No longer a doormat

Image result for doormat meme

I am a different person than I was say, 20 years ago.

I mean besides the obvious differences that are affected by things like age and gravity and too much chocolate (ok, too much chocolate…that’s not actually a thing…..)

I was shy, and quiet, and I really wanted people to like me. I think I tried to change things about myself to suit others, and never thought much about what I actually liked or wanted.

Grade school years weren’t my best. Punctuated with moments of being teased about my clothes, my shoes, my hair, I just didn’t know how to defend myself. I lacked the bitchiness that girls these days seem to need to survive. I didn’t know how to respond to bullies, or people who weren’t exactly bullies, but just wanted to get their way.

I walked away from confrontation, which is not always a bad thing….. but even when I should have defended myself, or my ideas…. I didn’t.

And then, I had my first child.

Suddenly, I had the purpose I lacked. I had someone to fight FOR.

I remember when I realized how much I’d changed….  when my oldest was 3, I came to pick her up at preschool. She was in a large room with most other kids waiting for their parents to come. Seeing me, she got up and hugged some of the friends near her goodbye.

A teacher on the other side of the room yelled out for my child to stop disrupting the kids and stop hugging right now. She was very bitchy about it.

And then I felt the rage. didn’t help that I was pregnant and possibly hormonal.

The old me would have apologized and walked out of there probably angry at that teacher for yelling about something so silly, but more angry at myself for not defending my child.

The new me, the person I had become COULD NOT walk out of there. Not without looking that teacher in the eye, and asking how hugging a friend goodbye was hurting anyone? Was she really going to tell my child that she couldn’t give anyone a hug goodbye!!?? It didn’t seem to disrupt anyone but that teacher.

She stuttered, and backpedaled. And said she was sorry, and of course she could hug her friends. And so she did. My daughter  decided that she should probably then hug every damn kid in that room goodbye…..

And so the doormat phase ended…..  thanks to my firstborn who taught me not only how to stick up for her because I loved her so damn much, but to love myself too. Because SHE loved me that much. And guess what??? I still love her that much, and more.

Image result for stand up for yourself

 

 

 

 

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the ongoing hole in my heart

Last night together before heading back to college 😦

One might think that after having 4 kids, and sending most of them to school every fall, year after year….. I would be numb to the pain of “the first day back”.

Maybe this year feels worse than usual because last summer I didn’t know what it was going to be like without the oldest at home during the school year. This summer, I enjoyed her at home (most of the time…), but I also knew what was coming when summer vacation ended.

And it can’t be avoided… so I loved having her home, but dreaded her going back-for my own selfish reasons.

Adding to my pain, we have the 3 year old starting preschool tomorrow.

She’s ready! She’s soooooooo ready. But I am finding myself really depressed this week, as the days creep by. I squeezed her and kissed her so hard this morning that she faked an injury to get me to stop.

 

Will her school understand the importance of chocolate cake to her academic success???

 

I know I’ll be at work while she’s at school, but knowing she’s not safe in our little nest while I’m gone is stressing me out. Interacting with her teacher and other kids all day, going potty, eating lunch and snack, napping, playing, learning….. all these things will happen. She will be bossy, she will be bossed back. She will possibly be unhappy at some point.

Hyperventilating.

The 15 year is taller every morning. He’s back in high school, no longer a freshman. Lets me hug him at home, I don’t know about in public……

And the 6 year old started first grade today, away from the “baby wing” of the school, and upstairs with the big kids. He wore loafers today for gods sake…..and he loved it. He told me after school that he wants to live in first grade.

And so we are back in the school year, and all that goes with it.

Dammit, they keep growing up.

 

 

 

 

The great escape

escape

Conclusion of the Roommate Saga…..

So the daughter had been waiting, and waiting to get assigned to a new room at college. In the meantime, the relationship between her and the roommate deteriorates. No longer speaking much, avoiding each other…. and my kid still hasn’t figured out how to stand up for herself.

Last straw for me, hearing about the most recent passive aggressive dispute over printer ink and Ramen noodles. It’s time to move out! Rachel finally, FINALLY responded to a bitchy comment in a semi-bitchy way (over text), and was then trying to figure out how to avoid the girl indefinitely as it is impossible for her to participate in a conflict in person.

The straw that broke the camels back......

The straw that broke the camels back……

She has a friend with a room available to share. Both girls have submitted their request to housing to live with each other. It seems like weeks have gone by, probably because they have…. and still no word. She calls housing again to find out that “the person who makes those decisions is gone until the middle of next week”.

So I made a decision last night. I’ve listened to this long enough. It’s killing me that she isn’t at least standing up for herself. She is allowing someone to literally bully her for NOT sleeping around and getting wasted regularly. She is giving someone power over her feelings and thoughts, someone who continues to make bad and self destructive choices herself.

I called housing this morning.

I didn’t rant or rave. I did say that I found it hard to believe no one else could authorize a room change for yet another week, forcing my daughter to live in conditions I wasn’t comfortable with. Seems like SOMEONE could give a quick OK.

It was that easy. Within hours they had called my daughter and her friend and given the ok to move her things.

So she escaped.

Yes, I do feel like I caved, but I also think it’s ok. She’s still a kid, only 18. Geez, I didn’t learn how to channel my inner bitchiness until well into my 20’s…. she’ll get there. 😉

Homework is painful for everyone

This is a big fat lie.

This is a big fat lie. Or they are drugged.

A lesson in 5  year old comprehension.

Believe it or not, Sammy has homework in Kindergarten. Things have sure changed since I was in school…..

Tonight he had to read 3 paragraphs, and then follow the very specific directions afterwards to test his comprehension.

First story was about a kid who likes going to the park. That was the first sentence, “I like going to the park.” This was followed by the things that he could do (swing and slide), and the things he had trouble doing (monkey bars). He asked his parents to take him to the park…..they are taking him on Saturday.

I know this, because it’s burned into my brain. I will never forget that he likes the park, and the slide, and the swing, and the monkey bars. I know he is going on Saturday. I will carry that knowledge with me forever.

Sammy stumbles through the paragraph. He is only 5…. I still have to help with some words. Invariably, by the time he is finished, much of what he has read is lost. I guess that’s the point of this exercise, to help with retention and comprehension.

First question to answer after the reading: “Where does the boy like to go?”

Sammy ponders….. “The playground!”

No. There is no playground. Now that you know the question, start reading again and see if you can find the answer.

Guys. He literally read that paragraph 3 times. And came up with 3 different answers… none of which were “the park”.

And this is how I know for sure, without a doubt…. I was not cut out for teaching.

I would not give him the answer…. but I was dying, at first inside…but my suffering did spill out for everyone to see. It went on, we had to circle things with a red crayon, underline with a blue crayon, box things with a purple crayon. So many steps, so difficult for me to hold back from just TELLING him what to do.

We got through it. I really think we both need points for this one.

reality.

reality.

Future misogynist vs chauvinist

kitchen

Today, I told Sammy that his show and tell for Friday had to be a drawing or picture of what he wants to be when he grows up. So I ask him….. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He looks at me with his serious little face, and says “I want to be a nurse practitioner…”

I wasn’t expecting that… and neither was my 14 year old. He initially laughed… guffawed actually…. then asked me if I’d told Sammy to say that.

“Um, no….. why?”

“Oh, mom, don’t let him say that. They’ll laugh at him.”

“Why??!”

Well, because it’s a “girl” job……

Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with me. I explained there are plenty of male nurses, and male nurse practitioners… and Sammy can do whatever he wants. Apparently I didn’t get it…. so he goes on to say that if HE went to school and told people he wants to be a nurse practitioner, they would think it was stupid. Maybe he said dumb…

I would hope not…. why???

I didn’t get a great response from him. I guess that’s just the way it is. Of course I went on my little rant about how it must be horrible that I have a job that took many, many years of school to finish, and God forbid that I can support myself…because that really sucks… and does he even have a clue about what I do?

He tuned me out, apologized just to make me stop talking.

I told him I worry if that’s how the kids in his class really think. I worry because I can’t imagine why he would have such a low opinion of me, or my career without any real understanding of the job….or the work it took me to get here. I worry that I must have done something wrong for him to have this opinion. I need to figure out how to change his opinion….. It was threatening to his father when I went back to school years ago…. and I wonder how much of that fear of an “empowered woman” has shaped this boy???  I feel that because that is “my” job… he discounts it as stupid, or dumb, or something only for girls… and can’t see it for the challenging, rewarding, and respectable career it is.

He came up later and hugged me. Told me I’m the best mom in the world, trying to apologize for upsetting me.

I think he’d like me better if I stayed home and baked all day.

Mom failure

inc.com

inc.com

Sometimes things happen that remind me of my lack of perfection as a mom.

I know it may come as a surprise, but I have been known to make mistakes. Just ask my 14 year old.

And even more surprising, sometimes things happen that force me to remember that even my kids aren’t perfect.

Such is the week I’ve had.

One  example…. I just had a birthday. My 40th. It’s one of those milestone birthdays, if you’re into paying attention to that sort of thing.

I found a post from my oldest on my Facebook page.

Happiest of birthdays to my beautiful momma!!! I really don’t know what I would do without you, you’ve been my best friend for 18 years (except from ages 11-12 when I was a total psychopath; sorry about that).. there’s no one else I would rather tickle until they collapse and cry, or lip sync Sky Full of Stars to until I give myself whiplash..thanks for being the best mom out there and I hope you have an amazingly wonderfully awesome-sauce day

Rachel May's photo.
And so, there I was. Feeling pretty smug about the whole parenting thing. But how could I not??!  Here was proof of my success! She’s 18, a legal adult…. so I succeeded!!  I raised her to adulthood and she still loves me!!
Pretty great present.
And then….. later…. a text from the 14 year old.
I won’t show the text, as he would likely kill me for that…. but the gist of it was that he decided I was extremely selfish for going to a “random” kids birthday party and then off to babysit my nephew, because he had come home after football, and made time for me at that moment and I wasn’t there waiting for him. And I could find my present in the trash if I wanted to look for it.
Needless to say, a complete downward shift to the day….resulting in a lot of angry texting, and the realization that I am not a perfect mother…. not because I did anything wrong (I absolutely did not)… but because if I was truly a perfect mother, wouldn’t all of my kids always think so?
Oh… he’s going through the hormonal shift, and still sometimes seems to be dealing with some anger issues stemming from my divorce from his father. I know we love each other, and pray that one day he will be a bit more rational….but it’s still not easy to deal with.
And then… then, the icing on the cake!!
At the “random” birthday party for his classmate, a very precocious girl led Sammy away from the pack of children and proceeded to moon him. A couple parents saw this, it was over by the time I got to where he was. They said he didn’t seem  too impressed, and walked away.  I did find his little sister doing her best to pull her pants down though, and assumed she had to potty…..
Once I found out what happened, I talked to Sammy and told him if anyone does that he needs to walk away from them, and tell them it’s not nice. I really thought we were clear about this.
A couple days later, I was at the park with my two little ones, and a couple friends with their kids.
Two of the boys ran over, yelling “Sammy pulled his pants down!!”
What??!!  Not my perfect boy!  Surely, SURELY…he had mulch in his pants, or a bee……
I find him.
He looks guilty.
“did you pull your pants down?”
He did.
” Do you know why?”
He didn’t.
He did finally point out that he didn’t pull down his underwear, but clearly wasn’t ready for the repercussions beyond the initial shock value of his action. Seems the whole pants-dropping thing had made an impact on him after all. Clearly we had more to discuss….
He sulked in a tire swing the rest of the time, as the other parents laughed and told stories of things their own kids had done in the past.
So lessons this week for me in humility, patience, and proof that none of us are perfect.
But perfectly flawed maybe?

Roommate saga continued…..

room

So the daughter has settled into the nightmare of her roommate situation. I get the update during major upsets like when the girl somehow uses my daughters uber account at 1am to get rides from bar to bar, and the drivers are calling my kid and waking her up to let her know they are there. How did she get that account info? No idea.

I hear about the variety of used condoms that this girl keeps on her desk for some reason…..for days at a time. Uck. In bright and very festive colors, and her habit of using my daughters things and then leaving them dirty and on my daughters desk for her to clean up.

Normal roommate problems like lack of privacy, lack of cleanliness….. and other things like bringing alcohol and drugs into the room. All sorts of annoying things in between.

I have talked and talked to her, tried to get her to SAY SOMETHING to this girl….. along the lines of, “Hey, I don’t like this….”, or “No, it’s not ok for you to bring another nameless guy over and expect me to find somewhere else to sleep again”. But, in her fear of causing conflict, she remains silent.

So instead of discussing this, and finding out if this girl is just completely blind to what havoc she’s creating, or really the selfish groupie she appears to be, Rachel just decided to request a room change.

Her plan is to get a new room assignment, and then maybe tell the girl as she’s moving out… or maybe just move out secretly and not tell her at all.

I think this is not the best idea.

I have given all the unsolicited advice I can think of. At LEAST give this girl the opportunity to respond to your complaints. See if there is a way to work things out. You never know if your next situation will be better or worse.

She seems to think she knows this girls personality well enough by now….and that anything she says will end up making things worse.

Maybe she’s right. She is living with her, knows her better than I do. From what I’ve heard, I do think living together would always suck…but maybe it could suck less…..

It’s hard watching this, knowing I can’t fix it for her.