I’m a Good Person in a Horrible World

The world sucks. Every day in my social media feeds I am bombarded with kidnappings, missing children, shootings, entitled kids breaking the law with no repercussions, dumb politicians, people that are famous for absolutely nothing, gang activity, theft, sex tape scandals, genocide, hate crimes, hateful people and just people that are overall stupid and repulsive.That is any given day just on my news feed. I don’t even watch news channels. How is any child supposed to stand even the slightest chance of growing up without a completely warped view of the world. Here I am trying to set a good example, and there’s the outside world taking a nice steaming shit on my good examples. Thanks a lot.

I have a somewhat jaded view of the world. In my own personal experiences I have had friends that have stabbed me in the back, experienced loss and pain, cheated and been cheated on, and been a bartender. That alone has made me hesitant of the general population. I have a hard enough time convincing my kid that I don’t hate everyone who isn’t related to me because of my experiences with people on a day to day basis. Now don’t get me wrong. Hiding in all those unpleasant personal experiences are some pretty great ones as well. Awesome family members, the greatest friends, a loving husband and a really cool kid. But how do I show her that the world isn’t completely populated with fucktards?

Here I am with my reusable grocery bags, my conflict free wedding band and my refillable water infuser. I recycle, I buy locally as much as possible and I buy organic whenever possible. Why do I do these things? Because my 6 year old knows that McDonald’s puts chemicals in their food. She knows that the spray some companies use on their produce is toxic. Have you had to explain what toxic means to your 6 year old? Because I had to yesterday. She knows that people litter. She sees it on the side of the road. She knows that we have to cut up those plastic things that come on 6 packs so turtles and dolphins and fish don’t die. Do you know how she knows that? Because a kids movie had one stuck on a penguin!! She cares about shark conservation. She knows what oil spills are and doesn’t understand why we can’t find another mode of transportation. I’m kind of with her on that one, I have a phone that can speak to me in condescending tone, but I can’t have a clean energy car. My 6 year old is more environmentally aware than most adults, because most adults are too busy Keeping up with the Kardashians to notice the decline around them.

As we drive along, it breaks my heart to hear her ask why there is garbage on the side of the road. How do you tell a kid that older people, people that are supposed to set an example, can’t even be bothered to not throw their garbage out of their car window? How do you explain to your 6 year old that some people don’t think its right for her uncle to have a boyfriend when she sees it as something as natural as mommy and daddy being together? How do you explain to your kid that people as a whole, are painfully ignorant of the fact that there is a much bigger world than their own little bubble.

So I’m over here, setting a good example for Bean. We have a little herb garden, we go to the produce stand together. I use products that are as chemical free as I can find. We use essential oils in our home for a lot of stuff. I don’t expect anyone to pat me on the back for the things I do. My brother scoffed at me when I told him that I wanted the Hubs to make sure my engagement ring diamond was conflict free. He implied that I was naive to believe that it didn’t come from the same monsters that profited off of child soldiers and innocent lives just to hoard majority of the worlds diamonds in a vault to keep the price high. I read up on the jeweler my ring came from and I choose to believe that my insistence on this topic is important. Because it is important, if only to me. Maybe that will make it important to Bean one day.

Just today I came across a headline that read “American Dentist Killed Beloved Zimbabwe Lion”. I can’t honestly say I’m shocked that American was the first word in the title. This dentist from Minnesota apparently paid $55,000 to go kill a lion. And he didn’t kill just any lion. He killed a famous one. He had guides lure the lion off the preserve so he could kill it. And the American population has the nerve to wonder why the rest of the world thinks we are all assholes. He killed a famous and endangered/protected lion for sport. I think we should let the lions hunt him. Bean loves nature. LOVES ANIMALS. She’s supposed to grow up in this world? Sometimes I think she too kind for it. She wants to make a difference. She sees things Winter the dolphin and she wants to do something that will make a difference, but the way the world is going I think she is only to hit dead ends at every turn.

Then there’s the entitled people who screw up and don’t have to pay the consequences. How are we supposed to teach her that there are consequences when the Disney Channel shows a bratty 8 year old sassing her nanny and not getting in trouble. There’s kids taking their parents boats out when it’s not even legal for them to be on the boat without an adult and now they are lost at sea and there are countless man hours being devoted to this, even the United States Navy is involved. Do you know why? Because the kids come from affluent families. Their next door neighbor is Joe Namath. Do I hope the kids are okay? Yes. Is this a nightmare for the families to have to endure? Absolutely. Should they have been out in open water by themselves in July in Florida, where the summer weather can turn on them in an instant? No. Are there laws in place to prevent such things? Yes. Will there be repercussions for the flagrant disregard of boating safety laws? Probably not. Another man disappeared on the water that very same day and I just heard about it today. 4 days later, just found the headline a few hours ago. As a mother, my heart goes out to them, but as parent………What the hell were they thinking? Where did they get the keys to the boat? Where did they get the money for gas? What makes them think they could navigate the 85 miles of open water between FL and the Bahamas at the tender age of 14? What makes them think that angler and boater are remotely the same thing? I will probably get scolded for this, and I am sorry if it offends anyone. I really do hope the kids make it home safe. But here I am trying to teach my kid the right choices. And these kids made the wrong choices and now the US military is looking for them. Kind of skewers my perspective a little bit.

I’m a good person in a horrible world.

I’m an even better parent in a horrible world.

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Trading Places

So in moments of sheer career frustration or when I have the nerve to complain about my day the Hubs likes to say “I will happily trade places with you for a day.” Oh yeah? Come at me bro!

Before I start, let me lay the groundwork for what the Hubs does. He is a manager at a gaming facility, having worked in the industry his entire adult life. And sadly, he works under someone with no industry experience so he is constantly faced with roadblock after roadblock. He takes great pride in his job and does the best he can, often going above and beyond, with little to no gratitude. He more often than not works ridiculous hours, usually ending too exhausted to enjoy his days off, so I can absolutely understand where his frustration comes from. However…….

From the day Bean was born, I have been a working mom. I worked as a bartender, working double shifts and often getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning, just to be woken up by my sweetling at 7 am. I did this full time, as well all of my motherly and wifely duties. So Hubs thinks he can take this on? Alright Hubs, here’s what I do on any given day:

6:30/7:00am: Wake up. Now our lovely little munchkin bounces out of bed with all the energy she claims not to have when it’s time to clean her room. And she hits the ground running. Breakfast, getting ready for school or play, brushing teeth(this can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 if she decides to give herself a pep talk in the mirror). Now if this fateful day happens to be a school day, you must get her out the door fully dressed (in matching socks), hair done, with her homework, backpack and lunch by 8:05. This is not optional or flexible as she gets anxious if she even thinks shes going to be late.

If this is a weekend or vacation day then you may have an opportunity to “mom-sleep”. This is a condition that allows a mother to turn off parts of her brain while still being able to listen her child play or watch cartoons. Mom-sleep will only buy you 30 minutes at the most, because then she wants human interaction or wants permission to go to her friends houses or God forbid she wants food she can’t reach. But for the sake of argument lets stick with a school day.

8:45: Congratulations! you have just successfully dropped her off at school. You now have 6 hours to complete all the menial chores you have to do to keep the house from spontaneously combusting at random. Now mind you, the completion of these chores will get you no recognition. Zero, 0, nada, zilch. Nothing. Big fat goose egg. Its only the absence of their completion that gets noticed. Now before you go getting all gung ho and say “This is easy, why does she think this is hard?” Let me throw some variables at you. It’s grocery day, but you forgot the list and the store we shop at is right by her school. So you now have to decide; go now and wing it, or do it right before you pick her up so they sit in the car for 35 minutes or take her with you, which is now treading into dangerous territory as it is impeding on her friend time at home. You make the sacrifice to just wing it and hope you don’t forget that you desperately need deodorant. Trust me, you will forget. sorry.

10:30 am: It took this long because you made 2 trips around the store just to make sure you didn’t forget that one thing you desperately needed. What was it again? Ah you probably grabbed it anyway, no worries.

You also just remembered that it’s $2.99 Tuesday so you have to go to The Fresh Market for meat because it’s on sale. And that’s the only place in town that sells the cactus water your wife drinks. Don’t forget that. Also you have to go to the produce stand because the produce is fresher and less expensive. So add 45 minutes to your grocery shopping.

12:00 pm You’re home and the groceries are all put away. Did you put the reusable bags back in the car? Hope so, That’s my weakness. Always forget. Every damn time. Now you have to vacuum, dust, balance the bank account, menu plan, check the budget, pay some bills,do laundry, sweep, mop, empty the dishwasher, pay some more bills, load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, and so much more. Now at this point you’re probably thinking “but babe, you just vacuumed, mopped and emptied the dishwasher?” Yes i did. You know what else I just did? Laundry, dusted, cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and several other things like clean the bathrooms (GROSS!!!) and changed the air filters. These things get done often. More often than you realize. More often than I get credit for. More often than most women get credit for. Who do you think washes the bedding? Who do you think scrubs the showers and tubs? So get to work Bub, tick tock tick tock.

2:30: Uh oh, you only got 3 things done on your massive revolving list? That kitchen gets me every time. Better luck tomorrow, because once she gets home, your time is no longer yours. Quick, squeeze in one more quick chore. Ahh, just barely. Well don’t worry, the floors will still be dirty tomorrow, the laundry isn’t moving on it’s own yet and I’m sure the smell from the other bathroom is totally natural. Now you get in the car and drive to school to pick her up. And what i mean by this is you drive across town just to sit in the car pick up line for 30 minutes so your kid is not the last kid left on the bench. Enjoy this solitude. You won’t know it again until this time tomorrow.

3:30: Okay, start asking her about school. Expect answers like “I don’t remember” or “fine”. For some reason she suffers from amnesia once she gets in the car. and if you push the matter, it’s like walking through a minefield, so tread lightly. She will want a snack, nothing healthy, and she probably didn’t eat the healthy stuff in her lunch box either. I’ve learned to pick my battles.

3:45-5:45: This is like Russian Roulette. She might want you to play with her or she might want to go to her friends’ houses. This may seem ideal, but there’s a catch. They will inevitably come to our house. Which means it will get messy. Which means if you cleaned the living room today, it will look like you didn’t. Don’t get depressed, I just laugh. If she wants you to play with her, be prepared to stick to a very strict script. and Legos. So many Legos.

5:45-6:30: Dinner. Ahhh dinner. Now I menu plan so i’m prepared for this. I wish you luck. Now I’m one of those parents that tries to include all the food groups. I also eat 90% of my meals with this child, so I know what she likes and will eat. You also have to complete this task with a child asking you questions and still trying to get you to play. Be mindful of what you cook, as you have to clean it up.

6:30-7:00: Sit down and enjoy dinner. Consider this the eye of the storm.

7:00-8:00: Homework and/or bath time and snack. Now since she’s 6 she needs help with her homework, so any hopes you had of cleaning anything out of earshot have just been crushed. Give her the snack before the bath. trust me on this. If it’s bath night, after making sure she’s clean you will have time to put away the laundry you started hours ago which is now wrinkly. This is usually the point where I inadvertently fall asleep while folding laundry. Don’t laugh, the struggle is real.

8:00-8:15: pajamas and brushing her hair. This may not seem difficult, but for some reason our child seems to think that being soaking wet and in a bath robe means its party time. This may not bode well for us in the future…..

8:15-8:45: Episode time. She gets one episode of her choice. Not 2, not 1 1/2. 1. she gets 1. She will beg and plead and act like an asshole. Don’t give in. For the love of all things don’t give in. Enforce the rule. This is a battle I have chosen to fight. Every night.

8:45-9:00: Teeth brushing and story time. Again brushing her teeth can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 depending on how much of a fit she wants to throw. She will suddenly be too tired to brush her teeth even though she was just begging you to watch another episode of Phineas and Ferb. I swear sometimes it’s like trying to baptize a cat. So now it’s story time. This is actually the easy part.

9:00-????? Bed time. This time frame is usually where I tap out. Because I’m usually starting my day in some sort of sleep deficit and I have been busy from waking until now, I tend to fade pretty quickly. Sometimes I manage to stay awake until she’s asleep and then go downstairs to straighten up. Then I try to catch up on a TV show until I become so pathetically tired that I succumb to the sweet relief that is slumber.

11:30-3:00 am: At any time in this window she may or may not wake you up because she is lonely or had a bad dream. She will either come into our bed or ask you to go into her room. You may think that this just a speed bump on the road back to dreamland, but alas, it’s not. She will move around so much in her sleep that you will be constantly uncomfortable or awake. Did I mention that with this swap you also get my sleeping habits? yeah, I can hear a mouse sneeze through the wall. I am in a constant state of mom sleep. It’s never restful sleep. Ever. Not until she’s grown and married with a family of her own. And even then……..

6:30-7:00 am: Wake up and repeat. And repeat. and repeat.

**Now the events of this day can vary greatly. She could have Horse camp. That means you need to make sure her riding pants are clean and she knows where her boots are. They are probably at Gaga’s. She could have a play date. That entails either dropping her off at another parent’s house or said play date companion coming here. That will lead to frantic cleaning so your house doesn’t look like a family actually resides there. It could be an Early Release day from school. That’s a mean trick the school district plays on you where they cut your child free time by almost 2 hours. So really on any given day I am working with a myriad of obstacles. So when you get home and the counter isn’t wiped down or there’s dishes in the sink or I’m comatose in bed, please don’t for one second think I had it easy. Just be glad the house isn’t on fire and the child and dog are still alive despite my best efforts 🙂

Oh and BTW you forgot deodorant. Good job stinky

World War V

My lady parts and I have always gotten along rather well. I mean as well as you can get along with a part of your body that forces you to endure a monthly mini blood bath while tiny ninjas attack your muscles. I’ve treated her well and she’s been kind to me. I’ve never dealt with any icky infections or funny smells. I’ve always kept her well groomed and never made her endure any uncomfortable fabrics or unnecessarily restricting clothing resulting in the all too familiar “camel toe”. But recently, I’d say in the last 7 years, my hoohaa and I haven’t been seeing eye to eye so to speak. We have been on distinctly different pages. Actually I’m not even sure we are in the same book anymore. She’s been ruining more pairs of shorts and pants than I or my wallet would like. Let me go back, way back……

When I was 23 I experienced my first miscarriage. I was a young wife. I was devastated. I couldn’t figure out how a perfectly healthy person who didn’t really engage in any sort of self destructive behavior could not do something as natural as carry a child to term. It was easily the most painful and gory 3 days of my life up to that point. I became resentful towards my hoohaa. It wasn’t doing what it should have been doing. It never occurred to me that perhaps it was doing what it should have been doing. But I was young and crushed. I began the search for a birth control after that. The pill wreaked havoc on my body. The Depo shot gave me a 6 month period. The ring was just gross and weird. My hoohaa made it abundantly clear that none of these would be tolerated. She had drawn her line in the sand. Drawn it with blood. (Cue dramatic music). She thought she was calling the shots. And she may have been right.

Then a few years later I introduced her to my now husband. They clearly hit it off. And then he knocked me up. And she got resentful. She no longer allowed him the free reign access he had once been given. Often times I equated it to trying to surf the Sahara…can you say OUCH!! As my due date approached I had a sneaking suspicion she was going to pull a fast one on me, and oh boy was I right. She wasn’t having any of this natural birth nonsense. There was no way she was letting me push my child out of there. Because of my lady parts stubbornness I had to have a C-section. Well played uterus, well played. So now I was resentful. This seemed to be a theme. We took turns being resentful towards each other, although I feel like she manifested her resentment in a much more tangible and sartorial way, seeing as there was really nothing I could do about mine.

After baby was born, I had hoped that things would return to normal…..oh was I mistaken. Now her monthly rendition of the Shining was even more intense. Man she is a vengeful girl. As time went by, it somewhat subsided, but I was always painfully aware of our cycle, almost like she was taunting me to dare to have another child.

And then one fateful day it happened. I was pregnant again. By now our Bean is 6, so that’s quite a time span for my hoohaa to relax and get comfortable again. Well apparently she was really comfortable. She wanted nothing to do with this pregnancy. Unfortunately I experienced another miscarriage, and this time she was so spiteful that I had to undergo surgery to remove the products of conception. She was holding them hostage! Well in all her stubbornness she didn’t think about the aftermath. HA! Invasive surgery? Child’s play. 2 weeks of bleeding? She brought this on herself. She couldn’t possibly have anything left for a period for at least a month……right? WRONG I got 2 weeks of a sanguine sabbatical and then Aunt Flo reared her unpleasant head again. Seriously?! 2 weeks? How am I not dead yet? How was my body able to even produce enough blood for a period after 2 weeks of steady bleeding? I already have unnaturally low blood pressure; I can only imagine what it was then. Even now, several weeks later a nurse had to take my BP 3 times yesterday.
Ah yesterday. The day I hopefully put an end to this blood feud between me and my girly parts…pun intended. In an effort to never have to relive the horror or stress of another miscarriage I explored the many options of birth control I had not already tried. The hubs and I decided on a non-hormonal IUD-Para guard. Apparently these things are easier to implant if you’re on your period. Bloody Hell. Literally. I suspect this reason is so you don’t notice the added bleeding and cramping from the relatively short process of having your cervix opened and a little T shaped copper wire implanted in there. Whatever, small price to pay at this point. This was my ultimate revenge, my coup d’etat, my Hail Mary. She makes me endure 2 periods in a month; I’m putting something in there that could quite possibly (hopefully) eliminate that monthly unwelcome guest for at least the next 10 years.

Now on a side note, I realize that this will also prevent pregnancy for the next 10 years. And I’m totally okay with that. There is no rule or law stating that I have to have more than one child. No one told me they had to come in sets. My bean takes all of my energy. I am a working mom, a household CEO/CFO, a wife and I’m about to be a student again. Honestly, while I’m bummed about our miscarriage, I’m also relieved. I couldn’t imagine this juggling act with another child. D and I are already exhausted all the time.

Although I will really miss being able to threaten the hubs with the line “I started my day in a pool of blood, is that how you’d like to end yours?” hehehehehehe

Lessons for my Daughter

I know that Life’s lessons have to be learned through trial and error. You can’t take someone’s word for it, because each experience is different. But here are somethings I’ve learned along the way. Some pearls of wisdom I want to pass down to you, my lovely girl.
1) Be who you are and be it unapologetically. People will judge you no matter what. People will inevitably talk about you. These things will happen regardless of the choices you make and the things you do. So be You and make no apologies for it. “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Dr Seuss said that. Pretty smart guy. Have some fire, be a force of nature, be you.
2) Not every friend will be a keeper. This is hard lesson to learn. Most of this will happen during your teenage years, as if those aren’t hard enough already. Some people will befriend you just to find your weaknesses. Some “friends” will ditch you for your ex-boyfriend. Some friends were never really friends, but people who wanted to use you for your car/popularity/money/etc. These are called leeches and they suck at life. Some friends will make high school a nightmare and in the end turn out to be your best friend. Remember that these people are fighting the same battles you are. Teenage years are difficult. Your hormones are going crazy, everyone is fighting to get to the top of the popularity food chain, and Life is having a great big laugh at your expense. I went through it; your father went through it. You will go through it.
3) Treat your body with repsect; it’s the only one you get. Unless you have some Kardashian money hiding in your mattress, that body is the only one you get. Treat it wisely. Don’t make hasty decisions when it comes to body modification. Never pierce or tattoo anything when you are angry, upset or intoxicated. Never tattoo a boyfriend’s name on you; you are a person, not a sign-in sheet. And for the love of all things Holy please don’t get tattooed or pierced while in Las Vegas. Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Love your body, it will do amazing things. No matter your size or weight, embrace it and love it. There are more important things in life than your dress size. Also, NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL ASHAMED OF YOUR BODY. As long as you aren’t letting it all hang out when it shouldn’t be, ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF
4) Never change who you are for a love interest. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth saying. The right person will love you as you are. Not who you think they want you to be. If you love Star Wars, don’t hide it. Your quirks and passions are what make you even more lovable. Anyone who would want you to become something you aren’t doesn’t love you to begin with.
While we are on the topic of love……
5) Sex is not currency. Your virtue is not a chess piece to be manipulated into an endgame. Sex DOES NOT = LOVE and VICE VERSA: While in high school I knew many girls that “gave it up” because their boyfriends’ said “if you love me you will”. Um no. If he loved you, he wouldn’t pressure, bargain or use any other tactic reminiscent of hostage negotiation. Life is cruel. Kids are even crueler. No doubt you will fall in love in high school. Probably more than once. Please just remember that Love and Sex are not mutually exclusive to one another. Your virtue is also not something to be dangled in someone’s face like a prize. You are not a carnival game. All the responsibility of this subject matter does not lie with the other party. You have to take responsibility for your body and your soul. Because what happens to one can and will affect the other. Here’s a good way to think of it; You aren’t fast food, don’t be cheap, easy or fast.
6) Find your passion and cling to it for dear life: For this will bring you peace in an ever chaotic world. If your passion is reading, never be willing to sacrifice that. If it’s photography, it will bring you the ability to see the world in a whole different light. If your passion is cooking or baking, be sure to invite your family over for dinner once in a while 🙂  If your passion is traveling, just be careful and check in every once in a while. No matter what it may be, if it makes you happy, it’s important.
7) Family Family Family: These are the people that the Fate’s saw fit to stick you with for your whole life. We gave you life. We nurtured you. We cut the crusts off of your sandwiches and made sure your nightlight always worked. We will embarrass you. We will make you cringe and cry. We will make decisions that upset you. We do these things because we love you and to us you will always be our little girl. There were times that I was certain my mother was on a mission to make my life miserable. Looking back now I see that the decisions she made and the rules she laid down were really in my best interest and she really did know what was good for me because she had already lived it. Your parents are the epitome of “Been there, done that.” So in 9 years when I tell you “No you will not wear a leather mini skirt to school”, even though you may hate me at that moment in time, trust me when I say I am making a decision that could prevent a chain of events that ends with you pole dancing to pay for your GED. Just sayin’. Trust your family. Trust that we will always be there. Trust that we only want what’s best for you. Trust that when you make bad decisions (and you will) we will be there to call you on it, and then help you pick up the pieces.
8) Own your mistakes: You made them. Own them. Blaming someone else for your mistakes is just tacky. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are simply lessons. Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. Being able to admit you messed up takes guts. Have guts.
9) Always be honest: This goes hand in hand with owning your mistakes. I read a quote a while back: “I would rather be honest than impressive”. So much good comes from honesty. The right kind of friends. Respect. Admiration. Trust. No one wants to be friends with a liar. More importantly, always be honest with yourself. Trust your gut. It will never lead you wrong. Unless it leads you to Taco Bell at 3a.m. That’s usually wrong.
10) Be responsible: In every aspect of your life. It may not sound like fun, but in a world of so much blatant irresponsibility, being responsible will give you a sense of calm. Be responsible with your money, that way you don’t worry unnecessarily. Be responsible when it comes to auto maintenance. Paying for regular oil changes is less expensive than paying for a new engine. Be responsible with your body. It’s not a bargaining chip and it’s not disposable. Don’t treat it as such. Be responsible for you life. No one is going to live it for you. And if you are responsible your life will be markedly easier to enjoy.
11) Learn as much as you can whenever you can: I always said if I could be paid to be a professional student, I would do it in a heartbeat. Learn scholastic things, learn languages, and learn to change a tire. Actually definitely learn to change a tire. And your oil. Learn how to properly use tools. Learn how to make a killer Martini. Learn to read people. This is an awesome skill to have. From being in the Bar industry for so long, I have learned to read people. I can tell you if a person is a shady mofo within just a few minutes of meeting them. Learn at every opportunity. Turn every opportunity into a learning experience. Be a student of life. You will be better for it.
12) Be kind and don’t judge: You don’t know other people’s circumstances. You don’t know if a smile can change their whole day. Sometimes a kind smile or word can be the difference between life and death. Be beautiful in spirit. That is far more important than physical beauty. Physical beauty fades. It wrinkles. Kindness never fades. Kindness never goes out of style. Be kind, but take no shit. You are not a doormat.

And this last one is the hardest lesson to stomach……

13) Not everyone is good: I’m sorry sweetheart. Not everyone is a good person like you. Not everyone has good intentions. Some people have downright nasty intentions. Remember just a few sentences ago when I asked you to be kind. Some people will try to take advantage of that. Don’t let them. It’s not a weakness; don’t let them turn it into one. Know what you stand for and where you draw your line in the sand and never waiver. Always trust your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, you get your ass out of there like your life depends on it, because it very well may. Unfortunately in this ever declining world, more and more evil seems to be surfacing. Don’t let this make you afraid of the world. Just let it make you aware. I was once injured by and terrified of someone I thought I knew. And in my willingness to believe that people are good on a basic level, I opened myself up to another opportunity for this person to attempt to repeat their awful mistake. I will never make that mistake again. Some people are drawn to the darker side of life. Some people feel entitled to things and act accordingly and can’t fathom being told NO. So just be aware that not everyone is a good-natured as I hope you are. And please please please don’t let those people ruin your view of the world.

The Realizations of Motherhood

At this very moment I am sitting on my bed typing away on my laptop. I attempted to organize parts of my house today, which resulted in even more piles of stuff. As I look back on the day that has passed, I fondly think back to this morning when I was laughing and wrestling and goofing around with Bean while attempting to not get out of bed so early. I made her favorite breakfast and I enjoyed my coffee with her while she happily ate it. And then a terrifying question occurred to me. What am I teaching my child? What am I teaching my daughter? Those questions were fiercely reinforced just a few minutes later when she asked me if I was going to wear jeans today because if I was wearing jeans she wanted wear jeans too. There’s no denying it, she is proud that I am her Mommy. I am proud to be her Mommy. She emulates me in almost every way possible. She wears fake glasses, she lets me teach her yoga poses and we even share a love of the same Starbucks beverage (Shaken Passion Tea with ½ a pump of sweetener). It’s so obvious that she looks up to me. And what mother wouldn’t be over the moon to realize that?! As overjoyed as I am to have passed on my love of the written word and all things nerdy, I have to worry about what other examples I am setting for her.

Clothes: As females, we become very aware of our bodies and the power they possess at a young age. Our bodies wield a strange power over us, they can make us self conscious, and they can make feel like we rule the world. They sometimes determine our self worth in this screwed up world we live in. Sometimes I wear jeans in the summer heat in Florida because I didn’t shave my legs. Other times I wear jeans because I don’t like the way my legs look. Yesterday after school Bean put jeans on because I had jeans on. She was visibly hot and sweaty, but wanted to be like me. She had no idea why I was wearing them, but I’m afraid one day she will. She probably sees me twisting and turning when I try on certain things. No doubt she has seen me adjusting my bra or swimsuit top. She sees my hesitation to shed my tank top at the beach. This isn’t an intentional message. I never criticize my body in front of her and I never will. But she sees everything with those soulful eyes. In an age of rampant female body-shaming, this is not the message that I want to send to my daughter. I want her to see a confident person who has earned every scar. A person who a proverbially fought hard to get to wear she is. I may not have skinny legs, but I have strong legs. That strength comes from years as a soccer player and a childhood of swimming for hours on end. Muscles made from what seemed like never ending shifts at the bar. I have legs that allow me to move quickly at work, or move even quicker should I hear my child scream. I have thighs that have helped me move kegs and lift my sweet child when she was an infant. Walked her for hours and hours and nights and days around the neighborhood or pacing the house in the middle of the night to get her to go back to sleep. My shoulders are strong. They aren’t lithe or petite. I’m just not built that way. I have arms that can carry in all the grocery bags in one trip. I have scars. Some are from childhood, some are from adulthood. Each one has a story and I am proud to retell them.  I was built to survive. I was built to live and never quit.

Food: I sit with Bean every morning while she eats breakfast. I drink my coffee and we chat. But I very rarely eat breakfast with her. Not because I don’t want to, but honestly I am just not hungry that early. And I really dislike most breakfast foods that aren’t bacon. But I’m afraid I’m teaching her that nourishing yourself isn’t important. I always eat dinner with her, but even lunch sometimes is hard. I’m always trying to accomplish so much in a day, that I make lunch for her and then begin another task. Again, it’s not intentional, but what is she seeing? Is she seeing that life’s menial tasks are more important than eating a good lunch? Is she interpreting it to mean that coffee is a food group? Wait, it’s not? It should be.

Relationships: D and I have a great relationship now. But we didn’t always. For a time it was downright unhealthy. He and I were both in bad places mentally and as they say “You always hurt the ones you love.” We broke up for a time when Bean was 3. I would’ve rather her see a person willing to recognize her own self worth than remain in a relationship that was making her miserable. And it took time for us to find our way back to each other. But we did. And we worked every day to be better people, as a couple and as individuals. I want her to see that you have to hold on to your sense of self. Just because you love someone, doesn’t mean you give up who you are and what you love and what you believe. She has seen her parents argue. She has seen her parents madly in love. Every day she sees 2 people who love each other enough to make an effort. She doesn’t see a woman who doesn’t speak up for herself anymore. No matter how much I love D, I will always be who I was before we met. I hope that I’m teaching Bean that a good healthy relationship is one that lets you be who you are, together.

Technology:  Ugh….sometimes I hate technology. As Bean has gotten older, I am more aware of the presence of technology in our lives. In our home we have 2 tablets, 2 iPhones, 1 iPod, a couple gaming consoles and a TV in each room.  I am a big offender of having the TV on for background noise. D is notorious for playing games on his phone as soon as he wakes up. We have been at dinner several times and seen other parents so involved with their smart phones that they seem to have forgotten they have kids desperate for their attention. I have recently made the deliberate decision to set my phone down and walk away. It gets put away when I drive because A) its safer and B) I want Riley to know that her safety is more important than anything else and C) conversation and car singing are much more fun anyway. The people physically in front of me are more important than the screen in my hand. One of those tablets in our home is Bean’s and I’m totally 100% good with that. She might spend a grand total of 45 minutes on it a week. But it allows her to learn the up to date technology and I monitor what she is able to access. She’s been able to use an iPhone since she was 18 months old. I let her play on my laptop. All she does is type, but she has fun.  At the end of the day there is nothing on any of those screens that is more important than the people in front of you. I recently told a friend that I don’t get any alerts for the games on my phone. I don’t get any Facebook or Pinterest alerts either. Most of the time my phone is on silent for the simple fact that I don’t want to be interrupted by it if I’m doing something cool like building the Great Wall of China out of Legos. This blew her mind. The fact that I could conceivably go a whole day without being bothered by this tiny technological thorn in my side was unheard of to her.

Interests: This is a big one because she is in school now and there are 18 other kids in her class, each as judgmental as the last. Kids can be mean. Bean is an only child, has a great home life, a strong sense of family and is given the freedom to be herself. But not every kid has that. Some of the kids in her class have older or younger siblings. Some of the kids in her class are so starved for their parents’ attention that they manifest it by putting other kids down or having to one up them.  Some kids, even at this tender young age have shown a propensity for lying in order to gain popularity or admiration from the other kids. A few times Bean has asked if it’s “okay” for her to like a certain thing, be it Harry Potter or Legos. I have made it a point to show her that I unapologetically love what I love. I am a nerd. And I own it. I read like it’s going out of style, because sadly it seems to be doing exactly that. I’m an 80s kid, Jem & the Holograms, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock. Bean knows what these things are, and more importantly she likes them. She also loves science. She loves to come up with new experiments that we can try. She loves Star Wars and wants to learn how to surf. I want her to see that no matter what happens in her life, her favorite things will never abandon her. And her favorite things will often lead her to the best of friends. The kind of people who will share her interests and share in late night movie marathons and inside jokes. The kinds of friends who will have entire conversations comprised of movie quotes. Those are the best kind of friends. The keepers.

My child has made me realize that I need to be more aware of the examples that I’m setting for her. We become so caught up in making sure that they are doing the right thing at the right time and in the right way, that we forget that old adage “Monkey see, Monkey do” What do you want your monkey to do? Would eating breakfast really hurt me? No. It would probably be good for me.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll wear shorts……

Keep those toes in the sand!

MINE!!!! The Selfishness of Motherhood

There was a time in every mom’s life when every thing she had belonged to her. That time was before Pre Child (P.C.). Now there is not one single iota of a mother’s life that belongs solely to her. Her days and thoughts are consumed by other people’s needs and wants. Sure she still has things to take care of, but they often get pushed to the back burner in an effort to take care of the needs of everyone else before her own. Every mother, at one time or another, has dreamed of a life long gone and fantasized about what her life would be like without the daily responsibilities of Snack days, her husband’s work schedule, play dates, walking the dog and all these other things that actually have nothing to do what she so desperately needs……time to be selfish.
Yeah I said it. The most selfless job in the world should come with built in Selfish Time. Time just for us. We make sure our husbands have it; we make sure our kids have their time. But at the end of the day, after we have put away the laundry, the leftovers and prepared for the next day looming on the horizon, the small amount of time we have is spent brushing our teeth and climbing into our much anticipated bed…..only to end up with a 6 year old foot in the back because our loving child has crawled into bed with us. Not even sleep is ours! Sweet blissful sleep has been stolen from us. If you’re new to the motherhood game, let me break it down for you:
Your body:
Yeah this stopped being yours the moment you found out you were expecting. You can longer eat what you’d like, especially if you’re a big sushi fan. You can no longer drink what you’d like, be it a frosty adult beverage or a soda. You have to be mindful of everything you eat. You suddenly have to be aware of your caffeine intake. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You may be a fitness fanatic or you may not be, but suddenly no matter how hard you try not to gain weight, it’s there, staring you in the mirror as you try desperately to get your favorite jeans over your thighs. Your belly is beyond your control. Your breasts have taken on a life all their own. And as your impending due date approaches, the really weird shit starts to happen. My hips shifted. Like moved and will never return to their original position. I will never be the size I was before I had Bean, no matter how much I work out or diet, because my bones moved! I had been told once that I had child bearing hips (apparently that’s a compliment?) but it would seem that they weren’t quite up to the task after all.
Then after you bring your little cherub into the world, your body becomes even less yours, if that’s even possible. You are now a walking food source, at the beckoning of a 9lb tyrant who screams and you come running. Were you sleeping? Too bad! Were you foolishly trying to make a phone call? HA!! Shower? Good Luck. Just make peace with your new role. It’s easier that way. And sadly it doesn’t decrease with time. The role just adapts much like other creatures in the animal kingdom. From now until this person is 18 years old you are legally responsible for feeding them, clothing them and enriching them.

Your house:
Remember P.C. (Pre Child)? You thoughtfully picked out your decor. Cleaning your house was easy because it was either just you or maybe your significant other or maybe roommates. Now there is a minefield of toys spread across your living room. You will learn to hate legos. There are small dishes and utensils in your kitchen. There are brightly colored cups in your cabinet. There are hand prints on the walls that will probably never come off. Remember when you did laundry and the only cute things in there were your unmentionables. Now you fold little panties with My Little Pony on them. So many onesies in so many colors. Little shoes to trip over. At one point you may actually think that your toddler is trying to booby trap the house and send you to an early grave. Little does he know that if you go, his food source goes? Don’t bite the hand little man.
Your Day:
Ok, my day to day is pretty mellow. I try to be as organized as I can. The most hectic days for me used to be if I had class and work on the same day. Then I had a child and got married. I suddenly became responsible for 2 other people. My hubs is not an organized person. He needs a planner. He needs to write stuff down in the same place instead of on envelopes and scrap pieces of paper. He will say something to me and then 6 days later ask me about it, the whole time I was unaware that I was responsible for cataloging said information. He will set down a piece of paper with vital information on it, then go on a rant about clutter, so the paper gets inadvertently moved because it is on a surface with dozens of other pieces of paper and then suddenly its my responsibility to find it. Apparently he thinks I have some super power in the form of being able to recall the exact location of 1 piece of paper. So on top of my own schedule, I now have to incorporate Bean’s and D’s. No wonder I feel confused all the time! I’m blonde…..people need to stop expecting so much from me 🙂  It will be interesting when I go back to school, we may need to hire an actual secretary. I wonder if she will work for Goldfish Crackers.
Your vehicle:
Before I had Bean I drove the cutest little VW Beetle. I loved it. It was the epitome of cute girl beach bum cars. I was sad when I sold it. At times I really want to get another one. But based on the amount of crap that accumulates in my SUV on a weekly basis, the Beetle wouldn’t be able to handle my life. It used to be that my car only had my stuff in it; a bikini, a towel, flip flops, my iPod, and some books. Now? A booster seat, several My Little Ponies, markers, flip flops that don’t belong to me, empty water bottles, not so empty water bottles, so many school papers that I could easily be responsible for the death of a forest. The list goes on and on. My husband constantly asks me how my truck gets so cluttered. Well for starters it’s the primary family vehicle. It does the grocery shopping; the school drops offs and pick ups, the play dates, the trips to the beach and road trips. I challenged my husband to have his car be the family vehicle for 1 month just to see what his looks like. He declined. Its not that I’m a messy person, I am somewhat scatter brained, but in all honesty I HATE clutter. But at the end of the day, I’m just too damn tired to do anything about it.
Your Relationship:
This is a big one. P.C. your relationship was all fun and games. It didn’t have to be serious. Even though you’re adults with adult responsibilities like bills and a career, you still had to option to be irresponsible and party and go on vacation on a whim. You had the ability to be spontaneous, which helped keep the romance alive and thriving. Now, between middle of the night feedings, sharing your bed with a 6 year old, PTA meetings, play dates, and trying to contain the hurricane that sweeps through your house on a daily basis, your relationship may feel more like a business arrangement than a marriage. And that’s OK! Kids are exhausting. Especially if you’re doing your job as a parent. After I have gotten her off to school (which means dressed in matching clothes, lunch packed and hair done), I either run errands like grocery shopping or taking the dog to the vet or do some much needed laundry. And there are some days I even volunteer in her classroom, as if I don’t see her enough. Then when its time to pick her up, I have to start thinking about what to make for dinner. I help her with her homework, I build legos with her; draw on the driveway with chalk with her. Then its dinner, cleaning up from dinner, bath time, wind-down time, and then stories and bedtime. After that, it’s usually my bedtime. My hubs will get home and wonder why I’m so tired. He often feels neglected. I do my best to reassure him that I love him and only have eyes for him, but in all honesty, I’ve been checking out our new tempur-pedic bed pretty hard  and when the planets align and we do get child free time together, its usually a redbox movie, some “quality time” and then I’m still asleep by 11:00, 11:30 if I’m feeling adventurous. My relationship no longer belongs to me. It belongs to my child. She’s the variable in the equation. I love her and I wouldn’t trade her for anything, but sometimes I feel like our child is killing our relationship.
I used to go on a yearly Girls’ trip to Vegas. All moms and wives. No kids or husbands. Just 3 days. Just long enough to recharge from all of life’s demands. I would come back a better mom and a better wife. My body and mind know when this trip is coming. I can feel the desperation in my bones. I force myself to pull it together for a few more days until I get on the plane and turn off my phone. Of course while I’m there I miss my little family, I check in with them often and send and receive pics. But no one needs anything from me. I can fall asleep by the pool and not have a care in the world. That is an amazing feeling for a mom to experience. Sometimes my hubs gets jealous of this yearly trip. I understand it. I have offered to send him, but his friends can’t seem to get their act together. I have offered that just he and I go, but his work interfered. But I am not willing to give up my trip. This year I can’t go because of extenuating circumstances, and my subconscious knows something is wrong. It knows that normally a few days from now I would be boarding a plane to peace, tranquility, neon lights and free drinks.
I may sound like I don’t love my life, but astonishingly that is not the case. I love my life. I love the many hand drawn pictures adorning my home. I love the little Reefs sitting next to the stairs. I would just love them more if they were in the closet where they belong. I love that my life is charged with the enrichment of such an awesome person, but every once in a while I would like…..NO, I DEMAND Selfish time. A time where no one needs anything from me. Not my child, not my husband, not work, not school. No one. A time when someone else brings ME food and drinks. Someone else will walk the dog and do the laundry. Just a few days. Every mother should get this. There should be a government kick back to each Mom that allows here to do this. It is essential to our ability to be a functioning mother and wife.
My point is, it’s ok to get frustrated with life and feel like you are being pulled in several directions at once, because in all honesty you are. Just try to carve out a little time here and there for you. You will thank yourself for it down the road. Don’t let your “mom guilt” override your sense of self preservation. The kids will survive if you go to lunch with a friend. They will be ok if they spend the weekend at grandma’s and you and the husband sneak off to a hotel for a day or 2. Don’t forget that you are a person too and you deserve the same things you are working so hard to provide for your family.

My Shitty Life & Why its Awesome!

  
I don’t mean that as a metaphor. Its not meant figuratively. My life is full of shit, literally. And it’s better for it 🙂

My approach to relationships has always been pretty straight-forward. Life is messy. Life can be gross sometimes. Add kids and pets and stomach ailments into that equation and it has a tendency to get even messier. And being a person who is infinitely entertained by potty humor, Life’s messes keep me laughing, and laughter is the key to any strong relationship.

Bean is gross. Just this morning she sat at the table and let out a fart that would’ve made a grown man proud, the whole time giggling into her bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats. Some mornings she wakes me up by backing up to me in bed under the pretense of “snuggling” and then sweetly whispers “the cannon’s loaded” before unleashing enough methane gas to kill a cow. When she was younger we made the mistake of laughing at one of her farts. Now it will be funny forever. Then there’s the poop. Even at the age of 6 she screams across the house to wipe her butt if its a “Slimy one”. There is no escaping this. She would rather subject her poor mother to the smell of toxic fumes than risk getting an itching butt. I guess I should be thankful. A few weeks ago she sharted herself and I honestly couldn’t hold in my laughter. I felt like the worst parent in the world, because my laughter upset her. But I couldn’t help it. Eventually I got her to see the humor in it, and she understands how important it is to be able to laugh at yourself too, but oh good lord, I was giggling about that all night. Even when I was texting D to let him know what happened, I was laughing. If I don’t laugh than the fact that I am constantly dealing with shit, literally and figuratively, it will depress me beyond the limits of my medication.

When she was an infant, she shit on me. Several times. D and I have both had feces on our hands. We’ve had to drain the bathtub, disinfect it and give her another bath because she unleashed a mushroom cloud of epic proportion considering she was so small at the time. It’s a good practice to make sure you don’t bounce a baby on your knee until you’re absolutely sure they have nothing left in their tiny little bowels. And even then…..there’s no guarantee.

The dog. It seems there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t ask D if the dog pooped, either on a walk or in the house, because sometimes he’s a spiteful little creature. I mean it. Every day. Sometimes twice a day. And when he doesn’t poop, we have detailed conversations about the last time he did; consistency, frequency, color. My old hound dog used to scare himself when he farted and I found it unbelievably hilarious. I’ve also had to express my dog’s anal glands. If you aren’t sure what this entails, you can YouTube in. i had to do this to my own dog on Christmas morning. I never thought I’d be able to say I anally violated a dog. And I had to do it because D “didn’t have the heart to do that to the old dog.” Let me just say thank god for latex gloves and my poor dog wouldn’t come near me for days after that. These are actual conversations and events 2 grown adults have had more after than we would like to admit.

Then there’s the adults. I have had conversations with my husband that would make any sane person cringe. And not just about poop. About several bodily functions. My husband has literally seen my vital organs,  laid out like a human jigsaw puzzle. I warned him not to look over the sheet when I was having my C-section done, but he did, because he’s a man. And now he will die knowing what his wife’s intestines look like. I hope he’s pleased with himself.

We have had our share of stomach bugs, each more colorful and visceral than the last. We have had our share of drunken nights. I affectionately refer to it as D trying to call some dinosaurs. And we have shared these gastrointestinal pyrotechnics, usually in the form of one taking care of the other, or picking the lock on the bathroom door to make sure that the other isn’t drowning in his own stomach contents. And just so you don’t think I’m being unfair to D, he’s found me in different levels of shame throughout our relationship, the most recent being a combo of intoxication and food poisoning. I honestly thought I was dying. I wished I was dying. Death would’ve been easier. Death would’ve cleaner. Death would’ve smelled better.

I was raised with 2 brothers. 1 older, 1 younger. Can you imagine the hell I endured. I even had to share a bathroom with them at one point. My older brother has a gift. A very specific set of skills. He has the ability to unleash his noxious fumes at his convenience. Often, sometimes while trapped in a car on Alligator Alley with extended family, firing off butt shots like a machine gun. He made the mistake of doing this with our very Irish grandmother in the car. That was over 20 years ago and he still won’t pass gas in the presence of this woman. But as brother and sister, farts will always be funny. Even his kid thinks they are funny.

Then there’s my friends. I’ve been in the Food & Beverage industry for the better part of my adult life. People who work in Food & Beverage are gross. We have gross senses of humor. We play gross jokes on each other. We talk about disgusting things. We even crop dust tables or sections we don’t like. One of my best friends is a nurse. Part of her job is to literally make sure people shit after surgery. All day she talks about shit and farts. Thank god she has a boy 🙂 When we go on our annual Vegas Girls trip, It’s a bunch of girls sharing a hotel room. If you thought guys were gross, try going on vacation with a bunch of moms, a nurse, wives, and people who generally accept the fact that life is gross and smelly sometimes.

Someone who I am closely related to has never farted in front of her husband. 30 years, not one single fart. While I admire her dedication to the upkeep of this side of their relationship, I can assure you that is a one-way street. He happens to think farts are infinitely funny. She thinks they are funny, disgusting but funny, but refuses to cross that line in their marriage. Kudos to her!! I personally like to see how many times I can get my husband to blame mine on the dog, cat or child before he finally looks at me with a look that can only be absolute love and devotion. Otherwise I’m pretty sure he’d leave me. He faithfully(and figuratively) stood by my side while I anxiously awaited that first post surgery poop, well aware of the agony I would inevitably succumb to.

My point in all this is simple. Everyone has a picture of a life that’s all roses and rainbows. But life is messy and gross. And being able to admit that and take it in stride makes it that much easier. If at the end of the day you can’t laugh at the fact that you were shat on, farted on, or even sharted yourself, then you going to lead a pretty sad life. My marriage is better because we acknowledge the gross. It doesn’t overtake the awesome parts of our relationship, but it does bring a certain levity that only fart jokes can bring to the table. Or the bed. In the form of a “dutch oven”. I’ve never known such fear as waking up with the blankets pulled over my head. One day I’ll get him back. One day.

Sometimes I get defeated by the fact that there are so many unsavory aspects to my life. but then I rememeber…..”Shit Happens”. And it’s best for all involved if you can laugh at it. i have literally been up to my elbows in shit. And been laughing the whole time. Why? How? Because it’s funny. My husband loves me because I’m gross sometimes. My kid thinks I’m awesome because I laugh at her farts. My dog’s farts make me laugh. If I can’t laugh at the gross stuff Life throws at me…..what’s the point.

Until next time, keep those toes in the sand and some air freshener close by!