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.