Do you ever wish you were a better a person? That retrospectively you hadn’t made a particular bad decision? That you had apologized earlier? That you had attended that baby shower/wedding/birthday party after all? That you had cleared the air sooner, rather than let your feelings simmer and boil over later? That you had just said how you felt rather than hold a grudge? That you were more equipped to handle and share your feelings? That you hadn’t acted selfishly, and had done the ‘right’ thing? If only you could express yourself more clearly/with more sympathy/with more… that you would have… The list could go on and on.
On our drive home from the family holiday extravaganza in December I was telling hubby that I was feeling bloated and unhappy (read: fat and ugly). This was likely because my underwear were cutting off the circulation to my brain. I gained 5 lbs while home for 9 days during Christmas. 4 of the 5 lbs I attribute to See’s candy, and the other 1 lb is the fault of Peppermint Lattes. I do not take any personal accountability for the weight gain of course, and despite my efforts I have yet to loose it. This is a different post topic altogether though.
I love being a Mom, and cant wait for my girlfriends (I have 3 close friends and 2 other girlfriends pregnant all at the same time!!!) to have their babies so we all can feel the joy and love that having a child brings. I also cant wait for them to become parents so they can experience for themselves the decisions, struggles and challenges that being a parent inherently comes with.
What I struggle with lately is that parenting requires a level of communication that I don’t currently possess. And trying to work through all of the variables is exhausting. Making sure you are setting good examples, guiding their decisions, averting danger while still allowing exploration, showing love and tolerance…etc., etc., etc. Again, I love being a Mom and every ounce of energy expelled is worth it. But, when my closest girlfriends are all in the (first) pregnancy faze–I can scarcely relate my struggles and challenges to them. Nor would I want to spoil any of their joy and expectations.
More accurately though–I don’t think they can relate (sorry gals if you are reading this) to how difficult it is to a Mom yet. I will share this example with you to make my point. Before I had a child I was naive enough to tell my MIL that my kid wouldn’t be allowed to have toys. Uh huh, yeah right. When I said this she just smiled at me with a knowing look and kept her mouth closed. All the while knowing that I was nuts.
If I could take my MIL’s lead and not say anything when similar exchanges occur between me a pregnant friends I would be much better off. It is a struggle for me to listen to my friends say and do things that I suspect (from experience) will turn out different once the child is born. Moreover, it is excruciating for me to listen to people who don’t have kids yet give me advise about how to parent my son.
So, my goal and lesson this week is to learn how to be more tolerant and accepting of other peoples feelings and opinions on the matter of parenting. I don’t want to be known as the the ‘know-it-all’ preachy friend–so this is critical. I also need to learn how to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself so that others can learn from their own experiences. But most important is for me to learn how to say what I feel and know is best for my family with more conviction.
Several times over this weekend I should have spoken out about things I wasn’t comfortable with as it relates to raising my son, and I didn’t. I should have stood my ground on my beliefs and just said that I wasnt comfortable with something. But, for some reason I didn’t and regretted not speaking out when I had the chance. I am still sorting this one out, and will let you know what the result is soon.
Phew, I feel better having shared my feelings. It was weighing heavy on me. Now, I can more easily move to the action phase. Comments always welcome.
I have so many things to say these days–but, I dont. I have been keeping a lot of feelings bunched up inside of me–and I think they are poisoning me.
Tell us, you say, oh so loyal blog readers? I simply must first tell the people these feelings are directed at. And then, hopefully, I can share my feelings on the matter.
As I learned in a earlier post–I could run the risk of hurting some unsuspecting friends feelings and of seeming passive-agressive. Which would not serve my cause at all.
Why am I keeping these feelings bottled up inside of me? I think I am afraid of the outcome. If I dont share–I can stave off the inevitable. Flawed logic, of course.
Today, and several times over the last few months I have been analyzing my friendships. With this analysis, I have come to realize (through the lack of verbal conversations, emails and phone exchanges) that some of my friendships are lopsided–where I consider the person more of a friend than they consider me. This is where I get my feelings hurt. Ouch.
While we were on vacation last month in Washington State, we spent 3 nights visiting friends while staying in a vacation rental on Orcas Island. Our friends have a daughter who is almost 3 years old. I was talking about day care, parenting, and that sort of thing to my girlfriend and she said some things that have stuck with me.
She said that mostly due to financial restrictions and partly due to their own desire to expose their daughter to a wide range of people –they send their daughter to a less than optimum daycare (totally safe and free of danger of course). While they may be able to afford a slightly more expensive daycare–this one offered many of the things that others didn’t in the form of language and cultural diversity. She also felt that this daycare fit their needs the best with regard to location.
She said that her and her hubby have almost weekly discussions about the daycare-ranging from why they pull her out today to why this care arrangement is the best for them and their daughter.
The bottom line for both of them was that its what your child learns at home that matters most. Even though they spend a lot of time un-teaching their daughter undesirable habits or behaviours she learns at school, they felt that it was time well spent. They felt that it was a great way to teach valuable life lessons. Now, both parents are elementary school teachers (kindergarten and 2nd grade), so I am more inclined to trust what they say having the experience with kids that they do. What do you think? What have your experiences been in this arena?
I wanted to start a Thursday tradition on my blog called Thank You Thursday. In each post I wanted to remember and write about things that I was thankful for. I hoped that this would help me appreciate the wonderful life that I live, and acknowledge those people that have helped to enhance it.
However, I have only got to post one entry insofar. So, today when I saw the calendar reminder…I decided to pick up the task again and try to write.
As such, today I am thankful today for the time to blog. It has been increasingly more difficult for me to find ‘me’ time. I have been struggling with my time management as of late. I have a ton of anxiety about going back to work, and about leaving Elliott in the care of someone else. I want to spend as much time with my family while I am out on leave, but I also want to spend it with my friends.
However, since most of my friends work, that only leaves me time in the PM hours to schedule events with them, or on the weekends. The evenings are committed to putting Lil E to bed, and then catching up on all the household chores I didn’t get completed during the day. And of course, I want to spend time with the hubby. Both hubby and I need time to ourselves too. We have hobbies we want to pursue and friends to pursue them with. Our time is further fragmented and divided.
I have been struggling with all of this, and the prospect of it just getting more difficult when I return to work. However, today–I am going to appreciate the time I have had so far with Elliott and the month I still have. I am going to focus on being present. I am grateful for today, which has allotted me time to post and reflect.
I have spoken about our neighbors before, and how generous they are. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to see Mama Mia. I of course accepted, and hubby was nice enough to stay home with Elliott. It was great and I had a blast. I love musicals, and this one was exceptional.
I was the kid in grade school who when the teacher asked a question to the class, and was looking around for someone to raise their hand, or worse yet to call on randomly…I intentionally would not make eye contact, and try to look like I was looking for the answer. I never wanted to be called on in class, not even if I did know the answer. I would rarely raise my hand. When we had to read from our books out loud, I would count the number of kids in front of me, and count the paragraphs so I knew which one I would be reading. Then I would read and re-read it to myself, so I could be sure I read it well aloud. I never heard what the other kids read, because I was too busy ‘preparing’ for my oral performance. I would get very nervous when it was my turn, turn all red in the face, and hope that I did well and didnt pronounce any words incorrectly. I was relieved when my turn was over, and could finally relax and breathe easy.
This anxiety carried over into Junior High and High School. In Spanish class, I would dread having to recite Spanish words out loud. I would be mortified if I pronounced the word incorrectly. It was humiliating for me to not know the vocab words, and forget having a Spanish conversation…I just couldnt do it.
In college, I was a Cultural Anthropology major. I transferred in as a Junior, so most of my classes were upper division courses. As such, many of them were very small classes, some as few as 8 students. These classes were a double edged sword. You got the rare opportunity to truly learn from a professor and not use a syllabus. These were Professors whose work you very much admired. But, you also were often required to talk in class. These classes were a huge contrast to classes such as my Human Anatomy class, which had 850 students in it, 12 teachers aides, and it was recorded just in case you didnt make it to class that day.
One class I took was an upper division course with Brian Fagan, who basically wrote the basic Cultural Anthro book that many Universities and Colleges use. The class was one of those awesome classes, with just 8 students. I was in awe of Dr. Fagan. I loved his teaching style, I admired his work as an Anthropologist, and he was remarkably easy to talk to. After a few classes, he laid out the quarters coursework… The whole class grade was based on 4 oral presentations, memorized, 15 minutes long. He didnt want to have to read or grade anything. I was in agony. I needed this class to graduate. I was on a tight schedule, if I wanted to graduate in 6 quarters. I couldnt drop the class, and find another take its place (it was too late in the quarter).
I cried. I went home and cried. When it came time for me do my first presentation, I went into Dr. Fagan’s office and cried. Yup, it is true. I cried in his office, explaining my absolute fear of public speaking. He was very kind and listened attentively, and seemed to understand. But, he was not flexible on the requirements. I gave my speeches with note cards, and for that I received a B in the class.
I have always had this fear of speaking out in public settings. I am by no means shy. I am very outspoken and have pretty strong opinions about things. I just dont like to give prepared talks in front of people, or being called out in public. I am afraid that people will think I am stupid. Yup, that is the truth. I am afraid of being judged by others.
My FIL is involved in Rotary and as such gives speeches with ease, and often. When my hubby was little, he and his Dad prepared a speech (I think it was about Abe Lincoln) that was so good they were asked to go around to all the schools and perform the speech. They both speak publicly with ease. My MIL is a teacher, no problems speaking there. My Uncle is a musician…no problem speaking in public there either. I even suffered from anxiety speaking at my own wedding!
Last year, I scheduled an interview with my now boss. He explained that the job required someone who understood and could train users on our software and could integrate companies business model into the training. Industry knowledge was a given. Also required was the ability to talk in public…duh! Anyone who is a trainer needs to have the ability to speak in front of a group. I didnt tell him about my fears. I figured that I would use this to strong arm me into becoming more comfortable with my voice. I was successful in forcing myself to become comfortable in this environment, and more at ease with speaking in public. It is also easier to do when you know what you are talking about, and have given the same talk over and over.
I still struggle however when I am put on the spot, and with speaking in public depending on the scenario. I have been forced to think about why I have these long standing issues is as a result of a conflict I am having with my hubbys best friend. We have a communication problem. The problem is that he asks very direct questions (often ones that are about my feelings-argh!), and these questions put me on the spot. I immediately feel embarrassed and defensive, and I get nervous. He doesnt mean to make me feel this way of course, although he is a teacher in real life. I think he is truly curious about my answer, and hopes to get to know me better as a result.
Because I am already nervous about being asked a question that I havent thought about before, or know how to answer…I cant think quickly. I already suffer from the inability to think and process things quickly. I need TIME to sort through my feelings, and consider all the variables. For me, it can take weeks to come to terms with some things, and be able to articulate my feelings. Hence the reason I blog. I can take however long I need to to formulate and write out my thoughts and feelings.
Anyway, I always answer the questions. Because if I didnt I would feel stupid. However, the answers aren’t really how/why I feel about the question. They are spontaneous replies, and not at all how I would answer had I taken the time to think about it. But, for fear of looking stupid and not knowing the answer –I always say something. This conversational habit we have gotten into has left me feeling uncomfortable talking with this person. And over time I have become bitter and angry towards this person. Of course, this has caused a lot of strife for both me and my hubby.
I would have liked to have realized earlier that the cause of my grief was simply my inability to say-hmm, let me think about that and get back with ya. But, again…I am slow processor of info and feelings. I felt powerless in the conversations. I could have also just explained that I dont like being put on the spot…blah blah blah. But, that would have been too easy. I had to complicate it. Silly, really the whole thing now looking back.
What fun it is going to be to try and move past this one…