Thursday, 26 September 2013

Toddler Crib?

It's getting about the time when my toddler should have her crib exchanged for a bed. She looks peculiar behind the bars of her crib, like a creature in an unusual habitat, but with an odd familiarity stemming from long nights of trying to get our baby to sleep. She's not a baby anymore. Not that she really spent much time in there sleeping during her infancy. 

We have the new bed, waiting in the shed. A cute house with a shelf and a window. She has already delightedly approved, as she checked it out when we brought it home. She didn't know it was a bed, as it was missing the mattress. To her it was some awesome castle that she asked to see again for days. She'll love it. She's probably ready.

But mom isn't ready.

The idea of her climbing out of bed and exploring at will and unattended while I think she is sleeping terrifies me. Even if she only has access to her room. I can just see myself checking on her as much as I did when she first slept in another room. Which was, what? Not until five or six months old? 

What if she tries to climb her book shelf? What if she unplugs her fan and tries to stick something else in the socket? What if...?

Oh, the scenarios I could contrive if I let myself think too much! It reminds me of Aunt Josephine in A Series of Unfortunate Events. "Watch out for that cart. It might break free and run us over." She saw the danger in absolutely everything. Everything! I used to see the danger in all things. I'd envision the dramatic mishaps and doleful inconveniences constantly throughout my day. The result of a combination of bad experiences, witnessing too much attention grabbing, and my mom's strong desire to teach by pointing everything out.

I'm not as crazy anymore. I'm a little subdued, due to necessity. Now, in my current situation, my anxiety could really be quenched with diligent and thorough baby proofing. Well, toddler proofing. This little girl sees everything. Watches everything. Explores everything. Copies everything. She wants to put things where mommy and daddy put them and use things how mommy and daddy use them. I've already learned not to wash the toilet in her presence. 

But I can't guard her forever. I try to be ever-present and let her explore safely. But her freedom is expanding. She's going to cause some trouble eventually. Apparently, as children my brother and I made a nice, big breakfast in bed for mom. A concoction complete with coffee grounds to add some pep. And, of course, the accompanying mess. 

I'm not worried about messes. She has dumped the dog dishes all over the floor. Dumped her smoothies all over the table. Dumped her toy boxes down the stairs. Dumped my purse on the street. Dumped the groceries in the supermarket (clean up, meat isle). Dumped whatever she can into the bubble bath (cardboard and toilet paper mixed in a bath does not create a clean baby). All intentionally, by the way. In addition to her exploring, she is helping all the time. We are used to messes. Very used to messes. 

Whether clean or disheveled, my desire is that she remain as safe as we can make her. And there are so many stories online about freak accidents. Of course, I don't want to be another who didn't take care and then regretted it. 

But I also don't want to be the one who over-sheltered or minimized opportunities and growth due to fear.

Keeping the crib for a while isn't going to create any emotional damage for my little munchkin. I see no reason to rush it. Though my mother insists she will try to climb out and injure herself.

I'll just have to make the decision every day. And, today she still has a crib. Next week, she probably will as well. 

Eventually. We'll get there eventually. We'll potty train eventually, too. (Yes, I'm still apprehensive of potty training. But that is yet another topic.)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Does this help Motherhood?

Being a patient, loving, encouraging mother can be difficult sometimes. There are the stresses of life that distract us. Money, safety, diet, the future. There are the tiresome day to day requirements, like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. And doing it all again. With a helper. Some days there isn't enough time to intuitively teach, kindly admonish, patiently guide, and joyfully encourage. Occasionally, our goal is to just get through. The worries and stresses we have to deal with aren't the only ones. We have our little children's emotions to deal with as well.

Today I didn't let her buckle her own seat because we were late. We were late getting one more stop in before nap. Not a good combination.

Today my daughter watched a huge spider flutter in the wind outside the window. After it fell she was certain the speck of food on her shirt was said spider. Not a good outcome.

But, the ups and downs occur. The tears break for the smiles. The overwhelming moments are separated by the amazing or the entertaining.

Today my daughter woke up from nap, recited the alphabet, and promptly fell back asleep.

Today, my daughter begged, Daddy, move your chair. I want mine behind. (She is working on the idea of behind and in front of.) Daddy! I can't see the TV now!!

It can be difficult. But definitely more rewarding. The joys of discovery. There is nothing better than being a parent. Truly.

There is one thing that I cannot grasp, though. Why, oh why, would nature -- nature that wants to grow our family and not tear it apart -- decide to take a tired, busy, concerned woman...

...and give her PMS.

I just don't get it. I would never hurt my child. But I'm sure my attitude is exponentially worse when dealing with things those few days a month. (I say I'm sure like it is even questionable instead of obvious). It isn't something that results in better parenting, that's for certain. My confidence drops, my attention span wanes, and I would rather just sleep and not talk to anyone.

But I have this adorable little girl telling me stories and wanting to learn to put on her own clothing. Can't we just stay naked today?

I know PMS is a part of life. I also know that it can be exemplified by certain factors. Some months it passes with little notice and my relationships are intact and no bad decisions have been made. Other times life just ceases to function.

But it must continue. I must demonstrate that even though I'd love to chop my husband's head off in my hormonal state, I still love Daddy. I must perform my tasks and show her that things need to be done whether you feel like it or not. I must be devoted to her like my true self even when this intruder takes over and can't stand crying and whining. I. Must. Be. A. Good. Mom.

Or, we can just nap all afternoon, eat pancakes for dinner, and watch nature videos. That sounds great, too.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Leave It At That

This morning I was beating myself up for not planning better. I was kicking myself for worrying and letting it hold me back. I was not happy with my results. I seriously had tears. Oh, I'm such a baby, but I'm telling you my story.

I only beat my last 12K race by four minutes.

Nope, I wasn't feeling pride for getting out and doing the race. I wasn't focusing on the fact that, compared to my first attempt 3 years ago, my performance improved. No soreness in my knees (which last time made me think I couldn't run anymore), no tightness in my muscles, and no headache or nausea. I would say that's a step up.

Instead, I was trying to make excuses. I slowed down to congratulate my husband on his first attempt at the 5K (how could I not?); I kept it cautious so I'd still feel good for next weekend's obstacle challenge; I raced without a rest day yesterday because I thought I was only going to do the 5K today; I backtracked two blocks because I went the wrong way. And, ugh, why did I go the wrong way? Because I was incessantly grumbling about how it didn't look like I was going to make my 70 minute goal and so I totally missed the marker that told me to turn.

This is a full representation of me. I tell myself how I could have done it more accurately or efficiently. I remind myself how I could change to be better. I don't cut myself any slack. Quite frankly, as I saw when I missed my turn, it doesn't encourage me to improve. It greatly discourages.

And the scary part is that what I tell myself regularly is written all over my face with my interactions with my daughter.


Every day she attempts new feats. She pushes her boundaries. She learns and grows. She amazes me. There are two responses that I can have. One is my pride shining through in joy for her accomplishments and support for her struggles. The other is my push to help her do it the absolute best of the best. You may understand this drive, or you may find it heartless. This push isn't meant to be discouraging. We want our children to do better than we did. We want them to make it in this world. But appreciation and patience goes a lot farther than high expectations. I see the effects of this in so many painful, stressful lives.

The last thing I want is for her to be a perfectionist like her mom. To be unable to act due to fear of failure. Or, conversely, do nothing because she could never please.

I want her to be able to forgive herself and move on. To enjoy the process. Enjoy the people alongside her in the journey (instead of repelling them). I want her to anticipate the challenges of the future with excitement instead of anxiety.

I pray my little darling will be able to say, "Yay, look what I did!" Even if it wasn't what the next person did. She'll be able to look at her own growth, her own effort, and her own accomplishments. This comparing that we are bombarding each other with distracts from the true challenges and goals. And the adventure and beauty along the way.

If she just plain didn't cut it, I want her to acknowledge it and move on. There is too much ahead to strive for to be stuck in what has passed.

Sure, I didn't prepare for today like I should have. But fretting about it won't increase my time. Worrying about it won't turn back the clock. Thinking about it won't decrease the emotions I felt for being so far behind. Whining to my husband won't help him see me as any better.

I'm a runner. Great. I did it. Wonderful. Leave it at that.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Here We Go Again

In a week I will be competing in another exciting obstacle course event. This one is called a Spartan. It is much shorter than my last event but also more intense as it is timed and any failed obstacles require doing thirty burpees. Yuck. In the Tough Mudder I only failed one obstacle. It wasn't a failure as I made it farther on the inclined monkey bars than I ever thought I would. I would have failed other obstacles without teamwork, but that is what we were there to do. Oh, I did fail three I guess, if you count being dragged out of a trench and a pipe as my hernia popped out. Team work.

A burpee is a push up springing into a jump in the air. A year ago just doing a few would literally make me puke. Literally. I tried frog jumping at power fit and the world spun. Now thirty is feasible, though not at a great pace. I feel confident and prepared enough for this event. I had overtrained for the last challenge and was happy with the result but struggled with being very cold and eventually losing all my arm strength. So I have been trying to focus on using my legs more. I can now climb an eight foot wall without too much strain on my arms. Though repeated attempts when mastering the skill really pulled my side muscles.

All of this may be of no interest to you. But I'm pretty stoked. I feel like a healthy person. An actual, for real, not faking-it healthy person. Who can continue to carry around my affectionate, 26 pound toddler.

Not like someone who lived unhealthy and is trying to change. Not like a couch potato who struggled with headaches. I no longer feel like I am battling constant weakness. I no longer fear hurting myself. I no longer feel like I am overcoming fibromyalgia. I no longer suffer constant tension. Though the first day I did thirty burpees was followed by a sick day as I regretfully couldn't move because I hurt from my fingertips up into my face, from my neck down my back. Even healthy people need to work into things.

Just imagine if I got enough sleep.

So, after Spartan my goal will be to train and cut my next year's Tough Mudder time. Maybe actually be able to do a few chin ups. Or, better yet, get my husband involved. He's not afraid of heights. He's the strongest man I know. He ran in school. He should have been the one doing this. I think it'd be a dream come true to have him there with me.

Don't most wives dream of exquisite romance? I dream of facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. Conquering fears and discovering potential. He got me to bungee jump. So now I have to get him running long distance. Sounds like a great challenge.


Monday, 16 September 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I've decided that next year I want to embark in growing a garden. This year we had a few measly pots with strawberries, snap peas, tomatoes, and some lettuce. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed picking off the berries, which never even made it to the bowl. I believe the only reason she would try the peas was because we went out and picked them ourselves. She was so excited to eat them.

I figure, then, that she would be more open to sampling vegetables if we grew them ourselves. (Fruit we have no problem with. She could live off of fruit.) I remember having a garden when I was about 12. I think it may have been the only year. I remember gorging on so much broccoli. They taste so good freshly picked and pesticide free.

I am a little fed up with pesticides. But the world consumes so much food I can see how we got to this point where what we try to nourish ourselves with is drenched in poison as it grows. I am certain it isn't good for us. And I am very unhappy with the idea of yield and profit coming before our health.

I will admit that as a cancer survivor I worry too much about the effects of what we eat on our bodies. I am trying to cut down on sugar and avoid processed. I am trying to up my organic fruits and vegetables. My husband thinks I am neurotic but he doesn't realise we still eat plenty of what a fanatically health conscious person would not. I will let some things slide, but change won't come through indifference. If no one wanted the pesticide laden food, maybe they would make changes.

But I think ignorance is the biggest issue. For the longest time, I didn't even know what GMO was and figured it was something the scientists were careful with and so it was okay. They wouldn't harm our food supply, would they?

But then I learned what GMO means. Genetically Modified Organisms have been altered at the gene level. For our food this often means seed altered to grow plants resistant to pesticides. Then, instead of farming in separated rows with room for machinery and people to get in and remove weeds, they can pack many more plants in and just drench them with Round-Up. Oh, and who invented these GMO seeds? The makers of Round-Up. They're happy. And the farmers are happy because It saves them money on staff and equipment and produces much more crop. Pesticide soaked crop. More is not better. So I want to avoid it.

All my daughter knows is what tastes yummy. She doesn't know the source or how much we pay. She just tries what is in front of her (and makes suggestions, which usually include berries). She struggles with the texture of the green leafy group. But she'll drink a spinach smoothy and I get her some greens.

Maybe we'll experiment with the myriad of leafy options in our future garden. I can see it expand now. We'll plant sweet peppers and zucchini. Hmmm, this might be work. Of course, I'll look into what grows successfully in our area. Unfortunately, I can't grow bananas. We consume an absurd amount of those in this house (smoothies, pancakes, banana bread, snack).

You'd think we were a bunch of monkeys.

Nope. Just a growing family that loves food and might as well get nutritional benefits on top of our taste bud experiences. And some planting and sowing bounty too.

How does your garden grow?

The Clock to a Child

There is a museum we frequently walk by on our way to errands or church. My daughter cherishes the current display in the window, full of old clocks. She points out the small ones and the big ones. I always tell her they are antique and ask which one is her favorite. It doesn't matter how many times she sees them. She is always delighted when we pass that window.

Yesterday, I decided to take her in to the gift shop to see if there were others to show her. She was ecstatic at the selection of clocks that towered over her or had large faces. And then she was asked if she wanted to see the cuckoo clock. Oh, heavens yes! This girl loves a cuckoo clock. She had only seen them pictured in stories, displayed but not in use, or replicated as a small toy. Her eyes were huge. As the bird loyally finished cuckooing four times its admirer exclaimed, "Again, again!"

It is called "child-like wonder". But I hope it is something that we can keep not just for her early discovery years, but for her whole life. I hope that in ten years I can take her into an informative museum or show her an historical antique and she will appreciate the opportunity. I hope that instead of boredom she will, with wide eyes, hunger for more.

The biggest step in ensuring her persevering appreciation is to continue to join in, and enjoy, her awe. As I look at our world I know that the opportunity to do so is bigger than ever. Information is so available. People devote their whole lives to one topic. But the occasion of enjoying the beauty of life together is decreasing. Too many other priorities make everyone too busy. Then, when they are in each others company they are distracted. I see parents and children sitting together, only physically, as they stare at their little screens. I see tired families sitting in front of the television, winding down or avoiding stress.

Yes, there is a plethora of information that can be learned from a show. But it isn't experienced together. Not in the way life could be lived, bouncing the joy and revelation that is discovered off of each other and compounding its enchantment.

My daughter loves the railway museum. She enjoys trail walks. She likes to show me new things she notices in her books. Everyday her eyes are opened to new things. Everyday she opens my eyes.

I am sure most of these things would be enjoyed by every child. And I feel like I am judging to assume that some would have no desire. Ultimately, it is the twinkle in her eye that I wish will never go out. I hope my little girl continues to find life exhilarating and intriguing.

Like when she pulls on the dog's tongue to examine the slimy object. When she stares at the stars and repeats, "Look, look, look!" When she intently rummages through boxes at the garage sale (and usually chooses some old book because of the picture on the cover). When she gets herself in trouble with her experimentation by doing things like wrapping an iPod cover around her wrist without being unable to get it off.

Her childlike bewilderment and investigation is so infectious. I see things differently. I notice every plane in the sky (she points them out when they are barely visible). I'm made aware of all the people riding bikes (and the man she was attracted to at the coffee shop because he was wearing a bike helmet). I notice every bug and every dog and cat. And I am more appreciative of everything around me.

It is a blessing to be alive. To see and to feel. To experience.

Every clock is a wonder. I listen to one ticking away now. Keeping correct time as I relax on the couch in the quiet night as it gets later and later. Refreshing myself for all the unprecedented wonder of tomorrow.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

You've Touched Someone's Life

Today is the last day of suicide prevention week. A topic heavily on my mind many times since I saw a post about it a week ago.

I tried to commit suicide at 17 years old. If I had succeeded, and that point was the end of my life, I would have missed out on more than I could ever could have imagined. There is the obvious, like the fact that I hadn't yet discovered true love or brought into the world the most beautiful little human being I have ever known. But so much more.

The eye opening experience of a missions trip. The beauty of the northern lights. The peace of camping on a serene mountain top under the stars. The joy of an audience applauding for me (I did have that at 15 in the pageant but there was no joy, only terror). The delight of chocolate mousse cake (at 17 I was still allergic to chocolate). The pleasure of seeing family members develop faith. The humbling walk of having others help me through Leukemia. The achievement of having a career. The exhilaration of white water rafting. The passion of training for an athletic event. Oh, the list is endless.

Most importantly, though, is the relationships I have developed in my adult life. At 17 I'd had friends, yes. But they were let in only in tiny glimpses through a wall of pain and insecurity. That wall took years to be chipped away. The work was the most painful procedure in my life but it developed an open slate to truly see the joy of friendship. The wonder of humanity. The vastness of personalities to discover.

I wouldn't say that my life has reached it's full potential. I'm nowhere near an amazing business plan or a world changing discovery. I have moments where I feel I'm on the wrong path. But I know there are many moments that I made someone's day. I know I've helped people realize they could try something they never would have attempted. I've opened up the lives of someone else more times than I know.

And so have you. Really. You have.

For me, all of this I would missed, and others would have missed, if my belief that nothing more was possible had succeeded in ending my journey.

There are many, many people who believe nothing more is possible for them. They think about giving up the seemingly endless fight. The battle seems too hard and lonely. They lost a loved one or feel too much shame about something or feel alone in a battle. And they feel it could not get better.

It can always get better. There are people who understand. Believe that people care.

And if that isn't your pain, maybe you are the one that needs to show you care. Look past yourself.

When I was 17 I'm sure my mom cared. But if I looked outside myself I'd see she was going through a divorce, again, and struggling with her own path. I'm sure other people cared but I expected to be shown in a certain way and so I was unable to see what was right in front of me.

Many times in my life I've experienced people tragically ending their lives and I wonder what it would have taken to change the outcome. My step father who used carbon monoxide to end his life when I was 8. The boy who came to my church once. The men hiding the pain of changes in their family.

Did someone miss their effort to ask for help because of their own struggles and busy schedules? Would another smile have made a difference? Was a compliment not given because someone thought it would be silly?

Sometimes something seems so small. But add up all the small and imagine the big impact.

The big impact at that very time as well as every moment after in a compounding reaction invisible and unimaginable to us in the big picture of life.

We're all a big part of life.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

No Such Thing As Bad

When my dog had puppies she thought they were toys. She would play roughly. She would ignore them. She would walk away when they tried to eat. Or she would sit on them. She was a horrible, neglectful mother to those poor, sweet puppies.

You, on the other hand, are not a bad mom.

Frequently I hear women cry out for affirmation that they are not a bad mother. They worry they are being judged. Well, yes you are. So is every single mother in existence. Someone thinks you are bad. But it is ultimately not you but your action or choice that is bad to them. Bad is in the perceiver. It isn't a title, like Mister or Miss. Because there are just too many options and never the ability to be perfect in everyone's eyes.

So, just let it go, right?

From experience I know it is difficult to avoid feeling lacking or faulty in this opinionated world. Cry-it-out or co-sleep? Strict diet or let them choose? Make them follow your routine or let them dictate yours? Push academics or play? Spank or never discipline? Do it for them or make them do it? Save for college or invest in experiences? Consequences or mercy? Somewhere in the middle of each of these parenting spectrums? Or, bounced all over the place from one day to the next. (Oh, indecisive me!)

Is my child going to benefit from my choices or be weakened by them? Am I expanding or—gasp!—limiting my child's future? Why are there so many grey areas? (Don't see the grey? Well, you may see something as unquestionably black or white, but someone else may undoubtably, with facts, see the very opposite.)

It isn't a cookie-cutter world. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Your child will be able to deal with a situation that another would find unbearable. They might be able help someone in a moment in which another would be clueless or uncomfortable. Your parenting will repel them from some ideas and pull them firmly to others. All so that they can serve their individual purpose.

Maybe after some counseling. But still, they will be unique.

My child won't complain about the weather because she's gone swimming in a cold lake in the chilly rain or jumping in puddles fully clothed. She won't be startled by loud noises because of her rambunctious dogs and her handy-man dad. But she might have trouble sleeping because her parents baby her too much. She might be out of the loop with things like Disney characters and packaged treats. So be it. This is her life.

You are a human being subject to the experiences of your own childhood. Affected by the limits of your mental, physical, and emotional strength. Swayed by the influences of your peers, the media, and your chosen health care professionals. Limited by your own personal time and resources.

None of that is an excuse to live out of your weaknesses. You can't accept something like harshness when you know it's wrong simply because it is what you experienced. You can't completely ignore expanding knowledge on matters of health. You have to be willing to grow. But, you have to do if for you and your child. For your present sanity as well as their future well being.

Not because someone told you to. Not to be better than so-and-so. Not to impress an old friend. Not to prove something to your parents. Not to win your Facebook crowd. Not to make up for a past lack. Not to avoid being wrong. Not to give in to pressure.Not to follow a trend. Not to gain the Pinterest trophy.

Only you know the convoluted internal cogitations that lead to your public conduct. You know what you chose to look into and chose to ignore. You know your true priorities and goals. You know your compromises with others and your improvements within yourself. Others can only assume all of this based on how they see your actions filtered through their own faulty package.

Take what you know. Test what has been passed on to you. Be open to new information. Be patient with yourself. Be honest with yourself. Forgive yourself. Take responsibility for your life and your future. Take it one step at a time.

You are forever a mom. A mom who makes mistakes. A mom with an exclusive identity.

Not an immature canine who at too young of an age had puppies. Don't bite or play too rough. Don't walk the other way when they need you. Don't ignore their hunger. Don't suffocate them.

Just be the best mom YOU can be.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

How Will We Do Two?

Currently, I am enthusiastically researching birthday party ideas for my daughter's second birthday. (Two years old! What!?) I love parties. I would love to have a themed dinner every month, or more. I enjoy planning, creating, cooking, decorating, entertaining. I love costumes and games. But, I savor procrastinating and many other distractions as well, on top of the insecurities about people in my home, and so this ideal party life never happens.

But celebrating the birthday of my precious, rapidly growing munchkin is an opportunity I cannot, and will not, pass!

Last year she had a successful time capsule party. Our small home was packed like a sardine tin with people bringing her items to show her she's loved and small tokens that represented either the year 2012 or 16 year olds. She received magazines and games and toys and pictures... (By the way, I'm still waiting for items from some special people in her life!) We had a photo booth to snap greetings to include in her capsule. We socialized and snacked and oogled over pictures of her first year.

This year, I considered inviting less people. Possibly sticking to the idea of a small group of her dear friends, like her fellow fair-skinned red-headed buddy, the young children she enjoys playing with from church, and the neighbor's cute little girl. But the more the merrier, right? She loves people. She says hello to passersby. She enjoys going to fundraisers and church and other gatherings. She likes meandering through the crowd at the market or fair. And it's her party! Better make it what she likes!

And that's where my theme comes in. My little bookworm fancies reading more than anything. We plan on sharing her joy with all our loved ones. So I'm looking through ideas on how to get the theme going. Book party, here we come! By the time Halloween comes I'll either be sick of the idea or beyond excited! Winnie the Pooh, Dora, Dr Seuss, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Mother Goose... I shouldn't get into any brainstorming because that would ruin the surprise.

Costume contest? "Book" walk? The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Oh, Time Unlimited

Oh, if time were unlimited! I was drooling over the cooking channel and reveling in the idea of taking a cooking course. I love food and I am always concocting new dinners. But I really don't understand beyond the basic. Often my meal is a touch off. A little too much of this flavor. A little too runny. A little over cooked. A little bitter. Which is why I can't really experiment with baking. I would love to be able to freely bake and alter with the ability to substitute successfully and fix potential issues so I can have a healthy, edible result just the way I want it. But, first I have to work on not burning the grill cheese or over spicing the chili.

There are many things in life I'd love to invest time into. But I can't choose them all every day. If time were unlimited I would keep my home much cleaner, spend more time with friends, have frequent dinner parties, grow a big garden (mmmmm, maybe next year? I'm clueless), read many more books, and invest time into some things that I enjoy.

Paint. I would get some regular practice into my week. I would experiment with different mediums. I would finally produce an art piece for display in my home, which I promised my husband years ago. And maybe, I would try to sell some. Unfortunately, though, the idea of painting is always put to the side because I feel there is something more important to do with my time. Mentioning this, I almost thought of painting tonight! But... no. Painting is something I enjoy but I can't get myself to do without feeling like I am wasting time. How unfortunate.

Sing. Before having a child I used to belt out songs along with You Tube videos for hours on end. I didn't have to worry about waking someone at 11 at night. Last year I was in choir which had me committing to one day a week. I really enjoy music. But my busy day limits it to singing lullabies and children's songs with my baby. This is something I can easily change, especially since my child loves music. I must just choose to do it. Karaoke night. (Oh, I miss my step daughter!)

Write. I have been committing some time to writing since starting to blog. But then my introspective journaling has gone way down. Writing is one of those remedial things that I indubitably need. Especially when stresses come and I don't want to complain to others. Complaining has been a past issue for me that I would like to avoid. I'd rather get it out in a way that isn't going to hinder my relationships.

Travel. I truly love to get away with my family (even if the preparation clashes of spontaneous husband and organized wife stress me out). Getting away from the reminders of things undone at home. Away from the constant calls for my generous and industrious husband to help. Away from perpetual to-do lists. Away from inundating laundry piles. When we take trips I always fall in love with my husband all over again. I feel refreshed and refocused.

This year, unfortunately, is our first year together without a holiday. We haven't even gone to see any family. We did go to a wedding and camp for a few nights. I am glad we have the camper. But I look forward to our next opportunity to drive down unknown streets and check out tourist attractions or explore trails. We would love to take the dogs and camp the Oregon coast.

I told someone once that there is no such thing as not having time. The truth is not making it the priority. If I look at my day I see my priority first falls on my daughter, which is the most important. Then it falls on things like preparing home cooked food, walking the dogs, and housework. Some times I think if I just ate pre-packaged food and got rid of the dogs I'd have more of a life. But, I think these things really add value to my daughter's childhood. Momma just needs to learn efficiency. I really, really need to learn efficiency.

I try not to get distracted by things that aren't a priority. I don't watch TV even though I know I'm out of the loop on some things. I googled top TV shows and looked through some sites. One listed shows I knew nothing about. All of them listed shows I hadn't seen. My small exposure through my husband is News, Price is Right, the Food Network, and a few reality shows. For me, there is just too much other stuff to do.

Like get up in the morning and work out. I am very grateful for friends to meet with because that encourages me to get out when I would rather be lazy. So off to bed I go to prepare for an early morning. Maybe. Something else might pull at my time.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Clean Complain... Again

I am inconsistently neurotic. I hate germs (I am trying not to fear them, actually). I hate dirt. I hate stains. I hate rust. I hate mould. I hate fowl odours. And I think about getting rid of these things too much. But I get caught up in one area and another becomes a mess. And I have other things, like relationships, that need to be a priority. I definitely need to be more efficient. Way more efficient.

Before I got pregnant we were trying to adopt and we had the social worker come to check our house. As we sat in the living room she looked around and noted it was was tidy and that in order to keep it clean with a child I would be cleaning at least an hour a day. I remember thinking, so, that's nothing! An hour seemed feasible, even easy, especially during maternity leave.

Fast forward three years and I think, she had no idea what she was talking about. One hour? I WISH!!

Some days off I spend an hour on floors alone. Then there is the mess of dishes after my cooking (I can't fathom the enormity of the task without a dishwasher). Add that to other necessities like brushing the dogs and never ending laundry. And this is just upkeep and not even a cleaning day.

When my daughter helps cook, like corn chowder and energy balls the other day, I have to clean up quite a mess. An hour a day? Really?! And I don't even have near the results I would like. Clutter left in lieu of play. The day do day takes so much time (floors, again?!) that the deep cleaning gets put on the back shelf. Often to be tackled in the middle of the night with a burst of energy.

Only to be dirty the next day. Oh, the joy of two large dogs and a toddler. I know I've commented on this before. But I think I am still in shock. I have a history of laziness and being incapacitated by fear and so productivity wasn't my nature. I've heard women complain my whole life that it is never ending and they are under appreciated. But now reality is hitting me. And I end up taking time from sleep for things I'd like to do.

Don't get me wrong. I am definitely not bragging about the time I put in. Oh my, no! I am messy, I think. I procrastinate way too much (I'm about to start housework now, for the last half hour, you see). My house needs a lot of work. Each person has their own idea of what places need to be clean in order for them to feel like they succeeded. Some feel the house is filthy unless the floor is spic 'n' span. For me, that would be a lost cause. For others it's the dusting or the fingerprints.

I feel the bathroom and kitchen counter need to be clean. Daily. I feel gross in a home where these are not looked after (and public bathrooms I abhor). Once they are done the rest of the mess is bearable. I'll get to the laundry... Eventually. I'll wash the fingerprints that seem to accumulate... Next time. I'll get the fridge...Some day. But the bathroom and food prep area I can be a little neurotic about.

I would like to be neurotic about everything, but my husband wouldn't enjoy that. My daughter wouldn't enjoy that. And really, neither would I. Washing the floors every single day would take time away from other good and necessary things. You just got to accept turmoil sometimes. And dirt. Life has dirt. And germs. Ick.

Bad odors though, they drive me crazy. I detest when I have to take precious time to eradicate them. Rust and mould. I'm not going to be okay with them. I am a big girl. But I gotta draw the line.