Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


37 1/2 Questions

Recently, while searching for a new exercise video on YouTube, I stumbled upon a video series called 73 Questions.  73 Questions are videos, filmed in a single shot, of personalities (mainly celebrities), asking 73 questions about what they like, hate, and know.  They make the videos appear random, like someone happened to stop by and do an impromptu interview, and ask a few questions.  However, the videos are obviously scripted and practiced.  They are still fun to watch.  I started with Nicole Kidman (her Australian house is amazing), and ended with James Corden.  Check them out for yourself here.

I thought it would be fun for me do something similar for my blog.  However, I have no interest in doing the video portion of the interview or for 73 questions.  I decided to create a list of 37 1/2  questions I’ve been asked regarding my upcoming move to Italy.   Since announcing my decision to move with the family, I have been bombarded with tons  of questions.

Here we go.

1) How did this happen?

I’m not sure I understand the question.  How did what happen?

2) How did you decide to move to Italy?

Oh.  I accepted a job to work over there.

3) No.  I mean…how did you even think of applying for a job in Italy?

Well, 20 plus years ago I worked overseas in London, England.  It was a great experience,and I’ve always wanted to live overseas again.

4)  Did you talk about applying for the job with your family?

Of course.

5)  How did they respond?

Indifferent at first.  They knew it was my dream to live overseas, but didn’t think it wouldn’t really happen.

6) Were they surprised to hear you got the job?

Yes and no.  I’d been talking about applying for jobs for a while, but the fact I got a job offer was a surprise.

7)  How did your family react?

Mixed.  Husband was proud, excited, but nervous.  Older boys were fine, as long as they could stay at their current schools.  Little Boy cried.

8)  Was it hard to have Little Boy cry?

Yes.  Before I accepted the job, we had several family discussions.  There were a lot of questions, and emotions during those conversations.

9)  Is Little Boy still sad?

I’m sure he is, but he also is excited.  We all are.  

10)  What’s the hardest part about making decision to live overseas?

Making sure everyone needs are being met.  Years ago, when I lived overseas I was a single person. Now I am married, with three kids, own a home, and have aging parents.  Making sure we had a plan how to make it work was crucial prior to accepting the job.

11)  What work will you be doing?

I will be the Director of Child Youth programs on an US Military base.

12)  Will you live on the US base?


13)  Do you speak Italian?


14)  Have you been to Italy?


15)  Is everyone moving to Italy with you?

No.  My husband and youngest son are coming with me, but two older boys will remain in the United States.  They want to finish high school and college in the US.

16)  Did you offer for them to come with you to Italy?

Of course.  The older boys have friends, and connections in the US.  They are also ages 18 and 20. They are old enough to decide what they want to do for the future.

17)  Are you sad to leave them?

Yes.  It’s hard to think about,  but they will visit and they will stay with us during vacations and summer.  We are a close family.  We will make sure to stay connected.

18)  How long will you live overseas?

Three years.

19)  Can you stay longer?

Possibly.  It depends on a lot of factors.

20)  Is your husband supportive?

Yes, very.

21)  Was he always supportive?

Yes and no.  At first, we didn’t have all the details worked out.  It was a complex process to see how we could support three boys, three schools, own a home, and two careers.  I’m the dreamer in the family.  He’s the practical one.  His practical side needed to be fulfilled, prior to accepting the job.

22)  What has been the response from family and friends?

Mixed.  Sad, excited, shocked, and happy.  We feel all the same emotions.

23)  What has been the most unusual response to the move?


23)  What will you miss the most when you move?

The people.

24)  What will you miss the least?

Nothing.  I love where I live, my family and my friends. 

25)  Why leave then?

Five years ago my husband and I talked about our future.  We both love to travel, and both want meaningful careers.  This job opportunity offers us both things.  Leaving doesn’t always mean you are unhappy.  Sometimes we leave to experience something more.

26)  What will happen to your house?

We will rent it out.

27)  What about all your belongings?

We will take most of our things with us, and store the rest.

28)  Are you scared?


29)  Really?

Yes, really.  I have concerns, but scared…no.

30)  I’ve never heard of someone taking a job overseas.  Isn’t it unusual?

Not really.  Military families move overseas all the time.  This experience has given me great appreciation for US military families who move frequently and to overseas locations. The process is daunting when you have a family.  

31)  Do you like Italian food?

Is this a real question?

32)  Do you worry about crime in Italy?

Not more than I do in the US.

33)  What happens if you get homesick?

It will happen.  We will get homesick, but we will support each other.  This move is different from my previous one.  There are many more ways to stay connected.  We will also travel back to the US at least once a year.

34)  What would you say to someone considering working overseas or following a dream?

Do the research.  It was not an easy process for this to happen.  Take time to research how it can happen, and begin the process.  If you really see something in your future, you have to take the steps to make if happen.  

35)  Anything else?

Stay positive.  Many times I’ve been discouraged because things didn’t go as quickly, or as smoothly as I wanted.  Surround yourself with positive people who support you.  You will need their encouragement.

36)  Regrets?

No, not yet.

37)  Final words?

I’m grateful for this opportunity.  It’s happening because of many people who believe in and support me.  Timing and luck had a lot to do with it too.  I get to do valuable, meaningful work, see the world, and be with my family.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

371/2 )  And?

Ciao.  We’re done.










I Totally Get It Rene

Last week I was scrolling through a news site on my computer when a story caught my eye.  It wasn’t news about Ebola or the bombing of ISIS in Iraq.  It was a celebrity story about actress Rene Zellweger.  Rene Zellweger is an academy award-winning actress best known for her work in the films Bridget Jones Diary and Jerry Maguire.  She has always been considered a talented actress and one of Hollywood’s beautiful leading ladies.

For the last few years Rene has not been in the spotlight or in any feature films.  No one knows for sure why, but many suspect she needed a break from the pressure of Hollywood and fame.  Recently, Rene made a rare public appearance during a social event.  At the event she looked different.  She looked so different that some speculated she had plastic surgery to alter her looks.

I came across an article featured on The Atlantic titled, “Questions for Rene Zellweger“, by Megan Garber.   In the article Ms. Garber lists several questions she has for Rene.  She wonders about Rene’s appearance and why she looks different.  The article was supposed to emphasize Ms. Garber’s concern for Rene, as she is obviously a fan of hers, however her personal questions came off intrusive and judgmental.

Years ago I was one of those people who would have judged others for having age reversal procedures done such as Botox and plastic surgery.  I told myself I would only grow old the natural way and would never resort to doing things that would alter my appearance.  However, that was when I was younger.

Aging is not an easy process to go through. We are all grateful for the gift of growing older, but it is still hard to accept how much our bodies change over time.  It must be even more difficult for people who live their lives in the public eye who are expected to look a certain way.  I don’t know Rene Zellweger , nor do I know if she has recently had some sort of plastic surgery to alter her looks, but I would totally get it if she did.

I have heavy-lidded, small almond-shaped eyes like Rene.  I have contemplated many times having surgery to remove some of the skin on my upper lids.  Having surgery would not only make me look younger, but would allow my eyes to seem more open and alert especially in photos.

The reason I will not have the surgery isn’t because I think I should age naturally, but frankly because I don’t think I could go through the public scrutiny of having surgery and dealing with other people’s judgment for doing so.  Changing the shape of my eyes would make me look very different.   Knowing people were analyzing my reasons for the surgery would be too uncomfortable.  So as a result my eyes will stay the same.

Imagine going to a social function and having your face being analyzed by millions of people instead of hearing that people are glad you’re back to making movies.  Plastic surgery has a place in our society and so do all the products designed to make us look more attractive and younger.

I know several women who have had plastic surgery everything from a brow lift, eye lid lift, breast reduction, breast enhancement, chemical peel, nose job, and full face lift.  Do I think less of them for having surgery?  No.  Each person made a decision that felt right for them.  Do I wish we lived in a society that didn’t make women feel the pressure to look different than they already do?  Yes.  Women of all ages feel the pressure to be thin, dress stylishly, and look young and frankly sometimes if would be nice not to worry about how you look all the time.

Why does it matter if Rene has had surgery to make her eyes seem more open?  Why do we care if she had Botox to smooth her forehead?  How does judging a person’s choice for how they want to look make a positive difference in my life?  The answer is simple…it doesn’t.

I must finally be a grown up because now I believe decisions made that have no impact on other people are frankly none of my business.

Leave Rene alone, folks.  Stop talking about her face.  Let her get back to work and doing what she is good at…making movies.




20 Questions

I love fashion magazines.  My favorite fashion magazine is Marie Claire.  My oldest sister has subscribed me to the magazine for years.  Marie Claire is a high fashion magazine. It shares ideas for how to put together a fabulous outfit, as well as what the make up trends are, and usually features a high-profile celebrity on the cover.

One of my favorite sections of the magazine is in the very back.  On the last page there is always a section titled, 20 Questions.  It features an interview with a celebrity consisting of 20 questions.  The way the celebs answer the questions always cracks me up.  The answers are so prepared.  No one I know answers questions the way celebrities do.

Today I thought I would answer the March issues’ 20 Question section myself.  You could pick up a copy of the magazine and read Sarah Jessica Parker’s responses, but you already know everything about her.  My answers will be the real deal.  No pre-preparing ahead of time.

20 Questions

What brings you the greatest joy?

My husband.  I would have said my children, but they make me nuts sometimes. Besides my husband is the one who helped me create my kids.

What are your vices?

Wine and lipstick.  They go together.  You drink wine and the lipstick stays on the glass, so you have to reapply.

What is on your nightstand?

I don’t have one.  I have my husband’s dresser that is covered with books I never have time to read.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Eating out.  I love eating out. I would be happy to never eat a meal cooked by me again.

What should every woman try at least once in her life?

A Brazilian wax.  Just kidding.  No one should ever try that.  I think every woman should travel out of their country.

What makes me laugh?

My kids.  My boys are funny guys.  They make me laugh almost as much as they make me yell.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

If I could do a career do over I would be involved in the theater. I was a theater minor in college and loved it.

What is on your bucket list?

I have so many things on my list, but the top of the list would be travel to Chile and be a grandmother.

What is on your feet right now?

Boots and yellow socks.

How did you make your first dollar?

I sold Burpee seeds to neighbors as a kid.  I walked door to door selling seeds.  I did pretty well too.  I made three bucks.

What superstition to do you believe in?

If you throw away a good photo of someone you love, something bad will happen to them.

What items in your closet do you wear the most?

Jeans.  I have over 10 pairs of jeans.  I love denim in an unusual way.

What is the best gift you have ever received?

My boys.  I love them so, so much.  They have brought me more joy than any material item I have every owned.

What is on your liquor shelf?

Nothing.  I don’t have a liquor shelf.

What is on your kitchen counter?

Dirty dishes from breakfast.  I decided to write a blog instead of clean the kitchen today.

What would you never leave home without?

Lipstick or lip gloss.  I can’t function without color or moisture on my lips.

What movie has the greatest ending?

Shawshank Redemption.  This movie is one of my all time favorites.  The ending is perfect.

Who is on your guest list for dinner?

My siblings and their spouses, in-laws, my father and his wife, the boys godparents, former neighbors, parents of the boys’ friends from school, former roommate and his girlfriend, childhood friend and her family, my boys, and Bette Midler.   Bette would be the entertainment.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?

Stop holding onto anger and move on.  I wasted too much time in my youth being upset with people.


I Believe In Beauty

I believe in beauty.

I believe in shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, deep conditioner, mousse, hair spray, flat-iron, hair dryer, finishing spray, curling iron, hot rollers, hair clip, bobby pins, and rubber bands.

I believe in facial cleaner, toner, daytime skin cream, night-time skin cream, eye cream, blemish medicine, retinol serum, sunscreen, facials, facial scrub, skin mask, and eye makeup remover.

I believe in eyebrow power, eye lash curler, eye shadow, tweezers, eye liner, mascara, eye brow brush, foundation, concealer, blush, lip stick, lip gloss, lip balm, lip liner, false eyelashes, and bronzing powder.

I believe in body scrub, body lotion, self tanner, razors, body oil, body soap, loofah, sunscreen, perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover, manicure, pedicure, and cellulite cream.

I believe in healthy diet, drinking water, drinking green tea, daily exercise, healthy weight, weight training, pliates, yoga, running, walking, and meditation.

I believe in push up bra, sports bra, Spanx, granny panties, bikini underwear, tights, pantyhose, socks, sport socks, lace bra, and lace slip.

I believe in boots, high heels, flats, tennis shoes, scarf, jeans dress, t-shirt, clogs, blouse, belt, pant, jewelry, hat, coat, jacket, blazer, evening dress, sweater, yoga pants, running pants, shirts, vest, and skirts.

I believe all these things make me feel beautiful.

I believe using these things doesn’t make me fake.

I believe each woman has her own style.

I believe each woman creates a style to make them feel beautiful.

I believe real beauty comes from within.

I believe I am beautiful with out all these things.

I believe in beauty.




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When is the last time you felt awe for someone?  Have you ever felt it?  Do you know what it means?  Here is the definition if you aren’t quite sure.

Awe – an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration

I have a friend I am in awe of.  I have known her for over twenty years.  I met her years ago in London when I worked for the US Navy.  When I met her years ago she was a young girl, barely nineteen.  From the moment I met her I knew she was special.

I haven’t seen my friend for twenty years.  I moved away from London and she and I both went about our lives.  About five years ago we reconnected through Facebook.  We began chatting through Facebook messenger.  I read her posts about finding the love of her life and having her first baby.  She read about my adventures with my three boys and husband.  It was wonderful to pick up where our lives were and enjoy learning about what things had changed since we last saw each other.

About two years ago my friend was diagnosed with cancer.  The diagnosis was a surprise because it was noticed shortly after giving birth.  For the last couple years she has fought the bravest battle ever.  I am in awe of her battle.  Since she was diagnosed she has not given up.  Her focus has remained strong and her ability to stay positive is like nothing I have ever know.

The battle has been a long and difficult one.  Sadly, I’m not sure it will be one she will win.  I struggle to type the words that one day her fighting may end.  The thing I admire most is her ability to make other people feel positive, even in the most dire situation.  I don’t know how she does it.  It’s magical in a way.  Each time I chat with her she ends her conversation on a positive note.  Every time.  We both know what lies ahead, but she continues to let me know she is okay, even when I know she isn’t.

My family and I are planning a trip to visit her in a few weeks.  She lives far away.  When my husband asked how I wanted to celebrate my fiftieth birthday this year I told him, “I want to visit my friend.  I want her to meet my family and to meet hers.  But, most of all I want to hold her hand and tell her how much I admire her from years ago and most of all now.”

When I told my friend of our upcoming visit she was excited.  She told me she looks forward to seeing me and meeting the family.  Her voice forever positive, even though we don’t know what changes will happen in the next few weeks.

My friend takes each day as it comes and because of her so do I.   She lives each day to fullest and so do I.  She remains positive and so do I.  She has given me the gift of hope and for that I am forever in awe.


Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

Yesterday I read something that inspired me.  It was a post from a friend on Facebook reminding people to prepare for the new upcoming year.

I don’t usually treat the new year with much fanfare, but this year I decided to try something different.  I created a way to prepare myself, so I can really get things off to a great start.

Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

Day 1:  Remove material excess.  Donate.

After celebrating Christmas the first thing I do is clear out unused items.  I don’t like how commercial Christmas has become and my way counteracting materialism is to get rid of stuff.

My husband and I used to hold an annual January garage sale, but found donating our unused items to be better.  I always tell my boys, “If you aren’t using something (clothes, books, toys, etc.) someone else will”. When unused items are out of the house we appreciate the our new gifts more and know we are helping someone is need.

Day 2:  Review Finances

I hate getting the finances in order.  However, once I do I feel more confident and ready for the new year.  For the first three months of the new year I will track what the family expenses are.  I will create a budget based on our spending and visions for the new year.

Day 3:  Revive Eating/Exercise Habits

I don’t do diets.  I never have.  However, I have gained weight and would like to lose it.  Reviewing my eating/exercise habits helps to remind me what I need to do.  I won’t do anything drastic.  I’ll just improve in areas that need some focus.

Day 4:  Review Professional Goals

My first year back to work has challenged me, but I have managed to get a lot accomplished.  The new year will be a good time to visualize new goals.  In order to make things happen, I’ll write and create a plan of action.

Day 5:  Reconnect with my Spirituality

I don’t attend church, but consider myself a spiritual person.  I have neglected my spiritual needs and realize I need to reconnect with my spiritual self.  I plan to continue my studies in Buddhism and reevaluate my Christian faith.  I am on a journey spiritually and realize I need to pay attention to it.

Day 6:  Reflect on Personal Relationships

Last year several personal relationships suffered.  Adjusting to work, after a long absence, proved difficult at times.  I haven’t had energy to devote to relationships outside of my immediate family.  Some personal relationships have not fared well to the change.  I need to look at each one and evaluate what I can to make improvements or let it go.

Day 7:  Remember the Blessings

The most important thing about starting a new year will be to remember the blessings from the previous one.  2013 has reminded me how quickly things can change and how each moment must be savored.  Things like family, friends, good health, financial security, and employment are all things to be grateful for.

I have already completed day 1 and working on day 2.  So far, so good.

Happy New Year preparation to you.


It’s Going

It has been three months since I officially accepted my new job and five weeks since school’s begun.  Several times a day I get asked the same question, “How’s the new job going, Nate?”  The answer I mention most often is, “It’s going.”

The transition from being a long-term home parent to working one hasn’t been easy. I knew going back to work would be tough, but I was not prepared for how difficult it would be for me in particular.

My transition has challenged me because I fooled myself  thinking a part-time job in management could ever really be a part-time job.  Management is never a part-time job.  My transition would have been easier if I had taken a part-time job without so much responsibility.  If I only had to worry about myself at work things would  be simpler , but I have a staff, parents, children, and an entire school community to be concerned about.

The hardest thing about my new job is isn’t  the job itself, it’s missing my family. On most days I don’t arrive home until 6:30 or 7:00 PM.  Sometimes I miss dinner and have to eat alone.  It stinks. No matter how flexible my new job schedule can be I will never be able to arrive home earlier.

Like most working mothers I feel guilt being away from the family.  Unfortunately I don’t seem to handle the guilt well.  Each day when my little son is picked up after school by my oldest son or my husband my stomach aches.  I beat myself up mentally wondering if I am doing the right thing.  A lot of mothers tell me the guilt will lessen, but I don’t think so in my case.


The job itself is challenging, but nothing I can’t manage.  I have adjusted quickly to multitasking to keep thing running smoothly.  I work with amazingly talented people who support my efforts to improve the after school program I run.  As I have gotten to know several parents on a personal level, I realize how important the work I do is.  Many need the after school program to allow them to work.  Creating a quality program assists parents in their efforts to support their children.  I feel good about that.

Each day at work I encounter a daily mix of challenges, rewards, difficulties, and pride.  I wish I could say things are going great, but as my friend recently told me, “Things like this take time to adjust”.

How will I know when I have fully adjusted to my new life with work?  Easy.  When someone asks the familiar question, “How are things going, Nate”  I will be able to answer “Good”.   I will keep plugging away until that day arrives.