Who Arrrreee Y-O-U?? 6 Steps to Finding Out.

Who are you

You ask a girl in college who she is and she’ll be able to tell you. She’ll also be able to tell you who she’ll be in the future. Odds are if you find that same girl ten plus years later, she won’t be able to tell you who the hell she is or what the future holds for her. Take me for example. Jumping in my time machine and watching my 21 year-old self, I knew everything and had the confidence times ten of my present day self. I had a plan. I believed there were no life obstacles. I literally had the world serving me what I wanted on a silver platter for the taking.

Now, I’m not so sure . I’m well aware of who I used to be and pretty sure of who I want to grow up to be, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea who I am supposed to be this exact moment.  I’m not alone in my feelings, it turns out the majority of women, especially moms, are in the same exact boat.

It’s all too confusing. Who arrrreee you??  As a mom I’m supposed to act one way. As a woman in her thirties I’m supposed to be interested in certain things. As a wife and stay at home mom I’m supposed to feel a certain way. But what happens when NONE of these guidelines within the handbook of woman, mom and wife doesn’t match the way I feel, act or take an interest in … am I an outcast? Am I “wrong” or possibly not fulfilling my full potential?

#1.  ASK. Ask yourself, ask your husband, ask your fiends, ask your relatives, ask your children. What stands out to them? What is one word that they would use to describe you?

#2.  TAKE A TIME MACHINE.  When did you feel at your best? Why? What was it that gave you that reassurance and confidence? To balance your knowledge, when did you feel your worst? What or who makes you feel less?

#3.  F-U-N. While in your time machine be sure to visit your carefree FUN self. What were you doing? Where were you? What were your hobbies that made you feel alive where clocks didn’t matter and consumed you?

#4.  TEST THE WATERS. Is it the same? Do you still enjoy the activities you found on your time travel? Or have your tastes changed? (I used to like shots of Tequila topped off with Tabasco, I’m pretty sure I don’t like those anymore.)

#5.  INTRODUCE YOURSELF. Studies have found that the majority of the population identify themselves with their title within employment. However when I say I’m a stay at home mom, there are many that are not parents that don’t understand what that career even is so … What do you do?  I learned from a fellow mom to follow up the SAHM thing with your hobbies or interests. For example I would say, “I write a blog and study yoga.” (Or A.K.A I share my feelings through written word for FREE and do weird movements while breathing rhythmically). You are a mom but NOT just a mom >> Spark that conversation.

#6. ACT HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL and ACT HOW YOU FEEL. Pretty simple steps >>> right?

How do these 6 steps work? Well, I am your guinea pig. I tested these 6 on myself and will post the suburban scientific findings in the next post of The Funny In Mommy!

 

Hot Mess.

hotmess

I wonder if when people see me they think “Uh-oh here comes that Hot Mess.” Seriously. I totally have issues getting out the door and even more so when I am out the door. I envy those women that are so incredibly put together. I think “Self –  what the fuck are you doing that you cannot get it together?”  I wonder if there is some “mighty momma” meeting I missed out on or a guidebook that they never handed out when I left the hospital with my first born?

I once had a mom tell me her 3 year old was reading at a 5 year old level while at the same exact moment one of my three year-olds licked left over peanut butter off the table >> I avoided eye contact with her after she made eye contact with him.

Hot Mess.

The other day my three year old daughter and I had a come to Jesus in the bathroom stall of the library during an argument about why she her tummy hurt and that she couldn’t hold her poop in that I’m pretty sure the entire lower level overheard and witnessed.

Hot Mess.

The Monday, during my yoga class God conveniently placed me next to a twenty something blonde in matching athletic garb from head to toe as I wore a “Bieber Fever ” tee with my unwashed hair slicked to my head from leftover dry shampoo and the bottoms of my feet slightly gray from the lack of shoes I wore outside that morning as I yelled at my kids to stop throwing tennis balls against the side of the house.

Hot Mess.

Our eldest dog, though he is neutered, humps every visitor we have, from our babysitter to our Pastor to our cleaning people. A 7 lb little humping white fur ball, yep, he belongs to us. Our other dog can smell the carcass of a dead animal from 3 miles away and brings it back across the neighborhood to our front yard EACH and EVERY time with a limb of some sort hanging out of his mouth as cars drive by staring in wonder.

Hot Mess.

During the warm weather last week my savage children played outside as I made dinner. As I peeked through the window to check on them, my kids had decided to create a small mudd pool next to our driveway and now had our 80 year-old neighbor in a conversation about the pool as they smeared dark brown sludge across their faces while asking her if she would like some as they held up sticks with the goop hanging in gobs off the ends.

Hot Mess.

My daughter wears only pink and refuses to wear her hair up no matter the bed head catastrophe it is. My youngest son wears only the same two outfits day after day. My eldest thinks most adults are below his intelligence and speaks to them as if he were Einstein.

Hot Mess.

Today at preschool drop-off most moms looked as if they rolled out of a j. crew ad while I looked like I rolled out of a TMZ ad while my children portrayed all traits that Dr.Oz warns against.

Hot Mess. And this is only a fraction of a recap of this week … of the PG rated stuff.

I try to analyze at what point did I make the switch from sane to lunatic mom/wife. I often find myself rambling to other customers in line about TMI subjects or running through a parking lot after my children as I scream “PUT YOUR HAND ON THE VAN! YOU’RE GOING TO GET HIT BY A CAR!!” or looking around the gym at all the cute yoga pants and sporty tanks while catching my own reflection in the mirror of possibly a homeless person that they let into the gym for a free membership day. Sane or lunatic? Hot mess or lucky lady?

I woke up and there was a rainbow sticker on the toilet seat this morning. Oh the irony. I’m not sure what God wanted me to know as I put my ass on a rainbow. Was it a metaphor to let me know that my ass was on a rainbow with the life I am leading? Perhaps. When I bare it all, removing all the razzle dazzle, To Do lists and extra stuff (just like the naked cheeks of a butt) I am very lucky (hence the rainbow) with all that I have.

All-Star Celebrity Status.

Brax1 brax2 brax3 brax4

6 years on the job.

Tomorrow marks my 6th anniversary as a mother. Also known as the 6th birthday of my eldest, but don’t tell him that as he assumes that April 27th is all about him (which basically it is). But six years ago I left the corporate world. I left behind the office. I left behind the deadlines. I left behind a chapter in me life while I entered a whole new chapter that I would be living the rest of my life. I became a mother, and as a mother it’s a job that is listed on your resume as PRESENT for the rest of eternity.

I am Braxton’s mom. I am cool but uncool all at one time. I am warm and demanding. I suck at life one minute, but the next I am like a celebrity in his eyes. I sacrificed hours of sleep and my boobs in order to breastfeed. I carried him nine days late and have been quick to carry him when he needs me now. I spent hours watching him breathe to make sure he was okay. I wiped his butt and was even peed on.  I taught him to walk, to hold a crayon, the alphabet, how to write his name, to count and right from wrong. I was there during questions of God and death. I was there during questions of monsters and falling in love. I was there during tantrums, fits, hugs and kisses. I was there during stitches, puking and coughs. I’ve been present at EVERY doctor visit whether well or sick. I’ve never missed a school performance or an at home milestone. I’m teaching him to tie his shoes now. We are solving math problems and completing book reports. We are engaging in discussion on Charlotte’s Web. I’m introducing him to foods that are grown-up like lobster and steak. I’ve even brainwashed him into being my television partner for Cake Wars and Food Network Baking Championship.

My boss of six years breaks my heart and fills it with joy each every day. My boss pays me in kisses and in slamming doors on my face. He measures my performance on how well I remember his favorite foods, colors, sports, Pokemon characters and the names of his friends. My raise is based on my ability to change my voice while impersonating characters while I read a book or if I let him have the cereal he really wants. He has been my best friend and enemy within the same hour. I am the love of his life but one day he will leave me for another woman. My boss is one of my greatest accomplishments. My job is my greatest fear, love, pain, enjoyment and a million other adjectives and feelings.

I’m a motherf**king all-star when it comes to this job. As I look at this little six-year old miniature man today I know that I am killing it in this industry of MOTHERHOOD. When I take in all that he is, all that he has become and all that I know he has in his future, I’m rolling in billions.

I’m a motherf**king all-star when it comes to this job. What’s even better is that my boss will be the first to tell you that I am 🙂

 

Spring BREAK

spring-break

The possibility of becoming wrapped up in the To Do Lists of life is a topic I often write about. This article happens to revisit that subject again. Surprise, surprise.  But just like everyone else I need a reminder.  Habits are hard to break. And that damn To Do List is a drug that I can’t seem to fully detox from.

The month of March did not disappoint when it came to the phrase “in like a lion, out like a lamb”. Holy shit. The first 19 days of March were a chaotic frenzy of scheduled classes and events. Though I had seen my family it was as if I hadn’t seen them. Though I was slipping in between the sheets each night it was as if I hadn’t slept. I went into each week hating Monday and hating Friday along with everything in between. It wasn’t until a divine intervention in the form of a wet nasty cough came into play on a Saturday morning. Cue bronchitis diagnosis on all three children not to mention a cold for mommy and daddy as well.

Swim lessons were cancelled. Karate belts were left unworn. Yoga classes were missed. Preschool and Kindergarten were issued absent calls. Tutus weren’t even attempted. The week prior to spring break was one long series of endless days of sick kids and exhausted parents. I sat with my little ones sprawled across my lap. We read mounds of books filled with fiction and talking animals. Plenty of odd characters and colors filled the television screen. The time spent indoors during recuperation, though snot filled and echoed with coughs, was a time of bonding, a time for retreat and not to mention gave me time to clean every inch of the house. The only problem was that we were leaving for Texas at the end of the week to start spring break at Nana and Papa’s house. It was clear we needed the helping hand of a doctor. Two days before we were scheduled to board a plane we wiggled our way into the pediatrician’s office on a sick visit. All three kids were checked head to toe, all three leaving with the same diagnosis. Bronchitis. All three with prescriptions to ease their breathing and help their little frames to stop coughing.

Fast forward to the plane ride. To make traveling with three year-old twins and a five year-old bossy brother even better, my ear tube popped causing a domino affect of pain and sinus problems leading to an infection and visit to the Urgent Care – woo-hoo!  Long story short, I literally broke on spring break.

Breaking forced me to fully embrace the break part of spring break. It helped to be surrounded by family day and night. I went to bed early and slept in late. I sat by the pool and ate apple pie (that GASP wasn’t Paleo – it was homemade by the gals behind the grocery store bakery counter). I didn’t cook dinner once and laid in bed watching Law and Order more than once. I forgot about makeup and wore a hat rather than brushing my hair. Rest. A true break from reality. I welcomed it and so did my kids. They skipped naps, stayed up late, swam all day and ate fists full of candy and squished fries into their little cheeks. They followed on the heels of their older cousins and ignored mommy altogether.

As we littered around the living room after filling our bellies with Easter goodies. We rambled on about this and that, leading to the talk about taking a walk. My brother in-law’s dad responded “I don’t walk on Sundays, it’s a day of rest.”  So simple yet so brilliant. A day of rest. When was the last time that i had a day of rest? When was the last time that I felt like it was okay to rest. March had proved that I could do it ALL, but it also proved that I shouldn’t do it. It also made it clear that days of rest were need for those small and not so small. So why is it that we feel like we MUST do it all? That we should wear all hats and not just one. That being well-rounded with a full schedule is far better than being down to earth and grounded with a lack of schedule.

With the taste of rest that spring break provided, I welcome summer. Not only for its sunny bright days but also its lack of schedules. Lack of structure and more freedom to promote creativity and imagination.  Long days filled with independence, dirty hands and tanned skin.   Far from being useless, resting play is the food that feeds the soul that drives healthy development for the young and the old(er). I invite the productive-lazy days of June, July and August. Months of exploration of not only nature but also the interests of my three wee ones, my own and my husband.

With less than 2 months before the last school bell rings to mark the start of summer, my family is gearing up for those warm days by not only planning but also breaking into restful play days. The bikes are out, sidewalk chalk litters the yard and our hands have already planted the first greens of our makeshift garden. We’ve ditched going home right after school for the play ground or the backyard.  Our days are filled with more freedom and play rather than lessons, structure, treadmills and rules.  I may not be throwing my bikini top off a stage or getting drunk at noon on a beach but I’ll be throwing caution to the wind and getting drunk on the freedom that summer has to offer. You get drunk too …

 

Recognition by a perfectionist …

Brooke Halperin Low Res30

I’ve been thinking about becoming famous.  I’m thinking that it may be a good idea to do something, invent something or create something that would bring me to celebrity status. As a mom who doesn’t shower on a regular basis or hasn’t stayed up past midnight in years (without a child puking as the main event) it’s hard to not want to be a celebrity, I think about the money, the parties, the vacations, the spa days, the clothing, the personal trainers … it’s hard to not get swept up and in the glitz and glamour of it all.

As of lately, I find myself drawn to this idea even more.  In fact, I’ve had vivid dreams of reaching my day-dream status.  Instead of reading something that won a Pulitzer Prize I dive into the latest blogs and articles covering the gorgeous and famous. Did I mention that Oscar night is like my very own version of Christmas morning? So what gives? Why the sudden emphasis and desire of public attention, this focus on bling?

Like the rest of the world, I looked for answers to my questions in the all-knowing Google. According to the articles within it’s not a desire to be in the public eye or a love for money, it’s actually the longing for recognition.

Ah-ha! Now this makes sense! Recognition for what moms do on a daily basis is far and in between. I find myself reminding my kids to say please and thank you at least a million times per day. My dogs could care less if they give me some love to show they realize they would starve and barely survive without me.  I’m not alone in my feelings. According to my placement in Generation Y, it turns out more than 50% of those born between the 80’s and 2000 long for a status of rich or famous.

So which is it? My longing for recognition for all I do or is it my Gen-Y birthday??? Google has no feedback and Bing has no idea. Unfortunately, it turns out the only person that can answer this question is ME. Cue pity violin for ME.

Looking within, it may be that I cannot give my own self recognition. It’s hard to recognize the things I do and accomplish on a daily basis without focusing on what I feel I could have done or accomplished. It’s hard for me to see what I have right in front me when it’s so easy to see what I want in the glossy pages of a magazine. I blame my lack of self-confidence too. It’s easy to be conned into the words and images depicted across the pages of my magazines, within the clicks of my inbox and the screen of my television. If only I did that, looked like that or had that I would be perfect. Damn you perfectionist, damn you.

Recognition by a perfectionist …

For me the solutions to life’s questions or what may be ailing my soul can be found in words. For me the words spoken by another or those I read in a book are similar to the comfort found in the warm arms of a hug from my mom. Words in all forms seem to bring a sense of calm over my crazy. So when I came across the following words without even really searching for them, my celebrity fantasies came to mind …

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  (Mind you this is a biblical verse which I usually tend to stay away from in my own writing but when I came across Timothy 6:9 in not the bible but a Google search, biblical or not it spoke to me.)  To me the word “rich” is equal to famous so YES this makes sense, YES this was the end result of these so-called desires I’ve been having. Timothy knew what he was talking about, even though he may not have had a stay at home mom in the age of Facebook in mind when he uttered these words. My materialistic desires and fancy celebrity daydreams had become a snare, a trap set for my own good fortunes.  Rather than seeing all that is awesome in my own life, those desires fueled by my own lack of recognition for what I do and the woman who I am were ruining and destroying all the good. Because when I pull back the curtain of “the grass is greener” and look through the eyes of gratitude all I have around me is all that I truly need.  All that is around me is perfect in it’s own imperfect way. 

Recognition by a perfectionist …

Taking a cue from Timothy, I focus hard on the present and on my own “green grass”. What do I find? I relish in the love of my devoted husband and treasure the sticky hearts and hands of my small children. I am famous in my own little celebrity world where this blog is my writing outlet and grabs the attention of more and more readers with each article posted. The MOPS group I created that has opened the door to a whole new world to so many mothers. The volunteer work I do. The tiny human beings I raise. The thought and care I put into my actions as a daughter and a friend.  The mundane but necessary work I put in as a homemaker, mother and wife does all matter. I may not be recognized for it all on the front cover of US Weekly, but until I come to recognize it on my own, it wouldn’t matter if I was on the front cover of every magazine in the checkout line of Target.

Recognition by a perfectionist …

4 TIPS TO RECOGNIZING YOUR OWN CELEBRITY STATUS:

  1. Reflect on your What I Did Today List, rather than what is not crossed off on your To-Do List.
  2. Think about who you cared for today … whether it be an ailing parents, a newborn, your high school age daughter, your new husband or your loyal dog. To that one being you mean the world!
  3. Did you flex your talent muscle today? If you’re good with numbers or words, did you jot some down? A great baker or fabulous cook, were you in the kitchen today? Amazing singer or instrument player, did you hum a tune or strike a note? The list goes on …
  4. Think of your body in regards to senses not just looks. Engage in smelling, seeing, touching, tasting and hearing while being grateful for all those abilities to experience this brilliant life. Go a step further and thank the body that holds all those pieces of sensory together.

 

 

 

 

Potty Mouths and Butt Tag.

Photography-BabyButts

I’m worried that I may have some sort of amnesia. It seems that I have forgotten that at some point I taught my three small children the words poop, pee, butt, eww and pee-pee and that while I taught them I laughed hysterically at the use of the words.

Apparently at some point I must have squatted over a basket while also pretending it to be a potty. Along with these incidents I had at one time pulled down my pants baring my ass cheeks while I cupped them in both hands wiggling my buttocks back and forth while humming. I mean I MUST HAVE because my children are constantly engaging in this behavior and where else could they have learned it???

I’m confused as to when my three soft and adorable babies became tiny adults using phrases like “Eww, look at your butt” and turning every ordinary object into a pretend potty.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I do not have amnesia. Rather, I blame the evilness that is Kindergarten. In analyzing where the birth of such language and fascination of bowel movements started I recall an incident in September when my son’s teacher pulled me aside after school to inform me that my sweet first born boy had been engaging in potty talk with some of his friends during class. HOW COULD THIS BE??? My angel? My little boy who I read to nightly and listened to classical music while he incubated in my belly?!!?? Yes, true story, my son had become a potty mouth.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is where it all started. Like a plague the use of such words and play spread like wildfire from my eldest to my youngest. I could physically see with my own two eyes the bright light and gleaming glee that came from the eye sockets of my younger son as he heard the word butt used by his older brother. It was as if a light-bulb had been switched on in some dormant part of his brain producing a euphoria that he could not and would not ignore. When my sweet little girl was ordained into this butt and potty mouth fraternity, she cooperated and followed like a first class potty word slinging soldier. Soon all three were taking the gift of potty words and running with it. What followed was a progression from shaking butts, to making butts talk to dropping their pants at passing cars. The words had taken on actions and a mind of their own.

It gets worse. Now we have hit a whole new level of low. A low where their mother, yes me, stooped as low as her children in attempt to stop the butt shaking, ass tagging, potty mouth insanity. Let me paint a picture of this new low for you:

I’m in the bathroom trying to look presentable when I hear the potty words begin as my three lovely offspring play with different action figures in a KidsKraft Firehouse. In my first attempt to stop the spread of the words any further I yell from the bathroom to knock it off. About one eye shadow swipe and a brush of the hair later and I hear, “Hurry! Throw the toilet out the window! Oh no he’s pooping everywhere!” “Put the fire out with the pee!” Now I leave the bathroom and enter into the living room to make it clear i’m not messing around. Now I’m standing in front of them telling them that they know better and aren’t to use those words and that I can hear them. They all promise to stop. I head to the bedroom to throw some clothes on.

Now as I pull my shirt over my head I can hear the muffled words, “Throw the garbage can out the window! Look at his naked butt, he’s shaking his butt out the window and has no where to pee!” Now with only a shirt and underwear on I storm down the hallway for my third attempt to quiet their potty mouths. As I turn the corner they are already looking in my direction and before I can say my peace my youngest son points at me and loudly exclaims “Eww! Mommy’s underwear! Look at her butt!” Now I had become the butt of their butt jokes. That’s when the low came into play as I exclaimed back, “If you guys like poop and pee so much that is what I’m serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner from now on. If that’s the language you want to use and be potty mouths then that is what I will feed your potty mouths!” As their eyes grew wide and their potty mouths dropped open at the possibility of such a reality I knew I had struck a cord. Apologies were fast and needless to say I finished dressing in peace only hearing that the firemen were saving babies and climbing ladders like normal non-urinating rescue workers would be doing.

Unfortunately, my scare didn’t take as permanently as I would have hoped.  The following day I watched my youngest son run naked through our kitchen while his older brother ran after him trying to swat his naked tush while yelling “BUTT TAG!” It appears that in using their language I had only stooped to their level rather than raising them from it.

Moving forward, I will be claiming my original claim of amnesia. Don’t be surprised if you see me pant-less at Target, but at least you’ll know why.

Passion doesn’t age. Tap that …

As I was leading an open table discussion during a MOPS meeting, the topic of mothers knowing who “they were” once their children left the nest came up. It was only a point of topic for a brief moment in the larger scheme of our conversation on friendship. It was one that we all knew was important but had yet to fully dive into as to why and how.  A few days later the topic came back to mind as I waited for my daughter’s dance class to begin.  On the flat screens displayed on the walls I watch two women in their late fifties fully enthralled in a tap class. Tap shoes slapping the grown as their voluptuous bodies and boobs bounced with each step they took across the floor. It was freaking awesome to watch. Thinking,why the hell not? I commend those ladies for living out their passions and diving into their interests. These women knew what they liked, in turn they knew their selves. Tap on ladies, tap on!

Knowing ourselves. Living out our dreams or feeding our curiosities. Whether it be in the form of an adult dance class, writing a blog, running a race or even fully emerging oneself into a season of “The Bachelorette”.  Taking part in an expression where we are caring for the person we are, not worrying about the type of mother we are.

“Tap on!”

I don’t question what I will do with my time or my thoughts when Erik and I have an empty nest.  I tend to plan for it on a daily basis.

“Tap on!”

Putting myself in the shoes of my children, I try to imagine what they see when they look at me – not physically but as a person with interests.  I want to write books. I want to visit different cities and experience other cultures. I want to taste exotic foods. I want to cook difficult recipes and create amazing cakes. I want to start each day with a yoga class. I want to help others when they feel as if they have lost their way. I want to dive into the pages of the book to venture through the minds of other dreamers. I want to conquer so much while experiencing the brilliance that everyday life has to offers. Who says I can’t just because I’m a mom?

“Tap on!”

As a perfectionist it’s easy to get lost in the ideal outcome of my goals. Even easier to not acknowledge the milestones I hit and surpass. Taking a moment to acknowledge the efforts and time I put into my passions and interests today, I realize that I’m living out all that I want to do. I may not be making fists full of cash in the writing I do but I’m writing. I may not be taking classes from Dali Lama but I’m making it to my mat at least three times a week. I’m seeing new things and tasting new foods. I’m experiencing fresh ideas and technology through the eyes of my children. I’m learning and growing each and every day as a mother, a wife, a leader and a friend. Though they may be small acts and tasks, they be mighty. I have faith that it’s all preparation for the time when my little ones will push off and fly on their own. I’ll always be their mom but when I’m alone with my thoughts and my time, I’ll know exactly the direction that I will take and how to transform baby steps into long legged leaps.

“Tap on!”

The only way we end up failing as mothers isn’t by the acts that we do or the dreams that we follow, but rather the ones that we don’t do and that we don’t follow. A person will never meet their full potential if they don’t try reaching for it at all.

Be brave and “tap on”. Passions, interests, hobbies, dreams and goals never age they only grow wiser and more precise.