unwind me

wine makes everything better

I know, I know… I have been MIA. But really, the truth of the matter is that the last six weeks or so finally caught up with me. What have I been doing with all my so-called “free” (from the blog) time? Well, to name a few activities, I have been busy being a little league mom, a stage mom, and a new kitten mom, all on top of my usual post as working mom. In the house, we have had strep throat (a recurring case), broken glasses, a cavity to fill, and my own weekly physical therapy appointments. In addition to the memos to write, the meetings to run, the conference calls to prepare for, and the never-ending strategizing that goes on in my working world, I had to spend an hour at my son’s school in the principal’s office because he sang a potty song. Yes, my seven-year old son got written up for singing a potty song. Does our principal not know the minds of little boys? (If you live in my town, you know the answer to my question.)

In short, I ended each day since my last post in a heap on my bed, unable to put a single witty (or fashionable) thought together. My back hurts. And none of my clothes fit.

But then, slowly but surely the fog has cleared, even if in an uneven, the-universe-is-messing-with-me sort of way. Memories of wine tasting in Healdsburg, California over the weekend quickly faded into the recesses of my mind during a two-hour hellish cab ride home (with an hour-long conference call in the middle) from Dulles on Tuesday. Hill meetings galore and a no-damage fender-bender sealed the deal for me this week that some greater force was out to get me. But then I realized that maybe I am out to get myself. After all, when was the last time I took a real vacation? And by real, I mean one that lasts for more than a long weekend, is not merely extra days tacked onto a work trip and doesn’t involve family. (Sorry family.)

Having this epiphany (and a homemade bacon and peanut-butter pop tart this morning) has turned my frame of mind around. While no plans have been made (I haven’t even had real time to think about what it is I want to do) just knowing that I am going to make the time for myself to do something has improved my outlook.

That, and I bought some really delicious Pinot Noirs over the weekend.

 

little league mommy chic

Soccer moms have a bad fashion rap. I think we should blame election pollsters. But we don’t have to take it. We can prove them wrong. Or, if you find yourself guilty of the stereotype, it’s possible to tweak yourself. Reject the label. Take back our image. And since this season, my boys are playing little league, the first step in reclaiming my identity is to declare myself a little league mommy.

I don’t drive a minivan. I promised myself when pregnant with my second child that I would not buy a one. I know they work for some people and I don’t judge you (though I do judge that one guy that took me out on a date in one). I’m grateful for the other parents who do drive them and can help cart my kids around when carpooling makes schedules more tolerable. But my driving a minivan would be like my wearing Uggs. It’s just not going to happen. Ever.

Hair? The reputation is that soccer moms always wear their hair in a pony-tail or a bob or a short older-lady haircut. While I recently cut my hair short, it’s stylish short, not mom-on-the-go short. (I swear it takes me longer to style it now than it did when it was long, though not for these early morning games, when it is fabulously tousled.) For the record, I didn’t see any ponytails on the bleachers today. Nor did I see any bobs weren’t of a fashionable length and styling.

I’m sure that I speak for other moms when I admit that I cannot always promise to take a shower before heading to a Saturday morning game. But there are a few things I do try to find time to do. I always apply some tinted moisturizer, because primarily, I like to moisturize in the morning. And because it has SPF. And because a little tiny bit of coverage after a night of (usually) restless sleep goes a long way. If I plan to be going somewhere after the game, I might throw on some mascara. And I am devoted to Fresh lip tinted treatment in plum.

I must own up to having something of a Saturday morning little league mommy uniform. This look won’t transition into summer. It’s really only appropriate for spring mornings that start off cool. But yoga pants, a v-neck tee (maybe two contrasting colors layered if it is a little chilly outside), my j. brand denim jacket and a scarf make a passably chic mommy sporting event ensemble. The other night I traded the denim jacket for a cardigan (though I wish I had brought both). While I’d like to throw my Tory Burch Eddie flats into the look, these baseball fields are generally muddy, with the path to the bleachers perhaps being the worst. My running shoes (which don’t exactly get to be used for running anymore) are completely appropriate for the nature of the setting. It isn’t like I am going to wear them around Europe or anything.

But really, the best look for a mom on an early Saturday morning is the one reflected by the big smile on the face of her kid when he gets on base.

super mommy blues

https://i1.wp.com/www.hollywoodgo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/mars_needs_moms_71.jpgMars Needs Moms. And moms need wine. If you are my Facebook friend, then you know that my schedule this week is: Monday Jack had little league practice, Tuesday both kids had practice, Wednesday Jack has a game, Thursday both boys have practice, Friday Jack has a game, Saturday Colin has a game, and Sunday both boys have practice. Just writing it makes me tired. In addition, Tuesdays are musical theater practice rehearsal (yes, I am a stage mom). This Saturday is Touch Truck. (If you live in the DC metro area and have a child obsessed with trucks, you need to come to Cheverly for this annual event.) Saturday is also the annual Cheverly Garden Club sale and this month’s “Weekend Warriors” day. (Weekend Warriors is a group of friends who once a month tackle a household project or projects at one family’s home. I have been trying to break into the club for six months, but with all the back brace issues, this is my first opportunity for an appearance.)

That means that on Saturday, I need to be in four places at once (garden sale, little league, warriors, touch truck) and Colin needs to be in two places (little league, touch truck). I almost had an aneurysm when Jack picked up the phone today to arrange a play date for this overbooked day.

Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom (a job that I don’t think I would ever be awarded should I apply for it), work part-time, work from home, have a nanny or have kids in daycare/school, being a soccer mom (that title sounds so much better than little league mom) is no easy business. And if you home school, you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for not killing your children at some point in the curriculum and educating them in the process.

I am a single parent, but only 50% of the time. With our week-to-week schedule, that means that I get a break that not all single parents get. It isn’t the every night break that a two-parent family balances out, but a shift from managed chaos to solitude. Some kid-free weeks, my nights are filled with happy hours and dinners. In the pre-Beatrix days, I went to the gym (in particular, Jess’s spin class is better than any happy hour special). Most nights, I work late. When I go home on my off-nights, my house is clutter-free. (I know most of you think this all sounds appealing.) But one thing is constant and that is that whether the boys are home or not, at my own bedtime, I instinctively head to their room to tuck them in because I’m always thinking of them and sleeping soundly in their beds is where they should be.

Usually, I am a multi-tasking genius. But this week, it’s only Tuesday and I’m already overwhelmed with our pending schedules (work and extracurricular) and to do list. I am feeling a little like the mom in Mars Needs Moms. The tyrant mom, that is, not the beautiful, green-eyed mom gasping for breath on Mars, inspiring the life-saving action of her previously unappreciative son. But still, regardless of the schedule or the demands, I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t have my boys in it. It’s just that some nights, that life needs an extra glass of wine.

I’m that mom

I love baseball. I know there are many people who find its nine (if you are lucky) un-timed innings boring. I’m even one of those people sometimes. It’s all about the pace of the game. Unless the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and we happen to be on the assaulting end of an uneven score, give me a quick pitchers duel over a high-scoring pile-on any day of the week

Sadly, when it comes to Little League, you get more of the latter than the former. All I can say is, thank god for the mercy rule.

Saturday was my older son’s first little league game. The kid is a little behind his teammates in not only age (as the youngest on the team) and size (he is certainly the smallest) but also in experience. Last year, for some reason t-ball for his age group never organized, so he missed one last year of totally hitting the crap out of the ball and gaining the confidence of driving in a lot of runs. This year, he is old enough to play with the big kids. I swear some of them are already sprouting facial hair on their upper lip. Those first few practices, I was nervous for him, but it turns out, Jack has some natural talent. He is small but quick. He is aggressive. And this season, he is the starting second baseman because, according to his coach, he goes after a ball better than kids twice his size.

But put a bat in his hand and he hasn’t seen a pitch he doesn’t want to swing at, whether they cross the plate over his head or at his knees. Turns out, Jack is an all-glove, no-bat second baseman.

Yesterday, at his first at bat, I winced as the poor kid struck out swinging on three mediocre pitches. Like me, my son loves baseball, but given that he is only 9-years old, he doesn’t watch games for the thrill of a potential no-hitter. He wants to see homerun after homerun. He wants the Red Sox (his American League team) or the Nats (his National League team) to “get a lot of points.” And more than anything, this kid wants to make contact with the ball.

I knew he was sad after his second inning strikeout. I could feel it in his body language as he walked back to the bench to watch the player after him drive in a few runs. Between innings I said to my ex-husband, “he needs to not swing at every pitch. If he could work a walk and get on base, given his speed, he will score.”

Fast-forward to the fourth inning. Bases are loaded. Jack comes to the plate. He quickly goes down 0-2 in the count (swinging, of course). I yell to my ex, who is coaching third-base, “tell him to take the next pitch.” His dad is gesturing instructions to him, and of course, I’m not subtle so I am yelling this instruction myself because, let’s be honest, I am that parent. The pitcher winds up, delivers his pitch straight down the plate. Called strike three. Damn.

Tears welled in my eyes as Jack dejectedly walked back to the bench. It was my fault he struck out and I knew it. I saw his coach put his arm around him and give him what looked to be words of encouragement. Would it be worse for him to have his mom come over and apologize in front of all his teammates? I couldn’t let my son sit there on the bench and cry. So I went over to give his shoulder a squeeze and tell him I was proud of him. As he looked up at me, I saw one alligator tear escape from him, but I also saw a look in his eyes that told me he isn’t going to give up.

I kept my bench visit brief and while he still struck out at the next at bat, he at least worked a 2-2 count first (and honestly, one of those called strikes was totally a ball, it never even got over the plate). I know at some point I will probably have to have the “there’s no crying in baseball” talk with him (and maybe his dad already has) but given that I both delivered the instructions that led to the tears and almost cried myself, maybe I am not the right messenger.