Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mommy Terms

By Terri Lively

This is a sample of the vernacular that has been cultivated at my house, and at other mommies’ houses over the years. It comes out of the frustrations of our daily lives when words that exist in our agreed upon lexicon just aren’t doing the trick – and the words that would work are off limits. Here are few I will be submitting to Webster’s and Her Royal Majesty the Queen for approval:

Cake Axiom: The amount of cake mommy consumes is equal to the root of her misery (i.e. potty training + skipped nap), minus the sum total of what she has already eaten and multiplied by her closeness to cake. Ergo: a mommy hovering over the cake with a fork will eat most of said cake, or the rest of said cake if she has exercised the Cake Axiom the previous day.

The C word: I nearly passed out when my five-year-old daughter told me she knew the “C” word. I had all but dialed the school she attends to yank her out and send her to a convent before she informed me that the C word was crap. Whew! Dodged a bullet there…

Chardy: The affectionate term for Mommy’s healing elixir, Chardonnay. Children and spouses alike can find themselves on the business end of a hissy fit more than once when they interfere with mommy’s access to her chardy.

Classic Rock: This is the unconscious sway we do with our bodies whenever we hear a crying baby, even if it isn’t ours and even if we aren’t holding it. It’s typified by an unconscious shifting of weight from foot to foot, in place and will continue until the crying stops.

Company-Ready:  This defines a level of clean that is appropriate for guests. It includes wiping crusty sediment off every door handle and light switch, doing a toilet check to make sure there aren’t any forgotten prizes and prying the now- petrified pieces of errant cereal from the kitchen tile before visitors arrive and see what filth you live in on a daily basis.

Cuticle Clippers:  Another word for teeth.

Driver’s Seat: Not the term to describe who is in control of her life, the Driver’s seat is the spot Moms operate a large part of their waking day. From school drop off to grocery runs to passing time during dance rehearsal or karate practice and mad dashes to pick up dinner before 7pm on a school night, the driver’s seat becomes her home away from home. Driver’s seat comes with mandatory accessory: smart phone, for entertaining mom and keeping her in constant contact with her oldest child: her spouse.

Gym:  Otherwise known as Mommy’s sanctuary. I can tell when I need a little sanctuary because I start muttering under my breath derogatory comments about the cleaning habits of my housemates when no one else is around and will throw down with my 7-year-old about whether Darth Maul survived being cut in half by Obi Wan in Episode I. Sure it’s hard work and you get sweaty at the gym, but where else can you get two hours of babysitting every day for $10 a month? I don’t want you to get the wrong impression; I don’t go every day for two hours. But I could.

The Mommy-tard: Typified by its easy and adaptable look, the mommy-tard consists of black yoga pants, which may or may not ever see the inside of a yoga studio, long or short sleeve t shirt, depending on the season, and a hoody jacket in bright color. Shoes will vary between running shoes that haven’t run on a trail since her children were born, to trendy sneakers that compliment her jacket. Color coordination is optional however and directly related to whether the baby’s poop was before or after she got dressed and what was available in the overstuffed laundry basket wedged in front of the dryer waiting to get folded.

My Playlist:  This is a playlist we construct for the rare moments when we can wear headphones and listen in peace or blast in the car while we are alone. It will contain swear words, inappropriate material, and at least in my case, Indigo Girls because my husband spoils my listening experience by singing the world “vagina” in continuous, albeit beautiful, harmony with every song. My playlist will result in some jazz hand choreography on the elliptical or possibly some unplanned steering wheel karaoke when alone in the car.  Sadly, it will likely not include any song from the past decade.

Park Buddies: This describes the other moms at the park who you don’t know but have pleasant relationships with, regardless. Usually, you don’t even ask their names before you have deeply personal conversations with them. I have told park buddies all about my husband’s failed vasectomy, demonstrated for them my ability to ignore my children completely at the park while I check my email on the phone, and sang loud versions of B-I-N-G-O in front of them while my babies swing in the swings.

Privates: The words we use, or at least I wish I had used to describe my kids, well… private parts. I decided I would be all forward thinking with my kids and tell them the clinical names for their genitalia. Unfortunately, the words have come back to bite me more times than I can count.  Like when we were doing Madlibs the other night and I needed a part of the body. Or loudly in a public restroom when someone is describing what is hurting when they pee. Or when one of my children says that they want to look at the other’s well … private parts. In fact, my daughter used her word so often that her dad finally told her it was an at-home word. At our house, the kids keep their privates anything but private. Part of that is me not wanting to let go of our carefree toddler days of nude little bottoms running away from us mid-change while we chased them with a clean diaper. I suppose I should stop the nudie fest before they reach their teens. For the record, I stepped in quickly and put the kibosh on any inter-family privates scrutiny.

Private Time:  There is a reason they make locks for bathroom doors. It’s not the kind of private time that I want, but it is sometimes all I am going to get…unless the knocking and constant barrage of questions would disqualify this time as private. Then, I guess, we should just call it Time.

Slug Trails: When your children are young, they are immune to nothing and catch virtually everything that can be caught each cold and flu season. Toddlers are unable to reach or unwilling to use tissues. They do not care for snot on their upper lip however. So they solve this problem by wiping their nose on your shoulder, your throw pillows, and today I learned, on your chenille chaise lounge. Slug trails are usually invisible until light catches them just right and the iridescent sheen glimmers just long enough to make you wonder how your life really came to this. Part of company-ready prep is to rid your shoulder, your throw pillows and your furniture of the slug trails your toddler leaves behind.

Weekend: This starts Monday at 8:11 a.m. and lasts until 2:09pm and repeats every weekday until Friday during the school year. Then, moms begin the hardest part of their week, with back-to-back double shifts. They are really getting hammered when school is out for holiday or spring break with straight doubles for up to three weeks (yes, three. My school district is particularly thorough in their ability to give our kids a break). And summer vacation is anything but a vacay for mom. It’s a good thing we love our job, or if not the job, then our clients.

Whine o’clock:  The time everyday when all your children can do is whine, which completely justifies mommy’s wine o’clock response.

Just a few of the terms we mommies know and understand. And maybe even a few we wish we didn’t.

Feel free to leave a comment on any mommy term you have coined. We can send them to Webster’s and Old Lizzy together, and then toast our success with a well earned chardy.