Friday, March 11, 2016

Four Reasons Having a Messy Car is Actually a Good Thing

I'll be honest: I've never really been great at keeping the inside of my car clean. Once when I was in college, my car broke down in the middle of an intersection, and I made my roommate help me shove all of the stuff from the seats and floor into the trunk so that the tow truck driver and mechanic wouldn't see how messy my car was. It took us at least ten minutes to move everything.

Now that I have kids, the mess has multiplied. Plus, since I'm carting around two kids and all of their stuff, we've had to upgrade to a vehicle that's a bit bigger than the '94 Nissan Sentra I was driving in college, so there's more floor space that seems to magically attract junk. I've been meaning to clean my minivan out for a while now, but then I started thinking about all of the benefits of having my vehicle piled high with crap. So in case you're like me and are putting off emptying out your car, check out this list of reasons that having a messy car can actually be a good thing!

1. You're prepared in case of emergency.
When I was a new driver, my dad used to tell me that I should always keep a blanket and some water in my car, especially during the winter. That way if I got stranded somewhere during a blizzard or because my car broke down, I'd be warm and hydrated until help could reach me. And now that I drive my mom-mobile, I've always got blankets and water. And Cheerios. And apple sauce pouches. And toy cars. And stuffed animals. And empty plastic bags. And seven mittens that don't match each other. Sure, the water is mostly contained in 14 half-empty sippy cups, the blankets are baby-sized, and the Cheerios are as old as the minivan. But the point is, if we got stranded in the middle of a snow storm, my family and I would be set for at least a week.

2. No more last-minute stops at the store on the way to events.
Have you ever been on your way to dinner at a friend's house or a work gathering when you suddenly remember that you were supposed to bring something? If your car is full of stuff, you've almost definitely got items that will work in a pinch for just about any situation. Forgot to bring a potluck dish? Here are six packs of sandwich crackers! Will the party have a white elephant gift exchange? A book about going to the potty will be a great conversation starter! Need a hostess gift? Everyone loves juice boxes and a handful of fast food napkins!

3. You can eliminate the need for a diaper bag or purse. 
When my son was a newborn, a well-stocked diaper bag was a must on any excursion. If I forgot to refill it or - even worse - forgot to bring it altogether, I was in big trouble. One time we ate dinner in a restaurant with my son wearing only a diaper and a windbreaker because he had a diaper blowout right after we were seated, and I'd forgotten to put spare clothes in his diaper bag. But now my son is nearly four years old, his sister is one, and there are enough clothes and diapers in our vehicle to dress at least half of the children in any given neighborhood. My van also contains approximately 17 partially empty containers of wipes, no less than four boxes of tissues, and enough change in the center console to buy each of my kids at least one meal at a restaurant (assuming, of course, that the restaurant has a dollar menu.) I can leave my diaper bag and purse at home, since the contents of both are strewn throughout the back seat.

4. You're less likely to be detained for suspicion of car theft.
Let's say that someone in my town has their minivan stolen, and it's the same model and color as mine. I might get pulled over just to make sure that I wasn't driving said stolen vehicle. But just by showing the cop the things that were on the floor and shoved under the seats, it would only take about 15 seconds for me to prove that the vehicle was actually mine. Look - here's a picture of me with my grandpa! And fourteen pieces of junk mail addressed to me! And some Christmas cards with pictures of my family on them that I forgot to mail last year! I mean, license and insurance card would probably clear it up pretty quickly, too, but you can never be too careful.

By cleaning out your car, you could be doing yourself more harm than good, so it's probably best to leave it the way it is. And then you can use the time you saved by not cleaning your car out to help me come up with a list of reasons that I shouldn't clean the closets either. I'd really appreciate it.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Fantasies for Moms

As moms, we can often find ourselves being so caught up in the daily tasks of taking care of our kids that we forget to find time for pleasure that's just for us. But as moms, we have a unique set of physical and mental desires and needs, and engaging in some harmless fantasy can not only help us relax, it can also allow us to be better wives, mothers, and women. After you put the kids to bed tonight, slip into something more comfortable (or something that's at least not covered in spit-up,) and try role-playing one of these exciting fantasies crafted especially for moms.

1. You are a beautiful young college student. Your roommate is gone for the weekend, and you have the dorm room to yourself. It is 11am on a Saturday, and you are asleep in your bed.

That's it. That's the whole fantasy. You're sleeping. At 11:00am. You have not been awake for 5 hours. No one is demanding lunch. You don't have Cheerios stuck to the back of your arm for some reason. You're just asleep. The end.

2. You are walking along a beautiful, moonlit beach with the man you love. The warm sand gently gives way beneath each step of your perfectly pedicured toes. He slips his arm around your waist and lightly brushes his lips against your cheek. "Tell me what you're thinking," he whispers softly in your ear. "I just read a really good book," you answer. And then the two of you discuss it. For like 45 minutes. With no interruptions.

3. You awake early one morning to a knock on the door. Pulling your pink robe loosely around your shoulders, you tiptoe down the stairs and slowly open the door. On your front porch is a tall, handsome man wearing a green apron. He stretches out one hand to you, and in it is a white cup. "Starbucks delivers now," he says. You drink the entire cup of coffee while it is still hot.

4. Your husband arrives home from work early one afternoon with a mischievous look in his eye and the signature pink striped Victoria's Secret shopping bag dangling from one finger. He smiles and hands the bag to you. "I stopped by the mall on my way home and bought you a little something. Why don't you try it on?" he asks with a wink. "They were having a great sale on yoga pants."

5. In the darkened room of the spa, you slip under the sheet draped across the massage table and allow yourself to relax to the sound of the music playing softly from the overhead speakers. There's a soft knock, and then the massage therapist enters, rubbing scented oil between her hands. "My next client just called to cancel, so I have a free hour after your appointment," she says with a smile. "Would you like to double the length of your massage? No extra charge for my favorite client."

Two. Hour. Massage.

Test out one of these mom fantasies tonight; any one of them should have you asleep in no time!

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

On Why Sleeping Babies Are Like Fight Club

Attention Zipadee-Zip fans: Welcome!! Make sure to like "I Was Promised More Naps" on Facebook, and stay tuned for a chance to win a Zipadee-Zip! 

The first rule of Fight Club, as everyone knows, is that you don’t talk about Fight Club, which on the surface has nothing to do with babies, (and also, under the surface, it still pretty much has nothing to do with babies,) except that, if your baby is a good sleeper, you should never, ever talk about the fact that your baby is a good sleeper. (There are a lot of commas in that sentence, but I have a strong emotional attachment to each and every one of them.)

I forget the reason that you can’t talk about Fight Club because it’s been a long time since I saw that movie, but the reason that you should not talk about how well your baby is sleeping is that the second you mention it, your baby will stop sleeping. It doesn’t matter whether or not your baby hears you. You could whisper it to yourself in the locked bathroom while the shower is running – “My baby is sleeping reasonably well,” you might say – and your baby will sense it and decide to mix things up by not sleeping anymore, ever again.

I’ve actually had a lot of chances to learn this valuable lesson, but apparently I’m a slow and sleep-deprived learner, so I just had to learn it again. I waited much too long to transition Calista from her infant sleeper to her crib. Dan was working a lot of nights and it was really hard to get both kids to bed at the same time by myself, and I had this theory that she slept better in the infant sleeper, except that she wasn’t really sleeping all that well. But she is finally, finally sleeping in her crib 100%, (and I bought this nifty little contraption called a Zipadee-Zip which is basically pajamas but with no holes for the hands or feet to stick out through, and it helps babies transition from swaddling and having that feeling of being held tightly that she was getting in her infant sleeper, and anyway, it’s wonderful,) and Calista figured out that she loves rolling over and sleeping on her belly, and she is finally sleeping well. 


Or, at least, she was. She was still usually waking up once a night to nurse, but it was at 1 or 2am, and then she’d go right back to sleep until 7:30ish, so I was getting five or six glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is HUGE.

So then the other day, Dan and I took the kids for a walk, and as we were talking and pushing the kids along in our double jogging stroller that is approximately the size of a charter bus, I stupidly said to Dan, “Oh, I am SO glad that Calista is finally sleeping well. I got six consecutive hours of sleep last night. It was glorious.” And I said it right where nine-month-old Calista could hear me. Rookie mistake.

That night I put her to bed at 8pm. And she woke up at 8:30. And 9. And 11. And 1. And 3:30. And 6. And Lucas crawled into bed with me at midnight and kicked me in the ribs at about 4:15, so basically I got NO SLEEP WHATSOEVER.

And as I was rocking Calista in a desperate attempt to get her to go back to sleep at 6am (which didn’t work, for the record,) I thought to myself, “You just had to talk about it, didn’t you? You couldn’t have made conversation about the weather??” Turns out she has a cold, and it’s been three nights with very little sleep, and I am about 99% sure that the only reason she got a cold is that I said she was sleeping well.

I am not the only mom who has experienced this phenomenon. It’s very common. I have a friend who had three kids who were excellent sleepers and slept through the night early and often. She gave me advice on helping Lucas (who despised sleeping when he was a baby) to sleep longer, and she mentioned that her three kids were great sleepers, and then her fourth kid who wasn’t even born yet at the time of this conversation was an awful sleeper. This is not a coincidence. It is a direct result of her having talked. This is a scientific fact*.

So the thing to remember is that if your kids sleep well, you should never, ever talk about it. People might try to get you to talk about it. They might say things like, “Does your baby sleep well?” And if your baby doesn’t sleep well, by all means, feel free to answer them. But if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who loves to sleep, do not answer this question. Instead wink at the person who asked and say “Fight Club.” They will have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, but hopefully you can confuse them enough that they forget what their original question was. Then while they’re still trying to process what you said, quickly walk your well-rested self away from the conversation. And maybe keep walking until you reach my house so that you can entertain my kids while I nap. Because I’m pretty sure the third rule of Fight Club says something about the fight being over when someone goes limp, and I’m about ten seconds away from passing out from exhaustion.

*Not a scientific fact.

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