Trust Me?

A few months ago my daughter started a gymnastics class, and I have quickly become friends with a number of the other moms. At first we just chatted during class, but recently we’ve begun seeing each other outside of gymnastics. It started with having coffee every few weeks or so and most recently, we have joined an exercise class while the girls are in school. I like these women very much, and we seem to have a lot in common. Here’s the issue: In my 20’s, I got burned really bad by a group of friends, and I’m afraid to let myself get close to another group of women. It’s been 10 years, but it still hurts. Should I let my guard down?

Hi honey, I completely understand that kind of hurt and have experienced it myself more times than I care to remember. I can’t tell you whether or not to let your guard down, but I’d encourage you to trust your gut. Always.

Many years ago, I had a group of very close friends. We vacationed and spent weekends and holidays together for several years.

I started to get a weird vibe from one woman … that she didn’t like me. I confronted her about it, but she assured me it was all in my head. Shortly after our tight-knit group fell apart, one by one our other friends confessed to me that she’d told them things in an effort to skew their view of me. Although, the outcome would have remained the same, trusting my gut and removing myself from the situation sooner, could have spared me a lot of hurt.

Here’s the thing, sweetheart. You are 10 years older and probably a million years wiser than you were in the past. You can let people into your life without giving them the tools and permission to break your heart. Perhaps your old friendship didn’t have the right –or any– kind of boundaries? Many women aren’t bad/catty/gossipy/fake/jealous/malicious or whatever adjective applies to your former friends. And if you are putting  good vibes out into the world, you’re probably attracting kind, good, positive people into your own world.

So let your guard down? Mmmmmm, maybe a little. Trust yourself and your own instincts. Also, I’d love to hear more about that exercise class 😉

For encouragement, commiseration, or just to see what mischief my puppy’s getting into, visit me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I look forward to connecting!

Working Vacations

Every year we take a family vacation and make lots of wonderful memories. Every year I come home feeling even more exhausted than I did before we left. I try to plan things that cater to my husband and children’s likes, but by the time we come home I feel like I was just doing my normal mom stuff in a different location…in other words, I didn’t get a break at all. Do you have any suggestions other than to take a separate trip by myself, haha?

Hi honey, I totally relate to this. My dream vacation is lying on a beach next to sparkling blue water with a frozen drink, a bag of books and minimal human contact, but that isn’t always possible or what works for my family. I also try to plan things that each person will really enjoy. However, sometimes, as moms, we forget to consider our own wants and needs while we’re busy taking care of everyone else’s. What do you really enjoy doing on vacation? Can you schedule time for some of that?

And what wears you out on vacation. Is it the planning? The activities? The busy-ness? You don’t have to participate in every activity. Sometimes too much interaction with people–even people I absolutely adore–drains me. It’s okay to pass on the occasional game of putt-putt or to stay behind and read while your husband takes the kids to ride go-carts.

And sometimes, you might want to stretch outside your comfort zone and participate in an activity you don’t really love simply for the joy of experiencing it with the people you do love. But only if you want to. If you do it from a sense of “should,” you might end up feeling more resentful than joyful.

If you have little kids…well, I imagine it’s not news to you that vacations are not particularly relaxing. Especially if you go to the beach. Going to the beach with little kids is exhausting. But someday, they will be relaxing again. I promise. And you’ll look back with fond memories on the chaotic ones. In the meantime, you might really want to consider a trip by yourself or with your hubby or a friend.

Most of all, just take some time to really think about what will make you feel relaxed and nourished on vacation and during your normal life and plan for more of that. Let me know how it goes! xoxo

Sometimes People are Assholes

I think that we probably have a lot in common. I’m always trying to improve myself, to the point of sometimes missing out on the happiness already in my life. Do you do that? Anyway, I’m always on a quest to be a better person, but there is one area where I really struggle: I want to expose people who are fakes. It enrages me when people think someone is such a great person, and I have personal knowledge that they are, in fact, a jerk! I don’t know why I feel this way or how to stop it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hi honey, it does sound as if we have a lot in common–including beating ourselves up for not being perfect 😉 I do know exactly what you mean and have struggled with this as well. For years, I thought it was my super-power to see the best in people and encourage them to be their highest selves.

Newsflash, that’s not my super-power.

Over the years, I’ve realized that sometimes my idea of someone’s potential doesn’t line up with theirs. Shocking, I know. That’s okay. I mean, I spent way too many years trying to live up to others’ expectations of me. I don’t want to put that pressure onto other people.

No one is perfect. The best we can hope for is to do our best. To do, as Glennon Doyle advises, “the next right thing, one thing at a time.” People’s character will be exposed…it’s not our job to put anyone on blast. Trust me, there are many times I’ve not done the right thing, and I fear there might be a time in the future where I will not do the right thing. I can only hope that my transgressions will be met with compassion and forgiveness. So, I will try to pay it forward.

And finally…I hate to say it, but sometimes people are just assholes. Sometimes they aren’t but for whatever reason, we don’t click. And occasionally, gulp, they think WE are the asshole. Right? I know. But it happens. And when that is the case, it’s not our job to fix or expose them, to change, convince or befriend them. We can simply to wish them well and move on.

Isn’t that liberating? I hope so. Keep on keeping on, my friend. We are all works in progress.

xoxo

Moms, Friends, and Mom Friends

In order for my husband to take a great job opportunity, we moved our little family to a new community at the beginning of the school year. We feel it’s an idyllic place to raise a family, but unfortunately it’s about 100 miles away from our former home. We have two school-aged children and a toddler. My school-aged children have adapted well and are doing great in school. My husband is so happy at his new job. I should be overjoyed because all I’ve ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom–which I am now–but I’m feeling kind of lonely and isolated as I don’t have any friends here. I had friends in our old community, but most of them were friends I’d grown up with and people I worked with. How do you make “mom” friends and can they become “real” friends?

Hi honey! Congratulations, it sounds as if you have lots of fun and exciting things going on in your life. However, it also sounds as if you’re in the middle of a lot of transitions physically as well as emotionally. Full disclosure: I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I became a stay-at-home mom, even though it was something I’d always wanted. And being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler can be lonely and isolating as they demand so much attention and depending on his/her age, sometimes they aren’t particularly portable.

The good thing about having school-aged children as well is that you’ve got an “in” to meet other moms. Are your kids involved in sports? Some of my best friends now are other moms I met sitting next to night after night at the baseball field and/or in gymnastics classes.

It is intimidating to enter any new situation. It can feel like everyone already has established groups of friends, and there’s no place for you. But I promise you, that’s probably self-doubt working overtime. Unless you are not a nice person–and you sound like a very nice person–people will want to be friends with you.

What about your kids? You probably gave them a similar kind of pep talk when they changed schools, right? Have they made friends? Do they want to have play dates? Again, some of my very best friends are my kids’ friends’ moms.

I’m an introvert too, and here’s what I’ve found: It’s easier one-on-one. If you can find one person who is open and friendly and established in your new community, try to strike up a conversation. Find common ground. Most people love to talk about themselves. Most people love to talk about their children even more.

Having one good friend to talk to will help alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation you feel. Let me know how it goes!!

xoxo

 

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉