Thursday, October 30, 2008

The lament of a mommy... (a long one-- you might want to opt out, or find a comfy spot in the couch.)

The house is quiet-- the girls are sleeping. All should be well with the world. Accept that my mind is busy with thoughts of this:

It shouldn't be that hard to get a total of TWO things accomplished during the day outside of keeping my kids alive and my house somewhat in order. But today? The gym and the store. That's all I was shooting for. Both before nap-time--- also doesn't sound like much of a feat you think? I know. It's sad really.

So I put Mila down early for her morning nap so we'll be SURE to get to the gym before Sophia is already getting sleepy--- it works, we arrive there before 11--- (not very early, I know, but just humor me and pat my back) the gym is a success, which it has NOT been for the last couple of months of Mila's separation anxiety onset, and I even squeeze in tanning. (I can't believe I just confessed that. It's humiliating-- I know I'm not 17 anymore and I know it's not good for my skin and I know it makes you stink like burning flesh and I know I'll regret it when I'm ... ahem 29 (I'm already seeing signs of age) but that's just it--- I had to. I keep hitting these slumps of "what is going on with my face? where did all the pretty go?" you know those slumps? And there's only so much you can do to make yourself feel a little prettier in 15 minutes and that's one of them. So there. Hah. Judge all you want.

Anyway--- back to the gym--- a whole workout-- upper body, AND cardio PLUS the tanning. We were off to a really good start. ( Except for the fact that there was even time for a moment with the scale... sigh) Mila was so infatuated with the newly crafted hanging spiders and pumpkins she hardly noticed my absence. Hooray! So efficient. Every one's doing so well, I packed peanut butter and jelly. Let's go for it. On to the store. (Again, I realize how pathetic it all sounds, but something has been awry with Sophia's naps lately and I'm JUST not ready to let them go, not even close, and traveling at the wrong time and missing that sleepy mark messes it all up so I've been a little LESS ambitious these days. )

So we make it to the store with everyone alert and relatively happy. We shop and shop and shop and shop. I'm feeling like I hit the jackpot as SO many of our staples are half off at F&E today. I load up on pesto and salmon and crusty bread and chicken, hamburgers and lettuce and spinach artichoke dip (have you tried that yet? It's really good and pretty light, no cream or butter, just some Parmesan ...mmmm mmm). My kids have devoured like 4 bananas, half a cart of raspberries, and a couple of string cheeses. Mila broke into the grapes without my noticing and I'm stepping on them as she drops them. Her once soft and sweet baby face is covered with squished banana, sticky grape juice and (dare I say) dirt... yup, because they weren't washed and were indeed that dirty.

Sophia's skipping around the store and running where I can't see her which I ALWAYS say will result in being confined to the cart, but I never follow through with seeing as I have no room for her amidst the half-off curry-chicken and garlic artisan bread! So I've made my scene, we're clobbering our way through the store ever so UN-gracefully (I even catch someone watching me dance very un-cool-like to make my girls laugh when I thought nobody was looking) strangers keep informing me of the grape stuck to the bottom of my shoe or that Mila looks like she might climb out, or that my eldest is banging the cart into the refrigerator section.... but I keep pushing through because we're here, and we're almost done, and I'm so excited to EAT some of this food. And then I reach the checkout and ... of course I still have to ring it up myself because it's Fresh and Easy and that's how it works so I battle my three-year-old who wants to help by putting everything on the belt before I scan it and screams when I pull it back to scan it "NO I DO IT!!!!!... and I'm distracted because I'm finding things like salami and pork burgers that I never put in the cart... Sophia..... and then I'm finally done and reach for my wallet.

And there is no wallet.

It's still in Ross' backpack from Disneyland... that's what I get for not doing a DARN thing yesterday. I didn't even notice it wasn't in my purse.


Certainly there must be some way to pay with no form of payment. An I.O.U? A call for my husband's credit card number? Keep my eldest? ;) Nothing? Really?

So just like that, we wasted an hour of our precious time, put the store in disarray, left bagged groceries (many of which had already been eaten!) just sitting there, and said goodbye. It was definitely nap time by then and there was no way I was driving all the way home and back.

So now I'm home--- they both fell asleep on the way home, which is wonderful, but I feel like my whole day was a total flop now, because I couldn't get my groceries home. And THERE is my problem. Really? Grocery shopping and the gym? That's what I do. I have watched so many moms who seem to be so incredible at this job (my own included) and sometimes I just think it's so stinkin hard. Not even the whole crazy-kids-who-scream-and-cry-and-throw-fits-and-make-you-crazy. It's just really hard to get to the end of the day feeling exhausted and totally unaccomplished, all at the same time. Before kids, it seemed much simpler. Either I was busy and had lots to show for my day-- or I was free and had a wonderfully lazy day. Both have something to offer. But all too often now, I find myself trying to attack that ONE extra thing on my to-do-list for days before I get around to it. Which really means I checked off one whole thing in like an entire week! I'm not making money, I'm not hitting goals, I'm not winning in ANY kind of competition, but neither am I getting lots of R&R and me-time in. WHAT AM I DOING ALL DAY?

THAT's what I think is maybe the hardest thing about being a mom for me. Ross doesn't care what I do all day, he's not quizzing me or judging my productivity... and I'm sure nobody else is either... but I constantly feel like "I was busy --- I swear I was really busy--- but I haven't a thing to show for it." (Believe me, I know that these two things I call my girls are better than any accomplishment in the whole wide world... but don't interrupt my ramblings with something so obvious please.;))
I loved school, and I hated it. I hated working... and I loved it (I switch the order because I hated working more than I loved it, I'll admit). I love competition. I love being able to quantify how good you are at something so that there's really no room to wonder where you fall. I think it's why I liked math. So objective. And see, now that I'm a mom? I bet I won't remember a darn thing once my kids are learning algebra... what was the point?!

So maybe I should take some classes or something.. but when would I have time for that? What with all the ..... gym and grocery store runs.... and the cleaning.... and the feeding, and the cleaning up again after the feeding, and the cleaning up of the messes that were made while I was cleaning up after the feeding.... oh the life I lead!

To sum it up: I feel like writing. I like to ramble. But I AM so grateful for my two coolest little girls. There just has to be opposition in all things right? Motherhood can't ONLY be tutus and big blue eyes or I probably wouldn't appreciate both of those things so much. But I'm just reaching a point in my life where I understand why women go back to work even if they don't have to, or start a business or take on great new hobbies. We're not supposed to compete as moms--- that's all wrong---- but what if we like competition?! It's time for me to get really good at something... any ideas? Anyone want to play competitive scrabble or something?


Melissa said...

Totally know where you are coming from. I think you should take pictures on the side. You are really great. I've done a few here and there and have really had some fun, but also feel like I'm indulging my creative side just a bit.
PS. Are you still loving the Sigma 30mm? I'm contemplating it for Christmas.

Sarie said...

You are the funniest girl. Really. It was like I was sitting next to you listening to you chatter away.

This topic-- something I think about all the time-- it's tough. It's about being something more. It's about looking back and having something you were EXTRA good at... I know the feeling. Keep writing, you're good at it. You're super good at photography. Maybe take on an interior design job.. just a little one.

But we do need to make sure we teach our girls to be confident. To not feel they are missing something in whatever they choose to do. Because I want to encourage my daughters NOT to feel the way I sometimes feel. But it's hard not to. There is no solution. You work, you miss the kids, you don't work, you accomplish little. In. The. Same. Boat.

Christen said...

Okay, I've been reading your blog for awhile now and I love it because so often you write EXACTLY how I feel or what I'm going through. I also have 2 little girls (2.5 and 8months) and this post especially is soooo me, well, except the gym part, I don't even try that! :)

Anyway, just wanted you to know that one of your lurkers loves your blog! :)

brooke said...

I love reading your thoughts.. you know ho to express them in such an amazing way. Maybe you should write books? Really though, every Mom is in the same boat as you. It just doesn't always look like it from the outside. Is it sad that half the days I never even leave the house?
Maybe as the weather changes and we feel like we can be outside our days will feel more successful.

The rlmmmmcaress family said...

I like to make a list with simple things like "shower" or "put water bottles in the fridge" and the occasional "charge ipod." That way after a day of not doing anything, I can still cross those things off my list. Yes, it was nothing. But it beats not crossing off anything. This too will pass. This is a PHASE in your life. I am looking at my last two years of having to run around with little ones. In two years, everyone will be in school full day and I can move on with MY life. Sort of. I am a believer that you can have it all, just not at the same time. Stay strong and know that your ramblings brighten our day. You can put that on a list: "brighten everyones' day."

Kodi said...

First things first. Why in the world when you're at F & E around the corner from my house. . . don't you CALL? Honestly Lillie, I thought we were better friends than that! I must confess I've done the no wallet thing too many times to count. . . you'd think I'd get it by now. This post is great. It's what every mom feels at some point and you expressed it perfectly. That's why people like me check your blog multiple times a day. . . it's THAT good. And working? Highly overrated.

Kodi said...

I forgot one thing. . .as for "getting really good at something?" You already have too many to count. Just pick one and go with it. :)

Nana from San Diego said...

This was better than the current political commentary on Larry King and any prime time TV drama...a perfect "dramadey" (drama and comedy)(: Thanks for the entertainment, Lilipad!

Lindsay Griffeth said...

Where do I begin? You said it all PERFECTLY. I agree with one of your commenters about enjoying the PHASE you are in. Being a mom won't always be like THIS. So I'm trying to just enjoy THIS. Even if it's a little crazy.

One thing a few of my girlfriends and I have started is a grocery shopping baby swap. There are a group of us and you can anyone when you're doing any major grocery shopping and they'll take your kid(s) for an hour while you go! It's FABULOUS!

Alysa said...

Ooh, I can relate so well to this post. My day today was so much like this that I felt like I was reading my own feelings. Actually my whole week. You express yourself so amazingly. I've done some things on the side (home businesses) and then I just feel guilty for not spending that "extra" time with the children. Ugh! You do so many things wonderfully and you do it while you are raising your children -- look at those pictures you take! Look at that house you have decorated! Look at those delicious food items you fix! Look, look, look. If anything, know you are not alone in feeling this way. I've noticed there are some errands I run and I start sweating knowing what antics I'll have to go through to accomplish something that would take me less than 5 minutes on my own -- post office, any returns, etc. I like your friends idea of the grocery shopping baby swap. I'll take your two any time. Hugs.

Mrs. Organic said...

Good, honest post. It's one of the things I admire about you.

Maybe I'm too old to chime in here, but - I believe things are always hard and they are always good, it's just that the good things and the hard things keep changing. And some days it is difficult to tell the difference.

Just knowing I have both in my life is what gets me through those days.

Lowdogg said...

Tanning? For shame.

Brandon or Michelle said...

hey lillie. if anything, what this post does for ME is remind me that even YOU feel like ME sometimes. Because I think another thing that we as moms do is look at EVERYONE else's accomplishments (aka your GORGEOUS PICTURES, for one) and think "Why are they able to do so much more than I am able to do? what's wrong with me?" So thank you for helping me to know that "this kind of day" happens to even the best of us (and by the best I mean you).

sigh. i must admit, the sling has changed my life at the grocery store, because when I choose to put annie in it and zane BACK in the cart, I actually accomplish the task without going crazy myself and getting dirty looks from EVERY spectator. I might have to make you one. :)

also, here's another solution. make WAY less money. that way, when you're not going out, it's because you just can't afford it, not because you aren't capable. it's a great mind game that I'm playing with myself at the moment (and by moment I mean the next 4 years).

what about this too--sometimes I feel like I just want to be good at MOTHERHOOD. Like, I'm so competitive that I'm crazy annoyed that I don't handle this mommydom better. because after all, again, I am always asking myself "what is there to it, really?" I tend to forget just HOW MUCH there to keeping children alive, fed, clean, and happy. I'll work on remembering how much work it is and how cool I am for doing it if you do too, okay?

Audry said...

No wallet!!! I've done that. I think every mom feels those same thoughts. I know I do.

Rachelle said...

This might be annoying to read, but you're soooo completely adorable to me. I don't mean to sound patronizing, but maybe you can look at one of your talents as making "us" (your blog-groupies) feel connected to something bigger (a community of sorts) than our own often over-whelmed and scatter-brained existences as mom's. When you're right in the middle of one of those experiences like you had today, you can feel so isolated. Like you're the only one that is standing at the grocery counter literally loosing her mind. Take comfort in knowing that we've all been there, literally, and that it does get easier as they get older. (And that, that exact scene is playing out at many grocery stores across the US at the same moment, more than likely!

As for the talents, and I know you're feeling silly because you're not a fishing for compliments sort of person, but "we" only see how great you are. You need to start charging people for the pictures your taking! (sorry for being bossy) Don't think of yourself as an amateur. Yeah, you're still learning... so!!
You're amazing at it, and that's why everyone's asking you. You're time is valuable, and so is your talent! Anyway, I'm "starting" to ramble... (J/J)
Love you, my gorgeous and way talented friend!
Rachelle T.

Lacy said...

I agree with rimmcaress. Lists make me feel under control. And taking it one step further and writing in a journal listing at least 5 positive accomplishments of the day. I rarely do it- but it always makes me feel better. I don't really have any solutions- but it is nice to hear your thoughts and the thoughts of so many of your loyal readers. I'm almost at the point where I think my reactions to my crazy mommy days are totally determined by hormones. The craziness is always there but sometimes I just roll with it and life is still good. Other times (more often, I'm afraid) I get frustrated and frantic for change. Hopefully I'll get better with time. You are a great mom Lillie- thanks for your wisdom. Love you!

Kara said...

I have to come out of the closet :) I am a stalker of your blog. I found your page through Lauren Shumway and think you are wonderful. Your posts and pictures make me smile.
I was asked by a friend at the park the other day, "So besides cleaning, what do you do all day?" And I couldn't answer her. Because besides cleaning and keeping my kids alive I don't do anything. This post really hit home for me. I felt as if you had read my mind and put my thoughts on paper. Please keep sharing your thoughts and feelings, they help me feel normal :)

Becky Freestone said...

love your complete honesty. i felt like a mom for a day after i was done reading about your life. call me crazy, but i can't wait. you are such a great mom. i would say just taking the pics you do of your kiddos is an accomplishment. imagine all the memories you are creating by using your amazing photography talent. we could have a photo shoot competition if you want. you can guarantee a victory.

Jenie said...

Honestly I have to say that there has to be a happy medium somewhere. I could totally relate to the whole day, I've done the forget the wallet thing and wondered what I did at the end of the day, but our life is crazy on the other end with the working thing and I would love to just meet in the middle.

I'm hoping I'm not scarring my children for life by not keeping up with them well enough or being there for them in all the ways that they need it. I'm doing the best I can and I guess that's all we can say sometimes. Some days are better than others and sometimes the littlest thing seems like the greatest triumph and that's okay. I appreciated your post so much because I'm really starting to appreciate the small, quiet moments because in between the craziness, these moments are meaning more and more to me. On the days that I'm at my wit's end and I've said "just a minute" one too many times and I don't know how I'm going to get everything done, I'll just have to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can and that will have to be okay. You're doing a great job and obviously from all of the comments, I'm not the only one who thinks so. :)

Allison P. said...

I'm a lurker, but I have come out of my lurker-dom to say AMEN!!! I have girls the same ages as yours and I totally hear you!

Lillie said...

To any lurkers--- I love your SURPRISE friendly comments... I wish you're comments would allow me to find YOUR blogs to return the favor. So here it is: thanks for checking in, who doesn't appreciate an "amen"?!

Laura said...

Lillie, I am kind of a lurker. I have written before and I was friends with Ross in high school. Anyway, thank you for this post!! I am extremely competitive and I feel the same way as a mom, sometimes I just want to win a medal so I can "show" someone what a great mom I was today. I was a very competitive soccer player and a runner and now I feel bad about myself if I don't get my scrapbook pages done or if I don't throw the greatest birthday party for my six year old. You have to remember, and I have to remind myself all day sometimes, that our kids don't care what we look like or how accomplished or unaccomplished we feel they just care that we are there and that is what we SAHM are doing. We are there. You sound like an amazing mother and I hope you find what makes you happy. Thanks for your great words.

Missy said...

Sorry about the comment overload from me today Lillie. I have gotten behind in blogging.

I totally had this same moment a few weeks ago at Trader Joes. Except the nice cashier said No Problem! We'll just put it in the back for you and run home, get your wallet and come back. I say this for no other reason than to start shopping at TJ's again Lillie:) No actually, I wish we had an FE close to us.

I remember when I talked to you on the phone before I had Avery. I totally asked, What do you do all day? And you said the exact thing - we really are busy, we are. It's just with cooking a meal and cleaning a meal etc...

And I totally get it. That's where our day goes. And why I love blogs so much because we can check in, see how others are doing and making it.

As for a new hobby? Hello, your photography. I'm always looking at your blog saying "Wait, we got our cameras at the same time and her photography is SO much better..."

I love the dancing part where you thought no one was looking. And the thought of Sophia skipping around the store as you look at the back of lables for not too much butter on the spinach artichoke dip and that even YOU have those moments where you wonder where all the pretty went even though we all know that your gorgeous...

This run long on sentence is all meant to say that I get it.