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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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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Mom Says It Again

The other night at dinner Tall Boy sprung the news to my husband and I his school had an open house the next night.  My reaction wasn’t one of joy.

“Mom, open house for school is tomorrow.” – Tall Boy

“Really? I don’t remember seeing the email.  That’s too bad.” – Mother

“You always say that, Mom.” – Tall Boy

“Say what?” – Mother

“Say, that’s too bad”.  – Tall Boy

“No, I don’t”. –  Mother

“Yes you do”. – Tall Boy

“You do, Mom”. – Little Boy

“You have a bunch of things you say all the time.  You repeat the same sayings over and over.” – Old Boy

“What are you talking about?  What do I say over and over?” – Mother

For the next half hour at dinner the family proceeded tell me quotes I use on a daily basis.  Every mother has a few quotes to be remembered by, but apparently I have more than the average mom.  This morning when I woke up my husband kindly (or not so kindly) left a list of my quotes for my on the counter.  Ten quotes isn’t too many is it?

That’s too bad.

I say this one a lot.  It’s used when I’m not happy.

“Mom, Dad said to tell you the washing machine is broken.”

Stop talking.

This quote is used when my boys won’t stop talking.  It’s self explanatory.

Stay calm.

When I feel frazzled I use the quote to remind myself what I need to do.  I used this excessively teaching the teenagers to drive.

Unfortunately.

This is another quote to show my unhappiness for a situation.

“The guys will be over soon for a sleepover, Mom.”

Stop bothering those people.

This wonderful quote isn’t an original of mine.  My husband overheard a mother saying it to her annoying son while waiting in line at LEGOLAND.  I use it to remind my boys to be good in public.  Not sure who “those people” are though.

The thing is…

Here’s another stolen quote.  This one comes from my older sister.  She says this all the time to explain a situation.  I use it to explain things too.

“The thing is…money doesn’t grow on trees.  Dad and I don’t have money to hand out when you waste your money on new muscle shirts.”

Focus.

All mothers say this quote.  This one is used mainly for my little son.  I remind him to stay on task and get the job done.

Hubble up.

A morning routine saying.  This one means, “Hurry up people or we’ll be late again.”

What’s happening in the land of ___________ grade?

I like this quote.  I say it instead of the usual, “How was your day at school?”  It has a fill in the blank section that makes it easy to say for multiple children.

Don’t forget about trash and recycling.

This quote is said everyday to Old Boy.  It’s his job to take out the trash and recycling and he never remembers.  I do a daily reminder for him.  He hates this quote, but if he did his job I wouldn’t need to remind him.

I’m sorry to hear about that.

Another one of my “I’m not happy to hear that” quotes.

“Mom, we are out of toilet paper again.”

Mom’s are supposed to have famous quotes.  Years from now when I am gone they’ll have happy memories of their mother’s sayings.  At least I hope they’re happy memories.  If they don’t that’s too bad.


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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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The Center of The Universe

A conversation between a mother and a little boy.

Mother is cleaning the kitchen.  Mother looks at the kitchen table.

“Hey, who made the big mess on the kitchen table?” – Mother

Silence.  Mother glances in living room and sees little boy.

“Did you make the mess on the table?” – Mother

“Maybe.” – Little Boy

“What do you mean maybe?” – Mother

Mother walks over to kitchen table.

“These look like your pens and markers.  Someone has been drawing.” – Mother

Mother looks a one of the drawings.

“This has your name on it.  Did you draw it?” – Mother

“Maybe.” – Little Boy

Mother looks closely at the drawing.

“What is the drawing about?” – Mother

“It’s about our family.  First there was you and then daddy.  Then came my big brothers and then came me.” – Little Boy

“Oh.” – Mother

“You are the center of the universe.  You are beginning of it all.” – Little Boy

Mother smiles.

“I’m the center of the universe?  I’ll clean up the mess on the table.” – Mother

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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.