It’s called Tough Love for a reason–it’s not easy: Saying NO to being a maid.

So, I found something…..My 8 year old son, Gino, had been drawing and left several papers laying on the floor with miscellaneous pictures and writings….and then there was this.

11016558_10200185294391111_1829751374_n

Ugh. I’m not gonna lie, it made me feel bad. But sometimes teaching our kids right from wrong hurts us as much as it does them. You see,  I knew why he wrote those words. He and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch in terms of him preferring that I….how shall I put this…..BE HIS MAID? Yes, yes, I believe that pretty much sums it up in three simple words. He’d like me to be his maid. I, on the other hand, would like him to do things for himself (within reason, of course.).

He’d prefer to scream my name in such a way that I come running from the other end of the house, prepared to find him covered in blood or in some other horrific predicament….only to find that he would like the channel changed on the TV, but the remote is on the end table, not within his reach.  He will yell to me in the kitchen, telling me that he needs a drink, rather than walking to the kitchen to get it. And the list goes on and on….YEAH. I KNOW. IT’S RIDICULOUS, ISN’T IT? It’s embarrassing and completely outrageous. And this little man and his demands have been shut down, by his big mean mom.

And the power struggle begins.

e53169a44301b05d6ae86a4103934492

** This is where I feel the need to say that the LAST thing I want is to get anyone all riled up about what is appropriate or not appropriate in terms of parenting or disciplining children. I have my own beliefs and stand firmly in them. What works for me and my family may not necessarily work for yours, and vice versa. Rather than judge, I’m hoping we can all just agree that each of us need to find something that works for our own families, so that we can send some good, respectful, hardworking kids out into the world. Are you with me on that?

Let me first say that every parent has their own parenting style. I’m not saying mine is better than yours (in fact I’m fairly sure you may think mine is crazy lol). But I do have 3 older children who have survived childhood with me as their mother, and have turned out pretty damn good, if I say so myself. And with 8 years in on my fourth child, with a pretty good track record from the older three — it’s highly unlikely that I will be changing my ways LOL.

Here’s the thing….the world we live in is geared toward teaching our children to expect instant gratification; and that has the potential to derail our kids when they get out into the real world. If we don’t teach our children that they can’t and shouldn’t expect instant gratification, we are all, as a nation, in one big heap of trouble. Same goes for accountability, taking responsibility for their actions, even if it means losing privileges, and facing consequences. Tough love, people. Learn it, and live it.  And don’t even get me started on showing respect…..it’s frightening, the lack of respect I’ve witnessed on many occasions, and I’m sure you all have as well.

I’m not one to put up with a lot of crap. I’m just not. Don’t get me wrong—-I’m as loving of a mother as you’re going to find. I would move mountains for my children, go the extra mile, go to the ends of the earth to give them what they need. But I have no time for back-talking, disrespect, and these shenanigans that Gino is pulling right now.

That is the reason for the words “Get It Yourself” on the paper….he’s been hearing those words a good bit from me lately. And he hasn’t always liked it. Sometimes he realizes that yeah, he is being pretty ridiculous, and just kind of laughs and does whatever for himself. Win.

BUT other times he’s upset that I’m not giving him his own way, or he just gives me a look, as in “oooooh you are a mean, mean mother….”, sometimes he does the poor, poor Gino routine, he’s tired, or his leg hurts, blah blah blah and tries to make me feel sorry for him. And sometimes, during these little episodes that we have, I would rather just give in and get him the stupid remote, because it’s easier….but the entire lesson would be lost then, right?

I’ve been a parent for 26 years, a daycare provider for almost 17 years, I’m educated, and I’ve read lots of parenting books in my time. Let me just say this:

5a0c8d0fd70db5064ce442a7307a4f26

Oh for crying out loud, relax people. I’m joking.  I’m not going to beat my child with the book. Maybe just a love tap. Just enough to get his attention, okay? Yes, yes, like I said, I’ve read the books. I know all about getting down on eye level with the child and speaking in a soft and calm voice, and yes, it even works….sometimes. Other times, not so much.

I know that this may not be a popular opinion I’m about to share but I have to be honest, as an “older and more mature student” when in college, as I listened to lectures from professors about children and read the fancy books, etc….I often wondered if they’ve ever really met a child. Like, a real child, in the real world. I read stories and heard tales of children that respond just as the textbooks say they will, simply by doing that “child whispering”, but I’ve never personally witnessed it or met them. I’m pretty sure they live in the same zip code as the unicorns, leprechauns and maybe Bigfoot. I keep my eyes open for them though, always on the lookout for those elusive creatures…..

Listen, I want my kids to be happy, just like everyone else. I wish I could give them every single thing they wanted without turning them into spoiled human beings, but it’s just not possible. I truly worry about the shift in the way a lot of our children are thinking and are being raised. Am I the only one that sees a large number of children (and adults) with an overly large sense of entitlement?

I refuse to sit back and let my kids take that false impression out into the world with them, because it is setting them up for failure. (Hello? Do we really need to give every child a ribbon for participation in an activity? Shouldn’t verbal praise for their effort, and learning to have a sense of personal pride in their effort be enough? Are we sending a message that everyone should receive a prize ALL the time, regardless of the outcome of a project or activity? Does anyone besides me worry that our children won’t be emotionally prepared to handle college professors and supervisors in the workplace who don’t coddle them as they have been used to? If they don’t get a promotion or get chosen to participate on a key project at work, will they be equipped to deal with that?…)

By learning the skills to adjust to less than ideal circumstances, finding coping strategies to deal with disappointment or adversity….these are the things that will help our kids succeed…without those skills, they will have much trouble being happy in life.

Too often I see parents allowing their children to call the shots because it’s easier than dealing with the consequences of telling the child “no”, enforcing boundaries, or following through on a disciplinary action that needs to be put in place. Sometimes we have to risk upsetting our kids, in order to teach them that life isn’t always going to go their way. They cannot always be handed everything they want without working for it, earning it, or winning it fair and square. That’s the reality of life that they need to know.

c9ef6c2fd53913eaf039d593ed2557bb

Now, to get back to that pesky paper I found that said “Do It Yourself”…when I first saw it, I imagined Gino writing that as an outlet of his frustration with me, the mean, horrible mother, that makes him “do it himself” rather than being his maid. And even though I wouldn’t change the way I’m parenting him, because I know the lesson will stick and he will become responsible, independent and accountable– I did feel bad, that he was upset with me. No parent likes that. I let that doubt creep in…am I too hard on him? Do I expect too much? Does he understand that I love him even when I’m enforcing these lessons? Tough love is hard.

But then I noticed something. I had been focusing on the words, not paying attention to the picture he had drawn…..that simple little picture, that changes the entire “feel” of those three words. It was a smiley face, people, a smiley face. I wasn’t being depicted as an ugly monster, spewing fire from my mouth as I spit out the words “DO IT YOURSELF!!”. It was a simple smiley face. And then I knew.

Yeah, we are going to be just fine. Tough love IS hard, but it can be done right. 🙂

I can’t end this without saying that we have ALL experienced times when we thought we had just committed the ultimate parenting fail. If you’ve ever done something and were beating yourself up about it, you HAVE to go to Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page and check out this Post by Jen Hatmaker, where she encouraged her followers to share their most hilarious mom meltdown fail. Be warned that you will laugh until you cry. Or pee your pants. Either way, it’s a must read, and you will go away feeling not so alone in the crazy journey of raising these children up right. Enjoy!

1455c686c09db8d56447c4b539ce10fb

<<<<<Believe it! It’s true! They love us ALL the time 🙂

Cheers and smiley faces,

Jill ❤

Life, Therapy, and Owning Your Sh*t

*I feel it’s only fair to warn you that the following contains a bit of profanity. I would apologize for that, but in the spirit of “Myrtle”, I don’t feel an apology is necessary. 🙂

10429266_778373725578078_3388048229115365384_n Own your shit. Three little words that hold more power than I could’ve ever imagined.

The above picture is “Myrtle”. Myrtle owns her own shit. Can I just tell you how much I love her?  I happened upon Myrtle last week and haven’t been able to get her out of my mind. I love what she represents. Strength, courage, wisdom, sass, and a no nonsense, badass attitude. You go girl.   It took me alot of years to find my “inner Myrtle”, so to speak.  Carrie Hilgert, Artist , is the creator of Myrtle, and I find them (both Carrie and Myrtle!) to be amazing.

“Myrtle is a badass. Obviously. I mean, just look at her. She doesn’t even own a shirt, much less wear one. She doesn’t give two fucks what you think about that either. And she’s not overly concerned what you think about her using the word fuck. Because Myrtle is smart. She lives her life for herself. She loves hard and true but has no time for people’s nonsense. Get on board or get out. Once, she worked at a 50’s themed diner and dreamed of walking on the beach at sunset to feel the peace there. She finally did that and now she’s busy making her dreams come true and owning her life. “–Carrie Hilgert

It’s taken me MANY years to get to this point, where I can finally say that yes, I own my shit. Years of digging deep, letting myself feel things that I had locked away, hoping to never let resurface. I guess that was just my way of coping (or not coping) with situations I experienced through my life. Put the crap I didn’t know how to deal with in the box (in my head), lock that box and throw away the damn key. End of story. Proceed with life.

a0197fa3eb7ba4d958c44c88ce610357

Newsflash, friends:  You can only get away with that for so long, until the denial and the pretending catch up to you. And let me tell you—it can be a real train wreck.  I guess you could say that my box became so full of crap that it finally exploded. And as you can imagine, all of those things that I didn’t want to think about, admit, or cope with were just having their way with my thoughts and emotions. I was a mess.

I now know that there are millions of people that experience those same things at one time or another in their life, but at the time, I felt incredibly alone and vulnerable. Desperate.

I distinctly recall calling my sister at 3am and just crying. Uncontrollably crying. I didn’t know what I was feeling, or what was going on with me, but I felt like I was drowning. I remember saying that to her, that I felt like I was drowning and that I just wanted to crawl into a dark hole and sleep forever.

I wasn’t the type of person that wanted to admit that I had demons inside that I needed to put a name to. I didn’t want to accept them, own them, or work through them. I thought they made me appear weak. I worried that I would be judged. I was ashamed of them and afraid of them. But when you find yourself at a point where you can’t make sense of the chaos and struggle, you know it’s time to do something about it. When I called my sister, we prayed. I will forever be grateful for the peace that I would get from that. I know that it was a defining moment. The moment when I began to know my shit, deal with my shit, and own my shit.

10501827_665452266870225_1181949207102080452_n

Because, let’s be honest, until you know what your shit is, you can’t own it. I started seeing a therapist, who helped me sort all of those demons out and put a name to them, so I could call them out. (Heads up to any of you out there worried that someone may find out that you go to a “shrink” or think that you’re crazy— It’s time to get over it. You ARE crazy; we ALL are in some way or other.  Admitting that you could use some help figuring your shit out is a sign of strength. And it’s the hip thing to do. All the cool kids are doing it.) 🙂

Therapy for me, was like having someone crack the code to a mystery that I didn’t even know I had within me. Here’s a small sample of what I came to know and understand about myself. Obviously I’m greatly simplifying this, but I think you’ll get the gist of it…

My dad was in a fatal coal mining accident when I was 11. My mom, the most loving woman I’ve ever known, was dealing with the sudden tragic loss of her husband, after already having to cope with the death of two sons earlier in her life. I can’t even imagine what she was going through, but part of her coping was to be on the go a lot, and as a result, I found myself alone much of the time. I had anger for having lost not only him, but her, as well, in a lot of ways. Then, as a young adult, I lost my mom to cancer. And as time went on, and I encountered struggles in my life, I was devastated that she wasn’t there for me, to give me advice, or make me feel safe.  I was angry, and felt like the people I loved the most, that I needed, weren’t there for me. Well, hello there, Abandonment. And then I felt bad for being angry. Hello there, Guilt.

I was married to an alcoholic. Years of me making excuses for him, covering up his drinking, giving ultimatums that I never followed through on, and being made to feel like a “second choice” after alcohol, took its toll on me. I had delved into the role of his co-dependent in order to keep our family together, and I must say that I did a bang up job for many years.  But eventually I couldn’t keep up with it any longer. I snapped. I had finally been pushed to the brink and I “checked out”. It was an unconscious way of protecting myself from dealing with it anymore. Living through having someone you love hurt you over and over again, breaking promises, lying, and choosing alcohol over you and your children time and again—it wore me down and I couldn’t do it anymore. I was all alone anyway, in all reality. The person that was supposed to love and take care of me wasn’t there.  Hello there Anger and Resentment, hello again Abandonment. Hello there Guilt.

I’m sure you get the picture, friends. I have no doubt there are plenty of you that can relate to some of that, and more. I  had a lot of shit to name, understand, and own.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m good. Really, I am. Way better than I was before I could make sense of it. I mean look at me. I’m strong, independent, and a badass, even.

Okay, badass might be stretching it just a little bit. I’m not quite sure I’m a badass.  But I’ve got so much Myrtle in me now that I can tell you these things about myself without shame,  when at one point I was so ashamed of it that I could barely admit it to myself.

654473a7d5d4e7c211aad3e71abc11cb

Cheers, and I urge you to find your own inner Myrtle!

Jill ❤

The Gift

d06677360875bb46dc0f8f19213697df

Once upon a time, about 27  years ago, I had this friend….

We worked together for a couple of years or so, and shared one of those “office BFF” relationships. We hit it off immediately when we met. Even though we spent very little time together outside of work hours, the 40 hours each week we DID spend together forged a deep friendship.  We spent every day sharing stories of our lives– listening, giving advice, laughing. I remember us laughing ALOT. She was one of the happiest, most uplifting people I had ever met. Bubbly, funny, constantly smiling. She was, in every sense of the word, a truly beautiful person both inside and out. I’m sure you all have met someone in your life that you connected with like that. You felt like a better person simply by knowing them.

Then, as it does, life happened. We each went our separate ways…marrying, moving away to other states and onto other jobs or the next stage in our lives.

Now remember, this was “pre-internet”, friends. No Googling or Facebooking. No cell phones or Twitter. I realize that some of you youngsters may find it hard to imagine a world like that, but believe it. Sadly, we lost touch with each other, and I hadn’t seen or heard from her in all these years.

Then, just recently, it happened.

I sat down at my computer, and saw I had a message. I clicked on it and saw her name. There was a last name that was new, of course, but it was definitely her. My special friend from so long ago.  It brought so much joy to reconnect with her after all these years, and even though she lives out of state and we haven’t been able to get together yet, I know that when we do, it will be like we were together just yesterday.

The other day she asked me for my address, saying she had something she wanted to send me.  I never really gave it much thought, and actually forgot about it.

Today, in my mailbox, I found one of those yellow cards that says “item too large for box”. As I was pulling it out, I began to panic a little, knowing that I hadn’t ordered anything…and my first thought was “Oh my gosh, what did Gino buy? I am going to strangle him if he ordered something online….”. And in my own defense, I have every right to question that, because this IS the kid that charged over $400 to my debit card while buying “power up bundles” in the Angry Bird game on his iPad. Lucky for him, he was in the clear this time.

The postmaster handed me a large cardboard box with Priority Mail stickers on it , and then I saw the return address, It was from her, my friend.  I was totally puzzled. So this is why she wanted my address. I figured maybe I’d get a card or something from her…but a rather large cardboard box? So of course, I opened it, and there was this:

11020384_10200162992393575_123664683_n

Well, I sat there in stunned silence for a few moments. And then I just started crying. Okay, bawling is probably a better description of it. It wasn’t pretty. And it lasted a while. I’m not sure why…I guess just the sheer surprise of the gift, from someone so special, after all these years….it touched me more than I can explain. And when I told her how special it was, but also too extravagant and I couldn’t accept it, she said she knew I loved this bag and had come across it, and knew it was meant to be that I have it. And then she told me this:

“I cannot tell you how blessed I am in my life right now, Jill. It’s meaningless and no fun if you cannot share with others…”

And she is so right, isn’t she? Her words really hit me, and I kept thinking about them, over and over. They stirred a part of me that I had buried this past year. Even though I didn’t consciously do it, I had let the realities of some difficult life situations take over. When I did that, I allowed some blessings that I was hoping to share with others, be derailed. Early in 2014, I had come up with an idea to start a non-profit organization that helps mothers battling cancer, by setting up a network of providers who volunteer to give free care to her children during doctors appointments, chemo treatments, or simply during times of needed rest.

When we found out that my sister had cancer, I had just been laying the groundwork for the non-profit, meetings had been set up with lawyers and other professionals that would be giving their input, and there had been brainstorming sessions going on. Feedback from other organizations and medical facilities about their excitement to be able to extend this service to families in need was thrilling. I knew that a lot of lives will be touched by it and I was anxious to get things rolling. But with the news of her being sick, and knowing that the months ahead would be physically and mentally challenging, everything was put on hold.

Months later, after my sister passed away, there was still a lot of emotional baggage to sift through, not to mention that I was doing major purging of my household and personal belongings to get prepared to move this past month, and trying to get settled. I will admit now that I was struggling in many ways, even though I tried my best to hide it. Stretched too thin would be a good way to describe how I felt. I think for a lot of that time I was on “autopilot”. I took the idea of “one day at a time” to a new level. Of course I made sure the kids were cared for, went to work, did all the typical “mom” stuff. But it was with a survival mode type of mentality. I had lost that part that was so passionate about giving and wanting to help. I rarely gave the non-profit a thought during that time.

I’m sure my friend didn’t realize that her gift to me would be much more profound than simply a fabulous bag from my favorite designer. Being the kind, generous soul that she is, she sent that to me out of love and kindness, to bring me happiness…sharing her blessings, and expecting nothing in return.

Her gift, and words, brought that part of me back to life that I had buried for a while. I was reminded of how meaningless life’s blessing are if we don’t share them. And in that moment, I could feel that part of me come alive again.

THAT is the power that giving and receiving holds.

Perhaps in receiving we heal others, and in giving we heal ourselves.

fda290c1ee019b78e2817d23363af262

I’m now anxious to pick up where we left off with the non-profit. It’s a slow process, time and resources are limited, but I have faith that it will come to fruition and I will see my plans turn into action in helping others.

Who knew that fab Michael Kors bag could bring about all of this, right?

Cheers, and don’t forget to share your blessings,

Jill ❤

Oh No he DIDN’T just say that…

Let me set the scene for you.

I had just finished a long, busy day caring for kids in the daycare, and had made my way to the kitchen to make some dinner for my family. My youngest, eight year old Gino, came in and sat down at the table, and started chatting with me. Before long he had brought up the subject of my blog. I hadn’t specifically mentioned to him that I had started this blog, but he had seen my Facebook page, This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla, a couple of weeks back and was just a tiny bit fascinated by it, because he has a true love for writing stories (which are pretty darn impressive, if I say so myself), and I think that in his mind, my blogging catapults me into a status of sorts.

Like as in  Wonder Woman type status.  And I am okay with that 🙂

He seems particularly interested in the fact that I like to write about everyday life as I know it, by sharing things that happen to me or our family, as opposed to how he uses his wild imagination to write very detailed and entertaining fiction stories.

He asked how I decided what I was going to write about, and I explained that sometimes it’s simply something funny that has happened that I think other people might enjoy hearing about, or it might be something more serious that is on my mind often, or a part of my everyday life that I struggle with–and sometimes writing about it helps me “figure it out” in a different way. He seemed to get that…. Maybe even more than I realized.

So as we’re chatting, he says this….”Hey mom, I have an idea for something you can blog about. You could talk about how you never are able to get all of the dishes done at one time. You know, like how you’ll start to do them and then go do something else before you finish the big pans and stuff?”

What?! What did he just say? Oh NO, he DIDN’T just say that.

e9a0057c6ba476d8e41c15f4a2369da2

Well. Reeeeeeaaalllly. That kid has a lot of nerve. Who does he think he IS telling me that I need to BLOG about the fact that I can’t seem to get ALL of the dishes done at one time?! I mean, seriously, does he see all of the work that I have to do around here? I’m only one person, for crying out loud.  And BY THE WAY, Mister, those pots and pans NEED to soak overnight! …..

11016497_10200158613244099_2060815726_n

Okay. Perhaps he had unknowingly hit a nerve.

One of the touchiest, most sensitive nerves that I have. Because he’s right. I almost NEVER finish all of my dishes at one time. It drives me crazy about myself that I do it. I KNOW this about myself, and I always tell myself to just finish the darn dishes, already.

But sometimes I just don’t want to. Yeah, that’s embarrassing.

And even more often than me simply not wanting to do them, THIS happens:

I’m washing the dishes and I remember that I need to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer, so I stop the dish washing to do that. While I’m in the laundry room, I see Gino’s basketball jersey and it reminds me that I need to check to make sure that his basketball shoes are in his bag for the game. I am on my way to look for his game bag and as I walk through the living room, I see little pieces of paper and debris on the carpet from a project that 11007632_10200158613324101_129608837_nVincent was working on, and remember that I need to fix the sweeper and get that cleaned up. I detour to where the sweeper is sitting, turn it over and realize that I need a screwdriver to take the bottom off, so I go to the basement to get a screwdriver. While I’m down there, I catch a glimpse of a box containing files with old receipts and bills, which then starts me thinking that I need to get bills paid, and I’m sure by now you probably already know that I never go back to finish the dishes. It’s Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder at it’s finest. I AM the poster child for this. I admit it. It’s a big problem.

But let’s be honest. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

You MAY have your defenses beefed up to a level of such high beefiness that you don’t let your truths hurt you, they just anger you. I, my friends, have been guilty of THAT for many, many years when it comes to the matter of me hating, despising, and ignoring the task of washing (and finishing) the dishes. Just ask my significant other, he will attest to the fact that we’ve had more than one heated discussion about it…. I’m not proud. And then there’s the fact that he’s rather OCD about things being neat and orderly, and let’s face it…I’M NOT. You can see the struggle there, right?

And then, (as I found out last night), out of the blue, for some reason the same truth you’d be presented with many times and were simply angered by, hits that one oh so sensitive nerve and the pain is shocking. Because that particular nerve is directly linked to the PRIDE. And suddenly you know. You need to change so that your truth isn’t something that hurts anymore. It’s funny how suddenly something clicks and you realize that, even though it’s been put in front of you so many times.

I finally can admit that I need to work on this. He was right.

But before my mind processed all of that, though, I was still in the “Oh NO he DIDN’T say that”  emotional state, and I had promptly told Gino that YES, in fact the dishes WOULD all be finished at one time tonight, and this is why:

11002129_10200158061430304_1830948990_o10988779_10200158061310301_1979958387_o

**As a side note, and a subject matter for another day, he is incredibly intelligent but REALLY needs schooled in WHAT NOT TO SAY TO WOMEN 101.

eba291d88d99881e66b5ab54944e3d11

Disclaimer: No children were injured in the washing of these dishes.

Cheers,

Jill ❤

Confessions of a Clutter-aholic: I’m Giving Up Junk Instead Of Junk Food For Lent

Hi. My name is Jill, and I’m a Clutter-aholic.

If you know me, or have read through the earlier postings on this blog, you are aware that over the past year my family and I have downsized from a very large and spacious home to a small/average sized home that also contains a functioning business within it. Our living and storage space is probably a quarter of what it was a year ago. It has been challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure anything could have adequately prepared me for this…my head is still spinning from all of the moving, rearranging, throwing away, selling, purging, and burning that we have already done….and my anxiety peaks every time I look at the mountains of boxes, bags, laundry baskets, etc. that still need sorted through and organized. It’s honestly more overwhelming than I can explain…

If I were an organized, Martha Stewart type neat freak, I’m sure I’d feel like I had the courage and skills to tackle it…but then again, if I were that type of personality, I wouldn’t be quite in the predicament I am right now, would I?  I wouldn’t have collected all of the junk and crap. I would have thrown away items of no use, donated clothing we no longer needed or used, shredded old documents and papers. Prior to the move I would’ve had things organized, boxed, and labeled properly. That’s the person I WANT to be. That I aspire to become.

But I’m pretty much as far from that as one can possibly get on the “neat freak spectrum”. I’m not going to say I’m a “hoarder”, because, that is just too scary for me to even think about. I’m not like the hoarders that television shows are made of, at least not yet (you will not find any dead animal carcasses anywhere and you do not need a shovel to be able to find my floor…so that makes me feel like “hoarder” is definitely too strong of a word for me…).

I like to think of it as simply having a gift for acquiring crap and keeping it. Forever. I can’t even explain it. Let me show you…

The last time I cleaned out my bag (or very large purse), I dumped it on the table and this is a portion of the contents that spilled out: 10745109_4678314331874_1024699730_nSee what I mean? Crazy, huh? It’s all perfectly good stuff…but in my bag that I carry around daily? I mean how often does one need a remote control or canning jar lid when you’re out and about? How many times did you ever wish you had thought to throw an outlet cover, baggie of googly eyes or container of garlic powder into your bag before leaving for the mall? And I had been carrying it around for a couple of months, probably.

Now if you take a look at that, and then consider that I have an entire basement full of “stuff” that needs sorted through, you can imagine my apprehension. And my subsequent avoidance of it. I’m the Queen of “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m not proud to hold that title, trust me. I have fantasies about having the most organized home and life on the planet. I want to be able to go to a drawer, cupboard, closet, or box and know exactly what I will find in there.

I know. I NEED HELP.

Today, I walked to the basement. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked at the catastrophic heap of clutter and literally said out loud “Oh My God, I have no idea what to do with this mess.” And I turned around and walked up the stairs, closing the door on it like I had done 100 times.

This is where I believe Divine intervention came into play.

I walked directly to the computer, sat down, and on my Facebook newsfeed was a posting from a Facebook page called White House Black Shutters, with a link to their website at http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com, but what caught my eye was THIS picture:40bagsdecrapgraphic-700x700I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing. I mean, I HAD just told God that I had no idea what to do with the mess in the basement. If this wasn’t a sign, I’m not sure what it was. And I’m much too God-fearing to ignore it. So guess what? Tomorrow, Wednesday February 18, is Day 1 of my “40 Bags In 40 Days” challenge. Please click on their link and check out, in detail, how exactly this awesome decluttering challenge works. Anna Marie, the genius behind it all, has been doing this for several years now, and gives tons of great tips for the most successful decluttering outcome. She also gives ideas for organization, offers support, and provides links to other great resources within her website and facebook page.

In a nutshell, this is what I will be doing:  I will go through a portion of the basement, or a box, drawer, or closet upstairs….and declutter — DECRAPIFY — that one spot or space that I assigned myself for the day. If it’s a very busy day, I will still go through even one small box, bag, cupboard or drawer…to get rid of what I can’t or won’t use, and organize the remaining items. Even a small amount of daily decluttering is positive progress and better than nothing. And I am committing to do this throughout Lent, through April 4th. Sundays are a “free” day, in which you can take a break from it.

Do any of YOU have decluttering and decrapifying that needs done? Let’s declutter and decrapify together…I’m not too proud to admit that I could really use a support system. Do you wish you had more order and organization in your life or home? Do you feel overwhelmed or have anxiety about crap that you’ve accumulated and need to get rid of?  Woman walking across landscape of clothesIf so, PLEASE PLEASE join me. I would love to have some company on this journey.  I will keep you updated occasionally by posting some before and after pics with updates, and it would be beyond awesome to see some of YOUR progress and feedback as well. Let’s decrapify together!!

—make sure you “Follow” me on my blog (Click the blue “follow” button” here on the blog site) and “Like”  This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla Facebook page to see my updated posts.

I’m well aware that actually getting rid of the stuff and organizing is the first step, and as big of a task as it is, the bigger and harder part of the journey for me will be the maintenance that is required to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m bound and determined to live a life of calmness, organization and simplicity.

c21952d202bb77f2ee0c44063c74e77a

Cheers to a “Less is More” state of mind (and never again finding garlic powder and a remote control in my purse),

Jill ❤

I Am Who I Am

0df3124b11066fed911e7fa78b31df42

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following status on Facebook, as a result of a stretch of bad weather that brought several days with 2 hour delays and/or school closings for our school district:

10994680_10200145928486988_1688217090_nMy intent was a stab at humor, laced with the honest truth that my own kids (and the kids in the daycare) were starting to give me a run for my money (and make me want to pull my hair out, drink coffee in large quantities, eat chocolate for comfort from the chaos, and by the end of the day push me to drinking, lol). For the most part, I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends got that and had a good laugh with me, several commiserating over the fact that their kids were driving them crazy too. The next day someone asked me if I was concerned that a status like that would offend people, or hurt my daycare business. And that started me thinking…WOULD that be offensive to people? As a daycare business owner, am I putting myself at risk by a status such as this? Would it make them speculate that I don’t want their children at daycare or appear rude? After a few minutes of thought, my honest reply was “Well I would hope that it wouldn’t be offensive or hurt my business, because that’s just me being REAL. And if I can’t be real and still be respected and trusted, then I probably am not a good fit as a daycare provider for that person.” Does it make me a bad mom or daycare provider to admit that I’m human, not Mary Poppins? No, it just makes me honest.

Isn’t is exhausting to have to pretend to be something we aren’t? It’s no fun to try to have to keep up a façade that everything in our lives is perfect and lovely and beautiful every single day. I’ve been there and done that, and it just plain stinks, having to play that part and not being able to be yourself…being afraid of what others might think of you. Isn’t it more interesting and so much easier to just be real? Yes, there will always be those that judge you or point their finger at you, trying to make you look small in order to pump up their own ego. So what? Let them, I say.

I would rather share the real stuff, and allow myself and my life to have the transparency that it needs so that others can know who I AM. How else can you have honest connections with others, especially in the world as we know it, where social media is often times the only way we keep connected to friends and family? And go ahead and admit it, I know every one of you reading this has a friend (either on Facebook or actively in your life) who pretends that everything is just GREAT. The marriage is fantastic and the children are perfect angels 100% of the time and they have a garden and grow all of their own vegetables and are completely organic and work out every day and run marathons and have fabulous vacations and every selfie is flawless and they have a dream job and make a million dollars and of course they also volunteer for several charities and are on every committee at their school and church…and so on. You get the picture, don’t you?

Raise your hand if you just want to throat punch them when you see that stuff day in and day out. Go ahead, raise it up high, no one is going to know. And I’m right there with you. 

Check this out. See these yummy turtle chocolate chip cookies? I made these last night. No, not from scratch…they were the cheating kind, that you just break apart and throw in the oven. SO good though, seriously. With pecans and ooey gooey caramel, and I left them underbaked just a tad so they stayed really soft. Perfection. There was a dozen in the package.11004132_10200141090766048_864673559_n I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I was disappointed when Vincent walked in the kitchen and wanted one. I tried to convince him that he wouldn’t like them, but he tried one anyway…and then there were eleven. And by 8am today there were ZERO. Because I ate all eleven of those cookies by myself and they made me happy. How’s that for being real? Eating those cookies was the last thing that I needed to do, particularly since every time I get dressed to go somewhere I’m near tears about how I look and feel about myself right now. It’s been a long winter and this wasn’t my first date with a package of these cookies. I most definitely have a lot of work to do to get my butt back into shape. Literally. But you know what? It was cold outside and I was tired, and I wanted the damn cookies, plain and simple. I washed them down with a couple glasses of milk and then laid on the couch. It happens, friends, in the real world.

And a few days ago I posted a blog about the fact that I had a less than stellar moment as a mom, when I realized that I had pretty much NOTHING to put into my 8 year old’s lunch for school. So I popped a bag of microwave popcorn and threw it in his lunch box along with a half dehydrated apple, a type of granola bar that I knew he didn’t even like, and some almonds. I could’ve cried about it, because I really did feel like a horrible mom– but the feedback I received from that post with comments like “omg this has happened to me too” or “don’t worry, my kid won’t eat sandwiches so I just send snacks” etc. turned into a whole lot of fun reading and made me feel less horrible and more normal.

So here’s to being ourselves, flaws and all, and not being afraid to show that we’re only human.

Although I have to admit I really WOULD love to know how to take one of those flawless selfies that some of these chicks pull off….someone needs to give me the inside scoop on that one…

Cheers to (hopefully) a much more interesting read in my upcoming news feeds, friends….

Jill ❤

0266609e81a817b7f7ed9c997f34e5ca

Can we talk about laundry for just a minute?

I’m pretty good about checking pockets before doing laundry. But every once in a while, I have to admit that I slip up. You’ve got to agree, though, some of those cargo pants and shorts have ALOT of pockets. If I’m in a hurry I may miss those side pockets down near the knee that can hide all sorts of items capable of causing laundry catastrophies…

For instance just a few weeks ago, I opened the dryer door to find sticks of winterfresh gum nicely melted onto an entire load of clothes. Don’t judge me when I tell you I chose to just close that dryer door and walk away for a little while because I simply didn’t want to deal with it right at that moment….Ok, I didn’t want to EVER deal with it. I considered just taking a garbage bag into the laundry room and putting the contents of the dryer into the bag, and let the garbage man deal with it. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure it would’ve been easier to have had to go buy all new stuff rather than sit there for hours and peel that gum off of all of that laundry. It was painful. You can’t even imagine how far and wide that pack of gum could spread itself…never again.

On the flipside, sometimes there’s a sweet surprise when you open that washer lid and see nice wet green dollar bills laying against the washer tub wall…finders keepers, losers weepers…that’s what I’ve always said. Even nicer when you don’t find them till you open the dryer door and they’re laying in there with the clothes all nice and dry, curled up and just waiting for you, like a tip for doing such a great job at getting the laundry done. I know it always makes me feel better about folding that laundry and putting it away after I find that surprise tip with it…

Then there are the times you do such a good job at checking the pockets that you find things you really wish you had never known about…like that time I put my hand in the pocket of a pair of jeans of Gino’s and found several earthworms that he had been rescuing from the sidewalk after a nice hard rain. I can safely say that after that special encounter,  I really have never wanted to put my hand into another pocket of anything that that child has ever worn. I’m straight up afraid. I’d rather take my chances of another melted gum disaster over the alternative of finding some sort of creepy, crawly, slimy rescued creature in there….Lord have mercy on me.

Which may explain why I found this in the washer tonight: 10961879_10200138785788425_2072246051_nAt Gino’s request, we had dinner Friday night at the Chinese Buffet (and just so you can imagine him asking me to take him there, he pronounces it as if Jimmy Buffet had a brother named Chinese. Chinese Buffet. No matter how many times I tell him, “it’s buff-AY, with a long a sound at the end”, he still says buff-et…lol. Not important to know, but for some reason funny as heck to me…hehe) Anyway, my best guess is that Gino decided to bring home the crab claw he had been playing with after he dug the crab meat out. He asked me if he could bring it home and I said no, because it will stink. And to be honest, Gino and Vincent are stinky enough without having empty seafood carcasses laying around the house (they can be so disgusting and that’s a topic for another day…boys are so dang stinky. For real, they are….) So I’m thinking Gino thought the problem with the stinky crab claw would be solved by having it washed with the laundry… And so it was.

Don’t you just love life’s little surprises? Even something as silly as this? I do. Well, except that earthworm surprise…I did NOT love that one…

So your tip of the day: Check those pockets friends–if you dare, that is. 🙂

Cheers and happy laundering,

Jill ❤