Motherhood Myth #618: You Won’t Be Needing Your Young and Hot Wardrobe Anymore

all my outfits
Nearing the Danger Zone to pop out my first child, my nesting included prepping clothes for the pending child soon to take over my life for the next many years. I washed, prepped, folded (ha!), and organized all the tiny little articles of clothing for Humnoy. Nesting is the phenomenon of pregnancy where your body jolts you into severe prep mode. Not just for the baby but for myself too. All my life I noted how pregnancy forever changes your body so you know what I did? Crying whilst I got rid of all my tiny clothing as a 24-year-old mother-to-be fresh out of college because I’m gonna be forever pregnant, right?

Humnoy is born and I’m a mother. A tired and exclusively breastfeeding mother. Not anyone– no one told me the toll breastfeeding would take on me. Actually, it’s because I did not have anyone in my life that told me about breastfeeding. As an American-born, Laotian, I saw zero breastfeeding in my community. Sadly, the refugee generation was subjected to the medical model of parenting and we all know that’s not very child-friendly. So, essentially nobody told me nothing about nothing. Everything I learned, I did by instinct and the Interwebs. This particular group of nobodies definitely did not tell me about the physical toll breastfeeding takes on your body.

Just the other day, I was coming home from work and GH pointed out something about my body that not only embarrassed me but made me angry all over again. Well, not my actual body but how my body does not fit my clothing well: my work pants were so ill-fitting that it took my husband, The Man Who Surface Cleans And Calls It Good, to notice. I no longer could fill out my work pants that I’ve had since college, which is also the last time I went clothes shopping. I eat like a caveman and have been breastfeeding straight through for the last three years. It’s gotta be that, right? Do I have tapeworm?

Anyway, my point is this: Don’t throw out all your clothing and budget some money to buy brand new clothing so you don’t look like you are wearing your husband’s pants. Also, breastfeeding does fickle shit to your boobs so plan to buy tops and good nursing bras from said budget. Plus side, I got to go shopping for <emmyself in many, many years. I don’t even know what’s hip or hot anymore but I tried my best and got to finally have some flattering clothing for once. #Breastfeedingfriendly, of course.

*stay tuned for all the pants that I could fill out in tomorrow’s post* Go to the blog sidebar and click ‘FOLLOW’ so the blog is sent straight to your inbox 💋 breastfeeding extreme weight loss

Are skinny jeans still hip to the hop? What about ones with faux zipper pockets?

Back-to-Back-to-Not-Back Pregnancies

23 months apart siblings.jpg According to a fancy website, my date of conception was anywhere between June 16-24th and second time around was May 11 to May 19 and … in 2012 when I was the mother to just the first conception baby. Yesterday, Lanoy the Second Conception turned 14 months old and I remembered that she is the same exact age as her older brother when we got surprise pregnant (again). Humnoy was just closing in on his 14th month of life when Bébé #2 was conceived. Whoops. We were in the middle of moving to the other side of the Cascades to Seattle from Spokane so clearly were pretty ahem excited for all this change. I mean, we wanted change and we sure got it. She was born February 5th, 2014 in a place where we had only been for less than two years.

Life has been much easier now that La has been a wee more independent with my working. Humnoy and Lanoy are more engaging with each other. For us, ‘engaging’ ranges anywhere from sharing snacks to tolerating each other long enough so I can go poop. Given the past dozen months of fun sibling love and reliving all the best newly-toddler moments, I’m still not trying to repeat no back-to-back pregnancy again. Hell no. It was so hard. It is worth it but so. damn. hard. So, for sake of known patterns of fertility I’m congratulating myself for not getting pregnant again at this time. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Happy Sunday. Oh, and happy belated monthday, Lanoy.

Are you able to pinpoint when you conceived?

Pii Mai Lao, No Twitter Lao

laotian meme

It’s that time again. I get drunk and I want to wipe my existence off social media again but good news, I’m not drunk (why not, right?) but do I want to wipe my face off of social media again? I’m back on Instagram but still am very uninspired from that so I’m still figuring that out. Still no Facebook because fuck Facebook. Then there’s Twitter. Oh, Twitter. Now that IG is on my shitlist, Twitter is my favorite form of #socmed because I learn a lot and I laugh even more. There are so many clever, hilarious, and very smart people #onthere from (literally) all walks of life. I’m not joking, look at my list of followings and you’ll see a variety of parents, activists, and more cool Lao people I did not know existed. It has ignited the activism bone that I always had but never knew how to express. Seriously, Twitter is awesome.

It is so awesome that I want to be a better twit …. terer. Sometimes I really think it’s great to walk away from something you love so you can step back and love it even more. Now that April is here, I have that excuse more now. April is the month of Pii Mai Lao (Lao New YearApril 13ish-15ish), which is arguably the biggest celebration of the year for Laotians, and I guess this would be the exact equivalent of “out with the old, in with the new” sentiment. Water is a huge symbol in celebrating Pii Mai so, for the month of April, I’m dousing the shit out of my twitter to take a hiatus from my favorite platform.

That’s where I feel guilty: the Lao online community is already so limited that I feel like I am removing another unknown perspective. I’m quite possibly many people’s only source to a Lao-American perspective in modern parenting, interracial marriage, refugee experiences, public education, and anything else you didn’t know Lao Americans were a part of. As sad as I am to leave this month, I know you’ll be in good hands. To follow the Lao Twitter experience while I’m gone, please check out @thaoworra‘s Lao Voices and Nicky Chaleunphone‘s Lao Community for fellow Laotians online.

If you want a visual reminder then my Instagram can showcase the Lao American experience in a few filters. If you need more details with lots of frilly word vomit, my blog has that tiny little unknown Lao voice so you won’t ever have to say, “No, I don’t know a Lao girl who writes about motherhood, marriage, and the world around her. Never. Nope.” because you’s a liar since I’m still here.

Am I the only Lao person you ‘know?’ Online or otherwise?

Follow my now vacant twitter hereFollow my nearly-discarded Instagram hereFollow my neglected blog on the sidebar

If You Love Your Friends/Family, You Need Social Media Or At Least That’s What I Tell Myself

social media for friends and family.jpg

Pic from http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/science-you-and-social-media/

As much as I loathe The Man and the stranglehold of social media, I seemed to have forgotten about the real people, who I care about and know. I actually do have real-life friends, believe it or not. Believe it because I’m a good decent one, at that. Well, that was until I decided to just vanish off of personal social media and dive into an online alter ego: Theek. Just one word. Like Madonna or {Symbol}.

I deleted my personal Facebook in spring 2012 and then just a couple months ago, my personal- turned semi-personal/blog’s Instagram with over 1100 followers. How many of those followers had ever met my family? Not including creeping stalkin ass stalkers, I’d say just a handful of real-life friends and family having to compete with 1085 other online users as their only chance to get to see their nephew, niece, cousin, or best friend. Poor Far Away Aunty got muffled by the Other Mommy Blogger.

You would hear shit like “Well, if you’re truly close then the phone works both ways” or “We spend too much time on our phone than real life.” To that I say, “No fucking duh, that’s the only way!” I don’t know if you’ve noticed but my schedule isn’t wide open like it would be negative two kids and balls deep in student loans. Unfortunately for my IRL friends, I have been quite nomadic since 2008 through college, both pregnancies, and many jobs so no, I can’t just “meet up with them.” I need social media for that. I at least convinced myself of the best one.

Not Facebook Facebook requires your mom’s birth city and dog’s social security number so that’s still a big fat nope. Ok. I lied but I know you gotta get past the CIA breach to register.

Not Twitter I would probably die the day my mother discovers twitter. She already knows “Fatebook” so I’m thinking in a couple years, she might say the word “tweet” in its context.

Not Google+ No one’s (still) on Google Plus. Nobody.

Instagram Ahh, my go-to app to quickly share a single photo and you can find out all about it in the capture and caption.

- Nice that you can choose any (available) username you want so go ‘head and choose ‘BigBooty69xxx’ I checked; it’s available.
– Also nice that you can quickly make your entire account private.
– It’s becoming more popular meaning it’s accessible to more users i.e., more far away family and friends.

So, what did I decide to do? I made a super secret Instagram account for our private lives: silly milestones, non-epic adventures, simple daily things that make up our life. Our life does include the people who have been physically a part of it therefore respect that part of intimate details. So super secret that it’s for the select few that know Humnoy’s household nickname. Yes, the kid’s got a Lao name, a Lao nickname, and a household nickname. I think this is a prime example of how social media can be used for good, not evil.

For family/friends, please let me know your username so I can add you to the private family account.

Dear awesome readers, please follow my blog IG: @LaotianCommotion

Is your Instagram for both IRL friends/family and online friends?

Perks Of Being An Annoying Sick Person

parenting while sick.jpg

I knew I caught the kids’ cold virus when a stream of ninja mucus would show up on my lip with no warning. My nose was running so much that I could not blow my nose fast enough so it would just keep coming out. So, enter Phase: Tissue Plugger-Uppers just to go ’bout my domestic duties. My day including two young kids under the age of three and a husband, who loves my “sick” attire of days-stretched yoga pants with little else due to my high body temp. Parenting while sick can buzz all the way off.

Both GH and I got sick right when Humnoy was feeling better. Seriously though, the kid was sick like 1.25 days and I swear his energy level got a massive reboot since then. How in the f— anyway, Lanoy is the saddest little sickie: marbled snot bubbles, red, hound dog eyes, and little to no solids appetite. Week-long illness does not mean there isn’t a positive spin on things. I had to make the best of one of the shittiest situations experienced in parenting so here are a few benefits of being sick while caring for sick others:

In Sickness and In Health “No, babe, I really have a headache this time” just is more believable when your congestion has moved to your head and apparently to my crotch. “Til death so us part” isn’t the same as “through dry, red nostrils from abrasive wiping”.

Maybe She’s Born With It I don’t know about you but I could never quite cover up my look of death with makeup so I don’t even bother. I mean, if I’m going to do this illness act justice, go big or ho home, right? I let it all hang out so to make it a bit easier for others to deduce I’m sick and why I look like shit.

Sick Person of Walmart Before you judge my Christmas fleece, please see up at my Look of Death. I’m sick so you can fuck all the way off, Judgey McJudgerson. I’m gonna wear these same pair of pajamas for the rest of the week too.

Ill Introvert Since parenting, I have not been much of a people person like my dress-over-the-head party girl days. Sickness is yet another introverted way out of social engagements. The sick hermit inside you smiles when your contagious presence part crowds upon crowds. Sickness gives introverts everywhere a huge congested sigh of relief.

The Television Cure I would feel a little guilty that the tv has been on a lot more than usual but if it means I get to rest a bit then Disney Junior show marathon is just what the doctor ordered. Illness and near-death brings down the parent shame down to penance levels though.

Up The Fluids Any excuse to hop in a hot shower multiple times a day is just the biggest perk around, amirite? Steam helps relieve congestion by breaking up the mucus so this was the only time we will justify a high water bill.

Comfort Food Measures OMG, GH brought home Panda Express for dinner one night and made me almost reconsider my sinus headache. There is a lot of comfort in eating artery-clogging food. When you’re mouth-breathing to save your life, the last thing you want to inhale is a house salad.

Vitamin V for Vodka Did I already mention food? Wash it down with a beverage. Illness and stress along with it can be the perfect excuse to have a screwdriver in the AM for the vitamin C and the slew of vita-mins and minerals Smirnoff has, which is like a ton. Cheers. You deserve it.

How do you survive being sick?

When Anonymous Blogging Isn’t Anonymous Enough

The day finally came where I was recognized as a blogger in three years of blogging here and it was frightening. It wasn’t a mommy-fan or a rando, who’s seen my gymmurstics picture. It was the worst possible scenario: when someone discovers an acquaintance writes about unconventional ideas of parenting, marriage, and everything else. Of all this blog’s two readers in the entire planet, it had to be someone I know, someone my kids and I see every day, and for fuck’s sake this someone was even part of a post. She whispered from behind her apartment office desk that she has to tell me a secret: she saw my boobs online.

I’m not gonna lie because that put me in a serious panic. I went back and removed that breastfeeding picture and any other picture of a recognizable me. I also got the fated email about renewing my domain name thelaotiancommotion.com and at this point, I made the decision to not pay any money or mind to take further action and let that bitch expire. Buh-bye, Lao food. Buh-bye, breastfeeding memes. Buh-bye, Theek.

This was a wake-up call that I severely swayed from my original intentions for writing about my life. In 2011, I made the decision to be anonymous. Well, kinda anonymous. I faked anonymity by plastering the -Noys in each and every post, our family’s intimate details, and even real life drama. It wasn’t until 2013 where I finally realized I need to redefine “anonymous.” After poring over thus editing privacy settings on all my posts revealing my own face, I also remembered my other original intention of starting writing in 2011. Culture is important to me. My family is important to me. My voice is important to me. I started writing here because I didn’t give a fuck. Blogging is my place to speak what I feel deserves to be heard, as weird or uncommon as it may be. So, why am I giving a fuck now? I decided to keep writing and keep at it because do you know another Laotian-American mommy blogger? Probably not but if you do, are her boobs as nice as mine?

How are you anonymous online?

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How Lao Parents Avoid Buying Children’s Clothing

TheLaotianCommotion.com // School shopping with cheap parents was the worst, right?

Growing up Lao, our clothes were either hand-me-downs, thrift, or too big. Too big because my mom would buy us the next size(s) up so “we’d grow into them.” I would be wearing size 9 women’s shoes in 5th grade sounding like a scuba diver walking in the hall. Embarrassed as little Theek was, my mom was right in sticking us in oversized jackets and clown shoes. Not only because we were poor but because kids grow like fucking weeds and you can’t catch up with them. If I’m gonna buy these snotty-nosed womb-squatters brand clothing, they better wear it for longer than that size range on that tag. Knowing that they can’t, forget me spending money on it.

There are a rare exceptions when I pay for new children’s clothing but mostly the stars have to align above that Target, where I find that nice clearance sticker on something that I already wanted. Well, that happened when Humnoy screamed “Spider-Man!” at a pair of footed pajamas swinging about in the shitty tangle of a clearance rack. I don’t even care that it’s a shitty tangle of a clearance rack because I’ll sift through it all day long to not have to pay full price. I need to thank my mother for passing on the frugal gene because overpaying for kids’ (and anybody’s) general clothing is just not smart. How to shop like a Laotian mama:

1) Avoid eye contact with shiny, organized racks up front Just keep looking ahead. Never left, never right, just ahead toward the back to the clearance section.

2) Check each and every item I just go for anything not white because KIDS.

3) Check the size The clusterfuck of clearance is that it’s an OCD nightmare so make sure you look through it all: the tag, eye-ball it on your kid, etc.

4) Check the price If at least half off, get it. If not, I make a face then put it back. Unless it’s really cool then we can get away with maybe 30% off.

5) Repeat for off-season, next size, and staple clothing items. ‘This’ll be the shirt that they won’t eat in!’ – said no one ever.

Lo and behold, the Spider-Man footies were more than half off and came in Lanoy and Humnoy next-year size, respectively. They rang up for ~73% off original price so <$10 total for two awesome pairs of footie pajamas. I say they were a great deal because this wouldn’t have happened:
spider man pajamas.jpg

How do you justify your and kids’ clothes shopping?

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My Lao Village: 20 People Who Helped Me Survive A(nother) Year of Parenting

Lao-Americans celebrate everything and I mean everything basically the same way: with Lao food, with alcohol, and with an entire community. If you’re an outsider, you would not be able to tell apart if the goat feast in the backyard is celebrating a Lao wedding, a Lao housewarming, a Lao funeral, or a birthday. No age of birthday is safe from such a drunken atmosphere, even little ones’ own days. I think the Lao have the right idea by celebrating a ‘village’ rather than focus on a single person. Many coo over the precious Bébé yet very few actually consider other people, especially one of whom whose hoo-hah was deeply affected by such existence, that all helped raise a child. Yes, sure “happy birthday” but can we give it up for everyone else?First birthday

20. Birthday Kid We sang her a song, baked her a cake, and made that day all about her. Lanoy gets her day and a shout-out because she is a sweet baby girl, who makes me proud every damn day to be her mama.

19. Mama I think it’s safe to say none of us would be here if it weren’t for a womb of steel and mighty loins doing the hefty work. So, I am giving myself a huge ass pat on the back and a strong ass cocktail.

18. Dada It takes two to tango-parenting? Here’s to Gym Hottie for kinda, sorta helping out in the year that was the first year of Double-Trouble Parenting. Kinda.

17. Big Bro I cannot be any more proud yet guilty of Humnoy being thrust into this role. He’s shown us how much he’s grown when he tries to soothe his sister or when he tackles her for touching his toy. Seriously, Dude’s getting huge.

16. Grandparents GH and I would like to give a major shoutout to my and his parents for being the best grandparents many, many, many miles away. Our kids might not recognize you on the street but they love all the love you send anyway.

15. Aunts, Uncles, and Other Obscure Family Tree Members I can’t tell you how many “aunts” and “uncles” I had growing up. Get this: my mom only has three yet only two non-estranged siblings but I have 30 times the amount of “cousins” through various family-friend connections. My real-real family are the greatest people I’ve ever known and the -Noys’ Aunts and Uncles: The Next Generation.

14. Neighbors Living in apartments, we get to be really close but not all our building mates are all who we (want to) interact with. The kids (Hum since little toddlerhood; La since birth!) have a strong connection with our apartment home community office girls. Yes, even Clingy McClingerson.

13. Ergobaby You have carried me through two kids and I don’t know how I could have been a mom to a toddler and a newborn if it weren’t for the carrier. It’s old and worn now (label fell off) but I got it in the perfect color: Black (aka Stain Disguise).

12. YMCA Daycare Confession: I haven’t been to the gym in months but it’s nice to know I can drop off the kids to go “work” “out” “in” “the” “gym.” The option is good for a mom mental health day. Me, in the gym in 50 years

11. Fast Food Worker Man, not only do you give me hot, weird-for-you food but you do so with a sympathetic ear. Speaking of ear, sorry for the shrieking children from the backseat but I gotta make sure we eat before grocery shopping. Never Go Grocery Shopping While Hungry.

10. Asian Wax Salon I love that they always try to convince me to cut Humnoy’s luscious locks every time I’m in with the kids, which is always because my lip and underarm hair grows like a muth. I also love that they accommodate my kids with lollipops and comfy chairs as I accommodate the shit out of that hair.

9. Random Old Ladies Thank you for commending how well-behaved my babies are as I’m trying to get the fuck out of the store before these well-behaved babies aren’t so behaved. Don’t tell these sweet little old ladies, but I bribe the shit out of my kids.

8. Grocery Bakery Does your grocer’s bakery give out freshly baked cookies as you’re shopping? Our favorite one does and this helps my bargaining leverage so I can have those well-behaved babies every old lady notices.

7. Little (Big) Kids How adorable is it when big(ger) kids try on the Mommy or Daddy role and try to take care of little kids? Our community has elementary-aged kids at our playground and they love the -Noys! I’ll just be over here Instagramming tweeting.

6. Supervisor Huge appreciation to you giving me a job that is flexible around my schedule and availability. Also, thanks so much for providing a justified (and paid) break from motherhood. That shit be so nice.

5. Public School Students I mean, if it weren’t for these kids, I wouldn’t have a job. After a day teaching though, I run with open arms to the Double-Trouble Team back at home. Hormones on a prison schedule makes toddler tantrums sound like a melodious chart-topping hit rather than a banshee.

4. Real-Life Strangers I don’t know you and you don’t know me but I really appreciate you not acting like you do on the Internet out here in real life. As long as you don’t helicopter my ass or harass my family, you can judge my parenting at a glance all you want.

3. Internet Strangers Huge, huge shoutout to the fake friends that I made online (<— hahaha, like I’m making paper dolls or some shit) and the trolls that proved to me that I do not need to feel validated in others like you do to be comfortable in my own skin and voice. Bye, Pholicia!

Bye Bitch Pocahontas funny gif photo ByeBitch.gif

2. Third-World Parents I used to turn to Facebook groups and online discussions but I now ask, “what would my grandmother do?” and I know the answer. Thanks for always being with me and the children long after you passed.

1. You Yes, you. Thank you for being there on the other side of this screen reading these words. Thank you for being interested in my culture, my family, and myself even when it’s not popular. Again, thanks for acting like you do on the Internet. Keep that shit up.

Happy birthday Parenting Survival Anniversary!

Who’s in your village?

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3 Stories To Make You A Crying Seahawks Fan

Living and working in the literal Home of the Seahawks, who train in the second-largest facility in the NFL that is less than four miles away from our house, I think I am the only person who is not crazed one bit. I had never been into football because I am a huge wuss and it looks super violent. That and the fact that cheerleaders only make less than $1000 a year.

At home, GH is the sports fanatic and it drives me crazy. I do not and cannot understand how yelling at the screen will change the course or magically alter the fate of the game. How the fuck can they even hear you? I have asked him to leave me alone the entire day a sports event is anticipated to take over like the Super Bowl or any other day from Fall to Spring. At work, I constantly get asked where is my Seahawks jersey or if I will be watching the game and I’m usually just chilling on Spirit Day Celebration like:

My entire home state is crazy over their NFL team but I just do not like giving in to over-praise of athletes, as talented each and every individual is. It wasn’t until this morning I was doing research for a scathing blog post about “things only a non-sports can understand” and came across articles that shook the thug out of me. I decided to not be a bitch about today and embrace the Seahawks and be even a tiny, little, kind-of-fan thanks to these three stories:

1) Son Surprises Mom With Super Bowl Tickets The first story about a mother and son, who apparently thwarted his mother’s Seahawks fandom by being a fetus. The whole story goes (via YouTube):

After a 9-7 finish in the 1983 season, the Seahawks made their way to the AFC Championship by beating Miami in the Divisional round of their first playoff run (after knocking off Denver in the Wild Card round). That night, mom wanted to go to Boeing Field to welcome back the Hawks, like I know a lot of people will be planning to do after this Sunday, but my dad wouldn’t let her go. She was pregnant with me, due in three months. She missed that opportunity, and the Hawks went on to lose to the hated Raiders that year.

Never mind that the dad thought his wife would go into labor in the second trimester and “wouldn’t” let her go there, but let’s talk about how he made it up to his super-fan mama three decades later:

2) NFL’s First Legally Deaf Player Duracell created a commercial with Seattle Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman, who has been deaf since he was three years old (tearstearstears). The commercial shows how Coleman overcame obstacles from bullying and living with a disability to become the current (and only) legally deaf player in the league’s history. As an advocate/teacher for special needs awareness, this just messed me up real good. The online video has been viewed over 15 million times as of today since its January 10th upload.

3) Two Seahawks Fans With Hearing Impairments Get Huge Surprise by Football Hero As if you couldn’t keep your eyeballs dry from Derrick Coleman’s inspirational commercial, he goes on to do something special for two lucky fans. 9-year-old Hawks fan, Riley Kovalcik, wrote Coleman a letter sharing a commonality of hearing aids with the NFL star and her twin sister, Erin. The girls’ father tweeted the letter and it went viral shortly thereafter. As the girls were in the middle of an interview about their letter, their expressions when their football hero surprised them (and with Super Bowl tickets) will make your anti-football smug face smile.

Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?

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When Your Husband Wants You To Go To The Arms Of Other Men

the other man
Eyes studying and a stranger’s hand touching mine, I was pulled to him just like the many men before him. Only thing holding my body up was the stiff of my arms and hand walled by a set of arms and hand but never are they my husband’s. My husband knows this makes me satisfied in my life, therefore marriage, and actually drove me to be with these other men.

There are rules, however: respect space (boundaries), be courteous (always ask), and have fun (of course). My space grows void as other couples pair off and courtesy is always, “May I?” I have never turned down an offer in five years and we begin the connection go-round once more: eyes, hands, wall. We are coupled for just a song’s play and we go our separate ways after dancing a little dance. Rounding out dance etiquette, he returns me to my place when we first locked eyes and our time is done until we meet again. Social partner dancing is a funny thing: you either hate it, love it, or kinda love it just enough for some nightclub confidence. Partner dancing without your husband is even funnier because you hate the fact you are alone or realize this dance partner wants to “partner.” (More on this later) My actual real-life partner has my back while another man’s touching mine and it works for us.

GH has found that my sole solace has nothing to do with him. He forces me to go out even after I elaborate on the dirty dishes or feign another yawning excuse. He tells me to not even ask but to just do this one thing for just me. With this full support finally in place after co-parent resentment of three years, I now find it a bit exhilarating to sneak away from domestication and responsibility for this time away from my man, my kids, my work, my home and be me. The me before I was buried in routine, unfolded laundry, and kids and this me is a lot more enjoyable to be around after these dance floor rendezvous. I get to be free and me and all these other men are just there for the ride and dance.