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Being more than "just Mom".. honestly.

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More than “Just Mom”

Have you seen my Motivation…

Because I have clearly lost it.

It’s January. (Now March – but I started writing this piece back in January. I thought it was fitting to leave it..)

This time last year I was looking at back at my year in review, analyzing the goals that I set and achieved (or missed altogether) the year prior  and setting new goals for 2012.  By this time in January, I had taken on multiple purge and re-organize projects in my house. Totally revamping my closet. I was reading a book (gasp!). I was taking up tennis. I even really – truly finally got serious about my writing and this blog.  That was my biggest resolution in 2012.

What do they say about the average time that people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions?  Based on the drastic drop-off at the gym  this week of every year, my guess would be two weeks.   A FranklinCovey  survey found that “35 percent of respondents break their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January and only 23 percent of those surveyed don’t ever break them.”

So, I’m not that bad. I made it well past January of 2012. At least through the first quarter if not half way through the year.

But the truth?  I haven’t yet looked back to see what my goals were for 2012 for fear of how many I dropped at some point during the year or abandoned completely. I don’t have a single resolution or goal for 2013. Not one.

Still waiting for some New Years motivation. Hoping it gets here before the year is over.

Defining – and Defying – the Word: Me·ni·al

me·ni·al   /ˈmi ni əl, ˈmin yəl/   [mee-nee-uh l, meen-yuh l]

adjective

1.  lowly and sometimes degrading: menial work.

2.  servile; submissive: menial attitudes.

3.  pertaining to or suitable for domestic servants; humble: menial furnishings.

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Finding your identity – and maintaining a sense of it – as a Stay at Home Mom can be a little more than challenging.. especially in terms of how the world views you — what “worth” they put on you.

I get comments from people all the time (usually other women) about how “nice” it must be not to “have to work”.

Or the drive by comment, “Oh, the life of a stay-at-home-Mom.”  – as the working mom drives away from the bus stop on her way to work, and I walk back to the house in my yoga pants, with my coffee cup in hand.  Little does she know that the idea of getting dressed in business attire and being able to have a change of scenery – where I can turn on my brain and engage in something other than house and kids sounds like manna for my starving mind sometimes. *

As you may have gathered from reading this blog (when seldom I post, lately), I work hard to have an identity outside of my children. To find ways to keep myself well-rounded and feed those parts of me that need a little more than 5th grade homework (challenging as it is for my old brain) and endless loads of laundry.   I have been diligent in recent years in my attempts to hold on to the interests I had prior to my three little birds landing in my life… so that once they spread their wings and leave the nest, I don’t feel lost with no definition of myself.  When they fly away, I pray, that they will be strong, independent and GOOD big birds… and that I will be more than just mom with an empty nest.

I have made endless efforts to find ways to engage in my interests, learn new things, and feel like I still contribute to the world outside of my home (not in any way belittling the value or importance of being focused on the contributions I make to my household.)  It takes a lot – and I mean, A LOT – of energy to keep from being all-consumed by life as mom.  Which makes the comments from others that go like this: “Oh, are you still doing that little volunteer thing?” – feel a bit like a knife in the gut. * (It’s worth visiting this asterisk again.)

While I do know that having the luxury of staying home with my little birds is a blessing and I AM thankful, I also have to admit that very often when I’m doing the same laundry for the 100th time — or doing dishes for 4th time in a day — or trying to figure out what to cook for the next meal (when I’ve just finished cleaning from the last one) — or picking up guinea pig poop — or having to repeat myself endlessly with my children, I often feel that most of the things I do all day are just plain menial.

There have been times, I even feel like anyone on Earth could do what I do –  I could just record myself saying “No. Stop fighting. Speak kindly. Try again!” and let it play on repeat on the ipod — or that I am simply that robot, Rosie from the Jetsons (please don’t tell me that you don’t know who the Jetsons are.)   Am I just wasting my talents and my education on these menial tasks that have to be done over and over and over and over, with no end in sight?!

Not that these tasks are unique to stay at home moms… all moms/dads have to get these same menial things done, but when you have no other “professional” outlet or career definition in your life, these menial tasks tend to be the things that come to define who you are – they ARE what you do.

But that is not where this topic ends. Not with the negative. Never.  I look back to that first paragraph, and I Thank Goodness that – as a Christian – my “worth” is not defined by this world.

One morning a while back, during a few minutes of devotional time, I happened upon a quick writing about Holy Thursday. It reflected on Jesus’ last acts with His disciples and pointed out that in His final hours with His most beloved – His chosen – He didn’t perform miracles or do “great” works. He didn’t bring people back from the dead, he wasn’t being anointed with costly oils or perfumes or any of the multitude of things that The King would seemingly choose to do in His final time on Earth.  Instead in His final hours, He chose to spend with His earthly family, His chosen disciples.

In very much a familial way.  He chose to feed them. To teach them. To wash their feet. In essence, the very cooking, cleaning, correcting and teaching that I have loathed. That’s what was most important to Jesus in His final hours. That’s what He chose.**

Yeah, go ahead and think about that for another few seconds.

And the crazy thing is that when I found this reading – about Jesus, Himself, choosing these seemingly menial tasks as the most important things He could do in His last days, I began to find happiness in doing them.

So, I share this today to say that, here – at the end of the calendar year, I am adding a new “MORE” to my list.  As this Advent Season begins I will make the everyday things  – that I have been so desperately trying to keep from defining who I am – precisely what defines me. And by that I mean, what should – and really does – define me, is how I choose to view these tasks. My attitude towards those menial tasks defines my character.  It makes me more than just mom.  It makes me the person that I want to model for my little birds as they grow.

Menial = redefined.

* I truly don’t have any ill feelings toward my fellow moms that make these comments – not at all – I maintain that we are all on the same team. Maybe sometimes we just need to communicate about our different positions on the team and how they all work together for the greater good of our team goals.

** I had to pause and ask myself if I knew that I had a few last days on Earth, what would I choose.. would it be to do the things I have never done and go see the world? Probably. Would I choose the menial acts of service for my loved ones? Probably not.

Don’t Use Your Full Range of Motion

Early Saturday morning (before the not-so-super-Saturday race that is my kids’ sports schedule), I sat at home with my 3 Little Birds while my wonderful-and-pretty-incredible husband and the rest of my neighborhood – the entire city, it felt like – ran in the city’s big race. 20,000 people. And I was not one of them.

“Don’t Use Your Full Range of Motion.” A quote from the Orthopedic Surgeon this week. – I’m not new to his office. Because I’m knocking on 40’s door and some of the “mores” I’ve chosen to place in my life in recent years have not been welcomed with love by my body. After a long painful battle at the height of my run training, my (now) dear orthopedist discovered that I had a labral tear in my right hip in early 2010. I had surgery on it and bounced back pretty quickly. At the time of the injury I know some people wanted to tell me (and some may actually have), “See, all that running is bad for your body.”  While I’m not an avid runner – I don’t crave it – I decided that the good that this particular “more” did for my mind (not to mention my high cholesterol), far out-weighed the wear-and-tear (literally) it put on my body.  So, 6 months post hip surgery I ran (some would argue that I jogged) my first half marathon.

My avid running friends said the injury must have been caused by yoga. And my fellow yoga fanatics blamed it on the running.

Turns out that neither is to blame; I just have a pre-disposition for those kinds of injuries. After a recent bout with recurring hip pain I fearfully (“please don’t tell me I need surgery again, Doc?!?!”) went back to my Orthopedic Surgeon. So far, no surgery needed. My recent problems are most likely due to (1) Lower back issues – I’ve been in a lot of car wrecks that wreaked havoc on my back.  And (2) A structural abnormality in my joints that makes them loose and therefore cause one bone to rub against the hip-joint and labrum. Apparently your hip isn’t supposed to be able to have a 90 degree range of motion. But really.. after 3 child births with no epidural + breastfeeding, there’s really nothing normal about a woman’s body, is there?

The “easy” – no surgery required – fix? Don’t use my full range of motion. When I am in my peaceful place at the end of Yo-God, resting in happy baby pose I’m now supposed to stop myself before I find my full stretch and hold it there? Well, that defeats the purpose. I love the rest and stretch part of yoga. It’s why I do the work part. Just like, the only reason I eat dinner is to get the dessert afterwards.

The “don’t use your full range of motion” directions caused me pause. And they may be harder to implement than the surgery was to take. — While I guess it’s better than surgery, it may not be easier. I didn’t have to do much of anything with the surgery. I got to lie around and have my wonderful-and-pretty-incredible husband and my 3 Little Birds wait on me hand and foot. — Anyway, these directions he gave me go against my normal way of thinking. I’m of the mindset that the main goal in life is give your best effort at all times. We see and hear it everywhere (and my kids do, too. From ME!) Do your BEST! Go the extra mile. Give it your all. Make the most of it. Never give up. Don’t waste your talents and gifts. Go the distance. Just do it. ™ Leave nothing on the table.

Don’t Hold Back. That’s where my brain goes. So what’s wrong with this crazy man that’s telling me “Don’t use your full range of motion!”?! He must be nuts. Did I really let him cut me open and mess around with needles and a scalpel in my hip?

But on second thought, maybe he’s on to something.

Maybe there’s triumph in holding yourself back, too.

Maybe the athletes who save something in the beginning of their race really do have more left at the end.

Maybe having a filter on my mouth prevents me from blowing up when I’m angry.. enough to cool down and share my frustrations in a more productive way later. *

Maybe refraining from volunteering my opinions about the way other people choose to live their lives (unless asked) makes them feel better about themselves. (And that’s never a bad thing.)

And maybe not using my “full range of motion” in motherhood (= not giving my entire being over to my motherhood) will leave something for me, when I reach the finish line.

* I have to admit that I’m better at this with other people than I am with my kids. But I’m working on it with them and getting better.

Woodpeckers and Great White Herons

If you read my blog and don’t know me, at times you might be led to think that I don’t enjoy being a mom too much. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. I do love my kids and love being their mom. I really do. My three little birds make me smile and laugh and entertain me. Every day. They are each incredibly funny in very different ways. They have such super soft kissable cheeks – even though a couple of them don’t let me test that very often any more. I love watching them dance: pure joy. They often amaze me. — They’re turning out to be pretty incredible little people in their own right. Probably in spite of anything I am doing. (I’m certain that most, if not all, of these are the same feelings every mom has for her kids.. at times.)

I also feel extraordinarily blessed to be able to stay home with my kids. I don’t take that ability for granted. At all.*

I have the constant knowledge that one day they will be out and on their own. And don’t tell anyone I said this, because (1) it is contrary to my goal of having enough “mores” in my life so that I don’t skip a beat when the 3 little birds fly away and (2) My wonderful-and-pretty-incredible-husband will have ammunition for his argument that I will be pitiful when they’re gone (to which I am determined to prove him wrong), but… I will miss them. A lot.

My Three Little Birds are beautiful blessings.

— What comes next in this train of thought may seem like my child-induced ADD kicking in again, but bear with me.. it will make sense. Eventually. –

Birds are kind of a running theme in my life. Not on purpose. Just a bunch of isolated things that coincidentally come together in a bird theme.

~ Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” song has been sort of a mantra for me since having my third child. It’s even the ring tone for my house phone # on my cell. Really.. how can you not find a smile and a deep breath in these lyrics:

“Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

~ Since moving to Florida, we have had a good number of Bald Eagle sightings in the wild.. as there are a handful of nests nearby. One nest that we were able to view through a telescope at a local research reserve was the size of a VW Bug! Such a rare thing!

~ My grandparents (whom I adored) were bird watchers. I remember them sitting on the porch of their home with the Audubon Society – Sibley Guide to Birds book and binoculars always close at hand. Their yard filled with bird feeders and bird baths. – And the same was true for my parents, and our backyard.

~ I remember, when I was younger, seeing the awe with which my mom and grandmother watched the pelican population return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast – after their numbers had dwindled in previous years. I became smitten with the pelican in a split second after riding in the car along Scenic Avenue with those two amazing women.. who were amazed by the mere presence of the pelican.

~ My great big extended family has many stories of birds that came to “visit” them the day (and days following) my grandmother’s passing away. Including me. I particularly remember when a gust of wind blew open our front door (because you know my kids can’t close it all the way ) and a bird flew into our house. It happened to occur when I was having my first breakdown since saying goodbye to my grandmother in the hospital.  Since then we’ve had random birds come sit – front and center – at family weddings and other important events of the like. The feeling of my grandmother’s presence strong in each and every occurrence. A bird sitting on the eave of my house looking straight at me, brings me peace and comfort.. and makes me smile, thinking of her. It’s beautiful.

~ One of the only things I enjoy about mornings is taking my cup of coffee and opening the blinds in our living room to assess what flurry of feathered friends are visiting the pond in our backyard each morning.. many times, My own 3 Little Birds will join me for the morning show. There’s always an array of beautiful birds. The ducks and the cormorants that float in and dive on the water. The occasional seagulls. The pair of mallards that make their nest in my neighbors’ tree grove each year. The geese that come each spring and allow us to witness their goslings growing each day.

~ My favorite sight, though, is watching as the beautiful white and grey/blue herons soar in from the sky and glide low over the water, landing in the grass at the water’s edge.

~ And then one cloudy and overcast day, we had a surprise visit by a rare pair of Sandhill Cranes in my backyard. They were bigger than my youngest daughter and absolutely beautiful. The only time in my life I have ever seen them.

My kids can be like the beautiful birds I have unintentionally become a fan of watching. My 3 Little Birds can soar beautifully, spread their wings and grow, make me smile with pride as they comfortably float through difficult situations, dive into the water around them with no fear, know when I need them to stay close to mom, make me stop in my tracks in awe of the beautiful creatures they are, and entertain me with their mere presence.

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That being said, there are those days.. when even Alfred Hitchcock has nothing on my kids.  Remember that old movie of his, “The Birds”?! Where the birds take over and attack everyone?! Some days, my kids feel more like THOSE kind of birds. The vicious ones that are attacking from every angle.** And on those days their “melodies” aren’t so sweet, pure and true.  They sound more like a 100 honking geese that are parked outside my bedroom window at 4 a.m. leaving a multitude of goose droppings on the lawn.

While they sound like honking geese, they feel more like woodpeckers pecking away at my head with their constant calls of “Mom”, “Momma”, “Mommy”. Repeat. Repeat again. And again. Then there’s their tendency toward speaking to me – or at me – ALL at one time. The volume level going up decibels with each word, as they try to be heard over each other. There’s absolutely NO respecting my need for a few minutes of peace and tranquility. They certainly don’t respect that my coffee time is sacred. Taking over the whole town. Nowhere to escape from them. Little woodpeckers pecking away at my head.  And it certainly seems like there are more of them than there actually are. It’s pretty scary.

So, they are an anomaly, these three little birds of mine. Part Great White Heron and part Woodpecker.

Parenting. Is. Hard. And often quite frustrating – no matter the (st)age of your child(ren). We can be honest about the hard/frustrating parts, while simultaneously loving our children and appreciating the ability to be parents. The two feelings aren’t mutually exclusive. – They can be that beautiful white heron gliding in low over the water as the sun sets, AND be the woodpeckers pecking away at my head. At the same time.

I am (daily, if I’m being honest) frustrated by and annoyed with my kids – while also loving them beyond imagination and being grateful to God for giving them to me.

… And maybe when my kids have all flown the nest, I’ll buy that Guide to Birds and add “Bird watching” to the mores in my mind.

(Actually, I’m already a “Bird Watcher” by trade. With 13 years of experience watching my 3 Little Birds. Can I put that on a resume?)

* This, however, does not mean that I can’t day dream about what it would be like to have them in after-care where they can do their homework with someone more qualified than me, while I go to work in tailored trousers, heels, a pretty crisp shirt and pearls – in the world of adulthood.

** Revisiting the story line of this movie led me to believe that this chick got what she deserved for following a man around and letting his needs completely take over her life.

Get A Life!

Really. It’s not easy having a life outside of being Mom. It’s a pretty all-consuming job. You can’t turn it off or clock out or decide that it isn’t the career path you want to take anymore. Once you’ve committed to this job, you’re in it. No advancement, no career change.

It’s easy in this mess of motherhood – especially those early baby/toddler years – to lose pieces of your life that aren’t required to make your motherhood happen on a daily basis. We’ve already established that when you are in survival mode with little ones, things like relationships (with yourself or with others) tend to take the backseat.

People have always told me that it is important to have friends you can relate to – you know, that are in the same “place” in life that you are. That is true – no matter your stage in life, you have to find someone who gets it.

Even the beginnings of my blog come straight from emails with my irreplaceable mom-friends. They have gotten me through times where I could not even begin to see (or smell) beyond the full diaper genie bags and nursing pads. And the potty training days? Well let’s put it this way: during potty training days my sister called me and asked me if I was evacuating ahead of the storm. My response? “What storm?” Sis: “Have you been under a rock [I may be paraphrasing]? The biggest Hurricane in US history is headed straight for you! Get out of there!” —- I had not turned on a TV that wasn’t on PBS or the Disney Channel in weeks. And I wasn’t even sure where one would find a newspaper. Radio? Uh-Uh. Toddler Tunes CD on repeat. All day; every day. — Her phone call (coupled with a few others) prompted me to figure out on which channel one would find local news and weather. Once I managed to commandeer the TV from the revolting littles to see what was happening, we packed up the circus and left town.

So, the point is that during those times I had absolutely NO connection to what was happening in the outside world. The real one. Where people were normal size, wiped their own rear ends, and spoke the English language in a way that included more than one or two-word sentences. My only shred of sanity came from holding onto those late night email chains between us – my mom-friends. They were my rock.

However, something else, vitally important was also a fixture during those times. Someones, actually. Some particular friends (a couple who were also family) who happened not to be “mommy”. Never wavering in their presence in my life, though goodness knows why. There were times when it could not have been easy.

The friends I have that happen not to be moms are just as irreplaceable as my emailing mom-network. And wow, am I ever so grateful for them! They’ve stuck by my side and remained true through the toughest of years. You know. Those years when I hardly knew what day it was or the last time I had a shower, because I was so busy with three petit monsters. When I could never commit to doing things with them because I didn’t know what would be happening with the kids. And when I actually made a date with them, it usually either had to be cancelled due to a sick child… or an absence of a babysitter required that our great girls’ lunch date would include a high chair and a kid’s menu. Those were the years when I did a terrible job of initiating phone calls or emails. And when they called, I was constantly interrupting them because someone was climbing, crying, throwing, hitting or shitting. Sometimes on the floor. (Sorry for the language, but there’s just no other way to put it.) And believe me, they heard about it all. All. The. Time. When your life is consumed by your motherhood, it’s easy to forget that there is a life outside of it.

How did they stand it?!

Having these friends.. well, they reminded and challenged me (maybe without realizing it) to find that dormant me in the midst of my motherhood. And while it is easier to do during some stages of motherhood than in others, they have brought things into my life that I had forgotten existed. * During those rare moments I could manage to steal away with my non mom-friends (and I didn’t have to accessorize with a diaper bag!), they reminded me that I didn’t have to spell certain words in their presence. I could actually say the real words. They banned me from saying “potty” when talking to other adults and encouraged me to use multisyllabic words. They gracefully – and sometimes, not so gracefully – pointed out that my fingernails – etc. – needed some attention (I still ignore the nails, but appreciate that they cared.) They’ve re-introduced me to music that is not sung by a group of people with a pet’s name (i.e. “the Wiggles”). You know, music that has lyrics that don’t include such things as brushing your teeth and flushing the toilet (although my kids should evidently still be listening to those songs at 13, 9 and 8). They have challenged me to set personal goals for myself that I thought were unreachable – goals that were physically and emotionally healthy for me and help me feel accomplished at each year’s end. They remind me that there are restaurants that serve food that doesn’t come with crayons or a plastic movie endorsement… I mean, toy.

And most impressively they have loved me AND MY CHILDREN despite all those things. They’ve come to countless baby showers and birthday parties baring beautifully wrapped gifts. They have called to check on the kids’ health and well-being –even taken an interest in my kids’ interests. They have formed bonds with my kids. They’ve become part of our family.

Some of them have since moved into their own motherhood worlds. But there’s one in particular..

..That helped me get a life. A life outside of my motherhood.

I don’t know how or why they did it, but they did. And I can’t thank them enough.

*Mothers, try not to forget that there are these things called current events (which funny enough, my 13-year-old now reminds me that I need to keep up with).

New Year.. New Goals (Not Resolutions)

I remember the phase in my life when the last of my siblings left for college (I’m the oldest of 3 – by 6 years).  My own stay at home Mom (who had started back to work only a couple of years earlier) was faced with the challenge of how to deal with this new phase of her Motherhood. There she was.. working a somewhat entry-level position, even though she possessed a college degree and years of experience running a very busy household (and at times even her own home-based business).  I watched her struggle to rediscover herself: her passions, her hobbies, her gifts.. and I watched her struggle (or at least what I perceived as her struggling) with her confidence in herself. It seemed from the outside that she defaulted to going back to the point in her life before she was identified by her children.. and that’s where she began to rediscover the things she used to identify herself with (like art and books and learning new things). It’s hard to know who you are when you’ve been identified by other people for so long and then suddenly those people aren’t present in your daily life.  I didn’t have kids at the time, but the lesson I found in watching her struck a chord in me that has – in a more dormant mode – stayed with me.*

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts I haven’t always applied my parenting theories to my real motherhood experience. At least in theory, I have carried with me what I gathered from my mom – and that is this:  It is extraordinarily important to maintain a sense of YOURSELF in the midst of your motherhood.  (..so much easier said, than done.)

I have been determined (albeit at times, only in my head) that my job was to teach my kids what they needed to learn to go out into the world and be successful on their own.. and to instill in them knowledge that they are loved.  My end goal being that when my three little birds** fly the coop, and I’m left with an empty nest, I will have maintained enough of a life separate from them that I will not be sad, lonely, and lost.  – Hang around about 10 more years and lets check back to see how well (or poorly) I do.

For me that meant making time for friendships that aren’t tied to my children, maintaining AND developing hobbies, spending time with “the girls”, having date nights with my husband, and keeping my hand in things tied to my old professional world.

Let me back up and get real for a minute. For the first 8 or so years of my motherhood, my husband was a traveling road warrior, and I was at home with 3 young children, changing 2 sets of diapers, dealing with an allergy-ridden/asthmatic child who was always on breathing treatments, and at times doing contract work from home.  Honestly, I was in pure survival mode.  Just getting everyone fed, bathed*** and vaccinated (while hoping to hold on to some shred of sanity) was all I could muster in the way of goals.  I survived it. Thank goodness.  And I feel pretty good about the fact that I have invested in our future economy, because my kids will no doubt require paying a regular therapist to help them deal with the repercussions of those early years.

But now the kids all go to the toilet on their own (though wiping and flushing are still questionable.  And infuriating.)  They can all take showers by themselves (though I still have to go in at least twice a week and ensure that things like soap and shampoo are actually being used. Oh, and that my youngest isn’t flooding the house. Yes. Habit learned by conditioning.)  And as for the vaccines… well, are they really all that important?

Since the kids have a little more independence and my husband took a new NON-TRAVELING job 4 years ago, I’ve been able to do a better job of putting this parenting theory into action in my motherhood.  I have gotten involved with my Alma Mater’s local Alumni Association Board, taken up my yoga practice, trained for and run a sprint triathlon and a half marathon with a dear mom-friend, volunteered to publish the PTO Newsletter, taken some girls only trips, learned to surf and found fun ways around the house to get my “creative fix”.  My husband and I go out much more regularly without the kids (much to my daughters’ dismay) and we take at least one trip together each year without our little Maniacs.

I have also started the practice of spending some time in reflection and introspection at the beginning of each New Year. I take a look back at the year before, thinking about my accomplishments. Then I ask myself if they’re balanced. Do they reflect the whole person I want to be? Are there accomplishments on my list that don’t aren’t “part of my motherhood”?  — Next step. Set out some goals for myself for the following year. In an effort to diversify and develop more of myself than just my motherhood I have set the following goals for 2012:

  1. Read more. Specifically, I have a list of books that I want to read this year. Reading isn’t a luxury many tired moms of toddlers can afford. Even now that the kids are older, I find it hard.  If you are like me, by the time the kids are in bed and all the daily work done, your brain is too tired to process the words yours eyes are perusing. Go ahead.. read it 3 times and then try to tell me what you just read. (Or is this just me and my Child-Induced ADD?)
  2. Get Organized (More Efficient). Working on it. Pinterest required. I’ve been focused on trying to implement organization in my home that works with my tendencies. (Like the fact that no matter how great my intentions, I do not stay on top of the filing. Or my junk drawer. Or hanging the clothes in my closet…. You get the picture.) 6 weeks into the New Year, I have managed to overhaul the junk drawer, my closet, the laundry room and the kids’ school paperwork — and most importantly, I am maintaining it. I know it’s only been a matter of weeks, but that’s big for me. Don’t judge.
  3. Learn to play tennis. Just because it’s something new that I’ve always wanted to be able to do. I’m thinking that the self-taught matches I’ve been having with my friends aren’t quite going to get me to my goal. I may require the services of a professional tennis coach, seeing as I have hit myself with my racket – leaving painful bruises – each and every time we have played.
  4. Volunteer outside of their Schools!!  The idea for this one began last year when my son needed to have volunteer hours for National Jr. Honor Society. It made me realize that this was another area of my motherhood where I was failing miserably at putting my theories into practice. So, I’m working on it. Outside of my normal school volunteering, I’m in the process of finding volunteer opportunities for myself.. one that is a fun passion of mine and one that is more service oriented. Hopefully, I’ll get those rolling and be able to share more later.

Though it wasn’t on the list, I can add THIS BLOG as #5.  WooHoo. Bonus points!

Now the goals are in writing for the world to see. Just maybe that will help me hold to them. And maybe when my kids watch me shoo them from the nest, they’ll see me transition seamlessly into being  Just Me (and Just Us with my husband.)

But then.. where will they learn a lesson in that?

Thank you, Mom.

* I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing my perceptions (although in actuality, my view of it may not be an accurate representation of how she really felt while experiencing it.)  It’s just one of the many things my Mom taught me without realizing she was teaching.. she’s just that good.

**Hope you caught the reference to one of the greatest songs ever.  I love Bob Marley.

*** OK, this didn’t always apply to me, but at least the kids were bathed.

A Little More Background

Quoting a very wise friend, “I think that being a parent is the hardest and most humbling job that one could ever have.” If you had asked me 15 years ago if I would be a stay at home mother of three, I would have laughed in your face. Necessity brought me to this, and I have found that it is one of the greatest lessons God has given me about letting go of my own plans and letting Him guide my life. His plans are always better than mine. I think this job builds more character in the mom than in the kids. When I find myself dreaming of going back to work, I stop and realize that I am learning more lessons and growing more as a person in this job than I ever have or could in any other job. But I don’t believe that this is, or should be, true for every mom. I know that for a lot of women, working makes them an even better Mom, and I love that we all thrive in different environments.  That being said, I enjoy a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. Sometimes 2, depending on the day.

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