Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is the Working Mom for Me?

The end of the school year is around the corner, as well as new changes to look forward to with the end of the summer.

I am in such a different place mentally this year than last year. Last year I felt so defeated. I was not happy with my job at all; I was seriously considering leaving teaching. We had just moved into our new house, but we were struggling in a way financially that we had never struggled before. Due to that I wasn't going to be able to go home for a year so I became homesick.  With those things stressing me out, it was a huge contributor to tension between Nate and me.

But I was set on taking this year on with a positive attitude and new motivation. I have been at my current school for eight years. One of the most disheartening things to me was that I wasn't sure I wanted to teach anymore, but really felt in order to feel if that was truly the case I owed it to myself to experience teaching somewhere else. I am going to get that opportunity next school year. I am actually going to get to experience two different school environments as I will be at the neighborhood community school on "B" days and the magnet school a mile away on "A" days. I am teaching six sections of Honors English 11, which is American Literature, in our school system. I love teaching American Literature and have taught it for the last five years so I'm excited about continuing with something I love and am familiar with. However, I am a little concerned about getting bored. Being on repeat six times may get a little boring, but I'm hoping with only one prep I will be able to put a lot of focus and creativity into my lesson planning.

At one point last year I was convinced I really wanted to be a SAHM. Even though that would take some things off my plate and probably lower my stress level at times, now that I am back in a more positive place, I really don't see that being for me. Not because we couldn't afford it but as awful as this sounds I'm not sure it would make me happy. I told my husband I think I'd just feel like the maid all day, constantly cleaning up messes, preparing food, and working on laundry.  Even though I'm sure I'd take the girls to go do stuff (even though with less money I'm not sure what), I'd think all of us would get a little bored and stir crazy, especially since they're older now and need social interaction.

Working and having my own career I see now is more important to me than I realized. I don't want to take anything away from those that choose to stay home, but for someone that was so torn between which was the right choice even though our finances didn't allow me a choice, I'm glad to feel more sure of my path as a working mom now.  There are still times I think maybe a different schedule or even part time would work better, and maybe if I ever get that opportunity I'll try it.  For now though, I'm glad this year reassured me of my enjoyment for my chosen career and my choice to be a working mom. I'm thankful I had such an enjoyable last year at my current school, but I am not one to stay standing in the same spot for long so I'm excited to see what next school year brings.

I was also asked to return to teach the English 101 class at the community college this upcoming Fall. I did it last year because we needed the money, but this year I didn't have to do it. It'd be nice to have the extra monthly income just so maybe I can overspend on my grocery budget without going into freak out mode or redecorate the room the girls are going to start sharing without stressing about where to cut money from to splurge on something. But I also wanted to do it because I really liked it. When I did it last Fall it was the first reassurance I had that I do still really love to teach. I was really torn on this due to the whole mommy guilt thing. However, because the class is right after work and only puts me home two nights a week about two hours later at six instead of four, I decided to go ahead and do it again. The extra money will be nice, we'll definitely be able to start Ave's college savings with her start of kindergarten now, it's a great experience for me, and dang it I can be a good mom as a working mom. I don't have to feel guilty that I have a career or that I do something additional like teaching this college class.

I think that's what this year was about for me. Last year I felt like I had such a thin grip on everything, even who I was. Go back and read my post from last year in the April-June 2013 archives.  This year was about proving to myself that I can balance the working mom journey and be content with it.

Did I always feel like I had it all together? Haha, no way. Did I get stressed and overwhelmed? Definitely. But I was okay. I didn't feel like quitting, giving up, or lost. I can work and still be a good mom to my girls. Even though there are so many ways I can improve as a teacher, improve as mom, improve as a wife, I found something I lost last year, contentment. I never realized until recently how valuable that is to not just motherhood but our lives.

Recent Posts

The Better Life

The Selfish vs the Selfless Mom


Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Better Life

Often we hear our elders mention the good ole days. Life was different, people were different, some will claim life was better, simpler. Maybe they're right. I don't know. I didn't live my life then. I live my life now. I live my life in a faster paced world of advanced technology, knowledge at the click of the button on the internet, instant gratification for whatever show we desire from our DVR, where we stay connected to one another through social media platforms.

Is it a different world? I think no matter our age no one can argue that. But to decide which is supposedly better or easier is maybe more so the argument. I don't think one generation's life was any better than another s, anymore than my life is better than yours or yours better than mine.

Because let me tell you what I experienced, what I saw, and what I heard this past Memorial weekend when we take the time to pause, reflect, and give thanks to those that fought to give us all a better life.

What I believe will be one of my children's fondest memories of their childhood will be the summer days spent hanging out on their Nana s back porch with us, their Nana, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. We spend the whole day back there just enjoying each other s company, the kids run free playing hide and seek or tag, and when it s time to eat we all bring our food out there. After the sun goes down we get the fire going and that s where we all spend the rest of the night together. The girls will also remember something similiar about going to their Grandma and Grandpa Dells. We sit on the back porch there too and the kids have a ball playing down in the creek catching crayfish and whatever other creatures they can find.  It s simple, it s peaceful, and no matter our age or generation it is one of those best moments life has to offer.

This is not limited to my own experiences though because I saw and heard you too. Maybe you weren't on the back porch but you were around the dinner or picnic table, together outdoors on the lake, together in the pool, on the campground camping, in the backyard around the fire pit eating s'mores, or wherever you go to be together and happy.

No matter the year or generation of people life is hard, life is stressful, and we all just want to escape to a place that makes us happy. We want to forget the stresses, the demands, and all the things that take away the enjoyment of living. So wherever it may be that we go to just enjoy the simplicity of life and each other we find that better part of life that hopefully we all experience no matter our generation. Thanks to our veterans we can all enjoy these better days with the freedom they have and continue to fight for.

Recent Posts

Selfish or the Selfless Mother

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

True Love & a Stranger

A week ago my husband finally finished his graduate school program. The last four weeks were similiar to other peak moments in the last two and half years where besides dinner even though he was home we rarely saw him because he'd be busy on the computer trying to complete projects.

Right before he finished, I had a stress moment where I got irritated with myself, and even though at first it seemed like I was mad him,  I realized how much I needed his help and confessed that my independent have to do everything myself self would be glad to have my partner back after he was finished.

After he finished school finally he was able again to help with their baths, getting them to bed, and cleaning up after dinner. His absence gave me a new appreciation for what he does that makes us a team. This weekend he was able to put the girls' barbie house together, made them a chalkboard wall so hopefully Kenzi won't create a mural on our walls anymore, fixed our screen door that the animals tore up.Today he was able to take them outside and plant the garden with them. It s been so nice to have him back.

And we even got to go on an afternoon date this weekend.  The girls had a playdate at a friend's house around the corner for a few hours Sunday afternoon so we took off to a local winery. We sat outside and shared a bottle of wine just enjoying the quiet, the nice weather, the time to ourselves without the constant  "I need this, I need that" demands of our little angels.  Of course like most parents out without their kids we talked about the girls. But we always reminiscence about the past too and share those big dreams and ideas we both always have for the future. It was a great afternoon together.

However, I kind of popped the bubble of our little reunited honeymoon period when I maybe accused him of spacing out to "man land"   during our after date shopping trip with the girls because while I was dealing with "hold me", "I m thirsty", "I have to pee" he was able to just blissfully space out to man land in the plant aisle of Lowes for what seemed like FOREVER where there are obliviously no needy children.  After a few minutes of annoyed silence on the way home I decided to test the waters with some irrelevant question. If he doesn't answer I know he s mad. If he answers, which he usually does, it s all good. And he answered and our five spat was over and strangers no more were we. We are now back to us- two opposites that share just the right amount of interests to make us the team we are. True love involves just a little dose of drive each other crazy, right? We have several long overdue dates coming up this summer, and I will try extra hard to keep my man land comments to myself. As long as he doesn't do something to drive me crazy :)

                               These are pics from a former afternoon date from years ago

Other Posts about the older A & N

Monday, May 19, 2014

Walking in the Working Mom's Shoes

This is a guest post by my sister, Kelly Lingle, mom to my four year old niece Addison and two year old nephew, Paxton. She's a working mom as a hospital social worker. My sister is one of the hardest working mommas I know. She puts in 40 plus hours a week as a lead social worker and works frequent weekends on call after her 40 hour work week. I've always called her superwoman with her immaculate clean house, what always seems like caught up laundry (guess not always), the recognition and praise she gets from the great job she does as a social worker, and the wonderful and dedicated mom that she is to my niece and nephew. She married her high school sweetheart, and they really are the perfect opposites. Just as my perfect opposite knows if you think to question what all I do as a working mom you maybe bit off a little more than you can chew. Just as I tend to fire back with sarcasm, you'll see we share that same gene.

We have all experienced that day from hell where we all we want to do when we get home is put on our biggest pair of sweats pants, drink something very strong and eat a whole gallon of ice cream.

My day from hell consist of that crazy patient- delirious out of her mind screaming “may Jesus strike you down.” (I will be on the look out for random lighting strikes on the way home.) , sitting on a bench in a patient’s hospital room to speak with the patient and family only to learn after the fact that the exact spot I just sat was recently pissed on twice by that crazy delirious patient’s spouse who apparently is now incontinent-who knew?  So I can now include burn my clothes to the list of things I MUST do when I get home.

However, when I finally make it home an hour and a half late- the sweats pants are not clean (because nobody has done laundry for a week). Kool-Aid is as strong as it gets in this house, and I must have finished all the ice cream last night; therefore, the day from hell continues.

Now that work is over and I made it home for day- let the real work begin: it’s time to cook dinner, clean up dinner, give baths, maybe do some laundry so I can wear those sweat pants tomorrow night, story time and finally bedtime.

Finally after all the chores are done, the kids are in bed (and the hubs too), it’s time for me to have some time to myself, but at this point I am so exhausted I use my shower as my me-time and fall exhausted into to bed. Always the last to fall asleep and the first to get up-doesn’t seem fair does it? But I do it- day in and day out- be that full- time working mommy who bust her butt at work and home so she can get home and take care of her family and her home.

Walking in these working mom shoes is hard. My husband likes to remind me how he's supposedly more tired because he works harder because it's more "physical" work. However, as much as we love our husbands and as much as they may help one day in our shoes and they would end up under the desk in the fetal position sucking their thumbs. You may sweat more than me at work because the job is more "physical" but these shoes I walk in are made of steel. You have to be pretty tough to walk in the shoes of the working momma. We can take a lot and get right back up and do it again tomorrow. Never underestimate how hard a woman works.

Recent Posts

It Went Something Like This

I Said You Could have Pie for Breakfast?

Other Sarcastic Battle of the Sexes Posts

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus

Mr. Mom Looks to be a Little Grumpy

The Mommy Wars from a Man's Point of View

Did You Shave Your Legs for This?






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

And It Went Something Like This

Nate is Averi's tball coach but he couldn't make practice the other night. And the other coach was out of town. I spent over a decade on the ball field and coached high school girls so surely I could handle coaching a little tball. And it went something like this....

 First it was probably about 90 degrees and my daughter was suddenly a whiney wimp. She wanted to sit down. She wanted to be in the shade. She didn't want to play catch. She wanted to hit the ball. She wanted to play catch with her helmet on. She wanted to play in the dirt. Then there was Kenzi. First she stayed close, then she wandered over to the other team's practice.

Then she walked right down the middle of their playing catch lines. Then I was getting dirty looks from the other team's parents because why wasn't I keeping better track of my kid. I finally got her back close to us. Every time she started to wander off, I'd grab her arm. The first time she started the let me go limp and throw a fit thing. Then she discovered it was fun when I grabbed her arm to throw herself back into the overgrown soft grass. So then as soon as she'd get up from me grabbing her back, she'd take a step to take off, just so I could grab her and she could fall back again. After about half a dozen times of this I started to realize she was just playing.

 Then it was batting practice. If Kenz wasn't getting to close to the five year old with a bat, she was standing about two feet away, waiting to be drilled with the ball when they hit it. It was constant watch the ball, don't throw the ball at someone's that not looking at you, you stand with your feet towards the plate, not at the pitcher. Pay attention. During fielding practice, one little boy thought it'd be fun to take Averi's glove and run all over the outfield with it with Averi chasing him.

 By the time it was over, I just wanted to scream at everyone to just stand in one damn place instead of being everywhere. It was exhausting. I concluded it takes a very, very special person to teach a preschool or kindergarten class, and there is no way I should have a half dozen kids. That was birth control right there.

Other recent comical day to day adventures

I said you Could Have Pie for Breakfast?

The Best Day EVER (insert sarcasm)

Other recent post

The Idea of Happy

Time for Some Mom Confessing

Mother's Day verse Everyday

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time for some Mom Confessing

I am a fiercely stubborn person. I have been set on doing things my own way and on my own for according to my parents since shortly after birth. I am independent and have always prided myself on taking care of myself since I started working at sixteen and paying my own way. However, over the last few years I've started to learn I really can't do everything.  What I want and what I get or can do are two different things. This is something that has been very hard for me to learn and admit. Too often I take on too much, sometimes by choice and sometimes because I feel it's necessary in some way, and when I do is when I start making mistakes left and right. Then when I do that I start lashing out at people. After an incident the other day, I admitted to Nate I wasn't throwing one of my ranting fits because I was mad at him, I was mad at myself. I was mad at myself because I hate seeing that I can't take care of it all; I hate having to admit I need help. I am also a bit of a control freak and having to relinquish control is difficult for people like me.

Not only do I have to learn that I can't do everything but that it's okay to cut back. I love to load up my plate, I love to show that I can balance so many things, but as I said before sometimes I'm not so great at balancing so many different things. More isn't always better. I need to learn  when and where to cut back.

 Aside from admitting I can't do everything the way I like to think I can and that I need to learn where to cut back, the other confession is admitting that maybe the medicine that my family has insisted I check into getting has helped with balancing me out and keeping me from getting so down.  I've mentioned before that I was depressed last year and possibly for some time before that. Again, here comes that stubbornness of mine. I stubbornly refused to see a doctor, I stubbornly chose to see being depressed as something I could control. I could choose happy. I was just in a bad mood every other day, but I was not going to be drugged up to control my personality or behavior. However, after crying meltdowns at work, in the shower, and frequent temper flare ups, I finally mentioned something to my doctor, who suggested bloodwork. And the bloodwork showed that I had a hormonal imbalance due to something with my thyroid gland that would have to be adjusted with medication for the rest of my life. That hormonal imbalance was probably what was contributing to my depression and moodiness. This past weekend when meltdown Ang came back I had ran out of my prescription mid week and hadn't had time to refill them yet. Maybe it was just coincidence, but it was enough to convince me maybe there was something medically wrong with me and I should just accept the doctor's prescribed help.

Having to take one little pill a day wasn't going to alter who I was. I like to think as much as I'm a fairly confident person, I'm pretty aware of multiple shortcomings and flaws to my character. I have a handful of my own insecurities that for the most part I hide fairly well, but acknowledging these two things is hard for me maybe because that independent, always able to do everything herself girl has been a part of who I am ever since I've been me. I can't and I don't have to control everything, and I am slowly learning to let that go. But anyone that is an independent controlling personality knows that's a lot easier said than done so wish me luck.

Recent Post

 Mother's Day verse Everyday

The Idea of Happy

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day vs Everyday

Today's Mother's Day was well nothing special. Or maybe it was special in the way almost every day is. We spent the morning cuddling with the girls like we do every morning when we don't have to rush off somewhere. Nate had flowers delivered from the girls with a hilariously inappropriate card.

Then we got to work like we do most weekends when we've had a crazy busy week. Nate mowed, I finally got to lay the mulch in my flower bed, but then decided to reaarange the girls' playroom to accommodate the barbie house Ave got for her birthday and the chalkboard wall Nate's making them. Kenz has been sleeping in Ave s room for probably six months now and even though I don't plan on officially moving her in there until this summer  I moved all their baby dolls and doll accessories into Kenz's nursery room so they now have a whole room for playing house. If they get their little brother or sister like they keep asking for they'll have to give up their "house" room, but they were pretty excited about it. By the time Nate finished with the yard, I had the house back in order, and laundry in somewhat of an organized pile, it was 3:00. Let me add that at some point during this time Kenz got in trouble for throwing a fit and even though Ave told me, "It s Mother s Day, Mom, I'm not going to give you any attitude," she too had a crying meltdown about not wanting to pick up her mess.

When we asked the girls what they wanted to do for the day Ave suggested a picnic in the backyard. We had burgers off the grill and cheetos on a blanket in the middle of the yard. I then lounged on the blanket watching and laughing as the girls played.

It was really a day like any other, but like most of them it was simple but still special in its own way. Maybe because we spent it together. Maybe because we shared in love and laughter. A former classmate of mine is raising four daughters six and under, and she is always reminding me and anyone else lucky enough to know her to find the blessing not only in the simple and the ordinary, but even in the every day annoyances and hardships that is motherhood. I spent mother s day cleaning up my house but the blessing is I have my children and husband to make it messy. I will still be working on laundry from today tomorrow but again the blessing is I have this wonderful family that keeps the baskets overflowing. I spent my shower with my toddler banging and crying on the door and fought with my oldest about cleaning up but the blessing is I am their mother.

                                                 Every moment is worth it for these two.

Recent Posts
The Idea of Happy (one of my moody moments)

One More Tomorrow (last chance to read a look at our story from the dog's point of view)


Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Idea of Happy

Some days I'm tired. Some days I m cranky and irritable and probably irrational. Some days I don't feel like doing everything that has to be done for you, you, you, and you. Some days I don't feel like plastering a smile on my face and pretending to be happy with the whole world. Some days I feel like venting, feel like pushing, feel like stomping my feet in frustration.

Most of the time I m happy and feel like shouting it out to the world. Some days I can't stop smiling. Every day I'm grateful because even though life has its hard spots and isn't fair, there are so many things in life to be thankful for. I try for the authentic honest me as much as possible but just like everyone else I wear my masks. Truth be told it s hard to find those that will take you at your highs and lows, that understands that you nor anyone that can put on the mask of perfection is without their flaws, without their moments of downfalls.

There s a misconception out there in cyberspace that everything is always happy. I do believe happiness is a choice but has happiness gotten confused with perfection? Can't we still choose happy and have our down days and make our mistakes? I choose happy but some days are better than others, some days feel successful, while others are full of mistakes and learning curves. No matter which day it is though I know those that truly love me accept me everyday for who I am.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I Said You Could Have Pie for Breakfast?

When I went to pick Averi up from school and picked up her dirty breakfast bowl Nate must have brought in for her, I noticed it was dirty from pie.

I looked at Averi. "Your dad sent you to school with pie for breakfast?" I asked her.

"Yeah," she says with the tone of "what's the matter with that, Mom."

When Nate got home later, I asked him about it. "You let Averi take pie to school for breakfast?"

"She said you told her last night she could have pie for breakfast," he accused.

"Really? And you just believed her," I laughed. My husband had totally had one pulled over on him.

 "Averi doesn't lie," he said. She was rather insistent lately about the idea of her nor us lieing. We have a habit of being sarcastic in which case she always accuses us of lieing and reminds us that is bad.

I headed to Averi's room. "Averi, why did you tell your dad I said you could have pie for breakfast? I never said anything close to that last night. You lied to him."

 "I did not! I never lie!" she sobbed. She ran and threw herself down on her bed in tears.

"You hurt my feelings," she wailed.

"Averi. I said you could have a muffin. Remember I set out a muffin on your sleep stuff?"

"I thought you said pie." "

How do you get pie out of muffin?"

 "I don't know. P...p...p...pie. M...m...m...muffin. They sound close," she says.

"Um," I said, trying to keep a straight face at this point. "No. No, they don't."

 "It did have fruit in it," defended Nate.

 "Yeah, mom, it had raspberries and other berries in it. That's healthy."

 "Well, then I guess we should all finish the pie for breakfast tomorrow."

Recent Post

The Best Day Ever

Heads Carolina? Tails Colorado?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Best Day EVER!

On an almost daily occurrence Averi says, "This is the best day EVER". Except for yesterday when she kept getting in trouble for her attitude and not wanting to help cleanup. Then it was "This is the WORST day EVER!" Just as I'm glad she has no idea how bad and rough life really can be, I'm glad she finds such enjoyment out of simple every day things.

So today it was the best day ever because I took her and Kenz for a walk down the dirt road behind our house. We usually walk to the house farm that sits back there and then back so it's probably close to two miles. Along the way they walk through the little meadow that we pass picking daffodils and dandelions and jump and splash in every little mud puddle and stream we can find. The whole trip is usually a good hour and half.

But the trip down is always like the best day ever for them and me. It's peaceful, they're running and laughing. It's the simplicity of life at its best. However, the trip back is like the supposed "worst" day ever. It's a what was I thinking moment because they're crying, needy, and demanding. At this point Averi is literally soaked from her toes to her waist. Walking a good mile back in wet pants is never fun. Kenz's little legs will carry her down the hill, but she was pretty adamant about not making it back up the hill. I was now lugging my resistant, whiny toddler the mile home up HILL. Averi was now saying, "Next time I don't want to go!"

"But I thought this was the best day EVER?"

"No. I can't make it. I'm tired. My pants are wet."

"Can't isn't a word in this family. Start moving, girl." This is after an hour before when we started our walk and she told me she would carry Kenz and I told her she couldn't she responded with "Don't tell me what I can't do. I can do it!"

She paused for a minute and then she decided she could too do it so off she went ahead of me in a sprint on the last stretch home. As the house came into sight I finally convinced Kenz she could walk the rest of the way. She got down and started running towards her sister excited for the finish line of home too.  And yards from the house, she face planted on the asphalt

                                                  And that's the end of the story "The Best Day Ever"
Today's Earlier Post