What kind of idiot am I?

I haven’t written anything in a long time. I avoid making eye contact with my desk, unable to endure my computer’s reproachful blinking cursor, the dreaded blank screen. I don’t have writer’s block exactly, more like writer’s paralysis. And I finally figured out why.

Both my kids are in school.

As in: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to get serious about my writing.”

(And: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to hit the gym every morning.” And: “When both my kids are in school my house is going to be so clean and organized!”)

But mostly: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to get serious about my writing.” 

For five years, the time when both kids would be in school all day was a distant, hazy dream on the horizon. When it arrived my days would open wide and my fingers would fly over the keys leaving reams of smart witticisms, vulnerable admissions, and startling insights in their wake.

Suddenly the time was upon me. No more excuses. It was always just a problem with time, right? Or was it?

Maybe it was never time at all. Maybe the problem lies within. Maybe my fingers flying over the keys don’t produce reams of wit, vulnerability, and insight. Maybe I lack the talent entirely. I found myself finally at the starting gate. The pressure overwhelmed. If I fail now then I’m nothing. 

And so, paralysis.

This is a crossroad. I can go quietly away and no one would even know that there was a time when I promised myself “when both my kids are in school…” That would be easy. It’s not failure if I don’t try. Especially if no one even knows. Maybe I’ll just focus on the gym and the house first.

But then I went and wrote this, totally screwing up my plan. Shit. I’m an idiot. Am I an idiot with no creative talent or passion, or an idiot with all the passion and not quite enough of the talent, or an idiot with passion and maybe some talent too? Am I an idiot willing to work for it? An idiot willing to stand up and say that I’m going to reach for the brass ring, whether or not I grab on be damned? An idiot who says that the only failure is the failure to try?

Just what kind of bloody idiot am I? What will my story be when I look back at this juncture in my life? I don’t know. Let’s see, shall we? Maybe it all started when I sat down to write this, intimidated by that cursor no more.

writer's block, writing

Good Parent, Stupid Kids?

We’ve been talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. in our house lately, and it reminded me of this post from 2012 when I tried to teach my kids about race while they were hungry. Always a mistake. In honor of MLK day, I once again give you The Story of the Eggs:

In my house hard-boiled eggs are made by at least the half-dozen. Each kid would eat boiled eggs until explosion or yolk-asphyxiation occurs, so I have to cut them off at three each. This morning I had a mix of white and brown eggs. As I put them in the pot, the fighting started.

“I want just white ones!”

“Me too!”

“Actually, I want brown ones.”

“Me too!”

(I know this sounds like agreement, but trust me, it’s fight seeds.)

I decide this is a good time for a lesson. A friend of mine did this with her kids, and from her story it was a meaningful revelation for all short people involved. I was about to embark on an early morning good parenting moment. Go me!

Once the eggs had boiled and cooled a bit in ice water, I began my fantastic parenting, holding a brown egg in one hand an a white one in the other:

“Are these the same or different?”

“Different!”

“How are they different?”

“They’re different colors.”

“Right. The shells are different colors. This shell is white, and this shell is brown. Are people sometimes different colors too?”

“No!”

“Uh, really? Aren’t they sometimes different colors?”

“No!”

“Um, for this to work, I need you to think about all the people you know. Do they all look the same?”

“No!”

“Right, people come in different colors like these eggs, right?”

“Right!”

“Whew. OK. So, do you think these eggs are the same or different on the inside?”

“Different!”

“The same!”

“I want the brown one!”

“No I want the brown one!”

“Just wait. We’re learning something first! Let’s see if these eggs are different or the same on the inside.”

I crack and peel the eggs. The kids are fighting over which color they want. I hold up two peeled, perfectly white eggs:

“So, are these the same or different on the inside?”

“Different!”

“I want the brown one!”

“Can I have some salt?”

“PAY ATTENTION! We’re learning here! Do these eggs look the same or different?”

The kids have no freaking idea what I want from them. They just want to give me an answer that would make me shut up and hand over the eggs.

“The same?”

“Yes! They are exactly the same on the inside even though one was white and one was brown on the outside. So, what does that tell us? Did we learn anything?”

“Can I have salt, Mama?”

“NO! You won’t get anything until you learn this lesson! Does the fact that this brown egg and this white egg look exactly the same on the inside tell us anything about people?”

“No!”

URG! Remember, one was white?? And one was brown??! And people are different colors too!? But on the inside the eggs are the same??? What do you think different color people are like on the inside?”

“Yucky!”

“Bloody!”

“They have hearts!”

“They have poop!”

The kids are now in hysterics. I’ve lost my audience, which I never really had to begin with. Fuck it. Just eat your eggs, kids. Thanks for the learning moment.

Good Parent, Stupid Kids

 

More Soap Please

It’s that time of year again! I’m not talking about the holidays, but about the time of year when I look at the cherubic rosy faces of your children with horror and suspicion. Is that button nose running because of the brisk wind outside? Or is it because that face is a festering mass of mucus just waiting to sneeze out onto my kid’s sandwich? Your daughter’s pigtails aren’t just an adorable means to keep her hair out of her snot, but are potentially harboring a blight of lice just waiting for my daughter to try on her hat.

That’s right. It’s the time of year when parents walk the fine line between trying to keep our kids healthy and trying not to turn them into crazy people. I see germs everywhere.

You see, your kids are gross. Don’t be offended; mine are gross too. Their hands have most certainly been in questionable places and they leave much to be desired when it comes to being generally civilized and not disgusting. And if post-bathroom handwashing statistics are to be believed, adults are gross too.

I can handle my kids’ gross. (Because I have to.) Your kids’ gross is another story.

My child’s runny nose? Not my favorite thing, but I’ve been known to have my coat pockets full of other people’s used tissues and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Your child’s runny nose? The worst! It is an ominous foreshadowing of the illness that will take down my family.

I’m always on the lookout to keep my family healthy. We aim for a mostly healthy diet, mostly healthy sleep habits, mostly healthy days containing some form of physical exercise. My kids have regular checkups and are vaccinated, including the annual flu vaccine.

I can’t control your children’s mucus; all I can do is try to keep it off my kids’ hands. To that end, we’re frequent hand washers. The kids are pretty good about it. They know it’s the first thing we do when we come home from anywhere. We wash off school germs after school, supermarket germs after the supermarket, outside germs after playing outside. We wash our hands before meals and definitely after using the bathroom.

I hope I’m staying just on this side of crazy, but I can’t guarantee that I am. So far it seems to be working. My kids are sick infrequently. I totally just cursed us all.

This is a sponsored post for Gigasavvy. The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.