Many people tend to grow more curmudgeonly as they grow older. Not me. I’ve found the older I get, the more hopeful and positive I become. It’s very obvious to me why this is happening. It’s simply because as the years pass by, I have to deal with more and more crap, and yet each time, things work out OK. Problems get bigger, times get harder, bad times last longer. But without fail, I survive.
Sometimes I come out the other side of a struggle smelling like roses. Other times, I’m beaten down. But as Édith Piaf so famously sang, “Non, je ne regrette rien.” I regret nothing. It’s from the worst struggles that I’ve learned the most. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned what I’m made of. And most importantly, I’ve learned that it does always get better.
In essence, I am an optimist.
Lately, though, I’ve had to temper myself. Many of my friends have been dealing with all kinds of really bad stuff. Everything from job losses to deaths to disease to some really unspeakably horrible situations. As much as I want to comfort them with advice from my experiences, I have to refrain. Because I’ve noticed that not everyone else feels the power of positive thinking. Not everyone else is comforted by the platitudes that give me strength. And I also have to remind myself that there are different parts of a journey. While hindsight gives me the ability to see the bigger picture and sift through it for the good bits, being in the midst of a nightmare makes it difficult to gain perspective. You’ve just got to plow through it until you wake up.
Just because I may not say what I’m thinking, though, doesn’t mean the thought isn’t there. Optimism infiltrates everything I do.
So it was fitting that one of my Internet wormholes led me to the Optimist’s website this weekend. I didn’t know anything about this organization, and honestly, I still don’t. I landed on one page, and found a gem. There I found The Optimist Creed.
I love it. I love everything about it. I wholeheartedly believe every word of this. Although I often fall short, I try to live by these promises.
Look, I’m not trying to convert you into being an optimist or anything. But consider this little graphic I made a tract. I’m just handing it to you, no pressure. Read it at your leisure. Then holler at me if you have any questions or want to learn more. Because us optimists always like to have more people in our club.
Since I finally accepted the fact that summer is over, I’ve been a busy bee. I’ve been doing a lot of substitute teaching. And by a lot, I mean pretty much every day. Plus, I’m busy doing “mom stuff.” The boys are back in Scouts, and Jack is playing soccer. That makes me *GASP* a soccer mom. It’s embarrassing. I hope Jack will one day recognize the sacrifice I’ve made by allowing him to saddle me with that label.
Then there’s the sauce thing. I’m making and selling lots of my garlic sauce. This may turn into a business, in which case I’ll be moving it into a commercial kitchen. Until then, I’m just making a complete and total shambles of my home kitchen. Do you know how hard it is to get burnt-on olive oil off a stovetop? Trust me, you don’t want to.
So I was very happy when my friends at Molly Maid agreed to give me a cleaning. Things have really gotten out of control at the house, and I needed help.
After we got home from school the afternoon of the cleaning, I sat down and had a talk with the boys about how nice a clean house is, and how we can keep it that way. Here’s what they had to say:
Yep, if it’s my kids, it’s going to involve some sort of crash landing.
It’s a busy time of year for most families. If you, like me, are swamped, contact Molly Maid of Greater Little Rock right now. If you mention this post, you’ll even get $25 off your next service!
Disclosure: Sometimes Molly Maid cleans my house in exchange for promotional work. Things like this make blogging worthwhile.
On the one hand, I see her point. Have you seen some of the crap that DIY bloggers throw together? Bless their hearts, they think their projects actually look good. Or some of the outfits fashion bloggers post? Sorry dear, but no one is inspired by khaki capris and a solid color tee. On the other hand, many bloggers are experts, whether they’re highly educated or known personalities in their field. Also, Martha’s business model depends a lot on having bloggers pimp her products. So she’s biting the hand that feeds her.
That’s pretty much all I have to say on the topic. I really can’t muster up the energy to get my panties in a wad over this particular debate. I’ll let others with genuine indignation handle it for me. In the words of Martha’s own daughter, I say “Whatever.”
BUT…the whole topic got me thinking. I am a blogger. Am I an expert? Heck yeah I am. Here’s what I’m an expert on:
Ignoring dirty pots in the sink until someone else washes them.
Eating the kids’ Halloween candy without them ever noticing.
Throwing away the kids’ old crap toys without them ever noticing.
Finding airplanes in flight on Google Maps. For real.
Pretending I’m a Formula One driver when navigating traffic.
Singing Amy Winehouse songs in the shower.
Doing silly stuff to make my kids happy. (Yes, that’s a real lizard on my nose.)
I don’t really know where to start. As you may have noticed, it’s been months since I’ve blogged. So I’m a bit rusty.
It’s the summer’s fault, really. This year, we heeded her siren call, and went totally feral. The calendar was thrown out the window. Regularly-scheduled activities were preempted by spontaneous bike rides and endless pool sessions. The internet was eschewed for decks of cards and trashy novels.
It was heavenly.
But the halcyon days of ignoring emails and “forgetting” baths couldn’t last forever. The boys eventually had to return to school. It took me a little longer, however, to return to my schedule. In my head, I’m always about eight years old, filled with lightness and frivolity, with no cares beyond a single worksheet for homework.
When you’re a kid, it’s a bit easier to turn the laziness on and off. You can make it through the week because you know there’s a weekend. You can happily return to school because you know the holidays will bring a reprieve (and because getting new school supplies is just so darn fun).
Not so for adults, especially parents. There is no end to constant low-level stress. There is no weeks-long vacation. When the (home)work’s done, there are still bills to pay and houses to clean.
I finally managed to pull myself together, though, and get back on track. I’ve been working quite a bit, which means I actually have to answer phone calls and respond to emails. I’m shampooing my hair on a regular basis. And I’m back to living and dying by my calendar app.
I was careful, though. After quitting responsibility cold turkey, I knew jumping back into it with a full hit could lead to an overdose. I very slowly added activities back to the schedule, and that’s nice. It meant I was able to fill in the gaps with the good stuff, and not over-schedule us with crap.
Blogging, though, seems to have been the last thing to make it back onto my to-do list. Frankly, I haven’t missed it much. And frankly, I don’t know that other people have, either. Since my last post, I’ve only had TWO people mention my absence.
WELL, THEN. I SEE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT ME.
It’s OK. Really, it is. Although I always much prefer to write for an audience, it’s not completely necessary. Sometimes I just need a space to hash through my thoughts. And I’ve been feeling that need more and more lately, so I figured it was time to dust off my little corner of the web.
Are you as excited about the royal baby as I am? I love royals, I love William, I love Kate, I love England, I love pomp and circumstance, I love babies, so I LOVE ALL THE ROYAL BABY WATCH LIKE A MAD WOMAN!
And rumor has it that the baby may even be on his or her way AS I TYPE THIS!
This will totally be me when the baby arrives:
I have trouble believing the rumors, though, because it seems like this baby will never be born. If the anticipation is driving me crazy, then Kate must be losing her ever-lovin’ mind.
I’ll be honest — I’m glad this baby is seemingly very late to be born, because it’s finally bringing attention to a little-discussed, yet absolutely horrible problem. It’s a scary syndrome called Overdue Pregnancy. I have firsthand experience with this condition, as both my boys were weeks (not days, WEEKS) overdue. With Jack, I was in full labor — complete with painful contractions — for many, many days before he was actually born. And even when my doctor finally decided to induce (after I almost became an episode of Snapped), we still weren’t sure he’d find his way out even then. With Finn, I wasn’t ever in labor, thank goodness. But he overstayed his welcome so much that my placenta started to fail, so we had to induce.
Both times, I was absolutely miserable, frustrated and depressed. With Jack, the overdue pregnancy was a complete surprise. All my friends who’d had babies before me had given birth before their due dates, or they’d been allowed to pick their induction date and schedule a trip to the hospital like you book a hotel reservation. Little did I know that those types of births are not so common, and even risky. When I was overdue with Finn, I knew better, so I was a little more patient. Plus it was winter, not the blazing hot desert summer that Jack was born in, so I was more comfortable overall.
Somehow, the idea that babies arrive early or on time is still being promoted by parenting forums or magazines or even doctors. When I talk to younger women these days, I find they still think due dates matter. They still think they need to have their nursery ready at the 8th month, because that little bundle of joy could arrive any moment! And they still think that if their due date comes and goes, their doctor will stop the torture and induce them ASAP.
WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.
I don’t want to scare you, so I won’t share all the horrors of overdue pregnancies, but I will let you in on a few secrets. Here are some myths that were dispelled for me when I was 60 or so weeks pregnant:
Most babies arrive early. No they don’t. It’s just that you hear about the early arrivals more than the late ones. Everyone likes to tell you about the time their water broke in public, or about the friend who gave birth in her car on the way to the hospital. And we hear all about the potential problems of premature births, but almost nothing about overdue births. The truth is, there are plenty of factors that can lead to overdue births, just as there are plenty of factors that lead to premature births. First-born babies, babies in certain positions, even boy babies tend to come after a mother’s due date.
There are home remedies that can induce labor. They can, but it’s not likely. Just ask any woman who tried to walk it out after drinking castor oil. Things like having more sex and nipple stimulation can produce hormones that may induce labor, but it’s certainly no guarantee. And some other home remedies may be downright dangerous.
If you go too far past your due date, your doctor will induce you. I am here to tell you this is a lie. Your doctor won’t induce you until your uterus and cervix are ready, or until you start having placental problems. To induce you before either of these things happens is dangerous for you and baby, and no good doctor will do it. You can be in labor, with full contractions, all you like, but until your cervix starts dilating and opening, no baby is going to come from between your legs. If the door is shut, that sucker is SHUT, and your doctor does not have a skeleton key.
If you’re induced, pitocin will make everything happen. Nope. Pitocin causes you to have contractions. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not cause your uterus to be ready or your cervix to ripen. If you’re given pitocin before you’re ready, you’re going to have nothing but a painful, unproductive labor that ends in a c-section.
The bottom line is, babies come when they’re ready. When they’re ready, nature takes its course. There are only a very few times when medical intervention is necessary for overdue mothers.
So to all pregnant or wannabe pregnant women out there, I say this: Don’t listen to the happy stories. Don’t believe the hype. But likewise, don’t be scared. Use your pregnancy as a time to hone your patience skills, because Lord knows you will need them when your toddler learns the word “no,” or when your tween gets a hormone surge. Enjoy pregnancy (the easy part of motherhood) while you can!