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gradschool-preschool-holyhellschool

SCHOOL!  Though I’m currently debating pulling us both out and joining a gypsy caravan under the auspices of  “field studies”, I’m trying to step back, take a deep breath, and see that school is a net positive for BOTH of us.  Safari is apparently learning that it’s not okay to say “I can’t”, something that we’ve been working on at home as well… though, when her teacher brought it up, I felt like a parental failure.  It didn’t exactly positively reinforce that my thoughts of her not being too fond of me as just my own projections.  Pretty certain she thinks I’m a degenerate parent.  Perhaps it’s because Safari has only made it to school half the time she’s been enrolled, or maybe it’s because her nails are often caked with dirt.  At any rate, I’m not joining the PTA anytime soon (thankfully it’s only preschool and I don’t have to subject myself to hoards of other moms who are hellbent and bent out of shape on their kids education quite yet ;)).  Though I am hoping that the PTA conforms to my rosy ideas of what a healthy school community could look like, and not my irrational assumptions that it’s full of crazy parents.

AND, I guess that I’m learning it’s not okay to say “I can’t” as well.  Being with two young kids hour in and hour out, 7 days a week, is a difficult enough job in and of itself (and YES, I believe that being a stay-at-home-parent is one of the most challenging jobs one could take on, though I am extremely fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive partner by my side), adding in graduate school (MBA in Sustainable Enterprise, part-time, but still) to that, makes me want to take a shot of whiskey just thinking about it.  FORTUNATELY, my class has been quite enlightening and fulfilling, forcing me to think and think and think some more.  It’s reinforced my love of free form writing and has challenged my behaviors as a parent.  It has also reaffirmed that I hate boxes (in this case, boxing myself into a narrow career field), but has at the same time helped me confirm that I NEED a box.  Maybe that’s why I dislike them so much.  I’m a generalist at heart, or perhaps by nature, and it’s VERY difficult to create a career as a generalist.  Would someone PLEASE just make me a pretty [bedazzled] box and stick me in it?  If I start crying and shouting at you, really, it’s okay, I’ll be okay.  {This I learned over the first few mornings dropping Safari at preschool.  She shrieked as if she was being bludgened and tortured, but after 10 minutes, she was good}.  Once I’m in it, I’ll take it from there (as long as the walls are high enough).  When you’re the kind of person who is as interested in fashion design as you are in restoring salmon populations, it’s a tid bit challenging to narrow in on a career.

If nothing else, it feels good to turn my brain on and think of something other than what I’m going to cook tonight for dinner or WHY THE HELL Denali had to spill his entire bowl of yogurt, for the third time, today. I CAN’T isn’t an option going to graduate school with kids.  I have to write that paper AND change poopy diapers.  It’s a great exercise in time management and a great experiment in pushing my boundaries and saying, or at least thinking “I CAN”.

Though I’m still not convinced that any of it is sustainable long term or that a clear cut path has been forged, for now, school is a defined part of our lives.  Don’t be annoyed with my indecision (something that many have been known to do), take the ride, it’ll be, at the very least, exhilarating.

Next on the “I CAN” list is a juice cleanse followed by 6 weeks of NO SUGAR (not even honey), NO ALCOHOL, NO COFFEE, NO DAIRY, NO GRAINS, NO YEAST, and of course, no processed foods.  Hoping that it’ll make everything feel a little lighter and a littler easier and if I’m lucky, it’ll even inspire me to tell about it.

As is the theme of my blog, life’s a journey, we’ll see where we’re at in 6 months… bon voyage.

 

Finding Inspiration in the Ordinary (and sorting through the web of motherdom, kindof)

OH BOY.  Is the ordinary reality of life really so boring that I can only write about the extraordinary unreality of adventure?  This question plagues me and my newly found blogging hobby.  How easy it is to get caught up in the day to day act of survival and let your spirit dry up (like my poor sugar snap peas), and subsequently, your inspiration to create.  I need to remind myself to turn on the sewing machine and make a few stitches and to realize that while my ordinary life can seem monotonous and stagnant, it’s those very moments in between that create room for the extraordinary.  It is the journey, after all, not the destination, that will define your life.

To be a human being is a complex problem but to be a mother is a whole new magnitude of clusterf&%$ed-ness.  And I do believe that it’s a cluster totally unique to a mother; one that father’s [generally] don’t experience (to the same extent).  Women, as I see it, are expected to wear many hats.  We’ve risen above the status of housewife and sit side by side our male counterparts, but are still required to be the more domesticated of the two, which means getting dinner on the table and clean laundry in the closet.  To be a mother is to be constantly torn in two directions.  Guilt becomes a normal feeling.  And as if figuring out/fulfilling our life’s purpose wasn’t difficult enough to manage with the constant needs of slightly parasitic children, the preschool debacle and the possibility that I’m poisoning my kids brains by feeding them whole wheat bread (and a smattering of other stuff), is enough to make even the sanest of moms fall off their rocker.  Geesh, it’s no wonder I’d rather live in the unreality of adventure.

This is how the water boils, for me.  I basically live straddled in two worlds under constant siege with myself; living the life of a domestic goddess (albeit not quite that gracefully), dreaming about [somehow creating a career] with a backpack on my back (or perhaps my front, with a baby strapped to my back ).  Reconciling the sedentary nature of having kids has been a difficult prospect for me.  Which I think is why I’ve found this blog so inspiring.  Maybe I don’t have to choose, maybe I can have my cake and eat it too.  Gluttonous you say?  Selfish perhaps some are thinking?  But I don’t see it this way (except when I do – after all, why on earth would my brain allow for such a cut and dry answer, I meant siege when I said it).  Kids happened to me.  I didn’t plan for it (initially – number one oh-so-surprising, number two oh-so-planned); yet I find them integral to life as I know it.  Why can’t my journey be their journey?  Does choosing life in the direction of kids have to mean suburbs, conventional school and soccer tournaments (or a derivative therof)?  Or could it look like an RV, homeschool, and learning about and gaining passion for anything and everything under the sun (or a derivative therof)?

But then comes in the convention in me, waltzing in like the elephant no one invited.  She screams, “but, the kids need routine and consistency in order to develop proper social skills and become confident, secure adults”.  They need “Montessori preschool, or wait, was it Waldorf, or good god, maybe Reggio Emilio” in order to become the people I hope them to be.  In the end, I think that my hope is that a supportive, loving family unit is all they’ll really need.  The constant questioning of how they’ll become the best people they can be is dead ended in ambiguity; who the eff knows, including me, what formula will work best?  You can read and read and analyze and think and think and analyze some more and end up a crazy maker spouting your revelations on your blog and creating a whole new line of crazy making, paranoid, mothers.  Or, you can give yourself a break and let faith guide you.

In short, if you can relate to my cluster, let your journey and the journey of your children be one of the same, rooted in love and support, open to exploring and engaging in the vast world around you… at least that’s what I’m going to do… for now.

Go turn on your sewing machine (or other proverbial device) and fill your spirit.

Be inspired and create room for the extraordinary.