Need To Speak My Heart & Not Make It “Facebook Official”

The past few months have been a roller coaster of emotion. Anxiety about starting Grad School on a whim, anxiety about if I had lost my mind or would quickly lose it with my decision to go back to school as a stay at home mom to a four year old. I have experienced success and pride over school successes and remembered that horrible feeling of inadequacy, stupidity and fear that comes with the end of the semester crunch to write 2 papers, a 12 page final exam and still make Christmas happen.

All of this is minor in comparison to the feelings I have experienced as a parent. Part of me prays that my sons sees my hard work and frequent frustration with life as me working hard to be the best person I can for him and to have the education to be able to provide more for him. The other part of me gets sad when he plays with his toy laptop and says things like, “I need to do my homework! Please go play.”

No one is perfect and I certainly don’t exclude myself from this group. I feel that I am often too hard on myself. I see certain parts of my life becoming stronger and other parts falling apart.

When I started school I quickly realized that with my new MAJOR commitment my relationship with certain other people became stressed. I blamed this on myself and felt that I was doing them a disservice. I now realize that in fact I had been doing MYSELF a disservice before. I was relied upon by too many people for too many things and new absence prevented me from doing FOR THEM.

The big problem come in trying to fix this. After years of being “available” it is hard to finally stand your ground. If it had not been for school this would still be going on. Why is it to hard or unacceptable to say, “I can’t help you right now.”

The Last of Anything

I temporarily stopped blogging last year with the intent of only taking a month or two off…it became a year and a half!

So onto “The Last of Anything.”

I was staring into my fridge hoping to find something amazing had appeared since the last time I peered inside. No such luck. I decided to make a small salad to get me to dinner. To my surprise all of my desired ingredients were present. It occurred to me that very rarely, unless I make it clear with big BOLD letter on a takeout box or it being an item no one else likes, do I get the last of anything.

I guess that’s part of the Mom deal? Bowls of Special K Red Berries with no milk, cheese without crackers and jelly & bread but no peanut butter are pretty common. I know I could go to the grocery more often but I have so much free time *sarcasm* and it is always delightful to take a child that I just say “Whatever” and eat my potluck.

So next time you see one last Popsicle, dollop of peanut butter or find a lone Reese’s Cup (most likely hidden on purpose) ask the woman in your life if she would like it.

Job vs. Identity

It has been a while since I graced the interwebs with my opinions and feelings. Every since becoming a primarily stay-at-home mama to the Ramlet I have struggled off and on with my identity. I was no longer employed and no longer a college student.

I do my photography work when I can but must admit I have not been marketing and seeking out new business much lately. Needing a babysitter to work can prove to be a bit daunting. Mr. Ram-a-razzi works at 9-5 job and then does high school sports coverage for the local newspaper most Fridays and some Saturdays during the school year.

My identity right now is pretty much Mom. Most days I am 100% okay with that. The hours suck and being paid in half eaten fruit snacks can wear on you. When people ask me what I “do” it is often hard to tell them I stay at home with my son. I always throw in their that I am a photographer as well.

It seems that I am not the only one struggling to find themselves lately. Both of my parents are going through similar struggles in their own way. My dad retired from private practice & surgery about 5 years ago. He enjoyed the time to do woodworking, relax and do “retired stuff.” But now he has gone back to work part-time at a group practice. His identity was his job. We had a saying in our family that, “Dad could go to Mars and see someone he knew.”

My mom has been going through this struggle for a while now too. My little brother left the nest for college in 2010. He was the youngest and only boy in our family. He is doing amazing and loving living with his friends on campus. My mom’s identity was “Mom” for 26 years! She worked for a bit when I was little but her main job was “Mom.” She packed our lunches, washed our clothes, drove us places and attended our events. My brother was more popular and more involved in school than I was and so was she. She sold enough school spiritwear to clothe everyone in Uganda. She went to all of his activities/competitions/plays and was “Mrs. B or D’s Mom” (names changed to protect the innocent).

It isn’t until you don’t have one that you realize how much of your identity is based upon your job. It is not just how you pay your bills.

It really makes sense to me now hearing about all the people that worked until they could no longer physically work, even if it was volunteer work.

Perspective

I had seen this before and really liked it but didn’t really “need” to see it like I did when it popped up on my Facebook feed last night.

The past few months with my son have been trying to say the least. He is a little over two and really testing his boundaries. What is the most difficult for me is that when I speak sternly to him, take away a toy or a privilege I am often met with laughter or a part of his body assaults my body. Last night I was headbutted in the eye socket for telling him that if he did not sit down and watch the movie (as opposed to jumping on our bed) he had to go to his bed. I know he is only two and that seems like a complex request but he does understand because he got mad at the mention of going to bed. He was in between Mr. Ram-a-razzi and I, leaned over to my pillow and POW!

I have really been struggling. Sometimes I have a child who blatantly disobeys my simple requests just because he is able to. Other times I have a child who is just plain mean! If there is one thing that cuts me deeply it is people being purposefully mean to me. I was not bullied as a child beyond the typical teasing from time-to-time…THANK GOD! When a person I love so deeply intentionally hurts me (usually physically) it stabs me in the soul.

I try so hard to be patient and understand that yes, life is hard for a two year old. Lately I feel like I have not done so well. I am not angry or irritated but deeply sad. Tonight I just let my emotions go and what happened surprised me.

My son was taking his bath and I was washing my face, brushing my hair and counting down until I could get into my own bed. I all of a sudden hear a flood of water. I didn’t want to look. He had taken his cup that we use to rinse his hair and the bucket that his toys go into, filled them with water and dumped them all over the floor. After I confiscated the cup and firmly told him, “NO! No water outside the tub” I sat down on the toilet lid, my socks soaking wet. The rugs were soaked, the water was dripping down the vent and I lost it. I just cried. I looked at my son and cried. I managed to get out, “You made Mommy very sad” between helpless sobs. It was not about the water.

His reaction eased my pain. He just looked at me as I cried and listened to my words. He knows what the word “sad” means. He could relate to me. He knows what it means to cry. It occurred to me that maybe the answer is not trying to make him act grown up but for me to act more toddler. I try so hard to control my emotions, to be even-tempered and a good example.

It occurred to me tonight, soggy feet and all, that I am doing okay. I am not failing him as I struggle but learning with him as we both strive to be the best people we can be.

Just In Case You Wondered, I Didn’t Join Witness Protection And Move To Iowa

It has been quite a while since I have posted on my blog. I’ve been busy yet nothing super exciting to report. Oh, I am turning 30 this week but we can just call it 29 part deux. Honestly, I have no issue with it and I love birthdays. White cake with buttercream icing soothes the soul.

For fun, I did a little research about what all has happened since November 1983 and it is quite fascinating.

At age 30, you’re older than 42 percent of Americans.

Age 30 is the average NFL retirement age. Damn! I guess there goes my chances

Motorola introduced the first cell phone in 1983…the size of a VCR with a handset

On my actual date of birth, November 3 – The Reverend Jesse Jackson announces his candidacy for the 1984 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I am the same age as: McNuggets, The Moonwalk, TCP/IP, REM’s first album, Plink on “The Price Is Right”, Swatch Watches, the original Minivan, Sony camcorders, Hooters Restaurants, Microsoft Word, Carebears and Cabbage Patch Kids!

The USSR, Czechoslovakia, East German and West Germany only exist in books

We have clones sheep, figured out the whole DNA identification thing, made it to the year 2000 without mass hysteria, built the International Space Station and launched the Hubble

We have met Harry Potter, loved and lost our “Friends”, wore a lot of flannel and CKOne, secretly liked Biggie and 2Pac, wished the Spice Girls CD we once owned never happened, know some of the words to “Mmmbop” still and are still mourning that “Doogie Howser” will never be more than a friend to us girls.

If I left something out, sorry. I hear the memory starts to go at 30.

“If You’d Have Never Met Me”

icecreamI know I talk about Baby Ram-a-razzi a lot but who wouldn’t? He kinda kicks butt! Anyway, I heard a song on the radio today that came out around the time Baby Ram-a-razzi was born. I had not heard it in a long time and I had a bit of an epiphany. When he was much younger, he’s pushing 2 now, I felt like him coming along really put the brakes on where my life had been going. I never regretted the decision to have him or anything like that but it really changed the direction of my life.

I found out I was pregnant with him right before my final year of college started. Like I’ve said before, I started college THE FIRST TIME in 2002, right after high school and lets just say I was not into it. It was just the expected thing to do. So, my junior/senior year of college I was not celebrating the big 2-1 birthday. I fell into that weird gap between fresh from high school college students and the middle-aged career change students.

Back to the song. It is basically all about a guy thinking about what life would be like if he had never met his wife. I have been down this memory lane, as most married people have. But today I really got to thinking about my son. I finished up my final college class in late August 2011. He was born in early September. Needless to say everyone in my classes feared that my water would break and ruin their new Sperry’s. I officially walked at graduation the week of Christmas as the mama to a three month old.

You graduate college and most people are hoping to have already gotten a job offer, are planning to litter every city within a 50 mile radius with crisp, grammatically fabulous resumes. I was hoping to get the baby barf off my favorite jammie pants.

I started my photography business in May of 2010 with the goal of hitting it hard after I had my $50k piece of paper to hang on the wall. I was building my portfolio, perfecting my pricing, tweaking my dot com and then HOLY PLUS SIGN! I had been in business six whole months. I worked all through my pregnancy and quickly learned that I was not “famous” enough to afford daycare/need it and not ballsy enough to put my mom and mother-in-law on childcare standby call.

For those first few months of my son’s life I went through the typical, “What have I gotten myself into?” sleep-deprived, always a body fluid somewhere on you phase that seems like it will never get better. I spent many nights rocking in the chair, walking in the living room, feeding him in the recliner with nothing but my thoughts to keep me awake. I really felt like I bad person. I wanted to be a photographer so bad, busted my buns to get my degree and now I am the personal assistant to a tiny boss that screams at me! Months of crappy sleep really mess with your mind! As if photographers will be totally obsolete if I didn’t work for a while. I had the dreaded “Mommy Guilt” for feeling cheated out of my “dream.”

It took me quite a few months to realize that my dream wasn’t over, it had just taken a right turn, stopped at the light and was driving a few miles before its next oil change.

If Baby Ram-a-razzi hadn’t come along when he did, yes, life would be different. I might be farther along in my business, we would hopefully be bringing in more money as a couple and I would have more free time.

But, I also would miss out on living with the best comedian/artist I know. He does an awesome pudding painting on the dining table when you turn your back. I wouldn’t be made to feel like the coolest person in the entire world at least twice a day because I can pull fruit snacks and Cheez-Its magically from my purse and I definitely wouldn’t have someone grab me by the head and plant a big, wet kiss on me for letting him use the iPad.

I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Lee Brice
A Woman Like You

Last night out of the blue

Driftin’ off to the evenin’ news
She said “Honey, what would you do
“If you’d have never met me”I just laughed, said “I don’t know,
“But I could take a couple guesses though”
And then tried to dig real deep,
Said, “Darlin’, honestly”I’d do a lot more offshore fishin’
“Probably eat more drive-thru chicken
“Take a few strokes off my golf game
“If I’d a never known your name
“I’d still be drivin’ that old green ‘Nova
“I probably never would have heard of yoga
“Be a better football fan
“But if I was a single man
“Alone and out there on the loose
“I’d be lookin’ for a woman like you”Well, I could tell that got her attention
So I said, “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention
“I wouldn’t trade a single day
“For a hundred years the other way”
She just smiled and rolled her eyes
‘Cause she’s heard all of my lines
I said, “C’mon on girl, seriously
“If I hadn’t been so lucky

“I’d be shootin’ pool in my bachelor pad
“Playin’ bass in my cover band
“Stockin’ up cold Bud Light
“For poker every Tuesday night, yeah
“I’d have a dirtbike in the shed
“And not one throw pillow on the bed
“I’d keep cash in a coffee can
“But if I was a single man
“Alone and out there on the loose
“I’d be looking for a woman like you”

She knows what a mess I’d be if I didn’t have her here
But to be sure, I whispered in her ear

“You know I get sick deep-sea fishin’
“And you make the best fried chicken
“I got a hopeless golf game
“I love the sound of your name
“I might miss that old green ‘Nova
“But I love watchin’ you do yoga
“I’d take a gold band on my hand
“Over bein’ a single man
“‘Cause honestly, I don’t know what I’d do
“If I’d never met a woman like you”

Mr. Ram-a-razzi Is A Goner!

Clean towels!

I appreciate when Mr. Ram-a-razzi helps out, I really do! God knows I need it! Toddler Ram-a-razzi sure knows how to make messes and make things look as if I belong on “Hoarders.” Any-who…towels. Last night the mister was kind enough to volunteer to wash towels.

We used to have a zillion mismatched towels from my apartment, stolen from both sets of parents over the years and a few mystery towels that just appeared and we have no idea where they came from. We have finally weeded it down to the GOOD towels. The big, fluffy kind that cover your entire body after a shower with no embarrassing, “Am I really this fat?” gap along the side.

Okay, these wonderful towels. He washed them and left them in the dryer.

*Cue Murder Scene Music*

He brought up his favorites for his shower and I assumed he brought up the entire basket or GASP put them neatly in the linen closet. I get my much needed bath after a day at the zoo, trip to Target, assembling a new jog stroller and other Mom stuff. I notice the towel hook on the bathroom door are empty except for his (that I hung up after he left them sitting). I step out into the hall and open the linen closet.

I had a Steve Martin moment from “Planes, trains & Automobiles.” You know, the scene where he take the shower only to discover no usable towels and dries off with a washcloth? Yep! I was fortunate enough to find a hand towel.

 

Do I Have Moron Written On My Chest?

I had a deep conversation today with my bff of more than 25 years, who I call CJ on the blog. She has had a good run of bad luck lately. Someone hit her new car and didn’t leave a note after having some serious guy drama the day before. I will only air her dirty laundry briefly before I get to my point. She had been dating someone for a few months only to find out he was still scouting out potential prospects. Yeah, people suck, but here is the kicker. He wrote her this ridiculously fabricated excuse via email “apologizing” and wanting to be friends. We got a good laugh.

Here’s the beef! Or cattle excrement to be more precise. She and I have both encountered a bit of B.S lately passed off as truth, excuse and explanation. YAY for stuff to bond over! We have come to the conclusion that some people think you have “MORON” plastered across your chest and you will buy into their mess. As it turns out they are the ones wearing that shirt for thinking that we believe it.

Why can’t people be honest? I know, the great philosopher Dr. Gregory House once said, “Everybody Lies.” I’m not talking about white lies and such, but when people treat you like a fool and spoon-feed you crap and expect you to accept it. I ask an honest, straightforward question and I expect a corresponding answer.

As hard as it is, I guess we should just keep chugging along and looking for that “Serenity” that I talked about in my last post. As for the B.S…AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

 

I Need Serenity

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

“Back in the day” I used to be a Godsmack fan so this song came to mind when I was thinking about the Serenity Prayer and what it means to me. I know it is usually with 12 Step Programs, like AA. Thankfully, this is not reason that it is meaningful to me. I have a hard time with being the person who handles “everything.” I don’t mean literally everything, but I am good at getting things handled, I am reliable and I do what needs to be done. So, naturally, after a while things begin defaulting toward me.

I am often left feeling like, when I need help I have few allies who can help ME. I have a hard time with the “accept the things I cannot change” part. I feel defeated. I feel at fault if/when things happen because I wash my hands of the frustration and the problems that usually are not directly my own. I want the “wisdom to know the difference!”

This leads me to the personal qualities that stem from this. On the positive, if the things that I have dealt with haven’t killed me or sent me to the mental hospital by now they probably never will. I have become a stronger person.

The most noticeable flaw I have from this is one that seems to be pointed out the most. I have always been “mature” for my age, which makes it hard to relate to people my age. I have zero tolerance for people who make complete asses of themselves at bars, people who are way too old to be acting like such a selfish irresponsible young, person. Sorry, you don’t look cool leaving your kids with a sitter to go out almost every weekend and party in a jean skirt, halter top and spray tan…you are like 40! And who over the age of 25 is still really interested in “being cool?” I can’t even go to a bar without turning into a judgmental bitch. At least I own up to it!

I may not always be right (yes, I said it!) but I have a very accurate moral compass when it comes to issues that boil down to pure right and wrong. Don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal, it’s pretty simple. People that do these things, plain and simple are no friends of mine and never will be again.

I need to find my serenity. I wish I could wash my hands of trying to change everything and begin to accept the things I can’t change, attempt to change what I can and realize (and accept) that not everything can be changed.

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A Little Mother’s Day Humor & Reflection

321301_650589801623667_1780117073_nWith this weekend being Mother’s Day I thought I would do a little humorous reflection on this past year and a half that I have been in the “Mom Club.”

Being a mom is a full-time job, don’t get me wrong! But, just as with any other job there are time when you have to laugh or you will end up in a corner in the fetal position singing “Jesus Loves Me” while rocking back and forth.

Just a little whatnot about my life and the kid that lives across the hall.

  • When you are a Mom you regain that small child fascination with poop. This time it is not your own. Is it too much, is it enough, I don’t remember feeding them that, WTF! How did a Lego get in there?
  • It is a good day if you can leave the house with no food on them or you.
  • It is possible to sustain on caffeine alone.
  • Sometimes I have to walk away from my son’s tantrum because I am laughing. “I guess that magazine subscription card that fell out of “Marie Claire” was really special.”
  • You will consider becoming a nudist simply because your child makes more laundry than four adults.
  • You turn into a 3 year old boy. My favorite video of my son is when he farted at 6 months old and stared at his butt like “What just happened?”
  • You can go from classy to thug in 1.3 seconds, all it takes is for someone to talk $h*t about your kid or your parenting skills. Try me biotch!
  • You begin analyzing purchases in “amount of diapers.” A $300 Coach purse is no longer $300, it is 12 Jumbo boxes of Huggies when they are on sale at Target and you get a $5 gift card for buying two.
  • Going out to dinner used to be fun. Now the decision is based on which is worse, having to cook or having to wrangle a child to stay in their high chair and not to throw down the food they don’t want.
  • A “Girls Night Out” means dinner and Target or the mall without the offspring!
  • You know where those little fingers have been but happily take the mushy Cheerio they offer because they are finally getting the hang of sharing.
  • The best sound in the world is also the scariest…SILENCE! It’s all about the scenario.
  • It’s funny the first few times your child tells YOU, “No!”
  • It is okay to put yourself into time out! It’s oddly satisfying to put a child who is throwing a fit for no good reason into their bed with a few toys and step outside. It’s even better to smile and think, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
  • Anyone who tells you they have never raised their voice to their child is a liar! “Yeah lady…and I bet the weight on your drivers license is 100% accurate as well.”
  • If you can’t laugh about the dumb things you have done then you are doing it wrong 😉

Your child(ren) love you just the way you are, just like you love them. They learn to appreciate that you try your best for them. Dinner might not always be amazing. No one has lost IQ points because their Mom said, “Today sucked, let’s just get pizza.” You will bleach a few colored items, shrink a favorite sweater, lose the “lucky” baseball socks or even walk them to the bus wearing fuzzy slippers.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the Moms, Grandmas, Step-Moms and Motherly Figures!