The “Perfect” Week and Writer’s Block

Last week I challenged myself to accomplish two goal this week. The first being closing all my activity rings on my Apple Watch, and the second being blogging every day this week. They were relatively small goal, but I’m still proud to have accomplished both of them. But it got me thinking about writing and my relationship with writing.

I started writing when I was in third grade. I wrote and illustrated a series of books about a kingdom of mice, and while the books have been lost to time, I feel confident in saying they were epic. When I hit puberty I started using writing as an outlet for working through all of my normal adolescent frustrations. By the time I was in college my two main ways of coping were writing and killing off facsimiles of people on The Sims. Hey, it’s better than drugs.

The thing is, I’m not subtle. So to use writing as a coping mechanism meant that I had to give zero fucks about what people thought. I once wrote a play about things ending badly with a guy and named the villain after the guy. I had an acting teacher I didn’t get along with so one of my characters cut out the tongue of her acting teacher. A stranger once called me a bitch in a supermarket so I murdered him with a shopping cart…. in a play that I wrote.

I was really good at not giving a shit. It was fun, liberating, and made me feel like a badass. But all of that changed when I became a mom. Kids are usually a package deal. When I became a mom I also became a partner to my (now) husband, a daughter in law to my in laws, so many different things to different people. And quite suddenly I went from giving zero fucks to giving allllll the fucks.

I bit my tongue, I tried not to curse (which I really enjoy doing and believe I’m pretty good at), I tried to be so many things to so many people, that a part of me got lost in the shuffle. I worried about what people would think of me and how they would judge me. And I couldn’t write anymore.

I kept getting into my head and shutting myself down. I was worried. Worried that the people around me, who cared about me, would judge me. I mean, the idea of telling my Christian in laws that I was writing a feminist, vampire erotica sounds awful.

Even worse somehow, is that all those fucks I suddenly gave were for people I love, but who also annoy the shit out of me occasionally. My husband and I are incredibly lucky to have built an amazing support system for our family. But what do I do when that support system pisses me off? I can’t write about mowing them down with shopping carts, they are an amazing support system, they read everything I write.

The whole thing has made writing incredibly hard for the last eight years.

Which is why, tonight, I’m patting myself on the back for reaching my goal of a perfect week. I wanted to end the week with a post that’s a little more personal, a little more raw. Try to get back some of that catharsis writing used to provide. Honestly, it just feels good to write. About anything.

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An Ode To Motherhood

AKA My Latest Trip To Costco

In honor of Mother’s Day coming up, I thought I’d share with you my latest adventure as a Hot Mess Mom.

Yesterday started out so well. I woke up in a great mood, ready to take on the world. I figured, since it was such a good day, I should go to Costco. It’s been on my list of things to do. So while everyone is eating breakfast, I text my mom and start planning my day. We decide to go to Costco together, because the more the merrier, and we decide on meeting there at 1pm, after my mom’s pilates lesson and after my son has had a nap and lunch.

I ask my son (who is one and a half) if that would be fun and he gets super excited. He went with me on my last Costco run and fell in love with the place. He loves to eat so he was all about the free samples. My daughter, who is in second grade, starts to pout. “I wish I was going to Costco”. No problem, I’m thinking, confident in my parenting and planning skills. So I text my mom, she’s ok with pushing it back until my daughter is out of school. My day is set, my kids are happy, go me.

The day continues to be smooth sailing. My husband and I both get some work done, and some cleaning. My son is his usual chipper self. I manage to stick to my new exercise routine which I’ve been doing now for a whopping three days straight! I’m feeling so good, I even decide to wear a dress just for the hell of it. No special occasion, just wearing a dress to take my kids shopping. Like one of those moms who is put together and stuff.

Three o clock rolls around. I get my son into the minivan and we go to pick up my daughter. We get there a little early, so I let my little guy roam around in the grass near where my daughter is let out. He’s having fun, dressed in the matching outfit my mom bought for him. He has fun, for a minute. But then the bell rings and he no longer wants to be in the grass. He wants to be climbing the stairs where a hundred kids are running past, eager to leave school for the day. I calmly tell him we can’t do that, it’s not safe, and I pick him up and sit on a bench to wait for my other kiddo.

He does not want to do this. He makes this known by not only screaming, blood curdling screams, but by arching his back as far as he can. I’m doing my best to hold him and calm him down, but the cute matching outfit my mom got him is made out of a slippery material and it is not easy. He’s flailing, kicking, screaming, and I am no longer feeling like a put together mom. People are looking, he’s still screaming, and my daughter is running late.

She saunters over after what felt like twenty minutes and the first thing she says; “I don’t wanna go to Costco anymore. I’m too tired.”

At this point I am so far from a put together mom. I can feel my jaw clench and my ears get red. I stand up, carrying my son like an unruly sack of potatoes, and through gritted teeth tell my daughter to keep up with me. I stomp back to the van with my two bewildered children in tow.

My daughter asks why I took the van. I told her it was because we were going to Costco, but honestly, my voice was probably so shrill at this point that only dogs could hear it. I get everyone in the car and buckled, and drive, in silence, to Costco.

Once we got there everything was fine. The very first free sample was cake, so the kids were instantly appeased, and as soon as I entered the store I was greeted by a large display of already mixed margaritas on sale. It’s as if Costco knew.

Doldrum Days

Give Me Wine, Or Give Me Death

Act 1 Scene 4:
Kim walks into the Seven Eleven. She’s wearing a t-shirt, jeans, no bra, a gray hoodie and flip-flops. She looks tired but determined. Despite never being in this place before she quickly finds what she’s looking for in the back. Wine. Her eyes narrow as she zooms in on the decent chardonnay sitting between the pink moscatos and sparkling strawberry wines. She clutches the bottle and goes to the checkout.
Dave (the clerk): ID?
Kim fumbles in her wallet while Dave and the other clerk make small talk. Kim hands her ID to Dave.
Dave: Thanks Kimberly. So how’s your night going?
Kim laughs with bitterness and exhaustion. Dave will never know.
Kim: My four-year old won’t go to sleep. I can’t find the right stuffed animal. I just want it to stooooppppp!!!!!
…..
Dave: Credit or debit?
End Scene

The above is a Facebook post from four years ago, when my daughter was four years old and Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t being investigated. Four years ago and as soon as I reread it, I remember it like it was yesterday. We have always been BIG on a set bedtime routine. Same time, same number of books, same number of songs, same rituals in the same order every night. We had the blackout curtains, we only watched loud movies with subtitles, nothing disturbed the sanctity of bedtime.

Except when we couldn’t find the right stuffed animal in a sea of fifty stuffed animals. Then all hell broke loose. But four years later I can remember the frustration, the tears (from everyone in the house, not just my daughter), I remember it perfectly because even though it was four years ago, the same frustrations continue to pop up. As a parent, some days just plain suck.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

When this memory popped up the other day it got me thinking about how I present myself, specifically as a parent, to the rest of the world. Sure, we all talk about what a mess we are, and how we struggle, but very rarely do we put it out there on display. When we do, it’s usually with an exasperated chuckle and a shoulder shrug. We aren’t pulling out a magnifying glass and examining our short comings with anyone anytime soon.

Take my above story. I played it for laughs, I never mentioned that my daughter was screaming so loudly that I was legitimately concerned that a neighbor was going to call the cops. I don’t talk about how much of the wine I drank that night, or the enormous feeling of self-doubt that stuck with me long after my daughter calmed down.

And yet, it’s those tiny glimpses of things not being perfect, of being down right hard and exhausting, that most resonate with me as a mom. With that in mind, here are two (more) examples of me just kind of sucking at this mom thing.

Not A Hot Mess, Just A Mess

I’m pretty proud of the pictures I’ve been able to put on this blog so far. My husband, shoot even my daughter, have way better eyes than I do for photography, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of making my food look appetizing.

But I’m going to let you in on a secret; the reason I tend towards close-ups isn’t because they look better, it’s so I don’t have to clean as much of my kitchen.

The picture on the right is what my counter looks like right now. I tried giving it an artsy filter, but it is what it is, a mess. I’m sure I’ll get to it after I’m done writing this. If I don’t get distracted by some game on my phone.

IMG_1425

Thomas The Tank Engine Is A Real Jerk

Above is a cute photo of my husband reading to our son. I captioned it, “Story time” with a few heart emojis and shared it with the world.¬†What this photo doesn’t show? How fed up my husband and I both are with the book he’s reading and how close I am to burning it.

There are two stories, in the first one Thomas can’t pull the heavy cars filled with people so he strands the people all around the island in cow pastures to lighten his load, in the second he wants his picture taken so he puffs his way into everyone else’s pictures, ruining all the photos. I’m sure both stories end with Thomas learning a valuable lesson, but we never get to the end because my son gets bored halfway through. So the only thing his developing brain is taking away from them is, “Hey kid! Are things not going your way? Just dump on those around you to get what you want!”

Doldrum Days

So there are my examples of me not winning “Mother Of The Year”. I share them with you to remind myself that nobody is perfect, nor does anyone need to be. If you are having “one of those days”, I hope this helps, and know that we’ve all been there.