Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy Valentines day, I think about divorce all the time.

When we fight, I think about what pieces of furniture I would take if we broke up. For the record, I definitely would want the large barnwood mirror in our bedroom and the teak side table from Bali. He could keep the shitty Ikea couch.

I want to say "we've been through a lot." But who hasn't. Marriage is hard and things happen. Every marriage has their own challenges: infidelity, home foreclosures, debt, death, raising kids or (as what happened with us, specifically, my husband) a traumatic brain injury, and it becomes even harder. Sometimes, even, unbearable. Even 3 years later. Especially, 3 years later.

This past year particularly, has been challenging in a lot of ways. We had a baby after the brain injury and life got even crazier but also more awesome. I am still the sole "provider" as he re-integrates back into a career while having to reinvent himself along the way. None of it without its own daily challenges for all of us.

Some days are great, some days I want out. Although the "D" word is the one word neither of us are allowed to say unless we are prepared to do it. Thank god, we agreed that "fuck you" is totally fair game.

Then there are days I wonder why I'm still here, and others I wonder how I could ever think about leaving.

Shortly after Valentines Day I will turn 34. Around the same age my parents were when they divorced, granted, I was 14 at the time. Contrary to popular belief, my parents divorce didn't fuck me up. It was actually better. Although I was angry at their decision at first, two separate, happy-ish homes became much better than one dis-functional, unhappy-ish home.

But being a wife is hard. Personally, I still feel like I'm 18. So it doesn't always come so natural to live up to the expectations of a cross between Julia Child's cooking skills, Jenna Jameson's bedrooms skills and Mary Poppins mothering skills. After a long day at work with goldfish crackers crushed in my hair from the baby and a numbing pain from the Spanx, I really could give two shits less about anything other than a cold piece of pizza, granny panties and a hearty glass of wine.

We all have a threshold. I am not against divorce and I know, at this point in my life, never to say never. But for us "falling out of love," "growing apart," or "you've changed" are all things that have happened to us. In fact they've happened at least a few times in the 8 years, 2 kids, 1 brain injury and multitude of challenges we've faced. But we've fallen back in, grown back together and figured out how to deal with change because the only constant, IS change. Except for the annoying habits, those never go away.

So Valentines day is upon us and I don't know what we will be doing that day. We won't exchange gifts but we will probably eat dinner like we usually do. It will probably be thrown together, under or over cooked, with our kids interrupting our conversation, my husband yelling at the dog to stop begging, and me yelling at him to stop yelling. We will say Happy Valentines day and I love you and mean it, really mean it.

As for the recipe for success, I'm still searching. I can tell you it's not in Julia Child's cook book or even couples therapy, at least not that I've found. I'm pretty sure it's somewhere between stubbornness, determination and an underwear drawer and, for once, I think my husband would agree.

PS. I let Eric read this before I posted it and asked for his feedback.
His response: "I'm not getting a Valentines gift? That sucks."

PPS. I think the "Lifes a Potty" chapter of my life is coming to an end but I am working on a new blog project and will share soon. I figure I'd go out with my best toilet shot.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wherever you go, there you are.

Perhaps it's coming from a small town where everybody knows your business. (Ok, everybody is knee deep in your business.) I've learned through time and in living in the same city for 10 years now, that even a big city, becomes a small town. (If you live there long enough actually do shit.) That being said, for the longest time, I forgot about caring about being liked.

Now, as my kid is full swing in school (1st grade), and I've been in the same "town" for quite sometime, I find myself feeling insecure again.

E does 99.9% of Hudsons drop offs at school. As a result, when I do show up, I feel like an alien. The moms are chit chatting their school mom shit and I'm like "Hey, wow, it's hot today huh?" And then to make matters worse, the "room mom" who is at the epicenter of the moms, definitely does not like me or my kid. (Fact, just take my word for it.)

It's funny because aside from the few words we exchanged last year, she doesn't know me at ALL and I want to say "Hey, I have a story you know, I'd be here too (not 500 hrs a year because that just overboard and you need a life) but nonetheless, I HAVE to work."

But then why do I care?

I care because, I'm human.

So then, I go to pick up Hudson from the YMCA skate park after school and the instructor takes me aside to talk about, in his words, an "incident" that happened.

Basically, a kid bought Hudson some Skittles the other day and to "repay" him Hudson gave him some brand new Skate Deck (mini skateboard figures) and when the mom got word of this she was "confused" and "uncomfortable."

Basically I was told, no more gifts to kids. I walked away feeling 1. Like a complete pedophile and 2. Worried what the skate instructors and mom thought about me.

I could tell, Hudson was bummed on the whole situation and told me that we had to "tell dad the bad news." Yep, that's right Arterburns, no more gifts you CREEPS.
I'm not gonna lie, today spun me out a little. There were a million other story lines that ran through my head on what other people were thinking but I won't bore you with those. Lets just say, we are all hard on ourselves, and when you have kids, just multiply it by infinity.

So maybe I'm being sensitive to the fact that, I feel like I'm never 100% vested in anything I'm doing during the day and because being a working mom is fucking hard and we should really be nicer to each other.

Especially that bitch who clearly doesn't like me.....whoever she is.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Moon

Man, it's been a while since I've been on here. Life with 2 kids is busy. I haven't been feeling the blog thing for a while. I'm thinking I want to re-invent it but I haven't quite figured "it" out yet.

Tonight's a new moon and its a good time to set intentions each month on the new moon. E calls it "woo woo." I call it optimistic.

Today I feel more like myself. I went for a run, I think that's why. The pounds are just not coming off post baby like they did 6 years ago. Its not the end of the world, but I'm looking forward to the fall more than ever.

This last month we traveled to Bali to visit our friends who have been living there for the past 3 years. People told me I was crazy to travel with a 7 month old, a 5 yr old and a recovering brain injured husband. I almost believed them. But, it was amazing. Sometimes, you just have to do the thing that scares you. And we did.

Hudson turns 6 on Saturday. Quinn just started crawling and I leave for Europe in 1 week for work.

I'll miss Hudson's first day of 1st grade. When I told him he said " Mom, I don't care." Whew. Cross that off the mothers guilt list. (Until he screws up in junior high and throws it back at me that it's because I missed his first day of 1st grade.)

I'm sure Ill miss a few new things that Quinn does as well, as she seemingly changes daily. But, I'm excited for my trip across the pond. No work/life balance to manage. Just me and my girlfriends (from work), some meetings, a few Danish pastries and a private pee or two.

A few Bali pics...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's been a bit quiet on the blog. In part because it is way busier with a 2nd child. Also because I haven't really been in the mood (had enough wine) to write.

It's been a wild ride, the last 6 months. Having a baby is hard. Marriage is hard. Being a working mom is hard. Being a married, working mom with multiple children and a brain injured husband is really fucking hard.
But...I'm getting through it. WE are getting through it. All of us.

I am thinking about changing the blog title from "Life's a Potty" to "Life's-a-fricken-mazing-everyday-feels-like-a-holiday.".....just to see what happens.

When days are difficult, my kids give me signs that everything will be o.k. like yesterday- when I had to rush home from a long day at work to get to a school meeting. I piled the kids in the car, drove to the park, strapped Quinn on my front, grabbed Hudson's hand and walked through the park down to school. I was sweating as we were a little late (I hate being late), walking downhill through soft grass in 3 inch wedges and a pencil skirt and Hudson looks at me and says "Mom, you look great, I guarantee someone will tell you that when we get there."

No one did, but it was sweet anyway.

6 months.

I made him cover. He's a bit old for "bath"pictures.

H and Q.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

You're not the f$&@-& babysitter.

(Said all in fun folks...)

There were about 10 women, from all different directions, in all different places in in life: single, married, divorced, kids, no kids, one kid, grown kids.

In conversation, we discovered the one common factor was that most men seem to consider taking care of their children as "babysitting."

It's 2013 and the household "duties" have been blurred since the days of "Mad Men."
There are no set "roles" anymore. But one thing that hasn't changed is, men still think that watching their own kids is doing us a favor.

Well guess what... I work, I get my own oil changed, I wash your clothes and I still cook you dinner, so you you bet your ass, I expect you to change a dirty diaper or two without a complaint. If I want to have a glass of wine with a few girlfriends and only ask you to take care of 1 of our 2 children, you better do it and not ask for a hand out afterward. You're not the fucking babysitter.

Sorry guys, I'm taken.

Quinn's first concert.

Hunter and Q.

Vw envy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Perspiration and inspiration.

Good news! I figured out what is worse than having the flu while breastfeeding and entertaining a 5 year old at home. Ready....
Having the flu (both ends) while at work, standing for over 30 min waiting to talk to people, sweating....then puking in a hot car, in a bucket on my lap, while pumping.


Some less shitty news.....

(Something I found on another blog)
Dear new mother,
I know it doesn’t feel like it now…but you will sleep again.
You will eat in a nice restaurant again.
You will listen to adult music again.
You will wear red lipstick again.
You will drink wine with your girlfriends again.
You will talk – really talk – to your husband again.
You will vacation again.
You will feel less than utterly exhausted again.
You will find time to waste again.
You will read a book again.
You will wear skinny jeans again.
You will look at your body with pride again.
You will stay up past 10pm again.
You will take pictures of things not related to you again.
You will find time for you again.
But you will never love anything more than this again.

(Really? Because I don't think I ever need to go to work having to worry about shitting my pants but I'll go with it.)

Family portrait by Hudson. I'm the one in black. All black.

He's a man.

She's my favorite daughter.

One of my all time favorite pictures.

One of my all time favorite words. Pretty.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Raising kids is like backpacking in Europe.

Tonight I was going through some old photos to make into wall hangings. As I looked I couldn't help but reminisce about all of the memories that the photos represented, I realized that raising kids is a lot like backpacking in Europe.

Europe (in my 20's) was filled with the making of lifelong friendships, late nights, great unknowns, independence, pictures taken, new cultures explored, memories made....
However, in between all of those fantastic experiences, was sleeping on overnight trains, language barriers, money conversions, stresses of traveling with people, shitting in public, eating odd food, compromise, time changes, bad milk, etc.

Yet, I still came back and found myself saying things like "it was the best experience of my life" and "you should go."

Same thing with raising kids. Most days are not filled with champagne and exotic art but based on my experience thus far, I know, that after a few hard days (or years) I will look back on it and think fondly about our journey. Night trains, sour milk, language barriers and all.
I mean, just look at how far we've already come. Choo choo.

Hudson in 2008.

Almost 1 year ago.

Present day.