Unfriending My Old Friend, Guilt

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.ravishly_0Contributed by Tamarah Rockwood | 07.31.15 12:00am

Ah, guilt.

Being a good, quality Protestant, I don’t even remember the first time I experienced the lightning-quick adrenaline rush of guilt. It just seems to be something that is so ingrained into my soul, that it has simply always been there. Right beside freckles, birthmarks, and eye color.

My old friend, Guilt.

I remember parts of my life when I experienced guilt, but no definitive “First Guilt” moment. There was one morning in the first week of 1st grade, in particular, when I got to experience embarassing guilt in front of my whole class.  See, I had just graduated kindergarten. I wasn’t a kid anymore. I was in charge of my own destiny. I could dress myself, tie my own shoes, and stay at school until the final bell. This was practically adulthood, and I was ready for it! So, simply put, at around 10 o’clock, while we were working on spelling worksheets, I realized that I was hungry. Not only was I hungry, but my mother had cut my bologna and cheese sandwich into triangles that day.  Because that is the very sandwich a sophisticated nearly-adult like me, at the time, would eat (that may have been the last bologna and cheese sandwich I ate, after realizing I don’t like spongy pink meat, for some reason).

So, with my newfound autonomy in life, I remember reaching back behind my chair and grabbing my square, metal lunchbox and setting it on my lap. I didn’t want to put it on the desk, because that would just be rude to everyone else who wasn’t hungry yet. I opened the lunchbox, took out my triangular, grown-up sandwich, and took one huge, ginormous bite out of the end of the delicious triangle.

Even now, I can remember how wonderful that sandwich tasted. And me. Eating it. In the middle of class.

Life was glorious.

Until the teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, turned and looked at me in astonishment, and said in a sharp and rather effective tone, “TAMMY! (they called me Tammy then) PUT AWAY THAT SANDWICH AND DO YOUR SPELLING!”

Suddenly, in that moment, I realized that it was not lunch time. Lunch time was after the second bell. And it was, indeed, only ten o’clock.

And every eye at my small, first grade table was on me.  Some with a look of envy, jealous that I had been able to eat half my sandwich before them. Some with shock, that I had broken the agenda of the system. And the rest were confused with what was taking place at all.

I guiltily put my not-so-grown-up-anymore sandwich back into my lunchbox, and placed my lunchbox back into my backpack behind me. And quietly finished my spelling worksheet with everyone else.

Somehow, these feelings of guilt have just lingered alongside me my whole life.

I don’t want them. I suppose they are just an old friend at this point.

Right now, I am 36 years old with five kids, a stallion of a husband, and a home to call our own.

And I completely suck at cleaning.

I have to think it is like running: people tell me there is some endorphin rush when they run. That their mind is just aflutter with ideas while they jog their lives away at 5 a.m. every morning, and they feel better and more enthusiastic about life.

That has simply never happened for me. I have never felt the endorphin rush while jogging, and my mind is instead, constantly thinking, “My legs hurt. My knees hurt. My chest hurts. I can’t breathe. And I am going to die.”

It is pretty much the exact same experience with cleaning:

“My arms hurt. I could be doing something else right now. I know if I finish this room, there are just 4 more rooms I have to finish after this. Who put cheerios in the toilet? Why are they surgically fused to the rim of the bowl? Why is there Jell-O in the windowsill — when was the last time I even bought Jell-O? This sucks. I am going to die.”

Nevertheless, I try to keep a rather tidy house. It is never going to be a Better Homes and Gardens house. I do not have that aspiration for myself at all. But it will be tidy.



And then I look around and realize that tidy may cut it for us, but it is not guest-worthy clean. There are coffee stains on the kitchen floor. Grout that is hardly white anymore. And not in the off-white-wedding-dress, called-eggshell way. The grout is egg yolk.  Old macaroni is cemented underneath the stove burners, and the front room is littered with papers, bags, blankets, clothes, shoes, and a cup from McDonald’s.

Awesome. I’ll just get to that.

Now, granted, the kids and my stallion husband are very helpful. But I am a SAHM, and I feel like I am “supposed to” have all this taken care of. And I don’t.

Hello, old friend Guilt.

“You have had all day to clean this room! What have you been doing, reading Reddit? What kind of a mother are you being to your children?” I shake my head.

Fortunately for me, I don’t like my old friend Guilt very much. We are not BFFs. She smells funny, and I don’t appreciate her company.

So I do what every woman in her right mind would do at the last minute, two days before guests are expected to arrive:

I call the cleaners.

It was a young husband-and-wife team, and they were friendly and quick. They took care of surfaces and toilets, and they vacuumed all the potato chips off the stairs that I just had not gotten around to doing for the past . . . few weeks.

They were happy to help, and they left with a smile after shaking my hand and taking my check.

What I was left with was a decently clean home.

And my old friend Guilt? No where to be seen. Gone, with the Cheerios.

Ladies, life is hard enough already. I bought a pair of boat shoes on Amazon last month that still aren’t broken in, and they are tearing up my ankles like you would not believe. That is a problem I will have to work out myself.

But cleaning? I do not need my old friend Guilt to help me with that. No, I can find friendly souls in the world to help me with cleaning. Then we can devote ourselves to worry about what to make our guests for dinner . . .


Working Out Isn’t . . . Working Out

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.



There’s no wrong way to be a woman.


I Am A Total Dork With My Pens…But Hear Me Out.

recite-1g7csbpYeah. That would be something Paul Simon would say.


I am not Paul Simon. And I believe my pens are rock stars.


I am a total dork.

But hear me out.

It all started with a dipping pen Ben bought me many, many years ago. It is unparalleled in beauty, and its elegance is only equal to mythical creatures.

Then he bought me two fountain pens which I have had the luxury of using for grocery lists, poetry, script writing, notes, ideas and simply gazing upon.

At this point in my life, I have accumulated quite a few pens…I didn’t realize how many until the thought crossed my mind that I need an organizer to safely store my pens and inks.

The day I realized I had moved beyond “a few pens to write with” to “I have a collection of pens” was a blue ribbon day.  I was so excited! I was a collector!  I don’t think I have ever been a collector of anything! That takes so much time, and effort, and you have to keep track of stuff…and that’s work, man.

Ben corrected me and said I “was not a collector.”

Naturally, I responded that I  “was too.”

He said, “No. You are not a collector.  A collector does not use her collection. She sets them on a display and looks at them. You are not collecting pens, you have acquired many pens, and you appreciate pens. But you are using them all. You are not collecting them.”

To which…I conceded. For, verily, I love using my pens. They are so much fun.


And just to make this terribly nerdy, I brought my pens with me to our beach day just so I could take a picture of them on driftwood.

It is so geeky, I am almost embarrassed…

But not enough to not go through with it!

Behold! My pens!


This is the whole collection, in ranking order.11143563_10207175976819806_6989348215641426995_o


Oh, and this is me laying on the beach. 11226209_10207175978059837_9184215437345588106_o

Glamour shot.


This is my super elite dipping pen, of which an equal cannot be found.11823111_10207176673597225_3445440907188340821_o

These are my lovely twin glass dipping pens. They are a little tricky to use, because the ink sticks to the outside of the grooves on the glass nib, and you have to find the edge…and so far I keep finding ways to put ink splotches on paper. But I love them so.11754769_10207176673557224_1894845566868645279_o

These are my 3  Waterman fountain pens, which get used the most frequently.11807706_10207175976499798_8248817004421825514_o

This is my Pilot Prera Demonstrator Fountain Pen, name engraved.

Because, it is BOSS. 



These are my lower quality pens. One is a Conklin Glider, and the other is a Bic.  Obviously the Bic is not a fountain pen, but I am going to use it to show you sticky ink, vs. quality ink.11717588_10207175976619801_790544593540687777_o-1

These are all of the pens and the names of the nibs/pens.

The fountain pens are easily the best to use on day to day basis’.  They are uncomplicated to use, and they don’t leak.

The dipping pen is the most fun to use when writing poetry, but I generally stick to the C-4, or maybe the C-3 nib, because it is a reasonable size for writing.

The glass pens I am still working on. Clearly.

And I let the kids use the Bic pen.11731866_10207176652636701_2555801396633246221_oThose are my pens, so far!

After I was done being nerdy, we had lunch. W00t!11802671_10207175976699803_7172322203591821125_o-111794403_10207175978219841_6174623059467895470_o

In Case Seattle Sinks Into The Ocean: A Bucket List

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.ravishly_0


There’s no wrong way to be a woman.



In Case Seattle Sinks Into The Ocean: A Bucket List

Seattle has a long history of shaking the world’s foundations.

Movers and shakers in business like Microsoft and Costco, as well as the keeper of our souls, Starbucks, all claim the Washington port town as their hometown. Artists and accomplished actors such as Gary Larson (Far Side) and James Doohan (Star Trek TOS: Scotty) have called Seattle home.

Besides other notables, such as the infamous Seahawks and the not-so-infamous Mariners (“the who?” we know.), the Sound is also hemp-jam-packed with authors, such as Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon), Alex Haley (Roots) and David Guterson (Snow Falling on Cedars) and . . . musicians. Lots of them.

Cobain. Foo Fighters. Vedder. Ann and Nancy Wilson began Heart in Bellevue. Bikini Kill. Hendrix. Hammerbox. Soundgarden.


Unfortunately, we who live near the amazing, inspiring Sound have received devastating news:

Kathryn Schulz from The New Yorker has warned the entire West Coast of an eminent natural disaster. Apparently, the Western coastline has this crazy fault line that has stretch marks called the “Cascadia subduction zone.”

And it is in these subduction zones which we are all going to die.

I mean, we hear horror stories about nature all the time. Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes . . . but we will survive. All we need is an emergency box in the garage, some bottles of water and a ham radio. Right?

“By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”




So, with all this incredibly uplifting news about our sure and imminent deaths on the headlines, we have to make some hard decisions. About life. About our fate on the earth. Oh sure, we could move to the Midwest, away from this subduction-zone madness, but then we’d have to figure out how to survive under a mattress stuck in the hallway when the tornadoes hit.

No, there really is only one thing for the brave, fearless, visionary people on the West Coast to do:

Make a bucket list.

1. Finally take a trip up the Space Needle, without guests visiting from out of town.

2. Sell all your Microsoft stock.

3. Figure out how to get your jasmine-green Subaru Forester to float and become an innovation in boat-car hybrid technology.

4. Buy out every pot distillery before they are destroyed and you’re stuck with Idaho pot (please).

5. Beg/Bribe the entire NFL to let the Seahawks win the Super Bowl before they don’t have a Safeco Field to play on anymore.

6. Finally find that troll under the bridge and take one last selfie with it.

7. Are you finally going to go on that Ferris wheel by Pike’s Place? Nah. Still think it’s a sellout.

8. Go camping in the rainforests, one last time.

9. One last pub-hop on Capitol Hill.

10. No, really, y’all need to learn how to cook withVelveeta and white bread and move yo pasty butts and homebrewing get-ups out to the Midwest. Seriously. You’re screwed on the coast.

“I Deleted My Facebook Account…!” And Other Stupid Things I’ve Read Today


“The belief that one’s social group is superior to another group.”


I think that pretty much sums it up. (thanks urbandictionary!)

Elitism is when you believe your group is socially better than another group. Elitism is saying, “Oh, I don’t use Facebook, because I am not a commoner. Muahaha.” *pinky finger* I kind of love Elitism, just because it is such a ridiculous idea…and I kind of love ridiculous ideas, because they make me laugh.

So. This morning I was visiting an online mother’s group I frequent, and I had the pleasure of reading an expose` on why some lady quit Facebook.

Not only did she quit Facebook, but she posted it onto this online forum to tell other people about it. Which…she could have just done on facebook. If she hadn’t deactivated her account. On Facebook.

Here’s the thing: No one cares if you quit facebook. You might care, but I don’t care. For the most part, whether or not someone is on facebook is only relevant to that person…and maybe some people they are close friends with who will think, “Why isn’t Becka on facebook anymore? Did she block me? Oh, she quit facebook. Well, that sounds like something Becka would do.”

Pretty much end of story after that. The world will keep spinning, there will continue to be cat gifs shared, and any of us on Facebook…will just continue doing Facebooky things.


Moral Disclaimer: Facebook isn’t for everyone. I have friends who are on it all the time, I have friends who just have an account but are never on. I text them to let them know if I have pictures of the kids up, but otherwise it is their business how involved they feel comfortable being on Facebook. I personally like it, because it is so much easier posting pictures and updates on Facebook than emailing it out to a bunch of people; especially when there are sensitive friends who don’t want their email to be looped into a huge group mail. Facebook keeps things anonymous for those who prefer anonymity, and transparency for those who are okay with transparency. Everyone has their own limits, and it is important to respect those limits.

Ask your doctor if Facebook is right for you.


As I was saying…

What I think is stupid is having puerile “OMG I QUIT FACEBOOK YOU GUYS!” posts. Online. In forums. That are just like Facebook. (but whatever)

Oh No. What are we going to do.

What is hilarious to me are the reasons why people quit Facebook.  How about we go through these reasons together?

Here we go!

1) You have more time for so much other stuff!

Like WHAT?? Laundry?? Cleaning?? Watching the grass grow??

Unless you are working on a doctoral thesis and need to seriously hunker down to get it finished, or if you are in the middle of childbirth, or if you are trapped in a volcano…what other stuff do you now have time for, that the Facebook app was getting in the way?

The reality is, it is just another app on your phone. You could always, oh I don’t know, have self-discipline and just not check Facebook every two minutes.  You could do that. Instead of freaking out and deleting everything because you can’t balance having an app on your phone and making sandwiches, all in the same day.

You could always do that.


2) You suck as a friend:

“I deactivated mine last night! I’m just so tired of being constantly connected to people I only kind of like.

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say no one noticed that you quit. Except that now they have 60% fewer snarky remarks on their photos, for some reason.

Since you have so much time on your hands now, maybe you can devote it to reading a book on Kindness and Empathy. Because liking people is awesome, even people you kind of know. You should try it.


3) You are perfectly happy in your little bubble. Consisting of: You.

I can’t even make this up. I found this on Elite Daily.com

“The vast majority of my Facebook friends are not actual friends, but people who I’ll never see again (or at least hope to never see again). Mostly, they are acquaintances of real friends, and nothing against them, I just don’t care to see what they’re doing.

My feelings culminated one day as I was scrolling my newsfeed for any semblance of intelligence, when a rather long and emotionally charged post punched me in the gut. The poster was a woman — one whom I never met.  Maybe I met her once; I was drunk and can’t remember…”

This guy is such a winner, I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t like Facebook.

Oh yeah, maybe it is because he is the last intelligent person on the face of the earth. Thank goodness for him! And his online posts about quitting Facebook! That we can post onto Facebook!

He concluded his online post about how much he hates Facebook with this nugget of wisdom:

“The next time you’re about to put something on Facebook, don’t.”



4) The concept of “community” and “social awareness” is a new concept to you

Jeannie Kim, from Health.com, had these personal revelations to share with us after she quit Facebook:

Yes, I missed a bunch of birthdays, and yes, I would have missed the news of a former coworker’s engagement if another friend hadn’t seen the post and clued me in (thanks, Camille!). But to my surprise, even from day 1 of my fast, I didn’t feel like I was truly missing out on anything… 

What I wasn’t getting: constant updates about the awesome vacations people were taking (making me feel like a boring homebody), or the amazing educational activities they’d planned for their kids (making me feel like a slacker mom), or the IMPORTANT POLITICAL THING WE SHOULD ALL TAKE ACTION ON NOW that inevitably devolved into a nasty name-calling flame war (making me feel tired). I didn’t miss any of that at all.”


This is some hardcore psychology I’m gonna drop on you, Jeannie:

It is a mature and balanced person who can be happy for your friend’s successes, find joy in other’s accomplishments, and are interested in social/enviro/political awareness campaigns in order to make the world a better place, together.

What is not a mature and balanced perspective is seeing your friends’ accomplishments and only being about to think about yourself.

Seeing the primal, basic joy that a parent has when they watch their kids participate in something great, and foolishly only being able to think of yourself.

Or, reading a call-to-arms to promote awareness in the world in order to help people around us, and only thinking about what a burden it is for you to have to read the headline.

Listen, I’ll post on Facebook some articles I have read about what it means to be a decent human being…..OH, but you’re not there. That’s a shame.

5) You think you don’t matter to people

This is the worst reason, and it is a BIG FAT LIE. Sure, maybe if you have 975 friends, 920 of them don’t care what your new shoes look like. I think that is a reasonable claim.

However, if you believe that what you do doesn’t matter, then you are believing the worst lie in the history of mankind. Men’s Journal had this huge long list of reasons why everyone should quit facebook, along with points like “it ruins your health and you are going to die omg!” (not joking…it’s on there). But they also had this terrible, horrible, no-good comment:

“Nothing You Post Actually Matters
Very few people care what you’re doing, whom you’re with, where you’re eating, or what you just bought, and the people who do were probably right next to you when you did it. “


I care about my friends on Facebook, and I like to see who they’re with, what they’re eating, what they just bought and other such things that are important to them.  Because I like them, and that’s what friends do. We are interested in what happens in our lives, and we are interested in each other’s ideas, and we genuinely want to see our friends happy, well fed and surrounded by people who love them, doing things that makes them happy.

Most of my best friends don’t live near me, and I am always excited to see what their kids are doing, pictures their daughters draw for them, flowers their sons bring to them while playing in the backyard, little kids in floaties at the pool, friends on dates with their husbands, vacation pictures, call-to-arms for prayer….

We are all in this together.

That is the point of Facebook. It is to allow us to be together, when we are physically too far apart.

So, go Like someone’s page today. Because they matter, and you matter 🙂 Don’t be a quitter…be a friend.

Summer Vacation: You’ve Made It Halfway. Now What?

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.




There’s no wrong way to be a woman.





Contributed by Tamarah Rockwood | 07.24.15 2:00am

Now what, hot shot?

I have made it all the way to the middle of summer in my house.

Right now, I have a house full of wiggly kids, a completed “summer bucket list” on the calendar, and very few new ideas on how to have fun for the rest of the summer. Hell, I am out of ideas on what to make for lunches at this point. And I am starting to get pretty wiggly myself.

We have officially entered into a new season. We are no longer in the season of structure and order, as we had during school season. We are no longer in the season of summer freedom.

This is the season of Summer Whining.

The dazzle of summer isn’t as dazzling as it originally seemed in June, back when the kids chucked their empty backpacks into the garage with abandoned mirth. Now it’s just hot.

Summer is halfway through, and the days of finding the elixir of life (amidst the radiation) in every sunbeam are over.  The kids started the summer by waking up at the crack of dawn to run outside and scream their little lungs out while turning the sprinklers on and raiding the orange Creamsicle stash, well before you were even remotely close to the coffee pot.  No, now they stumble out of bed at the crack of dawn in order to be the first to play Minecraft. Instead of raiding the orange Creamsicle stash, they have a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios next to them. Not the whole grain kind, either. Their hands are slow and robotic as they move from task to task: cereal bowl, mouth, find and kill the Ender Dragon. Repeat.

What is not hypnotic is the whining when they discover, with hysterical indignation, that there are more of them than there are computers. The concept of “sharing” has escaped their memories. Just as the concept of keeping the Cheerios in the bowl, rather than in trails leading around the house, has, too.

We are at peak whine.

Peak whine begins at sunup, and refuses to cease until sundown.

Oh, sure, I have thought of ways to combat peak whine. Unfortunately, I have run out of sprinkler days, ice cream days, park days, clean-the-house days, play outside days and “find the magic of summer” days.

Now I am stuck with “Why are we so bored? Oh my God, Mom, she just BREATHED ON ME” days.

I have gone through as many “enjoy every moment” and “childhood summer in the ’70s” lists as I can find. I played outside with the kids until it was dark, we all drank out of the garden hose, and we’ve already walked barefoot outside until our feet were sore.

I have planned day trips to a lake, birthday parties, fireworks shows, fishing, and hiking.

Dammit, we have done it all, and there is still a month and a half left of summer to go.

At this point, even I am tired of orange Creamsicles. What I wouldn’t give for something warm right now. Like brownies.

Except all I have left in my pantry is a box of gluten-free brownie mix someone gave me six months ago, and I didn’t want to eat it then, either.

My brain seems to have stopped functioning at its full capacity, and I am simply going through the motions of loading the car and unloading the car at this point. Kids? Check. Purse? Check. Shoes? Check. Towels? Purely optional. Sunblock? Check.  Except this time, when you were getting the kids to find all their shoes (by themselves, this time) and out the door to go to the pool before lunch, you mistook your evening eye cream for sunblock in the bathroom basket you throw all your bottles into. On the plus side, you and the kids look absolutely radiant. Sunburned, but radiant.

By now, I know the baristas by name due to the number of frappuccinos I have added to my diet. I have also begun to use choice curse words due to the amount of brain freezes I give myself.

In a last ditch effort to stop bitching at inanimate objects while nursing my poor brain, I finally find that summer book reading list that I am totally going to finish this year! Small victories!

Except, I find the list underneath my workout clothes that I apparently haven’t touched in . . . a while. But honestly, I am so happy with my plus-sized bikini, I kind of lost my (already weak) incentive to work off the baby weight. Is it still baby weight if she is in preschool?

I don’t know. You know what I do know? The concept of limited screen time is stupid, and Firefly marathons can save the summer whining streak. At least until they ask me why the second season isn’t on Netflix.

Dreams Parents Have: Jelly Refilling Kiosks


Last night I dreamt that there was a jelly refilling kiosk outside of the mall.

You just show up and hand them your old gross bottles of jelly that has permanent jelly goo stuck on the outside, and they hand you a new, fresh, clean and filled jar of jelly.


Dude, I would use that sucker all the time.  Just stick a Starbucks on the corner and a little bakery for crumpets, and you could make millions of dollars on this.


3 Things That Make Parenting Harder

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.ravishly_0There’s no wrong way to be a woman.