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Why I deserve the greatest Mother’s Day of all. And you do too.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it before. We (moms) think were goddesses and fucking saints for pushing watermelons out of our easy bake ovens. And if you had a C-section- power to you. Because stitches through five layers of tissue makes any guy whining over a vasectomy look like the pansy ass douche he is.

Where was I? Why am I so angry? I don’t know. I mean, maybe it’s the PTSD from the pre-epidural catheter they gave me in the labor and delivery room when I went hypertonic trying to birth Emma. Hypertonic- abnormal muscle tone. Sadly, my over active uterus did not leave me with 6 pack abs.

Maybe it’s the bloody nipples I got a week after she was born because I spent those 7 days with her latching on improperly while trying to breast feed. Then cried when I was pumping milk sitting on the toilet in our cramped little bathroom because I felt like a failure.

Yeah. Moms unite! Bitches get shit done. And you know what? We get birthing done.

When I gave birth to Emma, there was a story that week in the news of some natural disaster in Africa ( I can’t remember because part of the brain that holds memory and reason comes out with the after birth. It’s true.)  that caused a woman to give birth in a tree. A GODDAMN TREE! By herself. Her and her baby were there for a good day or so before the rescue choppers got her. Did she worry about saving the placenta later because her MOPS group wanted to make smoothies out of it and then paint pretty pictures on canvases while drinking wine? NO! She did what she had to do.

And gosh darn, I was laboring in a comfortable first world hospital bed and I thought of her. HER. And she was my hero. But also, it kind of scared the shit out of me because the way things were going with Emma, I would have died in that tree and she with me. So yay, modern conveniences!

So I’m sorry if my wish for this Mother’s day is to be treated like royalty by the subjects of the house. But dude! I earned it. It’s been 15 years since all that happened. But still.

Not that you want to know this, but one of the first times I got up to go to the bathroom after I had Owen, I thought I had birthed a second child. I had been lying down in the bed for several hours. It was so scary, like, I paged the doctor  and all and told her that a pile of left over something and I think it had teeth and whatnot had just smooshed out of my cooch and did they need to weigh it or take it for a biopsy, because that twin baby looked like I was bleeding to death. It was frightening.

She laughed, sweetly, and said, you know, most moms forget that their vagina is a long tunnel that fills up with all kinds of good stuff after the baby is born. It was just waiting to come out. Sometimes the muscles contract and it doesn’t until you get up to go to the bathroom. And then I was all, “Like a JELL-O mold!” And she’s all, “YES! You’re fine!”

Oh phew! I thought I hemorrhaged. And so does every other woman who just pushed an 8 pound bag of potatoes with a 90th percentile head out of a hole the size of a golf ball.

Let’s not forget the old days when our mothers and their mothers had babies. When they gave them enemas, shaved their pubes, and knocked them out with drugs. You know. Because it’s easier for the doctor. The male doctor. Oh boo on him for dealing with female pubic hairs. Thank GOD when they changed that. Even though now everyone’s got a Brazilian, so who cares. And I’m all for drugs, but I’d rather NOT wake up two days later to find out if I actually had the baby or not.

Ugh. Men.

“Waa. Let me whine some more because my wife snores when she sleeps and insists on sleeping with a body pillow we’ve named Phil. She never wants to do it anymore. WAAA.”

Someone call the whambulance, because I’m sick and tired of men complaining. I’m sick and tired of men complaining about their vasectomies and that their wife doesn’t want to have sex. Oh, and then newsflash. She’s not going to want to have sex with you after because, well. You’ve seen the Hindenburg disaster. Who wants to fly after that? We need some time. And by time, I mean at least, at LEAST 6 months post partum. And lube. Lots and lots of lube. And probably booze. And the promise of a nap afterwards without a baby attached to my body.

And again, sorry for the graphic nature of this- but if you had hemorrhoids, you don’t want your man down in your crotchal region with anything other than some nice cotton or microfiber breathable underpants. Stuff changes. It’s not the same.

Did you have an episiotomy? Or how about a 4th degree tear? Do the words ‘transvaginal mesh’ send you into flashbacks of trauma similar to a combat veteran’s? You didn’t know what a ‘taint was before, but now you do.

Yeah. So lay off dudes. We deserve pie, and croissants. We should have long leisurely baths alone without people asking to climb in the tub with us. That goes for little kids AND husbands. STAHP. If I wanted a bath with you, I would have said so.

Plus sex in bathwater leads to UTIs and nobody got time for that.

Happy Mother’s day mamas! May you get all the worldly goods you deserve. And peace.

 

Frugalista Blog in the Pee Alone Trilogy

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When the fear of being wrong keeps us from doing what’s right

I’m not an expert on psychology or people’s motivations. I didn’t major in sociology or anthropology or any other subject at school that would make me know the inside of the human mind’s functions. But I’m a parent. And trying to teach kids from knowing right from wrong is pretty much what we live and breathe by, college degree in the subject or not!

One of those lessons happened to Owen in second grade. I remember it so well because I think it applies to most adults these days. Politicians caught in a scandal. Police officer questioned for misconduct. A spouse suspected of adultery.

When you do something wrong, the fear of the consequences makes for greater motivation than the interest of doing what’s right.

Owen is a good kid. He is one who listens, follows the rules, and really doesn’t like to get in trouble. But he’s human, so he does goof off. And occasionally he can manage to go too far. But he never got in trouble at school. Unlike the three detentions Emma got in 1st grade. I know, right? He’s my golden boy.

Okay, so he comes to me one day stressed and in tears. I ask him what’s wrong. He doesn’t want to tell me at first. His guilty conscience is heavy and he has a hard time facing me when he knows he’s done something that might disappoint me. But he also knows he needs help. So the need for help prevails and he bursts into tears and tells me the whole story.

He was stressed over some hoodlum in his class extorting him for money and toys!

This kid, Joey was getting a dollar here and a dollar there, not to mention some prized Legos out of the deal. I asked Owen what on earth he did that gives Joey so much power over him!

Owen said that one time at lunch in the cafeteria, he spit his food out to be funny. Some of it flew off and landed by Joey and he threatened to report Owen to the lunch monitor. Owen freaked out! He didn’t want to get in trouble so he said to Joey he would do anything to keep him from telling.

The first thing Joey extorted was a Lego key chain that Owen had kept on his backpack zipper. A friend gave it to him as a sympathy present after a kitten we had for a few weeks died suddenly. Then came Joey asking for a dollar for Owen to bring him the next day. Then two dollars another day.

Finally the toll of Owen giving up his money, and not to mention that he missed his key chain, put him over the edge.

He came clean with his story to me and I told him how we would handle it.

I pointed out that what was the source of his anguish was his first offense in spitting at lunch. He wanted to avoid the wrath of the lunchroom monitor and a possible detention, so he panicked and jumped to damage control.

I parted his sweet little blond hairs from his blue eyes and held his face in my hand. I told him that if he got in trouble at lunch, I would understand that we make mistakes from time to time. And that even though it wouldn’t have been much fun, his punishment would have been completed so that he could move on with this life. But instead he handed power over to Joey. And that power was his own guilty conscience.

When I said that in the morning we would have a face to face with Mrs. Peterson, his teacher, and tell her everything, he felt better. I told him that if there was a disciplinary action that still needed to be carried out over his behavior, he would accept it. And that we would tell the teacher what Joey was doing so that she can address that issue with him so he doesn’t do it to other kids too. Because a real friend doesn’t make you feel bad and take things that are yours.

The relief Owen felt was palpable. I knew that he understood that his first course of action was a rookie mistake, led on by panic and fear. And now he felt he had the strength and confidence to face the music.

We went to the teacher. Mrs. Peterson understood exactly what Owen was telling her about Joey. She said that he’s done something like that before. She told Owen to point out the key chain and tell her exactly how much money he gave Joey. She would have a conference with him and he would get his items back. As for the lunch behavior, the statute of limitations for spitting food out seemed to only have a short time span. Owen knew not to do anything like that again. But if he did slip up, to face his consequences.

Isn’t it funny how we can use a simple elementary school cafeteria extortion scenario to play out life’s moral code? How much better the world would be if people could own their wrong doing up front instead of creating more and more mess to cover it up?

I actually think that Owen won’t forget this lesson. Even though it happened almost 6 years ago. He remembers Joey and to steer clear of him even now in middle school. I’ve told Owen that getting punished by a teacher or administrator for something he did wrong doesn’t make me happy. But the disappointment is greater from me if he were to try and cover up his errors with more wrong doing. I’m more proud of his ownership of his actions, than whether or not he gets detention.

Fear of being wrong blog by Frugalista Blog

 

My daughter’s journey with chronic pain

Frugie Blog My daughter's journey with chronic pain

This has probably been the hardest blog post to write in a long time. It’s been our lives the last 12 months. I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to make it clear and hope others gain perspective and find answers too if they’re in the same struggle.

I didn’t expect to become a parent of a child with chronic pain. Of Emma’s 14 years, she has had maybe 3 times in her life the need for antibiotics, never had a broken bone or stitches (knock on wood) and until this year, hadn’t been in an ER.

Emma’s problems started a year ago with a hemorrhagic cyst on her ovary the size of a lemon, then that cyst rupturing and causing her tremendous pain that just would not go away. The last 12 months have been surgery, hormones, therapy, narcotics, acupuncture, different hormones, analgesics, and whatever else we could think of, as part of our laundry list of getting her to be pain free.

Unfortunately, some of these temporary aides like narcotics, can make the body even more susceptible to pain, or decrease its ability to resist it.

The whole ‘high pain tolerance’ theory becomes confusing when you’re dealing with someone who is in constant pain. You can say that someone has a high tolerance for pain because they don’t have Novocaine during a filling at the dentist. Or maybe they had a kidney infection for days and didn’t feel it. Maybe you get through your work day with a migraine. Everyone’s pain is different and it’s subjective. There’s no way of knowing whose pain is greater than someone else’s.

But when your body is sending pain signals to your brain on a daily basis 24/7; you can become fearful of the pain, where your anxiety and anticipation add to the pain.

So someone who is used to being in pain, might react differently to new pain than someone who goes about their life pain free with only pain on occasion.

After Emma’s surgery in June, we thought we were in the clear and she would start feeling better. But by September she was in as much pain as she was during the cyst rupturing. She would go to school but text me how miserable she was. She would come home and pop a bunch of ibuprofen and sit on the couch with a heat pad for hours. The cycle would repeat and it would take her all she could just to go to school.

There was no time and energy left for socializing or extra curricular activities. Her daily struggle was a pain level of about a 6 (on a scale between a 1 and a 10, 10 being the worst).

Our girl was miserable and she begged for answers and writhed in pain. Some days it would leave me just a shell of a mom trying to comfort her child.

I went to our specialists at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. I wanted some kind of answer. I wanted a different pain pill, or treatment.

We figured since hormones are the bulk of her female issues; the surgery diagnosed her with endometriosis- we decided on an IUD.

Some people might think this is drastic to give a 14 year old an IUD. But it was with careful consideration. And because I have my own endometriosis issues, my IUD I got 2 years ago saved my life from debilitating pain. I thought this might be the answer for Emma. She needed to quiet down her reproductive system. Ovulation and menstruation needed to cease for now. They were only causing her pain and misery. We needed help.

The IUD seemed to be an answer on paper, but we learned over the months that her body just didn’t want it. She ended up with new pain from having it in place and took more ibuprofen to get over it.

The ibuprofen got out of hand when around Christmas we went to the ER with horrible pain she was experiencing. I didn’t know if her ovary had twisted, if she had an ulcer or hernia or just an alien trying to come out! She was writhing in pain and after tests they couldn’t find anything ‘wrong’ with her. General surgeons did a consult in the ER and determined she probably had gastritis from heavy doses of Advil. We changed our approach and focused on different pain management.

Visiting a gastroenterologist was our next step. The plan was for her to have an endoscopy to rule out any GI issues. Well, we found something. But sadly, it’s not a ‘fixable’ something. More of a ‘this is how you’re programmed. Sorry’ something.

She has a nervous system disorder that is common among many folks. Her stomach doesn’t empty the acid all the way like it’s supposed to. Acid pools above the stomach causing pain. A sort of reflux situation, that not even your average acid blockers could really do much for. It’s not a stomach issue, it’s a nervous system issue.

The specialist said to me that although this condition is common, it’s the hardest to treat. Because really, there is no treatment. It’s just the way she is.

We tried acupuncture. Three times. Ugh. I love acupuncture and have been going regularly for 5 years. Emma. Not so much. She hated it. When she was in pain, the needles would make her pain worse. She hates needles. She didn’t like lying on the table feeling helpless. She freaked out.

We went to psychologists and pain specialists. She hated them too. They kept talking about her anxiety. She didn’t understand why she needed to go to a head doctor for actual physical pain that she felt in her gut. It made no sense and she resented those appointments. Which probably stalled any progress anyway, right?

When your child is ill or hurting, you get so much advice. Some solicited, some unsolicited. We were suggested to try faith healing, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, rigorous exercise, more tests, getting a second opinion. Yes, all meant with good intentions, but not all realistic or actually helpful.

You know how hard it is to get a second opinion when you had to move mountains for the first opinion? It’s easier said than done.

By this time, we had the IUD removed and she was feeling a lot better. At least we knew one pain was handled. But then our full circle moment came to realization when that was supposed to be one of the ‘solutions’ and now we’re just back to square one.

Time had helped and healed some of her abdominal pain that was residual from the surgery in June.

After 3 specialist departments and hours and hours of appointments, we now knew that basically Emma’s nerves were still reacting to the pain of the cyst rupturing, even though there was no reason for this pain. This happens in appendicitis patients who have a ruptured appendix. They can feel pain in that area for up to a year later.

Amputees feel pain where there isn’t even a limb. Our nerves are amazing, magical, wonderful, devilish, mechanisms of our body sometimes.

Emma was determined to figure out a way to tell her body to stop thinking it was in pain.

And then the universe, God, and all divinity intervened to bring us one more option that I had never even heard of.

Recently, I spoke at a business women’s lunch on how to start a blog for your business. It was the local chapter for Business Among Moms.

I met with a woman who was hoping to learn how a blog could help promote her practice to more clients. We talked about her techniques she practices and what she’s trained in and I told her about Emma’s chronicles. Kalleen who is a licensed EFT therapist, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques or commonly called Tapping, had helped many people overcome a variety of issues and I mentioned Emma’s situation. She reached out to me and offered a session for Emma.

Sessions can be done at your home. Emma was open to the idea. I told her that it was a method that used meridians in your body, like acupuncture does, but without the needles. This pleased her greatly!

The therapist shows you how to tap on yourself and walks you through the series of taps. What is key to the session is not only the tapping itself, but the phrases and statements you say out loud WHILE you are tapping.

Pain is real. It’s not in your head. It’s not ‘perceived’. It’s honest to gosh real and hurts. No one can argue someone else’s pain. Nobody ever doubted Emma’s pain or that she was ‘faking’ it. There was never the ‘it’s just in your head’ explanation. But pain is held on in the body psychologically not just physically.

Pain manifests carrying three elements- fear, anger and benefits.

Depending how your body came upon the pain, depends upon these elements.

For Emma her fear was that she might have had cancer or something serious with her ovary or reproductive organs. After the cyst ruptured and her pain wouldn’t go away, she thought it was something life threatening or rendering her infertile.

Her anger came when she felt like she should be better after her surgery, but she wasn’t. When her pain interfered with her social activities, school, and quality of life, it made her angry.

The benefits are hard to understand. Benefits despite not being logical, can still be something we hold on to- like a crutch or a cast to protect us. In Emma’s case, she got used to being excused from physical activity, making excuses not to see friends, having an ‘out’ when it came to not having school work done. She didn’t like these benefits, but she started relying on them.

During Kalleen’s time with Emma, the tapping she showed her to do, while she said key phrases usually starting with “Even though…” and ending with “and that’s enough” or “that’s okay” pulled off a scab that Emma didn’t realize she had been building up.

Once she released some of the mental cages that had locked around her pain, she realized some of the control she had over it.

In an hour setting her pain went from a 2 on a pain scale (out of 1-10 and 2 has been her lowest in a long time!) to a 1 on the pain scale! She could tell she felt better in just an hour.

And to be honest, she broke down in tears because of it. She actually cried a lot during the session. It seems to open a flood gate of emotions. Again, because pain has fear, anger and benefits attached to it, she didn’t realize the emotional hold her pain had on her.

If you go to Kalleen’s website you can see a demonstration and explanation of what Tapping is.

I have even used Tapping on myself. The other day I had a migraine, or the start of one. I did a quick application of it

Tapping on the heel of my hand with the fingertips of my other hand saying “even though….”

Tapping on the top of the center of my head “I feel a migraine coming…”

Tapping gently with my fingertips the tops of my eyebrows “I can relax and know…”

Tapping gently along my cheek bones “that it will go away…”

Tapping gently under my nose “after some time…”

Tapping gently on my chin “I will feel better…”

Tapping on top of my pecs “I won’t get a migraine”

Tapping with one hand under my armpit along my rib cage “I feel better.”

You can come up with what you say, or not say anything at all and just gently tap in the places I mention in the order listed. Gently and for 5-7  times each.

It’s remarkable the difference you feel.

I can gladly account that Emma is feeling better and her pain is at an all time low! We are going to do another session with Kalleen, and Emma even said she wants to try acupuncture again.

Things are better today than a year ago and Emma was cast in the school play and is looking forward to feeling ‘normal’ again. Whatever that is for a teenager!

Kalleen generously offered her session with us free of charge in order for me to write this post. But I can honestly and truly say with whole heart that I will happily pay for this in the future as needed.

Finding new ways (even if they are centuries old methods!) of helping deal with pain, stress and struggles in our lives, is always worth it.

Kalleen would be more than willing to answer your questions. You can leave them in the comments or find her on her website- http://neuroeft.com/

Whenever trials and tribulations come our way, you have to ask what the purpose is. And my wish for Emma is not only she will be pain free very soon, but that she will take this journey and always remember the bad ass she is for persevering through this personal hell she was in. I hope in 10 years, she will know better and be stronger for whatever comes her way.

 

 

Study says a study about labor pain is the douchiest dumbest thing ever

What if I said a study says that a man getting his balls chopped off isn’t as painful as men claim?

SAY WHAT?

That’s preposterous! I can’t even imagine. I mean, that would be terribly painful. Well. Now don’t get me wrong. It hurts. But ask the man 2 months later and he’ll say maybe he’ll have forgotten the pain.

Or, let’s say he pushed out the Hope diamond from his urethra and didn’t get any pain meds and he might say that it hurt like a mother fucker, but later he forgot the pain once it healed.

Where am I going with this?

Yesterday I read a ridiculous article with the headline, “Study says child birth pain not as painful as women claim.” I’m only linking to the article so you can see how shit it really is. And maybe it’s not the article so much as the study itself that is complete shit.

frugie blog and the study childbirth not as painful as women claim

Let’s look at that shall we?

Child birth pain, not as painful as women claim.

SAYS WHO??

Who the fuck says that?

Women claim? Claim? That seems to suggest doubt. We ‘claim’ to have pain. I mean, maybe just a smidgen. I claim to have seen Bigfoot, but did I really see Bigfoot? I might claim to have once been able to do a back hand spring on the balance beam when I was 15. I might claim I can sing the entire Grease soundtrack by heart.

These CLAIMS may or may not be 100% true. But I’m not ‘claiming’ I had pain during childbirth. I’m shouting it from the mother freaking mountain tops that it hurt like a beast. A mother fucking Johnny Cash Ring of Fire beast.

When you look up the definition of claim it reads:

“an assertion of the truth of something, typically one that is disputed or in doubt.”

Further in the article it reads that the purpose of the study was to see if epidurals were helpful for moms.

See, this is what pisses me off.

Why are we always having to bang down the door for our own worth? We have to fight for birth control, for pain control, for equal pay. I am sick and tired of it.

Like Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister, we’re not gonna take it anymore.

Let’s hear from my panel of experts:

“Everyone always says that childbirth for a woman is like the pain of passing a kidney stone for a man. I have passed two kidney stones and two babies. The gigantic bloody howling bowling balls passing out of my body were way worse. Just sayin’.” – Ellen from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms (who is a retired DOCTOR by the way.)

“Illinois woman claims that childbirth felt like a flailing rhino was ripping through her body wearing her vagina as a party hat.” Kerry from HouseTalkN who birthed 4 – 10 pound babies! (Not all at once, we won’t give her that much credit.)

“I thought my uterus was going to explode from the pain. It became one giant contraction. Labor had stalled and I didn’t know if I would pass out from the pain, need a c-section, or if it was possible to actually die from pain. The baby’s heart rate was hovering at a danger zone. When they gave me the epidural, I immediately felt warm and relaxed and within 40 minutes I went from 3 cm to 10 cm and delivered my baby girl.” – Me.

Pain is a personal experience. It’s subjective. You would never tell a combat veteran how his pain ‘claims’ to be measured. Pain needs to be honored and respected. It scars us. My painful experience of labor was etched in my cortex for months and months. It brought me to dark places when I was left quietly nursing my daughter, or suffering from a sleepless night. It caused layers of underlying fears and thoughts of inadequacy that haunted me months after my initial post-partum recovery.

I’ve worked through migraines and broken limbs, endometriosis and back injuries throughout my daily life. I’ve never relied on narcotics for these. Does that make them not painful? Less painful? No. It is how I process the pain. It is how I perceive the pain. It doesn’t make it less real.

Pain is not quantifiable. Sure we ask someone to rate their pain on a 1 to 10 scale. It gives us something to measure it in order to treat what they are experiencing. But what a 4 is to one person, could be a 9 to someone else. It’s based on subjective factors like experience and emotion, mental state, fear, lack of fear. Whatever.

Studies like this don’t help women. It doesn’t help our cause for men in lab coats to  try to determine how painful we ‘claim’ child birth is.

I don’t know what it’s like to get kicked in the balls, but I believe a man when he says it’s his worst pain. Is it worse than childbirth? I kind of doubt that. But it’s a severe horrible pain.

Professional soccer players get kicked in the goody sack several times in their career, it doesn’t stop them from playing. Nor does it require 6 weeks postpartum recovery, maxipads the size of Volkswagen Beetles and perineum bottles of warm water every time they use the bathroom.

“The researchers … called the moms twice, two days after birth and again two months later, to see if they used the same pain scale and provide an overall evaluation of her labor pain. The results show the women rated the process less painful two days after their delivery than they did when the researchers asked them again two months later.” (shit study from stupid researchers)

Well gee golly whiz. We actually forget our pain. Yes, this is true. It’s our body’s coping mechanism. It’s why you need a few years between each kid for the amnesia to set in. What happens when a woman is 6 weeks post partum or 12 weeks post partum and finds out she’s pregnant? She cries. That’s what. Because it is no fucking fun.

It’s beautiful, it’s amazing and I love my babies, but it hurts. And that’s not a claim. That’s a fact.

Am I making myself clear?

 

And just for laughs- let’s watch this video and remember how funny it was to laugh at these guys thinking women exaggerated everything.

Motherhood is hard. You Have No Idea

Sometimes at the fork in the road of motherhood, you see your toddler thrashing about the floor in a tantrum, raging over a denied cookie. You think back to when they were tiny, helpless infants. That was easier right? If only I could follow that other path into a time machine, go back when it was simpler.

Oh, that’s called Mommy Amnesia. An actual Web MD condition. Okay, not it’s not. You just think it was easier then. It wasn’t. Remember the midnight feedings?

You think it’s going to be easier when they’re older. It has to, doesn’t it?

But what happens when you turn over your keys to your 16 year old? That’s as hard as crowning during childbirth!

Oh “YOU HAVE NO IDEA”.

All the stages of motherhood have been covered in this video. Tell me what stage you relate to most!

This video was created for the loving promotion of Jen Mann’s book People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-off Despots and Other Suburban Scourges

Frugalista Blog in the video You Have NO Idea

She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

My (hypothetical) Memoirs

If I were to write my story, my memoirs, what would the title be?

Not as profound as someone that climbed Mt. Everest or moving as a survivor of something horrific.

But I think it would still be relatable.

Possibilities are:

 

Potential Memoir Titles by Frugalista Blog

 

 

 

Join me in Baltimore for Blog University. If you’re a writer or blogger, you need this conference. Find your niche. Find your tribe. Get your tickets for an awesome weekend with me and several other faculty. You’ll get schooled in a good way.

Work at Home Moms- WAHM. Not to be confused with 80s pop sensation WHAM.

Everything needs a label these days and it’s driving me nuts. Do you work at home? Do you stay at home? Do you work away from home?

Are you a SAHM, WAHM, or WAFHM? What? I know! I’m confused too!!

When I chose to have kids, all I wanted to do was just not go back to the job I was currently at. My husband and I saved up my income so that after the baby was born, I could be home with her.

Then it worked out that the company I was employed with went out of business. There wasn’t a job for me to return to. I loved staying home with Emma. I couldn’t imagine having to arrange my lifestyle to go back to an office and leave her with someone. It just never occurred to me.

HOWEVER, I never did mind anyone that did make that choice to go back to work after maternity leave. We all have different reasons why we want to. So who cares?

But it seems lately if you are a mom, you need a label as to what you do with your time. Here’s my rundown of the latest.

Do you work at home doing a job for a client or a boss and check in remotely? That’s a WAHM. Work At Home Mom. This is tricky. Then you have to keep the kiddos occupied while you get your job done. Maybe you have someone come and help with the kids or you take the kids to day care. This might save you from commuting to an office, but still allow you to get some work done. Maybe the kids are off to school while you work.

Or do you work at an office? This is a WAFHM. Work Away From Home Mom. Then you have the same situation of dealing with childcare, commuting, and even if the kids are at school, someone has to be there for them when they come home.

Finally, there’s the moms who stay at home with their kids and don’t get paid anything from anyone. That’s a SAHM. Stay At Home Mom. We know what she does. Wipes up spills all day and poo and puke,  entertains, is a concierge, laundress, cook, nurse, craft adviser.

Then there’s the SITMVAD. Stay In The Mini Van All Day mom. She can be a combination of some of the above and this at the same time. Some may call this a Soccer Mom. I just call it a mom who is busy and needs to drive all over creation for her kids.

Don’t forget the mom we all went to be- SAHWWM. Stay At Home With Wine Mom. This needs no explanation.

Not only is this a handy guide to some of the acronyms you’ve been seeing lately, it’s also a good reminder that ALL MOMS WORK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

And I respect each and every one for the jobs they do.

The next time someone asks what I do, I will say, “I’m a mom”. And that should be enough.

 

 

My thighs are flabby, and I’m trying to love them anyway.

The other day on my Facebook wall I asked if people could have one wish, what would it be for. About 95% of you said you want to be skinnier, or be able to eat what you want and not gain weight.

I should also add that people wished to be richer too. I wouldn’t mind that either.

But as far as weight goes, let me try and help. Ladies listen up.

I want to tell you that you are just fine.

You want to fit in that swimsuit because online websites like E!Online post pictures like this one-

with a headline called ‘Bikini Body Wars’ and have viewers vote on which one looks better. Really? There’s mommy wars and now bikini body wars? Because I think it’s great to line up three women who look amazing all in their own way, and let the scrutinizing public pick which one ‘rocks a bikini’ the best.

Insert big eye roll. Oh wait, I just saw my brain.

The Girl made a comment to me in the car when I pointed out someone we know who has what I called, ‘a beer gut’ (he does like beer). She said, “well you have a mom gut.” Ouch.

That stung. I told her that I have a perfectly fine tummy that has squishy skin from having babies, but please don’t imply that I am fat.

I sat in the front seat facing forward and pouted a little. How am I to continue my own body love and try to encourage her to love herself, if she makes flippant remarks about my flab?

She apologized and said she was only joking. But it still hurt. Now this isn’t to get all down on Emma. She was just being a sarcastic teenager, which 90% of the time, we banter back and forth and have a good laugh afterwards.

But that particular moment, I wasn’t feeling it. I felt like crying instead. I felt like screaming, “I can’t be perfect, I can just be me!”

Later, she and I had a private exchange that ended in hugs and tears. She apologized again and told me how beautiful and chic I am. Which surprised me because I thought she thought I was a dork.

I told her that I’m always praising her wonderful body for the way it is. And it means a lot if she would do the same for me. That even though I’m older, my thighs are dimpled, my butt jiggles when I run, and my boobs look like sad, sad strawberries left in a food dehydrator too long, I still need acceptance. I work for how I look. I try to take care of myself and do things for my health, inside and out.

And then I realized, I need to stop describing myself with these words- flabby, jiggly, strawberries…

I think she saw me as a woman at that moment, and not just her mom. I’m hoping it was a breakthrough. This is when the tears came and we hugged it out.

I want us all to have these breakthroughs. To be forgiving of each other and ourselves. To know that if you are doing what you can to eat reasonably well, get in some exercise and look after yourself- you don’t have to look like Gisele Bundchen or Jennifer Aniston or Kate Beckinsale. Do I try to improve how I look? You bet. Here’s one way I’ve done it- read here.

I want to be sinewy and sleek. Toned and taut. But hey, I’m okay if I’m not those things. Remember this post about me in my bikini? Am I Fat?  I’m a little soft and squishy, but I think I look damn good.

I want you to say that about yourself too. I want you to look in a mirror and realize that you look damn good. Whatever you’re trying to change- if it’s for your health and strength- keep doing it. Great! If it’s because you think you need to because of what 3% of other gals in this world look like, then pause, and tell yourself how good looking you are right now in THIS moment. Not tomorrow. Not after your diet. Now.

And dear sweet Emma; you are beautiful now and you will be beautiful in 30 years when you have the same stretch marks and cellulite that I have. And I hope you have a child that tells you that you are the most wonderful woman who is beautiful inside and out, just like you told me that night.

 

 

 

I Just Want To Pee Alone- Chicago Book Signing Event – Have you gotten your tickets yet?

Reminder- last few days to get tickets. Please come- I want to see you!!!

This is so much coolness my head might explode.

I’m calling this part of my official book tour. I’m like Chelsea Handler, or Carrie Fisher. Maybe a little of both but with less booze and pills in my system.

I’m gonna be in Chicago with 14 of the authors of I Just Want To Pee Alone and we’re doing a book signing!

Buy your tickets for July 26; 7-10pm, for $15. That ticket gets you a book and a drink.

  • RSVP here on the event page on Facebook.
  • Buy your tickets on PayPal here
  • Tell all your friends so they can come too!
  • Do it now before the tickets sell out!
  • Comment below so I know you’re coming and can wave spazztically at you when I see you; or hug you awkwardly and smell your hair.

 

Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to see you there. If you’re attending BlogHer already, you have to come!

And if you’re related to me or have known me since before puberty, you have to come too!

Yes, I will be reading from the book. And maybe I’ll share another humiliating story about my marriage.