Since I’m so shy in public situations, I never would have believed I would have joined an exercise class. But, I have tried so many different things to try and keep my anxiety in check with some improvements here and there but nothing that made a big enough difference.

Since my husband got stationed here a few years ago, I’ve had my eye on taking a yoga class but always felt too self-conscious. I finally said fuck it, who cares, and signed up for a beginning yoga class that lasted several weeks, If you don’t have much experience with anxiety and panic attacks, it may not seem like a big thing to do something as simple as that but it’s huge for me. I was so nervous and worried about being in a class full of people.

It took some time but I found that surprisingly, I really like the group exercise class better than using dvds at home and I felt more inspired to keep up with it.

I found by the end of my second class, it did wonders for my anxiety and I felt like a dumb ass for not embracing yoga much sooner. I haven’t been practicing it much since the beginner class ended but really need to push myself to add yoga into my life more often.

My yoga classes were 90 minutes and truth be told, it took a good half hour before I could finally quiet my mind and actually focus on the now, of being mindful… and it felt good not having so much worry stuck in my head.

But there was some evil that came with my 12 week yoga course. The class was at 6 pm and despite having a light snack beforehand, it took all the focus in the world at times because there was a Chinese restaurant below the yoga studio so all of us would be smelling the deliciousness rising up to our 3rd floor studio. Egg rolls, fried rice, garlic chicken, oh my.

The most amazing part of the yoga class was towards the end of each session when we would spend time relaxing. By then, over an hour had already gone by and I was pretty much in the awesome yoga zone where no matter what life threw at me, it would all still be good. That’s just damn crazy because I don’t ever think that way. Me, optimistic? What?

The class would end but all I wanted to do was stay lying on my mat and spend the night since I was in such a relaxed state. That should be a thing if it isn’t already. Yoga class slumber parties. You wouldn’t have to deal with all the crazy shit awaiting your arrival at home.

After every class, I would take my sweet time walking to my car and driving home since I loved the feeling of my yoga high. I’d pull into the driveway and slide out of the seat of my car, then slowly walk up to the front door of my house, still in a very relaxed state.

My mistake was opening the front door and expecting to let myself settle for a bit while I changed my clothes and ate a late dinner. Instead, I had my daughter run up to me saying “Mom? Mom?? Mommy?? I hurt my toe earlier. I didn’t like what dad made for dinner. Will you please read to me? Am I having hot lunch or cold lunch tomorrow? What are you making me for a snack? Can I have a playdate with Kiki tomorrow?”

Agghhh!

And my husband would bombard me with a play by-play of the 1 1/2 hours that I was gone for class. I was glad they missed me but holy fucking fuck. Give a mom a damn minute. I just wanted to pee and change clothes and heat up dinner when I first got home.

Finally, with food in my stomach, I could handle the “Mom? Mom? Mom?” from my daughter and “Elle? Hey, Pookie?” questions from my husband but unfortunately, my relaxed and groovy namaste would vanish a few minutes after walking into my house.

And this is why there needs to be yoga class slumber parties. Someone get on that!

In case you’re wondering because I know you’re not but I’ll tell you anyway, I only succumbed to the Chinese restaurant once. That was surprising since there were plenty of times when I would be in warrior pose or downward facing dog with my stomach growling over the amazing smells from the restaurant, and would seriously consider ditching the rest of the class to stuff my face.

The food ended up being just as delicious as it smelled. Now, if they decide to put a donut shop next to the gym I started going to over the summer, I’m fucked. I can just see myself in spinning class, holding a box of a dozen donuts, getting Boston cream all over the handlebars.

This post was originally featured on Elle Davis’ blog, This Is Mommyhood. Featured image via.

Preschool is a wonderful, fabulous, heavenly place where your kid goes for part of the day and interacts with his peers. It’s where children learn to share things, like toys and books and lots and lots of really gross germs.

I don’t know if the kids are licking the toilets as well as each other, but the Muffin Man has been a preschool student for all of five weeks, and he’s already logged two sick days and a bout of diarrhea. The kids are constantly washing their hands – in the morning when we first arrive, before and after eating – but a toddler’s version of “washing” isn’t exactly what I would call thorough. These endless rounds of illness seem to pretty much go with the preschool territory, and supposedly it’s an important part of children building up their immune systems. Which is all well and good, except for the fact that when your kid is sick, he can’t go to school.

Do you want to know what sucks more than having a sick kid? Being stuck at home with one.

3AM Your toddler wakes up crying because he’s coughing or barfing. You stumble down the hallway in an exhausted fog and comfort your crying child. If vomit is involved, this will require the participation of both parents, as one will have to change the bedding and the other will have to hose down the puke-covered child.

3:47AM After several rounds of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, your kid finally falls back to sleep and you stumble to bed.

5:30AM Your second, still healthy, child wakes up ready to take on the day. She is in the best mood ever and cannot understand why you are crying into your coffee cup.

6:30AM Your sick toddler wakes up in the worst mood ever and wishes you good morning by throwing a book at your head.

6:35AM You pray that your toddler does not have a fever, so that you can send The Devil’s Spawn to preschool in a few hours.

6:45AM After ten minutes of trying to take your toddler’s temperature, and him screaming “No! I don’t like that!” and batting the thermometer out of your hand, you finally bribe him with either money or candy to allow you to take his temperature.

6:55AM You deduce, after seven readings from the ear thermometer, that your child does, in fact, have a slight* fever
*101

6:56AM You cry into your third cup of coffee.

7AM Your toddler requests pancakes for breakfast, and because you are a masochist, you make some.

7:15AM Your toddler refuses to eat the pancakes, and throws them on the floor instead. Your other child eats three pancakes and follows that up by taking a drink from the sick child’s cup of milk.

7:25AM You seriously consider sending your sick kid to school. Sure, it’s a dick move, but your sanity may not survive a whole day trapped in your house with this terror.

7:26AM Your child barfs/sneezes/coughs all over you, thereby destroying your fantasy of pawning your little germ factory off on the school.

7:27AM You park both kids in front of TV and pour yourself another cup of coffee.

8AM Your spouse comes downstairs and has the gall to complain about being tired.

8:02AM You consider choking your spouse to death with his tie.

8:30AM TV has lost its magic. Your toddler now wants to build a lego tower, but he refuses to let his younger sibling play, thereby resulting in fighting and tears.

8:35AM Your toddler announces that he is bored.

8:36AM You suggest taking a walk. Mainly because you need more coffee.

8:37 – 8:42AM Your spouse watches* the kids while you shower.
*checks his email/makes phone calls

8:43AM Your spouse leaves, which causes both of your children to cry hysterically.

8:50 – 9:30AM You attempt to get your children dressed, which involves at least one tantrum and some bribery.

9:35AM – 11AM You take your kids to get bagels. It takes an hour to get to your destination because your toddler refuses to ride in the stroller and you have to stop to wipe his nose every two minutes. You feel marginally guilty for infecting people with your child’s germs, but you are thrilled that your outing took up most of the morning and that your kids only had one public meltdown.

11:15AM Arrive home. You are euphoric because your kids are tired and that means it’s almost nap time.

11:25AM Your adrenaline has kicked in and you hustle your kids through their pre-nap routine. Your bed is calling you and you can’t wait to imprison these Hellions in their cribs so that you can catch a few winks yourself.

11:30AM While the older kid goes potty, you deposit the younger one into her crib without preamble. You are sure that this one day of not reading her a story is going to lead to years of therapy, but you are too tired to care.

11:35AM Your sick kid has managed to poop all over the bathroom. It’s like he’s in possession of an exploding ass.

11:36AM You throw a few towels over the mess, take your super pooper into the shower, and hose both of you down.

11:43AM Your sick kid is so tired he’s falling asleep standing up. You try to put him in bed without the usual routine, but he throws an epic tantrum.

12:10PM Ten books, six songs, and a nursery rhyme later, your kid is finally asleep. You collapse into your own bed.

12:15PM You realize that you haven’t eaten anything and you are starving. You drag yourself to the kitchen to get some food.

12:20PM You hoover some cold leftovers.

12:30PM You go back to bed. You are so exhausted your body is vibrating.

12:31PM You realize you forgot to clean up the poopslosion in the bathroom. You decide that you’ll deal with it later*
*leave it for your Husband

12:35 – 2:30PM You enjoy some glorious, amazing, life-giving sleep.

2:30PM Your younger kid wakes up.

2:40PM You go in to pick up your younger child only to discover that she has taken off her diaper and has smeared poop all over herself, her crib, and her room.

2:43PM You take another shower with your second poop-covered kid.

2:50PM Your sick toddler wakes up screaming. Again.

2:51PM Your sick toddler screams and screams because he wants his Daddy, which sets off the younger kid. You consider locking them in the basement for an hour while you watch the newest episode of Empire, and then decide against it, mainly because your neighbor would probably have you arrested.

3:05PM You finally succeed in stopping the tantrums by suggesting your kids have a snack.

3:10PM Your children HATE every snack you offer them. Finally, in desperation, you simply hand them the basket of snacks so that you can recline on the couch for a minute.

3:11PM They descend on the snack basket like a swarm of locusts. Pretzels, nuts, and granola fly all over the house.

3:14PM After decimating the entire stash of snacks, your offspring announce that they are bored.

3:15PM You set them up with art supplies with the belief that this will be a quiet activity that they can do together.

3:17PM Since your children are incapable of sharing, this activity devolves into a fight in a matter of seconds. You are not sure if they are actually injured, or just covered in puce paint.

3:20PM You seriously consider taking your sick kid to the park, but decide to be a responsible parent instead.

3:25PM You take your kids out to the backyard and whisper words of gratitude for the weather in LA.

3:26PM – 3:45PM Miraculously, your children play without incident. You consider celebrating this achievement by moving cocktail hour to 4PM.

3:46PM Your Pinterest search for “Autumn cocktails” is cut short by your younger, previously healthy, child barfing into the kiddie pool.

3:47PM You tell your toddler that it’s time to come inside so you can take the baby’s temperature, which results in yet another tantrum. You fantasize about drowning yourself in the kiddie pool.

3:55PM Your bribe of TV and yogurt pops succeeds in luring your children inside. You say a little prayer of thanks that you live in a world with television.

3:57 – 4:30PM Your toddler expresses the fact that he’s feeling better by jumping on all of the furniture and singing The Wheels on the Bus at the top of his lungs. Your younger child alternates between vomiting, explosive diarrhea, and sobbing. You say “f*ck it”, and pour yourself a glass of wine.

4:30 – 4:40PM You realize that you need to feed your family dinner. You remember that you haven’t had time to grocery shop this week and that the only thing in your house is a can of pumpkin and a jar of capers. You cry, and then you order a pizza.

5PM – 5:05PM Your toddler eats dinner, which means that he takes two bites of a slice of cheese pizza and then says he’s done. Your younger child enjoys a dinner of Pedialyte and saltine crackers.

5:10PM – 6PM You mentally give your Pediatrician the finger and turn on the TV. Too much screen time? F that.

6:15PM Your spouse returns home, surveys the house, and asks what happened. You wonder if it’s possible to suffocate someone with a slice of pizza.

6:16PM You hand your spouse the bucket of cleaning supplies, tell him good luck, and head off to bed, because all of the sudden, you’re not feeling so hot yourself.

This post was originally featured on Anna Lane’s blog, Misadventures in Motherhood. Featured image via.

Welcome to 2016! The year in which moms around the country might actually lose their minds if they have to explain ONE MORE TIME why breastfeeding in public isn’t a sexual, shameful act.

I honestly can’t believe that we are still having this ridiculous conversation, and yet here we are. Why? Because a Republican congressman just brought it up in a Facebook exchange with a Democratic colleague. Here’s the delightful quote from New Hampshire State Rep. Josh Moore (R):

“Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed? Don’t give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans inclantion [sic] to stare at it and grab it. After all… It’s ALL relative and natural, right?”

Let’s ignore his atrocious grammar and spelling for a second and focus on what he’s saying. A congressman—an elected official who helps to craft laws for our country and is supposed to protect all of its citizens—said that it is A-OK for men to assault breastfeeding mothers. (And any other women, lactating or not, if they dare to expose their nipples, which happens to be legal in his home state.)

READ MORE: THE BIG ISSUE THAT MOMS SHOLD BE TALKING ABOUT…BUT AREN’T

I’m going to have to cover my 4-year-old’s ears and put some money in my swear jar for this next bit, but…WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK?!

Oh, I know what people will say to defend him: He didn’t really mean it; it was just an analogy. Emotion got the better of him, and he didn’t think things through fully. He respects women, and he wants them to respect themselves by covering up. And babies? Who doesn’t love a baby? Just don’t feed it in front of his delicate man-eyes.

I have had it with this crap.

For the last two years, every other day has seemed to bring a new breastfeeding attack. A few highlights…

A Florida mom got kicked out of a psychiatrist’s office for breastfeeding in the waiting room.

A Georgia woman was told not to feed her baby in a gym locker room.

A Texas woman wasn’t allowed to nurse in an empty fitting room at Victoria’s Secret. She was told to feed her baby in the alley behind the store instead.

Another Texas mom was told not to nurse her son in a pediatrician’s office. (Oh, yes, you read that right—a pediatrician’s office.)

READ MORE: OTHER PARENTS SUCK

Numerous women have been reprimanded for feeding their children in restaurants and coffee shops.

And let’s not forget Donald Trump, who called a female lawyer “disgusting” because she needed to take a break from a deposition to pump.

For as far as we appear to have come as a society, it seems that we haven’t come very far at all. In fact, a United Nations commission recently reported that the overall treatment of women in America is pretty appalling—from our country’s lack of paid maternity leave and problems with accessible reproductive health care to the lack of women in political office and the gender wage gap.

In case inquiring minds were wondering, I’ve mostly used a cover when feeding my daughter for the past five months. It doesn’t matter why, but I often wish that I didn’t. It can be hot and awkward with a cover, as well as difficult to get a newborn to latch on properly without seeing what’s going on. If you catch a glimpse of my nipple when I’m struggling to get her situated, I won’t be happy and I’ll likely be embarrassed, but so be it. My baby needs to be fed, and that’s the most important thing.

READ MORE: WOMEN AND THE POWER OF TALK

The second most important thing is this: I do not want my daughter or my son to grow up with the idea that there is anything wrong with breastfeeding because there’s not. I do not want them to grow up with the idea that women’s bodies are shameful because they’re not. I do not want them to grow up with the idea that a nipple will send men into a frenzy of lust because it shouldn’t and, if you’re dealing with a mentally stable person, it won’t. And I certainly don’t want them to grow up with the idea that anything that a woman can possibly do would ever justify sexual assault because—and let me be very clear about this—there is not.

Women’s bodies are not communal property to be discussed, regulated, legislated about, criticized, gawked at and touched without permission. Those are the lessons—the family values—that I want my children to learn.

So, let me say it ONE MORE TIME for anyone who is confused, congressmen included: When women are nursing, they are not putting their nipples on display for your titillation, discomfort or amusement. They are feeding their children. Plus, it’s perfectly legal for women to breastfeed in the United States anywhere and in any way that they damn well please.

End of story.

This post was originally featured on Dawn Yanek’s blog, Momsanity. Featured image via.

When you’re staring at your beautiful newborn or cuddling with your (miraculously silent, momentarily well-behaved) toddler, you know that life is good. Really good.

But wouldn’t it be nice if a few things were just a little bit better? Nothing about your perfect little cherubs, of course. I’m talking about a few teensy, tinsy things having to do with mom life that are just plain, flat-out wrong—or, as my my 3-year-old would say, “not fair!” Here are 16 things that, well, just aren’t.

16. You lug around a 30-plus-pound toddler all day, but it doesn’t make a dent in your muffin top.

15. Just when you’re thinking that you look good, your toddler pokes that muffin top and gleefully exclaims, “Squishy!”

14. On the one day that your husband says he’ll get up with the baby in the morning, the baby miraculously sleeps until 8 a.m.

13. Until 9 a.m. if your mother or mother-in-law babysat overnight.

12. Your child has been potty trained for ages…but inevitably has a disastrous accident on the rare occasion you forget to bring a change of clothing.

11. You give away all of your pregnancy clothes, only to find out that you’re pregnant shortly thereafter.

10. When your boobs are especially fabulous during pregnancy, you don’t want anyone to touch them. And then you have a baby attached to them. Or they’re leaking. And then once they’re all yours again, they don’t look quite as fabulous.

9. You’re saving the perfect potato chip to eat last, but it’s stolen by your toddler.

8. When you have a second baby, laundry for two somehow equals laundry for 20.

7. Your husband drops the F-bomb so much, you could fund a Hawaiian vacation with your swear-jar savings, but your kid ignores everything he says. You say one tiny little curse word when you practically amputate a finger in the kitchen and your kid repeats it again and again and again—in school, in church and in front of your in-laws.

6. After the baby finally falls asleep, you stare at him for an hour and/or obsessively check to make sure he’s still breathing. And then he’s up again and you’ve missed your window for errands, eating and sleep.

5. When your baby is finally quiet during a car ride, you spend the rest of the drive in a complete panic because you can’t see him in his rear-facing car seat and are convinced that he’s stopped breathing.

4. Your words aren’t the lessons that you’d hoped. In the hands of a toddler or preschooler, they’re weapons of destruction, aimed right at you. My personal favorites from my 3-year-old: “I mean it,” “No means no,” and “You need a timeout!”

3. When you finally take that long-overdue shower, you hear phantom baby cries and have to keep turning off the water and sticking out your head out from behind the shower curtain because they sound insanely real.

2. Just when you think you’ve gotten everyone into a good routine with bedtime, your child changes the rules and everything goes to hell.

1. When your husband takes the 3-year-old to the park so you can get some work done, the newborn refuses to sleep during her regularly scheduled nap time…which is exactly what’s happening to me right now!

This post was originally featured on Dawn Yanek’s blog, Momsanity. Featured image via.

Eight. That’s how many years of post-secondary education Michelle had. For 8 years she had studied, working towards a career. She looked toward a bright future with many years of satisfying field work and a handsome income. When her studies were over, she started looking at the world around her, and especially the women. They were busy, overworked, tired, frustrated, but oddly content. Not one of them regretted their career path. Quite the opposite – they claimed to be happy! After carefully studying their lives, interviewing them, questioning their decisions, Michelle opted to follow their lead and changed her plans for the future.

With this new goal in her crosshairs, she studied, planned, and diligently worked toward it. She took classes, failed test after test, and tried harder. She read all she could, jumped through many hoops, applied dozens of times, and faced repeated rejections with renewed resolve and determination. At last, Michelle had achieved what she had set out to do, and was prepared for a long, satisfying career.

She was shocked when she found out the truth! Little did she know that she would:

-Be working 7 days per week
-Have no medical or dental benefits
-Get no coffee or lunch breaks
-Have no sick days or vacation days
-Not have a pension plan
-Not get paid regularly
-Remain at work with no opportunities to leave unescorted

These were not the worst of it. She complained to friends about:

-Having feces thrown at her
-Being screamed at
-Having her work criticized
-Being physically beaten
-Often working through the night
-Being monitored in the washroom
-Losing touch with the world
-Little job satisfaction
-Feeling unappreciated and unfulfilled
-Being unable to finish a task without interruption

Unable to quit despite these conditions and no compensation other than room and board, Michelle tried to make the best of it for 9 years. When she told others in the same position, they tilted their heads, nodded, and felt sorry for her. They did the same job for the same pay, but they got breaks. If they were sick or took a vacation day, they were able to call in a replacement worker who would cover for them. Or their own family would step up and help – parents, siblings, etc.

Michelle could not imagine this luxury – she couldn’t imagine being allowed to leave work for a few hours at a time. No, there was no point in even wishing for such things. While these things beat her down, what stung the most was the judgement from others who were NOT in the same position. If she dared mention the hardship, she was greeted with a shrug and a “you chose it, deal with it.”

At last, after 9 years, Michelle finally has some relief. She is no longer dealing with feces or working through the night. While the meagre compensation hasn’t changed, her hours have decreased. She has gone down to part-time, and now enjoys doing things outside of work. She has rekindled old friendships, started new hobbies, and is contemplating a change in careers. Perhaps one with a paycheck is a good place to start.

Who goes from a full-time job to a part-time job without a change in pay rate?

Unpaid stay-at-home parents who finally have all their kids in school.

GUEST BLOGGER: Anne Bruin

Anne BruFelicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Anne Bruinin is a 49 year old mother of a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old transgendered son. She lives in Vancouver, with her husband who owns his own business. They are on the poor side of life but always looking on the bright side!

Featured image via.

… no punchline!

I may have told you this before, but I am socially awkward. I’ll bet everyone else thinks they are too. And maybe they are, they’re just better at hiding it. Oh sure, there are times when I am full of confidence and sunshine, but that’s generally when it’s a one-on-one situation, or the party’s for me. But throw me into a room with a bunch of strangers and I shrink like a slug in salt!

Last night I went to a party that I had no business being at – it was really just an excuse to get out of the house and not have to put the kids to bed for a change. It was a nice party at a bar, but it seemed like everyone there new eachother. There were clumps of people with their heads together, eating and drinking, chatting and laughing. What were they talking about? Probably fascinating topics like work and jobs and bosses and politics and technology. I watched in wonder, with a fake half smile pasted on my face in case someone noticed me. They did not.

READ MORE: 5 Things That Made Me Realize I Am Old

What was I doing there? Seriously? I didn’t know the hostess – I walked past her 5 times before I knew who she was! And she didn’t care at all who I was – she had invited 50 thousand people! She wasn’t obligated to know (or greet) everyone who showed up! The crowd ebbed and flowed, but at the busiest I’d say there were about 80 people. A surprisingly poor turnout for someone so popular, especially since it was for charity.

Within the first hour, I was ready to leave. I had to wrestle my own car keys out of my hands! I had paid to get in – I had every right to be there and eat the lovely appetizers (which the friendly staff were so kind in offering me every time they walked by!) Besides, if I left NOW I’d be home in time to put the kids to bed – HELL NO!

READ MORE: AWKWARD SCHOOL PHOTOS

But I had to go plug the meter. I desperately wanted to jump into my van and drive away, forget all about the party, and go somewhere else. Anywhere else, actually! But instead I plugged the meter and promised myself to give the party another 1.5 hours (the time on the meter). I returned, bought an arm’s length of raffle tickets, and sat at the table. This time I took the chair next to the wall so I could lean back comfortably while I watched the crowd. Which I did between scrolls – I basically sat there and watched Twitter. Not in a way that would imply I was unapproachable, but in a mildly-amused, nonchalant way. Or so I thought.

The evening dragged on. I had another drink. Some more canapes. And finally the draws happened – I was going to leave as soon as they were done! Ten prizes and nada. One person won 3 times. As soon as she moved onto the silent auction prizes, I hurried toward the door. But not so as to draw attention to myself – just briskly enough that no one would try to catch my eye (though they couldn’t have, I kept my eyes downward and forward, with my eye on the prize – the door!)

READ MORE: BEING ON MY PERIOD IS LIKE BEING THE INCREDIBLE HULK

I have rarely been more excited to see my van.

While I am proud of myself for putting myself out there and braving it alone, I am kicking myself at the same time. Why didn’t I make more of an effort, just walk up to some strangers and strike up a conversation? Sure people were engaged in their own conversations, but there must have been some way to break the ice with someone.

Or maybe I’m just a stay-at-home Mom with nothing to offer but a list of radio contests.

Verbal compliments make me uncomfortable, but simple gestures are lovely. A retweet. A Like. A smiley face. A thank you.

Party shmarty!

GUEST BLOGGER: Anne Bruin

Anne BruFelicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Anne Bruinin is a 49 year old mother of a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old transgendered son. She lives in Vancouver, with her husband who owns his own business. They are on the poor side of life but always looking on the bright side!

Featured image via