Alligators and Bunnies Proven to Reduce Stress

January 28, 2013

Today I learned: “Alligators and bunnies significantly reduce stress levels”

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Tight schedules and busy morning are WAY stressful!

Mornings at my house are traditionally pretty hectic, especially during the weekdays.  I generally find myself frantically scrubbing up dirty boys in the tub, tossing jeans and shirts from drawers and hurling socks across the room in a mad-dash to get everyone ready for school and out the door in time to catch the bus.  My daughter always seems to take extremely long showers, and mostly when we are running late.  She also has one speed…slow…and again mostly when we are running late.  She will skip the conditioner in her shower so when I brush her hair there are extra tangles.  She will forget to bring a towel in the bathroom so I will have to run upstairs to get her one then run back downstairs where I continue my rant about putting shoes on with the boys.  The boys ignore me as they wrestle and play with toys, and of course take the opportunity of the split second I was away to turn on the television.  Then my youngest will refuse to put on his shoes, and demands something ridiculous like ice cream that we don’t have. You get the picture.  There is never enough time, no matter how much time there is and there certainly is no room for getting off the schedule of our routine.

But today, I learned from Simon that if there is time to pull tangles out of hair and un-wrestle two boys, there is also time to be a little silly.   After getting dressed and just before descending down the stairs to begin the next phase of mayhem, my son Simon caught a glimpse of his shadow.  While he giggled, I initially rolled my eyes and was about to tell him to go downstairs.  Then I looked…and then I looked even more…and closer and deeper…until I realized, it was really rather funny.  What I found most funny is that my Simon was not only a goof; he had NO idea how to make a shadow puppet.  His shadow dances were cool, yes; however, his mamma could make a bird, and alligator, a snake, and a bunny!  Eat your hearts out!

While my daughter took one of her famous long showers, screeching and screaming to move faster in order to catch the bus lost its importance. So, instead I spent some time laughing with my boys and making shadow puppets with them (sorry you missed out Allie, we will find our own thing).  Laughter filled the space of the morning, and we still made the bus in time.  In fact, we even got ready a little early, and with a lot less stress.

Sticking tongue out with Simon

Simon teaching me the art of silliness.

Thank you Simon – You are so smart.

-Stupid Mom

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Anti-Aging Wrinkles

January 27, 2013 

Fresh air is good for my soul.

Fresh air is good for my soul.

Today I learned: “Fresh air and smiles slow the aging process.”

From the moment I woke up this morning, my son Simon was asking me to take him out front to ride his bike.  I promised him as soon as I got everything done in the house I would take him.  I got a lot accomplished, including homework for school, cooking, scrubbing the master bathroom and washing our dog, Lacy.  By the time I had everything done it was mid afternoon and I was beat.

Of course, as soon as I got everything done is when Simon came bounding up to me with twinkling eyes reminding me of my promise to take him outside.   I was happy to bring him outside and get some fresh air.  It sounded…rejuvenating.

When I went outside, I looked around for a place to sit so I could supervise him while enjoying the breeze.  There were no chairs in the garage so I headed for the house to grab one.  As I was walking inside, I passed my bicycle.   Then I looked at Simon riding his bike as if he had no care in the world.

Needless to say, I decided the best place to sit would be on my own bike.  I felt like a kid again riding around in circles in front of the house and having races with my boys and their friend.  Even as it began to sprinkle, and then shower us in a light rain, we continued to ride.

Those smiles are sure to give me wrinkles!

Those smiles are sure to give me wrinkles!

The fresh air was good for my soul.  Laughing and playing definitely is a great way to bring out my inner child.  I hope as I age the laugh lines will be an indication on how young my Simon really kept me – those are wrinkles I will wear proudly.

Thank you, Simon – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

Just Another 4-Letter Word

Allie Skating Like a Pro

January 26, 2013

Today I learned:  “Fear is just another 4-letter word”

My daughter was invited to a birthday party last week.  Today was the party.  Sounds fun right?  A bunch of 9 and 10 year old girls getting together for some fun, giggling, eating, screaming, and playing – and I don’t have to be there – what could be better than that? SCORE!!

But let’s rewind this story a bit…

When Allie’s friend dropped a party invitation at our house early last week, my heart sank.  It was to a Roller Skating rink.  Allie could not skate.  When she said, “Can I go mommy, please can I go? Everyone is going, mom!” My first response was to point out the obvious.  “Sweetie, you can’t skate.”

After almost 10 years with an extremely outgoing daughter her reaction should not have surprised me in the least.  However, it did.  What she said next was the simplest form of courage a person could demonstrate…she responded with, “So?” and then looked at me like I had two heads. It was decided, she would go to the party at the roller rink.

Today,  I took her to the roller rink and dropped her off, making sure the birthday girl’s mom had my phone number in case there were any bone breaking falls.   I helped Allie get a pair of skates, and then told her to have fun and kissed her goodbye.

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An Ear-to-Ear Smile Says it All

When I got back to the rink two hours later she was smiling from ear to ear and skating (tripping) around the rink with her friends.   She proceeded to tell me all afternoon and all night about how much fun she had.  She has plans to have her own birthday party there, and asked if we would get her a pair of skates so she could practice.  She also proudly told me she fell “Like 100 times.”

I am so stupid.  I had attempted to pass down my own irrational fears like they were some sort of family heirloom to my daughter.  Good thing she is smarter than me.

So, my lesson today is if I allow fear to stop me from taking risks, I miss out on some pretty cool (and fun) opportunities.  Its definitely time for me to take more chances.

Thanks Allie – you are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Apple Pie

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Making apple pie turned out to be just what I needed.

January 25, 2013

Today I learned: “When life hands you lemons, make apple pie.”

Today was a particular tough day for me.  I had a lot of emotions whirling around inside of me. A disagreement with my significant other, feeling hopeless at my job search, parents that were upset with me, and a sister that I disowned were all weighing heavy on my mind. Not to mention I might have a slight case of PMS.  Yep, I was enrolled in a class act, first rate, full out, pity party – and I didn’t even have anybody to join me. Then I remembered my promise to make an apple pie with Anthony.  Damn.

Making pie was the last thing on my to-do list for the day.  I had vacuuming on my list.  I had cleaning the kitchen on my list.  Recently I had added “lots more tears to shed” and “feeling sorry for myself” to the list. Apple pie was NOT on the list.  But oh hell, I knew I bailed on him yesterday. It was time to suck it up and make a darn pie; whether it was on my to-do list or not.

Turned out making that pie was the best thing I could have done today.  Not only did it turn out SUPER yummy, we had so much fun together.  He stayed with me the whole time too.  Usually the kids lose interest in baking and cooking with me after 5 minutes.  He must have known I needed some smiles, because he was there measuring flour for the crust and was still there at the end when we popped it into the oven.  It was great. Definitely a memory type experience; ya know the kind that I should write in his “baby book” if I had one?

To my delight the pie also went great with a cup of coffee and a healing visit from my parents. And I even got a call back about a resume I submitted.  I got the vacuuming done and the kitchen cleaned too!  However, with the extra dishes and time spent on smiling and laughing due to pie baking  (and parent visiting), I had to post-pone the additional tear shedding and feeling sorry for myself. Not sure when I will get around to putting those back on my to-do list…but for now they will just have to wait.

Anthony is taking care of the apple peel!

Anthony is taking care of the apple peel!

So, my lesson today is that when life is not going exactly the way I want it, its ok to change the focus to something more positive.  In doing so, it only opens up the possibility for more positive things to happen – and besides, it’s a lot more fun then a pity party with a guest list of one.

Thanks Tony Bologna – you are so smart.

–Stupid Mom.

Learning to Live Again…

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My three children are always teaching me not to take myself so seriously.

As a mother of three that has spent many years as a single mother, only to have recently gained the partnership of a really great guy, I have continually been on the lookout for ways to keep my sanity.   A few years ago when my youngest child was just a baby,  I found that every time I spoke about my kids I was complaining.  To be quite blunt, they were wearing me down.  Then guilt began to set in.  What kind of mother talks so terribly about her children?  I mean, I love my kids; they are my world.  How could the people so important to me really be the cause of so much stress in my life?  How come I wasn’t enjoying them?

It was at about that time I realized that as hard as it was to admit, it was not their fault; it was my focus on the negative that was making me miserable.  Somewhere and at some point in time, I lost focus of all the things they do to bring me joy.  So, I changed my focus to hone in on the things they did to make me smile.  Some days it was really tough to find too, but I stayed focused and forced myself to find positive things in each of them, even at my crabbiest mommy moments.

Then…something incredible happened.  I realized my kids were way smarter than me, and while I was working so hard to teach them how to be good kids, they had a lot to teach me about being a great adult.  I started to journal the lessons they taught me on a daily basis.  Every night before bed I wrote at least one life lesson I learned through my children during the day.

I was so devastated when I lost the journal that I stopped writing. In fact, I stopped paying attention to the lessons.  I even stopped paying attention to the joy.  That is up until today when my 4 year old reminded me how much I still have left to learn… and today,  I have begun to learn how to live (again).