Monday, October 27, 2014

The Mommy Meltdown Moment (in the Wal Mart)

We all like to wear our Superwoman cape proudly. Some days we can even feel like we master the role well. For a moment we think we have the kids, career, marriage, house, and everything else all well balanced. I've had those moments and how I do love those moments where I feel like I can do it all.

But then there's a small crack in that perfectly balanced tower of motherhood balance. For a bit you still manage to keep it all together. It's a shaky balance for a bit but you think you got it. Then it's just a little too much pressure on that already swaying tower of balance, and it all comes crumbling down. Then there you are. The woman who likes to think she has it all together with her tower of balance in chaotic clutter around her while she finally just gives in the tears that have been threatening as she struggled so hard to keep that balance.

And there I was in the middle of Wal Mart, unable to stop the tears anymore. I handed our groceries and children over to my husband and walked out the door to have the mommy meltdown I'd been holding in check.

It all started when once again there was another accident on the highway on the way to work. When I should have been there at 7:00, a good half hour before school started, I then had to take a detour to barely make it to the parking lot ten minutes before school started. Once there I had to waste probably close to another five finding parking because they blocked off the teacher lot for some activity. Then of course with it being the last week of the quarter not only am I freaking out and stressing about all the papers I still need to grade to close the quarter, but I have parents and students bugging me to make up work at the last minute. Then you always have the one kid that can just ruin your day as it is. After work I had to go to our old house to show it to potential renters. That went fairly well, but it was an hour and half out of my already crazy schedule because after I picked the girls up we had to make a way overdue trip to the grocery store, Wal Mart. We were suppose to meet my husband there because the grocery money was in his account, but he had called to say he'd be late because he had meetings after school.  After shopping and ringing up our $300 worth of groceries my debit card was declined. I had just deposited three checks in there Saturday and had no idea how or why it was being declined.  I had just taken my credit card back out of my purse because I always figure if it's not in there I won't use it. So there I was twelve hours after I left home that morning with a cart full of groceries, two tired and hungry kids, and apparently no money. I had to go over to customer service. From there I realized the money I deposited Saturday wasn't available yet. It wouldn't be available until after midnight. My phone was dead so I had to call Nate from their phone. He was still a half hour away with access to the account that did have available money. So I had to sit there with the girls and wait. They of course wanted to crawl all over the place. Then they started whining they were hungry and wanted to get into the snacks in the grocery cart. At this point I was exhausted, frustrated, hungry. I asked the guy behind the counter what time it was and when he told me 7:00 that was it, I was done. I just started crying.

We still had to eat dinner, I had grading and a vocabulary quiz I should work on tonight, groceries to put away, and I just wanted to chance to sit down before I had to turn around and get up before 6:00 the next morning and do it all over again until 8:00 tomorrow night. At this point Nate finally showed up. Luckily, he's an understanding guy. He told me he'd take the girls and to just go ahead and go. I did. I needed to get myself together but instead found myself in the Wal Mart parking lot, unsure where I parked my car. So there I was wondering around, trying to find my car.

Luckily it didn't take long. We decided we'd just grab something quick for dinner. When I stopped to get gas and grab myself something I then discovered I left the card that was declined that would have money again tomorrow at Wal Mart. However, when I got home I discovered the Walmart guy gave it to Nate thankfully. It was a rushed stressful evening of unloading groceries and getting everything ready to do it all over again tomorrow. Only to be reminded at the end of the night every time we turn on the bathroom sink it runs straight down to the basement floor and that the guy I showed the house to that seemed interested called to say they were passing on the house after all.

Some days there are just not enough hours in the day to be the woman that does it all. Some times there's a point where too much is too much. Hopefully this peak of stress with so many things on our plate will be past us in a week or two, but it was a reminder of the reality that I can only do so much. When we stretch ourselves too thin we're not really any good to anyone, yet some of us, including myself, continue to do it time and time again, sometimes because it's just what we have to do. Other times our ambitions get the best of us and we push our limits.

Either way I'm sure this won't be the last time the tower of balance will crumble  and I'll be made aware once I again that I have limits. In the meantime, tomorrow is a new day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Marriage and Money

Most people have probably heard the statistics that money is one of the top three reasons for failed marriages. I hate that money is important, but the truth is we all have to financially survive in this life. Unfortunately, money is one of those things that seems to be able to bring up or bring down so many things. I'm still convinced money does not equal happiness, but I do feel due to the hardships it brings it can at times lead you down some dark roads of unhappiness. We have definitely been there, and I can definitely understand why money puts a strain on marriages.

As we head into this November it will be 11 years since Nate and I first met and two years
since we moved into our house. As I look back on the eleven years it's definitely been a struggle with last two, more so last year,  being the financially hardest. Luckily in many ways those struggles have been connected to financial survival more so than any physical or health concerns. I always like to say money problems are the best problems to have because to me the alternative is health problems and in many ways that is much scarier. But the stress that comes with financial struggle can mentally wear you down and have a negative effect on a person physically.

When I met my husband he was not in the greatest financial situation. I'm sure most of us have read those articles about what we should know about someone before dating them, and it stresses their financial history because I guess it insinuates something about them. I took that to mean I was the one that should be in control of our finances. In many relationships there is one person that is the household finance guru and in our case that has always been me.

However, here are some common problems I've found not just from my own experience but in speaking with other couples. The one in charge of the money feels a great weight on their shoulder to not only pay the bills but the responsibility if things aren't going well then it is somehow all their fault and they've failed in a major way. They also feel whether they're the one that makes more money or not that it's up to them to cover the deficits. The one who isn't in charge of the money feels like they contribute but have no control over how it's spent or faces guilt or criticism for wanting to indulge on something so it never feels like the money earned was ever theirs. This creates hostility, tension, and hurt feelings on both sides.

Him and I have dealt with this for years, but when you're barely financially making it, and you're both already picking up extra work to cover your expenses,  you're afraid to change much for fear what little grip you have left on the situation will be gone.

Finally all the extra income from jobs on top of our full times jobs we have picked up over the years was going to be extra money this school year so with a little bit of breathing room, we seperated our money. I know they say it shouldn't be his and hers; what's his is hers and vice versa, but this has been great. The way we do it now is he writes me a check each pay period for what I need for our joint household bills, and I still manage the household budget and schedule the bills; however, we each take care of our own school loans, credit cards, and car loans and managing our spending money, gas money, and savings is on each of us.  I do factor in savings for first Christmas and then summer as part of that joint household bill amount. We have both found this so much better. We even bank at different banks, and I've even come to learn from a past experience that this is also better. Before we had our accounts linked and within a month I was still managing his bill payments and then because they were linked I able to easily borrow money so it was still the controlling and lack of controlling situation.

Marriage is a team effort and everything is meant to be shared, but for us I have found the his and hers money a relief to some of the financial stress on our relationship. I don't know if it is something that would work for everyone, but I do know others, including my parents, who have survived off this method for almost 34 years of marriage.

How is the money managed in your marriage? What works for managing the money in your marriage, especially if you've had periods of financial struggle?

I talk about marriage more in my book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas, It's avaliable in print for $10 with 20% off with code OKTOBER.  The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99. With the purchase of print and ebook books 20% of sales goes towards a children's charity for the The PACI Fund Project. This Fall donations are going to the Families of SMA charity.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Where does Happy Fit?

We spent the past weekend in Ocean City, Maryland with a few of our really good friends; friends we consider part of what we call the Baltimore family. It was another great weekend that left me sad that it was over too soon but revived in a way that reminds me that amidst all the crazy in our lives, these are the moments that life is all about.

As many know I stress myself out way more than I need to, I worry and fret half the time over nothing, but no matter our individual journeys I don't think many of us would argue we're often left feeling overwhelmed, defeated, stressed, and worried  in the day to day grind that is our lives. This negative side of life can consume us; it can blind us to everything else.  I've seen it happen. Unfortunately, most of us probably know someone that almost always seems to be unhappy and dwells way too long on the negatives of life.

My youngest daughter was what I guess people considered an unhappy baby. I never understood what people meant when they would say "oh what a happy baby" until I had an unhappy baby. I quietly obsessively worried about this child. Depression is something I don't think any family escapes from, and we have a family history so from the beginning I was that crazed parent thinking my child was destined to be this unhappy depressed child/adult. I've seen what unhappiness and low esteem does to people, and I don't want this for my kids. I don't want that for myself. Honestly, some days it's easy to say I choose happy, and other days it's just not as easy for whatever reason.

Just as we can't always have sunny days, our lives are not going to be easy and completely consumed by positive moments. I don't think life is meant to be easy.  I think maybe that is because if it was we wouldn't know how to appreciate the moments; we wouldn't recognize the beauty that life can be.

To me moments and time with the people that make these moments what they are is all that matters in the end. I think it's important to teach my kids responsibility and work ethic and those qualities that are important to making successful adults, but I think teaching my kids to be happy is just as important. Through my professional life with countless students over the span of  ten years and through my personal life, I've encountered a few overdriven people so consumed by the demands of life that they found themselves drowning in depression or unfortunately as a student reminded me the other day through a story he shared they find themselves to the point of suicide.

As much as I try and plan to teach them to be responsible and work hard for the things they want in life, I also want to teach them that being happy and doing the things that make them happy is just as important. Life is meant to be lived. Don't get so bogged down with the to do lists, the demands, the responsibilities that you forget to live life.

As I shared these pictures with friends this past weekend, a few people commented on what happy little girls we have. To me as a parent, this meant a lot because as much as yes I hope they're well behaved, respectful (always on blue at school, which Averi always is as she reminds me), and work hard, them being happy means just as much to me as anything else.

My hope is happy, well loved kids will lead to happy, well loved adults. Them being happy always makes me happy.

Recent Posts

Battle of Home (The Battle of my Two Homes in the AL Championship)

Slowing Down?

Life is Going...

Balance, Where Did you Go?

Check out my book:

Sales from my book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas, this month is going to the Families of SMA this month. The book examines how our 21st century digital world shapes our perceptions and expectations of our capabilities as mothers, wives, employers, and women. I talk about balance or the struggle of finding balance often in here. It will leave you with a humorous and inspirational look at the individual journey of motherhood that takes each of us from the girl we were to the woman we become. The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99. With the purchase of print and ebook books 20% of sales goes towards a children's charity for the The PACI Fund Project. This Fall donations are going to the Families of SMA charity.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Battle of Home

This upcoming week is like Christmas around here. Not only are we going to the beach and the Walking Dead start back up this weekend but both of my home teams face off in the AL Championship this weekend.

I know sometimes in our society we put too much emphasis on professional athletes and sports, but there's something about the run for championships that is just magical. As any athlete knows the adrenaline rush in little league and varsity sports is such an amazing high, and even though we're not the ones taking the field for such an amazing moment, it's still a magical moment for us fans. Even though we may sometimes put too much value on professional sports, I've always felt sports were such a great teacher of life lessons like perseverance, teamwork, faith in yourself and those around you, and the lessons that are learned on those playing fields go beyond those glory moments. These two teams are two underdogs that have had to fight their way to this top moment. As they've persevered, worked together, and believed in themselves and their team us the fans have been swept away in the excitement that is baseball in October.  They both worked hard for the amazing match up to come.  For these two teams, the Royals and the Orioles, this is a long overdue and well deserved moment.

I'm excited for both of these teams and all their fans. My Facebook feed is going to blow up this week with all the excitement coming from both sides. For those that don't know I grew up in Kansas City and have now spent the last ten years of my adult life living in Baltimore. Even though I have been to both Kauffman and Camden Yards over the years, unfortunately, like so many other things since we've had kids, we haven't always made a game every year. However, this year we were fortunate enough to catch a game each for both the Royals and Orioles.

Even though I plan to support both teams by wearing my Orioles jersey and Royals hat for the next week, I am leaning more towards one team than the other. No matter who wins I will be beyond excited and the World Series for me is going to be awesome because one of my teams is going. Not only am I leaning towards cheering for one team maybe a little more than the other but I also think that one is going to win. They have some amazing magic going on at the moment, and I think this is their year.

So even though Baltimore has been my home for almost ten years now, you can take the girl out of Missouri but you can't take the Missouri out of the girl so the team that I'm rooting for just a little more than the other is the Kansas City Royals!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Slowing Down?

"Do you ever think about slowing down?"
"Why don't you just stay home?"

I get asked these questions more times than I can count. The answer is pretty much no. There are places to see, friends to keep in touch with, family to visit, adventures to be lived, and I'm just not a sit and do nothing person. I'm not a big TV watcher, but if you can get me hooked on some really good story with a TV show or movie, I'll sit still. If it's not something worth watching though, a good book is about the only other thing to get me to sit still and "relax".

I love to be on the go, and I love to go do things. However, since our NYC trip at the beginning of the month, September was a pretty good slow down month for me. I probably needed it. Especially with the next two busy weekends coming up with the beach and working on our rental house the weekend after to hopefully have it rented back out by the first of November.

This past weekend I think was exactly what I needed.  Nate took his first guys weekend since I think we've had two kids, and I had a great weekend with just my girls. Friday was my birthday so we all went out for dinner. Then I stayed up until 1 in the morning to watch an awesome ball game of the Royals. He left before 10 Saturday morning. After we completed our weekly Saturday morning cleaning chores, we took a trip to the local library where Averi picked out her first level 1 reading books (proud mommy moment), went to dinner at Chipolte, stopped at the store for groceries and way too many movie snacks. Then we took over Daddy's man cave for a slumber party with movies, popcorn, candy, and ice cream. We maybe went a little overboard with the junk as I had a few complaints of belly aches. Overall, it was a great relaxing weekend with my girls. Even though the week before hit its usual crazy, stressful peak, somehow within the week I managed to get all my laundry caught up briefly, read two books, and get in my usual couple workouts.

Now I just need to unbury myself from my neverending grading pile. Life is still busy with two 12 hour days a week on top of my other three nine hour days (time left in the morning until time home), but I'm kind of liking this pace with a little slow down time thrown in with the few moments of crazy.

Coming up next my look at the AL Championship: The Battle of Home. Who am I going to cheer for?!?! I'll let you know by Friday.

                                                        Slumber Party in Daddy's Man Cave
Recent Posts


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Do you ever just find yourself in the chaos of a busy week feeling like the F bomb has become your new found favorite vocabulary word? I think the phrase WTF pretty much captures our week this week.

It started with Nate's WTF moment Monday morning when his car wouldn't start due to a dead battery.

And the WTF moments just kept pouring in from there. Next it was....

Stepping out of the shower with my freshly clean feet to only step into a puppy puddle of piss a few steps later.

Waking up to a toddler foot practically shoved up my nostril because someone thinks she needs to sleep in the opposite direction of everyone else in the bed.

Prying open the puppy's mouth to retrieve whatever she was chewing on now to discover she was eating turds out of the cat's litter box.

Walking into the laundry room to find that someone's idea of feeding the cat was to fill her bowl and the laundry room floor with kitty kibble everywhere.

The old dog deciding he had enough of everyone and everything and snapping at one of the kids.

The toddler meltdown of having to actually eat her dinner.

The five year old coming out dressed in her sister's clothes which looked she was either ready for a flood or the club with her belly showing under the too short shirt.

The two hour commute into work!

And the once nice screen door that is now a giveaway pet entrance and exit from the kitchen.

Oh, and it's only Wednesday! Really, WTF!?! I need Friday. And a strong adult beverage.

Recent Posts

There's Self Imposed Mommy Guilt and then There's Child Imposed Mommy Guilt

Life is Going...

Childhood and Pets