Deep in the motherHood: Random Anxious Mom Thoughts.

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I have no shame in saying I’m my own person. I’m not one to conform to fit in. I’m not one to stray away from what I like just because other people might not get it. I’m not afraid to meet new people, but I am afraid I’ll never quite fit in. All of these things also apply to me as a mom, and with it comes a weird jumble of thoughts I stress about almost daily. Nonexistent scenarios that may or may not happen in the future that make me question every decision I’ve ever made for my son, and all because I feel like I’m not what a “typical mom” should be.

Here’s an example: My little dude played T-ball for the first time last Fall. He loved it, and I was glad to get him some fun time with other kids his age since he’s normally home with me. But from the first practice, I could *feel* the judge-y eyes on me. Why? Could it be that I wore flannel instead of chic workout apparel? Could it be that my tank had a Fox Racing logo on it and not a monogram? I think it was all those things, combined with the fact that the state I’m living in, the life I’ve chosen, and who I am as a person will always make me look like an ugly duckling in a pond full of mom swans. Or at least that’s how I feel.

I wish I could be a Pinterest Mom. I really, truly do. All of those preciously creative decor, food, and favor ideas are surely enviable by every other person at the party, except by who the party is for, who is a small child and could care less if you tied handkerchiefs to string to make a rustic carnival banner for your living room. My kid is happy with pizza, presents, and cake, so why not keep it as simple as that? Maybe I decorate some cookies with skulls & bones because he loves pirates, and I’d consider that a huge victory. I’m just not built to put on a beautiful display of perfect motherhood, with a perfectly kept house and perfectly effortless ‘I just came from the gym’ look, and a perfectly clean car that doesn’t look like it lives at my husband’s messy job sites. Even if I put in enough effort to look like a functioning human, I still feel like an oddball. My style is different. My speech is different. Who I am in my soul is different. I blame it on moving to the bible belt, but I’d probably feel this way anywhere.

And then there is the mistake of thinking too much about the future. Financial thoughts make me most anxious. The thought of always having plenty of money for anything my son could want or need at a moment’s notice fills me with fear. We’re not slumming it, but we’re not riding a wave of financial freedom, either. Not by a long shot. I have big dreams for my smart little prince, but can I keep up? Universe, if you’re listening, we got this. But whew, even writing this has me nervous. I’m a stay at home mom not just because it’s what is best for our family, but because the cost of daycare is OUTRAGEOUS to me. Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS! To all of you who make it work for you, I am filled with applause for you. But honestly, if I were to start working, my check would literally be sucked up by childcare every single week. Might that change when little dude starts school? I’d never say never, but I think for any mom at my age and in this stage in their family’s life, money is a CONSTANT anxiety trigger. It feels like we’re all stuck on some kind of hamster wheel. ‘Real Adult’ things like a retirement plan or real life savings? I mark those thoughts with a big ol’ “?”. For now, I’ll pat myself on the back that the bills are paid, there’s food in the cabinet, and my kid wants for nothing (at least through his eyes). 

The saddest part of all of this is that at my age, it feels like all of this should be figured out, or even nonexistent, by now. Our real, actually *somewhat* attainable goal is buying what we feel is a real home, but it feels like we’re so far beyond. I take solace in knowing we all figure it out eventually and everyone grows at their own pace, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get down on myself. I see moms younger than me with a full blown ‘real life’ going on and I feel like a failure, or a struggling child. Or I see women my age who do so much more than me with elegant ease, and feel both a sense of rebellion and envy. But as a mother, and a loving, real mother at that, I know deep in my soul that everything will work out as long as I love my child and my family with all I have and keep striving everyday to figure it out, no matter how murky the water I’m barely treading in may be. When my child reaches for my hand, I instantly feel like I can do no wrong; that I can overcome any monster. I will reach shore. The wind will stay in my sails. I will ride these waves of life.


Culture Shock: A Yankee Meets The South

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*I actually wrote this years ago, but the story is still funny, so enjoy! ☺️

Plenty of factors are to blame for my decision to make the all-emcombassing move from Pennsylvania to unfamilar Arkansas, a sliver of the deep south previously nonexistent to me. College, the companionship of my mother and most of all, a much needed change of scenery, all pushed me to pack up my life and journey twenty hours away from all I knew and loved. But let’s be clear: in no way did I want to BECOME Southern; who I am remains the same regardless of my surroundings. But I took a leap of faith and landed in a place so different that it still continues to shock me. Oh, the experiences of a yankee who crosses way beyond the Mason-Dixon…
On my first Saturday as an actual Arkansas resident, I found myself slumped in the backseat of my step-father’s Volkswagen Jetta, stroking the chilled, nubby surface of the armrest, staring out the window at what seemed like some sort of naturally occuring wasteland: brown lumpy rows of mush running along side one another, one after the next forming a muddy stew blanketing mile after mile of barren fields, stretching as far as I could see in all directions. I would soon learn that this hideous landscape was actually acres and acres of rice fields, a staple of the state and the cornerstone of this area. This was the ‘duck hunting capital of the world’: a city better known as Stuttgart, Arkansas. 
I was informed, or rather warned, by my mother upon my arrival that our presence was expected at a party being thrown by Dave’s fellow employees. After all, his position was the reason he and my mother had relocated south to begin with. After much debate and floundering on my own accord, I had made the trek and was en route to what was to be my first true taste of Arkansas living. It turns out this party was in fact a ‘crawfish boil’ and was being held at the company’s ‘duck camp’. Both of these terms were new to my vocabulary and definitely a mystery to me. What sort of secret backwoods tradition could I possibly be getting myself into? Images of ducks running wild through campsites complete with tents, lanterns and smores flooded my mind, but I hadn’t the slightest inkling as to what this ‘crawfish’ nonsense could be; I was unable to find any memory in which to associate with that term. 
Fresh off the plane, soaking in all my obvious Yankee glory, I watched these rice fields whizzing past, shocked by the utter desolation of this place. Never had I been forced to travel longer than ten minutes (and that’s being generous) to reach some sort of convenience, better known to me as civilization, in its most basic form. I was certain we hadn’t passed a single store in atleast half an hour, not even your basic 7-11. I wondered where these poor fools who had actually chosen to reside here got their toilet paper. What if they craved a Dr. Pepper at 10 PM or ran out of coffee in the morning? My mother sensed my disbelief and made some sort of joke that was hilarious to us, but probably would have offended these folks that must enjoy living so far off the beaten path. 
After one misstep in our directions forced us to turn around in a tiny town called Holly Grove (sounds like a serial killer hot spot, if you ask me), which was basically a handful of crumbling buildings and two old men sitting on a bench in what I guessed to be the ‘town square’, we were finally arriving at our destination, which instantly erased all of my previous expectations of ‘duck camp’. We pulled up to a cabin situated on some sort of waterway, surrounded by woods and dusty terrain. Why this place wasn’t simply referred to as a cabin, (which is exactly what it was) was beyond me, but this was only the beginning of what is now a daily reminder of the stark differences between two opposite regions of the same country. Duck camp or cabin, it was a very nice property, filled with mounted animals and stories of hunts long since past. I was reminded of the weeks I spent at my uncle’s cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but this scenery was vastly different, including the high temperature and sticky heat that smacked me in the face upon exiting the comfort of the air-conditioned car. Yes, there’d be plenty to get used to in my new environment.
Dave was bombarded by friends seemingly ecstatic at his arrival. I was introduced to a number of nice people, who seemed to immediately identify that I was not from around here, even before my ‘accent’ came into play. There were some lawn chairs, a few kids messing around on four-wheelers caked in mud, and even a few smiles lacking a tooth or two. I can remember smiling to myself at the unexpected conformation of my expectations (with no malicious intent, of course). Our new companions commented on my poor choice in clothing for such an occasion (I was wearing white shorts, mind you) and delighted in the fact that I had no clue as to what to expect from any of the day’s activities. The Arkansans had obviously dressed in what I guessed was more appropriate attire: various Razorback shirts, shorts, camoflage in many forms and of course, a hat atop each and every head. But the ensemble of the woman I met next was downright comical. In a long black dress, large decorative hat, plenty of gaudy jewelry and (you’re kidding me, right?) white PANTY HOSE with clunky sandals, she explained that she’s who made the fried pies on the table and gave me a once over I would have expected from someone in a far better role in which to judge. I’m almost positive it was damn near 100 degrees and she was in panty hose and what could have been a blanket. I’ve come to learn that supposedly some Southern women are old-fashioned that way. I’ll take my white shorts any day, thank you very much.
After a barrage of questions and plenty of “say this!” “say that!”, followed by rolling laughter at my family’s ‘yankee accent’ (didn’t they know it was THEM who had the accent?!), it was time to feast. Ah, the time had come to find out about this mysterious ‘crawfish boil’. 
As it turns out, most of the food was downright fabulous: huge pots filled with crawfish, corn, potatoes and sausage, all doused in spicy seasoning with all the trimmings. Although definitely unlike the seafood I so cherish back home, I had no complaints. Well, just one: just how do I go about eating one of these little suckers? 
Ask anyone who has even dined on hardshell crabs with me: I can pick apart crabs like a champion, lightning fast, effective and without waste of any kind. It’s a family tradition and I do it with pride. But these tiny crawfish had no clear point of entry; there was no obvious plan of attack. It was time for my next lesson in the ways of the South. Spoken in a slow, twangy drawl, my directions were to crack the mudbug in half and suck the meat straight out of its head. 
Um, excuse me? As horrifying as this process seemed in theory, it actually proved to be quite effective. But even after I was successful in this ‘head-sucking’ hilarity, I munched on mostly corn, potatoes and peach fried pies for the rest of the meal. Covering my face in crawfish juice was something I only needed to experience a time or two.
With full bellies and plenty of liquid courage, the evening festivities at the ‘duck camp’/cabin commenced. More four-wheeling (which I politely declined thanks to my white shorts and favorite flat sandals), some fishing off the ricketey dock and even a few fireworks. As homesick as I was for my Northern roots, this day of introduction to a Southern style hayday was certainly a pleasant one. Worth the ridiculous drive to the middle of who knows where? Debatable, but you’d hear no complaints from me. Atleast until the drive home. I would definitely regret all that soda I drank when there’s no place with indoor plumbing for miles.
For this Yankee’s first weekend in her new Southern home, the crawfish boil was filled with humor, introduction, and the start of what has become a life that is still a constant state of culture shock, even after all of the years I’ve logged here. There are plenty of Southern ways that still confuse me, surprise me, make me laugh or even make me cringe, but as far as a place to be, the ‘dirty’ south is a comfortable homestead. I am proud of my Northern upbringing, and although I’ll never believe in vast close-mindedness, their conservative lifestyles or (call me crazy) closed liquor stores on Sundays, and I’ll never be caught dead in panty hose, or see the necessity in churches the size of the White House, but I’ll admit I like calling Arkansas home. My ‘yankee accent’ is far from a ‘southern twang’, but a blending of these two wild and weird cultures make for a life I can surely be content with.

Random Thoughts From My Twitter Hiatus.

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Woke up with my back feeling like I’m 85 years old. Did I get kicked by a horse? Or a toddler?

I don’t insist on many things as a mom, but you HAVE to give me a few moments to rip the bong before grocery shopping. HAVE to.

Husband hustled like a boss last night. Treat yo’ self funds for the whole family! Aka candy at the store.

I can’t be the only one semi excited for the Independence Day sequel, right?

If I let little dude play in the front seat while I adjust his carseat, it’s like wrestling a wild bear to put him back in it when we leave.

Hubs referred to himself as “hub” last night in a txt. He’s never allowed to make fun of me for it again.

You can make fun of me all you want, but I watch enough Housewives to start a trivia gameshow about it. I’d win EVERY SINGLE ROUND.

Just spent ten minutes staring at various outfits to dress little dude in. I’m definitely not stoned. Definitely not.

Why do I have a bunch of songs from Clueless stuck in my head? Probably because I’ll love that movie forever and always.

I hope my son knows I need him probably more than he needs me. He is the light in my heart.

No person should ever deface a war memorial. And that’s coming from someone who is normally obsessed with graffiti.

I think hazelnut coffee could be the most addictive substance known to man.

Life is rad but it really does suck sometimes, ya know?

It’s not childish to hold onto hope. It’s actually very, very hard.

IITS TIME TO DAB! Yassss!

I think my body type is ‘small, but slightly squishy in some spots.’

Yep, completely engrossed with the Roots mini series.

Why is gravy like super glue on my stove. Literally tired from cleaning it.

Hummus and black pepper sea salt pretzel crisps might be in the running for my new favorite combo.

*Hears thunder outside* “Hear that, little dude?! You know what that means! NAP!”

I feel a special kind of happiness when little dude watches Winnie The Pooh. He’s my silly old bear. And Tigger, tbh.

Hubs just came home with quite possibly the most beautiful buds I’ve ever seen. Life is good.

Why do I feel zero shame in finding myself funny? I laugh at my own posts constantly but I feel like I’m the only one. Lame.

“Sorry I called you a pedophile. I hope you’ll come to my holiday party.” Only on Housewives.

Little dude now refers to every thing that rolls out as “yoga-r!” because of my yoga mat and this makes me happy. I’m glad he likes that I do it and it actually keeps me motivated!

Hazelnut coffee and hits from the bongggggg is basically the divine breakfast of champions.

Cannabis is truly an incredible gift, dude.

Hubs got little dude his own smart tv and he couldn’t be happier about it. I literally walked in on him this morning dancing to rap videos on YouTube. But at least it’s not those damn surprise eggs.

I have a crush on my husband and that’s a nice feeling. And I’ll admit it, this small break for my usual social media world hasn’t been TOO bad. Don’t tell him I said that.

Baking blueberry muffins and watching American Dad. The life of a stay at home mom is sometimes a strange one.

It has been raining at various levels of intensity for a WEEK. A freaking week!

Losing myself in bong rips and Bloodline.

I really should post videos of little dude and his imagination for everyone to enjoy.

Having no one to talk to most of the time makes my head feel like its swimming with random thoughts no one really cares about. Le sigh.

Just had a really funny moment with hubs and little dude where we were all laughing hysterically. I love those times.

Aww. People love the treasure hunt game I made for little dude. Adorable.

Sometimes you just need to sit in the sun with your bong and think nice thoughts.

Every time I look at my child, I’m so happy to be alive!

We’re All In This Together!

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I feel like every time I leave the house with my son, people look at me like I’m a young, single mom who is should be pitied. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m ALWAYS in sweatpants and usually sans makeup (because it’s errands with my toddler, duh) but it makes me laugh because let’s face it: they couldn’t be more wrong. Not only am I NOT young, but I’m also far from single. Married, in fact, if you’d bother to notice the ring on my finger. No need to pity me, especially with a kid as obviously delightful as mine.

But I think these assumptions actually help me be better at being the kind of mom other moms aren’t as scared to reach out to, like I’m more approachable than one of those Stepford Wife moms that seems to always have her shit together. I can relate to every woman who has ever had a child, something that I am proud of and think of as a great quality. But none of this is obvious if you really look at my life, since my true mom friends are extremely few and far between. But nothing scares me more than a mom feeling totally alone: we’ve all been there, and quite frankly, it sucks.

And yet, the judgement is EVERYWHERE. Between mothers, between women, between people in general. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to embrace every parenting style, embrace every bedtime routine, embrace every way of teaching and learning. What works for one parent definitely doesn’t always work for another, and we as a whole need to accept that THIS IS PERFECTLY FINE. But always be open to asking for advice and always be open to giving it, because you never know how a simple “Oh, me too! Here’s what I did that might help you…” may do for another mother who might be struggling.

I think all parents need to have one thing in common: an open mind. If you remain open to relating to all parents, despite their age, their gender, their marital status, their income level, or their way of life, we could bridge so many gaps on this terrifying journey of raising miniature human beings. And hey, open minded parents breed open minded kids, which can give us all hope for a sunnier future for our little ones.  

  

The Weirdness of Love

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Love is weird. We experience it in so many different ways, whether from whoever we choose to be with, or with our children, pets, family or friends. And because all of those versions of differ from one another, we really have all very unique ways of experiencing this very complicated human emotion. Do we really fall in love with someone? Or is it more about finding a person and mutually agreeing to accept one another for life because we as a species don’t like being alone? I’m willing to bet everyone’s definition of love is different, making it still such a strange and extraordinary thing.
It still baffles me that my husband and I have been married for five years. That may not seem like such a long time, but the way in which we began our relationship was so unconventional that there were plenty of people with plenty of doubt. When I first met him, as cheesy as this sounds, I felt like I was “meant” to know him. We were instantly inseparable, and a few months later, when he asked me if I wanted to drive to Las Vegas at 11:00 at night and get married, I didn’t even hesitate. We drove 25 hours, through a true blizzard that stopped us on the interstate multiple times, and it was then that we realized that surviving that trip was obvious proof that this was meant to be. In a black dress that was nowhere near bridal attire, I married my husband in a tiny ceremony just steps away from the Vegas courthouse.
But it hasn’t all been a fairytale. If you’d ask me if you should run off and get married to someone you technically barely know, I’d tell you to run like hell (My husband has a longstanding joke that he “tricked me”) but I WILL say that being married helped us push through issues that otherwise probably would have ended us. And helped us grow into better people, both individually and together. It turns out we are actually two very different people, but somehow we’ve made it work. He may never care about Hunter S. Thompson or like my tattoos, but we get each other in a very real way, which to me, is definitely love.

 
Do I regret not having a ‘real‘ wedding? Sometimes. When we first came back from Vegas, we told my family we were only engaged so I could have an actual wedding. I started planning, bought an incredible gown, and even sent out save the dates. But after drunkingly spilling the beans to my mom, and my husband growing tired of not telling everyone, we just let it go. I imagine that someday we’ll renew our vows so that I can wear that dress and have my dad walk me down the aisle, but I’m happy knowing that we did something seriously awesome; something most people would only dream of. And now we have a seriously cool story to tell our son.
And now, five years later, after such a non traditional marital journey, we’re actually living a VERY traditional life. My husband works and I stay home, and our roles as breadwinner and housewife are the ultimate 1950’s cliche. But I’ll never be Betty Draper, and my husband will never be Don. But my son will grow up remembering that he never had to leave his mom’s side, which brings me such a lovely sense of comfort. If I ever needed to remind myself what love is, I need to look no further than his tiny, gorgeous face.
So is there really a universal way to describe love? It’s truly a different experience for everyone, and engrained so deeply into our human psyche that I’d almost consider it part of what actually makes us human. A kiss from my dog is obviously different than one from my husband, but it’s all love, just the same. So spread it: whatever it is that you consider love. And all of us, as humans finding our place on this planet, should be willing to find it. Maybe then, as happy, loving beings, we will finally understand one another and enjoy a bright, peaceful, and open hearted world.

  

Little Moments with Little Minds

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I can probably put myself at the head of the ‘chill moms’ table. I’m the queen of “Ok, whatever!” and brush all any sort of negative connotation that one parenting technique is any better than another. But I’m always worrying about keeping my son home with me is keeping him from fully developing parts of his mind that comes with being away from me and our usual environment. And now with him starting preschool this fall (which if you follow me on social media, you know I can’t stop talking about ☺️), I’m wondering how he’ll measure up among his peers.

Until, out of nowhere day after day, he surprises the hell out of me. He’ll blurt out phrases that I had no idea he knew. Or maybe he’ll grab his favorite book and read it to me (in his own way, of course!), or sing me lyrics to whatever song we’ve been blaring in the car recently. He’ll converse with people at the store, call his Nana just to chat, or stack his blocks up so high I wonder how he could have possibly done it without super glue. 

And I feel myself beaming with pride when he asks for something and immediately thanks whoever fetches it for him, or when I do something as simple as changing the channel on the tv and he throws his arms around me with a gleeful “GREAT JOB, MOMMA! Wow!” I mean, what could I possibly be worried about? Maybe I am doing a good job. Maybe I really am figuring this parenting thing out. Maybe I’m not just a good mom is his eyes, but in anyone’s. Telling myself this makes me feel slightly better as I continue drowning in this current living hell known as toddler potty training with a tiny demon that thinks there’s no reason to use the toilet. *Sigh* I’ll get my shit together someday, right? 

Find solace in the little moments that remind you that that little human being you’re responsible for is doing just fine. They and their minds are forever growing, and don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for ANY small moment that makes the harder ones a little less miserable. 

That being said, if you’re listening out there, universe: tell my son that although he’ll always be “momma’s baaaaby”, she’s tired of messes that should be easily flushed away. Please and thank you. ✨ 

 

Appreciate Your Weird 👽

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One of my friends I cheered with in high school posted this adorable and hilarious story about a conversation with her young son on my facebook:  I told her that it made my night that she specifically thought to share this moment with me and how funny it was because let’s face it, kids say the most hilarious things without even realizing it. But it also made me realize something else: I am an open book. About many things. And completely unafraid to talk about things that some close minded people might call crazy. It made me smile, knowing despite how silly I might sound when I talk about aliens or conspiracies or cannabis legalization or who knows what else, there might always be someone who appreciates it enough to reach out to me when the subject comes up, and to me, that’s cool as hell.

When other moms who smoke weed reach out to me and tell me that my thoughts or advice have helped them in any tiny way, shape or form, my heart swells to 10 times its normal size. I am unapologetic when it comes to who I am, so to have someone tell me they appreciate any part of what I have to say is pure gold to me. Instead of being criticized, I’m greeted with admiration. My favorite teacher, Mr. Fulton, once told me something along the lines of my writing had a relatable quality to it that made my words feel really genuine (the best compliment I’ve ever received) and that’s always stuck with me, even when I’m just blasting my opinions about everything from the JFK assassination to what makes a good mother. Even these simple blog posts I write might mean something to someone, and that in turn, means everything to me.

For instance, this casual facebook status from last week:  Now, I always say these kinds of things on twitter. That’s where I can honestly have no fear about what others think, and where my real friends are (even those who live thousands of miles away!) because we all communicate on a truly personal level. As best as you can with 140 characters, anyway. But imagine my surprise when SO many people ‘liked’ this status, told me how funny and accurately I described myself, and that they’ve always appreciated how unique I am. Quite a confidence booster, considering the bulk of crap I usually see on facebook is people’s highly annoying prayer requests, memes about anything from Jesus to Obama to being a redneck, or highly off putting political views. I speak openly about my opinions, no matter how different from my peers here in the Bible Belt, and it makes me happy to have anyone appreciate it. I’ll never be afraid to talk about something I like, no matter how people might see it. Want to know why I sage and use crystals? Want to know if I (obviously) believe in aliens? Want to know why I think weed should be legal? Want to know who I think was responsible for Kurt Cobain’s death? Want to know if I think ghosts are real? Just ask! I’m always game for a weird conversation.

The point of sharing any of this? To encourage anyone to just ‘BE YOURSELF’. Whatever you’re into, own it. Because not only is it part of who you are, but it makes you awesome, no matter how different it may be from the next person. And remember, there’s always someone somewhere that will say “Me too!” or “Same here!”. In a world as weird and unpredictable as ours is today, those little bonds are a necessity. Own your weirdness. Own your geeky. Own your spooky. Own your magic. Whatever your story, there is always someone who will want to read it.