Friday, September 13, 2013


Is that glass half- empty… or half- full?

In my house, it’s more like, is that toothpaste tube nearly- empty… or just a bit full? What about the all-purpose cleaner, shampoo, mayonnaise? We have nearly- empty bottles, tubes and jars in all parts of the house (though my husband might argue those containers are actually a bit full). And being the conscientious homemaker, I make sure to purchase another while I’m out at the store.

Trouble is, I am wowed by the clean packaging of the laundry detergent, the heaviness of that shampoo bottle in my hand, the smoothness of the spreadable butter. I just NEED to open and use the new product at the first opportunity. Which means I have six types of shampoo just cluttering up my bathroom and two containers of ice cream in the freezer developing ice crystals as we speak.

Why do I love that newness of… anything and everything? It’s because it’s unblemished. It’s the promise of hope and opportunity. It’s neat and clean and simply whole.

But give it a day (or a swipe of a knife covered in toast crumbs) and suddenly this new product is ruined. Alright, maybe ruined is too dramatic. But it’s definitely changed. This product is now changed, spoiled of its simple lines and a reminder: THIS IS MY LIFE.

At each transition (getting married, having babies, moving, etc.) I saw the new start as an opportunity to BE BETTER. I’d be better at making dinner every night. I’d be better at remaining calm with my tantruming child. I’d be better at staying organized. I’d be better at keeping our new car pristine. And then a second (or a minute or a week) went by and I was right back at where I left off.

I’m trying to figure out how to deal with all the emotions that come with seeing nearly empty containers around the house. I could simply empty them and rinse them out, then send them to the recycling container, right? But then that voice in my head is reminding me how wasteful that would be and asking, why not just use up that last bit of jam? Squeeze that last bit of toothpaste out of that $4 tube. But when I start to make that sandwich, I want the NEW JAM. I don’t want to crimp and squeeze that tube to get that last bit of toothpaste. I want the ease of the new tube and plus, I like the flavor more. So then a seemingly simple decision turns into something so much bigger and all these words start flying around my brain, like wasteful and useless and excessive.

This is my head, this is where my thoughts go when I see two bottles of ketchup, one brand new and opened and the other, nearly empty and just sitting there, lonely and aging. Ridiculous, right? So what do I do? How do I settle this? Because we all know this is not just about ketchup and toothpaste and butter. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about this internal conversation that is making the day to day a bit more of a struggle than need be. It’s about patience and commitment. It’s understanding that life is messy and unkempt and unpredictable.

Today I will use that mustard container that is mostly air and hard to empty. I will use it just today and if it splatters the mustard onto the bread à la Jackson Pollock, I will declare it empty. And I will let go and move on.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Self Renewal and Other Fun Stuff.

A good friend of mine asked if I wanted to take part in a women’s circle; we’d be reading The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. I sampled it via the Internet and was really excited. It screamed out to me, and I knew it was just what I needed. The author wrote another book titled Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. Naturally I added both to my cart and they arrived days later.

Now I’m wondering WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

How can I nurture the soul of my family if I can’t fucking make my bed and put away the laundry and remember to send birthday cards? I scrap together lunches in the morning for my kids while other moms are perfecting the art of Bento boxes and dressing their kids in neatly matching threads. My throat is sore, my eye is pink, my dog sheds more fur than you’d believe, and I JUST NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF ME.


The thing is, I want things to be simpler and kinder and just easier than it is now. And in my head that means I have a white couch and a bookshelf with the classics and a few sweet photo albums. I have a bathroom with a large window overlooking something nature-y. I’m having coffee with my sweetheart and we’re talking and laughing and smiling. Our house is clean and our yard is filled with beautiful flowers and the garden is full of ripe produce. We have a cute car and we have great relationships with our kids...who are grown and living on their own and they’re strong, happy and successful adults!! FUCKING A! I think the life I want to live right now is that of a retired, older version of myself!


Well, seeing as our youngest isn’t even one year, we’ve got a ways to go!!

So how in the hell do I find satisfaction with where I am right now. Wait, wait, back that bus up. It seems like I’m not satisfied, right? Oh, poor me for having small children and an old couch and a dog that sheds. Yeah, yeah, I get it. But it’s bigger than that. I’m on the brink of something, I swear.

I love my family.
I am appreciative of our home.
I feel satisfied with my work.
I feel connected to my community.
I am grateful for the ability to buy food, clothing, items for our family and home, etc. I’m thankful, right? I AM satisfied, I tell you! But then these sweet statements get swept to the side and life happens. It overwhelms me in such a way that I need to tell myself, you’re okay. It will not be this chaotic forever. Keep what is working and change what isn’t. You have a young family…

It’s like, I will be brought to tears if I start really thinking of my children as grown adults, living their lives independent of me. I mean, I WANT them to be happy, independent adults, but I WANT them to also let me be witness to their lives. I also WANT a clean house, but to think there will be a day where they pack up their belongings and kiss me goodbye as they move away… it gets me hard. I want my life as a young mother to be so much easier and manageable than it is. And I want my life as an older empty-nester to be joyful and simple and satisfying. But I don’t know how to get from here to there, especially knowing there are a lot more unknowns in the coming years as a parent to a tween, teen and young adult.

I’m going to figure out the self-renewal stuff. And the nurturing of souls, too. Because if I don’t, life is just going to feel more difficult than it needs to.

So here’s to learning to “reclaim, rejuvenate, and re-balance” my life.