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.





Empty fridge and broken hangers.

Right now I have an empty fridge and I don’t mean an “Oh my God, please excuse the mess!” when your house is fucking perfect-empty kind of fridge. I mean, if you opened the door, there would be several bottles of salad dressing and some pickles and the sad soup I tried to make out of our Thanksgiving leftovers that I’m just going to call, “Well, I tried.” Come on over and get your hot, fresh cup of Well, I tried!

I could have gone to the store today, but, instead, I spent the entire morning putting away clothes. 3 hours of bin sorting and shirt shaking and hangers under beds including the few broken ones I found hidden in the stuffed animal bin because my kids know that I will, in fact, flip out if you break perfectly good hangers because you are too lazy to lift your hanger out of your closet.

By the way, money still does not grow on trees kids and even your crappy plastic hangers are worth something.

But, I can’t blame them because we’re all lazy right now. They’re too lazy not to pull their clothes off of hangers with such force that plastic shatters and I’m too lazy to go to the store. I’m finding we’re all shifting our priorities.

For dinner, I found a bag of frozen ravioli in the back of the freezer and I took the last of the very stale bread and made croutons for the sad, lonely bag of pre-chopped lettuce that expires tomorrow. And this is the best I can do today.

Also, we got the tree today. The tree this year is small in comparison and eldest complained about the size and I was disappointed that lately I see my failures in her words and action. Because that shit stings. Seeing your failure and then riding home with it and then tucking it into bed and still telling it you love it because you do and because you have to. It’s yours, after all.

So, I have this feeling of “Whoa.” now that the small-ish tree is up and those kids are finally in bed and I don’t have to face my failure again until tomorrow morning.

And for anyone reading this thinking, “Stop being so hard on yourself!”, please know that I’m not disappointed with how things are going. This is where you say, “What?” No really, I’m actually quite pleased with the empty fridge and the little bit of growing pains/attitude from the small person I sometimes want to strangle.

It’s all so fantastic and awful all at once. I know she won’t remember complaining about the tree and they won’t remember the empty fridge. Shit, they’ll probably even sing my praises to their college roomies, “My mom made her own croutons!” like it was more Pinterest-y than Necessity.

And even with the empty fridge and the sometimes shitty kids, we want for nothing. We have it all. The little house and a lot of love and those crappy moments are so startling because, really, they just aren’t happening enough to become our normal.

The fact that the empty fridge and shitty attitudes still startle me is good. It means we’re mostly not empty and shitty.

And something about that feels so right.





Are those Mom Jeans or are you just terribly unhappy to see me.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The drunk cooking, the thinly veiled passive aggressive comments from your mother-in-law about the state of your marriage, and all of the knock-down, drag-out street fights on the Food Network about whether to brine your turkey or just smear 15 pounds of butter on your ass and call it a day.

Tradition.

The other tradition in my home is to pull out my hidden pair of maternity jeggings, to match them with an oversized blouse and pretend not to be ashamed of myself while I have, “Ok, just one more teeny-tiny slice of pie.”

Thanksgiving pants. They’re a thing.

Thanksgiving pants made me think about mom jeans and thinking about mom jeans made me happy. Because I’m a kid of the 80s; don’t judge me.

And the only thing that could make me happier than thinking about mom jeans is asking my friends to actually put on their hidden mom jeans and send me pictures.

So, I partnered with my brilliant, comedienne friend Nicole Leigh Shaw to bring the sexy back to mom jeans.

We’re bringing mom jeans back
Them other pants, they don’t know how to act
We think it’s special, where’s your fanny pack?
Please put it on because your waistband’s whack

Sorry, JT.

Without further ado, here’s your slice of Thanksgiving happy with a side of implied camel toe.

Welcome to She Said/She Said, the Mom Jean Edition!

Acid Washed Magazine Spread Janel

She said: This reminds me of that scene in Blazing SaddleBags. Wait, that’s not a real movie, right? Well, after seeing this, it should be. HAWT. @BPMbadassmama

She said: The 80s called, they want their hair band mixed tape back. @NicoleLeighShaw

Every Inch Mom Magazine Spread Jess

She Said: Talk about a serious case of the dingleberries. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: You’ve got a little something . . . right . . . everywhere. @NicoleLeighShaw

Jorts Magazine Spread Rebecca

She Said: It’s a crocheted Christmas vest miracle. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: I had the same turtleneck! When I was 10! @NicoleLeighShaw

Elastic Magazine Spread Kim 2

She Said: The V in the front of these mom jeans is great because I know I always want people to have their eyes directed toward my vagina. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: There’s a fine line between sassy mother and unmedicated mother. @NicoleLeighShaw

Retro High Waist Magazine Spread Ellen

She Said: I think we should just skip to the punchline and call these the Levis 5-0-NationalGeographic. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: When you absolutely, positively, need to keep your saggy belly in check. @NicoleLeighShaw

Maternity Magazine Spread Robyn

She Said: Listen, people get all bent out of shape if you wear maternity pants when you’re not pregnant but, that’s only because they didn’t think of it first. #HatersGonnaHate @BPMbadassmama

She Said: Maybe she’s 4 months pregnant, maybe she had a baby four years ago, only her OB knows for sure. @NicoleLeighShaw

Tight White Magazine Spread Susan

She Said: This mom is on FIRE. No, I mean seriously…her crotch is on fire. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: Now this is how you toast a muffin top. @NicoleLeighShaw

Cut Offs Magazine Spread Bethany

She Said: Having my husband help me with this photo shoot is just another form of birth control. Thanks, Mom Jorts! @BPMbadassmama

She Said: Remember ladies: the best accessory for high-waisted cut-offs is a manic expression. @NicoleLeighShaw

Jeggings Magazine Spread Nicole

She Said: You could fit so many bad decisions in the extended crotch length of these pants. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: Jeggings are a mom’s way of saying, “At least they aren’t yoga pants.” @NicoleLeighShaw

Vest Belt Roll Magazine Spread Kerry

She Said: This brings back so many suppressed memories. What therapy couldn’t uncover, this tight-roll did. @BPMbadassmama

She Said: It’s not everyone who can pull of a sweater vest, puffed cap sleeves, a tight roll, and a belted mom jean. Wait, no, that’s not right. I remember now. It’s not ANYONE who can do that. @NicoleLeighShaw

Get MORE Thanksgiving on with Nicole Leigh Shaw here: http://www.nicoleleighshaw.com/2014/11/what-to-do-if-your-turkey-is-jacked-up.html





And there you have it.

Balance, the myth and the wonder.

When I was home full-time, my house was a mess. I had days of complete shut-down. I’d be in my pajamas, working constantly and unwilling to work on myself. Showering was optional. The laundry would get done. The chaos would swirl as swiftly as I let it. I was so busy keeping people alive; literally catching children as they jumped off of counters that were too high for them to climb. It was all or nothing. At the end of the day, I’d collapse into a pile of flannel and think about what I’d accomplished. We all lived another day. Success.

I’m at work full-time now. My house is a mess. The laundry trails down stairways, but, my hair looks awesome. I’m working constantly and not showering isn’t an option anymore. I have to look presentable even while my home life resembles ancient ruins. Something resembling organization once happened here. Now, it’s the constant clicking of a clock telling us we’re late…again. We’re always late and it’s bills I find under other neglected mail and they are, for the first time in years, well, what do you know…late. It’s missed doctors appointments and mildew on a shower curtain that I painfully and purposefully ignore; hoping I find some internal well of give-a-shit that loves bleach and the pride that comes after cleaning things.

I’ve been on this hamster wheel for a long time and I’ve begged the universe, internet and friends for answers. Balance…I want it. I need it. It doesn’t fucking exist.

The thing about this whole idea of being everywhere and everything to everyone at the same time OR, the further idea of doing pieces of all of these things in a timely manner and, by the way, exceptionally well is my own personal, pretty unicorn.

It’s like someone once wrote on my brain with permanent marker: “Balance is rewarded to those who try the mostest hardest!” and I’ve been staring at this unkind graffiti for so long that I actually believe it.

Because if I just worked harder or longer or cleaned more efficiently or ate more locally sourced food or gave more of my income to charity or knew more about the political landscape or stopped buying Honey Nut Cheerios or invested in the right pair of jeans for my ass size, I’d be a better person. I’d be a more balanced person.

But, despite the brainffiti, the thing that life and this world keep telling me is that in order to do something, you must give something else up and when you give something up, you can’t be expected to find some sort of suppressed ZEN in doing something you once did really well in a really half assed way. You can’t do all things well because the world gives and takes and perfection must always be denied. Because we’re human and it needs to be this way for us to grow.

I imagine that one day my house will be incredibly clean and I’ll have really nice stoneware. I imagine we’ll travel and eat fancy cheese and maybe one or both of us will have gotten our shit together enough to have a viable retirement plan. I can see this. And, I can also see that my kids will be gone and a part of me will probably really want to see dirty socks trailing down my stairs. But, you can’t have it all. Balance is absurd.

Right now, I just want to figure out how to grocery shop on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday and how to make sure we don’t get down to just one diaper before realizing we’re also out of toilet paper.

It’s just going to have to be chaos and no matter how desperately I look for balance, it’s never going to return my calls.

It would probably call right at dinner and try to sell me something anyway.





Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.

My son melted the frickety-fuck down at a Target check-out last weekend. But, that’s ok because it was the day after Halloween and the entire world was there to buy Goldfish crackers at a deep discount because there were bats on the packaging. I’m not going to lie, a lot of frugal shoppers witnessed our ceremonial dance.

Pre-meltdown: I offered popcorn. He whined about wanting vanilla milk. I said, “Ok, nothing then.” and he was displeased.

Hulk-level displeased.

He began screaming and proceeded to do a quick *wap-wap-wap* like a friendly knock on the door…except he was knocking on my stomach…with his head. The looks immediately started. I’m used to all of the looks. They are as consistent as the rising sun.

1) Pity
2) Disgust
3) “My child would NEVER.”

and my favorite

4) Amusement

In these moments – when I find myself firmly between a rock and hard place; I canvas the crowd, searching for just one amused face.

Because life is amusing. Even when your son is physically assaulting you in a sea of Halloween markdowns.

One amused face reminded me to loosen my death grip on my son’s wrist. I was dragging. He was pulling. We were getting nowhere.

One lady was smiling. It spoke to me and it said important stuff about wisdom and the passage of time. Someone else had survived something similar and something about watching us lock horns churned up some sort of happiness in her.

The woman in the far right check-out line looked right at me and smiled, lowered her head back toward her basket, chuckled and kept right on living.

Like it was no big deal.

I leaned down and did my best impression of a person with lockjaw. “Don’t you EVER hit me again. Ever.”

I was so damn angry. I could barely see straight. Still, that woman’s smile was as comforting as hot cocoa right after ice skating.

Life’s too short to be so damn worried about the lady at Target with the screaming kid and it’s definitely too short to scan the crowds for judgment and pity.

And, besides all of that, it’s much too lonely if you don’t search for the amused face in the crowd.

You can count on two things. Someone will be judging you and, someone will be laughing while you drag a toddler wearing one shoe from underneath a garment rack. Look for the smiling people.

My son better not ever hit me again. But, if he loses his shit in a Payless and clubs me with a shoe horn, somebody…throw a girl a chuckle.

Yours in good times and bad,
BPM





A raging case of The Mondays.

When Mommy Shorts contacted me about participating in her Monday Mornings campaign with Allstate, I was admittedly on the fence. But, there was something so lovely about the transparency of the series that spoke to me. Ilana of Mommy Shorts started Monday Mornings to showcase the hidden beauty in the Monday morning routines and rituals of families through the literal lens of another. It often takes a totally foreign perspective to get us to say, “I’m a good mom. I’m doing alright with my small people.” So, I said, “Yes” and Allstate said, “A woman named Bad Parenting Moments? What could possibly go wrong? Yes!” and like that, an unlikely partnership formed.

As I drew closer to my Monday morning coffee date with all of you, I started to get unbelievably and insanely nervous. Photos of the piles of shoes on our floor? Photos of my bedhead? Photos of me pouring cereal when I should’ve, could’ve made scrambled eggs? The inevitable photo of me pointing with utter exasperation to the back door – 5 minutes late and no one has their damn socks on? Why? Why would I do that?

And then I said, why wouldn’t I do that? I share so much with all of you. Why wouldn’t I share my family and our bruised and battered Monday? So, here it is. Our Monday morning with cream and 1 sugar.

Through the chaos, I found moments of real beauty; emphasis on the REAL. And it struck me how Allstate’s mantra of Keeping you in Good Hands and Helping you live the Good Life, is eerily similar to my Monday morning mantra. In the few, minuscule moments of quiet; before the house stumbles awake, I always ask for patience. I ask for the ability to be the best mother I can be. I ask for the grace to forgive myself when I, undoubtedly, fail. I ask for the good life for my children. I ask for the universe to hold them safely in her hands. I ask for the ability to find joy in simplicity and I ask for my children to thrive despite my many shortcomings. I fit a lot of asking into those two minutes.

So, here we go….

A big pile of my family’s Monday on your doorstep. Thank you for being a part of our day. (photo credit and huge, loving thanks to Belinda Lashway)

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Want more? Of course you do. Here are a few of my absolute favorite Monday Morning posts:

Monday morning with Shaneka

Monday morning with Sara

Monday morning with Laura





“Why I do that?”

There was this PBS documentary mini-series titled: Mormons.  I had to watch it. I was two glasses of wine in and walking the line between buzzed and pretentious buzzed. “Oh yes, a PBS documentary. What else would I watch?” *adjusts imaginary glasses*

Because if you watch a PBS documentary while buzzed, and no one is there to admire your choice in programming, does the tree falling in the middle of an empty forest make a sound?

I argue that of course it still counts when you incorrectly recount the facts of said documentary later that year at holiday parties. It still counts.

And I wondered if I was watching the documentary because I wanted to or because someone once told me that well-rounded people watch documentaries. Honestly, I couldn’t be sure exactly why I was watching it. I couldn’t differentiate between my likes and desires and the desires of “the panel”. I always imagine there is an invisible panel…monitoring the decisions we make. Holding up numbers; grading our performance.

Grilled cheese and carrot sticks for dinner? 4.5

Cereal? 0.9

PBS documentary watching? 7.5

I’ve never medaled in anything.

But this whole idea of why we do things…this has been consistently gnawing at me for a few months. Do I do anything for the pure joy of it? Do I stop and say, “Fuck it! I don’t care that laundry is smothering my will to live. I don’t care that my toilet bowl looks like a Before shot. I don’t fucking care!”

But, I do care. I just don’t know why I care.

So, I’ve been breaking it down. I’ve been thinking, hard, about why and to what benefit and, how this relates to womanhood and personhood and motherhood.

I’ve been mostly considering how it relates to my reign as dictator over these four, small people. It’s not a democracy. They had no choice. It’s just me. I’m the hand they were dealt.

And because my desire to become a mother was so primal, it felt less like a choice than a reckoning. I HAD to be a mother. It wasn’t a choice. It was a calling. My bones told me I had to be one and so, I obliged. You don’t ever say no to your bones.

But, the rest of motherhood doesn’t feel like that. It taunts you because there are no right answers. You don’t feel it “in your bones” when it’s time to talk to them about sex or drugs or toxic friendships. Your bones don’t jump in to help when they tell you they hate you or ask you to stop dancing because the mere idea of you moving makes them want to dig their eyes out with a spoon. Your bones forsake you and then, it’s just YOU and THEM and nobody has the answers (no matter how many organic crackers you bought when they were toddlers).

And they are always asking you “WHY?” as well. Like we have any idea at all.

When my eldest was about 16 months old, she ate her own poop. I walked in and she was in a shit covered room, with a shit filled diaper turned upside down on a shit stained floor. She was in hysterics screaming, “I eat it! WHY I DO THAT?”

My bones didn’t help out then either.

That’s just it, we don’t know “why we do that”.

And we are always looking for answers. Begging for answers. TELL ME THE PARENTING ANSWERS. Fuck it. There are none.

There’s just your toddler eating poop and you wondering if you can bleach your baby and then figuring it out as you go.

There is no why. There are no answers.

Fuck it. You can do laundry tomorrow.

Your bones will help you push the “dry-clean only” comforter into the washing machine.

 

 

 





1/3 of a cup.

1/3 of a cup. That’s all it takes.

I was rinsing out a pesto jar. It was greasy and filthy and I was tired of making dinner. I filled it 1/3rd of the way with warm water, gave it a few “I mean it” swishes and, voila, clean. It’s like nothing every happened. It’s like it was always new and clean and waiting to be filled.

All in all, yesterday was a great first day of school. Except that my son had to be peeled from my body. I rushed our goodbye hug so I could hug crying grandmothers as they dropped off their school-aged grandchildren.

I did not cry.

I did, however, make a few mistakes at work. I neglected to order lunch for the same son that so desperately needed me to not forget his lunch. I was too busy ordering the lunches for the crying grandmothers’ grandchildren. Lunchtime came and my son’s teacher let me know, “Don’t even worry about it. There was an extra sandwich.” But, of course I worried. One day in, I’m the mom who forgot lunch.

Still, I did not cry.

I also forgot snacks. For all four of my children. At this point, I looked down at my dress and my appropriately-high-heels and I wondered if I was selfish that morning; I took the extra 10 minutes to look good. If I’d spent 5 less minutes trying to cover the 8-year-old bags under my eyes, would I have remembered snacks?

It’s doubtful.

Now would have been a great time to cry. Even still, no tears.

I pulled as far as I could into the driveway of my youngest’s daycare. I put the air on full blast and ran to the back gate just 10 feet and a world away from my car. I left the other children in their seats. I couldn’t even entertain the idea of having them enter the yard with happy, sunbathed toddlers. I could see the future – my next 40 minutes bribing children to leave a swing set. My heels had already lived their 8 hours and an eternity on my feet. I said, “I’ll be right back.” and with an ever so small eye twitch, I walked away from the car. Fortunately, the “baby” ran right to me. I grabbed her, waved and left. I barely acknowledged the women who had loved my daughter all day long.

Even still, the kids are all fine. No snack? No lunch? No problem.

But, there was something about the way the pesto left the jar.

I cried.

If you just consider what we have to work with and how much we have to do…my insides felt so sticky. The more I tried to succeed, the more I failed. And while failure is so very human, it is also so very disappointing.

But still, failure is key.

Huddled masses of new people watched me fail. I had two choices: I could accept it or, I could deny it. I chose to admit it…hopeful that with acceptance came the 1/3rd cup of water that would rinse me clean.

I don’t feel quite so sticky anymore.

This morning, I ordered my son’s lunch. I remembered snacks. I am still human. I am still flawed.

And this new school year brought so much growth. Instead of trying to be perfect, I said, “Here I am, all sticky and imperfect! I forget my kids’ lunches and I’m sometimes a mess. I like you just the way you are. I hope you’ll like me just the way I am too.”

I promise I’ll forget snacks at least 45 more times until June.

I love my kids. My kids love me just the way I am.

And it only takes just the tiniest bit of water to wash ourselves clean.

Hello, my name is Bethany and I’m going to sometimes get it right. I’ll mostly get it wrong. I like you just the way you are. I hope you’ll like me just the way I am too.