Being terribly real…

RealOn the journey to motherhood, I didn’t pause to consider what it was going to be like after I had my daughters.  I never thought for a second about play dates, getting out of the house with two babies, or how I would live in pajamas…for a long time.  The only things I thought of were the sweet baby smell, and the adorable girl clothes all ready to put on my first baby.  It was easy for a while.  I know that sounds crazy, but it was.  She was a good baby after I got over the initial “How the heck do you breast feed right?” phase.  I was constantly tired, but it was a good tired.  One I could live with.  Until the day I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2.  The first one was only 9 months old.  Wow.  Was not expecting that.  Ha.

So fast forward to having 2 baby girls.  The struggle was real as they say.  I came up with the idea of play dates to get out of the house.  With moms I had never met before in my life.  It was wonderful, and I could reflect on that bonding experience for a long time, but what I want to get across is this point.  When we finally got past the pleasantries and being “real” with each other, it was a much better experience.  If you look past the cleaning like a mad woman before anyone came over for a play date (dumb thinking).  Making sure I had the right snacks out, and everything was prepped and ready so it appeared things were effortless.  Again, how dumb was that?  Not being embarrassed when my girls wanted to just sit and eat snacks instead of playing.  Like you can control your kids.  Hahaha.  When they are toddlers (new mom thinking is warped).

So as I have gotten older, and I visit my friends with kids, guess what y’all??  We don’t clean before anyone comes over.  We don’t.  It’s liberating.  I might be in something nice-ish, or I might be in yoga pants.  We don’t pretend that our lives are perfect.  And that the snacks float out to the table magically.  Although that would be pretty cool.  Heck, we don’t even know what we’re having for dinner half the time.  Or if there really is food in the house.  Some nights, it’s every human for themselves.  But why did it take so long to learn this?

When you meet someone, I know it takes a long time to get “real”.  Unless you quickly peel back the layers and say, “Oh there you are.  I like this you.  The real you.”  So if you are hurting and in pain because you think no one understands you, I want to ask you this, have you given them a chance yet?  Are you still the clean house, perfect food, immaculate outfits, and everything is nice and shiny, because believe me sister, life isn’t always nice and shiny.  Find the friends who are going to be there with you in the trenches and scream “Go for cover!” when the next life crisis is thrown at you.  Those are the ones who matter the most.  The ones who lift you up when life gets real.



Moody Monday…

I don’t know what’s going on over at your house as it gets closer to Christmas, but at my house, well, let’s just say we could use some positive thoughts, prayers, fairy dust, and the opposite of “If you don’t behave, I’m taking back one present a day” said no one ever.  If we could vent in some sort of “Happiness Fog” into my 13 year old’s room, I would appreciate it greatly.  So I had to take the situation into my own hands the other day and thankfully that was the day Gifts That Matter arrived at our house.

If you are not familiar with Momastery, I first heard about the catalog there some time ago and ordered one for my family.  So we sat down and went over what it’s like to live in other countries, what food costs, and what certain amounts of money mean to those people.  Later we made 8 bags, my teenager did not grumble, of emergency clothing, hoodie-style jackets, and books for children.  I am hoping to deliver to a school that one of my friends said needs the items.  Lastly, I reminded them both about the work I did in November of delivering 55 pounds of food to the Food Bank, going to the local Rescue Mission in a part of town that people pass by and probably don’t notice, and the shelter for women and children of domestic violence.

I do not want to raise children who do not understand the value of money…especially erm, since we don’t have tons of it, but we have enough to get by and that’s more than other people have.  So I want to raise children who think of others before they think of themselves.  So that’s my “Moody Monday”, and by the way, my daughter came home singing today.  Humming.  And singing.  I have done well.  It’s a great sign.

Live well

And cue hilarious sitcom…

Sometimes, I think there is a show being written about my family.  I know at any minute someone is going to pop out of the bushes and yell “cut!” or maybe just tell me that was best take ever.  I really wish someone had been around my folks house yesterday getting all on video.  Since there was no one hiding, I’ll tell you about it…right after I tell you about my dad.

Growing up, I swear I had the meanest, most strict dad in the universe.  At least, I was sure I did.  I couldn’t get phone calls from boys, he embarrassed me to pieces.  When I hung up my Sean Astin posters, ahem, I was afraid he was going to say something to make me take them down.  They were near my Lord of the Rings poster and calendar, NO LIE, how funny is that now?  Ha, but anyway.  So he was a bit overprotective.  JUST a BIT.

I was told to do “girly” things and not mess up my knees riding a bike (we didn’t do helmets, knee pads, or bubble wrap on you back then), and of course, I might have done some stunts on my bike once or twice.  We were ALWAYS outside.  Imagine that.  And I wanted to learn to skateboard after my brother got one for Christmas, but I might get hurt and girls didn’t ride skateboards.  Says dad.  I couldn’t ride the riding lawnmower, YES, this was a sore spot, because girls didn’t do that.  He taught my brother.

But maybe, just maybe, it was because he loved me and wanted to keep me safe.  I didn’t see it that way.  I distinctly remember calling him a “male chauvinist pig” one day and perhaps oinking at him.  But he was okay with that.  He played games with us, took us places, and pretty much tolerated every crazy thing I did.  I hiked in the woods all day and came back looking like a Lord of the Flies reject.  My mom had to cut burrs out of my hair once.  I had a leech on me once, ewww.  And ticks and chiggers and mosquito bites, and umm even a snake bit me once.  Long story on that one.

So I actually was a mess.  I have two girls now, go figure, and my mom said “I hope you have one just like YOU.”  Like it was an omen.  You could hear it echoing after it was spoken like Maleficent had just visited me.  So my pop wanted the girls to spend the whole weekend with him.  Plus my brother’s daughter spent one night.  Okay dad, you asked for it.  They were having a rousing game of hide and go seek, a favorite among the girls, and my oldest daughter, who happens to look exactly like me, was hiding behind my dad’s hot tub.  They saw him coming, so she ducked down and must have hit the flap.  According to her, all of a sudden, wasps came out of no where and started attacking her.  She was screaming bloody murder and the top of her lungs, but thank God she only got stung 2 times because my mom said it was horrible.

Long hair can be a pain sometimes and one was apparently even caught in her hair.  Anyway, she got inside as did the little ones, and my dad apparently went ballistic.  From what I was told, he ran outside with a broom and was screaming to the top of his lungs “Nobody hurts my granddaughter” and began smashing the wasps in a fit of rage.  I am actually laughing as I type this.  Sorry.  Ahem.  So here is my dad, with his giant bouffant of white hair, beating wasps to death with his broom, yelling at them, and the girls are watching from inside.  Bwahahaha.  I mean, it was serious.  He apparently broke his broom in two, and my mom was yelling “step on them!!!” and the girls were just staring in shock I think.  They had no idea about “overprotective” poppop.  They had NOOOO idea.  So after it was all said and done, mom says and then your dad was holding his eye and going “my eyeee, I got stung” and I was ahem, laughing.  She thought he was kidding, but he really wasn’t.

So my youngest runs to Google, you know that extended family member who knows everything, and Google says to use vinegar.  Good ole’ Google.  So the next time I think about how “overprotective” my dad was, I will remember this story.  This one takes the cake.  Ha.


Motivational Monday…

Years ago, I started a “playgroup”.  What it really became, was a way to grow among diverse women.  We were not the same.  We did not look the same, or come from the same backgrounds.  We did not even come from the same countries.  I love and embrace other cultures.  The hardest thing for me to realize is that not everyone can embrace differences.  I hope that if there is one thing I can teach my children, it is to accept others for who they are.  Whatever they believe in, whoever they love, and whatever shade they happen to be.  We have a long way to go.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”  ~Maya Angelou

Motivational Monday…

Some people can write one thing, it goes viral, and bam!  They are writing books.  I keep plugging away hoping I am going to be that person.  I am actually talking about this post I read on the “worst end of school year mom ever”.  I shared it on my FB page and then I started thinking about how hard it is to be a teacher, and try to get through these last 14 days.  She mentions they are limping across the finish line, does she realize what it is like to teach 18 other people’s children all day long, everyday, and then have to go home and try to use these tactics on your own children?  At this point, you are like, I don’t know how to do that math problem, find the calculator.  You aren’t going to use that later anyway.  Or this one, your sister is better at math than I am, she can check it.  Then there was teacher appreciation week.  Not to sound umm bitter, because I am not, but I got a list, a LIST from my child’s school on what to send in each day.  I got a hug.  It was a nice hug, and I loved it.  It was all mine.  I got compliments.  I get them everyday, and I do feel loved by my class.  The parents didn’t get a list, so it must have slipped all of their minds this year.  Totally fine.

Then she talks about putting together a costume for her child.  I had to put together a parent day.  In the heat.  As it turns out, I got vertigo and was throwing up.  All the other members of my team were outside with all of our kids running around.  One teacher assistant even went in with a sore throat that turned out to be strep throat.  So forgive me, but we don’t do this because we are really getting a kick out of this these last few weeks.  My own child came home after state-wide testing and I was like, yayyyyy, no homework.  Then she said her teacher was teaching her new math, and even I was like what the what???  Please woman.

So how does this fit in with motivation?  Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  You have to dig your heels in, and run that last mile.  Or walk.  Or limp.  Or be carried by your friends.  Whatever works for you to see it through.  I am being wheeled in, but at least I am crossing the line.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt

“Everybody” is going…

But Mooooom, everybody will be there.  That’s nice dear.  Grumpy look from under the hair.  I don’t like it when I get my feelings hurt because everybody is talking about how much fun they had.  Look, it’s time you realize something.  There is no one you have to impress but yourself.  It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, we have a prior obligation.  You know what that means.  We have a responsibility.  Sometimes, you just don’t get to do what you want to do.

I am reminded, yet again, of the research that Search Institute started when it released the 40 Developmental Assets your child needs by the time they enter college.  We need to work to expand those assets in young people, but the truth is, most people find it difficult to give clear and concise boundaries.  The research breaks it down for you and explains what your child needs at each age grouping.  On the left side of this website, it shows you in a drop down menu.

I was checking the one for my children, ages 8-12, just as a reference, and I think we have the external assets covered.  The internal assets are where I think my child occasionally struggles; however, I know that if I have set up the right amount of external influences in a positive way, my child will gain confidence internally.  Does this make sense?  So, to make a long story short, it is okay to say no.  It is okay to set boundaries.  It is okay to ask your child questions about their day, each and every day, and help them on the road to success.  It is not okay to make excuses for them.  Help them learn the right way, and by the time high school peer pressure comes around, you will know you have done the best you can.  But keep asking those questions, and setting those boundaries.  Good job parents.

“Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.”  ~Edwin Louis Cole

Happy Mother’s Day…

I just want to share a collection of quotes today as my thoughts are still scattered.  Hope you enjoy!

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.  ~Peter De Vries

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  ~Honoré de Balzac

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.  ~Author Unknown

Lastly, one of my favorites:

A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, “where mother is.”  ~Keith L. Brooks