I have some really exciting news – and, no, I am NOT pregnant. That certainly would be “news” but not exactly the “exciting” kind.
No, today I was launched as a blogger for Manilla – an on-line, award-winning, free and secure service for consumers to manage their bills and accounts, in one place.
(But that’s not where I come in because I have no idea how to pay my bills on-line…yet)
Manilla.com, which is owned by the Hearst Corporation, also hosts a blog with over 75 expert contributors who write about money, organization, productivity and lifestyle topics on a monthly basis. I will be sharing my “expertise” about the joy and pain and stress and (joy!) of preparing two children to go off into the world as mature, responsible adults.
I was really drawn to Manilla when I saw their booth at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago in July. This t-shirt spoke to me:
I’m always trying to get my s**t together; I thought having the t-shirt would help with that. It was definitely the first step.
If you want to get your s**t together, check out the site and the blogs and see what the other writers have to say about family, health, time management and money strategies.
But wait, there’s more!
If that wasn’t exciting enough for you, today is also the day that the new anthology, Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Parent is being released nationwide…and one of my stories is in the book!
I am very excited to be part of this series of books and to have my parenting story be published alongside some really funny authors who simply tell it like it is—the good, the bad and the WTF? Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Parent is just one title in a slew of humorous books published by Publishing Syndicate, on topics ranging from college to menopause and everything in between.
So, without further ado, here is the piece that was included in the book. Although I wrote it a couple of years ago, very little has changed except that now I have two teenaged boys to feed.
Feeding the Hangry
“I’m so hungry and there is NOTHING TO EAT!”
And so begins the after school fun.
My 15-year-old will stand in front of an open refrigerator teeming with food—yogurt, wedges of multiple types of cheese, tortillas for quesadillas, frozen ravioli, drawers full of fruit and lunch meat, 3 different kinds of bread, frozen pizzas, 2 kinds of peanut butter, 3 different jellies, eggs (uncooked and hardboiled), and every kind of condiment you can imagine—and complain that there is no food in the fridge.
This is usually followed by words that make my blood boil: “Make me SOMETHING!”
Keeping up with the food intake of a 15-year-old boy is a very time-consuming (not to mention, expensive) proposition. My son needs to eat at least every 2 hours or he becomes Hangry – no, it’s not a typo – he becomes so hungry that he becomes angry and nobody needs a teenager who is angrier than usual.
He is capable of consuming an entire sub sandwich, a large bag of chips, yogurt and fruit and he’ll finish all of this off with a bowl of cereal. That’s between 3:30 and 3:45. By 4:15 he is starving!
So, what does he do? Does he then sort through the pantry and whip up a satisfying snack? Does he sift through his memories to find one of the endless recipes that I have painstakingly demonstrated to him should he find himself hungry and alone? No, of course not. He waits for me to make him something or he grabs a completely unsatisfying cereal bar and moans until dinner.
I have been saying for years that he would starve to death if someone weren’t there to feed him. And whose fault is this? Mine. I take all the blame for this one. I have gratefully fed him all of these years because he loves food—especially my food. What mother wouldn’t want to hear her child gush about how good her food is? “You’re the best cooker,” he told me when he was 5 as he inhaled whatever dish I put in front of him. That was cute then. Now, not so much.
So the other day, while he was begging me to make him some spinach ravioli with browned butter and shaved Parmesan (yes, yes, I’ve spoiled him, I know!), I turned to him and said: “No – make it yourself.”
“But I don’t know how,” he insisted. “And you’re right here. You could make it better.”
“Pretend I’m dead,” I responded. He turned to me in horror.
“What?” he asked.
“Pretend I’m dead,” I repeated. “How would you eat?”
I could see the wheels turning. Should he demonstrate his limited cooking skills and make a quesadilla or should he pour another bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios?
It’s usually around this time – right after I’ve thrown down the gauntlet and demanded that he learn to take care of himself that I start to feel myself back-peddling. Would it really be so horrible to continue to cook for him while he lives at home? Couldn’t I just baby him a little while longer, he’ll be gone in a few years, right?
The reality is he would eventually find food or find a way to make food. He likes food far too much to subsist on sugar cereal and frozen waffles. He even signed up for a Creative Cuisine class next year at school. But why would he ever put any of those skills to use if I’m around to feed him? And should a 15-year-old have to?
What’s worse: not feeding your child who is asking for food or not teaching your child to fend for himself?
I feel my defenses breaking down. I’m just about to break out the pots and pans when he decides to answer me.
“If you weren’t around to feed me…I’d order take out.”