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

This is Supposed to be Fun?

Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short. I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.

Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to you. I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.

I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.

You’re not alone, friend. I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with so many great moms because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.

Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say, “You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.

We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.

If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.

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 😉

 

Happy New Year, honey

“How are you always so happy?”

Those who know me really well, my  husband for instance, are saying, “She’s not. She’s a damned mess 75% of the time.” And that’s the truth. I’m not always happy. I try to put on a happy face. I try to be happy. But sometimes, I’m not. You can read all about my malaise…my dark place on Adventures in Overthinking.

I try not to overthink here. Or give advice.

But here’s my answer: I’m not always so happy. I try to put stuff in perspective. Count my blessings, cliche as it sounds. Remind myself that whatever unpleasantness I’m experiencing is temporary. Shift my focus to something that makes me smile. Meditate. Do yoga.

And sometimes I take to my bed. Cry. Throw tantrums. Feel sorry for myself. Eat a bunch of shit. Drink too many beers.

No one’s always so happy, my friend, please don’t hold yourself up to a false standard. We’re all struggling in different ways, and if someone seems to have a perfect life, you can bet under the surface they’re paddling like mad to make that way. Or to make it appear that way to themselves or others. Good for them. We’re all in this together. Your success is mine. My happiness is yours. Let’s do a better job of cheering each other on in 2017!

Wanna chat? Great! send an email to: hihoney.jfz@gmail.com