Today is bittersweet.

This is Little Dude’s last day at the childcare/preschool he has attended ever since he was eighteen months old.

Of course, I have my reasons for switching schools.  Little Dude will be starting a pre-kindergarten class at a “big boy school” where he will thrive, I know.  And he will move from the pre-k class right into the kindergarten and elementary education program at this school.

But today — today is a goodbye.

A goodbye to the only school setting we have known, a goodbye to the teachers who have provided such wonderful and dependable childcare ever since Little Dude was a toddler.

Today is bittersweet because I know we’re making a good decision and moving to a wonderful school, but we’re leaving our comfort zone behind.


We have been preparing Little Dude for this transition for a while.  He has picked out a Buzz Lightyear backpack and a Buzz Lightyear lunch box, and we’ve been driving past the new school everyday for the past week.  He is incredibly excited for this new adventure to begin on Monday.

Me, on the other hand, I have enough anxiety for everyone.  I’m worried about Little Dude making this transition ok (even though I know he’ll be fine), I’m worried about making new friends (for both of us!), I’m worried about making sure we stay in touch with all the families we have grown so close to at this school we are leaving.

I’m excited but nervous, very happy with the choices we’ve made but apprehensive about how everything will fall into place.

A bittersweet day.

Guilt Goddess says: Trust your instincts and go with your gut.  You know this is a very good decision and a week or two from now, you’ll wonder why you ever had these worries in the first place.

I recently bought a dry erase calendar to put up in our house to better keep track of everyone’s schedules.  This also gives Little Dude something visual to follow along with and see when things are happening.

So, I’m standing in front of this brand-new calendar I just hung on the wall, diligently filling in the days of the month, and it hit me.  It’s September.

September.

Two-thirds of the year is behind me and the holidays are around the corner.

Huh?

What about all the things I still want to do this year?  The goals I have set out but have yet to accomplish?

Ironically, Big Dude always talks about ‘when things slow down.’  As in:
‘When things slow down, we’ll have a chance to clean out the garage.’
‘When things slow down, we can each take a day off and (fill in the blank).’
‘When things slow down, you’ll get a chance to use the bathroom without multi-tasking.’
Ok, I made the last one up, but really, it’s how I feel.

I just laugh whenever I hear the ‘when things slow down’ preamble come out of his mouth, because things never slow down.  Life just keeps moving faster and faster with me running to catch up.  In the next week alone, we’ve got an open house for Big Dude’s business, Little Dude’s fourth birthday, a new school for Little Dude, and kicking everything off, the busiest weekend of the year at my frozen yogurt store.

Sometimes I wish I had the super-human power to freeze time.  (You know, like Eve from Out of This World. Remember that show?  Eve would freeze time by putting her index fingers together.  Then she had all the time in the world to figure things out until she unfroze time again.  Wow, I loved that show.)  I would be so efficient:

  • Laundry done AND folded AND put away.
  • Every last email and piece of paper dealt with at work.
  • Abundant quality time with the Dudes.  (Because, just like Eve, I could unfreeze select people to spend time with me in the time-frozen world.)
  • Every blog post in my feed reader read and commented on.
  • No worries over getting enough sleep because I would be so well-rested and efficient.

I keep thinking if I could be better organized and wrap my arms around life, I could accomplish everything I want to accomplish.  I would have plenty of time to achieve every goal I have set out and make every dream I have dreamt come true.

But alas, I do not possess superpowers.  I will have to continue doing what I can, like using the new dry erase calendar and having marathon errand-running sessions like we did this weekend.  And yes, I will take one day at a time.  I will do what I can do with the twenty-four hours a day we humans have been alloted.  But, I am still entitled to freakouts from time-to-time and to wish for super-human powers.

Guilt Goddess says: Ha ha ha ha ha.  My dear, you’d still freak out if  you had 100 hours in a day.
Me: True.  But I’d be more productive. 🙂
GG: Give it up, girlfriend.  Stop wishing for more time and start using what you’ve got.
Me: I know, I know.  For everything there is a season, time is on my side, one day at a time, etc., etc.  But super powers sure would be nice.

As we move into the fall and my baby turns a year older and I realize that life is moving forward at the speed of light (yes, freakout updates coming soon), it’s nice to have simple, special moments where I’m reminded that my baby is still my little boy.

This is a conversation Little Dude and I had this afternoon. He likes to pretend he is a waiter and I’m a cook. We were discussing what to have for dinner, and Little Dude decided that fish sticks and pizzas made with tortillas would be on his menu. LD stood in the middle of my bathroom, red marker poised over his ‘order notepad,’ and delineated the following 18-step plan for making dinner (which he said were ‘instruction questions’ for me).

Step 1: Get the tortilla out of the bag.
Step 2: Put the pizza in the middle.
Step 3: Put the fish sticks in a pan.
Step 4: Put the pan on the stove.
Step 5: Set the table and drink some water while you wait.
(Whispering, ‘What number comes next, Momma?’ ‘You just did five. What comes next?’ ‘Six?’ ‘You’re right.’)
Ok. Step 6: Drink some more water.
Step 7: Have ice cream from the freezer for being a good boy.
(‘Don’t we need to eat dinner first?’ ‘We did. Now i get ice cream.’ Yup, we’re related.)
Step 8: Take a shower
(I guess this is the plan for the entire evening?)
Step 9: Put your towel on your head when you come out of the shower.
Step 10: Brush my teeth.
Step 11: Get the toothpaste out of the cupboard.
Step 12: Get the toothbrush.
(‘Mama, what number comes next?’ ‘Thirteen, honey.’)
Step 13: Read your kid a story.
Step 14: Cuddle.
Step 15: Go potty.
Step 16: Put your kid in bed
(‘Mama?’ ‘Seventeen, baby.’)
Step 17: Get your froggie.
Step 18: Wrap your kid into a burrito.

That’s all of my questions for you, Cook Mommy. Got it?

Then the little imp ran away with his order pad to go take Big Dude’s order.

Guilt Goddess says: That’s quite a bit to keep up with… Enjoy it while you can!

It’s Thursday.  How did it get to be Thursday already?  Sheesh, time flies.

This time last week, I was packing up an RV and heading to San Diego County for a weekend of relaxation and family fun.  More than 600 photos later (I filled up a 4 GB flash card), this is what I have to report:


How awesome is it to walk out your door into the quiet stillness of the sunrise and be greeted by two rabbits munching on a patch of grass?  I briefly thought about waking up the Dudes, but I decided to just stand there, quietly taking pictures as the sun came up.  It was just me and the cottontails greeting the day.


I was blown away by the peace and majesty of Mother Nature.


After the Dudes were up, we went to visit the geese and ducks at the pond.  The geese had quite a bit to say, and Little Dude was not so sure he wanted to meet and greet the birds up close.


So, he found himself a special seat where he could see the birds but they couldn’t get to him.


I just kept taking pictures of flowers.


And sunsets.

And myself.

Camping, where have you been all of my life?
This experience was soothing and nurturing and so much family fun.  I can’t wait to go again.  In fact, I can’t wait to explore camping across the whole U.S.

Guilt Goddess says: It sounds like you finally had a chance to relax and recharge.  Nothing to feel guilty about there, honey.

Big Dude and Little Dude had the time of their lives going on water slide after water slide at Legoland Water Park. I was keeping up, but after the fifth time landing on my butt going down the little kiddie slide into the wading pool, I decided to take a break.

I was happily sitting in a chair in the shade when a lady and man pulled up to the chairs next to me. They were pushing a double stroller with two little girls wearing matching pink tutu swimsuits.   Big Sister was about three and a half, Baby around eight months.  These were the cutest children EVER. All dimples and pigtails and smiles. Dad took Big Sister in the water while Mom stayed playing with Baby, trying Big Sis’s heart-shaped pink sunglasses on Baby and capturing it all in pictures with her phone. Smiling at this little family unit brought up all of my thoughts about having a baby #2.

When Dad came out of the water with Big Sister, two other boys (about five and seven) seemed to be tagging along. ‘Where are these kids’ parents?’ I’m thinking. ‘It’s sure nice of this man to play with these boys while still taking care of his daughter.’  The two boys followed the man and Big Sister all the way over to Mom and Baby.  When Mom opened her bag and started handing out towels to everyone, the extra two boys included, I realized that those were HER kids.  My cute little family of four was actually a family of six!

I know many of you manage three plus kids with ease and grace.  Personally, that idea scares the bejeezus out of me.  I would love to have two, but more?  I don’t know if I could handle more kids than there are parents.

I watched this family with fascination.  The kids kids listened, didn’t squabble and genuinely seemed to enjoy each other’s company.  And no, Mom did not have alien superpowers or some kind of force field with which she controlled her children (at least I didn’t see anything.  I guess a force field would be invisible?  Maybe.)  She seemed happy — serene even — completely in control of and in sync with her family.  She even had a manicure.  A french manicure and her hair in a cute braid and big silver hoops in her ears.

I had to remind myself it’s not polite to stare.

Here I was with only one child, lounging in my stained Old Navy tank top that’s coming apart under the right arm, in desperate need of any kind of manicure.  I wish I was as fabulous as QuadraMom!

I watched as all four kids had lunch, lined up in their chairs.  I watched Dad hand out quesadillas and juice boxes.  I watched Mom make sure all four pairs of shoes were lined up under the chairs, and all four towels were laid in the sun, ready for the next break from the water.  Effortless, smiling.  Baby was now fast asleep in the stroller, Mom sitting serenely in a chair watching her brood.  I kept watching, thinking, ‘Maybe she gives lessons?  Or maybe she has a how-to manual I can borrow?’  I was impressed and awed.  She made parenting four children look easy.

I will remember this experience the next time I am dealing with my one child having a tantrum.  I will remember that it could be four crying, overtired children who have had one too many s’mores.  But then again, I would have the benefit of the invisible force field because they must give that out after the third child is born, right?

Guilt Goddess says: Haha, it just comes with practice, honey.  Practice and patience and taking things as they come.

Look- Big Dude made a list!

The organization, the forethought — I think I might swoon.  Quick, let’s look at it again.

Yup, it’s real!

We are going camping this weekend, ad I’m completely clueless.  Back in July when I reserved the camping ground spot, I didn’t think much about the planning of the adventure.  I skipped right over the “partial hookups” and “site description” and focused on the hiking trails and the promise of Legoland.

When I was very young, my family tried camping once.  I don’t remember much beyond eating toast while driving and getting to sleep in that little space above the front seats.  I was just a kid.  So, for this trip, it never occurred to me that I would need to bring my own sheets.  And a frying pan.  And toilet paper.  Somehow, I just thought we would buy a tent and some sleeping bags and off we’d go.

Thank goodness for Big Dude.  He has reserved us an RV, planned out what we need to take, and basically just taken care of everything.  It all fells so… so… gender stereotypical.  Family vacation at a beach resort in Mexico?  Planned and executed by WOMAN.  Camping trip in the wilderness where we must eat from the land and defend ourselves from wild animals?  Planned and executed by MAN.  (Ok, we’ll be in an RV with a fridge full of food from Trader Joe’s, but still.  You get what I’m saying.)  I feel like the helpless little woman who should be darning socks in the rocking chair on the front porch while the man goes out to rustle up dinner.  Maybe I should start paying more attention to those Man vs. Wild episodes he is always watching.

But he has a list!  (Let’s peek at it one more time.   Haha!  It makes me giddy.)

I shall trust in the list and stop worrying that I’m not doing enough.  I’ll focus on packing clean underwear.  And toilet paper.  And maybe a Man vs. Wild DVD so I’ll know what to do if I get separated from the herd and have to fend for myself.

Guilt Goddess says: Go with it, honey.  If he wants to take the lead, that means less stress and more relaxation for you.  And, of course, remind him of his capabilities with this list the next time you’re getting ready for a vacation.

This has been a week. An up and down, topsy-turvy, stomach-dropping-as-I-fly-through-the-days-type week. So, for this week in review, I am listing things I am grateful for that helped me navigate this crazy life over the past 7 days.

This week I am grateful for:

1. Girlfriends
Girlfriends with shoulders to cry on. Girlfriends to share a laugh. Girlfriends who have thrown cartons of yogurt at their significant others when mad. Girlfriends with wise words & life experience.

2. My ice cream maker
I made a profound discovery. Instead of just mixing cocoa into milk and having creamy chocolate milk for dessert, if I pour it into my ice cream maker and let it whir away for about twenty minutes, I get icy chocolate goodness. Mmm-mmm, chocolate milk ice cream… Come right over here and sit down with me.

3. Puppy dog eyes
Puppy dog eyes stare at me and my ice cream. Puppy dog eyes follow the spoon faithfully from my dish to my mouth, hoping a little of the chocolatey goodness will drop. Puppy dog eyes are steadfast and unwavering, deep pools of loyalty and understanding.

4. Top Chef & Project Runway
I waiver between being a contestant, whipping up my modern spin on french onion soup while wearing the cocktail dress I made entirely from balloons, and sitting on the judging panel, conferring with Tom and Padma about the exact shade of sear on a scallop dish and nodding solemnly when Heidi and Michael Kors (how come he is always ‘Michael Kors’ and not just Michael?) pronounce an outfit worthy of a middle-aged principal going to a Lady Gaga concert.

5. The summer sun
Finally, finally, now that the end of August is in sight, summer has arrived in southern California. Waking up to sun streaming through the windows is a glorious way to start the day.

6. Churros
Fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar. If you are human, this needs no explanation. If you are an alien, well- first, it’s pretty cool you’re reading this. Second, come- let me show you the fried and sugar-coated bounty earth has to offer.

7. Little boy hugs
Little hands clasped around my neck, sweet, soft little face cuddled up to mine, cheek to cheek. Every bad moment, every frustration, every tear gets washed away when those strong little arms come around me and hold on tight.

8. Bedtime stories
An extended version of the above. My favorite time of day.

9. Big Dude
He annoys me, he frustrates me, he channel surfs. He watches the same darn documentaries about the history of tanks over and over (normally when I’ve requested his help with emptying the dishwasher). But he is also my biggest supporter, my light from the lighthouse when life gets fogged in. Like any couple, we push each other’s buttons. But we also push each other to be better people. I am very grateful for that this week.

10. Hidden delights
I love spending time at Disneyland because there are so many hidden little details to discover when you really start looking. Hidden fairies nestled between plants in landscaping, walkway lights that are really #2 pencils with lights for erasers. Applying this to everyday life, what hidden little detail transforms an ordinary situation into an extraordinary one when you look beyond the surface? Every situation has the ability to teach and transform, we only have to be open to it. So even though this week was a roller coaster ride, I was able to spot a few hidden delights and treasures along the coaster’s track. I saw them winking in the sunshine, reminding me of the lovely surprises life has to offer.

Guilt Goddess says: A beautiful way to end the week. I want to add a quote from Elizabth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: “Some days are meant to be counted, others are meant to be weighed.”  Keep making them count, honey.

I wish the minds of children were contagious.

Really.

I spent my afternoon playing Superhero with Little Dude, a monkey blanket tied around his neck as a cape and a stick as a sword.  He had originally asked to go camping, so we drug our little blue tent outside (much to the discontent of the dogs).  Over the course of an hour in our square of a backyard, Little Dude was Batman, an explorer in the forest, a chef and a surfer.  He dove, ran and flew.

I was relegated to ‘making recipes’ at the pretend restaurant.  While I was making the fictitious green eggs and chocolate ice cream (Little Dude’s secret recipe), I kept thinking how much better off we as humans would be if we could tap into that imagination and wild abandon whenever we felt like it.  Imagine conducting your next business meeting with your pants on backwards or dressed up like a pirate.  Or a rockstar.  Awesome.

If you have lost touch with that inner joy, find it.  Spend time with a child and remember what it’s like to let your imagination run wild.  (Little Dude is available on weekends… You must provide your own blanket to use as a cape.)

Trust me, you’ll have a new outlook on life.

Guilt Goddess says: I have dibs on LD for Saturday!

The impetus that propelled me onto my original power trip was a comment I made about censoring power for fear of judgment.  Interestingly, that’s what I’ve ended up with.

Judgment.

It’s so easy to judge each other without stopping to consider any portion of where the other person is coming from.  It’s pervasive in our culture.  Perez Hilton has made an entire career passing judgment on celebrity photos and gossip.  Does he know each and every one of the people he writes about?  No.  Does he think about all facets of a situation before posting a bit of judgmental gossip?  I would assume that’s also a no.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not passing judgment on Perez.  I have idled away many an hour reading his ‘celebrity juice.’  It is what it is.  I am merely using his blog as an example of how quick we are as a society to pass judgment on our fellow humans.

In my experience with my posts here on this blog, some people judge me as a “complainer” or a “pathetic excuse for a mother” who “needs help.”  To that I say we all have our own journey.  Nowhere in my writing here am I asking for validation of who I am or situations I write about.  But I think my honest thoughts and feelings on motherhood, marriage and family touch a sore spot in some people, and it is so much easier for the reader to react with a judgment directed at me instead of looking in the mirror.

I came across a write-up of a new book today called the Inspiration Deficit Disorder by Jonathon Ellerby.  Ellerby writes about finding inspiration as an antidote to stress, bad habits and an unfulfilling life.  I love the title of this book.  It says to me that most people want to lead an inspired life but don’t have the attention span or patience to stick with it.

Living with intent, purpose, inspiration or power — however you want to phrase it — takes guts.  It takes guts to stand up and live your life in a way that makes you, the individual, happy.  Why should I be judged for wanting to live my own, inspired life for me instead of a compromised, perhaps uninspired, life that makes someone else happy?

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I have learned a very important lesson from which this blog and my life inspiration have sprung:  Happiness, meaning and power in life (all aspects of life, work, relationships, etc.) start with a happiness and inspiration within yourself.  If other people validate that, great.  If other people want to take away from that, well… they can try, but they are only illuminating their own lack of power, inspiration and happiness.

We all rise, we all struggle, we all fall.  Why do we find it necessary to stand around and point fingers at one another in order to make ourselves feel better?  That’s empty power.  Real power comes from knowing who you are and being true to yourself, holding on to inspiration always.  Perhaps one day we will learn that receiving respect and compassion comes from first freely giving respect and compassion.

Guilt Goddess says: That’s some soap box, honey.  But true.
Me: What can I say?  I don’t like judgments.  And John Lennon’s “Imagine” is one of my favorite songs.  This is a judgment/Imagine cocktail.

Looking back at everything I got through this week to give me more guilt-free confidence for the next.  Kind of like my own skewed version of a gratitude journal.

This week I survived:

A week of single-parenting.
(a.k.a. Big Dude scolding me over the phone for losing my patience)
I actually did really good in the patience department this week. A calmer, more go-with-the-flow mom means a preschooler with fewer tantrums and an easier time all around. However, I am only human. And while I purposely practice cultivating patience, I tend to think I was at the end of the line on the day patience was being handed out and I got whatever was left. So, even though I breathed deeply and thought calm, tranquil thoughts, my once-a-night phone conversations with Big Dude went something like this:

Me (on phone with Big Dude):  I set up a new-
Little Dude (interrupting):  Mama!
Me:  Please wait, I’m on the phone… A new spreadsheet to keep track of-
LD:  Mama!
Me (ignoring him):  … your invoicing and posted it-
LD (now tugging at my shirt):  MAMA!!
Me:  WHAT!?!?
Big Dude (on the other end of the phone):  Patience, honey.
Me:  Patience?! Excuse me, mister, are you in Denver on our tenth anniversary with a king-sized bed all to yourself, enjoying steak dinners and bottles of wine with your colleagues, while I’m on day four of Operation Single Parent in which I bathe, clothe, feed, and wipe Little Dude’s butt all on my own? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You just leave the parenting choices to me.

Finding my power, losing it, and finding it again.
I had a profound experience with finding my own power this week. Something clicked inside and I felt myself come relax into who I am a little more.  But then I spent my tenth anniversary eating ice cream on the couch by myself, had another intense special event for my yogurt store and navigated a 4-year-old’s birthday party by myself with Little Dude, trying to keep my social awkwardness and insecurities at bay.

My power waned.

But the beauty of finding the power in the first place is knowing it’s there. I might have forgotten it for a few hours or a few days, but when I got my head on straight and pushed my anxiety out the door, the power and self-confidence were sitting on the couch, waiting for a conversation. I have to start carrying those guys with me. I need a bigger purse.

A grandparent experience for Little Dude.
Ever since my big falling out with my parents, Little Dude has continually said he misses his grandma & grandpa and wants to see them. I do my best to explain the situation, knowing there is something else behind his request besides wanting to see my parents (because his interaction with them consisted of here’s a toy and here’s the tv, don’t bother me for awhile. They were never involved, care-giving grandparents.)

This week, I was able to bring Little Dude with me to a night-time yoga class because it was being held at a friend’s house and her mom would be there to watch her daughter, so she would be able to watch Little Dude, too. I wasn’t sure how Little Dude would do, since he doesn’t know this family all that well. But, it turns out, he was in heaven. He loved the idea of spending time with a grandma- ANY grandma.

My mom guilt got turned down a few notches when I realized that it’s the idea of a grandma- the extended family and sense of belonging- that Little Dude has been missing, not particularly HIS grandma. This thought had crossed my mind before as I’ve watched him envy his schoolmates who get picked up by their grandparents or talk about spending time at a grandparent’s house. But the experience this week helped to confirm it. Now I just have to work on finding him some surrogate grandparental figures.

Guilt Goddess says: I think you did fabulous this week. Ups and downs are expected because (and i know this is a hard concept for you) nothing is ever completely perfect.

Me: Oh, don’t say that. I’ve got more single parenting coming up next week so I’m trying to hang in there.

Guilt Goddess: And you’ll do just fine. Remember your confidence and power. On second thought, go buy that bigger purse so that you can keep them with you.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other followers

The Guilt Goddess on…

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

The Guilt Goddess

Giving guilt a voice one post at a time.

I am your average guilt-ridden mother of one (or 2, if I'm being honest and including my husband), trying to balance running my own business, running my household and now writing a blog. Someday I hope to have vanquished all of my myriad pangs of guilt and be living blissfully free from moment-to-moment. But, until that time, my guilt will live here.

CONTACT
Email: guiltgoddess@gmail.com
Twitter: @guiltgoddess

© Copyright 2010, LCE, Inc. | The Guilt Goddess. All Rights Reserved.