Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Someday is Not a Real Day

There's just so much about this world I can not reconcile -- especially my children with this World. Since having kids I have had many a personal reckoning about risk, inevitably, and control. I have been pleasantly surprised that motherhood has provided amazing perspective and did not send me over the edge ... at least so far. (I realize we all live very, very close to the edge.)

But lately ... lately I have been thinking quite a bit about the fierce urgency of now. That is, what are those things about my local and global community which I can and must push back against? What are the things that I should not, now, or ever, reconcile myself to?

You know that great Pablo Casals quote about how me must, "work to make this world worthy of its children." As vague and bumper sticker-ishly generic as it first seems, I love it for its truth and its broad applicability. Posed as a question to oneself, it actually becomes quite meaningful: what work am I doing to make this world worthy of our children?

Time is neutral, but action is value-driven and motion-driven. Leonard Pitts recently wrote an article about the death of two seminal figures in civil rights history. His point was that time alone does not drive change. It is the actions of people such as those profiled in his article that change the world:

"Call it the myth of inevitability. It is the mind-set that says enlightenment and progress are the inescapable byproducts of time ... time doesn't bring change. People bring change over time ... human progress does not roll in on 'wheels of inevitability.' Change is a conscious decision." -Leonard Pitts, April 26th 2010

Doc Brown urgently wanted
to save the clock tower.
What is your passion?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye...

This little project has lead me down roads I never expected. To better understand the judgments and defensiveness of some parents (like, ahem, the parent writing this blog), I have learned about the ego center, neurology, biology, evolution, culture, and even a healthy dose of Buddhism.

In an effort to understand "the mommy wars", I actually came to understand more about war. The wars within, amongst ourselves, across the globe, and of course the cola wars. BTW-I think we should all drink RC. They didn't participate, ergo they must be peace loving.

My husband got to be in this Stan Herd.  So cool! He's the cute one in red.

But then I had a thought. What if it is simple? What if we are just really jazzed about our choices? Now, readers, DO NOT FRET. I will not stop exploring and extrapolating. I will play this concept out like the Jason/Halloween series. But in all sincerity, I do believe that part of the equation really is simple enthusiasm for what works, pride in our values, and an eagerness to share.

Sure, it may seem a little egocentric to think your way is best and that your ideas could potentially bring about world peace, but who hasn't started a sentence with, "If I were queen..." ?

Well friends, here is your opportunity. Espouse. Evangelize. Proselytize. I want to hear what choices you are most proud of. What behavior do you wish everyone would adopt? Here is a quick run down of my royal proclamations. You will be ready for the law of the land should we ever move to a monarchy and my bloodline leaves me in charge...

This is supposed to be me. When I am queen you all have to learn to draw it. And then doodle it lovingly. Yes, I AM wise and fair.
1. Take your shoes off! We are a shoes off house because it is an easy way to reduce indoor pollution. That makes my house cleaner and safer for my babes. And it means I have to sweep way less. I want my idea to sweep the nation, so we can all sweep our floors less. Clever, no?

2. Thrift it up, yo! We are a tried and true hand-me-down family. Though thrifting, consignment, garage sales, and cast-offs, we strive to reduce our consumption of brand-new items. This shrinks our carbon footprint and our participation in rampant commercialism, consumerism, and questionable manufacturing and labor practices.

3. Teach and model pro-social behaviors. Good manners, good social skills, and empathy are the other social lubricant.They help us all live together more peacefully. I will do my best to make sure my kids don't give yours a black eye, cover their coughs, and show compassion and respect to those around them.

That was AWESOME! My crown jewels are practically glowing. Your turn!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

making sweet love to my vacuum, part II of II

You know what I hate? House work. You know what I love? Self care. I looooove doing things like running, pedicures, and girls-night-out under the auspices of "taking good care of myself". If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
Let's put the om in mom, can I get a what-what? Sourced from Fashioning Change.

So imagine the hole that got ripped in the fabric of my universe while reading Ms. Mindbody's blog interview with "Happiest Mom" author Meagan Francis:
What have your forays into the world of wellness taught you about yourself? 

One thing I learned is that the different components of my life are all interwoven. The state of my home, the state of my body, the state of my finances, the state of my work, the state of my mind…they all affect the way I feel overall. So, say, cleaning out a closet or balancing my checkbook can be forms of self-care. They help me feel good about the holistic picture that is me, and my life. -May, 2011

While my head spun around and my mouth produced a paper ticker saying "does not compute"-- admittedly, something deep inside resonated with understanding. I do feel better when I am on top of my housework. Unfortunately, this is only when I am getting company. Thus, I am frequently out of sorts and stressed out by the very environment that has the potential to restore balance and nourishes my family's soul.

I never thought of my Dyson as sexy....but maybe with a little Al Green and the right bottle of red?

Moment of truth...I have the time. I dvr Glee and blog, sooo....the answer isn't in better methodology of cleaning (although I HEART Method cleaning products), or time saving cleaning tips, but rather a re-frame that involves me seeing taking care of this space as another way to take care of myself.

I know the satisfaction and calm that follows routine upkeep (or I have heard about it anyway). So, if I can make the switch to seeing cleaning as something I am doing for me, for my sanity, for a more serene and lovely space...then maybe I will run the vacuum? Yes, I know that sentence ended with a question mark. It was a question.  We shall see, gentle readers.

In the interim--I want to hear from you. What is the activity that is good for your body, mind and soul that you continually resist doing? Why do humans so often not engage in the very behaviors that would improve our quality of life? 

And second moment of truth...neither Dyson nor Method paid me a red cent for my fine endorsements. But if they did, I would scrap this BS and use the money to hire a housekeeper.

Method products are awesome. They are all-natural and last FOREVER. (if you only use them twice a year).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Go ask Alice, part I of II

Everyone knows that person--the girl who dates every loser in a 120 mile radius...the person who forks over a billion dollars on exercise equipment, but the only workout they ever get on their treadmill is when they jump up and down because they stubbed their toe on said treadmill.

Yeah, that is totes me with housework. Subscriptions to organization and lifestyle magazines? Check. Browsing blogs and websites that are filled with enviable (and clean) spaces? Check. Bouts of manic cleaning with a toothbrush that end in lists, charts, and resolutions? Check.

sourced from one of my faves, the inspired room.
In "Get Real", I explored the thought that being unhappy with my house was really just another way to be unhappy with my life; to judge myself and miss all the REAL beauty that surrounds me. And I was not off base with this. Our consumer society screams at us to be discontent-- to make our homes better and more tricked out. Loving your life as it is would kill the GDP. Do you really want to have all that numerical blood on your hands?

BUT....flexibility is a sign of mental health. So, I am tinkering with the idea that happiness may lay somewhere between coveting material items  and trying to see the beauty in a tumble week of dog hair...that I don't show pride in my beautiful home by getting on OR by writing haiku about tub rings...but rather by, (gasp), mopping my floors.

I hope that the Brady Bunch and Sam the Butcher knew how lucky they were...image from bradywikia
Channel your inner-Alice and give me your best tips and tricks, whatever puts you in the frame of mind to get it on...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

who loves you, baby?

Who do you love? Conjure up your mental list.

Now, let me rephrase the question...who do you love-- absolutely, unequivocally, unconditionally, exactly as they are? If you are anything like me, your list just got a whole lot shorter.

Next, think of how good it feels to bask in the presence of someone who truly loves and accepts you. Warts and all. Think of how freeing and liberating it is share with that person; to simply be with that person. What a gift. And one we should aspire to give as well as receive.
My grandparents loved me SO well. They also always had Cheez-Its at their house; hence I have an association between love and Cheez-Its. I am going to eat some Cheez-Its now. (not a joke). 

But how do we start ? (orange font to denote Cheez-It hands). How do we turn off the ego, the defense of self, the sense of disgust that someone out there might like foie gras?

Rick Elias, whose plane nearly crashed in 2010, thinks he may have found the answer, " my humanity, I also allowed my ego to get in, I wasted time that mattered on people who mattered, on things that did not matter...I no longer try and be right, I try and be happy."  2011 TED Talk.

Spend 3 minutes listening to his entire talk and how theses sentiments relate to parenting; you won't be sorry.

Please share someone who loved you very do you channel their spirit and infuse your interactions with this kind of love? What are your challenges in doing so, and how do you overcome them? Thank you. Sometimes I find you distasteful and your person offensive. JK-I love you, for real...and I am working on loving you better.

PS-for more explorations on loving peeps better, please visit my friend's new and excellent blog, "Love and Peace or Else." And I know what you are thinking..."I couldn't possibly love peeps any better." But check out this idea of plopping one in your hot chocolate or latte from Ohdeedoh! See! We can all love peeps better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A thank you note my mom didn't make me write

Dear Readers,

This is a thank you note. To you, for the community you built here on my blog. Below is a random thank you note that really has nothing to do with this post but is from what is, hands down, the coolest blog around, thxthxthx. Check it out. (but don't be an ingrate, read your thank you card first, okay?)

 Now onto the business of thanking you.

"In a community of relationships, we are less judgmental and more forgiving of each other so as not burn bridges. In a community of relationships, I come to know that you want the best for me, so when you help me question my own thinking, I can more easily hear it and not get defensive." Kristin Maschka.
The author contends that this can not happen online. And while I wholeheartedly agree that we need real, face-to-face time to nurture our non-virtual relationships...something very real and very magical  is happening with the "Hey Mothers" community.

There is some difference because I personally know so many of my readers. But I don't know all of you, and you certainly don't all know each other. Still our exchanges feel safe, positive, kind, and productive. Even those who don't comment online have let me know through emails, actual mail, and phone calls that they feel exactly the same way.

I am so grateful to each of you. You have totally flipped me on issues, given me ideas I never would have thought of, called out my errors, and supported me. I marvel at my immediate access to wisdom, advice, tips, tricks, and thought  provoking conversation. I don't know how anyone parents without a blog, I just know I wouldn't want to.
Here is my great-grandma parenting without a blog. And yet she still smiled. People were so brave back then.
So now I want to hear from you. How do blogs and message boards influence your parenting and your life? What rules for civil discourse do you take into the virtual world? Why are we so awesome? What other great blogs can you share? How do you build your non-virtual village? What groups and activities help you process and parent at your best?

Lots of love and gratitude to you, gentle readers!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Confessions of a Melty-Downy Mom (and a winner!)

Thank you all for your terrific responses and stories from MeltDown Town. To be fair, I figured I should share my best (to date) humdinger of a meltdown.

It goes like this: I get pregnant with my second child and begin reading copious amounts on birth order, sibling peace/rivalry, parenting fairly, etc. etc. I actively involve Big Kid to get her ready. I brace myself for feelings of shock or jealousy. I envision myself dealing with regressions, temper tantrums, and outbursts in a calm, dignified, saintly manner.

And then, after all the sweet anticipation (and 39 weeks of puking) we become a family of four. I wait, and wait. Nada, nothing ... zip. The same happy, sunny kid I have known for nearly three years seems to vacillate between adoring her sister and just obliviously going about her business. Um, could it really be this easy? What, my friends, was all the fuss about? I start thinking ... "nailed it."

And then the big day came, the one I had prepared for, practiced for over and over with mental dress rehearsals. I walked in to find Big Kid pinching her sister -- with a focused intensity. Little Kid is screaming, her arm welting up. So what do I do? Well, I make sure Little Kid is okay then I calmly remove Big Kid from the situation and talk to her about her feelings. Then, through music, movement, and art we come up with some creative ways to handle frustrations with her baby sister.

Okay, not really.

I grab Big Kid. I hold onto her by her arms. I look in her face. And to my child, my child that I love so much it hurts, I say...."You are a horrible, rotten child." Oh gentle readers, it still makes my heart ache. We both burst into tears. We both went running to our respective dad/husband. Me screaming, "I just did something horrible," and her screaming, "Mommy called me a 'rot child', mommy called me a 'rot child,' WHAT IS A 'ROT CHILD?'". We both seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. It was a bonafide meltdown.
I was sick with regret, and my heart felt like a brick in my chest. I sobbed in my room. What was wrong with me? Why had I reacted so improperly? Said such horrid things? And this was just the worst. The fact is, nearly daily I react with lack of patience and wisdom. Instead I -- whatever the opposite of "nail it" is. ("screwed it?")

I try hard. Really hard. I read, I talk, I ask (you mostly). I do improve; I listen more, I ask more open-ended questions. I consider how fleeting and precious childhood is. And this all helps. And yet, I AM a bit high-strung, and I will NEVER nail it. At least not every minute of every day. Try as I might, there are times my voice will go up an octave over something as silly as a missing shoe, or that I will make the proverbial mountain of the metaphorical molehill.

So in addition to trying to improve my reactions and our interactions, I also practice extending grace and compassion to myself after the moments I am less than proud of. And I hope you will too. You are the best of the best. Thank you so much for all of your honest sharing, support, and truly helpful tips and tricks. I love our little community; thank you for being a part of my journey as a mom.

"Calgon take me away!" Image from Go Retro!
And finally, the winner is Anonymous Comment #21.CONGRATULATIONS! And here is where my 2nd confession comes ... I started thinking I couldn't give away a book I hadn't read. So, long story short, the book is bent and there is Indian food spilled on page 11. I feel bad the book isn't as pristine as it was, but this is the blog that gave away a mix tape and tried to give away a box of Franzia. (tried and failed, as I drank the Franzia -- which was kind supposed to be a joke in the first place).  So, like me, it isn't perfect, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

To cap off meltdown show-and-tell, please take a moment and share your favorite method for meltdown come-down. How do you unwind, reconnect, move on ... forgive yourself after a bad moment? Thank you as always!
Related Posts with Thumbnails