Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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This morning, I’m in the bathroom, um, “reading” and I hear my five-year old scream from the hallway. “What’s wrong?”, I yell. She cries, “There’s a bug in the bathroom and I gotta go!” I reassure her over and over that the bug is a lot smaller than she is and it’s not scary. She’s “telling” herself it’s scary. This goes on for at least five minutes. Now I’m yelling, from my throne (seriously?!) that she should just march into that bathroom and sit down on the toilet and go. “THE BUG IS NOT SCARY!”, I shout. Crying, she says frantically, “I’m peeing and I can’t stop!” (standing in the hallway wearing her feetie pj’s)
Now, I’m pissed. “So help me, you do not pee in your pants. Ridiculous! Mind over matter. The bug is not scary. You are bigger than the bug. Sit down on that toilet and pee.” At this point, I’m ready to swallow my own face, shove her down the toilet and pluck the bugs legs off one at a time and set it on fire. This is crazy!
My “reading” comes to a screeching halt (I hate that) and she races to sit atop my toilet, breathing a sigh of relief to empty her bladder and acknowledge narrowly escaping a horrible and violet death by bug. (I couldn’t make this shit up!)
Afterward, it got me thinking (scary what stirs my brain) how many of us are so scared by our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs that we are literally frozen. Paralyzed. (Hopefully, not enough that you pee in your pants) What are you telling yourself that simply isn’t true? What “feels” scary? Why? Is it truly scary or just a story that’s turned into a belief?
I’ve had my share of beliefs that held me back. Not from peeing on the toilet, but from greater abundance in my life. From new clients “I didn’t even know yet.” From succeeding. From using my voice. They weren’t really scary at all. It’s a story I was telling myself. I’ve gained such great insight from the work of Byron Katie. She’s developed a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world and in your life. She also has a fantastic app too. It’s called, The Work. It’s so easy and the best $1.99 you’ll spend all year! She helps you sort out what thoughts are driving your feelings and beliefs to arrive at a new conclusion and move forward.
What are you scared of? Is it really scary or just a story you’re telling yourself? ‘Cause, I’d hate to see you pee your pants.
Stay sane, my friends.
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” — Byron Katie
While the gray-haired couple dozes in the row in front of me, I sit here basking in the quiet as the solo occupant of row 21, seats F, E and D. The sun is setting as we cruise across the country at 33,000 feet and I’ve never been happier.
I could list all the wonderful things in my life…a lovely home, married to my high school sweetheart of twenty-five years and still hot for each other, two beautiful healthy daughters and doing what I love for a living, but that isn’t what makes me happy.
I have learned that happiness starts on the inside. Not the other way around. Things on the outside only enhance the happiness that already lives inside you.
So, after a multi-year battle with self-loathing and facing my fears about success and money, I have learned to find joy in every situation—to choose happy. Before kids (#BK), sitting on an airplane for five hours seemed like a death sentence. Fast forward thirteen years and it’s become a little slice of quiet heaven. An indulgence, really. Crazy!
The other “brick to the head” is that I can move from WORRIER to WARRIOR in an instant. (thank you Steve Chandler) All I have to do is take an action. I think I could be stuck in the middle of the ocean without a paddle and I know if I just keep rowing with my hands — taking an action with whatever I have available—I will arrive somewhere and there will be a Starbucks. The other little bonus message that was tied to the above-mentioned brick with a little string is the practice of gratitude. As long as I’m grateful, in every situation, happiness is also there. I think they are cousins twice removed.
The important thing that I now have brain tattooed is this – I have a choice. I always have a choice. There is a particular person on FB that I am connected to and it appears that they are a victim in every situation. Something or someone is always in charge of their circumstance and, therefore, their happiness. I am so close to commenting, “Please shut the fuck up – expect nothing, create everything!” (again, TM Steve Chandler) No one is coming to save you. You are it.
Find the beauty in everything. Happiness starts from the inside out. Choose happy!
Stay sane, my friends.
P.S. The flight attendant gave me a free beer. Happy, happy, happy! (I seriously just quoted Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty?!)
I keep getting asked when I’m going to finish my book. I’m happy to announce that it will be completed by the end of this year. (hold me accountable here) In the meantime, here are a few truths from the front lines…and remember, it’s the journey, right?!
1. During pregnancy, remain optimistic that, in fact, you CAN have it all. (and your feet and vagina will return to their normal size, eventually.)
2. Hormones are real and can be considered a leathal weapon. Use them to your advantage.
3. Remove the rose-colored glasses when it comes to working from home and caring for a small child. It’s fucking hard, ask for help!
4. When you find poop under your fingernail during an important meeting, don’t freak out! No one else can smell it but you. It will wash off.
5. It’s perfectly acceptable to take notes during a meeting in crayon. Purple is my first choice.
6. Your memory may never return. Live with it. (sorry you ever made fun of your grandmother, now aren’t you?!)
7. See your mothers body…welcome to your future. (I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either.)
8. When your toddler (preschooler, teenager, et al) throws a temper tantrum in public (IT WILL HAPPEN) just start laughing hysterically (think Tom Hanks in The Money Pit) and tell the women staring at you, “Can you even believe what a horrible mother I am?!”
9. Never step foot with your child(ren) onto an airplane without children’s night time Benedryl. (I’m not even joking.)
10. Always carry a flask. You just never know.
11. Prozac can save your life. (Tom Cruise can suck it.)
12. Don’t ever forget that you come first. Lose the guilt. It serves no one.
13. Create a sacred space for yourself every day. (Even if it’s for 15 minutes and you have to get up at zero dark thirty.) You’ll thank me.
14. Self love will set you free. Turn off the inner mean girl. (actually, hire a hit man and snuff her out completely)
Until next time…
Stay sane, my friends.
It is my determination that once impregnated with child there is a residual gift that keeps on giving long after you’ve given birth. It’s a homing device. It becomes implanted deep inside the lining of your uterus and is only removable by force or a blunt object, whichever is handy. (Studies indicate that men are device-free)
You see, I keep hiding from my children and they keep finding me. They can’t seem to find the dinner table when it’s time to eat, or the dishwasher (aka: cup repository), the hamper or the remote control. Yet, without hesitation, they can find me whenever I’m on the phone, in the bathroom, reading the Sunday Parade or hiding in the closet with a bottle of wine. They even find me when I’ve taken refuge outside, while seeking momentary solitude before completely losing it. Run for your life, kid, I’m gonna blow! They seem to find me when I’m working late, sitting on the freeway or strolling aimlessly through the aisles of Target. (damn cell phone)
Some days it feels like there is no “me” time. Although I give it my all to get creative, create the space, plan the little moments of zen, inevitably it goes south. (OK, not EVERY time…I’m being dramatic, go with me here) When this creativity and planning yields a 5-year old staring at me at 5am, while I’m trying to become the mistress of zen, I get a little cranky. The ultimate challenge is how I respond. “Go away honey, mom is having her quiet time to stay sane and you’re ruining it!” “What the hell are you doing up at 5am, dummy, this is my f*cking quiet time!” “Are you possessed–how do you keep showing up!”
No, I go with appropriate and nurturing and invite her to sit on my lap, give her a hug and prod her back into bed for another two hours while smiling sweetly. (ugh, so hard to take the high road) It takes everything in me to choose appropriate and nurturing sometimes. Seriously, do I need to get up in the middle of the night to pull this off?!
This is a vexing dilemma. I adore my kids and, although, spending every waking minute with them would be just awesome…I desperately need a little time to have a thought. To take a breath. To be quiet. Granted, I am a professional and I have time during the commute and time at the office without children chatting me up or sitting on my lap or watching me poop. Maybe it’s the chunks of home time that drain me. The morning between 6:45-8:15 can be a frenzy of chattering, complaining, crying, sweatshirt reconnaissance, cereal irritation, UFC take down and/or the dreaded “hair poof dilemma.” The evening is a similar experience. From 5-9 there is no end to chores, day-sharing, girl drama reenactment and the requests for water and/or monster wrangling. Overwhelmed, party of one!
I confess, I am truly grateful for my kids. Grateful for time spent with them and without. I am, however, still in search of a healthy balance—of that alone time that centers me, reminds me who I am and why I am on this planet. And for a way to remove this annoying device from inside my body. Anyone have some pliers or a blow torch?
Stay sane, my friends.
I’m pretty sure my sister is laughing her head off right now, simply from reading the title. See, when we were kids, mom typically made dinner and we’d pull up a chair and take a look and assess what was on our plates. I distinctly remember remarking (more than once I’m sad to admit), “Ew, this smells like poop.” To which my mother indignantly replied, “I do not serve poop to my family!” I’d think, “Calm down, already, I was just sayin’!”
Sadly, forty years later, the past has come back to bite me square in the ass. On a regular basis, my kids make similar comments about whatever it is I’m making for dinner. Now, I just go with it. When they look at it and then proceed to ask, “Ew, what are we having?” I say, “Poop!” Then I say, “Here’s your sign.” Seriously, do they not know what fish looks like? Or grilled veggies for that matter? It’s not like I make them eat liver or green eggs and ham with a side of chiles.
The most frustrating thing is, after working all day, driving home in traffic, shopping for the food, putting the food away, preparing the food and serving the food (when you’re just ready to dive head first into a big fat martini while wearing a straight jacket) the people (children) you do all this for don’t appreciate it. You’re hoping for a, “Hey, this looks great, mom!” or a “Thanks for doing all this, mom, I’m so hungry!” Instead there noses are turned up so far they resemble those pigs in space Muppets.
I think one night soon, I will surprise them and make their dreams come true. I’m gonna serve up some shit tacos with a side of black beans and shit and, for dessert, shit cream cones. Now, there’s a meal that won’t dissapoint!
Dammit, I wish I’d been nicer to my mother.
Stay sane, my friends.
I often wonder what aliens would think if they came to Earth to observe our culture. What they would think if they sat in my house for one day and just listened to the crazy things I say. The questions that come out of my mouth even sound insane to me. On any given day this is what might be overheard and reported back to the mother ship:
Whose chewed gum is this stuck to my table?
Why is there a spoon in the freezer?
Who pooped and didn’t flush?
Is this underwear clean or dirty?
Why is the dog wearing lipstick?
Since when is the floor a hamper?
Why is there cereal in my bed?
Why are my high heels out in the garage?
Do I look like a bank?
What died in my car?
Does everyone need to be in the bathroom while I poop?
Is this a dried booger on the wall?
Who drew on the furniture?
Why do YOU think my boobs are hangy?
Why did I come into this room?
Am I speaking Chinese?
Have you seen my daughter?
Why am I the only one who can change the toilet paper roll?
Why is the dog leash on the baby doll?
What is that smell and why aren’t we all dead?
Can you stop speaking Whinese so I can understand you?
Were you raised by pigs?
Whose children are you?
Stay sane, my friends. Nanoo Nanoo
Feeling a little overwhelmed and exhausted this morning I popped into my local Cheers (I mean Starbucks), where everybody knows my name, for my morning iV of caffeinated bliss. All wrapped up in my own self-righteous cape of “super everythingness”, teetering on the brink of insanity (“I Don’t Know How She Does It”) I run into a couple of moms from my daughters class who have stopped in for their caffeine infusion, shortly before they have to play chaperone at the zoo to 24 J-kers with the attention spans of gnats. (let’s see how many more really long sentences I can come up with)
They ask if I’m going on the field trip today. I peak out from under my cape and say, noooo! Been there, done that, with my older daughter. Not doing the zoo thing today. I’ve gotta get to the office. (insert Barney Pfeif sniff here) One of the moms then proceeds to tell us how she’s leaving town tomorrow for a 10-day business trip across the country and what bad timing this is because her husband, the CPA, is chin deep in tax season. They have three children under the age of 6. I cringe! Holy crap! How does she do it?
I’ve got two kids. One is completely independent, barring driving and having a job, and I’m not preparing to leave for 10 days. My husband is drowning at work, but surviving alright and not in crisis mode. And, I opted out of the field trip today. Hmmmm! BRICK TO THE HEAD
I arrive at my studio, having slipped back into harried mode, sit down at my desk, sip my coffee and think, “Where do I start?” (insert self doubt here) I decide to dive into email and open an eye-catching note from one of my mentors, who’s shared an article on effort and how it always takes more than what you think. Effort, that wonderful thing you have to exert to get better at anything. Effort, that thing all movies and TV shows lead you to believe takes 20 minutes and a some “wash on – wash off”. (fuck off, Karate Kid) Effort, that thing I can give more of to just about everything.
Instead of trying so hard and overwhelming myself with effort overload, I realize I’ve gotta give effort to one thing at a time, one day at a time. That’s what practice is. Daily. Weekly. Annually working on something until it becomes effortless. There’s a great quote I found recently that says:
“World-class comes from little improvements done every day with great consistency.”
I guess my problem is that I tell myself I should be world-class at everything all at the same time. Impossible. (If you disagree, you’re a lying closet drinker.)
BRICK TO THE HEAD #24: Stop Crying and Carry On
One moment at a time. One post-it at a time. One list at a time. There’s always somebody out there who’s worse off than me. I’ve gotta carry on now.
Stay sane, my friends. (pardon the multi-topic jumbalaya)
Why did you pack this jacket? I like the other one better. Um…..
If you’re going to be like that all day, we’ll just go without you! Um….
Why did you put mustard on my sandwich? Um….
How could you forget to pay that bill? Um….
Why can’t you stay home like other moms? Um….
Recently, this was the joy that was my day. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right for anybody. (Sigh) Why are some days so utterly perfect and the vibe is chi-rific and other days feel like I’m dragging a train behind me and I just can’t pull it fast enough to save my life. Those are the days I just want to go back to bed and call it a day. DONE! OUT! PENALTY ON THE PLAY-GAME OVER!
What’s amazing is how fast I start telling myself the “You’re a Loser” story. Instantly my lizard brain jumps into the drivers seat, slithers her nasty tongue and hisses in delight. She’s going to drive me right over the cliff Thelma and Louise style unless I pull my head out of my ass and take the wheel.
After all these years of struggling through “how could you” days, I finally have some new plays for the old playbook. Duck-33-Run-24-Hike-Hike! (wait, that was the old play)
The day is never a total loss. I am not a loser. I am not a failure. I make mistakes because I am human. I’m allowed to mess up or forget something. It is what it is. Now, move on. New play!
I realize that some days are tougher than others and this new play may not be enough. The lizard brain won’t relinquish the wheel no matter how hard I choke her and it feels like I’m being dragged behind the bus. I’ve got to give myself permission to screw up and then forgive myself. Be vulnerable and speak my feelings. Ask for forgiveness and a little extra kindness that day. Remind the world that I’m doing my best. Nobody can read my mind (thank God), so I’ve got to communicate. Use my outside voice.
Then, if all else fails, hide in the closet and drink wine until you can’t stop smiling and rainbows and ponies are coming out of your ass. Hike-Hike!
Stay sane, my friends.
Imagine if every time we worried we broke out in warts, spots or some other ungodly blemish. On any given day I might literally be covered from head to toe. It would be like that book I read to my kids, Bad Case of Stripes, only I’d be the Bad Case of Spots. Kids would read it and say, “Hey mom, isn’t that Drea and Ivy’s mom?! Yes, honey, she’s a worry wart.”
Luckily, I am gaining a better understanding of what worry really is and why it’s a big fat waste of time. It can hold you hostage and keep you immobilized until help arrives bearing wine. I have learned so much from my mentor, Steve Chandler. I’m gonna bet a pen that you might benefit from his wisdom as well. Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog post about worry and what you gain when you stop doing it. Enjoy, and pass the wine!
“It’s really important to understand the nature of worry.
Worry is not the same as concern. Worry is certainly not the same as caring. Worry is not a function of caution. Worry is not responsible behavior. Worrying stops the flow of energy, creativity and innovation. Therefore, worry actually reduces the effectiveness of the person who worries.
So, for example, if you are always worried about money, then your effectiveness in saving money and producing money is reduced by the worry. I mean …. it sounds cruel, it sounds like a compassionate universe ought to reward people who worry about money, but the opposite happens.
Worrying is habitual after a while. People begin to worry about things and then the mind gets in that rut, it gets in that jingle track. It’s funny how your mind just goes where it went yesterday and the day before if you leave it alone. The sun rises and it starts worrying again.
People don’t worry because they care about something deeply. They worry because they worry. They worry because they worried yesterday and the day before. So the worrying is occurring……NOT in response to the seriousness of situations, but rather the worry occurs because of previous worrying. And that’s hard for people to see because they believe in an outside-in, stressful world.
They believe that whatever it is they are doing (including worrying) is occurring because of something outside of them—-the economy, crime, our brother-in-law’s moving in with us. Worry seems to be occurring because of some outside event beyond one’s control and worry then feels like a natural response to that.
If that’s my habitual system of repetitive “thought,” how can I now proceed to use my imagination? How can I creatively produce solutions for myself?
I can’t. Because my imagination is OCCUPIED. I go to my imagination and it has an OCCUPIED sign on it like a portable toilet at a golf tournament. I wake up and my imagination is already taken over (sorry, that seat’s already filled). It’s already occupied with habitual worry.
Why do I doubt my ability to make money? Well, I somehow sense that it will take imagination and I also somehow sense that this imagination of mine is already spoken for.
What I want to learn to do is to clear the house, send the worry home, and bring in the proper adventurous warrior thoughts. They are infinite when I am cleared. They can get me anything if I give them half a chance.”
I’m striving to be worry-free and trust-filled. Join me?
Stay sane, my friends.
I am unique!
There’s no one else quite like me.
I am worthy and lovable.
I am beautiful inside and out.
I am already perfect.
I love my body, exactly the way it is.
I love my body so much I’m going to give it good food and some exercise—today.
I love myself so much I’m taking a time out today, just for me.
I love my intelligent mind.
I love my creative spirit.
I love being fearless and trying new things.
I love all the possibilities that await me today.
I love my strength and perseverance.
I love my voice.
I love that my power is in the present moment.
I love that happiness is portable and goes with me everywhere.
I love me. (I’m awesome)
Stay sane, my friends.