Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Reflection Pool

2015 has been difficult ... I think.  Perhaps it has been no more or less difficult than any other year.  It has not been a year marked by sadness, or loneliness or betrayal. No memories plague me and yet I have fought despair this year seemingly unlike any other. This has been a year marked by the passage of time and the feeling of the finite, being finite.  I seem to have lost the ability to envision my own goals and instead feel like I've failed to be something greater or to measure up to anyone else's and I worry that I've limited my children's chances in needing to protect them.  I feel bound by necessity to do that which I detest and it gets more and more difficult to put my mind to.  I feel my anxiety building toward another great change.  This year has also been marked by anxiety and the feeling that all I do is try to hold back entropy which is to feel that absolute failure is my constant companion.  I have started to take steps to crawl out of this place in which I find myself and to build something for my children.  Now to my resolutions for 2016.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Morning thoughts

I was going to retire this virtual diary so that I could move into action but it seems I still need an outlet.  Today has started a bit better... I still need to figure out how to get gas and laundry soap without overdrawing my account.  I need to clean house... at least my room and bathroom...

My son got up, walked to my room, greeted me and went back to bed.  That was nice.  Usually he'll crawl in my bed and then moments later someone will join him and before you know it they're pushing and shoving and bickering.

I've been thinking.... thinking... thinking... what can I pour my time into that will give me purpose.  What service can I offer that is useful and meaningful. I keep returning to one in particular.

I feel better than I did yesterday but I know that I have to do something better with my time. I deserve a greater reward when I invest my time.  I should be able to pay my bills, feed my children, buy them the occasional gift, return to a house that is mine and feels like home and pay for the extracurricular activities that they would like to be in.  I will have that.  This will be a one year plan.  They are growing up too quickly for this to be a 3 year plan.  I already have a lot to make up to them for the time I'm frustrated.  For the times when they are full of normal American wants and I don't know how I am going to get them lunch, or for the times when one of them has indulged in all of the snacks money is gone and there is none for anyone else.

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's the little things....

The kids didn't take lunch yesterday.  A whole loaf of bread went missing.  I suspect that the son whose job it is to clean the table didn't appreciate the task and threw it all away, an entire loaf of whole wheat bread and the rest of the almond butter. The almond butter costs almost $8.

After paying my rent I am left with $9.  I went to the store at 7:30 to get them something for lunch.  Normally they would have had to simply suffer until they got home, since the food went missing, but I am home with the smallest who is sick today.  My credit card was declined.  My heart sank.  I am out of laundry soap.  The breathing exercises aren't working.  Crying isn't leaving me feeling purged of emotion.  I don't have tears left just this feeling in my core like a mixture of distilled hurt and disappointment and powerlessness.  I will soak in it for only a minute more and then I will act.  I must gather strength from it so that I can truly say, "no more".

I can't seem to get the same running start that I did years ago when life's direction or lack of momentum frightened me so.  I am constantly analyzing my feelings and trying to identify the thing that has me feeling so, so,... sad?   Laundry, unending laundry,  almost enough food, almost enough time, almost enough energy, the house is at times almost clean, my work is almost done, my kids are almost developing in the way that they could.... I am going to have to change everything to become enough.

I know that I don't deal with my hurts.  I am excellent at simply turning my back on them and closing them out but recently I have wondered how much of myself I have closed out with my hurts because in memory I lack a reflection... it's hard to determine growth that way.

But tomorrow I will again need to give all that I am to be almost enough and that requires that only that moment exist and so I shut out this moment and moments like these when I feel lost and I want to refuse to suffer but I see only one option in this test that life has placed before me - to keep going.

How do I fuel what must be my ascent.  For years I knew what I did't want to be and it drove me to do more and now I sit and wonder if I am exactly what I've tried so hard not to become - a statistic.  Will I even be able to give my children what they need to be and do more, to be contributors?  I can't even seem to hold the pieces of me together.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A [NEW] 3 Year Plan

It's been some time since I checked off the items on a 3 year plan... I am now in year six and getting through, buying little, tiny moments of bliss and worrying too much ... because I can.  I am pouring time and energy into an abyss and clinging to the hope that I can redirect it some day, that it will still be there, believing that the day will present itself to me and I will know that I can then leap, that it is safe.

Perhaps that's not the point, it's wouldn't be a leap. It is the desire to slowly gingerly lower one foot until I feel ground safely beneath it and then to shift my weight.  It's been a while since I've leapt but my gifts go unused as I try to sell my time to feed my children.  I feel like a mule, a beast of burden.

I have to change my focus.  What do I seek?  How will I get it?  What must my investment be?  Am I prepared to take risks?  I will begin my own year of risking rejection.

This blog has been a moment for me to reflect and exist a moment to be a bit more than a workhorse. Here I have been able to acknowledge my dreams and pack them safely away again.  Here I have wanted more and then slipped into sleep momentarily content with being able to dream.  I'm in here, behind the tired eyes my adventurer lives.

So today I create a plan with four parts, two are university applications and two are job applications.  One is ideal, one is good, the other two are better than this but each of them might afford me the opportunity to truly live.  Here goes...

I need to grow and I'm not growing now.

Well, I have evaluated he life I live in something that sounds very much like a complaint and in spite of all of that I am thankful.  I feel possible. I have made some choices and I feel empowered.  Now to move on to focus, drive and balance.

<> sometimes I feel guilty for caring so much about me and my need for expression and fulfullment and I decide that I will get up early each morning and be a mom and a providor but in time my nerves get raw and I can't breathe and I'm sad and I cannot even enjoy the decision I've made because I'm not enough to be that and I think that the secret might be that I need to be enough for me first.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Life I've Imagined...

Things have really been bothering me lately.  The laziness of one son and absolute lack of respect from another.  I am certain that he can't even identify his disrespect because I've indulged him so.  I'm getting that tired feeling.  That feeling that comes when everything is a battle but you don't want to fight anymore.

I want to go get an MFA &/or Ph.D. in creative writing and use it to heal myself, to relax my mind.   I would also like to go to a writing retreat somewhere... I would like to read about and better understand world issues perhaps then my own won't seem so big...

I busy myself with spinning some dreams.... maybe the west coast will provide my children with a rounder education...are the people nicer?... Will a life built, re-built out there allow me to model something other than fatigue and frustration?  Will I be able to buy a home with an office that is just for me?  Can I create an environment that will allow my children some fluidity of thought? ... an environment in which they can create? ... grow?  Will I be able to find a safe space for me in which I can create?  As my children start to grow up I want to create a space that they will want to come back to ... a big kitchen... memories of the ingredients that make them up...

Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not made that way, that I'm not just a happy cog in the machine.  I know I'm not though and I can't be happy unless I am working toward my life goals.  My newest set of goals is a first published book... or at least written and completed and a comfortable home for my children to come home to always... with a big tree in the big back yard for a tree house.  Windows, I want windows a window with a nice view in my office.

I changed jobs last year in an attempt to protect some time and space for me and who I have to be to my children but though it is a marked improvement that is not to be.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

With my head in my hands...

I'm thinking about getting a second job.  I just paid rent and it left me with just a few dollars for food and get to get to work.  I am to feed them for two weeks on that.  I sat down and put in to pay my bills in two weeks and I will go broke on payday.  I will pay my car payment, car insurance, water bill, electric bill and credit card.  I need to figure out how to get Thanksgiving Dinner,  2 weeks of lunches, breakfasts and dinners out of it as well and I just don't see it.  The frustrating thing is that the next check is rent again and the cycle continues...

A second job means less sleep, less time with the kids, higher stress levels... It could also mean that the children won't qualify for medicaid and so it can decrease my wages and throw life even more out of balance.  I'm doing it again.  I'm taking on tomorrow's worries.  I need to breathe.  I need to meditate.  I need to take it one day at a time.

When I got my last check I simply closed my eyes and did what I needed to do.  I bought the kids what they needed for lunch and will work with the rest to get things done.  I was finally caught up on my current bills but December is always difficult and the month that the water bill is due simply hurts.  I monitor shower times and listen for water running more than a few seconds but still the water bill hurts.

I'm tired of this ride, around and around and around and at some point I realize that I only know how to survive anymore, not to LIVE.  I don't like going out.  Every thing costs money and I need my time to figure this out.   I need to balance.

I will try to live in each moment and to be thankful for it.  There is a reason I don't do Christmas, it is because December and January are the most difficult months of the year.  We will be fine though.  Lot's of beans but we'll be fine.  We'll be fine.

I have to learn to save even if it means paying less of a bill or two for a time.  I just hate that so much.  I hear the belts on my car squealing and I beg it not to break down.  I have no more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Reality

I'm lost between a worry and a day dream and worry that I'll see it all for the first time in a memory.
                              Yoyi

Sunday, September 27, 2015

LIVE in the moment and PLAN for the future

... I feel like I've lost so many todays just fighting to get away from hopelessness.  Fighting always against poverty, knowing I needed balance but unable to find it.

This is another of the days I've had to have coffee to keep going and I realize that though it is better I still am not doing what will give me the most peace.  I em enjoying the learning  now though... I will catch up on my sleep soon...

I have wanted to write for a while but haven't had the time.... today is no different.  I find myself writing in my thoughts as I go from one commitment to the next.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Time Travel

Today I went back, back to when I had a soul.  There were no boundaries.  Dreams only required will and imagination.  ... then with one beautifully foolish decision I surrounded myself with walls too tall for me to climb and before long I couldn't remember what the sun felt like on my face.  I knew instinctivly that I needed to dream but dreams seemed foolish and there was so much that needed to be done within my walls if I was ever going to be able to dream again.  And so for me, life turned into dreaming of becoming a dreamer.

The thing about that is that you can't see how to do it.  There are no exits visible in this grey space. ... but today I sat in a Liturature class and remembered a time before ... I remembered it acutely... I felt it... my mind was awake again and I remembered reading Kafka and Joyce and how much I liked exestencial writers and Joyce's train of thought style.

Bit by bit I've been thinking of writing again.  I would like to learn to write a Picaresca.  The protagonist, my antagonist who could somehow be so terrible to me... but not all bad, not bad to most, only to those who love me ... I would like to explore that paradox.

Today I understood why I am here.  My walls are not pretty but they are safe.  I have long been wary of stepping out lest I again step into ... I started to accept the things I do not know and once I began to tell myself that I was startled by the finality of it.  I must find out what I do not know.  Learn to do what I cannot do well.  I must humble myself and dare.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Breaking Silence

I think all day of things I'd like to write and ways to write them.  Then, I sit in front of the compuer and ... nothing.

Today I thought about race, about Cuba, about the translations or interpretations of Nicolas Guillén that were being given to me, told to me.  Today I quietly sat and disagreed.  Today she forgave a nation, singlehandedly in one grand gesture.  Me indignó!

But my filter is American, Estadounidense to be exact and the emotions that are envoked at the story belonged to my forefathers, right?  They might have been family...  She softened the story. Slavery was an unfortunate accident a coincidence but look what came of it, Nicolas Guillén.  Yes, that's it.

It's funny how we can read the same thing and come to completely different conclusions.  I am going to pick up some of his work tomorrow.  She saw the poem as forgiving.  I saw it a as a simple truth.  I don't speak up she seems like she'd take offense and I'd have to go into long explanations at the end of which they would tell me that his story was different.

I am quiet.  I scribble notes of the things I dare not say.  She tells how the English were so much worse than the Spanish.  Maybe, does it mater?  Does it make her feel better.  Can she better appreciate the words of Guillén because it wasn't as bad as it might have been?  But it was bad... they worked in the fields and factories.  Was he a comunist because that was the poetic trend or was there something more?  Did he find hope in it?  Might it have been, without knowing better, the redemption of those grandfathers, or something for the one?

Now they are equal.  Now, they are dead and he is alive.  Just him.   Or, maybe it's just me... but I'm going to keep reading.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

To Mine

I came here to study and to try to earn a little bit more of a chance for each of you to tip the odds a bit more in your favor.  For so long I have refused to see the effects of my decisions on you all.  I see them now.  In a way it was important that I didn't.  I might have given up.  I might have felt that we simply deserved less.  I still don't feel that way.  I am seeking the strength to create the space that we need.

I hope that you learn you feel the excitement that I feel with my synapses are firing.  When I'm sitting in class the chaos and uncertainty is gone.  The equation is simple work/focus = reward/success.  

I also came here to quiet my mind.  To focus, to finish and to formulate a plan.  I need another 3 year plan.  Should it include a doctorate.  I will have to get a grant or scholarship if I am going to be able to do that.  Should I get a part time job?

What will our goals as a family be.  I am not kidding about the road trip and the tree house.  It is time to make a plan to put those things within reach.  Well, I love you.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

How??

How do I ensure the success of all of my children when they seem so determined to fail?

Writing to write

Today I write an entry just to get me writing again.  I am trying to clean up the clutter so that I can dream again.  It is simply a matter of not getting upset when kids are kids and everything they touch breaks making me feel like I work to pay for repairs and rent and that that is the only purpose my life seems to have these day.  Since I rented from an owner again I also pay for things that precede me like the repair of running toilets and the ensuing water bill.  'sigh'

I have been dreaming quite a bit.  It is my dream to take a cross country road trip with the kids.  I have no idea how I'll finance such a dream but I fully intend to.  I am already beginning to put this year (my life happens in academic years) behind me and plan for a better year next year.

For right now I still talk (write)  to me so that I can put it all in order... perhaps one day I'll truly have something to share.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Morning

...and then there are times like these when we are reminded that despite our best efforts we do not control our beginnings nor do we control our endings and despite that we must find purpose and live it.



--
Johwondine McGhee
"Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken."
                                                                  Albert Camus

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Life of Question

Fear and worry surround me... I must stop being reactive and hoping that my meager offering is accepted when I know that it isn't enough.  I need to live a life in training to be enough and investing in tomorrow in the hopes that I will achieve that sense.  When there is so little to stretch across today it is a true feat to dedicate any to tomorrow whether it be time, money, or energy.

I find it difficult to sustain the sacrifice required to get ahead.  Does that mean that I don't want it enough?  Do I not deserve it because I don't want to suffer more?  I try to create that safe center that allows one to sacrifice in other areas but there is no haven.


One of the beautiful things about school years is all of the new beginnings, new quarters and new semesters.  For the next 10 weeks I have to try sacrifice and discipline.  This is the only way that I will be able to live the life I've imagined.  I have to prove to me that I can (and will) do this.   By this point in the school year I'm tired.   It's my first year in a new school and I have listened to so much negativity that I just want to be away from it.  ... as I think of the new beginnings I also think of the fact that I've heard that some people have jobs that they enjoy doing so much they are not thinking about the breaks, they are not begging for moments to regroup, jobs in which they don't feel so very much at the mercy of the whims of others.  There is chatter that I should be enough and so when I am not I push myself to be enough.  I sleep less and eat a less healthy diet and lose focus of who and what my priorities should be.

I've been thinking lately about what I would most like to do and I decided that I would like to study creative writing and simply write.  I need it to pay the bills: I know it will give me purpose or lead me to my purpose.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Saddened

In the evenings I find myself watching the news and wondering if anyone else feels hurt by Congress' disrespect of  or lack of respect for our President Barack Obama.  It makes me sad as I had come to believe so much more of us and now those voices of hope are all but silent.  This administration is the American history that my children have lived.  They noticed and began to dream a dream that could finally be encouraged and not humored, I thought.

Somewhere in the backdrop of my life was the political push and pull and I was indifferent to it.  It didn't hurt my feelings.  I picked a side and went to the polls and the world turned and day turned to night and disappointment faded in seemingly mere days.  Nothing changed for me.  I didn't expect it to.

Has this been done to a sitting President before in the History of the United States?  Congress sending letters to foreign leaders, sending invitations to foreign leaders?

Saddened, I continue with my own struggle and think about the dreams of my children.  I think that if he were my child I would be beyond hurt.  I would be angry that once he had overcome the barriers they had chased him down determined that he would not be more than their vision of him because of his color?  political affiliation?  

I can see myself either not voting or voting for some no chance party if the Democrats distance themselves from him.  That hope was more than momentary frenzy and now I fear losing it because we don't seem to want to be better.  The best was yesterday.  We don't evolve.

Silently, sadly, I wave a little flag in my heart and wonder when this day will be the one that we look back to as a time when we were great.

Bracing myself for political season.  I look at my little Americans and tell them that it's a mean world, be kind anyway.  It won't be easy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Broken Hearted

Someone posted on Facebook something like, "My children always come first.  It's that simple." Click like if you agree.  It's not that simple.  Sometimes, I have to put my children's shelter and food in front of their mental health and intellectual growth.   It hurts like hell when I see the manifestation of that decision.  Tonight I live the example.  Anything but simple.

Emïl,

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.  I wish I could press my forehead to yours and you would know what I know.  Sadly, that is not how we get to know these things and as I see you struggle I remember my own and I sit here powerless to show you who you are.

You lay on my floor and tell me that your brain just doesn't work the way it should and for just a fraction of a second I almost believe you.  I think okay he's my son and I love him and maybe he needs an IEP or some type of evaluation EXCEPT that I have always known what the problem is - it's damned hard to keep everyone okay.

I came to the conclusion today that motherhood should be subsidized.  Here we are cultivating the future of our nation often without the necessary resources.  I want to drive you to lessons - the ones where you learn a skill and grow in confidence.  I want to hear how you would solve world issues as I throw out obstacles and you have to rethink.  I want, more often, to see you cringe when I sing loudly at you.

I'm not saying that you're not right.  I think that you are as absent minded as your mother and not yet as driven as I came to be.   I was an escapist.  How do I provide the life for you that you don't have to escape?  How can I help you to be present?

I want to take you out of school so that no one can make you feel stupid but I can't and I know that if you develop the will you can prove them wrong but maybe you're too much like me to do that too.  You won't showboat.  You'll just walk away and wish you had.  You'll play every scenario in your head in which you were the victor.  The pain somehow dulled by the daydream.

It's happening so fast.  You're taller than I am.  The hair on your lip is darkening.  Your face has changed shape.  Your anguish is the same though.  It's the same pain that breaks my heart every time.  I think the key is discipline but there doesn't seem to be enough discipline for me to fit in everything on my schedule so I simply do what is most urgent on any given day.  In my heart your development is most urgent but in reality I must make sure that you have a roof over your head and food in your belly.

I can think of 100 solutions but none that I reach just now.  I think I am a strong person for some of the struggles that I have gone through and just hope that you gain strength.  I know the path to strength though ... I think most of each day about what I might do for you.  Would you like to learn guitar?  Perhaps that martial art from the Donnie Yin movies. (Not sure if I got his last name right).

We stand within view of all we need but cannot reach it.  My best times are stolen moments because I belong to responsibility.  I have to keep rolling my stone up the hill.

I'm listening.  I'm here.  I love you.  I get up for work in 3 hours.

Mom

Monday, February 9, 2015

Quitting


I don't get to quit full-time so I have quit part-time.  Who am I kidding I'm doing more work from home than I would be able to accomplish at work.

Okay but I am in the midst of an existential crisis and need to gather my thoughts while I treat my asthma - I actually think there is some relation.

I have learned that it is not enough to spend my life making expectations for me.  As a teacher and indeed a parent it is the expectations that I set for others that make my life livable.  I simply expected the younger people in my life to do certain things and when they disappointed me I minimized the consequence.  Now I miserable and powerless and as my philosophy has long been that I can change no one but myself I need to do all of their work AND mine in order to be important.  I try to hyper organize but still my fulfillment as a human being depends on others and I don't like the uncertainty.  

I need to redefine my goals and desires and find something to do in which success in the way that I define it is possible.   My failures have inspired me to rededicate myself to investing some portion of time every day to me.  I am also letting go of the guilt.  I have so many things to do today for work that don't have to do with teaching.  I only get one of these, I must invest it well.  

My level of stress is making it difficult to deal with my daughter's inability to handle her emotions.   She loses her homework and starts crying and stomping her feet and I just look at her.  My response is physical.  I am angry.  If it is lost then look for it.  She startings chanting, "I'm going to fail. I'm going to fail."  As I feel the tension  in my own body I start breathing and thining about how I am going to calm down.  She is in absolute panic at this point and it is always everyone else's fault.  She just came to my room and said, "Everyone keeps losing my homework!"  

What can I do for a living that will allow us to eat and be warm and have clothing and still have energy to help them work with the difficulties of growing up?  I don't want to continue to be part of the problem.  Momma is tired.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1 (one thousand), 2 (one thousand) breeeathe

Last week was one of the most stressful weeks of my work life.  It really made me think.  I've been dreaming of doing something else for a long time but necessity keeps me here on a kind of life support, alive but not living.

It's amazing how much something bad can seemingly affect all that happens afterwards.  I couldn't complain at the beginning of the year.  I just needed to find a place to live.   I looked at my schedule and hoped for the best.  Last week I had that feeling of not being enough.  That my job was going to take more than I had.  I was off balance and stressed and couldn't sleep.  My students will take a high stakes exam and I've been walking the line between the combined classes feeling like no one was getting exactly what they needed.

Everybody has a justification and I stopped wanting to argue with people a long time ago.  I just want to be the best me that I can and walk away from strife.  Those justificaitons include justification of a schedule for me that is not fair to my children or personal life (because I entend to get one).  I deserve one.

In order to walk away from strife I need make a change.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Period. New Paragraph...

Done.  But what comes next?  I am in such absolute misery, not enough for anyone.  I haven't used time as "wisely" as I might but doing so means no time for me whatsoever.  For a moment I had forgotten my promise to myself.  I promised myself that I would explore all options and I haven't.  I've been chasing the status quo.  Working so hard to maintain something that I am unhappy with.  I promised my daughter that this coming weekend we will dream.  ...  I have to find hope again.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sad

I can't bring my McDonald's coffee into AMC theatre. They don't sell good coffee here!!

Sent from my iPhone


I had run away for a moment.  I was so disappointed with my daughter but I spend so much time looking at my own imperfections that I didn't know how to respond to her behavior.  I went to see "The Wedding Ringer"  (It was funny.  I love Kevin Hart and I needed to laugh.  I loved the dance scene.  I didn't like the scene with the dog but that may be male humor.)  Just to make the experience perfect I stopped at McDonalds and picked up a cup of coffee.  They wouldn't allow me to bring it in. :-(

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rejection Training Experiment #1

I called Ally Bank through whom I have a car loan at a rate that should be criminal.  I had added them to my list since I was denied a checking account with them.  I guess they know they are not likely to be earning any interest income on my tiny holdings.

I have had this outstanding late fee and today I called and asked if they would forgive it.  I had actually tried to pay it but they didn't apply the payment to the late fee they applied that amount to the next month's car payment. Huh?  $89 is a whole lot of money to me so I called today and simply asked them to forgive it and they did.  Yay!!

So today I learned to ask.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Organizing my day

Up at 3am and feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I have so much to do this week.  I have two sets of testing to do with one group of students.  I recognize, however, that this is important as it motivates me to do what I must.  I have, sitting next to my bed, a book that I want very much to finish but cannot touch.

I have more to do for my students than I can put into words.

  • create 2 tests
  • create homework that will force them to study for their test 
  • post homework
  • review IB requirements again
  • establish clear expecatations with my IB students - they aren't even trying
  • post the rubrics for their work
  • create their homework assignement for this week
  • STOP HOLDING THEIR HANDS - 
  • look up what to do about child support - (I don't want to be bothered but what do I do???)
  • figure out if I have my car payment.  If not pay part of it.
  • talk to the kids about the next few weeks.  They'll be tough.  It makes it more difficult when they have expectations of me that I can't live up to.
  • look up other employment opportunities - One should always feel that they have options even if they don't take them.
  • Meditate - organize my thoughts...
  • Oh, and plan today's lessons which will be test review... Most of them don't review outside of class so I must make sure that they do in class ... so we lose time.
  • BREATHE

Monday, January 19, 2015

Just some things I've been thinking...

My biggest struggle is controlling my anger.  I am not a violent person but I do have some things to
say that are not so nice.  I find myself constantly frustrated at the fact that it doesn't occur to my children to help out until I have asked them 10 times and then I have to threaten to take something from them.  There are times when that doesn't even work.  I say horrible things.

I always pay attention to them though, looking for who they are becoming.  From my littlest who is absolutely secure in the adoration of his family to my "middle" twins who need constant affirmation.  But if I am questioning their intellect because they haven't taken out the trash or cleaned their rooms or done their homework or put their clothes in the hamper or done anything other than stumble to their game or TV and start playing then I am not building them up.  I am tearing them down.  I tear them down while I panic at the fact that they are broken and in my moments of rage I cannot figure out why.

I have put together a plan to get them more disciplined.  It involves completing daily goals that have been set for them.  If they do this continuously then they will be rewarded at the end of the quarter.  I have created this chart that I will sign off on.



Goal Chart
Sunday, January 18  - Saturday, January 24, 2015

Homework
Completed and checked by Mom
Room cleaned and vacuumed
Upstairs hallway and stairs clean and vacuumed
Children’s bathroom
Wipe down sink, tub and toilet
Remove clothing.
Study
Kahn Academy
Spelling
Handwriting rules/ practice
Sunday
--




Monday





Tuesday





Wednesday





Thursday





Friday





Saturday
--





One of my children really worries me.  She is trying hypochondria in an effort to get attention.  I am the mother of  7 and though I try to practice kindness outside of the home, at home I am more worried about order... or the lack of order which is always apparent.  I am going to have to get some help to put the last year away.  It really put me in a place where I am constantly stressed and afraid and I can't get my children to respect that.  I fear so much being homeless and yet I find myself in a place where my entire life is obligation.   I promised myself that I would change that this year. ....

I need to come up with some way to build up my daughter's self-esteem.  My mother would say to pray.  I need to find her a hobby that doesn't include complaining to me.  I can't even respond to her complaints with sympathy.  I look at her and I am not sure what the proper response is.  I always recommend sleep.  It's even hard for a mom to be around that much negativity.  I force myself to listen and we sit broken together.

- I need to look up how to build a child's self esteem and how to get them to stop lying.  I thought of creating a point system for kindness in the house because the children bicker so much but I can't afford any more incentives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Today's Gift

The children qualified for medicaid.  I've been so stressed for so long with the asthma and food allergies.  The application was long and despite clicking "save" I kept having to re-enter information. I was afraid to look at the epipen to see if it was up to date.  'sigh'  I was fighting the flu with prayer. 

Today has already been a success.  Now, just not to f* it up. :-)

I love WINTER

Winter

I don't have work today!  My children do have school today. Yay!! Finally, a break.  My youngest made me so happy this morning.  We opened the door and the children noticed the snow falling.  Teo asked to run back for his boots.  There was only the lightest dusting of snow on the ground and the snow was falling so slightly that you had to almost stop to look for it.  

As he walked, he talked about how warm his feet were.  When I took his hand to cross the street he told on his siblings for not holding his hand when they walk him to school.  He was happy with his lunch.  This may seem small but he is a difficult child to feed. If the food doesn't look and smell exactly right he won't touch it and so far even hunger won't change his mind.  I found a lunchbox that is perfect. (yumboxlunch.com)

On the flip side.  My other children went to school without lunch.  They are among the hungry mentioned on television.  (That isn't distant poverty it is American poverty.  American poverty is a poverty with cell phones and expensive shoes.  It is partly in the mind.  It is a poverty of values, goals of consumerism.)  It affects them.  I will have to try to stock up in two weeks but it won't last a month and every other check is all rent.  As we walked I also noted that my daughter needs warm shoes.  Their necks were cold so I told them that I will crochet them scarves in two weeks when I can buy the yarn.  I will crochet them so that they are a bit safer.  As we walked they picked out their colors.  So we'll seize the day and enjoy the moments we can.  There are a lot of them.  I suspect that our good times are a bit better than most.  They're just so much more precious.

I had set aside $50 for gas but gas prices are down, sooo should I take $10 and buy yarn for a scarf or food?  Now to some this seems like a simple question.  It's not.  ... but i'll probably buy probably food.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

#1 Anger Management

I have to learn some anger management skills that I can pass onto my children.  My mom was a yeller and I had become one as well.  It is exhausting. It is my way to detonate but it leaves me exhausted and everyone around me shell shocked.  Last year was particularly bad and so I have vowed not to but instead I retreat into a kind of mental misery.  I imagine escape.  I hold my lips closed, I breathe and I imagine slipping away into something more peaceful.

These moments are interpreted by my children as a refusal to solve whatever issue it is they are bringing me and that is not far from the truth.  The issues usually range from someone getting the last food item or the biggest piece or even one child looking at another one.  They say, "Mom, she KEEPS looking at me and you won't do anything."  I look silently at the situation and think through the things I've already repeated 1,000 times:
  • "they're HER eyes"
  • "Does it HURT when she looks at you?"
  • "Show me where you're bleeding!"
  • "She's JUST LOOKING at you!"
  • "Please, please, please be a peacemaker."  I beg this one every day.  What does a peacemaker know and do?  What does it look like to be a peacemaker?  I know that I need to explain this but ....
A wise therapist taught me that anger is the emotion we snatch up to avoid less comfortable feelings
I am thinking that I don't know how I am going to feed them until my next check and I am having panic attacks about my students passing their IB exams and he has the luxury of being perturbed because someone's gaze has fallen upon him.  To be fair, I know it is his sister's talent to unnerve without saying a word. Oh, and god forbid she say a word.  All hades brakes loose and it is all I can do not to spontaneously combust. The thing is, sometimes before I fall off to sleep I think about them and I can diagnose their ills.  I can imagine exactly what needs to be done to give them the outlets that they need and then sleep takes me and I rush off into another chaotic day - surviving.  

I have noticed that my children have become yellers.  My 13 year old son yells, with all of the gravel his changing voice can create, at his siblings but I live in a townhome and earlier in the year we were almost homeless and I find myself react with a fury that stems from that fear and I become rage itself.  I know rage and so I separate myself.  My 9 year-old son asked me why I separate myself so often.  Some of it is just because I have a job to do and I am one person but some of it is because I am afraid of continuing to interact.  Much of what I think I cannot voice.  I put my head in my hands and say, "I can't.  No more. Please."   

Then it becomes about getting through the day.  I have gotten through so many days of my life that I don't remember them. They've been wasted. I don't have fond memories of them.  I've just closed my eyes or escaped into a thought or sleep.

A top priority must be learning to manage my anger and then teaching my children those same techniques.  When I am in the eye of the storm I am angry because I cannot stop it.  When I separate myself I feel saddness and disappointment.  
If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. - Buddha

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I do hereby solemnly ..Resolve 2015



2015 has already gotten off to a rough start.  Physically - I'm craving sugar.  I would like to cut back on sugar drastically but for the last few days I could sit and eat it with a spoon.  Emotionally - My children bicker and fight so much that I feel like I am going to explode with anger. It is difficult to think about what I am going to do better when I find myself already in such a reactive state of mind.  Again, why doesn't life have a pause button so that one can think.  Pause so that things stop as they are and don't get any worse, hands stop mid punch and thrown items mid air while I figure things out... but alas it is not to be.  I have to try to figure things out while they're happening.

Today has been a cleaning day.  It wasn't meant to be but cleaning had to be done and I was here so I picked up a few things and started a load of laundry, and washed the dishes, and then went to pick up laundry soap and washed dishes again and put in a new load of laundry...

It is now 4:24 and I have accomplished little of what I wanted to accomplish over the break.  This year needs to be the year of habits.  I must start doing the things that will contribute to our lives and just get into the habit of doing them.  Going to bed early, writing every morning, and reading daily will contribute to all of us because I will feel more balanced.

Wait... this was supposed to be New Year's Resolutions...  I resolve to form some better habits.

One of my big goals is to become a runner this year.   It's not a resolution; it is a goal.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Reflections on 2014


Personal Growth is always on my list of things to do. Once you confront it you can take small steps every day to change.


Ramblings...

organizing my thoughts

I was never perfect but during any "present" I have always felt as imperfect as one can be.  I keep distance between myself and others lest they stumble upon my imperfections.  I don't laugh and embrace them; I allow them to weigh me down.  

I HATE to take photographgs but always a decade or so after one, I see that person as beautiful compared to the person who looks back at me from the mirror each morning... I look at those photos and am saddened by the fact that I failed to love her.

As one ages it becomes more evident that the mindset changes as the imperfections become entrenched in the self.  Things change from what I do or don't do to who I am and I find myself simply looking at them less but always aware of their presence. 

I have given birth to 7 children.  That takes its toll on the body; I just try not to let it reach my head.  I cannot accept that.

Reflections....


2014 Started like any other year.... in the middle of  the school year.  It is only a semi-new beginning.  It was in many ways the most difficult year of my life thus far.  By the end of summer I wanted to just make the world stop for a moment so that I could think, or plan or dream... but I could not.  I lived for months, what felt like, minutes away from homelessness.  I slept on my sofa for those months because there was a lockbox on my front door and I felt like someone could just come in. 

With so much student loan debt I cannot buy a house and am completely at the mercy of property managers when I rent.  All that I had tried to do to provide better for my children was made useless and I still haven't regained my sense of security.  My children have a different mother.   It is as a result of that experience  that I stand up straight and live this year intentionally, that I dedicate this year to moving the family forwad and to trying to capture the dream.

Physically 

Last year I ate horribly.  It was one of the few pleasures I had (that and sitting down to watch superhero shows with my children on Friday evenings).  I gained weight.   I started off the year with the realization that I had gained weight and dedicated myself to exercising and getting fit.  I had made a way to travel during the summer and walked miles to class each day for 5 weeks.  I felt good when I got back at the beginning of August although still not at an ideal weight.  Notice to vacate our home and the beginning of the school year with all of the children's needs put me into an immidiate and constant sense of overwhelm.  I was reacting, I was surviving and I lost ground.  

Financially

I had no safety net.  I could not buy a home because my debt to income ratio was too high.  I was finding it difficult to find a new home to rent that would be suitable for my children.  There is a place that one reaches financially where credit is meaningless because one always has to make the decision to save the day with as much comfort as one can...

Relationships

Relationships are the one thing I am certain I don't know how to do - relationships.  They just seem like more work and I... can't.  I needed to teach my children that reward comes after work but I needed more to see them smile after a disappointing day.  Their existence gave me the only purpose I had left. For months I would walk in the house and sleep where I first sat down.  

I often hear, "7 children!  You're my hero."  I don't like it.  I am honest about what a failure I am and they say these things - for what?  I just nod and keep walking.  I don't want to be someone's hero. I have too much to do with the people I've brought into the world to have time for OTHER relationships.... but I also know that my relationship with these same people needs some work. They are so unkind to each other.  I think their unkindness is a reflection of my own frustration.  They are lazy and I think that is the result of my priorities being necessarily lopsided and not being the example of discipline that they need to see. I feel like I do a little bit of everything and accomplish nothing. Knowing this doesn't help though because I don't know how to make that happen.  I don't know, yet, how to be more.

 I don't want motherhood measured by a different yardstick simply because I am a single mother.  I want them to be sucessful by any definition not just given the circumstances.

Time  Surrealist artist Salvador Dali "Montre Molle"

I have so much chaos in my life, it's become normal. You become used to it. You have to just relax, calm down, take a deep breath and try to see how you can make things work rather than complain about how they're wrong. - Tom Welling. This quote courtesy of @Pinstamatic (http://pinstamatic.com)
There never seems to be enough time. I fall into bed each night a failure because out of 100 things I've had to make sure to only put out the fires.  I've had to just try to do what I must at any given moment.  I have learned to put sleep on that list of things I must do.  At the end of most days I have not fed my body well, fed my soul or fed my mind.  If I am going to be able to live my best life.  I must find a better way to use time.


Organization 

Organization is a nightmare in my life.  With 5 young children, when I do dishes someone is hungry.  When I do laundry they take showers and I have another load or two.  They come in from school and empty their backpacks and leave a trail of paper from the kitchen to my bedroom.  I don't like for them to do the dishes because they let the water run for too long and I can't afford it... but I can't do everything.  I can't keep food in the hosue and they complain that they are hungry.  Because we don't keep snacks in the house, when we get them in they consume them quickly and then don't have snacks for lunch.  They are then moody because they are hungry and will fight over the last of whatever it is we have.  Someone eats the snacks and lies about it.  No one comes clean.  When I buy food I keep the two weeks in mind (that really needs to be a month because my rent check is all rent) but can't keep it in the hosue.  There is however always somthing - arroz y frijoles :-). If it's there it will get eaten immediately.  And then there's cooking that leads to dishwashing that leads to laundry that leads to  higher and higher electric bills and water bills and we just go round and round and round and it won't stop and I wonder if this is all that there is to life... will I always just rob Peter to pay Paul and just pay enough to keep things on so that they can still eat?  Will I spend the rest of our lives falling just short?  No.  This year I MUST change this.