I was on the phone with a friend last week and she was frustrated. Her husband was trying to help out by making bacon, but he was burning it. I teased her by saying, you can’t ask him to be more helpful and then criticize him when he tries. She disagreed.
This sparked a conversation of the “life rules”. The ones that we want others to follow, but that we occasionally want to break, such as ’don’t ask for help then criticize it’. So I have decided to publish in writing a “new” set of life rules to use at your discretion when you need life to work in your favor:
- Life IS fair. This means that if something is unfair, you have the right to be upset, cranky and consume chocolate and wine.
- You CAN have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you wash it down with wine.
- You CAN look a gift horse in the mouth. If you don’t like the gift or the strings attached to it.
- Treats others as you would like to treat them. Especially when you’re mad at them, they deserve it or you have run out of chocolate and wine.
- A penny saved is a penny wasted… if there is a sale on shoes!
- Good things come to those who DON’T wait. Carpe diem baby, make things happen, take action!
- If you want something done, don’t give it to a busy person. I am a busy person and can’t handle anymore. Why should the people who aren’t busy get a pass?
And a few that are perfect just the way they are…
- Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned - Two words: Lorena Bobbit.
- Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die - Even if we know we will live for years, eat, drink and be merry!
- Tomorrow is another day - which means I have another opportunity to
be a better momdemonstrate that I am enough.
What other life rules do you love or need revised?
If their library books are overdue,
If you’re shelling out the dough for soccer, ballet and Tai Kwon Do,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If CPS knows what your address is,
If you bribe to keep them quiet and lie to avoid a riot,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If homemade gifts have made you cry,
If you wouldn’t trade it all for a maid and the Taj Mahal,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
If you know how lucky you are, to raise your little stars,
If you’re a mommy and you know it,
I can’t really top last year’s Christmas Eve post, or at least can’t unbury from wrapping paper and ribbons to try, so here is a re-post of the Off-Balance Day Before Christmas.Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house, Not a clean spot could be found, not even an ounce. The stockings were hung by the chimney with haste, In hopes that I’d buy stuff before it’s too late. With me in my flannels and Chris in his boxers, We were sure not an ad for Gap or Brooks Brothers. When what to my wandering mind should appear? The realization that Christmas is near! There were presents to wrap and groceries to buy. Would I be done in time? Not sure. No lie. Eight people for dinner, do we have enough wine? I ran out of butter and must stand in line. The children were plotting all smug under their beds. In hopes of ensuring I would snap, lose my head. They bickered and fought, Santa threats had gone stale. Should I send their gifts back through priority mail? I must clean, wrap and cook all day and all night. With enough caffeine and yelling, it’ll be alright. When I pull off Martha Stewart Christmas you’ll know. Despite all the chaos, I put on a hell of a show! So as you scurry and prep, know you’re not the only one. Merry Christmas to you and I hope you have fun!
Tonight is my daughter’s first ballet recital. She is excited, as am I. But I have a little unpleasant business to attend to while I am there.
One of the other mothers from the class is on thin ice with me (seasonally appropriate don’t you think?). Last night at rehearsals, I found her to be so offensive and clueless that she has penetrated my normally namaste demeanor (I am on my way to yoga shortly).
The first time I met
Judgy Judy (too much like Judge Judy) “Judgy Janet” (not her real name, in fact, I can’t seem to remember her name), was at the park. I was with my daughter and Janet said hi to her by name. I walked over and introduced myself and she explained that the girls are in ballet together. I said, “Oh then you must know our nanny, Jessica” (who takes my daughter to ballet). She interrupted and said, oh yes, I have known Jessica for years, and I always wonder “Where IS this girl’s mother!”
Eh hem, excuse me, while I capture my composure and take one step back to help diminish the cartoon in my head of me shoving tan bark in your mouth to silence you.
The conversation didn’t improve, she talked about how she used to work, but quit because she wouldn’t dream of letting other people raise her children (although, it might be better off for her daughter if someone else taught the girl tact). Throughout this first conversation, I remained calm and polite. I was internally trying to determine if the woman was a condescending bitch or just socially awkward. I decided she might be just lonely and awkward, so I didn’t say anything in rebuttal. But the conversation bugged me for a few days.
Fast forward to last night. It was the only second time I had spoken with her since I do not attend my daughter’s ballet class very often. I attended the rehearsal with another working mom friend whose daughter is also in the class. We were sitting with our girls, waiting for their turn, when Janet sat down behind us. Her opening comment: “You must be their mothers. You never come to class.” The conversation didn’t improve. My strategy was to keep my back to her, in order to avoid giving her a piece of my mind in front of the girls.
Which leads to tonight. Me, the duck, who normally lets things roll off my back is quite sure that one more comment from this miserable mom will force me to politely share with her my thoughts. Much to your surprise, I do mean politely, because I am a believer in having more weight in my message when coming from a place of kindness, balance and class. So let me share with all of you what I plan to say (and secretly hope I have the opportunity to do so).
“Excuse me, I am not sure if you are aware that you are being rude. In the two times I have spoken with you, you have mentioned my absence at ballet over ten times. I am trying to decide if you realize you are being rude or have merely made an unfortunate choice in conversation topics. Either way, I feel you are in desperate need of some education. It is narrow of you to make any assumptions regarding someone’s life or how one raises children based upon their attendance at one activity.
I share this with you not out of concern for my own feelings, but to help you avoid offending other’s who are not as calm and forgiving as me. You see, you don’t know what keeps a mother from a ballet class – what if she’s a single mom and working to put food on the table, what if she’s an ER doctor that may someday have to help one of your children, what if she’s at home with a newborn. The point is, an absence does not speak to the character of a woman.
Furthermore, since my absence is because I have a career, let me share the “consequences” of me being a working mom:
- My children are independent, but loving
- They are confident, yet kind
- They are comfortable in any social situations
- They are being taught that they can be anything they want when they grow up. My daughter can be a pilot, a doctor or a stay at home mom – each holding equal weight in my mind. My son can be a CEO, an artist or a stay at home dad, as long as he is passionate about what he does.
- My children travel frequently and see other cultures and have unique memories, while always returning to a happy home.
- And most importantly, we are rasing our children not to judge other people based on their profession, home, socio-economic status or any other life situation. We choose our friends based on character and kindness and see the benefit of diversity in our circle of friends.
So, do you think she’ll stay quiet long enough for me to say all of that?
I’ll keep you posted.
I recently had the
pleasure privilage misfortune occassion of being called for jury duty. In all of my previous juror summons I was released the night before, including the time I forgot to call and was lucky that I was released and did not face a bench warrant. (Although secretly, I would like to play up my bad girl image just a tad – do bad girls say tad?)
I am truly very interested in serving as a juror. I am fascinated by the process and the cases. My dilemma, as with all things in my life, is the luxury of time. If I miss work, my work does not magically disappear, it waits for my return. (Thoughtful and gracious my job is, huh?) I imagine a time in the future when I don’t work as much, the kids are less dependent and then I can bask in the Perry Masonesque experience. (This may coincide with the time that I will be able to use a handicapped parking placard due to my advanced age).
As I sat in the parking lot watching people walk in and progress through the metal detectors, I felt a familiar tightness in my chest. It felt like… the pressures and stress of parenting. I immediately whipped my head around to ensure that I had not inadvertently brought a kid with me that should be somewhere else. Thankfully the car seats and boosters were empty, but my neck did hurt from whiplash. (I have accidentally had unsuspecting stow-aways in the past, but that story is for another time).
After spending the morning in one of the little courtrooms in my small town, I began to understand why it felt like parenting…
- You’re asked to pass judgment on something you did not witness. You’re given two sides to the story, but each side has different perspective and has the ability to lie. And thus we have the daily life of a parent.
- Weapons are prohibited because the temptation to use them can be high. Has anyone ever thought of putting a metal detector in my house around 5:00 pm on any weekday night? Don’t bother- I know how to make a shank out of a Crayola.
- Almost anyone can serve on a jury or be a parent, but not everybody should. I live in a unique county that is a blend of affluent people, average folks and backwoods country characters. Despite the written reminder, the simple dress code of ‘no shorts, no tank tops and must wear shoes’ was broken by several prospective jurors. There was even a fascinating gal who took the strategy of sharing with everyone that she had a mental disorder that would get her off of serving on a jury. But if that did not work out, she planned to stop registering with the Department of Motor Vehicles or renewing her license, but she did state that she would, of course, still drive. You can see where I would question the appropriateness of this woman upholding our laws.
- There’s other people telling you how to do it, when you really just want to go with your gut. Think of the millions of parenting books out there. Do you know which ones I follow- Betty Crocker and The Idiots Guide to Bartending. If chocolate and booze won’t make me a good parent, I find it hard to believe anything else will. As for being a juror, I consider myself a balanced, objective person – give me two seconds to look at the defendant and I’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt if they’re innocent – or at least well dressed.
- Your time is not your own. My kids run my schedule, unless I am at jury duty. At jury duty I can be forced to sit quietly (the quietly part is especially tough) for hours before I am told that my vacation interferes with the length of the trial and that I will be summoned again within 60 days. You know what this means…
Numbers 6 -10 on why jury duty is like parenting are not far off!
Aside from the fact that this post may dash any political ambitions I might have, what do you think about jury duty? Would you rather parent your kids after a birthday party double-header the day after Halloween or sit on a jury for a civil claims litigation?
My summer sabbatical was not planned. I never thought my last post would have been June 1st. In fact, my one year blogging anniversary came and went without any fanfare and trust me I am a fan of fanfare.
So why the unplanned sabbatical from my blog? Hmm… not sure. All I can tell you is that in the beginning I was busy living. The last weeks of school are hectic, than summer swept me up in all it’s sparkle, sunscreen and sangrias (actually, it has been mostly rum, but I love to abuse alliteration). Both of my kids have summer birthdays, so there are parties, presents and pinatas (actually, there were no pinatas, but again with the alliteration). I have been enjoying the little moments, the everyday joys of summer. Before I knew it, I looked up and I hadn’t written in over a month.
Then it became daunting.
I felt like I would need a spectacular re-entry and was at a loss. I would get pings from my dear bloggy friends and readers and I would hide. (I actually tried to respond to some tweets and am having Twitter issues). Every time I read the brilliant writing of those I follow, I would feel like I was in a deeper hole. Whether you’re a writer or not, I bet you have been there; procrastinating a paper in college, putting off a work deadline or avoiding thank you notes (of which I need to do for both my kids). The longer you put it off, the bigger the task becomes.
A friend asked me this week, if you’re not writing, where are you putting that time? Well, that’s a post in itself, besides enjoying small summer moments , I have been more serious about window shopping for my passion and purpose. I have been more focused on exploring new career options and have taken a big step. I am enrolling in the September session of the Life Launch Program through the Hudson Institute in lovely Santa Barbara, CA. I have some hunches on what I want to do next and I hope the program will help evaluate those hunches.
I told a friend that I didn’t think I would blog about the program and my thoughts behind it. I felt that this blog was about Paige, the crazy, cocktail-drinking mom striving for balance through humor. But looking for passion and purpose, trying to balance our personal identities with our parent personas, actual feels like a perfect fit. I am convinced everybody has that moment (or several moments!) where they say ‘how did I get here’ and ‘do I want to be here’? Let me be clear – I want to be here, in my home with my children and husband, but there are other parts of life that can be tinkered with. I think about my friends who gave up high-powered careers to raise their families or those who work 80 hours per week, we all have those days where we ask ourselves if we should have chosen differently or wonder if it’s time to chart a new course.
Therefore, it is my plan to continue to share with you my journey, my experiences and my thoughts, because we are all multi-faceted, unique and amazing people who fit in more than one bucket, whether that’s parents, working professionals or cocktail-loving crazies. I hope you’ll share with me your questions about your chosen path, your future journeys and dreams yet to be fulfilled. Crazy loves company. Yes, I will still share parenting stories, but my seven-year old son is in the all farting, all the time stage, so I plan to spare you.
Do you feel like you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose? Are you passionate about how your spend your days? Do you have another goal on the horizon? Do you live a double or triple life to fulfill multiple passions? Do you put lime in your rum? How do you get a little boy to stop with the incessant potty talk?!
I am still on sabbatical, but there is sure a lot to discuss and now that I am here, it’s good to be back.
I have been a little MIA here lately. I have written many posts… in my head. Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning. So what have I been doing instead of blogging? Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am?
I have been shopping. Well, window shopping actually.
I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.
I am a happy person. I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it. I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…
…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.
…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.
…I feel like my happy life could be happier.
I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”. Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount. But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?
Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. I have a career, but does it speak to who I am? I am not sure. Does it capitalize on my strengths? Not all of them. The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?
In search of quieting the questions in my head, I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers. I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one. I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.
Then something great happened, a chance conversation. A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig. He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different. It sounded like he might dabble in several things.
As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places. I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them. I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life. I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams. Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time. And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).
The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture. No, I didn’t write that backwards. I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life. I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:
“The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.” She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:
“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”
sometimes often forget to stop and show up. I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists. So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.
The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead. My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.
Do you feel like you know your purpose? Do you experience life? Do you show up?
When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”. I whole-heartedly believe this is true. As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen. Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.
But not just working parents need the village. Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too. They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state. Bottom line, all parents need a village.
What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child. The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up. In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride. They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of. My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there. They made sure he was accounted for.
Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing. My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents. We celebrate as a village too. Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children. The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.
Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.
What do you want to thank your village for?
Yesterday was my birthday. When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:
“Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself. You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”
“Happy Birthday MOM!”
“MOM you are a star.”
I love everything about this card, especially:
- The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion. He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
- The fact that he values loving yourself. If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
- At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
- The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him. I tell him this after I have to discipline him. It warms my heart that he heard me.
My son loves to write. He writes stories and illustrates them on his own. I love that he has a passion for writing.
I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him. Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.
What’s the best birthday present you have received?