Sweet Summer

This goes out to all the working parents whose summer days are actually summer nights and weekends.

When other parents are piling the sunscreen on kids at the pool for the fourth time that day, and we’re on our fourth meeting of the day. They’re going to the freezer for another Otter Pop, and we’re grabbing our salad out of the office fridge.

Then, we all hustle to football practice and dance class. It’s not bad or good. It’s just different. It’s all tiring, and rewarding. Summer is summer, and it’s pretty sweet no matter how you slice it. 🍉

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Paving the Road to Success

This is the wall of achievement we started at our house.

Right now, it’s just plaques my husband and I earned for things like college graduation, journalism honors, leadership and the best damn award-winning chili that took years to perfect.

It’s mostly my husband, TBH, cuz he’s the MVP. But anyway, this wall isn’t for Little League participation.

This wall is for when our kids really earn that shit, which I know they will. And you know what?

The road to success, whatever that success looks like, starts with us parents and parent figures as the example.

What We’re Made Of

When we feel weak or doubt ourselves, let’s remember what we are made of.

First oxygen, but then carbon.

And when carbon is buried deep underground, tormented by volatile eruptions, it starts to evolve. Pressure and scorching temperatures nudge the forward progress. Change is slow, but steady.

As eruptions continue, the carbon rises from the depths. Up from layers on layers of hard matter.

Eventually, the carbon surfaces. Forever changed.

Once cut and with a little polishing, the diamond is not only sparkling and brilliant, but the hardest natural material on Earth. Sharp. Strong. Beautiful.

Let’s remember that we are diamonds.

Mmm. Marriage.

Hubs and I were at each other’s throats all day today.

It was one of those days they left off the marriage vows. Sure, they mention in sickness and in health, but not “even when the sight of them annoys the shit out of you”.

Hubs is the cook in our marriage, but today I boldly told him that he didn’t need to bother to cook for me anymore. That I could heat up my own Lean Cuisines.

But then I came home to freshly baked rolls he’d left out. Mmm. Rolls. Maybe marriage ain’t so bad.

Always a Bad Choice

I am the biggest feminist, but I pick the worst damn shows for myself.

I’m home sick today, watching old 16 and Pregnant episodes in my son’s room cuz there’s work going on elsewhere in the house. Like, is there nothing better for me to watch?

But the rare opportunity to watch whatever I want always overwhelms me and I go for strangest, artsiest movies with subtitles or the trashiest of crap T.V.

Last night, I tried to put on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof after about 15 minutes of indecisively scrolling Netflix options.

My husband, unable to watch the fish struggle on the pole any longer, finally said “Just stop. I’ll pick something.”

He put on Bad Times at the El Royale. Guys and gals, it was So. Good. I even stayed awake for the whole thing.

In fact, my husband consistently chooses shows and movies I enjoy.

You know those hilarious 1950s women’s magazine articles that are like “have a man’s slippers waiting for him when he gets off work”?

Well, this is me now with movies and T.V. I’m going to have his fuzzy T.V. choice waiting for him to slip into when he comes home from work. I mean, shit, I’ll be coming home from work too and bringing home substantial bacon and kicking down the patriarchy and all that, but….I can’t pick T.V. shows for shit.

Knowing and Showing Our Worth

We know our shit, so why are we scared to show it?

We women too often apologize when we speak. Are scared to knock on closed doors and interrupt something important. Newsflash: We are important.

We worry about how our bodies look and if we’re too fat. Too skinny. Too saggy. If we’re saying too much. Too fat and too much for who?

Look at men. When men walk into a room, they frequently take charge of that room with confidence, whether or not they’ve earned it. If their belly is hanging over their belt, do they care? Probably not. So why do we worry about our perceived imperfections like they are anyone else’s business or diminish our worth in any way?

Male leaders, walking around with bald spots on their heads and maybe lies in their mouths. But they do something we women don’t do enough.

THEY BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES.

A crazy thing happened when I started fully believing in myself a few years ago. I received the respect I deserve. If my experience and knowledge make me an expert on something, I let myself be an expert.

I look people in the eye while I offer them my expert opinion. Even if their job title ranks them above me. Even if their credentials are impressive.

I ask questions without shame when I don’t understand.

When my refusal to be intimidated raises their voice or turns their face red, I don’t turn away.

If someone challenges my gut mom instinct about my kids, I ask them hard questions. More importantly, I trust my gut. My soft, womanly gut. Full of calories and gumption.

Because inside, we have ribs of steel. Our abilities to be compassionate and emotional only add to our superpowers.

Let’s commit as women to not only knowing and showing our worth, but helping each other do the same.

A Sweet and Sour Goodbye

I just cried while throwing out my old breast pump with the milk stains still in the tubing.

The pump that made those funky noises, was a pain to use and clean, and helped me nourish my two babies now almost 4 and 7. Of all the babyhood things I miss, nursing was among the hardest to give up.

When my babies lost weight after birth, pumped milk along with formula helped me build them back to chunky. I hated taking time out of my work day to find an office and block the little window in the door to pump. I hated washing the pump parts and bottles.

Clearly, I wasn’t very committed to getting all the pieces spotless.

But when I opened that pump bag to look inside before I tossed it in the garbage, it smelled like that familiar canvas. Similar to the comfort of a beloved camping tent and all the memories tied to it.

Ugh. I miss nursing so much. Parenthood is complicated.