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Take On Too Much Disorder: Time to Relax

Take On Too Much Disorder: Time to Relax

One of my favorite pastimes is perusing WebMD for a new illness or disorder I didn’t know I had. Other than comparing each and every mole on my body to their cancerous photo gallery, my next favorite use of WebMD is trying to decipher what is wrong with my brain.

This week, I have concluded that while I show a lot of Bipolar or Generalized Anxiety Disorder tendencies, I truly am in a land of my own. I have Take On Too Much Disorder or TOTMD.

What are the symptoms of such a specific disease, you ask? Let me tell you.

  1. Never say no. Want to come to my Tupperware party? Of course! Join the PTA? Yep! Get another dog? I suppose I could handle that. Have more kids? Okay, I said “disorder” not “full-fledged insanity.”
  2. Do more than expected. I have this sick desire to constantly go above and beyond. School requires 10 hours of volunteering, you bet your ass I want to do 20. Plan to write three times a week. Better make that six and never sleep again. Want to start exercising? Better be ready for a marathon by spring or does it even count?
  3. Start endless “ideas.” This week, I learned about “Snackleboxes” which are tackleboxes to put healthy snacks in for the day that your kids can help themselves to. Well, I bought mine Bento boxes, filled one and it still has snacks in it from Wednesday. Our fridge has our family calendar on it from October, the one and only month I did a family calendar. Or the toybox I bought a year ago for my new minimalist lifestyle that is still in the box. Or the book club I joined because I was determined to read classic novels and I am one page into Jane Eyre and not sure I can go back…
  4. Spiral. I have been told I do too much every single month of my life. I constantly brush it off like I don’t know inevitably it all ends in my unshowered, eating Pillsbury dough dipped in Nutella and crying. There’s always a spiral.
  5.  Make rash decisions. For instance, I started getting nervous this week that I was bored in my weight loss routine and starting to gain weight. So, I decided to double down and bet $100 on DietBet that I could lose 4% of my body weight in four weeks. Obviously, completely necessary.

Let’s just say, the last couple of weeks have been a TOTMD spiral around here. Some of my spinning wheels cogged the machine and it all fell to shit. Mix that with a super bug that took out all four kids and I am barely alive.
So, I am going to continue to write because it soothes my crazies, but maybe, just maybe, I can ease the throttle around here for a hot second.

What crazy things do you do as a parent? Let me know in the comments!

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7 Ways My Four Kids Made Me a Hermit

7 Ways My Four Kids Made Me a Hermit

I have always been an extrovert. Before four kids, I would rarely spend a night home at my apartment. I was constantly out with friends or at Barnes and Noble surrounded by people. Sitting on the couch alone made me itchy.

When I had one kid, it made it a bit more difficult to go out of the house and do things but it was barely a speed bump in my social game. I still zipped around with my son in tow to restaurants and activities without skipping a beat.

Two kids in, a little bit more work but still could go to the store or visit family with a little preparation and well-timed naps.

Then I had twins.

Game changer.

My son was home for Christmas break last month. When I brought him back to school, I realized that was his first time leaving the house that entire week. What? That couldn’t be possible. I racked my brain through the holiday parties, grocery store runs and daily activities. Nope. He never left.

I have worked the past few weeks to at least take my two oldest out alone more often, but here’s the problem with pushing through that hermit-like state:

  1. Amazon Prime – I am convinced Amazon Prime has created an entire generation of hermits like myself. If you can live off non-perishable food items, there’s no reason to leave your home. As long as I have two days of supplies, there’s nothing I can’t get right to my front door. Just opening the door to snatch it off my porch is enough work.
  2. Midwestern weather – We are in the throws of winter, here in the Midwest. It’s below zero on a daily basis. The process of packing kids in snow gear, warming up the minivan, icing the drive, not falling and cracking someone’s skull open and driving with white knuckles through the streets requires some serious motivation.
  3. No two-seat grocery carts – My twins are on the cusp of being able to sit up on their own and sit in a grocery cart seat. HOWEVER, how does one do that with two babies? Am I supposed to flop one baby on top of my pork chops and hope a can of beans doesn’t pelt her in the head? If the store doesn’t have a two-seater grocery cart, I can’t go. I mean, I could go and have a four-year old and three-year old walk, push a double stroller and drag a cart behind but I’ve already had enough nervous breakdowns this week. We can just Prime some mac and cheese.
  4. Nap times – My day is a constant carousel of nap times. I am forever putting one down, getting one up and prepping the next one for bedtime. IF I do leave the house, it can be for maybe an hour if the babies can’t sleep in their car seats.
  5. Disease – Sending my son to preschool is like sending him to lick the handrails in Grand Central Station. There are sickness grenades being brought into our house on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. If I can make it through the week without being barfed on, I am praising all the things. Why would I up my chances of puke buckets by heading into the grocery store, or worse the public library?
  6. Ample prep time – Mixing four kids with my anxiety means I need at least a week to mentally prepare for an outing. I can’t be pounced on. Asking to go to swimming classes tomorrow will send me in a tailspin of planning that will end in me feigning illness and eating a cheesecake. It’s just not possible.
  7. Family time – Truly, I really love our little family unit. I love these memories we are all making in our little cocoon of six. We may all get sick of the sight of each other and need time in our beds with Netflix from time to time, but my kids are learning their undying love for each other. It’s us against the world and for a little more precious time the pain in the ass of leaving the house is growing our bond in immeasurable amounts.

Do you have a large family? How do you wrangle them all? Tell me about it in the comments!

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4 Ways Losing 100 Pounds Made Me a Better Mom

4 Ways Losing 100 Pounds Made Me a Better Mom

Over the last year, I have nearly completed my goal of losing 100 pounds. I am a work-at-home mother of four who’s been overweight my whole life. But, after the birth of my twins, shit got real. I wasn’t just a fat girl who loved life, pizza and booze a little too much. I was a mom who had four kids, a husband, two cats and a dog relying on her. This weight thing needed to be addressed.

First of all, let me just start off by saying, I am in no way the best mom. Sure, I can multitask like a damn superhero and my kids are still alive, but most of the time I am mediocre at best.

Secondly, I am in no way some transformed Extreme Makeover or a new person in the least. Losing 100 pounds can change in the drop of a hat. I am terrified every day that a Reese’s is going to send me over the edge and I will spiral down the chubby rabbit hole, yet again.

But, how have I changed? Yes, physically there is quite the difference, but what about my life? What is different?

Motherhood. That is the biggest improvement and I am eternally grateful. Here’s what I can do now that I am done losing 100 pounds:

  1. Keep up. This is the most obvious reason. Before, I couldn’t even climb into a bouncy castle without nearly shitting myself. Now, I can teach my squirrelly foursome yoga, wrestle on the floor, climb the stairs 1,257 times a day for: waters, blankets, monsters, etc.
  2. Keep calm. Mentally, losing weight has done wonders for my anxiety. Yes, I am still medicated. But, I feel like the cellulite has been removed from my brain. I don’t have as many chest clenching moments that end in screaming matches with a stubborn two year old. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a raving lunatic, just not quite as raving.
  3. Keep happy. So, you know how losing weight makes you feel sexy, agile and less apt to cringe when your husband gets that look in his eye? Yes, my kids benefit from mommy getting laid. Nothing says “happy, jolly, carefree motherhood” like a mom who just got a piece. Sorry, kids, I hope you’re not learning to read with this blog.
  4. Keep alive. Sure, I could get executed by sanctimommies tomorrow, but losing 100 pounds has increased the odds of me seeing another day. I have four little beings who need me to be here for: weddings, graduations, first kisses, mother/son dances, grandbabies and many, many more unexpected memories. I can’t leave my kids without a mom in high school. That kind of pain doesn’t leave your heart.

losing 100 pounds better mom mrsmommymack

Getting Jiggly with It: Let’s Talk About My FUPA

Getting Jiggly with It: Let’s Talk About My FUPA

I know what you’re thinking, FINALLY she is hitting the hard issues like the Fair Use Protection Act. But, no, this is definitely not the FUPA my title is referring to. 

 

I can remember being 12 years old getting ready for my Christmas concert. My mom took our Christmas concert attire extremely seriously. As if Bill and Hilary themselves were going to be gracing Crivitz Elementary School. So, as I stood perched on a stool in my underwear as she creatively doused me in Aqua Net and lace. As she sprayed and teased, she made a comment that puzzled me.

 

“Oh, you have a little belly pooch just like me,” she said without a passing glance.

 

Huh? What’s that mean? I thought as I stored that memory away like a worry stone to refer back to for the next 18 years. Didn’t everyone have that little banana bread loaf below their belly buttons? What am I missing? I racked my brain as I stared at my doughy midsection.

 

Shockingly, I lived before I was lambasted with information from the good old internet on a daily basis. I had not known that my stomach was much to write home about. But, I considered my mother one of the most beautiful women in the world, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad.

 

Little did I know.

 

As years went on, my Fat Upper Pubic Area (aka FUPA) began to gain ground. Bikinis were a no go. Underwear needed to reach belly button level in an attempt to stifle the jiggling. Shirts needed to be long enough to cover it. It was a part of me that needed to be considered for nearly every item of clothing.

 

Now, as I mentioned before, I am currently on a weight loss journey. Sadly, I would kill for that doughy little belly I had in middle school now that I stare at my ravaged body. Three pregnancies, one of which was with two babies, depleted all the elasticity my poor body had left to give. I had a discussion yesterday with two of my friends currently at war with their FUPAs. We all damned them to hell. One cheering that I am finally shrinking my FUPA enough able to see my lady bits and others just trying to find shirts long enough to pretend they don’t exist.

 

My FUPA as a whole just really depresses me. It makes me sad that after working as hard as I have been to lose 90 pounds (with more to go) I still feel like I’m not good enough. That feeling looking in the mirror that your body is still an eyesore but just in a new way is a hard pill to swallow.

 

I’m so very grateful for the internet and being able to stand in solidarity with other women like myself. We can laugh about looking like melting women. I can see other women who are proud of how far they’ve come and it makes me feel empowered. It’s nothing new that being a woman in this world is not easy. Now, I’m not about to burst into tears over this giant First World Problem, but I am going to say thank you to the other women who don’t give a fuck when talking about their bodies. Sometimes shit jiggles. Sometimes jeans aren’t an option. Sometimes I eat my weight in nachos and then stare at my jiggly bits and get sad.

 

And that’s okay.

 

It’s okay because, while I might not spring back like I used to, I can feel the depression and anxiety I battle loosening it’s death grip around my psyche. I can feel that I might just be on this earth with my four kids a little bit longer. Sure, they might jiggle my “chicken wings” and laugh, but hell, at least I am here for them to laugh with. And I can see myself do things I never thought possible. I can run. I can complete an entire yoga class without sobbing. I can wear knee-high boots and I can stop hiding.

 

It’s all going to be okay.

 


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Life as a Catholic Preschool Mom

Life as a Catholic Preschool Mom

Life didn’t prepare me for Catholic preschool.

 

My parents weren’t the religious type. My mom was a firm believer in raising my brother and me to make our own decisions when it came to God and church. I dipped my toe in the (holy) water several times throughout my life. I can remember being 12 years old and begging my mom to sign me up for sleep-away bible camp. While I was more interested in lake life with my two best friends, I was also vaguely interested in learning more about God and what he meant to others. That first night of camp we answered questions on a scrap of paper for our counselor. Lots of basic questions like favorite foods, songs, etc. but she also asked us if we were Christian. I quickly scribbled my answers, turned it in and discussed the questionnaire with my fair-haired friend, Jenna.

 

“What did you put for the ‘Christian’ question?” I asked quickly, “I mean, obviously I put ‘no’ because I am obviously Presbyterian since I go with you to church when I sleep over.”

 

It hit me fast that, no, Christian and Catholic were not the same thing. I learned it faster when all the counselors shook me awake at midnight, traipsed me into the cold summer night, formed a circle around me and begged Jesus to “save” me until I cried. This ruined religion for me for a very long time.

 

In the years that followed, I did my stint as an atheist. a Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, agnostic, etc. I did enough time with my grandmother in the Catholic Church to be able to mumble my way through the Lord’s Prayer. I swore during my hairy-legged college days I would never raise my children in a religious household. But, eventually, I came around. Granted, I am never going to be one to post my 4 am cup of coffee next to a worn-out Bible on Instagram, but I’m trying. I try to explore my relationship with God and learn about the ways he has touched others’ lives.

 

So, here I am, 30 years old with my son starting his first year of Catholic preschool. While I don’t have my mother’s whimsical fancy when it comes to parenting and religion, I also have a really hard time fitting the Catholic mold. Just last week I left school red-faced after realizing that, no, talking about nipples on my Facebook feed is NOT an appropriate conversation at Catholic preschool drop-off. I didn’t learn this until I could hear the figurative clutching of pearls from the other moms around me. I also realized that my kids are also cluelessly pattering through this new Catholic preschool regime when my 4 year old told me his first field trip to Catholic church was weird because they made him splash dirty water in his face when he walked in.

 

Sigh.

 

Talking to others about religion makes me itch. But wondering what my innocent little boy is blithering on about is enough for a full-blown medical induced coma. I just broke my three year old from screaming “shit!” into the intercom at McDonald’s. I’m not up for this scrutinizing. I can barely step in wet grass in June without flashing back to my Jesus Camp experience. How does one do it?

 

Perhaps it’s all in your tribe. Maybe I’m not meant to be with the squeaky #blessed moms. But, just maybe, that one mom that belly laughed at my nipple comment might be who I need. At this point in my life I am not trying to make anyone like me. My religious quest is to be here for my kids as terribly as I know how and to have a relationship with God. I know there’s other moms out there like me. We might not be the perfect Christians, but, damnit, we’re trying.

Double the Wowza: Two Toddlers AND Twins on the Way

Double the Wowza: Two Toddlers AND Twins on the Way

Blog Twins

Where have I been? Wow, that’s a loaded question. I have still been here. But, more or less in a stress-induced zombie state due to the fact that I am pregnant, again. For those of you who don’t recall, I have a three year old son and two year old daughter. But, before you give me the obligatory, “You’re going to be so busy!” Let me just hit you with this bitch slap… I am pregnant with twins.

Merciful mother of God.

Twins.

Two babies.

One and two.

I blame this all on my mother. Firstly, for giving me the genetic makeup to create two fetuses the good ol’ fashioned way (because I know you’re DYING to know if we tried to have twins — because I have sadly been asked that more than once).  Also, I am almost sure she did some type of Native American sorcery with locks of my hair and an old pigeon. She wanted twins so bad she wasn’t taking any prisoners. As I left with my husband to our first ultrasound, the last words out of her witch doctor lips were, “Two heartbeats!”

She did this to me.

Now, I had a feeling I was packing some heat before I ever went to the doctor. I told my husband it felt like twins and he laughed at me like I told him I think the world is going to end — he didn’t believe it, but would put a bomb shelter together, just in case.

When we got the ultrasound, the tech quickly asked, “Are you ready for a surprise?” She then switched to her data entry screen and switched “fetuses” from one to two. Nothing registered in my head until I saw that drop down click for two babies.

I yelled, “What did you just say?!”

“You’re having twins.”

“Holy hell. I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!” I screamed while slapping my husband in the most glorious “I told you so” of my life.

He laughed. Then he winced. Then he held my hand like we were about to be flung overboard on the Titanic.

We sat there, gripping hands and watching these two beautiful blurbs glob around in my stomach for what seemed like forever. I cried. I laughed. I immediately started rattling off all the things we needed to buy in a manic overshare in front of the technician.

“We need a van! More beds! I need to potty train Sissy! I better be able to breastfeed! Imagine two babies on formula! So many diapers! When will I sleep? We are never having sex again!”

And here we sit. Weeks later and I am still reeling from the reality of having FOUR children under five. Might even be four kids under four depending on how fast these kids want to exit. I can’t even imagine what the next year has in store for my sweet, naive family. But, I can say, this is going to be one helluva ride.

-Mrs. Mommy Mack

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