Why Are You Acting Unusual?

The other day, the kids were a little bit out of control.

We were coming off of a three day swim meet, the kids had been dragged back and forth to a pool that was almost an hour away all weekend, I had been gone for basically three days, and everyone was e xhausted.

So I took Monday to regroup. It was a cool, rainy summer day, and it was just what we needed.

Or so I thought.

I figured the kids would enjoy the down time and not being dragged to another pool and another meet and being able to stay home in their pajamas all day.

I was hoping to use it as a day to catch up on all the stuff that had fallen by the wayside while I was gone.

Around 11:30 a.m., the first kid informed me that she was starving, followed by a second kid who was apparently on the verge of dying from hunger a short time later.

I stopped what I was doing, and I went into the kitchen.

I told the kids I’d make them lunch, that I wanted them out of the kitchen, and that I’d tell them when lunch was ready so they could come and eat.

One of my kids’ favorite things to do is sit on a stool in the kitchen and watch me make lunch and complain about how long it’s taking me.  And once one kid is doing that, it’s not long before they are all doing that.

And that shit drives me insane.

So the kids stayed out of the kitchen for approximately 47 seconds.

And then two of them were screaming at each other. I heard them coming from a couple rooms away.

I was already out of patience.

I told them that I was going to leave the kitchen when they were in there, especially when they were yelling at each other, and that if I had to leave the kitchen, it would take me that much longer to make lunch. And seeing as a couple of them were apparently on the verge of death because it had been more than an hour since they had last eaten, they might not want that.

They didn’t care. They kept screaming at each other.

So I left the kitchen.

I went into the bathroom where the washer and dryer are, and I started sorting laundry.

When I didn’t hear any more screaming, I went back into the kitchen. I resumed the lunch making process.

About five minutes later, the kids resumed the screaming process.

So I left the kitchen and I took the recycling out to the recycling bin.

I stayed outside for a few minutes because I was starting to get seriously frustrated.

I went back inside and the screaming had stopped. Again, I resumed the lunch making process.

And again the kids were at each others’ throats in a matter of minutes.

After about a half hour of this back and forth bullshit, I had had enough.I told the kids I was no longer willing to spend any more time making lunches, that I had been trying for a half hour and that was the maximum amount of time I was willing to spend.

I told them I would  make dinner later, but I had other things to do, and spending ninety minutes waiting for them to stop arguing was not one of them. If they wanted lunch, they’d have to do it themselves.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but it was three days after I’d been gone all weekend, and we had like three cans of green beans, some tortillas and for some reason, about fifteen bags of marshmallows.

So it was going to take some creativity.

I didn’t really care, though.

I walked out of the kitchen.

The kids looked at each other like, What the hell are we going to eat and What the fuck happened to Mom?

But I was exhausted from the weekend and stressed out and I was just done.

A little while later, Number 5 delivered me a note:

 

On the left side it said:

This is now, surrounded by a bunch of sad faces.

On the right side it said:

This is how it should be now,  surrounded by a bunch of smiley faces. And then it said:

Look on other side ——>

I turned the note over and read:

Dear Mom,

Why are you acting unusual (AKA mean)

it’s wierd

so please tell me why

Aha. I had struck a nerve.

The fact that she saw this as unusual behavior showed me one thing. I have been letting the kids be disrespectful to me more often than I think.

And she noticed my new response.

Today it’s three days later.

The kids certainly haven’t been angels.

But they’ve been better.

And they definitely haven’t been fucking around when I’m making them something to eat.

If your kids are driving you insane with bickering and fighting, consider trying this.

Don’t yell. Don’t scream. Don’t threaten.

Just quietly define your boundaries.

And then stick to them.

You might be surprised by what happens.

 

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I Got Issues. You Got ‘Em Too.

This past Saturday, I attended my 30th high school reunion.

Thirty years!!!

How is it possible that I am old enough to say I did anything thirty years ago?

I definitely do not feel that old.

Well, I guess that’s not totally true.

Physically, there are times when I do feel older. When I get up in the morning, those first few steps out of the bed? I feel those. And when I try to read anything without my glasses on, I feel that.

I felt thirty years older in other ways this past weekend, too.

A lot of shit can go down in thirty years.

Since 1987 I have (among other things):

  • graduated from college
  • received my masters
  • gotten pregnant
  • gotten engaged
  • had a miscarriage
  • gotten divorced
  • been hospitalized (multiple times) for depression
  • gotten engaged (different guy)
  • broken off the engagement
  • spent two years in a physically abusive relationship
  • gotten engaged a third time (to my husband)
  • gotten married
  • become a stepmother
  • quit smoking
  • given birth five times
  • had 2 more miscarriages
  • filed for bankruptcy
  • had my house go into foreclosure
  • run 5 marathons
  • lost 30+ pounds
  • gained 30+ pounds back
  • stopped drinking
  • spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours in therapy

Those are just the highlights.

But all of those experiences have gotten me to the point where I am today.

Which is a much more relaxed point. A much more confident point. A much more enlightened point.

Ten and twenty years ago, I spent the days, weeks, and months leading up to my high school reunions worrying about how I would look. Worrying about what other people would think about me. Whether they’d comment on my weight. On my appearance. On how well I’d weathered the past ten or twenty years.

All my thoughts were so superficial. And so dumb!

How much time I wasted stressing over the things that don’t matter one bit, really!

But these past ten years, the years from my late thirties to my late forties have been the most eye opening and the most transformative for me.

Navigating the ups and downs of life has taught me so much. Being a parent has taught me so much.

And going into this reunion, I felt so much more comfortable.

At first I wasn’t going to go. I had to coach a swim meet all weekend, and I couldn’t get there until much later than most everyone else.

Plus there’s the whole quitting drinking thing. It’s only been a couple weeks, and I didn’t want to test myself too much.

This would be the first major event I’d attend where I’d be sober. I didn’t know how I’d handle it.

But after thinking about it, and after finding out a couple people I really wanted to see would be there, I changed my mind the day before and decided to go.

I was on the pool deck on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. The pool was 50 minutes away from my house.

In the past, I would have required at least an hour to prepare. I would have spent an embarrassing amount of time leading up to the event stressing about what I was going to wear. I would have lost sleep over my weight and my appearance.

This year, I drove home after the meet, grabbed some clothes out of my closet, threw the kids into bed, sprayed myself with some extra perfume, doubled up on the deodorant, and was on my way.

Fuck it.

I didn’t care.

For the first time in thirty years, I did not stress about my appearance.

They were gonna get the real me.

Cause that’s the one I like the most. Finally.

The real, sober, imperfect me.

Because in these last ten years, I’ve learned a lot.

More than in the 36 preceding years for sure.

And what I know is that the cool kids, the uncool kids, the smart kids, the athletic kids, the band kids, the beautiful kids, the not so beautiful kids, the tall kids, the short kids, the skinny kids and the fat kids all had one thing in common.

They all had issues.

We all had issues in high school.

And we all have issues now. 

Behind everything we see on Facebook and Instagram, behind the funny stories we tell about how awesome and amazing our kids are, behind the new outfits and the recent weight loss and the perfectly planned reunion outfit, and whatever else, we are all dealing with our own shit. And whatever shit we are dealing with at this reunion, it will hopefully be gone by the time we get to the next one.

So we can handle the new and different shit we will inevitably be faced with.

I think it’s just that the older we get and the more experienced we become, the more prepared we are to handle it. Or maybe it’s just that rather than trying to hide it, we learn to embrace it.

Who knows.

And who knows what bullet points I will have added to my list of shit by the time the fortieth reunion rolls around.

All I know is that for the first time, I went into a high school reunion realizing that everyone there had as many issues as I did (some maybe even had more!), and also for the first time, I didn’t spend a second worrying about whether or not I was going to say or do something stupid in a drunken stupor.

I just had fun reconnecting with people and I enjoyed actually being present in the moment.

And I didn’t miss the booze. I honestly didn’t!

I can’t really explain it, but somehow, it was freeing. To be sober!

And you know what else?

Even without one drop of alcohol, I still had a lot of fun.

I don’t know.

Life is crazy. And surprising. And eye-opening. And never really dull.

I certainly don’t have everything figured out. But I sure as hell know more than I used to.

I’ll trade the smooth, unblemished, wrinkle-free skin for the wisdom and growing confidence.

I don’t know that I’ll ever really feel my age on the insides.

But I do think it’s possible that I’m finally becoming…

a grown up.

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I Love All Americans (Except Maybe The Sick F*ckers Who Stole My Family’s Picture — I Don’t Love Them So Much)

It has come to my attention that my family’s picture is being used by members of a hate group that embraces racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism — basically anything that’s not straight, blond haired and blue eyed.

I used to joke that my family was Hitler’s wet dream. It was a joke. Because surely nobody in this day and age could possibly still think that way. Right?

Clearly I was wrong. That sick way of thinking is still very much alive. Especially here in the United States.

You know, the supposed Land of the Free.

I don’t know that there is any way for me to stop a bunch of sick, crazy motherfuckers from associating my family with their delusional beliefs.

So I am calling on you to help.

But first, I’d like to clear up any potential misunderstandings:

  1. I believe men and women should marry each other if they are in love and want to get married.
  2. I also believe two women should marry each other if they are in love and want to get married.
  3. I also believe two men should marry each other if they are in love and want to get married.
  4. I also believe two people who don’t identify as either male or female should marry each other if they are in love and want to get married.
  5. I believe gay people are born gay.
  6. I believe more people than we think are bisexual.
  7. I believe black people should marry black people if they are in love and want to get married.
  8. I also believe black people should marry white people if they are in love and want to get married.
  9. The same goes for every other color on the spectrum.
  10. Basically, I believe you should marry whoever the fuck you want, no matter what color, size, shape, or religion they are, and no matter what parts they have on or in their body.
  11. I believe religion is a personal choice and you should believe in whatever the fuck you want. Even if it’s a rock.
  12. I also believe that if you don’t believe in anything, that’s cool too.
  13. I believe a woman’s place is wherever the hell she wants it to be.
  14. I believe girls should play in the dirt if they like to and boys should wear nail polish if they like to.
  15. I believe the United States still has a pretty long way to go.
  16. And I believe the hashtags #altright and #WhitePeople and #tradlife (and the people who use them) are sad, dangerous, and completely fucked up.

If you see my family’s picture being used by any hate groups or with any of those hashtags, please let me know, and flood @LordMolyneax, @apurposefulwife, and @AltRight_com with pictures of all races, all religions and all love using the hashtag #tradlife!

And please share this post!

THIS FAMILY LOVES ALL COLORS, ALL RACES, ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, ALL RELIGIONS AND ALL PEOPLE!

(except maybe for the racist psycho people who stole our picture — I don’t love them so much)

 

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This Is How I Did It

I quit drinking a little over two weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve received lots of messages of strength, encouragement, and solidarity.

(Thank you so much for all your support!!!)

I’ve also received a couple messages with questions and concerns.

I think I may have a drinking problem. My issues with alcohol are the same as yours. How did you quit? HOW DID YOU DO IT???

For some people, quitting drinking for two whole weeks would be a big deal.

For others? Eh, not so much.

I mean, my mom never drinks. It wouldn’t be a huge deal for her.

My husband doesn’t drink much. If he never had another drop of alcohol, he wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

But for me, while making the decision to stop drinking is a really big deal, quitting drinking for two weeks isn’t really much of an accomplishment.

I very often go days and more often, weeks, without drinking.

In the winter I may only drink a couple times a month. In the summer, it’s a little more often.

My issue with alcohol isn’t the frequency of my drinking.

It’s the intensity of it that’s the problem.

So two weeks without drinking any wine or Blue Moons or margaritas is not out of the ordinary for me.

But a mom’s night out without alcohol?

That’s unheard of.

A barbeque? A holiday? An ugly Christmas sweater party? Any kind of party whatsoever?

Forget it!

That’s the part that scares me.

I am petrified that the fun part of my life is over.

The way my brain thinks, there is no point in ever going to a party again.

If I can’t get seriously drunk, why would I bother going?

That is my issue.

I’m a really social person. I’m not shy, and I don’t mind speaking in front of large groups of people.

So I don’t look to booze for the lubrication factor.

I like to dance.

But I only do it when I’ve had one too many drinks.

Same thing for karaoke.

I love karaoke!

But I’ve never done that sober.

My 30th (ouch) high school reunion is this weekend.

I also have a massive swim meet this weekend, and I won’t get home in time on Saturday night to make it to the reunion.

I realized there was a conflict about six weeks ago, before I stopped drinking.

I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I spent trying to figure out how I could get from the meet to the reunion on Saturday, and then back to the meet on Sunday morning, and make it through the day with a serious hangover.

I don’t know if my head is already clearer after two weeks or what, but I now realize the insanity of my thinking.

So I’m not even going.

Part of me is bummed because I’d love to see my old high school friends.

But another part of me is thinking, Why would I even bother going — even if there was no swim meet — now that I can’t get wasted at it?

And that thinking is what bothers me. That thinking is what I want to address. That thinking is what I need to address.

Because it’s that thinking that has the potential to derail me the most.

So how have I quit drinking so far?

Well, honestly, I’m too busy and too exhausted to miss it right now. I don’t think I would have drank anything in the last two weeks even if I hadn’t quit.

And I know from my previous stint in AA about 30 years ago that I can only focus on today. One day at a time.

If I think about all the times in the future that I’ll never be able to drink anything, I’ll fail. For sure.

So I just focus on today.

I have also spoken to a couple women — one old friend who’s been sober for a long time and one new friend who has recently stopped drinking — who are both, as they say, in the program.

I haven’t gone to any AA meetings yet, but I plan on it.

I think it’s important for me to make sure I have some women in my life who completely get it. And I think I need to make sure I have friends who don’t drink at all in my social circle.

So those are things I want to do in the future.

But to answer the question How did I do it?

Well, first, I stopped ignoring the voice inside me. The one that kept reminding me that I had some serious issues to address. For months I’ve been having a silent conversation with myself:

Should I quit drinking? Yes, you should totally quit drinking!!! But do I really need to quit drinking? Um, if you didn’t, would you even be having this conversation with yourself???

After enough silent conversations, I decided enough was enough. I didn’t want to waste any more days of my life recovering from the effects of one (or four) too many drinks.

Once I admitted to myself that something had to be done, I admitted it to everyone else.

I’m not ashamed.

Because I remind myself that we are all fucked up.

It may not be booze for all of us (or even most of us), but so many of us have addiction issues. So many of us have mental health issues.

All of us have some kind of issue!

For the first week or so, whenever someone would make a joke about needing a margarita or about how many drinks their kids drove them to drink or how HUGE the margaritas were at the local restaurant and why I totally needed to go there, I just smiled and nodded. I laughed. I played along.

But this made me feel like I was keeping a secret or something.

And I know that feeling like you have to keep secrets leads to unhealthy things. For me anyway.

So now, if anyone says anything that seems close to an invitation to drink, I tell them I quit.

That results in some seriously mixed reactions, which I am prepared for.

I know I will have friends who are supportive.

As soon as one of my friends found out, she texted me.

I’m proud of you and I love you.  I hope we can spend time together doing healthy things. I need a workout motivator.

That is a great friend.

I also know this  decision will show me who my real friends are. I am prepared to never see some of my friends again. But I know that for most of those people, the ones who gradually disappear, the reason they will fall by the wayside is because having a friend who stops drinking may force them to take a look at themselves. And if they stop being my friend, well, they just aren’t ready to do that.

Plus, I guess they really weren’t that great of friends to begin with.

Next, I’m not delusional. As with all things, I realize I am in the honeymoon phase. I’m motivated. I’m still gung ho. I fully realize there will come a time where I am not so self motivated. That’s why I need to get to some meetings. I need a support group, especially during the really tough times.

And finally, I focus on the positives.

When my swimmers are struggling in a practice, when I give them a hard set and they want to cry, when they are sure there is no way they can actually do it, I ask them to stop thinking about the discomfort they are feeling in the moment. And I ask them to think about how they want to feel about themselves when practice is over.

I’m trying to do the same thing for myself.

I’m trying really hard not to think about all the stuff I won’t be doing anymore, and instead focusing on how awesome I’m going to feel on every weekend morning. How there won’t be another Saturday of complete uselessness because I drank my ass off.

This Sunday I won’t struggle through a swim meet with a hangover. I won’t have said or done anything regrettable the night before (not because of booze, anyway). I won’t have forgotten entire portions of the night.  I won’t have to eat a whole bunch of greasy, salty food to soak up all the shit I drank the night before and gain five pounds over a weekend.

I’m keeping my eye on the end game.

And that’s how I’m doing it.

So far so good.

Eighteen days (one being a major holiday), and I’m still on the wagon!

 

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