Friday, October 26, 2012

Time Wasted Or Well Spent?

Some days, much like today, I realize somewhere after noon that I have not actually done anything yet. I mean, I've gotten the boys off to school and fed us. I'm even dressed. But I've done nothing on a to-do list. I've only got a vague idea of what's for dinner. I've spent much of my time on the couch. 

I enjoyed the first hour after the boys were off. I relaxed and snuggled my coffee while I caught up to Facebook and Twitter, (I'm not sure if you're following me or not... so go check and make sure you are, then come back and read on.) and then I checked stats on the blog. I read all my emails and cleaned out the inboxes. Turns out I'm not as far behind as I thought. 

Then Angel Baby got up. She snuggled up beside me and though we have moved from the couch to the loveseat now, we've maintained this position for a good two hours. We've played. We've laughed at the silly mommy Barbie that was wearing the Daddy swimming shorts. "Silly Mommy. You're not a Daddy!" 

We have listened to all our favorite songs on the phone. We had breakfast and she made sure her baby was full too.

I'm sitting here with a bunch of things I probably should do today on my mind. But I'll bet that I won't get much done today. 

I've felt conflicted several times since I stopped working. I feel like I often have these wasted hours. Times that pass by so silently, peacefully. Times where I feel like I'm on a vacation with nothing to do but be with my daughter. I feel guilty. I'm at home and there are things to do. I should be able to get a lot more done in a day. But I don't get them done. My list of to-do's is pretty much the same length every day. I get some done, I'm not useless, but I feel like there is always more I should be doing.

I'm not sure how to explain this to the Trucker. Sometimes he gets it and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he's supportive and sometimes he's irritated.

There is a big secret here. One that few people have the opportunity to learn these days. Unfortunately, even I have not been blessed with this chance to be at home with one of my kids like this. I was home with the boys, but only because of Maternity leave and a new baby at the time. 

This time I have now is beautiful. This time is irreplaceable. I could have easily missed it and I'd probably never know the beauty of it. Do you want to know my secret?

These lazy, useless mornings are the most productive times I have. I cherish the snuggles I might not have enjoyed. I talk with my baby girl like she's a friend, because she is. I play and make messes and she learns new things. I learn new things.

I'm getting this deep connection with my girl. She may drive me crazy some days when she is glued to my legs or climbing on my back, but at least I know I have given her the security of my presence. I am a constant in my childrens lives. They know what to expect from me and what I expect from them. Because I have been able to sit down and just BE with them.

Even now, as I'm typing this post, she is sitting beside me. I have a baby dolly, a blankie and a stuffed kitty on my lap. And a little girl who values my presence.

These hours this morning, that have floated by unnoticed, are not wasted. They are packed with love and lessons. She knows that when she speaks, I am listening. And I want to always be there to listen. I hope that my children always know that I will be here to listen. My boys still feel comfortable to tell me everything. And yes, even some things I really don't want to know. 

These are best hours of each day. Definitely well spent. I don't think there is any wasted time when you have children. Even those frustrating fights with seatbelts or shoes, or the "Please, just sit down and eat your dinner, I don't want to stay at the table all night...." The time is not wasted. It's spent learning and loving. As for dinner time, I think the kids know this is family time. This is talking time. I suspect occasionally that at least one child is purposely eating slow, just to extend the time we are spending together talking.

I wish that every parent knew that some of the best moments, the best quality moments do not come from outings or big family dinners, but from the times we spend doing nothing, together.

What do you think? Have I made the right choice to do nothing? Do you do the same? The greatest gifts of parenthood, the sweetest words from my children come during those moments of nothing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

From the Depths of the Drafts Folder..

I'm not sure exactly when this was written, though I suspect it was August when I was leaving work. I got burned by manipulative people in the summer, at home and at work. This is my mental response to one of them. Though I don't feel the spite that I likely did when I wrote this originally, I embrace the process that I went through in moving past these issues.

I'm in one of those moods. My mind is so full of racing thoughts and has been for a few weeks. Right now, I've got a very melancholic mood floating through me. My mind is nearly blank. I can't pinpoint a single direct thought, yet I know there is much going on upstairs. This is the kind of day I would normally dive into a really good book. Or any book. Just something to keep my brain functioning and away from focusing too deeply on any one thing.

But I've spent a lot of time reading lately.

I wanted to write, to add to the novel I've been playing with. But I'm just not feeling her right now. I can't channel my character today and feel like it would be difficult to describe her thoughts when I'm not able to get a grip on my own. There are still some emotions in me that I don't want to project to her. At least not yet.

I wanted to journal. I wanted to write through my emotions in a private way. But each time I pick up the pen I either end up down on myself or angry at someone/something else. The only thing I am certain of is the frailty of so many aspects of our life. It is true that we possess within ourselves everything we want the world to be. The part that is sad is that it takes only one toxic person to suck that away. It can disappear fast and then takes much longer to restore. I've had this happen with friends, some have changed and some I've stopped associating with. I've had this happen with family and at work countless times.

For the most part, I've been able to look objectively at the situation and figure out a cause. I can normally find the fault of my own if there is fault to be had. I can usually see underlying causes and understand the person causing the difficulties.

What I don't understand is being manipulated. I don't understand the people who do it. I don't understand how or why or... anything. I understand aggression to some degree, I respect assertiveness. I understand working for what you want. I understand feeling that you will do anything to get there.

What I don't understand is how some people don't see anyone else in the situation. I know sometimes you have to step on toes to get to where you want to go. It is inevitable in some cases. But to shove them out of your way entirely and do what you can to make sure they don't resist?  That I can't figure out. Some people are just mean. And unfortunately others don't see it until it's too late.

If you work hard and make it to the top in whatever industry you work in, that is wonderful. If you make it to the top by having no respect for yourself or how you got there.... that's sad. You don't have to play dirty to get to the top. I think that most people who follow that route will eventually get what they deserve. I also find that those people are the ones who don't stay for years with a company. They get it, they change things and then they leave just as fast. Like a conquest to prove to themselves that they can take over whatever they want.

I'm sad too, because the job that I left was totally different than anything I've done before. Beyond the fact that it's an industry I was not familiar with and I had to learn a lot of different things, I was different. I figured out that my family should come first in my life and worked purely to satisfy those needs first. Often, it meant staying up to the wee hours of the morning just so I could spend more time with my family while they were awake.

When I started, I was the most "Me." Eager to learn and be challenged. I made myself available 24/7 for a long time. Even when I wasn't actively working, I was still connected. I watched emails and carried my phone everywhere. But slowly my attitude shifted. The more family time I had, the more I craved. The more I hit speedbumps in my position, the more I slowed down. And eventually I just stopped trying to resume another speed.

I'm grateful. The last time I'd sat with the boss and explained that I'd lost my fire, he worked with me to find something different. I guess that if I'd been back up to full speed, the newest 'situation' wouldn't have made me crash so hard. I had been gaining ground but I was still unsteady.  I tried to address things in a relatively politically correct manner and it didn't work well. Eventually I was left to fight a losing battle on my own. It's clear that someone wanted me out. I can see how I might be perceived as a threat to that person. I stepped out of my box to try to help, I stepped out to resolve an issue, and I got stepped on.

And you know what? Whether it is a problem big or small in anyone's eyes, I don't care. It was a big problem, handled poorly and likely to repeat. This is the first time in my life I've quit a job without having something lined up first. This is the first time I didn't force myself to keep my head down and my mouth shut. I stood up for myself. And even if no one in the company stands behind me, I know that I did what was right for me. And it really did feel like it was me against the rest of the world.

I'm relying on Karma, I suppose. I stopped aiming for the stars and took a shot to the back. Karma tells me I wasn't living up to my potential, whether or not it was by choice. So, Karma will return the favor to those who manipulate the 'little man.' So here's my message to the one that finally shot me down.....

Yay You. You defeated me. You forced me to step back. Yippee.

I know the truth of the matter. I will always know. I am not defeated, I am better than this. I am better than you. And I know you will fall too. I pray you have the grace to bow out as I have, rather than create something scandalous.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Follow The Signs

And the sign said Long Hair Freaky People....

wait.... wrong sign.

I had a really hard time leaving my job. It was almost like facing a break-up. It was emotional and difficult. It was not really what I wanted to do, but so much of what I needed. During the first few weeks of unemployment, I started to see signs that I was definitely doing what was right. The finances seemed to just even out. School started for the boys and there were no big issues.

Macboy 3.0 has difficulties with transitions and this was a shift to junior high, yet it was the smoothest start to a year we've had since... well, ever. Angel (not a baby at all anymore) seemed to take charge and grew from my little toddler into this big girl during September. Her increasing independence and decreasing attitude is making my life easier.

And Art? Well, he had a tougher start to the year. I think it was strange to go to the Elementary without his brother there. He's the big man on campus now and even though he never really played with Macboy at school, I think he really loved knowing his brother was there. However, I was home to wipe away tears after a rough day. I was here to listen to him and find resolutions to his worries. And then he found Choir. They only allow grade 3-6 in this choir and he's super excited to be old enough. He is paving his own way now and nothing is holding him back.

So the signs were all great, that I was exactly where I needed to be and doing exactly what I need to be doing. The Universe was smiling down on us in praise for living life with the right priorities.

Until the last two weeks.

Everyone knows (or does now anyway) that we share our home with my Mom. It's been 12 years of working together for the benefit of all of us. We can all live a much more luxurious lifestyle by sharing the expenses of a home. Normally, it works quite well. Occasionally, something breaks down.

I'll admit I sunk quickly when I stopped working. I crashed and burned and was nearly useless for a week or two (or three). I had to figure out how to let go of that part of my identity and return to where I was when I started that job. It was a struggle for sure. I am almost back to where I needed to be. My drop off the face of the earth started the rolling snowball. Mom and the Trucker couldn't understand why I wasn't magically getting everything done all of a sudden. Well, I still have three kids..... and most of my work I did after bedtime.... so, where is this magical time I didn't have before? Oh, yeah, okay, I'll start the vacuum at midnight! Hope you don't mind!

Oops... ranting...

Anyway. I openly admit that I fell apart after I left my job. And they clearly didn't see what was going on. So, I start complaining to the Trucker when Mom drives me nuts. Then I'm complaining to Mom when the Trucker drives me nuts.... and then... The Trucker and The Mom, both thinking they are right and not realizing their own parts in my misery, have the ultimate battle.

I think four years or so of pet peeves and irritations hit a head finally. It was crazy and I was lost in the middle of it, trying to get either one of them to pull their head out of their ass and carry on....

Then Macboy has some school troubles.

Then my van died.

Then I got a toothache.

So, there I am crying like a little baby last Tuesday. Curled up on my bed for the three minutes of alone time I was afforded that day. Wondering why? Why were the signs there? Why did it seem like being at home was the right thing? Why did I do all of this?

We can't move, I don't have a job.
We can't fix the van, I don't have a job.
I have to pay to fix this tooth and I don't have a job!
We are never going to get anywhere... what was I thinking? I need a job!

It was horrible. Really, really horrible.

Yes, I know it is not because I stopped working that the van broke down. I also know that I could have prevented this toothache if I'd have just gone to the dentist when I realized there was a problem. Like Months Ago. Macboy has ups and downs with school all the time, this has nothing to do with me being home or not. I am just fortunate to be here to help him move forward.

Oddly, the silence between the Trucker and my Mom was the solution. They had to just stand back and watch the insanity unfold. They seemed to understand that I was having a hard time myself. They seemed to see that I was trying to get my life in order and that I struggle. And they both seemed to realize the benefits we all enjoy for living this way. And the stress level sunk dramatically.

The repair on the van is not cheap, but it's getting done. We found help to pay for it. The tooth was beyond saving and I'm still angry about that. Not at the tooth, but at myself for letting it slip. I know better.

The point of all of this rambling is this..... Whether you are religious and believe in God and the Devil, or you are more like Santiago from The Alchemist and feel the 'Soul of the World,' or even if you are just a level headed human with no real spiritual attachments.... there is one solid truth in life.

The signs are always there. However they get there, even if it is just a 'gut-feeling' that you feel, the signs are there. Following the signs that you are on the right path for your life is not easy. There will be trials and tests. Just because things get difficult, does not mean you are suddenly wrong. It's just a test of your resolve. And if you do break, if you cave in or run, it's normal. The trials of life are hard.

But if you really want something, with all your heart and soul, you push through. You tighten your resolve, change directions, work harder.  Don't give up, don't back down when you are doing what you really believe you should be doing. Everything will work out, just how it is meant to, if you stay strong and carry on.

I spent most of my life so far trying to figure out what I really wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I know it will change a few more times yet too. But, I believe with every ounce of my soul that I am right where I need to be right now.  I'm not going to let anyone or anything take this away from me. When it is time to make a change again, I will see the signs. I'm watching and listening.