Self esteem is unreasonable

I know that is the exact opposite of what we have all been programmed to believe, but hear me out.

My youngest and I had a 20 minute battle this morning over socks. Really. Now, I know I have slacked off in the sock purchasing department, and he has mostly outgrown his with his big boy feet. Nothing critical, I just need to get to it. So I hand him a pair of socks, the kind that only goes up ankle high, which I know he doesn’t mind because that’s the height of ALL of  his socks. Apparently where went horribly wrong is that they weren’t white socks.

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Say what?

 

He did not want to go to school in black socks, with a gray toe and heel because someone might, in an unusual and unlikely event that his shoes come flying off, make fun of him at school because they look like girl socks. Now, I am one of those people that just doesn’t care what other people think. I wear the craziest socks on purpose, because I like them. And if someone else doesn’t, I don’t care. Their opinion doesn’t even blip on my radar of give a d**mn. So you can imagine my confusion that this is an issue. I finally got tired of arguing and sent him to school with bare feet in his shoes, because he wasn’t going to be happy with any of his choices. You know what?  I was angry too. Angry that my vibrant little guy was cowing to a fear that someone might not like his socks. Angry that he felt defeated enough to not want to stand out.

The focus on self esteem in children is unreasonable. It sounds good, almost like a fairy tale. Every one sits together all hunk dory happy in equal everything, then no one can feel bad, right?

WRONG.

I think the focus on self esteem makes putting on a colorful pair of socks an excruciating decision for a 10 year old boy. This is going to sound horrible, but here it is; Not everyone should feel good all the time. You can’t do it. Its not possible. Putting the expectation that there is some point in the future of our lives where we are all going to grow up to be happy, well adjusted adults because we had the right clothes, hair, education or toys, because that’s what everyone else has is damaging. Its damaging to the heart and creative soul of a child, and it ruins them as an adult, so they fall into the checkout line behind the rest of the ‘self esteem needy’, buying crap they don’t need and cant afford to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. It programs them at a young age to agree with commercial corporate programming that, if we all look the same, act the same, talk and walk the same, and educate the same, then we will all be happy in our cookie cutter sameness.

I don’t teach my kids self esteem. I teach them to be happy with themselves, and rejoice in their individuality. To be proud of their unique thoughts and perspectives on life. To strive to keep a tight hold on who they are and what they believe, and not to lose themselves inside of anyone else, or anything else.

My kids are the crazy socks of the world. They are the round pegs that don’t quite fit in the square holes of life. I wouldn’t change them for anything,

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go throw away all the white socks.

 

 

 

 

Calamity, Catastrophy and chaos.

That, I have decided, is what little boys are really made of.

 

This last month has been one trip to the ER after another. My insurance company claim agent has got to be sitting at his desk, scratching his head at it all. My youngest started out the month with a sudden mystery rash that, to this day, we have not figured out what he came into contact with. Home remedies were a no go, and it decided to go nuclear and start surrounding his eye on a weekend when, of course, the doctors office was closed. So off  to the ER he went. One week later, and the steroid they gave him didn’t work. Off to the doctors office, and another week of steroids finally does some good.

Towards the end of his second week, he started having pressure on his chest like ‘a car was on it.’ On a weekend. Again. So off to the ER, aaaagain, and they find nothing. We suspect it was a well played distractionary tactic to avoid homework.

At school the following day, he is playing with a girl in his class, and they fall at the same time, and somehow she falls knee first on his head. He calls from the school to tell me the fall broke his glasses, and he is sporting a new lovely, bleeding goose egg at his brow.  Siiiggghhh. So off to the eye place we go for repairs.

Two days later he spikes a fever, and his throat,  head and neck hurts terribly, and he is very congested. I think, strep (he is a carrier). Its a weekend, because this kid can NEVER get sick during doctors office hours. Soooo..you guessed it! BACK to the ER we go. They did a strep and flu test, both negative.  They give him an antibiotic, but don’t know what is wrong, The doc was guessing a sinus infection. Guessing. Awesome.  Lets just play roll the medical dice.

He takes a couple of doses of the antibiotic, which he has taken in the past, and starts to feel better. After about dose four, he breaks out in ANOTHER rash! By this point I am thinking there is something really wrong here. He goes to a Children’s hospital ER this time, and they tell us that the antibiotic he is taking for unknown reasons, is causing an allergic reaction, and seem as confused as I did as to the WHY he was prescribed anything at all.

Really? Really.

So fast forward about a week, and THAT boy is doing well. He and my oldest are playing at my mothers house, running around doing crazy boy stuff, when my oldest son gets his foot caught, spins as he falls and hears a horrible cracking noise.

Insert exasperated noise and facepalm here….

So now HE goes to the ER, and they say its just a sprain, and to keep it wrapped, elevated and iced. Should be better in a couple days.

Nope. Of course not. That’s just not how it goes for my household.

I ended up taking him to an orthopedist two days later, and he came home with a knee high boot and the diagnosis of a torn ligament.

Wonderful.

Now he is hobbling along in this boot, trying to navigate the crowded halls of his high school as I type this. Poor kid, his ankle is killing him, and he still has to go to school.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I have phone PTSD, because every time my phone rings, I jump, just waiting for another call saying one of them did something to themselves.

They had better remember all of this when I am old!

hobbes

 

In sickness and in health, a mom I will always be.

I recently spent an afternoon in the ER of our local hospital with my youngest, who came home from school not feeling well. Our doctor was unable to see us for two days, so off to the land of uncomfortable chairs and harried nurses we went for a strep test.

As I sat there, watching a parade of people, some with real ailments, and some questionable, my little guys fevered body leaning against me under my arm, making me sweat from the heat, I began to muse about how rare it is my kids actually get sick. My little guy has had it a bit rough recently, and the last little bit of the school year seems unusually rife with illness or some kind of calamity that has resulted in injury. As I sat there and mulled over what the rest of my day, and night was going to be like, I realized that I would  not trade this afternoon, and what I know will be the resulting sleepless night, for anything in the world.

I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Its not as if I am wishing sickness or injury on my children, far from it. I do however realize that, as a mom, I am looked upon by my kids as the healer of boo boos, the calm in the upset and the keeper of the night shift when they cant sleep. Its something meaningful that I think at times we as moms don’t see, while we crankily move through another vomit laden day. We stumble around, groggy from lack of sleep, sore from the weird positions we sit in so our kids can lay against us, our clothes sweaty from little overheated bodies, and forget that all of this is a deep bonding, just as meaningful and strong, if not more so, as sitting with a book to read to them, fixing them dinner and talking at the table, or playing a game together.

I am their comfort when they feel their worst, when they wake up in the night, stumbling to my bedside to announce they don’t feel good, only to promptly throw up on the floor instead of going to the bathroom first. Why do they do that? Because I am the first thing they think of when they feel bad. Mom will fix it. Mom will make it better. Before their brain can even kick in fully, I am the first thought in their misery laden search for comfort.

And it isn’t limited to the flu or a cold. Its a stubbed toe, a smashed finger or a bonk on the head. Its a nightmare that wakes them, a loud noise that startles them, or someone picking on them at school.

Like every mom who keeps her worries secret,  their struggles and hurts and illness keep me up a lot of long nights. Like tonight. He wont know how many times I go to his bedside and touch his forehead to see if his fever has returned, to listen to his breathing, and watch his face for signs of distress in his sleep.

They don’t realize how many times a day I wonder about them while they are at school, or think about them while I work midnights, gone while they sleep.

As we left the hospital, prescription in hand, he wrapped his little arm around me, and we walked that awkward too close together walk to the car, he looked up at me through his glasses with his red rimmed eyes and said “I love you mom.”

I wouldn’t trade this day for anything. Someday when they are grown, when they have a home and kids of their very own, I will be glad I traded the sleep of those nights for exhaustion, an aching back, tired eyes and a worried mind. They are more valuable than gold.

I’m going to head upstairs and check on him again. Sleep well my little guy, momma has the watch from here.

 

 

 

 

Non stop

That would describe my current circumstances.  A non stop merry go round of work, work, and you guessed it.  More work.

I have recently been recalled to my job after a year of being furloughed. Between unemployment,  which wasn’t much, odd job work through last summer, the pride smarting use of food stamps, and the free breakfast and lunch programs at my children’s schools, we made it through. I am trying like crazy to play catch up to the last year’s worth of bills that I neglected, now that I am working again. It is quite literally a non stop endeavor. And exhausting.  Physically, mentally and emotionally.

I am fortunate to have been hired by a place as secondary employment that happily works around my full time job. Slowly but surely, bills are getting paid, projects are getting started, and the things I had to put off, like trips to the dentist, are finally being made, much to my relief.

My goals are:

Have all non living expense bills paid off.

Complete my project ‘wish list’.

Have emergency money in savings.

Possibly pay off the remainder of student loans.

I am slowly marking off things as I go, and the satisfaction of accomplishing each one is tremendous. I really don’t plan on working so much forever, but I will do it as long as I can physically handle it. My kids really don’t like it, and I am not enjoying spending so much time apart from them. I have never been one of those parents that couldn’t wait for school to start, or for their holiday break to be over, or wanted a trip away on my own. Being away from them is painful to me. I just keep telling myself that I am working towards a greater goal that will benefit us all. I want to have little to no debt.

If I can get myself there, then no matter what happens, I will be in a much better position to handle it. The year I was furloughed really shook me. I am a planner. I like to know what’s going happen, when, how and why, and plan way ahead. I do NOT like financial surprises, and if you can’t tell, I’m not spontaneous by nature. There are a lot of people out there that are in a worse situation than I was, and I really feel for them. I now have a better understanding of the horrible economic hell that has gripped our country, and I am relieved mine was short lived, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time.

I am grateful I am frugal little mizer, because it helped me maintain everything, with almost nothing. I look at my kids, and wonder if they too learned from the experience,  or did they even notice? We don’t live beyond our means,  never have. I have never been one to spend money without a darn good reason. I guess their lifestyle really didn’t miss much of a beat. Then again, is that a good thing? Do I spend so little that we live poorly?

The experience of being laid off is still on my mind. Even though I made it without missing a single house or insurance payment, utility or phone bill, I still can’t give myself a pat on the back in celebration. It really made me question my spending habits.

How much is too much? How much is too little?

That question won’t be answered tonight, but I do mull it over pretty often.

That mom

That mom

We all know who she is. We have all seen her. We have all wondered if she was driving asleep.

That mom.

Hair in disarray,  pony tail askew, eyes only partially open, squinting at the road, pajamas still on. If you could see her feet, you would see slippers instead of shoes.

Today, I was that mom. Driving in all my rumpled sweatsuit, brown slippered squinty eyed glory, glaring at anyone who dared to look at me with a questioning gaze.

Oh ya. That was me. I have become one of them. A member of the half awake horde. I never thought I would be one of those exhausted parents waiting dutifully in car line, half awake and mostly dressed, struggling to remember if I even bothered to put on underwear.

The zombie apocalypse is upon us, and it’s a bunch of overworked, overtired midnight shift parents. You would fear us, if we were awake anyway.

That mom is going back to bed.

Changing seasons

Winter seems to have finally released its stranglehold on us, and spring has come in with a vengeance. High wind, heavy rain and a fierce lightning show let all know the seasons have finally changed. Winter is done. No more snow, frigid temperatures and  bleak days. Enter tornado season…

I have been anxious for spring to get here this year. Well, I am anxious for spring every year, because winter is my least favorite season, but this year is different. This year I am going to finally put a greenhouse in my back yard. I have several varieties of heirloom vegetables I have been waiting to try, and this year I plan on making it happen. Heirloom veggies are more sensitive, and can be more difficult to grow in comparison to the hybrid varieties. They haven’t been ‘tinkered’ with like the varieties offered in your local farm store or big box home improvement warehouse. They are more susceptible to bugs, disease and damage. For these, and many other reasons, I have waited until I could put a greenhouse up to protect my little nutritional powerhouses.

This year I would like to skip my yearly war of the squirrels, and I am hoping a greenhouse can help me with that little slice of summer hell. Little fuzzy rats tear up my gardening efforts every year, terrorizing my plants and tearing up my soil. It certainly doesn’t help that my neighbor thinks they are cute, and feeds them ears of corn on her porch. Ugh. I may steal her little corn holder thingy. It’s either that or I do what a friend of mine has done in the past with a raccoon invasion; sit outside in a ghillie suit and shoot at the little boogers. Worked for him, but I think my neighbors may frown upon tracer rounds whizzing about the neighborhood. Civility, the bane of city living.

Aside from the greenhouse, I have been yearning for the smell of leaves after spring rain. The smell of cut grass seems a distant memory after such a tedious winter, and I even miss the singing of birds as they invade my back patio roof and wake me up with their babies peeping for attention. Swimming, camping, hiking, working outside in the soil, sun warm on my arms. Winter was way too long and brutal this year, and I have far too many put off projects waiting for my attention.

Time to grow things!

Little rat