Tag Archive | family

Always Time for More.

Well it has certainly been a long time since I have visited my blog.  All I can say is WOW!!!! Life sure can change in six months.  I have managed to go from being a stay at home mom for eighteen years to a full-time employee in a thriving company.

So now I should be able to answer the ever-present question … is it harder to be a stay at home mom or a working mom?  The answer is simple…neither one is very easy.  I can’t say one is harder than other just different.  As a working mom I sure have had to learn to let a lot of things slide such as housework and cooking.  Neither of which I can say makes me very upset.  Working prevents me from having some time just to myself which I do miss.  However, working certainly gives me a great deal more self-satisfaction than I ever had as a stay at home mom.  Being a stay at home mom is probably one of the loneliest jobs in the world and the pay back is next to nothing.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to have someone tell you are doing a good job and that your efforts are appreciated.

I like the way I have tackled my life.  I wouldn’t give up my years at home with my kids for anything.  Did I ever expect that at this time in my life there would be a chance for me to still have a career?  Absolutely not, but what an incredible surprise to find out that there is still so much left for me to do.  I don’t really have to give up on my dreams of having a career or advancing in the workplace.  Only time will tell.  All I know is that as long as I am willing to work hard and dream big I can have almost anything I want.  A lesson I hope my kids will learn from watching me embrace life’s opportunities.

So whether you are a working parent getting ready to stay home or a stay at home parent getting ready to work it really doesn’t matter.  We are all just people tackling life as it comes to us, doing the best we can and trying to make each day the best it can be.  We are never too old to dream and it is never too late to try something new.  Our kids are watching us and our actions will always speak louder than our words.  So instead of telling them that they can be or do whatever than want show them.

Live your life in a way that you would want your kids to live theirs.  Be the person that you want your kids to be.  Don’t be afraid to fail, just be willing to try.  You don’t have to be perfect you just have to be your best.  You can’t always have everything you want but you can always have everything you need.  Sometimes we have to sacrifice and other times we can indulge.  These are the lessons your child is learning by watching you live.

This is just me learning to be the new me!

 

Who Am I?

Have you ever sat and wondered what you were meant  to do?  Thinking to yourself, surely I am meant to do something important, my life has to mean something.  I know I do.  Then I ask myself, am I not trying hard enough?  Am I not using my “talents” to their greatest ability?  Am I missing something?  Because truthfully I don’t see myself as having accomplished very much in my life.

I went to University and got a great education, had the potential to be an amazing nurse, yet chose to stay at home with my kids and not work at all.  What have I done that I will be remembered for?  When I laid my head on the pillow at night I would ask God to talk to me, tell me what it was I was supposed to be doing and I heard nothing.  I assumed I wasn’t listening hard enough or even worse I wasn’t important enough for even God to bother with.

Now I know that I didn’t hear God because he had already told me what I was to do and I had done it.  I was meant to stay at home and be with my kids.  God simply said, stay the course, don’t give up.  Oh several times I tried to steer my ship in a new and more exciting direction, carve my own path, draw my own map and each and every time I was put back on course.  It is only now that I realize you don’t have to effect a multitude of people to be important.  You don’t need to change the world or have your name known by millions, effecting one or two people is enough.

I will never be the next great artist, a Pulitzer prize-winning author, I won’t be the CEO of a major company or a political leader.  I will not save thousands of lives or develop a cure for cancer, I won’t be a professional athlete or famous movie star.  I won’t leave my mark on a very big piece of real-estate when I leave this earth and I will be lucky to fill the first half of the church at my funeral, but there are a few people who my life has made a difference for and that is all that matters.  I may not cure cancer but perhaps my son will, I may not be a great artist but perhaps my encouragement will allow my daughter to be one.  I may not invent a new piece of medical technology but perhaps my other son will.  I may not save the lives of thousands but perhaps one day, someone I spoke to, or encouraged, or merely smiled at when they felt alone, sad or desperate were effected just enough to go on and live another day.

I have stopped asking what great and wonderful thing I am supposed to do with my life.  Instead I thank God for the opportunity to be myself.  I try to remember that my actions speak louder than my words and everything I do and everything I say has the ability to change the life of someone around me.  What an awesome responsibility!

Be the best self you can be everyday!  Perhaps you will write the next great novel or be the hottest blog on the internet, you never know.  What you do know is that each and every day at least one person will hear your words or see your face.  Make sure what you show them is something that you will want to be remembered by and that you DO have an effect on this world.

Give Me A Chance!

 

Day after day I filled out job applications, wrote new resumes, and cover letters.  I tried desperately to think of new and creative ways to put a spin on the fact that I am a forty-five year old mother of three who hasn’t had a “real job” in almost eighteen years. Day after day I checked my phone and emails to see if I sparked the slightest interest in any prospective employer, but alas the little green light was not flashing on my phone and the only emails where the usual requests for payments or notifications from the schools.  BUT I DON’T GIVE UP!

I know I have a lot to offer and I would be an asset to any company if given the chance.  A chance that is all I need but do I want to wait around for someone else to believe in me.  I believe in myself and I can give myself the chance?

I am no longer going to wait for someone else to give me an opportunity, I am going to make my own!  So what shall I do?  Why not hit the internet and see what is out there.  This is the thought process that went through my head last week as I set about searching the internet to find something I could sink my teeth into and create my own opportunity.

I came across an online jewelry boutique.  For no cost I could set up an online jewelry store!  This had me written all over it.  Many years ago I did those annoying house parties and sold a very nice line of jewelry and was quite successful at it, but honestly I have never been a fan of the “parties.”  So this sounded perfect.  So here I am the proud owner of an online jewelry boutique called “Simply Perfect.”

As fate would have it the moment I decided to take matters into my own hands the magic green light began to flash on my phone.  Yes, believe it or not, I was finally able to catch a break and someone appreciated the skills I have developed over the years and in more particular the last year and called me for an interview.  By the end of the day I had a job offer.  Two days later I was starting my new job!

Isn’t it funny how things work.  I think God was waiting to see if I was willing to step up and take control myself.  Waiting to see if I was just going to sit around and wait for someone else to give me an opportunity or was I going to make my own opportunities.

So now I both employed and the owner of an on-line jewelry boutique!  I’ve always been good a multitasking and eighteen years of being a stay at home mom has taught me to nurture and develop my creations, so I am not giving up on the jewelry.  I will give my spare time (haha) to it and make it what I can and it will always remind me that I believed in myself!

Don’t sit around and wait for opportunities, make your own!  Life can be an exciting adventure if you chose to go out and explore it!

 

Warning Rated R

Did someone forget to post the Restricted rating outside the MOMA?

I was so disappointed yesterday when I wasted good money dragging my family to the Modern Museum of Art.  My daughter turned fourteen today and is a budding young artist.  I mistakenly thought it would be a good experience to take her to the MOMA to inspire her creativity and feed her love for the arts.  Boy was I wrong.

Apparently I was not taking her to the museum for an art lesson,rather a lesson in sex education.  As she so eloquently put it; “wow mom that was some kind of birthday present, fourteen penises in fourteen minutes.”  At one point my husband and I had to quickly redirect the kids and ask them not to look to their left because the painting was so inappropriate.  Whoever decided oral sex while shooting yourself in the head is art was a sick individual and whoever decided to hang it in the museum is just as bad.

Are you not supposed to have some kind of talent to be an artist?  No you just have to incorporate a penis, breast or sexual act into your painting, sculpture or photograph and POOF its art!

On a positive note we all enjoyed seeing the works of Van Gogh and Picasso.  The kid’s have a studied Van Gogh in school and have tried their hand at creating “The Scream” so seeing the original was an amazing experience.  (My eighteen year old contends his version is better than the original.)

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I am certain we missed many excellent examples of modern art from very talented artists and for this I am sad.  Perhaps the curators could contain the R rated art in one area so we do not have to expose our children to it in search of the real art.

Like life, art is a matter of perspective so I appreciate that what I see as pornography others see as art.  I just don’t get it!

NYC Itinerary Please!

Okay folks looking for a little help here.

Small town family wants to see New York City!  What should we see, where should we eat?

Our eighteen year old son is visiting from Kentucky and we want to take him to the “Big Apple.”  Naturally he want to ride the subway and see Time Square but past there we are open to suggestions.  Send me your suggestions and help us make an experience he will never forget.

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Your Lucky Ticket

The house is quiet again.  The morning rush hour is over, the kids are safely (I hope) settled into school and my husband is tucked neatly behind his office desk.  Oh yes the joy of being a stay at home mom.  I am so “lucky” I can just sit around and do nothing for the rest of the day and wait for everyone to come back at the end of their day.  In the meantime what should I do?  Perhaps drive around town in my new Lexus, get my hair and nails done at the salon, buy a new outfit, book the family vacation, and lunch with the girls.  NOT!

I can’t count how many times I have heard “you are so lucky to be able to stay home.”  I want to scream in reply that it isn’t luck that has allowed me to stay at home.  I CHOSE to give up my career to raise our children, I didn’t win the stay at home lottery.  With that choice came a great deal of sacrifice.

However, if you continue to believe it is a matter of luck let me give you your ticket for the STAY-AT-HOME-MOM lottery.  Good luck!

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 Please don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the choices I have made.  I wouldn’t exchange my time with my kids for any amount of money but it wasn’t always easy.  Through our sacrifices my husband and I have been able to carve out a comfortable life for our family and we now have some of those extras that we once had to forgo.  All I ask is that instead of looking at me and saying “wow you are lucky” look at me and say “wow you’ve worked hard to raise your family.”  It is the same respect I give you when I admire your promotion or your ability to balance your career and family.

What we do in life is not about luck, it is a choice.

 

It Just Wasn’t In The Cards

“Sandra you have a call on line one.”
“Hello this is Sandra can I help you?”
“Hi Sandra it’s Dr. Elliot’s  calling.  I have reviewed all of yours and your husband’s test results and I’m sorry to inform you but you do not qualify for the fertility programs.  It would be my suggestion that you and your husband consider adoption because it just does not appear that you will ever be able to conceive and carry a child on your own.”

I didn’t say a word, didn’t ask any questions and didn’t say good-bye.  I gently placed the receiver back into the cradle and walked away.  It felt like time had come to a stop, there was no movement, there was no noise, there was only me in darkness and silence.

That feeling of helplessness, the dull sick feeling when you realize that you are no longer the one at the reins, overtook me.  All my life I had dreamed of being a mother.  It was all there in my ten-year plan; Finnish college, get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family. A simple plan laid out in black and white.  I wasn’t asking for anything major like trying to become the CEO of a large corporation or a super model, I just wanted to be a mother and have a family.  Now I was having to ask for a miracle.  My body had betrayed me and in a way that I had no control.  You can exercise to stay fit, diet to lose weight, meditate to reduce stress but there is nothing you can do to produce if your body does not want to carry a baby.

I was no longer in the driver’s seat just a passenger who had forgotten to put on her seat belt when the car came to an expected stop, slamming my head into the windshield and being rendered unconscious.  There was a blackness, a total nothingness followed by that slow awakening.  Awakening into a state of confusion asking myself who am I, where am I?  I looked around to see if there was anything I recognized but only saw pieces of an old life with shattered dreams.

It is at these points in our lives when all control is removed from us and we are brought to our knees with helplessness that we have the greatest choice in who we will become.  Will I be a victim of my circumstance, bitter and resentful for what I can not have, or will I rise above the circumstances and grow from my experiences.  Will I stand alone in the darkness or will I reach out for help.  Someone once told me that God never gives you more than you can handle.  I told them they were wrong, God gives you more than you can handle so will reach out to him for help.  In my moment of helplessness I had a choice, I could curl up and feel sorry for myself or I could get back to my feet, wipe away the tears and the dirt, and start again.

Life is like a poker game, you are dealt a hand and you have to play it.  Sometimes it is best to throw your hand in and start again, sometimes you can bluff your way through with the cards you are given and sometimes you will be dealt a royal flush.  So having kids wasn’t in the cards for me. I had to reexamine the cards I was given and decide how I would play them.  I still had a terrific husband, an amazing job and faith.  Those three were enough to keep me in the game.

We are never truly helpless because we always have control over the decisions we make with the cards we are dealt.

(p.s.  I got my miracle and have had three beautiful children.  Apparently that faith card is the ace in the hole)

 

It Was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was a time when I wanted to throw my hands up and declare that I couldn’t do it any longer, it was a time when I feared that it would all come to an end too quickly.

The place may not be England or France and the time may not be 1775 but it still remains an age of competing and contradictory attitudes.  It is the age of  parenting teenagers.  When I first read Tale of Two Cities I was but a teen myself.  It is funny how those words have stuck with me for thirty years and how they came back to me in a new light as I attempt to survive my children’s teen years.

Watching your child transform from a boy to a man, from a girl to a woman, is both the best and worst time of your life.  The pride you feel in their accomplishments is overwhelming but the mistakes they make can have unbelievable consequences.  I remember the first steps my children took, that excited nervousness as they put one foot in front of the other, toddling from side to side, quickly regaining their center and finally falling onto their well padded bottom.  I stood with my hands reaching out for them with their little hand reaching back for me.  I was there ready to catch them if they should fall, protect them from injury.  Flash forward and I am watching them drive out of the driveway for the first time.  I stand at the door with my hand raised above my head waving good-bye, they are not looking to me at all but only seeing the road ahead of them.  They are on their own, I am not there to protect them any longer and if they should fall I know the consequences are much greater.  It is their right of passage, their key to freedom, their road to become their own person.

My job description for the last eighteen years has been to prepare my children for independence.  Allow my children to develop their personality, build their self-esteem, nurture their dreams and make them believe they can do anything they set their mind to.  I have done my job well.  My children are well-adjusted, independent thinkers, that want to spread their wings and fly from the nest we have shared.  My first child has left the nest, he is thriving at college and I can see his siblings watching him and counting the days until they can follow in his footsteps.  They all have big dreams of what they want to do, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer.

So I hold my breath and continue along the path of the best of times, the worst of times, the age of great wisdom and the age of foolishness.  I will cheer them as they succeed, I will pick them up when they fall.  I will allow them to make their own mistakes, and will attempt to steer them clear of foolish mistakes.  I will hold them tight in my heart but will let go of control.  I will allow them develop their own life separate from mine.  I am the mother of three teenagers.

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Quote Me…or Not

There is a  quote that I find myself coming back to time and time again.  It isn’t a revolutionary quote, a motivational quote or anything profound, so why do I keep coming back to it?  I wish I knew because maybe then I could stop quoting it.  It is the quote most of us heard in our childhood and possibly you have been caught uttering it yourself.  Following in my mother’s footsteps my favorite quote seems to be…”Because I said so!”

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So many times I swore I would never say those words.  When I had a child I would explain to them why they should or should not do something.  I would listen, negotiate and reason with my kids.  No way was I going to be a dictator that just demanded something from my kids.

Yet here I am with three kids and a long history of repeating my mother’s favorite quote “because I said so!”

“Alex don’t sit on your brother”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

“Josh don’t put that up your nose”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

I know there are better explanation for why not to engage in these activities such as “ because you will hurt him and if you don’t understand that you will probably end up in jail someday for being a violent sociopath” or “because it won’t come out and you will look like an idiot walking around with an eraser stuck in your nose.”

Some may say it is lazy parenting, taking the easy way out.  I used to say that but too but really it’s just plain survival.  If I answered of every why question my children asked I would become stuck in a never-ending cycle of questions much like being stuck on a spinning merry-go-round holding on for dear life while trying not to lose my lunch.

Don’t eat the dog’s food”
“Why?”
“Because you will get a tummy ache.”
“Why?”
“Because the food is made for dog’s tummies not little boy’s tummies.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies need special food to make them grow up to big and strong.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies bodies are not like people’s bodies”
“Why?”
“Because that is the way God made them.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know maybe he had a bad day with a pain in the neck little kid who wouldn’t stop asking him why!”

So you see quoting my mother with “Because I said so” was actually a gentler approach to child rearing than I could have taken.

I can’t say that I am moved by this quote but I can say that it has kept me sane.  It has probably helped my children develop a much higher self-esteem.  I can’t imagine how scarred they would have been if I had actually said what I thought rather than using my go to quote of “Because I said so.”

Let’s be honest it could be much worse I could have chosen one of my mother’s other favorite lines such as “just wait until your father gets home”, or “your face will freeze that way.”  Really mom, dad never did anything when he came home and at six I thought it would be kind of cool if my face froze into one of those crazy faces I made.

 

Mamma Needs a New Pair of Shoes

MP9004049221That’s right, this Mamma needs a new pair of shoes.  Time to throw away the old comfortable loafers and grab a new pair of fashionable, professional shoes.

For eighteen years I have been wearing the practical mom shoes.  You know how it is, the first few years you spend running after the kids then you spend the next fifteen years running them around, play group, little league, school parties, doctor’s appointments, workouts, work, it just keeps going and going.  Well this middle age mom is ready to trade those practical shoes in for a pair of shoes that might not be quite so comfortable but are definitely more exciting.

I have spent the last year re-educating myself to enter back into the work force.  Once upon a time a long, long time ago I was more than just a wife and mother.  I was actually a professional making a good salary and participating in the world of people over twenty years old.  As a matter of fact I was pretty darn good at what I did.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my decision to stay at home with my kids, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  My kids have thrived from having me at home, but my job with them is pretty much done, so now it is time to revisit me.

So here I sit on the edge of a new beginning.  The schooling is done the resume is written and the applications are filled out.  Now I just have to sit and wait.  The resume writing was a challenge and a half.  How is it that you can turn raising three kids, one husband and managing a home look impressive work experience?  I guess that is where my creative writing comes in handy.  Let’s be real, running a household isn’t that much different from running a business.  I can balance a budget, multitask, I’m organized, work well under pressure, deal well with conflict, a great team builder.  Yup being a mom, or domestic engineer as I prefer to call it, gives you most of the skills you need for any job.

2013 promises to be an exciting new year.  This old dog is ready to try some new tricks.  I better reorganize my closet so I can make room for those new shoes.

To my fellow stay-at-home moms and/or middle age women I hope you wear whatever shoes you want to.  Don’t be afraid to try on a new pair if they keep calling your name.  No they may not be as comfortable as your old ones but with a little time you can break them in.  If you are satisfied with the shoes you are currently wearing be proud of yourself for what you are doing.  We are all contributing to society in one way or another and we need to be proud of that.  Don’t short change yourself you still have the skills to compete in the work force if you so chose.  If you have another dream hold on tight to it, your time will come, don’t give up and believe in yourself.  Before you know it the kids won’t need you as much any more and you take a little time for yourself.

Wish me luck…it’s been a long time since I’ve had to knock on doors and sell myself as an asset to your company!