Monthly Archives: December 2013

Truth Is….

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Push away the sugar coating, the sweet sunset photo memes on your Facebook newsfeed, the quotes in the books on your shelves gathering dust, the kind words recognized as merely cliches poured out on you from family, from friends, from perfect strangers. Lets set it all aside. Because we’re all adults here. We’ve all lived enough life to know the truth. To begin to face it unafraid, like a dragon of rage and violence it faces us right back, its breath singing our eyebrows. We tremble, but we face it. Because we begin to realize that without darkness, there is no light. Without anguish there is not joy.
Life is real. It will scrub your skin raw sometimes, exposing nerves that wrap in around themselves each time we venture outside. Love….it will smack you face down onto pavement, skin your chin, bloody your nose. And when you find the courage to get back up it might just smack you back down again, take advantage of your startled weakness and walk right over you, leaving a muddy boot print on the center of your back. Love is not easy. The first boy you swear you will love forever….he will be a mere minute in your journey. left behind. Or the one doing the leaving behind. You will find yourself asking God why. But will receive no answer. Because love can not be encapsulated in a series of explanations or letters penned with your very blood. Love simply IS. Sometimes it takes a sliver out of our hearts, sometime sit adds a brand new layer to our soul, sometime sit lasts a long time and we find eternity in their eyes, in the crook of their arm where we lay our head on silent nights, in the curve of their calf as they walk away from us for good. Love simply IS. Its drinking hazelnut coffee with him on the front porch. Its his scratchy handwriting on the grocery list, reminding you he use dthe last of the salami. Its simply all of the small moments.
Love is LIFE.
And life is no less dangerous territory.
Life will bring you betrayals from people you thought you would be able to trust in for the rest of your life.
Life will find you, curled up like an angry fist of fury, wrapped around the shattered pieces of your broken heart, trying in vain to hold it all together. Life will find you face down in the pillow, snot and tears blending into a river of grief on cotton. Life will find you burying your child, struggling to write a proper eulogy for the woman who gave you life, standing all alone at a lonely tombstone straining to hear the echoe of his laughter in the wind. Life will rip every last thing from your grasp like a furious tornado funnel, but will grant every blessing to the person just across the street. Life won’t play fair. Life wont be predictable. Life will wait to you get comfortable in your bliss and then yank the rug out from under your steady feet.
Life will watch you hold the picket sign and yell out your adament chanting for a faith you believe so strongly in. And then life will let the trees be burnt down to make way for a shopping mall. Life will let abused children stay bruised and alone while social workers look the other way. Life will let the mother of two die in the fire saving her children. Life will let the gay man be burnt alive for the simple crime of being gay and his ashes will fall softly like snow onto the ground that will push up daisies from cracks in cement.
Life isn’t ever fair. Ever.
Live it anyway.
Keep going.
Just like love is never what we want nor expect.
But love anyway.
Love the homeless man on the street corner who reeks of booze and slurs his words at you.
He is still someones son. He once was a miracle, kicking within the womb of a hopeful, fearful mother.
Love the girl at work who is always miserable and has walls up around her a thousand miles high. Love here because shes known enough battlefields to be called a veteran.
Love the men who wont ever love you back.
It’s good practice. For the real thing.
And when the real thing comes, you may not recognize it at first. It may be masqueraded as a friend. Or a man with a softening middle and a receding top. maybe he wont fit that list you made when you were 16 at all. But maybe if you dig a little deeper you will realize how shallow that list was anyway.
one more truth……
The real thing wont matter at all and wont be tangible until you first find the real thing in YOU.
You must take all of the lessons learned from all of the loving and all of the living…..take it into your bloodied hands and shake it, sift it all around, until all that is left in your palms is the TRUTH.
Because the true truth is this:
You are never truly alive until you discover how deeply you truly love yourself.
Love yourself so hard you wont ever settle. Wont ever allow bruises on your flesh. Will stand toe to toe with your demons and never back down. And never apologize for the fact that you HAVE demons. Love yourself so much that you will find the courage to say “NO.” Whenever neccesary. Love yourself that your so called flaws make you smile when you look in the mirror. Love yourself and go deep into the woods and simply dance. To the song emanating deep inside the most hidden room of your heart. Love yourself enough to laugh out loud in the middle of a diner and everyone stares and you don’t even care because joy tastes delicious on your tongue.
Love yourself because love is never love until it is true and nothing is true until you can taste.feel/hold/KNOW it.
And only when you can love yourself with that much passion can you love another that same way.
And only when we can love others that way can we truly LIVE.

Imperfect Mothering: You’re Doing It Right

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Recently, there seem to be two groups of folks who are prevelant in my life. The first are the ignorant folks who accuse me of neglecting my kids, using my kids to “get things”, being a selfish woman, etc…. The other group though, is just as ignorant. They assume I am this strange breed of SuperMom who sings cheerily all day like Mary Friggin Poppins while my house sparkles and my children behave like perfectly trained robots.
The problem with both of these assumptions is neither is true. Not even close.
But here’s the catch. If a mom admits she has a rough day, that maybe she yelled full volume at her children or cussed or let her house work go to hell…she might get branded a bad mom. But if a mom says anything even slightly braggy they are automatically assumed to be full of shit or just being judgy to all teh REAL moms out there. Oh, you coooked a huge breakfast complete with fresh squeezed orange juice and I just threw a pop tart at my kid? Well, eff you.
Fact is, we all are rocking this mom gig. Who gives a crap how we get it done?
So, here’s what this blog is all about. The first half is gonna be the stuff I’m proud of. The stuff I do that takes WORK, damnit. So why should I lie about it or make it like its no big deal for fear of offending another mom who doesnt do that stuff? So frickin WHAT? there is plenty of stuff I admire about other moms I know that I cannot do. I have a right to be proud of my skills. Without apology.
The second half of this blog is gonna be all the confession crap. The stuff I’m not proud of. But it is all just as much a part of me and who I am as a parent and as a human.
And a special big ol eff you to the handful of judgy parents who have private messaged me with all your bullshit. I know your stories. I know how you have less kids than me and a huge support system and baby daddies who take your kids on the weekends` or husbands who make loads of money so you can go out to eat and pay a sitter twice a week. Good for you. But unless you are a fly on the wall in my home and know what my life is actually like without the help of weekend dads or bigger budgets or a bunch of family nearby to help….Well, shove it. You can pretend to be a better mom or dad than me all day long. But if you’re wasting your time threatening to mess up MY life, well, your kids are clearly being neglected while your focus is on someone elses children.
Ok. Some of the stuff I rock at: (and I encourage all the moms out there to be a little more open and honest about all the badass stuff they do for their kids. You all deserve those bragging rights!)
1) I cook almost all of our meals from scratch. healthy meals. No preservatives or artificial colors. Even the burger buns for last nights hamburgers were from scratch. they took 2 hours to rise. The satisfaction I get from watching my kids enjoy a nourishing healthy meal that I worked so hard at is worth it.
2) I make all of my own cleaning products. I hate using chemicals and feel it is is safer for my kids to make my own.
3) I read aloud to my sons almost every night. Chapter books. Even the baby sits quietly and listens. This is because it is a habit I instilled from birth.
4) I don’t hit my kids. I give them the same respect I want for myself. I don’t even hit my DOGS, why would I hit my children?
5) I spend time playing with my kids every day. Whether its going on a walk or hike or coloring or making cookies, I try to do soemthing fun and relaxing as a family every day. Because thats what memories are made of.
6) My kids do chores and are pretty damn respectful for the most part. They know how to do laundry, clean a bathroom, do dishes, cook basic meals, change a cloth diaper, etc.. And when I need to discipline them for whatever reason, they usually respect it. Like recently, I had a friend over and one of my sons got too rough and hit his brother. I didnt spank or scream at him. i just calmly said “Go sit in time out.” and he went and sat and my friend said “They listen to you.” Like the concept of 6 boys listening to their mom was unheard of. But they DO.
7) I have OCD. this serves me well with this many kids. I have a “place for everything”. Shoes are lined up neatly in the closet. The fridge is organized by category. The bathroom cabinet is organized into individual baskets for each family member. Pantry shelves are organized. Rooms get deep cleaned once a week. We run a pretty tight ship here at Casa La Snarky. 😉
8) I make my kids homemade gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I cut their hair at home. I make my own curtains. I painted the walls in this house myself. I pick apples off the apple tree or wild strawberries from our yard and bake apple pie or make homemade applesauce or hoemmade jam.

Okay. Reality check. The other side of who I am as a mom. And this part comes with a THANK YOU to a dear friend of mine who recently confessed to me how her past and the darker sides of her sometimes interfere with who she wants to be as a mom every day. Which made me realize we ALL as parents have that side. we all struggle and fall short. Every damn day. Because we buy into that BS about the “perfect mom”.
1) I yell. I wish i didn’t. I want to be one of those uber patient calm zen moms who never yells. But I can’t. I keep striving towards zen in my soul. But the fact is, I also happen to live with 6 boys. Sometimes I get stressed or really pist. Sometimes I won’t be heard over the din without hollering.While we are on the topic, I also throw things (not AT my children. But I’ll grab something and whip that sucker at a wall. Its rare. But it happens. I also slam doors. Ive been doing THAT since I was a kid. (Ask my mom) Ive always had a bit of a temper. Its the Portuguese in me. 😉 But I don’t hit my kids or verbally abuse them. I just get loud sometimes, and throw my own shit at walls and slam a door now and then because I can and want to and its an adult temper tantrum and if you never get mad and act like a bit of an asshole then you are super duper full of crap.
2) I hate housework. I love organizing stuff. But cleaning…ugh. especially in a house full of gross boys. Its the gross factor mixed with the monotony. I do at least 3 loads of laundry a day. I wash dishes 3 times a day. I clean the bathroom twice a day. I effing hate it all. It sucks. I have better ways to spend my time. Its boring and gross and it all around. But i take pride in my home so I do it. But I still hate it. With a passion.
3) Sometimes my kids bore me. They want to play with legos or talk about video games and I can just feel my brain shutting off. Sometimes I am all about playing and chatting with them. Other times they run around outside and they are yelling “Mommy, come do this with me!” And I sit my ass on the deck reading a book and I lie and tell them my foot hurts or some BS because I dont WANT to help them build a fort or dig in the dirt or drag a wagon around the yard for an hour. I do PLENTY of stuff with them. Im not going to feel bad because sometimes I want to be TONIA and not MOMMY.
4) Sometimes I see my kidless friends on FaceBook talking about the restaurant their hubby took them out to that weekend or the vacation they are going on and I am jealous. And I let my mind wander a minute to what life would have been like if I had taken a different route. If maybe instead I became a singer and moved to NYC. I would have an apartment decorated with beautiful fragile things and I would sleep in sheets scented with flowery spray and awake no earlier than 10 a.m. and go out to nice restaurants and go on cruises. And a part of me longs for that. The peace and quiet. the spotless apartment that doesnt smell like boys. (You parents of boys know what I mean.) I love my boys. I would kill a person with my bare hands without pause if they harmed my children. But sometimes I sort of miss the girl I was at 20 before I had kids, and all the dreams that girl had. I miss who I used to be, who I could have been.
5) Sometimes I get busy or lazy and I dont WANT to prepare this major meal. So I don’t. A few days ago my kids had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast. I made the bread the night before just so I wouldnt have to make breakfast. My 8 year old made the sandwiches and my 10 year old brought me a cup of coffee and I sat on my butt and relaxed. Because I’m pregnant and a single mom of 6 kids and just eff it sometimes. That’s why.

So, there ya go. Reality. Because there is NO SUCH THING as a perfect mom. Chances are, if someone is getting all judgy on you, they have more than enough of their own stuff to deal with and probably shouldnt have their nose buried so far into YOUR life.
Just sayin’.

A Letter To Me

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Dear Self,
So. This is it. Deep breath in and standing silently in the middle of this silent house. The kids are all asleep. Even the cats and dogs. Sometimes you get so caught up in the daily grind whirlwind of controlled chaos that you do not even realize how very loud it can all be until night time comes and the quiet makes your ears ring and the ringing echoes and echoes and echoes……..
Against the walls where his hats used to hang and against the bed where you and he used to lay intertwined after lovemaking and against the empty shelves where his clothes used to be folded in those neat piles you liked to stack them in, partly because of your OCD and partly because that was your love for him. the folded clothes, the meals prepared, the body you gave him, the late night talks and laughter and hopes….all of it. You gave it all, didn’t you?
And perhaps some may call it a tragedy. To find yourself alone in a home of echoes late at night, one hand with its palm resting absentmindedly on your protruding belly where his child grows and twists and kicks from within. A tragedy. the loss of a man your other children loved. A tragedy, the way you toss and turn at night, half from worry over bills and the other half from an aching hole in your heart. You even have brief moments yourself, when you cry a good cry and let yourself play the woe is me game for a couple of minutes.
But there is no time for such foolishness. No time when there are sons to raise into fine young men and dishes to clean and laundry to put away and life to go on living.
And reality is. Nothing is a tragedy. NOTHING.
There are no mistakes. Not in this journey. Even when it seems you have fucked it all up beyond any feasible possibility of fixing it……To be honest, I’m not quite sure if every thing does truly happen for a reason and for a purpose, or if God/Life/Karma/Fate simply has the ability to turn any thing into perfection….but I have learned that all things really do work out in the end. No matter where you may be right now. This home is simply a stepping stone. The echoes will fade into the sounds of the future. the sounds of your sons laughter. The sound of your fingers on a keyboard again, blogging once more. The sound of that baby in you crying into the air for the very first time. the sound of life going on and the world spinningspinningspinning foreverandeveramen. Because it does and it will.
Perhaps he was just a prelude of what was to come. A break in your life. A time to feel alive after merely surviving. (Because there IS a difference, you see that now, right?) Whatever it was, it WAS. It simply was. It was memories. Shake the snowglobe and let the shitty stuff settle to the bottom and watch the good stuff swirl and swirl all around and be thankful. For that, at least. You loved him. And you did it well. And therefore, this is not a failure. Not yours. Not his. Life just goes on. Do you see?
Make enough time in your days for a little sadness or crying ,as needed. Forgive yourself for the days you walk around in your pajamas all day, a little angry at the world and bitter of all of the happy couples. It’s their time. Not yours. Not yet. Be happy for them after a bit. They’ve had their share of downs just as much as you are now. You can understand that, since you’ve had your ups. And you will again. I promise.
So, keep stepping forward. sometimes with weary, heavy steps. Sometimes just a half a step. Sometimes in leaps and bounds. People are not going to always agree with the direction you take, the choices you make. In fact, some people are going to take YOUR choices altogether too personally. They are going to slash at you with angry swords, pen you indignant words, accuse you of anything and everything just to try and get you to STOP stepping forward.
Do it anyway. Never mind the naysayers. They don’t understand anyway. It is not their place to understand. Not now. Probably not ever. And that’s ok. Love them anyway. But from a distance. Because true love must begin with one self.
You forgot that for a moment, didnt you? It’s ok. We all do. From time to time.
Just keep being you. Dance to the tune in your own heart. Even if you look off-beat to the whole wide world. Stand up and fight valiantly when your spirit calls for it. Turn your back and stoicly walk away when your soul yearns for it. Sing. Sing to fill every single empty space where the echoes used to bounce off of. Sing until there is simply no room for echoes, only the loud proclamation of the vibrations of your own heart.
Love Always,
Me
xoxo