That’s It!

I was at a lovely MOPS meeting today — first one in over a year — and I am so happy about the wonderful ladies I have been grouped with!  We had a fantastic conversation! The theme was bravery.  How can we be brave as mothers?  Well, honestly, the first thing I thought of was getting up my nerve to play tackle football with my boys.  :)  Silly, I know.  Glad I didn’t say it at the meeting!

But, I did listen to a lot of what the other moms were saying.  There was some great discussion, especially centered around our self-worth as mothers.  What are we doing?  What should we be doing?  What is our job exactly?  How do we balance being a caregiver/housekeeper/chef etc…?  One of our fabulous leaders threw out this question: What do you do to hold on to your identity?  

I was totally befuddled by the last question.  I’ve always been stumped by this question.  That seems terrible to admit.  Actually, it pains me a little to admit it — kinda embarrassing.  Today, was no different, but I did have the added help of having many other moms right there who were answering the question for themselves.  I listened.

Another question came: What are you passionate about?

Well, that helps!  That’s an easier question to answer, I think.  I thought.

So, I listened some more.  Everyone at the table seemed to be passionate about whatever their career choice was.

My career choice was to be a teacher.  But, I’ve often thought that I don’t want that to be my identity.  I want more than that.  There has to be more to me than just my career.

But, that’s it!  I am passionate about teaching.  It doesn’t matter what.  I teach math, reading, gymnastics, art, science, cooking, anything.  I just love to teach people stuff!  I loved teaching my students.  I loved teaching adults.  I love teaching my kids.  It makes me feel like I am worth something, because I am helping someone, giving them knowledge or skills.

And here’s where the light bulb really went off for me today.  It bothers me so much to send my son to school all day, everyday, because my passion is teaching.  My identity resides in teaching my sons.  What am I worth as a mother, if I don’t teach my children?My identity is teaching and helping others.  If there are two people on this earth who I want to share my passion with, it’s my sons.

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Friday #157

2014September 256

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Friday #156


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Me and You

With all the stress I am feeling with our oldest’s school situation, I feel the need to remind myself that tonight at dinner, when asked what his favorite part of the day was, our littlest guy said,

“Spending the whole day with you, Momma.”  

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I could not have said this better.  I had this conversation about 3 times today, exactly the way this author writes it.  

Homework in Elementary School Divides Educators

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Stuck Between

I find that I am stuck between “totally sure I know exactly what to do” and “having no idea.”  Does that make sense?  Probably not.  What I mean is that often I think that if it were just me, and there were no family to consider, I’d know exactly what to do, but because there are other people involved, two of which are young and will grow and change quite a lot in the coming years, I have NO IDEA which road to choose.  I’m not being very clear, am I?

This is a hard one for me.  Over time, my views have changed too.  7 years ago, I would have told you that my children would attend public school and that they’d be “fine”.  6 years ago, when our first was born, I started to think that a religious or private school might be a better option, purely because we wanted our children to learn how to treat people while in school as well, not so much for the religion part.  Then, about 2 years ago, round about the time I had to start thinking about kindergartens, I got so frustrated with the stupid wait list/lottery system we have here, that I started thinking, “Why would I send my kid off to a school, when I have a master’s degree in elementary education?”  I had gone past being OK with “fine”.  I want to use the skills I have to make their education the best it can be.

Well, that’s pretty much where I’ve been stuck for a while now.

I’m so frustrated by all of this school nonsense — I don’t even think I can finish this post — at least not in a coherent way — it’d just be rambling — although it might be already — or maybe not — not sure…………..

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Friday #155

2014September 127

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This wasn’t the first time, and I know it won’t be the last, but I am done with it.

I picked him up from 1st grade at 3:30.  Once in the car, he ignores me — which is hard for me, but I know he needs some time to wind down.  Today, it was raining, hard.  When we got home, he demanded that I go inside, get an umbrella and come out to the car to walk him inside — it’s about a 10 foot walk from the backseat area of the car to the front door! He screamed at me to do it, until I finally got out of the car and walked inside on my own.

Andrew and I put on our rain gear and went out to stomp in puddles!  That should have been so much fun, but a few minutes later I hear screaming from the driveway.  “MAMA, WHERE IS MY BACKPACK?”  (It was in the car, next to his seat, right where he put it.)  The puddle stomping was short-lived, due to a necessary potty break.

I’ve been working on getting him in the habit of doing homework as soon as he comes home, so it’s done.  As with any new habit, it’s not always fun.  Today, he sat right down and got started on his math homework and finished the first 2 pages very quickly.  The last page was a grid of about 100 boxes, where you had to add the corresponding boxes and put the answers in the blank box.  It was just adding.  He’s been adding for years.  But, there were a lot of them.  The directions said, “5-Minute Frenzy”.  But, Brian insisted that his teacher just told him to do it, not to worry about timing.  However, I knew that if he had all the time in the world, he’d use ALL the TIME in the WORLD>>>>>>>>…………………………

I tried to convince him that he was good at adding, it was speed he needed to work on, so let’s make it a challenge?  He agreed to set a timer.  4 minutes in he had done eight problems.  21 minutes in he had done a bit more than half.  He started to ask me something, and I cut him off to see if he was finished (thinking if he wasn’t, I’d stop the timer so he could say what he needed to say, then start it again when he was ready).  He BLEW UP!  He started screaming at me.  He stomped to his room and slammed the door.  Then, he





(Just for effect.)

He came downstairs. We talked for a few minutes.  He calmed down.  I asked him about the rest of his homework (yes, he had more).  And,





And, he was back in his room.  And he SLAMMED the door even harder this time — shook the house.

By this time, it was 5:10.  He goes to bed at 7.  Dinner was in 20 minutes.  He hadn’t had a chance to play or relax at all.

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OUR CHILDREN?   WHO likes to come home from a hard day at work, and continue doing more work?  More practice, you say?  To ensure that parents know what their kids are working on at school?  OK, maybe for some.  But, NOT FOR ALL KIDS.

SO, to recap.  I saw my son for 1 hour this morning before school (It was happy, but it was structured and busy.)  Then, I saw him for 3.5 hours this evening.  Nearly 1.25 of those hours being very traumatic for everyone.

This is not a happy Momma.

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This girl

Among the many things I could say about Brian being in school full-time, there is one very positive one.  Having Andrew home alone has been wonderful.  He is a different kid when alone, and not fighting for attention.

Today at the library, I pulled out a book that he deemed a “girl book”.  He said, “I don’t like girls.”  Then, he climbed into my lap and said,

“Except for this girl.  I love this girl.”

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Attention Please?

Our oldest started school this week.  There are a lot of things that I could say about this, but I am going to attempt to stay focused on  the one that I feel affects the whole family the most.  2014august 014

It is more than apparent to me that Andrew misses Brian during the day.  The first day that Brian was at school all day, Andrew was a gem all day, until Brian got home, at which point he became “my brother, the pest.”  He wouldn’t stop touching Brian and getting in his way, trying to literally, like a cat, be directly in front of Brian at all times.  So, in an attempt to keep the peace and not ruin the fabulous day we’d had so far, I slyly required Brian to sit and read a LONG book to Andrew, complete with his arm around him, to try to appease Andrew’s desire to be close to Brian.  I think it worked.  2014august 021

Today, when Brian came home, he sat down and started playing Legos.  Andrew immediately tried to join him.  They played really nicely for a little bit, but then it exploded when Andrew wasn’t playing “right” and didn’t want to play the Superhero games that Brian had been playing at school.

I feel bad for both kids.  Brian is enjoying his time at school, and making great friends, but he’s bringing home an attitude that Andrew and I don’t love.  Andrew is thriving on all the attention he gets from me while Brian is away, but he gets himself into a tremendous amount of trouble all because he craves physical and emotional attention from his big brother.  Forcing Brian to spend time with Andrew doesn’t seem fair, but at the same time, it isn’t fair for Andrew to get in trouble because he is acting on a need that is rational — I have a need to spend time with Brian when he comes home too.

2014august 013


This attention seeking has been particularly hard on me.  I am so torn when the kids begin annoying each other.  I want to punish Andrew for being a pest, and reprimand Brian for not being kind to Andrew, but a big part of me doesn’t want to do anything, since I know exactly why it is happening, and quite frankly, I can empathize with both sides.  But, the sound of them arguing, as soon as they walk in the door, saddens and infuriates me.  It feels like the wonderful day that we’ve had without Brian is being ruined by his re-entry, but of course, it isn’t his fault.  WE MISS HIM.  What am I to do to keep a happy house?

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