Friday, September 24, 2010

This tough broad's new name.

Since I became a stay at home mom, or family manager, or home CEO, or whatever I want to call it on any given day, I've really struggled with my identity.  Before kids, I was slated for a great career in corporate America with a generous salary and recognition for my work.  Now, after kids, my home is my work place and my days are filled with laundry, cooking, cleaning, child care and the occasional Panera trip with various mom friends. 

Thanks to these Panera trips, and three babies that unapologetically changed my metabolism and body structure, I struggle with my physical identity as well.  I carry around an extra few pounds, and thanks to mass media and women's magazines that tell me over and over again how to lose weight, sometimes I think I never will be comfortable in my own skin.  I thought my marathon training - all 400+ miles of running over 18 weeks - would get rid of my jiggly bits.  Well, I have muscles of steel now, but the jiggly bits remain firmly - or un-firmly, as it were - in place over said muscles of steel.   

I've had an ongoing battle in my head for years - should I get rid of the extra 20 pounds or finally accept that they are part of me and embrace my body?  This body that has given birth to 3 boys - naturally, without so much as an advil, one baby at 10 pounds (!), all born at home?  This body that spent 6 years nursing my babies?  This body that provides a safe and nurturing home for my family, 24 hours a day?  And of course, this body that can hold my fair share of Woman Warrior martinis? This body has more strength in it than I ever thought possible.  I never thought I'd ever run 5 miles, let alone 26.2.  But here I am, running mile after mile after mile, and thoroughly enjoying it. 

I had a moment of clarity while running this past weekend.  My BFF Beth joined me for a couple of loops at the park during my short, comparatively speaking, 14 mile run.  I had my typical long run attire on - capris, running skirt, tank top, visor and pigtails.  (Yes I'm 41 and run in pigtails.  I LOVE it!)  The path encircles numerous baseball fields. It was opening day for the local men's league and there were a lot of fine men pitching and hitting and running.  And of course they checked us out as we ran by.  I felt a little self conscious, thinking about the muffin top and jiggly bits, and Beth and I had our usual conversation about body image.  Then she said I was like a roller derby girl.  At first I was aghast, but then I pictured a roller derby girl.  Strong and tough.  Physically and mentally.  No skinny legs for those gals.  Tattooed.  Check, have one of those (now you know mum, I have a tattoo)  Bright colored clothes.  I always run in bright pink. And lip gloss.

Hmm, maybe Beth is on to something.  Maybe I just need to look at myself differently.  Not as a runner who has a few pounds to lose, but as a strong woman who is one tough broad.  But in a nice way, of course.

A cool name is a must for a roller derby girl.  I've been calling myself a muffin top marathon mom, but I need something much edgier than that.  So I thought of the tattoo on my right shoulder.  I designed it myself and I'm proud of it.  It has three thistles, one for each of my boys, and represents my strong Scottish heritage.  And the thistles are pink, of course.  The leaves of the thistles form the shape of Ohm, a very meaningful symbol to me from the time I spent living in India. 

So now when I run, I'm the Pink Thistlenator. 

Step aside, skinny girls, I'm coming through.  Jiggly bits and all.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Forget what's in your wallet. What's in your car?

I admit I like those "What's in your wallet?" viking commercials.  I chuckle at the antics those silly fur clad fellows get up to.

That "What's in your wallet?" question popped into my head as I unloaded the car at the park the other day.  Except it wasn't what was in my wallet, rather what was in my car.

I have always tried to keep a clean car.  "Tried" being the important word. This summer, however, got the better of me. My embarrassment upon opening up the back of my 10 year old minivan prompted me to make a list. 

So what is in my car?

3 boys' bicycles.  Yes 3.
3 boys' helmets.
1 umbrella.
1 fall jacket.  Even though it's 93 degrees outside.
4 footballs.  Even though I only have 3 boys.
2 soccer balls.
1 rubber chicken.
1 rubber duck.
1 toy mini copper with a giant union jack on it.
1 toodler hoodie.
1 pair of dirty socks.  That happen to be mine, stolen and worn by my eldest son.
1 bionicle.
Ice Age - the movie.
Night at the Museum - the movie.
1 aluminum water bottle.
54 cents.
1 roll of paper towels.
1 wipes bin.
4 pull ups.
1 doggie doo doo bag.
1 doggie leash.  Pink of course.
3 smushed up M&Ms.  Brown, red and yellow.
1 paper airplane.
1 rain poncho.
1 plastic water bottle cap.
Assorted crumbs and bits of unidentifiable food.

And something I can't quite quantify...the smell of the feet of three little boys and their wet sandals mixed with dog and rubber bike tires.

Oh, and there is a cobweb in the corner.

I used to take such pride in my clean car.  But trudging around with the three kids for bike rides at the park and hikes with the puppy has taken it's toll on the minivan this summer.  Back to school week means a thorough detailing of my beloved mom mobile.

So, what's in your car?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting it balanced.

Last night, husband DJ and I watched Avatar for the first time.  We very very rarely go out to the theater to see a film, but thanks to our new Netflix account, we are catching up on the past few years of Hollywood.

To be sure, it was an amazing 2 hour and 45 minute cinematic experience.  The computer generated film was incredible to watch and had a story that, though very predictable, told a message of the evil of greed. 

We were curious to see how much the movie cost to make so we googled it. 


That's 500 million dollars.  To make, promote and distribute Avatar.  Half a billion dollars.  And so far it has brought in $2.7 billion in box office sales around the world.  And it is coming back in theaters which only means that the revenue will go higher. 

20th Century Fox amd James Cameron must be rubbing their hands with glee.

About a movie about greed.

Hey, I love a good movie.  I love to laugh, cry, be moved and awakened by a film just as much as anyone.  But something just really bothers me about these huge sums of money. 

And talking of we are taking our boys to the NY Jets open practice, where we get to watch big men thowing a ball around, running a few yards, and earning millions of dollars for doing so.

Something just really seems screwed up.

I know I could write a lot about this.  So could a lot of people...We are responding to the desires of our society - people want to see this so they will pay, etc etc.  Our need for entertainment etc etc.

And on the other side...I lived in India for a year, and have had fantastic opportunities throughout my life to travel the world and see how most people live.  It's a far cry from billion dollar movies and throwing a ball around for millions. Sometimes I just get completely overwhelmed by the amount of wealth that is in our world and the depths of poverty.

It just seems really messed up that we spend billions and billions on entertainment when most of the world is suffering in poverty, disease and war.  And I love a good movie and am willing to pay to see one. And I also enjoy watching football. 

So how can we balance it all?  I wish I had an answer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Running like a mother. For about 7 miles, maybe. MOM!!!

One of my favorite books is Run Like A Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity,  by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  For me, a mom new to running, it is great comic relief, inspiration and motivation all rolled up into one.  A book that told me I can be a middle-aged, slow, athletically challenged, slightly overweight mother and still call myself a runner.

Well, today I ran like a mother alright.

I like to run alone.  It's my escape from the kids, I mean reality, I mean I like the quiet - other than Eminem blaring in my ears, that is.  Sometimes I end up at the park and meet up with hubby and kids and get offered an air conditioned ride home that I'm usually all too eager to take.

But this week, I screwed up on my schedule.  I ate waaaay too much three cheese ravioli with homemade pesto and lots and lots of garlic one night.  The night when I was supposed to run 7 miles.  Needless to say, the 7 miles dwindled to 4 and I had to figure out when to fit the 7 in. 

That happened to be today.
With the kids.
All 3 of them.
On their bikes at the park.

I had visions of me running the path while they rode their bikes beside me, cheering me on in my marathon training.
Yeah right.

Mom!  My handle bars are loose!
Mom!  My bike is broken!
Mom!  I don't want to bike any more!
Mom!  I want to go on the play set!
Mom!  I want your gatorade!
Mom!  Mom!  MOM!!
This was at mile marker 1.3.  13 minutes in to what should have been a 70 minute run.

What on earth was I thinking?

I managed to squeak out a couple more miles after I sent Collin to the playset with little brother Iain, but of course felt like a horrible mother for letting two of my three boys play without direct supervision.  Even though they are perfectly fine doing that.  I think I got bad looks from other mommies, even though I was never far away from them.

Mile 4.  My BFF Beth and her three boys show up to run / play with us. Great!  I think. The boys can all amuse themselves while Beth and I run my last 3 miles. Her littlest one promptly does a face plant on the path and scrapes up his knee.  Screams and tears.

Mom!  I want a snack!

By this time, I'd spent almost 2 hours at the park trying to do a 70 minute run, and I was barely half way through.

So we parked the little guys under the pavilion, surrounded them with snacks, and ran the short track that is maybe, perhaps, a quarter of a mile around the picnic tables.  I can't remember how many times.

So I think I ran about 7 miles.  Maybe.  It took over 3 hours.  In April I ran a half marathon in less time than that!  But at least I kept moving the entire time.  You know, from kid to kid to kid.

Hopefully that makes up for the chocolate I ate for breakfast.

Running like a mother.  Gotta love it.

(Check out their website - )

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me, wrinkles and all.

I love celebrating birthdays. And today is mine!  I'm proud to say I'm 41 years young today this 10th day of August 2010.

Many people like to forget their birthdays.  They don't want to celebrate gaining another year in age. 

Not me.  I like to look at it as another year of life, experience, love, friendship and adventure! 

I get a little disheartened when I see all the commercials for anti-aging products for us women of a certain age - you know, the wrinkle reducers and such.  I have my fair share of wrinkles around the eyes, but I like to look at those wrinkles as 41 years of seeing the world, my family and children, majestic mountains, blue oceans, and the simple beauty of sunflowers and blades of grass.  I'd rather hear about the life that eyes have seen than how to get rid of the life that those eyes have experienced. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for looking my best, but I'm not going to go to great expensive lengths to wipe away the after effects of a life well lived.

I like to celebrate.  A couple of years ago, I threw myself a birthday party - a ladies martini night in my backyard!  We giggled, ate really good chocolate and of course made ourselves martinis.  Last year was the best - I was so proud to turn 40!  We threw a great party - 1980s style!  Everyone came dressed in their best neon, jellies and leggings.  We drank Sea Breezes and Fuzzy Navels and danced away the night to Wham, Michael Jackson, Madonna and the sounds of Flashdance.  It was one of the most fun nights of my life.

This year hubby and I and some friends are heading out to a martini bar for dinner and drinks.  A little quieter than last year, but a celebration nonetheless.  And a couple of days ago we had a little impromptu get together at home with some friends and enjoyed their fine company and a delicious dinner, fresh from the garden.

A birthday is a great way to reflect on the the year gone past.  What has been accomplished and enjoyed?  What dreams have been realized?  What new ones are on the horizon for next year?  And of course there are heartaches to consider too.  That is part of life and should be reflected upon.  Goodness only knows our family has had our share of them. 

But this is what life is - an adventure to be be shared, enjoyed and relished.  Every new wrinkle is a sign that I've done something, lived more and gained experience in this journey of life. 

And I don't mind another wrinkle or two.  Cheers!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

12 years of Marriage. Then and Now.

Today, hubby DJ and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Such a day is always a good time to reminisce about the past and reflect on what our lives together have become. Here's a comparison of then (newly wed, eager to fulfill our dreams together) and now (3 kids, dog, cat and a mortgage)...

Then - waking up in each others arms, lazily reading the paper and sipping premium coffee.
Now - waking up at 6am with the puppy in between us, licking my face, wanting to be let out for a tinkle and poop, using the paper to mop up any overnight accidents.

Then - gazing into each others eyes, calmly discussing our dreams of the future.
Now - a quick hug in the kitchen, recalling our wonderful wedding day, while the puppy chews on her squeaky toy and the SQUEAK boys chase SQUEAK each other around SQUEAK the living SQUEAK room.

Then - a day trip to New York City, strolling around a museum, arm in arm, window shopping on 5th Ave
Now - a trip to the county fair with kids in tow, looking at pigs, cows and their corresponding poo, cheering on the boys in their respective Big Wheels races.

Then - cocktails, a romantic dinner in a trendy New York restaurant, intimate conversation in candlelight, dessert at our favorite bakery in Little Italy
Now - dinner for 5 at the local Italian chain with our conversation ranging from "don't jump on the chairs! get up off the dirty floor! get your feet off the table!" to the boys' screams of "I dropped my silly bands!  I think there's poop on the light! Iain dropped his Big Wheels medal in the toilet!"

And I bought my husband a thoughtful card, expressing my love for him.  But the dog ate it before I could give it to him.  Really, she did.

What a difference 12 years makes.

Happy Anniversary Dear Husband!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sitting on my backside. And loving every minute.

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you just can't be bothered to do anything at all?  And I mean anything?  Even when there is sooo much to do?

I had one of those today.  It was pouring with rain outside, thundering and lightning at 6am, my usual time to take the puppy out for her first tinkle of the morning.  Well she wanted no part of going outside - and neither did I.  But rather than cleaning up a puddle inside the house, I opened the umbrella, braved the storm and picked her up under my arm and made for the back yard.  Thankfully she promptly did her business and we raced back inside. 

I looked around the house.  At the piles of unfolded and creased laundry, knowing that it all needed to be put away.  But it had been sitting there already for two days, so what is another couple of hours?  I looked at the full dishwasher, ready to be emptied, but intead of tackling all of the dishes I grabbed my favorite mug and made my morning cup of tea.  I looked at the stack of papers that needed to be dealt with and the mess on the dining room table and sighed.  And then I grabbed my book.  And sat on the couch on my backside with my mug of Yorkshire Gold and agave and lost myself in the last 100 pages of my current novel.

Hubby DJ came out and wondered what on earth I was doing.  Usually when he appears for breakfast before hurrying off to the office for the next 11 hours, I'm busy in the kitchen preparing for the day.  Doing all those jobs that I'm supposed to do every morning.  But not this morning.  I know I'll pay for it later in the day when I have to play catch up with three boys at my heels.  But well, this morning, I don't seem to care.

And I enjoyed every minute of it. 

Maybe we busy moms should do that more often.  Just sit and enjoy our own company before the day begins with the normal chaos.  Goodness knows the dishes and laundry will always be there.  But a quiet moment?  That is something to be treasured.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A fan club for this Muffin Top Marathon Mom

This year I hope to cross a big item off my life's to do list. Run a marathon.  Or perhaps I should say, complete a marathon.  Having never been athletic, this is one heck of a big goal.  But following my very first official race - a half marathon - that I completed in April, I figured I might as well try.  I'm not a fast runner by any means, just slow and steady.  And committed to my goal.  There are many days when I do not want to run, but there are many more when I really look forward to running.  It's my escape from my chaotic home.

I like to run at my local park, appropriately named the Field of Dreams. It's usually an early morning run for me, before the summer heat moves in for the day.  I'd often see three bunnies, always in the same spot on the track.  I'd wish them a good morning as they scampered away and I'd continue on with a smile on my face.  My eldest son Corbin would always ask if I'd seen the bunnies, and they soon came to be the founding members of my Fan Club.

Yep, I have a running Fan Club.  And I'm continuously adding members as I encounter them on my runs.  Though they may not know it yet - or ever.  Along with the three bunnies, I have a doe and her two fawns, a wild turkey, four ground hogs, 17 horses - including the HUGE one that came out of the bushes with a rider attached that scared the daylights out of me.  There are some humans in there as well - the two ladies that walk seven dogs between them every morning, the guy flying his remote control plane who likes to give the "thumbs up" as I pass by, and even a nun in her habit saying the rosary.  I did a double take on her, thinking I'd been in the heat too long, but when I saw her the next day again, I figured she was really there.  And of course there's my mobile fan club - our mini van with hubby, three boys and puppy following me from time to time on the road bringing me Gatorade and offering the occasional air conditioned ride home.  

(There is also a four foot long black rat snake, but I'm not sure if I want that on the club's roster.)

As a mom of three young boys, I have a lot of noise in my home.  Noise that never seems to cease.  Ever.  Running has become my escape.  And it gives me some time to think.  Even if Eminem or Katy Perry or Will Smith are blaring away in my headphones, I still think.  It dawned on me one day that running a marathon is very much like being a mother - a journey of exhilaration, pain, emotion, fatigue, distress, happiness, solitude and togetherness.  And I've decided to write a book about this - the marathon of motherhood.  I'll be trying out some chapters from time to time in my blog and would love some input.  And I would also love to grow my fan club!   Add some people that I know and don't know. 

So please join the fan club for this muffin top marathon mom!  Follow and/or subscribe to my blog.  If you have a fan club or would like to start one, let me know and I'll be happy to join yours!  We can all use fans - support and encouragement can get us through the rough times and make the good ones even better.

Thanks, fans!  Welcome to the club!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poop happens. Especially in my house.

Yep, poop happens. 
Life is full of poop. 

As any parent knows, there is a lot of poop when your loved ones are little. Constant diaper changes from the moment your babe is born till he or she is potty trained.  Then it is accident clean up time. And then if you have another child, it starts all over again.

Puppy Fendi is potty training, and well, she's a dog, so there is always something to be picked up in a bag - either inside or outside the house.  Thank goodness, mostly outside these days.

Plus she loves to eat deer poop.  And there is no shortage of that in our back yard.  Same with bear poop.

Iain is potty training too, and seems to forget that his bathing suit is not a diaper.  He insists on going without swim diapers, so you can only imagine what happens when, well, you know.

And now, unexpectedly, we have a cat.  And gosh darn it, she has to poop too!   And guess who has to clean out the little box?  Yeah, you guessed it.  Me.

And then there are my two big boys, who sometimes - well, more than sometimes - forget to flush.

So, after I'd just cleaned out the litter box, wiped up the mess on the bathroom floor from a rather full bathing suit for the third time in three days and was bending over in the grass with doggy baggy in hand,  I let go and screamed.  MY LIFE IS POOP!!

Ahh, that feels better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In search of a great blog

I’m taking the night off. Well, not really “off,” but let’s just say I’m not doing the dishes, bathing the kids or putting them to bed. I’m sitting in my local Panera Bread, with a steaming cup of hazelnut coffee at my side, laptop open, contemplating my life.  (I think I may need a martini instead.)

I’ve been trying so hard to get to my blog this summer. I have these great expectations of myself – churning out brilliant essay after brilliant essay. I have visions of myself sitting by the pool while my kids happily swim, puppy at my feet, me writing words of wisdom to set the world straight and getting book deal after book deal.

Yeah, well, as they say, sh*t happens.

Three boys in the pool on their blowup pirate ship “The Black Dog” makes for constant screams of “It’s my turn!”, “Corbin pushed me off!”, “Mom, Collin kicked me,” and Iain’s well timed cries of “Mommy I have to go potty!” Only said of course, when he is soaking wet. Plus Iain is now, dear Lord, able to swim without his bubble, which means I can not take my eyes off him for a second. Most of the time I have to be in the pool with him. Oh, and the puppy at my feet? She is usually eating goggles, socks, towels or shoes. Which means I have to play her favorite game of “chase me as fast as you can because I refuse to drop my new favorite toy.”

Yes, all of this makes for perfect, quiet, blogging bliss.

So tonight I’m at the coffee shop for a couple of hours trying to put together a writing plan for the next few months. I’m hoping to get myself into a routine of blogging three to four times a week, perhaps following themes for certain days. I have a lot in my head to sort out.

My question to you is this – what draws you to a blog? What makes you stay and read and "follow"? I only have a handful of “followers” but I know it gets read a lot more than that based on emails I get. So step one – figure out what makes a successful blog. Which is just what I want. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Coke Bottle Glasses

Remember that line from your childhood days?  There was always some poor kid with really thick glasses at school who was picked on and teased by kids with good vision. 

I just Googled "coke bottle glasses" and found links to "nerd costumes" and "bookworms." 

Well, I'm a mom to such a "nerd" and "bookworm."  A kid with coke bottle glasses.  When Corbin was 3 he was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, uveitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.  He now also has glaucoma.  Two separate surgeries removed the lenses from his eyes which resulted in his need for glasses.  Really really thick glasses.

I was terrified when he first went to school, even crying in the principal's office as I voiced my worries about bullying.  But the bullies never appeared - at least not because of the glasses.  But that's another essay.

Over the last 6 years, I've gotten used to the thick glasses that distort his eyes.  The glasses are so heavy that he seems to squint a lot to keep them up on his nose.   He has to hold his head at an angle to watch TV.  He can't wear sunglasses because they don't make them in his strong perscription. 

One thing I really miss is looking into those eyes - I mean really looking into them.  His irises have holes in them from his surgeries, and one is a funny shade of green while the other is blue.  Since he can't see more than a few inches without them, I very rarely see him without those glasses.  Except when he sleeps.  And then his eyes are closed so I still can't look into them. 

They say the eyes are the window to the soul.  Well, I really want to see my son's soul.

Things may change tomorrow - he's going for his monthly check up and Remicade treatment.  And there will be a pair of contacts waiting for him in the neuro-ophthalmologist's office.  He wore contacts for a little while after his first surgery, but they irritated him too much.  Now that he's older, we are trying again.

He'll look like a different boy tomorrow when he comes home from the hospital.  Plus he just got his haircut, so it's like he's having a makeover (just what every 9 year old boy wants!)  Who knows if the contacts will work - he may hate the feel of them.  Maybe he won't be able to see well enough with them.  I don't know.  But I do know that perhaps, even just for a short time, I'll be able to really  look into my son's eyes.  And perhaps see his soul. 

And I hope he'll look back and see mine.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Before and After - The Big Reveal

As I did my usual scan of the morning news on Yahoo!, a feature article caught my eye - - Seven Simple Ways to Get Organized.  It outlined how you can organize your home in 7 days, simply, easily, without any fuss. 

They are kidding, right? 

As a wannabe professional organizer, I can assure you, the average family would struggle to organize their home in 7 simple ways.  Cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and restacking the towels in the linen closet does not an organized home make.  It is far more complex than that.

Articles like this and "organizing" TV shows really distress me.  Many of us who are not "born organized" long for those perfectly stacked shelves, those closets where like items are arranged by season, color and sleeve length.  Where our children's playrooms have color coordinated toy bins, neatly organized according to toy type, size and age.  You know those ones, straight out of a Pottery Barn or Container Store catalog.  Sure they look great, but how realistic are they?

Those shows in which teams of organizers sweep in, magically decluttering to give the homeowner a"big reveal" moment when they walk in and see their wonderful new spaces, do not tell the whole story.  Sure they provide great entertainment for us and perhaps ideas for our homes, but they don't tell us the before and after story.  They don't really address how the "before" chaos happens and how the organized "after" can be maintained.  Recognizing the "before" and "after" is the key for true home organization.

My desk is the one place where I really struggle.  It's the general dumping ground for every piece of paper in the house - kids school papers (which come home by the thousands, it seems), newspapers (that need to be recycled.  Why on earth I put them on my desk instead of straight in the recycling bin is something I cannot comprehend.), bills (which I will get to, later) and junk mail (that needs to be shredded).  Under all this is my inbox which seems to be constantly overflowing.  So much so that I never get to it, because in order to get to it, I need to clear off my desk!  I clear off my desk and then, whoosh, all this paper appears from no where and I have to start all over again at the beginning.  Know what I'm talking about?  Thought so.

So I could get TLC or HGTV to come over and clear out the recycling and kids papers, and give me some pretty desk accessories to hold the mail and nice little matching pencil holders and a nifty looking label maker to label everything.  But what good is that when all I will do is dump my papers on my desk and cover all the cute things up?  That's the problem - why do I dump it instead of sorting immediately (before) and once sorted, how do I keep it that way (after)?  Having pretty containers on my desk doesn't help me.

Organizing is far more than plastic bins and cute organizing accessories.  It's about really looking at ourselves and asking why we do the things we do.  Why do we buy stuff?  Why do we procrastinate about our inboxes?  Why can we never seem to get organized?  What is standing in our way?  Perhaps if we answer the "before" questions, we can have the organized "after" that so many of us desperately seek.  Now THAT would be a big reveal.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Verdict - Not Guilty

Guilt seems to come at us from all over the place.  We feel "mommy guilt" because we let our kids watch TV when we just need a break already for 30 minutes.  Because we fed them junk food once this week (okay, maybe more than once.).   Because we didn't have their baseball uniform washed on time and had to pick it out of the bottom of the dirty laundry hamper (of course that has never happened to me, cough).  Because we haven't done the "thing" we were supposed to do, according to whatever study has come out today.  You know those "studies" - the ones that tell you to do one thing this week and then will be refuted next week by another one?

I had a big dose of mommy guilt this week.  Today little Mr. Iain is on a field trip with his play school group to our local kiddie amusement park, the Land of Make Believe.  It's a cute place that's just for little kids - all the rides are pint sized.  I've been there soooo many times over the years with the older boys.  Iain didn't have to go today as Wednesday is not his normal play school day.  So I didn't sign him up.  But then the school said that he could go if he wanted to.  Sure, I said! 

But then it dawned on I have to go with him?  I know many other mommies are going.  But to be honest, I just couldn't stand to go there again.  Even though he'll have a blast on this beautiful sunny spring day.  It would be priceless to see his little face on the car/airplane/dragon/boat/etc rides.  I could get some really cute photos for the scrapbook.  But, truth be told, I would much rather spend the day in my basement sorting though the piles of paperwork on my desk and maybe catching a few minutes of the View.

There are days when Mommy needs a break.   Desperately.  Does not taking my son to the park make me a bad mom?  Good Lord, no.  But do I feel guilty about it?  Well, yeah.  For a few minutes anyway.  Until I realized that he's fine with his teachers - who are all wonderful.  That he's not going to be crying for me because I'm not there.  That because I've had a few hours to myself, I will be much more patient with ALL my boys when they explode into the house later this afternoon and leave their school papers, shoes and dirt scattered all over my newly vacuumed carpet.

Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break.  Guilt free.  I've enjoyed every bit of mine today.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Just Do It. Really.

We all know the Nike saying, Just Do It. Billions of advertising dollars aside, those three little words truly are a phrase to live by.

I've never been an athlete. I've windsurfed and scuba dived, even attempted tennis and baseball, until I injured myself falling over my own two feet and got bonked in the head by a very hard softball in my teenage years. I was never part of a sports team. Or had any talent in any athletic endeavor. But I always wanted it.

I had marveled at a dear friend of mine who completed the MORE magazine Half Marathon in New York twice over the last two years. She was an inspiration. I tried last year to train for it, but didn't really follow a proper plan and kept hearing that voice in the back of my mind telling me I wasn't an athlete so what the heck was I doing? And then, crack, stress fracture in my right knee.

Fast forward to January of this year, time to start training again. This being the year I turned 40, I decided, as the saying goes, to Just Do It. I told that unathletic voice to go away and replaced it with one that said You Can Do It. And so I did. I followed a plan. Sure, it didn't always work out - sick kids and life in general can get in the way sometimes. But I never said quit. There were mornings that I didn't want to get up and go to the gym, windy cold and rainy days that I didn't want to run outside. But I kept telling myself, Just Do It. Just Do It.

And I Did It.

I wasn't fast. But I Did It. And I will Do It Again.

Those three little words can apply to all aspects of life. There's always an excuse for not doing something. For months I've tried to get going with this blog, but there's always been an excuse for why I couldn't sit down and spend 15 minutes writing. So now, I just sit down and do it - the laundry, dirty kitchen floor and kids can wait for 15 minutes. It's not perfect. But it doesn't have to be. It just has to get done.

I don't have to be a perfect writer. I just have to write.
I don't have to be a fast runner. I just have to run.

So forget the excuses.

Just Do It.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What if?

As a parent - heck, as a human - there's a phrase that pops up time and time again, usually in a negative sense...

What if...?

What if my child gets sick?
What if we get in an accident?
What if I lose my job?
What if...? Just fill in the blank and worry instantly follows.

From the mind of an adult, the What if...?'s are usually negative questions about all the bad things that can happen. But my 7-year old son Collin asks plenty of What if...'s from a much better place.

What if I drank the biggest bottle of olive oil and then I grew to be 3000 years old and then I grew to be 6000 years old and I was so tall that I took the Empire State Building to be my walking stick and I grew a beard that went around the world 3 times and then I burped and it was so big that it crushed the earth and then I went back to being 7 again?

While I don't like to think of my 6000 year old son's burp crushing the earth, kudos to him for the big smile on his face as he thought of his latest "What if...?"

What if, indeed?

What if, as adults, we stopped worrying about all the things that can go wrong and started thinking about all the things that go right?

What if we started thinking about the fun things instead of the bad things?

What if, indeed? The world might be a much happier place.

Oh, and what if you hear a huge rumbling in the air? Don't worry, that's just my 6000 year old son burping.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin

You know those moments of motherhood that you dream of? The ones bathed in the pure delight of your children, with them gazing up at you, love in their eyes, straight out of some sappy commercial? Well, I thought I was having one of those the other day.

Picture it. The sun is streaming through the front window, gloriously filling the room with light following days of rain and darkness. I have two of my three boys with me, one on either side, with my arms around them, feeling the love that only a mother has, feeling the gratitude for these blessings in my life.

Collin looks up at me, smiling. I imagine the words coming out of his mouth...Mom, I love you. I'm so glad you are my mom. I'll never hit my brother again. Can we read a book together?


Instead, I get...Mom, you have a beard.

Yeah, you heard right. Mom, you have a beard.

To which his two year old brother immediately, gleefully, responds...Mommy have a beard! Mommy have a beard!

Now I may be 40, that magical decade of middle age, hormonal changes, rapidly graying hair and bifocals, but please. A beard?

Yeah mom, when the sun shines on your chin, I see all the hair you have there. You have a beard.

Thank god he did not see the mole that I do indeed have on my chin. You know, the one that has a hair growing out of it. The hair that would grow to a foot in length over the course of a week if I did not pluck it regularly. Gross, I know. But doesn't everyone have one of those somewhere?

I called my BFF. I told her about the beard. And the mole.

And then she laughed. I have a mole too! she said. On my chin too!! she said. With a hair!!! she said.

Well, I felt a bit better about the whole mole thing.

But not about the beard thing. She doesn't have a beard. That is something that is all mine. After all, she's only 37. Something to look forward to, I guess.