Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

We’ve all heard that great advice to ‘just be yourself’. Well, I have just one response to that. Phooey! Balderdash! Bull Puckies!  Okay, so that’s three responses, but sometimes it’s just really bad advice to be yourself ‘out loud’. Now, I’m not talking about being a whole fakey-fake ‘look at my great life and clean house and skinny thighs on Facebook’ kind of not being yourself. That’s just lame. If I’ve learned one thing through my MANY trials and errors in life is that’s pretty much guaranteed impossible to truly be happy if you’re not being authentically you. However…that doesn’t mean ALL of you needs to get out ALL the time. Face it, there’s only so much uniqueness the general population can take in one dose before people start feeling uncomfortable. Now, sometimes the goal is to make people uncomfortable, but sometimes you just have to put that crazy back in the box a little.

Why am I writing about this? Oh, no reason (whistles innocently)…okay, well actually, to stay on point with my theme of balancing my CFHM (Consulting From Home Mommy) life, with parenting, with co-op preschool (i.e. CHURCH preschool) with a new au pair and client interactions it has been necessary on every level to dust off those good ol’ filters and even pass some around to my beloved tribe.

“Whatever you do, DON’T be yourself!” – This is something I said verbatim to my husband Dreamy upon the arrival of our new au pair. Now, those of you who know us know that he is a perfectly wonderful person and much nicer and more patient than me. And although to know him is to love him, there are a few little quirks that take a little longer to love – or that may be downright alarming until you do know him. This comment was in direct reference to not watching ‘THAT’ scene from Deliverance over and over (and over) while laughing quietly to himself and reciting the dialogue. Or giggling at bodily functions like an eight-year-old boy. And just to show that I’m not picking only on Dreamy, I also promised to leave a little of the REAL me under wraps until at least the jet lag cleared and refraining from using potty language when I step on legos (constantly), or losing my patience when the kids defy me (constantly) or expecting people to clean up after me but being oblivious to the fact that I do this (constantly). So far, Dreamy has done very well.

Hanging out with Bisky has really been mirroring for me the value of filters. She has pretty much since she could talk made no secret of who she likes and who she doesn’t. “I don’t like Gabi, Mommy.” “Please don’t say that when she’s standing RIGHT HERE sweetie.” The problem is Bisky’s a little fickle and can go from loving to not liking a person rapidly multiple times within moments.

I can’t come down too hard on her, because I do this too and I also learned (through being fired) that it is not well tolerated to do it in the workplace. To your boss. Even if he deserves it.

It’s also not really a good idea to be yourself in Church pre-school. Not that I’m a bad person, but I’m old and crabby and think things are funny that I’ve noticed the other moms don’t think is so funny. Like today, when we were painting with little cotton puffs dipped in paint and I told one of the little boys he had to keep dipping his balls to make sure they were good and red and then started snorting, I couldn’t help noticing nobody shared my amusement (Dreamy would have, guaranteed). Or when leading the kids to wash their hands after finger painting to put their hands in the air….’like you just don’t care’…

I’m glad my kids are themselves, even though with two thirds of them that apparently is going to be a little extra in the personality department. I got a text from another preschool mom that when the kids were asking the fireman who was visiting the class questions, Bisky put up her hand and then launched into a story. She thought it was funny. That’s just Bisky. I was more concerned with the subject of the story but I haven’t got an answer back yet. I think for Ben and Grace we all just have to be in acceptance that they are not your average kids and teach them resiliency rather than assimilation. Aiden (whom I can no longer call Adam due to the unwitting treachery of my ex who named his baby Adam, but who we are now calling Pee-Wa-Wa for a reason that is longer than it is interesting) may turn out to be a little more mainstream, but even he is showing a tendency to try to play jokes and trick me so I think he’ll end up having a quirky sense of humor too.

But all of us, turned up full throttle is admittedly a bit much. We’re not for everyone, I often joke, but it’s true. I get it, I’m okay with it, but sometimes you need to not be all the way yourself….like when your new au pair arrives to save you from your children. Then it’s better to let that sh*t out SLOWLY.

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