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.

 

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Six Sentence Monday: Entry #15

I am fortunate. Supportive, loving family and friends. A glass or two of Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba to chase the chill of a wintry Monday night. What could be better? A “W” for my team — the Detroit Lions — in their contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Oh, and the lucky Mega Million ticket.

Check out this post from another who likes to drink wine, but doesn’t like to pay a lot for it.

Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #14

Four days until holiday season 2013 commences. But, most have already succumbed to the frenzy. Even my children are begging for a Christmas motif. Honestly, Thanksgiving is by far my favorite. The traditions it encourages are simple. Be thankful, spend time with family — close and extended — eat, drink, and watch the Detroit Lions play football.

Previous Six Sentence Monday Entries …

Entry #13

Entry #12

Entry #11

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 3

Preparedness is important. While others stockpile school supplies and snacks, Riff  focuses on being ready for the “what if” in life. For the previous week, he has practiced fire and lockdown drills. School staff can be assured. My family and I reviewed drill expectations as well as our own emergency plans. Riff knows what to do.

Valentine’s Day: The Gift of Time

Recently, I have fought winter snark. A prevalent symptom for this condition includes increased cynicism in the way I view things I read, hear and see. So, here I sit. It’s Valentine’s Day; the holiday when my heart is overflowing with the love I feel for family and friends. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends more than words could ever express. And, I do believe it’s important to express those feelings often.

My cynicism about this holiday is mostly directed at the push to give stuff. I love receiving candy, cards, trinkets and flowers as much as any other human. But, to me, the greatest expression of love or affection is the gift of time; quality time. If I had to choose, I would skip the candy, bottle of Barbera (maybe not), and jewelry in exchange for some extra hours of fun with my husband, children, parents, sister, extended family, and friends.

What about you?

Thinking About …

While waiting for my morning caffeine kick to nudge me toward my elliptical machine, I read Facebook status updates.  Two posts moved me so much I had to share.

First, a high school friend encouraged her network to rally for the United States …

Prayer Request—I have a prayer request. There’s a lady I’ve known forever. She’s very sick. On top of that, she’s being abused by those to whom she has given everything….. Lies about her abound, and seem to come from all sides. Just breaks my heart. Seems there’s nothing I can do alone but maybe, if we all join in and lift her up together, He can heal her. She’s well over 230 years old, but way too young to die. Her name is ‘America’… And I love her and have always been proud of her. Please take time to say a prayer for her – even if it is a short, simple prayer like, “Lord, please heal our land. Amen.” Thanks!

Next, a business owner and healthy eating advocate I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago, shared the following to help those healing from loss.

Also, I had this to say to my people …

You know who you are. I call you family, friend, neighbor, mentor, teacher, helper, advocate or inspiration. Some of you may not live nearby or know me personally. We may not visit, call, write or text often. Time together is often scarce. We’re all so busy. I understand that; and I’m sure you do, too. But, just in case. You should know. I think about you often and I love you. The part you play in my life means so much.

Finally, a childhood friend of mine who has been healing from some recent losses and who authors a blog called Tickling My Fancy recently wrote a phrase, which I have plagiarized without shame when I write e-mails to friends or family.

She says, “Hug your people!”

So, that’s my call to action for today and everyday. Don’t forget … Hug Your People!

School Days: Domestic Rituals I Despise

It took me long enough to become domesticated. For most of my 14-year marriage, washing dishes, doing laundry, and cleaning toilets were not top priorities. Not that I am a slob or completely oblivious to my family’s needs. But, let’s face it. I would rather romance my husband, play with my children, help out at school, write my blog posts, train for 5ks, socialize with my lady friends, read, and shop. In the end, these are the priorities that give me the greatest pay-off.

So, there are domestic rituals I despise; and will put off until my kids scream bloody murder and my husband booby-traps my writer’s chair. These must-dos are pure evil. No woman I call friend should ever have to endure the black magic swirling above when these duties are imminent.

1. Getting kids dressed for school. Issa is a diva who could care less. She barely looks at my suggestions the night before and moves at a turtle-pace to the task. Then, there’s Riff. He just entered kindergarten and the particular phase. He insists on wearing one of two favorite shirts and refuses to wear a jacket when it’s cold and raining outside.

2. Making lunches. I was fine with this the first week of school. The weekend prior, I  stocked the pantry and fridge with their favorites. Now, I try to stretch what I have for two weeks before the next major grocery excursion. For one thing, I hate grocery shopping. It’s boring, fellow shoppers lollygag, and I would rather spend the money on something fun like shoes. Another thing. Making lunches is the last item on my daily chore list before I am free to watch TV, read or catch up on Facebook with a glass of Garnacha. Sometimes, the lure of watching Once Upon a Time or re-reading Fifty Shades for the fortieth time is too much.

3. Bath night. I love sweet-smelling kids. But, mine fight me while my husband watches television and ignores their need for cleanliness. They don’t start moving for the bathroom until I threaten a spray-down in the backyard. Once they’re in, they don’t want out. They both claim a need to practice holding their breath under water. Go figure.

4. Cleaning out the fridge. I push my people to eat leftovers in a timely manner. The creation of unknown formations is never my intent. But, on occasion there is an ugly that appears in the rear that catches me off-guard. So, for the sake of my children, I hold my breath — until I turn purple — and purge without discrimination.

5. Weeding. My husband seems to think weed barriers will keep all ugliness out of our flower beds. I don’t know what gardening class he took. But, weeds invade and cling to whatever patch of soil they seek to claim. They don’t go unless evicted with vicious, continuous, strategic.