Friday, January 29, 2010

"Going Zen"

I'm adopting a new term today. I'm calling it "Going Zen". (Don't laugh. Hey, if Sarah Palin can "Go Rogue", why can't I "Go Zen"?) Anyway, I am in serious need of a little "Zen-ness", so I'm seizing the moment. I know a couple of people who seem to really get the whole "Zen" thing. "Don't worry, be happy" kind of folks. People who seem, miraculously, to be able to just accept life as it comes without staying up all night, consumed by anxiety-driven attacks of insomnia, their minds whirling incessantly, problem-solving every current issue while simultaneously trying to anticipate every possible thing that could still go wrong... These people simply let. it. all. go.

I've decided if they can do it, so can I. So, watch out, I'm "Going Zen!"

My son's upcoming surgery? He's in great hands, I trust his doctors, and he's a sturdy little guy who can handle anything. And, he's going to feel so much better when it's over, that it'll all be worth it. Zen!

The possible layoffs hubby and I are both now facing? Well, we've been through one before, so now we know what to do. We're enterprising and creative. We love each other and our kids. And, my brother said we can come and live with him in Boise, if we have to sell our house and a need a place to stay until we can get back on our feet. Plus, they say that necessity is the mother of invention, right? Maybe new, and better, opportunities will arise for our little family. Zen!

The myriad other worries that make up my daily life as mommy, wife, daughter, friend, and school counselor? Bah! It's all going to work out, one way or another. Zen!

Besides, with all the shocking atrocities and senseless tragedies that are occurring in other parts of the world every day, what am I doing getting all riled up by my own problems? Have a little perspective, girl!

Wow, this "Going Zen" thing is great! I highly recommend it. Especially when accompanied by a glass of wine, which I am going to pour right now.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Lately, I'm noticing that things make me madder than they used to. It's probably the perimenopausal hormonal rushes and insomnia kicking in, but I'm finding that I have far less tolerance for human rudeness and stupidity than at any other time in my life. Or, maybe it's being a parent. Maybe the responsiblity of guiding my two little boys into manhood in a world in which courtesy and common sense seem to be vanishing right along with the polar ice caps has turned me into a short-tempered harpy. Whatever the reason, I'm all fired up. Again. I know. What else is new?

So, what set me off today? Well, if you've been following along for a while, you might guess that it has something to do with political bickering and immaturity in our country. Nope, not this time. The extreme under-funding of education in the U.S., which, I have recently learned, is most likely going to result in me losing my position as a middle school counselor at the end of this year? Not today. That's a blog for another time. And, blog I will...Could it be people who continue to yak on their cellphones while driving, selfishly oblivious to the chaos they are leaving in their wake, as the rest of us attempt to safely navigate the roads while they are cutting us off, swerving into our lanes, or simply sitting at a green light, talking, instead of moving? Uh uh.

Today, I'm taking on smokers. In particular, the man in the car in front of me on my way home from work. The man who apparently thought it was perfectly appropriate to flick his ashes and cigarette butts right out the window of his car as he drove along. No worries. No thoughts about the people around him. No guilt over littering. Unconcerned that his cigarette butts were hitting the window of the car behind him. My window. Just going along his merry way...That man, and other smokers like him. The ones who just don't seem to care about anyone but themselves.

Here's the thing: I'm all for personal freedom. (Except when it comes to guns. Sorry, folks, I stand firmly against that one. Bring it on...I can take it!) If you want to inhale deadly, addictive toxins into your lungs, accepting the life-threatening effects on your health, not to mention disgusting breath, stinking hair, and yellow all means, go ahead! But, do it in your own space. Don't breathe your secondhand smoke into my family's oxygen supply. We're not choosing lung cancer. Why should it be OK for you to put us in jeopardy, just because you're choosing that for yourself? And, while we're on the subject of secondhand smoke, don't smoke in your car, when you have kids in that car. Geez, people! This is the computer age. Just Google "secondhand smoke", and you can read all about the effects your secondhand smoke is having on your children. Let's not sugar coat it. You could be killing them. Your own kids. Of course, you won't be around to see it, because you will have died of lung cancer or emphysema or some other horrible smoking-related affliction long before you see the health effects your smoking has had on your own children. And, what is it with smokers, like the man in the car in front of me today, who just throw their ashes and butts right on the ground, as if it isn't littering? Is there some sort of psychological block that happens in their brains? They have no issue polluting their bodies, so they don't mind polluting the planet or the people around them either? Is that what's going on?

I just don't get it. I'm a counselor. I do understand addiction and unhealthy coping mechanisms and all that... And, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to quit something that has such a strong psychological and physiological hold on you. But, I'm not talking about addiction, here. I'm talking about selfishness and discourtesy and flat-out laziness. Because, addicted or not, I know people who are "polite smokers". They smoke in private, in places where they aren't putting others at risk. They have a room in their house that is their "smoking room", and they forbid their children to enter it. They put their ashes and butts into ashtrays (and then into the garbage), instead of throwing them on the ground or out the window of their car. Imagine that! They actually respect the rights of the people around them to breathe air that isn't polluted with smoke and to walk down the street without having to step over cigarette butts.

So, please, smokers everywhere. Take a look around you. Look at the moms, who have to tell their little kids to hold their breath as they walk by, so they won't breathe your poisonous fumes into their little lungs. Look at all the cigarette butts scattered on the sidewalk, in the street, in the parks where families play. They're everywhere! Look at the people who walk away coughing after being near you for a moment or two. What if one of them has asthma or an immune deficiency? Your cigarette smoke could literally be shortening their lives. Are you really as selfish as you seem? Do you really care so little for the people around you and the planet we live on, that you just don't give a damn? Do you honestly not care that you might be killing someone? Do you seriously believe that your right to inhale and exhale carcinogenic substances trumps everyone else's right to breathe clean air and to live full, healthy lives, unaffected by your toxic smoke? If you do, I feel sorry for you. It must be lonely to be that selfish and self-centered. And, I feel sorry for the rest of us, because we are your victims.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I think this qualifies as "Too Much Information"

So, a few minutes ago, I was in the bathroom, drying off my wet, squirmy, giggling little guys after their bubble bath, and Foster says, "Hey Mommy. Sometimes I stick my finger in my butt!"

Hmmm....Thanks for sharing.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

They wouldn't call it "Sex Addiction" if a woman was doing it!"

So, Tiger Woods is a "Sex Addict", is he? Funny how famous men who are busted cheating on their wives so frequently come out with some kind of public comment, announcing their "addiction" and their plans to attend "sexual rehab" to deal with the problem. How friggin' stupid do they think we are?!! Where I come from, folks, we just call it CHEATING. But, no, these male celebrities don't have to actually take responsibility for their actions, because they just can't help themselves. They're addicts. Poor, poor, fellas...We should feel sorry for them, and support them through their rehabilitation process, and, oh yeah, make sure to keep watching them onscreen, or buying their merchandise, or going to their high-priced sporting events...

How come, when a woman cheats, she's never called a "sex addict"? How come the labels given to women who cheat rhyme with "witch" and "smut" and "bore"???

I'm not saying that cheating is ever OK. I'm against it, whether it's a man or a woman. I just think the old double-standard really stinks. So much male behavior is dismissed as "That's just the way men are," or "Poor guy is an addict," or "Boys will be boys" , while we women are required to own our behavior and to take responsibility for the choices we make...Interesting.

By the way, the new republican senator from Massachussetts? Did you hear about how he posed nude for a woman's magazine to help pay for law school? Nobody seems to have a problem with that. Not even the conservative Republican party he represents. Funny. I bet a woman would never be allowed to get away with that, even if she posed nude for the very same reason...

I hope I can raise my little boys to be men who rise above the double standard. Who take responsiblity for their own behavior. Who respect others, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief -- or non-belief, etc. But, it will take vigilance. It will take lots of conversations about the messages they get from T.V., the internet, song lyrics, and their peers. It will take modeling and consistency and discipline. It will take love and luck.

I just hope it works.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One to remember...

OK, today I was driving home from a really fun afternoon with my boys...Everybody was kind've mellow and tired from all the running around and craziness at the playground...In fact, I was feeling SO mellow and tired that I was giving serious thought to stopping at a Cruisin' Coffee for a caffeine infusion...Each little boy had one of his stuffed animal dogs on his lap (Bingo and Poko), and they were playing "vet" in the van...

Here's what I overheard...

Spencer: "Don't worry, Bingo, I'm going to give you a shot, but it's not going to hurt at all."

Foster: "Poko, you're getting a shit too. And, your shit is going to hurt a little bit, but not that much. I'll give you kisses after."

Spencer (Very matter-of-factly): "Fos, you said 'shit' instead of 'shot'."

(At this point, I was giggling like crazy in the front seat, because neither boy knows the word "shit". They just haven't heard it yet. At least, not in our house. Some other words they shouldn't have heard of? Yeah, I admit I've uttered a few. Hubby too. But, not that particular one. So, they were just talking about it in this totally calm, regular way, and it was seriously cracking me up. I was laughing waaay too hard to educate them about the inappropriateness of what they were saying...I know, I know. Mother-of-the-Year, right?)

Foster: "Oh. OK. Well, Poko, I mean your shot is going to hurt just a little bit, not your shit."

Spencer: "Yeah. Shot. Not shit."

Me: "Bwaaaaa Haaaaa Haaaaaa......"


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do you think it's too late to send out the rest of my Christmas cards?

OK, it's January 16th. I have at least 25 Christmas cards sitting on the desk, still waiting to be sent away to their destination. What happened? Well, I got about 1/3 of the way down my Christmas card list, and then total, complete chaos took over my life. (By the way, if you're one of the 1/3 of my loved ones who actually got a card -- consider yourself lucky. Or, tell yourself you were at the top of my list. Whichever makes you feel happiest, OK?) This is the first time, since 1999, that I haven't gotten my cards out! (Wow, I'm getting old...)

So, here's my question: Is it too late? I mean, it's really a beautiful card, afterall. It's got a picture of the four of us with the pumpkins we carved at Halloween, another of us on a Fall hayride, and a really cute one of the boys frolicking around with their stuffed animals. Wouldn't someone who really, really loves us want a Christmas card like that, even if it doesn't arrive until the end of January? AND, it says "Season's Greetings!" on the card. So, is it still the "season"???

I actually re-wrote the Christmas letter, and turned it into a "Happy New Year" letter, but that was when I was still hoping to get the cards out right around the 1st. Obviously that didn't happen either. Sigh.

To send, or not to send? That is the question...


Friday, January 15, 2010

If you don't want to donate money, don't donate. But, kindly shut up!

I'm so mad! I have exactly 12 minutes before I have to be out the door with two little kids, getting one to the bus stop, the other to preschool, and myself to work. But, if I don't get this off my chest before I go, I'm going to be the world's worst school counselor today. I won't be good for anybody! Plus, I really want my boys to read this some day...

I just heard on the morning news that there are a bunch of U.S. citizens raising a ruckus about being asked to donate any money to help Haiti, because they feel that they've done their part by paying taxes, and the U.S. government gives money for charitable causes every year. You know what? If you don't want to donate anything to help, then don't give any. Nobody says you have to donate money. So, don't. Go buy yourself a latte and congratulate yourself on sticking to your principals (whatever those may be). But, shut up about the rest of us helping out. Seriously. Shut. The. Hell. Up. Don't protest being asked. Just don't give, if you don't feel like it. But, quit trying to raise a big public outcry about being asked and don't try to tell other people that they shouldn't open their hearts and their wallets, if they want to, when thousands upon thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children have been killed. Don't try to make some sort of loud, public case for not helping. Just zip your lip, let others help, and be glad that there are people who are willing to do it, since you're not.

Oh, and while you're at it, make sure to conveniently forget all the aid that poured into our country from people all over the world after 9/11. And, we're one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Forget all about that, while you're heading out for lunch or playing with your healthy, living children under a solid roof with food in your refrigerator and your family members just a phone call away. Or maybe you could skip going out to lunch today, pick up that cell phone of yours, text the number for the red cross, and have an additional $10 added to your bill. How about that for an idea?

I know there are Americans who really can't spare a dime, because they can't even feed their kids, or they've lost their home in this economy. I know, because we went through a layoff and terrifying financial insecurity and losing our savings and being afraid of losing our home...I know about not having extra money and worrying about your kids. I know about eating peanut butter and jelly for dinner, because meat is expensive, and you want your kids to get some protein. Those people who genuinely can't afford to offer any additional help aren't the people I'm talking about today. I'm talking to those folks who have enough time and energy on their hands to raise a public protest. Those folks who really could, at the very least, cough up $5 or $10, to help people who can't even imagine the luxury of being able to eat peanut butter and jelly (or anything else) for dinner -- People who have lost everything. Not just their homes, but their children, their parents, their friends...

But, you don't have to give. Whatever your reason, you don't have to help. But, please, please, please count your own blessings and quit complaining about being asked.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'd rather go to the gynecologist than go to the dentist!

I hate going to the dentist. I don't actually hate dentists, themselves. Most of them are probably lovely people. (Though you have to wonder about the mindset of someone who chooses such a pain-producing career, don't you? Remember Steve Martin's character in 'Little Shop of Horrors'?) But, if somebody said, "Beth, would you rather go to the gynecologist or the dentist?", I would skip all the way to the girlie doctor and happily put my feet up in the stirrups, as long as it meant I wouldn't have to sit in that dentist chair, glancing warily at the sharp, shining instruments they leave right there in front of you, as if to say "Heh, heh, heh....Look what's comin'!", and open up my mouth.

There's probably some long-buried psychological childhood trauma causing my feelings of anxiety and antagonism toward all things dental. I don't really care. I just know that I hate going. I never feel more helpless than when I'm tipped back in that chair with somebody poking around in my mouth with sharp objects. In spite of my best efforts to do all that relaxation stuff I do with my counseling students (visualization, breathing, etc.), I end up with my hands clenched in my lap until my knuckles turn white, and my feet flexed so hard that my arches hurt for the next 3 hours. I can't help it. And, here's the kicker: I've never even had a cavity. With the exception of a little crookedness and some staining from all the coffee and red wine I consume, my teeth are pretty much perfect. The only thing I've ever had done was wisdom teeth removal. And, for that, I was highly anesthetized AND had a glass of wine beforehand. So, I really, really have no reason to be afraid. And, yet, I am...Every. Single. Time.

In spite of my fear and loathing, I will continue to make my yearly visit. I will continue to hide my anxiety from my kids and give them cheerful smiles when they have to go to the dentist. Because it's the right thing to do. But I'm not gonna like it. Sigh.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Weekend Mommies" - This one's for you!

My boys woke up at 6:11am this morning. And, it's Sunday. They came flying out of their room, full of energy, raring to go, playing Red Light, Green Light in the hallway and laughing hysterically. (Question: Why is it that they can't wake up at 6:11am on school days, when I have to get them up and ready to go to schools on opposite sides of town AND get myself ready and to work on time? But, of course not. They wake up at 7:00 on those days, and then I have to drag them through the morning routine, as they moan, "We're tired, Mommy. We can't go any faster..." resulting in a last-minute mad, high-stress, desperate dash to make it everywhere we're supposed to be by 8:00am. Sigh.)

Anyway, the point of that rant was just to explain why I was up and checking my email at 6:30am on a Sunday morning. (Thanks, boys, I'm fully awake now, with no hope of getting back to sleep. I may as well get caught up on my email.) So, I got a message from Jill, a good friend of mine, who lives way too far away. She has two little kids, and she's sick. Really feeling crappy. She sounded exhausted and overwhelmed. And, here's the kicker. She's not just an all-week Mom, with a demanding job on top of that, she's a "Weekend Mom" too. What do I mean by that? I mean, her husband works during the week and on weekends. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but, what does it really mean to have a co-parent who works on the weekends? Well, if the Mom works, as well as taking care of the kids, it means there's no down time. No recovery time. None of that "me time" Moms crave and need in order to stay sane. She does 90% of the childcare during the week, because hubby's time off is when the kids are in school and she's at work, and frankly, because that seems to be what most Moms do anyway, right? Then, when the weekend rolls around, and other Moms are saying, "I'm so glad it's the weekend. Now, we have some family time, and I get a break 'cuz Daddy's here to help out", "Weekend Moms" are thinking, "At least I get a little bit of a break from my other job. But, how am I going to entertain the kids all by myself again this weekend? And, do all the errands I couldn't get to during the week? And, get any rest before the work week starts again?" And, if you're sick, forget about it! There's no going back to bed on the weekends. No snuggling in, drinking juice, and letting Daddy take care of the kids while you watch T.V., read trashy novels, and nap. It's all you, baby. All you.

Here's the other thing about being a weekend Mom. It's very lonely. Why? Because, your friends are doing stuff with their families, or they're getting their weekly break from motherhood while Daddy takes the kids, so they don't want to get together to do anything with you and your kids. They want a break from kids. They deserve a break from kids. Lucky ladies. But as for you? You come as a package deal on the weekends, just like throughout the week. It's you, and the kids. When your girlfriends say, "Hey, we're meeting for lunch or going to a matinee. Want to join us?" Sorry. Can't. I've got the kids. So, weekend Moms take their kids to McDonalds to burn some energy climbing around the play tubes. There, they get to see all the Daddies, who are there with their kids, giving their wives a break from parenthood for a bit. Or, they take their kids to the park or to the Children's Museum, and, again, they see the Daddies playing with their kids, no Mom in sight, or watch, enviously, as whole families have their weekend time together. It's hard. And, if you're lucky enough to have your partner around a little bit on the weekends, you feel compelled to make that "family time." After all, kids need time with both parents too. And, if family time is severely limited, you want to take advantage of it when it comes around. Or, it's the only time you can get some of those errands you just can't do with the kids done, so you have to rush around doing that instead. So, Mommy break time? Down time? Me time? Not so much. You wake up Monday morning, and it's time to start it all over again. Your co-workers innocently ask, "How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?" And, you want to smack them upside the head for asking...

So, to all the Moms out there whose partners don't work weekends, or who have family and friends who are available to take the kids on weekends for a while, or who can afford, in this economy, to pay someone to do just that -- You deserve it! Treasure it. Be thankful for it. You work your butts off raising your kids, and that break is something you earn every single week. But, if you're ever out on a weekend, enjoying your "me time", and you see an exhausted-looking Mom, all alone with her kids, give her a smile or an encouraging word. Trust me, she needs it.

And, to my good friend, Jill, who is trying to get well and take care of her little ones at the same time, and to "Weekend Mommies" everywhere -- I salute you! You are warriors. Women of steel. Capable of anything. You're sharing this fleeting time with your little ones and getting to experience just about every minute of it with them. Your kids will be incredibly bonded with you, because you are their care-giver, their support system, their rock. (At least, that's what I try to tell myself, when it's all getting to be too much, and I feel like I'm losing my mind.)

Hang in there, ladies. And, as for you single Moms, who are doing this all by yourselves. There are no words for how strong and amazing and heroic you are. No words...


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Listen up "Parking Lot People", listen up!

It's obvious to me that the people who design grocery store parking lots don't have kids -- or they're men, which means they very seldom actually do any grocery shopping -- and I'll tell you why. Because, if they did have kids, they'd put in a lot more SHOPPING CART RETURN areas. I mean, seriously people, cut a frazzled Mom some slack, will ya? I'm the kind of person who picks up other people's garbage and puts it in the garbage can. I hold doors open for little old ladies. I try as hard as I can to remember to bring my own re-usable bags to the grocery store, so I won't have to get plastic ones. I let people with just a couple of items go ahead of me in the checkout line. I really WANT to do the right thing. I WANT to return my cart to the appropriate spot. I really, really do. So, please, oh please, parking lot designers, if you ever loved your own mother, give the rest of us Moms some more options.

You see, here's the reality of shopping with little kids: I come out of the grocery store, my cart stacked to the brim with groceries, one little boy perched on each side, most likely hurling jokes and insults at one another across the expanse of groceries, while begging for a snack at the same time. I'm exhausted and frustrated, which goes without saying, and I'm envisioning getting home and having to unpack all these bags when I get there, not to mention cooking dinner after that. I arrive at my parking spot, waaaaaaaay in the back of the lot, of course, because that seems to be the only place I can ever find an open slot to park. The boys jump in and buckle up, after the initial pushing and shoving match, that is. I unload bag after bag after bag of groceries into the back of the minivan. (Yes, a minivan. I used to have a sassy red jeep wrangler. Now I'm a minivan Mom. Sob.) I turn to look for the nearest cart return area. It's 12 cars back the way I came. Or, I could pick the one that's only 3 cars ahead, but it's two aisles over. What's a Mom to do? I can't simply leave two little boys alone in the car to trek to the nearest cart return area. Have you not heard about little kids being carjacked along with the car? Hmmmm? Or, what about those situations where the Mom steps away for a minute, and one of the little kids somehow manages to climb up front, release the parking brake, and the car rolls back into traffic and gets hit? What about that? Huh? Of course, there's the option of getting the kids back out of the car to make the 1/4 mile trek to the cart return area, and back, with me. But, seriously, do you have any idea what this actually involves? Do you have any idea the added stress such a seemingly-insignificant endeavor can cause to the average exhausted mother? So, instead, I guiltily push my cart right over to where other frazzled parents have abandoned their own carts. I'm always careful to make sure it's not going to roll anywhere or hit anybody else's car or anything. Still. There's guilt. And I blame you, parking lot people. I. BLAME. YOU.


P.S. Totally different topic: My 4-year-old just came in, climbed up behind me on the chair, wrapped his arms around me, gave me a big squeeze and said, "Oooooh, Mommy. You have a big, big belly. I love your big belly." Um, thanks, Foster. Thanks a lot...SIGH.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fake it 'til you make it!

Ideally, "vacation time" should be time taken for rejuvenation and rest, right? Peaceful time. Refreshing time. Relaxing time...Well, one of the perks of my job as a middle school counselor is having the same vacations from work that my little guys have from school. Summers off? You really can't beat it, so what the heck am I whining about? But, here's the be honest, this can also be one of the down sides of my job. Constant, uninterrupted time with my little guys. When I'm off work, they're right there with me. Every time. I love my little boys. Madly. Deeply. Intensely. But, time off during the school year is when I'm supposed to be de-stressing from work and getting myself mentally and emotionally geared up for going back to helping young adolescents deal with everything from failing grades to abuse to drug use to (gulp) sex. Zen time. Me time. Time for reflection and self-care and all that great stuff I'm always telling other people to do, right? Not friggin' likely. Here I am. No helpful relatives in town. Hubby whose work keeps him away and leaves me as Parent-in-Charge 99% of the time. Two little boys who wake up every day between 6:00am and 6:30am with enough energy to power an entire city and go full bore until bedtime. Not a recipe for a relaxing work break...

So, was this holiday restful? Not so much. Peaceful? Not in the least. Rejuvenating? Uh-uh.

And, was I ready to go back to work today? Back to a world of adolescent angst? Worried parents? Budget cuts and stressed-out staff? No way! But, I told myself I was ready. I told myself I was rejuvenated. I waded back in with confidence, energy (in the form of huge quantities of caffeine), and a "can-do" attitude. In short, I took a piece of advice I frequently hand out to my clients: "Fake it, 'til you make it." And make it, I did. I even managed to feel more relaxed as the day went on.

So, while lounging on a beach in Hawaii may be impossible right now (heck, just one night away from the boys is impossible right now), I can always fall back on my little trick. Just fake it, 'til you make it. That, and a nice glass of red wine at the end of the day, will get me through just about anything. Cheers!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions? Not. Gonna. Do. It.

I love New Year's. It's like a do-over, a fresh start, an optimistic and hopeful beginning...I like to look back on the past year's triumphs and tragedies, to remember all the laughter and craziness, to feel good about surviving the hard stuff, and to think about the adventures that lie ahead in the new year...

But, I think resolutions are a total crock.

With apologies to those of you who sincerely make them and believe in them every year, most people I talk to about New Year's resolutions say things like, "Oh, I know I'll never actually stick to my resolutions, but it's worth a try," or "Every single year I make resolutions to better myself, but I never actually follow through." It's like setting yourself up to fail and to feel even crappier than you already do about whatever's bugging you about yourself or your life.

Over the last week or so, I have really paid attention as women of all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, and belief systems, from friends near and far, to total strangers in line at the grocery store, have talked about their resolutions for 2010. About how THIS year, they are absolutely going to lose that extra 15 pounds, or be more outgoing, or be quieter and more self-reflective, or get a boob job, or start using that expensive wrinkle cream, or stop dating losers, or...whatever. The list is endless. And, it seems like most resolutions are about fixing something we see as being wrong with us. We're too fat. Too thin. Too shy. Too loud. Too old. Not rich enough. Not loved enough. Unhappily single. Unhappily married. House too small. House too empty. Alone too often. Not alone enough. Hate our hair. Hate our thighs. Too much responsibility. Not enough self-respect. Breasts too big. Breasts too small. Breasts too saggy. Etc, etc, etc... The list is endless. I mean, we women beat ourselves up for all sorts of things, don't we?

Why is it we are so hard on ourselves? You can blame the media, which bombards us with images of impossibly thin, impossibly beautiful, impossibly pore-less women, who are able to effortlessly juggle partners, children, and jobs, all while looking gorgeous in a miniskirt and high heels, with their luxurious waves of hair softly blowing in the breeze, as symbols of femininity and sensuality and success. You can blame all the a--holes who leave their loyal wives after years of marriage and support and child-rearing for some cute young thing with perky breasts and the IQ of a yam. You can blame our long, long world history of male domination and female servitude. You can blame religion. You can blame lack of religion. You can put the blame wherever you want to. But, we hold some responsibility too, don't we? Every time we make a New Year's resolution designed to help us conform to some societal or idealogical view of who we are supposed to be, or how we are supposed to look, or what our lives are supposed to be like, aren't we also to blame? Hmmmm...

So, with all that in mind, rather than resolving to exercise 5 times a week, or to make more home-cooked meals, or to watch less TV... I'm just going to cut myself some slack. To give myself a break. To quit trying to be better than I am. I'm going to focus on appreciating all the really unique, special, crazy things about myself and my life. Loving where I am. Loving who I am. Loving the body and the space and the place I'm in right now. And, that's that.

Wait a minute...Did I just make a resolution?