Thursday, January 22, 2015

Momma's Frustrations of Daily Life

7 Things that frustrate me daily - in no particular order.

1). Sitting.  I just want to sit down, for over 20 minutes without having to get up.  As SOON as I sit down, someone needs something.  Whether it is a cup of water or a snack or a shoe tied, or a Minecraft emergency, or even a “but I wanna sit there” complaint.  It seems like a conspiracy hatched by the kids, the dog, The Hub and even my own bladder.  None of these factors in my life will allow me to be uninterrupted for an extended period of time.  And by ‘extended’ I mean over 15 minutes.  

2). My face.  It is looking older and older.  I FaceTime with my little brother who lives in Hawaii.  (Yea, I know!)  And I am overly distracted by the little ichat box with my talking face in it.  It looks old and haggard and saggy and old.  The wrinkles aren't that bad, but the saggy, baggy neck, chin and jowls are upsetting. Should humans have jowls?  Also the bags under my eyes are super puffy and the some of the freckles are running into each other.  I am only 42, but I see what 72 may look like, pretty clearly!  

C). Homework.  I am sick of the homework.  My 11 year old’s 5th grade homework is enough to have me hate school all over again. It is time consuming and tricky.  He is sloppy and rushes through everything.  So I have to be the ogre and have him re-do it so that a human being from this century can read it.   He does not seem to learn that if he rushes through to get it done quick, it is only going to take him 3 times as long to finish.  I have said it before, I don’t know how his teachers have not throttled him as of yet.  Is there anything less logical and more pig headed than an 11 year old boy?  

You like me, you really like me!
D). My social media problem.  Notice I did not say addiction.  I am not ready to go that far.  I can stop any time I want to. It hasn't interfered with.... OMG I just got a comment "liked" by Jenn Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat!  No Way!  Where was I?   I know.  I will just keep rowing down that river in Egypt.  I like it.  I am a social person, and I like the perceived notion that people actually listen to me.  Even if it is just a Facebook “like” or a re-tweet.  No one listens to me in my real life but they do on my computer. Look, you are listening to me right now!  Wait, wait, don’t go.  Let me entertain you!  

Sub-paragraph Q).  Cooking.  I actually love cooking.  I enjoy creating meals and having them all come together.  I enjoy putting it on the table and looking at my feast.  I love serving the plates and taking that first bite after savoring the smells.  If it were only that simple. The creating of the meals is interrupted continuously.  I forget my overall vision for the meal.  Then the complaints start before I finish.  
“What are we having?”  (said in an incriminating and volatile tone)

“I don’t WANT that for dinner!”

“I HATE (insert here: any food item that I am currently cooking)!” 

“But I am STARVING and I don’t like any of that stuff.”

“You NEVER make anything I like!”

“Honey, isn't that (insert here: pan of food he has never cooked in his life) on too high?”

“Do we have any (insert here: something we don’t have and wouldn’t go with the meal anyway)?”

“Why did you make it that way?”

“Is this your own creation or did you follow a recipe?”
Then we sit down to the table, that no one seemed to remember how to set, and I am hopping up and down like a bunny getting all the things that were forgotten, like a fork, the butter, salt and pepper, cups for drinks, said drinks, napkins, etc.  Then after all the complaints - and I have inhaled a cold dish of food - the clean up process starts.  I HATE cleaning up after I have cooked. HATE IT. I am a messy cooker.   But it is usually a toss up of cleaning the kitchen or doing the bedtime routine.  As much as I hate cleaning up, I will choose cleaning up, every time! 

Z). Sleeping.  I need a night.  Now it is not nearly as bad as it was when the kids were babies.  I am not that sleep deprived.  I shouldn’t even complain about it…. Ok for all of you parents of babies out there, I won’t.  I won’t dare complain, because I am still getting about 6 hours more sleep than you are!  

6). My Body.  I don’t care much about how she is looking lately.  She can be covered up and disguised with clothing, but I do care how she feels.  That is pretty crappy!  Knees cracking, elbows popping, shoulders aching, back straining and ass dragging!  It has to do with age… and eating improperly… and lack of exercise…. and weight, but I am going with blaming it all on age.  

VII).  Laundry.  OH Sweet Love of all that is Holy, I hate the laundry.  I hate everything about it.  The sorting. The fishing dirty, little underwear out of dirty, little pants that are inside out. The dirty, little balls of stinky socks. The super-stinky basketball clothes.  The pre-pubescent stench of the 5th graders clothes. The soaking wet towels thrown in the laundry on top of and underneath more gross clothes, that sat for days. Loading the machine then forgetting to change it over to the dryer.  Then having to rewash the mildew smelling load again.  Ugh! The folding and putting away that NEVER gets done.  Then looking at the hamper and seeing it is full again and always for ever and ever, Amen!  

It can be daunting, mundane and tedious, but I read this and then kind of hate myself.  WTF do I really have to complain about? So what are your frustrations?  Are they as meaningless as mine?

Friday, January 9, 2015

We Came, We Saw, We Quit Our Membership

Yea, Yea, Yea, I know!  You hate all of us non-fit, newly resolved, noncommittal types who just committed to your gym.  The gym you go to every other day no matter what.  

We are taking your parking spaces, we are taking your equipment.  We are taking up all the space at the front of your exercise class.  We don’t know where we are going or what time anything starts.  We look overwhelmed and at the same time cocky because we are now ‘going to the gym’ and ‘getting in shape.’  Finally!  Something that you have been doing for years. 

What makes us so special?  We now act like we own the place. We forget to wipe up our funk off of the stair-stepper after our grueling 20 minutes. Only 20 minutes and we look like we just took a dip in the pool.  You see, we sweat so profusely because this is the most movement we have had since we had to run into McDonalds from the parking lot when they screwed up our drive-in order.  

Some of us start a program that we were able to do 10-15 years ago, like no time has passed.  Only after, realizing that a lot of fucking time has passed!  Some of us just walk into the fitness room and jump from machine to machine, pretending that we know what we are doing and then get bored.  Some of us start a fitness class with other newbies and realize that it is not as easy to walk out in the middle of class when everyone can see you leave.   

Just be patient.  It won’t last long.  Mid February, maybe early March, we should be clearing out soon enough.  A few of us will inflict an injury - on ourselves.  A couple may even provide some excitement being taken out on stretchers!  

Instead of getting mad at us and cursing our brand new work out clothes with matching bag, sneakers, and headband, try to have some pity.  We really don’t know what we are doing.  We may act like we are ready for the workout routine.  But we are not.  We may act as if we love going to the gym.  But we don’t.  We may try to keep up with the crazy spin lady. But we can’t.  

There are some who will find that fun.  Find that spark that will light their ass on fire.  Then they will love going to the gym.  Some will start to feel really good and realize how healthy they are feeling.  They will actually look forward to their work-out.  Be kind, because some of those will be here the rest of the year!

But the rest of us, in all reality, are scared, miserable and tired.  We don’t like working out.  We don’t want to get off the couch.  We hate seeing all you svelte committed exercisers, rolling your eyes at us.   Our motivation to start getting in
shape is usually a vane one - just so we don’t have to buy the next size up - just so we can eat a few pieces of pie and not look 5 months pregnant.  Is that too much to friggin' ask?  However, vanity will not be enough to keep us motivated. We will search for a better motivation.  But what-the-fuck-ever!  We won’t last.  We never do.  We will skip a week and then 2 weeks and then 3 months will have gone by and we will cancel our membership. That is…. until the open enrollment is offered next January!  

Until next year.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Growing Pains

The holidays bring out the best and worst in me.  I was an absolute mess before Christmas.  The planning, the spending, the worrying about the debt-ing, all made me an emotional mess. Oh and did I mention that our house is up for sale, and we have to have the house show-ready?”  That combined with memories of Christmases gone by and the reality that my boys are not babies or even toddlers anymore.  They are getting bigger and this, or the next Christmas may be the last ones that they believein Santa.  When that happens, a certain magic will be lost.  

It seems that we try to hold on to a piece of the past no matter if it is healthy or not and the holidays give us the opportunity to do that.  Baking what our grandmothers baked, putting decorations up that remind us of our childhood, trying to recreate experiences that we had as children for our own children.  

The trick is not losing ourselves in the past, not succumbing to the old ways that we used to use to survive.  There are roles we played as children that can be carried into adulthood that no longer serve our best interests.  

My goal as a mother is to make the roles of my boys good ones, to allow and even facilitate the changing of those roles as they grow. I know I am going to be a major topic in their future therapy sessions.  I cant escape that, but I want to mitigate the damage.  I want to - for lack of a better term - not pass my neurotic shit on to them.  I want their lives to be about them and what they want and need, not what I want for them. 

My personal struggles have been fighting my own narcissistic tendencies and my need for validation, control and attention.  Well the attention thing may be out of the question, because well. blog about ME! But I am learning that I can validate myself.  Control is something that I am learning to let go of, one white knuckle at a time. 

I am finding it easier to see my role as a mother as one of a guide and not a leader. A behind the scenes coach and support system rather than a director.  This is needed as they are becoming older.   Lil One is only 6 and I can still bask in the glow of his cuteness and cuddle-me-ness and his looking to me as the one with all the right answers.  He is a smart cookie and so easy going, and I may be able to hold on to that for another couple of years.  

But First born has been discovering himself apart from us. It is exciting and frightening to watch. First Born is 11 and I have started the transition into someone who really does not know anything. I am the one to be tested and argued with at any cost.  My natural urge is to fight this.  But I am realizing that that will not help.  I have to let him make mistakes. I have to let him fall.  I have to make sure that I validate his feelings, even when I think that he is being rid-god-damn-diculous and overly dramatic.  I have to allow that to happen. If I fight it, I fight him.  He has enough angst and frustration, I dont want to play the lead role.  I am also realizing that he still needs the hugs and cuddles that I give Little One.  He leans into me when I am going over his homework. He lets me fix his hair in the morning and still gives me a kiss goodnight.  I have to be welcoming to that for as long as he still needs it.  I have to not push when I go to give him a hug and he backs away and only does the one-arm-patting-the-back thing.  I need to give him his space and allow him to grow.  

It is so hard and so emotional!  So much more emotional than I thought it would be.  There are times, especially during the holidays, when I ache for First Born to be that little wiry monkey who would fly into my arms and tell me - with his speech impediment - Momma I yuve you soon much.’  I miss when he would pat the floor next to him and say, Momma, you pway dis twuck and I pway dat twuck.’  I daydream of the nights spent on his rocking chair in his room, when he would tell me what songs he wanted me to sing to him before bed.  I would sing and his sweet little voice would join with mine on the parts that he knew.  I miss that little guy.   I miss the role I played.  I miss how good I felt being able to comfort and fix all of his problems with a hug and a kiss.  At 11 he still needs me but in a way that I have to learn.  The early years came naturally. These years are going to need some research and patience.  The roles are changing. 

Everything is new but we are the same.  Can we change?  Is it possible that we dont change but become more of ourselves as we improve?  When we were born, were we wired as perfect beings and then life happens, parents happen, mistakes happen and our wiring is short circuited, then re-wired?  Are the improvements we make actually working our way back to our original wiring?

I sit here typing this with tears running down my face.  I know that growing pains are as much about what we as parents go through as it is for our children.  I realize that growing never stops and I have to continue my growth as a mom.  I have to figure out the next stage and allow my sons to figure it out as well.  I cant scoop them up in my arms and tell them Mommas got you, baby.  Everything is gonna be all right,and expect that to work.  I am going to have to find something that makes me feel as good as when I could still do that.   How do you find that?  How can I get that back?  Am I supposed to get that back?  How do you come to the realization that that part of your mothering role has been played and is done?  How do you look back on that and smile with pride instead of cry with longing?  

When I looked at my sons when they were first born, I knew in my heart and soul that they were perfect beings, full of love and abundance.  Their lives are a wonderful journey back to that love and abundance.  They will go through highs and lows, beauty and pain, joy and failure and I will be there.  I look forward to being there in the background, always there with a soft place to land when they need it.  In the meantime I will still be on my own wonderful journey learning and playing the roles I need to play.   Someday making it back to my own original wiring and returning to me.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Momma's Ode to the Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas
and all through the day
we were all so very tired 
no one wanted to play

We sat in our pj's
and super-comfy blankets
watched movies and napped
and ate lots of cheese-its

No meals to be planned
no tables to set
no decorating to be done
no more gifts to get

We bask in the glow 
of the fun day before
of family and friends 
and yummy food galore

We thought of those 
who were not with us this year
and those far away 
whom we still hold very dear

This day is not productive 
nor is it meant to be
we are content to watch the lights
on yesterday’s Christmas tree

Life will crank back up
and tomorrow will come quick
so we sit on our butts
and another movie we will pick

And we exclaim to the kids 
as we drift off to bed
Enjoy your christmas gifts
but don't let them go to your head

From our family to yours
there is one more thing to say
relax and enjoy you and yours 

on this day after Christmas Day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


She is a real bitch.  She doesn’t like me very much.  She tells me that I am a fake; that I am lazy and inadequate.  She makes sure I know that I am never going to be enough. 

She calls me dramatic and overly sensitive.  She criticizes the way I parent, the way I dress, the way I keep my house, and my marriage.  She tells me that I am dumb, but pretend to be smart.  She sees right through me.  She knows my weaknesses and actively uses them against me.  Being a “ditz” is something that I fear, and she makes sure I feel like a ‘ditz’ most days.  

She catches me being a lazy parent and letting them watch just one more show, sets her off.  Even though I hide from her, she always catches me eating when I am not supposed to be.  I think that she is sleeping late at night when I sneak to the kitchen and devour something sweet. But when I turn around she is right there, marching me back up the stairs and making me stand on the scale to see the damage I am doing.  She looks at the clock and tells me that I am lazy because if I just work a little harder, I could make it to the gym AND do the laundry.  But I have no discipline.  

She looks at my husband and tells me that he could never really love a woman as lazy and dependent as me.  He stays because he is a good man and would not want to hurt the kids. But any time he is away from me he is much happier.  She assures me that when he tells me that he loves me, or hugs me that he is only trying to “get some.”  She makes sure I know that when he does nice things for me it is because he wants me to do nice things for him in return.   

She lets me know that when my children are acting out or misbehaving, it is directly because of me and my lazy parenting.  When people compliment my children she makes me aware that they only act nice around other people, because they don’t like being with me.  

She makes me question everyone’s motives, constantly.  She is so toxic and debilitating.  When I am struggling with depression or anxiety she is the happiest, and makes me believe that I am damaged beyond repair.  She loves being in control but criticizes me for being a control freak. 

Every once in a while she makes me feel a little superior by pointing out other peoples’ bad behavior.  But when I try to have sympathy for those people, she calls me weak and a pushover.  

She points out my wrinkles, my saggy breasts, my stretch marks, the bags under my eyes, my hair, my face.  She makes sure I put my Spanx on every day, so no one else can see my muffin top.  

When I do get to the gym to work out, she is a little weaker but then she makes me feel guilty for focusing so much on myself and tells me I am vain and self centered.  If I need time alone or away from the kids, she is right there with me the entire time, telling me that I don’t deserve to be a mother.  

She makes me spend money telling me that that will make me feel better and then criticizes me for going into debt.  She is strong.  

But I am stronger.  She cannot make me feel ‘less-than’ anymore.  She will NOT control me.  

I am enough just as I am.  

I am enough even on my bad days.  I am not afraid of her.  She has been my companion for too long.  I will not listen to her.  It is my choice and I will make that choice.  

When I feel weak, I will listen to my real friends and loved ones, who tell me that I am enough.  

I am enough and I am powerful.  

I am enough and I am strong.  

I am enough and I am beautiful.  

I am enough and I will prosper.  

I am enough and I am love.  

I am love and light and power.  

Even as I type this she is whispering “Who the fuck do you think you are? You sound ridiculous and self centered.” 

And I am telling her, ‘NO, I am enough.’  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Momma O's Fall Update

Yamaha YAS-25 Alto Saxophone
Fall is in full blast!  It is still hot as balls out, but school started and my new job at the school has started.  

Band practice has started.

Flag football has started.  


The Eagles season has started.  

We are all in. Balls to the wall, full steam ahead.  At least until we hit that wall, which usually happens around November.  When the wall is hit, we are wiped out and then we have to get ready for the holidays.  

I have this image in my head of how the school year will go.  I have started with a good momentum by packing lunches every day, preparing dinner, making sure the kids are clean and in bed by 8:00pm.  I am getting the kids up early enough so there is no crazy rushing around in the morning.  I am not sure how long this will last, because by February or there about, we are usually getting up with the most minimal time needed to get ready.  No lunch is packed and I am scrambling to make sure that their lunch accounts have some money in them.  And dinner consists of frozen waffles and a yogurt.  But for now I am going to bask in the glory of everything being done right and in a timely manner!  

"Your community can sponsor a school lunc...I started a new job.  I am the lunch lady at the kids’ school.  I don’t see my kids because I work in a different building, but I will get to see Little One, next year. That is, if I decide to stay and I haven’t lost all my shit by the time school is over!  As the lunch lady I am responsible for all of the first and second graders (approximately 600 munchkins). I make sure they get in line if they are ordering lunch.  I get them sitting down to eat their lunches.  Since they are relatively little guys and gals, I have to open juice boxes, yogurts, snacks and milks.  I can also foresee carpel tunnel set in for all the shoes I have to tie.  After they are done eating — and there is never enough time - I wipe down all of their tables and then take them out to recess until their teachers are done eating their lunches and come to retrieve them.  I do this four times, in a row for about 150 kids at a pop.  It is the fastest 2.5 hours of my life, every day.  

The kids are a riot.  Some of them need more discipline at home.  Some of them need more help in school.  Some of them are not happy.  Some of them are super hyper.  Some are space cadets.  And the vast majority are really great kids.  I love the kids. They make me laugh, smile, wince, roll my eyes, cry and they make me talk to myself.  This is motherhood, so I am well suited.  I am not sure if I am getting the whole “time away from my kids” thing correct.  Since now I am just spending that time with other peoples kids.  At least there is a meager paycheck in it at the end of the week.  

Then we have this crazy armed burglary/home invasion stuff going on in our neighborhood.  Yes, you read that right.  It is complete bullshit.  These desperate sonsabtches are going to houses in broad daylight, banging on the doors and then breaking in.  It is so comforting to know that they have no fear in being caught,  because most people are not home during the day, except for some of us.  I am a bit rattled.  But we have our vicious dog who will tear apart anyone who tries to get in and my double-black belt in TaiKwanJuJitSu will also help.  Mother fuckers need to step back.  Other than that, there really is nothing in this house worth more than a few bucks.  Believe me I have tried to sell most of this shit on the yard sale sites and no one wants it.   

Then we have my MiMom (94 year old grandmother) who fell and broke her hip in the nursing home…. yes, IN the nursing home.  They actually had to perform surgery and she did well.  It has been a trying summer to say the least.  I spent my birthday in the hospital with my MiMom as she went in for surgery that day.  It was not the best way to turn 42 but it could have been worse.  

I look forward to fall.  I love the change of seasons, the smells, the warm clothes that cover up hairy legs, the boots that hide the jacked up toes, the scarves and accessories.  Time to break out the crock pot and have the house smelling yummy with food only The Hub and I will eat.  

My plan is to write more, now that I have all this time on my hands….wait, what?  Time, is still a commodity that eludes me.  Until the next update. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Play Play Play all Day Day Day

The end of the summer.  The end of the sleeping-in.  Well sort of sleeping-in, more like awaking without a set schedule.  Every night, the boys and I have a routine.  I kiss them goodnight and they ask, “So, what is the plan for tomorrow?”  And I start with the same thing, “We will get up, eat breakfast, get dressed…..”  then I have to figure out what we are going to do the next day.  When they were very little and on the days Little One was not in preschool last year, I would finish with “then we will play, play, play all day, day, day.”  There were many days this summer I said that also.  

Now that school is starting and both of my boys will be in school all day, I am…I am… that is the thing, I don’t know?  This will be the first time in 11 years that I will be without a child by my side for the majority of the day.  They both will be out of my care for almost 9 hours a day.  

I have been on a mission to find a job that can accommodate my new schedule. I posted this:  
...just to make sure everyone knew!    I interviewed for a lunch lady position at the school, which will not pay much, but the hours work.  I have started submitting my writing to publications in hopes of getting paid to write.  I am not there yet, but I got my first rejection, which actually made me feel pretty good.  It made me feel like a real writer.  I have been focusing on getting a job, mostly because, being home without the boys - while it will be wonderful at first - may just drive me batty.  

Since the day I laid my eyes on First Born, I began my mission.  I became a mom.  I did not know until that moment - seeing him, holding him in my arms - that I wanted to be a mom.  The Hub and I had decided to start a family.  We both talked about being parents, and what that would mean; how we thought our lives would have to change and how we would want to raise our family.   

Although I consciously made the effort to become a mother, I did not feel that I could do it until I saw First Born’s face.  His entrance into our lives sealed in me what I was put here to do.  I was put here to be a mother.  I finally found a fit.  I found something that I could be good at.  I am still striving to be “good at it,” as it is a continual process. But I am enjoying the process.  

When Little One was born I was already a mother, however being the mother of 2 was not something I was sure about.  I adored First Born so much, that I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to devote the time and love to another one.  I was proven wrong.  The love was not divided it was multiplied. Little One and his birth process made me so much stronger and Motherhood requires strength, courage and vigilance, to name a few.  

I am here to be their mother.   They made me who I am.  It is a difficult thing to admit that I did not feel like I had anything to offer the world until they came along. I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I did not know at the time that I felt that way, until I had something to offer.  That is the thing about parenthood.  No one really knows what they are getting into.  No one has any idea how they will react to or feel about being a parent, until it is thrust in their face.  Talk about trial by fire!  I am grateful that my boys have been what my life was missing.  Not just the joy they bring me, or the beauty that they instill, but the messy, crazy, headache inducing stress of it all. 

I am all in.  All my chips rest with my ability to raise these little monkeys into productive, happy, well adjusted members of our world.  I take it seriously, but laugh at it at the same time.  I can’t take myself too seriously, because I know I am full of faults and misconceptions.  I am fully aware of my “fake it till you make it” situation.  I push myself to learn more about raising the kind of men that will impart love and compassion into the world.  And as much as I want to get it right, I know that a lot of it is just a crap shoot.    

I guess my thought is: I have devoted the past 11 years to having my boys at my side.  It was a conscious choice that we were lucky enough to be able to make. One income and the pressure that involves is not easy.  But we make it work.  It is also not easy on my ego.  I have always prided myself in being an independent woman.  I moved out and took care of myself from the age of 19.  I did not depend on anyone, (except for that year that I moved back home after a bad break up, oh yea, that sucked!)  But I always had a full time job, paid my own bills and lived on my own.  It was a source of pride and accomplishment. Even after the Hub and I got married, we split everything down the middle.  

Fast forward 13 years and his paycheck is the only thing we have to “split” between a mortgage, loans, taxes, utilities, etc. Yes,  I have had sporadic jobs watching other people’s children, for which I got paid.  I have also worked at Little One’s preschool, as a lunch lady/teachers assistant, for which I also got paid, a little.  But, I have not brought home a normal paycheck for 11 years. The pressure that puts on The Hub does not seem fair, but he assures me it is. 

My job, my mission, was taking care of my boys and raising them.  It still is my job and my mission, but now I will have less hours in the day to do it.  Where do those hours leave me?  What is my ‘job?’  I need a purpose during that time.  If I stay home, I will sit and think about too much and I don’t need all that mess.  

I will miss having a little one at home, so much.
I will miss the little hand in mine as we walk outside to play.  
I will miss the little socks that get lost in the back seat of the car on the way to the grocery store.  
I will miss my one on one time with a new, little, exploring mind. 
I will miss the belly laughter at a favorite show. 
I will miss the snuggles at nap time.  
I will miss games of hide and seek where the 'hider' is always in full view. 
I will miss teaching them their ABCs, or how to count, or their colors.  
I will miss drawing with them or leaving messages for daddy at work.  
I will miss those tight-neck-squeeze hugs. 
I will miss spaghetti box trains.
I will miss sticky peanut butter and jelly kisses after lunch.

If I am home to ponder and think about all of that, the Zolft dosage will be doubling, sooner rather than later!   I need to keep myself occupied between the times that I am actively mothering.  Ideally, I could just write all day and get paid!  That would rock.  Anyone hiring?  But until that works. I will be the lunch lady or the playground assistant, or whatever else is needed between the hours of 8:30 and 3:30.   

Then they will get off the bus and most likely ignore me. But I will be here to be ignored, make dinner, take them to practice, and turn off the radio in the car when they start to talk about their day.  (Car talks are the best.)  I will be here to help with the homework, look over test scores and hear about their teachers. I will do the laundry every day (that just made me laugh out loud, cause, who am I kidding? That laundry will be done in 10-load spurts.  You know it and I know it.)   I will make them practice guitar and saxophone and any other interest they may have.  I will make sure they are showering and First Born is putting on his deodorant.  I will get them the coolest hair cuts and buy them new shoes every 3 months as they grow out of them.  It is still continuing and someday I will miss all of these things too. 

My boys are growing up. They will be out of the house all day, every day. When I kiss  them goodnight every night and they ask,  “So what is the plan for tomorrow?”   I will tell them.  

But I will look forward to a snow day or the summer break to say,   “Play, play, play all day, day, day,” and hope that that means as much to them as it does to me. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Day in a Mom's Life... Just Sayin'
We are always thinking five steps ahead.  Whether you work in the home, or both in and out of the home, mothers everywhere are on top of their game.  If they are not they are lam blasted by anyone who has an opinion.  

I have young children and watch other people's young children.  When watching my kids or others my first priority is, well, them.  If they want to play, we play, if they want to eat, we eat, if they want to go outside, we go outside, if they want... well, you get the picture.  

I do this, all the while, planning my next 18 hours.  I am clock watching for, 
Clockmeal time, 
diaper change time,
potty time (mine and theirs),  
snack time, 
nap time, 
homework time, 
laundry time, 
reading time, 
TV time, 
bath time 
and finally bed time.

As I am clock watching I am worrying:  
Did they eat enough/too much?  
Are they eating the right things? 
Did they poop/pee?  
When was the last time they pooped/peed? 
Are they they on target developmentally?  
Am I favoring one over the other?  
Am I creating brats, who always get what they want? 
Am I too hard on them?  
Do I expect too much/too little? 
Is my messy house a problem?  
How do other moms keep everything so friggin clean and straightened up? 
How can I expect my kids to straighten up if I don't?  
When can I get some "me" time?  
Do I deserve "me" time?  
Can I sneak in a nap?  
Can I sneak in a nap and not feel guilty?  
Do I hover over the kids too much?  
Can I let them watch TV for over and hour?  
What is with this attitude?  
Is my 7 year old really rolling his eyes at me already??? 
How do I  get my children to wash their hands/say thank you/share/be kind to others/feel less anxious/pull up their zipper/tie their shoes/eat their food, etc.?
While all this is going on in my head, I am:
playing Star Wars, 
preparing meals, 

cleaning up meals, 
setting up paper and washable markers, 
cleaning up said paper and washable markers... Damn it! they really are not washable! 
Playing Play-doh, why does it smell like that? It has not changed since the 70s, is it toxic because everything in the 70s was toxic, right? 
Getting juice, no milk, no water, no "I WANT JUUUUUIIIIICCE!!!!!" 
Making appointments, 
planning vacations,  
researching pre-schools, illnesses, parenting skills, sexual predators in my area.  OMG! How scary is that!  There are just too many freaky people out there!

I have only cracked the surface.  I am sure there is more, but it is 11 o'clock at night and I have used up my blogging time.   So I hope you enjoyed my brain, or lack there of!

Oh yea, did I mention I have to maintain: 
English: Typical Sippy Cup Safari cupsa good marriage, 
a weight, 
an identity, 
my medication 
and my sanity.  

Just sayin’. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brain Matters

Summer has been a whirlwind so far.  I cannot seem to catch my breath.  On July 1st my grandmother died.  She was 88.  Leading up to her death was a year and a half of a downward spiral.  She suffered from an evil called dementia.  It started with her anxiety and constant worry.  This was not new as she seemed to always worry, but it was much more pronounced.  It progressed into panic, violent outbursts to full blown dementia. 

Русский: Крушение поезда с царской семьей. Борки.
If you have not dealt with someone with dementia, it is difficult to explain. With dementia, it seems as if the years all stumble together.  Like a freight train that was going through life at a fast speed until it crashed.  Each car colliding into the next. Some cars overlapping and flying to the front.  All containing life events, memories and wild dreams.  And as these life events, memories and dreams tumble out of the cars the person is left trying to sort through them and put them back where they belong. But the places that they belong are irreversibly damaged.  

Also my good friends brain is not working properly.  She is a beautiful woman who graduated University with honors and received awards in her field before falling to mental illness, drugs and alcohol.  In which order, I am not sure.  For 20 years she has battled and struggled with this illness. I have learned to befriend her in a totally different way.  I love her and always will.  I also miss the person she was but cannot mourn that loss because there are still glimmers of that old person in the person she is now.  

I have another grandmother who is approaching 94 years old. Her brain has not changed but I now know she has suffered from a form of mental illness for most of her life.  She has been and is even more so now, delusional.  She makes up stories. Before, you sort of knew what to believe and what not to believe.  Now, you really cant believe much.  This has made me question how many things I have believed in the past, that may not have been reality.  I revisit some of her stories and make sure they were corroborated by my grandfather or other relatives.  It simultaneously makes me angry, sad and amused. She has a good heart.  Most of her stories were to protect someone or make things look better than they actually were. She may have done that over the years to help herself get through difficult times and finding that it worked for her, she continued.  

The thought of losing my mind is one of my biggest fears along with it being completely within reach.  I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life. Although I have it under control with therapy and medication, there are times I can fully relate to how the brain just wants to let go and stop taking orders.  

When I suffered from postpartum depression, with my First Born, It was after he weened from nursing. My hormone levels changed and I would cry almost every day.  I did not recognize it as depression since I was able to function, and it did not feel like the depression I had experienced before. I was able to get in under control with therapy and Prozac.  The combo helped immensely.  

Five years later when I suffered with Postpartum Depression after Little One, it hit me in the form of severe panic attacks. While pregnant with him I spent 9 weeks in the hospital on bed rest because of placenta-previa.  When he was born 6 weeks early he spent 18 days in the NICU, I spent every day running back and forth to the hospital while forgetting to eat, and obsessively pumping breast milk.  The day after we brought him home, I suffered a kidney stone attack.  A week after that I was back in the ER with a gall bladder attack requiring surgery.  A month later I had to have half of my thyroid removed because of a benign lump. 

After all of this happened my brain failed me.  I was convinced I was going to die.  I was convinced that cancer was running through my body.  I was convinced that I would never see my children grow up. I was convinced that my children would be left without a mother. I was convinced that I was going to leave my husband widowed.

These convictions were what sent me into a tailspin of severe panic.  Panic to the point of not getting out of my bed and walling myself in a cocoon of blankets. I was awake all night with a premie newborn - pumping and feeding him my milk from a bottle because he was too tiny to latch on.  I was obsessed with making milk as it was the only thing I felt I was able to do.   I was afraid of eating and felt perpetually nauseous.  I shrunk down to 105 lbs. which I had not been for over 20 years.

While my husband was at work, my mother and my best friend took turns helping me.  They did all the things that I should have been doing.  First Born was then almost 5 years old and they parented and took care of him and Little One.  I felt immense amounts of guilt.  They tried to get me to eat and tried to help me get out of my room. But I felt paralyzed.  

On a good day, when the haze lifted slightly, I got to my doctor who prescribed Xanax, which I was afraid to take because I was nursing.  Luckily my freezer was so packed with breast milk that we could barely fit any thing else in there.  So when I finally persuaded myself to take half a pill, I could then pump and dump.  The Xanax worked which then led me to contact a therapist.  This led me to talk to my Dr. about an antidepressant that I could take while nursing.  I did not want to.  I was so afraid that it would hurt Little One.  They told me that Zoloft was the safest one to take while breast feeding. The Zoloft started to work which then led me to join a group for moms with PPD. The combo of all of these things helped me escape the demons.  

I can see why people have thought that they were possessed when suffering from mental illness.  There is a definite displacement.  A disassociation, of what is really happening, what you perceive to be happening and what you know to be true.  Everything is turned on its head.  Everything is warped.  So when my friend, whom I have known since childhood, tells me that she is hearing voices that are deceiving her-although I have not experienced that- I get it.  I get the fear and confusion.  When I would talk to my grandmother who suffered from dementia and she would tell me about the long deceased relative that she was just talking to, or how everyone around her was after her, or how she needed money so she could get herself a hotdog, I got it.  I got the panic and disorientation.  When my other grandmother starts to tell me an outlandish tale that involves her being the savior or hero, I get it.  I get the wanting of things to be so different from what they actually are and wanting that so badly that you convince yourself of it. 

The brain seems to be both extremely sensitive and immensely strong.  Its power is frightening.  We must take care of it, just as we try to take care of the rest of our body.  Summertime is supposed to be a vacationtime.  Maybe the rest of this summer, I will concentrate on giving my brain a vacation.  Letting it get some R&R.  Allowing the worry to stop and the light to shine in.  I want to preserve it, nourish it and honor it.   Stay healthy my friends.

English: diffusion MRI Tractography in the bra...