How to Treat Yourself Daily

I posted before about the importance of lingerie and feeling sexy, but I’d like to get underneath why it’s important, key pieces to purchase, and how all of it links to self care.
If you’re anything like me, your days are insane. We run errands marathon-style, eat while balancing a baby on one hip, are signing off on homework, supervising  special projects (and sometimes ending up doing them yourself), cleaning up spills and vomit and doing endless loads of laundry. That’s why it’s critical, and I mean critical, to wear something special underneath it all. I like to think of it as the mom version of the Wonder Woman costume.
So-Called Mom
Many women mistakenly believe that lingerie is for the men in their lives, or worse, only for women who don’t have kids. But I disagree. Lingerie is for YOU. It’s what can make the difference between feeling like a discarded piece of toast and my truly awesome self.
When you take the time to select something for yourself that is pretty and sexy and maybe even makes you feel like “Yowza! I look hot!” you are communicating to yourself: I am worth it.
So-Called Mom
What’s more, is not only am I worth it, but nobody has to know exactly why I feel so worth it. Trust me when I say it will translate on the outside. It makes getting dressed a routine that has become so much more than putting on underwear. It’s my daily discreet push towards increased self love.
So I’ll indulge in a so-called lingerie 101.  I’m not plugging a brand for any particular reason; it’s just my personal taste.  You’ll find yours.
While Victoria’s Secret is not an abomination, I don’t consider it lingerie. I just don’t feel special in their mass produced boudoir-wear. That’s not to say every piece I own is an expensive splurge, but there are pieces that exist that are fairly priced considering your sexy-mama ROI.
These are my top picks:
Expensive or not, the most important thing you can do is protect your investment. 
So-Called Mom
This means putting your unmentionables into a small collapsible soft pouch outside of your regular laundry basket when they are dirty.
Then, it’s time to welcome the regular ritual of Sunday lingerie washing with open arms. I wash them all by hand carefully using a detergent made by The Laundress, a mild  detergent that is so wonderful to work with, you’ll wonder where its’ been all your life. Just wash and hang dry. I suspend my lingerie above my claw foot tub, if anything, just so I can feel frivolous, important and maybe even a little bit French.
So-Called Mom
This ritual has been life changing for my Sundays, the day when most of our kids from our blended family transition to their other parents’ homes. It started out as a distraction from this huge weekly change, but now I absolutely need to do this, because it helps me feel worth it, feminine and most of all, like I’m spending significant time in self care mode. Which doesn’t just include a Sunday mask and extreme downtime/meditation—but also taking the time to prepare these beautifully designed little pieces for the week ahead. 
Like I’m asking them for a favor in return: You take care of me, and I’ll take care of you. A pact.
So-Called Mom
After they are clean, put them on display, make them front and center in your dresser, or give them a drawer of their own. Never fold padded bras with one cup flipped inside out, tucked into the other. Let them lie flat, against one another. Fold your panties special too, by tucking the left side and right side behind the front and folding the bottom to the back. Bows and lace out!
So-Called Mom
Hopefully by now, you don’t think I’m crazy. But there’s another layer to this. My girls have caught on. It won’t be long before they’ll be shopping for their own matching sets, understanding the subtle art of the underpinnings. To me, this demonstrates (early on) the importance of taking care of yourself—a value that is so personal, you can only understand it by trying it and seeing how you feel and how others respond to it.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your take. Time for a mood, booty and soul-sexy overhaul!
With or Without Garters,
So-Called Mom

How to Parent a Budding Adult

Last Friday I posted something about my most recent frustration with my oldest.  Jake  skipped his mandatory advanced placement biology exam. When he got home, he met my wrath, which resulted in my giving him the silent treatment for the rest of the weekend.
But, as the eternal optimist, I do believe these moments allow relationships to become 10x stronger than they were before.
By Sunday, we finally sat down to talk, and the conversation was straightforward and simple.  We were both visibly upset—at ourselves and at each other. I lamented that I felt I had babied him his entire life, which resulted in his not being able to do for himself at anything – not even sitting for a damn exam.  He admitted he hated my pushing him constantly to do things he didn’t/doesn’t want to do.
I told him welcome to real life; we sometimes do things we don’t want to, because it helps us later. Overcoming difficult – or challenging experiences is the fuel for more trying times, and the strength to persevere.   And the trying times are always going to be there.
But that’s the boring stuff.
What came next was the icing on the cake—the crowning jewel on my ever developing relationship with a child that is really no longer a child anymore—but just about an adult.
At the end of our discussion he said: I’m really sorry I disappointed you.
And I blurted: I’m glad you did.
I paused for moment before finishing, because I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to say at first.
I’m glad you did. Because believe it or not, it is your job at this point in your life to disappoint me. Just like it’s my job to let you down, or watch you struggle. That is life. I have to push you, you have to push back. This is how the world works.
It all seemed so simple, and suddenly what happened Friday felt not only unavoidable but absolutely necessary. I’m always discovering and rediscovering different parts of parenting with him—likely because he’s my oldest. I had him when I was so young, at 22 years old—when the rest of my friends were still going to frat parties and scoring internships. We were both inexperienced and I’ve always cringed at the fact that I am learning how to parent using Jake as an example. I’ve made all the mistakes on him. So, the first kid should be disposable? I’m not so sure, because I wouldn’t ask for a do-over on any of these experiences, tough as they are.
So-Called Mom
So then, it’s fair to say we’ve been learning along side each other for almost two decades. Which means the Biology blunder on Friday was a part of his growing up. And that it’s possible that the sting I felt was really just my own growing pains in letting go.
Still Learning,
So-Called Mom

How to Dress Your Husband

I hate the way my husband dresses. I know that’s mean to say, but I know I’m not alone here.  I could poke fun and just leave it at that, but hey…I’m choosing instead to give him a hand.  So you’re welcome.
Armed with some funds from our newly stocked bank account, I decided to let my fingers do the walking and comb the Internet. It felt a little reckless, but it also felt so damn solution oriented.
Thanks to my effort,  there are days now when his outfits are not so bad—but those days wear down quickly because once he catches on that I like something he has on, it gets a repeat performance until I’m bored to tears.
I will also add that I’m not a fan of the always sporty look. I know he doesn’t appreciate the forever yoga look I easily could have going on, so it seems fair game to enforce the same with him. I’m also a believer in mixing it up:  definitely shift up the genres. He’s not a suit guy; he’s a comfort guy. A breathability guy. Style is my thing but it’s going to become his…thanks to me.  
Again, you’re welcome.
I guess you could call this a Pippin Makeover, without his knowing it. Not that he would object – he’s just not that concerned with any of it except to please me.  And for me, it’s imperative that I look good. When I do, the world is an open book and I can write how it goes. Whenever we’re going somewhere, he invariably groans, I feel like I’m bringing your whole look down.  I think Pippin is stunning, and he ages like fine wine…so I’ve decided to quit thinking he will step it up and instead, just step it up for him.
Today his first order of clothes arrived. And I unboxed everything and showed him what I bought. As I held up one shirt I liked,  he exclaimed, Oh, this one isn’t bad. I could mow the yard wearing it. I quickly had to interrupt his thinking: Your whole wardrobe is mow-worthy. This is the shirt you can date me in. 
So from round one: He only has two send backs. Shorts that I agreed don’t look very him and a lavender linen shirt that I was sure he’d go gaga over. But the seersucker pants get to stay! As does everything else. The next line of order is shoes–and If I have it my way, his Adidas flip flops will find their way to the garage, right beside the mower.
Decked out,
So-Called Mom

I Need Some Real Mom Advice

Since I’m dishing out So-Called Mom real life lessons like candy, I’d like some advice myself.  I mean, I don’t pretend to be an expert on….well, anything.  Heck, I’m just a So-Called Mom. I realize since we are creating a network of sorts, I may as well tap into your expertise.

One of my kids is not like the others.  I know….all moms say that, but it doesn’t make it any the less true.  Or challenging.  She’s just…different. For example,  she’s so detail oriented, it gets the better of her. It means she often misses deadlines for schoolwork, because she’s fixated on also turning in the extra credit work – leaving the entire assignment too late and useless to turn in. Other times, she can be so spacey, she forgets some key fundamentals. It means more days than I’d like to admit where she has been left behind (at home, at the movies, at the mall).  Or evenings when she’s meandered downstairs asking when dinner is going to happen, as I’m loading the dishwasher. Sweetie, dinner was three hours ago. It’s not like I don’t shout Dinnertime! And it’s not like we have it at ever shifting hours every day. If someone doesn’t come, I assume they aren’t hungry. 

And here’s the other lesson: I can’t go around the house yanking everyone’s earbuds out making sure they’ve heard me. It’s like, you have a clock on that phone in your hand and a stomach. Those two things should signal when it’s time to eat! But I digress.

She also can go from zero to ninety over inconsequential moments like someone taking her mechanical pencil or laughing because her shoes are on the wrong feet. And I wish I could say all of this was hormonal (she is 12 after all), but she has always been like this. Or maybe she’s more like me than I realize.

We all say that she could be anything she puts her mind to: neurosurgeon, supermodel, musician. But there’s the rub: she doesn’t put her mind to anything long enough to catch and become her thing. She is out there, floating in space, but with no gravitational pull—at least nothing I have seen. She wants to do it all, and certainly could—but there is nothing that fuels her—that makes it so she eats, drinks and breathes gymnastics, or tennis, or animation or, or, or…And did I mention she is her own roadblock? Unlike with Leopold, where it seemed it was me who had to get out of the way, if MJ could get out of her own way – and stop meditating on everything, she’d soar.

Anyhow, I’m hoping you can help me out here. Should I be worried? Should I let her find her way, essentially leaving her be/letting her fail/letting her discover who she is? Or should I intervene? I think my biggest fear is that she will feel unsupported – already I’ve got 6 other kids and a husband to juggle.  She often feels like the neglected one. Which I think is every mother’s fear. I feel like our girls learn to be strong women from us. They ultimately learn how to be treated in the workplace, and by their spouses and their own children from us too. We teach self respect, integrity and grace by demonstrating it well and um, just as important, also not demonstrating it well at all.

This likely bugs me, because she reminds me of myself. I always call her mini-me: darling, yes but also defensive and stubborn as hell.  And she’s a perfectionist…to the point of inaction.  Should I be steering her clear of the bumpy road that I’ve lived?  Or should I accept it and invite her along for the ride? Should I challenge her, I mean really push her? What do you think she is craving so she can get her butt in gear and realize her true potential? How do I discover what rocks her world she she can make something happen and start to build some real confidence and passion?

So what do you say, Moms? Anyone have a clue what to do?

Waiting (semi)patiently,

So-Called Mom

My So-Called Friends

My last post was about my kids making friends, so it only feels natural to talk about how I’m making new friends too. Even though I should be on the lookout for some mom friends in our new suburban neighborhood, I’m actually not quite there yet. I’m not talking about face to face friends; my new pals have come via social media and my So-Called Mom message that I post out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Youtube and the blog itself.  When I started this a few months ago, I really had no expectations that anyone would follow me, much less respond.  The happy discovery is that I’m not alone in my insane life as a mom, who’s just figuring it out day by day and most of the time, rowing with one oar.  I’m finding myself in a daily dialogue with people I’ve never met, and slowly developing an unexpected and yet totally satisfying relationship with many of them.
so-called mom
Of course I’ll still always have my crazy girl group that I usually have a few too many cocktails with, albeit few and far between. But there is something magically honest (and somewhat addictive) about making friends with people who have watched you bawling in an empty tub with your clothes still on AND delivering a baby in a luxury hotel, and still want to converse with you.
One local mom reached out over the weekend and asked me out for coffee; another invited me to join her “mamapreneur” group; and of course, those invaluable moms that cheer me on and cheer me up: it’s all going to be OK, So-Called Mom—You got this! One asked where I was from: Portland, I said. And her response: I take it that means USA? How very So-Called American of me to assume she knew it was. I made a Craigslist joke, and she didn’t get it.  We don’t have Craigslist here. Apparently, my so-called humor doesn’t translate as well as my So-Called Mom breakdowns do.
One mom asked me what the purpose of my blog was. I had to think about this, but I now know the answer: I just want to be relatable. I told her. That seemed like a good enough answer for the both of us.
so-called mom
In some strange way, I’m realizing that much of this interaction gets to the heart of what friendship means.  And while I have certainly cursed the internet’s influence on my teens – and certainly see its dark side-  I’m seeing the flip side of its allure:  the honesty, the immediacy, the connections – the authenticity that social media invites.
I am discovering something about myself in this online mom blogging world: I love connecting with other moms. I don’t mind hearing I’m doing an OK job at momhood, and I also don’t mind hearing I’m doing it wrong. I’m not a women who needs to be told what she wants to hear. It keeps me real, both with myself and with my kids. It’s OK to fuck it all up and still wake up the next day and give it another go. Why the hell not? None of us is perfect. Knowing this alone makes me feel like I can take on the world.
Hitting it off,
So-Called Mom