SUMMER, MOTHER’S GUILT & YABBA DABBA DOO (*and Jax Teller)

Can you believe we are already halfway through summer?

Work is busy.  The laundry pile is bigger than usual.  I feel like I can’t catch up with anything.  And I am tired.  So tired.  Like, “if-I-put-my-head-down-for-one-second-I-will-start-snoring” tired.  And, worst of all, I have a severe case of Mother’s Guilt because I can’t be home with the kids during the week.

  • I want to hear all about Maggie’s plans for her alternative universe.
  • I want to play basketball with Joey.  Or at least, watch him play.
  • I even *kinda* want to learn about whatever it is that Ryan is trying to tell me he built in Minecraft.  Sort of.

I always thought that it would get easier as the kids got older.  I thought they would be more independent and self-sufficient – not needing me as much as they did when they were younger.  The thing is, they are.  The other thing is, I’m not.  I feel as though I need them more.  I feel more guilty now for not being there for them all the time for the questions, quips and quality time; more guilty than I felt when they were babies.

The kids never make me feel bad about going to work.  They occasionally say things like, “I wish you didn’t have to work today” but they understand that mom and dad both have to work.  It’s me that doesn’t understand.  I mean, I understand.  BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

I want to stay in our PJs, lounge around, watch SpongeBob, laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, play board (BORED!) games, break up petty arguments – the whole nine yards – and then be excited to put them to bed.  I want the noise and the annoying.  And then, I want the peace and the quiet.  And after that, I want to watch the rest of Sons of Anarchy (seriously, invest the time – it’s THAT good).

But after that, I want to check the weather for the next day and make plans for the movies or the park.  Maybe we could take a ride to the beach house or spend the day in a friend’s pool.  Or maybe I could help them clean their rooms and listen to them complain about it the whole time.

After a few days home, I bet my severe case of Mother’s Guilt would magically go away.

On the flip side, I wish I had some time for me.  Just me.  Time to go through my closet and get rid of SO. MUCH. STUFF.  Time to invest in writing.  Time to read … ok, watch Sons of Anarchy (that’s right…I’M A SUPERFAN!).  Time to paint the bedrooms – or at least watch Ernie as he does.  Time to make potato soup.  Time to do a huge food shopping and actually get everything we need.  Time to take Rosie to the groomer – the poor dog looks like a dust mop.  Time to sit and do nothing.

My “Yabba Dabba Doo” quittin’ time comes at 3:30 pm today and I get to be with my kiddies.  Bet that Mother’s Guilt goes away pretty quickly…especially when I have to pretend I care about Minecraft.

Have a great weekend and enjoy what’s left of summer.  Don’t let it slip away….


WHEN LIFE GETS MUDDY, TRUE FRIENDS JUMP IN TO SHOW SUPPORT

In the friendship department, I have been extremely blessed.

In August ’92, in a dorm called “Nevils” at the University of Scranton, amazing friendships were formed.  The best of friendships.  Friendships that – 20 years later – are still crazy, fun, sincere, unconditional and cherished.  Friendships that define friendship.

We have been through it all together: bridal showers, wedding parties, vacations (Europe has never been the same since we backpacked through it), baby showers, the births of our children, christenings, communions, divorces, re-marriages, illness, death – and everything else that life has thrown our way.  We may not talk on the phone all the time – and see each other even less – but when we do, it as though time has stood still and we pick up exactly where we left off.  *Usually, with wine in hand.*

I can honestly say that the five of us would do anything for any one of the others – and probably have.  The selfless acts of kindness these women have shown me over the years are Hallmark card-worthy.

This weekend, these ladies reached a whole ‘notha level of supporting a friend.  We played in the mud as the “Super Mother Muckers” for the MuckFest® MS New Jersey 5K Mud and Fun Run.  IT. WAS. FUN.  And gross.  *Oh and if one of us (guess who?!) walks during the “run,” we all walk during the run…“Donna Martin graduates or nobody graduates!”*

Granted, we’ve played in the mud together before.  We are all former (*not-such-a-bright-idea*) women’s college rugby athletes (I think my back still hurts and “athletes” might be a stretch!). But we were 19 years old and we were [self-proclaimed] cool.  Fast forward 20 years and we are now middle-aged and not as cool (well, maybe!).  One of us has MS (yours truly!), one is a cancer survivor (yeah, girl – you kicked the crap out of cancer!), and one is currently under the care of a physical therapist because she hurt her leg.

This is how MuckFest went:

IN MUD…AND IN LIFE

  • If you fall, your friends will help you up.  In mud…and in life.
  • While you are struggling, your friends will stay with you and help you through obstacles.  In mud…and in life.
  • When you get messy, your friends will be there to help clean you up.  In mud..and in life.

And this weekend, they did.  Actually, they always do.

Thank you, girls. I love you. xoxo


JUMPING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

This past weekend, I went to my first blogging conference BlogU which took place at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

The conference was fantastic.  And scary.  And fun.  And nerve-racking.  And amazing.  And overwhelming.  And everything I expected.  And less.  And more.

Please, allow me to explain.

In my “public relations” life, I have been to dozens of conferences.  Easy peasy.  No problem.  I’m now an almost 20-year veteran of the PR business world.  I like this world.  For me, it’s comfortable.  It’s safe.  It’s professional; not usually personal.  But, when it is personal, it’s because I have worked with the same people forever and they are like family.

On the other end of the spectrum, in my “blogging” world, I sit safely behind the façade of a computer screen.  Usually, in my sweatpants with the madness of my home life in the background.  When I write, I am simply me usually while talking with my husband and dealing with various requests from multiple children in-between the sentences I am so desperately trying to string together before someone else needs my attention.

Now for my “blog conference” life.  Mixing my private passion for writing with Real. Life. People.  RUH-ROH! … said in a Scooby Doo voice.

Thanks to Stacia at www.driedonmilk.com for the above group photo. 

The BlogU Faculty was comprised of women whom I respect and admire for their outstanding expression of words, their wildly successful books and, of course, their unrivaled knee-slapping humor.  Seriously, these women were The Beatles of my blog world.  The sessions they taught were exactly what I hoped for as a student.  As in, Best. Classes. Ever.

There was a cupcake bar and a beer tasting event.  Awesome.

However, I can’t explain how far I was out of my element.  I didn’t just step out of my comfort zone — I. JUMPED. OUT.  In real life, I don’t make small talk.  I don’t introduce myself to strangers.  Basically, I don’t speak unless spoken to.  I am just not that type of person I just can’t do it.  This weekend was no different.

And even though I didn’t talk with too many people or get in too many group pictures with these women who seemed to make instant friends with one another, I am so happy I went to the conference.  I am proud of myself for stepping way out of the familiar.

The chance not taken is the opportunity lost.

(I think I just made that up. Maybe I stole it?  Either way, great quote!)

Why didn’t I take pictures with these women I admire?  They would have smiled and said “cheese” happily as they did with everyone else who wasn’t too awkward to ask.

Opportunity lost.

Why didn’t I insert myself into conversations when I clearly had at least two cents to share?

Opportunity lost.

Why did I go straight back to my room at night instead of hanging out and getting to know everyone?

Opportunity lost.

Do you see a theme here?

Bottom line: This conference was 100% worth attending if for nothing else, for the incredible amount of knowledge I took away from the funniest, been-there ladies of blogging.

The moral of my story is simply…don’t be afraid to take a chance, go out of your comfort zone and step away from the familiar.  As difficult as it was for me, it was also one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. And I look forward to continuing to challenge myself, and make the best use of every opportunity the future holds. No matter how out of my comfort zone, or awkwardy dressed in 80s prom gear, complete with a pink wig.