Actually, I can

share_temporyI saw this mug in Joann Fabrics when I stopped in to buy fabric to make my little Eva a pumpkin costume for Halloween.  

It was in the corral they make you walk through before you get to the registers.  It was nestled next to lots of other impulse purchase items.  Mod Podge, small inexpensive kid crafts, ribbon, you know, the Joann’s version candy bars and bubble gum.  

I knew what was happening.  Joann was trying to lure me in with that cute design and the price, $5, like exactly the highest amount I would ever consider paying for a mug.

I’ve fallen victim to impulse purchases before.  I mean, I have been to Target.  I see something and it looks so cute and I think of how it will be so amazing in my house and how I’ll feel so happy when I bring it home.  But you know how this story ends.  I bring said item home and immediately regret it because it’s not great quality, or it just doesn’t fit right or whatever.  

So, I was not going to be drawn in.  “I’m on to you Joann!  I’m not buying this mug.”

And I didn’t.  At first.  But then I went home and thought about it for a week.  I loved the colors and the pattern.  I imagined myself drinking my coffee in the morning, reading the mug and getting all the inspiration I needed to kick the day’s butt.  “Actually, I can.”  I mean, how great is that?  I can kick today’s butt.  And I will!

So I went back and bought it.  I brought it home, washed it and made myself a cup a coffee at 3 in the afternoon.  Because, “Actually, I can.”  I felt invigorated immediately.  

Except….it’s like a really big mug.  Like, it’s so big it’s kind of too big to hold with just one hand.  But, I refuse to admit this was one of those impulse buys; how can it be, I waited a week before I bought it!  I’ll just hold it with two hands.  Yes, it will warm my hands up on chilly, fall mornings.  Perfect.

Except…I mean, it’s really big.  When I pour a normal amount of coffee into the mug it barely passes the halfway mark.  So, it literally takes forever for the coffee to get to my mouth.  Ugh!  I don’t know, maybe this was an impulse buy.  

No!  I refuse to admit it.  

So, I’ve been forcing myself to use this ginormous mug and pretend like I really enjoy it.  

And I do, a little.  I still love the saying, “Actually, I can.”  As in “Actually, I can” walk past impulse items without buying them from now on.

I’ll remember this saying next time I go to Joann’s and see those cute little sparkly pumpkins for wait, what? 50% off?  At first I’ll think, I just can’t leave here without those extremely fragile, glitter shedding pumpkins.   I just can’t!  Then I’ll remember that “Actually, I can.”

So you see, that will make this mug not an impulse purchase.  Because I’ll remember the motto.  It will have all been worthwhile.  All thanks to my mug.  I will have learned my lesson about the “dollar” bins at Target and the cattle shoot Joann forces me to walk through to get to the registers.  

Unless I buy the sparkly pumpkins.  Which I might.  I’ll wait a week or so to see if I still want them.  

The Perfect Moms


It’s a beautiful sunny day.  It’s autumn.  The leaves are at their peak in bright colors.  The weather is cool and sunny.  And here come the perfect moms walking out of school.  

I pass them as I’m walking in.  They’ve dropped their kids off already.  On time, of course.  They are laughing and smiling and talking on their way out.   They are younger than me and beautiful.  Shiny long hair, no gray yet.  Wearing hip, casual clothes effortlessly.  They could be in a magazine, with a caption, “How to be the Perfect Stay at Home Mom!”  These ladies are killin’ it!

First-time-mom-me would hate them.  She’d be jealous of these perfect moms because they are beautiful, they are fit, they are wearing expensive clothes, they seem like they have it all together.  They’ve formed a bond with each other where I always felt a little out of step.  And first-time-mom-me, well, I didn’t feel like I had it all together.  And I felt like I should.  Like it was obtainable.  Like those women were the models for it and I had to achieve that before I could enter into the perfect mom club.  

Well, current me knows different.  

Current me knows this:  Shiny long blond hair mommy, she just found out she needs a hysterectomy and her heart is aching at thought of not being able to carry another child.  Designer jeans lady, her father is at home on hospice care.  Yesterday the nurses told her it was going to be very soon.  Cute work-out clothes mom, well, the teacher thinks something is “going on” with her son and she recommends taking him to a behavioral therapist for his “strange” behavior.  And that mommy holding the perfect looking 2 year old, her husband had an affair.  She wants to get as far away from him as possible, but when she looks at her kids, she’s not so sure she can.

Of course I don’t actually know these women.  But I do know that there are no perfect moms.  I have met some amazing women in my 9 year career in mothering and not one of these moms didn’t have some battle going on in their lives.  I know the perfect mom is a myth.    

So even though I don’t know these moms, I know these moms.  I know that they are taking care of their aging parents, that their child hasn’t slept through the night – ever, that they are recovering alcoholics, that they are late on their mortgage, that they haven’t spoken to their sister in three years, that they had several miscarriages, that their son has a developmental delay, that their daughter has cerebral palsy, that they fight with their husband every day, that they are dealing with depression.  

There is so much behind the looks, the designer clothes, the manicure, the salon hair, the handsome husband, the pretty house.

As current me walks past these women,  I am happy for their smiling, happy for their laughing.  I know there’s pain behind it.  I’m glad they have each other.  I smile at them, wave to the 2 year old, and walk my kids into school.