I am not so sure I want a job after all.

I was hired for a job a few weeks ago and had my first official shift last week.  The job involves taking care of a sweet elderly woman in her home.

For the first few days, I loved it.  The two-hour break from my own life was refreshing and I came home feeling energized and appreciated.  I love doing work that is important–work that means something and helps people.  And I like making money, even if it’s just a little bit.  There is a magical power that comes with earning money that I have not felt in a long time.

But today was different.  Mia cried at the window as I drove off.  Anna didn’t finish her morning nursing session and I didn’t finish breakfast.

Then shortly after I got to my client’s house, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Suddenly I don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t like that my kids’ needs are being put on the back burner on the mornings I work.  I don’t like the risk of becoming attached to someone just to have her die.

In the early years of our marriage, I worked at a nurse’s aide in two nursing homes.  I loved the work; it was the most gratifying work I have ever done (other than parenting!).  But it was also the hardest.  I lost many people that I loved.  The losses traumatized me to the point where I always felt like I was going to lose someone or that something awful was about to happen. So I quit. I took the good things with me and left the bad things behind. I donated all of my scrubs in a vow to not do that line of work again.

Yet here I am.  This time it is different, but also much the same.  The same attachment, the same inevitable loss.  And on top of that, the feeling that I must neglect my kids’ needs a little bit.

What to do.

 

one car

We are officially a one-car family now.  I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, in order to simplify our lives and cut costs so we can live more comfortably on our income.

I am free to bring Alan to work in the morning any day I’d like, as long as I pick him up in the afternoon.  Turns out, I was too lazy to do that even a single time last week, so we were without a car during the day all week.

It was weird.  I had car withdrawal.  I felt panicky, lonely, trapped.  But because this is what always happens to me when I withdraw from something, I had the wisdom to know it would pass.  And it did.

This is the second car-less week, and so far it has been lovely.  We spent the past two whole days being home.  I felt free.  I just did my daily work, spent time with my girls, and leisurely went about the day.  I was able to make meals and keep on top of dishes and laundry with ease.  Because I had the whole day to do it, I was not stressed out (until dinnertime, at which I am always stressed out).

I should mention that I also do not have a computer during the day.  The computer I had before was my dad’s, and I decided to give it back to him so I could rid myself of its constant lure.  I wanted to spend my days more mindfully, more present and engaged in my daily life.   I use Alan’s laptop when he comes home from work.  So far it’s working swell, and I’ve spent more time reading books and doing creative things rather than running for the computer screen one hundred times per day.

I think most people would see these choices of deprivation.  But I see them differently.  I see them as choices of freedom–freedom to be with myself and my kids, freedom to tend to my work and what matters most to me, freedom from the lure of always going somewhere and doing something else.

Now let’s see how long I can keep up that positive outlook.

my night as a mean parent, thoughts on Facebook, and why I don’t care to censor myself anymore

I believe in kindness.  I really do.  I try to choose kindness whenever I have a choice…

But I often fail.  I am human.

Tonight I was a mean parent.

Anna would not take a nap today although she was obviously tired.

I yelled out of frustration and anger and begged God to give me a break.  I couldn’t handle this.  While she cried and kicked and screamed, I felt like I could kick her or run away or scream in her face.  Then I stubbed my toe on a step stool. That was it.  I freaked out and started crying and yelling.  Anna was startled and instantly quieted down.  And I instantly felt terribly for what I had done.

Finally, while nursing one nipple and scratching/pulling/twisting/picking on the other nipple, Anna fell asleep.  Relief washed over me, and I felt in love again.

I learned about “sleep talking” the other day during a phone counseling session with one of my favorite people, Jan Hunt.  I will sleep talk to Anna tonight to apologize for being a mean mom.  I will tell her that I love her, that it is not her fault, and that she deserves better.  I will do better tomorrow.

Yesterday I was thinking about being a seed of change.  Today I am thinking about how a seed of change cannot achieve perfection, even if it wants to.  It can only strive for being its best self.  Nature is flawed and messy.  And I love that.

One of the reasons I quit Facebook a while back was that I became very disturbed by some of the things that people said on there.  I also felt scrutinized for what I said and suddenly felt afraid of revealing myself in such a public forum–to hundreds of people whom I hardly knew and certainly did not trust. I often felt judged and attacked for my unusual beliefs and choices, and that was hard for me.  I don’t do well with criticism.

When I took my break from Facebook, I had a lot of time to center myself and think about things.  During my hiatus, I realized that I didn’t want to lose connections to some of my Facebook friends.  I missed them. So I joined again and chose my friends carefully–this time, just the ones I trusted and felt good about having in my circle. There are still a few in there who would criticize my beliefs and choices, but I care enough about them to keep them…for now, at least.

Unfortunately, now Facebook shows me conversations that occur outside of my “friends” circle.  I can see other conversations, but I cannot comment on them.  I can also be a part of conversations on my friends’ pages that involve people who are not my friends.  This happened the other day, and I again found myself feeling overwhelmed and deeply disturbed by the hostility of some people.

And these particular people are people whom I know.  They are a part of my faith community.  They believe in and defend their meanness with pride. They encourage parents to belittle, punish, and name-call their kids.  In other words, they are bullies.  At the same time, they confess to have the same love and faith in their hearts as I have in mine. It is so confusing to me.  I do not understand them, and I don’t understand how those things can coexist within the same heart.

So I wrote my two cents in the comment thread and left it behind.  I told myself it was not my place to judge, thank goodness, and that I can only take care of what is in my own heart. Then I wrote this post and went to bed.

And then tonight I was a mean parent myself, so I can humbly say that none of us are perfect–and most certainly not me.  And I sort of felt like an idiot for being a spokesperson for kindness.  As if I am qualified for that.

We are all mean sometimes.

I used to feel like I had to be careful about what I wrote on this blog, but as of today I no longer care to do that.  I don’t have the energy for censorship.  Censorship requires such restraint and I am bursting at the seams.

From now on I am posting what pleases me, and nothing less.  It might please whomever reads it and it might not.  From now on, I care mainly about being true to myself and the people I share my house with. This is my blog and I love writing in it.  It lets me remember things that are important to me.  It lets me get thoughts out of my head so that I can sleep.

Goodnight 🙂

a seed of change

Mean parents make mean kids.

Mean kids turn into mean adults.  Mean adults marry other mean adults and make more mean children.  The cycle continues and multiplies for generations.

That is, unless one of those children is a seed.  Even without space and nourishment, a seedling will sprout. She will be stepped on, blown over, cut down.  She will become disfigured, shooting water sprouts to ensure her survival.  Beside the strong, thick oak she will be overlooked.

But she will grow.  She will plant her own seeds.  Even without space and nourishment, seedlings will sprout.  They will protect each other from wind; they will reach too high to be stepped on and grow too strong to be cut down.   A forest will grow.  The old will nourish the new.  The old ones will die and feed the soil, sustaining the next generation.

Kind parents make kind children.  Kind children turn into kind adults, who marry kind adults and make kind children.  And the cycle continues and grows for generations, creating a multiplicity of kindness that can spread to epidemic proportions.

What’s not to love about that?

Be a seed of change.

Choose kindness.

Welcome, winter!

Today started with a freshly stocked AND cleaned fridge (happens about twice yearly)…

and while I was at it, thought I’d better clean out those cupboards, too…

To everyone’s excitement, this was right outside our front window:

Daddy’s special Saturday morning breakfast, complete with eggnog, bacon, and chocolate pasty, not to mention CHRISTMAS MUSIC (courtesy of Mia’s Connie Talbot CD from the library)…ahem…

Anna told Grandma and Grandpa all about the snow in the best way she knew:

“Gappa! NO!”

Mia built this snowman all by herself.  I just came out to help with the finishing touches…

Welcome, Winter!