Couples: Why You Need to Start Talking About Emotional Labor and How it Affects Your Relationship.

I had no clue that there was even a term for it until last year when I started doing more research about it for one of my clients and came across this cartoon on mental load called  “You Should Have Asked” 

It really struck a chord deep inside.

After further investigation I came across the term “emotional labor” which referred to the invisible unpaid caring, that goes largely unnoticed, but is vital for relationships to function and others well-being.   My colleagues and peers that I have discussed this with largely agree, that understanding and tackling emotional labor in couples sessions and in life is necessary to increasing relationship satisfaction.

If you are the one person doing the bulk of emotional labor it can affect your relationship negatively, fuel the harboring of deep resentments, make you feel crazy, suck the life out of you, make you feel helpless, and steal your relationship joy.  I’m going to even dare to dub it the ‘silent relationship killer’. It is the reason many women live most of their lives (even whilst having loving spouses) feeling tired, drained, aggravated, annoyed, and unsatisfied. Emotional labor and mental load is largely described as “women’s work” & sounds a LOT like parenting.  It’s something worth knowing about and talking about for all around healthier relationships, and c’mon that’s everybody’s goal really.

I will let fellow therapist Christine Hutchinson speak for me when she says in her article Why Women Are Tired: The Price of Unpaid Emotional Labor :

As a feminist who strives towards intersectionality, I try not to split everything into female = oppressed and male = oppressor categories. The white female university professor is usually better off than the Latino migrant farm worker, and the clothes she purchases at Banana Republic impact the quality of life of men (and women) across the globe. The cisgender woman is almost always safer and taken more seriously than the transgender one. We don’t live in a binary world, and feminism must always look for the shades of gray.

But some patterns between men and women are hard to ignore, especially when they play out in your office (and in your own life) day after day.

And I do hear it, literally every day, both on the therapy couch and in coffee shops and parks where I sit with my own friends on weekends.

“I’m trying not to be that girl who wonders why he’s not texting back, but WHY IS HE NOT TEXTING BACK?”

“He’s a good partner, we share housework and childcare, but it’s still me who’s doing the scheduling and planning. And if I tell him I’m tired of it he just says, ‘Well then don’t do it, we’ll figure it out.’ But we won’t figure it out unless someone figures it out! So I end up figuring it out again.”

In chatting with my own friends about it similar echos rang true with all of them.  Amongst them, highly educated, high-powered career women, business owners, artist/creative entrepeneurs, dancers, full-time students, Stay at home Moms, Self proclaimed “Desperate Housewives”, restaurant manager, and feminists.  These women are smart, classy, fun, beautiful and have their shit together. Yet I heard “Sometimes I come home from work, start dinner, and I just want to cry.”  “I’m so overwhelmed sometimes it’s paralyzing and I just breakdown”.  “I go for the wine bottle and it scares me how often it happens”.  “I can tell my husband feels terrible when he sees me breaking down and he’ll just say “I didn’t know, you didn’t say anything”.

Many of them feel some sense of shame about it because admitting out loud would finally mean that alas they actually don’t have their shit together.  Take *Charlotte a business owner she just cannot understand why her and her live in man get into such dumb interactions seemingly about housework but it’s confusingly much deeper than chores. “He’s a great guy, a feminist ally even, I know he means well but I cannot help but cut eyes at him when I am struggling carrying in all the groceries, running around trying to make a delicious healthy dinner, and he’s on the couch leisurely playing video games. Then I have to remind him, ‘hey did you call Bill and Sue to touch base about this weekend?’, “can you email me so I don’t forget?” is his reply.  Then in the midst of making dinner I remember “did we make any plans for Valentines Day weekend?” (HINT) to his reply being “no, not yet let me see if I have a game”.  Also “don’t forget to thank your mom for the package she sent us” to his reply “oh, ok” all the while never looking up from his video game. When he finally comes over to grab my waist and give me a kiss, I go cold.  It happens every time.  Eventually we get into a whole argument about “whats wrong?”,  I say “nothing …blah blah blah”….and it comes out that I really would have appreciated his help and more acknowledgement to where his reply is almost always, “you should have asked”….it makes me mental.”

Or take *Melissa.  She is housewife extraordinaire.  She keeps a squeaky clean Pottery Barn decorated home, makes pinterest crafts with her kids, children always dressed fashionably, gourmet meals prepared from scratch for dinner, loving married relationship, Masters Degree, funny, sexy,  I mean what can’t this woman do or be? She does EVERYTHING, she also foresee’s every possible future outcome for every situation and plans accordingly for every family member including her husband and  she makes it look easy.   However, inside she is withdrawn and doubtful she can go on like this for much longer.  She tearfully confesses that the past “2 years have been really rough” for her, and they started couples therapy a few months ago. Why? Mostly because her mental load is maxed out and she isn’t sure what to do about it, and her emotional load is over capacity. In an effort to delegate and disperse chores to her husband who willingly asks “what can I do to help?” She will send him to the grocery store- “I’ll make him a list in the exact order of the food store aisles, with the exact name on the label, and he still will call me seven times to double-check on something, which I can’t understand because after 12 years together we have been eating the same damn things, and then still come home with the wrong shit. Then he’ll say it wasn’t written exactly like the label so wants to double check again so after the 15th phone call I stop answering because I’m annoyed, then he comes home mad that I didn’t answer, it turns into a big fight….and after all of that… it’s easier if I just do it myself”.

These are only a few of the many examples.  And nobody is immune to the slow growing fungus that is emotional labor and mental load as it infilitrates your relationships, as it has definitely played out in my own marriage as well. An excellent article that I feel every woman and men that love them need to read illustrates this perfectly is by Gemma Hartley, called “Women Aren’t Nags-We’re Just Fed Up”.

All of this researching got me thinking WHY does this happen? WHY so many similar stories amongst women?  Even those who are in loving relationships with men who are supportive, and supposedly on board with helping? What about the “feminine” and “masculine” roles we play? What about relationships where traditional gender roles don’t define their relationship?

Are women just naturally better at chores and emotions? Are our brains “wired” differently to manage emotional laboring?  Is our social conditioning that strong?

I’m actually not so sure, and the verdict is not as black and white as you would think. Stated in the scientific findings in Girl Brain, Boy Brain .

Yes, men and women are psychologically different and yes, neuroscientists are uncovering many differences in brain anatomy and physiology which seem to explain our behavioral differences. But just because a difference is biological doesn’t mean it is “hard-wired.”

You see, I think a lot of it is practice.  Practice is what helps hard wire the brain.

Women and girls have SO MUCH MORE practice than men at this. As a matter of fact it is found that girls spend 160 million more hours on chores than boys across the globe.  Chores have a lot to do with anticipating the needs of others. The need for clean clothes, food to eat, an organized home etc. Anticipating the needs of others has a high emotional intelligence aspect to it.  You are in tune with what others need to feel happy, move forward, and function well. That’s a lot of unpaid, undervalued time doing things that take away from actual paid labor! Like the seven and a half hours I spent researching a new Dr.’s for my daughter…I did not get paid for that, and I still had to work to make money.

I’ve heard it from almost all of the frustrated women I spoke to, and thought about it myself, So what now? How do we change this? What do we do? Are we just stuck here?

Many times we are so fed up with the fact that no one is acknowledging the work we are doing and there feels like there is no way to change it so a fight begins.  It could also be said that it’s difficult for men to admit that they have been more on the “probem” side than the “solution” side and that is not easy to come to grips with.  Confronting emotional labor as a topic for discussion can dredged up feelings of guilt and inadequacy causing defensiveness.  Just be aware, ego’s are a real thing, and egos can get hurt.  However, as many therapists will tell you therein lies the breakthrough.  It worth the pain.

So when we ask someone unpracticed (men) to “help” they are like 3rd graders trying to do skills of PhD level lifetime professional with over 20-30 years of experience…it’s undoubtedly going to be awkward.

4 Ways Men Can Take on More Emotional Labor

Oh, and I’m sure there will be kickback, there always is. Some replies I have heard from clients and friends male counterparts:

“Just stop doing that stuff if you hate it so much”…the problem is that it is necessary for the relationship to survive.

“You (meaning women) are just so much better at it.”….true, but you obviously could use much more practice.

“I wasn’t raised that way” also known as the “my mom did everything for me” – again a perfect place to inject a little practice.

“My brain just doesn’t work that way” – sounds so sophisticated, may be slighty true,  however science has proven that experiences can change the brain so let’s have you actually experience what it’s like to set your own Iphone reminder to check on your sick brother.  See how that works?

So ladies it may be time to relinquish the reigns, a bit.  These guys are fully capable, smart, caring humans, many of them summa cum laude of their Universities, great involved fathers, beautiful, able minded men.  I see them excelling at their careers. They it.  Personally, I am guilty myself of sometimes “Babying” men, and while cute and culturally learned/appropriate at times, it is not helping the health and satisfaction in our relationships, and it’s hurting in the longrun. I don’t want my daughter to do the same so I’m saying that the buck stops here.

I will follow up blog on my couples I’m checking in with on how their discussions of mental load and emotional laboring go, and I have some great checklists for you all, so check back.

Please share this with the men in your life and start the conversation if you feel called to, and if you are a man reading this because a woman shared it with you, don’t take it as an affront to you as a person.  We are all in this together, seeking solutions.  Have any bright ideas on where to go from here or how to take more accountability, please share!  I’d love to hear from you.

*names have been changed

Hello Veggies my old friend…

My experiment was wildly a success you could say…I most definitely relaxed & let go of any kind of care over my eating habits and that alone brought me more joy this fall. To recap: from October-December all of the season of Fall…I let go of caring. I said “Hello to Winter weight & goodbye to caring” (see my last blog post if you’d like to know more).

As the days grew darker, shorter, and colder. I grew paler, pudgier, & more tired. It all felt really natural to live along with seasons. I felt as if this is what my body was meant to do this time of year, why fight it?

So I didn’t fight it, for the first time I embraced it.

I didn’t fight anything.

I was tired of fighting, caring & trying. It’s been a tough year, politically depressing between this administration, the hurricanes, the injustice done to Puerto Rico, I just felt I had nothing left in me to be disgusted or flabbergasted by one more thing.

I was experiencing ‘resistance fatigue’. The calling, the writing, the debating, the disrespect, the finally coming to grips with some ugly truths about the mentality of some of my fellow citizens, I was down…my nerves were shot from waking up to never ending alerts on my phone about some new f’ed up thing going on, my lymph nodes were shot, the stress of caring was taking it’s toll & I wasn’t going to give up but couldn’t go on feeling scared & horrified non-stop. It felt so toxic. So I took action to do some radical self love & self care in a world that I felt could care less about me, as a woman, as a person of color, as a latinx, as a mom. So there you go…I gotta tell ya I got more out of it than I bargained for.

I felt happier.

I felt freer than ever before.

I felt like I grew up a little.

I was shocked to find out that when left to my own devices my food choices are…not so great, even when eating mindfully.

I still worked out, but I felt so tired, winded more easily, and sluggish all day.

I most definitely gained weight, my clothes were tight, the stewardess at the airport asked if I was pregnant….RUDE!! My pot belly was poppin’ …(in the words of my daughter). For the first time ever it made me laugh instead of cringe. I felt amazing about something again! A little piece of my sanity returned. I felt like my brain was breathing fresh air.

The moment of reckoning came the morning of the solstice…the darkest day of the year, the first day of winter, the time to own my shit, end the season of not caring & basque in the glory of what winter season may bring…the slow return of the sunlight.

I weighed myself for the first time since October, and see that I had gained 11 freakin’ pounds! 11 pounds in 3 months.

I weighed 147 & I’m 5’2.

I read somewhere that the average winter weight gain is reportedly 2-3lbs.

2-3lbs!!! Who are these people?!



So what does it mean????


I finally feel nothing.

I have cut the cord that has kept me tethered to meaning of the number on the scale. I have rose above it, and know I honestly don’t care as much as I used to. There are so many other things I choose to care about more. I’m not saying I don’t care for me to eat better & feel more energy & get more fit. I’m just saying I’m ok. I love that I took time to not care because it freed up time & space within for me to care about things that matter more. Like playing with my daughter, enjoying my family pampering me by cooking all the Puerto Rican traditional foods I love, & lounging around the house with my husband a little longer than usual.

So now I’m back to caring about eating healthy, so what am I eating now?

Veggies my friends, TONS of veggies. Lean proteins, water, tea, and food grown with lots of love. So that I may grow in love in 2018 not grow my waistline 😋. It’s been 3 weeks and I have lost 4 of those pounds already.

So, I’m in my cocoon, back on the bandwagon & feeling refreshed. I even loved my ‘season of not caring’ so much I declare winter the season of not caring about another thing I’m over caring about… my unruly, wild, puffy hair.

🐛+ 🐚=🦋

Bring on the hats & scarves & more happiness this winter. I’m still fighting & caring about this crazy world. I will never stop & I got alllll my hats so let’s do this.

Why I’m saying ‘Hello’ to winter weight & ‘goodbye’ to caring! My mindful approach to feeling happier this winter.

Toasted Marshmallow milkshake cheers! & I enjoyed every last sip.

I don’t know about you but I’m experiencing major care fatigue. I feel like a wimp, and I have been hard on myself for not doing enough. I knew I needed to try something new because I am feeling numb & depleted. So I decided once the season changed to fall…to take the season off from caring.

Thats right, the whole autumn I will choose one thing that causes me much stress, grief, and self-loathing that I “cared too much” about and do something I would never in a million years do…consciously choose to not give a f*ck about it. Just gloriously relish in the freedom of completely letting all of that guilt and shame go.

You know what I’m giving up caring about??? Hating myself for holiday weight gain.

I woke up in September and decided I am going to blog about how I am mindfully going to gain weight this season and consciously free myself from any guilt, shame, self-hatred for doing so.  I officially have declared it will be an awesome decent into chub-ville!

Ever since I moved back to place with 4 seasons (man I miss Hawaii, and San Diego) I have been feeling the seasons really intensely.  In summer I’m on fire, peppy and hardcore on my workouts, then the chill in the air that signals Halloween in coming sends me into a downward spiral filled with bite sized snickers, fatigue, pale skin, and puffiness…all over.  I feel like a caterpillar in winter I just want to eat, eat, eat, sleep and dream of waking up beautiful in Spring. Yet, alas I only wake up with a sugar addiction, tight clothes, rough skin, and feeling terrible about myself.

Some famous thoughts I have when this happens is:

What is wrong with you?

You know better!

You are out of control.

How could you let this happen?

You are gross.

Get your shit together!!!

Sound familiar to anyone?  I know I’m not alone.

But this season I am DONE.  I don’t know if it’s the political climate these days, it’s been a helluva year, or the lack of nurturing friendships close by….I don’t know but I really feel so done. I need this sabbatical from caring for my survival.  In order for me to still care, have compassion, be empathetic I must unplug from it for a spell to re-fill my well.

I’m going to call it radical self-care.  Self care isn’t always getting your hair & nails did, and taking a luxurious bubble bath. Sometimes it’s about going to bed at 8pm, letting go of a toxic person, and forgiving yourself for not meeting your own impossible standards.

My thoughts were, hey, if holiday weight gain happens anyway why not conciously do it, and luxuriate in the experience of how it all happens, AND love myself throughout the process. I know…wild right? How could I make something that is deemed so ugly in our society as gaining weight a kind of spiritual experience???  It has been said that addiction is only looking for God in all the wrong places. Can God be in that Halloween bucket that my daughter brought home???? Well I ate the whole thing and I still couldn’t tell you, but it is the Sufi way to believe God is everywhere, so here we go…let’s see.

One problem, how was I going to do this without it just being about gorging on food aka binging?  So I created some ground rules.

  1. I will only over indulge for a season…which ends Dec 21 on the solstice, first day of winter.

2. I only will indulge in what I am truly craving, that means finally saying yes to that Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake I see on the menu but would never let myself have.

3. While I’m eating it I will fully experience it by giving it my full undivided attention.

4. I will express my gratitude for the experience.

4.  I decided that I was still going to work out 3x a week while conducting this experiment.

Why this is huge for me: I only shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I only cook grass-fed farm raised meats, no nitrates, no msg, no gmo, no preservatives, no coloring, wild caught seafood, I take probiotic, drink kombucha, use bone broth, only buy free range farm eggs & all organic produce and goodies.   I do not eat or buy bread or pasta, do not drink cow’s milk and stay away from cheese.  I have seen “Forks Over Knives”, “Super Size Me” and “What the Health”.  So let me just tell you what I have found out about myself since it has been over a month of eating whatever I wanted without cringing when I think of the place from which it came.

I have most definitely gained weight.  I have enjoyed almost everything I have eaten.  Yes…I have eaten and loved McDonald’s fries, Taco Bell, and Fried Chicken all in the same week. I wouldn’t even eat that much in a year before! I have eaten late at night, on the couch, as much gross sugary American chocolate from Sol’s Halloween bucket as I wanted with NO guilt. Hello Pumpkin pie for no reason, and a block of manchego cheese with bread…dream come true! For the first time ever I have felt my pants get tighter and said to my belly “hello there!” in anticipation not despair. I have looked at myself in the mirror and felt the pangs of disapproval and slight disgust, and instead tried my best to replace it with… ‘your ok kid’.

This has been horrifying, terrifying to do on some level but there is an unfamiliar freedom there I can’t explain. There is a seed of peace that I am discovering, uncovering, and reclaiming.  God is it you? Are you there in my muffin top? Can it be!?

Let me tell you what else I have noticed….I am SO sluggish.

I’m pretty much tired all day.  I get headaches regularly, and for the first time in years…I got a cold last week.

I am drinking more coffee, and I feel foggy brained.  I was keeping up with my intense workouts until about 2 weeks ago where I couldn’t focus in my happy place (barre class)…so I cut back and increased my gentle yoga (which I usually scoff at because you don’t sweat in there). I just want to lay around.  My skin does not feel as smooth,  and when I wake up in the morning my face is puffy.

I am excited for Thanksgiving this year, as I’m going to my Titi’s house and it will be gmo corn oil, msg Adobo, Sazon, and inhumanely raised pork fat frenzy! I will practice allowing myself to eat Thanksgiving (for the first time I can remember) not “counting points”,  being really careful about my portions, adding up calories in “My Fitness Pal”, or just feeling bad about my body afterwards, and giving myself a lecture to get my shit together in December.

I am mid way through my not giving a f*ck and this too shall pass…I will return to my normal giving a f*ck and it won’t be easy I’m sure, nothing healthy ever is.  But as I reflect on this past month I realize that I desperately needed this breathing room to just be…I realized that the feeling I dreaded that I had been avoiding most of my life, the feeling I never wanted to feel…I had to give it it’s time to take over, not build a bigger wall against it. I needed to allow it to wash up over me and knock me down.  I wanted to give weight gain it’s due, it’s time and place, and finally a green light to say  “it’s ok.  You are not forever.  I hate what you stand for and the power I let you have over me but you are here, you come every year, so how can I love you”?  Weight gain…you are the worst, and you are a product of my living my best life through the holidays, so how can I friggin’ love you!?  How?

Then I realized something….it wasn’t about the weight gain…you can substitute weight gain for anything you struggle with loving that is undeniably in your life….for me it’s family members whom have different values, morals and beliefs as me…how to love when love is the only answer?  Ungracefully of course.  With awareness of  how you feel about what they both stand for, the vileness, the masked hatred, and then reach for that piece of pumpkin pie and love them….imperfectly.

I have nothing else to say except…I’ll blog again disclosing the exact amount of weight I gained around Solstice, the darkest night of the year, the welcome of winter and the end of this season of “uncaring”.  Until then I’m going underground to lay around some more, eat this Danish Kringle if I feel like it, with my headaches, my ‘bienvenido’ to the lesson that is be learned, & this ponch.

Let me know if you wind up joining me on this un-fantastic journey into weight gain, I’d love to hear what insights you take away from it.

**Side note**-Do you know that the stewardess at the airport asked me if I was pregnant?! The nerve! I did want that upgrade though so I asked her did it matter…it didn’t & I’m not…FYI.

How To: Make Real Friends as an Adult. Hey, I’m not saying it’s easy…I’m just saying it’s possible.


My friend Angela & I met in our 20’s. Initially we bonded over clothes & Don Miguel Ruiz. We really thought we had it all figured out…dummies! Lol. Still friends & know better.

“Friends-how many of us have them?”- Whoodini

I see my daughter walk up to kids on the playground and ask “do you want to play?”,  ”What’s your name?” Sometimes she doesn’t say anything at all & just plays side-by-side in some parallel kid universe with a new “friend”.  I wish it were more like that for grown folks.  Why is making legit friends as an adult so tricky. Or is it?

I was asked recently “how did you meet the last adult friend you’ve made?” So it sparked my thoughts about why we seek new friends as an adult & how we go about it.  It’s not like making friends in your 20’s or anytime pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-career. It was more ‘unconscious’ then.  In those days all you needed was to hit happy hour after work, meet friends through friends, share drinks over long discussions about movies, music, books, & share dating disaster stories. Those were the simple days of brunching, lunching, shopping, lounging, impropmptu trips, going out together, saying ‘we should go out next week’…& meaning it.

There are many reasons to seek new friends as an adult.

Maybe you may have lots of old near & dears but your newfound love of running marathons may get you the dreaded huff & eye roll when you ask them to maybe join you sometime. You may find yourself cleansing some toxic old friendships & seeking some healthier kinds, or maybe you are just feeling lonely, new in town, & seeking connection.

Here is the KEY: If you are finding yourself in a position where you are desiring more companionship, friends, friendly aquaintances etc. you will find your peeps where your deep interests, deep dislikes, or deep heartaches lie.

Let me break it down.

Share Deep Interests-

As a military spouse just having that in common is not enough for me when I am new in town. Also, just because our kids go to the same school is not enough either.  There’s not enough ‘glue’ there if we don’t both really care/can’t stand/or heartache over something else.

What I’ve noticed in my years of moving around & dipping my pinky toe out there to feel people out is this…you have to have something you feel very strongly about in common. A shared agenda if you will. As an adult you go through different phases of your life so it changes. The shift to friendship is becomes more conscious & has a slight sense of effort to it.

Here are 3 major things to bond over when seeking out the coveted “friendship material” in someone.

1. Something you really LIKE: adrenaline junkies, biking, beaches, wine, politics, art, music, dance, immigration, equal rights, positive parenting, holistic remedies, dogs, movies, fresh snow, triathlons ….go geek out, rant, rave, have shared fun with someone over what you both like.

2. Something you CANNOT STAND: Injustice, racism, loud parties, banned books, your boss…whatever makes your blood boil or annoys you.  You likely can find a friend over that too.

And not to be overlooked (but less popular for obvious reasons) is…

3. Something your heart ACHES about: AKA something that depresses you. Coming out of the dark with someone is powerful in creating a lasting bond. Some examples of this are other fellow post partum parents, recovery, grieving loss etc. When your heart aches along side another person it’s actually all good stuff that brings you closer.

After you find what strong feeling you have in common…

Create a Bridge-

Just simply existing side by side with someone who shares a deep interest with you is not enough. This is where many people drop the ball. You then have to create a bridge. Bring them into your world somehow. Invite them over, take them up on their invite. Text them. Meet up somewhere, (gasp) solidify a set date & put it in your phone. Do it over & over again.

The hardest to give: Time

You must invest time. This is what there is not a lot of in adulthood. People have families, kids, responsibilities and not a lot of time. Especially not to do something as silly as ‘make friends’. Especially when your car needs to get serviced,  you have to go grocery shopping, your behind on making dentist appointments for the whole family, planning the upcoming birthday gathering, and that work report is due.  Time must be respected… & valued…& used wisely.   When you invest a little bit of time & you feel as if it is being invested equally by the other person. BINGO!! You hit the friendship structure jackpot. This is the stuff a great friendship is built on. There is potential & the makings of a lasting symbiotic friendship. It will fluctuate, sometimes you will do a bit more, and the other person will do a bit less & plans will be broken, rescheduled, & put off but if for the most part it equals out…your in the green. Keep moving forward with this friend.

Trust: the experiment 

Then from there things blossom organically where you play the scariest game ever, the game of  ‘can I trust you?’ Trust is the other crucial element in friendship. This takes some time. Do small social experiments & notice the outcomes.  It may start gradual like, can I trust you to keep plans, can I trust you to show up on time, return a text. Then it may move to can I trust you enough with my family, to reveal something embarrassing or unsavory, a hearts desire, to treat me with respect, to really show up for me when I need you.

Progress not Perfection

It may or may not ever get there, but finding your tribe starts with 1.

Like any relationship. Allow for mistakes. You are both learning each other, figuring out hot buttons, and quirks. Practice forgiveness. Use the three strikes & your out rule. Don’t be a doormat.

So how did I find my latest friend… Like great friend…Like soul connected friend? We met in a mommy & me class, both feeling super out of place we shared an affinity for not following the rules, a shared curiousity in the world around us, never ending desire for coffee, play, and found comfort during some dark tough transitions of motherhood. It was friendship magic, rare, & true. 5 years later, still dancing, laughing, & crying together.

My newest adult friend Shela. New motherhood, belly laughs, our love of dance, & our daughters brought us together.
And over things as simple as that a soul sister can be born. Friends I’m not saying it’s easy…I’m just saying it’s possible.

 “How did I get out of your belly? asked my 4 yr old. My answer was to keep it real…(but not too real).

This is my post Mother’s Day ode to awkward questions. Enjoy!

I have a few friends that believe that there is this time in a child’s life where the spiritual veil is very thin & they can recall where they were before they were in your body.  Like heaven, or a past life, you know stuff like that.

It’s something like before a child becomes 3 yrs old, you can ask them “where were you before mommy’s belly?” & they will give you insight to the “other side”. I dig that kind of stuff so before Sol’s third birthday I asked Sol…she said she was “swimming around…with whales”.

Hmmm, kinda sceptical but it could be possible, right?  So maybe I birthed a baby that was a scuba diver in a past life, or…a whale.  Anyway, fast forward she is now 4 & 1/2 we are all sitting around the table having dinner & she was talking about my belly, as it sometimes comes up, asking questions like: “Why is it so big?” (Too many carbs),  “Why is it so squishy?” (Again, too many carbs) & she goes on to share how she used to be in there but wanted to come out. The story usually stops there.

Then she looked at me & asked…”how did I get out?”. Jemar gave me the nervous side eye.  I’m not sure he totally loves my radically honest parenting approach & would much rather I tell of a stork that magically flew the air & delivered right to our doorstep but whatever…I said, “I pushed you out.”

I was hoping to leave it at that, so I simply  continued sucking the bone of my lamb chop.

But she really looked kind of disturbed & said “like how?”


So I said, “like this” scrunched my face and grunted as I beared down, lamb chop in hand.

Confused she was.

So she asked, “like going doody?”

& I said “yup, exactly like going doody.” Which isn’t a lie…really.

I do have a confession though. She did ask how she got in there, & I lied a tiny bit…I told her the same confusing thing my mom used to tell me (and now I know why) “it was a miracle, God oversees all miracles”…but thats not a total lie either.

Oh dear, how is it that I’m turning into my mother?!

& double oh dear. What will Sol ask next?

Positive Signs: Why I do my best to ‘make like a proton’ in these crazy times & why maybe you should too.

At the Science March here in DC the nerds and all around science lovers showed up in droves with their ingenious science-y signs in tow. There were some good ones such as “It’s getting hot in here” with the earth sweating, & Yoda in a tree stating “May the Forest Be With You”.  Some signs were so math-y they went way over my head, but the one that really got me thinking was “Make Like a Proton and Stay Positive”.


Because ‘staying positive’ can be extremely challenging in these bat-shit-crazy times. Many of our core beliefs, values, and morals are being challenged, dismissed, and completely disrespected…on a daily basis. As you may have discovered swatting that grey rain cloud away from the top of your head is about as easy as Pigpen ditching his dust cloud…not very.

Positivity & Perspective is 90% of everything.  What you choose to focus on MAGNIFIES. I have long been an advocate for Brain Science and Cognitive Psychology.  Mindfulness  is the practice of being aware of ones, thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the present moment.  Studies have proven how Mindfulness can literally change your brain , and is highly effective in treating depression, pain, anger, and addictions (to name a few). I’m not going to get deep into it in this post but click the links if your interested in knowing more.

Mindfulness and positivity used together can be like a 1-2-punch combo to combat the news blues.  Beautifully illustrated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stating,  “I have decided to stick to love…hate is too great a burden to bear”.

So here’s a personal example, I have been feeling down about current events.  In order to manage my energy I go on walkabouts where I practice mindful awareness on anything I see that I perceive as sweet, funny, or beautiful.  I find this highly effective in transforming funky energy, especially when the news has been very negative. This week I focused literally on ‘positive signs’.  Signs I saw in people’s yards, and in cafes around the neighborhood.  I allowed myself to be grateful that they were there projecting all that positivity into the neighborhood, and into the world.

I choose to try my best to “make like a proton” because my mental health depends on it, because there’s not much I can do to change anyone else’s behavior, & because it’s something I can do that I actually have control over.  Why should you? Because it’s scientifically proven to be effective, because if you don’t you may crack, deflate, go into unhealthy coping skills, rage out, and be crushed under the mountain of negativity that this world regularly delivers.  If you feel that you cannot be positive, please focus on someone who can… & allow yourself to be inspired…for what the brain observes it acts “as if” it’s doing itself. Brains are so cool that way.

With that said, I share some ‘positive signs’ I came across this week from my mindful neighborhood walkabouts. What do you choose to focus on this week? I hope you enjoy.

I’m not your bitch, bitch

In honor of National Poetry Month here’s a short one.

Stop asking me to fetch things, do work for you, dress up, smile pretty, play nice.

Constantly, constantly, constantly…then the nerve…ask for a hug.



 I’m not. I won’t. I shan’t. 

I’m not your bitch, bitch.

So kiss my grits fo’ eva, cause I don’t give no kind of damn. 

The soil beneath my feet will get a closer look than you. As I strut off into the humid night. 

Booty eating my pants is all you’ll see. So memorize that. Bitch. 

I need rest.

I’m hungry. 

I’m angry.

I’m lonely. 

So come tuck me into bed, fetch me a sandwich, and leave me be. 

Tomorrow coin toss

 to see whose turn to be