#freedom, #greatpretender, parenting struggles, vulnerability, Women's Fight

I am Henrietta Hill

The last three days have been interesting…

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It’s the First time BOTH of my kids have had projects at the same time.

(Be sure to check out hilarious science fair pics)

I hear myself sounding just like my mother and as much as I hated what she told me … she was right.

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I was so rotten as a teenager.

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But I guess that was my job.

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Maybe that’s the point of having kids. To learn how much of an asshole you were and truly appreciate your own parents.

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The other day, I said to my son

“I didn’t have kids to have them stare at a screen like a zombie all evening.”

His reply, “Then what did you have kids for?”.

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That’s a good question.

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I actually didn’t have an answer ….

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I always said I DIDN’T want kids.

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I was the oldest and I had to change three of my siblings diapers and feed them.

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I remember cleaning poop from under my brothers balls and thinking “The hell with this.”😂

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As teenagers, I remembered how atrocious my siblings and I were to my mother.

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I never understood why my mom wouldn’t just go to bed when I was out 😂🙈😜

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Now I pick my kids up bitching and whining at 9:30pm because I want to go to bed.

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I never wanted to deal with that.

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I wanted to avoid that struggle and stress; Just completely bypass that journey.

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Then I fell for how adorable pregnant bellies are, how good babies smell & how cute and funny kids are when they are little. I got suckered into it.😂😜

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My maternal instinct kicked in I suppose.

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My heart wanted something despite what my brain said.

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But still…What did I have kids for?

After I drive back and forth on 127th street twelve times in a day with school, practices, games while juggling work, laundry, appointments, and making dinner; I think of Henry Hill and the last half hour of Good Fellas.

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While he is driving around, the helicopter is following him yet he attempts to go about his overbooked day…paranoid.

•Henry: 6:55am Doing a line of Coke

(Me: 5:55am – Energize drank🤪)

•7:30am Henry: Attempt to drop off guns to Jimmy (Me: Attempt to drive kids to school as fast as I can while kids fight)

•Henry: Get screamed at by Jimmy that guns are wrong and the drugs are turning his brain into mush

(Me: Kids bitch the whole way to school that they are always late because of me.)

•Henry: Dropping off guns in a paper bag

(Me: Finally Dropping kids off at school with lunches. Kids bitch about what’s in their lunch)

•Henry: Pick his brother up from hospital

(Me: Pick up medications from CVS)

•Henry: Braise veal, pork shanks and sausage for tomato sauce and while also getting some other great ideas for an appetizer

(Me: Scrolling on Pinterest for something to make for dinner and then end up giving up and default to spaghetti and frozen meatballs)

•Henry: Pick up a morose Karen

(Me: Pick up annoyed kids from school)

•Henry: Ditch the guns at his mother-in laws

(Me:Drop one kid at practice)

•Henry: Go pick up Drugs for Pittsburg deal

(Me: Pick up one kid from practice, drop one at a game early, go back home to drop other one off to finish homework, go back to other kids game -now late)

•Henry: Go to his side chic’s house to have her cut the drugs while she berates him; he eventually escapes cackling and she whips a cup of coke at him.

(Me: Make my kids do science projects and get the shit off dining room table while they bitch the whole time that they have to do this project. Get this project out of my life!!!)

•Finally eating dinner

••Like me, Henry did Not anticipate any setbacks like:

•Henry: The guns will be wrong and he has to figure out how to get money back.

(Me: Return some gifts the kids said they wanted for Christmas; but changed their mind- if I don’t do it today within the 30 day mark I will have to accept store credit🤬)

•Henry: Argue with his wife, Schmooze side chic to get drugs, and debate with his drug mule

(Me: Debate with old man about who drives where and why he thinks he can sit on the couch while discussing this.;)

•Henry: Give instructions to his old babysitter now drug mule only for her to ignore what he said, do exactly what he said not to and also forget her hat

(Me: Tell kids how to do science fair poster measurements, they say they understand, get annoyed with me and then they do exactly what I said not to do, all crooked- plus forgot science book)

•Henry: Almost getting into a car accident While looking at helicopter

(Me: Trying to find the away game location, not looking in front of me and almost back ending someone)

•Henry: When picking up his brother from hospital, the doctor made him sit down for an evaluation because he was so stressed out. (Me: Sitting at game with massive RBF, other parents who got it together ask me if I’m ok.)

Then all that shit doesn’t matter suddenly because the Cops arrive as Henry is about to leave to get his old babysitter’s hat. All the craziness Henry Is doing, doing, doing, STOPS. All that business aka BUSY-ness stops. There’s a GUN to his head. He HAS to stop!

Me: In an attempt to maximize some time, I think it’s a good idea to put two boxes of Christmas decorations away in the shed while kids doing project. It’s dark out and I trip on a frozen hose (that’s been left out since summer🙈) and completely wipe out on my right side smashing into the frozen brick-like ground. I’m tangled in the hose as if a boa constrictor is wrapped around my legs. I can barely get up my right arm hurts so much.

I’m laying on the cold, hard ground, wailing in pain, furious with myself exclaiming “everything sucks!”.

I manage to roll onto my back – still entangled in the stiff, frozen snake-hose. I continue to sob feeling sorry for myself as the pain slowly subsides.

I stare up at the lightly snowing sky.

I stop crying.

It’s so quiet and peaceful. I laid there for what seemed forever but it was probably two minutes. Had an Epiphany:

Who cares when I get all this done? What am I in such a hurry for?

I surrender. I raise the white flag.

I walk back into the house using only my left arm, laughing at myself thinking of Molly Shannon walking without using her arms. None of this matters. Now I can’t use my right arm so I’m forced to stop.

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I sit down with the kids at the table. I let them ask me questions.

I let them TELL ME how they are going to do their project. I STAY QUIET. I let them tell me what they learned. I’m actually learning something new as well. I laugh at some of the pictures they found.

Instead of “getting it done” I realize I can enjoy the process of getting it done. I need to stop and BE where my kids currently are.

They just need me there for reassurance. They want to make sure they are doing it right. They need me to be PRESENT… KINDA like a mama bird does before she kicks them out of the nest…

I never thought I would miss them being toddlers and I totally do now… My heart hurts when I see pictures or videos of them when they are little. I stare at my toddler nephews in awe and amazement.

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I suppose I will miss being an unpaid Uber driver, them saying mom 749 times a day and all this schedule craziness as well someday.

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I had kids to enjoy them.

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Just as Henry is alive and free, he is bored as hell and “there’s no action.” He misses “The Life”. I suppose I will too. However, I refuse to be bored…I plan on binge/watching all the shows I don’t have time for now😜

#henryhill

#motherhood

#gretchenrubin

#goodfellas

Women's Fight

The Eye on the Sparrow (Part One)

In 2002, I was finishing up grad school and ready to “Make a Difference”. I took the train to my new job, walked around Downtown Chicago like a tourist, all bright-eyed and excited for my new opportunity. I was also engaged and in wedding planning mode. Life was amazing.

When I arrived for my training at the NBC towers, I was beaming with pride and so impressed with the office location. I felt so cool taking the elevator to “my office” and using my badge to scan myself in to unlock the door. I walked into the training room and found six other girls in the training room. We all appeared to be about the same age, well except one woman.

She was wearing glasses, had short stacked hair and a blazer: dead giveaway for a mom. She did not look happy. She asked about 17 questions before the first break. I did not understand why this woman was insisting on knowing everything right away. The same thing happened day after day for two weeks, constant questions from this Mom-Lady.  It seemed as if the other five women had the same thought as me because we all began to make eye-contact with each other when she asked yet another question. I had no idea what I was doing either; however this women’s questions emphasized that I was also clueless and made the training longer.

By the time the Monday arrived for week three of training, the newness wore off. It was winter and freezing downtown. I was exhausted from waking up so early, while it was still dark out, to begin my journey to what it felt like the north pole. It takes a lot of effort to be in the loop by 8:00am. I was also beginning to realize that I voluntarily signed up to be in the real-life version of Office Space: the cubicles, everyone complaining about the copier jamming, and all the staff in the cubicles with the same flat-zombie-like expression as Peter. (“Peter…What’s happening?”)

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Finally on Friday of our last training day, we somehow decided to walk to the same place for lunch. As we sat down, one of the girls my age unloaded, “I am sorry, but do any of you guys know what the fuck we are doing?” All of us burst out laughing.  The bubble of phony professionalism was broken and everyone unleashed their confusion, realness and fear. It was such a relief to hear everyone’s insecurities. Even the Mom-Lady was laughing and was making funny comments.

After we all had our food, Mom-Lady stated she felt compelled to tell us something. You could sense the uncomfortable tension by the abrupt, dead silence at the table. Mom-Lady explained that she had been in the field as a clinician for fifteen years until she took time off to be home with her kids. She was married and had two children, a girl (8) and a boy (5). She disclosed she was 42 years old and “feeling pretty humiliated” about going back to work after being off for eight years. “My husband is self-employed and his business was doing well. We were able to afford my being a stay-at home mom. However, with all the insurance changes and pre-existing condition limitations; private insurance cost a fortune. Unfortunately, I need to go back to work to provide insurance for my family.” The story continued to get worse. She then confessed she had also allowed her license to lapse during her time off, and without a license, you could not get hired anywhere except for entry positions. Therefore she had to basically start over and take the licensing exams which were not held until next year.

We all sat there stunned and speechless; wide-eyed and jaws gaping open. None of us were even married yet or had children. I could not even fathom this kind of stress. The silence was unbearable and I assumed it was making this Mom-Lady more uncomfortable than she already was. I had no clue what to say. Everyone began looking down at the remains of their potbelly sandwiches and sitting on their hands for what seemed like an eternity. When things are tense, uncomfortable and awkward I always think of funny things and feel the urge to laugh inappropriately.

Before I could think I blurted out: “Jeez, remember in Office Space when he says “Every time you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life. He’s got nothing on you. Sheesh! That SUCKS!”

Thankfully the Mom-Lady began to laugh, probably more out of gratitude that the silence was broken. Then we all began to laugh. It wasn’t the most professional, empathetic, therapist-like thing to say but it broke the ice. We all returned to the office laughing, relaxed and more cohesive than when we left; by being honest and raw, we had bonded.

The next week, we were all thrown into our roles and able to grasp the actual job fairly quickly. We had to just do it in order to learn it. We discovered instant messaging and we would IM each other all day long. It turned out the Mom-Lady was pretty hilarious once she got over her initial anxiety. We all laughed hysterically all day long at her instant messages, nicknames for team leaders and her in-person impressions of different coworkers.

Mom-Lady was honest, eloquent and had an amazing ability to say things to me that I would not tolerate from anyone else. An example, one day I was talking to my own Mother on the phone at work. I was all stressed out about my wedding dress and that “I would not be able to lift my arms all the way up” and “how would I dance if I can’t lift my arms up!” My Mother became stressed and worried too and the two of us were like two balls of irrational anxiety. Mom-Lady apparently overhead me talking from her cubicle and came over to my desk smirking. Mom-Lady basically told me straight up to “get some real problems.” I was knocked right into a reality check. Then she elaborated, “I know your wedding seems like it is the most important day of your life right now but seriously, I have been married for 12 years, and in the big scheme of things it is not a big deal. It’s one day.”

I was dumbfounded at first. Then I embraced her authentic honesty because it was exactly what I needed. I began to giggle and I replied, “Oh yeah, well then you explain to everyone at the wedding why I am dancing and walking like this.” I stood up and began doing some dance moves resembling Ed Grimley from SNL and walking with my arms planted at my side like Molly Shannon in the Seinfeld Episode “The Summer of George.” Mom-Lady and I began to perform Ed Grimley dance moves in my cubicle while laughing hysterically. We spent the rest of the week walking down the hall not moving our arms like Molly Shannon.

ed grimley

molly shannon

Mom-Lady taught me to laugh at myself and she turned out to be the older sister I never had. Over time she became my favorite person to talk to. Eventually she changed from Mom-Lady to my most cherished Mom-Angel-Friend. My Mom-Angel-Friend was definitely an example that fear and shame can bring out the worst in people; and in some circumstances, you do get a second chance to make a first impression.