Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My "Dirty Little Secrets"

Peppered throughout the book I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile are real moms' “Dirty Little Secrets”. For instance one mom confesses “I lost my job but still dropped my son off at day care and pretended to look for a job while I went shopping and got a manicure.” Another mom admitted, “I don’t know how to ask for help. I just know how to scream at my husband.” These “dirty little secrets” are the reality of motherhood and I think we hurt ourselves, our relationships, and other mothers when we don’t speak about those so-called “horrible” things. Whether it is unrealistic expectations, guilt, fear of judgment, or something else that prevents us from talking about these secrets, the silence perpetuates these negative feeling. The silence seems to confirm that “Yes, that ‘dirty little secret’ IS awful!” When, in reality, these “secrets” are not horrible. They are merely moms doing their best while struggling with the expectations, guilt, and judgments our culture places on motherhood.

Trisha and Amy state in their book, “So it’s time to get real and start improving our lives in motherhood. And the first step involved being frank – with ourselves and with others.” And to that, I say, “Bravo!” So, in that spirit I offer to you my “Dirty Little Secrets”.
  • There are times when I ignore and hide from my children in another room because I am not in the mood to be a mom.
  • Within the first days of being at home with my second son after his birth, there were times that I thought, “I don’t know if I like him much.”
  • When my boys gave up naps, I was bitter and resentful because they were taking away my afternoon moments of salvation.
  • Sometimes, just before my husband is due home from work, I make vacuum marks on my carpet so it looks like I have “done something”.
  • I am already planning a “WooHooie, Let’s Celebrate with Mimosas!” party for the first morning that my youngest gets on the bus for all day Kindergarten. And, I still have a year and half until that happens!

So Moms, what are your “Dirty Little Secrets”?


Today I am participating in Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday hosted by Shell at Things I Can't Say.
 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mom Guilt - an AH HA Moment!

Recently, got the book I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile at the library.  Holy Moly!!! - as I read it, at times, I felt like the authors must have been living inside my brain recording and documenting my every thought!  It didn't take me long to read the entire thing and now I am going back and rereading parts.  When I checked it out, I expected it to be a fun read.  But what I didn't expect was all the practical and wonderful solutions that the book offered.  So I decided that this week I would share some of the wondeful nuggets and the "AH-HA moments" that I got from the book.

The first one is about Mommy Guilt.  What I found incredibly interesting was that, in the book, they compared how men and women experience guilt.  They noted that dads don't seem to have the "guilt gene".  And while they may occasionally have some guilt, it is not nearly as much as moms. 
"Yes, a father who inadvertently whacks his daughter in the head while tossing around a baseball is going to feel guilty. But he's probably not going to question his choices. He won't take the accident as a referendum on whether he's a good father."

I read that, and realized something incredibly important - My husband does not understand the guilt that I feel and therefore may not understand some of my behaviors.

For instance, there are times when I feel guilty because as I am finishing a post on my blog, I hear my children arguing.  I immediately think that, obviously (in my mind), they are fighting because they need to spend quality time with me *guilt*.  So I decide to stop what I am doing to go to the playroom.  On the way, I pass through the kitchen and I see the dirty dishes *guilt* in the sink.  Which reminds me that the laundry hasn't been started *guilt*, and my husband is on his last pair of sock *guilt* ...which leads me to the questioning of my abilities as a wife and a mother .  Typically, this is when I feel overwhelmed - because of course I have thrown in everything (we are out of milk, and the floor need to be mopped, and...) and the kitchen sink *guilt, guilt, guilt, more guilt*  into the evidence.  And since I am the judge and jury, the verdict is GUILTY...horrible mom, horrible wife. 

All of this leads me to a type of paralyzed state.  I am so overwhelmed by all that I have to do and, more importantly, by the guilt, that I don't know what to do.  I don't know where to start and my emotions are ready to explode.  I try to manage it.  I know to tackle one thing at a time and just move forward.  But, at times, I struggle, because all I want to do is escape.  Escape from my feelings, the guilt, the preschool arguments, and the mundane tasks.  And, when I have told (read: complained to) my husband about my day, he doesn't get it.  He says, "just make a list and start getting things done." 

AH HA Moment Alert!: After reading the guilt chapter in this book, I realized, he is not meaning to be SO damn condescending!  He just has no clue.  No experience with overwhelming guilt.  So, he doesn't understand my paralysis.  He is sincerely trying to be helpful.  AH HA!  I need to clue him in!

So I shared the quote with him and I explain how I feel, and you know what?  I think he got it (at least a little). 

I know that I need to work on my issues surrounding guilt, but having him hear me (I mean really hear me) and say, "I never realized you were feeling that"...Ahhhhh, that feels good.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

House Projects and Me Projects.

So, as I write this, my husband is painting – our foyer, dining room, and hallway. I am so excited to see the color! (It’s called Ancestral Gold – but at times it looks a bit green). And I offered to help, but he said, “No Thanks”. He is a bit particular about how paint goes on the walls, and my abilities do not meet his standards, so far be from me to get in his way. So, because of the painting, I have been thinking about our house and the various projects that we want to do to improve our home. And, perhaps it is the paint fumes affecting my brain, but I really thought these house projects are just like the journey of life. I know, you are probably thinking… “Definitely paint fumes.” … but let me try to explain…

We bought our home five years ago. My husband and I love to do house projects – however at the time of purchase, we had a newborn, and had just finished gutting and redoing our condo. So we didn’t want a fixer-upper. This was wonderful home for us. It was move-in ready, but we also identified many improvements to make it more ours. So we bought it and moved in. We didn’t need to paint, or change the flooring, or buy a lot of new things. We had learned a lot from our previous home. Specifically, that what we thought we wanted when we moved in, was not necessarily what we liked after living there for a while. So we agreed that we would live in the home for one year before making any major changes. So after one year we decided to tackle a large project and redo a half bath (which we did almost entirely ourselves). Other projects followed. Some simple (like painting), some more complex (like replacing doors and removing closets), some that can’t be seen (like installing a tankless water heater, and new HVAC unit), and some necessary (like fixing a leaky roof). Each project took time, energy, and persistence. Is our house done? No way! There are many more projects slated – but, I know it will not happen overnight. I do have high hope that one day I will feel that the home is just as I would like it. But right now, it is a work in progress.

I too am a work in progress. And, just like our house…
  1. I am wonderful, but there is a lot of room for improvements.
  2. I have learned a lot from previous experiences.
  3. I have come to realize that sometimes, who I think I want to be may change over time and often it is best not to make a change too quickly.
  4. There are improvements to myself that I would like to make – some are simple, some are more complex, some most people won’t even notice, and still others are incredibly necessary.
  5. Each of these changes will take time, focused energy, and persistence.
  6. And I too have high hopes that one day (or at least that more days than not) I will feel that I am exactly who I want to be.
However, most of the time, I am patient with the house project process. I understand, that to do it “right” and have it the way I want it to be, it will take time. I also am very forgiving of circumstances that derail our progress and I understand that “shit happens”. But those mindsets, I have not applied to the development of me. Perhaps it’s high time I do!
 


Friday, March 26, 2010

Lost-ness

I found this quote...

"It is good to feel lost... because it proves you have a navigational sense of where "Home" is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn't that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it."
~Erika Harris

And I think it sums up perfectly how I felt when I started this blog.  I decided that through writing, reflection, and actively stepping outside of my comfort zone, I could better find my way "home". 

What do you do to get un-lost?




Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brothers and Friends


As I sit here writing this, I am listening to my boys march through the house with instruments.  They are in a band.  The our chocolate lab is howling at the "trumpet" AB is playing. 
Everyone is having fun!


Today I am thankful that my boys are such good friends. 
Having two boys 14-months a part, at times is CRAZY...but today I am thankful that they have each other!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Ugly Confession

I do it.

I HATE that I do it.

But, I do.

I’m not proud of it. I try not to even “go there”. But, sometimes it creeps in. And for a moment, I feel better about me. And when that moment passes (which it quickly does), I feel worse. Because, in the end, it is about me… My insecurities. My guilt. My fear.

I CONFESS: I judge other mothers. Damn, I hate to admit that. Because I know that the judgments that we have of each other is what leads to though horrible feelings of “Maybe I am not a good mom.” I try to be kind, understanding, and often times I can, “Oh, so relate”, and my judgment stays a bay. And in those moments, I am proud to be a mom and feel like I am contributing the greater good of all mothers. But there are times, when a mom does something that “I would never do”, or is not kind, or is just different - and then, much to my chagrin, I “go there”.  I hate that I see such interaction between a mom and her child and I draw conclusions and make judgments without knowing the person, entire situation, or circumstance. It’s not fair. Not fair to other mothers, and not fair to me.

In these times of judgment, for a moment, I get a “good” feeling. An I-know-better feeling. A feeling of triumph, because in my self-serving mind, I have “beat” that mom and the gold medal of motherhood is mine. But that feeling is short lived, and incredibly destructive.  Deep down I know that I have won nothing and that these judgments are merely a defense mechanism for my insecurities, guilt, and fear about my own abilities as a mother.

And, because I have these judgments, I know that other moms are doing the same to me. So, as I hear my son scream “NO, I am NOT going.” And proceeds to laugh at me as I angrily pick up his kicking, flailing body and carry him out of the McDonalds Playland, I feel the eyes.
THE JUDGMENTS.
I want to cry and scream, “I am just doing the best I can, right now in this moment!” And shriek, “No, I AM a good mom.” But as I pull out of the parking lot, with tears in my eyes, and my frustration level off the Richter scale, I wonder, “Am I?”

 
Today, I am participating in Pour Your Heart out Wednesday hosted by Shell at Things I Can't Say.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Friend!

Today is a good friend's birthday! We met in Childbirth Preparation class. On the first day of class, her and her husband walked in the door, and I thought, "We could be friends!"

Since then we have shared our lives together. Together we experienced the trials and tribulations of being first-time moms and supported each other through our pregnancies with our second children. We have cried together and commiserated about the lack of sleep, mommy guilt, being the “Worst Mom EVER”, and all of our frustrations about motherhood. We have celebrated birthdays, new homes, potty training successes, full nights of sleep, and happy hours.
My favorite part of our friendship is that were can be REAL! She does not expect me to be someone I am not and I do the same for her (at least I hope I do). Because of this we have learned to appreciate and laugh about our differences. And, although (and maybe because) we are SO different, I can not imagine the last five years without her friendship. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LJF and thank you!

And LJF, perhaps it IS true,
maybe we WILL miss these times!

Do you have a good friend like this?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Family Meeting

I remember as a kid, on Sunday nights, my mom would holler across the neighborhood, “Kids, time for a family meeting!” Oh, it was so embarrassing! Our friends would say, “What are you guys doing?”, I’d mumble, “It’s this thing they make us do.” And then I’d scurry home, grab a beanbag chair, and sit…begrudgingly ready for our family meeting.

Yep, you guessed it. I am now that mom. Or should I say, that dork of a mom. Last night JT and I held our third family meeting. The boys are too young to know that most other families don’t do this. And they are too young to be “too-cool”.  In fact, after only three weeks, on Sunday, they remind us about "tonight's" meeting.

What did we do at our family meeting? (Thanks for asking) We talk about the week ahead...discussing what things we have to do, and what activities that they would like to do. This week they requested a trip to the Natural History Museum. We look at the calendar and talk about upcoming events like Spring Break and Birthday Parties. They already know that during family meetings in the summer we will start assigning weekly “contributions” (otherwise known as Chores). And, at the end they have “Show and Tell Time” where they get the spotlight to share what ever they would like. Last night, AB showed us a magnificent side jump, and OB displayed his leap-over-the-foot-stool maneuver.

I even made and an agenda. I mean, it’s a meeting, and when I was working outside the home, when I held meetings, I had an agenda…so it seemed to only make sense.  Some folks might say I have too much time on my hands. And, perhaps that is true.

I know it’s dorky. It certainly isn’t a typically meeting, since half of the participants are 4 and 5 year old. But, I think they are learning a lot and building some important life skills (communication, organization, negotiation, teamwork…) I also think it will serve our family well in the future.

I know we are not the only ones…Do you have family meetings?
What are your meetings like?




Sunday, March 21, 2010

Killjoy?

I remember the moment clearly. My oldest, AB was about five months old and we were visiting my brother in Chicago. My husband, JT and I were shopping in a mega huge furniture store. It was a good day. We had AB in the stroller and were casually walking through the store when we can upon a blissful, happy couple. She was clearly pregnant, so as we were shopping nearby, I inquired about her due date. They giggled and smiled as they told me that the baby was due “almost any day now.” It was their first baby. Written all over their faces were a mix of emotions – excited, anxious, nervous, giddy… They peaked into the stroller and cooed and smiled at AB. He smiled back. I could tell they were wondering what it was like to actually be a parent. Thinking about how wonderful it would be to hold their baby and shop with their cherub. Their faces were glowing – the anticipation and excitement of the glorious moments of the future was evident.

I didn’t mean to crush their enthusiasm and joy. I didn’t mean to be a killjoy…but, before I knew what I was saying, it popped out…

“The first 3 months suck, but after that it starts to get better.”

Their faces changed. The excitement was erased, replaced with… Horror?  Disbelief?  Confusion?  Fear? Annoyance?

JT grimaced.

I back pedaled, “I mean, err, aaa…It’s wonderful….it’s just the sleep deprivation that is hard…”

They gave me a half smile.

We moved on – in separate directions.

My husband was appalled.

JT: “Did you have to say that?”
Me: “What? It’s true! The first three months are SO hard.”
JT: “I know, but you don’t need to tell random strangers that.”
Hum…maybe he has a point. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it. But then again, I wonder…Why not? What is so horrible about what I said? It was hard.  It did suck.

It was also wonderful, magical, and full of unimaginable immense love and joy. But everyone talks about that.
So why not talk about the hard stuff too?

Friday, March 19, 2010

All Dressed Up...

And No Place To Go...'cuz this blog's hosting the party!

WoooHooie!!!!! In Search Of Me in Mommy got a makeover...

So, tell me...what do you think of my new "do?"

Thank you Emma, from Indiechick Designs!  It was great to work with you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stuck

Sometimes I just feel stuck. Usually Google helps me become unstuck. For instance, when AB came home from preschool with a Leprechaun Trap assignment, I was not sure how to help him. So we headed straight to Google, typed in “live animal traps” and found pictures of trapped raccoons in cages that were a bit more complex than the abilities of a preschooler. So, on a whim, I typed “leprechaun traps” and *pop, pop, POP, pop* multiple sites appeared, including step by step guides, images, and videos! Who knew?!!?

This happens daily.
I get stuck – google it...

“potty training” *bam*   Solutions (or at least things I can try).

“How do I to start a blog?” *poof*   Lots of answers and suggestions.

“Fun activities for kids in Cleveland" *abracadabra*   Bazillion lists of ideas.

I even remember…
“Why does my 9 month old baby have bright green poop?” *gasp*, ANSWERS!

Unstuck.
Google, it’s an amazing tool.

In this world, where all the answers seem to be at my fingertips, I expect to dig up life’s solutions quickly, painlessly, and easily. But, in this process of rediscovery, I am finding that is not always the case. Google is great about answering (correctly or not) questions of fact. And it is also good about providing multiple opinions and solutions for many problems. But, Googling “What should I do next?” or “Am I a good mom?” or “How do I know that what I am choosing to do with my life is right?” or “Where am I headed?” will not give me the answers I am looking for. The answers to these questions are not quick, painless, or simple and the solutions are not instantaneous or available 24/7.

I know that I need to look inward and that only I have the answers to these questions. I know by embracing the journey – the ups and the downs – I will find my way and have my answers. It is a process. I know I need patience, persistence, serenity, and time.

Yep, I know all that (and I even believe it to be true)…

But today, I am feeling stuck,
and I just wish I could google my way out of it.

The big 50!


Happy 50th to In Search of Me in Mommy!

This post is my 50th post!  I am excited...when I started (just 3 months ago), while I told myself that if I was going to do this whole blog-thing, then I needed to stick to it.  But since I can be a serial-starter with the lackluster follow-through I wasn't sure how I would do.  But, I am committed to this journey and this blog has given me a creative space to discover!

So today, I am thankful for this blog.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leprechaun Trappings

Last Thursday was a crazy day! I picked my sons up from preschool and my oldest, AB, had an important tale to tell. It seems, while him and his friends were outside on the playground, their classroom was being ransacked by a leprechaun! The room was a great big mess – this Irish creature left behind, green footprints, shamrock droppings, and even a note. A wayward leprechaun was on the loose and he MUST be caught.  So, AB devised a plan...

video

Well, how would you catch a leprechun?

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

My Someday/Maybe List

So, a while back I talked about the book Ready for Anything, by David Allen and I mentioned that I jotted a few things down that ressonated with me.  One such item is the Someday/Maybe List.  The premise of this is that by writing down your thoughts of the somethings, that maybe, you would like accomplish, you don't lose great ideas, or fill up that precious space in your brain with reminders to remember all those wonderful somethings.  What I liked about this concept is that a Someday/Maybe list has no committment to when, or even if, I want to pursue any given item.  It also gives me a place to put and refer back to those ideas that are not a priority, but one day might (or not) be. 

So I decided to start my Someday/Maybe List...
  • Write a Family Mission Statement
  • Renovate Master Bathroom and Kitchen
  • Paint on Canvas (and be proud to hang it)
  • Write and Get Published
  • Travel across the USA with JT and the boys (before JT & I become "uncool")
  • Coordinate a Weekend Retreat for Moms
  • Start Creating Digital Scrapbooks for our family
  • Do a Heritage Scrapbook for my siblings
  • Reorganize Closets throughout the house
  • Become More Spiritual (and understand what that means for me)
  • Find a local Clinton or Stacy to tell me What Not To Wear (and if they have the $5000 for me to spend, that would be great too!)
I'm sure there will be things that I add, and stuff that will be removed - but putting these wonderful thoughts and great plans on paper is surprisingly powerful.  I feel one step closer to actually acheiving a dream or two!

What would be on your Something/Maybe List?

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Perfect Evening

On Saturday night I had a party. Before having children, I used to host many parties, for various reasons - birthdays, holidays, bon voyage, congratulatory, etc. Others times I would create a reason to get people together - my favorite being the "Come-sit-your-ass-on-my-new-red-couch party." Since having my boys, I still host gatherings, but not near as often as I used to.

Saturday’s event, in my pre-kids life would have merely been classified as a “get-together”.  It was two of my mommy friends (one with spouse, the other spouse-free for the evening) and their children - for a total of five adults and five children (ages 5 - 2...all boys). While, I do hazily recall screaming, running, crying, chasing, playing, happy children, in my mind, what I really remember it as a wonderful night of grown-up conversation, good friends, yummy food, and wine...
(I even got out my favorite Party Plates!)

What more could I want?
It was a perfect evening!
 What's your perfect evening?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is your life playful?


"Life is an experiment to discover what's possible.  As it tinkers with discovery, it creates more and more possibilities.  With so much freedom for discovery, how can life be anything but playful?"
-from A Simpler Way by Margaret J Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers


Thankfully, my kids often remind me about the importance of play!


Is your life playful?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Becoming my own best friend.

Hi my name is Kim, and I beat myself up.

I am not talking about bitch slaps or sucker punches. Nope, while that would be concerning (and oddly, comical to see), I think what I am talking about may be more damaging.

I do it in broad daylight, while people are watching. I do it in the middle of the night, while everyone is sleeping. I do it while eating and talking and while socializing. The amazing part is that very few people even notice. And, scarily, sometimes I don't even know when I am doing it. The damage can not be seen in cuts, scrapes or bruises and the damage is caused entirely by me. My weapons are my thoughts, and if I was able to see my esteem, confidence, and self-worth, I'm sure, at times, they would be bloodied and black and blue.

It all seems very ridiculous, and unnecessary. I know better. I am better - worth more. The words I say to myself and think about myself, I would never place on others. At times, I am my own worst enemy. So why then, do I do this? I do not know, but I do know that I can make changes, and the cuts and bruises can heal.

Recently I went to presentation entitled Don’t Just Survive Motherhood, Live it!  The speaker, Sharon Nittinger, the founder of Nittinger Seminars, had a lot of good suggestions and tips for mothers about caring for ourselves. One area she encouraged all of us to be more aware of was our negative self talk. When she talked about this, I knew that, for me, this was a key to being happier. In Sharon’s workbook, Rediscovering the Person You Lost: A workbook for you, there is a whole chapter on this very topic. She identifies types of distorted thinking that leads to negative self talk. When I first read the chapter, I didn’t think that I engaged in many of the different types, but after completing the exercises, I was surprised about how pervasive most of the types were for me.

So I have been trying to be more aware of my distorted thinking and negative self talk. When I recognize it, I can usually rephrase my thoughts thus stopping the beating up on myself. The hard times though, are when I don’t even know what I am doing.  Before I know it, I am engaged in dialogs with my inner mean-girl – headed down a path of self-loathing. And that road is paved with “should ofs”, “could-ofs”, “what the hell was I thinkings”, and “damn, I know betters”. It’s a bumpy, uncomfortable trip.

So, when I become aware, I try to turn down another road that is paved with kinder, more forgiving words and thoughts. Slowly, I am learning how to be my own best friend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thanks for Scraps of Creativity

Over the past weekend I finished my youngest son, OB's First Year Scrapbook.  He turned 4 years old at the end of February...so I am a little behind. 
BUT, for one very important reason I am glad that I waited this long to do it.
I have been working on this book on and off for about 1 year.  Each time I pulled it out to work on it, OB (okay, so obviously, his name is Owen) would ask "Mommy, are you working on my baby book?"  He was so exicted to see each page completed and asked to hear stories about when he was a baby.
 
So today, I am thankful for my scraps of creativity...

and the stories I got to share.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Released.

As I write this I am not sure if I will post it…but the joy of a blog is that I can create my rant, and then choose to keep it, delete it or release it.


So yesterday, for an hour or two, I was a teary-eyed, emotional, angry raging mess. I was angry because unexpected roadblocks crashed down right in front of my progress. These roadblocks were not worthy of my tears or the expended energy… And, if I am honest, – there was no “crashing”, and really, the “roadblocks” were merely short detours. In fact, I was dealing with everyday inconveniences…Not that I recognized that in the moment. However, I did realize that I was overreacting but I didn’t understand why. So, I cried – sobbed even. As steam seeped out of my ears, I thought, “What the HELL is going on with me?” The emotions seemed to be in control of me. And, DAMNIT… While I am (and have always been) an emotional person, I understand the importance of and even the theory (Thank you, Chickering and higher ed. theories) about Managing Emotions. Furthermore, much of my adult life I have taken to heart what I have learned and feel INCREDIBLY inept (gold-star worthy, even) about appropriately dealing with and expressing my emotions. This did not feel like me.

So there I sat, in the moment, and I was NOT managing my emotions – nope, my emotions were managing me. And, I was mad that I was not in control. What pissed me off even more is this feeling/situation/experience felt oddly familiar. So I thought back… About a month prior, following an uncomfortable exchange with another mom in the school parking lot, I was teary-eyed, emotional and angry. It was another one of those times, when I thought, “What the hell is going on with me?” And, I also remember other times over the past 6 months or so, that I KNOW I emotionally overreacted – and while I can not remember specific dates – these times seem to be evenly spaced – monthly, perhaps?

Grrrr… This is where I am queasy about posting this. I have very little interest in acknowledging that perhaps (while situations can indeed be challenging, frustrating, and emotional) PMS or my hormones are impacting my reactions. And, I am not convinced that this is what is going on with me – but, I do see a pattern, so I wonder. And, right now the thought of sharing posting this across the internet seems…well, CRAZY…yet I still am considering actually doing it. You see, I am wondering if I am not alone in this.

Yes, I do know that medical science has confirmed that PMS is real. And, I have always believed that to be true. Occasionally I would be moody, irritable, and cranky during Aunt Flo’s visit. And, during my pregnancies and after giving birth, my moods were clearly wacky. I get it – hormones affect a woman’s emotions.

But what I didn’t expect, at the age of 40, that I would be blindsided by my emotions. I didn’t expect to feel rage. I didn’t expect uncontrollable tears. I thought I had worked through all of that. I thought that, like zits, was the stuff of teenagers.  And I am SO not a teenager...and the next "change" would be the M-word and that sounds daunting and far away - and, really, doesn't even seem to be a consideration at this point.  So I wonder, what is this extreme moodiness about?


After I “let it out”, I felt much more like myself. Recognizing the cyclical pattern and knowing that “this too shall pass” was calming. And, in the scheme of life, it was just an hour or two – barely even worth talking about.                                       
Right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aspirations

Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.
~Robert Brault

I love this quote...but dang, to know who I aspire to be, that is not as simple as it sounds... But, I have 20 minutes and I am going to try to identify 10 aspirations right now!

I aspire to:

1.   Continually grow and be a better mom
2.   Be true to my husband and our relationship
3.   Explore my creativity and embrace it
4.   Know my passion and pursue it
5.   Be healthier, thinner, and more fit
6.   Be a lifelong learner
7.   Love myself
8.   Bring moms together to make a difference
9.   Relish my friendships
10. Be truly happy

Hum...that was not as hard as I thought it would be.  The harder part is acting in accordance to my aspirations...but isn't that exactly what this journey is all about?

Who do you aspire to be?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Whindingdilly moments...

My favorite book when I was a kid was The Whingdingdilly, by Bill Peet. In fact, before I left for college, I absconded my parent’s copy and I have kept it all these years. When I was working with college students, I used the book in a leadership presentation. Recently I read it to my boys and was again, reminded of its important message.

In the book, Scamp, a typically happy, carefree farm dog had become a bit glum. He was tired of being a dog and wanted to be a beautiful show horse, like the one on a nearby farm. After getting upset with his owner after being called a “silly ole dog”, Scamp ran away. He ran into a forest where he met a witch. The witch, of course psychic, knew that Scamp wanted to become a horse. Instead, she offered to turn the dog in to something better… “A marvelous magnificent something, I call a whingdingdilly.” Scamp excitedly agreed, and the witch did her magic…Scamp became a unique being – a conglomeration of various animal parts, and his new life began. The story goes into the various mishaps and craziness that Scamp experiences as the Whindingdilly. He finds that his dreams of being admired and fantastic, was not as wonderful as he expected. Finally, he is turned back into a farm dog, and he is overjoyed to be himself again.

As I read this book, again for the umpteenth billionth time, I could really relate to Scamp. Throughout my adult life, I have tried on various different “Me-s” – I found pieces of me here and there. Some pieces easily fit, and other times I would try to force an elephant ear onto my rhino face. I have dreamed many different lives, and some dreams became a reality, and others I had to let go. Like Scamp, I have wanted to be someone I am not, I have admired some people to the point of envy, and I have paid the cost of not being true to myself. As I get older, I am finding that I am more and more comfortable in my own skin. And, at times, am able to love myself and be myself – with no apologies. But I am sure I will have more whindingdilly moments. But, that is ok! …Because every one of those moments bring more Scamp moments and teaches me how to be a more authentic me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Assessed and Curious...

In the spirit of having a purposeful journey to rediscover myself, over the past month, I have taken various assessments (personality, career, etc.). Some of the tests were goofy like Facebook’s Dr. Seuss Personality Test that said I was “Sam I Am”. And since I like green eggs and ham, I am good with that – but I am not sure how helpful it is.

However there were some tests, like The Holland Code, the Enneagram, and from Oprah, a “Who Am I Meant to Be?” test, that really made me think and the results seemed to accurately reflect who I am. I have taken many personality tests before, and have always gained some insight, but what I found incredibly interesting, this time, was the common thread I found in these results.

In The Holland Code (http://www.roguecc.edu/counseling/HollandCodes/test.asp) I was identified as SAE. Meaning I scored the highest in Social, Artistic, and Enterprising areas.

For the Enneagram (http://www.9types.com/newtest) my results ended in a tie. I scored highest in two personality types: The Artist and The Peacemaker.

The last quiz that I took that was from O Magazine (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Am-I-Meant-to-Be) labeled me as “Striving to be Creative”.

While over time, I have come to see myself as creative (previously, I believed that “real artists” had a monopoly on the creativity gene), I never thought of myself as an artist – or that my creativity was anything more than a hobby. But, after taking these assessments and realizing that the common theme is artistic/creativity, I am curious. Curious about what I could do and what I could create…

And what that could mean to my rediscovery.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Jolt of Happiness

I’m not sure what it was…this morning I was just feeling blah. It could have been about the brown, mucky, sloppy mess of dirty melting snow that we have to deal with every time we walk out the door. It could have been because the house desperately needs a thorough cleaning and I have no motivation to do it. Or that every night (give or take 1 or 2) for the past two weeks I have had some sort of meeting or event and I feel like my husband and I have not had any time together. It could have been many other reasons…but in the end, it doesn’t really matter why – I just was feeling BLAH! So I knew I had to do something. I needed a quick dose of happiness.

Two items came to my mind... 1) During this search for myself, I have came across many different activities that I think, “I would like to try that.” While perusing the internet and reading various blogs, I came across one blog whose author had just finished 365 Days in Photos. I loved the idea taking photos and capturing 1 year of moments.  2) I have also been reading various books about motherhood, happiness, balance, etc. One book that I tend to pick up to remind myself to appreciate who I am and what I have is The Happy Book, by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder.

So, in the spirit of those two random things, I decided to create personal jolt of happiness. I challenged myself to find and photograph happiness in just 10 minutes. I grabbed my camera, set the kitchen timer, and stated taking pictures. Here are the results:


Our Jar of Marbles...some of these are mine from childhood, some of them are from JT's.  They don't make marbles as beautiful as they once did.

Mocha - our chocolate lab.  She is such a loyal, wonderful dog and for some odd reason, she was scared of the camera... (and clearly not an Alpha).

New Crocs...a hopeful sign of spring.

Dishes painted by my friends at my wedding shower.

The last page of OB's First Year scrapbook - just have to put the book together and it is done!

A wonderful painting that hangs in our master bedroom.  A very good friend of mine's father is the artist.  It is a gift I will always treasure.

And of course, My boys...

And you know what?  After completing it, I Felt Happier!

How would you photograph happiness?...
On your mark, Get set, Go!  (your 10 minutes begins, NOW!)

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