To Mushy Mothers Like Me:

Here we go. Another school year begun, another summer gone. I am so ready to have my kids back in school and so not ready to watch another year of their lives march right on by me,  pitiless and indifferent as those marching years have always been.   Think your kids are young?  they say.  Look up, lady:  your oldest is starting high school.  That’ll teach me to leaf through the Park and Rec pamphlet looking for Storytime at the Library and Playgroup at the Park.  Those days are long gone, and with them, my Young Motherhood.  It’s enough to make a mom get mushy, and not in a good way.  And I know myself well enough to know that if I let that dark mushiness settle in my heart and on my mind, it will take a therapist and a wet-vac to suck it back out.  That’s too expensive and too much trouble, so instead I’ll mask my emotions with a contrived, offhand attitude and cheap attempts at humor (i.e., I’ll keep writing this blog.)  But the truth is, I’m a little heartbroken that my kids are growing up.  And I don’t really know how to process it except to say, “It’s Tuesday, and I need to cleanmy house, go to Costco, and get the kids to violin and swim practice before dinner.”  And that is what I’ll do next Tuesday and the [tcsublocker id=”2a964ec61364eded3″ fields=”firstname,lastname” title=”Enjoying “To Mushy Mothers Like Me?” Enter your contact information to read the rest!” message=”It’s worth it and just takes a moment. As a subscriber you’ll receive updates, freebies, and occasional correspondence from me. -Jennifer”]

Tuesday after that, and I’ll try not to think about how each Tuesday marks one less week that my children will remain Children.  I’ll just keep doing Tuesday.  It’s all I can do.

And this Tuesday, my three children were:


Thrilled to be a freshman having her picture taken in really bad lighting. (Sorry, Rache.)


Excited to be a seventh-grader with her Dippy Dad photo-bombing through the window. (Sorry, Meg.)


Looking forward to third-grade with nine friends (he already counted!) in his class.  And a shirt that kind of matches the shorts.  (At least it’s not the polo, Ethan.  You won.)

And so it begins, the relief and heartache of starting another school year.  I’m happy.  I’m sad.  I’m nervous, I’m nostalgic.  I’m relieved, I have a heartache, I have a headache.

But mostly, I am reassured:  by a Two-Thumbs-Up-Head-Cocked-Psycho-Eyeballed eight-year old telling me, It’s all good, Mom!


And so it is.


Metro in Montana

Metrosexual: (n.) Modern enlightened, sort of renaissance man. Secure and confident, capable and cool, typically well educated and stylish. — Urban Dictionary

For several years now, I have suspected my husband of being a metrosexual.  Wait, let me back up:  he is extremely male in the fundamentals, as evidenced by his competitive nature, strong personal will (i.e., nobody puts Derrick in the corner), and drive to succeed.  He likes maps and tools and action movies and camping and being a father; he is driven to succeed in his profession and for his family.  But just beneath that whole Bill Cosby exterior lurks an accidental Chandler Bing.  ‘Cause see my husband, of late, has been buying skinny jeans and using shoe-shapers, wearing pomade and parting his hair (in a specific way and on purpose).  He showers twice daily, even though I graciously point out to him that he hasn’t worked out or broken a sweat all day (“have you?”), so why does he need another shower?  He replies:  “I just like to be clean.”  He is a classic germophobe, and last year he bought a dog named Maude.  Connect the dots and tell me I’m wrong.

And yet he’s my metrosexual, and I love him.  And though he may be buffed to a shine and groomed to a fault, he never ceases to amaze me.  Take the rodeo dance contest he begrudgingly entered on our visit to Yellowstone last month.  We practically shoved him out there, thinking we’d hoot and holler and embarrass him to death as he is, thankfully, a metrosexual of the reserved variety.  Turns out we were aiming too low:

And that, my friends, is what happens when you unleash a Metro in [tcsublocker id=”7f6e042842634f097″ fields=”firstname,lastname” title=”Enjoying “Metro in Montana?” Please enter your contact information to read the rest.” message=”Its worth it, you’ll want to see the second video in this post. My subscribers receive “Mints” straight to their Inbox. -Jennifer”]

Montana: they steal the crown from the Adorable Little Girl and Sultry Blond Russian, without so much as a backward glance.  So for the hapless women out there who are married to Metros–and I believe you are legion–please take tonight’s story as a cautionary tale and remember these two things:

1)  your Metro may be sleek, but he is cunning, and 2) never challenge your Metro to a Dance-Off.  That trophy is always his for the taking.  Word.


Write like you speak. (Oh my gosh! Really?)

So I’ve been reading this book called Good Prose by Tracy Kidder (who also authored of one of the Amazing Books I Can’t Seem To Finish.)  It’s all about, well, writing good prose.  And my faithfuls, it is revelatory.  Reading this book is like taking the best writing class from the coolest professor in college except that it’s easy, entertaining, and you don’t have to write anything at all.  (It’s like Comms 101 for adults!)  And you don’t need to be writer, or even a wannabe-writer (like me,) to appreciate this book.  It explains how to write clearly so we can think clearly–in that order.  Always a good skill for grownups.  (A label I can no longer avoid.)  (And haven’t really been able to avoid for the last decade.  Let’s get real.)

‘Kay. So.  Guess what Mr. Kidder tells us to do?  “Write like you speak.  Or at least, write like you speak on your best day.”  He warns against inflated language that shows off skill rather than makes the point.  The rhythm of your writing, he says, should imitate the rhythm of your speaking.  And though this theory sounds plausible on the page I must, with all due respect to this esteemed author, ask the question I find myself asking all too often, which is:  are you kidding me?

Or rather, I should ask:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Because that is kinda-sorta how I talk (kinda-sorta included) even–no, especially–on my “best day.”  This is because on my best days I’m extra-jaunty, and though that’s fun for me, it’s not necessarily pleasant for whomever is trapped listening happens to be listening to me.  My worst days are all  lower cases and ellipses.  On my best days, however, you’ll see a great deal of ALL CAPS (screaming), italics (making my point with vocal inflection instead of, um, words), and lots and lots of run-on sentences (like, okay, no…I’m totally serious…ok, just a sec–ETHAN, KNOCK IT OFF I’M ON THE PHONE!–ok, sorry, where was I…oh yeah, and then, I am not kidding, she actually said to me…(insert mild comment from a frenemy that I morphed into an offensive one to make a better story).  Oh, and you would also read a lot of exclamation points on my best days.  Because on my Best Days, I heart exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of this, of course, would be footnoted by some kind of small, hand-clapping graphic that has yet to be designed.  See, whenever someone tells me something that makes me glad, I have a tendency to press my hands together under my chin in a kind of prayer position (elbows out, I-Dream-of-Jeannie-style)  and slap them back-and-forth in a soft mini-clap, shouting “YAY!” in an excruciatingly high-pitched voice that betrays my position as an alto in the ward choir.  (Were I to sing alto in the ward choir.  Or sing. At all.)

I was not aware of this mannerism until my tween girls pointed it out to me, with no small amount of [tcsublocker id=”54af242cf0b20b257″ fields=”” title=”Enjoying my posts? Enter your email to get more now!” message=”It just takes a moment. Simply enter your email address to unlock this content. My subscribers receive posts in their Inbox and occasional correspondence from me.”]


Once acknowledged, I thought they might find it charming, or at least quirky.  No dice.  So I went for eccentric–the aging person’s last frontier to justify annoying personal characteristics.  No Mom, they informed me.  It still bugs.  Well, I informed them back, it’s here to stay.  So in order to write like I speak, I’ll be needing a cheery little symbol, in the vein of the Smiley Face, to place just after my CAPS, italics, and exclamation points!!!!  Because as a grown woman, I cannot possibly be expected to express thoughts or convey emotion with mere words alone!  Hand gestures are obviously needed.  I mean, what if I don’t CLAP and the person to whom I’m speaking doesn’t absorb the FULL WRATH OF MY ENTHUSIASM??!!!!!  I’d die.  I would just, like…DIE!!!

Ya know?