Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Tonight I attended an event to bring awareness to child abuse in our community.

Abuse happens every day, in every community. And it sucks. It's an awful reality for so many children.

Thinking back to the times when I lost my shit, yelled at my children, felt my anger build, I feel so ashamed. I hate that the grown-up Amy couldn't hold it together, be the adult in the relationship. Times when I'm feeling most fragile in my mothering, I'm often times acting out because of my own shit; I'm tired or I don't know how to deal with my own anger. Yeah, maybe my kids are running amok but no kid deserves to be the target of an adult's wrath.

I'm better at dealing with my kids now. I'm not perfect, I still get angry. But I think my skill set is stronger in how I respond when I'm feeling frustrated. And that's the important part, right?

I think about the children whose lives are filled with abuse or neglect, the little ones that aren't able to tell anyone about the abuse because they're too young or too scared. It's breaks my heart and makes me want to hold my own kids that much longer, whispering in their ears how much I love them and that I will always be their protector.

It makes me fucking angry at the abusers that touch, hit, threaten. I hate that there are children that go to bed without a meal, in a filth-strewn home, in a home filled with abusive behaviors. It makes me sick to know that some kid is going to bed tonight, scared as shit their abuser will visit them during the night.

What do I do with this? How can I deal with the bullshit that happens day in, day out? This is someone's reality, and that's so fucked.

I love my kids. I'm working hard to keep my cool and take those breaks when I'm feeling angry, at a loss for how to respond. I will think about the children tonight who know only abuse and neglect, and I will whisper words of hope and love for them.

I hope you will, too.

Idiot's Guide to Blogging

So, according to the Idiot's Guide to Blogging, one should keep their blog updated regularly.


We're cooking our meals in the basement as of recently. Last month my husband ripped out our kitchen cabinets and tore up the flooring. I helped him carry our stove down our rickety-ass basement stairs and he hooked up the gas line so we can cook in the basement.

If that last sentence doesn't make my parents worry, I don't know what will.

So now our kitchen has a utility sink so I no longer have to wash dishes in our bathtub. That's nice, particularly since I was sick of scooping up nasty pieces of food from the drain. No matter how well you think you've scraped a plate or bowl of it's contents, I swear to you your bathtub drain will remind you of the time you (or your kid) puked themselves and you were forced to touch fucking disgusting pieces of food. It was really gross.

But not anymore because my husband carried up and hooked up the slop sink that has paint splattered on the inside walls, just so I have a place to wash our dishes.

Our refrigerator is in the "back room", i.e., our guest room/office. With it is our microwave and a shelving unit with food, spices, dishes, utensils. And then if you head into our dining room on your left, you'll notice the folding table with a crock pot, coffeemaker and cutting board.

Part of the excitement so far in renovating our kitchen has been questioning whether we've released toxic substances into the air, after Jim had finished the demo stage. Yeah, we're really responsible. Nothing like buying a lead testing kit and realizing that yes, you do have lead paint in a few locations. Neither of those sections, luckily, were ripped down or otherwise disturbed. I also wondered whether we have asbestos that had been disturbed, but I'm pretty sure (and that's what matters, right?) that we don't have asbestos that's been involved in the demo. Oh, right, and during this time both my toddler son and I developed pretty bad coughs which resulted in him actually getting pretty sick and benefiting from oral steroids and a steroid inhalant. Coincident? We'll never know.

Once the kitchen was ripped down to the walls, we my husband took his final measurements and off we headed to IKEA to place an order for our kitchen cabinets. We were thrilled when I called a couple weeks prior and the store informed me that this particular IKEA did indeed deliver to our town. Funny story because when we arrived at IKEA, the woman helping us in Kitchen Design informed us that they just switched delivery companies and (here it comes!) this company doesn't deliver to our town. So then we had to figure out how to get our kitchen order to our home, which took some creative thinking. As of now, unless we can somehow convince the delivery company to work with us and deliver the order to our home, we'll be meeting the delivery truck with our own rented truck at a friend's house 30 miles north of us and moving the load from one truck to another. The kicker is the delivery company actually does deliver to our town, only not as the contracted company working for IKEA.

The other disappointing factor in our shopping adventure was learning that the sink we had chosen, using IKEA's Kitchen Design program, is not available. We're choosing to use another sink in it's place, but it's not ideal.

So, that's life.

Look for another post in a few months, okay?

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Part of building our relationships is letting others in. It's hard, scary and takes trust. It may be feeling comfortable with your own body, the skin you're in, the way you feel when you're with that other person. Maybe being honest about your downfalls, your dark secrets, the shit that follows you. 

Making friends as a young child is all about the playground and playdates and laughter. If someone takes your toy, your parent steps in or you move on to another toy or you burst into tears and someone rescues you. You're not solely responsible to manage your every need and that feels good, right? Someone will have your back and make sure that you're okay. 

But then you get older and you're not so cute and your guardians see you as being more responsible and capable and grow the fuck up. You have your own opinions and you let everyone know what's what. But the issue is when you're figuring out who you are there is just no consistency in your response to what happens in your day to day. And that's hard. 

And then one day you're officially an adult and it is real. You're challenged and learning and just trying to make it. And it hits you- you're the only thing you have control over. You can't control anyone's responses and you only own your own stuff. What a trip! And what a responsibility that is. 

I work to see the people in my life for the good and the hard and the challenging. I have my own past and the shit that I have to work on and the stuff that makes me cry. And I trust that the people I love will love me back and be patient with me. I no longer strive for perfection and I'm happy to just be me, flaws and all. 

My children look to me as an example and I only hope that I can teach them to love and support and know themselves well enough to be happy in their lives. I don't need my children to be great all the time, though sometimes it seems that I do. In letting my children learn to solve their problems I'm giving them the chance to find their voice. And it's hard and I hate seeing them struggle. But this is their story and their path. I can't live it nor do I want to live it. I want them to be ready to take up the journey when it's time. 

I'll be there for them and I will love them always. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm so past this.

I stepped out tonight to grab a beer from the cooler (don't ask) and I felt transported to this other time- a time where I was childless and didn't have anything to stress over. I didn't have bins in my basement full of clothes to pass on to another kid or a cat or a dog or a washer and dryer.

I felt the air and I felt the freedom. I felt how it feels to just fucking be.

My children are asleep. My husband is off with his poker buddies. I'm here in the house with a cold one thinking back to life ten, twelve years ago.

How can I love my family so much and feel so sad for what has passed? I don't want to return to my younger years, mind you. I want to see my children grow and my marriage flourish, but damn, tonight felt good.

It feels like a time where I can be selfish and enjoy my time on my own. I can think about my path and where I see myself in twenty years.

I loved feeling the air tonight, the cold fresh air. I felt the air that met my face twelve years ago as I ran down the sidewalk with my boyfriend after a late-night party. I felt the air that crept in my room, in the house I rented with four other women. I felt the chill that made me feel like life was one open-book.

It's not so open anymore, I tell you.

My life is decided. I have three children. I have a husband. I have a dog, a cat, three chickens. And I really like that. I do.

But it's also worth mentioning that it's somethin' to think about. It makes me happy and sad and curious all at the same time. I can't wait to figure out what our journey holds. I can't wait to see who our children grow to be in five, ten years time. I wonder who I will see when I look in the mirror after my children have left my nest.

I loved the feeling of the air tonight, but I just can't spend my time out there enjoying it. Because my children are here, inside with me. And that's my place.

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.

...so 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.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Easier...or harder?

Really, are you making this easier or harder?

I ask my older children this, particularly when they’re acting a fool or not listening to me or simply acting like...children.

We’re headed out the door, shoes are scattered, no one is dressed, and I’ve given countless warnings that I’m ready to leave. It’s maddening!

After the warnings, out of my mouth comes that question ...harder or easier? As if it’s their job to make MY LIFE easier, manageable, happier?

When did this shift happen? When did it become about ME and not THEM? Don’t get me wrong. Their needs are at the top of my list but something has definitely shifted in the seven years since my first was born.

Having that first baby was all about tending to her needs, her wants. I knew my purpose in life was to keep this sweet baby girl alive and thriving and growing. When they’re so fresh and newly here, babies’ lives are so precious and fragile, so those basic needs don’t feel so BASIC. They feel HUGE and every decision feels monumental. I had no premonition that she was here to make my life easier. THANK GOD for that because there’s nothing about having a baby that makes your life easier.

And then she turned one. Or maybe it was sooner or later, I don’t fully remember. Maybe I put it out of my memory, who knows. Regardless, there was this time where it felt like she was possibly, just possibly, trying to make me go insane. I had no idea what she wanted or needed or even preferred! She changed her mind and flipped her shit when I’d hand her her pink sneakers instead of her blue ones. She wanted her sandwich cut diagonally and she wanted to hold my right hand and she wanted to get in the carseat herself as I stood in the pouring rain sans umbrella as cars driving by splashed the backs of my legs with dirty puddle water. For crying out loud, she was really trying to make my life feel harder and she was, in turn, making her life more difficult!

Or so I thought.

No, wait. This was all normal? That can’t be it. Because why did I sign up for this? How did NO ONE in his or her right mind WARN ME? We become parents for a bigger purpose, right? It’s a romantic notion, this whole parenting thing. We think it will be sweetness and hugs and photo worthy moments. But it’s not. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE.

No. Parenting is accepting that your kid will be ridiculous. Your kid’s basic needs will turn into these other needs and wants that are impossible to predict. You will have to make educated guesses, and even then, you’ll probably be wrong. You’ll have to just accept that the things they do will not make sense (to you, at least) and when you feel you have it figured out, it changes.

Your kid will make everything more challenging, and you’ll have to just roll with it for a bit. Because they’re learning and you’re learning, and that’s just how it is.

But one day, ONE DAY, I tell you, you will be able to communicate with your kid and they will be reasonable. They will listen and you’ll listen and this whole grand connection will take place. For some families this experience happens early and for others, well, they’re still waiting for their kid to be logical. But it will happen and suddenly you’re both playing for the same team. It feels cohesive and sweet and great.

But if there’s one thing I can share, it’s that THIS DOESN’T LAST. No, your reasonable, sweet kid will turn on you. And you’ll find yourself asking, or at least wondering, are you trying to make me go insane? Are you making my life harder...on purpose? Could you not be ANY MORE challenging?

Know that this is ALL OKAY. It’s normal. It’s part of normal development.

Your kid will make parenting feel easier, then when you think it’s all figured out, they’ll turn on you. They’ll have opinions and inconsistent expectations and preferences. They’ll want you to just make their life easier.

And maybe, just maybe, your kid will turn to you and ask really, are you making this easier or harder?