12 Similarities Between College Spring Break and Spring Break with My Kids

It’s Spring Break time. Fifteen years ago, that phrase was magical. Florida, sunshine, partying, cute boys…

Now? Now it means my kids aren’t in school. Which means I still want to drink copious amounts of alcohol throughout the week. But for very different reasons.

But! Cheer up, my friends in similar boats. There are some amazing similarities between college spring break and spring break as a parent of young, school-aged children…

 

 

1. Scantily-clad girls are running around unchecked, giggling and screaming

2. There are grumpy grown-up residents yelling at the kids to behave

3. There is a risk of finding a unidentifiable substance in my shoes sometime during the week

4. My sleeping arrangements for the night are always unknown and could be any of the following:

– Sharing a bed with another female who snores and hogs the covers
– Sharing a bed with a guy who wants to get in my pants
– Sleeping on the floor because I didn’t play my cards right at bedtime

5. At 2am I might be woken up by a request to assist someone in the bathroom because her tummy hurts

6. My roommates are always wearing my clothes without asking

7. I’m really, really tired because loud, inconsiderate people won’t let me sleep

8. Every single friggin’ day, there’s always a girl crying about something at some point

9. I’m not sure the last time the sheets on the bed were changed but I’m too tired to care

10. There’s a yucky smell emanating from somewhere in the room and no one can figure out what it is, where it’s coming from, or whose fault it is

11. I keep finding people’s underwear in strange places and I don’t want to know how it got there

12. I could go to bed with one person and wake up with a different one. Or two.

See? Key West 1997 and Suburban New England 2013. Not so different after all.

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My kids won’t eat what I cook. Should I care?

I used to love cooking. I made dishes like coq au vin, marinated flank steak, and chicken piccata. I peeled potatoes, boiled them, and whipped them into heavenly clouds of lumpless fluff. I roasted asparagus to the point that the tips would get browned and crispy and salty. Mmmmm. Ahhhh. Excuse me while I have a moment.

But now? I have kids.

And my kids are the type of kids who won’t eat anything that appeals to taste buds older than, say, five years of age.

I can list the main dishes they will both eat on one hand: Peanut butter and jelly/fluff. Meatballs. Pasta. Turkey dogs. Mac & cheese. Chicken nuggets.

Okay, I need a sixth finger. But you get my point. Can I even count PB&J as a main dish?

I don’t get it.

I ate everything when I was a kid. It wasn’t an option to have something different from what my parents ate. I never asked. They never offered. Fish, meat, exotic fruits, and yes, even brussels sprouts – I ate it all. And I loved it all. I was a foodie before age five.

I was thrilled to bits to dine at fancy establishments when on vacation. For me it was as exciting to go to the five-star restaurant at the Williamsburg Inn as it was to go to Busch Gardens.

So how did I, lover of all food, end up with kids whose palates are seriously deficient?

Apparently it is all my fault. As usual.

My pediatrician says: “Make the kids eat what you eat.”

What this turns into: Me and the hubs eating chicken nuggets with the kids.

I tried. I really did. I believe it all went south when Anne was little and just starting to eat table foods. Hubs and I would eat a normal dinner. Anne wouldn’t eat it when it was offered.

I, being first-time parent of a 90th percentile height and 10th percentile weight toddler, freaked out that she’d lose more weight and gave her something she’d eat.

Anne realized that she could make her newbie mom feed her what she wanted, whenever she wanted.

Fast-forward five years, and if I want the kids to eat what I eat, I’m eating something beige and toddler-sized.

Website advice columns say: “Cook dinners that the whole family will eat.”

What this turns into: Me hurling the computer with said advice across the room when my kids reject my latest attempt at a family meal.

For a few blessed times, everyone ate pasta and homemade meatballs. For another short stretch of time, it was lasagna. Once it was a casserole. But what always happens is one of the girls – usually Anne – suddenly refuses to eat the accepted meal. And one or two people end up in tears over it. I am always one of them.

So it’s not like we don’t eat. I still cook. But I don’t love it.

And I want to love it again. But I am tired of making separate meals for the kids and for the adults. I hate that when Hubs and I devise a plan to get everyone to eat the same thing, it doesn’t work – either because I can’t take Anne’s tantrums anymore or I am worried she will waste away into nothing if she doesn’t eat.

Grace is a bit more open to trying new foods and I am fully taking advantage of it. At least she’ll try what’s put in front of her. But Anne … not so much. So it’s a conundrum.

What about you?

Do you cook different foods for the kids and adults in your life? If so, are you okay with it? If you are unhappy with the situation, how have you tried to fix it?

And if you all eat the same thing at mealtime – how, in all that is holy, do you do it?!

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter. To Me. From Me.

Dear JD,

You’ve had a really hard few weeks, honey. I know you have. A traveling husband, a puking child, the same child not sleeping, and your work projects exploding … well, it’s a wonder you are standing upright.

I’m here to tell you: GOOD JOB, MAMA! YOU ROCK! AND I LOVE YOU TO PIECES!

I know you feel like you are doing horribly at everything. You feel like you are letting everyone down at work, you’re an inadequate mother, and you suck as a wife. And not in a way your husband appreciates.

You’re not doing horribly. You are holding it together. Pretty well, given the circumstances. You even manage a smile and a big hug for your daughters in the morning when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and hide from them and the rest of the world. And I say bravo, my dear. Bravo.

And listen. You know that little 20-something twit at work who is complaining you are “only part time” and “not dedicated to the project” and sent you an email tonight lamenting that she “wished you were here tomorrow so we could talk through some more things”?

She’s a child. She doesn’t have ANY IDEA about life priorities or that you are working WAY more than you are supposed to on this project and how completely dedicated you are, but that family ALWAYS comes first. Someday she will be cursed with colicky twins who puke all over her every night and look back at the time she was mean to you and understand that karma is definitely a bitch.

And I know Grace’s inability to sleep at night is killing you, both mentally and physically. I know you feel helpless. But you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not your fault. And someday, somehow, she will – and you will – sleep again.

I know you worry about Anne not getting enough attention because Grace is needy and you are so damn tired. But she is doing great. And you are doing great raising her. She loves you to pieces and you love her right back.

You are doing SO MANY THINGS RIGHT. You are carving out time for yourself.  You are getting help via therapy and antidepressants. You are spending quality time with the Hubs. You are working out. You have a job and are making some good money because you are great at what you do. You are still getting quality time with your kids, making cookies and valentines and other things they love to do. You have this blog and you are writing for yourself. And you are full of love for your family and friends.

Now it’s time to be full of love for yourself.

Ya hear me, woman? Appreciate yourself. You rock. Yeah, you’re not perfect. No one is. But you are doing the best you can, and the best you can is pretty damn good.

Life is hard right now. But you are still blessed. And I know you know it. And that you appreciate all you have. So hang in there. The saying “It Gets Better” goes for you, too.

Keep on keeping on with your awesome self. And Happy Valentine’s Day, you sexy lady.

Love, Yourself

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