Thursday, September 6, 2018

Not the Worst Mom in the World


Last night at the dinner table I had the following conversation with my three year old:

Me: “Do you have the best mom ever?”
Her, staring at me blankly.
Me: “That’s a stretch, good point. The world’s okay-est mom?”
Her, thinking.
Me: “Not the worst mom ever?”
Her: “Yes! Not the worst!”

Which, if I’m being honest, probably sums it up pretty well! Let’s get real – our kids go to daycare sometimes without us having run a comb through their hair and they may have eaten Marshmallow Matey’s for breakfast depending on how frazzled we are on any given day. Not to mention the fact that I’ve yet to make it on a field trip and I’d be lying if I said that both of them don’t think that using the microwave is “cooking.” Sure, they “help” with baking and cooking sometimes (of the real variety), but let’s get real – they see me hitting the microwave buttons as much as they see me turning on the burners.

I’ve said the phrase “because I said so” in the last week instead of taking the time to explain whatever it was that I was doing and why I was asking. I’ve completely missed likely weeks’ worth of clues that one or both of my daughters have out-grown various items of clothing until I finally realize that my three year old probably shouldn’t have 18 month pants in her drawer and my 18 month old needs 2T pants, like, yesterday. Also, she’s 20 months old, but I had to read this twice before I realized that I'd gotten her age wrong.

I leave for work trips and miss bedtimes and wake-up times and snuggles and meals. I lie and say that the park is closed sometimes if it’s too hot or we’ve already been to the park twice today and I don’t want to go again. Both kids have thrown up – more than once – in the middle of the night in their beds and then they’ve just gone back to sleep, leaving us to be the parents whose kids assume they should just sleep in dried throw-up than bother calling out to see if we’ll come into the room (answer: almost always no, we will not. Because we’re monsters.)

I sometimes feel resentful towards my friends who work from home or are stay-at-home moms and get an internal comparison hangover at the many blogs and articles that talk about full-time working parent struggles while simultaneously making it sound like they’ve totally got it figured out. I get offended when someone assumes that I either hate my job or my kids, because there’s no way I could love both perfectly and do them both so imperfectly.  

My kids eat processed food. They go to bed before any of their peers. They have bumps and bruises and scars, they have Crazy Forest Baby Hair (copyright pending on that description) at any given moment. Half the time they’re both naked, running around and yelling “bootie!” while I frantically try to get underpants or diapers on them and the other half of the time I’m searching through a pile of laundry looking for clean underwear for myself before one of them can run into the room and point and say “bootie!” back at me.

I’m not the worst mom in the world. On my best days, I’m doing pretty well – meaning, our kids are loved, safe, and fed. Even if it’s mac n cheese with that toxic, everyone-has-sent-me-that-Facebook-article-twice-now-no-need-to-send-it-again-thanks, cheese. On my worst days, I sometimes lock myself in the bathroom and cry at how overwhelmed I feel. Which I did two days ago, to be exact. And then a few hours later I was at work and a near-stranger, fellow full-time working mom said to me “Isn’t it hard? Do you ever feel like it’s just so hard?” And I swear to god I almost kissed her right on the mouth. Which is when I had the realization that that, right there, is exactly just what we need. To just look at each other sometimes and be like “this is hard, right?” and for the other person to be like “oh my god, totally.”

Conscientious objector
to parenting. 
Because it’s hard and it’s scary and it’s exhilarating and totally and completely rewarding and none of us has much of a clue about what we’re doing and whether half of it is the right thing or not (right…?) Which I think is part of the reason we’re all trying so hard on social media to show our homemade, spiralized zucchini pasta that we made with our kids after doing arts and crafts for an hour pictures instead of the ones that happen more often. Like when your 20 month old (nailed it) decides to silently protest your 7th request to get the hell into the car and just takes two knees and breathes it out until she has gathered her thoughts enough to take your shit again.

Please post more of those. Because that’s, like, half of my iPhone photos, you guys. And it’ll help with the bathroom-crying, I think, if we just get a little more real with each other. Or at least it’ll help us during the bathroom-crying to know that we’re not the only ones. And that’s a start, no?



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Repost: When CB Met Becky: The Anniversary Edition

A repost from last year. Enjoy!

The other day I was talking to some co-workers about a time, years ago, when CB and I were just friends and one of them said “I just love the love story of the two of you.” And I laughed, because hearing your relationship described as a love story sounds odd unless you’re, like, a Disney character. Or Harry and Sally. But this week marks our three year wedding anniversary, and as I look back over these last three years, I can’t help but see the eight that came before it, bringing us to this place in time, looking at our two daughters giggling in hysterics on our bed over nothing in particular except how fun it is to be little.

And what I see over these last eleven years is a man I met at the tender age of 28, who shook my hand and welcomed me to the very first day of work at my new job. We sat next to each other and shared a cubicle wall, and what CB didn’t realize was that the simple act of being nearby meant that I’d talk to him about everything, endlessly, for the next several years (or the rest of his life…). He didn’t have to do too much responding, just the occasional nod/interjection to let me know that he was still awake/sitting there. And that suited us both just fine, as it turned out. But over the course of the first year of working together, I chipped away at his determination to keep his personal life and professional life separate and private. He shared with me, once, that he didn’t like making a big deal out of his birthday, and certainly not at work. And so of course I figured out when his birthday was and made sure to put balloons on his chair, complete with a card and a cupcake so that he felt celebrated and important. It was clear to me early on that he didn’t really know what was good for him and just needed his world expanded a bit – in the form of balloons and sugar, mostly.

Then, about a year and a half into working together, a relationship I’d been in for years ended painfully. I wasn’t keen to talk about it much, which made CB the perfect person to tell. So on a Monday morning in September, I walked over to his desk and whispered – a first for our relationship – and filled him in that it was over. As I started to walk away, he stood up and said: “C’mon, let’s go to that milkshake place I told you about. I know you can drink a milkshake at 9am, that’s right up your alley.” And so we went. And it never came up again, unless I wanted it to. He never asked me for any of the sordid details – the only person in my life able to make that claim -  though over the years I provided them here and there. Which was one of the first signs to me that this guy was different. And trustworthy. And seriously knew how to make me feel better in times of need!

So it should go without saying that we were soon more than just co-workers and running buddies, we were friends. He mistakenly introduced me to a large portion of his family/friend circle on his 30th birthday at happy hour one night, and as he says, “that was the beginning of the end.” While everyone else assumed we were into each other, we were very clear that we were not. However, true to form, they ignored us both and insisted we should just give up the charade and fall in love already. Which we promptly did about five years later, thankyouverymuch.

And when we did, there was no turning back. This thing that wasn’t a thing, then became a thing, now sees us as parents to a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old. It’s seen us spend the last three years excitedly awaiting our first daughter. And getting hit with the shock of new parenthood and total exhaustion. Figuring out how to fight and forgive, and learning that one of us needs to be well-slept at all times for the two of us to balance life without a knife-fight. It has seen us excitedly awaiting our second daughter, while figuring out how on earth we’re going to have two babies with two different sets of needs. It’s seen us having zero idea what two kids under two was going to feel like, but mainly just relishing in the fact that all four of us get out the door each day with our clothes right-side out most of the time.

It’s seen us poorly navigating the Hong Kong airport, giving life to the now commonly-used phrase “We would for sure be the first couple kicked off of the Amazing Race.” It’s seen us forgetting to say hi to each other and then remembering how important that is each day. It’s seen us sleeping on the floor of the living room together as each of our girls enjoyed their own room during sleep-training.  It’s seen us doing the Parent Zombie Shuffle through our mornings, packing diaper bags and refilling diaper bins and cleaning up literal spilled milk and sticky, syrup-y tables. It’s seen us laughing through almost every experience we’ve had, and crying when it was needed. It’s seen for-real fear in our eyes during pregnancy and childbirth, and for-real relief at their end. It’s seen us collapsing onto the couch at 7:30 each night after we’ve put both kids to bed, the house quiet, and our will to cook anything other than a salad at an all-time low. It sees us talking about an episode of “El Chapo” that one of us couldn’t get through because it’s an hour of reading television and that totally defeats the purpose, you guys. But since it’s such a good show, I depend on CB to stay up until 8:30pm and read it all so he can fill me in on what happened after El Chapo crossed over the border to El Salvador because it was just about to get crazy! It sees us realizing that I’m “The Throw Up Parent” because the other parent in the equation starts to dramatically gag and potentially vomit when he sees, hears, or smells it. It sees us still laughing at his cheesy puns and my ridiculous sports observations and knowing each other’s “look” for everything from “I know, right? This person is ridiculous,” to “I know, right? I can tell you definitely want to scratch my head while we watch ‘Flipping Out’ right now, so let’s do this!”

And it sees us having no idea what we were in for when we said our vows and laughing that we ever thought we had a clue. Because while sleeping on the floor of your living room and cleaning up vomit does not make for great wedding vows, as it turns out, it does make for a pretty great life. And our vows still hold true…except for the one where he promised never to leave his dishes next to or in the sink when the dishwasher was empty. But overall, they’re still going strong!


Happy Anniversary Week, CB...it’s totally a thing! 



Thursday, August 2, 2018

When Lice Strikes


You never want to get a call from your child’s daycare. It’s never, like, just to chat because they’ve missed hearing about all of your quirky little life mishaps and they needed a break in their day. No, no, it’s because your kid is sick, or injured, or crying uncontrollably and this has never happened before and so, can we have someone walk her home, please?  All of these calls have happened multiple times to me over the course of three years with two babies in daycare. It’s inevitable and the reason why I have PTSD-type panic-sweats when my phone rings during the day. However, I’ll take those ANY day over this call. The call you never want to get. The call that literally makes you itchy. The call that reduces you to having conversations with your husband about how you will always be the puke and poop parent and wear that badge loud and proud, but he has to be this parent. He just has to, there’s no choice, you’ve already decided.

It's The Lice Call.

When I got the call that they’d found “evidence of lice” in the tangled web of curls that belongs to our three year old, I instantly felt itchy. I think I also said “Ew” more than once to the director of the daycare, which I’m sure she found really reassuring. Then, of course, I immediately called my husband and was like “I’m leaving work to go get the kids but also you have to leave work to go get the kids because I’ve decided you’re the lice parent by virtue of the fact that I’m feeling light-headed even thinking about picking live bugs or clear eggs out of my first-born’s hair and now I have to go die.” Since he knows who he married, he was like “Roger that” and picked the kids up while I spent 20 minutes in a Walgreens on the phone with my sister as she talked through the process and I propped myself up against the wall while searching for a lice comb and bleach for everything.

However, my sister - while being comforting and informative, also clearly got a sick joy out of my pain - because she used the phrase “Super Lice” more than once in a 20 minute phone call. Cuz big sisters are the worst.

This text exchange also happened with her:







The good news is that it only took four treatments of Vaseline and Saran Wrap, one call to a pediatrician, one over-the-counter Lice remedy, two lice combs, and a $350 visit to a special kid’s salon that specializes in guaranteeing Lice-Be-Gone (that’s not what they called it, but it’s what they should’ve called it). Plus, my and CB’s sanity, any sense of dignity I had left, and a lot of bleach-based laundry detergent and she was totally rid of it 24 hours later! See? Easy Peezy. We are NAILING this parenting thing.

Thank God our little one didn’t get it and that our oldest is a true champion and was like “I’m still kinda itchy, do we need to wrap my head again?” and we were like “Yep” and she just sat and watched “Trolls” while we valiantly picked those little f**kers out of her head. And I’ve gotta say, parenting is nothing if not an evolutionary process because, while I started out our journey as the squeamish, unhelpful parent during The Day the Lice Struck, CB expressed both his amazement and disgust at how quickly I went from not being able to talk about it to sitting over my daughter while she diligently sat still and I dug into those tangled curls with the fierceness of a mama chimp. At one point, CB described witnessing me dip the lice comb into vinegar water (thanks, Google and my sister) in between bouts of going through every section of her hair and saw some vinegar water and Vaseline flick onto my face as I quickly brushed it away and dug back in to kill those GD lice mf’ers (those last few words may have been my editorializing.) I’m guessing it was a moment in his life where he really took stock of the mistakes he’s made in his past and felt like this pretty much made sense as a punishment and so, ok.  

Sidebar: we need to have a vow renewal ceremony, Real Housewives style, because I need to include the phrase “I vow to try really hard not to tell you to chew quieter any time you chew anything from now on because I now know what true love is after you looked for lice on my Vaseline head and still kissed me without irony.”

However, because life is cruel and hilarious, The Great Lice Killing also occurred within the same day as getting our offer accepted on a house we fell in love with and figured we’d never get. Which led to this picture:

I may actually print this pic with the star
emoji instead of CB's actual face because
it makes me laugh even more. 

 Obviously this will be prominently hung on the wall of our new home because of course our first-time homebuying experience should also include a picture of champagne and a shower cap to suffocate any potential lice you might have on your head (thankfully, I was clean.)

It’s what I call balance, you guys.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Marshmallow Mateys and Shower Caps - I'm Back!


It’s been a while since I’ve committed to sitting down and writing for all of you lovely readers who still, inexplicably, check the blog and like the Facebook page and do all of the things that committed, lovely readers do for someone who doesn’t deserve your devotion, yet deeply appreciates it. Let’s dive right in.

When I think about writing, oftentimes I think about what I think you guys want to read. And lately that’s been causing a lot of writer’s block, because I didn’t start this blog as a wife or a mom, and you guys didn’t start visiting the page because I was either of those things. But over the last five years, I’ve become both and I’ve worried that I’d turn into one of the millions of mommy bloggers out there and that I wouldn’t have anything original to say. But each and every time I think of writing, it’s writing about what’s going on now. And what’s going on now is that I’m a full-time working mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend who feels exhilarated, exhausted, anxious, and centered all within the same day, sometimes.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud; sometimes I feel completely genuine. Sometimes I feel fat and tired and old and irrelevant; sometimes I feel fit and alive and youthful and plugged-in. And so, I’ve decided, I’ll just keep writing. Because those things aren’t exclusive to moms…or parents…or women, even. At least I don’t think they are? And so, I’ll keep writing how I’ve always written. I’ll tell you guys the truth, I’ll hopefully make you laugh a bit, and maybe some of what I write will connect with you on some level, even if it’s just a feeling of being grateful that you’re not me, wearing a shower cap to suffocate lice on my head

What? Stay tuned, people! I may have
added a few little people to my life,
but I’m still me!
I may lose some of you, I may gain others. But as I’m working through those things about myself that I’d like to change and improve upon in order to better myself and be a better example for my daughters, I feel a shift underfoot and want to write about it. Then I immediately get a pimple on my face from the anxiety I feel about making any sort of change. I’m multi-faceted in my neuroses.

But honestly, the people I feel the most connected to are not the people who seem to have it all together – they’re the people who somehow keep going while having no clue what “together” even looks like sometimes. Or the people who are honest about the fact that they will sometimes sit in silence in their apartment for ten minutes in between getting home from work and picking their kids up at daycare because it’s quiet and also because I can pee without an audience. Or the people who look into their shopping cart at the grocery store and feel instant guilt because they’re not giving their kids enough healthy food options. 

Spoiler alert: SHE COULD
TOTALLY TELL EVEN
THOUGH I PUT THE GENERIC
IN THE LUCKY
CHARMS BAG LIKE A PRO.
That little leprachaun took one bite and was
like "no thank you."
But she got points for manners. 
Or because I don’t have more organic food in the cart, or more variant meal plans for our dinners each day. I bought Marshmallow Matey’s the other day, for God’s sake  – the generic version of Lucky Charms – because sometimes my oldest likes the “special treat” of a sugary cereal and I just don’t see the problem with that, but also, we’re on a budget and processed marshmallows are processed marshmallows and I’m saving $2. 

And then I instantly feel guilty because I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to feel a lot worse about that choice than I do, and what does that say about my parenting?

And then I feel instant frustration that I’m working a full time job and grocery shopping and planning all of the meals and thinking through how much protein or how many vegetables are being offered on a daily basis. Like, at least twice a week one or both of our kids will eat little more than a bowl of corn or a glass of milk for dinner. Because months ago I decided not to be a short-order cook who was making two to three separate meals for “family dinner.” And so you eat what’s on the table. Or you don’t! It’s your choice! Look, choices! (I learned about this method from various other mom blogs who swear that it works; what I’d like to know, however, is whether they lay awake at night after their daughter eats a “meal” consisting of four spoon-fulls of rice and apple sauce, wondering whether they’re doing long-term damage to her in some way, shape, or form for not just making whatever it is that she wants at that particular moment in time. And also, you have a super picky eater toddler that you can totally identify with because you used to be said picky eater toddler, you sometimes feel badly because you know she’s being legit. And sometimes you want to just walk into the other room and f that noise because dude, it’s rice, it’s not gonna’ kill you and seasoning on your chicken isn’t dirt from the ground, ohmygod. ...Is what I wonder about when those bloggers go off-line.)

And why doesn’t this bother CB? Why isn’t he stressing out about it? And if he is stressing out about it, why isn’t he saying it? Why can he snore so loudly at night, sleeping soundly, while I’m waking up, jolted out of bed because I forgot to fill out the permission slip for my three year old’s upcoming field trip and I’m already feeling guilty that I can’t take the day off to go with her and her classmates to the zoo because it’s the one day this month that I’m leading a team meeting of 12 people and I can’t be like “Hey, I have to go to the zoo with three year old’s, can someone else do this meeting, please?”

Or maybe I could? Dammit, I don’t have work-life balance! Or maybe I do? Am I doing feminism right? Aw, shit. Now I have to worry about that. Man, I thought I had that one figured out! But I’m too afraid to take a zoo day because I save those “I have to _______” moments for when lice strikes (more on that later). Or when coxsakie strikes. Or when daycare is closed for Professional Days and I have the more flexible schedule so I stay home with the kids. I save my “I need to leave the office” for those days. And I have a super flexible job! (sidebar: please don’t write to me and say that I shouldn’t complain - which that was a thinly veiled attempt at above, I think - because I know that most people don’t have it this easy. Most people don’t have the hands-on partner, the flexible, good-paying job with benefits, and extended family help to get through the week. I know. I know! Trust me, I feel guilty about that, too. My guilt knows no bounds! Are you new here? Oh, if you’re new here – hi! Welcome! I’m a joy!)

But then someone will say something about how I’ll never get this time back, and don’t I want to experience the zoo through her eyes? Well….I mean, last time CB and I took the kids to the zoo, we ended up with one of them pants-less and shoe-less, sticking a dirty pacifier from the ground back into her mouth, and the other one peeing in the bushes because we couldn’t find a bathroom nearby. So, actually, I’m good, come to think of it. I have a meeting. Quit judging me!

Though, if I’m being honest, when I’m in the trenches day to day, the judgiest person on the block is me. I’m constantly comparing my decisions with what I perceive are the decisions of others; I’m constantly comparing my parenting to those whom I admire as parents. I’m constantly judging what I perceive as other parents doing things I wish I could do, never think I would do, or have tried and learned a “better” version of and want to tell them to “do better.” You know, because obviously I’m killing it day-to-day (see EVERYTHING ABOVE to the contrary.) I have a comparison hangover that won’t quit and a running, judge-y voice in my head that gets louder as I get more sleepy, pushed further to my limits, or haven’t had enough coffee yet. 

So I guess what I’m saying is that I hope some of this might connect with you and I can then sleep soundly in the notion that I’m not alone in this. Right?...right? (insert: judging myself now for this post….dammit!)

And hi, again! It’s good to be back. Happy Tuesday!


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

This is 40: Part II

For those who haven’t read, This is 40: Part I, check it out here. Wait, wow. I started this back in August? Time flies when you put stuff off....

***

I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life making mistakes, learning from them, and feeling superior to my former self for being such a dummy when I was younger. Then I make all new mistakes and I’m like “Future Becky is really going to judge you harshly,” to which I remind myself that one of the things I’m working on is to be a little kinder to myself. To which I’m then like “oh c’mon, snowflake, a little self-criticism never hurt anyone,” to which I’m like “Jeez, you may never learn this one fully, Beck.”

And that leads me to the “What are you still learning” part of this series. And it’s probably the hardest one, if I’m being honest. Because most of these fall under the category of being a better version of myself (I’m a special snowflake), which means that I’m basically admitting that I’m not slaying it currently, and the ways in which I’m not slaying it currently are sort of basic, in a way. For example, this is an abridged version of the running list in my head at all times:

Being more patient.
Caring less.
Caring more.
How to truly relax.
Traveling light.
How to load the dishwasher and actually get the stuff clean.
Letting it the f go.
Knowing when to hold onto it.
Accepting that I’m not always right.
Accepting that I’m not always wrong.
Finally buying underpants that fit me right, ohmygod.
How to judge less.
How to worry less.
Reading the directions to the very end.

Let me elaborate a bit.

Patience. This is a biggie. Like, maybe the biggest, if you ask CB. Because it’s not one of my many virtues – never has been. When I was a kid, one of the constants on my report card was “SLOW DOWN. Doesn’t read directions carefully.” Or something to that effect (I was too impatient to read the whole comment). Also, there was a lot of “shhhhhhhhhh” and “socializes excessively in class” comments that I take as clues to how slow everyone else was in getting through their assignments and how much faster it goes when you don’t read the directions so you can talk to your friends. I was basically a kid genius.

But even though I’m slightly better at reading the directions these days, I really try to flex my patience muscle when parenting and wife’ing. Especially when I’m doing them both at the same time. Like, I’m continually asking my toddler to be patient, but if you’re not ready to go with your shoes on, keys in-hand, and wallet in your pocket after I’ve said “we’re leaving in two minutes” and I’ve dressed the kids, packed the diaper bag, remembered the sunscreen, brought extra plastic bags for the portable potty, made the plans, and shut off all of the lights….I’ll visually cut you if you’re not ready, CB. And I don’t really hide it? Which is the key to a happy marriage, I’ve learned.

So, patience. That’s one of the things I’m constantly trying to practice and master (let’s just stick with practicing it right now before we get too lofty with our goals. If I can make it a week without getting impatient, we’ll move ahead to phase II of mastering. So, you know, never.)

Caring less while caring more. This is a tricky one. Because it requires me to be aware of my feelings, why I’m feeling them, and that requires, I don’t know, work. Which I’m not opposed to, but I’m shocked at how often I find myself catching up to how I’m feeling days after I’ve been feeling that way. Sometimes weeks. So maybe I should’ve added “being in touch with your emotions” to my list, though CB would probably say that I’m too in touch with them since he called me a “professional crier” a few weeks ago and I took it as a compliment. But don’t worry, crying is like laughing to me, it just bursts from me and I get the feelings out and then I’m totally fine afterwards. Like an insane person.

Anyway. So I care a lot about what people think about me. I care what people I know and love think, and I care what the barista at Starbucks thinks – not totally equally? But if CB told me he loved me and I was great that day, but then I overheard the barista telling the other barista that I add too much half and half into my coffee in a judge-y way, I’d ONLY think about that for the rest of the day. And probably never go back to that Starbucks! Additionally, I care what people reading this blog might think about the fact that I sometimes go to Starbucks and what a waste of money that is. And then I think about how I shouldn’t care about what strangers think about my choices. Which is why I forget my keys at least once every 5 months because my brain is cluttered. And boy, being a mom has totally helped with me not caring what people think! (said nobody ever.)

The point is, I care a lot about what people think about me, and sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s terrible. So what I’ve been working on over the last few years is caring less about what some people think about me and more about the people I care about. Like, instead of spending energy worrying that a stranger doesn’t like me, I should spend more time checking in with friends and family to see how they’re doing. Help them out, send a card “just because,” let them know I’m thinking about them. This is my goal – do that more, care about the barista at Starbucks and his opinion less. #lifegoals

At the same time, I legitimately do not have the emotional or mental bandwidth to give a shit about a lot of stuff that, ten years ago, would’ve consumed me. Which I love about being 40. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 1.5 months already and basically I’m like “All fixed!” Except for the stuff above. And the other stuff I forgot to mention because I’m not a completest.

Loading a dishwasher. This is less something I can’t do, and something I sort of don’t care if I get right, but should care more about because….I think it annoys CB? But also, maybe this could easily have gone on the forthcoming “stuff I’ll just never care about” list. Like recycling. Which I KNOW I should really, really, really care about, and do in theory, but not as much in practice since I will basically just put stuff to be recycled in our recycling closet in our apartment and then make CB sort and actually recycle it….which is better than I used to be, and so I’ve taken it off the list because I’m all about progress over perfection when it suits me.

But the dishwasher-loading thing seems like sort of a waste of my energy, while making sure the bed is made properly with the pillow zippers facing down seems like a totally valid use of my time. Which is why I find myself muttering frustrations at CB when it’s not done that way because, God, doesn’t he understand yet that I know what I’m doing because I’m always right?

Dammit. This is gonna be a hard list to master practice.


Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me Too.

*I usually don’t get “political” on here because, well, that’s no fun! But I’m making this one exception. Our regularly scheduled program will be back in the next post!*

That time about a month ago when I got asked by a client if I let my husband dominate at home. And then nearly everyone I re-told that story to asked “Well, how old is that guy?” in order to assure me that if he’d been younger, he wouldn’t have said that out loud because he’d know better.

Or the time a different client started making vibrator jokes while I was talking with him at a professional conference about a potential project together. Of course, I had it coming since my phone vibrated while we were speaking and so, of course, the next logical discussion from one professional to another is to start talking about vibrators.

Or the time I got propositioned by an executive several levels above me at my previous job in front of a number of other employees at a holiday party. He wanted to know where I lived and what train we could take back to my apartment. He was married with children and this was the first and only conversation I ever had with him…until the next morning when I had the uncomfortable experience of being in the company elevator alone with him when he bluntly told me that last night was “no big deal, right?” And he should know, since he had been party to a worst-kept-secret affair with one of his employees the previous year that was eventually ended and saw the female employee in the equation moved out of his department and into another one so as not to “make waves.”

The “me too” phenomenon is going rampant on Facebook right now, but let’s get real, it’ll end in a few days and nothing will have changed. Why? Because, um…..did you read those stories? I’m one person. Those are three of, like, literally dozens, if not more. And I’m one of the “lucky” ones! I’ve never been groped or assaulted, I’ve never lost a job or had my reputation questioned because of any of it. I’ve felt embarrassed, I’ve felt mild anger, I’ve felt…confused. But that’s it. AND THAT’S A GOOD OUTCOME, you guys.

That’s what’s going on here. My stories about vibrators and domination and being propositioned by someone who could end my career ARE THE GOOD STORIES. And this is here in the United States, a country that is heads and shoulders above hundreds in our strive for equality and in actual equality. And for that, I am grateful. But again – that’s what’s going on here. I’m grateful that I’m not in a country that doesn’t allow me to drive. I’m grateful that I’m not in a country where I’m forced into marriage during puberty. I’m grateful that I’m not in a country that doesn’t allow me to walk outside without a male chaperon. I’m grateful.

I have not one man in my life who I think has ever or would ever do anything remotely similar to those stories above, let alone assault a woman. I do not think that men are evil or bad or just will never learn. I’m surrounded by some of the best examples of true men that any person could hope for, both in my personal and professional life, and my daughters are being raised by the kindest, most respectful man I’ve ever met.

At the same time, men – CB included - have no idea what a day in the life of a “privileged” woman is like. Re-read my little anecdotes again. Those are NON-stories. They didn’t even register beyond discomfort or embarrassment or just shrugging it off as some old guy who doesn’t know better, some young guy who’s gross, or some powerful guy who does this all the time.

“Me too” won’t change anything until we change. I never once said anything to any of those men, or the others who have said gross and inappropriate things to me over the years for a multitude of reasons. But mainly? I didn’t want to make things worse. I didn’t want to offend them, God forbid,  and I certainly didn't want to be seen as difficult.

Can you imagine? Now that would be awful. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

From One Mom to Another: Please Stop.

Today I got asked by a stranger in my work elevator if I “regret” that I have to come to work every day and leave my kids “alone.” So I laughed and said “well, they’re not alone, they’re with their friends and caretakers at daycare.” And she bristled. Like, I physically saw her recoil. “Daycare is no substitute for their mother!”

Thankfully for her, the elevator got to my floor before I could slap her.

Which is on the heels of an off-hand comment in the gym locker room last week by a new-ish mom (she had her first daughter just before I had my second) who proudly told me that she resigned from her job a few weeks ago after realizing that she “just couldn’t do that to my baby girl.” When I legitimately was curious what she meant and said as much, she replied “let her be raised by someone who’s not me.” She then went on to tell me how much kids benefit from having their mom at home while I tried to blow dry my dry hair so I didn’t have to listen to her rationale for why she’s better than me. To be fair, she didn’t say she was better than me, she just implied it in the following ways:

“You’ve never wondered what kind of long-term impact this is going to have on your kids?”
“Doesn’t it break your heart to leave them every day?”
“Her well-being is more important than any corporate ladder…for me. But everyone’s different.”

And to help round out your total vision of my last few weeks (or two years) the following things have also been said to me about my parenting:

“How do you juggle it all? It seems like your career is thriving, so….do you get enough time with your kids?”
“I’m so impressed that you can leave your kids every day. I could never do that.”
“Have you missed important milestones yet? That’ll be so hard.”

And ladies? Every single remark was made by a woman: mom-on-mom crime!

Sidebar: I asked my husband this morning if he’d ever gotten asked if he’s considered quitting his job because of the kids or regrets leaving them every day. He said no. He has people sympathize that leaving them every morning is hard, but that’s as far as it goes.

So this is what I have to say:

Stop it. Stop with the Mommy Wars. Stop with the comparing your life to others to make you feel superior or ease whatever guilt you might be feeling. I get it. It’s hard. It’s hard to be a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard to be a full-time-working mom, it’s hard to be a fricken MOM. It’s hard. But I really don’t want to have a rap sheet for assault because my mom-guilt would increase exponentially if I have to explain it to my kids while trying to teach them that hitting is wrong.

I mean, yes, I’m pretty sure I missed the first time my oldest learned to crawl and, hell, probably when she took her first steps. Don’t get me wrong, the nice ladies at daycare were gentle enough with my ego to not tell me that they witnessed these things first, but I’m not new here, it probably happened. And that’s ok. Because they’re used to second-best, after all: I didn’t breastfeed them (“I feel so sorry for you that you don’t get to feel that bond…”), fed them formula (“I mean, I’m sure it’ll be fine, though obviously breast milk is best…”), didn’t make my own baby food (“…I just didn’t want them consuming all of those preservatives…”), and I let them eat macaroni and cheese (with preservatives!) and watch cartoons (“…I’d just rather they get outside or read a book. We got rid of cable altogether.”)

So please, just stop. Stop it. Stop with the mom-on-mom crime of one-upping and condescending and thinly masked attempts at shaming. Please stop. Put down your weapons, raise that white flag, and just say what we all want to say: “Goddamn I’m so tired. Am I doing it right? Will my kids be ok? It’s hard, isn’t it?” And the non-hugger in me will lay down my shield, drop my giant mom-purse, and full-on hug you. Because goddamn I’m tired. It’s hard, isn’t it? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

In Which I Pretend to Be Human

So something you should know about me is that I’m not a hugger. I mean, outside of my children - who I smother with hugs and kisses until they literally push me away or yell “mommy, no smooches! ” - I will not come near you. You’re welcome.

But this is simply because I don’t like being touched, specifically hugged, by strangers, acquaintances, or people I’m really close to. I find it sometimes forced, often unnecessary, and ALWAYS purely uncomfortable for me and, by extension, the person who thought this gesture of good will or intimacy or whatever would be well-received. Because, while the other person is focusing (I guess?) on the bond between us, or how they’re helping by pressing their body up against mine for 5-10 seconds, I’m wondering how much longer this will last and whether I’ve done a good enough job conveying that this is really meaningful to me, too.

And then there’s my poor husband. Among our friends and family he’s known as a no-joke great hugger. Like, people seek him out in times of need because he gives these tremendous, genuine hugs that just make everything better. Unless you’re me and you stand there as he hugs you, feeling loved but also kind of wondering how long hugs typically last? Because you’re good with it ending now but also don’t want to be rude. And you love him! And he’s so tall and smells so good and sometimes you can genuinely just sort of collapse into his arms and it is the greatest. But mainly I’m just counting down from 10.

Anyway, this weekend a song came on the radio that reminded me of earlier in the week when I was with a co-worker. This same song came on while we were talking and she started crying which, thankfully, isn’t normal. So I was like “are you ok?” and she said yes, but that the song reminded her of her deceased mom. So, you know, not ok.

And so I stood there for a few seconds as she cried and realized that I was probably supposed to do or say something? Because typically when people emotion at me, I freeze. I’m a pretty empathetic and compassionate person, don’t get me wrong, but it takes me a second to process what’s happening. Weren’t we just talking about work?

So then we had this exchange:

Me: “Are you a hugger?”
Her, looking at me while crying: “What?”
Me: “Are you a hugger? Do you want me to hug you?”
Her, nodding yes.
Me, awkwardly hugging her, counting down from 10, and then continuing with the conversation as her deceased mother’s music played in the background.

It wasn’t awkward at all!

And so then I conveyed that story to CB and he started laughing and said “you’re like an automaton. ‘Are you a hugger?’ Nobody asks that! They just hug!”

Me: “But what if she’s like me?”
CB: “The odds are very slim. Most people are normal and like to know that you care that they’re crying and so you hug them.”
Me: “I thought I was being courteous by gauging her feelings on the situation first. But you’re saying that she may have thought that was weird?”
CB: “Everybody thinks that’s weird.”

My argument was ill-received by him, but totally logical, you guys. Maybe I was lucky enough to meet another me who doesn’t like being hugged and, when crying, does not feel comforted by your touch! But I was wrong, apparently. And so I acted totally appropriately! Just as a good human robot would.


Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Parenting Help Needed (and send wine)

Blog alert: this post will make apparent some of my largest parenting weaknesses. I’m aware of these weaknesses, low on sleep and high on emotions, so be kind.

***

About two weeks ago, CB and I decided that our lives were too stable and pleasant and so we decided to potty train our 2 year old. For the non-parents among us, let me break it down for you:

You try to convince a person who still looks at the color red and calls it yellow and has peed and pooped into a diaper since minute 2 of her life that now it’s going to be really fun to hold it and pee and poop somewhere else! Why is this fun? I don’t really know the answer, my dear, so instead I’ll buy you a small, plastic toilet with eyes on it, some Peppa Pig underpants, and remind you over and over that this is what “big kids” do. Oh! And we won’t be leaving the house for, like, a week because pooping on the floor of CVS is frowned upon and cabin fever is fun!

That’s potty training in a nutshell.

However, it actually was OK. As OK as that situation can be given the fact that we also have another human being in the house who still, apparently, needs our attention. And the fact that we stocked up on a lot of paper towels and wine. (that’s my tip for all potty training parents: Bounty and Pinot.)

The sneaky little devil part that not ONE SINGLE PARENT told us about was the after-math of sleep. Now, to be fair, maybe we’re (a) awful parents and this is all our fault, (b) our kid is just super awful and this is all her fault, or (c) every parent blocked this part out of their brains because it was too traumatizing/they didn’t want to admit they didn’t have it all together at all times when they had two kids at or under two, full time jobs, were potty training, and then the toddler decided that sleeping was for punks. (for reference, it's not b). 

Because that’s what happened. As of Monday, our sweet, energetic, great sleeper of a toddler gave a big middle finger to bedtime.

Night one: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – very unlike her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, and you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same drill as above, and she’s down for the night by 7:30.

Night two: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – very unlike her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a three and a half minute conversation with your spouse about how odd this behavior is, she cries out again, this time in a shrill, pterodactyl-type way. You run in, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, close the door. Screams. Now her sister is up too and you’re over this shit. You and your husband grab her from the crib, take her in another dark room, and use your best YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok. This goes on for about two minutes (which is an eternity in toddler time), you give her a little cup of milk, read her one more story, and she’s down for the night. You high five with your husband that you definitely got  through to her this time and peacefully watch the final episode of Narcos at 7:50pm.

Night three: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – more and more like her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a three and a half minute conversation with your spouse about how odd this behavior is, she cries out again, pterodactyl in the house, you run in, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, close the door. Screams. Her sister is awake and screaming now, too. You want to take your own life but, instead, you and your husband grab her from the crib, take her in another dark room, and use your best YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok. She then tells you she has to poop, you and your husband jump like the jokers you are, grab the potty with eyes, she pees into it, and you tell her what a great job she did by letting out half an ounce of urine at 7:45pm. She’s very proud, knows that she’s won and dominates the earth, and goes to sleep happily.

Night four (last night): Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – completely like her at this point – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, and you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a thirty second conversation with your spouse about how this behavior has GOT TO STOP as she cries out again, this time, completely throwing caution to the wind. You swing the door open, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, though now you realize that’s not true, grab her from the crib, take her in that same dark room, and use your very ineffectual YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok, though, who cares at this point? Clearly nobody in this room.She then tells you she has to poop, you and your husband jump like the jokers you are, grab the potty with eyes, she pees into it, you tell her what a great job she did, she’s very proud, knows that she’s won and dominates the earth, and tricks you into thinking she’ll go to sleep.

You eat a Ceasar salad in the dark for the next seven minutes while she scream-cries and your husband goes in and loses his mind in a whisper until she seemingly, miraculously understands logic, and he comes out.

It’s quiet, but you know better. You both start whisper-talking like the captives you’ve become and start to Google “toddler sleep regression” as she lets out a scream that can only mean that someone has climbed up to the 10th floor window, gotten into her room, and decided to take your curly haired toddler and stab her with needles all over her body. You go in this time while your husband eats his salad standing up in a dark kitchen and she monkey climbs up your body while hyperventilating and you realize that you’ve lost. She’s won. You’re a failure. She’s the queen.

Also, you flash to this conversation you had with her not 12 hours earlier:

Me, folding laundry quietly in the living room.
Her: “No, I don’t want it.”
Me: “Um…don’t want what?”
Her: “No mommy.”
Me: “Ok.”
Her: “I don’t WANT pancakes.”
Me: “Ok, nobody was even talking about pancakes. You don’t have to eat pancakes.”
Her, jumping up and down: “I want pancakes! Mommy I wanna make pancakes!”

Which should’ve been your first indication that maybe the logic and reason route wouldn’t work. THINK, Becky, THINK. What has worked in the past? Consistency. What does she respond to? Structure and consistency. What does every toddler thrive on? Pushing boundaries and seeing how far you’ll bend to their will. What are you doing wrong in this scenario? Everything.

And so obviously the only logical solution is that you take her into your room, rip back the covers, and get into bed.

Mom brain: “It’s 8:15, it’s an hour past her bedtime and you guys aren’t fixing this tonight. She needs to sleep.”

Dad brain: “Um, wtf are you doing? No, she’s going back to her bed.”

Spoiler alert: OF COURSE he was right, I know. Please don’t tell me, I need no extra advice on this. I know he was right and I was wrong and my mom guilt and exhaustion got the better of me.

And then, like magic, he talked to her for a few minutes, worked his goddamned voodoo magic, and she went to bed. Until 4am.

Which is why you’re now on your third cup of coffee before 10am and blogging to strangers asking for help. While Google has told me that toddler sleep regression during potty training is completely normal, I’m looking for tips. What’s worked for you? Do we essentially just sleep train her like she’s 6 months old again? We plan on moving her sister out of their room and into our room until we can get this taken care of. Because the last thing we need is two little ones who hate us and the world because they had a super disruptive sleep. Also, the lovely ladies at daycare do not need this shit.

Ok, go! Advice! And remember – be kind. (and feel free to forward, re-post, whatever. I'm clearly not above graveling at this point...)


Thanks, blog world! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Remembrance and Repost

Reposted from September 11, 2012: 


In light of the fact that today is the anniversary of 9/11, this blog post will be slightly different than the norm. We’ll get right back to the randomness and (hopefully) laughs later in the week, but each year at this time I take a moment to step back, remember, and reflect.

Many of you know that I moved out to New York back when I was 23 years old and fresh off of the farms of Michigan State University (literally and figuratively). One of my best friends and I ventured out on our own for the very first time in our lives, leaving all of our friends and family and comforts behind, driving the U-Haul some 700 miles with our goldfish tucked safely in his bowl in the front seat. It was the end of August 2001 and we could not have been more excited or nervous for what life had in store for us.

We didn’t have too much: no phone, no cable, and a one bedroom apartment so narrow you couldn’t pull out the sleeper couch without moving the tv into the kitchen. We. Had. Arrived.

So on the morning of September 11th, I was just excited to be in the shadows of the city. I was excited to be going into my second week of work, walking what was quickly becoming my “usual route” to the PATH train, thinking about how I couldn’t believe I was really here. But as I got closer and closer to the train station, something felt different.

Garbled announcements were blaring over the loud speakers and people looked quite literally dazed and confused as they filed onto an already over-crowded train and into an air conditioned car, out of the muggy September heat. Some guy on the train kept talking about how one of the towers of the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane, maybe flown by terrorists. It was about 9am and we really couldn’t be bothered with "the crazy guy on the train," so everyone kind of shuffled away from him, rolled their eyes, and held their papers a little higher to avoid eye contact. I obviously wanted to be just like the other New Yorkers, so I turned away from him and tried to settle the unease that was growing in my stomach.

And then I stepped onto 6th avenue.

That view I’d so quickly grown to love was covered in black smoke. There weren’t any cars in the streets, there were sirens in the distance, and there was an eerie calm of a seemingly abandoned city. I continued to walk, faster now, as I made my way south down the avenue, staring up at the blackness that took over the sky.

I will never forget the next moments of that day: the vision of the South Tower falling, the sound of my mom’s voice when we finally got through to each other, the feeling of complete and utter hopelessness as we were told we couldn’t get off of the island, and the absolute surrender to whatever was to come next.

But that's not all that stays with me now when I look down at the newly rising tower on the south tip of Manhattan. That’s not what stays with me when someone starts talking about that day or reminisces about their own personal 9/11 experience.

What stays with me is this: on that day, in that moment, for a fleeting time in our history, this city was united and people came together. It’s actually something I’ve tried really hard to hold onto.

When I first got to this city, it was shiny and new and filled with possibilities. It was also grungy and cold and filled with strangers. It was the place I’d dreamed about and nothing like I’d thought it would be. It was the city I figured I’d play in for a few years and then leave to get on with my "real" life. But it’s the city that ended up cradling me during the craziest and most exciting decade of my life so far.

I’m not interested in debating the politics of what led to or came after that day. I’m not interested in the conspiracy theories and the what if’s that will forever surround that moment and this country. What I’m interested in is holding onto that feeling of being united and remembering that it’s possible. Not in some Pollyanna, “let’s just hold hands and sing Kumbaya” kind of way, either. But in the practical “I’ve seen this happen, I know it’s possible," kind of way. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones, because lots of people can go through their entire lives wondering if it’s possible or not. And now I don’t have to wonder.

People can be incredibly kind and generous and people can be horribly malicious and cruel. And on that day, in those moments, I witnessed both in their purest forms. I saw it in the crumbling towers and felt it as I was guided through the city by a man covered in ash and rubble from the North Tower from which he ran.

So today, just like every year on this day, I choose to look at the skyline I’ve grown to call home and remember the darkness and the light. To know that it’s possible, to take a breath and relax as tourists stop in the middle of the sidewalk in awe of the city I sometimes take for granted, and to remember those who don’t have the luxury of being here today to know what’s possible.

None of us will ever forget, I don’t even think we could if we tried. But what I hope we can also remember is that it’s possible to come together, it’s possible to be just a little bit kinder, just a little bit more patient, just a little bit…more.

It’s possible. Please don’t forget. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This is 40: Part I

My 40th birthday is approaching at a rapid rate, and while I’m pretty excited for what the next decade has in store, I’ve also been taking stock. Like, hey Beck, are you better off now than you were 10 years ago and what have you learned? What are you still learning? What are you sort of thinking about learning but don’t want to devote your time to yet? What do you not care to ever learn? And believe it or not, these are helpful categories by which to live your life. I mean, don’t start categorizing your life this way if you’re nailing it. You do you. But for me, I work well with lists. And repetition. And at least thinking about self-improvement, which is step one. Oh, and spoiler alert: I’m terrible at taking my own really helpful advice, like, 75-80% of the time. So do with that what you will.

Basically, if I look back over the last ten, five, or two years of my life and I’m more or less making the same mistakes without any tangible improvements anywhere, um, wtf. What’s the point? I’m not saying change your personality every few years – that would make you a psychopath or a politician. Neither are things you should life-goal. But if everyone else is always the problem or you’re 15 pounds heavier than you’d like and it’s been a decade? Either change it or embrace it, but for the love of God, please stop talking about it. Which is what I tell myself every single day. And then I eat cake to silence that know-it-all voice inside of me and she is happy and full and lulls off into a deep, dark sleep.

Sorry, I’m back.

Anyway, since I’m trying to get and keep my compass straight, one of the ways in which I’m choosing to do this is by sharing, which holds me accountable and gives you something to read and judge and feel superior to! But since you’ve all volunteered to be here, you guys are the best captive audience. You chose this! You signed up for this! (hears Road Runner sound as readers run far, far away from the blog as they yell “just tell me about your underpants! You’re not Oprah!”)

Well, that was nice while it lasted. Hi mom and dad! Thanks for continuing to read.

So today I’m looking back at question one: are you better off now than you were 10 years ago and what have you learned?

Well, let’s assess: Ten years ago I was picking up the pieces of a seriously failed relationship with a seriously wrong guy who I was seriously in love with for reasons I struggle to remember now, which is good and bad. I was pretty sure I’d never have kids and wasn’t really keen on the idea overall – why on earth would I want to commit my life to diaper duty and raising little humans when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck in a rundown one bedroom apartment in New Jersey with my cat? To be fair, I’m pretty sure the little humans didn’t want me as their mom then, anyway, as “hot mess” does not a good mom make.

But the end of that relationship was a turning point for me. One that would either define me or not: it was my choice. It was messy and humiliating and raw and haunting. And, if I’m being honest, it took me longer than I’d like to admit to really, truly get past it. But holy crap, even I got tired of hearing myself be sad after a while, though my friends and family were too kind to say that first. And I decided that I needed to do something tangible, I needed to set a goal and stick with it, and I needed it to work. God, did I need it to work.

Meanwhile, during this time, I was in the first year of a job that I desperately wanted as my career, yet struggled to find my footing with for a while before getting it right. However, the silver lining is that this job was filled with really incredible people who have stayed friends long after leaving those four walls. Not the least of whom was CB. And since I had a lot more free time on my hands all of a sudden and a lot of demons to chase me all over Hudson County, I decided to take up running with him and some others who took to the Hoboken sidewalks each day at noon to run and talk and get some fresh air (I made up the “and talk” part because CB did not enjoy the “and talk” part most days. He’d prefer I’d “and not talk,” but he had the added luxury of being way faster than me, so he would literally just run away.)

Sadly, one of the best post-running pictures of me.
Um, and when I say that I “took up running,” I mean that the first few months I ran it was hard to tell because I looked more like a sweaty, doughy, pale girl who was speed-walking wrong. Thankfully, my coworkers were too nice and encouraging to admit that I really should just stop and go have a doughnut. Instead, we struck up conversations and friendships and, before I knew it, I was running! I mean, I was still sweaty and doughy and pale, but I wasn’t speed-walking wrong anymore! And I was starting to feel better.

Sure, there were still days there where I’d run so fast and hard and alone, even while surrounded by friends, because life isn’t a movie and emotions aren’t black and white. But the alone days receded into the background over time and a handful of friends and coworkers signed up for 10ks, half marathons, and full marathons almost solely because, I think, they felt bad for me. And my “leadership skills” (which my daughter’s cartoon has taught me is a nicer word than “bossy”) were persuasive as hell.

Before I knew it, I’d finished my first marathon. And it was just shy of two years after what I thought was the end of life as I knew it. And, in all honesty, it was. THANK GOODNESS. And like that, my story was changing. Goal set; goal reached. Hmmmm……

What did I learn? I learned that heartbreak is real and you can’t fake your way through it. I learned that friendship is real, and you need to lean when you need to lean. I learned that my family is strong, supportive, and fiercely protective and they listened to me cry and make mixed tapes through my feelings for a way long time. I learned the bumper-sticker truism that you can’t control what happens to you, but you sure as hell can control how you respond to it. I learned that some people lie. I learned to believe people when they show you who they, good and bad. I learned that crying isn’t the worst thing and laughter doesn’t go away. I learned that the depths of some people and their willingness to help will humble you, and you won't know how to ever say thank you, and they're fine with that. I learned that everything is temporary. I learned that cats are great company. I learned that hard work does pay off. I learned how to live alone. I learned how to be scared and do it anyway. I learned that there’s always a next chapter. I learned to find my voice and how bad it feels when you don’t use it. I learned how to run! And I learned when to stay.

And you know what else I learned? That I’m terrible at dating. Like, really bad. Like, when friends are feeling down they ask me to re-tell stories they’ve heard 50 times about various dates I’ve been on over the last 10 years. Like, there’s a reason I stayed home with my cat and watched all five seasons of Gilmore Girls on Friday nights, you guys. Like, I’m epically bad at it.

Oh! Which taught me the very important lesson that I still exercise routinely: PLEASE look at who you’re texting before you hit send. Please. I’m begging you.

But that’s a story for next time…..


Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

When CB Met Becky: The Anniversary Edition

The other day I was talking to some co-workers about a time, years ago, when CB and I were just friends and one of them said “I just love the love story of the two of you.” And I laughed, because hearing your relationship described as a love story sounds odd unless you’re, like, a Disney character. Or Harry and Sally. But this week marks our three year wedding anniversary, and as I look back over these last three years, I can’t help but see the eight that came before it, bringing us to this place in time, looking at our two daughters giggling in hysterics on our bed over nothing in particular except how fun it is to be little.

And what I see over these last eleven years is a man I met at the tender age of 28, who shook my hand and welcomed me to the very first day of work at my new job. We sat next to each other and shared a cubicle wall, and what CB didn’t realize was that the simple act of being nearby meant that I’d talk to him about everything, endlessly, for the next several years (or the rest of his life…). He didn’t have to do too much responding, just the occasional nod/interjection to let me know that he was still awake/sitting there. And that suited us both just fine, as it turned out. But over the course of the first year of working together, I chipped away at his determination to keep his personal life and professional life separate and private. He shared with me, once, that he didn’t like making a big deal out of his birthday, and certainly not at work. And so of course I figured out when his birthday was and made sure to put balloons on his chair, complete with a card and a cupcake so that he felt celebrated and important. It was clear to me early on that he didn’t really know what was good for him and just needed his world expanded a bit – in the form of balloons and sugar, mostly.

Then, about a year and a half into working together, a relationship I’d been in for years ended painfully. I wasn’t keen to talk about it much, which made CB the perfect person to tell. So on a Monday morning in September, I walked over to his desk and whispered – a first for our relationship – and filled him in that it was over. As I started to walk away, he stood up and said: “C’mon, let’s go to that milkshake place I told you about. I know you can drink a milkshake at 9am, that’s right up your alley.” And so we went. And it never came up again, unless I wanted it to. He never asked me for any of the sordid details – the only person in my life able to make that claim -  though over the years I provided them here and there. Which was one of the first signs to me that this guy was different. And trustworthy. And seriously knew how to make me feel better in times of need!

So it should go without saying that we were soon more than just co-workers and running buddies, we were friends. He mistakenly introduced me to a large portion of his family/friend circle on his 30th birthday at happy hour one night, and as he says, “that was the beginning of the end.” While everyone else assumed we were into each other, we were very clear that we were not. However, true to form, they ignored us both and insisted we should just give up the charade and fall in love already. Which we promptly did about five years later, thankyouverymuch.

And when we did, there was no turning back. This thing that wasn’t a thing, then became a thing, now sees us as parents to a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old. It’s seen us spend the last three years excitedly awaiting our first daughter. And getting hit with the shock of new parenthood and total exhaustion. Figuring out how to fight and forgive, and learning that one of us needs to be well-slept at all times for the two of us to balance life without a knife-fight. It has seen us excitedly awaiting our second daughter, while figuring out how on earth we’re going to have two babies with two different sets of needs. It’s seen us having zero idea what two kids under two was going to feel like, but mainly just relishing in the fact that all four of us get out the door each day with our clothes right-side out most of the time.

It’s seen us poorly navigating the Hong Kong airport, giving life to the now commonly-used phrase “We would for sure be the first couple kicked off of the Amazing Race.” It’s seen us forgetting to say hi to each other and then remembering how important that is each day. It’s seen us sleeping on the floor of the living room together as each of our girls enjoyed their own room during sleep-training.  It’s seen us doing the Parent Zombie Shuffle through our mornings, packing diaper bags and refilling diaper bins and cleaning up literal spilled milk and sticky, syrup-y tables. It’s seen us laughing through almost every experience we’ve had, and crying when it was needed. It’s seen for-real fear in our eyes during pregnancy and childbirth, and for-real relief at their end. It’s seen us collapsing onto the couch at 7:30 each night after we’ve put both kids to bed, the house quiet, and our will to cook anything other than a salad at an all-time low. It sees us talking about an episode of “El Chapo” that one of us couldn’t get through because it’s an hour of reading television and that totally defeats the purpose, you guys. But since it’s such a good show, I depend on CB to stay up until 8:30pm and read it all so he can fill me in on what happened after El Chapo crossed over the border to El Salvador because it was just about to get crazy! It sees us realizing that I’m “The Throw Up Parent” because the other parent in the equation starts to dramatically gag and potentially vomit when he sees, hears, or smells it. It sees us still laughing at his cheesy puns and my ridiculous sports observations and knowing each other’s “look” for everything from “I know, right? This person is ridiculous,” to “I know, right? I can tell you definitely want to scratch my head while we watch ‘Flipping Out’ right now, so let’s do this!”

And it sees us having no idea what we were in for when we said our vows and laughing that we ever thought we had a clue. Because while sleeping on the floor of your living room and cleaning up vomit does not make for great wedding vows, as it turns out, it does make for a pretty great life. And our vows still hold true…except for the one where he promised never to leave his dishes next to or in the sink when the dishwasher was empty. But overall, they’re still going strong!


Happy Anniversary Week, CB...it’s totally a thing! 


Monday, August 7, 2017

Things I Shouldn't Have to Say Out Loud

Things that I’ve done in the last month:

  • Asked what year it was as I was filling out a check. TO BE FAIR, I wrote “2017,” so I’m still with the times. But as I wrote it I was like “it definitely isn’t 2017. Crap, is it 2016 or 2018? Oh no, I don’t know what year it is and I’ve either gained or lost time!” So then I double-checked real quick with CB and he was like “how about you get some sleep and I’ll finish doing whatever it is that you’re doing.” 

  • Poured my coffee into a baby bottle. Which is sort of genius because, convenience. We have more bottles than we do regular cups, I’m pretty sure. But also, I then almost fed it to our baby, which hasn’t been discussed explicitly on BabyCenter or anything, but I’m guessing it’s frowned upon since she just started being able to gum her applesauce. 

  • Had an entire conversation about me wetting the bed, even though I didn’t wet the bed, but my husband figured it could be a possibility and so we had the conversation much later than we should’ve. Like, CB thought maybe I’d wet the bed, made the bed anyway, and so when I pulled the covers back to go to bed later that night there was still a big wet spot. 

Me: “Ugh, I totally forgot that I spilled Fiona’s bottle here this morning and now it’s still wet!”
CB: “Oooh, is that what that was?”
Me: “Wait, you made the bed knowing that it was wet?”
CB: “Yeah, I thought it would dry. And I didn’t know what it was.”
Me: “What did you think, that I wet the bed or something?”
CB: “I mean, I wasn’t sure….”
Me, laughing: “We have so many problems! First, you thought it was entirely possible that I wet the bed. Which I should be offended by, but, fair enough point. But second, the fact that you thought that maybe this was pee and then just made the bed anyway disturbs me.”
CB, laughing: “I thought it would dry!”
Me: “I never want to sleep in pee-dried sheets!”

And then we started laughing too hard to talk.


So, you know, if you haven’t done any of these things in the last month…you’re winning. Happy Monday! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I'm Slowly Dying/Losing My Senses

The other day I got copied on an email from a co-worker who was emailing our building admin to tell her that there was a “very strong smell of gas.” Apparently, everyone around me was getting the “very strong smell of gas” as well. And this turned out to be for good reason, as the building admin replied that they were using some sort of torch and laying tar on the roof and so that’s why everyone was smelling it.

So I emailed a co-worker/friend and said “bad sign that I didn’t notice?” and he wrote back “a bit.” But then I couldn’t tell if he was kidding because, no joke, I didn’t smell a thing. So I was like “no, seriously….are you still smelling it? Like, it’s currently happening as we type this?” And he confirmed that he was not joking, it currently smelled, and wtf is wrong with me?

Which then led to a rabbit-hole Google search that lasted nearly 30 minutes to figure out what I was dying from, other than gas-related brain death.



And we laugh, but this is concerning. Not because I’m dying of something and my lack of smell is the first sign. I mean, that might be it, but that doesn’t concern me. What does concern me is that I can literally be oblivious to the “strong smell of gas” that all other human beings around me are experiencing, yet I literally have to leave my desk with someone is eating loudly in my vicinity.

Other things I haven’t noticed in real life:

A giant crane that was outside of my work building for two years, that I walked underneath every single day, and didn’t notice until a co-worker casually mentioned it and I said the words “what crane?” and meant them.

A giant driving range along the side of a road I would run by on a weekly basis without noticing it until CB casually mentioned it one day and I said the words “what driving range?” and meant them.

A sliding glass door that my face met at full speed when I was in high school, so violently that my friends then put a giant, taped X on the glass so I wouldn’t do it again. Because that was a likely outcome. And I was not drinking.

A regular bedroom door that my face met at full speed when I was at a New Year’s Eve party a few years ago . Thankfully, only one very nice friend witnessed it as I tried to casually walk away as if it hadn’t happened. I was drinking.

Yet, if someone is eating a banana nearby, or using the wrong version of “there/their/they’re” in an email, or clicking their pen during a meeting, IT’S ALL I CAN HEAR/SEE. Which says something about me, though it’s unclear what that something is. Mainly, it tells me that my children should depend on their father for the big picture stuff but come to me if they want to know the best way to multi-task what you’re doing while counting the amount of times someone slurps their soup during lunch. Which is a skill, if you’re me, because otherwise you’d be unemployable because all you can do is focus on the fact that they’re the worst.


Happy Thursday!