Posts Filed Under motherhood. the end of dignity.

14 most spectacularly uncool moments of my pregnancies, summarized for women waiting for a baby who will never come.

by renegademama

My friend is 38 weeks pregnant and I sense she feels a little guilty about not enjoying these final weeks of pregnancy at all.  

And so, for her and all the other mothers out there in their last few weeks of pregnancy wondering if it actually sucks as bad as you think it does, I offer this compilation of the 14 biggest bullshit moments of my four pregnancies, all of which occurred in the last few weeks of said gestational periods.

Now, before I continue, I need to warn you: This is for sure beyond “too-much-information” and possibly falls into the Do-You-Have-No-Dignity-Left-At-All category, but I’m posting it anyway because, you know what? The last month of pregnancy is TMI.

The whole fucking thing is too much information.

Women go through some shit – often literally – to have these babies. We endure a physical discomfort and bodily weirdness that defies all reason and decency, and yet we continue. We go on. We go on to birth these babies and mother them through it all, because we are badasses. Period. So I’m going to talk about the real things because they are the, um, real things.

Plus, I love you all more than I love my dignity.

So, here we go:

  1. The time with my first kid when my entire family showed up a week before my due date waiting for the baby and every day I got to waddle downstairs – having gained 70 pounds due to donuts and preeclampsia, resulting in ankles my husband used to indent two inches with his finger and roar in laughter, and though I wanted to tell the family gathered round to FUCK OFF AND DIE BECAUSE NO THERE AREN’T CONTRACTIONS,” I couldn’t say that because I was still trying to be “nice.” (I was only 22. Cut me some slack.)
  2. The day before that same first kid was born and I stomped downstairs like an irate penguin and my husband Mac looked at me and said, “Well, good morning, gentle feather.” And I couldn’t stab him.
  3. That time I was vacuuming and slightly lost control of my bowels, which nobody tells you is even a thing or could be a thing, but, apparently, IS, and then later that day had to stand on a scale while a male OBGYN looked at me and said, “We should probably talk about your weight gain.” And I couldn’t stab him either.
  4. Or perhaps it was the endless attempts at using sex to “induce labor” which really just meant my husband got to enjoy life even more while I prayed to baby Jesus mine would end if I couldn’t have this baby today.
  5. Or how about that time I had my first homebirth and had some bullshit bacteria in my vagina, so the midwives told me to take a clove of garlic, needle a string through it, and insert into my vag as a special device they lovingly called a “garlic tampon.”
  6. Followed by an injection of yogurt into the vagina. You haven’t known “low point” until you’ve inserted yogurt into an orifice you can’t even see.
  7. Waitwaitwait no. Fuck that. None of us have known “low-point” until you have hemorrhoids so bad you can barely walk and no medicine works so your midwife suggests “a potato suppository” and you find yourself at 2am cutting a potato into a thin strip to shove up your ass because life is no longer worth living.
  8. And then both dumbass hippie remedies work, meaning everything you knew about the world is wrong, and you’re still pregnant, so feel no joy. Because I want my baby. All I want is my baby, who is never coming. This is a fact. Never coming.
  9. Speaking of baby, my favorite is when the baby “drops” and everyone says “any day now” and “Aren’t you more comfortable now?” and you’re like NO MOTHERFUCKER NOW THE BABY IS ON MY BLADDER AND HALF OUT MY VAGINA INSTEAD OF WEDGED IN MY RIBS. How the hell do you define ‘comfort?’”
  10. With my last pregnancy, I taught college until five days before my due date and the only car we had for me was this tiny maroon Toyota scion with a stick shift and every single time I got in it, I was sure I could never get out, and I’d have to basically throw my upper body out the car and hope for the best, all in front of a bunch of perky ass teenagers with incredible optimism and zest for life while I attempted to launch myself out of a small, rusty vehicle. Who am I and how did I get here. I woke up every day for three weeks thinking, I cannot do this. I would give anything to not get dressed.
  11. My other favorite is the two weeks with Arlo when every time I laid down, contractions would begin – every night for two weeks – and when I got up, they’d stop. They would stop. So I couldn’t sleep, ever. They just kept me awake. That’s all they did. They didn’t dilate shit. THEY JUST KEPT ME AWAKE FOR TWO WEEKS.
  12. I peed 345,000 times a night, and every time I did, I’d gaze at the toilet paper hoping for a spot of blood, or the famed “mucus plug” which literally nobody has ever seen, only to go back to bed and have fake contractions for funsies.
  13. How about that time I decided, in a fit of unbridled desperation, to drink castor oil to induce labor and all I did was shit for nine hours? That was cool.
  14. There is no dignity left. I walk like a penguin. Nothing fits me and I don’t even care any more. If one more person texts me to ask if I’m still pregnant, I will in fact kill you. And then, the woman due two weeks after me, has her baby before me, and I am in a heap on the ground telling my husband we need to “try sex again.”

So yeah. Check it out. The last month of pregnancy is complete and total BULLSHIT and you get to be pissed about it no matter how grateful you are to be pregnant and nobody gets to tell you to be grateful because your entire body is hijacked and surely god or nature or whatever the hell made the last portion of pregnancy a total nightmare so we’re willing to go through labor, which is rad, because baby, newborn breath, and a vague remembrance of what it’s like to not be MISERABLE PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME.

Take it easy. Take it real easy. One moment at a time. Eat what you want, wear what you want, tell the world to fuck off and just be, however you can. And next time you’re thinking you’re the only one this miserable, think about potato suppositories.

I’m with you, sister.

You know what’s awful? When I see this, I MISS IT. Somebody help me.

 

***

You know what REALLY helps authors? When you preorder their book.

Also, real talk: I do not put anything in my ass in this whole book. 

We can all take comfort in that little factoid.

Potty training is bullshit. And that frog toilet can go to hell.

by renegademama

I’ve been a mother for 14 years and have 4 children and the only thing I’ve learned is that “they” are pretty much always lying. Everything “they” promise will happen does not actually happen.

Breastfed co-sleeping kids are not “clingy.” Sleep-trained kids do not burn puppies. Formula doesn’t crush souls; homeschooling doesn’t create teenagers capable of speaking only in Minecraft code.

They walk when they want. They talk when they want. They eat food when they fucking want, and they almost all turn into Perfectly Standard Humans. I mean, not to us, of course, to us they are glittering pillars of genius resulting from, that’s right, our excellent parenting choices.

I can’t wait until I have children-in-law and grandchildren so I can tell them how to parent perfectly like I did. EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE ME SO MUCH.

But still, sometimes I forget that “they” are full of shit. Even still. It pisses me off every time I do it. How do I do it? I don’t fucking know. My brain is like a weak-ass sieve.

For example, a few months ago, my obviously overcommitted husband bought a frog potty from Target. I was like, “Mac, dude. He’s not even two. WTF is wrong with you?”

And he said, “Well I see no harm in trying.”

See now that is immediately where parents go wrong. The key is to look for opportunities to NOT TRY, not seek out opportunities for excellence. Be a hero in other areas, assholes! Not parenting! Shit.

So I told him, “Okay well this is clearly your gig because I have no interest in attempting to potty train a kid this young.”

“Have you ever potty trained any of our kids?”

“Well, no, but you never know when I may spring into action and frankly I feel implicated by your premature frog-toilet purchase.”

Then he walked away. People walk away from me a lot.

 

Much to my surprise though, Arlo started showing all kinds of interest in the frog shitter. Mac stuck him on the thing when he first woke up, because apparently that’s a thing you do when you’re “potty training,” and lo and behold the toddler would pee. He even pooped a few times. He even did it when we were on vacation in Tahoe.

THIS WAS ALL AMAZING WE HAVE A GENIUS BOY CHILD WHO WILL POTTY TRAIN AT TWO.  

We stuck him on it, and he went! Over and over again! Wheeeeeeeee!

 

Then we forgot about it.

Yeah, that fucking happened. We forgot about it. We simply stopped doing it. I woke up one Sunday and realized it had been two to three weeks since we stuck him on a toilet gleefully bartering candy for excrement.

The frog was full of lint and toys. Uh oh.

So like any reasonable person, I immediately blamed it on the child. He regressed! He went through a phase then forgot!

When that didn’t soothe my nagging discontent, I got on the Google “to research” and ended up reading about how “if you miss the window, you’re totally fucked and they’ll end up 12 years old peeing down their own legs in gym class and not in a fun way.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what “they” said and BECAUSE MY BRAIN IS A WEAK-ASS SIEVE I forgot “they” are always lying, I PANICKED because I HAD RUINED MY CHANCE FOR POTTY TRAINING.

In terror I committed myself to potty training the toddler NOW. I can’t miss the window! I missed the window! THE WINDOW MY GOD THE WINDOW.

(Arlo is 26 months old. This entire thing is fucking ridiculous.)

 

So I googled, “How do you potty train?” And set myself aflame.

With devotion.

First, I tried to put him on the frog potty again because it worked so well before, but now he hates the frog potty and insists upon sitting on the full-size toilet with his legs out, clinging for dear life to the toilet seat. He just sort of hangs there and looks at me for a few seconds, demanding “candy” while I squeal “pee or poop! YAY!”

But now he’s learned to say, “not working,” which he repeats to infinity beginning about 9 seconds after getting on the toilet.

As if he’s fucking powerless. Sometimes he demands that I shit or pee WITH HIM which is impossible because he’s dangling over the toilet himself and there’s no room for me.

Sometimes I walk away and leave him there hoping he’ll get bored enough to do it but instead he starts flicking the toilet water with one hand while clinging to the seat with the other and screaming for his older sister to join him for “swimming.”

THIS IS NOT SWIMMING YOU ASSHOLES.

The next day I muster all my energy and gleefully ask him “Do you want to go to the potty? Let’s try the potty! Omg big boy! YAY! Let’s do it!”

He grabs my face, looks me dead in the eyes, tilts his head slightly and says flatly, “No.”

 

Nobody likes you, Arlo.

 

Then I remember how Georgia potty trained because she refused to wear clothes and didn’t like the feeling of pee down her leg, so I take his clothes off and he ends up taking a shit 10 minutes later on the top of the kitchen trash can while pulling things out of the junk drawer as I cook dinner.

This is the point at which I realize potty training is bullshit.

If you are dealing with a human who a.) sits naked on trash cans while sober and b.) has no problem taking a shit on it while playing with pencils and ear plugs, there is no hope for you.

 Nobody can work with that.

This is not a regular human. This is an individual outside the bounds of toilet-trained capacity and it is absolutely time to focus on doing nothing again.

The kid is only 26-months-old. Someday he will use a toilet. Someday all humans use toilets. In the grand scheme, what’s a year or two? Damn you Mac and your high standards.

And fuck you, frog potty. Fuck you. You can’t shame me into action. I know better! I’ve been a mom for 14 years!

I’m a motherfucking expert.

Oh, you wanted me to poop in the toilet? No worries I actually just took care of that. In my diaper. WHY ARE YOU CRYING?

Oh, you wanted me to poop in the toilet? No worries I actually just took care of that. In my diaper. WHY ARE YOU CRYING?

 

Sometimes, I am the asshole

by renegademama

One of my goals in life is to not let my decision to have children ruin anybody’s life.

I talk a lot about asshole, entitled parents producing tiny asshole children, and I work really, really hard not to do that. It’s kind of my claim to fame.

It’s not. I’m not famous, or even special, really.

Anyway, on Saturday, the fruit of my womb (I just threw up a little) ruined a woman’s afternoon. Or a portion of it, at least.

We were in Santa Cruz at the Beach Boardwalk, celebrating Arlo’s 2nd birthday. While walking through the amusement park to get ice cream, Georgia began vehemently asking for “a little bear dessert,” which of course I promptly ignored because that’s the first thing I do whenever any of my kids ask for anything.

But she kept on, and because we had stopped to let the bigger kids go on a ride, I decided to inquire about why child number three was hopping about and begging.

“What the fuck is a ‘bear dessert?’” I asked, but said the f word with my eyes only because I’m classy. She answered by pulling me around to a stand with an Icee ad. She was talking about the bear on the Icee ads. This is totally how they sell this crap to kids.

“Can I please have a bear dessert instead of ice cream?” She asked.

“Have you ever had one of those?” I asked.

“No, but it looks sooooo good.” She answered.

“Dude, they’re super gross,” I said, lying (I don’t remember how they taste). You see, I have a standing rule against sticky shit, particularly if it’s red. I’d like to tell you it’s because red dye number 40 kills people, but actually it’s because I don’t want to deal with the potential mess this  kind of thing brings. Plus, if you start buying your kids Icees and candy, all they ever want in the future is Icees and candy. Not interested, thanks.

But Mac disagreed, saying, “No they are not gross. Why are you ruining our kid’s childhood? Did you not drink those daily as a kid?”

“Well of course I did, Mac, because it was 1989 and all I had to entertain myself was the 7-11 down the street.”

But I realized he was right, and we’re at an amusement park and beach, so what could happen? I bought her one. I even bought a big one because I figured the other kids would want to try it. Plus it was like 50 cents more for twice the size. Why do they do that? WHY MUST THEY ALWAYS WIN WITH THEIR CAPITALIST PROPAGANDA?

So we get our ice cream and return to our spot on the beach. George drank about a third of the red-dye-death drink then stuck the cup with the remaining liquid in  the cup-holder of a beach chair.

Time passes. Arlo discovers the cup, removes the lid, and begins depositing chips in the remaining liquid. Normally I would care about this sort of thing, but I didn’t this time, because a.) he was already disgusting; red sticky shit couldn’t possibly make this worse; b.) he was super annoying at the beach and this activity had no drowning risk, so I could sit down for a minute; and c.) they were “baked” chips. Mac bought them. Who the fuck buys “baked” chips?

Men sent to the store, that’s who.

He didn’t mean to. We aren’t monsters.

Anyway, more time passes. Like an hour, or more.

Arlo saunters over to the chair, and, before I could even notice what he was doing, sits down in just the right way that he flips the chair over on it’s side, launching the melted Icee-chip mixture out of the chair and onto, yep, you guessed it, the woman enjoying herself on the blanket in front of us. Oh, but it didn’t just hit her. It hit her blanket. It went inside her bag. It pretty much doused every single thing she owned, including, understandably, her will to live.

That’s right: Sticky red melted ice drink with chips and possibly kettle corn spewed across a total stranger. My entire family was horrified. We were immediately on our hands and knees helping her clean it up. I’m giving her wipes and offering water bottles and begging forgiveness and she’s looking at me like, “Please die in your sleep” and I’m like believe me I’d like to, but there was nothing I could do.

The damage had been done.

I had become one of them.

I was the asshole.

It wasn’t intentional, and I’m not sure I could have prevented it, but it felt terrible. There was nothing to do but own the fact that my existence seriously inconvenienced an innocent bystander, despite my efforts to not be that person.

As we sat there watching the woman play totally unobtrusively with her son and husband, I kept glancing at the red all over her blanket and realizing, once again, that sometimes I AM THE ASSHOLE. In life. In general.

I can think I’m not. I can deny it. I can try to wish it away. But the time will come when I’ll have no choice but to face the truth. Will it set me free?

I had to leave. Fuck freedom.

On the off chance Arlo flung sand from his shovel or threw up and it hit her or some shit, I had to get out of there. It was time to leave anyway, maybe.

As we were leaving, I saw some grown ups and kids having a grand old time throwing sand at each other. Yes, you read that correctly. Literally engaging in my idea of hell, gleefully. My first thought was, “What the actual fuck. What kind of monster throws sand at a beach? What if that gets on ME?”

Then I thought: Well I guess it’s their turn to be the asshole.

But I looked at my kids anyway and said, “DO NOT EVER THROW SAND.”

Because we can’t avoid being the asshole all the time, but we sure as hell can avoid it most of the time.

This is my deep learning message for the day.

Have a nice afternoon.

Hey, hiiiiii! Fuck your pleasant life!

Hey, hiiiiii! Fuck your pleasant life!

 

Tidy houses are not a thing so stop it

by renegademama

I have decided that anyone with kids who says their house is tidy and clean is lying. Their house is not clean. It’s a fucking disaster like mine.

Don’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m not wrong. THEY ARE LYING.

I don’t give a shit if they have photographic evidence on Instagram. You know they pushed all the crap out of the camera frame and stuck their kid against the wall in its slouchy cap and harem pants and posted it like it ain’t nothin.

YOU CAN’T FOOL ME.

My light may be dim but it ain’t that dim.

Or, I’m wrong. That happens. Been wrong at least 4 times so far this year.

But I have given this a lot of thought man, and I just don’t understand.

Last Friday morning I looked around and said to myself “What the actual fuck

If we don't do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

If we don’t do the dishes. AFTER ONE MEAL.

has happened to my kitchen, living room, bathroom, hallways OhFuckItEveryRoomInTheHouse?”

It’s like all 6 inhabitants of this house walk around spewing toys, paper and dust from their fingertips.

And clothes. Oh my god the clothes. I hate clothes.

So anyway, Friday morning: I make a list for the 3 older kids. They each have their jobs, and I have mine. 1.5 hours of cleaning. Rocket, Ava, Georgie and me. Mac is at work.

Whine. Tears. Rage. Whatever offspring.

This ain’t my first rodeo. Do the damn work.

Rocket takes 50 minutes to unload the dishwasher. This baffles me. I tell him “We’re going to the beach once this is done so maybeYouShouldHurryUp. Miraculously, he does his other 5 chores in 12 minutes.

Uncool, Rocket. Uncool.

Arlo's job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Arlo’s job here is to dump each pile onto the floor. Thank you, Arlo.

Georgia is 4 so her jobs require putting things in other things. For example, “Put the shoes in the shoe baskets.” Fortunately this is also a fun pastime for Arlo, though he more enjoys taking things OUT of things.

On Friday I watched Georgia load shoes into a basket while Arlo removed them from the other side of the same basket.

We are an efficient fucking machine.

But we managed to get it done.

The house is clean. Swept, mopped. Shit picked up. Vacuumed.

Full floor visibility. I feel like a domestic goddess. Where’s my motherfucking apron? Somebody bring your father a casserole.

I look around and feel good. I’m so capable. I can move mountains. Let’s move mountains!

Look at me walk on these wood floors without shit sticking to my feet! Oh glorious motherhood!

We go to the beach. We’re gone til 9pm. We wake up. We eat breakfast on Saturday. We leave for the entire day, get home at 8:30pm.

Wake up on Sunday, look around — AND THE WHOLE MOTHERFUCKING HOUSE IS EXACTLY LIKE IT WAS ON FRIDAY.

it's pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

it’s pretty much never better than this unless we have people coming over.

It’s been 48 hours and it’s all gone. How is that even possible? We’ve only spent like 4 waking hours in the damn thing.

HOW PEOPLE HOW?

Then I curl up in the fetal position and weep and cry out unto the lord “No but seriously dude how the hell am I to survive in these conditions?”

In response I hear only the sound of the cat food overturning across the living room floor which Arlo will surely begin eating within 44 seconds. (What is it with babies and pet food?)

Sometimes I feel defeated. Not gonna lie. Like when I open the hall closet and see my husband has decided a good place for cockroach catchers we’ll never use (given to us by the exterminator) is in the basket with the sunscreen and goggles in the linen closet.

Or when I FINALLY remove the 396 garments that no longer fit the baby and organize his dresser drawers FINALLY and one of the older kids “puts away clothes” by shoving random piles diagonally across my beautiful rows until the drawers won’t close. AGAIN.

Sometimes my life feels like one missing shoe and drawers that won’t close.

Ya feel me?

 

I know. I know it’s not that big of a deal. And I know it’s “nice” that my kids attempt to put clothes away and that we can afford an exterminator who gives complimentary cockroach catchers and that I even have a house and kids and husband at all and yes someday I’m sure I’ll miss the pitter patter of tiny feet dragging my household organization attempts into the fort they just built with clean sheets over a sticky kitchen table.

And newsflash yes I know I’m not “defined” by the condition of my house or car and blah blah fucking blah I’M NOT ASKING FOR MUCH HERE PEOPLE.

After one hour of "playing." REALLY KIDS REALLY?

After one hour of “playing.” REALLY KIDS REALLY?

A visual on the floor of my car, perhaps.

A reduction in strange substances dried onto the floor.

300% fewer toys showing up on my floor even though I take shit to the Goodwill every week it seems.

Maybe a Level 1 instead of Level 4 hurricane in the bedroom after the kids “play.”

PICK UP AFTER YOURSELVES YOU TINY INSANE CREATURES.

 

People tell me it’s that easy: “Just have the kids pick up after themselves. Before they get out a new activity have them clean up the old one.”

Would somebody kindly explain how the fuck I’m supposed to do that WITHOUT becoming Stalin? 

So maybe that’s it. Maybe I just refuse to become the type of person I would have to become to keep a tidy house all the time.

Or maybe I’m inept.

Let’s go with the former. It makes the circus seem intentional and therefore slightly more palatable.

Or something.

On the plus side, we cleaned the refrigerator, so we can definitely look forward to 4 hours of clean refrigerator.

AT LEAST. Go team.

I am unwavering however in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.

I am however unwavering in my devotion to making my bed each morning. ha. ha. ha.

 

****

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Imagine all the people trying not to be dicks

by renegademama

So the other day I was at Costco. For our overseas readers, Costco is grocery store on steroids. Everything in is it huge, bulk, wonderful. I love Costco. It’s very American.

I shop there often because my family somehow manages to consume like 3 loaves of bread and 2 gallons of milk a week, even though I rationed milk consumption to dinner-only since the kids kept getting dehydrated in this fucking Valley heat.

Why do I admit these things online? There’s something wrong with me.

Though I’m technically there for “staples,” the miracle is that once I enter those giant roll-up doors, I realize I pretty much need every single thing in the damn warehouse, but none of this has anything to do with the story.

So anyway, against my better judgment, I venture into Costco with all four kids. Yeah. That’s three plus a newborn, folks. I knew I was playing with fire. It was like 3pm and 104 degrees or some nonsense. 3pm sucks. Everybody’s tired and miserable and generally over it, but rather than staring at walls at home (or napping), I’m towing them all through the sun-kissed aisles of ridiculous American consumerism. The baby was asleep in his carseat but I knew it wouldn’t last. He’d been asleep too long. Georgia was nearing the point where her exhaustion turns into squirrel-on-crack behavior. Bouncing off the walls, I believe it’s called.

And the two other kids, well, they’re pretty reliable. They behave in Costco. MOSTLY.

My coffee had worn off.

The kids were hungry.

So, why, exactly, why was I doing this?

Because I was having a little dinner party for my mother-in-law’s birthday that evening, and I had no food, as per usual. No choice, motherfucker. GET THIS SHIT DONE.

We do okay as we walk through the aisles. I was going quickly. There were samples. I thought I might actually pull through without disaster.

Then we hit the checkout line. It became very, very clear to me that I will not pull through.

The baby starts doing that closed-eye head-turn “wah wah wah” thing. The fists start shaking, the legs kick a bit. Of course I start pushing the stroller back and forth, doing the frantic “Shh shh shh” thing, but I know it’s not going to work.

He settles for a moment. Five seconds letter he’s back at it with more force.
“Fuck. Should have put him in the carrier.”

But I didn’t want him on my body. IT’S 9 MILLION DEGREES and the thought of 30 minutes in air-conditioned Costco without a sweaty head and 20 feet of material across my chest just sounded too amazing. Sometimes we need our bodies back for a moment, ya feel me?

I glance at the line ahead of me and see the slowest moving humans on the planet. They’re enjoying a chat with the checkout dude. I realize this hell is my own.

The baby’s really getting worked up now. I remove him from the seat but he wants to nurse, bad. It’s been over 2 hours at this point. He’s clearly wondering how he’s managed to stay alive this long.

I hear a woman say “Honey, sit down! You’re going to fall!” I look back and see Georgia attempting to STAND in the cart (which the

Hey dumbshit, bring the carrier next time.

Hey dumbshit, bring the carrier next time.

kids were pushing). With the baby in one hand I grab Georgia with the other, tell her to sit down. She ignores me. She’s been ignoring me lately. I can’t figure out if it’s a fun feature of age 3 or some twisted symptom of my-mom-just-had-a-baby-and-I-hate-life syndrome. At any rate it’s loads of fun!

I curse myself for not bringing the carrier inside. I consider leaving the checkout line completely and nursing the baby in one of those giant chairs in the furniture area. But the dinner party. I don’t have time. And his diaper is wet too. Nope. I have to plow the fuck through. Get through this line with a screaming newborn and horribly misbehaving toddler and the card and the wallet and groceries and the cart and stroller.

By this time, Arlo is wailing. I’m bouncing him on one arm and pulling the toddler into the seat and trying to use my nicest voice (as opposed to my “I’m going to fucking kill you” voice) to tell my older kids to please load groceries onto the black moving belt thing (WTF are those called?) and I realize in a flash that I look absolutely pathetic. My shirt was even pulled up a bit, exposing stretch marks and a belly modern society would call “fat.” I’m straddling the line of humiliation and PURE BEAST MODE.

The dude asks me for my Costco card. I’m trying to buckle Georgia in with one hand and soothe the baby and direct the other kids and get the card and pull my shirt down and move the cart through the thing.

People are looking at me. I’m terrified of keeping them waiting.

My god in that moment I swear I almost looked at complete strangers and asked “Would you HELP me?”

But I didn’t, because we don’t do that sort of thing. Nope. This is America, where each human fends for herself and a dumb broad like me, well shit, I’m the one who decided to have all these kids and go to Costco and whatever, whatever.

Ain’t my problem, lady.

Sucks to be her.

HURRY UP, pathetic mommy, so I can get home.

Imagine if somebody walked over and started putting some groceries on the moving thing. Imagine if somebody came over and said “Here. Let me get this toddler buckled in.” Or asked “Can I help you?” Shit. Even a smile would have altered my life.

Honestly, I can’t believe somebody didn’t intervene solely because it was too painful to watch.

I’m a tough sonuvabitch. I’m tough as nails. I don’t break easily and this ain’t my first rodeo, but you know what? Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need somebody to take a minute or two and just HELP. I never ask for help, but I would have proposed marriage to the human that lent me a hand in that moment.

But nobody did. And that’s cool. I don’t deserve shit and I’m not entitled to anything. I knew I’d survive, and I did, and I don’t feel sorry for myself.

But I made a decision right then and there that the next time I see some human struggling, I’m going to help her. I probably would anyway, but from now on it’s a self-imposed requirement. And I’m going to make my kids help strangers when it’s obvious they could use a hand. We live in a community. When the fuck are we all going to act like it?

Of course we don’t have to. Of course it’s not our problem. But you know what is our problem? Not being a dick.

And as far as I can tell, watching some pathetic, overwhelmed woman like me in the Costco checkout aisle while glaring at her angrily is, in fact, being a dick.

And once again, my comment policy pulls through like a brave warrior, life mantra, the deepest spiritual concept ever written:

Try not to be a dick.

Just try. Let’s all try. I’ll try, you try. Boom.

 

 

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NEW SPONSOR:unnamed

Marianne Elliott (author, yoga teacher and human rights activist) had me at this question: “Do you wish you could find the courage to do what you really feel called to do?”

Well, until I read this one: “Do the voices in your head tell you that you can’t do it because you are not ready, not qualified enough, not good enough?”

Um, yes.

You know, the thing is, you know when somebody is speaking your language,willing to speak the truth, and brave enough to face the real shit.

Marianne Elliott strikes me as one of those people.

She’s enrolling now (deadline is August 1!) for her online class 30 Days of Courage, which is meant for “people who want to step out of their comfort zones” and lead a more courageous life. (Is it wrong that I immediately think about traveling the north American continent in a trailer with my family? That’s what I’m into lately.)

In her words, you’ll learn:

• how to build a stable foundation for your courageous life;
• practices to cultivate your innate inner courage;
• ways to use curiosity and experimentation to sneak past the guards at the gate to your comfort zone;
• how to find the small act of bravery that you can do right now;
• exercises to tone your courage muscles;
• practices to ensure your courage is also compassionate.

She offers all kinds of other classes too. Check them out.