Tuesday

It's Not Really About You..

Almost 2 years ago, I browsed through my Oprah magazine and read an article written by Glee's Jane Lynch that really floored me.  I have thought about this article many many many times since then.  I remind myself often, that most things are not about me.  The way people act, the things people say, the daily ramblings of people and goings on of others.  Honestly, I took these words to heart.  The minute I stopped thinking it was personal, and stopped worrying that I did something wrong, and started letting other people be responsible for their actions, I found a freedom that was exhilarating.  Here's the article - no matter who you are, what your situation - whatever - I think you will find a beautiful, easy, yet powerful truth in these words.


Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

"As a kid, I was convinced that deep down inside, at my core, there was something wrong with me—something fundamentally broken. I constantly apologized, I'd over-thank people, I'd pay more than my share. It was as if I had some kind of deficit and needed to compensate for it.

Then, when I was 14, I started drinking, and I didn't get sober until I was 31. After five years in Alcoholics Anonymous, I met a woman who impressed me. So I asked her to be my sponsor, and she said yes.

That night I walked into a meeting and saw my new sponsor sobbing uncontrollably, with a group of women huddled around her. And my immediate thought was: "What did I do wrong? Did I say something to her? Was I supposed to call her?" And then, "She's upset with me because I'm a bad person." I had only known her for 12 hours! While everyone else was tending to her in her time of need, all I could do was think about what I had done wrong.

Then it struck me: "This has nothing to do with me. Whatever happened was not my fault. I felt a wave of relief, an internal shift that felt like I had just had a chiropractic adjustment. I saw that I had been living with a self-centered sense of unworthiness.

It's significant that I had this epiphany at an AA meeting, because when I took away the booze, all I had left was me. That moment forced me to shine a light on my shadowy areas; it was like turning a huge spotlight on myself. I realized that if I'm obsessing about my own feelings, I'm not present with the people around me—and am frankly of no use to them.

Today, if that instinct to take the blame gets triggered, a mechanism inside me kicks in and asks, "Is this really about you?" It's helped me become a better friend, a better partner, and a more helpful person. It's hard to focus on what someone else needs when you're so focused on what their problem could mean about you! I still have to take a deep breath and collect myself, but I'm no longer so wrapped up in my own feelings that I deprive other people of theirs."

From the June 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
So go ahead - try it.  Next time something happens that makes you question your own role - ask yourself is this really about me?  "It's hard to focus on what someone else needs when you're so focused on what their problem could mean about you!"   Powerful.  True.   Believe it or not, not everything is about you (us).  Let others own their actions, thoughts, deeds.  You own yours.  You'll find you have a lot less to carry around on those shoulders.  God knows we have enough to carry around as it is.

Peace -
~DG



Wednesday

Piñata - 2, Mommy - 0

First of all, before I begin the tale of the damn  piñata, I want to make sure that everyone who is reading this has seen the smashing-of-the-printer scene from Office Space.  I want you to hear the music in the background and feel their anger so you can fully appreciate the mood I'm in.
D I S C L A I M E R :  DO not  LISTEN to the vid if you are easily offended by the term mother effers...it is used repeatedly in the song...so either mute it or skip it and look at the harmless photo below.  For those of you who don't mind an m eff or two and don't have tiny ones around -  Click here to do your homework, then read on.

This is me with the bat - and the printer is the piñata.

 It all started when my (almost) 5 year old decided that the only thing he "really "wanted at his birthday party was a piñata. (Don't you love this age when they spring these things on you days, hours, minutes before the event, leaving you scrambling?) I was planning on getting everything I needed for his party today while they were at preschool.  After stopping at several places and jamming way too much in the back of my SUV, I remembered the effing pinata.  I had to go BACK to Target  to find it.  I was already stressed out this morning from a number of extraneus goings on with the boys, with scheduling, with having to chase down rsvps for the party - since apparently no one gets how to rsvp.  (I'm sorry, was text, email, phone, cell phone, home number, address, etc..not enough options for you to get back to me? Perhaps next time I will add ESP as an option so I can read their mind!)


Please RSVP - or don't.  That's no problem..I love guessing!

lol...this too!
He wants a Ninjago party - which of course, other than the toys and a few books, does not exist.  It's bad enough I had to make my own cookies, buy a Ninjago sticker book and decorate solid colored paper cups and solid goody bags, and do everything by hand, now I had to look all over hell and back for a pinata resembling a lego ninja?  Ummm, no.  Line drawn there.

I found a primary colored star at Target and figured that would have to do.  I was barely holding on by a thread when I got in the 12 items or less line to speed through and be on my way in time to get the kids.  I got behind someone who a)clearly can't count  b)wanted to write a check and c)kept getting more stuff from the last minute display to add to her bag.  My blood pressure was about to skyrocket when she had an epiphany.  "OH MY GOODNESS!  I FORGOT WHAT I CAME FOR!"  I wanted to sympathize with her because I do that 9/10 times I go to Target - but why today?  The day I just need to get in and get out!  So she ran quickly to get what she needed as I waited with my stupid effing star piñata.  The next checkout register was 10 registers down and about 4 people deep.   No really, please don't open another register, I have all the time in the world. 

Here comes check woman.  She apologizes and I offer a kind smile even though I am barely holding on at this point.  She turns to me and asks me the date.  Look, if you are going to in-fucking-sist on writing checks in the year 2012 then it is YOUR responsibility is to know the date..is that too much to ask????   Luckily, the checkout clerk answered her quickly before I took a swing at her with my party piñata.

I made it to the car.  I threw that thing in hard and with a fury like I haven't seen in a while.  ( I could almost hear my mom's voice saying, take it easy and calm down before something happens out of frustration).  The clutter of the backseat caused the piñata to fall forward into the corner of the door just as I was closing it.  I smashed the living hell out of it when I slammed the door closed.  Hmpf.  I smashed a piñata and didn't even get a piece of candy or a cheer from a passerby.  These things are overrated.



I opened the door again knowing my mom's voice was right - and now I heard her voice even louder...I told you. 

Really?  If it were physically possible, I would've kicked my own ass in the parking lot of Target.  But Alas, thank God I cannot or I would've been charged with self-inflicted assault on an idiot mommy.  Instead, my punishment was to go back in to Target and buy the last effing star piñata on the shelf.

Now I am standing in line behind three people who have more than 12 items.  I am going to be late for sure if I don't get out of here quickly.

I get to the register and the checkout girl does a double take.  Oh no.  What happened?  I just smiled and gritted my teeth - car door/mommy malfunction.  She knew.  She knew not to say anything as she smiled and apologetically handed me my receipt.

The only thing that made me feel better while driving home is picturing this outdoor scene.  Me. A baseball bat. The Piñata. And the music from Office Space.  I wanted to beat the shit out of that star with everything I had in me.  I pictured my husband pulling me off of it as I got down on the ground and started to punch it in it's little star belly.  It made me laugh so hard in the car.  This is where I am again reminded that humor - and great movie scenes and quotes can get you through anything.



T-minus 3 days to Pseudo-Ninjago, Star Piñata Party. He'll only turn 5 once so - - I can do this

Damn it feels good to be a gangster mommy.

The things we do for love...
~DG

Tuesday

How to Be the Best Me Instead of A Crappy Her...



The world we live in  has a funny way of suggesting to us on a daily basis who we should be, look like, dress like, act like, represent.  It's pretty hard not to get wrapped up in trying to be someone else.  We're supposed to look like models, actresses, swimsuit covergirls, gorgeous housewives, Pottery Barn mothers, Pinterest Perfect, Martha Stewart clones.  It's no wonder we're all about to crack.  These are ridiculous expectations.  How can we be expected to live in Architectural Digest -ready homes when we have children trying to live in them?  I don't know - maybe it's magnified by the countless social media outlets that are in our face everyday.

Got this great ecard from http://planetprice.blogspot.com/ 

How do we think we can live up to the Victoria's Secret model types when we get dressed - in bikinis, daily wear, yoga pants - whatever - when they get full hair and makeup done by professionals- as well as airbrushed every time they have their photo taken?  We are lucky if we can get a shower and throw on something without stains...something that fits, that's flattering, that's somewhat in season, somewhat in style.   It's too much pressure.  It's not real. And yet we are so hard on ourselves trying to be them.  Not only do we want to be them - but we want to be perfect versions or duplicates of them - when in all honesty, they are not real versions of them!  Airbrushing, plastic surgery, cutting and cropping on the editing floor of a magazine - it's bullshit..it's not real!  Do you get how crazy this is to do to ourselves?


Take your Duckfaced, heart shaped gang signs, skinny ass,  airbrushed legs, and hair extensions and just go airbrush yourself to death ! I do NOT look like this in my VS robe.  Not. At. All.


It's time to get real.

Enough of this worshipping, aspiring to and admiring non-existent role models.  It's time to just ask ourselves who we are - and just peel back the crap until we find the truth.  Who do we want to be?  Who will we be happy with?  For me, the answer is simple.  I want to be genuine.  I want to be kind.  I want to be happy - with myself, my life, my choices.  The answer is simple - the execution might be a little harder.

The other day I got a copy of Better Homes in the mail.  I opened it up, and saw perfect hues warming the walls of a room, along with books properly distributed on a full- length bookshelf.  In the middle of the room was a  comfy - cozy couch with a throw covered with  fluffy gorgeous pillows and a little boy in a Polo shirt laughing and reading a book.  For a split second I thought - wow, how great is this room, neat, tidy, warm, cozy - perfect.  And then I force myself out of that and say - that is a studio - set up for a perfect photo to sell magazines!   Even the boy is just a prop.  Behind the scenes, there's got to be a mom waiting in the wings, holding her breath, knowing she will have to come through on a bribe she made with that little model if he behaved through the photo shoot and pretended to be perfect.  That's what helps bring me back to life as I put the magazine down. 


As we get older, so much becomes clearer.  Things that mattered yesterday, don't matter as much today. The things that filled us with joy years ago, aren't the same things that fill us with joy now.  No - now, it's the little things.  Sleep, a great meal, a healthy child, bills paid, food on the table.  Sign of the times? Maybe.  Or maybe that's all part of life.  Looking at ourselves in the mirror and saying, I'm going to be the best me I can - and focusing on that, and the beauty, strengths, and positives that we are, and that we have, instead of longing for the unreachable - the unreal.

Just trying to figure it all out...thanks for helping me.
~DG


"Stop feeling sorry for yourself because I do not associate with people who blame the world for their problems cause you're your problem Annie - and you're also your solution...."   Megan, Bridesmaids
Best movie for laughing..ever.

Wednesday

Damn, I'm doing a good job at raising boys...

It's been a long effing week.  Hubs returns from out of town tonight thank the Lord.  It has been crazy trying to do this single parenting thing, as well as subbing at the pre-school, maintaining the house, getting the kids to swimming and lacrosse and trying to maintain good hygiene for myself and all involved.  I have learned something though.  I have some pretty amazing young men up in this house.


First of all, I really hate to toot my own horn but....beep beep.  These boys are like a fortress around me and my castle.  It all started on Friday.  I was subbing for Youngest's 3 year old class at Pre School.  One of the other, more outspoken boys, looked me right in the eye and said, "you are stupid crazy."  (Back up for just a second.  I can't blame the kid.  I think what he was trying  to articulate was that I'd do anything for a laugh - and he's right.  Unfortunately, he didn't convey his point well, and Youngest just about climbed over the art easel to school him.)

"DON'T YOU EVER CALL MY MOMMY STUPID CRAZY EVER AGAIIIINNNNNN!"   he yelled.

The poor kid was like a shrinking violet. 

"I didn't call your mom crazy stupid, Patrick did.  From Sponge Bob.  I heard him say it."

"Patrick's not even here and you're a do do head,"  replied Youngest.


I had to stop both of them there before we said anything else that we didn't mean.  I had a lovely chat with both boys and ended up getting hugs and kisses and all was well in the world.  I couldn't help but be tickled that Youngest was so quick to jump to my defense.  Even at three years old, he is ready to protect his Mommy.

A few days ago, Middler said to me, "Mommy, I don't want you to be scared because Daddy isn't here.  I will hold your hand going up the stairs, and I'll stay with you while you brush your teeth."  I could see the wheels were turning in his little head and he was really just trying to reassure himself that everything would be ok.  He got my worrying gene so he over thinks everything.  I let him think that he was the one taking care of me, and it was so cute.  He really did feel like he did something brave.  He was so proud of himself, and I was so proud of him, too.

Today when Eldest came home from school he said, "Mom, you must be exhausted so why don't you relax for a while and I'll play with the kids until I have to go to practice."   I was looking behind me to see if he was actually talking to me or what.  I was so confused.  Wow.  You never see the progress you're making until you least expect it!  What great little men I have. 

Don't get me wrong.  In the past 4 days, I've played countless lightsaber fights, I've put numerous Ninjago guys together, I've looked tirelessly for Lego pieces that I am certain I sucked up with the Dyson, and I've played several painful games of Hide and Seek, and "You're Under Arrest" (a new game they came up with where I am constantly being arrested for things like wiping the countertop, picking up Legos, vacuuming, and cleaning the cat litter).  I kind of liked being Under Arrest because they would take me to my comfy chair and make me sit with my legs up, in a relaxed position.  They didn't know what to do with me once I was in the Jail Chair - so I would just sit there and rest for a while until they remembered they needed to release their prisoner.

"Mom, do you want to Under Arrest me?  All you have to do is say stop - you are under arrest for picking your nose." 

"Why yes, honey, that sounds like so much fun...but you aren't really going to pick your nose are you?"

"NOOO Mom, it's just part of the game."

It's easy to roll through weeks on Auto mode - but I have to remember to stop and build the Legos, find them when they hide, laugh when they tell a horrendous knock knock joke, and hug them extra hard just because.

The world needs three good men.  I've got to deliver.

Until next time, there's a cold one waiting for me in the fridge...it's a Dark Chocolate bar with Toffee ground in...and damn it ..I'm worth it.

~DG

POST NOTE:  When I wrote this piece yesterday, I was high on the thought that Hubs was coming home.  The same high that caused me to look at the bright side of all of this single parenting for how many days.  The same artificial adrenaline rush that blinds one into thinking you did something spectacular.  The same adrenaline rush that completely caused me to crash, and nearly fall off the couch when Hubs called to say his plane was delayed because of tornadoes and he missed his connecting flight.  The same stabbing in the gut feeling of reeling from the words..."I won't be home until tomorrow afternoon.."

No friends.  My "I'm raising some great boys" disposition was so yesterday's blog.  This morning's blog would be more like, "Why can't my children sleep past 6 am"  or "If my 4 year old asks me one more GD question about clouds or why something is  - that I DO NOT have the answer to because I was too busy writing notes in Science class instead of paying attention to why Cirrus clouds are and are not," I am going to stick marshmallows in my ears, and hope it drowns out the sounds of his voice until I at least have some damn coffee. 


I am strong, I am capable, I am beautiful...errr that's pushing it.  I'm going to drop kick this day.  Yes, that's better.

Ahh the beauty of parenting.  Much like the beauty of (weather) living in New Hampshire.  If you don't like it one day, stick around, because it'll change again in a few hours.

Stick a lightsaber in me...I'm done.

I have to sympathize with these little guys because they have got to be tired of looking at me, too.  I mean, they at least have their cuteness going for them...no matter how exhausted I am, I never get tired of looking at their little faces.  Me, on  the other hand, I don't have the cute looks going for me - but I do make some damn good cookies.  That's gotta count for something. 

xo
DG

Tuesday

Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret: The Missing Chapters


As a girl born in the early 70's, I grew up learning about things like the other girls my age; from Judy Blume.

I have a bone to pick with the Blumester.  She made it seem like having your period was just so cool in her book Are you there God, it's me Margaret.  Take this excerpt for example:

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. Gretchen, my friend, got her period. I'm so jealous God. I hate myself for being so jealous, but I am. I wish you'd help me just a little. Nancy's sure she's going to get it soon, too. And if I'm last I don't know what I'll do. Oh please God. I just want to be normal.
Bahahaa...doesn't it just take you back to the Four PTS's  (preteen sensations) Gretchen, Nancy, and Janie - and of course Margaret.  Remember when they played Spin the Bottle at Norman Fishbein's party and she forgot what number Phillip Leroy was and called out Norman's number instead?  Ahh, the innocence of that silly book. 

Back to my gripes.  I feel like there are a few missing chapters in that book.  How about a letter maybe to Mother Nature herself, Aunt Flow, whatever you want to call the most evil woman that exists? Better yet, how about a letter from her.  I think it would go something like this:

Chapter 10:  A Letter from Mother Nature

Dear Margaret:

Hello, I'm Aunt Flow. God forwarded me your messages since I am really the one you need to talk to about this.  Let me break this down for you in simple, honest terms.  Every month for the better part of your life, I am going to creep up on you, make you cry at the drop of a hat, make you and everyone else around you think you are crazy by causing you to be moody and whacked out. You will have an overall irrational view of the world and everything around you. I will make you eat a ridiculous amount of salted chips and/or chocolate, causing you to gain the same 5 pounds you just worked for the past 3 weeks to lose.  I will then find the most inconvenient time of the month to make you bleed like crazy while making you feel like you're going to give birth to your uterus itself. (I especially like to do this to you when you are going out of town on vacation, traveling on a plane, long road trips, etc.) When that is all done, and you feel like you've been run over by an actual freight train, I will then leave you with one final gift of an end-of-cycle debilitating headache.  I will do this every month until you are too old to care anymore.  Now, do you still want to keep badgering God about this?
You're welcome,
Aunt Flow

I can't help but wonder what Margaret would've thought about that letter.  Would she have been so jealous of Gretchen Potter then?  I think not.  I think she would've laughed in Gretchen's face.  She would've told her to take her belted Teenage Softies and put them where the sun doesn't shine. (Hey wait a minute, that joke doesn't apply here, because that's pretty much where she would be putting them...) 
Another bone to pick - remember Laura Danker's character?  You know, the one with the big boobs who everyone automatically thought made out with all of the boys because she developed prematurely?  That was me.  And I can assure you, I was most certainly not doing any of those things.
"Did you see Laura Danker come in this morning?" Janie asked. 
"Which one is she?"  I said. 
They all giggled.
Nancy spoke to me as if she were my mother. 
"Margaret dear—you can't possibly miss Laura Danker. The big blonde with the big you know whats!"  "Oh, I noticed her right off," I said. "She's very pretty." 
"Pretty!" Nancy snorted. "You be smart and stay away from her. She's got a bad reputation." 
"What do you mean?" I asked. 
"My brother says she goes behind the A&P with him and  Moose."  "And," Janie added, "she's been wearing  a bra since fourth  grade and I'll bet she gets her period."

Chapter 11:  A Letter from Laura Danker

Are you there God, it's me, Laura Danker.  Yeah, remember me? The girl you made start her period at 10 years old and endowed with a 32D boobjob in the 4th grade?  Not cool.  I am barely old enough to wipe my own ass properly, let alone try and deal with this kind of bleeding.  Now, not only do I look old enough to pose for Playboy, everyone automatically thinks I'm making out with teachers afterschool, when what I'm really doing, is playing with my Monchichi's and Fashion Plates, while nursing my cramps with a hot water bottle.  You're lucky I still believe in a higher power after this cruel joke.
Angrily,
Laura Danker (not to be confused with Danke, which means thank you in German, which I'm sure you know already - but I'm trying to emphasize that I am not grateful. At all.)

Perhaps what girls these days need is a modern-day Margaret.  Maybe I should pen the new Judy Blume-type book.  I'm out of the loop though.  I have all boys.  What do I know about trying to clue girls in on how effing hard it is to be a girl.  I don't know.  All I know is we were misled by this book, and periods were misrepresented greatly.  Maybe I should get to work on a book...Are you there God, It's me, DG...you've got some explaining to do...

Meh...maybe not.
~DG
PMS..before during after: we aren't crazy..we're fucking uncomfortable and tormented.  Got it?

Monday

How to Throw Yourself a Kick Ass Pity Party..



Something smells rotten in Denmark.  Or the US, rather...or just in my general nasal airspace.  It's funk.  Mine.  I've been in an all out funk for about a week now.  Hard to say what caused it.  Actually, it's not hard to say - Hubs is out of town, I am trying to be Supermom, my parents live out of town, my babysitter is away at school, I'm a one woman show in popular demand by three tiny men, and I'm exhausted.  There - I said it.  I'm having a shitty week because I'm tired and have my hands full, sprinkle a little hormonal PMS on that pathetic sundae and I'm a little nuts.    Also, I think it's the weather going from 84 degrees to 24 degrees.  That's got to do a number on your brain pressure don't you think?  Between those few things and just the general blahs that late March and early April tend to bring, it's just been one of those weeks.  Generally, I'm a very upbeat, positive, happy person so it's very hard to not want to kick my own ass when I get into a mood like this.  Thank God it only happens to me a few times a year, usually in the winter, but I just never know when it's going to drop by to rain on my life parade.  Today I sat down and had a come to Jesus with myself.  I thought since it was Sunday, it would be a good day to do this.  I decided to throw myself a Pity Party today with the promise and the understanding that tomorrow, I'd start fresh.


When I do get in these moods, I don't necessarily need or appreciate someone telling me to SNAP OUT OF IT..unless it is Cher herself saying it and giving me the famous Moonstruck slap, then I wouldn't mind so much.  So I decided if I was going to insist on controlling my mood, I'd be the one to decide when and how I snap out of it.


SO...here's the plan:

Music:  Crank up music - "Just one of them days (don't take it personal)"  Monica - - try..just try to not move your butt to this funky groove.  By the end of the song, I always feel better.

Pajamas:  Stay in pjs way longer than socially acceptable.  This Civil Fashion Disobedience makes me feel like a bit of a rebel, until I'm so sick of looking and feeling like a slob that I am begging myself to change into real clothes by 2pm.

Food:  Chocolate.  Lots of it.  Dance in front of pantry while gnawing on Mounds bar and determining what I will follow it up with.  Eat and dance.  Repeat.

Kids:  Tell them it's movie and popcorn day.  Put a happy movie on for them and they won't even notice I'm having a pity party.

Shopping:  Hit favorite website for something bright, cheery and spectacular.  Order it.  If it sets me back $100, so be it.  I would pay more than that on a therapy session with a shrink so she can go buy something spectacular for her wardrobe.  I just cut out the middle man that's all.

Random Act of Kindness:  Acknowledge that there are people far worse off than me and do something for them.  Empty out drawer or closet of things I haven't worn in too long.  Donate bag to women's shelter or food pantry/help closet.  Lightning drawers/closets helps lighten the mood - and could really help someone else in need.

Hot Shower:  Wash off the funk both physically and emotionally by letting it all go down the drain.  Stay in there until the hot water runs out or the disposition becomes better.  Whatever happens first.  Slather happy lotion on pathetically pale skin and breathe in mood enhancer.

A Little Extra Effort :  Give an extra 10 minutes to appearance - dry and style hair - put make up on like I'm going to have dinner with Bradley Cooper or George Clooney (sorry Hubs - you're out of town so I can't use you in this instance..).  Look better, feel better.  Talk to self in mirror - act stupid, laugh. 

Make a Plan:  Write down things that will help ease anxiety.  Balance checkbook, set up small exercise goals, write a letter to self.  If you can't be a friend to yourself, how can you expect to be a friend to anyone else?  Dear Self:  We're ok.  We've got this.   Positive affirmations - they help.

Use a Lifeline, Phone a Friend:  Call someone - someone who knows you, loves you, gets you.  Talk it out, sometimes just putting thoughts into words helps to organize them enough to make them not so bad.

Know that You Are NOT Alone:   We all have days like this.  The only thing that sets us apart is how we choose to pull through them.  Give yourself some time to feel shitty - but put a time limit on it.

If all else fails - recite the ABC's of pulling yourself out of a funk...found these on a self-help site. 

Always Smile.
Believe in Miracles.
Cuddle Your Inner Child.
Do a Good Deed. 
Express Gratitude.
Forgive. 
Grow Spiritually.
Heal.
Inspire yourself.
Jump for Joy.
Keep Strong.
Love Yourself. 
Multiply Abundance.
Nurture. 
Open Your Heart. 
Pamper Your Body. 
Quiet Your Mind. 
Respect Boundaries.
Stop and Smell the Roses.
Touch Others By Reaching Out to Someone.
Understand.
Voice Your Needs. 
Widen Your Horizons.
eXude Goodness.
Yearn for Love.
Zigzag Through Life with Zest.
Look out world..
~DG