Who is Mom?

Maybe its been a rough week.

Or maybe, the universe is trying to tell me something by nudging me over the edge with annoyances and frustrations so that I will finally develop a backbone and STICK THE HELL UP for myself.  I realize that no one, and I mean no one (not even the dogs) realize that I am a human being with needs and wants and desire of my own.  I realize that being taken for granted is part of the grand scheme of family life – even though I don’t believe that it is the way it is supposed to be.  And most of the time, I am perfectly okay with this.  But every once in a while my ‘cup spilleth over,’ and I become angry and frustrated and pushed to the brink of tears.

When I lift the toilet seat and see the mess that my family folk left me, it makes me feel like I am nothing but a shit picker upper.  Last night, when the entire family ate dinner without me (Chinese takeout) and then left the table and left behind their paper plates, utensils and remnants of rice and peas all over the place, I felt like I must be the hired help.  When my kids see me on the phone, or see me working yet continue to barrage me with questions and cries of “Mama, will you,” I question whether my children have any iota of what it means to be respectful to others.  Especially those ‘others’ in their life who take care of them and love them the most.

Simply said, loving our children and doing as much as we can for them, is NOT the way to foster children who are compassionate and considerate of others.  They won’t just have the revelation one day that mom is such a thoughtful, considerate person that “I think I want to be one too.”  In fact, being a doer of all things, inversely makes them selfish little overly dependent brats who never seem to grow out of the stage of thinking that the entire world revolves around them.

Guess what kids.  It doesn’t. It never will. Get. Over. Yourself.

So, like any mom – I have those moments where I just sort of get sick of it all, and blow up.  Suddenly, everyone in the house is minding their P’s and Q’s and at full attention.  The lingering tasks and chores that I have been nagging them to do for what seems like forever, suddenly get done.  They pick up after themselves, use kinder words, clean up their rooms.

Then, in the aftermath – they accuse me of being bipolar. Or about to start my period.  And say in their sweet little voices, “Mom are you okay!”

Here’s the thing.  Sometimes I get tired of doing every thing.  I get tired of being taken advantage of.  I do not exist in the world of Leave it to Beaver where washing clothes and ironing and cooking meals are the highest extent of my fulfillment.  I need MORE than that.  I want MORE than that.  And I believe that when I am triggered into a tirade, the universe is basically saying “Hey you – your gas tank is about to be completely empty.  Make some quick changes lest you lose yourself completely!”

Plus, I do want my girls to grow up as women, who may become mothers day with the knowing that it is okay to have a personality, a side of yourself that lacks any hint of maternal instinct.  I want them to know that they can have kids and a husband and a house, and not be the sole person amongst the family responsibility for cleaning up everyone’s shit. (Literally and metaphorically).  And, at some point in their lives, I want them to see me as a person of substance, who has something to offer, who has skills and feelings and talents and abilities that are beyond those compartmentalized within being a mother. 

Even more, I want this gentle awakening of realization to occur WITHOUT me having to go all freak nuts on them. 

Is that too much to ask? 

Seriously.  When you take away the curtains of motherhood, our children shouldn’t have to ask, “Who is mom?” We should give them the gift of knowing us, not just as the doer of all things, the creator of life, but as strong, happy, fulfilled women of substance.

Conversations With My Daughters

Many moons ago, when I was a young girl – and I honestly felt like I was placed in a world where I didn’t belong, I read (and wrote) a lot of poetry.  The stuff I wrote then, was raw, so much so that I rarely if ever drag it from my treasure box and read it now, fearful that pain I felt in those uncertain times, will come crashing down on me all over again.  It’s not a place that I want to revisit.  But it is the same place that my teenagers and most teenagers are in today.  One of my favorite poets then (and now) was Kahlil Gibran.

I remember reading his poem on children.  Back then, I read it from the perspective of a child who was trying to find her way, trying to figure out who she was, trying to find a way to expand my clipped wings and fly.  If you have never read it, I suggest that you do.

          Your children are not your children. 
       They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  
      They come through you but not from you,  
      And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.  
      You may give them your love but not your thoughts. 
       For they have their own thoughts.  
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,  
      For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
       You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  
       For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  
      You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. 
        The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.  
      Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;  
      For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

Just this week, I read it again, but this time as a mother.  A mother going through a somewhat difficult (New world’ish) problem with her twin teenage daughters.  A problem that I had the answer to.  In our conversations, I was jumping up and down waving the solution to my girls’ problems in their air like an attention starved school child trying to be the teacher’s pet.  I literally had the hall pass in my hand.

I tried to tell my kids what they needed to do, how they needed to think, the best way to handle things.  Only because I love them, and want what is ultimately best for them.  I even resorted to the tough love speech that goes something like, “Do whatever YOU WANT, I don’t care.” Then, I jumped up and down some more. (Looking rather desperate I suppose.)  I kept thinking if only, they would listen to me.  Why won’t they listen to me dammit? 

It’s frustrating when we, as adults and parents can see something so clearly but our children cannot.  Even more frustrating is to sit back and watch them learn their own lessons.  And then, this poem popped into my head and I had to read it again.  And again.

I am “the bow from which my living children are sent forth.“  I am nothing more.  They think on their own, make decisions for themselves, have their own emotions that no matter how much I love them, or how much I think I know them – I will NEVER be part of.  No one really knows what another person thinks, and we are naïve and perhaps egotistical as parents to think we know our children better than anyone else, or can read their minds, or that we even know what they need.

Perhaps they need to learn the lesson the hard way.  Maybe, they need to come to their own conclusion – find their own way of getting over a bump in the road.  Maybe I can offer assistance, and guidance as the BOW, but once I let it go – I am helpless to steer it.  And even if I did ‘steer the arrow,’ that is my children – it would only postpone their own growth. My solution to THEIR problem would only be temporary, because the solution belongs to me, NOT them.

Regardless of where you are right now in your life as a parent - you will wake up one day and be in my shoes.  What feels like forever when your kids are young and impressionable and housed both emotionally and physically within our bodies turns into a blink of eye when it’s over.   We help our children the most when we empower them, and ALLOW and encourage them to make their own decisions – even if they are going about it asshat backwards.

I see so many parents today clinging to the destiny of their children, as if it the highest marker of their ability to parent.  I see so many mothers and fathers playing political games, butt-kissing, literally and metaphorically buying what they think is their children’s happiness in life – force feeding their kids the answers to every problem and taking control and ‘fixing’ it themselves if their children are unwilling.  What on the surface may seem like being the best parent in the world, or just loving their children and wanting happiness – is really all about fear. And that fear doesn’t belong to your children.

I won’t say it’s easy to watch my kids make mistakes.  But I know it is what I must do.  And I will ”allow my bending in the archer’s hand to be for gladness;  For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable!

The Mom Funk

Behind the mask of every mother there is at some point an undefinable emotion curdling under the surface that reeks of sour milk.

It hits each of us at random times, and no matter what – we, as women, refuse to talk about it with anyone but our closest friends – and sometimes we dont even trust them worried that they will think if we reveal our feelings, they will think we are an ass.  Instead, we put on our happy faces, cart the kids to school, show up at their games and performances, cook them dinner, wash their laundry and smile and coo as much as possible – hoping that no one will notice.  We even take it one step further by perpetuating our lies and denying our feelings that along the parental path we are slowly but surely forgetting who we are by defining ourselves by our children.

This emotion, this state of mind if you will is called “the Mom Funk!”

imagesCASBAD1HUnfortunately, the mom funk hits and then suddenly all of those day-to-day duties such as changing diapers and filling the fridge with yummy foods and kissing sweet-smelling foreheads goodnight, doesn’t make us all that happy.  Even children laughing in another room and colorful drawings brought home from a kindergarten classroom can do little to stir the soul of a mother who is in the mom funk.

Sadly, because we are nearly forced and programmed by societal expectations to always be grateful, loving creatures, who are supposed to feel constantly showered with blessings from above simply because we have children to call our own, the mom funk goes without cure.

And moms in the funk, ashamed of feeling sick and tired of doing everything for everyone (but herself) hides behind the mask of motherhood and pretends that she is happy.  Still smiling on cue.  Still pretending to listen.  Still getting up in the morning and cutting the crust off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that no one will notice she is fading on the inside like a shadow does when thunderclouds roll in.

I know this.  I have been in the mom funk many times.  I am currently in the mom funk, where I wish I could lock myself away for a 3 day stretch and do nothing that involves doing something for anyone else.  At this very moment, I resent spending my entire waking hours doing for others, driving my kids around, and feel caught up in a scene from GroundHog day the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning.  It’s hard to be excited about the day ahead when you know exactly what to expect – and have become so regimented that you even drink your coffee at the same time each day.

Truth is, that just because you feel the mom funk from time to time, doesn’t mean you are an awful person or horrible undeserving mom.  You are, after all, a human being – separate from your children. 

But as moms, we cannot easily endure the mom funk without beating themselves into smithereens.

We tend to take the mom funk even further and internalize every sad story we have ever heard to make ourselves feel even worse about feeling stuck in the mom funk.  We start wondering what kind of asshole could be tired of holding hands with her daughter, or having in-depth conversations with her teenager – especially when there are so many women in this world without kids, with sick kids, or who have lost kids.  Then we wonder what the hell is wrong with us for feeling so ungrateful, so tired, so exhausted and so unenthused about motherhood.  Every god damn book we have ever read prepares us for the notion that motherhood is the mack -daddy experience of a good life, right?  So we face palm ourselves even further into the mom funk.

I am huge proponent of the fact that we shouldnt find our own gratitude by measuring another’s misfortune. 

And I also believe, wholeheartedly, that if we were a little more honest with one another and sent out the “hey I am in the mom funk signal” to other women – we would be able to get passed this phase before it turns into depression, or before we lose ourselves.

We would realize that we are normal to have these feelings.

We would be able to understand that in order to GIVE to others, we have to first GIVE to ourselves.  Just like when our cars are out of gas they don’t run, when moms are out of fuel – they too break down on the side of the motherhood road.

So many of us remain quiet and dishonest and ashamed of feeling what we feel.

And I am here to tell you that it is okay.  It is okay to sit down some days and wonder why in the world you had kids.  It is okay to not feel like talking to your children, and it is okay to be overwhelmed and frustrated and bored with motherhood.  There is a major difference between being busy, and being fulfilled.  Most of us are busy.  Not as many are fulfilled.  And your children cannot do that for you – only you can do that for yourself. 

With experience and several bouts of the mom funk, I now realize that in order to be the mom I want to be, I have to take time to recharge me.  Sure, this may mean that there a few days where the kids don’t get as much mommy attention – because mommy is trying to pay attention to herself.  We have to rearrange our thinking to see this hiatus as not selfish, but as a way to stop being SELF-LESS.  Think about the difference between being selfish and SELF-LESS.  When you are self-less, what is it that you have to earnestly offer your children.

I am working through my current mom funk as best I can.  And in a few days, or maybe a few hours – it will pass.  Your own mom funk will pass, if you pay those feelings attention and commit to doing something for yourself.  And by all means – cut yourself a break. 

If you are in a mom funk, then don’t mull around and beat yourself up.  If you cannot admit it to your friends or your husband than email me at momspirational@live.com and we can work through it together.  I promise, I won’t judge.  Because the mom funk my friends is REAL!!!!!


Over IT – Letting Go – FU People

I have realized as of late, that I am not very good at letting things go.  Especially things that just aren’t fair.  Sure, I understand that the world is not a ‘fair’ or ”just’ place – but I do have certain expectations of adults in particular.  So when adults act like complete and utter assholes, it sort of sticks with me and I ruminate about it for days, weeks, months – okay, years!

One of the most important things to know about me for anyone that gives a crap, is that I am believer in karma.  I carry myself with the sense that what I give will come back to me.  This makes me very conscious of any of my OWN actions that may be rude, immature, inappropriate or downright wrong. And it helps me avoid acting on impulse (most of the time).  Am I perfect?  Hell no.  But I am not  a fraud, a fake, a phony. I am not mean spirited and don’t try to create ways to hurt people. Most of the time, my INTENTIONS are good – even if the turnout is not. And I work on myself, and my life, and on being a better person every day.

So when other people – ADULTS, don’t do the same thing, I wonder how they sleep at night?

How can people do some of the things they do that are so freaking malicious and ill-spirited and hateful and WRONG and still fall asleep at night without a heavy dose of NyQuil?  How can people lie, cheat, steal, spread rumors, spew hate, hurt children, be so self-serving and selfish whilst remaining indignant and elite.  And this doesn’t even mention that most of the people who have done these things are bible thumping Christians who are constantly parading their religious perfection on Facebook all the while standing in judgment of others.

Two of the situations that have pissed me off even involve two people who are considered ‘upstanding’ and ‘stellar’ people in the community.  “What a good man/woman he/she is people will say?  And I am left there thinking WTF?  These folks are phonies, crooks, assholes.

So today, I am OVER IT.  I am letting go.  And here is a big FU to a few particular situations in my life that have pissed me off. This post serves as me letting it go.

First to the old lady matriarch Christian-church-going-snooty-snotty-grandmother-popular person in a small town-witch who ran into my new car in the school parking lot a few years ago while I was loading my infant in her car seat.  Yes YOU!

When the police came, she admitted she backed in to me, she apologized profusely, she said she didn’t see me.  She was parked illegally and I WASNT EVEN MOVING!  Damage was minimal.  But it was a new van for Christ’s sake and I wanted to have it fixed.  When I went to get a copy of the police report it was all wrong.  It said we were BOTH at fault. WHAT THE HELL?  When I called her up – this honest, hardworking, fine Christian woman who speaks the word of God as if HE lives in her very own brain – she said, “Oh is that what it says.  I guess that’s right then!”  I called the witness to the accident – a person I didn’t even know and she called the police department to tell them what happened.  “Well, the lovely Mrs. R had the eye doctor in town call us as well and he said that both of them were moving!”  “I don’t think either of them would lie,” the officer said.

A victim of small town politics.  I see this lady all the time at school and she still cannot look me in the eye.  Seriously!?  Meanwhile, everyone talks about what a beautiful person this bitch is.  NOT!  And I know the truth.  And so does she. So here’s a big FU to her and a thought that perhaps karma will one day come her way.

My next big FU goes out to the pussified stay at home loser of a father who had coached, along with my husband – our daughters softball team. Long story short, he ended up hurting a lot of girls with his mischievous and deceitful ways, has lied to at least 50 people, and has done his best to try to make sure that some young teenage girls would not have a field to play on. (How sorry ass is that!)  He broke up some pretty awesome friendships between young girls and made an ass out of himself along the way. All the while HE KNOWS the truth.  But since his ego is in such pitiful shape that he needs it to be bolstered by promoting his own self-importance, he walks around town tooting his own horn when he is nothing but a sorry piece of shit excuse for a man.  And he knows that too. While everything worked out best for my kids in the end, he created a karmic mess for himself, broke the hearts of many teenage girls, lied and cheated – and yet still has the audacity to act holier than though.  I wonder if he knows what people really say about him the moment he turns his back? Go cut some more grass shithead.

Here’s another big FU to the idiotic woman who abuses the system and takes advantage of every damn person in the United States, and the love of others, by making herself out to be a victim, who causes a drama whirlwind everywhere she goes that ALWAYS hurts the kids in her care and has an excuse for everything all the while raising innocent children in a drug infested, white trash environment that will only create another generation of losers no matter how hard or how much other people try to help the kids. Sealing the destiny of children by raising them to be loyal to hatred, victimization and drama should be a crime punishable by law.  Again – self-righteous and spiteful, despite the fact that there isn’t a person around who doesn’t know the real truth.

How about another big FU to the moronic father who doesn’t have the balls to talk to other men about his problems or issues so decides to target ME or other children, knowing that I nor they are not emotionally equipped to deal with confrontation?  Seriously, who uses the “F” word towards their own daughter. Grow a set of balls dude, and congratulate yourself for hurting your own kid through your immature behaviors. She’s only learning to hate you – and just so you know, the rest of the world thinks you’re an idiot.

Another FU goes out to all the people in this world that think they are so important, that their feelings and thoughts are so important and  prominent- that they can cause a divide among families that love one another, simply to suit their own egotistical agendas.  Let me just say, my family is just as important as YOURS!  Don’t think for a second you treating my family with rudeness has gone unnoticed. Funny thing is the jokes on them, because all they did is finally let their true colors show.

I think I have it about covered! I tried to blow these issues up in balloons and let them go into the sky to disappear, but that didn’t work. And this is my blog after all, and what I do best is write away my worries and problems. Today, I lie them all to rest and HAND THEM HAPPILY over to the karma gods.

OH WAIT – There’s one more!  A Big FU to my vacuum cleaner that decided to break last night while I was trying to clean up pixie stick dust. You big old piece of shizz.

The Four Agreements

I so want to be funny right now.  I would love to come up with some wildly hysterical blog post about me taking a shit on the side of the road while my kids cringed in the backseat, or about how goofy my children are, or about the silly animal control dudes who showed up at my house to catch a threesome of donkeys without a rope, or sweet feed – and in a truck designed for simpler critters like cats and dogs.

But humor, at the present moment, is not in my heart. And I know my heart.  If something is not there, it cannot be forced.  My heart is a focused entity that forces me to walk through all the appropriate feelings, one at a time – even if they are not ones I want to feel, before I can move on.

Recently, my heart weighs heavy on some of the larger issues in life.  Like family.  And rifts in that said family. And folks who seem so determined to cause dysfunction within a family unit simply because their feelings were hurt and they want to try to CERTIFY (and demand) that others are ‘on their side,’ so to speak.

In a situation that should have been silenced out of an utter wave of respect (and love) for OTHERS, and the uncomfortable, unfair position that ‘airing the dirty laundry’ would put OTHERS in- one person took it so selfishly and shamefully upon him or herself to bully and manipulate an entire family unit around him or her to facilitate purely egotistical needs.

I will say this again.  No one can hurt your feelings unless you give them permission to.  And 90% of the times, when we (or should I say I) personally feel most offended, it is because we (or should I say I) are being mirrored with something that we already feel internally.

Yet this never means that we have to force others to suffer or hurt, or feel pain WITH US.

Years ago, I read The Four Agreements, based on Toltec Mythology, and regardless of any situation in life, I have found them to be true.  If you follow these agreements – you will live a happier life.  Here they are just in case you haven’t heard of them before.

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

When people stray from these agreements, especially by manipulating the power of the spoken word to inflict pain, by making assumptions, or by thinking everything revolves around you personally - or force people to choose sides, or say mean things – the result is never good.

Quickly, remind yourself of a gaggle of high school girls.  One girl gets mad at another girl, and suddenly the girls each conspire to form an army, and spread their ill feelings to others.  “She’s a bitch,” they say to other friends.  “You wont believe what she did,” they hiss. They start texting and calling and using Facebook to rally up soldiers on their behalf because they think they are right and another is wrong. They become driven by spite and anger, and although they try to hide it, it is obvious for the world to see.

And, also obvious to everyone around them, is that all they are doing is trying to validate THEIR OWN position, which is obviously on shaky ground, by getting others to ‘silently’ or at least ‘perceptively’ agree.  These ‘others’ are following the first agreement (which is actually intuitive in life) and trying to be impeccable with their word so as to not end up in further turmoil.  .

The problem is that these other high school girls don’t wholly agree.  They may shake their heads and smile in agreement, may say something negative themselves making the complainant feel validated in the moment, in order to keep things on the up and up, but on the inside – they are wishing that the two girls in the fight would just shut the hell up already.  The others wish they could put their hands over their ears, rewind time, and not know.  They might seem like they are on high school girl ones side, but that too is a matter of perception.  Chances are when high school girl number 2 comes around, they perceptively agree with her too, right?

Think about it – you have been in this spot before, where two people you love are having a disagreement – and one (or both) try to get you to be in their army.  It’s awful, right?

These ‘other girls’ get instantly put in an extremely precarious position to choose sides – to choose armies.  They get stuck in the middle of something that doesn’t even involve them.  And ugliness abounds. And more people get hurt.  And at the end of the day it’s just not fair to do the onlookers.  Bottom line, it isn’t their fight.   Rules 1 through 3 – and probably even 4, are now miserably broken.

When this happens within families – units of people bound together by love and blood, and history and time – the repercussions are never, EVER beneficial to anyone.  Except temporarily for the person who broke the first agreement initially, to be impeccable with his or her word. Who feels validated in the moment but who is in actuality seen as the martyr.

It’s such a sad day when this happens within family.  Or with friends.  As adults, it comes down to the choices we make.  As adults, we are able to see (or should be able to see) around corners and see the potential for pain and the suffering of those that are innocent.  That’s why we don’t blaspheme our child’s teacher, or piss off the coach, or curse the priest, and we learn to stop spreading rumors around.  Because doing so has a negative affect on innocent others - even our own children. 

When two people agree to disagree, it means they agree to stay impeccable with their word – and that they feel validated enough to hold their position without trying to destroy other things – unrelated things, around them.

And quite clearly, it’s an extremely personal and revealing choice that people make by either furthering negativity – or stopping the pain in its tracks – by respecting others (and themselves) enough to feel bound to any of the four agreements and not involving those whose heart may be hurt by our choice.

And that, my friends, is what is in my heart today. 

Welcome to Yard Sale Hell! Or Not?

music-cds-435cs041212This spring, my family and I decided to take on a little spring project that includes revamping a 100-year-old building that is filled with junk.  The building is large, and was used long ago as a store, serving biscuits and hot coffee to the miners that mined for gold and copper in my neck of the woods during the late 1800′s and early 1900′s.

Unfortunately, for the last 50 years however, it has been ‘that place’ where I store everything and anything that I don’t have room for in my home. If I didn’t need it, didn’t want it, or wanted to get rid of something ridiculous that my husband that was suitable home décor, it went to the shed.  Stealthily, I would sneak out there with boxes and totes to hide all the unwanted items.   

My kids decided that we should get rid of all the stuff and have a yard sale to raise money for their softball team.  My father in law, decided that as we were cleaning 100 years worth of stuff, we would separate out the metal so they could recycle that to be used for their team as well.  And so, the process began.  And holy crap, did I realize that we had a lot of stuff.  Dirty, old, junky, stuff.  And of course, there were plenty of other things in that shed – that had probably been there 100 years that were worth some sort of money if only I knew what it was I was looking at.  It was one of those days when I wished the crew from American Pickers would stop by and help me sort through the stuff.  (They didn’t!)

There were old CD’s an Atari gaming system, about 500 tapes (does anyone remember those), old radios and plenty of items leftover from my husband’s childhood.  Along with dishes and light fixtures, clothes, nails and knick- knacks, old bottles and things that I didn’t even know existed.  All this stuff was toppled with more stuff, and cleaning out the old shed turned into a 2 day feat that left me dirty and tired and nostalgic.

It also left quite a bit of stuff in numerous piles strewn about the yard.  Environmental chaos.  And I honestly didn’t feel like I had the energy left to host a yard sale and certainly didn’t want to bicker about prices or have my yard turned into a flea market.  So I did a little research and with the helps of a friend found out that many of the items found in the shed could be sold (easily) at MusicMagpie.com  and others on Ebay.  And most of the stuff (aside from the metal that is STILL sitting in a recycle pile) was happily thrown away.

Getting rid of things you don’t need, want or use anymore really is a liberating feeling.  And I believe that discarding old things makes rooms for new things.  Even though we rarely used the shed, there was a part of my brain that knew all that stuff was sitting there stagnant in the shed.  Cleaning it out, and having a fresh space to start over with – felt like quite an achievement.  And making a little bit of money by selling some of these treasures online and otherwise, well that was just the icing on the cake.

Now, if only I could get my UPS man carpenter husband to finish replacing the rotten wood and get the new tin on the roof, my kids would have a great place to party!  (Or maybe I would have a wonderful place to exercise)  The only problem is that every time I am in that building by myself, I get a waft of the scent of biscuits and coffee and hear hoof-beats in the distance.  (Must be my imagination playing with me!)

Can a Licensed Professional Counselor Get You OUT of the Mom Funk

CLIPART_OF_83319_SMJPG-2A few weeks ago, I wrote my article about the Mom Funk.  (If you haven’t read the article check it out!) The article was inspired by my waking up one rainy morning at 6:15 am, rushing to the kitchen and realizing that making peanut butter sandwiches that early in the day – for other people (no matter how much I love those other people) was a tad depressing.  After all, I do the same thing every day, at the same time every day.  (Although some days, I make ham sandwiches instead of peanut butter, which is kind of exciting!)  I was so overwhelmed that I started looking for help, which led me to this north Carolina licensed professional counselor.

Did peanut butter sandwiches, mounting laundry piles, a sink full of dishes, smelly arm-pits, physical exhaustion, a lack of creativity and motivation really mean that I needed professional help?  I don’t know.  But I do know this.

Here’s the thing.  Life is monotonous.  For women, for mothers – and hell, even for fathers and our children and teenagers - life is often about settling into routine that works.  But just because it works doesn’t mean that it is fulfilling, or satisfying, or that it prompts us to be at our best creatively and emotionally.

Prolonged, the feeling of being stuck in a rut can lead to all sorts of anxiety disorders, stress problems, and even depression.  When those feelings strike – its easy to feel like a total failure because the reality is – we all have so much to be grateful for.  How can we feel stuck in a rut, or bored, or restless, or depressed, or anxious – when we have so much abundance in our lives.

That is my number one pet peeve with self-help.  Often, it doesn’t tell us that it is okay to feel bad.  We are reminded to choose our destiny, choose our thoughts, take control of our own happiness to the point that when we don’t have those ‘cushy unicorn feelings’ we feel like failures.

My advice is short and simple!  Talk it out.  Talk to a friend, your mother, your aunt.  If your neighbor will stand at the fence long enough to listen to you rant – then use her ears as a sounding board.  See a counselor, or a therapist if you are truly overwhelmed with your duties in life, or need to be redirected to find inspiration.  Lean on your spouse.  Have a conversation with your dog or your kitty cat.  Use Facebook as a place to vent so that you feel less alone, because you will be surprised at the amount of people who come out of the woodwork to say, “HEY, ME TOOOOO!”  And this, feels validating.

My friends, we all have problems or issues.  There are times when each of us needs someone to lean on.  If you don’t know who to turn to, look for a counselor – or email me, and I will at the very least try to make you laugh!


**This is a sponsored post, but all opinions, advice and ideas are my own**

Habemus Papam – Lessons for All of Us

The pope.

If someone were to ask me a week ago what the Pope’s name was, I would have said – with some authority – Pope John Paul the (insert number).  I grew up a long time ago, during the John Paul Pope eras, and under the influence of Catholic churches.  We went to mass, not church.  Much of what was said during church was in Latin.  We had CCD, and didn’t go to church on Wednesdays.

Now, I live immersed in the Bible Belt.  Fire and brimstone Baptist churches on nearly every corner.  So far, my family and I have not found a fit that works for us – which by  no means, indicates that we are ungodly.

The last few days however, have re-introduced me to something that I feel is so incredibly lost in this world. 

As the Cardinals were locked in choosing the new Pope, I would watch with a whimsical heart the people gathered around the Sistine Chapel, with binoculars in the square outside.  As the puffs of black smoke, indicating no decision had been made, stoked out of the chimneys, even from thousands of miles away, I could feel the emotion.  The connection.  The deep and emotional bond to what in some form or another is a part of our history as humanity.

And I have to say that it was breathtaking. 

While the media felt there was a need to transcribe and talk, and over evaluate and translate every thing being said and done, the truth is that a watchful eye – a Godly heart (from any religion or belief system) needed no outside assistance to be understood.

Despite the fact that the new Victor of Christ has been systematically elected in a process virtually untouched from centuries ago,  just TODAY – the truth is it probably feels much like it did centuries ago.

The beauty in the ceremony and the tradition, is not something that we see today.  Even presidential elections are riddled with corrections to history that seem to make them nothing but a necessary evil of being elected as the President of the United States.  I expect no distractions from this election, which was likely sincerely led by Godly intervention and ASKING – as we too often encounter in so many other areas of life today, from beauty pageants to local elections.

There are so few things in this world that we, the people – haven’t screwed up.  There are so few things in life, in which our worlds from one continent to another collide so effortlessly.  This isnt being turned into a South American versus a European ‘thing.’  It is a only being seen as a part of of our unity to one another.  A unity that spans language, and time, and follows tradition. 

For me, watching this unfold has nothing to do with religion, or choosing a church, or believing in God.  It has to do with waiting for something as simple as white puffs of brilliant smoke to pipe from a chimney to alert the world that a new leader has been chosen.  And then, the immediate reception with people cheering and booming Habemus Papam, from the courtyards surrounding the Sistine Chapel.  I wish I could have experienced what it was like in that moment to actually be there.

Pope Francis is here.  His name, probably rightfully so for the world we live in today - defined means simplicity and humility and poverty.

I believe that each of us could afford a little more simplicity and humility in our lives.  And I do think at times, that whatever (and regardless of) our spiritual beliefs, many of us – have become poverty-stricken spiritually - lacking values and ignoring our connection to the singular thread that at some level, at some point in ALL OF OUR HISTORY - binds each of us to one another.

Confession – I Suffer From Dentist Dental Dread

dental imageI can still remember the name of my childhood dentist.  His name was Dr. Pincock, and I hated him.  Back then – you know in the days when parents could care less what kind of bed side manner a physician had with their children, nothing like those at Orem Dentist ,I would sit in his chair as quietly as possible while he did whatever it was he did with my teeth.  We never got cool coins after cleanings, got berated for having cavities and certainly didn’t have movies to watch while we lain helpless  in the chair.

We DID have laughing gas – and that’s about the only thing I can remember enjoying about my dental visits. In fact there are some days now that I wish I had a tank of laughing gas I could attach to.  

Funny thing is that I have NEVER ever really gotten over my fear of the dentist.  I started having adult dental issues when I was pregnant with my twins.  I had to have 2 teeth pulled, and of course – they used the short-term Novocaine so that it would be safe during pregnancy.  I can remember cancelling, not showing and rescheduling this appointment six million times.  Finally, I did it – but I it took me over an hour to get to the appointment because the dreaded ’fear diarrhea’ hit me and I had to stop at least 8 times to use gross bathrooms.  (Which is difficult enough when you ARENT pregnant)

Over the last year, I have had a multitude of dental issues.  I use the excuse that dental work is expensive as a reason not to get these issues taken care of.  And I even lived for  months with the sort of excruciating pain that disables people.  I visited with my doctor, had a CT scan, met with a neurologist and was diagnosed with some sort of neuralgia.  Turns out, all the pain and misery that I was going through was really due to yet another tooth.  Apparently, all it would take to end this cycle of pain and taking way too much ibuprofen was to have the tooth pulled.  Simple, right?

The funny thing is that once I had the appointment to get the tooth pulled, all the pain went away.  So I figured I didn’t really need to have it yanked after all.  This is what people with irrational fears do – they make excuses and find reasons to avoid their fears.  So, I waited.

I’m sure you can guess where I am going with this.  About a month ago, the tooth, face, head, neck pain all returned with a fury.  Instead of calling the dentist, I do what I always do – and started using every home remedy from vinegar to hot sauce, turmeric and aspirin – to try to cure the pain.  Eventually, I made an appointment for this past Monday.  I had literally talk myself in to it.  My mother in law offered to give me a Xanax before my appointment to help ease my fear.

Sounds stupid – but this fear, is REAL!  REAL I tell ya.  I can break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.  As fate would have it, I got an appointment reminder Sunday evening that my daughter had a orthodontist appointment the  next morning, at the exact same time that I was scheduled to have this stupid tooth pulled.  So I did what any person living in denial and fear would do.  I cancelled MY appointment again.

I really hate myself for being this afraid of the dentist.  I also really hate the discomfort I live with all because of a tooth.  I also am having a hard time rationalizing this dental dread.  I can easily call and make the appointment – but the reality is, I might not go.

Maybe I need someone to come and hold my hand.  Maybe I need copious amounts of laughing gas.  Maybe I need Xanax.  Or maybe, I could just woman up a little – realize that I survived birthing 4 kids and engorged boobs, and just go have this tooth pulled.  I know that this fear of the dentist, which I can only blame on Dr. Pincock, is much more frightening than actually having the tooth pulled.

So today, I am asking for help!  Rub my hair and tell me it will be okay.  Remind me that people get teeth pulled every day.  Offer to come with me and hold my hand.  Tell me the wonderful stories of your own dental experiences.  You know, treat me like a big baby and don’t judge me because I am admitting raw, carnal fear of something that rationally, I realize is ridiculous.

Anyone else afraid of the dentist?  Or is there something else lurking in your psyche that makes you turn into a 2-year-old looking for the monster under the bed?


(Yo, this is a sponsored post!  But all opinons, ideas and fears are completely my own!)

Pocketful of Joules – Blogger Winter Swap

296925_350131478402580_1223385214_nI hate winter.  And I hate mail.

Winter is cold and the mail only seems to deliver me bills, or fancy catalogs filled with things that I cannot afford to buy.

So when Joules over at Pocketful of Joules, (which by the way if you havent checked her out, YOU NEED TO) was looking for participants in her winter blogger swap, of course I opted in.  Imagine, getting something in the mail that would make the trek through the cold wind to the mailbox actually worth it!!!!  Plus, I am a firm believer that on our worst days, or when the world feels like it is about to cave in around us – the Universe will always come through with something good, exciting, happy, and fun that reminds you are a worth it.

Sadly, being a participant – it meant I had to send out a gift to.  And I am the worlds biggest procrastinator.  I did finally get my gift out – a few days late of course, and received my gift the same day. 

In the game, we were supposed to figure out who sent us the gift.  And I will be honest, I have no idea.  I know that the person who send out my winter care package likes cinammon because there were cinammon muffins and candles, and she must be pretty awesome since she sent me some cinammon latte as well.  I love candles, and have already burned through both the candles she sent.  I am thinking that my mystery blogger may have also known that I am slightly diabetic at times (did you know cinammon helps regulate blood sugar) although I dont think I ever admitted that on my blog.  Perhaps she is a psychic.  Whihc would be totally cool, because I have always wanted a psychic reading.

Truth is, I have never been good at board games like Clue, and I always flip to the back of mystery books to see the ending because I am impatient.  So I cannot guess who sent me my gift.  But I can say this, IT MADE MY DAY!  It came in the mail on a blustery day, and was the ONLY thing in the mailbox (which means no bills YAY!)  So to whomever my mystery blogger swapper was – here is a big, virtual, hug!

I love that Joules takes the time to do these little things that equate to random acts of kindness.  That makes her pretty hot in my book.  And I am even more grateful that someone in this great big world thought to send little old anonymous me, who she didnt know a gift in the mail.  Can you say win-win!