Identity Crisis

Photo by Jesse Milns

Photo by Jesse Milns

This blog has been alive for six years. SIX YEARS! I can’t believe how far I’ve come from when I started writing here. When I began blogging, I was newly single after a tumultuous four-year relationship hot on the heels after separating from my ex-husband. I was just about to max out a credit card on a trip to Paris, all by myself. I can see you rolling your eyes and shaking your head – you’re right, things were messy. So messy, but I was so filled with hope.

Now I’m a mom, a partner in a rather unconventional relationship (new readers, see this post!), an artist and entrepreneur, and more of a grown up than I’ve ever been. I’ve found so many of the things I was craving back when I began writing here, and I’ve found them in my way, on my own terms.

Adventures in Schnooville was a name I came up with because a work colleague and friend had nick-named me ‘Schnoo’. It’s a very silly name for a blog, but it suited my purposes – I wanted to remain under the radar, and I mostly wanted my mom to have some peace of mind while I explored Paris without much of a safety net. I never could have imagined then that over 50,000 visitors would land here and read my reflections.

Over the years I’ve had so many touching emails from people encouraging me to write, and thanking me for helping them feel a little less alone out there. What a gift that has been, to know my sometimes narcissistic indulgences are actually serving to help in a way that touches me so deeply in my soul.

Today, Schnooville is going pro!

I’ve had other blogs. I’ve written as my stage persona La Minouche for the theatre company Les Coquettes. I’ve written as a modern-day answer to Dr. Ruth as a girl-next-door sex and relationship advice blogger, I’ve even published some fiction out there on the Internets. Schnooville has always felt like my most authentic voice, and has always been the place where inspiration comes easiest to me, but the name of this blog is hopeless for branding, useless for marketing. It’s cute, but I just don’t feel like its time has passed. After today, I’ll be posting at my new site, where I’ve migrated this entire blog – Playboy Mommy.

When I began to realize that motherhood was an experience with which I was actually going to be blessed, there were definitely people who were shocked/surprised/afraid of the idea of me as a mom, based largely on what my world looks like from an outside perspective, and based on their own ideas of what motherhood should look like. It seemed that wanting a family of my own to nurture and love was incongruous with my lifestyle. This was the age-old Madonna/Magdalene paradigm coming to life, and that’s a seesaw I’ve always strived to straddle firmly in the middle. Ahem.

Playboy Mommy has such delicious, fun connotations, doesn’t it? I think of a free-spirited nurturer who can sip a martini while whipping up a prize-winning batch of brownies. Playboy Mommy sounds like the kind of mom who has made some very interesting, very colorful friends along the way who can certainly help in a pinch. I relate on so many levels to the character this moniker conjures. When I discovered the domain name was available, I was shocked, and took it as a sign.

I’m so excited about developing this blog. Here are a few tips for how you, wonderful readers, can help take this little corner of the Internet universe to the next level. I wouldn’t be here without you, and I’m grateful for you each and every time I post.

1. Subscribe to the new blog, either by email or RSS feed so you can read posts as they happen!
2. Follow me on Twitter @Playboy_Mommy
3. Like my new Facebook page here and share it on your timeline so your friends can enjoy.
4. Be sure to write your comments in the blog comment section if you want to comment on a post, rather than on Facebook. Blogs are more successful if you can build a community of readers who engage.
5. I’ve started an advice section! Help me populate it by emailing me at askmommy@playboymommy.com. I promise to protect your anonymity.

Tell me what you’d like to see more of at Playboy Mommy!

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Weathering the Shitstorm

Five great reasons to get my act together.

Five great reasons to get my act together.

Calorie counting, which I am mostly diligent about, but have taken a break from because my father-in-love is in town and he equals FOOD, has helped me shed about fifteen pounds since I last wrote here. I’ve limited myself to 1600 calories each day because I’m breastfeeding, and I’m generally staying away from complex carbs and refined sugar. Right now I’m about ten pounds away from my target, and I’m now seriously contemplating exercise each day. Note that I haven’t said I’m going to start exercising each day. That’s more commitment than I can handle, and the careful food choices seem to be working well. Score one for me.

I’m back to work (part time, I guess), and back on stage with the Coquettes, and about to head to Alberta with them for our first out-of-province shows. My experience with becoming a mother, birthing a baby, and watching my body turn inside out and upside down has created this insane confidence on stage. More than ever, I feel like I’m there to have fun, help the audience have fun and I really don’t give a shit about what might come out of my mouth in the process. This has made for some great shows as far as I’m concerned. That edit button is gone it seems, and hilarity ensues. Score two for me, I guess.

Noah is thriving, and smiling like a maniac nearly all of the time. The little monster is only four months old but fitting comfortably into nine month clothing, all while exclusively breastfeeding! He’s so long, I think he may end up a giant like my 6’7 brother. His sisters are wonderful too. I just had the absolute pleasure of two glowing parent/ teacher interviews where both teachers sang the praises of our wonderful children and our wonderful family. Score three?

I’m giving myself this cyber pep-talk because in therapy I’m experiencing what you might call the eye of the storm. The work I’m doing there feels like complete and utter shit. It feels like teenage days all over again. I sort of hated high school, so on Sunday nights I would feel absolutely sick with dread knowing that I had to return there on Monday. This is the same feeling I get now on my pre-therapy days. What’s going on there? Well, the simple answer is when I’m faced with difficulty, criticism and my own short comings, guess what I do? I go stony, I detach, I shut down. I do this because I  feel like I’m a terrible person and everyone around me is better off without me. I want to crawl in a hole and run away. That’s what happens inside. Outside I look like a cold-hearted bitch who doesn’t care about anything.

When there is a problem in your relationship, you want your partner there with you. You want them emotionally present to help work through difficulty. I can’t do this, or at least I haven’t been able to do this. I hate this about myself  and now I’m taking a very critical and thorough look at where this comes from and how I can stop it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and it hurts like hell.

So, how does a Schnoo deal with such a difficult emotional place?

1. Binge eating. Yes, I allow myself to completely and totally pig out, but only for one day. I know I can get back on track quickly, so I just go for it. Emotional eating is never a great idea, but sometimes only chocolate and popcorn can make the pain go away.

2. Maid mode. Today, after gorging myself last night, I have been a cleaning maniac. Cleaning through stress is the best thing. It’s a physical opportunity to scrub away all of the ugly, and it feels so good to take care of it while my partners are hard at work earning our bread. This morning marked the best on-my-hands-and-knees-in-front-of-the-toilet catharsis yet.

3. Makeup. If I feel like shit on the inside, I can’t stand to look like shit on the outside. I try to take extra time to focus on the things I can control, like glowing skin and bright eyes. I love makeup, I love the art of makeup application, and I love how this simple act picks me up.

4. Writing. It’s like puking the contents of my head onto paper, and I swear it’s the greatest gift I was born with. No other physical act makes me feel better.

5. Fresh air. I need to leave my physical space when I feel like crap. I used to take my iPad to the cafe near by, but with the little Noodle as my constant companion, I can’t indulge in out-of-the-house writing excursions these days. Instead he and I are going to drag daddy out to the new diner around the corner for lunch where I will sport my fresh and dewy face, indulge in a milkshake, and try to not feel like such an asshole.

If I have these wonderful people in my life who say they love me, and who are trying to build a world with me in it I can’t be so horrible, right? Is it shame that I feel in the face of making them hurt or feel frustrated and disappointed in me? Why can’t I let myself make mistakes and be a ‘work in progress’? Why can’t I just say “Yeah, that IS shitty, let’s fix it” instead of wanting to run away and hide?

I used to question the logic of  my friends who would start therapy and then quit, but now that we’ve scraped well beyond the surface and am digging into the meat of my psyche I can totally understand the impulse to stop the process. I won’t though. Somewhere beyond all of this crap-ass feeling is the realization that I (and all of those I love) will be better for it. Somewhere my mind knows that crying like a maniac is actually better for me than going all stony and hard so I don’t have to feel things. Therapy is best approached like a very sticky bandaid – get in there, rip it off, and deal with the pain rather than gingerly peel it back, or see if it will eventually fall off in the shower. That last one always ends up a dirty, stinky mess, doesn’t it?

Spring time goal: getting rid of the hard candy shell to enjoy the gooey centre.