today

It wasn't until Knox spit up the full contents of his last bottle down the inside of shirt that I lost it. I stood in the kitchen eating nacho-flavored tortilla chips as Edie sat on the plastic potty for the third consecutive hour yelling at me that she didn't have to go and that she wants to wear diapers forever and I began sobbing. And through the tears, all I could think of was Jim Gaffigan's stand up bit where he talks about what having kids feels like....

 

"Imagine you're drowning. And then imagine someone throws you a baby..." 

 

Life feels a lot like that right now. Like I'm drowning in reflux and potty training and weaning and sleep training and sleep depravation and a postpartum identity crisis. I don't want to complain. It feels so ridiculous to complain about such privileged problems, problems I chose to submerge myself in when I CHOSE to stay at home with our children. I want to be able to say that I feel on top of the world and that being a mother is the greatest and that I feel fulfilled by the monotony. But today, I won't say that.

Because, today, I can't say that.

Today, I am going to acknowledge the feelings that nobody wants to talk about because we worry that it makes us look like an ungrateful asshole. And it may make me look like an asshole but today, I don't really give a shit. 

 

Because today, I don't so much like being a mom.

 

Today I wish I didn't feel like I'm drowning. Today, I wish my life wasn't ruled by monotony. Today, I wish I had a taste of my old, carefree, childless life. Today, I wish I didn't feel like crying into my tortilla chips was my only option. Today, I wish I didn't always smell like one of their bodily functions or that my clothes weren't always stained by one of them wiping their dirty mouths. Today I wish I didn't only buy clothes that are solely functional and "play-date appropriate". Today, I want to know what it feels like to have an identity outside of my kids. Today, I resent how all-consuming it is. Today, I wish I didn't have the responsibility of keeping it together in front of the three people who are the source of why I am struggling to keep it together. Today, I wish I could go on strike and tell everyone in my house to fuck off.

 

Today, I wish my hair wasn't falling out and I weighed ten pounds less than I do. Today, I wish my boobs didn't look like sad, empty bags of nothing. Today, I wish my idea of a good time wasn't just a nap that isn't interrupted by a toddler jumping on my face. Today, I envy the boozy brunch crowd. Today, I envy the women who don't have chronic hemorrhoids from pushing out three children. Today, I wish I could drop everything and do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it, and that I didn't have to leave a detailed list of directions for whoever I leave in charge of who I'm running from.

 

Today, I'm allowing myself to resent my husband. Today, I'm allowing myself to say that it isn't fair that he doesn't have to grow, birth, or feed humans with his body or deal with postpartum hormones. Today, I'm admitting that it isn't fair that he never has to look in the mirror and struggle with not recognizing who he sees staring back at him. Today, I'm letting myself be angry that whether or not I stay at home with our kids, the bulk of the day-to-day responsibility of raising our kids will always fall on me. Today, I'm calling it bullshit that he will never have to know the depth and darkness that I experience battling postpartum hormones nor will he ever fully understand it.

 

Today, I wish it were me leaving the house each morning to escape the noise, the arguing, the tantrums, the ass-wiping. Today, I wish it were me who could go out of town for a week and and eat a hot meal at a hotel bar by myself while I talk to strangers. Today, I wish it were me who has the important job with an official title; the job you can't wear yoga pants to, the job that allows you to consult other adults about things other than whether or not your charges pooped today. 

 

Today, I won't preface these feelings with the I love my kids, I really do speech. Today, I wish I didn't feel an ever-present guilt because of a fucked-up culturally engrained myth of the perfect mother. Today, I don't care that there will always be some aspect of motherhood that I could most certainly be doing better at. Today, I'm not going to acknowledge the persistent anxiety that has attached itself to my experience of motherhood like the fucking life-draining leech that anxiety is. Today, I'm going to admit that sometimes, I don't want to fucking cuddle at bedtime. Or ever, actually. Today, I'm going to admit that when my kids yell at me, it takes more self-control that I ever knew I possessed to not scream back even louder and call them an asshole. 

 

Today, in this very moment, I'm going to admit that I'm struggling.

 

Today, as I type this, I'm reminding myself that it's okay to not be okay all of the time.

 

Today, crying into nacho-flavored tortilla chips felt better than eating nacho-flavored tortilla chips.

 

Today, I will not feel guilty for being human. 

 

Today, I will validate my feelings in the name of self-care. 

 

Today, I feel like I'm drowning. 

 

 

Today, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

five things | Edie fills her quota

1. We've got twenty-one days until we welcome 2017 and, apparently, Edie realized that she's not quite done filling her quota of sicknesses to be contracted by year's end. Clearly, eight ear infections, one surgery, a mysteriously knocked-out tooth, two stomach bugs, and one severe case of Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease weren't an adequate match for her devout tenacity so she graciously went and got strep throat. "YOLO," she says, "Go big or go home, ma! If you're going to do something, always give it 100 percent." Meanwhile, I'm so tired that my left eye is beginning to uncontrollably twitch so now, when I smile, it appears as though I'm winking. I'm too tired to even blink, let alone exert the amount of effort required to coordinate one-eyed blinking for fun. You won, Edie Cooper. You won. 

A waiting room selfie while Edie exhibits how to adequately express how much she currently hates being such a winner at life.

A waiting room selfie while Edie exhibits how to adequately express how much she currently hates being such a winner at life.

2. As the temperatures drop, some sort of soup has been simmering away on my stove for at least two days a week for the last six weeks now. Hashtag BUSY BEING BASIC. On Tuesday, I made THIS soup from Nigella Lawson's newest cookbook, Simply Nigella, and, y'all. Let me tell you something: it was one of the best non-traditional chicken soups I've ever made. I substituted 100% buckwheat Soba noodles and I added scallions and Sriracha to finish because I take culinary rebellion quite seriously. I'm also completely incapable of following a recipe exactly as its' written but, hey, at least I'm consistent. 

3. This morning, I attended a Breakfast with Santa even at the girls' school. Santa was there-- who Mo immediately recognized as her Gramps, causing the illusion of a single Santa being shattered forever. (Just kidding, we've been telling her all along that Santa is so busy the month of December that he has helpers everywhere who are responsible for the relaying of vital information to the real Santa. However, she does now think that she's the coolest ever because her Gramps is an official member of the Santa's Helpers Brigade.) Anyway, there was a raffle fundraiser and one of the items was an American Girl Doll. We decided to go all in and put all five of our raffle tickets into the pot. Since Mo has been asking for one from Santa since the day after last Christmas, my hope was that she'd win and "Santa" would conveniently get out of shelling out such an ungodly amount of money for a fucking doll. (Santa isn't bitter, don't worry.) Well, Santa wasn't so lucky. A ten year old little girl was and, for the first time in my adult life, I found myself physically hating a tween and mentally scheming how to take that bitch down... 

4. I've accepted it, yes. But I'm still not over what the results of this election meant. 

5. You see? I wasn't kidding about my eye. The bright side is that flirting with Joe is a whole lot easier now. 

My life in pictures

If I have a chance to dress like a boy, mark my word that I will always take it. Also, pardon the severe side swoop; growing out bangs is the worst. THE WORST, I tell you. 

If two pictures could perfectly sum up the girls, these would be it: one gives all the fucks while the other couldn't be bothered to give a single fuck. They're less peas and carrots, more like sugar and spice/yin and yang/black and white versus shades of grey. 

In order to get these:

You have to take a whole bunch of these: 

I posted this photo on the Gram but it deserves further explanation here. THIS is the summation of the last nineteen months of work Joe and I have put into fostering and developing the sisterhood and friendship between Mo and Edie. To say that it has evolved is a grave understatement and one that robs Joe and I of the (quite literal) blood, sweat, and tears we put into it. When Edie was born, Mo thought she was great but only in theory. In reality, she found Edie and her high-maintenance newborn-ness to be a wart on her life of fun and the mama-single child devotion she'd experienced until that point. Her world, as she knew it, was O-V-E-R. However, over the last month, Mo has discovered not only how awesome having a sibling is, but just how specifically irresistible Edie Cooper is and that, in spite of her steadfast stubbornness, even she isn't immune to the charming web of love Edie spins for all who meet her. I can attribute this shift to many things but mostly I accredit  it to Mo being Mo. It has always taken her more time than it takes others to make her mind up about anything. But when she does, she is 100% committed. Meanwhile, Edie has been taking this opportunity to openly gloat as seriously as she takes annoying the shit out of her older sister. So, for those of you in the thick of sibling adjustment where you are wondering if it will ever get any easier or better, let this serve as hope. They all come around. Eventually. And when they do.... hold onto your ovaries. 

five things

Call me crazy but I don't believe that Monday deserves our freshest start. Mondays are for the persistent grind; for doing the work; for crossing off that never ending To Do list. But Fridays? Shouldn't that be the mark of a fresh slate? Shouldn't we use Friday as our reset button? Don't our families and loved ones deserve the best of us over the course of the few days a week we get to dedicate to filling our love tanks up in order to face another Monday? 

 

Don't we deserve that?

 

I think that's why I have grown rather fond of the Five Things series I used to do over at The C-Word. At the end of the week where it seems that everything but my mental sanity are the priority, I find it to be incredibly cathartic to document all the things I (a) want to remember or (b) want to share or (c) need to channel my inner-Elsa and let that shit go. 

So, I think I'll start doing it again more regularly. Okay? Okay. 

1. I got Edie her first pair of high-tops which only served to reinforce the fact that chubby baby legs in high-top sneakers is plausibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. And while I typically own my bias where my daughters are concerned, the truth is the truth and the truth is that both of my girls ooze swagger. Clearly they didn't get it from their parents who are utterly devoted nerds and always a few steps behind anything that's deemed even remotely cool or trendy. 

2. Jessi Klein is my current girl crush. She is solely responsible for pulling me out of my reading/writing rut and I'm eternally grateful. After having been advised to read her book by a few writers/friends/fellow book worms whose book recommendations have never steered me wrong, You'll Grow Out of It did not disappoint. It's so fucking funny and candid and self-deprecating and relatable and wonderfully absent of any snark or narcissism which, unfortunately, so many belonging to this genre reek of. Consider this MY recommendation for YOU. Read it. 

3. We've had one of my best friends and her little family staying with us this week. They live in Scotland so, sadly, we are able to see each other very rarely. I (FINALLY!) got to meet her baby boy (the last time I saw her was at her baby shower almost a year ago!) and to say that the Fadel ladies are completely obsessed with him would be an acute understatement. Marlo, evident by her temperamental relationship with her baby sister, could usually take or leave babies; she doesn't always believe they serve any useful purpose other than taking away attention better served on her. But not Baby T. On day two of their stay, she declared, "Mama, I don't really want you to have another baby but if you do, it needs to be a boy JUST like him because he is so so so so so so cute. I want to squeeze his cheeks all the time! But not hurt him like I used to do Edie because I like him a lot. You promise?!"

Mo, do tell me how you really feel. 

4. Do you remember JNCOs? I sure do. I thought they were the undeniable coolest, the perfect swaggy counterpart to my over plucked eyebrows, white eyeliner, and frosted lip gloss combo. Since wide-leg jeans are apparently back in, I found a pair that are as close to JNCOs as possible and I am smitten. I can very easily hide a small child under just one of the legs but, for nostalgia's sake, I am now re-devoted to channeling my inner angsty seventh grade boy. YOLO.

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5. I don't understand why my kids insist on touching me so much against my will. It's like they have some sort of quota to fill; like, how many times can we invade her personal space in a single day? How many times can we force her to give in to another episode of Shimmer and Shine just to make us our eighteenth snack that we won't stop literally begging for? For fuck's sake, I'd give anything to not be touched or have anything demanded of me for an entire hour but, at this point, I'd settle for just pooping in private and not seeing tiny chubby fingers underneath the door or having Mo ask for a detailed analysis of my shit. Fun times, y'all. Fun. Freaking. Times. 

 

five things | florida edition

Mo and her sweet cousin, likely discussing the meaning of life. 

1. Like the rest of the world, I've been watching the Olympics after the kids go to bed, exhausted from hours spent on the beach in the sun. Yes, I also Simone is the greatest. Yes, I'm impressed by the staying power of the red lipstick those synchronized swimmers are wearing. Yes, I, too, cry every time I see someones' dream coming true. But here is what I can't get over: does anybody else wonder why the media choses to interview the runners IMMEDIATELY AFTER they just ran for their life? I mean, can't we let them catch their breath before you start asking them twenty questions, rapid fire-style? I can't even understand them as they try to answer in-between their desperate gasps for air. 

2. You know what's better than a nap? A vacation nap. The only person who doesn't believe me is Marlo. 

3. Imagine visiting a swamp’s ass. Then imagine spending a week there. That is Florida in the middle of August. 

4. Marlo still doesn't understand why she has to wear a bathing suit top (or a bathing suit at all, for that matter) when her male cousins don't. I let her run around in her bikini bottoms because I don't think it's a big deal and... hello... she's four. But it wasn't enough for her. We caught her trying to take her entire bathing suit off more times than I could count. I bargained with her and told her that, one day, and, hopefully one day soon, we'll take her to Europe where people aren't prudes and a child being naked isn't shamed and she can prance around the beach-- crowded or not-- in her birthday suit without receiving evil glares from over-tanned Florida retirees. She actually made me promise her. And I did. 

5. Much to my utter disbelief, rosé can, in fact, taste better than it consistently does. How can perfection be topped, you may wonder? I had the same concerned thought. However, while rosé is admittedly pretty perfect as is, I discovered that if you drink it out of a blue solo cup, during the middle of a weekday while sitting on a beach as the waves crash at your feet and your kids play nicely together nearby in the sand, it is unmistakably flawless. Mark my words, people. FLAWLESS.