Thursday, December 6, 2018

Love in the Time of Toddlers

CB walks through the door while I’m negotiating with our crying 3.5 year-old while my nearly 2 year-old clings to my arm and begs for me to pick her “Uppy! Uppy!” He swoops in, picks up the 2 year-old while I sit down to talk to the 3.5 year-old about feelings, words, and how to put your feelings into words while using short sentences that I’ve been told help a child of her age better cope. Meanwhile, I’m unable to properly put into words my own feelings about the moment. I think these are the combined feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, and loving towards these little humans we’re trying to raise not to be serial killers or basic a-holes? And so we forge ahead through the whirlwind that is dinner, which has recently been filled with tears all of a sudden? Toddlers are a blessing. We experience the growing stubbornness of these little humans trying to plant their flags in the ground of this family and push the very boundaries we’ve laid out for them. At this very moment in time, the boundaries being that they must sit in their seats and eat food with utensils until dinner is over. Because we’re monsters, obviously.

After those blurry 15 minutes, CB takes them upstairs to brush their teeth and take a bath, one of the most joyous points of our collective day as they giggle and splash and the tears over not wanting macaroni and cheese for dinner – their preferred and favorite meal until…now? – have disappeared from their cheeks and their memories. I try to quickly get over the fact that I made them this microwave-friendly meal instead of something more elaborate that they also wouldn’t eat, and just quietly sit at the table, put my head down, and close my eyes. I just sit there and breathe. Feeling mainly exhausted and pretty frustrated. Did I do that right? Should I have given in? Did I give in too much? I just sit there for about a minute, alone. One glorious minute.

Also, the number of pictures
on my phone that look like this
are embarassingly endless. So,
it's 50/50 whether I'm in possession
of my phone at any given time anyway.
This is the most alone time I typically get all day, including when I pee, and I feel both grateful for the re-boot and guilty that I’m taking it. CB hasn’t gotten his alone time yet and the dishes are just sitting there, dirty and waiting to be cleaned off and put away so I can sweep up the scattered corn on the ground from the tiny hands that are still figuring out utensils and the limits of their parents’ patience. But I just need a minute. My phone buzzes on the counter and I ignore it. I’m sure it’s a work email or friend or family member saying hi, asking how things are going, or telling me about their day. But I can’t. I can’t be a frazzled mom, wife, friend/sister/daughter, and employee,  so I’ll check the phone later. Or I won’t, because I’ll forget that it buzzed and fall asleep before checking it. I’ll deal with that tomorrow. Besides, didn’t I make a pact with myself recently that I wouldn’t be so attached to my phone so I could focus more on the present? And so I’m focusing on my head being on the table and what it feels like just not to move for a second.

Meanwhile, I forgot to say hi to CB. I didn’t give him a hug hello, we didn’t high five, we definitely didn’t get close enough in proximity to each other to give a quick kiss. I’m not even sure we’ve looked at each other’s faces yet tonight? But I’m pretty sure he still has a beard and probably best that he doesn’t get too close to see the dried piece of processed powdered cheese that landed on my face earlier. It’s a look, and one he’s seen hundreds of times before, because I’m a catch. He’s been home 30 minutes and he’s been swooping in to pick up one toddler while I microwave dinner with the other, passing each other and asking various favors as the swirling, somewhat organized chaos of dinner and bath time happens each night. And if I’m being really honest, we probably won’t even look at or talk directly to each other, about each other or our days, for another hour until the last toddler head hits the pillow for the night. Sometimes we try, but it typically ends with one or both of us saying “I can’t hear you. What?” until we just mental high-five in agreement that this shit is bananas and we’ll talk later.

Is that bad? I mean, sometimes we hug hello. Sometimes we kiss hello! But I’d be lying if I said it happened every night….

And this, my friends, is what I call Love in the Time of Toddlers. Sort of like Love in the Time of Cholera, but with less disease that could kill us. I think. And it’s not something I foresee changing anytime soon, which I’m embracing because, contrary to popular belief, I typically live in reality. I embrace the fact that we both work full time jobs and have two kids under the age of 4. I embrace the fact that I’ve been traveling a ton for work, we’ve moved to a house in the midst of it, and this is an exceptionally crazy time in our lives. And I even embrace the fact that CB and I talk regularly about how we’re totally down for some alone time together, pre-kid’s style (remember that?), while also acknowledging that it’s quite possible that one or both of us will fall asleep and so what’s important is that we acknowledge that we’re still thinking about it. We’ve decided.

Oh, also, sidebar: YOU GUYS. I’ve recently realized, because I witnessed it with my own eyes and then took a friend survey of the people nearby, that some women actually wear matching, cute, even sexy PJ’s to bed on the regular? WHAT? I thought we had a deal, female species, that we wanted to be comfy and that we all had to live within these parameters so that we (I) wouldn’t look bad when CB finds out that it’s not every woman as you’ve been telling him for 7 years! And that maybe wearing his over-sized Georgia sweatshirt and whatever sweatpants are the cleanest isn’t what he was hoping for when he longingly looked into my eyes and proposed all those years ago? No, let’s get real, it totally was because that’s what I wore then, too. My marketing was honest and transparent, yo, so his willingness to settle for less is on him. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t consistently covered in powdered cheese or someone else’s sneeze-residue. But he probably could’ve seen that coming if he’d really tried.

And so, Love in the Time of Toddlers is this. It’s all of this and the this I can’t describe. I love it, in all honesty, and wouldn’t change a day of it. Oh! Except that day I got thrown up on within the same 24 hours that I picked up poop off the floor and none of those bodily excrements were mine, unfortunately (fortunately? The line is so blurry now it’s unreal.)  Are you with me? Are you horrified? Should I close down this blog shop asap because I need to focus on how off-the-hinges my life is getting and nobody has had the courage to tell me until now? I need to know, people! Share your stories with me, we’re in this together…(unlike the sweatpants pact you totally broke).

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,’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
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!