25 Reasons I Abandoned You This Summer

back-to-schoolMy beloved, dedicated readers (all five of you), as I gleefully watched Biggie and Smalls drive away on the bus this morning, I thought of you. I must apologize from the bottom of my heart for the weeks-long silence this summer. I know I’ve hurt you before and made promises to change, but this time I really mean it.

I, MommyEnnui, do solemnly swear that I will post more often going forth, beginning today. I’ve decided that I will keep you updated with bite-sized tidbits of my life, rather than allowing myself to be paralyzed trying to express Big Thoughts. Big Thoughts hurt my brain anyway. I do, however, have some good (and some really pathetic) reasons I abandoned you this summer. Here are a few of them:

1. I’m still upset about Ben and Jen’s breakup.
2. My laptop kept overheating and turning itself off at the pool.
3. I’ve been traveling the world. And by “world,” I mean North Carolina, Washington D.C., and Mexico.
4. The “easy kid” has become the “whiny kid.”
5. The “challenging child” is still a pain in the ass.
6. I’ve been trying to decide what to wear to all my gay friends’ weddings.
7. Entertaining a puppy when it’s 95 degrees out is no picnic.
8. I was busy not cooking nutritious meals for my family.
9. Choosing paint colors for the exterior of the house isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
10. I went on a road trip with three girls, ages 10 and under, and I’m still recovering.
11. I was working on (feeding) my bikini body.
12. The basil plant wasn’t going to water itself.
13. Facebook.
14. Pinterest.
15. I was Swiffering the floors.
16. Sleeping late felt SO good!
17. I was working the kinks out of a new summer screen-time policy.
18. I organized the house a little.
19. I expended all my energy being outraged by mass shootings and racism.
20. You try to get two girls to decide on new backpacks!
21. I’m newly upset about Gwen and Gavin.
22. Birdie is going through a clingy phase.
23. I had anticipatory stress caused by the mere thought of impending homework.
24. I dreamed I was pregnant and it took weeks to get over the terror.
25. I blinked and summer was over!

I hope you can find it in your heart to trust me again. I’m willing to work on it if you are.


Feeling Like a Failure? Lower Your Expectations!

antidepressants_funnyWhen I was working in production in Los Angeles, my boss and friend, Tom made a point of sitting down every January to write out his personal and professional goals for the year. At the same time, he’d revisit his previous list to determine which goals he’d successfully completed, which ones he’d fallen short on, and which ones to reevaluate and revise going forward. Thankfully, he got me in the habit of doing the same.

Now, I’m great at writing down my goals for the year, but I have to admit, I kind of suck at looking back and evaluating my success. I’d like to believe it’s because I’m such an optimist, always looking to the future with no time to dwell on negatives. Sadly, pretty much everyone who knows me, knows that’s far from the truth. In reality, looking back at things I intended, but failed, to do is just really f*cking depressing and I generally like to avoid it at all costs.

This January, however, I am forcing myself to confront the 2014 list and acknowledge my progress (or lack thereof). Lucky me, I also ran across my goals for 2013, so I have even more data to consider…and to haunt me for the next twelve months. Without further ado, let’s strip me bare and judge me. It’s for my own good.

My Goals for 2013

  1. Heal back and neck
  2. Get fit
  3. Drink green smoothie or juice every day
  4. Atlanta or LA — make a decision and make it happen!
  5. Get a job (or not, depending on #4)
  6. Get finances in order (Make appointment with financial planner)
  7. Refinance house
  8. Be more creative (drawing and writing)
  9. Read more nonfiction
  10. Exercise brain — learn one new thing every day
  11. Learn French
  12. View aging as an interesting science experiment, not a failure
  13. Stay in better touch with family and friends
  14. Spend the holidays on a beach

Reading through it now, I find this list charming in its naivaté. 2015 is looking back at it and shaking its head with a knowing smile. “Aw, bless 2013’s heart…so young, so hopeful…” There are exactly two items above that I can cross off with authority. I have, indeed, been more creative, with writing at least. And, I suppose cake decorating. I have also succeeded in reading more nonfiction. So there, 2013!

As far as the other thirteen items on the list go, well, I can say I gave at least most of them a shot. I actually did get more fit and drank a lake of green smoothies in 2013. Had I evaluated this list in January of 2014 as previously scheduled, I’d have proudly checked off those two goals. But no, I had to give myself an additional year to backslide on my fitness progress and go on a kale strike. So, let’s say success in 2013, less so in 2014.

I did French lessons online and was very consistent for a few months. Unfortunately, as I wrote more, I conversely spent less time studying French. You’ll see that this trend continues through 2014. Something had to give! There are only so many hours in the day! I have two children and a puppy to raise! Other excuses like that!

Goal number four is the one that makes me chuckle the most (sometimes, we laugh to hide the pain). This particular goal…deciding between staying in Atlanta or moving back to Los Angeles…has been on every single one of my annual goals lists since our first January in Atlanta. I’ve made exhaustive pros and cons lists for each possibility and the race always ends in a dead heat, hence, the inaction. I suppose we’re choosing to stay where we are by not choosing to leave. Alas, the internal cage match continues. And, now, on to my goals for 2014:

Things I Will Do In 2014:

  1. Paint our bedroom
  2. Spend more time writing
  3. Spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet
  4. Read four classic books I should have read in high school
  5. Exercise five times a week…even if just thirty minutes of walking
  6. Learn to bake a pie
  7. Practice French five days a week
  8. Have at least two girls’ weekends away
  9. Get back to LA
  10. Cook one new recipe a week
  11. Write at least two blog posts a week
  12. Build a file of blog posts so I’m not always playing catch-up
  13. Volunteer at the girls’ school
  14. Meet with financial planner
  15. Introduce kids to one new veg and one new fruit each week
  16. Take a knife skills class

Reading through this list, you’ll see that I attempted to be much more firm with myself. No more of that wishy-washy “get fit” or “learn French” crap. This time, I threw some numbers behind my promises…”practice French 5 days a week.” Five and nothing less! How is one supposed to succeed unless one has her goals very clearly defined?

I started off 2014 strong. Did I paint my bedroom? Yes, I did! Did I spend more time writing? Absolutely! Did I spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet? Well, um, not exactly. But, I did take one whole week off from my computer. That should count for something, right?

I managed to get away for one girls’ weekend this year. Fifty percent isn’t too bad. I started walking at least thirty minutes a day starting from when we brought Birdie home and taught her to walk on a leash (a triumph in itself). I also started doing hot yoga, which I thought I would hate, but ended up loving. Hey, I could count that as learning something new! Oh, never mind…that was 2013. As for doing actual, vigorous exercise at least five days a week, well, that was a lofty goal so I’m giving myself a pass on that one. On this year’s list, I’ll shoot for a much less onerous three times a week. Or maybe twice. Twice is good.

Actually, that may be just what I need to do in order to reach a 100% success rate…make my goals less ambitious! In an effort to end this post on a positive note, I have drafted a list of goals for 2015 that I know I can achieve:

MommyEnnui’s Far More Attainable Goals for 2015:

  1. Get out of my pajamas at some point every day (even if just to change into a fresh pair)
  2. Make a healthy, non-processed meal containing actual fruits or vegetables once a week
  3. Complete the Monday New York Times crossword puzzle at least once a month
  4. Walk the dog a minimum of once a day
  5. Think about getting a job
  6. Listen to others tell me what an important job I’m doing as a stay-at-home mom (try to believe it)
  7. Volunteer at the girls’ school, or at least boldly write my name on the sign-up sheet and then claim I have an unforeseen conflict when the date rolls around
  8. Learn to bake a pie (I’m adding this one, because I plan to do it this weekend. I’ve even bought ingredients. See? I’m well on my way to success!)
  9. Learn to see aging as a natural process that occurs between Botox appointments
  10. Speak to my husband in the evenings instead of sending him an occasional text from the adjacent couch while watching Project Runway
  11. Stop believing I’ll ever make a decision whether to stay in Atlanta or move back to LA
  12. Apply sunscreen to my face at least as often as I sunscreen my tattoos

Think I can check off twelve out of twelve when next January rolls around? I’m suddenly feeling more confident than I have in years! This is going to be very good for my self-esteem. How about you? What are your goals for the year? Need help making them more achievable? I’m here for you.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

mommy_ennui_ALS_ChallengeMommyEnnui took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this weekend. Well, actually, I did it twice! After the first take, Ad Man realized that my iPhone had run out of recording space mid-splash. Of course, he was more than happy to douse me with ice cold water again the next day! If you’d like to see the video of take 2, wherein I get bonked on the head with a big ice ball, click here.

The purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise awareness of ALS. If you’re not familiar with the devastating disease or want to know more about the Challenge, click here. I have, in turn, challenged two of my favorite blogger friends, Joanna Pritchard of Poppy’s Style and Kris Willcox of Rhapsody in Cool. I’m counting on you, ladies!

Ode to a Sixteen Year-Old Marriage

wedding_group_pic_1197On this day, 16 years ago, Ad Man and I were married at a charming cottage in the Hollywood Hills.  The attendees were a ragtag bunch which, even in hindsight, seems appropriate to the occasion.  We’d gotten engaged less than 3 months before and decided to avoid all the drama that goes along with planning a wedding by giving ourselves a short timetable and resolving to make ours intimate and relatively casual.

We enlisted the help of a few friends, some of whom were Ad Man’s customers at the bike shop he managed at the time.  A caterer and a florist were among our cyclist friends and they both performed miracles for us on our measly budget.  Our DJ was another friend who was a well-known club DJ and played an eclectic mix of Sinatra, hip hop and old-school soul music all night.

The one thing that was traditional at our wedding, however, were our vows.  There sure as hell was no obeying and we went light on the religious stuff, but other than that, we stuck close to the script.  Up until the last minute, Ad Man was threatening to write his own vows, the thought of which filled me with horror.  I knew my reaction to his original vows would be unpredictable at best.  I imagined him being uber sappy and me turning into a blubbering mess.  Or, being so nervous anticipating what he was going to say that I’d giggle my way through the ceremony.  One thing I knew for sure, though, was that I’d be crawling out of my skin if his grammar sucked.

So, I begged him to stick with the well-worn, traditional vows, figuring that they’d stood the test of time for a reason.  And, like any wife-to-be worth her salt, I won.  The ceremony turned out to be perfect…a little tradition, a bit of hippie shit and lot of quirkiness.  After 18+ years together, 16 years of marriage and 2 kids later, though, I’m thinking those original vows would need a bit of tweaking if we were to repeat them today. I imagine something like the following would be more appropriate.

Dearly beloved, you have traveled here today from across the country and, indeed, the globe, to gather once again to relive your 20s and to witness the marriage of this often grumpy, middle-aged advertising executive to this occasionally bitchy, middle-aged, stay-at-home mom.  They may not seem familiar to you since you remember them as the young, zen, blue-haired bike shop manager and the hip but ambitious, young and fit, entertainment lawyer, but I assure you, they are the same people.  Believe me, they are as shocked by the changes as you are.

If any person can show numerous damn good reasons why they should not be re-joined together, let them speak now, provide concrete evidence including photographs, and be prepared to break the news to their two young children, or forever shut the F up.

Through marriage, Ad Man and the blogger known as MommyEnnui make a commitment together to face their disappointments, embrace their fading dreams, realize their unreasonable hopes for the future and accept each other’s failures, many of which came as unwelcome surprises since the day they first married eons ago.

Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, (flabby) body and (slipping) mind.  It is an act of faith, no less terrifying than skydiving, a personal commitment and, maybe a couple times a month if he’s lucky and she’s been drinking, a physical union.  Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between two people. That may be a bit of an exaggeration in that it ignores the extreme importance of others such as one’s therapist, nanny or barista, but you get the idea.

Anyway, who gives this woman in marriage to this man?

I give my damn self!  Actually, I don’t give myself to anyone.  You think just because I’m a wife and mother that I’m not my own person?!  Various overly defensive comments, blah, blah, blah, on and on…

Just Kids 1997OFFICIANT:
Um, OK.  Let’s table that and move on.

Do you, Ad Man, take MommyEnnui to continue to be your wife, to live together in a charmingly untidy home that really needs to have the bathrooms renovated, in the state of holy matrimony?  Will you love her even when she’s off her meds, comfort her when the grocery clerk calls her “ma’am,” honor her, at least in public, and keep her, but not in a creepy, sexist, patriarchal way?

Will you stand by her in mental illness and in health, or whatever passes for health now that you’re both in your 40s, for richer and even when you realize you’ve been paying her student loans for the last 16 years, in sadness and in joy, even through those years when the sadness just seems to pile up and far outweighs the joy, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?

Hell yeah!  I’m the luckiest man in the world!  (Or something like that.)

And, do you, MommyEnnui, take Ad Man to continue to be your husband, to live together with your cute but sometimes evil spawn, in the state of holy matrimony?  Will you love him even when he leaves pans to “soak” for a week before washing them, comfort him when some whippersnapper at work doesn’t get his reference to a John Hughes movie, honor him by not writing about him on your blog, and keep him…on a short leash?

Will you stand by him in sickness, when he’s a whiny pain-in-the-ass even though you had two humans cut out of your uterus without a complaint, and in health, for richer and for when he threatens to buy an expensive motorcycle, in sadness and when he’s gleefully geeking out over some new piece of technology, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live or at least until you’re so old you no longer remember who he is?

Yes, I will agree to everything except for the blog part.

You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife.  What, therefore, a non-denominational minister from 1-800-I-MARRY-YOU, joined together so very long ago, let nothing put asunder, not the death of a parent, infertility, miscarriage, depression, raising two children, changing careers, unemployment, moving across the country, paying a mortgage or the day-to-day crap of life.  You two are stuck together forever whether you like it or not.

I like it.  I like it a lot.  Happy anniversary, Ad Man.  I love you!