New January, Same Malaise

January 21st, 2018

The fam

I have a personal commitment to post on my blog once a week. This is for no reason other than to give myself a creative outlet amidst all the pieces I write about technology and real estate and the wellness enterprise for my job-job. But I missed this past week.

In my defense, that’s because my life went completely off the rails, as it does every January, with one family illness after another — culminating with my acquisition of a head cold that now, 11 days later, will not quit, and during which I got the stomach flu. Prior to this experience, I did not know it was scientifically possible to get the stomach flu in the middle of a head cold.

In fact, about 2 weeks ago, despite the fact that people were succumbing all around me, I distinctly remember telling one of my girlfriends, “Oh I couldn’t possibly get sick right now. I take such poor care of myself that my body isn’t even hospitable to germs.” We laughed, virtually, and then, like fools do, I knocked on the nearest wood — which was probably the plastic dashboard of my car. That was my fatal mistake, I suppose.

It was at this exact same time last year that I was also awfully sick. I remember because I turned on the social media, and realized I was missing my chance to wear a bespoke pussy hat. Women in my life were standing up for All That’s Right and Good coast to coast, and here I was, in bed, feeling sorry for myself.

This year, same thing.

Having toddlers lends itself to a particular type of myopia. It’s that magnificent Venn intersection between utter self-involvement and zero self-care.

Were it not for the malaise I would certainly at least have known that I was missing the Women’s March. But I probably would not have gone, all the same, because of the toddlers.

I see photos of other people’s children — some younger than mine — at things like marches and rallies and rock concerts and festivals. Jon and I can’t even deal with bringing our kids to the grocery store. We actually tried to do that yesterday. I was feeling slightly better and hadn’t been outside in days. We needed groceries and I thought it would be a fun family outing. But it turned into #anothersupposedlyfunthingI’llneverdoagain.

My plan was to get the girls lunch and nut-milk smoothies, which take forever to drink, to buy myself some shopping time. The lunch went okay (you know, besides the water hurled on the floor and the inquiry after a mop) but no sooner had I steered the shopping cart away from the café then the sounds of my daughters screeching and tearing through the store filled my ears. I had one bar of soap in the cart, at this point. 

The next thing I knew, Eliza was crawling up the side of my cart like a white walker scaling the wall, Phoebe was yelling at me from the ground, and an exasperated Jon was insisting “We have to leave right now.”

Prior to the coop fiasco, I also thought it would be “fun” to drag them into the art museum in downtown Brattleboro to see a live birds of prey demo. This guy rehabilitates wild birds of prey and then gives demos throughout the year to raise awareness of the importance of protecting natural habitat. I caught a glimpse of his shtick at a country fair this summer and was excited to see his owls and hawks again. Jon loves birds, and the girls love animals. Cool, right?

Wrong again, mom.

After I got the girls chanting “Birds of prey! Birds of prey!” in the car, I thought everyone was excited as me, but as soon as we got there, they had zero interest in the demo and the neat rows of white folding chairs and instead wanted to run around the acoustically challenged art museum talking enthusiastically in their very loudest voices. Are museums purposely architected to amplify noise or is it me? Also why, when you ask a toddler in a super soft voice to “please whisper” do they immediately yell “WHY!?!?!” several times, like it’s a reflex??? 

As the girls rained chaos, the museum docent (who doesn’t remember that I once took her yoga class) went over my head to shush my kids several times, even when I took them to a room in the gallery three rooms away from the nice birds of prey. Still loud.

My goal, in lieu of women’s marches: to raise daughters who are fearless little warriors — but, you know, hopefully with some manners?



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