UPDATE TO Mrs. Flinger October 16, 2015
Because the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, after this delcaration, my blog threw up all over my last upgrade.
So I'm starting over using Craft. Turning 40 and kid entering Jr High next year, sometimes it's just time for a change. These archives will still exist in the way the last child goes off to college and their room is the same for 20 years, but it's just time to move forward.
On the doing of Parenting Jan 30, 2014
I wonder if my children will remember me as constant motion. Not a specific task, like cleaning their rooms while we talk about their day, or how I make dinner when we discuss their homework, or the laundry that I’m constantly walking up and down with from room to laundry and back. No, more like a blur of my historic self, a gusian filter placed over the presence of me in their memories.
Like my own mother is to me in my childhood; Always moving: a presence, a tickle monster, a card player, a disciplinarian. She is a blur of the eighties, a wisp of the nineties.
I wonder if my children will remember how they helped me make dinner, or bake treats for our Christmas with friends. I wonder if they’ll remember the countless card games and board games and wrestle games. I wonder if they’ll focus on how we worked so many hours or how we made time for them in spite of deadlines.
I think of my days in this rocking motion, always moving, even when still, shifting, doing, thinking. Laundry for down times, dishes for noisy times. Lunches made during dinner prep and beds re-made and stuffed animals put away during bedtime routine.
If I’m not doing two things, I am not being effective.
Or am I?
Mindfulness is the constant repeating word in my days. Almost in the way you buy a white toyota van and see everyone has a white Toyota van. How did you not see that before? Everyone, everywhere, from a coffee shop to a co-worker casually saying, “Mindful,” “Be mindful,” “You’ll find mindfulness.” I actually pay someone to tell me that every other week in therapy to “Practice mindfulness.” Here’s my co-pay.
The question is, and it’s not an outside question really, more an inside one, but can I not be “mindful” while I simultaneously do the dishes and math homework? While I pack lunches and serve dinner? While I shove stuffed animals in their bin and wait for a kid to brush their teeth? Perhaps this is my own mindfulness. Maybe this is my moving meditation. I am present because I can not be anywhere else, than here, with these animals, and teeth, and dishes, and laundry. I am at work because I have only so much time to have meetings, and code, and plan and re-capture and lead. I can do those things together because it keeps me there, in the moment, mindful.
Perfecting life’s chores while being with the people I love and doing the job I adore? That to me seems pretty mindful. Even if there’s no soothing music or Ommm sounds from anyone around.
I, Me, You, We: Overcoming Blog Performance Anxiety Through Community Jan 26, 2014
When I first started blogging in 2003, there were only a handful of blogs compared to today. We didn’t understand the implications of over-sharing your journal on the Internet, we didn’t fully grasp the complexity of the media. In fact, one day in 2004 when my daughter was about three months old, I wrote a post about her peeing on me and said something about us having just had our first mother-daughter standoff. Someone commented that I needed to find better material than just steeling Dooc’es posts. I didn’t even know who Dooce was at the time (that was my introduction to her) and felt ashamed I posted something so similar to her story that she wrote the day after I posted mine. (I wish I could find this article now. And hers. Most of my archives have been placed quietly in a cabinet, especially ones about my family and/or anything that might embarrass them going forward.)
Throughout my tenure of blogging, this happened many times. I would read something that sounded very similar to what I just wrote, or I wrote something similar to what someone else wrote a month ago. I became more paranoid that I was going to be seen as stealing or copying these other women’s thoughts. Obviously this is ludicrous. It’s very very possible we were all having similar thoughts because we were that similar in our life’s stage.
Instead of feeling community, I felt unoriginal.
Instead of being empowered, knowing others will understand and feel similarly, I felt like I had nothing to share that wasn’t already on the Internet.
Over the past two years something incredible happened; I grew up. I haven’t exactly “Arrived,” but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was at 35. I’ve taken a few years to chew on my thoughts. To be a little quiet and sit with them. I use paper to journal again and I try not to email in a heated frenzy. Again, I’ve not Arrived, but I’m closer.
During this time my brain has been soaking in information from a variety of sources. I’ve consumed a hundred books on every topic from ADHD Diets, Gluten Free Studies, Girls in Tech, Women in Leadership Roles, Moms in Western Working Environments, Becoming a Leader, Failing Hard, Overcoming, Working with Snakes in Suits, and more. During this time, I realize how many people experience things I experience but have a slightly different take. I’ve been learning from hundreds of people willing to share stories, research, results.
This weekend, while at She’s Geeky, something clicked: I do have a unique voice AND there are others who express themselves in a way I resonate with. And that? IS OK.
The Improve: Asking Questions. Asking Questions. Ask Questions.
The Hiring: We’re hitting on tools, not on decisions.
She’s Geeky Jan 25, 2014
In an inadequate attempt to capture the spirit of a few hundred geeky women sharing advice, knowledge, code snippets, work ideas, and life discussions, I can summarize as best as I can.
In a word: Support.
In two words: Comforting Validation.
In Three Words: We Laughed Together.
In Four Words: I made new Friends.
In Five words: I came away more empowered.
In six words: We gathered to solve big issues.
And in seven words: I hope we see you in Seattle.
Love you forever, like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be Jan 06, 2014
You giggle as I kiss your cheeks. I hold your hands as you turn your face left to right, giving me full access to the large, luscious cheeks, round and red. You laugh as you spit and shove off my kisses. I pretend to look sad and then hold your arms and start the process over. You are giggling as you pretend to stop me. I win at the kisses, landing on your cheeks as you laugh. You tell me I’ll never give you another kiss again. I chuckle. “Do you remember the Love You Forever book?” I ask. You shake your head no. “The mom comes for all of her son’s life to give him love until she can’t anymore and one day, he sings the song, ‘I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, My Mommy you’ll be.’” Your eyes are wide and you ask, “Why would you tell me that before bed? Now I’ll have bad dreams!” “No, Love, you won’t,” I reply grabbing your hands again from any defense of my kissing, “Because we have so many years before you have to worry about that. The point is, you can’t stop a mom from kissing her children.” I lunge for the final kiss assault and you squeal with laughter and turn your face. I plant five kisses on your cheek, nose, and forehead. You are still laughing when I promise to stop. “It’s bed time,” I say sternly. “Time for sleeping.” You look up at me with your brown eyes glowing in the light and whisper, barely audible, “I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, My mommy you’ll be.”
I leave your room smiling with tears in my eyes as I go to see your sister, sitting in her bed reading Harry Potter, and plan my kissing attack. My life is an amazing wonderland. I shall never forget this.