What motherhood has taught me….

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



New Year, Same Old Challenges

I approached 2018 with cautious optimism.  In my head I had plotted out how I hoped this new year would unfold.  My marriage would somehow get easier.  My husband and I would start communicating better.  He might actually be interested in what I had to say.  He might work less, be around more, help me with the house and kids, and make a vested effort to bridge the gap with his step-sons.  As for my children, they’d be more patient with each other, yell less, bicker only on occasion, share better, offer to do some chores without being asked, and be more tolerant of each other.  And as for me, I would become a better mom.  I would be more patient, yell less, try not to curse as readily as I currently do, lose some weight, make time for myself, and start to put me first.   What I had hoped for was quite frankly – a miracle…. a big fat unattainable miracle.  Instead 2018 began just as 2017 ended.  When he is home (and not working) my husband is on the couch glued to the TV with his phone in hand.  There was no magical moment in which birds sang, the sun grew warm and a grand epiphany was realized – you know the one in which the man’s eyes are opened to all that his wife does and he feels blessed and lucky that this woman is his.  Yep none of that.  My kids have been struck down for the last month with a wicked case of entitlement which has been complicated by bouts of quite frankly – asshole-itis.  Yup I said just that.  Between the fighting, bickering, parenting one another, talking back, whining, and greed, I feel as if I am raising heathens instead of human beings.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my kids very much and innately they are good, kind, and caring children.  Yet lately it is if they are possessed by a group of hostile hooligans which are running a muck.  No amount of discipline is able to reign in their crazy train.  So as you can imagine my patience has not only worn thin, it’s worn out.  Can you imagine – 15 days into the new year and I am using curse words like commas, yelling like a lunatic, and feeling more flustered than I have ever felt before.  And forget me time, and weight loss, and putting myself first.  That is just not happening.   So I am left asking myself….  How do I elicit change when I can’t even change myself?  After all, isn’t the quote something to the effect of “Be the change you want to see?”  Lord knows I have tried to change but inevitably I fall right back into my old patterns.  This begs the questions: “Is it even possible to change myself if everyone I am surrounded by is unable to change themselves?”  Am I destined for feel this way forever?  What is it that has to give in order for my family to take notice?




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….


When I am sick….Points to Ponder

As moms and wives we are the glue that holds it all together.  We are the cooks, the cleaner-uppers, the bill -payers, the chauffeurs, the enforcers, the organizers, the supporters, the cheerleaders, the nurses of boo-boos and illnesses, and we are anything else required of us for the simple sake of rearing our children and standing by our significant others.  However what happens when we get sick?  Apparently not much in my household….

What I have learned is that…..

  1.  I doesn’t get a sick day or even a sick moment for that matter…
  2.  I am still expected to perform all of my regularly scheduled duties otherwise the house falls into complete chaos….
  3. Apparently my being sick pales in comparison to when husband is sick….no matter how shitty I feel….
  4. When asked by my husband if I will still be making dinner it is grounds for justifiable homicide…
  5. When your husband offers to bring home dinner when you are sick you need to specify exactly what you feel up to having.  Apparently the obvious dinner choice of soup in my household was replaced by polish kielbasa…
  6. When your sick and your husband takes off to play golf remind him to choose wisely when he asks you if he can play four more holes…
  7. Your kids will inevitably need you more when you are incapacitated by illness….
  8. There will be no reinforcements from others as coincidentally your illness will coincide with them being away….
  9. Your husband will questions the validity of how crappy you actually feel…


Moving Saved My Marriage….

For many of you who follow my blog, I have in prior posts made mention of the fact that my marriage had been under a lot of stress for quite some time.  I had kept mum about it in the beginning, only opening up to a very few close friends, but slowly over time the rosy veneer began to crack and the ugliness spilled out into and all over everything.  Soon there wasn’t a day that went by that we weren’t fighting about something, anything, and everything…. We were existing on borrowed time.  He hated the house we lived in – the one I had once shared with my ex-husband.  He resented the fact that nothing was his, that we tripped over my ex on a daily basis, and that he was far from his work, his friends, his family.  I resented him for resenting everything.  I hated that it was like pulling teeth to get him to help me out with anything around the house.  I hated that he didn’t contribute, participate, or want to be a part of our family.  To make a long story short, he was miserable, I was miserable and together we were a mess.

Putting my house (because truthfully that was what it was) on the market was like taking an enormous leap of faith, if not throwing the proverbial Hail-Mary” if you will…  I wasn’t ready to be done with my marriage and felt deep down that a change of venue might just be what we needed to reset our marriage and ourselves.  Many around me questioned my thought process but I was adamant that I needed to make this move.

Fast forward a year and a few blog posts on the stressors of buying and selling a home and I am happy to report that we just celebrated one month in OUR new house.  It was a very long road to get here but it truly seems to have been worth it.  The difference I have noticed in my husband is huge.  In general he is more relaxed, more at ease, and genuinely happier.  He spends more time with the kids and has even made a very concerted effort to bridge the gap he created with my boys.  He is vested in working on our house and takes pride in projects we have begun to undertake.  And while we still have moments where we disagree and fight, our marriage for the first time in a long time is on much more solid ground.

Every Husband Should be Just a Little Jack Pearson….

For anyone that’s watched the show “This Is Us” you know what I am talking about.  It’s near to impossible to watch the show and not think “I wish my man was a little more Jack Pearson.”  After all, Jack Pearson is a man who embodies family, love, loyalty, devotion, hard-work, passion, and – well, you get my point.  And while he also has his faults, which help to remind us that he is after-all human; all together he is a man that women all over have fallen in love with.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband.  But there are things about him that I wish I could polish up a bit.  And while I am not intentionally trying to compare him to Jack (it’s not fair in a sense to compare him to a man that doesn’t actually exist), it’s hard not to wish that he possessed more of Jack’s endearing qualities.  I mean, who wouldn’t love a little more romance, a little more passion, and definitely more family time?

For women, we value intimacy in our relationship.  We need the passion, the love, and the emotional connection because ultimately that is what adds meaning and value to our relationship.  In order for there to be an us, there needs to be a foundation capable of supporting us.  This foundation needs to be full of not only big things such as love, trust, loyalty, devotion and hard-work; but also those little things that many times get taken for granted or get lost in the chaos of everyday activity.  We need the love notes, the flowers, the surprise dinner plans, and the thoughtful gestures that acknowledge our needs.

Jack Pearson gives us pause to reflect on what it is that makes “our us,” and what “our us” can be if we just take a moment to appreciate the person we fell in love with.

A Restless Mind

Sleep is an elusive concept to me.  As a mom I am frequently roused by various “kid noises” or the crying of my youngest who has for some reason woken up and now wants to sleep with me.   As a wife I am woken up every night by my husbands alarm as he works the graveyard shift and has to get up around 1 am.  Then of course I am woken up by me, or rather my bladder, which over the last few years has decided that 2 am is a great time to get me up to pee.  Once awakened for whatever the reason, my brain decides that it would be a great time to ponder over all that I am currently dealing with.  This only further rouses me from my semi-conscious state (where at least I had a slight chance of getting back to sleep) and leaves me staring at the dark ceiling while helplessly trapped amidst an ever growing ocean of thoughts that I clearly can do nothing about at whatever ungodly hour it is, other than play them over and over in my weary head.

I can’t help contemplating at these hours how my plate got overwhelmingly full and my life became so complex.  I mean, if it wasn’t, then maybe my brain wouldn’t feel so compelled to attempt to work through everything when it so obviously should be letting me rest.  I start to think of the type of person I am and stress over why I am so uptight (as my husband puts it) and high strung all the time.  It’s as if I have no ability to relax and find some inner peace.  I worry about everything and anything.  I always have, even as a child.  I know I have a little OCD when it comes to certain things but its hard to change traits that have been with me my entire life.  Yet its these traits that I know are having a strong impact on my current relationships with my husband, my kids, my family and my friends.  I’ve tried talking to someone about how I am but to no avail.  I am currently contemplating other avenues in an effort to find some balance.

I start to think about the type of mom I am and cringe at how I struggle with all three of my kids.  I want to cry at the disconnect I am having with my two older ones; and then cry harder at how challenging my youngest is.  I know a good part of my relationships with my kids is affected by my own personality, yet every day I wake up with the intent to put forth my best effort to try to and have patience with my kids.  Despite my efforts, the end results most always seem to be yelling, meltdowns, and attitudes.  My parental patience reserves have become almost non-existent.  This of course makes me feel like such a failure as a parent.  I long for my husband to jump in and help and that just hasn’t happened like I need it too.  I used to use his work schedule as an excuse for his lack of involvement.  I mean, its difficult to be involved when you work nights and have to sleep during the day, but on his days off its as if he just doesn’t want to be bothered.  I understand that he’s tired and know that he works long hours.  I am also am very appreciative at the efforts he puts forth to provide financially for our family; but I need him to be present physically and be vested personally in making our family work.  I can’t do this by myself – clearly it’s both not working and has negatively impacted the kids.  The boys (his stepsons) have no real relationship with him which breaks my heart because they would kill for five minutes of his time, and I worry that he’s going to miss out on many major milestones with our daughter.  I know he that he already has….

Then there is our own relationship… We just seem to be at such a disconnect lately.  While I will leave it at that for now, it certainly is a contributing factor to my current stressed out state….

Then there is our house, which we just put on the market.  I say “our house” but if you ask my husband he hates what he refers to as “my house.”  He married into this house, a house which to him represents my past, which he has no vested interest in, and is just too far away from his work.  Okay, I get it and am all for getting a house that is ours.  Subsequently we have just recently put it up for sale.  Now we wait and I am charged with the task of keeping our house “showable” at all times just in case the realtor should call with an interested party.  Do you have any idea how tiring it is to keep a house “showable” with three kids?  It’s downright exhausting.  And as I attempt to keep our house “showable” I wonder when we might get the “first bite.”  There have been a decent bit of views online but when will someone actually request to see it?  I think our house is worth looking at but will others?  Are we asking the right price?  The plethora of questions goes on and on….

Then there is my job.  I recently returned to work full time and took on some added responsibilities on my nursing unit which have left me feeling stretched a little thin.  You might ask why I put myself in such a position and honestly I am asking myself the same question as well.  Juggling three 12 hour shifts a week with my added work responsibilities while parenting three kids is in itself a circus act.  I am resistant to going into work on my days off, though occasionally I have to, which then creates child care challenges in and of itself.  It’s just not easy all the way around.  But, I might be better able to to facilitate my juggling act if I didn’t feel so overwhelmed on all other fronts discussed.

Of course I also think about all I have to do at home to keep the general daily workings running smoothly…i.e. the cleaning, the cooking, the laundry, the dishes – etc.  – the list is clearly much more encompassing that those few tasks I have listed.  There really should be more of me to get it all done.  And it needs to get done on a daily basis because we all know what happens when you skip a day with three kids, a husband, two dogs and a cat….

I am not sure where I am going with this entire post.  Maybe it’s my restless minds way of unloading in a therapeutic sort of way.  Maybe it’s my minds way of being heard amongst the deafening chaos that is my life.  Maybe it’s my minds way of trying to validate how I am feeling in an attempt to move forward in a more positive way.  Maybe I just want to vent….


Why I need my husband to show me that he loves me…

The spoken word, if conveyed harshly or with malice can do damage well-beyond what can ever be imagined….

Somewhere in the midst of all that life throws at you, my husband and I fell victim to daily stressors, personal insecurities, patterned behaviors, and reaction legacies and stopped being the loving couple we started out as.  Over time, all that we had created together began to fall apart, and our ability to communicate with one another completely broke down.  Loving words were replaced with those that were less than kind.  As a family unit we were coming apart at the seams.  As a couple we began to coexist, nothing more.  With resentment building, and fueling our downward spiral we are now at a crossroads in our marriage – either try to repair the damage or go our separate ways.

We’ve chose to try and fix what we’ve broke and I hope to God that we will come out on the other side of this mess, together and stronger as a couple.  Yet I would be naive to think that there is a simple fix to this whole situation.  Our issues are full of complexities that I don’t even know how to begin to work through.  We’ve chosen to go to counseling and I am optimistic that a neutral third person can offer us some insight so as to find some common middle ground.  But to fix this is going to take hard work and commitment – from both of us every day.  Words will not be enough to make us whole again.  I need for my husband to show me through his actions that he really is invested in saving our marriage and our family.  I want to believe in his love for me.  I want to see it in his eyes.  I want to feel it in his touch.  I want to believe that our marriage is not a mistake, that I am not a mistake.  I want the man back that made me feel like together we could take on the world.  I want my best friend back – the one that made me laugh, dream, and believe that together we were better than we were apart.

But there are no guarantees and that scares the hell out of me…

There’s No Shame…

There’s no shame in seeking out professional help in times where an objective perspective may just offer you the insight you need to work through the hardest days of your life.  The shame comes when you don’t ask; when you fail to seize an opportunity that just might be the last chance you have to save your marriage…

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