The November

The start of this November has been a series of hills and valleys already. On the upside, we have the keys to our new home and can start moving our things in. On the down side, Mia has her first trip to the E.R after enthusiastically dancing her way into our television stand, and Jinsey our Siamese cat has been at the vets after an emergency operation for 4 days now.



I’m hoping that the rest of the month will continue on the upswing. Mia has her second birthday on the 23rd and we may even be able to celebrate thanksgiving in our new home!

I hope the start of this month has been good to you. And I hope as we enter the holiday season, you are surrounded by love! 

Awkward…

So how awkward was the video in my last blog post? I can’t even bare to watch it again, it’s so very cringeworthy! I don’t think I will be doing another of those any time soon.

I need to get back to blogging regularly. Everything has been kind of up in the air lately schedule wise, but we are finally settling into a new routine with Calvin starting preschool and an upcoming work schedule change for Curtis. I’m still really lost as to what to do with Mia on the mornings that Calvin is at school, but we are navigating through it together with lots of park time, running errands and snuggles!

I recently bought myself a book of 300 writing prompts, which I almost immediately regretted for the simple fact that by the end of day one, I had removed several pages due to the fact that I hate my hand writing. I cannot look at a page of my own handwriting for long before feeling the need to tear out the page, ball it up and throw it away. Is anyone else like that?

I’m not sure how other bloggers go about planning out their blogs ahead of time, it seems really difficult to me. I have more of a tendency to write from the top of my head whenever I fancy it, otherwise I feel like whatever I write is fake, or forced. I have far too much junk rolling around in my head lately, things that are too dark, too strange to share here. I’m not sure why I am in this particular predicament right now, but I’m hoping it’s just one of those stages in my life that will pass with time and effort to put forward a sunny disposition, or perhaps that in itself is faking it…

Anyway, I will be writing more often, and hopefully words of a positive nature. Now, go forth and be bold, be brave, be beautiful!

Food For Thought

It really didn’t occur to me before becoming a parent, just how much women tear each other down. I mean, I turn on the laptop or look at my phone and I’m bombarded with articles about the right way to parent, about how motherhood is meant to look and often starting with the dreaded “Dear mom…”. It’s not okay.

Parenting and motherhood are individual experiences. One persons norm, can be completely and utterly different to another persons. So why do we insist on writing articles that tear each other down? Shouldn’t we be creating the “village”? We should be building one another up, being a compassionate and understanding ear to one another when shit gets real. Because motherhood is hard and if you think it’s not, well, as Amy Poehler says “Good for her! Not for me”.

I’ve been torn down by other women, first hand. Grown women passing judgement on someone they know nothing about in order to what? Feel better about themselves? Elevate themselves above the women they are treating so negatively? No. Not for me.

In the same brush stroke, these same women are the ones not only targeting other mothers, but women in general. They fit shame, fat shame, body shame etc. Mind your own business. Be mindful of yourself. And please, don’t sugar coat your objectification and judgment and label it as being “concerned”.

You might be thinking that by writing this, I’m judging these women, and in turn, I’m doing exactly what they are. And I’d challenge you in that I am not tearing these women down, they’ve already lowered themselves to a point that I hope, they can elevate themselves from. I won’t stand idly by and watch others treat anyone with so much disdain, parents, women and men.

I leave you with this quote, some food for thought so to speak.

“You don’t have to knock anyone off their game to win yours. It doesn’t build you up to tear others down.” – Mandy Hale

Finding Myself

Do you ever feel like you are adrift?

I’ve been feeling this often lately and I think I have touched on this feeling in past posts. I am Jodie, I am wife, and I am mother. But what else am I? I am incapable of placing my finger on the map of my life and really finding direction. This is a hard thing to come to realize when you are a planner.

I love spontaneity, but at the same time, I like organization, I like the details planned out so that I feel secure in the decisions being made. I learned to let go of those expectations a little when I became a parent. After all, how can you really plan ahead when you have two tiny humans who are chaos incarnate?

Our days are about to be shook up. Calvin will be starting preschool three days a week in August and Curtis is about to begin a new schedule, at a new station. And then there will be Mia and I, and I feel the need to fill those mornings when Calvin is in school, with activities for her and I. But with what? That direction thing again…

If life came with a compass, it would have no needle.

Social Media

I’m on social media for numerous reasons. Primarily, to keep in touch with my family and friends. It’s not as easy as popping around to my moms for a quick visit with us living in California, and she living in England. I share photos, status updates and keep up with what’s happening in my friends and family members lives mainly through platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We utilize Skype when we want to have some face time and that as I have mentioned before, is one of my favorite things about the technology and software available to the average person.

Lately however, I’ve found myself recoiling away from social media, particularly the comment sections of articles that often pop up in my newsfeed. I find some of the discussions between (presumably) grown adults, gut wrenching. I didn’t quite realize how some people choose to use social media. There’s a perverse anonymity that comes from the keyboard warriors who take it upon themselves to cast digital stones, to use words that are venomous and cruel whilst hiding themselves behind privacy settings. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to this. I was shown this side of the Internet at a pretty young age whilst playing online video games. I have been the target of venomous and abusive language. But I’m surprised by how much of this grown up conversation that is full of resentment, judgment and frankly, astonishingly bad spelling and grammar, appears on articles relating to parenting. Social media seems to be the playground of the “sanctimommies”. 

They say that it takes a village to raise children. If this is the village that modern parents have to look to, I’d rather not be part of it. 

Insert Head Explosion

This post from Stuart over at Forged From Reverie, has got me thinking this morning. Lately I have noticed that I’m having to make a conscious effort to not have a knee jerk reaction to the behavior of Calvin and Mia. 

Calvin especially is in the threenager stage, and thus, is testing his boundaries lately. Daily he is pushing my buttons, and at times I have snapped. For example, yesterday he got ahold of my clear nail varnish and whilst I was brushing my teeth he painted the leg of our dining room table with it. My initial response was anger and I immediately put him in time out (which I stand by as necessary) whilst shouting at him about the dangers and damage he had caused using it. The shouting on reflection, was unnecessary. He knew he had done wrong, he apologized profusely and when asked about it was able to access that it was a bad idea. He accessed the situation, which is something I didn’t do. Yes he shouldn’t have had the nail varnish, but I had left it within reach. He shouldn’t have painted the table with it, but he’s a curious kid. Yes it was a bugger to get off, but it didn’t permanently damage anything. But one thing without another side to it, was that it was dangerous. He ended up with it on his clothes and in his hair and all I could think about was the “what if” of the possibility of him getting it into his eyes. 

I need to start breathing and taking a few extra seconds before I react. If the situation isn’t immediately threatening to the health of my kids or anyone else, maybe a step back would be more productive than me losing my shit!

Sparkling

Now and then there are days I like to refer to as Unicorn Parenting Days. I call them this because several things will happen that are unusual and blissful to parents. For instance, this morning the kids sat quietly eating their breakfast, I pooped alone and I drank my cup of tea whilst it was still hot! This my friends, is the start of a Unicorn Parenting Day!

These days aren’t quite as mystical and rare as unicorns, but when you’re going through a rough patch, say with teething, restless kids or sickness, these little events are magical!

So to all the parents out there, I hope you have a day that is as awesome as a unicorn farting glitter whilst leaping over a rainbow with clouds showering you in lottery winnings! 

Conflict

I’m not a very argumentative person… Okay, I can be argumentative when it’s something I’m passionate about or I’m defending myself/family or friends, but most of the time I avoid conflict. 

Last year it truly felt like everyone was offended by everything, and with the Internet at their fingertips, their outrage was shared with everyone who happened to scroll by. This year the arguments are politically charged with the presidential election approaching and to be honest, it’s quite scary. Not just because the candidates are a bunch of idiots with some questionable ideas, but their supporters are equally, if not more terrifying in their beliefs. 

I try not to discuss politics with people as I have often gotten the comment that I shouldn’t be interested in US politics as I can’t vote… But that is ridiculous. I live here, my family are American citizens, the choices made politically, effect them as well as myself. 

The scariest thing about all of the political talk though, is discovering that people I thought I knew well, have some interesting views that I just can’t gel with. And as this post title says, conflict is afoot and is something I try to avoid! I’ve found myself deleting people from Facebook in order to avoid ruining those relationships completely.

I was angry at myself the other day. I was angry because I politely nodded in agreement when a friend discussed his views on the family unit. Specifically the roles women play. He stated that women should stay home with the family and that to work is selfish, it takes away from the children and from the husband who depends on her to stay home and take care of the kids and the house… I’m a stay at home mom, luckily my husband works bloody hard for that to be a possibility, but he also supports me going back to work if I would like to. I also have friends who work and their inportance as a parent and as wife isn’t diminished by that. 

I should have argued the point. So to my fellow women, who stay home or work or work from home, I’m sorry.

Lines, Dots and The Squiggles In-between

Parenting is definitely a learning curve, that looks something like a crayon squiggle across a brightly colored wall. So maybe it’s not a curve, but it sure has its ups and downs.

I’m learning a lot about myself in the process of raising these two tiny human beings. I’m realizing things about my personality, my approach to life and really feeling more connected to my emotions in the process. And trust me, for a British person to be sharing as much as I have about my feelings, is a big bloody deal!

Calvin is teaching me every day. He’s made me more patient, more understanding and shifted my perspective on what parenting would be like. We are taking this journey together. For example, today he went running off across the field at the park. Usually he doesn’t go far and knows that he needs to stay where I can see him. But in an effort to keep up with some squirrels, my calls to him to turn his little butt back around, fell on deaf ears. I chased after him. My immediate response was that I should be angry and tell him off. Then he opened his mouth and the excitement as he told me why he had run away made me put the breaks on. I listened. And although I still told him off for running and not listening when I called, we also discussed his interest in the squirrels and also the dangers of him being out of my sight. I could have blown up, him not listening really pushes my buttons. But I’m learning.

Mia although she can’t speak, is teaching me the power of communicating in different ways. She is the most communicative child I have met without having to say a single word. The looks on her face, her bodily response, speak volumes. It’s making me more aware of my own body language and behaviors. When I approach the kids with love, I want it to really show, and when I approach them with discipline, I want my expression to read as stern and not frightening as I fear it does right now.