When I was fifteen years old I met my future husband at band camp. We were married five years later and as we approach our 20th anniversary (yes—you mommy math whizzes—that makes me 40), and I prepare to send my own kids to camp, I find myself reminiscing about that momentous summer. And being pretty freaked out about what my kids are about to do.
Looking back, it’s clear that motherhood has tamed me.
Not that I was jumping out of airplanes, or burning my bra in the good old days—but I certainly wasn’t the Pinterest-loving, laundry maiden that I am now, either. Life before kids was something entirely other.
As a dedicated mother of two, my days consist of order, routine and responsibility. I bend to the will of my children, and my entire existence is spent keeping them safe, happy and healthy. But, there was a time—before the days of yoga pants and early bedtimes—that I wasn’t quite so organized and responsible.
Before mom-hood, I was a small town girl who liked beer and football on Friday nights— fancy wasn’t really my thing. I worked in a small salon and threw darts with my friends on Sundays. We preferred hole-in-the-wall bars with mismatched carpet; I’d take denim over lace any day of the week.
You know that warm, tingly feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch watching tv in super soft flannel pjs and you’re just starting to get tired? When you yawn and stretch before padding upstairs in fluffy slippers and you slide into bed and slip immediately into a deep sleep? Well, it’s usually not me feeling those feels. It’s usually someone I’m watching on tv as my sleep deprived brain whispers, “that person is about to have the best sleep of their life.”
But things have changed.
How do you react to stressful situations? I will be the first to admit that my anxiety is clearly linked to my inability to effectively manage my emotions during stress. I am famous for catastrophizing and overreacting. Growing up, I was always known as the one who would freak out all the time. Today, I know that I just needed to develop my emotional intelligence. It doesn’t come naturally and it’s something I will continue to work on throughout my life, but if I can give my children these tools much earlier on in life, I hope that they won’t have to freak out as much as I did.
One day you’re sharing feeding tips with another new mom and a year later you suddenly realize that you’re actually in a beautiful and intense friendship. Both you and your kids have so much in common, so the time you spend together is never strained—an afternoon together leaves you both feeling light with mutual understanding, your necks aching from all the nodding. And then one of you has another baby. And one of you doesn’t.
Whether you have little ones running rampant, or teenagers getting social all on their own—most moms will tell you that their household is running a busy schedule. Between carpooling and household duties, combined with working outside the home, or the never-ending battle that is being a stay-at-home-mom—coordinating a family’s activities is something that many women are balancing very, very carefully. It’s easy to forget to enjoy the journey, there’s often not enough time, but there are some easy ways to avoid succumbing to the ongoing state of ‘being busy’ and find your inner calm. Here are five simple ways to help bring the joy back to the chaos.
Some time in my twenties my metabolism abandoned me. My nightly bowl of ice cream started clinging to my hips and it only got worse after having a few kids. It became obvious that my fitness regimen was failing—largely, because I didn’t have a fitness regimen. I knew that if I wanted to keep my waistline in check, I would need to get fit quick or stop eating so many cupcakes. And let’s be real—I wasn’t giving up cupcakes.
We’ve all had relationships that didn’t work out, for one reason or another. Maybe he liked to go out more than you, or you liked to borrow his underwear, whatever—we (eventually) accept that the relationship wasn’t meant to be, they weren’t The One, maybe learn a lesson or two about ourselves and what we really want, and ultimately, move on. Friendships are different. Sometimes they fade when life gets in the way, sometimes you grow apart because you’re headed in different directions. It doesn’t always mean you love each other less, it just means your activities aren’t compatible any longer. But sometimes, a friendship can end abruptly and without warning, leaving you with the same bitter hurt, despair and resentment that comes with the terminal end to a romantic relationship. Here’s how you deal, with some tips for surviving a BFF breakup.
“Here should be a picture of my favorite apple.
It is also a nude & bottle.
It is also a landscape.
There are no such things as still lifes.” ~ Erica Jong
Dear Mr. Whitten,
You probably had no idea.
Like many women, as I entered my 40s, I began fighting with my weight just a little bit more. My jeans are too tight, even my clothes from last year are snugger than I’d like. The worst part (and one I hate to admit, but I will to you guys) is that I know that what’s really responsible for the added pounds is wine consumption.
I definitely enjoy the occasional glass of wine here and there, but when I’m stressed (this happens often), I tend to drink even more than usual. Obviously, a lot of us do: Moms and wine have become a boring cliché, a too-obvious meme. We use wine as a crutch when our lives get out of hand, as a symbol to make us feel like we’re in control. Just glancing at a few wine labels at the liquor store, it’s frighteningly obvious that too many wine companies are marketing to the ‘stressed-out-mom’ demographic, like me.