Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #writerslife

The Ups & Downs of Being a Stay-At-Home Mombie

EPSON MFP image

As a woman, I can tell you that being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful and rewarding job.  However, it isn’t without pitfalls.  Cook, clean, and wipe butt?  Sign me up, I’m in.  Men, don’t judge.  There is a reason why I can’t talk about being a stay-at-home dad.  Yet I’m sure the experience is quite similar.  Also, ladies, please don’t judge.  No matter how much you decide to work “outside of the home”, it is complicated.  I would just like to stress the point that being a stay-at-home parent is a full time job, without outside pay.

Decisions, decisions.  Do the math.  Can the family be supported on one income?  Now do the mental.  Can you cope?  My husband (the old, bald guy) and I opted for the scrape by method, and since we were just starting out, we decided he would be the crumb winner.  That allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom for about ten years.  Would I take it back?  Absolutely not.  Were there hardships?  Absolutely yes.

It turns out that raising children is very difficult.  At times you may feel like a sleep deprived zombie with a shrunken brain.  Oh, the ups and downs.  But, who doesn’t love a good roller coaster ride?  I actually learned a few tricks along the way.  Let’s review.

Up:  Home cooked meals and Garanimals!

Down:  Arguing over which color cup you chose to use and how much milk you poured into it.

Fix:  Compromise – change the dang cup to your child’s preference, transfer milk from Cup A to Cup B and tip milk carton as if pouring more milk, but leave the cap on – your child will feel smug, and so will you.

Up:  Being there for every single crucial moment in your child’s life.  First roll onto back, first sit up, first noise/word, first crawl, first steps. . .

Down:  The sheer difficulty of trying to make it to the grocery store in between naps, feedings and diaper changes.  Just when you think you might have an hour, nope, rethink plan, and hope there will be another window of opportunity, maybe today.

Fix:  Wait.  All good things come in time.

Up:  Things to do for free – my favorites were parks and the library.

Down:  Having accidents (of both kinds) at parks and the library.

Fix:  I got nothing here.  Oh wait – don’t take your kids anywhere, ever, and then this will only happen at home.

Up:  The excitement of experiencing everything for the first time all over again from spiders to rainbows.

Down:  The power of an instant lobotomy like headache resulting from an inhumanly and inhumane high screech made from your young child, perhaps after seeing a spider.

Fix:  Ibuprofen.

Up:  Volunteering at school and seeing the gleam in your child’s eye when they see how proud you are of him, and you can tell how proud he is to have special moments be witnessed by you.

Down:  Feeling guilty about missing something exciting at school – a play, a spelling bee, etc.

Fix:  There is none – you will feel guilty about something to do with your child(ren) for the rest of your life.

Up:  Being there to explain everything to your child, especially the why.

Down:  Your most intellectual discussion of the day probably had something to do with Dr. Seuss.

Fix: Encourage your child to read.  Explain this to him or her: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Yes, Dr. Seuss).

Up:  Being so happy that hubby is home to relieve you of your duties if only for a little bit, because he realizes that you have been on high alert ALL day as there is no such thing as childproofing, you have dealt with numerous disgusting substances, you haven’t had any adult contact or highly stimulating conversation, you have “worked” all day- we’re talking going to the bathroom with the door open or something terrible could happen to the children no-break kind of day.

Down:  Realizing that hubby is not sympathetic to your cause because he has also worked all day, even though he was able to have some meaningful conversations, feel productive, solve complex problems, make money, and go to the bathroom with the door closed without fear of immediate harm to his young children.

Fix: Don’t worry, that last rant resolves on its own as the children grow older.

To be super fair, if I were to rewrite the last “Up” bullet point from my husband’s point of view, it might read as follows:  Being so happy to come home to a home cooked meal after having worked all day, including plunging clogged toilets, clearing sewage lines, and dealing with difficult customers, knowing all the while that this hard work has allowed for my loving, caring, appreciate wife to be able to stay at home with the children.

In summary, enjoy the ups and cope with the downs.  Just remember you are in charge of each and every wonderful new day in molding the mind of your little human being.  “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” (Dr. Seuss).

Wendy Knuth is the author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books for children.  One of her characters is a stay-at-home Mombie zombie named Mombie Moore.

Mombie Moore

art by Brian Allen

I Despise the Smell of Skunk or What To Try If Your Dog Gets Skunked

So you got skunked.  Seriously what does it mean?  That means you were badly beaten in a game, right?  Well, I wish.  Say it over and over and over again and it starts to sound weird.  Anything to do with “unk” is just not good.  That is why similar words sound just as funky, pun intended, eg funk and gunk.  But, don’t forget bunk, dunk, hunk, junk, punk, and sunk.

But in reality, your dog got skunked.  Why, oh why does this keep happening?  As a dog owner, I have issues.  Ongoing and longstanding issues.  Oh, let me tell you the horrors.  My dogs get skunked.  Luckily it seems to be a seasonal problem of late summer and early fall.  As a youngster growing up in a rural area, our dogs got skunked.  I remember how my mother would bathe the stinky dogs with either lemon juice or tomato juice or tomato sauce.  From my recollection, it worked great.  However, it seems that over time I swear the skunk smell has become much more potent.

There was a time my husband and I were camping, on a merry stroll we were, and my dog went crazy.  She starting barking at a tree.  At the base of the tree.  There was nothing there.  She started to attack a pile of leaves and sure enough, there was a skunk happily hibernating.  He let her know he was not appreciative of her and we dragged her off with the wet odor of skunk in our mouths.  Yuck!!

Another time, our dog ran into our house, so excited, with soaking wet skunk-sprayed fur and proceeded to rub herself all over the carpet in the middle of the night.  Didn’t she know we had to work the next day?   The thick odor makes sleeping very difficult, as well as the increasing anger that goes with this situation.

I would never admit to it, but at some point in time, there may have been a dead skunk in my living room, with entrails all about, and a proud dog to boot.  How fun!  A new job for the husband!

I wanted to put said dog in time out or at least on skunk restriction.  I wanted to have a sit down.  Look dog, you’re not doing us any favors here.  You are not protecting the fort, in fact you are allowing chemical warfare into the fort of which you should be protecting.   If only that would work.

So I tried the lemonade, and I tried the tomato juice and even tomato sauce.  It seemed to have lost its efficiency.  Perhaps my memories were bad as to how well those old tricks worked.  Online I go and find a new recipe.  Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap.  So instead of hitting the odor with acids, now we are hitting it with bases.  Doesn’t anyone know the chemical composition of skunk spray by now?  The new formula seemed to work pretty well, except I lost my fingerprints during the treatment and I’m not so sure how that affects the dog’s skin, but with my increasing anger over the dog’s defunct learning curve, I hoped that the burn and the bath would deter the dang dog.  Um, nope.

As for the carpet, I can’t spread tomato juice all over and I’m sure hydrogen peroxide will make for bleach spots, so I tried a solution of vinegar and water ala the internet.  I sprayed it all over the carpet – works great for a day or two, if you don’t mind the smell of vinegar.  I repeated this treatment every couple of days.  It turns out, from my now all knowing experience that the skunk smell naturally dissipates after approximately one month.  Or it could be that one becomes so used to the foul stench in your own home that you don’t notice it after a month.

Why do I write this angry blog?  Last week, my dog got skunked.  Yet, that sounds wrong, as if he was a victim when I’m sure he was the instigator.  Can you believe I was fresh out of hydrogen peroxide?  I hauled Mr. Dog into tub and went after him with a mixture of vinegar and dish wash soap.  I have to say it worked great for several days.  And again, if you don’t mind the smell of vinegar.  But that nasty skunk smell seems to have a way of working itself back up into the fur and up into your nose.

I now have lots of ideas.  Has anyone started selling this skunk juice?  Perhaps someone, somewhere has or could start a big skunk farm.  You could sell the juice to the police to use as riot dispersing bombs.  You could sell it to the general public as an alternative to mace.  People could use it on their natural born enemies so that they would have to call off from work.  It makes me wonder, how many people have actually called into work to say “I can’t come in today, I’ve been skunked.”

I am always amazed when driving down the road with the air on in my vehicle and I catch a whiff of that foul odor.  I roll down the windows to rid the car of that vile smell and it always takes a couple of miles before I stop smelling it.

The smell used to seem unusual or even interesting.  Nowadays, it just makes me mad.  I am dubious of trying a commercial product as most of the internet gives it a small remark and then moves on to home remedies.  But I’m willing to try.  I also just recently read something about minty mouthwash.  Oh, how I look forward to trying that as if I have nothing better to do.  Thanks dog!

Wendy Knuth

Author of Moore Zombies

MooreZombies.com