Middle School is a battlefield

I’ve been absent this past week. My kids were on Spring Break, so I decided to take a week of vacation to be with them. I mean, what kids want to sit in the house and do nothing all day while the weather is beautiful? My oldest would have been watching my youngest while my husband and I work. One of our big rules is no going outside while we aren’t home. So, we did things. Mostly outside things. Usually my daughter, who is almost 11, would have been having sleepover after sleepover with her closest friends. That didn’t really happen last week. She’s having a bit of friend woes and it’s so hard to watch.

Middle school is often referred to as a time of transition. No more elementary school. My daughter witnessed her first fight in school. She had a desk flipped on her by a troubled boy in class. She has even come home talking about a 5th grade girl who got suspended for vaping in gym class. I believe for girls this middle school transition is a bit rougher. Some of these girls are just starting to go through puberty (thankfully my daughter seems to be a late bloomer…so far). Their emotions are high. They are trying to find their place in a social circle. My daughter has a circle of friends from basketball and softball. She became very close with a girl about 2 years ago. They were inseparable. We’ll call her K. I love this girl. She’s a good kid…smart, funny, kind and a joy to be around. I became very good friends with her mother. We all even went on vacation together last year. The girls started middle school together this school year and ended up in some of the same classes! They were so excited, especially when they were back in school face to face. They both made the same travel softball team last summer as well. It wasn’t until about 2 months ago things started to go awry.

Now, with the middle school in our school district, kids are coming from 3 different elementary schools. The opportunity to meet new friends is great. My daughter is a bit shier thank K. While she talks to various people, she has called K. her best friend. In my 5th graders mind, best friends never leave each other out…no matter what. Well, K. has made a couple of new friends. Some of them aren’t the best kids. They certainly aren’t kids I would want MY daughter hanging around. In the past couple of months, K. has been ignoring Gianna in the halls at school and at Show Choir after school. During Spring Break, K. decided to hang out with her new group of friends and leave Gianna in the dust. They had plans, but K. broke them. Gianna was understandably hurt. She’s not just hurt because K. dumped her as a bestie, but because she also lied about it. She blew off softball practice to hang out with her new friends as well. Of course other girls on the softball team knew because she made TikToks while the rest of the team was busting their ass. Let me tell y’all, that didn’t sit well with the coaches. This is travel ball, not rec and K. was letting her team down.

It’s quite obvious K. is going through something. Her mother even recognizes this. She is not happy with her actions or decisions as of late. (Social media and Snapchat were involved in something scandalous, at least scandalous for an impressionable 5th grader). She can’t force her to be best friends with my daughter, but she did tell her that even though you’ve made new friends, you never drop the old ones. Just Saturday, the team had softball practice. K. showed up, but she wasn’t happy. You could tell she didn’t want to be there. Gianna and her barely spoke. You could sense the tension.

I feel bad for Gianna. Losing a best friend hurts. She was bummed out all Spring Break. She went to her room and cried multiple times. She does have other friends and they did get together last week. But, nothing compares to your best friend. The one that gets you. The one with whom you merely look at each other and bust up laughing. She said she feels like a part of her is missing and that she doesn’t know who K. is anymore. I told G. that sometimes you just have to let people go. Sometimes they come back to you, sometimes they don’t. I suppose all I can do is be there for Gianna when she opens up and will talk. Oh, and I’ll always look through her text messages, TikToks and Snapchats! Because…that’s what moms do! I’ll whip out those helicopter blades in a hot minute!!

I am not a PTA mom!

PTA. Harmless enough, right? Parent Teacher Association: Parents and teachers coming together for the common good of the children! Not even close y’all. I was like any other mom in the beginning. Wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready to help out. What I found in the end was a toxic gaggle of pushy women.

Gianna was in Kindergarten when I joined the PTA at her school. It cost a mere $10.00 to join and you even got a nifty little membership card. Being a PTA member allowed you to volunteer in your child’s classroom for parties and events. I was, and still am, big on being involved in my children’s school. I believe in building a repertoire with the teachers and staff. I was in Gianna’s classroom for every party and field trip that year. I would take vacation time at work to volunteer. I enjoyed it. Gianna loved when I would come into her classroom with snacks or be a mystery reader. I got along okay with the other room mothers. Some would compete for “head” room mother. I wanted no part of that. After all, I was pretty much the only one who worked full time. I had no interest in planning the class party or the craft. I’d show up and help. That was it! These women could duke it out over who got the prestigious title of “head room mom.” Oh and they would talk about each other. I mean, they’d rip each other apart. Once, one even said to me, “My kids like my time better than my money. That’s why I’m a stay at home mom.” Another time a PTA board member exclaimed, “You are too put together.” Ummm…I’m coming from work. The dress code is business casual. WTF?

Snarky comments didn’t bother me too much. It was quite comical. This was their life. They were at the school literally ever day. Sucking up to teachers and the administration. They got off on bossing people around and feeling important. I’d have to say what really bothered me and still bothers me to this day is the politics of it all. Gianna has since graduated from elementary and is now in 5th grade. My son still goes to this school. I hate, hate, hate how the PTA board members get preferential treatment. They get to request certain teachers for their child. They are privy to confidential stuff that they have NO business knowing. Quite often I hear them talking about this kid having an IEP or this kid not knowing multiplication facts at all. It’s quite a cliquey group of mean girls and they all follow the President around like she’s Regina George and they are the Plastics. Some teachers even seem to get wrapped up in their antics. The children of board members often get awards and recognition that I know for a fact they don’t deserve. I know, I know. I sound like a jealous bitch. I swear I’m not. My kids get awards and I’m quite proud of them because they actually deserve those awards. Every year they send out a mass email or flyer wanting people to be board members. Every year it’s the same cliquey women, mostly. Usually a new President is handpicked by the previous. Some of these women, I know. Some are really great people who get caught up in the glamour of being on the PTA Board. The perks, the prestige. They change. When once you would see them in the school and they’d wave, suddenly they pretend to not see you at all.

I did NOT join PTA this year. There really wasn’t much of a need to since all visitation has been halted due to Covid-19. No field trips or class parties at all this year. I kind of like it. I don’t have to use my vacation time at work to attend school functions and I am not scrutinized by fake women who think it’s awfully selfish of me to work out of the home full time as they smile kindly.

Middle School: The Year of the “Tude”

My daughter Gianna is almost 11. She is in 5th grade, which is considered middle school in our district. In my opinion, I think 5th grade should still be elementary. These kids still seem so little. After all, most were only 10 when the school year began. Anyhow, this school year was her 1st year of middle school. She started a new school smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. It’s been quite a shit show with the shortage of subs and teachers taking a leave of absence for whatever reason. At least she’s going face to face, 5 days a week and has an amazing math teacher. Thankfully one of my kids is learning this year. But, the attitude. Lord help me.

Gianna has always had quite the personality. As a baby and toddler she was a little goof. She did go through some crazy tantrum stages. I remember reading books about “spirited children.” I did get some good tips. I learned she needed choices. Reasonable choices. When she was 3, her personality really came out. Oh, the tantrums. She pushed my buttons, big time. She was so damn persistent. Her sitter even commented on how strong willed she was. At 3 she started preschool. She was a little angel in school. Absolutely perfect. Still is! At home she was like a Miley Cyrus song. She “came in like a wrecking ball!”

Little Gigi

At almost 11, Gianna still has that same persistent personality. Mostly she has channeled that determination to sports. She’s small, but mighty. She’s one of the best players on her travel basketball team and club fast pitch softball team. She works hard. She’s competitive. Quite often boys will challenge her to a basketball game at recess. She usually wins. She has this fierce attitude that she’ll show them! Which is great. I want her to be fierce. But, good lord. Be fierce in sports, not with me. My husband will never forget the time he walked into the house and I was chasing G. around the coffee table. I don’t even remember why. Just this morning I told her to get dressed and ready for school. I get a, “wait!!” Ummm…no. I will not wait. So, she stomped to the bathroom to brush her teeth and then proceeded to get dressed. Of course she didn’t like the clothes I picked out for her, so she had to go get something else as the mumbled all the way up the stairs like a teenager. I’m surprised you can tell she has brown eyes because all I see are the whites since she rolls them at me so much. I get it. Her style is changing. She wants to wear ripped jeans and Air Force 1’s. Mostly her style is athletic. She likes to be comfortable. Today, not so much. I think it was just to give me a hard time. And shoes. This girl has so many damn shoes. Nike’s, Vans, Crocs, Converse. You name it. It’s great because we wear the same size now. (I have super small feet). But, this morning she stood in front of the closet for a good 10 minutes staring. I yelled, “You have gym today!! Pick something before I pick it for you!!” Do you know what she said to me? She softly said, “Shut up.” But, I heard it. Instantly I went into fight or flight mode. Believe me when I say it was fight mode. I told her, “That’s it. You are grounded after school. No electronics, no friends.” She wouldn’t stop. The persistent Gianna came out. “But…but I didn’t do anything. You let Rocco have his tablet back. You always yell at me!” We went back and forth. The dog was scared, Rocco was scared and my husband ultimately got out of bed to give G. a good piece of his mind. What a freakin’ way to start my morning. I took Gianna to school in silence. She sat in the front seat looking out the window. When I dropped her off, she got out of the car and slammed the door. Not even a goodbye. I honestly wanted to cry.

I know it’s a phase. I know it’ll pass, I too was once in middle school and my mom didn’t know anything. I think I was 13 when I called her a bitch. I got slammed against a wall. I never called her a bitch again, well, at least to her face. We laugh about it now. I’m sticking to my guns though. Gianna is grounded after school. She has to learn that attitude will get her nowhere. When talking to other mothers, their daughters are acting the same. Pushing boundaries. Our kids have been dealt a crappy hand the past 2 years. I can’t imagine going through a pandemic during my formative years. Our kids are dealing with something we have never dealt with. I can only be there for her when she wants to talk and sometimes she does. I suspect as puberty is around the corner, it’ll just get harder. Boys, periods and more moodiness. Forget the coffee, give me wine.

Gianna aka “Attitudy Judy” now

The struggle with aging skin

I’m at work. A co-worker says to me, “Oh, you look so tired!” Yeah, thanks for your concern Karen, this is my face now. I honestly don’t know why people have to broadcast when someone looks tired. It’s basically a socially acceptable way of saying you look like shit. I wore my glasses today just to hide my dark circles. It’s a struggle, especially when you are Italian!

My dark circles are definitely hereditary. My mom has them. My aunt has them. My female cousins have them. Some more than others. It’s the dang Italian genes. For some reason, when you have olive undertones, you have dark circles? I have tried every cream and concealer known to Sephora. Most recently I tried Nars creamy concealer. It works okay enough, but I can still see that bluish tint peeking through. I’ve applied it with my fingers, a beauty blender and a brush. I find the beauty blender works best. I even switched my foundation. I previously used Bare Minerals powder. Now that my skin is a little more dull due to, ahem, my age I wanted something with fuller coverage. I chose Bare Minerals Bare Pro liquid foundation. It’s okay, I guess. The verdict is still out.

Now, you can’t achieve a decent look with any of the above without a moisturizer. I’ve used my fair share of those too. With age, my skin is a bit uneven and dull. I’ve tried some pretty high end moisturizers, but always go back to the drug store Oil of Olay. I want something that will magically erase my crow’s feet and forehead lines. I want a product that will smooth my skin like a baby’s butt. I’m about to max my Ulta credit card out to find my holy grail product. This girl is a product junky, if you didn’t already gather that. I fall for new products and packaging like a teenage girl. I want to be that sophisticated woman who has products she swears by. I’ll probably still be looking when I’m 80!

Nope. Never getting another dog. I lied.

I love dogs. I’m a total dog person. I’ve grown up with dogs my entire life. As a kid my sister and I grew up with a black lab, Prince. He was so chill. He tolerated anything, but was protective of my sister and I. When my mother got remarried her husband had a mutt named Bear. Bear was around 45-50lbs. He was the sweetest dog. He would take walks with me off leash, as there were no leash laws when you lived in the backwoods of Georgia! During the time we had Bear, my mom and I were supposed to be clothes shopping for college. We came home with Raisin instead. A feisty little Pekingese. All of these dogs have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge and each time I was heartbroken.

I got married and moved out of my parent’s house (finally) at 25. My husband and I were married for about 2 years before I really wanted a dog of our own. We set out to find one. One day we went to a pet store. I know, I know. You aren’t supposed to do that. It’s better to rescue, but what the hell did I know in my 20’s? Anyhow, we saw an adorable puppy. He was supposed to be a Toy Fox Terrier. Of course I didn’t research the breed. All I knew is that I fell in love with that little face. We took the rambunctious boy home and named him Scrappy. He was around 8 weeks old and an absolute handful. He chewed everything in sight…including kitchen cabinets. He was insane, but he was ours. We loved the little guy. He turned out to be more of a Jack Russell mix, but that’s a pet store puppy for you.

Scrappy through the years

We loved Scrappy like a child, for we had no children…yet. When we did have children, Scrap was getting a bit older. He was almost 7. Everyone thought he’d be a problem. He wasn’t at all. He loved Gianna and never even bothered her toys. When we had Rocco, Scrappy was 11. He was getting up there, but still healthy. We brought Rocco’s blanket from the hospital home and once again, Scrappy was absolutely fine with his brother. The kids adored him even though he wasn’t as playful as he once was. It wasn’t until he was 14 that he developed some serious health issues. He was diagnosed with Cushings Disease. We had him on medication for awhile, but it was very costly. He had his 15th birthday and ate like a king. I knew his time with us was coming to an end. The kids and I sang to him and he had dog ice cream. Finally, we came to the conclusion that he was in pain. He couldn’t walk and was constantly shaking. I made the decision to call his vet and say it was time. Now, I was Scrappy’s person. I was the one he always chose over everyone. I was his mom. I was the one that took him. By myself. My husband couldn’t bare it. Let me tell you. I will never, ever forget that. It was absolutely awful. I cried so hard I hiccuped. I chose to be in the room with Scrappy. It was heartbreaking. I never, ever want to experience that again. I sobbed all the way home. I sobbed the next day. I sobbed the next week. I sobbed when I went to pick up his ashes weeks later. I vowed I would never again have another dog. Enter Bailey…

It had been 2 years since Scrappy passed away. My kids wanted another dog so badly. They would often tell me how much they missed Scrappy. My answer was, “Hell no!” Last December I was out Christmas shopping. Unbeknownst to me, my sister brought a dog over while I wasn’t home. My kids were supposed to keep it a secret. Of course, it was Rocco who tattled. It turns out this dog was being re-homed by his owners and his name was Bailey. He’s a 3 year old pointer mix and about 60lbs. His owners were getting a divorce as the father tried to kill his family. Crazy, right? The mother and kids were moving into an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. He needed a home and fast. At first I said no way. Then I saw pictures and a video of the dog with my kids. I agreed to meet him the next day. My sister brought him over and he barged into the house. My kids were all over him. We took him into the backyard and they threw a ball around with him. He was actually smiling. He seemed perfect. He was completely house trained. I knew then, that he was ours. I said yes! The kids were beyond thrilled. They wanted Bailey right then and there, but his family had to come say goodbye to him. After a couple of days passed he was ours. He is the best dog. He’s happy and healthy. I do believe the father of that family did abuse him, as he is hesitant around men. God only knows what he saw with his other family. He loves my husband and was never hesitant around him, which is funny. He sleeps with us and is phenomenal with the kids. They adore him as much as they did Scrappy. While Bailey adores my family, you can tell that I am his person. I’m his mom. I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s filled a void in our house.

My kids love on Bailey any chance they get.

Work, work, work. All I do is work.

I feel like I’m slowly dying in my cubicle. I have a decent job. It pays for Gianna’s travel sports, vacations and the bills. I work at a local municipal court. I started off 16 years ago doing evictions and then got promoted to the garnishment dept. Hell, I am the garnishment department. I do wage garnishments and bank attachments. I’ve been in that position for about 15 years. Let me tell you, I get screamed at by defendants. A lot. I’ve kind of become immune to it. I used to feel sorry for the people I garnished, but after 16 years of hearing the same stories over and over you get a bit desensitized. Don’t get me wrong, I do try to help when I can. I’m not that bitchy!

At any rate, my job is good. It has a great retirement, but I’m stuck in a rut. I work with all women. All different types of personalities. It can be challenging. The cattiness of women old enough to be my mother is mind boggling. I butt heads with some people, I totally admit it. Some of these women are all up in everyone’s business. “She left early, she took only a 30 minute lunch, she’s on the internet.” Blah, blah, blah. These women will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat. With both of my children I took 12 weeks of “maternity leave.” If you can even call it that since we don’t have a maternity leave policy. Anyhow, I was labeled as greedy. Many thought I took too much time. WTF? Excuse me? This was coming from women. Women who have had kids!! But, ah. These women never worked when they had their children. They have no idea what it’s like to be a working mother. It’s damn hard.

I’ve contemplated quitting and finding something else. It just such a scary thought. Starting over at 44. I’m comfortable at the court, but unhappy. Sometimes when I get home, I have a short fuse with my kids. I often have to take a step back and start over. I’ve cried so many times in the bathroom stalls for various reasons. Someone was mean to me and said something snarky, I got reprimanded for talking too much or for being human and making a mistake. People will take a mistake to the boss in a hot minute. If I find someone’s mistake I usually just correct it and move on. It really is a toxic work environment at times. It’s very, very political. I see bad workers being tolerated while I’m busting my ass. We never closed during the pandemic. We are to serve the public. When I called off due to my kid’s school being closed, they about lost it. Sometimes, I just want to be a stay at home mom! I’m jealous. I really am. To just stay home, do laundry. I need to win the lottery.

From super smart to average.

If y’all read my first post, you know. You know how awful this year has been for my 1st grader, Rocco. Rocco has so much potential. I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid. I’ve never been one to brag about how smart my kids are. My almost 11 year old daughter is a good student, but she’s average. She makes mostly A’s with a B or two sprinkled in. She has to work for those grades and that’s okay. But, Rocco. Rocco has shown such promise. Things come easy to him. His reading really has taken off along with math. This kid understands multiplication. At least the 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and 11’s. He gets why the answer is what it is. He flew through all 195 1st grade sight words. He was given the 2nd grade ones and flew through those as well.

Now, Rocco is being taught by a student teacher since his real teacher is out for the remainder of the year due to a surgery. There’s more to the story that will blow your mind, so see my first post. It contains all that this kid has been through this school year. At any rate, some grades have come home and popped up online that are concerning. I realize Rocco is not perfect. No one is. I don’t hold him to perfection, but I do know what he is capable of. A sight word assessment grade popped up on my phone one evening. He got a 3 on grade level sight words. 4 is the highest grade you can get in 1st grade. But a 3? For Rocco? My first thought was, does she have the right kid? He knows all the 1st grade sight words. Suddenly he doesn’t? It makes no sense at all. When I asked him about it he got upset. He said he missed two words. I let it go. I know he knows every one of those damn words. Then, earlier this week while I was at work, I looked online to see that he received a 69% on a reading assessment. What the actual fuck? How? I was upset. Like, cry in my cubicle upset. When I got home from work I asked him what happened? After pulling it out of him, he told me he didn’t read the passages. He just blindly answered the questions. When I asked him why, he replied, “The reading was too easy.” I calmly explained to him that he has to read the passages in order to answer the questions correctly. No matter how easy the reading is. He cried. My heart broke.

Fast forward to today. I’m sitting at work and I checked if Rocco’s report card came in online yet. Some grades are posted. I instantly teared up. He went from a 4 to a 3 in most areas. How the hell does that happen? How do you go from knowing something to suddenly not knowing it?

Look at how all the 4’s went down to 3’s. Term 1 comments indicated he knows all sight words. What happened?
And here, suddenly he cannot describe things or express his ideas and feelings clearly? What?

I take a look at these grades and instantly tear up. I ended up in a bathroom stall at work sobbing. The system is failing this kid. After 4 teachers has he just tapped out? Given up? This should be a huge red flag. Any other seasoned teacher would acknowledge this. You would think the student teacher would see the comments in the first term and realize there may be a problem? I’m sure she’s a lovely young lady. I know this isn’t her fault. She was thrown into a 1st grade classroom and expected to teach. To teach without certification. To teach when she has yet to graduate college. It’s not her fault, it’s not the principal’s fault and certainly not Rocco’s real teacher’s fault. I fault the district. The superintendent and school board who made decisions that affected my son’s education. His right to the education he deserves. His needs are NOT being met and I’m broken over it. Some people think, “Big deal. It’s just 1st grade.” Well, 1st grade is a VERY important year where foundational skills are built. Grades matter in my house. Effort matters.

My husband wants to meet with the principal, but I’m at the point of fuck it. What is that going to do? They wont’ let him transfer with a mere couple of months left. That won’t make the student teacher into an actual seasoned teacher or bring the real teacher back. I consider this year a wash. I’m done crying over first grade. I’ve never cried so much during a school year. Hell, I’ve never cried over my kid’s schooling. I can only imagine how Rocco feels. He has to feel defeated. My heart breaks for him. He had such high hopes for 1st grade. So did I.

Female athletes: Not your average sugar and spice

There has been a lot of attention focused on female athletes lately. Everything from allowing transgender athletes the right to participate in women’s sports (that’s an entire post within itself) to the recent NCAA March Madness women’s “weight” room. Female athletes have been in the spotlight and it’s certainly not the spotlight they deserve. As a mother of a female athlete, I find that I’m always advocating for my child.

When the image of the NCAA women’s weight room surfaced I was astounded. I was disgusted. Yoga mats and dumbbells? The men had full access to the weight room complete with heavier dumbbells and free weights. Here is an image. The left is the men’s weight room and the right is the women’s. Quite a difference.

The NCAA has recently apologized and upgraded the women’s weight room overnight. It now includes a larger space with more weights, racks and stands. The NCAA President, Mark Emmert was interviewed and stated, “This is not something that should have happened and, should we ever conduct a tournament like this again, will ever happen again.” He’s right, it never should have happened.

Male and female athletes are treated differently when it comes to conduct as well. I’m a tennis player. I played in high school. I teach tennis in the summer at various recreation centers. I don’t play competitively anymore, but I still watch and follow tennis. Who remembers the 2018 US Open women’s championship? It was Serena Williams Vs. Naomi Osaka. Now, let me begin by saying that I don’t care for Williams at all. I just don’t like her. Never have, never will. BUT, what happened during that match was outrageous. First the chair ump charged Williams with a coaching violation during a crucial moment in the second set. She contested the warning, busted her racket and had words with the umpire. Let me tell you, a coaching violation, especially in a championship rarely happens. Do I think Williams should have spouted off and slammed her racket? No! I don’t. But take a look at John McEnroe. He was notorious for pulling the same crap. Sometimes the umps gave him a violation or two…mostly not. After that match people referred to Williams as “hysterical”. Would a man be described in the same light? Absolutely not. In my opinion, that ump cost Williams the championship. She was treated unfairly and fined quite a bit of money when all was said and done.

As I stated above, my daughter is an athlete. At 10 years old she plays travel basketball and club fast pitch softball. She is one hell of a dedicated athlete. She can outplay and out shoot most boys her age. She is constantly getting challenged by groups of boys at recess to play basketball. Just yesterday she came home and said her “team” won against the boys. I do think most of the boys respect her and her teammates. Especially the ones involved in sports. Sadly, that is not the case with some venues and parents of boys. Usually during this past basketball season, the girls would get the crappy court. Court number 2. The court with chairs for the fans. The boys would get the main court with bleachers and an actual court floor. Most referees were great, but you could tell the ones that really didn’t want to be there. The ones who didn’t want to ref a girl’s game. They just weren’t into it. Not making calls, letting the game get out of control which resulted in girls getting hurt. I’ll never forget when Gianna was playing rec basketball a couple of years ago. We were in another city and I saw an acquaintance. She was a parent of a boy a few years ahead of Gianna. Now, I cheer for my kid and her teammates. I’m by no means out of control, but I clap and yell. This acquaintance kept side eyeing me. I couldn’t figure it out. I was then told she asked a friend why I would cheer and go crazy for “just girl’s basketball.” Are you kidding me? I’ve seen this woman go insane cheering for her son. She even once ran out onto the court and screamed at a ref, but she was questioning me cheering for my daughter?? I think that is the mentality of too many people. They don’t take female athletes seriously. At any age. My daughter sheds just as much blood, sweat and tears as your son. You can’t take that away from her. She is fierce. She’s not just a girl, she’s an athlete.

The facade that is social media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We use it. We love it. We are addicted to these platforms. We post all the happy moments in our lives. We post our accomplishments, our children’s accomplishments and even our pets living their best lives. What wrong with that, right? What’s wrong is that this is not real life!

How many times have y’all been scrolling through Facebook to see a friend post what a wonderful weekend they had or how intelligent and kind their children are? And you know the truth. The real truth. Their marriage is in shambles and their kids are nothing short of cross-eyed and drooling little shits. Even worse is the friend who posts the cute, positive quotes and constantly reminds people to be kind and show grace to others. Bitch, I know what you’re really like. You are the most judgmental twit ever. There’s so much fakeness on social media I could scream! Sure, no one is going to post their kid throwing a tantrum or losing a championship basketball game. No one is going to broadcast that their marriage is in shambles. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE.

The problem that arises with all of these people faking the perfect life on social media is when you compare your life to theirs. I had a friend last year tell me she was distraught for this very reason. She wondered what she was doing wrong. Her life wasn’t and isn’t as perfect as all of her friends on Facebook. She had to step back and distance herself from social media for awhile. When we were chatting about it over a bottle of wine, I told her all of her perfect friends aren’t so perfect. There’s no way anyone has the perfect life. Even still, she decided to take a break from social media and you know what? She was in a better mindset and happier. We do this to ourselves really. Comparing ourselves to others. Comparing our children to other’s children. The next time you log onto Facebook to check you newsfeed, do yourself a favor. Take those perfect posts with a grain of salt. After all, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Working out over 40. Middle age spread?

So, obviously I’m over 40. I’ll actually be 45 this June. Honestly, I’m not really too pumped. I’m not liking anything much about aging. My skin, my crow’s feet, my ass…it’s all going downhill. In my 20’s I was a size zero! A zero!! I’m not overweight by any means, but I’ve never been a size 8 until now. I know you’re thinking, bitch!! Complaining about a size 8? I’m just not used to this body. I’m rather on the short side, topping at 5ft 2in. When I gain a pound you can immediately tell…or so I think. I’d say it started around 38 years old. I noticed my hips had this extra fat. I was mortified. I’ve always been active. I play and teach tennis in the summer. I’m on the court for hours at a time. I’m no couch potato in the winter. I go to the gym and weight train along with cardio. I remember after I hit 40 I went to my Dr. I wanted my thyroid tested. He looked at my BMI and blood-work and chuckled. His words of wisdom were, “Welcome to 40!”

Now, during this pandemic I admit I have gained a bit of weight. I drank a lot of wine and ate quite a bit of cheese. I wasn’t going to the gym, well, because it was closed! I recently just started going back to the gym with two of my friends. After all, it’s more fun in a group. It’s been quite comical. We laugh at each other when we almost pee our pants while lifting weights because, well, that’s a given when you are a mom. Children really screw up your body. We text each other the next day when we can’t walk or sit down to pee because we are soooo sore. It’s been a couple months of religiously working out and eating right. I would say I’ve been the most consistent in our group. I’ve only missed a handful of days AND I’ve been doing cardio on the weekends! While I’ve seen my arms get more defined, that is it. My freakin’ arms. I want to drop pounds. I want to drop a pant size. WTF? My friend Kristie? She’s 29. I know, I know. She’s a baby! Kristie went down a pant size. How? I’m insanely jealous. Why in the world can’t I lose weight when I’m busting my ass. I do have to say, I’m not gaining it. I’m merely maintaining it and I’m more toned. I’m thinking it has to be age. It’s my hormones. Perhaps I’m approaching menopause? All I know is that it sucks. Getting older sucks. I guess the middle age spread really is a thing. Like Shakira said, “My hips don’t lie…”