Martha, Sit your Butt Down!

Well, this is the longest I have gone between blog posts. I’ve been busy. Busy doing an assortment of things that keep me busy from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep.

I just finished the very important job of organizing my purse. The assortment of suckers, chap sticks, pens, gift cards and of course teething rings were taking their toll on me. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something as silly as an unorganized purse was driving me crazy.

I know after only one kid outing it will all be unorganized again.

That’s the thing with most of the things I obsess about; they keep happening. Over and over again.

Take the dishes, for example. I do them at least five times a day. Funny thing is we only eat three meals a day and we have a dishwasher. But, if there is a dish in the sink I do it.

I was at a work party for my husband about a month ago, chatting with a couple other moms with young children. We laughed about how we rush to get dinner on the table, ram food in our mouths and try to finish before everyone else so we can start the dishes before the kids get done. So much for an enjoyable family dinner.

My husband had the idea a few weeks ago that we would save the dishes until after the kids go to bed, that way we could enjoy some family time after dinner and I wouldn’t be rushing around like a fool.

You mean, leave the dishes in the sink? I got the shakes.

So, I have been reminded, more times than I would like to admit, about the story of sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Picture this…both sisters were extremely excited about Jesus’ visit to their home. However, their mutual excitement yielded two completely different reactions.

Martha (AKA Mama Burde), rammed around in the garden, picking veggies and herbs for dinner, cleaned, cooked, set the table and expected the house to be in tip top shape for this glorious guest. I can just see her running around in circles going just about crazy to have everything perfect. Good intentions of course.

Mary instead sat at Jesus’ feet and hung on his every word, not worrying about the house, food or anything other than the One thing that got her excited in the first place.

Oh, if I could be like Mary.

I have tried…a little…to take some extra moments to enjoy dinner, look past dirt on the floor and try and let the laundry pile up a little before it’s done so I can enjoy the moment and not always be thinking in the back of my mind about what has to be done.

But honestly, it’s hard. I have been Martha for so long I really have to constantly think and be intentional about well…sitting my butt down!

Jesus actually said to Martha (Luke 1-:41-42 The Message), ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it.’

Oh yea I heard that. I get far too worked up on a daily basis about absolutely nothing.

So, this is where tips and feedback are more than welcome. How can I become more like Mary? With so much to be done and so little time sans kids to do it, how can I maintain a nice, clean home (which I think is important) and finish all my tasks, but enjoy the moment? It does always get done after all.  And frankly, I think I’m ready to stop getting worked up over nothing and enjoy only what is essential.

This Martha heard it loud and clear!

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Mommy First. Professionally Unprofessional.

I work from home. That can sound a little sketchy, like when I see the ‘Make $1,000 a week working from home!’ ads. But, it’s legit. In fact, I know quite a few people who work from home in my field. Marketers, graphic designers, etc. can make quite a good living doing what I do and companies can save a lot of money by hiring people like me without having all the overhead, retirement, health insurance and other costs associated with having employees.

Now that I’ve plugged my business…

They call me a ‘working mom.’

I consider myself a ‘mom working.’

I am fortunate enough to not only work from home, but keep a more part-time schedule and flex my hours a lot, doing work at night if needed, or early in the morning before the kids get up. (Yeah, like that ever happens.) Our oldest daughter just turned three in October so I’ve had just over three years to look like a fool in various venues, meaning I look like a mommy first and professional second. I’m OK with that.

I have…

  • Spilled diapers out of my purse as I put it down while meeting with a prospective client for lunch. 
  • Lied to clients (yes, I’ve lied) when they ask what that noise is in the background… ‘nope, not my daughter in the monitor…just the radio in the background.’ 
  • Told many, many poop stories to clients and realized the topic after it was too late to return. I had to finish the stories hoping they’d laugh at the end. Most of the times, they did. 
  • Spoken to clients on the phone while nursing…gotta love the multi-tasking options with the telecommute, minus a web cam, of course. 
  • Along the same lines, but one thousand times more embarrassing was when I quickly dropped something off to a client shortly after our oldest was born. I had leaked and didn’t realize it until I got home. I felt full of awesomeness after that one. And I was obviously full of something else too.
  • Let’s just get all the nursing stories out in the open here…had to pump while working at a marketing agency I do work for.  It was just me and one other employee (male, of course), in their fairly small office.  I had to come out and tell him what I needed to do.  He could only get himself to say, ‘do your thing.’ He was actually great about it!  And now that he has a prescious little girl he can totally relate.

But over the past few years I have become more open and honest about how I run my business. Not that I tried to hide anything before, but I try and be blatantly upfront about the fact that I don’t work full time and I’m not available 24/7 to anyone else but my family. But when I work, I work. And my kids are well taken care of so I can concentrate on something I love to do.

So, the next time you’re in a meeting and you see a mom with drool on her right shoulder and diapers peeking out of her purse, show her a little love. And bring her a latte for crying out loud. She deserves it!

Big. Tall. Fat. Chubby-Wubby.

About four years ago when I trained an employee group on customer service, I told a story that I recall like it was yesterday.  I was in Meijer, perusing the chip aisle, when a little girl, probably three or four, said to her mother, “mom, that lady is biiiiiiiiig.”  Nice.

The truth is, I have been tall for as long as I can remember.  While my driver’s license says I’m 5’11”, when I was last measured I actually came to 6’2”.  My self-confidence must have risen slightly because there was a time I would be too scared to even write that.  Six-two…that’s like a man, I know.

I honestly cannot remember for the life of me why I shared that story to the group or what the heck it had to do with customer service.  I’m sure it had some connection, but it’s also likely I wanted to use my platform when speaking in front of a few hundred people to say, “Hey! Teach your kid the word tall if it’s the only thing you teach them!”  I’m not big.  I’m tall.  There’s a rather big (no pun intended) distinction there.

So about a month or so ago our toddler was looking at her reflection in my husband’s car and it was distorted.  She said to me, “Hey mom look. I look fat!”  Then she backed up and went forward multiple times saying, “Fat…regular…fat…regular.”  She was pretty excited about the whole thing, but I was somewhat appalled that she would say that, and I told her she was just perfect no matter how she looked.

Then she said it again when she was all bundled up underneath her Halloween outfit.  It was something to the effect of, “I feel fat.”  Really, did our toddler who just turned three say she feels fat?  While I can’t say for sure that I have never, ever said that in front of her (but she would remember, even if I said it once two years ago), I can say that it isn’t something I say often, if at all.

So, I started paying attention to things and finding out how this word, fat, has entered her vocab so much.  As we’ve been reading books over the last few weeks it’s probably come up at least once per day.  The big fat caterpillar…the big fat cat had a big fat smile…and so on and so on.  Seems totally harmless until your toddler starts using the word like a teenager.

The kicker was when she looked at her precious baby sister the other day and said, “Mom, she has a fat face.”  WHAT?  So, acting quickly I said, “Your sister isn’t fat.  She’s a healthy, happy baby.”  To which she replied, “Well, what is she then? You know, her cheeks and stuff.”

Good question.

At the spur of the moment I said, “Your sister is a cute little chubby-wubby.” And she is.  At seven months she has chubby-wubby cheeks and chubby-wubby legs.  I.just.love.them.  The chubber-wubbers is a happy, healthy babe. 

Our toddler does listen well.  Tonight she pushed her skinny little belly out when I was putting her to bed and said, “Mom look, I have a chubby-wubby belly.  But it’s not fat!”  Success?  Failure?  Is there really a difference between fat and chubby-wubby?  I think I’ll stick to telling her not to comment on her or other people’s appearance and remind her God made each one of us just perfect.  Even my big, chip aisle shopping, tall as a man self.

Code Brown

I guess if you’re a mommy and a blogger then this subject will come up sooner-than-later.  Since this is only my sixth post I guess you can say it came up sooner for me.

I’m not sure what you call explosions of the rear-end kind at your house, but in the Burde nest we call them Code Browns.  And if a Code Brown is called, it means back-up is needed.  It’s no joke.

I can’t remember the last time I called a Code Brown.  Honestly, I don’t know if I have ever personally called a Code Brown.  Maybe once.  I am pretty good at handling any kind of explosion that comes at me.  Armed with a box full of wipes and sincere love for my babies, I can usually get through anything.  Tonight was a different story.

Two little girlies taking a nice bath together tonight ended with mom throwing up in her mouth several times.  Our oldest was being so cute with the babe, talking to her and even singing, ‘This little piggy’ while touching her toes.  Suddenly our oldest looked over and said, ‘mom…what’s this?’

‘I don’t know, honey.  Where did that come from?’  Then I realized the answer to that question.

You can guess where the story goes from here.

As I urgently persuaded our toddler to get out of the tub like she’s chasing the ice cream man, I scooped up the babe and got her onto a nice clean towel.  So, why the Code Brown?  The tub was only the first victim.  The action continued and I was stuck in the bathroom assessing the situation. 

  • Two wet kids
  • One wriggly baby
  • Two Code Brown sites
  • And the clincher…no wipes.

If I have ever complained about Verizon I will never again.  My cell phone worked and I was able to call my husband who was upstairs.  And I said it.  Code Brown.

What does Brown do for me? Well, it makes me dry-heave for one.

10 Things I Never Thought I’d Say to (or about) My Dog

Rewind about 10 years ago and you’d find me volunteering at our local animal shelter, walking all the dogs there in a day and crying all the way home, ‘waaaaaa…if I can’t come back tomorrow…who will walk them?…waaaaaa!’ I was like the primo-super-duper dog lover. My husband and I – before kids – even fostered several dogs and for one term I was actually the president of the humane society. Who was that person?

When I was pregnant with our first, who is now three, someone told me that I would not smother, love, cuddle and otherwise obsess about our dogs (we had two at the time) like I did. Whatever lady, that was so not going to be me.

Ten weeks into my first pregnancy something terrible happened. Our beloved, wonderful, amazing, human-like Great Dane passed away suddenly. We were crushed. For many years Duke was like my child when we couldn’t have any. He actually thought he was a human, so it worked out well for the both of us as I had motherly instincts and nowhere to direct them. He was my baby. My 180 pound baby. And I do still miss him to this day. It was a great time in our lives, full of funny memories of all the crazy things this dog did. Everyone loved Duke.

After Duke passed we still had his brother from another mother, our Bloodhound, Tucker. Tucker was THE laziest dog in the history of the world. The total opposite of Duke, he would lie on the couch all day, sometimes only lifting his head and grumbling when we got home from work. He was more like a cat, needing his space, hiding in rooms we weren’t in to assure he got his 23 hours of sleep in a day. He was actually a perfect dog to have when our oldest was born because he just wasn’t needy and steered clear of the baby girl, maybe only sniffing her once a day. But, once the little babe got mobile, we had to keep a pretty good eye on their interactions together. Tucker was eight at the time she was born and had never been around kids. He would have preferred it stayed that way.

Just after his ninth birthday he developed a very fast-moving form of cancer. Still a little doggy crazy, we took him the cancer center at Michigan State University and discussed a lot of options for him. But, the cancer moved too fast and took over his liver before MSU even got the final results of a tumor that was removed. He was so tired, even more than usual, and we put him to rest as we laid with him at our local vet office.

So, now we have Moose. The Moose. The Big Dufus, Lugnut and my very large, brown and furry shadow. We got him from the local shelter when he was about a year old and our oldest was about one and a half. Now that we have two kids I don’t have much time for him. Plus, he is always in my way, or tucked behind my rear, getting as close to me as he possibly can no matter where I go. The only time he isn’t connected to my behind is when he is very anxiously awaiting my next move and gone to the next spot he thinks I’m going to (and he’s usually right). I also have a toddler who does the same thing so guess who gets priority? Not Moose.

He’s kind of like Duke when I think about it. He has to be in the mix and by my side all.day.long. But now that I have kids it’s frankly quite annoying. He is spectacular (I don’t use that word often) with the kids; a perfect pet to have in a family. But, I tell you what…sometimes I want to open the door and just let him run, hoping he won’t return. BTW that has happened on accident before. He always comes back to me.

I digress…but that’s the background to lead into The Top 10 Things I Never Thought I’d Say to (or about) My Dog. You’re earned it by your patience…here they are.

  1. Moose, go jump in the river. (We live on one.)
  2. Oh, you like this dog? He’s yours.
  3. How much is that doggie Prozac? Are you kidding me? How can they charge that much? We’ll take a year’s worth.
  4. Oh, it’s OK that you let him outside Charter repair man…he’ll come back. And if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. 
  5. Don’t look at him, raise your voice even a half-octave or even think about him. It gets him too excited. 
  6. Oh look, Moose was so excited he peed on you. 
  7. Moose if you don’t get out of my way I’m going to slam my head into the refrigerator.
  8. Hurry, run out the door before Moose sees that we’re leaving!
  9. Moose, can I please have five inches of personal space?

And my personal favorite…

  10.  Moose, get out of my butt.

Disclaimer: Don’t call animal control on me. We do love the big Lugnut, feed him, pet him and make sure he is otherwise happy. And, I do cuddle up with him. It’s just when no one is looking.

It Feels Good to be Loved

Oh, the life of a mom. If I could have only one dollar for each time our three-year-old says,  Momma…(insert any random question here….) I could easily quit my job (although I like it and it is part-time…and I am my own boss…and I do work in pajamas…here is where I digress). And I certainly know if our six-month old could talk she would rack up at least another $500 per day in Mommas. I can dream.

And then there is Moose.  AKA Lugnut, The Big Lug or my personal favorite Dufus (also termed Dufey when I think he’s being kind of a cute Dufus).  He has been medically diagnosed with separation anxiety.  We actually spent some of our hard-earned money on ‘doggie prozac’ for him and let me tell you it was worth every penny!  (I do wish I could pay for it with ‘Mommas,’ but back to reality I go.)  When we recently rebudgeted we cut the prozac so now I am doing what I know best to keep his anxiety at bay and get at least two feet away from him without him following me.  I yell at him. Not like yell at the top of my lungs or anything, but more like a whiney yell, ‘Moose…geeeeeeeeze, leave me alone!’

But, what would I do without my various leeches?  Well, apart from sleeping in, eating chocolate without sharing and simply walking from room-to-room without a shadow, I really don’t know what I would do.  Because honestly, it feels good to be loved.

I love that our toddler asks me every single question that pops into her mind including, ‘Momma…what is that face you’re making?…’ and ‘Momma…why did God call it a time-out when you have to sit in a chair and do nothing?’  I certainly love when our baby’s eyes light up when she sees me and I am the best at getting her to snuggle in for a nap and make her happy when she is a little cranky (she only gets a liiiiiiitle cranky).  I also love (kind of – this one is a stretch here) that Moose whines at the window if I’m outside even if there is a house full of people and that he has almost broken my legs to get out of the door with me if I am leaving (an attempt to breaks legs can be love to a dog ya know).  And I know my husband loves that he has never ironed a shirt in our ten years of marriage and that they magically appear in his closet each week.  I do not (let me repeat DO NOT) love ironing, but I love that he doesn’t have to do it.

So, if your house is full of people and animals that are sticking to you ‘cuz you’re made out of glue.  Just admit it.  You enjoy it.  Why?  Because it feels good to be loved.

Won’t you Buy My New Cookbook?

The first blog is probably supposed to be an intro to your life…what this blog will be about, etc., etc.  Without wasting any time doing that, this story tells you what life is like as this ‘Mama Burde.’

My new recipe to make hard boiled eggs…

Ram some eggs into a pot and set on the stove to boil while both kids are actually napping at the same time.

Leave the kitchen saying to yourself, ‘you won’t forget about these,’ even though you have the worst memory in the history of the world second only to your mother.

Dash into your office and frantically try and get work done since your nanny quit and husband is out of town for the week.

Sit in your office and say to yourself, ‘what is that sound?’

Yell at the dog (who has snuck on your bed) for making a strange noise, but never let it occur to you that it might be something boiling on the stove.

Continue to say (at least five times), ‘what the heck is that noise?’

Look out your office window.

Go stare at the dog.

Check and see if someone turned the heat on.

Continue to wonder.

When your baby wakes up, walk out of your office down the hall and add to the list of questions, ‘what is that smell?’

Go into the kitchen to plug the monitor back in and FINALLY realize it is the eggs you put into the pot 50 minutes earlier.

Make sure all the water has completely boiled away and the eggs are literally frying in their own shells.

Call yourself an idiot.

Put them in cold water in the fridge and hope for the best.

Remarkably…perhaps miraculously, these will be the best hard boiled eggs you’ve ever made; so perfect your egg-crackin’ toddler peels them all herself.

Watch for these recipes and others in my new cookbook, ‘Multitask Cooking – How to Somehow Scrape a Meal Together While Doing at Least 10 Other Things.’