Real Housewives of West Virginia (RHoWV)

“life’s a bitch, but you don’t have to be!”

Dear Andy Cohen, 

 I have carefully been considering what my tagline would be if you ever wanted to do a REAL Real Housewives show. (Like really real!)

Like really real when a 60 foot gyser erupts in your front yard, your refrigerator and hot water tank die in the same week.

Like really real when you put your creditors name in the phone so you can say “hey Bob! Sorry, it is really tight this month…you are gonna have to keep calling.” Sorry man.

Like really real when you have to decide between taking a day off because you can’t get out of bed or forgoing a day’s pay. 

Like really real when you realize you left your coffee cup on the roof of your car and it made it all the way down the road, only to fall through your sun roof (cough rust roof cough cough) and douse you in sticky Carmel / hazelnut sweat to coat your day and your spirits.

Life is seriously the biggest bitch I have ever met, so be kind. Help a sister out. Let’s do a Dave Chapelle version of the Real Housewives and get really real!  

“life’s a bitch, but you don’t have to be!”

On Mothering

The last twenty some weeks of mothering have offered me joy and moments of pure  ecstasy along with the ever looming “can’t do it all” ghost, but this week is different.

Balance has always be a struggle for me. I find myself often overindulging. One is never enough.  

After 3 days teaching kindergarten, I have renewed sense of purpose in my mothering. 

Today, I make a case for mothering. 

Whether 5 or 6 or 66, we all need a mother at points throughout our years. This week, I saw young children needing mothering in a very real well. Granted, the ones that are desperate for it have non-traditionally absent parents or just absent ones altogether. The mothers who think it is a 5 year olds responsibility to remember his lunch, backpack, books, and socks are little different from the ones who cannot be bothered to get out of bed to come get their sick child so they send a relative stranger instead.

Today we suffer from both too little and too much mothering, with all the talk of millennials and helicopter parents, we know it goes both ways.  I would, however , argue that there is a huge difference between mothering and smothering which is what I would define as a parent who cannot allow their child to succeed or fail on their own or without involvement.

To me, mothering is care. Mothering is patience. Mothering is putting my damn phone down and looking my daughter in the eyes. I am not great at all of these, but they are the core of connection. Connection, attention, safety, love is what each child craves and needs in order to learn, grow, discover themselves. 

Today, we could use a little more mothering, a little more care, a little more time payed to what our thoughts and fears are. 

Yesterday a child who is often treated like an after thought, drew a picture of a rose for his momma and wrote how much he loved her. I cried. I was angry. How could she not see the perfect love this little boy had for her and return it ten fold? It didn’t matter. Regardless of her mothering, he was going to love her fully.  

I hate to judge but when I see children being hurt by blatant carelessness, I take it personally. Maybe that is why I became a teacher. Maybe that is why being a mom has been my biggest dream.  

I try not to get blinded by the love. I want to support my daughter and help her develop the skills that will take her running from me and into her future. I want to teach her to be a good person as well as a good student. I want her to question and love with out boundaries. 

She cannot do any of this with out love.

So today, I beg you, love your kids. Put your phone down when they are around. Look them in the eye. Put a damn pair of socks on them before they leave for kindergarten. Maybe then you would see the blisters on their feet, the cracked open sores, the love in their eyes when you notice them: this is the case for mothering. 

*photo by Misty Crites  

 

Middle School Compliments

Who knew middle schoolers could boost your confidence.

I really don’t have this working mom thing down at all….but apparently I am sexier than I remember.

Thank god for the little things.

I may have burnt every thing I have tried to cook for the last two weeks, my daughter and I may have a nasty cough that provided us a day home today, but dang it…I am bringing sexy back!!!

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.