Category Archives: Life

Let me out!

“I am not excited about this at all.” – Me on the way to The Escape Game Nashville

I said that because I wasn’t excited. At all. AND nobody wanted to try my ‘local lunch’ suggestion (have y’all been to Wendy’s? To. die. for.) so this was sure to be a bust of an afternoon.

Have you heard of The Escape Game? It’s horrible. They lock you in a room and tell you to start finding clues so that you can get out. Yeah, ask Kimmy Schmidt how much fun that is.

Anyways, my friends are nerds so there I was locked in a room with 6 other people trying to find a key. Or a code. Or mumbling, “This isn’t funny. Let me out.”

There really isn’t anything else to say about the experience because if you go I don’t want to accidentally give anyone a clue. So I’ll just explain what I learned about myself during the process:

  • I don’t like thinking.
    If an answer doesn’t appear to me in the first 4 seconds I don’t know it. I know I don’t know it. I give up. Uncle! I’m out. If there was a transcript of our Escape Game experience it would look like this:
    Me: Do y’all wanna buzz for a clue?
    Shelly: We just got started.
    Rebecca: Yeah, I think we can hold out for a little bit.
    Me: Ok…
    (45 seconds later)
    Me: What about now?
    Sarah: I’m gonna murder you.
    Laura: Leave her be. We don’t have time for murder.
  • What do I do with my hands?

    Everyone that cared about solving the puzzles would race around the room to ‘help.’ People manned the various locks and punch pads around the room ready to put in codes that other people were figuring out. I had no clue how to help so most of the time I was rummaging through things that I knew were empty or doing things that were completely unhelpful just so I looked like I cared. But the reality was I DIDN’T WANT TO BE THERE AND WHY AREN’T WE ASKING FOR MORE CLUES?!?!
  • The Dungeon Master had a crush on someone.
    I keep talking about getting more clues, but the reality is we got a LOT of free clues. Like, every time we’d get stuck a clue would pop up. The first couple of clues were real ‘clues,’ like they pointed you in the general vicinity of the next step. By the end they were like, “Ok, add that together. Now divide by 4. What do you get???”  “7. The answer is seven.” “Girl in the red shirt. Turn around. The answer is behind you. BEHIND YOU!”

    I don’t know who the Dungeon Master wanted to get with, but thank you for your fleekness.

  • It only takes one good moment to make me fall madly in love.
    Like, I said I was ready to give up around the time I got into Laura’s minivan. And most of the time I bumbled around like a sad idiot. But then my moment of glory happened. It was near the end of the game, we only had minutes on the clock, and we were stuck. “Hang it up, boys, it’s over” stuck. But then brilliance struck AND IT CHOSE ME!

    I swear that when I gave the answer to the near final clue everyone turned around in slow motion with the most “Did she really get it?! #Wut?” But the #wtf looks quickly turned to celebration because RUDY HAD SCORED! Or at least participated! Woohoo!

All things considered (and most of that consideration weighed by the game-winning Hail Mary field goal), it was actually kind of fun. And I might be asking every person I meet for the next week if they’ve played and if they want to play.

The best part? I have the memory of goldfish, so I could probably play the Heist over and over and over…



5 on Friday: The Pretty Ballerina

If you hang out with me on Facebook or Instagram you might have noticed that I’ve been going to barre a lot.

No. Not the bar, Rory Gilmore. Barre. That ballerina workout thing I told you about a while ago.

I have probably gone to almost 20 classes in less than a month. 5 times per week for 2 weeks in a row.

I don’t even know anymore. But these classes are like crack.

Why don’t I just break this down 5 on Friday style?

One. I’m not falling asleep or gasping for air.

I have never gotten into yoga because it has always seemed kind of slow (I could be very wrong about this, I’ve only been to YMCA classes). And things like Crossfit terrify me because I am not made for weights or any kind of competitive environment. But barre is like this nice in-between. It’s slow enough that I feel genuinely relaxed and recharged at the end, but it’s intense enough that I also get that touch of soreness that hurts so good at the end of the day. The in-betweenness also makes it a great workout to fit in at lunch and get back to the office and not smell too bad.

Two. I don’t feel out of place.

Barre classes are going to attract people that are probably not… Poor Moms. Like Kelly said in her interview, it’s a premium service. I think my biggest hesitation was feeling wildly out of place, but I haven’t. Everyone is nice, and there isn’t even close to a mean girl vibe going on which I think is due to the instructors. Every instructor that I have met has been super friendly, helpful, and willing to answer any questions you have at the end of class. This really does set a friendly tone at Neighborhood Barre. I would say it took me about 5 classes to feel like I was ‘getting’ it, and every instructor assured me that this was normal which really helped me not throw the towel in too soon.

Three. I am celebrating my femininity. 

One of the first classes I went to one of the girls brought her man. He was a fit guy that probably played football in college or something, but barre was clearly not ‘made’ for his body. Now, I’m not saying guys can’t do barre, but it was neat to see that there are some things that a woman’s body is better at than a man’s. Getting on your tippy toes and squatting an ungodly amount of times is one of those things.

Not only are our bodies more suited to barre, there’s also something really subtle about the strength required for barre. The moves are small, you are moving your toe in a circle or pulsing ‘just’ an inch. And maybe the first one or two movements are ‘easy,’ but after a few seconds of the ‘simple’ move the muscle getting worked starts shaking like it’s trying to move a semi or something. On the surface it doesn’t look like much, but boy oh boy do you need to be strong to survive. And so I look at the feminine roles in our world, as moms, wives, daughters, and we look at the surface and we think the things we do (making dinners, planning vacations, comforting sad pre-schoolers, wrapping presents, etc.) ‘don’t matter,’ but they do! They are small movements, sure, but boy do they require strength.

Wait. I’m not done.

Almost every move, especially the seat and leg work, leaves me closing my eyes praying for relief. Do you know what else does that? Labor. (Or so I’ve heard since I had epidural almost as soon as I got there). If you are preparing for labor I would highly recommend getting yourself to a barre class. Labor is a mental game of letting the pain wash over you, and believing this intense pain won’t last forever/kill you. Barre won’t just get your core ready for some pushing it can get your mind ready for game day, too.

Four. I value it.

I signed up for their special of unlimited classes for $100, and this might just be the Poor Mom in me talking, but I refuse to miss a class. Because every class I go to means I’m getting more bang for my buck. So I make sure I get to class in the morning because I don’t want to waste the money AND I actually get something out of the investment I made. Because true story? I have a Planet Fitness membership and I’ve been paying $10/month which has been a complete waste of money because I haven’t gone but maybe 3 times the first week that I joined. I was scared that an unlimited barre class  membership would be a similar waste, but since there’s enough skin in the game (or money on the table?) I’m motivated even when I don’t feel like getting up for the 5:30 A.M. class.

I really don’t know anymore.

Five. Sex.

Let’s just say that I haven’t peed when I sneezed in a while.

If you’re in the Brentwood area looking for a workout you’ll love, you should totally come with me one morning or afternoon (first class is free!). They have a challenge going on, and I’m planning to do 20 classes between September 14th and October 13th. I might be almost dead by the last two or so classes, but I’m gonna try!

Until Then We Will Dance

“More dancing, Mommy!”

I have never been a dancer. I was always way too self conscious to ‘bust a move.’ Whenever friends would suggest we go to the club because it was “fun” I would usually respond with a:

But I rarely won those debates so I’d be in the Mix Factory on Teen Night like:

Otis isn’t like his mama, though. We were at my cousin’s wedding a few months ago and Otis fell in love with the dance floor. And as we twirled around I started tearing up.

Because one day this will be embarrassing. One day dancing at a wedding (or during an after dinner walk) will make him self-conscious, and he’ll look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest that we show everyone how we whip and nae nae. One day he will sulk in a corner the way teenagers at wedding do, and I’ll probably ask him, half-joking and half-brokenhearted, what happened to the little boy that loved to dance with his mama.

Thankfully, that day isn’t here, and until then we’ll dance. We’ll twirl around. We’ll giggle. We’ll clap. We’ll shimmy. We will whip AND we will nae nae.



For That Old Lady at the Grocery Store

“You’re going to miss this one day. Cherish this time. It goes by so quickly.”

There are a billion posts from a billion mommy bloggers rolling two billion eyeballs at the sweet old lady sharing this thought while your kid has a tantrum because you won’t let him play in the oven. Obviously, us Millenials have all of this figured out, and I am sure it will be completely fine if I hate my life every once in a while because I just found a turd in a toy dump truck (pun fully intended) (that was a pun, right?) (suddenly not completely sure I know what a pun is).

So we roll our eyes at comments like this and complain about how #OMGHard this whole parenting gig is and how these Has Been Moms just don’t get it and it’s my party so I’ll hide in the bathroom if I want to.

But have we ever considered that her sweet reminder has nothing to do with us, and has everything to do with her? What if seeing us in the middle of it reminds her of things she never knew she’d miss either?

What if she misses having a sidekick to run errands with her during the day?

What if she misses being the person that knows exactly what that cry means?

What if she misses being the person that makes it all better?

What if she misses little arms that give (surprisingly) strong hugs?

What if she misses hearing, “Mom. Mom. Mommy. Moooom. MOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!” all day long?

What if she misses being needed to tie shoes and find lost blankets?

What if she misses the tantrums? Just kidding. No one misses those. Ever.

What if she misses checking for toy tractors and lawnmowers before leaving for work in the moving?

What if she misses hearing that sweet tiny voice saying “I love you” at night?

What if she knows, the way older, wiser people do, that we’re going to miss it one day, too?

Yeah. You’re right. Old people don’t know anything. Just excuse me for a second…


Working the Flow

I have spent the last 3 weeks getting up early and doing a quick, not-easy-for-me-but-I’m-sure-you-could-kill-it workout before I start the day. No one in the world would expect me to be up which means I’m completely free from the guilt of someone expecting me to be somewhere or work on something.

It’s like I’m invisible.

I hadn’t had any trouble getting up early and working out. It’s been, dare I say, fun? I liked the energy boost and the nice feeling that came with carving time out of my day to take care of me.

But this morning? This morning I moaned at the idea of jumping up and down while a YouTube fitness personality shouted fitspiration at me.

I knew this feeling well. Just like clockwork I get to this point every month where I just want to hide. I don’t want to be energetic or creative. I just want to curl up with my inner circle (that would be Mark, Otis, and the cats) and pretend there’s an ice storm raging outside.

I  have always known this about myself, but I wasn’t very good at figuring out when I was in a ‘valley’ until I was out of the ‘valley.’ Instead I’d berate myself for not being disciplined enough to stay with a workout routine or dread the fact that I just signed up for a weekend full of “girl’s nights” when I’d rather spend the evening like this:

I watched this Tedx Talk about menstrual cycles last year (maybe?):

ETA: Becca from Betty Becca (make her part of your reads) is one of my best friends and most favorite internet finds. After she watched this talk she went and found the speaker’s website, Flo Living, and forwarded me all of the tests to find out how to optimize the sheet out of our femininity. Love to your ovaries, peeps.

She talks about becoming a partner with your body instead of constantly fighting it. She talks about how there are 4 different stages of our ‘cycle.’ That there’s a time where we’re most creative, where we’re the best at communicating, a time where we’re more into details and planning, and a week where we’re most able to receive information from our ‘gut.’ She talks about looking at our bodies as tools to master the world with instead of as projects in need of improvement.

This information (here’s another great post on the subject) sat in the back of my brain for a while until two months ago when I decided to start putting this information on my calendars:



Orange Highlighter means I’m ‘reflective’ and Red Scribbly Line means I’m ‘creative/energetic.’ I had been tracking my cycle in the Period Tracker app for a long time so I used that information to give me a decent idea where these times would fall.

So when I woke up this morning not really ‘feeling it’ I immediately thought, “Am I going into the reflective cycle?”


Instead of beating myself up (because talking crap to yourself is never a good idea), I decided that for the next two weeks I’d get up early, but I’d do something a little quieter and more meditative like barre3 or yoga or pilates. Or maybe I’d just do devotionals and pray and journal. Because the goal for the morning invisibility time was to take care of myself, not do things because someone somewhere thinks I should.

Keeping this information about my cycle in my calendar is changing my life. I don’t feel overwhelmed or overbooked all of the time. I feel good about saying no to invitations and random ideas I come up with, or at least putting them aside until my energy levels are at a better place. And when I know I have to be ‘on’ during one of my valleys I respect that I’m withdrawing from the energy bank account and make a point to make deposits in other ways.

Now I’m not suggesting that my approach to this information is ‘right.’ I mean, if you’re a J you’re probably thinking that the point of any discipline is to do it even when you don’t feel like it and that I’m doing it wrong. And the P in me is basically like:

But why not pay attention to what our minds, hearts, and bodies need? Why not go with the energy instead of against it? Why fight a fight that doesn’t need to be fought? And with that fortune cookie wisdom I give you this so we can all remember that we don’t all have the same gifts and approaches to wellness AND THAT’S OK:

The Perfect Weekend

Ever have one of those weekends that you wish you could capture in a bottle and relive forever and ever amen?

Yes. Me, too. I actually have lots of them, but this one is getting put in the blogging time capsule because I’m fairly confident 89-year old Marie will be so glad I took the time to jot this weekend down. Don’t worry, 89-year old Marie, I got your back.

It started with an all out delightful day with our little guy shopping and going to the park and this weather. This weather is heaven. Here is Otis walking the bases in reverse order because that’s how my little homey rolls.

Then Mark and I went to a wedding and had the very best time. Mark never goes to weddings, and we didn’t know anyone except the bride and groom so we were pretty sure we’d stay for an hour tops but we ended up having the best time ever with a group of complete strangers. Seriously, I am fairly confident that I’ve met my sister from another mister and it is talking all of my self control not to try to find her via Facebook and beg her to move to Nashville.

Every time the groom said amazingly wonderful things about his bride Mark would squeeze my hand or give me a hug which is the international sign for “I feel that way, too, Gurl” or “Ditto” and I was so happy that I deemed it an acceptable form of communicating his love for me.

Also, we had a very serious/hilarious conversation about how to make wedding crashing a regular thing. #LookOutNashvilleCouples #YouJustGotCrashed

The next day I put on a dress and when Otis saw me he exclaimed, “Mommy a ballerina!”

Do I really need to tell you how much this filled my heart?

I’m the queen of filling in gaps, and I’m pretty sure his ballerina comparison is meant to tell me I looked pretty, especially since my dress (a green maxi) looked nothing like a ballerina costume (pink tutu). I don’t have a daughter so I’m not sure if it feels the same, but his little comment truly made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the entire universe.

Otis and I then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with my mom and sister. Other than a few completely rational ‘fits’ (hunger/thirst), Otis was a complete gentleman the entire day. Like, if this were a first date I’d totally be screeching to my girls that I’d found The One.

This weekend was amazingly simple, and so perfect. And it’s so easy to get caught up in chasing after things or wanting to create ‘magical’ moments that we completely miss or forget these simple weekends that make life, well, beautiful.

You’re welcome, 89-year old Marie. You’re welcome.



Sweet Otis,

You are four years old. Like, you are a senior in the pre-school world. The big kid on campus.
And yet you’re still my baby. Funny how that works.


Eventually I’m going to tell the entire world all the ways I’ve been the worst mom on the planet, but on your birthday I’d rather talk about how you’ve been the best son in the universe.

You are so excited about life. The way you dance because your body just has to do something with all of this joy running through it. Your excitement is contagious, and has turned so many of my ‘meh’ days into ‘best’ days. No matter how many tantrums you have or how hard things get, the image of you squirming around and stretching your face into the most exaggerated smile ever will be how I remember this season of our lives.

You love your family. All of us. There aren’t even words for how thankful I am for the relationship you have with all of your grandparents. How Aunt Meesa and Uncle Bobby are your best friends. I don’t know how you’ve convinced each of us we are your favorite, but I feel like this skill will come in handy during your 2056 presidential run.

You always do you. You love Barbie’s Dream House and you want to be a cowboy. You will count all day long, but roll your eyes at the thought of learning your colors. You love hanging out at home without any pants on. And there is absolutely no shame in your game. I will not lie, I am a people pleaser and sometimes I wish you would just go with the flow more, and have fewer opinions about all of the things. I know that you are in the middle of learning how to behave AND how to respect yourself and your needs, and I’m not going to pretend that this stage is easy for either of us, but please keep doing you because you is kind, smart, and important.

I’m sure that when I’m old and chatting with a young mom with a tantruming toddler at her feet in the checkout line I will smile at her and say, “Don’t you love their passion for life at this age?” And then she’ll go home and write a “Dear Old Lady at the Grocery Store” blog post making fun of me for totally not getting how hard it is. And she’s right, it’s hard, but it’s immensely more beautiful than I could have imagined. I am decades away from that day and I already know I’m going to look back on these days and smile because watching you grow up has been the very best. Thank you for being you and making the last 4 years so wonderful.


A hundred kisses,

First Birthday
Second Birthday
Third Birthday

Jesus take the pants

Tuesday I get an email from Channel 4. They want to know if we, Mark and I, would like to be on their midday show to talk about marriage and whatnot.

I’m not going to lie. The timing is a little… weird. See, Mark and I recently decided not to take on any more new marriage coaching clients because I have learned a lot about myself over the past 6 months and being fully self-employed does not make me a better and healthier person for many reasons. We’ve been happily and successfully transitioning back into a lifestyle we absolutely adore.

And then we get this email. Which feels like a ‘sign.’ It feels like maybe we called it “quits” too early. Except it doesn’t.

I think it’s like when you break up with someone, but you are only 99% sure you should have broken up. Then they come hanging around again and you have this choice about whether you want to jump back on that boat or wave goodbye from the dock?

Well, I (the key decision maker on this particular play), was basically like:

Because I really don’t want to go back to the self-employed lifestyle. I am not disciplined enough to say, “Marie, you have to work today” or “Marie, you’re still in your pajamas. It’s been a week.” And then I felt guilty nearly 24/7 because of all the things I should be doing. If I was working I felt bad about not playing with Otis. If I was playing with Otis I felt bad about the drains. If I cleaned the drains I felt about not emailing a friend back. It was an unending circle of guilt and gnashing of teeth.

So we added a little bit of schedule back to our world, and it’s awesome.

Back to the email from Channel 4. The timing was weird because, well, if God wanted this to happen, why now? Why after we’ve made moves in a direction that seems to be going away from the whole marriage coaching gig?

While appearing on More at Midday wasn’t necessarily going to make us rich and famous, it helped me clearly see how OK I was with not solely pursuing the coaching gig. I am mildly obsessed with making sure my outsides match my insides, so this was a huge relief.

But we still had a question to answer: Did we want to be on tv?

Not really. Because we weren’t completely sure what the point would be, or what we would talk about. But since we didn’t do anything to make it happen I couldn’t help but think that it was an opportunity created by God. And I don’t want to miss any of those so I was like:

And Mark went along for the ride because he loves me and would do anything for me.

But then he started having doubts.

“What are we talking about on this show?”

“Are you sure I know about those topics? I don’t think I know about those things.”

“Do you want to do this by yourself?”

“I think you should do this by yourself.”

I was kinda thinking that I should do it by myself, too. And not because I don’t think Mark would be great during an interview (heck, he’d be a million times better than me!), but because he was right. Mark’s great with plenty of time to dig into a topic and teach, but providing soundbites for how to spice up your Valentine’s Day? That wasn’t really his thing.

So just like that I had become a solo act:

Then things got real because I needed to figure some stuff out. Namely, how do you lose 35 pounds in 2 days?


Well, I had (miraculously) already dyed my grays that weekend AND wrangled my eyebrows into shape.

(Aside: I went to pick up the mail on Monday feeling like a million dollars because the hair was dark and I had 2 separate eyebrows, but kind of sad because who on earth would notice such small changes? So when the post office guy says, “You look different,” I immediately start blabbing, “Is it my hair? It was ALL gray last week but I dyed it. Can you really tell?” “No, I don’t think that’s it.” “What about my eyebrows? I plucked them so that they aren’t growing together. Is that what you noticed?” “Um, I don’t think so…” “I bought new lipstick. Is that it?” “Oh! I know! Your hair is down. It’s normally in a ponytail, right? Yeah, that’s what it is.” So I basically revealed ALL OF MY BEAUTY SECRETS TO A MOSTLY STRANGER BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC.)

The only thing left to deal with was what to wear. And I did not want to deal with that question because I hate shopping and I especially hate shopping for pants which I have, like, 2 pairs of and no-More at Midday-appropriate pants because I thought wearing jeans would be a no-no and it totally was not a no-no but whatever. So I put finding new pants off as long as I possibly could. Like, I put it off until 6 AM this morning. And do you know the only thing open at 6 am on a Friday morning?


Yeah. I went to Wal-Mart right before my big television debut to find a pair of black pants. And if my mom is reading this she’s basically like:

Here’s the kicker (because shopping at Wal-Mart isn’t enough): I couldn’t try them on. The sign at Wal-Mart said the dressing rooms were closed.

I was going to have to guess what size I was in Wal-Mart black pants.

I’m not joking. That was when the prayers started getting real.

“Jesus. I need you. I need you to tell me exactly which pants to buy because I have run out of time and options and I need you. Amen.”

And I picked up a pair of pants and walked out with confidence. (After paying, of course.) (We aren’t that poor.) (Yet.)

I got to the office and the pants? They fit. Perfectly. Maybe a little too long, but to be fair I didn’t give Jesus much to work with. Seriously, I felt like I was in that movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

And they really did make me brave! Like, the whole time I’m driving to the studio I was like, “Jesus found you pants at the last minute in Wal-Mart. You are going to be ok, Marie. He’s got this.”

And He did got this because the time at the studio was amazing. I met Dr. Snodgrass (he is hilarious) and BooMama (also hilarious and sweet and unknowingly played the role of Guardian Angel because she reassured me it would all be ok), and we talked about how men need respect in a marriage which kinda became our jam this year so, again, feeling very reassured that this is all going to be ok because He got this.

Then I got mic’d up (is that the lingo?) and sat down with Kacy Hagerty (possibly the sweetest woman on earth) to talk about spicing up a married Valentine’s Day and tips for a happy marriage (oh, yeah, we ended up filming 2 segments because why not?). Also, I refused to look into the camera and stared at Kacy the entire time because I was terrified of looking like this to the viewing audience:

The end.

You can check out the Valentine’s Day segment (with the God-given Wal-Mart pants) here. But you don’t have to. No, seriously, if no one talks about this ever again that would be fine with me. I just want to document that this whole thing was scary and I believe that God was there the whole time. Showing up in the pants. Giving me clarity that I have made a really good decision. And that He’s got this. He really does.

Also, before you worry that my new celebrity status will change me, I just want you to know that I had to change the kitty litter last night just like a mortal. So yeah. None of this has gone to my head at all.


The Village

Since becoming a mom I’ve read a couple of posts about what you should or shouldn’t do when it comes to visiting New Moms, and they kind of drive me absolutely bonkers. Absolutely. Bonkers.

The number one thing that bothers me about these lists is the suggestion that your friends and family should do your chores when they come over to visit. It boggles my mind that there are people in this world that have had guests in their home and silently wondered, “Why aren’t you folding my laundry?”

Because here’s the deal, as a society we gave a big Eff Ewe to “The Village” a long time ago. We bought all our own crap so that we didn’t have to borrow anything from each other anymore. We turned our front porches into back decks. We told our moms not to come over when the baby was born. We flipped out if a grandmother/uncle/neighbor said anything to us about how we raised our kid. We repeatedly told The Village to mind its own business, and The Village listened.

And now we just observe each other because that’s all we’ve allowed each other to do. We look at photo albums on Facebook and we like status updates about newborn-induced sleep deprivation as a (shallow) sign of solidarity. And we come over to hold the baby because it is (used to be?) safe, and anything more than that is butting in.

We can’t offer to clean because that might suggest your house is dirty and you’ll write an Open Letter to People Who Clean Other People’s Houses on your blog.

We can’t bring meals because we have no idea what strict diet you and your family are on this month.

We can’t offer to babysit while you get a nap because you are superwoman and you can handle this.

Here’s the thing, if you want your friends and family to be your village, to rally around you with support, you have to invite them and that invitation looks like a text/call/email for help. That’s right. Your friends and family are not mind readers. They don’t know how to help you in practical ways because (and this might come as a shock) they have their own lives going on.

I know. Yeah, people liked your status about that new baby finally arriving, but that’s just about where their concern ended. Not because they are cruel or coldhearted but because life happens and they didn’t think to call and ask if they could help you squeeze a nap in (just like you’ve probably never thought to call that mom that had a second baby to see if you could take her newly jealous firstborn on a playdate to the park #goesbothways)

The village mentality is not a natural one anymore. We have to rebuild it. And that starts with asking the friends and family that you WANT in your village for help. Asking for help requires humility. Asking for help requires letting go. Asking for help is hard. But if you want The Village you have to ask.

And this is where things get messy. We want to take from The Village (come vacuum, buy groceries, cut the grass), but we insist that it’s done our way and on our terms. And I can totally respect wanting things done just the way you want them IF YOU PAID FOR THE SERVICE WITH DOLLAH-DOLLAH BILLS. If this is a purely relational transaction, like my mom going to the groceries the first week we were home from the hospital because she knew we hadn’t been yet and the only thing in our house were some saltine crackers BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME, then I am a horrible human being if I decide to be a bee-yotch because she bought the wrong brand of cereal. If my mother-in-love offers to watch my son so that I can get much needed writing done BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME then I am an ugly soul if I shame her for giving him organic cookies (they don’t mix well with chicken nuggets, ya know). If you want The Village you have accept that it isn’t always going to be exactly how you want it, and if exactly how you want it is the most important thing in your book (no judgement at all!) then The Village might not be the best fit for you.

And this is where it gets even messier. This is probably just me, but I think that being part of The Village means that my tribe gets to have an influence on my family and my decisions. It means that I believe that they are looking out for my family in many practical ways and that they deserve my respect and attention when they want to speak into my life. I may not do what they suggest or even believe they know what they are talking about, but their words and their opinions have weight in my world. Does it hurt sometimes to hear that people think you’re doing the wrong thing? Yes. Is it annoying that everyone doesn’t agree with you all the time? Duh. But that’s part of the deal! That’s part of being in The Village! We agree, disagree, fight, hug, makeup, and then do it all over again!

I just think that if you expect your friends and family to rally around you during seasons like the transition into parenthood it isn’t going to look like the commerce relationships that we’re used to. We can’t put rules around how we expect others to love us. We aren’t customers when we step into the Village, with a checklist of ways the world must cater to me and my sensitivities, we are members and we belong to each other, messiness included.

Top Poor Mommy Blog Picks for the New Year

So a couple of months ago ChatterBlock contacted me about a writeup they were doing on Nashville Mommy Bloggers. I was happy to talk to them, and gave them a description of my blog:

The Poor Mom is a blog that features humorous insights, DIY projects, and recipes that are more relatable to the average (ahem, poor) mom than what is currently seen on more mainstream mommy blogs or Pinterest. This blog is low on cash, but big on love.

L ook! They even gave me a badge to put on my blog!
Obviously that description is filled with lies. Because this blog is really about the drama, intrigue, and hilariousness of being a mom that is kinda-almost a grownup. Oh, and if I can’t say it with a gif it probably isn’t worth saying.

When they did the writeup they included me on a list of Top 2014 Mommy Bloggers in Nashville, and you know what that did to my ego, right? Of course you do:

Who cares that I’m at the bottom of the list and most people probably clicked away before they saw my blog? Not this girl! I was ecstatic to be on a list, any list.

And because I know how good it feels to be on a list, I thought I’d put together my own list.

As you can tell from the name of this blog, I am a poor mom. We don’t have money, and sometimes I read other blogs and I’m like, “Seriously? You’re blogging about money trouble while you pack for your month-long vacation to the Cayman Islands?”

No, we are normal people poor. Like, we pay our mortgage on time, but we laugh heartily at the idea of spending the full retail price for clothing (hello, Target clearance rack!)

But poor people want better lives! And we especially want better lives during the New Year because that’s what people do in January, we dream of the Me I Want to Be. So I have put together a list of ways to make this year better without going into piles of debt!

Top Poor MOm

Barre3 – Workout Like a Rich Person

I had heard people talk about barre workouts for a couple of years, and have always had dreams of being a short and slightly chubby ballerina. Everyone said barre workouts were the bomb dot com, and would get you in shape in no time for the estimated price of a gabillion dollars per month.
Then I found Barre3 and it’s so wonderful. I have full access to their online workouts, they have some suggested 28-day challenges, and I love the instructors. My goal in 2015 is balance, don’t kill yourself but still push yourself. And these instructors are constantly talking about finding “your truth.” So when I have felt like sweating I do the hard version of a workout, and when I am doing a workout just to cross it off the to-do list I do the easy. I am committed to my truth, and everyone (me and the instructors) is totally cool with that.

Revelation Wellness Podcast – Get Your Spirituality On

Ever since I went to a Revelation Wellness workout class I’ve been obsessed with praying/meditating while working out. So while I hop around during a Barre3 workout I play one of Megan’s podcasts. This isn’t exactly the Revelation Wellness way, but her thoughts are powerful and convicting and I like listening while I’m trying to hold the plank for one… more… second.

eMeals – Basically Like Having a Personal Chef

Y’all know how I feel about meal planning and cooking and eating food that isn’t McDonald’s. Not a fan. I’ve done the eMeals thing before and loved it, but then slid back into my ways. Not completely sure that I’ll be better this time around, but I’m giving it a try!

Nashville Marriage Studio – Better Than a Date Night

Membership Pay Attention
What? I’m on another list? I don’t care if I’m putting the list together, it’s still a list, right?

We aren’t paying enough attention to our marriages. There. I said it. We aren’t paying attention and then we’re getting side-swiped by The News or uncontrollable resentment or loneliness. And us poor people? We are particularly susceptible to crappy marriages and crappy communication and crappy divorces. So I thought I’d open up Nashville Marriage Studio as a $10/month membership site so that anyone can get affordable help for their marriage. This membership is designed to help mostly happy couples start paying attention to their marriage before it’s on life support.

So that’s how this Poor Mom is going to change 2015 one section of my life at a time: Heart, Body, Wallet, & Spirit.

I’m Listening, Poor Moms of the World:

How are you investing in yourself without going into massive amounts of debt?