Taking Stock {three thirty-one fourteen}

The last week has been so full of life and chaos and stress and laziness. That's why I haven't written. So I thought now would be a good time to take stock. It's a post I've seen before, and honestly I haven't had the time or the energy to devote to my writing let alone to this blog. It's sad, and it's also very hard for me. Writing is such a huge part of what I do, and how I survive. But most of this has been self inflicted. I haven't wanted to pull myself away from life. It's been full and busy and at the end of the day, if I'm not at work, I want to be fully present. So I'm trying friends. I'm trying to find balance and peace with this new shift in my life. And just when I get a foot hold, something gives a little and I have to readjust and start over. It's a work in progress, like everything else in my life. Hang in there, I'm still here and hopefully in the next week, I'll be writing. Until then, here is a little about me, right here right now, taking stock.

My favorite salad that is everything including the kitchen sink. Ok, not really but, it's a little bit of everything.

Using the microwave. That's still cooking you know.

Izze sodas, but need more water. But Clementine Izzes taste way better than water.

Pride and Prejudice, and it’s harder than I ever imagined. Like I have to force myself to read a chapter a day.

Benefit The Big Easy, Better than BB cream, because my face and skin are testing me. Also two pairs of Toms, and if it's not too much trouble a trip solo to Target.

at Instagram like always.

with some short story ideas. And also on the Internet in general.

time on Pinterest. But it's so much fun and cheaper than real life shopping.

nothing at the moment, my sewing table is still covered with Christmas Crafts. Whoops!

For balance, sleep, and a weekend away with the Hubbs.

A night at home, while it rains outside. The kids ate McDonald's, and I'm in my pjs. The countdown to bedtime is on.

for just a few free moments to write, with abandon.

painted nails, because they are almost never painted. My gel mani from Friday still looks fresh. Now to try to make this a bi-weekly event...

if I’ll ever write that book

the birthday wishes I got last week. The friends who stopped by our BBQ on Saturday.

for motivation to work out. Also praying about it too. I know it will make me feel so much better, but still... I just can't get motivated.

at being 36, how did that happen?

to remember to breathe, to take time out, and to write it all out.

McDonald's french fries that are still on the table, there is no other smell like McDonald's french fries.

my favorite aero sweats and a grey sweatshirt. And it's everything it should be as I listen to it rain outside.

Scandal on Twitter during the broadcast, try it, it will change your life. Also Mindy Kaling on Instagram, for sneak peeks at The Mindy Project.

those extra five pounds that seemed to creep in after 35, well now 36! I hide them well.

that time always wins, and trying to really live in every moment.

about what book I'll read next, should I see Divergent or read the book, should I enter that writing contest, what am I going to wear to Elevate.

writing contests I want to enter, maxi skirts I want to DIY, books I want to read, new tv shows I should watch.

and admiring my birthday gifts.

Modern Family while I watch it with my Modern Family. I heart Phil!

old, alive, hopeful, and very very blessed.

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Making Peace with thirty six

Today was my birthday. My thirty sixth if you hadn't heard. I woke up to almost 50 posts to my Facebook wall and over 40 Instagram comments. I even had individual wishes on Instagram as well. That made thirty six a little easier to swallow. Truth is, I pretty much wallowed all day. I wasn't thrilled with thirty six. It seemed like a very "non" birthday. Not as important or significant as twenty one, or sixteen, or even thirty. It's not quite forty or even fifty. It's just another birthday. Nothing fancy. No big deals to be made. Just another day really, just another year. 

In a moment of frustration I complained about the rain. Of course it would rain on my birthday, and while it had on other years as well, this year was like a personal offense. When I mentioned this to my best friend, she told me to embrace it. That rain is refreshing and that it would in fact wash away all my negative energy and feelings about thirty six. It would help me grow into thirty six, and tomorrow I would feel like my old self, just another year older.

I held on to that all day. And finally after a dinner out with my little family, in a semi fast food joint, I got that little moment I needed. While everyone took a trip to the bathroom, I stayed at the table alone. In a tiny pocket of time with just me, listening to sizzling burgers, strangers conversations, and someoneelse's baby crying, I found the peace I was looking for. I was here. At thirty six. Taking a deep breath, thanking God for those breaths, and knowing that nothing had changed from yesterday to today. I'm still me. I'm still here. I'm still living. I wasn't alone for more than two minutes but that is all I needed to realize that I was finally ok with today. Finally ok with another year gone. Finally ok to say goodbye to year thirty five, and hello to year thirty six. 

I was finally ready to make peace with me.

The Old Lady in the Mirror

Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who that old lady is looking at me.

Two days before my thirty sixth birthday I looked in the mirror to find an old lady staring back at me. Well maybe not old, but older. I found that I didn't recognize her. She looked different to me. It was then that I realized that I wasn't ready to turn thirty six.

I had no problem entering my thirties. I welcomed it. I felt like it was finally going to be a period of my life where I was content and happy. That I was going to be more comfortable in my skin, in my mind, and with my heart. I felt like turning thirty was also going to be a turning point. And for the most part it was. But then in the blink of an eye, I turned thirty five. And that my friends totally sucked ass.

I wrote a post for tomorrow, which is my actual birthday. I wrote it early because I'm trying to write on a schedule and balance the blog and work, amongst other things. And even as I wrote it I knew that it just wasn't right. That it just wasn't how I really felt about my thirty sixth birthday. I'm not ungrateful, of course, I've lived another year. And we weren't homeless or really broke. No one was super sick or worse. But as I look into the horizon at forty, I can't help but feel a little bit like a Debbie Downer.

Last year when I turned thirty five, I started to notice things. Like this extra five pounds that I can't get rid of no matter how hard I try. And honestly I'm not really trying. Motivation completely alluded me in my thirty fifth year. I started to notice crows feet and laugh lines, and while they have been popping in since thirty, this year they decided to hang out for awhile. Then there were the gray hairs that are taking over as my dominant hair color. And the bald spot that crushed my spirit last summer. Those things I could somewhat live with, because I can hide those, or fix those, or buy creams and dyes to take away some of the evidence of getting old. But not everything can be solved with a cream.

A few weeks ago Mac got a splinter in her finger. She came to me with some tears, and I told her mom could fix it right up with a pair of tweezers. And I gave it my best shot, until I had to quit in the middle and get my glasses. MY READING GLASSES. I could not see that tiny splinter for the life of me. It was the first time I've had to grab my glasses for anything. I rarely even use them to read! But here I was, reaching for them to see, for the very first time. It was the first time I realized that I am getting old.

I feel like I'm having a little identity crisis as of late. I'm turning thirty six. I started working in January. I've got some acne on my chin which would shame the acne of any seventeen year old around. I've been told in the last year that I'm peri-menopausal, and I've told a few people that my eggs are way past their use by date. I've passed my desired baby making age, which is really hard to swallow even if I've declared that I'm done making babies. Before thirty five I really could have, but now, I'm at my scary age. The extra five pounds keeps me awake at night, as do the nightly hot flashes, and then I can't even bring myself to get out of bed early for a morning work out. In the last year my confidence has swayed, some days I'm super confident and on others, I can't stand to look in the mirror. I tell you, this getting old thing is really for the birds. 

So here I am, on the eve of thirty six, and I'm kind of in the middle of things. I'm excited because birthdays are my favorite. Then I'm a little panicked because I'm turning thirty six, and I feel that I'm going to blink and suddenly I'm going to be forty. Maybe thirty six will be the year I get my groove back. Even if that groove includes accepting the extra five pounds and buying extra boxes of hair dye. Maybe I'll spend it covering my bald spot with hair powder, and wearing my glasses for more than just reading and blogging. Maybe this will be the year where I accept the personal imperfections, the bumps in the road and the spots on my face. Maybe this will be the year that I learn to age more gracefully, instead of fighting it along the way. I guess getting older isn't just about getting wiser, it's about getting right with the number of birthdays you have too. 

I will wake up tomorrow and again wonder when that old lady showed up in the mirror. This time I will try to be nice to her. I'll wish her a Happy Birthday and then snap her picture. Because no matter how she feels today, she will want to remember how incredible she looked on her thirty sixth birthday when she turns forty six.

Accepting the Imperfections

As I said, "Get it together girls", this happened.
To hell with perfectly posed pictures.
This one is perfect in my book.

St. Patrick's Day was very sneaky this year. I guess I should say it surprised me at how quickly it got here. I had big plans for this day, I did marry an Irish man you know. Somehow it arrived as I was just getting used to writing the date as March and not February.

I had plans this year, but you couldn't really tell. I planned to help out in the classroom. To come up with some stellar rainbow or leprechaun craft to do with the first graders, a fun classroom gift to send to the preschoolers. I pinned and pinned, and searched and pinned again. Somehow all that remained were really great ideas pinned, but no motivation or time in sight. 

Sunday night I scrapped the idea of cake pops, chocolate covered marshmallows, and baggies filled with Lucky Charms cereal. I was tempted to make Lucky Charms Popcorn, but scrapped that too when I realized that I'd have to go back to the store to make that happen. So it was decided by me, and mostly by exhaustion, that we would sit out this holiday. We would wear green, and eat the green goodies left over from Grandma Kathy's St. Patrick's Day celebration earlier in the day, but we'd have to say good night to Pinterest Perfection.

St. Patrick's Day was on a Monday as you well know, and Mondays are usually the worst day of the week. Monday morning always starts off terribly. There are always fights about hair or shoes, or what to eat for breakfast, even when we are creatures of habit and wear or eat all the same things anyway. But because we had to wear green, our outfits had already been decided. Because we were happy with our choices, breakfast went swimmingly. Then the question of all questions:

"Mommy, can I take some treats to school today?"

And because we are never on time on any day of the week. And because thankfully the closest grocery store is about a block away. And because if you are going to be late, you may as well bring treats for everyone, I said yes. Yes, because I say no all too often. And yes because I wanted a little bit of St. Patrick's Day celebration even if it was last minute and not Pinterestly perfect.

Yes, I did pay $20 for frosted cake cookies with green sprinkles. And yes we rushed through the grocery store, and yes I did send the left over shamrock cookies to preschool repackaged in some Gladware. And despite all those shortcomings, we made it to school before the last bell, and we didn't have one trantrum or a single tear.

It wasn't the St. Patrick's Day I had planned. I didn't volunteer in the class room. We didn't make leprechaun catchers or fingerpaint rainbows. We didn't have green cake pops, or green pancakes, and we didn't even have new green St. Patrick's Day shirts. And somehow none of that mattered. We had fun, we had an adventure before eight thirty in the morning, and most importantly we now have the memory.

At the end of the day, the only thing the girls will remember is Mom said yes to twenty dollars worth of cookies. The girls will remember that they were almost being late to school, and it was on purpose with a purpose. And they will remember mom barking at them because she is trying to take pictures at the end of the day because mom almost forgot. And even when we can't even get it together to take the perfect picture, we take one that is even better than perfect. 

Because some days you just have to accept the imperfections. 

Scenes from a chaotic life

"The thing about chaos, is that while
it disturbs us,
it too, forces
our hearts to roar
in a way we secretly find
-Christopher Poindexter

Girl Scout cookies just may be the death of me.

These boys may also be the death of me.
Triplet boys.
Who all require Caitlin's undivided attention.
Doesn't look like she minds much.

This is how ladies sit when they eat Cheetos.
So delicate and dainty with orange stained fingers and cheeks.

We all have our bad days.

We are sometimes purposely late for school.
Because mom had to close and didn't really see them all day.
Off to Starbucks for a cookie and some tea.
No one remembers tardies, everyone remembers cookies.

Snuggles are the cure for everything that ails.

Fro-yo cannot be fully enjoyed unless you make a mess.
That is scientific fact.

Hearing her little voice sing "Yellow Submarine" makes my heart swoon.
I hope she grows up with music in her heart.
And one day has her own personal soundtrack.

Proof of a morning without tears, without fights, without drama.
Proof that we can have good mornings.
Especially if those mornings are Fridays.

California mornings can be crazy cool, with high temps in the afternoon.
Good thing we can transition well.

Bedhead and sprinkles are a great start to a great Saturday.
A cluttered kitchen table will not stop us.

She asked to bake cupcakes after watching YouTube videos.
It wasn't even nine in the morning, but I said yes anyway.
Because I miss her terribly when I have to work an evening shift
followed by a morning shift.
Because I say "no" too much.
Because these are the mornings she will remember.
Thankfully I'm a cake mix hoarder and had some funfetti from Christmas.

They said "Mommy take our picture".
They never say that.

I was trying to get the perfect picture for St. Patrick's Day.
Instead I got this.
This is better than perfect.

And in the midst of all the chaos we try to carve out time for us.
Sometimes that means late night movies in bed.
Or late night texting when he's out of town.
But in the chaos of it all we still try.

Chaos really does force out hears to roar and fight for what matters most.
To cherish the little moments like cupcakes for breakfast and fro-yo for dinner.
To make those memories that make you forget that your house was a mess,
and your kids stayed up way too late.
Chaos has a way of making us soar.

Linking up with 
Coffee Date

To Ban or Not to Ban...

What is so wrong with the word "Bossy"? If you were to ask me a few weeks ago, I would have said nothing. Nothing other than the fact that I know it's not the best quality to have. How many times in my life have I been told not to be bossy? How many times have I said to my girls, "Don't be bossy"? Obviously the days have long past since girls are expected to be seen and not heard. So what is so wrong with bossy?

The idea that three women have the power to ban an actual word in the English language is preposterous. They have no actual power to get you or me or anyone to stop using an actual word. I'm a writers for Pete's sake, do you think I would actual get behind a movement to ban a word? In theory never, but I am all for any push to take the power away from a word. To disarm it so it no longer has the power to discourage or hurt. Bossy shouldn't have the negative connotations that it has always carried, and three woman can actually lead the charge to make that happen. And dare I say be "bossy" while doing it?

This conversation to ban the word bossy isn't a radical feminist idea to take away your rights as a woman or a man. It isn't to shed light on what some might say is the weaker sex. It isn't even a new equal rights movement to give us cause to burn our bras and post the burnings on Instagram. The idea behind the ban is to start the conversation. To change the idea that little girls who have take charge attitudes and CEO like initiatives are not "Bossy", but LEADERS.

I have to say that I was going to ignore this entire conversation all together. It was already cause for controversy. What's the big deal about being bossy? Then I read Sunday's Parade Magazine (the one that comes with the Sunday paper), and I found myself completely engrossed in what may be this generation's greatest conversation on empowerment. Why are girls and young women less likely to fight for leadership roles? Why are we still waiting for a woman President? Why are CEO's still predominately men? I don't have the answers to those questions. I don't think that it's a matter of being shut out, or discrimination. I don't think it's because we aren't setting up our daughters for success at home. But what happens when they leave the house? What is happening in our schools? Are girls being put into leadership roles in class? On the playground? What about in PE? Sure we have the ERA, we have Title IX, but are we, after all these years, continuing to put them into action? If you can't answer that question, and I can't answer that question, then maybe we are asking the wrong people. 

Here are two things that changed my opinion the "Ban Bossy" campaign:

For Educators: Observed dynamics in group work. Girls often complete the work of peers who slack off. If they get used to doing work without credit, they don't learn to push for recognition when they deserve it.

For All Girls: Stop apologizing. Girls ten to introduce opinions with apologies, "I'm not sure if this is right, but..."

Those two pieces were mind blowing for me. How true is this? I can remember never being the facilitator in the group but always doing all the work. And still to this day, I sometimes apologize for opinions in situations that feel outside of my comfort zone. Learned behaviors have a way of becoming bad habits. How do we change this conversation?

I understand if the crusade to ban a word makes you uncomfortable. I'm a writer, I believe in free speech for anyone. But what really makes me sad about the debate is that women are pitting themselves against each other. If you are for the ban then you are down on assertive and ambitious women. If you are against the ban, then you must be against feminism. Banning bossy isn't about taking away freedoms or making a plea for a more PC world. This is a conversation to continue to empower all women, young and old. To take the negative connotations away from a word that goes hand in hand with being ambitious and assertive. Has there ever been anything wrong with being ambitious or assertive? Then why is there something wrong with being bossy? Bossy is only powerful because we give it that power. Take it away it's negative connotations and any girl can go from "bossy" to "the Boss".

This isn't a bra burning moment. This isn't a book burning moment. This isn't a political statement. This is a movement to take a word and change the conversation. It's a chance for women like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Condoleezza Rice, and Girl Scouts CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, to open the conversation to empower girls, and build a culture of leadership for them. Girls like my two young daughters, who may very well one day be the next President of the United States. I'd say the first Woman President of the United States, but I'm sure some assertive woman with excellent management skills will beat them to the punch. Bossy girls are like that.  

I swear and promise on all things bloggy that I searched for a link to the original article.
If you find it will you please leave it in the comments so I can link back to it.
Also if you are at all interested in the Campaign to Ignore or Ban Bossy visit

The Book that Changed Everything

I grew up in a house full of books. Like the old lady who lived in a shoe, my mother had so many books she didn't know what to do. My mother was a connoisseur of the bodice ripper. Covers that would make you blush. Fabio was no stranger in my house. Because space was scarce in our cramped three bedroom condo, my mothers books took over the house. There would be one on the kitchen table, in the chair where she kept her purse, on the end tables in the living room, on her night stands and dresser. And, most notably, on a homemade, DIY before DIY was a thing, wall spanning bookcase inches from our dining room table in what can only be described as an eat in kitchen. Books were just a part of life, and happily so. 

I had free reign of these books. Even at the tender ages of seven and eight. By eleven and twelve I knew to ignore Steven King and Dean R. Koonz. I knew that Judy Blume was relatively safe, since Are You There God It's Me Margaret, had changed my life when I was nine. I knew that the bodice rippers were out of my league, but I read some of them anyway. I blame those bodice rippers on my distaste for Fifty Shades of Grey. You read one bodice ripper, you have read them all. 

When I was a about thirteen or fourteen I was bored one night and my mom suggested I read a book. I didn't have any of my Sweet Valley Highs available or my Baby Sitters Clubs, so I walked over to her massive bookshelf and picked the one that sounded most interesting to me at the moment. 

I found The Book of Phoebe. A book about a Yale Senior in the early eighties that finds herself pregnant and on the run to visit her friend in Paris. Upon her arrival she is shuffled to her friend's friend, a man, an artist, and the perfectly imperfect person to fall in love with. I was smitten.

The descriptions of life in Paris were enough for me to dream of travel. The descriptions of pregnancy, were enough to show me I had no desire to be in such a state until ready. The story of friendship and love inspired me to want both of those things in my life. The prose was beautiful and inspiring and everything you would want in a book about a woman finding herself. 

It was the first time I really lost myself in a book. Forget Blubber and Margaret, Phoebe had real life problems that couldn't be solved with ease. It was a story within a story and I loved every moment of it. And I knew without a doubt that I wanted to write something as beautiful. The Book of Phoebe was the book that called me to write a story of my own. 

I read that book a few times a year until it was packed up when the movers came when I was eighteen. It went into a box, and with a fresh start and a new place, my mom only unpacked half her books. The ones she could live without. Phoebe didn't make the cut. During my college years I thought about Phoebe, pinned for her and her story. I'd see something or read something that reminded me of her. But I never really sought out the book. Never begged my mom to help me dig in the boxes in our little covered garage. Even when we moved into a house, and then again when my parents moved a third time. Mom and I always talked about going through her books but we just never found the time.

When I decided to move some of my favorite books into my bedroom, I realized that Phoebe was required to join the ranks. My collection would never be complete without her. So I searched and searched and couldn't find her. Turns out I had the wrong title. I was remembering it all wrong. I finally found her via Google and Good Reads and as it turns out she is currently out of print. But thanks to Amazon and some really great resale shops I was able to score her for a penny (way under priced) and $3.99 for shipping. A week later Phoebe was home. 

I cracked the spine, which had maybe had one previous owner do the same, and completely lost myself in the story all over again. For three days I read with and without distraction. I didn't write or spend any time on social media. I just fell into the pages of a lost friend.

It reminded me all over again why I'm trying so hard to do what I do. Why this blog means so much to me. Why I stay up way to late typing out the little stories and ideas in my mind. It reinforced the love I have for the written word. How easy a story can take you and sweep you off your feet. It was everything I remembered it to be and more. Because this time I was a mother, this time I had been pregnant. This time I was reading with a new perspective and a new life, and with some experience under my belt. And damn if it wasn't still just as sweet as the first time.

Sometimes you read a story that never leaves you. That sets up camp in your heart, and resides there like a love you once had. And sometimes if you are really lucky, it changes absolutely everything.

An actual Friday

For the first time in months, today felt like an actual Friday. I woke slowly, hitting snooze more than thrice. I laid in bed, my girls surrounding me as the clock ticked past six forty-five, then seven, then seven fifteen. For the first time in months, the morning went smoothly. There were no fusses or fights about hair, or shoes, or breakfast. I ignored my bed head, my unbrushed teeth, my raccoon eyes from mascara that just won't wash away. We headed to school with time to spare despite the late wake up. We were smiling, and care free.

And it felt like an actual Friday.

After drop off Mac played while I enjoyed a quiet breakfast, just Entertainment Weekly and I. Knowing I had to pick up my mom, I let the clock pass nine and then nine fifteen. I chose hair over make up, flip flops over Toms, ease over effort. I walked into the day wearing my favorite jeans and new earrings, as if the two had been best friends forever.

And it felt like an actual Friday.

I strolled Target with my little sidekick. She dined on grilled cheese and a Dr. Pepper, while I checked out the finer points of the newest best sellers. I tried on shoes I would never wear because heels aren't practical in my world anymore. I bought a magazine, even though I have a stack a foot high begging for my attention. But I can never say no to one of my writing idols, and she was gracing this month's cover. I tried on sunnies and checked out handbags. It was glorious and luxurious, and everything I remember it being, in the middle of a day.

And it felt like an actual Friday.

We went to a late afternoon movie. Something I would have never attempted in my previous mothering life. But today, I took both kids alone. With promises of popcorn and slushies. Candy and chocolate. I wasn't anxious or scared or worried. And we, all three of us, were so content. So right in the moment. Something I would have never imagined six years ago, four years ago, two years ago. And it felt so good. It felt so right. If only for today. I'll gladly take it and the sweet memory that we did it.

And it felt like an actual Friday.

Currently, as I write this, it's getting dark. The street lights are on, and our neighborhood is still alive, with kids playing, adults talking, and me writing. I can smell spring and summer. The air feels right. The giggles and shouts sound heavenly. And the cares of the week are slowly fading away. There is no such thing as laundry right now. There are no dishes in the sink, even though I can see them. There is no such thing as a proper dinner or bedtime. Currently we are enjoying every last bit of this Friday, as it comes to a close, quietly whispering Your Welcome

And finally it felt like an actual Friday. 

What makes me so different?

Friday I was getting ready for work. It was after five, and as everyone was winding down their day, mine was just beginning. With the kids out front with the Hubbs and the neighbors, I enjoyed making my dinner and listening to the news in the background. As awful as the news can be, I'm a self professed news junkie. I half listened as I enjoyed some alone time, thinking I could not wait for the weekend to begin. 

Then I heard it. Another report about another mother, brought to the edge of motherhood, and beyond. I froze. I turned around. And soon I found myself on the floor of my kitchen, crying.

Ebony Wilkerson has been charged with three counts of first degree attempted murder and three counts of child abuse after she attempted to drive her three children, ages 3, 9, and 10, and herself into the Atlantic in her mini van. Reports say that she had been acting "crazy" since arriving in Florida a few days before to escape an abusive relationship. Reports say that members of her own family tried to have her committed just days before her drive head on into the ocean, but she did not meet the criteria for a 72 hour involuntary hold. Until she drove her mini van into the ocean.

As I sat there on Friday with huge tears in my eyes I knew what would become of Ebony Wilkerson, if only in name. She would be labeled a monster. A criminal. The worst mother to walk the earth. How could she? Why would she? What is wrong with her? She will be the hot topic for months and maybe years to come. I'm of the Susan Smith generation. Perhaps you are of the Andrea Yates generation. But we will forever remember those names, as long as we live. Because they are mothers who's minds took over. Mothers who couldn't get the help they needed, even if they didn't desire the help.

Why would a story like Ebony Wilkerson's or Cynthia Wachenheim's affect me so? Because every time I hear their stories, I think: What makes me so different? What made them snap? And what has saved me from snapping?

The same day as I was sitting in my kitchen floor, staring at the TV in horror, was the same day a friend of mine on Instagram posted a picture of her running away from home. It was only for an hour or so, but motherhood had gotten the best of her, so while she ate in a restaurant alone while crying, she posted her confession. Because she needed to know she wasn't the only one. She needed to show someone else that they weren't the only one. She needed to document the point where she said, I need this. I need to breathe, I need to re-group, I need a time out.

Did Ebony Wilkerson ever have that opportunity?

Saturday night, after my hell of a day, I cried in bed as I recounted all the ways I had failed at life that day. Then I started to tell the Hubbs about Ebony Wilkerson. How she just drove into the Atlantic. And I told him that I got it. That some days are so incredibly hard that all you want to do is run. Run away and never look back. I asked him, what makes me so different? And while I would never consciously do anything to harm my children, (that I have nightmares that anyone would ever come to that conclusion about me) I didn't immediately think Monster when I heard Ebony Wilkerson's story. I immediately thought, she had no where to go

I've said before if the only thing I ever do is to open the conversation about how difficult motherhood can be, how isolating and crippling it can be, then I will have served a wonderful purpose. Yes, motherhood is beautiful and wonderful and everything and nothing you have ever wanted. But damn if it isn't the hardest thing you will ever do. It will make you crazy, it will make you emotional, and it will make you stronger after every battle, after every failure, after every fork in the road. Many of us are lucky. We have support systems, friends, family, and dare I say, blogs. When we break down, walk to the edge, need a time out, and most times we can get one. We can look at our children and remember why we are doing this. We can count to ten, breathe, and convince ourselves that the best solution is a Starbucks in an aisle at Target, and not a drive into the Atlantic.

There will continue to be reports about Ebony Wilkerson. No matter what they say, no matter what truths we may find, one truth remains: She was a mother. A mother who in that very specific moment felt that she had no other options. That after enduring abuse, after being evaluated, after thinking she was fine, she made a decision that changed her entire life, and the lives of her children. No matter how many people call her a monster, believe she is a monster, and call for her to be treated as such, at the end of that day, and at the end of her days, she will still be a mother who was pushed to the edge.

Today, I'm asking you, no begging you, say something. If you are the one who is hurting, speak up. Even here in the comments if you want, or email me at mamma_megs@yahoo.com. If you know someone who is hurting, talk to them. It can be as easy as saying, "Motherhood isn't easy, in fact sometimes it blows". It may be the thing that saves them. Even if you are in Target today, and you see a mom, with one in the cart and another hanging on her leg, both crying, both throwing gold fish all over the floor, smile at her, with kindness and say, it's the hardest job in the world, and you are making the best of it. She may just kiss you on the spot. Because there is nothing worse in the world than feeling like you are the only one struggling. That you are the only one who can't breathe. That you are the only one, two tantrums away from the edge of the ocean.

Luck of the Irish {Get Yo Craft On}

This is a Get Yo Craft On tutorial that has appeared at Made By Munchies Mama and The Foley Fam {Unedited}. A wise blogger once told me to always eventually publish your guest posts on your own blog just in case. So with less than a week to go until St. Patrick's Day, here it is. The easiest craft you will ever do. Your welcome!

St. Patrick's day is super big around the Crutchfield house.  My husband is over a quarter Irish.  My mother in law cooks a St. Patty's Day feast each year, we even have colcannon!  And when the Hubbs was in college, he went to Ireland with his mom, aunt, and uncle and traced his Irish roots!  He found the county his Grandpa was born, and toured the Guiness Brewery.  Seriously, those were his highlights when he got home.  To say we celebrate St. Patrick's day is kind of an understatement.

Now if you know me and my blog, you know that if I'm crafting, it's easy!  I got some inspiration on Pinterest here and here, but you know me.  I want easy crafts with readily available materials.  Simple, affordable, and available at your local craft store.  So here it goes.  A little something for the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

You will need:
Sorry for the glare.
I'm a tutorial making novice!
Canvas - mine is 8x10
Rainbow yarn or ribbon if you like
Letters of any kind in any shade of green
Shamrock punch -
I splurged on Martha since I'm sure to make more clovers around here
Green or green printed scrap book paper
Not pictured
Glue Gun or craft glue

Directions: So easy you are gonna giggle!
Wrap yarn on canvas.
What ever side you choose.
My colors didn't come out like I wanted
so I cut strands and tied them in the back.

Then cut out some shamrocks!

Place your shamrocks to you liking

Then glue them in place. 
I used a glue gun because I'm impatient.
Then add you letters.  Mine say "lucky". 
You could choose "Happy St. Patty's" or "Kiss me I'm Irish"

Done and done friends!

Now I think I'd like to add a picture.  So, at my MIL's St. Patty's Day feast I will ask someone to take a photo of our little Crutchfield clan, using Instagram of course.  Then I will get the 4x4 picture printed, and modge podge it to this canvas.  St. Patrick's Day Celebrating and memories for years to come.

What do you think?  Do you think you will make one for yourself?

The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

When I went to bed on Friday night, Saturday held such promise. After a week spent fighting a horrible cold/sinus infection, three nights spent at work, and an overwhelming feeling of being stretched way too think, I felt that Saturday, my first full day off since Tuesday was going to be stellar. Saturday was going to be a day to sleep in. It was going to be a day to finally drag my ass to Costco. A day going to birthday parties and seeing family. I was looking forward to Saturday, I was banking on Saturday, I needed this Saturday, desperately.

My human alarm clock, my oldest, woke me up at six forty-five in the morning. Caitlin has been an early riser her entire life, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but lately I can't even drag or bribe her out of bed before seven thirty on a school day. Figures, right? And while waking early on what was going to be a very busy Saturday isn't always a bad thing, I really, really needed the sleep. You see when I have days off during the week, I still have to get up and get kids ready for school,  I have to drop off and make lunches and breakfast. I can have three days off in a row mid week and not a single one is spent sleeping in past 6. First world mom problems, but you don't realize that weekends will exist even less when you are a working mom with weekend hours.
We got the day started. Dropping off more Girl Scout cookies, going to Target for birthday presents for triplet boys (zombie Nerf guns if you are wondering), and going to the grocery store before breakfast because Mommy needed apples and bananas to start the day. We threw in a pan of bakery made cinnamon rolls since opening a can of store bought seemed daunting. As you can see, the day didn't start off all that bad.

Except I was bitter. Like really bitter. And I was taking it out on everyone. Sarcastic tones and comments when my daughter would not put on shoes to go to the birthday party. She wanted to wear flip flops and I told her repeatedly that I would not have any sympathy if she fell like she had at a birthday party a few months earlier. I was short fused and rude to the Hubbs. And when he finally asked what the Hell my problem was I let loose.

I was bitter because:
He got to sleep longer than me.
The kids woke me up before I was ready.
I needed to go to Costco three days ago.
My kids never listen to me.
I'm spread so damn thin I can't do anything right.
I yell all the time.
I'm never home.

I could go on but I won't. The Hubbs challenged back. What did I want? Did I want to run away? Did I want to chuck my responsibilities? Did I want to quit my life? Well, yeah, sometimes. Then I cried from the wave of guilt. I cried because I feel like I can never have a bad day. I feel like I have to plaster a smile on my face and push on. But then I quickly dried those tears because we had a birthday party to go to and I was trying to put make up on my face and comb dirty hair, and there was obviously no time for tears.

We went to the party. Then to another family party. And even though I could have fell asleep at either event I didn't. We got home and I finally got to eat dinner, as my family had been fed at both events. I ate, read chapters of one of my favorite books, and sat in partial silence as the girls played and the Hubbs cleaned around me. Then all Hell broke loose.

Just as I was making my spot on the couch for a little rest, I could hear a commotion in the back of the house. My girls were fighting over a toy. Normal and by all accounts expected. Until they were crying and whining, and at some point one of them started growling like an animal. And for some reason, I completely lost myself. I started yelling before I even turned the corner, and when I did I was met with the completely horrified looks on my daughters faces. They knew by the tone and the decibel that I was pissed. I took the toy they were fighting over and declared it mine. Then I sent them both to their rooms and ordered them to bed. 

It wasn't until I sat down that I realized I was shaking. I realized that my heart was pounding. I realized that I was having a shit day, and was seriously taking it out on everyone around me. And then I realized that I was being a shitty mom.

I've felt like a shitty mom before, but now, with being out of the house with work, I feel like my time spent at home should be spent being a good mom. I should have more patience since I haven't been home, because I haven't seen their little faces, because I haven't had to be mom 100% of the time. But that is not happening. I'm coming home more tired. Things at home are being pushed on the back burner. My focus has been work, and home, and this blog, and then, oh yeah, I'm a mom too. How can I do all of this?

Before I went to sleep on Saturday night, I cried for a good half an hour. I cried because I feel like a shitty mother. Because I feel like I yell more that ever. I feel like I'm not home enough, and when I am, I'm yelling. I cried because I don't want my kids to have a shitty mommy. I cried because I know they love me anyway, even when I don't deserve it. I cried because I feel so overwhelmed. By work, by motherhood, by life. I feel like I'm on a damn hamster wheel. I cried because I don't want to be this person, this person stuck between a good employee and a good mother. I cried because I couldn't stop crying.

Then I cried for a very selfish reason. Because this blog, my writing, everything I've been working towards for three years feels like it's slipping away. I hardly wrote at all last week. And I have to admit, there wasn't any time or inspiration. I cried because when I really think about it this blog is a necessity for me, and only me. It doesn't pay the bills, or get my kids to school on time. It doesn't do laundry and it doesn't make sure lunches are packed. The only thing this blog does is make me happy and allow me to dream about things bigger than myself. How can I justify taking time away from my girls, my home, my family, my job? How can I continually say no to playing with blocks or coloring so I can just get these thoughts out so I don't lose them forever? How can I justify this one thing?

I can't. And so I cried because after all the yelling and bitterness, I still want this one selfish little thing in my life. The one thing that gives me wings to fly, comfort to cry, and hope to carry on. It may never pay my damn bills, but it keeps me sane, keeps me dreaming, keeps me breathing. And while I may say yes more to my girls and no more to my writing, I will never really be gone for long. Because I will always have horrible, no good, very bad days, and I will need to share them with you. So that you will know that mommies have shitty days in their otherwise happy lives. 

Sunday was the Saturday I had been planning. It was the day I had so desperately needed, just a day late. No matter, I'll take it.