Tuesday, January 03, 2017

I am sure that this is going to start a fight with about 50 people but here goes anyway...

I have probably hurt some feelings lately with my rantings about so called “work from home” business opportunities.  Another name for these types of companies is “Mulit-level Marketing,” which is a fancy way of describing a pyramid scheme. Broadly, these are companies that offer an “exclusive” line of products which can only be bought by someone who has agreed to be a distributor.  Usually these distributor agreements come with a minimum purchase, and usually the distributors are encouraged to sign up additional distributors which they will then get some sort of credit for.

If you aren’t currently living in a off grid cabin somewhere out in the bush you probably know what I’m talking about.  A huge number of these companies are diet and health related (see my rant about the diet industry here), and then there’s a jumble of household goods, fashion, etc that make up the rest of them.  I, like most other social media users, am completely fed up with being invited to “parties” where a friend of a friend will then pitch me on their exclusive line of branded products.  Here’s the thing though…I like having the opportunity to support my friends.  I shop at my friend’s stores, I get my hair cut by them, I buy their artwork…nothing makes me happier than shelling out my hard earned cash to someone who I know will get more advantage from it than if I bought a similar item in the store.  I’m even happy to pay a higher price for these things because I understand that being a small business person comes with a higher operating cost than a large corporation.

So why do I immediately delete these party requests without even looking at the product line?  Because what I absolutely cannot support is my friends being taken advantage of by large pushy corporations.

Taken advantage of?  Well that seems harsh. 

Here’s why I think that.  My work background is in purchasing and inventory management so I am familiar with how wholesale is supposed to work.  Most businesses fall into one of three categories (this is an obvious over simplification but just stay with me). You can have a Franchise, you can have a Dealership and you can have what I think of as a “Managed Inventory” store. 

When you buy a Franchise the main thing that you are buying is a brand.  The parent company has done ALL of the product development for you, they do the advertising campaigns, they do the packaging, absolutely every detail is taken care of for you.  A franchisee is successful when someone from a different town can walk into the new store and find that it is completely indistinguishable from the one down the block in their home town.  The parent company usually offers the franchisee a guarantee that they will not sell additional franchise agreements within a certain area based on geographic distance or population density.   Part of the value in being a franchise owner is knowing that people will seek you out and you will be the only option in the area.  Back in 2005 Krispy Kreme donut company got in big trouble for over inflating their sales numbers and over selling franchise agreements….fraud in other words.  Not good.

A dealership has some similarities with a franchise but it’s not so rigid.  Some stores act as dealerships for multiple brands, and frequently stock other items that are not branded the same.   Many fabric stores are also sewing machine dealerships, for instance.  The parent company wants to place their products into successful stores and the store owners want people to seek them out because of the reputation of the brands that they sell.  It’s a cooperative agreement where both sides work to prop up the other.  When a parent company and a store owner reach an agreement part of that agreement is that the parent company will not sell their products to any other stores within a certain geographic area.  This increases the value of the brand for the store owner because, again, they know that they have an exclusive product which customers will travel to purchase.

There’s a theme developing here.  Exclusivity.  Brand value.  Geographic isolation. 

And then there’s what I call “managed inventory” stores.  These are stores where the owner or purchaser chooses unique items for their stock based on their customers’ interests, rate of sales, season etc.  Most dealerships also have supporting inventory that works on this system.  In this case the exclusivity comes from the unique mix of items that the store owner has decided to stock.  Sure, you can get some of the items at different stores but then you’d have to make multiple trips.  As a purchaser one of the questions that I want to know when I add a new product line is “who else has this?”  Some companies will agree to a geographic exclusivity clause, and some won’t.  It’s up to me as the inventory manager to know what my competitors are selling, and to keep my inventory fresh and interesting so that when customers come to my store they’re excited to buy.

So here’s my main problem with these work from home “opportunities.”  For the ones that give kick-backs for people who sign up additional distributors, they are literally paying you to weaken your brand.  You may be a very conscientious, respectful marketer but if you sell “XYZ” brand diet shakes then every time some other distributor mass invites everyone in their social media address book to an “XYZ” party, your brand is tarnished.  Maybe all of these companies are not guilty of pyramid style marketing but they are ALL guilty of over oversaturation.  

In my opinion it is unethical for a company to sell you on a batch of products and then set up another distributor in the same market to compete with you.  If I agree to open a Burger Bizzaro restaurant and then the company tells me “hey, sell another franchise agreement to your friend from High School and then we can set him up right across the street from you, but don’t worry we’ll give you 10% of everything he sells!” that is NOT a good deal for me.  Basically all the customers traveling south will go to his store because it’s an easier right hand turn and all the customers going north will come to my store.  I’ve lost HALF my customers for a 10% kickback.  Plus there’s another Burger Bizzaro going in a block away from us because some other guy I don’t even know bought a franchise and he’s paying college kids in free Burgers to stand on the street in a clown costume and wave people into the parking lot.  Pretty soon there are so many Burger Bizzaros in town that people are so sick of hearing the jingle and smelling stale French fry grease that they all stay home and eat Turkey Sandwiches instead.

In summary.  These companies are TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU, and that makes me mad.

The End. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kids and chores, the struggle is too real.

Have your kids help out around the house.  Teach them responsibility.  Set them up to be big winners in the game of life by having them load the dishwasher
every night.
The kids are pretending that the vacuums are proton packs and that they are Ghost Busters.  This was my husband's idea. He's a genius.

There’s only one problem with that.  Getting your kids to do chores IS a chore.  I can spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen after dinner OR I can split it down into tiny taskletts and parcel them out to the children and then observe and correct them (No dearest!  Sweeping doesn’t just mean dragging the broom in a circle around the floor, you have to actually look at it to make sure the bits are getting swept up.) but not ACTUALLY do it for them, keep them on task, and then of course deal with the inevitable melt down where one child loudly denounces the other children for not doing their fair share, one child curls up into a ball and moans that they are TOOO TIRED, and the other children screams at you that you have RUINED THEIR WHOLE DAY AND DOES THIS MEAN THEY WON’T GET ANY TABLET TIME?!?!? An hour later, we’re all late for bedtime and the kitchen is not clean.  But they’ve been taught about responsibility!  And then as I always do I imagine them acting in exactly this way when they are grown up.  My kid.  Lying on the floor after the manager at their first minimum wage job asks them to sweep the floor.  “BUT MY LEGS ARE SO TIRED! I can’t hold the broom, or stand.  I’m too tired to BREATHE.”

And goddess forbid that they want to help you cook dinner.  I hope you have three hours to cook.

Fold a shirt, or sit next to someone and describe in precise details 10 times in a row how to fold a shirt….or have your folding corrected by a 5 year old who thinks that your way of folding is DUMB and will greet her father at the door loudly proclaiming “GUESS WHAT PAPA!! I TAUGHT MOM HOW TO FOLD UNDERWEAR TODAY BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW AND I DID, ISN’T THAT FUNNY!!!”  Hillllllarious.

Here’s the thing though.  Between the nature programs they devour on television and the environmental curriculum that they get at school, these kids will run out into oncoming traffic to pick up a piece of litter.  Baby bird fell out of a tree? ARMAGEDDON.  But pick up the thousand shreds of paper that fell to the floor during the afternoon art project?  I’M SO TIRED I CAN’T LIFT PAPER.

I’ve decided that the way to inspire them to help out around the house is to use the words from their school lectures.  Clean the living room?  Hell no. We are working on our “ENVIRONMENT.” Make your bed?  Oh no.  We are tidying up our nests. 

It’s totally not working.

Then I thought maybe some music would help them keep on task. Let’s be honest, the only time my house has ever gotten anything close to clean is if I have been having a jolly old rock out.  If I had a cleaning service it would be called “Punk Rock Get’s it DONE,” but also don’t hire me to clean your house I’m a horrible housekeeper. 

Have you ever seen 3 under 10’s mosh out to “Let it GO?” Well come by my house during after dinner clean up and you shall, oh yes, you shall.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Once upon a time, on pinterest...

I’m stating clearly, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about my opinions as you read this, that I think parenting advice is absolute bunk. “Parenting” books are a million, probably BILLION dollar industry that exists solely to make money for authors and publishers at the cost of your confidence and instinct. I’ve been the parent of a newborn three times and hope never to return to that bleak hellscape.  There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used to torture people.  Every parent that has ever parented since the beginning of time has thought “I must be doing this WRONG! There’s NO WAY this could be the normal circumstance of raising a child!”  Spoiler alert.  Parenting is a fucking hard job and there is NO EXPERT that can tell you how to do it because no one has ever parented your child before. 

And now, bless us, there is the internet where any asshole with a digital camera can wipe the frosting off their kid’s chin, prop them up next to “baby’s first periodic table” and pretend for 30 seconds that they know what the fuck they are doing.  And hooray! Maybe they have it all figured out, I can’t say for sure, but I do know 100% that they don’t have it figured out with YOUR kid, and YOUR life and YOUR schedule of crucial but inevitably neglected tasks. 

Pinterest is a breeding ground for helpful advice from well meaning strangers.  Pinterest will tell you in NO uncertain terms that YOU are failing at life.  There are literally thousands of to-do lists, meal plans, check lists, work out challenges etc. for you to print off and post on your refrigerator to be lost among the expired coupons, soccer practice schedules, and lists of unpurchased school supplies. These “free printables” (excuse me but WHAT?  You are going to, FOR FREE, create another piece of paper to clutter up my life and make me feel guilty about not doing ENOUGH? THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH!!) are always full of words like “simple” and “just” and “routine,” promising that if you “Just include these simple steps in your daily routine,” that your life will be magically transformed something from the centerfold of Martha Stewart’s special House Porn edition. 

I got news for you.  There is “just” nothing “simple” about a household “routine.”  “Just do 10 push-ups before every shower!”  Sorry but I fail to see how doing 10 push ups once a week is going to do fuck-all for my core strength.  “Just print out this simple meal schedule for routine weeknight dinners!”  Great,  sounds good.  I’ll just go shopping for all of these things that I don’t normally buy during the ten minute long gap in my schedule and then spend an extra half hour making something that half my family won’t eat.  Simple!  “Just follow these simple steps to streamline your housekeeping routine.”   I would FUCKING LOVE to wipe down my counters every morning after unloading my dishwasher and making my bed.  That would be utterly fan-fucking-tastic, except that the school is actually super uncool about dropping your kids off unfed in their pajamas.  I KNOW?!  Judgemental fuckers, right?!

I do have one life hack that will totally simplify your daily routine though.  Stop believing in the perfect routine where everything gets done and everyone is happy all the time.  It’s the modern fairytale, and it’s basically as likely as opening your door and finding your fairy godmother standing there with a pair of glass slippers for you.  Good enough is GREAT. There is always going to be SOMETHING that falls short.  The best that you can do is to define for yourself how bad it can get before it’s REALLY falling apart. That’s going to be different for everyone!  And the bloggers and the pinners have a different breaking point than you do.  Maybe you really do fall apart if your bed doesn’t get made every morning.  That’s great! Make the bed! But something else is going to slide a little bit while you’re doing it.  AND THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND OKAY. 

Good enough.  It’s as good as you get.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My opinion on unsolicited opinions.

Here’s the plus about being a six foot tall Amazon with a resting bitch face that looks like I’m ready to throw down….no one critiques my parenting skills in public!  I am sure that many denizens of the grocery store shuffle quickly to their cars thinking “Damn, I’m glad that she’s not MY mom,” but I never actually have to deal with the advice of random strangers.  I breast fed three babies in public with nary a side eye, shit, I used to bring my Boppy Pillow with us to the bar for more comfortable nursing.  I have carried screaming children over my shoulder through crowded store aisles, I even had to extract my naked son from a swimming pool locker room after he REFUSED to get out of the shower after half an hour.  Has any well meaning mother-of-the-year ever stopped in to tell me that if I just made sure he got more fiber in his diet then his behavior would improve?  No.  Has any grandmother ever stepped in to tell me that that’s not how they did it in their day?  No.  So, you know, I have to buy my clothes from the “Modern Giantess” catalog, but at least no one has interfered with the way I’ve decided to raise my kids...until now.

I will not go into detail because it would take too fucking long but let me just assure you that Mondays are not the day that you want to get in my way.  Pretty much every single second of Monday is specifically scheduled from 7:24am which is the last possible minute that can wake up my kids and still get them to school on time, until 7:24pm when I unload them from the Van, tired and already in their pajamas after their swim class.  There is something happening during every single minute of the day and if the schedule deviates even slightly then the whole thing ends up in utter catastrophe. I am not an organized person.  I don’t think three steps ahead, I like to live in the moment and take things as they come, so let’s just say that at best Monday and I have an uneasy truce.

There are 37 minutes of “waiting” on Monday afternoons, that I hold onto like a precious gem of sanity in the swirling seas of scheduled obligation.  After I drop eldest off for his tutoring appointment I can take the younger kids to a playground down the street and they (wait for it, because it’s fucking amazing...) ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES FOR AN ENTIRE HALF HOUR.  I know, I know…it’s the stuff of dreams.  Those nights when you are holding a fussy, hungry newborn in the wee small hours of the morning, you close your eyes and see a halo of golden light through which you can watch your children playing BY THEMSELVES on the playground while you fondly watch from a distance and gradually rebuild your fragile mental health. 

I defend these 37 minutes with every tactic at my disposal.  I pull up to the park, open the side panel door on the van and (not literally, but literally if that’s what is required) boot them out of the vehicle.  Then I sit by myself in the driver’s seat of the van for 37 minutes, listening to the radio, checking my email, calling my mother, knitting, or any one of a million other trivial things that have been robbed from me on this day of many obligations.   So you can imagine my annoyance when I became aware of a presence on the other side of the window, a presence which resolved itself into the face of a sweet and well intentioned woman of not-quite-elderly vintage.  The presence tapped on my driver’s side window, clearly indicating that I should lower it because she had wisdom to impart to me.  The window reluctantly lowered.

“Go!  Go and play with your children on the swings,” she twittered at me.  And then she walked along the road accompanied by her well-walked dog and her husband who muttered “Was she just sitting in the car texting?!” in a tone that clearly indicated that I was out of my ever loving mind to miss this prime bonding experience with my precious children and their fleeting childhood.

So let me clear things up for you.  I have no idea what I was doing, husband-person, I might have been texting, I could have been checking my email, or returning a phone call that I can’t return while surrounded by extremely loud children.  I might have been refining uranium, curing cancer, solving the world’s problems in a three way facebook message string between me, Obama and the Pope.  I might have been looking up porn, or announcing my candidacy for president of the universe.

What I wasn’t doing was playing with my children on the playground.  I don’t actually like playgrounds.  I’m sure that there is a lightning bolt charging up extra hot and just waiting for the right minute to strike me dead for saying so but playgrounds suck for grown ups.  And swings?  Swings are a fucking racket man.  Agree to one underdog and your life is basically over.  You have become a slave to the swing set.  They will NEVER LET YOU GO.  Observe my children playing on the swings.  They are laughing, they are pushing each other, they are experimenting with different swing positions for maximum vomit induction…they are having a blast.  You know what would happen if I went out there?  Both of them would assume the “push me” position and demand in loud, ungrateful and irritating voices that I push them FOR ETERNITY, and we would ALL be having way less fun. 

I NEED those quiet minutes in between appointments, work, errands, school, lessons, and myriad other obligations.  Those are the minutes where I can recharge my reserves of patience and understanding so that when youngest is standing on her mitten in the morning, while simultaneously telling me that she can’t find her mitten and that she looked EVERYWHERE for it!!! I can say “Sweety, darling, you are standing on it,” instead of “ohferfucksakeareyoukiddingmerightnowyouirritatinglittletwerp!”  They also need those minutes to play without me being there to be the focus of every problem and desire.  They can lean on me to direct their game, all of which dissolve instantly into “show mommy and get approval!” or they can figure out something that appeals to their weird little kid brains and they can play “hippopotamus princess rescues the dragon.”

I could have explained this to you, sweet older lady, dog and husband, but you ran away before hearing my opinion.  You probably thought you already knew what I would say.  You probably thought that I would say “Fuck off and die you interfering old busy body! This is none of your damn business.”  And you would have been TOTALLY CORRECT.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Sleep Avoiding Ninja

          There is an infinite number of mind boggling things about motherhood.  Firstly, how can you grow a human INSIDE ANOTHER HUMAN!??!  That just doesn’t make sense.  How can that possibly be a viable form of reproduction.  Yeast…budding…look there’s a lump on my side that is about to become another one of me exactly like me…sure, why not? Makes sense.  You could be all “Hey little bud dude, how’s it going over there?  Ready to split off? Not yet?  No worries! Take your time!”  Eggs.  Sure!  Little self-contained nugget of reproduction…I can handle that.  Sit on it all day to keep it warm?  Sure, I GUESS I can suffer through ALL the offerings that Netflix has to offer, except, you know, for those times that I get to get up and go to the bathroom with a bladder that is STILL ENTIRELY MY OWN, not squashed by a human living in a water balloon in my stomach.  Mammalian reproduction pretty much sucks.  I have a four month black out surrounding the last two months off gestation and the first two months of life surrounding all three of my children (because HOW COULD YOU NOT!?) but I do remember saying to my midwife “This is a stupid way to reproduce!!!” while I was on all fours and in the middle of pushing out baby number two.  (The fact that there is a baby number three is evidence of the effectiveness of that four month memory wipe surrounding the birth of all my children).  I also recall saying “Why am I having another baby!  I don’t know what to do with the babies I already have!” while baby #3 was being born, and apparently I used the word fuck so many times that my midwife thought the only way to get through to me was to tell me “Oh you’re having a fucking baby. You’re having a fucking baby right fucking now.”

           But that’s not actually what I wanted to talk about.  I wanted to talk about another completely mind boggling thing about mothering which is that all your kids are completely different from one another.  Same variables.  Same raw materials.  Completely different.  There is no such thing as an experienced mother because they change the goddamn rules with every single kid!!  NOT FAIR.

          So let me introduce you to the “baby” of the family.  First of all…female child.  That’s new!  That’s different.  You know the number of times that she’s peed on the toilet seat?  ZERO.  What is up with standing to pee?  BOYS INVENTED THAT!!  They’re like “HEY!  You know what this thing looks like? A HOSE!! You know what you can do with a hose?”  Well apparently the answer is write your name on the bathroom wall, if the amount of pee that I have wiped off of things is any indication.  There has not been a single day in the last 8 years where I was not in immediate contact with someone else’s piss. THEY DON’T TELL YOU THAT IN HEALTH CLASS!  Just because you have a penis doesn’t mean that sitting down to pee isn’t a fucking great idea, that’s all I’m saying.  Start a revolution.  Sit your boys on the toilet…done.  World peace.

          Youngest child.  You know what?  She’s learned ALL the tricks from all the other children.  Baby number one at bedtime?  His head hits the pillow and he is out like you flipped a switch.  Head, pillow, eyelids BOOM.  He sleeps like he’s on a timer.  10.5 hours and BING!  Eyes open and he is ready to torment his siblings and make fart jokes like it’s his goddamn job until 8:45pm when his clock winds down and the recharge cycle begins.  Child number 2? He gives a few half hearted attempts to squeeze me for a sip of water, a snuggle, one final chance to hose the bathroom with his piss…but really his heart isn’t in it.  He’s tired.  He WANTS to give in to the void.  After all tomorrow is another day, full of chances to throw temper tantrums about completely random shit like not having his toast on the right plate, or needing a GREEN lego!!!!!

          Child number 3?  She who is doomed to be the baby forever because this child factory has been shut DOWN?  She has watched, she has learned, she has studied with the masters until they had to come up with a belt that was blacker than black.  I give you THE SLEEP AVOIDING NINJA!! 
There is no song that can soothe her, even if she chose it.  The book you selected is WRONG.  Oh, you think you have the right stuffed animal because you had to search through two toy boxes and crawl under a couch to retrieve it the previous night? Well you are WRONG motherfucker. You might as well just take that teddy bear out to the backyard and put it out of its misery for all the good it will do you. This child cannot be lulled by cuddly objects. She is TOO TIRED.  Too tired for everything.  Too tired to get her own pajamas.  Too tired to brush her teeth.  Too tired to LIE IN HER BED.  You gave her a glass of water in the bathroom right after she brushed her teeth?!  NO!  The bedtime avoiding ninja’s mouth is dry!! So DRY!  “I stuck my finger in my mouth and it was not wet!” dry.  You heartless beast.  How could you!  This baby is obviously at the very edge of dehydration!!  NO NOT THAT WATER!!! That water was in the cup next to the bed from last night and tastes like dirt. “YOU MADE ME DRINK DIRT WATER!!!”

          What if I rub your back a little bit, baby ninja?  Maybe that will help you to relax.  “NO NOT LIKE THAT!!” You are rubbing WRONG!!! And anyway it’s her ELBOW that hurts, not her back, you cretin!!!  And she needs to stare into your FACE while she falls asleep.  You are using the WRONG pillow.  If she cannot see your face while she is slowly, oh so slowly, drifting off into a restless slumber then BOOM, it’s not happening.  The soft pink blanket?  IT HURTS HER TOE.  The quilt with the dinosaurs on it “I HATE DINOSAURS!!!” No one in this world has ever hated dinosaurs baby girl.  Dinosaurs are a constant.  Dinosaur love is universal!!!!

It’s a battle of wills.  A test of determination.  Who will fall asleep first? Sleep avoiding Ninja, or momma who will wake up with a back ache an hour later, unable to fall back asleep in her own bed because of the “nap” on a random pile of pillows, precisely constructed to provide the perfect “view” to ninja girl?  Right now the score is Momma zero, Ninja eleventy million.

Ragnar…who apparently will sleep when she’s dead.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The un-taken pictures.

I could have one of those blogs where I post pictures of my kids well balanced meals, home grown veggies, plates that have never seen a chicken nugget.  I could do that.  I make those meals...sometimes.  I could have one of those blogs where the kids pose eagerly in their new "made by mom" outfits in front of a field of color coordinated wildflowers.  I make clothes for my kids...sometimes.

But I'm not going to do that to you.

Because it's a lie, is why.

For every picture of a toddler posed with book on knee, sunlight streaming in from just the right angle, there is another picture, the untaken picture, the sink full of dishes that didn't get washed, the take out containers in the trash from the uncooked dinner.  For every picture of a kale salad bento-box there is another untaken picture of a kale salad that has been abused for 20 minutes, pushed around a plate while all the almonds or cheese cubes were surgically extracted.  Sure.  Some kids eat veggies.  Mine do sometimes.  I had a brief moment of glory in the grocery store the other day when my almost three year old and almost five year old (both wearing pants even!) yelled "WE WANT BELL PEPPERS!!! BELL PEPPERS ARE OUR FAVORITE!" while I navigated our cart through the produce section.  Yeah bitches, my kids eat vegetables.  Hell.  My kids BEG for vegetables.  I have got this motherhood thing LICKED I tell you.

And then there was today.

Breakfast.  Homemade Granola (hot stove, slaved over it).  Whole milk yogurt, I buy it unsweetened so that I can add just a little bit of locally sourced honey.  Seasonal fruit, sliced up into child friendly sizes.  I'm not immune to the hype.  I try to be THAT mom.  Plus this is my favorite breakfast.  There is pretty much nothing I would rather eat in the morning than a big pile of cut up fruit with some yogurt and granola on it.  In fact I remember eating pretty much this exact breakfast while growing up and LOVING it.  My mom making granola in the big "convent" pan (so called because she bought it from a nun's garage sale) is one of my formative memories.  I guess I didn't realize that I had so much invested in this fucking granola until my kids just flat out refused to eat the stuff.

More than just refused to eat it.  They acted like the granola was poison and that by asking them to eat it I was basically trying to murder them. Plus they were also screaming about how cold they were while simultaneously refusing to put on clothes of any kind. Yeah.

And then on the way to camp my middle child extracted the liter sized water bottle from his backpack (because they have lost all the "kid" sized water bottles, lost with a frequency and thoroughness that makes me suspect that there is some sort of water bottle black market at camp and that they might be trading them for extra fruit snacks or something) and attempted to fill his sister's water bottle with it which resulted in his lap and car seat being thoroughly soaked.  Not just soaked but wet in a very specific pattern which basically screams to all the parents and counselors that I meet on my way in from the parking lot "this child has pissed himself."  Plus the extra water ran down into his backpack, which contained his extra set of clothing.  So yeah.  I dropped a soaking wet kid off at camp.  I might have said something to the forlorn teenage counselor like "It's just water, lay him out in the sun or something," before high-tailing it back to my car as quickly as possible.  This was one of those mothering situations that would be better handled by not-the-mother.

What about those other moms?  They're doing it so much better.  They're not losing their shit over granola and wet pants.  They're cool.  They put the water bottles in the front seat where the kids can't get their hands on them.  Their kids eat their homemade food and say things like "Delicious mother! Might I please have some more if it's not too much trouble." Right?

Well...wait....so do mine, sometimes.  I'm just seeing the wrong sometimes.  Because nobody is going to show you the bad times, why would they.  They don't want to remember those times so why would they want you to.

Except that those are some of my favorite times.

(adorable picture of my kids, fully outfitted in safety gear ready to enjoy a bike ride with the family)

(adorable picture of my passed out daughter along with a weeks worth of unfolded laundry)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy BAWG-day.

               Run the Mile Day was always the worst day in Gym Class, which is saying something because me and Gym Class didn't have very many good days.  I dreaded Spring and the onset of “Presidential Fitness” season.  Pretty much my whole relationship with the President from ages 10-18 was a seething resentment of his fitness tests, with the mile being the absolute worst.   I remember exactly one of my “mile” times from High School, 18 minutes.  I “ran” that 18 minute mile in electric blue Doc Marten boots, which I had convinced my gym teacher that year (one of the few that seemed mildly sympathetic to my plight as a hater of gym class) that they had good arch support  and non-marking soles, which meant that they met the minimum requirement for gym shoes.  They also weighed about 3 pounds apiece.
               My brief experiences with running were so negative that for most of my life the words “me” and “run” could not exist in the same sentence unless it read something like this “I hope that nothing deadly ever tries to chase me because I don’t run.”  I couldn’t escape from it though.  I was surrounded by people who not only ran, but seemed honestly to enjoy it.  I found myself frequently surrounded by super fit mega-athletes while I knit by the sidelines waiting for my life-partner to finish whatever running event he had signed up for.  I found myself doing crazy things like scrubbing mud out of running shoes and then strapping them to the roof of our truck so that they might possibly be dry when I had to meet up with him at the 30 mile aid station during his latest ultra-marathon.  Instead of feeling like the awkward, unskilled teenager in gym class I found that I was just one more member of a crowd of people who were out enjoying themselves. 
               The super weird thing is that they all seemed to think I belonged there too. 
               About 7 years ago I was camping with my family up in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan.  Manimal (my husbeast)and his eight year old daughter were participating in a two day, three race running festival and I was along for the ride.  One of the events was a uphill 5K, where the finishing line was on the top of a mountain (a Michigan mountain…so you know, a big hill), and Isis was going to run with her Dad so I figured that if I walked I could meet them at the top and we could hike down together.  This was a small festival, and most of the people running were of the super-fit variety.  There were a few spouses  doing the same thing I was, but I was definitely the last person on the trail.  Not halfway up the mountain I met the front runners (who had just sprinted up a mountain and were now jogging back down, just for fun).  I remember the first person to pass me.  He had a short beard, long hair, a baseball cap to keep the sun out of his eyes, very typical “trail runner,” looking dude.  “Hey good job!” he called out as he passed me.  He was long gone before I could correct his misconception.  He thought I was in the same race he was!  Silly running man, can’t he use his eyes and see that I am OBVIOUSLY not a runner?  The second runner passed me a few minutes later “Looking good!  You’re almost there!” he called as he passed me.  Silly, silly runner man.  I almost called out to him “No! You’ve got the wrong idea.  I’m just meeting my boyfriend up at the top of the hill, I’m not running this race!” but of course he was out of earshot.  The third runner passed me “Way to go!”
               What are the chances that these three super runners who had just run.up.a.damn.mountain could possibly all make the same ridiculous mistake?  They know what a runner looks like don’t they?  How could they possibly assume that I’m running the same race they are?  I’m WALKING obviously and am so far behind everyone else.  I’m just out for a stroll in the woods.  Silly runner dudes.  Except….wait…I am on the same trail that they just ran on.  I am going to end up in the same place that they just did….and then I’ll come back down again, just like they did.  So…huh…I guess I am KIND OF doing the same thing that they are.  That’s weird.   And…who would know what another runner looks like better than another runner?  If they have made the mistake of assuming that I’m in the same race as they are, then maybe….I am in the same race that they are? 
               The seed had been planted.
               The next week I tried to run around one of our local nature centers…and it pretty much sucked.  My mouth dried out.  My legs hurt.  I got kind of dizzy….but I kept on doing it a couple of times a week until I force myself through two grueling 13 minute miles.  I got pregnant that fall.  For medical reasons I was told to knock it off with the high-impact exercise while I was carrying the baby, and then I found that life with a newborn was crazy and complicated…and became pregnant with my second and third in fairly quick succession and all in all it was six years before I could “get back” to running.
               I had a much greater success with my new found identify as “A person who can run if she wants to,” the second time around.  For one thing I knew I could do it, and for another I started slow and let myself build up to it, starting with short intervals and building up my endurance gradually.  Shocked I found that I was enjoying myself.  It was still a long time before I could say the sentence “I’m a runner,” without some sort of qualifier like “I’m a KIND of a runner,” or “I’m TRYING to be a runner,” or “I’m a very SLOW runner.”

(Stacia and I on the Beach after the Legend 5 mile)
               I ran my first post-baby intervals in March of 2012, when my daughter was 6 months old.  Since then I have run countless 5ks, 2 (or 3?) 10ks, 6 half marathons and 1 full marathon.  I also started a “club” called “The Warrior Goddess Training Academy” for women who want some support to accomplish their fitness goals, which now has over 330 members all over the country.  That club was started a year ago today.   Happy Anniversary my Badass Warrior Goddesses.  You are all amazing and inspire me everyday.
(Holding 80 pounds of children wearing my medal from my first half marathon and my first marathon)