My Inner Voice is a Quitter

26 Sep

faith dictionaryFaith.

What do you think about when reading the word? Many people think of God. Some envision other people or a certain country western singer.

Martin Luther King Jr. defined it as “taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Even after taking that first step…what is it that you’re walking toward? No matter what’s on the landing, the steps have to be made. So do you have faith in the destination or in the feet that get you there?

The answer’s two-fold. You have to believe in where you’re going and trust your ability to get there.Goldfish

Sounds easy enough. Except it isn’t. Faith is hard in today’s world of instant gratification. One of the worst habits I have is talking myself out of things. It’s too hard. I don’t have the right experience. I don’t want to look stupid. I don’t like asking for help. People don’t like me.

For some reason these short comings are easier to accept in myself until I see it mirrored back at me through my daughter. Nothing can make you feel like more of a hypocrite than parenthood.

So this week, I have put a new mantra up in my home office. Okay – it’s the only office I have now. But the mantra is there, staring at me every time I start to slip.

Don’t Quit Before the Miracle Happens.

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

mad-hatter-hat-1Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Yes, it’s one more thing to schedule right? Except, it’s important for your health. You’ll be a better mother and partner. So, after you put the kids to sleep, take at least 30 minutes to just be by yourself. It can’t be work related. It can’t be To Do list related. Unless you have finish Cosmo on your list of course.

Monkeywrench…

No, taking five minutes to read while you go to the bathroom doesn’t count. In fact, anytime someone is banging on the door while you do something else is out.

And Then What Happened?

20 Sep

beachPretend you’re walking along the beach, minding your own business (or at least pretending you’re not studying that couple making out). When who should appear? Stop looking at the couple, sicko – I’m over here. Ah, what a surprise! We’re just two old friends that haven’t spoken in over a year. So, what have you been up to? Family, work, not enough vacations. I hear ya.

Me?

Yes, you say, noticing my cagey behavior. My eyes are shifty and I keep kicking at a piece of driftwood that’s tied to my leg by tangled up seaweed. Your overactive imagination weaves a story about me being on the lam and have come in from sea for supplies. And yet, you’re too curious to leave. Where have I been? What have I been doing? Is it more interesting than not having enough vacations?

Finally, I make eye contact and start to speak…

“I blew up my life and am now drifting.”

Shit, my grandma’s done that like 5 times, you think. Okay, that might not be true for you. But MINE actually has, so perhaps it’s a genetic trait.

I digress. We’re on the beach. I inexplicably have driftwood tied to me. You think I’m a homeless pirate. We’re talking and I’ve just decided we’re both wearing white.

I’ll say it again…I blew up my life and am now drifting.

Big Bang Theory

Big Bang Theory

What is your first reaction?Do you feel pity? Are you envious?

The truth is, I’ve gotten both reactions. It’s always in the first five minutes of hearing that I went through a divorce, had to sell my big dream house and was laid off all within a span of 16-months. Their unguarded expression or first words uttered give it away.

“I’m so sorry…

…you must be dying!”

…are you okay? How awful!”

“Holy crap…

…what’s it like?”

…You look so great though! What do you get to do now?”

No matter the reaction, my core answer is always the same. I’ve had to get to know myself all over again. Only when stripped bare, is it easy to recognize the labels I wore with pride. This blog devotes itself to it. I liked having to juggle everything. My “To Do” list gave me a sense of purpose. I liked being a married working mom considered capable with a dash of quirky crazy. If I’m not any of those things, who am I? When people ask me what I do, what will I say?

Out of habit, I gave myself new labels. Divorced. Single Mother. Alone. Poor. Unemployed.

Except who the hell wants to write about that?

WAIT – this isn’t the bloody Facebook Hit Parade. I can write whatever the hell I want to.

Except who the hell wants to be those things?

WAIT – I don’t have to wear those labels. Just because it’s a fact doesn’t mean it has to define me. I’ve never minded being alone and contrary to Jerry McGuire – being in a relationship doesn’t complete anyone. I won’t be unemployed forever. Though my god it feels like it.

So, I begin again.

Hi, my name is Aimee and I am a Labelholic. I’ve landed on this beach for my sobriety coin.

Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

Unemployment is a bit of a drag. A good way to stay out of depression is to keep a schedule. Set the alarm. Work out or walk the dog. Take a shower. Read articles about your industry. Read articles about changing industries. Read articles about freelancing. Make your lunch. Look for a job. Clean the house. Make Dinner.

Repeat.

Do not watch daytime television. Do not spend all day on Facebook. You’ll feel like crap.

Monkeywrench…

If you are drinking wine with people in their late 20’s, be aware that you will have a hangover and they will not.

I Guess I Blinked…

24 Jul

So, it’s been a while since my last post. I would be surprised if people even remember that I write this blog. I began it as a way to keep writing and sometimes, on a very good day, the clouds would part and I would say something that meant a lot to someone else.

Then I stopped.

The truth is – I stopped a lot of things. I stopped writing about anything that mattered to me. I stopped working at a job I had for 10 years and a few months after that I stopped being married. In a matter of 5 months the two longest relationships of my life – both merely weeks a part in duration – were gone. If you are looking for the who, what, where, when, why – you can stop reading. You won’t find it here. If you know me, and are looking back at something insensitive or stupid my ex or I said thinking you predicted the unraveling of my marriage you can stop reading. You don’t know shit anyway. If you are reading this to feel superior on your throne and thinking it won’t ever happen to you, you can stop reading too. Truth is – you know even less than the fortune-tellers.

So, who is left?

Me.

I guess I blinked and missed the giant tsunami aiming for my head. I stopped trying to run and check. Stopped trying to stay ahead of the game. It’s an interesting thing when you stop. Either everything else stops because you were the only one moving forward or the machine keeps on moving, making you realize that you weren’t as important as you thought.

But the funny thing about stopping is that sooner or later you have to start again. So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll throw on my party hat and celebrate a very merry unbirthday to me.

The tasks I juggle may change. The balls in the air may multiply. I may never be the same again. But maybe that will end up being the most interesting thing about me after all. Besides, I really do like tea.

To Guilt or Not to Guilt?

25 Oct

Motherhood is the new Catholic. We all feel guilty and often ask forgiveness through the consumption of wine. But as a very wise woman once told me, “if you don’t think you’re good enough, maybe you should let Jesus get off the cross for a while and get up there yourself.” Did I mention that I adore this woman? She has come to me during a time that I need guidance and done it with a crazy amount of humor.

Mothers are born to worry. We worry that our decisions will have unforeseen repercussions. Sometimes we know what the repercussions will be and hope that we have the strength and grace to deal with it. When our baby is first born, most of us are consumed with being “Mom”. Admit it, even on date night (if you were lucky enough to go on one), you spoke about your baby.

Sooner or later the part of you that got stuck in the back of the closet pokes its head out and asks, “Psst—remember me? Is it time to come out yet?” You may look her in the eye and not recognize her. How can that person possibly come back out when you have been permanently changed? Will you let her whither up and die? Or perhaps, you may need to get reacquainted. All relationships go through change. Why not the most important one—the one you have with yourself? But that takes work and time too. Decisions, decisions…What will you do?

And the guilt sets in.

You either feel guilty for ignoring your needs as an individual or you feel guilty for occasionally putting yourself first. It doesn’t matter what you choose because you will always wonder if there is a better way.

In a recent article in Working Mother, a handful of moms spoke about the drawbacks of being a stay-at-home mom vs. those of a working mom. Guess what? We aren’t so different from each other. It stated that “48 percent of working mothers and 42 percent of those at home say they feel guilty about not taking care of themselves.”

We need to recognize and appreciate what we bring to the table and stop comparing ourselves to others. So now, let me ask you again. Are you doing an okay job being you?

Because let’s face it. NOBODY has as much sex as Cosmo seems to think. I mean seriously – who has the time? And if you do – no need to make me feel bad about it. We’re not comparing, remember? Sheesh. *Cough Nympho*

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

Finally uploaded the IPod I won a couple months ago. I love
rediscovering my female empowerment through Pink and Lady Gaga. Seriously, try it some time. You can turn on Debussy and feel like a grown up later, I promise.

Monkey wrench…

I forgot the grown up part and slept through my alarm…making my daughter an hour late for school. She asked if she was going to get into trouble and, I must say, she looked a little too smug when I explained that I was the one in trouble.

Is it too Early for a Mid-life Crisis?

16 Oct

If I lived in the world prior to digital clocks, I would hear the clock striking 3 AM. I can’t sleep again. My subconscious keeps hitting me over the head at the same time two or three times a week. I’m not terribly surprised—just frustrated. How does one get to the point where something they used to love dearly, suddenly feels like it’s suffocating the life out them? How does that happen? What line did I not realize I had crossed?

If I’m having a mid-life crisis now, does it mean that I’ll be dead at 72? I haven’t done half of the things I had dreamed about doing.

One of the things children do for you is mark time. One morning you wake up with an adorable infant, blink at lunchtime and suddenly hear your petulant teenager slam their bedroom door at dinner. You feel the same inside and can even fool yourself in front of the mirror. However, seeing your children change and grow in front of your eyes will not be ignored. Where had the time gone? Did I mean for it to pass in a series of board meetings, PTA events and sitting in traffic?

No, of course not. So now the question remains…what am I going to do about? Am I brave enough?

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

I actually had someone come in and completely organize my pantry with Tupperware. The upside is that it’s insanely clean and tidy. I feel in control again.

Monkey wrench…

My mother was right. I have no food.

Surprise! It’s You in the Box!

20 Jul

So, it’s no secret that I’m juggling a lot. When you’re a working Mom, something has to give. As you’re obviously not going to throw your child in the freezer with the hopes that they’ll “keep”, than sometimes it’s the creative side that has to go into a coma. You know – only the little hobby that feeds the soul. My head has been kept down and I’ve worked hard at the To Do List – in and out of the office. I haven’t had time to take my daughter to the park or go on a hike with my husband. Except, that’s not keeping with the mission of this blog. You know, the blog that I haven’t written in nearly a month. I had forgotten that I was trying to have it all!

As I prostrated myself at the Alter of Drudge, my computer beeped to let me know I had an email waiting. Expecting to get approval from my priest, I was surprised to find a note informing me that I won a writing contest on Best Life Advice from Executive Life Coach, Dr.Stephanie Somanchi.  It made my day on many levels. For one – I never win anything. Second, I won an IPod. I’ve never owned one and I finally feel that I’m hip and cool. Though I will refuse to go through life with earphones surgically implanted in my head, not engaging with my fellow-man. Third, and most important, I actually got to take my own forgotten advice as if I was a stranger at a coffee shop. Revisiting my contest entry, I was a little surprised at myself. I remembered writing it with my sister in mind. But looking back, I see it was for me all along. Of course if my sister took the advice as well, I wouldn’t mind. (HINT, HINT)

Oh my advice? “I Will Be Happy When…”

Oprah – the Friend I Never Knew I Always Had

27 May

I admit it. I cried like a baby over the last two or three shows of Oprah. I was never really an avid viewer – mostly because I either forgot that it was on, worked full-time or just didn’t “get it”. But this year I watched. First out of curiosity and second because I connected with the divine Miss. O. She was unafraid to live her life as an open book and share her terrible secrets and embarrassing moments. Much like the lessons of Siddhartha, every step she took lead her to the path that she was on. All parts made up the whole – the good and the bad. She was ashamed of nothing because destiny called and she eagerly answered. It wasn’t an easy road. It wasn’t always a fun road. But it was the most rewarding road.

Her last two shows got me thinking about my journey. Was I living an authentic life? Had destiny called and I failed to pick-up? Sometimes I worry I missed the boat. However, I know one thing. When I look at my daughter, I know I am meant to be her mother. It isn’t always an easy road. But it’s my road.

If you didn’t get to see Oprah yesterday, I will share her top 5 lessons:

  1. Everybody has a calling in life and our real job is to figure out what it is and get to the business of doing it.
  2. Take responsibility for the energy you bring into any space. You only have power and control over you.
  3. We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel worthy enough. We all seek validation. Everyone wants to know: Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you? Everyone wants to be heard.
  4. Don’t wait for somebody to complete you. Only YOU complete YOU.
  5. Wait and listen to a guidance higher than your own meager mind.

Just like the rest of the world that was watching…I just KNEW she was speaking to me.

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

My daughter recently had the flu. For an entire day, she’d get off her little perch on the couch to throw up. This was the first time she had ever been sick like this and it really scared her. So the day was wonderfully balanced between hearing her vomit and then scream bloody murder. Right now you’re wondering what could have worked for me on this day. Well, I learned from the Advice Nurse that I don’t need to buy expensive anti-vomiting medication. My first thought was, “wait—what? I could have gone out and bought anti-vomit meds? Doh!” Rather than spending the money – or if you don’t want to drag a sick kid into your car to go to the store, you can:

  • Open a can of peaches or fruit cocktail
  • Administer 1 teaspoon of the juice every 15 minutes for 1 hour.
  • If sick person has kept down the sugar juice, than start with a sip of clear liquid for the first hour and work up from there.

Monkey wrench…

God’s honest truth…as I was writing this post, my husband called to tell me he threw up while driving home from work. Good thing we just went to Costco last weekend and purchased peaches.

I Used to Smoke, Drink and Dance the Hoochy-coo

10 May

I recently became a “Fan” of Mom’s that Drink and Swear on Facebook and couldn’t help but reflect on why I was hitting the “like” button. It isn’t as if I planned on getting drunk in front of my kid or telling her to “Go the F to Sleep so Mommy can get her groove on.” I also doubt that’s why the page was created. So why?

It’s just so easy to forget that we are more than the labels that we choose to wear on our sleeve: Mom, Wife, Colleague. Or one step further: Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom. Sometimes it’s nice to know that we don’t have to be a model thin mother with a picture perfect life. Life doesn’t work that way. It’s perfect because we have it….and that’s about it. There is nothing else that could possibly be tagged as perfect and the sooner that we realize everyone else has various elements of their life that fall short, the sooner we will stop trying to make everything so picture perfect.

Don’t get me wrong—I will have to revisit this blog and as a reminder more than once. Or I will just go outside and yell the F word while downing a bottle of Pinot – depends on the day and if I’m getting along with my neighbors or not.

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

What worked this week…

Work is in high gear and my daughter usually notices enough to want more attention than normal. It’s a balancing act that is exhausting. However, I made the time to go to a college reunion and visit with long-lost friends and old haunts. In short – it was a blast. It also reminded me that I am more than the day-to-day drudgery that life often hands me and that some people will always be your friends – no matter how much time has passed, weight you’ve gained, marriages and divorces that have happened and of course the wonderful children that come into the picture. So this is my tip to you today:

Get Yourself Some Girlfriends

Young and newly married, I relaxed under a pecan tree on a hot summer day, drinking iced tea and getting
to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle. Not much older than I, but already the mother of three,
Estelle seemed to me experienced and wise.  

“Get yourself some girlfriends” she advised, clinking the ice cubes in her glass. “You are going to need girlfriends.
Go places with them; do things with them.”
 

What a funny piece of advice, I thought. Hadn’t I just gotten married? Hadn’t I just joined the couple-world?
I was a married woman, for goodness sake, not a young girl who needed
girlfriends.  

But I listened to this new sister-in-law. I got myself some girlfriends. As the years tumbled by, one after another,
I gradually came to understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about. I remembered that she had said the word
“girlfriends” with emphasis.

As I went along, I discovered the subtle difference between friends and girlfriends.  

You go to work with friends, go to dinner with friends, go to church with friends, belong to clubs with friends.
You send friends
greeting cards.

You need friends in your life; all girlfriends were once only friends.   But a girlfriend is different.
I offer this praise of girlfriends.
 

Here is what I know about girlfriends:   Girlfriends don’t compete. Girlfriends bring casseroles and scrub
your bathroom when you are sick. Girlfriends keep your children and keep your secrets.

Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don’t. Girlfriends don’t always
tell you that you’re right, but they’re always
honest.

Girlfriends still love you, even when they don’t agree with your choices. Girlfriends might send you a birthday card,
but they might not. It does not matter in the least.

Girlfriends laugh with you, and you don’t need canned jokes to start the laughter. Girlfriends pull you out of jams.

Girlfriends don’t keep a calendar that lets them know who hosted the other last. Girlfriends will give a party
for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby in whichever order that comes!

And girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and truly, when the hard times come. Girlfriends listen when you lose
a job or a husband. Girlfriends listen when your children break your
heart.

Girlfriends listen when your parents’ minds and bodies fail.   My girlfriends bless my life. Once we were young,
with no idea of the incredible joys or the incredible sorrows that lay ahead.

It makes all the difference.

 

It’s All in the Look…

16 Apr

There is a moment in the movie Dream Girls that makes me cry like a baby every time I see it. Those that have seen it are probably thinking of any number of scenes. However, the one that means a lot to me goes so quickly that if you don’t have a child or a complicated relationship with your mother, you may miss it.

The moment is during Efie’s come back song, “One Night Only”. Her singing is panning over various images of her gaining her confidence and trust back. This is something that a lot of people can relate to. Many of us have lost trust in other people, which led to losing belief in ourselves – mostly because we secretly believed what they said was true or that we deserved what they did. However, it’s the moment Efie makes eye contact with her daughter when she’s playing the record in their living room that says the  most to me.

“I didn’t always feel broken.”

“I knew my mother was brave.”

“I believed in my dreams once and I don’t want you to ever forget yours.”

“I want to be just like her.”

“I want to be the person you see in me.”

“I’m proud of you. I love you.”

It is a moment made for a women’s soul. It is redemption.

I don’t know how my daughter views me. It will change many times and be colored by the expectations she has for her own life and how I am in that moment. Either way, I’m sure I will be surprised. Sometimes it will mean more to me. Just like a moment I had recently. I had plummeted into a bit of depression and was having a difficult time getting out. She didn’t know I had recently been crying, but somehow she knew what to say. It was over dinner when she suddenly said, “Mom, you’re my hero. You’re the best mom there is.” I’m not even sure she looked up from eating her vegetable.

And that is why that single unforgettable look that says more than any one could ever put into words means so much to me.

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

 What worked this week…

I recently got hooked on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP. Check it out!

Monkey wrench…

Did you know the word intrical doesn’t exist? I wanted to know how to spell it and realized that I had sounded like a moron for a few years. So anytime you are about to say intrical – say integral instead.

Me Unplugged

5 Apr

I recently went through a computer switcheroo at work and it’s had a few glitches. Nothing terrible or unexpected, but I was unable to work from home for a week. It wasn’t too bad because I had my Blackberry. Verizon then decided to send me two large updates while I was driving to the coast for a mini-break and fried its poor little innards into sunny-side up. Literally speaking – it got as hot as my curling iron, zapped the battery and never turned on again. In their corporate guilt, Verizon agreed to send me a new phone (or perhaps I purchased a full warranty – wink wink). However, in the meantime, circumstances forced me to unplug and live off the grid for a week.

I learned something about myself during that week. I am an addict. When something funny happened, I instinctively thought to put it on my status for Facebook. When I became bored, my trigger finger itched to find out other people’s status updates. When I had a moment of clarity I wanted to check my work  email. And then something wonderful happened…I forgot about it and just enjoyed my days at the beach with my daughter. I no longer thought in status updates or had bits of my To Do List flash before my eyes. People were no longer able to find me at any given moment. I was fully present with my daughter.

I need to have more moments when I am present where I am in the real world and just let the virtual world slide on by for a while.

Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling

 What worked this week…

I survived  birthday gate! The skating party was as success and all of them came. What’s my secret? Have a sister that wants to take over. I only had to keep track of them all on the rink.

Monkey wrench…

I say only, but it took every ounce of my concentration and an adult beverage after the party to calm my nerves. Word of advice if you ever have a skating party for your child: Have more than you out there and introduce the children to the adults helping you. My mother helped, except the kids wouldn’t listen to her because they didn’t know who she was. It was hard being annoyed when all they’re doing is not talking to strangers.

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