A Martini for a Mismatched Mom

Every once in a while a day begins in such a way that you just know a drink will be had at the end of it. Last week, Becky had one of those days…

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Becky is a busy wife and mom of 2 who spends her working hours counseling some of Ottawa’s youth. She is a juggler, as most moms are, a classic example of a modern day mother. Becky is well aware that the journey of motherhood is neither smooth nor predictable. She knows that there’ll be times when she is victorious and times when she clearly is not, like last Friday…

"Is it that obvious?"

“Is it that obvious?”

Despite her footwear mishap, (a result of a toddler distraction during the boot selection process) she is able to laugh along with her colleagues and students.

Becky knows that laughter is key in her role as a mom.

At around 10 am, on the day of the mismatched footwear incident, Becky discovers the home phone in her purse. Luckily her cell is in there too. Recalling a very tasty cocktail she’d enjoyed recently, she sends the following text: How do I make a French Martini?

Becky knows who to call on for drink recipes.

Now, in honour of Becky, and those who have walked similar paths, The French Martini will (indefinitely) be referred to as: The Disheveled Momtini. This is how you can make one…

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The Disheveled Momtini

Ingredients:

Vodka 1.5 oz.

Chambord (raspberry liquor) 1 oz.

Pineapple Juice 1 oz.

Method:

1. Fill a metal shaker with ice.
2. Measure and pour in all of the above ingredients.
3. Shake, shake, shake and strain into a martini glass.
4. Serve to your favourite disheveled mom friends and the ones with matching shoes too.

TOAST to laughter instead of tears.

What’s Your 7 Minutes in Tahiti? (Fending off the Mom-Meltdown)

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As a parents we’ve all lost it! Snapped. Acted in ways that we’re not proud of. I know I have. And when this happens, all we can do is forgive ourselves (once we let go of the guilt), and seek out ways to prevent the snap or meltdown or the losing of our shit or whatever we call it when our own behavior fails to meet our own expectations. Not to mention, the needs of our kids.

I discovered the key to my own meltdown prevention one evening, during the usual routine. You know it. The one that’s similar to a cyclone. It strikes weekdays between the hours of 4:00 and 8:00 pm.

A typical Evening Cyclone, and the surprises that pop up within it, render me useless by 9pm at which point I rip open a jumbo chocolate bar and plant myself firmly on the couch.

Those hours, leading up to bedtime, are action packed.  They involve an endless flow of food preparation, cleaning up, followed by homework, varying activities, and more cleaning up. Then, bath time and the sorting out of everybody’s things. And, of course, we can’t forget the unpredictable tasks of tantrum management and the keeping of sibling peace (insert frazzled expression).

On the above mentioned, and ever so insightful weekday evening, I was unknowingly on the verge of a discovery. I was also on the verge of a meltdown. My role as peacekeeper was wearing thin and my patience was waning. The girls were messily brushing their teeth. I was sorting the dirty laundry into piles.

My chocolate + couch time was feeling very far away.

I took a few deep breaths, willing my patience to hold out.

Twenty minutes more.

I can do this!

Then my youngest decides (for no apparent reason) to scratch her sister who does not retaliate but instead screeches the most ear piercing, window breaking, instant headache inducing shriek.

Deep breaths.

My eyeballs are, pretty much, akin to those of a bug, at this point.

“You’re alright,” I say to Zed.

“NO story for you tonight,” I inform Mini.

I start to shuffle them all towards their rooms, insanity creeping at my heels.

And then, the front door opens. Hubby is home from work. Up the stairs he comes.

This is my cue.

“I’m outta here,” I say, in a matter of fact manner.

Hubby’s brow furrows.

I turn and walk away, peeling my clothes off layer by layer as I go. I don’t look back but I’m pretty sure they’re watching me.  I open the door, turn on the water and step into the shower. The perplexed look on my hubby’s face is the last thing I see and then steam surrounds me. For that moment, and the six to follow, I am alone in Tahiti.

I immerge from the shower, a new woman. I throw on my robe and I’m ready for story time.

Seven Minutes in Tahiti, for me, on that day was a simple shower. It dissolved the meltdown in its tracks. Sometimes, I find that sending an SOS text to a fellow mom often does the trick too. She’ll text back a photo of her son, missing his bangs or a confession that she’s just been hiding in an undisclosed location scoffing ice cream.

Ahhhhh, 7 Minutes in Tahiti. Where do you find yours?

A Quick Guide to Horizontal Parenting

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Horizontal Parenting (or couch-based parenting) isn’t likely something that you plan for but you should. There’ll, indeed, be times when you’re out of commission, partially or fully.  And, unless family members or friends come to the rescue, you’ll still have to take care of and entertain your kids.

Maybe morning sickness is your nemesis, an all encompassing flu has you in its clutches or, heaven forbid, you’ve got a hangover. But fret not because it is possible to play an active parenting role while remaining, virtually, inactive.

It doesn’t really matter what lands you on the couch. It’s what you do (or don’t do) while you’re there, that counts.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you excel as a Horizontal Parent. The following ideas can be orchestrated from the comfort of your couch and, depending on the age of your children, your involvement can be minimal, allowing you to rest.

1. Play I Spy.

2. Play UNO.

3. Read (look at) books.

4. Play Spa. You are the spa goer. The kids are the staff, who specialize in hand and foot massages (provide a towel and lotion).

5. Encourage the kids to play: Make Your Own Sandwich.

6. Make bracelets.

7. Get them to build a giant tower with Lego or blocks.

8. Play Tic Tac Toe.

9. Ask the kids to tell each other stories. Take turns adding details.

10. Engage in a horizontal game of: Keep the Balloon Up.

11. Do Improv.

12. Play Hospital. You’re the patient. They’re the doctors.

13. Engage in a game of: Who can lay silently, without moving, for the longest?

14. Provide never-seen-before crafty things (like stickers, colouring sheets and crayons. Avoid scissors, markers, glue and glitter).

15. Watch movies (of course).
16. Snuggle (of course).

17. Play Theatre. Ask the kids to create, rehearse and perform their own show.

18. Order a pizza.

19. Play: Who’s the best Whisperer?

20. Hold a Tidying Up competition..

You can be really organized by pre-packing a Horizontal Parenting Kit. That way, when the unexpected (or the self-inflicted) strikes, you’ll be ready.
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To build your own kit, you’ll need: UNO cards, books, DVDs,  beads and pipe cleaners (for simple bracelets), blocks or Lego, lotion, a towel, balloons, a doctor’s kit, puzzles, stickers, crayons, colouring sheets and some Improv ideas. For example: everyone is at a party and each person is assigned a funny character. They have to try and guess who the other characters are, while acting like their assigned character (ie. a Disney princess, an angry villain, a favourite hockey player, a popular singer, a teacher from school, the principal or a family member. You could also assign them each an animal or an object (ie. a kettle, a door, a hair dryer, a chair, a tree, a swing, a mat or a tooth brush).

Whatever you do release the activities one at a time and as slowly as possible. Maximize each one.  This slow release will ensure that more time is filled and that the kids are sufficiently entertained for as long as possible resulting in some quality Horizontal Parenting that you can almost feel good about.

For a Horizontal Momtini recipe, click here!