Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hang on.....I'm having a moment

Sometimes all I want is just a minute.

Well, that's a lie. I want more than a minute. I'd like 5, 10, 45 minutes, or hey - how about a whole afternoon? A whole day? A weekend? That's probably pushing it...

My life has a tendency to spin a bit out of control at times, just as I'm sure yours does from time to time. Things pile up, the stress continues to mount, and I reach a point where I have a hard time just carrying on as usual.

Sometimes it just gets to be too much, and if I could just have a minute (and by minute I mean at least a couple of hours), I could function oh-so-much better.

Do you ever have those times in your life where you feel like so much is going on that you don't have the ability to just sit? Just be? Just think and ponder and reflect and get back to basics?

That's what kind of time I'm having.

I try to wind down every night by reading a book before bed. It relaxes me, it distracts my mind, makes my eyes tired, and helps me get a restful night's sleep. But even that doesn't give me what I ultimately need, and the majority of the time, I don't make what I need a priority.

I think it has to do with the fact that there are these unspoken expectations that go along with being a wife and a mother and, in general, a woman in today's world. I think we're finally making some progress as it is becoming more acceptable to take care of ourselves, but that is not how it's been for women in our society.

You can talk about women's liberation until you're blue in the face, but the fact is - we are still followed around with these expectations that we are supposed to do certain things and be a certain way.

Cook dinner. Take care of your babies. Listen. Nurture. Behave. Don't be bitchy. Don't be rude. Volunteer. Don't lose your temper. Don't confront. Say yes. Go there. Be there. Do this. Do that.

It's so sad that for many of us, it's like pulling teeth just to say no to something. We're plagued by this guilt, and for those of us that are moms, we all suffer from Mommy Guilt in its many forms.


For not spending enough time with our kids.
For not feeding them organic or fresh food.
For giving them pre-packaged, microwave it in 30 seconds lunches.
For plopping them in front of the TV so we can have some silence.
For wanting to get away.
For using formula instead of breast feeding.
For getting mad at them.
For yelling at them.

We're scared...

Of being judged.
Of not being perfect.
Of not being as good as those other moms who appear have it all together.
That we really can't handle all that comes our way.

But, that's not how it's supposed to be.

We shouldn't plague ourselves with guilt. We shouldn't be scared of failing or of being judged or of falling short of the mark.

We are humans. We are moms. And we are doing the best that we can.

But, if there's one thing we suck at, it's taking care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves without the guilt......

.....Realizing that just because we want to get away from our kids and our spouses and our homes and our responsibilities - THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE BAD MOMS.

We can't be on our game if we're burning the candle at both ends and constantly on edge about something because we've just had it up to HERE and feel like we're going to crack. We have so much on our plates as women - I don't care if you have kids, work outside the home, are married, are single, whatever. The mere fact that we are women automatically means that we have a tremendous amount of responsibility, stress, and unrealistic expectations.

We all just need a minute. A minute to breathe, to think, to be ALONE and not be bothered.

I've felt the need for my own little minute coming for quite a while now, and the events of the past couple weeks, with my husband being out of work and both of our stress levels being through the roof, have only made that more clear to me.

I have so much on my mind. I feel so overwhelmed. And I am still stressed out about everything that has happened. But, I came home to past due bills, piles of laundry, not a clean pair of underwear in sight, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I couldn't just melt down. I had things to tend to.

So, hmmm...have a much-needed cry fest and let everything out, or gee - get our bill payments out in order to avoid late fees and annoying calls at 8:45 p.m. from the idiots at the bank, electric company, credit card holders.......Let's go ahead and just make that payment. The breakdown can wait for another day...

I want to be able to just sit and think. I want some time to myself where I don't feel the need to accomplish chores and run errands and be productive.

And one day, I'm going to have my minute -- I'll a free woman. Maybe I'll get a spa pedicure at a fancy little spa where they have huge cushy chairs that you sink way down into. They'll have big copper bowls with marbles in the bottom, bubbles galore, and rose petals on top of the bubbles where your toes soak and soak and soak. There's scrubbing and massaging and hot paraffin wax dips. And beautimous toes, freshly painted in what I'm guessing will be a deep, sparkly red.

Who knows what will come after that. All I know is there will be no washing of clothes or dishes, no paying of bills, no naptimes (unless I decide I want a nap), no crying, and no stress.

I don't have a plan. And that's how I want it. No strings. No real plans. Just time. Time to chill out, to let things sink in, to cry if I want to, and to get myself back together - back where I feel like I can handle things again and where I feel more at peace.

What would YOU do with a minute

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why yes -- I am SuperMom!

Are there superpowers that were activated the moment you became a mom? I think fact, I think that you would suprise yourself if you thought about it for just a minute. So here you go -- the amazing superpowers that came to me when I became a mom. How many do you have?

*The ability to deal with disgusting bodily fluids without throwing up. My entire life, I've been a sympathy gagger. If you throw up, I'll throw up. If I smell throw up, I'll throw up. If I see someone throw up, I'll throw up. I clearly remember a day inkindergarten . All of us kids were lined up on the driveway and a kid threw up. The smell made me throw up. Then a bunch of other kids down the line threw up. It was like a barfarama . But the moment I became a mom, I was able to deal with all kinds of disgusting things coming from my child without feeling even slightly nauseous -- even when my son vomited all over my face and shirt. However -- and this is important -- this superpower applies to your own children only. If I see someone else's child throw up, my stomach heaves and the nausea descends. And when my husband caught a stomach bug and was vomiting all over the place, I could not be within 10 feet of him without feeling sick.

*The ability to see signs of genius based on what others might call "very little evidence." I don't know about your child, but my children are geniuses. When Drew was just 2 days old, he was showing the reflexes of a 8-day old! Although the pediatrician persists in saying my son is undergoing "normal development," I know better. What other 4-year-old (Ryker) answers "razzmatazz " in response to the question "What is your favorite color?" (It is so a real color! Just check the 120-color crayon box.) Although he may seem like a normal 4-year-old boy to you, I am his mother and my superpowers allow me to see the genius within. You see a scribble; I see Picasso. You hear acacophonous banging, I hear the next Keith Moon (drummer for The Who). You hear a boring, repetitive story; I hear the next Faulkner. You see a kid throwing a tantrum; I see a future Oscar winner.

*The ability to tell lies without even thinking about it. (Or, if you are morally opposed to lying, call this "the ability to provide plausible explanations at the drop of a hat to suit your own purposes.") I have never been a good liar -- no matter how hard I tried to master it in my young life. But once I became a mom, I found myself able to think up and perpetuate amazingly complex lies quickly and easily. Consider how I deal with the biggest lie of all -- Santa Claus. As my sons have gotten older (and remember, I'm dealing with geniuses here), they're thrown a bunch of questions at me about exactly how the whole Santa things works. "What if you don't have a fireplace? How does he fit everything into the sleigh? How does he watch me all the time and watch all the other kids?I don't understand why I have to donate some of my toys to Goodwill -- why doesn't Santa bring toys to all the poor children who don't have toys?" I've faced all of these questions and been able to come up with a brilliant lie each and every time. (Well, except for the poor children one. That is a doozy. Even my superpowers couldn't come up with a good answer for that one.) And I've become a master at telling little white lies: "We can't stop atMcDonald's ; the sign says they are closed for renovations." "Oh darn...the ice cream place just closed --they close at 3:00 p.m. in the summer." "That toy is only for children who eatbroccoli every night. It says so on the box."

*The ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Some may call it "a normal reaction to sleep deprivation," but I call it a superpower. Ever since I became a mom, I've been able to sleep in uncomfortable situations without any advance notice -- even if I just woke up 45 minutes before. I could be at a very noisy party and if there is a lull in the conversation, I'll just drift right off -- even if I'm standing up and have a drink in my hand.

*The ability to love and be more selfless than you ever thought possible. When I became a mother, I found that I was gifted with a capacity for love that blew away any kind of love I had ever felt before. (Apologies to my husband ... I love you, sweetie, but it just isn't on the same level.) In addition, I was suddenly able to put someone's needs ahead of my own without being filled with seething resentment. If I was filled with hunger, I would still take care of my son's needs first. "Mommy's empty stomach be damned. Baby needs a diaper change!" This superpower amazed and surprised me -- and is perhaps the only one that allows me to handle this very difficult and challenging thing called motherhood.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Little Challenge

OK, so a friend of mine told me she read this on a blog somewhere, so I thought I would give it a try. Here's the rules:

Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet, where the first line starts with the letter "A," the second "B," the third "C," etc., culminating with the final line starting with "Z."

I sat down and started writing a poem all about raising boys, and fart jokes, and violent play fighting and smelly socks and how I hadn't showered in 2 days, and I was pretty impressed with myself for the line that began with the letter F. The preceding lines had been about dealing with said boys and such, and it was high time for an expletive, so the line went like this: "Frick, frick-a-frack, cock-a-doodly-doo." I was too proud of that not to share it with you. Unfortunately, that little piece of genius didn't make the final cut because my crazy children, fart jokey, non-showery poem sucked.

It just wasn't coming together. So, I deleted what I had, took a step back, and decided that I needed to write something that didn't have to do with being a mom or the "joys" of child-rearing.

So, without further adieu, I present you with my poetic masterpiece...

Alphabet Soup

All things that are chocolate,
Books that are or aren't true.
Candy and
Daisies, but not
Even theFlu.
Girly accessories,
Hair ties and rings.
I'm talking about all of my favorite things.
Jumpin' Jehosephat - that's fun to say!
Karats -- yes diamonds,
Lillies and steak
Norah Jones, but not
Pretty stuff and juice.
Quite frankly I even like Dr. Suess.
Randy from Idol and
Singing, oh Grace..........
Try to hurt me and I'll spray you with mace.
Umbrellas in rainstorms and
V-Dubya bugs.
Weddings, my family, and
Xeptional rugs.
Yard sales, and interior design - some sparkly bling.
Zeze are a few of my favorite things

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Romance is Overrated

I was reading some posts over on the mommies board that I belong to, and I came across a young mom who was asking advice about leaving her husband. She said that her marriage is not what she thought it would be and that she wants to have a chance to find someone else, someone who is more attentive to her and is more romantic.

I paused, seriously considering if I should reply. I considered: I don't actually know this girl and being "more attentive to me" might be code for "stop sleeping around with every woman that he meets at the bar" or "admit he's gay." "More romantic" could possibly mean "stop beating the crap out of me and the kids" or "stop spending all our grocery money on booze." Besides, she was asking about how to leave him, not if she should.

So, I clicked on out of there before I opened by big ol' mouth and inserted one or both of my feet. But, now that I'm safely back on my blog, where I say what I think, I'm here to tell you: romance is overrated. We don't live in a chick flick where there are grand sweeping gestures of romance on a continuous basis. This isn't some Nicholas Sparks novel where everyone weeps at the beauty of the love between a couple.

It's life.

Before you go get all huffy and tell me all about the romance in your life, let me clarify a bit. I DO love my Hubs. He loves me. And we do romantic things for each other. They have just changed as our family has grown.

He did used to do big sweepingly romantic things for me. Most of the time I laughed at him and told him he was a big cheeseball, though I did appreciate them. But, flowers, gifts, spontaneous trips, love letters, and other such romantic gestures have been replaced by more practical things.

It's romantic to me that Hubs chooses to come home every night to a house full of children under the spell of the witching hour and a wife who is exhausted. Because no one is making him. That he works his ass off to provide for us is romantic as hell to me. I'll even take that he doesn't always fluff the comforter after he farts, as romance.

It might sound boring. And he does still occasionally throw in a big romantic gesture every now and then. But, the real romance to me is knowing that I have a husband who will always be there for me and the kids. Who loves us through our worst days and moods. Who is a true friend to me. Whom I don't worry that he'll ever leave us- we're in this for the long haul.

Really, anyone can be romantic in the beginning of a relationship. It's time that is the test for how a relationship really is. I believe that love is a decision and that we'd never stay with anyone if we left every time the romance seemed to fade.

Romantic comedies and novels...well, they can bite me. I have my own version of happily-ever-after here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Soundtrack of my Life

So, we survived the Canada Day chaos no worse for wear, other than a few mosquito bites and a couple of painful sunburns. But it was so much fun having all that family around. There is nothing better than a lot of fun, family and food for three days straight.

If your life were a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

This is a hard question for me...because I can't narrow it down. I've always thought of my life in terms of having a soundtrack. And there are many songs that, the instant that I hear them, I can clearly recall a memory associated with them. For example: "Might as well be walking on the sun"...instantly back in college, at a bar with my roomie slamming her fists down on the table and screaming out that line...and the crazy night that followed. And no, you're not getting that story out of me.

I thought about being sappy, with "There Goes My Life" by Kenny Chesney or "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins or "The Dance" by Garth Brooks.

And then I thought about being funny like "Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old" by Garth Brooks or try to convince you that "Dancin' For the Groceries" by Kenny Chesney was my life.

But, instead, I decided to go by stages of my life. And, I'm sorry if you don't like my taste in music, but it's my blog so.......

Stage 1: Young woman eager to get out into the big world and make something of herself, striking out on her own to "find herself." I actually sang this song in the car a la Jerry Maguire singing Free Falling as I was moving far, far away from everyone I knew.

Song and Artist: Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks

Most telling lyric: To find a dream and a life of their own, a place in the clouds, a foundation of stone...She needs wide open spaces, room to make the big mistakes...

Stage 2: Angry young woman, tired of being stereotyped by the people around her, who weren't actually taking the time to see who she really is

Song and Artist: Welcome to my Life by Simple Plan

Most telling lyric: Do you wanna be somebody else?Are you sick of feeling so left out?Are you desperate to find something more?Before your life is over

Stage 3: Woman happily in love with her husband. We never had a wedding song, but I think this may have possibly been the one I would have chosen......if it had actually been made before 1997.

Song and Artist: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait

Most telling lyric: I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend, lucky to have been where I have been.....I'm lucky we're in love every way.....

Stage 4: Mommy madly in love with her little boys and wanting the best for them...a stage that, like stage 3, keeps on going

Song and Artist: My Wish by Rascal Flatts

Most telling lyric: My wish for you is that your life becomes all that you want it to

Stage 5: Woman realizing that, to hell with what other people think, I am who I am, I want what I want, and if you don't like it, well....

Song and Artist: Settlin' by Sugarland

Most telling lyric: I ain't settlin' for just getting by, I've had enough so-so for the rest of my life....I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything

I hope some of you decide to try this little exercise out, because I would love to see what some of you come up with.

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometime...