Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I cried today. I've been pacing. I've been cranky. I've been downright miserable. I know that breaking up was the right thing to do, but it's been really really hard.  

Our relationship was not a healthy one. It's what I turned to when I was stressed, frustrated, bored, or just hungry. And it always worked for a quick pick-me-up. But I became increasingly dependent on it. I was losing the ability to be "me" in the relationship. It was only "we". We were having a lot of ups and downs. And we weren't so happy anymore. 

So on Monday I broke up with Sugar. Yes, I know that sugar is in just about everything. But it's the Added Sugar that I love so much. Fruit is not my addiction. Sweet veggies were not my problem. No, it was just Added Sugar. It has an alias, Evaporated Cane Juice. They're one and the same. ECJ just hangs out in health food stores more. They had seduced me in an unhealthy way. 

So I said goodby. They're still hanging around the house. My kids love them, but their relationship is still controllable. I found myself reaching out to them today. I had to stop myself from accidental contact. I almost licked the jelly spoon. I almost ate MeToo's jelly bean. I'm thankful that I didn't. I want their control over me to end. I want to be a healthy me again. 

It's Day 3 and it's hard. But breakups are. And all of my past breakups led to happier futures. This is what I keep telling myself. It will be worth it. If I can just stop pacing and having the urge to cry.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I have a confession to make. I'm not trying to be funny at all. I have an addiction. To sugar. I am psychologically and physiologically addicted to sugar. Especially paired with chocolate or baked goods. Frustrated with the kids? I turn to sugar. Bored? I turn to sugar. Hungry? I turn to sugar. It works so well. And with 3 pregnancies in 5 years, I could always justify the calories. 

At this age, my body is managing it without too many ill-effects. I'm active enough not to be obese, and won the genetic lottery enough to not be diabetic. But time will change these both. Diabetes and obesity are health issues that ruin lifespan and quality of life. I've seen patients who can attribute most of their lives' problems to these diagnoses. And the bad lifestyle choices that paved the path to them. 

I talk constantly to the girls about the foods that we eat and why we eat them. Eggs and milk have protein, which makes our muscles grow. Oatmeal gives us energy and helps our body clean itself. Fruits and veggies give us vitamins which help us stay healthy. Chocolate and ice cream make our tongue happy. We should try to eat foods that help our body but also make our tongues happy. Sugar is a "sometimes food", because it only does one of those. 

So my girls eat very well. I, on the other hand, don't. Because I'm busy sneaking chocolate and sweets throughout the day. Often enough that I hide it from them. And if I'm hiding it, I must know it's wrong. 

So on Monday I will sever ties with my drug of choice. Yes, I know that natural sugars lurk everywhere. Those aren't the sugars I'm concerned with. The dairy and fruit sugars are paired with good stuff, and those aren't my addictions. I'm not sending the girls to play and chugging milk or pounding back grapes. No. It's the chocolate eggs that I'm stealing on the sly. 

I'm nervous. I think the detox will be hard. I think I'll be grumpy and yell. And cry. I'm not sure what my alternate coping mechanism will be. But I know it needs to be done. Enough of " do what I say, not what I do."  Enough of desperately wanting something that doesn't help my body. Enough of leaning on sugar to get through life. It's not my friend. 

Please pray for me. I know I'll need it. Thank you. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why Did The Turkeys Cross The Road?

I wish I could answer this question. I'm just happy that I didn't hit them. 

LittleDebbie didn't sleep well last night, so neither did I. The coffee hadn't completely kicked in yet. And the two giant gobblers just came trotting across the road as I rounded a corner. 

Thank you, Lord. I really didn't want to add "clean turkey guts off front of van" to my ToDo list for today.

We Are Wealthy

I was talking to another mom at the playground after school today, and we got on the discussion of what we wanted out of schools - the non-academics that enriched our children's lives. We both agreed that we didn't want to send our kids to schools in the wealthy suburbs. She didn't want her children to be in the pressure-cooker environment - one that makes kids think that the only things that mattered in life were what college you got into and what you did for a living. I agreed with her. We both grew up in the South, and find New England's preoccupation with academic pedigree to be a bit concerning. (Of course, as I look up from my computer, it's BestestHusband's diploma from a school in TX that is larger than my other diplomas combined.)

But my greatest fear of sending my girls to an environment like that is that they'll grow up thinking they're poor. 

If we were to live in a ritzy suburb, we would be in the bottom half of incomes there. We would live in a more modest home than the girls' peers. We would drive an older car, with a less-impressive name. The girls would not have the same electronics as their peers. They would not jaunt off to tropical destinations and tour foreign countries on their Spring breaks. They would not have the same things as their wealthier classmates. And they would likely feel themselves lacking. They would likely conclude that they were unfortunate, and poor. And this is so far from the truth.

Now we are not wealthy by Boston's income standards. There is a great deal of money in this city. And if you know how to spot it, you see it everywhere. (It's not as easy to spot as it was living in Houston. But that's another post for another time.) But Boston provides a poor yard stick for measuring wealth. 

Here's how I know we are wealthy:

  • We're not one payment away from losing the roof over our heads.
  • We don't have to choose between buying food and buying medicine.
  • We don't have to choose between paying our electric bill or our phone bill.
  • When we're cold, we can turn up the heat.
  • When we're hungry, we can buy food.
  • If we lose our mittens, we can buy new ones.
  • When we outgrow snow boots, we can buy bigger ones. 
  • We can afford reliable transportation to get everyone to work and school.
  • We can afford to fill the gas tank, even as gas prices climb.
  • We can afford safe, reliable childcare for our children so we can show up for work every day. 

We may grumble about some of these costs, but it's not really a question of whether or not we can provide what our family needs. We may wish we had a bigger house with an actual garage, but that's a want, not a need. And it's a luxury. Our children don't really know what hunger is. Nor do they really know what it is to be constantly cold. The addition of one extra mouth to feed does not plunge our family into financial insecurity. 

I want my children to grow up knowing that this simple fact of having their basic needs met on a daily basis is a great blessing, and that we are part of the world's most fortunate and wealthy inhabitants. Because, regardless of what they see on TV, and regardless of hearing "we won't buy that, it's too expensive", there is nothing they really need. And that makes them wealthy.

Of course, the next thing they need to grow up understanding is that wealthy people need to help people that aren't. But that's another post for another day...

I pray that you'll recognize your own wealth, and give thanks for it as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Not To Do

I'm going to tell you what not to do. I know you shouldn't do it, because I just did it. You don't need to learn this first-hand, my experience should be enough. 

When your kindergartener brings home the class pet for the weekend, and has a "journaling" assignment to chronicle the fun events of the weekend, do NOT get involved. Don't agree to take pictures of all of the fun they're having. Especially if the "pet" is a stuffed animal that can go everywhere with your child. 

Don't encourage her to type her journal entry on the computer. Don't agree to create a document with the text and pictures. Because your iPhoto might be wonky and refuse to save your photos on the computer. And then you might have trouble actually inserting those carefully taken photos into a Word document. So you might need to start all over with a Powerpoint document. And then you might feel the need to crop and edit the photos so that they neatly fit on a few pages. 

Just don't do it. 

It will take up your entire night - that Sunday night that you use to catch up and prepare for the upcoming week. You need that night. Desperately. You don't need the frustration of cropping and rotating. Of copying and pasting. Of trying to reconnect with your inner Powerpoint diva.

You should follow the example of the 7th child in the class who took the "pet" home - the one who wrote her entry in "kindergarten spelling" and drew pictures instead of taking them. The one whose family printed a few photos in black and white printer ink and just pasted them on. Her journal entry was lovely and charming. It was perfect. You should do that, too. It's a wonderful idea.

Trust me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


In the car today, HeyMama announced suddenly,
"Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a scientist."
And then MeToo chimed in,
"And I want to be a mermaid!"

Everything you need to know about my older daughters is summarized by that conversation.