I was on the phone with a friend last week and she was frustrated. Her husband was trying to help out by making bacon, but he was burning it. I teased her by saying, you can’t ask him to be more helpful and then criticize him when he tries. She disagreed.
This sparked a conversation of the “life rules”. The ones that we want others to follow, but that we occasionally want to break, such as ’don’t ask for help then criticize it’. So I have decided to publish in writing a “new” set of life rules to use at your discretion when you need life to work in your favor:
- Life IS fair. This means that if something is unfair, you have the right to be upset, cranky and consume chocolate and wine.
- You CAN have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you wash it down with wine.
- You CAN look a gift horse in the mouth. If you don’t like the gift or the strings attached to it.
- Treats others as you would like to treat them. Especially when you’re mad at them, they deserve it or you have run out of chocolate and wine.
- A penny saved is a penny wasted… if there is a sale on shoes!
- Good things come to those who DON’T wait. Carpe diem baby, make things happen, take action!
- If you want something done, don’t give it to a busy person. I am a busy person and can’t handle anymore. Why should the people who aren’t busy get a pass?
And a few that are perfect just the way they are…
- Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned - Two words: Lorena Bobbit.
- Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die - Even if we know we will live for years, eat, drink and be merry!
- Tomorrow is another day - which means I have another opportunity to
be a better momdemonstrate that I am enough.
What other life rules do you love or need revised?
To all of my friends, in-persona nd virtual, who help this mommy stay more balanced than not:
When you listen, I keep my sanity.
When you laugh, my heart smiles.
When you show support, I survive.
When you rant, I agree.
When you’re lost, I hold the compass.
When you’re ready to pull it together, I help gather the pieces.
When you have a great day, I am happy.
When you interrupt, I am glad you can relate.
When you’re sad, I am heartbroken.
When you triumph, I am not surprised.
When you walk out of the room, I steal a sip of your wine!
If their library books are overdue,
If you’re shelling out the dough for soccer, ballet and Tai Kwon Do,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If CPS knows what your address is,
If you bribe to keep them quiet and lie to avoid a riot,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If homemade gifts have made you cry,
If you wouldn’t trade it all for a maid and the Taj Mahal,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If you know how lucky you are, to raise your little stars,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
My husband and I went together to drop my daughter off at preschool last Friday. We don’t typically go together, but it was the end of a long week and we thought it would be fun. As we were walking back to our car, one of the other moms stopped us as she was walking in.
“You two are so cute, coming together! I don’t know how you do it, you both work full-time, but you’re always smiling, you’re very involved with your sweet kids and I can only imagine that your house is amazing. And you, Paige, look great”. My husband I both started laughing in disbelief. I glanced down at my short, average body and glanced back at her tall slender frame and thought she must usually wear glasses.
“Just hide in my house for a day and you’ll see why I always say, ‘don’t look behind the curtain’. You’ll hear me yelling, you’ll see the messes and you’ll figure out that I am crazy, but thank you, you are very kind”, I said as we headed to the car.
That brief interaction sent me into a tail spin. I started mentally listing, by category, all of my faults and short comings:
Positive and Smiling?
- I typically only use the F word when I am upset. I use the F word daily, multiple times per day.
- My best friend thinks I should pay her as much as I pay my therapist.
- When it comes to parenting, I have been asked to write a book… on what not to do!
- If the kitchen cabinets aren’t re-done soon, the house may be condemned
- There is always mold in my shower!
- I am better at math than decorating, and I barely passed high school math.
This list continued as I walked back into the house. By the time I sat down to my computer to work. I was on the edge of a melt down. I felt like a fake. How could this high energy, fit, sweet mom be praising me?! I decided to write this blog post on how upset I was to be given praise that I didn’t deserve.
Then the most magical thing happened…
Before I could start this post, I checked my email. In my inbox was a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Gardner. The post was entitled, ‘Today Call me Enough’, as she was guest posting on the blog, “Just Be Enough“. Hello?! Before you even visit the blog, which you should, the title should be smacking you in the face – it left a big nasty red mark on my cheek! Here’s the magical part… I read it and stopped making my ‘why that sweet mom is crazy and I don’t have it together’ list.
I have decided the appropriate response to the sweet mom at preschool is thank you.
Thank you for recognizing that I work full-time but make parenting my priority. Thank you for pointing out, when I couldn’t see it, that I do a pretty damn good job of juggling it all most of the time. Thanks for not expecting me to be perfect, even though I sometimes am crazy enough to expect that of myself. I have tons of help from my husband and others, but I do the best I can. It’s not perfect, but it’s enough.
It’s interesting, I have no trouble listing my failures and flaws on this blog. I use humor to mask the negative feelings, but at the end of the day, I am comfortable being truthful if it helps others feel ”normal”. It’s much harder for me to share my accomplishments and pride. I thought about creating a second list of all the great things I do, but find it too hard to “brag”.
Why is it so much easier to focus on the negative instead of celebrating the positive? I always push friends and family to celebrate their strengths, I tell them not to be so hard on themselves. I marvel at their greatness, but I am relentless in measuring myself. I think many of us fall into this camp. We push ourselves so hard to be perfect, to succeed and ultimately just drive ourselves crazy… or to drink… or to chocolate.
Since Friday, when I have felt ambition or perfectionism getting the best of me and when I set my intention at yoga on Saturday, it was simply, “Just Be Enough” and you know what, I already am. On the days when I’m ‘not enough’ or ‘slightly off balance’, it’s still enough, but with extra amusement.
Do you want to do something brave? Do you want to help me be brave? Comment on this post with one of your strengths or one proud moment. Did you make an amazing dinner? Did you rock the project at work? Did you finally catch up on your laundry (at least for one day)? Did you get some quality time with your kids?
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for being amazing just the way you are.
When my oldest son was 6 months old, I had to go back to work and we put him in an in-home daycare. Pause as I think of the weeks of tears I shed at this tough decision. In order to limit his time in daycare, I would go to work early and get off early, while my husband would keep later hours. My husband would drop him off at 9:00 in the morning and I would pick him up at 4:00 in the afternoon. This was our routine. I like routine. I need routine. Without routine, things get… messed up. I am eloquent, aren’t I?
On my husband’s first business trip post-baby, we had to adjust the routine. I would go to work a little later, drop my son off and still go back to pick him up.
The first morning started so smoothly. I set my alarm early to allow time to feed him, change him into a onsie that looked just like the onsie he slept in, but was clean, and still get myself ready for work. It was a little cold out, so being a model new mother, I added a pair of socks with adorable bears that rattled.
I loaded him in the car, carefully buckled his 5 point harness (these days I pull out of the driveway like a bat out of hell, yelling, are you buckled!?) and headed out. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I saw a couple of neighbors out jogging. That made me smile. No, not because I was proud of them or because I love to run, but because I thought better you than me suckers. Then I frowned, realizing the joke was on me, that they were fit and I was… a new mom. I realize some new moms have babies, then look like Giselle two weeks later. I was not that mom! I was the one who was so enraptured with my new baby that my self-identity no longer mattered. I thought I would never care about hair, make up or clothes again. Okay, I still don’t but I pretend to. Or vice versa. Not sure.
Anyways, I continue driving thinking about how Dr. Spock would be so proud of my newly acquired parenting skills. I’m nursing, I’m pumping, I decorated with primary colors, I…
What is that noise?!
Oh my gosh! The rattle of my sons socks…
I forgot I was taking him to daycare. I was halfway to work on autopilot.
What would have happened if I hadn’t heard the socks? Would I have parked to car and gone into the office? Would I have been one of those mothers on the news? I am thankful that I never found out. I am also proud of myself for shredding the post-it-note that said ‘Don’t forget the baby’ that was taped to my steering wheel, before my husband returned.
Secretly, when I see one of those mothers on the news who forgot about their kid, I think to myself, shame one you, but I feel ya sister!
What have you done that was, or almost was, newsworthy?
Today was one of those days. I didn’t sleep well last night, thanks to an adorable, yet snoring child in my bed. It was grey and drizzling outside and frankly, I am pms’ing (apologies to my male readers). My plan was to go inward metaphorically. I would hide from the world and maybe even skip yoga because it’s just a crummy day.
Then I got a text from a friend that she’s having a tough week too. I decided the best way I could support her and anyone else having a tough day was to dust off the blog (Oh my! Does anyone have an extra feather duster and some Pledge, because I have been gone too long!) and share the 3 things every
mommy woman person needs. Hopefully, you all know what you need, but consider this a reminder, permission or just a loving nudge to be good to yourself!
- The Real Story – You are awesome, without having to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. If you are, please don’t tell me, I am fragile today. Here’s my shining examples of not being perfect-
- Every mom feels guilt. We were tired so we only read the top sentence of every page of our child’s book (sadly when they learn to read, I have to find other ways to cheat). We tell our kids we left their favorite movie at a friends’ house so we don’t have to hear it AGAIN. (Notice I say hear, because I am guilty of not even watching it)! We pick going to get a massage over watching a ballet practice. I think I have said enough to win mother of the year, I am moving on…
- Every mom yells. Our preschool teacher is amazing, like off the charts patient, kind and creative. AND she has FOUR kids! FOUR! She was recently asked, do you ever raise your voice and she said of course she does. If she says she does, than I know its okay that I do! That is one benefit of rainy days, I know my windows are closed so that my neighbors can’t hear me yelling!
- Every mom gets behind on housework. A note to the working moms – the stay at home moms have laundry piling up too! Even the cleanest houses and those with cleaning ladies have their bad days! (My blog isn’t the only thing that needs dusting…) You can’t perpetually hide the kids’ toys, husband’s junk or pet paraphernalia!
- Pick your poison. We all have our coping mechanism alcohol, caffeine, sugar, carbs. Okay, I pick all of them! There may be people out there who don’t need any of those, but I am not confident enough to be friends with somebody like that, so I choose to think we all have our vices. One mocha Prozac vodka latte please –with whip!
- Pick your distraction. TV (Somebody should give the Nobel Peace prize to the inventor of DVR, because that person keeps the peace in my house), books (Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?!), magazines (I get more than I have time to read, but it’s comforting to know they are there to fill my head with gossip, recipes, fashion and homemaking!). What’s your distraction?
- Pick your escape. Book club, bunko, mom’s group – these all could be bucketed as an excuse to get together and drink wine. Yoga – hmm, add wine and it might be utopia… The point is to find a way to blow off steam and smile!
- The sounding board. You know, the one you call and say, “I am going to kill my kids”, but she doesn’t call CPS (although you might appreciate if she did). Or the one you can call and say “should I be mad at my husband for …”. Or the one you tell, “I really need to pull it together” and she tells you that you don’t have to.
- The one that takes the high road. Just like we need the in-your-corner (even if it’s the corner of crazy and whack job) friend, we need the one who puts it in perspective, plays devil advocate and tries to make you a better person. Let’s be honest, we only call that friend when we’re not afraid of heights. But when we’re capable, the high road reminds us that there are people with bigger problems and helps us find gratitude for our blessed lives. She is also not a mind-reader, so when you tell her to “F” off in your head, she probably can’t hear you, I don’t think…
- The vice connection. She is my personal favorite. When the going gets tough, the tough get cocktails and she’s the gal stirring the drinks! She’ll split the whole chocolate cake with you and insist on opening the second bottle of wine. Who can have bad day while in a sugar induced coma?
The moral of the story- There is someone with a messier house, a shittier day and no wine in the fridge. Call the friend you need, meet her for yoga and have a snickers and cabernet on stand-by. You deserve it. Yes, you!
I can’t really top last year’s Christmas Eve post, or at least can’t unbury from wrapping paper and ribbons to try, so here is a re-post of the Off-Balance Day Before Christmas.Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house, Not a clean spot could be found, not even an ounce. The stockings were hung by the chimney with haste, In hopes that I’d buy stuff before it’s too late. With me in my flannels and Chris in his boxers, We were sure not an ad for Gap or Brooks Brothers. When what to my wandering mind should appear? The realization that Christmas is near! There were presents to wrap and groceries to buy. Would I be done in time? Not sure. No lie. Eight people for dinner, do we have enough wine? I ran out of butter and must stand in line. The children were plotting all smug under their beds. In hopes of ensuring I would snap, lose my head. They bickered and fought, Santa threats had gone stale. Should I send their gifts back through priority mail? I must clean, wrap and cook all day and all night. With enough caffeine and yelling, it’ll be alright. When I pull off Martha Stewart Christmas you’ll know. Despite all the chaos, I put on a hell of a show! So as you scurry and prep, know you’re not the only one. Merry Christmas to you and I hope you have fun!