One does not simply start blogging.

Actually, yes they do! Or rather, she does! I do!

My parents are driving south for the winter, leaving this weekend. I talk to my Mom on the phone quite a bit when they are in the same country as me, but not very much when they are away. I find it hard to believe I have reached the age where my parents need me as much as I need them. But here we are.

My parents need me to be around. By that I mean, they need emails, phone calls, Skype when they’re away, and they need to visit me, usually for 2 weeks at a time. I’m not going to sugar-coat this next statement: Their long visits usually drive me insane at some point. If I were Tara (in United States of Tara), I would for sure transition whenever my parents visit.

First, the positives: they fix little things around the house that we would never get around to doing; they help with the kids’ stuff (activities, food, discipline); they re-organize whatever drawers or shelves need it; they clean; they pick up after themselves; and they don’t need to be constantly entertained or monitored.

Now for the negatives. They are few but significant: we have a small house (I might have mentioned this before), so having 2 adult overnight guests is a big deal; we have 1 bathroom; my mother hears every conversation around her except for the one she is directly involved in; all of which results in a severe lack of privacy. A veritable privacy drought. Also I feel like I need to occasionally reassure her that we are ok financially. I think all parents who grew up in a small town and still live in one are horrified at the real estate prices and general cost of living in a city. My mother-in-law just about shits when she watches any real estate reality shows based in Toronto. This reaction is hilarious for me to watch.

Oh the guilt that arises from these thoughts like a vapour. I am actually very grateful and I thank my parents all the time for things they do for my family and I. I like having my Mom around to have conversations in person, go for walks, watch Wheel of Fortune, and play euchre. She’s very pleasant. Did also mention she is a good cook and excellent baker? My stepkids look forward to her visits partly because they know there will be good shizz in the fridge.

Holy crap, I am going to bother my kids like this some day. I’m so uncool, so imposing, so nosy, so…whatever is annoying at the time. I won’t be able to understand the brain implants everyone has, nor the communication devices inserted into their hands. I’ll say I remember the days when houses cost a mere 700K.

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Mouthful

Because I decided to take on a foster dog, I have a pretty full house. I always do this. I plan parties, celebrations, take on responsibilities and other get-togethers with the zeal of a much more sociable person than I actually am. The date looms ever closer and my anxiety rises ever higher. Then the day arrives and everything is fine. How can I possibly be a successful Mom without having essential party planning skills that don’t also stress me out?

I had a discussion with my Mom, and my best friend Margie was there also, which I began by stating that I’m a bad mother. Where do I get that idea from? It’s because I don’t have freshly baked cookies and healthy snacks waiting after school (you might recall my comment about fruit leather), and I’m a lazy-ass Mom when it comes to following through on a threat. For example, I will ask my son if he has cleaned his room and he will reply Yes. But do I verify this? No, and he knows it! And when I find out he is lying, I’m pissed off, but seldom does it come to a grounding or privilege restriction (because that requires follow-through!). I can’t keep track of who is not allowed to do what. That’s the reality of my situation.

Margie said she has a similar impression of herself. This was all pretty shocking to my mother, who thinks we have it all figured out, we bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, and so forth. And of course I always flip the situation and ask myself how many fathers worry about being a good role model and balancing work & life. Not many, I’ll bet. Does that make them better working parents? Yes it does. Men have always gone to work, and they have lots of examples to choose from.

Women have 3 models, I think:
1. Work from home/stay at home. Inevitably, the career suffers.
2. Work full time and hire childcare. Career ends up being moderately successful.
3. Work work work like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t see kids/husband much. Career wildly successful. (There aren’t any successful business people who achieved success by spending a lot of time with their family.)

** You’ll notice I worked a numbered list into this post!

There must be other options for Moms out there.

First of all

Today I have decided I need an outlet to continue writing. I have been a technical writer for over 15 years, until recently when my company decided I should become a business process editor and analyst. I think. The powers that be haven’t yet told me what I am or what I do. So I find myself at loose ends, looking for things to do. Last night my husband needed some marketing communication edited, and I surprised myself at how much delight I took in reducing, chunking, clarifying and emphasizing bits of text. Obviously I’m not going to start posting bullet points and numbered steps. But some creative word smithing is in order.

Right now I have 3 dogs in my city house. I say city house because that should give an idea of the size (small). The dogs are not small. Well, one is a miniature dachshund. The other 2 are 75 pounds each. The small one and 1 big one are mine, and the other big one is a foster dog that I’m keeping for a few weeks (I think?). This foster dog has never before lived in a house, only outside. Sad, right? That’s what my husband and I thought. My husband doesn’t like dogs very much. No matter, I am happy to be the dog lady around here, feeding walking loving and making them mind.

I haven’t even told my mother I have a 3rd dog living here nor most of my friends. They would freak the hell out. See, I have 5 children to take care of, and a full-time job, plus clean underwear and socks and snacks and meals to provide. And lunches. Can’t forget lunches. 1 kid is not a kid, but and adult on her own. Actually the 2nd one is too, but we still see her at our house a lot. The 3rd is a teenager. Enough said. We don’t see him much. The 4th is an adorable 6th grader. The 5th, the baby, is an active 4th grader. I just re-read this post and I sound like super woman. Not true. I am most definitely not super woman, trust me. My kids eat fruit leather instead of actual fruit.

I have tried filling my time with crochet. So I crochet like cah-razy. Recently I made an amigurumi Loki character. It’s cute, but my baby says it doesn’t look like Loki. No offence, Mommy. Sure, whatever. It kept me out of the crack house and opium den. I have also constructed many hats, scarves, Christmas stockings, and gifts. I love it, it’s fun, but there is a limit to how many things I can have in my house that are crocheted, no matter how creative I get with the stitches and colours. Am I allowed to be offended when I create something for someone and they don’t wear it? I also made these very interesting and cool t-shirt sweaters. I embellished t-shirts with yarn. They were very time-consuming, I made 2, and when I wear them the reactions are mixed. The extra polite comments are funny. And then you have the other side of the reaction spectrum, encouraging me to mass produce these and sell them. Not every cute t-shirt is the basis for a cottage industry.

There’s a Santa glowing at me.  But that’s a topic for another post…