Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pin what?

I admit it – I don’t like Pinterest.
Ok, I said it.   Don’t judge me.

Let’s just say that I can’t keep up with the Pinterest Peer Pressure.  You know the pressure… you surf online, see your friends pinning things to their little personalized Pinterest boards.  You ooh and ahh over the uber cute cupcakes and the super fun peg boards they are going to make out of wine corks.   You wonder if their dinner that they pinned on their board actually turns out as good as it looks in the picture.   You imagine that they made their origami pinwheels while wearing the sassy new heels they pinned while sipping on their tropical drink that was pinned to their vacation board.
I’m sorry friends; I don’t care what your imagination holds.  I love you all, I do.  I hope that you all have houses that look exactly like the new house pin board you created and that your babies’ nursery turns out exactly like you pinned it to be.   But really, I can’t keep watching you Pin.
However, I can’t keep up.  I admit it.  I don’t have time to Pin (ok, well, I have time to Pin, but I have a job that doesn’t exactly allow me unlimited pinning).  I also have realized after reading every issue of Martha Stewart Magazine that I am not Martha.  Nope.  I burn myself every time I get within five feet of a glue gun and they have revoked my membership card at Michael’s Craft store.  I am not artsy or crafty.  I tried my hand at bedazzling once (Read past blog entry) and I really should just leave the crafts to crafters.
I see some of my friends Pin things that they want to purchase.  I get it – it is kind of like making a shopping list, but in public, for you, your friends and thousands of others to view, and without any coupons… That’s where you lose me Pinterest.  I might be all for using your service if you included a link to the online store, or maybe even a discount coupon.  But, really, just pinning a picture?  I’d rather get the catalog and at least be able to tear of the picture and tape it to my fridge, and then I could use it as a reminder of what bathing suit I’m trying to fit in.
I think Pinterest is leading its users to create unrealistic expectations.  Pinners (or whatever you call people who Pin) start pinning the most perfect image of whatever they look at.  For instance, my friend is planning a nursery.  She is pinning everything that is white and spotless and organized, every lotion has a cap on it, every toy is in a bin and there is no diaper pail in site.  Do you know how disappointed she will be when she realizes what a working nursery actually looks like?  – baby poo stains on everything, Crayola marks on walls and furniture, toys everywhere except in the extra cute monogrammed book box, and laundry haphazardly placed.  I’m not setting her up for failure – just a dose of reality.
Next I have friends who are pinning all kinds of awesome birthday party ideas.  Like being a parent and throwing the required kid birthday party isn’t stressful enough?  Now us Mommies can surf online and find the most perfect party ideas, share them with our friends and try to mimic the photo.   Really moms? Are you all crazy?  Why in the world would you post a picture of what you are expecting the party to look like?  That is just nuts! I’m all about surprising the guest.  Especially after I baked a Baby Einstein Caterpillar cake for my Little Man’s First Birthday, (homemade, green icing, lots of circles to the caterpillar) it was pretty awesome.  I went to the store and came home to a cake mess.   The dog had decided to be the taste tester and ate the darn thing!  So, thank the lord there was no Pinterest then.   I would have felt so much pressure to fulfill my Pinterest Picture Perfect Party.  Instead, I called Publix and convinced them they could make a Baby Einstein cake on a rush.  Emergency averted, no one was the wiser.
So friends, may I suggest making your life a bit easier? Less peer pressured and stress free… Stay off Pinterest!  Just cruise the internet like any normal internet viewer and get some good ideas.  Print some pictures off the net and move on.  Realize that no one’s house is as pretty as it is on Pinterest, and that no normal Mom can actually make every single item at their kid’s birthday party.  Just relax, enjoy the ride and call Publix when you need a cake.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We survived!

Last night I helped celebrate my friend’s little boy’s eighth birthday.  While we were checking in at Chuck E Cheese and ordering the requisite pizza and tokens, the cashier smiled at us and gave us the ‘single mom’s discount’.  (In all honesty, it was just a few extra tokens and three large soda cups) but we were excited that he recognized the fact that we were there, pulling off a birthday party for our little men and no daddy’s were around.
Author's note:  This is NOT a man bashing column today –more of a celebration of being a strong mommy. 
My friend lost her husband suddenly a few years ago. It was tragic. She was left with a little boy and a pre-teen girl and a lot of stress and uncertainty.  How the heck does one recover from losing the love of their life?  A bit after that my other friend ended up going through a very traumatic divorce and was struggling to hold it together for her little boys.  Meanwhile, I was sifting my way through single mommy hood and recovering from a bad relationship as well.  If you would have run into the three of us a few short years ago, you would have either run for cover or bought us a case of wine!
Through the power of sisterhood, womanhood and a few Xanax we rallied around each other.  We took turns holding one another up, babysitting each other’s kids when one mommy was just too tired, overwhelmed, or let’s face it – depressed to do it.  We were each other’s dates for Valentine’s Day.  We forced each other to get up and put on a cute dress and make up, and sometimes we had to remind each other to eat and hit the gym.  We took turns hugging each other’s kids, nursing boo boos and trying to fill in the gaps that were missing. 
Last night I smiled and laughed as I sat in the booth at Chuck E Cheese.  How the hell did we survive the last few years?  Now our kids are turning 8, 5, 4 and even one teenager.  They are all polite, healthy and loving little people.  I am not quite sure how we survived the last few years, but I sure am proud of what we have accomplished.  I am looking forward to more nights with our kids, a few glasses of wine and no more Xanax.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Expectations

Today my daily affirmation said to “let go of all perceptions of what a relationship is supposed to be like”.  Hmm, I thought, this is actually rather timely.
As you, my bloggity blog loyal reader know, my friends and I are of the dating age. And as such, I use us as fodder for this page.  Just this past week we had been discussing how with the increase in social media, internet, text, our expectations have increased when we are entering into a relationship.
Back in the day (ok, you know I’m not THAT old), but it used to be that you would meet someone out or get set up by a friend, they would call you, you planned a date, you met, you made small talk, got to know one another, etc.  These days with online dating you pretty much fast forward all of that.  You answer questions, post pictures, list your favorites and basically give your date a “how to guide” on getting to know you.  Add in there the creation of text messaging and before you even meet a person face to face you have already gotten in your head a pretty good example of what this person is like (or, let’s be honest, what you WANT this person to be like).  Your expectations are set pretty high and you still haven’t even met the person yet!
The next hurdle is getting over the expectation of what status your relationship is in.  I constantly refer to my Dad and his wise advice when I was in college.  He told me “it is ok to date”.  Ok, duh! You might say.  But what he meant was; back in his day (1970 something) people dated.  Guys invited a girl out to dinner or to a movie.  They may even have two dates in a weekend with two different girls.  It was ok.  My Dad saw my sister and me getting asked out by one guy, having a good date, and then being stuck to each other for the foreseeable future.  We didn’t date – we committed.   I am not saying that everyone should go out and become crazy daters.  I am just suggesting that we put back into perspective that a date does not mean you are going to get married, have 2. 5 kids and a dog and live happily ever after.  It just means you wanted to see if you are compatible, have fun together and possibly could explore the thought of a second date. 
For most women, this thinking is very hard to do.  Most of us (and some men too) see our date as the future Mr. /Mrs.  We adopt the mindset that because we share the same interests and our online profile told us we were perfect matches we are going to be together forever.   We are projecting that our date is going to be the perfect relationship partner.  We can also back up our hypothesis because our online match maker agrees with us.  In our heads we are going to be Mr. and Mrs. Perfect.   Maybe yes, maybe no? 
To make the complication even worse we started changing the subject of first dates.  I remember my very first date I had from an online site.  The guy told me he hated first dates from Eharmony. I asked why? He said that “all you hear about is the sob story of someone’s past, why they got divorced, why they are still single etc.”  He had a really valid point.  While this information is very important for a relationship, topics like divorce, kids, marriage, used to come up after a few dates. These days, because you have already cleared those hurdles online, first dates tend to be a bit more intense. 
The other hurdle to keeping expectations low is that when you meet someone online you know their goals (it is a listed category!)  Want kids? Want to be married? Want to retire early?  You learn so much about the person online that you inevitably fast forward yourself into their painting of their cozy life.  I just talked to my friend who is dating a good guy.  He has a great job, owns a house, wants a family, has enough money to support a family – seems like a great catch.  The problem was that she wasn’t completely smitten with him.  She liked him ok, and could possibly grow to really like him.  Why did she settle and stay around for dates 2,3,4,5 etc.?  Well, because she fit into his picture of a future.  She wants kids, wants a man with a good job and someone who likes his family.  His perceived relationship and her perceived relationship were perfect matches.  Their personalities and lifestyles?  Not so sure.  But she was willing to pass up other guys and put her time into this one because of her expectation of what a relationship is supposed to be.
I am not judging or saying there is anything wrong with her choice.  Maybe they will be happily ever after and their match maker is completely correct?  All I am suggesting is that I remind myself to follow today’s affirmation and stop trying to fit relationships into what a perception is and just go with the flow of what reality is offering.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Get STRONG not Skinny

This past week I was listening to Anne Hathaway talk to Matt Lauer about her role in Batman.  She told him the directors of the movie asked her to “get strong, not skinny”.  I love that message!  It is so simple, yet one that I needed to hear.   And I’m assuming most of my bloggity blog readers may need to hear as well.
I can’t tell you how many times I talk to my coworkers, friends and family about getting skinny, losing weight and fitting in to clothing that is a size too small.  Each day I commiserate with friends about putting on extra pounds, making bad choices and being out of shape.  We all know what to do, we all know how to fix our dilemma, yet for one reason or another choose not to do it.
When I heard Anne (cause you know we are buds, so I can refer to here as Anne) talk about getting strong and how great she felt kicking and fighting during the action scenes I felt a twinge of jealousy.  I want to be strong! I want to be able to kick and fight like a guy. 
True confession – I did take a boxing class once. I did ok, but when it came to the kicking part, my girly girl came out. In my past life as a cheerleader I perfected the pointed-toe long-leg high-kick. My tootsies can face the stars and my legs will stay straight as an arrow.  This is perfection for dancing and yoga, not the same effect at the boxing gym.  I kicked like a girl!  I told my boxing coach I jumped and kicked like a girl.  He didn’t understand… From my perspective, I kicked to be pretty, I kicked to have great form, I kicked to look good and be liked. 
After hearing Anne, I want to kick to kick some butt too!  I want to be strong and stand up to that darn punching bag and kick the crap out of it and look tough doing it.
I am not saying that I will be tough overnight, nor am I saying that I will ever be Anne’s version of Cat Woman.  However, now I realize that instead of being skinny, I want to be strong. Instead of focusing on pointed toes and straight legs I want to focus on muscle and where my legs will take me.  I am sure that I will still revert back to being a girly girl and worry that my form isn’t perfect, but in the meantime I am going to focus on bringing strength to my life and seeing where my new self will go!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm bringing Silly Back...

“Mom, you have GOT to learn to roller blade! These things are AWESOME!” I hear at 7:45 a.m. coming from my driveway….
1.        I despise roller blading
2.       I haven’t had coffee
3.       I am still in my PJs and there is no way I am going out of the house, donning a helmet and putting my feet into holders on wheels right now.

“Little man I say, I’ll think about it” thinking I’m buying myself some time, at least enough to enjoy my coffee and watch the Today Show.
“Mom, you are just no fun anymore” he replies.
Typically this comment wouldn’t bother me.  However, this was the 2nd time in a week that my little man has pointed out that I am not as fun as I used to be.
Last week he went for a scooter ride and I went for a run.  We did 2 miles and were pretty hot and exhausted.  Since we were at the beach, we took off our socks and shoes and went to the ocean.  My little man dove right into the water.  I watched.  I didn’t want to get my workout clothes sandy and I really didn’t want to swim in just my sports bra and shorts.  Plus, my little man is a great swimmer now and doesn’t need me to hold onto him in the ocean.   I was standing at the water’s edge so proud of him for being a good swimmer, when he asked me to come in and play.  I said no.  I told him to swim closer to the shoreline.  He asked again for me to ride the waves.  I said no and warned him about the undertow.
After he got out and we dried off he commented that I no longer swim with him.  “Remember when you used to go running and then jump right into the ocean with me Mommy?”  Yep, I do remember that, and it was a lot of fun I thought.  I told him that I don’t have to do that anymore because he is such a strong little man that he doesn’t need me to help him.   He replied that “I’m just not silly anymore.”
That stung.
I guess that while I was on my mission of teaching my little man independence and confidence I got sidetracked.  Instead of focusing on fun and laughing I have been trying to teach him how to entertain himself and make friends with the other kids at the beach.
I learned that night that I really need to just let go more often.  While my little man doesn’t need me to hold his hand in the ocean he still may need me to help him catch the perfect wave and share some good memories.  I promised him the next time we run I’ll go swimming with him after.
That being said, I do draw the line at rollerblading.  Sorry happy blog readers, but I am just NOT getting onto those things. They scare the daylights out of me and my little man cannot convince me otherwise.  But, I know he will try….