What I learned when I journaled daily

standard March 17, 2016 Leave a response

What a month of daily journaling taught me

A little over a month ago I made the decision to try really, really hard to create something before I consumed anything. In my case that meant coming up with my own words before ingesting the words and thoughts of anyone else. AKA, no email/Facebook/texts before I sat down and wrote a few pages in my journal.

You’d think that someone who started a company extolling the many benefits of journaling would already have had a rather healthy journaling habit. You would be wrong.

I’m really good at telling people what to do and not doing it myself. Just ask my kids.

So there I was, the first morning after my big decision, reaching for my phone, and then forcing myself to put it down. I made the kids’ lunches, made myself a cup of tea, and sat down at the kitchen table in the middle of the morning chaos and opened a brand new journal.

As I uncapped my pen, my kids gave me some serious side-eye, wondering what craziness mom was up to now. Then I started writing and they went right back to ignoring me.

Every morning (yes, even on the weekend) since then, I’ve done the same thing.

Discover what I’ve learned over on The Zen Pencil blog. 

To all the friends and family I really want to visit

standard June 23, 2009 3 responses

I know you’re waiting for us to come visit. I know we’ve been saying we were planning on coming for years.

And we are. Honest!

It’s just…

Well, it’s just that traveling with kids is… is… challenging. Yes, let’s go with challenging.

First you have to pack the entire content of your house into a bag that you can easily handle while carrying a kid, a car seat, and your own stuff while running to catch a plane that you’ve almost missed because you forgot some essential something like a lovey or a bottle.

Then you actually have to get where you’re going. Now flying with a kid or two is not exactly relaxing or fun. Sometimes it involves bodily fluids, but only when you’ve forgotten to pack a change of clothes for yourself.

Once you get to your destination, it’s crazy, but you can’t just expect your children to be as excited as you to be in a fun new place. Nooooo. Kids like routine. Kids like their own home, their own room, their own beds. They don’t usually deal well with strange cribs or, say, time differences. So they don’t sleep well. Or eat well. And they get clingy. And whiny. And they make it very hard to, say, I don’t know, socialize with the friends or family you’ve traveled so far to see.

And all that is on a good trip! On a bad trip you or your kids get sick! Ear infections, stomach bugs, croup, laryngitis – we’ve had them all on trips. And nothing says “I’m thrilled to be here with you” than spending a week moaning on someone’s couch. Unless it’s spending a week crouching over someone’s toilet.

If you don’t get sick and the kids actually cooperate you can possibly enjoy a nice trip. You know, between naps, snacks, and all the other kid related interruptions that will pop up throughout the day.

At the end of it all you have to repeat the crazy packing and traveling rigmarole that you did at the beginning, just to get home where you will finally crash in dire need of a vacation to recover from your vacation. Precious little catch up time will have been enjoyed. Plenty of whining will have been endured.

So please, dear friends and family awaiting our visit, trust me when I say that it’s not you, it’s us. We’re just not ready to commit. We’ll be there soon. You know, once the kids are off to college and we can finally travel in peace.

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Thank you to everyone who has voted once or more in the BlogLuxe awards! There’s still time to vote! You’ll find It’s my life… in the Blog I’ve Learned The Most From category where you can cast your vote once a day.

The birds and the bees for the four year old set

standard June 5, 2009 5 responses

“If I go to school I won’t be able to be a mommy!” We we’re driving home and I was navigating heavy traffic. I heard what she said, but it didn’t instantly sound as odd as it sounded when I finally got settled in the right lane and really heard her words in my head.

“What? What do you mean?”
“If I go to school I’ll be too busy to be a mommy.”
“No, no. You can be a mommy and work. I’m a mommy and a writer. It’s possible.”
“Oh. How will I become a mommy and a writer?”
“Well, you’ll go to school for 12 years or so, go to college, maybe meet a nice boy, get married and have babies.” I squinted at her in the rear view mirror. I wasn’t sure if I’d said what she wanted to hear, but she nodded knowingly.
“I’m going to have four babies.” She held up four fingers. “There are going to be four in my tummy and four in the daddy’s tummy.”

I didn’t answer right away. First of all I didn’t hear very clearly, second of all I was once again navigating another gnarly lane change. Instead I made some encouraging noises, which might explain why she got annoyed when I corrected her assumption that, duh, the burden of pregnancy should be shared equally between the parents.

She waited a moment with a scowl on her face, pondering the unfairness of what I had just explained, and I was so wrapped up in my commute and the cuteness of her pout that I honestly didn’t anticipate what was coming next.

“Mommy? How does the baby get in the mommy’s tummy?”

My heart sank. I glanced back at her hopeful face and wondered how on earth I was going to answer her question. What does a 4 year-old need to know about sex? What would assuage her interest without revealing anything I wouldn’t be mortified to hear her repeat on the playground tomorrow? What wouldn’t warp her idea of sex and babies for years to come?

I waited as long as possible, took a deep breath, and jumped in.
“When a man and a woman love each other very much and they’ve thought carefully about wanting to have a baby, they have a special kind of cuddle. The man puts a seed inside the lady’s belly and a baby grows.”
I figured it wasn’t too graphic and covered the basics. I hesitated and stressed the fact that it only happened during very special cuddles, not every cuddle. Last thing I wanted was for her to start looking for a growing belly every time M and I hugged.

She didn’t reply and I risked a glance in the mirror again. Her face was contorted and when she caught my eye she giggled and looked away. She squirmed and laughed and squirmed some more. Her face was bright red and she had trouble meeting my eye. She looked exactly like a little kid who has heard a slightly naughty secret. A delighted little girl with a slightly naughty and embarrassing secret. I laughed and winked at her. She stopped looking embarrassed and just looked amused. We laughed the rest of the way home, giggling extra hard when our eyes met in the mirror.

The dirty truths no one likes to share with new moms

standard December 19, 2008 30 responses

“I am so tired.” She said, “why don’t they tell you about this?”
“Bu-uh-ut,” I stammered. “I did tell you.” And I had, over and over again, for at least the last four months of her her pregnancy.
“Oh, I know,” she answered. “I just didn’t realize that no sleep, meant really no sleep.”
I thought back to all the times I’d tried to warn her and I knew I was partially to blame. It’s true. We don’t tell our pregnant friends everything, not because we don’t think they can take it, not because we don’t think they’ll believe us, but because it hurts to relive it and it’s easier to joke about sleepless nights than to go into details about how hard it really is.

So, my dears, here it is, the dirty dirty truth. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No one tells you that you will stand in the shower day after day and sob because you can’t stand the thought of getting out and facing your baby again. No one tells you that some days you stand in that shower and it takes all your willpower not to curl up into a ball on the ground under the pelting shower stream. You don’t let yourself because you know that you’d never get up again.

No one tells you that with every lost hour of sleep you go slowly a bit more crazy and that the middle of the night is the darkest, scariest, and loneliest time. That you will dread the dusk because it’s the signal that night is coming and you just don’t know if you can survive another night.

No one tells you that you will grow to hate being touched and that some days it will again take all your willpower not to scream when someone places a hand on you, even as a gesture of love and support. By the same token, no one tells you that you will grow to hate sex or even the promise of sex and resent the person requiring it from you. Sex becomes just another chore at the end of a long and tedious day of tending to people’s needs. A chore that requires a lot of touching.

No one tells you that spending all day with a baby is boring. Mindnumbingly boring.

No one tells you that you will feel like half your brain has up and left you. You will forget everything. You will lose the ability to multi-task. You will lose the ability to form a coherent sentence.

No one tells you that you will resent, and even sometimes hate your kids, for many, many things like destroying your body and stealing your brain.

No one tells you that you’re going to lose your hair by the fistful and pee your pants when you sneeze.

No one tells you that you will hate breastfeeding. That it’s going to be the hardest thing you will ever have done. That your nipples will crack and bleed and that you will have to bite down on something, a blanket, your t-shirt, a burp cloth, every time the baby latches on. That you might not produce any milk or that you might produce too much and that you’re going to feel betrayed by your boobs over and over again. And yet you will persevere long beyond what a rational person would endure and yet you won’t be able to articulate why you can’t just quit and admit defeat already.

No one tells you how relieved you will be if you do finally throw in the towel and just focus on enjoying your baby or when miraculously your nursing woes vanish and you suddenly realize that you haven’t needed to bite down on something during the latch in a while.

No one tells you that you will feel like every other mother is doing a much better job and that you know they think you’re a terrible mom.

No one tells you that you will constantly second guess every little parenting decision you make.

No one tells you that you will be sure that your baby secretly hates you.

No one tells you that you’re terrified that your child will love her daycare providers more than you. And they might tell you that it’s not true, but you won’t believe them until you see it for yourself.

No one tells you that you will eventually grow to want sex again. That you’ll want to be hugged and touched again. That you’ll have time to spend with your partner and that you’ll want it that way.

No one tells you that you will fall in love with your baby, maybe not on day one or even on day 30, but on one day, when you will wake up and look into those eyes and understand why people kill to protect their children.

No one tells you just how much your life will change, how much you will change, how much your relationship with others will change. Or how OK you will eventually be with all that, once you make peace with your body’s shortcomings and finally, finally, get some sleep.