Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Moms Back To School Burn Out September 22, 2015

The kids have handled going back to school like champs.

Me?  I’m already burnt out.

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Every day I have big plans for the evening and every night I lay in bed wondering where it all went wrong.

The main issues – I think – Are that the kids bed times have moved up a little earlier so there’s less time to get things done and there’s more to do.  It all leaves me frazzled and stressed out.  I’m yelling too much and not smiling enough.

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I hate it.

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Maybe I need to put less pressure on myself and lower my expectations.  But how?  There are things that need to be done.

Granted, some days are worse than others but often, I feel very ill-equipped to manage everything.

Every day there are (lots of) things left undone.  I feel badly about all of them but the worst is when I realize after the kids are already in bed that their homework was not in fact completed.  The problem with that is 2 fold.  First of all, homework is important and it helps with learning and it’s a valuable component in the kids education.  Second of all, it shows teachers that you, the parent, are not on top of things.  That’s not a good look.  Especially this early in the year.

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No-one can see that I’ve had the pieces of a bookshelf leaned up on the wall in my bedroom for months with the intention of putting it together.

No-one can see the bags of un-put-away laundry in my hallway.

No-one can see that we haven’t been able to find the TV remote for over a week.

No-one knows that the giant plastic container in my living room is full of supplies from when we went camping – In early August – That still need to be put away.

But the undone homework or un-signed papers … That, people can see.

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I try to catch up on sleep on the weekends.  I think that would help both my productivity and my mood, but that’s only partially successful.  There’s not a lot of time for sleeping in.

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It’s not all bad.

We didn’t get home until after 8pm so that killed the entire evening BUT, I did make it to both kids back to school nights – In 2 different schools – On the same night – And they went well.  The teachers are all happy with the start the kids are off to.  That was welcome news.  From what I hear, Ace is doing a decent job of staying focused and behaving appropriately.  Jay also is coping well with being in a mainstream class.

I managed to go through the kids clothes and take out all the size 5’s and 6’s to give away.  I even went through and put away a tub of clothes that had been handed down to us that were too big at the time.  They now will be perfect for the upcoming winter.

Oh and this week I cleaned out the cat’s litter box once already – while I listened to Jay read about Dinosaurs.

Every day the kids get to school on time, with their lunch boxes carefully packed and (thanks to some help) their uniforms clean and pressed.

I feel good about those things.

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There is still a sink full of dishes and the bathtub that should have been cleaned over the weekend still needs scrubbing.

But I’m not worrying about it.  I JUST CAN’T.

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I recognize that I need to make some changes though.  The way things have been going is not OK.

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Each day I will set myself just 1 or 2 achievable goals; in addition to focusing properly on homework.  No more planning to get it all done.  That just leaves me feeling defeated instead of accomplished.

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Todays task is to look for the remote which I’m sure is stuck in the crease of the couch.  I will also wash dishes and clean the bathtub.  I know that’s 3 things, but think it’s do-able.

Another day, I will tackle the bookshelf or the sticky kitchen floor.  It is what it is.

I don’t like putting the kids to bed when I am angry which is what’s been happening.  Time to shift my attitude.

Going forward things will be different.  This is my pledge to myself – and to my boys who deserve better from me.

 

A Catching Up September 15, 2015

Now that school is back in session, everything else in our lives should pretty much also get back to normal and I should be able to write more regularly.

As usually happens when I’ve been away from my blog for too long I will do a quick run down of multiple things in this one “catching up” post.  Hopefully I don’t leave out anything too important.  Lets see …… No wait … Before I start catching up I need to go back and see where we left off.

OK.  I talked about our camping trip and Jays love of quills and Spongebob.  Got it.

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1. Ace turned 9, which in his words means that he’s no longer a kid.  He’s a pre-teen.  I wasn’t sure what new privileges he thought would come with that new title until the following week when he asked me to leave him at home by himself for the 1st time while I went to pick Jay up from school.  Jay’s school is only 5 minutes away so after giving him a much longer speech and many more rules than I probably needed to, I said ok.  It went well and he was very proud and pleased with himself.  I was a little freaked out.  This is my baby.  My 1st baby.  This baby growing up business is hard.

As seems to happen quite often, his birthday celebration lasted for several days.  There was cake and presents at Nanas house.  There was another cake and more presents at my friends house.  There was a water park and an indoor arcade (on 2 separate days).  On yet another day, there was park and playground and more presents with Aunty Juddles.  Finally the long (holiday) weekend was closed out by a visit from Dad and more presents.

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2. In this part of the country the kids don’t go back to school until after Labor Day which based on my Facebook news feed is late compared to most other children around the country.  Our year has gotten off to an interesting start.  For Ace, it’s been all good.  He’s excited about 4th grade.  He loves his teacher.  His best friend is in his class.  For Jay it hasn’t been quite so smooth.  There have been bus issues that had me yelling and cursing at the driver and the bus company.  Not my finest moment I admit it.  There have been issues with Jay and his lunch.  I don’t need to get into it all but – Jay no longer takes the bus to school and I am going today to buy him a container that will keep his food hot for a few hours.

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3. We went back to the zoo that we got memberships for earlier in the summer.  Why not?  We had a Saturday with no plans and we get in for free and there were exhibits that we didn’t get to see the last time.  It was a really nice day.  Face painting, touching sharks and sting rays.  Another ride on the train.  Following the zoo we visited with friends of mine from high school who I don’t see very often.  One of them lives here in New Jersey but one was on vacation from England.  It’s hard to believe that we go back 27 years.  Yikes!  The kids did an OK job on the visit.  They were getting tired and hungry so we held it together with some string and duct tape.  We managed to stay for about an hour and half before we told our hosts thanks but no thanks to the dinner invitation and high-tailed it outta there.

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4.  This week I became the worst mom ever.  I put back into effect the rule of “no electronics except for educational purposes during the week” rule.  I can’t properly explain the disgruntlement that followed my proclamation.  Their worlds all but came to an end.  What ever were there supposed to do?  Did that mean no SpongeBob?  What about The Avengers?  It sooooooo wasn’t fair.  What if they got all their chores and homework etc done and there was still time left before bed?

No, no and no.

Then it got worse.  I told them that even though it wasn’t a part of the school assigned homework for them to do nightly reading, I was giving them that assignment.

*WHAT???*

*WHY???*

But what followed was pure magic.  After the showers and the dinner and the other responsibilities we settled down to read a story.  Just the 3 of us.  In my bed.  Jay chose Finding Nemo.  The book is below Ace’s reading level and I thought it was above Jay’s level so I suggested that Jay read to us and Ace help him with the words that he struggled with.  As it turns out, Jay is reading at a much higher level than I knew he could.  He breezed through most of it and only needed Ace’s assistance with about 3 words.  It was really awesome.  They even admitted that it was nice.  They asked if they could alternate in the evening reading to each other.  I know that means only half the reading time for each of them but I think it’s an awesome bonding experience so I agreed.  They win and Moms heart wins.

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5. The last thing I’ll say is that I dropped some news on some of my family and close friends and they were awesome!!!  I don’t, and haven’t always, felt like I got the best draw where family is concerned but the truth is that there are a lot of good ones and I want to take some time to acknowledge that.

CC, Mom, Sis, Angel, Sun Man, Juddles, K-Poo, J-Cuz, Malico, Ted and others.  THANK YOU for your support!!!  I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

 

Random Ramblings April 14, 2015

Ace and I have been sick for the past couple of days and let me just say, it’s hard to not feel well (like fever and pain and weakness and coughing and sneezing) but you still have to take care of one sick child and another child who is perfectly fine.  Even though I wish my Ace wasn’t sick – I’m extra, super glad that Jay didn’t catch it because I can’t imagine how I would get any sort of medicine into his body.  Speaking of which – I couldn’t tell the last time that Jay was sick – And that’s quite astounding considering the crap diet that he has but it is working for him so maybe cheese doodles and ring pops do have some nutritional value.  Oh, Ace is feeling much better now and is back in school and talked my ear off in the car today.  I am trying desperately to catch up on backed-up work all while coughing my lungs up; but besides the coughing, I too, am feeling better.

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While the kids were on Spring Break I took them to an indoor trampoline place and we had a B.A.L.L.  The problem with having a ball though, is that you get carried away and you forget that you haven’t been 18 in 20 years and you start doing flips and other tricks which make you fall and you land on your thumb and a week later it still hurts like the dickance and you can’t even open a bottle of juice or put your bra on comfortably – Then you think at least it’s the thumb on your left hand because if it was the right hand it would be so much worse – But man oh man you use that left thumb more than you ever realized.

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I spent the better part of my Monday watching the show Intervention on Netflix.  I’m not sure why I got so sucked into it since I have never been addicted to drugs nor had to deal with someone very close to me being addicted to drugs.  I have zero experience with eating disorders, gambling and alcoholism or whatever other issues qualify people to be on that show.  About 7 episodes and 6 hours in – Shut up, I was home in bed and sick – I had a thought ………. It’s a good thing I am not on drugs or have an eating disorder or struggle with alcohol.  All these people on the show have put their families through so much and for many years and still their families go to great lengths to help them and to arrange treatment/rehab.  They are so lucky!  If I was in need of that kind of help, I don’t have any family who would tolerate that behavior or put out any great effort or money to get me the help I needed.  Then my next thought was ………. Am I really calling these people, with messed up lives, and who NEED an intervention, lucky?  What’s wrong with me?

*Disclaimer – As I’m typing this, I feel the need to add that I do have loved ones who I think would try to keep me from becoming a gambling, meth addicted, prostitute.  Just not immediate family.  And when I was watching the show I was alone and not feeling well.  See 1st paragraph.*

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I’m trying to come up with a behavior modification plan for Jay.  There are definitely things we need to work on with him.  He is too loud and his tone and the words he uses when he’s asking for things is not acceptable.  He knows better but is choosing to be rude.  He has no patience what-so-ever.  He wants what he wants when he wants it and anything else results in lots of yelling.  That doesn’t work for me.  I’ve never tried anything like a reward chart with him so I’m not sure how effective it would be but I’m willing to give it a shot.  I need to find some time to make one and figure out exactly how it will work.  Each time he politely asks for something at a respectable volume he can earn a sticker until he gets the prize.  When his initial request is a loud, rude-sounding demand, he loses a sticker.  I don’t know.  I’ll think about it.  Maybe I’ll talk to his teacher and see what ideas she has.

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It’s April now – which seems crazy to me – Where does the time go?  CC and I are starting to talk about summer plans for the boys.  To me there’s only ever 1 plan – and that’s Nanas – But this year CC wants to, and may be able to keep them for more than just weekends.  I think it would be nice (and good for them) if they can spend some extended time with C and his family.  The boys do miss him – Especially Ace I think – Or maybe I just think so because he expresses it.  There’s talk of signing the boys up for a summer karate program which would be great for them since they are not currently in any organized activity; which I feel badly about but I just can’t manage it; and most of them include weekend meetings and that’s when they go to New York to see their Dad.

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Jay is feverishly trying to learn how to blow bubbles with gum.  It’s proving to be difficult for him – but he’s not giving up -and even though it may seem a silly thing to be proud of someone for I’m proud of him for his determined attitude – plus it makes for some very cute and funny faces – even if I am getting a lot of Jays spit on me in the process.

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Ace is petitioning for a new pair of sneakers that cost $65 and have games built into them – Yup – The sneakers have actual games, that you can play, built into their sides.  Because if you happen to be in a place that’s oh so boring and you don’t have your I-pad or kindle or your moms phone or any friends or a TV or a pen and some paper or a tree to climb or an empty box you can just stoop down and play a game on the side of your ugly new sneakers.  *Insert ridiculous face*

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What’s up with you?

🙂

 

The Bug October 30, 2014

How many times when dealing with me and my school work and extra-curricular activities did my Grandma feel tired?  Or frustrated?  Or annoyed?

 

I have no idea.  She must have had her moments.  Despite all appearances, she was actually human.

But she NEVER let me know it or feel it.  I NEVER heard her complain.  I didn’t appreciate it then.  I just didn’t think about it.  I took it for granted.  But it means so much to me now when I think back.

 

I wasn’t a bad or rude kid … but I wasn’t an eager student.  She had to stay on my case about getting my homework done and studying my spelling words and times tables.  Oh how I hated times tables.  I still can’t recite my 8 times table.  Or probably 7 or 9 either.  I needed reminding every day to pack my bag for the next day and to shine my shoes.  I volunteered (her) for too many things.  I was forgetful and I lost things.  Lots of things.  I hated getting out of bed in the morning and getting my knotty, curly hair combed and I detested taking my vitamins.  I mean, come on, they weren’t gummy, they were cod liver oil and such.

 

Yet, there she was EVERY DAY with a calm, loving energy.  I can count on one hand the number of times she yelled at me and I cannot remember one time where she didn’t come through for me.

 

Yesterday was rough.  As the saying goes … “Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.”  Yesterday I was the bug.

 

Work was busy.

I lost an earring and a gift card.

I found out the kids have 3 days off school next week and I have no clue what I’m gonna do cause I’m all out of vacation time.  CC is out of vacation days also.

Helping Ace to study for his 3rd grade social studies test was a nightmare.  He was frustrated and I was frustrated.

 

Every time I started to lose my stuffing, I thought about my Grandma and I tried to channel her soothing spirit.  I took a deep breath and redirected my thoughts away from the tension and towards the end goal.  I don’t want my kids to look back and their main memory is of me yelling at them.

 

We got through it.  We got through the homework and the studying and the dinner and the bath and the teeth brushing and then I spent time indulging them as they browsed the toy catalog and showed me all the things they want for Christmas.  We laughed and I dutifully “ooh’d” and “wow’d” at the guns and super heros and trucks and “eww’d” at the “girly” things.  We talked about how Halloween was just 2 days away.  They’ve been counting down every day since October 1st.

Initially it looked like we were going to have 2 Ninja Turtles, then it seemed there would be just 1 Ninja Turtle and a Green Arrow.  There was talk of them being Super Hero Mashers or maybe 2 Batmans (or is it Batmen?)  But it seems they have decided on both being Captain America.  (Yes, we have all those costumes just lying around.  My kids love to play dress up all year long)

It was a nice end to what had threatened to be a really stressful and miserable evening.

 

Once my loves were in bed, I cleaned up the kitchen, took out the garbage, fed the cat and cleaned his litter box, took a shower and fetched my sewing kit.  The Captain America costume that Ace has decided to wear was ripped pretty badly and needed fixing.  I sat down and got it done.

 

By the time I was actually ready for bed, I was EXHAUSTED plus tax.

 

This morning when Ace noticed that his costume had been fixed, he hugged me and said a huge thank you.  It made all the tiredness worth it.

 

This is my truth.  Some days are freaking hard.  And some days I just don’t think I have anything left in my tank.  Some days I just want a break from everything and everyone.

 

Then I look at my boys and I think about my childhood and I want to be better.  So I switch gears and even though I’m tired, I take out the sewing kit and fix the costume that needs fixing and I’m pleased that I can come through for my son.