Cookies or grapes

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January and February are particularly tight months for us. It’s after the holidays and a birthday and I just have never had much work in the cold season. When I was shooting it was because of the cold but now that I mostly focus on graphic work, I think the slow period comes from other people’s tight months too. I am a meal planner, a frugal shopper. I utilize both Aldi and freezer meals. I have to, I’m feeding 7 and 5 of them are boys. We do what we can to get through the lean months. All of the time I worry, all of the time we come out okay.

Yesterday I took my weekly budget to the store for the staples I can’t keep in stock. Milk, chocolate milk (yes, I know how much it costs), bread, bananas, apples, carrots and some treats for today’s school Valentine’s party. I got healthy snacks this time and pre-cut, non-brown apples are where it is at. I buy eggs at Grocery Outlet though. You can get 2.5 dozen for around 2.00. Dexter eats at least one egg a day and with baking and what not, I need eggs all the time. It’s conveniently next to Dollar Tree too. Win win.

I wandered around the store for awhile, taking note of new items and how their produce looked. I grabbed lunch meat and some frozen fast food for the days when dinner doesn’t come till 9PM and then I stood in line behind a woman who smelled lovely, like the woods but didn’t crack a smile and counted her money over and over. 26.00. I couldn’t help but count with her. She’d placed most of her items onto the belts but held onto a bag of grapes. And when it was her turn, she asked how much they were and when the checker  replied, she dropped her head and asked the checker to put them back.

I couldn’t help but notice she’d chosen two, several pound logs of cookie dough over those grapes. And I wondered, without judgement, why?

I played out several scenarios in my head. But I couldn’t help but think why I’d of chosen the cookie dough. If my kids needed a treat for school, they’d signed up for it, for a party, and I couldn’t bake, I would’ve chosen the dough too. To make sure they fit in, to make sure they have what they need. And while cookie dough doesn’t seem like a need to some of us. I might be a need to them. Did she chose her kids over herself? I couldn’t help but think those grapes might of been a want, a need for her. That she gave up to makes sure someone else was taken care of.

As a mother I always try and put my children before myself. Often at the sake of sanity. I want grapes. I want them but their need for cookie dough always comes before mine. When they need a haircut, they get it. When I do? It waits until I make sure their needs are met. It’s what parents are suppose to do, isn’t it? There is so much huff and puff these days about self care. You need time for yourself, they say but when it comes at the expense of your children, how do you choose self over the people you brought into this world and promise to take care of.

Tough being a mother.

My self care has fallen to the way side. I don’t go out much and though a tried and true introvert, I still experience the longing for connection. I just think it’s not in the same way of the masses. I am never going to go to moms night out but I would really like a mom friend at baseball. Even if we don’t talk, it would be nice to breath in the presence of her and her of me. But my going out? It’s Cub Scouts and while I cherish and value the time I get to spend with my Drew and I think Chuck, Steve and Charlie are pretty much the bomb.. .I couldn’t care less about how to build a tent and I am a TERRIBLE Pinewood Derby car creator. I’m trying to retrain my brain into taking those moments in as “self care” but I find myself thinking about what it would be like to be 17 again sitting at a table on the Pearl Street mall listening to Open Mic night at Penny Lane cafe. It was my self care. My connection to people, my  grapes.. and I am missing it. This weekend, at a Cub Scout related volunteering, I listened at the pastor taught about rest.. and I thought, I never rest. Even when I am still….

I feel fortunate in the fact I have a couple pretty stellar online friends. I chat with two every day. Both too far to visit daily but close enough that if I filled up my tank I could go see for a few days. I’ll do that some day, when there is more time for me.

The days are long but the years are short, they say. I think while I struggle with it right now, ultimately I am doing the right thing by my children and kids by giving them the very best I can. But I think I need something, even if it’s little, just to myself.

How do you self care? Or are you, like me, struggling?

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Pinterest is ruining my life

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“I just want a cute house,”.

I have said this over and over to my poor husband. I have painted and pushed and rearranged and framed and painted and reframed and repainted and still, it doesn’t look anything like Pinterest. Ever.

Pinterest is ruining my life. It is. Plain and simple.

I bought that white chalk board from someone who upcycles. It was a steal. I didn’t have to mix the chalk paint and I would just slap that baby on the wall and wal-la… instant pinterest wall. Only it had a like a shelf attached to it when it first came home with me and it was so heavy that Kevin said he could never get it to hang on our plaster walls. Then I stepped on it and then I tore it off and that’s what I was left with.

It still says, “happy holidays” because whoever made it didn’t prime the chalk board before writing on it and I hung it before repainting it and ya. It doesn’t match. It doesn’t look cute and collage-y. It looks like I threw it up there and hope I could fake Pinterest fame until I could figure something else out.

Hang in threes it said. Lies. All lies.

I am not a house decorator. My house is always a mess. My mother’s house, well you could eat off the floor, literally but mine? You’re lucky to see it. This apple, well I fell so far outside the orchard that they call me and orange.

Eff.

imageThis is my media cabinet. We bought it about a month ago because I was tired of looking at the toys and DVD player and Direct TV box. I have no idea what to do with it. I don’t think I could bare the thought of dusting little figurines and well, I suck at this. It’s bad. For someone as “creative” as I am. My house is like a dungeon of sadness sprinkled with legos, fake food and Mount Laundry.

Someone please help. Someone please tell me it’s okay that my house doesn’t look like a Pinterest palace. Tell me that your house too looks like mine!

It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it? Hard to know what’s in and what is out and what should be at the top of my attention list. Who comes over to my house and says, “Oh girl, you are failing profoundly in the Pinterest reports cards of life”. No one. No one actually comes to my house. I cannot imagine that my single friend that does occasionally pop over, thinks to herself, “OH MY GAWD THERE ARE SNEAKERS EVERYWHERE!!!”

As if we don’t have enough pressure. We now have Pinterest too.

I’m starting to feel for those moms who have ranted on and on about the moms like me, who send the eyeball adorned pudding cups for Valentine’s. If you’re that mom? I am sorry I made you feel lesser.

Because the beautiful houses of my Facebook feed and Pinterest? They make me feel less.

I know, my own issue.

There is so much pressure to perform. To be the stay at home parent who not only holds a full time, sales job from the comfort of her perfectly clean couch but who also manages to look fucking hot AND read Little Blue Truck every single time junior asks.

It’s a lot of pressure.

I don’t know why I let it get to me. I don’t know why I care what my house looks like.
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This is the current state of my living room. Give or take a day. The spot on the couch? It’s from me scrubbing off the peanut butter. The peanut butter I screamed repeatedly to eat at the table. It may be 6 months before I get books on the bookshelf and that fish only got that pretty bowl because the other one was so filthy, I couldn’t stand the smell long enough to clean it.

I hate that rug. I hate that chair and my husband, the hermit, refuses to open the curtains.

I want it to look like Pinterest but right now I’d settle on it looking like home.

How can you teach your set in cement brain, to let go and realize we’re not all home decorators and it’s okay if all the colors run together like a kindergarten painting. It’s okay that there are toys and every single thing you own is decorated in peanut butter finger prints? How do you give up the Pinterest perfect and live with what you have, happily?

That damn comparison. The thief of Joy. Pinterest is ruining my life. And I am letting it.

 

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

I draw and draw and draw

Mickey Mouse DrawingI love that in today’s day you can take a million and one different kinds of classes online. I always felt this void where a degree was missing. I’ve never taken a “real” photography class and I only know how to draw from things I’ve read around the web. I taught myself Photoshop and Illustrator and I still have a lot to learn. A lot.

And I think sometimes from lack of having said degree is what holds me back.

I’m approaching 40 now. I don’t know where the time has gone. And in that time I haven’t done anything that I thought I would. Before Kevin and I met, I never thought I would get married, let alone have five children. I dreamed of traveling and eating and dancing and doing. But things change. Fast.

I somehow I feel like I’ve missed my chance.

I’ve always had this desire to figure things out. I like to know how things work and I have always rathered doing it instead of hiring someone to do it for me. And most of the time I have been able to figure it out. Everything from sewing to WordPress. My biggest struggles have been in carpentry and knitting and I’ve decided to leave those to the more qualified. Ha ha.

DrewBorn

But still I feel below, less then because I am not trained. I have waffled with going to school for a couple years but I don’t feel like I can juggle my family with my alternate reality. Who has time to study if they can’t even keep up on the laundry. I wanted to be a nurse. Proudly and publicly, I proclaimed that was indeed what I would be but it didn’t happen. It hasn’t happened and I keep looking for the starting line and when I think I find it, it disappears almost like a mirage. I wanted to be a midwife. I didn’t find my love of pregnancy, the love of women’s health until I was well into baby number 3. The kind hands and the kind words of the midwife who helped me welcome Drew into the world, also lit a fire in me that I haven’t been able to grow. I’d originally thought I would do birth photography but with a family as large as mine and kids going in so many directions, it was just not possible. Not to mention, my marketing is subpar and I didn’t know where to start. And let’s face it, I feared, like everything else I’ve tried, that not only was I not good enough, but that I would fail.

I’ve since waffled with wanting to be a doula, with being a homebirth midwife… I’ve thought about it all but I’ve not been able to put my own needs and desires before what I feel like it my responsibility. These are my kids. Mine and if I am not here to take care of them, who will be. But what kind of mother am I if I don’t do anything, literally anything, for myself.

And what comes with that is that if I fail, when I fail even, I have stolen that time away from my kids doing something that wasn’t nearly as important as them. As raising them. And my brain, my brain just won’t let go of the feeling that I am really good at lots of things but I am not amazing at anything. Damn internet, I should really stay off of it.

So as a mother, one who in good intention, gave up herself, as that mother, how to do reclaim little pieces back for yourself? Because I can hear my mother telling me stories of my Baboo. She’d bowl and dance, because she still needed to be Baboo and these days, I desperately need to be me. And not just mom.

So I draw. Hoping that someday I will be good enough to charge more than 5.00. Hoping that the drawings will help my sprout wings. Wings that will help lift this feeling of stuck and will teach my kids that they have to take care of themselves sometimes too. I draw for self care. I draw to have something on my own. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.

It’s exhausting to be invisible.

 

 

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.