Friday, September 23, 2016

Kelly's Hot Mess Celebrates 5-Years!

Five years ago, this week, I sat down with my computer and a strong Americano at a midtown Starbucks and wrote this:


Here I am... 



So the other morning, I walked by the mirror and realized, I'm a 36-year old wife and mother of three little ones.  I live in a white house with black shutters and a red door.  I make oatmeal and wash dishes and read lots and lots of stories and change lots and lots of diapers.  I drive kiddos to school, church, ballet, music, basketball, and their friends' houses.  I admire art work, dance moves, kind words, and gooey brownie fingers.  I shun hitting, eye-rolling, cruel words, and video games.  And late at night, when I have disposable energy, I wonder, how did I get here?

Yesterday or 14 years ago, I was reading philosophy texts, drinking beer, chatting it up with girl friends, wondering if I would get married, hoping I would get a really good job offer and firmly believing that I would never move back to Omaha, Nebraska.

I used to make fun of the women that I babysat for...they wore sweater sets from Talbots, faded pleated pants, the same pearl earrings, and drove station wagons or mini vans.  Most needed a highlight at best and some needed significant work like a lip wax or a personal trainer.  Everyone of them were so thankful to see me pull up in the driveway and after a few brief reminders encouraged me to eat anything I wanted in the house...I think they just really wanted me to come back.  They all seemed so old.  I used to giggle with my girlfriends about who had cute husbands and who had fat ones.  Which ones seemed really in love and which ones got the short-end of the stick.  Either way, I couldn't imagine that one day, someone would call me, "Mrs. so and so" and tell me that the kids would be just fine while I pulled out of the driveway.

I think it's funny that I got my master's degree in Conflict Resolution.  When I was actively practicing, I used to mediate other people's differences...i.e. Landlord/Tenant cases, Neighbor barking dog issues, Divorcing couples, Employer/Employee tensions...etc.  Now, I just seem to mediate my own internal do I evolve in this new season of my life and also retain that which I claim to be vital to my soul?

And because I've been writing in my head for the last fours year (ever since I became a full-time stay-at-home mom), I've decided to create this blog...primarily, as an outlet for me to reclaim my voice (outside of "use your inside voice") and also as an opportunity for me to connect with others who may relate.  The truth is that the dynamic between like-minded individuals is what I missed the most about writing in my journal.  And sometimes, the facebook fragments are just not enough.    So, here I am.

I'm not sure how often I'll write.  I'm not terribly concerned about being offensive or liked.  I just want to hear my voice again as I hit the key strokes.  I want to be reminded that I am here...all parts of me, not just those that care take for others.

I'm grateful for the hot mess that I find myself in most days because it reminds me that I am alive.  I may be covered in puke, exhausted from an all-night marathon with a baby, or wearing a size that I  reserved for a middle-aged woman...but I'm here.  I'm doing it.  And, honoring the journey...


I had no idea, really no idea, what it meant to author a blog.  Since that decision, I've published 617 posts--most of which revolve around the crazy making of being a stay-at-home wife, mother, runner, writer, conflict resolutioner, f-bomb dropper, inappropriate content lover, coffee and wine drinker, podcast listener who is just trying to do the next right thing.

I've shared the deaths of my grandfather and taken much too soon cousin.  I've hinted at masturbation in the sauna of a local gym.  I've chronicled my 40-pound weight loss journey and transformation into a marathoner.   I've plastered nearly every insane act that all three of my children have subjected me to from the time my oldest was six years old and my baby was 9-months old...she just went off to kindergarten.

I've talked about my deepest desire to become an author and shared pieces of my poetry and prose.  I've centered quotes on inspiration, motivation, hope, power, triumphing over the unknown, fear, and belief in the impossible.  I've showered pictures of my family, friends all while talking about the craziness of managing it all and trying to stay awake while having sex--the struggle is real.

I've shared painful posts about drunk driving, making peace with your body, learning to surrender and remembering that you're never alone.

And through all of have been there.








Believing that sharing your voice and heart with the world matters.

At a time when I've wondered whether I should continue publishing the blog, my 41-year old self says to you, if I thanked you daily, it would not be enough.

Thank you for believing in me, for inspiring me, for teaching and stretching me...for disagreeing with me and for supporting me...for encouraging me to speak about the elephant in the room...for loving my family and for watching us grow...for calling me out when I haven't posted in a while...for letting me know that even though we may never see each other, that you're still the ether, reading and connecting from afar.

Here's to five years of Kelly's Hot Mess...what a beautiful journey it's been.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Your Voice

September 21, 2016

Dear Kate,

Last night, you curled up next to me in my bed with your latest Golden Sower book, excited to do all the voices, and to introduce me to a character that you can't get enough of.

I was so--so--so tired.  I awoke at 4am, only to discover that going back to sleep was not in the cards for me, worked the day at school and then spent the evening shuffling to and from activities.

I kept my eyes open as long as I could.  I just kept looking at you and listening to you.  Your whole face stood animated, alive, engaged--up until the point when you HAD to turn to garner one more delicious bite of chocolate ice cream.  You're so, so, so beautiful.  Really.  It astounds me.  The way that you say, "Wait, mama.  This--THIS--is the best part!" and then you tell me about hugging your sister because she got really hot on the playground and how you're worried that Sam just seems to be doing homework all the time and that you'll have pizza tomorrow, so I don't have to worry about making a cold lunch and that you really liked my polka dotted dress today.

So, when I woke up and saw that you were not there and realized that I had fallen asleep during your reading, I felt like a terrible mother.  I sheepishly, made my way into your room and apologized to which you retorted, "I was trying to ask you a contextual question and your mouth was open, but your eyes were closed.  You took away my voice."

Shit. Shit. Shit.

It was late.  You were tired and hurt and I was tired and hurt and so, I didn't get to say this.

If there is one promise, aside from fostering your faith on this earth, I will never, never, never keep you from finding, speaking, and nurturing your voice.  You have my word.

There is nothing more important than discovering who you are, what you care about, your lines in the sand, the places that you will show up to and the hills that you will die on.

I know what it feels like to be a young woman who is not recognized for her voice and it is a small, humiliating place to visit.  This land of power mongers is not for you.

You, my daughter, will have the support to grow your heart and your lungs and your mindset and your tribe, so that when the time comes to go to war, you will be on the field prepared for victory.

I will never squelch your voice or your dreams or your possibilities.

I am your advocate.

I am also human and tired and stretched and learning and trying.

So, forgive me when I need to refuel.  As you'll discover, most women are still trying to nurture their voice and the things that matter to them, well into their lifetimes.  And this forty one year old mother is no different.

I love you.  I believe in you.  And I'd love a second chance at hearing your voice tell the tale tonight.  I promise to keep my eyes open.

Love, Mama xo

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dear You

Dear You,

The one who smashed "the blue car" into bits.
I hate you.

Except, I really don't.

Hate is a word that I do not allow my children to use because for day-to-day living and in most situations, hate is too strong, too deep, too wounding of a word for what it means to just live life.

But you...

you who got into a car, shit-faced out of your mind, pulled out your phone, typed your friend a text while weaving down my street at one in the morning and as the air bags deployed...blasted yourself violently into my life.

You who threw off my week, my finances, my peace of mind, my plan, and me for a loop.

All of that and I don't even know you. 

Arrested on the scene with your third DUI, the only thing I really know is that instead of hating you, I should be grateful that our reliable, humble, gracious, old Honda took the blow alone and spared my family from being inside.

I should also be grateful that you were able to walk away to jail and not to a morgue.

I should count my lucky stars that there is such a thing as insurance and family members who let you borrow their car and loan you dough, if you need it.

I should run through all of the worst case scenarios of how it could have gone down, and stand in amazement that the angels were all with us that night, protecting everyone else on the road from your careless choice.

But I feel anger.  Just for a bit.  And, then I feel sad.  And then, I feel numb.

Most everyone I relay the story to tells me that your past is an indication that you won't stop, even if you lose your license for a very long time.

But praying in that pew at mass today, I believed that maybe this was your wake-up call and mine to do better.  To pick a different path.

I'm also not a fool.  Alcoholism is real.  It's not a farce or a thing to do better at.  It's a painful addiction that can destroy lives and bring families to their knees.  But for whatever reason, I think that people can change, only if and when they want to.

So, to you...

you out there, somewhere,

that my insurance company is trying to collect my deductible from...keep it. 

Use it to get better.  Know that there is a person out there that you have wounded who doesn't hate you or feel sorry for you or wish you would get your karmic comeuppance...this person is a mom with a family and a heart and a hope that this is the last time this ever happens in your life and in mine. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Imperfect Sea legs

The best I can say is that I'm trying to get my sea legs.

Today marks the second week that my kiddos have been in school and that I've been working at the school...just two days, so you wouldn't think that it's a big deal, but well, it's been a...

I'm learning how to maintain my stamina with 31 of my favorite second graders while helping my sixth, fourth and kindergartner to acclimate to new teachers, upcoming tests, lack of sleep and a new energy that hasn't been present for several months.

In an effort to blow off some steam and just get away from it all, I went to see Bad Moms.  I know I'm late to the party, but have you seen this movie?

Sweet Mary Mother of God, I laughed my arse off.

And while waiting to get into the theater, I shit you not, a group of hooch mamas rolled in (I only say hooch because they wore clothes that I could only dream of shimmying into) and pulled out a bottle of wine they loaded into their handbags to make the movie more interesting.

I remarked on the wedding ring of one of the girls saying, "Sweet Jesus...that's gorgeous!" to which her friend said, "I know right?!!!  She's getting married and clearly that's a rock to be proud of!  Versus (and she pulls up her own hand, points to her wedding ring) THIS...Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Nothing," laughs and walks away.

I'm not gonna lie.  I peed myself a little.

While I was watching the movie, I realized that I'm exhausted by living in a space of judgement, particularly as a mom.

For fuck sake, we are all just trying to do the best that we can and knowing the amount of self deprecating thoughts that run through our heads, the last thing we need is to worry about what the PTA president thinks of us; when it is that we last showered ourselves or our kids; how many Facebook friends we have; whether our kids bring Jimmy Johns for lunch or if we dropped the f-bomb in front of them.

And so, struggling to remind myself that I'm doing okay...not perfect, but okay...I mosied up the stairs after a long day to find this by my bedside.

Flowers from Claire.  Picked out of the backyard with a note addressed to Kelly.  "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.  You are the best mama."  Love, Claire Bear

And I lost it.  Maybe, it's all going to be okay.  Maybe, they love me in spite of me.  Maybe, they see something that I don't in me.  Maybe, I am enough.

Maybe, we're all bad moms and in admitting so, we put an end to the farce that perfectionism is possible in this mad dash to parent and to work and to clean and to love and to mess up and to disappoint even when you tried really hard not to.

Maybe, we could all just accept that it's hard and we're really lucky to get share our lives with these crazy rug rats who are probably turning into amazing human beings.

And that, imperfect sea legs are better than not trying at all.