How to be condescending

If you are on Facebook (and if you’re not, WHO ARE YOU?), chances are you’ve seen a link circulating recently about how your fascination with your electronic devices can make you miss your children’s lives.

If you haven’t seen the link, here it is. It appeared on my facebook wall more times than I can possibly tell you, always accompanied by “OMG, you must read this,” or “I’m crying. So true.”

Now, the content of this article is very heartfelt and very to the point. She talks about how being lost in one’s digital gadgets can be harmful to your relationship with your children, how the children learn that whatever is happening is more important than them, all sorts of statements that had just enough truth seeded into them to make any modern-day, smartphone toting, social media savvy parent feel like dog shit gone white.

Now, to be fair – she does dedicate a couple of sentences to how this is the modern world and sometimes we have to be accessible. Sometimes it’s necessary to allow laptops and smartphones into our lives.

Generous.

May I offer my point of view? I’m gonna.

I’m a blogger, and a full-time online student. I’m also married to a podcaster who is also a full-time student. Technology and the gadgets involved are completely enmeshed in our lives.

I love my iPhone. My iPad. To a lesser degree, the computers and such which inhabit my house – and there are a lot. I love to text message. I love to steal a few minutes in the day to check facebook, tweet something random, or peruse my blog stats for the day.

Certainly, as a society, we are more interconnected than ever before. I talk to my husband while he’s at work. I always have a camera because I always have my phone. And yes, I check my phone before I talk to anyone in my family because EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS USUALLY STILL ASLEEP SINCE I WAKE EVERYONE UP.

Some people escape into books. Some into painting or gardening or building rockets. This has always been the case. I don’t really see any difference.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge your family and the others in your lives. To look them in the eye, listen when they talk, and be fully present when they need you – but I don’t see that as having anything to do with being less connected. I see that as being a decent human being.

So, my response to the article is as follows:

I am a connected mom. I interact constantly and I learn constantly. My children know they are important. They know because I’m their mom. I bandage scrapes and icepack bumps and come running when they have nightmares. They do not have some woeful mourning inferiority because I sometimes play Jetpack Joyride.

Because I show them moderation, they learn that I am, as they are, members of a continuous mechanism. Everyone is connected, everyone is important. I don’t have to throw away my iPhone to be a good mom. I just have to use good sense. And I think that’s a better example than anything else.

 

Sometimes

I picked the iPad up this afternoon and this was in the camera roll.

Sometimes you just have to sleep late.

Sometimes, after you sleep late, you have to hope that the lunches the kids packed for themselves have at least one thing in them that isn’t chocolate.

Sometimes at 3:30 in the morning you go in to investigate crying, and find your weepy almost 10 year old shuddering from a night terror. One like he hasn’t had since he was two.

Sometimes you watch his baby sister climb next to him and reassure him that she’s right there beside him.

Sometimes, at 3:30 in the morning, you tell your kids to just turn on the TV until they get sleepy. Because they just damn deserve it.

Sometimes you have to shave with a dull razor.

Sometimes you have to let go of something or someone you love. Because it’s just not worth it anymore.

Sometimes you have to be a dick.

Sometimes you have to use impolite language.

Sometimes you forget who you are.

Sometimes you have to realize that you forget just so you can remember.

Sometimes it’s okay to let the baby run around naked.

Sometimes coffee is all that sounds good.

Sometimes you eat pizza after midnight.

Sometimes growing up is growing apart.

Sometimes following your dream is hard.

Sometimes the path is lost.

Sometimes you have to listen to Adele on repeat, no matter how cheesy.

Sometimes you have to cry.

Sometimes you have to laugh.

Sometimes you have to recognize that love is in spite of instead of because.

Sometimes Oprah is right.

Sometimes everyone is just tired.

Sometimes you have to wait for the rain.

 

Confession: being unthankful makes me a bitch

I realize that my life is amazing.

 

I have three kids who are healthy, smart, beautiful, and a lot of the time, they are flat out hilarious.

 

I know this. I know that something like 90% of the globe would be shitting in their pants to wake up every day (in response to a too-smart smartphone) in a climate controlled house, next to a heart-burstingly beautiful husband, to wake my children and make lunches from a full cupboard. And then send them off to get an education in a safe and nurturing environment. While I stay at home to play with the baby and watch educational tv.

 

I know that by having ANY complaints I am a mindbending bitch.

 

But I have to be able to say it somewhere – things feel so worn. So generic. I feel like I make as much impact as a sandpapered rubber stamp.

 

My husband works so hard. He works and does and makes sure we have what we need. He’s a dad and a podcast-er and my very best friend. Being anything less than doting and Stepford is, I realize, a failing of mine.

 

But basically I sit at home and wait for something to happen. Anything. My days feel like a series of wait.

 

Waiting…

 

For the bus

For the kids to come home

For Lucy to give me five minutes

For the dryer to finish

For the coffee to brew

For Josh to come home

For the oven to heat

 

I realize I’m being a big whiny baby, but I just feel like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m a week or so away from talking to the car upholstery, but if I up and say something like, “I just wish something would happen,” then someone will die or get sick or blow up.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life and everything about it. I am grateful.

 

But, I admit, grateful is sometimes boring. Even if that makes me a bitch.

 

What the ?£€¥

Brave Little Blogger Contest

 

See what I did there?

Earlier in the week, I took a stroll through my old blog at Xanga. This is old stuff, folks. The idea of a blig or a blog or whatever it was was completely foreign to me. Facebook wasn’t a thing yet unless you were actually a student, people still used MySpace, and the world, while shrinking, was still pretty big.

I wrote everything I thought in that blog. Insecurities, fears. Reading back over some of the stuff that is still there (not all, though, because I don’t even remember the password, so there’s no doubt all sorts of nuggets hiding in private mode) I was completely embarrassed.

And then I wondered why.

One of my main goals in my writing, whatever format it has been in, has been to be as bald and blatant as possible. To say the things that you might think but never admit. Things like sometimes I have farting competitions with myself and I think I just realized I haven’t worn deodorant in like three days, or that I have coupon codes for sex toy sites in excess. Things that everyone kind of ignores about themselves.

But I realized, in my reading, that I leave a whole lot out now. I don’t post my laments about my relationship…or not as much as I did. I don’t wonder in print about people who talk about Sue Schmo and what they say about me.

I don’t criticize or talk about people I love because I know they’ll probably read it. I don’t say things online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face….even though I may think them. And while that may be the socially acceptable and responsible thing to do – the smart thing – it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

For instance, I can’t say on Facebook that my best friend’s family hates me or that there are certain people who I keep in my life only because they have to be. I can’t say that there are days I feel like the biggest loser on Earth because I feel like talking to someone and I have only the toddler and the cat. I can’t say the things that annoy me about the people I love most. Not even that I love them maybe too much.

In all honesty, I can’t say which is better. My Xanga posts were lamenty, embarrassing, angst ridden, teenagery blather…but they were straight from the gut. The posts I write today are struggly, observant, sometimes well written, and read by everyone I know.

To be straight, I don’t know where the line is. I don’t find anything appealing about airing marital issues online or sounding like the OMGLOL4RLZ chicks whose posts I ignore on my facebook news feed every day, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being anything less than totally honest.

First world issues, I guess. There are worse problems in the world than my blog. Or so I hear.

Enlist

So the good thing about having a blog is that sometimes I can just randomly list things that I think, or that I want you to know. This is one of those times. Therefore….

  1. I saw The Hunger Games and it was so brilliant that I kind of want to weep because I have to wait so long for the next movies.
  2. I have not yet used shampoo on my hair since the last time we talked about it. My hair feels great, though I don’t know if it looks any different. Josh says (embarrassingly in front of other humans) that I have dandruff, but I used some apple cider vinegar and I don’t see any flakes, so maybe that took care of it.
  3. I registered for next semester this weekend, and seeing the words, “Classification for registration: Senior” kind of blew me away. I may have been so taken aback that I teared up a little.
  4. Lucy talks a lot more these days. A kind of whole hell of a lot. My other two were verbose, but she is…I don’t even know. Tenacious.
  5. Ava and I write letters to each other. I am ashamed to admit that the last letter (before yesterday) was sent months ago, and it has totally been my turn all this time. I feel awful about it. But she is just the sweetest thing ever and wrote me right back, so now it’s my turn again. Dammit.
  6. Ava also went shopping with her Nana yesterday and came home with two bras. This contorts my mind on so many levels that I can’t really even begin to describe. Yeah, I can, actually. I hid them. She’s been wearing little sports-bra/camisole things for a while now, but these are for real triangles and hooks. They have CUPS, people. I am not ready for this.
  7. Max is completely and totally awkward. I love him a ridiculous amount, but (I’m probably a terrible mother for admitting this) sometimes his oblivious dorkiness makes me cringe. He tries so hard – too hard – to be entertaining and cool. I don’t know how to tell him that he’s much more awesome when he doesn’t try.
  8. Josh and his friends are hosting a podcast. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
  9. The bedroom that we live in is getting kind of out of hand. Like the Hoarders people would have a field day in here.
  10. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. If you don’t know what that is, then I can only explain it as housewife porn. I have never really read stuff that is so totally and completely kinky. I can’t say for sure, but I may or may not be planning to read the next two books (it’s a trifecta of kink).
  11. I have started playing Draw Something. It makes me happy. Probably a little too happy. My favorite part is watching the other person try to guess my drawing. My username is Emylibef, so, you know…we should play.
  12. I missed my therapy appointment last week, and I feel like I stood up a friend. I suppose that either speaks well of my therapist or badly of my tendency to overpersonalize.
  13. My hair, since I already brought it up, is getting really long. I really like it, but I have these ridiculous waves of let’s-cut-that-shit-off and so far I’m pretty proud of how I’m holding up. I’m even growing my bangs out and that now means I have to pin them up in a weird little bouffant. I try to tell myself it’s a vintage look. Like it matters, since really Lucy and the cat are the only ones who ever see it.
  14. Lucy took this picture after she stole my ipad. I have, literally, three dozen incarnations of this photo on my camera roll.

That’s all I have for today.

 

 

A Smidgen of Religion

Hello, all.

I hope you will pardon my recent hiatus. I can’t promise that it’s exactly over.

I go through shit like this – and while I don’t think it’s exactly lofty enough to qualify as writer’s block, suffice it to say that the metaphorical well has been dry as of late.

My life has reached a point of repetition that somewhat precludes any creative recount. My life is not boring, but it doesn’t hold the thrill in the retelling.

So what am I doing? I’m telling you all about how I don’t really have anything to talk about.

We went to church yesterday. Not even laid back drink some wine church, this was hard core. Our friend Marty was speaking, and so in support and solidarity, we ventured out to listen.

I’m pretty sure you all know how I feel about God and Jesus and such.

Do you? Because I’d really like to know. Send me a detailed email, thanks a lot. Problem solved.

Marty did a great job, though I’ll be honest now and say that I didn’t really hear all of it (sorry, Martimus) because I was a bit distracted.

That was my life, once. I was the handraising song singing swaying handshaker who saw a new person in a pew and buzzed over like a fly with that sticky disgusting paper. I was so sure about everything I thought and believed and felt and said.

There was also a little lady across from me who was SO. DAMN. HAPPY. to be in church that if she hadn’t been confined to a walker I think she’d straight up have gone Irish high stepping across the pulpittery. She was not so much a distraction as she was my new favorite person on earth.

But back to the point. I don’t know. I know that when Josh and I got married we were so. Sure.

We got married because we loved each other, sure. We had love and we had commitment. But we had that without the marriage license. We had lived for almost two years with the same commitment we had when we came home from the courthouse.

We couldn’t, however, join the church. We were living in sin and I couldn’t transfer my membership until it was rectified.

Now, I wouldn’t have done things differently. But I have to wonder – if I had known then that in six years the church and God and belief I was altering my life to appease would be…not so much of me, would I have been so eager to pacify it? For that matter, if everything happens for a reason, was that the reason we were so smitten with being holy? To get us hitched?

 

I don’t have any answer. I don’t know what I think or feel or even want to believe.

One day.

 

Confessions of a crazy woman

I had made the decision not to write about how terribly I handle certain things.

But I think I’ve gotten away from the point of why I started this blog in the first place…or why I used to spend hours on Xanga so many years ago.

So I’m going to tell you and hope that in doing so I don’t embarrass myself or my husband or anyone else.

It’s taken me a long time to finish this post.

Valentine’s day was, as I’ve said, fantastic. I spent time with the person I love the most in this world. We got a new car.

We also went out on Valentine’s night with every intention of getting tattoos. We didn’t get there in time, though, so we just made an appointment for later in the week.

The next day we started second guessing the design we’d chosen.

We designed and redesigned and googled and doodled and wondered.

By the time the day of the appointment came around, we’d changed our minds sixty times and still weren’t firmly set on a design.

Josh mentioned, after much bickery banter, that he just didn’t want to do it. It was partially done because he was frustrated and just wanted to shut me up, and partially because he was thinking like a sensible adult and knew we shouldn’t go into something like that with any uncertainty.

I know this now. I suppose I even knew it then, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain. But I completely flipped right the fuck on out. Every insecurity I’ve ever had, every problem I’d dealt with, and every doubt I’ve ignored came rushing to the surface and I was in pieces.

He didn’t want to get a tattoo with me because he didn’t love me. Because it would embarrass him. Because he wasn’t sure. Because for some reason an inky scar carried more weight than a sworn vow and he didn’t want to have to explain something away in a few years.

Looking back now, I see how ridiculous I was being.

But it was real then, and not because I’d skipped medicine or gotten into the cough syrup.

One of the things we’ve talked about when I’m in therapy is that I just want my life to feel normal.

Normal for me – what is that? Being secure in my relationship, secure in myself, not caring so much about how other people perceive me?

Something.

 

Valentine’s, Cars, and a Subaru

So this week was Valentine’s Day.

I don’t really remember the first time I got anything for Valentine’s Day, but I think it was in the fifth grade when Grant Viola gave me a gold rope necklace. Looking back on that, we were only a grade older than Max is now, and that necklace was the real thing…so I’m pretty sure it was probably stolen. Where a fifth grader gets the idea to nab some bling, I don’t know. I mean, we didn’t hold hands or sit by each other or even really talk, so it’s not like he was trying to get into my Sears acid washed jeans or anything.

This year, for the Valentine’s, Josh and I bought a car.

This is a huge deal, because I have never done anything of the sort. My name has never been on anything big like that. I sound like I’m sixteen, but it’s true.

The car we bought is a 2005 Saab, which kind of totally goes against my internal conviction that we should buy American things, but we bought it American used from an American dealer, so I guess it’ll do. It’s actually a really very nice car, and it even has these things to warm your butt. We traded in our old car, so we’re still a one car family. However, I am holding out for the day I can finally have my Subaru dream car, which I know is also not an American car but GIVE ME A BREAK because I love them so. I love them so much that we actually almost bought one, until we (Josh) drove it and maybe it threatened to fall apart at every turn. Sad. But one day. One day.

In progress.

I’ve found that it’s easiest to be frustrated with change when it’s disappointing.

 

I had, like everyone does, a picture of what I expected from my life at whatever point. This point. Three years from now.

 

I wouldn’t be upset if, say, I were a millionaire this time next year. That’s not in my plan, but I think I could handle it.

 

(On a completely separate note, I’m watching the State of the Union and DAMN MY PRESIDENT HAS BALLS. Just saying.)

 

It’s when things go wrong that I don’t handle things well. 

 

When there’s less money than I need.

When a little girl looks at me to make it feel better and I can’t.

When I’m presented with a fourth grade math problem and I have no clue ho to begin it.

When the house looks like a cotillion of hobos took it over the night before.

 

I know I sound like a whiny brat. A pampered little simp. I suppose I am, but that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes I am totally at a loss. A loss of drive and fervor, a loss of confidence and security.

 

I suppose I need to buck up. Have a backbone.

 

I’m working on it.

Random Ramble

Today is Friday the 13th. 

 

That’s bad luck, right? I’ve never really had much experience with good or bad luck on Friday the 13th, although I do remember that when I was young my dad signed his final hiring papers for a job on such a day –  a job that would end up being pretty much the worst thing ever.

But I think that was just the result of general universal shittiness, not really bad luck or anything.

I used to hear stories about people who stayed in their houses or beds all day on Friday the 13th. My opinion is that it would be a good excuse. Maybe I’ll use it someday.

The Steens are embarking on a journey this weekend. We’re heading over to Tuscaloosa, since I’ve never been there and as a student at the University of Alabama I feel I should at least know what it looks like. Then we’ll either geocache our hearts out or head down to Jackson, to laugh at everyone we escaped.

I hope everyone’s year is starting out well. Mine is – I think this could qualify as the best beginning of a year I’ve had in recent memory.

Oh and guess what, my therapist reads my blog (hi, Angela!). While initially I thought that might squick me out a bit, I’ve found it really doesn’t make a difference.

I suppose it’s true that misery breeds creativity – because honestly, I haven’t had much to write about lately. I’ve just been too damned happy. That sounds contrived – but I swear it’s true.

I vow to take lots of pictures this weekend. I have a kickass camera on my phone and I need to use it more often.

So, I leave you with this:

We MAY have convinced Max that butter was a delicious treat. It didn’t last long. 

 

We entertain ourselves the best we know how.

Happy weekend. I’ll be back in full rambley force next week.