Two Children and a Headache

There is nothing worse then being home with two kids and a headache.  In the past there have been times I have showed up to work with headaches, bad colds, and just not feeling well.  My co-workers would ask, “Why are you here?”  My reply is always the same, “It’s easier being here then at home.”

The truth is being at home is hard when you are feeling good, when you are sick, it is unbearable.  When you are sick and at work people tend to leave you alone because (1) they know you probably don’t feel very sociable, and (2) they do not want to catch your germs.  But at home there is no lenience, no break, and no timeout.  Your kids still need breakfast, and baths, and running around outside and it really doesn’t matter if you feel like you have been just run over by an 18 wheeler.  Their little minds and legs are still running.

On top of it all even if I do get to veg out a little bit, I quickly guilt ridden myself into getting up and doing something with them because I feel bad.  Last week I was home with them and I had a headache.  I was lying on my bed and the kids were being quiet in Liam’s room (which is never a good sign) and instead of enjoying the couple of moments of quietness I pushed myself to get up and do something with them because I didn’t want them to be bored. It is times like those when I think, “Man I wish I was at work.” I could just type away at my computer and not have to worry about anyone crying, getting hurt, needing anything from me.

And then it happened. Liam asked, “Mommy why are closing your eyes?” I told him my head hurt and I was trying to make it feel better. He climbed on my lap and kissed my forehead. I smiled and melted all over. My head still hurt but I didn’t care anymore.

 

It’s Ok Not to Go to College

So what I am about to say I think is going to anger some of you, but as my kids get older, if appropriate I might say to them, “It’s ok, you don’t have to go to college.”

I want my kids when they become adults to be happy, successful, and do something they enjoy.  With that being said, college might not be the answer.  As I have mentioned many times in the past I value education. However, I do realize not everyone fits in the same box or mold.  Some career choices a four year degree would not be helpful.  For instance, to become a beautician a BS or BA degree would not be beneficial.

Then there is the other side of it. In today’s high pressure for children to succeed we have forgotten one important thing, not all kids are built for college.  In recent years we have begun to put unrealistic expectations on our children.  Not only does not every profession require a college education, but not every child is built for it.  Today’s standard for education is quite frankly unattainable for some.  In some ways I feel as though we are setting up our children to fail.  To make every child feel like he must go to college when maybe that is an unrealistic road for him to take is not right.  I think it’s very important to push our kids to try hard, however we have lost sight on the fact that not all kid’s definition of success means college.  In doing this, we have set our children up for failure and disappointment instead of finding an appropriate avenue for them that they can achieve at.  Furthermore, we have created a feeling that may reside in our children if they do not go to college it is shameful

I read an article recently that said the freshman college dropout/flunk out rate in the last 10 years has gone up 30%.  Part of it I believe  has to do with social promotion (which is a discussion for another day) but the other part has to do with the fact that nowadays it’s assumed that everyone goes to college whether equipped for it or not. As parents I think part of our job is to help our kids focus on an attainable goal for them. Just as not every kid likes the color red, or likes chocolate cake, not every kid is meant to be a doctor. That in part is what makes the world go around. Our differences are how we learn new things and develop new ideas. If we were all meant to do the same thing then not only would this world be a very boring place but there would be no individual. We need to embrace these differences and help our children achieve what is best for them.

The Helicopter Parent the New Species of Parents

Helicopter Parents: Are they helping or hurting our children? By definition this is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.   Having seen it first hand prior to ever having children I hoped and prayed that I would not become one of those parents.  I remember vividly watching one mother scoot around her kid as he spun in circles to make sure he would not fall.  In my head I remember thinking this is crazy.  Now I would in no way want that child, my child, or any child to get hurt, however there is an important lesson that is being skipped over if we never let them fall.  We are not teaching our kids how to pick themselves back up.  Sure there are tears and moments to comfort but if we never let our kids fall then they never learn how to cope and move on.  I feel as kids get older this snowballs into bigger issues then just falling down and getting hurt.

We all want the best for our kids and for them to be happy. No one would ever intentionally put their children in harms way. However, when we remove all conflict from our young children’s lives we are also stripping them from valuable problem solving skills.  Kids no longer know how to take responsibility for anything.  I remember this becoming a new discussion when I was in college as a professor once retold a story of a parent calling him to excuse their son from the paper that was due because their son was not feeling well.  It seems ridiculous but it happens all the time.  When our children are not given the chance to be held to a certain standard they do not know how to stand on their own two feet.  This is quite concerning to me. As a society we are grooming children who someday will become adults and who have no accountability.  How are these children every going to become successful?  I believe it’s quite true that failure spurs success.  Without ever failing there is nothing to motivate you to move forward.  There needs to be conflict at times in our lives so that we can strive for something better.

I also think that when we are too overprotective of our children we are taking away a small part of pride for them. Deep down we all want to do well. When we become so involved with our children’s life that they are never given the chance to struggle with something, they can never feel pride in accomplishing anything. Liam loves to do puzzles and at times he gets very frustrated.   When he has a hard time putting it together, I simply offer some encouragement for him to continue trying and he finishes it on his own. The smile of success on his face says it all. This might seem small but it all builds up. Small problems as children will translate to big problems as adults. Small accomplishments as kids equal big payouts as adults. Allowing our kids to work it out not only helps them internally but also someday working it out with people. I am not suggesting never lending a hand or letting our children get into danger but the next time your son or daughter is struggling. Take a step back and let them work at it. Your not only helping them now but also for their future.

There’s Never Enough Time

Last night after work I had to run some errands before I went home. By the time I got home I was tired and hungry. I walked through the door to be greeted by the barking dog, Ava hugging my leg, and Liam yelling, “Mommy you’re home”. I tried to make my way through them to the kitchen to unload all of the things I was carrying and halfway there my husband met me and took it all out of my hands. Almost immediately Ava began crying and made the motion to be picked up, Liam asked if I wanted to play trains with him, and all I was thinking was I have to go to the bathroom.

In the end Ava melted down (it was almost 7:30 bedtime for her), Liam watched Thomas (which he asked me to watch with him), and I am not sure if I ever ate. My husband and I often talk about how there is never enough time to get everything done. Play with the kids, clean the house, take care of the yard, go grocery shopping, etc. I am always about finding balance (maybe it’s the Libra in me) but when it comes to time in a day there is no balance. There quite simply is never enough time.

I always feel like I did not get enough done and did not do enough with the kids. Last night when Liam asked to watch Thomas with him I said no because I had to get a few things done. From the moment I said no I felt guilty, however I had to remind myself of all of the things that I do, do with him. Then I went downstairs to be instantly reminded that the cat litter needed to be changed, which I took care of while my husband began the bedtime process with Liam. By the time the night was over there were still things swarming in my mind of what I need to get gone but just ran out of time.

I am sure I am not the only person who feels this way. Actually I know for a fact I am not. I constantly hear people listing the things they need do but haven’t gotten to. There is also the fact that you need to take time for yourself, hence this blog or for my husband his drumming. It might seem indulgent but if you don’t ever take the time for something for yourself, you are going to burn out and no one wins with that. The truth of the matter is that there is no real balance to this particular not enough time in the day problem. The good news is that we are all in the same boat. So maybe instead of berating ourselves for what we have not gotten done we should congratulate ourselves for what we did do. We got through another day.

Giving Thanks Even When It’s Hard To

Do you remember when you went school Sunday nights you would get that pit in your stomach?  Another week is about to start.  There is no running, there is no hiding, I am going to have to go to school.  That’s exactly how I feel about going to work this week.

Work has been especially tumultuous lately for me.  My son’s temper tantrums and my daughter’s marathon crying episodes pale in comparison to the knot forming, anxiety ridden, stress inducing day I am looking forward to tomorrow.  Another person quit on Friday and with her leaving not only do I lose a co-worker, a friend, but my commiserating ally.  It’s hard not feel like lone woman on an island.

I am so glad that this week is a short week.  I get out early on Wednesday and then I have a four day weekend to look forward to.  I am really excited about that and I am trying to concentrate on the date night on Wednesday with my husband, Thursday good eats at my in-laws, and then Christmas decorating on Friday.

I guess in the long run I should be very thankful.  As hard as my work days have been lately, at least I have a place to go to work to.  Sometimes its very easy to lose sight of those things when you are in the midst of hard time or a pity party.  This week I am going to try my hardest not to concentrate on what’s so wrong in my world right now but what is so right in my world right now.  To my husband, children, family, friends, and even work, thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tell It How It Is

There is no mincing words with a toddler.  They say what the mean and they mean what the say.  It’s as adults we become more illusive with our message and have a difficult time being direct.  For my supervisor its even a more difficult thing.

I used to analyze and go over and over in my head what went wrong every time I had a conversation with her.  I would think maybe it’s my body language, what I said, how I said it, and now eight years later I have come up with only one explanation she is a bad communicator.

As adults we often sugar coat topics to make discussions more bearable to handle.  So different from a two year old.  There is no questioning my son’s body language, tone, and message.  It is, “I am mad and you are about to pay for it.”  My supervisor I often feel comes across in a similar way but shockingly I think she is unaware of it.  Unlike my son who is acutely aware of his behavior and what he is trying to express, my boss seems clueless on how she comes off and becomes offended when you become defensive when her demeanor is putting off a very hostile attitude.  It becomes even more difficult because she sometimes gets so worked up she doesn’t even let you finish explaining before the rapid fire questioning begins and if you dare to question her approach she becomes very stern and stubborn; very much like my son right before I at times have to put him in time out.  However there is no timeouts for bosses and what is even more upsetting is that unlike my son who is young and has much to learn about getting along with people and communicating, she is middle aged.  She is not going to change, there is no chance of growth or adapting.  So then it comes to an acceptance on my part.  Just as I accept that Liam might have a temper tantrum or that there might be a timeout today, I must accept that I will never be able to be at ease speaking with my supervisor.  It will never be comfortable and it will always leave me feeling frustrated.  Maybe that is where I can take a lesson from Liam.  Just as he walks out of his timeout and starts fresh all over again maybe I can try to do the same thing with my supervisor after our next “talk”.  If not, at least maybe I can put myself in a temporary timeout.

Compensenation

I am writing this as I anxiously await my annual review tomorrow at work.  This is where we will go over my goals for the next year, what I am excelling in, what I may need to work better at and then finally discuss a raise if one at all.  This year, it has been exceptionally difficult for me to feel fulfilled, satisfied, and appreciated at work.  I unfortunately feel a little jaded and half expect to be really disappointed.

That’s the one huge contrast about being at home.  I know what my compensation will be everyday.  It does not come in a monetary unit but with sticky hands and “I love yous”.  There is no extra pay for overtime (4:30 AM wake up call) or hazard pay (third tantrum of the day and its 10:00 AM) however it is predictable and unwavering.

I do like working.  It gets me out of the house and around adults however I don’t like the games.  At least when I play games with my kids it’s straightforward and there is no hidden agenda. You hide, I will seek.  At work it isn’t always that clear.  Between a power hungry HR and a supervisor who at times acts very inappropriate, every word and action is scrutinized.

My annual reviews and raise at home don’t go unnoticed to me.  I appreciate every moment and milestone my children make and know that I had something to do with that.  However, I like getting my paycheck and I do enjoy spending it (even if most of the times its on Thomas Trains and Plum Organics).  Compensation is a tricky word that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable about.  For me I think it is general sign of gratitude and respect.  I get that from my kids and let’s see what work has to say.

 

Babies vs. Professionals

Within my first 10 minutes of being awake today Liam demanded milk, asked for oatmeal in which he ultimately never ate, and pleaded with his hands clasped together to go downstairs to play with his trains.  Simultaneously, Ava began crying which meant she needed a diaper change, warm milk and something to eat, and on top of that the dog was barking at the door to go out.  Mornings in our house are very busy.  Our “routine” is move as fast as you can to get all of the crying, screaming, and barking to stop as soon as possible.  There are some mornings as I am flying out the door to work I think, “Thank God.”

And then I get to work…

I work in a Law Firm.  A building filled with educated, motivated, hard working professionals, and yet sometimes when I am there I feel like I am at home doing the 10 Minute Morning Sprint.  Without fail there is someone always complaining about something or someone.  There are my superiors who have nothing better to do than monitor my cell phone usage, but rarely notice that I have done everything that they asked of me and beyond.  I complete all my work all while I was speaking with a client on the phone to schedule an appointment and typing an email to another client following up regarding the drafts we sent them last week.

It’s hard for me sometimes to decipher which situation is harder to deal with.  On one hand I have my two wonderful children who I love very much even when they are having their first temper tantrum of the day at 6:05 AM and on the other hand I have my colleagues and bosses who allow me to have a conversation that consists more of “Thomas The Train”, but sometimes whine more then my two year old.

Lately at work our new HR department has been cracking down on everything.  Dress code, internet usage, cell phone violations, lunch breaks, the list goes on.  The morale at work is low and people are quitting every day.  There are days that I am afraid to sneeze in case that would be considered a “Noise Violation” and I would be written up about that.  I think in my head, Liam is probably watching “Paw Patrol” and Ava is napping.  I start wishing I was home and count the minutes till it’s 5:30. Finally when the time has come to clock out I usually have a very frustrating drive home to look forward to.  And then I get home. I walk into what could only be described as a battle scene as my husband tries to catch Liam before he smears his tomato sauce stained face and hands on our furniture.  Ava is none to happy. She is cranky and tired but we try to keep her up till 7:00 in hopes that she might sleep to 6:00 the next morning and Jackson (the dog) has greeted me at the door with a very high pitch, persistent bark.

Yeah I am not sure which is harder, which is better.  Maybe there is no answer to that.  Maybe that’s part of the balancing act, dealing with both worlds.  But at least as I am scrubbing the crayons marks off my son’s walls before I go to bed I can look forward to wearing the cute new Kensie dress I bought for work.