Welcome, Mamma Crew!  Today is Mamma Thursdays when it’s all about us!  The mammas!

So here I am giving myself the metaphorical slap! Okay, that was a real slap. I think I slapped myself too hard! But what do I mean by metaphorical? I’m done — I’m over — being in the dumps!

Ever since this whole lockdown, we had to leave the Caribbean, go back to Florida to be near good medical care, and all of that; being in this tiny little apartment with three kids that are becoming teenagers and losing their minds and causing me to lose mine; and a four-year-old that just turned five who doesn’t have enough room to round around and be his active little self, I’ve been slowly spiraling down. My house went from being very neat, very well

organized, to looking like a warehouse! Because I keep telling myself, “This is temporary. This is temporary and you’re being insane to worry about keeping house!” And “You’re being insane about looking good!” And “It’s okay that you’re not eating right because it’s temporary!” And “This will pass and it will pass sooner than later!” And so on, and so on, and so on, you know? Just do what you need to do to get through the day. Through the week. Through the month. I’m done with all of that. Pardon my French, that’s bullshit! I’m done! This is no way to live! At least not for me. I’m not laid back! I never have been, okay?

So step number 1 (and you guys will keep me on this because I’m gonna post a picture): since the surgeries (the knee surgeries), I have put on 50 lbs. And being on lockdown, I put on about another five. So I’m gonna do exactly what the doctor told me to do starting tomorrow. I’m going to go on a low-carb diet and I’m going to make sure that I walk my two miles every day (which I had started doing and then I just went downhill). And I’m gonna post it, okay? I’m gonna post it on the Facebook page so that you guys can keep me honest. That’s number 1.

Number 2: I’m going to organize myself here. We decided to rent a slightly bigger condo so it will have five bedrooms. So instead of 1,400 square feet, we’ll be in 1800 square feet. So each of the kids will have their room. So I’m gonna organize their rooms. And I’m going to take a lot of our excess stuff to storage. And I’m going to start doing some little projects here to help make this place look better, you know, temporary things that will make the place my own without causing any permanent damage that my husband then later has to pay. 

And I’m gonna send for my dog. I miss my dog. There, I said it! I’m not a dog person (and in fact, I have never been the greatest dog owner), but I love my Shih-Tzu! I finally found the perfect dog for me! And when we left the Caribbean, we left in such a rush and I left her with a friend (who is taking very good care of her). In fact, that dog looks very happy (but she was very happy when she was with me, too!). And I miss her! I miss her!

There are things that she lets me do to her that the girls no longer let me do. I can dress her up if I want to (what can I tell you — I know it sounds insane!). But I was always a Barbie player and I love dressing up my Barbies and I love dressing up my dog! And I love doing her hair — ponytails, little bows — I get a kick out of it! I loved doing it to the girls when the girls were little, but the girls don’t let me do that anymore. And I get it. It’s totally valid. They’re teens — they have to be cool. But the dog doesn’t have to be cool! It brings me joy to dress her up. And the dog is happy! I mean, this dog likes it! She’s such a perfect dog. I mean, she is absolutely perfect! She loves to cuddle; she’s not a barkie; she loves to walk with me; she loves to lay on the bed with me and watch TV; she loves to sit on my lap and read. We’re still working on the painting issue because when I paint, she wants to stick her nose in the acrylic paint. We’re not cool with that. That could harm her. So she’s perfect! I don’t know if other Shih-Tzus are perfect, but this Shih-Tzu is perfect for me!

In fact, when I got her, I named her Barbie because I love playing with Barbie so much, I love dressing them up and I knew I was gonna do it to her. Even if it turned me into the crazy dog lady! Which is, it turns out, that’s exactly what I am! I’m excited to go on walks with her. Just excited! I’m looking forward to having my dog back. My little Barbie, my little pudgy. 

I’m not so excited to bring in my daughter’s dog back. Ugh!  Emmy’s dog, Muffin, oh that dog! She’s also a Shih-Tzu and she loves to bark! Oh my God, that thing’s a barkie! It can’t seem to hold her bladder to save her life, so poor Emmy has to clean her up every morning because that’s just the way that dog is. And Emmy can’t even go to the restroom ‘cause the dog will start barking and won’t stop until Emmy returns to her room. And in a small house like this one, this condo, it’s gonna be hard to put up with that barky dog!

Shammie, which is Dora’s Shih-Tzu (yes, we’re a Shi-Tzu family!), I love that dog! She’s a good dog. I think she has a little ADHD — this is an extremely hyper dog — but I love her! She’s potty-trained; Dora loves her; she’s great with Bug. Bug does not have a pet. He’s too young to take care of his pet, therefore, no pet. 

And Andy has been trying to talk us into a cat. But Dad has been fighting the cat thing. So then she went for a snake and Dad said it was him or the snake. So I think she’ll probably get a cat — eventually (maybe once we go back home to the Caribbean). I do believe children should have cats. Or pets. And frankly, I’m a cat person myself. Up until the Shih-Tzu, not a dog person. Don’t tell Barbie I said that, okay? Barbie and I have this spiritual dog-human connection. 

I’m so excited to have the family back. The dogs, including the barky one, are part of the family and it’s been really hard to be away from them. I’m excited to have them back. 

Now let me tell you — so far, Emmy hasn’t opted to dress up Muffin. But that could change. Who knows? On the other hand, Muffin can be found on Instagram. She has a following. I think she has like a

hundred followers, last I heard. And I’m sure her followers are eager to hear what she’s doing now!

So like I said, I’m looking forward to having the family together; looking forward to doing some projects and I’m having one of my friends send one of my sewing machines ‘cause I need to do something to relax. And in the past, one of the ways that I used to relax was sewing for the girls when they were little, which, of course, can’t do that anymore. But I plan on making a few dresses for Barbie. I mean, I think she’s gonna be the snazziest Shih-Tzu ever. But that’s just me, the crazy dog-lady who’s not very impartial. 

So I’m excited about that. I’m also excited because I want to teach Andy to do some basic sewing — she’s a cosplayer and she loves to create outfits but she doesn’t know how to sew, so I want to help her get to the next level. 

And I think it’s time for me to start putting some makeup. Not because it’s necessary but because, you know, when you embrace the frump, your soul goes frumpy. You don’t feel good about yourself. At least I don’t. That’s my personal feeling. So I’ve decided I’m done with the frump. I’m going to go get a bottle of hair dye and dye my hair. And I’m gonna give myself a quarantine cut. How bad can it be? I have curly hair. It never looks like it should anyhow. So I’m just gonna wing it.

Although I do hear my stylist took the COVID test for stylist and I know that he’s just as paranoid as I am because he has someone that he needs to take care of so he needs to be very careful so maybe I’ll go to him. Save myself from the quarantine haircut. I don’t know. All I know is I’m done with having this long hair that I’ve been growing for the last year, thinking that I wanted it because… I don’t

know why I was thinking I wanted it. What I’ve decided was I definitely don’t. All I do is I just put it up in a bun and it just takes too much to take care of it. So I’m done with it. I’m done with the frump. I’m done with being down in the dumps.

And instead, I’m just gonna make it work because so much of the time, it’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it? And instead of focusing on the difficult things in life, I’m going to start focusing on the positives. Plus I have a lot of reading to do, a lot of prep to do for the next homeschool year. I mean, it’s the girls last year before high school.

So there’s lots and lots for me to do. No reason for me to be lying on the couch like I did today, feeling in the dumps because no matter what’s happening, my family is safe and healthy and we’re making it work. So I have to get rid of this attitude. This frumpy, I’m-in-the-down attitude. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to learn French, or that I’m going to learn some new Internet skill. I mean, hooray, all power to you for those of you who are taking on that kind of commitment, those kinds of projects. That’s not me. At least that’s not me anymore.

Right now, I’m more interested in having a happy home. Doing the best that I can to make this home feel fresh and good and have happy kids. That is the focus of my life right now. It’s a stage. And in five years…

I used to think five years was so long and now it feels like it’s coming at me so fast! In five years, the girls will be off to college and I’ll be left with my little Bug. Five years. They’ll be eighteen and off to college and he’ll be ten, and I’ll be saying eight more years and I’ll be an empty nester. But for now, back to what I said.

But it’s not just about getting the house feeling fresh — the house being fresh makes me feel good. My mom was a really messy housekeeper and messy houses depress the hell out of me. I think it just reminds me too much of my childhood. And I didn’t have the greatest childhood. So I need to keep a fresh house. And I need to get back to doing some of the things that I enjoy doing. 

I’m also excited because my husband broke down and bought me an electric tricycle. Now I’ll give you a full review as soon as I get it ‘cause it was a backorder and it won’t be here for a week but I’m really excited because this thing has pedal-assist. So it means I can go as far as I want in one direction without being concerned that I’m gonna be too tired to return. And when you have one knee that you’ve already had two surgeries on, and another knee that you’ve had one surgery on, that’s an important thing to worry about. 

So I’m really excited about that because that also means that I’ll be able to get out of the house and I won’t be so down. Not that I can go very far because well, the girls are only just turning thirteen and while I do trust them to take care of Bug (they’re very good girls), I wouldn’t be comfortable going too far. So I have to be close enough to come back if there’s any kind of emergency.

So I’m excited about that, about getting outdoors and practicing that again. And I know that once I start eating healthy, I’d start feeling better about myself as well. It’s not a weight issue, although being overweight doesn’t help the situation right now, but just eating healthy makes me feel more energetic and more optimistic. So that’s something to look forward to as well. 

And while I’m not super excited about reading the books for our homeschooling next year — you know, reading those books is a little bit different because I’m not reading the things that I specifically enjoy — I have found that I do learn a lot as I prepare my lesson plans. And sometimes, I re-learn, sometimes I learn new things. But it’s always an exploration. And no matter how I feel about the books (like this year I’m going to be re-reading The Lord of the Flies and what I remember of The Lord of the Flies was I didn’t enjoy it the first time so there’s nothing that leads me to believe that I will enjoy it the second time), I know that I might still feel good about it, you know? I’ve been surprised by that. Some of the books I didn’t enjoy as a kid, now that I’m reading them for school, it’s been a different experience. Maybe it’s a different perspective, who knows? Don’t care right now.

All I know right now is I am both willing to work and open to feeling better about myself, better about the situation we’re in, and always — always — remain grateful that you’re safe and healthy. And that’s always the most important thing, isn’t it? So I’m going to keep my spirits up because that’s important too. That’s part of being healthy. And let’s face it — when Mama feels good, everybody feels good! ‘Cause Mama is the compass of the family.

So let me know how you’re doing. How are you feeling? What are you doing to feel good about yourself, keep your spirits up? I love to hear from you!

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