Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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Hmm…

Hmm…where to begin.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post.  A few months ago when I was asked to renew my blog subscription, I questioned if I wanted to continue.  As I debated in my mind, I realized I did have more things to share and maybe another year of blogging would be a good thing.

Since I began my blog five years ago a lot has happened.  Creating the blog initially was an outlet for me to express my thoughts and feelings regarding midlife, motherhood and my transition from full-time home parent back to the workforce.  Well, I’m happy to say I made it through my “midlife something”, and am now fully immersed in my career.

For the last few years I have gone back to school to update my education, and have worked various jobs to update for resume and job related skills.  My plan worked, as I recently accepted a position that fully utilizes all the information I’ve learned, and has an unexpected bonus.  The job is located overseas in Italy.  It’s hard to believe, but my family and I will be moving over to Italy by the end of the year.

When I think back to where I was five years ago, I realize there were many things I needed to learn before accepting my current employment.  Originally, my blog was created as a result of not getting a job.  After not being selected, I knew I had work to do.  So I got busy. I went to school, started working, and began the process of getting up to speed in my career field.  It wasn’t easy. As a matter of fact, the last few years have been the most challenging times I have ever endured career-wise.  I’ve made many mistakes, but I’ve also taken some amazing risks. I’ve gone out of my comfort zone so many times that I no longer fear things I’ve never done before.  So much so, that I took a chance to apply for jobs that were only dreams for me.

What lies ahead for me is more challenges, but not the fear and doubt I once had.  Years ago I searched for my purpose, my meaning, my contribution to the world outside of being a wife and mother.  It took a while, but I found it.  I hope to use all my life experience to make a difference in children’s lives.

As I embark on an exciting adventure to Italy to live and work, I want to be able to share my experience.  I thought about changing the name of my blog several times to reflect the new direction of my life.  I still may do that in the future.  However, for now my three boys are home for the summer…eating, making messes, and lying around the house making me crazy.  My blog name seems the best fit my life right now.

Arrivederci, my friends.

 

 


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Because

This morning Little Boy asked me to pick him up and carry him in my arms.  While we were walking in the hallway of his school a parent asked, “Isn’t he too big to be carried like that?”  I looked at her and smiled, but said nothing.  I just kept walking with my eight year old boy in my arms.  Why did I carry my little son in my arms, when he is perfectly capable of walking by himself?  Because…

Because he asked me to.

Because I didn’t have anything else in my arms.

Because we weren’t late for school and had the time.

Because I am strong enough to still carry him.

Because I won’t always be strong enough to carry him.

Because one day he will stop asking me.

Because I realize how quickly children grow up, as I deal with Old Boy leaving for college soon.

Because it’s a loving gesture to hold someone close, as I deal with a father who is ill and I may not have as many times to hold him as I would like.

Because he is still a little boy and eight years old isn’t so big.

Because I don’t care if someone thinks I am enabling him.

Because I love my boy. Love that consumes me sometimes and I want to express it.

Because when I pick him up he puts his warm cheek next to mine and I remember why I love children so much.

Because it makes him happy…really happy.  He feels loved and cared for.

Because it makes me happy.

Because it makes both of us happy.

Because we can.


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I Totally Get It Rene

Last week I was scrolling through a news site on my computer when a story caught my eye.  It wasn’t news about Ebola or the bombing of ISIS in Iraq.  It was a celebrity story about actress Rene Zellweger.  Rene Zellweger is an academy award-winning actress best known for her work in the films Bridget Jones Diary and Jerry Maguire.  She has always been considered a talented actress and one of Hollywood’s beautiful leading ladies.

For the last few years Rene has not been in the spotlight or in any feature films.  No one knows for sure why, but many suspect she needed a break from the pressure of Hollywood and fame.  Recently, Rene made a rare public appearance during a social event.  At the event she looked different.  She looked so different that some speculated she had plastic surgery to alter her looks.

I came across an article featured on The Atlantic titled, “Questions for Rene Zellweger“, by Megan Garber.   In the article Ms. Garber lists several questions she has for Rene.  She wonders about Rene’s appearance and why she looks different.  The article was supposed to emphasize Ms. Garber’s concern for Rene, as she is obviously a fan of hers, however her personal questions came off intrusive and judgmental.

Years ago I was one of those people who would have judged others for having age reversal procedures done such as Botox and plastic surgery.  I told myself I would only grow old the natural way and would never resort to doing things that would alter my appearance.  However, that was when I was younger.

Aging is not an easy process to go through. We are all grateful for the gift of growing older, but it is still hard to accept how much our bodies change over time.  It must be even more difficult for people who live their lives in the public eye who are expected to look a certain way.  I don’t know Rene Zellweger , nor do I know if she has recently had some sort of plastic surgery to alter her looks, but I would totally get it if she did.

I have heavy-lidded, small almond-shaped eyes like Rene.  I have contemplated many times having surgery to remove some of the skin on my upper lids.  Having surgery would not only make me look younger, but would allow my eyes to seem more open and alert especially in photos.

The reason I will not have the surgery isn’t because I think I should age naturally, but frankly because I don’t think I could go through the public scrutiny of having surgery and dealing with other people’s judgment for doing so.  Changing the shape of my eyes would make me look very different.   Knowing people were analyzing my reasons for the surgery would be too uncomfortable.  So as a result my eyes will stay the same.

Imagine going to a social function and having your face being analyzed by millions of people instead of hearing that people are glad you’re back to making movies.  Plastic surgery has a place in our society and so do all the products designed to make us look more attractive and younger.

I know several women who have had plastic surgery everything from a brow lift, eye lid lift, breast reduction, breast enhancement, chemical peel, nose job, and full face lift.  Do I think less of them for having surgery?  No.  Each person made a decision that felt right for them.  Do I wish we lived in a society that didn’t make women feel the pressure to look different than they already do?  Yes.  Women of all ages feel the pressure to be thin, dress stylishly, and look young and frankly sometimes if would be nice not to worry about how you look all the time.

Why does it matter if Rene has had surgery to make her eyes seem more open?  Why do we care if she had Botox to smooth her forehead?  How does judging a person’s choice for how they want to look make a positive difference in my life?  The answer is simple…it doesn’t.

I must finally be a grown up because now I believe decisions made that have no impact on other people are frankly none of my business.

Leave Rene alone, folks.  Stop talking about her face.  Let her get back to work and doing what she is good at…making movies.

Rene

 


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Crazy Sort of Brave

In celebration of my 50th birthday my oldest son and I decided to do something different. Not your ordinary kind of different. But something so unique that most of my friends and family were shocked that we did it.

We jumped out of an airplane. Not alone of course. We were tandem to an instructor and jumped from an airplane at 13,000 square feet. For one minute we were in a free fall and then the parachute sail went up and we glided for 7 minutes to the ground.

When I posted our video adventure on Facebook for friends and family to view I was surprised how everyone response was the same. They all told me how ‘brave’ I was. During the entire experience I never thouht for once how brave I was. In my mind I was crazy for doing such a thing.

Brave is a special word reserved for people who do heroic things. Jumping from an airplane wasn’t really brave. It wasn’t heroic. It was just something most people who never do and a little bit crazy.

After hearing how many people thought I was brave I started to think what the word really meant. Does being brave mean doing something other people would never do? Does it mean doing something that involves a risk? Or does mean doing something that requires courage?

I know some very brave people. They have endured far greater fears and uncertainty than jumping out of a plane.

Here are examples brave people I know.

The people who must continue to live after a child they loved has died.

The spouse who is told they are no longer loved and is being left alone to raise the children.

The person diagnosed with cancer and is told they are terminal with only a few months to live.

A child who is being bullied and has no support from the school or community they live in.

The service men and women who are stationed in hostile environments protecting the freedom of people who don’t ever know who they are.

The child who removes a parent from life support because it’s their parent’s wish, but isn’t ready to let their parent go.

The child who must go home to an abusive household never knowing what may happen on any given day.

Being brave doesn’t always mean risking your life. Often it means continuing to live even when doing so seems difficult or impossible.

Jumping wasn’t the scariest part of the event. It was the fear of the unknown on the plane ride up that made me feel most afraid. The fall itself was thrilling. It’s the thrill of doing something so unusual I will remember most, not the fear.

We are all brave. Not because we risk our lives, but because we continue to live despite its’difficulties.


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How I Killed the Green Eyed Monster

Several years ago I became Facebook friends with a woman I will call Betty.  Betty was a friend of a friend and when she sent me a Facebook request I thought nothing of it.  I knew who she was and thought she was a nice enough gal.

I didn’t know Betty very well, but in my early days of Facebook I enjoyed becoming friends with people I hardly knew and learn about their life.  Betty was a Facebook regular and from I could tell from the first few posts a professional at it.  When I first starting reading Betty’s posts I realized Betty had an amazing life.  As a matter of fact, I soon became aware there was nothing ordinary about Betty at all.

Betty is an attractive lady, mother of two beautiful girls, has an amazing career, super fit, married to her husband for over 25 years and rich…very rich.  Betty is the kind of person everyone loves.  She is funny, outgoing and very generous.  Each time I read about her career advances, trips abroad, marathon accomplishments I felt something growing inside of me.  It took me a while to identify what is was exactly, but finally I realized it was a ‘green-eyed monster”.

Each day I looked at my Facebook page and checked in on Betty. I read her posts and all of her comments.  I analyzed her life and every detail of it.  I began to feel envious, even jealous of Betty’s life.  Betty seemed to have it all.  And I do mean all.  Instead glancing at her photos and thinking to myself, “Wow, good for her.”  I started to plot and plan for her demise.

When Betty would go on her amazing vacations I would wish for rain.  When her daughter applied for a prestigious college I hoped the paper work would get lost.  When she ran her second marathon in three months I willed her foot to break.  My jealously seemed to over take me at times.  I allowed someone else’s good fortune and hard work turn me into a vile creature.

One day I spoke to my husband about a recent trip Betty had been on.  I talked about Betty’s trip in such a way that my husband said to me, “You sound jealous of Betty.  Why would you be jealous of her?”  I explained to him that she was beautiful, successful, rich, and a size 2.  To me it seemed obvious why I was jealous of her.  Instead of joining in on my trashing of Betty, my husband suggested I do something else.  He told me to wish Betty well and to be happy for her.

Be happy for Betty?  The woman who had it all didn’t need me to be happy for her, she was already happy.  What I wanted was my life to be more like Betty’s.  I told my husband I wished I had Betty’s life.  He looked at me and said, “If you had Betty’s life you wouldn’t be married to me, have your three boys, your friends, or your family. Is that what you really want?”  I looked at my husband.  What would I do without all the people I loved in my life?  My husband’s wise words got me thinking.

I decided it was time to kill the green-eyed monster.  I didn’t defriend Betty, but started to put positive energy toward her.  When she purchased a new car I told her it was wonderful.  When she won a prestigious award at work I told her congratulations.  And when she shared her photo of her in a bikini in Hawaii, looking stunning, I told her she looked amazing.

Slowly my attitude toward Betty changed.  I began to feel genuinely happy for her. She was a nice lady after all and had never been mean to me.  As a matter of fact she always posted kind things to me on Facebook.  I realized Betty did have an amazing life and it was okay.  I had a great life with a wonderful family, great friends and good health.  My life was the one that suits me best.

Occasionally I glance at Betty’s Facebook postings and think, “Geez.  Another marathon?”  But, for the most part the monster in me is dead.  Killed with well wishes and positive thoughts.

Wonder if all the monsters of the world could be cured with kindness?  It’s something to think about.


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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Awe

When is the last time you felt awe for someone?  Have you ever felt it?  Do you know what it means?  Here is the definition if you aren’t quite sure.

Awe – an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration

I have a friend I am in awe of.  I have known her for over twenty years.  I met her years ago in London when I worked for the US Navy.  When I met her years ago she was a young girl, barely nineteen.  From the moment I met her I knew she was special.

I haven’t seen my friend for twenty years.  I moved away from London and she and I both went about our lives.  About five years ago we reconnected through Facebook.  We began chatting through Facebook messenger.  I read her posts about finding the love of her life and having her first baby.  She read about my adventures with my three boys and husband.  It was wonderful to pick up where our lives were and enjoy learning about what things had changed since we last saw each other.

About two years ago my friend was diagnosed with cancer.  The diagnosis was a surprise because it was noticed shortly after giving birth.  For the last couple years she has fought the bravest battle ever.  I am in awe of her battle.  Since she was diagnosed she has not given up.  Her focus has remained strong and her ability to stay positive is like nothing I have ever know.

The battle has been a long and difficult one.  Sadly, I’m not sure it will be one she will win.  I struggle to type the words that one day her fighting may end.  The thing I admire most is her ability to make other people feel positive, even in the most dire situation.  I don’t know how she does it.  It’s magical in a way.  Each time I chat with her she ends her conversation on a positive note.  Every time.  We both know what lies ahead, but she continues to let me know she is okay, even when I know she isn’t.

My family and I are planning a trip to visit her in a few weeks.  She lives far away.  When my husband asked how I wanted to celebrate my fiftieth birthday this year I told him, “I want to visit my friend.  I want her to meet my family and to meet hers.  But, most of all I want to hold her hand and tell her how much I admire her from years ago and most of all now.”

When I told my friend of our upcoming visit she was excited.  She told me she looks forward to seeing me and meeting the family.  Her voice forever positive, even though we don’t know what changes will happen in the next few weeks.

My friend takes each day as it comes and because of her so do I.   She lives each day to fullest and so do I.  She remains positive and so do I.  She has given me the gift of hope and for that I am forever in awe.