Thursday, December 20, 2012

How does your last year look?

Last night I was having dinner with a friend and we were reflecting on our past year.  She mentioned that she wasn’t really in the holiday mood and was pretty much looking forward to 2012 being over.   She told me that she started off last year dating a new guy, moving into a new apartment and excited about her job.  But she is ending the year not dating anyone, frustrated at her noisy neighbors and overworked and underpaid at her job.   When you look at your life in such a way as that I guess she had a point.
Which led me to think about my past year…(if this were a sitcom I would insert some music and make the screen fuzzy to insinuate time travel)….
At this time last year I was starting a new job that WAY underpaid me (but it was a job so I took it!), living with my son at my parents’ house, driving a car that didn’t belong to me (thanks Mom and Dad!) and probably not dating anyone (Ok, sorry about  not know this last fact, but I truly don’t remember my relationship status, which leads me to believe no one of value was in my life at the time).
So here I am in a job that pays well (thank you holiday bonus!), driving a new car I pay for, living in a house I rent and still not dating anyone of mention… If you compare apples to apples, or oranges to oranges, or whatever the heck you want to compare my past year was pretty good!
But I digress… while discussing our success and/or failure of 2012 my friend and I came up with as Oprah would say an “AHA! Moment.”   Basically I think you can determine your attitude about yourself and your past year if you measure it against a goal.  Last year about this time my only goals were to pay my bills and not fight with my mom over turning lights on and off in the house – she is a consistent “Turn the lights off” person and I tend to be a “leave a light on for someone” person.  As you may imagine our lighting philosophies tended to lead to some royal battles.   So I started this year with reasonably attainable goals.  Once I started accomplishing these little goals I was able to really start enjoying my year; new job!  New friends! New travels! New dates! A few bad dates! (Ok, they get explanation points too because, let’s be real, my dating life is HILARIOUS at times) and on and on my list went with new things.
I decided last night that my goal in life (at this moment) is to be a good mom.  Really, simply, that is it.  I have a job that allows me to put my Little Man first.  I have friends who know my son is my priority and I only will date people who understand that as well.  Sure, my long term goals will be to retire wealthy, buy a beach house and travel to Europe.  Of course my professional goals are to get promoted, be recognized as a leader and contribute to our society.  However, for 2013 my one simple goal is to be a good mom and I am happy to say that I am 100% committed to the task. 

As for my friend?   I am not yet sure what her 2013 goals are but I may suggest finding a new place to live as her neighbors really are noisy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I guess moms can be embarrassing too.

 I have always been the type of mom who makes sure my Little Man is dressed nicely, is polite and well behaved.  Since I am a single mom who works full time my Little Man often tags along with me to work events and community projects I am a part of.  I’ve always stressed manners and have taught him to make good impressions on people (I mean really, I don’t want to be the lady with the kid who looks like a hobo and has runs around like a crazy kid!) 
Apparently over this last week my son has noticed that having his mom around is not the coolest thing.
Exhibit 1: I pick him up at the school office.  Little Man comes down to the office and the secretary, teacher and other moms all talk about how “cute” and “adorable” my Little Man is.  They go on and on about his blue eyes, his smile and his manners.  Of course as a Mom I eat this up. Little Man just stares at me giving me the stink eye.
Exhibit 2:  I take Little Man with me to the office holiday BBQ.  My coworker brought his boys so Little Man is happily swimming and playing with the other kids.  It was getting time to leave and I noticed that my Little Man had HUGE grass stains on his pants.  “Little Man” I yell, “Come over here” I then proceed to tell him that we are going to his Pop Pop’s Holiday Party and he can’t be dirty.  He looks at me, gives me the eye and whispers “Can’t you just call him Granddad?”  His attitude was like a little gangster who just got called out in front of his crew- he was so frustrated with me for using “baby” words and pointing out his good clothes got dirty.  Oops!
Exhibit 3:  We have a few high school and college boys who live on our street.  Little Man likes to play catch with them when they are home on break.  The other night he got all dressed and ready to play, but unfortunately the boys had to go inside.  Not to let my Little Man be disappointed, I volunteered to play catch.  (Side note: One random thing I can do pretty well is throw a football.)  So there we are,  out in the front of the house tossing the ball and I am coaching my Little Man on the best way to throw a spiral.  “Straight like this,” and “stop throwing high, just aim here.”  Little Man kept looking behind him and over his shoulder, glancing up the street.  I couldn’t figure out what his deal was.  Then I heard it “I can’t believe I’m learning football from a girl!” 
Duh! My Little Man was embarrassed that his Mom was playing with him AND was good at it.
Well Little Man, lesson learned for both of us.  I will do my best to stop being embarrassing and you do your best to keep hanging out with me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Baby Got Back

Maybe my OCD when it comes to having things correct is getting a bit out of control?
I have blogged before about my addiction to proper grammar, so I won’t bore you with that rant.  However I have come to realize that I am pretty much made up of the attitude “if you are going to do something, do it right.”  Seems like a good thing to insist on as a mom, employer, friend, etc.  However I think I have taken my belief a little too far.
First of all, I am stickler for doing homework properly.  In my house this means neat handwriting, full sentences with complete thoughts and taking your time to understand your work.  My Little Man HATES doing homework with me.  He prefers to slide it by his Nanny who happily ok’s his work and gives him hugs and snacks, or my Dad who is usually a bit distracted and trusts that he has gotten it all correct.  I want my son to be learning something, but I also don’t want the teacher who corrects his work to think I’m one of those parents who is too busy to care about his education. I mean, I don’t pick him up from school, I don’t volunteer in the classroom, and I barely pack his lunch.  The least I could do is send him to school with a good round of well thought out completed homework.
The second area of life where I have accidentally over influenced my Little Man is on his outfits.  I just don’t deal well with kids that don’t match.  (Yes, I know all of you parents out there that it is GOOD to let your kid express himself through choosing his own clothes, and yes I know I am probably stifling my son’s creativity.) However, watching my son walk around in two forms of camoflauge paired with stripes and argyle socks stifles my sanity and I am not going to put up with it.  I happily provide my son with plenty of outfit choices and I always buy things in a set so that he can see what matches with what.  I supply basketball shoes for basketball attire, sneakers for the athletic look, boots for skinny jeans and deck shoes for the casual weekend.  Yes, I may go a little overboard with my son’s wardrobe, and yes I did just have to buy him a new dresser to hold his gear.  But, my OCD self is much happier toting around a color coordinated appropriately dressed kid.
This past weekend I realized that my desire to have everything “right” has probably crossed the line.   I found myself teaching my son the words to “Baby Got Back.”  Somehow my Little Man heard parts of the song.  I still am trying to figure out how this song got played in 2012 when it was popular in 1998 but I digress…  I hear my son singing some words like “I like big butts and I lie”.  Oh stop right there! If you are going to sing a song, sing it right Little Man.  “No baby” I tell him, its “I like big butts and I cannot lie” and I go on singing the words.  First, he is super impressed that his Mom knows all of the words (ok, one talent I have his memorizing cheesy rap songs).  Second, he tries to follow along.  “When a girl walks up with a circle thing in your face you go crazy!” he sings.   “No baby the words are…” and I continue. 
Then I realize that not only am I teaching my son inappropriate lyrcis, I am teaching him in public, on a crowded street and other people can hear me.  Ok, I think to myself, I have officially taken my control of all things to make them correct to a whole new level.  I must stop and let go, and I am choosing to do it with “Baby got Back.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I swear I didn't plan this blog.

I’m a planner. I admit it.  If there were a planning addiction group I would join it.  Then I would plan on becoming it's President.
I plan random things.  I never was one to plan really big picture things.  I never planned where I wanted to go to college.  My parents suggested a few places, I got in, and I went.  But I did plan every last detail of what I would pack, what my room would look like and how I would make new friends.  I was never one of those girls who had their wedding, kids, job after college planned out.  I planned a road trip to D.C.  met a guy, got married then pregnant on our honeymoon (Let me tell you NO ONE plans to do that!).  I then planned the nursery, our house furniture and my labor and delivery schedule. 
I like to plan. I find it comforting to know ahead of time what to expect.    I plan my outfits, my hair styles, and I always plan on being on time (ok, I’m a bit OCD I tend to plan to be early).  You would think all of my planning would make my life an organized peaceful existence.
Until you’re planning involves others!
My family learned years and years ago to sort of ignore my planning.  I call it planning; they may call it slightly overexagerated expectations of others – Tomato/Tomata. Once I planned a wonderful warm Thanksgiving dinner, with pressed cloth napkins, place cards and classical music in the background.  I got a Crazy-Ass Family Turkey Day complete with party crashers, tears over the Turducken (Turkey/Duck/Chicken) and three types of sweet potato casseroles. DEFINTELY NOT in my plan.
I planned my son’s nursery and existence to match mine.  I had a huge fear that my house would be the type of house you walk into and because of its red, blue and yellow Duplex boxes combined with playschool power wheels the house would scream “A KID LIVES HERE”.  I promised myself my son was coming into my life and I would maintain our adult existence. For the first 8 months of my son’s life he was only allowed toys that were green, khaki or white. I planned the color scheme to coordinate with my furniture and other d├ęcor.  His burp cloths, blankets, floor mats all nicely matched my throw pillows and sconces.  Life was color coordinated peace.  Until he learned to walk and needed things with wheels and sounds, and apparently things with colors are GOOD for children.  Needless to say my plan went out the window.
My planning prowess has reached a new challenge, that of the world of dating as an adult.  Typically my plans for an evening out revolve around me, my schedule and my commitments.  Enter in a grown man with a job, maybe a kid, maybe a hobby and my planning gets all out of whack!  As I get older (maybe more mature) I find myself wanting to date guys with grown-up jobs, you know the guys – those that have responsibility, maybe a few people working for them, budgets, meetings, so on.  These guys are interesting, can have an actual conversation and have a lot of potential.  Know what the downfall of this guy is ??? 
His plan doesn’t always conform to my plan.
Total challenge for this self-declared President of the Planners Addiction Club.  What do you mean you will be late to drinks because you have a crisis at work?  Or, you can’t take my random call in the middle of the day because I want to plan what we are having for dinner?   And so it goes more and more interruptions to my planning perfection.
Just this morning I was talking to someone about his plans for the day.  I asked typical planning questions like, “what time are your friends coming over?” and “how long are they staying?”   His answer, “I don’t know.”  I suggested he didn’t pay too much attention to details in his life.  He replied “I let life happen.”
It hit me. 
Maybe all of the times I spend trying to plan the small details of my life I should relax and let some of life just happen?

Good idea.  I will get right on it, I will just have to plan to add “letting life happen” to my schedule!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I love you baby, but please roll over….

Being a working mom is busy, being a working single mom is rough, being a working single mom when every last one of your babysitters is out of town and you have a HUGE deadline and a sick kid is just plain miserable.
I am always the first to say that I am thankful for a great job with a flexible schedule.  I have amazing parents who are good babysitters and I have a village of friends who help out in a pinch.  What is that old saying, “when it rains it pours?”  Yep, it was pouring germs in my house all week and weekend.
My Little Man came home from spending Thanksgiving with his Dad with an awful cough.  Because I missed my baby so much I let him stay home from school to recover (I shuttled him between grandparents and babysitters and took a turn at home with him for a few hours on Thursday).   I was able to get a few meetings and phone calls in, loaded him up with Nyquil and planned on a day of meetings for Friday.
Friday came and the cough was worse, I emailed the office and declared I was working from home. Loaded my baby up on some cough medicine, Tylenol and Disney movies and even did a few rounds of laundry.
By Saturday my Little Man was still coughing and we hit the Doctor’s office, where they immediately sent us to the Hospital for X-rays.  My Little Man came down with a case of Pneumonia.   What!?!   We stopped at the pharmacy for his medicines and I loaded up on every variety of Lysol and Bleach I could find.
I gave him a dose (ok, two doses of his meds) tucked him in, and went to work.  No, I didn’t go back to replying to emails or checking phone messages – I started disinfecting. Every surface, vent, pillowcase, dish, nook and cranny got scrubbed, bleached, sprayed and sanitized.
Mommy has a big week ahead and I am taking no chances!  
True confession – I am not afraid of germ.   I am afraid of coming down with the flu or a virus and not having my mommy or someone to take care of me and my Little Man.
What is worse than being sick?  Being a sick mom! 
Seriously, do you realize how bad it is when the Mom has the fever or a stomach virus?  Moms don’t get to stop their jobs and remote in.  I still will have to make lunch, help with homework and bath time, sign permission slips and walk the dogs.  Someone still has to drive carpool, clean the dishes, pay the bills and remember what uniform day it is at school.  So needless to say, my biggest fear is being sick when my village is on vacation.
 Crap, crap, crap!  My Village is in California for the week!
When my Little Man is sick, he gets all cuddly and wants to be hugged and snuggled.  He’s cute. I don’t mind.  But when he has GERMS with a big G like Pneumonia I spend my time balancing his hugs and avoiding his kisses.  I mean I love my kid, but my week is way too packed to get sick today.  I successfully avoid him during the days and take an entire bottle of Vitamin C to create my force field.
I happily go to bed early and am in a deep sleep, when all of a sudden I feel something breathing on my face… Uh oh! GERMS!  (I can’t scream or yell, I mean he is only 7 and has no idea what he is doing spreading his big G GERMS all over me)
I gently pat his back, tell him to roll over, and spray his pillow and mine with Lysol.
T Minus 5 days until my village returns.