carving, pounding, rocking

Carving, pounding, rocking.  All verbs.  All super important verbs.  All verbs I managed to incorporate into my life today.

Let me explain…

My doctor told me my stress level is sky high.  My cholesterol is sky high.  I lost six pounds and my cholesterol went up.  Go figure.  I started thyroid medicine.  My numbers went out of whack.  Go figure.

But enough of the technical stuff…

My doctor basically told me I need to exercise, and I know that I do.  That is not news.  My problem is WHEN do I fit it in?  I am busy with work, saddled (and I mean that affectionately) with a five year old after work.  I do what most working mothers do… I put everyone ahead of myself. I fix dinner. I help with homework.  I sort laundry.  I grocery shop.  I make sure everyone’s life is running smoothly. AND I hold a full time job.

But today I carved out a few minutes for myself.  I pounded the pavement.  In my head I was my 19 year old self jogging.  I used to run. USED to.  I rocked out to a playlist of favorite high school songs as I walked.   It was dark (evening) so it was even better.  I wasn’t visible enough for anyone to see me look stupid as I lip synched my way through my neighborhood.  I didn’t have to stop and wave at neighbors.  Complete solitude.  Complete bliss.

Today I carved, pounded and rocked.

And it felt good.


the Lone Ranger…my new theme song

I am single parenting this week.  Again.  Hub is out of town for work.   Of course, this is the week when everything decides to fall… so, to the tune of The Lone Ranger… this is my “to do” list this week. (and I feel like this song is most appropriate for the anxiety I feel right about now knowing this is the week I face…)

Monday- meetings, meetings, homework with kiddo, Wal Mart trip for scarecrow supplies (see Thursday) dinner, bath, bed, household chores
Tuesday- meetings, meetings, meetings, homework with kiddo, soccer practice, dinner, bath, bed, grading papers, attempt to make scarecrow costume

Wednesday- meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, homework with kiddo, Karate, attempt to rectify failed attempts at scarecrow costume (while silently weeping and cursing my lack of sewing abilities), dinner, bath, bed, grading papers, drinking….

Thursday-  meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, take snack into Kindergarten, take Halloween treat (which is separate from snack) into Kindergarten, take pumpkins into Kindergarten (remember to include one for the poor little lamb whose mother forgot…),  dress kid as a scarecrow for the kindergarten parade, attend parade, take endless amount of photos, maintain sanity and the full time teaching job I have (I work at his school),  homework with kiddo, dinner, bath, bed, copious amounts of drinking…..

Friday- take out recycling, maintain full time job, make sure child is in pjs (pjs, by the way, I had to go BUY for this ‘special’ day because none of our pjs were really school appropriate) for pj day at school, attend award ceremony (just realized I would have pictures of my kid in pjs as he accepts his award) prepare for Halloween.  With a Kindergartener.  Copious amounts of drinking

Saturday-  soccer game, soccer party, attempt to alter ‘soldier’ costume which is 2 sizes too big, curse, loathe inability to sew, attend crazy Halloween party, trick or treating, household chores, copious amounts of drinking.

Sure, there are a ton of things I accidentally omitted from the week.  I’m sure you get the point.

Kudos to single parents.

I don’t know how you do it.


over the edge of exhaustion, just round the corner from a crash

It’s happened.  Yep.  It has happened.

That point where being a mother and a professional has collided.  With a bang.

That peaceful, easy feelin’ of summer has long since gone.  Back are hunched shoulders, deepened frown lines, shorter tempers and enough anxiety to fuel a small village.


It’s back.

That point where you are so tightly wound that if you dare unwind even just a little bit you chance having your whole self combust, unable to be stuffed back into your being.

It’s an awful feeling, anxiety.  It’s awful to be so energized (for all the wrong reasons) at 1:15 am on a Thursday that it’s all you can do to force yourself to sleep as the hamster wheel in your brain spins and spins.

Being told to ‘just chill’ does no good.  It actually aggravates the anxious person even more (not to mention angers them).

Being told to ‘forget about it” does no good.  The anxious person ruminates and ruminates and ruminates over seemingly trivial problems.

Anxiety is no fun.  It’s like the nerdy kid who shows up at a high school party hoping to fit in, but who soon realizes they will only be the one uncomfortably picking up beer cans and making sure everyone’s coat is well looked after.

Anxiety is like a kite that gets picked up by the wind. It swirls you around uncontrollably.  You look down and see where you need to land but you can’t do it.  Gusts keep picking you up higher and higher, preventing you from free falling.

Anxiety is like one big mother long dog paddling session.  You try and try to get somewhere but tiny, little strokes prevent you from making any substantial headway.  You keep paddling and paddling trying to keep up, only exhausting yourself in the process.

And why?  Why are some of us built tightly wound, and others in need of a good winding?



Why are some of us destined to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and others just sit back, relax and let us do it.

Maybe they’re the smart ones.

I used to think that I was making up all of this anxiety.  As a child, I was called a perfectionist, high strung.  What the adults in my life didn’t realize is that I was an anxious child, one who hated going to bed because all I would do is lay there, eyes wide open worrying about everything, willing sleep but not getting any.  It was horrible.

But thirty five years ago, kids didn’t have anxiety, or at least they weren’t supposed to.  Anxiety was not recognized or labeled or whatever you want to call it.  We were just ‘worriers’.

No amount of being told to calm down works.  In fact, it just agitates me more.

I wish anxiety was taken seriously instead of treated like some made up problem inside my head.

It’s late and morning is only a few short hours away.

I will return to bed and will myself to sleep.

And get up in four hours to start it all again.

The ‘on’ button never shuts ‘off’.


a walk in the rain

It’s been a while since my last post.  (why is this starting to sound like a Catholic confession?)  But life has been busy.  My kiddo started kindergarten and has transitioned well.  He is bursting at the seams with new knowledge, excited to sound out letters and attempt to read sight words.  It feels like he’s grown up before my very eyes in just a few short weeks.  Gone are the fears and trepidations of starting a new chapter.  Routines have slowly been established, summer has packed its bag and left.  Fall and all it’s pumpkin latte goodness has descended upon us.

For the past week or so we’ve had nothing but steady rain.  Reports say we’ve had about 16 inches in the past week.  We luckily missed Hurricane Joaquin, but the rain has been a force to be reckoned with.  It’s starting to get depressing.

All this time inside is not good for thinkers like me.  I can’t relax with ‘down’ time.  All I do is think.

My former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, once took an infamous walk in the snow.  On his walk he contemplated his future and decided to announce his retirement.  Since then, the phrase ‘a walk in the snow’ has become synonymous with trying to clear your head and figure out your future.

I’ve been doing that for a long time, the debating my future part.  Today I took a walk in the rain, much like Mr. Trudeau’s walk in the snow.

I wish I could say that I cleared a lot up.  I didn’t.  I just got wet.  And more depressed.   I am so disheartened and disillusioned with my job I’m at a crossroad.  I’m not sure what to do anymore.

I don’t hate my job.  I work with great people.  I think what I do is important.  I’m just tired and beaten down.  Kids are now numbers and data points plotting expected growth.  If I don’t achieve said growth, I’m a lousy teacher.  It hurts having the weight of the world on your shoulder every. single. day.   It becomes too much to bear.  It makes me want to hand in my keys almost every single day.  But I can’t.

I have a kid to consider.  My job allows me to be on the same schedule as my child.  My job affords me the luxury of buying him clothes and food.   There is no other viable option.  I am in this for my kid.

So I will put on my raincoat and continue to walk until I feel better, or at least make my peace with the crossroad I am at.

I think I’m going to need a bigger umbrella.


and so it goes…

September is here. I don’t care how many scarecrows, pumpkins, bales of hay and mums you park outside of Wal Mart, it’s not fall. It’s 90 freaking degrees here in the good old South.  It’s hot.

School has started.  I’ve gotten my kiddo off to kindergarten.  I am amazed at how he has bloomed and blossomed in just one week; full to the brim with a love of learning, excitement to learn letters and sounds and an unbridled enthusiasm to be all things ‘big boy’.

And it breaks my heart just a little.  Where did my baby go? Time. Slow down.

I’ve begun year 19 of my career in education.  It’s week 2 and I’m barely hanging on by my fingernails. You’d think in almost two decades I’d have a clue as to what I’m doing, that maybe, just maybe this year I’d get it right.  But nope. The same inadequacies and worry creep back in to my already saturated mind.  The curse of a perfectionist.

I’ve tried to watch the news. It’s too sad.  I want so badly to scoop up every refugee I see and give them a safe place to live.  I hug my child a little tighter when I see toddlers washed ashore, dead, lifeless.   It’s too much.  And then I feel guilty about complaining about my mediocre job.  I need to stop doing that… complaining.  It’s really unbecoming to bemoan first world problems.

Fall’s cooler temps and routines can’t get here fast enough.  I thrive on predictability.  The introvert in me silently cheers being indoors cozy and comfy, tucked safely away from the world.

I look at kids starting university with their whole lives ahead of them.  They are the least equipped to make decisions yet they have every opportunity in the world.  Cruel irony.

And so it goes, the onset of fall.  My annual pity party should be winding down soon.  By annual pity party, I mean reflecting on my career choices and kicking myself in the ass that I was not true to myself when declaring a major many moons ago.  I am the sell out I learned to hate.

But I will trudge on, buy my obligatory pumpkin spice latte and call it a day.

And so it goes.


failing my child one babysitter at a time…

Tonight we got our first baby sitter.  Ever.

My child is five.

He has never had a non-family member babysit him.

Suffice to say we don’t get out much.  My family is in Ohio full time and Canada part time.

We had our first baby sitter.

We went to a movie.

I sat the whole time, cell phone clutched in my hand, convinced I was going to get a phone call about some unwanted tragedy.

I was able to enjoy the movie (Vacation… a fitting send off to my last day of vacation) and laugh like I haven’t laughed in years.

But then I felt guilty.

I hired a babysitter so I could do something selfish… just me and my husband.  For two hours.

I feel like a complete waste of a parent.

And why do I feel like this?

Because tomorrow I have to get ANOTHER babysitter for him as I go back to work.  It’s his former daycare teacher, a woman who loves him like her own and has a grandmotherly touch.  He knows her and likes her.  It’s a good fit.

But I feel horrible.

I’m leaving my child.

My husband doesn’t share this guilty feeling.  He is all business… “I go to work to provide for him…”

He wasn’t on the receiving end of the hugs and kisses I got when we arrived home from the movie.   I felt like a complete failure that I had abandoned my child for two hours.

Please slap me.

shoot me now (and other first world problems)

It’s my last day of freedom. I know, I know… whine, whine, whine.  I’m lucky to have a job. I’m lucky to be employed. I chose this profession. Blah blah blah.

I know.

I always get the back to school blues, and this year it’s worse than ever. Still stinging from the horrific challenging  year of thugs gems I just finished, I am hesitant to go back to a new crop of youngins I know nothing about.  A whole new set of behaviors to learn and avoid.  It’s exhausting.  But, it is my job.  I picked this job.  I know. Don’t remind me.

It’s about this time each year as I’m downing a glass of wine, I have a discussion with my husband about retirement. I’m turning 42 in a few months incase you were trying to do the math in your head.

The conversation usually ends by a) me pouring another glass of wine  and b) me sobbing uncontrollably at how I unwittingly ruined my life by being 24 and not understanding the importance of saving for the future.  It makes me want to start a financial literacy/retirement planning curriculum at the high school level.  Seriously.  In this day and age you can’t screw around if you plan on retiring at a decent age.

Given my impending doom (well, ok, it’s not really an impending doom… I do have a plan) I sat, openly weeping at the fact that even with full retirement my income will be below the poverty level. (based on loose calculations using present data)

I know.

I can’t believe it either.

I am a highly educated, highly qualified professional.  I know I didn’t get into this job for the money. That has been established. But income below the poverty level with almost 25-30 years service? That is disgraceful.

It’s disgraceful that in this day and age kids basically have to start planning their future in high school- when they are the least qualified and least equipped to do so.  If you don’t choose the right college… if you don’t choose the right major… if you don’t get the right job in the right place you want to settle… it goes on and on and on.

And it’s depressing.  Why was I not concerned about this in my early twenties?

Oh yeah…because I was more into buying my first car, partying with my first serious boyfriend and living a carefree single life at the beach. Retirement options were the LAST thing on my mind.  I was ten feet tall and bullet proof.

Oh yeah.


So as I gear up for another year of school, I think about my choices in a self imposed time out that includes wine/whine, I will try not to complain too much about first world problems.

I will hope for the best, and a winning lottery ticket.


the life I don’t miss

I’m on day 3 of batching it.  My son and husband are on vacation (as I mentioned in the last post I came home early to work). I thought I would really enjoy my time “off” from being a mom.


In a way, I did enjoy going to the grocery store without company.  I enjoyed full control of the tv. I will admit that I ate ice cream out of the carton.

But I felt  lonely and unfulfilled. I had flashbacks to my single days when I would sit in my apartment bored, frightened of the future, convinced I would be a lonely old cat lady eating spaghetti-os out of the can.  I dated a string of jerks and wondered if I would ever know the joy of starting a family. It was a very sad, scary and lonely time in my life.  I felt unloved and hopeless for most of my twenties.

My world changed when I met my husband. My world became infinitely better when I had my son.

And while it’s only been three days and I know I should have savored every nano second of ‘freedom’, I sat home worrying about my kid. Was he safe? (of course, he was with family)  Did he have enough to eat? Did he have enough sunscreen on? Was he happy?

I. Just. Couldn’t. Stop. Being. A. Mom.

And I don’t miss my old life.

Not one bit.


all before 7:30 am

I woke up this morning, alone in my bed.  You see, my husband and child are still on vacation. I came back early to go into work. There is a long explanation about why I did that, but it would involve flow charts, diagrams, liquor and a lengthy explanation of family dynamics.   I’m sure you don’t have enough time to invest in that.

So anyway, I woke up and flipped on the news. While lying (or is it laying?) in bed.  This is a luxury for me.  I have THREE (count ’em… three) whole days to luxuriate in being alone in my house.  This is something that never, ever happens except for maybe a few days each summer as I opt to come home early from vacay in order to tackle my classroom and get it organized (a job best done when I do not have any other humans to cook or clean for)

As I lay there, I was bombarded with news about killings, kidnappings, plane crashes, celebrity divorces, celebrity fashion and other mind numbing, anxiety riddled news.  I thought my head  was going to explode after 15 minutes of watching.  It was too much.  You see, normally I’m up with my five year old and cartoons are what starts my morning.

I could feel my anxiety rising so I flipped off the tv and padded over to the computer. BIG BIG BIG mistake.  I logged on to (you guessed it… FB) Facebook to catch up with what’s going on.  Big mistake.  I have a love/hate relationship with that thing. Sadly, it is how I stay in the loop with my coworkers and friends and family back home.  Email is so passé.  People connect and correspond with Facebook.  If you’re not on it, you literally don’t get the memos about stuff going on.

But I’m starting to think memos aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

For years my parents never had an answering machine.  Or a cell phone.  My mother always said “if someone wants me bad enough they’ll know where to find me”.  Well that sort of backfired when my father was nearly killed by a tractor trailer and rushed to the hospital (my mother unknowingly was out in the garden sans phone) but other than that, it has worked out quite well.   She did break down and activated her voicemail simply due to the need to receive messages from doctor’s offices etc.

I’m starting to think I need to heed my mother’s advice and lay off social media and the news.  I hate to bury my head in the sand, but sometimes that is a very nice comfy place.

So I’ll do what I normally do… take a small break from the world, recharge my batteries and reconnect at some later point.

Meanwhile, I’m sticking with cartoons.