You know what you get when you get complacent? A kick in the ass, that’s what.
Say you love to sing – like, really love to sing – and you take a singing lesson every Tuesday and it’s the highlight of your week, and your singing teacher is a close friend, and you talk about show tunes and you sing show tunes and you introduce each other to new show tunes, and you get better at singing and you both get excited about that, and when you hear new songs on your Broadway radio station you get excited to tell your friend/singing teacher about them and maybe to work on them with her, and when friends ask, “Are you doing anything with your singing?” you say, “Not really, but I take lessons and do a couple recitals a year and I love it and that’s really all I need,” and you sing in the church choir but not consistently because you have a hard time committing to getting up early every Sunday but even that’s okay because you still have your singing lesson every week and it’s still the highlight of your week, so you don’t pursue singing in any other way, you don’t go out of your way to find other singing opportunities because your Tuesday singing totally fulfills you so you’re perfectly content and complacent with the way your singing life is proceeding… and so what happens then is that out of the blue you get an email from your friend that she is MOVING TO MAINE and that you won’t have her or your weekly lessons come May. Continue reading →
One of the reasons parenting is so exhausting, in addition to all the usual running around, is that you’re giving your all (and then some) to teach your kids how to live. I was struck by this thought today: it’s all up to Paul and me. Yes, other people come into play: grandparents, friends, teachers, other people in the line at Starbucks. But for the most part, the shaping of their character — the teaching of right from wrong — is in our hands. With newborn babies, our main job is simply keeping them alive. But later on? You have to teach them how to be. Continue reading →
It seems we’re bombarded daily with inspirational quotes and mothering advice columns that encourage us to take time for ourselves by having a bubble bath or a massage. A bubble bath is nice on occasion, but I get bored in about 10 minutes, and personally, I find it comfier to read in bed with my seven pillows than in a slick tub. Also, bubbles make a scummy mess. And massages are great, but I need a LOT more than one hour to recharge. In fact, ever since the kids were born, I have felt guilty about how much time I seem to want (need?) for myself. Those encouraging articles always suggest taking time “every now and then.” But I want a chunk of time to myself DAILY. In fact, I want a regularly repeating bunch of consecutive hours to do what I want without guilt, without questions to answer or obligations to fulfill. And I finally realized why I need so much of this: it appears I have very few consecutive grown-up days in me before I feel myself reverting back to a kid again. I can’t help it. It’s just a fact. Continue reading →
Learned an expensive lesson this week, people. Resolving to turn over a new leaf and actually cook, I went to the grocery store and shopped like a fiend for a week’s worth of meals.
Here’s my lesson up front: don’t plan meals for every night of the week, because as you know, hardly anything in a middleaged mom/wife/woman’s life goes exactly as planned (probably hardly anything in anyone’s life goes exactly as planned), and the food that doesn’t get cooked will sit around your kitchen being passive agressive. Let me explain. Continue reading →
This morning I opened the door of the small, private hair salon I go to and was greeted with great joy and excitement. Right at the door stood my stylist/friend Nicole and one of her customers, who immediately started shouting things like, “And here she is! There’s one on each side of you! [laughter, applause]. This is so great! [More applause]. Let’s roll out the red carpet! [Nicole had a brown towel in her hands and laid it on the floor in front of me]. Oh my God, she’s here at last! Hooray!” So I laugh and shout with them, and I step onto the towel and bow and give a Queen Elizabeth wave to the two women. I’m complimented and applauded some more. I applaud them back. Mind you, I did absolutely nothing but walk in the door. Continue reading →
Have you ever felt like a total imposter? I have, so very many times in my life. I start a new job, feeling totally under-qualified, and pretend I know what I’m doing and hope nobody finds out how inadequate I am. It was even worse when I first became a mother: terrified, I’d make up rules that seemed completely arbitrary, and then second-guess myself about whether it’s the right way to parent. I’m always confused about what I should crack down on and what I should allow, and the line seems to be constantly shifting. And when I think I have a handle on motherhood, the kids get to a new stage and all the rules change again. Continue reading →
You know what it is about learning curves? They’re very long. And steep. And there’s a lot more to them than you might initially think. When you’re learning something new, you not only have to learn the new thing. You also have to learn the things surrounding the new thing as well as the things that come after the thing, and they’re usually things you wouldn’t think to think of. Make sense? No? I’ll give you an example. Continue reading →