Monday, June 27, 2011

Broken Homes And Fairy Tales

Many nights when I crawl in bed, my mind fills with a thousand thoughts. I confess that these thoughts range from really useful, (like a blanket for a bed-wetters bed instead of a full plastic sheet underneath) to really freaking strange. Like what happens to a guy who jumps off a diving board that's been flipped upside down. You know, so the deck is the top and the board sticks out farther. "Ahhhh....SPLAT" I also have a tendency to not realize that I'm speaking out loud when I'm in this half asleep state. I have a friend who will remember that until she dies. Hahaha...

More to the point of my story, because I never really get there quick, I was thinking about my marriage last night. And my parents, friends, relatives and just marriage in general.  The reports all over the news about the effects of broken homes on children. I thought "What really happened to Happily Ever After?"

But our fairytale stories really only revolve around the main characters. There is much information that is just left to be assumed.  There's always the evil stepmother, right?  So what does that say?

Daddy dearest in all the stories was a single dad.  We can assume there was some tragic reason why the mother is no longer in the picture. A heart wrenching tale of how her life slipped away and the poor devastated Daddy was left to manage on his own. But it might not have been that way.

Enter the step mother. Was there some glorious glass slipper tale of how she came to be step mommy? I doubt it. It's always the 'evil stepmother.' She's the one who would steal the glass slipper or drug the prince.  She was a manipulative gold digging b*tch. Plain and simple.

Then Daddy dearest dies tragically or leaves or gets poisoned by crazy stepmommy, most the time we don't know, and there is an orphan. A child so graciously adopted by the evil step mommy just to cash in on the inheritance. 

This leaves me wondering why we chase our happily ever afters and take for granted our NOW's.  How do we know which part of the cycle we fit into?  Are we the first generation or the Cinderella's of the world?

The only real conclusion I can muster from all of this is that our kids do not have a scar or mark on them based on the success or failure of our marriages. It's our parenting that counts. Daddy in the movies was loving and kind (so we're told) and the star of the show thrives against all odds to find a happy ending.  Who's to say that her happily ever after isn't just "happy enough".
Cinderella and her flock of bird friends?  Did you hear bout the hundreds of birds randomly dropping dead and falling from the sky?  What if Prince Charming can't stand the animals? What if he has allergies?

I'm worried about setting my kids up for terror or humiliation in life. They need to be aware that life is not always perfect. It's not a guarantee that you are going to have a magical happy ending. You have to work for it. You have to scrub floors and be a servant, in other words WORK, to get to your goals.  It doesn't come easy. There are failures and struggles and speedbumps. There are devastating painful times (how bout the step sisters trashing Cinderellas hand made dress?) If we get through these tough times we get those Happier-than-happy singing-with-the-birds moments too.

But.... when we are young... we don't think of that type of stuff.

I've been in my 'happily-ever-after' moments. I have lived through my wish-I-was-dead-painful moments. Every moment of my life is determined by my choices. Even if there was a fairy godmother in the picture, she really just got Cinderella and Prince Charming together, they had to do the rest. You know what that means? My cousin was my fairy godmother.  And though he may believe he's magical and can fly sometimes, that is not because he is. It's because he's MESSED UP.  But he introduced me to my Prince Charming and over the years I have seen the toad. But I kiss him anyway. He's MY toad after all.  I'm sure that I've been his Fiona and his beautiful Princess and,yes, occasionally the fire breathing dragon too.

Dreaming of a fairy tale is great. Reaching for your happy ending is wonderful. Through all my rambling, I just want to share that life is only magical when we make it so. And ninety percent of the time, we distract or busy ourselves so much that we miss the magic.
I'm living my fairytale. 
I've got a sleeping dragon (hubs snores like a son-of-a-#####), my little princess, two brave knights to protect her too (nerf swords and shields and all) and my castle. This house might be rented, but it is more of a home to me than anything I can ever remember.

Dreams are good, reaching for them is better.

What do you dream of? Are you in your fairytale? Which Part?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The End Of The Affair

Once, in the heat of a really big argument, the Trucker confessed that he believed I was having an affair.  In the midst of the argument, I was quick to attack and defend. This was just simply unacceptable. He had to know that. How could I ever consider an affair?

After some speedbumps and great detours on this marriage highway, I have come to understand the truth behind accusations like these. We work through our issues together, I understand that he is just as vulnerable as me sometimes.  We all have times where we feel left out and start to think someone else is getting all the goods. This is true in a way, except that my time is eaten by three little monsters who, all together, might equal the weight and physical area of a lover but are a lot less ...  

First, I'll tell you the truckers point of view, which is completely valid (unless you are in the middle of an argument) then I'll share my side.
  1. I have occasional chunks of time that I can't account for.
  2. I rarely get to bed at the same time as the trucker.
  3. I'm always exhausted and uninterested in ... things.
  4. I have a world of friends he doesn't know.
  5. I am home all day. I have plenty of time to do anything.
  6. I have access to babysitters easily when needed.
  7. I stopped attempting to look sexy.
  8. I don't always answer the phone when he calls.
  9. I seem to be overly critical of his faults.
  10. I don't initiate ... anything.
See.. if he did this to me... I would likely assume that he was messing around too.
But the reality is this, I couldn't ever find the time to have an affair if I wanted to AND, if I were to make time appear magically, what kind of lover would I have that is always available in the daytime hours... doesn't he work?
1. I have occasional chunks of time that I can't account for. The pure result of procrastination. I can find a way to stretch 10 minutes in to 2 hours sometimes, and I don't want to tell you because I'm kind of embarassed. "What did you do today, dear?" "Well, I stared at the kitchen floor and drank a cup of coffee for 45 minutes this morning, I ran downstairs about 7 times to get the towels from the dryer and kept forgetting them there. Then I sat on the couch to try to figure out what the hell I was doing.  Not to mention the million spills or questions or everything else that comes from a toddler in the house..."  Not very appealing, is it?
2. I rarely get to bed at the same time as the trucker. When he goes to bed before the kids because he leaves for work at 2 or 3 am.... I should not have to validate this with an answer. But I will.  I can't sleep if I know my kids are awake. It is a physical impossibility. I will toss and turn in bed for hours until I drag my ass out and check on them to make sure they are all okay.  Experiences with ambulances make sleep hard to come by.
3. I'm always exhausted and uninterested in ... things.  I am not uninterested. I'm just unable. There is always something going on. I'm careful. Didn't you ever walk in on your parents? Not. Cool. I don't want to be that parent.  And for the exhausted part? See #2 but add the fact that I haven't had a full night of sleep in a very long time. My kids may be getting older, but with bedwetting, growing pains, hubbys who wake up at odd hours to go to work, teething and bad dreams (mine and kids!) I am incredibly unlikely to sleep a full night through.
4. I have a world of friends he doesn't know. Really?  Where?  I must not know them either!  I have a very small few and I hardly get time to talk to them regularly at all. I'm just recently starting to meet more mommies online, but those I do interact with are usually up just as late as I am. And... again... they are online. They are not close enough to babysit my kids so I can sneak off with Mr. Invisible for some fun.
5.. I am home all day, I have plenty of time. Really?  Wish I could find it. Aside from lost time due to procrastination and distractions like Facebook, I have a pretty tight daytime schedule.  And I work. And I have a perfectionist mom who likes everything spotless... all the time.  And .... I could go on forever with what is wrong with my time. (I have, actually, see my whole blog for reference!!) I can't always make time for kids field trips, why would I waste time on another MAN.
6. I have access to babysitters easily when needed. If there was truth in this statement, him and I could spend more time alone together! And I can't leave my kids with a sitter without telling my sitter where I'm going, so I would have to recruit lying sitters. I don't think a babysitter who lie easily for me would make me feel comfortable enough to leave my kids there?!?!?
7. I stopped attempting to look sexy.  I will avoid the possible insult hidden plainly in there.  I stopped some because I was oversleeping and depressed. I stopped again when he thought it was all for someone else. I stopped because I gained weight. I just finally have regular clothes that fit. Sexy Lingerie is not that high on my priority list, and none of what I have fits.
8. I don't always answer the phone when he calls. I do stuff. I'm not always sitting here staring at the kitchen floor drinking my coffee. I have kids. I have errands, I have 2 other phones in the house. I have to PEE sometimes too, you know.
9. I seem to be overly critical of his faults. Now we are hitting the things that may carry weight in his defense. I have been overly critical. We hit the lowest point of our relationship and marriage not too long ago and I was not very nice. Sometimes, criticism is perceived where it doesn't exist and sometimes it comes out of sheer frustration. BUT. I own this fact. I have committed myself to finding the good and when there is bad, I will try to find a positive or constructive way for both of us to discuss it. Sometimes, his fault are a direct result of my behavior. (Like my control freak tendencies...)
10. I don't initiate ... anything.  This is only half true.  On worknights, I can't. Unless I lock the kids out of our room or something and jump him while the kids are having dinner?  See #2 & 3 above. On weekends, he is so accustomed to being up at 4 am that he sleeps til 8 and that is 'sleeping in' I can't peel myself awake until I have to and the kids will often sleep past 10. I can't initiate anything in the morning, except the coffee preparations.  The nights are the same as the weeknights just a bit later. We all stay up later except the trucker is tired earlier.

An Affair is a great fantasy idea. Perhaps a dream in a steamy shower?  Or just a random daydream when it's been too long at home.. but in reality it's just not that great of an idea. The thought of Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome sweeping me off my feet and carrying me to a bed covered in rose petals with candles all around?  Dreamy... 

But here in the real world, the thought of trying to schedule a sitter, squeeze some time in before the boys have to be picked up from school, plan and arrange a place to go as my house is always full of traffic (and people), find Mr. You'll Have To Do Cuz You Fit My Schedule and what... have a quickie in the back of my minivan?  For real?  There is just nothing sexy about that.  Seriously, in my case anyway, the end of the affair is ever present as it could never actually be started.

That is the main reason I watch the Young & The Restless!

If I have to plan, schedule, coordinate, what EVER to get me a little fun.... I'm going to have a quickie in the van with the one who helps me make the payments on it! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Body Said No

I was feeling down this morning about my vacation. In fact, I was down-right sick. Migraines?  Since when?  Thank heaven Angel Baby slept late, then played quietly this morning, I was in really bad shape.  I could barely focus my eyes feeding the kids lunch, but we got through it.  This afternoon I finally stopped throwing up and kept my lunch in. Thunderstorm hit and the air pressure changed, then my headache got better. Interesting...coincidence?  

But more to the point, I was feeling kind of crappy about the lack of work I've got done this week. I had a specific list of things I wanted to get done.  Sure, I have a few days left, but I don't think I want to spend them cleaning.  I am pretty good about paring down items when I'm doing regular cleaning, so I will have to keep that up.  I do (thank goodness for my mother and all her help these days) have the house back to maintainable. It is presentable in all rooms. I can spend 15 minutes in each area and tackle the big hot spots and be fine. Including my office.  But first I need to round up all my laundry baskets!! Really, I think there is one in every room right now.  Meh, at least they're clean. And as I've said before, my boys will never complain about the clothes in a basket, they really don't care. They probably wouldn't care if they were not clean.  Just sniff test and go...hahaha.  I am so glad some days that I was born a girl.

Huh...still not at the POINT of this story.

It should be obvious that I needed this break. I was seriously on the edge of something scary.  Instead of picking up toys and sorting papers, this week has so far been pretty hard core emotional clean up. I've had such a cluttered mind because of things I could not let go of.  I've been reluctant to talk openly to my trucker and let some small issues turn big. I've been missing at the school, because I'm trying to put out too many fires all the time.  I've been too busy. Way too busy. And I don't like who I am becoming.

There was this one mother at the school a few years ago that drove me insane. She was the one running down the halls with a cell pasted to her ear, with sweats on under the trench coat (did she think no one could see it?)  She was always late and frequently let her kid out in the middle of the street or parked ON the crosswalk. She was queen of her own world. Her poor kid was rushed and pushed and dragged through the morning and then again after school. All because she was distracted, and then late. And now I feel like I'm her replacement.

Today when I realized it was 2 minutes from the school bell as I left my house, I could have been in a rush. The weather was crappy, I had to catch another student who I was giving a ride home to, Art had asked to go to a friend's after school and I needed to speak to the mother....  But I didn't.  I told myself that the kids will come to the door. I see the other student every day, today will be no different if I catch her in the school or out. (and thankfully, the mom had already informed the school and the student so there was no issue at all).  I knew that the mom of Art's friend always parks in the same area I do, so if nothing else, I would catch her outside.  

So, I did not rush. I didn't even walk faster. I let Angel Baby walk and set the pace. We got to the van and played while I buckled her car seat. We got to the school and the parking wasn't crazy. The bell rang as I got there and I made it in to talk to everyone I needed to see.

Today, this was really ME.  Yes, I spent most of the day sick, but I was not in a huff or a panic when I got to the school. I was able to smile at the other parents, exchange hello's, make eye contact.  I was the mom I happiest being.

Do you see?  The only thing that changed was my perspective. I could easily have freaked. Snatched up Angel Baby, forced her shoes on, ran out the door with her on my hip, fought with her to get her buckled (would you blame her for resisting?) Then jumped in and rushed to the school, end up parking farther away because I think I can get closer, then have to turn around and go back to where 3 more cars have parked too.... And it's raining today. I'd be running, baby on hip through the rain....

Been there. Done that. Like last week.

I'm not sure what changes I will make or how this is going to go, but I need to slow down. I need to be MOM before wife, employee, sister, friend, banker, cleaner, cook.... 
I don't want to be last on my list of priorities. I need to put me first. No more making my interests second. It is not frivolous or stupid to take time to read a book of my own choosing. It is not a luxury to blog here, it is my choice. My right to have time to myself.

I will take care of me. Then I will take care of my family.  A lesson I have heard a thousand times, but never been able to take to heart.  Maybe this will do it.  I sincerely expected to get a ton of stuff done today, but couldn't do any of it.  My body said NO. And I get the message. 

Some things just don't matter.

I am officially releasing myself from any of the projects I was hoping to accomplish this week. I am allowing myself to take a casual 15 minutes here and there to work on smaller projects in those same areas instead. I will read. I will write. I will play with my kids. I will spend time with my trucker. I will smile, I will laugh, I will say yes more and No less.

I will try to keep my voice in line, no yelling. 

I will lower my expectations of myself. And stop letting others get me down. 

I am who I am and I'm damn good at it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weaken Your Opponent - Then Attack!

I'm convinced there was some brilliant conspiracy afoot in my house this weekend.  The secret plot of two 11 year old boys to take over this home!

It started with a simple visit after school.  Macboy brought his friend Paul over (they don't play anymore, unless of course you follow the word "Play" with "Video Games").  Paul is quickly becoming a fixture around here.  It seems like there are weeks that those two boys are inseparable, always at one house or the other together. (Glad that Paul's parents aren't super-green-vegetarian-all-educational-and-no-TV types. They are a lot like us.)

Friday afternoon visits almost always lead to the "Mom, what are we having for dinner?  Oh. Can I stay here?" phone calls. My child eats a greater variety of food since he started hanging around with Paul.  This time it was our house.  They were having indian, and we were having "I'm not sure yet."

Paul says "Do what everyone does, if you're not sure, you get TAKEOUT."  How does he know me so well already?  Yes, we ended up with Pizza. Hey, it's Friday. I'm allowed. (hehehe and Tuesdays or Thursdays or all others that end with Y...shut up.)

Before dinner the boys were playing Rock Band.  Their band can not be named.  Well, it's named but it can't be said out loud. Not in front of my other kids.  What?  Oh, yeah.... that band died.  No memory card. "oh, darn, I'm sorry guys.." (not really.) It started off pretty rough.  The weren't really 'trying' too hard at first. But then they found a song they liked. So they played it.


Macboys room is in the middle of our house. His window faces my neighbors side entry. The neighbor (He's 82.) came out during their... performance... and was dancing on his doorstep outside their window.  The boys thought that was HILARIOUS. I have to remember to thank him for that.

Wait a bit longer, until I have heard the same song, with random singing and humming and yelling, depending who has the microphone.... THEN.... Ask for a sleepover.

I can see it. "Look, your mom is getting weak, let's just practise this song once more, then she should be ready.  She'll say yes just because we quit playing it!"

Well, yes.  Of COURSE I said yes. And then they did shut it off for a while. Which adds to my conviction that this was TOTALLY planned. I was suckered.  Bah... I would have let them have it anyway.

Because I had no memory card, I caved and let them leave the PS2 on for the night, so they wouldn't lose their progress. They actually did start getting pretty good at that ( song.  Which made it slightly less painful.  I can't think of the last time my kid sang something. On purpose. IN FRONT of someone else.

It was a great night, and a great morning. These are good kids. I'm happy to have them.  But DON'T tell them that, I enjoy seeing their creativity at work as they scheme to get things they want.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Do You Suffer From IMS?

There is no known cure.  There are only treatments that can make this syndrome bearable.  I have had this for most of my life, but didn't really know that it was a problem. Until I started meeting up with more people who don't have it and saw first hand the difference in their day to day living.

Like some other conditions, this is not life threatening. I will never die from it, though others around me could... if it isn't handled correctly.  

I suffer from...
Irritable Morning Syndrome. 

The signs are obvious. The glazed eyes, the crazy hair, the "yesterday's sweatpants."  My immediate family knows and understands this problem of mine. They have watched it for years, long before I really acknowledged it.  They have tried to help, they have tried to cure me, they have also tried acceptance. But in reality, it's hard to accept.

Signs & Symptoms.
(not an exhaustive list)
  1. Need for multiple alarm clocks. Possibly a wake up call also.
  2. Difficulty putting feet on the floor in the morning.
  3. Inability to open eyes fully for 10-15 minutes from the time you do get your feet on the floor.
  4. Decision making and dressing is incredibly difficult, often resulting in the cleanest dirty pair of sweat pants near the bed.
  5. Inability to speak coherently until mid-second-cup of coffee.
  6. Showering within the first 30 minutes of getting out of bed is physically painful. For Real.
  7. Tendency to arrive at any early morning appointments RIGHT. ON. TIME.

(One of my biggest complaints to the trucker was about wake-up calls. I explained that I love that he is willing to phone me in the morning but I hate when he forgets that I'm not really AWAKE.)
As mentioned before, there is no cure. After 32 years, if there was one I would have found it. There are only means to treat the symptoms and bear with the process of mornings.

Tips and Tricks for Treatment.
  • An understanding husband is essential. And he will need to be reminded occasionally so he doesn't request a big favor when I am sure NOT to remember even talking to him.
  • Multiple alarms available. Preferable scattered through your room.  A TV that has a timer is good as the talking will draw you out of your morning coma. Also a Cell Phone randomly placed at night for the wake up call is best as you can confuse yourself into waking up, simply because you are not sure where it is.
  • A coffee pot with a timer.  This way there is no delay to the caffeine infusion.
  • With Children, prepare as much as humanly possible the night before. Thus leaving mornings as simple as possible (eat & dress & go)
  • Lots and Lots of Coffee.
  • Aside from your wake up call, don't answer the phone. Unless you have to of course.. nothing good comes of conversations you don't remember.
  • Getting to bed earlier can be helpful but this is not a guarantee for anything.  (generally speaking, the earlier you go to bed directly coincides with the number of times your children wake you during the night)
  • Did I mention Coffee?
For others out there who suffer in silence as I have, know that you are not alone.  

Rise Up... Speak Out...
Just not first thing in the morning.

If you wish to make my life just a little more bearable... 
donations to the coffee fund will be graciously accepted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lighten Up Will Ya?

I'm pretty miserable lately. At least I sure sound like it. It's one of those things where you are quicker to complain than you are to share good things.  So for my own sense of sanity, here is a list of some good news (or funny moments) from my week.

...this morning, Angel Baby decided to drink the milk from her cereal.  With a straw. She set the bowl on her lap and drank all of it.  And was incredibly proud of herself. (hubbs had the camera so sadly no picture. But I laughed like crazy)

...Art likes the term touché but he doesn't really understand it. So it gets used WAY wrong. It's kind of funny.

...Macboy got mad and walked out of class. He walked all the way home at 9 am. He's in Grade 5. (It starts already?!?!?)

...I read a line in a book this week that says McDonalds Saves Lives. The happy meal has saved many children and a few husbands from a painful death. I like this book.  And this is just the first chapter.

...I successfully managed to confuse my kids by jumping into a game I would normally give them crap for starting.

...Art asked me for tea last night. Strange request, but he knows that I like it before bed, it helps me relax.  Now I'm out of peppermint :(

...Angel Baby's new word this week is POWER. Since I told her the iPad had no power and we need to charge it.

...I went to school today to meet my boys, came home with a bike and helmet, lock and backpack. And no boys. Happens often.

...I made a quick trip to the bank this week. Then stopped at Timmies.  Trucker called while I was headed home.  He asked where I had gone, so I told him "the bank."  Then Angel Baby started Yelling, I mean REALLY YELLING.... "Poffee, Poffeeeee!!! Mommy! Poffee!"  So I had to confess.... and he was jealous.

...I'm searching for the invisible sign on the back of my laptop. It seems to say, "thank you for ignoring me all day. I'm now available to listen to you. Please start talking."  Angel baby probably drew it there with her magic markers.

...Angel Baby also managed to redecorate Macboy's room this week. Though I made her clean it up this time (thank goodness for dry erase),  and she laughed just as much washing it off.

My week hasn't been all bad, even if it hasn't been great.  I hope for change, as always, and try to count my blessings.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ten Reasons My Week Was Awesome

Well, I have recently realized that I've forgotten you. I've hyperfocused on Wendy Can't Cook and hit some pretty awesome milestones. (Well awesome to me anyway)  But I got a bit sidetracked on the direction of these blogs and then I lost my internet service entirely so I have to work on work first. Then I can go back to writing as the inspiration hits me. Or the kids do something that makes me slap my forehead.

So today... I'm just gonna do a quick recap of my week.  The Highlight Reel of my sad little life:

  1. I got set up to do the #31DBBB with the @SITSgirls.  I am a bit behind as I had no internet this week, but I'll be back on track by Monday, I swear!
  2. Media Free night was a HUGE success.  No one went crazy or got really cranky, however I do worry that I upset the gods of wi-fi.  My internet and phone ONLY worked on the one day I swore to turn everything off. Karma?  You think?
  3. The Trucker was home every night in time for dinner. Sadly that doesn't always work out for us. I try to make sure we all sit down and eat together. It took a lot of persistence to convince my family they wouldn't die with the TV off during dinner.
  4. My work meeting. Yeah, I look forward to work. It's a pretty sweet deal here.  I have only one real commitment outside of home each month.  It's a bonus for me, not an inconvenience. I get to show that my brain is useful for more than cleaning up puke stains or washing clothes. I get to spend a whole day with ADULTS. And I even get paid for it! :)
  5. Being Thanked. Everyone loves to hear they are appreciated.  My son's teachers said thank you again to me this week.  For doing only what I think every parent should do.  Pay attention and support your childrens education.
  6. Counting down how may days until summer holidays with the kids.
  7. Cutting my phone bill by $25 bucks a month.  Dear phone company...Your bad service is the reason I price shop. Glad you decided to step it up and save my business.
  8. Getting my phone and internet service back. The reasons I miss the internet are obvious, but seriously I missed my landline more than anything else.  "Mom, can I call a friend and go play?"  "Yes, dear, when we have a phone again." :(
  9. Saturday Mornings and Pancakes. Nuff said.
  10. An unplanned weekend. Well, some plans, I have to catch back up to work, but I have no commitments that I need to rebook to do it. I intend to muddle my way through each step and I know that the kids are happy to stay in PJ's all weekend while I do it. (not because they need me to dress them, but because they prefer to stay home as much as they can. That's a good thing right?)
I'm pretty easy to please most of the time. 
What made your week super?