A few months ago, I asked a question on Chairman Mom about taking my kids skiing for the first time. Beyond CM, I’ve been asking this question to people since the kids could walk. I got a lot of answers, but no one really spoke to the question I was really asking, because I wasn’t really thinking of the question I was really asking.
It wasn’t about taking some California kids up to Tahoe and putting them in a ski camp. That is—in and of itself—hardly an unfathomable concept. What was unfathomable to me was the world of skiing and what it signifies.
“We the people in order to preserve a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility…Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and then secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and esssstaaaabbllllish this Constitution…Of the United States of Ahhhhhhmerica!”
I have been able to recite—or rather sing—the preamble to the United States Constitution for most of my life, thanks to Schoolhouse Rock. I just did that from memory. (I think it’s mostly right…)
Today was just one of those mornings. I had no idea how I was going to get out of bed, let alone gather homework folders together, get the kids dressed, finish making lunch. (Did I already cut and wash the strawberries? Please tell me I did that last night… )
I was already regretting taking the Advil PM last night. That had to be part of the problem. And yet, what was the alternative? The night before I had full-on anxiety dreams about pitching VCs while also hiding that Paul and I were illegal spies. That’s what I get for falling asleep working on pitch decks while watching The Americans.
Last fall, I wrote a newsletter intro about singing “Unknown Legend” to my kids and how they firmly believed Neil Young had written the song about me and how Eli wanted to know how he got my hair color wrong and how Evie wanted to know where I keep my motorcycle.
Fast forward six months or so and singing “Unknown Legend” has become a full performance in our house. But not by me.
You may remember that Eli and Evie (but mostly Eli) are obsessed with the I Heart Guts organ stuffies. One-by-one the organs have taken over lines of the song, so that now it’s become a full stuffy musical, with the bunk beds made into a proscenium stage. It’s our family’s low-budget version of the “Lonely Goatherd” and special sitters and friends get their own custom performance. There’s only one line I still sing. We haven’t figured out what organ could sing, “The chrome and steel she rides” so let me know if you have a clever suggestion and I’ll just innovate myself out of another job.
Like a lot of women, I apologize a lot. I over-apologize for sure. But as I’ve argued before, it’s not necessarily something I’m trying to change about myself. I don’t necessarily think it’s a sign of weakness, because I don’t accept that male-established norms of strength are actually signs of strength. I don’t see anything wrong with extra politeness.
The other day I was pulling in my garage after dropping my kids at school. A dad was riding bikes with his daughter on the sidewalk singing, “Going to school! Going to school! Going to school!” as they went. They had to pause while I pulled my massive minivan into my tiny SF garage.
It’s equal parts disturbing and funny to me when I find myself saying things my parents used to say to me. It feels almost like an out-of-body Freaky Friday experience to hear yourself being the thing you used to be so annoyed by almost as if you had no control over it. The words just slip out via some sort of pre-programmed parent soundbite auto-pilot. And you’re like “Did I really just say, ‘Do as I say, not as I do?’” What happened to me?
The other day I found myself saying to Evie, “Watching TV after dinner isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, Evie.” Only this time, it wasn’t just me who found my parent-speak jarring.
On Monday, I got a note from a Chairman Mom member who had asked a question a few weeks ago, and it hadn’t been posted yet. She was anxious to know if it was coming up, why it hadn’t gone up yet, and—mostly—just anxious to get answers from the amazing, amazing Chairman Mom community she has come to rely on.
Her question was scheduled for this coming Friday, but I moved it up. Problem solved for her, but there is a bigger problem. It’s one of those “good problems to have”: Our growth rate has been exploding this year.
When I was reading Carrie Fisher’s A I highlighted a line about working out: “I hate doing it, but I love having done it.” I said to Paul, “That’s exactly how I feel about working out.”
But as soon as I said it, I realized, that’s how I used to feel about working out. I actually enjoy it much of the time now. I spent a week doing various workouts as part of my usual routine, and made a point to be mindful about how I felt during them.
The results were surprising, and have made me wonder about the benefits of enjoying a work out during the workout. Conversely: Does hating a work out while you are working out mean it’s the one you need most? Should I enjoy working out if I’m doing it right?
I have spent the last year slowly but surely breaking my addiction and habits around social media. Like a lot of people, I found that it was making me unhappy, giving me more anxiety, and becoming a time suck I couldn’t afford as a working mom who needs every moment to be productive. Unlike Paul, I didn’t go cold turkey. I just made steady changes until I suddenly realized that I had broken most of those hardwired habits.
First, I cut Twitter out of my life, closing my browser windows that stayed open and taking the app off my phone. I used to spend at least two hours a day on Twitter. Now I don’t even spend more than 10 minutes a month on Twitter.
I’m crushing my New Year’s resolutions so far this year. Working out like a fiend, Chairman Mom is on fire, I’ve read almost 20 books so far this year, sending flowers to a different amazing woman every month, cooking healthy meals almost every night and I’m working on my tourist Spanish a little bit every day via Duolingo. I haven’t gotten as far as I could have on the macro goal of getting my personal finances in shape, but I did get life insurance checked off the list, so that’s something. And it’s only February. (Help in large part to these Chairman Mom threads and the small groups that jumped off of them!)