Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Confession #29: I Hate You, I Love You.

Confession #29:  I Hate You, I Love You

Parenting comes with a huge variety of emotions, that's for sure.  One second you're relaxing with a lovey-dovey six-year-old snuggler, and ten seconds later, your pre-teen with her top knot defiantly resting atop her head is staring at you....again.  For some odd reason, the way you're sitting there is offensive to her.  So instead of asking her why she's staring at you, invite her to your lap.....that's probably what was wrong all along.  She was looking for a way to spend time with you and just didn't know how to ask.  This is otherwise known as "The Events Which Occurred the Day Before School Started."

The start of a new school year brings a rush of nostalgia, appreciation for what teachers really do with your kids August-May, and a moment to reflect on the little ones you're molding and sending into the world of academia each day.  Last night I was reflecting with wine, and I woke up with the wine sweats at 2:45 a.m.  So tonight I reflect with writing.....and hope it heals my soul a little bit more and leaves me less sweaty.

Let me start with my oldest.  Tomorrow she sets foot in the school where I taught almost my whole teaching career.  She will attend classes in the same room where I taught.  She is already a mini-celebrity (in her mind) who is being watched with careful, loving eyes of so many staff members I know.  This makes me cry.  I cry because I remember seeing these parents walk in the school, escorting their eldest children, wondering....wondering....wondering.....how life could be so different from one day to the next....and now I am one of those parents.  I cry because I feel like I'm wandering....wandering...wandering....through uncharted territories.  My oldest child, the one full of kindness and creativity and school spirit, is halfway done with her public school education, and I know how fleeting these growing up years are.

Next comes my middle child.  He's the "I fly under the radar" kid.  He's smart, he's sweet, and he's obsessive and sensitive.  When we walked into his new teacher's room last night, she tilted her head to the side and said, "You must be Quinn."  I could feel his smile before I saw it.  He nodded his head and proceeded around her uh-may-zing classroom with its stations.  At that moment, I decided I wanted to be in 4th grade, too.  I know that on the last day of school, I'll cry because our family loved her so much....and I hope she cries because she loved teaching him.  I know she's going to make him feel special each and every day because she already did the day she met him.  As we walked away from her room, he said to me, "How did she know I was Quinn?"  And to be honest, I don't know how she knew his name, but she knew....and that's all that mattered in that moment.

Lastly, my self-confident, seriously studious third child.  The one with charisma and charm and drama and #nofilter.  I see this six-year-old with a different set of eyes than I saw my oldest at her age.  This child merely attends school so one day she can rule the world.  Each day she goes to school, I know she tries her hardest, and with that comes a sensitive little heart.  I love knowing she will be adored by her teacher.....and she will feel the same way about her.

With all these feelings, I love to see the school year start, but I hate it too.  Gone are the days of sleeping 'til your body wakes you up, not the alarm.  Gone are the days of the door to the garage slamming 100 times as the kids play in and out of the house all hours of the day.  Gone are the days of late night, front porch sitting and chatting.

I have loved these days.....and I hate that they are slipping away so quickly.  I wasn't quite ready for this, even though my three little treasures sure are.  Their shoes are ready. Their clothes are ironed.  Their backpacks are loaded.  Their eyes ready to close on the night to awake in the morning eager for new beginnings.  And I love them even more for it all.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Confession #28: Mommin' Ain't Easy

Confession #28:  Mommin' Ain't Easy

Over the years I have been a mother:  10 1/2, to be exact, my motherhood-ness has changed.  It went from the days of calling my husband in a panic needing him to come home because I just. couldn't. do. it. anymore.  The baby.  The baby.  The baby.  She was too needy, too cry-y, too not-sleepy.  I couldn't do it all by myself by 4:45 in the afternoon.

Then my motherhood-ness changed again over the next five years.  We added two more children to the brood, and I was no longer working outside of the home.  That in itself was a huge change.  It made it easier to handle the things at home since I was there all of the time.  However, where were all of the adults I had apparently been taking for granted?  Those adults I spoke to every single day, surely keeping me sane in our camaraderie.  Where had they all gone?

Today, in my eleventh year of mommin', I realize how different my motherhood-ness is now.  I am back in the work force, working part-time at a job I adore.  I am back in the world of feeling invigorated by adult conversations and productivity outside of my home.  It's truly the best.  And now my job as a mother is even more complex than it ever has been.  It requires a calendar and sticky notes....everywhere I go.

Nearly every minute of my day is planned or spoken for, mostly in order to get children to and from the places they need to be.  I hardly have any room for error or misjudging of my time.  Most of my conversations with my husband relate to transportation or schedules.  At least when the babies were little, we talked about them and what they were doing.  Now it's just where they are going, and I guess it is all in an effort to get them where we want them to be going.....in life.  

You know why people don't say Daddin' Ain't Easy?  Because that statement doesn't resonate the way it does about moms.  The expectations of women are so much higher when it comes to the home things, the kid things, the house things, and the every-things.

I've never even seen my husband write a to-do list.  SERIOUSLY.  Never.  Never.  Never.  The dude has never written down a list of things he needs to accomplish in the day to make sure all is well at home, at work, at school, with the kids, with sports practices, with carpooling, with grocery shopping, with spirit days, with school carnivals, with classroom parties, with holidays, with birthdays, or just to get through the damn freaking day.  If he has a to-do list in his hand, and that is a big IF, I am probably the one who wrote it.

And that, my friends, is why Mommin' Ain't Easy.

{but we wake up the next day, a new sunrise, a new set of eyes, and we take on the day.....}

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Confession #27: It all goes away.

Confession #27:  All those small things?  They go away.

I was getting a pedicure yesterday, and I happened to glimpse out the window to see a young mom putting her toddler into her car seat.  Immediately, I felt that feeling all over again.  That rush of exhaustion and relief because you're putting your small child into a restraint.  Who knows what challenges she had just faced inside the paint store?  Who knows what mood the little girl will be in now that she's strapped in her seat?

I felt all of that again.  You see, I haven't really had those experiences any more.....my kids are getting bigger. They're not in college or anything scary like that, but they are growing up.  They are 9 1/2,  nearly 7, and 4 1/3.  That's a lot different than 5, 2 1/2, and newborn.  It's a world of difference.

Let me tell you what I don't do or have anymore;

*I don't get to smell baby hair.
*I don't hear the roll of the highchair wheels.
*I don't have warm-turned-cold patches of baby drool on my shoulder.
*I don't do a five-point harness.
*I don't clean fuzzies out of baby fat rolls.
*I don't debate whether or not to take my little one out of the car seat carrier.
*I don't have a diaper bag.
*I don't wash, buy, or pack bottles.
*I don't have little snack cups.
*I don't have fat baby feet in teeny-tiny socks.
*I don't have hourly wakings to eat.
*I don't wait for first words.
*I don't wait for first steps.
*I don't have necklaces used as chew toys.
*I don't hum lullabies over and over again.
*I don't shush-shush-shush while rocking a baby.
*I don't wince before opening a dirty diaper.
*I don't cry when I realize the last baby wipe was used to wash someone's tricycle.
*I don't have any toys made out of big, fat plastic.
*I don't have any toys which make ridiculous, never-ending sounds.
*I don't have fat, squishy baby hands grabbing my hair while nursing.
*I don't have fat, squishy baby hands grabbing my lips while I'm trying to talk.
*I don't have fat, squishy baby hands grabbing my face and turning my head to listen.
*I don't have 0-3 month clothes in any closets....unless they are in "too small" totes.
*I don't even have a stroller.

You don't think you'll ever miss those things.....but you do.  I do.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Confession #26: Teachers need to listen to ME.

Confession #26:  Teachers need to listen to ME.

     For those of you who don't know me personally, or never gave a whoop-di-do about what I did before I achieved Trophy Wife status, I used to be a teacher.  Therefore, this post comes riddled with wisdom from an educator's point-of-view, as well as a professional child-wrangler.

     Teachers:  LISTEN UP.  I know you don't want to go back to work.  It sucks.  You may love most things about your job.....you may not.  Either way, the end of summer break sucks.  No more lounging in your jammies.  No more staying up late at night without feeling tired the next day when the alarm goes off.  No more freedom from having to be somewhere at a certain time while trying to coordinate children, a household, and a husband.  And while life as you knew it for a few months is over, I want you to know why I'm really excited for two of my children to be in school full-time and one part-time.  Steel yourselves, it's not what you think.

     On the morning of Wednesday, August 14th, I will prepare my two children for 2nd grade and Kindergarten.  They will eat breakfast, smile for tons of pictures they don't want to take, and then they will get on the bus to head to their first day of a new year of school.  The next morning, all three kids will be dressed and ready to go to school.  One reason I am excited for my kids to go to school again is because I personally love new beginnings.  Fresh pencils, new glue, clean folders, blank sheets of paper.  All of these things signify what is yet to come, and this is so very exciting to me, and I have passed this excitement onto my kids as well.  They keep checking on their purchases, just to make sure everything is still there and brand new.  This is a starting point; almost a "see-what-I-can-do" beginning of everything.

      Another point to note, teachers, is that you are miracle workers, and I have faith in you to do the unthinkable.  You take my children, the ones whom I love so dearly, and you teach them things I never thought they would learn.  I have a child who is a fluent reader.....not because of me.  I have a child who loves music and instruments.....not because of me.  I have a child who calls every student in her class her friend.....not because of me.  Teachers, you teach so much more than content.  You teach caring, sharing, loving, responsibility, dedication, completion, and pride.  I try to teach those same things at home, but there's something about your teacher status that has clout.  I know I'm important to their upbringing, but you are too.  Never, ever forget that.

     As I prepare myself for another year of not teaching, I am truly ecstatic to be at home.  I have the chance to greet my children as they come running off the bus, anxious to tell me about what you said today that meant so much.  I will help my children work hard to make you proud, as that is all they want to do.  I will sign their folders to let you know I acknowledge all of your hard work, and affirm that it really does matter.

     Don't get me wrong, I will enjoy my moments of peace when all three are at school, but I will sip my coffee, fold my laundry, and run my errands knowing that they are in your loving hands, teaching them lifelong lessons about life and learning.  And for those moments of peace, I thank you.  Don't ever think you're not my heroes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Confession #25: Wishful thinking happens a lot.

Have you ever noticed, that as a parent, you spend so much of your time thinking wishfully about something?

Here are some examples:

1.  You take the pregnancy test.  You wish for it to be positive.

2.  You know you're pregnant.  You wish to hear the heartbeat every time you listen for it.

3.  Your baby arrives in this wide world.  You wish for the baby to be healthy.

4.  Your baby is peacefully sleeping.  You wish she would be awake.

5.  Your baby is awake.  You wish she would be peacefully sleeping.

6.  Your baby starts to sit up on his own.  You wish he would crawl.

7.  Your baby starts to crawl.  You wish he would just sit.

8.  Your baby starts to cruise on furniture.  You wish she would walk.

9.  Your baby starts to walk.  You wish she would be sleeping peacefully.

10.  Your baby runs into the laundry room brandishing a knife.  You spend some time thinking wishfully he has learned how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches....and there are no gashes in furniture or flooring anywhere in the house.

11.  You hear the soothing sound of water trickling.  You think wishfully it is the iPod playing your meditation music....not the washing machine overflowing and running down the drywall.

12.  You hear a little voice in the middle of the night, "Mommy?"  You think wishfully that this child is just coming in to remind you how much you're loved and appreciated....not getting ready to tell you he has just peed in the bed or puked on the floor.

13.  You pick up a chocolate chip off of the kitchen floor.  You think wishfully you had double-checked its status as an actual chocolate chip before consuming it.

14.  You think about your child, wanting him to grow up when necessary, but still remain your baby when you need him to be.  That, my friends, is wishful thinking.

I don't know if parenting is delusionally-blinded by love or what it is, but I realize 95% of my day is spent wishing for the best-case, not the worst-case, scenario.  The nice thing is that I have three reminders of what wishful thinking can bring you....and I wouldn't wish for anything else.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Confession #24: I am an addict.

I am addicted to Jazzercise.  I would never have thought I would utter those words, but alas, it is true.  I find it hard to even have a conversation without mentioning the word (jazzercise).  I would like you to take this journey through (jazzercise) with me and understand why it has consumed my life.

When I first walked in the door on October 26th, 2011, I didn't really know what I was doing.  It was 5:15 a.m., and I was completely out of my element.  I have never taken dance classes or any formal aerobics classes either.  (it's obvious when you watch me...)  I was nervous about what to expect from the class and the people there.  

Nearly eight months later, I am a self-proclaimed addict.  The others who go at 5:30 a.m. would say the same things about themselves.  It's easy to get sucked into the Jazzerworld for many reasons.  

#1.  I have lost a lot of weight through this dance craze, but that is not the most important thing to me.  It is truly what I have gained that matters most.  I have become stronger and built my endurance for exercise.  My body is capable of withstanding more while exercising, playing with my children, and I have more energy throughout the day.  

#2:  While I am working out, it is impossible for me to think about anything else in my life.  My mind is sucked clean as I try to anticipate each upcoming move my body and mind have memorized.  If I do think about anything other than moving my body, I mess up and feel foolish by my own actions.

#3:  This is the ONLY place where I have walked into a building full of women and felt welcomed, appreciated, and affirmed.  There is no bitchiness allowed at (jazzercise).  If you're wearing a cute new top, you receive compliments....genuine compliments.  If you've lost weight, people notice and tell you with happiness, not jealousy.  If you say something funny, people laugh and don't talk about you behind your back about how weird you are.

#4:  There's kick-ass music. (and you can lip sync!)

#5:  There's dancing.  (and you don't have to be drinking margaritas to do it!)

#6:  There are friendships, connections, and unique bonds to be made there.  It's truly hard to explain until you go to class for awhile and your conversations move beyond where you got your tennies, or what color nail polish you're wearing.  You cheer on your friends when they reach big milestones.  You bring your friends dinner when life has given them more than they can handle.  You share in ceremonies, both happy and sad, because you know how important it is to them to have that support.  You wear spandex in front of these ladies, and you don't even think twice about it....you know they aren't judging.

So why do I talk about (jazzercise) all the time?  Why do I put the window cling on my car to show that I am a proud member of this faithful group?  Why do I try to encourage you to come with me to class?  It's because I want you, as a woman, to feel the same way I do:  happy, confident, fun, energized, and dedicated to something that is nothing but positive.  Who doesn't want that in their lives?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Confession #23: College should have had different courses.

Many of you know that Fridays at my house are a serious homage to college days.  I sit back and think about life almost 18 years ago, and I think about how glorious it was.  Despite the fact that I had to struggle to stay awake in many of my classes due to sheer boredom, and the ridiculousness of others, college was amazing.

However, if I were to rewrite the college courses they offer, that would actually become applicable when you're a parent, I would love to do so.  The so-called "School of Life" line-up is now here for you to see:

1.  Meteorology would be replaced with "Look out the Damned Window."  This would teach parents and children alike how to look out the window before dressing for the day, as well as taking into account the day's forecast per the news or internet.  Children will learn how to accept Mommy's "weather truths" and dress accordingly with no arguing.

2.  Ed Psych would be replaced with "How to Not Lose Your Mind While Out in Public with your Child."  Strategies for diversion will be taught to parents so they can keep children quasi-entertained, at minimal cost, for extended periods of time, while still accomplishing the task at hand.  Patience mantras will be taught as well, helping parents to focus on silent, evil looks and muttering threats so others can't hear them.

3.  Diversity Studies would be replaced with "Some Kids are Little Shits.....and they always want to be friends with your kids."  This course will teach parents how to cope with the little shit in your child's class, on the block, or in the play group.  You will walk away with several strategies to put fear into the heart of this little shit that you'll ruin his life if he messes with your kid again.

4.  Philosophy would be replaced with "How to Answer Insane Questions without Provoking More Insane Questions."  Children are blessed with the ability ask unique questions.  On the other hand, you can oftentimes find yourself in an argument about some hypothetical situation that could never occur, which then leads to other, more useless conversations or arguments.

5.  Western Civ would be replaced with "Basic History You Never Learned in School."  Let's face it, your kid is going to know more about the world than you ever did.  With the internet and increasing school standards and demands, kids these days have more knowledge about historical events than their parents.  Learn the basics so you don't sound like an idiot when your kid asks you who fought in WWII.  Answer, with confidence, what McCarthyism truly was.  You'll be thankful you learned this.

That's just a random sampling of things I wish I'd studied in college that would have helped me as a parent.  Look for more courses to be added as creativity strikes.  (Such as "Faking Interested Looks When Viewing 1,000 sheets of colored papers at the end of every day of Kindergarten.....)