I’m pathologically independent. Ok, I made that up, but sometimes I need to ask for help and don’t. The most I come up with is some passive-aggressive statement like “Mommy can’t do five things at once.” Not that I don’t try. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I cry in the shower and eat copious amounts of chocolate. More often, I feel overwhelmed and lose my shit. I seldom ask for help.
When all else fails…
Our children have a way of seeing us. Really seeing us. Past the masks we wear and beyond what we say (or do not say). They have a way of forcing us to face the parts of ourselves that we have otherwise been able to overlook, stifle or ignore.
Yeah… I’m not a “Pinterest mom”.
Mrs. Pinterest, you sexy, balanced, thing you. Greeting the day bright and early so that you can implement your new “6-minute ab” routine, meditate for a few, write neatly in your mole skin journal, moving from there into your wildly acrobatic yoga routine, all whilst wearing the least-messy, “messy bun” that I’ve ever seen, and rocking those yoga pants.
“Good morning littles!” her post-workout self coos brightly to her sleepy-eyed children, patiently waiting for breakfast in their matchy matchy pj’s, as she pulls the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls (that she made to welcome the first day of fall) out of the oven.
Ima say that again:
Pumpkin. Fucking. Cinnamon. Rolls.
Being an introvert during the holidays is a veritable hell. Forget the obligatory office parties and family gatherings, I fear most the packed aisles and endless checkout lines. True, I could just buy everything online and hope for the best. (I can’t begin to express my love for Amazon Prime). Sometimes online shopping works, sometimes the “huge” stuffed animal you buy your niece looks like a pencil topper when it arrives (if it arrives at all), and you’re left scrambling for a present on Christmas Eve.
I may loathe crowds (ok, people in general), but I adore my friends and family and take pride in finding thoughtful gifts each year. I’m also really cheap…not in a Here’s a roll of toilet paper, Merry Christmas way, but in a I want to give my loved ones the best presents I can without blowing my budget kind of way. If I know exactly what I want, online shopping is a snap. However, I’m often inspired by things I see in person, which means I have to venture into the world.
I’m not a nice person when I’m rushed or crowded and nothing kills my holiday spirit faster than road raging my way to a strip mall to circle a full parking lot like a vulture. Holiday shopping during the holidays often makes me feel more like a lemming or frantic slug than an elf. So, after years of buying gifts for an extensive and diverse group, I’ve assembled the following Cheap Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Shopping in the Real World:
Basically, if you’re the parent of a baby or small child, you’re used to strangers passing out unsolicited advice. So here goes: always have snacks ready, be prepared to lose your shit every once in a while, don’t buy any nice furniture, and know that you may never feel like you know what you’re doing. I promise you, most of us feel the same way.
A groundbreaking new study has recently been published which outlines proof of something many children have long suspected but had until now been unable to prove. After years of collecting and compiling data and case studies, the scientific team at Studies-R-Us has determined as children age, their parents do, in fact, get dumber.
“I’ve been rolling my eyes harder and harder for the last several years now, but, like, they just don’t get it”, 14-year-old Cassandra Swinson said in a statement, continuing with several follow-up remarks explaining the complete lack of understanding about even the simplest concept which her parents seemed to be displaying.
Ah, summer. A time to sleep in, laze about, and…add more job descriptions to my already exhaustive mommy resume. Yesterday, my preschooler followed me into the laundry room where I was working a shift (Laundress, 1997-present) and said, “Mama, I want to order something.” I had an idea where this conversation might be leading, but…
If you are contemplating expansion of your family size, even if reluctantly so, you may also want to take some of the following harsh realities into consideration:
• World over population.
• Over-population of jeans in your closet that you are already unlikely to fit over your thighs again.
• 10-20 more years of withholding curse words, forcing yourself to yell, “oh FRONT DOOR” when you stub your toe.
• Keeping up with technology. At least enough to know how to throw a wrench in the WiFi at whim and block Mickey Mouse Attacks Minnie Mouse videos disguised as benign learning-to-count games. YouTube is not on our side, parents!
• Your feet will grow as much as two sizes with each pregnancy. That’s right, say goodbye to your favorite shoes. Depending on your starting point, you may have to say goodbye to all shoes for a while. Sure, your two-year-old can play in them all they’d like now, might as well.
• Spring break. It’s no longer a vacation, it’s a “trip”. There’s a difference. While difficult to discern, you’ll come to understand quite clearly should you choose to expand your family. As a sneak peek, I offer you this: during one, there is tequila. During the other, a toddler affixed to your knee for the duration. Oh, who am I kidding, there’s tequila in both. But one knee is potentially void of barnacles when you have one child. When you have two, the only time that will happen is when one is napping. Otherwise, they are likely squabbling about something while clinging to you. Should you add a third, no limb is safe.
• With an additional log on the fire comes complete obliteration of your devotion to organic, non-GMO, preservative-laden foods. You may find yourself indulging in diaper warmers, outfitting your abode in video monitors, and a slew of other things you said you’d never use or do: Goldfish Crackers. Chicken Nuggets. Ice cream with Blue #40 as a top 3 ingredient. Macaroni and Cheese. For breakfast.
• College tuition, even in-state, starts in the six-figures. Shut THAT front door!
Birthday parties scare the hell out of me, because I know, deep down inside, despite having identified, finally, so much love and beauty in the world, that I am still not as light as air or sea foam or Styrofoam or even Wd40.
Don’t sweat what to call your kids. All our names are pretty much doomed, anyway. My name is Susan. I’m only fifty-four. But as everyone I introduce myself to can readily discern, I’m old.