Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stupid Things That Moms Do

Disclaimer: I am not admitting to doing any of the following things, but if I had done them, then they would have been really stupid.

1. Assume that your children will do what you have asked them to do, the very first time you asked.

2. Clean the house. And fall into the delusion that "this time, kids, we're going to keep it clean!"

3. Smell the underwear lying on the floor to find out whether it's clean or dirty. (I mean, come on! One more pair of underwear in the washer is not going to destroy the planet. I have come to the conclusion that it's not worth it.)

4. Tell your kids not to use your entire bottle of shampoo as bubble bath and expect that they will obey.

5. Smell the blankets on your kids' bed to see if they need to get washed along with the sheets after your kid wet the bed. (OK, so blankets take up a whole washing machine and I would rather not have to wash them unless absolutely necessary.)

6. Make brownies "for your kids" and eat the whole pan, and then tell your kids that the brownies got burned so you had to throw them down the garbage disposal. (Don't say it's in the trash, because they will look there.)

7. Try to camouflage mashed cauliflower as mashed potatoes because you will not fool your kids. And your house will stink like cauliflower, which you personally hate, as well.

8. Accidentally reveal to your kids where you hid your private stash of chocolate.

9. Forget to lock your bedroom door at night.

10. Start the day without coffee.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


So, what do you do when you see someone famous out in public? OK, so maybe "famous" is a little exaggerated - let's just go with "local celebrity". I was picking out my favorite coffee at Horrocks Farm Market -"Jamaican Me Crazy" (sorry, Highlander Grogg, I have a new love) - when I noticed Sheri Jones, a news anchor from WLNS. As I violently shook the container to get every possible bean into my bag and still be able to close it, she asked me, "Is that your favorite coffee?" I thought she was just making polite conversation, but in retrospect, she might have been trying to calm the savage beast who was attacking the coffee canister in the middle of Horrocks. She may have been thinking to herself, "Wow, this lady really does not need any more coffee." Maybe she was about to recommend that I start drinking decaf when I blurted out, "Yes, yes it is my favorite coffee! It's my absolute favorite in the whole entire universe! I think everybody should drink it!" (Maybe I'm exaggerating, maybe I'm not. . . .) She said it's her favorite, too.

How about that? Sheri Jones and I have the same favorite coffee! If you know anything about me, you know that I have a passionate love affair with coffee, and anyone who enjoys coffee as much as I do is a kindred spirit.

OK, now back to my original question. (I admit that I have strayed a bit from my original topic, but that's because I'm working on my 3rd cup of Jamaican Me Crazy in my favorite oversized mug.)

How do you act when you see someone who is very recognizable? Do you a) pretend that you don't see them or that you don't know who they are? b) go over and excitedly say, "hi, I know who you are and you are so cool. Will you autograph my shopping list?" or c) Faint?

And then I wonder, do these people like to be recognized out in public? Do they just want to fade into the crowd and go about their business without being bothered, or do they like that people know who they are?

I wouldn't know. The closest I ever came to being a celebrity was when I did some campus ministry in several universities in the Philippines - I gave some talks and sang a few songs, but that's about it. And then, I think people mostly recognized me because I was white - kind of hard to miss that Michigan pallor amidst an equatorial people.

I told my husband about my interchange with Sheri Jones at Horrocks. He wasn't impressed. He wants to run into Lauren Thompson, the cute brunette anchor.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oral Fixation

I don't ordinarily give much credence to Sigmund Freud's philosophies. But I have to wonder about the oral stage and "oral fixation". I nursed all of my children, and the girls didn't wean until they were about 18 months old. My son was the one who weaned himself at around one year. (Yeah, it was the boy who lost interest in breasts the earliest, go figure.) I was reading, according to Freud's theory of the oral stage of development, babies derive the most pleasure from their mouths in the first 21 months of life. So, maybe I weaned the girls too early. There may be a lot of people out there who think I nursed too long, but hey, give me some credit - I did manage to get them to knock it off before they were able to sit down next to me and say, "Mother, dear, I'd like to have a sip, if that's OK with you."

The reason I'm wondering about this? My girls all seem to have some kind of "oral fixation." One wants to eat all the time. One chews on wads of paper or anything else she can get her mouth on. One maims Barbie dolls and other toys because of her oral habit.

Exhibit A: Normal Barbie

Exhibit B: Maimed Barbie

And while we're talking about rendering dolls quadriplegics, let's talk about other cruelty to toys, as we see in this example. Poor Buzz. He was minding his own business, when all of a sudden, he finds himself swaddled in a giant diaper. Can you imagine his shame?

Exhibit C: Humiliated Buzz Lightyear

I've found Polly Pockets tied up to bed posts, lain across railroad tracks, and even dismembered.

Maybe I should get my kids into therapy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

No job

After I applied for the job (see my last post Ch...Ch...changes), I continually prayed that, if the job wouldn't be a good fit for me, for any reason, that the Lord would not allow it to work out. Any time that I pray, "Lord, not my will, but Yours be done," I still have my preference. And I still kick and scream a bit if I don't get it.

I got a call on Wednesday saying that the office administrator position was indeed going to be vacant, but they were going to interview other people (i.e. not me) for the position, people who had more experience than me. Of course, this is certainly reasonable, since they don't want to train a new person from the ground up. But I really, really wanted it! (can you envision a 2-year-old tantrum here???) I did actually cry because I thought I wanted it so badly.

I let myself cry for a day, and then I moved on. Actually, my therapist helped me move on. Um, cliche, yes, but it's true.

But here's what I was REALLY going through: I had applied for the job, unsure if it was what I really wanted or whether I could really handle it, given my health battles for the past few years and the fact that I love my free time and my ability to play Sims 3 for hours on end (oops, did I say that out loud?) And I haven't even gotten my full year of relaxation in since I quit homeschooling. But I applied anyway, and in order to be prepared for the possibility of getting the job, I had to immerse myself in the role - I had to begin thinking like a working woman and ordering my life in such a way that would make things easier if and when I returned to work full-time. So, I guess you could say I immersed myself in it so much that I got my hopes up. I began to think in terms of "when" it happens, not "if" it happens.

When it didn't happen, I was extremely disappointed. But what surprised me was the depth of my emotion about it. I felt rejected. I talked myself through it because I know that I get along well with the people in the school office, and that they like me. However, I also know that I don't have much experience in an office setting and I haven't worked in 12 years. But somehow, I still had this wild emotional experience that reminded me of that incredibly deep hurt of being dumped by a boyfriend in high school.

So, in talking to my therapist, she helped me to see it this way: My emotional experience was indeed too large for the situation, but not to my fault. This is a very common response with me - what I do is that I have an emotional reaction to something and then I try to find a reason for it, and then tell myself how much my life stinks because of this intense feeling. I also link all of my past similar emotions to this experience and it makes the whole situation much larger than it has to be. So, it is exactly the right action to talk myself through it, realizing that this is nothing like being dumped by a guy in high school. It has nothing to do with me and my worth as a person.

I wonder, as I share this, if it seems bizarre to anyone else that I would have a reaction like this. But I think it's a big factor in my struggle with depression. I tend to have to find an answer for every emotional response, instead of just experiencing the emotion for what it is - a normal, healthy reaction. And I carry all the past responses I've had into every new situation. So, this is what I'm working through.

But after my day of crying, I was relieved. I wasn't sure that I had it in me to take on a full-time job, and I still wanted the freedom to do some things that would be much more difficult if I were working. I want to write, although I haven't blogged faithfully for some time. I really do love to write, and I want to devote more time to it in the form of blogging and trying to write a book. I've wanted to write a book for a l-o-n-g time, but I can't come up with a good topic. I don't want to write the "great American novel" because, frankly, I suck at fictional writing. But I love humor and I like to try to inspire - is there a way to combine the two into something new and fresh? Ultimately, I would like to make a living doing this, but I know it's a long shot. It's not easy to just "become" a writer. But I will continue to work on my skill and wait for God to open a door.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I've fallen off the blogging wagon again. Someone please stage an intervention.

Somewhere between having mono for the first chunk of 2010, and then getting a very weird abdominal virus, and then spring cleaning, and then applying for a job, I've been kind of busy.

You heard me right: I applied for a job. ME. The one who, six months ago, never wanted to work outside the home again. But God must have been working on my heart when I wrote the What I Want to Be When I Grow Up series.

My kids go to an awesome school. I love the staff, I enjoy the kids, and I appreciate the educational philosophy. It wasn't long after my kids starting attending school there that I thought, "hey, this might be a nice place to work." Just in case, you haven't heard this before, I am a perfectionist. What this means, in terms of working, is that I want to do something that is meaningful and fulfilling. I realize that it is OK just to work to pay the bills, but I would like to "make a difference".

I started volunteering in my kids' classrooms after Christmas, and I've really enjoyed getting to know their classmates. During this time, I've had a deepening desire to reach out to these kids.

About two months ago, the school's registrar left. Her open seat sparked my curiosity, "Could I do this job?" I went online and looked at the listing. The responsibilities are quite extensive AND the job goes through the summer. No way. It would be too hard to work year-round with my kids at home for the summer. However, I decided to talk to the principal anyway, and he encouraged me to apply. He told me that the current office administrator would most likely move into the registrar position and then the office administrator position would be open. That job is not year-round and the duties would probably be a bit more manageable for me. And the principal told me that whomever fills the OA position would need to be incredibly organized. To which I responded, "I'm kind of obsessive about organization", which is way too true: yesterday, as I cleaned out my linen closet, not only did I label the shelves with twin, queen, bath towels, etc., but I also considered folding fitted sheets differently than the flat sheets so that I could tell them apart at first glance. (I will not admit whether or not I actually did that.) I purposely did not mention the fact that my house most often looks like it's in the midst of an earthquake, because that is only because I live with 5 other people who, let's just say, are NOT obsessively organized.

Sooooo, I applied and I've had a phone screening so far. Now I'm waiting (quite impatiently, I might add) for the next phase, if I make the cut.