Monday, September 29, 2014

Measuring My Worth



Last week, a co-worker leaned across the table and whispered loudly, "You look tired!" The other people at the table turned to me and stared, their gazes scrutinizing me,  causing me to stammer something about how I am running a fundraiser for the kids' school. She responded with a comment on how I work full time and have three kids, so why am I volunteering?

Ummmmmmmm........"because that's what moms do" didn't really seem like the right response. Neither did "well no one else stepped up", although those both are the reasons.

The real response I should have given to "you look tired" is not completely professional or work appropriate. Yelling loudly, "Well of course I do! I'm trying to balance 20 million things at once, and I'm overloaded! I don't sleep well since I can't shut my brain off at 10 p.m. when the to-do list didn't get done, and I feel like crap because of some health issues I have! Not to mention, my job has gotten 100 times busier since the spring, yet I still only have 40 hours of week to try to finish everything!"

What I've noticed lately is that a lot of people write about how moms should take time for themselves, they shouldn't let the clutter in their house bother them, they should make more time for their kids, make more time to hangout with their friends, make more time to exercise, etc. The internet is chock full of parenting articles where someone has put into words what most moms are feeling.  Then their posts are shared across the globe, with people commenting on how brilliant the writer is or how great their insight is. When all along, inside I want to shout "DUH".

I find myself measuring my worth by what these mom bloggers are writing, even though I've been feeling those ways for years! One article points out that I need to be okay with clutter because I should be spending more time playing with my kids.  Well, I'm sorry but the clutter drives me nuts! I can't find the the school newsletter, or there is a pile of clothes on the living room couch because the kids dumped out the laundry basket so they could (creatively) make a leprechaun trap out of the basket, two cereal boxes, and the tie to my bathrobe.

I find myself wondering how good of a writer I am, since after only one comment on this post on my Missing the Moments, another blogger wrote an article pretty much copying what I said a few days later, and her post was shared across the internet. 

I find myself thinking why am I taking on yet another role when I can barely complete the other tasks I'm already juggling? Yet I'm sure I just read an article recently about how working moms should be applauded for their effort with balancing work/life/parenting.  However, I'm still waiting for a pat on the back that says "good job".  Sometimes a simple "thank you" does not suffice.

With a career in higher education, I do not have the luxury of shutting down the computer every day at 4:30 and getting on with my home life.  There are things I need to think about, plans I need to make, strategies I need to work out, and those can't all be fit into the 8 hour work day.  At work, my brain is always on.  During my lunch break, I struggle to complete personal tasks within 30 minutes because I know once I get home, there is no time to do those things. It's rush rush rush with no break until bed time.

I just read a blog where the writer talks of spending more quality time with the kids at bed time.  Well, I'd love to do that but 8 p.m. is the first quiet moment I've had since 5:30 a.m. that morning, and I can't fathom laying down with three kids, and singing "Amazing Grace" three times..... yet now, I walk away with a deeper sense of guilt since some other blogger told me about her "aha" bedtime moment.

The problem is that I find I am letting myself be defined of what others feel that parenting/motherhood/working should be like, not by what my particular life actually looks like. The guilt eats at me for spending time cleaning while I should be playing, folding laundry instead of making time for exercise, sitting on the couch for 5 minutes instead of responding to the kids' 8,000 bedtime requests.  I'm wondering what happened to my self-worth, and why I am measuring it by others' standards. Why I am letting some articles on the internet dictate my life and my feelings?


Monday, September 22, 2014

My 2014 Autumn Bucket List



It was a crazy summer with my new duties at work as well as other things (like just sitting back and enjoying life), so I do admit that I have not blogged as much.  This week I am participating in the SITS girls "Back to Blogging" challenge.

Today's topic: "Share with us some of your autumn traditions, or create a Fall Bucket List"

You know me, I'm all about the lists!

So here are just a few things I'd like to do this fall:


  1. Pumpkin farm - Every year, we head to the same one. The kids LOVE it. There is a corn maze, apple cider donuts, and a spooky walking trail. 
  2. Speaking of apples.... I just found a new recipe for Apple-Bacon Mac and Cheese thanks to the Better Home and Gardens 100 Days of Holidays email I received.
  3. Boo at the Zoo! We love to check out the spooky happenings at our zoo.
  4. Paddleboat - This year, we are going to take a paddleboat down the Fox River and check out the scenery.  With the leaves beginning their annual color change, it should be a very beautiful ride!
  5. Read, read, read!  Prince Lestat, the newest Vampire Chronicle book by Anne Rice is coming out October 28. 
  6. It's our 10th wedding anniversary this October. ♥  
In addition to things to do, don't forget my favorite things about fall:

New boots (I may have an obsession)

Pumpkin-flavored everything! 

Decorating the house
Pumpkin-scented candles!
What's on your autumn bucket list?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Missing the moments


I hear my kids misbehave after school.

I wouldn't know, as I work full-time. And it's not because I want to (although I do enjoy helping students). I work to pay the bills and carry the insurance.  

I miss the moments of picking the kids up from school and finding out about their day. Instead, I walk in the door at 5:10 p.m. to chaos with the kids running around and the husband telling me that supper is ready. We hurry to sit down; there is still so much left to do before bed. It's hard to keep the lives of five people straight.

I feel my brain is on overload: the never-ending to do list, the volunteer "jobs" I'm involved with, the constant demand on my time....at work, the door is constantly being opened by people who need my assistance; at home, it's always "mommy, mommy, MOMMY!"; the emails - did you do this? finish that? can you update this? 

I'm spent I tell you.  

This working mother thing is hard.

Will I someday miss these moments? The hurried ones? The crazy ones?

Will the future me sit and be bored some day with no demands on her time? 

Will I have wasted away from kidney disease 
before I even get the chance to miss the time I'm living now?

I find myself wondering many things these days....
what's the point of it all? 

To quote my favorite movie:

There's no point to any of this. It's all just a... a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know... a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle... and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.