Should kids come first? There’s an adage in parenting – mothering, in particular – that draws on the old safety spiel from airplanes: you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you help anyone else. Those words of wisdom, if that’s what they are, attempt to illustrate that we, as women, need to prioritize ourselves in order to be better car givers to others. I think it’s all kind of funny because, let’s face it, if the plane is going down, that oxygen mask isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference, no matter who gets it on first.
I set some not quite resolutions for 2016. The New Year is finally here, which is a good thing, because taken as a whole, 2015 wasn’t particularly great. Okay, I did get married to my dream guy and no one suffered any major health crises, all of which I’m thankful for. Without making a giant list of my grievances against 2015, let’s just say I’m ready to move on from the stress and anxiety it brought. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, old year!
Dear Maxipad Companies,
We need to talk. We need to have a little conversation.
You decorated my maxipads. And my tampons. Why’d you go do that?
Why are you going to so much trouble to disguise my feminine hygiene apparatus?
Who are you trying to fool? Women? Men?
Because, women, we KNOW we all get periods. We get it. My daughters – they’re young and their friends get all embarrassed and giggly about it. When you decorate a tampon to make it look like a party favor, you’re basically telling them they should be all embarrassed, and you’re going to help them out by making it look like something else.
Nearly every morning, I take a shower. When I step out of the shower, I wrap a towel around my horde of curls and stand naked in front of the huge mirror over our vanity. I assess my belly, once smooth and firm, now scarred and soft from the hard work of pregnancy and three c-sections. I grimace with a something akin to irritation at my thighs – no matter how many miles they’ve run, or how many squats they’ve done – they can never quite escape the dimples of cellulite, now exacerbated by time and gravity. I save my harshest criticism for my ass. No longer the petite derriere of a twenty-something, age and heredity (and more than a few french fries) have contributed to its metamorphosis. It’s somehow larger, but smaller – wider and flatter, criss-crossed with stretch marks. Firm? Only when I’m clenching those babies tight enough to crush a soda can. It occurs to me that I’ve conducted this same ritual for decades – in different bathrooms in different homes in different mirrors – and I’ve never been satisfied with what I’ve been looking at. Today, I would give anything to have those 24-year-old thighs or stomach or ass but, when I was 24, it wasn’t good enough. Surely, there’s a lesson in that alone that should go something like “be happy with what you’ve got, because someday you’ll be wishing you had just that.” Let’s be honest, aging works in mysterious ways. Stray hairs are akin to the rings of trees – the number is a sure indicator of age. The random strands are like phantoms – I can feel them there, but my eyesight has declined to the point where I can’t actually see them. The same goes for some of the finer wrinkles on my face. Nearsightedness is God’s Photoshop. The further I stand from the mirror, the better I look – a self-inflicted blur filter.
A few weeks ago, my middle daughter absolutely needed to have a puppy. In spite of the fact that she’s 14, she was standing in my bedroom, tears rolling down her face, showing me pictures of adorable puppies available for adoption that she had to have. It must have slipped her mind that we already have two dogs. I would think she’d remember them since she’s constantly yelling for them to “Get Out!” of her room. No, guess not. Jillian has a history of passionately wanting something for about 24 – 28.5 hours. In fact, I have 4 cactii downstairs as proof. Excuse me, 1 very phallic cactus and 3 succulents. Why a teenager who keeps her room as dark as Dracula’s tomb would want 4 sun-loving plants is beyond me, but I indulged her.
If you’re here looking for a post that explains how I installed our bamboo floors or how we replaced a toilet bowl in our house, you’re going to be disappointed. Maybe some other time. What I’m about to tell you will save you years of time – I’m sure of it. These words of maternal wisdom are the result of years of careful research and experimentation. I can tell you with nearly absolute scientific certainty (margin of error +/- 68%) that, instead of delegating tasks, you should do it yourself, Mom.
This should be a post where I tell you all about how I ran a great Boilermaker this weekend. The Boilermaker is among the largest 15K road races in the United States, and a race I’ve trained for and run for the past several years. Except this year. Oh, I ran alright, but on very little training. That’s neither smart nor advisable, especially on a warm day in July.
The promise I make to you – who click over here every day and read what I have to say – is that I will be honest, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel. So here it goes:
(Note: After this post was completed, my husband felt compelled to defend his position. You’ll see his comments after mine. Welcome to our first “He Said, She Said”, I guess!)
There are parts on men that are (I think we can all agree) not attractive. Entertaining? Yes. Nice to look at? Maybe. Does that extend to feet? Furthermore, does ‘unattractive’ trump ‘comfort’? I don’t mean pajamas at Wal-Mart, I mean flip flops.
Last winter, we all went on a cruise that included stops at some gorgeous Caribbean beaches. My husband, Dave, wore sneakers. On the beach. In the ocean! Pretty much everywhere. He is a conscientious objector to flip flops. In his words, “men should not wear flip flops.” For me, the day the weather finally becomes warm enough to wear flip flops, I get a pedicure, do a happy dance, and pop those babies right on my feet. What other item of footwear can be gotten for $1? The bargain price is obviously a sign that we are all meant to wear flip flops when summer rolls around.
When you’re the parent of teenaged girls, they ask you all sorts of questions. These questions seem straightforward enough, but like a desert in a war zone, they’re really booby trapped. Let’s face it, the reality is that we didn’t actually DO (or NOT do) many of the things we advise our own kids to do (or not do.) That’s how I found myself talking to kids about drinking the other night.
Let me set the scene: we were enjoying a sushi dinner the other night, with all three children, along with our “fourth child” – a friend of the girls’, who spends so much time with us that she might as well move in. Which, by the way, would be fine, because she’s definitely the most responsible of our kids. Considering our recent track record for peaceful meals out, we were having a surprisingly pleasant time. And then…
Let’s face it, Pinterest can be an endless rabbit hole of clothing, crafts and cookery. I currently have over 2,000 pins. They’re a mix of decorating ideas, recipes, inspirational quotes, crafts and a ton of other things I just plain like. I’ll be honest: I’ve probably tried about 1.79% of them. I made a wreath once. And I hung our kayaks on the garage wall. More than anything, I’ve tried some recipes because I’m always looking for easy dinners to make. Some were terrible, but some were delicious! Maybe you have a Pinterest board full of promising dinner ideas, too. Let me share my absolute favorites out of that 1.79% that met the “realist mom” standard: quick, easy and not super processed.