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 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 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.

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

Celebrating Birthdays: A Mother’s Memories

Memories from those first 24 hours of parenthood will never leave me. A little baby and miracle named Issa made her début 10 years ago. All those weeks during my pregnancy with her had been preparation. I made time for breakfast, remembered to take my vitamins and did my homework. Indulgences such as caffeine, alcohol, sushi and stylish shoes had to go. Frequent bathroom trips during the night trained me for late-night feedings and diaper changes. Shopping sprees were to buy splurges and necessities for Issa; not me.

Upon gazing into that little newborn face I knew becoming a mom was a blessing as well as challenge; a life-long challenge. But, still, I wondered. What she be at 5; 7; and 10? Would she like going to school? What would her likes and dislikes? Could I camouflage my Type A personality with the patience of a saint? Would I handle illnesses, injuries, upsets and academic hurdles like a warrior; or a wuss? Finally, would I be a worthy advocate, protector and friend?

At 5, I knew Issa was a miracle child with some challenges that would make some physical, academic and social activities difficult. But, I also knew her love for learning; and her determination to succeed would carry her. Issa loves going to school. She hates to miss a day. Her desire to learn was the key at 7 and still enables her success. She strives to do her best every day.

I still do not have answers to many of my parenting questions. There are days when I start feeling like the supermom, but then end up in the dunce corner. Parenthood is unpredictable. Likes and dislikes change. When Issa was five she loved elephants and sought all information she could obtain to learn more about these large, magnificent animals. But, then, her fascination with elephants morphed into affection for mice, then dinosaurs, then outer space and now snakes.

Each birthday I celebrate with Issa, I feel intense joy and love. I recall those first 24 hours of her life in vivid detail. God blessed me 10 years ago when Issa was born.

Election Day, Government Tests and Garnacha

Perhaps it’s the buzz I’m feeling from the Garnacha flowing to my soul. But, I feel liberated. Election day is nearly over. Precincts are now closed and mainstream media networks can now race each other to announce winners based on Vegas-style ejections. No, that’s not a typo.

We can now get back to our regularly scheduled programs. I can rekindle a relationship with my television and mainstream media. Don’t get me wrong. I studied and knew my ballot when it was my turn in the queue this morning. But, I elected to push the mute button on election festivities this season.

Mainstream information about the candidates and proposals is so biased it is not useful in my decision-making process. The millions spent obviously help candidates become elected; otherwise they wouldn’t put up the dollars. But, to me, it’s a waste of time to watch debates, read articles about campaign promises or talk to political advocates on the phone. They’re just talking from cue cards or from an outline some public relations team crafted. Do they really believe in what they’re advocating?

Ironically, my daughter has a social studies test tomorrow on government. For nearly four weeks, she has learned about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, core democratic values, and the three branches of government. I like that the third-grade teachers taught students about our government during election season; and gave them a reason to become interested how a representative government ought to work.

Now after hours of study, my angel sleeps. I am off to refill my glass of Garnacha and to watch shows I have on my DVR from Sunday night. Once Upon a Time and Revenge are my fave shows this fall. What will you watch tonight? Election results?