The Pukenami

It’s been a rough week, friends. We managed to survive Thanksgiving break I think. To be honest, most of it is but a distant memory which has been wiped out by the horrors of this week.

It all started on Sunday night. I was looking forward to finally having a few hours to myself on Monday after nine days of the kids being home. Then a text message from the school district popped up. Monday was declared a snow day due to the severe winter storm that was predicted. NOOOO!!! Come on, people! Eight to thirteen inches of snow is not that big a deal. Throw some chains on the bus tires and round up these misfits! Teachers and staff can’t make it in? Oh puh-leez. I could send out one group text message to fellow moms and we’d be on the streets en masse in our all-wheel drive mini vans and 4-wheel drive SUVs faster than you can say “Starbucks Run” to personally chauffeur each precious teacher right to the front door of the school to save us from our spawn.

Fine. Fine. Safety first I guess. At least with a snow day I could shove the kids outside to play or to a friend’s house to eat all their groceries and make messes there. (My apologies their friend’s moms. I owe you.) Thus another day was survived. Then at 1:30 AM Karma remembered. I woke up cursing First Born thinking he’d cranked the heat up to 84 degrees again. I stomped downstairs and checked the thermostat. Nope. Just where I left it. And then it hit me. For the next five hours I was violently ill every twenty minutes. Dear Husband came downstairs in the morning to get on an early morning conference call and found me in a heap on the couch. “Is something going on? Why are you down here?” I was too delusional and exhausted to give him one of my signature, “I loathe you” sneers.

I went upstairs to continue my slow, painful death. I stopped in the kids rooms to wake them up, “Guys. Mom’s super sick and I need your help. Can you please do a good job getting ready for school for me?” And you know what? They did! First Born got ready, got his little sister dressed and they all went downstairs. I rapid-fire texted some reminders to my husband whilst I curled up in the fetal position in my bed. Everyone managed to make it to school with just a marginal amount of yelling. The rest of the day was a blur of hallucination-riddled dreams and trying to keep down sips of water.

Just as I thought I was starting to peek around the corner of health later that night, Satan’s Wrath came for Dear Husband and beat him into submission. Hard. He was down for the count. Luckily we both prefer to suffer alone and in silence. Later that day I left him to suffer in peace and went on a Target run to get the bare necessities, but collapsed in sheer exhaustion next to him as soon as I got home. Eventually we both survived the day and were beginning to feel human again, so after the kids went to bed we started to binge watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix (highly recommend, btw…)

img_20181201_174907125.jpgEvidently, Karma was not done with our family and sent Satan knocking again, this time for Warrior Princess. I heard her coughing and went up to check on her, only to step in … Well…let’s just say I’m going to need to have her carpeting deep cleaned, or maybe just burn it and start over. DH heard me cursing and came up to find me stripping down her bed. He took one look and said, “I’ll go wash her fancy teddy bear that got hit with her toxic waste!” And quickly exited while I scrubbed carpeting, changed sheets and settled her back into bed.

I gaggingly shoved the carnage into the washer, set it to the hottest setting to nuke away the germs, and collapsed into the chair to watch some more Schitt’s Creek — Lord knows I needed some ironic comedy at this point. Alas, it was not in the cards. We heard crying coming from upstairs, thinking it was round two for dear princess. Nope. It was Young Son this time and it wasn’t pretty. He managed to hit every bit of bedding, and let’s just say I could tell he’d done a good job eating his vegetables at dinner. As we were stripping his bed, round two was starting up in darling daughter’s room. Somehow we got everyone cleaned up and back into bed. I wrapped up laundry loads two, three and four and tossed them in the laundry room and shut the door on the horror show. Comedy was no longer going to save us. We quit and went upstairs to bed, but I stayed awake since I knew the next rounds were coming soon. Luckily YS was one and done. WP fought four more rounds that night, but woke up triumphant in the morning.

It was now Thursday morning and we were four for five. I called in absences, cancelled the day’s appointments and YS, WP and I couch surfed for the day. Finally! Friday would be some time for me, right? I got the kids on the bus and savored a few moments of quiet, took a long shower and relaxed. Alas my reprieve was short-lived. You guess it. My phone rang and it was FB’s school. I fearfully answered and it was Nurse Nightingale. “First Born threw up. I’m so sorry.” It’s not like it was a surprise. Literally half of his class was out with the Plague already. At least now the circle of barf is complete and we can hopefully move on.

In my now over ten years of experience of dealing with young kids and stomach flu, I have learned a few things. For those moms who have yet to experience the joys of the stomach flu ravaging the entire house, I share these thoughts and tips with you:

  1. The size of the child and the volume of their stomach is inversely proportional. Brace yourself.
  2. When it hits, it’s gonna suck. But you’ll live through it: I know, I know. You hear that first gagging cough in the middle of the night and your blood runs cold. “NO!!!!” But now is not the time to hide. Mom up. GO! RUN! Get in there and keep that vomit vesuvius in one spot before they come running to you and puke all the way down the hall and all over your bed! Because if they do that, you will not want to live through this.
  3. Breathe through your mouth. The first clean up is the worst. To survive it without adding to the disaster at hand, breathe through your mouth. Think happy thoughts. Puppies and kittens. Rainbows and unicorns. Do NOT let panic set in! Strip down the puker, the bed (it’s just a rule of nature that they managed to hit every single sheet, blanket, pillow, stuffed animal and anything in a five foot perimeter,) hose them off as necessary and shove them back into bed. This is not a PotteryBarn Kids photoshoot you’re prepping for. This is field triage in the middle of war. Staunch the bleeding and take cover, because it’s not over, sister.
  4. Bath Towels are your best friend. Hopefully you have an extra set of clean sheets and mattress protector in the linen closet. This time, save yourself 20 loads of laundry and grab a stack of bath towels for your little vomit villain to sleep on. When the next round of hell hits, you only need to peel away a layer instead of changing the whole bed again. It’s all about conservation of energy. You’ll need it.
  5. Rely on Friends: I’m one of the worst at asking for help. When a friend says, “Ugh! I’m so sorry honey! Can I bring you anything?” The answer is always YES!  Inevitably the inmates ate the last of the saltines and left and empty box in the pantry and you meant to get more laundry detergent at the store that day. (Note: this is also a good time to test said friendship. If she brings you toxic waste colored Gatorade instead of the clear, she is not your friend and you need to find a new one. Seriously. Who gives a pukey kid the equivalent of a Sharpie in liquid form??)
  6. Never trust a fart. It’s a pretty sure bet that at least one person will have the lower GI version of hell when it hits. I forgot to remind my kids of this rule and suffered for my mistake. Poor WP had a rough go of it. What’s another load of laundry though…

On that note, I’m off to go spray Lysol on more things and throw in another load of laundry. Just a word of warning: the next person who asks me how my Christmas shopping is going is getting throat punched.

 

Advertisements

More Pie to Share

Sometimes one of the hardest things about becoming a parent is feeling like you have given up a big part of yourself that you used to share with your spouse. Before children, I had the time and mental energy to be a better partner and friend. I used to cook real food, host more parties and be more than a hot mess of being annoyed and cranky with anyone who comes into my line of sight. Now it seems like most of myself goes into being a mom and all that goes with it, and my husband and I are more like co-workers in this asylum. By the time the inmates are asleep, we’re ready to clock out.

sliverWith every child who’s come along, it feels like the “pie” that is me gets cut into smaller and smaller pieces with the lion’s share going to our kids and mere slivers remaining for my husband and me. The kids get all the whipped cream, cherries and yummy goodness. All that’s left is some forlorn soggy crust and some crumbs (and of course a mess for me to clean up.)

It’s easy for me to complain about how much parenthood can suck, but sometimes I need to stop and take a step back. I’m always reminding my kids that the things in life that are the hardest and take the most work and practice, are usually the things that end up giving us the most joy and satisfaction in the end. Things like learning to read, ride a bike, or to play an instrument or sport — all take a lot of work, frustration and falls along the way. But the sense of accomplishment in the end and the joy these things can continue to give us the rest of our lives is worth it all.

I need to remind myself that parenting is the same way. Right now I’m in the throes of the hard, frustrating work that it takes to raise kids who hopefully will one day be amazing, independent, intelligent, caring adults who will change their piece of the world for the better. Believe me, there are days when it feels like I’ll never make it through and I’m just raising a bunch of future serial killers. But then I look at the great things they are doing — like working hard at school and being a kind person, to feeding themselves and properly using the bathroom…well some things are still a work in progress… but they’re well on their way.

But this still doesn’t address the problem of no pie left for my husband and me. Pie is good, and not having enough pie in life makes for a cranky person. So on Saturday, he and I had a “date day” and it was wonderful. We went to see “The Post” (it was fantastic and very thought provoking.) While seeing the movie was great, I think my favorite part was the time before and after it. Just getting to ride in the car and talk with him uninterrupted, not having to break up an argument or answer “Are we there yet??” Instead we were able to catch up on what was going on in our lives — more than what we normally get to do in the evening when we’re both exhausted. We sat and enjoyed coffee together, had an insightful conversation about the movie, laughed a lot and actually reminded ourselves that we still like each other! Instead of just bitching about the insanity of life, to-do lists, the kids doing shitty things and being tired — we were able to step back and laugh about the funny and great things the inmates are doing. It was refreshing to take a breath together.

img_20150917_144558422_hdr-1.jpgI’ve come to the realization that instead of just cutting up the pie into smaller pieces, maybe I just need to make more pie. Having the babysitter come and getting away with my husband was well worth it and filled me up — it gave me more pie to share. While my children do need to be the main focus of my life right now, I know I need to be better about taking care of the other important relationships in my life. I mean if I had a job at an office, I would probably get at least 2 weeks of paid vacation. The purpose of vacation is to relax and recharge. When companies encourage their employees to take time off, they benefit by not having a workforce of grumpy, unproductive and burned out employees. So why don’t I take more time off from my job of being a stay-at-home mom and recharge? Wouldn’t my kids and husband benefit from a mom and wife who’s refreshed, recharged and hopefully slightly less surly? I’m sure they’d appreciate more time away from me too!

So dear husband and friends, I’m coming for you. We’re going out for pie a la mode. Pie’s awesome, but sharing it with people you love makes it all the better.

My 3 Gs for 2018

Happy New Year!

New Years is always a very thought-filled time for me. I find myself thinking back over the year and ask myself, “Was it a good year? What were the positive things that happened? The negative?” And then I try to take some time to be happy and grateful for those good things, because I’m guessing I didn’t take enough time to do so when they were happening. When I think about the bad things, while I still may feel angry/sad/scared/frustrated/confused about whatever it was, I also try to remind myself that I survived.  Maybe they seemed horrible and hopeless at the time, but when I look back at them, maybe they weren’t such a big deal after all. Or maybe I’m stronger than I think. Just taking the time to acknowledge these things, good and bad, is sort of cathartic I guess.

I stopped making New Years resolutions a long time ago. Instead of being something positive and motivating for me, they always left me feeling defeated or that I was a failure when I wasn’t strong enough in my resolve. To make matters worse, I usually didn’t accomplish what I set out do in the end anyway because I just gave up. [Cue more feelings of failure.]

So instead, I’m going to come up with a list of things I’m hoping I can do better. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Grace. I’m not talking about being poised and elegant (I mean me and roller skating…remember??) No. I’m talking about cutting slack and unclenching about some things — for myself and others. If I think about all the stupid little stuff I get upset about, it starts adding up to a huge pile of yuck. Then I get overwhelmed and even more anxious and angry. Maybe if I let some of those little things go, my life won’t be so cluttered with crap…literally and figuratively.
  2. Gratitude. So often I get all anxious and wrapped up in the things that I think are going wrong, that I forget to be grateful for all those that are going right. I get mad and frustrated with my kids for being ungrateful for all the toys and nice things they have in their seemingly easy lives. Well, duh. No wonder — if their own mother can’t be grateful enough for those wonderful things in her privileged life, why should they? Dope slap. What if I said, “You did a great job putting your clothes away without me even having to ask!” or “I like how you were so kind with your brother when he was feeling sad today.” — instead of the million critical things that usually come spewing out.
  3. Goodness. I’m going to try to acknowledge the good I see in people. Why do I keep nice thoughts to myself? What if I took 5 seconds to say or even text to someone, “I always admire how patient you are with your kids,” or “Thanks for having me over today — the rest of my day has been better because I laughed and got a friend fix.” Or sometimes someone just needs to hear, “You are rockin’ that messy bun today,” or “You have the best laugh…It’s always so contagious!” Sometimes you need to tell your friend’s husband, “Do you know I can always tell when you’ve texted something sweet to your wife? Her eyes always light up and she smiles when she reads it.” Because I know when someone give me a compliment, it always makes me feel better. When it comes on a day when you really need it or when it’s something good you never even saw in yourself, well. That’s worth 20 compliments, now isn’t it? And more often than not, it usually motivates me to keep doing one more good thing.

As I think about these things, I know I won’t remember them every day and little crap will make me furious sometimes. But maybe if over the course of the year, more positive will outweigh the negative. And to you my dear reader — for whom I’m grateful — I wish you a year filled with grace, gratitude and goodness. Pass it on.

 

 

Lightning in a Bottle

Today I am not writing with my typical sarcastic, oddball style. Today I write with a heavy heart, but I needed to write nonetheless.

On Monday we received the unfathomable news that Rachel, the 11 year old daughter of our friends, was killed in a freak accident. She was swinging on a tree swing at their family’s farm, a place she adored, when the branch broke. I can’t even type the rest.

I haven’t stopped thinking about and mourning for this family since I heard the news that left me breathless and at a loss for words. It took the long car ride to the funeral this weekend to try to find them.

As humans, we are always seeking to find answers to help us make sense of the world. When I search for an answer of why this ever could have happened to such an amazing girl and her beautiful family, I come up empty. Frankly, I don’t think there ever could be an answer that would satisfy this heartbreaking question.

On our journey to southern Indiana, my husband and I listened to the audiobook of Bill Bryson’s, A Short History of Nearly Everything. In it he talks about the beginning of the universe, the atoms of which everything is made, evolution and the incomprehensible amount of time it took for us as humans to evolve to this point in history. As you take time to think about it and put it into perspective, it’s humbling to realize what a small flash our lives are in the history and space of the world.

But as I think about Rachel, and from listening to the beautiful, funny stories her parents shared at her funeral, I realized that she knew how to live life. She was full of adventure, tenacity, resilience, curiosity and so much love. She took on life full-tilt. My dad would have called her “‘lightning in a bottle” — infinite energy just waiting to escape and do amazing things. She was over-the-moon excited that the Boy Scouts were finally letting girls join, because Boy Scouts got to go on bigger, more exciting adventures than Girl Scouts.

Today I write not only to share the incredible soul our world has lost, but also the lessons I have learned and how we can continue Rachel’s legacy.

I have learned …

  1. I need to go on more adventures with my family. Rachel’s parents encouraged this in her and took Rachel and her brother on camping trips, hikes, new places and just let them explore. I need to do more of this by getting over my anxiety and hangups and just DO things. (Okay, maybe not roller skating again, but…)
  2. I need to let things go. So often I get wrapped up in the little things that I’m not enjoying the big picture. I need to put down my electronic devices, step away from the stupid stuff I get stuck in and just BE with my kids more often.
  3. I need to take more family pictures. As I looked at all the pictures displayed at the visitation, I realized we don’t have enough pictures of our kids and our family. Maybe if we actually went on more adventures, we could solve that problem. Maybe we don’t have enough pictures of memories because we haven’t been making enough of them.

Rachel’s aunt said something very important during the funeral. She knew that Rachel was going to be a woman who would make history, but that potential was taken far too soon. It is our job to make the difference in the world that Rachel won’t be able to. I’m not sure what that is at this very moment, but I’m going to try. I challenge you to do the same.

So as I grieve with our friends as they try to put together the pieces of their lives that have shattered and will never be whole again, I leave you with this reminder: hug your loved ones a little longer, read that extra story at bedtime, forgive more quickly, and live your life with purpose so that we can teach others to do the same. For maybe this will help Rachel’s light to shine on longer.

 

Mom Dating

No no no. Before you get your sensible undies in a bunch, I’m not talking about cheating on my wonderful husband. I’m talking about moms meeting other awesome eligible moms to hang out with. It’s hard, but here’s my experience.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nearly 10 years now. Before that I worked in an office with real adults, most of whom were pretty cool and some are still dear friends. When you go from going into work every day, interacting with adults, getting to go to the bathroom by yourself and actually sitting down to eat your lunch of adult food (rather than standing at the kitchen island, yelling at your kids, “sit on your bottom and eat your lunch already” while you graze on their leftovers of PBJ, mac & cheez and whatever other hell they demanded)– to the craziness of stay-at-home motherhood, it’s a bit of a culture shock. At work, friendships just came naturally. By working along side people, suffering through hellish trade shows together or joining them for a Starbucks run when you just needed to get away — friendships were just an organic part of work life.

Once I left the (paid) workforce and started being a stay-at-home mom, I found myself feeling isolated — almost like being single again. Where do you go to meet other moms like you? This was new territory and I felt lost. Frankly I still feel lost most times. When you have a newborn, no one wants to be your friend because you are a hot mess of horror-mones, exhaustion, dirty laundry, baby poop/puke/pee and stench from not showering since…when did I last shower?

Then you finally get your shit together, your baby’s sleeping for more than 10 minutes at a time and you’ve managed to find an outfit with minimal spit-up on it, some mascara and concealer for the permanent bags under your eyes, and somehow got a brush through your hair (whatever’s left of it since most of it fell out the day after you gave birth.) Okay. Check the mirror — “Meh. It’ll do. Okay! Let’s find some new mommy friends!” But where do you start to look for these elusive creatures? “Target! I’ll go to Target! Moms are always at Target!”

So off you go, pray that your baby sleeps through the excursion and you find yourself lost in the wonder that is Target…”Why am I here?” And then you crash into another bleary-eyed mombie as you round the end cap. One of your babies wakes up, hungrier than a bear in spring time and just like that, it’s mission: failure. Boobs begin leaking, both babies are now screaming. Stick a fork in it. You’re done.

Fast forward a few more months and hooray! Your kid’s old enough so you can join a Mommy & Me class and you think, “Maybe today’s the day!” You look around, assess the pool of friend candidates and start categorizing:mommy & me

High Maintenance Barbie (HMB): She just got out of the salon blow-out look, perfectly coordinated (and clean) clothes, full make-up, has pre-baby body completely back, her child is in head-to-toe Gap with so-cute baby Uggs and NorthFace jacket. Nope. This is the adult version of the popular girls in high school who never talked to me. Why would she start now?! I mean look at me!

Nutty Crunchy: She’s cool and calm, sans make-up but still gorgeous, you know everything in her house is either organic or home-grown (I bet she composts!) A plastic Target bag has never touched her hand. Did she vaccinate??? I’m guessing not. Also her kid is blowing snot bubbles while he mouths every single toy that my kid wants. Nope. Keep your organic Typhoid Jimmy germs back on the farm, lady.

Turbo Hot Mess: She’s the one who came screeching in on two stroller wheels, 15 minutes late, her kid’s lost one shoe and has a bewildered yet happy look on his face, clinging to his SnackEEZ of Cheerios and milk for dear life. She’s bubbly and perky, apologizes profusely for her even being there. Don’t brush her off just yet. She has potential…and frankly, you’re probably a lot like her too.

THE ONE: And there she is. Quietly sitting there, taking it all in. She’s pulled together, but not pretentious like HMB. You see an open bag of non-organic, non-whole-wheat Gold Fish in her diaper bag and an empty Starbucks cup stashed in the bottle pocket. Excellent! Then Miss NC is telling the story of her amazing doula-assisted natural pond birth and how she framed the placenta for the nursery. And then you see it. TO rolls her eyes so far back in her head she can see herself think. BINGO! She is MY KIND OF MOM.

Okay. What do I do next?? I’m a mental hot mess with thoughts racing through my head, “Okay. Play it cool. Make eye contact…but not too much eye contact because then she’ll think you’re crazy/needy/stalkery…okay…but don’t look away too much because then she’ll think you’re snobby.” [Deep breaths]

You casually make your way over to sit by her after a rousing game of Ring Around the Rosey (I am sooo smooth!) You start chatting, she says something mildly snarky and funny, you say something funny and witty back, she laughs and just like that, you’re head-over-heels in love.

Okay. Make your move. You can do it. Ask her for her cell phone number and maybe you can meet up at the park — you’ll bring Starbucks! She enters her name and number into your phonebook and you send her a text with your digits. BOOM! You did it! Now you can hardly contain your excitement enough to make it through the Good-Bye Song because you’re dying to get home so you can Facebook stalk her and see if she’s the real deal.

And that, my friends, is how it’s done. You’re welcome.

Will You Just Listen to Me??!!

 It was another mental vitamin day for me this morning. I got to have breakfast with a dear friend whom I haven’t actually been able to sit down and really talk with for a very long time. Sure, I wave as I go tearing by her house in my garbage can on wheels (AKA the minivan). And I’m sure most times I have steam coming out of my ears, head spinning, my face contorted into some mangled screaming horror show because I’m — of course — late once again. Why? My kids most likely were being assholes and not listening.

I’ve been pondering a lot this morning. I think that’s what I can contribute 95% of the rage in my life to: people not listening to me. And I’m guessing there are a lot of other women out there who feel the same way about their lives.

As we were munching on our heavenly crispy bacon this morning, my friend told me about the saga she was dealing with at her house. I won’t go into all the details here, but I bet you a venti mocha with extra whip most women have experienced a similar situation far more times that we’d like to count. A company comes out to provide a service, screws up said service, woman has to call…and call…and call. Finally gets problem addressed half-assedly (it’s a word, okay?!) only to have to deal further with said headache, which has now escalated into a full-blown migraine. Now what does she have to do? She has to have her husband call and deal with it and be an asshole. And then miraculously things seem to get addressed. Ugh.

The pain of this situation is multi-fold. Even though my friend was professional, polite  and accommodating to work with to get the problem resolved, they disrespected her and blew her off repeatedly. Her frustration grew, significant time and energy was wasted and still no results. So she had to resort to calling in a man, even though there was no reason whatsoever they couldn’t have done the right thing when she asked them to. Do you know how demeaning that gets to be when it happens to you over and over again?

WHY!?! WHY does it have to get to this point? I literally have told customer lack-of-service people, “Now you can deal with me, and I will be a pure delight to work with, OR I can have my husband handle this and it will be far from pleasant. Your last colonoscopy will have seemed like a dream Disney vacation, complete with character breakfasts in comparison. Which do you choose?” (See what I did there? A little Love & Logic: gave them 2 options, either of which are acceptable to me? Hey, sometimes it works on my kids!)

Then of course they choose option #2, and I listen to the subsequent conversation my husband has with them. Somehow whatever magic hypnotism he performs, miraculously things get solved forthwith and they throw in a new car and a pony just for his inconvenience. *sigh* Yet if I would have said what he said, I would have been a bat$#it crazy bitch from hell and somehow from a man, it’s assertive and strong. Christ on a bike. I give up.

And remember me moaning about always being late because my kids didn’t listen to me when I told them it was time to get ready to go? Yeah. Again with the not listening. Here’s how things probably went down:

  1. It’s about 20 minutes before we have to go. In my nicest Mary Poppins voice, I give fair warning that they have 5 minutes then it’s time for shoes, bathroom, coats etc.
  2. 2 minute warning given
  3. Times up. Let’s get ready to go. Complaints, moaning or even just plain crickets chirping in response.
  4. My blood pressure starts to go up. I go to find my clompiest (it’s a word!) shoes so I can stomp around to further show my frustration as I go herd up the feral cats.
  5. Finally they start to get the message and respond like sullen, moody sloths as they make their way to find their shoes (which of course are nowhere near where they’re supposed to be.)
  6. It’s now 10 minutes past when we should have left, and only 1 of 3 has done at at least one of the required activities to leave. The others are either staring off into space contemplating whether BBQ or ranch is the optimal dipping sauce for their chicken nuggets, while the other is having an epic meltdown because his socks are uncomfortable and he’s not going to wear them.
  7. Deep breathing, rational thought and all things Mary Poppins are long gone. Now it’s full-on drill sergeant mode, everyone is yelling and/or crying and miraculously things start happening.
  8. We are finally in the car, everyone is upset, I am dangerously close to stroke level and it DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!!!

So the lesson here seems to be that in order to get things done, it’s a waste of time to be nice and polite, and I should just go to straight on yelling?? No. I don’t like this answer one bit. If I’m nice, I’m not listened to and if I’m mean, I end up feeling like a $#itty parent or a dumb girl. Either way I’m left feeling powerless and angry.

And that, my friends, is what it all comes down to: powerlessness. Wouldn’t it just be a much nicer world if we would just be listened to the first time rather than having to go through all the BS that makes us feel like failures?

In the news, are seeing case upon case of sexual harassment and unjust treatment coming out from everywhere. And why is this? There are lots of reasons, but I think the main reason is that women are tired of feeling powerless. And now we’re pissed. Don’t piss us off. Things will not end well.

My advice to the world: listen. It’s not hard. Listening doesn’t make you a “weaker” person. Life doesn’t have to be one big power play by making others feel weak in order for you to feel stronger. Listening and doing things the right way the first time is far less exhausting for all parties involved. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Maybe I need to be a better listener too.

 

Friendship: Mental Vitamins

Do you have one of those friends where you can go months without talking to or seeing each other, but still think about them often? Maybe you send a funny text every once in awhile or comment on their Facebook post. Then you get really lucky, the stars and planets align and you finally get to meet her for coffee. Like in the flesh where REAL hugs and LOLs can be exchanged. After you have taken 20 minutes to order that triple venti non-fat latte because you were too busy talking 100 miles an hour, you get to sit down and really talk. And laugh (a lot.) And probably complain about your current woes. But basically, you can just pick up where you left off the last time you saw each other. You don’t judge one another for not having been “a better friend” and simply take each other for who we are, flaws, busy lives and all…and mostly that “all” is some really awesome stuff. And life is good. The crappy stuff just doesn’t seem quite as crappy anymore.

Well, today I was extra lucky and got to have coffee with a friend I had not seen for months. Mentally I feel like I just took a handful of vitamins! You see, she filled me up. I like to think that my glass is usually pretty full, or at least two thirds full. But then my kids come and knock it over (jerks!) And who gets to mop it up? Yeah. Me. And of course that cup had the last of my favorite drink in it and it probably got all over their homework (which I told them 20 times to pick up off the table and put in their backpack already fer fucksake!!) *Sigh.* Then I sit there with an empty cup, soggy papers and probably an extra load of laundry to do. And then grumble some extra profanity to make myself feel better.

And even though I go to Target a million times a week, I somehow always forget to buy more of that favorite beverage of mine. I always manage to remember all the random shit my kids politely request (demand) and usually 20 other things I have good intentions to cook up into some delicious meal EVERYONE will love…(Hahahaha! Even I couldn’t type that with a straight face!! Why is it Target makes me feel like my family’s nutritional Nirvana is actually achievable? Maybe it’s the heady excitement of saving 5% with my Red Card and doubling down on the savings with Cartwheel. Or maybe Target pumps in extra oxygen like a Vegas casino to get you to spend more money.)

Sorry. I digressed there. Where was I? Oh yeah my empty cup. Why is it as moms/wives/sisters/daughters we rarely make our needs just as important as our family’s? It’s really stupid when you think about it. Would you let your best friend neglect themselves like that? Hells no! And why do we think that our husbands and kids would ever hold some good self-care against us? (Okay, maybe if they’re being super assholeish that day they might…but glass full. GLASS FULL!)

Life has been full of challenges lately, and I had been isolating myself from my friends. Whether that was to wallow in self-misery or protect them from catching any of my crap as if it were headlice, I don’t know. I was a cranky wife and mom and somehow my family didn’t institutionalize me. But lately I’ve been trying a lot harder to get out there and be a friend. To others AND to myself. And you know what? It’s pretty f’ing awesome. Am I the perfect, patient, ever-loving person I aim to be? He’ll no. But I’m trying. Really. I am.

So. The point of this post is to thank all of my friends who put up with my neglect and take me for who I am — drama, insanity, bitchiness and all — and still manage to like me anyway. Thank you. And I want all of you, dear readers, to pledge along with me: we will do a better job of taking care of our friends, and thereby ourselves. Let’s call it the circle of happiness.