Posted by Julia Bendis
I am a big quitter, and I come from a long line of quitters. My whole family is that way, we get excited to start something, but rarely do we actually finish or go through with it. We always have the best excuses to quit something, not only does it make sense for us to quit something, but we are so convincing that others around us can’t help but sympathize with us, and truly understand why we quit, even if it is a lame excuse.
We turn others into quitters! That’s what I was thinking about recently as my youngest told me he no longer wants to play baseball. Normally, it wouldn’t bother me so much. I am not the type of Mom that pushes or forces her kids to do things that they don’t want to do. Its not my way of ‘parenting’. If the child doesn’t enjoy something he is doing, why push him to continue to do it? I can picture it now, my son at thirty five years old, sitting across from a therapist blaming his gambling addiction on me forcing him to play baseball, when all he wanted to do was stay home and color.
So as he continued to plead with me to let him skip baseball, I started to worry that my “Quitter” gene was passed down to him. It didn’t scare me, it made me feel bad for all the money I have spent on baseball already. Then I envisioned all the other sports and activities I have my kids signed up for, and wondered how much more money I will lose. He was so convincing in his reasoning of why he needed to skip baseball that I finally gave in. Just as he went back to bed, I began picturing him as an adult going through Medical school, only to quit during his second year due to too much stress and irritable bowl syndrome. As panic swept over me about our passed down “Quitter” gene, I ran back into his room and made him get ready for baseball. Yes, I realize it was a bit of overreaction on my part, but I was determined to kick that gene right our of him!
We actually made it to all of their events and activities that week, and I was feeling pretty good about myself and my kids’ determination with finishing something for once. That was the same day that I stood next to another Mom at school, who turned to her kids and asked if they wanted to skip gymnastics that day! I was filled with joy, guilt, and amazement that I was not the only Mom to let her kids skip activities just to have a quiet, relaxing day at home. I had to talk to her, and thank her for making me feel better about my own psychosis. It turns out, she regularly lets her kids stay home from school or sports when they seem too tired or stressed. A thought ran through my mind: why sign them up for all the sports and activities on the first place? Why not just let them do one sport at a time, instead of three? Why do so many American families insist on driving their kids all over town to various activities, forcing them to be dead exhausted at the end of the day, but still having to finish their homework into the wee hours of the night? Why not let kids be kids? As my Russian/Israeli friend stated: “All you Americans are way too busy, way too tired, and way too stupid. You are letting life go right past you while you are sitting in your Minivans, driving to yet another activity that is pointless! Just stay home, and read some Pushkin to your kids.” Couldn’t agree with her more.
I walked away from that Mother feeling better and better about my decisions to let my kids go at their own pace, and immediately announced that today we are not going to guitar lesson, or gymnastics lesson or anywhere else! We were going to get into our jammies at three in the afternoon, have ice cream, popcorn, and hot chocolate while I read them stories in bed! So what if it only lasted thirty minutes? So what if my hot chocolate contained some Whiskey as well? We were happy.
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March 24, 2011 | 2:31 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I started on an endless journey to find a new house. Everyone knows how incredibly daunting and frustrating that can be, but throw in a few plumbing issues in the house that we are currently in, and it makes for a very urgent matter… For days now, my husband and I have been going back and forth about what city we want to move to, which schools are better, and so on. When I like the house, he points out the negatives with the neighborhood, a.k.a. teenagers. When he likes the house, I point out that living in a 2-bedroom shack at the beach with two kids and a dog, is not my idea of “Living the Life”, and no the dog will not do her business on a cement wall. And no, I do not want to try it out and see if she might get used to peeing-while-standing-at-a-40-degree-angle.
We have not agreed on a single house so far, and its only week one! In the meantime, I am dragging my kids around to look at all the potential homes and neighborhoods. You can imagine how fun that is for them, instead of playing outside with their friends or going to a park, they get to spend hours in the car helping me make a decision. I am however, a very prepared mother. You are hungry? Here is a granola bar. You don’t want a granola bar? Alright, I have an apple, a fruit snack, a banana, some low-fat sugar-free chocolate chip cookies that are not really chocolate chips but sure look like them, don’t they? I also have all their DSI’s, PSP’s, boy games, game boys, play boys, ipods, shmypods, and anything else to keep them occupied and keep me from feeling like the worst mother in the world.
Last night after a long afternoon of driving around, my youngest told me he had a very good idea on how to solve our home finding problem. I was very excited and all ears, mainly because this 5-year-old has had very good ideas in the past! And I quote: “Mommy, since you and Daddy have been arguing on which house we should get and can’t agree on anything, I think you need to go get a house that you want, and Daddy will go and find a house that he wants. Don’t worry, we will come and visit you all the time! You can even take the dog with you, so you won’t be lonely.” Who can argue with that logic? It makes perfect sense.
March 21, 2011 | 5:52 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
- When people say that they are only 5 minutes away, they are really 20 minutes away.
- If your Doctor’s appointment is at 3 p.m., show up at 3:15 to skip sitting in the waiting room. It works like a charm!
- When your kid is going on and on about something, and the story doesn’t seem to have an end, all you really have to do is nod and repeat: “Aha, yea, aha, yea”. Again, works like a charm til the age of 6 or so.
- Always make it seem extremely urgent when calling a Doctor, even if it is only a sore throat. Make it sounds like you have meningitis. Surprisingly, they call back twice as fast. According to my Doctor, I should have been dead already.
- Quantity is much better than quality.
- When trying to get a hold of maintenance, construction, or any labor personnel without success, leave them a message saying you just found their home address and are on your way over there. You wouldn’t believe how fast they return your call!
- Nothing good comes out of a conversation that starts with a: “Well…”
- When you post on Facebook or Twitter that your husband is an idiot, do not get upset when he finds out, and then blame other people for spreading the word.
- A great matzo ball soup really can fix just about anything.
- Long hair (past the shoulders) on women over fifty is just wrong. I don’t care what you say, its wrong.
- The same goes for women at dance clubs over forty, not just over forty but the ones trying to look and act like they are in the twenties. That bustier does NOT make your chest look amazing (after having three kids), nor your ass, your legs or your face no matter how good your friends have said you look!
- Guys, when you get a motorcycle, don’t get a sissy little dirt bike to ride around on the streets with, get a real bike. No, that moped does NOT make you look tough, it makes you look stupid. Almost as stupid as that 45-year-old divorcee in skinny jeans and a see-through shirt.
- It really is much better to look good than to feel good.
Stay tuned for more wisdom…
March 18, 2011 | 11:33 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Why does everyone become Irish on St. Patrick’s day? Even the Jews. When has it become a good thing for Jews to start drinking? Have you ever seen Jewish people drink? No, that’s because most of us can’t hold down our liquor, and its not pretty.
I am definitely the “drinker” in the family, not my husband. His idea of a drink is ordering a glass of wine at dinner, finishing half of it and me having to drive home, because he looks like he is about to pass out. I usually order a beer, but when it arrives the server gives it to my husband, assuming I am having the wine. Because that’s usually how it works: the girl gets a fru-fru drink with an umbrella on top, and the guy orders a beer.
Not even close with Jewish men, unless its my Father. He has a glass of Vodka, or as he calls it “water” with everything. And yes, I said a glass not a shot. His Grandfather wouldn’t even get out of bed until the wife brought him a glass of Vodka in the morning. But, I guess when you’ve survived the Holocaust, and find yourself living under the Soviet regime with all your adult children and grandchildren under one roof, you DO need a glass of Vodka before getting out of bed! We all needed alcohol to get us through the day, the earlier the better.
I am pretty sure my in-laws think I am an alcoholic. Living in Cleveland, amongst 99.5% Jewish population, there ain’t much drinking going on… So, when I have a beer once in a while, as my Father passes Vodka around to everyone around him before dinner has yet to arrive, and my Mother in the corner laughing her head off because she’s already had her half a glass of wine, I can only assume that they are dialing Jewish Alcoholics Anonymous under the table!
Its like the scene from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where the Greek family keeps getting the Americans drunk, offering barbecued sheep amongst other delicatessen… Only in my case, its the Russian Jews trying to serve up stuffed fish with its head still on and washing it down with Vodka.
Going back to my previous question about Jewish drinking, I ask this again: do Jewish people really think they can party on St. Patrick’s day like the rest of the population? No, they can’t. It really is not a pleasant site when you see Moshe at the bar, red as a lobster after one beer, with a green Super Jew t-shirt looking as if he is about to puke his guts out before 10 p.m. My suggestion to all my people, do not pretend you are Irish for one night trying to impress the ladies with your drinking abilities and your cool shirt, it will only make you look like the Jew that you are, red-faced and all. Stick to a fruity Bahama Mama with an umbrella on top! Its Sexy.
March 14, 2011 | 9:50 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I have to admit that watching the show “Sister Wives” on TLC made me think about what it would be like to have so-called wives in my family. To tell the truth, it doesn’t seem like such a terrible idea. If you think about it, the only bad part are too many children by all those women, assuming that all the women are going to want to procreate… And of course the other is that the women are not allowed to have other men.
I really think that besides those two things, it wouldn’t be such a bad life. Think about it, there are two or three other women to clean, cook, take care of all the kids, not to mention give you a break from sex, or having to see the husband on those days where you just feel like being alone. One sister wife is regularly cooking for everyone, the other has all the kids ready for school with homework finished, the third is doing everyone’s laundry, so you would only have to chauffeur the kids to and from school or run to the grocery store. Not bad, not bad at all!
However, I can only imagine the terror that comes over the household when all the sister wives get their monthly visitor, which obviously they will get at the same time, having synced their periods by living together. Can you just imagine that? The poor husband having to tiptoe for days around them, scared that one or all of them bite his head off for calling out the wrong name, or leaving the toilet seat up. I know most of people out there are going crazy over this show and their Polygamist lifestyle, but if you ask me, I think the sister wives are the ones in control, and not the husband! Sure he gets to sleep with a different woman every other night, but do you think its easy to remember which one likes what during sex? What about their names? I get my kid’s names confused on a regular basis, can you imagine remembering three or four, on top of all the children’s names? That can NOT be easy…
If the sister wives were allowed to have other husbands, I might consider signing up for that lifestyle. But then again… I don’t know that I’d want all that pressure of having to bring my A-game every single time, with every single husband, every single night. Ugh, just thinking about it, is making me exhausted. Maybe sticking with one husband and a bunch of sister wives is much more appealing… Right on Sister Wives, you are smarter than all of us!
March 11, 2011 | 10:46 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Today my 11-year-old son, Tyler shared a very interesting conversation that he had with his classmates. It started during lunch time when he pulled out a peanut butter with bananas, and honey sandwich on whole grain bread. After Tyler was done with it, he pulled out carrots, apples, and a low-fat yogurt. Do you see where I am going with this yet?
As he finished devouring my creation, he looked up and saw his friends watching him. One of his friends wanted to know why I am always packing him such healthy lunches, and I quote: “There are never any cookies or chips or anything in your lunch!” Tyler’s reaction was simple: “Because she loves me, and I will always be healthy.” I was beyond thrilled to hear his response, and it validated every ounce of guilt I have had by not allowing junk food in the house. Yes, I admit I actually have felt guilty for not buying my kids chips, sodas and other junk food items. But today I got over it…
Its not to say that when we go out for dinner, my boys don’t get to have a soda or chicken nuggets. Of course they do, but at home we limit the amount of processed and sugary foods. The way I look at it is this, my brother and I grew up with nothing but meat and potatoes, and an occasional apple that we picked from a tree on our way to Grandma’s house, only to find a worm in it when bitten, spit out the worm and keep eating. We didn’t have chocolate chip cookies or Frito-Lay chips after school, we had stale bread with some jam on it, home-made by my grandparents the summer before. Sure there was some mold on the bread, but you pick it out, throw it away and eat the rest of your delicious treat.
Furthermore, not only did we not know about junk food, we also didn’t put ice in every drink. One of the great memories I have is walking to a nearby store with my brother to buy Coca-Cola, one of those old-fashioned glass bottles that you just don’t see anymore. There was only one store that carried them, and once in a while my parents would leave some change to treat ourselves to a bottle. I clearly remember a clerk handing us each a warm bottle of Coca-Cola, and we gulped them down on the spot. It was such a rare treat for us, which is what made it so extraordinary. Sure it would have tasted a little better if it was colder or had ice in it, but we didn’t know any better.
My point here is that if you don’t buy junk food, your kid won’t be overweight. The whole country is fighting with childhood obesity, parents not knowing what to do with their fat-ass children, but yet they keep buying all the greasy foods their kids want, sending them to school with sodas and chips in their lunches, and then wondering why the hell their kid is fat. How about buying less junk food, going outside with your child and playing ball? How about you stop blaming the schools for their fatty school lunches, and get off your lazy ass to make a healthy one?
In the meantime, my kids seem like aliens with their humus and whole wheat crackers lunches. But you know what? I am alright with that because they are alright with that.
March 7, 2011 | 11:20 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
I am ecstatic to say that the Real Housewives of Orange County are back on television! Of course when I say ecstatic, I mean that in every sarcastic way possible… Can’t you just feel me rolling my eyes when I write this? Not only are they back for a brand new season, but this time they did some house cleaning. If you haven’t seen the first episode Sunday night, let me paraphrase the episode.
First of all they got rid of all the brunettes on the show, with the exception of one hot, Brazilian, lesbian trainer, but she doesn’t count. All the so-called ‘housewives’ are now your standard issued California blondes, with breast implants bigger than most watermelons, Botox-contaminated foreheads, and yes they are still calling themselves ‘regular’ housewives. How can they continue calling this show “the housewives” when all but one of the women are either divorced or single? Shouldn’t it be “The Real Divorcée’s of Orange County”? Or “The Real Pathetic Middle-Aged Single Divorcée’s of Orange County”. That has a much better ring to it, don’t you think?
Second, when the show first started the women were fairly behaved. In this case, fairly behaved means they only resorted to verbal abuse with each other, however this season is looking to be a much more bang for your buck. If the first episode is any indication, we are in for some incredible cat fights, binge drinking, stripping, and of course lesbian shenanigans which I am pretty sure is the only reason my husband decided to tune in this year.
As much as we all love to watch a train wreck happen, this show is particularly worth watching. If nothing else, one will learn the proper use of a Nanny, like when your three children are under the age of two you must use three Nannies at all times, but as they get older, two Nannies are sufficient. Another great lesson is when one files for divorce, you have to wait at least a week before jumping in the sack with a new suitor. Anything less will be viewed as trashy.
And my favorite lesson of all: whatever you do, do not get pink tattoo of your husband’s name, it is the hardest color to remove. You are better off sticking to the traditional black or blue ink. Also, don’t get matching tattoos with your spouse because it hurts like hell getting them removed. You are much better off getting a tramp stamp of a flaming sun, or a beautiful dolphin on your ass.
This show makes me feel so much better about my life. I hope this serves as a bit of a guide into a sensational franchise of idiotic television. Happy watching people!
March 3, 2011 | 11:21 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Please tell me how can anyone get ahead in this world, financially that is? I should rephrase: how can an average person with children get a head in this world?
I sit here pondering that question while staring at the Orthodontic Invoice for my fifth-grader’s teeth! Three Orthodontic consultations later, and I am left facing a very grim truth; having to pocket out $5,000 worth of braces. Yes, I know I am not the only parent out there having to face this outrageous cost. But here is my question to all of you out there: How the hell do you do it?
Just when I think we are doing well, getting ahead, saving for our future, retirement, and our children’s college education, and when I say college education I am talking about Saddleback Junior College down the street… boom, something happens and I am writing checks… Forget my son’s Bar-Mitzvah money in two years, I am about to start asking for donations for his braces! Do I start pulling money out of their college funds just to pay for braces? Do I send the 11-year-old to work, make him earn his braces? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me… Problem with that is that I am the weak parent, I am a softy when I see their cute, sad little faces, guilt sets in and I end up giving in. Most likely I will be the one sitting at the drive-through in McDonald’s window asking if you want fries with that burger, because my kid was too tired to go to work… Or maybe I could start selling their Bakugans, DSI’s, PSP’s, Ipods, and other mindless entertainment toys on Ebay… Can you pawn children on Ebay, and come back for them when the braces are paid off? No? That’s too bad.
In all seriousness, how do you parents do it? Between all the usual expenses, extra-curricular activities, sports, various lessons, memberships to the Temple, Hebrew school, teacher gifts, donations to the school every other month, class trips and parties, not to mention putting food and clothes on their backs, how the hell are people supposed to just LIVE?
Yes, I know America runs on Loans, but isn’t there something wrong with that? Europeans know the true way to live, without all the tangible possessions, credit cards and loans that they can’t afford to pay back, but its virtually impossible to implement that thinking into our society. How can an average parent strive to live on bare minimum, teach the kids that physical possessions are not important in life while the neighbor’s kid is getting showered with a boatload of unnecessary garbage called toys? We all try, but usually are overcome with guilt, and I speak for myself here, give in and buy yet another Power Ranger or some other piece of crap…
As I go looking for answers, which really means yelling at my insurance company for not covering more on the cost of braces, I would love to hear from my readers on how you balance it all out!