10 Things I Think I’m Supposed to Care About (But I Don’t)

Maybe I’m weird. Redact maybe.

People seem to care—like passionately —about things that don’t really matter to me. Like at all.

I’ll feign enthusiasm with a wimpy “like,” or a pointless comment like, “That’s crazy! Let’s get together soon! Xo.”

Why can’t I hop aboard the Excitement Express?

Maybe I’m just an introvert.

Maybe I’m more socially awkward than I thought.

Or maybe I’m just an asshole.

Below is a list of things that I think I’m supposed to care about, but I don’t.

  1. Anything dealing with moon phenomenon.

Yeah, no. How many times in my life have I heard, “Tonight’s moon is going to be [blah]. The next time will be in 200 years!”? I understand how this can build up hype and make it feel like a must-see event, but I never even remember to go outside and look. And when I’m reminded that I forgot, I never even really care. Zero FOMO. But people really do care about this moon stuff! And I’m baffled. They throw parties (I mean, I guess I’d go to that), upload moon countdown widgets on their phones and they all post those endless photos on their social media with the little yellow moon dot at the top that proves that they remembered, they witnessed, they documented, they shared. They care.

  1. Vacation Pictures

People vacation for the memories of special time with loved ones and being immersed in beautiful/exotic places. Through their photographs they can relive their travels. But guess what? I wasn’t there. So, I’m pretty much just looking at terrible photography. That sunset/building/flower/hilarious bartender/crab/sculpture/painting/sign doesn’t mean anything to me. And, let me guess? Will there be a (somewhat) lengthy story to accompany each shot? Great!  Grab a bottle. Let’s get started, this will be a while.

  1. State of the Union Addresses

I’ve voted in every election since my 18th birthday, but I’m not very into politics. I remember watching the results of the 2008 election on my honeymoon (want to see pictures?) when Obama won his first term and I felt excited. Change We Can Believe In! I don’t know what I was so eager to change. My life has been pretty status quo since birth, but what the hell? He seemed very friendly. But, with presidents comes those pesty State of the Union Addresses. Oh for God’s sake! The ups. The downs. The handshakes. The effing applause. Shoot me. But they make these damn addresses hard to ignore since they are one every single channel. Then I’m left with moon phenomenon-like guilt. Like, I should care and watch this because I’ve entered adulthood and what he’s saying should matter. But nah. I’ll just flip on Netflix instead and read the highlights tomorrow. Once a Cliff’s Notes girl, always a Cliff’s Notes girl.

 4. Stories about Babies

Babies. Babies. Babies. They are everywhere. I even had two myself. Everyone loves talking about babies—and they do make for some interesting stories. But, maybe I’m an asshole, but I don’t really enjoy stories about other people’s babies. I think only spouses, grandparents and the occasional overly invested aunt/uncle really gives a shit. First steps? All babies take them. Teething? All babies get them. Diaper blowout? We’ve all been stained. I don’t care what your baby’s first word was, but I do want to know how you really feel about motherhood. Do you like being a stay at home mom? Or do you work? What’s that like? When was the last time you yelled so loud your throat hurt? Do you ever dream of getting a hotel room all by yourself for a night or two and do absolutely nothing? I’m sorry I’m not interested in your baby’s milestones, but if you want to compare motherhood battle wound stories. . . let me pull up a chair.

  1. Road Rage Stories

Bad drivers. We’ve all been victims of their stupidity. When you’re driving and someone almost kills you, or makes you late (equally as frustrating), it makes your blood boil. You drive past slowly, twisting your neck in their direction, delivering your best death stare. With just your eyes you say, “You moron, learn to drive!” (They never look as you envisioned, but that’s beside the point). Your heart is still racing. You are eager to vent your story to the first person you see. Yeah see, the thing is that these stories do not make good storytelling. First of all, when I’m told a road rage story, I can never accurately envision the road/intersection/parking lot where it occurred, but I usually go along with it anyway. The intensity of these stories alone gives me anxiety, so I pretty much stop listening altogether. Good stories get retold. Road rage stories are never retold because nobody cares. Accident stories? Tell me more. . .

  1. The Super Bowl

I know that I’m in the minority on this silly event, but really? Sunday nights are for putting the kids to bed early and watching Homeland. Not getting drunk with a bunch of rowdy people, consuming 3,000 extra calories, betting money on random numbers in tiny boxes that confuse you, watching commercials that you can’t really even hear and rooting for a team you’ve never even heard of. My husband tells me it’s part of American culture and not to be such a loser. Whatever. Football in general has always looked silly to me. It’s a bunch of gigantic men lining up, moving around a little bit, someone throws the ball and everyone gets in a big pile. Rinse and repeat. Football is dumb to me all year, but the Super Bowl is super dumb. I’ll be in the kitchen polishing off the wings. With champagne, because I’m classy like that. Call me when the halftime show comes on.

  1. Award Ceremonies (Big and Small)

My mom had to beg me to go to my high school graduation. And my college one too. I didn’t understand why so many relatives come out just to hear a bunch of speeches and my name called. They already know my name. Isn’t the achievement equally as impressive without the hoopla? Fast forward to actually being a mother. So far, I’ve had to attend three graduations: pre-school twice and kindergarten once. Yes, it was adorable. Yes, I might have gotten choked up at how big they’ve gotten. Yes, I might have thought about getting pregnant again immediately after in an ass-backward way to slow down time. But some families went to fancy restaurants after the preschool graduation. Fancy! Why? Some kids were dressed in new three-piece suits. Mine were lucky to be bathed, wearing the best of what was clean.  Don’t get me started on Hollywood award ceremonies. I used to feel obligated to watch each one, to be up on my pop culture. Now I’m 39 and I can’t even stay awake during a movie. I don’t recognize anyone in Hollywood anymore besides like Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and, of course, Morgan Freeman’s voice.

  1. Concerts

I enjoy going to concerts. But, I hate thinking about the process, the crowds and the effing exiting. Once I’m in my seat and the beers are flowing and that first chord hits and you know exactly what song it is. . .you know the feeling. I hate other people’s concert stories/Instagram stories/Facebook posts. Here’s why: I know why people post these videos. They are IN IT. They are inspired. They are entertained. They genuinely want everyone to experience what they are seeing and hearing. It comes from a good place. (They do receive many likes and comments, so I’m thinking this is an instance where I’m just an asshole.)  But, I once had a friend tell me the entire set list of a band that I had never heard of. There’s no nice way to say, “I don’t care about what you are telling me,” so I endured it.  Moral of the story: like vacation pictures, concerts are for you. Enjoy them privately.

  1. Social Media

I am a Xennial (that newly named generation born between 1978-1983). I had a word processor in my college dorm room and knew the Dewey Decimal System all too well. I got my first cell phone at age 24 and was a little late on the Facebook craze. People seem to really care, like really, really care, about their social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, etc. I can’t keep up. I can’t be bothered. I just can’t. It’s way too many apps to install and passwords to remember. As a freelance writer, I really should care about this more. Maybe then people might actually stumble upon my work. I don’t know if my social media defiance stems from laziness, assholiness, apathy or fear. But whatever. If you’re reading this and you like it, post it on your shit and maybe one day I’ll catch up with the times.

  1. Trendy Restaurants (and food in general)

Wow. This one people seem to take very seriously; and I’m honestly a little jealous of these people. But alas, I still can’t get myself care enough. Trendy restaurants are popping up everywhere with weird menus, weirder ingredients and a whole lot of hashtags on their Instagram posts. Before taking a bite, everyone snaps a quick picture of their plate #whaleburger #liverslaw #candiedanchovies #glutenfree #duh #yum #foodporn. But like, is that really what you want for dinner? Waiter, can we please have a bread basket? I’m envious of these adventurous palates, but I am perfectly content in a reliable chain restaurant. Who doesn’t love fried appetizers, giant blue cocktails with hilarious names and a jovial rendition of “Happy Birthday” being sung in the background. Oh, wait. My husband, that’s who. He doesn’t want any part of my chain restaurant obsession. If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be at happy hour at Chili’s, or sword battling with breadsticks (they’re endless!) at Olive Garden with my kids. Husband, go enjoy your snake pâté with rhubarb ganoush in a citrus reduction. I’ll meet you at home.

I’m not a bad person, I swear. I love my family and friends. I just don’t care about much. I recently took a 120 question personality test and my #1 personality trait is forgiveness. See? That’s how little I care about things. Screw me over, I don’t care. We good, yo. (I don’t really speak like that, but it’s Friday night and I’m drinking tequila and that brings out my hood). I’m pretty sure I could have made this a Top 100 list, but then I’d be a bonafide a-hole. I know I’m not alone. What are things that you are supposed to care about but really don’t? Maybe this article? You can admit it. I’ll forgive you.

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Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this, check out FIVE REASONS I’M NAILING ADULTING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To My Firstborn. . . I’m Sorry

Dear S.H.

I’m sorry I couldn’t deliver you naturally, like I had planned, and that your first vision in this world was my bloody abdominal cavity torn open with my intestines lying beside me. It was so worth it. I promise.

But baby, sometimes things don’t go according to plan and—despite your disappointment—you’ll need to roll with the punches and trust in those who know more than you.

I’m sorry you were born in September, which will make your school age a little wacky. There will be some kids in your class a year older and some a whole year younger.

But kiddo, all through your life you’ll encounter kids older, younger, bigger, smaller, smarter, faster. Try not to be intimidated (I know it’s hard), and always be kind. Kindness gets you the furthest.

I’m sorry I used to put you to bed at 4:45pm. Oh, your grandmothers used to worry that I wasn’t giving you a life. But you were six months old! Socially you weren’t missing out on much. I promise.

But sweetheart, thank you for giving Mommy and Daddy a few hours alone to connect. It gave us the time to catch up on each other’s lives, but we mainly only talked about how wonderful you are. Quality time is more fulfilling than screen time. I hope we raise you to realize that.

I’m sorry I made you cry it out as an infant. I bet you didn’t know that I was crying too. But then Daddy came in and threw me out of the house (out of love!) because I wasn’t “up for the task.” Daddy likes to fix things and we weren’t being cruel. I promise.

But honey, as you grow up, we’ll do a lot of things that you won’t find fair. You’ll be mad at us and probably say things you don’t mean. It will be hard on us too. Parenting isn’t easy, but you make it worth it.

I’m sorry I got pregnant with your brother so soon and that you and I only had 15 months alone together, but your father and I had all that alone time due to the 4:45pm bedtime and . . .

But buddy, thank you for being such a kind, gentle and protective big brother. That crazy, little guy will be your very best friend one day. I promise.

I’m sorry I never cut your wild, blond curls as a baby and now you hate haircuts and still have your messy, signature coif. It looks perfect. I promise.

But dude, that look is yours. If you love it, own it. I will never force you to cut it short, or shave it. If you love it, I love it. And screw anyone who might mock it.

I’m sorry I chose to stop nursing you when your brother was born. But, there’s only so much boob sucking a woman can take in a day. You were thriving and didn’t protest at all. I promise.

But love, your newborn brother needed it more than you, so I gave to the one who needed it more. Share your lunch with a friend who’s hungry, tip generously and donate. If you don’t have money to donate, donate your blood. Someone needs it more than you.

I’m sorry I made you take music classes, swimming lessons, art, gymnastics, karate, and guitar without asking you. You probably don’t remember back then, but you enjoyed them all. I promise.

But handsome, our home is my job and sometimes you’ve just got to leave the office. Remember that.

I’m sorry I put your training wheels back on after you learned to ride a bike. But you were sobbing and begged me to because you were scared. It’s okay to be scared. I promise.

But sport, I enabled you to stay comfortable, when I knew you could soar. Listen to adults who believe in you: teachers, coaches, professors, bosses. They’ll see gifts in you long before you believe in yourself.

I’m sorry you won’t grow up with Grandma alive. I hope somehow during your three short years with her that you’ll remember some of the memories. She loved you and your brother so very much. Even though she’s no longer with us, she’ll always be with you. I promise.

But darling, she waited for you and your brother. She was sick a very long time before an angel gave her wings. She just couldn’t leave this earth without meeting you two first.

I’m sorry it may seem like I let your brother off the hook more than I did for you.

But goose, it took me a while to find out who I’d be as a mother. I was anxious and awkward with you. Once your brother arrived, I knew what was important to our family, and what I could let go.

I’m sorry I don’t read to you as often at night anymore. You can do it yourself now. And I miss it too. Let’s go to the library and choose some longer books that we can read together this summer. Have you heard of Harry Potter? Do you promise? I promise.

But bud, do you know I sometimes stand in your doorway watching you read to yourself? I am so proud that you get excited over a new book, even a new bookmark. Maybe you are a little like your mommy? Keep reading. You’ll be smarter, more compassionate and you’ll always have an escape. A good book is even better than a Minecraft world.

I’m sorry you might catch me staring at you sometimes with a strange look. I just can’t believe how far we’ve come; and I’m by your side for the long haul. I promise.

But beautiful, a mother’s stare is so much more than a gaze. In those moments I see you as many things: I see the precious baby I once cradled, the little boy I have now and the good man I’m raising, all combined into one blond haired, blue eyed, gentle soul.

I’m sorry but I need to go now. I could go on and on.

But my dear, I’ve made mistakes, and you will too. It’s always okay to admit you were wrong. And it’s always okay to say I’m sorry. 

Love, Mommy

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Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this, perhaps you’d enjoy 10 REASONS I WANT A THIRD KID (even though I hated babies)  xo, Emme

 

 

The Weight of Adult Secrets

“I’m having an affair with Jason,” Rebecca abruptly confessed as I was walking out the door of our town’s post office. She said it quickly and quietly. She looked guilty.

Rebecca is married with three kids. Jason is married with four kids. I am nobody in this situation; but now she’s made me involved. I have no idea why.

Rebecca and I are somewhere between acquaintance and friend status. I really don’t know her well. We live in the same small town. We see each other on occasion at school functions and kids’ sports. We rarely text and I don’t know her birthday. We’ve had too much wine together at various house parties, but that’s the extent of our friendship. I certainly wouldn’t feel compelled to divulge any deep dark secrets to her.

Yet, here she’s handed me this massive load.

It’s funny the difference between the weight of adolescent secrets vs. adult secrets.

Looking back, I was a terrible secret keeper as a teenager. No matter how many promises, pinky swears, and cross my heart and hope to die vows I took, no secret was safe with me.

And I’m pretty sure my secrets weren’t safe with those who promised to hold on to them tight.

Adolescence was hard. It was hormonal and painful. It was emotional and lustful. Girls were nightmares and sometimes we didn’t even treat our own friends with kindness.

Adulthood is hard. It has the façade of seeming stable and status quo, but it’s a fucking mess. Adults are also nightmares filled with hidden desires, bottled up resentment and a nostalgic yearning to be a carefree adolescent again.

The spilling of an adolescent secret feels like the end of the world.

The spilling of an adult secret can actually be the end of the world.

In that moment—in a small-town post office—I was handed incredible power. I held the fate of two families, two oblivious spouses and seven innocent children, whose worlds could easily be turned upside-down with just one simple whisper from me.

“How long has it been going on?” I asked.

She looked down at her feet and replied, “A few months.” She glanced up at me, almost wincing, expecting to see judgment on my face.

Who am I to judge? I know absolutely nothing about the factors leading up to this. Maybe Rebecca’s husband cheated on her? Maybe he’s abusive? Maybe she just fell out of love? Maybe her husband knows and doesn’t care?

“Promise you won’t say anything,” she added, as if it weren’t obvious. Not many people confess their affairs with hopes of being caught.

“I won’t,” I promised.

Even though I don’t necessarily condone infidelity, I did feel sympathy for her. She looked conflicted. She looked confused. She looked sad. Yes, her actions don’t show the greatest of character, but I sensed there was more than meets the eye.

I sensed that she confided in me—not because she wanted to talk about Jason—but because she wanted to tell me about what lured her into his bed.

Maybe in time I’ll learn the whole truth. But probably not. It’s not my truth to know.

Since that day in the post office, I have occasionally felt tempted to expose this gossip to other friends in the town. Friends with whom I am closer to. . .  friends who I trust.

But I know I can’t do that, as tempting as it is. I know that I can’t trust anybody.

The weight of an adult secret has insurmountable consequences if uncovered. I was handed the power to ruin lives and start a small-town scandal.

I’ve learned that keeping a secret can feel just as satisfying as spreading salacious gossip. Guarding this secret is protecting those spouses and children from humiliation and heartache. For me? I’d rather use my power for protection than destruction.

 

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Interfaith Kids This Time of Year

Before I became a mom, I naively thought that Christmastime with children would be filled with magic, peace and amazing memories. I thought I’d happily wrap all the presents, decorate the house, get the tree, bake cookies, address the Christmas cards, and host a shit ton of people in the house.

But now? Now I’m actually a mom.

Now I know about the Elf on the Shelf. Now I know about volunteering at the holiday parties in the boys’ school. Now I know that I’m supposed to buy a small token for the teachers. And the aides. And the art/gym/music/Spanish teacher. And the crossing guard. But not candles! (They have too many.) But not gift cards! (Too impersonal.) But not ornaments! (That’s too personal.)

ENTER: Jewish husband.

Before I became a mom, and after I married a Jew, I pictured the holidays with a beautiful blend of both traditions, exposing the boys to as much of our childhoods as possible. (I even thought about starting my own online interfaith holiday decoration website, because there really aren’t any.)

This beautiful blend of tradition. . .let’s do some math.

Eight nights of Hanukkah times two kids is sixteen gifts. That’s sixteen new things before Santa even comes. F to the M to the L.

This beautiful blend is gluttonous. Most parents are trying to get kids to cut down their lists. Me? I’m begging for more so I can fill both holidays. Let’s not even talk about the kid with the January birthday.

Now, I know how this sounds. It sounds like I’m raising two greedy, spoiled a-holes who aren’t even learning the valuable messages that are abundant this time of year. That’s not true.

They know the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights. They know about the persecution of Jews throughout history and that our family exists because of sacrifices and the hell that their ancestors endured. They wear yarmulkes when we light the menorah. So what if they call them “Hanukkah hats?”

They know the story of Jesus. They know that he put other people before himself. They know that he was kind. They know that he always helped. They know that he is the son of God. They think decorations of baby Jesus when he’s naked are downright hilarious.

They also recently found out that Jesus was killed by the Jews, which made the freak out a bit. Then I mentioned that Jesus was actually Jewish. This fact simultaneously relieved and confused them. Such is life for interfaith kids, I suppose.

It’s a new year and the confusion and chaos of the holiday season is behind me. Now that the tree is down and the menorah is packed away, I can reflect on my boys’ perceptions of the holiday season.

They didn’t see how overwhelmed my to-do list made me feel. They didn’t sense that I was secretly praying for it to all be over.

They saw a home filled with decorations from both their parents’ childhood traditions.

They watched as friends and family from both religions gathered around the menorah to light the candles and say the prayer.

They got excited to get the mail to see whose holiday cards we could add to our wall of friends and loved ones.

They got bundled up so we could walk in the dark (6pm) to our town fire station to select our Christmas tree and pull it home on their red wagon.

They sang along to the holiday music that was always playing in the kitchen.

They loved watching the pile of gifts for family and friends grow under the tree.

They gathered old toys that they don’t need anymore so I could donate them to GoodWill.

They smelled the oil from the latkes I fried and the sweetness of the cookies we baked.

They helped find extra pillows and blankets for all their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma who spent the night on Christmas Eve.

Yes, they receive a lot of gifts in December. Yes, perhaps they are a tad spoiled.

But, it’s my December to-do list that is giving them the gifts they’ll carry with them forever. Togetherness. Family. Love. What else matters?

 

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The Day My Sad Turned to Mad

From my kitchen table I can see the street. A few houses up the street is a school. It’s the school where I sent my two little boys this morning. They are in first grade and kindergarten.

We live in a small town, very family-oriented. There are good people in this town, raising good children. The school is pre-k-8, with only about 250 students in total.

From my kitchen table I heard the sirens, which made me lift my head from my laptop. Racing in the direction of the school, I saw one, two, then three police cars followed by two first aid vehicles. All speeding. All speeding to clearly take care of something serious. Serious usually means tragic.

School shooting. That was my first thought. My first damn thought was school shooting.

Once upon a time, sirens meant that somebody got hurt, perhaps a car accident, or an elderly person fell down, or a woman was in labor and alone.

Once upon a time, I would have had a brief moment of curiosity and then continued working.

Once upon a time, I would have forgotten about the sirens and the rushing vehicles.

But, not today. Today I started trembling, thinking the worst. And I am not that person. I am certainly not that kind of mother.

But, today I slid on my boots, grabbed my son’s Super-Man umbrella and left my warm home and big workload to scurry down to the school in the pouring rain.

From down the street, I saw Mr. Sheeran’s car pull into the school parking lot and panic overtook me. He’s a retired veteran, very involved with the local law enforcement. He had no reason to be at the school. I thought that undoubtedly he must have a police scanner, or inside information on this emergency.

But no. I was wrong. He was simply raising the flag from half-mast after Veteran’s Day.

Approaching the school, I peered around the corner and that’s when I saw them—all the vehicles I had hoped were headed toward a resident’s home or a minor traffic accident—were all flashing their intoxicating blue and red lights in front of the main entrance the school. The sirens were silenced.

No other parents were around, so I diagnosed myself as a paranoid, crazy mom and I scrambled back home, not fully shaking the feeling of uneasiness.  As I was entering my front door, my neighbor, Kim, pulled over in her beige SUV.

“Do you have any idea what’s going on at the school?” she asked, with a shaky voice and a mother’s worry in her eyes.

“Not a clue,” I replied. “I heard the sirens and saw the cops rushing that way, so I kind of freaked out,” I said, pointing toward the school.

“Do you think everything’s okay?” she asked, desperate for whatever reassurance I could offer.

Feeling just as anxious as her, I replied, “I think if it were a shooting, there would be more help here. There’d be cops and ambulances from other towns racing to the school. Maybe a kid choked on a grape or broke an arm. The cops have nothing to do in this town, so they all show up to every situation.”

Not buying it, she said, “Maybe it’s mothers’ intuition that we both felt compelled to check it out. Should I call the school?”

“Yes,” I said, without hesitation, “please call.”

“Hi Kathy, it’s Kim,” I heard her say to the school secretary, “I saw the commotion at the school and some of the other moms and I are worried. Everything okay?”

She nodded while listening to Kathy’s response, thanked her and said to me, “It was just an accident and all the students are fine.”

“That’s very vague,” I said, “But I feel better.”

I still don’t know exactly what happened today at the school. It’s still two hours until pick-up. Here’s what I do know:

I remember hearing about Columbine, I was shocked, yet intrigued by the nuances of the story. Living across the country, I felt removed from it, but fear was my predominant emotion. But not fear for me personally. From the security of my college dorm room, I couldn’t stop thinking about how scared those kids must have been.

I remember hearing about Virginia Tech, and again, I felt removed. My college days were over, but I thought about the students who attended that school. I wondered how they’d be able to walk around campus, or even the rest of their lives, ever feeling safe again.

I remember Sandy Hook. Struggling with two young babies, as well as losing our home in Hurricane Sandy, this tragedy put things in perspective for me. It made me feel grateful for, in comparison, the absurdity of my situation. My babies were safe. My family was together. What else mattered?

I do remember seeing the sweet faces of those lost in Sandy Hook. And I remember finally crying. It was my first shooting to occur since I became a mother. I cried for the babies of mothers I didn’t know. I cried for those parents, those siblings, those classmates and teachers. I felt that one. And it hurt bad.

The Aurora, Colorado movie theatre. Multiple church shootings. Pulse Nightclub. Las Vegas.

What the hell is happening?

All these tragedies have always left me feeling overwhelmingly sad. As I’ve grown through different stages of my own life—from college to career to motherhood—the severity has become more palpable. My compassion has increased. My sympathy has increased. My fear has increased. But, I was still plagued by the “it could never happen here” syndrome.

Today my sad finally turned to mad. I hate that a series of sirens that could have been headed ANYWHERE, convinced me that my children were in danger. I hate that a series of sirens prompted me to head out in the pouring rain, ignoring my work and letting my coffee go cold. I hate that a series of sirens, that I once would have ignored, made me tremble, thinking the worst.

I hate that my motherly instinct now includes protection from mass shootings.

Today my sad turned to mad.

 

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FIVE REASONS I’M NAILING ADULTING

Listen, I don’t have it all together. Not even close. But the thing is. . . people think I do, like really think I do. And, I’m not sure why this is. I am a total disaster. The hottest of messes. Ask my husband.

Here are some reasons why I suspect people are fooled:

1. My house is neat. I didn’t say my house was clean. I said neat. Neat meaning that 75% of the typical four sides in your view are clutter-free. My kitchen counter tops are tidy and wiped clean. However, my desk in the corner of the kitchen? LMAO. Bomb. More like air strike. But, my feeling is, if the majority is clutter-free, the apocalypse in the corner just looks like an ambitious organization project, not a procrastination graveyard.

2. I bring wrapped presents to kid birthday parties. The gift table at a kid’s birthday party circa 2017 is filled with envelopes (gift cards) and colorful bags with wisps of tissue paper sticking out, which was probably assembled in Mom’s trunk three seconds before the party. But kids, especially little ones, want presents to open. They don’t give a fuck what the hell is inside. You can wrap up a doll of Gwyneth Paltrow’s head for all they care. Arriving with a bright package encased in matching ribbon with a bow totally says, “I’ve got my shit together.” Including gift receipt? You’re adult AF.

3. There is always champagne in my fridge to celebrate. Anything.  A few hundred years ago, on the 3rd of July during a firework celebration, my husband proposed to me. We were living in a townhouse community on a river and all our neighbors were outside. We didn’t really know anyone well, but word got around that we had just gotten engaged. A woman, Mary, ran into her unit and came out with a bottle of champagne and a giant smile. She popped the cork and said, “I always keep a bottle chilling in the fridge. You never know when you’ll need to celebrate!” That night, a stranger named Mary, was the first to cheers to the future of a young couple who she hardly knew. She made me feel so special. I’ll always remember her as classy and generous, with a bit of a wild side. Just because she had champagne. I want to be just like her.

4. My husband and I have a weekly date night. People find this extraordinarily impressive, and I’m not sure why. Find a sitter. Tell her to come every week. Presto. But nonetheless, people think we have the magical secret to keeping the spice alive in a marriage. Umm? No. My kids just have a mommy who needs to get the hell away from them once a week so she can drink too much, complain about motherhood and then irrationally beg her husband for another baby.

5. When I host a gathering, I host the shit out of it. When I host either a family holiday, kids’ birthday party or my annual summer girls’ night, I leave no stone unturned. Welcoming others into your home—especially when it’s planned—is a no-brainer way to fool them into thinking that you have your shit together 365 days a year. Put out a big spread. Something a little fancy, like shrimp cocktail or anything with goat cheese. Or brie. Fancy people love brie. Something a little healthy, like a veggie platter and a bowl of nuts. Healthy people love nuts. But NOT peanuts. Something that was time consuming to prepare, like 7 layer dip or anything hot that requires a toothpick. Something for the kids, like cocktail hotdogs, or anything that’ll spoil their appetite for dinner. And something a little ghetto, like Doritos dumped in an ugly bowl. Or better yet, potato chips and dip. I guarantee the potato chips would be eaten before the veggies. Because everyone’s a little ghetto, yo.

There you have it. The holy grail of how to fake your way through adulting. Just throw your crap in a corner, wrap a present, buy champagne, go on a date and have a party. Maybe adulthood isn’t so hard?

 

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I’m a Wife with No Name

 

My husband is somewhat of a local celebrity. He owns a local bagel joint that has become a bit of a cult in the area, with long lines of people oozing out the door and around the corner on weekend mornings. Even sometimes on like a Wednesday at 11am. It’s really random and pretty amazing.

Now, he’ll read that last paragraph and get angry and say, “Emme, it’s our store, not mine!” He’s always been very good about handing me some of the fame. But, I don’t want it.

Everywhere we go he is recognized. Sometimes, outside of his apron, people can’t quite place him. Where do I know you? You look so familiar! It’s everyone. It’s everywhere. Once we were even on a remote island vacation and he was spotted.

He bought the business nearly 20 years ago when we were just casually dating, not even monogamous. Well, at least I wasn’t (hi honey!). He was a young, smart, ambitious 28-year-old ready to take on the world. And man, has he crushed it.

I cannot take any credit in the success of the store. He’s the one who works insanely long and early hours. He’s the one whose phone rings at 2am from an employee calling out sick. He’s the one who bears the burden of equipment failures or power outages. He’s the one who does the books and tracks wheat trends in the US to estimate his cost per bag of flour. He’s the one who stresses, probably even more than he lets me know.

His success (yes, his) has given us a home to live in, a car to drive, food to eat and clothes to wear. But most importantly, it’s gifted me the privilege to stay home and raise our boys.

I do complain about stay-at-home mom life and its drudgery, but doesn’t every job come with some bitching, no matter how grateful you are to have it?

My gripe about my husband’s our business is that, even though I have little involvement in it, it is how people define me. I am often introduced to people by my husband’s occupation, rather than my name. I don’t feel this would be the case if he were. . . say. . . an accountant.

“Hi, I want you to meet my friend. Her husband owns BagelKillers.”

This has become my identity.

As if a 30-something woman who has chosen to stay at home to raise children isn’t having enough of an identity crisis.

It’s not that I’m resentful, or envious. It’s nothing like that. I’m wicked proud of him. It’s just that his success has diminished my self-worth, at least in the eyes of others.

My husband’s career has apparently become the most interesting thing about me.

This is the typical inquisition that follows someone being introduced to me:

Do you eat a lot of bagels? Um yes? No? I don’t fucking know. How many is “a lot?” I have maybe one a week? Is that a lot? I don’t really know how to answer this. Can you please reword your question?

How early does he have to get up? Sometimes 3. Sometimes 4. Sometimes 5. Sometimes I just don’t know. He lets me sleep.

What’s your favorite bagel? Oh, for fuck’s sake! Do you really want to know this? Is this really what we are talking about?

It’s not that I mind talking about BagelKillers (totally not the real name, but I kind of wish it was), I just wish it wasn’t the only thing people wanted to know about me. Oftentimes conversations are so overpowered by curiosity about my husband and the store that people don’t even ask about my kids.

I suppose my question is: Is it really that hard to make conversation with a stay at home mom, or is my husband’s business that interesting?

I often wonder if the topic of BagelKillers would dominate my life if I had a legitimate job. Like a paycheck receiving, commute worthy, shower taking, leave the house kind of job. Then would people have more to talk about with me?

Would people still want to know if I eat a lot of bagels?

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If you enjoyed this, check out The Weight of Adult Secrets. Thank you for reading.

In Defense of the Mom Blog

Even though I now have a blog, I don’t yet—three posts in—consider myself a blogger. Currently, this is more a place for me to compile all the random thoughts that I’ve turned into words.

I don’t really know the direction these posts will take. One day I might share a delightful cookie recipe. The next day I might share a list of the best places to buy crack in each state. Who knows?

I’ve recently been researching this blogging lifestyle to learn, going forward, how I might share a post on another blog, or vice versa.

I was shocked, appalled, and actually kind of sad, to read the extent of mom blog bashing on the internet.

LEAVE MOM BLOGS ALONE!

I don’t even know if this blog would be categorized as a quintessential “mom blog” considering just from its title that the owner doesn’t shower often and sometimes has headaches. From hangovers? From screaming kids? From both? All of the above. Just from adulting.

Anyway. . . I have survived the last seven years of SAHM-dom reading mom blogs. In the teeny pockets of time between naps and feedings, or just stealing a quiet moment while the kids are occupied, mom blogs have been the perfect escape. Ain’t nobody got time for a whole magazine. A book? LMAO.

I’m not saying that all mom blogs discuss ground-breaking issues or are life changing in any way. But some woman out there—some mom out there—took the time to write it and to share it. If you don’t like it, or need something more intellectual, don’t read it. But please don’t belittle it.

Mom blogs are ubiquitous.

Mom blogs are funny.

Mom blogs are poignant.

Mom blogs are messy.

Mom blogs are relatable.

Whether you work full time, part time, stay at home, have a husband, have a wife, do it alone, or have friggin’ sister wives. . . the truth of the matter is that motherhood is hard. In this Trump era of females uniting to prove that we are more than just pussies to be grabbed, I have felt like a part of something big—a part of a sisterhood of women who support any career, sexual partner, religion, race or the fucking choice to have a mom blog.

I read an interview with the editor (female) of one of those large sites that post submissions by guest writers. She explained how the readership is a wide demographic of smart women. She dwelled on the importance of the female voice and experience. Her interview made me want to check out her site and devour every piece.

But then. . . Then she bashed the mom blogs.

I’m not saying that she should accept submissions on “10 Ways to Potty Train Without Chardonnay,” but why the dig? Your platform doesn’t support light, breezy motherhood pieces. I get it. And I’m totally cool with it.

I have stumbled upon really well written mom blogs that have pulled at my heart strings and prompted me to immediately subscribe. Others have made me smile, but are otherwise forgettable. Either way, the post was important to the writer—to the woman—who wrote it. She put something else aside, a load of laundry, a cooked meal, a dirty sink, to write her story. You can like it. You can hate it. Just be respectful and let her speak.

As Hilary Clinton said, “. . . one of the most important pieces of unfinished business in human history—empowering women to be able to stand up for themselves.”

Mom blogs are giving a voice to a demographic of women who otherwise might not be heard, whether they’re writing about episiotomies or playdates. Preach ladies, preach. I’m listening.

 

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10 REASONS I WANT A THIRD KID (even though I hated babies)

*This post was published here on Sammiches and Psych Meds on 1/11/18.

People think that I’m joking when I tell them that I hated my babies. I mean, of course, I didn’t hate my babies, I just hated the person I became during those years. I hated thinking about how boring my day would be, and how tomorrow would be exactly the same. Yes, the love is intense, but the sheer tedium dominated my ability to genuinely enjoy those early days of motherhood.

My husband got snipped, so why the hell do I secretly wish for one more?

  1. I want to experience pregnancy one more time. I might not have liked them when they were born, but, oh but I did love them when they were growing inside of me. I didn’t even mind not drinking! Well, I did house a whole six-pack of non-alcoholic beer at a BBQ once, so maybe I missed it just a little. I loved the rolling knobs and random jabs. I loved the trippy feeling of being so close to them, but not being able to see or touch them, but I loved them, yet I didn’t know their gender, but I knew that unlike friends, pets or even husbands, these babies would be in my life forever. Nothing in life compares to the acid trip that is pregnancy.
  2. My first two kids turned out okay, I guess. Guys, I think my husband and I actually know what we’re doing. Our boys are funny, moody, silly, angry, curious, lazy, kind and truly a-holes only like once or twice a week. Good enough for me.
  3. I know now to ask for help. Dude, why didn’t I do this the first time around? #helprules People love to help (in moderation) and people love babies (also in moderation). If I had my pretend third child, I would totally respond to this statement, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” with this reply, “Okay thanks. Be here at 10am on Wednesday. Plan to stay until around 12 or 1pm. Bring me a coffee. And maybe like a meal or something I could heat up later for dinner for the fam. If we could make it a weekly thing, that would be great. Thaaaaaanks.” Help. Boom.
  4. More kids=more grandkids. Believe it or not, I won’t always be this fine, ten pounds overweight, 38-year-old vixen you see today. No, my friends, this sexy bitch will be old and gray one day. Tick tock tick tock. A bigger family ensures a larger younger generation. That means a bigger audience to laugh at me while I lose my memory and tell stories of how much I hated my babies.
  5. I want a re-do. While I don’t want to erase the two gems (see above) that I already made, it would be nice to have a blank slate, a tabula rasa, if you will (I totally had to Google that, I don’t use that term on the daily). Undiagnosed post-partum depression really screwed me up (ya think?) and I would like the chance to leave the hospital with the wisdom that I have now: Yes, these baby years are going to suck, but they will also be filled with wonder, discovery and magic. I didn’t see it then. But I see it now.
  6. I would be able to filter out the whispers. “You’re going to breastfeed, right?” Shut up. “You’re not going to co-sleep, are you?” Go away. “Oh my God, please tell me that’s organic.” I can’t hear you. People and baby advice suck. But the hypothetical third time around? Talk to the hand.
  7. It would preserve my older kids’ innocence a little longer. My boys grew up FAST. I know I kind of wished it, so now I’m coping by writing Top Ten pieces about fake third babies. But, they are only five and seven years old. Their innocence drips away with every new friend they encounter, or every weird family they want to join on YouTube. A new little baby of our own might recapture their pureness, or stall their innocence for just a bit longer. Or, at least until they find click on the photo icon on my iPhone.
  8. I miss the simplicity of a baby’s routine. I remember the feedings and the naps and the tummy time. I used to equate the mundanity of this cruel cycle to Chinese water torture. But now? Now it sounds delightful compared to the shit show of sports and homework that is just plain impossible to spin into anything that remotely resembles a routine. I know that you’re thinking that I’d be nuts to throw a baby’s routine into my current shit show routine. Fear not! My third baby is pretend and pretend babies sleep through the night as newborns, rarely cry, potty train themselves and even do their own laundry.
  9. I want to be the older mom. There was an older mom in my boys’ preschool. I used to gaze at her with a look of confusion (Is she really the mom? Nanny? Grandma?), curiosity (Why is she so old? Infertility in her past? Just an oops? Been there, sister!), and admiration. The older mom holds a place of honor in younger moms’ eyes. The older mom seems calmer, wiser and WAY more patient than their decade younger counterparts. Currently, moms who are my equals view me as just an f-bomb dropping hot mess, typically with a hangover, trying to find someone to come over for a drink.
  10. I want to really soak it in. Those baby years were so, so hard. How can I feel such palpable nostalgia, longing for a time when I was at my darkest? Because I forget the doom. I look back at pictures, even pictures when I remember I had been feeling despair, and all I see is love. I see an exhausted, young mom just trying to get by. I forget the doom, but I remember how their scalps smelled like toast. I remember going on walks and talking to them about everything we’d pass. I remember singing songs in the car. I remember allowing myself to put off anything if they unexpectedly fell asleep in my arms. Maybe I have been soaking it in all along?

I know I’ll never have my pretend third baby. Maybe my desire for one more is just another part of letting go. Maybe all moms wish for just one more chance. All moms except maybe Michelle Duggar.

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If you enjoyed this post, perhaps you’d enjoy In Defense of the Mom Blog

Thanks for reading.

What’s in a Name?

 

Confession. My real name is not Emme. It starts with an “M,” but nobody has ever called me that. So why start a blog under a fake name? I have a few reasons:

 

  1. I have no idea the direction this blog will take. My writing tends to err on the side of inappropriate to downright raunchy, so I thought it best to not let this blog anywhere near my real name in the event someone Google searches me. Who is searching? Probably nobody. But still.
  2. I do some freelance copywriting. On occasion. Well, once. . .anyway, I’ll leave the real M***** to deal with those gigs. Emme L. Beckett? Nah, she’s the fun one, the wild card. She’s here to bitch about motherhood, adulting and once she figures out whether or not her husband will be reading this blog, she’ll probably make a few pokes at marriage.
  3. Years ago, a writing teacher said that if a-hole people can make a pre-judgement about you just by seeing your name, and not your work, then perhaps consider using a pen name. I thought, “Well, isn’t that letting the racist/anti-semitic a-holes win?” Yet, here I am with whispers from that teacher in my ear. My married last name is flamingly Jewish and my first name is always misspelled, so I’m taking that teacher’s advice.
  4. Emme L. Beckett. You know what the Emme means (see above). My middle name is Lynn. What’s the Beckett? Oh, Beckett was just a name that I was obsessed with when I was pregnant with my second son. How cool would that name be? Oh, hey Beck. Becks, do your homework. What the heck, Beck?!? My husband gave the name is big fat VETO and I guess I never fully recovered. He liked Dylan. Freaking Dylan! Everyone has a kid named Dylan. He also gave the name Simon a VETO, so I coped with that disappointment by naming our kitten Simon a few years later. Poor Simon, RIP, got run over by a car a day after his first birthday. Let’s hope Beckett has better fortune.

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