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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I don't do casseroles.

In honor of the movie Motherhood, Jill at Scary Mommy is having a contest to find real moms, like the one in the movie. Motherhood is not for wimps. I am the Mom in my little "hood". Some days, you should be scared to cross into my 'hood'. It's not always a safe place.

You know what scares me? Those moms that show up for the school meetings with their color coded folders and their kids dressed from a Gymboree ad looking over at me with 'that look'.  I've concluded that those are the scariest moms because they are living the lie.  No one has time for all that 'let's show up looking like the perfect family' crap.

A real scary mom forgets half the meetings and cusses about the ones she decides she has to go to and then hopes no one asks her to chair a meeting or bring snacks for God's sake.

I remember when one of my kids was in preschool and insisted on wearing shorts on one of the first days we had frost on the ground.  I was going to be late for work and decided not to take on that battle. So, off we went to school with shorts and a winter coat.  The daycare lady looked at me like she was going to speed dial family services as soon as I left.  I smiled and said, "Well, when she freezes her cute little buns off today on the playground, she won't ask to wear shorts tomorrow." Inside I wanted to finish that by sticking my tongue out and saying, "na, na, na, na, na" I did refrain from that part.  Scary Mom's keep it real. Life really is about making choices and trades. We might as well learn that early.

Scary Moms learn to balance their tyrades with real apologies and the real scoop on how hard it is to keep it all together.  A few of the mom's in my area made a pact. If one kid gets invited to a sleepover, we have permission to call and pawn the other off with anyone we can find, to create a date night, or a drink too much on the deck night.  We're not the kind of moms that promise to bring casseroles when you're sick. Hell, we can barely keep food on our own table that doesn't come from a greasy high school kid through our car window.  We're not making you a casserole because you've got the sniffles, suck it up and have a margarita. For that, I'll bring chips and salsa and gladly join you.

Scary Moms don't feel guilty about the time they take for themselves.  We spritz on some perfume and our cute boots and go out to meet our friends twice a year, without a glance over our shoulder, just a "Later Gators, I'm outta here, good luck finding some dinner!" Then we crank up the Pearl Jam all the way to the bar, some in mini vans, some with mom jeans. For a few minutes, we're still the cool chic and in our imagination our ass still looks great in those jeans.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Did you see that?

I'd say the chances of me receiving a Parent of the Year Award are about as likely as me getting the Heisman Trophy.  I'm not even in the running. I am a pretty good apologizer and a good back up planner. I mess things up, pretty regularly. We have a therapy fund instead of a college fund. 

I'm not all that consistent. Some days it's all, "NO EATING IN THE LIVING ROOM!" Then later that week, "Ok, kids, mommy brought home pizza, gather in the living room and let's eat and watch Survivor!"  Yea, no Mom of the Year award for me.

There are a couple of things I am proud of and I work at to be consistent.  I work really hard to help my kids, "see". Yes, my son has glasses, but that's not where I'm going with this.

A few places this 'see' thing plays out.

Try and "see" things from the others point of view. Everyone has a story. If my son would come home talking about how some kid had been a jerk on the bus, I'd remind him that maybe his parents are jerks and the kid is really just hurting and looking for attention.

What you go looking for, that's what you're likely to find.  Go looking for trouble, yep, there it is.  Go looking for the good stuff, yep, there it is.  Don't wallow in the crud, look for something that doesn't stink about the situation if you can. When the kids were home with the flu a few weeks ago, it was good to at least slow down and spend some time together, even if it was in a Motrin cloud.

Take the time to see the small stuff. The beautiful stuff. Notice. Sunday night, I made everyone stop their SpongeBob, their Matchbox infatuation and their football game to come to the front window.  There was the most beautiful sunset ever.  It had to be seen!

I'm proud that some of my "see coaching" is starting to stick.  Way better than, clean out your backpack or brush your teeth. Just the other day I was going off on some tirade and my son said, "Gee Mom, that's not a very positive way to look at that." Love it when it gets thrown back at you!

I want my kids to see, to notice, to be present.  I raced through several years of my life. I realize that getting there first isn't as cool as stopping at the rest stops and taking pictures along the way.  Taking the time to really See Rock City. Not just buzz by on the interstate.

And last week while walking through the woods, the girl who is 8, took this shot with her new pink camera.

Because often, the best view to really 'see' is the one looking up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hitch a Ride Out of Sucksville

Ever been to Sucksville? Yea, me too.  Right now I have a wave of friends who are there now or have seen the signs, Sucksville next stop. Some of their situations are physical, some are financial, some are spiritual and they allI suck. I love and care about all of these people.  I started to craft an email to one of them after we talked today and I thought, Hey, I bet other people have situations that suck, maybe this should be a blog post.
This is sort of a summary of my experiences that I've written about in Lessons from the Recession. They're the things that have gotten me out of other sucky situations too. 

So here goes, the first 7 steps to Hitch a Ride Out of Sucksville.

1. No wallowing. Yes, the situation sucks. No need to wallow, whine, whimper. 

Ok, that's unrealistic, you get a day.  One day to wail like a baby and get it out of your system.  Do it now and get it over with because we've got work to do.

2. Put on your Man Pants. Or your Big Girl pants, whichever works for you.  It's likely going to take some strength to get you on the other side of the suckiness.  Find it. Don't ask someone else to give it to you. This isn't a time to look to your husband, your brother, your mother to give you the strength. Find it in yourself.  You've got it, God gave it to you.  I promise you it's in there.  It may be buried under some stuff but it's there. Time to declutter and find it.

Let me clarify, this doesn't mean to completely go it alone, we'll get to that in #  5 and # 7  .

3. Decide.  There's a ton of power in decision.  Be careful about what you decide.  There's two paths in decision. You can decide that this is going to continue to suck. Or you can decide to deal with it and get to a better spot. You can start by deciding not to whine.  You can decide to take on the cancer treatments, decide to find a financial planner and get debt free.  You know what sucks about your life, now decide what you want to focus on.  I can absolutely guarantee that if you decide to focus on the problem it will get bigger.  If you decide to focus on the solution, it will get better.  This isn't for wimps. Decision is a big deal.

4. Grab a pen, or a crayon, or that ugly eyeliner you bought on sale.  This section comes right out of Michael Losier's book, Law of Attraction.     I don't know Mike and I certainly didn't get paid to refer his book, not that I'd be opposed to that if he calls.  I have used this book and it's made a huge difference.  The Dummies version is this, quit focusing on what you don't want, with your mind, and your words. Start to obsess about what you do want. Write this stuff down! You can read the book to get the rest. It's a quick read with some "workbooky" kind of stuff.

5. Feed yourself well.  Got to feed yourself with the right nutrition, relation and information.

Nutrition:  I'm a huge fan of a great glass of wine or a mean margarita, just be careful.  You know where I'm going with this right? If you're already feeling sucky, the poor pitful me can be waiting at the bottom of that glass or bag of chips.

Relation:  They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Take some inventory of what that math equation looks like for you.  You may need a tutor or two to step in right now.  Look around that small circle, if all you see is Whiney Wilma and Negative Nelly, time to move up the relational food chain a bit.  You don't need 'poor baby' friends right now.  You need a swat team to keep you focused on strength and solution.

Information:  Saddle up some good inspirational stuff beside your US Weekly on the nightstand. Feed your heart and your brain with stuff that helps.  The size of J Lo's butt is interesting but not helpful right now.

6. Lessons in the Suckage. You don't learn much when things are all sun shine and roses.  You learn when the thorn pricks you through your pink gardening gloves.  You learn when things suck.  The sooner you go looking for the lesson, the sooner you can move past it to the good stuff, then you're better equiped for what happens next. 

7. Guess who the Teacher is?  Yea, you knew we'd get here right?  The Big Man Upstairs has been watching you stumble around like a 3 legged blind dog and He's just waiting on you to acknowledge that He's really calling the shots. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute...(insert sound of brakes grinding to a halt and tires screeching) 

You might be thinking something like this.....

I thought I was putting on my Big Girl Pants and then Planning and Deciding, I thought this was about ME!

Now you're going all God on me. 

Yea.  I am.

Last time I checked, you weren't doing so hot on this little issue that sucks.  You need a Father, a Keeper, a Teacher.  Don't be too proud to pray.  He's got the road map to get you out of Sucksville, as long as you aren't too proud to ask for directions. 

Look, I'm no Prayer Popstar.  I don't have a degree from Prayer School International.  I'm sure there are some classes and books on how to do it "right".  I don't think that's the point.  Just do it. 

Maybe start with something like this...
Dear Lord, this sucks, please help me out of Sucksville.

Do that for a couple of days until you get more comfortable and then move to something like this...

Hey, I'm sorry it's been awhile since I gave you a jingle.  I know you've been outside my door the whole time like a stalker waiting for me to wake up.  Thanks for waiting. Wanna grab some coffee and chat?

And then maybe something like this....

Ok, ok, I get it, you're the driver, I'm the passenger. Now, can we please find a way out of Sucksville?
I promise not to reach over and grab the wheel while you drive anymore.  And, could you step on it, it's hot in here and I have to pee. 

These are just a few suggestions, you certainly have your own versions. 

As you can tell, I'm no expert at much, but I've been to Sucksville a couple of times and have found this is the smoothest way out.  You can take the windy, rocky, cliff route if you want, but I'm hitching a ride.