When I started publicly blogging last year, I was pretty naive. I had no idea that some people made money off this stuff. Advertising. Sponsorships. Book deals.
Clearly, I had never heard of the Pioneer Woman.
I’ve never written here with the ultimate intent of making money. First and foremost, I do this for me and for my kids. However, I have to admit, the idea of monetizing something I spend a fair amount of time doing does have its allure.
My only problem? Of the various unsolicited pitches I’ve gotten from different companies, none have appealed to me. They just don’t seem to represent me, or what I feel comfortable promoting.
So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve determined that maybe the best tactic is to approach brands that I want to work with, and sell my value to them. With that, I’ve written a few pitch letters to various companies.
I’m thinking this kind of partnership would really be a win-win for both sides.
I just hope they realize what a good deal it would be for them.
But don’t take my word for it. This Vlog is proof that I should never be behind a camera. Ever.
If you watched that whole thing, thank you. I know. I owe you 125 seconds of your life that you will never get back. However, if you want the real story about how my kids’ monikers came into existence, you can read my very first (public) blog post.
And from now on, I will let other people rock the Vlogs. Because that is clearly not my forte.
6 years ago. I hold my friend’s newborn baby, and marvel at how tiny and perfect it is. I listen to her talk about how wonderful motherhood is; how much joy it gives her. We’re not pregnant yet. I feel left out.
8 months pregnant. The family is bubbling about an upcoming trip to Mexico. They invited us to go, but the kicking, writhing little alien in my belly advised me it was better to pass this time. And so we stay home, and I feel a pang of jealousy when they return and we see their bronzed glows and hear about their adventures. I feel left out.
6 weeks old. She’s here. And she will not stop crying. All day, every day. No one told me what colic was, or that it would suck this bad. Meanwhile, my husband “gets” to go to work every day. But I want to go to the office! I want to interact with adults! I want a daily respite from the blood curdling screams! I feel left out.
9 months old. We’re at Christmas with his family. I barely get to see anyone because I’m holed up in the spare bedroom breastfeeding and trying to get her to nap. I scarf down a few bites of dinner in between her meals. I miss getting to see people open the presents we bought them. I feel left out.
Toddlerhood. We’re at a wedding. It’s an hour past her bedtime, but we’ve amped her up with punch and goldfish, trying to delay the inevitable. As she rubs her eyes and begins to whine, we see that the meltdown is imminent. We sneak out of the reception before the cake is even cut. I feel left out.
She’s three now. A colleague drops into town. At the last minute, he organizes an impromptu happy hour. I am dying to go sip martinis, and enjoy some real adult conversation like in the good old days. But I can’t, because I have to leave work to pick her up from preschool. I feel left out.
And just like that, she’s almost five. We enter her classroom, and she immediately runs over to play with a friend. She giggles at something her teacher says. I beckon her back for a hug and kiss. She looks embarrassed. “Mom, the other kids are looking,” she says, with an air of annoyance. She’s a big kid now, and doesn’t want them to think she needs to be babied. She begrudgingly lets me hug her, and gives me an obligatory peck on the cheek. Then she scampers off to play.
As I exit the school, I feel left out.
Outside, I stand at the window for a minute to spy in on her. I watch her laugh, and I am both proud and sad at how independent she’s becoming.
And I realize that it’s beginning. That those moments of feeling like I’m knee deep in the trenches will ever-so-slowly be replaced by moments of feeling like I’m on the outside, looking in. She will need me less and less with each passing year.
It’s already beginning. Even though I don’t want it to.
At that moment, I feel a slight twinge for those years when she needed me, and only me. When I was the center of her universe. When I was immersed in all things baby, and the rest of the world went on around us.
When it was just us. And everyone else was left out.
My husband knows that there is another man in my life. Someone I love, and who fulfills me in a way that he cannot.
His name is Joe. Trader Joe.
I might just leave my husband for him. In fact, I do leave my husband for him. Every Sunday, I traipse over to Trader Joe’s. I romp around in the produce section. I get lost in the depths of his wine aisles.
But the thing about Joe that makes me just go weak at the knees? His very well-endowed frozen food section.
I’m a big fan of frozen foods. After a long day at work, it’s so easy to just take something out of the freezer, pop it in the oven, and enjoy a hot, delicious meal in about 20 minutes flat.
The only problem? I sometimes go a little overboard. I’ll come home after a trip to Joe’s place, and will be laden with bags upon bags of that yummy frozen goodness. Last month was one of those times.
“Clearly, your mother’s stocking up for a bomb shelter, kids,” my husband announced as he helped me unload the car.
I gave him a dirty look as I lovingly loaded up the freezer with the cute little Mexican quiches. The Mandarin Chicken with tangy shoyu sauce. And finally, the creme-de-la-creme: the Mini Mint ice cream sandwiches.
But when I went to close the door, I got a surprise. It wouldn’t fit. I had to sadly admit that Joe, in all of his glorious frozen splendor, was just too much man for my puny little freezer.
But still I tried. I rearranged, shoved, and packed things in, shut the door, and walked away.
Little did I know that Joe couldn’t be contained. Somehow, in the middle of the night, he burst forth from the confines of the freezer, and the door became ajar. By the next morning, everything had melted.
All I was left with was a wet spot. A very wet spot. All over my kitchen floor.
The worst part about it wasn’t the money. It wasn’t the 150 bones I had dropped the day before… although that did sting. Trader Joe’s lovin’ ain’t cheap, you know.
The worst part about the whole incident was parting ways with all of the uneaten culinary delights that morphed into a warm, dripping mess inside my Frigidaire.
And as I emptied the freezer, I said a tearful goodbye to the treasures from Joe that would never be consumed.
Farewell, Mandarin Chicken. Adios, cute little quiches. So long, Mini Mint ice cream sandwiches. I think I’ll miss you most of all.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Somewhat. Even though the frozen food section at Joe’s still makes my heart go all a-flutter, I do try to restrain myself. Somewhat.
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, while my love for Trader Joe may have no limits, my freezer certainly does.
I’m a strong woman. But I know I just can’t handle having my heart melt like that all over again.
If I could sum up this past year in one word, that would be it.
And around here, it takes many different forms.
Like Belly Laughter. I hear it when my daughter’s watching Pingu. Which I think is the stupidest show ever but, apparently, is hilarious in a preschooler’s mind. Or when I tickle Chip and he laughs so hard I think he might float up into the air, Mary Poppins style. You can’t help but smile when you hear a child bursting into fits of belly laughter.
Or Wild Hyena Laughter, a sound that’s become more prevalent around here as of late. It’s the kind of hysterical cackling that comes from two tiny caged animals trapped inside on a cold day. Wild hyena laughter has a savage quality to it, and has a tendency to leave my ears ringing. But, still, I’ll take it any day or whining or crying.
And then there’s Stifled Laughter. As in “Oh my god, my husband just dutch ovened me, and I can’t help but laugh even though I’m trying to keep my mouth shut because it smells like something just died under here.” Yeah. We get a lot of that in our house, too. After 11 years of marriage, we still giggle about farts like we’re middle school boys.
And let’s not forget about Resigned Laughter. It’s a mixture between a guffaw, a groan, and a muffled scream. I used it the other day when I had just about hit my breaking point with the kids. As I was about ready to explode, my daughter looked up at me and said seriously, “Momma, you look kind of scary when you make angry eyes.” And suddenly, the tension was broken. I had to laugh about that one. Even if it was a resigned, wave-the-white-flag sort of laughter.
Or Silly Laughter. Because one of the greatest gifts my children have given me is the ability to let my hair down and be crazy. They’ve taught me that sometimes it’s okay to dance around the living room with underwear on your head. (As long as they are clean.) They’ve taught me that it’s okay to poke fun of yourself and not take life so seriously. They’ve helped me release my inner child that I thought had long since disappeared.
I’ll admit it’s not always fun and games around our house. We’ve had our ups, downs and utter failures this past year, just like any family. There have been times when I wanted to throttle my children. Or just throw in the towel and quit.
But the glue that holds us together… and that makes those crappy times seem far less significant… always seems to be laughter.