From the Mommy Files…

Archive for the ‘lessons’ Category

Today we celebrate all the amazing dads and granddads, and my dad is no exception.

If you’ve been following my posts about my dad, you know that my dad has Alzheimer’s and now lives in a nursing home. A friend publishes this awesome blog with posts written solely by women, called Women.Who.Write. She published my Mother’s Day essay, and immediately requested one for Father’s Day. Easier said than done.  But this exercise helped me to identify and begin to confront some of the many complex emotions that Alzheimer’s elicits.

Have a read. My Dad: Reflections, Lessons, Love…and Celebration

Thanks Amelia and Women.Who.Write!

Happy Father’s Day!

I'm so blessed to be this man's daughter! Here we are on my wedding day.

I’m so blessed to be this man’s daughter! Here we are on my wedding day.

Hey there! How’s it going?

Yesterday was the last day of school. Like you, I’ve been mired in all the end-of-the-year events, shopping for teacher gifts, etc. Plus, I’ve been working on an exciting new project, which I will share with you soon. I didn’t want you to think I had succumbed to a new malady, so I thought I’d better check in! 😉

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California's Central Coast.

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California’s Central Coast.

 

Like you, I like to read blogs. (Thanks for reading this one!) Some posts really resonate with me, and I share them on Facebook or Twitter. I thought it would be fun to share them here with you.

Here are my 3 favorite posts from this past week.

1. Saying These 8 Things To Your Kid Every Day Could Change Their Life

I came across this on Facebook, from The Breast Cancer Site. It really hit home. Recently, I have experienced a mindshift in my parenting. I’d been reciting mantras, reading affirmations, trying to motivate, inspire, uplift myself — and boost my confidence. I realized my kids needed this too. These are some great tips to help your kids feel good about themselves, gain confidence, security, and courage.

2. To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit

This one comes from Huffington Post Love Matters, by Rachel Macy Stafford. This post reminds us that what we say and how we say it can have a profound impact on our kids. We do get frustrated. Absolutely. No one likes to be yelled at — not even us. We aren’t bad people. Sometimes we make bad choices, and make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people. We have to find ways to turn these incidents into lessons of what not to do, and how to do better. Even something as simple as spilling milk — I know, even when it’s the 100th time — can get our goat. I’ve realized that we need to be positive and use these as teaching moments. We can make they feel awful, or we can teach them that mistakes happen, and remind them they are loved, and they can do better. Sometimes easier said than done, but we all need the reminder sometimes.

Now something just for fun! 😉

3. Bohemian Momsody

This one’s from Scary Mommy. If you don’t subscribe to Scary Mommy, go now and do it! There’s some great stuff there, and some chuckles too. I’m sure we have all felt like this at one time or another. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite posts this week? What are some of the other blogs that you follow?

 

Been away for a while dealing with my elderly parents. I’ll update you on their situation another time. So much has happened.

 

Let’s shift back to those small beings living in our home…our kids. 😉

 

Bebs is home sick today.

 

Again.

 

On Monday, I heard about this stomach bug that lasted a day, causing vomiting.

I thought, “Phew. Dodged that one!”

 

Spoke to soon.

 

We were up all  Tuesday night.sick_clipart

Just when you think you’re done changing the bed linens for the night…

You know what I’m talking about!

Bebs stayed home from school on Wednesday.

 

Uggh!  I had things to do!

 

 

I’ve got a very full schedule, and not including pick up/drop off, I have about 5 hours, 5 days a week without kids to accomplish it.

I’m singing your song, yes?

 

You’re worried, feel awful for your sick child, and you tend to him/her.

 

But what about the other stuff?

 

I began complaining about all the things that wouldn’t get done that day.

 

You too?

 

Well, there’s my trip to the gym.

I have health issues, and this helps me keep those in check, not to mention it curbs stress, improves my mood, and gives me a sense of “Yeah! I did this just for me!”

I also use that time to read.

Scratch that from the list.

 

Then there’s the grocery shopping, and errands.

 

Oh yeah, I was planning to write.

 

And there is, well, that part-time job.

The one that helps me to celebrate my Greek heritage and culture every day; keeps me involved in the community; gets me published regularly; has been responsible for great learning; offered me the opportunity to meet some really great people (including a mentor!); and, well, I’ve garnered some fans along the way, and their praise and encouragement feeds my ego, and eases my writer’s doubt. It’s more than a job to me.

 

Then there’s volunteering. These days, we must be involved in our kids’ schools.

We have to know who’s in the schools, what they’re doing, and well, if we want activities for our kids, we have to be there to organize and work them – you know. We must also be the teachers’ partners in our kids’ education.

My girls go to two different schools. And Boo attends Greek school on Saturdays.

That’s three schools/PTAs requesting my time.

And I serve on a school board.

You know those days when you have to call and cancel out on something because your child is sick, and it just happens to be the day that everyone else is canceling for the same reason? Yes. We feel guilty when that happens.

 

I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all very important to me and I make the time for them.

Except on days when I have a sick child at home.

 

NOW WHAT?

 

Most of the to-do list doesn’t get done, and it makes me stressed, and I’ve lost my sense of accomplishment for the day.

Those little things like checking off parts of your to-do list go a long way.

 

I started to complain, and then I stopped myself.

 

I pulled out the to-do list.  to do list (4)

 

Time to re-work it.

 

What could I accomplish with my child home?

Is there anything on tomorrow’s list that I could do at home, and shift some of the other stuff to tomorrow?

 

As my daughter slept, I took the opportunity to write.

 

I made some phone calls, did some work.

 

CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

 

Then I switched to some household tasks.

– Planned dinners, made the shopping list.

— Cleaned out a cabinet, then started to file some papers.

Those were much lower on the list, but I’m here, can’t go out, so might as well.

 

I couldn’t get to the store that day, so I had to plan something else for dinner with what we had.

 

No gym.

– Watched what and how much I ate that day.

–  Since I was stuck in the house, I made a few more trips up and down the stairs for good measure.

 

I moved my “outside” tasks to the next day.

 

When Thursday rolled around, I got up a little earlier.

– I took care of my writerly tasks before the family woke up.

– I took the kids to school, got that workout in right away – and did a little extra.

– Work

– Volunteered at Boo’s school

– Attacked those errands that I couldn’t do

 

Then it was time for pick up.

 

I actually thought I had caught up from the sick day, and was ready to attack today.

 

GUESS AGAIN!

 

I got up at 5 (These are Golden Hours. I do whatever I want!). Wrote. Answered emails.

 

Then it was time to get ready for school.

 

Boo went to school.

 

Bebs didn’t feel well. Slight fever, lethargic.

 

Staying home…again.

 

As I began stressing about all the things I’d have to give up today, I stopped.

 

Time to re-work the schedule…again!

 

– Fortunately, I checked several things off the list this am.

– Gym? Nope. Extended workout on Monday.

– Lunch with a friend? Raincheck.

– Grocery shopping? Will have to wait until the evening.

 

That frees up some time.

 

What’s on tomorrow’s list?

 

Oh yes.

Laundry. Cleaning.

Let’s go.

 

I’ll be so happy tomorrow. Then I can just play!

 

As winter approaches, we’re all going to have those days when our kids have to stay home from school, and it throws off our day(s).

Try to remember that it’s OK to re-work your schedule.

 

This is a great reminder to not put things off, because you don’t know what the rest of today – or tomorrow – will bring.

 

It’s a reminder to prioritize.

 

Remember that saying, “Man makes plans and God laughs?”

 

It’s so true.

 

Life is unpredictable.

 

We have enough stress. Don’t add to it.

 

Some ideas:

– Make sure you leave some flexibility in your day.

– Schedule the most important tasks early in the day so you’re sure to accomplish them.

– Don’t put off going to the gym until tomorrow, because who knows what the day will bring, and why feel awful that you let yourself down?

– Make that trip to the grocery store today, while you can.

– Don’t leave all the errands for one day a week. Do these throughout the week, when time presents itself.

 

Check these off the list!

 

Take a moment to remind yourself that you aren’t perfect, you are a mom (or a dad), and life is unpredictable.

 

You know what?

 

You’re a superhero already.

 

Know why?

 

Cause you are MOM. Or DAD.

 

Plain and simple.

 

Give yourself a break.

 

Don’t stress.

 

Now, back to my housecleaning.

MACA

Today, around the US is the Million March Against Child Abuse.

In cities across the country, people will gather to be a voice for children.

For years, I’ve been saying, who’s protecting the children?

I’d hear these awful stories and wonder why something more wasn’t being done.

Kids can’t protect themselves.

They look to adults for protection, for shelter, for everything.

Sure kids can be rambunctious.

Sure they can drive you nuts.

But to abuse them?

I’ve often said, anyone who abuses a child should be punished to the maximum penalty of the law.

And released to the masses to be tortured.

A child?

I look at my own kids and I know, if someone threatened or actually harmed them, I’d go crazy on them.

What about all those kids who don’t have anyone to protect them? To shelter them? To give them love?

As a community, as a society, as human beings, we have an obligation to be a voice for the children.

They need us.

We can’t allow anymore abuse to take place.

Today, we are asked
TO BE THERE, TO BE A VOICE.

TODAY
Americans across the nation in over 100 cities and 45 states will gather to raise awareness of child abuse and crimes against our children.

TODAY
We gather to put an end to the enormous amount of lenient sentencing passed down from judges.

TODAY
Please join children’s organizations, churches, all child advocates and groups in this never before history making event.

Our children are screaming out for help!

The peaceful walks will take place today, all over the US.

Who will protect the children?

Will you?

Join MACA even for one hour.

On Facebook, search “Million March Against Child Abuse.”

Info on Chicago event is here.

By no means do I wish to dissuade anyone from the institution of marriage.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing. cake topper

It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.

Sometimes, we do make it harder than it has to be.

While I never expected the fairy tale, I didn’t expect it to be so hard.

I got pregnant very early in our marriage, so there was little time to really explore these new roles of husband and wife, how that affected our lives and who we were as individuals.

Fast track to parenthood –and without any help –led to much stress and strain on our marriage.

Our kids are now 6 and 4.

Has it gotten any easier?

No.

The challenges are different and ever-changing.

So is this a rant or complaint about my husband?

No.

This is a reality check.

As I ponder what has happened during our marriage –good and bad—I realized something very important.

Neither of us was raised with the tools to be a good spouse.

Think about this for a moment.

We are taught to be good people and kind to others, and yes, all that helps.

But, like many of you, we were not taught how to be a good husband or wife.

And that doesn’t mean cooking, sex or making a lot of money.

It’s about relationships.

It’s about respect.

It’s about listening.

It’s about being unselfish.

Putting someone else first, but NOT always putting yourself last.

You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.

That last one really hit home, yes?

We always put ourselves last.

We watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers do this.

These women did not have the same opportunities that we do, or the same education or motivation to do anything outside the home.

But we all have an inner drive, a wish to accomplish something in our lives, to be a unique individual.

Sometimes, this gets squashed in marriage and parenthood, and it brings about feelings of resentment.

These feelings are not always recognized, but they are there.

What about communication?

This is vital.

I grew up in a house where children were to be “seen and not heard.”

We were supposed to be thankful for what we had, not complain, and just deal.

This did not serve me well in my dating years, and certainly not now in my married years.

It didn’t help me in my career, either.

I was conditioned to not ask for what I wanted or needed, to make do with what we had and to just deal with the way things were, as unhappy as they made me.

I’m still struggling with this as an adult.

Things get overwhelming and you fall back into old patterns.

Think about what is going on in your life, in your marriage.

Are you personally happy? Fulfilled? Motivated? Inspired?

Do you embrace the individual you are and not allow yourself to get lost in the everyday of marriage and parenthood?

Do you take time for yourself to work toward your own goals?

Do you observe couple time? (Not talking about sex, sorry. There will be more of that when you work toward these things!)

Think about how the lack of personal time and couple time affects your parenting.

We all could use a break.

So.

We can break the cycle.

And enrich our own lives.

It’s not a fairy tale. There’s no automatic “Happily Ever After.”

It’s important for us to raise our children to be good spouses.

If they choose not to marry, these skills will also serve them well in their lives.

Think about what traits a “good spouse” has.

Next time, we’ll discuss some things we can do to help raise our kids to be good spouses.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well.

Boo has always been a very sensitive, very spiritual child.

She fully recognizes the role of God and saints and angels in her life, and she embraces them.

We’re starting to see this in Bebs as well, as evidenced the other day when she asked me for a meeting to discuss Jesus’ love for us.

This morning, Boo asked me if I knew what she did before she was my baby.

I didn’t.

Intrigued, I asked her to explain.

This was our conversation.

Boo: Mommy, do you know that before I was your baby I was a little angel? I lived in Heaven and had these teeny, tiny little wings.Image

Mommy: Really? What did you do in Heaven?

Boo: Mostly I flew around, but I got ready to be your baby.

Mommy: How?

Boo: Well, I got my wings and then I flew around, then I met my saint, St. Eleni.

Mommy: Did she talk to you?

Boo: Oh yes! She told me what my name was going to be, and that she was my saint and she’d watch over me too. She told me that Jesus was getting me ready to send to a mommy and daddy.

Mommy: What else did she say?

Boo: She told me that Jesus had been building me and getting me ready, because he chose the best mommy for me.

Mommy: Then what?

Boo: Then St. Eleni sent me off, and I flew over your wedding, and watched it.

Mommy: You did?

Boo: Yes. That was the first time I saw you. You looked so beautiful! St. Eleni told me you were going to be my mommy, and soon I would go down to Earth to grow in your belly.

(I got pregnant with her at the end of our month-long honeymoon)

Mommy: Then what happened?

Boo: Then I came into your belly. My little wings disappeared because I didn’t need them anymore.

Mommy: Did you see your sister in Heaven?

Boo: No, because Jesus was still building her. He was getting her ready so you could be her mommy too.

Mommy: Wow. Did you ever see her before you were born?

Boo: I did. But I just got a peek.

Mommy: Hey, Bebs, did you fly around in Heaven before you were my baby?

Bebs: Yes. But I will save that story for another day! (giggles)

Boo: Mommy, you see, Bebs loved to fly so much. She flew for long periods at a time. This is why it took so long for her to get in your belly.

(Hmmm. I never told the girls that it took me 8 months to get pregnant with Bebs.)

Mommy: I see.

Boo: Then when she got in your belly, her wings disappeared, because she didn’t need them anymore.

Mommy: OK. Anything else you want to tell me?

Boo: Well, we saw Baby Dimo flying around with his little wings. He came down to your belly, but his wings didn’t go away, because Jesus called him back up to Heaven. That’s why he isn’t here with us.

(I named our lost little one Dimosthenis, after my father-in-law, which would be his name even if he were here with us. It was a way to verify his existence, however short.)

Mommy: Do you see Baby Dimo anymore?

Boo: Sure. He checks up on us sometimes. I wish he was here with us. Then we’d have a little brother. But Jesus knows what he’s doing.

Mommy: He does.

Boo: Mommy, I think we should save some for another time. This is not stuff that mommies usually learn about.

Mommy: I’m so glad you told me. It’s a nice story.

Boo: Jesus made me just for you. He told me He chose a very special mommy for me and He did. I love you.

Mommy: I love you, too.

Bebs: I love you too! And my sister and little brother angel!

Mommy: I love you, too, Honey.

Interesting and revealing conversation.

It touched my heart in so many ways.

I do believe that things are predetermined by God.

Boo’s revelations are stunning.

Could that really have happened?

Lord only knows.

Many mysteries are revealed through the eyes of a child.

These stories are precious.

I’ve heard people say that children are innately spiritual, and somehow it gets “beaten” out of them as they grow older.

Some say that children regularly commune with angels and saints.

Their innocence, pure love and faith allow it.

I hope she will continue on her spiritual path.

It brings her such joy and it seems to ground her.

What amazing little girls I have and what a blessing to learn these things that most mommies “never do.”

It was shaping up to be the worst Christmas ever.

Three days prior, we were just about to sign on a new house,

When we received notice that the deal to buy our house had fallen apart.

My mom wasn’t feeling well, and all holiday plans were up in the air.

A dear friend who is undergoing radiation right now, helped provide some needed perspective:

“At least we aren’t going through chemo right now!”

She was so right.

Christmas 2010, I was still undergoing chemo for complications from my complete molar pregnancy.

I’d caught a nasty cold/cough that no doctor would treat.

I coughed so hard that Christmas Eve, I thought I was going to cough up a lung.

I ended up fracturing 2 ribs, which are still not healed…

But I digress…

So yes, thank God we weren’t going through that.

We made the rounds on Christmas Eve and ended the evening at my parents’ home.

My mom was listless. She was weak, slumped over. She looked so old.

Just a shadow of herself, she barely spoke, wouldn’t eat.

We asked if she’d taken her meds; she said she didn’t know.

Normally, she kept her pill box beside her at a nearby table.

It was nowhere to be found.

I searched for the missing pills and discovered them hidden away.

She hadn’t taken her meds in more than a week.

No wonder she felt—and looked—so awful.

We gave her the evening meds, put a cold washcloth on her head.

She said she wanted to go to bed, but couldn’t get up.

Mom lay back on the couch for awhile, then finally got up and went to bed.

When we arrived at home, the call came.

Mom began vomiting and wheezing.

Paramedics gave her a breathing treatment, and took her to the ER.

Now it was 1-1/2 hour drive for me, so my sister, brother and aunt rushed to the hospital.

I participated by phone, providing medical history and other info.

They couldn’t find any issue.

Other than refusing to eat or take meds.

She spent the night and went home the next day.

Many revelations came out on Christmas Eve night, startling changes in Mom.

I wondered, would it be her last Christmas?

I was sad, remembering that we’d lost another of her brothers, just one year ago on Christmas Eve.

Was it her time?

Now, I didn’t tell you that on Christmas Eve morning, I woke up to find that my computer had crashed.

When it rains it pours, eh?

Amazing how much we rely on these things…I was seemingly incapacitated, cut off.

A writer without a computer is like a singer with laryngitis, no?

My smartphone wasn’t being so smart either.

So I woke up on Christmas morning feeling pretty glum.

I didn’t know what the day would bring, what more bad news we’d receive.

The girls were very excited.

They went downstairs to discover that Santa had eaten the cookies and milk they left.

He’d left a note for each girl.

Our lovely Miss Boo on Christmas morning

Our lovely Miss Boo on Christmas morning

There were many presents under the tree.

The girls sprang back upstairs, shouting with glee.

“Santa was here! Get up! Santa was here!”

We went downstairs, and barely got the coffee made when they began to rip open their gifts.

We sat near the tree, listening to Christmas carols, as the girls opened their presents.

Boo looked outside, and announced with pure, unadulterated happiness,

“It’s snowing!”

It was our first real snow of the season.

It was really snowing!

The snowflakes glistened as they fell through the air, accumulating on the ground.

We probably got 2-3 inches, just enough to cover the ground and make things very festive.

It was a white Christmas!

We all went to the window to watch the wondrous display.

It was absolutely magical.

Leave it to Boo, to bring some needed perspective, to point out the simple joys.

She declared, “Happy Birthday, Jesus! It’s a perfect day for you! Thank you for the snow and for everything! I love you!”

Yes, the simple joys. A little snow on Christmas morning; smiling, giggling children; reminders of the reason for the season; and all the blessings we truly have.

All those troubles were left behind for the day.

Bebs sends a hearty Ho! Ho! Ho!

Bebs sends a hearty Ho! Ho! Ho!

We’d rediscovered the real reason for the season. 

Despite everything going on, we found Christmas Joy.

Thanks to two absolutely lovable and adorable little girls.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight! 


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