Mom life

I have been hesitant to get too excited about this, but 43t is back. Just in time for my 43rd birthday. There’s a symmetry in that. It speaks to me.

It’s also a timely return. Because my radio silence this week wasn’t just because I was busy; it’s because I am thinking. I’ve come to realize that the reason I keep failing at certain things is because I’m trying to be the best me I used to be. I’m a mom now. Not just a mom, but a mother of young children. Some stuff just isn’t going to get done right now, because they come first.

And that’s okay. There will be time later on to do the other things I want to do. Right now is their childhood. I don’t want to miss it. But that does mean I need to rethink what I want to do and how I plan to do it.

Goals

Work. I keeps applying. They keeps rejecting. I’m seriously considering a new career path. Which means grad school. Again. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t just hang it up and go teach.

Health. I hate to admit this, but I kinda gave up on February.

Organization. I cleaned out the car, turned Anya’s old car seat around, and installed her new car seat. And that was enough for one week, believe me.

 

Creativity. Bought some stuff to make a surprise for Mimi for Mother’s Day. More on that later.

 

Fun. It’s been sunny and warm. Fun has happened outside. Love spring. Even if it makes me sick.

Pretty is what pretty knows

My daughter tells me she is too pretty to learn.

She is pretty. I won’t take that away from her. In my life, I have felt ugly far more often than I have felt pretty, and that’s a particularly painful way to spend childhood and adolescence. But too pretty to learn? That’s an awful attitude to have before school even properly starts.

I know that learning is tough for her. I probably didn’t help matters when I blew up at that statement; I know she hates to disappoint me. But I consider myself an intellectual; for her to dismiss knowledge out of hand stung, to be frank. And I wanted to be absolutely clear that I will not for one second allow her to think that being pretty is more important than being knowledgeable.

Look, I’ve heard that line myself. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I heard it a lot. “You’re too pretty to be sad.” Like how I looked had a damn thing to do with the work crisis before me. “You’re too pretty to cry.” When I had a perfectly legitimate reason to be crying. I railed against “pretty.” Pretty never fixes anything.

And, well, if all goes well, 20 turns 42. Nobody calls me pretty anymore. Which is fine. Because pretty doesn’t pay the electric bill or clean the garbage disposal. Pretty doesn’t schlep my kids to and from schools and parks and doctors’ offices. Pretty doesn’t buy groceries, or cook dinner, or edit 20-page manuscripts by non-native English speakers while nursing a sick toddler. Pretty is for gardens, and shoes, and paintings. I’d rather be smart than pretty any day.

Nobody’s calling me smart, either, as I sit here in my eighth month of unemployment. But they’re more apt to call me smart than pretty.

I want my daughter to like how she looks. But I don’t want her to put too much stock in how she looks. Because she is smart. And because knowledge is far more useful than beauty. Lasts a lot longer, too.

I have a lot of knowledge. It’s one of my favorite possessions. And I want so desperately to share it with her. I just need to figure out how to get her interested in learning it.

Spring approaches

The groundhog may have felt differently, but I see spring. In the air, in the plants and trees, in the frisky birds and the restless children. In the ants that have suddenly invaded my kitchen, office, and bathroom. In the glow of the sunset light, which comes later each day. Spring’s not here yet, but it’s coming.

Loving:

Friday, Anya awoke in a good mood. She was loving, patient, cheerful, and kind. All together pleasant. I had suffered insomnia the night before, and was crabby and surly and impatient. But that’s no excuse, because she woke at 3 a.m. with diarrhea, and was still lovely at 7. I need to be more like my kid.

Reading:

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.

Watching:

Under the Dome and Supernatural. Getting caught up on both.

Listening to:

I tried to shake things up a bit with some Goo Goo Dolls. Anya still likes them — the older, more metal/punk stuff, not the love songs (yuck, Mom!). Kai still prefers soft indie, though he will jam to We Are the Normal. Finally, Anya told me to put Matt Nathanson back on.

Working on:

Planning a wedding. Or planning to plan a wedding. Okay, so all I’m doing is pinning things on Pinterest. But by the time I have the money to do anything, it’ll all be decided.

Anticipating:

Birthdayfest 2017.

Making me happy:

Kai’s lovely little personality. Yeah, he’s nearly 2, in every sense. He has a little bruise in the middle of his forehead because he bangs his head on the baby gate when he’s mad. But he’s also silly and sweet and playful. Just an awesome little dude.

Yet another reminder that I’m a mom

I’m kind of at a crossroads right now. Not just because kid illness has derailed yet another week, but also because I’m beginning to accept that this is not an intermittent thing, or even a temporary one. This is my life now. And I need to find a way to live with that, and to thrive despite of it.

Mama needs some me time. Not a girls’ night out, not a weekend at the spa, not even a week-long vacation — regularly scheduled time to take care of myself. But how?

Goals

Work. One thing I’ve learned from this month’s experiment: When you get rejected for a job you really, really want, it hurts more.

Health. Operation Bleach All The Things is due to commence. If, that is, I don’t start hurking up my socks. (I’ve been kind of waiting on that, actually.)

Social. I am not entirely at fault for my lack of action here. At the moment, I am antisocial because at any given moment I am likely to be positively marinated in kid germs. My hermiting is a public service, really.

Diet. I have good days. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.

 

Because some things you can’t buy

The other day I mentioned these cookies.

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Those are arrows. I swear.

I have this long, heartfelt post I want to write about these cookies, but I am wrangling a 40-page engineering manuscript. So here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

My grandma used to bake these amazing heart-shaped frosted sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day. She also used to bake shamrock-shaped ones for St. Patty’s, though of course the frosting on those was green instead of pink. These cookies were simply divine: Fluffy and soft, with a delicate almond flavor. I don’t have many warm fuzzies about my grandma, as I think I’ve mentioned, but I did love those cookies. All the more because she wasn’t really a cookie-baking grandma.

I miss those cookies. Haven’t had them in several decades. And it hit me the other day, apropos of nothing, that I will never have her cookies again, not ever.

My mom also bakes amazing sugar cookies, though hers are thinner than Gran’s were. She tends to only bake them around Christmas, though. And with her RA, she doesn’t often feel well enough to bake these days. My kids could grow up thinking sugar cookies are supposed to taste like those things at the grocery store, the ones made from white cake mix.

That just can’t be.

So I decided to learn how to make them. There was some trial and error; the first batch came out as underdone misshapen Frankencookies, and my frosting skills still leave a bit to be desired. However, even bad cookies are still cookies. And practice makes perfect.

Which means there will also be St. Patty’s shamrock cookies, of course.

Why my morning routine isn’t working

I’ve been sitting here ruminating on why I can’t get going on my morning routine, and I think I’ve hit upon the answer. (So of course I had to drop what I am doing and write about it.)

I’m trying to have a single morning as a mom.

What I’m trying to pull off would have been easy as a single person. Even when it was just me and R. In fact, it’d have been even easier than it is on my best days now, because the sink and the living room floor were always clear when I got up. I could have just done my thing.

Point is, I didn’t. Not regularly, anyway.

And now it is just not happening — at least not for a few years. This month has been no different from last month, or the month before, and next month will be more of the same. Kids will get sick. Babies will be clingy. Until they need me less, my time is not my own. Which is how it should be.

So I am conceding defeat here. Not that I don’t need to exercise, eat, and take time for myself. I do. I just need to find a way to make those things happen that better fits my life at this moment.

Just as soon as I figure out what that is, I’ll let you know.

At least there is chocolate

Late post. Also bound to be a short one, as I’m dashing it off in between editing articles, and I should have already started dinner. So it goes.

Sunday night, Anya came down with the stomach flu. Barfed all over the sheets (really, just the most puke I’ve ever seen in one place from a single person) before I could even react. Luckily, I managed to get us cleaned up and spare sheets on the bed without too much bother, which led to me adding two more things to my adulting list:

  • Always have spare sheets and bedspread/blanket for each bed. Spare pillows are also nice.
  • Always have a spare vinyl shower curtain (or other waterproof covering) to put under those sheets.

And to think I almost put that shower curtain in the shower and tossed the current one. Plus one for my inner hoarder.

I spent yesterday doing laundry. Literally. It took four times through the wash to clean those sheets. And then there was the mattress cover, the pillows, the washcloths, and the bedspread.

Today she is better (well, still has a smidge of diarrhea), but still has a double ear infection. So she’s on an antibiotic, which hopefully won’t give her another round of C. diff. I am never going to fully trust antibiotics again, I can tell. This chapter of my life has been far too poopy for that.

Also today, I got yet another job application rejection email. Only I really  wanted this job, so I’m extremely bummed about it.

So I came home and ate a cookie and some chocolates for lunch. Because sometimes you have to do things like that.

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I don’t know why the frosting came out gray. It’s purple. More on these cookies in another post.

Giving the kids (and R, of course) their presents helped, at least.

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Then I had a dentist appointment to discuss fixing my teeth. I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but never had the money. My dad finally offered to pay for it (love him), so I’m getting started. First we’ll whiten, then we’ll start replacing my crumbling dental work. I feel pretty good about it. For once.

So this week started badly (to put it mildly), but is slowly looking up. May it continue in that direction.