I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

So I am back on the kinder party circuit. You know the parties where parents stay and mingle while the kids party. Yep; that kind of party. As I watched my kiddos bowl yesterday I struggled with small talk. I did better mind you; I actually sought a couple of people out and chatted, but each conversation lasted two minutes at most because after “Hi, how are you?” I have nothing left in the tank. Instead I have to hold my tongue. My mouth and heart want to discuss Aleppo, the epidemic of parents who have forgotten to teach their children respect for authority, and how do we find a way to quell a nation of entitled youth.

See, I suck at small talk.

So my kids had a blast at the party and that is why I was there anyway. Sometimes, I just feel bad that they are learning social skills from an awkward introvert.

We leave that party and head to a Christmas gathering with our friends. We have all been friends since college, husbands and wives, but the other three couples had children six years behind us; live in the same city; and their kids attend the same prestigious private school. I on the other hand, have a child taller than me with a deep, rich voice and my youngest kids are older than most of their oldest kids.

They can socialize about what is going on at the school and have common interests and I still don’t fit in among people I should. While they talk about picky eaters and where they buy their kids clothes – I can’t even relate. I hear myself say, “I buy clothes at Children’s Place and Target because the kids grow too fast and are too hard on their clothes for me to spend a lot of money on them.” And the looks on the faces when I say that are like I am some kind of whackadoodle and maybe I am, but it makes me feel old. I remember caring about that stuff when my oldest was four and my youngest was almost two. I remember buying GAP clothes and worrying about them not eating their dinner. Now with four kids aged six and over I know they have to eat some of their dinner or they don’t get anything else that night; that they will live and most of the time don’t even remember that the struggle over dinner ever happened. I have learned that we care way more about brand when that is of so little importance. What really matters are that our children are clothed, fed and loved.

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See I let my kids dress themselves. This is how we roll to school.
And now I can’t really complain about private education anymore either. I used to think when people paid for private school they were paying for status. On top of that, I truly believed public education was just as good as private. In some places I still believe that is true. But alas, after my daughter was choked by a boy at school to the point where she couldn’t breathe; enough was enough. What was so sad to me was the teacher was so desensitized to the actions of this young boy she just asked my daughter to document the incident and nothing else came of it. Her teacher was so used to that boy’s behavior she didn’t even think it worth mentioning to me. This was the last straw in a sting of incidents spanning a year and a half. We knew she needed a safer place to learn.

We toured a private school and decided to send her there. She starts after the break and I feel like a weight has been lifted. She is finally going to be in a classroom where the students respect the teacher and are excited to learn. That I have to pay an arm and a leg for that still makes my stomach churn, but she needs a safe place to thrive.

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This girl deserves her best chance. All kids do.
Hmmm…what else is running around in my head these days that you don’t want to hear about…well you may not get a Christmas card from us this year. Yep; I have been late in the past, but I am not even close to getting started this year and Christmas is Sunday. You might get a Happy New Year card instead. It isn’t that I am feeling Bah Humbug toward Christmas; even though this post probably sounds that way; it is more that I am feeling like I just wanted to slow things down this year and savor Christmas. To really hunker down and feel the Spirit of the Season and it got away from me again. I am not finished with the shopping or the wrapping and it is a week away. None of the Spirit of the Season stuff happened. And I guess I am struggling with traditions a bit and what I would like Christmas to look like and what actually happens.

Maybe it is just that my oldest son only has six more years in this house with us before he goes off to college and while that seems like a good while the first twelve of his life have happened in a blink and even though I have tried to savor it; it is flying by faster than I can catch it.

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This is as close as we get to a family picture these days

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Yep nose picking shenanigans
I know I am writing about first world problems here when much bigger world problems take precedent, but when these nonsense, first world problem words started to flow through my brain I just had to write them down. I just had to think about something else for a brief second. I think that is really why I feel like Oscar the Grouch. When innocent women, men, and children are being killed and no one is stopping it you just feel helpless and when you feel helpless and sad sometimes I think it manifests itself into anger and I am just angry that we live in a world where yet another holocaust can happen and the people with the ability to stop it can’t or won’t. So I thought maybe my first world, nonsense spewing would relieve some of that distress and Oscar-ness. Maybe that is the real reason I can’t whip up the Christmas card; I can’t send out a smiling happy picture of my children when in their faces I see the safety, love and security that all children should feel in the world and yet so many don’t have access to it. It breaks my heart into so many pieces I can’t complete the task.

And that my dear readers is a whole lot of junk I probably should not write out loud, but did any way because that is what I do. I do things any way.

Love your people tight and if you can love other people’s people tight, too. And teach your little people to love other people’s people. I know that is a whole lot of people, but that is what there is…a whole lot of people and all of them need love.

Until next time,

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November Lessons 2014 Style – Juggling

November Lessons 2014 Style – Juggling

November

I guess the good thing you guys is that I am learning something here. Slowly, oh so slowly these lessons are sinking in and leaving me a stronger, wiser human. Not to say I am not making some of the same mistakes twice, I am human after all, but I catch myself in the mistake now and say, “Uh-oh, here I go again.” and I redirect myself, you guys.

That is it, like parenting a toddler, I redirect myself and that is still learning. Catching yourself, being aware and making quicker steps to resolve what is happening. And so with all this wiser knowledge I bring you my November lessons (the wiser in this sentence is intended to be sarcastic, we really need to design some sarcastic font):

Click to go to NY Mom's World Blog - original source for this photo
Click to go to NY Mom’s World Blog – original source for this photo

1. All the things

So I have a problem that I know all my readers are aware of; I try to do all the things. Before you scold me, listen. I have done all the things so far in life until recently. That is what tricks us into thinking we can do all the things.

As a kid we do all the things. We play, go to school, have friends, spend time with family, play a sport maybe and it is mostly seemingly successful. As a young adult we do the same things and just juggle in some bill paying, house cleaning and in a short time we swap out school and a low paying job for just a job. Then slowly we add in a relationship (for some of us, some people don’t want a serious relationship and that is totally fine) and possibly some kids.

So let’s get to that part for a second. I got married, went back to grad school while I was teaching and had a baby. Now I shifted to working part-time while I did this the second year, but I still juggled all the balls pretty successfully. I added another child and took on an out of the home full-time job and still juggled all the balls pretty successfully. See this tricky life, making you think you can juggle all the things.

Then, I went and had twins. Wha-bam! Balls started falling to the ground all over the place. I was surviving said juggling failures and learning that life is about learning from mistakes and there is beauty in the mess, blah, blah, blah. I know I shouldn’t blah, blah over the sentimental wise stuff, but you have heard all that before in my previous lessons.

So here is where, I got tricked you guys…I had been juggling all the things, I started dropping a few balls thinking oh you are supposed to drop a few it’s okay, and then I started to add more things. A blog, a turtle, a dog, Holiday Cheer, a side business and then it became just sheer chaos.

You can't tell by these two right now that it is chaotic around here.
You can’t tell by these two right now that it is chaotic around here. P.S. the puppy does have her own bed she chooses to sleep as close to our other dog as she possibly can without our other dog moving away.

So here I am neck-deep in the chaos and I am not sure I can let anything go, but taking care of myself at this point. Those of you who see me on a regular basis are seeing that is the case because my weight is back on these days. Mind you, I am also writing this at 4 in the morning while drinking a coke – yep that ball has dropped my friends, and like Jack Handy says, when you drop your keys in hot lava let them go, let them go because they are gone!

I have made some mistakes at work this past week that I am not happy about; mistakes I would not have made four and a half years ago. I wallowed in them a bit, but I learned from them and adjusted things so as not to make those mistakes in the future.

Giving up one of my other things though isn’t really an option for me. I love being a mother. The kids are for the most part doing pretty darn fabulous I might say. Two successful parent conferences, and the twins speech therapist wants me to teach parenting classes, so I must be doing something right even if I do forget to comb both the twins hair most days. I love being a wife and adore my husband. Honey please stay married to me even though I am terrible about refilling the soap – I know that drives you crazy and that you have to do all the dishes all the time – I love you dearly I am just a bad juggler.

Love my husband

I love writing this blog. It is sporadic at times and that is because I am juggling other things, but this is important to me. Writing in here keeps me real, keeps me open and ensures that I continue to shatter the walls of perfection, by just being who I am out loud for all to see. Maybe in me doing that others will, too. Take off your masks and let’s all just be bad jugglers together and help each other pick up the dropped balls.

My side business is my dream job, as hard as it is at times, so I have to keep pursuing that; even if it never pans out more than what I am doing now.

And the day job keeps my family fed, a roof over our heads, and really is a fantastic job because I am able to work from home. I mean really I can’t let either of my jobs go by the wayside.

So, I have decided that I may not be able to do all things well, but I have to keep trying to do all the things I have right now the very best I can. That is all I can do, that and make sure I never let myself get a puppy again. She is cute, but that one really tipped the scales in my time management.

2. Find your tribe

Girls weekend update, for those of you that haven’t heard – it was glorious.

Friendship has always been tricky for me. When we moved away from my soul mate, best friend in the fourth grade I didn’t ever let myself get close to another human like I did with her. This past two years, I have worked to make some solid friendships and rekindle some important, older ones. I have found a tribe of friends that I cannot live without.

These fabulous, amazing, kind, forgiving women are all so important to me. They support my craziness, love me any way (that is a big one because you see from the above lesson I am a horrible juggler which means I can sometimes seem like a flaky friend), and they show up all the time.

I had two of them check in on me this week just to check in! Amazing feeling.

girls weekend

The husband asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, and I told him I wanted to throw a little party and he about fell off the couch. I am pretty sure the look of shock on his face matched the one he had when my obstetrician told him we were having twins.

But, that is just it; I can’t imagine having a birthday without my people. My people are so much a part of my life now. I love all my people. So if you don’t get an invitation it is because I am a bad juggler and do what my people do: just invite yourselves over for dinner, really that is what my people do and I love them even more for it.

my tribe

3. It is none of your business what people think of you

One of my dear friends tells me and others all the time, “It is none of your business what other people think of you.” For a while I have to admit this saying bothered me. Not the way that you think either, I wasn’t worried so much about doing certain things because of what people would think of me; I mean I leave the house in sweatpants and a ponytail. I was more worried that people wouldn’t think I was kind. Being kind to others is important to me and that was my worry. I thought if I didn’t always do the right thing by way of being kind or courteous to other people then that was an issue and so I worried about what people thought because I wanted to make sure their needs were being met.

But here is the thing; I am constantly telling my daughter to stop telling everyone else what to do and do what she needs to do and everything will fall into place. That is the same thing as not making it your business what other people think of you.

How is it the same? Well if you just do the best you can and always try to be the kind of person that you want to be then everything will fall into place.

See I have worked at being the kind of human I want my kids to become and in doing that I have made friends and rebuilt old friendships. I have started giving back to other people and always try to put kindness first. Do I sometimes still lose my temper or put my frustration before my compassion – of course. But I try to remedy any issues that may cause and I have learned that even when you make mistakes people see you for what you really are anyway. Be yourself and worry about yourself, the rest will fall into place.

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4. Personal Grace

This one is simply said, but difficult to put into practice. I mentioned earlier how I made some mistakes this week, well offering myself grace was incredibly difficult. I had one of my worst bouts with depression in twenty years. I couldn’t offer myself grace or compassion. I was angry, frustrated, disappointed, and well I felt plain worthless. I took that out on those I loved most because when I was feeling those things it was clear to those I live with. They saw it. They felt it.

If instead I I had just said to myself – “you made a mistake, how do you fix it? Okay, let’s fix it and not make the same mistake again” and then moved on – no big deal. It was because I wallowed in it, let myself be so disappointed and frustrated that caused all the trouble.

Grace, offer yourself grace for your mistakes and it really is an easier road.

And that my dear readers wraps up my November lessons. I need to keep on keeping on, offer myself grace because really when I am juggling all the things that is pretty impressive and when something drops I pick it back up again – also pretty impressive. So my life is carefree compared to the struggles of others; it is still my life and my struggles therefore it is okay if I wade through some days instead of surfing the tide. My wise friend who tells me not to concern myself with what others think of me also tells me that everyone is just doing the best they can and I think she might be right about that, too.

Doing the best I can each day,

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Sister's Baby
Sister’s Baby

 

P.S. I know this shouldn’t be a P.S. but seeing a baby being born is one of the best things ever. My sister had her second baby this month and she let me stay in the delivery room – I know she is amazing – and I was able to see this sweet baby come into the world. Unbelievable, so earth shatteringly cool.