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I am tired of yelling at my kids.

I am tired of cleaning the clutter, only for it to reappear minutes later.

I am tired of eating my dinner in front of a computer.

I am tired of this stupid swishing sound in my ears.

I am tired of my list of things to do, which never get done, partly because I am so tired.

I am tired of being tired. So tired. All the time.

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Really, really cold. Below zero cold. It has been for two weeks — except for a teasing two days of springlike 40s, which only made me feel worse.

I know I’m a Minnesotan. I’m supposed to be hearty. But it’s starting to get to me. I’m irritable with Ed, with the kids, with my mom. I don’t feel like doing anything except pulling the covers over my head and sleeping until it warms up.

When I left work last night, my nostrils instantly stuck together, and the wind felt like a thousand stick pins were being hurled at my face. Our less-than-two-year-old car groaned like me in labor when I started it. The tires crunched over icy patches, and the joints of the car creaked in the silent air. Freezing cold air makes everything sound louder, even my internal screaming, which is getting closer to becoming external with every frigid day.

I’m sapped of creativity, energy, motivation. I feel horrible because it’s Ed’s birthday (happy birthday, hot stuff!) and I haven’t done anything to make it special. But I swear I’m gonna suck it up and get my shit together Saturday, which is when we’re celebrating.

The only thing that is going to get me through the next 20-some days is the fact that I just booked a plane ticket to see a dear friend in San Diego. I need to feel the sun on my skin and breathe in air that doesn’t make my nose bleed. And spend some time with my girls — the ones who know me so well I never have to apologize for being me.

Even if that me is a cranky, exhausted, incoherent mess.

potty1.jpg

See how content and happy she looks? It’s all an illusion.

This potty-training experience has been like having a thousand tiny stick-pins stuck into the back of my arms, one by one. For 18 months.

People are always asking for my two cents on getting their kid to crap on the toilet. My advice? If you can afford it, outsource it.

Clearly I have no idea what I’m doing in this area. And it’s not from lack of research. I have spent dozens of hours surfing parenting sites and have read several books on the subject. All I found is that there’s a lot of useless advice out there.

Both Myles and Clare wore diapers until just before their fourth birthdays. Both were maddeningly content to walk around in saggy pullups and let us scrape the toxic paste off their butts at least once a day.

By some miracle, Clare seems to have caught on over the past few weeks. I’m not even sure if it’s anything we said or did. I’m thinking she would have just done it on her own, right about now.

Maybe with number three, I’ll just skip the pain and agony, throw a potty in front of Elmo and hope for the best.

I’m a strong, opinionated woman. I work. I like my career. I don’t pin my identity on my husband or children.

I don’t say it very often, but I’m a feminist. I’m not the only one who doesn’t say it. It’s like it’s a dirty word.

Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t think for themselves, earn for themselves or have a strong identity? Apparently, not many people.¬† Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the amount of nutjobs out there ready to pounce on any utterance of the word feminism is startling.

What are these people so afraid of? Confident women having good sex? My guess is, they can’t bring it, so they need women who won’t tell them they suck in bed.