Tag Archive | parenting

The Creative Challenge.

I have always fancied myself a creative person but ever since I went back to work I have struggled to find that part of myself.  I sat down with my daughter to paint the other day and I was blank.  I couldn’t find a single stroke to put on the canvas.  Madison looked at me and asked why I wasn’t painting.  “I have nothing” I told her.  “As much as I want to paint I simple can’t find any inspiration to put onto the canvas.”

“That is because you have forgotten how to dream” she responded.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well ever since you went back to work you have your head filled with work stuff.  All you think about is work and bills, and the house.  When you fill your head with that there isn’t any room for dreaming.  If you can’t dream, you can’t create.”

You know I really don’t remember the last time I had a dream.  Such wisdom from a young mind.

So now it is time for me to find my creativity again.  It is a part of me that I love and don’t wish to lose.  I am challenging myself to do something creative everyday for the next 365 days!  It doesn’t have to be something phenomenal it just has to be something.

So today is the first day of my challenge.  Do you think coloring my hair would be considered creative? Okay I may be stretching it a little.  So instead I have baked today.  A coffee cake and brownies…creativity in the kitchen.  It isn’t much but it’s a start.

As for tomorrow let’s see what I can come up with.

I challenge you to join me in the creative challenge.  Get in touch with your creative side and share your accomplishment with me.  Don’t let the best part of you get lost.  You know the famous saying….use it or lose it!

Who knows….maybe I can even start dreaming again!

 

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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!

 

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!

Forever Summer

Time goes so slowly, another school year is starting and it will be absolutely forever before it is over.  It will be forever before I get out of school.  Thirteen years of school and then on to college for another four.  You have to be kidding me, I am going to spend my entire life in school, it is never going to end.  If only I had a time  machine, I could jump through time and get on to the exciting part of life.

Apparently I found my time travel machine.  That is the only explanation I can find for how fast the time has gone.  I cannot really be the mother of a college student and two other teenagers.  Am I not a teen myself?  Wait no I passed through those years, that’s right, I wished them away.  It’s not that I want them back, I just don’t understand how it all went so quickly.

I still remember that feeling of time moving so slowly.   A year of school seemed like a lifetime,  just waiting for the next summer to come along to mark my freedom.  The endless summer that seemed to go on forever allowing my brain to cleanse itself of all I had learned throughout the school year.  I had all the time in the world, never a rush, and always tomorrow.

The blink of an eye.  That is all it takes now.  A blink of an eye and the school year is over.  A blink of an eye and the frost is in the air and the summer is gone.  A blink of an eye and the kids are grown and moving on.  There is never enough time, it’s always a rush and my tomorrows are coming to quickly.  Soon there will be no more school years.  The kids will be gone and I will have to find another marker of time.

I think I would like to turn off my time  machine for just a little while.    Just long enough to savor these precious moments.

If I can teach my kids just one more thing it would be to not wish their life away.  Don’t rush through today looking for tomorrow.  Today is a beautiful day so live it to the fullest, enjoy it and make it count.  Perhaps I can be a role model for you, watch me and learn.  I am making the most out of every day, and although the calendar tells me I am in the fall season of life, I intend to  live like it is forever summer.

Not Just Another Day

Well yesterday was the big day.  The clock struck twelve and I turned back into a pumpkin.  Okay not a pumpkin but I did turn another year older.

It really was a remarkable day.  I did feel different.  My life really did change.  No it didn’t change because I’m suddenly 45 instead of 44.  It changed because my son finished his last day of high school.  Now you want to feel old on your birthday…that’s the secret.

So yes I did feel older on my birthday this year, but it wasn’t a bad feeling.  I felt older, wiser and very proud.  I got to see a first hand account of what I had achieved in forty-five years as my son stood to receive his awards at the senior recognition ceremony.  I raised a fine young man who is ready to take on the world and has the dreams of making a difference and leaving his mark on the world.  A young man who wants to pry into the mystery of childhood cancer and see if he can help to save a life or at least make one more comfortable if it cannot be saved.  These are his achievements and dreams but I can take pride in knowing that something I did lead him to this place.

So for now I like forty-five.  I don’t necessarily like the gray hairs that keep popping up on my head or the ever-increasing wrinkles around my eyes.  I do like that as I am getting older I am able to see my life accomplishments.  So much time is spent dreaming, planning, executing all to reach an end point.  Now I am seeing that end point.  It is funny how we begin to dream from the moment that line turns pink on that little stick.  I realize now that I could never have dreamed how great it actually would be.

So what now,  do I stop dreaming?  Do I stop looking forward and just enjoy all that I have done?  Heck no.  I am just beginning.  Only now instead of dreaming about what my kids will become I will dream about what I might become.  Yup, I do like 45, I think it’s going to be a good year.