Monday, December 8, 2014

Off to Work We Go

Dear Ann Abler,

I’ve been a stay at home mom for over two years and I’m ready to go back to work. A friend said I should wait until my toddler is in preschool. I could use a few of your expert excuses, so I don’t admit I'm going to work again in order drink my coffee uninterrupted and go to the bathroom alone. 
While you’re at it, can you share some tips to ease the transition and also relieve my momguilt?

- Wam Bam no more a SAHM

Dear Wam Bam,

Going back to work, you say? Let me put my sassy pants on and say, Giiiirrrrl, you’ve been at work! You’re a mom! And as a fellow food fetcher / homework helper / lullaby singer / boo-boo bandager, I can say it is one of the most exhausting, essence-sucking, rewarding and fulfilling jobs out there. 

I will now replace the sassy pants with yoga pants, in order to better espouse expert excuses in a zen state of mind. That’s how yoga pants work.

Expert Excuses

Taylor Swift recently reminded us of the immutable truth that players gonna play and haters will frequently hate. You have some options of how to respond to those who doubt your decision-making skills. If you’re feeling self-deprecating-ish, focus on how you are a horrible person and would be ruining your kid if you spent any more time with him and so you're bringing in professional help. If you’re feeling more blame-y, just say how other moms suck much more than you. Try phrases like, “at least I’m better than that Sheila…her baby’s first word was iPad,” or “sure Tracy stays at home with her kids, but she plays possum until they figure out the Common Core homework and forage for food on their own”. History (and by history I mean The Real Housewives) shows us that putting down others is a great way to feel better about ourselves. 

Okay, expert excuses…check! Let’s move on to getting you work ready and curing that momguilt.

Transitioning to work

Unless one of your co-workers makes you run an emotional marathon every minute (as children are wont to do), you can bask in your newfound freedom from Mr. Two-year-old’s wild ride. Yes, you’ll miss your kiddo, but keep your head up and follow these guidelines:
  • Get used to using grown-up sounding words like merger, accountability, transparency, and remuneration.
  • Get un-used to saying phrases like “come to mommy,” “look who’s a big boy,” and “does someone need a diaper change?”
  • Get your child accustomed to communicating with you on Face-time and Skype. Then, once your toddler says something heart-wrenching like, “mommy lives in computer now,” refer to remedies listed below.


Medicine for Momguilt

Below are a few tips for softening the sting of being away from little ones:
  • Remember that whomever you’ve left your offspring with is equally capable of placing them in front of the television.
  • Bring a picture of your little darling and the drawing he did on the wall.
    The artist admiring his work, Line Drawing on Wall, Marker, 2014
  • If you’re missing your baby, have your supervisor sneeze some snot out and use you as a human kleenex.
  • Reacquaint yourself with your own thoughts. They've missed you.
  • Now that you're away from your Little for much of the day, you won't have to find a way to escape him. You can both enjoy that extra clingy desperation in your hugs and kisses.
Parents concur it's often more hide; less seek
  • See if a co-worker can climb on top of your head, knee you in the nose, and mess up whatever hairstyle you’ve attempted. This will remind you that the solitary nature of data entry has its perks.
  • Remember that being a stay at home mom (SAHM) is half housework anyhow, so take comfort in the fact that you CANNOT be doing laundry right now. 
  • Observe and appreciate how your coffee cup remains miraculously un-spilled as you complete task after un-interrupted task. 
You're gonna do great! Or perhaps you'll get fired for crying at your desk, I really can't say, I'm not a fortune teller. I'm just your Ann Abler, Excuse Expert. 

May your family be healthy and your commute not involve the 405,
Your Dear Ann Abler 

For anyone else reading this, please chime in with your own words of wisdom in the Comments Section below.  Then follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, or like me, really really like me on Facebook.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this be the extent of your cooking today:

Get by with a little help from your friends...Snap, Crackle, and Pop.

Happy Thanksgiving from your Ann Abler!

Be sure to share your holiday questions, confessions, or conundrums with Dear Ann Abler on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments section. As always, you can count on me for advanced avoidance techniques and expert excuses.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ann Abler of the Week - #7 When Will 'Fat Jeans' be a thing?

Each Saturday I give an Ann Abler of the Week Award  to a person that embodies the essence of your Dear Ann Abler's advice. In other words, someone that agrees:
  • Every plan is tentative until it is actually happening
  • The best part of a plan is planning it
  • Putting rum in your NutriBullet is going to make that juice fast more fun
This week we honor Tommmy Noble (@GeauxSaints79) as Ann Abler of the Week for outfitting his future fatter self. I'm usually pro-procrastination, but in this case, planning ahead sounds like more fun. No shame no gain, as they say. Isn't that what they say?

If you would like to be considered or nominate someone for this very prestigious award, send me a message via this site (comment section or homepage email form), Facebook, or Twitter, and include #AnnAblerOfTheWeek.

You're too sexy for that shirt,

Your Ann Abler  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nursing Babies: Sweet Angels or Essence-Sucking Skeksis?

Dear Ann Abler,

So cute not sucking out your sanity
My son has a cold and has been attached to my boob for no less then 8 hours in the past 24. When does the La Leche League come to my door with a prize (like french fries or beer)? 
Also, at what point is it no longer milk coming out and just particles of my sanity?


Barnacled Maid

Dear Barnacled,

I just did the emotional math...and 8 out of 24 equals almost 100% of the time that you feel like you have a precious little parasite attached to your teats. That is the emotional truth of the matter, and we may never know the “real” answer because I grew up in the era when Barbie told me, “math class is tough” and “let’s go shopping,” and I wanted to follow in her footsteps because she was an astronaut/nurse/doctor with a Dream House. 

Back to you and your baby boob barnacle. Am I right in saying that you feel you are nothing more than udders? A 24 hour lactation station? An all boob banquet? The milk-making MVP? These are all valid feelings, and you are right in wondering where La Leche League is with your beer…or your fries…or your beer-battered fries. Mmmm. If La Leche League included beer and french fry delivery in their menu of services, imagine how much more powerful their political presence could be. Until La Leche League jumps on this genius idea, you’ll have to rely on friends and family for sustenance. You could also try wearing one of those hydration hiking packs with a long straw, but that might make you feel like you’re plugged into some sort of milk-making Matrix of mere survival. And what is survival without sanity? Motherhood. Apparently.

You, right now. Image via
So let’s get back to solving your problem. I’ll start by giving you kudos for identifying your nearly null neural activity on your slippery slope to total brain drain. At this point, your baby is much like one of the skeksis from The Dark Crystal, sucking out your essence, and you must be saved. Your grey matter matters to me.

My usual approach of avoidance and denial don’t do the trick in this case, so we’ll have to skip to shifting the blame – the other go-to skill in your dear Ann Abler’s toolbox. It is imperative that you make sure everyone knows you should not be held responsible for remembering anything or behaving normally at this time. If you forget to put the gas pump back in its place, you can blame the baby. If you tell your family Thanksgiving is cancelled, no one can get mad; they should just toss scraps of food at you from a safe distance. If you don’t to do the dishes, no worries! You kept a baby human alive another day. You’re a goddess! If you accidentally serve your husband with divorce papers, he should take it in stride and have a hearty chuckle over it as he does those dishes you didn't do. You can do no wrong right now. All you need to do is use this post like you would a doctor’s note. It will excuse you for everything. Promise.*

Now go say three Hail Mommies and attempt to unlatch and unwind...or if you can't, then call another breastfeeding mom and talk about how this is all really gonna pay off once your babies are grown and ace those SATs. 

Always right,
Your Ann Abler 

(*Promise like how 'literally' means 'not literally' nowadays. Also, I am not a doctor.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Hope You Dirty Flashdance Dance

Dear Ann Abler,

Why does Facebook always suggest that I watch "I Hope You Dance" after I click your link? I mean, I know you totally hope your kids dance and all, but I'm confused as to what else your blog and an overly emotional song have in common.


Not as Sappy as Facebook Seems to Think I Am

Dear Sans Sap,

I’m guessing that "I Hope You Dance" speaks to some people in the same way that this video speaks to me:

I am a connoisseur of cheese in all its forms, whether it be gouda, havarti, or Richard Simmons. The pleasure that cheese brings is distinct from the satisfaction derived from sophisticated stuff like “the theater” and “speaking French.” Something truly cheesy elicits emotions in the area of the brain that stores memories of Air Supply songs and very special episodes of Growing Pains. When these cheese centers are triggered, a wave of nostalgia washes over us. Imagined memories of simpler times and sappy smiles make us feel downright swell.

The video above helps us look back on a time when happiness was achieved through high cut bikinis and bright white high tops all aerobicizing in unison. (Side note: if you actually watched the video, you may want to read this post on how to get rid of earworms). Isn’t it great to reflect on the 80s, when life was all Care Bears and Kids being adopted from Cabbage Patches? When Turbo, O-Zone, and Special K made sense as a dance team? When Aquanet and all things aerosol made us think of awesome bangs and not climate change? I could go on, but I’d rather finish up this post and dance. But before I do, let’s consider for a moment…

All the problems solved through dance in less than 2 hours:
·      Racism and interracial relations (Save the Last Dance, Breakin’)
·      Classism and homophobia (Billy Elliot)
·      Sexism (Flashdance)
·      Irrational anti-dance laws (Footloose)
·      Putting Baby in a corner (Dirty Dancing)

There is nothing quite like winning over a panel of snooty judges or seeing your foe super frustrated, all while solving a societal ill.

This takes us back to your question. In a world that can be so ridiculously depressing, maybe it’s ok to craft a new world in which there is a 50% chance that dancing is the right answer to any question. For any impasse or problem you encounter throughout your day, just ask yourself:

Sit it out or dance?
Do the dishes or dance?
Fight or dance fight?

So while “I Hope You Dance” may not be your jam or mine, let’s take her advice and dance, shall we? Now share this post with someone who needs a serving of cheese, and show me your best jazz hands.

There’s no stoppin’ us,

Your Ann Abler

Saturday, November 1, 2014

10 Signs You May Have Some 'Splaining to do the Morning After Halloween

Dear Ann Abler,

Last year I took my Breaking Bad costume a little too far and almost ended up becoming a drug king-pin.  How will I know if I've gone too far this Halloween?


Dear Double Dubs,

Here are the 10 signs you might have some 'splaining to do the day after Halloween:
Photo credit: Pia Schiavo-Campo
  1. The last thing you remember was riding your HR Director around the reception area while singing Ginuwine's "My Pony." 
  2. You wanted a Frozen-inspired outfit, but you didn't think your solid block of ice costume all the way through. #Frozen #Blueballs #LetItGo
  3. You woke up to find the karaoke DJ tied to your bed with a microphone cord, and you faintly recall requesting Monster Mash ad nauseum, and to no avail.
  4. Your Fairy costume looked a lot cuter last night than it does this morning on your walk home, with smeared mascara and wings falling by your feet like a tore-up Tinkerbell. #HalloWalkOfShame
  5. It's 10 am on November 1st and you're still drunkenly schooling strangers on the correct choreography of MJ's Thriller video. "It's stomp stomp stomp, then claw hands, claw hands, claw hands!" 
  6. You hear your sweet child's voice saying, "where did all my candy go?" as you roll around in wrappers clutching your stomach and cursing Reese's.
  7. You remember thinking your girlfriend's Wonder Woman lasso of truth actually worked, and you confessed some pretty crazy crap. 
  8. Your new nick name is Pukey McBarfinhurl.
  9. You toilet papered Kirk Cameron's house because he  handed-out Bible quotes instead of candy, and you know he could have afforded that King-Sized sh*t.
  10. You overheard some neighbors saying, "At least you didn't pull a Stacey". You are Stacey. There are no other Staceys in the neighborhood. "Pulling a Stacey" is now "a thing."
If any of these ring true, just remember that denial and avoidance go a long way. Shifting the blame should also be in your toolkit of "best practices" if you are a regular reader of Dear Ann Abler.  Next Halloween, you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Now go get some bacon and laugh-cry into your bottomless mimosa. You've got to replenish and rally for that other Halloween party tonight.


The ghost of your Ann Abler

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ann Abler of the Week - #6: Hanger Management

Each Saturday I give an Ann Abler of the Week Award  to a person that embodies the essence of your Dear Ann Abler's advice. In other words, someone that agrees:
  • Most problems can be solved with an impromptu dance party 
  • "Snacks" is a food group
  • Advanced avoidance skills and expert excuses come to those who wait
Generally I would say that avoidance is the first (and easiest and therefore best) step in dealing with a problem. However, this does not hold true if you are 36 weeks pregnant and need a sausage egg and cheese biscuit at 5 a.m. STAT! That's why Sarah del Rio of est. 1975 is the Ann Abler of the Week.

Image via
You can read more about her heroic efforts to satisfy her hanger in her post featured on Blunt Moms entitled McDonald's and the Humongous Army Green Dumpster.

If you would like to be considered or nominate someone for this very prestigious award, send me a message via this site (comment section or homepage email form), Facebook, or Twitter, and include #AnnAblerOfTheWeek.

Bon appétit!

Your Ann Abler