The path of life is sometimes soggy… Walk it anyway.


My brain can be my worst enemy, and has a tendency to go to the dark side (in a less than comic Star Wars sense) and fills itself negative thoughts faster than I can deal with them.  I feel emotions strongly, and I am a bit of an empath to boot which means I tend to suck in the emotions of others on top of my own.  While I will refrain from labels, it is a struggle to be fighting your own head all of the time while trying to be a career girl, a wife, a mother and a friend.  I’ve done everything I can think of through the years to try to deal with it, medically and otherwise, but recently one of my best coping mechanisms has become walking.

While part of my motivation is health – losing weight is a giant struggle.  I can eat well, but it take me as long to lose 5 pounds as others can lose 20.  My body does not give up its comfy coat readily, and I hypothesize (because the doctors look at me and shrug) this may be because my brain, in dark places, spends a lot of time in panic/anxiety mode.   Maybe nature is trying to protect me from the dangers my brain tells it to expect – or hibernate until it all goes away – I don’t know.  But what I have decided is that if I am going to be built like a short, boxy bear, I am going to be a healthy one with strong muscles and an ability to walk for miles without rest…and one who is at more peace with herself and her place in life.

This morning I was restless.  I was trying to work and I was getting things done but my brain wasn’t cooperating.  I decided to check out a nature trail close by for a quick walk…only to find the entrance flooded.

While I stood looking at it – I decided to hell with it and went right through.  And yes, my feet are soggy.  And I walked over 2 miles through grasses and wildflowers listening to the squish squish on the gravel.  I felt insanely proud that I didn’t let it stop me.

Life is hard.  Life is messy, and sometimes soggy.  But we are tough, and we own towels, and nothing should ever stop us from doing something that will ultimately make us better and bring us peace.  God gave us legs and put us in a world with puddles and rain for a reason, and that link with nature should we embrace it, is a powerful antidote to all the stuff that doesn’t really matter – even if it makes your Nikes smell like swamp it is really the smell of victory.

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The Parental Juggling Act


 

Parenthood: More than just juggling hearts and flowers!

When you have two working parents, and two children, there are many different things you have to try to balance. It’s not easy. It’s exhausting. It frequently requires a tag-team effort.

Yes, there are the meals that go uncooked, the house that goes uncleaned, and mass chaos but on top of that there are other considerations:

  • Determining which of us is less likely to face career retribution from staying home or leaving early to take care of kids;
  • Figuring out which one of us is actually more tired and frustrated (competitive self-pity);
  • Delegation of triage procedures for toy-related injuries;
  • Which series on the DVR to delete because we’ve never managed to catch up;
  • Which children’s program is the least annoying;
  • Setting a date and time to actually have a conversation not involving scheduling, kids, or finances…
    and the actually managing to do it;
  • Locating and/or remembering what presents were hidden where and who they were for in the first place;
  • Figuring out who gets to eat the treats we deny our children for health reasons (aka taking one for the team)!

Can you relate to any of this?  Parenthood:  a wonderful journey requiring frequent comedy breaks and a massive sense of humor!

 

The Evolution of Dreams


I have always thought it important to have both dreams and  goals.  For much of my life, that was difficult to articulate: I am one for who most of those dreams have always been a little hazy and insubstantial…with a few exceptions:

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True Confessions: I want to be like my Mom.


I hear all the time how women don’t want to become like their mothers. I feel sorry for them.

Don’t get me wrong: my mama isn’t the cuddly, Hallmark type. She can cut you down into shreds with words if you get on her bad side, she can talk you into doing things you would never in a million years otherwise consider, and I would pit her against Mike Tyson any day: the power of her stare would make the guy quiver and shrink into the fetal position in a heartbeat.

  • She once tackled me, sat on my stomach and put gum in my hair when she caught me chewing it with my braces on.
  • She abandoned me post-surgery in the food court of a shopping mall because I couldn’t keep up. (Notably, I had had my wisdom teeth removed and couldn’t eat either.)
  • She cancelled Christmas one year on us because we were such naughty kids.

In essence, my mommy is one tough b*tch. She is the badass of motherhood. And I want to (mostly) be just like her when I grow up.

My mama can out-cook, out-clean, and out-organize just about anyone that I know. She will give the clothes off her back to someone in a pinch. She has raised most of her grandchildren for free. She is an artist, a poet, and an accountant, and had she had the opportunity to go to college, she would have pulled straight “A’s” out of pure determination.

BKS would put any executive to shame with her ability to understand the bigger picture of a situation. She will go a week without sleep preparing for a party and making it perfect; she is relentless in her diligence to everything. She never forgets (although she may occasionally get confused) and she is always prepared.

She is the strongest woman I know, and can simultaneously be trusted with your deepest secret and depended on to help wherever she can. She is ridiculously self-less. She has bailed me out of my own messes so many times I cannot even count, and she loves the heck out of me even if I make absolutely no sense to her.

And believe me, I make little to no sense to her. It’s not that I’m so complex, it’s that she thinks I am completely ass-backwards in most respects. She’s probably right.

  • She told me not to move to the City – I did so anyway.
  • She told me I was a fool to go on vacation on my own to the Pacific Northwest, renting a car and staying in hostels up the Pacific Coast.
  • She yelled at me when I called her from the side of Multnomah Falls, telling me not to use the cell phone because I could be lynched or fall.
  • She has told me on numerous occasions that I have far too much fun and that I should work harder. She’s probably right.

Truthfully, my mother’s not entirely sure how I’ve survived this long. I’m not entirely sure how I’ve survived this long either – except by the Grace of God and the help of friends and family.

Anyway – even if I don’t make sense to her – my mom has pushed me to do something with my writing for about 25 years now. I think she knows that inside, that’s what I really want to do, if I can only figure out how to do it. I haven’t managed it yet, but I am trying: if I had half her moxie and drive, I am pretty sure I’d have managed a book or six by now.

I love her dearly, respect her more than anyone, and hope someday to do as I am told like a good girl and to make her proud.

So, Momma, it’s not a book, and I doubt you’ll ever read it – but this Blog’s for you.

Personal Mythbusting: you can do more than you think right now!


I’m not just blowing smoke with this statement: I just completed a test of it myself.

It is amazing how much negative self-talk and talking down to myself happens in this head. The things I tell myself I can’t do, the things I tell myself that I am not. But about an hour ago, I got to thinking a little too much, and I got a little mad at myself for buying into such nonsense. I decided to challenge a few of my negative assertions:

  1. Test Assertion One: I need my husband to put in the new car seat. I don’t know where this one came from except somewhere along the way I started doubting my innate ability to build and follow directions. (Actually, in fact, it’s just the directions thing. I’ve always viewed them as a backup plan. My husband disapproves and scoffs.)

Result: Utter Bunk. Annoyed at tripping over it and full of fire, I just went outside and installed that darn car seat, tricky buckles and latches and all. AND I tested it out with my daughter and she fits in it. I am 99% sure I did it right; regardless, I no longer have to stare at the damn thing sitting in the box a moment longer.

In the current mood I am in, my husband may well come home to find that the new shower head installed and the bathtub caulked. Well, probably not. But I totally could.

  1. Test Assertion Two: Because I am so out of shape I can’t do anything. Now, I don’t mean this in absolute terms: I actually walked this morning like a good girl. But I did so hesitantly, gingerly. I’ve been putting off weights, the elliptical, etc. recently, coming up with all kinds of excuses. When I was walking the dog a little bit ago, I started getting pretty down on myself – I could actually feel my arse jiggling and the judging eyes of the local geriatric community.

Result: Bumpkus! In what can only be called as sheer stupidity, and an utter shock to the pug, when I turned around at the end of the block to go home, I started jogging. I decided I was going to go all the way home, too. Now, I happen to know it’s only .30 miles from the curb to my driveway, but I would be lying if I said I believed I would manage it. Thud. Thud. Thud. I pounded down the sidewalk, feeling every extra pound and breathing carefully and one hand on my chest to check for heart attack. But I made it, dammit. I marched VERY proudly up that driveway.

I’m not going to be an idiot about it, but if I can run even that far, I can certainly pick up my game quite a bit. It’s my mind, not my body, that’s talking trash.

These are just two little tiny things that I challenged myself to do today. What something are you holding back on today? If I can do it, I know YOU can! Go challenge something and tell me what you did!

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The Schedule


1:55 am. Respond to screaming baby and try to put him back to sleep. Change diaper. Put permanent dents in chest from leaning over side of crib rubbing infant’s back.

2:18 am. Return to bed. Rescue pillow from pug, try to block out combined snores of husband and dog. Resent hot pillow.

3:34 am. Wake to sound of child’s screams. Try to blot out sound ineffectively. Wake up husband and delegate bottle duty. Lay in bed pretending I am not monitoring activity. Fall back to sleep. Nightmare. Damn.

4:50 am. Wake, remembering that I forgot to send a work email. Panic.

5:50 am. Husband’s 20-year-old alarm goes off – for me. Horrid sports radio. ::shudder:: Force self into shower, away from annoying sound.

6:30 am. Trick daughter into clothes for preschool, search house for hair clip and left shoe. Try not to wake baby.

6:34 am. Woke baby. Cuss under breath. Remind daughter she didn’t hear anything.

7:45 am. Leave house with random food items for lunch.

7:50am. Blow through Dunkin Donuts for the coffee I was giving up. Burn mouth, make note to order iced tomorrow.

8:30am. Arrive at office. Pluck eyebrows in car mirror, apply makeup so as not to scare coworkers.

8:34am. Work. Try not to mess up. Eat lunch at desk, try to remember what day it is. Make note to play Lotto.

6:13pm. Leave office. Report location and status to spouse. Pick up dinner for family.

6:53pm. Walk in house. Drop purse, pick up baby. Hug toddler. Share food. Cuddle and play with kiddos.

7:45pm. Give baby bottle. Hope baby falls asleep before I do.

9pm. Fall asleep in clothes on bed while husband continues to try and wrangle toddler.

::Repeat. Rinse. Pray. ::

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