Thursday, February 24, 2011

The poignant words of another drowning mom

A friend of mine posted a link to this blog post from another mom, renouncing a version of my hero, Wonder Woman.  Can you believe?  She can't get stuff done.  Work suffers.  Kids suffer.  The household suffers.  Hubby suffers.  She suffers.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  If I could be so bold as to paraphrase, she functions at a percentage lower than ideal.  Nothing is as good as she knows she can do.  She feels like a failure.  I have two thoughts for the author.

1.  Honey, I can relate.

2.  Brava for eloquently puking it all out in a way that makes sense.

My circumstances and details aren't exactly the same, but I end many days with guilt and regret for missing the mark on any given task.  I should have put down the computer and engaged with the kids more.  I should have worked more to hit a deadline.  I should have stopped both of those things so that I could have cleaned the house.  I should have come to bed earlier so that I could "spend time" with hubby.  And a day that left me feeling completely spent from spinning my wheels from dawn to...well, almost dawn again, I don't think about the accomplishment.  I dwell on what didn't happen.

So what's the solution?

Work less?  Oddly, I'm about to get that wish.  And what have I done instead of relishing it?  Started my own website and that will, hopefully, grow to a profession.  Gee, that sounds like a schedule-clearer.  *insert eye roll here*

Hire someone to do some of this work (cooking, cleaning, errands) for me?  I'm cheap and that'll never happen.

Spend less time with my family in hopes of getting other things done?  Not an option.

I hang a lot of faith that getting myself organized, both in the literal sense of decluttering our home and my brain by working on meal plans, for example.  The irony is that those things take time.

I usually like to wrap up my posts on something funny or an upnote, and in that tradition, I think I'm going to commit to some baby steps.  I'm guilty of getting overwhelmed and making mountains out of mole hills.  Seriously...instead of doing two loads of laundry a day (the mole hill), I wait until there are nine loads to do (Mt. Washmore) and I'm weighed down by the thought of completing that task. 

Thank you to Jessica for her poignant words that really made me take ten minutes and think this through today.  I needed that!  Today, Wonder Woman can move over.  You're my hero.  <3

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sometimes you have to intentionally make yourself smile

I don't know what it is, but the change from winter to spring makes me a little melancholy about my dad.  He'll be gone two years next month and I miss him more than I can say.  While the grief isn't part of a normal day for me anymore.  The tangible pain I feel when it grips me is crushing.

I've spent the weekend feeling a little blue, so in an effort cheer myself up, I'm going to have to go with dancing hamsters.  Thank you, Kia, for your unique flavor of advertising.

What's the deal with the hamsters in the toaster?  Or the one in the washing machine? 

And here's my new my favorite commercial. 

Bless you, Peppers.

Grudges are like boulders

Today in church, our second and third graders put on a play, where each of them held "heavy" boulders and talked about the weight associated with holding grudges.  As I listened, I thought about how I could review this message with my girls and ask for ways it applied to their worlds when it hit me - I'm the one weighed down by a grudge right now.

The details aren't important, but I'm in a situation where someone's behavior has bothered me more than I should have let it.  Literally, my family can't wait for this situation, which is coming to an end, is over just so I'll get my normal level of blood pressure back.  I would refer to many interactions with this person as toxic.  Many chances have been given.  There have been fresh starts that keep going wrong.  Have I been holding a grudge?  In the great words of Sarah Palin, you betcha.  Has it been weighing me down.  Heck yes.

This afternoon, at a birthday party, another party-goer asked to trade favor toys with my daughter.  She, excited about the possibility of a new friendship, agreed.  Three steps away from the exchange, she held an obviously broken toy in her hand.  Do I think there was ill-intent on the party of the trade initiator?  You betcha.  Did my daughter carry her hurt feelings and anger well beyond the end of this party?  Heck yes.

We've all heard the expression, "turn the other cheek."  And while I don't typically disagree with the bible, I am going to with my own interpretation on this one.  I think by turning the other cheek, we're giving someone a second chance to do the right thing.  When they don't and we have no more cheeks to offer, it isn't necessary to keep allowing them to hurt us.  Yet, it's not healthy to carry that grudge.  So what's the middle ground here?  Forgive and forget?  I wish I was better at that.  So how about forgive and move on?  If that leaves some behind, so be it.  Pray for them.  Wish them the best, and mean it.  Go forward.  Sometimes, as quickly as possible.  Run.  Fast, if you must.  :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What motivates someone to go on the Bachelor?

I can't stop watching The Bachelor.  I know it's ridiculous.  I know it's not at all about finding true love.  It's stupid.  No one argues that point.  Yet I watch.  And I can't help pointing out obvious things.

There were six women on last night's episode and Brad had to choose four at the end.  I'm mid-way through the episode via my BFF, the DVR.  Chantal is crying her eyes out because she didn't get the rose on a group date.  Her feelings are hurt that he didn't pick her as his favorite out of the three.  Poor sweet girl.  The emotions are obviously real, but weren't they anticipated?  Surely she's seen the show before.  They start with like thirty women and only one makes it to the end.  Your odds going in are pretty bad.  And with Back Again Brad, they're even worse when you throw in his first set of 30 women who didn't make the cut. 

I suppose we all get ourselves into situations with a known emotional consequence.  I'll just never get why these women do it to themselves to publicly.  It sure can't be the shot at fame anymore since reality TV makes up such a large portion of airwaves these days.  These "stars" are a dime a dozen.  They can't *really* think it's likely they'll find love.  I suppose there's the experience.  I mean I just saw these women in Costa Rica and now Anguilla.  I'd love to go hang out at these locations.  In fact, watching tonight I had the thought, (insert whiney voice here) "I wanna go away with my husband!"  Though I, without doubt, wouldn't want to go on those trips with the strings of watching him mack on other woman while I watched attached.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Will Justin Bieber be my son-in-law?

My daughter loves Justin Bieber.  The other day she told me she wants to marry him and today she called him, "my man."  When shopping for Valentines last weekend, she choose a set with his picture on them.  When she pulled out an included poster, she gasped because it had his autograph on it.  All of this seems pretty typical, right?  The only concerning detail here is that she's six-years-old - and doesn't have a CD of his.  We've never seen him on television except for commercials for his upcoming movie.  Today she asked why his voice used to be high and now it's lower.  So no only is he stealing the heart of my baby, but now forcing conversations about puberty.  Where did this all come from?  And how do I redirect her back to playing Mommy to her dolls?

Disney is disappointing me

Today was the long-anticipated launch of Disney Junior, a channel running shows all day  for the preschool crowd.  I'm reading that the change in formatting is to focus on healthy living.  When my children were a little younger, I desperately wanted this option.  Nickelodeon turned me off with their dedication to inundating my children with loads of commercials.  Our playroom looks like Toys R Us and ate Christmas morning, had some sort of breeding session with it and puked it back out.  We're good in the toy department.  The last thing I need is pleading for junky toys that look amazing on TV and fall apart in your hand.  Disney channel, up to this point, has shielded me from that. 

Now that the gals are 6 and 7, I'm hearing some grumblings about "baby shows" and I can't blame them.  Handy Manny is cute, but is definitely designed for the five and under crowd.  So this morning I searched out Disney XD on our TV, looking for Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance...something.  I did find The Suite Life on Deck - sandwiched between commercial breaks for some crappy erasers and robot toys.  Really?  This is my new option?  No thank you.

Disney, I'm mad at you.  I was okay with the promos for your movies coming out on DVD.  I was only mildly annoyed when you ran that commercial for the Tangled tower that my little one wanted for Christmas and was $160.  And now you've got that Selena Gomez song "Round and Round" permanently stuck in my head.  All excusable.  But now, not only are you saying, "Be exposed to advertising for crappy products or watch baby shows," but by looking at the programming schedule on both Junior and XD, you've got nothing *really* age-appropriate for kids my daughters' ages in the before/afterschool hours.  No Phineas and Ferb.  No Good luck, Charlie.  Why was this age-group completely dumped?

So I'm wondering.  What did parents of young grade-schoolers gain?  I'm thinking it's a strengthened commitment to PBS.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My 6-year-old is a flu-sy

I'm starting to get a complex about how often my kids are sick this year.  I recall strep around Thanksgiving.  On New Year's day my older daughter got sick with a virus.  My younger daughter got that same virus a few days later.  Each girl missed a full week of school and were the sickest I've ever seen them.  The flu tests were negative on that, but I wasn't convinced.  Two weeks later, the older daughter got the actual flu.  On Friday, the baby was diagnosed with the flu.  Are you kidding me?

I've heard it from several people - EVERYONE seems to be extra sick this year.  Strep throat went around our school like wildfire.  The viruses are swirling like little tornadoes.  And now the flu is taking kids out left and right.

I'm one of those moms who deliberately does not get the flu shot for the family.  In general, I'm a nervous vaccinator.  We don't get it, but I don't renounce it completely.  My mom has some health issues, dealing with heart disease and COPD.  It's absolutely necessary for her to get it.  Earlier this year I talked to our doctor about how us not getting it could possibly harm my mom.  She said that if she felt strongly we should get the shot, she'd tell me.  With that information, I went with my gut and we skipped it again this year.  Now I'm reconsidering that policy. 

In the meantime, I'm doing some research on immunity boosting foods and stocking up on Clorox and Lysol wipes.  Fingers crossed we'll stay healthy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I love and hate about Facebook

Yesterday I got to tell my kindergarten boyfriend that his new baby daughter is just gorgeous.  He and I were in love about 31 years ago for a short time that involved a few hugs and perhaps a kiss on the cheek.  We went to school together clear through senior year and graduated in the same class.  Though after kindergarten, the spark faded and we just passed each other in the hall.  He's married now.  So am I.  Yet somehow Facebook has brought us back together in a "Hey there!  How's your family?  It's so nice to hear from you!" benign way and I was able to share in the joy of him posting pictures of his first child.  So cool!

The downside of Facebook is getting that friend invite from someone you have known your whole life, but was never really part of it.  Someone who has never said more than five consecutive snooty words to you, yet somehow thinks you should be connected via social media.  She's pseudo-family, so there are some repercussions for denying the request.  But, come on.  Seriously?  I wish her and her family well, but beyond that, I'm good.

Oh and then there's that co-worker you absolutely do not get along with who has requested "friendship", likely to just spy on you.  But you're the witch if you don't accept.

Thank you, Facebook engineers, for lists.  :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I chickened out

I'm so ashamed to admit I did not attend the funeral for my daughter's teacher's husband.  :-(

Before my dad died, I was anti-funeral.  I did, and still do, feel like grief is a very private thing.  Yet thinking back to the visitation and mass, I remember who was there.  I remember who I talked too.  I remember seeing our preschool teachers walk in and crying in appreciation.  My mom and other family members have similar stories.  So despite being blinded by tears, I still know who I saw those days and how much it meant to me.  I wanted my attendance credit for this one.  Not for any selfish interest, of course.  More like as a means of letting this woman know, "My heart hurts for you and I'm here because I care about you and your family."  I failed.

I was on the way home from dropping my mom off at the airport and was delayed due to an accident on an entrance ramp to the highway.  Then I called home to see if the fam wanted bagels.  Then I started really calculating the time and thinking it would be tight for me to get home, change clothes and go.  Of course I would have to find the address of the church and put it into the nav.  Tick tock tick tock.  Then I realized I was desperately trying to find reasons why I would be late and it wouldn't work out.  I was already tearing up, trying to figure out exactly what I would say.  I thought back, again, to my dad's funeral, also a Catholic mass.  I thought, "would the family sit in the same position?"  "Would it be like deja vu?"  I started losing it and getting angry about my tears.  I'm the Jasper of my family and my empathy skills are off the charts.  I didn't want to go to this funeral and fall apart.  I hardly knew the deceased. He was such a pleasant and friendly guy who, so outwardly, loved and was proud of his family.  He was a valued acquaintance, but my grief isn't deep over my loss of him.  It's deep for our friend's loss of him.  Unfortunately, teardrops don't fall with post-it notes attached and I was afraid they'd be misinterpreted - in front of MANY people from our school. 

I'm a chicken.

My mom got a breast exam from a TSA agent today

Let me be the first to say I support security in our airport.  I don't gripe about screening lines.  I wear slide-on shoes to expedite the process.  I wouldn't freak out if I had to walk through one of those x-rayers.  What happened today, though, got under my skin.

My mother flew out of our tiny airport this morning.  She has had her knee replaced and will set off the metal detector.  She loaded her carry-on baggage into the trays and sent it through the scanner.  When she was called to walk through the detector, she informed the agent she would set it off due to her new joint.  I had to stand quite a distance away since I wasn't flying with her, but I could hear bits and pieces of the conversation.

He asked her to stand to the side.  For several minutes, she was in a secondary line with another traveler in a wheelchair in front of her.  Then I saw a female TSA agent talking with her, demonstrating some methods she'd use to pat her down.  My mom was smiling, this gal was smiling, so I don't believe it was a tense situation.  But seriously - how much resistance will you put up when you have 30 minutes until your flight and you just want to get off the ground.  Besides, Mom is a rule follower and even if she had two extra hours, she probably would have obliged.

Then the screening began.  I actually thought there would be the wand used.  Mom intentionally wore loose-fitting pants so she could show security her scar.  In the past, she has had the wand waved over her entire body.  If only her knee region set it off, she showed that scar and went on her way.  Not thing time.  She got the full-body pat down.  I basically watched this TSA agent give my mother a breast exam.  Literally she rubbed her back, then reach around the sides of her breasts.  Then she ran her hands over her shoulders, and down the front of both breasts.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! 

I'm not suggesting that this TSA agent acted unprofessional, in any way.  But was this procedure really necessary?  Why should I, as an air traveller, be forced to submit to this violation?  I've read many airport security horror stories and this isn't quite as bad.  But isn't there a better way? 

As my mother's two-layers-short-of-a-gynecological exam came to an end, I mouthed, "Oh my God!" to her and she waved me on, "It's okay.  I'm fine."  But again - what else would she have said as the agent stood 12 inches from her?  Unreal.  Again - there HAS to be a different way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I was going to whine, but then I learned of a friend with real problems

I had intended to write today about my desire to reject western medicine, much like my husband.  My cocktail of ibuprofen, Flonase and Tamiflu have left my clogged ears untouched, incited dizziness and made me vomit.  I'm done.  No more drugs.  I'm going with lots of fluids, good food and rest.  That was, until I got some news.  My daughter came home today with a note that her teacher's husband passed away this morning.  This man was younger than I am and leaves behind three children between the ages of 7-years-old and 6-months-old.  Suddenly my "problems" seem really small.

I've already cried about this numerous times.  This was a wonderful family, filled with wonderful people doing wonderful things.  Smart, funny, sweet...I have nothing bad to say.  And let's face it.  Good teachers become part of your family.  They're part of the dinner conversation and your partner in parenting. 

The thoughts running through my head are sobering.  You always plan for tomorrow, next week, two years from now and someday.  But we're never guaranteed it will every come.  I've spent a lot of time telling my children "just a minute" or "after I send this email."  The television served as a babysitter while I worked.  On weekends, they spend hours with each other, perfectly entertained - without me.  I sometimes go long periods of time without devoting my full attention to my husband.  I often go a week without spending a morning with my mother.  I haven't seen my brothers in months.  It's easy to get through any of these given days because I assume there will be an opportunity later.  I'm sure my friend thought there'd be another morning, last night. 

I realize it's not healthy to fear the end.  And it's not practical to live each day to its fullest - folks have to work, do laundry and whatever else.  But the sentiment isn't lost.  At all times, cherish the ones you love.  Tell them often.  Do it in person as much as possible.  In the meantime, send positive thoughts to this family.  I can't imagine what their day has been like.  My heart is breaking for them.