Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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Adjustable

It’s been nine weeks since I arrived in Italy.  There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t say to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here.” Nine weeks ago I was living in the United States surrounded by all the things I’ve been familiar with for the last 25 years.  Now I am surrounded by the unfamiliar.

The best way to describe what I’ve been going through is to imagine you are tailor.  You love being a tailor and are good at it.  Some one calls and asks if would consider opening a clothing store using designs you’ve created.  You’re excited.  You’ll have an opportunity to showcase your talents and do what you love on a grander scale.  The person tells you the store will open in Italy.  Even better, right?  But there’s a catch.  You’ll need to leave your family behind and live alone in Italy for three months.  For the first three months you will not be doing sewing or design creation.  Instead you’ll be locating a place for your new store, working with legal issues, purchasing equipment, hiring staff…you get the idea.  Your excitement becomes clouded with reality.

I think one the reasons most people don’t pursue dreams is because of the adjustment period.  Adjusting from the known to the unknown is scary, unsettling and at times painful.  I’ve shed many tears since my arrival.  The circumstances I’ve had to deal with have been far from ordinary.  Yesterday I was expected for an appointment to visit a local school.  Feeling confident, I decided to meet my staff at the location instead of driving with her.   Mind you I’ve only been driving in Italy for a week.  I pulled out my GPS and headed on my way to the location.  As I pulled up to the destination I realized something was wrong.  There wasn’t a school in sight.  I called for directions, but it didn’t help.  I drove around searching desperately for the school to no avail.  Finally I called to say I wouldn’t make the appointment.  I drove back home feeling defeated.

Many times I’ve felt sure of a situation only to have it not work out.  This happens to everyone, but when you are out of your element it happens a lot more.  If I had gotten lost at home I would have called my husband, but here I had to figure it out on my own.  I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on the support of my family and friends until I was no longer with them.

Although the struggles have been real it doesn’t mean I would change the decision to move here.  Each day when I overcome a difficult situation I become more confident. When I try something new or different I become braver.  Every time I accomplish a task I didn’t think I could do, I realize I’m much more capable than I thought.  It’s a good thing. It’s a crazy, amazing, ridiculous, and wonderful adventure.  I’m proving I’m adjustable to a new life.  I’m proving working for a dream can be hard, but living a dream can be worth it.

 

 

 


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37 1/2 Questions

Recently, while searching for a new exercise video on YouTube, I stumbled upon a video series called 73 Questions.  73 Questions are videos, filmed in a single shot, of personalities (mainly celebrities), asking 73 questions about what they like, hate, and know.  They make the videos appear random, like someone happened to stop by and do an impromptu interview, and ask a few questions.  However, the videos are obviously scripted and practiced.  They are still fun to watch.  I started with Nicole Kidman (her Australian house is amazing), and ended with James Corden.  Check them out for yourself here.

I thought it would be fun for me do something similar for my blog.  However, I have no interest in doing the video portion of the interview or for 73 questions.  I decided to create a list of 37 1/2  questions I’ve been asked regarding my upcoming move to Italy.   Since announcing my decision to move with the family, I have been bombarded with tons  of questions.

Here we go.

1) How did this happen?

I’m not sure I understand the question.  How did what happen?

2) How did you decide to move to Italy?

Oh.  I accepted a job to work over there.

3) No.  I mean…how did you even think of applying for a job in Italy?

Well, 20 plus years ago I worked overseas in London, England.  It was a great experience,and I’ve always wanted to live overseas again.

4)  Did you talk about applying for the job with your family?

Of course.

5)  How did they respond?

Indifferent at first.  They knew it was my dream to live overseas, but didn’t think it wouldn’t really happen.

6) Were they surprised to hear you got the job?

Yes and no.  I’d been talking about applying for jobs for a while, but the fact I got a job offer was a surprise.

7)  How did your family react?

Mixed.  Husband was proud, excited, but nervous.  Older boys were fine, as long as they could stay at their current schools.  Little Boy cried.

8)  Was it hard to have Little Boy cry?

Yes.  Before I accepted the job, we had several family discussions.  There were a lot of questions, and emotions during those conversations.

9)  Is Little Boy still sad?

I’m sure he is, but he also is excited.  We all are.  

10)  What’s the hardest part about making decision to live overseas?

Making sure everyone needs are being met.  Years ago, when I lived overseas I was a single person. Now I am married, with three kids, own a home, and have aging parents.  Making sure we had a plan how to make it work was crucial prior to accepting the job.

11)  What work will you be doing?

I will be the Director of Child Youth programs on an US Military base.

12)  Will you live on the US base?

No.

13)  Do you speak Italian?

No.

14)  Have you been to Italy?

No.

15)  Is everyone moving to Italy with you?

No.  My husband and youngest son are coming with me, but two older boys will remain in the United States.  They want to finish high school and college in the US.

16)  Did you offer for them to come with you to Italy?

Of course.  The older boys have friends, and connections in the US.  They are also ages 18 and 20. They are old enough to decide what they want to do for the future.

17)  Are you sad to leave them?

Yes.  It’s hard to think about,  but they will visit and they will stay with us during vacations and summer.  We are a close family.  We will make sure to stay connected.

18)  How long will you live overseas?

Three years.

19)  Can you stay longer?

Possibly.  It depends on a lot of factors.

20)  Is your husband supportive?

Yes, very.

21)  Was he always supportive?

Yes and no.  At first, we didn’t have all the details worked out.  It was a complex process to see how we could support three boys, three schools, own a home, and two careers.  I’m the dreamer in the family.  He’s the practical one.  His practical side needed to be fulfilled, prior to accepting the job.

22)  What has been the response from family and friends?

Mixed.  Sad, excited, shocked, and happy.  We feel all the same emotions.

23)  What has been the most unusual response to the move?

Silence.  

23)  What will you miss the most when you move?

The people.

24)  What will you miss the least?

Nothing.  I love where I live, my family and my friends. 

25)  Why leave then?

Five years ago my husband and I talked about our future.  We both love to travel, and both want meaningful careers.  This job opportunity offers us both things.  Leaving doesn’t always mean you are unhappy.  Sometimes we leave to experience something more.

26)  What will happen to your house?

We will rent it out.

27)  What about all your belongings?

We will take most of our things with us, and store the rest.

28)  Are you scared?

No.

29)  Really?

Yes, really.  I have concerns, but scared…no.

30)  I’ve never heard of someone taking a job overseas.  Isn’t it unusual?

Not really.  Military families move overseas all the time.  This experience has given me great appreciation for US military families who move frequently and to overseas locations. The process is daunting when you have a family.  

31)  Do you like Italian food?

Is this a real question?

32)  Do you worry about crime in Italy?

Not more than I do in the US.

33)  What happens if you get homesick?

It will happen.  We will get homesick, but we will support each other.  This move is different from my previous one.  There are many more ways to stay connected.  We will also travel back to the US at least once a year.

34)  What would you say to someone considering working overseas or following a dream?

Do the research.  It was not an easy process for this to happen.  Take time to research how it can happen, and begin the process.  If you really see something in your future, you have to take the steps to make if happen.  

35)  Anything else?

Stay positive.  Many times I’ve been discouraged because things didn’t go as quickly, or as smoothly as I wanted.  Surround yourself with positive people who support you.  You will need their encouragement.

36)  Regrets?

No, not yet.

37)  Final words?

I’m grateful for this opportunity.  It’s happening because of many people who believe in and support me.  Timing and luck had a lot to do with it too.  I get to do valuable, meaningful work, see the world, and be with my family.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

371/2 )  And?

Ciao.  We’re done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Power of One Little Word

A conversation between a mother and a teenage son.

Mother and son engage in a conversation.  Mother discusses conversation held with son earlier in the day.

I’m disappointed in the way you handled my simple request this morning.  Your response was very self-centered.” – Mother

“I was in a hurry.  I didn’t have time to help you out.” – Tall Boy

“Yes, you did.  You had time.  I asked you help me with something that was important to me.  I was emotional and needed to know I could count on you.” – Mother

” I know.” – Tall Boy

“Remember to think of others as often as you think of yourself.  Your feelings are important, but so are other people’s.  Hearing how ill my dad is very hard.  I need to know you will support me when times are tough.  I need to know you will be the loving son I’ve raised you to be.” – Mother

“I’m sorry, Mom.  I know things have been hard for you lately.  I love you SO much.” – Tall Boy

Teenage son walks over to mother and gives her a hug.

“I’ve never heard you say that to me before.” – Mother

“Never say what?” – Tall Boy

“Say you love me SO much.” – Mother

“I tell you I love you all the time.” – Tall Boy

“You tell me you love me, but I’ve never heard you say you love me SO much.” – Mother

“I say it everyday I guess just not out loud.” – Tall Boy

Mother smiles.

“I love you SO much too.” – Mother

One little word can change everything.

 

 


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The Joy

A conversation between a mother and a little boy.

Mother and little boy are walking in a store.

Momma,  I’m tired.  Would you carry me?” – Little Boy

“Aren’t you a little too big to be carried around?  You were fifty pounds the last time we weighed you.” – Mother

“Fifty pounds isn’t that heavy.  You work out. You’re strong.  You’re an ox, Momma.” – Little Boy

“An ox?  Thanks…I think.  I may be strong, but you are a big guy now.  You’re seven years old.” – Mother

“Seven isn’t that old.  I can’t drive a car or watch Harry Potter films.” – Little Boy

“I know you aren’t that old, but still won’t you feel strange having your mom carry you around in the store?” – Mother

“No.” – Little Boy

“No?  Really?” – Mother

“No.  When you carry me around I get to rest for a bit and I am closer to you.  It makes me happy.  What’s more important than making your son happy?” – Little Boy

Mother is silent for a moment.

“Come here.” – Mother

Mother picks up little boy in her arms.

See.  it’s not so bad, right?” – Little Boy

“My arms hurt.  You’re heavy.” – Mother

“The pain won’t last forever, Momma.  Someday you’ll miss being able to carry me around in your arms.” – Little Boy

The joy of a seven-year old boy.

 

 


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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Travelista Blog

Traveling abroad is no easy feat with five family members. Several months ago as I was preparing for our family trip to England/Ireland I did research on how to pack lightly.  Packing light was a necessity for the family and I because we were traveling with a large group.  Packing less meant saving money, time, and effort.  Our family goal was for each person to be able to include all the needed items for the trip in one small carry on bag, per person.

Amazingly we achieved our goal.  Each of us brought only one carry and a smaller tote bag on the plane.  We didn’t check any bags in on any flights we flew on.  Packing lightly was not easy for me.  I’m an over packer.  I love to be prepared for anything and have an outfit to wear with any event.  The idea of packing two weeks of clothing, in a small carry on, was stressful enough, but I was also concerned about how fashionable I would look on my travels.  I wanted to enjoy the sights of Europe looking as if I was meant to live in there, not like just another American tourist making their rounds.

Fashion and travel don’t always go together, but luckily I found an addictive website that helped me pack only the necessary items and look like the fashion guru I’ve always hoped to be.  The travel site I found is called Travelista.  It is a small site that focuses on simplifying traveling, especially when in comes to packing light.  I love, love this website.  The packing advice given has changed my travel life forever.

Two must read articles are How to Pack Light and 8 Ways to Pack Like a Fashionista.  The information and advice shared in these article is great.  I thought I would show you what I packed for my two-week trip to Europe using the advice given from Travelista.

I tried to follow the packing guidelines as closely as possible.  The color combinations may seem dull for Fall, but I was happy with my choices.  Every item of clothing could be easily worn with each other and perfect for layering.  Layering is the key to successful light packing.  I will show you my Spring/Fall packing list and one for Summer.  The colors in the Summer packing list are much for colorful.

Spring/Fall Items

Summer Items

The tips used for packing aren’t just for women.  I applied the same principles to pack for my husband and three boys too.  We had room for all of our personal grooming things  and were able to accommodate temperature ranges rain/sun and from the low 40 degrees to the lower 70 degrees.  In case you are wondering we did laundry three times during our trip.

Pretty cool, right?  I certainly think so.  Since our trip to Europe I’ve spent hours preparing for our next family adventure.  Traveling with the kids may not be easy, but at least I won’t have to worry about packing.

 

 


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Eww

 

 

A conversation between a mother, a father, two teenage boys, and a little boy.

Mother walks in to kitchen and sees teenage boy looking for food in pantry and little boy at kitchen table.  Little boy is pouring water into several containers.

“What are you doing?” – Mother

“Getting something to eat.”- Tall Boy

“Not you.  Your little brother.  What is going on with all the water containers?  What are you doing?” – Mother

“I’m being a scientist.  I am seeing what kinds of things can freeze in water.” – Little Boy

“Oh.  Being a scientist is good, but it sure is messy.  Here’s a towel to wipe up some of the water.” – Mother

Mother hands towel to little boy.

“It would be really cool is if we could freeze different types of liquid.  I bet we could freeze pee.” – Little Boy

“Eww.” – Tall Boy

“Why would you want to freeze pee?” – Mother

“Because it’s a liquid, Mom.  We have to see if all liquids freeze.” – Little Boy

Old Boy walks into the kitchen.

What are you guys talking about?” – Old Boy

“Freezing pee.” – Tall Boy

“Ha, ha.  You guys are weird.  If you freeze pee you could make ice cubes and serve them in drinks when friends come over to visit.” – Old Boy

“Yeah.  You could tell everyone it’s lemonade, if you add a little sugar.” – Tall Boy

“Ha, ha.” – Old Boy, Little Boy and Tall Boy

Father walks into the kitchen.

What is so funny?’ – Father

“The Y chromosome you added to our children is acting up again.” – Mother


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A Year in the Life

It’s been a full year since I transitioned back to work from a full-time home parent to a working parent.  Many things have changed in the last year, including blogging taking a back seat to new demands.

My life has changed dramatically over the course of the last 12 months.  Some things for the better, some for the worse, and some things are still the same.

I loved being a full-time home parent.  As a matter of fact, I am not working right now because I work for a school and we are out for summer break.  I am extremely happy.  The boys and I have planned things for this summer, but our schedule is determined by what we would like to do rather than what we have to do.  Being a full-time home parent is kind of like being self-employed.  You can turn down jobs you don’t want and choose the one you do.

My transition to a working parent wasn’t easy.  It’s hard to know if the transition was hard because I had been out of work for so long or because the job I transitioned with was so challenging.  I think it was a little of both.  Being a perfectionist by nature I found the ‘learning curve’ for the new job very hard.  As much as I prepared I was never really ready for how stressful it would be.  Because my job is management, I had to quickly come up to speed skills used over 15 years ago.  Many skills were rusty and some forgotten.  Managing a program and other people while trying to play catch up wasn’t fun.  I felt overwhelmed all the time.

My family seemed to adjust quicker than I.  My oldest son enjoyed his role as driver to pick up his two brothers from school each day.  My husband planned and cooked meals, helped with homework, and managed to pick up the house a bit.  It was painful to come home stressed out each day from work and find the family happy and functioning without me.  I had always prided my work as a home parent and was surprised how quickly I was replaced.

For the first few months at work I made mistakes.  My expectations for myself and others were often too high.  I didn’t have a coping system for all the new emotions I was experiencing.  I did a lot of yelling, crying and complaining.  Most of which was done at home with my family.  My husband and kids had to endure a woman was wasn’t at home as often and when home she was an emotional mess.  I doubted my decision every single day and longed for my former life being home.

However, like most new experiences I became more familiar and things got better.  I started to experience success.  People made comments how I was making a positive difference.  My staff responded well to my direction.  I found I was more capable than I thought I was.  I developed friendships related to me and to my work, not things related to my kids.  I began becoming a separate person away from being a mother and wife. I could relate to why so many women wanted to return to work, so they could have accomplishments that were solely their own.

A year in the life of a working mom I have survived.  It hasn’t been all good, but there has been good in it.  The boys proved they were capable to doing more to care for themselves.  My husband proved he is able to be as nurturing as I am.  But most of all, I proved to myself that  I can work, being a wife, be a mom, not perfectly, but in a way that makes me and my family happy.

I made it through the first year.  That makes me pretty darn proud.