This paragraph is hard for me to write. A Facebook messenger conversation I had recently with an old friend that I haven't seen or even texted in years sparked so many emotions and thoughts for me. It got me thinking about other poignant, even high school romance-tragic conversations I had over the years, and humorous convos that got me through the day or a rough patch in life. My biggest takeaway from all these conversations is that people, of all ages and walks in life, are resilient and stronger than we know. We are innate survivors, even after all the drama, dysfunction, horrible childhoods, and addictions in life.
I am busy all day, every day, which is how I like it. However, I am not burned out, stressed or too tired because of these life hacks I discovered.
I went to Douglass College, the all girls campus at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Douglass is small, historical, and near Cook Campus. Rutgers, the main campus, is ginormous and requires transportation to get around. I lived on Douglass for four years but was home almost every weekend to see my older boyfriend at the time, who commuted to school. I loved everything about college except for sitting in traffic trying to get to class in my car.
I first went into an Old Navy store when I was fourteen years old and in the eighth grade. I remember it so clearly because it was one of the most enjoyable days ever. My mom took me there and it was a fairly new store. I've been an Old Navy fan ever since. I even worked at Gap, their affiliate store, in high school. Most of my paycheck went back into the store with all the clothes I bought there with my employee discount. My closet currently is about 85% Old Navy apparel. Their pieces are timeless and for all ages. I'm a pretty simple late 30s aged mom; I don't go for fancy and expensive clothing. I have two kids, thus a leftover lower belly and curves. Their clothes, especially bottoms, are very flattering for my body type. My style is trendy comfortable, too. Nothing crazy and confining. With my Old Navy credit card and being a loyal, longtime shopper, I receive major reward certificates online. Their web site frequently has fantastic sales and promotions too. Check out RetailMeNot for online and store coupons and coupon codes. I love when their Stuff a Bag sale comes around too! Their clothes are usually true to size, comfortable, flattering, and come in great prints and colors. In the past several years, I have only returned one item I purchased online. All their items are top quality, wash well, and last for years.
Between my three- and seven-year-old daughters up at night to use the bathroom in my bedroom instead of their bathroom, my elderly dog suddenly deciding he can't sleep without company, noise and light, and my husband's alarm clock going off for at least thirty minutes at 5:15 AM every week day, I am wiped out.
I've had many mom fails in the seven years since I first became a parent. When my older daughter was a baby I dressed her in capri pants in the winter thinking they were leggings. Tonight for dinner, I made chicken soup for the first time. Somehow the broth disappeared while it was cooking. My three-year-old wouldn't eat it without broth. I dumped water in her bowl, microwaved it and told her it was soup. When my older daughter was a baby and starting on solid foods, I gave her baby food carrots too many days in a row and turned her nose orange. Or the time I brought my little one with me when our dog had to go to the vet to get his anus checked. The following morning she had an appointment at the pediatrician for a check up. When he went to examine her butt she screamed and cried. I realized she was remembering what happened with the dog. When I told the pediatrician that he laughed so hard. Another mom fail was when my daughter had a cough the second week of starting school. I thought it was just a cough until it started to sound really bad. When I took her to the doctor he said she had bronchitis. I felt so bad I didn't bring her sooner I almost cried. My older daughter and I frequently bribe her sister with chapstick, her favorite thing. From getting her to sit down for breakfast to completing her workbook, it never fails to work. A big mom fail was a few years ago when I left my phone on the table at my brother's wedding. My then five-year-old managed to post videos on my Facebook page and YouTube of herself with several drunk relatives. It took me forever to find the videos on YouTube to take them down. At this same wedding she managed to take at least fifty photos of herself and with others in the photo booth. I guess my husband and I were not supervising her enough but hey, we were in the bridal party and my in-laws were in charge of the kids that night. Last summer, while on vacation, my older daughter got a hold of my phone and messaged a picture of my frozen margarita to a few acquaintances with them replying, "looks good!" I was mortified. Another mom fail was waiting until my older daughter was four to sign her up for swim lessons. She was the oldest one in the mommy and me class and screamed the first three lessons. When my daughter was in her second year of preschool she kept telling me that while playing house at school the kids kept making her pretend to be a dog with the teacher right there watching. Because of that and other reasons I was so tempted to pull her out after Christmas but I didn't because she liked the school so much. I still regret that. When my kids were babies I put groceries on them while they were in the cart in their car seat. I was running out of room. I let my kids ride on our dog like a pony and I let my little one jump from a spare couch cushion we had. She wound up hurting her chin. I don't know what I was thinking. Last summer my daughter went to swim lessons with eyeliner and lipstick on just so we could get out the door on time. Also for the sake of time, my daughter has gone to school with summer sundresses on in the winter with a sweater. When she was in first grade our friends gave us a bunch of hand-me-down shoes that were several sizes too big for my daughter. She tried on a pair before school and I forgot to have her change them before we left. That morning the school nurse called me that her shoes were falling off her feet. I had to go to the school with other shoes for her. At least when you have a second child you learn from the mistakes you made with the first one. I definitely felt more prepared the second time around.