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A Slow Roll –and Halt–to Neutered Mom Town

I look like I’m having a midlife crisis, wearing my 8-year-old daughter’s Mexican floral blouse as a dress with matchy-matchy dangling earrings. It’s like a cross between Frida Kahlo and going out for margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. This got me thinking: what is up with my mom gear?

“I’d like salt on that margarita, along with female empowerment and pain”

I may need an intervention. This first occurred to me a few weeks back when I found myself shopping, for real, in the Chico’s store. I mean, when you’re shopping at Chico’s in your 40s, you may as well just put on an adult diaper and call it a day. No, that’s mean. Chico’s is fine—for someone else. Ha, that’s like when someone insults something you have in your closet, and they say, “No, it’s fine! It’s just not for me. I can see it’d be amazing on you!” No, you can’t; you’re just a bad liar. And not my friend anymore. Kiiiidding.

I recently went through my closet to pare down, realizing I was saving dresses, pants, and jeans (so sad…I will miss them) from my 20s and 30s that I will never fit into or wear again. During this cleanse, I was frightened by the number of Lilly Pulitzer dresses in my closet. It’s like someone barfed neon flowers in there. And, worse yet, I think I kind of hate Lilly now. Wait, for me, I mean…it’s fine on you.

I also have been dog-earing pages in the Talbot’s catalog. First of all, who even reads catalogs anymore? Well, I do, because it’s the only mail I actually enjoy, and magazine subscriptions are a thing of the past. Second, who dog-ears them? Like, make a decision. Buy it now or never. Third, Talbots is just one small step closer to Chico’s. It’s maybe a little more “profesh,” as in “I get my work clothes there.” But, that’s not true, because I legit just bought a cardigan there for my trip to Charleston that had pink, green, and blue buildings on it with green trees, and it looked like a South Carolina landscape. (LOL) I mean, it could be worse. I almost bought the Capri cropped salmon-colored jeans that matched it. I had them in hand and realized I was in neutered mom territory. That’s not good terrain.

Typically, swimwear choices can be an indication that you’re going down elderly lane, like when you have a one-piece with a skirt, or something with a ton of scrunching around the waist and a padded underwire. I haven’t gotten there yet. In fact, I may have gone the other way, because my son told me yesterday that I was wearing a “hooker bathing suit,” because there’s like this mesh, see-through material over part of it. I know that sounds kinda gross–the see-through part, not that my 11-year-old called me a hooker. Well, that’s a whole ‘nother issue. And also gross. But, yeah. Maybe I should toss that in the donation bag too.

Me: Who wants to go SWIMMING???

I did just splurge on some Prada sunglasses, which is beyond wasteful and stupid. It was more for retail therapy than anything. I wanted to make myself feel better after trying on a miniscule floral sundress at H&M that was skintight and 2 inches below my underwear. I looked like Blossom in that 80s sitcom, Blossom. I mean, I have no business shopping at H&M anymore. However, I DID find a cute leopard blouse, which I bought, and I probs look more like a cougar than a leopard in it...Note to self: don’t wear that to a bar after 8 p.m.

All this is to say, I am reevaluating my clothing choices. It’s easier to focus on this, of course, than to focus on the multitude of other more important things in my life, like wanting to get my book published or making more money…but, hey, at least I’m being productive!

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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I was 30

  • 1. You are not old. Your eggs are not rotting. You will get married and have children, and you’re not “almost 40.” Just wait till you’re 40. Or, worse yet, 47…
  • 2. Stop being so wistful and hopeful and get a career that actually is lucrative. It may be all fun to be an artist now, but if you’re one of the very few who “make it,” even if you’re truly talented, it won’t be fun when you have to reinvent yourself in ten years and wonder why all your friends have people who report to them, and you’re entry level.
  • 3. This follows #2: Money matters. Yeah, I know; I know. “Happiness is what’s important; money isn’t.” Giiiiirl, I used to think that, too, when it was cool to live in a fifth floor walk up studio in NYC. Not so cool when you have two children to support, a mortgage, a car payment, and bills. Get a real job. And, sadly, money makes the world go round. This was a hard lesson for me.
  • 4. Divorce totally sucks. So, be very mindful of red flags and any other issues before you get married. The choice to marry someone is actually huge. And, even if you’re 30, panicked, and want to be like all your friends and get married, don’t just insert groom/just add water with whomever you’re with at that age. Be picky. Wait. Be prudent. Be wise. Listen to your instincts.
  • 5. Following #4, don’t have kids if you’re not in a happy marriage, because they are not a bandaid, and it will make divorce all the more complicated, as you will forever be joined with the father of your children. And, if that happens, then be nice. It’s more important that you coparent well than hate your ex. Your kids need both of you, and they want to love both of you.
  • 6. Don’t begrudge having to go to another wedding at age 28. You know why? The invites will stop soon, and then you’ll miss the free booze, dance floor, and revelry of weddings! They are so fun! Later on, they are far and few between. Worse yet, you are no longer at the “single’s table;” you are the overweight aunt in the corner, who is dancing to Brick House. #justsaying
  • 7.Start botox by age 40. If you catch the wrinkles early, it’s easier to fix than later when you have indents in your forehead and wonder why you look extra terrestrial.
  • 8. Following #7, wear sunscreen. I know it’s fun to get tan, and you look better, but either go get some Jergens Glow or spray tan, instead. Getting sunburnt will age you, create wrinkles, and can cause skin cancer. It’s real.
  • 9. Most problems at 30, in my experience, are not as bad as problems at 40. So, be conscious of that and chill a bit. You’ll wish you didn’t waste the youthful time agonizing. Go out with friends, or on a hike, instead, and have a good time.
  • 10. I mean, maybe don’t listen to other people (like me- ha!) Follow your gut and “the whispers,” #oprah. You will land on your feet. It will be okay.
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Guilt: When the “Staycation” Lacks Luster

When I took my children to the community playground yesterday, I felt sort of guilty that they weren’t on some fabulous trip for their school vacation. I thought about us parents who were there on the swings, and what our situations were that made us “stay home” this vacation (aside from vaccines). Was it money? Co-parenting schedules with divorce? Work responsibilities? All of the above?

I thought back to my childhood when I remember being on the “staycation” in Cleveland during spring break, because my parents both worked, and my mom also got her Ph.D. at night. We went to the Museum of Natural History, and we toured Cleveland. We went to the mall, had some meals out (Burger King and Wendy’s were a treat), and I watched TV . I went back to school pale as Casper, while others had a marked sunburn (this was when it was cool to burn in the ’80s). I recall feeling less privileged, which is funny, since I was in a private school (read: privileged) and really want for nothing.

Yesterday, after the playground, my kids and I walked to get ice cream, and I took them to the store for a toy. She got a Rapunzel doll, and he got a Kit Kat and bandages, so he could pretend to be wounded while playing war outside when we got home.

The kids picked these

It was a super nice day together, and I know they had fun, but I still felt sort of bad we were “home.”

I know I should not.

Truth is, I asked them: would you want to go somewhere later in the week?

She said, “I don’t like Florida.” (She only says this because of alligator fears)

Yikes

He shook his head, “no.”

I wonder if they really meant that. I know time together is what counts…

But I couldn’t help wonder if they were trying to make me feel better.

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When You Forget the Holiday- Oops

You know when you get the notification alert that you have an upcoming meeting in–a half hour? Yeah. That kind of sucks, when you had totally forgotten about it. I was just sitting here working, snacking on some multigrain chips and about to log into my snack tracker on my diet app, and I was told I was about to miss an appointment in 2 hours. ARGH. WHY? Honestly, I should set alerts like every 15 minutes, because the ‘day before’ alert is too far from the appointment, and the ‘day of’ is always a shock to the system.

Or…maybe I should stop making appointments.

Oh, and this is kind of funny, but maybe financially shrewd and prudent: I did Easter this morning (2 days late). The rabbit “decided to come on Tuesday, because when he rang the doorbell Sunday, no one was home!” Few things about this. First, I was out of town, and the kids were at their dad’s house. So, they had a nice basket and presents there. Secondly, my mom took them on an egg hunt and they got candy with her also. However, when I got home Sunday night, my 8-year-old looked at my like Cindy Loo Who in the #Grinch after the Christmas tree was stolen, and wondered where her basket was here at my house.

“Mommy, did the Easter bunny forget to come?” she asked. Blink*Blink.

Um…Sort of? But, NO! He is just going to be a day late. So, get this though: It’s WAY BETTER for your wallet. I went to Walgreen’s to stock up on these squishy toys and pillows and candy yesterday, and it was all 50 percent off. Sort of a score. This bunny is the budget bunny and a day late, but not a dollar short!

Here are some of the treats I got.

So, she the kids were super psyched after all!

Maybe next year I can set myself an alarm for Easter. Hm…

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A Day in the Life of Me: My To-Do List Compared to My Daughter’s.

I found this amazing list my daughter wrote titled, “Friday After School List.” It started with the very obvious: 1. unpack backpack. This was followed by: 2. clean up room. Um, pretty sure that never happened. Then, there was, 3. draws/color, and so on…It ended with: 11. go to bed. This list, while somewhat compulsive and hyper-organized, also reminded me that life was so much simpler back when we were young, and maybe we ought to get back to that.

It also made me think of my own to-do list and how it compared. I decided I would write it down:

  1. Get up unwillingly: Dog and child bust into my room. Dog licks my face, and she leaps onto my back, while I let out a hurling noise.
  2. Wash out the coffee pot: Wonder why I don’t just get it ready to go the night before, because it’s so cumbersome to wash old grinds out from yesterday morning, and it takes too much time.
  3. Pack lunches: I LOATHE this task. Like, I envy those whose children have a school lunch. She won’t eat sandwiches, which leaves…chips and carrots and yogurt (which she always lets go to waste. And, they are the Chobani ones, which are not exactly cheap! #annoyed) And we can’t pack peanut butter anymore. He? He’s easier. I hate the water bottles too. It’s like they are hamsters or rabbits and need a water bottle every day. We never had water bottles. Pretty sure the one gulp I took from the nasty, dirty water fountain at field hockey practice was my entire water consumption for the whole day.
  4. Drive kids to school: even though they very well could take the bus, which drives past my freaking house. But, no, they claim they’re too afraid of COVID, and people on it are loud and wipe snot on the windows.
  5. Go to work…
  6. Pick kids up: Wonder how the hell the day went by so quickly. Tell the kids they have to self-entertain for the next two hours, because I still have work to do.
  7. Walk the dogs: Grab a roadie of wine, breathe in some fresh air, run my work day through my head and wonder what else I have to do, and then try to pretend that I am breathing and being present. Pick up poop.
  8. Make dinner: Convince children that it’s important to eat as a family, say grace to Jesus, and tell each other our “rose and thorns” of the day. Implore them that they need to take their time, stop wolfing their food, and tell them “no” to their requests for eating in their rooms, on their beds. #gross
  9. Pour another glass of vino.
  10. Play dolls or Barbies with daughter or make fire pit with son.
  11. Try to find a TV show: Scroll through Netflix, watch a bunch of trailers and realize I hate period shows and am tired of murder shows, so I turn it off.
  12. Go to my computer, read blogs and wonder why I am brain dead. Wish I could write.
  13. Make phone calls and stare at my social media.
  14. Play Words with Friends. Crush it with a few two-letter words, have one eye open because so tired.
  15. Brush teeth, wash face, stare at wrinkles, plan Botox and Fillers
  16. Go to bed.

REPEAT!

I wish I had a manicure like this. But, I don’t.

There are things I’d like to have on this list, like “Draw/Color” and playing with friends, like my daughter did. I might want to add, “Clean Room,” since the armchair looks like a hanging rack for misplaced clothes, and the bed is still not made (I hate this!).

But, maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and a new list…I hope! Probs not.