Posts Tagged ‘mommy prayers’

In praise of the five-minute mommy nap

December 4, 2011

Tis the season of trying to cram too much living into too little time and space. Some years, we here at the Mommy Prayers candy-cane crunching headquarters cook and shop and decorate and entertain like mad fools. Other years, we declare ourselves to be having a soulful/non-consumerist/relaxed holiday, and wind up exactly as frantic and exhausted (soulfulness, we’ve discovered, takes energy. Who knew?)

All this, of course, is a cue for the youngest among us to immediately begin fighting every bedtime and, inexplicably, waking up before dawn on some of the darkest mornings of the year. Over at the lovely Standing in the Shadows blog, Sarah Buttenwieser’s preschooler arose at 4:45 one recent morn, leaving her in a state she oh-so-accurately described as being groggily wide awake — too tired to think straight, too wired to go back to sleep. A dangerous fugue, especially this time of year, as you could easily emerge from the fog to find you’ve inadvertently purchased some toxic toy or another.

The solution, of course, is one of the most blessed gifts every bestowed upon humanity — the afternoon nap. No, not for your kids, for you, exhausted parent. True, between cookie-baking and tree-decorating and Charlie Brown-watching and catalog-ordering, your chances of getting that nap are low. But it’s a magical season. A mom can dream, can’t she? Or, perhaps, pray:

Prayer for My Five-Minute Nap

Dear God, I cannot go on. It is four in the afternoon, my morning caffeine high is long gone, and I have hours and hours to go before I manage to get to bed. I am quite certain I could crash to the floor this instant and sleep like a rock for a week. I cannot read one more syllable of Owl Babies to my little  monkey chattering here beside me. I cannot even lift my hand to turn the page. Five minutes, God, and I’ll be a new woman. Please and amen. 

In defense of the corn-maze mom

October 16, 2011

Here at Mommy Prayers headquarters and cider-donut repository, every day feels like a maze of one sort or another, so I feel compelled to come to the defense of the hapless family currently being ridiculed nationwide for calling 911 to be rescued from a corn maze. (Punchline: They were only 25 feet from the entrance, ba-da-dum.)

They’re catching especial hatred for having a three-week-old infant with them, with comments along the lines of “who brings a newborn to a corn maze at dusk?” and “those people should not be allowed to procreate,” etc. etc.

It’s not till you read that they also have a preschooler that the story makes more sense — and boy, did it bring back some baaaaad memories.

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Dio Mio — Mommy Prayers in Italian?

June 4, 2011

Here at the Mommy Prayers world headquarters and pizza capricciosa takeout bar, we are wiping away tears of joy with one hand and pouring a small glass of prosecco with the other: Le Preghiere delle Mamme has arrived.

That’s right, gente, Mommy Prayers has been translated to Italian. I could not be happier. No, wait, I could be happier. I could be happier if I were reading Le Preghiere delle Mamme on a balcony of Le Sirenuse in Positano. Then I could not be happier.

But even stuck in the under-dusted Mommy Prayers home office from hell, I’m still pretty happy. Mr. Mommy Prayers and I, back when he was only my intended and I was years away from being anyone’s mommy, spent six glorious months in Italy, the memory of which will sustain us both till the day we die.

We were broke, parceling out our small savings 10,000 lire at a time, living in a series of studio sublets (Florence, Rome, Positano, Trevi, Venice) — and absolutely, positively drunk in love with Italy and the Italiani.

Even in our non-childed state, it was a wonder to see how enraptured Italians are with children — theirs, strangers’, any child, any nationality, any time day or night. I will never forget finishing up a lovely and modest dinner one night at 10:30 or so, only to have a family of 15, including toddlers and a babe-in-arms, pile in and take over the joint. (The joke here, if you have not had the fortune of traveling in Italy, is that only foreigners eat before, say, 11 at night. Early bird is 9:30, 10 p.m., maybe.)

Immediately a waiter swept up the baby, to nobody’s consternation, and showed him off  to every other table in the place one by one, before disappearing with him behind the swinging double-doors of the kitchen. That mother ate an entire, dizzyingly delicious meal with not one care for her baby and not one peep out of the little ragazzo.

It’s standard operating procedure in Italy — babies are from heaven, welcomed everywhere at any hour, as much a part of life as al dente pasta, beautiful tailoring, and the Pope.

So the thought of those mothers, those parents, reading Mommy Prayers Italian-style? What can I say? Dio mio.

Mother’s Day, Cancelled

May 7, 2011

When the phone rang the other day at Mommy Prayers world headquarters, we picked it right up — something that happens less and less frequently with that tired old land-line. But caller ID was telling us it was mom, our matriarch, the glue that holds us all together (mostly with stuffed shells and too much dessert) — still working at 74, always ready to show up to a grandchild’s saxophone recital, forever gifting us with dish towels and tote bags.

Ma. How we love her.

She said, “Let’s not get together on Mother’s Day.”

Really?

“Don’t send me anything either.”

Ouch.

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Tina Fey Loves Mommy Prayers! (kinda) (maybe) (sorta)

April 29, 2011

Here at the Mommy Prayers Hulu-watching headquarters, we love us some Tina Fey — and yes, we’re entirely aware that statement is hardly putting a stake in the ground. I mean, what woman under the age of — oh, hell any age — doesn’t love Tina? She’s the falling-apart-yet-somehow-completely-together everywoman we all wish we were.

So it comes as zero surprise that on top of raising a child, writing, producing and starring in a hit TV comedy, playing Sarah Palin much better than SP can, and doing all the other stuff she does (Oprah!), Tina wrote a book. And that book shot up to No. 1. Again, no shocker.

What’s surprising, in the loveliest kind of way, is that Queen Tina loved Mommy Prayers so much that she wrote one of her own — Prayer for a Daughter.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like an entry from Mommy Prayers, only for the next generation? (An idea, by the way, that only about 900 people have suggested to me for a Mommy Prayers sequel.) Such a touching homage. Imagine the depths of my gratitude knowing that Tina Fey is aping my book.

Except, of course, she’s not. At least, I have no reason to think she’s ever seen Mommy Prayers in her life. I cannot tell a lie: if someone less famous did this, I’d be the teensiest bit put out — like, holla, girl, get your own ideas for parenting humor, I got this one covered already.

But it’s Tina Fey and that makes it all different. So I’ll just sit here quietly, with my little book, and bask in the reflected glow of All That Is Tina. You know what they say, Great minds think alike!

It’s not the snow, it’s the %$#* snowsuit

February 10, 2011

My kids have not gone to school in more than a week. They were dismissed early last Wednesday in a snowstorm, and the schools haven’t been open since. The administration keeps telling us they’re shoveling the schools’ roofs…with a single teaspoon, apparently. You may begin feeling sorry for me now.

But not that sorry — because I remember what it’s like when every day is a “snow day” — when you’re stuck in the house with a baby or a toddler or a preschooler, or two or three or four, and there isn’t any school to go to and it just will not stop snowing.

My best girlfriend and I used to laugh at the moms of older kids who’d complain about the endlessness of February school vacation — we’d be like, “Suck it up, whiners, do you forget that this is our lives — figuring out fun and cheap things to fill up day after day after day of frigid temps and ice-covered sidewalks?” (more…)

Prayer for December 26, the real mother’s day

December 26, 2010

It’s Boxing day, friends! December 26, the Day After the Big Day (if you celebrate Christmas, of course), the very most favorite day of the year here at the Mommy Prayers packaging warehouse and leftover sweets hut.

I’d write something witty, but I’m headed to the couch with a box of bonbons and a pile of books and lady mags. The house looks like a small tornado swept through, but I will be doing no cleaning, cooking or parenting today beyond the minimum necessary to comply with local and state regulations. Other than to offer up Prayer for December 26:

Dear God, Do these religious holidays exhaust you as much as they exhaust us? Are you a mess after Ramadan or in need of a day in bed after Rosh Hashanah? Because it’s December 26, I am utterly beat, and our house looks like a bomb went off in every room.

I’m not complaining, Lord — the Christmas season is just so much magical with children. Playing Santa…singing the old, beautiful Christmas carols with them…watching their eyes widen when we talk about how a baby saved the whole world…

And yet, there is endless cooking and cleaning and shopping and wrapping and mailing and making sure everyone we’ve ever met receives our family photo card, which took me four hours at the computer to get perfect. And there are family dynamics to navigate, already tricky but made far trickier with grandkids in the mix.

Now it’s over, God, for this year at least. I’m feeling deeply grateful, and deeply spent. Thank you for the Christmas season, and thank you that it only comes once a year. Amen.

 

 

Nearly naked Barbie and other stealth toys

December 22, 2010

The shopping is winding down here at the Mommy Prayers strip mall as we coast into the really fun part of the holiday, the part where we eat and drink and wrap presents in joyful secrecy only to watch them get unceremoniously — nay, even violently — unwrapped a few hours later. Oh what fun.

Then there are the presents you didn’t wrap — the ones your parents, or your in-laws, or your brother, or your spouse’s best friend from grade school, have generously bought and brought for your babies. Think of them as little landmines that can blow up your entire year of careful parenting in one big sparkling shower of inappropriateness.

I’m talking about Grammy giving Nearly Naked Barbie (so pink and pretty!) to your preschool daughter, Uncle toting an ultra-violent (and ultra-plastic) Nerf machine gun for a four-year-old, or your stylin’ and child-free best friend wrapping up black skinny jeans for your little girl who still has a toddler tummy, long may it pudge out over the top of her modest and comfy sweatpants.

‘Tis the season when those closest to you seem to feel all bets are off — your annoying parenting rules are there to be broken with gifts your kids will luvvvvvv and you will haaaaate for all of 2011.

For you, and for them, we offer up some choice excerpts from Prayer for Barbie:

Dear God, well, here she is in all her ponytailed plastic glory, Barbie herself. She of the freakish 36-18-33 body measurements and the Malibu tan and the 10,000 pink accessories sold separately, including tiny stiletto heels that get sucked up by the vacuum in no time flat.

The doll I swore would never darken our doorstep is inside, unpackaged, and currently having her Hot Tub Party House play set assembled, all thanks to my in-laws. So much for that moratorium.

God, I know this is only the beginning of a long struggle with toxic popular culture. Please give me the patience to endure these fads without over-reacting, and please give me the wisdom to know when I should react.

Also the foresight not to vacuum up those expensive accessories. Amen.

 

Aw, hipster dads. How much do we love them?

October 11, 2010

The Mommy Prayers traveling road show is back at home base after a couple of forays out into the wide world, a thrill indeed for a crew that sometimes counts grocery shopping as the big field trip for the week.

Brain,Child goes to Chicago's Women and Children First bookstore

First up, Chicago, where the wonderful Brain,Child team, windy city edition, filled the iconic Women and Children First bookstore to overflowing. Hearts and flowers to all who showed up to listen and to read – among  them Beth Kohl, Sara Levine, B.E. Pinkham, and Gale Renee Walden. (And is it shallow of me to note how stylish the mamas of Chicago are? Something told me we weren’t in Boston anymore — there wasn’t a Birkenstock or clog to be spied in the crowd.)

Best of all, some of the writers brought their husbands along, always a happy occurrence in our pro-Dad book. We nodded in all-too-painful recognition when Molly McNett and her man Dan Libman co-read a funny back-and-forth piece on fighting for quality time when both partners work from home.

And we nodded just as hard at Sharla Stewart’s gentle lamentation on how an equal-partners relationship can look and feel awfully 1950’s when mom winds up staying home and dad goes off to make the donuts every day. Been there, done that, sister.

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The tetchiness of bringing home Baby No. 2

August 20, 2010

We’ve been thinking second-child thoughts all week here at the Mommy Prayers summer shack — primarily because firstborn’s been away in the White Mountains all week, which makes us realize we have a second child, and, furthermore, the kid is good company.

But also because a friend has just had her second baby, which brought back memories of those ticklish early days trying to get the older kid to not just not-kill the baby, but actually like it and welcome it into the family. Hellish.

Nobody captures that tetchy emotional dance better than Catherine Newman in Waiting for Birdy — have you read it? Best new-parenting memoir since Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. (that’s not my original thought — some lovely blurber said it on the cover of Catherine’s book before I did. But I agree.)

She’s just so spot on about those first hours and days, hiding the precious newborn — which, after all, you worked a long and hard time to conceive, gestate and birth and would now like to cuddle with publicly — from his or her sibling.

In the hospital, Newman hears her three-year-old Ben coming down the hall: “I scrambled to get the baby into her little crib, the way you might, say, hide a bong in the closet, and shoo the smoke out with your hand. Baby? There’s no baby.”

Exactly. The second-born (and third, and fourth, and…) is your little forbidden secret. For awhile anyway.

Those same emotions inspired Prayer for Bringing Our Second Baby Home:

Dear God,

Hoo boy. This is the tough part — well, the emergency C-section was tough, too, but this is tough in a different way. Here we are, walking through the door with beautiful Baby No. 2, and the look on her big brother’s face is enough to make me call for another round of postpartum drugs.

Oh, we’ve talked this all through, but no amount of words can change what’s just happened. He used to be the center of the universe, now he’s just a star — a very very bright star, but now only one of a pair.

As the joke goes, you’d be upset too, if your husband told you he loved you so much he wanted another wife “just like you!”