Friday, August 20, 2010

Simple Moments: Tired, Hungry, and Hot baby

It is the simplest moments in life that make everything all worth it.  At least that's what we are told throughout our lives.  But it for me it wasn't until I became a mom that I really understood it.  I'm talking really, deeply, in my soul and heart understood what that meant.

Having a soon to be two year old, who began her terrible twos a few months back, has been quite a challenge.  Especially when her favorite word is "no".   No, no, no, no, no.  On one usual day I packed up my little warrior and headed out to tackle some errands. The closer it got to snack and nap time, the more the little tiny monster inside her started to creep out.  She gets that from her mommy.  If I'm hungry and sleepy, get out of the way and save yourself dear friends.  She began to get really fussy continously trying to get out of the shopping cart, and telling me "no, momma. bye bye."  Her que for it's time to go now.  I quickly grabbed the last few things and headed for the checkout.  Watching as judging eyes stared at me as if I was such a horrible person for letting my daughter sob. Obviously they weren't all parents, and those that were should be ashamed of themselves for judging. I quickly scanned the crowd looking for that one connection with those motherly eyes offering sincere condolences.  I found one, with three little ones of her own, fighting eachother in the shopping cart.  Ahh, good I wasn't totally alone. It also didn't help that it happened to be over one hundered degrees outside (gotta love the high desert).  I raced to the car with a sleepy, hungry, and hot baby which as we all know equals total meltdown. Sometimes for both child and parent.  Even while munching on her snacks that I pre-packed, she lost it.  Screaming the highest pitch she could possibly reach.  My consoling attempts were useless.  I just had to get through the next 20 minutes, get her home and into a nice cool bed.

I pushed myself through the front door of my house holding four very uncomfortable market bags, a screaming baby with snot dripping all down her face onto me, and all the while I was frustrated, flustered, and sweating like a polar bear in Texas.  (This was one of the many euphemisms I learned during my few years living in none other than, the land of the ever so uniquely strange, Texas.) None the less, I was finally home and in desperate need of a spare set of hands and a cocktail.  Neither were readily available.

After cleaning us both up, and a nice cold cup of milk for baby, we rested our heads on the softest, coolest pillows ever (or at least it felt like it at the moment).  Finally, calmed she turned ever to me and ever so softly said "I la yuuu momma." Shortly followed by a big smile and, "I did poopy."  We both simultaneously broke out into a giddy laugh and my heart smiled so big and hugged this memory tight.  The rest of the days events didn't matter one bit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Does Living Simply = More Happiness?

In the wake of recent financial difficulties, as many of us our finding ourselves in these days, I have begun the difficult journey to revamp my spending and living habits.  I have struggled for many months now trying to let go of the emotional strings attached to so many useless material items that I have acquired over the years, as well as those items that I have every so slyly brain washed myself into believing that I must have them in order to bring more joy into my life.
With these changes I discovered that I am an emotionally driven and compulsive spender!  It is quite embarrassing to admit it.  But it's true!  I found myself considering a $120 purchase with only half that actually in my bank account.  I literally tried to rationalize that it was OK.  A reel of pathetic thoughts replayed in my mind: I needed to buy it, it had many great uses, it will make me happy, I can overdraft and pay the bank back in a week when I get paid again, no big deal.... I need it....I want it.  And yes, I actually bought it.  Soon after I was tormented with buyers remorse.  The guilt was so overwhelming, it brought me to tears.  I was guilty that I not only had wastefully spent money I didn't have, but even more guilty that I was actually thinking like this.  I was a responsible mom and partner, an upstanding citizen, and yet at that very moment I could have sworn to you that this purchase was life or death.  How much more pathetic could I be.  Is this the type of person I want to be?  No wonder I never had any extra spending cash, I was wasting it away all the while complaining about how broke I was.   I decided then and there that this twisted relationship with shopping was over.  

Little did I know at the time how difficult this break up would be.  A real emotional roller coaster set into over drive.  Still feeling quite overwhelmed by the urge to shop, I started with baby steps.  If I felt an overwhelming urge to spend I would go online and do a little window shopping, actually putting items in my cart.
Then I would review my choices and truly deliberate if I really needed it.  I would compare it against other things that were more important to me.  For example,  I would say do I really need these lovely comfy sandals for my long work days (see the rationalization kicking in there), or would I much rather use that money to go out on a date with my honey, or buy something useful and educational for my daughter?  I would then slowly and thoughtfully empty my cart, as I determined each item was unnecessary.  It helped me to gain a real perspective on what's important.  What would really bring me joy.  I had to accept that I didn't have the same cash flow I did five years ago, and that deciding what to do with an extra $20 took some real heartfelt thought.

The struggle still exists daily, however I think my train of thought has begun to transform enough that I have found a renewed sense of strength in having control over my spending habits, and a new sense of multiplying the joy in my life by creating a life that is much more simple.  It may sound cheesy but waking up extra early with my family on a Sunday, enjoying a quick breakfast followed by some delicious coffee (for the adults), hitting some local yard sales with only $10 on hand and extra family and friends in tow, followed by a cool down at a local park, makes for such a satisfying a fulfilling day!  Who would of thought trading in shopping sprees could be so good for me! 

P.S.  After I wrote this I found this very interesting related article.  Do you think that you could cut down to only having 100 material items in your life? Sounds like a hardcore challenge... 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just Plain Rude, Workplace Drama

As if the life of a working parent isn't stressful enough, there are those days with the added "joys" (I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible) of workplace rudeness.  I'm really not quite sure what makes people think that it's ok to be unethically rude to their co-workers and or employees.  I don't know if any of you have ever had one of those bosses that makes you want to pull your hair right out of your pretty little head, lord knows that I have.  Yet, I drag myself out of bed at an ungodly hour, every morning, and put a bright and shiny smile on my face every day, and get my job done (and done well, I might add) every single day!  Usually, the day goes by fairly ok, and I get to go home to by beautiful family and loose no sleep over my days work.  Usually.

On one of the unusual days recently, I was scolded as if I were a five year old child for a simple and fixable clerical error on a letter I sent out.  I had the joy of listening to the Chair of my department, who while in a position of some power is not my actual boss, yell at me over the phone in the wee hours of the work day.  Talk about a rude awakening.  She kept referencing an email I'd never seen and going on about an error that I had no idea had occurred.  In response to her five minute rant, I kept quiet, reviewed my copies of the letter and responded with a simple "I see the error, I will take care of it right away and notify the recipients."  Three seconds later I was hung up on.  Then a mere two seconds later my bosses phone rings.  Her office is right next to mine, and I'm not quite sure if she's figured out that I can hear all her conversations pretty clearly through our cheap office walls.  Jumping right on the Chair's rant and rave band wagon, she sent me a very short and rude, the apparent theme of the day, email demanding to see the letter and demanding that I apologize to the Chair without even talking to me about the situation first.  She simply assumed.  We all know what happens when you assume...  Apologize for what, no person in their right and sane mind could say considering the Chair was the one yelling at me and speaking to me as if I was an imbecile.  I stood my ground, and explained to my boss that in fact it was the Chair who had been rude, detailing some of the events, and that I refuse to respond to that type of unprofessional treatment.  She left it at that and become rather nice to me shortly after, and I can only hope she realized her wrong doing. My boss reviewed the corrected letter, gave her stamp of approval to send them out, only to find out shortly after that she too had made a mistake with the letters.  I know I shouldn't, but I did take a little joy in seeing that happen to her.  Now it was my job to fix her mess, track down the letters that were already on their way to the post office, and redo them yet again, only to hear her on the phone with the Chair taking credit for fixing the mistake and not giving credit to me where credit was due.  A true follower pretending to be a leader.  As the day went on, not a single apology to me, or acknowledgment of how things should have been handled differently.   A real modern day stand off of good (myself) verses evil (them).  And let me tell you this hard working women takes great pride in her work, and I will not allow myself to forced into submission. 

At the end of the day I drove home blasting a feel good, screw you, kinda song.  It made me feel better.  I opened my door to the sweet sounds of "Mommie, mommie, mommie, your home!"   This is all that's really important, as I'm quickly reminded by my beautiful and energetic little girl.  Those crazy people at work can keep their bad attitudes because I am going to let their negative energy bounce right off of me and right back to them.  This is a huge feat for me considering in the past I would have probably chosen to hand them their self esteem on a silver platter, torn to shreds.  Come on' like y'all don't think about doing that sometimes! 

Lesson of the day:  Be the bigger person and don't let the workplacedrama get the best of you, you'll be a better person for it.  Hold your head high and stand for what you believe to be right. :-)