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!