Saturday, October 31, 2015

Open Book

I have this problem with my mouth.
it talks.
a lot
and it shares
a lot
sometimes way more than it should.
sometimes without thinking first.
ok....mostly without thinking first.

I've always been very open with people.
If they ask me something, I tell.
I don't have a filter for things I might need to keep to myself. I've never been good at that.
So when you ask me advice, or a question, I tend to tell you exactly what I think

and I got asked about my divorce
and I shared
personal feelings
the way I remembered things

and now it's been printed
and it's kinda weird
seeing it all like that
all these years later
reading it from a different perspective

Do I regret sharing? Not at all.
I hope it can help someone.
I'm not really sure how it could help someone, but maybe it will.

The author of the interview did a great job.
It's just weird seeing what I told her months ago in print now and reliving those memories.
I'm not great with techy stuff like hyperlinking, but you can find it here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

When the Control Freak Loses All Control

I didn't realize until a couple years ago that I was a control freak.
I mean... sure... I've always been one of those people that would rather just do something myself than try to tell someone else how to do it.
And I like things done a certain way, and it sometimes irks me when someone does it differently.
But the biggest clue was in how often I was getting mad or irritated that people were not doing things I asked of them WHEN I told them to.

Yeh...If I ask you to do something, please do it then. Right then. Not "I'll do it afterwhile", or "ok"...and then sit there and continue doing whatever it is you are doing which is clearly not nearly as important as what I am needing you to do when I asked it of you...or I wouldn't have asked you!!

And since this realization, I've been trying to have more patience in this area. Trying not to get angry or aggravated at my loved ones when they don't jump at the my beckoned call. It doesn't always work, but in the words of the immortal Queen Elsa, I'm learning to "let it go." (and usually just do it myself)

But now, there is a new challenge for control of my life.  And it's not over someone not doing something I asked. At least not entirely.

Now it seems that I don't have control over very many areas of my life at all. 

At home, when the kids were little, I pretty much determined what they wore, what they ate, what music or movies/tv they watched, where they went, and who their friends were.
----notsomuch anymore
The kids are mostly grown, making their own decisions about what to wear, and who their friends are, and where they want to go, and want to eat, and even sometimes-how they act or speak to me.

At work, I taught my students. I planned the lessons, I found the extras to go with those lessons. We had fun, we sang songs,  we had time to get to know each other.
----notsomuch anymore
At work (or school if you will), I have no say over what I'm doing in my classroom with my students anymore. Everything is either scripted for us to say, and how to say it, and what page we need to be on each day, and which assessments to give when whether the kids have actually learned the lessons yet or not. There is no time for reading to kids, or singing with kids, or listening to the stories they want to share about themselves and their families. It's do this, and fill out these papers, and be on time for this or that... rush rush rush, test, test, test.. no time for real teaching anymore. And definitely no time for fun. 

With family, everyone was healthy, and took care of themselves (other than the children of course), and I didn't have to worry so much about them.
----notsomuch anymore
And this part is the hardest to accept I think, is the fact that I am now in the sandwich generation. 
I have teens (one who lives with us, one who lives with his dad), a college student, an adult child who still lives off of us, an Alzheimerish MIL who is getting more and more dependent upon us with each passing day, and parents of my own, in another town, whose physical healths are deteriorating faster than I can even imagine. And I work a full time job and 2 part time jobs, take care of my husband and home and pets, along with the girlchild's every need.

I am not in control of anything anymore. And I'm not sure where/how I can get that control back.

I wake up and go to school where I'm told every move to make.

I get home between 6-7pm after one part time job or both, and the grocery shopping or running errands, to make dinner for the family and make sure the MIL has a meal delivered to her. 
The girlchild will fill me in on her day, and invariably something will spark a confrontation with her. I'll find out about how my parents' days went--which ailments are acting up worse than others, what things are happening in their lives 75 miles away, and be grateful that my teen son is there to be with them and help them out because I'm not.

 I'll spend a couple hours with my husband, which is my saving grace although it carries us into the later hours of the night since that is the only time we have together, leaving not much time for sleep.

The only time there is for housecleaning is the weekends which is when I also have to get everything done for the next week at school since there is no time during the week AT school to do that, and spend time with my own kids, and community activities or any of those things that you just can't do during the work week.
So the housecleaning usually gets put off.
I guess there IS one thing I can control... housework.

My life is a routine with fights and hormones and meals to be made, and people to take care of and try to keep happy--Bosses, kids, spouse, and parents-both mine and those of my students. It's not an easy job. It's not the job I signed up for. At least I don't remember signing up for it. Not like this.

I've lost control of me. Of my life.
I'm a robot.
I'm a servant.
And no one even listens to me anyway.
If they'd just listen to me...then life would be so much easier.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Woman's Home is her....

Well, that's what they say. 
And I guess "they" are right. I mean.. "they" know everything apparently. But sometimes there's no place like the beach, too.

But for me, Home is my refuge. I love being at home.

Not because it's a grand house. There are nicer in my neighborhood.
Not because it's a big house. I've lived in smaller, but again, there are bigger ones around here.
Not because it's clean. CERTAINLY not because it's clean.
It's never clean. 
Not because it's where my family and pets are. (See reference about it never being clean.)

No, it's not that either, because my wi-fi also automatically connects at school and I do NOT want to live there (altho it sometimes feels like I do.)
Well, yeh...there IS that... and that's how I usually am, truthbeknown...

But for me, I love my home because it's where I can breathe.
Usually, I mean.... between girlchild teenage drama and the stress of trying to figure out what we have for supper.

It's where I collapse at the end of the day, usually about 13 hours after it began. It's where I can come in and dump my stuff. All my stuff. My school bag, my talk show notes, my laptop, my flat diet coke from lunch before noon and empty coffee cup that I left the house with that morning.
It's where I can dump my feelings. All my feelings. The "first I've got to get out of these clothes and shoes and then make dinner for the kids and MIL and get it to her and then finish schoolwork and type up tv station stuff and vent to my husband while we play dominoes about all the demands being made on us at school and cry about how I'm not sure I should teach anymore because it's not fun anymore and the only thing that keeps me there most days is my coworkers whom I love and those little children, most of whom I love with a couple that I'd gladly trade to another teacher and I just wish there were another career with the pay and benefits and people I work with out there sometimes, and oh look it's 11:30 I should feed the dogs and think about our own supper so I can be in bed by 1:00am to do this all over again tomorrow" feelings. 

It's where noone cares if I stay in my jammies all day on Saturday and troll the internet and watch Sex & the City on tv all afternoon and order pizza for supper. (Not that I get to do that very often..but noone here cares when I do!)

It's where the walls protect me from the outside demands and I don't HAVE to think about test scores and data and lesson plans and interviews and I CAN sit at the table and play dominoes all night if I want to. (and I'm a kickass domino queen, let me tell you straight up!)

yes... my home, my fortress, my refuge.
Where I can do what I want, when I between taking care of everyone and everything else of course.
But it's my place. And if I don't feel like doing those things, for my loved ones, they understand. 
It's where I go to recoup, to refresh, to remind myself why I do all that other stuff I do outside the doors of my abode.

It's a lot like me... not fancy, not perfect, could use some touch ups, but cozy, comfortable, inviting, safe, secure, and just nice. 

But it could still use a maid.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

All my friends are getting old

Yeh... Haven't posted in awhile. 
School started. Three weeks in and I'm ready for Spring Break!
New principals, new teachers, new literacy program... it's going well, but time-wise it is kicking my butt.

But enough with the excuses. 

So what shall the queen talk about today? 
Oh, I know....  BABIES!
Yes, babies!  No, no... not my own. They are not babies anymore.  (They aren't as grown as they think they are either, but they aren't babies.)

No.. I'm talking about GRANDbabies.
(and no again.. not my own, I don't have any... yet.  And THAT is the point of today's talk.)

It seems that in the past 2 weeks, nearly a dozen of my friends or family members have become grandparents. GRANDparents.
How is that even possible?
How are MY friends and siblings even OLD ENOUGH to be grandparents?  It's just inconceivable to me.  Well, at least until I stop and count up how old I am we are. 
ummm.... ok, yeh... I guess it IS possible. 
But seriously?... GRANDbabies?
Aren't OLD people suppose to be grandmas?
I'm not even 50 yet. 
That's not old!
Sure.. I didn't have my first child until I was 26, and my last one when I was some of my friends have a jump on me there.  AND, my little sister married a much older man who had teen age kids when they met, so SHE has a valid reason for being a grandmother of many...  but I just can't believe this is the stage of my life I'm entering in to.

Yeh yeh.. I know I'm getting older. 
My kids are all of driving age and older now.
I have to wear glasses to read now.
I creak and snap when I move around.
I moan and groan when rising from the bed every morning.
And yes...those (do I even utter the word?).. Pre-menopause signs are rearing their ugly heads lately..

but I'm still young!
At least in my head! Where it counts.
A few years ago I even toyed with the idea of having another child of my own.... briefly (and shot it down).

But being a grandmother? 
Oh yeh... they say it's the most wonderful thing in the world. Getting to love on and play with precious little ones... and then send them home!
Getting to spoil them rotten much to their parents' chagrin.
Getting to always be the "good guy" to these children.

So I guess there's that... I could see where that WOULD be cool. 
Maybe being a grandparent won't be so bad after all.
As long as I have a cool name. (no "Granny" or "Memaw" for me thanks.)

And as long as my kids are in a good place to be parents... which means college graduated, married to the loves of their lives, secure in their careers...which won't happen for quite a few more years yet.
Yeh.. then I guess it will be ok.

That's not too much to ask is it?

Monday, August 3, 2015

The #beingamother project

I came upon a Facebook page a couple days ago called Mommitment and looked around. It has a lot of positivity going on, and when I went to the website it supports I found out why. 

The Mommitment Movement is basically about moms supporting each other, and Talya at is working to get moms to stop shaming each other and be a helping hand to each other.

I like this idea. 
I like it a lot!

And she has a #beingamother project going, asking women what it means to them to be a mother.
So... being new to the blogosphere, I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts.
And as I started thinking about those thoughts, about what being a mother means to me, I realized... I don't really know.  I've never really thought about it before.

Basically, I muddle through each day, making sure everyone has what they need, eats something, gets where they need to go, and doesn't kill each other. #lifewithteens
I never really gave it much thought as to what it means to be a mom... you just do what you have to do and make sure everyone knows they are loved.

I can tell you this, though... it's not as easy as I'd thought it would be!
Ya see... I grew up basically in a Leave It To Beaver home.
Daddy worked. Mom stayed home with the 3 of us kids..sometimes more. (young people were always coming and staying with us when they needed somewhere to live during trying times they might be having in their own homes.)
My mom took care of us and our home.
She made chore lists and daily menus. Packed our lunches, made sure we did our homework. 
Prayed over our tests and our friends.
Served us supper on the good china for our birthdays and report card days, and when we aced a big test.
We went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night.
We were in school clubs and went to football games, had slumber parties on a regular basis, and friends always wanted to hang out at our house.

I thought being a mom would be easy. 
My mom sure made it seem that way.

I graduated with honors from high school, went to a private college, got a degree, met a guy, got married, and had a family of my own.
Three kids.  
Just like my mom.

And then I realized.. it was NOT easy.
Kids were loud and messy and didn't sleep and were picky eaters.
And then a divorce happened when they were 3, 4, and 8, and I was sharing custody and moving miles and miles away from my own parents and father of my children and parenting alone while working .

Rules changed. 
We adapted.
  • No longer did I insist they eat a "good healthy breakfast". "Just eat SOMETHING.. I don't care what..but put something in your tummy and do it in the car because we are late. Again."
  • Just go to sleep! I don't care where! On the couch, in the floor... ok, you CAN get in bed with me, just go to sleep already!
  • Yes, you can wear those green shoes with that purple plaid shirt and orange shorts. Just get your clothes on!
  • No baby, I'm not hungry. Y'all share that Happy Meal between you. I will be fine.
And they grew. And were healthy, and usually happy (aside from the sibling bickering that I remember as being normal.) They've all done well in school. One will graduate college this next year, the other two will be a junior and a senior in high school.  No jail time for anyone, no car wrecks, no dating drama. They all have great friends and activities they participate in.

I guess I didn't screw them up, despite how many times I thought I was. 

Being a mom is hard work. Even when they have a good dad to help out. And grandparents, too. Even when I got remarried a few years ago and had an extra parent in the household.
I don't know how my own mother made it look so easy. She seemed to always have her act together. I know there were times when we (mostly I) gave her grief and made her unhappy, but she seemed to handle it all with finesse. 
I tend to just collapse at the end of each day and thank God that they are all still safe and healthy and not causing much trouble.  

It's a commitment.. we all know that. Caring more for someone else than we do ourself. Putting the wants and needs and well being of someone else before your own. Sacrificing and working longer hours to make sure your children have what they need, or can do things that they want to do.

But the end result is worth it. Seeing my now almost grown children doing so well in school, in life, and knowing they are of good character and are responsible and respectful people make all those hard times fade into the background.  
I am proud of who they are becoming... and proud of myself for helping them to achieve that.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tummy Troubles: It's bigger than I want it to be.. but that's ok

Today it seems like every article I come across is talking about being fat.  But not in a bad way. Articles telling us it's ok to be bigger than the models we see in the ads.
Go Ahead and Stare at My Tummy

Articles like this one that show we are not alone.. that even famous people, the "pretty people", have done what is natural and decided to eat, and have gotten bigger.
To All the Mamas Still Trying to Lose that Baby Weight
(I think after 16 years I can give up on that!)

And even one woman stating what I've wanted to for years... that anyone over 20 should just give it up and realize they are too old to try and look like a teenager anymore!  
Should Women over 20 Wear a Bikini?

Now I have always been bigger.  Bigger than my friends in high school by 20 lbs or so. Never seen in a bikini. Not the cheerleader. Not the pretty girl. Always second fiddle.  Same for college. I got use to it.  
Oh I had boyfriends. I was one of those girls with a "great personality".  But when I'd go out with my friends to parties or social gatherings, I was never the one chosen first by the boys. I was the leftovers.  And I still had fun.

And as time went by, like most people do, I put on some weight. Three babies and 25 years later, I am quite a bit heavier than my college years. There's quite a bit more to me than I'd like there to be.
But it's still ok.
I'm ok with who I am. 
But in my mind I am a size 4...or maybe a 6, and I feel good 

about myself, until I look in a full length dressing room 

mirror or catch my reflection in a store window. I don't 

recognize that obese lady looking back at me. That cant be 

what I look  like! That can't be me. I'm not that big. I know, I 

know.. my jean size and 2X tags in my shirts would 

contradict me could they speak, but I don't FEEL that big. 

And then, for a little while, I worry what others think of me 

when they see me. Start worrying that maybe

I'm not as fabulous as I think I am. Maybe I'm the fat 

mom that my children's friends all laugh at as my big booty 

walks away from them. But then I get home and get busy 

and my husband reminds me how beautiful I am...big 

thighs/big boobs and all.

Now, I don't begrudge anyone the right to try and look the best they can. I'm not shaming those who work out and diet in an attempt to be that size 0 or 2.. if that's what it's going to take to make you happy.  
We definitely need to take care of ourselves and eat right and exercise for better health, so that no matter what size we are, we feel good and can do everything we want to with no limitations. 

I'm just saying that it's ok to be chunky. To eat pizza and tacos and chocolate cake. If you are a good person, a nice person, a respectful person, then others will like you no matter what size you are. And those that love you will love you no matter what.
At least that's what I keep telling myself as I try not to glance in the mirrors. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Toddlers to Teens: Some things don't change

Now that I am a mother of older kids, I enjoy reading the blog posts and Tweets and Facebook statuses (stati?)  of younger mothers going through the trials and tribulations of parenting toddlers and young children.
Sometimes I laugh... because I remember those days so well.
Sometimes I sigh.... because I miss those days of cuteness.
Sometimes I marvel that I made it out alive with my sanity, which is still highly debateable, and that my KIDS made it out alive!
And sometimes I realize that things have really not changed that much.

Nope... now that the kids are 16 (as of next week), 17,  and 21 I realize that they may have gotten bigger, increased their vocabulary, and sleep more, but is all of that really better?

Let's do a comparison, shall we?

2 year olds: cry and throw fits when they don't get something they want.
Teens: stomp their feet, huff away, and slam their doors.
---- ok, so at least when they are in their rooms pouting and tweeting to the world what an awful parent you are, they are much quieter about it.   1 point for teens

2 year olds: picky eaters, wont eat what you give them. The girlchild once went an entire 3 days eating only cold hot dogs and grapes. Nothing else.
Teens: picky eaters- moan and groan that you never fix anything they like, and "EWWW how can you expect us to eat THAT with it's green things and why can't you just order pizza again, and you just don't care that I'm starving and there's nothing to eat." *cue more stomping, huffing off and door slams.
----- 1 point for toddlers who will not let themselves starve and try to make you feel guilty for it

2 year olds: upon seeing you eating something, will come up to you with their big puppy dog eyes and ask for a "bite?.. my wanna bite.."
Teens: upon seeing you eating something, will walk over to you, reach down, take food off your plate in front of you, and then proclaim, " do you even eat this stuff? Can't you just order us a pizza?" And stomp off.
------ 1 point for toddlers who at least have the decency to ask and look cute

2 year olds: will usually (notice I said "usually") wear whatever you put on them and not complain about how "dorky" they look in that adorable sailor outfit until 10 years later when they are going through old pictures for a school family tree project.
Teens: will not buy anything you purchase for them without their being there, and are not satisfied with clothes from Walmart or Target where you can purchase 3 outfits for the price of one at the trendy boutique all their friends shop at. Also... they are the ones thinking they look fashionable in their attire while you sit back and wonder why they would even WANT to go out of the house looking like that.
------ 1 point for toddlers and that cute ducky outfit from Aunt Bernice

2 year olds: don't care what YOU are wearing, or even IF you are wearing anything.
Teens: (mostly daughters) will notify you that you "cannot possibly even be THINKING about wearing that out of the house", because they are, yanno...fashionistas, and would be mortified to be seen with you in your mom jeans, Disneyworld tshirt and Walmart sneakers.
------ 1 point for toddlers who will just wipe their hands, boogers, faces on your shirt anyway so you might as well be wearing that t-shirt

and while we are on the subject of clothing:
2 year olds: go through no less than 4 outfits a day due to food spillage, potty accidents,  things that little hands touch and then wipe on their tummies, and baths.
Teens: go through no less than 4 outfits a day due to "that one doesn't fit right", and "omg you faded my favorite green shirt in the wash and now it doesn't match", or "Mom, that is so last month and I can't possibly wear it now!"
------ 1 point for teens however, because they CAN be taught to do their own laundry after those same clothes that were on their body for less than 20 seconds have laid in the floor for a week and a half getting stepped on and wrinkled because you know it's easier just to rewash them than to try and get a teen to iron anything.

and speaking of messes:
2 year olds: tend to pull out toy after toy, enjoying and then abandoning it after their 20 second attention span is finished with it, leaving a trail of legos and doll clothes and puzzle pieces scattered throughout the house.
Teens: don't even get me started on messy bedrooms that never seem to get cleaned up because, "Mom, it's MY space and it's not bothering me, so why should it bother you?"
------ no points here.... too tired from picking everything up. Again.

2 year olds: the cost of playthings--while it takes a lot of toys and baubles to appease a toddler (or at least we think it does according to all that stuff we cram down in the diaper bags and fill the minivan up with), you CAN shop smart because they don't care yet where you get their toys and can be just as happy with a wooden spoon and a pot as the high dollar set of drums from the music store.
Teens: ipods, ipads, iphones, macbooks, xbox 360, xbox 1, Playstation 4012 or whatever version is out now, Google play cards.... pricey pricey pricey.....
------ 1 point for toddlers and a trip to the Dollar Store

2 year olds: can get out of your sight in a store faster than you can blink.
Teens: have to at least find your keys and get out of the house before you know they are missing.
------- 1 point for teens and their noiselevel

2 year olds: sleep sporadic hours... early to bed, up for drinks, early to rise, but they do take a nap--hopefully
Teens: up half the night playing video games or texting the BFF, but sleep til noon allowing a well scheduled mom to also get a chance to sleep in should she want.
------ 1 point for teens who sleep

on the opposite side of that argument tho:
2 year olds can be picked up and moved when sleeping and usually not get too disturbed...
Teens: you have to wait for them to awaken to go anywhere because you sure don't want to deal with the wrath of Khan should you force them to get up before they are ready and do something they don't want to do.
---- 1 point for toddlers: mobility

2 year olds love lots of hugs and kisses 
Teens are finicky and only want them on their terms and not in front of their friends.  
--- 1sloppy sticky point for toddlers

2 year olds cannot fully express themselves and scream and cry and sometimes bite others because they do not have enough words yet.
Teens have more than enough words and will tell you exactly what is wrong with  you and whatever you are doing that does not suit them.
--- no points...noone wins here

2 year olds love to snuggle and cuddle in your lap
Teens want you to stay away from them, until they want you ...and then they still try to sit on you and smush you to death.
------points to both for being loving

2 year olds take your stuff and lose it
Teens take your stuff and don't give it back

2 year olds can only do minimal chores and bribed with a cookie or popsicle
Teens, when you can get then to do it, can do as many household chores as you let/make them, but usually want mega bucks for doing so

2 year olds and the endless repetitions of "Let it Go" or the Barney Song (yes, I'm that old)
Teens and the musical stylings that you cant even make sense of, and lyrics that you don't want your impressionable
precious angel hearing and having imbedded in their brain for ever and ever

2 year olds want to go everywhere with you
Teens don't want you to go anywhere with them

So in a quick wrap up... 
It appears that toddlers do have more points, on this grading scale... but the joys of teens are also great.
There really isn't a whole lot of difference in the ages as far as how crazy, tired, aggravated they can make you,  but then there also isn't a difference in how much you love them.. and how much they love you. They just show it differently.

I do love being the parent of teens/young adults. It allows more freedom.. but something tells me that in a couple more years, when they are all off to college or out on their own, all that freedom will leave me longing for the days when they ran around the house dumping out cheetoh bags and trying to "help you mama" while making bigger messes.
Because they were just so darn cute...and they were there with me.