I wish I could tell you, but I don’t even know.
One morning I was changing diapers and pulling weeds. The next morning I was on The Today Show. Literally the next morning. A fews after that I was on The Rachael Ray show. I wrote an article about being happy, and fat. I told the story of how being thin didn’t solve my problems. I told the story of an obsession to meet an ideal that was impossible to attain and sustain. It seems like it resonated with a few people.
It all started at ravishly and from there went to the Huff post front page, then the Yahoo front page.
An excerpt from my recent article on Ravishly.com:
“I’m going to just stop here and tell you the next week and a half look pretty much exactly like those first few days. Only, add in a bunch of print stuff, and substitute any one of 4 other shows in place of TheToday Show, and Inside Edition. Weekend Sunrise Australia (filmed via satellite in San Francisco). Canada AM. The Rachael Ray Show (which airs this Thursday). AOL.com. Redbook magazine. Parenting.com. Something called farrahgray.com. Buzzfeed. Brigitte magazine in Germany. This fox affiliate. This ABC affiliate. This paper in Georgia. This paper in Iceland (oh how I wish I spoke Icelandic). This and this and this and this blog (actually not sure what that last one is). A multi page feature in a magazine as yet to be disclosed. Two phone interviews with Sirius. This radio station in Toledo (don’t tell them I don’t like country music). And apparently a mention on The Talk. And a bunch of other google results that I won’t bore you with because if you clicked on even a quarter of the previous mentions you are so so sick of my face.”
My mind is blown. Matt insists he isn’t surprised at all. He’s probably not lying.
The future holds good things for me, and for those who can relate. I will tell my story as long as people need to hear it. I thank you readers and friends for your love and support always.
“Happiness comes from within. Do not see it without.” The Buddha
oh and here I am with Rachael Ray. No big deal. (LOVED HER. ALL CAPS LOVED HER)
How many more weeks can I do that before y’all stop reading entirely? Oh let’s not find out. I’ve been looking around for inspiration lately and I find it… everywhere. It’s just that sometimes there is actually TOO much inspiration. SO much so that I don’t know where to start. I’ve been ignoring the blog for the sake of the seven hundred other things I’m doing. Apologies. I have worthwhile things to say. I swear. I just don’t have time to TYPE them. And also the baby likes to eat the charger cord for my laptop. SO yeah. Already replaced two of those because her spit corroded the connection point.
Annnyway, I’ve been super ultra mega productive lately making things like cake and blankets and cake and making sure the newly crawling/standing/crusing Ella doesn’t kill herself. Seriously. HELLO. She started crawling like less than a month ago (just a couple of days shy of 9 moths old) and now she’s decided that crawling is bor-ing and she wants to walk. So she’s standing and trying to walk bascially every time she gets near enough to hold onto to any object. Stable or otherwise. I feel like it’s my full time occupation to keep her from dying. In other news, she weighs like a million pounds and is basically the HULK so keeping her on my lap or from falling over is breaking me in half.
Also… the big kids are out of school. This is not news because you know, it’s summer, DUH, but what is news is having four kids at home during the day somehow eats my day all up. Like this… IT’S 10 PM? WHAT.THE.HELL. I just got UP like 25 minutes ago. UGH. Oh you don’t understand this? You say you’d like to know what a typical weekday in my house looks like? SUUUURE. You asked for it. Being a mother of FOUR IS NO JOKE PEOPLE. Here goes:
5:30 ish am: Wake up with Ella because my bedroom is as bright as the SUN. ie when the sun comes up it shines in there and wakes everyone up. Cause we like farmers now y’all. Text message Man to tell him I’m up (reminder, in case you’re new to the blog: a typical weekday does NOT include the presence of my husband who works away from home several days a week). And to describe the abysmal excuse for sleep I got. Apply kisses liberally to baby. Take a wake up pic for instagram because I’m an addict.
5:30-6:00 Nurse and lay in bed. Maybe fall back asleep. If I pray real hard to the sleep god and the planets are aligned. Usually not.
6:00 Give up. Get up. Put on something that isn’t just underwear because my boys are sick of seeing me in just underwear. Potty Ella. Clean potty. Switch laundry that has been sitting wet since last night in washer. Unload dryer. Throw pile of clothes on floor. Vow to fold it later.
6:3o ish Go downstairs. Make coffee. Feed Ella yogurt. Wipe yogurt off the floor. Wipe yogurt off Ella. Wipe Yogurt off myself. Wipe yogurt off Ella again. Drink cold coffee. Try to keep Ella from spilling said coffee.
7:00 or 7:30 ish Put Ella down on the family room floor. Keep her from killing herself. Log into facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Gmail. Skype. Pinterest. Blog. Google news. Huff post. RSS reader. Die from ultramegainternetconnectivity.
7:30-8:30 Get up five hundred million times to make sure Ella isn’t killing herself. Chat with husband. Eat breakfast. Wait for bigger children to rise grudgingly. Feed one thousand animals. Water the garden. Pick the ripe veggies. Let chickens out to roam. Keep dog from eating chickens.
NOTE: It’s ONLY 8:30 and I’ve done four hundred thousand things already.
8:30-9 Upstairs. Check diaper. Nurse again. Snuggle in the nursery that we never use except for that. Put Ella down. Pray to god of baby sleep that she sleeps two hours so I can get SOMETHING done. Cause I obviously haven’t done enough somethings already.
9:00-9:20 SHOWER. Yes, shower. Spend 5 minutes washing hair and body. 2 minutes applying lotion and moisturizer and brushing hair. 60 seconds drying my bangs. 30 seconds putting the rest of my hair in a wet bun. 13 minutes 30 seconds changing clothes trying to find something that doesn’t make me look like a lumpy moose.
9:20-9:45: Make bed. Make second bed. Do more laundry. Wipe the bathroom counter obessively. Wipe the floor obsessively. Clean litter box. Check on 15 year old to make sure she’s alive. Go back downstairs.
9:45-10:30 find boys eating an entire box of cereal and playing xBox. Tell them they can’t have a box of cereal and play xBox until they clean up their room. Sit down and attempt to crochet or sew. Usually fail. Unload dishwasher. Load dishwasher. Let dog eat cereal off floor. Wipe counters obsessively. Sweep. Sweep again. Wait for Ella to wake up right in the middle of me relaxing. Sweep again.
10:3o Repeat wake up routine. Potty. Diaper. Liberal kisses.
10:45 repeat downstairs routine, keep Ella from killing herself routine.
OK I’m tired just typing this. You get the idea? Somewhere in there there will be two more meals. Including one that actually requires PREPARATION. Two more opportunities to obsessively clean the kitchen. An opportunity to vacuum and sweep. Twice. More animal care. More laundry. Probably a trip to the store. Possibly coffee with my lady friends. Definitely having to referee an argument or 57 and hear my 15 year old talk about how awesome her hair is for a minimum of a half hour. The picking up of 17 wet pool towels. The picking up of dog poop. The picking up of the baby to keep her from killing herself. Then bath for baby. Bed for baby. Time for me to sit down. Maybe. But not likely. I will end my day talking to the Man again until 11 and then nurse one more time before I go to bed around 11:30 or 12. At which point I will fall into my bed like a corpse. You can see where it might be hard to get a blog post in.
I do it for these people.
They’re pretty much awesome.
…and why I haven’t written a real blog post in a month.
Well here comes one… At last.
I know, right? Cra-zay.
Facebook. Twitter. Blog. Pinterest. Instagram.
I have never been more connected to a network of people I barely know in my ENTIRE LIFE. I have carried on intimate, personal conversations with people I’ve never even laid eyes on. I’ve poured over the blogs of fellow “mom-bloggers” until my eyes crossed. I’ve read, with some envy I add, the beautiful blogs of women I’ll never know. I’ve watched women create clothing patterns, knit blankets, crochet doilies, score thrift store finds, create funky, adorable outfits and generally look a lot more put together than I feel like I ever will. I’ve watched women lose weight and felt some mix of jealousy, self-pity and self-loathing until I couldn’t watch anymore. I’ve watched women struggle, like me, with me. I’ve felt joy. Inspiration. Envy. Solidarity. Anger. Strange mixes of all those emotions.
I’m human after all.
And this is why social networking isn’t always the best venue for people like me.
See I’m a 100% kind of woman. Not a 42% or a 77% woman, a 100% woman. I give everything I do, everything I have.
So you can see how if I give my husband a 100% (and truly he deserves 110%) and the kids 100% (they probably deserve 120%, if they don’t demand it anyway) and the house 100% and my crafting ventures 100% and social networking (we’ll just lump all of those outlets together) 100%… well, that’s 500%.
I’m not a 500% woman.
And here’s the funniest part… I don’t even really LIKE to be that plugged in. I prefer a simple life. I like soil. I like to grow things. To be outdoors. I love to bake. To create. To tap in to the creative parts of myself. I love to watch my kids grow. To see them achieve. To meet their needs.
Also, I love my phone and I’m seldom parted from it but honestly, it’s more compulsion than it is actual interest.
(that’s where the whole 100% thing comes in.)
If someone text messages me, I have to text back. I HAVE TO OR I’LL DIE.
If someone comments on my blog I feel compelled to respond. I HAVE TO OR ELSE NO ONE WILL LIKE ME.
I wish I could say that if I miss an @ on twitter it’s no big deal but it’s a BIG DEAL. I feel like I’ve let someone down.
(I’m just being honest here people. I know the truth is people don’t care.)
We don’t have to go into why I’m this way (but there are pretty reasonable explanations). If I see Person A doing X, Y, Z thing then it automatically follows I SHOULD be able to do X, Y, Z ANNNND V and W too.
Case in point: I am a RN which of course means I went to nursing school and nursing school is hard. Dude. That shit is no joke. It’s busy and it’s full of information. When you’re in nursing school you go to class and clinicals and THEN when that’s over at the end of each day you research pathophysiology and you write long complicated care plans for your patients and you research EVERY. SINGLE. MEDICATION they take. Even tylenol. Every day. For two (or more) years. It’s trying and exhausting and just that alone is enough to tax any normal person to the point of “WHAT THE HELL DID I DO? EFF THIS I QUIT.”
But not me.
I went to nursing school and I kept a house tidy with three small children whose school activities I tried to never ever miss (I had to miss the first day of school because of my Psych class and I cried the whole day). And when I say tidy I don’t mean there was a path from the door to the kitchen. I mean CLEAN. Like clean clean. And I held a busy job at church. Plus I held weekly study groups and posted practice test questions online. THREE family members ended up in the hospital. One of them was my son who had surgery TWICE. Oh and I worked two twelve hour night shifts a week. Oh AND i was class president. Ooooooh AND valedictorian.
It might seem like I did all of that to make myself look better, smarter, more capable than the people around me who were just barely surviving. Like I was a show off or trying to make people feel inferior (and it may seem like I’m trying to do that now but I promise I am NOT).
No. I did it because I HAD TO.
I HAD TO.
Just like in high school when I had to take 5 AP classes and work full time. Until I literally passed out in my Chemistry class (someone scooped me up and took me to the office thankfully).
Remember that movie where Jack Nicholson can’t step on a crack and has to lock and unlock his door like 8 times?
OK It’s not THAT bad but it’s close.
When people say to me “OH I wish I had your energy” or “I wish i could do all you do” or “WOW. You do SO MUCH, I wish I was like that” I think…”NO. No you definitely do NOT want THIS.” You do NOT want to have so much ‘energy’ that you can’t sleep because there is a pile of laundry haunting you. You do NOT want to do all I do if it means that you can’t sit next to your husband at night without thinking about the toilet that needs to be scrubbed. I promise you, you DO NOT want that.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to every person EVER who has had to deal with me when I’m in overachieveritis mode. Mostly my husband. I’m sorry. And my kids. Yeah. Sorry.
Anyway, I’m 36 years old and I’ve had about 20 years to figure out why I’m this way (part nature, part nurtue) and while I KNOW my weaknesses that doesn’t mean I actually DO anything with that information a lot of the time. Because honestly I can’t. Mostly I just worry about spending quality time with my husband and cleaning the house and writing the blog (and twitter and facebook) and my FOUR kids and when the last time I baked cookies was and when I’m going to finish that afghan and who needs what and where do I need to help this or that person and when am I going to reorganize the closet and oh crap I need to clean out Ella’s dresser and oh shit I haven’t worked out in three days. And. And. And. Oh and while I’m doing all of this I’m watching person A and thinking, “CRAP V and W aren’t going to be enough. I wonder if I can add it T and U too?” And I’m paralyzed by all that I feel I have to do and cannot. Paralyzed. Sometimes to the point I can’t do anything at all. If I can’t give it 100% then I will rearrange my sleep, my sanity, myself to do it all the way.
So when I disappear, when I don’t blog, when I’m off twitter, when I’m just sitting on the floor with my baby DOING NOTHING but being with her or talking to my other 3 kids, know this… I am seeking balance and the only way I know how to balance is to back away completely.
I am seeking balance but don’t always know how to find it.
Oh wait. It’s Wednesday. My bad.
Last weeks Tuesday was brought to you from a luxurious resort in Scottsdale. This Tuesday… uh I mean Wednesday? From the sofa.
Let’s recap the week. Last week found us enjoying the sights and thrifty shopping adventures of Arizona. It was lovely.
I should have known things were only going to go downhill from there. I mean this is not a baby that just FALLS asleep on a bed unprovoked. Even if it is an ultra awesome down comforted resort bed. The rest of that day was spent celebrating (er, shopping) with my sister for her 23rd birthday celebration (which was Saturday). Then we were on the plane to come home:
Ella enjoyed the plane ride and wasn’t at all fussy. Clue #2.
The three episodes of unusual poop should have tipped me off. Clue #3. I blamed the travel. We arrived home late Thursday. Tired but in one piece. Mostly.
Then came the vomiting. And more pooping. More vomiting. I was up and down most of the night. Mostly up. Friday 8:30 am I was calling the Big Kids to pick them up from their dads (they had just returned from a ski trip with grandparents). By 8:30 more vomiting. And the lethargy. She couldn’t even hold her head up. I was genuinely concerned and shortly thereafter we were making an appointment to see our pediatrician. We haven’t seen him since Ella was literally 18 hours old. (That’s another story.) In any case by the time we reached his office things were looking up. Ella was able to nurse and keep it down. The diagnosis: Something viral. Awesome. We stayed there for a while just to be sure and then came home. I breathed a sigh of relief. The Man picked up the Big Kids. And our day proceeded on.
I was tired. Like really tired.
Later Friday there was more pooping. And Friday night more pooping. There was luggage and clothing all over the place that had to be put away.
I was tired. Like really really tired.
Did I mention I was tired?
Why am I so tired?
Saturday night more pooping. More. Pooping. Less. Sleeping. I just cannot sleep when kids are sick.
Sunday looked better. Kind of. Oh yeah and it was Easter. Oops. Thanks to Staci’s mom for getting me stuff at Costco to throw together some kind of Easter meal that wasn’t pizza. (I should have just gotten pizza.) Ella seemed to be herself and we had a kind of pathetic Easter celebration. There were no fancy dresses. No baskets. No egg hunts. No photo ops. We gave the big kids itunes gift cards purely because we didn’t want to support the tiny plastic crappy Chinese toy industry.
I’m a lousy mother. I was purely in functional mode. Cooking. And trying not to fall asleep standing up. I didn’t even get the camera OUT.
Except for this:
And this (it’s pie):
And this (it’s beer):
And this… The Big Kids teaching Ella to play blackjack.
Sunday night the Big Kids laundry was all done and the vomit was mostly cleaned up and they went back to their dad’s for a couple of days. Sunday night, more pooping. And then more vomiting. What. The. Hell. I gave up and sat on the sofa. All. Night. Long. Every time I’d put her down she would cry in pain. So I didn’t put her down. Instead I watched Brothers & Sisters on netflix (not a bad show, even when cradling an ill infant). At 5:45 I made the handoff to daddy (who had been taking her every morning because I refuse to wake him up at night). Slept 2 and a half hours. Got up.
She looked like this:
I looked like I’d been hit by a truck. Not a small truck either.
And on that note…
Here’s some things:
1. I CANNOT tolerate sleep deprivation like I used to. I just can’t. I’m either too old. Or I’m too old. I used to go 24 to 36 or more hours without a wink of sleep. Now one night and I feel like death. What happened? Oh yeah. I’m old.
2. I am a RN. I have been doused in every body fluid imaginable. Blood? Amniotic fluid? Bring it on. But I. hate. vomit. Not the vomit itself just the act of vomiting and seeing people vomit. Case in point, I myself have not vomiting since I was 5. No shit. (OK I dry heaved when I had my wisdom teeth out. But it took 4 vicodin on an empty stomach to make that happen). I don’t like it.
3. The way that I have learned to cope with vomiting (or sick in general) children is to get up and pretend it’s day time. That’s how I cope. It’s a control thing. This means a couple of things: 1. I’m not awakened abruptly by anyone vomiting on me. Which is nice. 2. I don’t sleep. At all. and 3. My Big Kids actually didn’t mind being sick in the night too much cause it meant they got to watch whatever they wanted on TV while mom set about disinfecting every imaginable surface.
Anyway. Ella is better now.
I still feel a little like I’m spinning in the middle of my own personal tornado.
Thanks for listening.