Monday, July 13, 2009

Mommy GrumpBag

My husband left today for a five-day trip back home to sort out all the loose ends at the house and property in Wisconsin. Leaving ME with these little heathens that we call our children.

I thought I had until Tuesday (that's a solid 48 hours) before I lost it with them, but apparently PollyAnna must've been advising me on my patience length. I've completely had it with them already. We had to have a little discussion with CC and Destructo (9 and 7, respectively) before bedtime (a mere 8 hours after daddy's departure) where I laid down some guidelines to how we could all have an enjoyable week together. Here's the list:

1. They must understand that I am not to be spoken to ONLY when they need, want, don't like, want to change, or broke something.

2. I am their mother, not a servant or maid. I am happy to spend time with them and help them figure stuff out along the way. I am not there to satisfy their every demand throughout the day.

3. They are not the Daddy. They are not allowed to boss around the Animal and mete out punishments as they see fit. If there is a problem with his behavior that cannot be tolerated, they are to inform me and I will deal with it.

4. "Sorry" doesn't mean anything to me if it is not backed up by changes in their behavior. Period.

I am really quite easy to please and am pretty easy to get along with. Really! But these children seemed to find something wrong with almost everything we did today.... going swimming with a new toy (fights! tears! recriminations!), going to a maze with friends (I don't WANT to go! scowl! I want to stay home!), eating spaghetti for dinner (I don't like spaghetti! I want ramen noodles, instead! Ed. Note: Are you eff-ing kidding me??), and ice cream for dessert (I wanted bubblegum! I want Superman flavor! I want a bigger scoop!!).

Seriously, my 9 year old made his own dinner of ramen noodles while the other FOUR adults and FIVE children sat down to devour a mountain of spaghetti. I know I can't make him like something he doesn't, but give me a break. Who doesn't like spaghetti?!? I feel like I have failed as a mother every time he turns down a plate.

I don't feel like I have failed you, though, dear reader, as I am gifting my spaghetti recipe to you all. It originally appeared here, but I'm reprinting the whole thing below. Enjoy!

Using a tip from a friend (thank you, Heather!), I finally modified my old recipe and get an amazing spaghetti meat sauce that only takes about 3 hours. You can eat it sooner and it will be way better than anything you get out of a jar, but if you get it on the stovetop before the kids get home from school and then leave it there until dinnertime-- I swear you will be happy. It freezes really well, too, so I always make a huge batch and then throw the leftovers in a few different containers and pull them out on days when there isn't time to cook and we are sick of Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken (which, actually, the kids NEVER get sick of, just us adults). Serve it with a salad and an oven toasted baguette. That is my comfort food!

Spaghetti Sauce
1 tsp. olive oil
2 lbs. ground sirloin (if you don't mind the fat, use gr. chuck-it tastes better)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1 jar Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara (or other store brand- just tomato and basil, tho!)
2 15-oz. cans of Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste + 3 cans of water

Add olive oil to a large stockpot, over med. high heat. Add onions and sauté about three minutes, add crushed garlic and stir for about a minute. Add hamburger and cook until it there is no pink left. At this point, I usually tip the pot over the edge of the stovetop to drain any grease out that may have accumulated. After you get the grease out, turn back to medium-high heat and add the spices. Stir the spices into meat until aromatic and then add all the tomatoes, sauce, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook for about three hours. Enjoy!

Bonus Parting Shot: One of my sons, who shall remain nameless, was overheard saying this today: "I have to penetrate from the back AND the front to conquer him!!!" War isn't pretty, is it?


  1. I hear ya! This is what parenting is all about... Trying to keep our sanity and laughter is the challenge!

    I think that point number 4 - about being sorry and really SHOWING it is so important - and difficult. But a lesson well learnt when and if kids learn it...

  2. I so feel ya with the children who can not be pleased. I hear those same things every day!
    I do really like your rule about sorry. In fact I am going to steal it and use it at my house.

    And really? What kid doesn't like spaghetti? I have one who will only eat it if I serve hers with the colorful spiral noodles.

  3. At times, I just throw in the towel and let them kill each other. Our big thing is who's going to ride shotgun in the car. Wait, my dear, it only gets better!! (does that sound cynical?)

  4. The Daddy is aloud to toss around the animal?

    That's not fair.

    The last time I played parachute games with our hamster I got in trouble.

  5. Ahhhh yes, the never ending squabbles and nit-picking, I remember them well. I am now on my 7th and final day of childlessness ... (sorry, had to wipe the tears off my keyboard)back to reality with the youngest home from camp tomorrow. The thought of having to entertain only one of them for the 10 days until his brothers are back is worse than the anticipation of having them all home again.
    Keep smiling and let Daddy take over the minute he gets back.

  6. I'd lay down those rules with my sons, but I know they'd stop listening as soon as I opened my mouth. Thanks for the recipe which I'll never ever make. When I make grilled cheese for the boys this afternoon though, I'll think of you.

  7. Please come over and talk my kids through the rules, I'll pay you.

  8. I made the mistake of making my kid sit at the table until he finished his beans. 7 years later he won't touch a bean product, refried, chilli, etc.

    I do not know where they get their stubborness from????

  9. I am tempted to print off your rules and post them throughout my house! Boys are exhausting little men, aren't they? I'm particularly exhausted around dinnertime, where my delightful 7 year old won't eat spaghetti, either. Oh, wait. He'll eat it, but he only wants butter on the noodles, then he'll barely eat them. Also, now my oldest, who used to love meat sauce, insists I strain away the meat. Sweet heaven, just eat the spaghetti already!!

    I'm going to make your sauce soon. And by make it, I might mean make it then pour it in a glass and drink it because it sounds delicious!

    Good luck with the rest of your week. I'm without a husband for a couple days again, so just think, we're out there somewhere, having each other's back!

  10. Ah, I hear that! Is summer vacation over yet?

  11. Mmmmm...that looks good. Other than the '3 hours' part. I can't plan that far ahead.

  12. Welcome to my world. My hub last trip was 15 days. I try to be all cool during the first 13 days and I usually fall apart a day before he returns. WIth three little ones 4, 5 and 6 I have all of the same woes you mentioned. One thing I have been doing lately during the moments of disrespecting mommy..I put my phone on speaker phone and tell them daddy hear the whole thing. When the Biggest Little asked her dad a question I made sure to record his voice to saying, "You better listen to your mother." on the voice recorder on my CrackBerry Not sure how long that will work. I feel for ya Bitchen WIfe


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.