Writing 101: Serially Lost

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

It’s hard to believe I used to have so much spare time on my hands that I used to spend hours of it just reading or watching tv or playing video games. Used to be a time that I would sleep in until 1pm on Saturdays. My then boyfriend, now husband couldn’t comprehend how a person could sleep half the day away. It took some effort, had to get up once or twice to pee, but somehow I managed. So much sleeping in back in the day. I used to have time to do stuff after work like go to the gym or wander around the mall looking for nothing. Remember hanging out at the mall? There was even a time when I would plan my weekends around which bars or clubs I would go dancing at. It wasn’t unusual for me to start the evening at 10pm and dance until the lights came on. I was queen of the last call.

I remember what it was like to read a book until the early hours of the morning. Never mind the fact that I had to get up for work or school the next morning. I remember what it was like to play a video game so long and hard that I had calluses on my fingers and thumbs from those damned unpadded controllers. I know what it’s like to wear out a mouse just clicking away on some computer game or another. So many hours playing, reading, relaxing. So much time.

Spare time is a thing that doesn’t exist for me any more. Every moment of my waking day is accounted for. Wake up, prep for work, get the kids out the door, work, get everybody home, dinner, bedtime, rinse, repeat. I’ll be dammed if I can find the time to play a video game for any uninterrupted length of time. Gone are the days when I could hand my kid a disconnected controller and let him think he was playing along. He’s a smart cookie now, something about wanting to collect all the coins on his own has changed the way I game.

If I want to watch a tv show, it better be PVRd because I’ll be making frequent use of the pause button and it will take a minimum of three times as long to watch whatever I’m trying to watch. Read a book made of actual paper? Forget it. It doesn’t have any picture therefore before I even get half way down the first page I will have to answer 72 questions about why I’m reading a book with no pictures and “that doesn’t make any sense mama!”.

Now, if I sleep in until 7am I consider that a win. I listen to audio books while I wash dishes and commute to work, and I read review of all the latest games that come out, thinking wistfully about days gone by. My motto these days is to always be doing more than one thing at a time, that way everything gets done. Not well, mind you, but at least it’s done.

I pick my battles.

Mindfull Parenting. Really?!?


Oh boy, another guilt-free way to parent my kids that makes me feel guilty for not doing it like I’m apparently supposed to be doing it.

There’s a new parenting “buzz-word” (buzz-phrase?) circulating on the internet called “Mindful Parenting” that makes me just want to gauge my eyes out with the toddler-goo/dust-bunny encrusted spoon I just fished out from under the couch. I mean really, just the phrase makes me think “you’ve gotta be kidding me!”.

That’s not to say that it’s not a nice thought, being a mindful parent, but really, do we need yet another “parenting trend”? Can’t we just be parents?

I get that multi-tasking isn’t always the best way to get eleventy-billion things done, and done well, but really, what choice do I have? Stuff’s gotta get done, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.

My motto these past 2.8 years since the peanut came on board is that if I’m not doing at least two things at a time, I’m not doing enough. I’m in survival mode here people. The ratio of 2 kids to 2 parents has us outnumbered. Seriously. It’s math people. If you have more than one kid you know what I’m talking about.

Mindful parenting is where you, as a parent, take the time to keep your attention focused on what you’re doing with your kid at any given time. But already you’re screwed if you have more than one kid. I know neither of my kids will let me focus my attention on the other without busting in on whatever it is we’re doing. The preshus sees me having a moment with the peanut, he wants in, and who can blame him? His brother would (and does) do the exact same thing! We like spending time together as pairs, and as a group, that’s how families operate. At least, that’s how mine does.

All this isn’t to say that I don’t focus on my kids individually, of course I do. But do we have to put a name on everything and make anyone who isn’t doing it right feel bad? I don’t think so.

Mindful parenting says put time aside to “meditate” with your kids to calm and focus them and yourselves. It’s a nice thought, but thanks for making me feel bad about the fact that the two hours I have between getting home at the end of the day and bedtime, doesn’t allow for calming meditative exercises.

This article suggests that while you’re in the shower, don’t make your to-do list (come on! I get some of my best blog post ideas in the shower!!) but experience the shower. “…think, I’m in the shower. The water is hot. The room is steamy, etc. Don’t judge whether the shower is awesome or annoying; just slow down and experience it.” Um, yeah. This article clearly doesn’t take into account that there are kids on the other side of my bathroom door crying (the 2yo) or banging (the 4yo) because the door is closed and how dare I be in a room by myself. I get about two minutes of peace in any given shower before the littles are yelling, shattering any calm I might have gained.

This article suggests that we take time during meals together to “slow down at dinner and ask your children to really notice their food”. Nope, sorry, can’t do that. The goal at our house it to get the kids to eat the food, not look really hard at it. If they slow down to “notice” what I’ve put in it, then they certainly aren’t going to eat it because there’s too many “beggagables” in it. Move along kids, nothing to see here. Dinner is yummy, that’s all you need to know. Eat it.

I do my best to make sure that I give my kids all of my attention when the moments present themselves. Considering that I’ve got two kids, a husband and a full-time job, I think I’m knocking it out of the park! Or, at the very least, it’s a double-play turned triple-play on an error (can you tell baseball season is coming up? GO JAYS GO!) See, I can’t even throw out a metaphor without getting distracted.

A few minutes for a hug and a cuddle here, a couple of minutes playing on the floor with cars or drawing a picture there, my kids are happy and I don’t need another parenting label article to tell me that I’m doing a good job, or criticize me for not doing a good enough job.

Maybe I’m overreacting, or maybe I’m just mad at myself because I succumbed to the “click-bait” article title, and that’s my bad. Normally I know better.

So thank you “guilt-free parenting article”. I now feel totally guilty about not parenting in this new and fantastic way. Kudos.

How do you do it?

timeTwo people have asked me this question over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve answered with a weary sigh, “I have no idea”.

These two people, both working women with no children, are busy. Very busy. I remember what it was like, before I had kids, when I was busy. So busy that my days and nights were just full and I’d get to the end of the week and think to myself “I can’t possibly go on, I’m so tired!” Then I’d sleep for 12 hours on a Saturday, get all caught up on more sleep and chores, and feel refreshed (more or less) and ready to go on Monday morning.

Then I had kids, and my world turned upside down. And, I’m pretty sure someone stole like six hours out of my day. Seriously. I’m positive that six hours have literally disappeared from my day because I feel like less time exists in which I have to get everything done.

Yes, I know that children take up a lot of time, but it’s insane just how much time those tiny humans suck out of your life!

You ask me how I do it? How do I, a working mother of 2 kids, get it all done?

The answer is I don’t.

I just don’t, it’s not humanly possible.

I may look like I’m getting’ ‘er done, but I’m not.

My kids are (pretty much) clean, bath night isn’t every night.

My kids are fed (for the most part). If you’re a regular reader of my little blog, you’ll know that I’ve had issues feeding my kids, and quite frankly, some nights it’s hot dogs (minus the buns because “I don’t wike dat bwead mama”), for dinner, or nothing at all if they don’t like what I’ve just slaved an hour cooking because if you’re not going to eat it than I guess you’re going to bed hungry. Your choice kid. (also, no desert if you don’t at least try to eat your dinner, so there’s that.)

My house is clean (sort of), in that there isn’t food on the walls or bugs on the floors. But don’t look under the dining room table because I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since I swept under there. And speaking of sweeping, I’m also pretty sure that if you gathered all the dust bunnies we could make one whole REAL bunny, no problem.

The toys (generally) get kicked out of the way (out of stepping-on distance anyway), when I’m just too tired to pick up those 10 things that I just picked up 5 minutes ago! Am I the only one who picks up things around here?!?!! damit!

I try to cook dinner from scratch at least five three nights a week. Even if that dinner is French Toast or pancakes with bacon. Because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? The other nights are filled with maccaroni with hot dogs, or salad, or leftovers, rarely fast food because that gets too expensive.

I get my kid to school (almost) on time every day. And by almost I mean we’ve never had to go in through the main entrance because the kindergarten entrance monitor has locked the door for the day.

Everybody goes to bed at a reasonable hour. No, wait, that part is a lie. The preshus gets to bed at a reasonable hour, the peanut is trying to kill me with sleep deprivation, but that’s another blog post.

So there you have it, my life is far from perfect, and I’m far from doing it all, but honestly, I know these days won’t last for ever. And as soon as I’ve figured everything out, I’ll be wondering how the time flew by so darn quickly.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I need to leave work like rightnow so I can pick up the kids in time to get them home early and cram dinner in their faces (hot dogs, no buns – least amount of fighting) and get to the school in time for the Holiday concert.

Fingers crossed I don’t fall asleep before my kid hits the stage.

How do you do it?