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

So-Called Cooking Vlog

My god I am the worst at cooking. And if there are any moms out there that think they can challenge me for this title, I will battle you to the death. Because I truly am the worst at it and I am both willing to accept the title and also laugh at myself over it—while striving to improve. Because I am the queen of taking perfectly fresh and tasty salmon fillets, and turning them into paper weights.
This puts me in a tricky spot because I have 7 young mouths to feed. Four of which are teenagers and are ALWAYS hungry and never stop chirping for food from the time they get up until nightfall, when I’ve resorted to stacks of toast and butter to fill their bellies. Poor Pippin gets tired of cooking the same old thing and we all get tired of eating it. He cooks not because he enjoys it, but because if he didn’t, we’d all starve to death or go broke from takeout. We are busy parents, so being creative is complicated in the kitchen.
But that doesn’t mean moving to suburbia doesn’t have me wanting to scratch that domestic itch. This new neighborhood has me living a braver So-Called Mom life. As a result, I’m not about to let the oven get the better of me. So I have decided to turn this ship around, and with the help of your new captain (me), and a handful of library-based cook books, we’ll be sailing into unchartered territory in the hopes of a happy landing, nestled onto a bed of greens and vinaigrette dressing.
See for yourself 🙂



Julia Child would swoon,
So-Called Mom
PS, Don’t forget to subscribe and comment below, I’d love to hear from you and also discover new recipes and recommendations. Thank you!

So-Called Letting Go

Some things are easy to write and talk about and others, not so much. 
At the top of this list is the glaring fact that my kids are getting older. And not just this, but it is the first time in almost 20 years that I haven’t had a baby in the house. That’s a sentiment that raises even my eyebrows. In addition, referring to 5 year old Leopold as a baby lately has become an embarrassing habit that I recently have forced myself to break. I don’t even think I allowed him to transition to toddler-hood. He was always the baby, and now he’s a kid. A big kid—a kindergartener for crying out loud.
so-called mom
So–no babies for this mom, plus most of my kids that are now taller than me, mixed in with the fact that time definitely doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all and you have one hot matriarchal mess.
To help me cope with my new discovery, I’m laying out my obvious fears in the scrutinizing daylight:
1.  All I have known is being a mom who is deeply connected (dependent even?) to her kids. In a world where everything can be up in the air, being a mom was the one grounding thing I could be sure of. They don’t really need me as much these days—now what? Well, now I’m not so sure of anything.
2.  For the last ten years, Pippin and I have raised a blended family together. We have never known each other without our kids in the mix. When the last of the blend is off to live their own life, what will happen to ours?
3.  The idea of not being this all-systems-go mom that I have grown accustomed to, has me suddenly feeling like I don’t know my name. Sure I’m not quite 40 yet and I’m not one of those people who believes that 40 is old, but it does make me wonder: what exactly will I do when they are all gone?
4.  Did I even do a good job? 
So-Called Mom
I had my first kid, Jake, when I was 22 and I have always sworn that he was the thing that kept me on track, kept me out of trouble, kept me working harder than ever. I always say/think/feel that I was nothing before I had kids….so does that translate as the same after they fly the coop? Will I become nothing again? Bored? A trouble maker? These are real concerns of mine that anyone could flag as being fodder for a potential crisis. But I don’t want a crisis—midlife or otherwise. I want a transition point. I want to slow down time and create a gradual turn into this next stage. I want to savor this age, as awkward as it is for myself, the kids and the whole family in general. And then I want to accept that change, as scary as it is.
so-called mom
So what do I do to keep myself from doing anything drastic, like having another baby to fill this sudden void? I think I’m supposed to accept the discomfort of the void, and fill it with something else. Like self care for instance. Something I’m good at, but only after everything else is done—like most moms, I’m guessing. I consider myself a low maintenance person. It’s not that I put myself last, it’s just that I—outside of binge shopping for a self medicated distraction—I don’t always see to it that my needs are met until it’s just about too late.
So-Called Mom
Interestingly enough, that’s exactly the point—the problem— really. I have kids, seven of them: which means my needs are met through them. And now I’m realizing that isn’t sustainable.
so-called mom
So the new goal here is to slow it down, mom-wise. To make a steady transition to being a mom with kids that have grown their own wings. And to address the lack of having a baby– on my yoga mat. And come to a place where I can be OK without taking care of anyone but myself, and Pippin of course.
Switching Gears,
So-Called Mom

What is the Point of School

I can’t decide if I’m falling out of love with homeschooling or if I have spring fever— or if I just despise our education system (including my own teachings) altogether. 
I know I would do wonderfully on a deserted island with my family—with no system to report to with regards to what my kids are learning. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again: Our kids are not learning what they need to be studying in school—even when we take them out of it, the material they must learn isn’t cutting it. I believe they are absorbing the monotony of adulthood, and it’s killing—not building, their brain cells. Simply put: School is boring and I’m loosing my footing as a home-based teacher.
so called mom
The reason I feel this way is because kids should be heavily immersed in things like: Money management, insurance policies, emergency preparedness, civic engagement, abusive relationships, fair wages, diet and fitness, finding your passion, inner peace. And at an early age. This is the stuff that determines survival—not Oregon history—which always seems to be mis-told no matter which edition your textbook is. Somebody needs to take a crack at writing an age appropriate account of what really happened so that we can quit brushing it under the carpet or denying it altogether.
Am I teaching Pascal these savvy survival-based things, even with our free-wheeling homeschool curriculum? Nope, Not as a part of anything guided. There aren’t enough hours in the day with all of this other nonsense clouding our time together. And, quite frankly, it pisses me off. Imagine preparing kids for real life! Imagine a system that raised kids to be good people!
Earlier today I was reading material about how Oregon was settled, shaking my head and cutting myself off, saying: Pascal, this is bullshit. Do you have any idea what these So-Called Colonists did to the Native Americans? Our only real lesson in that entire book can be learned in one grim, hopeless statement: People can be terrible, and greedy and what’s worse—things haven’t changed much.
so called mom
So now what? Well, with six weeks left in the school year, I’m not sure I have much choice but to ride it out. And, I’m not sure I can actually do anything but complain about it. If she was my only child, I would take on the system with her on my arm, but the fact of the matter is, I still have 6 other kids that need me—for homework help, projects, extra curriculars, doctors appointments, friend making and dinner. There isn’t enough time in the day to take on the world unfortunately. So we stumble through it.
But it doesn’t remove my disappointment from our American culture and it’s frequent missed opportunities for youth impact. Pascal shouldn’t have to wait for college to kick in for some of these life-shaping lessons. They should be happening now as an intelligent strategy to build better citizens, learners, parents, employees, etc etc. I can’t and shouldn’t have to teach that on my own. For now I’m stumped about what to do. Humanitarianism should be the core of her learning and I’m disappointed that it isn’t. Everything else is just a distraction to what’s really important: human awareness and participation. Not the perpetuation of indifference and selfishness. 
Rethinking it all,
So-Called Mom