Wednesday, January 28, 2015

10 is heaven..

I am always very honest with anyone who will listen to me whine about how I have struggled with parenting. Even as the time when my kids were babies and toddlers becomes years ago, I still sometimes cringe at the angst those years brought me. Diapers, colic, a crazy little boy that didn't like to talk but liked to run from mom, three kids under the age of four, everyone having the pukes at the same time, and the list goes on and on. Sure there are happy memories from those days but if I am being honest, I am not removed enough from the tough stages to look back idealistically to that season.  Plus, I still have a five year old so I have plenty of temper tantrums to deal with too!
But, I can't help but get excited as Matthew nears ten, at what lies ahead for me in parenting. Matthew and I, we get each other. We have great talks, he is becoming such a little man and it is much easier for me to deal with ten year old issues than it was when he was two and three. My patience is certainly able to hang in there for ten year old mischief than that of my five year old. We've begun to have discussions about drinking and life issues that will all too soon come our boy's way. Matthew is thoughtful and realistic about how he would approach peer pressure, bullying, feeling left out, and other third grade boy issues. It gives me such hope that one day I will be able to better relate with all of my children and not feel that I am miserably failing them.
I have really been struggling with parenting lately. The girls fight and sometimes it seems that they fight 100% of the time they are awake. It is draining to say the least. Add in their feisty temperaments and ability to wear mom and dad down to beyond exhausted and you have a recipe for a pretty miserable household some days. I said to Jeff the other night, "How can I be a social worker and suck so bad at this parenting crap?" and I think I added.." I am so over this shit."  Jeff, being the voice of calm and reason and optimism said something like, "It will get better." Then I freaked out and said.."YOU'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR 8 YEARS!!" But, after sometime alone I thought about Matthew and how it doesn't always seems so overwhelming anymore with him. Sure, his temperament differs from the girl's but he has his moments too. I am hopeful as everyone gets older and hopefully wiser year to year that this mom might finally find her parenting groove ten years in. I have to hope for that because some days the struggle is all too real. It has impacted me in so many ways. It's shaped how I view myself, my friendships, my marriage, myself as a professional.  Lately it has made me want to just withdraw from everyone but our little family unit because I am sick of feeling judged with how the kids act or how I handle it. I just want to be able to BE. I know everyone means well and has their own approaches for parenting, ahem, my mom, but sometimes you don't really care what anyone else thinks because all you are hearing is.."Since you apparently suck so bad at this, let me offer some friendly advice.: I know I suck at this. At least I own it and I haven't given up yet! After all, one day everyone in this house will turn ten!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three words

Again and again in these first weeks of the new year I am being bombarded it seems with blog posts from those I follow about choosing some key words to guide you in the new year. At first I will admit I thought it was foolish. What can a word do? How much power does choosing three words give my life? But, the more I thought about it, and really the more I kept reading, it began to make sense. Meditating on these words, focusing, orienting myself, that all sounds like it couldn't do any harm and heck it could prove to bring some good changes to my life. So, I have decided to pick three. My words of focus for my life, my family, my career, my world, for 2015 will be..
1. INTENTIONAL. I am going to try to be intentional with how I spend my time. Transitioning to working full time will make this one tricky at first. But, what better goal than to make every moment count. I think this will also serve me well when it comes to what I put in my mouth! Am I really hungry? What am I hungry for? Do I really want to read this or watch that? Who do I want to spend my time with? What do I want to worry about? I also would like to be more intentional with my relationship with God. Praying intentionally. Worshiping intentionally.
2. LOVING. I want to be more loving with my family. I love them with all that I am. But, I am the first to admit that my lack of sleep and temperament as a parent makes expressing it hard. I want to fill these kids up with love while I am lucky to have them under my roof! I can hardly believe Matthew will soon be ten. It has made me realize that although it seems like time is slowly ticking away, it really goes by so very fast.  I don't want to spend the time I have wishing it away! I want to be more loving with Jeff. I am such a lucky girl when it comes to how patient and helpful my husband is. More date nights,even if it means snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie together, more hand holding, more saying, thank you and I love you. I also want to love on those in my community who struggle. More donating, more figuring out ways that we can love on those who are in desperate need of feeling loved.
3. FUN. I feel so grouchy so much of the time. I want to chill out in 2015. Seize the day! Be in the moment. Stop complaining. Stop WRITING about changing and ACTUALLY CHANGE! This will be hard for me because there are many times that I make a mountain out of a mole hill. Thankfully, Jeff is an excellent teacher in the art of chilling out. I think it is the trait that most compliments me and makes us "work" well as a couple.
How about you? Do you have a word or two? Are there changes you want to make? Join me! 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Year, New Job

A few days ago I accepted a new position at the hospital I work at as the palliative care social worker. As of February 9th I will no longer work in the ER. I will no longer work overnights or every other weekend. Part of me is so completely ECSTATIC about this! I have really struggled with working nights. I am not someone who can just fall asleep anywhere, anytime. In fact, even with many medications on board, my body is all like."time to get up" four hours in, even if I am dog tired. This makes for one grouchy me. This does not contribute towards happy mothering and spousing (new word). Jeff has being saying for awhile that maybe I should look into finding a day job. The hard part was I LOVE my job. I have never adored a job more. I love the people I work with. Even on the incredibly hard and sad days, I have felt so grateful for this job. I have learned more in two years working as an ER social worker than I ever thought imaginable. If I didn't have a family, I think Jeff could deal with grouchy Susie a little bit longer. I have had many thoughts of "what if" the last few months as I contemplated bidding on and eventually accepting this offer. What if I would have followed my original plan and went to graduate school back when I was 24? What if I would have figured out how much I loved medical social work back when I was unattached, no husband, no kids? What if I can just keep on doing this and will it really do damage to my kids to have the world's grouchiest mom? Then, as is par for course for me, I had a "come to Jesus" talk with myself. It basically went something like this, "The ship has sailed on the past sister. You didn't do any of those things, you chose this path. And, yes, your kids and your marriage will suffer if you keep screaming at them because you are dog tired all the time". Part of me was annoyed that I was having to consider my family. I know that sounds harsh and selfish but it was part of the process. But, then I realized how maybe I should look at this path as a blessing, not a curse. Who knows if I would have liked medical social work back in 2000? Maybe all the lessons I have learned from living life the past 14 years brought me to this very moment. Maybe I will love palliative care social work and be joyfully passionate about it? I am hopeful this will be the case. I bid on the job because if I wasn't doing ER social work, palliative care equally appeals to me.
I can hardly wait to rejoin the living. I can't wait to have every weekend to watch Matthew play hockey, Caroline play soccer, Ellie do something eventually! I can't wait to always sleep when it is dark out. Still, when I think of leaving this place where I have worked the last 20 months, tears literally come to my eyes. The people I have met through this job have blessed me beyond measure. From my first day of FAINTING and getting a concussion and stitches, they have made me feel like a part of a family. It is likely I will never experience that close of a comradery again. Instead of letting this depress me, I am grateful that I have had such a wonderful almost two years. I am grateful. I hope to take the wonderful lessons I have learned as an ER social worker and bring them along with me as I transition to the palliative role. I know there will be challenges and it will take awhile to get in the groove. I'm game. If the ER taught me anything, it may just be that I can do hard things.
I don't start my new gig until February 9th. I plan on using my free time during the next month to get my crap together because I will be working full time in the new role. I know it will take some adjusting to not having any free week days to get those pesky errands and chores done. We will all have to find our new normal. There will certainly be some growing pains. But, in the end, I think this decision is the best for me and for my family. Here's hoping for continued good things for the Simpsons in 2015!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Obligatory New Year's post

Well, it is 2015. As I laid in bed ALL DAY yesterday, I periodically would check in on FB and see many of my friend's posts about what a good, bad, or in between year 2014 had been for themselves and their families. I always get a little blue on New Year's Day. The anticipation and fun of Christmas is over. While there is something to be said for anticipating a new year, the first few weeks seem like a lot of work (getting all the Christmas stuff put away, getting the house in order, getting back into our sports/school routines).
There were lots of wonderful things about 2014, but there are certainly things that I am glad to leave behind. I hope in 2015 to incorporate an attitude of gratitude. I am very much a person who always is considering what I don't have. If only I had this or that than everything else would fall into place. What good does that do? This morning I posted a quote on FB that really speaks to how I am feeling about this all.
"No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are."
~Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World

I have long been a fan of the blog by Glennon Melton's, "Momastery". Glennon has so many terrific insights into living the life you have been given. Lately she has been re-posting blog posts that were most popular. One of her best posts, in my opinion, is her post about the truths and lies we believe about marriage. While much of what she writes about applies to the struggles that occur within a marriage, a lot of it speaks to the struggle some of us have to accept who we really have become. The person I was at 25 is not at all near the person I have become at nearly 40. I realized in 2014 that much of my struggles are directly related to wishing I was more like the person I imagined I would be. I feel like a failure in so many ways. I just recently accepted that this longing to be a person I never will be is destroying me in so many ways. Embracing who I have become, shortcomings and all, is what I intend to do in 2015. Continuing to work on myself, my marriage, my parenting, my friendships, just as I am. I am not saying that I am "throwing in the towel" on the many areas in which I could use improvement, no. I simply desire to stop wanting to be someone I am not.

We have so much to look forward to in 2015. A trip to Florida in March, the kids first plane ride, a family wedding in New York in May, my 40th birthday, and I am sure many more memories that will make 2015 terrific. I am hopeful that a year from now I can not only write about all the fun we had in 2015 but also that I was able to become more comfortable in my own skin in 2015. That I embrace who I am at 39/40 and leave my 25 year old self back where she belongs, in the past!
Happy New Year, friends.