Um… what?

The first words out of Lulu’s mouth this morning were:
“Hey momma…?”
“Yes Lulu?”
“I’m not going to say bad words at preschool today.  I won’t hit anyone either.”
Oh…well that’s good, I suppose.  What on earth goes on in her head???
photo

Don’t Count Your Chickens… But Absolutely Count Your Blessings

I’m overwhelmed.  My department of three is reduced to a department of one for the next two to six weeks.  Unplanned illness and planned surgery swept through our department, and I am the one left standing.  I do have someone helping when she can, which is greatly appreciated.  I will never refuse help.

I’m also halfway through my horrible statistics class.  The midterm was brutal.  By far one of the most difficult tests I have ever taken.  I managed to get a B (yay for weighted curves!) but I am so unmotivated to buckle down and finish.  I need to just do it.  Just finish.

So instead of focusing on the overwhelm, I am going to focus on the happy.  There are so many people, places, things, and thoughts that make me happy.  It is too easy to overlook them when life gets rough.

Lulu.  She is my sun.  My blonde haired, blue-eyed, sarcastic, hilarious, beautiful, and frustrating world.  Everything begins and ends with Lulu.

Husband.  I’ve loved him since our second date in 2002.  12 years of knowing, 8 years of dating, and 5 years of marriage later – I still love him.  And when I want to punch him, I think about some of the other husbands I know, and then I only want to smack him.  Also the best father in the world.  We aren’t perfect, but it works.

Mom and Dad.  They made me.  They raised me.  We all survived those first 18-22 years of my life (barely) and I am a good person because of them.  It wasn’t always easy and fun, but they never gave up on me.

MIL and FIL.  They made Husband.  They raised him.  They all survived and he is a good person because of them.  They are amazing grandparents to their three grandkids.  They are kind and generous.  They accepted me into their family since day one.

Nieces and nephews.  They range from 6 months to 13 years.  Nephews are smart and funny, and love Lulu so much.  I don’t get to see nieces as often as I want, but their photos and videos always light up my day.  Just knowing those four amazing little girls exist makes my world a better place.

Linsey and Alysha.  My best friends.  I can’t wait to grow into old ladies with them.

Family and friends not mentioned above.  They are my support network.  Nothing would work in my life without them.

Iowa City, lately.  Not my favorite place during winter, but so so nice the other four months of the year!  Sometimes I remember to just look around, at the trees, hills, creatures, farm fields, and old houses.  It is so different from what I grew up knowing, and I am constantly in awe of it.

My job, and the people who come with it.  It’s the first job I’ve ever had where I feel like I have a future.  Despite being overwhelmed because of unforseen circumstances, I do truly enjoy coming to work every day.  A really amazing support network resides here, and if it weren’t for work I would never have applied to grad school.

Grad School.  I don’t know if it will prove a blessing or a curse, but grad school is something exciting on the horizon that I am looking forward to. It is my second chance to prove to myself that I am that smart girl who existed so long ago.

Fabric.  Cutting it up and sewing it into something beautiful and useful and cherished is delightful.  I like to imagine the pretty things it will become.

Books.  All sorts.  And when all else fails, I can escape reality through the words of Austen.   

Writing.  I am not a great writer, and I have no aspirations of ever having a well read blog, but writing is my personal therapy.  Perhaps deep down a pet dream would be to have a blog like hers, but I am realistic (and not remotely as talented as she is).  

Modern science.  Without it, I would probably be a raving lunatic!

And, since everything begins and ends with Lulu,…

photo

Thinking Outside the {Facebook Status Update} Box

Today marks Day 2 of my Facebook detox (as my best friend called it this morning).  Facebook detox is the perfect way to describe it.  Especially after the eye-opening realization that came to me yesterday:

Facebook = Crack

I never realized how much I relied on Facebook in my down time.  Need a quick break from working?  Facebook!  Waiting in line somewhere?  Facebook!  Walking from point A to point B?  Facebook!  The kid is watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates for the 765th time this week?  Facebook!

I also never realized how many Facebook status updates I composed in my head throughout the day.  I certainly never posted every thought that popped into my head (unlike some people who seem to think every thought is worthy of the FB status update) but I definitely constructed them in my mind.  The kid did something funny?  Facebook!  Something pissed me off?  Facebook!  Read an article?  Facebook!  Saw a good deed?  Facebook!

Facebook = Crack

(I would like to note at this point that I have never used crack.  I do not actually know from firsthand experience what the effects of crack are on the human body.)

My friend was listening to NPR on her drive in to work this morning, and there was a story about stress and anxiety.  Most of the people polled said news media and stories were the main sources of their stress and anxiety.  The main blame was social media.  I would love to find the print article or listen to the story.  I did a quick Google search, and millions of articles came up about the effects that social media has on stress and anxiety.  Millions.

 

social media

 

I browsed a few, but I certainly don’t have time to read 48 million articles.  I am guessing that many of these articles are actually about social anxiety disorder, without the media part of it.  I wonder what the implications of social media are on those with social anxiety disorder?  That would be a discussion for someone much smarter than me.

I hope that as I continue my detox I can stop thinking about status updates and what to do in my downtime and start focusing on being present in the real world.  The real world with all of its random, crazy, ugly, beautiful and exciting chaos.

EDIT:  My friend sent me the news article I mentioned above:  Bingeing on Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress

The Pit of Emotion

I internalize what goes on around me.  If a co-worker is cranky, I get cranky.  If my husband is stressed, I get stressed.  If my best friend is sad, I get sad.

I internalize the things I read, the websites I visit, the conversations I overhear.  If I read an upsetting news article before bed my brain will refuse to shut down for hours.  I have a love/hate relationship with social media – Facebook, Pinterest and the like.  These things are chock full of perceived reasons to feel dissatisfied with your own life.  Even if those reasons have no basis in reality.

I’m pragmatic.  I know that life is not a beautiful Pinterest board, that children are not always well-behaved, houses are not always clean, news is not always good, and people around us are not always cheerful and happy.  So WHY do I take all of these external forces outside of my control and embody them to live and fester and create this gaping pit inside of me?  I feel like I exist with a swarm of butterflies in my stomach.  I’m always slightly on edge, slightly nauseous, waiting for something to happen.  The past few months have been awful in this respect.  Good news followed by bad.  Death, birth, sadness, worry, excitement… it’s all there, inside of me, churning away.

I’m working on finding ways to chill out.  Day 1 without Facebook is helping.

Maybe cutting back on caffeine would help, but then I would be bitchy instead of anxious.  And believe me, nobody wants that.

Food Baby

This morning, as I was getting her dressed, Lulu asked, “Is there a baby in your belly?”

I’m pretty sure I quit breathing for a minute before I managed to sputter out, “Lord no!”

Before I had time to question why she was asking this, she replied, “Me neither.  It’s just food.”  And she proudly pushed out her belly for me to see.  It took a lot of control not to crack up.

“Mine too, baby.  Mine too.”

The Time to Quit is Before You Wish You Had

I went Googling for quotes about quitting today.  I found more than I could ever count.  Most of them warn against quitting:  giving up is easy, quitting scars your soul, quitting lasts forever, makes you lazy, becomes a habit, etc.  That isn’t what I was looking for, though.  I was searching for a quote about quitting that empowers an individual.

You see, I quit today.  Not work.  Not school.  Not motherhood, my marriage, or life.  I quit something that took away from these things.  Something that diminished my happiness and caused me more anxiety than joy.

I quit Facebook.

There are things I will absolutely miss.  I will miss family news, photos, announcements, funny stories and the sort.  I hope people still share these things with me.  Facebook isn’t the only way to keep in touch.

But I won’t miss the wasted hours.  The political rants (I freely admit I am guilty of these as well – I get worked up, I can’t help it!).  The negativity and meanness.  

So the time to quit is now.  

Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.  –  Osayi Osar-Emokpae