“You’re fine.”

After four children and several years of parenting, you could say my emotional responses to certain things have changed over time.

I know the particular sound a child makes when its foot is caught between two crib rails. I know the difference between hunger and boredom and I know, I know, I know when you are fake upset or fake crying.

I’m like a crying Yoda. The Navy Seal of crying. *Field of Dreams whisper* If you fake cry, I will not come.

Today my four year old was pretending to be very upset about something really, really, devastatingly unimportant. It was the usual wailing and coyote howls straight from the Tom Cruise school of over-acting.

I ignored her. That’s how I roll. I stirred my coffee very slowly and made no movement to rectify the obviously concocted plight.

She finally came downstairs and said, “MY STRIPED SHIRT IS DIRTY! IT IS MY FAVORITE! I CAN’T WEAR IT TODAY!” and then she melted into a puddle of tears and barely passible grief and I said, “You’re fine.”

Later today, a mock shriek of epic proportions came from the swing set. “MOMMY! MOMMMMMYYYYYYY!”

I continued to wash dishes.

She finally stomped in and said, “There is dirt on my feet!” and I said, “You’re fine.”

Four is a lot like really bad dinner theatre. The actors are really into it. This is their moment and they think that everyone filling the room is just as into it as they are. They often fail to notice that the filet looks like dog shit and that the attendees are hoping for a massive coronary, praying for a swift death. “Dear Lawd, please take me away from all this tragedy and terrible acting.”

Since she is my third 4 year old, I’m kind of like that friend you have who continues to lose really stupid bets. I’ve been here before and I’m not impressed by the terrible theatrics and yes, my filet will always look like dog shit.

A friend recently pointed me toward a magazine article that severely detailed the “10 things you should NEVER EVER say to your child!”. I found one of my stock answers, “You’re fine/ok” was among them.

And I had to excuse myself from the internet while I kicked a whole boat load of rocks.

Because,

1) Calm down, parenting magazines

but guess what, no biggie…

2) I’m fine.

and

3) She’s ok.

I tell my 4 year old that she is fine because she is and if that’s the kind of brash, harsh reality that I shouldn’t be exposing my children to then…oh well. I’m sure we’ll be fine.

It’s the same way I feel about lots of things people “should” you about. You should do this and you should do that and you should consider…” but, no thank you, I believe I will not.

I tell her that she is fine because she is and more than that, no matter what any magazine tells me my job is, I truly don’t believe my job is to make every tiny cardboard lizard into a terrible, ferocious fire breathing dragon. Sometimes, we do need to acknowledge that a dirty shirt isn’t the end of the world.

She fell off of the swing a few days ago. She was hurt and scared and a bit confused. The wind was knocked out of her. I ran over and scooped her up. She cried and buried her face in my hair. I said, “I’m here! I’m right here. I’m sorry you’re hurt. I love you.”

The world is like that. Humanity is like that. We don’t need our community to run to our aid over every teeny-tiny perceived threat to our psyche, but, when we’re really hurt, we really show up for each other. I like this model; recognizing the times that call for a soft shoulder while acknowledging that sometimes, that gnawing inconvenience is not the end of our world even if it may feel like it for a few minutes.

Someone is going to continue to stir their coffee when you complain about your shirt, but, they’re also going to scoop you up and love you when you fall.

And I’m going to continue to say that she’s fine when she is and I’m going to continue to love her through the hard stuff when she’s not.

I can live with that even if I’m doing it wrong.





The minutes and measure of a man.

On Saturday night, at a small restaurant at an even smaller table, four parents discussed parenting. That’s a big topic. Broad and cavernous – so full of the space between all our ideologies and thoughts. 4 parents. 4 philosophies. No matter how intertwined, when it comes right down to it, we are always and utterly in left field. There is no amount of sameness that makes parenting truly feel simpatico.

We were talking about the rapture of current parenting. This new-age “all in” prom. Everyday, all of the children are kings and queens and we’re there to make sure no one spikes the punch. It’s lovely and exhausting; our wanting to be fully involved while functioning on the same lack of sleep as our forefathers. Four score and seven cups of coffee ago.

With all of the supposed progress, it’s much the same except the stakes are so much higher. We MUST be present or, to our children’s chagrin, we are absentee. And, we worry so much more about being absentee even though we are perpetually and stunningly there. SO there. It’s nonsense this “not enough”. It’s nonsense.

Because…

Whenever I’m in the depths of the, “I don’t show up enough.”, I always think of my father.

My parents divorced when I was very young. I saw my father only during the summer. Still, he is my soft place to land. He is my humanity ground zero. When all is broken, he is the fullness of possibility and the truthful teller of the consequences of bad decisions. He is the parent I run to and he was rarely “there”.

There is subjective. There bends.

He was always and boldly working toward fulfilling his dream of being a musician. Our fleeting times with him were mostly spent with grandparents I’ve grown to idolize and homes I’ve grown to daily daydream of. His presence in his own life, never giving up on his life’s calling, led to a very rich carousel of love and presence in the family around us; yet, I can imagine that he felt the ugly tug of parenting guilt. He worked constantly and we did what latchkey kids do – we used our goddamn imagination.

Guess what? We’re ok.

My father taught me about the value of kindness, the bravery of a great adventure, the American songbook and the weight of your own decisions.

We probably spent, on average, roughly 90 quality minutes with him every day for two months once a year.

Yet, those 90 minutes are the cornerstone of who I am.

I think of the time I spend with my children…the kitchen that I seem to occupy with every spare breath I breathe. The meals that take on a life of their own and the pure function that overrides the fun. You can’t spell function without f-u-n. But, watch us try…

As I readied myself for this Saturday night dinner, my eldest daughter was showering while I put on make-up and we spoke for about 15 minutes about friendship and secrets. Those you should keep and those you should never keep. We talked about her growing up. We talked a little about me growing up. I’d been with her all day and yet, these 15 minutes, we were both THERE. We were both all in and I think, if I can just carve 15 minutes a day just like that into their lives, that will equal success.

It’s ok that I can’t be totally and 100% present every moment. It really is. Being there is about providing the cornerstone and there’s no manual on how much time builds the foundation.

It could be 15 minutes a day. There is something stunning about that. There is something beautiful. I’m giving myself permission to truly be there for 15 minutes a day – because right now, that’s the best I can do. That means that I also have to give myself permission to not worry about how much I’m messing it up the other hours of the day while writing, cooking, laundering or just, sometimes blindly, showing up.

90 minutes for 2 months a year taught me all of the good things I know about truth, love, life and the human experience. Maybe we should all relax a little.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.





Off the grid

A few weeks ago, I got “the itch”. I looked around my domicile and every square inch was covered. The tops of cabinets held dusty artifacts that had long ago become cozy homes for spiders. Cabinets were as packed as my pants. There was no room at the inn.

The thing about stuff is that it permeates every pore of our idea of what home is and all of our empty spaces beg and plead to be filled. We happily concede away from minimalism. We are all collectors. We are connoisseurs of life’s flattened pennies. Things = time and time passes quickly.

I started with the goddamn kitchen because that’s what I call it. The goddamn kitchen was full of the mother I want to be. The stand mixer that I’d never used. I took it out and I let it go and with it, I let go of my dream that one day I would be the woman making 15 dozen cookies for my son’s soccer team. He hates sports. I burn cookies. The english stoneware tea set I found at a hospice store in Burbank before my daughters were born. I was so sure we would have a tea party with real tea cups. It turns out, I am not the mother who plays tea party with real cups. “Let me go!”, they said and I did because some dreams have to die, or, be shipped to Chicago to another mother who will find the cups and saucers’ true calling.

And for days and now weeks, this practice has continued. Letting go of the small toys that their big hands no longer touch. Letting go of the idea of who we are and who they are. We were frozen in time, tied to dusty wooden train tracks and clinging to the dolls with dirty faces and unbrushed hair.

And my closet…dear Zeus…my closet. A time capsule of forget-me-nots and 4 inch heels and sizes my hips would burst through like the Kool-Aid pitcher through a brick wall. I need to make room in my closet for the body I have because I love it and it deserves its time to shine. It’s hard to find space for the new you when your hangers are pressed against a size 4 teal number that looks like I stole it off of an extra on the set of Showgirls. I am not that girl anymore. Wait, I’m that girl’s much older sister and, while she is still there, she is not living fully right here and right now and my closet was a fucking living memorial to my 20s. I flung things on to my bed and when I was done, I kept the glitter zebra print Pat Benatar shoes because you’ll have to rip my beating heart out of my chest first.

This process is intense and really quite beautiful. Every day, we learn to let go and the fear that kept us clinging to these things is gone. The fear that says, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. This is who I am and I can’t let that go.”

“They’re JUST things.”, I’ve been known to say. But, I know it’s not true. They are pieces of a life built and they mean something. They mean a great deal. But, there is a difference between reverence for the past and being held captive by it.

We’re not done. Not even close. A little bit, every day, we watch our rooms and home transform into our present selves. It’s inspiring and it’s exciting. Seeing how much space we have to grow into the next chapter. What is going to fill that spot of the stand mixer? Probably a recessed wine fridge. Yes, change is good.

I may even wear those zebra heels next week. To the market. On a Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. – just to pay reverence. If for no other reason than the fact that after the great purge and a great reconciliation, you should really embrace and honor the things you keep. A reminder of how far you’ve come and how damn good your ass looks when you wear heels.

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”





I dreamed a dream.

Every time I meet a woman, we go over the basic 4:

What is your name?
What do you do?
Are you in a relationship?
Do you have children?

Inevitably, if they have children, we sink into a warm bath of camaraderie. Thank God, we speak the same language.

It’s the silk blouse of a woman’s pant suit and it’s also Eve’s apple – the full implication of guilt, knowing we connect ourselves to others by only the idea of who we are.

We are mothers.

And that means we do things like pretend that is all we are.

It’s easier for conversation.

I met this incredibly intense and interesting woman and I was drawn to her. And, when gifted with a lobster BLT and all of the time in the world, I still drew back to something in common. I started talking about my son’s inability to wipe himself and my feigned disgust – because, as a mother, there is nothing truly disgusting about “the cling”. We loathe it and embrace it so fully that we are nothing short of comical. GROW, but also, never leave. We are insane.

So, we are talking about ass wiping and I realize…my God, I am “that woman”.

I actually have thoughts outside of my maternal realm. But, it’s hard to step outside of that box. We paint our Motherhood on our bodies so completely that, by the end of every day, as much as we rail against the idea of, “I am not ONLY a mother.” (And, by the way, how fucking dare you for even implying it!), we are just that – in thought, word and deed.

And, it must be true because when a beautiful, intelligent woman corners me into conversation, I… talk about wiping asses.

So, I invited her over for processed cheese because that is what one does when forced with being authentic. You can only offer up the least real part of yourself as tribute. “I eat processed cheese. It’s not even food. Hence, I have shown you my weakness.” and then you hopefully talk about shit other than wiping your 6 year old’s ass.

I dreamed the dream. *cue starving (yet very humble) Les Mis understudies*

I made a pact with myself for Tuesday. We will not once talk about our children. We will talk about failed romance and drinking too much and the sight of our thighs in those fucking, god awful Target mirrors or a million other things. But, I have sworn to not talk about my kids. We have more to say to each other.

SHIT.

We must have so much more to say to each other.

Here’s to mold breaking and “processed cheese product”.





Karma chameleon

My grandmother was a firm believer in the idea that what was going around was definitely coming back around; to the point that decision-making left me worried. But, she always had a way of flushing out fear by making absolutely everything an adventure – even dark, corner diner booths. We always ordered the Monte Cristo. Sometimes, we’d have a view of the attached bar. She would point out the happy umbrellas dancing in the drinks instead of the sad people drinking the drinks. It was her way. She could melt even the saddest sod into a pool of happy.

She believed in “juju” like I grew to believe in well-tailored pants. They could do anything. Make a believer out of the most well-spoken skeptic. Karma holds its own special magic.

We learned that with enough of the good juju, you could pull rabbits out of hats or meals together with an empty fridge and seats and parking spaces were always available to those who tipped well.

It wasn’t just the act of being polite…it was her code of ethics and she insisted you pay in kindness, conversation with the sad, dollars for the people in need right in front of you or good intentions. Every bridge had a toll. And if you were selfish, you paid the toll. If you were disingenuous, you paid the toll. You paid what you could in spades because “the juju” would find you.

That was the bit of self preserving selfish that taught us empathy when we weren’t quite old enough to understand it. You didn’t have to feel it at first, but, eventually, you would.

And 6 and 7 and 8 held no empathy. It was duty. Duty to “the juju”.

But, at 9 and 10 and 11 and 12, the duty turned to service and service turned to something old, something new, something borrowed and something…

Juju.

Juju is harder to teach now because she is gone and I lack her ability to tell a story. I write and she lived the words and lived loudly out in the world.

She never met a stranger. She was the master of juju, spreading light and beautiful little bits of herself everywhere she went. She went a lot of places. She garnered a whole lot of juju.

This Spring, I started my Call to Juju 2014 while my wary children snarfed and heckled from the sidelines. Right now, for them, it’s purely cause and effect. If A, then possibly B. And, if B is a solid and immediate karma gold for them, the juju lightbulb goes off with an audible cartoon *DING*.

For me though, the call to my grandmother’s juju is about living the joy of your actions even when joy is a hidey-hiding-hidden bitch. Because if you offer yourself up, you open yourself to the world’s juju and I think, a lot of it is already there waiting: the universe has been so sprinkled with the juju of the people who came before.

Long live joy. Long live good juju. I miss you, Grandma.





Just like riding a bike.

I sat on this very absorbent couch – my feet barely on the ground and this stranger across from me asked incredibly personal questions. We spoke unencumbered and without pretense because she is bound to me through weekly billing cycles and confidentiality. I immediately trust her understanding of our contractual obligations. Like a friendship should feel, but, with more paperwork and legal binding. Safer.

My shoulders are generally up. My arms are generally crossed, but, after 5 minutes I give up and surrender myself deeper into the flesh eating couch. I consider moving in.

I think we could talk forever, but, then she hits me with the series of social questions and I clench my hands. I explain that I’m a terrible friend. I explain that reaching out is hard. Trust is hard. Being friendly is not hard, though. I generally and truly love people. She nods. I look to the right. She keeps looking at the space that moments ago held my gaze.

This is apparently hard for lots of people.

Somehow, that’s not reassuring, but, she is at least reassuring.

And when we start to dip toes into that sea, I suddenly worry about the inevitable undertow and the imaginary sharks. There isn’t enough time. I can count on 2 hands the people I trust and 4 of them came out of my body. One gave me the people that came out of my body. That leaves 5…it sounds like a lot. It doesn’t feel like a lot. Most of them are so far away.

I start to gesticulate wildly – overcompensating verbally for my social failings. She smiles. I realize she may be waiting for a break in my monologue to speak.

I stop short. I look at the clock. I look at her. I say, “I’m not good at this.”

She says, “Ok.”

She says, “Do you want to be?”

I say, “I don’t know.”

She says, “Ok.”

The truth is, if not for my kids, I’d be fairly content living a life with minimal adult interaction. I like people just fine. They are incredibly fun to watch. It’s just that…well, I like them most from a safe distance.

I’ve had more than enough experience to know that it doesn’t always end well.

But, that doesn’t mean that I should opt-out of trying. Except I have. And I’m getting ok with that.

The brain like its deep, well-traveled paths. Having to re-learn sounds difficult. Being vulnerable anywhere other than on paper sounds impossible.

Today I leaned down to help my newly turned 4-year-old with some sneakers. She’s a big kid now. She wants laces to commemorate her transition. She sat on my lap with her still small head nestled into the space between my neck and chin. I held up her foot and rested it on my knee.

“You grab the laces and you bring them all the way up. You put one under the other and pull them apart. It makes the beginning of your bow! We’re ready to tie!”

She said, “I can’t do this. It is too hard!”

I said, “You just have to practice. You practice until it doesn’t seem so hard after all.”

She looked at my warily.

Trust me, baby. I understand.





Hair!

I walked in my bathroom this morning and a strange man was lurking there. I said, “Sir, who are you and how the hell did you get in my house?”

I was looking at myself in the mirror. I have a mustache.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when I started morphing into a bear, but, it’s happening and I’m worried that I’m now on some sort of grooming hell fast track. Is all of the postpartum hair I lost going to reappear spontaneously and with interest and, not on my head?

I got as close to the mirror as possible to survey my upper lip thinking that Tom Selleck would have been jealous. What I lack in sex appeal, I make up for in impressive lip hair volume. Size does matter ladies, especially when it looks like a family of woolly bear caterpillars colonized on your face.

I was panicked. I stood there, forehead pressed against the mirror going over every inane bit of hair removal advice I had ever heard. I pulled deep into my soul and remembered the hushed whispers of female relatives after dinner and their third Wild Turkey on the rocks.

1) I must NEVER shave it or it will grow back thicker and darker.

2) I must never wax it or I will damage the delicate skin above the lip. I would end up with scars or wrinkles or scurvy.

I can’t remember all the details. I was 8 and hiding under a coffee table, ok?

I suddenly realized that my drunk relatives had this all wrong because I have a mustache. ON MY FACE. I think we can all agree that, removal method preferences aside, something must be done. And quickly before I surrender and buy sculpting wax and start auditioning for civil war battle reenactments.

While I played the world’s most frightening game of “What if…” in my mind, I decided to shower. I took off my clothes and..WHAT THE EVER LOVING FOLLICLE was that?

I have hair. On my nipples.

You have got to be kidding me.

How long was I playing the role of Chewbacca in the bedroom and why didn’t my husband ever tell me? I suddenly questioned our entire marriage. If he wasn’t telling me that I looked like Planet of the Apes in a bra, how could I trust him with anything.

Sinking into a pit of desphair (see what I did there?), I knew what had to be done.

Walmart. With my 6 year old.

We stood in the shaving and hair removal aisle while he shouted, “Why do you need to look at so many things in this aisle? You already have razors. What is this thing? What does W-A-X spell? Why does that lady have something on her face? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”

I had to get out of there so I bought one of everything. I will probably have to use them all to make a dent.

Sinking even deeper still into my pit of desphair, I knew what had to be done.

The liquor store. With my 6 year old.

Now armed with vodka and enough hair removal products to effectively war against a livid nation of Wildebeest, I am finally ready to tame the mane.

Of the stages of grief, I think I’ve made it to acceptance. Make yourself useful and hand me that weed whacker.

Until next time, this is Bad Parenting Moments hoping you don’t mistake yourself for a male intruder in your own home.

I'm on the Faculty! I can't wait to meet you.

I’m on the Faculty! I can’t wait to meet you.





The princess and the pea.

Some days I am a halfway decent parent and human being. SOME days. And, some days, I am appalled that any hospital let me leave its premises with a human infant…four times.

Today was the latter.

It has been awhile since I last changed sheets. Maybe during the last ice age. 1 queen size, two sets of bunk beds and a crib make that, let’s see, 2 + 4 and carry the 5 x 500 pillow pets and 15 stray socks found where sheet meets mattress = It’s a lot of bedding, ok?

I avoid this chore like exercise and volunteer committees.

I was lovingly placing the finishing touches on the 3 year old’s bottom bunk when my 8 year old said, “Mommy, can you make my bed too?”

And I said, “Of course sweetie! Your bed is next.”

And I was so very proud of myself for the next 3 minutes…until…

I attempted my climb to the top bunk which may as well have been Mount Everest. The top bunk is not built for Mom thighs. The ladder mocked me. “Oh, look…the big one is trying to climb us. Look guys, she can’t even figure it out. Seriously, she’s going to slip again.” So, when I reached the summit, imagine my shock.

It was like prison up there.

No sheet. 15 books under her pillow. No fitted sheet. No actual sheet. Did you hear me…NO SHEETS. And, we could talk about the mattress, but, I don’t want to. Because, it’s not even a mattress. It was a toddler bed pad – split into three separate sections. It’s thin and oh my God, I am the worst.

I said, “Ummm, you don’t have any sheets. How long have you been without sheets?”

She said, “I don’t know. A while, I think.”

I said, “Why are you sleeping on the thin bed pads? How did this happen?”

She said, “I think something happened when you were fixing the beds last time. I think you couldn’t finish? I don’t know. I don’t remember. It was a while ago.”

Her memoir, “I don’t remember. It was a while ago.” is sure to be the new Mommy Dearest.

NO MORE SHEETS. EVER!

The only thing missing up there was a metal cup for her to rattle against the bed guard.

Don’t worry, it gets better because the unused top bunk of my son’s bed was luxuriously appointed with a double mattress, an eggshell mattress topper, sheets, two pillows and several blankets so that the invisible person who sleeps there can get the good night’s sleep they so richly deserve.

I spent the next 2 hours dragging mattresses and fluffing pillows and rearranging bedding. I tucked corners and put the softest sheets I could find on poor Cinderella’s bed.

How did I miss this? For weeks *cough…months*. How is it possible? Right, the ladder. That bastard.

I give kisses at the bottom of the bed. Nobody puts baby in a corner unless it’s the corner of an unmade prison cot bunk bed.

Upside: I walked away with a new appreciation for my daughter. That girl is the opposite of a diva. She never complained. Not once. She never asked for a sheet. She never complained that her mattress pads were uncovered and probably drifting apart every night. She never balked or fussed or did anything but kiss us goodnight and climb up to her totally barren wasteland of a bed.

The old fable says that a princess would be able to feel a pea under a stack of dozens of mattresses, but, I’m pretty sure a real princess would do exactly what my daughter has done – kissed her family goodnight and made the best of things.

So, despite my utter failings and flailing, we have ourselves a bona fide princess.

I hope she marries royalty. We could all use some Egyptian cotton up in here.





Yes please and no thank you.

In my childhood homes, rudeness was not tolerated. My step-father was a drunk and therefore, we only had the space to tolerate his rudeness. He was also the tallest and brought home a paycheck; the grace to fail belonged only to him.

We answered the phone as follows: (Drunk step-dad’s last name) residence. May I ask who is calling?

We did not misbehave at restaurants.

We did not speak back…more than once.

We held doors and remained seated and spoke when spoken to; if spoken to.

It was very important to my step-father that we look presentable in public. Our hair was always brushed and we always wore lovely clothes when on family outings. Appearances mattered; more than anything. Because in a home like ours, the facade is the only thing that keeps the charade alive. “What a lovely family you have!” and we were so lovely and so incredibly sad.

We went on vacations and we even had the makings of what could have been an idyllic childhood – playing unsupervised for hours on end and into quiet nights in safe neighborhoods. A gang of children with scabby knees playing the most exciting game of Hide-and-Seek behind lamp posts and the neighbor’s garage doors.

But, my step-father was a drunk. And, when I think back on my childhood, that colors every photograph and every story and every pumpkin carving picture and every time we found him crying with my mother. The two of them moving somewhere new to make a happy life. And most of the time, we believed the move would change us. Until one day, we stopped believing.

I don’t begrudge my mother for doing the best that she could. I’m supposed to say that. It’s not true, I do. I have never felt so trapped in my life that I couldn’t leave. So, over the years, my hard edged anger toward my mother softened to pity. Pity feels far worse than anger. It sits uneasy on the soul.

And, I’ve spent so much time lately saying, “My step-dad was a drunk.” that I started to wonder why that mattered so much.

It’s because I’ve started to feel trapped in my own life. And, I’ve started to pity myself and pity is sitting uneasy on the soul.

I am not tethered to a bottle, but, I am tethered to this depression I can’t quite crawl out of. I’m tethered to self-doubt and self-restraint and self, self, self, selfish concentration on my current lack of happiness.

I do not want the kids to say, “My mother was always miserable.” which feels the same on my lips as does, “My step-dad was a drunk.”

So, this is what shame feels like and suddenly, my step-dad doesn’t seem like that villainous of a character; the dark-eyed dragon I always imagined him to be. I always thought he didn’t fight his demons hard enough. As if we had any sway over his unsavory passenger. I wonder if he felt as helpless as I often do about mine.

And how long do we have before the children stop believing that mom is doing the best she can?

Just please…don’t let it be today.





And let it begin with me.

Hands Free
Scream Free
Cry Free
BPA Free
Dye Free
GMO Free

Suddenly, parenting has picked up New Hampshire’s much loved state motto – Live free or die.

I’ve never been a free gal. I’ve always bent more toward moderation – organic Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the like.

Philosophically, I think it’s that I don’t love people telling me what to do; unless they came out of my vagina.

But more to the point, I don’t like negotiating with terrorists. Big corporations using our perpetual, undying love and infinity deep abyss of paternal guilt prompting us to say, “Shut up and take my money!”. All of this information at our fingertips; an abundant garden. So, when you know more, you worry more. When you worry more, you fling money. And, those lines of common sense become blurred. Necessity versus frivolity. We don’t know how to weed our garden.

So, we’ve started using uncommon sense to dictate our parenting choices – thereby lumping us in to minuscule genres of micro-management; wary-eyed over whether the fruit snacks are Annie’s Organics or *satan voice* Store Brand. When, guess what? All fruit snacks are crap. And, that’s ok. I love crap. My kids LOVE crap. Fruit snacks just aren’t important.

There are $42 organic cotton onesies and a lot of sneering at those who can’t afford to love their babies the way “we” do. Us and them. Organic versus conventional. Cotton versus polyester. Choosy moms no longer choose Jif but, they do care very deeply about your choice of peanut butter.

It’s a broken record. And, I so desperately want to change it. To fling it against the bow of a new ship; The S.S. Doing The Best I Can.

Just last week, I scrambled outside of my car – trying to determine if the snack I was bringing to a play group was acceptable. The peanuts were unsalted, but, there was some highly suspect Honey Nut cereal in there. Oooooh, and, did I buy the reduced sugar craisins? It’s the end of the common sense world as we know it…and I feel, incredibly guilty. Incredibly caught up in the very nonsense I rail against.

And this is how it continues to work. The doubt seed of “I’m not doing everything I can.” helps fuel the uncommon sense. Change needs to start with me. I need to look at what I bring to the table with gratitude instead of fear. Even if it’s just a small, snack table and even if it’s some non-organic, store-brand, full sugar craisins.

Because, I really and truly am doing the best I can. And because, you can’t purchase peace of mind. That needs to, organically, stem from me.