG-this-can't-be-normal life is acually very normal and I'm not insane after all.

  18. Lydia,
    A few things, honey.
    1. You don't suck as bad as you think. If this is your list, we all suck, because I could have substituted "Kathy" for "Lydia" in several places. Go buy a t-box and let your kids play in the yard, until midnight, while you relax.
    2. My two year old does not sleep, either. Just wrote a post recently about this very subject and how I do not want to hear from snitchy moms whose babies come home sleeping for 26 hours. I think she hates me, or is a child genius and is just trying to mess with my mind-or what's left of it.
    3. We are sharing the same brain! Yesterday I wrote a list of ten celebrities I need to get my life in order, including Martha Stewart because "girlfriend could take a tampon and turn it into a fashion accessory".

    4. You validate me!


    Whaddya mean "bad week"? This is normal...

  20. Dear Lydia. I love you, I love Kathy, and I love Penny Broome. We all have our challenges and our days when we are like that crazy dude pushing the rock up the hill and having it roll back down every time. I can never remember that crazy dude's name, but let's call him Erica, like me, and make him a gal. There are good things about life, and Penny Broome up above gave you an awesome start at that, so did Kathy. And everybody else here seems to think you're pretty awesome too. So, take a deep breath, have a nice coffee drink, change your shirt, and put on some yoga pants one leg at a time, same as the rest of us, and have at the day! Big hugs!

  21. Umm... I think I must be writing posts in my sleep under a pseudonym again, as this is clearly me.

  22. Okay, how did you manage to pluck the thoughts about me from my own head and publish them? I'm suing. Aunt Mary clean? I've LOOOOONG ago given up on that. I remember a time before my four kids (ages: 1, 7, 9, and 44) when my place was clean and picked up and ready for guests at a moment's notice (not sterile, mind you!). Now I just smile vacantly and nod while my mother and mother-in-law give me tips on how to organize/clean/etc. Strangely, they only talk to me, not the perpetrators at fault. You are doing a beautiful job, Lydia...don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!

  23. Jennifer, the Lydia wannabeSeptember 24, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    I also am just like this--and really feeling like a total schmidt of a mother these days too. I dream of a life where I can vacuum more than once per month (basically only when the dog hair turns our rug gray and you can no longer see the rug) and where I can bathe daily. But I consider my less-than-ideal bathing schedule (right now 3-4 times per week) to be progressive and eco-friendly. I just tell people I'm conserving water. ;-p And the dog hair? Why, I'm building my kids' immune systems! Haven't you heard, dirty houses provide better exposure to germs and build better immune systems? See, I'm really an awesome mom!!

  24. Dear Lydia (and Kate),

    I just found your blog and in it, my soul sisters. I think I'm a 50/50 mix of the two of you, which might be kind of scary! ;)

    Thank you for sharing yourselves so completely and making the rest of us feel normal.

    Also, I have a nearly 2 year old in my house that doesn't "sleep through the night" (and still nurses half the night away), so you're not alone!

    You rock!

  25. Lydia...

    Well done. Get it all out honey... I feel your pain (because we both came from the same mold sista). But guess what... after all that, WE ALL LOVE YOU EVEN MORE!!! =)

  26. And not only is there the guilt. But I can't watch fun shows like SVU or Criminal Minds if there are children involved b/c I start crying b/c I imagine the horrible "what-ifs." And then it hits me every day: I. will. never. be. alone. ever. again. Especially not in the bathroom- b/c that's apparently the best place for 1st Born to have social time.

  27. I could have written this post...especially the part how did I get to be the grown up in this room? And people let me care for their children?? (one is actually a friend who knew me when I was 12...and she trusts me with her 3 kids??) I try...but shh, I wouldn't give myself a very high score... ;)

  28. Oh, Lydia. I suck at this too, darlin' but please...

    Everything that is lovable about Thumbelina is lovable about Lydia -- you can look at the coin from the other side, but it doesn't get you anywhere helpful.


  29. I have just been moved to comment, which never, ever happens (I'm a lurker), due to the irony of what just happened while reading this.

    Here's the scene: I'm feeding my 3-week old who has a cold and therefore keeps gagging and coughing up junk. At the same time, I'm attempting to pump the other boob because I have mastitis. The pump suction isn't working due to the awkward positioning and therefore milk is pouring out of it and all over me. As I try to clean the milk off one side, Baby spits up all over the other side. As I then move her to clean the spit up, I notice poop all over my shorts since her money-saving-brand diapers leak. I clean up everything while she screams because a. she's still starving and b. she can't breathe through her nose and she decides to spit up again, this time all over the couch. Finally clean, finally feeding her, finally pumping again. And I realize that throughout this whole thing I've been alternating between ignoring Toddler and snapping at her because she's asking me things about the new princesses coloring books Husband just got her after his 3-day business trip (before leaving in 2 days for another 6-day business trip).

    Sorry if that was way TMI, I just really had to share. I found it hysterical that all this happened as I read a blog about Mommyhood and boobstains.

    Love you ladies, thank you for making it possible for the above to happen without my having a complete breakdown. You are amazing.

  30. *hug*

    Hang in there, Lydia. You are not alone. At one point, I wanted to grab "" for a blog domain name. I should have, because that's pretty much how it's been the last three years. *sigh*

  31. Hicks Girl - the people who say kids should watch only 1 hour of tv a day are either a)childless b)have a spouse at home taking care of the kids or c) have a private nanny taking care of the kids
    I was a nanny in college - I was under strict "no television EVER" rules during the week while mommy and daddy plunked her in front of the tv all weekend...

  32. ::runs off you beat the crap out of Randy for making Lydia feel bad::

    Emailed you!

  33. You shower six times a week? Hat's off!!

  34. Who ever tells you their laundry is done is either a) a huge liar or b) a secret speed freak. And that's not a group you want in on.

  35. I totally could have written this post, except that I'm not as eloquent

  36. Lydie - thank you for writing this post. This is so me!! Most days i DO feel like the I like the comment from the mom who said "the good parents are the ones who constantly feel like they're screwing up or not doing enough; the bad ones are sure they're doing just fine." Maybe I AM doing okay?? This is the hardest job in the world and I think our kids suck our self confidence out as they suck out our boobs. Thanks for posting this AND for all of you who have commented. We are NOT alone!! :)

  37. If you are showering 6 times a week you are a superhero. And you're wasting water and drying out your skin.

    Thank Maude we've long given up the idea of winning Mother Of The Year.

  38. "mind ... full of buzzy, drunken bees" is my constant state of mind. Sometimes it gets a little quieter if I write things down on "to do" lists, but then the "to do" lists begin piling up everywhere...

  39. This could be me, except my oldest is a boy and no cat. I swear I am reading this and am like...this is so ME. Especially the part of making every conversation about me. Throw in an extra batch of Self-Doubt, and agonizing over any possible mis-step, comment, faux paux and I am this close to being bat-schmidt crazy!

    Thanks for the sanity check in !!

  40. OK: Let's assume that with one perfect, angel child any mom is going to have 1-2 days per week where she feels like she's screwing it all up. Multiply that by THREE kids! 2 bad days per week x 3 normal (non-angel kids) = 6 bad days per week, minimum. Feel better? This is math's fault, not yours. F you, arithmetic.

  41. You shower six times a week? You rock! I'm happy that I can sometimes manage to get three showers in.

  42. My very favorite neurobiology researcher (whose name I'm too tired to remember today - but that's from work not kids) provided this wonderful gem: "Normal parents are optimal" - guess what? We evolved with parents like you (and, uh, me). And evolutionarily, that's how we thrive. He looked at 'perfect' parents, who always catch the situation before it breaks down, who bust themselves to stay calm and never freak out and yell, who have everything tidy and perfect... and their children are prone to mental health breakdowns under stress.

    Why? Because at a neurological level, those kids' brains expect perfection, fear imperfection (it has to be terrible if our parents avoid it like death!), and don't expect bad situations to *ever* get better. There's no variation, it's always the same. They're prone to PTSD at higher rates because their brains don't have sturdy connector patterns for 'whoa, this sucks, hey, it's getting better, this part's not so bad, hmm, tanking again, but I bet it will be better later' It's all a straight line, so good *has* to stay good, and bad is a permanent condition from the first moment. You don't want that, do ya?

    So, honey, you're optimal. :) Optimal screws up. Same researcher showed neurologically that it is not the screwing up that matters (and certainly not *never* screwing up), it is the un-screwing up after having face-planted. Did the guilt make you apologize? Did you reconnect at any point at all? If you did, that's the place where the good neurons grow. And since neural path sturdiness is based on repetition, messing up often and reconnecting afterwards makes for some sturdy resilient optimistic brains. :)

    I'll add my mom's thoughts (she had seven kids): A good day is where there is one single moment in the day that was nice, for/with/about each child. The rest of the moments can suck, but if you can find one, that's a good day. She regularly couldn't find one, but she'd try again the next day. And while she wasn't perfect (yay!), she was trying, and let it show. So I grew up knowing that parenting wasn't about being perfect, it was about showing up and trying. Including the fails.

    No sleep sucks, though. Eldest didn't sleep through until he was four. AAAHHHHH! Second proved it is the kid, not the parent (slept 6 hours at 6 weeks and only went up from there - though I was still up with the other one regularly). And then I had twins, just to make up for the kid-who-sleeps. They're almost 6. I've been sleeping most nights for a couple of years. You'll get there.

  43. I love you.


    Because you totally say what I think and that makes me sad for you because, well, I am a pitiful person... but happy for me because there are two of us! :)

  44. Lydia,
    I seriously think we are two halves of a whole...a-hole, jackhole whatever.
    Because pretty much every point you made is straight from my own list of schmidt I do, regret, & think about.
    Here's the thing, I am a single mom (with all the fun that goes with that), and I'm dating a man who has never been married, no kids. And he wants kids. And while I'm not opposed to it, I had really hoped to make some "improvements"...but that has yet to happen. Anyhoo, here's a wrench in the works: I am 40. He is 34. So, if kids he wants, it better happen yesterday! Talk about stress. We aren't married yet, not quite there yet. And I'm afraid to show him the real me! Hopefully it doesn't scare him away...
    LYLAS, Hollie

  45. I could have written this post myself-(and my name is Lydia, to boot!). Thanks for putting yourself out there and letting us know we are not alone!

  46. Loving the comment by the lady that knows all the science-y stuff. Good stuff there. This is totally my life except I have 4 kids including twins with one of them being special-needs. No pet though. No animal would make it in our house.

  47. Hedra,
    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I don't know if you will ever see this, but I hereby ask the universe to allow you feel my gratitude. Thank you!




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