Monthly Archives: October 2013

Having a Moment

I’m still simmering over the conversations I blogged about on Monday. Notice I said simmering, not steamed. So I guess the silver lining is that I must be calming down a bit. But I’m calm enough now that instead of shouty-capitals-Aim, I’m sittin’ on the pity pot.

And that’s bad.

Doesn’t help that our realtor’s timeline just doesn’t match with mine. Dangit, I want this house sold NOW! (insert whiny toddler voice for that last word)

And (a really big) part of me wants to confront the person who thinks I should be living in a shack with a dirt floor and happily scrubbing laundry by hand.

So my first instinct is to spend my lunch time in retail therapy. At Nordstrom Rack. But that’s not really gonna help either.

Sorry, y’all. Just having a moment today. Ladies, you know we all do.

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Risin’ Above My Station, Mum…

Downton-Abbey-2

It’s Monday, and I’m a bit steamed. But not because it’s Monday.

I’m steamed because apparently – as the Dowager Countess would say – I ‘aspire beyond my station.’

WHAAT?

That’s right, folks. I wasn’t really aware of it until now, but a couple of conversations over the last few weeks have let me in on the fact that there are people out there who think I belong Downstairs. Not just random people out there. People I know. Here’s what I mean:

I was chatting with a colleague a while back. This colleague happens to be in the planning-the-family stage, so what they consider a ‘busy’ day comes with a big grain of salt. Anyhoo, I’ll go ahead and remind y’all that I work in the world of Sales. No, I don’t sell anything. But this colleague is one of the Sales Guys. Meaning Big Commissions (that may or may not actually come to pass) and job security based on bringing in the Big Commissions. Basically it’s feast or famine. Which will be relevant in a couple of sentences, I promise.

So, like I said, this guy and I were chatting and the talk wound around to kids, babies, timing, etc. I asked what his wife (a career gal in her own right) was planning to do after they had a baby. His response? “Oh, she’s gonna pop the kid out and never work another day outside the home in her life.”

Let’s skip the whole ‘SAHM’s vs. Working Moms debate’ for now and just go with his response as meaning that she plans to be a fulltime mom for the rest of her life, OK? Ok.

My natural response was, ‘Wow, good for her. That would be nice. I’d love that!’ Which is exactly what I said. Keeping in mind that, at this point in the conversation, I was four days into a 40-hour work week with a three-hour (give or take) round trip commute, two minions involved in scouts and soccer, grocery shopping from hell, and a stalled home renovation. Not to mention my loving cat who occasionally forgets where to pee and chooses the couch instead.

And then he dropped the axe. The bomb. Napalm. Wanna know what he said??? I’m sure that all two of you are dying to hear… Wait for it…

“Yeah, but you married a teacher. A teacher. You live a completely different lifestyle and can’t expect to be able to do that. You knew that when you got married.”

EXCUSE ME???!! REALLY?? Because I married a TEACHER I have to accept my lot in life as the poor red-headed stepchild forever doomed to work fulltime?? Because I married a TEACHER I will never have access to a home in ‘your’ kind of neighborhood? Because I married a TEACHER I should have known (when I was TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD) that I was choosing a life of ‘poor but happy ‘drudgery?

No, he didn’t say all that. But it was implied. And you know what?

I’m pissed. NOT because what he said was true, but that anyone would pigeonhole me that way.

So let me get this straight. Because I married a TEACHER, we are incapable of making a financial plan. Because I married a TEACHER, I should not aspire to go out to trendy restaurants with friends, shop in non-big box stores, travel abroad, or aspire to stay home with my kids.

In other words, I’m supposed to hang with the staff and not Upstairs. Know what made me even angrier? A repeat of almost the same conversation, verbatim – with someone I know really well.

And yes, I know that ‘other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.’ But this hit home. It hurts to know that (apparently) this is not an uncommon opinion.

I’m sorry, but we are not ‘poor.’ Do we live on a budget? Yes. But my TEACHER spouse has job security. And insurance. AND we don’t use credit cards. My minions are well-fed and clothed. I know how to put together a pretty stylin’ ensemble – even if most of it does come from Targé, Old Navy and the local outlet mall. I know the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork. Yes, the Spouse mows our lawn himself. Yes, our cleaning lady looks just like me. My kids think a luxury vacation is to San Antonio, not to a fully-staffed villa in Belize. We DO actually go out to eat as a family – and not just to Taco Bell. For the record, I hate Taco Bell and haven’t eaten there in about ten years.

I guess my main point here is this: (shouty capitals alert…)

DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT MY ‘LIFESTYLE’ IS OR SHOULD BE BASED ON MONEY. OR A JOB. OR WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE.

How dare they??

For the record, I smiled, turned away and ended both conversations. Filter full-on. That’s a first – but here I am venting about it…

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Soapbox Time, Y’all!

Ok, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. A couple of weeks ago, I came across this slideshow on Facebook:

Real Women’s Bodies After Kids

And it made me mad. Not because I magically bounced back into shape after I had kids. I didn’t. But these pictures seem pretty biased. I’m a woman and a (sometimes) fitness nut, which means that a) I notice other women and b) that I’ve got a pretty good BS-meter. What bothers me about the pics above ISN’T that these women have not magically bounced back into shape after having kids. For most of us, that doesn’t happen. What bothers me is that some of these women probably weren’t marathon runners and Crossfit nuts to begin with.  It would be like me saying, “Since I’ve had my kids, I can’t do 25 burpees and fit into my size-00 jeans.” Because, trust me, I’ve NEVER been a size 00 (well, maybe when I was 8) and I’m not even sure what a burpee is. Seriously. And most of these women have young infants. Like, under a year. OF COURSE no one’s body is going to bounce right back. Probably the smartest thing my OB-GYN told me was that ‘it took nine months to get your body this way, so expect it to take about that much time to go back to normal.’ But I know women with teenagers who are still saying that their body issues are related to giving birth.

Yes, having kids changes your body. Yes, parts of me look different. Yes, I wear different sizes now. But I’m as fit as I can be – because I work on it.

And in the middle of being so angry at the ‘this-is-what-will-happen-to-your-body-after-you-have-a-kid’ schpiel, another mom hit the news yesterday.

For being fit. After three kids. And proud of it.

She basically says everything I believe. It’s about priorities. Not every woman’s top priority is getting her fitness level back. Fine. Does that make them less of a person? Heck no! And if a new mom DOES want to work hard to minimize the changes to her body, does that make them less of a Good Mom? Heck no!!

It’s about choice. And owning your decision. And not making excuses.

Honestly, we as women need to support other women in their choices and priorities instead of hating. Why can’t more women just be honest and say, ‘Yes, my body looks different now. But I’ve decided to put that on the back burner and focus on my kids and my family?’ Instead of making the ‘you can never get your body back after having kids’ excuse.

Or, on the other side of the fence, why can’t more women honestly say, ‘Yes, this muffin top wasn’t there before, it really bothers me and I’m determined to do something about it, bump up my self esteem and go forward as the best mom I can be?’ That was me. (For the record – Zumba zapped the muffin top in just under three months and it hasn’t come back.)

Why do women feel the need to target each other and hate on each other? Ladies, it’s about time we supported one another, stood up for ourselves and OWNED our choices. Maria Kang makes a good point. Moms should make choices that work for them and be proud to say it. In her words:

“What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.

With that said, obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a ‘bigger’ issue than this photo. Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point.” – Maria Kang

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We’re Goin’ to the Fair, Y’all!!

One day and counting. One. Day.

One day till the Spouse, the minions and I are on our way to Big D. I’m so excited I was up at 2 AM this morning. Like a little kid on Christmas morning. Only we’re not leaving until tomorrow. Early tomorrow.

What are we gonna do in Big D?? Hang out with my bro and sis, visit the in-laws so that my dad-in-law can torture spend quality time with his grandsons. Of course, he doesn’t really torture them. They just think so. See, the tradition is that as soon as we walk in the door he comes running, claiming that he’s ‘gonna kick their butts.’ And he tries. But now that they’re bigger, the minions try to kick his butt back. Yes, we’re Texan. And the dad-in-law is REALLY Texan – born and raised in West Texas Cow Country. So butt-kicking is a sign of love between them. I just sit back, make popcorn and enjoy the show, because it’s honestly hard to tell the adult from the kids during this ritual.

And I love it.

So what else is on the list? Dinner with the fam – hopefully at Mi Cocina, which we don’t have in H-town. Hanging out. Watching movies. Listening to the Spouse and his dad debate sports and movies. Again, mom-in-law and I make popcorn and watch – since father and son are equally opinionated. Good times!

But the biggie this weekend??

THE FAIR!

There’s only one state fair in my opinion. The Texas one. H-town tries its best to copy with the Houston Rodeo, but it’s lame in comparison. Growing up in Big D, every kid I knew – me included – went to the fair every year. All through college too. Heck, I didn’t even know about Columbus Day until middle school – because in Big D the school holiday is called Fair Day and every kid gets a free ticket.

Anyhoo, I’m totally stoked. The last time I went to the fair was when I was pregnant with V and R was about one. We had a good time, but maneuvering the fairgrounds with a big honkin’ stroller just isn’t quite the same. So this year we’re going all out. And the bro, sis, in-laws, and step-sis decided it’d be fun to make a big group thing of it all. SCORE!

Here’s my State Fair Top Ten To-Do List:

1) The car show. Specifically, watching the dad-in-law put the minions into sports cars and try to take pics of them with the car girls.

2) Showing the minions the Cotton Bowl. It’s a Dallas icon. You know it is.

3) The Embarcadero building. Just because ‘Embarcadero’ is such a cool word.

4) The food building – because you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a live Ginsu knife demonstration.

5) Taking bets on which of the minions will get more creeped out by Big Tex’s new look. Seriously, what’s with the eyes?? Reminds me of that creepy clown doll from Poltergeist.

6) The trains and fall garden exhibit – and it’s supposed to actually FEEL like fall this weekend! Woohoo!

7) Watching step-sis and Oldest Minion try to pressure coax dad-in-law onto some of the rides. As Texan as he is, he doesn’t do rides. There’s a family legend about the time he tried to impress his college girlfriend by getting on some huge roller coaster with her. It didn’t go so well for him.

8) The animals – and watching my citified minions try to tiptoe around all of the cow poop.

9) The concerts and shows.

10) And, my personal favorite – THE FOOD!!! This year, forget about the Fletcher’s corny dog, the footlong chili dog, the funnel cake and the belgian waffles. I’m going for the fried Oreos and the FRIED THANKSGIVING DINNER!!

Can you tell I’m just a leetle bit ready to roll??

 

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Two-Fer Tuesday

So here I am, on a Tuesday. For once the weatherman was actually right, and it feels like fall today. Which means that I’d better get my happy little self outside and enjoy it while it lasts – which usually amounts to a couple of hours. That’s fall in H-town. The minions decided to wear pants to school today because it was ‘freezing’ this morning. Lightweights! To them ‘freezing’ is 65 degrees. Anyhoo, being the good mom I am, I tried to discourage the pants in favor of long sleeves and shorts.

Why, you ask?

Simple. It’s fall in Houston. I’m NOT buying these kids new pants until November. See, October means that we MIGHT have a few cool mornings like this one, but afternoons can easily range from 75 degrees to 95. And then they would complain about roasting. And both minions have been eating me out of house and home. Which means one thing: growth spurts. I’ve learned this the hard way. If I buy new pants for them now, by November – when they actually might NEED them – they will have each grown about ten inches and said pants will be too short. Which could work if they were girls. But capris on boys?

Not quite the same.

So they can ‘suffer’ the 70-degree morning temps for a few more weeks. Tough love.

Besides the weather, there are a couple other things that have me jazzed today:

One – The Big Mama Blog. I found her online last week and I’ve gotta tell you – this is a chick I can relate to. Soccermom, kids, Texan, my age bracket, and an Aggie to boot! And she shops at Anthropologie. And posts yummy recipes like Chocolate Icebox Pie. She’s someone who totally gets me. We should have coffee sometime. Check her out. Especially today’s post, where she talks about homework woes and the Latest Greatest Kid Fad – The Rainbow Loom. I can sympathize. The minions jumped on the rainbow loom bandwagon Sunday.

Two – my friend Mel’s recipe. I haven’t made it yet, but I’ve been drooling over the recipe and the picture. Yep – I’m one of those sick souls that reads cookbooks when I’m hungry. Or bored. Or just feel like it. No wonder I only lasted six hours on the cabbage soup diet… But really – you have GOT to check this out. Are you ready?

Cinnamon-sugar bread pudding. Made with donuts.

Heaven.

The recipe says it makes 16 servings, but who are they kidding? I have a feeling this will be like the time my mom and I made my Grandma’s chocolate pudding. The stuff never had a chance to chill – we ate the whole batch out of the pan while it was still on the stove.

Anyhoo, those two things – plus the cooler temps – just made my Tuesday. How ’bout you?

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Trophy Wife

I just posted this on Facebook, but I feel so convicted about it at the moment that I’m gonna double-dip. Ready?

Today, being a trophy wife sounds pretty darn good.

That’s it. That’s where I’m at right now. I wouldn’t mind taking the time to carefully assemble and accessorize my LOTD. I’d actually feel like doing something with my hair besides a) shave my head or b) sling it back in a ponytail like it’s been for a month. Heck, I’d relish the thought of cleaning my house – or, in a dream world, picking up clutter to save the cleaning lady some time. Cooking dinner? Sure thing, all with my perfectly-manicured hands.

Call me shallow. And selfish. You wouldn’t be saying anything I haven’t already said to myself. I know. But that’s where my brain is today. Tired. Beyond tired. SO over the nearly-three-hours-both-ways commute. It ain’t glamorous to work in town anymore. Fuggetaboutit.

Yes, I am grateful. Grateful to have a family with two minions. A house. A job. Well, that’s debatable today – since I’d rather have the ‘job’ of sitting at home looking pretty. But given that I’ve spent the last week’s worth of lunch hours napping in my car (yes, really), something’s gotta give.

And you know what? Facebook sucks! For some reason my newsfeed has been full of ‘inspirational’ stuff like “take a moment just for you, breathe, focus on the goodness in your life, and refresh your soul.” A moment? Seriously?? Maybe an hour. Or two. With a nap thrown in.

Or this one – just as I was feeling thankful, warm and even a bit cozy about my life: “Just booked a trip to Europe for the WHOLE FAM! SO excited!!” That one was followed by a link to the private villa booked by said family. With the two kids under five. Who are fluently bilingual, Suzuki-fied musicians and members of the Fashionistas.

My kids play soccer, do Boy Scouts, and their idea of the ‘fanciest trip ever’ was to their uncle’s wedding – because the bathroom at the hotel had a really big tub, a rain shower head and conditioner.

See what a short trip it is from ‘I could totally be a trophy wife,’ to ‘I’m really tired,’ to ‘My-kids-will-never-succeed-in-life-because-they-don’t-speak-multiple-languages-and-play-instruments-and-have-passports?’

Man.

Sorry for the rant – but had to just vomit it out there into cyberspace today. For the 0.5 people who might actually look at it. And for me.

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