You will be so proud of me!! Well, maybe you will be. You may not really know me and in that case, you may not care at all, but I assure you, if we were friends, you would be super freaking proud of me!
“You’re a good mom. A shitty person, looney tunes and incredibly unbalanced, but you are a good mom.”
This is what I was told today. Honestly, I will put this in the WIN column. We can all be pretty shitty given the right circumstances. We are probably all a bit looney tunes given our cycle, amount of sleep and proximity to coffee. Incredibly unbalanced? Well, maybe just moderately unbalanced- but I have been seeing a doctor and I am working on that.
As for the “good mom” part…why, thank you!. I work my freaking ass off being a “good mom”. I get worn down, of course. My patience runs thin, sure. Some days I just want a break while I cry in the closet, this too has happened a couple of times. Lately, mommy has “been having a hard day” more than I would like, but its REAL LIFE. We have hard days and we have good days and the most beautiful thing about our days is that every 24 hours they start over. We get the chance to have a good night’s sleep and wake up with a clean slate. Every day we are afforded the opportunity to slow down, focus and make better choices.
The problem? I don’t make any money being a “good mom”, so in the midst of a divorce, my mom skills don’t rank very high on the totem pole. While being a “good mom” is a HUGE job and a grand commitment, I can’t pay the bills. I can save over $20k a year in daycare tuition- but I don’t necessarily bring home the bacon. This discrepancy is glaringly obvious while divorcing. I am working and praying to the Almighty that I will get a teaching job this August, and I cannot tell you how ready I am to support myself and the kiddos. While I am so very grateful for the 6 years I was able to stay home with the kids, and for a husband that was happy to support us, it is important that I learn to support myself. I need my own 401K, my own savings and my own two feet to stand on.
Unless you have been there, and in my case I have been here twice- not having a way to support yourself while getting a divorce can be devastating and panic inducing. All of a sudden you have to find a career and insurance and a way to keep food on the table. You haven’t spent the last decade climbing the corporate ladder, you have been at home birthing babies, breastfeeding and rocking them to sleep. You have been scrubbing toilets, buying groceries and singing Sesame Street songs. You have been replacing toilet paper rolls, picking out preschools and cutting crusts off pb &j’s. You have been going to PTA meetings, volunteering as room mom and helping with homework. So, I certainly fucking hope that I have been a “good mom” because if this were school I would be working on my PhD in Mommyhood. This has been my job and my passion and there is a good chance it is also the reason I am loony tunes and a bit unbalanced. Yin and yang, my friends.
So, I will take it as a compliment buried in some shit meant to hurt my feelings- but a compliment nonetheless.
I am a good mom, thanks!
I am having a feud- with myself. Perhaps I should call it a delusion? In my head I am so much cooler then I am in my real life. I think I have this version of me in my head that I cant (or am too lazy) to actually make into reality. This woman in my head is awesome. She has her shit together. This woman excels at time management, patience and being fucking awesome. She likes to have fun, is up for anything, has no fear, is secure in herself, is positive and friendly. This woman can cook, craft, do yoga, write, engage in thoughtful discussion, has fabulous beachy waves, a couple new tattoos and a pulled-together boho style with funky stacked jewelry that figured out how to successfully wear skinny jeans.
My real-life self is a bit jealous of the fantasy version my head has conjured. But, I am also fairly sure that with enough exercise, sleep, time, perseverance and hormonal balance, I could become this person that my head seems to be nudging me towards. What is that stupid saying? The journey of a lifetime starts with a single step? I don’t know, something like that…but, I suppose its true. One step at a time, one day at a time…the whole tortoise and the hare idea; slow and steady wins the race. Yes. That is so true- I am very slow. I suppose lazy might even be the appropriate word. Ugh, that makes me sad to even type, but it’s the truth. I am lazy and tired. I think it may just be par for the course while you have little people that require so much attention. I require a lot of sleep, down time and the chance to hear silence. I crave the sound of silence. I crave the ability to be left with my own thoughts without the banter of a 5-year old or the insistent chatter and whine of a toddler.
I get the results from my trip to the endocrinologist next week, so I am hoping to shed some light on whatever the hell is happening with my hormones. Y’all- the doctors exact words were. “tell you husband to hang in there, your hormones are definitely screwed up.” I asked him if I could get that in writing. VALIDATION!! What a weight off my shoulders just to be told that there is a “medical” reason, that there is hope for me yet!
Ah, I know. There are plenty of women out there that have twice as many kids and twice as much productivity. I have seen enough mom blogs on Facebook and pins on Pinterest to know that there is a pretty determined group of ladies making shit happen! I want to make shit happen! But, currently I am sitting at my computer in the dining room guzzling coffee while my son begs for snacks. (What is it with “snacks”?? Seriously? I just gave you breakfast and now you are still hungry for snacks??)
One day at a time. I will consider today the day I was honest with myself and put my goals out there…tomorrow I stack some bracelets and google “skinny jeans for a large ass”. Shut it, I said baby steps. I need more sleep to figure out how to make fabulous beachy waves a reality. #bootcutforever
I was listening to NPR yesterday after dropping the tiny tot off at school and they were discussing on-line privacy issues. More specifically, the crazy-insane amount of information that Facebook gathers from its bagillion users. Of course, the program also talked about employers searching the social media pages of potential employees as a standard part of the hiring process. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have to clean up my internet presence if I was to interview for a real job sometime in the distant future. I don’t know what kind of “real” job that would be- but am I already screwing myself out of a potential job just by writing my blog?
I am honest, maybe to a fault, and I put out a lot of my musings out there for public consumption. I find it a fabulous outlet to maintain my voice in a sometimes mundane daily life that rarely requires higher level thinking. Fortunately, Dora walks me right through her adventures, with the help of Map. So, lets say that I wanted to be a teacher- I assume my blog antics might cost me the job educating children. I curse, I drink and I am very pro-choice. I voted for Obama, I like reading smutty books and I have tattoos.
Speaking of tattoos…I have three tattoos, none that are visible. I haven’t gotten a tattoo since 2001, and I think that means it’s about damn time for another one. My husband HATES tattoos. He HATES that I want to get another one. But- like the good wife I am, I have delayed my desire for more decorative body art…until now. I have been searching for the perfect tattoo- thank you Pinterest. But, now I am wondering if I am further alienating my chances to enter the work force later?
Do I care? Do I really want a job that wouldn’t hire me based on my adorable visible tattoo? Do I really want to work for a company that won’t hire me because I like to blog about politics? Do I really want to work for a company that thinks my use of Fuck is too flagrant? Eh, I sure hope not. Honestly, I have no true intention to gain full-time employment out in the “real world”. I don’t even know what I would do if I were to find a Mon-Fri gig with benefits and a salary. Currently my benefits are staying in my pajamas all day and my salary is hugs and kisses. But, despite my blogging, my cursing and my penchant for tattoos, my tiny employers still love me anyways. At this point, I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way. Right now, I need to follow my heart- and my heart is firmly entrenched with my family and my beautifully tedious kiddos.
I am a MOM and WIFE. But, I am also a FRIEND. DAUGHTER. SISTER. NEIGHBOR. There are a lot of hats and lately I feel like I am sucking it up big time. I feel like I am peddling just as fast and hard as I can and yet, I am going nowhere. I feel like I am working my ass off (unfortunately not literally- I cannot find time or energy to do that) and yet, I am not making anyone happy- including myself. I feel like I truly try my best to please everyone and yet, I please no one. I am not depressed, please don’t think that I have any problem like that…this is just a temporary lull in the system. I think this feeling may just be a plateau or maybe a fork in the road that needs to be navigated.
My children are wonderful, inquisitive, funny, happy, fabulous balls of energy and neediness. They are young and navigating this world to the best of their ability- and it’s exhausting; physically and mentally exhausting. I am never alone. I cannot hear myself think over the constant singing, yelling, chattering and music in the house. I am followed to the bathroom. I make meals and snacks all day long. I have to get up in the middle of the night to scare away monsters, clean up puke, administer baby Tylenol, or just for some reassuring cuddles and kisses. I am like a mommy- on call, all the time, forever and ever and ever….
I try and plan girls nights, date nights, play dates, outings, activities…blah, blah, blah. I plan ahead; I try and find babysitters far in advance. I try to keep the peace, make everyone happy, and make sure no one feels used. I try to be thankful for the help we receive and dutifully return the favor. I try, I try, I try! I am so tired. I want to go do something without jumping through a million hoops first, without packing baggies of goldfish and sippies of milk, without making plans and backup plans.
I am but one person and I am doing the best that I can. I try to get laundry done, keep the kitchen stocked, have dinner on the table, have coffee ready in the morning and pay the household bills on time. I try to keep the kids active and involved and I try to create a home with love and laughter.
That is a lot of balls. That is a lot of small tasks that can easily get overlooked or pushed aside for more pressing issues. This is why people have help. They have daycare, house cleaners, assistants, secretaries, nannies…because it’s a tough fucking job for one person.
Give me a break – I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!
I don’t get paid for this SAHM job. I didn’t have to fill out an application. I didn’t get a list of prerequisites or objectives, I sure don’t have a PDF file of directions to perform any specific tasks. I am just one woman, trying to figure it all out. I mean, honestly, we are all just making this up as we go.
I have thought long on the situation at hand and still have no answers. Zip. Nada. I have been told to pray on it…I guess. I am not really the religious kind, but I suppose happy thoughts and the ability to throw my anxiety out into the universe may help. I know that I am not alone. I know that I am not crazy and I know that I am not the only one to have ever had these feelings.
My husband said that he was just going to have to get used to the “new me”. In his exact words, “this overwhelmed mom who is constantly annoyed at her circumstances”. I love him, but I don’t agree. I am not annoyed at my circumstances; I am just frustrated that despite my best efforts, I still feel like I am failing. Please don’t confuse this with feeling like a failure. I feel like I am treading water, not drowning. I just yearn to be on the diving board, high above the pool in the first place. I suppose that could be unrealistic. But, reach for the stars, RIGHT??
You can also follow me on Facebook! Join the party.
So, I have been thinking if I am serious about writing a book it needs to be honest, right? I need to write about things that may be difficult. I need to venture into territory that makes me uncomfortable and vulnerable. So little by little, I am opening up- because it is good to be scared. After all, writing a book is baring your soul to the (potential) world, right? Writing is about owning your thoughts and feelings and opening them for public consumption…here goes nothing.
My handsome husband works his fucking ass off at work. Like 65 hours a week- balls to the wall. He is one of those people that truly believes “if you want something done right then you have to do it yourself”. I don’t see him. The kids see even less of him. Honestly, I feel like a single parent most of the time. I am so annoyed most of the day that I have become bitter. I am exhausted, bitter and let’s face it, I can be a bitch.
Today he texts me, “You have become a nagging ball of self-serving animosity and bitterness.”
My reply, “I agree.”
He thinks that I am an anomaly. He believes that there must be millions of moms out there and that I am the ONLY one that has turned into a crazy bitter bitch. Well, I watch enough tv, read enough blogs and listen to enough NPR to know that I am without a doubt NOT alone. In fact, just today there was a panel of SAHMs on an NPR program talking about the joys, struggles and growing pains of being a full-time mom. I am not inventing the wheel, and I don’t presume to think that I have any innovations to add to the wheel either.
My reply, “It’s not a trend. It is simply a fact. It’s the hardest god damned job out there and yet being a SAHM has no pay, so you are still at the complete mercy of the provider to take care of you. While we all agree its a vitally important role, it still takes a back seat to anyone else’s needs simply due to the fact that we don’t earn income. Therefore, we are at the mercy of the income earner.”
Yes, I write a lot in a text message. That’s why I cannot Twitter…or Tweet…Twat. Whatever.
I continue, “You work all day making money and want to come home for a respite. Rest, relaxation and support, right?? Me too. That’s all I want. Our needs are the same. I have verbalized that I don’t feel I am getting that from you. You feel you are not getting that from me. That’s the crux. We are just humans working our asses off. We all want the same things. We all deserve the same things. We only get out as much as we put in and currently neither of us is putting much into our marriage because we are exhausting our resources at our jobs.”
He still doesn’t reply…
I continue, “It’s not earth shattering. It’s not a new concept the world has never seen before. It’s a commonality between most all couples with kids. We are not a science experiment to be studied. This is a struggle as old as time. How we handle the situation and evolve into our new roles is going to be what is important.”
Still, no reply. I assume he must be curing cancer from the radio silence that I have received.
Continuing, “But, neither of us is going I feel complete and happy until we make sure we can meet our required needs. This is where communication and lots of compromise is vital.”
No reply. He is a man a few words anyways, so I am not expecting some dissertation on the ideas surrounding marriage and family. But, he may as well have his phone surgically attached to his hand, so I know the texts have been received; and I assume he at least skimmed my thoughts on the matter.
I reply, “I love you.”
He responds, “You too.”
Me: “You know this is going to end up in a blog, right?”
Him: “Oh, my.”
I feel like there is an epidemic out there of people who seem to be thankful for a life in which “they do not deserve”. I have read statements like, “Thank you for all my blessings and a life that I do not deserve”. Excuse me? I have seen you work your ass off to provide for your family. I have seen you want to make each day special, to make a difference to those around you. I have seen you pay it forward in the drive through line at Starbucks. I have seen you make bento box lunches with cookie cutter shaped sandwiches. I have seen you plan surprise family vacations to Disney, host baby showers and scour Pinterest for birthday party ideas. So, to all those humble enough to believe that you don’t deserve the blessings in your life, I would like to let you know, you do.
You deserve your life.
We need to allow ourselves to take credit for the blessings in our lives! We all deserve love, happiness and forgiveness. You deserve the life you have worked for. We all make mistakes, we falter, we make impulsive decisions with disastrous consequences, but that doesn’t mean we are undeserving of happiness or love. Yes, there are times when good things happen to awful people, but this is not the rule. Take a deep breath, you are doing just fine.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? We are human- we make mistakes, we move on and we try to learn from them. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we aren’t, but here is the key:
It is ok.
You are ok. We are all ok! On the bell curve, we all pretty much fall in the middle. We may sway a little to the left and then swing back to the right, but for the majority- we are trying. Allow yourself to sway and allow yourself to enjoy the happiness on the upswing. When did it become necessary to stop taking credit for the awesome joys in life? I don’t think we can truly enjoy the fruits of our labor if we don’t take responsibility for their existence! They didn’t just land in our laps- we worked our fucking asses off for them.
Maybe if we were all a little more supportive, a little more kind, a little more forgiving, especially to ourselves, we would allow ourselves the opportunity to grow even more.
You deserve your life.
You can also follow me on Facebook! Come join the party.
- Moms with curfews. Seriously? Live a little. You have no kids for the evening, you are out of the house and you probably even put makeup on…don’t call it a night at 9pm. Unless you are exclusively breastfeeding and you must get home before the baby wakes up the entire house- put your big girl panties on and enjoy a night out!
- Moms who get shitfaced after two drinks. Come on. I know that your tolerance may be less now then it was at 22, but no one likes a sloppy drunk, especially after two glasses of wine. I don’t want to spend my night away from the kids taking care of your drunk ass. Get your act together and start practicing more at home. That’s what the rest of us do.
- Moms who are always on some prohibitive diet or cleanse. Please don’t make me feel guilty for ordering a large bowl of queso and a pitcher of margaritas. I never get any queso, especially while it is still warm or doesn’t have little chip crumbs all in it from double dipping. Yuck. I know that you are going gluten free, paleo and pro-kale, but watching you eat a salad with no dressing makes me sad. Don’t make me feel sad and fat on girl’s night out.
- Moms who pretend they didn’t have sex to make their children. Granted, there are many different sorts of girls night out events and while you may not want to talk about your new found love of warming lube with the PTO president, your girlfriends want to know. We want to know that we are normal and we want to talk about sex, baby! As a woman that reads an exorbitant number of romance books, I like to see how the real life logistics pan out…can you really bend that way while simultaneously using that technique with your tongue? I sure hope so.
- Moms who always say yes and then bail the day of. I understand extenuating circumstances. Sometimes your kids suddenly pukes all over you or maybe your husband had to work later than expected, but not every. single. time. you make plans. Please get your act together, I have secured a babysitter and looked forward to a night out for days only to be emotionally crushed that my adult time has now been downgraded to wandering around Target housewares department searching for a good deal. On second thought, maybe I don’t mind that you bailed. I love Target and a good deal and I need a new rug for the bedroom.
- Moms who always somehow one-up-you. I feel like e’ffing mom of the goddamn year when I finally get around to being awesome enough to make playdoh for the kids. Please don’t then tell me about the amazing borax-free glitter slime you made for your littles to help refine their gross motor skills. Blah, blah, you are awesome. Don’t piss in my punch bowl overachiever. You win. I get it.
- Moms who can only talk about their kids. Yes, you are a mom and you have kids, but please, give it a rest. You are also a person who has individual likes and dislikes, dreams, feelings, desires and passions. Hopefully. If you don’t, you should take some time, start a blog, write all about your need to discover who you are, almost get a divorce and then find your passion. It is as simple as that- now you have something else to talk about.
You can also follow me on Facebook! Come join the party.
I didn’t want kids. I didn’t want to get married either. Kids gave me this chest tightening anxiety and it seemed as though everyone in my family had gotten a divorce- many after 30 years of marriage. I didn’t want any part of it. I assumed that I would have enough ammo to thoroughly fuck up my own children, let alone navigate the shark infested waters of holy matrimony.
I was 20 years old, what did I know? I was a radio, tv, film major and wanted to travel the globe making women’s studies documentaries. I thought I could learn the craft and help the plight of women around the world…I was optimistic and yet lacked any drive to actually pursue my dream. So, what did I do? I waited tables, went to parties, cultivated a great group of friends and became settled into an ordinary life in a college town. I have never been on a humanitarian mission or stood behind the camera.
I met my now-husband when I was 19 years old. He was cocky and self-assured and I hated him, we did not get along. At all. I was bitchy, he was cocky. We were both far too stubborn for our own good, so we started dating, obviously. Four years later we got married. He wanted kids and I wasn’t necessarily opposed to children at this point. For some weird reason that I still don’t fully understand, I knew, like I have never known anything so certain in my life, that he would be the father of my children. I couldn’t picture having kids with anyone else. No one. I could picture dating or marrying someone different- but not to be the father of my children. I call this the Neanderthal theory- we are still primitive beings. We seek the best partner for procreation. He was so good looking. He had that self-assured strut to his walk and had this wink that would make your knees weak. He had thick dark hair that always looked effortless and perfectly bed-head messy, and still does all these many years later. He took pride in his appearance and his wardrobe. The first time we really hung out alone was a J Crew sale at the local hotel. (We both still have the coats we bought from that event) He was attractive, funny, smart and driven to succeed.
You hunt. I gather. You provide. I take care of children.
I suppose it could be that simple.
After graduating college with a degree in Sociology, I dipped a tiny little pinky toe into the “real world” and decided that I could make more money and have a more flexible schedule if I continued to bartend. Honestly, I could make $10k more slinging some drinks than I could advocating for children lost in the system. Two years later, we got married and two years after that we had our first child. I took six months off from work and went back part-time, 3 nights a week. I would head off to work in the evenings and Jeff would stay home with the baby, no paid child care necessary. It was a win-win! I made some extra income, we didn’t have to pay for child care and all was good. I didn’t have a career, per se, but that was ok. I couldn’t think of any career that would make me drop off my precious baby to daycare. NOTHING.
We had our son two years later and I took another 9 months off. I headed back to work and my husband had the babies in the evening. I still had no career, but the tradeoff was well worth the lack of 401k. I couldn’t, and still can’t, imagine dropping my babes off every morning. No. No. No.
We became involved in our fabulous cooperative preschool. I became school treasurer and then spent a year and a half as President. We created fundraisers and held garage sales, we had weekly play dates and mom nights out. We would go for ice cream on the square and a picnic lunch on the courthouse lawn. I wouldn’t give those moments up for anything. My eyes get watery just thinking about it. It just never made sense to go find a “real job”. The money was too good, the schedule was flexible and I loved the company and my co-workers. It became hard to justify going to work full time and neither Jeff nor I found it necessary. He never called it “his money”, I never felt guilty for staying home with the kids. He didn’t demand dinner every night or question the daily household chores. We had a good respect and rhythm in the house.
Of course there have been times I blew up and completely lose my shit. I would cry out of frustration that he just doesn’t understand how difficult being a SAHM is and he reminds me that he works his ass off all day to support his family. This is still a regular discussion. I won’t say there is resentment, but definite tension. He has often told me that I am more than welcome to pursue a career and he will stay at home- if I could make as much money as him. Right. We all know that will not happen. So, Monday comes back around and he drives off to work and I start a load of laundry. Truthfully, he would go crazy staying at home and I don’t want to be in the grind of the workplace.
I need my babies with me, but I also need a good babysitter.
I need date nights and adult conversation. I need strong margaritas and a good reason to get out of yoga pants. I need to exercise my brain in interesting and challenging ways that have nothing to do with child rearing. I need reminders that I am more than “just a mom”. Yes, there are days that I want to start taking shots of whiskey before 9am. There are days I wonder what by life would be like without the constant pressure of children, days I wonder what I could have done should I have married someone that didn’t want children. There are days when a simple trip to Target ends up in flailing fits and screaming matches. There are days I want to cry alone in my closet and hope that no one comes to find me, but even in the depths of despair and frustration, I cannot hand my children over to someone else’s care every day.
Someday the kids will grow up and spread their wings, god willing, and I don’t want to look back and wish we had spent more precious moments together. They only get one childhood and I want it to be full of adventure and fun. I want to take too many pictures and hover too closely. I want to be there and present all the time. I don’t want to relegate my million daily kisses to before 8am and after 5pm. I brought these sweet beings into this world and I want to explore it with them. I want to have lazy mornings cuddling on the couch and fun afternoons at the museum. I don’t want to wait for the weekends. I am selfish like that. I don’t want to prioritize anything above my duties to my family and I don’t think I could balance work/home. It’s just that simple. I want to be home with the kids and it works for our family.