Healthy Junk

Why Are My Kids So Effed Up?

Did you know I used to be a teacher?  I taught 8th graders and I loved being in the classroom so much!  I got out of teaching when I was on maternity leave with my youngest son.  I was in denial most of my pregnancy with him about having to leave him at daycare after maternity leave was over, so I put off the daycare search until the last minute.

You can’t do that.  

By the time I got my head together, all the daycares in our area had a waitlist, so I was pretty much screwed.  

I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy freaking right the eff out because the only “daycare” with availability was one of those places you see on the evening news, with crooked shutters and names that start with a K in klever - ahem, clever - ways. Ack!!

Your "Perfectionism" Makes My Eyes Roll

Let’s talk about perfectionism.

I go insane when people say they’re perfectionists, because in most cases, they aren't using the term correctly*, which makes my left eye twitch spasmodically.

There's nothing worse in life than for some skinny, young PTA mom, freshly scrubbed and dressed up like a show pig, to harp, “Ugh, I feel like I’m just too good at yoga.” 

Or, “Sheesh, I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to housekeeping. It drives me bananas when my sofa cushions aren’t just so.”

Or, “I try to do just 50 burpees, but I can’t help myself from doing 75. I’m a perfectionist!” 🙄

No, no, no. That is not what perfectionism means.

The Dangers Of Removing Carbs & Granny Panties

You saw my last post about trying to new trends, right? Well let me tell you my thoughts on the latest diet trend: keto.

A hundred years ago I worked with this lady - she was a terrible person - but that’s not what I want to talk about.

She was fat.

And then, suddenly… she wasn’t.

Even though she was a terrible person, I was intrigued (this was back when I thought I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t really, but that’s not what I want to talk about.)

I asked her what her secret was and she said she was in ketosis. She was doing the Atkins diet.

I looked up everything Atkins and decided it wasn’t for me.

Gimme My Rainbows & Butterflies

Can we all just agree to disagree? I mean - the stuff on social media and in the news, OMG.

Let’s just say this: negativity is alive and twerking its way around the world and I just cannot do it.

I’m a very delicate peach of a person and my brain and emotions can’t handle all the destructive stories and images.

Let me get specific here:

One Of The Lucky Ones

When I was growing up - especially in my late teens and early 20’s - my hormonal ups and downs were enough to cause whiplash for anyone close to me.

I’d be hyper and loud and laughing and “on” one minute, loving being the center of attention and the life of the party and making everyone laugh, and then worrying about all the things that were out of my control after I was alone: “Was everyone thinking I was obnoxious? Did I embarrass ______ when I said _____? Was I being too loud? Did I make a fool out of myself? Did I hurt ______’s feelings by saying _____? Did I pay enough attention to ____?”

The worries would consume me well into the night, to the point that I couldn’t fall asleep and I’d toss and turn for hours.

When It's Time To Quit

Quit with the hiding, quit with the playing devil's advocate, quit with the holding back, quit with the ever-present safety net thrown out, quit with the mamby-effing-pambying.

Let me back up a bit.

Last time we talked, I was in the depths of sleepless nights and feverish worry about our son, who’s away at college and has been going through some “stuff.”

After my drive down there to see him in person and grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he returned to himself, I spent the next few weeks texting him every morning to check in and make sure he knew we’re here for him.

To make sure he knows he’s not alone and to make sure he knows how very much he’s loved.

And to give him the nudges he needed to get out of his “comfort zone” and live life.

Anxiety Or Irresponsibility? How Do I Know What's Happening With My Son?

It’s been about a month since my oldest was home from college for the holidays, so I checked in on him last week with a phone call that went like this:

Me: Hey, baby, whatcha doing?

18: Walking over to get some food.

Me: Oh ok, so you can talk for a sec - how were your classes today?

18: I haven’t had them, yet.  They’re later today - one’s at 1:50 and the other isn’t until 6.

Me: UMM, IT’S 1:54!!

18: Oh.

I swear to Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, he’s learned nothing since Mark and I lost every ounce of our shit with him over the Christmas break.

Let me update you.

When Someone Asks Your Advice And You're Unqualified AF

My 10-year-old has been fawning all over a girl in his class for the last month or so, and last week he told me he was going to ask her to be his valentine, which - ohmygod - could that be any cuter?

He’s very different than my older son, who never shared this kind of stuff with me, and even to this very day he only hits me with the very vaguest of information, making me wonder if one day I’ll be sporting an “I ♥ My Grandcat” bumper sticker, which you might think I just made up, but I saw one on a car last week and couldn’t grab my phone fast enough to snap a picture to prove it to you.  

My youngest asks me relationship advice all the time, because I guess he thinks I’m qualified to give counsel to fourth graders seeking matchmaking tips.

5 Things I Would Tell My New-Mom Self

You know how you look back on your life as a, say middle schooler or high schooler, and you think about how serious you thought things were, and you shake your head a little at how absurd those “serious” things were?  

Like standing in a bikini in front of a full-length mirror, turned to the side, and squishing your face up at the sight of the soft pooch in the belly area?

Or throwing yourself across your gingham bedspread-covered bed, in a fit of tears because the boy you liked found out you liked him, but didn’t like you back, because he liked your best friend, and the three of you lived in the same neighborhood and rode the same school bus, so you’d have to look them both in the eye the next day, and you just wanted to disappear?

Don’t you ever want to sneak back to those days and whisper a little something to that person?

Why Today You Will Put On Your Sensible Panties

Hey, momma.

Yes, you.  You with the crispy hair from too many days of dry shampoo.  

You with the stack of mail you’ve promised to sort through for at least two weeks.  

You over there saying a little prayer that your kid doesn’t get salmonella from the slightly expired eggs you fed him this morning (cooked in the microwave, of course, and eaten on the way to school, as if that needed to be said).  

You with the screaming toddler in the checkout line at Target, beads of sweat dripping down the back of your neck, while people give you their judgy side-glances for not controlling your child better.

You with the soft bags under your eyes from staying up too late last night, just so you could savor a few delicious minutes of alone time.

I'm Afraid This Was Caused By Old Eggs

Have I ever told you how we decided to have another kid?  

The truth is, I always wanted a house full of children until my youngest was born and I realized I could barely manage keeping two children alive, much less a throng of them.

Mark was perfectly fine just having one kid.  

I tried for years to get him on board, but our first-born wasn’t an easy infant.  He had colic, but not the kind that people claim to have when their baby is just an asshole and cries a lot. 

The Real Reason I'm Writing Today

Last week my old friends, Ami and Jackie, who started out as work colleagues nearly 18 years ago, but became so much more than that over time, came down to Austin from Dallas for a work visit and squeezed me in for dinner.  

They asked me why I don’t email anymore, and I told them it’s because I don’t want to bug people, to which Jackie responded, “Would you rather be forgotten?  If people don’t want to read your emails, they can hit the delete button.”

The thought of being forgotten is what got me.  

My Birthday Wish

The story is that your birthday wish won’t come true if you share it.  But I’m feeling frisky, so I’m throwing caution to the wind.

Hopefully, by sharing, I’m not changing the course of my life’s direction, which is something I’ve worried about before:  when I got my driver's license renewed one year and checked the box labeled “Organ Donor,” and I stepped outside the DMV, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear, worried that I’d just set in motion a new purpose for my life - to be the body parts for someone else’s.  

The 4 Things I Learned From Taking a Break

You know how I recently took a hiatus from writing, right?

It wasn’t planned, and I mentally flogged myself daily during the nine months I was away from the keyboard, telling myself I was throwing away the following I’d worked so hard to build, and then mentally arguing back that, “yah, but what’s the point?”, and then mentally consoling myself, saying, “hey, there are always people who tell me how meaningful my posts are to them, so just keep on keepin' on, gurl!”, but then mentally belittling myself with, “I could poop out a basket full of Japanese howler monkeys before anyone would pay attention.”

Conservative Christianism, Anxious Sweats, & Feeling "Less Than"

As usual when I’m heading someplace important, especially if I’m right on schedule - or more likely, late - as opposed to being early and relaxed, which hasn’t happened since before I had children and has somehow become a habit, just like writing run-on sentences, I start sweating and my freshly flat-ironed hair starts to pop into the most pubic and freakish curls around my hairline.

Back By Popular Demand

Oh heeeyyy!  I realize it’s been a little longer than a minute since you last heard from me.  

I’ve been on a nine-month, unplanned hiatus during which I pretty much gave up my entire life in service of others (I’m disgustingly selfless), got my oldest son graduated and moved off to college, moved our family to a new home in a new town, planned a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation in celebration of The Graduate, and find myself now pale with dark under-eye circles, greasy meth hair, dressed like I lost a bet, and almost completely unraveled.  

Small Steps to Big Change: My Interview with Carla Birnberg

Back in November I attended the Texas Conference for Women and I had the greatest pleasure of meeting and interviewing Carla Birnberg, author of Mizfit and What You Can When You Can, the latter creating its very own movement on social media through the hashtag #wycwyc. 

I was excited about the opportunity to talk with Carla because What You Can When You Can was perfectly written as if it were just for me.  It might as well have been handwritten on spiral notebook paper, folded into a paper football, and signed, “Lylas.”

This Year Has To Be Different

Y’all.  I’m just so freaking behind.  I feel like in 2016 - while it was a great year for me personally, and I met a few really important goals - there were some hard things, too, and I fell behind on a lot of stuff, and basically just let my house and myself go.  

My house right now looks like one of those you’d see in the TV show, "Hoarders," with newspapers and boxes piled to the ceiling and when the UPS guy comes to my door with my daily Amazon delivery, I answer it wearing my duster and slippers, my hair in pink foam curlers, with a cigarette hanging out the side of my mouth and I don't even smoke.  

I’m tired of it.  This year has to be different.  

Dirty Laundry, Doing Less, and Idiots' Guides

Not to air out my medical dirty laundry, but I have a mental condition that you may have heard of:  I have ADHD.  I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor, but trust me: it’s obvious.

I fill my days with all the hundreds of things I want and need to do, trying to cram it all in, rushing around to keep the house together, letting dogs in and out and in and out and in and out, writing words for this very blog, with the hope of making other moms realize we’re all dealing with the same B.S., and that, yes, they are “doing it right,” whatever that means, and that it’s totally okay that their kids think their name is “Ja-Co-Li-Coo-Dammit!” because - by the end of the day, our brains are just piles of slop.  

Thank goodness for tomorrow. 

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

A week or so ago, a young man that goes to my son’s high school was arrested for graffitiing a terroristic threat on the school’s bathroom wall.  I texted a picture of the kid’s mug shot to my son and asked if he knew him, and he said that, yes, he did - that they even worked together, and that he’d given him a ride home from work a time or two, and that he’d told me about him several times.

I’ll tell you what irritates me more than the itch of a growing-out bikini area, it's finding out my son’s been talking to me, and I haven’t been listening.

I immediately searched all the local news media posts about the arrest, not just to fulfill my need for juicy gossip (but that, too), but also because - now that I was paying attention - I realized how close to home it hits:  the guy's being my son’s age, going to the same school, working at the same place, and **gulp** riding in my son’s car.