I Am Not Pinterest Mom…Just The Queen Of Pinterest Fails

I remember when Pinterest first came around. My brain is a little foggy from loss of brain cells since that time, but I’d say it was around 2012 when it started gaining widespread pandemonium popularity. I remember this because it was also the year that I had my second child…13 months after having my first. Yes, I know, I’m crazy. But all is well now.

Obviously when you have kids back to back as I did, cramming in a career is usually not an option. Unless you work from home or have a ton of help–or you don’t mind paying several thousand dollars a year for childcare. Since I am not a celebrity or rich, I didn’t have the option to bounce right back into a flourishing career so I wanted something “to do” when I wasn’t preoccupied with diapers and feedings, etc.

As I started hearing all this buzz surrounding Pinterest, I remember telling my husband about it. Like most things, he said, “sounds expensive” and left it at that. And really, he’s right. Unless you’re super crafty or it comes naturally to you there’s a tendency to stock up like you’re preparing for the Apocalypse when going to the craft store. And Pinterest fails? I’m the queen of those. I don’t have the patience for it and I burn my fingers with the stupid hot glue.

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I remember feeling jealous when I could see other mothers make all these cool crafts for and with their kids and wondering why I couldn’t do shit like that. Am I doing it wrong? Is it really that hard? Surely it couldn’t be. But then when the novelty wore off for me, which is about a month or so given my gnat-like attention span for trying new things, I realized why. Because it wasn’t me. I am not Pinterest Mom nor will I ever be. Those things just don’t come naturally for me.

I am touchdown dance mom. I am mom who likes to have dance parties to YouTube videos in the living room. I am mom who likes to take you to Starbucks and order you caffeine-free Frappuccinos. I am mom who will sing along with you to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs in the car.

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We all have our strengths, we don’t have to be the same. We don’t have to be made to feel bad if we don’t relate to other mothers for things that are widely popular. It doesn’t matter, you are no less of a mother and your kids aren’t going to sit back and tell your grandkids one day about that amazing cheesecloth project y’all made together when they were 7. Let it go, along with the PTA and all the other mother stuff you feel like you have to like but don’t.

Be the mom YOU want to be and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not a true mom because of it.

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I Am A Mother And I Drink. I Am Not The Devil.

Everyone has something that calms them down, helps them to relax, and brings them inner peace. Everybody has a vice, so to speak. This is especially true after a long day. A release from stress, life, parenting, work, whatever. For me, it’s alcohol. Always has been.

I get that life is not a competition, but I have stress. I have real life shit that weighs me down and percolates in my mind to the point at which I need some sort of release to make the worry go to rest.

Some people need to pray, others need to sweat it out in a gym, some may even chain smoke to ease their mind, but for me, I need my alcohol. What I don’t need is to be made to feel bad about it.mom needs drink

Yes, I have children. Three in fact. Regardless of this, I still deserve to kick back and enjoy myself. I am not dead just because I have kids. I am still a human being that likes to have deserved fun when needed, just like I was before I became a parent. I have several mom friends in the trenches who can relate.

And those tolerances we once had that were weak and easily tampered with? Those are a thing of the past. Bottle of wine? I got this. Sit back and relax and enjoy. Tomorrow morning may be a tad rough, but tonight will be fun. Besides, it’s nothing that a little water and Tylenol can’t fix—or greasy food.

I feel that despite my kids seeing me drink, they will turn out just fine. I grew up in a rather dysfunctional and interesting family dynamic, but even though things weren’t “normal” in my childhood, I cannot recollect ever once seeing my parents drink alcohol in front of me when I was in my youth.

My father was much older and had had his “party days” so that was behind him, but my mother was a single mom who often went out on the town and reserved her times of drinking for when her children were none the wiser. I cannot say the same. My kids have seen me drink on several occasions. But this is also mainly because I do not have a live-in housekeeper to care for my kids the way that I had as a child when my mother reared me. I do my best to wait till it’s past bedtime, but sometimes such is not always the case.dOKpmOkids-mother-annoying-tired-hungry-drink-moms-ecards-someecards

Not seeing my parents drink didn’t really teach me anything about alcohol anyway. How much is too much? Is it fun? Am I supposed to do it? I dabbled a little in high school but I was so focused on making good grades and playing sports that I didn’t care much for it during that time. Now after high school, that’s a much different story.

Thankfully my cool mom radar goes off when I meet other mothers that like to enjoy themselves and don’t pretend to be Mother Theresa. Because, really, what’s the point in that anyway? If I want a drink I am going to indulge myself. I work hard, I deserve it. I’m not waking up in the morning and drinking vodka from a flask. Save your judgement for someone who is actually doing an injustice to the world. I am only doing an injustice to my liver. And it’s my liver dammit, I can do with it as I see fit.

Everyone has their vice and for me it’s wine…or vodka, heck, even whiskey if that’s what I feel like I’m in the mood for…or all that I have in my liquor cabinet.

Life is short and I am not here to impress anyone, so to all of those mothers out there who are quick to judge another mother for letting loose and having fun you should ask yourself why you’re judging someone else in the first place. I won’t judge you for making shit off Pinterest, don’t judge me for drinking a bottle of wine on a Tuesday. Seems fair enough.

Be Affectionate With Your Kids. They Need It. And So Do You.

I can count on one hand how many times my mother told me that she loved me. And I can count on two fingers how many times she told me that I made her proud.

Those words matter. Not only to a child, but also to an adult.

When I was growing up, had it not have been for my father who I saw irregularly, I would never have received affection at all. My mother was just not that type of person. As a child–when your perspective is rather limited to not much else besides your family–you think of things as “normal” because you don’t really know the difference.

I didn’t mind it then, not receiving affection, because I naturally assumed this was how all families are.

Clearly, I was wrong.

For the rest of this story, click over to Life As Mama!

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Learning To Unplug From Life–And Work

When you work from home it’s not the same as working in an office. Sure, you are working, but “shutting it down” is just not the same as leaving an actual office when the clock strikes 5PM.

We are all guilty of “taking our work home with us” from time to time. For myself, I have been very guilty of this. But I’m actively trying to get better. I’d like to think it’s working.

I know for a fact why I do, and why I did this for so long to the point at which it was unhealthy. I liked feeling important. I liked the feeling that other people “needed me” outside of my home life. Sometimes when you have kids back to back and you’re deep in the trenches of diaper duty, meal prep, laundry and covered in spit up and snot, it’s nice to feel like your opinion matters to someone over the age of 5.

It’s also nice to hold adult conversation. For me, it serves as a fundamental outlet to escape and to satisfy my unbreakable passion to earn money and earn purpose outside of my family. None of this would be possible if I couldn’t work from home. My personal life wouldn’t allow for that. I have to be home to play shuttle bus driver, among other reasons.

But when is it “too much” that it becomes unhealthy? For me, it was when I realized what I defined as my level of “commitment” was a stark extreme compared to others. The phone can wait, the messages will still be there after the alert goes ding.

Above all, I’m actively learning that you don’t need to go on an actual vacation just to get away from work. You should have enough strength and will power and commitment to yourself and to your well-being to be able to shut it down even when you are at home.

Life needs balance. Without it, there are sure to be consequences. I think back to January of this year. I’m one of those corny people who goes guns blazing with personal “New Year’s Resolutions” I seek to fulfill because I convince myself that it will “make me a better person” when all is said and done. Typically I choose 3. This year was to give up caffeine, alcohol, and to try and take on side jobs and grow my “writing career” other than my editing career in hopes of self-fullfillment.

Fast forward to mid February and I was sick as a dog. My body, mind, and spirit were so run down and exhausted I could hardly move. Why am I killing myself to try harder? I couldn’t see that I was trying too much. For anyone that’s ever worked freelance at anything–or commission based–you understand the strange feeling of declining offers. You have this overwhelming sense of guilt that’s attached that makes you worry that you may not get this golden opportunity again.

Having to turn down the opportunity to earn more money was hard, but not when it came at the expense of spending less time with my kids or less time allowing my brain to have some downtime. The sense of worry was outweighed by practicality and I made myself speak up for the tiny voice in my head that was begging for a break.

Take those 5 extra minutes for yourself. Sleep an extra hour if you need it. We are all human and being a mother is like working two jobs that no-one is sending you a check in the mail for and if you throw a career on top of that it’s damn near impossible not to lose your mind on a few occasions. It’s okay to “shut it down” and detach. Don’t feel bad for needing or wanting that each day. Because if not, you’ll just be doing yourself an injustice that will transform into a major issue before long.

Time Is Always The Best Medicine When It Comes To Family

For people who are siblings, often times there are many things in common. Which, coming from the same parents, doesn’t sound so surprising. Sometimes these similar traits can serve as something to bond over, and other times it can be a source of frustration and even pain.

Spending your childhood with a sibling only to disconnect as an adult hurts.

Sometimes it’s over little differences that can’t seem to work themselves out, and other times it’s a falling out that leaves a person feeling damaged to the point of despair. I’ve experienced this and the only way to make the hurt subside was to push it to the back of my mind and to lock it in a safe spot that I wouldn’t allow my mind to wander to.

Don’t open that door. Don’t let that pain back in. It needs a place to stay because that’s what’s needed to feel protected from the questions that linger and hook into your brain.

Time is a funny thing. It has a unique power as it’s earned. Change cannot happen overnight. This is especially true when it comes to a person and who they are. In recent years, since the passing of my mother, my last living parent, I’ve grown up a lot. Not only as a human being, but in the roles I wear in my everyday life. As a wife, as a mother, as an employee, as a friend. I’ve become more aware of the person that I am playing in this thing we call life and the impression I am leaving on those I meet and surround myself with. I’ve gained a broader perspective of my actions onto another person. I realize now that some of this hurt and the painful rifts that were formed weren’t all someone else’s fault.

I was wrong. I said things that I learned are hurtful to others. I’ve talked about myself too much and fell short when asking questions about how someone else might be doing. I’ve been quick to judge. And most importantly, I realize that for a person that you are related to by blood it can cut like a dagger straight in the gut when these actions come from a person that you once spent each day of childhood with.

Time shows you things you need to see, but only when you are ready to see them. When you are able to learn and grow from the past, you have the ability to turn those mistakes into life lessons. You never know when your life can change or what the future holds. Make those relationships right. Don’t live with regrets. If you miss someone enough that you call a brother or a sister, pick up the phone. Tell them. Chances are, because of that blood that runs deep and links the two of you for life, they might be feeling the same way, too.

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Why It’s Okay To Admit You Can’t Do It All

Five years ago I never would have been in this position. Heck, even two years ago I wouldn’t have. For years I spent far too much energy focusing on appearing as the “Supermom” that could do everything with ease. I even wrote about it once for a writing job. Surely if I read that blog to myself now I would roll my eyes straight into the back of my head.

You can’t do it all. But you know what? You shouldn’t have to.

It’s okay to admit that you need help. It’s okay to admit that you are tired and want to take a nap. There’s nothing wrong with accepting help or assigning responsibilities to your spouse or your children.

There is, however, a problem with putting yourself on the back burner for the sake of portraying an unrealistic and idealized perception of what a mother is supposed to be.

For years my weight ruled my life. The toxic relationship that I had with the scale and the clothes hanging in my closet dictated my mood and self-worth. But what’s worse is they conquered my well-being. Many times I would work out twice a day, and even more times I would skip out on meals or forfeit the opportunity to eat anything tempting. It was a twisted cycle that consumed my everyday existence. It isn’t until now, a few years later and over 20 pounds heavier that I realize that nothing I did was ever going to be enough.

No matter how skinny I was there was always going to be something I felt like I needed to change about the way that I looked. If it wasn’t for my daughters, I would still be that person. I saw how my obsession was leaving an impression on them and it made me see the awful, ignorant injustice I was bestowing upon them. I promised to change my ways, and slowly but surely I let down my wall I’d built up in my mind and I did.

Then I think about the perfectly cleaned house, the impeccably dressed children, and the amazing meals that I would prepare every evening. Now spot cleaning will suffice, my kids wear whatever is clean, and my family is lucky to get an appetizer out of me unless it’s game day.

The point of all of this is that the little things mean shit when you realize you are killing yourself for them. No one is watching you, as they are so consumed with their lives they barely have time to see yours and feel envy. Social media is a lie, so don’t believe all the mothers you see on there that have you convinced they are momming so hard and crushing parenting. Their husbands are probably sick of their shit and can’t wait to escape and I bet their kid picks their nose and eats it. You’re doing fine, so just relax already.

If you are losing yourself because you’re so caught up in the small things you will never, ever be truly happy. Sleep the extra hour. Take an extra day off of the gym. Put that sugar in your coffee. Have that second glass of wine.

When you slow down for a second and realize that life is meant to be enjoyed, not put into fast gear, you’ll see that all those things you cared about don’t matter anyway.

The dishes can wait. Your kid crying cannot.

You can also do what I did and stage silent protests. I’ve intentionally stopped doing laundry to signal to my husband that the washer and dryer does, in fact, have an on and off switch. I’ve also left used pots and pans sitting empty post meal to signify that yes, you can help clean the kitchen. If your better half helped make the kids he can help to take care of them, too, regardless if he is “tired” or has had a “long day” at work.

Accepting yourself and your needs will allow you to gain perspective on what truly matters. Give in to the urges to sit down and relax, and don’t be shy to speak up about wanting to divvy out some of your mounting tasks. Letting go of the stress of treading water will allow you to feel something you haven’t felt in a long time—relief.