Places not to poop. A group text.

AA: There was a poop the shower at my gym. I go to Equinox for fuck’s sake.

Me: Noooooo. That hasn’t even happened at my Work Out World.

DD: At a place like Equinox it was probably fancy body cream.

AA: Where can I get more of this all natural exfoliant?

BB: This is why I don’t go the gym.

AA: Gag Reflexing is the new ab workout.

Me: I have a million questions for this person. If I could interview anyone in the world, it wouldn’t be Hillary Clinton or Valadmir Putin, it would be fancy gym pooper.

DD: I shit the bed last year so I can’t really judge this person. But if I’m going to shit myself at least I have the decency to do it in my bed next to my husband.

Me: Right!! You should teach etiquette lessons to this lady. Lesson one: Where to shit.

DD: In Bed. In your underwear. Or your son’s diaper.

Me: If she answers the gym shower. She is wrong.

Me: My gym does not have this problem, though they did recently have to put up a sign that says “No Shaving” on the sauna. Followed by a “No Eating” sign.

AA: It sounds like your interview schedule is very rapidly filling up. Shitting in the shower is much more reasonable than shaving or eating in the sauna.

AA: Did I say something wrong?

Me: Call me old fashioned but I think a shower shit is the most unreasonable.

Me: It’s basically the only thing I learned in middle school.

 

 

Neighborhood moms

Growing up I was a bit of a ‘latch key’ kid. My mom (who was amazing) was the primary breadwinner and my dad worked a lot on clean energy initiatives but I never felt alone because I had Renee-my neighborhood mom.

Neighborhood moms are unsung heros of a working class neighborhood. They often have the same or less in terms of income yet they give their most important resource: their time.

Renee was a hero: a hero to a group of kids who needed someone to simply be there. Renee wasn’t perfect, she smoked and cursed and I’m sure her food wasn’t organic but she cooked for us, opened up her small basement apartment to us and was there if anyone needed a bandaid or an emergency ice cream sandwich.

There’s a lot of pressure to try to be perfect but there is a saying ‘done is better then perfect’ and Renee wasn’t always perfect but she was always there. Trying.  And that means more then I could ever say.

When I first met Renee she was  a young single mother to her son Billy. I had no comprehension of how hard that must of been for her. I only knew if I had a problem what door I could knock on. If I missed the bus, she would be the first person I told knowing she would drive me. She might be complaining the whole time but she would always take me. She was a constant figure in the neighborhood; giving out freeze pops, helping with homework, taking our neighborhood gang of misfits to beach and screaming at us if we went in too deep. She was and is the best example of “It takes a village”. She was the heart of our village. She was our angel. Our loud mouthed, Kool smoking, “this math is too hard for a fucking fifth grader” angel.

But eventually our neighborhood disbanded. People moved away. Renee got married. Inherited two step children.

Then it happened. Seven years ago Renee’s only biological son, Billy, was diagnosed with brain cancer. For seven years Renee fought for him and with him. She fought with a love that was both terrifying and awe inspiring. He died at 29. A week before Christmas.

I don’t know how to express how sad I am for her. I look at my son and can’t begin to imagine her pain. I just don’t want her to ever feel alone. They say a happy childhood lasts forever and to a group of kids in a working class neighborhood, she gave us that happy childhood.

Renee will never get the recognition she deserves and neither will the other neighborhood moms of the world but please know that those little lives you touched will be forever grateful. Please keep giving, keep helping and remember: you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be there. It means more then you’ll ever know.

“What should we do today?”

Ways to answer the question “What should we do today?” When you have toddlers.

Ways NOT to answer:

  1. “I don’t know.” —Not Helpful.
  2. “I don’t know, I’m just happy to spend time with you.” —Cute but not fucking helpful.
  3. “No television.” —Fuck off.
  4. “Why do we have to do something? Can’t we just be in the moment.” —No. Toddlers are Satan and without a plan they smell weakness and will make you play itsy bisty spider for 12 hours.
  5. “Go out to eat somewhere that isn’t fast food or Friendlys*.”– I would rather eat glass. It’s cheaper and feels easier.  *See Friendlys post
  6. “The beach.” —I know it’s suppose to be relaxing but going to the beach with a 1 year and  a 3 year old is basically the hunger games. I’m just hoping we all come out alive.

Things to say:

  1. An age appropriate playground. Preferably one that doesn’t have a bucket swing, so I don’t have stand there pushing the whole time or face the wrath of my surprisingly rage-filled daughter who can suddenly fight like rabid dog when I try to take her out.
  2. A indoor playground. Where there are seats that I can mostly ignore my children.
  3. A swim lesson. Where I don’t have to get into a swim suit. I can just wave every 12 minutes.
  4. Basically anywhere I can pay someone else to watch my children.
  5. Or my most favorite. You stay here, I’ll take them somewhere.

Second to the lord.

I go to a WOW gym because it’s cheap, has free babysitting & I have two children under 3. I go to the gym to talk to exactly no one. I am there to drop off my children, listen to a podcast, read a magazine and take a leisurely stroll on a treadmill. That’s it.

So today there was a woman working out with a trainer who was super loud, louder then the super loud techno music playing & the housewives podcast on my phone. I avoid him like the plague, as he’s immediately my enemy. He approaches the woman he’s training (two treadmills down) proud that he came over right as her ten minute jog was up. I witness this exchange:

Trainer: “I came back right when you were done. WHO’S THE BEST?!!

Woman (looking visibly uncomfortable and confused): “Ummm.. you are?”

Trainer: “No. THE LORD IS. I’m a distant second. Then everyone else.”

Woman: “Laughs uncomfortably. Looks around for support.”

Me: *Fuck no. Stares at phone like my life depends on it*

Trainer: *Sees uncomfortable laughter as encouragement and gets louder.* “I’m ONLY second to the LORD!!!” Then high fives woman.

I stare harder at my phone.

Trainer proceeds to yell/talk about how he’s second to lord to everyone and no one. Then it happens. We lock eyes. I know I’m doomed.  He immediately walks over and extends his hand in the air for a high five. Now, I have never EVER left another adult hangin. And I wouldn’t do it to this guy. But man did I want to.

After the worlds least enthusiastic high five, he continues to ramble on and I continue to avoid everyone. But I can’t stop thinking about this guys self esteem. He’s second TO THE LORD because he can guestimate 10 minutes? He’s so thrilled with himself that he’s HIGH FIVING strangers? I have mom days when I think I’m second only to Dina Lohan. If my kids eat too many sweets or watch too much TV I’m visualizing them explaining their childhood to Dr. Drew on whatever rehab show is on in 2030. “I had a pretty good childhood, until that day my mom let me eat 15 Rolos and watch 4 hours of Paw Patrol, that’s when I learned life is meaningless and the only answer is heroin.”

I’m not sure what the answer is? I’d be lying if I said I want to be like this guy. In fact I would like to formally rescind my high five next time I see him. But maybe the take away is somewhere in the middle. I mean we’re both lying to ourselves (he’s not second to the lord and I’m not Dina Lohan) but his lie is so kind to himself.  Maybe I should take a page from his book (not the whole book bc that book is mostly filled with crazy) and try to be a bit nicer to myself. So thank you, for this lesson you high fiving lunatic. And for re-affirming my no talking to anyone at the gym policy.

 

 

 

Bread knife

I have a confession: I’m 35 and up until a few months ago I didn’t know what a bread knife was.

This fact was truly terrifying to my aunt. She’s from Long Island (if that means anything to anyone) and  when I was cutting bread with a regular knife she asked where my bread knife was. I said, “What’s a bread knife?” That’s when shit got WEIRD. She looked at me like I had just told her I enjoy kicking kittens and eat human fingers in my spare time. She asked how “That was possible?” And I answered very honestly and very cautiously “I don’t know. It’s just how my life played out.”

She showed me what bread knife was and then how to cut with it. She cut that bread like she was doing brain surgery. I watched intensely, scared about what would happen if I didn’t pretend to be interested. I mean she did have a knife and unexplained rage for my lack of cooking utensils knowledge.

Now I know this Aunt pretty well. There is a zero percent chance she went back to Long Island and told no one. I’m sure all her friends and everyone in my husbands family knows my dirty little secret. Every time I walk by someone from my husband’s side of the family there will whispers about how I don’t know how to cook and my poor family probably eats sloth and dog food for dinner. I also know that I have a choice: to give a fuck or not. I choose to not. I’ve made peace with the fact that cooking isn’t my thing. I know that my aunt take a lot of pride in their cooking and get some of their self worth from cooking. I’m happy for them. Find whatever makes you happy and do it well and feel proud. But don’t expect ‘that thing’ to be the same for everyone. When people act appalled that I don’t know something, it has nothing to with me. It has to do their need to feel better about themselves. My aunt was happy I didn’t know what a bread knife was because it made her feel superior. I have no control over that. I can either waste my time getting upset or just move on. She’s not a terrible person, I’m not a terrible person. I just didn’t know what a bread knife was.

 

Social classless

I grew up poor (ish). White trash(ish). I was in the grey area. Which is really the worst place to be. You can’t claim either one. Not having a social class is…confusing. For example, I went to a private school in 6th and 7th grade but it was inexpensive & I’m pretty sure some of the students were court ordered there. I moved to a upper middle class suburb in 8th grade but on the outskirts. I mean, we basically snuck in. This has left me with a strange sense of not really belonging anywhere. Too poor for the rich kids and too rich for the poor kids and much like anyone, I longed to fit in with the rich kids. I mean, they had better cars and better teeth. Side note: In high school I once bit into a apple and a tooth just fell out. Out. I was the poorest kid in my a high school and my teeth couldn’t just stay the in my mouth. Anyways, I have since given up that dream. I no longer think the happiest people are the rich kids. Or the poor kids. The happiest I’ve met are people who found their tribe and their purpose. I know I’m saying anything new. Maslows higharchy of needs has discussed how once your basic needs are met, your happiness does not increase with income. Probably more effectivliy than me. I can concur though there are pricks in every social class and there are good people in every class.

In college I think I found my people. When I reached college I was less nervous about fitting it because it felt like an even playing field: we were mostly from the same economic background, everyone was the new kid and we were there for the same purpose (to try to learn something, while crushing as many Busch Lights as possible). I discovered in college everyone has a a story and most people want to share it, just be a good listener.

I was feeling ok about myself after college until this feeling of not being “good enough” came back to haunt me. I met a guy who was smart. And not normal person smart. Like, genius smart. And I had no idea. He told me he went to CalTech and I literally thought it was like ITT tech. Which was fine with me because then he could probably fix my fridge. So we date and then fall in love. I slowly process that I am entering a world of academia that I know NOTHING about. We were at a wedding once and a friend confides in me she’s really intimidated about how smart everyone is here. I was so excited! In my mind me and my new best friend would be pounding Busch Lights and having long discussions about who on the real world she would bone. Princeton. Princeton was this dummies school. It was exhausting. I felt like I’ll always be in a pond with big fish and I’ll be the small fish and should just be happy to be invited.

Which was somewhat ok. I had never really had aspirations to be a big fish in a small pond or a big fish in a big pond. I just wanted to belong. To feel like I was with people who get me. To feel like I was a part of something. And at the end of the day I want to feel like I’ve helped people. I understand that that’s what most people want (with the exception of Charles Manson and people who buy those creepy real life baby dolls.)

I find my self jealous of people how have found a way to do it. Or people who know what their life’s passion is.

Right now I not sure I have either a passion or I’m really helping anyone. As I am currently a stay at home mom. I hope that I’m creating caring, good kids who will grow into productive, helpful members of society. Somedays this thought makes me feel better and some days I feel like I’m bullshitting myself so I don’t have to feel guilty for not doing enough. When I’m feeling particularly down about it this CS Lewis qoute helps: “Children are not a distraction from important work, they are the most important work.” It’s a little heavy handed but it makes me feel better. I also know that a “Happy Chilldhood Lasts Forever” I hope that I am giving them that & will find a more balanced purpose when they are older.

I’ve also learned that my social class (or lack of) does not define me. I still struggle with it sometimes. People who are pretentious bother me. Really more then they should and I think it speaks to an insecurity within myself.

I also know that we are all just trying to get through this thing called life and nothing matters more then how you treat people.

social class, parenting, self love

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