Wednesday, November 12, 2014

solidarity

You know what would be great sometimes? If we could have a parenting co-op where we could take turns putting each other's kids to bed.

Because God knows our kids would never treat other moms the way they treat us.

But seriously, what would be amazing about this would be that when we said "omg, you will never believe..." And our friends said "I know," we would believe them. Really believe them. Because we would know that they truly saw us and that it wasn't really just us.

So let's just pretend that tonight your kid screamed at me and my kid sobbed on you and kicked and screamed all the way to bed.

It's not your fault. You're a good mom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quiet Time

The toddler had nestled into her crib after only moments of fussing, laughingly declaring. "Bed. Okay. Bye, mommy."

The preschooler was snuggled in her bed agreeably with a book, some wooden toys, and a timer.

As I walked down the stairs I thought to myself, Okay, now I have time to do all the things I really want to do. All the guilty fun, all the productivity, all the meaningful making, all the self improvement.  Okay, now I'm going to..

And as my butt hit the couch, my brain went completely blank.

I picked up my tablet.

I opened a google message box.

"What am I supposed to be doing?"

"Good question. Have you written yet today?"

"In my journal," can you mumble on google chat? "It didn't really work."

"Working isn't really what matters."

I closed my tablet case, as one does when one knows that one is wrong but wants to keep sulking.  I lay back on the couch and pulled a blanket over me. I closed my eyes.

This will work. This must be what I need. I just need to not be on for a minute.

The phone rang.

"Hi honey."

"Hi, did you finish the invitations for Little's birthday party?"

"Oh," I felt more groggy than I expected after 30 seconds with my eyes closed. "No, not yet. I'm going to - "

"Okay. And did you open all the Amazon boxes with the kids' gifts?"

"Oh. No. I should do that now while they're..."

"MOMMY!" came the extremely loud stage whisper from the top of the stairs.

"I, uh, I have to go. That's BG."

"Oh, okay, call later if you need me."

"Sweetie, what is it?"

"Come look at how I dressed my dolls."

"Sweetie, it's Quiet Time. If your clock isn't green, go back to your room. I'll look at them later."

"Oh. Right."

I went back to the couch. I closed my eyes. The washer buzzed.

I should switch that over. I should get those boxes. I should finish those ... I'll just close my eyes for another sec ...

"Mommy! I have to go potty!"

"I'll be right there."

There are only ten minutes left on her  quiet time timer when I put her back to bed. I head downstairs and throw a k cup in the coffee pot. I lug the boxes up to my closet. I throw the towels in the dryer.

"Mommy, my clock is green!"

"Come on down, baby. Let's play."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Now. I'm not one to disrespect the turkey. But I see you out there. I know you're around already, and I'm already being asked for Christmas lists. So I thought I'd make a list of  things I really want, a list I can't really give to the people I know but you, Santa, I know you'll understand.

Normally, when people ask what I want for Christmas, I tell them world peace and warm socks. And I still want those things, as I probably always will.

But there are a few more things I want this year too.

1. One full day when no one calls me solely by the name of a fictional character.
2. Several consecutive hours to binge watch whatever junk TV I want without anyone interrupting, judging, or commenting.
3. A morning when I can sleep as late as I want, get out of bed gradually, and sit quietly with my coffee without worrying about spilling it on anyone.
4. My laundry to be done.  Done. All of it. Ever.
5. My children to go a full hour without anyone pushing, hitting, screaming, or falling off of anything.
6. Something I write on my blog to go viral, get syndicated, win an award, generally be met with praise and applause.
7. A quiet brain, one that doesn't berate me when I make mistakes or paralyze me when I have choices to make.
8. A friend to sit on my couch and eat Oreos with me.

If I could get even a few of those things, Santa, I'd be pretty darn happy. But until then, I'm just gonna pick up some extra Oreos.

Love,
story

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Unremarkable

It is ten o'clock on a Sunday night.  My kids are in bed, my laundry is folded, my house is cleanish, my coffee pot is set up for morning, my feet are up on the table.

And I suddenly look up from the children's shoe shopping I'm absentmindedly doing and say, "OH CRAP, I HAVE TO WRITE A BLOG POST."

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Last year, by this time I was doing amazing writing. I was in it. There was magic. I was writing narratives of things that had happened, weaving metaphors, tugging at heart strings. I felt like a writer. I felt like I knew what I was doing.

It was a fool's errand to go into this project this year trying to recreate that. Truly. I know this.  There's no way to recreate magic, to revisit a moment when something clicks and happens.  The moment I had an idea in my head of how this was supposed to go, of where it was supposed to end up, of what it was supposed to look like, I had failed.

That sucks, guys.

I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know where I am.  I am embarrassed that I am still STILL writing about writing, that I don't have anything to say.

I am so afraid of being unremarkable.

And that's the thing, isn't it? that's the thing that keeps me silent, that makes me small.  The fear of being small is what keeps me down. The belief that nothing I have to say is important, that no one will ever want to hear it, is what keeps me from reaching out and touching the people who may need to hear what I have to say.

I want to be funny. I want to be deep. I want to be interesting. I want to be perfect and good and great.

I want to be raw and vulnerable and honest without any danger of it not being liked.

I'm a mess, guys. My kids are a mess. My house is a mess. And in some ways, I'm not in any way afraid of sharing that because in this blogging world, it's okay to say those things. I know that no one reading this will think any of those mean I'm less than.

I have trouble being grateful sometimes. I struggle. I feel overwhelmed. I don't think I can keep parenting, keep writing, keep showing up and being a friend because it's AWFUL to care that much about anything.  Awful.

And it's okay to admit that here too.

So what is it I'm afraid to say? What am I hiding? Am I hiding that I think I"m good, that I want to be good, that I want to be seen? I think I've said all that here too, although that makes me very uncomfortable.

I'm afraid of being dismissed, of being one upped, of being brushed off and seen as whiny.  "Is that what you're feeling bad about? That''s nothing."

I'm afraid that I'm foolish to think I can ever be anything other than unremarkable.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

4 good things about today

1. My coffee was amazing this morning.
2. The four year old and I finished Beezus and Ramona tonight.
3. My kids got to hug people dressed like Anna and Elsa.
4. I'm having a glass of wine. A big one.

I ... That's all I've got. I'm thankful you're reading. Good night.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The next day

Today I feel overwhelmed.  I screwed up. I yelled too much. I lost control.

I'm embarrassed. Part of me feels like this is my punishment for earring yesterday that I was good at this.  Part of me feels like this is because I'm weak, bad at mothering. Like I'm just whining and saying I feel overwhelmed will make people not like me, think poorly of me.

I feel like the things that make me feel crazy: my kids roaring, big yelling that she hates me, little pulling an egg off the kitchen counter, like these things are really no big deal. That they wouldn't make other people feel overwhelmed.

But then I realize that if I don't say out loud how hard I find it, you might think you're the only one too.

You're not. I promise.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mastery

Today was a good day.

It didn't always feel that way.  At 1:30, when the toddler was crying in her bed, and the preschooler was sitting at the top of the stairs yelling, "MOMMY I'M SAD BECAUSE SISTER IS AWAKE AND I WANT SPECIAL MOMMY TIME" instead of listening to a book in her room, I was pretty sure the day would never end.

Then we had a tea party.  I blew up some balloons and watched my girls bat them around the living room. I threw some pillows on the floor in the upstairs hallway and let the girls jump back and forth across them while I folded two loads of laundry on my bed.  I let the little one smear glue aimlessly on a piece of construction paper, while the big one sorted pictures by vowel sound and I cooked smothered apple cider pork chops.

And we laughed.  And sang. And talked.

And holy crap, I wasn't awful at this.

A few months ago, Lindsay wrote a post in which she said that she admires stay at home moms because they are creative and I cringed.  I'm not creative. Does that mean I'm not a stay at home mom?

I confessed this to her because that's the kind of awkward, vulnerable, squishy relationship we have.

"You put on audio books for naps," she said. "You take your kids to classes and find activities for them. Creative doesn't mean pinterest, honey."

Today was the first day I really felt creative.

I've written before about being in survival mode.  Do you know what the next step is after surviving in Harold Wong's classroom management scale?  Mastery.  And at first, he says, you have to really think about what you're doing. You are constantly conscious of the choices you're making, but you are doing it. You know the right things to do and you are doing them.

Today, I felt like I achieved mastery.  And, man, it was hard work.  And I'm going to have a glass of wine and some pie and go to bed at 9:30.

But it's the best kind of exhausted I've felt in a while.