Eat, Pray, Whine

 My husband and I just returned from a couple’s mini-version of Eat, Pray, Love. We had cashed in on a couple of gift certificates we received this Christmas, and took a much-needed reprieve from parenthood and the hell that has been this winter. We rested well knowing Little Man was spending the weekend with our most trustworthy babysitters, Grandma and Grandpa C.

The weekend was bliss. We caught up with some wonderful friends in their new home and discussed paint swatches, art, Buddhism, sex, real estate, and Sarah Silverman episodes. I browsed in boutiques for hours without uttering the words, “Don’t touch!” We took a long walk to the beach, yes, the beach (it was a downright balmy 30 degrees) of Lake Michigan where I proved to my winter-weary New Mexican husband that Wisconsin CAN be pretty in February. We had massages, meditation, and delicious meals, one at this restaurant that borderlined on a sexual experience. Yes, it was a weekend where the shoulders finally drop away from the ears, all of the senses get some play time, and the left and right brain are in balance. Surely this retreat would get me through the rest of winter.

It didn’t even get me through 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, which found us in my mother’s living room staring blankly while our extremely loud son shook Grandpa’s bald head back and forth like a cat toy. By 11:00, my shoulders had crept up to my earlobes and I was crabby as hell. Why couldn’t those fleeting hours of serenity transfer into my daily routine, thus creating Zen Mom for at least two days this week? 

They say it takes at least 48 hours of vacation for us to significantly relax. By the time we were getting used to that foreign feeling, we were back on duty. I didn’t even get a chance to miss my son. So I sulked. We didn’t gently ease back into reality, it was thrown back in our faces like a cream pie.

This Monday morning started at 3:00 a.m. with my son whining to come into our bed. I was initially tender, but after hearing him drone, “Mo-ooom” in fifteen minute intervals from 3:15 until 4:30, I bristled hard. I plucked him out of his bed, put him into ours with a “There, are you happy?” and stomped out to make coffee. My solace in thinking that I would now have a couple of quiet hours to write and breathe was completely shattered at 5:00 when I saw his little duck fuzz head poke upstairs, ready to start the day. Sigh.

The next hour of the morning was spent trying to outpout my husband, because whoever is the crabbiest usually gets temporary amnesty from parenting. Jeff is getting sick and is facing yet another ass-clenching drive in newly promised snow. He accused me of spending the morning blogging angrily about my family. And what’s the use of a relaxing weekend if I’m only going to focus on the negative of returning home? He won, because in observing his foul mood, I was no longer irritable with mine.  

I am not angry with my family. Anger, for me, is based on intelligent observation of injustice or wrongdoing and can last a long, long time. I am crabby. Crabbiness is based on the scientific fact that I’m being a big baby and this usually runs its course in 24 hours. I wanted one more day, dammit, okay, maybe two. No fair. But that’s not reality, so after I take a few more moments to whine, those mental epiphanies I had this weekend WILL start to seep into my daily routine. One of those being that I AM happy to return to the home I have. And yes, writing a blog will actually help, as its proving to be a most effective form of short-term therapy for me.

See, I do love my job, more than any other occupation I’ve had. I am grateful that I can keep this job. But I need breaks. And like any job, when I’m in a bad mood, my co-workers are affected. Unfortunately, in this work place they take my moods a little more personally. ‘Cause when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So there’s a lot of pressure to shake off those cranky moods fast. And I don’t get the 45-minute commute to do it, I hit the ground running, crabby or not. Like anyone, I should be allowed a few miserable Monday mornings, especially after an idyllic weekend.

The weekend away was truly worth the bumpy transition home. If I didn’t have my occasional escapes, I wouldn’t be a healthy wife or mother. But if I weren’t a wife or mother, my escapes wouldn’t be very healthy. I need both to fully enjoy what the other has to offer. 

How’s that for balanced thought on a Monday morning? Thank God those Advil kicked in.               

Welcome to it….

Ever since I was little, I have loved to write. I am not the best writer on the block, but I seriously enjoy doing it. I was the only graduate student in my Masters program who was pissed that we had comprehensive exams with no option to write a thesis. I was the student who had a problem editing 20 pages down to the required 10. If you were one of those students who had a hard time turning your 5-6 pages into 10, you hated me.

There are multiple reasons as to why I’ve started this blog. I recently had an argument with one of my closest friends, with whom I usually communicate through emails. I literally spent hours formulating and editing my thoughts, choosing words carefully, selecting areas in which to be personally vulnerable while still effectively showing my anger. It was a labor of love. I have not stayed up until 1 a.m. since my son was a sleep-challenged toddler. My husband watched this process and wondered aloud what would happen if I put all this energy into writing elsewhere.

The argument subsided, and my friend and I returned to exchanging our normally dark-humored, but still lengthy emails. My husband’s comment rattled inside my head. I started making little lists of subject matter, random notes of title ideas. Little life events became titles. Then last weekend, my brother, unaware of my stirring intentions to start writing, showed me the Word Press blog he uses for work. It was a sign. I am a firm believer of signs.

There were other glaring, neon signs, but these are broken down into titles on scratch paper next to my grocery list, and will be saved for another blog on another day.

So what can you expect to see in my ramblings? I am a woman, so you will see some female musings. Or downright bitching. Don’t worry, I won’t go into depth about my menses or my womb. I am a parent, so to leave out my sometimes bittersweet, sometimes brutal thoughts on parenting (mine and others) would be a crime. I am currently very interested in the state of our children’s nutrition, or lack thereof, in this country and seem to be developing a personal crusade to change how kids eat. I also love to cook, so look here for some recipes, tips on feeding your family, or cheesy kitchen – life metaphors. I am also a wife, so I’ll talk marriage but I won’t bash my husband. Unless, of course, he is lauging WITH me. I will talk at length any day about mental health and therapy, problems with the current mental health system, interpersonal relationships, communication problems, gender issues, current events, nutrition and diet, education and working with children. And expect me to be blunt.

What not to expect? In-depth political discussion. I have a few thoughts to share, but I’m not the most well-spoken in politics. I know, how irresponsible of me, but its just not my language. I will talk about counseling and mental health guidance, but don’t expect personal therapy here. Don’t expect hardcore feminism, but don’t expect June Cleaver either. And don’t come here to save my soul with Christianity, but if you want to tell me how to be more Zen, I’m all ears.

I’m also from Wisconsin, so don’t expect me to talk about the Packer game yet….it’s still too raw…(sniff).

Ok…I have a lot to say and am looking forward to saying it. Stay tuned…..