momlife, parenting, Terrible Twos, The Daddys, The Salties

Salty Tears at Preschool Dropoff

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Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for nearly a year, Cole and Evie have had an emotional goodbye through a chain link fence. It’s like a scene out of some prison movie. They tell each other how much they love each other and are going to miss each other and then I tear Evie away from the gate telling her we’ll see Cole in four hours. Often, I have to carry her writhing body in one arm, while balancing a baby in the other, and haul these girls out to the car. After dealing with this week after week, month after month, Chad and I had to have a serious conversation: Is it time to start Evie in preschool?

We had made bold proclamations and decisions on our plan for Evie’s schooling. I’m a stay at home Mom and she’s just fine here with me. She can wait until she’s 3 like Cole did. We can see if they have a spot open in January and if they don’t she can start the next fall. Two years of preschool will be plenty for her.

But it seemed she was disagreeing with us.

So I asked the Director at Cole’s eternally waitlisted preschool if they happened to have a spot. No rush, anytime really, we’re fine keeping her home as long as we need – oh, what’s that? You already had her on a list because I mentioned it to you once in passing? She can start next month? Yeah, okay, that works too…Suddenly we were launched into preschool prep mode! I bought Evie a lunch bag, did some “Back to School” shopping, grabbed her a water bottle and talked about the impending start of her career as a student. She proudly told everyone, “I go to school with Cole soon!” She was excited. Like really, REALLY, excited. Drop-offs were suddenly much easier, because as they hugged and kissed each other each morning, they’d exchange excited words about how soon Evie would be joining her big brother.

She was excited. I was all the feelings. Normally made of stone, the idea of having two kids in school proved too much for my solid core to handle. I just wasn’t sure I liked this. At all.

Then it was the big day. We got dressed in one of our new outfits. I busted out the chalkboard easel for important stats and pictures and a giant display of “Evie’s first day of preschool!” I took a thousand pictures of the three kids in every possible arrangement – sitting, standing, two sitting – Evie standing prominently, all three sitting together – Cole in the middle, Evie in the middle, Izzie in the middle – you name it, I probably have a picture of it. Evie looked happy and proud – probably a combination of first day excitement and the promise of a lollipop in exchange for endless smiles.

We loaded into the car, drove down to school, hopped out of the car and proudly marched down the hall. Which is about when all hell broke loose. To our complete and utter surprise, our cool, confident, happy-go-lucky, independent daughter freaked the F out. We thought we’d done everything “right” to prepare her! She knows this school, knows the teachers, knows lots of Cole’s friends! Plus the school happens to be on our church’s campus (though not affiliated) so she literally has been in the classrooms since the week she was born! We talked, oh how we talked, about what the first day would entail. And she was sooooo on board. Lest she forgets, this was HER IDEA!

But, as is a woman’s prerogative, she reserves the right to change her mind. And oh did she change it. My husband and I looked back and forth for a minute, telepathically running through our options.

Me: Evie, it’ll be fine. Cole’s right here with you. *Jump in here dude! Tell her it’s fine!!*

Chad: That’s right, Cole’s going to go do circle time, you can sit with him. *She’s screaming! Why is she screaming??*

Me: Honey, honey, honey, calm down, baby. *I don’t KNOW!! We gotta get out of here!*

Chad: *We can’t just LEAVE her like this!*

Me: *Like hell we can’t! She’ll be FINE! Band-Aid! RIP IT!*

Chad: Okay Evie, Mommy and Daddy have to go, you’ll be okay. *You’re a heartless monster*

Me: I’ll be back sooooo soon, you’ll have lots of fun, okay? We love you! *Oh, grow a pair*

Us: Bye sweetie!! We love you!!

I may have been the one to force us to leave, but I thought of my sweet little baby all day, hoping she’d calmed down and found some fun. I picked her up a few short hours later. Before she saw me, I saw her eating and laughing and I knew we had made the right call. She looked up, saw me, ran and jumped in my arms.

When we settled in the car I asked, “What did you do today Evie?” She said, with a big smile on her face, “I did art and crying.” I laughed at her and hugged the heck out of that kid. I said, “Maybe next time we’ll try for just art, huh?” She replied, “Yeah, I liked the art.”

So yes, in the grand tradition of first days of school, there were tears. Lots of tears. Mostly from Evie. But, as terrible as it is to say, the tears were a nice reminder that even though she’s a sassy, independent, stubborn, “I can do it myself” kind of 2 year old, she’s still my two year old baby, that just needs her Mama once in a while.

 

Salty tears.png
Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, Why We're Salty

Day to Day Operations

I run this house.

This isn’t a bold statement, it’s just really honest. My husband participates, he helps whenever I ask, he fills in where and when necessary. He thinks that he’s super vital in the day to day ops, but the real truth of the matter is that he changes the kitty litter and pays the bills. Of course there’s much more than that as far as his overall role in our lives. We love him dearly, he’s a great Dad, and I don’t say any of this to diminish his status around here. It’s not meant to be as harsh as it comes off.

Basically he’s a moderately hands off CEO that rolls up his sleeves when his employees are really in the weeds.

Until the weekend hits. Or he’s on vacation. Then he’s like the guy that buys the company and starts to make all kinds of changes before he asks any questions. He doesn’t know how things work, but that doesn’t mean he won’t give you all his GREAT ideas of how to make things better.

I didn’t realize Chad was this kind of Dad until recently when a few conversations made me realize he just doesn’t understand how things get done around here. A few weeks ago he suggested that we change breads:

Chad: That bread Joy had the other day was really good! We should start using that!

Me: Yeah, it was. I checked though and it’s like twice as much as the bread we buy….

Chad: Well that’s no big deal. What do we use? Like a loaf every few weeks?

Me: Uh, no bro. We use two loaves. A week. Every week.

Sure, it’s just bread, but did he really not notice that I make at least three people toast every morning? And a sandwich for our son to take to school three days a week? And I can’t blame him for not knowing how often Evie and I eat sandwiches for lunch during the week while he’s off eating Chipotle or something glamorous. But a loaf every three weeks?? At this my radar went up that he was REALLY out of the loop.

Then on the drive home from vacation:

Chad: What should we do for dinner tonight?

Me: I probably have something in the freezer I could throw together.

Chad: Awesome. And like a salad?

Me: Well, I’d have to run to the store real quick, but that’s doable.

Chad: Oh, we don’t already have salad stuff?

Me: I mean, we’ve been out of town for a week. I don’t usually stock the house with fresh produce before we go out of town.

Poor kid was incredibly disappointed. Because he really was thinking there would be fruits and vegetables and a bounty of salad awaiting him when we arrived home. Like, does he not know how grocery stores work? Or the shelf-life of lettuce? I swear it was only a few years ago that he was living on his own, responsible for his own groceries, but apparently that info in his brain also has a short shelf-life!

Then one day I realized I needed to harness this lack of household intelligence…

Chad: *checking spending on Mint* Hey, big trip to Target today, huh?

Me: Dude, we needed a lot of diapers…

Chad: Like $167 worth of diapers?

Me: Well I needed regular diapers for Evie and Izzie, and Pull-Ups for Evie cause she’s going to need a lot when potty training at school and [his eyes start to glaze over] and then I needed swim diapers for the girls, we’ve been swimming SO much that we’re burning through those and…

Chad: Got it. Diapers.

Did I spend $167 on diapers? No, I did not. But he has no clue how much diapers actually cost. Or bread. Or how produce works. Or basically anything about our day to day operations. And if it drives me crazy all the other times, I might as well get to cash in once in a while.

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Mama Mojo, Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

Book Review: Baby Proofing Your Marriage

Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of Salty Mama Book Reviews! We hope you’ll join us in The Salty Mamas Book Club – read with us, join us in discussions on Facebook, and check out our reviews!

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There are two things you should know before you add “Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less and Communicate Better As Your Family Grows” to your “to-read” list.

The first is that you must either a) read this book in total secret or b) be ready for anyone and everyone to ask if you and your partner are doing okay. I’m a big fan of carrying a book EVERYWHERE. Which means that inevitably I leave books all over the place. Which leads to everything from sad looks from strangers or concerned questions from close friends and family when you read a book that implies that the baby in your belly is going to destroy your marriage. So just be prepared.

The second is something a very good friend gave me a loving heads up about, and I am now paying that forward to you, dear reader.

There is no delicate way to put this, so I’m not going to dance around the issue.

This book is going to tell you to do certain acts. Oral acts. A MAJOR takeaway from this book is that these loving services may very well save your marriage. So be prepared.

That stuff aside, there’s a LOT of awesome information in this book, so even if you think “are you kidding me? I made him dinner and am raising his kids and am up to my elbows in spit up and poop and now I’m supposed to do what???,” just trust me for a solid second and give it a try. The book. And probably that-which-shall-not-be-named, but the book for sure.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto the review!

Gut reaction: LOVED IT.

There were some MAJOR takeaways that I implemented darn near immediately. One of the first things I realized was that I’m HARD on my husband. On a daily basis, I don’t think I am. I think he has it easy. Heck, I generously give him TONS of advice on what to do and how to do it! How loving is that?? Unfortunately, I learned recently that he just think this makes me a control freak! And guess what? It makes it not super fun for him to do things with the kids! Fun fact: Men do not like to do things when they are set up for failure. Now, I try to empower him and set him up for success. In some cases have I lowered the bar for him? Sure have! But it gives him a chance to fly over it. To gain confidence. And the positive reinforcement makes him WANT to do more with the kids. Win – freaking – win!!!

The other thing that I now preach to everyone I can find is to GO OUT OF TOWN AND LEAVE THE KIDS WITH YOUR PARTNER. Whenever I first suggest this to someone, I always get a response that’s some version of, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Why? “Well he doesn’t know what she eats.” “My kids are REALLY busy and it’s just a lot to take care of.” “He’s never been alone with both kids for more than a couple hours.” “We have a unique situation because my kids are [fill in the blank].” Well guess what? Lots of people have kids that are really busy. And we ALL have unique situations. But if you don’t give him the chance he will never know what she eats, he’ll never be alone with the kids, and by God he will NEVER understand what you do each and every single day until he gets the opportunity to live your life. Not for a few hours, not for a day, you’ve got to go out of town for a solid two nights to let the reality really sink in.

Lest you think I don’t practice what I preach, after reading this book, I booked a three day cruise with my girlfriends. Yes a cruise. I couldn’t turn around, come home early – shit, I didn’t even have cell phone reception. I left my husband with three kids. Cole was 3 years, 9 months. Evie was 2 years, 3 months. Izzie was 5 months old. And had never taken a bottle, no matter how hard we tried. And yes, I left them all. Here you go, take a minute to be appalled at how heartless I am, I can handle it.

Done? Okay, moving on…

Guess what? He handled his SHIT! He kept the two older kids fed, entertained, alive. He got the baby to take a bottle. He did all the carseat buckles and got clothes on the kids and kept them in clean diapers the whole weekend. Did I think he could? Eh, I was pretty skeptical to be completely honest. Did he think he could? He was a healthy blend of overly confident and naïve enough to have no idea what he was getting himself info. But the end result was that he stepped up, took care of the kids, and best of all, had an opportunity to bond with the kids that was never available to him with me always hanging out in the wings.  And I knew he could do it, which is such an amazing feeling to have.

Now, I know I said I wouldn’t bring up you-know-what (and yes, I’ve equated this act with Voldemort a few times, so sue me) but I feel like I need to clarify something before y’all write me off as someone who turned in their feminist card, put on an apron and bowed down to serve my husband. THAT is not what the book is endorsing. At the end of the day, you need to find what makes your husband feel loved. Feel appreciated. Feel special. That-which-shall-not-be-named is generally a safe catch-all way to show your partner appreciation. But that might not be your Boo’s favorite way to be appreciated. That might not be on your menu. That’s FINE. But find what is, and do that. A lot.

These are just a few of the nuggets of advice that I swear I couldn’t live without. And in case you’re thinking, eh, our kids are older and my partner and I are doing just fine, I’d STILL say to read this book. I finally got around to reading it when we were gearing up for Baby #3. It’s like a textbook in my house. I am forever flipping back through it to find a helpful hint, tip, or piece of advice.

I can honestly say that my marriage truly is better because of this book. And that is worth every single penny.

Grab your copy here! We’d love to hear what you think 🙂

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Next month we’ll be reading/reviewing “It’s Okay Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.” We hope you’ll get a copy and join The Salty Mamas Bookclub!!

Book Club
momlife, Salty Mama Lists, The Daddys, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Texts You Should Never Have to Send

oatmeal cookies

The Salty Mamas send each other a LOT of texts, because we value our sanity and sometimes you just HAVE to share your day with someone else that’s in the trenches. Then at some point you need to go look for something and when you see it all together like that you think, “Dear God, my life is a shit show! Literally!”

But the best way to feel better about the weird stuff you’re texting about is to send it out there in the world and see what comes back to you. (Or at least that’s what we’re hoping…) So here, dear friends, are our 25 Texts You Should Never Have to Send from July. Please make us feel better by adding yours.

  1. Best case scenario it’s food poisoning
  2. There’s a pursuit headed your way!
  3. No vomit yet, but the day is still young. I’ll keep you posted.
  4. Are we still friends or is it all over?
  5. URGENT: Corny (the stuffed corn) has gone missing. Do you know where it is??? This might be a matter of life and death.
  6. I’m listing my mom as my life partner on my membership.
  7. Eff. Oh, EFF. We can pay the extra $150 if we have to.
  8. She hasn’t had the firmest of poops…
  9. I almost dropped Abram putting him in the Ergo. People legit screamed. Out loud. I am the shame of Pretend City.
  10. Dude, your baby has the leakiest butt.
  11. Hey, so I’m getting a red light camera ticket.
  12. We took a ride on the hot mess express today. Keep your expectations for this evening low.
  13. Guess which of your children had a massive blowout. You’ll be wrong.
  14. She’s watching TV half naked, surround by books, eating stolen sugar.
  15. My son stole food from a homeless person today, so I’m pretty sure you’re a better Mom than me.
  16. Sorry, typing slow. Booger fingers.
  17. There’s a bird in our yard that sounds like bells jingling and I’m gonna murder it.
  18. He came home with a man cold. FML.
  19. He was like, “Why am I peeing out of my butt????”
  20. We survived. Ish.
  21. It’s better than a brain tumor, which is what Google told me it was.
  22. Jk regarding naps. Everyone suddenly awake. Three hours to go 😭
  23. I just drove through McDonald’s with my boob out.
  24. How many times do you think your kid has to throw up at Souplantation before you’re banned?
  25. We are COMPLETELY out of coffee.

I definitely hope I don’t have to send any of those again. Now it’s your turn! GO!

momlife, parenting, The Daddys, They Said WHAT?, Why We're Salty

No, Husband, I Did Not Poop in the Tub

My husband comes out of the bathroom, fresh from a shower, still with dripping wet hair, and looks at me with utter disdain.

“Babe. Did you seriously poop in the shower?”

I mean, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to respond to this, because clearly, I did not. Like, I’m not sure how to even justify this with an answer. We live with a four year old and a one year old. How, of all the Torrezes, is the 31 year old devoted wife and mother nominated as Most Likely to Poop in the Shower?!?
Me: “No! I didn’t poop in the shower!”

Mike: “Well you were the last one in there, and there was a little poop nugget in the drain”

Me: “WHY WOULD I EVER EVEN DO THAT?!?”

Mike: “I don’t know, why do you do anything you do?”
Me: Head explodes.

As EVERYONE ELSE BUT MY HUSBAND has probably already figured out, a few hours earlier, our one year old did, in fact, poop in the tub. Because that’s kind of a thing for Torrez babies, apparently. And I did my best to clean it up, evacuating both kids from the tub, scooping up the poop (well, most of it anyways I guess), and spraying the whole thing down with Lysol. And I did all this without even sending out a Spousal SOS, for which I probably deserve some kind of medal. At the least, gratitude. But certainly not accusations of some form of shit-related vandalism.

And that got me to thinking about some other “reminders” my husband has given me.

Me: Oh shoot, I just threw out some balsamic vinegar this morning and now I need it for this recipe.

Mike: Don’t dig it out of there, it’s too late.

Me: …

Like, obviously, hon. I’m not gonna use trash-vinegar on this salad I was planning to serve to company. CLEARLY.

 

My Husband: Standing Next to My Child, who is sitting precariously in a bike seat attached to a grown-up-sized bike, “You’ve got to watch him when he’s in there, Jaymes. You can’t walk away and just leave him in there.”

WELL YEAH I KNOW, BOO. I didn’t intend to leave my wibbly, wobbly one year old strapped into a fifty-pound piece of metal by himself. Who do you think I am?!?

The baby’s graham cracker falls in the dog’s water bowl.

My Husband: “Don’t give that back to him.”

Good idea, buddy! Thank God you said that, cause I was just about to hand this soggy, dog-water cracker back to our precious fifteen month old. I mean, if it was an apple slice or something I would, but a graham cracker?? Just think of what a mess he would make with it.

On second thought, maybe I get why he thinks I need this kind of advice now. But pooping in the shower?? That just goes too far.

Tub

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koefoe party of 5, momlife, The Daddys, Traditions

For the Love of Being Right

Things you should know about me:

  • I LOVE to be right.
  • I HATE to be wrong.

I know, most of us do, but I’m brave enough to admit that I can be kind of, well, obnoxious about it. I’m also incredibly stubborn. I know, it’s an incredibly attractive combination ain’t it? But I try, oh how I try, to not say, “I told you so.” Especially often. Especially to my husband. Lucky for me, said husband is also phenomenally stubborn, so we’re really two peas in a pod. He also is one of those delightful people that has to learn things the hard way. There is no amount of talking that will convince him that his way is not the right way.

So while I fretted about our trip to the cabin for weeks, he quickly dismissed my concerns, telling me not to worry about it. We were going with some of his family, and the quarters are somewhat cramped. I asked him repeatedly to make a couple calls to find out what the sleeping arrangements were. I do better being able to visualize where I’m going to sleep, where my kids are going to sleep, and depending on their proximity to me, how much alcohol to bring to survive.

Kidding.

Sort of.

He said we’d figure it out when we got there and it wouldn’t be a big deal. I took a deep breath, and chose to trust him.

I was worried about my husband’s expectations for the week…he wanted to take Cole fishing. He wanted us to go on a family hike to the Wishbone tree – a 45 minute hike each way. He wanted us to stay up and cook s’mores and share his love of the great outdoors with our kids. I worried about the record breaking river levels and it’s speed. I hate hiking and was skeptical our 2 and 4 year olds would be up for the trek. I warned that if we let them go too many days without a nap and staying up late they’d turn into actual literal monsters. They may grow horns and extra eyes, I don’t know, I just know that it’s not advised to try.

He thought I was just being negative.

He grew up at the cabin. He knew what he was doing. I’d see.

Now this is where you have to decide, dear reader: Which of us stubborn ass people won the day and got to be right?

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Have I built up enough suspense??

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer…..

ME!

That’s right. Me. This is NOT one of those posts where I realize that my kids are lovely, that my husband is capable and thoughtful, that I just need to take the road less traveled and be brave and bend the rules and not be such a rigid, negative, naggy B of a wife.

No, this is a post where the moral of the story is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

Because here’s what happened our first night: The baby was asleep, a minor miracle with all the excitement of a new place, the kids were just finishing up a movie, their beds set up, and we had almost made it to bedtime. And then it happened. My husband’s Aunt and a carful of teenagers pulled up. They came in the house, guns of excitement blazing, woke up the baby, amped up the other kids and killed any chance my husband had of being right.

We had arrived first and taken the “Master” room, as it was the largest room and we, the largest family. But apparently that room wasn’t to stay ours for long and we had to cede it to the Aunt who basically complained until we gave up. So then we had to move the beds – the ones we had set up for all three of our kids, shown to them, explained how this was the place they’d be sleeping, etc. – to the other, much smaller, room. The teenagers were to sleep up the ladder in the attic. A ladder that the teens had to go up and down one hundred thousand times in the first seven minutes of being there. A ladder that is VERY enticing to 2 and 4 year olds. 2 and 4 year olds that are supposed to be going to sleep even. Especially?

Three hours later, we had the baby back down and the other 2 were wavering between complete and total exhaustion and an undeniable desire to be outside around the campfire with their cousins. A delightful combination let me assure you.

The first morning went a little better…because pancakes are generally a uniting force no matter your age or how much sleep you got the night before.

And then we went on Daddy’s hike of his dreams. We slathered on sunscreen and deet, I put the baby in her carrier and we put the 2 year old in the hiking backpack. Off we went! And everyone LOVED it. For four minutes. We got hot, but we trudged on. The kids got heavy, but we trudged on. We got hungry and THIRSTY, but we trudged on. And then we found a GOD DAMNED ROTTING MOUNTAIN LION CARCASS. We did not trudge on. Cole burst into tears, and stubborn Daddy started to crack realizing this whole thing was a terrible mistake. I may have never loved him more than when he latched onto the giant dead animal on the trail as an excuse to turn around and head back.

As we walked back Daddy said, “Well, you’re a trooper.”

“And?”

“And this has been kind of a mess.”

“And?”

“And it’s been a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

“And? Come on…give it to me…..”

“And you were right.”

“Thank you!!!”

God, I love to be right. But sometimes I really wish we didn’t have to live out all the wrong to get to the right…

momlife, parenting, The Daddys, Traditions

Divide and Conquer

Ahh. It’s the weekend. Everybody’s home, there are activities galore, and it’s time for a well-deserved respite from the day-to-day.  The kids feel the difference in the air, and they start putting in requests. After all, there are no limits today- you want a popsicle? Sure. 76 hours of Peppa Pig? No problem.  You want to ride your bike allll the way to park? Do. Your. Thing.

But… first you’re gonna have to let mom and dad do a little logisticking. Cause we got stuff to do, too.

I’m not sure this is a popular thing to say, but around here our weekends are not necessarily for togetherness. I mean, it creeps in plenty.  There are meals together, and trips to the park. But for us, that’s not the point of the weekend. The weekend is for getting stuff done, and everyone getting a chance to do what they want to do. We divide, and we conquer.

At our house, weekends mean that it’s time for the grown-ups to have their dreams come true, too.  You want to binge watch Netflix? Let’s make it happen.  Mama wants to sit at Starbucks for an hour ALL BY HERSELF? Go for it! The cars need washed/you have to go clothes shopping/you have to do any task that sucks when the kids are along for the ride? Oh, it’s going down.

Which is why, right this minute, I am writing this from the lobby of a McDonald’s fine dining establishment, enjoying a Diet Coke and French fries, both the size of my head, and both deliciously, gloriously, mine-all-mine. There are no children poking me, I’ve got my creative pursuits spread out across a booth that belongs just to me, and I am getting the full use of their free wifi on all three of my devices, which no one is begging to use to watch toy videos. It’s not always McDonalds, and it’s not always just quiet time. Mostly, it’s just my chance to get out of the house, do some grown-up stuff, and pursue my own interests for a minute. And if you think about it, an hour and a half a week is definitely not too much to ask. So why shouldn’t we be focused on making it happen? And this quality time with little old me is just one piece of the pie.

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Maybe later today I’ll take the kids to the gym for an hour or two so he can watch his movie,  and tomorrow he’ll take the kids while I duck out for a quick haircut. I’ll take my turn with the kids and so will he, and together we’ll engage in a delicate dance where the kids get fun time with each parent, without them even knowing that the other one is getting a much deserved break.  So we spend a little time apart, and when we get back together, we are refreshed and rejuvenated. We are ready to change the diapers, and read the same book 74 times, and push the kids on the swings for a hundred years, and make three complete dinners because little miss decided that tonight she is EXTRA hungry.

But none of that is gonna happen yet. Right now I’m gonna put on my headphones, drink a few Diet Cokes, and bust out the blogs I’ve been trying to get finished since last Wednesday. I’ll read a few chapters of the RBG book I’ve been wanting to get through, spend a few minutes catching up on texts and Facebook messages, and then I’ll close up shop and head home to my family, where, if I’m being honest, I’m gonna be much less grouchy and a lot more relaxed than I was a few hours ago. I’ll probably get a warm welcome, like I’m a soldier returning from battle, instead of someone who spent just shy of 90 minutes in a fast food joint. There will hopefully be a few hugs and kisses, and then we’ll leash up the dog and head out en masse to go conquer the park. And this time, we’ll be ready to take that one on, together.

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momlife, parenting, The Daddys

The DaddyQ

This summer, we will all gather for birthday parties, holidays, beach days, pool parties, cookouts and campouts. And at every single one of them, a version of this will occur:

A cluster of women will be standing in a circle near a cluster of men. One of the women will bemoan the fact that her husband NEVER cooks. Said husband, from his conveniently adjacent location will hear these words like a homing call, turn around, address the women and proclaim, “Hey, that’s not fair! I barbeque!” This will be followed by a collective eye roll from the women. The wife, if she’s smart, will just say, “That’s right dear” so everyone can go back to having a good time.

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But lets be clear.

The men do not DO the barbeque. Here is what a barbeque ACTUALLY entails.

Step one: Plan for the barbeque.

You may have a conversation with your partner about WHAT actual meat will be grilled. If you’ve got one of the fancy ones, he may even offer to toss on some sort of vegetable. At this point, you will be required to select all the side dishes, get recipes, go to the store and buy everything. You will also be required to make sure this stays within the family grocery budget.

Step Two: Prep EVERYTHING. 

Marinate the meat, chop the vegetables, cook the pasta for that homemade pasta salad he loves and suggested you make (even though you had your eye on that premade stuff from the deli), wash and cut up fruit, bake something delicious for dessert, basically, you know DO the entire meal. Oh, and see all those dishes you just used? Well, just a quick reminder….they’re not going to wash themselves. Yeah, that’s probably on you too.

To be fair, the men are not COMPLETELY exempt from this step. During this incredibly important phase, your partner will walk over, and turn on the grill. It’s not to be missed and is crucial. It’s basically on par with all that other stuff you just did. He also grabbed a beer while he was doing it, so don’t say he can’t multitask!

Step three: BARBEQUE!

Here, it is, his BIG moment!19858447_10213897670822251_73273742_n

But you should probably help just a little. Help him find his tools real quick. Then when he’s ready, bring him the meat you marinated. Don’t forget to run back in and get him a NEW platter for the cooked meat. Wash the one with the marinade when you get a sec, okay? Don’t want stuff piling up!

While he’s doing this, it’s a good time for you to finish all the other items. Toss salads, make sure everything has a serving spoon, are the plates and utensils ready, refresh people’s drinks – oh shit I forgot to put out the chips and salsa before! – do that, check on husband, maybe grab him another beer – now is NOT the time for multitasking, honey! – the meat has to be flipped at the PRECISE moment!

19679873_10213897670062232_1199026602_nOnce it is, he’ll set it on the tray (the one you brought him) and stand proudly, tongs in one hand, beer in the other and survey all that “he” has done.

Don’t ruin that moment for him.

Step four: Enjoy

He did it! He barbequed!!!!

Everyone will tell him how DELICIOUS the meat was, perfectly seasoned, cooked to perfection. The corn salad that took eleventy years to chop is great too, of course. It just doesn’t get the same acclaim as MEAT. But at this point you’re too exhausted to care. Instead, you grab a margarita, kick back and forget about all those dishes.

Later, once the friends are gone, but the buzz remains he’ll say, “that was a great barbeque, we should do it more often.” You’ll nod, because it was nice. And now you can say, “but honey, you didn’t barbeque. You did a daddyque.”