We Do Not Own A Bar.

Yesterday afternoon Robbie texted me something called “23 Brunch Recipes To Knock Your Socks Off.” He asked me two different times if I’d had a chance to look at it, and I just shrugged him off.

This morning he mentioned it again and, fueled by my coffee, I proceeded to explain that NO, I had not looked at it, because why should I go to all the trouble of making Nutella and Bacon-Stuffed French Toast? The kids never eat anything I cook, and half of the time you don’t either because YOU ARE SO DAMN PICKY and I have never in my life experienced a grown man who wrinkles his nose at nuts in banana bread.

Once I got going, I couldn’t stop. I ranted on and on about how at the beginning of our marriage I was so gung-ho about cooking for my husband and while I tried to work around his absurd pickiness it seemed like I always fell short — the man much preferred McDonald’s over whatever I cooked at home. Sometimes I make things that aren’t fantastic, obviously, but most of the time everyone else eats it so it can’t be that bad. One Christmas I made, from scratch, a huge chocolate cake from a Southern Living recipe and brought it to our family gathering. Robbie was the only one who didn’t even want to taste it. I recall my grandpa being aghast. I just shrugged and said “He’s picky,” but really and truly, it hurt my feelings.

I don’t know why I chose this particular situation to air my frustrations over almost 9 years of trying to feed a man who won’t eat anything that doesn’t come from a box. But I did. And even as it was happening I thought, I need to shut up. But I didn’t.

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A few hours later I chatted with one of my gym friends after our class. Her three children are grown now, and one is dating a boy she really likes. “I don’t want to get too attached to him,” she said. I nodded in understanding before telling her my mom tried hard not to get attached to my boyfriends after I had a really bad breakup. But then I went on to say that when she met Robbie, she really liked him even though my dad couldn’t STAND HIM for at least the first year.

She laughed and asked me why. Oh … let’s see. Probably because the first time he met my parents was when they popped in at my apartment at 7 a.m. to hang blinds and I was like, “Oh, hi, you were supposed to call first. Mama, Daddy, meet Robbie.” And once it became apparent that he was sticking around for awhile, they took us to dinner and my father asked him “What do you want to do with your life?” And he answered, “I’d like to own a bar.”

But here we are, 9 years and 3 kids later and still married. Robbie and my dad work together now. We do not own a bar. My friend cracked up before saying to me: “Love your husband. Love your kids. You’re doing something right — you just keep doing it. ”

So Robbie, I’ll keep trying to cook for you if you agree to keep trying to eat it. But I draw the line at Pancake Fried Sausage Patties.

Stuffin’.

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Joan Rivers died this week, and that makes me sad. I was never sure exactly what I thought of her — she seemed too snarky to be someone I’d enjoy in person, like maybe she was a toxic kind of hilarious — but after watching her on Celebrity Apprentice a few years ago I decided she was awesome. She was 75 years old, smart, energetic, and crazy as hell. In other words, right up my alley.

Laughing saves me, and I know that God gave me funny kids because He knew I’d need the laughs. The past few weeks have been difficult and I don’t know when or if I will write about it here, but I have to at least acknowledge that I’ve been stuck in a bad place. This blog used to be my confessional, where I’d say whatever I wanted to and it didn’t matter because only 27 people read it. But now more people read it, which is awesome and terrifying all at once, and I’m slowly realizing that what I say does matter.

I’m trying to be responsible. Sometimes (read: all the time) that’s a real drag.

This week I cried in an exercise class. It was totally embarrassing, but I just went with it. I used to be a stoic kind of person and now I cry all over town. My friend Donna said she often cries during massages because the “emotions get released.” As a mom, I spend my entire day keeping my emotions in check, so the moment I don’t have to keep them in check for whatever reason, the floodgates open and I can’t shut them back. Basically? Crazy comes to town.

It’s like the time I kept myself in check for several months straight and then my husband made me so mad that I literally threw four loads of laundry all over the house before driving around at 11 p.m. in my p.j.’s sobbing like a lunatic. I kept thinking that I would love to get pulled over just so I could yell at someone else. Then maybe I’d get put in jail, and Robbie Hobbs would have to come pick up his puffy-faced, pajama-clad wife. Bet that would teach him.

I don’t know about you, but women who cry all the time freak me out a little. And hi, it seems I’m one of them now. It’s okay if you need to sneak away. But I’ve come to realize that the reason why a lot of moms are crazy is because they operate under an insane amount of pressure all the time and they can’t ever say or do what they really want to say or do because they have children present. It’s a thing, people.

The point of all this is that after I hit rock bottom of my emotional pit this week and finally started to come back up, I was reminded that life really is short and unpredictable. It is my intent to enjoy each day as much as I can with the people I love the most, because no one knows what tomorrow holds. I will try to love everyone around me right where they are because while I may not be able to change them, I can love the STUFFIN’ OUT OF THEM. Just like how they love the stuffin’ out of me.

Gospel Music.

A few weeks ago, I went to my parent’s house to pick something up. I didn’t have the kids with me — it was just me and my mom. After I was done loading up the van, I plunked down on the couch to chat for a minute.

She seemed on edge, taking lots of deep breaths, which made me on edge. Finally, she said, “There’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.” The way she said it made me nervous, like I was in trouble. Had I said bullshit too many times on my blog? I don’t talk like that in person — she should be proud. Was she going to try to talk to me about the kid’s moral character, or how Maverick knows too much about anatomy? My mind was spinning, and I tried to brace myself for whatever was about to happen.

I need you to just keep an open mind about what I’m going to say,” She said. “This has really been weighing on me for a long time.”

I squirmed in my seat.

She took a deep breath. I waited.

I really feel like Maverick needs to be involved in Southern Gospel music.”

I made the sound I make when I am trying to be polite and NOT laugh. I did what she asked and I heard her out. She explained her reasoning, how much research she had done on the subject, and where the closest school was for learning such a musical skill (Pass Christian, Mississippi, just so you know).

Later on, I pointed out how weird that was and what a shame it is that I can’t talk about all the things I go through with my parents and my in-laws that are just FUNNY. I don’t want to poke fun at them because they are my elders and they are all wonderful, but wow, have I got some stories.

She suggested that I could still share the stories, but change everyone’s names. You know, like Jane and John and the neighbor lady, Patrice. I explained that is something I just can’t do. It takes too much energy to dream up names for my characters and then pretend I’m not talking about my own mother. I’d give up halfway through and just say the hell with it, I AM JANE AND PATRICE IS MY MOTHER. MY MOTHER WHOSE REAL NAME IS ESTHER SAT ME DOWN TO TELL ME MY 5-YEAR-OLD NEEDS TO BE A GOSPEL SINGER.

(Disclaimer: I would totally support Maverick if he wanted to sing gospel music. I also got my mother’s permission to share this story.)

Do we look like the kind of people who have the time to fabricate elaborate stories? Count how many kids you see in this picture.

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This is us, in our too-small kitchen.

When my Scary Mommy piece was published on Friday, traffic to this blog shot to unprecedented numbers. It blew my mind, actually; the entire experience was out-of-body. It was exciting and humbling, and inspired me to keep going — to write more, to continue to aim high. But I have always felt disappointed when I found a really cool blog and then the writer starts getting more and more traffic and then they start writing more and more sponsored posts (not that I wouldn’t do that — I totally would) and seem like they are censoring what they say out of fear that they will offend someone.

If NOT letting that happen here means I never find my way to the big time, so be it. I am a terrible liar, as illustrated above. If I tried to make my life seem glossy, or my kitchen seem spacious or my parents (who I try not to talk about here) seem boring and normal, it wouldn’t work.

Just like if I said my “friend’s” father-in-law is a kind-hearted ghost hunter, you’d totally know I was talking about my own father-in-law.