Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Big, Bad "D" Word...

Well, hey there Peeps! Happy Summer to you - is everyone SWELTERING in this freakish early summer heatwave? It was 101 degrees today when we got to the pool - and it's only JUNE! Holy cow...anyway - much is up with the Busy Momma and her gang. There is going to be one HUGE bit of news that will be announced in my next post. No, Busy Momma is NOT pregnant - I repeat - no new family members. Don't get that excited Dear Readers. Nope - no new family members, but a new endeavor for Busy Momma. I'll give you a few hints - just to whet your appetite...the new endeavor pays nothing, will most likely be unpleasant, and involves fire, mud, hay and a viking helmet!!! Any guesses? Now for those of you who ALREADY know what I'm talking about - DON'T ruin it for everyone else. But - if you have NO idea what on earth I'm hinting at - take a guess. Whoever comments with the first correct guess will win a prize from the Busy Momma herself! That's right! I'm handing out prizes...so take a guess - you have NOTHING to lose!

So - in the spirit of my last two posts: Rules for a Happy Marriage and a Love Letter to Hermione, I've decided to round out the theme with the topic of DIVORCE! Shocking, right? Such a bummer - especially in June - the month of love and weddings. However - I'm not taking end-of-a-marriage divorce here. I'm talking about a different kind of divorce. The kind of divorce that is unique to women and just rips your heart out - the FRIENDSHIP Divorce.

Have any of you experienced this particular type of torture and heartbreak? If you were born with a uterus, you probably have. Now, I'm not being sexist here - I know that male friendships also break-up and that those break-ups can be very painful - but it's just not the same. I didn't come up with the term "friendship divorce" - I actually stole it from Gwennyth Paltrow's blog/website: GOOP. (It's a good site - http://www.goop.com/) Sookie actually turned me onto this site for this specific topic. I was contemplating ending - or at least cooling off - a friendship that I'd had for a while that just wasn't really healthy for me. I won't get into the specifics, but let's just say that the person in question was/is an energy vampire. One of those people who thrive on constant drama and can't just be happy when everything is going along swimmingly. And somehow, for some reason, this person likes to involve me in every outrageous situation that she finds herself in. And we're not talking benign drama - like aggressive driving issues or nasty food service worker stories. This person has constant serious, dangerous, self-destructive drama. And no matter how you try to help her - she just won't be helped. In other words - she refuses to accept any type of help or advice that might actually help her or improve her life. Because that is not what she wants. She is not interested in resolving her issues - she just wants to bitch and moan about them and drain all of your attention and energy until you have nothing left.  And Busy Momma just can't TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

So, anyway - in talking with Sookie about this situation - she mentioned this term - "friendship divorce". And it truly is a perfect turn of phrase for these situations. A "friendship divorce' is different from just naturally growing apart from someone. Or loosing touch with someone who moves away. A "Friendship Divorce" is just what the name implies - a divorce. Dictionary.com defines "divorce" as "a total separation, a disunion". It is something intentional and well thought-out. It's not that angry reaction one might have after an argument with a pal. It's the decision one comes to after much thought and one too many arguments, uncomfortable moments, conversations or hurtful words from a friend.

I've been through a few friendship divorces myself - and they are NOT easy. I've been the divorce-er and the divorcee. And I will say, being the one on the receiving end of the divorce is awful - just plain awful. It is painful and emotionally draining and in my case, simply devastating. Much like, I would imagine, a traditional end-of-a-romantic relationship divorce would be. Now, as a disclaimer, I've never been divorced, I've never experienced that unique brand of torture, and I hope I never do. And I certainly don't mean to take anything away from those of you who HAVE been through it. But all of the research that I've seen regarding this particular situation indicates that women who suffer the loss of a friend - particularly a "best friend" - describe heartbreak and emotional devastation similar to the loss women describe when a marriage ends. Interesting, huh? I think that says a lot about the intensity of female friendships and the role they play in our lives.

While I would never choose to go through one of these situations again, I did learn a lot from my "divorces". I'm sorry to say that I learned far more from the situations that I didn't initiate than from the ones that I did. I think we all get to a point with some people where enough is enough. And when I did choose to end a friendship, it was really a no-brainer. I think all I learned from that situation is that I respect myself and love myself enough to remove myself from a bucket full of crazy. Duh. Unfortunately for me, the real learning came through loosing people who meant a great deal to me.

The two most devastating "divorces" in my life looked completely different. One came after an awful, completely out-of-control screaming attack that I truly did not see coming. The other took the form of a stony, unending silence - that I DID see coming. I don't know which one was worse.

The first divorce came suddenly and swiftly - like a baseball bat to the head in a dark alley. It happened more than a decade ago, and I've had the advantage of plenty of time to get over it and to look at it with the perspective that the years  can bring. While I was completely shocked at the time - I think it wasn't really a surprise to anyone who knew us. Our lives were going in two completely different directions, it was a time of intense stress and pressure for her and a time of intense, wild happiness for me. I was completely absorbed in the beginning of my adult personal life and she was completely absorbed in the start of her professional life. One person walking on air while riding a unicorn over a rainbow living with another person slogging her way through a jungle armed with nothing but a nail file to cut through the underbrush is not a good mix. Both of our heads were completely up our own butts, and the pressure just got to be too much. She, as described tearfully to Fifi that night, "freaked the F#&K out!" for "No good reason, other than the fact that she is obviously a total freaking psycho-path!" That night, and to be fair, for many years after that night, I could not IMAGINE what I had DONE to provoke such an utterly awful and inappropriate scene. And, as I recall, after freaking the f#&k out myself that night, I returned to the scene of the "crime" filled with righteous indignation and all of the anger that I think I had ever felt up until that point. I remember the first time I saw her after the big blow up. She tried to apologize - but I was having NONE of it. I stared her down and I remember telling her off. And let's remember - Busy Momma is from JOISEY Peeps! When it comes to telling people off - girls from North Jersey can do it in their sleep. Hell - we can do it while giving birth - while in a coma - while facing down a shark...ok, I digress. I remember saying something about her speaking to me the way one would speak to a dog - and that she had better NEVER speak to me again. And, in fact, that after she had shown her "true colors", I'd really prefer it if she never opened her ugly assed mouth to me or at me ever again.  

Classy, huh? And, to add to my mature handling of the situation, I slammed doors, walked out of a room when she entered, muttered under my breath and pretty much refused to talk to her about the situation. I was "punishing" her for hurting me. And while I will never, ever think or be convinced that what she did was right or justified in any way, I am able to look back at the situation and identify how I actually contributed to the death of the relationship. I was so convinced that I was the innocent victim, I was unable to even contemplate that I might have contributed to her stress at the time. That while I was well within my rights to enjoy and celebrate all of the joy life was handing me on a silver platter, she was also well within her rights to feel that maybe, just perhaps, I could have been a bit more discreet about it. Especially since, as I recall, for every great thing that was coming my way that year, something not so great seemed to come her way. There were no more big blow-ups after that. I think I might have let her apologize, eventually, when I felt that she had been "punished" enough. But, unfortunately for both of us, by that time it was too late. I didn't believe that she was truly sorry for the hurt she caused me. She certainly didn't seem hurt or upset by what had happened - while I was completely devestated and shaken to my core. There were other things swirling around me at the time that she was not privvy to - big, serious things that were causing me a great deal of personal stress and trauma. I was sworn to protect a secret that caused me great pain and heartache at the time. I think that if she knew what I was carrying around in the days that proceeded the blow-up, things might have been different. But she couldn't know - and now she will never know. I was truly unable to forgive and forget. I couldn't get past the hurt, the feelings of betrayal that surrounded the situation and the rejection that I felt. The situation was really much more complicated and, like many epic fractured fairy tales, there were other players involved - villans and heroes - who added to the melodrama and the hurt. Eventually, despite half hearted attempts on both of our parts, the relationship just ended. It was too broken to ever be fixed. And while I'm over it and can look at the incident now for what it was - a growing pain, I still think that had the situation been different - maybe if we had been a little different - we would still be friends. And that saddens me. I think we would have been even better friends as moms than we ever were as girls. And we were great friends as girls.

The other divorce was one that I did see coming. It was at a completely different time in my life and a completely different situation - but still painful and hurtful and devastating - for completely different reasons. Whereas earlier in my life, the end of that friendship left nothing unsaid - this one left EVERYTHING unsaid. The simple explanation for this one was that this person and I had really grown apart. Really, really apart. The sad reality is that we were childhood friends and held on way too long. We grew into wildly different people. And while for some relationships that can be a good thing - it wasn't for us. We weren't a Lucy and Ethel - we were more like a Limbaugh and a Maddow. And the more we tried to hang on to who we used to be, who we actually were always got in the way. Instead of a big, dramatic blow-up - this relationship imploded over simmering resentment and unexpressed anger. There were one too many broken promises, broken dates, insincere apologies and passive-aggressive slights. We couldn't understand the choices the other one was making in her life. I didn't understand many of the choices she was making as a wife and mother. And I'm not talking about "hot topics" like breastfeeding or watching Baby Mozart. I'm talking decisions that she was making that she KNEW were wrong and harmful for her health, her marriage and most importantly - choices that she was making that would forever change and affect her child. I'm not proud to say this - but I never said anything to her about these issues- but looking back -I'm sure my displeasure and disapproval were written all over my tone and woven into the fabric of our conversations. And I'm not sorry about that.  I am sorry that I never confronted her and that I never told her how I felt. Not that my words would have had any affect - she was on a path to self-destruction and she eventually crashed and burned. And took her baby with her on the way down. That's MY take on what happened to her life. If asked, I'm sure she would say that she has no idea what I'm talking about - which is another reason why her choice to sever ties was probably the best gift she ever gave me. While it was painful for me - really, incredibly painful - I'm glad she did it. I don't think I would have been able to do it. I didn't like who I was when I was with her. I wasn't myself. I walked on eggshells and all in all, it wasn't healthy for either one of us. The biggest issue I dealt with, at the time of the big divorce was "What did I DO to deserve this?" I remember thinking: :"I kept your secrets, I know where the bodies are buried. I covered for you, I listened to you, I held you as you cried, I offered you a place to live, a soft place to land! And you do THIS to ME? You cut me off with nothing? Did I mean anything to you? Did my friendship mean anything to you? Did you just chew me up and spit me out? What kind of person ARE you?" And, in many ways, I still think that. But there is no hurt there any more. It's more saddness that someone that I thought would turn out to be a good friend for life didn't turn out to be who I thought she could be. And that's ok - it really is. I wish her well. She has a new life and I hope it is a beautiful one.

I've added links to two books that look like they might be good resources if you or someone you know is going through this. I have not read them, but the reviews look promising and I'll be downloading them to the Kindle. This topic really does fascinate me - as someone who has been through this experience AND as the mother of a girl who will undoubtedly go through one or two of these in her lifetime. All in all, while I would have REALLY liked to have learned these important life lessons another way - I'm glad that I learned them. I truly believe that our failures are only TRUE failures if we don't learn something from them. I'm glad that I was able to come out on the other side of these 2 friendships better than I was when I entered into them. And I want to thank those 2 women for helping me walk through that part of my journey. Someone once told me that we are all the villans in someone else's story. I hope that my account of these two "friendship divorces" does not paint either of these ladies as a villan - they truly are not. My sincere hope is that I am not the villan in their story either. And if I am or I was- I apologize.   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Love Letter...

So, Bella came home from a sleepover the other day with a terrible, earth-shattering pronouncement. "Well, Mom, we always knew this day would come. I've lost my Best Friend, (insert dramatic pause here) FOREVER!"

(Feel free to imagine the accompanying hand-wringing, head-tossing and puppy-dog eye making gestures that accompanied such a pronouncement.)

Apparently, Bella had been terribly wronged at the sleepover. My best friend Hermione's daughter is Bella's FBFFWLTP (First Best Friend Forever Who Loves to Play - duh!). We will call this little girl Nahla.(for reasons that Hermione will undoubtedly love) Anyway - Nahla goes to a different school and has a group of girlfriends from this school who were invited to the sleepover. Bella knows these little girls - who are lovely- and has played with them several times over the past 2 or 3 years. Apparently, everything was going great until Bella wanted to play "horse trainer" and the other girls wanted to play "American Girl dolls". Well - that's when the sh#t hit the proverbial fan. Nahla had to make a choice - play horse trainer with Bella or American Girl dolls with the other girls. And in a betrayal that, in Bella's mind rivals Deliahla's betrayal of Samson, Nahla sided with her other girl friends. Not one for just "going with the flow", Bella stomped downstairs and complained BITTERLY to Hermione. Well now, what's a mom to do? Hermione went upstairs to gauge the temperature of the room - and it seemed that Bella was just sh#t out of luck - the girls were playing American Girl Dolls and having a grand time. Bella was going to have to either join the group or go pound sand. Thankfully, having known Bella since the moment she was born, Hermione was able to diffuse the situation with a puppy and a well done corn dog. Crisis averted.

However, 24 hours later, the betrayal still smarts a bit and Bella is just not quite right. I can tell that she's turning the situation over and over in her mind and realizing, for the first time in her life, that Nahla has a whole other life - apart from her. And this life includes friends and experiences that Bella is NOT a part of. Hermione and I have been dreading this moment since we realized that the girls were going to be raised in 2 different towns and go to two different schools. We've often discussed what would happen and how we would handle a situation like this one. Granted - Hermione got off easy this time. But what about next time? I could tell that Nahla felt a bit left out at Bella's birthday party this year, and no amount of coaxing or propping her up helped her feel like she was part of the group of Bella's friends either. So the question is: what is going to happen as the girls get older? Are they going to find a way to manage this obstacle and figure out how to manuever around it? Or are they going to see it as a road block and allow it to impact their relationship? Hermione and I hope and pray that they'll work their way around it - and I think that we will be able to help them do just that.

Nahla and Bella are as different as night and day. Nahla was born six weeks after Bella. Hermione came to see Bella - or I should say Hermione waddled in to see Bella - moments after she was born. And I remember taking Bella's teeny, tiny hand and putting it on Hermione's ENORMOUS belly, and telling her that her best friend was inside waiting to meet her. When Nahla came home from the hospital, Bella and I went to the house for a visit. Nahla was laying on her back on a blanket on the floor and I laid Bella beside her. And in a moment that still makes me tear up - Bella grabbed Nahla's little hand and held on tight. And that is how it's been ever since. Whenever Bella is having a really rough go of it - like the time she was the ONLY girl in her class NOT invited to a certain someone's birthday party - she wants Nahla. And Nahla is the same way.

Bella is my creative genious. My artsy-fartsy little girl who will one day run a fashion house that will surely rival that of her idol - Coco Channel. Bella's mantra is "Rules-Schmools!!" Who needs to learn their multiplication facts when you have a calculator? Bella is the kid who comes home from school with 7 out of 10 spelling words correct on the test and will say "I know -way to go me. 7 right! Wo-HOOO!" That's my Bella. The things that would upset Hermione and I - like getting a 70 on a spelling test - roll right off her back. However - leave her out of a game, tell her that she's stupid or her idea is dumb - or horror of all horrors that she is a bad artist - and you devastate her. Nahla on the other hand is a whole different kind of gal. Getting a 70 on a spelling test would DEVASTATE Nahla. Not understanding long division IMMEDIATELY upon explanation gets her panties in a wad. However - Nahla is not one to crumble under peer pressure or criticism the way Bella can. Nahla can wait to do her crumbling in private whereas Bella puts it all out there for everyone to see. Nahala is going to be the CEO and COO of "House of Bella Fashion Design". Bella will be the creative genious and Nahla will reign her in and keep her from going broke. And Bella has planned it out this way. She and Bella will share all of the profits 50/50 so that Nahla can run a horse farm on the side while Bella runs a "Baby Orphanage" where she takes care of babies and gives them away to people who want them. (We can chat about the legalities of this particular arrangements at a later date.) I tease and terrify Hermione when I say that I have no doubt that Bella will be the one who teaches Nahla how to shimmy down a drainpipe with a lit cigarettte in her mouth while never breaking a nail. Hermione counters by telling me that while Bella is doing her lung-endangering, terribly irresponsible acrobatics, Nahla will be firmly planted in the window with 911 already predialed into her cell phone "just in case". These are our girls.

Now you might be thinking that Hermione and I are some sort of controlling and manipulative mothers who are forcing our girls into an artificial friendship. So what if we are? I think there is inherent value in having a friend who has known you forever. Who knows all of your secrets and flaws and loves you anyway. Don't we all need someone like that in our lives? Hermione is that someone for me. I can say anything to her - literally ANYTHING to her - and she listens. She doesn't judge or tell me that I'm wrong or crazy. She just listens. And sometimes she doesn't listen - she simply hears me - there is a big difference. When I preface a statement with "OK, I can only say this to you..." or "I know I'll go to hell for saying this but..." or "I know this is the most awful thing I can say right now..." she hears it. It goes in one ear and out the other - because she knows me. She knows who I am and what I believe in and what I stand for. She knows that I try to be a good person, that I'm trying to grow emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. She also knows that when you hurt me or one of mine - that I'm going to lash out. And that it won't be pretty. In fact - it will be pretty ugly and that I will say the most awful, hurtful and innappropriate thing I can possible think of to get back at you. But I will say it to Hermione - just Hermione. And she will listen, let me rant, and go about her day. She also holds grudges for me - and I do the same for her. Which, is infinitely more healthy than holding our own grudges. When someone hurts Hermione or Nahla - I just want to rip them to shreds. I have no mercy - I want justice - swift and severe. NO EXCEPTIONS. And Hermione does the same for me. We forgive but we don't forget...so it's not all that unlikely to hear one of us saying to the other" "You have to let that go now. I let it go a long time ago." And that is what we want to Bella and Nahla. Who wouldn't want that for their daughters?

I have no doubt that Bella and Nahla will be friends forever. I don't know what that friendship will look like or how it will impact the rest of their lives. I hope it turns out the way Hermione and I want it to - minus the drainpipe moments. I'd like to think that the girls can turn their roadblock into a strength. I hope that they can use one another as a sounding board about their other friends. The person to turn to when you've done something foolish or hurtful to another friend and you need someone completely removed from the situation to tell you how to fix it.

I also have no doubt that Hermione and I will be friends forever - we have to be. I can not imagine my life without her. Of course there have been times when we've wanted to kill each other. There have even been times when we haven't spoken to one another - we've needed a break from one another. But we've gotten past those times - thank God. Hermione and I have reached that stage in our friendship where we know where the bodies are buried. It's a good, comfortable place to be. We know how to soothe each other's hurts, celebrate each other's joys, and talk each other down from the ledge. She knows that my pantry will always have double stuffs and Diet Pepsi. I know that her pantry will always have Diet Coke and some sort of awful candy that she enjoys chewing and occasionally breaking teeth and caps and crowns on. I know never to offer her a hot beverage in the morning. She knows enough to give me coffee or tea in the morning if she needs to tame the savage beast. I know that she talks in her sleep - and that even in sleep - she is Bossy Betty. She knows that I snore and must make a nest of at least 4 pillows around me in order to get to sleep. She knows that when I'm worked up in a lather and I'm screaming mad, that most likely I'm not mad at all - just really, really hurt and wounded. I know that when she says "Whatever" about a person, that person is about to be voted off the island - for good. We love each other's mothers like they are our own. We know exactly how they push our buttons - and ALWAYS defend them when they piss us off. We love each other's siblings and consider them semi-extensions of our own families. I love hearing updates about her nieces and she has enjoyed hearing about every moment of wedding planning with my bro. We still get jealous of each other's other friends. We always have and probably always will. Of course - we'd NEVER admit that to one another. We are waaaay to mature to admit that to one another. But I'll say it - if I wanted to play horse trainer and her lovely pals (who I do truly love and have a great time with) wanted to play American Girl Dolls and Hermione decided to play American Girl Dolls with THEM - I'd be devastated and complain bitterly to PC. And while he would probably mix a nice martini to try to soothe me - he probably wouldn't be successful. The only thing that could soothe me would be Hermione calling me and asking me to come over and play with her for a few hours - just the two of us. I would pretend to look at my busy schedule and then begrudgingly agree to come over for a little while. And by the time I had my feet inside the door and my toys unpacked - I would have forgotten the slight and be enjoying every precious moment with MY BFFWLMTB. (You hear that other girls? She might be YOUR BFF - but she's MY Best Friend Who Loves ME The Best!!!!!!!!!!!)

I love you Miss Granger!!!!!
Professor McGonegall

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rules to Live By.....

Well - the big day was - in a word - EXTRAORDINARY! It truly was a scene out of a fairy tale - a beautiful, glowing bride, a handsome, happy groom and a setting to rival anything Hollywood could have EVER come up with. My brother and new sister had a beautiful day and those who were there felt priveledged to witness the beginning of what promises to be a very happy and loving family.

I don't know if it's today's society, my age and the age of those around me or what - but it seems like every time I turn around, I hear about another couple divorcing., separating or just going through a "rough time". PC and I have been married for 11 years - next Saturday. In November, we will have been together 18 years. (Yes, I know - it took him a LONG time to decide that he liked it enough to put a ring on it. What can I say? He's a slow mover.) As the years go by - or fly by as it seems lately - it's incredibly sad to see families on the verge of disaster and collapse. It's awful to watch people that you actually know and care about going through that long, torturous process of dissolving a marriage and a life. That's why my brother's wedding was such a joyous occasion. The sheer look of happiness and joy on his face was so utterly pure and beautiful that I know I will cherish and remember that look until my dying day. That look also makes me know - down to the core of my very being - that these two will be ok. They will be able to weather the storms that come their way. No one tells you, when you're standing up there looking perfect, in the "dream" dress on the arm of your handsome prince that there will, indeed, be storms. And that the handsome prince will sometimes act like the village idiot. And that his beautiful bride will sometimes, behave more like a shrew in need of a bit of taming. It all looks so rosy and perfect from the altar - doesn't it?

As PC and I have been salivating over the bride and groom's honeymoon plans and the few photos that have come our way from paradise - we've been playing this little game called:
"Welcome to REAL Married Life!!!" This is how it goes:

Every time we feel bad about how WE'D LOVE to be relaxing pool and oceanside this week in paradise - we invent a scenario to throw the newlyweds into to "test" their newborn marraige. So - for example - the other night, as Jack and Bella were fighting AGAIN about whose turn it was to play Wii, we thought up this little scenario: Let's send Jack and Bella to paradise and have them surprise their uncle and auntie at the hotel. We would send them after having just exposed one to a stomach bug and the other to...oh let's say...strep throat. Now THAT would be a test for a marriage! And as the week has progressed - our scenarios have become more elaborate. Now we're feeling that we really and truly DESERVE to be relaxing poolside - so the ante is being raised every day. Yesterday in fact I came up with a scenario that would test even the most SOLID of marriages. Here goes:

It is December 18th. Child one is performing in the Nutcracker all weekend and MUST attend EVERY dress rehersal - or she will not be allowed to perform - NO EXCEPTIONS. This child is currently vomiting and running a fever and is due at dress rehersal in 30 minutes. Child number two runs into the bathroom where you are trying to convince child number one that she's not truly sick and just really nervous - and tells you that his school project is due TOMORROW. This project involves the construction of an entire indian village out of recycled materials and/or edible materials. Child number two also informs you that if he/she does NOT hand in this project on time - he will be docked a letter grade and that - oh, by the way - he's sort of failing this class - so this project has really got to be spectacular. As you are counting to ten and trying to put child number one's hair in a bun for dress rehersal while she heaves over the puke pot, the dog has explosive gastro-intestinal issues all over the dining room carpet. It is at this point that your spouse shows up - fresh from work - asking either a) What's for dinner b) Why the house is so messy or c) starts to complain about his/her "day from hell". I am also going to add in either a broken dryer or dish washer to stir the pot. And because I am a total sadistic bitch - I'm going to throw a dead pet goldfish in there as a zinger.

Oh yeah - it all looks good from the altar and the pool, kids. Good luck in real life.

And what is so funny about that scenario is that all of that has either happened to me or one of my girlfriends at some point in the past year. How messed up is that????? And I know that some of you will be reading this thinking; "Oh, that's nothing compared to the time that....". That's marriage - that's real life kids! Real marriage is hard, hard, hard - isn't it? I remember my first real big blow-up with PC after we got married. I forget what it was about - but I remember calling my friend Hermione - who knows all of my secrets and loves me anyway - and just going off. I was so mad at him I was going to....going to....going to what? We were MARRIED! I was stuck with this dum-dum for the rest of my freaking life! Oh the agony of not being able to hold anything over his head! This all struck me like a ton of bricks as I was on the phone with my dear friend. I'll never forget her words of wisdom: "Yup - you're married now. It sucks, doesn't it?"

Ahhh - marriage. It takes hard work, patience and a bit of alchohol to make it work. Actually, I really don't know what it takes to make it work. Sometimes I think PC and I just got really, really lucky. When it's all said and done - we like each other at the end of the day. I think that helps. We also have a lot in common - that helps as well. 18 years is a long time to be with someone - the same someone day in and day out. Thankfully, as we've grown - we've grown together and not apart. And we do have a few rules that have kept things humming along here. These rules have been learned the hard way - through real-life experience.

Many people have asked us through the years: "You guys seem really happy together. What's your secret?" As tempted as we are to respond back with witty remarks like: "It's the lovers we keep on the side..." we always just say "We're just lucky, I guess." But I think it's more than luck - it's our marriage rules. So my loyal readers - I have decided to share them with you. Feel free to use them to make your own lives as happy and care free as ours is.

The Busy Momma's Marriage Rules:

1. Whoever coined the phrase "Happy Wife, Happy Life" is a flipping genius. Truer words were never spoken.

2. Never, EVER blame one another should a check bounce. Little known fact - there are gremlins who live inside of your checkbook once you merge finances. These gremlins like to write checks at stores like Dick's Sporting Goods and Best Buy and Ann Taylor. They purposely forget to record these expenditures in your check register. This is because they live off of the energy of your ensuing "Ican't BELIEVE you were this irresponsible..." argument. Do NOT give in to this. Accept and acknowledge the gremlins. And know that they will only strike once in a blue moon - and then move on.

3. Never wake a sleeping child.

4. Unless the house is on fire - never wake a sleeping wife. Especially for anything that YOU might need while in the bed.

5. Speaking of bedroom activities: Boys, listen, learn it and love it: Married sex is like the moon. Throughout the course of your marriage it waxes and wanes. Just because, and I know that this might be unbelievable for some of you, your bride does not feel sexy while lactating, after having been puked on 14 times in one day, after breastfeeding a baby who eats like an internment camp survivor all day and night for what seems like YEARS, when she gains 10 pounds, when she goes back to work or when she fights with her mother, best friend, boss or the kid's teacher, it does NOT mean that she will never want sex again. It just means that right now - at this point in her life - sleep is much more important than anything else. The sex drive WILL come back. The GRUDGE she will hold against you for making her feel bad about not wanting to be a Playboy Bunny every night of the week will last FOREVER.

6. Whoever said "Don't ever go to sleep angry" has obviously never been married. Go to sleep. Many, many things look different in the light of day.

7. Treat each other as friends first and foremost. Never like family. remember - friends don't HAVE to stay by your side forever - family sort of does. Don't say anything to your spouse that you wouldn't say to a friend in the heat of battle. Some things once said, can never be unsaid. (This one each couple must learn the hard way, I'm afraid.)

8. Check your need to be right at the front door. Busy Momma say: He who always needs to win winds up being the biggest loser of them all.

9. Laugh! When the ceiling is leaking, the dryer is breaking, the kids are fighting and the dog is throwing up - what else can you do? Try to see the humor in the ridiculousness of the situation. If you don't - you'll wind up yelling at one another - and that can't lead to anything good.

10. And finally - no matter how long you've been married - try to think back to that day that YOU were beaming as you walked down the aisle or watched your beautiful bride float towards you. Try to bring some of that magic into your life everyday.

A good way for men to do this is to say the following words:

"Honey, when I looked back at our wedding photo today, as I do each and every day of my life, I realized something. While you were such a pretty bride, you have grown and matured into such a stunningly beautiful wife and mother. I realized today that I am so fortunate that you agreed to marry me so many moons ago and I hope that I have lived up to the example of beauty, love and devotion that you have set my darling. Please take these diamond earrings as a sign of my love and devotion to you."

A good way for women to do this is to say the following words:

" Ok, OK - but you have to be finished by the time "The Real Housewives" comes on - ok?"

And with those words of eternal wisdom - I am off to bathe a very stinky 6 year -old boy. Until next time lovies....be safe, enjoy a good glass of wine and a great laugh...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We're Going to the Chapel and We're Gonna Get Married...and Harried...

Well - the big day is almost here! After a year and a half of patiently waiting - the big, momentous day is finally upon us.

Bella's FINALLY going to be a flower girl on Saturday.

Oh - and while Bella is knocking them dead with her petal flinging abilities - my brother will getting married.

The excitement is palpable at our house. We just got a call that Jack's tux is ready to be picked up. Bella's dress is being pressed as I type. Carrie finished all of the alterations on my dress and it too is sitting at the drycleaner's awaiting a final pressing. Jack practices walking down the aisle holding a pillow every night as Bella coaches from the sidelines: "Too fast! Slow it down! Not THAT slow Jack - you're holding up the wedding! You're like a turtle with rings on its shell. Oh great - now you tripped and the rings have flown off the pillow and are gone and lost forever. Good job." Poor Jack is now SO nervous about this that I think he will need therapy. He now tells anyone who will listen that being a "ring barrier" is a "big wee-sponsibiwity". PC and I finally broke the news that the rings on the pillow are fakes and that Uncle's friend will have the real rings safely tucked away in his tuxedo jacket. This admission, while basically a confession that the job of the ring bearer is a pretty useless one, also lessens the likelihood that this kid will need a Zanex and a shot of Jack to make it up the aisle.

Bella, on the other hand, has absolutely NO DOUBT that SHE will be the absolute STAR of the show. She stole some of my beautiful begonia blossoms from my hanging baskets to "demonstrate" how to be a flower girl to some neighborhood friends over the weekend. Now, not only does Bella get to have a fluffy dress, a TIARRA, have her hair done AND wear LIP GLOSS on Saturday....but she feels an obsessive/compulsive need to tell this to ANY little girl between the ages of - let's say 2 hours old and 121 years of age. It's really bordering on obnoxious. She is actually upstairs as I type, flinging ripped up toilet paper out of her Easter basket while wearing Princess Ariel's wedding gown from our trip to Disney a few years back. She is also singing a lovely little ditty that goes something like this: "Here comes the bride...all dressed in white...she slipped on a turtle and there goes her girdle!" She's calling this grand exercise a "dress rehearsal".

All of this excitement and "preparation" on Bella's part has led PC and I to sit the children down and have a nice "discussion" with them about wedding do's and don'ts. And while I'd like to say that this "chat" was filled with tidbits of wisdom and advice that one would find in an Emily Post Guide to Weddings - I really can't. You see - Emily Post doesn't cover the kind of ground that PC and I find it neccessary to cover with Bella and Jack. For example - Emily Post would never, EVER, list:

"One must not toot or burp out-loud during ANY wedding festivities - including, but not limited to: the Rehearsal Dinner, The Wedding Ceremony, Reception or Brunch the following morning. No one wants to hear how loudly you can fart. No one wants to hear how many times in a row you can pass gas. No one is interested that you can toot on command. If you feel a toot coming - for GOD'S SAKE hold it in until you can get to a bathroom."

...as Rule Number 1. PC and I MUST list that as Rule number 1. Numero Uno - MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF THE DAY. No joke. This offense is punishable by taking the Wii and XBox away for 1 solid month if we both feel that the offensive noise - and accompanying odor- could have been prevented. This rule is aimed at Jack...but I've also put PC on alert that this one covers him too.

Rule number 2 is JUST as important...and it is aimed at Bella:

"There will be NO TOUCHING Auntie once she has her dress on. NO physical contact of ANY KIND will be permitted once that dress in on her body. No hugging, kissing, holding hands, jumping or climbing on Auntie will be permitted. In fact - you must keep a 3 foot wall of personal space between you and Auntie at ALL times once the big, white, fluffy is on - NO EXCEPTIONS." The "No EXCEPTIONS" had to be added because Bella began thinking of all sorts of INSANE scenarios where Auntie would have to be touched. Some of MY personal favorites include:

Auntie spontaneously bursting into flames and Bella being the ONLY person in the room with her who could smother the fire with her bare hands. (I'm crediting this scenario to the Percy Jackson books we've been reading.)

Auntie being kidnapped by ...I kid you not..."BRIDE-NAPPERS" who only want her dress. And Bella being - once again - the ONLY person in the room who could possibly save her - and the gown. (I picture a gaggle of Bridezillas in this scenario all fighting over this amazing gown like on opening day at the Filene's bridal gown sale.)

Auntie fainting on the altar - and Bella, having just earned her first aid Brownie badge - being the ONLY one who would be able to revive her. (Never mind that Auntie's daddy went to med school...)

The door of the limo blows open and Auntie - who forgot to put her seatbelt on, flies out the door and can only be rescued by - you guessed it - Bella - pulling her back into the car using the train of the dress.

And I'm sure that, by Saturday afternoon, there will be a few more scenarios to add to the list.

The other rules we've put in place include:

No fighting. (To which Jack responded - "Then we'd better not talk to each other." I kid you not.)

No silly faces during pictures.

You MUST share Uncle and Auntie - they are NOT getting married to give you two something to do for the day.

NO bunny ears or Loser "L"s at the last minute during pictures.

NO hands down your pants if you get bored. (Mainly for Jack...but PC has to obey that one as well.)

NO COMPLAINING will be tolerated. If your shoes hurt, your dress itches or you are tired- DEAL or we will find other children to fill in for you.

NO eating or drinking anything RED after you are dressed. Bread and water only until all pictures are taken.

No running, jumping, hopping or spinning will be permitted.

No break dancing.

No cartwheeling.

No jumping off of elevated platforms, chairs, stages or - God forbid - the altar.

No CRYING or WHINING allowed.

There will be no Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber of Jo Bros songs played. DO NOT approach the band leader and request any song - of any kind.

The phrase "I just wanna show you something really cool that I can do..." is banned for the weekend

And most importantly : Keep Calm and Carry On

Yes - I do realize that these are a lot of rules for a 6 and 9-year old. However - I KNOW the above mentioned 6 and 9-year-old very, very well. And I know the evil little plans that might be in the works. I'm afriad that I've forgotten to mention something in my rules. PC and I lie in bed at night going over the various disaster scenarios that might occur:

What if Bella wants to "try on" Auntie's veil- or even worse - DRESS - and disater ensues?

What if Bella rips all of the petals off of Auntie's bouquet, thinking that they are for her?

What if Jack rips one off during the vows?

What if one of them throws up???

And on and on...if we keep this up, WE will both need Zanex and a BOTTLE of Jack by Saturday morning.

I also realize that the above cited list of rules makes my children seem like holy terrors. And they're not - they truly are wonderful kids. They are usually very well behaved. They don't generally swing from chandeliers, we can take them out to a nice restaurant and they are both normal, well-adjusted kids. People will occasionally even stop us to tell us how well-behaved they are. They are not destructive in any way.

So why the rules. you ask? Because they're KIDS! Excited, hyper, nervous kids. And that combination, coupled with unfamiliar food, late nights, and copious sugary treats could lead to bad decisions which could lead to unmitigated disaster. And we really don't want any of that. So, we've tried to anticipate what we could anticipate and prevent any preventable mess from occurring. A fool-proof plan? Hahahahahahahahahaha - we've been parents long enough to know that there is no such animal. But what is it they say about a drop of preperation???

And for those of you reading this post and thinking: "Jesus - she's out of her freaking mind. Those POOR kids! She's got them on such a tight leash - they can't have any fun!" ...consider Fifi's advice to me after reading over my list of rules:

"Margs - don't forget this one: If the reception venue has statues of naked people - as many reception venues do - resist the urge to drop your trousers and have your cousin take a picture of your naked bum next to the statue's naked bum. As funny as it might seem at the moment - it is most certainly NOT funny AT ALL."