Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Creepy-Crawly Month

If I see one more creepy crawler, I’m going to scream! We recently had to have some work done on our sewage pipes, and it stirred up a bunch of house centipedes. The first one I saw flitting across my bathroom at about 1:00 in the morning! And the last one I pulled out of the kitchen drain with my bare hands with some orange rind that my daughter accidentally dropped in the sink. Oh, I was NOT happy at all!

Fast forward only a few days. Several stink bugs decided that my house would be their perfect home. Eventually, one of them landed on my right cheek just as I was beginning to drift off to sleep. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so high in my life as I flew out of bed trying to get away from the disgusting thing.

Then, this week tiny little gnats discovered they could squeeze through our window screens. Between them and the fleas that my dog brought home from the vet, my kids and I have been itching at every thought of pests. And I feel awful because my son and daughter are suffering from the first bug bites of the year.

So, a good part of today was spent stocking up on pest-killing gear (kid and pet safe, of course) and going all postal on these unwelcome guests! And on the way home, who should pop out of my heating vent in the car? It was a big fat wood spider! Why do these creepy crawlers love us so much this year?

After a lot of scratching, my daughter finally asked me today why some bugs have to be so mean. Honestly, I have no idea. I love so many insects: butterflies, ladybugs, fireflies, earthworms, fuzzy caterpillars, pill bugs, etc. They are so fascinating and exciting. Still, I sometimes wish the pesky, aggressive creepy crawlers didn’t exist. And I always wish that nature would stay out of my home. If my tiny crawly neighbors would stay out of my business, I’d gladly stay out of theirs!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Seeing Myself Through My Daughter's Eyes

My daughter's family portrait
It may sound strange, but I find solace in my children’s drawings of me. They can offer such profound and touching insights into my son and daughter and how they see the world around them. For example, my daughter had to draw a family portrait for art class this week. Looking over her artwork, I realized that she doesn’t see me as I see myself.

I’m subconscious about my extra pounds, short height, and a few other small physical features. But in my little girl’s drawing, all that doesn’t matter. All the members in our family are around the same height and have no signs of love handles anywhere. And even though we aren’t perfect, we seem happy and content as can be just being together.

Undoubtedly, that is how it should be. That is what I try to teach my son and daughter. Yet, I find myself being hypercritical of every little flaw I see within myself or on my body. I need to find a way to finally practice what I preach!

I want my little princess to continue seeing the best in people. I want her to always see the best in herself, too. Consequently, it is time for me to face my inner critic and tell this ugly voice it is time to go. It is time for that critic to stop harassing me and abusing me with her insults and wisecracks.

It is time to start loving myself for who I am, regardless of my imperfections. I need to take a lessen from my daughter and find my inner and outer beauty. I must find a way to permanently shed this unhealthy image that has haunted me most of my life.

My future AND my daughter’s future depend on it! I should NOT be living this way, and I will NOT pass this flawed thinking down to my daughter. The ugliness, self-hate, and low self-esteem stop here. It’s time to get comfortable in my own skin and be happy with who I am--for me AND my little princess.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Loss of My Little Helper

I am mourning tonight the disappearance of my little helper. Once upon a time, my 7-year-old son was incredibly eager to always try to help me. He took great joy in little chores around the house and was always asking permission to do this or that for me. Even when he was 2-years-old he loved to clean and help me around the house or the yard.

But today marks the end of a beautiful and amazing era: my little helper isn’t so little anymore and he has now decided he hates chores. Say it isn’t so! I had mistakenly believed this time would never come. I had always assumed that since cleanliness seemed like second nature to my little boy, I would never have to worry about him. Boy, was I wrong!

This evening turned into a huge battle with my son over a tiny little chore…something he used to volunteer for with excitement. Now he tells me that chores aren’t any fun, and I am mean to make him do any work around our house. His words cut me to the deepest part of my heart. Once I was so proud of his strong work ethic and desire to be helpful. Now, I’m left wondering where I went wrong.

In reality, though, my son’s current state of mind has absolutely nothing to do with my parenting skills or lack thereof. He is now becoming much more independent, so he doesn’t like when he is told what to do anymore. Oh, when he chooses to clean he is still an eager beaver, but as soon as I mention that I want him to do that same chore, his stubbornness knocks all sense out of him. He whines, complains, drags his feet, and finds every way possible to take longer or not do nearly as good of a job. Seeing how much effort he puts into not giving his best effort is simultaneously infuriating and saddening. I know I have my work cut out for me until this phase comes to an end.

Maybe someday my little helper will return—and if he does, I promise to never take him for granted again! Maybe he is gone forever. Either way, I must find a means to show my son again why hard work and wholehearted effort is important in life. Slackers and procrastinators get nowhere in this life, and I want the best for my son. I want to see him flourish and succeed, not doom himself to mediocrity and the bare minimum.

Has your child ever gone through a similar stage? Did your little helper ever return? Did you find a way to show your child that working hard and helping out is a crucial part of life? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Reflections

It is amazing how much we can change, while still being the same person. A long, long time ago–ok, more like 10 years ago–I was convinced that motherhood was not for me. I strongly believed that there was no way I’d ever become a mother. My childhood had been nowhere near normal. I didn’t have a very close relationship with my parents. So, I was convinced that I would be the world’s worst mother. I have always love children, but what did I know about properly raising kids? Ultimately, I couldn’t justify putting any child through that uncertainty.

Now those days seem like just a distant memory–almost like it was a lifetime ago. This Sunday will be my 8th Mother’s Day, and I’ll be eating up my two children’s attention and affection. They are now old enough to understand what Mother’s Day is, and they get thoroughly excited every time it comes around again. I’ve been getting showered with extra drawings, hugs, kisses, and I-love-you’s all week. It’s great to be a mom!

I know I’ll never be a perfect mother. I make mistakes and always will. But judging from my kids’ infectious laughter, frequent smiles, and affection even towards each other (at least most of the time), I must be doing something right. According to my 5-year-old daughter, I am “the bestest Mommy ever” and she is so thankful that I take such good care of her and her brother. Who knew I had it in me?

I can’t imagine my life without my children. They are such an enormous part of who I am today that I can’t fathom being me without them. I look back and realize that I was a frightened, scarred, and insecure girl 10 years ago. I had the sense to know that motherhood isn’t easy and shouldn’t be approached lightly. However, I failed to see all that I learned from my childhood and less-than-perfect relationship with my parents. All that happened in the past helped prepare me for the mother I am today because I was so determined not to repeat my own parents’ mistakes. I’m so relieved that I finally gave motherhood a chance, for it has changed my life forever!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers out there! If you are a mother, grandmother, or other special lady, I hope you have a relaxing day full of love and laughter. And for everyone else, don’t forget to spoil the women in your lives. You know your life wouldn’t be the same without them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommy Doesn't Work...8 Hours Every Night

It’s funny how kids can so easily misunderstand things. Sometimes, it is pretty funny the way little minds try to understand the world around them. Other times, it’s hard not to feel a little sad about their misconceptions. Recently, my son and I got into a tiny argument about his homework. He didn’t want to practice reading. In fact, he was determined to not do school ever again! I tried to explain to him why reading was so important—an explanation that included that reading was necessary for getting a job.

As soon as those words were out of my mouth, my son glared at me and said, “I don’t plan on ever getting a job. You don’t work, so why should I?!”

I know kids will be kids, and temper tantrums are a part of the parenting journey. Still, his words really stung. I may not work outside my home but raising and cyber-schooling two children is hard work. Besides, I spend an average of 6-8 hours each day working diligently at my writing, long after my family is fast asleep. It may not make me much money now, but I’m working towards something bigger and better that will help make my family more financially stable. I know he is too young to understand that I work my buns off for him and his sister. Yet, it still hurts that it goes unrecognized sometimes.

I hope as he grows older that he will see that everything I do is for the betterment of our family. I frequently skimp on sleep, occasionally pass up on fun activities, and forever plan and refocus myself, so I can offer more for my children. No, I don’t write solely for my children’s benefit. However, a lot of the driving force behind my writing is related to my son and daughter. They give me the added push I need to make myself sit down and work, even when I don’t feel like writing. They also are one of my biggest inspirations for my ideas and creativity. They bring out the best in me and make me always strive to be better than I am now. I honestly believe I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without my children, and I thank God every day that I have them in my life!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A to Z April Blogging Challenge Reflections

As a mother, I always want to encourage my children to dream big and never give up on their deepest desires. Yet, I find myself so frequently using lame excuses why I can’t write. I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I have a million other things to do. I’m not feeling up to it right now. I need to watch just one more TV show. My day was just too hectic. The words just aren’t flowing right. The excuses go on and on and on forever if I let them.

The truth is, though, I am meant to write. Even when I convince myself I’m not in the mood to write, the desire is always there. I frequently wake up in the middle of the night because my dreams give me awesome ideas to write about. Whole strings of poetry come flooding into my mind at the strangest times. Some ideas won’t leave my head until I finally write them down. And I don’t feel like myself unless I write on a regular basis.

I AM a writer. There is no point in trying to put my writing on the back burner. It is always going to force its way back into my mind. Besides, the more I write the happier I become. Why have I fought this integral part of my being for so many years? It’s time to embrace my writing abilities and to see where they will take me! 

The A to Z April Blogging Challenge, for the last two years, has helped me see just how important writing is in my life. Although I’ve spent plenty of late nights scrambling to keep up with this challenge (especially this year since I entered three blogs), I got a sweet taste of what I am capable of and how much I can accomplish under pressure.

Not long after the 2013 A to Z Challenge began, I started to doubt my sanity. I had barely finished one blog last year. How was I going to blog through the alphabet with three blogs? I had to be a crazy to think I could write 78 posts in a month in addition to all of my other obligations!

I’m never one to give up easily, so I pushed through the challenge with all three blogs—just barely—but I made it! I was exhausted and pretty frazzled, but I felt so proud of myself and even a little surprised that I had it in me. The 2013 A to Z Challenge has revealed that there is a lot more potential inside of me than I’d ever given myself credit. And I am determined now to reach far with my writing—just like I encourage my two children.

I may have taken a small break this week to recover from the challenge madness, but I am determined more than ever to write daily. No more lame excuses. No more convincing myself that I can always write later. No more thinking that I don’t have the ability in me. It’s time to dream bigger and work even harder to be the writer I’ve always secretly wanted to be!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Z: I'll Take a Zoo or Two

I am a huge animal lover. I have owned and helped take care of quite a variety of pets and exotic animals over the years. Cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, hermit crabs, rabbits, a squirrel, a skunk, various small birds, iguanas, anoles, chameleons, fish, turtles, frogs, toads, goats, chickens, emus, peacocks, and wallabies—I’ve loved them all and cherished every second of taking care of them. I’ll even go as far as saying that I find cleaning out their cages/pens satisfying and relaxing (despite the fact that they can be a bit stinky and gross!).

When I was a little girl I dreamed that I would get rich one day, either by writing a bestselling novel or by becoming a famous singer. And with that money, I would help people and then buy myself a zoo or two. Oh, but it wouldn’t be a zoo with tiny cages. Each of my animals would have huge habitats that would keep them happy and healthy. And I would work all day long, loving and caring for my many animals.

Although I never shared this childhood dream of mine with my own son and daughter, they seem to have caught on to my zoo fever somehow. They have told me that they wish we could own a zoo so we could have lots of different animals to love. Better yet, they want us to have a huge farm where we can help sick, injured, or abandoned animals. They, so much like their mommy, wish they could adopt and love every unwanted animal in this world.

Perhaps love of animals is genetic. Maybe it is something that we all are born with. Or possibly, I subconsciously passed my compassion for animals on to my children. Either way it warms my heart and makes me proud that they care so much about animals and their wellbeing. Who knows? Maybe someday I will write that novel, and we’ll have the money to make our little animal haven. Then we could live the rest of our lives incredibly happy, doing what we all love together!