I’m currently dating my husband…or he is dating me…not sure really but we have been dating for a while now. I think things are getting pretty serious. We have been married for almost 11 years, together over 12. With the stresses of kids, two jobs, running a household, and holy shit stuff is expensive, we made a deal that we would go out together, just us, at least twice a month. We often run out of ideas and new places to go but we always go.
Why? Why do we do it?
We do it because once all the dust settles, the kids are grown moving on with their lives then it will be just the two of us. Just the two of us staring at each other across the kitchen table in the morning wondering, “Now what do we do?”. I don’t want to be sitting across from some stranger who I haven’t really seen or spent any time with in the last 18 years.
Sometimes we just meet each other for lunch while the kids are in school. Then there are other times we hire a babysitter, schedule a sleepover at mom mom’s house and go out to dinner. It is almost NEVER something that would warrant 20 selfies and appear like we are living it up way more than any of our friends. In fact, the occasional selfie is rare but once in a while we are feeling millennial and take one. Date nights are more important than just getting away from the kids. Eating your dinner at the temperature that it was meant to be served at. Date nights are a reminder of just why you have this crazy life in the first place. You fell in love. You fell in love with each other and created the mayhem that now consumes you all day every day. I doubt you could you ever imagine not having this craziness!? I know I couldn’t and remembering why I choose to create chaos of my life with him, that is why I make sure that we are still dating.
Being Human. Humanity is defined as ‘the fact or condition of being human’ according to the Oxford Dictionary. What does it mean to be human? Maybe P.T. Barnum was ahead of his time. Yes I am aware that the movie does not depict him in reality, maybe not much at all to be honest. He was far more likely in it for the buck than anything, BUT what if his story had a grander purpose, maybe beyond anything he or the movie producers ever imagined. If the movie does anything besides entertain us, it certainly causes us to pause and think about those around us, those who we associate with on a grander scale.
Exactly what does it mean to be human? It is not just enough to be human in our own right but to see the humanity of others. Aren’t we all different? Isn’t there something about each one of us that makes us feel awkward at times, weird……different…….not accepted? If there is anything that this movie reminded me is that each one of us IS weird, different, and in a way that is what makes us all exactly the same. It is a common bond that should be celebrated, and shouted from every rooftop! We are all unique…different….weird….human.
What if every restaurant you ever walked into served the same exact food, at the same exact time, and there was never any variation or variety? How boring would life be if we were all a cookie cutter version of each other? We need to embrace the comfort of diversity.
What if we lived in a world where everyone was seen and accepted for who they are because let’s be honest, isn’t that what all of us crave anyway? Acceptance.
Isn’t it up to us? Don’t we, collectively as humans and as a society, determine what is “expected”, normal even….?
I realize that this post is a series of questions but hopefully it makes you think. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
What do you do when you are a mom in the middle? When your child’s diagnosis isn’t obvious, when your kid seems normal to strangers at first but other kids recognize right away that they aren’t the same as them. When your child’s diagnosis is not something you want to draw attention to because with work and effort they will reach mainstream and grow into a “normal” adult. When you know that all your child wants is to be liked by everyone else but they aren’t and you aren’t sure to how to explain it to others or whether or not you need to.
What the fuck do you do?
How do you explain it? To other parents? To other kids?
My son has social pragmatic communication disorder. How do you explain that without going into this deep conversation over fine motor skills, impulse control issues, and the inability to process normal social behavior over a few beers without sounding like a maniac that someone just wants to grab their drink and walk away from?
My son is kind and gentle, he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body yet he is the target of bullies on the playground because of it. Because with his diagnosis he doesn’t recognize those who aren’t interested in being kind and gentle. Other parents don’t see why I am so protective of him because he “looks normal” or “he is having fun”, but other kids know when they have stopped having fun but he hasn’t stopped doing whatever it was that made them laugh. See he doesn’t recognize when the other kids don’t think something is funny anymore. Other kids mistake his enthusiasm for not listening when they say stop. Its hard because I see why the other kids don’t understand when he doesn’t stop doing something when they say stop. I also understand that my son sees that they thought it was funny once and doesn’t understand or recognize why it isn’t funny anymore.
It kills me as a mom to see him struggle to connect with other kids. I totally understand as an adult that other kids see that he is different. I just wish that my role was more well defined. I can’t make him understand social cues yet because he is still learning basic social skills. He has a very defined line between right and wrong so traversing the gray area is extremely challenging for him. Juggling the myriad of emotions and subtle nonverbal cues is totally out of his wheelhouse. Yet it absolutely kills me as an adult not only a mom to just let him figure things out for himself.
So as a mom in the middle I sit here and hope that I can create enough situations that allow him to grow as an individual, learn social norms, expand his circle of friends just enough, and that it all comes together naturally in the end.
So I decided to sign my two girls up for softball this year. I played softball for years and love the game so I figured they would too. It seemed like a great idea and why not. Besides the crazy schedules and the freezing cold at the start of practice, what I didn’t realize is that I would fall deeply in love with teaching them the game!! My new found passion has had me at every practice and game so far, rooting on my little sluggers as they learn, laugh, make new friends, and I quickly realized that there should be a new sports mom checklist so that you can come to the fields prepared because that first game taught me some very valuable lessons. Here are the things that I found to be the most important to have on the sidelines…..besides self control that is!
1.) Bring a chair. One of those folding chairs that you can easily stuff into a bag with a shoulder strap are perfect. Sometimes the fields have bleachers but if its cold then the bleachers are freezing, and your hiney doesn’t stand a chance!
2.) Grab a blanket. There is some unforeseen weather phenomenon that occurs at ball fields. They are always 15 degrees cooler than the weather at your house and the wind is always gusting at 25mph.
3.) Something to drink for both you and your future hall of famer. A very rugged water bottle for the dugout is a must and you can sip on whatever you fancy ::wink::
4.) Snacks. Something lightweight and easy because nothing makes losing a little bit easier to take than fruit snacks or gummy bears!
5.) Your own softball glove if you want to warm up with your player before the game and pretend that you are reliving your youth….that got weird didn’t it…sorry…moving on.
Most of all bring yourself. I know its freezing but only in the beginning. I know you have a thousand and one things that need to get done and that 2 hours of being home alone to do it sounds wonderful BUT your little one would love to know you are there. Cheering them on and just being present. It seems like it isn’t a big deal but trust me it is to them. This is all new to them and their confidence and if you don’t want to see them play then what does that say to them? You don’t have to be the mom yelling from the sidelines, then again I didn’t think I would be either. Just being there is enough and it means more to your little one than you know.
Have you struggled with your self confidence after a sudden weight gain? Well it happened to me too. My body decided to play a few tricks on me and between the hormone malfunctions and medications I found myself a little extra fluffy in a short period of time. To say that it affected my self confidence is an understatement and the irony isn’t lost on me that I help women feel confident in their own skin daily, yet I let it get to me. My inner mean girl said horrible things to me, things I would NEVER say to anyone else, but I let her thrive, I listened to her and believed that she was right. Why was that ok? Why was it ok for her to talk to me that way?
She tells me “don’t post that selfie, you’re too fat, no one wants to see you”.
As women we tend to be so hard on ourselves as it is, and many factors in our society and movies lead us to believe that if we are overweight that there is someone wrong with us. That we are no longer beautiful. Why on Earth do we listen to that nonsense?! Everything about us is just as frigging amazing as it was before, the only thing that has changed is our dress size. That shouldn’t define us. If our best friend or our daughter came to us saying these terrible things about themselves we would quickly correct them and remind them of how awesome they are. Why aren’t we are own cheerleader? Besides that, you know what else I have learned? You probably don’t look as bad to anyone else as you do to your inner mean girl anyway. We stand in front of the mirror and stare at every little ripple, roll, and “flaw” telling ourselves that its the first thing people see when they look at you. Guess what……it’s not. The people who love you have noticed your weight gain (maybe) and they still love you just the same. As far as people who don’t know you, they have no idea you were ever anything than what you are right now!
So head up, shoulders straight, look yourself square in the eye and say, “Girl YOU ROCK and you never liked that mean girl anyway!”!
Are you taking time for yourself to recharge, to just breathe? Probably not, well we are here to tell you that it is ok to make time for yourself! We see you running about doing all your mom things but when was the last time you did something for you? We all know that you do a thousand things in a regular day (sometimes an hour) for your family but what about you? You are just as important as anyone else in your family, in fact, maybe even more so! Your family counts on you to keep everyone on point. You keep the pantry stocked, make sure they have clean clothes to wear, schedule dentist appts, soccer, play dates, plus a hundred other tasks that you do without complaint (giggle….ok maybe a complaint or two here or there). You keep everything organized so it can all run smoothly and on time (if you are anything like me then we can use that term loosely if you would like). So, what about you, where do you fit it? As busy moms we often feel guilty for taking the time to do something as silly as get our nails done, go to the beach, lunch with a friend, because we are just thinking about all the things that still need to get done. Well make sure there is time allotted for you to recharge because if you burn out then who will take care of everyone? The old saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup.”, is so true.
3 Simple ways to get some alone time
1.) Schedule it. You thought it was going to be more profound than that right?! Sometimes it is as simple as getting yourself in the books. Don’t just schedule it though, keep it! Write it in pen, you deserve better than to just be penciled in!
2.) Steal it. Whether you are in between errands, softball practice or running to the store, just pull over and sit for 10 minutes. Turn off the radio, no cell phone, just take a minute to look around at everyone else running and gunning. Just breathe.
3.) Set your alarm. My favorite alone time is early in the morning. Every day I get up before my family and the sun and have my coffee in peace. To some it may seem crazy to get up so early but the peace I feel from this hour of solitude is worth getting out of bed for!
As you can see this isn’t some grand scheme to score a week away from your family and all your responsibilities or to convince you that a weekly 2 hour massage needs to be your norm. Consider this more of a starter kit for your alone time. Quick ways to steal a few moments for yourself that WILL help you relax a little and see things differently. Give it a try!