Rapid Reset

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how I have discovered that many of the stresses that come from being a teacher and parent are self-imposed. It was a principal that actually pointed this out to me. Yes, as teachers there are expectations given to us….but the reality is, administration knows we cannot meet them ALL 100% of the time. As a mom, my kids will forgive that I cannot be their entire world. In fact, they will appreciate that I help them create a larger circle of support. In short, it’s time to give myself a break.

Now what about today? How do I face today with optimism and faith? Luckily, I do not have to go far to find the answer. There are so many amazing professionals all around us that are so ready to help. Their advice? Remember that we must work on staying motivated DAILY. There is no magic bullet that will push us through and keep us going for years, months or even weeks on end. One of my favorite methods of getting motivated daily is by using the technique many success books describe as re-framing situations.

Here’s how I re-frame my world. I combine working on gratitude with changing my perspective. Yes, I start VERY small and go minute to minute when I have to, it absolutely changes my mood.

        Situation/Reframe

  1. I wake up tired. /I woke UP and my bed is warm and cozy.
  2. My sinuses are still clogged. / I have medications and techniques to           help me make it through the day.
  3. My hubby is hogging the bathroom./ I have INDOOR PLUMBING.
  4. My classes are too full!!/                   My students LOVE to come to my class.
  5. There aren’t enough books./               I have access to computers.
  6. There isn’t enough paper./                   I have a projector.
  7. I feel overwhelmed./                               I am EMPLOYED and can help support my family.

It may sound silly, but it is highly effective and will help you get through your day!! So as we say at Sierra — Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours!!

 

 

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Murphy’s Law for Mommies

1. Want to have some company….just go to the bathroom. The phone and doorbell will both ring and one of your children will barge in.
2. If that doesn’t work, plan a day alone….people will call, come by and you may even get invitations to go do things.
3. If you are still lonely, plan a day alone with your husband. That should do the trick….especially if you end up in the bedroom. Someone will SURELY come by to interrupt that!!
4. Feel like your kids are ignoring you? Just try to clean something. As you make the bed, they will pile on it taking pillow cases off the pillows, letting dogs in who will then take their turn “helping” and pee on your nice clean bed spread. (THIS REALLY HAPPENED!)
5. Think your children don’t play with their toys enough…just try to sort them out. As you sort and create piles of things to throw away, the toys will magically become brand new, wonderfully fascinating and irreplaceable. (You won’t get to get rid of anything, but the toys will get used again! This works with clothes too.)
6. Want your kids to sit down and be quiet? Try watching something inappropriate for them. They will automatically sit down and stare at the screen and soak up every word and image you do NOT want them to.
7. Want your children to dress nicer? Just tell them you’re going to make mud pies in the backyard. They will come out wearing their Sunday best!
8. If you have picky eaters and want them to eat their veggies, make only enough for the adults in the house. The kids will eat them all up leaving you with the hotdogs and potato chips.
9. To get your kids to get more exercise, get them dressed to go to church first. While you get dressed, they will run outside and play as hard as they can so until they are sweaty, their clothes are ripped and they stink to high heaven.
10. Finally, if you want your kids to sit down at the table, just try playing a board game too complicated for kids with YOUR friends. Your kids will be in your lap watching and sabotaging your every move.

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Old School Perks

I LOVE technology. I really do. One of the reasons I write this blog is to enjoy using technology. HOWEVER, there really are some major perks to sticking with old school. Here are just a few of my favorites:

1. I have never had to call Amazon to fix the wireless connection for my paperback.
2. I’ve never had to reset my newspaper.
3. I don’t have to buy batteries for or recharge my magazines.
4. My hardbacks may be stiffer but not necessarily ruined if I drop them in the bathtub.
5. My phone book doesn’t show me 200 places by the same name in 20 different cities when I only need the local store.
6. I never worried about my landline emitting signals into my brain and causing cancer.
7. That same landline never used to beep and blink at me all night.
8. I never felt I needed to chase my three-year old down to get a book away from her (like I have with my kindle).
9. I never worried that my book was heating up too much while I was reading it.
10. The best perk about a good old fashion book is that I have NEVER had to wrestle my favorite novel away from my children so that I could read it!!!

Ah….young love

I recently spent some time with a wonderful young person who is madly in love with her current beau. She is only 19 and thinks the two of them should wed. I listen to her arguments and think, “Wow! That was me 20 years ago!” So maybe this has been done before, but I would like to now dispel a few myths about marriage. Do not mistake my statements for synicism. I love marriage and cannot see myself as a single person trying to make my way through life alone. However, I really do wish someone would have been able to tell me these things and I could have really heard them.

Myth #1 – You have your best friend beside you to be there for you through thick and through thin.

Reality: You have your best friend beside you….except when they are working…or you’re working…or you’re sick and they can’t handle it….or you’re sick and have to go to the doctor….or they are exhausted and pass out on you on the only night you have with them.

Myth #2 – You’ll raise your children together taking turns taking care of them in a kind and loving way.

Reality: You….and your child (or children) will barely survive the first year of their lives. You will really feel as though you are existing in a world of crying, screaming, poop and vomit. As they grow older, those things will slowly diminish and then reappear during their teenage years….if you’re lucky.

Myth #3 – You decide not to have kids to have that amazing double income no kids, carefree life with your true love. You see yourselves going out to parties in fabulous clothes and dancing and dining with the “beautiful people.”

Reality: The jobs you will find to support that kind of lifestyle often suck up all of your time and energy. You end up grabbing take out on the way home, skipping the gym, picking up drinks and passing out in the living room in your work clothes. When you do have time to go out, you’ll feel so pressured to “have a good time”, you end up drinking too much and passing out in your clothes in your living room in your party clothes…..hmmm….sound familiar.

Well, I could go on, but it seems my next reality is calling. It’s nice to think I have all night to drone on and on about the realities of marriage…but my three year old is fighting with her sister and I now have to go play referee. So not what I pictured.

Oh well. Good night all. Sleep well!

You might be a mom if….

1. You find a pair of little girl panties in your purse.
2. You vacuum up lucky charms out of the master bedroom closet!!!???
3. Your house has been referred to as the “Land of Naked Barbies”.
4. Your last pedicure covered more of your toes than your toenails.
5. You look over and your husband’s toenails are a nice shade of pink. (LOVED THAT ONE!!)
6. A lock on the bathroom door is a fantastic gift from your husband.
7. You find grapes in your bed.
8. You haven’t seen the news in a week, but you know the dialogue to every SpongeBob, Superwhy and Barney episode ever made.
9. Your car stinks for a month because you can’t find the rotten fish stick that was stuffed into the back pocket of the drivers seat.
10. You feel like you are a servant to a 3 foot Diva!

Controversy in Special Education

I had a discussion today with a doctor who has a child in the local public schools. She said that last year a “special” child in her child’s class chased her child around with a screw driver. When she went to the school, she was told the school was attempting to implement “full inclusion”, meaning all children with special needs will be in mainstream classrooms.

Now having been a special education teacher for ten years, having served in inclusion, self-contained and pull-out settings, I feel like I have a pretty informed opinion. That is what I would like to share now.

While it is true that inclusion is an ideal setting for MOST children WHEN it is implemented correctly, it is not the IDEAL setting for ALL children. Let me explain, having also been a foster parent, I have come in contact with the “behind the closed doors” stories we would all like to close our eyes to.  I know what has happened to some of our children that causes permanent and irreversible damage. Some of the students I have worked with are currently serving time for murder, child molestation, assault and battery. While I loved these very same children when they were in school, I would not in a million years allow the school to place one of MY children in with one of them. Please know, I am perfectly aware that those same list of criminals come from the mainstream.

However, when children are suffering with major abuse and neglect issues at home, they often act out at school. They often end up on behavior plans that are essentially ineffective if they are not implemented correctly and end up being very dangerous at very young ages. YET, we as a society want to insist they be in with everyone else? Even in prisons, the most dangerous people are segregated.

So, my thoughts here are as follows. Yes, I would like to see as many children mainstreamed as possible. However, ANY child that demonstrates violent tendencies and/or cannot maintain minimally acceptable classroom behaviors should NOT be included. The reason is, it is a violation of the rights of the other students in the room. Every child has a right to feel safe at school….not just violent offenders.

As a dear friend of my says, “I’m just sayin’.”

 

Stay home vs being a working Mommy

Attention Mommies of the world! Are you struggling with whether or not to work or stay home with your children? Do you feel racked with guilt about staying home? Maybe your desire to use your degree and help your family financially is compelling you to get out of the house and bring home the bacon? My struggles with these very issues have haunted me for years. Today I want to share the pros and cons of both sides. The grass always looks greener from the other side, but everyone needs to remember that the lawn has to be tended to. It’s just the prices we pay that differ. So here goes:

Staying Home

Raising kids as a working MOM

It’s wonderful because you get to be with your children all day everyday. That’s also a reason why it can be a huge struggle. You are with your children ALL day EVERY day. If you are like me, you might not be able to afford childcare if you stay home. The simplest tasks can become complicated. My children are older, so I can manage to shower or bathe alone, but getting a haircut or shopping alone is not easily accomplished.

It’s great to feel like YOU are raising them and not leaving that job to others. On the flip side, if you don’t get out and spend time around other moms and kids, you may get a skewed view of “normal”. This often happened to me as a Special Education teacher. I would not realize that what was “normal” in my classroom was unheard of in a general education room. So make sure you keep in touch and spend time with other people in similar situations as you.

You and your kids may stay healthier if you stay home. This may not always be true, but I have found it to be true for me. I have been better able to tackle the sickness before it gets to us. I have been able to experiment more with natural remedies and that have kept us out of the doctor’s office. Still, I do worry that if one of us is struck with something more serious, we will struggle because we don’t have as much health insurance.

Being home, I have felt a lot more like I can focus on the things I sincerely feel are important. I am able to CHOOSE to help my friends and family. I am able to say no when I need to. (However, saying no is a skill that MUST be learned to be successful in either situation.) I do find that people tend to ask a little more of me than they did in the past. Some also think I have endless amounts of free time, forgetting that I still need to bring in a little money and that is not easily accomplished without a “job”.

Now this one is for those of us who spent all of our young lives preparing for a full time career. Staying home can be a serious blow to your self-esteem. My husband really enjoyed knowing I brought home a nice paycheck and was pretty upset that I wanted to stay home. Other teachers and other mommies have been very supportive, but a lot of people have made negative remarks and faces when I’ve told them what I do now. This is a situation I was not as prepared for as I thought I would be.

You may not get to see your kids as often, but you may cherish that time a little more. When you need to, you can leave them at the daycare a little longer to take care of yourself; get that massage or haircut. You may be able to plan quality activities or pay for vacations you will all enjoy. However, my experience was, I worked really hard to make time with my kids quality time, but I often got sick or worn out and ran out of energy for my family.

A working mom often feels a tremendous amount of guilt about sending their kids to daycare. HOWEVER, you need to know that unless the place is just awful your kids probably love it. They get to interact with other children. Their teachers plan activities to stimulate their little brains and the regular schedule gives them a great sense of security.

 

Children in daycare are exposed to a lot more illnesses. That means they will more likely get sick a lot more often. It also means they may develop a more powerful immune system and eventually not get sick nearly as much. I had that happen with both of my children. They both spent the first year sick every few weeks. After that, they seemed to be able to resist quite a bit….except LICE. They caught those every time there was an outbreak.

Working full time I often felt assigned tasks that I did not feel were worthy of my time. I was fully aware that I was staying late to complete paperwork that NO one ever read and would only be read if I screwed it up. This is when the guilt would get to me. I knew my kids were waiting for me and I couldn’t be there for them because I had to appease the Special Education Gods. These were things I could not choose. I just had to do them if I wanted that paycheck.

Working while taking care of little ones can be the biggest challenge you’ll ever face. Unless you have a reliable support system in place, sickness and activities can have a huge impact on your ability to do your job. The last two years of my career I missed more work than I ever had before. First one child would get sick, then the other. I would have to miss constantly. I began to miss deadlines more often. This was also a blow to my ego. I had gone from perfect attendance and nominations for awards to just hanging on. Not a happy situation.

In my case, I decided to stay home, but my desire to bring in an income is still very strong. I’ve decided to get training as a massage therapist. My ultimate goal is to have a business where I can set the schedule and take my kids. I want to focus on our health and put them first. I know I’m giving up insurance and retirement benefits, but I hope to remedy that situation through careful financial planning.

Hope this helps you make your own decision. Neither option is easy, and both have extreme pros and cons. Make sure you have weighed them all before taking the plunge, but also know that it is unlikely that either one HAS to be permanent. Maybe you can do both at least for a time. Whatever you decide, do it and don’t second guess yourself. Regret is a huge waste of time and energy. Follow through and meet as many of your goals as you can. Love you all! Have a great week!!!