The Story Behind Why I’m The Asshole At School Pickup

You know that asshole. The one that thinks the rules of the pickup line don’t apply to her. The woman who doesn’t socialize and chat or catch up with other parents while waiting for the bell. The mom that doesn’t allow her kids to stay after school and play at the park with their friends.

The one who’s always in a hurry. The one who pulls in where you’re not supposed to and who’s kids are running and jumping into a moving vehicle because she didn’t get there on time to actually find a parking spot. Yeah, that asshole. Guilty as charged.

A much cooler van than the one I drive

I’m the mom everyone hates at pickup, and frankly, I don’t even care. I have overheard myself being referred to as the “van lady” (as if there aren’t about 79 “van ladies” at an elementary school dismissal), and it was most definitely not a term of endearment.

But now that I have revealed myself, let me explain before everyone comes to my house with pitchforks and burns me at the stake. Because inside the “van lady’s” car, there was a story.

When my son started school I had three kids aged 5, 2, and 1. You know, the really “fun” ages. The ones where no one is sleeping, and one is always whining because they are hungry, tired, their sock seam is tickling their foot, or someone won’t stop “copying them”.

The same year my oldest began Kindergarten, my middle child started preschool and he was the type of child we all (as parents) hope we don’t have when we send them off to school. The child that wails and clings to your leg, that is in hysterics when you have to forcibly hand them over to a new teacher they barely know. The one you hear crying for you after the traumatizing hand-off while you sit in the hallway and pray they will get over this so you can leave and they can actually enjoy their time in school.

I would drop my son off at kindergarten and spend the ride to preschool fielding all of the fake illnesses by my very intelligent and manipulative preschooler in an attempt to stay home and then prep that child repeatedly that we were going, this was happening, and it was going to be okay.

But that wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg that was our home life at the time.

This was also around the period my marriage was falling apart. My ex was no longer living in the house and his absence was starting to spread to all aspects of our family lives. So… I’ll just say it, I was depressed. Life sucked.

I didn’t know it at the time, because I was so focused on taking each day at a time, but I was learning how to be a single mom.

During this time, our lives were upside down. Every day was a new struggle and between regular kid chaos there was court, attorneys, finances to figure out, and confused and sad kids to console. Friends and family that wanted in on the drama or explanations as to why things were coming to an end.

And me, living in hell with a soon-to-be ex who was sick and emotionally unwell. Spreading rumors like wildfire about my personal life to any and all that would listen while simultaneously harassing me as if constant contact and mental abuse and manipulation would force me into submission.  It was an exhausting cycle and if I’m being honest, there were many late nights crying, had by all.

School pickup came every day faster than I expected. I spent the day trying to get affairs in order so I could put my focus on my kids when they came home from school without (hopefully) having to deal with my overwhelming emotions or any legalities.

I would try to get all the tears out while they were gone so I could plaster a smile on my face and pretend everything was okay for the rest of the day, and the school hours would fly by. I would look at the clock, run out the door, grab my kids and rush to do something, anything to keep all of our minds off of what had been going on at home. And then, we would go home to sleep and do it all again the next day.

I wish it were socially acceptable for me to unleash and explain to the parents that referred to me as the “van lady” that my life was an absolute shit show. That me and my kids had cried ourselves to sleep the night before because we were all hurting, struggling, and trying to come to terms with a completely new life none of us had expected. That trying to explain addiction and divorce to a child is damn near impossible, and incredibly heartbreaking.

We had been late because we woke up many times in the night scared, alone, and cuddled up together to fall back asleep. I had barely slept at all some nights because I was the only grown-up in the house and I had trouble killing a spider, who was going to protect us if someone broke in?

I wish I could explain that we were all trying. We all wanted so badly that year to just be “normal”, whatever the hell that is. Had it been reasonable to declare to the world what we had going on inside the “van” I would have shared that we were lonely. We were lost. That my poor kids’ mom was depressed, their dad was struggling with an addiction and their lives had been turned upside down. Divorce was a big deal, but for my family, it wasn’t just separate houses.

I am now trying to strike up conversation with parents during school pickup that have been builing relationships for years. Making “mom friends” is difficult enough as it is, but being the “van mom” and coming out of the woodwork trying to show everyone “hey look at us! I swear we are normal we just had a bad couple of years!” is just freakin pathetic.

Yet, here I am. Smile on my face, abiding by the rules of the pickup line and trying to get there early intentionally so that I can ACTUALLY interact with other parents. I’m just hoping by the end of the year when people are gossiping about me it’s because I’m socially awkward and say inappropriate things at the worst possible times. Legit complaints. And hopefully they will start calling me the “crazy lady” instead of the “van lady”. That’s got a better ring to it anyways, dontcha think?

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5 Things I Learned About Dating Apps – A Cautionary Tale

It’s a harsh reality when you realize your marriage is ending. It’s an even harsher reality coming to terms with the fact that dating has changed LIGHT YEARS since the last time you were on the market.

My biggest fear when entering the dating pool again was, “where in the world do people meet if you don’t go anywhere but preschool, karate, baseball {repeat}?” And “who the hell is going to want me now?”

My body is like a rouge grape you find at the back of your crisper, stretched and dried up again, wrinkly and forlorn. After years of breastfeeding, I have permanent pancake boobs. They literally need to be folded from their flat state into any apparatus to hold them into place, and even then it’s a gamble if they will stay or take a nosedive for my knees before the end of the night. My feet are monstrous after three pregnancies and …. I have a gray hair (or two, or forty, who’s counting?). For years I didn’t want to show my husband my body in all of it’s nakedness and he saw me shoot babies out of my vagina. The thought of getting into my birthday suit in front of a new, strange man? No thanks, I’ll stay abstinent.

Not to mention, my kids are tiny terrorists, I don’t want to admit they are mine to strangers out in public, better yet a person I’m trying to impress enough to keep around for awhile.

Thank God for dating apps, right? WRONG.

As a way to get out of my head and “have some fun” my friend and I decided it would be genius to throw myself into the world of Tinder. Tinder couldn’t be a more user friendly and readily accessible platform that can quickly take your mind off of your current (sad, lonely, depressed) situation in just a few swipes. That guy is HOT!  Swipe right, INSTANT MATCH! This is too easy! Don’t like this guys stupid mustache? Swipe left. He gone. But, that’s about all it’s good for if you ask me.

Eventually, I did find myself a new man. But it wasn’t on a dating app. And I’ll tell you why.

1. People are LIARS – I was one of them. No one in the world is going to come out saying “I’m emotionally damaged and cry alone in the bathroom at least once a day, but if you can pry me off the couch and away from my beloved Netflix family for the night (good lucky, buddy), I might be fun! I don’t know, I haven’t done it in a long time.” Instead, they are going to tell you they are world travelers, hikers, bikers, fitness fanatics, wine enthusiasts, and avid foodies because that is what you want to hear and they want you to give them a chance. I’m sure half of the people I talked to were either robots or using a stock photo for their profile picture while texting away on their phone in their mom’s basement eating Cheetos.

2. Men are CREEPS – I’m just going to say it. Dick pics. No woman (at least not one my age, do younger girls want this? Am I just old?) wants you to open a line of communication with her by sending a picture of your genitalia. I do not care if you think you have the most perfect penis in the world, without seeing it I can already tell you, it’s ugly. That is why adult entertainment geared towards women tends to have men in uniforms, DRESSED in various fantasy roles, maybe shirtless, or maybe in some undies, but def not flailing their bare weiners.  AND – I have kids. I don’t need one of them opening my phone to find some pornographic photo a strange man sent me and dodging questions about why there are “pribates” on my phone. If dick pics are the only way to go for you, send a warning first, and get ready to be instantly rejected. No one wants to see your pee-pee.

3. Men can’t handle rejection. Even on a stupid App – This one weirded me the fuck out. Some men have apparently never been rejected in their lives, not even on the internet. So when they encounter a woman who has zero interest in them, it is evidently impossible for them to come to terms with. So unthinkable, in fact, that they sought me out and demanded an explanation. I disappeared from their chats and that meant, in their minds, it was completely acceptable to find me on social media through mutual friends and order up answers as to why we were suddenly unmatched and why I didn’t want to speak with them. As if this had been some horrible misunderstanding and I would (apologetically) come crawling back to them because they were hand-picked especially for me by the Tinder Gods and stalking was certainly listed in my dating profile as a required characteristic I was seeking. I’m sorry, freaky man I’ve never actually met in real life, I don’t owe you SHIT. This was completely intentional on my part, and although I tried to leave quietly and respectfully in an attempt to let you hold on to your dignity, I’ll let you have it (since you asked and all)…. your dick pic was a fucking nightmare. I’m still having trouble sleeping.

4. Some men on these sites are actually looking for something serious- Nothing wrong with that. Except, I came for the free meal, not to replace my kids daddy with a dude I met online. What’s with the pressure?  Listen guy, I just got over a marriage, and considering it didn’t end well, I’m not in a hurry to re-retain my lawyer and do that whole thang again any time soon. I really shouldn’t even be dating yet according to all of the (remarkably accurate) Facebook quizzes I’ve taken while stuffing my face with pirate booty and watching Gilmore Girls reruns, but hey… I needed dinner and you needed someone to buy dinner for, win-win! But – Oh! The babysitter is calling, gotta go! {{unmatch on the way back to the car}} {{finds me on social media later}}

5. You *might* match with your ex – This was when I gave up on dating apps because clearly they didn’t “get” me. I found him in real life first, Tinder. And it was a fuggin disaster. So thanks for the recommendation, but I think I’m gonna swipe NO FUCKING WAY. I felt so dirty. I needed to brush my teeth and take a shower, stat. And then it hit me….  If I could see him, does that mean he could see ME? OH GAWD.

 

Even if I ever find myself back on the market, I don’t think I could navigate my way back to that shit show again. Not a chance in hell. Nothing in this world made me feel like an old bag more than online dating. It’s a jungle out there, ladies. Good effing luck.

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A Transformation On How I Perceive Drug Addiction – A Disease

I used to be the person that would hear or see someone talking about addiction in a negative way and I would instantly jump up with statistics and facts about how this is a disease. People in this horrible situation do not WANT to live this way, they got sucked in to a terrible downward spiral and don’t know how to get themselves out. They need support, compassion, understanding. Not judgement and disgust. And, “would you treat your family member with cancer this way?”

I used to come to bat for people struggling with a dependency issue and fully speak my mind in their favor.

That was before I watched the transformation of someone close to me and how it directly effected my family. This is a debilitating disease, that is true. One that tears families apart and ruins relationships and is selfish and self-centered.

It’s a disease that forgets what time to pick kids up, what day of the week it is, misses baseball games and important school functions.

It’s a disease that likes to blame other people for it’s problems. It’s a disease that leaves an important meeting because it’s got better things to do. It’s a disease that insists it’s not.

A disease that doesn’t open the door when you come to check on it, that doesn’t turn the blinds because it’s scared of what’s outside. One that is sad and hurting, but hurts others more and thinks because of it’s own sadness, that’s justified.

It’s a disease that can’t take responsibility for it’s own actions, even when the direct result of those actions are staring them right in the face (bars and jumpsuits and all). It’s a disease of disappointment. Of broken promises and borrowed money; a shell of a person stands in the face of this disease.

A disease that steals, cheats, and lies like a professional. It’s contagious. Like a virus. The disease consumes everyone around it and they become dependent on the disease, even if they haven’t caught it. Dependent on taking care of it, keeping it warm, fed, and ALIVE.

This disease has tunnel vision. It doesn’t see the big picture or the impact it’s having on others. It only sees itself and what it needs, in the moment, for that hour, for the day. Tomorrow isn’t even a fleeting thought to this disease, not yet.

It’s a disease that loses jobs, can’t pay bills, forgets birthdays, has cars repossessed and rights taken away. It’s a disease that loses children, loses freedom.

It’s a disease that will eventually die with it’s host. One that knows what it takes to cure itself of this madness but can’t take the plunge. One that appears to prefer living in it’s own filth and misery rather than facing the reality.

It’s a disease that effects family more when it’s alive than when it’s dead. A disease some people wish would just go away, and some wish would turn back time.

If you are dealing with this disease, I know how hard it is to see the person inside the disease. How hard it is to disconnect the two and realize that they are not one in the same, even though it would appear that way. This disease is deceiving. This disease causes hate, mistrust, regret, overwhelming sadness.  And unlike other diseases, when this one causes death, it can create more relief for the family than any other.

I used to say “consider the person”, be compassionate, understanding, have faith, have hope, be supportive. Now, when it comes to this disease, all I have to say is…. Fuck You. And this is a disease that never apologizes, so neither will I.

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Mom Transparenting

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