Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Talk

My 8 year old son came to me and said, “Mom, kids on the bus call privates something else...”  At that moment time stopped and the list of expletives that ran through my mind would make Quentin Tarantino blush.  Oh, no.  It’s time for “The Talk.”

I asked him if he knew what his “wee” (as I call it) was really called.  He said, with a look and an attitude that I’m a moron, “Duh, it’s a wee WEE.”  After a lengthy internal debate about whether to just say, “You’re right” or go down the road to “Penisville,” I decided to jump in, eyes closed and terrified.

Coincidentally, not long before this conversation, I attended a fantastic training about child sexual abuse prevention and one point was that parents should speak to their children about sex by third grade.  Upon hearing that, the moms in the room sat up straight in shock.  What?  Third grade?  Why, that’s my son’s age!  The training said that you want your child to hear all sexual facts from you first.  Don’t sit back and let them learn from friends.  My thought was that my son wasn’t learning anything sexual in third grade.  Then the above happened.  Point, taken, training.  You win.

I didn’t go into how babies are made or in depth into functions of sexual organs.  But, I took a small step in that direction, and the giant leap will come soon.  We discussed the real names of parts that he has, and the different parts that girls have.  He asked questions (like if I didn’t have a penis, how could I pee), and I answered them.  And despite both of our trepidation treading into new territory, I was glad we had the talk.

Now, not only will my son know that his wee wee is really a penis, he also knows that he and I can discuss it.  Anything that comes up (no pun intended, well… maybe a little), he can come to me. He will not be lost in a world of denial where sex and anatomy don’t exist, and he certainly won’t feel shame or embarrassment.  My son will talk to me about the hardest topics to talk about… and that talk is the best talk of all.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Nightmare of 3rd Grade

My most vivid memory of my education is from third grade.  I will never forget Mr. Priester, the science teacher, accusing me of cheating on a communicable disease test.  I got all of the diseases correct and they were spelled right, so when he realized a study guide was left out on my neighbor's stack of books, he accused both of us of cheating.  That moment ruined my third grade year.  Though my mom stood up for me and the grade was kept, I can honestly tell you that in all of my years of elementary, middle, high school and college, third grade was my worst year.  (FYI, I can also spell thrombocyticpeniapurpura, Mr. P, so take that!  Yes, I'm still bitter.)

Interestingly, I now have a third grader and I can say without a doubt that this is the worst school year for him, too.  No one is accusing him of cheating, though.  This year is a nightmare for a whole host of other reasons. 

1.  The pressure.  They start harping on standardized tests in second grade, making it very clear that if  you don't pass your IREADs and ISTEPs, you're held back no matter what.  I am super glad my kid, and others that I know, were able to dwell on that all summer.  Threats and fear are super ways to motivate the kids that may struggle.

2.  The workload.  In years past, we were given packets on Monday and homework was turned in Friday.  You pace it out or procrastinate and do it Thursday...  Your call.  We now have math packets that are similar, but we're also getting pretty detailed reading comp assignments due the next day, plus spelling words, grammar study, and fact test studying.  Oh yeah, and fluency if your child failed the fluency screening at the beginning of the year.  Oh, and if they struggle academically, it is recommended that you find standardized test prep materials and add that onto their homework time.  No big deal.  Why would we want 8 and 9 year olds to have time to play outside, be well rounded by participating in activities and sports or sleep?

3.  The struggle.  In our case, we deal with additional challenges.  In the past they were passed off as "age appropriate," but that ship has sailed.  Upon his 8th birthday, what was age appropriate has become undiagnosed learning disorders.  While we go through the long and drawn out process of determining what is hindering his learning, he is still graded and worked as if his brain functions normally.  I realize we don't know what to do for sure until we know what we're working with, but how is it helping to write in bold marker the mediocre scores he's getting and the time it takes to complete his work?  FYI, we get it.  He's struggling.  But maybe it would behoove us to get thrown a lifeline or even a life jacket to stay afloat instead of a couple bricks to hold while trying to tread water.  Let's start finding positive proactive assistance instead of negative reactive grading procedures.

I am not blaming our school or our teacher specifically for the nightmare that makes me sick every time I unpack Will's backpack and makes him hate going to school everyday.  Its the system.  Its whoever decided that one test score determines your placement.  Its whoever decided a teacher's merit and pay is based on those scores.  Its whoever decided that we teach to pass tests now instead of teaching to educate our kids.  I blame those people.  And I hope they experience the sleepless nights of a worried parent, headaches and stomachaches of anxious kids and the high blood pressure of stressed out teachers that they've created.  I hope they feel it, and I hope it hurts, because their system is punishing the very kids they didn't want left behind.  Instead of leaving them, we're shoving them underwater and hoping they can hold their breath forever.  Here's a little tip from a former third grader who now parents one, its not going to work.  They'll gasp for breath and until you pull them back out of the water, they'll swallow water until they drown.  This is third grade, and its my nightmare.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Winners V Athletes

In my sports days, and now in my sons' sports, I've met a lot of coaches.  I've learned that there are two types of coaches in the world.  They may both love the game they are coaching, but they teach two totally different ways.  One creates winners.  The other creates athletes.

At first glance, you want the "winner." But, let me tell you about the winners.  They may learn the skills to play the game, but they won't learn the skills to participate in sports.  They're two different things.  Games have rules... you can't double dribble, you can't move before the center hikes the ball, three strikes and you're out.  The rules are the same for everyone and they're black and white.  You can do this, you can't do that.  Participating in sports is way bigger.  Sports is made up of teams, teammates, coaches, opponents, ethics and outcomes.  A winner may win the game, but they'll never show the sportsmanship, gracefulness, ethical play and lessons learned from losing.  A winner is the kind who teaches to play dirty.  He doesn't break the rules, but he'll devise a strategy to win that bends the rule as far as it can.  He'll justify playing only certain players, even if the league is a 5 and 6 year old learning league, because the chosen ones will win.  He'll ignore the positive aspects of playing sports and focus on only one thing... the win. 

The coach that creates athletes is the coach you want.  He is focused on fostering love of the game, the skills needed to play it and the respect to be a sportsman.  An athlete will show grace in defeat, humility in success, and respect for those involved.  Athletes don't fight the other players, use scapegoats for losses and badmouth.  Athletes play the game, but they're also learning about life.  That's the team that really wins.  The one that takes their lessons from the field into the world and runs with them.  "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."  Michael Jordan, athlete.

My kids may not be winners.  In fact, I hope they aren't.  My kids will be athletes, and with that, they'll kick the winners asses in real life.  Try to block that shot, Coach.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Think I'm Alone Now...

I knew I was going to have a good day today when I got the good bagger at Kroger.  The one who uses the least number of bags possible and puts all like items together.  That blissful moment of serendipity was going to shave countless... seconds...  off my "put the groceries" away time and get me straight on to "work at my desk time." 

Time has become my most precious possession these days. Picture me all Gollum-like
holding a clock and stroking it while I call it "my precious," because that's how much I treasure it now that I have gone back to work.  Not back full time, but full-er time than when I was teaching preschool.  I work from the time I put the kids on the bus until ten minutes before they get off.  Our evenings and weekends are packed with soccer, football and scouts, so I have one day that I get "off."  One magical Thursday when I drop the kids off at school and then I go about my business.... ALONE.  I get to grocery shop alone. I am typing at my desk ALONE.  I even went potty ALONE without someone asking for a drink or banging on the door because he has to go, even though we have two other bathrooms available.  My house is silent but for the tappity tap of my fingers on my keyboard.  I'm ALONE!!!

Though I like to pretend that somehow all this aloneness means I'll spend the day being fanned with palm fronds by manly professional soccer players (no offense to other athletes, it just seems like the futbol dudes are the cutest), the real world manages to eek its way in.  A phone call from the principal...  Laundry...  the bills that are staring at me right now while I ignore them to write this post.  My off day is not an off day, as I leave all my "chores" to be completed between the hours of 9:00am and 3:45pm.... but its quiet.  And I may be doing the laundry, but I'm doing it ALONE!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Letter to Will's 3rd Grade Teacher and Jack's Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Mrs. L,

I want to introduce you to my son Will.  He's an in-betweener.  You might be thinking that as an adult who is fairly literate, I probably shouldn't waste time making up words, but let's just call it "creative writing." 

Will is 8 years old and stuck in between.  He's not yet a young man, but he's no longer a child.  He is thinking about things at a higher, deeper level than before.  I see him caring more about physical appearance, clothing, meeting people's expectations.  He's maturing in ways that I did not yet expect.  Then, in a flash, my little boy is back.  The one who cuddles with him mom when he's sleepy, and still wants light up shoes.  He's in between right now, and he'll be here for awhile.

You will be navigating him through the between for this school year, and all I ask is that you embrace the between, too.  Keep my boy still a boy in all the ways that really matter.  I want him to still believe in magic with wide-eyed wonder and believe in his heart that he can really be President of the United States some day.  But, guide my young man.  Show him that the way magic really happens is by being a good and worthy person.  Show him that the President only gets that far with hard work.  Make this portion of his between a learning period, but let him dream the dreams of a young boy at the same time.

I did his beginning, and I pray that his end is so far from now, I can't even guess who will have his end.  But, I'm trusting you with his between, and its the most important part.


Dear Mrs. V.,

Today you met Jack.  He smiled and seemed ready to return tomorrow.  He even hugged you upon our departure, responding to your request.  Let me tell you, I was shocked.  The Jack you met today was the very best case scenario Jack.  But be aware, that Jack might not come back tomorrow.

My Jack is a mystery.  Despite his excitement today and his little dancing jig, my Jack is an introvert.  In fact, we should probably change his middle name to Introvert so people can fully comprehend the depth of his shyness.  He may surprise me again tomorrow, and the next day, and be open to the school experience.  But, he may also shut down.  He may be nervous and fight off tears, not wanting to show his vulnerability.  He may be quiet.  He may ignore others and be solitary.  He may...

I knew exactly what to expect of Will at this age, but Jack is a mystery.  He is complex, bright, quick witted, literal, moody, creative, adverse to change, goofy, and shy.  He's tumultuous and passionate.  He's a series of opposites, a mystery to me and I've known him for almost 6 years.

All I ask, Mrs. V., is that you turn the pages of the mystery.  If Jack enters tomorrow nervous and shy, please take the time to turn the page to see what else is in there.  If Jack amazes you with his quick wit, please be prepared for the awkwardness that may follow.  He's layered and surprising.  He's up and he's down, and inside out.  But, please spend the time to see all of his sides and please, let's make this chapter excellent.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Un-Named Killer

In January of 2011, I wrote a blog post on the shooting of Senator Gabby Giffords.  I wrote it appalled at the evil behind a mass shooting.  Shocked by the senseless tragedy and crushed by the death of innocent people.  I wrote it because I couldn't let it go by without expressing my tidal wave of emotion brought about by a single madman.  I sit here today in May of 2014, barely phased by the mass shooting that took place over the weekend.  Saddened, yes.  Disgusted, yes.  But filled with a torrent of confusion and overwrought by the cruelty, no.  Because now I know that there isn't a single madman.  There are madmen, they are everywhere and they strike often. 

What is worse... I think we are making them.  When I wrote about Gabby Giffords and the 9 year old girl who died that day, I vowed to not name the shooter.  To this day, I don't know his name.  Or the man who shot up the theater in Colorado or the young man that took out the classroom in Connecticut.  I don't want to know who they are.  I don't want to see their faces and know their names.  Be they mentally ill or just evil, I don't know.  Its too late to know the whys of their actions, and to stop them.  I want to know who they are when they're young and we can save them.  I want to see them coming with enough time to save their victims' lives.  After the fact, I don't want to know them at all.

After their evil deeds, I won't give them notoriety. I know the names of actors, sports legends, heroes and government officials.  I know the name of people who matter (and people who really don't... Kanye and Kim... I'm looking at you).  But, I won't let these murderers win by gaining fame.  I don't need to know the name of a gunman that put himself on YouTube and authored a hate filled manifesto.  I won't learn his name and I would like the world's media to try the same. 

Would these mass killings still happen if the killer wasn't highlighted?  What if this young man, now dead, didn't have his face, his video ranting, his pages of hatred spilled across all the sites, pages and news reports.  What if we showed the victims, outlined their stories, their lives and their potential, all the while just calling the do-er the murderer, the criminal, the subject.  Make him anonymous.  Make him nothing.  Make his face disappear and his tirades go unheard and unread.  Make these people who plan to make others disappear, disappear themselves.  What if we grant the fame and the glory to the survivors, the first responders, the heroes.... and put the do-er where he belongs.... in the dirt.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I will start out by acknowledging the obvious.  I know that my son is not dying.  I know that there are many children and parents that suffer way more than we do.  We are not a tragic tale.  Disclaimer inserted so that anyone reading this doesn't feel the need to tell me that we could have it way worse.  I am well aware.  But, I am also aware that just because others have it way worse, doesn't mean that we have it easy.  Disclaimer over.

I never had asthma.  When I was growing up, I knew kids with asthma.  The ones with the inhalers out at recess and they'd puff a few times and go on.  I even remember being jealous of it.  The same way kids want glasses and braces until they get them and realize that its not nearly as fun as you thought it was going to be.  Until Will, I didn't know asthma.  Now, I do... and I hate it.

Will has struggled with asthma since his second year of preschool.  He gets flare ups that are all but debilitating.  He talks, he coughs.  He moves, he coughs.  He lays down, he coughs.  And, in case you've never experienced an asthmatic cough, let me inform you.  The word cough isn't big enough to impart the appropriate image.  He coughs so hard and so long that he can't inhale again.  Imagine violently pushing all your breath out without a pause to get more air in.  It sometimes leads to vomiting.  It often leads to panic.  It always takes the energy level of his which usually hovers around 100 to a level 0.  His body hurts.  His throat hurts.  His head hurts.  He's exhausted.  That's asthma.  And I hate it.

Doctors are hopeful he'll grow out of it, and the improvements he's had are amazing.  He is starting a flare up now, but he hasn't had one since September.  That's huge.  But, in September it took a month to get under control.  So, the start of this one is not met with relief that its been so long without, but with the dread of how long its here to stay.  Its not just his physical self that suffers.  There is nothing worse than attempting to go to school and knowing you're distracting the entire class repeatedly, but there is nothing you can do to stop.  Do we keep him home for a month?  I know his teachers get frustrated. I do, too.  I get the distraction, the desire for quiet, and they don't have the sleepless nights and don't even have to deal with the huge amount of money we've spent monthly on his medications.  I get being frustrated.  But, think of the frustration, and worse the embarrassment, he has.  Everyone is silently watching as he is running to the trashcan because this time he coughed up phlegm.  He wants to run and play at recess, but the staff won't let him because it may cause an attack.  He suffers socially, academically, emotionally, and of course physically.  All because of asthma, and I hate it.

I know that mothers all over the world have worse to deal with, but I'm talking about me now and the worse thing in my world is when my son can't breathe.  He is looking to me, gasping for breath and all I can say is "it will be ok."  It is not ok.  He ought to be able to breathe.  I'm not asking for a 5 minute mile, a 100mph fastball or a MENSA acceptance letter.  I just want my boy to breathe.  But, today he can't.  Thanks to asthma.  And, I hate it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Work Ethic

Will has taekwondo every Tuesday and Thursday.  He's been doing it for months, achieved his yellow belt and loves it.  However, every Tuesday and Thursday without fail he will complain about going.  He's good when he gets there, but he doesn't want to go.  The same was the case during football, swimming, even scouts on some nights.  The gist of it is that he wants to do the fun stuff, but not the work.

Tabbi was the same way.  She purported to love volleyball, and we even agreed to pay the $1,000 minimum fee to get her into club volleyball.  However, she went so far as to quit before her first practice.  She quit violin, too.  She was so afraid of doing the work, she just wouldn't.

I'm sitting here after giving Will five more minutes to play with his friends before getting ready to go and I'm at a loss.  How do I instill a work ethic in my sons?  Mark sort of has it.  He goes to work ill, or on no sleep.  Even the kind of yucky sick when your coworkers are pissed that you came in because they're going to catch it.  When we were dating, he went to work so sick with the flu that was killing people, he semi-passed out driving and totaled his car.  However, at home... he doesn't have it.  He won't mow today, when he could mow tomorrow (or never).  He won't stake our newly planted weeping willow up without me nagging at him to death  to the extent that he'd rather walk away from Mine Craft than have me utter another word about the tree.  And, I fear that I don't have it either.

I was kicked out of band in middle school essentially because I refused to practice.  In college, looking back, I'm pretty sure I graduated with an English Lit degree just because it was easy for me.  Was it a lot of work?  Yes.  I giggle when I hear people complain about 10 page papers and reading a novel a month.  (Hee hee, amateurs).  But, it wasn't HARD work.  That's the difference.  When I was a working professional, I worked hard.  I succeeded.  But, I can honestly say that now as a semi-professional part timer, there are days when I phone it in.  At home, I am a get the job doner, but I am not sure the kids even see it that way.  I do laundry and cook dinner because I have to.  Not because I'm getting my work done.

So, I am left with the question of how to make the practice that is required for my children's success seem like a good idea?  How do I get Will to see that he'll never reach a black belt without the work?  I have no answers, so I am truly writing this, not to give my point of view, but in search of others.  Because right now, I can't find the answer.  Or maybe I'm just too lazy to try.

Monday, March 10, 2014

You Can't Write About Fat Girls

I just finished reading a book last night that was about a fat girl.  I realized upon its completion that I've read a lot of fat girl books and they all annoy the poo out of me.  It must be my holier than thou attitude thanks to my supermodel thin physique.  Stop laughing....

This book was about a fat girl who meets a personal trainer by happenstance and he takes pity on her and decides to make her his project and once she is fit and skinny, he actually falls in love with her despite her former fatness and magnanimously decides to ignore the extra 20 pounds she still could stand to lose.  You'd think I'd be thin after reading 200+ pages of this barftastic book.

Other fat girl books are different.  They are based on the fatties who find men to love them in spite of their girth.  Those are gems, too.  The man finally realizes that her witty personality is all that matters, not her dress size.  In addition to the men being willing to love them, they're filled with women just sitting around waiting to be loved.  Often our heroines have great careers, friends, etc, but without the man, they are worthless.  Those books don't induce my urge to purge.  Instead, they make me want to track down the authors and punch them.  In the face.  With their books.

I realize that there should be books about pleasantly plump people, because the world is full of this epidemic of obesity (one that I am a shameful member of).  But, it would be nice if the books were a little less, I don't know.... INSULTING.  Maybe men do fall in love with fat women in spite of their looks, but I'd like to think that some men just fall in love, looks and all. Not that I'm praising those pervs trolling the 500 lbs. and up porn sites, but maybe some guys find curves appealing.  Maybe some men don't need a stick person to be happy.  Maybe husbands of women that aren't thin are just happy.  Not in spite of anything....  just in love with everything.  And maybe some overweight women don't sit around pining for a husband.  Hard to imagine, but maybe they have self confidence even though they could use a Zumba class or two, and lead full lives with or without a man in it.  Maybe it would be refreshing to see a book like that.  Then again, a book about two normal people who meet, fall in love and just live probably wouldn't sell.  But, I for one would like to see someone try.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Men See

Disclaimer:  The following is an anthropological essay on differences between husbands and wives.  Mark, this isn't entirely about you, nor is it from a place of anger.  It is about most men in general, and comes from a place of utter mystery and confusion.  End disclaimer.

My husband is a good man.  You can ask him to do things and while he will heave a hefty sigh of "I Don't Want To" (which he denies, by the way), he will do it.  But, my utter mystification comes not from the things he/they are willing to do, but from the fact that he/they don't do it until you ask them to.  Let me explain.

If Mark suspects the computers, Internet, laptop, Xbox, or smart phones are running improperly... he can sniff that problem out from a mile away and devote endless hours to its repair.  Endless.  However, if the pictures on our walls need leveling and sticky tacking, even if he sits in that room to Xbox with the boys on a daily basis, either he doesn't see that the pictures are so crooked it looks like a blind person hung them, or he feels there's no time to get such a monumental task accomplished (which took me 10 minutes today to do all our pictures in our house) or he likes them like that.  I don't know the answer.  I only know that is man-land, it doesn't exist and will not get done until I ask.  Wait... let me rephrase.  Until I nag him to death.

Other men have similar blind spots.  Some men will use a glass, walk over to the kitchen and deposit the used glass either on the counter or in the sink, seemingly blissfully unaware of this machine just inches below that if you open the door and deposit said glass, it will eventually come out clean.  I'm not sure if its the abundance of science fiction that most men watch or sheer ignorance of how things become clean, but if you put the glass on the counter, its never going to get inside the washer without a human's help.  There's no teleportation.  There's no little arm that comes out of the machine and reaches for the glass and sets it on the rack.  Another person (I'll go out on a limb and assume its the other adult living in your home) has to do that step. 

Another conundrum...  In our house, we have a relatively new dog who occasionally seems to confuse our playroom with a park full of fire hydrants in the middle of the night and leave a little present on our carpet. See above where said husband plays video games with my boys in that room every day.  I'm guessing that his laser sharp vision is so acutely aware of the critical happenings on Lego Marvel that he is blind to the yellow circle on the carpet.  My vision must be more suited to pee spots than Lego versions of Pepper Potts, because I tend to spot them upon entry. 

These things are not worth fighting about.  They are not reasons for divorce or even the female patented snippy "I'm fine" followed by the silent treatment.  Its just something that I ponder.  If men are from Mars, who puts the dishes in the dishwashers there, and how many pictures are permanently crooked?  Wait, who would tell them to purchase and hang pictures in the first place?  Mars must be the land of blank walls and unlimited supplies of Solo cups.  I know that the genders are chromosomally different, but until marriage I had no idea the affect that Y chromosome has on vision.  That, or it stand for "y bother to clean up the urine if there's a digital citizen in peril on my video game?"

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Love My Son

Today, I am honored to be featured in the Hendricks County Home online magazine.

Take a gander here...


Then make sure and read the rest of the magazine and subscribe.  You may not be in Hendricks County, but the articles are fantastic wherever you are. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Things I Just Don't Understand

There are several things on a daily basis that just don't make sense to me.  Now, keep in mind, MENSA has never knocked down my door or anything, but still... I'm not Sarah Palin.  I am a reasonably intelligent functioning adult, but still.  Sometimes, I just don't get it.

For example... 

Why do people feel the need to open conversations by asking stupid questions?  For a short time, we owned a Great Pyrenees, which is basically a giant white snow beast of a dog.  When walking that dog, people would ask me "Is that your dog?"  No.  This canine is really a figment of your imagination.  Actually, even though I have three children and another dog, I just find strays and walk them when I have free time.  Ha ha,  free time.  Get it?

Why do people feel the need to point out that you don't look very good?  I'm at Meijer today and my cashier, who I don't know, feels the need to exclaim that I look "toe up."  I'm not sure what that means, but when I googled it, it doesn't seem like a compliment.  Clearly, I have a cold.  You can hear it when I speak or sniffle, and I have a droopy eye that is following in Bob Costas's eyesteps... but that doesn't mean I still don't pretend in my head that I look like Heidi Klum. (I realize I don't look like her when I'm healthy either, but my mental picture of myself doesn't have to know that.)

Why do people say things like, "This smells bad.  Smell it" or "this tastes bad.  Taste it."  My answer to both.... no.  I am more than willing to take you word for it.  I don't need to confirm it by experiencing the yuck for myself.

My son will not wear lip balm on his chapped red lips because he says he doesn't like the way it feels wet and slimy.  Then he licks his lips 100 times a minute.  How is that not wet and slimy?

Its not just other people, either.  Sometimes, I confound myself. 

When given too much time on my hands these past few weeks, I decided we needed a complete rearrangement of the playroom.  I executed this mission with the precision of a marine and the time frame of a.... well, I can't think of anything that actually works on time and efficiently anymore.  But, in a matter of two days, it was repainted, rearranged, reconfigured, etc.  I work tirelessly until its done.  However, it resulted in several photos that I chose not to rehang, and while I needed to get that room done immediately, I am quite content to let the stack of photos sit on my dresser upstairs indefinitely before I put them with the other photos in the bin in my closet.  But, by God, I got the playroom done.

I know that I need a pair of clean black yoga pants to wear to work tomorrow, but I just keep restarting the dryer instead of switching the laundry. In my head, I know I can take it out and move forward, but in my laziness, I feel like it needs a little touch up.

I menu plan for the week and grocery shop Monday mornings.  I rarely actually cook Monday night.  I feel that much effort should be rewarded with take away or eating out. 

So, with all that being said, I am heading to Cheddar's for dinner, because I shopped today and probably wearing dirty yoga pants at work tomorrow. But, if you see me, don't mention how bad I look.  I'm over it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Price of Being a Pushover

I, like every woman, am a weird combination of personality traits.  Not weird in a Cybil way, but more in a Meredith Brooks, "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover / I'm a child, I'm a mother / I'm a sinner, I'm a saint" kind of way.  And yes, I realize every reader now has that song stuck in their heads.  You're welcome. 

I am steadfast in my beliefs and I do not cower.  If you say the R-word, I am on it like a dog on a bone (or a dog on my shoes, if we're using my actual dog as an example).  I am pro things and against things, and while I know my friends and family might disagree, I will respect that, but I won't change.  In contrast, I am a complete wet mop, door mat, knock me over with a feather pushover if you need something.  I am easily guilted into doing whatever project or serving whatever function you need.  Make a note, because if you need something, I will agree to it even when I don't want to.  I'm handy to have around.

I used to assume that this need to please just affects me.  I am pressed to fit it all in and I have the need to make it all really good, so I won't even half ass the stuff I don't want to ass at all.  I'll do it well, but I've come to realize that it isn't just a weight I put on my shoulders.  Its shouldered by my family as well.

When I am stressed to fit it all in, I stress my kids out, too.  I work three part time jobs so I can be home with my children, but I am not doing them any favors when I bite their heads off constantly because their wants aren't fitting into my hectic schedule.  How fair is that?  We're tightly scheduled with the things that my kids want to do, and I'm fine with that because they deserve to participate in scouts and sports.  But, then I add in my own junk and suddenly the 2 minute window I've created for a potty break is gone and my kid needs a drink of water which is outside the time allotted to getting him drinks and suddenly I'm snapping at him for the fact that he dare get thirsty when I am busy.  Good thing I don't have him in daycare when he can get cared for with this much love and affection, right???

The funny part is that I can say no to my friends.  I can tell them that I don't have time to go out, or I don't feel up to it.  I know that they will love me (and/or tolerate me) regardless.  Its the acquaintances I can't say no to.  In my need to prove to a total stranger that I can do it all and help where needed, I am proving to my kids that I put a stranger's needs above their own.  I'm showing that my time is most important solving problems that someone else can solve, instead of the ones in my home which need a mommy to do it best. 

Well, I've decided today that I'm done with that.  I am going to be a good mother, and to do that I might not be able to be a good school, PTO, church, scouts, work volunteer.  I am going to say no to others so that I can say yes to my kids.  I will still have my three part time jobs, but when I'm home with my kids, I'll focus on them full time.  And for that, I'll be liked and appreciated by the ones that mean the most instead of those that matter least.