8 Reasons Kids Need to Have a Lemonade Stand

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My kids are not some super-savvy, genius kiddos that dream up business plans during nap time.  Any parent that lays claim to their kid being a budding entrepreneur since baby-dom is a fucking liar.  Your kids don’t come out of the womb wanting to work.  Their minds aren’t in making money mode.  Kids that age can’t even wipe their own asses.  Pah-lease.

Kids are mostly selfish little assholes.  They’re swayed and inspired by their parent’s suggestions. Your kid didn’t just think up a multi-million dollar design, or operation, or mission to save llamas.

I’m not gonna dumb-down my kids – but it was I who suggested the lemonade stand idea one early pre-summer morning.  It was selfish really.  I wanted to fill my own cup.  My thirst for nostalgia.

We’re all so desperate to recreate those 1970’s summers of our youth.  Everyone wants that old school feeling back.  No structured sports, no pizazzed playdates doing Pinterest crafts, no ridiculous recreation that requires an Excel spreadsheet.

Here are 8 reasons your kids need to have a lemonade stand.

Marketing.  How to market and sales pitch.  How to entice, but not be pushy.  The art of selling.

“Lemonade! Lemonade!”

“If you don’t have money, that’s OKAAAAAYYYY!!”

That was my 5-year old’s big selling pitch.  She belted it out to any runner, dog walker, graduation party-guest, garage-sale attendee.  Anyone within 100 feet from the driveway, she hollered at – beckoning for their business.

It’s probably the best pitch on the planet.

“If you don’t have money, that’s okay.”  


Gets ‘em every time.

Because once people heard that, they stopped, walked over, got some lemonade, and left triple the amount we were charging for a cup of lemonade.

Which leads me to…..

Economics: counting money, profit, loss.

My kids charged 25 cents a cup.

But, because we told potential customers they could have it for free if they wanted – we tripled our profits.  People were leaving 5 spots in the jar, for a 25-cent cup of lemonade.

My kids knew that $5 was too much for the cup – and asked if the person wanted change.

Admittedly, we didn’t make a whole lotta change, because people were just happy to give (the proceeds were slated for charity).

Culinary Skills
The ingredients for a successful lemonade – don’t have to be organic, shmorganic, non GMO, whatever the hell, health-kick nonsense.

Good ‘ol chemical crap in powder form creates culinary magic.  I saved some to make a mommy cocktail, I should know.

Okay, okay, now that your mouth is watering with thoughts of a refreshing cocktail, let’s get back to the virgin version.

You grab your chemical concoction - throw in a few a freshly cut lemons, add some ice, and pour into a plastic pitcher.  Voila!

There’s your recipe folks.

Hard Work

We built our stand out of cardboard boxes.  We didn't order those fancy shmancy, assembly-required bonified booths from some outrageous online store (but I can't lie, those things are fucking cute).  We decorated our own boxes.  The kids went to town with Sharpies.  They drew some pictures, “25 cents” in big letters and wrote their names.

We set a mason jar of freshly cut Peonies and Hydrangeas from the backyard, on top of the cardboard boxes.  It's all about the decor, amiright?

We served frosted, sugar cookies on the side.

They woman-ed the stand all day long. They learned what it was like to have a busy business day, and a slow business day.

We had a full-blown operation.

Beyond the beverages – I wanted them to bond with the experience and their neighbors.


My kids learned importance of building relationships with their neighbors, their customers and the community at large.  Even if someone didn’t buy a cup of lemonade – it was an opportunity to talk to others and really get to know them.

Confidence – to your brand, be proud of your product and talk to people about it.

I wanted my kids to feel the same joys I had selling lemonade to strangers and neighbors.  As a kid, you feel special when someone buys your lemonade.  You feel accomplished and confident when someone gives you money, for something you worked hard on.  It’s the same in our adult jobs.  In all, being confident in your work, and seeing the payoffs are rewarding.

Customer Service

We asked our customers if they liked ice in their lemonade.  If they’d like a cookie on the side.  We didn’t have too many special requests  - light on the ice, or no frosting – or returns - but if we did – it would’ve been an opportunity to teach customer service.


My kids, didn’t once, consider keeping the money for themselves.  I totally thought they were gonna ask to take their lemonade bucks and go ape-shit at the local arcade.  But they didn’t.

I’m not saying my kids are philanthropic.

They’re selfish little a-holes.

However, I do think they understand that their parents have money, their needs are met, and they don’t have a use for money of their own right now.

I mentioned, “Maybe we oughta give the money to kids that don’t have that many toys?”

“Or a church?”

“A homeless shelter?”

We batted around a few charitable options.  We decided to give the money to the burn unit of children’s hospital in my hometown.

I tried explaining that the money was going to sick kids who have to stay in the hospital.  They’ve never seen child that exhibits physically sick characteristics externally, so I’m unsure if my children even understand the concept of where their contribution is going.

We’re going to donate the money in person at the hospital – which I am so grateful for.  I don’t want the recognition.  But, I do want my kids to see where their donation goes just a little bit, and feel the joy and gratitude from people when you give.

When charitable giving is at the heart of your brand, customers recognize this – and become loyal for life.

Have you set up a lemonade stand with your kids?  Challenges?  What was your lemonade stand like as a kid?

Share in the comments section below.

Or tell me on my Facebook page, or TWEET me.

8 Things Multi-Ethnic Moms Want You to Know About Their Multi-Ethnic Families

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I remember telling my girls that they were Persian, and thinking there would be some type of AAAAAaaaaaa (Angles singing acapella from above) moment.

More like AAhhhhAaaaaaa…..aaaa..auuuuu…..ughhhh.

Not so much.

I told my 5-year old she was Persian – and immediately, she vehemently denounced it.

“I’m not Persian!!!!!”

Over and over again.

She proclaimed – “I’m not Persian!”

Each time she shunned her selfdom, my husband got angry.
His face showed surprise, disappointment.  He was hurt.
My kids were denouncing his blood.  His traditions.  His identity.

And while, I try not to over-analyze the situation – was my older daughter trying to separate herself?  Was she renouncing her Persian-ness because she thought being “brown,” or speaking a different language other than English, or identifying with anything other than white, would be detrimental to her social status?

Was being Persian uncomfortable for her?  Had we not done enough to familiarize her with Persian traditions and culture?  Was having a foreign family, foreign to her?

My husband’s family very much honors the Persian culture and traditions.  They speak the language – a big “one-up” on my heritage.  Unlike me, my husband is first generation Persian, his family speaks Farsi and they pretty much bring rice and saffron to every family event.  Births, surgeries, beach vacations, hotel stays…the rice cooker travels folks.

I’m Italian and Polish – so meatballs, red wine, The Godfather and perogies are as common in America as a hamburger.

We celebrate several cultural events and holidays. We don’t renounce one, over the other.  We don’t think one event is more important than another event.  They all hold equal and significant meaning to us.  We are both very much proud of our ethnicities, while still very much relating to being American.  We’re proud to be raising, American, Persian, Italian, Polish (Southern, by geographical designation) children.

We may have one child that has a different skin tone than the other.  The older child is shades darker than the younger one.

My kids are not technically multiracial (although racial constructs are questionnable and the lines between multi-ethnic and multi-racial is often blurred).

I don't think my family totally identifies with "white" and the "white experience"....whatever that is.

Especially when their skin is more of a brown tone (not mine, I'm as fair as it gets).

Two languages, Farsi and English, have been spoken to our kids consistently since birth.  Although, we don't speak Farsi in our house - because I don't speak it.

While some aspects of our ethnicity can be confusing, and hard to merge, we certainly enjoy being a mixed-ethnic family.

Here are 8 Things Multi-Ethnic Mamas Want you to Know About Their Multi-Ethnic Families:

1. “What are you?” is a great question, and you are totally allowed to ask us.  We enjoy telling you about our mixed and blended heritage – and hope that you better understand us as individuals.

2. Don’t be colorblind.  We all are indeed, different colors.  Celebrating our uniqueness is what’s great.  Not seeing our uniqueness is more damaging.

3. Don’t assume my religion based upon my ethnicity.  Just because my husband is Persian – that doesn’t mean he’s Muslim.  Just because I’m Italian, that doesn’t mean we’re Catholic.

4. We don’t conform to stereotypes.  My husband doesn’t try to control me and make we wear a veil, and I don’t like tomatoes.  You ever met an Italian that didn’t like a pomodori?  Well, now you have.

5. Not all siblings have the same skin tones. My sister looks nothing like me.  She’s dark, with dark hair.  I’m fairer skinned with light brown hair.  We have the same biological parents.

6. Our ethnicities don’t make up a pie graph.  We don’t identify through fractions.  We identify through customs and language and experience.  We don’t divvy up how we define ourselves using numbers.

7. Ethnic jokes are off-limits. Don’t think you can make an ethnic joke in my presence.  It’s disgusting all around.  Don’t do it – and definitely don’t do it in front of my kids.  Double don’t – racial jokes (and sexist jokes).

8. We’re as American as you are.  We love the nations and countries where our families and ancestors are from.  However, we also love the country that we live in.  We may talk longingly and yearningly about the nations our families are from – but that doesn’t mean we’re not grateful for being American – and that we don’t love living in America.

Do you have a multi-ethnic family?  How do your kids perceive their ethnicities?  Challenges?  Positive experiences?

Share in the comments section below.

Or tell me on my Facebook page, or TWEET me.

Reader Claims I Have "Momface"

Monday, June 15, 2015

One time, I got accused of “momface.”

I pissed off one of my readers, and she accused me of not really being a mom.

It was my first hateful “fan.”  She was a new reader of my blog and she blasted me for a controversial essay I posted about kids and allergies.

I’m not gonna lie – it was inflammatory.  I have a very unpopular opinion about kids and allergies.  But, I hold steadfast and say, it’s my opinion.  No one has to share it.  I don’t want my character to be attacked because of my beliefs.  I say what I mean, and I try hard, to never say it mean.

I write from experience and research – and I would never dream of writing or voicing an opinion about a topic that I haven’t thoroughly researched.

I’m a former journalist after all.  I’ve been trained and groomed to seek truth at all costs.  And to a certain extent I totally understand that we all have our own “truths” and realities.

I’m blunt, but not bitchy.  I have opinions on a wide variety of topics.  I put them out there.  I expect a certain amount of heated disagreement.  I love lively discourse.

I received the hate mail - via Facebook.  I read it, and realized, this reader was out for blood.

She hit me with jabs like bullets.  It went something like this….

I was indeed “Missguided” as my moniker suggested.

I was “stupid” and a “bad writer.”

When I suggested she stop reading my material if it angered her to the point that she character attacked me – she replied – “You’re probably not even a mom, you’re probably lying and making it all up.”

That’s when I lost it.  Is she fucking crazy?

Would I seriously, start a blog three years ago, and chronicle my craziness with kids, if it were fake?  Would I really try to make money off being a make believe mommy? Who would actually do that?  Who would put on a “momface” – and try to represent and be a voice for all moms – who wasn’t actually a mom?

Maybe Rachel Dolezal would.  She might put on any face – most recently a blackface.

Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup that white performers used to represent a black person. Instead of actually hiring a black person for the part.

It baffles me that blackface was a common theatrical practice.  How could a person who isn’t black, properly portray a black part in theatre, and do the play justice?  Furthermore, it’s just morally and ethically fucked up.

And let me be clear - I'm all about Transgender, Transracial, Trans-whatever the fuck you wanna be.  But, own your trans-ness.  Just like Caitlyn Jenner.  Don't flat out fucking lie about it.

I couldn’t wear a “momface,” with mom jeans, and puked on mom clothes, and ratty, unwashed mom hair if I wasn’t a mom.  I mean I could – but that’d be a slap in the face to real moms.  Because at the end of the day, moms can’t take their kids off.  They can’t shed being a mom.  They can’t shed their stretch marks, their un-washed hair, their puked on clothes, their disaster house, their forever-changed brain.

No, being a mom isn’t something you can turn on or off.  You’re a mom, even when you’re not physically with your kids.

There is no fucking way on the planet, that anyone who is not a mother, could understand my experience, my struggle, my reality as a mother.

Yes, there are certain, great people in my life – who can sympathize with my situation.  But, never, ever could they empathize.

They haven’t cared 24/7 for another human being.  They haven’t had to consider kids with every single decision they make (including when the right time to go the bathroom is, or take a shower). They haven’t been demeaned by society (hello, mothers are the only ones shown pushing a vacuum in commercials…still).  They haven’t been discriminated against in the workforce as a mother.  They don’t know my struggle.

I can write about the struggle of black mothers and black kids all day long.  But I am writing as a WHITE WOMAN.  My sympathy is there – I relate on some level, because being a woman automatically puts me in a minority and commonly discriminated group.  And, I am a mother.

However, I’m white.  I could research and study my ass off about the black experience, about black mothers and their children and their families.  But I could never feel the same struggle and experience and realities that they do.

To claim color blindness is ignorance.

Yes, when speaking of humanity – there is one race.

But, when speaking of individuality – there are several races, religions, ethnicities, sexes, genders, etc to celebrate, and recognize the differences.

Would you count me as credible if I told you, I am a mom blogger who is not a mother?  No you wouldn’t.  And you shouldn’t.

It’d be like that person who doesn’t have kids – giving you parental advice.  They tell you how to raise your kid - yet they've never actually raised a kid - and you want to punch them square in the throat.

Rachel Dolezal put on a weave and darkened her skin and posed as a black woman.  She held a leadership position in the NAACP and academic position educating the population on African American studies.

She represented the black community publicly and vocally.

Genetically and biologically Dolezal is white.  And while, one could argue that she understands the black experience because she has “posed” black publicly.  She outwardly presented herself as black – so I imagine, with that, comes a shred of understanding of a day in the life of an African American.  Just like, donning a fat suit, and walking around on the street – will help you understand the “fat” experience.

 But, this is where Rachel Dolezal is most certainly not black….

She had the white experience of her childhood.  She can take out her weave any day of the week.  She can rub away her tan.  She can escape her perceived blackness and be white again.  No amount of weaves and spray tan can bank a black experience.

Just as a person donning a fat suit for a day – can take it off – and be thin again.  A person truly struggling with weight, has to struggle with it all day, every day, in their sleep and in their dreams.

So is Rachel Dolezal less credible? You're damn right she's lost her credibility.  No one is saying she isn’t knowledgeable about African American studies.  No one is saying she’s not a hard worker, or that she’s a bad leader.

I’m saying she sucks at being real.

She could’ve been awesome in her own skin.  She could’ve accomplished greatness, in her whiteness.  She should’ve stopped trying to lead and accomplish through her blackface.  She should’ve lead with her real face.

Just as a rightly write, through my momface.

What do you think?  Does posing as anything make the poser less credible?

Share in the comments section below.

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Granny Hair....DO Care

Monday, June 8, 2015

I’ve gone gray.

I don’t have the kind of gray all the teenagers and fashionistas of the world are buying in a box from the local beauty supply store.

Not the kind that’s “in” right now.  Or trendy.

I didn’t paint my hair charcoal by choice.

It sprouted in a patch, seemingly overnight.

Or had it been, that I was simply too busy to notice the silvery sproutlings?

Being busy – ahhhh, the very thing that is so natural to humanity.
Being “busy” shows in our hair.

The motion and very movement of life – dyes our mane with a drab color.  A color that is the direct opposite of shine. Of luster, of life.

Our kids cause us to “go gray.”

Our jobs.

Stress makes us sprout the silvers.

Our genes cause premature gray,
Which leads to early dismay,
And we pray –
for a late silvery splay.

At thirty, it could be worse, I could be wearin’ a toupee.

The gray makes me so somber- that I get poetic.

Looking in the mirror that fateful morning that I discovered snowy strands -  there was no gray area.

I was aging. I am aging.

It’s the end of an era.

I am thirty.  This is thirty.

I welled up.  And cried.
For about 40 seconds.

Then, I realized it was fucking ridiculous to cry over gray hair.

So instead, I took a picture with my iPhone.  A nice close up of my patch and proudly posted it to Instagram and Facebook.
Surely, I could find solidarity on social media.

Then I called my husband.

“You can’t ever leave me now!”

I could hear him rolling his eyes on the other side of the phone, “Why not now?”
He’s used to my insecurities.

“Because I’m old, spoiled milk.”

Matter-of-factly he said, “Well, I got news for you, you’re not young anymore. You think you are. But you’re not.”

“Clearly! I found a patch of gray hair.  I have gray hair!  I looked in the mirror this morning – and BAM! There was the group of grays staring at me – offending my youthful self.”

My husband then tried to comfort me by telling me that he’s been going gray for the past couple of years- it’s no big deal.

Right – cuz you’re a dude – duh – everyone knows salt and pepper is sexy on a man.  There’s no such thing as a silver fox – when referring to the opposite sex.

I’ve had curly hair, don’t care.
I’ve had short hair, don’t care.

This is Granny Hair…and I Do Care.

While standing in that hotel bathroom – I took a deep look in that mirror.
Where was the young mom?
I've always been the youngest at school concerts, at storytime and kiddie birthday parties.
The bad-ass, foul-mouthed, Converse wearin’, rap music listenin’, modern mutha.
A juvenile bad mama jamma.

Not no mo’.

As I looked in the mirror I stared at the suddenly haggard face.
The lines.
The contours.

I have aged.
I will continue to age.
In years past, the face reflected in the mirror – was it not based on reality?  Was the face in the mirror simply a reflection of how I felt inside?  Youthful, edgy, cool.
Not anymore, the truth - ugly or not, aged or not - was staring back at me.
I am thirty.  And while thirty on the life scale, tips young.  On my scale of a whole 30 years - it tips close to the mid.  As in, mid-life.

It's time to embrace the new me.  The approaching mid-life me.

While I was very much looking forward to the fantastic, confident, “I don’t give a fuck years” of my forties, fifties and beyond….that was in theory.  That was hypothetical.  That was me watching Sex and the City, watching women of a certain age having whirlwind shopping trips, sexcapades and fierce friendships.

This is real life.  Real gray. Not for fashion, for real.

There is no gray area about my gray streaked hair.

Now, down there, that’s a different story – no silvers down South…..yet.

How did you handle finding gray?

Share in the comments section below.

Or tell me on my Facebook page, or TWEET me.

Ode to the Fortress on Fort

Sunday, May 31, 2015

This house is my sanctuary.  This house is sacred.  It's a place where women, wisdom and wine - combine.  A home that we let the "F" bombs fly - "FUCK" and "FEMINISM" and "FRIENDSHIP" proudly.  A place we ate, and drank and talked....and talked....and talked.

It was a place that made me happy - when I was in the hard stages of new motherhood.  I couldn't go that far away from my baby - but I felt it was important to get out of my own house - even if it was for a little bit.  Even, if I desperately needed sleep.  This house, this place - the women that gathered here - rejuvenated my soul.  Luckily, this safe house was a few block away.  I could run there, when I felt ruined.

I actually used to sleep over here - to get away from it all.  My husband, my kids, the sometimes overwhelming life of motherhood drudgery.
I always had a free bed.

Wine, Women and Words are what I needed to survive in those harrowing days of new motherhood.  It was my medicine, my therapy...the only 3 things that were still myself, still part of me.
My brain and body were completely obliterated and given to my newborn.  In this "church," you really could come as you are.  And you could bitch about "who you were" all you wanted.

The Queen of the Castle is my Great Aunt.  Aunt Chi Chi is moving away from her home after many years.  She bought this house after a painful period in her life.  The man she loved had just left her.  She was alone.  Feeling abandoned.  This house and all the treasures in it - the people on the street - brought her back to life.  A post divorce Renaissance if you will.  A place she nurtured and loved - just as she nurtured and loved me while I visited this house.

She is making a full circle, back to her roots, back to her Women.  Back to her sisters.  Because you see, there aren't enough women, words and wine when everyone starts moving away from your fortress.  When neighbors start having kids, and frazzled schedules.   When friends and family close-by don't have enough time to devote to friendship and sisterhood.  After awhile, the Queen gets lonely in her castle.

After years of being so supportive of everyone else's changes, and moves, and moving-ons....My Great Aunt is embracing change.  Her own.  She's spreading her butterfly wings - and flying her coop.  My Great Aunt is craving the closeness.  A call to her clan.  The presence of her "peeps."  She's going back home - to where she was born, to be among the sisters who equally, love her and crave her company....and Canasta.  And 'Cuse.

There were so many good times in this house - had by everyone.  The soul of this house - was in the sisterhood that dwelled here.

The house sits on Fort Street.  I call it the Fortress on Fort.

Here's my poem.

Ode to the Fortress on Fort

She built her female fortress on Fort.
Full of unique finds
Unexpected splashes of color
A creative state of mind

Orange tarts the kitchen
Hillary at the sink
The wall of shame, pizza’s done!
I hear some wine, CLINK!

A cuckoo clock that coocoos
Just a hair too late
And never comes out of his hole anymore
He’s been in there since Oh- eight.

A cozy fireplace
A grapey, crystally, chandelier
A zebra head
The living room looks like my latest pap smear

Who's here?
I heard the screen door slam.
You need a place to stay?

Once the house of a defunct book club
We tried to be literary.
But the wine was always flowin', it went - quite contrary.

Her majesty’s official fort
A four poster bed awaits
Up the stairs
With no one….she shares.
She reads up on worldly affairs.

The Queen cozies in her exquisite linens
Pine Cone Hill
Gives her such a thrill
Chances of her waking up before noon? NIL!

The space most coveted
Isn’t inside the house
It stands sturdy with planks
Did you know – she doesn’t wear a bra underneath those tanks?

It’s the front porch!
A spot for gathering -
A place of wine and words
Where we talk about -why are our men and our kids such terds?!

This stoop is a sanctuary
A terrace of truths
A place of worship.
When the convo comes to a close - oh, for crynoutloud! One more sip!

The spot you could smoke
Both your cigarettes
And your weed
If the women are high - take HEED!

You see, the Female Fortress on Fort is more than a house
More than a brick
More than the mortar
It’s a place we all hold dear eternal, the new world order.

Summer is Killing my Solitude: 16 Things Introvert Moms Think About

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer drains me like a plastic blow up pool.  The constant contact with my kids during the sunny season, makes my soul gloomy and stormy.  And we're only on week two of summer vacation.

Touching, talking, looking – tire me out.  The daily human interaction and societal stimuli wears me down to shredded threads.

The only thing that re-charges and re-energizes me is pure solitude.  Anything that can be done completely alone - sleep, read, work, exercise, etc. reinvigorates this suffocating soul.  My oxygen comes in the form of gulping down silence.

It sounds like summer break with kids at my side for several days on end, would be my worst nightmare.   A damn near, obliteration of productive and happy self.

Well, pretty close.

I am a self-proclaimed introvert.  Since self-proclaiming my personality status – I’ve been able to cope better. I’ve found “outs.”  I’ve sought out solitude.  I’ve demanded detachment.  And it’s worked.

I’m a happier, more vibrant person because of it.

As summer looms, and I start countin’ my private time like I’m countin’ precious pennies – I made a list my fellow “innie” mamas can totally relate to.

16 Things Introvert Moms Think About

1. Four hours isn’t enough time alone, more like 4 days

2. If I get groped or pawed at by another little human being I will go postal.

3. “Quiet Time” isn’t just for kids, it’s for adults too.

4. When my kids and I go to the park – it’s not a social event.  Unless, I invite you.  I am intently staring at my phone or my newspaper.  I brought both, so I don’t have to talk to anyone.

5. I’ll give you two hours at a community festival or “family-fun” event, that’s all I got.

6. Reading recharges me.  It’s the only way I can fall asleep at night.  Books are my Ambien.

7. If someone tells me to “go fuck myself”, I’ll take it as a reminder that I haven’t masturbated today.  After all, sex with yourself in solitude is absolutely splendid.

8. Hair appointments, solo-trips to Target and going to the gym is NOT considered “me time.”  It’s considered maintenance.  “Me time” is shipping me off to the North Pole for a week.

9. Small talk during pampering makes me feel stabby.  Got it sistas at the spa?

10. One close friend is all I want.  Preferably, one without children.

11. I won’t play with my children all day.  I will turn them down.  I will reject them.  Because I don’t have the bandwidth for that type of engagement.  I’m not a selfish parent.  I just know, and honor my boundaries.

12. Activities in nature - soothe and soften my soul.  Even if it’s with my children.  Hiking, biking, building sand castles, whatever.  Mother Nature nurtures my senses.  Outside time equals OOOooooooOOOMMmmmmmMMMmm for this introvert.  Just don’t invite anyone to go with us, otherwise, all that fresh air – will get sucked right out of me.

13. Mommy and Me yoga sounds torturous.  And counter-productive.  Now, downward facing dog all by my damn self, that sounds delicious.

14. I will never be on the PTA.  Next year, my kid will be in kindergarten at a public school - so I wanna make this very clear.  I won’t help with bake sales, classroom parties or any of the like.  I’m not a bad parent.  Please don’t give me side-eye when I drop my kid off at school.  If you insist I be “involved” - hand me a project that requires minimal human contact.

15. Kiddie tunes are mostly banned in my car.  Driving my children to school, extracurricular activities and playdates is enough sacrifice.  I refuse to renounce good radio, 90’s hip hop jams and NPR.  Non-negotiable.  Good music can dull all madness.

16. Wine is wonderful.  It helps me get out of my head.  Who am I kidding, I don’t discriminate, all booze helps me be less brainy.

Are you an introvert mom?  How do you carve out solitude for yourself with kids around?

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I Don't Have a D*%#, but I Went to "Donuts with Daddies"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It was time to open wide for a big 'ol doughy, donut, and stick my dick in between my legs.  Or rather, get it out, and wave it proudly around like a helicopter.  I hadn't decided yet.  But this morning I pondered the position of my fictitious dick on the way to "Donuts with Daddies."

I walk into the school entrance feeling a bit jittery.  How will I be received?  I purposely didn’t tell the pre-school teacher I was coming, because I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t attend in my husband’s place.  

I mentally shake my head at myself…..still such a rebel.  Even decades after teenager-dom.

The front desk woman smiles warmly as I grabbed the pen to sign in, and asks, “What brings you in today?”

I ink my name nervously on the sign-in sheet.

I turn to her, “I’m here for Donuts with Daddies.”

She smiles, “Oh,” sounding pithy, with a high-pitched intonation on the end.

The woman swiftly turns around suddenly looking very busy at her desk.

I feel like I’m in an episode of 'Modern Family.'  I’m hoping that during this episode, Cameron will pop out from behind the closed doors, overly-bubbly, and excited and announce that he is in fact, the “ROOM MOM.”  I was so damn disappointed when that didn’t happen.  My nerves coulda used a laugh.

Why was I so twitchy? 

You’re a mom.  You’re also a dad when your husband is away.  So buck up bitch and show these parents and teachers what you’re made of - balls (and boobs) of steel!

Attending "Donuts with Daddies" was more than just a statement for me.  I knew I had to be there for my kid. I reasoned, it would be worse for my daughter to have no one show up to the big donut party.

My worst nightmare played like a movie reel in my head.

Cue the dreamy harp music, and wavy camera effects.....

I imagined my 3-year old daughter looking longingly as the daddies entered the classroom and hugged their children.  Her hands clasped together, standing so sadly, so pitifully, alone.  She stares at the classroom door one second more. Hoping her knight in shining armor will come sashaying through.  When he doesn’t, she retreats to her place at the snack table with profound disappointment.  The kind of disappointment that kids don’t ever forget.  A life-long emotional blow, ingrained in her mind forever.

Nightmare over.  Or, is it just beginning?  Time to get serious.

As I wait with the dads, I start to sweat, my heart is quickening.  I have a second pep-talk with myself.

Okay, calm the fuck down.  Why in a room full of cocks, do I suddenly coil?  I say that endearingly.  I need to be secure in my stance.  I don’t care how many side-eyes I get.  Stay calm and confident.  I’m Daddy too, when he’s away dammit.

Hardly, groundbreaking stuff.  But under the glare of conventional parents who are married, visibly middle-class and running heterosexual households – I feel small and stupid for trying to make such a statement.

I’m angered by the assumptions, and biases loaded into the celebration, “Donuts with Daddies.”

Why can’t it be Popsicles with Parents?

What if the child isn’t being raised by a parent – through death, divorce, etc.?  Fig Newton’s with Family?  What if the child isn’t being raised by a blood relative, a family member?

What do same-sex parents do?

Do gay dads sign up to be a “Room Mom” and does one of them attend "Muffins with Mommies?"  Or do they grab a female family member?  Do they even think about it, and analyze it, as much as I am right now?  Is it more second nature for a same sex couple to improvise in these situations?

The receptionist checks off all of the "daddies" on her list, then escorts us back to the classroom.

I lead the way.  I stand in the doorway, slightly shaky. 

My little girl sees me.  Her face shows confusion.  But within a half a second, she smiles widely.  I see her mouth to her friends – My mommy’s here.  My mommy’s here! 

I can hear her little, sing-songy voice faintly over the quiet chatter.  She’s surprised and perplexed simultaneously.  My facial muscles start to twitch uncontrollably.  I feel like crying, because I realize in that moment – that while my daughter looks happy, maybe there's a twinge of disappointment.  Disappointment that it’s me standing in the doorway – and not her daddy.

In unison the children on the count of three shout “Happy Father’s Day!!!!!”

I stand there with my cell phone, recording the video for my husband to watch while on his business trip. 

My daughter hops away from her classmates, and beams up at me. She grabs my hand and leads me to a beautifully decorated table with a blue table cloth, Father’s Day gifts, juice, donuts and flowers.

I kneel down and give my daughter a huge hug and kiss.  She doesn’t ask me where daddy is.

I ask, “Where’s your spot? Where’s your gift for daddy?”

She pulls out a small, child-size seat for me –and sits down in the mini-seat next to me.  There is a Father’s Day card and a wrapped gift placed in “daddy’s” spot. 

She tells me, “I’ll open the gift for daddy.” 

My daughter carefully removes the blue ribbon and tears the tissue paper away.  It is a paintbrush with little fingerprints painted on it.  The fingerprints formed into tiny blue bugs, crawling up the paintbrush. 

I tell her, “Let’s take a picture of the gift, and send it to daddy.”

She poses, proudly grinning, one hand holding up the paintbrush, the other hand on her hip.

Together, we read the card she made, How old is Daddy?  17-years old.  How much does Daddy weigh?  50 pounds.

“Do you think daddy will like it?  See, he can go like this with the paint brush!”

She makes paint strokes on the table.

“You’ll have to show him how to do it when he gets back.”

“When will daddy get back?”

Normally, I dread this question.

A) My husband is usually gone for really long periods of time.  Sometimes several weeks or months.
B)  Kids have no concept of time

Today, it’s not so bad.  After being gone for two months, he’ll be back home in four days.

“Daddy will be back in four days.  I’ll bring the gifts home to keep them safe for him.”

I realize now, that I'm at ease.  My nerves have died down.

Why do conventional traditions make me feel so uncomfortable?  And, let’s be real - for the most part, I have a pretty conventional set up here.  My husband travels for work a lot, and is barely home.  Boo hoo, right?  We’re married, middle-class, living in suburbia with our two kids.  On paper, we’re the picture of cultural “norm.”

But what do people with an unconventional family life do?

For “Muffins with Mommy” – does one of the mommies from a same sex couple attend, or both?  Does grandma attend because mommy died?  Does Aunt so-and-so attend because mommy is in drug rehab?  Does mommy’s best friend attend because mommy’s at work?

For “Donuts with Daddy” – does one of the daddies from a same sex couple attend, or both?  Does Grandpa come because daddy died?  Does Uncle so-and-so attend because daddy is incarcerated?  Or sick, in the hospital, with cancer?

I know these celebrations are meant to make everyone feel good, but they can also make a lot of kids feel really bad.  Given constant reminders – that the person the children are celebrating – are NOT there.  That, they can’t come.  Or the constant reminder – that their family is the dreaded word….different.

I don’t know what was going through my daughter’s head when she got to school and learned it was Donuts with Daddies day.  Did she think daddy was going to miraculously fly home and surprise her?  Or, did she think no one would show up? 

I did the only thing I could think of to lessen the blow.  Lessen the disappointment.  The sadness.  And stand up, for our own "norm."

Am I letting her live in a bubble of rainbows, unicorns and lollipops by trying to swoop in and save the Donuts with Daddies Day?  Mostly no.  I will cop to a little coddling here and there (she’s the second child after all).  Sure, there will be plenty of disappointments.  I tell my children when I can’t be present for school functions – and believe me, there are a lot of school functions I can’t attend.   I explain, mommy has to work, daddy is out of town.  And they nod, and go on with life.  That’s our reality.

But today, I woke up early – like two hours early – 5AM to be exact, to get my work done.  I wasn’t ready to let reality hit my kid that hard.

At the end of donuts, my daughter asks, “Are you pretending to be daddy today?”

“Yes, I’m pretending.”

She laughs and says, “Daddy doesn’t wear earrings! Take your earrings off – then you’ll be like daddy.”

A nice reminder that I can be a place-holder for daddy, but never a replacement.

What do you think of these parties/celebrations?  Harmless fun, or accidentally harmful?

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