Losing my shit with a side of global citizenship.

“BUT, I didn’t do it!” and, “That’s not mine!” is the new black.

I lost it on Sunday. Like, really lost it and not in the cute way where I turn a moment of weak parenting into a joke on social media or, make a great meme or, in the million other small ways that do nothing but advance the stereotype of the wine-fueled “Momster” that has been my bread and butter for so long. For too long.

I lost it and had this out-of-body “I SEE YOUR BULLSHIT!” moment about everything in my life. My kids were jerks. So was I. Just a globe of jerkiness being flooded by a tsunami of selfishness.

I’d had enough.

I’ve had enough of bullshit stories about how we’re ruining our children when we expect too much of them. So now, we expect nothing. In kind, they give nothing and then we’re supposed to take that nothing and make happiness out of it by overdoing every holiday, birthday and Arbor Day with crafts. Bullshit.

I’ve had enough of spoiled children who want for nothing but still want everything. Nothing is enough. Because they have everything. And we’re supposed to give everything because NOTHING is more important than their happiness. Bullshit.

You know what’s more important? Global citizenship. And a whole host of things bigger than worrying about the zinc in your diaper cream.

I asked them to clean their rooms and they started a very well known diatribe about whose toys were on the floor and a very succinct, Atticus Finch-like defense of why they shouldn’t have to clean anything they didn’t physically place on the ground.

And, I lost it.

Because, enough. ENOUGH. ENOUGH.

I’ve had enough of how we’re all too comfortable imposing responsibility on everyone else. I impose my aggravation and quick temper on my kids. They impose their laziness on me and we get stuck; as we pour our worst qualities all over each other. Then when we feel guilty, we let internet heroes tell us how we’re doing it wrong.

It’s not about who left the decapitated Barbie on the floor; it’s about global citizenship and Little House on the Prairie.

LOOK! Everyone gathers wood for the fire.

We’re so bored that we can’t even figure out how to help one another without praise. So we buy stickers and charts and give everyone rewards for being a global citizen in a world that will fall to dust unless everyone stops getting stickers for being a good person.

Just pick up the damn Barbie.

My 10-year-old is examining her conscience; what makes her feel like she’s participating fully and what makes her feel like she’s stuck in moral quicksand.

And, I’m sitting well beyond her preteen brain explosion wondering the same thing…what am I doing?

What am I truly doing wrong? Am I doing anything right?

As with any moment of clarity, you have to get out of your own bullshit’s way to own it.

Yes, I am responsible for the decapitated Barbie.


  • My kids drive me crazy but, that’s not why I drink more than I should. I do it because I have an addictive personality and I’m more socially awkward than I let on. Drinking helps.
  • I yell. A lot. I yell because they’re turds. Also, because my parents yelled at me. Also, because yelling works. I get results when I yell. I like results more than I dislike yelling. Yelling helps.
  • When I’m mad and my kids hug me, I sometimes recoil. I do this because I’m incredibly bad at being angry. I’m the suckiest, meanest angry person ever. I’m a bad human when I’m angry.
  • Sometimes, I leave all of the dishes in the sink because I can be a passive-aggressive. OR, I do it because I’m tired. OR, I do it because instead of just saying, “Hey, can you do the dishes?”, I like to put people through silent tests of character.

I’m owning my bullshit. For the good of global citizenship and because I’m tired of saying that the mess spread all over the floor of my life isn’t mine.

And that’s where family comes in. We’re in this together. The Barbies and the dishes and the taking care of each other. Expecting more from each other. We have to start expecting much, much more from each other.

Their room was clean in 10 minutes. We’re not allowed to say, “I didn’t make that mess!” anymore. Life is always going to be messy.

We all help make it. We all help clean it up.

You have one job.

When my daughter was born, I had this sick kind of contentment. Like, I could do it all again and not be just “some gash”; the first insult my vagina received in a long list of “not good enoughs” that would seem to equal the sum of my femininity. Then, there was the enviable fact that she could live without breasts for so long; able to traverse the world in blue, purple or green. The best kind of girl…the kind without female defining characteristics. How easy it would be to wear the chest of a man and feel nothing other than the wonder of being human before sacks of fat sit on your chest and define you.

It would be easier if she was flat chested. How I prayed and I don’t even fucking pray.

I prayed for flat chests and interest in Science and maybe that she would never leave home because she might end up as “some gash” to some fucking guy who never did anything except be born with a royal cock.

And who was she to have an organ that only accepts.

And then, I bore a son who was small and hated sports, but he was a white man. Thank the brown Jesus. He had all of the cards in the deck and our vehement cry of, “DON’T EVER HIT A GIRL!” is the only thing he really has to worry about. Born white with the royal cock and able to do anything he pleases except beat women…except in private. Because, let’s face it, he could if he wanted to. I don’t want him to.

And then, I had two more daughters and I cut off all of my hair. Like a “dike”. And I was too fat to have such short hair. And women tell me I’m “brave”…simply because I cut my hair.

I don’t want to be polite anymore. And I don’t give a shit about my hair.

One day, the world is going to explode with the kind of hatred we reserve only for ourselves. Bottled up and then secreted slowly, like coffee over organic filter. Still tearing apart the components of the holster, bit by bit and leaving delicious mud.

Giving us enough sustenance to hate ourselves tomorrow.

Because who are we to have big hearts that only accept.

And it makes sense that a woman would feel nothing hard enough and for long enough to finally let herself go…

As if that is a destination.

At least 100 times a day.

I have this really nasty habit of overemphasizing my downfalls. Because I feel unworthy of success or maybe more like, I don’t know what to do with the actual feelings of not failing. Because failure, success and the art of not failing are three separate things and we have the right to acknowledge them as separate entities.

Failure is if my kids are in bed wondering if I love them.

Not succeeding is when I run out of granola bars and give my children 14 different dairy products for school snack.

“Have this Light Yoplait, a cheese stick and some….cheese. Have a great day!”

Success is reading three books, preparing a well balanced meal AND heading into bedtime without threatening to donate their entire dress up bin to the Salvation Army if they don’t get their stuff off the floor.

Seriously…pick up your shit, kids.

While we are so hell bent on our own failure, real failure so rarely occurs.

You’re not failing if you’re 15 minutes late to school.

You’re not failing if you had cereal for dinner

Or if you laughed when a beach ball knocked your toddler over

Or if you felt like you needed to run away

Or wondered if you’re even cut out for parenting.

It’s not success, but, it sure as shit isn’t failure.

It’s human and it’s ok.

At least 100 times a day, I wonder what I’m doing wrong and completely disregard everything I’ve done right.

It’s such a bullshit way to live

To parent

To love

To exist

Because my imperfection is success. I’ve successfully been a human-fucking-being. Fallible and aware. And trying.

Maybe even kinda-sorta succeeding.

Or maybe not.

Pass the Cheetos, kids. We’re out of protein again.

And I don’t even care that my kids clothes NEVER match.

Even though you might care.

We can care about different things.

Like I think organic bananas are full of shit. HAVE YOU SEEN HOW THICK THE PEEL IS?

But, I also was raised by MTV…so what do I know?

Maybe a lot.

Maybe I know a lot.

And maybe you do too.

I bet you do.

But there’s no medal for Motherhood and the only way you know you got it somewhat right is if your kids show up for Thanksgiving.

Or quote you while laughing and sharing a bottle of wine.

Or climb up the stairs to tell you they love you even after you’ve yelled as loud as fucking possible that their teeth are going to turn green and fall out if they don’t brush them.

Especially after all that dairy.


“Mama, I love you.”

“I love you too. I love you guys the most.”

Yes. Success.

If we’re being honest.

There was this article I read that I can’t fully recall (which says something about its mental potency, but, still…). The story had this really well developed branding that said, “THIS is the truth.” but after I read it, I felt nothing. I got nothing of substance from it.

The other day, someone sent me this truly fucking inspirational post of Jim Carrey speaking at a business management graduation and I listened to his amazing words and watched with curiosity. The cap and gown he wore were just another character. I couldn’t help but think, “I wonder how much they paid him for this speech.” because inspiration is rarely without cost.

And if we’re being honest, honesty is the new black…pushing ourselves to be more honest than our neighbor. Holding each other accountable to some ideal, genuine article.

It’s exhausting. Because sometimes I don’t give a shit about your honesty or mine. I only care about how we treat each other…even if we have to lie to do each other justice.

I’m much more into justice lately.

There is something that happens in our small rotation of Earth. You can watch the adults weave in and out of each other until we create a web so thick that we are all stuck. In our perceptions of each other and even worse, ourselves. We peel ourselves away just long enough to sleep and start again.

Who am I today? We search for the ocean in the seashell. Can you hear it?

Can you?

At some point, the search becomes more important than the actual truth.

With us spending so much time trying to convince each other that we’re special and unique instead of just being special and unique.

I wear cowboy boots because I love the way my calves look and not because my boots have anything to say.

And when I fail my children it’s not because my step-father was an angry drunk…or because I don’t know my mother’s address. It’s because I might just be…really, totally human.

Impatient and irrational and imperfect.

And if we’re being honest, I don’t care that much about my imperfection. Or yours.

My kids ate chicken nuggets and boxed macaroni and cheese tonight.

I drank half of a mediocre bottle of cabarnet sauvignon.

I’ve had 2 accidents in a car with a back-up camera created specifically to prevent car accidents.

These are facts and maybe not honesty. Honesty looks more like wondering if I should have had that third glass of wine and then the next day, sucking in my stomach before I step on a scale. And then wondering if I’ll die alone in a nursing home while I shampoo my hair.

Will my kids fight over our furniture? And will they hang a picture of me in their guest room? Will I be a shitty grandmother even though I really want to be the grandmother who plays board games and bakes cookies? Will old age and reading glasses transform me into my Grandma?

If we’re being honest…probably not.

But, the stories we tell each other help.

And that’s why we tell them.

Tomorrow I may even make a roasted chicken. And I probably won’t even have a glass of wine at all. And the eye cream I bought will work.

And if I’m being honest…the hope of honesty feels just as good as the actual thing.

The best kind of drug.

So What’cha Want?

There’s a real hatred against the idea of want lately. How dare you and you shouldn’t. Ever. Want. Want is bad. Greed is not good. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

I’m throwing a fit.

There’s  a very real push for gratitude even while we actively pretend want is not present. Gratitude is the 2nd cousin of want. Once removed.

It’s OK if you get something you want… but only IF you immediately call it gratitude.

I got this boat. Dude, I’m extremely grateful.

Well, no shit.

It’s easy to be thankful for a fucking boat.

It’s not so easy to be #grateful for cancer or autism or #blessed when your family member is strung out on #cocaine.

It’s easy to be grateful for my four kids with 40 toes and the expectation they will someday move out.


I am. But, I don’t think I did anything special and it doesn’t make me any MORE special if I pretend I didn’t want them to move out.

Because I do.

You do too.

If you say they should be little forever, does this mean you love yours more?


Probably not.

Even if I hated parenting on Tuesday, maybe I still deserve my own bathroom on Wednesday. Maybe I even one day deserve to go to Paris even though I once wished my kids were so quiet I forgot I had them.

Sometimes, I’m not grateful or full of grace. I am angry and short-tempered and not. fucking. worthy.

Still, every one of my kids has 10 toes.

We all deserve nice things.

But we make good things our crutch. We’re not allowed to expect things to work out. Or 10 toes. Or happy endings.

And we’re forced into subdued perspective. Instead of blinding gratitude. Perspective is fed by guilt and gratitude is fed by “the real thing”. Good things happen even and especially while we’re flawed.

Gratitude despite #beinghuman.

I’m not worthy. But still, 4 x 10 toes. I’m convinced I don’t deserve it.

But, I do. You do too. We’re built for complexity.

We’re inherently #grateful.


The beginning of something.

I don’t want to say it’s hard anymore. Because we all know that and the people who can’t say it will never be able to say it out loud. Let’s stop living for the inability to say it out loud.



The first part is so brutal it’s funny and that’s why we laugh. Because brutality can only be made tolerable by humor. The degradation of your spirit in between sharing a new joke about how some people are probably being paid to be urinated on and they could come to your house for free. (rimshot)

And it’s all true. Every single bit of it. You should not feel guilty. Do you hear me? Do not ever feel guilty for wanting to run away or take a lover while you have circle shaped milk stains on a 1/2 marathon shirt (and you’ve never even run a 5K). Guilt is useless.

Then there’s the whole idea that you should be more thankful. Like you aren’t already. Like you’ve forgotten to donate a piece of every moment to gratitude. No one ever forgets. How could you forget when you watch and listen to stories about death. You stop. You smell the tops of their heads. And those moments don’t make it any less hard.

But when hard changes to a softer sharp, we forget how to reach out….like there can only be dying and living. There is often purgatory.

Stuck between a rock and a soft place.

Not able to say it’s getting better and not willing to let go of the claw-like grasp of hard. We don’t feel like we deserve easy. What have we done to deserve easy? Especially when we complained so often about the hard.

But we do. You do deserve the calm. And you do deserve the subtle ripples of water on your toes from the same water that once knocked you flat.

It’s ok to say it’s easier….it doesn’t negate the hard.

“Must be nice!”, some will sneer.

And it is. It really is. You can enjoy it. It’s ok.

You Wreck Me, Baby.

I’m full of deep thoughts, but I’m also full of shit. My eldest has recently become quite fond of ribbing her ol’ ma as I try to teach her life skills; how to correctly cut a bell pepper and how to find humor under the rock that just bruised your shin.

It’s a new dance. One not hinged entirely on surviving the day and we’re stepping on each other’s toes quite a bit. There is less exasperation and more a sense of dating. She’s figuring out who she is. I’m trying to show her who I am. I try to lead. She refuses to follow. I’m a sub-par place holder for the people she’d rather learn from; some buxom redhead on Disney Channel and a 4th grader with an i-Phone.

She’s funny and has an incredible dryness to her wit.

She can also be sharp of tongue. That part is all too familiar. I watch the snake-like sins of her mother take root in her very stylish cowboy boots.

We find each other in this new world, looking at each other as people. Today she asked to hold an insanely large knife and I had this dialogue with myself for 10 minutes, wondering when you give up the knife.

“Fuck it. Here you go. Don’t chop your hand off.”

But more than than the emergency room scenes mothers are constantly playing out in their worst case scenarios, I had that come to Jesus with myself – Right, I’m the one who teaches her how to use a knife. I didn’t sign up for this! But, I did. Like the PTA sub-committee where you thought you could make a real difference. I totally signed up for this.

She did not know how to use a knife. At all. Watching her was painful…the reminder that we really do not know how to do anything until we try and fail and try and fail and try and fail or, until someone teaches us.

Being a teacher is not something that comes naturally to me.

“Place it on its side. It will be easier to cut.”


There it was, the lightbulb moment.

I stood there wanting to take over. She stood there trying to find her own way. Like real life happening over a cucumber and my parenting crisis.

We’re just supposed to let go? Hand over the knife? Hope for the best?

Yeah. I guess so.

And once you hold the knife, you can’t go back to before you held it. There is only forward and more and bigger and faster.

Tomorrow we’re dicing onions and learning the importance of positioning yourself next to the appetizers at a party where you don’t know anyone. Dip is your friend.

I’m the teacher?

Yes. I’m the teacher.

Until the party’s over.

Children have an odd fascination with knowing how old adults are. It’s in their DNA to think of life experience in terms of numbers.

At my first daughter’s first birthday party, I’m on film saying, “When your child is turning 60, you know you’re old.” I was speaking about my grandmother and my uncle. It was his 60th birthday and my grandmother was traveling to celebrate with him. At 27, sitting with my 1 year old, I couldn’t even grasp the idea of being a mother for more than today. We were still in the process of simple survival. Every day was Day 1.

My kids would never be 60 and clearly, I would never be old enough to have children who were 60. And we would all live in youth and exuberance and beauty forever because that’s how it works.

Until you drop the denial and realize it doesn’t. Then, your age sits awkwardly on your body like the first time you tried to give a child an airplane ride on your legs. Both of you flailing, a combination of limbs and aspiration and memories. Like you’ll never get the hang of it.

Aging feels that way.

I work in a school and children are constantly asking me how old I am. And it really means, “How long will it take before I turn into you?”. They don’t understand that they never will be me and I won’t tell them the hard truth that turning into your own you is more magical and scarier than any version of someone else. You have to walk through years of beautiful books and questionable decisions before you find you’ve arrived and then, someone asks you how old you are. I love that children think there is wisdom found in simply knowing your age; as if the answer is like reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the very first time.

When the first child asked me how old I was, I stopped short. I was actually offended. Which is bullshit, but, it’s true. I may have even said, “It’s not polite to ask adults how old they are.” I hate that I said it. I hate that I put that idea in a curious young mind; discouraging their process by implying age is a dirty secret. Grown-ups are always trying to make age an interior crutch of comparison. And we fool ourselves into believing it is more than the transparent passage of years. We paralyze ourselves because we haven’t done “enough”. We pray that time will stand still. We continue to grow old.

I’m done giving the advancing calendar this bizarre guilt-power. I’m not in competition with agelessness or the young, curious faces looking for answers in my laugh lines. We all have better things to do; like looking at the contents of our time instead of the passage of it.

Last Sunday, a young girl came up to me and said, “I’m 5. How old are you?”

For the first time, I leapt right in, “I’m 35! That’s 30 years older than you! Cool.” and we smiled in unison. Just two kids sharing the sameness of being alive.

A child will tell you how old they are as a badge of honor and they’ll stand on a scale without blinking an eye while you figure out how much ibuprofen to give them.

They’re so sensible.

You’d think adults would know better than to give age so much control; with age supposedly comes wisdom. I think I’m learning more from the children in my life. After six months of “How old are you?”, I finally realize that 60 will one day be here and probably before I know it. And children grow older and turn 60 as well. And no one cares about 60 except regret and regret won’t blow out the candles on your birthday cake.

There’s nothing really worth saying about our own imposed feelings of irrelevance that come with aging.

The alternative to growing old is so much more terrifying.

I hope that we all grow old enough to be the old lady at our baby’s 60th birthday party. You have to celebrate until the party’s over.

True North.

Our son had colic. The anxiety would creep in every day around 4:45 p.m. – you knew it was coming and everything from 4:45 p.m. on was unbearable. It was happening and there was nothing you could do but wait and pray to the Jesus you saw in the burnt toast on The Today Show that morning that maybe, just maybe, last night’s bout of colic was the end of the colic. I made so many deals with the devil when praying didn’t work. Every night, like clockwork…at 6:00 p.m., it would start.

Two hours in, I would often collapse into the couch while my husband took over what came to be known as “the shit-shift”; he’d walk in circles in the dark dining room for hours.

In the morning, we were hungover from the sound of an inconsolable child. There were a few days that I dreamed of deafness as an escape. I’d shake my head visibly after the thought. “I can’t believe I just thought that.” But I did. More than once.

Parenting my son has started to feel this way again and no amount of inspirational posts about the both of us learning to BE makes any of it less challenging. What my research is telling me is that we both need to try harder and soften, but, it’s hard to do when a new kind of 4:45 p.m. is always looming.

And no one is finding miracles in their toast these days and the devil is done returning my calls.

I’m angry and hungover from an inconsolable child.

He and I are disconnected. I can feel it.

My husband sees my exasperation and tells me, “it’s a phase” and I think that perhaps we’ve both given the word phase a hell of a lot of leeway. He’s almost 7. What if this isn’t a phase? What if this is him and this is me and we are stuck waiting for our phases to turn into beautiful butterflies? Metamorphosis is proving to be a dinner guest who never arrives.

And the thing about finding inspiration is that I’m not inspired. We’re here stuck in the mud; in shit up to our ears and inspiration isn’t throwing me a rope. I want the amazing love notes mothers write to their children to climb in here with me and help us both up. I want inspiration to get muddy too.

My son is hiding under tables and gnashing his teeth, like Max and his Wild Things. He is hurting his sisters and then cocooning himself into a blanket until he tells me he can’t breathe. I can’t breathe either. This is not the metamorphosis I was hoping for.

There aren’t enough “Hang in there” cat posters in the world. And I love him so much it burns.

But…it’s 4:45 p.m. and I can feel my throat tighten.

It was the best of worsts; it was the worst of worsts.

This year was not my favorite. It was also not my least favorite. Congratulations, 2014 – you sure did a mediocre job. 2015, I’m not going to lie, you have some pretty average size shoes to fill.

Because everyone is talking about what they’d like to do better in 2015, I’d like to take a moment to really appreciate all of the stuff I gloriously fucked up in 2014.

Worst Parenting Moment – If I were a Ms. Bad Parenting pageant contestant, I’d stand up in front of all of you in ill-fitting sequins assless chaps and when asked to showcase my worst parenting moment, I’d say, “All of them.” and if you asked me to please narrow it down for the judges, I’d say, “No.” and then for good measure I’d say, “And World Peace!” because that is how you win pageants.

Worst Human Moment – I accidentally stole a kid’s scooter. It was a mistake and I feel horrible about it. I felt even more horrible when the series of cockamamy events made the scenario absolutely hysterical except for the actual “alleged” stealing of said scooter. From a school. On camera. Whatever, don’t act like you’ve never stolen a child’s scooter from an elementary school. I bet you have 15 stolen scooters in your garage right now. Don’t judge me. But, if you are judging me I have one thing to say, “And World Peace!”

Worst Wife Moment – I got a tattoo even though my husband explicitly and repeatedly and with fucking feeling expressed his desire that I not get one. And I said, “Honey – love of my life, I hear you loud and clear and I’m doing it anyway.” I’m pretty sure this falls under the For Better or For Worse category. I think the size and placement of said tattoo will have me disqualified from the swimsuit competition. You can thank me later.

Worst Employee Moment – I forgot to call our local Fire Department to let them know the school where I work was having a Fire Drill and the Fire Department showed up. I still have my job mostly because no one complains when firemen show up in their big, shiny truck. Ever.

and now, a year in review:

My ass got bigger and bigger and then smaller and is now bigger again and applying for its own zip code.

My children got bigger and bigger and then even bigger and they are now applying for parental emancipation.

My husband started to go grey and then more grey and is now a silver fox and FUCK YOU, MEN for aging so gracefully.

My breasts got longer and longer and longer and are now mistaken for bongo drums when I squat.

My ideas got big and bigger and bigger and filled all of the spaces in my brain but didn’t necessarily break through the gates onto paper or into actual changes in actual living. We can’t all be Martha Stewart. I’d settle for prison Martha Stewart’s drunk cousin.

The internet was as mean as it ever was but always made me laugh just enough that I never threw my computer dramatically out of a window. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it….oh wait, is that a fat cat climbing into a tiny box? Hilarious.”

Money was money. It came, it went and we managed. It’s just money. It all works out in the end.

Health – We’re still alive. Fuck yeah!

Motherhood was tough. This is where you say, “No shit, Sherlock. That’s the gig”.

Marriage was tough. We loved each other through the whole year even when we didn’t like each other. No matter how many bachelor pads he decorated in his mind, he’s still here. That’s love.

Working saved me. I’ve never been so happy to make such a small paycheck. My house is filthy. It’s a constant struggle to get everyone where they need to be. I’ve never been happier. I learned that I need to leave my home every day in order to be a better mother. If mama ain’t happy…

Friendships – Some flourished and others suffered from failure to thrive. And we don’t push it anymore. Everyone finds their people.

We witnessed far more birth than death.

We laughed more than we cried.

If a door was slammed in our face, we opted to bust through the wall like the Kool-Aid guy.

and some really inspirational shit even happened.

I almost forgot…

2014 is the year WE STOPPED BUYING DIAPERS! I believe the feeling this fact pumps through my body is called ecstasy. Not the drug kind. The high on life kind.

Enjoy your last few days of 2014. Don’t be ashamed to celebrate the bad because “Baby, without the sour the sweet just isn’t as sweet.”

Happy New Year.