Monday, December 27, 2010

Medicating My Way Through Motherhood

I wonder how much ibuprofen a mother takes in her lifetime as a result of being a parent?  Today, while I was shopping at my friendly local Target, I was able to partake in one of my favorite pastimes, people watching.  Being that I was at Target, the comment worthy Walmart people were absent, but I did notice two mothers of toddlers talking.  They were clearly catching up after a prolonged absence in each others lives.  They were both quite animated shaking their heads and gesturing.  Both were fighting to share how hard and challenging things had become now that they were mothers.  It brought me back to that season of my life. The dreaded infant and toddler years.  These seem like dark years when you are in them, years full of sleeplessness, repetitive mundane tasks, the absence of reason & little to no makeup.  However, they are only the beginning.

The early years definitely have their trials and for some they are even noteworthy.  I personally have an entire journal full of brutal details that even now make me shudder just thinking of them.  But, the problem with the early years, is that they are just that.  You see there are many, many more years to come.  I now find myself in what is referred to, at least by me, as the middle years.  These years bring a different reason for pain medication.  They are the beginning of the heartbreak and worry stage.  Nothing can prepare a mom for the first time she sees or finds out her child has been rejected by their peers or when the healthy baby she once held so tightly in her arms is now a boy in the hospital unable to breathe on his own.  The body can't help but react in such a manner that a pain reliever washed down with a glass of wine is the only cure.  Now having once been a part of the early years that changed and moved on, I am very much aware that the late years are coming and will no doubt arrive with great force.

I can't write about the late years with any real insight, I haven't quite arrived yet.  I have witnessed and heard the cries of mothers as they express the hurt and pain they feel over the helplessness that has moved into their lives if not permanently, then at least with a long term lease.  I don't know, but am pretty sure if you were to do a study it would show that mothers of teens make up a huge chunk of recipients for prescription mood altering drugs.  Or, at the very least make up most of the numbers at drunken bunko nights.

Being a parent never ends. Once the late years have been brushed under the rug with a little therapy, the later years start.  These are the sideline years, where the problems get bigger and more profound, but you are no longer an active player in the game.  You just get to sit back and pray that they have been equipped with what they need to survive this thing called life.  This takes me back to those two moms at the Target, and what I want to say to them and myself is, "Don't make a big deal out of the small things, because soon enough there will be big things and you don't need your stomach messed up from previous ibuprofen overdosing." 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

I find the Winter Solstice perhaps one of the most exciting days of the year.  I have always loved the fact that it is shorter than any other day of the year.  Less hours for making mistakes or for demanding people to demand things of me.  Just a brilliant gift handed down from Mother Nature.  There is a touch of sadness that comes with this day and that is the gradual lengthening of days that begins tomorrow.  Before I know it, the days are so long that I have made twice as many mistakes and those demanding people have an infinite list of requests that I apparently have all the time in the world to grant. I guess if things seemed always as perfect as today, then I wouldn't view them as perfect.   The perfection of today has included an unexpected errand to a friend's house, an extra long and expensive trip to the grocery store, the weekly OCD cleaning of my kitchen and furniture & the preparation of two hot meals for those demanding people previously mentioned.  Thank goodness I can call it quits early.  Happy Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Complications of Living Simply

I long to have a simple life.  One with few possessions and even fewer complications.  "Is this possible?", I ask myself.  And, self usually responds, "Yes, but at a price."

I imagine writing myself into my favorite novel, it's one where there is a large sparsely furnished Victorian set in the middle of a small quaint town in the north of Scotland.  There is no television, no family drama and just enough money for the necessities of life and a good bottle of wine.  To me, the plot is irrelevant, I love this book for the setting.  It pulls at my inner desire to live in a world where quiet companionship with loved ones and nature are valued.  I speak of a novel, not a non-fiction piece because, although what is written is not completely unattainable, it is something that comes with a price many of us don't want to pay.

To live simply, is to live opposite of the mainstream.  The best analogy I can think of is the Salmon that swim up the Columbia river each year against the current, in order to lay their eggs.  They do this with a blind determination that, in the end, brings success along with a battered worn out body and then finally death.  It is a death brought on by exhaustion.  Fighting the current continuously takes everything they have.  If the Salmon relents even for a moment, it is pushed back in the direction of the river's flow.  The same can be said of the world we live in. 

I can make the decision to buy only what I need, what is practical, but unfortunately all around me is marketing at its best.  It comes in the form of the television, computer, phone, consumer tracking, and even friends and acquaintances.  I can resist this marketing, but at a cost.  It takes continuous strength of mind and character.  If I slip up even for a moment, I am pushed back into the 'must have' frenzy that is all around me.

I can choose to find my happiness in quiet companionship.  But, as I am still learning most relationships come with a nice dose of human nature.  Everyone, including myself strives for their own way.  We can be amicable only for so long, before self rises up and demands its due.  Companionship is attainable, but the quiet can only come when both parties are continuously denying themselves.  Or, put another way choosing to push against their true natures .  We are human and will fail from time to time.  Failure often brings its friend, drama, and quiet makes a soundless exit.

Often, I seek to find pleasure in nature. There is nothing more healing than a basic walk through the woods or thrilling than a view that only mother nature could provide.  However, even nature has its follies. More times than not, the spectacular views have been purchased and sold to an elite few. Woods have been reduced to clumps of trees surrounding freshly built suburbia, hardly suitable for peaceful strolls.  Thankfully, nature can manifest itself in many ways.  I can still choose to enjoy things like a warm sunny day or a cozy rainy afternoon.  Unfortunately, my moods are rarely in tune with the weather.  I usually want rainy when its sunny and vice versa. 

"So, it is possible to live simply.", I tell myself, but it is also exhausting.  Is that a price I am willing or more importantly able to pay?  I don't have an answer, honestly I am afraid of coming up with one.  I don't want to stop hoping or believing that I will one day be the Salmon that not only lays her eggs, but lives to tell her story.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brilliant Observation

My 6 year old son:  "Mom!  I don't get it?  Why do moms do all the work and dads just walk around?"

Me:  "Ask your dad and get back to me."

Just a small glimpse into my world.  It's moments like this that I live for.  I am not sure if this is a compliment, but I have decided to take it as one.  My days are filled with one unmomentous task after another, and often I don't think they are noticed.  Well, except when I am vacuuming right in front of the television, during an important telecast of 'Jimmy Neutron'.  So, when my cantankerous and opinionated little friend throws a statement like this at me, all I can do is smile and think, "I must be doing something right."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Balancing the Holidays

I must say, I am quite worn out from the holiday season.  Shockingly, I had 90% of my shopping done before Thanksgiving.  My exhaustion comes from 'celebrating' the season.  I spent years of my life hoping and wishing to be part of the Christmas parties and celebrations all around me. Now I find myself longing to curl up alone on my couch and watch that movie with the ugly green guy that hates Christmas.

My family wasn't the most sociable lot and my mother's only consent to holiday traditions was the annual decorating of the not so edible sugar cookies.  When I became an adult, my own insecurities kept me from being the sociable creature that was apparently hiding inside.  A little FYI, insecure people don't tend to get invited to parties and never throw them.  It wasn't until fairly recently, when I decided to let my little sprightly light shine, that I began to experience all the season has to offer.  I am now beginning to realize that perhaps 'all' may be a bit much.

Now, I am a great touter of balance.  Mostly because I rarely have it in my own life.  In my exuberance to experience all that is merry, I seem to go a bit overboard.  There are the obvious housewife things, like baking cookies (not my mom's recipe), making gingerbread houses, decorating the house, twinkle lights outside, etc.  But, what seems to push me over the top is my incessant need to host one extravaganza after another along with the acceptance of all invitations that come my way.  Now that my insecurities are nicely hidden, I can't seem to keep the offers to socialize away.

So, here I find myself half way through the season having hosted two parties with three to go.  And, I have lost count of the number of festive events I have already attended.  Quite honestly, I think my unsociable mother may have been on to something.  Her holidays may have been boring, but no one will ever be able to say she was stressed.  I really have no desire to revert back to the days of my youth and isolation, but do feel that I need to work on the balance thing.

That said, I am currently working on a list of things NOT to repeat for next year and the reasons why.  I plan on taping the list to my box of fall decorations, so that I will have plenty of time to ponder the voice of reason before I start inviting the entire planet over for an ornament, sock, cookie or kid exchange.  I'll let you know next year if I finally find balance, at least in this one area of my life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm supposed to be writing my Christmas letter, at this moment.  I packed the kids up and sent them out in the yard so I could watch them ice skate while I listen to my James Taylor Christmas CD, in hopes of gaining some inspiration.  It just doesn't seem to be working, instead I have checked my email for the 10th time today and am now rambling away on here. 

My life no matter how hard I try is not a picture post card.  I have spent decades creating ambiance in order to set the tone for a perfect life.  Although the ambiance is often remarkable, really people actually have been known to make remarks, it seems to provide nothing more than a bit of background noise to the life we are trying to live around it.

It's funny but my ice skaters never seem to stay out side for more than five minutes, pre lit trees burn out in random spots, pillows get smooshed, whimsical light fixtures get made fun of, delicate touches go unnoticed and rooms more often than not are rearranged to best execute the latest Nerf battle.

I am constantly telling myself that post cards are silly and unrealistic. Something that no one would really want, if it wasn't for the artistic eye of a talented photographer telling them otherwise.  However, my mind wanders to another thought that makes me stop and say, "But, I love receiving post cards!"  Especially ones that for a moment take me away from my life into places that speak a language this ordinary housewife most likely will never learn. So, I say bring on the ambiance!  After all, who doesn't head to their mailbox each day harboring a secret desire for some fun mail?  I mean in a day and age where paper trails are now nonexistent, we somehow have still held onto this ancient tradition of Christmas cards.  I, in fact, heard of a person today that despite her exhaustion will send them out again this year out of fear that she will be removed from others' lists if she doesn't.

In my own crazy way, I have yet again brought my ramblings full circle back to my own avoidance of writing the dreaded Christmas letter.  This year I will once more muster up the strength to share with 40 semi strangers the ins and outs of our year, in the hopes that a little ambiance in the form of holiday postcards will soon find a place in my mailbox.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Accomplish Nothing

Accomplishing nothing in my day is an art that I have never quite perfected.  But, every now and again the 'Perfect Storm' of a day hits and things work out just brilliantly.  It is during these days that I tell myself to try and find the formula for future use.  At this very moment, I don't have anything clear cut or fool proof but believe I am on to a few things. 

Step one actually begins the night before.  Try to do your best to have a get together, party or crazy evening that keeps you up past your bedtime.

Step two is critical, so no matter how tempting it may be to get up alert and on time, try to resist.  You must stay in bed long enough to throw off your entire morning schedule.

Step three is not something that you can always control, but I think it definitely helps with the execution of the remaining steps.  Try to have either a snowy or rainy day, this does wonders in helping one to function sub par.

Step four is to receive a phone call early in the day from someone who is also interested in accomplishing nothing and therefore is willing to ramble on about utter nonsense for a minimum of one hour.

Step five is to look at the clock, when step four is over, and decide to give up.

It is not only critical, but imperative to 'give up'.  DO NOT be tempted to make up for lost time or 'try and get a few small things done'.  Just QUIT.

As a stay at home mom, I hate to admit that I have wasted days, mostly because it is a constant battle to prove to the rest of the world that I have a valuable place in society.  But every now and again, I'll stop jumping from one amazing task to another and  follow steps one through five very carefully.  I must say though, in all honesty, these days of waste are the ones that give me the strength to jump through the fiery hoops known as my life.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Realistic Perspective

Whenever one decides to be oneself fully and completely, they need to expect to have to deal with some confrontation in their lives.  Being real with yourself and people doesn't automatically absolve you from dealing with the consequences of your actions.

I am constantly saying things that I wish I could take back.  Or as a friend of mine says about herself, "I have no filter."  In order to let my little Tansy light shine, I have to remain as unguarded as possible.  This can and has gotten very dangerous.  I used to think that being real with myself and everyone around me brought a certain freedom.  And to some extent it does, but it doesn't' free me from having to face awkward or even hurtful situations as a result of 'being me'.

I don't have any plans of becoming someone else, since I really don't know how to be other people.  But, I have decided to try and limit my self exposure to the world.  Not everyone is going to find me likable or interesting and despite being someone that needs constant affirmation of my complete genius, I have accepted this.  Or at least am making a statement to all the world that I want to accept this. 

Ultimately, I hope to come to a place where being me is about being me and not about finding acceptance as me.  I will give you a moment to try and figure that one out .......... Okay, let me be more articulate.  Being myself should be for the sole purpose of achieving what I was created for, not so that everyone will love me.  That being said feel free to comment about how deep and amazing you find me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Broken Promises

Being the author of a well read blog brings great power.  With this power, comes the ability to change anything I want about how things are done.  That being said,  I hear by take back my promise to make 365 posts in 365 days.  Seriously, as most of you have figured out by now, I really don't have that much to say.  The stress to write everyday is getting to be too much.  I realize that I am letting down so many people, but like many in power that have gone before me have shown, it is my job to look out for myself and only myself.  For those of you that would like to know when I am sharing my 'wisdom' with the world, feel free to click on the subscribe button at the top of my page.  Each time I have something life changing to say, you will receive a notification via email.  In closing, I just want to give a special thank you to my loyal followers of the last 30 posts.  I believe that your faithfulness has melded our lives together for eternity.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

Tonight I am making peppermint chocolate/white chocolate chip cookies for some firemen.  I bring this up for one reason.  Sometimes things sound better than they really are. At this point, I am considering taking our family name off the thank you note attached to them.  I have visions of  being tracked down and accused of attempting to murder 40 volunteer firefighters.  Can someone die from undercooked cookies? Anyway that's all I have for tonight.