Momma’s birthday

Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me, and all that. All I really wanted for my birthday this year was to sleep in until 7:00am and have a shower during daylight hours. The big sleep in would require Daddy-O not leaving for work at his usual time of 6:30am. I almost got that. I woke up at 6:45am to screams at the kitchen table. Apparently Daddy-O sat them all down with some paper and markers so they could make me birthday cards. Then he promptly got onto his laptop because he was having such a late start to his day. So I got my sleep in, but was woken up to “she stole the red marker!” and “I want the blue construction paper!” Apparently when Daddy-O is on his laptop, he doesn’t hear this.

Birthday wish #1 ticked as being mildly successful.

When I came downstairs the kids decided that I had to work for my cards, so they all hid and I had to find them. When that job was done, they turned to Daddy-O and asked where the presents were that they got me. One gift bag was sitting there for me to open. You’ll never believe what was in it….are you sitting down? It was a game of scrabble. Yep, scrabble. I started searching through the box quite sure that there was cash or jewels hidden among the scabble letters, but not so! Simon claimed he was being sentimental because we played scrabble very randomly when I was pregnant with our first child 9 years ago when we did not have a TV. Since then, our game repetoire has included buckaroo, operation, and lucky ducks. I’m not sure when he thinks I’m going to have time to take up scrabble again.

The day went on much like any other, though facebook provided me with many birthday wishes. As I was about to put the kids to bed, Daddy-O pulled out a frozen chocolate cake to celebrate the big day. In the end, it made teeth brushing a nightmare and you know how it is putting kids with sugar highs to bed.

As for birthday goal #2 (being a shower in daylight hours)….that didn’t quite happen, so just be thankful you don’t have to look at me as you read this.

So the lesson is, though we Mommas don’t ask for much, apparently it is too much. I’m thinking if anyone is looking to make their millions, there is a manual that needs to be written that instructs husbands how to deal with birthdays when they have wives with young children. I’ll even proof read it for you!

Girls Weekend

I recently wrote a little piece about an annual weekend I do with my old girlfriends – most of whom I started Mabel’s Labels with! Really, you’d think we have enough quality time together! When I say the word “weekend” I use the term very loosely. I usually rock up on Saturday night, then take off before noon on Sunday. BUT, it is a night away so I’m not complaining.
That weekend is just around the corner so I thought I’d post the article. I’m thinking that a few of you will be able to relate.

Momma Talk

My ninety-two-year-old grandmother has given birth to a lot of babies. She had babies in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. She was collecting the baby bonus and old-age pension at the same time. Grandma is as wise as she is old, so when she talks, this humble creator of five babies drops everything and listens.

Grandma thinks women should not gather and talk about their kids. At first I found this to be a very strange perspective. I have five small kids and can turn every conversation into a discussion around their accomplishments, challenges, teachers, activities, poops, pukes, and sleeping patterns. What more is there going on in my life? If not for kiddie-gab, is there much else I can say?

That is precisely her point. I once returned from a weekend away with my longtime girlfriends. You know the kind of gals I’m talking about — the ones who have been around since the beginning of time. They were there holding your hair back while you puked up the peach schnapps you guzzled in the school parking lot before the dance. They remember when you got your driver’s license, cried with you that first time your heart was broken, and would share your single dorm room bed during a weekend visit. These are the gals who were your bridesmaids and actually knew what you were like before you were someone’s momma.

The weekend was geared to be a fantastic catch-up with the old gang and Grandma gave me strict instructions to report back to her with all the gossip and antics the weekend held. However, come Monday morning, the two of us sat with our cups of tea and I delivered a shockingly boring report. I walked away from that weekend knowing that Little Johnny was an exceptional reader and Little Janey is the best player on her soccer team, but didn’t know much else.

Lamenting this, Grandma perked-up and told me it was time to implement “The Rule.”

As a young mother, Grandma occasionally gathered with a group of women. It was one of the very rare occasions they did not have their children with them. She set a rule for the group. No one was permitted to even whisper her child’s name. “The Rule” was complied with and these women enjoyed many years of social gatherings, discussing every topic imaginable — except their kids.

The next year came quickly and our annual weekend together was around the corner. The e-mails started flying — deciding who was driving, who was cooking, who was bringing the wine! Now was the time to suggest “The Rule,” but I was concerned with how it would be received. I was telling people I didn’t want to hear about their kids — the bonus was they didn’t have to hear about mine!

The two childless friends immediately responded to me. I had been elevated to hero status in their eyes. The other e-mails started trickling in. Everyone agreed that it was time for “The Rule” to be passed onto our generation.

No one will dispute that your children are all consuming and have a way of taking over your entire existence. Even my grandmother would readily agree. I once heard someone say having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body. True enough, but every once in a while you need to step back and find that little piece of yourself that sometimes gets lost in the school meetings, hockey practices, and music lesson drop-offs. For this busy momma, it is officially one weekend a year, but I try not to let the lesson of “The Rule” stray too far.

Family Day?

Here in Ontario we just experienced our first “Family Day” holiday. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but heck, I’ll take a day off to hang out with the kiddies. There was a lot of confusion around this day. Was it a stat holiday or a public holiday, and what is the difference anyways? Why were some government folks working, and others not? I think the thing to remember is that it was a promised day off in the middle of February during an election campaign. Obviously it worked, but I’m thinking a little consultation with the business community and different levels of government might have helped eliminate the confusion around this holiday. But you Mommas out there know that ‘day off’ is a very relative term. I have more than one SAHM friend whose husband had to work, and nursery school was cancelled so it just meant Momma had to work even harder. Some day off, eh?

We took our gang to that place I have a love/hate relationship with: Great Wolf Lodge. I hate it because it requires re-mortgaging the house to go for a day. The entire time I’m in the pool I can’t stop thinking that I’m having a kid pee bath. At one point they closed the hot tub and I tried to protect myself from finding out why. I’m one of those cheap Mommas who brings the cereal and canned dinner so that I don’t have to give the hotel any more of my money. Long and short, they’re bandits and taking us all for a very expensive ride. The only reason I love it is because the kids do, but that’s enough to keep us going back. Can you say “sucker?”

Whether you spent your Family Day in a germ infested pool, hanging with your kids around the house or going for a skate or a movie, we Mabel Mommas hope it was a good one, and one that kept you far, far away from your office!

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