Monday, December 20, 2010
When my kids were little, some of the magic came back for me. Christmas through a child's eyes is magical and wondrous and infectious. I started to actually enjoy Christmas again. Then, the kids grew.
Let's face it, kids are born selfish. When a baby is hungry, he cries until he's fed, it's human nature, it's how they survive, I get it. I just wasn't aware that my 14 year old was at risk of death if he doesn't have a cell phone. That a Nintendo DSi was crucial to my 8 year old son's survival. No parenting book ever taught me that my 9 year old will absolutely perish if he has to wait one more year for an iPod.
Family Christmas visits are a disaster. What, in my mind, should be a Norman Rockwell painting of my extended family enjoying my wonderfully polite and well behaved children turns into a soccer game in my Aunt's family room resulting in a spilled drink and me melting down.
The Christmas season in my house is the joy of breaking up four fights over who's turn it is to mix the cookie dough. It's the harmony of White Christmas playing on the stereo whilst my four year old accompanies good ole' Bing with a temper tantrum.
In spite of all this, as Christmas draws near, I am sad. I am sad because as a divorced Mom, my oldest five children will be spending Christmas with their Father this year. Brian and I will only have our four year old for Christmas. It will be so quiet as Aidan will have no one to tease and torture him. I won't have any fights to break up but I also won't get to see the faces of my older kids upon opening their presents on Christmas morning. I am hosting a family Christmas with my own family fractured and incomplete.
As I write this I have become melancholy and a bit sappy, because after all, my kids are at school and I am becoming delusional in the peace and quiet. I'm sure when they get home they will snap me back to reality.
So, for this year, I get to skip the whining and crying and fighting and disappointment over what presents they DIDN'T get. I will call my children on Christmas morning at their Father's house and hear about their gifts and they will tell me that they miss me and they wish that they were home for Christmas. I will smile and tell them that I miss them too (because I will) and I will know all the while that my ex will have to deal with the reality of it all, if only for one weekend, and I will be just fine.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Friday, December 3, 2010
I love my kids, but I also want to be a person. Being a Mom is great, don't get me wrong, but it can't be ALL there is to life. I only know a few Moms that will actually admit to this although, I suspect that there are many more Mom's that feel this way but are afraid to SAY it.
Well, why the hell not? Mom Guilt? Fear that other Mothers might judge you? Newsflash, they already do. Before Motherhood we were women, we had careers, we had friends, we had FUN. Why should ALL of that cease just because we had a kid or two or six?
Of course it gets harder. Of course our children come first, that goes without saying. I love a wild night out with friends today as much as I did in my 20's but if one of my kids is sick or has a project due, or has a social function, my fun gets put on hold.
I have learned through 14 and a half years of parenting that I am a BETTER Mother when I get time for me. I have learned that it's okay to go out with your spouse or a friend for the evening. Hell, I even get drunk sometimes! *GASP*
So, lets end the Mom guilt. Call your girlfriends, grab another couple, get out of the house and let loose! Your kids will be fine, and you just might feel like a human again!
And if another Mother judges you for it, she's probably jealous, invite her out next time, I bet she goes!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
My son does come to me when it matters most though. He will come to me when something is really bothering him, when he's really frustrated or confused by something or when he wants to ask about girls.
He always starts with, "Since you're a girl........." It's right at that point when I take a deep but silent breath and remind myself to NOT sound like his Mother.
Those words evoke something in me. Fear, joy, indigestion, I haven't decided which it is.
I'm not really a "girl" anymore. I am a woman who has never really had a bunch of luck in the dating, boyfriend, love department until I finally got it right with my current husband.
I didn't date in Middle or High School. It wasn't because I didn't want to, it was because the boy that I liked usually liked my friend and the boy that my friend liked usually liked me. Like a bad episode of a High School drama, it went on and on this way.
So, now here I am with a 14 year old son who wants advice on girls. I dare not tell him the truth. The truth is, that he will like many girls who will not like him back, that he will have girls following him around, "in love" with him that he doesn't like at all. That his heart will get broken, more than once, and that when it does he will pick up the pieces just to have it broken again.
I don't tell him that girls are as scared as boys are but mostly because if their girlfriends don't like the boy she is dating, she will have to dump him, no matter how she really feels.
I don't tell him that he's too young to be thinking about girls and dating and that there are more important things for him to focus on. I also don't tell him that I don't really believe that he's too young to be thinking about girls and dating, I just want him to believe that so that he doesn't have to get hurt by it all already.
And so it begins. His life is beginning to become his own. This is the first step towards finding his future wife. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. Dating is how he will know her when he meets her.
When the time does come for each of my children to marry, I do hope that they ALL will remember the one piece of advice that I didn't take myself the first time I got married BUT did get right the second time;
"Marry your best friend."
In the meantime, I will give advice only when asked, I will help him pick out corsages and I will not kick the ass of any little girl who breaks my son's heart. What more could a son ask of his good ol' Mom?
Friday, October 8, 2010
I am not a fan of meal times. I have never been. I have never been a big eater and quite frankly don't "get" the whole love of food thing. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate fine cuisine, but normal day to day meals; not really my thing.
I have spent most of my life not caring much if I eat or not. I would grab a granola bar, a cookie, whatever, and be on my way. I don't claim that it's healthy, it's just what I always did.
Now, I am a Mom. I have 6 kids. Six kids that insist on eating three meals a day, everyday! WHAT???!!!!
Of course I feed my kids, I HAVE to, but I don't have to like it.
I used to actually enjoy cooking! Inventing recipes, entertaining with food that I prepared. I didn't usually eat much of it, but I loved to make it. Then I had kids. It's hard to enjoy preparing a meal that, when placed on the table, elicits instant tears from my nine year old son because, he "doesn't like that."
Once I had kids, cooking became a required chore, not one of relaxation and creativity. It also became the focal point of my life. I am forced to think about dinner at 8am so that I can have something defrosted to cook that night.
Meals on a day that my kids are home from school typically go like this....
My kids get up and head down for breakfast at about 9am. I am NOT a morning person and I can't stand the smell of food cooking in the morning so it's usually quick and easy breakfast foods. I make sure I always have bagels, yogurt, fruit, cereal and instant oatmeal on hand for my kids. Now that my older three are 14, 12 and 9, with this method, I am able to avoid breakfast altogether! The older ones help the younger ones and they clean up after themselves, mostly.
By the time the breakfast fiasco is over it's close to 10:30. At about 11:00, without fail, my 7 year old son, Nicholas will be asking me, "What's for lunch?" Really kid?! You just finished breakfast!
At 12:30 or so the lunch nagging has become annoying enough that I have to stop whatever I am doing (laundry, cleaning, scrubbing...) to now prepare lunch. Yay.
Lunch is worse than breakfast. It feels like I'm running a diner with really bad employees. One order of tomato soup, one hot dog with cheese, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one plain cheese quesadilla, one can of Chef Boyardee, one "I don't like anything".
The older two begin by fighting over who gets to use the microwave first. The baby takes one look at his PB and J and says, "I don't want this."
My daughter decides that she doesn't want her hot dog on a roll anymore because the cheese, "Makes the hot dog slide out." The quesadilla is, "too hot" and the soup is "too chunky." It's usually about this time that I have to put myself in time out.
When I compose myself, I excuse the children and tell them I'll clean up, mostly so that I don't have to listen to the complaints anymore.
Lunch is over and cleaned up and it's usually around 3:00. (Yes, it takes that long to feed six kids lunch.)
Finally finished in the kitchen, I resume my previous chore. Nicholas hunts me down to ask me a question;
"What's for dinner?" The clock says 3:30.
Friday, September 17, 2010
"Hey, I'll friend you! What's your last name?"
You've heard it, I've heard it, hell, I've SAID it!
Facebook. Before you say anything, I'm not a basher, I'm on Facebook, I love Facebook, I'm a Facebook addict. I am also almost 40 years old.
I predate Facebook, I predate the internet, I predate computers. Okay, before some techy gets on my case about how computers and the internet have been around for longer than we think, blah, blah, blah…. I am talking about computers and internet for the general public, in people's homes, so relax.
When I was in school the "metric system was the way of the future" (hmmm, that conversion never took, huh?) When we went to the library, we looked up book titles and authors in the Card Catalog using the Dewey Decimal System (oh please, you 20-somethings, go Google it!) We made friends in school or in our neighborhoods.
As a person who has lived on both sides of technology, I am able to see and appreciate the irony. I actually enjoy it.
In Grade School, Middle School, High School, even college, I made friends, I lost touch with friends. Friends grew close, friends grew apart, life moved forward. It was the cycle.
Enter computers, enter the internet, enter; FACEBOOK. I joined, I friended family members that I rarely get to see. It was a lot of fun catching up and staying in touch.
Next, some of my friends (and by friend I mean the Friend as defined by Webster's Dictionary- one attached to another by affection, esteem or personal regard.) We would chat and share silly photos and just continue our friendship through an additional medium.
Later friend requests came from "old friends" people I used to know in H.S, College, Middle School and even some from Grade School. People I hadn't seen or talked to in forever, but were friends at some point in time, by the classic definition.
After a while, it got strange. Here come requests from ex-boyfriends and people from my distant past that I never really spoke to much or just flat out didn't care for. As a person who has lived life with the classic definition of "friend", I wasn't sure what was politically correct. Okay, I'll play, accept, accept, accept, accept. No big deal, right?
So, it seems to me that the while the original definition of "friend" remains the same, we may need a definition of "Facebook friend". Here's mine; Facebook friend- a person that you may or may not know, see, talk to, or enjoy the company of; another person on the social network, Facebook that has a pulse and appears on your "friends list". How's that?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a serial "friender"! I can tell you where each one of my "Facebook friends" came from. I may have met them at a party, through a mutual friend, whatever the case may be. I can't help it, I like people! So, I guess that Facebook is the perfect place for me to be!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
We had both read the book, several times, and we both loved it. We were worried that the movie wouldn't do the book justice. We didn't have to worry, it held it's own. We were both impressed considering the ground they had to cover in 2 hours or less.
If you haven't read the book (you should!) it's basically about a woman who is restless and lost and is constantly looking for the person, place or thing that will balance her life, bring her happiness and give her internal peace. It's about me. Well, not literally, but it could have been.
It was hard for me to read the book the first time, because as much as I loved it, all I really took away from it was; "I'm divorced! I've been through more than her! She left her husband because she was bored (I had a more serious reason) and I didn't get to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia!"
I was the proud owner of a "I was married for 10 years and all I got was these 5 kids" tee shirt. In other words, I was bitter.
Now, years later, the message means more to me. I have witnessed pain in other peoples lives that would make your blood run cold, I have accepted the fact that I can't control what other people say and do and feel, and I can't travel the world with six kids.
I think for me, my balance, is beginning to come from the realization that I need to balance myself and not the world around me.
"If you could clear out all that space in your mind, you'd have a doorway. And you know what the universe would do? Rush in. Everything else will take care of itself." -Richard from Texas, Eat, Pray, Love
That quote from the book and the movie, makes more sense to me now than it did before. Before, it was a puzzle to me as to how to "clear out all that space". I have never been still, I have never been quiet, I have never NOT had 10,000 thoughts in my head all at once. I have never been able to "let it be". (again, Richard from Texas)
I am a fix it, solve it, make it go away person by nature. Control freak? Maybe to a degree, but with all the best intentions.
I am a work in progress, but I am learning. I am opening up to possibilities beyond my own dirty laundry pile. I am letting things take care of themselves.
I guess I am realizing that I have come a long way from where I once was. Life is crazy and hectic and unpredictable. Kids get sick, friends disappoint. Life is no different than it's ever been, it's me that's different.
I just might be getting the hang of this "growth" thing after all!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
My youngest is 4, but he is special needs so he goes to Preschool Disabled in the public school.
He has 1 Special Ed. teacher, 1 Para-professional, 1 Speech/Language Pathologist and 1 Case Manager that I deal with daily.
My second grade twins are in the same class so they have 1 teacher. However, my daughter is also special needs so add in her Special Ed. teacher and her Case Manager. My twins are also in speech.
My fourth grader seems to be my most "normal" kid! He has 1 teacher, no special needs for learning, but does go to Speech.
As a sidenote, I will need to be in all three of the above classrooms simultaneously. Fortunately, my husband will be along for the ride tonight, so I'll put him in Pre-School and I'll run back and forth to the other two grades.
Here's where it gets fun! I have kids in higher grades!
My Seventh grader has 6 teachers and a Guidance Counselor. Lucky for me, he is an Honors student and your classic over-achiever, so I don't have to talk to his teachers much.
My High School Freshman keeps me on my toes! He has 7 teachers, which is to be expected in High School, but he also has ADD so as a result, 2 In Class Support teachers, a case manager and a guidance counselor. He can also be a bit unmotivated at times so I spend many hours in contact with all of his teachers and case manager.
It's a lot of people to keep track of and my brain at almost 40 is not what it was at 20-something!
So as I prepare to go to my first of three back to school nights, I will remember to keep in mind the importance of my children's education, the love that I have for my kids, and the fact that the teachers don't want to be there either!
Hope everyone's Back to School Nights go well! See ya around the halls!
Friday, September 10, 2010
My kids went back to school on Tuesday. Big years for Michael and Alec. Michael started High School and Alec started Middle school. I was worried for both of them.
My little ones are still doing the grade school thing, and Aidan has one more year of preschool Special Ed. Thankfully, our home school opened up a preschool so at least he doesn't have to be on a bus for 40 minutes each way anymore. Yay!
So, now my day starts at 5:45 am. For many Moms, that's not a big deal, but I AM NOT a morning person, never have been. It doesn't help that in addition to not being a morning person, I am a NIGHT person and a person with insomnia. Not a good combo.
Michael gets up first, then Alec, then the youngest four. Mornings go pretty much as you would expect when there are six children involved. Someone is pokey, someone is cranky, someone is forgetful....kind of like if the 7 dwarfs suddenly woke up with attitude problems.
Everyone managed to get out the door each morning. Most of them got home each afternoon. Yes, I said most. I did get one phone call from my oldest who managed to miss not one, but two late buses. I never did get the whole story.
So it begins; soccer, gymnastics, Cub Scouts, Cross Country, Track and of course the dreaded Religion classes. All that tossed in with homework, tests, projects and science fair, it can be a bit overwhelming for all involved.
So, I try to remember to heed the advice that I give my kids. "One thing at a time." I encourage them to try to focus on one hurdle at a time, while remembering the hurdles ahead. It's the only way to stay sane in a world that is spinning way too fast.
So, we survived the first week!
I am so looking forward to the weekend!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I'm going to make a real attempt to get back into my writing. All six of my kids will be in school full time in 2 weeks and I am determined to do this, for ME.
I have also started to write articles for associated content. It's not what I usually write and not what I'm used to, but it's a good way to hone my skills and get me motivated. I will be sharing here as well.
I look forward to getting back into writing, see ya around the blog!
Now, if i could just get some more followers! :-)