Even psychos (toddlers) can be taught empathy.

Toddlers are psychopaths. They have half your DNA and none of your humanity. That’s why being a parent is so fucking exhausting- you have to teach those little fuckers how to be a human being. I saw something on the internet once that went something like “kids are great, and maybe even the best, but they are learning to be human beings through trial and error.” Which basically sums it up.

Biggie is 5, so that’s 5 years of us teaching him manners, and feelings, and putting in the fucking work. And now I am happy to say we have an extremely well mannered and sweet little man who is only a dick to his little brother like 3 times a day on average. Speaking of the little one- he yells at you to stop it, and thinks slapping the shit out of you is playing. Also he tantrums whenever you tell him something he doesn’t want to hear- so let’s just call him a work in progress.

We’ve always drilled into them manners, and the meaning of family, and being nice. Within the last year or so we began teaching Biggie about not judging someone based on how they look. (The Greatest Showman gets like half the street cred for this). He knows we treat people based on who they are on the inside. It can be hard to give them diversity in life sometimes, but we try to give them experiences and interactions that show them all the color that the world can offer.

This year though, for me, it’s also about teaching them about protecting the environment and giving back. Dading and I had a charity softball tournament yesterday, and we did the Walk to End Alzheimer’s today. The kids did the walk with us, and I explained to Biggie in 5 year old terms what the walk represented. I told him how much money we raised and what it went to. I want the boys to grow up knowing what it means to get involved and give back. I told Biggie to take a water bottle to the officer that was directing traffic today. He knows not to litter because it’s bad for the environment AND someone else will have to pick it up, which isn’t cool. He knows plastic ends up in the ocean and hurts sea turtles. He knows about recycling.

Look, we aren’t perfect. I still use plastic straws at restaurants and forget my reusable bags at Publix. But they see us try, and they understand why. Raising kids is about so much more than trying not to kill them (it makes total sense why animals eat their young) and getting them to adulthood semi-successfully. I want them to grow up to be human fucking beings who believe that love is love and who a person is lives on the inside. That family watches out for each other. That GIVE YOUR BROTHER THE FUCKING TOY HE WAS PLAYING WITH DON’T BE A DICK.

And as I’m writing this next to Biggie, he just said to me “You know how much I love you? Double super much.” So yeah, pretty much crushing it at this parenting thing 😉

The Pandora’s box of family vacation.

So this past weekend we took a last minute trip to the Georgia Aquarium. We packed everyone up and left at the crack of dawn for the nearly 9 hour drive. Honestly, when you take car trips with kids tack on like an extra 2 hours for snacks, pee breaks and the baby blowing out the car with farts and faking you out thinking it’s a code brown.

The boys did great in the car, true story. They are good car travelers. They have that going for them, at least. When we got to the hotel that afternoon they were jacked from being cooped up in the car and the excitement of staying in a hotel which is a rare occasion. When it was time for bed, they were so excited at sleeping on the pull out couch that all we heard was fits of giggles and playing. Which is adorable- for like 5 minutes. There’s no way at least 2 neighbors on either side didn’t hear me unhinging my jaw at them. No one filed a noise complaint, probably out of pity.

This thriller non-fiction continues at 4:45 am, when Biggie woke up crying that he was thirsty. And again at 6am, same deal. He said his throat hurt. Then when we head down to the hotel lobby for breakfast, he proceeds to barf in the trash. He also feels hot as fuck. Dading makes a morning run to CVS to get Motrin. When I say run, I mean literally run. It’s downtown Atlanta people- you don’t drive if you value your sanity. Running was the faster option.

We finally make it to the Aquarium- which if you haven’t gone it’s a must. With or without offspring. If you think this story now has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention. Smalls is in full meltdown mode at the aquarium. Will he let anyone but me hold him? Fuck that. Does he stop screaming when I do pick him up? Bitch, please. I am in full mom stress sweat mode at this point. Literally sweating like climate change has just punched me in the face. We get hand stamped and head back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. After that back to the aquarium until they close. Annnnd back to baby meltdown mode until he gets food. The kid gives new meaning to the word “hangry.”

Once we get back to the hotel for the night the story takes a more sinister and smelly turn. Put baby on potty to poop, baby goes. Then Biggie goes. Before he can flush the baby is trying to shit on the hotel floor. Cue mom panic yelling. Biggie jumps off the potty, Smalls gets on. After that fiasco, and me checking the now sewer smelling room for any stray deposits, Biggie yells that Smalls is shitting on the floor in the bathroom. Put baby back on potty. End chapter.

Did we have an amazing family vacation? Absolutely. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Did we think about donating them to the aquarium? More than once. (I wonder if that would be considered tax deductible?) We were reminded that this is why we won’t take them to Disney for the foreseeable (or ever) future. In all, an amazing, stressful, super fun and chaotic car trip with two little kids. So fun that tonight they are with my parents so we can recover from it. 😉

The curious case of friendships in your 30’s.

There are memes all over the internet about how hard it is to make and keep friends in your thirties. They are so hysterical because they are so true. Everyone is working full time, raising monsters, going to school, paying off debt, being generally tired as FUCK, and no one has time for anything. I have been thinking about friendships lately. How mine have ebbed and flowed, and how much these new friendships have impacted my mental health.

As a mom, it is so important to have mom friends. I didn’t always subscribe to that logic, but I am a mega believer now. And not just mom friends- likeminded mom friends. Life is hard on us moms (and dads) in 2019. A lot of us, like Dading and I, are dual income families. Everyone hates on millennials but people- it’s hard out here for us, true story. Then we tacked on two boys and a puppy because fuck free time, right?

Downtime is the unicorn of parenting. I used to feel guilty about wanting to spend my time with only certain people, but therapy has made me understand that the support system other moms provide is so vital. I am at my best when I am spending time with my kids and my girlfriends who can be that village we all desperately need. Who totally gets it when plans get cancelled. Who gets you, the hot mess version and the boss version. Having friends you don’t have to explain yourself to because they are going through the same shit show you are. To those friends- thank you. You have helped me in more ways than you know and I am so thankful for you.

If we don’t have time for anything as 30 somethings- shouldn’t we make the time we have count, and spend it with the few people we actually like? These are deep thoughts for Monday, talk amongst yourselves.

All Time Low: me, not the band.

If I was to describe myself at this present time, I would not say I was doing well. I try to remind myself that our family has gone through a huge transition- we moved to another city, and are trying to establish new routines. There’s lots more commute time now, because the beasties still go to school in our old city.

I tell myself this, I tell myself to give it time, that new routines will be established. I should give myself the understanding that we are two full time working parents raising two toddlers. Is a 5 year old still a toddler? I’m going with it for the sake of this pity party for one.

Yet here I am, crying almost every night. Feeling so overwhelmed I don’t know what to do. By the end of the night there is no time or energy to spend with my ride or die, and I feel so lonely. I’m actually crying writing this. I’m stressed, ya’ll. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I could blame Keto, because we are back on the sauce (mostly, please keep me in your thoughts during this difficult time) and the amount of cooking I am doing reminds me why we ate out all the time.

I guess it’s everything. Lack of sleep, which is obviously the lot of every parent out there. It still sucks, and you never really get used to not being able to sleep BECAUSE IT ISN’T NATURAL CHILDREN ARE THE DEVIL.

Did I mention I had to get on the scale at the doctor the other day (nurse, you bitch) and I am the heaviest I think I have ever been. I’m putting this into the ethos because maybe some of you are struggling with weight like I do, and know that I get it. Hence the Keto. At this point I am giving up on exercise, because by the time I have time, I am too tired. Why don’t parents look like The Rock, with all the lifting and running around we do? I call bullshit.

So hello internet, here I am. Sleep deprived, lonely and stressed. What to do? Honestly, I don’t really know. Please send me your ideas, I am totally open to suggestions. I want to get back to feeling happy again, because we are on an adventure and I would like to enjoy the ride a little bit more.

Becoming a good person: a horror story.

I have been thinking lately how my attitude towards others and the planet as a whole has changed. I am more conscious about the environment and am currently trying to get my family as plastic free as humanely possible without losing even more of my sanity. I go out of my way to compliment a stranger, to help out a fellow mom.

Ya’ll, I have a love/hate relationship with people. I go from “hang out with me” to “fuck off leave me alone” like a beer pong ball. I love my kids but don’t like other people’s. And if you don’t use your blinker in traffic- holy shit I go bananas.

But it’s been my mission lately to spread love around as much as possible. To be nice to people (mostly). To be less judgy to other moms and help them out.

Why am I like this?! Who am I?! I really do blame my therapist for this. She’s corrupting me. I like the disgruntled me, we have a long standing relationship and you can’t make me break up with her!

I think getting control of my anxiety was the catalyst. But I think the bigger answer is that happier people spread happiness to others. We all know those people who are totally miserable, and they make you feel terrible just by being around them. I am not happy go lucky all the time, quite the opposite in fact. Between the hurricane, closing getting delayed on the sale of our house, and totally uprooting our family to move temporarily while we build our house- I have been stressed the fuck out. I cry a lot. I am short tempered and say nasty things to Dading out of frustration. But OVERALL, I am a happy person compared to where I was before I starting talking to someone about my mental health. And I think that’s why I have more patience for others, feel like I can invest the time in other people. Probably a big part of that is that I am learning WHERE to invest my time and WHO is worth that time, which keeps me from burning out.

Maybe it’s part of being in your 30’s? Maybe it’s because the world is full of people in power who are horrible, and it makes me feel like I have to resist the man, figuratively and literally. Or, more likely, it’s a combination of all of the above. All I know is that it’s kind of a nice feeling (don’t look at me, I feel dirty). I feel better about me when I make time for someone else who deserves it or needs it.

Be nice to someone who could use it. Guaranteed it makes you feel better about yourself, and have a little more faith in humanity. This does not apply to shitty drivers- I hope a pterodactyl peppers your windshield. Or telemarketers. It’s important to have standards.

Hurricanes are bullshit.

So I live in South Florida, any as some of you might not be aware, we only get one season- Hurricane Season. And we are in the thick of it. We spent all day yesterday boarding up the house that we only own until next Thursday. When I tell people that they laugh with disbelief. We close on the sale of this house on the 6th, so to say we’ve been stressed the fuck out is an understatement. Luckily for us, it looks like we are in the clear for this hurricane. (Dorian? Seriously? Who names these things?) And although I don’t want anyone to get hit with this storm (just stay in the ocean where you came from, bitch), I am grateful that our house is going to be ok.

For the past few days we’ve been out and about at various stores and restaurants, trying to get groceries before the storm and make sure we have what we need in case we lose power. I have made sure to tell every server and employee that I speak to to stay dry and be safe. I have checked on friends and family, making sure no one needs help and everyone is set to ride out the storm. (My therapist is making me into a nice person, and I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.)

Hurricanes suck. It’s already as hot as satan’s anus here, without the power outages and general cluster fuckery that is a major storm. The least can we do is be civil to each other. It is honestly what has made this whole thing bearable. It’s amazing how something so small can make such a big difference.

Life hack: Just be nice. Don’t be a dick. It isn’t that hard.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to being the disgruntled, internally 80 year old woman I normally am.

Stay safe and dry, guys 🙂

Ozzy ain’t got nothin on this crazy train.

Well, move one of two is complete. In the last two days we have completely moved out of our old house and completely moved into our temporary home for the next nine months while our house is being built. It was an insane amount of work and sweat (really why did we decide to move in summer and not like March? Idiots.), but we are done. Today, I am actually starting to feel settled. It’s such a relief after the last month. The kids are happy and even the dog seems less stressed.

It’s funny that the most exciting things are also the most stressful. But no risk no reward, right? It is hard to imagine not having our own house for nine months. We have a ton of space with Dading’s parents, and we are very thankful. They have allowed us to create a space that feels as much as home as possible in this situation. We are in another city, and that is going to take some getting used to, because we have been laying down roots, and our new house is in the same area the one we just sold is. The kids go to school back that way, so it will be lots of traveling.

I don’t want to rush the next nine months, and I am hoping that watching our house being built and sharing that with the beasties will make it not seem so long.

So this is me, checking in. And now to get some rest!

Ride or die.

So today I let Dading sleep in. I took the boys to breakfast, and to the park, and then to visit their grandparents. While we were at breakfast, Dading called us to say good morning, and then later sent pics as he swam laps at the pool. He texted me multiple times how nice and relaxing his morning was, and how appreciative he was of it. When we saw him later, he looked so relaxed and happy. I don’t remember the last time he smiled so much.

I recently saw a post on Instagram about taking care of your partner. And how worth it it is. That post was written by a husband about his wife. But it works both ways. Dading works a lot of overtime, and gives me a lot of time to myself when I need it. He handles the dreaded bedtime routine, aka HELL, by himself many nights so I can go out for dinner with a girlfriend, or go get a massage. He lets me sleep in and takes the boys out many Saturday mornings.

In this partnership of marriage and parenting, it’s important to take care of each other. Sometimes I take for granted that he needs time to himself, too. Hiding in the bathroom for 30 minutes will never be acceptable (seriously what do they do in there?!), and his PS4 is now in a box ready to move, so please keep him in your thoughts during this difficult time. 😉

It’s easy as a mom to feel like we do more, that we work harder and are harder on ourselves than our partners. Being a mom is absolutely different than being a dad, but it is no less important. The sacrifices he makes for our family do not go unnoticed, and it was nice to get to show him a little thanks this morning. Take care of each other, show up for each other. It’s us versus the kids, so take care of your teammates 🙂

The power of saying no.

I have always been horrible at telling people no. I feel so guilty for not committing to something I get asked to do. What inevitably happens when you are a “yes” person? You end up overwhelmed and exhausted. Something else I didn’t expect happens, too. When you always say yes, people learn to expect that answer from you.

Very early on in our sessions, my therapist and I talked about learning to say no. I came to her as an exhausted, depleted ball of mama anxiety who felt like I had to be there for anything anyone asked of me. Even if I didn’t want to. Especially if I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by admitting that I wasn’t interested.

One thing she said to me, and to be honest she has said it more than once, is that by exhausting myself and over-committing, it takes away from my own family. That all that energy is energy that could be spent with the boys. That I didn’t owe anyone anything, except to show up for myself and my family.

For me, having an outside reminder of what my priorities and responsibilities should be is really important. I get lost in the hustle, and forget the basics. If I say yes to everyone and everything, there isn’t enough of me left to devote to the 3 boys in my life who matter the most to me.

Last session she reminded me that I don’t even have the time I want to spend with Dading- how can I devote my time to someone else? That shook me, guys. I had totally overlooked that.

The first time I said no, the backlash was intense. Guilt trips and aggravation from the people I cancelled on. I was so frustrated, because I was doing what I needed to for myself and my family and I was being faulted for that?! When I talked to my therapist about it, she said people weren’t used to me saying no, and they were going to have to adjust. I had basically conditioned everyone with my behavior, and they were going to have to come to terms with the new me.

Flash forward a few months, and being able to say no (mostly without guilt trips) has been the most liberating thing in my life. Making time for the things I WANT to do has made life much more enjoyable. Cancelling things when I overbook us makes me feel great! I feel proud of myself for prioritizing what’s important, and also managing expectations for how much actual time I have to do the things I need to do and want to do.

If you’re like me, saying no is seriously so hard to do. People don’t always understand, and even now they get upset with me. But I am making myself a priority, and that means making decisions people may not always like. Stand firm, and don’t feel like you have to show up for everything and everyone. You’re one person, and you are important too.

Dear younger me.

Dear early 20 something me:

Hi, cupcake. It’s me, your 32 year old self. There you sit, somewhere between starting to date Dading at 19 and starting to work at the company you do now. Here’s what you have to look forward to:

You’re going to marry this boyfriend. You’re going to have two beautiful boys and that family you always dreamed about. You did it- you found your other half. You never thought you would but no, you don’t end up alone and lonely. You end up fulfilled in ways you never imagined.

You’re building a house. Yes, you read that right. You are actually getting that dream house to go along with that dream family.

But guess what? You almost lost this man because you thought the grass was greener. You are thankful every day that you came to your senses before it was too late. You learned a hard, ugly truth about yourself that you will hate about yourself for the rest of your life. You learned that you don’t really know what you are capable of until you are in that situation, and sometimes you won’t like the answer. But you also learned that those dark times led to personal growth, and you wouldn’t be the person you are now without them.

You learned that you are strong. You carried two babies inside your body for 10 months. It was hard, so hard sometimes, and you wanted to give up. But you did it- and I don’t want to freak you out but they were BIG babies, to boot. You aren’t as thin as you were in high school, and it sucks, but you have done amazing things with this body and you try every day to love it for what it has given you.

You learned to struggle. Financially, emotionally. You were crippled under the weight of anxiety, and you learned to overcome with an amazing support system. You opened up to the world about it in your blog- yes, you’re a mommy blogger! Surprise! No, we don’t have a mini van despite Dading’s best efforts. By opening up, you found your voice and it helped you grow as a mom, as a person, as a wife.

You learned to say no, you learned to let go of those who didn’t help you grow. It hurt, but you did it. You have experienced loss, you have made tough choices for your family, and you have learned that things can turn out ok, even when it seemed like they were falling apart.

You still wear your heart on your sleeve, and it still blows up in your face sometimes. But you don’t change it- couldn’t if you tried. You still love fiercely and whole heartedly. Your firecracker temper is even worse now, but you own it. You have learned to stand up for yourself, although that one you are still working on. You have learned to do things without the support you sometimes needed, and it has made you stronger.

You have learned to have big dreams. You have figured out what you want to be when you grow up finally, and are working towards that goal right now.

Don’t change a thing, and be excited for the wonderful things that are to come. You are ok- you are loved, you are smart, you are making it. I am really proud of you, and all the things you have done, and the things I know lie ahead for you.

Love, Me.