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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Own It Sister

My four kids boarded the bus this morning. The first day of the last year at the same school. 5th, 3rd,  and 1st grade times 2. Just. Like. That. I was thinking that the stars would align again in high school; that they would share the same halls again, maybe pass one another in the cafeteria, to have one another's backs and limbs and be the protectors of each other, just in case. But Lucy that too smart girl straightened me out like she usually does and told me that when the twins start high school that she will be in college. COLLEGE. Sweet mother of all things holy. Back it up time. I can't handle the mere thought of saving for college, let alone that she will one too soon of a day be leaving for it.

Today as I watched that bus pull away lugging my favorite cargo, loud, booming and stunning, my thoughts turned to motherhood. The bittersweetness of it all. The being pulled in two directions like a marionette puppet of it all. The anchor of the roots, the releasing of the wings. The balancing act that somehow leaves you never feeling balanced. The dirty, clean, sick, healthy, arguing, giggling, late, sleepless, time too fast, time too slow, all encompassing gravity of it all.

Motherhood has the ability to heal us and make us bleed. Sometimes all at once. Your sensations are more awake while the mind is more asleep. You have a superhero sixth sense about you that allows you to feel all of the things. Every. Thing. You absorb it all: lightness and heaviness. Joy and heartache. Frustration, fierceness, closing and opening. It is all magnified.

And somehow we compare other mothers without thought. We judge like we have it all figured out. We judge like we are somehow perfect or our children are or that somehow that other mother is and who does she think she is. Like we've never had a rough day. Like we don't know what it feels like to be broken. Like we want to break someone else.

The new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start, not only for our children but for ourselves. How about we give each other a beautiful gift of judging one another less. We are all trying to keep our heads above the water and the last thing we need is more weight yanking us downward. The idea that someone else has it easier, faster, skinnier, richer and all things better than you is a destructive game that is based on perception. It is a game that no one wins. I'd rather see women owning their strengths and their weaknesses and raising a glass to one another in all that makes us different and the celebration of what unites us. We are all part of the same tribe and how glorious it would be to see every woman flaunt it.

If you are crafty, own it.
If you are working outside of the home, own it.
If you are working inside of the home, own it.
If you haven't figured out this whole being an adult thing, own it.
If you are insanely proud of your child, own it.
If you are just trying to survive the day, own it.
If you go to yoga or just prefer to wear the pants, own it.
If you order pizza for the 3rd time this week or you make your own organic baby food, own it.

Natural births, epidurals, c-sections, adoptions, surrogates, we have all earned our battle scars. It is not a competition. Be. Who. You. Are. And protect each others backs and limbs like you would want your children to protect one another. The world needs more of that. It is not a slight thing to see the power that is a woman supporting another woman. We can be inspired by one another without tearing another one down. Let's retract the claws and unleash the fist pumps. We all deserve the accolades.

As for me, you can find me sometimes in heels, more often in yoga pants, working in and out of the home trying to make careers out of passions, all the while glowing in the shadows of this radiant crew that is growing up faster than my soul can catch up. I want to raise them in a world that builds instead of breaks.

Here's to owning it.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to Survive Back to School Shopping

I am a girl that loves summer. I love a break from the constant crazy of the school year. But I have four kids and somewhere around the 4th of July it strikes me that it would be amazing to complete a thought in the next few months. By the time the first week of August rolls in I get excited, borderline orgasmic, in seeing those glossy ads with shiny new Ninja Turtle notebooks on their covers. But what is the best way to shop for 26 glue sticks (true story) and about 800 other items while still keeping your kids happy and you sane? Of course you could go alone or do it online and if you can pull it off I commend you. Godspeed. But my “angels” love to pick out all of things for back to school. All. Of. The. Things. I can’t really blame them. I used to love picking out things too as a kid but somehow I remember picking out a single Rainbow Brite pencil and one pink Trapper Keeper. 

The times have changed and the lists have grown to beyond a Santa level long. Last year I left Office Depot in tears. Actual stream down the face over the cost of dry erase marker tears. Here is what I learned:

1.    Go to Target. For three reasons: 1. They have everything you need. 2. They have everything you never realized how much you need. 3. Starbucks. 4. Palazzo pants. Okay that was four reasons. Math is hard. This is exactly why these kids need to go back to school.

2.    Go early. Have you ever been to the back to school section of any store that prides itself in having a back to school section in the prime heat of an August day? It is one of the scariest sites you will ever see. It literally could be a bad scene from The Walking Dead. Zombies are clenching their school’s token list, dressed in head to toe yoga wear wishing they were at yoga or anywhere else in the entire world mumbling about how many sharpened #2 pencils they need for their zombie children who are shouting that they need poly coated, one with prongs, four without, notebooks, the most expensive pencil pouch and they have to go to the bathroom. Simultaneously. Go early. Get yourself some caffeine and smile, one of the only people there mumbling will be you. 

3.    Get yourself something happy. First. I made the mistake this August of looking in the grown up palazzo pant section last. Like a fool. We’d already been at Target for 4 hours; khaki clad employees were getting off their shifts that we rode the escalator in with. There wasn’t one drop of patience left between the five of us for this grown up on trend pants smorgasbord. We had to abort. Never again will this rookie error occur. Live, learn, shop palazzo numero uno.

4.    Give each older child their own list and basket. It’s about time they started pulling their own weight. Cut up that giant list from hell into smaller lists of hell and let them have at it. It will be a scavenger hunt and the real winner will be you. It looks like someone will have 8 less composition books to seek out to and have more time to find the perfect 4” blunt end scissors for your first grader. Boom. Game changer.

5.    Don’t obsess over seeing the exact item cheaper somewhere else. This  is a surefire way to want to take one of those freshly sharpened #2 pencils straight into your eyeball. That 5 cent glue stick at your local office store seems like the greatest bargain of all time until you get in there and realize they charge triple for all of the other shit you “need” and you’ve spent hours analyzing the cost of glue sticks instead of enjoying these last moments of summer. All equals out in the back to school retail wars. Go to a place that can reward you with a latte beforehand and have time for a cocktail poolside afterward.

Here’s to a beautiful school year ahead and savoring the last taste of summer while it still within our grasp. And to the tireless teachers, I raise my glass to you. Thank you for always being more than we could hope for. I look at every item on that back to school list as one less thing that you have to purchase for your classroom. It is the very least we can do to begin to give back to you. Thank you is an understatement. In the future please feel free to include your favorite store to shop at (or your favorite cocktail) on those back to school lists so we can remember you throughout the year.

Here’s to the survival…


And this was the result. Momma's going to need something stronger than caffeine.