Job Drama

After my blog about how hard of a 2018 I’ve had, a lot of people asked me what happened with Masonite and why they made me so upset that I would use my now favorite emoji (🖕) whenever I spoke about them. I wasn’t sure I was going to tell the story, I didn’t want to seem unprofessional and bitter, but what they (or she) did to me was unprofessional and I’ve decided to spill the tea…

I was laid off from my Director position in April. I wasn’t totally expecting it but there was some relief as my boss was a creepy, inhuman robot who tried his best to make me miserable. I never thought you could micro-manage someone while working from home, but you totally can. I felt like he was breathing down my neck from my own home at all times. The glee on his face as I was being laid-off was disgusting, like Mr. Burns, but he got his due as he was just fired a few weeks ago. I know the higher ups regret their decision to let me go and keep him at that time.

Being out of a job scared the shit out of me. We’re a two income household and I would need to find something quick. In my manic state I decided to go back to my old job that I had been at for three years prior, but I learned quickly that it was a big mistake. It wasn’t the place I left and I knew I didn’t want to stay there. I wasn’t treated well at all, and it soured the great experience I had with them previously. I ended up being contacted by a recruiter about a role outside of tech at a company called Masonite and I decided to go for it. I had a phone interview, then a four hour interview on a Friday afternoon, then got the verbal offer the next Tuesday. As soon as that came in I said goodbye to my old stomping ground, again, and got ready to market and sell me some doors (hindsight… from technology to doors? I was kidding myself).

However, a week later the written offer hadn’t come through. I had already told old company I was leaving and I was getting nervous, and maybe that was a bad idea but like I said, going back was a mistake and I wasn’t happy. Then the Masonite girl called me.

I was mad. I was so livid that after the past few weeks of interviews, a job offer, me leaving my company, waiting for a start date, her and I going back and forth on ideas, and her even buying me a MacBook, that all I got on that call was “the division president didn’t approve the role. It’s not going to happen. There’s no job”. She was so cold about it. She just hung up and that was it. I get that it’s business but I was so shocked that she could have such little emotion. I was an emotional wreck. And by the way, this isn’t why I’m so mad at Masonite but it didn’t help.

It didn’t last long though. The next day I got an opportunity to consult for a cyber-security company in Tampa and this could lead to a full time position. I had heard of the company before and looked forward to this gig. When I got there, well, it was ok. A very stuffy environment and also too quiet for a tech company. I understand they’re in security but it was eerie. I worked with them for a few weeks, learned a lot about security and loved that part, but didn’t exactly love the company. The person I was working for was very stiff and set in his ways, and didn’t really want a “consultant”, he wanted a do-girl. I didn’t like it, but I would see it through because I needed the pay. After a few weeks I walked into the office one day after quarter end and was told that they didn’t hit their quarterly goal, not even close, and couldn’t afford to pay me. The possible full time position was put on hold indefinitely. I was upset, but also not really. I didn’t want to work there. I wouldn’t have been happy. I moved on.

And what I moved on to was Masonite. I decided to write the girl an email asking for a little explanation. There was a fair amount of time since the job/no job ordeal and I needed closure. I still had Masonite in my mind, like there was more there, so that’s also why I reached out. What I got back was her saying the role was going to change to meet their new marketing plans for 2019 and she wanted to open the conversation again. We met for lunch not too long after and she said the role wouldn’t be ready until December (it was mid-October), but would I be willing to contract until then. I said of course, and now I was back to working for Masonite. Maybe it was meant to be. Maybe doors were my future.

The paperwork took less than a week, and in that time the girl told me that this would be a very hard role and I needed to plan on working 50-60 hours a week. The job was demanding and she wanted to make sure I was ready. She also told me I had to be at the office at 8:00 am every day. Now, Olivia’s school doesn’t open until 7:30 and I lived an hour away from the Ybor City office. I told her I would figure it out.

On my first day I had Olivia go to Brooke’s home daycare instead of school so I could drop them both off at 7 and be on my way. A few days a week I would do this, and a few days my dad would get up early so I could drop them at his house at 7 and he would take them to school and daycare. On my way to the office, around 7:47, I was sitting in some pretty heavy traffic on 275. I checked the GPS and it said I would arrive at the Masonite office at 8:13. There was an accident or some holdup and there was nothing I could do. I called the girl and told her the situation. She said fine. We would figure it out when I got there.

I parked right at 8:13 and walked up to the office. I was let in and met with the girl. She took me into a private conference room and proceeded to fire me. She said it wasn’t going to work out because she needed someone to be at the office by 8:00 am every day, even though I would have been great in the role. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless. She then escorted me out and I left.

I immediately called my husband and mother, in tears, and they both were shocked but let me know that I dodged a bullet. Working for her would have been a nightmare. She’s obviously a horrible person and I would have been miserable. I knew in the moment that this was true, but I was angry at the girl for everything she put me and my family through. I know I am responsible for my reactions but this was, to me, a total slap in the face as a professional woman and mother. I couldn’t have done things differently besides ask my dad to get up at 6:30 am and drop the kids off then, but as I was sitting in the car in traffic I did just that for the rest of the week. Luckily I didn’t have to use that option.

Things happen. Traffic happens. People are late. Many professionals get to the office at 8:30 am, or even 9:00 am, and they still put in the same amount of work as those who get there at 8:00. In fact, I’ve never had to get to an office by 8:00 am every day, and many times I stay later than my “8 hours” but this girl wanted me by 8:00 am every day. I mapped it the week prior and I would have made it. Maybe I should have given myself an extra 15 minutes but that wasn’t possible with the kids, and my husband leaves the house at 6 am. I didn’t make it the first day due to traffic, but I made plans to fix this right away. I would inconvenience my dad for my job. But she would have none of it. I looked inside me to see what I did wrong, but I really didn’t do anything wrong. Even if I asked my dad to take the girls at 6:30, there could have been a major accident that would keep me on the road until 8:30. You never know. What if I had a sick kid? This was the universe telling me that Masonite was not the place for me and although it was hard to hear this at first, I know now that it was a blessing.

I did get a job. I start January 2nd. It’s at a company I’ve had my eye on for a while and have applied for several times. The company is highly rated on Glassdoor. They have an amazing culture and are rapidly growing. The office is overlooking the beach and the drive isn’t nearly as bad as Masonite. Even after my interview there was talk of where I could move up rather quickly. It’s a place where I’ll grow and learn and hopefully spend my entire career. And they’re so casual I can wear Lululemon every day. It’s a dream. It’s what I’ve wanted this whole year. I also know that it may not be all of those things, and that’s ok too, but my gut tells me this is right. My gut wasn’t ever 100% sure on Masonite. I told myself I wanted out of technology but the truth is, I knew I would miss it. I didn’t want out. It’s where I belong. I love it. I told myself I was ok with working 60 hour weeks, never seeing my family and not being able to work out like I wanted, but I wasn’t. My new company isn’t like that. I may need a paycheck but my family comes first. I come first. To be happy I needed to find a place that understood my role as a mother too. Mother and wife, Fitness devotee, career woman, Lululemon addict. That’s who I am, among other things. Yes, I want to be a VP one day. I want to make decisions and be part of something bigger, but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of who I am. I hope, and believe, I found a company that supports that.

You know, I never got an email or a call from anyone at Masonite after I was fired. I sometimes wonder what she told her boss, or HR. I can’t imagine they support her firing me on day one due to traffic, and if they do then I know that’s a company no one would want to work for. I finally decided to write the girl an email detailing how I felt and copying her boss. I wasn’t going to write her until I cooled off, and although I am slightly cooled and I do forgive her, I think she deserves to hear me out. I don’t plan on reading any response, if I get one. I’m not bitter, I’m more upset that they can treat people the way they did. I would never do that to anyone, especially a working mother, I know as a boss I would be much more understanding, and I hope none of you ever have to work for someone who only cares about what you can do for them and not who you are. I’m much more than my job. And that is what I learned through this journey. A job shouldn’t define you but I was living that for the past few years. I felt empty without a title to my name, but I learned to fill myself up with other roles. In between applying for jobs I learned new skills like coding and programming. I learned all about cyber-security and want to work for a security company (which I will be). I spent more time with my family. I wasn’t working at night, worrying about the next day. I finally watched the Real Housewives of OC from season one. I went to the gym when I pleased and even drummed up my online resale business to make ends meet. I know I’ll keep that business going while I start my new career journey because you never know what can happen, and that small business really helped when times were hard. I’m so much more than the job I am doing, and although I love to work and be a champion of my company, I need to be a champion of myself and my family as well. Finding that kind of company that lets me be all of those things is my dream, and I truly hope I’ve finally found it.

I’m a Mess

I don’t have my shit together.

This morning I rolled out of bed, grabbed the baby who was already in her clothes for today, changed her diaper, then went to wake up Olivia. It’s PJ day at school so getting her ready was super easy as well. I threw on a jacket, some flip flops (58 degrees and raining outside), and headed out. Unfortunately Olivia’s PJs were shorts and she told me she was cold, so I had to go back inside and get pants for her to wear. I mean, she’ll only be in the cold for like 15 seconds but apparently that’s too long and a good parent would have had her wear pants from the start, but I figured once she got inside she’d be fine.

Brooke gets dropped off second and she always comes inside Olivia’s school with me while Olivia gets situated and does the “question of the day”, which by the way is so great that they do that and the kids learn so much, but it’s the bane of my mornings. It maybe takes three minutes but that’s three more minutes I have to spend looking like a homeless woman and I just want to get out of there before anyone else sees me. Brooke loves coming inside Olivia’s school because all the kids love her and she gets to play and be the center of attention for a few minutes. On this day, I did not bring her in. We were late, it was cold and rainy, and I was not going to stand there in the pouring rain for 10 minutes while Brookie got in and out of the car by her “self”. “Can mama help?”. “No. Self”.

Brooke cried. I felt bad. I got back in the car and put my hand on her leg to apologize. She wasn’t having it and pinned my wrist to the seat with her foot and wouldn’t let go. She was pissed.

After prying my wrist out from between the seat and Brooke’s foot, I drove away. About 30 seconds later I got a phone call from Olivia’s school. I accidentally sent it to voicemail. I called back, it rang and rang. I hung up, tried again, it went to voicemail. They called me back, same thing. This went on a few more rounds until we finally connected and the teacher asked me if Olivia had a book for the book exchange today.

Book exchange… book exchange…

“We sent an email. And sent Olivia home with a note. And there was a note in her folder. And I reminded you yesterday…”

“Oh! The book exchange! Yes, I have it. I just forgot in my rush this morning. I’ll bring it before 11”.

I vaguely remember hearing about this book exchange. Granted, I don’t read all the notes she brings home from school- half end up scattered on the floor of my husbands car anyway, and I do check emails but not really. So when I got to Brooke’s home daycare I asked Miss Gladys if she had a book I could borrow/take and give to a random kid she doesn’t know. If anyone knows what a mess I am, it’s Miss Gladys. She started watching Olivia at three months old and always praised me for being the only parent that remembered to bring everything she needed and I always paid on time. Then I had Brooke and things went to shit. I looked at her bookshelf and there were plenty of good books but they were all worn. Because she actually uses them. At least someone reads to my children.

I figured I would just go home and grab one of our books then remembered that I haven’t read to my children in years and wasn’t even sure if there was a book in the house. My husband loves to throw things away so who knows if I would find one. I then decided to go to the Ross that’s on my way back home. There’s a complex with a Publix, Target, Marshall’s, and a Ross, and I chose Ross because I had no makeup on, my hair was ratty, I was wearing old sweatpants, flip flops, a race shirt, but a nice Lululemon jacket, and figured I looked more like I belonged in Ross, besides the Lululemon (no offense, but come on, it’s Ross).

I grabbed a book, two more Christmas gifts for my kids because I can’t help myself, and some wrapping paper. As I was checking out I realized I didn’t have any tape. Ross didn’t sell it either. I asked the girl checking me out if she had a few pieces of tape I could borrow but she had none back there. I hoped there was a roll of packing tape in my car leftover from when I pack up my Poshmark orders in there and luckily there was. Then I realized I had no scissors. I sat in my car wondering if I should just suck it up and go into Target. No, I couldn’t. Not the way I looked. I might see someone I knew. I tried to rip the paper nicely but it was good, strong wrapping paper with a metallic lining over it. I didn’t have a pen in my purse, just lip liner and I refused to ruin that, so I took one of Olivia’s Jojo bows she left in the car and used the metal to pierce the wrapping paper.

So there I was, in my car, parked in front of Ross, stabbing wrapping paper with a Jojo bow, wondering why I was such a mess of a mom.

The night before was Olivia’s dance recital. I told my parents about it 24 hours before it was supposed to start. I just forgot. My parents are heavily involved in my girls’ lives and don’t miss anything, so I felt bad because my mom works and needs to plan these things in advance. And it’s not like I don’t talk to my parents all the time. I talk to my mom every day. You think I would have told her about this. They went, of course, and brought Olivia a beautiful bouquet of Christmas flowers. My best friend came with her family and brought flowers as well. I forgot to get flowers. I also didn’t know she needed Mickey ears for the recital until the teacher texted me that day to remind me. Olivia didn’t have them at dress rehearsal and apparently Miss Gina understands who she’s dealing with, so texted me to remind me. I freaked out, thinking I had to go to the Disney Store five days before Christmas and what a nightmare that would be, but luckily our Target had one in stock so I ordered it online for pickup. Target saved the day!

I also forgot about dress rehearsal the night before. I was picking the girls up from school/daycare and planning on going to the gym with them. The Y has a kid zone that they love, plus Olivia takes dance there. It’s usually on Thursdays, but the recital was on Thursday and today was Wednesday. About 5:45 I see a text from the dance group about the rehearsal that night. I go back and look at the text the teacher sent earlier that day that said “don’t forget about the rehearsal tonight from 6-7!” Crap. I ran home, grabbed Olivia’s dance stuff, made her change in the car outside of the Y, and got there only 10 minutes late. Luckily the rehearsal hadn’t started yet so I’ll take that as a win.

I used to be so put together. I would never step out of my house with no makeup on whatsoever (a little concealer and a quick eyebrow fix goes a long way), in crappy sweatpants, and my hair in a ratty bun. Now that’s my go-to in the mornings. Granted, I work from home at the moment but if I had to go to an office (which I will soon!) I wouldn’t look like this when I dropped them off. I also used to remember everything and give advance notice to everyone concerned if there was a big, or small, event. I would have had the book for the book exchange the day they told me about it. I would have even bought an extra one just in case. But now, now I’m what my husband calls a “hot mess”. I don’t know what happened to my brain after having my second child but it definitely made me lose my shit a lot. I’m late to everything, I forget stuff all the time, and I just don’t pay attention the way I used to. Does it get better? Someone please tell me it gets better!!!!

Regarding being late- I can get to work or meetings on time, but that’s about it. Anything outside of that, well, just expect me 15 minutes later than I was supposed to be there. I simply cannot make a gym class on time. I try, I really do. I plan on leaving 15 minutes before I’m supposed to be there, it’s less than 5 minutes away, and that gives me 10 minutes to get situated. Doesn’t work out that way. Usually what happens is I’m yelling at the girls to get their shoes on, Olivia decides she doesn’t like what she’s wearing, changes three times, I can’t find Brooke’s shoes, I can’t find my shoes because Brooke was wearing them, we finally get out to the car and then Brooke takes a dump. I then take her out of the car, change her, and now we’re late.

I attribute this to having two kids. I guess my brain still hasn’t adapted yet and who knows if it ever will. I can’t imagine the brains of mothers with 3, 4, or even more kids, but I’ve seen those moms and they seem much more put together than I am. Olivia and Brooke are little effing darlings so a little scatterbrain is well worth everything they give me, but one day, just one day, I would like it if Brooke didn’t shit her pants right before we walk out the door.

I Have a Five Year Old…

I have a five year old. And a two year old- let’s not forget about her, but for purposes of life going to fast, I have a five year old. This is crazy to me. I know many of you can say “I have a 12 year old”, or “I have a 21 year old”, or even my mom, who can say “I have a 37 year old”, but I’m sure you remember the wonder of your first child turning five and think about that sweet, beautiful baby in your arms and how they grow so, so fast.

Then they turn one and that’s when the real cuteness starts. Then they’re two and the trouble starts. You get past the terrible twos, the terrorist threes, the what I call “hurt with intent” fours, and I thought at five you can take a breath now that your kid is so mature and getting ready for kindergarten only to realize that five is now the worst and OMG DOES IT EVER GET BETTER!

I wanted to get through this birthday without yelling but that didn’t happen. Olivia decided that instead of sleeping, she would sneak paint from one of her presents, paint all over her bed, and ruin a super cute outfit my mom got her that I wanted her to wear the next day. Not only was she not sleeping, she was awake at 10pm and making a complete mess of herself and her room. Maybe I could have stopped it if I wasn’t such a lazy parent. I mean, there was a point when Rich and I were on the couch watching 90 day fiancé and I heard the bathroom sink go on.

“Olivia, what are you doing? You should be sleeping” I called from the couch.

“Just washing my hands!”

I could have got up and went to find out why she needed to wash her hands when sleeping, but I thought maybe she was just being hygienic, or sleepwalking. I certainly didn’t think she was pulling a Picasso in her room.

So she got yelled at.

Also, this is more the fault of adults than the actual kid. We get our children gifts that are way more mature than we think. Like paint. Or an LOL doll that has sand that’s apparently supposed to be kitty litter. Or something called a Nom Nom that, when water is added, blows up strawberry smelling crap that gets everywhere and gives my husband an aneurysm. The worst, which is the fault of mainly myself, is play makeup kits, because then my two year old gets into it and this is what happens:

Five year old toys around a two year old is a recipe for disaster. Brooke will get into anything. If it looks like it can get messy, she’s all for it. It’s like a magnet for her. There are so many times I look at my two year old and think how incredibly smart and clever she is, way more than her sister was at that age, then she sticks a fork in an outlet and I can’t believe how stupid she can be. Olivia never once tried to electrocute herself, never grabbed a pair of scissors the one second I put them down and ran with them, and never once thought “oooh there’s a car going really fast! I’m going to run straight for it!”. Sure, Olivia is a now five year old that can talk back, give me attitude, and thinks she can do whatever she wants, but at least she has survival instinct. Brooke- that’s going to be a learned trait, and learned the hard way.

So, yeah, Olivia is officially five. Around June of this year, Olivia wanted to know why her birthday was taking so long, and she wanted me to know she wasn’t pleased about this.

“Well, your birthday comes once a year, which is why it’s special, and yours happens to be in December. You wait just as long as everyone else for their birthday.”

“But I want it now!”

She got it. And this morning, when my newly five year old woke up in her own bed instead of mommy’s, she said “Mommy I’m five! And I slept in my own bed! And I can’t wait to be six years old!”

To have that naïveté of children, to wish for more birthdays and have the excitement of getting older. It’s sweet and precious. So I told her “Olivia, you just turned five, so just be happy and ride it out. Besides, the more birthdays you have, the closer you are to death, so just chill.”

Parenting win.

Happy birthday Olivia! (And please don’t mind the messy house. I’m lazy and have kids)

This was a hard year, and I’ve learned a few lessons

I had a shitty fucking 2018 (most of it, anyway). Sorry Mom for the language, but I’m sure you understand and would probably say the same thing. It was just a year of suck. First, I had a cancer scare. Then I lost my job. Then out of fear I went back to my old job. That didn’t work out well so I left my old/new job thinking I had another job waiting. I did, until they decided to not approve the position at the last minute (part one of Masonite screwing over Kelly). That’s really when things turned to shit and as I’m sure many of you know, times like these can take a toll on relationships, so it’s not like Rich and I were in a great place. We were too stressed. Its truly a long story and I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I will say this: don’t ever work for Masonite- at least their marketing department. One chick there- damn she’s evil. Moving on. Because I have, really…

I think of myself as quite smart (even with the newly blonde hair). I’m pretty good at what I do. I have a winning personality (right?). Also, I’m relatively attractive and admit it or not, it does help get you in the door. Usually. You would think these attributes would land me a great job, or any job, maybe an interview? But guess what? They don’t. I even know people in the tech industry and have tons of connections, but that still didn’t help. It’s not like I didn’t get jobs actually. I got a few, but they did not work out for one reason or another (ahem, an evil witch in marketing at… please, she’s not gonna read this, but if she does… 🖕). I remember someone saying to me recently “well I wouldn’t worry about employment. Anyone would hire you”. THAT’S NOT TRUE YOU JERK AND THANK YOU FOR CREATING THE OVER CONFIDENT MONSTER THAT I AM!

I was not given offers for a few jobs I really wanted, and I got great consulting jobs that didn’t turn into full time due to budget constraints. I was even flown to another state for an interview for what I thought was a dream job and I didn’t get it! Looking back, I know why. I wasn’t myself. I was the shell of the person I really am, and my awesome self that usually lands jobs didn’t come through. I’m in a space in my career where I either have too much experience or not enough, and usually my personality gets me through the jobs where I don’t have “enough”, whatever that is. I just didn’t have any personality to show them.

I still don’t have a job, but I’ve figured out ways to make cash online with Poshmark and eBay, and I’ve been doing quite well. It’s my own business! I started feeling better about myself, thanks to some crazy pills prescribed by my psychiatrist and some incredible support from friends, family, and OCR teammates. This led me to have a killer interview last week so hopefully I’ll have a great job soon. If I don’t, maybe I’ll cry. Maybe I’ll lose all hope again. Maybe I’ll spend the day in my bed. But none of that will last because I have no choice but to pick myself up and try again.

I’ve learned so much through this process. I’ve learned that sometimes life really doesn’t go your way. I’ve learned that just because life doesn’t go your way sometimes doesn’t mean you’re not worth it. I’ve learned that yes, you do have to forgive people to move on, but you don’t have to like them after. You don’t have to think nicely about that person. If they come into your head, as they often will, especially the first few weeks after a burn, you can think not-so-nice things and it’s totally ok (I forgive you, evil Masonite woman, but I’ll never forget what an evil human being you are. If you’re human at all 😁).

I learned that even after falling into a deep depression where sometimes I just couldn’t get out of bed to take care of my children and we were over-stressed and taking it out on each other, my husband still thinks I’m a great mother and an incredibly strong woman, and loves me more than ever. He proved tremendously that he will always be by my side. I’ve learned that strong women can be weak sometimes, and that’s totally ok too. I’ve learned that your loved ones will do anything to help and support you at your worst. Like my dad, who would come to my house at 8 am to take my children to school when I just couldn’t face the world. Or my mother deigning to walk into a Wal-Mart pharmacy to pick up the crazy pills my doctor prescribed me for extra help through my depression (and the million other things she did for me that I could never repay). I will learn that my mom will hate me telling you this. Like my Savage Race team: they were the first I told of my struggles publicly. I needed an outlet. I needed to get it off my chest and tell them about my mental illness as well. What I got back from them was more love, motivation and cheering on than I ever expected, and it gave me new life. I’ve learned it’s ok to tell people you have depression, or any mental illness at all. Also, I’ve learned just how far I’ll go to find me some deeply discounted Lululemon when I’m on an incredibly small budget, like spending an entire day at thrift stores just to find one Lulu skirt for $3.99, or even work at Lululemon for the discount only to get the job taken away by evil Masonite chick (part two of Masonite screwing over Kelly)! And I’ve learned that yes, I do think Tamra Judge is my all-time favorite housewife.

Most importantly, I learned that it’s ok to let your children see you sad. And weak. And sometimes desolate. My girls have seen me at my worst. I hated it. I beat myself up for it for a while, but I am glad they saw that I’m a human too, not just a mom. I’m a woman who does not always have it easy, like it may appear sometimes, and they’ll experience hardships too and we will never think any less of them. They didn’t of me. Turns out- they still love and adore me. Brooke petted me and told me “you’re ok, you’re ok” while Olivia just laid with me. Yes, mommy was sad. Mommy was crying. But they just hugged me and told me everything will be ok, and that they loved me so much. And you know what? They’re right. Everything will be ok because their love will get me through anything.

I’ve learned that sometimes you have to crawl through shit to get to the bright, shiny side. That side will be now. Tomorrow. Next week and beyond. And from here on out, because I’ve learned that I’m forever changed for the better.

It’s Been Awhile…

Yeah, I know.  I decided to start a blog in the 2018 new year and after just a few posts I let it go, like most resolutions.  I have 10 drafts just waiting to be published but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish them.  It’s been quite a rough year, and I will share the trials and tribulations of my 2018, but I’m not ready yet.  I may be ready in a month, in a week, maybe tomorrow.  Just not right now.  It’s not terrible.  I have my beautiful family, I have relative health, I have amazing friends.  It was just rough…

Anyway, my kids are still a-holes.  Olivia will be five in two weeks but she acts more like a 15 year old. She’s either right on top of me or hiding away in her room and wants nothing to do with us.  She actually told me to “go away” the other day.   Brooke told me to “go away” the other day too.  She looked so cute going to bed in her crib with all of her animals, so I couldn’t help but try to pinch her cheeks and give her kisses, but she was having none of it.  Have you even been told to go away by a two year old?  It’s pretty confidence breaking.

This past year the girls have just grown up so much.  Olivia can spell and write!  I never know when kids should be hitting these milestones but the minute she spelled her name I immediately googled “child Mensa” and thought about making an appointment to take the test.  She blows my mind every day with what she learns. Much smart.  Brooke, well, not only is she incredibly smart, but she knows how to use that power for evil.  She can read people very well and can be very quick when trying to take something from her sister.  She can slap Olivia in the face but somehow convince us parents that Olivia deserved it.  She can even use “bullshit” in the right context.  At two years old!   Baby.  Geniuses.

I realized a few things about children this past year.  One, no matter how cute they are, they inappropriately smell.  Brooke’s feet can turn a room even right after a bath.  I gave a pair of her shoes to her best friend, and best friend’s mom had to throw them away when she got home for fear of stinking up the house.  The other thing I realized is they truly do not care about their parent’s comfort.  I will get all settled in on the couch with popcorn, my husband, a movie, and some blankets and as soon as I hit the sweet spot all hell breaks loose.  Olivia wants apples and Brooke isn’t really tired so she’s throwing all of her animals out of the crib, only to then yell at you to come in and give them back.  Oh, another one of Brooke’s favorite nighttime games is “throw the bobo”.  That baby will chuck her pacifier against the door, then lay down and whine for it in the middle of the night.  For funsies.  Because she’s bored. 

All the Animals

Another thing: cheese balls are like baby crack.  Take note.

Please don’t mind the marker all over her dirty, stinky feet.

So that’s it.  My comeback.  Actually, my comeback will be with a longer post about how 2018 sucked and needs to go away, but hopefully that post will be rife with good news that makes everything much better.  Besides that, all done! 

Here are some pics of my fam looking cute af:

The Begenys

They can literally have fun playing with anything…
The Bodyguard

Daddy-Daughter Bonding

World’s Okayest Mom

If someone asked me if I thought I was a good mom, I would answer “eh,  I’m alright I guess”.   I mean, my kids seems to be into me but they’re only one and four, so what do they know?   I was never one of those girls who grew up dreaming of a family and just wanting so badly to be a mother, but I always knew I would have kids at some point.  My husband is hot so I may as well procreate with him, right?  

When I had Olivia, I really cared about being the World’s Most Amazing Mother!  Buuuttt that lasted until about five minutes after we got home from the hospital and our new baby just stared at us for what felt like hours. She was fed, she was burped, she was changed, and now she should have been going to sleep.  She did not.  That little nugget just laid there in her Boppy, waiting for one of us to make a move

“Do we pick her up”

“How should I know?  She’s not crying!

That’s how parenting went for us, and we still don’t know what we’re doing.  And just in case you were wondering, Olivia stayed in her Boppy all night just staring, waiting for us to feed her, change her, etc.  That little bitch (sorry mom!) was needy and refused to let us get a good nights sleep.

When we had the energy, Rich and I would take Olivia out to places, like Target or a restaurant.  She was maybe a few days old, it was freezing cold in January (that’s like 50 degrees in Florida weather), and we took her out to dinner with friends for my birthday.  The looks we got for allowing a newborn out of the house were like daggers.  Apparently that’s frowned upon, but luckily the couple next to us who were horrified left before our waiter dropped a plate with a knife on it on Olivia.  She was so bundled up that she didn’t even feel it.  And it was just a butter knife.

Brooke was so much easier.  Neither Rich nor I gave a shit about being the best parents ever and decided that keeping them breathing and fed was the best they were gonna get.  How liberating not to care about being perfect!  It’s ok to sometimes just be ok and as everywhere we moms turn, we are being mommy-shamed about every little thing.  You didn’t breastfeed long enough, you’re breastfeeding too long, you had C-sections, you let your three year old babysit your three week old, etc.  We all judge, but we are all great at something, and motherhood is not my God-given talent.  In fact, I’m not even sure I have a God-given talent and that’s totally ok too.  My kids think I’m awesome and that’s all that matters (maybe because I give them fruit snacks for breakfast and get Olivia a toy every time we go to Target.  When you’re just an ok mom you have to make it up in other ways).

Every once in a while (often) I post questionable pictures of my kids on social media. “Greatparents probably wouldn’t do this, but this is the best part of being an “ok” mom.  This week I was mommy-shamed on Instagram over one of these “questionable” pics.  I’ve been mommy-shamed before, but that’s usually just my mom yelling at me about my Facebook posts.  My mother has every right to call me out for my sometimes questionable judgment, and in most cases, she has a point, but being mommy-shamed by a stranger on social media kinda pisses me off.  Now, I make fun of my kids publically.  I post embarrassing pictures of them.  I also make fun of myself and post my own embarrassing pictures (as long as the picture shows off my good side).  I am very open about my life and the fun, sweet, disturbing, challenging, and cringe-worthy parts about being a mother.  One of the hardest times I had was potty training Olivia.  It was about two years of suck and I am heading towards this challenge again with Brooke.  I decided to get her a new training potty the other day so she could at least start getting used it.  It’s the Minnie Mouse one with the handle that goes “yay” when you flush, just like we had for Olivia, and that led me to think that I would like a round of applause when I flush my own toilet.  Anyway,  I took her into the bathroom, pulled down her pants, and sat her down on it, fully diapered.  She was so cute and made some silly faces, so I took some pictures, of course.  Then we flushed the handle and clapped, and I really have no idea if Brooke even knew what was going on

I then posted this picture to Instagram on my @thegirlmommy account (follow me!):


I’m sorry, but that face is priceless.  However, not everyone thought so.  Here is the mommy-shaming comment and my reply:


Let’s go through this step by step, shall we?  First, don’t say that you “hate to be this person”.  Clearly you don’t or you wouldn’t be posting this comment.  If you truly hated to be this person, you could have private messaged me.  Second, any photo we post of our children violates their privacy. If you are offended by a picture of my fully clothed child making a cute face who just so happens to be sitting on the shitter, please, report me. I will then look at your profile, find a picture of one of your kids making a funny face, comment that your kid will hate you in 15 years, then unfollow back. Because I am that petty.  We as parents have to use our judgement when it comes to social media, and although my judgement is shoddy at best because I’m really just an ok mom, Bubba was fully clothed and could have been sitting on anything.  Also, I plan to instill a sense of humor in my children.  Like I replied back to her, if my mom had a picture of me like that, I would totally embrace it.  Lastly, don’t tell me you are unfollowing me.  I know people say that as a dig and that it should hurt my feelings, but it doesn’t.  I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and you don’t have to like me.  In fact, there a probably going to be a lot of people who have a problem with me after this post (or any other post), and that’s ok too

Speaking of mommy-shaming, I really have had my fair share.  I was booted out of a very popular Facebook breastfeeding group because I gave Olivia both breastmilk and formula.  Man, some of those die-hard breastfeeding women can be bitches!  I had many issues that contributed to my decision to stop breastfeeding both my children before the one month mark and some women made me feel like a pariah. And in truth, my reasons why I stopped breastfeeding are no one’s business (50% medical, 50% sleep – judge away breastfeeding truthers!).  Just look at my kids.  Both are off the charts in growth and Brooke is super fat.  Them kids are getting fed.

However long a mother decides to breastfeed is a deeply personal decision in which many factors come into play, but since we’re on the topic, breastfeeding a first grader is fucking weird. The argument that mothers in other countries breastfeed their 6 year olds is just not valid. Sure there are some, like maybe 1% in Namibia, but they are the anomaly. Will I judge you?  Yes. Do I think it’s wrong?  That’s not for me to decide. Would I be friends with someone who breastfed their 8 year old?  No, but just because we probably wouldn’t have much to talk about.

My husband was in Spain when I gave birth to number two.  He came home a week later then left again for five weeks about two weeks later (does that make sense?  Basically he was gone the whole time).  Although I had a lot of help due to amazing family and friends, it was hard as hell taking care of a newborn and an almost three year old all on my own, especially when said almost three year old was very pissed off that I destroyed her world by bringing home a baby who would try to take all of my time away from her.  I had to remind Olivia that we did this for her, that we wanted her to have a playmate, and that having a second child would make our lives so much easier when Brooke was old enough to play with Olivia and Rich and I could just lay on the couch and binge-watch Vanderpump Rules.  Anyway,  I am often on my own with the girls for weeks at a time, and I know many mothers have to do this as well, and no matter what kind of mom they are, we have one thing in common and that is we are badass moms.  All moms who love and care for their children are badass moms.  Sometimes I might swear when I yell at my kids, I feed them ice cream for dinner every once in a while, I let them watch Game of Thrones, and Brooke’s lullabye is “Low” by Flo Rida.  This is probably what makes me the World’s Okayest Mom, but more than anything, I know that I’m a totally badass mom, and I would rather be that then be Mother of the Year any day.




All About Bubba and the Thing on Her Head

Baby Brooke has a big, red, angry looking tumor on her big, bald, beautiful head. It’s the size of a half dollar and raised about a centimeter (I could be totally off on this measurement), and luckily, totally benign. It’s called a Strawberry Hemangioma. The only other child I had seen with one of these was my cousin’s daughter.  It was right on her forehead and above her eye so they removed it when she was around two.  Bubba has hers right on top of her head. It’s towards the back but raised enough that you can see it straight on. And thanks to my children not growing hair until they’re two, it’s definitely noticeable looking down at her. As she’s short, everyone can see it.


Looks kinda gross, right?  It started out as a small, flat red spot on the top of her head but started growing pretty rapidly once she was eight weeks old.  It’s definitely scary when your brand new child sprouts a tumor on her head, or anywhere else, but thanks to Dr. Google I didn’t freak out too much.  At her next doctor appointment, the actual doctor confirmed Dr. Google’s diagnosis and told me it will likely go away by the time she’s ten, and besides, her hair will cover it.

What?  Ten?!  And hair?  My children don’t start growing hair until they’re two, so that wasn’t comforting.  As Rich and I watched it grow along with her, getting bigger and bigger with her monthly Facebook update posts (I’m three months old today!), we started to think about ways to treat it (i.e. put our precious second child under general anesthesia due to a cosmetic issue our baby has).  We didn’t want to be the parents that had the kid with the “thing on her head”.  We didn’t want to be the parents people talked about, saying “Kelly and Rich’s new baby is so cute, too bad she’s got that thing on her head”.

Luckily, once you know Bubba for over 30 seconds, you don’t see the lump on her head anymore. You see a ridiculous, hysterical, chubby little baby girl with a bad attitude and a pacifier addiction.

Big red tumor aside, Brooke really is a fun baby.  She’s generally a very happy baby (attitude aside, but that’s for another post), but she’s always destructive.  With Olivia, we really didn’t need to baby proof the house at all. I had outlet covers and all the usual stuff, but she was never one to try to touch the stove or walk out the front door. I felt confident that Brooke would be the same since she was a girl and girls were less destructive than boys.  Turns out, its not the sex of the child that determines if they will love to fuck shit up.  It’s the child.

At first, Bubba was quite an easy baby.  She slept through the night by 8 weeks, would just hang around and watch what was going on, and had no interest in doing things quickly or hitting those milestones all of us parents worry about.  When Olivia rolled over for the first time at four months, crawled at six months, walked at ten months, I thought we had a super-baby on our hands and she was going to be the quickest, smartest girl in the world.  Turns out, those milestones really don’t mean anything.  That kid was still shitting her pants at three and a half years old.  So when Brooke was seven months old and still hadn’t rolled over, I wasn’t too worried.  She was just content to lay on the floor and watch what was going on around her, which I was fine with as it made my job much easier.

She started to crawl at some point.  I really don’t remember what month it was (is that bad?), but I do remember the first thing she did was find the one outlet that was not covered up because I had just unplugged my laptop from it, and she tried to stick her finger in it.  Needless to say, once Bubba became mobile, shit got real.

Fancy things break.  Food items get smashed and melted into some sort of fabric.  TV remotes get lost/broken/wet/slimy.  Makeup items get painted all over the bathroom walls and counter.  Crayons get all over couches and walls.  iPhones get cracked.  Many things get into the toilet.  Toilet paper gets everywhere.  A common occurrence in our house is:  we see two kids.  We turn around for less than a second.  We see one kid.  We hear a crash/scream/bang or the worst, silence, and out comes baby Brooke from the scene of the crime, which is usually our room.

Another part of Brooke’s overall awesomeness is how fat she is.  I really do love me a fat baby and Bubba is everything I could ever dream of.  Olivia was a fat baby but once she started crawling she thinned out quick.  Not Bubba.  This baby runs around more than Olivia did and she’s still fat as hell.  She loves her food.*  The first time she rolled over was for a chicken tender:

IMG_1584 (1)

By one year Brooke had 18 teeth and I swear she did that on purpose so she could chomp down on a hamburger.

Bubba Burger

I’ve never seen anything like it.  Brooke is just hysterical in everything she does.  Yes, she may have a big red lump on her head, but when I think about the day that its either completely gone or just covered up by hair, I will totally miss it.  That hemangioma is a part of her story and I don’t even see it when I look at her.  There are certainly times that I wish it wasn’t there, especially when people stare, but that’s normal and human.  Anything outside the norm is going to get a reaction but its how we handle that reaction that counts.  When I see a child stare at it, I always just tell them what it is.  Some kids will straight up ask what’s on her head and the parents always have the same reaction, which is apologetic.  Young kids are curious and rarely come with filters, so it does not bother me when they ask.  I assure the parent that it’s ok and then explain to the child what it is.

I’m amazed, however, at how many people do know what it is.  So many people have come up to me saying either they had one, their kid had one, or they knew someone with a strawberry hemangioma.  I love when people talk to me about it.  Please, ask questions!  Don’t talk behind our back!  I’ll tell you it’s ugly!  Now, its easy for me to say that because Brooke has no idea that she has one or what it is, so if it was still there when she gets older and goes to school, I would hate to have her being picked on or made fun of because of it. That’s where I know we are lucky because some children have them on their face, and some of those never go away.  If Brooke’s never goes away, at least it will eventually be covered up with hair (and really, I would totally have it removed by then anyway).  Not everyone is so lucky.  There are so many worse things in this world that a baby can be born with, and the fact that this is benign is a Godsend.  So yes, my baby has a thing on her head.  Its big and red and ugly, and we can only hope with treatment that it goes away without surgery, but hey, we are some lucky-ass parents to have such an amazing, funny, adorably mischievous and beautiful baby girl like Bubba.

I love Jesus, but I swear a lot

I love Jesus ,but I swear a lot.  I saw a version of that sentence on one of those someecards floating around years ago and I immediately decided it was going to be my Real Housewives tagline.  It was written explicitly for me and I should probably get it tattooed on my body.

I think a lot of us agree that using swear words is fun. If you don’t agree with this statement then this may not be the right mom blog for you. I learned all about swearing at a young age because my dad is a huge sports fan who actually believes the players and coach of the team he’s watching can hear him through the television. Not only would he swear a lot, but it was loudly. And because he’s a Tampa sports fan, there’s A LOT of yelling at the tv. We recently had to teach Olivia all about Papa’s football yelling.  One day when we were over, Papa was in his sports room watching the Bucs. Right when Olivia decided she wanted to go in and see Papa, something bad happened in the game and Papa yelled. Loudly. Probably said fuck a few times. And fired the coach through the tv. Olivia came running back to my mother crying because Papa yelled. “Aww baby it’s just the Bucs causing Papa to yell. They’re really bad this year.”  When the Bucs play, it’s best to be in another room or just not be at their house at all.

My mother, on the other hand, rarely swears. Maybe I’ve heard her swear five times in my life, only when she’s really really mad, and never at me (well, maybe once). My mom is what you would call a “classy lady”. She got this from her amazingly beautiful and classy mother, but no matter how hard she tried, even sending me to etiquette school, I just did not inherit that gene. Which means that there are many times she has been absolutely horrified by me.

So let’s do an aside here on how I have horrified my mother just in the past few years (going back further would result in a memoir, and really, that’s her story to tell):

I called my two year old daughter an asshole. Not to her face (that time), just in conversation about the way she was behaving. There was no other word for it, and it felt amazing to call her that behind her back.  Calling children assholes is an incredible release.  If I hear another mother refer to her children as assholes, I immediately invite her over for wine night.

My Mom: “I can’t believe you would call your daughter an asshole”. Now, let’s pause there for a second. My mom really can’t believe that I would call my daughter an asshole? It’s either confidence in me that I will one day get my shit together and be a proper lady, or complete denial. I love that woman.

When I was pregnant with Olivia, Rich and I dressed up for Halloween as a trailer trash couple, full of my large belly hanging out. I got this text from my mom after she saw the pics on Facebook:

“I can’t believe you would disgrace your pregnancy with that horrible costume! Take that picture down. What if your aunt saw that?” (I checked Facebook to see if I still had it up but I listened to my mom and actually deleted it.  However, my raised Catholic mother had no problem with me dressing up as the Virgin Mary and Rich as Jesus the year before).

Halloween 2011

When I posted a picture of my 4 year old standing in front of our Christmas tree with just her underwear and a Santa hat. Mom thought it was tasteless. I thought it should be next years’ Christmas card. You can form your own opinion:

Olivia Christmas

She also blames me for my husband’s lack of taste or discretion on social media. Here’s a list of his posts I got text messages on (that I can remember off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more):

Hillary Clinton in a star spangled bathing suit.

Hillary Clinton in a prison jumpsuit.

Hillary Clinton as Cersei Lannister during her walk of shame.

When he changed his Facebook profile picture to Donald Trump.

When he tried to appease her by changing his profile picture to a woman dressed in a vagina costume at one of the women’s rallies.

A picture of girls in Japan wearing flesh colored bathing suits.

A zit being popped.

Back to swearing. I really do love to say the F word. It just goes with everything, like a fine wine.  Or any wine, for that matter.  Shit is probably my favorite though and I’m starting to use it to refer to poop a lot more lately, which is obviously not good for my girls:  “did you shit your pants again baby Brooke?”.  Asshole is a great swear word too, as “what an asshole!” just flows so easily.  I used to be very careful about swearing as I am, believe it or not, a Christian, but as I grew older and wiser, I’ve decided that being a good Christian has nothing to do with swearing (besides saying the Lord’s name in vain. I fucking love an angry “G— Damnit, but I try to limit that as much as possible). Swear words are just words. Just a few letters put together to make sounds.

Obviously the issue with swearing is doing it around my children.  I never realized how young kids are when they start picking up on these words, and just knowing inherently they’re bad. I really thought I had more time.  Olivia was barely two when she used the word “shit” in the right context. When that happens, it’s hard to one: not laugh, and two: not be totally impressed. After my husband and I tried to hide our laughs, we told Olivia that shit is a potty word and it’s not nice to use.  Like responsible parents.  It’s not just words either.  A few months before this, Rich left work earlier than I did and would pick up Olivia from daycare and wait for me to get home.  He was starting getting into Dexter around this time and would binge watch it while Olivia played with her toys.  What she was really doing was paying attention to everything that was going on and this lead to Olivia trying to stab him  in the leg with a butter knife one day while he was doing dishes.  Funny, not funny.

I’ve tried using “fudge” for a while but its just not the same, and when I’m really angry it’s hard to remember to use it.  I do like how they swear in the Kristen Bell/Ted Danson show The Good Place, saying “fork you” and “holy forking shirtballs!”.  If I were to calm down my incessant swearing, I can totally be down with “fork off”.  (Side note – that show is awesome, watch it).

Swearing doesn’t make you a bad person, a bad Christian, or a bad parent.  Sometimes it just happens and there’s nothing you can do about it.  As long as we teach our kids that “Mommy/Daddy/Papa got a little upset and are sorry for saying those potty words” and that they should not say those words as it’s not polite, especially in school, you’re good (I’ll try this next time…).  Yes, try to practice restraint when you can, but really, curse words are fucking awesome and if that means I won’t be nominated for Mother of the fucking Year, well, that’s just one reason out of many.

Day 31…

Day is January 31st, so I am officially off Whole30.  So, how did I do?  What am I reintroducing first?  Would I do it again?  Well, those are great questions, thank you, and read below to find the answers.

Week One – not so bad.  See week one post.

Week Two – hell.  See week two post.

Weeks 3 & 4 – plagued with stomach flu, and the actual flu.  So, a different kind of hell.

Week two is awful for everyone and the only thing that keeps us going is the thought of Tiger Blood in week three.  I expected to feel great on the Sunday starting my third week, but I felt awful.  I had no energy and felt like I was severely lacking nutrients.  I cursed the Whole30 and decided that I was not eating enough and I would become malnourished.  On Monday I felt even worse, then starting vomiting all night.  Oh, that’s why I wasn’t feeling well.  Stomach flu hit our family hard and anything I tried to eat just came back up.  At one point I searched my fridge for anything I could keep down, compliant or not, and I came up with Activia yogurt that I bought for my husband.  I ate it and kept it down, and cared less that I was cheating.  I needed those probiotics in my gut and I did feel a little better after eating it.   I would be damned if an Activia yogurt was going to start me over on my Whole30 journey, so I decided it didn’t count and I moved on.

I felt better in a few days, plus I added Vital Proteins Collagen Protein (Whole30 approved!) as well as an avocado a day, and I did feel a few days of Tiger Blood.  I felt stronger than I had in a long time, and I do think adding those two sources of fat and protein helped a lot.  I would say I got a good week of feeling decent until the flu hit our family about 10 days after we got the stomach flu.  We all had it, except for the baby, who got her flu shot, and only now, after four days, do I feel slightly better.  There’s definitely a sense of being run down, but its not terrible.  On the thirtieth day I had a few bites of a grilled cheese my husband made us all.  Comfort food, when we needed comforting.  It didn’t taste as good as I remembered.

So, my Whole30 was a bit of a mess but I do feel I received a ton of benefits.  I learned a few new ways to cook, I understand how my body reacts to certain foods, and I really like the idea of staying on a Paleo-type diet.  I haven’t had pizza in over 30 days and I am totally ok!  I don’t crave it at all.  I’m sure I will have a slice again sometime soon, but I don’t expect to search it out.  I feel like cheese made me feel bloated and weighed down, and although I love it, I’m going to try to stay away.

I think, in normal life, the 80/20 rule works well.  Eat 80% healthy, and save the 20% for special occasions, a once a week treat, or a wine night.  A Whole30 diet isn’t really sustainable, but I do think its good to do once or twice a year to clean out your body.  At least the second time around you know what’s coming.  So would I do it again?  Yes.  I would like to do it again in 4-6 months and hopefully stay away from sickness so I can really go clean.  Would I recommend it for everyone?  Sure, if you have no underlying health concerns.

Oh, and the reintroduction phase?  Well, I ate three sour patch kids today and they were delicious.  Plus half a Publix doughnut.  It was amazing, but tomorrow starts my Whole30-lite/Paleo 80/20.  The 20% will be used on alcohol this weekend.  🙂

Two Weeks into Whole30

Today is my 14th day on Whole30. For me, this is an amazing accomplishment. I went my birthday without eating cupcakes and drinking wine. I haven’t had Swedish Fish, ice cream, or even an organic gummy bear in two weeks. I have spinach, kale, and avocado every day. This is the healthiest I’ve ever eaten in my entire life and I know that the promised Whole30 “Tiger Blood” is on it’s way. At least it better be, because frankly, these past two weeks fucking sucked.

Week one wasn’t terrible. There is always an excitement when you start something new with equally enthusiastic people whom you like, and knowing that they are going through the same tiredness, food boredom and sugar headaches you are helps in the complaining department. I certainly can’t complain to my husband or parents, as to them this was my choice and if I don’t like it, just stop it. Well, this doesn’t work that way. At least I don’t.

I didn’t really get any sugar headaches. There was maybe one mild one but nothing that was dire. I’ve heard of people getting headaches for days and almost quitting due to that, but surprisingly I was fine. I ate so much sugar the month before so I took that as a blessing. I was tired and my workouts were weak, but that was to be expected. I think the worst “side-effect” I got was my absolute stabbiness. I was so quick to snap at my loved ones and the fact that my poor husband hasn’t left to stay at a friends house for the rest of the month shows his true support of this endeavor.

Now let’s talk about week 2. What a fucking nightmare. I started this post a few times during week two but they were mostly paragraphs of swear words and incoherent babbling about my wanting to take a nap and never eat an egg again. (I’m throwing in a few “potty” words in this post as an homage). Day nine was when things got bad. I woke up exhausted and felt like my muscles had atrophied. Getting out of bed, getting my kids ready for school/daycare, taking them to school/daycare, then having to interact with humans the rest of the day took everything I had. Luckily I worked from home. Somehow I was able to force myself to go to Cardio Strength class that night, as Tuesday the whole family goes to the gym together, and it was during that class I decided to quit Whole30. I was done. I had nothing prepared for dinner, I was incredibly tired, and I desperately wanted alcohol. I figured we would make a Chick-fil-a run on the way home, I would get grilled chicken nuggets so I was still somewhat healthy, then finish my night off with a glorious glass of wine. When class ended and I started talking to my Whole30 friends, I knew I wasn’t going to do it. I ended up going through the Wendy’s Drive-thru for the kids and getting myself three plain baked potatoes. Then I went home and made eggs. Again. I passed that test.

You would think the universe would have rewarded me for my extreme mental determination the night before, but no. It didn’t. I woke up on day 10 feeling like I got hit by a bus. Worse, I had a very long work day ahead of me that had me meeting partners that needed to like me. When I got to their office, the first thing I saw were the beautiful Publix doughnut assortment laid out on the conference table. Agony. I drank my black coffee and pretended that I was a smart, kind person that anyone would want to give their business to. Lunch was worse. It was a place known for it’s local, organic fare, but that included gluten-free pastries and cheesecakes of so many kinds. I had a very plain salad and another black coffee. I was miserable, but I made it through the day with no casualties.

Day 11 I woke up less feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, and more like I was side-swiped by a healthy, fit and energetic cyclist who, after swiping me, gave me the finger. Progress.

Each day did get a little better energy-wise, plus I was less stabby which was a blessing for all. My workouts weren’t leaving me drained and I woke up with less hate in my heart. In fact, there was some real positivity creeping in. I could see that my skin was starting to look pretty good and I felt thin and never bloated. Maybe too thin though. I could tell I was losing too much weight so I did the one of the things they tell you not to do: I weighed myself. I felt I had good reason in that I wasn’t doing this to lose weight, just a few holiday pounds, and I definitely didn’t want to lose muscle, so I needed a numerical gauge. I had lost 9 pounds. This was too much so I knew I had to add more fat into my diet, which led to eating an avocado a day and a lot of nuts. Not a bad thing.

Even though my weight had dropped, I think a good five pounds was bloat from all the sugar and carbs I had been sustaining myself on for, well, years. When I look at my body today, I see thin but I also see more tone. I look and feel stronger. I was able to do the “bird” or “crow” pose in Body Flow on day 13 for about 3 seconds, and I had never done it before. That felt amazing.

So today, Day 14, how do I really feel? Decent. Better. There are noticeable changes and I can feel a few benefits. Tiger Blood? No, not yet, but here and there I have moments where I feel something like it. The next few days are when you’re really supposed to feel it but I’m not counting on it happening that soon. What I realized is I have spent the last 37 years sustaining on sugar and bread, and my body now has to learn to burn fat and healthy carbs to maintain. Maybe I was fit before, but I wasn’t eating nutritiously and doing what was best for my body. I think this is why I had such a rough week two, and why Tiger Blood could possibly be delayed a few days. It’s there, ready to come out, but I think my body wants to be totally sure I’m really really doing this before it gives me my reward. Imagine how confused it must be: All these vegetables! This protein that didn’t come from a powder or bar! No alcohol! No dessert! Too good to be true!

Do I feel jealous when I see those around me eating cupcakes and having an ice cold beer? Yes, but I made a choice, and that choice only lasts 30 days. I can have that cupcake in just a few weeks, if I really want it, but who knows? Maybe I won’t even want it by then (we’ll see about that). I’ve learned I can say no to something, that I won’t die or even be in any physical pain by not having a cupcake. I can survive motherhood for a few weeks without having a glass of wine or two. I can cook! And it’s really not that hard! I’ve learned that my body needs a lot of fuel to keep it going, but how I feel depends on the type of fuel I feed it. I know when I’m actually hungry and not just bored. I can easily stop a craving by switching my mind to something else. I can talk myself out of even licking French fry grease off my fingers after I hand one to the baby. If this is all that happens, if this is all I get, then Whole30 was/is a total success, but I know there’s more. My life is already changed dramatically in two weeks, and I know that by completing this challenge, I will have accomplished something I never thought I could do. The mental achievement of Whole30 could easily surpass the physical benefits. Because now, now it’s mental. Now that my body is somewhat “recovered”, it’s my mind that will need to get me through to the end. Here’s to keeping my sanity!