Community, resentment, and connecting the dots

Stumbling across The BadAssMama Chronicles site yesterday got me thinking. In particular, this post about resenting changes hit home, and I started connecting the dots between some things that have been swirling around in my head lately.  Community, and how it works (or not) in today’s society.  Resentment and frustration (mine particularly) and what’s been causing it.  More things that came to me in the shower this morning, and I hope come back before I’m done writing.  I’m not the only one who thinks best in the shower, am I? 
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What's your biggest priority on a daily basis?

I read a SteadyMom post a couple weeks ago and the simple point was that her goal for each day was peace.  Simply peace.  It was more important than accomplishing lots of things, or making fancy meals, she wanted the motive behind the day’s choices to be a desire for peace.

To be honest, I first sniffed at it a bit because I thought about all the reasons why that’s not possible. 

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Growing Pains, With a Side of Estrogen (guest post by Alexis Green)

Image courtesy of Murtada al Mousawy via Flickr.

I wasn’t a “bad” child (at least not in the standard ways) when I was entering my teenage years - nor was I “bad” during them. I was responsible - I had babysitting jobs! I didn’t drink or do drugs or do that whole sex thing. (That all came in college…) My parents didn’t really have too much to worry about.

But we all have our issues, and I came into my teen years with a year of therapy under my belt and bouts of kleptomania that I fought (and usually lost).

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What Did He Say? (guest post by Bridget S.)

Image courtesy of Marco Gomes via Flickr.I have a friend with a thirteen year old son who has recently taken to letting her know that, in his opinion, she is an ass.  Nice, right?  He’s actually used even stronger language than that, and when she tells me about it I cringe, but not for the reasons you might think.  No, I have been through the teen years with a son myself, and I cringe because I know this is only the beginning.
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I saw the tip of his shoe and it hit me ...

D took off on his camp adventure yesterday morning, and practically floated down the front steps on his way out.  I had to call him back to say goodbye, which made me smile, and felt just a wee twinge in my throat.  I’d been pre-mourning his going, as I’m wont to do, so the actual moment of separation didn’t really hit me emotionally.  I blew a kiss at the departing car, came inside with Fynn, and went back to bed to make up for the sleep I’d missed while getting the last of his gear labeled and mended and packed. 
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Life Lessons (guest post by Bridget Straub)

Image courtesy of Digital Sextant via Fliickr.Here’s a dilemma that came up with my eleven year old daughter.  She came home from school yesterday ten dollars richer, thanks to another classmate who insisted she take this money for no apparent reason.  Naturally, I told her she had to give it back and naturally, she did not want to.  “That money comes with a huge danger sign attached to it,” I told her. She disagreed and insisted she couldn’t give it back, and that it would be rude to do so.  She said she had told the girl at the time the money was offered, that it was too much, but the girl wanted her to have it.  “She’s trying to buy your friendship and it’s not okay,”  I said.  Round and round we went.
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When do you mask, when do you share?

Deciding when my kids are old enough to know something is never easy for me.  Determining what they’re able to handle, or what I should keep them innocent about, is a tricky line.  I don’t want to burden them unnecessarily, but I don’t want to create elaborate illusions either.  When my eldest was carping on not being included in a discussion yesterday, I sarcastically responded that when he wished to take care of the bills, he was more than welcome to join the conversation!  Not my finest moment, but truthful. 
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Leaving Our First Home For A New One, Unexpectedly (by Christina Simon)

A mom’s mixed emotions about leaving her family’s first home 

We’re moving to a new house.  I’m excited, nervous and anxious.  After almost 11 years in our first home, we’ve decided to move.  It was a sudden decision brought on by a next-door neighbor who has become unbearable.

Just three years ago, we completely remodeled our current house.  I never thought we’d move.  Suddenly, that changed.  The house next door went into foreclosure and our longtime neighbors moved out. In moved a couple with six sons.  Within a month, their house caught on fire and was rendered unlivable by city officials. Did they move out?  No!  Despite financial offers to move, they have stayed, turning the house into something that resembles a burned out, junk-filled, scary mess.  Last week, they covered the entire house in a huge blue tarp.

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Q of the Week : What's the last thing you lost or forgot?

The elusive green sweater in action last year …My youngest is always losing things.  He carries a toy around, drops it to do something else, and then doesn’t have a clue where he left it.  That’s about right for a 4-year-old, but why is that true of me now too?  I used to be able to remember everything.  Dates, times, appointments, promises, names, bank balances, purchases … you name it and I could probably remember it.  Well, except birthdays, I’ve always sucked at remembering birthdays.  But now?  I can’t seem to remember much of anything. 

It feels like my ability to hang onto thoughts (let alone things) is stretched out like the elastic on that old bathing suit you kept-because-you-thought-you’d-fit-into-it-again, and that I might as well give up. 

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Letting go of mess ...

I’m not so good at handling mess in my house.  A little obsessive I’d say, with the tendency to clean up the kids things before a project is entirely finished.  We have little space to spread stuff out, and can’t really “shut the door” on a mess anywhere unless it’s in their room … which is usually carpeted with Lego anyhow.  I have a 4-year-old who thinks Dad can make anything*, and should do so, at his command, every day. 
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Rambling out the week ...

The pile of finished pillows, positively reeking of lavendar but they’ll calm down a bit over time. It all started with Fynn getting something similar as a gift, and me having to make a replacement when it was lost, so I decided to churn out a stack of them to make a few bucks for Christmas gifts this year.Well, that was a big old blank screen for a week, sorry about that!  My pillow-making frenzy for a craft fair this weekend got in the way a bit … and of course I left it all till the last minute, had sewing machine problems that made me crazy, and it rather snowballed from there. 

My moods didn’t help either, as they’ve been all over the place.  I’m doing some therapy-ish reading and journaling, and it’s digging up some stuff that needs to come up, but makes life extra messy in the meantime.

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When the Tables Start to Turn (by Darah)

For years I had been so focused on mothering my own kids—reading, observing, conversing with peers, and essentially learning all that I can about all this monstrous job entails—that it never occurred to me that I could put those same skills to good use to help me better understand my own mother.  As a mother, I am constantly striving to improve my abilities to communicate with and relate to each one of my kids and the respective stages {crises} they are going through.  Having survived so many intense experiences myself in so few years, {which will all be presented in my not-yet published memoir,} admittedly, I realize that I have become hardened to the sensitivities of others. 
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Q of the Week : How many activities are your children in? (By Heather)

Do you wake up early and rush to get ready (and sometimes still leave the house with wet hair)?  Do you rush the kids to get up and get going – so you can rush them through breakfast, rush them to school and rush yourself to work?  Do you rush around all day at work so you can leave on time and rush home so you are not late for the bus or day care pick up?  Do you rush through homework, so you can rush to after school activities, rush to come home to make dinner, cram food down your throats, rush through baths, reading and bed…to rush off to sleep so you have the energy to do it all again the next day. 

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone!

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Q of the Week : When do you get to bed?

With the marathon over, I have vague hopes of being able to get a bit more sleep for awhile.  This is likely just a silly dream, but I always have hopes :).  For this to happen, however, I have to start going to bed earlier: the life-long struggle that I never seem to win.  I’m yawning as I type this, as I didn’t manage to go to bed till after midnight last night, despite getting up at 4:30 yesterday and burning 2500+ calories before dinner.  I truly never learn! 

It’s extremely rare for me to go to bed before midnight, it’s more often 12:30 or 1, and lately that seems to have slidden to closer to 2am. 

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“Boy Cheese” and other Little White Lies I Tell my Kids (by Darah)

Little Lie Number 1

“It’s called g-r-i-l-l-e-d cheese,” I repeated for the twentieth time, not “g-i-r-l cheese.” It didn’t matter; his young ears couldn’t hear the difference. And, most importantly, he didn’t want to eat it because it was for girls.  “OK then,” I scoffed in resignation, trying not to appear exasperated. “I’ll make you a Boy Cheese sandwich.”  “Oh yeah, Mommy!” he cheered licking his lips.

Eureka! And that is how it all began. The little lies.

I realized that if I use their nomenclature coupled with their vivid imagination, I’ll succeed in getting through to them.

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Roundup ... the Monday edition

The weekend got away from me again, with company and ever-more-insane runs (I have a marathon in 7 weeks, eek!!) along with looming deadlines on several big projects.  Not to mention we leave in less than a week for 10 days in FL to set up for and participate in a big family wedding … if I dare share pictures afterwards you’ll begin to understand why 10 days are involved :). 

There were some great links and reads and conversations around the web in the last few days though, and I want to get them out to you before another week rolls around. 

Enjoy, and please visit and comment if you can!

Mom-o-Meters (by Heather)

Some moms seem to have this thing all figured out. They never get frazzled, their kids always behave, they are on time for every event, look put together (even at the gym), and still have time to make cute cupcakes. If these women complain at all about their children or how it has changed their life, it is done in a light-hearted manner and the tiny rant always ends with…”but isn’t it all worth it?”

Well no, sometimes it is not!

Sometimes I would like to trade them in!  I rather miss my old life!

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