Me, MomSelf and I

Life's journey is full of twists and turns and sometimes we get lost. This is my journey to rediscover myself.


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Women Marching for Women

Until recently, I never considered myself an activist. I was always a rebel. But I was pretty complacent when it came to social justice issues, despite my job as a fair housing advocate. Three years into my 40’s and I’m ready, willing and able to put myself out there for causes I believe in, particularly after the election of a U.S. President who has been recorded saying he could grab women by the p**** because he was a rich man. So one day after his inauguration, I joined my sisterhood to march in downtown Cleveland for Women’s RightsCleveland for Women’s Rights, which this President and his cohorts seem determined to abolish.  It was only my second march and third protest action, but it certainly will not be my last.  Why did I do it? And why now?

Admittedly, I am a last-minute person. I take ‘live in the present’ a bit too literally. While I’d heard talk about the Women’s March on D.C., I thought it was totally unrealistic for me to participate. Then I heard there would be one in Cleveland. The week leading up to the marches, I began to see friends prepping for the events. One friend asked me if I was going, as she was on the fence about it. I was stuck in between a perpetual state of disbelief that our country was really going to continue disrespecting women the way it has, and a paralyzed state of not really knowing what I could do to make a difference.  We gave each other until Thursday to decide. The more I thought about things, I reflected on the Civil Rights Movement and how disheartened I was to learn that my parents had not participated in that historic event. I didn’t want my kids to look back and say, “Mom, what did you do when Trump got elected?” And my reply be, oh, I took you guys to basketball and did your laundry.  Everything I do at this point in my life is to make myself a better person, and someone my children can be proud to call their mom. Once I looked at it in that context, the answer was clear. I would march.

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My friend Danielle offered to drive and my friend Becky made us signs, and we joined an estimated 15,000 other women, men and children who marched for equal pay, reproductive rights, violence against women protections, religious freedom, gender equity and a myriad of other causes. When an election of this magnitude leaves you feeling powerless, you can find power in joining a movement. Regardless of whether you were black, white, Asian, Latina, Native American, Western European, lesbian, trans, bisexual, rich, poor, middle class, heavy, thin, short, tall, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, a woman with a disability, a mom, married, single, childless, and everything in between, under the bright sunshine of hope and solidarity, we all marched together and had each other’s backs.  Now the challenge is to keep going, keep marching. If that means calling your representatives weekly to make your voice heard-keep marching. If that means mentoring another women to lift up those coming behind you as you climb the ladder-keep marching. If that means driving someone in need to Planned Parenthood or Preterm to get necessary medical care-keep marching. In Girl Scouts we say be a sister to every girl scout. In life I say to the best of your ability, be a sister to every woman. None of us got anywhere without help. Be a help to women in your community. When women are stronger, the world is stronger! Everyone knows women are the backbone of society, yet in 2017 some still insist on trying to break that backbone and then wonder why they can’t walk. We must strengthen our core with daily exercises of finding a way to support another women every day. While I will still drive my kids to basketball and do their laundry (while drinking wine!) I will no longer sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to pick up the baton. None of us can afford to be complacent any longer. We have some real work to do, and if you have been like me, and watched and waited for someone else, I urge you to look at the beauty of this day and these marches, and be inspired by the sea of pink out there ready for you join the fight. Let’s go!

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My Stint as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

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Its been almost 2 months since I lost my job and about 3 weeks since the kids have been out of camp. As a working full time mother, I used to fantasize about being home with the kids and I’d concoct a whole agenda for our days: we’d do storytime either at the library or at home, then we’d go to the playground or the rec center so we could get some exercise. We’d follow that with a healthy and nutritious lunch, some quiet time in the afternoon for reading, writing and puzzles. Then while I prepared dinner, the kids would have some free time to play or watch a couple of their shows. We’d sit down to have a home cooked meal and have our bedtime wind down activities. Ahhh, dreams!

What has actually happened is quite ugly and very different from what I just described. Xander the early bird, usually wakes up on his own before everyone, so he sets himself up with his TV shows of Pokemon and Bey Blades, while I sleep in. Then Addie and Andrew wake up, they all fight over who’s turn it is to watch their show, nobody takes the dog out (oh,we got a dog!) and then Drew wakes me up to say that Mimi pooped on the floor. I get up, clean the poop, then try to make a healthy breakfast, which hardly anyone eats, because while I slept, they gorged on fruit snacks and poptarts. Then I shower and figure out what we need to do that day. And its always the same, either grocery shopping, laundry, or somebody’s appointment somewhere. Then I have to scramble to figure out lunch, because by now everyone is starving. In a panic, I resort to hotdogs or chicken nuggets and argue with them over whether or not they can have juice, which I try to ration out every couple of days, trying to explain to them how important it is to drink water. By now, they are bouncing off the walls, as am I because I’ve already heard “mommy can I have….” 1,600 times. At this time, I need to start thinking about dinner, so as not to find myself in that last minute food panic again. I run through the options of who will eat what based on what we’ve recently had, with Drew’s allergies. Contemplating dinner alone is exhausting. I am overwhelmed, not just with food options but with the stink that is coming off these kids. How are they so funky when they’ve barely done anything all day? I dread the fight that’s coming later when I force them to take showers, which they will debate is unnecessary because they aren’t going anywhere.

Rinse and repeat. For 17 days. We manage to squeeze in a mini vacation which is a wonderful break from the monotony described above, but as we return, school begins the next day. A whole new kind of crazy is set to begin.

My conclusions are that this shit is hard. Parenting that is. Whether you stay home or go away to grown up land, its all hard. Trying to produce happy, healthy, productive little people, and create a clean, happy home, while maintaining a bit of sanity is hard. Because while all this stuff is going on, there’s more real life stuff also happening. Like unexpected deaths, birthdays, bills to pay, hair to wash (believe me, for a naturalista that is a job in and of itself,) work to be done on the house, jobs to apply for, etc.  I’m always striving towards balance and as of yet, I have not found it.

We always think the grass is greener on the other side.  Oh, if only I didn’t have work in the way, I could be a better mother! I could get so much accomplished and be present for family! Remove work and there are still the same 24 hours in a day. Its not until you are on the other side that you realize that most of the grass is brown on any side. It comes down to what color tint is on your sunglasses.

I could judge myself harshly for what’s gone down these past few weeks, (which I’ve done) or I can look at it as the break we all needed. I’ve been going, going, going trying to be a super hero for my family since its inception in 2006 and sometimes, you need to let crazy happen. Without those poptarts, how will they learn to appreciate the home cooked meals? I push them while they’re in school, so a few weeks of Uncle Grandpa won’t undo their intellect. I’m often the last one to go to sleep and the first one up during the school year, so I deserve those days of sleeping in.

My stint as a stay at home mom won’t last too much longer because I actually got my old job back, holla!! But for the time I have remaining, I will embrace those messy days and ugly moments because that’s part of the balance, and this whirlwind called life.


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Why another mommyblog/Why am I here?

Who is Me, MomSelf, and I, the Unconventional Traditionalist?

So, why another “mommy blog”? Does the world really need another one of those, you may ask? Of course the world doesn’t need another mom blog.  But I do need to write one.  I’ve put if off for far too long and now, it’s my turn. So read it, don’t read it.  But I’m going to write it regardless.  If you enjoy it, Yay! Share it with your friends.  If you don’t, just stop. Don’t bother commenting to tell me how much it sucks.  Save yourself some clicks. I’m my own worst critic, so I’ve already determined it a failure and me a loser for writing it.

But this is how bad I need to write it.  I just crawled out of bed at 11:52 because I had this idea and since I called off work tomorrow, I don’t mind staying up late to put my ideas in a word document.

See, I had a therapy session last week.  And out of it came the mantra I was supposed to say over and over for several days. The mantra is: I will release the fear that something bad will happen so I can connect with my higher purpose.  Sounds like some mumbo jumbo tom foolery, right? Well, let’s explore.  See I was in therapy with this nervous feeling in my stomach that I’d had for maybe that whole day (maybe 2 days) and I couldn’t figure out why it was there or what it meant.  Things were fine with me and my husband, and other than a little virus, my kids were great, and I didn’t even have a horrible week at work. (Okay, that might be a stretch, because pretty much every week is horrible. But maybe this one wasn’t any more horrible than the others.)  And I thought I should be on cloud nine because I had a 5-day holiday weekend ahead of me.  What I didn’t realize until that therapy session, was that since my second year of marriage, when we had a particularly disastrous holiday weekend, where I thought only 1 of 2 times in 10 years of marriage that we might not make it, I had secretly been dreading long holiday weekends, subconsciously thinking something bad would happen. And somehow that had transferred to my life in general.  I’ve always been a pretty optimistic person.  My husband always jokes that while he’s looking at reality, I’m dreamily staring into La-La Land, thinking about rainbows and lollipops.

But here I found myself with butterflies in my stomach, with a mini vacation looming, sitting in my therapist office saying the mantra: I will release the fear that something bad will happen so I can connect with my higher purpose. My focus on my fear was getting in the way of everything: me taking chances on new things (like blogging), me trying to walk away from things I didn’t want anymore (like my job), me becoming the person I wanted to be.  I left therapy that day just kind of taking it all in.  The next day was the 4th of July.  The following day, I had to take my son to the doctor for a nasty skin infection called impetigo. And the first thing I thought was, Ah, yes, the bad thing I was waiting on.  Here it is!  My son’s fingers were blistered up and gross, they even started bleeding.  It broke my heart.  The next day I got sick.  And it just kept getting worse and worse.  We had a little trip planned for one of my husband’s events and on the way there, I was so sick we had to pull over at a rest stop so I could change clothes.  (It got pretty bad.)  I couldn’t eat anything, and I couldn’t do anything but sleep. When we got back home, I went to the doctor immediately.  He diagnosed me with severe tonsilitis, a severe sinus infection and possibly strep throat-at the same time.  I felt horrible and I said, now this, this is my bad thing!  It ended up being so bad that I had to call off work for the entire week. But the whole time I was sick, I kept saying my mantra: I will release the fear that something bad will happen so that I can connect with my higher purpose.

Here’s what happened. I took the kids to school and came every day. But when I came home, I did nothing.  Normally, I’m never home by myself, and when I plan to take a day off, it’s so I can clean, de-clutter and organize the closets (which NEVER HAPPENS. But that’s always the plan.)  This time, I was home, but I couldn’t clean if I wanted to, I had nothing in me.  The most I could do was make a cup of tea and that required breaks in between the pouring of the water, the mixing of the honey and lemon-to the point that by the time I was done making it, I had to reheat it in the microwave.  But, I had time to think.  And not about work, which is what normally consumes me.  I thought about me and what I want.  And I wanted this blog.  See all week I was releasing the fear that something bad would happen, because it did. But I chose not to dwell on it.  I chose to rest my body, use my mantra and connect with my higher purpose. And that’s why I crawled out of bed and am writing this, my first real blog post past midnight, because right now, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.