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Catch up time

Hi Y’all.

It’s been a while.  I’ve actually logged in and started writing, but never finished a post, or just never clicked the publish button.  I miss writing though, and it felt like the time to catch up.

So from my past posts you saw I was trying out the whole “living the yes life”.  I tried saying yes rather than no to new opportunities and events.  It was fun, I learned a lot, I enjoyed myself, and I even lost some weight.  Things were trucking along.  Then my favorite excercise class got cancelled.  Summer showed up with birthdays most weekends.  Work geared up with new challenges.  Life got busy with too much yes.  So now I am learning how to gracefully say no to some things.  It’s a learning process, because no so often comes with that thing called guilt, and I am no so good at handling the guilt aspect of it.

One of my biggest “yes” moment this year was allowing my son to sign up for football. I love football, and buy tickets for us to go to NFL games as our “romantic trip” each year. That being said, I learned that it’s a different feeling altogether sending my son out on the field.  The time commitment is huge…5 nights a week, plus games on weekends.  He asked me to do it.  He wanted to do something new this year, and had been showing a lot of interest in football.  Each of the kids choose one sport/activity per season.  I’ve offered them to do more than one, but they generally prefer to stick to one thing.  This one is the work of 7 activities.

When I learned of the schedule, my brain wanted to bleed out onto the floor.  As it is I work full time, have another child who does gymnastics that I have to coordinate for, 2 pets, a husband and a house that is the messiest it has ever been.  I am in chaos. A LOT of chaos.  Now there are many of you out there who handle all of these with no problem.  You are skilled, and oraganized, neat freakish and super moms.

I am not any of those things.

I am a domestic fail, tired (hot DAMN I am so tired), I am figuring out this mom thing as I go, and I do it mostly by myself since my husband works opposite hours.  It’s not pretty, it’s not graceful, but I get a lot of it done.  Not ALL mind you, hence the messy house.  I am that mom screeching into the parking lot at the last minute with kids still putting cleats on, or me jumping out to quickly braid hair before gymnastics. That movie Bad Moms?  Yep.  That would be me.

Now I have spent 11 years protecting my son.  Keeping him safe. When a kid shoved him a playground I close talked that kid and told him not to lay one single finger on my kid again (I love a good close talk when you need to get a message across). Now, by his choice, I am sending him out on a field to be shoved and pushed and knocked down. Coaches are gruff.  He’s going to get banged up and bruised.  I have to stand or sit there and hold it together and not want to run out and snap legs when someone hurts him.  I have to remain tough and straight faced.  It is just so HARD.  The only reason I do it is because he seems to kind of love it.  Even on the hard days.  Yesterday was hard.  He went down and didn’t get right back up.  He was hurt.  He was frustrated. He questioned his ability to do it all.  He came home, and I fussed over him a little.  He let me.  In the car this morning I reminded him that not everything will come easily to him.  He’s always been that kid that’s learned things quickly. I reminded him of his frustration when he tried a Rubik’s cube.  He had gotten so angry at his inability to solve it.  I had explained to him at the time that most people couldn’t solve them, but that I knew someone who could, and there were certain tricks to solve them.  He sat down and damn if he didn’t teach himself how.  Before long, he was testing himself on speed of solving it.  He reached in his bag this morning and low and behold, was his Rubik’s cube.  Before long he was quickly working on solving it.  mI asked him “do you still want to continue with football? do you still kind of love it?”  He said yes. So today we go again. I will proudly watch him succeed, and I will proudly watch him fail sometimes too, because the kid is giving it his all.

The little one, who I have always referred to as Tiny Diva in this blog, has lost a lot of her Diva-ness.  She had been a tough cookie from 2-4, but she has now settled in to herself. I’ll call her LM, for Little Mama.  Gymnastics has been a huge saving grace.  My sister in law noticed how flexible LM was and mentioned she might be good at gymnastics.  I signed her up, and the benefits have been enormous.  My daughter, who was struggling in school with some self confidence issues, started picking up steam and having more faith in herself.  She has better self esteem, more confidence, and has a good body image.  We talk a lot about being strong and healthy, and that happy girls are pretty girls.  My favorite shirt of hers has the words “princess” and “diva” crossed out, and it says “SMART, TALENTED GIRL”.  The girl who used to pretend like she didn’t know things is coming out of her shell.  She is learning the fine line between being a leader, and being bossy.  Sometimes, it’s a difficult conversation to have.  Women are often told that if they are leaders, they are bitches, bossy, a nag, etc.  Growing up, I remember being told not to voice my opinions so much, to be quite, to fade into the background more.  I’m working on finding a good way to explain how to be a leader, without being bossy and making other kids feel like she’s ordering them around.

Our beloved cat passed away a few months ago.  I had to make the decision to put her down.  She had cancer.  It was heartbreaking.  We all felt the loss, even the dog.  He seemed down and I often wondered if he knew she had died.  He didn’t quite seem himself.  Our family seemed incomplete to me after a while, and I started looking at Petfinder to see if any cats “called” to me. I scrolled through endless pictures over a few weeks until I found a cat that caught my eye.  He was an orange tabby, about 6 months to a year old.  He looked stoned.  He reminded me of the comedian Jim Breuer.  Someone had put him in a box, duct taped it, and left him outside of a store on March 11th.  I was in a wedding that day, and I remember it being bone chillingly cold when the wind blew. I felt awful for this poor cat.  I emailed about him.  I told my husband who seemed less than inclined to get another cat.  “I want you to come with me to see him” I said.  He didn’t sound thrilled.  I said “he kind of looks like Jim Breuer”.  “What time are we going?” he replied.  When I commented I was surprised in his change of heart, he responded “You just told me the cat looks like Jim Breuer, how could I not go meet him?”.  We drove all the way up to the rescue, only to find out the cat had gone to the vet for not eating.  After a few days, the rescue called and asked if I wanted to foster him.  They thought the cat might be depressed in the shelter environment and wanted to see if he would improve in a home environment.  Well, let me tell you, the cat eats more than the dog.  He’s now a member of the family.  He’s a nutjob, full of energy, and wants love the most when anyone is in the bathroom.  He will knock on the bathroom door to come in, and even try to turn the handle to get in.  Every night he and the dog go to each kid’s room to say goodnight.  He fits right in.

So there you have it.  Life right now is about preparing for school starting, football, work, gymnastics, football, pet hair creating tumbleweeds in my house, football and trying to get things done.  It’s a happy time, if not chaotic.  Just like my son is learning something new, I am learning a new schedule, new ways to make it work.  Anything that brings more chaos is just not something I have time for.  I’m keeping things as bare bones as possible, and I’ll work up from there. In just 3 weeks my whole schedule changes again.  So that mom cheering wildly on the sidelines, or from the balcony at gymnastics? The one holding a vat of coffee?  That will be me. I may be in chaos for a while, but it’s a happy chaos.

 

 

 

 

Living the “Yes” life.

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I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I’ve been pretty busy.  Yes, yes, I know that is what everyone says, but in this case, it’s true!  Aside from the usual working mother of 2, wife, and the normal day to day chaos, I have been trying very hard to live the “yes” life.  I thought perhaps it’s time to do an update on how it’s going.

I started this after lamenting about the extra weight that has cropped up on my the past 10 years or so.  After mulling it over and feeling a bit sorry for myself, a memory of a conversation I had with my mother popped in my head.  She once told me how proud she was of me for my determination and independence.  I remember her telling me how I seemed to just set my mind to things and DO them.  It seemed logical that I could apply this mentality to losing some weight.  I talked myself into it.  I COULD do it.  I just needed to set my mind to it, and to make a plan.  I realized I am not a big fan of the gym, but I like being active.  The first thing I did was start going to an Aqua Zumba class on Mondays.  You know what?  I LOVE it.  LOOOVVVVEEEE it.  It makes me feel great and I have a good time.  I actually look forward to Mondays…how is that even possible?  The AZ class led me to take a deep water fit class.  I started losing a bit of weight.  I realized, now that I was a bit more active, that much of my problem thus far was that I wasn’t doing much at all before I started the classes.  I had gotten up, dropped the kids off, and gone to work all day.  Then I would come home, get the kids fed and ready for bed, and then watched TV.  I wasn’t doing much for me.

I needed to make some changes, and it started with the mindset that I would say “yes” more.  Because I was saying yes more, I felt less guilty when I had to say no.  When my son’s soccer coach couldn’t coach this season, and nobody else volunteered.  I said yes.  I have help, and I had some learning to do, but I am doing it!  I will tell you…it’s the best damned thing ever.  I love it.  It’s not always easy, and 10 year old boys will give you a run for your money, but on the whole, it’s been fantastic.  I feel ike I have done something positive, I get some excercise, and it’s been so much fun.  My son said he was proud of me.  That was worth the price of admission right there!

I am saying yes to plans, and finding ways to do things for me, as well as the kids.  I took a trip to NYC 3 days ago to go see one of my favorite authors do a reading.  Before, I likely would have made excuses, but this time I was determined to go.  One night to myself to do something I enjoyed was a complete recharge.  I notice that since I have been saying yes more, I am finding time to not only do more things with the kids, but for myself as well.

The end result?  I am happier.  I guess what they say is true, a happy wife is a happy life, because our household seems happier.  It also seems healthier.  The kids are supportive of me going to excercise classes 2x a week (the Y has a childcare room they go to for an hour where they draw, play or hang out).  My husband is supportive as well.  We’re all eating better.  We exercise more.  My son, who never learned how to ride a bike, learned (in the rain) because he asked me to teach him, and I said yes.  I had always thought it would have to be something my husband taught him, but nope!  I set my mind to teach him and it worked!  I am trying to silence the negative inner voice in my head and replace it with a positive, happy one.  It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting better all the time.

Have I lost weight?  Yup, so far it’s 16 lbs.  I gained 3 back, then lost them again.  It’s a process.  Hopefully it will keep disappearing with a bit of work, and staying active.

Ok, so I haven’t quite gotten the hang of saying yes more to the housework.

Can’t win em all.

Live the Yes life.  You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

Being A “Yes” Mom

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I’ve always felt I was a pretty good mom, as far as the whole mom thing is concerned.  I tried my best to manage work and family, we made it to soccer games and family events.  It seemed like I was getting by.  I never wanted to be one of those moms with tons of activities to be headed to.  It seemed overwhelming, and as it was, I had a messy house, and it seemed like I had no energy to extend to anything else.  I didn’t have enough time to really take care of myself, never mind to add on extra activities.  It all just seemed…so overwhelming.  I spent a lot of time declining activities, and I justified it because I felt already stretched so thin.

A few months ago, I decided it might be fun to take the kids to the Y to go swimming.  It was a bit of a whim, but I thought perhaps it could help them burn off some steam.  While we were there, I suddenly heard some thumping music, and I turned to see the source.  There was an aqua zumba class going on, and I found myself fascinated.  Granted, many of the women were far older than I, but they were MOVING. They were SMILING.  I watched much of the class, and I suddenly felt “I want to do that.  I want to be like them.  I can rock it with those older ladies!”  The next week, I had the kids in the monitored childcare area to play and I went to the class.  I had a BLAST and was so happy that I had gotten over my shyness and decided to go.  I felt better for it.  I got to thinking about all the things I had accomplished over my life, and the one that seemed to elude me was getting my weight back down.  It’s not terrible, but I could improve it, and I could certainly get fitter.  There was nothing stopping me, but me.  I made the choice to challenge myself to get fitter.

A few weeks on, I have dropped some weight.  I have more energy, and I feel happier.  I am doing aqua zumba twice a week, and try to squeeze in some sort f exercise when I can.  I’m not a gym girl, but I try to do what I can to get some exercise.

The biggest change in all of this, is not just the weight loss.  It’s that my decision to say “yes” to the class brought me such happiness that I began to say yes more and more.  I have been making a conscious decision to be more of a “yes” parent.  This doesn’t mean the kids get spoiled or get to do whatever they want, but when presented with an option to do something, I am working to say yes more than no.

When our soccer coach couldn’t coach this season, we were faced with having to find a new person to volunteer to be coach, or to split up our team.  When nobody seemed to step up, I decided to say “yes”.  Meet the new head coach!  It’s a learning curve, and I’m sure some people think I’m crazy, but my son has told me how proud he is that I am doing it.  That’s all I need.  I am actually loving it.  I need to keep learning more and more about the game, but I know enough to get by, and to ask for help when I need it.

Last week, I balanced work, cooked a full meal, raced to and ran soccer practice, and attended a school kid/parent dance with the kids.  They had the time of their lives, and both commented on how awesome it is that I was going to the dance.

Today, after a week of rain, my son was lamenting that he still hadn’t learned to ride a bike.  My dad got him the bike few years ago.  It’s a beautiful blue bike, and yet after a quick try at the playground to teach him to ride a 2 wheeler, it has sat unused in our basement.  I’ve eyed it with a sense of guilt that he hadn’t learned yet(I LOVED riding my bike at his age) and self doubt (surely this is something my husband would have to teach him).  It was raining.  I was tired.  There were all he reasons I would normally given myself to say no. Today, however, it was different.  Today was the day I would make a change, and say yes.   I stuffed the bike in the car, went to fill the tires with air, and decided today would be the day he would learn how to ride.It was drizzling outside.  I decided to give him the basic rundown and my best advice: “Where you look, is where you will go.  Look ahead and in the direction you want to go!” (I was taught this when I learned to ride a motorcycle and it was sound advice).  In no time, he was riding like  he’d been doing it for ages.  The sense of pride he felt in himself was the best mother’s day gift I could get.  My daughter cheered him on, and then hopped on her bike to follow him on her little bike.  I took a video and sent it to my husband who was at work.  His response? “This was the best part of my day!”

Today, I commented how funny it was that I went from hating having lots scheduled to actually enjoying it.  My son says I have “evolved” into a better mom, one who is happier, more fun, and more energetic.  My house, sadly, is messy as hell.  My kids, my husband and I?  We’re less of a mess.  We’re making memories. My son, who has been embarrassed by any affection in public from me since he was 5, now tells me how proud he is of me, and that he thinks it’s great I am coaching.  My relationship with the kids is better than ever.  In just a couple of months, it feels like we have made big strides.  I have lost weight as a side effect of being on the go, trying new things, and getting off the couch.  I am now down at the soccer field kicking the ball with the kids, hitting my aqua zumba class, and running down the sidewalk while the kids ride a bike.

 

So for now, I shall be the yes mom.  Just don’t judge my house 😉