Monday, April 19, 2010

In A Nut Shell

It's no secret that I've been struggling with teaching my kids (specifically my 6 year old daughter) that people are to be valued for who they are and not what they look like. This past year she has really begun to pick up on the difference between skinny and fat and what that means socially. For the record, we are about HEALTHY at my house and this skinny/fat thing is crazy at this age or any age for that matter.

In my mini-weekend, I managed to squeeze in a quick stop at our local grocery store for a few necessities. I really love where I live. It's your stereotypical suburb and I've always thought of people as pretty down to earth...until I overhead a quick exchange between a mother and daughter.

Store Daughter: "Mom, you look SO skinny!"
Store Mom: "Ah, thanks! I love you so much!"

The store mom proceeded to give her daughter, who wasn't more than 11 years old, a big hug as they hurried down the grocery isle.

SERIOUSLY! Here I was blaming Hannah Montana (among other things) for the focus on looks and here was something I hadn't thought about. This little girl clearly knew that telling her mom she was skinny would equal affirmation; Skinny=Love.

In a nutshell, THIS is what's wrong with people!




Friday, April 16, 2010

Little Banker's Box

I am once again so freaking happy it's Friday I can barely stand it. The bummer part of this is that I actually have to go into work tomorrow for a 1/2 day training. In my plight to be positive, not even this can ruin that it's Friday.

This week as been tough, but in a different way that most of the other tough weeks I've had. This week was tough because I feel like I cannot get past the pettiness that has consumed my workplace. Whereas I used to be able to brush off my condescending boss' comments, now I can't. I'm not upset about it. I'm not hurt by it. I guess I'm just indifferent.

This indifference motivated me to look ahead. Yesterday, I pulled out a Banker's Box, shut my office door, and cleaned out my desk of all my personal "junk." Let's face it, when you spend more time at work than you do at home your personal things leave traces around the work place. The only thing I did not remove are pictures of my kids and a taped note on the inside of my overhead from my daughter. The note simply reads, "Have a good day." It's in purple crayon and might look like scribbles to anyone else, but to me it's a snapshot of her chasing me out of the house one busy morning to make sure she equipped me with a "good day." I just love that little girl...

Packing that box was one of the best feelings at work I had all week. I'm probably going to be here for a lot longer, but when the time comes I will pick up my box and easily walk out that door.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Just Having the Capacity is Enough


My kids were such good kids yesterday that it actually made me genuinely happy. Now, this isn't one of those bragging stories about how my kids are smarter and better than yours or how my great parenting skills have created such upstanding little citizens. Truthfully, for the past Spring Break week (or two) the kids have been poor to follow directions, sassy, mean to each other and messy beyond normal.

The weekend started out rough. The baby and I have had solid colds the last few days and between congestion and coughing, I thought my head was going to explode. After a failed attempt to have a good time at the drive-in movies Saturday night, I was done. I had the white flag out and I was waving it like a drowning woman. My poor baby cried and screamed for an hour while my husband and I struggled to follow the plot of "Date Night", which could have been really good. The big kids sat in back and watched a DVD with head phones on and my husband and I were on each others last nerve by the time the baby went down to sleep. The night couldn't end fast enough. Then there was Sunday...

Everyone woke like normal and everyone seemed to be happy with their breakfast. Plates were even cleared from the table without a reminder. For whatever reason the fighting amongst kids was minimal that day and what a difference this makes! I consciously tried to be extra patient and we managed to actually be productive. We baked fun colored spritz cookies, so everyone was even hopped up on sugar (crack for my kids).

My house doesn't have a lot of room downstairs and we truthfully live in every single inch of it. The kids destroyed the family room with toys and I couldn't even walk without almost falling and breaking a leg. Here's where it gets crazy...when asked, the kids picked up everything and put it away. I told them they had 15 minutes to work together to get the room ready for me to vacuum. When the time was up they weren't done, but since they had made such progress I gave them 15 more minutes. They loved the challenge and finished one minute before the timer beeped. I was shocked. The two big kids worked together and I even heard them laughing at each other's silly "knock-knock" jokes. By the time bed time rolled around I actually hesitated putting them down and ending an otherwise perfect day.

I love my kids and I think they're pretty great but that's because they are mine. When they mind and listen and actually allow themselves to like each other it makes up for anything bad they've ever done in their whole little lives. They are not perfect everyday, but knowing that they have the capacity to be this good makes everything okay. I love them so much and yesterday I got to see them really love each other.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunshine

When you work in the industry that I do, people are usually not calling you to give you high fives and accolades. They are calling because they have a problem and they want YOU to solve it. Most of the time you can find a way, but sometimes you just can't. Not everyone is "built" to take the crap regularly and freely dished out and I totally get that. Somedays you take it more personal than others, but you just push through and find a way to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Someone I know used to make fun of me by calling me "Sunshine." I used to always be that person who would try and put a positive spin on a crappy situation. Somewhere along the line I lost this ability. I don't know if I finally just gave in to the dark side or if I just got too busy to care about spinning it.

In my plight to find my happy place, I've decided I'm going to try and find the lost sunshine. I don't know if I'll ever really get the rose colored goggles on again, but I'm going to try.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Questions of the Day

Is there a way to be thankful for being alive AND unhappy about where we're at in life without being ungrateful and whiny human beings?

I think about my kids all the time and I wonder what kind of world they are growing up and into. I wonder if we're preparing them for rich and fulfilled lives; for good lives. You hear a lot people (myself included) saying "I just want to be happy." I'm not sure as a society we even really know what that means. Do we talk ourselves into buying onto what we think happy should be? To Be Happy...

I am NO expert on this subject, but I think happiness is defined by each of us for ourselves. My happiness is not your happiness and vice versa. I think most of us have an idea of what happy is, but how do we get there?

I spend an awful lot of time spewing about what makes me unhappy, which then makes me feel ungrateful, resulting in an even unhappier person. I keep hoping that if I just purge all the unhappy thoughts then only happy, thankful, grateful thoughts will remain. It's obviously working very well, right?

I was wrong about what I thought would make me happy. I always thought it would be a thriving career and lots of money, but now I know that it's just being a good mom (good being the operative word there.) I just don't know how to get there. I recently read a study that 76% of all households require that both parents work. How do I become part of the 24%? I play the lotto for crying out loud!

The harder question I struggle with is how do I teach my children how to find what makes them truly happy? My daughter's latest fascination is something called a DS - which from what I can gather is nothing more than a glorified Game Boy. She is 6 years old. She doesn't need this, but in her mind this is something she thinks will make her happy. I mean the other kids whose parents were nice enough to buy these look pretty happy playing with their super expensive glorified Game Boys. Are we teaching our kids to define happiness with things?

How can I teach my kids that happiness is achievable if I can't even figure out how to get there myself?

Enough questions for one day...







Monday, April 5, 2010

Just Lie to Me

The last 3 weeks at work have been the worst I have ever had. There's "something" going on, but no one will talk about it. About 2 weeks ago I was called down to the corporate office "...to have a standard quarterly meeting." This in itself is not a big deal. All the small comments, silent meetings, odd phone conversations and a little inside know is what has kept me on pins and needles. It's like I'm stuck in high school all over again.

Finally, late last week I put on a strong face and walked the plank to my "quarterly meeting." Thankfully, it was not bad for my team...yet. It was awkward and crunchy at times, but right now my people here still have their jobs. There is trouble brewing and I'll yield to the silent warning I have received. It's no secret I hope to be home with my kids, but getting fired is not the way I can afford to achieve that.

Hope is sometimes all we have. I hope ever single day I wake up and every single day I go to bed that today is the day I am smart enough to find a way to be a stay at home mom. In my own mind the option of this not ever happening is not a possibility. If it were, I would be mentally crushed.

Yesterday my husband and I were just talking and I made one of my random comments about "...someday when I'm home..." and he said "We need to make $XXX for you to stay home and I'm not going to do that on my own." I know he wasn't trying to be a jerk and I know he's probably right, but I just couldn't bear to hear him; I still cannot hear him. I'm not sure what I said back, but I do remember trying not to get upset, walking into the bathroom, wiping tears I didn't want, getting dressed and heading to the chaos of Easter.

For the record, I am fully aware that staying home with my kids really may never happen, I just don't want to cop to it. I just can't. If I woke up everyday knowing that I trade in a day raising my kids for the bullshit antics of a gossipy office, I would go freaking crazy. I really think I'd lose it.

I hoped I'd only be back to work for 1 year. Deep down, I knew it was probably going to be more like 3 years. As of today, I have now been here for 2 years, 194 days. I already see my third year coming and going. I know I'll still be here at that point. In order for me to keep moving forward, I have to set these markers for myself, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years because I need an end to this - or at very least the escape into La-La land where an end is even possible. Today, right now, I'm totally fine living in a self-promoted dreamscape.

My newest marker puts me out 2 years from the 2 year mark. I have to keep telling myself I'm going to find a way. I'm not ready to throw in the towel. The bigger my kids get, the more evident it becomes to me that they need me to guide them as much as I need the memories of doing so. I've made a paycheck while I've been here, but I've also lost my mind, become even more sleep deprived, known less about my kids and gained 3o lbs - which by the way I hate myself for.

I don't know if the price I've paid for this life is steeper than the paycheck I've earned. I have no idea if the conscious choice we make to continue living where we do is doing more harm than good. I'm this close to waving the white flag and trying out the other side that looks so green. Time will tell...