Tending the Home Fires

This is where we talk about what it means to care for our homes and ourselves and any other humans (and/or animals) lucky enough to share those spaces with us.

Camping Isn't For Everyone

Camping Isn’t For Everyone

I have what I hope is a cordial relationship with nature. It seems intent on killing me, therefore I stay indoors. I like being indoors. Sarah Vowell described herself as indoorsy and I think that is the best description of a personality trait ever. Read more

Depression and Other Adventures

Depression and Other Adventures

I should have known my marriage would end in tears when I realized how much he admired Henry Miller. I dislike Henry Miller because he always seemed to me a man who never did his own laundry and what can a person who never looked after himself tell me about life? Miller had this quote, “Everything was for tomorrow, but tomorrow never came.” And that always pissed me off. Tomorrow only ever comes to others after you are dead. There is no tomorrow. There is only today. Read more

Glitter Jars are the New Emotional Support Gerbils

Glitter Jars are the New Emotional Support Gerbil

I am so wound up I made myself a calm down jar. I was in Target, stress shopping because I had spent the morning figuring out how to obtain burial permits for my parents, and I found a little tub of glitter. When I saw the glitter, I remembered the stories I saw a few years ago about parents making glitter jars for their preteen daughters to help them pull themselves back from the emotional ledge they pretty much live on while in middle school.

“I should make one of those glitter things for Six,” I thought, getting my phone out and looking up how to do it. So I bought all the stuff, which was just a six pack of Voss water in plastic bottles and some glitter because I had water and corn syrup and dish soap at home.

Then I got home and emotionally and physically stalled out. I made a couple phone calls and figured out a couple things and then I just sat on the couch and stared into space. From the outside, this does not look like ‘wound up’ but for me it is. When I fall silent and still, I am either sick, thinking or overwhelmed. Today I was overwhelmed. And when I become overwhelmed my mind goes in eight different directions and drowns me in comments, questions and concerns.

Then I remembered the glitter jar (I was berating myself for going to Target and missing my window to talk to a government office that is open for seemingly 20 minutes a week).

“Six doesn’t need a goddamn glitter jar, I DO!” I yelled at no one. I was home alone.

So I got off the couch and made a glitter jar. It’s actually a plastic water bottle and I didn’t follow the directions (per usual). I just stood in the kitchen dumping water, corn syrup, glitter and a teeny bit of dish soap into a bottle until all the glitter swirled around for awhile then gently fell to the bottom.

I am going to make a shitload of these things! I am going to put one in my car, next to my bed, in the kitchen and I will even make one for Six because he will think it is fun. Forget emotional support animals, every adult I know needs one of these. As we all hopefully know, telling someone to calm down is guaranteed to wind them up. And I am telling you right now that shaking this little bottle at me would be a huge mistake. Also, there is no certainty I won’t end up throwing one of these things out a car window at some point. All that being said, better to try and fail than go quietly crazy on the couch.

I’m off to make five more of these things. Here’s the link I used in Target to get started. I did not boil the water which means it is possible that at some point gross things will begin to grow in my bottle but by then I will probably have lost all of them so no harm, no foul.

How to Turn an Ordinary Kid Into a Genius

You realize that it is impossible to transform an ordinary person into a genius, right? People are either a genius or they aren’t. You can destroy their hopes of using their genius to further human knowledge but you as a parent can’t create genius where it does not exist. Read more

Drive Fast, Take Chances

How safe is too safe? When does my concern as a parent turn my children timid? Is that even possible? Have I stumbled into the realm of nature vs. nurture? Have I lost complete control of this article already?

Probably. Read more

Why Do People Lie?

Most people lie. Maybe you don’t but I do. I lie less now than I used to. But that is only because my parents are no longer alive and I am divorced. Read more

What Do We Tell the Children?

In view of recent events, I figured it would be a good idea to put someone else on my bank accounts so that if I die, the 400 bucks in checking won’t end up stranded in probate or wherever else it might end up. I have a will but it’s a mess since half of what’s in there no longer applies. Read more

Spring is Here, Time to Throw Sh#t Out

Winter is the season wherein getting me to go anywhere is nearly impossible. There is whining, excuses and sometimes I just sit down on the couch and refuse to move. It isn’t pretty but it is fun. At least for me. This winter I attempted to learn to knit. I totally failed but there’s always next year. Read more

Hire a Homemaker

When Older Son was young my constant refrain to him was, “Careful!”

Now that he is an adult I say, “Be thoughtful” which is pretty much white noise to someone who is 23. All they have are thoughts. Being young is a lot of work, you have an entire personality ot build.

I’m 46. I’m pretty much built. Everything is either hardening into place or just getting worse. But for young adults, it’s all thinking and building and becoming all the time.

Exhausting. Read more

Tending the Home Fires Facebook Group

Tending the Home Fires Facebook Group

Taking care of people is hard. It can be deeply rewarding, but let’s face it, it’s also really, really hard. Whether it’s children, elderly parents, sick spouses, special needs family members, or even ourselves, taking care of human beings requires a tremendous amount of energy. And yet for mothers and other caregivers, we do it every, single day, often with little recognition or appreciation.

I have three children, a dog and a husband who works ridiculous hours, pretty straightforward stuff. I’ve been fortunate to have the choice to stay home with my kids. I often wonder if it was the right choice, but that’s a conversation for another day. The point is, that even with all of the privilege in my life, caring for my family is difficult and unrelenting.

One of the things that has kept me sane(ish), is the support I get from my incredible friends. Aileen and I text each other, A LOT. We share stories of the neverending piles of laundry and the demoralizing stack of dishes in the sink. This support makes our lives better. Not easier, but more fun and less lonely.

When we started Persistiny, one of the things we wanted to do was provide a community where women got more support for this vital work. As many of you know, we’re working on a mobile app, Tend, that will be an amazing source of recognition and encouragement. In the meantime, we wanted to give women a chance to share in the fun, loving, emotional, silly support that we give one another.

So, to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re launching a Facebook group – Tending the Home Fires. We’ll share our own shit shows here and encourage you to do the same. Watch the stories for the “best of” text interchanges between us and we’ll post content here that might be encouraging or helpful to other caregivers.

The group is closed and moderated to provide a place where we can be safe and vulnerable. Please make sure to read the group rules before posting or commenting. We can’t wait to share the love with you all – please join us.