Posts Tagged With: hard work

while my behavior is (probably) unreasonable, my motivation is not

Things have been tricky with YBW lately.
Tricky may not be the best word to describe the situation, but it’s the word I’m purposely choosing, and that means I’m hopeful.
Here’s the thing, it might be mostly me. I’m completely wrapped around the axle about feeling overwhelmed by the fact we still have kids at home.
I am acutely aware that I’m overreacting to this.
I’m letting fear and anxiety drive the bus.
I’m smarter than that.
I’m more mindful than that.
I’m more capable than that.
Yet here I am. Shrieking and flailing and foaming at the mouth at the man I love.

I’ve worked myself into a state of chaos that I cannot seem to break from.

While my behavior is indubitably irrational and unreasonable, I stand behind the feelings behind them.
Now, those feelings are quite possibly a jumbled hot mess, but I feel them just the same.

What it ultimately feels like to me is that I sacrificed everything in my life to come here and have my life revolve around YBW’s children.
I’m not exaggerating.
Here, life is focused around the boys.
You may find it interesting to know that I understand why it was that way for so long. What I don’t understand is why it’s still that way.

Here’s what I know. My husband and I love each other. And we’re committed to each other and our relationship. And that gives me hope.

Hope is a powerful ally. One for which I am grateful. For without hope, I would feel that we made the biggest mistake of our lives. But because I have hope, I know we didn’t.
At the moment, what I need more than hope is an end date. I need practical reassurance that my hope is well founded. That there will come a time in the not-so-distant future that the life I am creating with my husband will revolve around our relationship and not his children.
He told me once that he didn’t want to be a step-parent to my girls. Well, first of all, this was hurtful to hear, and secondly, this was obvious as hell when my daughter came to live here. And more hurtful that I can even express.
Yet here I am, living my life for his children.

In my vision, we are a little solar system. (Interplanet Janet, much?)
And in that solar system, YBW and I are a planet. Our four children are nearby moons. Only, unlike a “real” solar system the moons and planet can occasionally occupy the same physical space and be together.
In my heart of hearts, I don’t consider that unreasonable.
What hurts me so much, is that it seems to me that YBW does.

I don’t want to “get rid” of his children. I want them to follow the natural course of development and fly the nest.
I think this goes back to what I was musing over parents developing at a different pace than their children. And while I acutely understand the pain of it. I don’t believe following the natural course of development is unreasonable.
I can want it to be the way it was when it was ‘we three girls against the world’, but that’s not the natural course and it’s not fair to them, or to me.
YBW never had to make the choice to accept the discomfort of those feelings. It was, and remains, these three boys against the world.
Only here I sit, ‘against the world’ adjacent.
Who’s against the world with me? Not a damn body.

Here’s what I’d like…YBW realizing I’m on his side. That I can be part of his against the world with his kids. BUT the time for that is waning, that soon they’ll be on their own, with us as back up.
I’d like to experience the shift from three boys as a unit, to YBW and me as a unit.

We’re parents. We will always have the backs of our children. There is no doubt of that. But there comes a time when having their backs is less active than it once was. That life is more focused on each other and our place in the world and we know that we’ve got our eyes on the moons that are near us.

In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Belle sang,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.”

Well, I want that too. I want that with YBW.
Truth is, ain’t nobody adventuring while the focus is on an adult male that chooses not to launch, and a nearly grown male that chooses not to be invested in his own life.
Sad truth is that because they’re not choosing, they’re missing out.
That actually makes me feel worse.
I want more for them.
Unselfishly.

I see my girls struggle in their lives, but they’re out there trying.
Thing 1 and Husband N haven’t any money, but they have tenacity and they have love. They have a plan and they’re making it work.
Thing 2 is stuck physically, but has decided not to let that stop her from making the best life she can. She’s working within those constraints to get her life together and make something of herself.
I have their backs, helping them when they ask for it.
I suffer discomfort at their struggles.
But I see them making the choice to live their lives.

Contrary to opinion, I love YBW’s boys a great deal. I want them to choose their own lives! I want them to try! I want them to be successful humans in this world.
I want YBW to experience the pride and joy I feel when this happens for his children.

I don’t share these comparisons to point fingers. I share them because I know what it feels like to be on both sides of the coin.
Just because I didn’t give birth to his children, doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Doesn’t mean I don’t want the best possible lives for them.

Yes, I want to be a unit of two.
That’s what you’re meant to do with grown-ass kids.
The thing that kills me is that honestly don’t know if that’s what YBW truly wants.
And I don’t know how much longer I’m supposed to silently wait and see. All these thoughts and feelings I have can no longer be contained! In my trying to be kind, or respectful, and say nothing, I’ve created a toxic pit inside me. I much less successful at controlling it. I’m much less concerned about being kind to others than I am in being kind to myself.
I shouldn’t be silent when I’m unsatisfied.
Neither should I lose my shit completely.
It’s a delicate balance.
I’m not super successful at mastering it.

I refuse to believe that wanting what I want is unreasonable.
Though, I am aware that I am inclined to present it in a way that probably is.
I’m being mindful.
I’m working at it.

I’m tired of the same old conversation. Eight years later and I’m still wondering if he truly wants a life with just me.
Do I just need to get over myself?
I have no earthly idea.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

problematic napkins

These napkins just might be the death of me!
My sewing machine is not quite right. The bobbin tension is wonky and I can’t get it right. I need to take it and have it looked at.
So I went the fusible tape route. Now, this should have been a simple operation…stick the tape, fold the seam, and iron.
wpid-20151017_081556.jpg
Should have been.
This fusible tape was created by the devil himself! It won’t stick to the fabric. It won’t peel from the paper. It sticks to itself.
Thing 2 and I were at our wit’s end and I was near foaming at the mouth. Thursday was the day I had the crazy temper fit. It took us all day to make just eight napkins. ALL DAMN DAY!
YBW came home from work asking how he could help and we just growled at him.

I’m so happy I vowed to take a break Friday. I got to visit with one of my former student’s mom, she hung out much longer than expected. There was a part of me that was anxious about not getting anything done, but it was good to stop for a while. YBW came home right as she was leaving and we made a meal plan for the week, Thing 2 has offered to do the cooking so I can do wedding things as needed.
(Thank you, Mousk)
We made a Costo list and a grocery store list and Thing 2 and I set out.

I’m about to go back to the napkins this morning…I see the finished ones and feel happy and hope.
wpid-20151017_081401.jpg
I got this.

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

observe. accept. love.

Some you may know of the app facebook has that shares memories. It’s called “On This Day” and it shows things you’ve posted on that day in previous years.
I don’t check this all the days, I just happened to do it this morning because of something someone else posted that involved me.

Here’s a post from this day two years ago:
dancing girl at great falls
While we were at Great Falls today, I saw this little girl jumping from rock to rock singing, “I am awesome!” (The tune was precious.) Her mom just watched…she didn’t say anything and the little girl didn’t do anything but jump and sing about how awesome she is.
This is why we shouldn’t be saying, “Good job!” Or sometimes not even, “You did it!”
She didn’t need anything from anybody. She knows intrinsically that she is enough…I want to be this little girl please.

Seeing this post stimulated the memory of how moved I was in the moment watching this little girl. She didn’t need anything from anyone. Her mother stood nearby watching, but said nothing. Not “that’s not safe”. Not “way to go”. She said nothing. She observed. She accepted.

My years of early childhood training have given me a different way of looking at the world. At children in the world. The need to have freedom to take risks. They learn through play. They learn through risk taking. They don’t need to be praised every forty-seven seconds. They don’t need a trophy for participating.
They need to feel safe. Safe to explore. Safe to try. Safe to play. Safe to learn. Safe to experience that all-important “I did it!” moment of accomplishment.
It’s obvious to me that this little girl felt safe.
It’s obvious to me that her mother felt safe.
She let that child (who was not yet school-age) take risks by jumping on those rocks. Her mother knew she could fall and get hurt. And that wouldn’t have been fun for anybody, but the little girl would have learned from that. She would have known how to have sturdier feet the next time. She would have jumped more solidly.
That little girl’s mother said nothing while she sang and jumped from rock to rock and back again. But even more interesting to me is that the child never said, “Watch me!” She was completely focused on her task, jumping from rock to rock and singing: I am awesome! It didn’t matter to her if her mom was watching. It didn’t matter to her that she was or was not praised. She was working hard and she was having a blast doing it!

“Watch me, Miss Robynbird!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from a child in the last two years.
I cringe every single time one of them says it.
I have said: You can do it. You don’t need me to watch you.
At first they didn’t understand, I could see the deflation happen in their little bodies. But over time, they began to understand that I trusted them and I made the environment safe enough that they could try anything. They began to ask their peers to watch, this created opportunities to build their cooperation skills. Created opportunities for them to mentor each other.
I feel good about that.
I’ve said: You did it! more times than I should have. But never will you hear me say: Good job! I might say: Well done you! Give me five.

YBW and I had a conversation about praise. He believes everyone wants to hear it. I couldn’t agree more. But my point to him was praise causes people to look outside themselves for validation. They’re not motivated my curiosity or desire to try/play/learn. They’re motivated by and for someone else.
Of course we all want an “attagirl” once in a while. Working hard and not getting recognized sometimes feels icky. But praise is a double edged sword. The other side of praise is criticism. I grew up with enough criticism for three kids and precious little praise. In all honesty, I’d trade praise and it’s ugly twin to feel safe enough to try without anyone’s opinion.
When I work hard and finish a job well done I feel that sense of accomplishment. I experience my own “I did it!” moment.
Would it be nice to hear praise?
Absolutely!
Do I need that praise?
Not really.

We’ve created a new generation of kids that thrive on praise. That are motivated by praise, by participation trophies. That graduate from high school only so the principal has numbers that grow.
What if we took a giant step back and took a page from the mom’s book?
What if we observe?
What if we accept?
What if we love?

I want to be that little girl. I want to be enough for myself like she is.
I want that for all of us.

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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