Day 141


My folks left this morning after a wonderful buffet breakfast, and 6 hours later have already texted that they made it home. We had a blast catching up last night, looking at pictures of the ski trip and filling each other in on stories of the past week.

I could tell my mom was ready to go home though. She’s a homebody and time together stresses her out as much as it does me. An interesting dynamic happened toward the end. After deciding that I would be vulnerable and honest with her on a number of topics, including parenting and being a mom, it felt like there was less of a struggle on my end. I felt more confident (or just cared less) and was able to be much more cheerful with her, and forgiving of the minor moments where I felt my parenting under critique (“Are you sure you want to let them watch more TV?”).

Although we had our moments, overall this visit with her went better than weeks like this have in the past.

I can see that I have a long way to go before the relationship is where I’d like it to be, but I know that goal is much more attainable without the alcohol.

Gratitude postscript

Feeling very grateful to have C home, out shopping for dinner and texting me things like “do we have cocktail sauce?” (shrimp appetizer in our future, yummm!). Say what I might about our relationship, we really do have a good thing going.

Non-alcoholic Mojito Recipe

Day 140


We survived the week. Men are back tonight, and the routine will be back next week. I made it by a thread.

But overall, I was grateful for the depth of connection I was able to have with my mom – more than I’ve had in recent years. That connection was painful at times, joyful at times, nourishing in both directions, and hopefully indicates the start of a healthier adult relationship between the two of us.

Now, I’m headed downstairs to hear stories of Switzerland before the men crash – us women not far behind.

Day 139

Green, by Xuan Loc Xuan


Today was the first day this week where things felt somewhat manageable. All day, I’ve been trying to figure out why that might be. Overall, the boys were easier – more compliant, less willful and disobedient. Maybe they’re finally getting used to having Nana around. Maybe I got a little more sleep last night? Maybe yesterday’s workout endorphins had a delayed effect?

It really doesn’t matter much. I’m just grateful to be getting to the end of the day with capacity for some conversation with my mom, and even a project we’re working on.

Fingers crossed we have another day like this tomorrow – our last day together before the men arrive home and my folks depart.

No thoughts of alcohol today but I will admit that it being Friday night, I am contemplating how to fit in a little weed. We’ll see how that goes.

Day 138


How can one day, one week, contain so much love and joy, and at the same time so much stress, overwhelm, and angst. 

Today was another marathon day. It’s only 8:45pm and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. How was it that I ever left the house to go work out at this point in the day?! Seriously, I could go to bed now and sleep like the dead.

I have freelance to do but my brain is a complete flatline.

In an effort to make our evening easier, or to do something special, my mom took us out for dinner tonight. We knew it wasn’t going to be “easy” really, but at least we weren’t cooking or cleaning up, right?

By the time we got to the table, that drink menu was CALLIN’ MY NAME. 

I had to turn it over and hide the drinks away. All those icy liquor-based drinks. I thought about the release, the pleasure, how one or two of those would make all of the boys’ annoying behavior laughable and I’d be able to relax, finally. Maybe even have a few laughs with my mom.

But no. Ice water with lemon it was. 

And now, I’m headed downstairs to unplug a bit before calling it a night. Fingers crossed the boys let me sleep through this one.

Gratitude postscript

I’m grateful the boys’ did pretty well at the restaurant tonight. It could have gone much worse. I do think they’re growing up and learning and improving, in spite of some of the regression I’m seeing this week with Nana around. We didn’t even have to pull out the iPad.

Day 137


I feel like I’m coming unraveled. This is so much tougher than I thought it would be and I’m trying to figure out why.

I mean, I’ve always had these (very common) issues when my mom comes for a stay – feeling criticized, insecure in my own choices, struggling to relate to her interjections into my life.

But this time around, it’s so much tougher – I’m wondering if it’s because I’m feeling all the feels this time. Not numbing them with alcohol. I don’t know. 

At the end of another day of juggling work, kids, work, kids, mom, kids, work all day long. That in and of itself is not easy – very tough to feel needed in all directions and not have a clear delineation between the work and home responsibilities. Then, adding the layer of my mom, who is trying very hard to be helpful but not imposing, which requires that I find helpful but not overwhelming tasks for her to handle and often provide the instruction along with it (this is how you turn on the grill, this is how you play a DVD for the kids etc)… and all the fine details of how we both relate to each other, the tension we both feel and the desire we both have to relate well without pushing the other’s buttons.

It’s a lot. 

Giving the boys a bath tonight, I started struggling to hold back tears – all because she was encouraging me to consider some decor upgrades to the downstairs living room (she thinks it could use more warmth, had ideas on how to change it, and why do we still need the dog crate there?). I think she opened this conversation because she knows I love to decorate and often don’t get the chance to dream about it because C is usually opposed. So if I had to guess, I’d say she was bringing it up as a favor to me.

But after a 1/2 hour of discussing it with her while trying to simultaneously get two obstinate and tired 4yos upstairs and bathed, I only felt more and more overwhelmed. It was a reminder of how poorly C and I communicate about certain topics (even if I feel like I’m making headway internally), and how much I have been turning a blind eye to around the house (and in our relationship in general), and how far it all has to go, and how discouraged I am with the impossibility that we’ll ever get to a “normal” or healthy place, and then I found myself spiraling down the negative rabbit hole and falling apart inside.

The boys could see it but I pulled myself back from the brink and finished the bath. When I finally turned around to face my mom and head into the bedroom for PJs, the tears were gone.

But it’s tough right now. I’m going to be giving some thought to why it’s so much tougher than normal next week, when life is back to it’s normal rhythm.

If nothing else, this week has made me realize what a good partner C is. We do a pretty solid job of raising these kids and maintaining the day-to-day responsibilities together, even if we can’t decide on paint colors to save our lives. And that’s my gratitude postscript.


Day 136


Carrie Nelson


OMG. I told my mom I was going to smoke pot tonight. Just casually, as if we talked about that kind of thing all the time. 

It was a long day of juggling work around play and I was tired of pretending anymore. My mom has the nose of a bloodhound, so she probably already knew it’s location in the house. 

Anyway, I plopped down on the couch after putting boys to bed, and she looks over her knitting and offers me tea. I said, “no thanks, I think I’m going to smoke pot instead”. 

Just left it at that for a moment. Changed subject lightly. A few minutes later, I felt the need to add that I have creative concepting to do tonight and it helps.

After going upstairs to do exactly that, she and I had a nice conversation where she asked me “whatever happened with that church you we’re going to down here?”

I have to give her a lot of credit, calm as a cucumber throughout.

Gratitude postscript

I’m grateful for starting to define my relationship with my mother better, at the least a more open, honest one. Not needing to be perfect around her.

Day 135


A better day than the previous few, thankfully. And I even fit a workout in (part of why I forgot to post last night). Lots of outdoor time with the kids and dogs, in spite of rain, and good naps (and freelance for me) in the afternoon.

Read this quote today and it felt appropriate:

“Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self esteem.”

― Jillian Michaels

Day 134


A rough start to the morning, kids up way too early full of piss & vinegar, but a trip into Brooklyn to visit family corrected course. Now, nana is reading bedtime stories to the boys and I’m grabbing a moment.

It’s only the second full day of this “vacation”, with the men on a ski trip, and mom & I holding down the fort… but I’m already struggling. Absolutely no fault of my mom, but looking at our lives through the lens (or perceived lens) of my mother’s eyes has me feeling insecure – a bad mom with out-of-control kids – not caring enough about the right things, caring too much about the wrong things. I find myself being extremely critical of everything, my parenting, the boys behavior, my housekeeping… and I’m probably WRONG!

Who knows what her perception is, and honestly, why should I care so much anyway. I know I’m doing a pretty good job most of the time. Why can’t I find confidence inside myself right now?

The urge to drink has been strong this afternoon. Really strong.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this week.

Gratitude postscript:

Grateful for time with family today – so much fun. I’m grateful for their proximity, and for the time my mom was able to spend with my in-laws, getting to know each other better.

Day 133


We had a wonderful day today. Lots of outdoor time this morning with Nana, then naps for all and playtime while I cooked dinner. Idyllic.

Still somehow, I found myself a bit unsettled underneath. Working on it, and enjoying time with my mom… heading into another weekend night without my usual smoke, but maybe we’ll watch a movie or just chat over hot tea, and it’ll be just fine.

Gratitude postscript:

I’m grateful that I didn’t burn anything tonight, and dinner turned out top-notch. C is the usual cook in our family (not because I suck, but because he likes doing it, and I don’t – plus, he’s really good at it)… so with my mom here spending time with the kids, I’m freed up to do the meals. Glad it turned out well.

Day 132


The urge to pour a G&T was strong tonight.. Today had its stresses, but nothing overwhelming.

I will admit that having my folks here adds extra pressure to parenting for me – something I’m still getting over – so maybe it’s that. In any case, knowing I wouldn’t be able to enjoy even a puff at the end of the week was tough today. I guess those Friday night smoke sessions have been my pillow into sobriety, and I’m not quite ready to give them up.

Headed downstairs to hot tea and enjoyable conversation with my mom instead. I’m sure it will be wonderful.

Gratitude postscript:

I’m grateful that my dad and my husband are spending quality time together this week, and hope that it brings them closer.