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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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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.

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The Grind. How Can We Escape it and Simplify Life?

I grind my teeth. And, I clench my jaw. I was reminded of this at the dentist last week. But how do I stop from clenching when I feel overwhelmed? I feel overwhelmed this week…and often. As my editor just remarked, “You’re doing too much. Try to take a break from the book, because you’re rushing it.” I was trying to wrap up writing my book, but it isn’t ready to wrap up. That’s the thing about writing a book: it evolves, changes, and you, yourself, can’t predict the turns it takes and even how it ends. It’s not ready, and I can’t force it, even though I need a break. I wanted to check off the box: book complete. Check. Done. But I can’t. I can’t check off many things. The to-do list just continues to grow, or one thing is added as another is completed. I’ve got to stop clenching my teeth about this before I have none left!

These are nice teeth, and not my lips. But I wish I had sugar lips!

So what are things we can take away from our to-do list to simplify? Here are some constants in my life that will never be “done:”

  1. Take care of the kids. I do this six nights a week alone one week, and four nights a week alone the other. There is no getting around it, as they are still in elementary school. I could work on letting them be more independent. For example, I still cut their food and give them baths. Shh, I know. Don’t chastise me! But, I sort of like that they need me. I bring them snacks, clean their rooms, play with them all the time. In short, I create some of this “stress” there. Maybe I can work on that.
  2. Go to work. I can’t change this. We all need a paycheck. And I like my job. But, yeah, it takes up a lot of time and headspace. I think about it when I’m not there, and I check my emails at all hours. I can work on that too.
  3. Walk my dogs: I could hire a dog walker, but why even have the dogs? I LIKE walking them, but it also stresses me out when I haven’t, or when I’m rushing to work, and getting the kids out the door, and they are imploring me to take them on some long walk with their sad, little eyes! I guess I could get up earlier. Oy.
  4. Writing: I want to finish my book. I have 300 pages. I need to finish it. I want to continue to write my blog. I love writing it, and I love reading blogs. I need to make the time, or the quality suffers.

Well, okay. OMG, you know what I left off that constant list? Take care of MYSELF! I just realized that! Self-care. This is something we often forget, right? It takes a back seat, and then I go to the dentist and find my teeth are worn down. Or I cry for no reason when I listen to Piano Lounge music on Spotify while driving. I’m like bawling to some Kate Bush song and thinking, “Wait, why am I crying right now??” This happened yesterday. Then, I realized I think I’m just to freaking busy and overwhelmed.

Sorry to vent. I know we all have a lot of must-dos and should-dos.

I also need to stop apologizing.

But, first, I’ll work on grinding my teeth.

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How Do You Know You’re “Home?”

There is a reason “Home” is called “Home,” and I’m not quite sure where mine is right now. I’m sort of in between worlds. See, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio (Go Browns!), but I have lived on Cape Cod every summer of my life– and now year-round for 14 years. That’s a long time! I think I finally qualify for the “local” special at the diner, and I can legit say I hate summer people (even though I don’t–just the traffic).

I’ve lived on Cape Cod longer than I’ve lived anywhere, other than Cleveland (15 years). I spent many years in New York City (10) and Boston (3). But, now, I guess Cape Cod is my home, or well, it’s where I own a house and raise my children and have a job. So that’s home? It doesn’t always feel like it.

The reason I bring this confusion up is this: my partner lives in Cleveland, many of my best friends live here, and a lot of my heart is, well, here.

But my children are not.

Here’s a typical “home” in Shaker Heights, Ohio (where I grew up)

So yeah.

I thought about this today when the airplane was landing in Cleveland, and I could see the snow covering the acres of flat ground. The familiar grey sky had cover from Lake Eerie, and I felt a sense of relief.

“Ah, I’m home,” I thought, stepping off the plane and seeing the “Welcome to Cleveland” sign in Hopkins International Airport.

But, when I was taking off in the plane, I cried. I cried because I missed my kids. I saw them this very morning, but I felt so far away, and I was scared. I was scared that maybe something would happen on my flight, and that I’d never see them again. And maybe I was a terrible parent for flying and leaving them behind, even though they are safe with their father for the weekend. I sent my daughter a text on her Gizmo (for those not in the know, a Gizmo is like an Apple Watch for kids, where they can get a call or text from their parents or send a limited set of texts). I said, “I love you so much! I miss you already.” I also texted my parents (who now live on the East Coast).

When I arrived in Cleveland, I was greeted by my boyfriend, and we then met up with my best friend from high school for lunch. It was so nice! I was so happy and thought, “Yay! I am home!” This is where I’m meant to be!

But part of me is missing.

A big part. My kids.

And I know, deep down, this is not where I live. I’m just a visitor.

I just wish it could all be one. I wish I could feel whole in one of the places.

Wherever I am, someone I love is missing.

So what makes a home a home?

You tell me.

Parenting

Thanks for Listening: A Rant from Me xo

I want to start this by saying: I just can’t anymore! I have been running around like a maniac, probably accruing the much-desired 10,000 steps in the last hour, because I can’t get a break! Long weekends are a lot…a lot…for a parent with young children at home, especially if you’re a single parent, and it’s a pandemic, and they can’t play with others. Not to mention, my car overheated and basically was on fire on Friday, and my grill caught fire and no longer works. Oh, and the loaner car I got from Subaru for my on-fire car? I returned it, and I left the case for my air pods in it, so there’s that. And I can’t find my Chrome book, just the plug.

Guys! I am losing my mind!!!

See? I have all the good intentions of having a calm day, and then this crap happens.

So here’s my day:

  1. Get woken up early by Tigger (a.k.a., my daughter), even though it’s a holiday, and I wanted to get some quality rack.
  2. Play Old Maid with both kids and discuss our “ideal” agendas for the day, so we can come to a compromise: my son wants to sit around and play video games, and then have me drive him to Chic-Fil-A, even though it’s 40 minutes away, and I’m in a loaner car from Subaru, so we can’t *really* eat in it. My daughter wants me to play Barbies, walk the dogs, and then play more. Me? I suggested raking the leaves, cleaning the house, and walking the dogs. Seriously? That’s my “ideal” day? It was. Come get me. Someone.
  3. We go to the skate park, which was fun. Kids skateboarded, and I walked dogs. Then, we hit up McDonald’s in lieu of Chick-fil-A. Oh, and she needed a Coolata, so we had to hit up Dunkin Donuts also. Gross? Yes. But, whatevs. Then, I find out it’s going to cost more to repair my car from a decade ago than to get rid of it. So there’s that.
  4. I come home, make some steak in the broiler, because the grill is broken, and no one but the dogs enjoy it. Then, I cut my children’s hair, as if I’m licensed at Pro Cuts, they yell at me, and then I lose everything known to me. I flat iron her hair so it looks longer.
  5. I’m still cleaning.
  6. I decide I have to pour wine and exclaim, “Mommy needs a time out,” even though I had every intention not to drink on a Monday.

So this was my day “off” from work.

I don’t know. Just complaining to y’all. We all have it hard, and Covid blows, and no one’s life is easy, and I have NO business complaining. Yet, I just wanted to vent. So, thank you for reading and listening. Feel free to vent to me in the comments!