Crap! My children hate school.

IT FEELS LIKE ALL of my stressors regarding Max & Bella are derived from them having to go to school. They both hate going to school – Max more than Bella. I hear complaints about:

… we get too much homework, my teacher didn’t give us time to play outside, my teacher only gave us 10 minutes outside, my teacher took away outdoor time as a punishment, my teacher calls them “Indians” instead of Native Americans, I hate logging how much I read – why don’t they trust us?, I hate having to read for points, I hate writing when I can’t pick the topic, I’m not interested in the topics they choose for us to study, how is this math relevant?, I don’t remember anything they teach us because it’s NOT MY CHOICE OF INTEREST, I hate getting up early.

The morning routine is annoying and stressful. Picking them up from school, OH, meltdowns aplenty there. Making them go to bed by 9pm, because they have to get up early for school, ANNOYING. I hate it. I feel like the only option I have is to complain about it until they are old enough to be home alone all day while Hal & I are at work. When I try to “be positive” while engaged on the subject, it feels un-natural, insincere, and forced.

I am having a hard time changing MY attitude regarding school so have ZERO ability in helping my children to cope with all of their feelings regarding school. Usually, I’m right there with them, agreeing, prolly dropping a few F bombs, and occasionally inserting the sentiment that every experience is what you make of it. Probably not the most parental way to handle the situation. I have no clue.

My kids, especially my son, are hyper-aware of all that is wrong with the framework of education as they currently are experiencing it.

Home schooling during high school is looking good. You know who else hated school? Albert Einstein… but he still had to go through it. (my favorite thing to remind them)

The reason we don’t home school now, is because Hal and I… you know, I was going to explain this but realized, not the point of this writing.

The reason for expressing all this isn’t because I want advice on how to make home schooling work. When I’m calm and honest with myself, home schooling is not my goal right now, dreaming about it is more of a way for me to escape having to learn some skills that would help my kids and myself cope and thrive with our current life experiences. Home schooling would come with it’s own challenges. I get that. And I don’t want those challenges more than I want the ones I currently have. Not yet, anyway. And maybe never. What I want is insight/advise on how to respond to my children when they are moaning and groaning about school, because I actually do agree with them – I remember feeling the same way as a kid! School destroyed my desire to learn. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I figured out learning can be fun and interesting. Right now, It’s important to help them cope with their feelings of having to do something they don’t 100% love. I need help with my attitude so I can help them with their’s! Telling them to suck it up, get over it, shut the fuck up I don’t want to hear it, isn’t going to work for me. I need words. Words that help them without shutting them down.

And just as important… I also need action. Right action. I have a feeling this is going to require stepping outside of my comfort zone to actually do something different with my children that will help them.

Oh, company on this journey is helpful, too. Just knowing I’m not alone gives me hope that others are seeking answers, too!

On the, Psychology Today, website, I found this article, to get me started in right thinking on this issue. Any other resources would be highly appreciated! And before you judge me harshly for not already knowing how to deal with all of this already, remember, I am teaching myself as an adult.

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“Radical self-care is what we’ve been longing for, desperate for, our entire lives–friendship with our own hearts.” Anne Lamott

Moments of Joy

#3.) This morning, when feeling annoyed at my children, angry even, I held the anger inside while at the same time comforting myself through it – not around it, not away from it, but THROUGH IT – so as to not take it out on my family. The feeling of anger actually PASSED within seconds. Everything was clear again.

I use to practice this on faith alone, hoping that the anger would pass, but often not being able to give myself the time I needed to make it through. Now, after practicing this type of awareness of my inner landscape for a few years now, I KNOW, the feeling of anger will pass and I WILL be able to respond to the situation, to the people, with love. Even if my voice raises or I speak firmly – which often happens with my children –  I am able to speak in a manner that causes no harm.

#personalgoal #practiceneverends (I still sometimes snap and scary mommy comes out. I just keep flowing and let the anger flow on down the river while the water of time cools me down.)

Anger can be useful in bringing a need into a place of awareness, in this way, it can be a catalyst for right action and/or change. However, in my lifetime, that is as far as its usefulness has ever reached.

When we get angry, we suffer. If you really understand that, you also will be able to understand that when the other person is angry, it means that she is suffering. When someone insults you or behaves violently towards you, you have to be intelligent enough to see that the person suffers from his own violence and anger. But we tend to forget. We think that we are the only one that suffers, and the other person is our oppressor. This is enough to make anger arise, and to strengthen our desire to punish. We want to punish the other person because we suffer. Then, we have anger in us; we have violence in us, just as they do. When we see that our suffering and anger are no different from their suffering and anger, we will behave more compassionately. So understanding the other is understanding yourself, and understanding yourself is understanding the other person. Everything must begin with you. ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, Anger

A lot of what is said in this article: The Difference Between True Love and Unhealthy Obsession, resonates deeply with me. I’m looking at it as referring to love in all relationships and in general, not just romantic partners. I remember not too long ago I would have scoffed at it. Yes, relationships (especially romantic), have an element of “work” and sometimes are “not easy,” however, when they are healthy, the majority of time they are very easy and that work is more about maintenance to maintain and tweak, not an entire reconstruction. When I look at my life, I see that I have had to deconstruct/reconstruct myself, not my partner (he has done that for himself) or the actual relationship.

I’m doing the work of paying more attention to that which brings me joy. I have to give myself time to focus on joy, love, and goodness. I have spent too many years with a focus on that which isn’t working, what makes me angry, stuff that I view as wrong. This was important work for me and I will always have an awareness of these elements as they arise. However, I haven’t given myself a fair chance to experience a constant movement towards that which brings me joy, fills my spirit, and calls me toward loving life. I’ve done this a little, but not in a way that nourishes the parts of me that have always had a fear of loss, the fear of not being loved, of not being seen. Now, I’m taking care of my inner child, my inner world, and giving myself the time and space needed to explore what it means to get the most out of life. I’m seeing myself and loving who I am, right now, not as some future version of who I want to be.

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I’m beginning to have a deep appreciation for people who exude these qualities of self love and joy finding.

Relationships cannot be healthy if I am not healthy. I like health.

“Patience is the direct antithesis of anger.” ― Allan Lokos

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Moments of Joy…

2. When Max, BellaGrace, and Hal leave the house in the morning for school and work… and I am left alone.

Today was the first day back to school after two weeks off. We all experienced a lot of stress this morning. Words were said. NObody was ready for this morning. Bella, the only one who set her clothes out last night, all of a sudden had an earache… I made her go to school anyways (Uh, okay, Bella, you can let your teacher know if it doesn’t get better, she’ll send you to the nurse, the nurse will look into your ear and call me if you have inflammation or a fever. I’ll call your teacher and let her know my worry about the possibility of you being sick). She also remembered – as I was tucking her in last night – that she had a ton of reading to do, she cried because she didn’t get any of it done over the holiday break. This morning, Max couldn’t find his school agenda, didn’t have clean shorts, stepped on dog poop twice (thanks a lot, Camus), and had to gather all his fucking Pokemon cards before leaving, and then came back, 2 mins later, because he left his lunch on the kitchen floor. I vaguely recall grounded both kids for life in a fit of rage. Hal’s way of coping was to get the fuck out of dodge, and wait in the car. I did not find a way to cope until after everyone left the house and I was alone.

::Exhale:: It’s mornings like this that trigger insecurities and self-doubt, I feel ill equipped and non-skilled at managing my emotions. All that frustration. All that anger just comes boiling up and I want to run away from it all. Fuck this, I think. My kids left the house upset, hurt, and hating me. Fuck.

We didn’t do anything last night to prepare for this morning. Neither Hal or I lead the way in making sure all of their school supplies were ready. I work half the hours of Hal, so it’s an unspoken reality that I am the one who will manage all of the kid-stuff and delegate tasks where necessary when Hal works and I have the day off. I have no problem delegating, if and when I actually think about it. And Hal will do what-ever I ask him to do – when I actually think about asking for help. I am not a Type A personality so organizing shit isn’t fun, fulfilling, or natural for me. Hal isn’t Type A, either, so he doesn’t really even notice when shit isn’t prepared (until it’s too late. Like me). He’s more of a Type ZZZZZ personality (we always joke that his spirit animal is the sloth).

I wish Hal was more the type of parent who was organized and on top of all the kid’s needs. I wish he took it upon himself to pick up new underwear, socks, and shoes when the kids need them, or order new school uniforms when their old shirts have holes in them. I wish I didn’t have to ASK FOR HELP and it was just offered when it’s apparent I am not holding it together or when it’s obvious the kids need something new or replaced. Yes, these are the things I would change to make my husband perfect. Oh, and I’d make him a handyman. But, you know, nobody is perfect.

Nobody is perfect. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is perfect. Including me.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and give myself all of these qualities. 

All these traits of Hal’s irritate me because they are my struggles, too. I am not on top of any of that stuff. I refuse to resent Hal for our mutual struggles. It’s hard because resentment comes easy for me. It’s related to anger and anger lights up the same parts of the body as love. Resentment can be the easier go-to emotion. But I refuse to walk that road of mental anguish.

It is not true that your partner will or should always compliment your character flaws, short comings, and struggles.

That sounds more like an excuse to get out of self improvement. Sounds like passing the buck to me. It’s one of those bullshit fantasies our culture sells us. And chances are, especially if you have children, when in a partnership you are going to discover just how deep your human struggles run.

Disorganization, procrastination, unfocused priorities regarding the details in life, hot-tempered when patience runs out, these are traits Hal and I share. We are passing them down to our children, I suspect. We understand each other’s struggles. I don’t see this as, “Hal needs to do this better or that better or he needs to be this man or that man…” It’s more like, “Yeah, I get you, I struggle with that shit, too. We’ll do better as we learn and grow.”

Parenting is hard and fucking sucks sometimes. It sucks having to be the example, to set the standard of quality, all the fucking time. It’s also impossible to always do it right. I’m starting to see that fucking up and coming back from that IS DOING THAT SHIT RIGHT. I’ll never be 100% in control of how I behave. Sometimes, emotions will take over. My kids need to see that. They need to know how to come back from that, too. They need to build resilience in a loving home.

I know we are doing a loving home right.

I’m learning to trust the flow of life, the wisdom of my children, my life partner, and the wisdom I carry from my life’s experiences. (that was an unbelievably scary sentence for me to type, but I do have trust! Wheeee! I trust!)

One of the main differences I see between Hal and I is I am harder on myself than he is on himself. He doesn’t define his entire sense of fatherhood on a parental fuck-up or a bad experience… whereas I feel like the worse human parent in the world when I have a shitty morning with the kids.

It takes some self-soothing for me to remember, it’s okay to be flawed in my parenting skills.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

My kids are okay because I parent with love.

I parent with love. I parent with love. I parent with love.

I am always learning. I am always learning. I am always learning.

I am learning how to let go of control.

I am learning how to trust the flow of my children’s lives.

I am. I am. I am.

I am enough.

Words of affirmation. #selflove

What’s next…

I can’t control everything, but I can be proactive in many ways. What always helps me to organize my priorities and time?

A…

To Do List!

I will create a, To Do List, to be checked off at night… for all of us. I will learn with my children. We will pause our day to get it done. Just a pause, nothing grandiose. We’ll just pause to put everything for the morning in order.

I will grow. I will grow. I will grow.

Max & Bella were in good spirits when I picked them up from school. I didn’t apologize to them, I just talked about how frazzled we all were and that I want to help make the mornings easier for us. Then I gave Bella mad props for having her stuff together the night before… she inspired me to do the same. They like the plan to use a nightly, PAUSE, to take some time to get school stuff together.

May the force be with us.

 

 

 

 

 

Moments of Joy ~ 2016

There are a lot of simple pleasures in life. I want to document them all. It’s not my goal to do this daily, but if I do, great. And if I don’t, SO BE IT (intentional, “Gleaming the Cube,” reference, yes it is). When something comes up, I’m going to make note of it. I will be highlighting all those little moments that bring big amounts of joy to my life. Yes, that’s what I’m gonna do. 

Moments of Joy…

2379128044850758d15b5d26906db0151.) Making breakfast for my family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I adore it’s creation process more than any other meal, unless we have breakfast for dinner. I enjoy it more than baking cookies or grilling on a perfect Summer night. I enjoy making breakfast more than I enjoy eating it! Breakfast is a meal full of comfort and love. I love it. It’s the only meal I want to wear an apron for while cooking, it feels so classic and warm like a Rockwell painting for me to be in the throws of preparing a large and satisfying breakfast for my family. Pancakes, bacon, veggie sausages, hash browns, toast, eggs (however you want them, please, is okay with me), coffee, milk, water, sometimes OJ when I’m really going all out. I love all the movement in the kitchen. The timing of everything in order to get a plate full of hot food. I love the giving. I love the serving. Seeing my family satisfied and full is incredibly pleasurable for me. It fills my heart with large love. This morning, I made the kids a big breakfast (Hal had to work). My day was complete and good before it even got started.

 

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

Growing, pushing through the earth to reach that which heals. Tears fall when the dirt meets pavement and pushing through becomes a form of suffering. Guilt over past choices, shame, melancholy that shakes hands with depression, they all afflict my growing sight. Growing into the light is often unsettling and downright painful. Sometimes, it is my therapist who witnesses a moment of inner-growth and acts as an anchor back into the present moment, into self-compassion, and self-love. Sometimes, it is my husband. Sometimes a friend. But more often than not, I am the anchor. I am the only witness to my story. I have to self-sooth in those moments of deep awareness. It’s arduous work sprouting through the cement I’ve built around my love.

It is a cultural lie that we do all of our “growing up,” while we are young and that eventually we are grown. That being full-on responsible for your life and the lives of others is the same as being grown. That taking care of your business like a boss-lady also means you don’t suffer or hurt. Suffering is for the weak, young, and inexperienced, right? Definitely don’t show anyone your dirt and never talk about it. Unless I’m a fucking anomaly, which is unlikely, I think most growing occurs during the time life is happening, for your whole life. I’ll never be a grown-up. Even when we look like we have all our ducks in a row – because in a lot of ways we do – growth happens – life is about more than how well you manage responsibilities (that has more to do with privilege, after all – the body you’re born in, your family ties, DNA, opportunities, ect.). The most artful growth we experience unfolds with invisible strokes.

People don’t always experience constant growth or growth that I would recognize as growth. Growth is a self-defined thing.

I refuse to discriminate between modes of knowing. ~ Henry Fool

This past year, I have worked on not erasing my own feelings. I am practicing listening to my feelings and making choices that help me and don’t put me into situations that cause discomfort or outright pain. I use my higher thinking faculties to make decisions on what to do, but my feelings are always acknowledged and often guide my choices and voice. I use to try to suppress my emotions so I could believe I was more of an objective thinking woman. I can’t do that anymore because that is not who I am. I am a feeling/thinking woman who makes choices guided feelings and knowledge.

I have grown a lot in 2015. I am still flawed and a little cracked.

I’m looking forward to, 2016, because I know there are ebbs and flows with growth and I’d like to get off the growth-ride for a while and just enjoy the life Hal and I have created, thankyouverymuch.

Oh wait, that joy is a growing experience, too! 2016, I already love you.

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“If you desire healing, let yourself fall ill let yourself fall ill.” ― Rumi

Nothing is worse than walking this Earth the holder of a tenderness that has hollowed out who you are. I’m suppose to be happy, aren’t I? I have so much “to be grateful for.” Happiness is such a fucking fleeting fart of a lie. Suffering is where it’s at. Sometimes, it feels like I was born to soak up sadness, live it, and be it. Hello, my name is Sad and I like to go on long walks, listen to 80’s New Wave, and write about myself.

But, life is what it is and like a fucking river it will flow.

Sadness is like every other feeling, it’s temporary. One of the worst innate oddities and greatest gifts to hull around is awareness of the details ensnaring every emotion that sojourns the brain-heart-cave-body. I can’t decide if feeling deeply is a boon or a bane to this life. I suppose when I’m on my death bed the verdict will come in.

I was going to make a gratitude list but… blah… blah… blah. What-ever you think should be on that list, I can say with emphatic confidence, that it is. I have so much “to be grateful for.”

While this is going on inside of me, other stuff is too… I tore our house up, looked through every nook and cranny, to find this little guy for my daughter.

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His name is Flake. He is our elf. His story is, he comes to visit us in December, prances around the house when we are all sleeping, fucks shit up sometimes, and plants himself in a different space before we all get up. This happens most nights, but sometimes he’s a forgetful turd and stays in the same spot. For a few days.

Well, I forgot where I put him last year when December was over, he wasn’t in the usual spot (kitchen cabinet all the way in the back, inside a plastic bag). I didn’t really give a shit and as long as the kids were not saying anything about him, I was like, cool, done_with_that_phase. But then Bella, my 8 year old, started looking for him, asking where Flake was, why he wasn’t coming to visit us, blaming her brother for not believing in magic anymore… shit was getting serious. She cried twice. I tore our house up for 2 weeks before I found him. WHEW. Nothing can motivate me like my baby’s cries. Still. So, I guess we aren’t done with this phase. And if I know Bella, she will want to see him every year, well into her 90’s.

After the holidays, next time I hide him, I will be setting up a Google Alert to remind me at the end of November, where I put him. Technology! Grateful for technology.

Bella is designing and making outfits for Flake by cutting up her old socks. She’s also blaming him for all her farts. I love this girl. She is my magical elf.

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