The Unopinionated Mommy??

When I had to select a name for this blog I chose one that at the time I thought described me. What I failed to consider was that it didn’t really describe the actual blogs point of view. Most of my posts have been anecdotal. Very few have actually been a platform where I have spouted my opinion about anything of significance.

Opinionated…check. Mommy…check. So why have I not shared my opinion on anything? I asked myself that question today after reading a blog that one of my friends shared via facebook; it was something that resonated with me, struck a chord if you will. I had a definite opinion about it, and my immediate thought was, I should blog about this.

Then a greater force took over. Fear. It suddenly hit me why I blog as infrequently as I do. My life is mundane and boring, and my stories, those worth sharing anyway, are few and far between. I can sit in a restaurant in the company and comfort of 3 dear girlfriends and speak with ease on any number of topics. You name it I will have an opinion, politics..yep…sports…uh huh…current events..absolutely…a movie stars poor new choice of hair color…you betcha. In the course of a few hours, half a personal size pizza and a couple of pints of beer later, I will have freely shared my opinion on the above topics and then some. So why am I unable to do that on a blog post titled Opinionated Mommy? Fear.

You see I realize that my opinion is mine, and while my inner circle of friends and family may share my opinion, or at least respect the fact that it is my opinion and I am entitled to it, a courtesy I return, I realize that a lot of the topics I form opinions about are topics that are hot buttons for many people. I am also wise enough, (as evidenced by the new grey hairs that have been popping up at an alarming rate) to know that not everyone is as gracious to accept your opinion for just that. Instead they want to argue the topic, and tell you why their opinion is one you should adopt. I am all for hearing the “other side” and being open to the fact that my opinion isn’t always right, but sometimes the debate thing gets carried way too far.

Mothers, really women in general, can be especially cruel. As if there isn’t enough pressure on us, we have a way of immediately pulling out the claws and going for the jugular, in lieu of being supportive and empowering. “That woman doesn’t intend on breast-feeding, she should be stoned!! Doesn’t she know it’s what nature intended!?!”

I follow the Today show on my Facebook news feed. On occasion I will open the comments up on a story that is sure to hit a nerve, just to see what people have to say, it’s usually never long before I grow frustrated with the ignorance of many of the comments and quickly exit. I can only imagine that it must give people a sense of superiority to tear others down. Perhaps it simply is, just ignorance. Whatever the case, I realized today that I am afraid. I’m afraid to feed into that cycle by throwing fuel on the proverbial fire of hate and if I am being honest with myself, I’m afraid of what those who don’t share my opinion might think of me.

It was the latter thought that really had my wheels spinning today. To say I don’t care what others think is ridiculous, we all make choices every day that are largely influenced by what others might think. Of course I care. What I realized in my newfound wisdom, is that a. you can’t please everyone in life. And b. those who love and respect you will love and respect you despite your opinions. In fact they will probably love and respect you more for knowing that you were brave enough to overcome your fears.

I don’t know how this newfound wisdom will impact my blogging. I don’t really have a specific point of view, but rather a random conglomeration of thoughts and stories that when the mood strikes I put to text. What I have decided is that as long as any future opinionated posts are written with respect to all that may read, which fortunately for me is like 10 people, most of which are part of that inner circle of family and friends anyway…then, I have nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. Or so the theory goes. I guess I won’t know until I try. Maybe one of these days I will do just that, or maybe not. Maybe it would just be easier to come up with a new blog name?

KP

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Grey or Bald??

I turned 36 this past January. 36. I’ve always scoffed at people who are age sensitive. I’ve had friends whose world has practically fallen apart at the mere mention of the F word.  Forty.  I recall taking a deep breath, mustering up the last ounce of patience that I still possessed in that moment, and saying something super creative like, “It’s better than the alternative.” As if it was the first time they’d heard that.  Meanwhile in my mind, I would think how vain can a person be?

Why is 40 such a big deal?? Is 40 really a big deal? Or is it the stigma of 40 that is the deal?  Maybe the issue isn’t really the age, but the requisite celebration that accompanies it. At 40 everyone revels in going over the top with the Over the Hill crap. Lordy Lordy look who’s 40!! I’ve been to 40th birthday parties where people are gifted items like canes, Depends, and Fixodent.  Everyone except the birthday boy or girl gets a real hoot out of the gag.  The celebrated one laughs so as not to disappoint the room full of haters, who are either already over 40 and enjoying the fact that there is a new member of the “Over the Hill” club, or not yet 40 and celebrating the fact that it’s not them in the hot seat…yet.  50 and 60 are just as bad. Now you are getting things AARP related, perhaps pamphlets to senior residences, or Glaucoma sunglasses.

And then there is 70, at 70 it suddenly becomes taboo to make fun of a persons age. Shhh don’t call them old…they’re close to dead, that would be rude.  At 70 we return to the normal happy birthday celebration, not the in your face nah nah nah nah nah nah, ya old bag! style celebration complete with black numbered balloons, the flashing kiss me I’m 40, 50 or 60 pins, the yellow crime scene-esque tape that says CAUTION 40 YEAR OLD SENIOR MOMENT, or the, “still hot, if flashes count” cocktail napkins.  At 70 it becomes Aged to Perfection! and flowers and cake accompanied by kindness.

So maybe it’s not really the number that is so frightening, but the fear of public ridicule? Either way, the above train of thought played through my head as I stood in front of my full length mirror shortly after my 36th birthday and saw something not quite right in the reflection staring back at me. What had I gotten in my hair? Paint? No I hadn’t touched a paint brush in ages….It was a snow white hair lying atop the bed of medium brown that I have sported for my entire life, until now.  The harder I looked the more I saw. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but as I awkwardly tilted my chin downward and rolled my eyes skyward so that I could finger through my locks with a view, I found a half dozen white hairs. All of which I promptly plucked from my head.  Eventually my eyes became sore from gazing upward to the silvery heavens that was my scalp, and I grew impatient trying to separate the white strand from its chestnut neighbors, I didn’t want to do harm to the good ones, after all their time is clearly limited.

I still scoff at the age sensitive folks who seem to be everywhere I turn, even when in the briefest of moments I am one of them, like when I am standing there holding a perfectly white strand of hair in my hand staring at it, as I run it through my fingers inspecting it like the foreign object that it is, and I actually allow myself to question what is worse…Grey or Bald??

Non-Key business

Rich people are too lazy to turn keys.  Apparently so are poor people.  I’ve known for quite some time now that these luxury cars, the ones that have price tags the size of my mortgage have this new fang dangled technology like something out of the Jetson’s where you push a button to start the car. No key required. I’ve known this because my former boss had one.  I had to move his car one day and spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for the ignition as I sat in the front seat sweating all over his exquisite over priced leather that was probably hand stitched by a kid, in some 3rd world country. I sat sweating and  cursing under my breath until I happened upon the START button.  I swear I heard that little START button laugh at me, that condescending cackle that suggests pity. Maybe it was my imagination, or maybe it was heat stroke kicking in. That Florida sun means business.

At what point in life did we as humans become so lazy that we had to spend countless hours of research and development to design a push button ignition? Is a flick of the wrist really that strenuous?  Just recently the hubs and I have been tossing around the idea of trading in my almost 9 year old vehicle. We’ve done some preliminary research online, and it was in this effort that I learned that apparently the technology is affordable enough now that poor people need not worry about developing carpel tunnel syndrome by turning the ignition!!  This might be bad for the key chain companies.

This got me to thinking that my daughter will probably never know anything other than the Knight Rider like luxuries in life.  I can remember a time when I sat in the back of a station wagon, there was no seat, let alone seat belts. There was no push button ignition. There was no key-less entry. The driver would unlock the door and lean over to pull the button up unlocking the door for the passenger.  Air bags? what were they?  Who needed air bags? You had 3 tons of steel between you and the front bumper, not this plastic stuff we’re driving around today.  Blue tooth was something you got from sucking on a blue raspberry blow pop. Phones were connected to a wall by a wire.

The crazy thing is that I’m not even that old, if I’ve experienced this much change in my very short stay on earth imagine what my parents who rode around in a horse and buggy must think of the push button ignition. Maybe in another 9 years my next new car will talk to me and I can say “Kitt power boost” and leap like a gazelle over the traffic, or maybe there will just be a LEAP button that I can press instead. 

Image

 

The fuzzy dice people are pissed.

KP

She’s baaack!

Well this is awkward. When one has been gone for a year and a half I am not quite sure of what the blogosphere etiquette dictates is the proper way to greet and reintroduce yourself to the world wide web. So I will start with a simple yet effective, Hello. I was gone, and now I am back. Where did I go you ask? Well that’s a long and somewhat complicated answer.  Suffice it to say that I was busy and generally overwhelmed with the combination of the full time paying job and the full time job of wife and mom extroidinare. I added the extroidinare part because it sounded good, not because I actually believe that I am extraordinary.   If there is anything this mom thing teaches you it is that extraordinary is something that we ignorantly envision in that honeymoon stage of second trimester pregnancy when you day dream about what a wonderful mom you will be and more accurately how wonderful your child is going to be. Then you have a 4 year old and you think back to those asinine thoughts and wonder if the Tums factory didn’t accidently slip something into that Costco size jar you ate like candy back in the day.

If you were to ask me why I blogged in the first place I’d hem and haw while mentally racing for some semblance of an articulate answer. Truth is, I don’t know, I guess it is because I am a very verbal person. I like to talk, and writing has always been an extension of my talking. Just ask anyone who knows me personally! My stories are always way too detailed (read long) so as to paint a picture of the subject matter (read longer) and provide some background to support the story line (read really long). So I guess writing a blog was a selfish outlet for me. A place to “journal” some thoughts or funny stories that some friends and family could read. It would save them the cell phone minutes by not having to hear it from the proverbial horse’s mouth!

I am sure that you were wondering why now? 18 months of nothing and suddenly here I am. Well thank, or blame depending on your view, my friends.  It was at the encouragement and support of several friends who independently had inquired about the status of my recently defunct blog that I am here now.  Ironically I was questioned by two of my biggest fans, err friends, back to back a day apart. Both told me how much they enjoyed and missed reading my writing.  My initial thought was that they were just being polite. The more I chewed on that, and considered my knee jerk shrugging off of their compliment, the more I realized that it was a disservice to them and their friendship to A. make that assumption and B. a disservice to myself, I should learn to accept their compliment and not devalue it based on a silly assumption on my part. So it is in that spirit that I dedicate this blog to my friends, you know who you are, (besides, you are probably the only 6 people actually reading this) because I’ve come to realize just how valuable a true friend is, and how fortunate I am to be so rich with good friends, friends who have taught me amazing life lessons, which I shall list below.

WHEN TO STFU- It wasn’t an accident that I named this blog the opinionated mommy. I am opinionated. My real friends know this about me, and love me regardless. It is my love and respect for them that in turn has taught me the art of self editing. I have learned when to push, and when to STFU and be the supportive friend I am supposed to be, even if I don’t agree with or like something. I believe only real friends can teach you this lesson, because if they were just an acquaintance that I didn’t feel invested in, I’d let it rip. My opinion that is.

NOT TO TAKE MYSELF TOO SERIOUSLY- It is the real friends in life who see you at your finest and not so finest moments. My friends have witnessed me face plant, fart, dance silly, face plant while dancing (not silly), puke, cry, pee my pants laughing (that’s one of those horrifying moments I’d like to forget), screw up royally , dream, worry, hope, conquer. Through it all they keep me grounded and laughing, at myself. Because life is short and let’s face it, there will always be others laughing at you, so you might as well beat ‘em to the punch.

LOVE YOURSELF- I don’t think this is something anyone consciously tries to impart on a friend. I think this is more my being aware of the power of friendship, and really the crux of the message of this blog. The most amazing gift that my good friends have given me is the ability to love myself. Clearly they see something that I wasn’t always able to see, or acknowledge. I think highly of each of them, and as crazy as it may have once sounded, they think highly of me too. Whatever random path in life led us to each other they had the choice to veer off and go their separate way, yet they chose to stay the course, and traverse alongside me.  Call it an epiphany, an aha moment, whatever you will. This is the greatest gift each and every one of my friends has given me, and this is the gift that I hope that I am doing my best to return back to them, because they are all worth loving in their uniquely special way.

For my unnamed friends, you know who you are. Cheers! I love you all.

KP

Peace out!

Toxophilite??

Perhaps it’s the optimist in me, but I live by the mantra that everything happens for a reason.  I don’t just say it, I believe it.  I lie awake at night Dr. Phil-ing to death events in my life and attempting to make rhyme of the reasoning.  It’s been over 20 years since I traversed the drafty 100-year-old halls of my catholic elementary school.  My 30 something nostalgic memories and gratitude for the education and experience are a complete 180 from the mind-set I had walking into that brick edifice on a daily basis in the 1980’s. Back then I hated it, with every freezing cold cell of my body.  Yes cold.  I grew up in New England.  The school building was old, and had really high ceilings and windows that were taller than me. Old drafty windows with metal pulleys and exposed rope that lined 2 walls of each classroom.  We wore uniforms. Green plaid ones, with yellow blouses, little ties that crossed above our collar bones and snapped in the center with a snap that looked like mother of pearl.  We wore green knee socks, and we were allowed to wear a green cardigan sweater.  I’d go to school in the mornings bundled up and with sweat pants on beneath my jumper.  I’d get to school and we’d have to shed our warm clothes and leave them in the coat room. I used to shiver and look out the windows at the sunshine that looked deceivingly warm, and wish I were in Florida or Hawaii.

The radiators were tall and metal and lined the walls beneath the windows.  They would click and clank and bang noisily as if griping and  groaning at the arduous task that lay before them, warming the cavernous space that was our home away from home.  If it weren’t for my severe Myopia I would have gladly sat at the back of the class closer to the warmth they noisily provided.  No amount of heat could compensate for the icy chill in the air that hung like a dark snow cloud above my desk.  I was the kid who was teased mercilessly.  I hated the experience of looking around a room and seeing everyone laugh at me, and not because I had just channeled my witty inner Tina Fey, but because I was me, and because I was weak, and because I gave them the luxury of getting a rise out of me, even though my parents and teachers consistently told me not to.  At the time it was a miserable experience.  I hated school, and I hated the select few who were the ring-leaders of mean.

Fast forward 20 something years. If my 30 something self had the opportunity to speak with those now 30 something ring leaders of mean I would say thank you.  Really.  Going back to my everything happens for a reason mantra, I now know the reason I was the chosen target of childhood cruelty.  My adolescent immature me learned through years of torturous training how to dodge arrows, multiple arrows at once, coming at me from varying marksmen.  They prepared me for the harsh realities of the real world long before it was my time to enter the said real world.  Had I been one of the popular girls I so pined to be back then, the professional culture would have been a severe shock to the system.  As I rise in the ranks professionally, which I can proudly and honestly say is a direct result of my merit, there is naturally some resistance from those around me, which have resulted in some unmerited arrows flying at me at warp speed. The good news is, I’ve had lots of practice dodging arrows, in fact I’m really good at it.  And the mature 30 something me can recognize that those wielding the bow, and spraying me with the arrows, are not anyone worthy of pining over.  Ironically enough my inner Dr. Phil and snarky Tina Fey tell me that they are the ones pining, and the arrows are a direct result of their insecurities.  Yes blogosphere apparently, I am just that awesome!!

I’ve made peace with my adolescent self, and turned the contempt I felt for the ring leaders of mean into gratitude.  It helps knowing that professionally I have a leg up on them, and they are probably hiding behind their office doors weeping into their Starbucks, wondering when the world became such a harsh and judgemental place.  Me, I sit at my desk and chuckle, instinctively leaning to my right as the arrow whizzes past my ear and think to myself, bring it.

The firing squad.....Duck!!!   Image from Wikipedia.
The firing squad….Duck!
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Until next time…Peace Out! KP

Paint and Pictures

Last night when I arrived at E’s daycare to pick her up I was greeted by the usual wide faced grin as she ran toward me carelessly, willing to knock down anything or anyone in her path. Fortunately yesterday there were no flying bodies, though it has happened.  Regardless of how tired or how frazzled I am feeling still trying to mentally decompress after a long day at the office, seeing that grin run towards me always makes my heart soar.  After quickly hugging my leg the grin turned into a serious and authoritative look. “Mama you have to put your hands in the paint and make prints” she tells me matter of factly motioning to another mother in the room who was in the process of doing the same, “like her” she finishes.  “Ohh I do?” I asked looking to the teacher who nodded and smiled in confirmation.

As is often our routine when I put on lotion, I took off my rings as E held her pudgy little fingers up over her head, I slipped my rings onto her hand telling her to make a fist and hold them tight.  The smile returned as she looked down at her shiny fisted hand.  I dipped my hands in the pink paint and left my prints on the poster board as instructed.  I was then told that after I cleaned my hands that I would need to have my photo taken with E.  We walked over to the designated picture-taking spot. I bent over and lifted E up settling her comfortably on my hip as I have done countless times over the years.  It was in this moment as the teacher raised the camera squinting to get us in focus and telling us to smile and say cheese that E put her arm firmly around the back of my neck pulling me to her so that we were cheek to cheek and smiled broadly, moments later she casually tossed her other arm around my neck hugging me tight.  I could feel as well as see out of the corner of my eye that she was smiling as largely as her little cheeks and mouth would allow.  It was in this moment, a time span that lasted no more than maybe 15 seconds that I was overcome with emotion. It was a gesture silent in words, yet screamed the pride and the love that she felt for me in that instant.  With every cell of my body I could feel the unconditional love of this child that I had carried felt for me.  So overcome by the physical response that my body felt coursing through its every cell I squeezed her back and kissed her cheek and thought to myself if only she could understand the power of the moment.  As quickly as it had evolved, the moment was gone, as she scrambled down my body as if she were descending a trees trunk, running to collect her Woof Woof and her thermos.

When you are pregnant with your first child you have these day dreams where you romanticized the parenting experience, and then the baby is born and reality sets in.  The daily grind of caring for this tiny being who is helpless and naive to the world in which it now inhabits takes over.  There are moments of joy, moments of pride, but they are not as numerous as I had daydreamed they might be.  Sure, I get gooey hugs and sticky kisses daily, and I cherish every one of them.  There was just something different about yesterday however.  Something that I can not fully articulate. My mother always told me that actions speak louder than words.  Perhaps it was the silent display of her actions that struck me in that instant as better than any I love you Mommy that she has ever spoken.  It made all of the temper tantrums, potty training struggles and sleepless nights completely and totally worth it.  Hugs have the ability to seem so generic, we hug friends, family, co-workers, loved ones, sometimes we hug those we’ve just met.  Until yesterday I never experienced just how powerful a hug could be.  Here I am trying to teach her something every day, and she just taught me something far beyond her years.

As we drove home I gushed about what a nice hug that was, how much it meant to me, and how much I loved her.  She smiled, and seemed pleased with herself for having pleased me, but I know that she didn’t truly grasp the joy of our moment.  Instead she explained how Valentines for Mommies was coming….”You mean mothers day?” I corrected her.  “Yes it’s like a valentine for Mommies” she told me.  “Oh that’s a good way to put it.” “That’s why you painted your hands, to make a present” she said proudly. “Ohh” I say trying to sound surprised.  That “valentine” is one I will cherish always, because it will always bring me back to that moment. Our painting and pictures moment.

Til Next time….Peace Out! KP

Eggscuse me??

Tonight we dyed Easter eggs. The holiday has E a little over excited to say the least.  As the eggs soaked in their colorful cups I figured we would multitask, so I got her bathed and in her jammies.  As we went about the routine of getting her dried off and dressed, we sang I’m a little teapot complete with all of the appropriate body motions.  As we sang and tipped I managed to get her into her pull-up and pajama pants.

The song ended and after a jubilant “Again!” I started…”I’m a little tea-pot short and stout….” I had the shirt gathered hem to collar in my hands ready to pull it over her head when she jerked back and said “No Mommy, Stop!” “What?” I stop singing and ask confused. “It hurts my belly.” she says “hurts your belly?” “Yes, it makes my belly sick.” “What makes your belly sick? the shirt?” “No Mommy not the shirt, your singing.”

Til next time….Peace out! KP