I think about making a list of all the things I need to tell people before it's too late.
~ Jonathan Tropper, This is Where I Leave You
I read this and knew immediately that I must do it. There are people very important to me that I appreciate and admire and never told them as much because it's so cheesy and awkward. Do you remember that scene from Sex and the City at the spa where they talk about a girl who isn't ashamed of being naked in front of people because she's "from a naked family"? Well, I'm from a family that doesn't speak our mushy feelings. But I can write it. So I have started it. Within minutes, tears were streaming down my face because of all that was inside of me that had been left unsaid. It was cathartic and needed - and that was just the beginning. I've only written three paragraphs so far. One day I will give these words I write to the people I'm writing them for.
The things left unsaid stay with us forever.
~ I wish I was Here movie
What I wasn't expecting when I began thinking what I would write was what I would learn from what I didn't write. We hold onto bitterness and resentment, but when you go to write down what it is you'd like to say to people, the mean and petty and vindictive just don't seem important at all. I've never regretted biting my tongue from saying something mean. But we all regret not saying how much we love and appreciate people.
The important thing about life is love. Everything else is just a distraction.
~ A blog comment I read (Original source unknown or was actually a blog comment)
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I think about making a list of all the things I need to tell people before it's too late.
Monday, December 15, 2014
I'm a good mother. At least, not a bad one. OK, I'm a mother, and I am assigning myself adjectives that you may or may not agree with. The fact is, each day, my sons wake up to see the next one. They not only made it through the last day alive, but they spent a few minutes of it reading books, helping with chores, and not saying, "no mama!" in a fit of rage. So you agree now, right? "Good mother" suits me.
The thing with motherhood is that you're not the only one. You'll never be an expert in your field. When I had a job, I could talk above people's heads and say pointless corporate words in succession until their eyes glazed over and I could feel important. But with parenting, you don't lose people halfway through a story. They get it. Their kid eats and shits and complains too. Nothing you can say they haven't seen themselves. So as a mother, you never really feel like you've "made it" or are good enough.
By far the worst parenting judgment I've felt so far is with breast feeding. Full disclaimer here: I tried to breastfeed. I really did. And not just while I was in the hospital and the lactation consultant and nurses were forcing me to. I mean, once we got home, I even whipped my breasts out more than once and my babies sawed my nipples into whittled toothpicks with their razor gums. I had to have something to bite on the entire time, because the pain was worse than the C-section pain.
When I told someone who breastfeeds without problems how bad it hurt when my kids' turned me into some common dairy cow, she said, "you mean the pain was your uterus contracting, right?" like I didn't understand where the pain was coming from. The uterus pain was nothing compared to the nipple pain. I quit breastfeeding each of my boys after four days, so they each have an equal shot at being brilliant. I didn't want one to turn out to cure cancer and brag about how his mother breastfed him longer than his layman brother. No one gets advantages over the other! See, I told you I'm a good mother!
It got to the point with Brandon where he actually pulled a blood vessel through my nipple and a lump had formed in one breast. I know other women have this happen and they persevere through the pain, but to me, my sanity was important in my children's upbringing. With Holden, I was dreading each feeding, biting on a washcloth or an old work stress ball each time he clamped down, and screaming and writhing in pain. I switched to formula for each of them, but both switches were hard for me. I journaled about it, tears streaming down my face, feeling like a failure. Steve tried to console me and told me life would go on and we would all be fine. He was right. We are all fine. The kids are alright.
It was only last week when I finished reading Tina Fey's Bossypants that I finally saw breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding as a personal choice, rather than a parenting victory or failure. It's only today that I can finally blog about it without feeling ashamed and guilty. I will always do what is best for my children. And if having a snarling, angry mother writhing in pain was best for them, sure I could have breast fed longer.
Let's make a pact: you don't berate me for not breastfeeding my kids for more than four days and I won't berate you for letting them suck your tits when they have full sets of teeth in their mouths. Let's all do what is best for our families and stop telling everyone else our way is the best way.
We made the switch to an all-formula diet. If you've ever opened a can of infant formula mix, then you know it smells like someone soaked old vitamins in a bucket of wet leaves, then dried them in a hot car. Also, formula is like forty dollars a can. They keep it locked up behind the counter with the batteries and meth ingredients. That's how bad people want this stuff!
However, the baby was thriving. I was no longer feeling trapped, spending thirty out of every ninety minutes attached to a Williams-Sonoma Tit Juicer. But I still had an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. I had failed at something that was supposed to be natural.
I was defensive and grouchy whenever the topic came up. At a party with a friend who was successfully nursing her little boy, I watched her husband produce a bottle of pumped breast milk that was the size of a Big Gulp. It was more milk than I had produced in my whole seven weeks -- I blame Entourage. As my friend's husband fed the baby, he said offhandedly, "This stuff is liquid gold. You know it actually makes them smarter?"
"Let's set a date!" I screamed. "IQ test. Five years from today. My formula baby will crush your baby!" Thankfully, my mouth was so full of cake they could not understand me.
~ Tina Fey, Bossypants
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Growing up, my mom could do anything. She could remove a sliver with tweezers and a straight pin, get my drawstring back through my hoodie using a safety pin. She could mend pants without making it obvious. Hell, she could even sew our clothes (and accessories). She could cook a Thanksgiving dinner, repair Christmas lights, assemble an IKEA bookshelf, style our hair using pink foam curlers. My mom is the oldest of eight kids, grew up on a farm, and was very active in 4H. I think that must be the triple threat of domesticity.
It seems like these days, I don't know anyone who is very domestic. Even people I know who claim they like to cook seem to just make a lot of quesadillas and pastas. Hell, even I can do that. These days, if a mom can use Google, owns a Crockpot, and can thread a needle, I would call that a triple threat. Probably because most moms work nowadays. There is barely enough time in the day to prepare for the next one. Perfecting the art of motherhood? When?!? I can seriously only think of two moms I know who stay home with their kids. Two! When I was a kid, I could only name two moms that worked. Being a mom is definitely a full-time job. But the fact is, in order to raise kids, often you have to have another full-time job to afford it. Less than 30% of moms stay home now.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
You shouldn't be putting all this pressure on yourself. They don't start this age. They don't start out as big as Max. They start out little and tiny and they don't talk or do anything but poo. You can handle that. And then eventually you work your way up into insanity.
~ 11.6.14 episode of Parenthood
Sunday, November 30, 2014
I just reactivated my Twitter account, so I feel the need to insert hashtags everywhere.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I know, I know, I'm unoriginal and completely cliché and ordinary. But here is what I'm thankful for this year:
Adoption - that my wonderful daughter is being raised by loving parents (and that there is this beautiful alternative to the other two choices in surprise pregnancies)
Books and baths. Couldn't choose. Plus they go together so well.
Coffee (Crane Coffee particularly!)
Donuts (shout out to you too, LaMar's!)
Etsy - for all the homemade things in my house that constantly remind me of what I can't make myself
Fantasy Football - I love it and I hate it. But I'm guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, so today I love it.
Groom (aka, Stephen. All the other letters that might have worked were already taken). For loving me as I am, as I was, and as I will be. It's awesome to be loved 360 degrees.
Home - I love my little nest where I am safe and warm and happy
Instagram - sometimes I just hashtag Pacific Northwest when I'm feeling homesick. It's amazing that anything you want to see is there, and not in the creepy Google Images kind of way
Jigsaw puzzles - and to you, Charles Wysocki for puzzles that aren't just cats, flags, or beer cans
Kids - they test me and completely love me at the same time. I love them for it.
Library - I think they're getting pretty sick of my mug around there by now. But they ain't getting rid of me (until I have too many fines on my card, of course)
Music - instant mood lifter. And the boys dancing around is an added bonus.
NikePlus app - for motivating me to run and to PR. Not that those little motivating voices do anything for me, but the record and PRs and trophies are what a geek like me needs to push herself beyond her treadmill runs.
Ob/gyn - I know this is a bit unorthodox, but mine kept me and my baby safe eight months ago on the scariest day of my life.
Parents - and not just my parents for being my parents - for the way they parented me: I appreciate it so much now that I have kids of my own. My morals and work ethic I credit to them growing those alongside me.
Quality Time - the time I spend with my family when we are fully engaged in each other - at the children's museum or the zoo, or playing together in the toy room. Sometimes I catch myself smiling that this is my life and these boys are mine.
Running - not just because I lost 60 pounds. But also for the mind clearing and mellowing it provided me. We all know I need as much of that as I can get.
Siblings - ah, the people who know me best. Seeing Joel last weekend was good for the ol' soul. We reminisced about how tight we were that dreadful summer in 2005. He got me through a hard patch and we're laughing about it now nearly ten years later.
Therapy - not the lying on a couch kind, but the kind I get for much cheaper: happy hour with friends where we vent and chat about things we didn't even know mattered to us until our cheeks get flushed
Uninterrupted free time - this might sound like the opposite of Q, but I believe everyone needs space to be themselves. The time I get to exercise or read or take baths or write is much appreciated. I am still mom, but I'm also Holly.
Vacation - I love the little breaks we get from our routine. And then returning to our blessed routine.
Writing - even if it's just mushy scribblings and incoherent ramblings, it pauses a moment of mine that I can forever relive.
Xmas - tomorrow we trim our tree and make hot cocoa and listen to Bing Crosby! And mom, I know, you taught us against writing Christmas this way and I don't, it's just for my list because I thought "Excel spreadsheets" was too much of a stretch.
Yoga - thanks for my new muscles. And I'm glad I can do this while Brandon is awake (half-hearted parenting at it's best, be sure)
Zorinsky - my favorite running trail. Again, I know, how cliché.
Posted by holly at 8:51 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I don't agree with the way we do wedding gifts. It's fucked up, really. Think about it - some young kids get scan happy with a scan gun and start agreeing that yes, indeed, they need a tent even though they fucking hate the outdoors. And yes, a quesadilla maker is a needed appliance and not just a waste of valuable apartment cupboard space. And while we're at it, maybe an air mattress for when they never go camping or to make their unwelcome in-laws feel like they really can stay there (but please don't).
I have been married for eight years, and only recently did it hit me what I really should have registered for back then. Like a salad spinner - have you heard of those? I don't have one, but I think I'd like to, seeing as I eat salad every day. Or a food processor. A hand mixer. A steam mop. Now that I'm becoming domesticated, I'd like some of the gear that goes with doing mother/wifely duties well. Because let's be honest, I'm just skating on thin ice as it is, getting by until spring thaw (and no one better get me any of that stuff as gifts as if the only hobbies I have in life are cleaning the house and cooking. Those are chores. I'm not wasting my gifts on chores. I have hobbies. Beyond being a chore-doer, I do exist).
Perhaps what we should do instead for wedding gifts, is give money on a sort-of trust fund allowance schedule. Newlyweds really just need cash. They don't need tents or salad spinners or quesadilla makers. They might need towels, but they probably won't appreciate the nice ones you get them or will scoff at the shitty ones you buy. So how about 1/3 of the guests' gifts are sent to one bank account, available for immediate use. A lot of newlyweds are young and/or poor, so they would rather have cash to pay rent than a Kitchenaid mixer. They are trying to pay off their honeymoon and credit cards, and sometimes even their rings.
The next 1/3 of the guests' gifts will go into another bank account, available when the first real nesting move comes: either a new home or a baby, whichever comes first. That is when they have room for those kitchen appliances that they might actually use now. Now that they aren't going out to eat or surviving off only boxed and frozen foods. And we all know babies require a million things. If we go with this model (my model, the best way), anyone who attended the wedding gets a "get out of jail free" card to use on the baby shower. Only new friends have to participate in that bullshit.
The last 1/3 of the guests' gifts will go into the final bank account which is available on the ten year wedding anniversary. It's a, "Wow! Ten years! What's your secret?" account. But seriously - ten years: there has to be a secret. That's a long time to not get tired of someone (I'll tell you our secret in just under two years). At this point, the couple has been through a whole lot of shit together and deserves a nice vacation. Not a budgeted honeymoon, but a fucking awesome vacation where the drinks are endless and include paper umbrellas. If the couple doesn't last ten years, all of the wedding guests get part of their money back. It won't even be enough to cover the dress or shoes you had to buy for their wedding, but hey, something is better than nothing.
Whose wedding is next? In the card I will enclose a voucher for "1/3 committed" - the idea I have that if someone is willing to run with and actually set up, I will donate into an account for these newlyweds. And only at today's going gift rate. I'm not paying inflation on that shit.
Posted by holly at 9:36 PM