RSS Feed

‘Uncategorized’ Category

  1. I went to Home Goods and all I got was this lousy f’ing fruit basket

    March 6, 2016 by admin

    FruitBasket

    “Get your coats on kids! We’re going to Home Goods!”

    I say this to my two youngest children with as much unbridled enthusiasm as possible, because I really want to go to Home Goods. We’re going to peel through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru for munchkins, and then I am going to coast into Home Goods on a coffee high and shop the shit out of the storage section. I am ready to change my life.

    Bins. Bins. Hooks and shelves and bins. And baskets. Lots of freaking baskets. I want it all. When we bust out the double doors, our cart full of plastic and engineered wood and rattan – give me all the f’ing rattan you have – I know that our lives will never be the same. I just feel it way down deep in that twisted place in my heart, the part of me that truly understands that the perfect hook rail will make be a better person. In fact, I will be a better mother for spending $200 on things to put all my shit in and hang it on.

    And so when the automatic doors slide open, and I look out into the sea of colored glass and throw pillows, mass produced art, and things – all sorts of wonderful things – to put on my shelves, a wave of optimism washes over me. A fake seashell display calls my name. My son points to a giant wooden buddha up ahead and laughs. And I know we’ve already won. But up ahead in the distance, my mecca, the storage aisle, beckons. It is there I will find my salvation.

    I take out my list, eager to check off all of the items that will transform my home from the frumpy mess it is to the exalted shrine of order it was meant to be. I scour each shelf with a sense of excitement. I can’t wait to buy buy buy. Buy more things to put my other things in. I touch each organizational item with a sense of wonder. The anticipation builds. The possibilities are endless!

    It doesn’t matter that I was here in this very place two days ago. It feels like an eternity. I see things I didn’t see before. Laundry baskets with French words stenciled on them. L’Hotel Des Grandes Laundry. (Oh. MyGODI’ll feel so f’ing European when I am washing shit stains out of my kids’ underwear!) Wire baskets with mini chalkboards, so I can write down what’s inside. So I’ll know what’s inside! The people that think of these things just know. They. just. know. It’s like they can see into my soul.

    I’m loading everything into my cart. My baby is covered in a heap of canvas life force. I’m barking at my 4-year-old to grab anything and everything with mail dividers. The power of clean compels you!

    On the way to the cashier, sweaty, breathless, I begin to take a second look at my bounty. Passing by a wall of inspirational word art, the objects in my cart begin to shape shift before my eyes. The canvas seems senseless. A stack of mini acrylic boxes seems radical. No. That won’t quite work. $29.99? That’s outrageous. Rubbed bronze? What was I thinking?

    And all the promise with which we entered that big box of retail hope is fading. I see that I haven’t checked off a single thing on my list. No organized canned goods. No row of neatly hung princess dresses. No visually stimulating laundry center. Two and a half hours from the moment those double doors opened and my kids and I walked brazen into those florescent lights, I walk to the cashier and hang my head in shame. But not before my eyes desperately scan the shelves lining the check out line for an item that might redeem this trip. A journal with a floral cover, perhaps? NO! A scented candle? I bought three last week. A set of crystal drawer pulls? There must be something, SOMETHING I can do with those! A cheese knife in the shape of a mermaid? No! No! No! As I near the head of the line, I turn and look at the shelves, hoping my eyes will catch something I’ve missed. But there’s nothing.

    “I remember you from the other day,” the cashier says.

    I don’t ask her, out of all the (mostly) women that come to Home Goods searching for order, why she remembers me.

    Instead I smile, and silently hand her my purchases:

    This:

    FruitBasket

    A wire basket with chalk board. So I can write down what’s inside!

    And this.

    Frame

    A picture frame. Isn’t it ironic?

    Until next time, Home Goods. Until next week.


  2. FML. A day at the beach.

    July 21, 2015 by admin

    christmas_vacation_001

    Today’s beach excursion was brought to you by the Griswold’s. The breakdown:

    7:30am. It’s a gorgeous day. The morning is filled with such hope. Text husband: “Packing up for the beach!” Multiple smiley face emoticons.
    10:30am. Pull out of driveway. Hope is fading fast.
    10:31am. Pull back in to driveway to pick up recycling pile knocked over by minivan. Swear under my breath. Sort of.
    10:32am. Pull back out of driveway.
    10:33am. The kids ask about lunch.
    10:40am. Stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. Order coffee over 4 shouting kids. Concede to munchkins. Pull over to dole them out.
    10:45am. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
    10:50am. Pull onto the highway. Are we almost there?
    10:55am. Hope returns. No traffic.
    10:56am. Take sip of coffee. No sugar. Hope turns to anger.
    11:25am. Arrive at beach. Troll for nearby parking. Park 3/4 mile away.
    11:35am. Argue about who is carrying what. I end up with baby in hiking back pack, beach toys, cooler, bag with towels, beach umbrella. Six-year-old carries sun hat the baby has thrown on the ground. After a few feet, he stuffs it in one of my bags. We walk. I feel like a horse with no name. One of the kids has a blister. He wants the world to know.
    11:50am. Arrive on beach. Drop everything in the sand. Two kids ask for lunch. One has to go to the bathroom.
    11:55am. Open sunscreen. Kids scatter. Chase and slap it on.
    12:20pm. Sunscreen applied.
    12:25pm. Kids in water. Baby playing in sand. I sit down.
    12:30pm. Kids too far out. (Is that a shark fin?) Baby crawling away. Preschooler poops in swim diaper.
    12:45pm. Ahhhh. Nice. All kids digging in sand. Notice tide is coming in. Fast. Beach blanket gets soaked. Move all of our things up against the toes of two elderly women wearing giant straw hats.
    12:50pm. Screw it. Despite the fact that I’m wearing cotton shorts and my husband’s old hockey t-shirt, I go in the water with kids.
    1:05pm. Frantically check incoming tide every 30 seconds. Move things into elderly women’s laps.
    1:30pm. Give kids the 5-minute warning.
    1:40pm. Give kids 5-minute warning.
    1:55pm. Give kids 5-minute warning.
    2pm. Kids get out of water. They belly flop in sand. I tell them to rinse off. They ride the waves for 10 minutes while I pack everything up, give the death stare and whisper yell. Elderly women look on in horror. Repeat 3 times.
    2:30pm. Get ogled by less encumbered beachgoers as we make our way to the car at the top of a very. steep. hill. Cooler tips over. Everything spills out of bag. Two kids “are dying.”  But I’ve sweated out 10 pounds.
    2:50pm. Get back to car. Eat leftover munchkins when kids aren’t looking. Change 2 diapers. Buckle sand-covered kids in car.
    2:55pm. Text husband: “FML.”
    3pm. Drive off into the sunset. Tell kids we’re never going to the beach again.

    christmas_vacation_001

    At least we didn’t get stuck under a truck.


  3. To Get to the Good Stuff, You’ve Got to Write Sh*T

    June 3, 2014 by admin

     

    SandyFeetRetreat

     

    Photo by Betsy Devany Macleod

    As I was packing up the last of my things, my friend, the organizer of the retreat and owner of the beautiful beachfront property at which it was held (not to mention a published author), asked me if I wanted to read my first couple of pages in front of the group.

    I did want to, but for some reason – I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones or sheer nerves – I was terrified. As I read, my voice was shaky and I was on the brink of tears. I was out of breath. But I got through it and received a positive reaction from the group. It made me want to keep pushing on with my story.

    This weekend was the first time I’d been on a writer’s retreat, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do. My writing life is usually filled with distractions and procrastinations. I’ll just start the laundry. Or do up some dishes. Sweep the floor. Organize the soups in my pantry by alphabetical order. It’s either early morning and my kids are up early and need something. No, usually everything. Or, it’s late at night and I am dozing off in front of my glowing screen. I can never seem to get any momentum.

    So when I arrived on Friday evening, I was trying to visualize how I could get the most out of the weekend. Would the guilt of being away from my husband and kids kick in? Would I be distracted by the beach and sound of the glorious waves crashing against the shore? Would I sit there in front of my computer screen not knowing what to do next with my characters?

    I have this really bad habit of self-editing while I am writing. I’ll write a sentence over 5, 10, 15 times before I can move on. It’s got to be perfect. This method hasn’t worked my whole life, but still I find myself doing it. I know it stymies creativity and halts any progress, but I can never seem to break the cycle. And yet, I always think back to what one of my college writing professors once said. “You’ve got to write shit to get to the good stuff.”

    So, here was my plan. Write shit. Write anything. Just keep writing and don’t think about the perfect sentence or the household tasks that would be waiting for me on Sunday afternoon or the kids or my husband or the un-alphabetized soups in my pantry. Just keep those fingers moving over the keyboard and get some f’ing words on the screen, shit or not.

    Saturday morning I woke up at 5am, laid out some fruit and breakfast bread for my fellow writers and got to work. I opened up my paltry manuscript and instead of reading over what I’d already written, I just set my fingers upon those keys and started punching. Sitting on the couch with my (very swollen, pregnant) feet up, the scene of milky white waves cresting just outside the door, I just started moving my fingers. As if writing was a physical task, not a mental one. My only goal was to keep up the sound of clicking keys. Surprisingly, I found that it was working. After a couple of hours, there was a few pages of actual words on my screen. No, not just words. While they may not have been Pulitzer Prize-winning (yet 😉 ), they were leading me to other places, places that I could never seem to get to because I was always worried about creating perfection right from the get-go.

    Once the other writers began rising from sleep and opening their computers, I was worried that there would be a lull in my progress. We’d talk about how we’d slept or chat casually about our projects over coffee, or be generally distracted by just being around each other in a communal writing room. But….it was just the opposite. I found that being in a room of writers, keys clicking away, I was motivated. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to write. We all did. Hours would go by without conversation. One of us would get up and move from the couch to the table and begin clicking away again. Another would get up, make a quick snack, and then get back to it. A few of us went for a walk on the beach, returned to the house energized and refreshed, and began work again. It went on like this all day, until it was time to get ready for dinner out. The only crappy thing about dinner was that, being over 8 months pregnant, I could not partake in the wine. Other than that, it was a time to decompress from a full day of work, chat and look out into the dark sea right outside the window.

    The next day went much the same, rising early and punching at the keys with abandon. Only, my thoughts started to turn towards packing up and heading home, thoughts that both saddened and excited me. I was missing my family. BUT, I was also thoroughly enjoying making progress on my story, something I hoped would become my first novel. And I was enjoying the beach and the quiet and the lack of responsibility save racking up a computer full of words.

    Early that afternoon, I began winding down. I shut down my computer and began the dreaded process of packing up my things to head home. Let me make an important distinction here. I was excited to see my husband and my kids – it had felt like an eternity since I left the house for the beach – but I just didn’t want to stop writing.

    And I won’t.

    Now that the first annual Sandy Feet Writer’s Retreat is over, I’ll keep that momentum going. I’ll use the inspiration I received from my fellow writers –  some old friends and some new friends I hope to stay in touch with – and keep up my progress at home. I may not have the ocean waves crashing right outside my window, or the luxury of writing without any other distractions for days at a time, but what I do have is progress. And, living in Newburyport, I can’t say there’s a lack of inspirational places to escape to and put pen to paper.

    When I was done packing, and opened my computer again to read my pages aloud, breathless and my voice quivering with nerves, I realized something. First, I’d be horrible on a book tour. Second, while writer’s retreats are a luxury I’d definitely like to indulge in more often (hint, hint, husband), I don’t need one to do this thing. All I need is me, my computer and the sound of clicking keys to drown out all the distractions of daily life.

    Until next year, Sandy Feet.


  4. Take THAT, Crappy New England Weather

    May 17, 2014 by admin

    I’m going to have the best f’ing day ever.

    ShakeRecipe


  5. A Wicked Good Recipe

    May 16, 2014 by admin

    In this household, we are always struggling to find things everyone will eat. Everything’s always “disgusting” or tastes like “rotten butts.” This recipe, however, was awesome. So I thought I’d share it. It’s from Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide by Sally Kuzemchak. The book was one of my Mother’s Day presents, so I suppose that might tell you exactly how I was faring in my domestic responsibilities.

     

    PeanutButterChicken

    My toddler was screaming “more chicken” at dinner tonight. The boys are at hockey practice, so haven’t tried it yet, but I’m hopeful it’s better than the rotten butts my 5-year-old has apparently had in the past.

    If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it. I used Bob’s Red Mill flaked coconut and Teddy’s Organic Creamy Peanut Butter and some brand of coconut milk I’m too lazy to get up and open the refrigerator to name.

    Bon appétit!

    (Also, I apologize for the quality of the photo. And wowzers! I just now looked at the calories and fat content and you definitely might not want to have this if you are on a diet! Cooking Light, my arse!)


  6. Breastfeeding – It’s not the be-all, end-all of motherhood

    April 29, 2014 by admin

    Recently, I was speaking to a mother who had just had her second baby.

    She was talking about how she had to wake up every three hours to feed her baby and how, because she’s nursing, was tired beyond belief.

    Pregnant with my fourth child, I explained offhandedly how nursing had never worked for me. I should have kept my mouth shut.

    “Really? You didn’t nurse at all?” She asked this with a hint of incredulity.

    Ummmm. No. That’s NOT what I said.

    “No. Biatch.” (Okay, that last word I only said in my head.) “I tried. I tried really hard for at least 8-12 weeks with each one.”

    I started to tell my story. How each of my babies had a steady decline of weight even well into their second month. How, no matter what I did, I didn’t seem to produce enough to keep my baby fed.

    “Oh, I don’t have to worry about that,” she said. And I can’t be certain she meant it in that way. But I couldn’t help but wonder if she was judging me.

    So I wanted to go on. About how I pumped my body with all kinds of herbs and walked around smelling like a sugar shack in March. How I visited the lactation consultant day after day after day. How I hired my own private – and, as it turned out, very odd – lactation consultant who came to my house and spent 8 hours speaking to me in strange metaphors, handing me Lindt chocolates, telling me stories of nursing her only child until she was five years old, and giving advice to my poor husband, who was rushing around like a chicken with his head cut off to feed two hungry and cranky boys their dinner, advice which essentially amounted to a how-to in milking a cow.

    I wanted to tell her about how my husband helped me rig a nursing trainer to my breast so that my babies could drink formula while nursing simultaneously. How this same man schlepped to Babies R Us one early weekend morning to ask some dopey teenaged salesperson where he could find “My Breast Friend.” How I nursed, then bottle fed, then pumped 8 times a day and barely slept and wouldn’t leave the house because I felt shame that I could not seem to do this thing that almost every other mother I knew was able to do.

    I wanted to tell her that I did not take it lightly, that I’d made a valiant effort despite the disruption it was causing my young family. That I’d sacrificed the first two months of all three of my babies’ lives feeling miserable, ashamed and depressed.

    But then I told myself to back the truck up. Why did I feel the need to explain myself to this woman I barely knew?

    Probably because even though many fellow moms told me it was okay, there were still a lot of other mothers who blatantly judged me. I remember after my second child was born, after I went through hell to try and nurse and then finally made the decision to switch to powdered formula, I posted a question on my local Mother’s Club message board about what kind of water to use. The thread that followed turned into a heated debate about breast versus bottle (as if I didn’t know the facts) and the people I had counted on most to help me through a difficult time only made me feel worse.

    And now here I am just weeks away from having my fourth child and still, I haven’t learned not to let other people’s judgments get to me.

    And here I am just weeks away from having my fourth child, telling myself, once again, that it’ll be okay if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.

    And it will be okay.

    It has been. Every. Time. I have three happy, healthy children, who haven’t felt rejected or less loved or tried to kill me in my sleep because they were bottle fed for the majority of their infanthood.

    This time around, in the thick of post-partum hormones and emotion, I am going to try and remind myself that there is so much more to motherhood than breastfeeding. I should know. I’ve been there three times already. Babyhood passes before your eyes and soon you’re onto finger foods and playgroups and preschool and suddenly you realize that those first months, though important, do not define you as a mother. Soon enough, too soon for most of us, when you’re sitting cross-legged on the floor playing Candyland or walking side-by-side to the park, you’ll wonder what you were so worked up about way back when.

    And even though you don’t think it’ll ever happen, there will come a moment of clarity when you realize that feeding your baby the dreaded “F” word isn’t the end of the world, nor does it make you any less of a mother.

    Sure, I’ll give breastfeeding a go again. But in a few weeks time, if you see me at the playground or at the beach feeding my baby a bottle and enjoying the company of (or yelling at) my three other kids, please. Unless you’ve come to tell me that I look too young to have four kids or that my baby is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, keep your comments to yourself.


  7. 10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids

    March 7, 2014 by admin

    10Things

    So, thank the child-rearing gods above that Parents magazine has provided us with this “handy” graphic so that us moms and dads – already overwhelmed with guilt from all the other things we’re screwing up –  can also remind ourselves of the terribly damaging things we are saying to our kids.

    Right at this very moment, parents everywhere are running through the kitchen with a pair of scissors (being children of progressive parents themselves, they were never told to be careful) to cut out this golden piece of wisdom and hang it on the refrigerator next to the (very large) graphic:  30,000 Things You Should Never, Ever, Not Even if They Were Starving, Feed Your Kids.

    In an article titled “10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids,” published in the April 2014 issue of Parents, experts explain how uttering the statements in the above graphic may do more harm than good to our kids.  Never mind the a-holes who call their kids “stupid,” or tell them to “shut up,” but us other a-holes saying things like  “Great Job” are setting our kids up for years of angst and, most likely, therapy well into their adult years.

    My initial reaction was, “This crap is total bullish*t.” Then, of course, because I can be a sucker, a wee bit of guilt set in. Admittedly, I’ve said most of these things to my kids, and for just a split second I was wondering if my children were having nightmares about our finances because I have told them we couldn’t afford something in the past.

    Truth be told, I understand SOME of the points made in the article. But in its entirety, it suggests that, as parents, we should shield our kids from a lot of inevitable truths and that parents should be superhuman, able to walk on eggshells around our kids without cracking them. But I for one am a parent in the real world, where kids test patience and push buttons, a world where parents are human and sometimes react instead of act.

    Let’s dissect some of these statements further.

     

    •  Hurry Up

    Parenting experts say we should NEVER say this to our kids, as it creates additional stress for them. (Never mind the additional stress that being late for an important appointment is causing me.) Instead, they suggest, “Let’s hurry,” which “sends the message that the two of you are on the same team.” Seriously. This is crazy talk. We are definitely NOT on the same team when some of us have busted our asses to get ready on time while one kid is playing air guitar in his underwear, THEN organizing his Pokemon cards while he’s supposed to be getting dressed and THEN complaining incessantly that his pants are touching the top of his feet and refusing to wear a shirt.  (* Please note, your pants are SUPPOSED to touch the top of your feet so you don’t look like you’re waiting for a flood). You better believe that in this situation, I am going to say “Hurry Up.”

    Experts also suggest turning the act of getting ready into a game: “Why don’t we race to see who can get her pants on first?” Um. Just no.

    • We can’t afford that

    We are NEVER supposed to discuss the reality that we aren’t millionaires with our children.  This may cause them great fear and anxiety that we are not in control of our finances. Instead, when faced with the “Can I have that?” question, we are supposed to say, “We’re not going to buy that because we’re saving our money for more important things.” By Parents’ crazy logic, isn’t THIS alternative statement invalidating the desires of our children by suggesting that what they want isn’t important? Come on! I am faced with periodic questions about why we don’t have as big of a house as so-and-so. I tell my kids like it is. That we don’t have the funds for a McMansion. Plain and simple. When asked why, I tell them, “There’s ALWAYS going to be someone who has more than you, and ALWAYS someone who’s going to have less,” which I think is an important lesson.

    • No dessert unless you finish your dinner

    Jesus H. Christ. (Excuse my language.)  Here is what some brainiacs suggest in lieu of the above statement. Get ready for it:  “First we eat our meal and then we have dessert.” Wait. What? Isn’t that what “No dessert unless you finish your dinner” means? I know, the subtle difference sets it up in a slightly more positive tone. But get a grip, Parents magazine. When you’ve labored over dinner for the third day in a row and, for the third day in a row, your kids tell you they don’t like it or that the dinner is disgusting (actually, one of my children once told me that dinner tasted like “rotten butts”), and THEN they ask you for dessert without even taking more than one bite? Where do you thing my priorities will lie?

    Truth is, in a perfect world, we’d all say the perfect things to our kids. All. The. Time. We’d be the ultimate picture of calm and never yell and would use every situation to teach our children valuable life lessons. We’d always act and never react. Hell, in a perfect world, our kids would be perfect. In a perfect world, I guess we’d all be robots, devoid of emotion and nerves that can get frayed. But nothing is perfect. Least of all, parenthood. It’s filled with sacrifices and compromises, hard truths and realities.

    Parents, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Check out the original article in Parents magazine. Is it total BS, or does the article illustrate some valid points? Do you say these things to your kids sometimes? Or are you following the golden rules? 

     


  8. Screw you, Kringle the Elf

    December 5, 2013 by admin

    I am sitting here looking at that stupid elf, curled up in one of my youngest child’s toys that I have somehow suspended from the ceiling with Christmas ribbon. Because, you know, these days you can’t actually just put him on a shelf. He has to be doing something spectacular because all hell will break loose if you have the lamest elf in the neighborhood.

    Kringle has his arms delicately wrapped around his shins and he’s wearing that annoying little grin that’s spread between two pleasantly plump little rosy cheeks. He’s looking at me with those bright blue eyes as if he’s the freakin’ savior of Christmas.

    But the truth is, Kringle, you suck.

    You have been here since Sunday, and I just haven’t seen the intended effect on behavior that I was hoping for this year.

    Dec. 1, Day 1:

    You arrive, wrapped lovingly around our Advent Calendar, bearing gifts of Christmas-colored loom bands for the older kids and a little plastic Mickey Mouse recorder for the youngest. Sweet. The kids are so excited, you might have thought that they just won a trip to Disney. You leave them a note telling them you are excited to be back for the Christmas season and reminding them to be good. And if they are, they might wake up to little surprises every day. Nice move. Holding gifts over their heads. How can that not work? Kringle, you and I are besties right about now.

    Dec. 2, Day 2:

    The older kids have misbehaved a bit since yesterday morning. You leave them a little note saying that Santa was a little sad at the report but…wait for it…he’s decided to give them another chance. If they are good all day, there might be a treat waiting for them when they get home from school. Smooth move, ex-lax. You know I can’t really see them at school, right? I am reliant on them to tell the truth. And not that my kids are big liars or anything, but unless there’s a note in their take-home folders letting me know that they’ve tried to burn down the school or started a fist-fight, I am sort of beholden to their version of the truth. Sure enough, when they get home from school, there’s mini stockings filled with chocolates and other treats hanging by the fireplace. I just want you to know that Papa Elf was disapproving of your methods. Me? I thought it might just work.

    Dec. 3, Day 3:

    The children wake up to find you on top of the refrigerator hanging out of our hot chocolate pot holding a half-eaten chocolate lollipop. Get a grip, Kringle! It’s only Dec. 3. With every passing day you have to top your previous hiding place, otherwise, you’ll be labeled a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. I would have thought the hot chocolate pot would occur  closer to Christmas. But hey, you set your standards high. I like that. You’ll just have to stay up all hours of the night – every night – until Christmas, finding the perfect hiding spots. No biggie.

    Anyway, you come bearing gifts of toothbrushes. The kids are glad they got something, but Colin, my middle child, looks at me quizzically and asks, “A toothbrush?” In your defense, the boys got Star Wars light-up lightsaber toothbrushes (though one of them didn’t work – don’t you know to check before you buy?) and my little baby girl squealed with delight at her new Sesame Street toothbrush.

    But the day went downhill from there. There was lots of bickering. Lots of not listening. And well, I just have to say, you don’t hold nearly the amount of sway I thought you did, Kringle, and I am a little disappointed with your overall performance.

    Papa Elf strongly encourages you not to bring anything for the kids the next day.

    Dec. 4, Day 4:

    You arrive, as I’ve previously stated, curled inside a toddler’s toy and suspended from the ceiling by Christmas ribbon. In the kitchen, you have left this note:

    You’ll find me hanging around somewhere,

    Hanging around without a care.

    But a treat you will not find. 

    Until you try and start to mind,

    Your mom and dad and manners too. 

    Right now Santa’s feeling blue. 

    He wants to surprise you with treats and toys, 

    But those are only things for good boys. 

    So please try harder to behave,

    Or those treats and toys I’ll have to save,

    For some other children who are being good. 

    But I want them for you so be good, if you would. 

    – Kringle

    Brilliant! You must have spent ALL night writing this note. Kringle, you rock. This is sure to whip them back into shape! Outwardly, they seemed relatively unfazed by the lack of a toy or treat. But hey, I’m thinking maybe it’s just a few moments of quiet contemplation on the consequences of their actions.

    The morning went pretty well. The boys were able to perform basic duties like brushing their teeth and putting on their shoes. The day passed with little incident, because they were at school. For all you know, Kringle, they could have been raising hell, but you already set yourself up for that farce. There was no note in either of their folders, so I take this as an affirmation of their good behavior.

    The evening, however, was a different story. I won’t get into details here, Kringle. You were there. Or so you say.  I just have to point out that you really lost control of the situation tonight. There was yelling, things being thrown and a naked time out. Yes, a naked time out. It was ugly.

    I’m beginning to distrust those sparkling blue eyes of yours, Kringle. For all the pomp and circumstance of your do-gooder attitude, our arrangement really isn’t working that well so far. You may just have to stay up at the North Pole tonight. It’s not you. It’s me. Actually, it is you. I think we need a break. Please don’t show up tomorrow morning suspended from the ceiling or recovering from date night with Cinderella. I’m sure I’ll give you another chance, but lay low tonight, little dude. Peace out.


  9. Why Are We So Hard on Ourselves?

    November 6, 2013 by admin

    Mothers have been beating themselves up since the beginning of time. We beat ourselves silly, sometimes until we’re black and blue and questioning our abilities to raise productive members of society. So this video should come as no surprise to me. But it does.

    Take a couple of minutes and watch. Go ahead. Click on it now. I’ll wait…

    Did you watch? Good. And did you see yourself in any of these moms? I bet you did. I sure did.

    I imagined being asked to describe myself as a mother.

    My first thoughts were: too little patience, yell more often than I should, don’t spend enough quality time with the kids, wish I was better at (insert a plethora of things here).

    Why?

    Why do I automatically resort to negative criticism of myself. Why do I overlook all the things – good things – that I do? Why do so many of us do that?

    Probably partly because it is much more socially acceptable (not to mention humorous and relatable) to be self-deprecating. I mean, we all have those Facebook friends who post their mom-of-the-year statuses on a daily basis. Look how great I am. See how much I got accomplished. Look at this fruit platter I made based on a Monet painting that I saw on Pinterest. I so often find myself rolling my eyes at these posts and thinking whoopdee-f”in-do.

    But why? What’s so wrong with it? The truth is: absolutely nothing. Who am I to say that it’s unacceptable for anyone to post the cool things they do as moms? It’s judge-y, and it’s negative and it sets all of us moms up for feeling sheepish and shameful about touting all the positive things we do, when we should be shouting our awesomeness to the heavens. Maybe not all the time. But at least sometimes.

    Another reason we are so critical of ourselves, I think, is that we all have this vision of the ideal mother and she’s someone who floats around out there in the mythical aether being her perfect self. We can’t really define her as a person with precise words, but what we can and will do is to constantly compare ourselves to this Goddess and point out – because we are painfully aware of – when we are NOT her, which is all. the. time. Because she doesn’t exist.

    She’s not your neighbor. She’s not your friend. She’s not the mom who posts all the status updates you roll your eyes at, who, incidentally, is doing just what we should all do – sometimes.

    I’m not sure which came first: being critical of others or being critical of ourselves, but it does seem that one begets the other. So, while we all work on being a little less judgmental of our fellow moms, let’s also work on being kinder to and forgiving of ourselves. (Heck, post one of those mom-of-the-year statuses about your awesomeness. I swear, I’ll think twice before rolling my eyes.) We are damn good mothers. And it’s about time we started admitting it.

    Oh and by the way, did you happen to notice in that little video what the kids said about those same moms who were so critical of themselves? They are our true judges, so let them have the last word. My guess is that they have much nicer things to say about us than we do.

    What do you think? Why are we so critical of ourselves? I’d love to read your thoughts!


  10. On the Eve of my 38th Birthday

    August 22, 2013 by admin

    Tomorrow I turn 38.

    I just came back from an evening out with two great friends, women I laugh and drink and write with. They are awesome. And I am so glad our paths connected. Also, they bought me a s’mores brownie, which doubles their awesomeness.

    I have at least a handful of other friends I love and adore and without whom my life would not be complete.

    Tucked away in their beds are a caring and supportive husband and three little people who make me laugh and love every day.

    We all have our health.

    I may not have finished a novel – yet – but I write for a living, which is what I’ve always wanted to do.

    I have a roof over my head. It may not be a castle, but it’s blue with a red door and is filled with the people and things I love.

    I live in a town where the ocean meets the river, so I never have to go very far to witness nature’s awesome beauty.

    I have a mom who made sure I was raised right, even when it was hard, and she loves us all fiercely.

    I have a brother and sister-in-law whose happiness makes me smile. I have another sister-in-law who amazes me with her achievements.

    I have choices to make. Avenues to explore. Things I want to accomplish.

    Every day is an adventure. Seriously. I NEVER know where the day will take me.

    I’m reading a really great book.

    I’ll wake up tomorrow and though I’ll be a year older, I’ll have (hopefully) come a year closer to figuring everything out. I’ll also eat cake. And run. Yes, I should most definitely run.

    I’m still two years away from 40.

    It’s easy, sometimes, to overlook what a charmed life I lead. Here’s to 38, and another year of being appreciative of all the things – big and small – that make life great. XO