Balance, you bad boy

Maybe if balance were viewed as the quintessential bad boy, sexy and smoldering, it would be easier to achieve. I doubt it. Balance, like that bad boy, is never as easy as it seems; though it’s just as fulfilling as you imagine it to be. 

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Never give yourself a bikini wax OR 10 life lessons I have learned by 30

  1. There is never a comfortable way to answer your mom’s questions about stds.
  2. Nothing says “trashy” like camel toe.
  3. True love and true friendship are equally hard to find. 
  4. Someone will always be better, smarter, prettier, stronger, ballsier, (fill in the blank_______) than you. 
  5. Too much of a good thing will always be bad, (i.e. too much vit C = UTI.)
  6. Never wear white to a wedding, ever. 
  7. Never judge a book by its cover. (or Sarah Jessica Parker is gracious enough to look the other way when you poop pants.) 
  8. Never let your partner deliver your baby….the things they see….you will not live this down.
  9. Never give yourself a bikini wax … And if you must ….
  10. ALWAYS Make sure your partner turns off their Xbox live mic before helping you with the hot wax accident.

I didn’t have a choice.

Yesterday was my first day back to work. After having a baby 16 weeks ago today,I am one of the fortunate ones to just be going back now.

While working, I ran into a young teacher and mother who had recently substituted in my old position for an extended period. In a quick conversation I made the comment,“I don’t know how you did it!” 

“I didn’t have a choice.” She replied.

This statement stayed with me all day.

I had originally planned to be home for this 16 week period of time; with saved and generously donated paid time off, I would return to work in February, finish out the school year, and decide from there how to manage career, family, and bills.

As life, Lyme, hyper gravidarum would have it, I couldn’t do that and blew through my sick leave within 5 months of a debilitating pregnancy. I spent months building up strength and finally decided to make a push and try to go back to my classroom that fall. I made it 5 days (2 with 163 students) before collapsing physically and mentally under the load.

I didn’t chose to be sick, get bit by a tick or be unable to get out of bed. I did choose to become pregnant and often times I confused that choice with a misguided responsibility to “fulfill my duties” to my work and students. I continued teaching a course online for 9 weeks after going on full FMLA, even though I could barely function, had to have my husband read me the emails half the time, and was typically vomiting at the time I was supposed to be “with” the class and lecturing.

But I made a choice.

I felt like a failure. After months with out a pay check, we had learned to live on less. Like ALOT less. It felt really good. We had done this before, living in a cabin in the woods on a 1/2 time teachers salary.

After my daughter was born, I realized that I could live with being the most beat up house on our very nice street, for a few more years. I am cool with the rust on my car, as long as it will pass inspection and keep on driving. I am ok with juggling bills, hurting my credit, and relying on the goodness of family occasionally.

We can’t be too prideful. We can’t have the perfect car or image. I have done some major damage to our credit in juggling bills in the last 4 months…

…but that was a choice I made.

I make a choice to swollow my pride. I quit my full time teaching job to work as a substitute.

I choose to be the shittiest house on the street.

I choose as many mornings as I can swing with my little one.  Does that mean that the phone rings and people sometimes want money? It does. As it turns out, that job I could have gone back to was cut this week. It is affirming to see that had I chosen to go back, the universe would have simply reversed my course a little less gently.

This is not to dog working mothers.

We are all working mothers.

What I am asking each us to do is to stop belittling each other by making statements like “I wish I could do that.” Or “I just don’t have a choice.”

The only result produced by these types of statements is to further divide us as a group of women who are each  fighting the same battle, juggling what we can and cannot live  without, and wishing desperately for a maid, nanny and/or fairy god mother.

We each have a choice and those choices will define who we are as women, no doubt. However, Let’s choose to cheer each other on. If you are gonna go be that BAMF exec and show your little girl she can do anything! Do it! Own it! Rock it! I am taking a slightly different path. But I own it. This path is mine. I have been led here by my choices.

There are many things we each wish we could do, but we all have a choice.

Today I applaud your choice!

Ooooooh so you wanna try cloth diapers mommy? Or The Pending Poo-pocalyps

My daughter is finally big enough to fit into the cloth diapers we have for her. I have to say I really have the perfect baby for cloth diapers as she is not a prolific pooper. In fact, it is more of an every other day or once a day situation with her. However, this week, the week we choose to try cloth diapering, something seems to have changed.

The universe, my daughter’s adorable little butt, and 3 insane bowl movements later…I am a little less excited than I was 24 hours ago.

The look on her face, as I quickly snapped a picture of her, after the first ill fated diapering attempt…the look on her face says it all….

….She knew before I did.

Good parent/bad parent: the modern parenting facade

I am no angel but lately I have been asking myself a lot about the American parent dichotomy. This “perfect on the outside, shit on the inside” facade that we are all barely holding together.Where are my truthers? 

Where are my unknown friends who have sat sobbing on the kitchen floor at midnight, with dinner burnt, your boobs hanging out, and your baby screaming? 

Where are the women who forgot for 6 or more weeks what it was like to live with sex, sleep, and any rationale control of your hormones?

Where are the woman who love their children fiercely, but occasionally have thought “could I give you back for an hour?”

Where are these truthers hiding? I can’t hear you among the pleas of my peers for acceptance, approval.

14 weeks of parenting has afforded me very little time behind this maniacal wheel, but what I do know is that “you know nothing.” 

Jon Snow be damned, I am giving it my best shot.

As I sit here, snowed in by Jonas, mounds of laundry piling up, struggling to breast feed and hoping the snow lasts till June so I never have to leave, I am reminded of the times I do get right. Half of them are by chance while the other half is hard work. Regardless, the triumph of these moments is all the greater because of the shitty odds of the battle going in, and the masterful f***-ups that somehow got you here.

Truth: I feel like I do more work than my husband.

Truth: he feels like he does more work than me.

Truth: we both are often working to what feels like our limits and sleep is not what it used to be. 

Truth: today I own my my duality. I am a good parent. I am a bad parent. 

P.s. Nap-time, you are a cock tease. I am beginning to loathe you as much as those perfect princesses with their Einstein infants, Martha Stewart magic, and white girl angst. 

The (no) judgement zone

Last Friday night I got drunk. I didn’t mean to. 

I meant to have 2 glasses of wine.

I forgot Zoloft interacted with alcohol.

More than 6 weeks after being prescribed a very low dose, I had finally started it, much to my husband’s relief. 

Saturday morning as he recounted the night before (and a pump and dump incident 😂), I am not sure he would say the same thing. 

Almost three weeks in, I have no blow ups. I am struggling at times still but I have been able to acknowledge my weakness and even live in the moment some. It has been a groundbreaking three weeks. 

Here is to 2016.

This whole living in the moment thing…

I was supposed to go back to work this week but Martin Luther King Jr., winter storm Jonas, and forgotten doctors appointments have conspired against me … or for me as the case may be.

Tuesday morning, she almost said “mama” and that was supposed to be my first day back.

My dad, generously, had promised to be here to spend the whole day with her on my first day, so that I didn’t have to take her to day care AND be away for 8 hours simultaneously.

I am lucky.  She would have been with my dad.

But, instead, she was with me when she tried to form the word over and over again, not quite able to force the sound out from behind those perfect pursed lips.

I am TRULY lucky.

The money I could have earned that day would have been AMAZING, especially considering our refrigerator chose this week to stop working, but the reward of seeing her try to form her first words was worth more.

Today I am thankful for coolers, back up refrigerators, neighbors, slow cookers, first words, living in the moment and snow days.

Currently listening to Jon Bellion “ooh” courtesy of my amazing little brother who is teaching me to follow my dreams.

I am a coward. Why I hate Facebook and being friends with my students. Or “F*** you Caitlyn Jenner, you lucky B****!” 

Spend 10 minutes on anything related to social media and you will inevitably end up seeing someone being mocked, serially lying, and/or berating others for not sharing their world view.

Where did our humanity go?

Are we all that scared of someone finding out our secret?

When Caitlyn Jenner, first made public her transition, I watched, curious. To me it wasn’t a matter of gender; it was a desire to live as who she felt she was.  It was to stop living in personal judgement of herself.

After watching, what I am left with is a deep sense of sadness for those who cannot or feel they cannot live out their true selves.

Now…call the waaambulance because here it goes.

I am an incredibly irreverent person.  I, however, am facebook friends with such a WIDE range of people, students, family members, etc. that to put myself out there in any “true” since would lead to stigmatization.

When I saw Caitlyn putting herself out there, when I see others who aren’t afraid to let their freak flag fly,  I applaud them!

I stand up and applaud!

I am deep green with envy.

The deficit is certainly in me.  I care what others think.  The cost is just too high.

 

Why I am Facebook friends with my students. 

There is a reason why we are told to keep our personal and private lives separate; we need look no further than Hillary Clinton for an example of work/personal technology gone awry.  The public is opinionated, angry, and ignorant. This lethal combo is destroying our ability to communicate in an ethical and authentic way.

My first professional job was working for WVU and supervising both student and regular employees. In my experience, inappropriate use of social media led to more terminations than any other reason (with social justice issues following for a close 2nd).

I spent a couple years in the mental health field after that before transitioning back to the classroom. At first, I refused to add students. I told them, when you graduate and I stuck to my guns the first year.  After spending more lessons than I care to remember discussing professionalism, appropriateness, and audience, it dawned on me…”why am I telling them this. I should be showing them.”

It was then I decided to allow the requests  I had received.

With the exception of a couple months spent overseas, I have lived the duration of my life within 3 distinct regions of Appalachia.  This place has a life and characteristics all of its own.  I LOVE my “home among the hills,” don’t get me wrong, but amidst these incredibly brave, hardworking, imaginative people is the demon of poverty and it has wrecked our lives.  Many of my students are the age their parents had been when they had them. Most of my student have parents or grandparents who both work multiple jobs to support them; those that don’t, are often left to their own devices to survive.

In this kind of environment, who is there to role model appropriate behavior?

I am NOT judging parents for working. I am soon to be a working mother myself.

What I am saying is that our students are now learning how to be adults both in the classroom and online.

If we aren’t there to participate in the conversation, how will they know to grow?

To be continued…