Diagnosis: Mother.

Today I realized that my 3-year-old isn’t as attached to his special blanket anymore. I realized that I have never rocked my 21-month-old to sleep, because she is the third child and in this house, the third child gets a bedtime kiss and dumped into her crib without ceremony.

Now that my oldest eschews rocking and my middle only lets me do it sometimes, I WANT TO ROCK SOMEONE BEFORE BED, DAMN IT.

Motherhood makes me feel like a crazy person. In fact, I am a crazy person.

To prove my point, I have created a visual aid using a family picture of us from October 2012, two months after The Great Negotiation.

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Because everything about this picture screams “WE NEED MORE CHILDREN!”

What’s The Great Negotiation? That was the time I spent months trying to convince my poor husband that I wasn’t done having children and we needed more, despite the fact that we were struggling on one income and had two very challenging boys — one of whom was not quite a year old. I felt like we totally needed to throw one more baby into the mix. That made sense to me.

This is how I know that mothers have something deeply, psychologically wrong with them.

The Great Negotiation took place during date night at Outback Steakhouse. My husband eventually wore down and said “FINE. But I have to get a vasectomy before the baby is born.” And I said, “FINE. I’m ordering a beer.”

Less than a year later, our daughter was born.

Less than a year after that, I regretted allowing the vasectomy. Because I have a mental illness.

It’s called Mother.

Get A Proper Bra Fitting (and other wise words).

My Dearest Daughter,

One day you will be old enough to find a computer and Google me or yourself and maybe you’ll find this list of things that I want you to know.

I guess I could write them on a real piece of paper and put it in the top of my closet with your brother’s baby teeth and the shard of glass that I pulled from your other brother’s butt cheek, but I think we both know that it would get forgotten up there. Or lost.

I’m sorry I’m not the normal kind of mother who makes baby books and writes things down on paper, and I hope that when you read this, if ever, you choose to apply it to your life instead of freaking out because OMG MY MOTHER IS SO WEIRD. Please don’t rebel and post half-naked selfies on the internet. That is not advisable.

Just … don’t.

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Things I Want My Daughter To Know:

It’s important to act like a lady, but some situations warrant unladylike behavior. If you’re going to act like a crazy bitch, make it count. When the deed is done, fix your hair, reapply your lipstick, and carry on.

You’re beautiful. Make the most of what you’ve got. But also? Your behavior and your words will make or break you. Spend just enough time on your appearance to make you feel confident, and spend the rest of your time being the kind of person that others want to be around.

Be real. I want so much for you to be comfortable enough with who you are to actually be yourself all of the time. That person rocks. Don’t try to hide her.

Other women will try to tear you apart. I want you to carefully select girlfriends who will lift you up and support you. Pick friends who GET YOU. Band together with people who make you laugh so hard you cry happy tears, and who will also cry sad tears with you when appropriate. If you have friends like that, it won’t hurt as much when the haters hate.

Haters are gonna hate. One day you’ll stop caring. Until that day comes, it hurts.

You don’t owe anyone anything. If anyone touches you in a way that you don’t like, don’t just sit there and allow it to happen. This is when unladylike behavior is warranted. Cut ’em.

You’re going to be underestimated. It’s hereditary. I hope that you focus more on the high that comes from surprising people with your intelligence, than the temporary attention you’ll get from being a pretty girl. Anyone can be a pretty girl. No one can be YOU.

Your father and brothers are going to make it very hard for you to date. I’m sorry about that, but hopefully the boy who manages to impress those three will be worthy of your time and affection.

If you find a boy you like, then date him. You don’t have to marry him. Even if he asks you to.

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You come from a long line of strong women. I expect you to uphold your heritage by finding yourself, settling in, and being true to yourself no matter what life throws at you.

Don’t have sex until you’re ready to have babies. Don’t have babies until you’re with the man you want to father them. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t stop educating yourself until you’re employable. Yes, I wrote all of in that bold. Take heed.

Even if you’re terrible at it, do something. Eventually you will find the right thing, the thing that makes you happy. The thing you’re not terrible at.

If you don’t like your situation, CHANGE IT.

And finally, go get a proper bra fitting. It’s well worth the extra time and money. And it’s amazing what proper undergarments can do.

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Advice To Underclassmen

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Straight from my high school yearbook.

Recently, I came across my high school yearbooks. There I am, in all of my overachieving glory.

My parents were lucky. I was a good kid. The stuff that got me into trouble was not drugs or teen pregnancy … it was doing things like spending my Friday night tying all of the doors in the girl’s dorm shut with ropes made of panty hose so no one could get out the next morning. I lived in a dormitory during high school, which is another story for another day, and suffice it to say that those types of activities were frowned upon.

Other things that were frowned upon:

1. Secular activities

2. Unnatural-looking makeup (I didn’t know how to make the most of my appearance until well after high school)

3. Dancing

4. General worldliness

5. Immodesty

Now, I don’t know how you feel when you think about your high school years, but my feelings can’t be felt at all due to the extreme level of cringe taking place. It wasn’t all bad, but there are a variety of reasons why I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about that time in my life. Again, another story for another day.

My Advice to Underclassmen states, “If you feel like screaming, don’t.” In the spring of 1998, the entire population of the girl’s dorm had to spend a Sunday afternoon sitting in the Chapel. I can’t remember the details, but I remember that someone had done something (it was not me) and the Girl’s Dean wanted to know who. She instructed us not to say a word while we were in there.

Not a word.

I was 18 years old, graduation was approaching, and it had been a long 4 years. I was tired of not being allowed to kiss my boyfriend or wear whatever I wanted. I was tired of hiding my good music in the ceiling of my dorm room. I was tired mostly because by this point, it was becoming very hard for me to find new ways to have fun without getting expelled.

Maybe it was that I had a feeling deep inside that there was a life for me outside of this that would involve lattes, wine, and secular activities … or maybe I was just sick of sitting on the hard pew bench … but regardless of the reason, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I TOTALLY SNAPPED.

I waited until our dean turned and left the room, and I screamed the absolute loudest scream of my life … second only to the medication-free birth of Asher in 2011.

I remember her talking to me in her office later, and I swear she was trying not to laugh. Dean Griffin, I put you through a lot and I’m sorry. But I never, ever did drugs, caught anything on fire, or had sex in your dormitory.

Most of us spend our days repressing what we really want to say or do, because we are wives and mothers or simply trying to be polite members of society. Self-restraint is a virtue, and I try to set a good example for my children by being polite and gracious, even when I don’t want to be. I’ve met people who read my blog and they seem surprised to find out that I am actually a very calm, kind, polite person.

That’s because if I went around doing and saying whatever the hell I wanted, I would be a miserable person because no one would ever want to be around me … and then I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

If I were in a yearbook now, which would presumably be comprised of mothers who are frantically trying to keep it together, my advice would read: “If you feel like screaming, YOU TOTALLY SHOULD. It’s going to eventually come out, one way or another.”

Real Pants.

Located at www.someecards.com. Because I don't want to get sued.

Located at http://www.someecards.com. Because I don’t want to get sued.

Yesterday, I invited some people over and I thought, you know, maybe I should put on some real pants.

A lady at the gym asked me today what I mean when I say “real” pants. “Aren’t all pants real?” she asked.

Um … no.

“Real pants” are pants that do not contain any stretchy ingredient such as lycra. They don’t have any give. They must be worn a minimum of 6 hours before they fit comfortably, and you fear washing them because they might shrink.

The final and most important characteristic of real pants is that they contain a button closure and a zipper. That is the part that can really just make life suck. I think you know what I mean.

Pajama pants, yoga pants, leggings, tights and adult-sized onesies: these all qualify as not-real pants. They also happen to be what I have been wearing as pants for the past 2 months as I ate my way through the holidays, so you can imagine my disdain today when I pulled out a pair of real pants today and couldn’t button them.

I sadly pulled my tired, old, not-real pants back on until further notice and resolved to eat less and bitch more. Because hungry people are bitchy, yes?

We’ll try the real-pants thing again in a month.

The Best Of Me.

Yesterday, during an entirely-too-long road trip to Florence, MS, when Taylor Swift came on the radio and I started belting out the lyrics to “Blank Space,” I realized two things.

1. That song is not about Starbucks.

2. My children know me better than anyone else.

I’m not a shy person, but I’m admittedly prim and proper. It’s not on purpose, it’s just how I was raised — Southern and conservative. Minus the monogramming, because my mom wasn’t into it. I grew up in a church that frowns upon dancing, which means that as a 30-something adult I look like a complete idiot in my Zumba classes. I still haven’t learned how to shake my upper body, but don’t you worry, I’ll keep plugging away at it.

The side of me that my kids see is the side that belts out “YOU KNOW I LOVE THE PLAYERS, AND YOU LOVE THE GAME!” Yeah, I’m off-key, but who cares?

This is the side that makes ridiculous noises, chases them wildly around the house, hops on one foot through the kitchen and slides in socks down the hallway. Their mother is a non-makeuped, disheveled woman in mismatched lounge wear who is always teetering on the edge of insanity, but in a fun way. Unless she’s mad … which is no fun for anyone, because then she is non-makeuped woman in mismatched lounge wear who is parking asses in time out.

I have always worried that my kids get the worst of me because I seem to bumble through life in perpetual exhaustion. Tiredness is the basic truth of motherhood, right after unconditional love. It sucks the wind and the life right out of me and turns me into an impatient, rough-looking “momster” who sighs a lot.

In my non-mom life, I don’t belt out songs in front of other people unless I’ve been drinking, and I don’t dance unless I’m in Zumba. This realization disappoints me, because the side of me that doesn’t give a rat’s ass — that’s the side of me that comes out in my writing — is my best, most interesting side. That girl is a good time, and even my husband rarely sees her.

So maybe the side of me that the kids see really is my best side, even when I have been in pajamas all day, carrying a mug of cold coffee and yelling “FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR PENIS!”

Maybe the truth is, they don’t always get the worst of me.

Maybe they get the best of me, too.

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A Lode Of Honesty.

Oh, boy.

Let me preface this by saying, please don’t go any further if you are my mother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law (oops, too late) or anyone else who may be offended by inappropriate language and/or knowing about my naked body. Although, if that is the case, is this really the website for you?

(It is not.)

But for everyone else, HI! THIS IS A REALLY BIG DAY FOR ME! One of my essays got published on Mamalode, and I’m super proud of myself — but also cringing a little on the inside. If you read it, you’ll see why.

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Some people have asked me, “Why are you writing such personal things?” Well … I really don’t know. I have a deep well of stories that just need to come out. I don’t really put a lot of thought into the why, I just know what I must do, and what I must do is write. I have so many things to tell. So, so many.

Just wait.

(Want to read my essay? Click here to check it out!)

Just Shut Up & Hold My Hand.

This morning I totally lost my temper in a crazy kind of way that I’d like to just pretend never happened.

Watch out

Sometimes … a lot of times … everything just bubbles up and it’s all too much. Women carry around a lot of things, you know. Robbie has learned not to say “Why are you so stressed out?” because he knows I’ll sit him down in a chair and TELL HIM WHY.

That terrifies my husband, the idea of being held captive as all the worries rain down upon him. It’s not because he is emotionally incapable of listening, or can’t handle being there for me. It’s because he can’t fix any of my problems. He can’t make Thanksgiving go away. He can’t make our kids sleep or travel well. He can’t make my hormones level out.

He can’t bake the cookies we’re supposed to bring to Alabama on Wednesday, because he knows they wouldn’t turn out right. He can’t fix the bathroom light or deal with the yard right now, because he needs to be at work. He can’t stop tracking dirt through the house, because THAT IS WHAT HE MUST DO.

He can’t guarantee that we will win the lottery or that I won’t scar our children for life or that they will maintain their virginity until they are very mature adults. Robbie can’t do anything except love me and tell me it’s going to be okay, even though both of us know that he doesn’t know that for certain. We hope it will be okay. We hope things will work out. We hope no one breaks an arm or floods the house.

All married people can do, I’ve realized, is hold hands and face life together with hope.

So far, it’s working out okay.

All About That Bass.

I am so over the self-hate. SO OVER IT.

My body is not perfect. It will never be perfect. I’ve had three children, and I wasn’t exactly bikini-ready before I starting having them. Honestly it’s surprising to me that I can fit into some of the outdated fashions of my pre-pregnancy years, but the clothes don’t look the same. I have to stuff my muffin top down and hoist the girls up and some things don’t zip. Which is fine, because if I wore that thing from 2005 I would look like a mom who just managed to squeeze herself back into her favorite pair of wide-legged jeans, and is that really a good look? I submit no.

I’m active. I can chase kids down. I can pick them up. I can load and unload children, laundry, and groceries. In ways I’m fairly certain that I’m stronger now than I have ever been.

I exercise because it makes me feel better — because when I don’t do it, I start feeling like I need to be medicated. I can drop my kids off for two hours at the gym nursery and be alone with my thoughts in a brightly-lit gym with clanking weights and sweaty strangers, and for now, that’s enough.

Recently I stripped down and informed Robbie to take a good long look, because short of spending a large portion of my day consumed with diet and exercise (unwilling) or getting plastic surgery (unable), it’s not going to get any better than THIS RIGHT HERE. 

I was half-drunk when I made this proclamation and also half-kidding, but it was so empowering that I’ve been telling all my girlfriends they should do it. Like, today. Not when they lose 5 more pounds. Not when their period is over and they aren’t so bloated.

TODAY.

To my surprise (Which kind of makes me sad, because why is it so surprising?) my husband is more than happy with THIS. And then I had this thought: Maybe if I strip down every single day from now until we’re 65, he won’t notice the subtle changes. Maybe he will think I look exactly the same as I did in my early twenties.

Maybe I, along with every musician who ever sang about big butts, am an effing genius.

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source: amazon.com

Today’s Dose.

You know what this world is lacking? Authenticity. So I’m going to put out some unapologetic honesty in the hopes that it will counteract all the people who are trying to be something that they aren’t. I’m a big believer in balance. You take a vitamin, you eat a cookie. You drink a beer, you drink some water. You eat cake, you go for a walk.

The Earth is full of women who are not willing to be authentic, and as a result, almost all of us are lonely. The authentic ones have trouble finding other authentic ones, and the ones who are faking it just end up with a bunch of other equally fake friends. Womanhood can be incredibly isolating, which is why the handful of friends I’ve got who really know and understand me are stuck with me forever.

Why is it so hard for people to just speak the truth? It really will set you free. Tell you what, I’ll start: Potty training is hell and I’m so thankful for mommy amnesia because eventually I’ll forget how much it sucked. Today I had Doritos for breakfast and M&M’s for lunch. I want to yell “What the FUCK?!” at least twice per day, but I don’t. It’s going to happen one of these days because I feel like I’m surrounded by crazy people. I already feel terrible about it and it hasn’t even happened yet.

Sometimes I am really annoyed that I don’t get paid for being a stay-at-home mom. My job is hard. All I want is a paycheck so I can buy myself a plane ticket and go somewhere … because I’d like that.

I don’t believe anything they say on the Fox News Channel.

I smear Vaseline on everything. Like my face.

This weekend I tried to sell two stacks of old jeans at Plato’s Closet and they said they were too outdated. I took them to Style Encore which is similar, but geared toward women in their mid-twenties to mid-fifties, and they said my jeans were too outdated.

What the fuck.

This is a picture of my latest issue of Southern Living.

This is a picture of my latest issue of Southern Living.