Thursday, April 26, 2012

What Do You Think Thursdays with Skinny Scoop: My Ultimate Mother’s Day Wish List

Mother’s Day is coming up, and I think it should be a day celebrated in glory and grandeur because shaping young minds into incredible people is, um, challenging, to say the least.  And by celebrate, I mean that I don’t have to cook, clean, or plan a damn thing.  (Some years this works out, and others there is room left for improvement).  So I decided to make an ultimate list of things that I would love that with the theme of recharge, relax, and renew. 

But by *ultimate*, I mean ultimate reality, not ultimate fantasy.  For example, I do like a simple ice coffee for Mother’s Day (ultimate reality), but it would be even better if it was in an airport on the way to St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, California to have a spa weekend (ultimate fantasy).

Enjoy the list!  Oh, and I would be ever so grateful if you voted for me in the Top 25 MommyBloggers of 2012 by Skinny Scoop.  (I also have some really exciting news to share with you next week, too!  I will be posting about it as soon as it becomes official!  Yea!! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If My Acne Could Talk

Marie is scheduled to have her adenoids and possibly her tonsils taken out this week.

This is a long time coming.  We have been monitoring her sleep apnea since this nasty incidenthappened almost two years ago.

Since then, she’s been on meds to reduce the swelling of her adenoids and tonsils.  She’s been off her meds to see what happens.  She has been sick pretty much the whole winter.  (And when I look back at all the pictures since she was three, she has had a little red mustache starting from Christmas until after Birthday Season).

I have taken her to a special orthodontist to ensure her excessive mouth breathing isn’t causing any issues with her teeth.  She has also had to go to the dentist to scrape the buildup off from her teeth caused by excessive mouth breathing and the steady flow of antibiotics.

Enough is enough, and the ENT thinks it’s time for surgery.

Usually, I am pretty cool about these things.  I put my feelings into a vault so that I can be the reliable source of comfort to my child.

But to be honest, I. Am. Freaking. Out.  I am not sleeping well.  I am panicky and snappy.

I may think that I am fooling everyone that I look calm about this “minor procedure” (which, anything involving an anesthesiologist and a surgeon with a knife is never minor to me), but I don’t think so.

One look at my face and the teenage-like acne that has sprouted all over is a clear indication that I am not fine.

Seriously, if this acne could talk, it would say a lot.

It would say that this “minor procedure” (did I mention it’s outpatient?  How ridiculous is that?!) is bringing up a lot of scar tissue.  When Marie was born, she was born with macrocephaly, which is fancy for “big head.”  Although that doesn’t sound threatening, it did results in a slew of head ultrasounds, an MRI, and lots of physical and occupational therapy.

And lots of therapy for me, too.

For the first 18 months, we didn’t know what was wrong with her.  That’s a long time to live with your child’s health up in the air.

I can’t say that I ever totally worked through those feelings.  I have a better understanding of my feelings, but something like that changes a person forever.  I would say there is a little place inside me where those feelings stay all wrapped up in a box sitting on a shelf.  I don’t really think about them all that often.

Until something like this happens.

And it’s not like I can just check out for a while until I feel less agitated with worry.  Oh, no.  The show must go on.  I must wake up.  I must get lunches made.  I must make sure Marie gets ready for school.  I must make sure Thomas doesn’t watch too much TV to ensure his brain doesn’t turn to mush.

As if a plain ol’ day of motherhood wasn’t draining enough, add something like a “minor surgical procedure” into the mix and suddenly, drinking a cup of coffee seems like too much of a chore.

It’s exhausting, really.

Just ask my acne. 

If you have any words of wisdom about powering through a tough time like this, I would greatly appreciate them. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday with Skinny Scoop Birthday Season Survival List

I am right in the middle of Birthday Season.  If you are new here, here’s a short explanation of Birthday Season: for a brief, yet intense period of time, we celebrate seven birthdays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.  For a more comprehensive response, I post about the details here, here, here, here, and here.

This week, I decided to steer clear of the rehashing thus far because this year has been particularly drama-filled.  Instead, I am focusing on my favorite things that help me celebrate (read: endure) Birthday Season.

Please also note: I have some very exciting news in regards to Skinny Scoop.  Stay tuned for an announcement coming soon!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tasmanian Devil vs. Mama Bear, Revisited

I originally wrote this post just over two years ago.  Interesting how little has changed with this situation in this time.  I think it’s time to repost it along with a few new outlooks.
I tried to think of clever and entertaining ways to evict these ramblings from my mind and make room for new tenants, but I couldn’t.  The thing is that I’m too upset, and the situation is too fresh for any witty repartee. 
There’s a person who I’m forced to co-exist with, and I do not like it.  At all.  This person’s energy is like a freakish cyclone, not in a physical way, but in a manipulative, pushy kind of way.  I would describe this overwhelming and domineering person to the Tasmanian Devil.  I’m not usually a sheep that follows the herd, but in the person’s presence, I’ve been known to exhibit some uncharacteristic behavior, such as putting my credit card number on sketchy websites or committing to social events that were not in the best interest in my family. 

All because I allowed myself to get swept up in the Taz’s flurry of energy. 

I started to notice this was getting out of control when Taz was getting all self-entitled and ownership-y with my babes.  MY BABES!!  My Mommy Alarm System started sounding off, subtly at first and then LOUD, RED FLASHING ALARMS AND LIGHTS.  Taz met its match when it messed with Mama Bear.  Then I started to say no.  Often, but not in a confrontational way (because I knew it would be wasted breath, and I just wanted some space without a discussion).  I redefined my personal boundaries and honored my gut feelings.  However, recently, I started to let this person back in because I thought my shiny, new, boundaries were not only strong enough, but were clearly communicated. 

My hope was we could move forward in a healthier direction. 

So I give an inch, and Taz wants the whole damn mile.  Or 10.  Or whatever.  It is now clear to me that Taz has no intentions of ever changing and respecting a parent’s duty to set boundaries.
So to put it bluntly, I’m pissed.  I’m pissed that Taz can’t or won’t understand boundaries and basic rules of engagement.  I’m pissed that a Mama Bear doing her job looks like The Bitch.  I’m even more pissed that I care how I am perceived.

But my bottom line is this: I will never apologize for decisions that are made in the best interests of my children, nor will I apologize for staying true my maternal instincts and values.


How do you deal with people who do have no regard for the boundaries you have determined for your family?

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday* with Skinny Scoop: It’s All About Me

*And by Thursday, I mean Friday.

This week was a fantastic week in the Social Media Stratosphere (which just about makes up for the non-fantastic week in my personal life . . .expect more of this in next week’s post).

In case you missed it, not only did I have a great timefilling in my for my friend’s social media class, but I was retweeted by TheToday Show.  Little ol’ me.  By The Today Show.  In which I have been a fan since I was seven (anyone else out there remember the Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel years? *sighs wistfully*)

As if it couldn’t get any better, I had the chance to connect with one of the fabulous women at Skinny Scoop as we chatted about all the wonderful things going on at Skinny Scoop, like this new feature in My Covet List blog.  It’s amazing and inspiring how authentic connections can be made in social media.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while at the same time, solidly confirms my feelings that I just might be on the right path.

So I decided to do a fun post to celebrate such an awesome week.  Skinny Scoop has a new quick-list feature that allows you to answer fun questions that create a list.  I created a fun Things about Me list.  (You know it’s a fun list when both Madonna and Scott Conant make appearances).

So check it out and be sure to leave a fun fact about you in the comments section.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Throwing Stones in the Pond Until I See Ripples

Yesterday, I put my teaching hat back on (you know, the job in which the state of Michigan officially certified me to do until I signed up for this full-time SAHM gig and started chasing my dreams of being a blogger).  My friend teaches a social media class at Walsh college, and I filled in for her.  I was a *bit* nervous looking at all those faces as I literally watched the minutes tick by until I started speaking.

Once I got rolling, it was kind like riding a bike.  And by a bike, I mean standing behind a podium in a lecture hall with HUGE screen . . . which is not the same as a classroom full of junior high students looking as if they might actually die of boredom as I animatedly describe the difference between being subject, object, and possessive pronouns – this was SO MUCH BETTER!

Talking about why I love blogging and social media is way more fun than talking about the fine points of grammar – who knew?!  (Answer: 90% of the population;  the other 10% are composed of reading/writing enthusiasts such as myself, my mother, probably my Aunt Diane, and maybe my cousin, Ashleigh).

A question about Twitter came about, and although I can’t remember the exact words the student used, it was something along the lines of, “I don’t get Twitter.  It seems like a lot of noise.  How can anyone find you there?”

To which I responded, “This is exactly why it took three times for me to like and use Twitter.  One of the hardest things about using Twitter is that it is in real time.  Which is great if you can devote your undivided attention to it.  However, this is impossible given I have an active three year old who thinks pummeling himself onto pillows from the arm of couch is a good time.”

Then I continued with this analogy, “Social media, especially platforms like Twitter, is like throwing stones.  Often times you don’t see the ripples in the water.  But if you are consistent and patient, one day you will see those ripples, and you will be heard.”

For me, that someday was today.  As I tried to block out Thomas’s persistent cries to watch Imagination Movers, I was watching my English boyfriend, Ricky Gervais on the Today Show as he charmingly promoted his new podcast on iTunes.  I was going to tweet about it (as I usually do when I watch The Today Show), but I didn’t have his handle.  I searched through my stream, knowing that someone must have already tweeted about this.  But, to my surprise, no one did.  So I put a quick tweet asking anyone if they were watching Ricky Gervais and commenting how fun he was on the Today Show.

And this is the result of that one, little tweet:

O.M.G. The TODAY SHOW RETWEETED ONE OF MY TWEETS.  I have been watching this show since I was seven years old.  I tweet about it frequently.  And finally, I saw a ripple from one of my very own stones.

In the jubilant words sung by the inspirational group that is The Fresh Beat Band,
“It was a great day.
It was a super day.”

Have you seen any ripples come your way?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mom Guilt Part I

Besides being responsible for the social/emotional/physical/educational development of The Babes, I would say Mom Guilt is a close second to the huge and heavy weight that resides on my shoulders.  Mom Guilt is so pervasive, it’s easy to accept it as my “new normal” (right along with never fitting into my pre-baby body jeans).

Recently, I went to a Detroit Bloggers even and caught up with some old friends and met some new bloggers.  It was a great time.

Until I had to live tweet about it.

I pulled out my Transform phone and watched the dreaded loading pinwheel of death that just eternally spins and spins.

And spins.

It’s embarrassing showing up with my junk phone while everyone else effortlessly communicates on their iPhone.  In fact, I am embarrassed that I feel like this because I am not a “keep up with the Joneses” kinda gal.  But how can I go to social media events as a blogger when a major tool of the trade doesn’t work?

I had researched the difference between the iPhone and Galaxy.  I casually mentioned to Harrington that I would be going out to look at phones and that I might actually get one.  But to know me, is to know that I deliberate for months before actually making a decision. (I call it proactive procrastination.  Which sounds way better than passive procrastination.  Or just plain procrastination).

I walked into the store and looked at the Galaxy and the iPhone.  The iPhone was so beautiful, but would cost be an extra $100 for the extended warranty.  I would also have to go to the iPhone store if I needed service, and I love my Sprint store.  However, the Galaxy had a bigger screen.

In an unprecedented move without deliberating or discussing with anyone, I chose the Galaxy.

I really loved the iPhone, but I was just unsure.

Immediately, I felt liberated that I just picked one out with little fanfare. 

Until I came to the realization that I chose the Galaxy because not only did I think I didn’t need the iPhone, but didn’t *deserve* it.

I am ashamed to even say it, but it’s the truth.  I didn’t think I deserved it.

Why did I feel so damn guilty about this decision?

Well, we’ve had our financial struggles.  Harrington lost his job three years ago, but he quickly found a job that has been quite lucrative.

But those first two years were tough, and lots of sacrifices were made along the way.  We are finally in a good place right now.  So why do I still feel so guilty spending money on myself?  On a tool that will make my job of CEO of Everything easier?  On a device that can help me follow my dreams of blogging and writing?  (I should say that until I looked at either of these phones, I didn’t know it was possible to open up email attachments on a phone . . . as I hang my head in shame).

The answer is because I don’t make the money.  I may work my ass off taking care of The Babes and the house.  I take my job a little too seriously (as in researching the chemical-free sunblock, probiotics, healthy foods, preschools, after-school activities. . . .you get the idea).  But with all the blood, sweat and tears that go into that job, it’s hard to feel value when you turn around and another Babe is sick or there are three more loads of laundry to replace the one you just finished. 

I’ve tried to give myself reassurance and pep talks, you know, being emotionally available to myself.  But after taking care of everyone else, I’m damn tired.

And then I’m damn tired of feeling guilty for wanting to treat myself to something nice.

Motherhood is full of sacrifices.  It’s difficult job times a gazillion.  Why do I make it harder by beating myself up when I try to do something nice for me?

If you had made it this far into the post, thank you for sticking with me. And now you are probably wondering what finally happened with the phone.  I returned the Galaxy and got the iPhone.  And I am in deep and serious love with it.

As for the guilt, I am thinking there is an app to help me manage that, right?

Do you ever torment yourself when trying to treat yourself to something nice?