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I Quit

November 10, 2014 3 comments

No, I am not announcing my intention to quit blogging.  After a 2+ year unannounced sabbatical, that would just be silly. And anti-climatic. And a short-post.

But there are several things I am thinking about quitting (or not quitting) and I promised a friend that I would stop blogging in my head, so this post is for her!

Things I Am Quitting

  • Wearing workout clothes – I rarely workout these days, pajamas make more sense, but I will change them in the morning… sometimes.
  • Dieting – Life is stressful, food helps.  If I diet I will be more cranky and crazy than I am now.  That’s not good for anyone.
  • Exercising – If I am in my pajamas and busy eating, how could I possibly workout?
  • Playdates – Because my definition of playdate is sending the kids out the door in hopes that they find a neighbor. Because I suck at scheduling them and then feel guilty.  The only exception is when someone asks for my help (which I am truly happy to do) or my kids plan one while I am standing there (very effective and requires less back and forth texting).  I may wear a short to school that says “I am happy to have your kids over.  Put them in my car instead of waiting for me to offer” (good thing I am stopping the diet and exercise, that’s a lot for one shirt).
  • Saying tomorrow is a new day – tomorrow will be a list of things I should have done today in addition to tomorrow’s to-dos.  Tomorrow will taunt me and make me miss today.  Tomorrow is a jerk.
  • Pretending I know how to juggle.  If I do one thing in my life well, the others suffer.  I don’t know how to balance it and be sane, which leads me to…
  • Sanity – it is over-rated and so damn hard to achieve.

Things I Am Not Quitting

  • Self-deprecating humor – If I say it before someone else it doesn’t hurt so bad. Especially useful at work, where I do a ‘Daily F*&% Ups Recap’.  With so much on my plate, things are starting to fray like a bad pair of 80’s denim cut-offs
  • Drinking – Wine and Vodka (no not mixed together… usually…) keeps the men with the nice white coat from putting me in the nice padded room.
  • Wishing I could write more – Because it’s healthier than wine and vodka.
  • Remembering that many people are chasing that elusive balance.  Balance is like an Elvis sighting, they happen from time to time, but aren’t believable.
  • My job – Because it fulfills me it pays the bills.  As soon as I find the money tree in my backyard, I will have a whole new blog.  For now, I just have a lot of holes in my backyard – watch your step.
  • Swearing – It’s cathartic.
  • Friends – I have a 60+hour per week job and 2 kids in school and sports.  I only have help four hours per week.  I don’t see any of my amazing friends as much as I’d like, but knowing they exist is much better than imaginary friends.
  • My husband and kids – the three most amazing blessings God could give me.  They make everything worth it (although often contribute to my insanity)
  • Recognizing the humor in life’s challenges.  I can’t commit to laughing, but I will observe said humor with a smug look on my face.

I Quit

What are you quitting or not quitting?

The Compliment That Almost Broke My Heart

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!

Amazing House?

  • 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?

Need more inspiration?  Watch this short video from Brene Brown about the Gifts of Imperfection and being enough.  I am currently reading her books and her work is resonating with me. 

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for being amazing just the way you are.

Unsuspecting Stowaways

May 2, 2012 5 comments

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?

3 Things Every Mommy Needs

April 25, 2012 7 comments

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!

  1. 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!

2. Vices

  • 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!

3. Friendship

  • 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!

10 Lessons from a Girls Weekend

April 11, 2011 12 comments

The following lessons may or may not have come from actual or alleged events.  You can’t prove these things happened.  I destroyed the pictures.  Enjoy the lessons and take them to heart!

  1. There are three slots on an ATM – the one you put the card in, the one you get a receipt from and the one that dispenses the money.  These slots are not interchangeable.
  2. When a friend gives you directions to a bar four times, it is time to pick that friend up from said bar.
  3. When attempting to rent a stack of chick flicks, it is easier to ask how to open a rental account than to guess other people’s’ account information.
  4. Short bar patrons are not souvenirs.  Even if she is 4′ 10″ one should not try to put her in their pocket.
  5. Yoga on patio cushions is dangerous.
  6. There is a brief window where karaoke sounds good: after listeners have had enough to drink to miss the mistakes, but before the singers have had too much to drink and sit down on stage.
  7. If you’re going to get on your hands and knees to bow to your new friend at the bar because she has six kids and multiple grandchildren, wash your hands afterwards.
  8. Playing ‘hide the car’ while a friend is in a store, never becomes mature old.
  9. If eye flirting with a guy at the other end of the bar doesn’t create a love connection, throwing ice at him probably won’t either.
  10. There is a fine line between a classy woman and a two scoops of crazy one.

They are rather confusing...

I Hit The Mommy Wall

March 14, 2011 13 comments

I must warn you that I am going to do what my serious writer friends call a stream of consciousness.  So if you’re not in the mood to hear the anger, frustration and sadness of a mother, wait for my next post.

My husband is on business travel.  When I am single-momming it, I run a tight schedule to avoid melt downs as much as possible.  By 6:30 my kids were bathed and my son was finished with his dinner.  My three-year old daughter was still fighting me on eating.  Now I know what you might say, don’t have battles over food, they will eat when they’re hungry.  Unfortunately, for my daughter that is bedtime.  If she doesn’t finish her dinner, she waits until after I put her to bed and starts the “I want a snack”.  If I say no, reminding her that she didn’t eat her dinner, I feel guilty that I am “starving” her and she throws a horrific temper tantrum, thus waking up her brother who has to get up for school.

So tonight, I insisted she eat most of her dinner.  It took an hour.  I was exhausted, frustrated and irritated.  I finally gave up when she had finished what would normally be enough, but I reminded her that if she didn’t finish her dinner there would be no snacks.

Fast forward to bed time.  My son went down fairly easy, as he is always does.  My daughter wanted to read me a book instead of me reading to her.  Yes, I know I should think it is adorable and creative of her, but I am tired.  I am still adjusting to the time change and have hours of work to do.  We finally get through books and I turn the lights out.  I go in the kitchen to get everything laid out for morning lunches, ensure we have the right library books to send back and change the laundry.  I then hear the not-so-delightful pitter patter of my adorable hellions feet.  She is hungry and wants a snack.  Of course.  I remind her of the rule and that she didn’t finish her dinner and tell her to go back to bed.

She throws herself down and starts the temper tantrum.  My daughter is the queen emperess of tantrums.  She has been known to go 90 minutes straight.  Ironically, I am often the one who can calm her down, without giving in.  I am usually the one who remains calm and acts like an adult. Usually…  I pick her up (with an incredibly sore back) and take her to her room.  I tell her if she keeps up the screaming, I will take a toy out of her room.  My son (whose bedroom is only a bathroom away from his sisters) comes out crying because she woke him up.  I tell him to go back to bed (with not enough sympathy).

This goes on until my son has been up five times and my family room is a fully stocked store of confiscated toys.  At this point my daughter has continued to come out of her room (we don’t have locks on our doors) and have her temper tantrum in the hallway.  I don’t want to give into her, because it sends the wrong message, but I also want my poor son to get some sleep.  I feel trapped and torn between being the consistent mom and being fair to my son.

I hit the mommy wall where I am exasperated and don’t know what to do next.  I threaten to spank her, even though I don’t think it is a useful tool with my kids.  It may be right for some kids, but it’s not right for me or my kids.  That being said, I have done it less than a handful of times when I have hit the mommy wall.  In my mind this makes it worse.  I am using spanking when I can’t think of a more constructive option.

My daughter is now kicking the floor and screaming, my son is up again.  I want to scream, cry and run away.  I consider calling my neighbor for moral support, but remind myself these are my kids and my job.  I think about calling my husband, but he’s in a different time zone and needs his rest.  I am so angry, I am standing there with clenched teeth.  I tell her, “this is your last warning, go in your room or I will spank you!” (Yes, I am yelling 5 feet from my son’s door).  She kicks the wall so I spank her

Now, my daughter has on a diaper.  But she still says ow.  I have mentioned before she is an actress.  I am quite sure she is more stunned than anything, but I still feel lousy and now she’s screaming even louder.  Clearly that is my punishment for resorting to spanking.  I walk into my room and ignore her.  I am so angry, so sad and so frustrated that I feel like separating us will be the only way to defuse the situation.  She follows me in screaming and I tell her, “Mommy is so mad right now.  You need to go in your room.  I do not want to see you right now.”  She doesn’t budge and moves closer, now kicking the chair I am sitting in. I turn towards her, “What do you want?!  Go in your room!” Through her screams she tells me she wants me to snuggle her.  This sentence diffuses the rage, but I don’t think its appropriate to just switch to lovey dovey mommy.  I explain that she has to stop crying, get in bed and no more screaming if she wants me to come in.

She does what I ask and I lay down in her bed.  She instantly cuddles up to me.  I feel like a monster.  I am the adult, I handled a tough situation poorly and she just wants the assurance that her mommy loves her.  Rage is gone.  Sadness and disappointment in myself enter.  I am a smart, level-headed woman.  I read parenting books, I have the nickname of hostage negotiator because I use my words to diffuse situations, but tonight I failed as a mommy.  I allowed myself to hit the wall.  Or, as I prefer to think of it, the wall came up and smacked me.

As I calmed down, I tried to think about what I could have done differently.  I still didn’t know what would have been a better solution to my daughter asking for the snack and her subsequent temper tantrum.  The only idea I had was to re-heat the left-overs and tell her she could eat her dinner or nothing, but I really don’t think she was hungry, she had a healthy well-balanced meal. Yes, I feel the need to share that to compensate for being a lousy mom tonight, so pat me on the back – I fed my kids baked chicken, brocoli and brown rice pasta before I turned into psycho-mommy.

The worst part is, I feel like I only hit the wall when my husband is traveling.  Does that mean I am not capable of being a parent on my own?  I hope it means that when we’re both home, we can call for reinforcements when one of us is at our boiling point.  I have friends who are single moms and friends whose husbands travel every week.  They have a better resistance to the mommy wall.

The best I can do is start over tomorrow, but tonight, I will go to sleep wishing I had done it differently.  But before I try to sleep, I will go kiss both of kids one more time, because I love them and that’s why being the best parent I can be matters.

Categories: Confessions, Parenting Tags:

Re-Pay It Forward

March 10, 2011 26 comments

Do you ever have those moments in life that you wish you could do over and be a better you?  Here’s one of mine:

My cousin, Lisa, is like a sister to me.  I love her so much my heart wants to explode.  So naturally, when she was in labor I had to be there to support her.  I was stuck at work all day and couldn’t leave for the hospital when I first got the call.  When I got off work, before I started the 45 minute drive to her hospital, I stopped at the grocery store to get her flowers.  I was excited, I was nervous and I was in a hurry!!

As I stood in line to checkout, the woman in front of me had 4 cans of green beans, but there was something wrong with her form of payment.  They had to go get a manager, it took ‘forever’.  I am ashamed to say I was rolling my eyes and tapping my foot with impatience.

As she finished her transaction and walked away, I realized the problem was with her food stamps card.  I will never forget how horrible I felt.  Had I not been so absorbed in my life, and realized what was going on, I would have gladly paid for her green beans to expedite things or… I could have just been more patient.  That woman will never know that I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the form of payment and I can never make up my rudeness to her (something I will never forget).

But there is still a lesson to be learned and a way to create something positive out of my negative behavior.  I use that day to re-pay it forward.  You have likely heard of paying it forward, buying the next person’s coffee, paying the next driver’s toll fees.  I love those gestures, but also practice small acts of patience and kindness with strangers.  I need to make amends to a stranger for being rude, so I make sure to treat other strangers better. 

  • I wait patiently when someone is trying to park their car next to mine (it’s a big SUV and seems to intimidate people). 
  • I pull the lever so the next person has a paper towel in the airport restroom. 
  • I help people get their baggage up to the ticket counter.
  • Helping people who are lost (directionally – if they are lost in their lives, I probably would only hurt the situation).
  • Holding the elevator doors when you know the person is just around the corner even though you can’t see them and can get away with letting the doors close. 

Since I can’t ever apologize to that woman in the grocery store, I try to pass on other goodness that I hope will come back to her.

I also know there will be other moments when I am distracted, stressed or simply not being the best Paige I can be, so I re-pay it forward for those moments too.

How do you show kindness to strangers?

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