Momaical is a humorous look at trying not to raise a flock of assholes. Cursing & copious coffee involved.

Momaical: [mom-mahy-uh-kuhl] = (Hybrid of Mom and Maniacal.)


Playground Bullies: Sometimes It's Not The Kids

You know what I love?  People who have zero authority but walk around like they're part of SEAL Team 6.

Today I was standing outside of my daughter's kindergarten classroom awaiting her dismissal.  I was beginning to see stars from the death grip my 3 year old had around my neck because I gave her a "backpack wide" from the car.  Right at the entrance there's an old picnic table that is only rarely used for the naughty kids during recess. I leaned back against it and Emmeline placed her tippy-toes down on the very edge of the table so I could get a bit of oxygen to the brain.  She still had her hands on my shoulders and was leaning against me for support.  I wave to Lena's teacher so she knows I'm here.  She waves back and Lena skips toward us.

Imagine me. Right at the end here of this little old lonely table. 
As I await the 45 seconds for Lena to reach us, a parent volunteer stomps over to us.  She taps me on my shoulder and says "Don't let your child stand there." (This is the same woman that yelled at us a few months ago for crossing into the playground area so the teacher can see us - as we were ADVISED to do by the school).

I stare at her for a second and bite my tongue because a litany of acerbic words threaten to explode from my mouth.  I stand up and Lena arrives.  I look at the other moms and they're all just as dumbfounded as I am.  My friend Hollie says: "Did she SERIOUSLY come all the way across the playground to tell you that?  Like you weren't watching her?  Like she had any business doing that? What the heck?" 

The actual yard duty personnel are so kind and the kids (and parents) LOVE them.  MOST parent volunteers are amazing and generous and wonderful. My friend Dani at Suburbia Interrupted is at her children's schools so frequently she should just move into the custodian's closet to save gas money.

And...then there's a handful of parent volunteers/playground Nazis.  It's like they have no authority in the real world so they yield the iron whistle on the playground.  Sheesh, lady.  Why don't you focus on the kids dangling dangerously from the swing or the ones in the corner ripping a piece of paper to shreds and throwing it all over the yard? Or the girl bullying other girls near the fence?   I'm pretty sure there are more important things to deal with than a Mommy who is holding her 3 year old.

Anyway - Hollie said the lady was "clearly menopausal" and we laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.  Then I hurried back to my car so I didn't get in trouble for loitering or GASP chewing gum!!!!

Get back in line you worm!  Now drop and give me 50.


Generation: Entitled

As a teacher, students constantly said to me: "I need a pencil."  To which I responded something cheeky like: "And I need an iced coffee.  What's your point?"  After a few rounds of "And I need someone to pay off my AmEx bill" I finally said: " could say SeƱora Winslow, may I please have a pencil?"  

Somewhere along the path of raising children with high self-esteem, a generation of entitled assholes was created.  What started off as breeding strong children who believed in themselves, morphed into children who feel they are owed whatever they desire because they breathe in and out. Stephanie at Mommy, For Real wrote this open letter about parents losing control of their children and instead becoming doormats.  It's not the exception either.  Unfortunately it has become the norm.  

Then political correctness emerged into parenting, school and sports.  Everyone WINS!  No more honor society awards nights because the kids that didn't get on the honor roll will feel badly.  Oh, poor pumpkin didn't get a first place prize?  Ok - no more keeping score!  It might hurt their precious little eggshell feelings.  Awww. Poow baby.  Did you just REPRIMAND your child??? For shame!  Let them discover right and wrong and learn only what they want to learn and do what they want to do when they feel like doing it.  Manners? Someone else will teach my child manners - unless it's telling them no.  Because we don't tell Little PainInTheBalls "no".

But, you know what?  THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE.  When these kids get into college and then the real world they are going to get their asses handed to them. Or, they're going to end up on major depression/anxiety meds.  Because there's always going to be someone who is better or smarter or more beautiful than you.  You have to compete for jobs against real people and then PERFORM at them.  You don't get paid just for showing up - regardless of how much your mommy told you that you are the bestest, cutest, mostest perfectest thing that has ever crawled out of a vagina.  Guess what love, you are just a social security number in a sea of other Mama's cherubs.  It takes WORK to stand out among the millions of people who have the exact same resume as you.  

Your children should grow up to feel loved and secure. To know that no matter what they can turn to their parents for support.  To understand and RESPECT others and their differences.  And that as much as they may be the epicenter of their parent's world - they are NOT the apex of the human race. They are not going to be the best at everything. They may actually suck at some things AND THAT'S OK.  Not every person can be a Bill Gates/ Mariah Carey/ Oprah/ Einstein/ Giselle Bundchen rolled into one package. If they could - then no one would be special.  We'd all just be a bunch of beautiful, smart, compassionate, nerdy, supermodels - and it would be the norm.   It's okay to say no when they ask if they are the smartest person that has ever graced Earth.  Because, most likely, they are not. And then help them to find their "thing" to excel at.  And it's not up to teachers to train your child to have manners. THAT needs to come from home.  Manners, respect, good behavior - all things that need to start being taught from birth - because if you wait until they're teenagers - IT'S TOO LATE. 

I look at these birthday parties people are throwing for their children and think WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO DO FOR MILESTONE EVENTS? Amy at Carriage Before Marriage wrote about a 1 year old birthday party/wedding.  It probably cost more than my first car.  Kids do not need 7,000,000 birthday gifts to feel loved.  They just need to BE LOVED.  And appreciated.  And listened to - most of the time.  (Sometimes they just need to be ignored like when they're having an epic meltdown in the middle of the grocery store because you are the MEANEST MOM EVER because you won't buy a box of Sugar Coated Crack).  And, if you give your children a parade every time they do something like turn another year older or show up at the holidays - you are also making it difficult for your future adults.  Because then they expect to be fawned over for every event - and most people will not measure up to these impossibly high standards - your pumpkin will be disappointed in getting a "normal" gift. 

I am very aware that I could create a couple of assholes to unleash unto the world.  We are extremely fortunate and are able to provide a lot more to my children than my parents were able to provide to me.  And, like most kids, my girls ask for everything that crosses their line of vision.  They "need" this and "want" that.  Actually catering to every one of those whims will not only be ridiculous and unnecessary - it will be adding two more entitled jackasses to the population.  I created a fictitious "birthday list".  Every time they ask for something I say "I'll put it on the birthday list."  Then on their birthday we take them to the store and they're allowed to pick out ONE gift.  Not one million.  Not one for every year they have graced our presence on Earth.  One. Freakin. Gift. 

Do they cry it's not fair? That they deserve more?  Nope.  Because they don't deserve more.  As parents we are required to provide love, food, shelter, clothing, education  - all the basic necessities.  We are NOT required to put an iPad in every child's hand or a buy a treat for them every time we enter a store.  And being a good parent is hard work.  It's so much easier to stop the whining by giving in to it.  Saying "no" all the time is hard.  Being "on" your children constantly to make good choices is exhausting.  But, in the long run, it IS best for them.  Pinkie swear. 

Am I saying that I am the best mom on Earth raising the best kids on Earth?  Oh HELL NO.  I struggle with parenting every single darn day.  But I do know that my job as a parent is to try to put the best people I can out into the universe to make the world a better place.  Yes, you want to give your children all you can - but don't do it at the expense of their futures.  Because entitlement doesn't help them in the real world - but creating respectful, hardworking, contributing members of society will take them everywhere they want to go.  


You Clean With WHAT???

The other day we got the DREADED NOTE HOME:  There has been a case of lice in your child's classroom.  Oh....crap.   Supposedly tea tree oil helps keep the nasty bastards at bay.  So, I headed to Whole Foods to pick some up.  And I got schooled.

Check out the rest of my harrowing tale on In The Powder Room.

And, if you like it (as always thank you ) and PLEASE SHARE! 


Come On Down! You're the NEXT Contestant!

Good afternoon everyone!
Thanks so much for joining us for 
another rousing rendition of :

"What the Eff Is The Dog Eating NOW!?!"

The following item was just pulled from the Jaws of Death (aka: the Maltese) – 
Can you identify its remains?

Is it:

A: RuPaul’s Eyelashes?

B:  Whale Baleen?

C: The comb from a crack rooster?

D: No freakin’ clue – and I’m kind of scared to find out.

Tune in tomorrow and hear:

 “MOM! The Dog ate my (fill in the blank)! Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”

 To find out just
"What the Eff Is The Dog Eating NOW!?!"

Good night everyone and thanks for playing!


I Get Around...Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Exciting news lovelies!  I have officially been hired to write a weekly post for In The Powder Room with a group of really hilarious, kick ass writers! Here's my first week's submission.  It's all about an afternoon spent drinking with a bunch of friends and a very valuable lesson learned.  Please head over to the post and send me some comment love so I can thank you!!!!


Why Do We Have This Incessant Need For Validation?

The last day of school was always a race to see if you could get everyone to sign your yearbook before the bell rang and released you from scholastic prison.  People wrote silly, trite or fluffy things in your yearbook like "LYLAS!" or "Sup. Well no more school. Have a cool summer."  Most of the things written were forgotten along with a lot of the people who scribbled furiously to sign as many books as possible.

There are some you never forget - like the one from the wicked hot guy from Spanish class. Your friends and you spent hours dissecting his cryptic "See you over the summer or in Spanish IV" to see if there were any hidden proclamations of love.

One quote that is still with me 20 years later was from my friend Heather.  It said:

 "I wish I could be as happy as you are all the time. Even though people say you're obnoxious I think it's a great way to be."

People say I'm obnoxious???? Really?  Ouch.

So I have spent the last two decades trying to pay attention to how I am perceived - because perception is reality, right?   In college my friends would tell me that I'm unapproachable, intense or stand-offish when I would lament that everyone was getting hit on except for me.  In radio I was constantly asked by my bosses to "dumb myself down" or "appear nice" because of my "big vocabulary" or because I was making my co-hosts "look less intelligent".  Even now my husband tells me that I walk around looking like a bitch. 

The thing is, I don't feel like I walk around looking like I'm holier-than-thou.  I feel like I should emit friendliness and humor - like I'm a nice person!  I don't WANT people to think I'm obnoxious.  I want people to know that I'm smart and kind. That underneath this bitchy exterior is a funny, insecure person who just wants to be liked.  I am most certainly NOT a mean girl.  I will never be prom queen.  I will never be held on a pedestal and revered for my beauty, poise, grace or anything momentous.  But I don't want to be known as "You know that lady with the bitchy look on her face?  Oh, yeah.  That's Lena's mom." at the PTA meetings.

So, if I flash you a sneer, it's not personal.  I don't even realize I'm doing it.  More than likely I'm pensive trying to remember if I flipped the laundry, if I packed a lunch for my kids or a thousand other things that I was supposed to do today but can't remember because I have only two functioning brain cells left in my cerebellum.  

Or, maybe you just suck and I'm wearing it all over my face.  Obnoxious.  Sniff.




Did Carmen Miranda Get Beheaded?

Over the weekend we went to a Kentucky Derby party.  Now, I know absolutely nothing about horse racing or the derby except for the fact that it's in Kentucky, ladies wear gibungous hats and a mint julep is code for a beautiful silver cup full of damn disgusting bourbon.

The party itself was so very much fun.  It was a great group of people. By betting on horses who had names like "Strong Finish", "Golden Soul" and "Orb" - we walked away with a few more dollars in our pockets than we had arrived with hours prior.  After the big 3 minutes - I was able to enjoy a few blissful moments of relaxation - actually very Norman Rockwell-esque for once!  Lena was playing with a few girls and Emmeline was chillin on a chair with a stolen bowl of fruit salad.  I sat with a brand new perfectly concocted mojito in one hand and dipped my toes in the pool.

"Daddy! Me needa go potty!" Emmeline shouts between chomps of watermelon.  EVEN BETTER!  A extraordinarily rare occasion when she doesn't want me to take her.  I sip on the minty deliciousness of my not Mint Julip when my moment of sanctuary is shattered with "TRAAAACY!!!!".

I see my husband propel out of the screen door like a hell-hound is chasing him.  His hand is over Emmeline's mouth and vomit is spraying through his fingers like he's holding onto a puke spigot.  I walk/run over to my husband - a lovely shade of green on both his face and his Derby attire. For the record: I don't handle puke.   "Tracy will not deal with garbage, puke or dead things" came right before the I Do's in our vows.

Emmeline announces "Me are puked".  I answer as only a mother-of-the-year contender can: "Yes, I see that.  How lovely and what great timing you have."  My husband says between dry heaves "I don't think anyone noticed inside - can you go clean it?"

Now, when someone says "I don't think anyone noticed" I interpret that to mean "I caught her before it got out of hand (namely his in this instance) and there isn't too much to clean. Please run interference before the host notices puke salad on her freakin' expensive oriental rug.

For the love of all that is holy.   It looked like Carmen Miranda met Edward Scissorhands and they sent me in to identify the remains.

There was chunky, slimy, stinky half masticated fruit puke from here to Churchill Downs and back. But, since my husband was now a vomit Swiffer, it was up to me. (Which, really, if he was a good husband he would have sacrificed the rest of his outfit and turned himself into a human Magic Eraser, amIright???).   I grab paper towels and begin to attack the mess.  The mess fights back - and dirty.  I'm like a puppy on tile and my feet keep threatening to slide out from under me.  I fall smack dab into the middle - my dress now flowery with a diaphanous hint of sputum.  I'm just waiting for someone to come in and ask me where I purchased my bottle of UpChuck No. 5.

I somehow stand back up, fists (and dress) full of pukey towels.  I go to open the trash compactor to throw away the evidence. Mother. Fucker.  It's locked?????  Tossing the first round of evidence into the sink I head back for round two of clean up.

Well, of course this is the time that several families opt to leave.  They head back into the house to say their goodbyes and decide to have a conversation while standing in the middle of the puke puddle.  I'm on my hands and knees trying to clean up and they're talking about who-the-fuck-knows-what right in the center of where I'm cleaning.  Didn't it even occur to them as slightly odd that I'm armed with a fist full of Bounty and crawling around on the floor instead of enjoying my mojito outside?????  YOU'RE GETTING HURL ON YOUR JOHNSON AND MURPHY'S!!! MOVE!

A mom of three walks into the Carmen Miranda smoothie.  She immediately grabs towels, some Clorox, and jumps in to help.  Thank you mom-who-gets-it.  I look up at her with a tear in my eye (or maybe it's just vomit splatter) - she says "We have all been there".  I would cry if I could stop dry heaving.

Seven hundred thousand million minutes later - it's all clean.  Well, the floors at least.  I look like I just rolled through the gutter of fraternity row during hell week.  My husband and two children hiding because two of the three are doused in pukey goodness. It's time to go home and burn the evidence.

"Chica Chica Boom...Splat"


The Secret Meeting of the Assholes Club

I believe there is a secret meeting of the Assholes Club.  This get together always seems to be happening when I need to go there. It's almost like they're trying to recruit me or something. And, I'm going to announce their secret meeting place - if you don't hear from me'll know why. 

The Asshole Club meets at HOME DEPOT. 

As I walk into Home Depot, the assholios first try to overwhelm me with trying to sell me solar panels, new windows and a build your own hummingbird house DIY project.  But, I am wearing my big girl boots (Shut up - Burberry is bad ass) and I am not going to be bullied into any unnecessary purchases.  Ooooh, when did Martha start making glitter paint?  Focus, dammit! Focus!  I toss a pink and purple into the cart and readjust my hard hat.  (Figurative, people.  Figurative.  I would not REALLY wear a hard hat because it would mess up my hair and it takes me 6 hours of totally interrupted sleep to get it to look this way.)

I smile at the barrage of Hare Krishnas-in-training and attempt to deflect their pushy advances of new siding or a foundation inspection.  I want to handle it kindly because these are a group of people who hang around saws and chippers - and I don't want to be made into mulch for their garden.    However, "No thank you" at a meeting of the Asshole club translates to "Fuck you, douche canoe". Crap!   

I need switch plate covers - not a koi pond.  I try to navigate my cart the size of Egypt through the crowded aisles without taking out a display of light bulbs.  This is no easy task because the Asshole Club blocks most of the escape routes.  I round the corner - barely missing a kiosk of nails which were clearly placed there to deflate the wheels of my cart so I am TRAPPED.  Hah.  Your deleterious plot was foiled, Asshole Club.  Muahahahahaha!

It's like they planned for me to crash their meeting.  The switch plate covers are oh-so-conveniently located in another time zone.  I get all Danika Patrick with my gibungous race car/cart and kick it into higher gear.  Left - right - aisle 3,461 - not dishwashers, not doors, just switch plates.  Doing a burn out and leaving tread marks in my wake - I arrive.

For the love of all that is holy.  There are seven hundred billion and three different switch plates.  No, not ivory, not bronze, not pewter, not decorated, not oversized, not in the shape of Al Gore - dammit!   I JUST NEED A PLAIN FREAKIN WHITE ONE. I'm tossing boxes around in my search for the holy grail of wall plates when this guy barges into my dystopia.  He looks at me and says "You look like you should be at the beach and not in a man's place, sweetheart." 

The BEACH?  Did you not see my plaid work Wellies fucker????  My inner feminist sneers at this attack on my carpentry prowess.  Finally -I snag a box of white unbreakable nylon wall plates.  I toss one into my racecar and then run over his foot on the way out - well, just because.  I pay for my pink and purple glitter paint and wall plate and head back to the car - flipping someone off who drives just a little to close to my orange carriage.  Can you NOT SEE THIS FUCKING THING?  For the love of God, astronauts are pointing at it from the International Space Station!

First rule of Asshole Club - You do not talk about Asshole Club.
Rule Number Who-Gives-A-Fuck - If this is your first time at a meeting of the Assholians - you must embrace your inner asshole. 

Looks like I'm an honorary member now. 

Asshole Club meeting?  At Home Depot?  No idea what you're talking about.  But, take a look at my sparkly paint!



Before. After. And all the hideous in between!

The year was 2347 BC.  We had outgrown our Troglodyte cave and there was a sweet new neolithic community that was getting built.  We were throwing down the copper gauntlet and movin' on up.

4,360 years later we moved in.  Or at least that's how it felt for the past few months. 

We have been looking at houses for two hundred million years - since before my husband started with his new position here in California.  In those two years we moved from Boston to San Francisco and then to a different house in San Francisco (because the first one went on the market and we didn't want to purchase it) . Then, we were informed that the second house we were renting was also going to be sold.  I was sick of moving. Sick of renting. Sick of not having something of "my own".

After a grandiose two year, multiple county search - FINALLY we found our home!  We closed in only a few weeks. Then it took a month for the previous owners to move out (per our agreement) and that's when the face lift crew arrived.  

  • Painters
  • Patio Installation
  • Tree Removal
  • Gardeners / Shrub Eradication
  • Repairs to Fence
  • Updating Closet Doors from Mirrored to Plain
  • Removing Pantry Door because who the hell wants a glass pantry door????
  • Repairs to air vents underneath the house
  • Bug Spray people (The guy who arrived captures black widows to make them fight.  A little too much bug spray huffing???)
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Air Duct Cleaners
  • Furniture Delivery
  • Cleaning Ladies
  • Cable/Phone/Internet Dudes
  • A partridge in a pear tree

During the last week of our prep to move I caravaned 30,000 boxes of crap over of everything that wasn't "heavy".  And then the moving guys arrived - three tiny Chinese guys who spoke no English.  They smiled and pointed a lot. It took them 12.5 hours and 4 trips to move all of our stuff.  Mostly I heard "Hey Raaady - where dis go?"  Apparently I was bequeathed the title of Lady.  I mean, Rady.  I probably could have strapped the crap to my back and sherpa'd it here faster.  FML

The biggest challenge was the garage.  We used it as our holding area for things that needed to be put away in the heavy furniture.  So there was no where for it to go as we were awaiting the arrival of our stuff.  But, it was also where all of my husband's toys need to live.  It was a furious afternoon of trying to move boxes from the garage to somewhere close to where they were going to end up when the furniture arrived.  Between keeping the children busy and out of the worker's hair, trying to find certain items (TRACY! Do you know where the tiny key to a lock we now need to open is?), 347 bruises and getting to stop the dog from humping the Comcast guy's leg....I'm exhausted.  But, we're in.  

Here are a few before and after pictures of all the work the face lift crew: 

Kitchen Before

Here's my kitchen right now.  Still not completely organized - but headed in the right direction!

Lena's Room Before
Lena's Room After

Emmeline's Room Before
Emmeline's Room After

Living Room Before
Living Room After (in progress....)

Front Yard Before
This is what all bushes looked like - all overgrown. 

Can't wait to start planting! 

Patio area before progress

 Who needs a dining room when you can have a bar!
During.... Yeah.  We have a lot of shit. 
More to come. Once I find my brain.  And toothbrush.  This is where I have been for the past few months.  But I'm almost back to my Momaical life.  Thanks for joining me on this roller coaster.  Hey - you! You're not tall enough for this ride.  Please go back to the "You Must Only Have This Much Baggage To Ride Here" Section of this amusement park. 

French Manicure with a side of Oh MY!

If you are in desperate need of total relaxation - I recommend a pedicure.  Especially this one that comes with a happy ending...

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