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What motherhood has taught me….

A mom shares lessons learned as she juggles her family and career….

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blogging101

My Mid-Life Crisis

I just read the most fantastic article titled The New Midlife Crisis – Why (and How) It’s Hitting Gen X Women by Ada Calhoun, and couldn’t help but think – “Holy shit I am not crazy but rather I am apparently having a midlife crisis.”  It was the most refreshing feeling I have had in a very very long time…  Here’s why….

I was raised to believe that with handwork and dedication I could do anything, achieve anything, and be anyone I set my mind on being.  I was raised with the understanding that being financially prudent would enable me to be financially sound.  You didn’t live beyond your means.  You didn’t buy something if you couldn’t pay for it.  It was nice to want things but better to be able to get what you needed.  And, I was raised wanting to have a family like the one I’d grown up in.  So I did what most of my generation did – I went to college, graduated, established my career and while doing so got married, bought a house, and started a family, eventually got divorced, then remarried, expanded my family and moved.  However, the continued effort to obtain this “grand dream” has been seriously understated for many reasons.   First there is the rising cost of living with little raise in pay.  Then there are the disagreements with my husband when our financial, career, and parenting goals don’t mesh.  Then there is the sense of entitlement and attitude radiating from my kids.  Lord knows I am trying to raise them right but some days I look at them and think – “shit my kids are turning into little assholes.”  Sound harsh – maybe – but societal and peer pressures along with technology have stolen my kids childhood and created a completely different futuristic ideal for them.  Most days I feel as if I am putting in all of this effort to achieve something that I don’t even know if I believe exists anymore.  Most days I feel as if I am a colossal failure as a wife and mother.  My husband thinks I am coming unhinged and my kids tell me all I do is yell.  Most days I feel as if I am losing my mind….

On the days when sanity hangs in the balance and I am one snotty look, snarky remark, grouchy retort, or generalized aggravating moment away from going postal, and I have to remind myself orange probably wouldn’t look that good on me I just pray for a few moments of peace and quiet –  or at least enough time for my Xanax to kick in.   Unfortunately these moments are near to impossible to come by.

As a working mom with three kids, a husband, and a household to manage – every waking moment these days is spoken for.  There is no down-time, no free time, and certainly no “me” time.  My calendar is a color-coded visual nightmare.  Between my work schedule, the kids school activities, sporting events, tutoring sessions, doctor’s appointments, and dentist and orthodontist appointments, I am going all day long every day.  Of course along with all the prior mentioned engagements there is also the grocery shopping, all other necessary household errands, homework time, making lunches, making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, dealing with customer service issues, and blah, blah blah blah blah…. If these keeps up I am going to be forced to pencil in when to shower and sleep…

I know I am not the only mom who feels tapped out, stressed out, overwhelmed, under-appreciated and under-fulfilled.  I can’t be the only mom who feels as if all she does is yell at her kids and fail to meet some ridiculously high imaginary parenting bar – set by society.  I know I am not the only mom who leans in close when her kids are misbehaving in public and hisses a subtle threat to knock off the bad behavior or else.  I am also not the only mom to threaten to clean up toys with a garbage bag, make kids eat what was made for dinner or go to bed hungry, and broken something of their kid’s just because they lost their shit at the one millionth time of pleading with their child to do what was asked of them.  I can’t be the only mom who looks at her husband and wants to scream – “Dude a little more help here would be freaking awesome!!!”  I also am not the only mom who looks at her sleeping husband while the kids are awake and running amuck and thinks how easily it would be to clobber him with a pillow at that very moment.  And I know I am not the only mom  who thinks, feels, and says all of this because one of my best friends (and mother of 4) shares almost identical parenting saga.  I have also found comfort in being in public and overhearing other moms recount similar parenting stories that leave me feeling as if maybe I am not doing so badly after all.

So why, despite knowing all of this does nothing change?  Why can’t I skew attitudes, alter perceptions, advance my career without sacrificing my family, get more help from my kids and my husband, and feel more fulfilled in my life?  It’s not like I have been asking for anything unrealistic, out of the ordinary, or off-the-wall.  I just want what I have always wanted….a happy family, well-adjusted kids, a good marriage, and a fulfilling career – while being respected, appreciated, and helped by the very people I care about on a daily basis.  Why, despite knowing that I am not alone in how I am feeling does that only offer me a fleeting moment of solace?  How is it that collectively we are all in some way struggling with similar issues but fighting this “battle” as individuals?  How is this all so elusive?  Of course if I knew the answer to this I wouldn’t be writing this blog….

 

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When Your Moving Estimate = You Own To Much S**t

We are moving…. something which I have shared before and something which has become the perfect blogging fodder.

So we had two moving companies come this past week to give us estimates on how much it was going to cost us to move all of our belongings.  Both companies were very comparable when it came to the estimated weight of our stuff; yet both companies were very different when it came to the cost.  It was a no-brainer as to which company we would be using.  However, both companies opened my eyes to the fact that despite our prior dumpster purging, we still own to much crap and we have a LOT more stuff that we need to get rid of.  I mean, who the heck want to pay to move stuff that they not only haven’t been using, but eventually are only going to get rid of in the future.  Not me!!!  And of course, the more we get rid of – the LESS we pay….

Since these moving estimates, I have kicked my purging into high gear.  I am bound and determined to get rid of more stuff; so if I haven’t used it in the last six months or if I think for a moment I won’t use it at the new house it goes into either the “give-away” or donation piles.  Furniture, books, kitchen items, and toys are all up for grabs.  Chicken rotisserie – gone.  Bread maker – gone.  Bakeware – gone.  It’s like Christmas in my neighborhood as all of my neighbors are anxiously waiting to see what items will appear on my curb next.  My neighbor down the street got a liquor cabinet, the lady in the back got a server and a ton of books.  The local daycare (who was always so good to my kids) got some new toys.  And I still have more the get rid of with Big Brother Big Sister coming in a few weeks to pick up more stuff for donation.  And then there are garage sale days in my town – which is the week before we move and you guessed it – anything we aren’t taking is gonna be out there for free!!!

If I can’t give it away or donate at it there is also is my neighbor’s dumpster, which she gave me free use of since I did the same for her.  And believe you me, I have found much more crap to toss.  I guess when you are forced to re-look at all you own, and you’re not gonna take it with you, and you’re not able to donate or give it away, the next logical step is to throw it out.  It amazes me how much more stuff I have tossed since we parted with our own dumpster.  As I am throwing out stuff now I am asking myself how the heck it didn’t get tossed before.

So in a few more weeks when all is said and done ask me if it paid off…. I can guarantee you that on multiple levels it already has and that is in itself a great feeling…..

 

When did my time become any less important or valuable than big business?

I am a very busy mom (as if there were any other kind of mom).  I am on call 24/7 as is required in my mommy job description, and I hold down a full time job as a nurse in a local hospital.  Subsequently, almost every moment of every day is in some way earmarked for something.  Whether its work, housework, food shopping, doctor’s appointments, general errands, school functions, after-school activities, or making appointments to have work done around my house, every day pretty much has something going on – especially lately as we are preparing to move.  Very rarely is their a calendar day that is blank.  Because of the craziness of everyday life, my time is very valuable to me – and apparently only to me.  Very rarely these days do I find that others are respectful of my time and quite frankly it has really started to piss me off.  Here is why…..

  1.  If I make a doctor’s appointment the expectation of the office is that I show up at least 10 minutes prior to the appointment to check in and fill out any paperwork that is required for that visit.  Heaven forbid you are late because some offices will charge you a late fee or even bump your appointment – because after all the doctor’s time is valuable.  Okay no problem – I get it.  However, most doctors’ office routinely double, triple, and quadruple book patients for the same time slots in order to make up the revenue on the back end, due in part to current rates of reimbursement and need to meet their financial quotas.  So does this mean that after sitting in the waiting room 15 to 20 to 30 minutes past my appointment time I can charge the doctor’s office a late fee as well?  When did this become a socially accepted norm or “fair.”  Is not my time equally as valuable as the doctor?
  2. Just recently I made two separate appointments to have work done at my house.  One was to have my furnace cleaned and the other was to have my back chimney cleaned.  Both companies quoted me a four hour time range of when their technicians would be to my house.  And both times I received phone calls just prior to the end of those time frames telling me that the service technicians were running several hours behind.  Seriously?  How is this okay?  It’s not.  I traditionally make it a point to make such appointments  weeks prior so as to specifically request the first appointment slot (or as early as possible) knowing full well that I need to be available to pick my kids up from school, tackle homework time and get my kids to their after-school activities.  Calling me at the end of the time frame you game me to tell me your running late, offer up a meek apology, and ask me if I want to wait or reschedule is beyond maddening to me and it quite frankly pisses me off.  First of all, I have be waiting all morning for you to arrive when (had I known you’d be late) I could’ve been tackling a laundry list of other things that I need to get done.  Second of all, why bother giving me a time frame of when you are just going to show up whenever?  How is it that companies don’t honor their word anymore?  Don’t they know that consumers talk or do they just not care if they earn my recommendation of not?  Thirdly, I don’t have time to wait for you anymore because I now have to pick up my kids and kick into gear my busy afternoon – you know the one I warned you about when I made my MORNING appointment.  And do I want to reschedule – NOT REALLY.  Why do I want to waste more of my time on another day waiting for you to show up?  Screw that….

Business better wake up and start showing some respect for people’s time.  It’s not okay to expect that we will just deal with whatever and be okay with it.  I get that things happen and emergencies come up – and I most certainly wouldn’t be writing a pissy blog for a once in a blue moon occurrence.  However, I am talking about this becoming the  apparent norm and occurring on a consistent basis.  Maybe this is because the expectation is “Do More With Less” but if you are going to conduct your business that way, don’t expect to keep mine.

 

 

Defining Moments…

I am honestly not sure why it is I chose to become a nurse.  If you ask my best friend from high school what career path she thought I would have chosen she wouldn’t say nursing, but rather she tell you she was sure I would have done something in journalism – I love to write after all.  I would like to think that I had some epiphany from which I decided that I wanted to help people and thus nursing was the logical choice, though I can’t remember actually verbalizing those words or thinking such thoughts.   Maybe I chose nursing because of my grandparents and my aunt.  Both my grandmother and aunt were nurses and my grandfather was a doctor.  There was always some great (and slightly inappropriate) medical conversations at the family dinner table so quite possibly that planted the subliminal suggestion to pursue such a path.  Whatever the reason, I entered my freshman year of college declaring nursing as my major.

Over the next few years, I worked hard and excelled in both my classes and my clinicals .  However, I found by the summer between my junior and senior years less than fulfilled with the path that I had chosen.  As a matter of fact, I had a growing doubt gnawing at my soul that left me contemplating changing my major.  That’s when my first defining moment occurred.

The call came probably around mid-afternoon on a Saturday – my grandmother (my dad’s mom and not the nurse) had taken a turn of the worse and we needed to get to the hospital immediately.  Now my grandma was a stubborn cantankerous woman who over many years was in and out of the hospital with various ailments.  Yet as sick as she would get, somehow she always rebounded which was ironic since quite often she prayed for death and begged God to take her.  Anyway, I remember getting to the hospital and detouring to the ladies room with my mom and sister while my dad went into my grandma’s hospital room.  We were coming back from the bathroom when we ran into him coming out of her room, tears in his eyes.  I don’t quite remember what it is that he said to us.  All I remember is rushing into her room.  She lay there quietly, breathing shallow, color pale.  There was no rebounding from this anymore.  I took her hand, stroked her hair and told her that everything was going to be ok and that it was time for her to go be with grandpa.  My grandpa, her husband and my dad’s father passed away when I was very little.  I don’t remember much of him but I always gathered that when he died a piece of my grandma died with him.  Now her time was imminently approaching and all I could do was comfort her and reassure her to go be with him.  I remember looking around the room and wondering if my grandpa was standing somewhere in that room waiting for her.  I find comfort in believing that he was.  And I find comfort in knowing that I could share in her final moments, that she didn’t die alone and that she has her family by her side.  After she passed I remember standing outside of the hospital room and my dad pulled me aside and said to me, “If I had any doubts about the career that you have chosen, I don’t anymore as I know you were meant to become a nurse.”

Those words were my first defining moment of my nursing career.  Those words gave my choice a purpose, a passion, and meaning beyond the scope of what I could’ve ever imagined.  I returned to college my senior year with firm belief in the path that I had chosen and graduated with full honors that following spring.

Around ten years into my nursing career I was working as a critical care nurse in a local hospital ICU and now had both some knowledge and experience under my nursing belt.  It was at this time that my other grandma (the nurse) suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital near where she lived.  Her heart attack set off a chain reaction of medical complexities that ultimately led to her passing.  Yet in that final week of her life,  both myself and my aunt (the nurse) became the medical translators to the rest of the family, explaining what tests were what, what lab results meant and what the doctors and nurses were really saying.  We asked the tough questions of the medical team because we knew what to ask and we pushed and pushed so as to advocate to honor my grandmother’s wishes in the face of a relentless surgeon who was too pompous an ass to respect them.  In the end the strength of our family won out and I stood by grandmother’s side when she was removed from life support and quietly passed away.  My second defining moment.

Just recently I took care of an older woman who was battling a very nasty pneumonia.  On the initial days that I had her, she could barely breathe and was scared to death.  And on the worst of the worst days I remember calmly taking her hands, asking her to trust me and in a soft yet firm voice telling her how I was going to help her.  She put her trust in me and I didn’t let her down.  I took care of her day in and day out and a bond formed between us.  I helped her through those lousy first days and I got to share in the lighter moments where humor set the tone and laughter filled the room.  I got to meet her family and through pictures she got to meet mine.  Even after she was well enough to be transferred out of my patient section I still stopped in to see her because I wanted to make sure she was doing okay.  The day before she was to be discharged (I was going to be off that day) we shared a heartfelt moment in which she called me her angel and we both teared up.  I told her that the next time I saw her I wanted it to be because she had come to visit and say hi.

On Friday, I came out of a patient room to a a woman standing with her back to me at the nurses’ station.  When she turned around, I recognized her as, my patient from a few weeks earlier, the older woman whom I had helped.  She gave me a big hug and told me that she had wanted to come back to thank me for helping her. (She also brought me a gorgeous orchid that I pray I don’t kill)  Defining moment number three.  We hugged once more before she left and I couldn’t help but think that there is no greater gift than the gift of knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life when they were at their most vulnerable and most scared.  The connection I had with this patient is the kind that validates why it is I became a nurse and why it is I love what I do.  Her gratitude touched my heart and I will forever remember that on those days in which my challenges seem to overshadow all else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words of Wisdom, Pearls to Ponder…

Look past the materialism of what the holidays are advertised to be and look within the holidays for the true meaning of what they represent.  Cherish moments with family and friends for the value they can add to your life.  Savor those special moments with your children because they are rich in the magic of what innocence is.  Give to those who are struggling and without, because selflessness, kindness, and charity can bring so much joy to so many lives.

Blogs that inspire you to think….

 There is never a greater feeling than that of the proverbial lightbulb moment.  In scrolling through the different blogs that are out there, I find that I have been inspired on many levels by many different people.  Two blogs in particular hit home for me and made me really reflect upon my life as it pertains to what I ultimately would like to accomplish by the end of it.  One blogger who is both a fellow nurse and mother of three, has made it her mission to travel this year; while another shared her bucket list that included both items that have been met in addition to those yet tackled.  Both women have in essence provided me with the foundational forethought from which I can grow as both a wife and mother by having me identify my passions as an individual.  I am excited to sit down and ask myself, “Given the opportunity, what else would you like to do with your life?”  Maybe it’s something as simple as taking one family vacation every year to more complex things such as running a 5K or going sky diving.  The point is, its time to take stock in what I want for both myself and my family.  What do I value?, what does my family value? what do I want us to experience as a family?, what memories do I want to create? and more importantly – what legacies do I want to leave behind?….

Thank you @ adriennea3.wordpress.com & http://megselizabeth86.wordpress.com

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