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Looking Up From The Routine

Warning: I guess this post may end up sounding like a humblebrag. It isn’t meant to be– more that I’m trying to word-vomit out the things I need to hear in text form. But if shit like that bothers you, ahhh… maybe don’t read this one.
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I’m going to assume that the majority of the people who read this have, at one time or another (or always) worry about financials. Our society has us constantly wanting more and more. Never settling for what we have– never taking it all in. Looking around and saying, “Well, if I only had that one item I saw online/at Target/at Sarah’s house….”

I panic easily. Part of the disorder I live with — I am easily stressed and full of the anxieties of life. I cope as best I can but I am burdened by the thoughts and what-ifs constantly.

Paying the bills each month is always stomach turning. This bill and that bill, taking more and more of the dollars in my checking account. Wondering how next month will be — checking for coupons and savings and seeing where I can pinch and save. All to keep those numbers higher and higher.

I have a thought that lives in my brain that checking accounts should be a certain number. If it drops, I panic.

The thing is, when it drops, it’s because I’ve paid all my bills. When it dips below that magic number, it’s because I’ve bought groceries and diapers and pet food. I’ve purchased tickets to take my children’s to fun places.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tonight I was doing my routine before bed– I check in on the kids, feed the cats, lock all the doors, and prep the coffee maker for 4am (the obscene hour that Kayla wakes up and goes to work). It was as I was filling the carafe that I glanced up and looked at my house. You’ll recognize this feeling if you’ve ever gone long enough in a house, but never truly looked at it.

I looked up and saw my house– the furniture, appliances, electronics, toys and games, shoes, the clutter and the decorations… This is my home. Our home… Where my family lives.

When I feel so down about finances and stress– I try and look around. I force myself to get grounded in reality. What do I actually have?

I have new cars. I have a gorgeous house full of furniture (even if it’s all Ikea!). I have a full pantry, fridge, AND deep freezer. I have a washer and dryer (IN MY HOUSE!). I have TWO bathrooms… do you know how great that is? If I have to pee and someone is in the shower… I just go use the OTHER BATHROOM (instead of peeing in the sink in the kitchen which I may, or may not, have done while pregnant once… It was a one bathroom apartment). I have bills paid, gas tanks filled, clean clothes…

But the most important? I have a fiancee, three incredible and amazing children, and four badass cats. I could live in a shelter as long as I had my babies and we were safe and happy.

I’ve been so much farther down. I’ve been food stamps, WIC, food pantries, stealing condiments from McDonald’s down. I’ve been sharing a phone with no minutes, washing my clothes in the sink with a bar of off-brand soap, feeding the cats instead of myself, begging my family for money month after month after month down. I’ve been locked in a psych ward for a week, on the edge of a parking garage ready to jump, staring into the void down.

I am NOT down anymore. If, in 2009, when I was at my lowest, weakest, most broke (both financially and mentally), you had told me eight years later I would be where I was today… I would not have even understood it as reality.

The road has been so horrendous at times… the bumps were violent and the struggle to keep myself afloat so difficult. But every so often I am confronted with all the reality I should be grateful to have.

Sometimes all it takes is looking up from the routine. 

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My Demons and Me (Part One)

On any average day at our house I have to ask the kids to clean the living room between 4-10 times (this means putting all the big and little pillows back on the couch, picking up all the toys that aren’t even supposed to be out there, fold and put away the blankets, pick up all the stray clothes, and throw away the ten thousand fucking baby wipes that they like to throw in the air like confetti). Oh, and before any of your start chiming in, yes, I do tell them not to make a damn mess, yes, I do punish for messes, and yes, I do make them clean their own messes. Also, yes, I am paying attention to them, but sometimes a lady has to pee and these three are amazing at making a mess in minimal time.

Around the third or fifth time of having to say, “NO! Pick up all the pillows!” and subsequently watching them not hear me and/or walk like they suddenly don’t know how legs work (You know, when I say the word “chocolate” in a bedroom with the door closed, they can suddenly hear me AND run to me faster than The Flash… interesting) I start losing my gusto. I don’t have a hell of a lot of fight left in me come 3pm— and I know that I have at least four more hours, bare minimum, that I have to fake it until bedtime.

This is where my Demons seem the most violent, in particular, my Mommy-Demons. Haven’t heard of Mommy-Demons? I bet you have, you just call it something different. Let me jog your memory a bit.

My Mommy-Demons show up during a few different scenarios, but two that are the most obvious to me.

The “Mommy Breakdown” Demon—A little past Midday when my voice is tired, my body is tired, my coffee is wearing off, and I am nowhere near close to bedtime. The demon is wearing lounge clothes holding a glass a wine, smugly staring at me. Mocking me with all the free time and silence they are enjoying. Sipping their overfilled Pinot and clicking through YouTube with slippers on. Showing me what I could have and then watching me cry silently because I am nowhere near capable of having it right now.

-And-

The Mom Guilt Demon—This Demon, for me, is dressed like the Mom I never can figure out how to become. It has perfect hair, perfect make-up, a freshly exercised body, holding a protein shake while wearing clothes that are clean, with no crumbs or child-spills, and are also, somehow, pressed and steamed. They are rested and alert. They show up when I look around and realize how much I feel I failed that day. When my kids are still in their pajamas at lunchtime. When we stay inside all day and watch movies on the couch. When the laundry goes unwashed for a bit too long. This Demon is there to say, “I’ve got it all figured out and then some, why can’t you even accomplish the basics?” She tsks and tatts at me when I forget to thaw the hamburger meat for dinner. She sighs heavily at me when I break and yell at my kids. She shakes her head in disappointment at my Day Two yoga pants and sports bra.

My Mommy-Demon is friends with a few of my other Demons (See Also: Grief-Demon, Academic-Demon, Relationship-Demon, and Writing-Demon… I particularly hate my Writing-Demon! I’ll likely write about these another time… if Writing-Demon lets me). I’m curious as to whether others have these Demons that seems to feed off the torment of their victims because, in this age of Social Media perfection, it would seem that I am all alone in this game of Cat & Mouse. We post only our best for the world to see, which, initially, seems like a great idea. We don’t want the world to see our dirty floors, unfolded (but clean!) laundry, stray paper on the ground, unbrushed teeth (and hair!), or any of the other socially unacceptable things we have in our homes or on our bodies (fun fact: I haven’t shaved my legs IN WEEKS because I literally DO NOT CARE if you see my Wee Little Leg Hairs).

The problem with what we have all done (and yes, I am certainly guilty of this in the past) is we have created a lair for these Demons to nest, breed, and take over. No one knows what real life looks like anymore— we think everything and everyone leads these perfect, manicured lives and we live this horrendous, dirty, mismatched-socks kind of life. If everyone on my Facebook lives exactly as they post they do, then I am for certain total Gutter Trash.

I’ll leave this post with a question: Do you have Demons? What are their names, what do they look like, and how do they bother you?

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Generic VS Name Brand (This isn’t bullshit, I swear)

So, I have no life. Because I have no life, I spend a lot of time thinking about things that aren’t that important.

BUT YOU GET TO BENEFIT FROM THOSE THOUGHTS!

(Aren’t you lucky?)

 

Today’s Installment: Generic VS Name Brand 

 

I am a frugal person by nature– I like really nice things, but I have a really hard time justifying paying full-price for any of them. I just got back into couponing because I can’t be bothered to pay full-price for butter and bread. I’m like that.

 

I also always buy generic or mega-cheap name brand products because they’re all the same, right?

 

WRONG. NO. YOU FAIL.

 

There are just some products I don’t screw around with– annnnd here they are:

 

Bounty Paper Towels: I have NEVER found a better paper towel (and yes, I’ve tried Kirkland. I am addicted to Costco). They are also the #1 Paper Towel used in tattoo studios because they produce the least amount of dust.

 

Dawn Dishsoap (Original Blue): This stuff, you guys– this stuff is AMAZING. I use it for dishes, counters, grease on chef jackets… just, listen, they literally use it to clean off dying oil-covered wildlife. I’m going to stick with the No-longer-covered-in-oil-slick-ducks on this one.

 

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: A few months back I went insane and bought a 100-pack of Melamine Foam on Amazon for $10. That’s what the internet said Mr. Clean Erasers were made from, so it’ll work the exact same. WRONG. LIES. FAIL. They disintegrated within seconds of putting any pressure whatsoever. Don’t fuck with these– just trust the bald guy. Anyone who can rock a solid gold hoop earring on only one earlobe is my kind of man.

 

-Glad Trashbags: Once I was with someone who told me that I could compare the thickness of trashbags in the store (did you know they put the thickness right on the boxes?) and that generics are “just as thick so they work the same” THIS IS BULLSHIT AND THEY WERE WRONG. Glad trashbags OWN– and, in particular, the stretchy ones. Don’t screw with this. You do not want to be halfway to the trashcan outside and have your bag rip open and spill dirty diapers and shit-filled cat litter all over your floor and shoe-less feet (I may, or may not, speak from experience).

 

Ziplock Sandwich Baggies (or any baggy): I don’t even need to explain this. Generic sandwich baggies are bullshit– they are thin and the zippers are SHIT. Just don’t bother.

 

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There you go. My useless thought today. I hope it helps you the next time you shop. Hey, by the way, there’s a coupon for Dawn in the circular today!