Thursday, March 31, 2011

That Toothache Gave Me A Pain In The A**

My darling trucker, the manliest of men, had an emergency trip to the dentist. 
OK, I can't even type that with a straight face, not that you can see me, 
but anyone who knows us, knows that it doesn't sound right!
When it comes to pain, I find that most men are babies.  So even if they are quite manly to the outside world, every wife knows the truth. The emergency was "It hurts, and I want it out NOW"

I do believe that my last toothache was suffered through for at least a week until we could afford to pay the dental bill....but that's not the point.  He told me of the toothache one day and the next day it was okay to sell my soul to the highest bidder in order to make it stop.  Suddenly it is imperative that I find an emergency dentist RIGHT NOW that can get him in before bedtime TONIGHT.

I book the appointment for him and let him know when it was.  He says "did you get a sitter?"  I say "Really?"

"Ummmm.... Yes.  If you're not going, I'm not going."

So I phone my favorite babysitter, she says "Really? You have to go?"  "Yes, he says if I don't go, he won't go."
Insert uncontrollable laughter here.
Her Other Half comes in the room, she informs him that she's babysitting for me.  He says "Really?  She has to go?"
More uncontrollable laughter here.

We arrive at the dentist and get our paperwork filled out.  I get myself comfortable in the lobby, feeling proud of myself for having remembered my book.  The assistant comes to get him and he looks up at me like I'm nuts for thinking I can just sit and enjoy my book.
The assistant looks at me and grins.

So we make our way to the chair and by this point I can't help but tease him at every chance.  I even suggested that he didn't need me anymore when the assistant gave him the remote.  At home, he snuggles with that more than me!!! Haha  Clearly NOT appreciated.

Everyone teases, winks, giggles.  Poor guy.  Dentists are not fun! Truthfully, he did very well this time.  I did not have to hold his hand, though I was not allowed to leave the room.  The tooth was beyond repair and extracted which is a bad enough experience.  I will be fair and admit that having a tooth yanked out of your skull really stinks.
Whether or not he got a 'sticker' for being brave is my business, not yours.

The best part of this (yes, we are evil parents some days) is that he did keep the tooth.  He brought it home to freak out the kids.  And it worked well.

I haven't had to remind them to brush for weeks now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

History Repeats Itself? Sure, If We Let It.

I am frustrated today.  Well, no, just wait.  I have been frustrated for quite a long time about something.  It seems to me that society or media or maybe just good lawyers are making people less accountable for their actions.  I'm not going to suggest this post has anything to do with mental illness, that in itself is incredibly serious and does not apply to what I am saying.

I've heard on TV, on the news and other media, about how this violent offender was raised in an abusive home, or that drug addict had alcoholic parents.  Now I do agree that better parenting will generally produce better offspring, but it's not true in every situation.  The fact of the matter is that this person is a violent offender and that one is a drug addict.  I don't care who their parents are or what they did or didn't do. This person has issues and needs help. Period.

Think of it this way.

If your child is hitting in playschool, it may be "just a phase". 
If your child is hitting in elementary school, you might say "he's defending himself from a bully" or "It's the violence on TV"  
If your child hits someone in High School, "he's rebelling" or "testing his limits".  
Take any behavior that is negative, there are excuses.  I'm not saying parents are responsible for their child's actions, though that is kind of in our job description, but we ARE responsible for teaching them to be accountable.
Just last week, my oldest hit his brother for something really stupid.  After about 18 interrupted attempts to tell me WHY he hit his brother, he finally realized that I didn't care.  I was not interested in an excuse, there was no reason.  I managed to find an appropriate punishment for him. He hates to write, so he also had to write lines. 50 of them.  

Hitting Someone Is NEVER okay.

That's it. Right there. No excuses, no reasons, just simply "It is wrong." Really, even in a self defense situation, your ideal goal would be to get the he** away from whoever is attacking you. Hitting may be necessary to get away, but you're not gonna sit around and keep going. Your main goal is to get away. 
Self Defense can be a sketchy excuse of it's own.

So what happened to these criminals out there?  What happened to those people who aren't yet criminals?
I was raised with an alcoholic.  I don't drink.  In fact, none of my siblings do either.  We may occasionally have a few, but that's it.  According to a large part of society, I should drink, I can drink and no one would bat an eyelash, because "she was raised with alcoholics." 
I know quite a few people who grew up with Domestic Violence. I also know that not one of them tolerates any form of abuse. Sadly, I also know some that do choose to perpetuate the sins of their parents.
Drinkers, controllers, manipulators, beaters.  All of it.  And they defend themselves LOUDLY.  
"Oh Honey, I'm so sorry, it's just that, well, this is what I grew up with.  It's what I'm used to, it's going to take a long time for me to quit.  I'm trying, really."   

No. I don't buy it.
I don't buy a bit of it. 

If you don't want to repeat the mistakes you knew, you STOP.  You GET HELP.  You accept that you might not be able to change things on your own. 
There is no explanation for why a man reviews his wife's text messages. 
There is no explanation for a woman who calls her husband useless.
There is no explanation for physical violence.
There is no explanation for alcoholism.
There is no explanation for gambling away your life savings.
Whether it is an addiction or behavior or whatever it might be forcing you to live in negativity and blame, there is a solution and there is HELP.

I know this can be done.  
I have seen it more than once.  
I live it EVERY DAY.

For those who are NOT the abusers, the drug dealers, the controllers....
For those of us who have been, or currently ARE victims....
You can't make that person change.  You are NOT responsible for their actions.  If they continually make excuses, if they say they are 'trying' DON'T BUY IT. If they don't make the effort to STOP or GET HELP to STOP, they are not going to change. 

I teach my children this one major rule (in addition to there is never a good reason to hit someone)

Sorry doesn't mean ANYTHING 
if you don't STOP doing what you apologized for

By continually eating up these excuses we are allowing more and more violence to slip through the cracks. More and more drug dealers walk free, more crime everywhere.
Just a few days ago it was reported that crime is higher in some Canadian cities this year already.  They say that the conditions are 'ideal' for domestic violence. There are economic worries and a prolonged winter season that is causing depression and anxiety throughout many cities.
Really?  So, the official stance is "It's not so bad, winter sucks."  For real, on the news, you just announced that you EXPECT trouble. No wonder I don't watch the news much. I sure don't want my kids watching that.  "yeah, honey, you might get mugged on your way home from school, but that's just because there's so much snow on the ground".  These days the criminals don't even have to make excuses, the media and society does it for them.

Stop the excuses. Stop playing victim and be responsible and accountable for your OWN actions.  I learned that when I was small, so did my kids.  No one can make you do anything you don't want to do. And you can't MAKE someone else do what you want them to do. 

Its really a sad, frustrating thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who Made Mornings Come So Early?

I want to wake up smiling
But it's just so hard to do
I've been like this forever
It isn't something new

It's not just that I'm tired
From getting up with kids at night
It's not because of caffeine
Exercise or eating right

It's not because I'm dreaming
Of some picture perfect life
I don't dream of fame or fortune
Or being some star's wife

Ask my parents, friends or husband
They'll all tell you that it's true
I'm just not a morning person
It's not something I can do

I try to stay on top of things
Prepare the night before
If I try to get up earlier
I end up racing for the door

Knowing of my troubles
might make you think I'm always late
But if you expect me at 8:30
I'll probably get there 8:28

It's not cuz I'm still sleeping
Though my snooze IS my best friend
I'm usually just sitting there
Wishing that is was the weekend

You'll often find me searching
for my missing coffee cup
I usually misplace it 
when I'm trying to wake up

It takes a half an hour
before my feet will hit the ground
and then at least an hour
before I really come around

With such a slow and painful start
To Each and Every Day
I think that it's amazing
The kids get to school okay

I can't find a solution
There is no magic pill
I never did like mornings
And I doubt I ever will.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

mmmmmm..... Coffee....

Last night was another of those "let's see how ridiculously late I can stay up and still function tomorrow" kind of nights. I got started on one little thing, which led to another little thing, and another, and suddenly it was well past midnight.  But my mind had entered the second wind phase already, so sleep was not coming.  

I decided to read for a bit and finish the Happiness Project book before I put all of those types of books aside for awhile.  But after I had made some tea and snuggled up on the couch, I realized I DID finish the book the night before.  So I reread the last chapter (can't waste the tea now) and made myself a few notes of items I want to remember everyday.  There are some good points that I want to keep close.

I reviewed my list of April fools plans.  Every piece of that puzzle is falling into place so nicely. To be completely honest, the idea that I had last night was exciting enough that I woke up easily this morning just so I could get arrangements made.

I know it's not fun to get the April Fools ideas after April 1st, but I really CAN'T share it early.  These kids of mine are too smart, my blog is not safe!  It's gonna be soooooo good.

I have also got the beginnings of two poems going for the kids.  It was partly inspired by Gretchen's 'sing in the morning' resolution in the happiness project. But I am not likely to sing in the morning. In fact, most mornings, you are safest if you don't talk to me for at least an hour or my first cup of coffee!  Anyway, the sing in the morning idea got my brain working. Once the poems are put together, I might post them here.  One is about the daily grind and the other is about getting up in the morning.

Wow.... Sidetracked or what?
The point of this story was supposed to be about today, not what I did last night.  Today was painful.  It was long and slow and miserable. I had a lot of coffee this morning. I bought the kids lunch because I was too lazy to make it. I stopped at Tim Horton's on my way to get them from school.  After lunch I had some shopping to do, I grabbed a coffee while I was out.  I got home, put away my new stuff and then had to rush off again to pick up the boys from school.  We decided to grab some TimBits for them and a coffee for me.

Sadly, this is a vicious cycle that I often repeat. I'm aware it's not 'healthy' but man, it's life right now.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Crash, Coffee, Coffee, Crash...


About that time now.....

What keeps you motivated and moving? Any advice for this caffeine addict? (Aside from 'go to bed earlier', sometimes that is just not possible) 

On the bright side (there really is always a bright side) I was able to nail down a crucial part of my April Fools Plans today.  Tired or not.

Take Care! Good Night!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Accountability Is Overrated

So much for holding myself accountable.  I just don't seem to make time to post everyday.  I'd love to, but every now and then I find I actually need sleep.

Are you wondering about the week? I haven't had that much of a laundry backlog in a long time.  Seems the more I try to make myself stick to a plan, the further I get from my goals. On the bright side, It was all clean, just piled in baskets downstairs. Poor trucker had to pack from the dryer for his weekend away.  I'd love to stay on top of it. Dishes and laundry will be the death of me one day.

But that's not today.

I have been spending a lot of time contemplating life and the quality of mine.  I find it hard to decipher what is making a difference and what is not.  It is also hard to determine which things make me happier.  Doing things for others is great and makes me happy, because it makes them happy.  But doing things that I LOVE makes me happy too.

Simply by writing here, I am making myself happy. I am constantly thinking about things I can write about, and what is going to end up in the book that WILL one day get published. I have even spent some time re-reading some stories I have written before.  I am surrounded by inspirations, my funny and crazy family give me plenty of topics and ideas!
more of these comics at
You all know that I've read a million things about how to be more organized, get more done, be more happy and just feel better in general.  And I think I have reached a decision.  I have 2 chapters left of the last book that I'm going to read on this topic.  I've been working, studying, practicing and trying for a few years now.  I think I had the most fun and even got the most done when I was just flying by the seat of my pants.

No matter which system (or method or whatever you want to call it)  I have attempted, I find that I am still rushed in everything I do. My life hasn't really changed.
If I am expected at 8:30, I will still always arrive at 8:29. 
I am capable of staying up late to put clothes in the dryer (and as an added bonus, we even turn the dryer on for a few minutes in the morning so there are cozy warm clothes to get into!) No one seems to care if the clothes are in the dresser or not, the boys don't even notice if they are washed!!
The best time to wash the kitchen floor IS NOT Monday afternoons, but any night, after kids go to bed. Then no one walks on them while they dry.
My house is never DIRTY, no matter how messy it might appear.

One thing that has changed is the guilt! I felt bad for not doing enough before, so I started looking for ways to do more.  Instead of releasing myself from the occasional guilt, I increased it. Because I can't even keep up to my OWN plans.  I wanted to do more and be more successful at it.

Well, I was good at it before,  I just didn't believe it.  Different people have different ways of doing things.  I am a strong supporter of my kids, I am their biggest advocate with schools, I am responsible for helping them to grow into strong adults who can take care of themselves. With additional difficulties popping up here and there, I am here to teach them how to make sense of the world around them and also to have fun and lighten the mood when needed.
That's what I do.  I look after their needs and my own and that's just right.  I cleaned things when I saw they needed to be cleaned. I stopped and smelled the roses more. I played in the snow or in the sun. I sometimes felt lazy, but I didn't feel bad about it.  I do admit that there are some positive effects of the studying and learning I have done in the last few years.  But I am going to stop looking for new answers. Admit that the best for me is here and just start enjoying my life.  The best is doing what needs to be done. When it needs to be done. And remembering to HAVE FUN in the process.

Bottom Line, My mission for gratitude last week was successful.  
for my normal, uninteresting, busy, crazy, happy, loving life!
And if I hadn't forced myself to think about gratitude, I just might not have figured this all out quite yet.  The best days of my week are those where I can shift my focus from the fast pace of ordinary life and enjoy the moments that fill my days.  Like it or not, this IS my life. There really is nothing wrong with it.  I need to start enjoying it!
Watch for more fun updates.  I'm going to work hard to focus on the positive and share the light side of life with you while I take time to remind myself that ...
Life IS Good

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday. Just Tuesday.

First I thought I'd see if I could pull off some smart comment about which of my family members were born on a Tuesday.  None
Then I searched all over for some meaningful snippet for Tuesday.  Here's the best I got...

“You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY"
Winnie The Pooh 

Thanks go out to:

Baby girl
Thank you for peeing on the blanket instead of the carpet.  I can wash that. 
Thank you for giving me the pen you found. 
Thank you for that silly giggle and all the extra snuggles today.

Thanks for giving me a turn to kick your butts on the Wii.
Thanks for going across the street to the store for sour cream
Thanks for taking your dishes to the kitchen.

Thank you for watching the baby girl while I did my last few errands. 

No comment today.

I had a productive day today. I got a lot done. The laundry was just a load of potty training victims.  Which includes the best and most favorite dolly who was a casualty. 

On the outside looking in, it may not look like much.  But I know it and that's what matters.  

Mondays child poem

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

The trucker was born on a Saturday, both boys on Wednesdays, the angel baby on Friday.  But most importantly I was born on a Sunday. 

Not Many People Are Thankful For Mondays

First day of my week, not bad.

There was extra laundry created as we are attempting potty training here. 
(Yes, I believe I am big enough to use the big girl potty now.  Wish me luck!  haha)  
So not all of yesterday's laundry got put away, but I did get 3 loads washed and dried and the first one put away, so I'll still count it as success.

I didn't do so well on the thank you's.  

I did thank the trucker for the Timmies he brought me on the way home.
I thanked the middle child for telling me when the little one was taking off her diaper and hiding in the other room.  That was a big one, it could have been REALLY yucky if I didn't catch her in time!
I think I said thank you to her when she brought her lunch plate to the kitchen on her own.
(Two year old can do it but the trucker can't most days.....)
I thanked mom for watching the littlest when I ran to the bookstore (and for changing the stinky diaper while I was out). 

Oh, I thanked the baby girl for that too.....hehehe

The oldest, I'm not sure.  I can't think of a specific thing that I said thank you to him for. 

Try again today.

Well, I guess I didn't do too bad.  I got most of them.  The unfortunate thing is that I KNOW there were a lot more sarcastic thank you's tossed about through the evening.  Perhaps part of my mission should be to cut those out?  I think it would take away some meaning from the good sincere thank you's if they are peppered through with sarcastic ones.

And I'm going easy on myself for yesterday.
The odds were against me.
It's the first Monday after the daylight savings time shift.  We were ALL tired.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde

Some days, that is exactly how I feel. Except I know that there is no antidote, and I see myself more like the tweety bird version than any other.
I am constantly trying to find ways to stop taking life so seriously.  To stop stressing constantly, and get more done, yet still find time to relax and do nothing.  I am confident most days, that being a mom, and a working mom at that, means that life has to be busy.  Sometimes, I spend more time looking for balance or solutions or quick-fixes, than time spent just enjoying the moment. Sometimes I get it right, but I don't know why it's different.

Today for example, we were out randomly shopping.  We didn't really buy anything, just stopped by some stores we hadn't been to in a while.  We let the boys window shop at Toys R Us and get ideas for what they want to buy next or add to a birthday wish list. We had no defined destination and no time limit.  Many times out shopping, someone has a tantrum, kids fight with each other, someone rushes while someone else is dawdling, and by the time we get to a check-out it's a fight between parents of 'who gets to take the kids to the van and who gets to wait in the stupid line up?" This not-so-fun game often ends with "we don't really need this, forget it, let's just go."

But today, we walked in places where we might normally drive, we giggled, some puddles were splashed in, and though I can't say that no one fought at all, there was minimal intervention needed.  Moments that some days would be infuriating, were not. 
Like the over-spray from the windshield washer that hit me in the face as I was getting in the van.
The trucker had just swapped my wipers for me since the old ones were awful.  I buckled in the baby and he decided to test the new wipers while waiting for me to get in. 
Yep. They work.
However, they do not remove the drops from my glasses or forehead.

I was there, in that moment when the blood starts to boil, thinking 'what kind of a *&^&#%& didn't see that??' Until I looked in the van and saw the entire family, laughing like mad....  How many times in my life would I have just flipped out instead of seeing those 4 smiling faces?  What was different today, that made me stop and look first?

Or, the coffee moment?  
I had coffee (of course I always do) and the kids had slurpees.  I was turned around checking out their cool straws when I tried to take a sip of my coffee.  I guess looking at their straws and thinking of straws messed with my head?  I tried to take a sip from my invisible straw in my coffee.  Which basically meant that I had the cup just below my chin and came unbearably close to pouring it down my front.
One of those moments when you wish no one noticed!!!  But, of course.... it was DEFINITELY noticed. Often, I would be so entirely embarrassed and get mad at anyone still laughing.  But not today.

Today we got to the train tracks before the train, but after the lights... ugh.... but instead, all 5 of us were chatting. The train did seem to last a long time, but it didn't feel like forever......

So what was different today?
What makes some days easier than others?
It wasn't sleep this time, as we were up late with company.
It wasn't that we had a ton of money and little worry.  We aren't 'ahead' this pay.
It was, really, a day like any other. A Sunday like every other Sunday.  But more relaxed.

Maybe because I've been trying a bit harder to listen to the happy things?  Maybe because I had just the right amount of coffee?  I'm not sure. I wish I knew... I would love it more days turned out like today.

OKAY - Mission this week?  Listening has to stay at the top of the list.  But what else?  What other small item can I work on this week?  I think I need something for me and something for 'home' this week. 

I will attempt to do a load of laundry every day.  Wash, Dry and Put away.  (Believe me, in this house it's not hard to have that much laundry.... and sometimes the mountains seem so high I can never conquer them.)  So that's one for home.  I have to do that much laundry anyway, why not spread it out so it doesn't feel like a whole day of work. Right?

Now, for me.  How about Gratitude?
I'm going to make a point of saying OUT LOUD "Thank you" to each member of the family for something. Every day.  Whether it is picking up toys, holding a door or simply eating dinner without complaining.... I will thank each person for something every day.  Because, I really am grateful for the family I have, and we really should celebrate small things more.

If time permits, I will also try to list here what I've thanked them for. Chances are, telling you means that I will actually put effort into it and stay accountable!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Mission To Listen

If you've been here before, you know that this week I am trying to make the extra effort to really LISTEN to what those around me are saying.  I missed a few things, I know.  But I did make more efforts to stop what is distracting me from listening. I also got better at saying "I'd love to hear that, just hang on two seconds while I finish this."

Last night, I was in the middle of work, got stuck and had to refer to a tutorial video.  I couldn't hear ANYTHING. The kids weren't loud, they were just playing. 

It wasn't their fault that I was wrapped up in something work-related on a Friday evening....But as I started to speak, I could feel my voice rising, I realized that they were the ones doing what should be done.  Fun.  I was the one who was not .

So I asked the oldest for his headphones from his MP3 player.

The headphones worked really well.  I didn't need to move all my stuff, they didn't need to quiet down, AND when my son came to ask me something, I paused my tuturial, explained that I needed to hear these instructions and as soon as I was done I would take the headphones off.  So AS SOON AS he sees me WITHOUT headphones, he can ask me for what he needs.  If he needs something RIGHT NOW, he can ask Dad.

Over all this week, my kids seem to be a bit less edgy. They had a few moments of wild loud play, you know, the type that is just CLEARLY to gather the attention of everyone else.  No real rhyme or reason to WHAT they are playing, but it's definitely noticed (and probably heard by the neighbors!!).  But it was only once or twice.

The younger one mentioned on Monday that it wasn't fair his brother got to go to friends houses all the time and he couldn't.  It's not that I'm mean, just that the older one has two advantages.  He is old enough to go to his friends house by himself, and the current best friend is just over a block away on our street. (I really could watch him walk from door to door when I'm worried.  And Yes, I know, I have.  I was that paranoid the first while)
The poor little guy, his closest friend is not that close.  He's not old enough to go alone and surely not that far.  We talked about the differences.  And I did explain that his brother wasn't always able to go that often either. And as much as it doesn't feel good or help anything now, by the time he's as old as his brother, he'll be doing the same and the baby girl will be the sad one left at home.

BUT because I sat down and listened to him explain how he felt, and I asked him for suggestions on how we could make it better THIS WEEK, we were able to make arrangements in advance.  He was able to get time with his friends.  And it gave him something to look forward to all week.

Cindy Lou doesn't hafta wear socks!
The oldest baked cookies with me for the first time in ages.  And I was listening when he bragged to the whole house about how he managed to crack the 2 eggs PERFECTLY for the cookie dough.  (yes, this is a new accomplishment!) I really enjoyed knowing that he felt pride in small things, too.

I'm going to keep working on this.  It is important.  It won't be my only focus, but I sure want it to be close to the top.  When even the toddler responded well to me sitting down on the floor and explaining "I hear you saying no, you don't have to scream it. I know you don't want to put your socks on. After we pick up your brothers from school you can take them off again."  I know that this is something I need to keep doing.

Life is still stressful and busy, it's full of surprises everyday. But slowing down and listening made the days a bit easier to get through. I'm calling my listening week a success because:
  • We had fun everyday, as I'd hoped. Even if the week didn't go as we'd hoped.
  • I refused to rush, even when I knew we were running late.  It doesn't make us faster, just crankier.  
  • I found ways to have fun, even while doing dishes.  You can read my fun ways to do dishes on my other blog.
  • I tried to read or write something every day.
  • I celebrated small accomplishments. 
  • I didn't hear as many negative comments, because I really listened for more positive ones.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life Is About Learning New Things Everyday

I learned two things yesterday. 


Cake is GOOD. 

Making cake just for the sake of eating cake is not so good, but celebrating even the smallest milestones can be incredibly fun!

The special event started by accident.  A small offhand comment to my son about how many visits my blogs had so far.  I thought it was cool we had a combined total of 392.  So, he said we should celebrate when it reaches 400.

So thank you, to those of you who read my ramblings.  We made 402 the same day. 
Therefore, we deserved cake.

I do understand that 400 is almost an invisible number on the internet, but that is huge to me.  I really didn't think I would have much more than a couple visits ever, not to mention those of you who have read most, or even ALL of my rants.  Even cooler than my friends and family enjoying something like this, is the fact that I have had visitors from all over the world. 
That blows my mind.

Anyway, the number is not the significant part really.  I showed my kids that it is good to celebrate small things, even if it doesn't mean anything to someone else.  If we are proud of ourselves and celebrate the everyday things, our lives are just that much happier.

They were in a good mood ALL day yesterday, knowing that mom was making cake and it wasn't a birthday.  Heck, I even got the trucker interested!

Secondly (And Sadly Less Fun)

I need to work on my listening skills.

I missed the mark on my OWN challenge!! Okay, not completely.  I did a good job for most of the day, but I missed an important moment and I'm kind of pissed at myself. 

I challenged the house, primarily me and that trucker of mine, to say at least ONE NICE THING to each other everyday.

So last night when we crawled in bed, I asked him if he managed to do it.  He said "Yes, don't you remember?  In the kitchen, I gave you a kiss and thanked you for getting all of my laundry done."

Yeah.      FAIL!!

I do.  I do remember that moment.  He gave me a kiss and I heard
"something, something, about laundry, something"
I didn't stop what I was doing.  I didn't listen to what he said.  And I missed a thank you.  A thank you for something as tedious as laundry might seem stupid, but when you are a housewife... that's what life is!  Kids, school, work, cleaning, dishes and LAUNDRY.  So an unsolicited thank you, for laundry, is like a SAHM equivalent of an Olympic gold!! 

And I missed it.

Well, I'm trying again today. And I apologized last night.  If I don't listen to the family, NONE of us get to feel special.  I feel unappreciated and they feel ignored.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sometimes He Still Surprises Me

I have an online calendar through that I used in the past a time or two.  I do try to update it when I can, but I'm not that good at it.  It's helpful but not my main source.  I like a calendar that can send me SMS updates, so I have important alarms set through a google calendar.  But I hear that Cozi does plan to open up that service to Canada eventually.
The Cozi calendar is intended to be a family planner, so each family member can link their email address to it and each can access it at their own leisure. I set up the trucker a long time ago, but never thought he'd even look at it. You can assign events to certain users, see where overlaps are and such.  Likely a good thing for a family with older kids or sports activities as they could see who is able to drive them, before agreeing to the dates.

Last night, darling trucker was relaxing on the couch while I was working on homework with kids.  It was kind of distracting hearing the sound of various iPad apps on the go, until suddenly he said "What's the name for this calendar?"  So I told him. He logged in and said "Do you have Show & Tell ready for tomorrow?"

               Really, that's all I can say. 

We have had more than one fight over things like this.  I have a set list of things that need to be done each day and each week.  I am a mom.  That's what we do.  Whether you work or not, if Show and Tell is always on Tuesday, You will always have to make sure it's ready on Monday. And almost every Monday, I am reminded by a 6 year old who 'forgot' until just after bedtime.  (This is one thing that I just can't keep in the top of my mind.)  In our class, your show and tell involves writing clues too.  So, it's not just a matter of grab something and stuff it in the backpack. My child has to find it, think of 3 sneaky clues and write them himself.

I have made my list of daily routines and weekly schedules many many times.  I have a calendar on the fridge with major weekly things labeled.  This information has always been in plain view of the whole family. 
Primarily because I FORGET STUFF.  
If it's not written down, it probably won't happen.  But even if it is written down, it's still at risk!

Yesterday is the first time in I-don't-know-how-long, that the trucker even looked at a list of mine.  And he did it an hour before bedtime, so I had time to get the Show & Tell work done with the 6 year old.  

So, even though he didn't get up to help get the work done, I was absolutely impressed that he, by choice, even looked at what was on my list for the day.  Yes, in a way he was still just telling me 'what to do' but by using MY tools, and looking at MY list, and NOT using a snotty tone, he was actually supporting something that I set out for myself.  

Imagine that.  I just might fall in love with the iPad, yet.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Before I Start Changing Things

I have to be sure of what is wrong.  I don't want to fix things that are not broken, I want to fix the problems.  So this weekend, I tried to just listen better.  

I am aware that my kids complain, a lot.  About really unimportant things. Like the dinner we had two weeks ago and they didn't like?  I'll hear about it a couple more times, I'm sure.  Why bring it up, again and again? I am aware that my trucker complains. A Lot. About equally pointless things. Like how many bad drivers there are on the road.  That conversation lost it's novelty long before he started driving for a living. No, drivers did not get dumber when you started driving a bigger truck, dear, you just see them more. 
Mom, well, she has her own brand of complaints.  Subtle, as only a mother can be.  Big sighs, and "oh, I guess I'll pick this up...." I get it, I know she's saying "you left %$@^#* all over the floor again" but I take it and say "thanks..."

So, why is it so deeply ingrained in my family to complain?  I have had a few good friends tell me that I need to stop complaining about certain things, as I have made it clear that I am not going to change them.  That's not entirely fair.  There are some things in life that we can not change, and everyone deserves an outlet to vent these frustrations.  In the case of my kids, they aren't old enough to cook, so they can't change what they get to eat.  A trucker is going to suffer the pains of traffic.  Even on the most remote highway in Canada, I am positive there will be at least one person doing 20 less than the speed limit.

We all need to feel that we have been "listened to."  There is a big difference between being heard and being listened to.  As a mom, I felt a breakdown because I am generally the one who listens.  I can only take so much, before someone needs to stop and listen to ME. 

I did an experiment one day, with my loving trucker. I'm somewhat glad he doesn't read this, as I won't get busted for a while....  But, the other day we were talking while he was working and he got going in the swearing a blue streak manner that many truckers have, as if swearing for long enough will make that idiot change lanes (it won't).  For a few weeks, I've been holding the phone away from my head and occasionally accidentally hanging up on him.  Of course, I call back, but it stopped the swearing for a few minutes while he tried to figure out where I went.  Back to the other day.... I just said "it's really annoying that people don't follow the basic rules of the road. I could never be a trucker, I don't know how you do it."

He stopped.  He started telling me good things about driving, cool things he has seen on the highway.  What the ****???  OH!! Yeah!!! I validated him, didn't I!?!?!? I made it clear that I heard what he was saying, I was listening, I tried for a second to picture myself in his shoes... and he stopped.  I can't do this every day.  And heaven knows it happens a lot. Truckers complain, and often rightly so, about other bad drivers.  But I can try to do it more often.

The kids, really, they know they don't get much choice in suppers.  And those awful meals that I love but everyone else hates?  They become my lunches.  If no one else likes it, I won't make it again. This is a whole other story... Oh wait... you already know that Wendy Can't Cook.   The same point applies, they need to be listened to.

As I said, this weekend, I tried to listen better.  I know everyone is complaining more, even me.  So I tried to listen to what we were saying.  So many things that were said, were just whined out.  Regular things, just in that awful tone.  Like "What's on TV?" If we give the wrong tone to things, it all sounds bad.  Even saying 
"The world is a beautiful place when the sun is shining!"  can sound bad if you use a negative tone.

I am quick tempered lately.  Partly from not being heard and partly plain frustration, I caught myself several times spitting out words that just weren't necessary.  I am going to work on my tone of voice. I am going to stay calm as much as I can, and try to LISTEN to what my family is saying. 

Maybe the kids are whining because that's the only time I hear them talking?
Just like the way they don't hear me ask nicely 5 or 6 times before I scream at them?
We've forgotten how to hear quiet sounds.

Saturday night, I just quietly said "who's gonna help me with dishes tonight?"  I must admit, I fully expected the kitchen to clear out instantly, if I was acknowledged at all. But instead, I heard "can I wash?"  What???  
Really?  Yeah, of course! "Sure, you can wash!"
One less demand, turning 'someone better' into 'who is going to', and I actually got help.  We even had a little bit of fun. (but don't tell anyone)

Just because I changed my tone and sounded like someone WORTH listening to.

As much as I want to be heard, I need to listen. Not just hear, but really listen.  I took over last week. 
(sadly, it was in the form of a massive melt-down) 
I told everyone what I thought, how I felt, why it was wrong and more.  I understand that they don't get it.  No matter what I said, or who I said it to, they just don't get it.  Because they heard what I said....but didn't listen to what I was asking for.

I will listen to my family, my kids and hubby (can't fix my mom, she's mom... duh) I will try to understand what they are asking for.  Most of life is about perspective.  So I need to widen mine and understand what is being said. 
And once I understand why they are saying or doing the things they are doing, 
maybe it won't drive me so crazy?

Friday, March 4, 2011

If Momma Ain't Happy....

Ain't nobody gonna be happy.

I've heard this before, and I do truly believe it.  So.  How do I "Get Happy?"  I have done the scores of research and reading... I understand what happiness IS.  I understand more or less, how to get there. 

I found that my most successful period was about a year and a half that I was 'flying' with the Flylady.  There is a ton of great advice within this system, that I faithfully applied to my daily life.  I had a spit shined house, time to work, meals on the table, and everyone seemed to smile all the time. 
"Use a timer" "Just Do It" "Don't be a martyr" "Don't procrastinate" and "Let go of Perfectionism".
Great advice.  
It was excellent, BUT....  I constantly had something to do.  I no longer had time to just veg out in PJ's all day. I didn't even have time to snuggle up with the trucker and watch an hour of TV. If I did sit with him, I was adding something to tomorrow's list of to-do's.

I did find myself sleeping better, but partly because I ran all day. 

Now, a lot of this system is about accepting that you are the one who wants it this way, so you should do it and do it without complaint.  "You are the one who signed up for this"... but when my life started falling down around my feet, I started to understand that I am not the only one who should care about some things.  AND there are some things that just shouldn't matter. 
For example, using your flylady routines may include a 'swish & swipe' of your bathroom every day.  I think, that realistically, having boys who don't miss the toilet, will solve the dirty bathroom floor dilemma. Right?  So why do I want to say good morning to my toilet EVERY DAY, when I could just get said boys to do it for a few days... then perhaps, they WON'T MISS anymore??

Eliminating Clutter is a big focus in many organization programs.  Well, I don't have much left.  I was never a hoarder by any means.  I have an 'anti-clutter' mother living with me, too.  There was not a lot to get rid of. It didn't take long. 
So, although 'flying' did give me reason to be proud of my home, I was proud of things that I previously didn't care about.... so was that really that good?  And the family didn't really help more or learn much, they just enjoyed that I did everything for them. 

So, Flylady, Marla, I thank you... You did reinforce some things I knew but didn't want to admit.  You did teach me a few tricks.  I was cleaning things that ....well .... NO ONE CARED about.  If there are cobwebs in the basement.... it's probably because it is a BASEMENT.
My house didn't fit into 5 zones without overwhelming me.  Those zones were TOO big, no matter what I did. 
I don't mind spring cleaning much, and I don't have many hidden places to 'spring clean' because I don't keep things I don't need.  My biggest obstacle was always 'other peoples clutter' and that is not something I can fix.  So, I slowed down and eventually gave up on that system that guided me for a while.
It is wonderful advice to those who need direction, if you can motivate yourself to do it all, it works wonders.  But....just not for me.  I need something else.  I need to find joy in the things I am doing, or they are just not worth doing. 

So, now what?  I've read a lot of great books.  I have an army of quotes, tips and tricks to being happy. 
thank you to the positive thinkers of the world, and Gretchen, I really do like your Happiness Project too

The next few months may be a sincerely messed up stream of posts as I try to make sense out of the angry world I'm living in.  But, I don't want to keep my mouth shut anymore.  Grin and bear it, is just NOT gonna fly.  I work hard to have what I have. I'm not asking the world for recognition, but less criticism would be nice!!  I don't want to be sad, I don't want to be angry, I don't want to yell.  I want to be able to say that I have learned from Thumper and stopped saying things that are not nice (even to MYSELF).  I want to be constructive and I want to teach my kids the same.

I want to be grateful for my blessings. I don't want to be reminded of mistakes. I don't want good things to become insults.  So what if I look or act like a typical 'soccer mom', is that really a bad thing? 

And yes, I work from home, but that doesn't exactly mean I won the lottery... I have to do what a full time working mom does, but with out daycare! those kids of mine, who are not in daycare, are actually spilling juice on my pants while I'm typing at the computer.... it's not glamorous or special! It's HARD.  You know how distracting it is when a kid phones you at work?  Well, mine are in the same building....

I guess, in order for every one around me to understand what it is that I am asking for, I have to figure it out first.  Some days I want to quit my job. This is just so hard to manage sometimes.  But I LOVE what I do now, and I have never had that before.  So, there has to be a way to make it work.  To make it balance.  I want to find balance. How much really is important, and what is NOT? And, who else will step up to the plate to make it work? I am certainly NOT the only one who can contribute, right? 

(have you ever asked a trucker to clean a bathroom?  This is gonna be HARD!!)

And I'm going to share it.... HAHAHAHA the joy of a blog... you, my poor readers, can suffer my ranting, or navigate away.  It's all the same in the long run, I'm writing for me.  But I know I am not the only one in the world who struggles with this, and maybe I can save some one else the efforts if there are strategies that work or don't work. Perhaps... it just might give you an idea of your own?