Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lady Parts and All Those Things I Haven't Mastered Yet

I feel like there are things about being a woman, an adult and a mom that I should know, but I don’t. It's like I missed the day in high school when all of the teachers shared highly classified information about how to function as an adult. It probably happened during first period Physics when Drea and I decided that our time was better spent listening to REM in her red Toyota Tercel.
Most of the time I can fake my way through life, convincing strangers that I am a fully functioning adult. That is, until a situation arrises that I should be able to maneuver with ease, and I realize I have no idea what I am doing. Like unclogging a toilet or cooking a steak, and those are hard to fake.
Here are a few other parts of adult life that challenge me:
Domestic Parts I never have the right kitchen tools. My Mother-in-Law has come to my house on numerous occasions and been appalled that I didn’t have a proper potato peeler or that I am missing the 3/4 measuring cup. (I am a full believer that estimation is a proper cooking technique. Besides, why do you need a 3/4cup measuring, too?! Can’t you just fill the full-cup 3/4 full?) Plus, I am literally unable to keep my sink clean or scrub toilets on a regular basis. I can not for the life of me figure out how real adults have clean bathrooms everyday.
Lady Parts How is it that I can be 34 years old and still have no idea when my period is going to start? And seriously, what is the deal with Soft Cups? How is it possible that I am totally uneducated about the newest in period paraphernalia? Maybe I need to consult the camp gyno. 
I am sure she has some tips for me.
Friend Parts I try really hard to be a great friend but sometimes I am mystified by the adults who can plan dinner parties, manage to look fantastic and mingle with every guest for just the right amount of time. The truth is, I forget to text people back. I have small undetectable panic attacks when someone calls because I am secretly terrified of awkward phone conversation. I AM an awesome gift giver... but will most likely give it to you weeks after your birthday. The only things I have seemed to learn about being an adult friend is that Showing Up is the most important thing you can do for someone and that taking your friend's kids for a night will endure her to you forever.
Mom Parts Twelve years into this mom gig and I wish I could tell you that I have it mastered, but I don’t. I compare myself with other moms and feel bad for my kids that I don’t cut their sandwiches into butterfly shapes or make them pancakes every morning. But here is the truth. I am really good at snuggling. I make amazing hot chocolate, and I will do cartwheels in the front yard for hours. I don’t do chore charts and my little tribe isn’t perfectly behaved, but we love each other like crazy. And my one saving grace, the thing that keeps my head above water in the mom department are my friends. Especially the ones that say, “me too.” Friends who assure me that hiding in the bathroom to eat the last brownie without having to share, is something we’ve all done. Mom friends make you feel more competent, and like this whole adulthood thing is a little more do-able.
So here is the only conclusion I have come to. I haven’t figured it all out but here is where I am heading... Could it be that the greatest myth of adulthood is that we should be able do everything on our own? Because if we can do this thing together I think I might have a chance.
I am not even close to mastering this adulthood thing. But one thing I know that makes it bearable are my friends. Friends make everything better.
So bring it on adulthood. Me and my friends are ready for you.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Well, hello there.

It is Friday which means that I get to spend the next few days with no makeup and wearing purple sweat pants. (Super impressive, I know). If you are anything like me and are planning for a low-key weekend filled with lots of snuggling on the couch and a copious amount of video watching then let me let you in on a little gem of a video that is on Hello, Darling blog today. It is a fun little check in with my all-around-good-spot of a husband Joe. Somehow, we always end up getting asked to talk about sex. This is no exception.

You can find it here...
Mandy and Joe on Hello, Darling!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

That Time I Interviewed Momastery's Glennon Doyle- Melton

Originally posted at www.mops.org/mom
A Conversation with Glennon Melton-Doyle
I met Glennon in the corner of a hotel lobby. Fresh off an airplane and wearing her signature tee shirt that says “We can do hard things,” she greeted me with a big hug. This girl knows how to make friends. Her honesty and willingness to put it all out there makes her feel like a best friend that you can trust with your secrets. She is charming and within 15 minutes of meeting her, was spilling all the secrets about her favorite beauty product (It’s deodorant) and how alcohol and eating disorders have been part of her journey toward seeing the "brutiful" (brutal and beautiful) moments in life. You’ve got to love a girl who isn’t afraid of putting it all out there. Author of NYT Best Seller, Carry On Warrior, and blogger atMomastery, Glennon has created a community of women who are journeying together to be truth tellers and hope spreaders.
Here is our conversation. 
Mandy: Our theme at MOPS this coming year is A Beautiful Mess: Embrace Your Story. How has embracing your story, your beautiful mess, affected you as a woman and a mom?
Glennon: I love the Beautiful Mess theme because it applies to so many different parts of life. My life was a mess for a long time, I was addicted to alcohol, abused drugs and I was in a dark place. For such a long time I was holding my breath, waiting for things to get better. Hoping that there was going to be a magical time when I was going to be a grownup and my personality was going to change and I was going to be calmer, cooler, more collected. I was always thinking that life shouldn’t be so hard. Then, a little while ago I realized that life is always going to have hard parts, for me and for everybody. It is the hard parts that make us able to appreciate the good parts.
When I look back at the messy parts of my life when things felt overwhelmingly dark, I realize that going through all of that has made me appreciate my life right now. When you experience the brutal parts of life it opens your heart to the vast goodness and the beautiful moments that are gifts we never expected. For example, I never thought I would be a mother. I never thought that I would get to experience the beauty and messiness of motherhood. 
Here is my theory on this whole thing. Have you ever gone out to the mountains and seen the stars on a really dark night? It seems to me that the darker the night, the more beautiful their light is. That is exactly how I feel about my life and about parenting. It is the hard parts, the dark skies, that make the beautiful moments that much more beautiful.
M: You are really honest in your writing. How do you work through the fear of rejection? Do you ever worry about putting it all out there? 
G: I feel like everyone has a fear of rejection, at least everyone who has been honest with me. It’s human nature. For a long time I tried to hide who I was and be everything to everyone. That’s what led me to addiction. Everyone has some façade they put up, perfectionism, overworking, overeating ... we all don’t identify it as such, but everyone has a hiding place they go to when they feel vulnerable. I think that if we put on an act and we are loved, it is still very lonely, because we are being loved for someone we are not. We don’t feel safe if it isn’t the real us.
Let’s be honest, it is hard to be criticized. The number one problem for all of us is that if we think people don’t like us it will be the end of the world. I don’t think I will ever stop hurting from criticism, but it hurts less, at least the people who love me, I know they love me for the real me. Now I feel like for the most part I am just being myself. And I am still getting rejected. I am embraced by many, but I get crushed by others. That’s not easy for me. I still spend days under the covers wanting to disappear from the earth. I told my husband we have to move, but we live in a retirement area on the end of Florida, where else can we go? At least now, if I’m liked or not liked, it is for the real me. I kind of know what I am supposed to be doing with my life, so I keep doing the next right thing, and I try not to listen to other voices of praise, criticism.
M: How can women support one another in living honestly, not fearfully.
G: My favorite scripture is “here I am” – it used to exhaust me because I thought it meant raising my hand and volunteering for everything – like, here I am for the PTA, here I am to bake cookies, and on and on. However, that take on it isn’t going well for most of us. We are running ourselves ragged; we women are so tired and worn out. Instead, what I have come to realize is that “here I am” can mean is being fully present in the moment – here I am in this moment, with this person and the most important person is who I am with right now and the most important moment is right now.
I put this into practice just the other day when I was having my nails done. I was focusing on being present with my nail technician. She ended up sharing her story with me and it was a profound story that changed my life. So many women have these amazing stories if we show up and listen to one another. Ultimately, I don’t think there is one universal strategy for how to support one another. I think the best gift we can give is simply to show up and listen to each other without an agenda.
M: Your blog has become so much more than a blog. It is a community of women who deeply care about showing up for one another. What inspired you to start Momastery?
G: When I started Momastery – I had 3 children under age of 5, so I was dreaming of running away. The idea of a quiet place was so appealing. Often as women we are targeted, wherever we go there is an ulterior motive, someone selling us strollers, jewelry or whatever. Our world is loud and rarely affords us a space to be still. We are searching for so many answers, but the truth is the answers are there if we would just get quiet and listen. That’s what I wanted for myself and that’s what I wanted for other women. That’s why we named it “Momastery” – because we wanted to create an intentional place for moms.
On the blog, I tell the truth, oftentimes difficult truths. Because I am so honest it is disarming and it lets woman put their guard down. Momastery has become a place where my story isn’t the most important thing anymore. We have 70,000 women who are all sharing their stories. When women are filled up, they overflow and fill each other up – that happens with our flash mobs, “Monkee see - Monkee do” on our blog.
We throw around the cliché that the truth will set you free, but it really does happen. It makes people feel brave to tell the truth and live to see another day.
M: Can you share one principle to guide moms in raising their kids?
G: Don’t worry about having a great day, just grab a couple of great moments each day and call it a success. I don’t give advice, but I feel pretty confident about that one.
M: What does it look like to be brave when we find ourselves in a mess?
G: My definition of bravery is that I am brave because I keep showing up. Courage is being afraid and still showing up. We can only do so much, our job is simply to show up and then leave the rest to God. Just show up at your kids’ school, or for a confrontation you know you have to have, maybe it is showing up for yourself. However you need to be brave that day, show up and be brave.
M: Talk about a moment or process where you found redemption in your story.
G: I am wary of black and white talk about redemption because for me redemption is a moment by moment thing. When people are in recovery, it is a day by day process, not one shining moment. How will I not hide, how will I show up, how will I be healthy each and every day. It isn’t a before and after story.
I think redemption is more about using what you have to make a difference in someone else’s life. For me, having a sensitive personality led me into addiction, but it also led me into my work now. It is figuring out how to use what you have in a way that serves yourself and others. It isn’t necessarily a big change. I am still the same person, just now I am figuring out how to use what I have to serve others.
M: Ok, time for the speed round. What is your go to dinner when you don’t feel like cooking?
G: Cereal, plus a banana if I am doing well.
M: What is a surprising habit that you have?
G: Everyone in my family – we always forget some piece of clothing. One day we were on time to school, but my daughter had forgotten to wear her underwear. I forgot my shoes another day – went to buy a pair of cheap shoes, but opened my purse to buy shoes and found shoes in my purse. Once I was in New York and my sister ended up taking my jeans, so I ended up wearing stilettos and tie-dye yoga pants through the airport all the way home.
M: Favorite way to end the day?
G: At my house, we call it “the victory lap” after “whack-a-mole” which is how we lovingly refer to the bedtime process. We snuggle down on the couch and turn on some terribly fantastic reality TV show and a have a piece of chocolate and tea.
M: Do you have a favorite beauty product?
G: I have a bad sweating problem – I talk about deodorant a lot. I am an expert. I recommend Secret clinical dry and roll-on Mitchum. Your body gets used to one kind after a while, so you have to switch them up – one month at a time.
Read more from Glennon in her book, Carry On Warrior, and on her blog at Momastery.com.