Things About Me That Annoy Even Me

Just the other day, I blogged about my new mantra of making changes in my life to become a happier person. The first three were simple: (1) no longer be Internet buddies with dysfunctional people; (2) do things I enjoy from now on; and, (3) do not let others put me down anymore when it comes to my personal character. Hopefully the three continue to be simple as time goes on.

Another change I want to make now is not as simple, though. It’s in remedying some things about me that annoy even me. It isn’t that I think I’m a bad person or anything, or that I need to make vague resolutions (like “go to the gym more”), it’s that I think I have let a couple things go a little too far.

The Outside

So here I am, in all my glory. Now when I say that there are things about me that annoy even me, I don’t mean that I have big pores or want a new nose or anything (although I believe my nose would look nice if it were a bit different), I mean that I want to start off with my physical appearance because what annoys me about it is that I worry about it way too much.

Perhaps it is a direct result of my physical location again – California culture is terribly superficial. We are constantly judging others for the way they look, the way they dress, and the way they act. You can’t even go to dive bars in Los Angeles without it being a fashion show, and (quite frankly) I’ve let it go too far as it comes to myself.

It takes me roughly an hour and a half minimum to get ready every day. Even when we have nowhere to go, I go all out on the make up, the hair, and the dress code. Every day is an event. This may also have to do with the fact that I have little else to do with my time, or that I truly am a 1950s housewife – but regardless, I have let it go too far. I annoy myself over how much I worry about the way I look. This isn’t to say that I’m going to let myself go and wear sweatpants with food stains all over them all the time, but I think it’s time to be happy with who I am and the way that I look and stop worrying about the superficial judgments of the culture in which I live.

The Inside

Remember the post I did last month that got Freshly Pressed about all “those people” that I have become? One of them was a germaphobe, which many people sympathized with. I realized that I had become a worrier of all-things-germs because I purchased a bottle of hand soap to put in my carryon bag “just in case” we were on vacation and found no soap in the public restrooms.

Well the hand soap I believe was justified. The train station we started out at proved the hand soap a necessity – literally one hour after our trip had begun. And I do believe that in a time when a lot of people have stopped giving their children proper vaccinations, as well as when a host of new diseases like the swine flu and mutated antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis have surfaced, a certain level of germaphobia is okay. But there is a point that has gone too far, and I believe I have reached that.

One thing that I think proved this to me was when we were on vacation in Chicago and I realized that not every state in the Union has local ordinances requiring toilet seat coverage in bathrooms. You know those things that are shaped like a toilet and (in theory) provide you a nice, clean place to sit while you do your business (although in reality usually make more of a mess and hassle than are worth). Those toilet seat covers are not actually required by law in most places – something that horrified me the minute we got into the city of Chicago and I was confronted with no seat covers and only four squares of paper in the entire bathroom.

I think that something like germaphobia has gone too far when you aren’t able to deal with a precarious situation such as in the case of the toilet seat covers. It annoys me how long it took me to get over that. It further annoys me to see how much I am wiping things down, requiring excessive hand washing of everyone in the house, and spraying everything in sight with Lysol. Again, this doesn’t mean that from now on we’re going to live in a filthy sty meant for pigs and people in incestuous relationships; it just means I need to find a balance between healthy cleanliness and obsessive-compulsive fear.

The Motherly


I think the thing that annoys me the most about myself is just how motherly I’ve become. This is likely a result of the fact that my entire life now is defined by my ability to parent and homeschool, but regardless I think I have gone too far in trying to pamper and overprotect.

Every mother likes to make things special for their kids. This morning, I made pancakes and decided that I was going to make the extra effort to make those quintessential Minnie Mouse pancakes, despite the fact that making regular pancakes is usually a challenge for me that ends in disaster (it’s the flipping that always foils my efforts). So the Minnie Mouse pancakes came out quite nicely but upon placing them on the table, I got an “oh, man … I was hoping we were having eggs.” Seriously? Where is the “thanks mom!” Where is the eating what’s placed in front of you? I realized in this that while we do encourage a great deal of independence in some areas, in others I am mothering in such a way that is creating indigence and un-appreciation. I can also recognize some areas where it is bordering on helicoptering, which you faithful blog followers know I am adamantly opposed to.

I suppose that all of this boils down to how much I worry. Maybe that is what it is – I’ve always been a worrier. My parents thought I had an ulcer when I was only eight (no jokes).  Sometimes I think I don’t worry enough about things, when in reality I worry so much about so many things I have absolutely no control over. People will judge the way I look no matter what because I live in California and that’s just what we do. No matter how much we wash hands, wipe cart handles, and avoid certain things, we’ll still get sick sometimes. And doing the best I can do as a mother will be appreciated in the end, whether I’m running myself ragged to do everything or keeping things in perspective and letting some of the small stuff go. There are definitely more things about me that annoy me, but I think these are a good start.

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  1. paralaxvu

    Me, I’m now into my 6th decade and still alive…no antibacterial anything used, eating ants in the driveway as a kid, dogs licking my face (even French kissing me, for goodness sake–Gross, perhaps, but not illness inducing…well, not in me, anyway). Of course, I do have diabetes, but that has to do with sugar and one’s pancreas, not dirt. Dirty sugar? Mmmm, unsure. The cool thin about rants is, each time we let one out we also let out a bit more stress. So, see? It’s a good thing. Don’t be so hard om yourself, life will be that for you sometimes.

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      “Don’t be so hard on yourself” = MOST IMPORTANT lesson of the year!! Thanks!!

  2. rich

    you’re home schooling a child? age?

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      I am! She is 8, 2nd grade. Been doing it for a year and a half now!

      1. rich

        it’s not something i would want to do because i think the social interaction is very important. however, it depends on the school system. what was your motivation?

      2. Heather Christena Schmidt

        The social interaction is usually the interesting part – that was a part of the motivation. The socialization we were getting in extra curricular activities was better than in school. In school it was very negative – being a private school, many of the children had a sense of entitlement, they didn’t believe they should have to do things like homework or obey the teacher, etc. In extra curriculars, we had already developed some long-standing relationships though with good kids from all walks of life.

        The other motivation is that we live in the state of California, which has the worst and most overcrowded public school system there is. Private school is very expensive and beginning to get a little overcrowded if you cannot go the Crossroads/top-of-the-line route (which we cannot). So I thought we’d give it a shot and it has been such a benefit. We have more time for extra curriculars and socialization with other kids, actually, because she doesn’t really have homework. She’s also in 2nd grade but a year ahead in math and two years ahead in reading and science. So for now it is a pretty positive experience, although I don’t think I will be doing it forever.

      3. Heather Christena Schmidt

        I’m sorry I should have said “second to worst” – California is rated #49, and while there are some good public school clusters, there are still a great number of issues and the state continues to lay off more teachers than it should be. I believe the Californian government is making a lot of mistakes by continuing to devalue the public education system in favor of other programs.

      4. rich

        so the private schools are snobby and the public schools are overcrowded. understandable. private schools around here are full of snobbish kids with overinflated ego’s because their parents give them anything they want, defend them no matter what they do, and fill them with a sense of being better than all the other kids who already think they’re better too. . here’s a link from a news story a few years ago about the town i moved out of when i saw how things were going.

        Click to access Haddonfield%20attacks%20teen%20drinking.pdf

      5. Heather Christena Schmidt

        What a nightmare! I am sure you are glad to have gotten out! I witnessed one of those “defend them no matter what they do” once as a room parent in first grade (right before we started with homeschooling). The teacher was telling one of my daughter’s friends’ parents that the friend was having some problems with her spelling and her reading. She was just approaching the parent to work together to come up with an “action plan” of sorts to remedy the problem and make sure the little girl was ready for second grade. The dad started screaming at the teacher and said that his child would have no problem if she had done her job. This is also one of the parents that said he shouldn’t have to worry about helping his daughter with homework when he was already paying tuition. Unreal…

      6. rich

        and sometimes – a kid is just dumb. parents can’t handle that. it would make me sad, but i wouldn’t blame the teacher.

  3. lauriejlong

    Dear, gorgeous Heather! Do you, too, lie awake at night and worry, sometimes wondering and worrying why you aren’t worrying and wondering what you may have forgotten to worry about? I feel that pain. Just so you know, your Minnie Mouse pancakes were a hell of a lot better than mine (which ended up with one ear three times the size of the other and twice as big as the head, an attempt I will never make again). Also, for your comfort: I went to a dive bar in Fullerton (2 J’s on Harbor) last weekend while we were in California to go to Disneyland. I was wearing no makeup, with a complexion that would make a teenager stare, and my hair– air-dried and sporting its natural, sucky cowlicks– was a mess. I was wearing a stupid gray knit sweater– which is my very favorite– and grey Sketchers. Totally not at a fashion show. Then I looked around and saw all the women all gussied up and wearing 6-inch heels and skin-tight clothes (even though there were enough muffin-tops to rival a bakery) and I thought: “I love being natural in the midst of all this costume. I feel like the prettiest girl in the bar.” (Of course, I had already downed 2– or was it 3?– shots of Jagermeister and a pitcher of Stella Artois.) At any rate, rock your natural gifts, love. You are beautiful in so many ways! XOXO

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      You are my new hero with that whole Fullerton bar scenario. I’m sure you were the most beautiful person in the room too!!

      1. lauriejlong

        YOU are my new hero ‘cuz I love the 50’s housewife that has stepped left of center. (That would be you.) I love reading your blogs, my friend!

      2. Heather Christena Schmidt

        THANKS!! 🙂

  4. bornattwentyfive

    I think we’re all guilty of being worried about our outside appearance every once and awhile. You have gorgeous eyes byw!

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thank you so much!!

  5. melissa.scholes.young

    I’ll take your Minnie Mouse pancakes gladly! I’d even say thanks. We have a rule at our table: Be grateful or be quiet. If only they’d follow the rule 🙂

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      I like the “be grateful or be quiet” rule – I think I will be implementing that from now on. I may even make a sign for the kitchen table that says it!!

  6. adinparadise

    Very interesting read, Heather. Life is definitely too short to sweat the small stuff. 😉

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Yes! Thanks so much for reading!!

  7. The “ME” Project

    Dear HCS- You crack me up, you really do. In some ways, I identify with you in an uncanny manner; in others, we could not be less alike (and I can’t help feeling a wee bit insecure as you seem to be so much more together than I…I pray you aren’t calling me a “fucktard” as you read my stuff. 🙂 )
    I wish I could bring myself to spend the time you do getting ready for the day- I fear, however, that even if I did I would not know HOW to find enough crap to do to myself. My routine is dismally sparse. I wear a lot of yoga pants. The other day I didn’t even brush my teeth until, like, 3-and I was up all day long, working (from home! Even I know better than to leave the house with bad breath and nest head.)
    It would be cool if you could lend me a little of your togetherness and I could give you a smidge of my don’t-give-a-shit-edness. Not saying you’d want it, but in case you did…
    Before this gets obscenely long, I want to tell you real quick about taking my little one to Wal-Mart, where I know you never shop. Anyway, I put her in the cart without a thought, and while I was busy perusing something or other, I turned to see her bent over, literally licking and chewing the handle bar of the cart. I thought for sure she was a goner…but she never even got a cough. Disgusting, and a pretty grim window into my spectacular parenting skills.
    I enjoy your blog immensely! Have a great day!

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      If only I had my shit together!!

      It’s funny because I don’t shop at Wal Mart for old idealisms I picked up when majoring in political science in college. I don’t even care about any of that stuff anymore so really think I continue to not shop at Wal Mart simply because the one near us smells of urine. If it didn’t, I would probably shop there because I like a good bargain. And I bet that the number of times a kid has gummed one of those cart handle bars and been fine FAR FAR FAR out number the times a kid has actually gotten sick from doing so.

      I will take some of your not-give-a-shit-ness any day of the week 🙂

  8. becca3416

    I feel you on the worrying. Something I am working on constantly. Nice post.

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thanks!! I really need to get over the worrying thing … I’ve been doing it for WAY too long!

      1. Lorraine Gouland

        Here in grubby old Britain, we don’t even know what those toilet seat covers look like. Many of us have perfected ‘the hover’ (you’ll work that out, I’m sure).
        I seem to remember that a study in Sweden (I think) discovered that all this uber-cleanliness was causing more allergies and less resilliance in children. Having said that, It is very hard to know where to draw the line between reasonable hygene and and ultra clinical cleanliness. Good luck with making your decision.
        I will say one thing, though, according to certain TV commercials, there are gazillions of germs on the pump of your hand soap! Apparently, you must buy a touch free soap dispenser to combat all these dangerous critters. Why? You are about to wash your hands anyway … Please tell me you haven’t fallen for that one or I just may have to stop folowing you!!!
        BTW, all that worrying? It’s all that spare intellect you’ve got. At least that’s what I tell myself …

      2. Heather Christena Schmidt

        I have read about that – the allergies and immunity issues. It makes perfect sense to me, although I still can’t stop sanitizing.

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