Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paid Work. It's the new self-esteem

I've written a lot here about how powerless I have felt not earning money as a stay-at-home mom. The work that a stay-at-home mom does is incredibly valuable to society, yet there is no monetary value placed on the work. It makes many of us feel that our work is invisible, and undervalued. Yet, what can be more valuable than caring for the next generation, most especially our own children?

So, I can now shout from the rooftops! There is nothing like.... the Power of the Paycheck. I received my first paycheck last week. It was not large, having only worked a small number of hours during the pay period. was incredibly rewarding to see my name on a pay stub, with a monetary amount in the paid column. It didn't matter how much it was. Just that it paid for good work.

I feel incredibly blessed with my new job. I have searched and searched for a job that I could do from home for the last two years. I have interviewed for jobs that would have been in an office 40 hours a week. Jobs that I was offered, and turned down for various reasons. It feels like a gift every day or night, depending on when I log in my hours, to perform this job from home. It's a great company to work for, and I feel appreciated.

It isn't that I am not appreciated at home for the family work that I do. Yet, somehow it all gets jumbled together and much of the work is done without someone else seeing it. It's complicated - this stay-at-home mom business.

It is really energizing to work for very young people who have a vision. They have so much energy, and they think outside the box. I love that! I wish more companies realized what value they would have in hiring moms part-time. We get things done! We don't flake, and we have little mouths to feed. Lots of internal motivation.

Paid Work. It's the new self-esteem.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

....the BIGGEST SMILE EVER WITNESSED was on her face

Today I had a 2 hour working meeting with my boss at a local coffee house. Then I zoomed over to GIRL's preschool to witness her ringing the big church bell with the other line leaders. I told her that I hoped to be able to make it to see her ring the church bell, but wasn't absolutely sure that I could. I ended up getting there with plenty of time to spare. When she led her class around the corner and saw me....the BIGGEST SMILE EVER WITNESSED was on her face. Her smile lit up her whole being, she was that happy to have me there. It was one of those moments when I realized just how important it is to be there for your children. It meant everything to her that I was there. And, I will never forget that huge smile. Or, the continual smiles she gave me as she pulled on the bell rope, and watched me watching her. Delicious....

Image courtesy of The Big Box of Art

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lent is not only about what to give up, but about what can be added

Lent began this week. For many people, it means giving up things. Sugar, alcohol, sex....well, not really. Giving up sex kind of comes with the married with young children package. Even for those of us with a fishnet past... In fact, Lent might be a good time to ADD SEX back in.

In true Lenten fashion, I am giving up some things. Chocolate, coke, and desserts. Oh, and the whiskey. Yes...that, too. I've bartered with Jesus. He can have my JackO'Clock, but BY GOD I'm not going to give up my High Tea. Or...the 3 tsps of sugar in my tea 4X a day, either. Nevah!...she says with clenched fist. It has become quite clear to me that black tea is what gets me through my days, and powers me through some late nights. It calms me, centers me, and if taken away would leave behind a mess of bitchy proportions.

However, I believe that Lent is not only about what to give up, but about what can be added. This year I wanted to do something new that was meaningful for us as a family. So, during Lent, we are sharing appreciations at the dinner table. Each night, one of us has a chance to share their appreciation of the others. It's an opportunity for grace, and acknowledgement. E thought it would be fun for the kids to also share what they appreciate about themselves, an idea that I loved. So we added that to the mix.

Tonight was BOY's turn to share his appreciations:

Do you know what I appreciate about GIRL? Well, GIRL is so kind, and she always plays with me.

Daddy goes outside and plays baseball with us!

And, Mommy loves us.

Do you know what I appreciate about me? I'm really FAST!

Slowing down the world for a few moments, by sharing an appreciation with another human being, is a powerful thing. It unites us, engages us, and makes us feel loved. And, doesn't that very act of love bring us closer to GOD?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Small Valentine gifts exchanged between a BOY & a GIRL

One of the biggest joys of my life is how much my children love each other. Tonight they told me that they had exchanged gifts on Valentine's Day. It must have been before E and I woke up on Sunday morning. Both of them were scurrying around just after the sun came up, as if it were Christmas.

Girl presented BOY with a small, red heart sequin.

GIRL: This is your red heart of DESTINY...

BOY then went and found a pretty yellow flower button.

BOY: This is your yellow flower of DESTINY...

***************** I believe in destiny....don't you?

Seesaw sculpture courtesy of Google Images.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

That. Is. Not. Allowed. Mommy.

It's all in the wording, apparently. When you have small children, they watch your every move. When one of your children is an observer, well... questions are asked. Answered. And recorded. GOD help you, if you do something differently. Break from the norm. That. Is. Not. Allowed. Mommy.

Yesterday, I was talking with GIRL, and just happened to mention "that Dad likes that" in our conversation.

What DID you SAY?

Did you say....DAD?!!

You mean, Da DDY?

I stand corrected. You'd think I'd called him a name. And not a nice one.

Using different voices in stories, suddenly dancing around the living room, none of this goes down too easily with GIRL. If it isn't something that she is prepared for, she ain't having it. No way. She's been watching her mommy for all of her 5+ years, and she knows what's what.

Now, if SHE choreographs the event. Nothing is barred. She can just pull out some maracas, start shaking them, and SHOUT, "DANCE, MOMMY, DANCE." Come on, puppet Mommy, let's MOVE it. Believe me, you are expected to dance. And then when you do a lame little shake, shake, shake with your fine Mama booty....well, she LOVES it and wants you to do it AGAIN! And again, and again, and... you get the picture.

Someday, she will embrace the idea of me acting differently. Someday...when pigs fly.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

I started a new job this week!

Having one's own work is good. I started a new job this week! It is exactly what I've been looking for; a part-time job that I can do from home. Telecommuting work. I've been hired by an online company to be their Customer Service/Marketing Rep. And I am proud. It's about 15-20 hours a week, with room for growth. I feel very lucky. And empowered. I haven't even gotten my first paycheck yet, but my energy has increased, and it has inspired me to attack long overdue projects around the house. Nothing like earning a paycheck to infuse one with energy and vitality. Look out world....

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes, it is exhausting to have a child who has more than the usual challenges...

This last week has been challenging for me emotionally. I feel drained and spent, and have avoided writing. So, I've been immersing myself in books, with a little chocolate thrown in, content to live in someone else's story for a while.

We had BOY's annual IEP last Tuesday, and although we see much growth in him, he continues to struggle in school. Socially he is, and always has, done well. It is the impulse control, (keeping his body to himself), and staying on task without being distracted that are the biggest hurdles.

He has so many strengths. He has been reading for a while, and he gets to read to his peers in school. His creativity and ability to think outside the box are surely gifts.

Yet, often he is unable to produce any work without 1 on 1 support. He is capable of doing the work. An important distinction. But, he struggles to do any kind of work on his own.

At home we battle with the same issues.

I do think that the school IS the right fit for now. And that is huge. The teachers are amazing, and truly care for BOY. We love the community of parents, and BOY is happy there. But, whether it will ultimately be the right fit, or whether he will eventually need a school with more support for learning difficulties, is still on the table.

What I was hoping he would grow out of continues to persist, and it feels as if I am in mourning. I am trying to accept it. Because I know we have a tough road ahead. I will be up for it. I will. He is my son, and I love him beyond measure. But... Sometimes, it is exhausting to have a child who has more than the usual challenges...

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

BOY's big heart...

One of BOY's teachers stopped me this afternoon as I was picking up BOY from school.

I have to share a story about BOY with you. Today, during class, we had a discussion about cars and what we should do with the cars that are not environmentally friendly. The kids talked about what they would do about these nonconforming cars, when THEY become President of the United States. One of BOY's friends said that all of those cars must be crushed. BOY burst into tears. He was SOOO....sad for the poor cars. His heart. Oh, the heart that your BOY has.


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