The Week The Women Went And Left No Helpful Post-its

I likes me some reality TV. I usually stick to the classics like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and The Real Housewives. I add new shows that appeal to my interests, like Dance Moms, or have great commercials that suck me in. (My husband can always tell which commercials I’ve seen by which restaurant I pick for dinner.) When I saw the ads for The Week the Women Went (Lifetime), I was intrigued. First, reality TV, so, duh. Second, I’m very fired up about the media portrayal of dads as being complete morons. See? My brain still functions despite the TV addiction.

I recorded the first episode and then saw that it was hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. I almost immediately deleted it, but I decided to watch anyway so that I could see if it fit the usual media mold for dumb dads. The choice in host told me this was a real possibility.

The show takes place in a small town in South Carolina. The premise is that all the women over 18 leave town for a week to see how the men cope without them. Foxworthy sets the scene and declares secrets will be revealed; it’s a social experiment of Biblical proportions….ooohh! Right off the bat I’m disappointed because it doesn’t look like a parenting experiment; it looks like, well, reality TV.

The ‘characters’ range from a mother who has never been away from her kids to a zexy cougar who leaves her three teens with her 20-something Marine lovah. We have an oversexed loudmouth mom and a single mom who actually should have been on Intervention. (She says the only thing keeping her from getting into another abusive relationship is the regular customers at the failing restaurant she owns. Did I mention the 13 year-old daughter will be in charge of that restaurant for the week? And also the restaurant is in the older daughter’s name to get rid of a deadbeat boyfriend of the mother’s? Welp.) The men stay in town alone, and the women hit a resort with a pool in Amelia Island, Florida.

Current score? Women-Everything, Men-Less Than Zero

Just in case single parenting doesn’t make the men look stupid enough, the show has thrown in some challenges. The main big surprise is that the men have six days to throw a beauty pageant for all the little girls in town. That sounds fair. It’s totally a typical event in my average stay-at-home-mom life.

One of the dads works for the railroad and is normally gone all week. He states he is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his kids. He does not sleep a bit the first night because he’s afraid he won’t hear the baby cry. So he’s tired, but he’s happy, because he knows it’s special to be home. In other words, he loves his kids. Which is weird because I’ve been taught that men just love sports and see their parenting responsibilities as wiping their kids’ butts on the kitchen counter. Is it possible TV has led me astray?

It seems that all the men act like humans who are in an extraordinary situation that tests new skills and throws off their normal routines. They freak out when the kids cry at bed time and then apologize later and sleep in the kid’s bed because they know the kid is just missing Mommy. When my husband left town for 15 days last February, both boys got sick, and I served cereal for dinner in front of all of the cartoons ever made. On day two. In other words, I did not handle it well. I am a stay-at-home-mom who could not handle the extra hours without another adult around.

Daddy will be home in 12 days. Here kids, take as much cereal as you need. Mommy needs to go in the bathroom and scream.

These men were set up to fail. They were put in a situation that was tough for any parent, but it was made to look like they were having trouble because they are men. And that’s why I couldn’t watch any other episodes. I liked most of the dads. They seemed like regular, loving guys. The daddy of 15 month-old twins had the sweetest interview about how his wife deserved a vacation, and he hoped she was having fun and not worrying. He was concerned that she was not taking care of herself because she is such a devoted mom and wife. He clearly sees what his family has going on.

He is, for example, not the kind of dad who needs no less than 325 Post-its to remind him to put the Go-Gurt in his son’s lunch. He may need one note about what goes in lunches since he is not the regular lunch-maker, but he does not need to be treated like an idiot.

I am sure Yoplait thinks they are very clever with this new campaign. Procter &  Gamble fumbled their Olympic ads by only thanking moms (And only stay-at-home-moms at that). Yes, moms make a lot of the buying decisions in situations where P&G products are an option, but this was dismissive of what dads do for their kids. And Huggies dropped the sensitivity ball with their “Let Dads Put It to The Test” commercial. So, here comes Yoplait telling us that a good dad gets that his kid needs healthy food like squeezable dairy products. He gets it because the lady of the house told him what’s up. So, yeah, he’s dumb otherwise.

I’m ready for this stereotypical, fumbling, moron dad thing to go away. It irritates me on behalf of my husband and on behalf of my life in the real world. I have learned a thing or seven or 20 from my husband and how he raises our kids. I’m sure he’s learned a thing or two (about obsessive worrying) from me. We work together. We have to, or the kids will win.

Listen, if you’d like to show a parent managing poorly with no help or needing 325 visual reminders of an easy task, call me; I look great on camera. Just leave my husband alone. He’s busy teaching our boys how to make the perfect pancake.

Texas Multi Mamas Episode 3 Recap: “Under The Knife”

And now we welcome a ‘real’ week of school, work and, thankfully, TV.  You know, when we’re not reading the classics or carefully tending to the garden where we grow all our family’s vegetables.

Um, that was the first and last time they used my phone. And the game was educational.

This week is another twofer.  I believe this is the last one, and we will see one episode a week from now on.  Which is good news for my kids and their chances of having me play with them on Wednesdays.

We start with Episode 3: “Under the Knife.”  It starts nice and easy with a dinner for Teryn’s birthday and includes Casey and Candace.  Candace tells us Stephanie is not invited.  (She is also not invited to the birthday party Candace has for her kids.)  One thing the ladies mention that is so true of moms, both Mothers of Multiples and women who don’t like to have as many kids as a dog has puppies, is that you have to work to make the conversations go beyond kids.  This is true with your girlfriends and your husbands.  Spontaneity just isn’t always possible anymore.

Then we move out of nice and easy and hit painful and hard.  As was mentioned on the last episode, Suz’s daughter Savannah needed another surgery on her little kidney.  Suz and Joe’s boys had the flu, so Joe had to stay home with them and miss the surgery.  Luckily, Suz’s parents were there for support, but it’s still a long day for Suz and Savannah.  That little girl is a mini Suz, and has the sweetest little voice.  It was tough to watch Suz have to hold her down for her medicine and then to see the tubes connected to her wee little arm.  Savannah was so brave and so good as they wheeled her away from her momma and into surgery.  (Let me just take this chance to say that pediatric nurses and doctors are a special breed.  God bless them for being able to do what they do with a smile on their face and love in their voice.  I can’t even imagine…)  Savannah does great in surgery and gets a rainbow Popsicle in recovery.  She also has a short pitiful cry that makes me sad even writing about it, but other than that, she is a world champion great kid about it all.  If you would like to see an update on Savannah’s progress, please check out Suz’s website.

Poor, sweet little baby girl. She is looking at ANOTHER surgery in February.

In other, less liable to make you cry surgery news, Stephanie and her husband Jerald get their male dog, Rocky, fixed.  See, Steph is all kinds of done with any new creatures in her house-babies and dogs.  Jerald wants another baby (He’d like to order a boy, please, Baby Giver People.) and feels sorry for poor Rocky losing his manly parts.  I’m with Steph on the dog thing though.  They have a male and female, so they are just asking for trouble if Rocky isn’t firing blanks.  I can’t even bring myself to write about the mess a female dog in heat makes.  Just no.

Also just no?  Taking my kids bowling without the aid of my spouse and/or beer.  Yet, that is exactly what dear Teryn does to help Candace and her triplets celebrate their 4th birthday.  Teryn’s boys just run amuck and make her have panic-face.  Damn it!  Why didn’t she bring in her trusty M&M’s to bribe them??!?!?  Look, if it works for you, do it.  Parental bribery happens.  Don’t act like it isn’t somewhat normal.  Now, I do love Candace’s philosophy of putting in the work at home to help with public behavior, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  I’m the first to admit that consistency is a toughy for me but also would save me a lot of heartache.  I’m blaming it on my ADD.

Tonia continues to hurt my head with her love life.  She, and Candace of course, head to the Dallas Bridal show.  Tonia is a speaker and is very excited to promote her business but also nervous without her husband there to support her and do manual labor.  My confusion is that she talks about this part of her life on camera, but as we will see in Episode 4, it seems the ladies who are not her besties can’t ask her questions about it.  I understand she wants her exact reasons for divorce kept private.  That is very fair.  I just don’t understand when people are allowed to talk to her about her love life in general and how she’s feeling.  It’s possible that the wound is still so raw that even she isn’t sure.

And finally, we get more sex talk with Teryn’s husband Ryan panting for a private swim suit show and a separate girls’ night out discussion on Stephanie’s current birth control of not letting Jerald even look at her 10 days of the month.  Teens, please don’t try this yourself.  The sexy talk amongst the girls leads to them sexting their spouses and at least three or four of the husbands getting lucky.  TMI for everyone!

This lands us smack dab at the start of Episode 4: “Husbands and Hooters.”   It’s a pretty full episode, so I’m going to make it a separate post again.  Also, I need to get to bed.  And I’m out of good word thingys.  So, tune in tomorrow for my next recap!  Until then, tell me, do you have that one friend who is a cutey that you love to bug about sex because it makes her blush, a-la Teryn?  I do, and she probably has to pray for me after every dinner we have.  Any other thoughts?  Spill it!

Texas Multi Mamas Episode 2: “Weekend in Paris”

Howdy!

Get it? A review about a show from Texas?

Anyway…..

I finally got to see the second episode of Texas Multi Mamas.  If you missed my review of episode one or just don’t know what I’m talking about, you could check out my first review. There are also links to the episodes online in case you’d like to watch.

I am on a cattiness and ‘all-dolled-up mommies who go out too much’ watch.  I enjoy reading the feedback about my blog and the show, but anyone who was turned off by it seemed to complain about those two things.  Two things I really didn’t see much of on the first episode.  I also read some complaints about the commercials  making the show look like it was trying to compete with trashy shows (which I love) like the Real Housewives.  While that may be true, I think that’s just what they thought they had to do to get viewers.  Duh.

The second episode began with the ladies having some spa time.  It was the first gathering after Stephanie attempted to quell any drama created by her Candace feud.  It was a bit tense but not at all like those crazy Beverly Hills mommas do it.  As happens with moms, the ladies began talking about leaving the kids with the husbands.  I’m so glad none of them said the fathers of their children were ‘babysitting’ them.  Just no.  Let’s add that kind of talk to our list of no-no’s, shall we?

Not all dad's would do this. By the way, I'd be fine with this if I got out of one grocery shopping trip. Photo courtesy failblog.org

Stephanie noted that during this husband talk Tonia, currently divorced, was quiet and withdrawn.  That must be so very hard.  The married friends have a right and like to talk about married life, but it is also important to know the crowd you are with and be kind to them.  Tonia broke my heart when she said, “I never wanted to be divorced.”  However, after Stephanie tried to include her, she said in an interview, “Stephanie doesn’t know me or know how I feel.” Nice.  Stephanie has been divorced too.  Also?  If you want her to know how you feel?  Tell her.  She’s opened the door to that conversation.

I’m just going to casually mention the discussion at spa day about Stephanie getting new boobs.  Listen, this happens a lot in Texas and for Mothers of Multiples.  I could have done without her giving the, “Everything’s Bigger in Texas!” line.  That’s true; even our politicians are bigger a**es than any other state’s.  (I’m looking at you Rick Perry.)

In more Candace and Stephanie news, they arranged the show made them have a play date at Candace’s house.  Steph went in with a semi-open mind, which is all I think we can ask of her.  Of note during this scene was the women’s apparel, pants and t-shirts.  Normal, non-fancy-pants stuff.  Steph gets annoyed by Candace being a topper.  (That friend who tells a story about the topic you just told but bigger and better.)  Steph also was annoyed that Candace cared when Stephanie’s kid got hit in the face by a foot.  How dare she?!?!

Little Miss Sunshine Stephanie got to tell the ladies about her upcoming in-laws visit over drinks.  She also got to poo poo Candace’s advice to just kill her mother-in-law with kindness.  Not bad advice for a woman who has kindness in her…..you know like…well, not Stephanie I guess.  Stephanie on the other hand said, “That was a really pretty answer honey.”  Methinks she is treating Candace like her mother-in-law is treating her.  No matter what she does, it’s wrong.

Thankfully, we were treated to a World Wildlife Fund commercial about how we’re slaughtering tigers left and right to move away from anything uncomfortable……(Another commercial break at some point was the one with the family trying to mail away the creepy clown.  Makes me jump every time.  Stupid clown.)

Photo courtesy Satan.

Teryn, you are a brave girl!  Not just for doing what it takes to feel good about yourself but for letting the world see your consultation and your well-earned mommy pouch.  Let me just tell you that mine looks like that, and I only have twins.

Teryn’s tummy tuck procedure brought us her first story and a closer look at her husband, Ryan.  They were both worried about each other.  I laughed when Ryan asked if her ‘knockers’ were going to be pulled down too far.  A very legitimate husband concern.  Teryn cried to think of the worry an elective surgery was putting on her parents.  Her dad’s face looked just like my dad’s when I was last in the hospital.  Tough for a daddy’s girl to see.  Ryan was very choked up as they wheeled her in for surgery, and he told us how he couldn’t live without her.  Good stuff and very sincere.  Teryn makes it through and begins her recovery.  Ryan heads up the household and cleans her drain tubes.  It is a sweaty position he is now in, and he’s ready to be done.

Meanwhile, we see Stephanie and husband Jerald packing and then heading to Paris, Texas.  (Hence the episode’s title.)  Again, please know that not all Texans pack six guns for a family visit, though it’s something some of us should probably consider.  I thought it was cute when Jerald told Steph that he loved her under the fake Eiffel Tower (complete with red cowboy hat of ridiculousness).  It was also sweet later in the show when they took some time together to shoot those guns, and it turned into a date with each person saying the other was hot while armed.  However, Stephanie being Stephanie, she got pretty pissed off later when everyone ordered dinner while she was in the restroom and took it out on Jerald by calling him fat for shoving a school of fried fish in his face.

We had two chances to see how the couples get alone time while still being good parents.  Candace and Steve got a date night thanks to Candace’s mother being able to watch the kids, while Casey and Robbie begged the children to go to sleep and ate dinner  and hit the hot tub after.  Steve gave Candace a framed poem and pretty necklace, while Robbie sprayed whipped cream on Casey in a funny way.  I loved how they turned strawberries and whipped cream silly.  Both couples seemed happy and in sync.  I’m sure they have to work at it, but it seems important to stay a good couple to survive multiples.

Casey, Robbie, and quads of cuteness. Congrats mom and Dad, you did not embarrass your kids in the hot tub scene. Photo courtesy WEtv.com

Casey seems like me.  She’s a bit anxious and thinks controlling things will calm her.  Her husband keeps her looking at the lighter side as mine does.  Her monitor addiction is hilarious.  Casey, momma, you are not alone.

We get a short glimpse of Tonia lamenting that the guy from the first episode tried to ask her out again via text.  Sorry dude, Steve already warned Tonia about you.  You’re done.  Also, Tonia can’t stop saying the ‘r’ word.  Please, get her some help.

We also got to see Suz break it to her little Savi that she was about to have the 6th surgery of her short life.  Gut-wrenching.  Suz explains how this is the hardest part of being a parent, and I feel for her.  Savi says, “Surgery agian? But I don’t wanna have surgery!”  I am so proud of Suz for not losing it at that.  Too much.  This story will complete on the next episode, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to see them wheel that little girl in for surgery.

And with that we wait until next Tuesday for more episodes.  What did you think?  Are these moms going out too much?  Too dressed up?  I don’t think so, but I’m a Texan; maybe I’m biased.  Did I leave anything out? (Ha! That’s funny.  I’m never telling stories that are too short.)  I’d love comments, especially from Moms of Multiples.  A special thanks to all who shared my link to the last review.  I loved getting so many readers!

My Take On Texas Multi Mamas

You know what I need? Another reality TV show!  And one that I could have been in no less.

The show in question is called Texas Multi Mamas, and it centers on 6 Dallas-area moms who are all friends and are all Mothers of Multiples.  (Why did I capitalize that?  Because they carried more than one baby in their uteri.  Try it some time.  It’s no walk in the park.)  It airs on WE tv on Tuesdays at 8 and 9c.  If you missed the first 2 episodes, you can watch them here.

First, let’s meet the ladies.  They are all very thin and none seem to be medicated which is a bit different from my experience.  Maybe they just don’t eat fast food for lunch as much as they can and don’t blab all over the internet about their mental health.  Weird.

Candace–42, Mom to 4 year-old triplets, married to Steve, describes herself as wanting to be the cool mom and be who she was before she had kids (Hmmm, sounds like trouble but you never know!  Maybe she can do it.)

Stephanie–26, Mom to 2 year-old twins and a son from a previous marriage, married to Jerald, she already has tension with Candace and thereby the rest of the group

Teryn–35, Mom to 3 year-old triplets and an older daughter, married to Ryan, not seen much in this episode though I loved it when she used her foot to keep a triplet from escaping the store they were in

Casey–30, Mom to 4 year-old quads (That’s 4 kids you guys!), married to Robbie, honest about being overwhelmed every day but seems to do great, says she likes control but isn’t a control freak

Suzi–Mom to quads, married to Joe, close friends with Casey, decides to laugh at her chaos instead of get stressed by it, soft-spoken but not meek

Tonia–33, Mom to 4 year-old twins, divorced, very close friends with Candace, runs a professional organizing company

Oh my! The cute! It hurts! Photo courtesy of WeTV.

Now, let’s get on to Episode 1, “Mama Drama” which tried to play up the tension between Stephanie and Candace.  They’ve had words.  And mean texts.  Mostly from Stephanie and containing foul language and general abrasiveness.  And now all the other ladies are afraid that Stephanie is willing to ‘throw anyone under the bus’ to get what she wants.  (For the love of the beautiful English language can we be done with that phrase?  Pretty please?)  When Suz ( I can call her that because I know friends of her friends.) has lunch with Stephanie and tells her this, Steph gets very upset.  She honestly is sad that the other moms have bad feelings about her.  Suzi handled it so well and was very gracious with the way she brought it up.  It was not done with the intent to make things more tense or dramatic.  I really like her and could learn a thing or two about diplomacy from her.

We see a lot of Stephanie, Candace, and Tonia in this episode with some great interviews with Casey and Suz.

For Stephanie, we see her on a date with her husband talking about their daughters’ birthday party and his mother.  Unfortunately, Stephanie and her mother-in-law do not see eye to eye.  Jerald has chosen to pretend nothing is wrong for fear of both women getting stabby.  At the actual birthday party, the two women don’t talk much, and the mother-in-law pulls a classic evil move.  She asks for a picture of her family and leaves out Stephanie and her older son.  Very classy.  Steph complains about it, but is generally not too dramatic.   I really liked how Stephanie and Jerald had fun and were happy for their girls having fun.  The party was nice and normal and just very real.

We see Candace offering to help Tonia in the man department by setting up a meeting with a matchmaker, though none of the other ladies thinks this is a great idea.  Thankfully, the matchmaker is a pretty nice, even-keeled lady unlike that wacko on Bravo.  Tonia is pretty neurotic (I’ve seen her in person) but is obviously very smart and driven.  However, she lost me totally when she said she was ‘retarded’ about dating.  Woman, we do not use that word that way!  Not cool.

While waiting for the matchmaker to perform a miracle, Tonia goes on a date set up by another friend.  She tells us that she’s got a weird thing about nice teeth.  Then she says some things about blah, blah, blah, personality, nice to me, but mostly the teeth need to be nice.  The date is not too awkward, and they seem to be having fun.  Until Tonia tells him he has to meet her friend Candace for inspection.  Good-bye confidence!

After the date, Tonia goes to Candace’s for a play date.  That play date looked nice.  Candace’s husband played with the kids while they dished about the date.  (He also offered some great advice about a man who asks you for a date via text message.  He warned that you need to be prepared to be broken up with via text by a guy like that.)  My play dates with other Moms of Multiples are more ‘active’.  Shelly and I used to meet at the mall play place (germ town), and the conversations were like this, “Do you have Gavin?” “No.  Have you seen Alex? I think he may be bleeding…If it’s not him, it’s the other one.”  Then we corral them in the food court and play the my-kids-have-a-new-bad-habit game.  It’s informative, and nobody wins.

For the high point, all the ladies meet at a place called Zephyr’s for drinks on the patio (I’m so jealous.) and some interaction between our feuding ladies Stephanie and Candace.  Stephanie explains to the whole group that she never said anything about throwing anyone under the bus because she knows that phrase is stupid.  No, she says that they should always come to her in the future if they have any questions about her or what she feels.  Stephanie does not talk directly to Candace, the person she knows is responsible for the comment, but instead just makes a calm statment.  Candace stays silent which means no big fights or cattyness.

I liked the show and the ladies.  Stephanie is a little tightly wound but harmless.  I’m bummed we didn’t see more of their day-to-day life with the kids because it’s nice to see how someone else handles it.  The kids are older but still hard to handle!  Trust me, I know this.  If you go to the web site and look at their pictures, there are some parenting tips from them there.  Not embarrassed by them as a mom, a woman or a Texan.  They seem normal which may doom the show.

What do you think?  Do you want me to continue reviewing the show?  Who did you like?  What would you like to see?  If you have any observations or questions or answers, please make them in the comments!  After this, see my review of episode 2.

I’m Sorry, But Not Really

“Happiness means never having to apologize for being me!”

–Gretchen Rossi, RHOC

This Woman Does Not Care About Your Feelings

Yes, I’m quoting reality TV right off the bat.  But trust me, you’re about to learn something from these crazy beyotches.

One of my latest annoyances is the fake apology.  Now, I’m not talking about the ones my kids give their dad because they know he is a softie and will immediately retract all punishments if they cry and say sorry.  I’m talking about the apology that makes it seem like the speaker is making amends, but, really, it’s just lip service.

I got to thinking about this while watching Real Housewives–both Orange County and New York.  These women love to toss around the fake apology.  As in, “I’m sorry.  I’m just being real.”  Or, “I’m sorry.  I’m just blunt and call it like I see it.”

What do those fake apologies mean?  “I’m sorry that you are so sensitive that you can’t take my cutting remarks.”  Or, “I’m sorry you pointed out my rudeness.”

Some of my readers know that I’m not shy with the sarcasm or inappropriateness.  The difference is I really am sorry if I hurt someone’s feelings.  I do try to change my behavior to match the setting and audience.  I try very hard only to mock those who know I’m kidding and know I’m fair game for mocking too.

Being yourself does not mean being an asshat whenever you feel like it.  If you must spew venom, get a blog and rail on nameless innocents.  That’s what all the cool kids do these days.  As for me, I’ll take any sincere criticism to heart and work to be funny AND nice.