The Listen To Your Mother Show is pretty much what gave me that final nudge into writing a blog. I owe it, and Ann Imig who started the show, a lot. Ironically though, when show-time is in full swing I don’t have time to write anything, ever, except for maybe a to-do list for my husband who has to make sure that our children don’t starve.

What do I say? It was a success, it was all that we had hoped. Our cast did the show twice and killed it twice and I love that so many of my friends and family braved the snowy day to come hear our stories. The whole thing is heart-wrenching and lovely and people keep congratulating me, but really, it’s only a little bit about me. 1/12th to be exact. Because 12 of us stood behind the curtains together before the show and looked each other in the eyes and promised to hold each other up. And we did.

If you haven’t been to a show, find one and go to it next year. Or audition. Do it. It’s something that you can’t really explain until you are sitting in that audience and you realize that you are watching people tell these powerful, vulnerable stories in front of hundreds of…strangers. And you sit there and feel like those stories are your stories too.

So. I’ll let you all know when the videos come out and you can head over to our site to see more pictures of the cast.

But for now, I think the pictures will speak louder than I can.

 

 

I’m so excited to up at In The Powder Room today! I’m talking about how Target and I have a complicated relationship.

 

Here’s a sneak peek!

 

Sad boutique owner leaning on a clothes rack

 

Dear Target Changing Room,

I hate you. You are a lying liar and I don’t need your opinion on whether or not I should still be shopping in the juniors’ section. I’ll do what I want.

I naively went to you today with hope in my heart and a few cute flowered dresses under my arm. And maybe a jean vest but we won’t talk about that. Let’s just say I had a momentary lapse of judgment and a crazy flashback to staring at that cool girl in study hall in 1989.

I was feeling okay about myself until you came along. I was feeling great, actually, because I was in Target, without my kids. You heard me. No kids. Just moments before I had been frolicking down the aisles with the freedom that only grandparents can provide in two-hour increments.

 

Go over the In The Powder Room to check out the rest of my letter.

Oh wow. I sure opened up a can of worms with this one!

If you want to get in on the fun (and nasty comments!) head on over to Scary Mommy and read this one!

Here’s a peek…

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Cousins sharing…their keen fashion sense.

 

Imagine this: You have just settled yourself down at your favorite coffee shop with a hot drink and you open up your laptop. A stranger walks up to you and says,

“Hey, let me have a turn on that thing.”

You say, “Um, no. This is MY laptop.”

He says, “No fair! It’s my turn!”

And then he goes and tells on you to the barista. The barista comes over and says, “OK, I think you’ve had enough time on the laptop. It’s time to give your friend a turn.”

And then she takes your laptop away from you. That’s crazy, right?

Well, that’s probably how our kids feel each time we make them share.

Here are 9 reasons why I won’t make my kids share with your kids:

1. I’m not rocking that boat. If my child is absorbed in an activity that doesn’t involve an on/off button, everybody just better back off. I mean, I wouldn’t take away your cake ingredients while you were making a cake, right? The kid is making a cake. If he wants your help, he’ll ask for it.

2. CONCENTRATION. You are reading a book and you have just gotten to the most exciting part where you find out who the killer is and….somebody comes and throws your book out the window. I would feel like a crazy person if I knew I couldn’t get sucked into an activity without someone interrupting me or taking my stuff away. Oh wait, I’m a mom. That happens all the time. OK. My mental state is becoming much clearer to me.

3. I won’t throw them under the bus. I’m not going to be the one to take that pivotal lego piece away from my daughter when she’s obviously creating something…very tall. Her legos. Her rules.

 

AND YOU CAN READ THE REST HERE! SORRY FOR SHOUTING!

 

 

 

Unknowingly, I am making myself obsolete.

When I’m not right there, my son will comfort my daughter when she gets hurt. They dress themselves, they get their own snacks and can navigate Netflix better than their grandparents. And they don’t even ask me to get them a glass of water anymore because, I guess, the phrase, “Are your legs broken?” has officially been said enough.

I still make them food, and read them stories, tuck them in and holler at them to kill each other in a quieter manner. But they are slowly moving outside of my orbit. I can’t decide if this is freaking me out or if I love it. Maybe both.

When I was campaigning for a third child, one of my husband’s best arguments was that he felt like our lives were more than just parenting. And since my writing career has unwittingly landed me in a place where I am producing a show about motherhood and I get paid to talk about anything and everything that has to do with parenting and being a mother and having kids and blah blah blah, I often find myself seeking ways to talk about ANYTHING ELSE.

Being a mother is simultaneously the greatest and also the most self-altering thing I have ever done, but it’s not all that I am. Not that anyone reading my Facebook Page would ever know that. I talk about my kids, I take their pictures, it’s all about them.

Recently, someone wrote a prompt in a group that I’m in asking us to write something surprising about ourselves. Me? Huh. I wasn’t sure I could. I could have come up with 20 surprising or funny things about my children or my husband or probably even my dog (I mean, this dog came home one day with his toenails painted red so he is definitely having a more interesting life than me.)

I guess I don’t want to become obsolete for myself. I want to hang on to those things that are me, and that have nothing to do with being a mother.

Here is my 25 things about me ala US weekly. I mean, I hope if you are reading me, you are at least half-heartedly interested in me. Or, at least you are so bored looking at Facebook that you clicked on my blog to waste 5 minutes of your life. I thank you.

This is a picture of me RIGHT NOW. With a filter, naturally. And I got my hair done yesterday so it’s all shiny and flowing in the breeze.

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25 Things About Me:

1. I love whiskey. I am a whiskey snob. But, much to my husband’s chagrin, I always have to put at least one ice-cube in it, even if the ice-cube does nothing to improve the flavor.

2. One of the scariest moments of my life was when my OB called me at work and told me that there was a chance my son had Down’s Syndrome. Now, if that happened, I think I would be okay.

3. I tear up VERY easily. When I’m happy, sad, moved, or even sometimes when I write. This is a genetic trait, my dad and son do the same thing and my son calls it, “getting the sadness.”

4. I am an obsessive goal writer. Unfortunately, I am much more about the goal-writing than the goal-doing. I’m working on it.

5. I am writing a YA novel about a tree who falls in love with a little girl.

6. I have carried a dead calf and eaten Rocky Mountain oysters (they taste like chicken).

7. I sometimes fly in my dreams. I have to really run and take a huge jump and then I’m up there flying around. I can even feel it.

8. I am an emotional hoarder. I will be super calm for months and then I will have a major freak out over my family not wanting to eat the spaghetti that I made.

9. I was the starting point guard on my high school varsity basketball team and I have maybe held a basketball 10 times in the last 20 years.

10. My husband and I have a lot of freaky similarities in our family, especially with numbers. Once, I looked at my children’s birthdays and they have the exact same numbers in their dates. I could have probably predicted my daughter’s birthday.

11. I met my husband when I was 19. I fell in love with him right away. Partly because he always called me on my bullshit. He still does. It’s so annoying.

12. I am mostly happy.

13. One of the saddest things that has happened to me was losing a friendship and not understanding why.

14. I can knit. But not purl. I have knit around 15 baby blankets and 20 scarves but I never learned how to purl. I don’t know what this says about me.

15. I talk to my sister almost every day.

16. My first job was as a dishwasher/bus girl at a Mexican restaurant called Tortilla Flats. I was 14 and I don’t think I realized that I was supposed to bus the tables too. I worked there for an entire summer and I never realized why I kept getting into trouble.

17. I read about 100 books a year. At least that’s what my Kindle told me once.

18. I am really good at not talking to myself negatively. I figure that if I have to live with me, I should probably be nice to me.

19. I’m fidgety. Especially when I write. I play with my jewelry and my hair and I pick at my nails.

20. I have a weird thing about leaving the last bite of food. I just can’t eat it. I don’t know why.

21. I probably apologize too much. Sorry about that. And I’m learning how to stick up for myself. One time I didn’t even speak up when a hair stylist washed my scalp so hard that she actually cut me. That’s just a tad too passive.

22. I am book smart. And a good test taker. But I have to do it myself because I learn nothing from listening. My husband will attest to this.

23. I have never shot a gun, been in a fight or been to Europe. I would like to do 2 out of 3 of these. You decide.

24. I think my friends would say that I am a good listener. I hope.

25. I am the most happy sitting on my deck on a sunny day with my family after a big run while drinking a good IPA.

 

Your turn! I would love to hear more about everyone. Not kid-related.

I haven’t been writing lately. There have been a million excuses, including sickness and LTYM and, you know, laundry. Oh and maybe a parasitic invasion but you’ll have to wait for my Listen To Your Mother talk to hear all about that. I’m sure you can hardly wait.

When I don’t write, I start to have this itchy feeling under my skin, without even knowing why. Robb and I bicker. The kids’ voices sound whinier. I don’t feel like doing anything but eating chocolate-covered macaroons.

I think every March I get into this rut. Especially on those cloudy snowy days after a few days of nice weather. Colorado is like, oops sorry! Did you think it was spring-time? Nope. Hang on, we’ve got some more snow coming!

But today the sun is shining. The macaroons have all been eaten. I decided to drink some highly caffeinated tea instead of take a nap with my daughter. The laundry is done. At least until everyone starts changing their clothes again.

So I sit in the sun and I write.

And I would like to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a young mom (just go with it) who wanted it all. She wanted a clean house all of the time and happy children and a flourishing writing career and a healthy marriage and amazing friendships and to be able to exercise whenever she wanted.

WELL. One day, a dragon came to her house. This dragon’s name was probably Jim-Bob or something. I think he was a country kind of dragon. Anyway this dragon said, that, if the young mom (yes, young) wished for all of those things, that she could have them (Yay!). But. She just couldn’t have them all at the same time. She had to decide which one’s were the most important to her and only choose three at a time.

At first, the mom decided on her children’s happiness, a healthy marriage, and a writing career. But then her house went in the crapper, she got fat and forgot about her friends.

So then, because she still really wanted it all, she decided to clean her house and go for a run and drink wine with her friends. But then her kids were crabby and she couldn’t write and she bickered with her husband (because he wanted her to write and follow her dreams). You get the idea.

It was all going to shit. Nothing was in balance and she could never decide what the most important things were. She was trying SO HARD to be everything for everyone but she just couldn’t. She couldn’t be perfect.

So she went back to the dragon and said, “Dragon, I wish for more. I want to have all of the things. All of the time.”

Jim-Bob said, “Okay. But it might not be as great as you think.”

The mom went out into the world and she had it all! She had perfection. Happy kids, a healthy marriage, a great career, exercise, wonderful friendships, an immaculately clean home. It was great.

For awhile.

Because, actually being perfect was sort of boring.

Because if you’re perfectly clean, you don’t find a mouse nest in the glove box of your car and that kinda makes a great, if somewhat disgusting, story.

And if your kids are perfect, they don’t crack you up by being complete little shits some of the time.

And if you have an amazing career where you never make a mistake or get rejected, well then it’s probably not going to feel as great when you DO get what you want.

And if you’re the perfect wife, you can never have that hug when you finally both say you’re sorry and that hug can be the absolute best part of your day.

And if you don’t get to exercise whenever you want, you will appreciate that time SO MUCH that you might just go a little farther than you would have.

And if you can’t hang out with your friends as much as you want, well, again the wine never tastes as good as it does after a long break, with gossip and the women that you love.

So, the mom went back to the dragon and said she wanted to have all of the mess of her life back. She decided that she would juggle it all. Badly. With moments of genius.

Because perfect is boring.

If you know your thing, do it. If you don’t know your thing, figure it out. Because a world full of itchy-skinned perfect people seems like a bad idea.

I’m over at Scary Mommy today talking about little sisters trying desperately to keep up with their big brothers.

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 Despite my son being generally soft-hearted and sweet, he is still a boy. And boys are…gross. They do gross things and they also put their bodies into perilous situations. And my boy has a little sister who is watching all of the gross and sometimes terrifying things that he does and worshipping his every move. He, as her big brother, is her ultimate aspiration in life. He can ride a bike and ski and burp the alphabet. And, really, what more to life is there when you are three?

Here are some of the things that girls with brothers will do:

1. Fall down and yell, “Oh! My nuts!”

2. Categorize all males and females into those who have Peanuts and those who have Giants. And thank God she mispronounces because the grocery store would be a whole lot more embarrassing than it already is.

3. Sit around all day in her underwear like the rest of the males in this family. Possibly scratching and burping too.

4. Mimic a flesh-eating zombie to perfection, complete with eye-rolling and moaning for brains.

5. Know what a flesh-eating zombie is. And vampires and Storm Troopers and The Legends of Chima (I don’t even know what this is).

6. Pee anywhere at anytime in any open space and then freak out because she can’t do it standing up.

7. Forgo playing with babies and dollhouses to hide her brother’s important Star Wars Lego pieces from him and climb on his head while he tries to play Minecraft.

And you can read the rest here!

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My friend and I were running about a week ago when she told me about an NPR segment that she had heard on her way to my house.

It was about fear and this man whose life was being paralyzed by his fear of rejection. In order to overcome it, he decided to put himself into situations where he was going to consistently get rejected. He did things like, asked random strangers for rides to places or even just for a piece of gum. Rejection became his goal, and through that shift in mentality, he started to not fear rejection as much.

And then we started talking about how we were already flooding ourselves with things that we are afraid of. I was afraid of public speaking – and now I am in my third year of co-producing Listen To Your Mother. I was afraid of skiing and I had enrolled myself, boots shaking, into ski school. We were both afraid of large animals that want to eat us and, here we were, running mostly bravely through the forest!

It was great story and so we ran on our way! Tra la la! We are doing this! Fear is stupid! Let’s banish fear!

Well, 10 minutes after she told me this story, we passed a mutilated deer carcass hanging in a tree about one foot away from the trail. It had obviously been placed there by a very large cat who was planning on returning (at any moment?) to finish her meal (with two girls as appetizers?)

And unfortunately, our wilderness survival skills did not kick in. But fear sure did. We shrieked and grabbed each other and ran away as fast as we could. I think we pretty much did everything we weren’t supposed to do besides drape ourselves in the tree next to the carcass. If there was a cat lurking around, she wouldn’t have been able to catch us because she would have been laughing too hard.

It was as if fear had been following us saying, “OOOOkay…you two think you are SO brave and amazing…watch this!”

And, well, I haven’t been back on that trail since.

I will.

I’m almost totally sure.

Maybe not by myself.

Just don’t taunt fear.

This post is up on Huffington Post today…they edited it a bit.

Here is the REAL version;

Meditating on the beach...strange child

 

As our New Year’s Resolutions start feeling a little more like crap we won’t do again this year, I thought it might be helpful to think of how we can actually bring more balance into our lives as mothers. That’s what we are all looking for, right? We want to be skinnier and have the cleanest homes and be able to follow our dreams, all while corralling uncivilized, messy, poopy, shorter versions of ourselves.

That really doesn’t seem like too much to ask, so I came up with some ways that we can all do this:

1. Drop your pesky sleep habit. Who needs to sleep when you could be exercising or organizing your home or following your dreams? Not me. I have to care for children during the day so the night is ALL MINE.

2. Give crack cocaine a go. I have never tried this but I’ve heard it’s supposed to give you a lot of energy. (I’m totally kidding, please don’t try crack cocaine.)

3. Be super-duper rich. Pay other people to love your children so you can love yourself.

4. Make rigid schedules and force everyone to stick to them like you are all in the military. That sounds fun, right?

5. Clone yourself. And make sure you amplify the genes that like to cook organic meals and wipe butts and wear uncomfortable lingerie.

6. Invent time travel… and stop Mark Zuckerberg from inventing Facebook.

7. Join a minimalist commune. Think of a place where your children’s only toys are frisbees that you can also use for plates. You could go nudist and then you won’t even have to do laundry!

8. Weave a magic carpet and fly away to a land where there is no time and no one will notice that you are missing. I like this one.

9. Believe in the power of The Secret and manifest children who will clean their rooms and eat broccoli without turning into Johnnie Cochran.

10. Become a sister wife. I really think these girls are on to something.

11. Live with your parents. Never mind, that one is just crazy.

So… good luck out there! Here’s to 2015 being the year we all find some balance.

Or just maybe give ourselves and each other a break.

 

 

Dear Daniel Tiger,

I love you. I do. You have taught my child to “Keep trying, You’ll Get Better!” which successfully stopped her from turning into the Incredible Hulk that one time when she couldn’t get her underpants on in the right direction.

And your advice to count to four, “When You Feel So Bad You Want To Roar”? Pure Genius. I’ve used this technique myself many times. I would even say that, in the hours between my older child getting home from school and my kids’ bedtime, I’m either counting to four or rocking in a corner somewhere.

I do have some concerns that I would like to talk to you about, however. First off, why is your mom the only one wearing pants on your show? Truthfully, the pants-less thing is a pretty accurate depiction of my own home, but I think you, as a role-model, should be demonstrating pants-wearing. It really would make my life easier.

And the songs. They are catchy, I’ll give you that. But, oh my god, the songs. They are the ear worms that I can never get out of my head. They follow me everywhere. And people really do look at me strange when I start singing to my child in the grocery store, “Germs, Germs Go Away” as I wipe the cart down. This is both because I am a terrible singer and because it’s pretty lame to sing to your kid in the grocery store. But I can’t seem to stop because the songs are ALWAYS there.

To survive your songs, I find myself occasionally making up new words to them when my children aren’t around. These lyrics are usually inappropriate, and because you are a preschooler, I won’t share them with you. Lets just say there are a lot of things that rhyme with Duck, and the song, “Give a Squeeze Nice and Slow” can be a grown-up song too.

I enjoy your show, I do. It gives me many minutes of freedom, probably more minutes than the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. These minutes allow me time to indulge in my own interests, like, bathing and using the bathroom. And, on occasion, I feel like you are doing a better job at raising my kids than me. But right now, my daughter won’t ever actually use her words unless I sing the song, “Use Your Words,” and this is just making my life harder. And that’s not we want, right Daniel?

Because “Friends Help Each Other, Yes They Do”, I just want to remind you that the kid from Super Why? is a pretty consistent pants-wearer and Dinosaur Train is breathing down your little red sweatshirt with all those dinosaurs and…trains.

So let’s throw some pants on and take the songs down a notch m’kay? Thanks.

Yours truly,

Moms Everywhere

The Outnumbered Mother

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