Am I just not a good parent?

I don’t know if it’s the holidays and my uber-high expectations of what they should be for a family, or if it is the impending financial doom my overworked and under nourished brain keep telling me I am headed for each time I swipe my debit card for yet ONE MORE gift.  Or maybe I am just not a nice person to start with and so when this viral negativity scene begins invading my body on a cellular level – how am I supposed to be able to handle two kids under the age of ten who have absolutely no interest in actually choosing gifts for others that I cannot possibly know what the perfect present may be in a cluster-f^@ked crowded store the Sunday before Christmas?

Clearly, I am not thinking clearly.

Does anyone with two kids, a tight family budget, 40-hour a week job that swing shifts on occasion with her spouse’s and little or no outlet for cranial pressure?

I do not want to be a whiner – one of those people who is not grateful for all the freaking blessings they have but there is little doubt that is exactly what I sound like!

I am re-meeting a great number of friends from my wild and theatrical times as well as those dating back to pre-high school and I have begun the ancient human tradition of comparing my life to what I perceive to be theirs.  Some are living fantastically bohemian lives in the greatest city on earth.  Others are taking fabulous trips to far away lands communing with the most awesome of nature’s creatures.  Mostly I am not really seeing anyone else in the death grips of parenting peril that I seem to have cornered myself into.  Even my own spouse and best friend are embarking on new musical journeys that are extremely promising given their individual and combined talents.

And here I sit – a’wallowing in a made-up mire of mayhem and monstrous envy writing a blog after getting so angry at my children’s apparent lack of adulthood that I threatened to return every gift I had purchased for them and email Santa to do the same.  Not exactly Donna Reed or Claire Huxtable, huh?  Probably closer to Joan Crawford or Norman’s mom…

And there are still three shopping days left…(play sound clip now … )

Money, gifts and OCD

I tried to research the origins of money within the human race.  Not because I am that lame to google something so random on a Friday night as opposed to doing something more exciting like, oh, I don’t know, um, um – seriously, I don’t know – but because every year at this time my tenuous relationship with money gets pushed to the limit and beyond.  It then drags me down into a deep crevasse full of a murky blend of soiled cotton and linen that adheres to my skin and eats away at my flesh until I become nothing more than a grovelling, whining mass of cells only capable of weeping and scratching out angst-ridden haikus with a broken pencil.

I tried to research it so that I can make some sense of why money has become so bleeping important to nearly every human on our planet – including me.  I say “nearly” because I have a the desirous hope that out there, somewhere exists humans for whom money is of no consequence and not just because they have tons of it.

At what point did we, as a people, decide what was valuable and what wasn’t?  And when did that value begin to supersede all others to where literally no one can live without at least some of it?  There must have been a point in our evolution when we simply lived and shared our abundance together, right?  If I had slain a great mammoth, surely I would have offered its sustenance to my whole clan without requesting something in return, right?  I wouldn’t have tried to apportion out the heat from a communal fire to only those with shiny objects as a trade, would I?

I am not trying to express my hidden desire to be a bleeding heart socialist or hypocritically deny my materialistic leanings when it comes to handbags, laptops, and all things glittery.  I am attempting to rid myself of the shame-filled connection I seem to have between money, lack of money and my o-c-diferous paralysis around gifting to those I love with whatever amount of money I do have.

It takes me hours, days or even weeks to search and discover just the perfect gift that is both economical and exemplifies the right amount of intuitive sentiment that declares that not only do I know you well enough to get you exactly what your heart desires, but also that I love you to the moon and back.  Imagine how difficult my life becomes when I haven’t even begun to shop for the most important gift giving holiday of the year until two weeks prior to the event!  Couple that with the very real constraints on our family budget due to the previous summer’s fence purchase and impending a/c unit replacement before warm weather returns to North Texas and we have all the components necessary to ignite a fireball within my belly hot enough to melt tiles off of the space shuttle.  Let’s not forget my horrific ability to horde anything from baby food jars to empty toilet paper rolls thereby making the thought of purchasing cheap ass toys that will only break or become too boring for play within weeks and end up having to be given away or worse yet, thrown out, much-too-much for me to bear.

So, I bemoan the human race for evolving the concept of money into our DNA, curl up in a fetal position under mounds of blankets and put off Christmas shopping for one more day.

ABOMO – Take Two

Forgive me, Universe.  It’s been many months since my last post.  I lost track.  I got scared.  Who was reading you?  Would they say something to me?  What am I writing about?  Why am I writing?  I know, a cardinal sin for a writer to commit – questioning the purpose of words on a page.

So, I began an affair.  I have been putting parts of myself out onto Facebook where I know there are people who love me.  It’s easier in a comfort zone to be consistent about updates and sound-bites for status. There is a limit to characters on what anyone is doing or feeling or saying.  A false freedom amidst conveniently confined posts.

All the while, backlogs of emotions, tirades, deeper meanings, hidden truths, soap-box rants, totally biased opinions and eviseratingly verbose releases have taken their toll on the previous deconstruction of my impenetrable great wall.  The wall has subtly begun a phoenix-like rise among the disconnected pieces of my life.

This is not to say that my life is going badly or that it sucks.  Quite the contrary – there are more wonderful things today than there ever have been:

  • A loving family with two beautiful, healthy and intelligent children who continue to amaze me everyday.
  • A marriage and relationship that continues to withstand the tests of time, monotony, and the daily grind.
  • A new puppy!
  • Enduring, evolving, reconnecting with old and finding new friendships.
  • A career shift and definable boost in opportunity and growth.
  • The most historical Presidential campaign and election many generations have ever seen!  (Yeah!!)

Exciting stuff, right?!  It is and I am truly more grateful than I have ever been.

Do you hear it?

“And yet…”

Can you decipher the buried grumbling?

“But still…”

It’s not much, but it’s there – aching body parts, restless sleep, disproportionate reactions to relatively insignificant incidents, and selective bouts of the dreaded lack-n-worry combination.

“Will there be enough money for Christmas AND the new air conditioner we need for the house?”

“Why is my body doing that, now, after all I’ve done to try and repair it?”

“When will there ever be time to accomplish everything I am supposedly, supposed to to accomplish in one waking day?  Nurturing and caring for the kids, being present with my husband, focusing on work, cleaning the house, walking the dog, spiritual ritual, give/receive love, dance class, swim practice, washing my car, Christmas shopping, balancing the checkbook, homework upkeep, keeping in touch with my friends and family, volunteering, grocery shopping, cooking, eating, participating in the democratic process, sleeping, exercising my body, resuming my theater career, being brutally honest with the universe, updating Facebook, developing the perfect haiku, and writing my ever existent, constantly neglected blog.”

Are there really, truly, honestly humans out there that actually DO all of these things and check off the day as a success without yelling, crying, screaming and/or whining?  Seriously?!  Where the hell are they?  Can they show me a fool-proof way to get it done that doesn’t involve adding one more $^&@ing thing to the schedule?  NO reading books or attending group therapy?!  Forget the cliches, Nike slogans and fear-mongering!  I won’t take drugs, toast away the blues, or hire a nanny/housekeeper/counselor/accountant/gigolo/spiritual adviser/handy man.


Dear Santa – How are you?  I hope you have had a great year with the Mrs. and all your elfin companions.  This is Kathleen.  I am 41 years old this year and, by all accounts, have been very good.  I have been honest and worked hard all year for myself and my family.  I even got a promotion at work!  Sometimes, I forget how great my life is and my feelings get hurt.  And then, sometimes, when my feelings are hurt, I am not very nice to those that I love and cherish.  I wish I didn’t do that.  I wish I was happy all of the time and everyone knew it.  So, this year, all I really want for Christmas is to TRULY BELIEVE I am whole, safe and loved. That is all – Wholeness, Safety and Love.  Thanks, Santa – if anyone can get this for me, I know you can.  ;o)  Love, Kathleen

P.S.  If you happen to have a really cool black leather designer handbag that perfectly fits my style and personality, I’ll take that, too…