Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Mommy Marathon, carry me across the finish line!

If you really want our kids to compete, I win.

If you really want our kids to compete, I win.

Moms!   Listen up!  You are doing a great job!   Your children are going to turn into men and women of their own choosing.  You can positively influence this process but you can’t really control it.  In the end you will be the one that will be forced to let go as they decide their own identity.    Breathe!   They are going to learn that there will always be someone faster, smarter, thinner, wiser, and more together than they are.  That’s our lesson also.  Perfection is a myth.    Put your best foot forward but understand that your best is different from others and that is just fine.

Our job is to help our children learn how to be decent human beings.  We are not living their lives nor should we.  We are living our own lives.  While we have chosen to have children and take on this monumental task of raising the future generation, we cannot protect them from the world, although if you are like me you can’t help but sometimes try.  In fact, I’ve had many moments when I have had to realize that by trying to overprotect them I was stunting their growth.  Tough stuff.

I used to be judge and jury when it came to my own mother.   I learned my lesson!   My children are my teachers.   They have been so adept at showing me how many mistakes I make in my daily parenting skills, judging my mother has fallen to the wayside.  In fact, I think my mother rocks for putting up with me!  I know I certainly rock for not losing my shit when my son holds a mirror up and tells me how imperfect I am!

Yesterday I was feeling horrible about my momma self.  My two youngest children have decided to be cavemen (in more ways than one), and although they love the great outdoors, they can lose themselves for hours on their digital gadgets.  This makes life extremely easy for me but when your child has a meltdown because he is not permitted to watch yet another Minecraft video you know it is time to take action.  I sent them outside to play.  Since it’s not quite tick season they roamed and roamed for an hour, climbed over fallen trees, looking for hidden treasure and just enjoying their great adventure in the woods behind my house.  I put on my proud momma badge but first berated myself for not doing the right thing sooner.

We mothers need to cut ourselves some slack and dare I say this, support each other instead of competing with each other.  Being a good mother is about balance and while we may not always get it right, sometimes we do!    Motherhood is about teaching your children about life so that one day when you aren’t there to hold their hands they will hear your voice inside their hearts.  Here are some lessons I try to teach my children.

  1. Be accountable for your actions, don’t justify your own bad behavior.  I certainly won’t.
  2. Don’t be another child’s bad memory.  Do not bully.
  3. Do your best in your academics.  It’s OK to fail but it’s not OK to fail because you didn’t try.
  4. You may not be a professional sports star.  Your education is worth more.
  5. Grades are important but the skills needed to socially interact with others can be even more important.  There are plenty of former brilliant straight A students who take orders from someone else.
  6. Balance is a great word.   Understand how to apply it in your life.
  7. Forgive yourself, forgive others but be wise about who you trust.
  8. Words hurt, be careful how you use them.
  9. Learn how to make a proper apology.
  10. Your word is everything, if you say you’re going to do something do it.
  11. Your teacher deserves your respect, and by the way, so do I.
  12. Courage doesn’t mean you are not afraid to do something.  Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway.  Be proud of yourself for trying.
  13. Compete against yourself, realize that even if you compete against others and sometimes win, they can probably beat you on other skills or in other ways.  Don’t be so cocky.
  14. You are going to make mistakes.  Learn from them.
  15. Clean up after yourself.  You show me love and kindness when you do.
  16. If someone tells you something about themselves believe it.
  17. Be strong, stand up for yourself, pick girlfriends/boyfriends that deserve you.
  18. That weird kid in class?  You don’t know his struggles, his financial, emotional or psychological background and situation.  Be nice to him.
  19. That mean popular kid?  The one who makes you feel bad?  You’ll be his boss one day.  It’s all good.  Just stay away from him.
  20. Find your passion, do the things you love to do.
  21. You need to eat all different kinds of foods, even the ones you hate.  Why?  Because I love you and I care about your well being.
  22. Know that you are loved and you have my support, even when I may not agree with you, I will be here should you fall.
  23. Be brave and be honest with yourself and with others.

While I try to teach these lessons, there are many times I stumble during the mommy marathon and my husband and friends must pick me back up.   It’s OK to stumble but it is not OK to stay down.

Moms, one day we will miss our children so very much.  For now, fight the good fight. Much love to all.  Rock on mommas!

 

Divorce, mammoth lies and forgiveness

Still wearing wedding ring but heading towards divorce.

Still wearing wedding ring but heading towards divorce.

Divorce is one of the most difficult journeys one can go on.  At a basic level it is survival of the fittest and can be separated  into two parts; the legal and the emotional.  The legal is simple, but the emotional turmoil is what wears us down, it is what grinds us into little pieces and it is what tears families apart.

There is one thing I have learned about my own divorce; we were both at fault.  My ex-husband and I married for the wrong reasons, we weren’t true to our inner selves, we lied to ourselves and each other, and we both paid the price as a result.  People who love me may disagree with this simplified statement and people who love him may do so as well.  Regardless of those sentiments it is the truth.  Although certain events catapulted us to a separation and a divorce, it wasn’t those events that contributed to our permanent undoing.

When I met my ex-husband I thought he was fascinating.  He was from Afghanistan and had strong family values.   The stories that he told about his experiences in his country before seeking to escape to the United States told me a lot about his strength, his dedication to his family, and his ambition.  On a surface level it seemed that those values we shared were enough, but there were other differences that inevitably surfaced, like a dragon that has slept and was suddenly awakened.

This is the truth at the very core, we lied to ourselves and each other.  I’m not talking about blatant lies like hiding money, infidelity, or little white lies about our day.  I’m talking about BIG secret mammoth lies.  I do not want to put words in his mouth but I can reveal some of the lies I told myself and to him.  I do believe he told similar secret lies to himself and to me, but he would probably have his own view and his own list, and that is for his heart to sort out and his heart alone.

“Religion doesn’t matter.  You will come first before my child.   I am mature enough to marry.  I can handle it all.  I can be your wife, a mother and a goddess while cooking native dishes from your country.   We will have friends and a social life.  I respect you.  You respect me.  I am confident.  You are confident.  Money doesn’t matter.  I believe in you.  You believe in me.”

I’ve always said that the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves.  Whether you have been married for a year or twenty years, if you and your spouse have mammoth secret lies between you then you probably have had a rough go at things.    I believe that people should not get married until they feel secure in their own identity and truly love and accept themselves.  Being secure in your own identity and loving yourself enough to be honest, negates the need for mammoth lies.

Over the years I have learned to forgive myself and to forgive him and he has done the same.   There have been emotional ups and downs, disagreements, and strong differences of opinion but that is because we started telling the truth.  The years have continued to confirm how different we are and that our divorce was inevitable.  We had one son together and he has been our light and our joy.  Eighteen years later and he looks like a carbon copy of his father, especially when he makes certain faces and uses certain mannerisms.  Even when he laughs I hear his father’s inflections and tones.  I thank God that the understanding and forgiveness in my heart enables me to smile when I see my ex in my son’s eyes.

After my divorce I pretty much stayed away from dating for about six years.  I did this not because I didn’t trust “men,” I did this because I didn’t trust myself to make good decisions.  I had to understand who I was and where I wanted to go and it wasn’t easy for me.    Six years later I met a man that I absolutely loved to be around and we became friends.  We were inseparable and some of our mutual friends would make sly remarks on how we were meant for each other and we would laugh it off.  I was the first to fall for him and was frustrated at his inability to see my interest.  I found the courage to choose him.  My entire dating life I let men choose me, I just said “yes” to a dinner or a movie, but I didn’t really choose them.  I went with the flow, it was easy.  The only man I really “chose,” before being chosen is now my husband.

I went into this marriage humble, honest, and with an open heart.  I trust him with the inner most rooms of my heart and he alone has the key.  He is my best friend, my confidant and my partner.  I truly believe that if I had not married my first husband I would not have had the strength to find true love.  I would not have appreciated all that love has to offer.

Divorce, mammoth lies and forgiveness made my dreams come true, it led me to a real understanding of myself, gave me my beautiful son, and led me to my future husband and children.  I have no regrets.

Sister Love

Siblings

Siblings

I don’t have a sister.  I don’t have someone who gets my crazy because she not only grew up with me, but also shares a little bit of the same genetic crazy.  I have brothers.  Brothers are more likely to hold you down while they fart on, or torture you with their hobbit feet (I have a serious thing against big hairy hobbit feet).   I love my brothers but they are too busy to be my sister, they have their wives and children to take care of.   Growing up, the closest relation to a sister that I had were my cousins. They stole each other’s clothes, they bickered over who was the fat sister and who was the thin sister and they happily admitted me into the clan whenever I was around.  I adore my cousin sisters and miss them very much.  It is that unconditional love and acceptance that is a feeling like no other.

As a child I knew that my cousins loved me.  I did envy the fact that they  were so beautiful, so confident, so carefree, so comfortable in their sisterly and womanly ways, whereas I always felt I was stumbling through my self-esteem and lack of confidence.  It is truly interesting as the years pass that I have found that sometimes they thought the same about me, because I honestly did not feel worthy, and doubted my certified membership in the sister club. My eldest cousin once said to me that I was like a sister to her. Could that be true?

I didn’t truly feel worthy of sisterly love until about eight years ago.  That was when I reconnected with my childhood friends from New York.  It had been eons since I saw them last, because I had gone off and moved to Maryland, married and divorced, and had created a life away from them.  I always felt a void during those missed years because these three women had played such an important part in my formative years.  I consciously disappeared from their lives. I had cut and run from them in an effort to disengage and give myself permission to make the mistakes that I was destined to make.

The three of them went on with their lives together.  They stayed on Long Island, they married childhood sweethearts, had their children, created extended families and wondered “what had become of Lorraine.”  I was an expert at hiding and not leaving tracks.   This was before the age of Facebook and it was easy to lose touch. There was however, classmates.com.  After my divorce I reached out to one of those friends.  I can remember being so scared, believing that she didn’t love me as much as I loved her, that she didn’t feel the way I did about our childhood, that I was an impostor in the group of four friends, I was the Sesame Street of “which one of these is not like the other.”  I was not worthy.

The four of us met for dinner in New York while I was on a business trip.  I was embarrassed and felt wildly uncomfortable meeting with them. Whilst the three of them chattered away, ordered their Mexican food and tried to cram twenty years of lost friendship into our conversation,  I sat at that table feeling a mixture of happiness and despair at the same time.  The happiness came from the joy of reconnecting with my old friends and the sadness and despair came in the form of questioning my own worthiness and a belief that I was not allowed to be accepted back into the fold.  I was not permitted to feel like the prodigal son.  Those were the lies I told myself.

Six years have passed and we have made an effort to see each other at least once a year.   I have gotten to know their children a bit better and they have met mine.  Our next trip is scheduled in March.IMG_7457

I have learned a very valuable lesson.  Sisters are not necessarily blood related.  Sisters are those women in your life that love you unconditionally, they see you for who you are and know that you are truly worthy of their love and friendship simply because they see the goodness in your heart.

To all of my sisters.  I love you.  I couldn’t imagine life without you.  If you have a sister that you have lost touch with I want you to know that you are worthy.  Find her and tell her that you love and miss her.

 

 

 

Road Rage and Facebook

rooseveltWe’ve all experienced road rage in one form or another.  Maybe someone has cut you off, flipped you the bird, maybe you’ve been intentionally boxed in on the highway or have been honked at because you didn’t move fast enough when a light turned green.   Road rage is dangerous because it causes accidents.  Road rage is dangerous because it can hurt people.

Now imagine one of those or all of those scenarios minus the car.  A person is walking down the street.  The likelihood of that person now giving you an insulting hand gesture, slowing down in front of you so you can’t pass, or yelling at you over and over because you’re not walking fast enough is a bit slim.  Can it happen?  Sure it can, there are rude people everywhere, but when people are behind the safety of their car, when they don’t have to look at you in the eyes or see your face fall after being told you’re too slow, they feel a false sense of bravado and security. Continue reading

Exploring the boundaries of faith

DSC_0001I’m a secret CNN Belief blog junkie, I love to read the different viewpoints and recent archaeological discoveries that relate to various world religions.   Recently a blog was published entitled “Noah’s Ark discovery raises flood of questions,” and I found it to be a fascinating read  (and I love the pun).  http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/28/new-discovery-raises-flood-of-questions-about-noahs-ark/

In summary, the archaeological world has discovered the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous flood story.  A scholar has found a 4,000 year old tablet in Iraq with the biblical account of Noah’s ark.   The catch?  The ark is described as a “large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated in pitch to keep it waterproof.”    This is very different from the description in biblical accounts. Continue reading

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

beautifulOne day at a party surrounded by friends, one of them turned to me and said  “you really need to wax your mustache, that drives me crazy.”  My face immediately flushed as I held back the tears that threatened to release into my eyes.  I laughed the hurtful and embarrassing comment off, using humor to deflect, when another woman in the group then said “oh and cut your hair, I can’t stand when women don’t maintain their hairstyles.”

The interesting part of this exchange is that both of these women were beautiful and although I’m no shrinking violet myself, I am, in most cases, the low maintenance gal in the group.  Clothes, makeup, shopping, manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, waxing, massages….they are just not a priority in my life.  Do I tend to engage in some of these activities from time  to time? Absolutely.  However, sometimes I swear I could run through the Shire with my hobbit feet!  My children, my books, learning, exploring, my friendships, my marriage, nature and love are the interests in my life.  I also cherish my alone time, perhaps unusually so, and I don’t apologize for preferring my own company over other’s. Continue reading

Mothers unite, a letter from a room-mom

I was once in your shoes.  I was juggling the career, the husband, the kids, the pets and barely holding onto my own sanity.  Once in a while I would get an email from the PTO or a room-mom and think “one more thing I need to do.”  More often than not I would miss a school deadline or forget to give money for the school party or teacher’s present and would be indignant about the entire thing, running out to Starbucks the morning of a party and throwing the teacher’s name on the card.  I had BIG things to do, the job stress prevalent, the schedule, the meetings, the presentation so numerous, there wasn’t much else I could do but to keep my head above water.   My kids were prospering, the husband was prospering, the job was rocking but there was one person exhausted and her name was Me, Myself and I.    I developed diabetes and decided that I needed to save myself and resigned from my job as an international marketing executive.  I was fortunate enough to be able to financially do so.  I made the transition from corporate mom to room-mom. Continue reading

The camera never lies but it should!

cropped-raine2gggg-2blog-11.jpgI was extremely nervous, on the verge of getting physically ill, as I drove to my friend’s photo studio to pose for some fun pictures for my blog.  When I say fun what I really mean is the kind of fun one experiences when they stab themselves in the eye with a pencil.  Whenever I get in this state I tend to either obsess ALOT or do something completely unrelated five minutes prior to having to leave for my appointment or task.  I chose the latter.  The day of my photo shoot I decided I would wrestle with my infuriating duvet cover, resulting in being a bit tardy and getting myself lost, or at least more lost than I would be on a normal day.  The duvet cover won the battle and I left it strewn across my bed in a heap of wrinkles, covering a comforter that was turned in the wrong direction.  By the time I finally fell into bed that night I didn’t care one iota that the darn thing didn’t fit right.  In fact, it is still turned in the wrong direction. Continue reading