Happy Martyr’s Day! Why I Abandoned My Kids One Mother’s Day Weekend

Espy (ExMom)MartyrdomLeave a Comment

Stained Glass, Martyr in Flames

Hey, Moms, just how anxious are you for Mother’s Day to be…over? Don’t you ever want to hide somewhere until Monday comes back around?

That’s what I wanted, for a long time. One year it got so bad I ran away from home. Yep, now that I don’t have to worry about child protective services anymore, I can fess up.

I abandoned my kids one lovely Mother’s Day weekend.

For years I was utterly miserable on that “special” day, convinced every other mother was being wined and dined and appreciated until she puked (flowers and chocolate, of course).

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A Fun New Way To Feed Your Kids « The @allmyfaves Blog: Expert Reviews about Cool New Sites

Espy (ExMom)PerfectionismLeave a Comment

A Fun New Way To Feed Your Kids « The @allmyfaves Blog: Expert Reviews about Cool New Sites.

Snoopy Lunch Plate

Photo from All My Faves

Seriously? As if we need anything more to feel guilty about not being Mommy Martha Stewart.

Yeah, it’s adorable but who has the time? Or the creative energy. There’s nothing that drains creative energy like the drudgery of housework and endless lists, constant demands, sheer exhaustion – do I need to go on? And, if you need to do this to get your kids to eat, you’re in big trouble.

So, if you must do it, pick a holiday or do it for birthdays or something.

But, Moms, do NOT feel guilty because you don’t make your kid’s meals look like Picasso masterpieces, please!

Actually, I’ve started compiling a list of things that still make me feel guilty, a decade after my kids have grown and flown (ok, I think I just discovered that phrase, feel free to steal!) (lol, nope, already been done: www.grownandflown.com. Pretty hard to be original with 20 gazillion people linked online I guess.)

Aaaanyway, every once in a while I’ll hear or read something that someone or other did for their kids and my breath will catch a little bit and I’ll feel bad. A decade later, did you catch that? Sheesh.

Like this latest poor dad who’s dying of cancer and is writing 800 napkin notes for his kids’ lunches. I don’t know if I ever wrote a napkin note, so I immediately felt THE GUILT. How crazy is that? You know THE GUILT, right?

One day I’ll get my massive list and we can all work on all that together. Moms, we’re gonna beat this back along with all the other maladaptive perfectionism and martyr stuff. Stay tuned!

Back Away from the Dishwasher – How to Escape the Chore Wars without All the Drama

Espy (ExMom)Uncategorized2 Comments

Sorry, I'm outa here

Dear ASK ExMom,

An adult son has moved back home. He now has no job and is not helping around the house at all. Plus he is an alcoholic who refuses to go to AA. I love him & cannot kick him out. What to do?

Tempted to Toss

Moms, before I respond, you should know that Tempted and I had a few email exchanges and there is more to her dilemma.

Her son is not just alcoholic, he’s severely addicted, has tried many times to quit and, in fact, has an extremely dangerous reaction to alcohol withdrawal.

Now, due to my !@#$% post-concussion syndrome, weeks had passed by the time we finished our conversation. The son had gone to treatment again and was back home, sober in AA, still not employed or helping out. Or even picking up after himself.

At the end of our correspondence, Tempted got to the following question. Ring any bells? Anyone? Bueller?

By having to ask everyone else to do things around the house, aren’t I saying they are ALL my jobs, even though I work, just b/c I am female, and I have to ask people to help me out EVERY TIME I WANT SOME HELP AROUND THE HOUSE? How do I get family members to help when they are too old to give time outs to??

So, I have to consider the mom issues along with the realities of having an adult child in trouble. Make yourself comfortable, it’s gonna be a double-wide post, down and dirty.

Oh, and I forgot to mention – Tempted lost one of her parents in the middle of all this. She is in a perfect storm of suck.

Dear Tempted,

You have my complete sympathy. An alcoholic child is one of the most challenging and terrifying problems a parent can face, similar to a child with leukemia or another life-threatening illness.

That said, I sense a bit of denial here. You have bigger fish to fry than decades-long household issues. Avoidance is a pretty normal response to your truly frightening situation.

Still, we both know if the worst happened, the last thing you’d care about is the household crap.

That means I can’t really make the same suggestions I’d give to someone who wrote in about a couple of bratty teenagers.

And, you can’t make serious rules and consequences about household upkeep at this time. Your son is in the fight of his life right now and needs all his focus on survival.

Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story.

We can still improve your situation. Bear with me while I walk you through my brain and we take a look at ideas to get you some relief.

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“The Cult of Perfect Motherhood” Blog: Are You Ready to be Deprogrammed?

Espy (ExMom)Perfectionism6 Comments

Calculating Eye

Hey, check out one of my favorite blogs, The Cult of Perfect Motherhood. Beth Caldwell has a way with words and a world of experience. She learned about the futility of mommy perfection the hard way, when her first-born came out three months early for no reason at all. (You gotta admire a kid who feels the need to show you who’s in charge while still a fetus.)

She knew early on that shit happens no matter how hard you try. That the world is bigger than our little mommy egos.

And she really nails the crap we moms do to ourselves and each other as we try to be perfect. Her blog should be required reading for all pregnant women. Here’s a sample from her very first post:

It never ceases to amaze me when a mom friend says to me “I feel like a horrible mother.” Because, I don’t have any mom friends who beat their kids. None of my mom friends are meth addicts. And as far as I can tell, none of their kids appear to be on the road to becoming violent meth addicts themselves. So, when they say “I feel like a horrible mother” I usually say, “Really? Why? Because you seem like an awesome mom to me!” And then they usually lower their voice, as if they are going to confess some dark and terrible secret…but they say banal things like, “I let my kid eat McDonalds for dinner three times this week.” Or “My kid got into my arts and crafts supplies and colored all over her face and now she looks like an Oompa Loompa.” Or, “I snapped and yelled at my kid when he broke something today after I told him ten times not to play with it.”

via The Cult of Perfect Motherhood .

Perfectionism is a mother killer and she’s right-on calling it a cult. Too many of us believe – consciously or not – that we either mother perfectly or destroy our children’s chances for happiness forever.

And we believe it because the message is out there every single place we turn. Books, TV, advertising, experts, websites!  all scream at mothers to do more More MOREMOREMORE!

It’s impossible to miss the message that our children’s success or failure rests squarely on our overworked and underfunded shoulders. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it and once we finally step away we just shake our heads in disbelief. What were we thinking?
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Back With the Living: My Brain Needs a Tune-Up

Espy (ExMom)Uncategorized8 Comments

Abstract Graffiti Heah

Moms, I have not abandoned you! Exactly one month ago I took a short flight without a plane and banged my noggin good.

Stone-cold sober I tripped over one of those concrete block thingies in my parking lot. Flew downhill into the metal post that holds up the carport awning. I remember bouncing off the post then twisting and turning until I finally landed.

Wow, if said post hadn’t been hollow, I’d be upstairs railing at the heavenly gates and you would have to find someone new to rail at you. (Don’t all clap at once. Harumph.)

So, aside from road rash, bruises and a most owwwy ribcage, I was left with a concussion that took its sweet time getting better.

And, do you have any freaking idea just how little is left in the world when you’re not supposed to use your brain? You can’t do any kind of work, read, listen to radio that makes you think, Robot holding green brainyou can’t even hardly cook. Yowsa, no fun at all.

Now, I am pleased to say that my brain has mostly recovered and I’m slowly recommencing my old ornery ways. I may have to tone it down a bit until the last ear-ringing and dizziness fade away, but I’ll do my best to ramp up quickly so I don’t make mommy martyrdom actually start sounding fun in comparison.

Speaking of which….it’s my observation that those of us who try the hardest are the ones who feel the guiltiest. That’s a two-edged sword which drives us and our kids crazy; there really is no upside. In its most extreme form it becomes mommy martyrhood, and, let me assure you no good will come of that.

So, my next post tags one of my favorite blogs, The Cult of Perfect Parenthood, which asks why so many moms feel like horrible mothers. ‘Cause, yeah, there are all these overworked, under-schooled, deprived kids out there. And you know it’s the entitled kids’ moms who are rockin’ the guilt, not the truly mistreated, whose moms couldn’t care less.

And, coming soon ASK ExMom answers its very reader first question!

Stay tuned. Stay strong. Stay just a little bit mean. Grrrr.

Resolved 2015: Moms in Charge Instead of in Therapy!

Espy (ExMom)Uncategorized8 Comments

Resolved: Mom in Charge!









Happy New Year, Moms! Did you survive the holiday madness? And, isn’t it great to be able to start all over with a clean slate? Let’s see what we might be able to improve this year….

Seems to me that for some illogical reason, kids are now in charge of the world. Yep, the hand that rocks the cradle has dropped the ball. For instance:

Kids are getting all the perks of adulthood with none of the responsibilities. All the latest gadget gear without being required to so much as clear their dishes from the table. They get to have sex without worrying about rent, a mortgage, utilities, a job, even. Wait, what am I thinking? Graduation, even!

Well, we do not have to just stick our thumbs in our mouths (you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? You’re right, it crossed my mind.) and take it. We can instead believe in ourselves. Fully. Deeply. Against All Odds. And, that’s how we will be in charge instead of in therapy. That’s how our kids (and others) will learn some new rules.

It starts small. First, we have to be in charge of what we do with the insecure thoughts floating in our brains – constantly.

  • I’m fat
  • I’m ugly
  • My skin sags
  • My nose is too big.
  • My ears stick out.
  • My ass – don’t even go there.
  • My boobs are too small
  • My boobs are too big
  • I’m not smart enough
  • … nice enough
  • … rich enough
  • … pretty enough
  • Nobody loves me because of all the above
  • I don’t deserve anything good because of all the above
  • The best I will ever get out of life is being loved for what I do for people. For being nice, supportive, positive, happy. I will be a good person, a ridiculously, artificially, pathologically good person and then people will love me.

BULLSHIT. Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit.

That Mom will be a doormat. Guaranteed. That Mom will be used and used up. That Mom will be sucked dry, kicked to the curb and ditched. No doubt in my mind.

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How May I Help You? … aka … You Want Fries With That?

Espy (ExMom)Uncategorized4 Comments

Fast Food MealI am here to support you, Moms. Not so you can cook better or clean better or make family dinners. Not so you’ll listen better or work harder in the PTA or be nicer.

You’re already a good enough Mother or you wouldn’t be reading this. I’m here to support you in becoming a stronger person who fully recognizes your value to your family and society and stands up for your rights without guilt.

Or at least with guilt banished to its room whenever it’s inappropriate.

Strong Moms equal strong families equal strong communities, cities, states, countries and the world. (The same goes for Dads but, sorry, they need to get their own blog. See how I did that with no guilt?)

The first thing I want to do is help you fend off the constant criticism and advice out there. My God, what kind of empty lives must these people lead to have nothing better to do than criticize the most selfless, caring and hardest working people on the planet?

Okay, yes, some of us aren’t all that, some of us do suck. Some of everybody sucks. We are, for the most part, everything I said above, or the species would have died out long ago. Remember that.

You’re shaking your head: These are possibly not the best credentials ever for an advice blogger.
Anyway, that’s why I’m here.

I’m here because I didn’t stop caring about family issues once my kids grew up and moved away. Everything I learned in those 20-odd years (so freaking odd) did not become worthless overnight.

I was a married mother, divorced mother, widowed mother, single mother. I worked outside the home, inside the home and I was a stay-at-home mom. I spanked, time-outed, breast and bottle fed, public and private schooled.

And, through it all, I volunteered. Oh. My. God. Did I ever volunteer. This country would be crippled overnight if Mothers stopped volunteering.
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