Times They Are a Changing
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Here’s a quick list for you this week: Things I think about that they won’t or don’t.

1. What’s organic
2. Wifi connection
3. Who’s trending
4. Facebook
5. LinkedIn
6. If they think they’re getting sick
7. Getting an appointment
8. Booking flights
9. Printing photos in cute books
10. Reading books

Things I don’t think about that they will

1. What’s organic
2. Wifi connection
3. Who’s trending
4. Facebook
5. LinkedIn
6. If they think they’re getting sick
7. Getting an appointment
8. Booking flights
9. Syncing photos to a cloud
10. Listening to books

That’s all you get this week -kid’s are off for summer and have yet to set into a routine. What does that mean? Overly clingy/whiney/demanding kids. Is it too soon to be asking how many days till school starts?

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To the Class of 2017 – This one’s for you Adriana
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I had an urge to write something that I didn’t know I was going to write. I didn’t plan on writing it, but I now feel like I have to. Okay, that sounds much more dramatic than planned. Sorry, but I just attended my firstborn’s nursery graduation. Her graduation. GRA -DUA-TION. Hey, it’s a big deal.

Graduating when you are still pretty much a ‘big girl toddler’ is a bittersweet thing for mamas. It’s a big change for both of us. There won’t be as much hand holding next year. I looked at my girl and could still see her as the baby I was changing poopy diapers of. It got surreal. From here on, she’ll be in a big school and that’s a big deal. There will be new mommies in a new place with new food and we will both have to make new friends.

So the graduation was hard. It was intense. Do schools do this on purpose to bring out the breakdowns in mamas? They build up an event where you cannot help but cry because your baby suddenly looks like an almost tween and that tends to freak out a mama.

I—like others around me—shed a tear. Except, okay, I sobbed. An ugly cry sort of sob. I couldn’t control or keep it in and a part of me didn’t really want to. I suddenly sped back in time to the day she was born by C-section and felt that tug of her being pulled out and plopped on my chest—total overwhelm and more than a bit emotional. Plus, so much self-induced pressure and anxiety hit me—to be the mom I figured she hopes I am. And the one I hope to be.

For the past 3.5 years she was perfecting her walk (a bit of swag) and talk (a bit of ’tude).

When we all made it home and I tucked her into bed, here’s what I wanted to tell her (and myself):

1. Life is a Ferris wheel, a circle, a whatever cliché you want to say, but honestly, more than anything it is bittersweet. The bitter stuff will pass so try and make the sweet bits stick like that glitter glue you love.
2. Do your best. Always. In every situation. Every day. You don’t want to look back and think I wish I tried harder. But also know that your best is always great and good enough so don’t worry about your best either!
3. If you’re not sure, ask an adult. One you know. Not strangers. Take their advice and mix it with what your gut is telling you.
4. If you’re scared, pause, and ask yourself why. Then put on a brave smile and refer to #2 and #3 if need be. Or cover yourself in that glitter glue from #1 and do a tap dance.
5. Oh, and stop picking your nose. You’re on your own for this one… you inherited daddy’s thick nasal lining and deviated septum. Please stop. It’s gross.

That’s it, baby. It was a big day for the both of us. This is the first of many, many milestones and I will be watching on and probably sobbing and definitely learning with you and making lists (definitely alone) through them all.

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What Distracts Me from Writing
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I’ve kinda been a bit overwhelmed recently. There I said it. It’s true. Forgetting meetings and where I put my phone, but thankfully not forgetting any of my children…yet. The next step is forgetting my kids I swear.

Among all the things that seem to slip my mind, there sits my writing. But with that it’s not just forgetting. It’s worse than that. It’s what distracts me when I do sit down to write. What gets me distracted and stops me from clicking away on that keyboard?

So, I did what I always do to work through stuff. I made a list of 21 things that distract me when I sit down to write and a few things I do instead.

1. Go through my pairs of jeans to decide what to donate.
2. Try to straighten my hair at home.
3. Open Excel in the hopes of mastering it.
4. Watch old episodes of American Idol and The Voice.
5. Sing along with American Idol and The Voice videos.
6. Look up recipes that hide broccoli in pasta to get my kids to eat it.
7. Message my sister: How much coffee is too much coffee?
8. Figure out the quickest way to wash my Converse without throwing them in the machine.
9. Coloring my roots with my way-too-dark mascara and ending up with a very obvious contrast between my hair color and what I’m trying to sell as newly colored roots.
10. Go through baby photos and wondering how the time went so fast.
11. Go through baby photos of me and wondering which kid looks the most like my baby photos?
12. Calculate how much time I’ve just wasted.
13. Wikipedia something I want to write about which somehow always leads me to Instagram.
14. Vow to unfollow people who don’t make me feel better about myself in some way.
15. Promise myself to stay off social media for a day. Okay at least a few minutes.
16. Look up tickets to Tanzania for a safari.
17. Look for my outdated vaccination card.
18. Research anxiety.
19. Who I would thank at my book signing.
20. What I would wear to my book signing.
21. Wonder why I still have pending deadlines.

It’s alright. I’m alright. Just another stage along this…umm…journey of mine? Let’s call it what it is. A roadblock. Yes, that’s what it is. A roadblock that has in turn, given me writer’s block.

Pass the double espresso. Except my sister replied, Your daily consumption is the definition of too much.

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When a Mama Drops the Ball…
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Sorry for not posting last week or the week before or the week before that. I’m probably only speaking to my junior high English teacher, Mr. Zunigha and my mom here, but you deserve explanations. My fellow Dubai-based mommy bloggers might be reading but are also probably secretly high giving each other that I dropped the ball thinking I had given up posting … and writing … and all that jazz. The truth is that I haven’t. I didn’t so much drop the ball as the ball fell on top of me. And I still love writing and posting. But the ball that dropped on me was like a bucket of vomit so that took priority.

So, what is this ball I speak of? Sick. Kids. All. Three. With three different viruses. On and off for a while. Okay, so maybe not a month, but hey…I had to recover too, right? It was the perfect storm of contagion. It’s been … fun. Eventful. And I’ve learned so much about this state of being inside the whirling, sleepless, limbo of sickkiditis so here’s a list for you to a) read and smile and nod, b) skim then message me that it was great, or c) send me a heart after reading the title and send me an encouraging, “tomorrow will be better message.”

1. Thank you all you instafamous people for making feel totally envious of your posts while I was scooping up vomit. Your snapshots with #happyvibes made me smile… before sobbing and looking for the thermometer at 3 am.

2. I learned that Post-Its can cause Mama meltdowns. Like when I wrote ‘I will not lose it’ on a Post-It and then lost it… then referred myself to the next Post-It: ‘fake it ‘til your next catnap.’ It was like a trail of breadcrumbs with a stupid pigeon ready to gobble up my path out of the labyrinth of the maze of ear infection, gastro, wheezing cough, and the flu.

3. I imagined my kids aged 30 and closed my eyes tighter and imagined them calling me up to babysit their kids. I will be busy. I will be in the Bahamas. Or Cuba. Somewhere remote with “bad” reception and non-existent Wi-fi. Does a place like that even exist anymore?

4. I researched every single body part that was hurting or not functioning properly and what vitamin or medicine to take. I lost the Post-It that was written on 5 minutes later.

5. I looked up a 7-minute workout to do and promised myself I’ll do it and get back my pre-baby ass.

6. I YouTubed moms being funny and gazed at viral blog posts—not managing to watch or read anything, but just to know that they existed to keep me sane at 4:03 a.m. when the third one woke up right after the first one finally fell back to sleep and before having to re-ventilate the second one.

7. I sent loving texts to my husband who was away all week traveling for work, such as, “You’re an amazing dad!” and “I’m gonna spoil you so rotten when you make it back here!” and “We’re all rooting for you having a great week at work! Can’t get you outta my mind, babe!”

Yes, so, I’m still here. I’ve shrugged off the ball and showered myself free of the vomit—I think…. I still catch a phantom whiff of puke and want to puke myself. It’s been … real. But I’m back so don’t think we’ve broken up. We were just “on a break”. You know, I had to write that next.

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What I Want to See on Instastories
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My last post discussed the dark side of Instastories. Let’s say no to TMTF—too much, too fake. Let’s swipe away from those poses and manufactured posts of brands and bags and clothes and food and pastel stationery. All that does for me is make me look at my closet and stress about what I am supposed to wear now. I’m not in my twenties anymore. Here’s to being real and not giving a shit. Well, at least a little bit.
So what DO I want to see on Instastories?
Lean in, mamas, I kind of need to whisper this.
1. Real skin—not as in bare torsos of guys with ripped abs. But, like freckles and wrinkles and eye bags.
2. Real worries and stresses. It is not a perfect life and so why are we trying to sell ourselves as calorie-free chocolate?
3. Things that remind me of how I was before kids, and how I am during. It’s for that reason that I am obsessed with @instachaz and @catandnat because they are so so so different.
4. People doing something different and not giving a shit. Shout out to @instachaz, @catandnat and Bryony Gordon as mentors for this.
5. The occasional tantrum. Not to shame the mama or the kid but to show what the mamas are dealing with on a daily basis. Kid can wear a Spiderman mask to protect privacy for his future job applications, you know?
6. Birthday cakes that fall into the “failed” category. Messy finger food (as in, messy before anyone’s dug in). Cake pops that sag. Unicorn cakes that look somehow more like dad’s private bits than a YouTube-worthy creation.
7. I’d like to see an Instastory of an Instagrammer climbing onto a chair to get that “aerial” perfect shot of food then falling into the plate of food (not in a way that requires an ambulance). It’s not that I want to see Jackass-ery or pain, but people who climb on top of chairs for the perfect post seem unhinged to me.
8. A couple kissing like they really do, not like the Instagrammer of the couple dictates they do so as to look like they have yoga arms, no double chin, and no tongues. Yes, I have probably been a victim to all of that too so this post is a wake-up call to myself as much as a call-to-reals to you all.

And now a major shout out to Ditch the Label.

They are real and totally cool in being real.

Of course, my biggest fear is if I am real. I know that sounds dumb, but my mission in this life is to lift up mamas by finding the magic in the midst of the mess. I speak at events and confess that I, too, lose it with my kids and myself. Like on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like the audience deflates to hear that. But it’s my reality. I am fuelled by coffee and a willingness to put myself out there to show the commonalities for all mamas from Topeko to Tokyo, from Dubai to Detroit.

So, I’m sticking to looking for my damn wand with my mascara-colored roots and wrongly tinted cover up. After my digital detox, I’m more conscious of how many minutes per day I spend mindlessly scrolling. I want to give my fingers a break. And my mind. To look out the window at the horizon. Or bond with a blank page and do something little on it—just for me. Just for me and maybe my kids someday. Not for the world.
I’m writing this to remind myself I’m a writer and a mama of three, who is writing for the joy of it, but also for whoever still reads. My Instastories are actually those few moments in any given day when I’m feeling the magic.

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