May 16 2017

My Second Cali-versary

My Second Cali-versary

I have a confession: when I was a teenager, I told my parents I was going to move to California.

Back then, I wanted to act. Still kinda do (minus the whole stage fright thing). I’d performed in school plays (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), community theater (Anne Frank in The Diary of…), and landed roles in TV and radio commercials through a local Michigan agency. My SAG-AFTRA card has been firmly in hand since I was twelve, and for many years, I openly dreamed of leaving Michigan.

“Mo-om, the weather is, like, SO MUCH BETTER there,” I said on more than one occasion. “Why would anyone choose to live in a place with so much snow?” I went on and on about it, actually, much to my parents’ chagrin. I swore I would get out of Michigan and give acting the ol’ college try right after…you know, college. Continue reading

May 7 2017

Sorry I Was in Your Way, but the Thing Is I Have a Baby

Sorry I Was in Your Way, but the Thing Is I Have a Baby

As a parent of small children, you often get the vague sense that you are in the way. You notice the quiet cringes as you enter a restaurant, the looks of crushing disappointment when you board an airplane. You apologize thirteen times in the span of a one-block walk because the kids still haven’t learned (after eight million reminders) to look where they’re going.

Sorry. Sorry about that. Say excuse me, P. Look FORWARD when you walk, please. I’m so sorry.

We’re working on it. And most of the time, people are pretty nice — if not warmly understanding, they’re at least tolerant. I’m sure the people who wince at the sight of kids aren’t even doing it on purpose. It’s probably just an automatic reaction. Subconscious.

I’ve gotten used to feeling in the way, but there’s a huge difference between FEELING in the way and someone straight up telling you that you are — something that, this past week, has happened twice. TWICE. In one week. Continue reading

May 1 2017

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

Most of the time, I’m fine.

Or, more accurately, I’m “fine.” Most days, I function just like everyone else appears to function: I grocery shop, I play outside with my children, I laugh easily. I seem relaxed and comfortable and carefree. There is a soundtrack always playing in the background of my mind that is filled with worries and what-ifs, but on these days the music is low. Controlled. Almost muted.

And then there are days like the one last week. My husband was out of town, I was alone with the kids for several days and nights, and a few new-ish friends popped over for a couple hours to have some wine and watch a show. After a little while, I went upstairs to put my daughter to bed; and by the time I rejoined my company, I was drowning under the first crushing wave of a phobia-related panic attack. Continue reading

Apr 24 2017

Babysitters, This Is Why You Didn’t Get an Interview

Babysitters, This Is Why You Didn’t Get an Interview

There is a serious shortage of acceptable babysitters.

We used to have four of them: they answer to Grandma, Papa, Granny, and Papaw. Then we moved to a land far, far away, and ever since then it’s just been…us. For everything.

It’s not that we don’t need the help. In fact, sometimes it feels like we really, really need the help.

I would like to write — or speak — a complete sentence without someone yelling for help from the bathroom. I would like to stay in bed when I have a 101-degree fever instead of figuring out how to entertain two small people while simultaneously trying to avoid them so they do not also catch the plague. I would like to one day have a meal with my husband that does not involve high chairs, coloring books, and frantically cutting chicken into teeny tiny bites before someone implodes.

Even though my children are the very hearts of my soul, once in a while a girl kinda just wants to go on a date. That sort of thing requires a babysitter, but here’s the hard truth: the thought of leaving my children with a stranger has always made me break out into a cold sweat.

babysitter

Quite possibly the most accurate meme ever.

We held out for almost two full years. TWO. YEARS. But finally, a couple months ago, I signed up for a popular nannying/babysitting site and published a “Seeking Help” post.

I tried to ignore my niggling reservations. Some of the most phenomenal women I know have nannied (here’s looking at you, Olivia, Kristin, Jenna, and Kim) — there had to be someone out there for us. How difficult could the process be? Continue reading

Apr 10 2017

My Kids Are Better Snowboarders Than I Am

My Kids Are Better Snowboarders Than I Am

To me, a vacation is not a vacation unless every necessary item could theoretically fit inside one duffel: flip flops, bathing suits, a couple sundresses, and a paperback. Done. Then I met my husband, whose idea of a “vacation” requires all manner of puffy hugeness: snow pants, down jackets, heavy equipment, rolls and rolls of woolen socks, and boots that seem like they could walk on the moon.

Now that we’re driving distance from Tahoe, Al has been dying to take the kids on a little road trip. I was game, since Baby B has never seen snow and Peaches doesn’t really remember it — plus, she’s been asking to snowboard for many, many months now.

This is basically the whole reason Al had children. He’s been conditioning her for this very moment from the day she was born. “Look at that mountain, P! Guess what people can do on a mountain? SNOWBOARD. Don’t you want to come snowboarding with Daddy, P?” Eventually, every time we passed a mountain (which happens constantly in California, obviously), she’d say it on her own: “Imma go snowboarding on that mountain. When do I go? Can I go today, Mommy?” Continue reading