Open Drawers

Let me paint a scenario…

You’re tired. Like, really tired. You have solo parented for the past two weeks while your husband is working in another state. Your mind is like a chest of drawers and every single drawer is open—did I pay the gas bill, sign homework folders, need to practice math flash cards, eye appointment for one child tomorrow, haven’t seen dentist in over six months and need to book all kids in to see one, laundry sitting in dryer needs to be folded, should really sort closets, door handle isn’t on yet call contractor, did I send money for the kids hot lunch, I want to workout Saturday but have no one to watch the kids, Volleyball practice this weekend do I have that covered, I have to do passport picture for the little one, I haven’t communicated with my team in awhile and my business is hurting because of it, I need to mail five packages of product, voicemail from aunt have to call her back, did we do thank you notes from Christmas, I’d like to try homemade dishwasher pods–and on and on and on.

With these thoughts rolling around your mind, you walk into your daughter’s bathroom and stop short. The spray that’s supposed to be for her hair was used on Barbie and now it’s mixed into some type of slop with that expensive lotion you gave her and it’s spilled all over the counter. Nail polish is out and dripped on the white cabinet. Last night’s wet towels are piled on the floor. The sink is caked with tooth paste. There are plastic horses all over the floor over by the shower and there are LOL doll pieces actually in the shower. There’s no toilet paper on the holder and there, in the middle of it all, your child. Oblivious. Even more oblivious to the fact you had told her to clean up her bathroom yesterday. She’s about to explain how this makes complete sense in her mind but you stop her. You yell. You yell and the entire time you’re yelling you can see her face crinkle up a bit as if bearing a blow and she crouches back a little scared but not really because you’ve never hit her, so it’s just the volume that’s a little shocking. Tears well in her eyes and you, exasperated, almost tear up yourself because you are so mad, annoyed, confused and frustrated. Now another two drawers open in your mind chest—first, that you have to figure out how to get that nail polish off of your newly renovated cabinets and second, you yelled. Again. That one goes into the mom fail drawer. 

I hope that some of you reading this—I mean even one of you reading this can relate. Can you? If not, I’m really sinking fast. Let’s keep the scene going…

Later that night you, crippled with guilt, cry into the phone while you tell your husband you’re a failure as a mom. You explain what happened and how you yelled, again, and how bad you now feel. You’re convinced you’re a terrible mom and that you are ruining your child. He is kind. He tells you that you aren’t and that you’re an amazing mother. You keep crying. You get off the phone still feeling rotten, wipe the snot running down your nose from your ugly crying and creep downstairs to her room. She’s asleep but you wake her up. She is over it, but you aren’t. You go into an explanation about why you yelled and that you’re sorry for yelling. That it doesn’t mean what she did isn’t wrong. That it doesn’t mean you aren’t mad. But that you shouldn’t have yelled so hard. She can’t see you’re still crying in the dark and she’s half asleep and tells you it’s ok (and she means it). You hug her and tell her you love her a million more times, tuck her in and go back upstairs to finish sobbing because that didn’t really help either. 

Anyone still with me?

Confession. I’m a yeller. I yell at my kids. I’d like to explain a few things—clarify if you will—before I continue on with this. I shouldn’t have to and I actually think the more we explain the more we give away our power but I have no power here. I never yell at my children in public. I don’t belittle them or call them names. I’ve never hit my child in any way. I don’t ignore my children. I affirm them daily—literally say affirmations with them every single day. I tell them I love them all the time. I hug them and kiss them and hold them frequently. I don’t make fun of them. But I do yell when I’m upset with them. 

Why? I wasn’t raised by yellers but I never did anything like above scenario either. Perhaps I yell because I can’t put myself in their shoes and that’s frustrating. I never would have done some of the things they do and so it’s really, really hard for me to comprehend why on earth they would do it. Maybe I yell because I don’t understand.

I yell because I’m lazy. It’s much easier to yell down the stairs at them to hustle up or stop banging the piano while Carolyn sleeps than it is to go down and talk. It’s a big house. Yelling is easier.

I yell because not only is my plate full but it’s overflowing with gravy from that extra helping of mashed potatoes I thought I needed. But whose isn’t these days? The cats’ litter box is full and they have no food or water and I’ve reminded them twenty times to stay up on this. Snap. The overfilled paper plate breaks. I yell.

I yell because I don’t know what else to do sometimes. There’s no takeaway from that—kindly chatting, warnings, threats, love even ignoring doesn’t work. I don’t even have my partner here half the time, so I yell. 

Are you sitting there judging me while you read this? I’ll let you know that you can. Judge away. No amount of your comments or judgements will come even close to how much I judge myself or how much I beat myself up and belittle myself over my yelling. This is why I hate (yea, hate) “educate yourself” posts that moms like to share. You know the ones? I usually see them pop up on my feed the same day I’ve yelled—“yelling will ruin your child’s spirit,” or “do you know what you’re doing to your child when you yell?” and “You might as well beat your child with a two by four because that’s how yelling affects your child.” They usually have awesome images too that really make you feel good. Educate yourself they say. I’ll say this. The term “educate yourself” is the most uneducated thing you can say to someone. Someone make me that shirt please…or a wine glass.

Do you really think for one second I’m not aware of the consequences of yelling? That I’m not aware of the studies or theories or alternatives to yelling? It’s like Jolene from Georgia doesn’t actually care, she just posts that to reaffirm she’s got things all figured out and doing it better than us scum that yell. Educate yourself Jolene. Do you think people who are overweight don’t understand the risks of being overweight? That they don’t know? Do you think smokers aren’t aware of the negative effects of cigarettes? Of course they know. No amount of you educating or hanging it over their head from your soapbox is going to change that. The only thing it does is encourage me to beat myself up a little more. Thanks, Jolene. I will tell you that the mental narrative I have with myself over this is something that no person should ever hear spoken out loud. We do this to ourselves don’t we mamas (and dads)? I don’t need the posts. I don’t need your judgement. I don’t need your advice. I already have a whole drawer open in my mind—remember that mom fail drawer I mentioned? That’s the one. It’s filled with replayed scenes and fails and negative thoughts about what a rotten, fail of a mother I am. I loathe this drawer and try to keep it closed as much as possible.

Are you waiting for me to go into a Rachel Hollis moment? Here’s my flaw but here’s how I came out of it, beat it, got it all figured out, coached you on it and now have a book and tour and millions to show for it? Unfortunately, not this mama. I’m willing to be raw and vulnerable with you though, which is hard enough. I admit my flaw, am aware of it and I am willing to work on it. That’s it. That’s all I got.

Here’s what I did come up with. Upon some recent prayer and reflection, I decided for Lent this year I’m giving up yelling. I have a rubber band that I’m wearing on my wrist all of Lent to try and condition myself like Pavlov’s dog. Each time I yell or go to yell, SNAP. It may not solve everything. It may solve nothing. I may still yell but I hope to be much more aware of the yelling and hopefully it curbs it or stops it before it happens.

So this lent while others are giving up things or doing new things for their forty days, you’ll find me with a rubber band on my wrist working at fixing a flaw that I’d very much like to go away. I will say this—I still think children need discipline. When they misbehave, I’m not a big fan of sitting down as two adults and talking it out (I’m the adult last time I checked). I’m going to try to replace the yell with quieter stern moments but you bet your bottom dollar there will be quiet stern moments and consequences for misbehavior. I have no desire to let them see me as an equal or to have my sole purpose be their best friend. I’m their parent and hope there’s a little bit of fear, a lot of respect and even more love. God gave these three to me and no one else for a reason—no one else on the planet is better equipped to raise them than I am (and Kurtis). No one. Even with the yelling. But I know God is tugging at my heart as well. Tugging at me to listen to him and to work on this at the very minimum during this Lenten season. Maybe you’re feeling called to do the same. Maybe it’s something different that you struggle with or want to do better or even something you want to start doing. Regardless, let this post be a reminder that none of us are perfect. We all likely have parenting flaws we would love to magically disappear. You have a mom fail drawer too, don’t you? I bet you do. We all unwillingly play the comparison game (even Jolene from Georgia with her stinking posts). We all struggle with feeling like we fail our children (on occasion or daily). All of it. However, let this honest confession from a flawed mama also be a reminder that you aren’t alone. That we really are in this together. The next time you go to compare yourself to someone else, maybe snap a rubber band on your wrist as a reminder that she’s likely struggling too. Maybe she’s even a yeller like me.  

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Welcome to the Gong Show

I was aimlessly scrolling Instagram stories the other night and came across the most perfectly executed story highlight of an influencer’s Sunday moment with scripture. There was spiritual music softly playing in the background, strategically highlighted sections of a Bible and a grammatically perfect  “random thought” that really struck her that morning. The story was flawless. She softly whispered to her listeners that she was randomly inspired to pause her reading and share it. LIAR. Random my tush. If that’s the kind of perfectly thought-out, plastic, well-constructed person you want to follow, you probably want to stop reading this mess right now. It’s not what you will find here. 

Quick introduction, my name is Lauren. Hi. Welcome to my blog. I’ve learned in my 35 years on this planet, that there comes a point in time that you embrace the dumpster fire moments as much as the Kodak ones and to be totally honest, I seem to find myself in more of those (let’s call them “df” or gong show moments) than perfect ones. That’s the “gong show” portion of the blog title by the way. Ya’ll know what gong show means? Go ahead and look it up. My husband is Canadian and it’s a term he introduced me to years ago. I sort of love it. 

I will say that I love scripture lady’s effort and I’m here to cheer on all women (and men), but I can’t relate to that. Not on any level. It’s too perfect. The word perfect gives me indigestion. So does the word balance. I feel both those words, while initially harmless, have evolved in society. I think they are each a big fat lie we are supposed to buy into and chase after with every last ounce of breath we have until we die—having never attained either. Side note, I don’t have it all figured out and I’m not on a soapbox here—I continue to struggle with this daily. It’s especially hard in a world of above scripture lady, who makes it look so dang easy and (stomach cramp) perfect. 

Harmony is my jam. Harmony is something I can get after. Harmony is arranging the aspects of our lives to make our one big story. The big picture. I like harmony because it’s not perfectly equal—some days one aspect is running better than others. Some days we excel as a parent and epically fail at our jobs. One day dinner is home-cooked and Better Homes worthy and the next thing you know you forgot a kid had swim practice and she’s out the door without trying your Pinterest dinner you nailed. But it’s ok, because it’s the big picture that matters. The big puzzle of our lives and you know what? You need every single piece to finish that puzzle. Whether it’s a beautiful corner piece or one of the funky middle pieces or that piece the dog gnawed on when he was a puppy. We need them all. You will find me writing about those pieces often in this blog and my attempts to find that harmony and embrace it amongst the chaos (gong show) of my life.  

You will also find daily adventures, thoughts, recommendations and more as a woman who is raising three daughters and leading/running an international business. I’m also an oilfield wife of ten years who solo parents for weeks at a time while my hubby is working in a different state(s). I’m a lover of a lot of things, so you will find a hodgepodge of entries. Anyone with me on this—I was never THE BEST at anything, but I’m pretty decent at a lot of things. Same goes for my lifestyle hobbies. I’m pretty decent at fashion, cooking, fitness, crafting, home decor, all that jazz. Not the best. I belly laugh at the thought of making that claim. But I can stand proud behind decent. 

So, if you are interested in some decent thoughts and recommendations on everyday lifestyle and how I work daily to find that harmony between running a biz and raising my babes, then you’ve come to the right place. Might I also add that here you will not find perfection. You won’t find perfectly snapped photos with perfect lighting. I’m sure I will screw up some punctuation. Make a few typos. Take a picture with something in my teeth. Throw a tantrum. Place a pillow in the wrong spot. Pair a wine incorrectly. Make a joke that falls flat—I’m wildly sarcastic so brace yourselves for that. Maybe I’ll even struggle with some things that will make you think…yep, Lauren’s having a “df” gong show day. But that’s ok and that’s why I feel it’s important for me to write this. Even if one single person can relate. If it’s a much needed breath of fresh air for at least one of you—that makes it worth it to me because I know how much I crave connections like that. I promise you honesty, transparency and authenticity. After all these years, I’ve embraced the good, the bad and the ugly of who I am and I’m getting to be pretty ok with that. I think the sooner we all get really ok with ourselves, the better. Welcome to the gong show. I hope you stick around for awhile.