Independent Thinkers

Hey Folks!   It’s been a hot second and I am really glad to be back to writing. (if only for a short blog post).  Recently I took on a new job of substituting for my neighborhood school district, and just like any other place, I’ve fallen in love with the students.  Saying no to a day in teaching almost feels like I’m depriving myself of my passion; the passion of learning about our youth today and learning about how they manage their day to day lives.

However, today I’d like to touch that nasty subject everyone rolls their eyes at if they disagree, and that’s politics.  But more important than politics, I want to emphasize politics and Facebook.  I’ve recently deleted the APP from my phone, which I’ve realized LOTS of people have done.  If there wasn’t a reason to stop mindlessly scrolling through Facebook already (which we know there is), the incredible chatter still spreading regarding politics has been the final straw.  However, it’s not just the posts that get annoying, it’s the people who comment under them.

To be frank, my candidate didn’t win.  My values did not line up with any of the major candidates, and still, I’ve yet to find a politician in my scope of research that fits who I AM completely.  Despite what people may, “Think,” I believe… I think I mimic most people who feel stronger on particular issues, thus picking their candidate and whatever may come with them.  However, much like a high school classroom…. once you decide you’re supporting your BFF4L, you defend them completely. Ride or die. No matter what they say or do.  Therefore, despite your true feelings, it would actually be complete blaspheme to disagree with ANYTHING your political candidate stands for or allows.  It’s amazing how many people who support Trump are celebrating entire families being torn apart and deported; without remembering that some of those people are good citizens and good people.  Coincidentally it’s amazing how many Hillary supporters I’ve met who agree with the complete violence occurring across our nation simply in the name of, “Injustice.”

Who are you people?  Have you completely lost your minds?

Despite your beliefs it seems like lots of people have just simply left their own personal set of morals at home.  Breaking windows? Totally OK… Harassing a Muslim kid at school because of their faith? They had it coming.  It sickens me that so many people that I LOVE and care about simply have decided to blindly follow their candidate without thinking to themselves…”Hey… does this make sense?”  You have identified yourself as a party and now without any regard to anything… have decided to continue to back them without thought.

I want to focus back on the Facebook portion for a bit.  It astounds me how many articles are circulating that are such a deviation from the truth.  I know this because it only takes 3-4 clicks on Google to start reading the story, seeking these people out on the internet, asking them questions and learning that 1 person took their quote completely out of context, and BOOM 5,000 shares later Facebook has completely been brainwashed.  I deleted my app and was really upset.  I was one of those people who actually enjoyed seeing people’s kids.  Their dogs, their accomplishments… the person at Starbucks who paid for their coffee.  It was a bright spot in my day, thus causing HOURS of mindless scrolling while sitting at a red light.  Yet, since November, the amount of people who share bogus articles, engage in meaningless banter, show hatred… it’s just unbearable.  I’ve deleted more people off my Facebook in 3 months simply because I couldn’t bear to witness more  people that I LOVED being attacked or attacking others.. only because they shared a misconstrued article.

I was talking to my mom today about how teachers have to monitor their Facebook.  We can’t dilute our personal pages with a bunch of crazy stuff because essentially, you could get in trouble with your school.  Although it’s your, “Private Page,” your colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances all make snap judgments based on you and your page.  Could you imagine if everyone on your Facebook were in a room and as a 1st impression only talked about what their Facebook said?  Think about it, Facebook is a social networking site, much like people still attend networking conferences.  Your Facebook is your constant networking conference. And here we all are, bantering, sharing weird articles, yelling, and name-calling all in the name of  politics.  Would we do this to one another in this setting? Doubtful.  Now I’ll be the 1st to say I’ve engaged in some of this banter. It is always polite and engaging, but it made me think of the people I was talking with.  1. would these people say this to my face? (probably not) 2. Would that person have worn a vagina t-shirt to work to support the Woman’s March? (No?) and so why are people so free to post this to their social media page?  It is a complete misrepresentation of who you are.  Much like why teachers can’t post that photo from Vegas of 30 liquor bottles in your hotel with you passed out in the middle of them.  We can still have our own opinions and morals withoindependent-thinkersut going to the extreme.  Now, I know what you’re thinking… “We need to be extreme to be understood..” but I don’t agree.  You may be “Seen,” for your ridiculousness, but you sure aren’t being taken seriously by opposing sides. There are lots of ways to express yourself, and for some, they have decided Facebook is going to be their own personal, “Platform.” Yet, here are a few things I think people forget:

  1. Facebook is allowed to be what people make it… therefore, I choose to delete or un-follow LOTS of people due to a multitude of reasons, but most recently stupid banter on Facebook.  Consider if you also use for FB for OTHER things.  Personal marketing? Ani-bullying platforms? home businesses?  Guess what, you’re LOSING all of your clients because people are quietly unfriending you, un-following you or leaving FB all together.
  2. Who are you posting for? Are you posting to get attention? To get a response? To change people’s minds?  Do you think it’s working?
  3. What is it costing you to post an article written by someone else, that could be seen as offensive, and not participating in the most valuable portion of the discussion which is DISCUSSING?
  4. How easy it is for someone (including yourself) to debate when you’re not in the same room?  Inflection, reading someone’s face… it is all very key in understanding perspective.  Calling someone stupid, walking away, and not realizing the repercussions for that comment leads to unhealthy stigmas about who you are.

Now, if you’ve managed to keep up and keep reading, I want to commend those who marched, peacefully protested, and truly believe in their candidates.  I think that things like this are what make people think about what’s happening in our world and take a closer look at what is happening in our Government. I personally believe that at some point we as a community need to come together and find common ground.  While teaching yesterday we discussed the fall of the Maya Empire.  One of the major theories that is widely believed to be the cause of their decline was the division in their cities, causing war after war, essentially collapsing their entire civilization.  I couldn’t help but find this as a very loose metaphor with our community today.  Division is completely killing us.  We are no longer loving each other despite our differences… but dividing BECAUSE of of differences…

However, what I hate seeing is people identifying themselves so much, it’s at the expense of their friendships.  They don’t mind losing friends if it means they are, “Self-righteous” in what they are saying.  But where does that put you in the end?  Surrounded by like-minded people, giving yourself no opportunity to consider growing in opinion and in the meantime, losing 1/2 of your friends.

I want to promote something different.  Independent thinkers.  Thinking about what you’re posting, what you’re promoting, and what you are doing to your image when you are sharing some of these vile and inconsistent articles. There are so many ways to get involved.  Donate to your party, donate your time to your party, reach out to your local government, lend a helping hand to someone in need.  Show the world you’re a good person and emit light and love and let people learn your morals and values and WHY you believe what you do through compassion and love.  Show the world that you are OPEN to new opinions and open to understanding why people feel the way they feel.  It’s amazing how much more you understand someone’s perspective when you learn their story, learn WHY they feel the way they feel.  Promote learning about differences and promote learning about other cultures.

I may sound like a wishful thinker, but I’m SO READY put the Facebook APP back on my phone.

 

 

 

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I do not Want to be Supermom Today

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Today I completely lost it on my son.  My not-two-yet half-a-set-of-teeth-child.  I hit my “not-so-superwoman,” wall and threw a tantrum as bad as my son.  I noticed the deranged look in his eyes when leaving his 1st day of daycare.  Most moms on this day would write some sappy post about how much they missed their baby (and I certainly missed Charlie), but as soon as I saw those big brown eyes 1/2 dazed no-napped look I knew it would be a long afternoon.  He fought sleep and just like all toddlers… wanting something, throwing it when you give it to them, then turning around and screaming for the bottle he just threw… just to turn around and melt down because you picked it up (and it’s HIS bottle).  When he woke up at 6:30 and refused to eat dinner… just in time for me to pick it up, him to scream, me put it back down, him demand to sit in my lap, drop a bright blueberry on my new shirt, scream about not wanting to eat, me taking the plate, him eating only the chips… me saying, “no more chips…” him throwing the plate of food down and me finally telling my psychotic son (through tears in my OWN eyes) that he was DONE eating.

But wait, there’s more… after realizing in my head he probably needed more food, I proceeded to put his leftover blueberries in a bowl and take them to the bathtub.  Because, when you’re a mom trying to diffuse a micro-bomb you do things that don’t make sense.  Requesting blueberries and crackers in the bathtub being one of them. As my child looked at me with bizarre contentment that he was about to eat in the bathtub…my son reached for the bowl and proceeded in slow-motion to dump all 20 of his perfectly blue blueberries into his bathwater…which then proceeded to turn blue… which then turned into me diving into the bathtub to receive all blueberries… but not before he stood up and peed on me.  Peed on my pants, peed on my shirt, and peed on my handful of blueberries I was frantically picking up from the bathtub.

That’s it.  I took my son to bed as fast as I could. And even as I tried to cuddle with my mini-terrorist… he proceeded to wiggle out of my arms and run out his bedroom door (in the pitch black) to the living room.  “10 minutes I screamed! 10 MINUTES OF YOU NOT BEING CRAZY!”  He looked at me and giggled.  And then it happened.  I walked to the closest flat surface and laid my head on the wall and squeezed my eyes closed.  Hard.  And didn’t open them.  It felt quite liberating to take a moment and just be.  I took some deep breaths, and after about a solid 45 seconds, gritted my teeth and marched my happy son to bed.

He’s asleep now, and I can’t shake this feeling that my adult-trum (get it adult-tantrum) somehow failed my son.  I’m such a big believer of the attitude contagion.  If you’re stressed and upset and mad everyone around you can feel it.  I think it’s important to remember that our children are that way too.  It takes 5 seconds of them being in our presence to sense we’re not content.    My son probably felt that anger, that frustration, and the tip-of-the-iceberg meltdown when I heard his little hands grab that doorknob and I saw the sliver of light from his door open wide.  But tomorrow is a new day and he’ll wake me up screaming, “Mom. MOOOM… mom. mommy,” 500 times before I groggily grab him from his crib and start our day all over.  We can’t all be “Supermom,” all the time and to be honest, just being, “Mom,” is good enough for most :).  I don’t want to be a supermom right now. I want to throw a tantrum.

So my anthem to all of you toddler-moms… it’s OK.  You WILL lose your ever-loving shit on your child and you will rest (or for some, slam) your head against the wall with your eyes tight and think, “WTF…” but I hope you think of this silly little story when your toddler decides to rip off his diaper or pee on the floor.

Or throw blueberries in the bathtub. And pee on them.

Rock on moms- you’re doing great.

I’m Already Christmas’d Out

 

 

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This Thanksgiving I decided to go to South Carolina.  I had a best friend get married, my birthday, and it seemed fitting to stay through Thanksgiving to celebrate with my friends and family back home.  As I rushed back to my tiny Helendale, CA home; I burst into, “Christmas Cheer,” mode decorating my entire flipping house.  I even decided to move some furniture to make room for the tree.  On November 29th I made my husband an advent calendar and filled little baggies with toys, prizes, and coupon cards…each numbered December 1-24th and bought my son 24 books (one for each night), and then bombarded my Pinterest with traditions and ideas that I could do for my family.  Aside from that I made my Christmas list and made sure I checked it twice with all my family’s gifts and started to tally up who needed more.  I also had my 2 year old son Charlie decorate a few gifts for people to help make them unique.  Well, today is December 18th and I’m just about Christmas’d out already.  Seriously. I just spent the past 3 hours wrapping a bunch of gifts, and after each gifts I wrapped I suddenly felt self conscious about each gift I got for each person.  After wrapping I dragged my butt out and grabbed stuff to make my famous “Crack Chex Mix,” along with last minute items that I thought I may need for my Christmas extravaganza and then double checked with my friend that she would still be able to go Tuesday night to complete my 4th list I’ve made this week of Stocking Stuffers and Christmas eve stuff.

I’m superwoman right?

I should be thrilled and jolly right?

Well… sorry folks… I’m not. As I shamefully skipped making my family dinner (because I was too busy shopping) and even more shamefully missed my son’s bath (In our house my husband and I have a huge family ritual at bed and bath time that is important to us) it dawned on me that I wasn’t being much good at all.  No… I’ve completely missed on a Sunday afternoon for my son.. all in the name of gifts and sad attempts at a 1 time a year tradition to make myself look good… and simultaneously suck.  I got in my own head angry about every single gift I purchased for friends and family and snapped at my husband (who did everything in his power to stay OUT of my way today).

 And gosh darn I’m flipping mad at myself for letting society get in my way of enjoying Christmas.

I never understood the stress of the Holidays parents must feel until I became a parent myself.  You as a parent want to do the best for your kids, your family, your husband, and for me… I decided 2016 was the year I was going to start EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS tradition on the face of the planet with my family so that I could feel like I was being awesome.  Yet, somehow the more I am trying to DO for Christmas and Christmas Eve, the less festive and excited I am about the actual holiday itself.  So many people have so many awesome traditions and somehow I just want to keep up.  I think a lot of us feel that way.  Most people I’ve talked to think the same things too.  Why do we kill ourselves around Christmas time to do gifts for everybody? Why do we stress about cute mugs for Christmas Eve? Why on EARTH do I feel like I’ve let my family down BEFORE CHRISTMAS HAS EVEN HAPPENED?

So I decided to post this with intentions of reaching out to all people out there who feel like they are falling short of Christmas Cheer this holiday season.  To all those who are stressing about money and Christmas dinner and gifts, and the 500 traditions you thought you were going to start this year… or the Christmas cookies you just didn’t get around to baking…. It’s okay.

We’re OK.

You’re a good parent regardless of the amount of gifts under the tree and if you raise your kids right, they will be just as bright eyed and bushy tailed on Christmas as every other kid because you did your best.  I hope that we can all step back this week before Christmas and allow ourselves to breathe and pay attention to our family and friends.  Shrug off the weight and feeling of failure because you just can’t afford the, “Big Gift,” your kid wanted this year.  Continue to teach your child about the importance of giving, hope, love ,and kindness.  Don’t allow yourself to be swallowed up by the fancy traditions the world seems to have and do something fun and small for your family.  🙂

Remember the Reason for the Season.

 

 

Don’t Become the Animal

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I’m having trouble beginning my post.  I’m pretty sure I’ve started most of my blog posts this way, mostly because when I finally sit down to write, I’m all juiced up about something and I just can’t seem to type fast enough to get my thoughts out properly.  SO in true Margo form, I’m going to try to articulate this message without showing my bias (which I know will be hard), and for the 1st time in a LONG time… shame a few of my Facebook friends who have decided to actively weigh in on the election.

Let me also point out that I am a big fan of those who have their opinions.  One of the most wonderful things about THIS country as opposed to others is that you can flat-out lie in the most public of ways, and 9 times out of 10 you’re not going to go to jail or find yourself in a compromising position with the government breathing down their back. I tend to try to keep things low-key on my social media… mostly because those who know me and love me know my stance on political things and to be completely honest, I try to only talk about politics in person.  I have a very very good reason for this.  When you are looking at someone in the face you tend to have a more deep respect for the person in front of you.  A few months ago one of my best friend’s husbands and I got into a 3 hour debate.  We both got a bit rowdy, but overall kept it respectful.  We both were on very opposite spectrum’s of the debate… and yet somehow we walked away from the table with a deeper respect for each other.  The funny thing was, both of our opinions were valid.  My life’s journey led me to my beliefs and his life’s journey led him to his.  We both could see each other’s point… but that didn’t change what was in our heart.

As I was scrolling through Facebook and Instagram today I was astounded by the amount of people I have had a general respect for use the worst type of language, and disrespectful banter I have ever seen.  Bosses, co-workers, sorority sisters, old college friends, friends from high school, people from all walks of life blasting their opinions and hateful speech from post to post.  People whom I’ve respected since I was a child name-calling and sharing distorted images and using the most crude language to prove a point to discredit an opposing candidate.  What’s worse is when someone disagrees and I see things like, “You’re an idiot..” or “He’s so stupid..”  Has my circle of friends really become this?  Has our society sunk so low that we are now name calling people and name calling each other on public forums?  Have those whom I have held in high regard and looked up to for so long forgotten that I am seeing their posts? Their name calling? Their hatred?

Disappointed.

That’s what I am. Because at the end of the day…each candidate is also a PERSON.  Each candidate has to sit down at dinner with their family and talk about why their child got bad grades.  Each candidate gets the flu and needs chicken noodle soup to feel better and each of them suffers loss, pain, anxiety, and heartache.  I don’t care who you are… you’re a person.  And my respect for SO MANY PEOPLE has gone down the drain not because of their political stance, but because of the way they are treating someone.  Yes, this someone may be a political candidate and YES they BOTH have done wrong.. but at the end of the day they are still a person and you… you “person” who believes you’re being, “Self Righteous,” for standing up for your beliefs… are really showing the world your ignorance by stooping to name calling and hate speech.

I applaud each person who posts (credentialed) articles and truly wants to inform the world of their stance, but I do not applaud those who are hateful.  I never will.  I will never applaud those who think belittling someone and degrading them with words and hate speech is some type of martyr.  In fact, if anything my respect for you dwindles.  Because at the end of the day.. when you tuck your kids in at night, you’re a role model.  I encourage each of you who demean and belittle by saying, “ANYONE WHO VOTES FOR X IS A COMPLETE IDIOT!”  try to see the perspective of the others… and if you absolutely cannot, move forward knowing that you may never understand them; without being disrespectful.  For every article posted online there is a counter article and for every, “Fact,” there is, “Counter Fact.”  Unfortunately society will probably never know the facts as truth as we can easily obtain our facts though whatever outlet we know will back us up.  Remember that there are lots of respectful and responsible GOOD HUMANS who are voting for for both parties.  People we love and care about who are voting because of their own journeys.  That doesn’t open a door to belittle or hate them.  If anything, TRY to see their perspective and create a more open worldview to support your opinion or support someone else.

For those of you who have made it through this article (or should I say political rant)  I hope this makes you think twice before drowning your social media in hate and remember that you are a role model for someone who may truly respect and value you… and if you chose not to… and you continue to be hateful…

….you’re just becoming the animal you are trying to expose on social media.

The Mommy Dilemma

74I’m finally sitting down to write, and at this point, I am just utterly exhausted. And although I spent all day composing little paragraphs in my head, nothing is coming to mind.  It always seems to happen that way right? I feel like I get these great ideas in my head in the morning.  I start to say all of this GREAT things I am going to accomplish, almost as if in the morning I can say, “Oh, I’ve figured my life out!”  Yet, somehow as my day goes on, I’m reminded by the redundant and necessary things I need to do, and by 3:00 rolls around, I”m just anxious to get into my pajamas by 8:00 and get in front of the TV, only to wake up tomorrow morning to start the whole routine over again.

My husband and I recently moved from a 2 income household to a 1 income household.  This has proved to be difficult, not because we can’t live, we just have to learn to live differently.  We’ve always been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy life’s, “Extras…” like pedicures, shopping sprees when we feel bad, an expensive dinner for 2 on a Tuesday night.  But now, like most families, we’ve reassessed our budget and (on our on accord ) have decided to live a more simpler life than before.  We thought it would be a bit easier, but as soon as I woke up this morning, I felt a nagging guilt that I wasn’t getting ready for work this morning alongside my husband.  I guess I should be grateful I am able to stay home, but I feel as if the modern day woman is stuck in a rock in a hard place.  No matter what we do, we feel a tinge of guilt.  Society as pushed through stereotypes and now, women are CEO’s and running fortune 500 companies, and yet some women want to stay home with their kids.  We now have the power to, “Choose,” what we want to do, which for me, has become a more difficult choice than I could have ever imagined.  Not to say I am not thankful to have the choice… I’m simply stating that for my husband, it never seemed like he struggled with the idea of, “Should I work or should I stay at home?”  No. For my husband it was simple…he works. And I am left with the burden of the decision to stay home or to work. I know lots of families where the husband stays home, and yet, the mother STILL feels a tinge of guilt for not being home to nurture their babies some days.

As I went about my day trying to think of ways I could, “Have it all,” I started to consider online businesses, selling health products, starting an in-home daycare, looking into licencing for a vinyl business… I know that some women, “HAVE IT ALL,” or so it seemed.  I talked it over with my girlfriend at the gym, and I told her that selfishly I wanted to be able to work out in the mornings, have evenings with my husbands, hang out with my kid all day, AND somehow bring in an income that helps give us back our fun spending money we have had in the past.  And yet, no matter what I decided, a few hours later my heart wasn’t quite as committed as when I woke up this morning.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do it; I just somehow wish there was a better way.  I’ve talked at ridiculous lengths to so many of my female companions (and some males; sometimes to boredom)   about this and it’s not just me.  It’s every working mom, stay at home mom, and even some of the moms who are trying to do it from home.  So…

As I gave Charlie a bath this evening; my husband asked me about a scratch on his arm.  He fell on his elbow as we were on our playdate at the pool, and he took a tumble.  My husband asked me if he cried and all of the usual questions and I told him what happened.  I walked over to where he was crying (not running– don’t wanna scare the kid), and I picked him up, put him in my lap, and in a calm voice said, “You’re OK baby.. show me your ouch..”  and then I kissed him, and he seemed better.  After I recalled that story to my husband, a light switch went off in my head.  I was there.  I kissed his ouch… I was the one who soothed him and I was there.  I’m glad I was there.  I am happy that I could kiss the ouch, and despite the lesser money in my bank account I am content.

I think that we will always be burdened with choices in life.  I also think God shows us what the right choices are in the most subtle of ways, and I think that He helps us be at the right place at the right time.  For today… I’m happy with the choice I made to stay home. For some mommies, they wake up, happy with their choice to go to work.  I’m happy for them. as for me…

we’ll see how I wake up tomorrow :).

The Company We Keep

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I am hoping to make my blog posts a little more frequent, mostly because although our world if filled with so many different people and outlets, I simply hope to be a slight smile, a warm thought, or help to someone who didn’t know they needed the extra boost in their day.  A lightbulb moment perhaps?

I think we go through life gravitating to people for certain reasons.  My mom (the ever wise Kelly Thermos) always told my sister and me that we have certain people in our lives at certain times for certain reasons.  Once that reason has dissipated, then we seem to let them go.  This doesn’t mean we no longer like them, or no longer want them, it’s just as if God placed them there for you at a certain time to help lift you, guide you, or teach you a valuable lesson, and then, perhaps they have served their purpose.  There are also times that our friends stay with us for life… a valuable and incredible enrichment to our lives.

Yet, the point I want to make today is this.  You may have a disagreement or disappointment with a friend.  This is OK, we won’t always agree with our best friends all the time.  But, consider this… if the company you are keeping on a regular basis causes dysfunction in your life, unhappiness, uneasiness or tension, why are you keeping them in your life?  It’s so important to me that we all surround ourselves with people who lift us, encourage us, make us feel good.  We don’t always have a reason for certain people making us feel the way we do, but listen to your intuition, and trim those who are causing you stress.

The friend who only calls you when they need something, the friend who encourages bad behavior, the friend who makes you feel uneasy, makes you do something against your morals, or the friend who you feel you need to constantly impress; those aren’t your, “People..” your people are the ones who you can meet up with in your pajamas for wine night, or those who smile and tell you.. “you’re being a little crazy…” those are the ones you need. The ones who bring constant smiles and constant realism to your life.  The friends who have your back and support you for YOU and not for their own personal enjoyment. Seek out good people, seek out like people, thank those who have been in your path for valuable lessons and recognize those who it is time to politely guide out of your life.  You know who those people are, and they know they aren’t being a good friend either.  So trim those who bring us down, water those who lift us up, harbor friends who make the effort, and keep living the good life.

Keep keeping company that makes you feel like the best version of you.

The Importance of Good

Most of you who know me, or think you know me probably have an idea of where my political allegiances lie.  I try to keep my opinion to a minimum on social media, mostly because I want to keep my Facebook and Instagram happy and lighthearted… where anyone who knows me can get warm fuzzies and see sweet photos of my boy and my family.  I appreciate those who utilize social media as a platform for their opinions, yet somehow I don’t always understand it.  Most people hide behind their social media to voice the opinions of others that they blindly follow (or not follow), and then try to argue with anyone who disagrees.

I’m not about that life.

Yet, somehow, I also, will be using social media  to voice some of my own opinions; the opinion of good.  I do not know what other people’s opinions are, but I want everyone to take a moment to let this word sink in.

Good.

Take a moment and evaluate the word good.  Stare at it.  What does that word mean to you? Seriously.  The word good I believe is underrated; and I wish more people would focus on that word over any other word.  Good.  In a world where everyone is letdown by disappointment and fear of falling short, no one focuses on the good.  If we fail to be, “Great,” or “Perfect,” or “Wonderful,” at something we’ve somehow failed completely.  The word, “Good,” simply means, I’m content, I’m happy, I’m right where I need to be.

I think that the world has let go of good.  Not just because if things aren’t perfect we’re upset, but in a world where good doesn’t get noticed anymore. We see negative, bad, angry, disappointed, sick, disgusting, or we see wonderful, perfect, exquisite, or exciting.  Our life then feeds into this perpetual momentum that we are either GREAT or TERRIBLE, and nothing in between.  Media doesn’t recognize good…it doesn’t recognize the majority of people who do good, nor does it recognize those in this world who are just.. doing good.  We now have to prove that we are doing great through Facebook or Instagram, and that everyday is some great adventure of living and jet-setting across the world in fancy pools and never working at all.  We can’t just post photos of our everyday (wonderful) life.  The good. I guess my most important in writing this is to encourage people to find the good.  Find what is good.  Be OK with good.  Life is good.

When I leave this earth, I hope people remember me as one word.  Good.  Being good means doing things for others without a parade of people behind you saying, “WAY TO GO!,” and being good means that you do the right thing at the right time not because you want someone to “Owe ya one,” but because you want to be good. The world needs good.  When you walk down the street and you decide to pick up the trash, good.  When you walk down the street and you decide to open the door for the older woman who has a walker. Good. You are doing good.  You are exhibiting good and you are showing the world you are good.  If everyone in the world focused on the word good and showed good, and did good, and spoke with good in our hearts then maybe, just maybe we’d find some more good in this world after all.  Because guess what?  You doing good makes something or someone else feel great… and guess what else I think? the majority of people in the world are good, and deserve good. I genuinely believe that.  And I wish reporters and politicians and media outlets would do the right thing; do the good thing, the right thing… I think we’d end up in a very different place.

Because guess what? Good, is actually really great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Diego to Helendale

helendale

When I decide what topic I want to write about, I usually dictate it in my head.  The words in my head sound fresh and eloquent, and everything seems to just flow perfectly.  However, when I finally sit down to write, it usually turns out like this… “… what to say at the beginning.. is Charlie awake?.. what are my dogs barking at?… am I hungry?… I should fold laundry… where did that beautiful monologue go that I have been perpetually writing in my head the past week in the car?”  Yet, when the Gods finally convene and I am able to sit at my desk for a prolonged amount of time, the words just don’t seem to come out properly.  Yet, I try..

Recently, I moved from San Diego, CA to Helendale, CA.  A short 2 1/2 hour commute off the highway and down a long (long) stretch of desert that almost makes you feel like you may or may not about to see Walter White and Jessie pulling off the dirt road in an RV.  The move to me was scary.  After 6 years we had finally put roots in San Diego and maintained some of the best friendships to date.  My friends in South Carolina (whom always remain my rocks) would come visit me and I would be so excited to show them Ocean Beach, Acai bowls and the amazing wineries.  The crisp 75 degree weather and the fresh ocean salt breeze made me feel awake and alive.  I started working and my son came with me and our life was constantly on the highway to somewhere.  Work, dinner, play-dates, beach, parks, museums, etc… and on the flip side, our house was a revolving door of visitors.  We loved it, we love entertaining, we love cooking big meals, and we felt good.  My job let me take my son with me, which is almost unheard of these days.  He treated my co-workers like his own parents and some days, I swear that he loved the more than he liked me.

However, within a few short months of Brad’s return from deployment, the weight of a move became quite real and as we spent the last month fixing up our house for renters, we spent days upon days, hours upon hours commuting to Helendale to find the house, sign the lease, and try to assess this new town.  One word stood out to me… small.  Really. Freaking. Small.  I couldn’t quite imagine what my life was going to be like in, “Helendale,” and to be quite honest, each time I said the name of the city.. I said it with a low bumble of, “Hell..endale..” How could this place possibly compare?  As I said our final goodbye to San Diego, and put the keys into my new home in Helendale, I remember sighing and thinking… this just can’t work for our family.

Yet, somehow, within a few days… we realized something different about this small town in comparison to San Diego.  The small-town community feel. I was introduced to a mom’s group where I was instantly welcomed, as well as committed to a bake sale (didn’t even know people did these anymore!).  My husband was befriended by a group of men who played golf on Saturday, and we were even invited to a 40th birthday.  We met another couple (almost weirdly identical to us), and they have already been over for dinner… twice.  I went to the farmer’s market with a few girls and instantly everyone was welcoming.  We also spent time at the park with friends for play-dates and had a gym trip with a friend. I’ve already started to notice something in my demeanor about this town… and it’s good.  I feel good.  I feel like God knew I needed a small-town life to bring me back to earth.  To show me that my son needed more quality time with his family and that play dates with kids his own age were important.  That a slower pace of life is OK, and that the guy who works at the market down the street recognized Brad because when he asked if he was new to the area (and Brad answered yes) the man said, “I think I met your wife and son a few days ago…Charlie?” I love that we went to a high school football game and I recognized the woman who works at the water district and I ran into another woman who I saw at the neighborhood bakery.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but the slower pace of life for me turned into good.  It gave me patience to look at my son and assess his needs, and it gave me the opportunity to sit on our back porch after dinner and drink a glass of wine and see stars and the sunset.  The small town within 2 weeks has made me a better wife, because now instead of dismissing my husbands needs and replacing them with my own, I can look with a calmer eye and try to help.  No, I’m sure this town has their downfalls; I’m sure it has lots.  But for me, this small-town life is exactly what God prescribed and exactly what turned into something wonderful.  To be fair, I hope that most people know that I am working hard daily to improve myself, and I hope that one day I can.

Come visit me in Helendale, I think you may like it.

 

 

 

 

The Not-So Secret Secrets that I wish I Knew About Being a Mom

hot mess

Let me be 110% honest.  This blog post has taken me at least a few hours to write because I’m a new mom.  My ideas of motherhood before I gave birth were simple.  I’d have a little adorable mini-me who I would feed, dress-up and play with.  I’d tote my little man with me wherever I went.  I would be the best looking mom who had her shit together and pranced around town with this adorable happy little baby who wanted nothing more than to smile at complete strangers and coo in the grocery line.  Our middle of the night feedings would be shared in a rocking chair in his nursery with a dim lamp, and wide eyed I would stare at him and smile and think about how much I loved him.  My days would be us walking around the park and eventually him going back to work in my office, sleeping like an angel throughout the day. This just seemed what motherhood was like… every other mom I knew made it look so easy!   Let me say something very straightforward… this is not real life.

As I welcomed my sweet boy into the world on March 12th, I felt as though I had been hit my a literal train.  Not only were there minor complications during my delivery, due to personal delivery issues my recovery was now going to be twice as long.  The time spend in the hospital was an out of body experience.  I felt like I couldn’t really be a mom.  And although I had spend 10 months lugging around a gigantic belly, it still didn’t seem real that this tiny child was mine. The first day home was even worse than anticipated.  My little bundle of joy would scream, cry, poop, eat (every 45 minutes!).  My mind was disconnected from the rest of my body and like autopilot I went through the motions feeling less than thrilled that this tiny bundle of , “Joy,” was not smiling and cooing!  What the heck!?  This was absolutely not what I had in my brain.  The shear thought of leaving him in his swing while I ran to pee completely overshadowed my feelings to do anything else.  No way was I going to let my husband lay with the baby without me sneaking the monitor in the bedroom so I could watch while I took my warp-speed shower.  My husband mentioned to me that he thought I’d completely lost my mind.  This baby was nothing like I expected and to be honest, I was disappointed. And although I felt a complete selflessness to my son with a love that felt so deep I could cry… I was still in shock that I could be, “Mom.”   Thank goodness for my mother, mother-in-law, husband, and other mothers who helped lift me out of my “Baby Blues.”  I didn’t think that would ever be “Me,” feeling completely overwhelmed that I could not walk away for more than 45 minutes without being needed by this little blob of person who somehow peed his way out of every single diaper for over 2 weeks. My nights were a mix of holding my newborn tripping over my dogs, changing diapers 1/2 asleep and using every pillow in the bed to support my aching neck.  I was laying in bed with a nursing pillow, a pillow to prop up my elbows, and an airplane travel pillow around my neck so I did not have to hold it up myself.  When my mother left I cried and cried begging her to stay 1 more week so I could have help.  I told her I wasn’t  “Ready,” and that surely I could not do this on my own.  When my husband went to work I feared for my sanity as Charlie woke up from sleeping and I was the only one who could comfort him.  With all of these emotions, my husband (who is in the NAVY), had to leave for multiple days without coming home.  How was I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS?  I couldn’t believe it.  I was in charge of this tiny being… no one to tell me right from wrong… and I was scared to death.

The most surreal feeling was waking up the day my husband left and looking at my crying baby thinking, “Well buddy… it’s just you and me..”  As I went through the motions of feeding him and loving him it hit me… guess what… yes.. yes you can do this.  After having a complete meltdown on the phone for an hour with my best friend, I had to stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and say, “Margo, get your shit together!”  And somehow, I did.  My confidence grew day by day and now, I want to share with you what millions of women have already blogged about, talked about, cried about, celebrated, and achieved.  With all of this being said, here are some things I learned the hard way… that most mommies probably already know…

1.  Your little person will survive crying.  One of the hardest things I had to learn was that babies cry.  Although I knew this in general, somehow I never prepared myself for when MY BABY cried.  When Charlie would even fuss I would run to his side, staring at him trying to determine what was wrong.  Every time I heard him whimper my anxiety would shoot through the roof as he continued to fuss and cry.  Eventually I learned that it’s OK if they cry the last 5 minutes you are in the shower!  Finish shaving your left leg, dry off and put your clothes on.

2.  Shower every-other day (or if you’re ambitious once a day).  There is something about a shower that will help reset your brain.  The warm water rushing over your head, the sound of the shower (and not of screaming), the smell of soap and the solitude of a shower made a huge difference for me.  It is my time.  When I get out of the shower I know that I’ve accomplished at least ONE thing for myself already that day.  Sometimes, it’s the only thing I accomplish but that’s OK.. hey, I showered.

3. They are going to lose their shit in public.  Once recovered, I set a goal for myself to leave the house once a day.  This one was hard for me (and still is!)  Visiting a friend, errands, running to grab Chipotle, whatever needed to happen, I needed to GET OUT.  My biggest fear of parenting was leaving the comfort of my home and my little guy completely losing his mind in public.  The thought of going to the grocery store was such an undertaking and God forbid he cried.  He did.  Every single time I crossed the threshold of the grocery.  It never failed that as soon as Charlie smelled the produce, he would absolutely lose his mind. I’ve learned that it sucks, but it’s OK.  It’s going to happen.  And after eating popcorn for 3 days straight for dinner .. crying or not I had to get dinner.  Each adventure out of the house made me more fluent in what I needed, didn’t need, could leave in the car, needed to take in the store, etc… you can only get this way through doing it!  I started by going to the mall where I could pop into a department store and feed in a dressing room.  Next I started going to friends houses who didn’t mind if I fed.. and progressed to other places that seemed, “Safe.”  And yes, I always kept a bottle of emergency formula JUST IN CASE!

4.  Invest in some good under-eye cream.  No matter what I do I feel like I look like a, “old.”  Despite the nursing tops, frazzled hair and pacifier that i would forget I had in my mouth, I felt like I looked  ragged and rundown… and to be honest, I am ragged and rundown.  Putting on some good under-eye cream gave me a little piece of confidence when leaving the house… as for mascara and foundation.. that’s optional haha.

5. It will get easier.  Everyone says it, and somehow you stare at people with the death stare thinking, “Um, no… I’m miserable and it will not…” but they are right.  Eventually you fall into a routine of staring at your baby and thinking that you didn’t think life was complete without them.  You learn their cues and cries and learn that sometimes they just need a bath to  calm their anxiety.  For some super-moms it takes 3-4 weeks, for me it took 7… and I still hold my breath when we walk into the grocery.

6.  Celebrate little victories.  Just this week we made it through the grocery store without a peep until the cash register.  Although he cried the ENTIRE way home, I couldn’t believe I would feel such a sense of accomplishment buckling him up in his car seat with a full load of groceries in my trunk!  (Unloading was a whole other story).  It is the little victories that make a huge difference.  Celebrate, post on facebook, tweet, write, dance, sing  YOU DID IT!  hoorayyyyy!

7.  Remember being a Mom is hard work.  For some reason as a naive pregnant happy-go-lucky person I assumed that Charlie would become a part of my daily routine.  Little did I know… he is now MY DAILY ROUTINE.  At this point there is no inserting him into my already existing life.  He is my entire world.  My day, my night, my work, my play, my happiness, my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.  My world is now run by Charlie… and everything else needs to suit him before I’m OK with that.  I’m sure as my little boy grows this philosophy may waver and change.  But right now, being a mother his HARD.  It’s guilt when you run to get your hair cut and guilt when you think you look like a raggamuffin for your husband because you’ve not cut your hair in months.  It’s attempting to juggle cooking a great dinner while nursing and cleaning and praying  that your dog does not poop on the floor again.  It’s Charlie crying the moment I sit down and eat any meal because Murphy’s law says if I need to eat, he will cry.  It’s falling asleep when you’re supposed to have dinner guests that night… and waking up in a panic covered in milk when they walk in.  It is in no way/shape/form easy.

8.  It is the single most wonderful thing in the entire world. As cliche as this sounds there is nothing in this world I would rather do right now then sit with my sleeping son and stare at him.  You don’t get it pregnant, and I didn’t even get it until he was a few weeks old… but there is something so incredible about this littler person you created.  He is YOURS.  He will look to you for comfort and advice.  He wants nothing more than to be with you in your arms and despite what you thought, you truly want nothing more than to be with them.  Being a mother was not what I expected, it was so much better.

PS:  One thing I am always reminding myself is this… millions of people have babies every day.  Teenagers have babies, single women have babies, married women have babies, military women have babies, poor people have babies, rich people have babies, smart people have babies and dumb people have babies… Somehow, they all made it… and so can you.  Do not be afraid to admit you’re struggling or that you are completely and utterly scared out of your mind to go fill your car up with gas.  It’s reaching out and knowing millions are doing it daily.

Things No One Warned Me About When I Got Pregnant

Byrd

I found out in June of 2014 that I was 8 weeks pregnant.  As most women would agree, the thoughts that run through your head at a million miles a minute start with questions like, “When was the last time I got drunk? Should I call my doctor? How should I tell my husband? Should I call my mom? Should I cancel my sushi date tonight?” If you’re anything like me, I was a hot mess in action and the moment I found out I was pregnant… there were equal emotions of HOORAY and WHAT NEXT?  Yet, as I started my pregnancy journey there were so many things I couldn’t quite understand.  There are a few things that no one told me would get under my skin when it came to the people who surrounded me.  Now let me preface this by saying there may be people out here who DO NOT feel like I do.. that’s OK.  This is written from my perspective as it relates to me… and others who may feel like I do.

1.  No pregnant woman… and I mean no pregnant woman… likes being called, “Huge,” “Giant,” or “Big.”   It always astounds me when people I’ve known for years look at me and say, “Wow, you’ve become HUGE!”  Why thank you, I always wanted to be called gigantic.  While, yes, yes, I am aware I’m pregnant and this is NORMAL.. .when someone insinuates your “HUGE” it doesn’t make you glow with excitement or happiness.  I’ll never forget when a woman told me, “You’ve started to get your ‘pregnant face’ to me.”  Seriously? Thanks, I’m so glad to hear my face is looking chunky as well as my belly, thighs, ankles, arms, and feet.  Pregnant woman always smile and say, “Oh yes, he’s getting big,” but I can promise you I’d rather hear you tell me I am looking good.

2.  We don’t want to know the gory details of your labor and childbirth (Unless specifically asked).  No one told me that once you have a child you’re automatically enrolled into the, “No boundaries zone,” when it comes to conversations about childbirth with other mothers (strangers included).  As my due date is quickly approaching (And I’m having normal nervous break-downs because I’m nervous about pain)  so many people want to express their gross, nasty, scary, graphic, and unsettling stories about 36 hour labors, emergency C-sections, “I had no time to get the epidural,” passing out, “Pain like you’ve never felt,” and all other unwarranted and unwanted fears.  Please do not confuse this with general comments, “Oh it’s tough but you’ll totally get through it” or “Hang in there, you’ll do great!”  It’s the gory, nasty details that you just did not necessarily even consider until the moment they opened their mouth.

3.  Everyone has advice that they want you to follow.  It doesn’t matter how it’s worded, someone always feels the need to impart their “Wisdom” right into your lap.  There is a BIG difference in, “Hey girl, this is what I did, but everyone is so different…” and “You really need to make sure to avoid ____.”  The conflicting, ridiculous, and confusing advice you will receive is unbelievable.  Yes, I understand everyone has their own opinions.  One person told me they worked out their entire pregnancy lifting weights, running, and staying fit, while another told me she ripped her placenta lifting a bag of flour off the top shelf of her kitchen.  1st time mothers are already so nervous about taking care of their baby, you completely freak out when someone imparts advice that you’ve never heard of.  It’s strange to listen to their advice thinking to yourself, “Shoot… I lift things above my head on a daily basis!”

4.  Someone will comment about your “Waddle.”  For me, getting dressed used to be the best part of my day.  I loved the feeling of putting together a great outfit for the day.  However, pregnancy has temporarily stripped that excitement from my day.  It’s all 6 of my maternity outfits vs. 60 pre-pregnancy outfits.  This sometimes took away my confidence of putting on a great outfit and “working it.”  It never failed on those days that someone would comment about my waddle.  “Aww look… you have the pregnancy waddle.”  Thank you bi standard… I love that I don’t walk normal because I have the equivalent of an ice pick stabbing me in my rear end.  As cute as you think it looks (and maybe it does) I am carrying an additional 40 lbs…and I’m struggling.

5.  The oh so famous, “You’re not looking well,” comment from acquaintances.  I work in childcare and therefore am constantly surrounded by other parents.  I also have families within my husband’s work and great mommy friends who all understand the struggles of pregnancy.  But one thing I don’t understand is when an acquaintance looks at me and says any version of the statement, “You don’t look well..”  It makes me laugh thinking that people think it’s OK to tell ANYONE they aren’t looking well.  Hormonally speaking I can promise you this is NOT a smart move… pregnant or not.

6.  How excited everyone is for you.  Despite all of the small and annoying things above, it is amazing the amount of people who are truly excited for you.  Friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers are so incredibly happy that YOU are bringing a life into this world.  Despite all of the untactful comments, they always leave saying, “Ohhhh you’ll love it…” or “Oh it’s going to be such an adventure!” Nothing can quite compare to the excitement and sparkle people have in their eyes when they reach over to touch my belly and say, “You’re going to have such a great time being a mommy.”