The Question

Once in a blue moon a question is posed that makes you seriously evaluate the direction your life has taken.

In an attempt to consistently utilize my remaining brain cells, most have left the building since motherhood, I participate in a monthly book club.  The conversation never stays on topic and that is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.

“I’ve never understood why stay-at-home Moms have college degrees?  Why would someone spend all that time and money on an education and not use it?”

This was the question that gave me serious pause.

The person posing the question obviously did not know that the woman seated next to her (me!) was one such stay-at-home Mom ‘wasting’ my college degrees.  Apparently, I had fooled her in to thinking I was highly educated and gainfully employed.  In her opinion, one cannot exist without the other.

Oh, I’m sure I could’ve gone off on a rant to defend the choices in my life.  I didn’t see the point.  Her opinion was solidly formed and the other women of the group heatedly joined in with their two cents.

When I left the group later that evening I realized that the question, however personally I may or may not have taken it, doesn’t matter.

As with any path we choose in life, as long as we are comfortable with who we are, no question, person or judgment will tear it asunder.

Yes and No

My gut reaction is always ‘no’.  I do not like to be spontaneous.  I like plans and think that sticking to them prevents meltdowns and unnecessary drama.  This is my weak attempt at controlling life.  Do routines and plans give me comfort?  Yes.  Do these routines and plans always work out how I want them to? No.

Part of evolving as a woman and a parent you have to look at yourself and try to make some changes.  You have to look at all parts of the whole.  Some of these parts are not so great.  How do you know when you’ve found a not so great part?  When you examine it you feel uncomfortable in the pit of your stomach.  That uneasy feeling is your signal you’ve hit pay dirt.

My hidden issue is control.  Growing up I learned to endure an often challenging environment by becoming an impossible perfectionist.  Spontaneity doesn’t really jive with this.

So, why did I marry someone like Mad Dog?  He is at heart a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy.

I married him because somewhere deep down I knew my cookie-cutter ways needed to be challenged.

Yesterday when we were on our way to the outlet mall to buy Full Speed some long pants Mad Dog said, “Let’s see if we can find you a dress and take the boys to a nice dinner.”

Oh, well let me tell you every part of my being screamed ‘no!’.  I was in exercise gear, no make-up and hair disastrously unwashed (I was wearing a baseball cap no less!).  I tried to imagine finding a flattering dress, trying it on, having it actually fit all the while keeping my boys from wreaking insane havoc on the store and its patrons.  I started to sweat, my heart rate increased and my anxiety shot through the roof.

But, I didn’t say no.

I made the conscious effort to know this is my first instinct, and while it has been my coping mechanism in the past, my life is such that I don’t need ‘no’ as a crutch in the same way.

Okay, there was one point when I was agonizing over the size and color of the dress and T.Puzzle and Full Speed were running boisterous laps that I was about ready to throw my hands up in defeat.  Instead I pushed through.  I found a dress, we grabbed some nice shirts for Mad Dog and the boys and went and had a fancy ocean side dinner.

Change is good.  In fact, it’s ocean breeze-awsome scallops-good wine-great company fantastic.

Perfect

When Mad Dog is out of town for work, I decide this is the time in which not only do I have to be supermom, but I have to do it perfectly.  My belief system, as crazy as it sounds, deems it necessary that if I can keep my boys happy and smiling while Mad Dog is away, then I must be doing my ‘job’ right.

Let me say it right now.  This is insane.

So what if Full Speed is angry I made him wear a jacket to school this morning (it was cold, yes, 60 degrees in Florida is considered cold)?  So what if T.Puzzle pouts because I didn’t have his favorite kind of pancake readily available for breakfast (Confetti Pancakes by Aunt Jemima in case you are wondering)?  Oh, and let’s not forget my minor meltdown because Full Speed’s new teacher scheduled an open house with only three days notice.  It took a phone call to my sister who thankfully answered to tell me what to do.  It was so simple.  Skip karate, have Mad Dog’s Dad watch the boys and go to the open house alone.  Brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.

Why didn’t I see this simple solution?  Because my inner perfect Mommy critic told me I needed to take my boys to karate like I promised Mad Dog.  He didn’t know there was an open house when he left and neither did I. For some reason, I couldn’t deviate from my original plan.  My sister gave me the permission I needed so I could.

Thank goodness my sister was a voice of calm reason.  I guess that’s why if you are lucky enough to have one, you are infinitely blessed because they can come through for you in the most unexpected and very appreciated ways.

Maybe I can let my inner critic soften a little bit or at least offer her a shot of tequila (I mean loosen up, girl!), and stop looking at how I am falling short of perfection.  I need to flip my belief system upside down.

How about all the times Full Speed and T.Puzzle shared a genuine giggle with me while Mad Dog is away?  Or how ‘Dust Buster Tag’ is their new favorite pasttime (my floors are cleaner for it)?  Or how about the basic fact that they are clothed, fed, bathed and quite simply loved (even when they are angry and/or pouting)?

Love is patient, love is kind…, it’s anything you want it to be except perfect.

Happy Blog-a-versary to ME!

Well, I did it. I completed a year of daily posts. I set the challenge for myself and despite the crazy constraints of motherhood, I did it. To say that I accomplished anything meaningful outside of potty-training and getting my kids to eat broccoli feels pretty amazing. It is proof that I do still have some brain cells intact and that on occasion, I can rally them together and write something entertaining, heartfelt or just plain silly. I have had a very good time.

I think the biggest change for me has been coming to terms with motherhood. I think sometimes when we are unhappy with who we are, we blame our choices and our circumstances. I will admit, especially in the newborn years, I struggled with my all-consuming role as a mother. I thought that maybe if I had made some different choices, like continuing to work or if I was somehow parenting better, I would feel happier. Turns out, it wasn’t my boys or motherhood, it was me. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish outside of motherhood that determines my value, it is ultimately up to me to determine that. Whether I become a world-famous author or if all I manage is to raise two, well-adjusted boys, my value remains constant. I get that now.

Finally.

So, Full Speed and T.Puzzle, keep bringing it. Keep my days filled with unexpected twists, turns and the random loving, moments. I look forward to the challenge.

Thank you for all the friends I have made along the way. I am excited and hopeful for the coming year and have a feeling, Full Speed and T.Puzzle will not disappoint.

Have a great day and celebrate my blog-a-versary! Cheers!