“stop trying to do everything by yourself.”

I woke up last Friday to find that my seven year old’s cheek was the size of a golf ball. It was red, swollen and looking very very painful. I asked him if it hurt and he said, “No but it feels a little weird.” I swear to God if I’d never seen him react to a stubbed toe I would think his tolerance for pain was extraordinary.

Turns out the poor guy had an infected tooth. We got the medicine and I am happy to report that he is well on his way to healing.

The whole experience threw me for a loop. Hello, worst Mother of the year over here, what with allowing my kid’s cavity to get so bad it became infected. We have the appointment booked to get it fixed but not until early November.  Until then, I guess I just have to let this enveloping feeling of guilt peppered with a bit of failure consume me.

Uhh yes the dramatics, hop on board, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But seriously, the anxiety as of late, is coming at me from every direction and I don’t know what else I can do to fend this bitch off.

I worry about Lars and his tooth, I worry about Sophie and this newfound teenage attitude she’s dowsing herself in. I worry about school and if I am doing enough to help them along in what is the most important endeavour of their young lives. I worry about the shop and how to bring more customers in. I worry about money. I worry about time, because there’s never enough of it. And each time I conquer a hurdle I am oh so fucking worried about another worry pops up from the shadows. It’s as though it was just waiting there, ready to pounce as soon as I let out the tiniest sigh of relief.

Yesterday I started crying, like, what else is new? I was crying because of this overwhelming quilt of stress that started asphyxiating me. I didn’t exactly know how to remedy it. So I figured after a good ole blubber sesh I’d be able to pull myself together and pretend to be a functioning adult.

Well, the plan would have worked if not for my meddling husband. He was all, “What’s wrong Hunny?” and, “How can I help you right now Lindsay?”  Which was totally sweet, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a gal just needs to wallow for a little while to get her wits about her.

So with a wrinkled cry-face and on the verge of hyperventilating I told my husband what was wrong.

“I’m just so stressed out Jamie.” I said because I thought it may not be very clear at that point. “I feel like an awful mother. I’m always such a basket case of anxiety, I don’t think I’ve been spending enough time with the kids, I should be helping out more at the school and I just feel like I’m totally failing my family.” My words were barely comprehensible, but Jamie being the star he is, knew just what to say.

“Stop being so stupid.” Awe so sweet. “Stop trying to do everything by yourself. There are two of us you know.” He said grabbing my shoulders and looking into my soul as he does from time to time.

“But what about tomorrow?” I said, “Tomorrow I need to make a fruit platter for Sophie’s class, talk to the office about Lars’ medication, make Halloween treats for the shop, get the kids ready for the Halloween parade at school, AND OPEN THE STORE!” I’m not going to lie, I was hysterical by this time and unravelling more and more by the second.

He pulled me in close and hugged me hard, almost as though he knew that I may explode at any moment and he was merely trying to hold me together. It worked. Once again my brilliant husband held me together. Man, I love that guy.

“Lindsay, you do the things you need to do at the school tomorrow. I will open the store.” He said calmly – not to spook the monster that was retreating back into her hiding spot. “We are a team, we can do this.” He smiled at me, “I fucking love you.”

“I fucking love you too.” I said.

And with the help of my best friend I moved on to the next hurdle that needed slaying.

 

 

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Life: Open For Business

So going back to work has been a bit of a learning curve.

You know, I really didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to get back into the swing of things. I imagined I would breeze in there all like, oh yeah I’m Queen Bee of working and moming and I am the master of both my domains!

**followed by exaggerated maniacal laugh. **

Except this is not at all how it has been going.

Every day I drag my tired screaming body out of bed and wonder what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into. I think about how easy my previous life was in comparison. I fondly reminisce about all of my worry-free days of stay-at-home mom-ery and I fawn over those memories with longing.

However after a cup of coffee, I punt myself back into reality while I slather on some mascara and get on with life-as does every other person on the planet.

I do the mornings at the shop while Jamie does the long afternoons. I can’t complain. Jamie typically bests my nine hour shifts by two or three hours more each day. He almost lives there. But I do complain, a lot. Not about the fact that I’m tired and I am having a difficult time getting into a routine—these things will come. I complain about the tiny, minuscule things I miss about the ‘before times’.

I miss Sophie’s haphazard and dazed look when she awakens and trudges her way upstairs in search of cereal. I miss the way Lars would hide around the corner of the kitchen only to yell, “GOOD MORNING MOM!” as loud as he possibly can in those wee hours as I myself would be trudging into the kitchen. I miss Jamie rolling over still half asleep, putting his arm around me and whispering that the kids can wait just five more minutes as he nuzzles his cold nose into my neck.

These are the little things that I complain about not getting enough of anymore. And although they are small, the price seems like a big one to pay.

Aside from the mom-things that have been effected, there are a few other aspects of this new life that are quite daunting.

Let’s begin with the fact that Jamie and I are business owners! Do you know how different that is than being an employee?! When I worked outside of the home I always considered myself a pretty star wage earner. I’d show up early and stay late if needed. I went the extra mile. I was always friendly and courteous. I was one hell of a trainer when necessary. And I felt like I treated my position with as much respect as I would if I owned the place.

Except I didn’t. Not. Even. Fucking. Close.

The truth of the matter is, one doesn’t know what it’s like to be a business owner until you are, in fact, a business owner. Before, I never understood exactly how much was on the line if something (anything) happened to screw up. You don’t realize what one bad review of your company could mean. You have no clue how completely and utterly accountable you are until it is only you, you have to answer to.

We’ve done well thus far but the sneaking knowledge that our entire future is riding on this venture is always weighing in the back of our busy minds. It’s a large burden to bear to say the least.

So there’s that.

And about a hundred other things that continue to make me look back on the days before The Hot Wire, before moving, before everything changed, with fond recollections.

How easily it would be to slip back into those days of carefree living.

That is, until I dredge up how ‘carefree’ it wasn’t. Perhaps before the Panini shop (which now feels somewhat like a lifetime ago) we may not have had such *pressing* (see what I did there) issues but we did have issues none the less. We felt like we were standing still and not progressing in the life we were living. We felt like we were teaching our kids to sit and complain about all of the woes in life rather than going out and doing something about it. We felt lost because we simply weren’t doing what we were meant to be doing. We didn’t feel in control of our own lives and there is actually nothing worse than that kind of a thing weighing you down.

Now, those feelings are but a mere story of how we started on this current journey.

I think anywhere we go in life there will always be the learning curve. There will forever be challenges and worries that we aren’t doing right for ourselves and our family. There will be doubt.

It doesn’t matter how far you move, what new challenges you face, there will sometimes be moments of suffocation. There will always be moments of victory. I don’t think any successful human being can have one without the other.

So whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. Keep trying the new. Keep yourself on your toes. Be scared and excited and thrilled by anything. And do it every single day.

Life is weird and uncertain and totally terrifying at times. But at any given moment it can also be very very magnificent.

 

 

Yet Another Post About the Infamous Sleepy Bear

 

As mothers we stress. I think it must be something in our chemical make-up. If I told you how many times a day I find myself getting all worked up in the feels about some random thought…Well, I just wouldn’t tell you because it’s embarrassing.

Jamie is a stress-case too, which you would think would make things super awful pretty much all of the time with us both riddled with anxiety. However that’s not the case. My husband is an entirely logical man. He looks at the world through rational and balanced eyes, which is one of the hundreds of reasons why he is so good for me.  So when Jamie stresses he stresses about issues that are right there in front of him and how to fix those things that need fixing.

I stress about different stuff. The stuff that has no real value in this day to day life because if it were to happen it may probably change the course of history as we know it. I stress endlessly about zombie apocalypses and how I would save my brood from an undead army. I stress about that time I said a snappy comment to that cashier and she looked like she was about to cry. I stress about make-believe conversations I might one day have with my arch-enemy. Then I stress about the fact that I actually have an arch-enemy.

I stress about what the hell would happen if we ever lost Sleepy Bear.

This last thought hits a nerve. That bear is Sophie’s world. Literally, her entire existence revolves around one grimy disgusting bear that wears a pink and white polka doted hat.

I’ve tried to teach her that we shouldn’t rely so much on physical things to make us feel happy and content. It is our loved ones and our inner happiness that truly keeps us satisfied. Whenever I say this she just looks at me with a blank look and squeezes the bear tighter as if I am about to yank him out of her little grasp right then and there.

Last night as I was tucking her in I asked her if she was enjoying her new after school program. She said she loved it but she wanted to bring Sleepy in her backpack tomorrow.

“I don’t know if they let you play with toys from home there sweetie.” I said to her thinking that a little time away from the bear may be good for the kid.

“That’s okay I will just have him in my backpack.” She paused but then realizing that I needed further explanation continued, “Mom, I just feel better when Sleepy is with me. Even if I can’t play with her I just like knowing that she is near me. She’s like my kid.” The frankness in her voice was beautiful for a child of five years old and in that moment I had two emotions punch me in the gut.

First, pride. Pride that my little girl could so eloquently explain her love for the small stuffed bear that she holds so dearly. How amazing it is that she can open up to me and effortlessly describe her feelings when it comes to her plaything.

Secondly anxiety. Which brings me back to the stress of losing the damn thing. She referred to it as her kid for the love of God!

And so there it is, just one more random thing to get pushed into my already crammed brain when it comes to things that keep me up at night.

I think life would be a lot easier if I was a normal stress-case and worried about typical things like money and the economy and whether or not Trump is going to one day take over the world.

Whatever type of stress you have it can be a really scary thing. But I think the answer to all of it remains the same. Confront it head on, let it know you won’t be scathed and move forward with confidence.

 

The Maybes of Life

The house is a mess, fruit snack wrappers and apples cores smear my once beautifully manicured home.  The kids currently occupy my writing time with yelps of wanted attention and I am frantically trying to figure out what to make for dinner.

The vehicles registration has to be renewed, the bills are needing payment and I am sorting through them to see which ones can wait until payday.

I realize I have gained way too much weight over these winter months when I try to tug on a pair of jeans that quite some time ago had been replaced by stretchy yoga pants and an over-sized sweatshirt, and I am nowhere close to being able to fasten them up. My hair is greasy from lack of washing but I figure I can still get another day out of it, if I backcomb the shit out of ‘er.

I need to begin looking into school enrollment for Sophie, and Lars’ special day at school is coming up which I will need to bake some peanut free cookies for.

I sit down at the computer to write, I need to get some columns finished. Recently I have upped my workload by applying to online magazines and with surprised reaction have got several callback’s.  Just one more added stress to this hectic schedule.

I momentarily get up to use the bathroom and upon returning I realize my angelic children have raided the pantry in my 2 minute absence and took more fruit snacks without my authorization.

I begin to yell. I’m not proud of my screaming fit, and as I bellow my disappointment over small packets of sugar filled gelatin I realize I have finally fallen over the edge. I stop in mid-sentence, tell them to think what they’ve done and walk briskly towards my bedrooms on-suite bathroom.

There, I cry. That silent cry of disparagement. I know it will only be a matter of minutes before they come to find me, so I need to get it out now. I cry for all of the days like this. These days when I fall short as Mama. For the days when I know my husband is overworked and under-happy and upon returning home I am in no state to cheer him up. I cry for what used to be. The days when I could pick up and leave, without a trace. When I only had me to be accountable for.

It is after this last thought that I wonder what could have been.

What if I had never happened upon the man I now call my husband? What if we simply passed each other by, and decided never to speak and instead I carried on in life with my original idea of being childless forevermore.

As I sit on this toilet, forehead slammed against a clustered counter top I think about what this life may have held for me.

Maybe I would have fulfilled dreams that now seem impossible, dreams that now seem too far away to even fathom. Maybe, I would have placed all of my love and fervour into a career life, instead of changing diapers and wiping snotty noses. Maybe I could have carried on with schooling and become that individual that I now look at with envy. Maybe, in this alternate reality I could have been selfish and not feel so damn guilty about it.

As this last notion crosses my mind, I look towards the locked bathroom door and see tiny fingers reaching into my sanctuary from underneath. I hear my daughter’s voice, calling for me. It is then that I begin to flashback to the realities of my life.

The first moments of holding my son. The tears that escaped me when my daughter took her first steps. The uncontrollable joy when I discovered my husband on his knee in our kitchens home ready to propose his love to me.

I think about what life would have been like to miss all of these grand wonders. These moments that in someone else’s reality would have seemed ordinary and unexciting. And the thought suddenly is unbearable. 

At this time, as my daughter calls for me and my son knocks lightly on the barricade separating us. I decide to be selfish and not feel guilty about it. And again, I think about the maybes of life.

Maybe, it is not too late for school. Maybe I can continue to be Mom and still look for further opportunities professionally. Maybe I can be the role model to my children that I so yearn to be. And maybe, by reaching for the dreams I have been envisioning for so long, I can teach my children a valuable lesson about never giving up on the things that matter. Maybe my priorities in life have changed since that lifetime ago when I was deemed as ‘just me’, but the original goal of success and happiness still remains. Only now, it means so much more because I have my family to share it with. 

And from time to time, to be the best Mom that we can be to our special people, maybe, we just have to be a bit selfish; if only for a few minutes to take a time out in the on-suite to think about the maybes of life. 

5 steps to de-stress during the holidays

The holiday season is a rough one for most. Aside from spending ridiculous amounts of money on presents you’re not entirely sure your gift receiver will even like,  there is the consumerism that makes you sick, the cutesy wutzy Christmas music blaring in every store you walk into and the fact that everyone you meet has a god awful fake smile plastered upon their clearly frazzled face.

So for today’s post I have created for you some handy tips on how to de-stress during this hectic time of year.

1) Get rid of those assholes on Facebook who hate everything on the face of this earth…Aside from themselves.

Okay maybe that was a little harsh, but honestly I’m not going to seize my love of social media by shutting down my Facebook account because there is ‘too much drama’. What I am going to do, is delete these such individuals off my news feed, because they are so annoying with their ‘he loves…he loves me not’ bullshit…Or the whole, ‘I’m going to kick (insert tagged name here) sorry ass for talking shit about me behind…’

I digress.

Ahem…Anyways, by engaging in step number 1, you will alleviate a whole lot of involuntary negative energy from your life, thus making the holiday season (and your future in general) more enjoyable.

2) Do not…I repeat, DO NOT put a damn Elf on your shelf.

Well maybe some of you super Moms out there can do it without the added stress and strain, but I sure as hell am not touching that gimmick with a ten foot pole.

How could a sweet little creepy elf be stressful you ask? Possibly because you HAVE to think of interesting and creative things for the bugger to get into in the morning, because God forbid you forget and then the kids think that little Snowflake Snorts-A-Lot is sick or something. Causing absolute chaos on an otherwise normal and nonchalant morning.

Not to mention the fact that you are wasting batches upon batches of cookies because the little bastard keeps getting into them! But oh how the children love it.

I’m pretty sure my kids will be just fine, without a stupid Elf on our shelf.

3) Continuously remind your children…Any child you come in contact with in fact, that an ancient fat man is watching them around the clock for the month of December.

In my experience, this little fabricated plan works like a charm. Whether it is terrifying the young ones into submission, or bribing them to be good little boys and girls for Santa Claus is indeed coming to town, I’m not sure. Call it what you will, it works.

So why fix something that isn’t broken right?!

4) Don’t lose your cool when plans don’t go your way.

Sometimes, plans change…Especially when you are dealing with a large family. Dinner time just may get delayed because somebody is running late. Maybe one of the kids comes down with a dire stomach flu and you are suddenly down 4 people at your already name categorized Christmas table. Possibly ol’ Daddy-o consumes one too many rum and eggnogs and decides to serenade your neighborhood with his made up Christmas jingles…Don’t freak out, you know why?

Because it’s fucking Christmas that’s why…Despite all of your failures on this day, your stresses and up-roaring anxiety, it will still be Christmas.

Whether you like it or not.

5) Have sex…Lots of it.

Proven fact: Sex is a stress reliever.

Done.

So there it is my friends, the list to end all lists when it comes to your boisterous insecurities about this Christmas season.

My gift to you, enjoy…

May you have a stress free holiday season this year!