Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Welcome back.

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror, or at your life as a whole, or at a snapshot of your day, and thought, What the EFF is happening here?!

The internal dialogue goes something like this: Who is that old lady staring back at me? How did I get here? Who are those grumpy teenagers in my house and why are they constantly hungry?

And then as we look around, the thoughts transition into: Who stuffed their thighs into my tights (because I know those can’t be my legs)? Who put expired Subway coupons on the refrigerator? Why do I walk past the dog hair on the floor as if someone else might sweep today? Are those my un-pedicured toes? Where is my coffee cup? Is that laundry going to fold itself? Is this my life?

Seems like as we fold ourselves up to fit into the molds we are given – wife, mother, employee, chauffeur, housekeeper – we inevitably get smaller. And the more love and effort we pour into the people around us, the emptier we are. Unless we fill ourselves back up. And oh my God with all the filling and pouring we’re already doing, who has energy for more filling, even if it’s for our own selves?

In a short-lived burst of research and development for this post, I texted Chicago and asked her if she does anything strictly for herself these days. She chuckled (no LOL needed, I know this girl) and typed “I have a dermatologist appointment now…does that count?”

My thought? Maybe it does.

I don’t know. I mean, we’re generally enjoying quiet time while a doctor picks our face or tells us to settle into the stirrups and scoot down just a bit more*…alas, is this really quality time with ourselves? It produces healthy areas of our bodies, which is a positive, but is it as restorative and bucket-filling as say, a guilt-free hour with hot tea and a good book? Or a long, meditative walk along the coast?

*After all these years, why can’t we figure out as soon as we lean back just how far down the table we need to place our hips? Let’s face it. We know how much to bend our knees and we resist anyway. Granted, the undercarriage isn't exposed to the breeze (or blinding light) very often. Maybe we're being coy. Is it an effort to be nonchalant? Are we trying to look casual, as if we’re comfortably reclined and waiting for a latte, and not sitting with our bare asses sticking to the paper napkin we’ve tried desperately – and somewhat unsuccessfully – to wrap all the way around our hips?

These are the mysteries that distract me nowadays. There are other mysteries too, some that I will remember to write about here, and others that I will remember 24 hours after I meant to, much like the Costco-sized amount of chicken I baked the other night in an effort to get ahead of the game, then promptly forgot about and left in the oven until the middle of the following day. Maybe Thirteen and Eleven are right: there IS nothing good to eat (and I know why).

My bucket is empty. Dry as a bone not yet slobbered on by the 165-pound Berner in my house (see: dog hair comment above).

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my crazy life (or my grouchy people) for the world, because they are my world. In general, my bucket overflows. Good health, good vibes, good kids, good man, food, clothing, shelter. And instead of Worry, my middle name should be Grateful because I know the shit show life can be. But all that stuff is good partly because of my incessant filling and pouring, right? How do we find time to pour into our own cup? (Not that one. That cup is for the wine. It’s the other one, to the right. There you go.)

So let me publicly suggest something to myself, and to you, my busy comrades. How about this year instead of just stuffing ourselves into the folding chair at soccer/volleyball/dance/various waiting rooms, we also – unapologetically – fold ourselves up onto the couch with that stack of magazines we’ve been longing to read for six weeks? Let’s finally make time to see an old friend sans kids, men, phones, or agenda. Remember that weird lady staring at you in the mirror? Her neck is drooping and you know it. Get her some quality cream and use it (instead of whatever lotion you can find on your daughter's bathroom counter amongst the bracelets, retainers [wait, aren’t those supposed to be in Thirteen’s mouth right now?], and tubes of toothpaste).

Let’s flip the script and take a little time to do unto ourselves as we constantly and exhaustively do unto others.

I’ll give it a shot (if I can remember to). Will you?


  1. Yes, yes I will. I will not feel guilty when I figure out a way to book myself a cheap massage in the middle of a school day. I will crawl back under the covers after school drop off when it's raining outside and I had a crap night sleep the night before. I will announce "MAMA IS HAVING ALONE TIME" and go off into a room and close the door like everyone else in the family is able to do and I will sit there and enjoy it even if I don't know what to do with my time. And I WILL spend a night or more with you as soon as humanly possible. Right?
    ps thank you thank you thank you for writing again xo

    1. I totally think you should lock yourself in a room, just make sure you pour a challis of vino before you make your announcement and dramatic exit. Also, yes please to a sleepover. xoxo

  2. FUUUUUCK (reference your subsequent football-vocab commentary). Yes. There are many parallels between your life and mine (I have Twelve and Fourteen, forgotten chicken, middle name Worry, no clean spoons, and an empty GD personal bucket, whilst I tell myself how Grateful I should be because so many others Have It Worse)...don't know how I have not found you til now. I too am mulling over how to fill the bucket after all these years of putting myself dead last. Is this what a mom's midlife crisis feels like? Because it may be a lot easier if it felt like a need for a convertible...Thanks for being dead honest and so thoughtful about the maelstrom that is mom life. Needed to hear someone else ruminating on these topics right now. Glad I bumped into you.
    Keep on keeping on, mama...I'll be back.