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Mom Life

I spend my days, feeling like I am wishing them away. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my girls but when the girls are screaming, the dog’s barking, the food’s burning and the doorbell ringing…I’m wishing it was bedtime, or tomorrow, or next week. I’m wishing they were older and things were easier.

In my defense,that was a lot easier before I realized how fleeting the tiny years truly are. I want to stop wishing away the moments and enjoying every single second. I want to find joy in the rain puddles, laughter in a broken lamp, patience in the face of tantrums.I want my time with my girls and my husband to be about adventures and memories not aggravation and frustration.

This week is spring break and we have decided that we are going to spend it having fun together. We are going to enjoy the  time together and whatever “adventure” that life has to offer. We are getting in the car and driving south in search of sun. Only God knows how this might turn out or where we might end up.But we’re excited. I ‘m tired of wishing away my childrens childhood or wanting for something different, I am embracing the journey here and the now with the the three best traveling companions I could ever want for. It’s time that I remember that with children the days are long, but the years are short.

How do you make the short years count with your children?

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How to exude confidence and be a priority in your own life.The following post was written over a year ago, when I needed a little self confidence boost and reminder to be a priority in my own life and all my relationships. I dug it out to remind myself how it feels to have confidence in your body, health, relationships and love. I think many of us can use this post to lift us up and remind us of who we are, even when we don’t feel like it.

Bringing the Feisty Broad back

I am a Mommy, first and foremost. It’s a fact of my life. I love it. I chose it. This is not something that I got trapped into, this was something that I intentionally chose, in fact, it was one of my loftiest aspirations. I used to be a daughter and sister, then a wife, then a Mommy. Somewhere in there, for a brief fleeting moment, I got to be “Debi”. I remember that girl, I liked her. She was a lot like me but had absolutely no real ramifications for her behavior. Awww, sweet freedom. I do miss you. It was awesome. It was pre filter on the mouth and brain for child security reasons, yet, post the imposed filter of my personal freedoms by my Father.It was wonderful; it was euphoric. I was selfish, care free, and completely oblivious to the wants and needs of others. I know it sounds perfectly awful. I always did exactly what “I” wanted to do, with no care or concern for anyone else. I know it sounds terribly vain and narcissistic, perhaps it was, but it was fabulous..for that time in my life…all 15 minutes of it. I was the priority. These days, I am “Mommy”, “Honey”, “Mama” ,”You”, “Mother”, “Mrs. Big Guy” ( now, Truthful Mommy) but hardly anyone ever calls me “Debi” anymore.I feel as if I have disappeared figuratively and literally. But for someone who is invisible, I certainly do stay busy. How can this be? It is absolutely mind boggling to me but I am fairly certain that I am not alone in this situation. Can I get an amen from my Mommies out there? I KNOW you know what I’m talking about.

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self esteem, confidence, priority

Photo courtesy of the internet

 

I go through life, these days, busier than ever before yet feeling like I really never accomplish anything in my days. Every night, I am thoroughly exhausted ( believe me..just ask the Big Guy)but usually I can’t sleep.Every morning, I am still so tired because I was up the previous night until 2 am thinking of all the “Stuff” I have to do the next day. No fair, right? Last year ( 2 years ago now), I made a conscious decision that 2009 was going to be the year of “Debi”. I had my mind made up, I was planning to plan to revive that feisty broad.It’s pretty bad when you are telling your husband something about yourself before he met you and he is looking at you like you are full of shit because the “you” he knows, would never do something like that.I was determined, I was making a comeback in my own life. That was my plan! Then, real life and minutia got in my way. So, around September ( my birthday to be exact) I put my foot down and started getting to it…for like the 100th time since I had realized that I wanted to change some things.

This time it was different though. This time, I made real efforts. I joined Weight Watchers ( yes, to my initial utter embarrassment. I had so convinced myself that I was not “that” fat but I was, in fact, “that” fat and let me tell you..admitting it was the first real step towards fixing it !) , I started walking and working out and making a genuine effort..and didn’t quit or make up excuses after I got bored with it. This time I approached it like an adult. I also joined some Mom’s groups that stress being a woman and not just a “Mommy”, I made new friends ( I had to we had just moved half way across the country from absolutely everyone we knew), I got a babysitter ( a first for my children aside from the very occasional grandparent) and I forced myself to go out without my children. At my husbands insistence, I even made it out to a few MNO! Life was turning around. People were calling me “Deborah” , granted it wasn’t Debi but hey, a more adult version of myself is a good thing, right? Then the holiday’s hit. We traveled and it was one thing after another. So, here we are at the beginning of 2010 ( 2011 now). I am still forging on to revive myself. I am the priority in my life now, well…I am one of the top 3, for sure. I am a work in progress, but that is ok. As long as I am on my own to do list, there is hope for “Debi”

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self confidence, woman, self esteem, priority

Photo courtest of Google image

My point being, with a little real concerted effort, I am 25 lbs. smaller than I was in September, I have made some wonderful new friends, and I am feeling more like the starring role in my own Cinderella story versus the cat that belonged to the ugly stepsisters. I feel like by getting back to “Debi” and introducing that intelligent,beautiful, healthy, cultured, well read, strong woman to my girls that I am not only regaining my independence, my very existence… I am showing them ,by living example, that they are important and vital to their own life story.That no matter who they are, what they think, what they look like, what they choose to be or do in their lives, they must be present and they must be content with the versions of themselves who are present because they are imperative to their own happiness and nothing is more important than feeling like you matter and being fulfilled with who you are in your own life. Who I am is a direct reflection on who my daughters will someday become. I want them to know they can have the world and that they deserve it all and so does Mommy. I want to teach them how to exude confidence and be a priority in their own life. I want to have it all and I want them to know they can too. The paddles are out, Clear…..

Obviously, life derailed me again with yet another move and the whole commuter arrangement but this piece reminds me of two things one; I am SO WORTH the EFFORT and two; I am NOT a QUITTER. I persist and I work hard and then I conquer. I am woman hear me roar. How do you exude confidence and stay a priority in your own life?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Wasn’t it yesterday that I was cleansing my face with Noxema, wiping it religiously with alcohol & then moisturizer…all in the name of preventing a pimple? You know, because I’d get 1 every other month due to hormones. But it was the END of the world.Ah, the teen years.  I had so much wildly curly hair that I had no idea what to do with it, other than complain and wish I had less. Straighter.I was a perfectly healthy size 10 but I wanted to be a 7,so ,obviously, I was never happy. Always, working out and staring at myself in the mirror, wishing that I was someone else. My teeth were so bright white that they could blind someone and thanks to braces they were unnaturally straight.Unnaturally.I even complained about that. I was 5’7″,I wanted to be 5’8″ because that’s how tall you had to be to be a model and all the girls in the magazine were at least that tall. I had to be at the beach ALL the time because I NEEDED a tan.Did I mention that I’m Mexican…naturally olive. I constantly had perfectly manicured fingers and toes because,really, what kind of manual labor was I doing? Waking to school? Lifting a hand to flip all that hair?That was me at 17.

This morning, I revisited an old friend of mine,you may know him Biore strips.Oh my, Jeez!How long has it been since I’ve had time to give any attention to myself? Seriously, when I pulled that little strip off..let’s say it revealed some astonishing things. Either I had 10 years worth of deep black heads or I have began sprouting hair in yet another place that I don’t want it.Either way, when I puled that strip off..it looked like kiwi fuzz. I assure that I am not walking around in public looking like this because if I were, let’s be certain of one thing, the Big Guy would most certainly have brought it to my attention. This triggered a chain reaction. I realized that my simple regime of keeping away the zits has evolved in to a full fledged routine. When did this happen? Now there is cleanser, deep cleanser, astringent, toner and that’s just to keep it clean and my pores from looking like an escape hatch from within. Then I have to add wrinkle night cream because God knows that I’ve got to keep those suckers at bay.

All that hair that I was *ahem* complaining about, well, I’ve noticed that it’s thinned out considerably from stress of life.Now, I wish I had that big crazy bush atop my head.Of course, it has began to grow rampantly on other parts of my body. My upper lip, my arms, my legs, my eyebrows…you know just all the places that a woman doesn’t want all that hair. Size 10? Well, let’s just say that I’ve not seen size 10 in about as many years! YEARS! In college, I was a 5 and then somewhere along the way I passed 10 right up on my journey to size 14, 16, 18,16, 14.Things have been stretched out and moved about and nothing looks like it did when I was 17 on this body.This body is foreign to me.This body has lived. Years of drinking coffee to wake up, Diet Coke to keep going and wine to go to sleep has made it necessary that I use whitening mouth wash, whitening strengthening tooth paste, and I’m probably going to have to move on up to full on whitening bleach soon.Can someone please invent clear coffee? Peryl, can you put a word in with Starbucks?

Tan? I am so pale most of the year now that I am pretty sure that I glow. I’ve seen the beach 3 times in the last 10 years. I used to my entire summer lying on the beach frolicking in the water. Now, you have to bribe me with money and booze to even put on a suit and go in public. The poor fingers and toes, they have been held hostage by Mommyhood for far too long. It started with pregnancy hormones drying all my skin up and my poor feet have yet to recover. I am in such desperate need of a pedicure that I’m actually ashamed to let the spa manicurists see my feet. It’s so far past the point of no return that I may need a big burly man manicurists with a sand blaster.I’m seriously thinking  of going a state over to have this miracle performed just because I’m too ashamed of the possibility that I may run into them in the general public. I don’t think I could handle their judging eyes and knowing looks.

My point? What happened to all the waiting to grow up? I squandered all my beauty trying to grow up and now I’m etching closer and closer to 40 and trying to hold on to every ounce of youth I have left. I used to wake up bright eyed, bushy tailed and beautiful…now, I wake up tired! At least I get to look at my bright eyed,bushy tailed  beautiful girls, right? Wrong! It’s not enough anymore to just bask in their glow. Mama is making a declaration..Mama needs to give herself some of the TLC that she’s been giving away by the bushels to others.There is no way that I’m walking around looking like my nose is covered in kiwi fuzz….anymore.KIWI FUZZ! I think I just vomited in my mouth a little at the very thought. I’m seeing a manicure and pedicure in my very near future, as well. Flip flop season is on the horizon.Time to make that dreaded trip to the next state over to meet with the big burly manicurist.

What do you do to make yourself feel beautiful? What do you think is the most important reason for you to be beautiful to you? Let’s all get our pretty back.hell, let’s bring our sexy back. And for God’s sake, Just say no to Kiwi Fuzz!

 

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The past week was spent preparing for and celebrating my ,now, 6 year olds birthday. It was very emotionally draining and, quite frankly, physically exhausting.  The big Guy worked form home last week so that he could be here for Bella’s birthday. Last year, he started a new job out of state on her actual birthday and  missed it. He was devastated and Bella was inconsolable so he promised her it would never happen again. He was here. Now, the last year and a half has been incredibly intense for all of us, as a family. We have been separated by distance, then moved our entire lives only to be sent home once we stared getting comfortable. We returned and after a couple months of the stress of the unknown, the Big Guy found a job..out of state.And into a forced commuter marriage we went. Into a forced commuter parent/child dynamic the Big Guy and the girls were thrown. It’s all been very hard to adjust to. I knew this. I know this.I hate this. But the end is in site. The house in on the market and once school is out, we are moving..no matter what.

Since the original move away, new school, move back episode of early 2010, I’ve been focusing my attentions on Bella because she was the one old enough to verbalize her anger, confusion and resentment at the entire situation.Good Mommying, right? The only problem was that I got so tunnel visioned about Bella’s emotional state that I completely glazed over the ticking time bomb that is Gabs. I’ve known for a couple months that Gabs is having a really hard time with the distance from the Big Guy. She cries for him, literally, every night before bed.It truly breaks my heart but what can I do? This was the stimulus for putting the house on the market earlier than planned. We are all ready to drop everything, pack our belongings and go.But the finish line is in sight.

I keep reassuring the girls that the minute the house sells we will be reunited with the Big Guy.I promise them that as soon as school ends, we will be in the same house and he will be tucking them in at night. He calls them. He Skypes them.He bought them little Teddy Bears that have his voice recorded in them to tell them good night, so they can hear his voice before bedtime. I’m trying everything I know to bandaid this situation until June. But honestly, its felt like putting my finger in a crack in Hoover Dam. Basically, it’s not going to hold. I’m just waiting for the dam to burst and for me to drown.

I know that when the Big Guy is home, it seems to be worse. I think it’s because they know this is not permanent. That again he will be leaving. All last week, Gabs was like  a preschooler on the edge. Constant meltdowns and tantrums ensued. I knew exactly what it was from. I tried to soothe her fears. The Big Guy tried to comfort her but nothing worked. She’s no dummy.For three years old, she is remarkably insightful even if her chosen mode of communication is crying and whining.

Then Friday night happened.You know the night before the party, or as we refer to it in our house, “Hell Night”. It’s called Hell Night because the Big Guy and I spend the entire day running around like chickens with our heads cut off due to last minute details and decorating. I’m sure this is the norm for most households, right? Tell me we’re not the only ones. Then we usually have a house full of out of town birthday party guests. On top of that, I , not unlike Gabs, was feeling a little annoyed with the whole situation of knowing that he would be leaving again in a couple days. I was biting his head off from all the stress. Then bedtime for the girls rolled around.

Gabs wanted us both to lay down with her but we had a house full of guests and her sister who we had to make sure didn’t escape from her bed. I made the mistake of asking her who she wanted to get her to sleep. This was enough to trigger a meltdown of epic proportions. She lost her ever loving little mind. I spent the next 2 hours down on my knees as my 3 year old hyperventilated and hit at me,sobbing as she told me in speech as broken as her little heart, that I was not good enough. That she missed her Daddy and I need to spend more time with her.I’m with her 24 hours a day but I’m not always present. I do admit that. Apparently, with the Big Guy being physically unavailable , I have to be present..mind, body and soul at all times. I’m not going to lie, this is going to be hard for me. I have my own issues with this situation. I need to zone out a little bit to get through the days. I am overwhelmed ,lonely, and I miss my husband. But,I am the adult so I have to suck it up because she can’t.She shouldn’t have to. After she got it all out and we both cried really hard and ugly, she went to bed and got the first full night of peaceful rest that she’s had in a month. I was drained. Now, I’m wondering do I get an all expense paid trip somewhere when this is all over to recoup from the past year and a half? I hope so, because I have a feeling that I’m going to need it.

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Today is the last day that my Bella will be five. It is the last time I will put her to bed and kiss her on her sweet five year old head. The last time she will look at me with her big blue eyes and ask me, “When will I be six,Mommy?” I know that babies are born to grow up. But must they do it so quickly?

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The Day before she was born in 2005, it was 70 degrees in Tennessee. Today, it was snowing in the Midwest.

 

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The waiting was maddening.I had no idea what was in for. This caption should read:Last missed opportunity for restful sleep!

Six years ago tonight, I was so anxious and excited, I could hardly sleep. A new life was on my horizon and but I  had no idea that I was about to welcome into my life the most important human that I would ever have the honor of sharing space and time with, sharing air with, sharing evolution with. I had NO idea what my baby would bring to my life. A love so deep that I can barely grasp it on most days. A fulfillment that I had searched for for the previous 32 years of my life, a void was no longer.

I had NO idea what to expect.This was the moment I was born for. This was the moment that I had waited my eternity for. But that night 6 years ago, all I could think was..did I deserve this?Was I good enough?Could I do this?Was I ready for this?What if I fucked it all up beyond recognition? What if what I wanted and what I deserved didn’t align? What if I was wrong? What if I didn’t know what the hell I was getting myself into? And I didn’t. I had no idea.

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The MOST IMPORTANT Moment of my life!

 

I remember lying in bed, on my back, listening to the stillness;staring into the darkness. Sleep was no where to be found. Only a million different thoughts, not the least of which was…I wonder what labor will feel like. This was the night before my very first baby was to be born into the world.I liked my life. I had the good fortune of marrying the best man I had ever laid my soul open for. We were happy. We had been married for 5 years and life was an open ended opportunity for us. As I laid there, trying to see our future in the darkness, I realized that no matter what happened the next day…our lives were going to be changed forever. The couple we were, would no longer be..we would be three. We would be a family.

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I'm exhausted.She is perfection wrapped in a blanket.

 

Tonight, as I put Bella to bed, I see the excitement in her eyes. The unknown. She knows that she will be six tomorrow at 4:51 PM. She has no idea what that means for her or to us. I’m pretty sure she will spend tonight the way that I spent the night before her birth day six years ago, lying in the darkness contemplating the future. Maybe not to the breadth and depth that I did, but she knows tomorrow is special. Tomorrow, she will have surpassed being that newborn that I held in my arms for the first time that moment that she made me a mother. That first baby of mine who came into the world and in that instant altered the path of mine for all time. She is no longer my precocious crawling baby or curious toddler. She has passed the  stage of being my preschooler. Tomorrow, she graduates from being my kindergartner to being my little girl. She becomes a little more like me in her thoughts and actions every day and in each of those moments she becomes more independent. Moving further away from my protective grasp and a little further into the world. And all I can do it’s let it happen.Because the most important part of parenting is knowing when to loosen the grip and allowing those perfect life changers of ours, to become the people they are meant to be in the world. This is how we repay the favor of them allowing us the gift of loving them.

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I was the most tired I'd ever been and I was also the MOST happy!

 

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

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This is what my heaven looks like!

 

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I know many of us have picky eaters. My 3 year old would be perfectly happy to exist on nothing more than chicken nuggets for the rest of her life. Most days I fight with her, barter with her, do anything I need to do ( Dance monkey dance) to get her to eat something different..but some days….I don’t. I know. I am horrible. My kid’s going to turn into a giant chicken nugget. But the nuggets, or Nuggies as they are affectionately called in my house, are just a symptom of a much larger problem…Second Baby Syndrome.

Ahhh, I feel a weight has been lifted just by simply saying the words aloud.Many, if not all of you, know exactly this syndrome of which I speak. I’m not proud to admit this but it is the truth. With Bella, everything was perfect. What I mean to say is that I did my best to do everything right! She was always dressed adorably, not a hair out of place, all meals were up to food pyramid standards, just the right amount of sleep to play ratio. I read to her, I sang to her, I engaged her, TV time was limited, classes were taken, play dates were made and minds were expanded.I used to turn my nose up to those Moms that I saw in the grocery store, who looked like they had no mirrors in their house and so obviously should not have been parents..as they were yelling at a 3 year old at the top of their lungs because the poor kid wanted granola bars. Then we were blessed with Gabs.

One child is ONE CHILD but two children feels more like ten! I naively thought that having two would be as easy as one. ( What I meant to say as easy as my one was.)What did I know?  Suddenly, my days went from doting, anticipating every need, hitting every milestone in stride and ending the day patting myself on the back for a job well done to feeling like I couldn’t can’t keep up. It all became a blur. A fog filled with love and clamor.Noise.Chaos.More love. It enveloped me.I fell into it willingly.But somewhere along the way, I got lost. I lost sight of all my expectations. I think I evolved (or perhaps devolved ) in my parenting skills, however you want to look at it.Somehow I became , what I now know to be, the exhausted, sleep deprived Mom whose husband travels for work all the time and who has not had a shower  or shaved her legs for 3 days. And after a testing morning trying to get her older child off to school, she NOW is standing in the middle of the grocery with her 3 year old tantruming over the exact same granola bars that Mommy had to throw away this morning because said child had spat it out all over the new carpet because…it tasted “bad”. All I know is that it was not humanly possible for me to keep up at the pace I had been doing with one child. There had to be a give and take.

It’s a hard moment in motherhood when one has to accept this fact.It feels like defeat but really what it is IS growing pains.It’s you growing into your role of motherhood. I am certain I experienced the 7 stages of grief when letting go of my expectations of motherhood. First there was shock and denial. What? Both kids won’t nap at the same time?I can handle this.I don’t need sleep! 2nd stage, Pain and guilt. I can’t take this any more.Mommy needs some time to decompress too.Please go to sleep. Oh, no don’t cry. It’s OK. Say awake.I’m such a crappy Mommy trying to force my toddler to go to bed, just so I can have some alone time. I suck! 3rd stage, anger and bargaining. GO TO SLEEP!!! Just be quiet and go to sleep. Please go to sleep! If you go to sleep, I will take you to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow. 4th stage, depression, reflection and loneliness. Crying because you feel overwhelmed. During this time, you finally realize the magnitude of your loss and it depresses you.You can’t be the parent that you had expected to be..because it’s impossible. You may feel isolated, left to reflect alone on your lost expectations and focus on what you thought things could have been.( Cue the montage of you and your pre baby body running in a field of lilies with your perfectly coiffed matching dressed little girls.) You may sense feelings of emptiness, failure or despair.5th stage, the upward turn. You begin to adjust to your new role with new expectations.Life will become calmer and more organized. What that really means is that your house will be dirtier, the meals will be less food pyramid organic and more chicken nuggets for the finicky pallet of the most distinguished toddler connoisseur. Mommy guilt will begin to lift. Stage 6, reconstruction and working through.As you become more functional, your mind starts working again ( mommy brain may have lifted a bit but, let’s be honest, probably not.It’s a slippery slope from pregnancy brain to Mommy brain to full on forget where you put your vajayjay this morning.. sun downers.I’m just saying). You will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by motherhood. For example, the 5 second rule becomes perfectly acceptable.God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt, may be heard around the house.Summer afternoons in the pool may begin to qualify as bath time. And finally, you will reach stage 7, acceptance and hope.You learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. This in no way means instant happiness. There’s no magic pill for motherhood. Once you give in to the reality that parenting two babies is exponentially harder than one, you can adjust your attitude, your expectations and your technique. You can have hope that one day, you will sleep again.Someday…maybe when they are married and sleeping safely in their bed with their husbands. (Sucker, She’s your problem now!)

And so as I sit here, stuffing more random pieces of paper with notes scribbled on them into Gabs’ baby book, I am reminded of the quote ” Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened!”~Seuss Be glad that you cared enough to have the expectations and to impose them on yourself in the first place. Then, go feed that kid some chicken nuggets before they throw a tantrum in the middle of the store:)

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Tonight, I settled into my  Sunday evening quiet by turning on the television and mindlessly flipping the dial. I stopped on Extreme Makeover. I NEVER stop on Extreme Makeover, mostly because at some point in the show I will end up crying. Sunday’s are usually bad for me anyway so I figure why add fuel to the fire. But tonight, something was different…Extreme Makeover was calling to me.

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Photo courtesy of Google image

The show tonight was about the Brown family. The day was like any other day. Alex Brown’s father, Johnny Mack, gave her a kiss on the forehead before he left for work and told her to be good, something I’ve seen the Big Guy do a million times with our own girls.  Something, most of us do an a daily basis. We take a deep breath, kiss those little loves of our lives Goodbye for now and go out into the world or send them out into the world. Only that day, in November of 2009, was not like any other day, it would turn out to be the worst day of the Brown family’s life. That was the day that Jeanne and Johnny Mack Brown lost their daughter, Alex, a senior in high school, to distracted driving.  Katrina, her sister, lost her big sister and mentor in life. While driving to school, Alex was texting, she was distracted, lost control of her vehicle and rolled her pick up truck. This beautiful promising life, about to go off to college and make a difference in the world, was crudely ejected from the vehicle through the windshield, only to have her truck roll on top of her, crushing her and ultimately  causing injuries that proved fatal. I can not even imagine the pain and loss Jeanne and Johnny Mack Brown feel on a daily basis. To honor her memory, they spend all their free time traveling to area high schools showing Alex’s rolled truck to other students to demonstrate the possible dangers of texting while driving, spreading the message as far as their funds and abilities will let them. They have made it their life’s mission to stop other families from suffering such a great loss.

Now, I’m not going to lie..I am a drive and text sort of person. ( Well, I was… up until tonight). I know it’s wrong. I know it’s dangerous. Yet, I find myself doing it constantly. But tonight, when I watched this episode, it hit me…what if I were texting and my girls were in the car ( as they usually are)? I could wreck and kill them.KILL THEM!Let that sink in for a moment. Obviously, I don’t want to die but I can’t live with the possibility of putting my littles in danger. Not to mention what a horrible example I am setting for them. Let’s say for a minute that I am the exception and I’m lucky enough to avoid any disasters but one day, in the not so distant future, Bella or Gabs could get into a vehicle and mimic just what they’ve seen their Mommy doing…texting while driving.  God forbid they get into an accident themselves and, or worse still, die. So, tonight, I went to the Remember Alex Brown website and I signed the pledge. I know this sounds hokey and out of character for me. I know I am snarktastic and have mocked Oprah for her pledge against this very thing. But I am big enough to admit when I have been wrong. It just took me a bit to see the error of my ways. I’ve decided that I  refuse to put my children in that kind of danger, my family through that kind of pain or have any part in perpetuating this behavior in my children’s lives. I signed the pledge and I WILL NOT text while driving…ever again. I hope that you will take this pledge with me. I don’t really care if you electronically sign a pledge to a foundation, but I ‘d like you all to commit to not texting while driving. Think of yourself..think of your children! The life you may be saving by NOT texting while driving…may be the one that you helped to bring into this world.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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I hear friends say all the time, “Oh ,how I would love to be 18 again!” I never really thought about it because, to be honest, I feel about 18 on most days. But this past weekend, I was trying to show my girls how to do a back bend. Yes, you heard me a right…a back bend. I have every intention of showing them how to back bend, somersault, cartwheel, back flip, split, roller skate, ice skate..all of it. I never , ever took into consideration that I am not actually 18 anymore. I am more like two 18 year olds.Fuck, I am the sum total of two, non jail bait, grass on the field ( well, technically not) Miley Cyrus’. Shit, I feel old. After,I commenced to show them how to walk down the wall and gracefully (ahem) and easily (bwahahaha) come into a back bend. I stood up and not only did my back hurt, my thighs hurt, and not only did they hurt, my wrists hurt ( from bearing the weight of my entire body) and even my shoulders and clavicle ached. WHAT? Who am I? When did this happen? I work out and I have been lifting littles consecutively for almost 6 years but obviously there is no substitute for youth. You know that thing most of us squander on late nights, tanning beds, one night stands, hangovers, and making complete asses of ourselves?

So, it got me thinking..maybe I would prefer to “go back” but not to 18 ( No way..that was high school before all the “real” fun began) Here are 10 reasons that I’d want  to be 25 again:

  • I was in the best shape of my life.I’m not going to lie;I was working out like a maniac and I was a whopping 113 lbs at almost 5’8″. I was hot! ( Did I really just say that?) I could eat just about anything I wanted without ramification. Between my high metabolism,constant working out and an unhealthy side order of eating disorders I was set ~Of course, if I were still that size, there is no way I could wrangle these two beautiful giants I have given birth to. They’d pull me off in every which direction, like the dog does.
  • I could function on NO sleep and still look glowing and be in a pleasant..honestly chipper mood. How I could use this trait now. I never sleep, my eyes look like I am hoarding luggage, not Louis Vuitton luggage some really cheap knock off JC Penny  luggage, it is not pretty. How I would love to be able to wake up and not need to head directly for the Keurig. Or just wake up and be in a great mood for my girls.
  • It was the year I had my first very own apartment BY MYSELF,with no roomie of any sort.Do I even need to say more? Not that I don’t love sharing my life with the Big Guy and my girls, but does it have to be EVERY waking moment. I just want to be able to walk into a room, sit down in a chair and take a breath for 5 minutes without someone or something needing something from me. To just be. I hear all of you sighing, I know you know what I mean.
  • I had a million friends. I had so many friends, it was ridiculous in a really fabulous way. I always had plans and places to go , people to see…people and things I actually wanted to do, not was obligated to do. You know how hard it is to make a good Mommy friend. It’s like winning the lottery. First you have to find a woman that you like,then she needs to have kids that you like and your kids can get along with ( no punching, biting, body slamming or fights tot he death over sippy cups or Barbie dolls) and then ( If the fates allow) your husbands have to get along. In 11 years of marriage and almost 6 years of having children, I have 2 friends who meet this stringent criteria. 2!!!! Oh, how I miss my million friends.
  • I had a killer wardrobe. I didn’t have a lot of money because I was still in college BUT I had that rocking body and great taste.I’m not sure if it was the rocking body that made everything look good ( you’ve heard the saying “She’d look good in a paper bag”? Well, that was me for a few years), or that damn fresh glowing skin, or if the clothes were just that cute. Maybe it was because I actually bought myself clothes.Or maybe it was because I was always out and was super aware of what was in style and what was not. I don’t know. All I know is I had a smoking wardrobe and shoe collection. Man, I miss being selfish.
  • I was free spirited and fun loving.I could nap if I was tired, eat when I was hungry, go out, stay in, hop in the car and go for impromptu road trips. Now, everything I do has to be scheduled and coordinated in advance. So much for  spontaneity.7 bags and a stroller have to be packed. Snacks, DVDs, kids music, milk,toys, games, babies, extra clothes, umbrellas, jackets,boots,…my head is spinning just writing this list. I always have to be expecting the unexpected and more than that, prepared for the unexpected.It’s exhausting.
  • I had no responsibilities.I had no bills! NO BILLS! Rent and cable, that makes me laugh.I can barely keep a straight face thinking about how simple I was. I would actually blow a damn donkey at this point in my life to have NO BILLS! No mortgage.No utilities.No SCHOOL loans. No tuitions. No car payments. NO SCRIP. No credit car bills. No consolidation loans. No  organic groceries. No ballet.No Homeowners association dues.Of course, with all these “bills” comes the  life we want for our girls so I guess this is the price of suburban domesticity.I have a love hate relationship with it. I love it. I hate paying for it. Well, I hate paying through the nose for it.
  • My skin was glowing, my body was supple and flexible.Youth! Talk about not knowing what you’ve got til its gone ( Damn you, Cinderella and your crazy lyrics) I took everything for granted because it was just there at my disposal. Now, I am having to work double time to moisturize me skin, stay fit and healthy the right way, and be able to do simple things like teach my girls the back bend and splits without herniating something or ending up in traction. I just wish I wasn’t having to spend more time of the less time I have available to simply do maintenance.
  • I had finally figured out my place in the world and I was full of self confidence ( not as much as I am today but pretty close).More importantly, I exuded confidence. I actually felt comfortable in my own skin or as close as I could at that time. Then motherhood came along and, even though it is the most awesome thing I will ever do and it is so important to me, it knocked me on my ass. It made me lose confidence in who I was and what I could do. I had no training and I am a perfectionist. By becoming a mother, in a lot of ways, I had to relinquish control. This leaves me feeling less than adequate at times and not so comfortable in my skin. But I’m working on it and I’m getting there. It sure would nice to have some of that confidence  or maybe it was blissfully, happy naivete back.
  • I spent every waking moment with the Big Guy.The Big Guy and I met and within a week we were dating exclusively. We literally spent every waking moment ( with the exception of when we were supposed to be in class) together and it was never enough. That year is when we got engaged.He was my drug and I could not get my fill.There was never a lull or hesitation, just constant inquisition and even our quiet was full. These days, we only get to see one another on the weekends. The problem is we feel the same.He’s still my drug and I can’t get enough of him in my life. I love him and like him with every fiber of my being, even when I am exhausted and overwhelmed and overextended. He is my reprieve. He is my soft place to land. I want to spend more waking moments with this man. What a great example of a strong relationship for our daughters we could be if we were in the same place. I’m working on that too.

In recollection, my 25th year seems like it was my golden year ( which literally it was) but there was one thing seriously lacking from that year that I would not trade all the rest for, not even all the wonderment and freedom of youth…my girls. If I need to work a little harder to lose 10 pounds, sleep a little longer, moisturize a little more, eat a little less, save a lot more, it’s all worth it in the end.I’d rather be right where I am today than 25 and not with my girls. Babies, even at my best…I’m better with you!

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The Mommy Club;Imperfect parents need not apply

There is a club, it is a large club with a very rigid initiation process.One obvious and arduous requirement; you must conceive, grow and birth a baby. At first glance, you would think this group would be a little more selective in its member selection process, or at the very least a bit more exclusive but alas, one more of the great mysteries of the universe. Of course, it sounds much simpler to join this group than it actually is. If you read the fine print a bit more carefully, you will see that the conception, growth and deliverance of the aforementioned baby only gets you considered for membership in “the club”.

This photo courtesy of Google Image

The “club” of which I am referring to is one that I’ve always felt my invitation to got lost in the mail. It’s the species of Mommies who parent with ease and confidence.They are baby wearing, organic food making, breastfeeding until their children are 5, unwavering patience,non mom brain having, beautifully/impeccably coiffed, healthy, date night having, adorable dressing, PTA loving, scheduled/organized perfection. You know the ones who buy all the educational toys and actually have the time and patience to explain it to their 3 year old 50 times in one day. The ones who always pack a nutritious picnic for the park and also manage to squeeze in a valuable lesson..on a spontaneous trip to the park.I know they don’t do it on purpose ( or maybe they do) but these mommies,with their graceful ease of breezing through Mommying, make me feel like the ugly girl at prom who had no date and, to add insult to injury, had to wear an ugly dress.

This photo courtesy of google Image

I see them everywhere;in the drop off lines patiently waving goodbye, at the grocery store shopping with children in silence, at church not bribing their kids with Barbies and firetrucks to stay quiet, at the park running with their jogging strollers,working out in their yoga pants, at restaurants eating..at the same time as their family ( warm food). It makes me think, am I the only one who missed the parenting class they must be giving out with each baby you birth?I’m assuming upon graduation of that course is where the invitations are being handed out. I missed it.I think it had something to do with the shock I was experiencing as I left the hospital. I couldn’t believe they were actually relinquishing this baby into our care. Both times.I was shocked.Who the hell would give us a baby? We had no real experience. Damn it.I missed all of it.Does this mean I am doomed to this outsider perspective forever? Because, I’m not embarrassed to say ( shhh, come closer) I want in! I’m serious.I’ll do whatever it takes.Who’s bitch do I need to be? Bring it on. No hazing you could inflict could be more torturous than this being on the outside alone. I can’t take it anymore. Someone let me in.This Mommy needs some like minded war buddies.

But the more I think about it, who are these perfect Mommies? Are they really perfect or are they just working harder at concealing their imperfections? I love big and I love hard on my littles.I’m sure I could do better at the mommying on some days but on other days,I’m pretty freaking good at it. I wish there really was such a thing as a perfect parent or an easy button for parenting but it just doesn’t exist. Just like the unicorn and the liger,perfect Mommy club is exclusive because it doesn’t exist or it went extinct back int he 50′s.I just wish there was a memo sent to all the mommies of the world that read: Be ye not afraid of who you are, love your littles, stomp in the puddles, dance like no one is watching, sing like the whole world is deaf, love your Big Guy, have fun, be happy..the end. P.S. The dishes and laundry will wait and nobody’s perfect but …go brush your hair and teeth before leaving your dirty house:) Big Hugs, Reality

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In most instances, people are not what they do, but in Motherhood the marriage of the two is as seamless as the Separation of Church and state in Rome. In no other aspect of our lives does one single event of our life forever define who we are to the outside world as does becoming a Mother. It not only instantaneously changes how we view ourselves, how our family and friends view us; it changes the way we are viewed by the entire world. It’s not like being a Republican or Democrat, you can’t hide that you are a Mommy. Besides being recognizable by the obvious changes of Motherhood; your body, the tethering of a small human being to your side for 18+ years, and chronic food/spit/shit/ or urine on your clothing. There are also the not so obvious changes, the slow softening around the edges, the small appendage roaming the world freely (your heart), and the ever present elation filled with sadness and extreme exhaustion readily seen on most, if not all, Mommies faces.
The moment we become a Mother in our minds, whether it be at conception, labor, the moment we hold that newborn, or at that moment they first call out for us, we are changed forever. Never again to be that same woman we were before that moment, at least not entirely. However, where is the line between being their Mommy and the woman independent of the child? We become so consumed with the task at hand (being said Mommy) that we sometimes forget about the woman behind the miracle.
I sometimes look at my girls and I am in awe that I have anything to do with molding such amazing little humans; little lone that I am the sole reason they are on this earth. In those instances, I feel as if I am capable of accomplishing almost anything. I feel as if my potential is limitless. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in my ponytail and yoga pants and I feel like an incredible failure. How can someone who can do so many amazing things for and with her children have such little regard for herself? I am barely recognizable to myself in the mirror. I have become so immersed in their lives, their dreams and goals that I have forgotten about my own. Well, obviously I have not entirely forgotten, since I am referencing and acknowledging the fact that I ever had dreams and goals of my own, but I have certainly pushed myself to the side in many ways.
Like most Mommies, I do this willingly. After all, isn’t Martyrdom #1 in the Mommy manual? Nevertheless, am I really doing them any favors in the end? I have girls, so do I want to be the example that imprints on their tiny brains that being a Mommy= losing yourself and relinquishing all of your hopes and dreams? Obviously, that would be a resounding Hell no! That would be, by far, the greatest disservice that I could ever do to my girls. I think to be a really great Mommy, we have to be willing to let our children see us as humans and as women with interests, hopes, and dreams outside of just being their Mother. I struggle with this daily. Most days, I lose the battle.
Our children are our top priority but shouldn’t we be a priority on our own life, as well? Our children need to see us succeed, fail, survive it all and to pick ourselves up and continue on. If I were practicing as a lawyer or a doctor, I would not let it engulf my entire life. I would still allow myself outside interests, friends, hopes, and dreams. If we don’t do the same with Motherhood, who will we be when our children are grown and don’t need us to be their every thing? How will we define who we are if we have completely forgotten who we were?

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