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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!

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I Need (More) Answers… Befuddling Questions

Ever wonder why when you want there to be a red light, so you can send a text, or dig through your monstrous bag looking for something, it’s always green? I have a number of these questions, which I’d like answers to. Here are others:

  1. Why does a “regular” coffee at Dunkin’ mean three creams and two sugars? Honestly, that’s irregular to me. #creambomb
  2. When I have the most garbage ever, and it’s spilling out of the cans, why do I forget to put it out on the street or it’s always a holiday and the schedule is all messed up?
  3. Why do I lose all of my nice sunglasses and hair ties, but I have that one scrunchie from 20 years ago and the Dollar Tree Store sunglasses from 2010?
  4. Why do I never learn my lesson that my children can’t eat in my bed, and then when there is a slick of ice cream on my clean sheets, I’m not only grossed out but also surprised?
  5. Why do I always wonder if the alarm will go off when I have my phone on silent?
  6. Why every time when I go to the dry cleaner is it closed? Also, does dry cleaning actually clean things? Seems a little dicey to me.
  7. Why do we open our mouths when we put on mascara?

Here is the first list of questions, if you’re interested!

What are some of your questions? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

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It’s Okay to Cry

I have cried, I think, once a day for the last seven days. That’s unusual for me…now. In my 20s and 30s, I am pretty sure I cried every day. I remember one of my close guy friends told me he hadn’t cried in several years, and I was befuddled. I was like, ‘HUH!? You must be so repressed! What is happening!?”

So I used to cry about big life things, such as, “I am never going to find ‘the one,'” and ‘Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life?” Ya know, your basic lame, white girl problems when you’re still on the dole of your Dad.

I know I’m 28, but can you send me my rent?

Now, I cry about things like when my son and I were walking the dogs last night, and he told me that my ex-husband probably married me for my looks, but “those have lowered.” Or, when I miss my long-distance boyfriend, and it hurts. Or, that I don’t always fit in.

I am not sad, really, no. I am just in-tune with my emotions, I guess?

I cried, too, this week when I saw my daughter sleeping next to me, as she does every night, and she’s so big now. She’s almost 8. I know, I know; she should sleep in her own bed. But, I’m alone, and I like to touch her ankles with my cold feet, and to hear her breathing, as I did when she was an infant and wouldn’t nap unless I lay down with her. I cried, because I remembered how tiny she was, in her zebra, zip-up, onesie, and how she smelled of powder and cornsilk on her fine hair. And how, at that time, things were so different, and I didn’t envision co-parenting and sleeping alone on Wednesdays.

The point I guess I’m trying to make is, it’s okay to cry, even if you’re happy. The tears stream down, cleanse you of those thoughts, and you can move on. People seem so concerned with appearing happy. I guess I’m just here to say, well, it’s okay to cry…