I’ve had one hell of a week. Highlights included two trips to the emergency room and one doctor’s visit that ended in an ambulance ride while Buttercup sucked on a lollipop the nurses gave her to distract from the chaos. No need to worry…I’m not the one who was racking up frequent flyer points with my insurance company. That honor goes to HC Palmquist. I was just the lucky bastard who got to play taxi. I’ll be back later with more on the newly discovered lack of gluten free options and the obviously full stash of high fructose corn syrup filled juices that seem to the norm for emergency room patients (at least, at the two hospitals we ended up at), but for now I’ve called in an old favorite to pinch hit for me while I go try out this new fangled sleep thing all the kids are talking about.

***

@aspiringmama: And? 1 work call, work research, 2 toddler tantrums, and a last nerve in a pear tree…

I wonder how she does it.
You know who I’m talking about. That mom. The one with the (work at home/boardroom/restaurant bartender/6 kids and no back up because Her Husband works all day and half the night to support them?)
How does she keep it all together? How does she not…lose…her…fucking…mind?
Her house might be a bit on the Martha Stewart Does Not Live Here list. Her meals are not always gourmet. And her kids might leave the house in yesterday’s clothing sometimes.
But she’s okay with it.
That’s the part that gets me.
She. Is. Ok. With. Imperfection.
And because she embraces the crazy, she has time for herself. And doesn’t tell the kids that Mommy Needs Another Minute as often as I do.
Forget the dishes in the sink. They can wait. Let’s play make believe.
Screw the laundry pile on the couch. She has a workout to squeeze in before her (deadline/husband gets home/kids lose interest in the movie she popped in the DVD player to buy herself some peace/roast needs to be pulled out of the oven.)
Who cares about the dust on the blinds. The dogs need a walk and She has been meaning to make time to call her Best Friend on Skype so She and The Kids can catch up with Those That Matter on the Other Side of the Universe.
That mom doesn’t eat, beathe, and live her To-Do List. It’s merely a suggestion for what she might want to try to accomplish today. Not the Do or Die that must be accomlished at all costs…including sleep and her sanity.
She remembers to set up her bills on auto-pay so She has one less thing to have to try to remember in between Mommy and I wanna
She has learned the fine art of making it look like she understands the concept of that Balance thing. A few minutes on her (writing project/treadmill/call from The Boss) and it’s back to Quality Time with the Kids.
That mom doesn’t have to remind herself that there are roses to stop and smell because she also happens to have her own garden, blooming and beautiful.
And somehow, between dinners and bath times and reminders to brush teeth and arguments about which pair of princess pajamas must be worn tonight, between story time and sneaking out after they fall asleep and catching up on her favorite TV show, That Mom has managed to slip into her bed with a cozy book and a nice glass of wine (make mine a double, please). She falls asleep quickly, not worrying about how far behind herself she already is before even waking up the next morning and instead, savoring the moments she made for herself and her family that very day.
That Mom would think This Mom is crazy for thinking she has it all together. And she would be partially right. I know she doesn’t. I know her life is her own special brand of insanity. I know she wonders how Other Mothers aren’t wondering where they left their last nerve because she can’t find hers. And Other Mothers are looking at themselves, asking themselves why no one told them the truth about that If You Can Handle a Dog, You Can Handle a Kid bullshit because dogs are easier, assholes. (and houseplants? Are just made of awesome.)
All I want to know is, how did That Mom learn to love and live the crazy in order to enjoy the now? How many martinis, Serenity Prayers, and Hail Mary’s did it take for her to…
Just Be?
I won’t lie.
Every night, when I drag myself to bed 3 hours later than planned because Just One More Thing needed to be done, I wonder…
How does she do it?

 

I just had sex with my husband on doctor’s orders because my ovaries finally decided to kick out a few follicles that might turn into eggs that might turn into a baby or quite possibly a litter and I’ve got to tell ya, I’m not sure if I’m rooting for Team Infertility or Team Modern Medicine to come out the victor. The first I already know and can handle. The second is shiny, new, and…

I can’t wrap my mind around what I don’t know.

Disclaimer: Wait, what? Me? Sex? With my husband? If you know me in real life from before social media existed, please stab yourself in the eyeballs with the nearest semi-sharp object and let yourself continue to believe that we brought Buttercup home with us after holding hands while skipping through a cabbage patch field.

Of course, the deed *ahem* has been done and I can’t undo whatever fate may have in store for us anymore than that hairdresser at Great Clips can emotionally unscar the teenage boy who broke into tears after she complimented him on his new Justin Bieber-esque look before he left with his mother who kept reassuring him that he and every other boy in America or at least Tucson younger than 20 do not, in fact, look like Belieber groupies in denial.

Even though he totally did.

I can’t undo. And it’s not the um, doctors-orders-homework that has me all a titter. Life is good in the land of The Married. He drives me crazy. I drive him crazy. And when things get boring we pretend to argue just to spice it up a bit. The issue that has me wondering WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DO? is the fact that I may have voluntarily and irrevocably changed the simple reality I know and love for allowing me to not go any crazier than I already am.

She can walk. She can talk. And she’s fairly self-sufficient on the potty front. She goes to school a few hours for a few days a week and makes herself laugh silly with really bad knock-knock jokes. She’s four going on fourteen going on forty and she’s the miracle we waited almost two years for that I didn’t know would become the reality I wanted until I held her in my arms for the first time because I’m the kind of person who is so afraid of change that I’ve trained my brain not to want the unknown and instead accept the new today once the wind has already changed direction.

It’s true. I don’t want to go to Paris or Italy or dream of cruises or tropical islands because I have never experienced them. I have no desire to try something crazy just so I can say I did it because that would require planning and foresight and a willingness to not be so rigid but if I happen to be out on the town with a friend and she decided on a whim to stop in a piercing shop I can’t promise I won’t come home without a dainty little nose piercing. I didn’t plan my wedding as a girl growing up or sign my name with the Crush of the Week’s in doodle hearts while dating because I that would have required me dreaming about What If instead of focusing on What Was. And when I finally came to the moment where The Boyfriend became The Fiance who became The Husband as I walked down the aisle to become The Wife, I was In Love and In Awe and In Flux between states of complete calm because Life was Happening and Utter Terror because Life was Happening.

It wasn’t until the day after graduating high school, arriving on my college campus, graduating with honors, starting my first job, moving in with The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband, pushing the baby out, moving cross-country Anything Important that Has Happened in My Life that I’ve had pretty much the same thought process work itself out in my mind: That wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be, you jackass. Well, except for maybe the pushing the baby thing out. She was totally worth it but Dude! That pretty much sucked. This is what was meant to be and where I was meant to end up. This moment is magic and I really need to lighten up and allow more magic to just spontaneously happen because that’s how life works.

I know this. And yet, I sit here…wondering what I want the doctor to tell me when it’s time for results and how I will react. Wondering if I can love another baby as much as I love the miracle that already is. Wondering if I am enough to mother more than once child and nurture them both completely in the way that is singularly unique to their own beings and needs without falling short and thinking I should have quit while I was ahead.

I wonder because I don’t know. And I won’t know until tomorrow comes. Until then, I concentrate on this breath…

And then the next…

 

I’m normally a Nook kind of girl. And my first question to author Meagan Francis via Twitter after seeing one of her national television interviews promoting The Happiest Mom was to ask how long I would have to wait to download a copy.

Which-side note here- was just an awesome example of the immediacy of social media. I think Meagan was still at the studio when she tweeted back. And that’s when I looked at The Husband and was all, “See? I am having An Actual Conversation with a real published author who WAS JUST ON TV. How cool am I?”

About a week later I found myself at Barnes and Noble and decided to just buy a hard copy of The Happiest Mom. What sold me? The cover. See that So Cute it Makes You Happy Just to Look At It book at the top of this blog post? ? Yeah…trust me. I’ve had the book for about a month now and I still find myself smiling involuntarily when I happen to see that pretty mix of happy on my desk.

What’s even better is that it’s not a book full of empty promises or Let Me Tell You Why My Way is Better empty promises wrapped in a pretty package. The Happiest Mom is more like a rational girlfriend who dishes advice that makes sense without making you feel like she is being preachy or judgmental because SHE GETS WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM.

I’m a mother of one. I am in constant awe of moms of More Than One and sometimes find myself wondering how my own mother never had to get fitted in a white coat raising five girls. And I will gladly admit here that part of the reason I still have only one (she’s almost four years old now) is because I constantly find myself torn between feelings of inadequacy (How can I handle more kids if I can’t keep it together with one?) and frustration (How can I handle more kids if I can barely keep it together with one?) Bottom line? I love my kid but I can’t honestly say I’m happier as a mom than I was Before Baby. How can I be? I have so much to do!

My to-do list is living (and breathing) document on my smart phone, and I am not exaggerating when I say that if I don’t type in Remember to Breath after Wash Laundry, Put Laundry in Dryer, Take Laundry Out of Dryer, and Fold Laundry, I don’t remember to do it. I am overly anxious and freak out when the slightest thing doesn’t go according to plan. And I am always frantically running around trying to remember where I left my bank card. (Last time I lost it when I decided to mark my place in The Happiest Mom. Yeah, I know. The Husband told me my life would be so much easier if I just took five seconds now to get off the couch and put the card back in my wallet instead an hour of driving to the bank and back home to get a another replacement, too. He also told me to breathe, take some time for myself, and stop wishing my stress away. I told him to shove it.)

Then Megan told me (in her book) that part of one of her secrets to being a happier mom is to take time now to do that extra step, like putting the laundry away right after folding it instead of leaving it in a pile on top of your dresser and leaving a bigger mess for later. She also suggests breathing, taking some time for myself, and to think of happiness as a skill that would be a benefit to everyone in my family if I mastered (Think Go with the Flow). And I nodded my head and declared her a genius for thinking up such original advice.

That’s when The Husband told me to shove it.

The Happiest Mom is full of gems and broken up into ten chapters in which Meagan shares her secrets to staying sane (and smiling) while raising her own brood of five. Love Your Life, Make Your Bed, and Aim Low, Go Slow are just a few examples of the discussion topics Meagan leads with a rare but welcome blend of authority and warmth. Never once does Meagan suggest she knows all leaving you with the feeling that she is telling you why her way is better and yours is not. Instead, she shares the happiness skills she has learned along the way (like figuring out your Must Do’s on your To-Do list and saying To Hell with The Rest) and offers suggestions on how to incorporate them into your own life and what works for you.

Buy it. Read it. Love it.

And then send a tweet to Meagan Francis or leave a comment on her blog letting her know how happy you are.

I did.

***

Ready for the good stuff? You know…the part where I tell you to leave a comment sharing the one change you’d like to make in your life to become a happier mom and I tell you that two winners will be selected next week to receive copies of The Happiest Mom? Yeah…that part.

Make sure I can get in touch with you via twitter, facebook, or email if you win! Contest will close at midnight, EST, on Wednesday, May 4.

 

I need a platform.
And while Platform The Secret Agent Monkey seems to have taken over my blog, I doubt he alone is going to make me Famous Enough to get an agent or a book deal. But don’t tell The Husband that. I’m still working on convincing him that I need a finger monkey or my dreams will never come true.
Until that happens, I need to come up with some other Platform Building plans. Right now I am considering any and all of the following:

*Move to Jersey Shore. Make friends with Snooki. Steal a Bumpit. Make it work with my Mexifro. Say something to piss Snooki off (on camera, of course) and let her beat me up (on camera, of course). When she offers hush money to keep me from suing, I counter offer with a contract with her agent and give her back the Bumpit I stole from her dressing room. It didn’t work for me, anyway. Then? Wait for book deal.
*Divorce The Husband. Move to Hollywood. Shack up with a Rock Star. Divorce Rock Star after granting exclusive interviews to the paparazzi hiding in my garbage cans. Move back in with The Husband (who was totally in on the plan) and grant more exclusive interviews to the paparazzi I invited over for pizza. Wait for book deal.
*Get pregnant with 15 babies at the same time. Force The Husband into a reality show he wants nothing to do with. Make sure to get all the free plastic surgery I can while my 15 minutes is still riding strong and a few more when no one will touch me except for my garbage paparazzi crew. But I draw the line at the reverse claw mullet. My Mexifro already has enough “character.” Wait for book deal.
*A murder rap. Wait for book deal.
*Buttercup’s cute enough, me thinks. Talk The Husband into moving to Questionable Parenting-ville so we can join up with the Toddlers and Tiara’s circuit. I figure just a few appearances is enough to get my name out there before Buttercup is scarred for life. (side note: this plans is banking on a sizable advance, since I’m gonna need a chunk to spring for the preventative therapy to keep my kid from going all Celebrity Rehab on me when she gets older as payback.) Also? Wait for book deal.
*Rob a bank. Get lipo and a boob life. And a tummy tuck. Oh, and cap my baby teeth.  Approach Sports Illustrated and get the cover. Parlay that experience into a television show host gig. Divorce The Husband so I can hook up with an ex-actor-turned-musician who is now only famous in Europe and in the States for being married to me. Wait for book deal.
*Buy a time machine with the leftover funds from the bank heist. Become a cute child actor who grows up to be a messed up adult who also happens to be broke now because I spent my millions on too much crack and crystal meth. Clean myself up, find and marry The Husband, have my Buttercup, and hire a ghost writer to pen my story, because being famous once is usually Famous Enough for a memoir to actually happen, even if it’s socially acceptable to not even be expected to write it yourself. And? I probably wouldn’t have to wait very long for that book deal.

I’m still working out the kinks, of course. The Husband is being all You’re crazy and Just Be Patient and You wrote a great book and it’s cute, but seriously?

I’m just me. I’m not a name. After I end up on the cover of The National Enquirer?

Oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Platform? Here I come.

 

@aspiringmama: Comedy of Errors. I can’t even send a tweet…

*My head jerks up from the phone I am trying to tweet on when Buttercup lets out a shriek of pain

*Princess o Mine has not grasped the concept of looking where she is going

*Ever

*So she smacked her forehead on the back of the dining table chair

*Just as Nana and one of The Aunt’s had connected with The Husband on Facetime for an iPod chat

*Which was supposed to happen while I tried to unpack from a little trip, write a blog post, make dinner, and unload and reload the dishwasher

*Instead I was cuddling my screaming child and icing her forehead because she has the observation skills of a blind monkey and listening to the pathetic wails of the puppy who is trying his damnedest to tell his human sister that he’s all about solidarity.

“No, no, it’s ok,” I hear The Husband say into the iPod as he walks away from the sad symphony of crazy, “Little One just smacked her face when she wasn’t paying attention. She gets that from Pauline.”

Liar! I have a killer attention spa…

*The dish washer buzzes, interrupting my thoughts, instantly making me forget why I was just pissed off at The Husband. I blink, soothe the child, and deposit her on the couch with one of the new Tokens of Spoyalty purchased for her on our little trip, and quickly address the dishes

Mama!

Dammit! Ok…

*Kiss, kiss, hug, hug

*Get dinner going

*Stress out while stressing out thinking of the rest of the to-do list

*Like the taxes

*My mom’s taxes

*Buttercup and her month of barely any school thanks to conferences and half-days

*and

*My slowly loosening grip on reality

Baby, come upstairs with Mama so I can get the clothes put away.

*And I grab the now empty bags from the trip to deposit in the closet, hand Buttercup off to The Husband, who is still talking to his mom and sister, and run back downstairs to check on dinner.

*Shit

*The dish washer needs to be unloaded again

*And it’s been 30 minutes since the last time Buttercup tried to go potty

Sweeter! Get her on the toilet!

*I don’t wait for a response to my shrieked demand up the stairs

*Instead I walk back into the kitchen, feed the dogs, and plate the food, pour the milk, and scream up the stairs again to let Buttercup and The Husband know it’s time to eat.

*As they make their way downstairs, I glance at the liquor cabinet and sigh wistfully.

Mama! It’s time to eat! Yay!

*Which means more dishes. Yay! And I still need to send that tweet.

I reach for my phone to finish my thought. From 49 minutes ago.

…without losing my mind.

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