It’s Time To Make A Choice

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When I was a kid, I loved the weekends. We would sleep in and mom or dad would make pancakes or eggs. We would sit at the table and hang out while catching up after the busyness of the week. There were no cell phones or laptops. Heck, there wasn’t even internet in my town until I was much older and still we never had a computer in the house.

Now a days, weekends are filled with laptops on every table. My husband spends hours catching up on work and email and my daughter fills in answer after answer on physics packets in between writing papers for AP Language Arts. My sons weekends are filled with studying, searching for answers on study guides and five weeklong projects and a new theme paper every single week. 

What in the world is happening to our lives? Does no one have respect for anyone’s time anymore? People need a break, a pause in the unfortunate normalcy of the nonstop week. Will kids be smarter and better because we jam work down their throats on weekends too? Will the small profit to a company be a trade for stress, depression, high blood pressure and obesity from countless hours at a table typing letters on a device that robs us of moments of our precious lives?

Weekends should be a time to rest. Recuperation is necessary both physically and mentally. How can we perform at our best level if we are expected to be on 24/7. I think it’s a shame. Our time to talk, to love and bond are being replaced by ridiculous science projects that don’t do anything but frustrate the hell out of everyone. Chatting with our teens has been replaced by sitting near them while they try and finish up their work. And relationships? We have become threesomes- 2 people and a technological device.

Shame on schools and corporations and shame on people like me who allow it to happen. At the end of our life, we will be dead. We cannot take our work ethic, our job, our degree or our money with us when we go. Think about that when you decide how to spend the few hours you have this weekend. Make them count! Be the change you wish to see in the world. Make a stand. Say no.m

It’s A Balancing Act

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Life is a balancing act. It has to be. It is up to each and everyone of us to know when to say when. Enough of this, time to move onto that. I grew up a perfectionist. I never believed I had an option to leave anything in my life unfinished or incomplete. There was never a choice for me, nothing to even think about. If there was something that needed to get done I was going to do it, period. I see now that people are pushed beyond their limits. School, work and responsibilities will demand and take until you are exhausted and have nothing left to give. I realize it’s time to reevaluate how to spend each moment of time. If there is more work in a day to finish than there is time to complete it then something has to give. You have a choice to kill yourself getting everything done or decide there is that critical point in the day where your time is yours to do as you choose. And really, is done ever completely done? Maybe it’s necessary to leave some things undone. As I write the words I cringe because it is against everything I’ve ever believed. I look at my husband and my kids who give all they have to get done what is expected of them to do. Like me, they are overwhelmed, stressed out and never afforded the time it takes to recover from one day to the next. Hard as it is, I believe it’s time to finish less and live more. If it means an assignment going unfinished or being handed in a day late than so be it. Health, especially mental health is more important than a crappy grade. So, I must spend the next few weeks undoing who I’ve become. It won’t be easy and I know the internal struggle it will bring but at the end of the day, my peace of mind and state of mind is more important than anything else. That goes for all of us living in this house. If demands are unreasonable, someone must have enough reason to know when to leave well enough alone. It’s a shame that the world has come to this. When something is pushed too hard, it breaks. I learned this lesson through my incessant need to vacuum all the time. We are not machines. We cannot trade out broken parts of who we are for brand new replacement parts. We must learn moderation and self preservation and never apologize for doing what is best for ourselves. Life will take so we must limit what we give. People will take, jobs will take, school will take as the daylight is ripped from underneath our feet. Give less. Rest more. Love more and be at peace. 

And The Question Is….

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The Daily Post featured this prompt today, What question do you hate to be asked? Why? 

I guess for me, this didn’t require too much thought. Ready for it, WHAT DO YOU DO? I used to find the question offensive since I was a stay at home mom. I would think to myself, what does it matter what I do? Does it change the opinion someone may have of me? Will they think less of me because I have chosen to give up my career to sit home, nap with my kiddos and eat Bon Bons all day? I struggled with self esteem for quite awhile and not only did people have the nerve to ask me that question in the first place, it would come up in conversation over and over again. It went from “what do you do” to “when are you planning on going back?”

It took me a long time to have the confidence to stop making up silly stories and to stop explaining myself. It was because I made the choice to take the main responsibility for the care of our home and kids that my husband was able to successfully climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t give up my career, I put it on pause while I watched the little moments of my kids lives. I heard their first words, saw their first steps. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I smiled for hours listening to my daughter sing Barney after Barney song. I sat in amazement watching my sons fixation playing with trains. I saw every detail and I have no regrets. I watched them step on the bus in the morning and I was the first one they saw when they stepped off in the afternoon. 

So, what do I do? I guess if I had to put words to it I would say I am the CEO of this family. I hold it all together, I keep it running smoothly and once in a while, if I am feeling a little extra motivated, I bake some cookies. I am important and necessary regardless of whatever I do and honestly, to all those people who had the audacity to ask, it was never really any of your business anyway.

Losing My Grip

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I can feel the jealousy as I stare her way,
She lays her heart in the palm of his hands
He holds her so gently and touches her face
His mind is on her now, my memory erased

She is the one he holds in his arms
His attentions with her, our connection is harmed
He stares into space, his thoughts are on her
As I sit and remember the way that we were

She robbed his attention, she just wouldn’t go
There’s no room for me now, just look at her glow
And as much as I begged him, he just couldn’t stay
Because work just kept pulling him further away

His hands on the keyboard, never leaving her face
As his fingers caressed her, I felt so misplaced
Goodnight I called as I got into bed
As I slept with the tears that I let my heart shed.

This was my attempt at the finger prompt challenge. I didn’t follow the rules, I just used the prompt. Technology and the pressure to always do more at work is ruining relationships. Cell phones, texting, and Internet are replacing honest to goodness, heart to heart, one on one, quality time between people in love. The feeling of being in love and focusing on each other has been replaced by countless hours of surfing the net, silly apps and endless attention to things that could never be more important than the person in the room longing for our love and attention. Time that couples used to spend together has been replaced with sitting side by side in a cloud of distraction, not paying any attention to each other. And we wonder why so many relationships fail. Most of us are guilty and it is such a shame.

Words That Caught My Attention

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As I was walking out of Starbucks yesterday, I happened to hear part of a conversation between an older woman and a college age girl. The woman was encouraging the girl NOT to stay home and raise her kids, but to get out in the world and do something exciting. Part of me felt compelled to stop and give her a snippet of advice of my own. I kept walking but thought to myself as I struggled to find the keys to my car. There was never a more miraculous moment in my life as when I held the two lives I helped create in my arms for the first time. I have been proud and honored to be able to stay home and be there for my kids through every stage. Their first steps, their first words, their first broken bone, their first broken heart. Sure, it is not the most glamorous job. It does not bring me fortune or fame and the pay just doesn’t exist. But, to be fully present, to offer my kids my time and attention and a friendly face each day they get home is important to me. I do have an important job to mold, nurture, guide and mentor the two most precious people to me in this great big world. So what would I have said to that young girl? Being a mom is one of the greatest and most important jobs I have ever had. Time goes by in a flash. Eventually, my kids will be grown and gone and then I will still have plenty of time for a career. Not everyone is able to be at home but I am blessed to have had the opportunity. As for the pay? The moments, the memories and precious time I was able to spend with my kids while the world pulls me away in so many different directions is payment enough. Why are we here in the first place? Is it to have a fancy job and make it to the finish line with the most money or is it maybe to love and move through this life as if it were an adventure, a beautiful dance to express each moment and to pause for a while in a pose that simply just feels good. I don’t have those answers, but for me the journey has been amazing. My job is sometimes thankless and goes unnoticed but I wouldn’t trade a single day for the greatest job opportunity in the world. Hmmmmm…..maybe I already have it.

Boys Don’t WhAT?

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My son said those three dreaded words I prayed I’d never hear with my own ears. “Boys don’t vacuum”. Hmmmm….I haven’t even responded yet except to hand him the beautiful piece of machinery as he climbed up the stairs. I guess I am reminded that we as parents have the responsibility of teaching our children everything there is to learn, including but not limited to lifestyle roles. Where do I start and where have I already gone wrong.

Just today we stopped into Waffle House for breakfast and that’s where the teaching started. Our waitress was angry. She had worked since 9:00 the previous night and the dishes were piling up. She was passive aggressive, slamming the trays down after she removed the dishes and was complaining to another worker. The problem was that I was choking on the grease from my chocolate chip waffle and couldn’t even get her attention to get a simple refill. Then, another woman walked into place a to go order and she ignored me more, stopped washing dishes and continued to sweet talk the baby in the grandmothers arms. This was my opportunity to teach. I asked the kids, do you think she is being dumped on by the other workers or does she never finish a task because she doesn’t give her full attention to it?

The best thing I can teach my kids is this. If something needs to get done, somebody needs to do it. Just get up and get it done. I think whoever is available and able should, as Nike so eloquently put it, “Just Do It”. We live in a world where “Its not my job” and “why should I do it?” Are becoming common phrases. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. Do what it is that is expected of you. Stop looking around and questioning how much someone else does and do whatever it is YOU are supposed to do. You are only responsible for your own actions, and it is your actions will eventually determine your worth.

I will end this post listening to the sweet sound of a vacuum cleaner being run upstairs. Maybe there is no reason to respond to those three silly words after all.20140718-131259-47579323.jpg

Dating While Married?

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Do we become the rolls so we generously take on? Married couples are busy people. They constantly have other things pulling at their attention and driving them further and further apart. There days we can take work home thanks to the lovely creation of technology. We can sit down right at the dinner table and check email as we slurp down our spaghetti.

She is the one who washes the clothes and cleans the house and he is the one who changes the kitty litter and balances the chemicals in the pool. She is the one who keeps track of the kids schedule and drives them around and he is the one who goes to work and pays the bills. We do become our rolls but it is important to remember the rolls we came into our relationship with in the first place. Before parents and workers, we are husband and wife. Somewhere along the way we forget, or we push it aside quietly while we take care of those things we have to do. We forget how to be that young couple who used to date and stare into each other’s eyes for hours. We have become used to yelling to each other as we hurry pass one another in the hall on our way to grab little Joey from baseball practice and clear the dishes from the table. We forget what it feels like to be a man and a woman truly in a relationship and not just going through the motions without the emotions. So many things take up our time and attention, that at the end of the day, we just don’t have anything left.

Last night my husband and I went on a date. It was a wonderful. We sat on the outdoor patio that overlooks the city. We took our time. We talked. We put our cell phones away. It is so important to work just as hard at a marriage as we work at everything else. We must take an honest look at how we spend our time and seriously ask ourselves if we put at least as much time into our partner as we do everything else. If we are being truthful, I think most of us would admit that is the one area we let our time slip. Sometimes we want to float alone in the pool or read a book or watch a game and drink a beer so what is it we sacrifice during that time? We just can’t do those things at work or while driving kids around so how then do we balance all the things we have to do, the personal things we want to do and still have time and attention left over for our spouse?

It’s really an odd dilemma. Wearing so many hats yet forgetting how to be that shy, excited girl who used to date. It’s also important to realize that if you don’t find some way to remind each other that you are a romantic couple then he will only be the guy who changes the oil and the kitty litter and you will be the one who vacuums and drives everyone around. What kind of marriage is that? Not a very romantic one! So, go out on a date. Remind each other what made you fall in love in the first place or at least to agree to that second date. Change it up. Break out of routine and don’t forget one of the most important responsibilities you have, keeping your marriage alive. In a world where divorce is sadly such a common circumstance, be the one who makes sure your marriage stays alive. Alive is the key word here. No more going through the motions. Be spontaneous, be fun and be the person your spouse married in the first place…..all those years ago.

The Path We Travel

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I was going to get something done today, I swear I was. I started moving through the house cleaning it up and when I got to my bedroom, I found a small pile of crumpled up clothes. Sometimes, sadly, it’s the only reminder my husband was even home for a brief time. He works hard to provide for our family and I have been fortunate enough to stay at home. Sometimes I accuse him of being removed from all that goes on inside this house, but the truth is sometimes he is too tired and too busy to even pick up his tiny pile of clothes. He’s been falling asleep in the chair the last few nights and I have to admit, last night I got in bed and watched him sleep. He was restless and talking to the demons he must fight and chooses to do all alone. He will never complain or dump those burdens on anyone around him and like a silent warrior, he wears his medals on the inside of his shirt for no one to see.

I hope he realizes behind my temperamental scenes how much I appreciate all he does. The sacrifices are too many to count and he doesn’t advertise the cross he bears. He just keeps dragging it along doing the best he can. And ask someone to help carry it? Oh no not him, he will do it all by himself, even if it takes a little more time.

I’d like to tell you I am not partly sucking up because maybe on occasion he visits my blog, but that would be misleading. The truth is, when he is stuck in his busy, he is truly missed. Sometimes I show it by nagging, and accusing him of not being aware of the happenings of home, but what I am really trying to say is I wish he was here more and that life would let him stop in a little while longer. I forget that while I am frustrated he is away on a birthday or working through a holiday, it is just as hard for him too. He won’t be here for Valentines Day but I am grateful the internet and my blog can bring us together through time zones and space. He is always with me even when he is not here at home. He is in my thoughts and heart and the amount of respect I have for him is too much to measure in words. So today, when I picked up that pile of clothes, I didn’t get mad they were there on the floor. Instead, I held them close and gave them a squeeze before I threw them in his closet for him to put away when he gets home. That’s just the way we are, and what makes our relationship our work. We don’t pretend we’re something we’re not and we don’t sacrifice who we are for each other. And the best part, we accept each other the way we are and we really wouldn’t want each other to change. It’s true, that sometimes the very qualities that make us fall in love in the first place are the same qualities that challenge us most. It’s been a long road, sometimes lonely with endless rough patch, but when I think of the journey as a whole, there is no one else I would rather share it with more. And as The Little Mermaid wraps up in the background while I hear Ariel’s father ask, “She really does love him, doesn’t she Sebastian?” I smile to myself and think yes, she really does.

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