Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.

 

Drink It and Pretend It’s Still Summer

Here's to staying on summer vacation all life long.

Here’s to staying on summer vacation all life long.

It was hump day night. The kids were all tucked snug in their beds. I cleaned up the stray toys, prepped for school morning chaos, programmed the coffee maker, and let the dog out for relief. Before watching my fave shows — Once Upon a Time and Revenge — on the DVR, I searched the kitchen for a beverage to take off the edge. You know; daily stress?

Yeah. I know. Thirty minutes of Jillian Michael’s cardio kickboxing would have been a better trick. But, I just wasn’t in the mood. I opened the fridge and searched the crowded shelves; making mental notes of what to purge (the next time I visited).

Then, I saw the beverage of choice: a stray Bell’s Oberon. It looked so lonely; sitting there; way in the back; on the beverage shelf. I couldn’t help myself. Flashbacks of lazy, sunny, summer afternoons on the patio replayed in my head. Reaching for the ice-cold brew, visions of water gun fights, sprinkler fests, and freeze tag danced in my head.

What to do? Drink it and pretend it’s still summer.

 

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 10

I cringe in when one of my children is sick. Both count on me to make whatever ails them better. It’s up to me to keep my composure; and to not completely unravel. Those expressions of ill content on their sweet little faces is almost too much. I remember how my mother used to care. She was the best — and still is — at getting me through the worst life can deal.

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #8

There are so many thoughts duking it out for acknowledgement in my head. It’s almost overwhelming. I am thinking about how to maximize the education my children receive, and how to make sure I am spending enough quality time with my aging parents. Also, I am considering my options as I look to re-enter the workforce, prepare to sell an old car, and schedule time with friends. Then, there is the upcoming weekend schedule. As we near Halloween there is much to ponder: costumes, decorations, candy, class parties, pre-holiday fun, and the best route for trick-o-treating this year.

Previous Six Sentence Posts …

Six Sentence Thursday Special

Six Sentence Monday Entry 6

Six Sentence Monday Entry 5

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 4

See what happens? The first Monday of the 2013-2014 school year is history; just like the weekend. It’s a blur in my memory. As my children and I age, time ticks off the clock faster and faster. I’d like to keep the weekend fun — and weekday insanity — for a bit longer, please. But, that’s not how it works.

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 2

Where did it go? My children began their summer break from school 11 weeks ago. Days were filled with family, friends, sunshine and accomplishment. Highlights include time spent at Lake Michigan, local parks, the zoo and a gracious friend’s pool. Now, 8 days remain until the 2013-2014 school year begins. That checklist of school-prep action items is now taking center stage.

School Days: Two More Mondays of Peace

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Mine involved finishing school projects with Issa — my thirdgrader — a pool party and a girls’ night out. Summer break for my students begins Friday, June 14. So, I am counting my Mondays; and the number of days I have to enjoy peaceful moments on my patio drinking hot coffee while writing a post or two.

Remember how I said changes were coming in my post last week? Well, the end of the 2012-2013 school year is one of them. I look forward to the break from planning outfits on weekday evenings, packing lunches, homework, and strict schedules. But, I also dread losing weekday hours I have to exercise, write blog posts, run errands, and accomplish household tasks without interruption.

Parenting is a non-stop adventure that continues to give me a never-ending supply of blog post ideas. It doesn’t matter whether school is in or out.

Have a great week!

Kate