What I’m Reading: Tiny, Beautiful Things

Have you ever read Dear Sugar articles? I love them. A lot of women do. Which is probably why women love gifting this book to other women.  I picked up a copy for myself and also gifted one to my boss for her birthday. I’m not sure it’s a totally boss appropriate gift, unless your boss really gets you and is okay with really sensitive issues and cursing. So it’s not quite a great option for the white elephant exchange at your holiday party unless you’re fine with everyone knowing you’ve got waaaay too many feeeeelings.  (hey, don’t we all? exactly.)

I was super excited to hear last week that Dear Sugar is back in a new way. Cheryl Strayed (you may know her as the author of the bestseller Wild, which is now a movie made uber popular by starlet Reese Witherspoon) announced that she collaborated with the original Sugar (think advice column meets hippie aunt who always made you feel really proud of yourself like the human incarnate of Mother Earth and Goddess Divine slash a voice of reason with a little sass mixed in for good measure), Steve Almond, on a podcast called Dear Sugar Radio. They’ll answer letters, discuss problems and inspire and comfort you in ways you didn’t know you needed. Here’s a snippet and you can check out the details on how to write in and listen to the pilot episode on WBUR 90.9 FM.

Here are some of my favorite Dear Sugar passages:

“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”

“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”

“I can’t tell you what to do. No one can. But as the mother of two children, I can tell you what most moms will: that mothering is absurdly hard and profoundly sweet. Like the best thing you ever did. Like if you think you want to have a baby, you probably should. I say this in spite of the fact that children are giant endless suck machines. They don’t give a whit if you need to sleep or eat or pee or get your work done or go out to a party naked and oiled up in a homemade Alice B. Toklas mask. They take everything. They will bring you the furthest edge of your personality and abso-fucking-lutely to your knees.  They will also give you everything back. Not just all they take, but many of the things you lost before they came along as well.”

“When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.”

“You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.”

 

Gah, there’s so many good ones. Have you read Tiny, Beautiful Things or the Dear Sugar columns? Any favorites? 

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What I’m Reading: When You Are Tightly Wound

In my opinion, stories like this from other moms in the trenches, sisters in “there’s spit up on your shirt” solidarity are not shared nearly often enough.  In some moments, they’re pretty much the only thing keeping me sane, reminding me that whatever it is I’m struggling with as a mom, “it’s okay” because out there are other women also staring down a house project to-do list that started a year ago and never gets a darn thing checked off. Or maybe it does but I just keep adding more that progress seems a mirage.  It’s super overwhelming.

“Isn’t it funny how parenting works out? It’s just so loud, even when they are asleep. You can never turn parenting off. It’s a good thing it’s what we always wanted, isn’t it?” – the 42-year-old mother at the library who has finally had that baby after 12 years of trying but still feels tightly wound at the end of the day

Last weekend I was in such a funk.  Trying to be a good wife, I even kept warning Mumbles about my mood, throwing him daring glances over my shoulder as I furiously washed another sinkload of dishes.  I cursed.  A lot.  And then I silently scolded myself for being short with him. In the next breath I was pissed at myself because what if I’m cursing too much and Declan is aware of my negative aura and his first words are the kind you have to bleep out?

And in a snap I was back to cussing and not caring because my fingers were turning to prunes, my manicure was chipping (said manicure was hurriedly performed on myself just one hour prior to my friend’s wedding a few days earlier…needed to clarify that point because what mom has the leisure time to patiently paint her nails?), and I was taking too long to do the damn dishes and I’m probably the one responsible for the drought in California.  Sorry. If it’s not my never-ending dish doing, it’s surely my 20 minute showers.  The showers hide the tears, folks. (Kidding! KIDDING.)

Just like the author, Kate, says: it all feels very tragic.  And it is.  Especially when I read that she hasn’t unpacked from a month ago – because neither have I, which means I’ll probably just not unpack and take the same bag with me next time we go to Havasu, and then I can rid myself of that guilt, call it time management and efficiency, and pat myself on the back.  But thinking of all those dirty clothes in that bag reminded me that I forgot to move the baby clothes from the washer to the dryer the night before so now they’re probably all mildew-y and I’ll have to rewash them. More bad words.

And that’s how it goes.  But then your baby giggles or cocks his head to the side with a smile, or does some other ridiculous thing that is so cute it breaks your heart and all the little pieces melt back together so you don’t even care that you don’t have time to put on makeup or do your hair or get out of your workout clothes (because – high five! – I totally made it to the gym!).

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Read the full article.

 

P.S. What no one tells you about having a baby.

 

What I’m Reading: An Interview with Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso Refinery 29 interview GIRLBOSS Nasty Gal Vintage founder
Need some motivation on this fine Monday?  Check out this interview with the founder (and “chief troublemaker”) of Nasty Gal Vintage, Sophia Amoruso. This quote really caught my attention:

My dad said at dinner the other night something that I really loved — he said, ‘Hope is not a strategy,’ which is so true. The best things happen with not only hope, but ingenuity, self-awareness, and a lot of elbow grease. That’s when the real magic happens.

Her book #GIRLBOSS comes out tomorrow. Looks like a fun read!

Have you read anything inspiring lately? 

 

What I’m Reading: “Here Comes Baby, There Goes the Marriage”

stick girl jam & mumbles lovers lane.jpg

Yes, Mumbles is wearing a “Shake & Bake” sweatshirt. It’s the name of the softball team he’s been playing on for like 8 years. I find it awesome, which is probably why we are married.

In the same tune as getting pre-marital counseling to focus on the marriage instead of just planning a wedding, what do you think about pre-baby counseling to prepare your marriage for the obstacles you’ll face with your partner as new parents?  This article from The Wall Street Journal is a few years old (and I can’t even tell you the roundabout way I came to find it online) but I thought it was interesting. I can’t tell you how many times since Declan was born that I’ve looked over lovingly at my husband and thanked God for creating him to be such a wonderful and thoughtful life partner for me. There’s truly no one I’d rather be changing diapers and doing laundry with.

Buuuut, I confess I’ve sometimes felt resentful when I hear the baby begin to cry in the middle of the night and check my phone to see that it’s 2 a.m. and I was just up an hour ago feeding him. “What now?” I think, “And why is Mumbles still snoring peacefully through the crying and the loud voice in my head yelling at him to wake up?!” But, then I remember that though breastfeeding is tough (and tiring), it’s not something that Mumbles can experience – he must watch (or sleep) from the sidelines.  For me, having realizations like that puts it into perspective and I truly believe that marriage becomes even more of a partnership after having a baby. Which is often why I’ll jab Mumbles in the ribs a few times to get him to wake up if I’ve already fed the little one and he’s still fussing around in his crib. “Your turn, honey,” I say (as sweetly as humanly possible at 2:01 a.m.).

How do you juggle your marriage and parenting?  In what ways did you prepare yourselves before baby came?

P.S. Here’s another article about a study that says couples without kids are happier in their marriages.

What I’m Reading: Some Women Only Want a Third of It All

Remember this post about “Having It All?”

Having had a few weeks home before baby arrives, I’ve had leisure time to read, write, garden, watch tv, rest, organize, decorate, clean, play with Baxter…what a change of pace!  In that spirit, I really enjoyed this new perspective: Some Women Only Want, Like, a Third of It All.

Do you agree that “busyness” is now being used to competitively determine success?