Shut the Hell UP! (Please)

It’s 8pm.  And so far today, I havent experienced five seconds of quiet.  The first thing I heard this morning when I woke up was an alarm clock beeping in my right ear.  And everything from that point forward has had me wishing, hoping, praying even – that my ears would be silenced for just a few minutes. Even the bathroom isn’t a suitable escape.

One of the things that no one ever told me about motherhood was how noisy it is.  The kids are always making noise.  They crave noise – which to me is an utter distraction to the peace that exists in my head.  They are listening to music, singing, asking questions, talking, bickering, all out arguing, watching television, playing games on their Ipods,while I am suffering from noise overload.

‘Right now, Spongebob’s voice is driving me insane in the background and my phone is making annoying twittles to alert me that someone, or something needs me. It’s 8pm people!  just go away already!

The last time I heard silence, was last week when tornadoes ripped through a town just a few miles north of where I live.  In the moments before the storm, I sat huddled with my kids watching the funnel cloud and hoping that it would miss my house.  And in that moment, the entire world around me was hushed of sound – or even air.  But dammit, I couldn’t enjoy it then because I was scared out of my gourd. 

So the noise, the sounds….continue.  I have to admit that there are moments when I wish everyone would just be quiet for 5 minutes.

But I also know that in the silence will probably come loneliness.  So for today I fore-go the urges to tell everyone to shut the hell up and I listen. Intently and sometimes with admitted annoyance at the sounds of my life.

Smudge

From where I stand as I do my dishes I can see a green pasture that blooms with yellow weeds.  Pecan trees drape the soft fence line and pine trees seem to grow so tall they touch the sky.  In the summer the pasture is filled with wild blackberry bushes and bumble bees.  Cows occasionally stroll through my looking glass and seem to offer just enough excitement for me to happily get through with my chores.  Just the other day, my window to the world had a great big smudge.

I have no idea how it got there (4 kids in the house) but I do know that it distracted me to the point of emotional irritation.  As I tend to be obsessive compulsive when it comes to the cleanliness of my home, I felt an edginess stirring within that I could not shake.

As a test to the endurance of my mind I decided to leave the smudge.  I told myself that it wouldn’t bother me; it wouldn’t keep me from my writing or hold my attention that long.  I had complete intention to let it go.  I would forego the usual routines of cleaning the environmental chaos from my home.  That is a difficult task in and of itself, to just let things go, but I decided that I must use my knowledge of the mind to let this one go as well.  After all, it is just a smudge, a harmless mark of dirty hands upon the window of my world.  I did after all have the power to decide how I wanted to see it.

Several days later, the smudge still there I started to become restless.  When I walked in the room my eyes immediately darted to the smudge.  It seemed bigger.  When I vacuumed I would think about cleaning the smudge. As I toiled with my dishes, I no longer the noticed what was outside my window, just the great big ugly smudge.  As I cooked I noticed the smudge.  I would sit down to try and write or read and the smudge would cross my mind.  Each time I tried to not think about the smudge, I was thinking about the smudge.  This may seem silly, but I was determined, intent in fact on ignoring the smudge.  I had to see if I could do it.  If I couldn’t ignore a little, well big smudge on my window then how could I ever ignore more prudent things that would eventually manifest themselves into illness or grief.  I believe the importance of invoking good thoughts to be able to receive the abundance of well being.

For nights I went to bed babies in my arms and the image of the smudge crept into my mind.  I would drive my kids to school and think about how I would ignore the smudge when I got back home. Some days I just stayed out. I woke up several times in the middle of the night for a drink and my mind went immediately to the stained window in my kitchen.  It was maddening!  I began to feel like a failure as a student in life.  I began to feel that I was powerless to control my thoughts.  One negative reaction led to another negative thought and the process seemed to continue.  I became tired and I became irritated.  One day, I could hold it in no longer and talked to a friend about my smudge. She looked at me rather perplexed and quite abruptly said, “so clean it off the window already, do you need some Windex or something?” I was stunned.  In disbelief I stood there.  I wondered if I could really do that, could I really simply clean it up and be done with the smudge forever? The paper towels and Windex were sitting under the sink; they had been there all along.

That same day, I cleaned the smudge off my window.  I began to see the cows again.  I noticed that pecans were falling off the trees and that the wind seemed to be blowing the tall grass in swirls.  A squirrel was gathering nuts.  A deer appeared near the fence and ate the green pasture grass, its little white tail bobbing behind her.  The sun sparkled off the grass and little orbs of glowing balls seemed to shoot from the tops of the pine trees.  I got my dishes done without notice.  My mood changed and my intention shifted to my writing, to my family, to my sleeping, to all the things that I love.  I felt really good!

Most of us have a smudge or two on the windows of our life.  I realized that not only is it normal to notice them, it is healthy to clean them up before they manifest into mighty dark spots that shield our eyes and heavy our spirits.  The intention of the deliberate mind should not be on ignoring or controlling that which bothers us; but rather on the careful attention to how our thoughts are making us feel.  My intention to not think about the smudge, led to the smudge to be all I thought about.  This is true with most things in life.  The smudges may present themselves in different shapes and forms, but it is our attention to them that heightens their capacity to become a part of us.  If we can clean it, if we can wipe it away with a simple stroke of the hand then I say we should.  Smudge will take on the power we give to it.  The sooner it is gone, the sooner we can be mindful of the things in life that bring us closer to the light.  The looking glass will seem sharper, clearer and our view will be an optimal extension of soul.

Mama’s Number One Pet Peeve -

Mama’s Number One Pet Peeve –

Listen, we all have parenting pet peeves.  Some moms hate kids with bad manners.  Other moms feel a great amount of disdain for mothers who breastfeed inside Starbucks, while others judge those that choose bottles.  Some mothers disagree with allowing teenage girls to dress like hoochie mama’s at school.  The list of pet peeves is virtually endless.  But for me, one of the most basic pet peeves that I have is negligent parents who dont mind screwing with my child’s health for their own ‘best interest.’ 

You KNOW who I am talking about.  The moms that allow their kids to throw up in the morning and then pump them full of medicine so they can get their Yoga class in, or make it to work on time.  The Advil buys them at least a couple of hours during the day, while in the meantime the child is infecting tons of other kids. 

The following is my post over at Planning Family that details my biggest parenting pet peeve.  http://www.planningfamily.com/blog/stefs-number-one-parenting-pet-peeve/

And please, use this as an opportunity to bitch about yours!

Shitty Mothers

When I first started this blog, I wanted to call it ‘shitty mothers.’  Shittymothers dot com.  I thought that the title alone would make people want to read,  But then I worried that if I called my blog shitty mothers,people might thing my blog was shitty too. 

Here’s the thing. At some point or another, you are going to think you are a shitty mom.  One day, my daughter whined so much that I thought I was literally going to kill her. (okay, so not literally)  By the end of the day, I grounded her to her room.  That night she woke up sick and vomiting with a fever.  I felt like a shitty mother. 

Another time, trying to referee a sibling fight, I sided with the daughter who was actually in the wrong.  I didn’t know that she was in the wrong – but she fessed up when I pretended to throw her sisters Ipod in the trashcan.  (I didn’t, but said I did)  I guess that she couldn’t live with herself if she knew it was her fault and I tossed $200 in the trashcan.  And, the only reason I sided with her in the first place was because my other daughter was USUALLY the one who started trouble.  So it was easy for me to believe in that moment that she was the one in the wrong.  (Are you following all that)?

Another time I forged a note – in front of my daughters, so their absence from school that day would be excused.  And the only reason they stayed home was because I didn’t feel well, and didn’t feel like getting my fat butt up and out of the house at 7am to drive the kids to school.  Yes, I know – shitty mother. 

I would bet money (not really) on the fact that most of us moms spend more time feeling like shitty mothers than we do feeling good about our maternal accomplishments.  I would also bet that no one, and I mean no one else on Earth feels as much guilt as a mother.  (I think Earth is supposed to be capitilized, at least thats what i told my 10 year old when she wrote her research paper)

See, we mothers cannot just make a decision when it concerns the kids and just go with it, under the elitist air of “I could care less what you think because I’m the boss.” No, instead we have to carefully think about every detail of our interactions with our kids.  And we don’t EVER get the opportunity to stand back from our work (aka masterpieces) to look at them with a fresh pair of eyes just to see if we are putting our best foot forward.

Mothers are forced to act in the moment, to make split second decisions, to stir several pots at one time, to always be looking for the needle in the haystack.  And there is a hell of a lot of responsibility on our shoulders.  It’s like moms are the queens of customer service.  But with our customer service, if we suck – then we dont just mess up someone’s order.  We mess up someone’slife.(And people wonder why we are moody and emotional)

In retrospect, I am super glad that I went with Momspirational rather than shitty mothers dot com.  (plus, it was already taken).  And in the light of most days, I don’t believe that I am really a shitty mom.  I think I do a good job, or at the least the best with the tools I have.  (Which sometimes is little more than a spatula and sponge). 

The moral of these ramblings is this! YOU  ARE NOT A SHITTY MOM. Every single thing you have done, from drinking too much wine in front of your kids, to momentarily resenting your choices to have kids in the first place is normal and natural, and not shitty.  So give yourself a break.  And just for today, think about all the things that you have done, and are doing right.  (But since those are likely boring, please leave me comments about the things  you have done that make you a shitty (but momspirational) mother!  And if you got a picture, please post it here!

Blessings – Stef