My Un-Apology.

I have so much to say.

So many unfinished drafts. Thoughts that are still half-formed, nonsensical blobs, because it’s Summer, and I grab my time in 10-minute increments — writing or brushing my teeth or responding to emails furiously because I know that at any moment, someone is going to head butt someone else and I will have to drop whatever I’m doing to attend to the blood-curdling wails.

Writers require time and space. I have neither of those things.

BUT.

Because I have so much to say, I make the most of what I have to work with. It’s not pretty. I yell a lot. But when you want something bad enough, you find a way to make it happen. I can’t not parent, and I can’t not write, just like I also can’t not clean the kitchen after every meal.

I’m sort of sick of apologizing.

I won’t anymore. Writing is my un-apology.

If you read my work, I hope it’s because you enjoy it and are not looking for meekness or backpedaling for being real. You won’t find that here. Women do enough of that. I DO ENOUGH OF THAT. Let’s all make a promise to each other to stop saying sorry for being true, raw, honest human beings.

Today, my true, raw, honesty is that I enrolled my 2-year-old in preschool for the Fall because I made the decision that I can be a mother and also a person who pursues her wildest dreams, all at the same time.

I realized I was hanging around waiting for someone to give me permission.

I was waiting for someone — specifically my husband — to take me by the shoulders and say “YOU NEED TO PUT OUR KIDS IN SCHOOL SO YOU CAN WRITE ESSAYS AND SELL THEM AND PAY FOR THEIR TUITION AND MAYBE ALSO GET YOUR NAILS DONE.”

But you know what? No one is going to do that. Not even Robbie Hobbs, who we all love dearly because he is hilarious and endlessly supportive.

I took myself by the shoulders, looked myself in the eye, and told myself it was time.

And you know what happened next?

I didn’t apologize.

Victory!I’m elated.

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Liberation Feels A Lot Like Newly-Done Nails.

Liberation feels damn good.Today was typical, and by “typical” I mean that I was ready to pour myself a glass of wine at 3 p.m.

I resisted.

Today I took all three children to a sporting goods store to buy a floatation device and new Crocs — for my kids, not for me, just to be clear.

The sky was almost black when we pulled into the parking lot, and as I sat there staring out the window, muttering why does it rain every effing time I leave the house, Maverick yelled “WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY, MOMMY? WHY DOES IT RAIN? BECAUSE THE CLOUDS ARE FULL FROM EVAPORATED WATER, MOMMY. HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT?!” as he unbuckled himself and climbed into the second row of the van, stepping on his little brother … who was pulling on his little sister’s leg and making her cry.

Lightning struck in the distance, and I made the decision to just go for it, hurrying them all inside before the rain began to fall. I hit the checkout stands first for snacks — Mini Oreos, of course, because oh how far the uptight health freak hath fallen.

So, so far.

My day was typical until Robbie walked through the door at 5:45 p.m. and I said, I know it reeks of wine in here, but it’s not because I drank it, it’s because I spilled it all over the place. It’s a long story. I’ll be back in an hour. Dinner’s on the stove. Love you.

And I left.

I drove to the nearest nail salon and spent the next hour getting my toenails and fingernails painted and my tired arms and legs massaged. I haven’t had a manicure in 18 months.

I paid for this luxury out of an account holding money that I have earned by selling essays and copies of I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. For the first time since I quit my job almost 4 years ago to stay at home with the kids, I feel like I can maybe get my nails done sometimes without first looking at the family budget.

And that is why this day is so momentous for me.

I earned the money by doing what I love. I love being a wife and a mother. I love being lots of things. But I am driven to write, and I have continued to feed that drive by staying up late, waking up early, and carrying a notebook around with me to jot down things like “CAT scan of lungs” that will jog my memory later.

One day I will look back on this day and remember what liberation felt like.

It feels like Pink Flamenco OPI Nail Lacquer.

It feels like giddy pride.

It feels like if anyone messes up my nails, I’m going to inflict bodily harm.

It feels like I worked really hard and I am actually making progress towards an unknown goal with really pretty fingers.

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That’s right.

(If you liked this post, then you NEED to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!)

What It Means To Be Seen.

I have struggled with other people’s assumptions my entire life.

I remember being in the principal’s office at the public school we were zoned for when we lived in the country, and her leaning in and asking me “Are you an only child?”

I was in her office because a boy had run up to me and grabbed me between my legs when our Spanish teacher was out of the room. I was so embarrassed — it had been a dare, I think, from the way his friends were laughing — and would never have spoken a word about it to our teacher. But my friend was appalled and dragged me to the principal and now there I was, sitting in front of her, mortified and sweating and wishing I wouldn’t have let my friend shove me into her office.

“Are you an only child?” She asked me again.

“Yes.”

“Well, that explains it. You’re probably spoiled.”

The number of siblings I did or did not have had nothing to do with the fact that I was minding my own business, sitting on a windowsill talking about whatever 5th grade girls talk about, when someone shoved his hand in a place it never should have gone. But I was a white girl who was dressed nicely and got good grades, and now it was out that I was also an only child too, with parents who worked in the city.

HOW DARE I.

This is when my shame began: the apologetic feeling. The I’m sorry for being who I am. The let me work really hard to make you feel okay about dealing with me.

I have spent almost my entire life dealing with a compulsive need to prove to others that I’m not an airhead because I smile a lot. I’M JUST A HAPPY PERSON, DAMN IT.

I have worked tirelessly for far too long to prove that I’m not bitchy because I’m a confident woman, that I’m not racist because I happen to be white, that I’m not closed-minded because I was raised in a Conservative Christian bubble, and that I’m not judgy because my house is clean.

I’ve spent my life feeling afraid of offending others with my presence, even when they were the ones offending me.

Fuck. That. Noise.

I don’t want to apologize anymore and I don’t feel like I have to, because I have experienced the elation of being immersed in a situation where everyone is just as screwed up and weird and talented as I am and it was AMAZING. It was such a moving experience to go to the Blog U Conference last weekend and feel completely accepted into a group of people who are not at all like me, but yet somehow completely like me.

We swept the Notre Dame of Maryland University campus with a quirky, maladjusted wave of awesomeness. The nuns probably all rolled over in their graves or crossed their chests or something.

I can’t wait to go back.

Somehow these people who I have never met in real life know and understand me better than people who have known me for 35 years. I don’t know how or why and I don’t understand any of it, but apparently this is what it feels like when you find your people.

This is what it feels like to not have to explain or apologize for being yourself.

This is what it feels like to be seen.

Being seen for who you are.

Before the “Middle School To The Max” party.

I never would have had this experience without the support of my amazing husband, who raised the funds for me to go, and without the support of my bomb ass friends and family who keep pushing me, reading my work, encouraging me and telling me I need to shut up and stop apologizing for the love of holy hot dog buns.

Go find your people.

It is so, so worth the wait.

(If you liked this post, then you NEED to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!)

I’m A Liar (and other news).

A lot of other bloggers have a “newsletter” that you can subscribe to and they email them out every week or so. But I have an inbox full of newsletters that I haven’t read and probably never will, so I decided not to subject you people to a Modern Mommy Madness newsletter. It is just another thing that would cause me needless stress.

Instead, I started vlogging. I think we can all agree that this is a terrible idea, but I was cooped up in the house with two small children all last week and I did it out of BOREDOM.

I do a lot out of boredom. Like eat.

If you want to see the vlog fantastic, you’ll have to follow me on Facebook here until I master YouTube and/or figure out how to share the videos on my blog. I keep waiting for Robbie to gently tell me that it’s time to stop, but he hasn’t yet … which means I’m going to continue searing disheveled images of myself into the eyes of the internet.

In other news, I had another piece published on Scary Mommy — you can check it out here. Also, I sold 100 copies of “I Still Just Want To Pee Alone” in TEN DAYS. That was unexpected. I imagined that I would be sitting on a corner somewhere under a tent next to those people who sell area rugs with tiger faces on them.

I kept telling everyone I’m not a salesperson. I don’t sell things. I don’t know how to sell books! I guess I lied. If you want a copy, please drop me a line (modernmommymadness@gmail.com) and let me know! I’ll re-stock soon and start taking orders again once I’ve recovered.

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I had a super cute helper at the post office.

I took my youngest to the post office with me last weekend. She loudly sang “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” as a line of 12 scowly people waited for the clerk to process my box of books. Her little voice echoed throughout the building as the man next to us filed a complaint with a manager because “offensive material” is being delivered to his home. I tried to read the form as nonchalantly as possible without him noticing — WHAT KIND OF OFFENSIVE MATERIAL? — but the print was too small.

The other thing that happened this weekend was that I noticed my husband again after several days of forgetting he lives here. Nothing like seeing a big strong man carrying a sleeping child to make me sit up and take notice.

Well played, Robbie Hobbs.

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If you liked this post, then you will LOVE I Still Just Want To Pee Alone! Click here to find out more!

It’s Okay To Just Be Okay.

Sometimes people call me a “mommy blogger,” a term that makes my skin crawl ONLY because I get lumped together with women who claim to lead perfectly well-mannered lives with their perfectly well-mannered children.

You know, the very same women who shudder to be categorized with women like me.

It’s cool. I get it. “Mommy blogger” can mean a lot of things, which is why I prefer to simply think of myself as a writer who enjoys irreverent humor and the PBS show Peg + Cat because they do math at my (very basic) level.

Mom dating ad

It was interesting to note the people who sidled up to our table at the library on Saturday to get to know the “mommy bloggers,” presumably so we could partner together to repair this broken world.

I could see their wheels turning: Look at those sweet-faced mommy bloggers over there. I bet they would love nothing more than to pimp out my book and counseling services. Together, we can make a difference.

I hope they weren’t too disappointed when they got close enough to hear our riotous discussion of anal sex.

The thing is, I’m totally excited about making a difference in the world. I want to make it okay for moms to just be OKAY.

I have an obscene amount of trash in my van.

THAT IS OKAY.

I wear makeup even when I’m not going anywhere.

THAT IS OKAY.

I have an obsession with making sure my children have trimmed fingernails, but I refuse to clean baseboards.

THAT IS OKAY.

I love my husband and kids but not my thighs.

THAT IS OKAY.

I don’t want anyone to help or change me. I am fine just the way I am, and so are you. Sometimes the simple acknowledgement of needing nothing but acceptance is enough.

I mean … let’s not get carried away.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!)

Books Are In!

100 books arrived today. They smell divine … like trees. And hard work.

Interested in acquiring one?! OF COURSE YOU ARE! Read here for more information.

984307_10155650834920508_4183205641462227949_nMy three-year-old took this picture.

Bada Bing, Bada Boom.

My stockpile of “I Still Just Want To Pee Alone” will be here on April 7th and I would LOVE to sell each of you a personalized copy! I mean … if you want. No pressure, because I really, really dislike salespeople a lot. Yet somehow, in the greatest act of irony ever, I married one.

Allow me to explain. I dated a lot of boys before I met my now-husband. In fact, my love life was an absolute train wreck. If you want to hear more about that, you’ll have to buy the book. After a lot of failed relationships, I met Robbie and I am fairly certain he used his sales tactics on me — but because I am so annoyed by salesmen and their pushy ways, I called him on his bullshit.

That might be the moment that we fell in love, but enough about that — let’s get back to the book.

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I have been published in the sequel to the New York Times Bestseller I Just Want to Pee Alone with a slew of other talented writers.

No, it has still not sunken in.

No, I have not officially celebrated … unless you count drinking wine every night since the day I found out that my essay was selected for the book, in which case, yes. I have celebrated.

If you want to obtain a copy of this anthology for yourself or a loved one who is not bothered by irreverent humor, or even better, a new mother who needs her eyes opened to just how UN-perfect motherhood can be, I would be thrilled to send you a signed copy.

Email me at modernmommymadness@gmail.com with your name, address, and who you want the book dedicated to (if applicable). I’ll send you an invoice for $14.99, which includes shipping and handling. Once I receive payment, I’ll mail you the book! Bada-bing, bada-boom. That’s what a salesman would say.

If you are within the vicinity of Baton Rouge, I have events coming up and I would love to meet you! I’ll be sweaty and I apologize in advance. This stuff makes me nervous. Apparently even my kids know this, proven by the hand-written reminder to barf written right above the task to “order books.”

Yeah, I'll barf alright.

Yeah, I’ll barf alright.

And the answer is NO, I definitely did not make it to 8:30 Pilates or 9:30 Kickboxing.

If you don’t want a personalized copy (Hello — you really need one — what if I make the big time one day?! You’ll kick yourself later.), you can come back here to my blog and click the button on the sidebar that says “BUY THE BOOK!” absolutely any time you want.

I just want to say again how grateful I am to everyone for your encouragement and support. I have, hands down, the BEST group of readers. I have no idea where all this is headed and I am equal parts thrilled and terrified. All aboard the crazy train, bitches!

Courage Is Being Scared To Death.

BIG WEEK HAPPENING OVER HERE.

First of all, I did a podcast interview about 6 weeks ago (remember that?) and it’s now live and available for listening to!

Yikes. All the yikes.

I was in the middle of Target yesterday when I got the notification that it was live. From now on, I need to leave my phone off when I run errands because otherwise I’m just a hot fucking mess. The shopping cart came to an abrupt halt in the middle of an aisle and while my toddler screeched “OUT!!!!!” I frantically texted my husband to please listen to my podcast and tell me immediately how idiotic I sound.

You sounded nervous but it’s fine, he replied.

Then I took this picture of myself fearfully gripping a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, because I thought later on I might want to see what I looked like on the Day That My Podcast Interview Went Live.

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Terrified in Target.

I look terrified.

I was. I am.

Even though I love doing this stuff, it’s still scary as hell. Apparently this is all a normal reaction on my part and it will continue to get easier as I become accustomed to the ways of Following Your Dreams. At least, that’s what they tell me. And I’m not going to let a little fear get in the way of me doing something. If that was the case, I would never do ANYTHING.

You can find the interview here, but beware — it’s 32 minutes of me talking, and because I was so worried about people not being able to understand me if I jabbered too Southerny or too fast, I overcompensated and talked too slowly and basically sounded like I was high as a kite (I wasn’t. Sadly.).

Second … guess what tomorrow is?!

BOOK RELEASE DAY!

11079547_433655656794354_4695438212564475753_nI am excited and anxious and I can’t sleep and I’m eating all the wrong things.

I’ll post again soon and give you all the details on where you can find the book. In the meantime, let’s all hold hands and quote John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Right?

RIGHT.

My Best Half.

My marriage is not perfect.

As much as I would love to think of myself as the perfect wife, I’m not. At all. I have high standards. I’m demanding. My expectations are lofty — not just of my husband, but also of my children.

Sometimes Robbie will tell me that he feels like nothing is ever good enough for me, and he’s right. Nothing is. I always want more, because I am a goal-oriented person. I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat who wants to climb because I enjoy it and I don’t have time for your whining or lollygagging so either get on board or get out of my way.

Yeah. That.

I expect my sons to open doors and say “yes ma’am” and carry their Fiestaware dishes to the sink. Yes, my kids eat on real dishes. I expect them to follow directions and behave in public and say “thank you” and “please” because manners get you farther in life than just being smart. I expect them to follow directions and I expect to be respected because I am their mother and I deserve it.

I expect my husband to be able to fix things and keep up with the yard and be emotionally present and provide for our family. I expect him to listen and communicate and deal with the kids at the end of the day when I just can’t anymore. I expect him to be serious and funny and my partner in all things.

I expect a lot.

My expectations can be difficult to live with, but I give a lot in return and I am more demanding of myself than I am of anyone else. It will be a lifelong process for me to inch slowly toward Robbie’s end of the spectrum, where nothing is a big deal, as he inches slowly towards my side, where everything is urgent. We are truly yin and yang, which on a good day means we bring out the best in each other … and on a bad day, I want to claw his eyes out.

He does things like buy me stress-relieving water. Want to know why I was stressed? Because he was taking too long in the store. I could see him in there, wandering around. What the hell is taking him so long?! We need to GO!

He was hunting for the perfect beverage for his wife, that’s what he was doing.

10801931_10155098744040508_622468002666916761_nSidenote: the water didn’t relieve my stress.

The thing about our relationship is the love that overarches all of the differences between us. I could have married someone else and been happy. Maybe. But I have never and will never love anyone like I love Robbie Hobbs, and that is the thing that grounds me in our marriage. That is the thing that makes everything else make sense.

And then, from time to time, Robbie does something startling that reminds me just how lucky I am.

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In the blogging world, there are conferences that writers attend to learn how to be a success — whether that means learning how to make money through blogging, or how to go from blogging to authoring an actual book. I kept hearing about one conference in particular, BlogU, that I really wanted to attend. It’s supposed to be the best, and I think we all know how I feel about things that are the best. Why waste time doing something that is only marginally passable, when I can aim for THE BEST?

So back to the conference, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy will be there. Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat will be there. A ton of writers I am obsessed with will be there. I wanted to go so badly, tears would well up every time I thought about it.

I talked about it for months. Robbie wanted me to go, but we just don’t have the money for a trip like that. The airfare alone was ridiculous, and we are a one-income family of five. I felt guilty for wanting to go, but I’m a mountain goat. I can’t help myself. I WANT TO CLIMB.

I began looking into corporate sponsorships and devised a plan of action. When I sat Robbie down and presented it to him, he was on board … but quiet. Finally he said, “I think this is a solid plan, but you don’t have enough time to make it happen. I just don’t want to see you stressing out over anything extra. I’m going to figure something out.”

Then he stood up, and he took action. He set up a Go Fund Me. (You can view it here, it’s really cute.)

I cringed — hard — when he showed me his plan. I loathe crowd funding, and I dislike feeling like a charity case, but it was a huge success. People genuinely wanted to help. I feel really humbled by it (mostly because, if I’m honest, it really bothers me that I couldn’t afford to go on my own, without asking for help), and grateful to him because he knew I would miss out otherwise.

We had all of the money within one week.

So yes, I have high standards.

And that is why I married Robbie Hobbs.

Before we had children.

Before we had children.