I cried for my body.

I am 37 years old in this moment.

In my teens to mid-twenties I had one main objective: To be skinny. I did almost anything imaginable to obtain that goal. Ingested diet pills, put poison into my body in the form of food: “Fat Free”, “No Sugar”, “Zero Calories”, etc. I put Splenda and skim milk in my coffee every morning, didn’t eat carbs and sadly, obtained a pretty severe eating disorder for several years, binging and purging everything I ate. I laid in a tanning booth almost daily and bleached my hair. I was tan, blonde and skinny. I had to be pretty and SKINNY.

In my late twenties/early thirties I had ditched the tanning booth, ate really well and thankfully, had long overcome my eating disorder. I went to the gym 5 days a week and cooked all my own meals, spending a small fortune at Whole Foods to eat the way I wanted at the time: Gluten-Free, Paleo, Organic, etc. I tried CrossFit, spinning, the stair-master, Body Pump, you name it. I had to be FIT.

In my early-mid thirties I became a mother. I got pregnant for the first time at 33 and gave birth for the first time at 34. I breastfed my son for 16 months and was pregnant for the second time while I was still breastfeeding. I gave birth to my daughter just after I turned 36. I was anxious and depressed and trying to be the best mom I could be. What did I eat? Whatever I could find when I finally realized I hadn’t eaten anything all day. When did I workout? Never. I just had to be STRONG.

Now here I am, 37 years old and just starting to think about doing SOMETHING for myself again. Realizing I have put myself last for 3 years, I am starting to think: What is it I would like to eat? How do I want to start moving my body again? What is it I’m searching for?

So one afternoon I told my husband I needed an hour and I found myself at Restorative Yoga.

I had never felt such a release, such a calmness before. I had taken yoga in the past, but only in between intense workouts as a way to have a “good stretch” or I’d take hot yoga just to try and sweat out toxins. I had never actually listened to the message or really given my mind and body a chance to BREATHE.

I realized I hadn’t listened to my body once in my entire life.

I had told it what to do based on what was important to me at the time.

This time I listened. And I cried.

In the dimly lit room, with soft, tranquil music, in a position on the floor, my body told me what it had done for me and what it had been through.

My body had been robbed of the nutrients it was supposed to obtain and forced to purge them out. My body had been burned in a bed of UVA and UVB lights to look a certain color. My body had been ejected from a car having flesh torn open and bones shattered, organs lacerated and drugs injected into a forced medical coma. My body had been poisoned with chemicals camouflaged as food. My body had been overworked with too much weight added for squats and lunges to look a certain way. My body had carried, nourished and nurtured two beautiful babies for 9 months each, went through labor and giving birth. My body had gained 40 pounds each pregnancy and then took it all off again. My body had created and provided milk for both my babies.

My body is tired.

I laid on the floor with tears streaming down my face as I felt each muscle and joint breathe a sigh of release. Like I was doing something FOR my body for the first time in my life.

Then I started thinking about everyone else in the room with me.

Maybe the woman to my left had a mother she takes care of, helping to lift her in and out of a chair each day. Maybe the man to my right used to do construction or maybe he played football in college.

My body isn’t the only body that’s gone through torture.

Our bodies are resilient. WE are resilient.

I wanted to be skinny.

I wanted to be Fit.

I needed to be Strong.

Now I need to RESTORE, give THANKS and be GRATEFUL to this body.

Breathe.

 

 

When I woke up, he was gone.

The first time I saw Wesley I was a little girl playing outside at my Nonna and Papa’s home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. His grandmother lived across the street from mine.

Wesley was a year older than me.

I thought he was so cute and instantly had one of my first ever crushes.

From then on, I’d find any reason to go over to his grandmother’s house.

“Nonna, do you need me to bring anything across the street to Dee’s house today?” In hopes that he would just happen to be visiting her.

A few years later I would be attending middle school with Wesley. Being in the grade ahead of me, I hardly ever saw him but when I did, my heart stopped.

He had a longer haircut back then and I thought he was the coolest person I had ever seen.

I remember seeing him at a high school football game one night. We were still in middle school but were there anyway and I remember watching him with his girlfriend at the time. I remember comparing myself to her. As a 7th grader, I looked even younger than my 12 year old self and she, being an 8th grader looked sophisticated and confident. She was wearing overalls and knitted mittens and no coat. I remember Wesley putting his hands in the pockets of her overalls to keep his hands warm and sitting behind her with her in between his legs.

I felt so much younger.

Never in a million years did I think I would get to be his girlfriend one day.

After 7th grade, my mom and I moved about an hour and a half away to a town called Wayland where I attended 8th grade through high school. After I graduated,  my mom remarried and moved back to Cape Cod.

I lived with my mom on the Cape in between college and then one night at my boyfriend’s house party when I was 23 years old, I saw Wesley.

I instantly knew who he was.

I felt my heart in my throat.

He recognized me right away and started talking to me.

I couldn’t believe he knew who I was, but I wasn’t a shy little 12 year old girl anymore. I was a very confident 23 year old with no qualms and a current boyfriend on his way out.

Wes and I talked and flirted for what seemed like forever but he knew I was in a relationship and I told him nothing would happen as long as I was still involved (he later told me that’s why he wanted to date me even more).

When that relationship finally did end, I really was heartbroken but I had Wesley in the back of my mind.

As most 23 year-olds do when they’re newly single, I started dating right away and had a few different people I was talking to. I bumped into Wesley at a bar one night and exchanged numbers and we got together pretty soon after that.

I remember partying a lot in those days. Way too much.

One night we went back to one of Wesley’s friend’s houses and he pulled me aside and said “I know you’ve got about 3 other guys in the running, but I’m going to win.”

That was it for me.

This was my childhood crush, afterall, I couldn’t believe he wanted to date me.

What breaks my heart is looking back and remembering all of the carelessness and partying we did together but Wesley would look at me and say “You’re better than this”.

I didn’t really understand because I was just doing what we were all doing at the time, but Wesley always held me on a pedestal and thought I was better than everyone else.

I remember driving in his friends car with him and they had to run into a bar to pick someone up. It was a sketchy bar and Wesley told his friend to stay in the car and watch over me. “I don’t want Kristal going in that place, you make sure she’s safe until I get back”.

I’ll never forget that.

He always made me feel protected and precious.

We didn’t have the perfect relationship. We were young and were acting foolishly and Wesley and I broke up a couple times.

But I loved him.

We both came from Italian families and I would make him my Nonna’s homemade sauce and meatballs on a Sunday and we would share a bottle of wine and he’d sneak a bottle of his parent’s homemade dressing that he called “The Pure!” It was delicious. He lived in the cottage behind his parent’s house, so he could walk into their kitchen if we were missing something we needed.

He always smelled really good and I would keep one of his hoodies with me when we weren’t together so I could smell him.

His cottage had a staircase leading up to a loft bedroom and you’d have to duck your head at the top.

He put up his own Christmas tree in the cottage that year and let me decorate it. I made it all gold and I remember him saying “But my mom’s is always so full of color!”

He worked for his friend’s construction company at the time and his friend would come pick him up in the morning. We could see the truck pull into the driveway through the little window in his bedroom. He’d kiss my head and tell me to go back to sleep before he left.

I had invited him as my date to a wedding I was in before we broke up and when we started talking again I asked him if he’d still like to come with me. He agreed.

The wedding was off-Cape and I had to be there the night before with the bridal party and we were all going to get ready at the bride’s salon the next morning.

We decided Wesley would drive to the wedding with my mom the day of. He and I had rented a hotel near the venue for after the wedding so we could stay and then drive home together the following morning.

The day of the wedding was so much fun with all the girls. It was the first real wedding I was in as an adult. We all got ready at the salon and had our hair and makeup done while drinking mimosas.

At one point, my friend (the bride) realized it was colder than we anticipated and she needed something to cover her shoulders over her gown, so I drove to the local mall and found her the most adorable soft, white, faux fur shawl.

I remember talking to Wesley on the phone while I drove in the limo with the girls. I was so excited to see him and for him to see me dressed up, standing at the altar with the other bridesmaids. I felt beautiful and special.

During the ceremony, I remember crying and looking back over my shoulder to find Wesley in the crowd. I did and he gave me the biggest smile.

I remember my mom taking a picture of us together and he planted the biggest, silliest kiss on my cheek.

img_7128

I remember a moment with him on the dancefloor. I knew I was being foolish by not being with him. I loved him and once we were away from all the other meaningless distractions and it was just he and I dancing in that moment I knew I wanted to be with him. I always knew. I looked at him and said “Will you be my boyfriend again?” He hugged me and said “Let’s talk about it when we get home.”

And that’s the last thing I remember.

When I woke up, my body felt like it weighed a million pounds. Everything was blurry and foggy. My throat hurt and I couldn’t speak.

I started to look around and fuzzy blobs started to take form into people.

My mom was standing over me rubbing my head.

Someone who I didn’t recognize was next to her and started talking to me.

I was so confused and couldn’t really understand what she was saying or where I was.

Finally the words started registering. “Kristal, you were in an accident. You’re ok but don’t try to talk.” I didn’t know I had been in a drug-induced coma for 2 days and had tubes down my throat.

The first thing I did was try to ask a question but my throat was hoarse and my mom acted like she couldn’t understand what I was asking so I made a gesture with my hand to write.

Someone got me a piece of paper and a pen.

“Where is Wes?” I wrote.

My mom acted like she couldn’t read what I wrote, which only made me angry and frustrated. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk, but I could write. I knew what I had written was scribbled but legible.

My mom handed the paper to the nurse and walked out of the room. She didn’t want to tell me.

The nurse came over to me.

“Wesley was killed in the accident.” She said.

I started to panic.

“Don’t move Kristal, don’t move!”

That’s all I remember for the next couple of days.

I guess she gave me something to sleep again because I had lacerated my liver and if I made any sudden movements it could tear more and I could have internal bleeding.

What I later learned was a snowstorm had moved it’s way in and Wesley and I decided to bail on our hotel and make the hour and a half drive back to the Cape because I had work the next day.

We made it all the way back over the bridge, just 3 exits short or our destination when we lost control of the car and it flipped. We were both ejected. Wesley landed in the fast line of the highway and I landed on or near the guard rale.

During this snowstorm, 2 cars hit and ran over Wesley.

A car pulled up to the accident and the woman gave me CPR. She didn’t see Wes.

When the ambulance and fire fighters arrived on the scene a med flight was called in for Wesley to be taken into Boston but they called it off due to the weather. He was declared dead before they reached the hospital.

I was in a drug induced coma for 2 days, ICU for a week and spend another week in a regular hospital room. I had major surgery on my femur, which had been torn to shreds and almost amputated. There is now titanium screws and plate holding it together.

img_7130

The fire fighters and EMT’s who were on the scene that night came to visit me in the hospital because they couldn’t believe I had survived and needed to see me for themselves.

Wesley’s wake and funeral were held while I was in ICU.

I screamed and threw a tantrum in the hospital when I learned that I couldn’t leave to say Goodbye.

All I wanted was to close my eyes and be back on that dancefloor again.

How did this happen?

Because I had no recollection of anything after that moment at the wedding and we had both been ejected, no one could determine how it all happened.

I was dancing one minute and woke up in a hospital being told that Wesley was gone the next.

I can’t tell you what that did to me or still does to me to this day and probably for the rest of my life.

I can’t tell you what it’s like living my life knowing I was the last person Wesley was with before he died and I can’t tell you what it’s like having children of your own after having gone through something like that.

Every friendship and relationship has been and will be effected by my accident.

I’m a different wife now than I would have been had this not happened. Thankfully I married a wonderful man who holds me and lets me cry some days over another man I once loved.

I’m a different parent because of our accident. I have fears and anxieties that another mother might not have. Some completely irrational and seemingly unrelated but I know where it stems from.

It’s crazy how the mind and body are connected. Some time will go by without my thinking about Wesley or the accident and then all of a sudden it will hit me out of nowhere.

I was getting horrendous stomach aches for years that would come and go and no doctor could figure it out. I would curl into a ball on the floor because of the pain. I had an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy and several blood tests done. Nothing came back with any real answer. I went gluten-free for a while and eliminated other foods from my diet thinking this was somehow allergy-related or some kind of sensitivity. It was just a couple years ago that one doctor took the time to go over my medical history and finally figured out that I was getting these awful pains right around the anniversary. They always completely subside as the anniversary passes. I had never put the two together before.

I was living in Boston at one point a few years after the accident and having a horrible day. I couldn’t stop crying or thinking about Wes. I would hold on to any item I had of his or any picture of him and couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a tough day, it was the middle of the summer afterall, nowhere near the February date of the accident. Finally I went outside for a walk to clear my head and as I was walking back to my apartment it hit me. It was August 2nd. Wesley’s birthday.

Your body will remind you of things you might want to forget.

Wesley was an amazing person. He was an awesome big brother, a great son, a good friend and a wonderful boyfriend.

I’ll never forget watching him from across the street at his grandmother’s house and losing my breath when I walked past him in the hallway in middle school. I’ll never forget the way he looked at me, how he used to call me “Poops” for no reason other than he thought it was funny, his voice when he was trying to make me laugh, his hugs or how much he loved my grandparents and would always tell my Nonna she looked beautiful.

I’ll never forget holding his hand as we walked to get dinner at a nice restaurant that we couldn’t afford at the time but that he insisted on taking me to or watching movies in his cottage. I’ll never forget how he used to laugh and correct me when I tried to sing along to music and got the words wrong “It’s Even flow, not Even though” and kissed me.

I’ll try to do what my therapist suggested and hold on to that moment on the dancefloor when I asked him to be my boyfriend again.

Some people don’t get to have a great last moment with the person they lost.

I’m lucky that I have that to keep.

img_7129

 

 

 

 

Here’s why no one told you!

Looking back over my experience with postpartum anxiety, I started to wonder why the hell no one warned me about it.

As first time moms, we’re given loads of advice (some unsolicited), and all kinds of warnings about the new baby AND ourselves. We’re told about the signs and symptoms of the “baby blues” and postpartum depression.

We get the questionnaires at our OB-GYN’s checkups and even at the baby’s well-check visits: “On a scale of 0-3, over the past 2 weeks have you thought about harming yourself or someone else? On a scale of 0-3 have you found the joy in every day life?”

We even see the ads in the magazines they leave in the waiting rooms: “Are you feeling hopeless or empty? Are you experiencing rage? Are you having trouble bonding with your new baby? You may be suffering from Postpartum Depression!”

As with many other women I have talked to, these weren’t the feelings I was experiencing and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

Because postpartum anxiety is more common if you have a history (or family history) of anxiety or depression, I should have seen it coming but NOBODY TOLD ME!

I’m an anxious person and pretty much everybody in my family has a history of anxiety and/or depression, so I just assumed I’d be an anxious mom BUT I had no clue there was anything other than postpartum depression to worry about.

The anxiety hit me like a Mack truck on steroids.

I felt like I had an itchy, wool sweater on in the middle of summer, and no one could see it but me. I couldn’t get this overwhelmingly uncomfortable feeling to go away.

There was a soundtrack to a Stephen King movie playing everywhere I went and no one could hear it but me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen to my baby that I couldn’t control.

So I was recently talking to my therapist who I still see from time to time (not enough) and we were discussing the way I was feeling a couple years ago after having my son. After going through a list of the crazies, she looked at me and asked: “Do you know why you weren’t warned about postpartum anxiety?”

“No, why??”

“BECAUSE SOCIETY TELLS YOU BEING AN ANXIOUS MOM IS BEING A GOOD MOM!!”

Holy lightbulb.

She went on with examples of the way I behaved during my most anxious time with my new baby: holding him constantly, never letting him cry, worrying about every little move he made, checking on him 85,000 times to see if he’s comfortable, breathing ok, and on and on. Then as they get older, anxious moms will hover (“helicopter moms”), and thus instill fear and anxiety in their children by never letting them explore or gain any independence.

Shit.

She’s right.

It’s not our fault that we’re anxious or nervous, but we’re praised for being excessively protective as parents. No wonder there’s no caution tape up warning us about the dangers that lie ahead.

Anxiety is a problem when your decisions are based off of irrational fears.

Checking the temperature in the bathtub before you put the baby in is a rational concern. Avoiding giving the baby a bath because you’re afraid he’ll die (even though you’re standing right there) is irrational. But that’s how I felt.

We need to speak up when we’re feeling unlike ourselves and ask for help. It sounds so cliché but it’s true. Think of it this way: You’re helping your baby (or child/children) by getting yourself help.

I know I can’t be a good mom to my babies if I’m not ok myself.

You don’t have to feel like you’re alone. Your doctor will understand (they’ve heard this once or twice before) and refer you to a mental health professional (if you don’t already have one) who specializes in postpartum care.

Or maybe you have older children and you’re just now understanding that you may need some help. That’s great!

You deserve to feel better.

Sincerely,

The Mom friend you never knew you had.

Girl, don’t go crazy. Go outside.

When I was in the height of my postpartum anxiety, I felt claustrophobic. I often felt like the walls were closing in on me and my very little home was getting smaller by the hour.

I was home alone with my new baby most of the time and afraid to do almost anything.

I didn’t even want to tell my husband just how scared of everything I felt in fear he might make some drastic change like quit his job to watch over me or take me to be evaluated where I would reach my inevitable fate in a padded room somewhere.

I wish someone had just told me to go outside.

Everything indoors is lifeless. The furniture, the decor, the pots and pans, the bedding. Nothing has life, it is spiritless.

Stepping outside, no matter where you are, can instantly change your energy.

Look up at the clouds. They’re moving, they’re alive.

Look at the trees. The flowers. A leaf. Watch them as the breeze makes them move.

Close your eyes and listen. There is life all around you, even if it’s just the sound of cars going by in the distance.

When I’m consumed with my own thoughts and fears and caught up in my mind, something as simple as stepping outside reminds me that there is so much going on outside of just me.

There are people all around me, there is life all around me. What is happening in my head is not as big and overwhelming when I breathe in fresh air, unlike the recycled air of our homes.

If someone had told me to just go outside, I might not have been hiding in my bathroom while my baby napped, sobbing to myself in complete fear and confusion.

So I finally did.

I buckled the baby in his car seat and just drove away.

I was so afraid of even just driving with him, for so many reasons, but I knew I needed to get out.

At first I just drove around aimlessly and then headed in the direction of a neighborhood I love. Up and down streets finding new little neighborhoods and beautiful homes.

I saw people out walking their dogs and people with strollers, people driving by me or pulling into markets. People were going about their days. The world seemed ok and it made me feel ok.

Instead of being a paranoid, anxious, inconsolable new mom, I was just another mom with a new baby driving in her car.

I went through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and got an iced coffee and just continued going from one area to another. (If anyone is looking for a new home, I can tell you where all the nicest, hidden neighborhoods are and which to avoid.)

The baby slept in his car seat and I listened to Jack Johnson (quietly) and started to breathe normally.

All of a sudden I felt happy!

My irrational thoughts and fears began to subside and new feelings of hope began brewing.

Suddenly I was picturing my life as a new mom with this beautiful new baby boy with actual pride and excitement! Getting to drive around with my iced coffee and baby who wasn’t old enough to ask where we were going suddenly made me happy!

I eventually made my way back home and opened a bunch of windows. Even though it was chilly outside, the fresh air made me feel so much better. So I decided to open them every day, no matter how cold it was, even just to get some fresh air in the house.

Even now, with a toddler and a 9 1/2 month old baby, I get overwhelmed. I lose my patience. I have anxieties. So I always know when I need to just go outside.

The other evening, my son was having a full blown tantrum over the contents of his dinner. He’s in a phase where he’ll eat 3 things: Pizza, French Fries or Pasta. If it’s anything else, he refuses it. Most days I give up and give in, but this day I had had enough and decided it was time to start eating some healthy foods again.

After about 45 minutes of sitting at the table with him (while feeding the baby in her high chair) and trying everything in my power, including patience, bribery and punishment, and being met with tears, whimpers and screams, I decided we all needed a break.

I said “that’s it! We’re going outside!”

I put the baby in her stroller and let my toddler walk next to me (because he refuses to sit in the double stroller and I didn’t need a second meltdown) and just walked through our neighborhood and returned a book to our friend’s mailbox.

We took the long way home and just talked as we walked.

Sometimes you need a change of scenery.

Sometimes you need some fresh air.

Sometimes we all (toddlers and babies included) just need a friggin break.

Girl, don’t go crazy. Go outside.

Last minute (healthy) Turkey Chili

Rainy days make me want to cook all day!

Being a mom of 2 littles, I can’t just drop everything and head out to Whole Foods for an hour gathering unnecessary (and expensive) ingredients like I used to.

But I can still enjoy cooking and make something delicious with just a few yummy ingredients.

Once I’ve decided that no matter how much I bribe him, my toddler isn’t going to eat this, I can actually prepare it the way I want with as many spices as I’d like!

This is one of my favorite things to make last minute during a rainy day, snow day, or day I’m feeling extra puffy and want to eat something healthy AND savory.

Here’s what I use:

  1. Ground turkey
  2. Onion (yellow or purple)
  3. Green pepper
  4. Fresh garlic
  5. Olive oil
  6. Diced tomatoes with green chili
  7. Salsa (any typical red salsa will do)
  8. White chili beans
  9. Kidney beans
  1. Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, chili powder, ground black pepper, a little salt

I start with a big pot and add about 3 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat.

Add chopped onion, green pepper and garlic to sauté and soften.

Add seasonings and allow to simmer.

Add ground turkey, breaking up and allow to begin to brown.

Stir in un-drained tomatoes and chili’s. Mix together.

Add un-drained white chili beans and drained kidney beans. Stir and simmer.

Finally add a little salsa and keep on low heat until turkey is completely cooked through (about 30 min).

*Tip* I had 2 fresh (uncooked) ears of corn that needed to be used up so I cut the corn off the cob and added it to the chili, something I’ve never done before, but will continue doing because it added a nice sweetness to the spice!

Enjoy, Mamas!

“Oh what I want to know, where does the time go?”

Is having children in your thirties what makes you nostalgic and wonder what the hell happened to your twenties, which seems like a lifetime ago and just yesterday all at the same time?

Why is it that a simple song can send you back 12 years so much so that you can smell the ocean, hear the waves crash, feel the rocking of the boat and taste the Coors Light in your mouth?

Even living in a completely different place doesn’t matter, all of a sudden you’re there, at the barbecue, the bar, the house party with tan lines, natural (and artificial) highlights in your hair and an underlying shred of unwarranted self-consciousness leftover from one tumultuous relationship or another.

Fun times, right?

Dave Matthews, 50 Cent, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Buffet, it didn’t matter. Thank God for mixed CD’s to keep up with our roller coaster of emotions. “Say Goodbye” transports me back to a specific kitchen and a specific cookout on the Cape. I don’t even know if it was actually playing at the time, but for some reason it fits with the mood of the memory.

There’s just something about the freedom we felt and the carelessness we had that we’ll never get back because we’re moms now!! We have human beings who rely on us to keep them alive and thriving!

We used to wonder if the new perfume we bought would catch a specific guys attention or which sunglasses made us look hot but also that we weren’t trying too hard (I always went with aviators). How many calories were in a bottle of wine versus 5 beers. How long would you have to go nowhere on an elliptical to burn off a bagel.

You know, the important things in life.

On the rare occasion that I’m in the car without either of my children or my husband, I find myself turning the volume up almost as high as it will go and mumble the (incorrect) words to Can I Kick It by Tribe Called Quest and envisioning myself driving to pick up a girlfriend and a couple bottles of Prosecco instead of going through the Starbucks drive-through on our way to the grocery store or OBGYN.

I’ve even called some old girlfriends just to check and see that they d o the same thing. Maybe it’s a different song they choose, but it’s confirmed, nonetheless.

What is it about a few years of marriage and a couple of children that makes you secretly yearn for your previous life of free falling inconsistent blissful chaos? Even if that nostalgia only lasts for the length of that song (because we don’t ACTUALLY want to go back there, that place was a MESS).

Being a mom and a wife has made me uncharacteristically (and shamefully) proud of the fact that I used to torture guys I casually dated just to see how far I could go because I was tortured too, at one point.

I took my anger and broken heart out on innocent bystanders with good intentions.

Maybe I should create my own 12 step program and start an apology tour?

All of the memories in my twenties, the good, the bad, the ugly are crammed up in my subconscious mixed with chardonnay and tequila shots and they rear their (sometimes ugly) heads on solo car rides sending me reeling back only to be rudely awakened by the bright lights of the green and white Starbucks mermaid glaring, reminding me that I’m no longer a 20-something tan, skinny blonde whose only real worry is if 20 minutes on the elliptical was long enough or if I should work a couple extra hours that week to actually fill up my gas tank.

So ok, we’re not 20-something anymore.

Our old worries are replaced with new (much larger) worries and those cut off shorts will have to remain at the bottom of the pile of clothes we’ll never wear again but refuse to throw away.

So, is it weird to miss those days sometimes? Maybe just for solo car rides.

Thank God for Dave Matthews and Tribe.

I make this look difficult

I was told by an old man in a yellow Polo not to have a 3rd child.

Are you someone who has children and doesn’t walk around looking like she just came in last place in a mud run towing a grocery cart full of unnecessities?

I make this look difficult.

I am forever in awe (and confusion) of those who can manage children, maintain knowledge of the whereabouts of their wallet, carry one bag and possession of their coupons.

This morning I left the house with my children, one with his juice and snack and the other forced to hold her own bottle on a trip to Target because, let’s face it, it’s the one stop shop all mothers rely on.

I made it a mile and a half and had to turn around to get the Similac coupons I left on the table. They’re $5 off!

When we finally arrived, my baby had fallen asleep so I needed to keep her in her baby carrier and stroller and also get a grocery cart (I refuse to say “buggie”) because I needed too many things.

When this happens, I push the stroller with the sleeping baby and trail the cart behind me.

My toddler refuses to sit in the cart, so he walks beside me. You can imagine what a hot mess we look like and the scene we create as we try to navigate the narrow labyrinth of the toddler, baby, and shoe sections.

When we’re finally done and headed to check out, I have a bag of items to return so we make our way to customer service.

I can see the cashiers whispering “Not it” to each other in the distance.

My son decides now is a good time to break away from me and take off towards the door, only laughing when I catch him and bring him back.

There’s a line forming behind me.

I put the new “backpack leash” on him that just came in the mail from Amazon.

He screams and tries to pull the “leash” off while I try to bribe and calm him down with phrases like “but it looks so cool!” “Lightening McQueen is in the backpack!” And “you look like a big boy going to school!”

People are judging.

I make this look difficult.

I have a return, a cart full of groceries, my own recyclable bags and 2 separate transactions.

I realize too late that I have again left my coupons behind (in the car) but instead of saying “just forget it” I decide to leave everything in a heap on the counter, take my baby (whose now awake and using her new found voice to make screaming noises just because she can) and my toddler, with his leash, (whose starting to cry because he thinks we’re leaving his Annie’s Bunny cookies behind) and go to the car to get the coupons.

When we get back, the line has decreased, as they needed to call for backup, and we finish the longest checkout in history. I stuff all the recycled bags full of our goodies, gigantic tower of paper towels and hand my son his cookies.

There’s a woman behind me carrying a newborn on her chest wrapped up so you can just see his little head. We have the same diaper bag backpack (from Target) and she looks at me and says very friendly:

“I like your diaper bag!”

Me: “Thanks, same here! Is he your first baby?”

Friendly: “Yes!”

Me: “This is what happens when you have two!”

Old man in the yellow Polo: “Don’t have a 3rd”

Me: (putting my head down) “I won’t”

Friendly lady with the newborn had on normal clothes, her hair in place and just enough makeup to probably cover the dark circles that come with having a new baby.

That was never me.

Even in college I carried a backpack AND a purse on my shoulder because I could never minimize or prioritize! Who knew how many different shades of pink lipgloss I might need throughout the day?

I couldn’t tell you where a tube of lipgloss is now but I still don’t go anywhere with just one bag of necessities.

I am a hot mess of snacks, diapers, missing coupons and changes of clothes.

The more children in have, the crazier this train gets.

I always picture an apocalypse happening and having to grab JUST one bag, both of my children, and running.

What if I forgot to replenish one of their sizes of diapers or there’s melted chocolate from a Chewy granola bar all over the first aid kit? What if there’s no container of portioned formula or room-temperature water bottle? That’s actually likely!

I usually walk out of Target (or any market, really) with one lingering sentence that I silently mouth to myself:

“I’m an asshole”