“I am calling this post #honestmotherhood, brought to you by this thing I try to do called honest motherhood.
It is when I share things about my life — motherhood in particular — that are honest and raw and occasionally unflattering and sometimes comical.
To get off on the right (honest) foot, I have to admit that I have now gotten to the point where after almost 8.5 years of writing this blog I have to search my own site to make sure that I am not writing a duplicate post! I have written extensively on the subject of motherhood and all of its charms (and cray) and it is quite fun to take a trip down blog-memory-lane, as there are moments that, without this site, I would have forgotten. For instance, I know that I have spilled kale smoothies in the past few years, but I did not remember just how times and in how many locations a kale smoothie has been spilled. Together, on here, we have laughed, cried, face-palmed, danced and raged.
Why? Because I always try to #keepitreal and share about #honestmotherhood in a way that feels both respectful to you and respectful to my family. This means that I will never tell a direct lie, but it also means that there are areas of my life about which I do not write. There are things I keep private about my kids and my friends and that is because this blog was my decision and so their stories (when more than just kale-smoothie-related) are not mine to tell.
But, some are funny enough and innocuous enough that I can share them, because I think you will find them funny, too.”
…is what I wrote on August 10.
I then got a call from my bae about her ridiculously “Becca-ish” morning and everything got derailed in the best way and I stopped writing about #honestmotherhood and wrote this post, instead.
The funny thing is, I have no idea what happened on August 10 that inspired me to write about motherhood, honestly, and that is because every single day I find myself having “hashtag moments” (#hashtagmoments?) about which I could write an entire zany, honest, maybe tear-jerking or maybe laughter-inducing post.
Isn’t that what life is like?
For instance, on September 6 I posted this to my instagram page:
rebeccafoxstarr I need to keep it real. I need to make a confession: today, I did many things, but I failed in one huge way; I forgot to take care of myself. I’m now paying for it. Today, I had pretty bad hip pain, & yet I still limped my way up to the 3rd floor of my kids’ school to take my daughter to class; I had appointments & meetings; I worked & I parented; I neglected my basic human needs and it was all fine and good until it caught up to me, quite abruptly, in a most undesirable moment. I picked up my kids from school & my daughter told me that she needed a binder for class tomorrow. Instead of turning right to go home (where I would have had access to food, drink, Tylenol & rest), I turned left & limped my way around Staples, with 2 kids & 800 school supplies to wrangle. At one point I crouched down (for wide ruled paper) & I couldn’t stand back up. I type this with tears in my eyes. I started to feel faint & as my kids rummaged through the $5 bin for Pez & slime I said, “You guys, stop. I’m not feeling well.” When I stood up, I saw that someone I know – another mom – was standing right before me & she looked at me with such incredible empathy and offered to help me; to find me a snack (thank you, R) & I apologized to her for my moment of weakness. I finished our shop while eating a granola bar with my one free hand and when we finally got home I really thought I was going to pass out. I drank & sat & then had to make a really hard phone call. I had to call my mom to tell her that I was feeling sick, & she said (100% correctly) that I couldn’t go to the Eagles Home opener with my family. With my dad. My heart hurts, because this it is all my fault. I’m so sorry. Today, I messed up. I’m writing this to remember; to hold myself accountable. With regret xx, B **
It was a total #honestmotherhood moment and, since then, I have tried to be better about taking breaks and taking time, but I have been far from perfect. That’s the honest part.
But, this week was its own animal. Actually, Thursday was an animal inside of an animal.
Ahh, yes. Thursday was a friggin’ pregnant animal. And we’ve come full circle (#motherhood).
On Thursday, I woke up with my eyes matted together. Sorry for the horrific graphic, but I could not open them, when I did they would not stop tearing, and with once glance in the mirror I saw that I had, what we often refer to as, pink eye,
though, in my case, it was more “red eye”
as I tend to be an overachiever like that.
Taking care of two children and getting them to school by 8:30 in the morning is a feat in and of itself (for me), as it involves outfits and meals and more meals and hair styles and more hairstyles and all of these things are extremely hard to do when you do not want to touch (lest you infect) your children.
But, it got done, and I got myself to the eye doctor, whose exact words were, “Wow, this is impressive!”
Major case of viral pink (red) eye (0r, in his words, conjunctivitis) and explicit instructions to do over-the-counter treatments, stay home, rest, and avoid parenting. Along with my red eyes I also had some aches and a general feeling of malaise. When I asked him about the concert tickets I had that night (to see the David Byrne masterpiece at The Mann) he said, “If you go to that show tonight I will have a line out my door tomorrow of the people you’ve infected.”
No concert, no family birthday dinner Saturday night, no Eagles game Sunday (again!!!!!!!!!) – just red eyes.
I was able to take it easy for a whole two hours before my phone lit up with the phone number of my kids’ school on its screen. My husband had so kindly offered to pick them up, and this was the very end of the day, so I was more surprised than alarmed…
…until I picked up.
“Hi, Becca,” said the dear, kind nurse, whom I adore. “Don’t worry, nothing is wrong,” she continued, so sweetly (and also with the words that automatically mean that something is, in fact, wrong; albeit not an emergency, but otherwise, she would not be calling. I held my breath.
“But, I do have to break some news to you. Belle has head lice.”
I grew up with a sister and for the majority of our lives we both had very long, flowing hair. During those 33.5 years I have both lived in fear of AND successfully avoided head lice. It has been a “thing” for me and every single time I hear about someone having lice I cringe and then sigh that it is not me. For some reason I figured that with Belle now in 3rd grade and being 33.5 I was in the clear.
No. No no no no no.
Despite the fact that I was “not supposed to parent” I spent the rest of Thursday doing hardcore parenting. I had to call the emergency lice phone number (you’re welcome) and got the emergency lice product and we did all of the things. We treated Belle, combed out her hair, treated Beau, combed out his hair (he did not have lice), treated me, combed out my hair (I did not have lice) and then, worst of all, I had to wash my hair for the second time in two days. I had JUST washed and dried my hair the day before for Yom Kippur and, as someone who washes my hair once a week (at most) I was almost as horrified by the extra hair wash as I was by the nits. #honestmotherhood
I do want to pass this information on to you, however, as it is very important and will be the best news you’ll get if your child ever has head lice: you don’t have to go crazy cleaning your home. Lice lives on heads, not on furniture. It is a myth that you have to bag up and burn all of your belongings. It is a myth that your couch and crevasses will become infested with lice babies. It is a myth that you have to do major housekeeping backflips. I took the “extra measures” explained to me by the lice expert and simply took anything that could have touched Belle’s head (her pillowcases, stuffed animals, blankets, throw pillows, etc.) and threw them in the dryer on high heat for a few cycles. I boiled the hair brushes in hot water. I may have been a bit overzealous in my cleaning, however.
R.I.P. Mason Pearson hair brush.
(FWIW, this is what it looked like before.)
By 6pm I had sterilized the house from my conjunctivitis germs, sterilized our heads and home from Belle’s lice cooties, and had a scalp covered in olive oil and rosemary.
Not only did we have one yucky and highly contagious issue that day, but we had two yucky and highly contagious issues!
I tend to be an overachiever like that.
If I am being honest, as that is what this post is all about, it is actually a little embarrassing to write about unsavory things like pink eye and lice and even though we’ve cleared up the latter and I’m working on the former, I still think that you might think I am gross. Like when I have caught myself eating a stray M&M from my son’s carpet and then, just after swallowing, realized the horror of what I’d just done.
I’m an animal. Like Thursday. #honestmotherhood
All in all, Thursday was a tough, overwhelming day but it could have been so much worse. Yeah, I lost out on the chance to go to an amazing show, the ability to say, “Yes, I have indeed kept a lice-free-home!” and my favorite hair brush, but we were all safe and generally healthy and when I brought the whole gang to the lice treatment center salon the next morning, just to have the expert double check for us (I can still proudly say that I, personally, have never had lice, thank you), she told me that this was hardly anything.
Thursday was sucky, unglamorous and exhausting for me, but, in talking to some of my close friends, it was for them, too. Whether it was because of a job shakeup, an upcoming trip, a baby with insomnia, marital issues, mental health crises…we all had our shit.
On the spectrum of hard days, mine seemed to be on the pretty easy end. That’s #honestmotherhood for you. It is all about perspective. Sometimes it serves to remind you to be grateful for your health (and that a call from the school nurse could be oh so much worse), to savor clean sheets, and that spending over $100 on a hairbrush is just patently ridiculous.
Today, two days later, Belle is totally lice-free (though my hair still feels like olive-oil and I do NOT want to wash it for the third time this week), my eyes are more pink than red and we got to spend the morning running around with a frisbee and soccer ball in our backyard; in the sunshine.
Things can be sucky and sunny at the same time. That is why I have two hands.
It won’t always be pretty, but I would not have it any other way…
except for the lice. I’m fine with never having lice in our house, again.
Clear eyes (ha!), full hearts (for sure!), can’t lose.
** This week I changed my instagram handle from @mommyeverafter to @rebeccafoxstarr, so please join me for your daily dose of all things RFS and Co.