Fuller House, with Commentary

Fuller-House

I’ve never been one to claim that I was “cool” as a kid. I rocked the glasses and braces and even though I begged my parents to buy me the oversized flannel shirts and Doc Martens, I always felt like I was faking it. I always had a book (or two) with me at all times and our middle school principal informally proclaimed that my best friend and I were his favorite students.

Oh, yeah. Way cool.

Also, I watched Full House. And by watched, I mean “was obsessed with,” way past the point where it was considered normal to be obsessed with a sitcom about a ridiculously cheesy family who hugs at any opportunity. I thought DJ was the coolest. I wanted to be Stephanie. (Or at least be her best friend. I mean, seriously, Jodie Sweetin was the same age as me. It’d totally work.) I even read most of the licensed Stephanie books that were published around that time.

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So of course I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Netflix was releasing a updated version of the show, to be called Fuller House. I knew it’d be cheesy, but it was my childhood, after all. My middle school-hood, too. (Yeah, that’s totally a word.)

So I started watching it. I’m actually enjoying it, too, even though it’s so ridiculously cheesy. (Was it this cheesy when I was a kid? Maybe it was and I didn’t realize it, but those older episodes seem way more genuine. These newer ones seem forced in a way, like the cast is often breaking the fourth wall and trying to share a joke with us. Which they are. It just…doesn’t always work.)

Here’s a conversation between me and my husband:

Me: Ohmygoodness that was so corny.

B: So why are you watching it?

Me: Because it’s fun. And I’m taking it for what it is. I knew it’d be corny. So that’s what I’m expecting it to be.

My friend Justin expressed the same belief in his own blog post. Why do we need to mock things for not being “fine television”? I didn’t go into Fuller House expecting to watch Mad Men. I didn’t go in expecting some Emmy-winning documentary or The Good Wife.

I expected to reconnect with my favorite old characters, get flashbacks to my childhood, laugh, and enjoy myself.

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And I have. Yeah, I could be watching “better” things. But what is “better,” after all? Can’t I have a mix of things in my life–the Lost and the Orange is the New Black, the Fuller House and the…whatever else is inevitably remade?

It’s like I say about books: there is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” book. ALL books can give you pleasure and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. You’re not wrong to read a romance novel and you’re not wrong to read James Joyce. You’re reading and enjoying yourself.

Enjoy away.

That said, I have a few quibbles with the new season. Inconsistencies, utterly lame plotlines, and other amusing observations. I’m only five episodes in, but SPOILERS BELOW!!!!

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Episode One:

Breaking the fourth wall to stare at “Michelle” for like ten seconds. Honestly, the show works better without her. And it’s the actresses’ prerogative to choose their career path. This came off as rather mean-spirited and petty to me.

Seriously? Joey Gladstone somehow has a thriving comedy career in Las Vegas?

Tommy looks only around 10 months old. So did DJ’s husband die before she gave birth? This is both incredibly sad and something you’d think they’d mention.

So DJ doesn’t have a daycare or childcare situation set up at all? What happened before everyone moved in? Her Dad was obviously still working.

Episode Two:

Max is utterly adorable.

Episode Three:

The girls come back from their nightclub outing to find the kids still up and Joey running around outside. What time did they leave for this club–7:00? And they came home when? 10pm? Also, that was the most uncrowded nightclub ever.

Macy Gray? Wow, I thought that celebrity cameo was dated in the  Spider-Man movie.

Man, Jodie Sweetin has a gorgeous voice.

DJ’s in a bowling league? Really? She has time for that?

Episode Four:

It was quite cool to see that school hallway again. Made me flash back to the Stephanie and Gia days.

That looks like the most unpractical outfit ever for DJ to wear to a day at a veterinary office.

DJ doesn’t particularly seem devoted to her job. Her interest in animals is barely mentioned and she leaves the clinic at a moment’s notice when Jackson gets in trouble. Couldn’t Kimmie have picked him up, too?

Oh, Stephanie. Because lying to a man is the best way to start a relationship.

Stephanie in the tomato soup with the baby was rather creepy. Also, isn’t it tomato juice for skunks?

I gotta say, the moment where Kimmie talks about how she’s afraid she hurt her daughter was perhaps the best moment of acting I’ve seen on this show yet.

Episode Five:

Why did Stephanie take the magic scarf back from Max in the first place? That makes no sense.

So all of a sudden Stephanie is the one to fill in for this DJ guy? She’s that famous? And really??? Coachella crowds will rally that fast to cheer for Max?

Does Tommy ever cry?

Ah, their last name is Fuller!

Stephanie turns down a trip to Italy because she misses the kids and is afraid she won’t see them grow up, date, say first words, etc. Um….you weren’t going to Italy for that long, honey.

Stephanie’s emotional revelation reallllly came out of the blue. It was done pretty well on How I Met Your Mother. Not so much here.

What’s your opinion on Fuller House so far? What amusing things have you noticed?

And will I keep watching?

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Guest Post on Teen Librarian Toolbox

Today I’m guest posting on Teen Librarian Toolbox as part of their Mental Health in YA Lit (#MHYALit) series.

In my non writing and blogging life, I’m a teen librarian, and you can read my post, “Eating Disorder” Books: Why They Only Show Half of the Struggle, here.

Read through the rest of their series, too, if you get a chance. The honesty and depth of these guest posts are incredible.

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Year by Year…

Yesterday morning before he left for work, my husband showed me a reminder that had shown up on his phone. “Meet-a-versary,” it said. Eleven years to the day since we’d officially met each other, since a mutual friend of ours organized a trip to the movies. It ended up being just her, her boyfriend, and us, and we capped off the night by going to my future husband’s house to hang out and play video games.

A few days later, he emailed me and asked me out. It’s been eleven years since that day. It seems like yesterday in some ways and it seems like ages ago in others. I remember that it was snowing that night, light flakes that blanketed the theater parking lot and fluttered in the air as I drove down his street. I remember what I was wearing (this actually isn’t a super lame fact, as I have one of those weird memories that tend to focus on stuff like this): a thick pink turtleneck sweater, brown corduroys, and a headband. (I always wore a headband back then, as I was in the thick of the hell known as “growing your bangs out.”) I remember being nervous that this guy was cute and nice, but also not knowing in the slightest how important that night actually was.

We’ve come a long way since then. I’ve come a long way.

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Thirteen years ago today, I was in the hospital, waiting for my insurance to approve my first stay in residential treatment.

Twelve years ago today, I was in the hospital again, waiting for approval of my second residential stay.

Eleven years ago, I met my husband-to-be, as I was starting to come into my own for the first time, trying to be strong but still walking on incredibly shaky legs.

Nine years ago today, I was engaged, planning for and counting down the days to our June wedding. I was trying to gain weight for the wedding, the complete opposite of so many brides. I was trudging through my first year in a job I didn’t love, trying to convince myself that it would get better.

 

Eight years ago today, I was a newlywed, but I was struggling. I’d relapsed and lost weight. I was addicted to exercise. I was unemployed, having quit that job that I hated so much. I proclaimed that I wanted to use this time to write, but my mind was still so focused on my body that I could never quite get the momentum that I needed to actually finish something.

Seven years ago today, I was in graduate school. I’d gone back for library science, and was so excited to be studying something I loved so much. I was still exercising a lot, but nothing extreme. My head was calmer, my life happier.

Five years ago today, I’d just had a miscarriage. I’d cried and sobbed and mourned and felt guilt and fear pressing down on me like a coffin lid. I didn’t punish my body. I knew that it needed to live if it wanted to bring forth new life.

Four years ago today, I had a one-and-a-half month old baby girl. I nursed her and cuddled her and rocked her to sleep. I read her stories and touched her soft skin. I dreaded going back to work, even if I did like my job.

Three years ago today, I was a stay-at-home mom. I started writing again, while my daughter napped. I wrote a book. I found a passion.

Two years ago today, I was a stay-at-home mom of two. It was stressful. I’d lost weight from breastfeeding and started thinking about my body more than I had done in recent years. I worried about what would happen if I got “fat.” (Whatever that meant.) I worried about stuff a lot. I wrote more books. I kept my anxieties inside.

One year ago today, I had a part-time job as a librarian again. I loved it. Juggling two kids was getting easier and it was time to take care of myself and my issues. I went on medication. I gained some weight. I pushed myself to face my fears. I was happy. Really, really happy.

Today, I finally have balance. I think. Or that’s the way it feels sometimes. Other times it still feels crazy. Stressful and exhausting. Love and hug-filled. I love and mother and work and write and talk and listen and sigh with exasperation. I giggle and kiss and yawn and snuggle and blog and write.

I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not what I have now and not what the past years have brought me. Every year matters. Every year has made me “me” and has led me here.

I can’t wait to see what next year holds.

 

 

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The Real Value of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating-Disorder-AwarenessI never know how to react to National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Of course people are aware of eating disorders. In this society, it’s impossible to escape hearing about them. Celebrity A loses twenty pounds and the tabloids are all plastered with “SCARY SKINNY” headlines. Celebrity B goes to “rehab” and emerges a month later completely cured and boasting about her extreme body love. Parents are told to be on the lookout for diet “danger signs.”

So of course there’s a need for a week full of activities raising awareness. Anything that can stop one more female or male from suffering is worth it. But in the end, what can a campaign like this truly accomplish?

What do we see out there this week? Flyers and statistics about how x percentage of girls will eventually go on a diet. Messages about loving your body and embracing your curves. Media literacy campaigns. Articles about how moderation in all things is best.

Makes sense, yes?

Helpful to those in the thick of it?

Anywhere close to delving down and yanking out the root cause of eating disorders?

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Not even close.

Because what these programs don’t often tell you is that having an eating disorder is utter hell.

I’ll repeat that. Utter hell. Yeah, it’s comforting to know that you’re skinny. And yeah, following that soul-tugging compulsion to exercise for one hour more is going to make you feel better for a little while.

But seeing a photoshopped cover model shot of Jennifer Aniston back when I was in high school didn’t set me on the road to anorexia. Barbies didn’t do it. Going on a diet didn’t do it, either. Because lots of people go on diets. Lots of people cut out carbs or desserts or fats or sugars or fruits or breakfast or whatever the hell they decide to do.

It’s the eating disorder that then makes you cut out the rest of your life.

Because that’s what happens. Maybe the diet started it, but there was something inside of me that kept going. That decided that, yeah, this was who I was now. I was the skinny one. I was the runner. I was the gym rat. I was the girl who could splay her fingers against her chest and feel bones rising up to greet her. I was the anorexic.

An awareness week wasn’t going to pull me out of that. At one point, hearing about awareness campaigns just made me happy to be part of a select club.

And I had to be the best member of that club.

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So who is Eating Disorder Awareness Week for? Maybe it’s for those people on diets, teetering on the edge. And maybe these body positive messages and media literacy campaigns will help pull them back to safety. I hope that does happen. Because if it helps one person, that’s a good thing.

Maybe it’s for the caregivers and loved ones, some of whom I’ve come to realize suffer just as much as those going through the disease. But what will dry statistics do for them? What good will knowing what percentage of middle school girls feel bad after reading magazines do if their daughter is hooked up to a feeding tube? Or screaming at them for putting butter on their mashed potatoes?

There’s no campaign out there than can put you in the mind of someone suffering from an eating disorder. There’s no way to understand how the simple thought of touching a spoonful of peanut butter to your lips or the concept of exercising for one minute less can fill your entire being with paralyzing dread.

You can’t be aware of a life like that unless you experience it for yourself. And no one wants to experience that. Not even the person with the illness.

That’s the tricky part. No one with an eating disorder actually wants the life they’re living. No one wants the obsessions and the compulsions. The hunger pains and the exhaustion. The loss of friends, the loss of connections, the loss of experiences.

The loss of a life, whether literal or figurative.

No one wants that life, but they still don’t want to give it up. They can’t, because even taking one step away from the disease is heart-stoppingly terrifying.

It makes no sense. Yet it continues. And continues.

Until something happens. And recovery begins. That “something” is different for everyone.

But for me, it started with removing all the labels I had placed upon myself. All the labels I had ever placed upon myself.

The skinny one. The gym rat. The runner. The perfect student. The smart one. The perfect daughter. The perfect wife. The perfect mother.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

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So maybe there isn’t a perfect National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. And maybe that’s okay.

Because weeks like this are a step. To continue the dialogue and let people get their messages out into the open. To have people discuss what’s helpful and what’s not helpful.

To let the rest of society know that joking about a celebrity’s weight loss and saying she should eat more to look better isn’t the solution to what she’s struggling with. That saying “Oh, man, I’d love to have an exercise addiction” isn’t much of a joke.

To tell everyone that a label-less life is pretty damn scary at first, but it’s worth it.

To be aware that even amidst the hell, there’s hope.

Oh, there’s so much hope.

neda   The National Eating Disorders Foundation has created a confidential, 3-minute eating disorders screening questionnaire that is featured on their website this month. If you or anyone you know is or may be struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, please click on this link. Then talk to someone about it.

http://nedawareness.org/get-screened

 

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The Pressure of “Every Damn Day”

We’ve all seen them. Those inspirational memes that clutter our Facebook feeds and are plastered all over billboards.

Suck it up now and you won’t have to suck it in later.

Stop making excuses and start getting results.

You can do more. You can always do more.

Every damn day. Just Do It.

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They’re not thinspiration, those hideous, pro-anorexia messages embodied by Kate Moss and her infamous “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” quote. But they can be just as pernicious. Just as harmful and self-esteem crushing.

You might argue that these messages were created with the goal of inspiring people to work out. To encourage people to exercise and eat healthy and move their bodies. And I will totally agree with you that that is an awesome goal. An amazing goal. That kind of inspiration is a great thing. Healthy movement is always a great idea.

It’s when healthy movement starts to be associated with morality where the trouble arises.

For more than ten years, I defined myself by the amount of time that I had worked out that day. If I had to take an unexpected day off, I was bad. I did something wrong. I was getting fat and gross and OMG FREAKING OUT.

If I had to cut my workout short by one minute, that sixty seconds would loom in my head for the rest of my day, a tiny sliver of time determined to tell me how imperfect I was, how much I had messed up.

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So I didn’t take days off. I never cut my workouts short. In fact, they got longer. And when they got longer, they couldn’t get shorter again. It was a rule.

I had a lot of rules back then.

I lived by “Every Damn Day.” I lived by “You Can Always Do More.” And I did. Until I couldn’t do any more.

But even then, that little voice kept taunting me that I had done something wrong by “quitting.” By not working out all the time or always doing more, more, more. By listening to my body and letting my muscles heal and getting shape to my thighs.

Until I recovered, I didn’t understand that I didn’t have to feel guilty. That rest isn’t something to feel guilty about. It’s something to feel proud of.

That’s where a lot of this so-called “fitspiration” misses the mark. Because it’s okay to miss a day, to not be so balls-to-the-wall bent on this “workout routine” that you forget to listen to your self. Yes, “your self.” That’s two words.

Because sometimes you need to take a rest, because you’re sore or because you didn’t get enough sleep because your kid woke up three times the night before. Maybe you’re sad and watching four episodes in a row of Gilmore Girls is the only thing that will soothe you. Maybe you forgot to set your alarm clock. Or your friend asked you to go out to dinner with her instead. Maybe the shoelace on your right running sneaker snapped or your gym membership lapsed and it’s pouring rain.

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Maybe sometimes, excuses are okay. Maybe excuses are a part of life, not something to beat yourself up over. To yell at yourself about, even if that yelling is in the form of an advertising-agency crafted slogan.

Maybe “making an excuse” might mean running one mile less because you have a morning meeting and have to get to work a bit earlier.

Maybe “making an excuse” means you just had a baby and dammit, you just want a little bit more sleep.

Maybe “making an excuse” means that you plain don’t want to.

YOU DON’T WANT TO.

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You don’t want to do it and that’s okay. Even if people on your Facebook feed are posting about their workouts and their beach bodies and their diets, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

If you want to, that’s fine. I’m not arguing for people to stop working out. I love working out. I adore working out. It makes me sane. It’s fun. Working out is good for health, mental and physical.

But you know what’s bad for health? Stress. Pressure. Low self-esteem and constant comparisons.

So let’s stop it with the concept that exercise is correlated with morality. That angels will hover above your head while you pound the pavement, then sing a happy song while they daintily hand you a towel to wipe off your sweaty forehead.

There are no angels in the gym. No devils, either.

Just you, doing what you want to do.

Some days you may not want to work out and force yourself to anyway. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing.The bad thing is when you keep doing that, over and over again, because some Pinterest board or your Facebook friend from high school or the voice inside your head tells you to. The bad thing is when you let a missed workout affect your self-worth.

And then you let that feeling linger.

These messages and posters and memes absolutely thrive on that feeling.

I’m still learning a lot of this. I don’t have a perfect track record, even in recovery. Sometimes I do feel guilty when I miss a workout that I’m planning on. I’m nowhere near where I was before, though, that shaky young woman who let a bunch of stupid rules dictate her life: Eat this. Don’t eat that. This workout is better. This size is better.

This YOU can be better.

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And even though these fitspiration sayings, these posts about “Every Damn Day” don’t necessarily “trigger” me, they do make me think. They make me uncomfortable in some ways. I don’t necessarily want people to stop posting about their workouts or the strides they’ve made. I want people to be proud of their bodies and of their fitness levels.

But I also want people to stop and pause, to try to separate “working out” from morality. They aren’t the same thing.

Suck it up now. Or not. You don’t need to suck it in later, either.

“Excuses” is another word for life. Your life is your result. 

You can do what you want. You can always do what you want.

Life. Just Do It.

 

 

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The Strongest People I’ve Known

Every time someone left treatment, we had a ritual. It was a little bit like a high school graduation. We’d sit in a circle in the community room and talk about what we admired about the “graduate.” We’d wish them well and write them little notes of encouragement in their journal. (Because in treatment, everyone has a journal. I still have all of mine, in a box in my basement.) We’d exchange email addresses and phone numbers and even regular addresses. For those people we were especially close with, we’d give them a little gift. A tiny stuffed animal. A handmade card. A crocheted scarf. (Again, because in treatment, everyone crochets or knits.)

Then we’d hug (if hugs were desired) goodbye and see them walk out the door. Into real life. Into what we hoped would be recovery for them, much like we hoped we’d someday achieve recovery ourselves.

This was in the time when Facebook was just getting off the ground, solely confined to those early adopter colleges and universities. Twitter didn’t exist yet. So there was no internet-stalking. No contact until I got out of treatment myself.

After I finished up my stints in treatment, I kept in contact with a few of the girls. One of the boys, too. (Yes, I did encounter eating disordered males during the time I was sick, a fact that many forget is a possibility.) We got together a few times and updated each other on our lives via email.

We talked about our lives and our struggles and reassured each other that we were still skinny. Then we lost touch.

Which was a good thing. Because at that point, we were “eating disorder friends.” We had existed in a vacuum, where all the real-life air had been sucked out. The air left was sterile, manufactured. Tainted by memories and what we were “supposed” to be.

We needed to diverge from that well-worn path of our “treatment” selves and strike out into the wilderness of the paths we were meant to blaze for ourselves.

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It’s years later now. More than a decade. I’ve reconnected with some of these people on Facebook. The ones I connected to on a deeper level in treatment, the ones I might have become friends with in different circumstances. Either I reached out to find them or they sought me out.

Either way, we’re back in touch. We’re the recovered ones. The ones who have created lives outside of the ones we used to lead together. I see pictures of their babies and hear about their careers. I smile at wedding pictures and sometimes we even laugh over the weird memories that only people in treatment together would find amusing.

There are some people I was “close” to that I don’t know what happened to. Or that I don’t want to reconnect with. Because I know we’d be different now, or because I was so different then that I don’t want to be reminded of it. It depends.

I wish them all well, though. That’s the hard thing about having been sick. (Okay, one of the hard things.) That you never know what has happened to people. To smart people. To caring people. To some of the strongest people I’ve ever met.

That’s the thing that people forget sometimes when they talk about “people with mental illness.” The strength and the courage that it takes to admit that you’re suffering, then to step into a situation where you will be forced out of your comfort zone every hour, every minute, and every second. Then to keep moving forward, day after day. Either abstaining or learning to moderate or educating yourself on how to live with a disease that many people die from.

It’s the same with any mental illness. No one asked to be sick. No one brought it upon themselves. It happened and we coped. Then we tried to cope. Then we coped some more.

Coping is damn hard. It’s curling up in a ball and crying. It’s knots full of anxiety in your chest. It’s staring into your closet and weeping. It’s not going to a bar or removing all the alcohol from your house. It’s forcing yourself to get out of bed and go to work. It’s cutting off relationships with friends and accepting help and admitting you’re not perfect. It’s arguing with your brain and finally, finally seeing things get easier.

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I hope that it got easier for everyone I passed along the way. Because there’s a special place in my heart for all of them:

The girl who dressed her IV pole in a hat and named it Wilson.

The boy who took another girl to her senior prom.

The one who was a prima ballerina at Harvard.

The one who gave us fashion tips.

The girl who woke up screaming in the middle of the night.

The fifty-something year old woman who was still dealing with her eating disorder.

The fifty-something year old man who I saw, months after my discharge, in a Barnes and Noble, looking worse than ever.

The ones I cried with.

The ones I laughed with.

The ones that so many think are weak but are so strong in so many ways.

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I had been meaning to start this blog for a while before I actually got up the nerve. Or, more accurately, before I was inspired to, by one of my best friends. She was an acquaintance in high school, someone I saw in the chorus room and did a few musicals with. We connected on Facebook a few years ago, but she lives many states away now. We commented on pictures of our kids and realized that we had a mutual obsession with books. We talked and shared and became close.

Then she disappeared for a while. I soon found out that she’d been in treatment for alcoholism. Which turned into treatment for an eating disorder. She admitted this openly to me, then to her entire Facebook feed. To her community. That vulnerability blew me away. Because to me, vulnerability is strength.

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Not being vulnerable, not being open is what kept me sick for so long. It’s what kept me hidden away from the world. And here she was, proclaiming, “THIS IS ME. THESE ARE MY STRUGGLES. LOOK HOW HARD I’M WORKING.”

I have never been so inspired in my life. She gave me the courage to start this blog. Maybe I’m not sick anymore, but I was sick. And I was scared to say that for a long time. I thought it made me less than perfect. I thought it was a sign that I was flawed.

Nope. It makes me human.

This friend is my model of strength. She is human and real and constantly examining herself for what will help her live her best life. She slips and falls and mourns. She goes to meetings and talks to loved ones.

Most of the people I met in treatment were like that. They wanted their lives back. They wanted new lives.

I’m glad I had them in my life.

I hope they’re happy.

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What to Do, What to Do? (A Tale of Winter)

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Yesterday was our second snow day of the year. Our second 6-8″ inch storm. Our second day of being trapped inside. (Because honestly, there’s only so long my two-year-old wants to be outside before she starts asking to go in or taking her boots off. She hates shoes. Socks, too, so I should probably count my blessings she kept those on.)

I should also count my blessings that this isn’t last winter. Otherwise known as “Everyone in Massachusetts Goes Truly Insane,” or “Sorry You Can’t Play in the Snow! It’s Over Your Kids’ Heads!”

(Can you tell I’m still suffering from a bit of winter PTSD? This is a picture of our Winter 2015 snowman being buried by more snow. He eventually disappeared completely.)

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I enjoy being with my daughters. I enjoy games of pretend. I enjoy coloring and Play-Doh and tag.

I enjoy all of these things. The problem is that over the course of the day, we end up doing many, MANY things. Kids have a short attention span. So we can end up doing coloring, watercolors, Tinkertoys, the kitchen set, and reading all in one hour.

And then…it’s 9 am and we have the rest of the day to get through.

I’m not one of those moms who think television is the devil, so they do watch a few shows during the course of the day.

And then…it’s 10 am.

So we bake cookies. Then, after ten minutes of two girls eating more dough than makes it onto the cookie sheet, I stick the pan into the oven.

And it’s 11 am.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Here’s my question: am I the only mother out there who sometimes just plain doesn’t know what to do with her kids?

Okay, not really. We have toys. We have blocks and cars and a mini trampoline and tons of art supplies. We break news things out and rotate between old things, but sometimes it never seems like enough.

When my Facebook feed is filled with Pinterest-worthy photos of kids conducting snow science experiments.

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When the idea of finger painting (or worse–kinetic sand) fills me with dread.

When I miss my old definition of “snow day,” that lovely time filled with relaxation, reading, and TV show binges.

When I suggest what I think will be a super fun activity and I get totally shot down.

I know I’m a good mom. I know I’m a great mom. I’m the mother that only I can be. I’m the mother that my kids need, want, and love.

I don’t feel good, though, when I can’t think of a bloody “new and exciting” thing to do.

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When I get frustrated that my younger daughter won’t sit through an entire episode of Doc McStuffins so I can crash on the couch for a half hour.

When I’m always trying to figure out what will “engage” and “inspire.”

When I’m tired.

Maybe I’m doing enough.

I’m never going to be one of those moms who overschedules their kids, with an activity (or two or three) for every day of the week. I know the value of down time.

So why don’t I let myself have downtime as a mother? Not necessarily time where I stop mothering, or shut myself in my room with the door closed and the fan on to drown out any noise (although I have done that before and it has been truly necessary).

But time to let the girls wander the house. Time to let them figure out what they want to do, whether it’s E lying on the couch flat on her back, with an umbrella open over her head, twirling it around, or L trying to fit through the cat tree.

That could be a way to get from 11 o’clock to noon.

I know that I have things to work on as a mom. But my harshest critic is myself. (As usual.) I take the girls to storytimes and dance and playgrounds. We color and read and paint.

Maybe I’m not the best with funky, super original craft projects. Maybe I get discouraged when I suggest playing with blocks and they shoot me down.

Whatever. That just means we can focus on something they’d like even more.

And if I can’t think of something?

I’ll wait until they do.

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