Thursday, January 17, 2013

Respect: It's Not Just for Other People

I've never been a patient person, and when it's not work-related, I have no problem expressing my feelings.

Having said that, I used to have no problem taking the blame, either.  For X's drug addiction, for not being a better wife, for not being a better mother. Contrary to what Dr. Phil would have us believe, sometimes it really IS other people. Sometimes the only inner change to be made is to stand up and say, "enough!"

The girls don't necessarily like or appreciate this side of me. Even -  actually especially when it's on their behalf. Good or bad, it doesn't stop me. Nor do I feel that bad about it. Sometimes I wonder if I should feel bad about it, but I can usually shake that off just fine.

I remember the moment X no longer had any power over me. We were on the phone, I was mad at him for some valid reason that I don't remember anymore, but he tried to deflect. He tried to make me question myself. He made some snide comment about how I must be in a bad mood because I wasn't dating anyone.

Something clicked in my head at that moment. I realized just how many times he'd gotten away with that with me; where my insecurities would overshadow my self-respect and I'd spend more time wondering what was wrong with me instead of staying focused on the issue at hand. I didn't get upset, I didn't yell or start crying, I just said, "my personal life isn't the issue right now. The issue right now is ___."

And in that moment, he was the one flustered. He was the one who realized his sharpest weapon against me was now dull and worthless. He had to deal with me on my terms now. And he has ever since.

It took me even longer to find that kind of strength within when it came to teachers and other authority figures in the girls' lives. I still had many concerns about being that parent. No more, though.

They didn't necessarily like it in the moment when I stood up for them. They were embarrassed, they were afraid my actions would be used against them, but they have also learned that there's little they can do to stop me when I'm fired up. And in their hearts? I don't think they want me to back down.

Because, in each case, I accomplished what needed to be done. I had my say, and the problems were resolved. Not that I had all the answers, mind you, but by having the tough conversations, conclusions were made and actions taken.

Maybe it's just because I'm getting older, but I don't put much stock in other people's opinions of me if they haven't earned my respect. I feel free to be myself almost all of the time now.

I hope that my girls end up learning earlier than I did that their concerns, their opinions, and their feelings are just as valid as anyone else's. That their insecurities can be overcome and their voice can be heard.

Even if it doesn't resolve a problem quickly, even if others try to pat us on the head dismissively, our self-esteem will rise whenever we just try.

I hope my girls learn to treat themselves with respect.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Something Went Right (or a Week in the Life)

Last week, we were back in full swing.

Monday remained the challenge it always is; get up early and leave at 6:30 to take the girls to school, arrive at work and pick the priorities,  get Sylvia to her dance class in time (made it!), pick her up and start preparing for the next day.

I was so excited about Tuesdays this year. Last year, there was no free evening in our schedule, but this year, except for once a month for a Board meeting, Tuesdays are our free night. No dance class for Sylvia, no class for me, a night at home, yay! Except when we got home, we discovered that our wireless router wasn't working. Grr. After several attempts to fix it myself, give up and call customer support, and while they were able to fix it, I'm still resentful of that lost hour of my one free night.

Start my own school on Wed. Get there early to get to the bookstore. Another $300 on the credit card for the books. Get to class and find out that one of the books - worth $170 - was optional. After class, go back to the bookstore, who won't let me return the book because I haven't dropped the class, and it's listed as a "required" material. SO frustrating.

Thursday: deal with some unexpected work emergencies, go pick up Riley, who's had her own troubles. There's a new after-school coordinator, but only for a week, and next week, a new coordinator will start . This interim coordinator has decided to change everything for the one week she's here. That's not adding value, honey, that's just annoying everyone. Get into a bit of verbal back and forth with her, all the while biting my tongue from saying, "you're here for one week! Leave us alone!"

Get Sylvia, eat, take Sylvia to class a little bit early to attend an event, which was really fun, and wrapped up at the same time I had to leave to pick up Sylvia.

I hope that as we get used to the routine again, I'll remember to blog more than once a week!

Monday, January 7, 2013

And She's Back

I took an entire week off from life. The girls were on vacation with my parents, I took the week off from work, and I did very very little. There were multiple days when I didn't leave my house and at least a day where I spoke to no one. It was awesome!

Someone asked if I started to go a little stir crazy at the end of it. I'm sure if there was never anything to do, I would, but I knew that this was a rare opportunity to take a vacation from pretty much everything, so I took full advantage of it.

There were days when I didn't start my car. There were days when I didn't get dressed.

I thought I might end up doing more. I thought I might post, but I didn't feel like it. I thought I'd catch up on reading blogs, but I didn't feel like it. I thought about catching up with friends either in person or on the phone, but I didn't feel like it.  I didn't even feel like napping or drinking! I just felt like sitting on my couch, watching mindless TV and playing Words with Friends mindlessly.

Now I'm back, and you know what? That's okay, too. I was happy to see the girls again, and I'm so glad that I have a job where I didn't hate coming back to work. The girls are back in school, I'm back in school, and all of that is okay, too.

It may seem too all or nothing for one who named her blog It's All About Balance, but that's just the thing.

I'm always about balance. I needed to drop everything at once, and have that be okay for a few days. And it was.