28 August 2012

Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy?

Today I am hosing a post written by one of my favorite online people, Momma Jorje. Read and enjoy!
The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This guest post was written by Momma Jorje for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My parents divorced before I can remember. Knowing the two of them, I do not know how they ever managed to last as long as they did! All growing up, I had to listen to the two of them bad mouth each other constantly.

On the way to my dad's (in his truck), I'd stare out the window as he went on and on about how she was taking all his money. I've heard stories about her spending all his money when they were married, too. How she was book smart, but had no street smarts. He always referred to her with foul language, too, of course.

As soon as I'd get home, I'd hear it from my mother. I heard tales of how my father fired a gun aimed all around my mother's head when there was a window behind her and my brother was outside. Her stories all sounded really crazy, but my father owns up to all of them!

When they got divorced, my brother was asked where he wanted to live. The story goes like this: My father promised him it would just be the two of them and would be so much fun. Soon after, they were living together with my soon-to-be stepmother (and my mother's former best friend) and her 3 kids. Not the dream picture offered.

My mother had to fight for custody of him for several years. When he finally came to live with us, they fought a lot. He would only wear name brand jeans and shirts.

I lived with my mother until I was 14/15 years old. We got into a big fight and she basically kicked me out. And then she had me arrested as a runaway. She told the detective that I was suicidal, which prompted him to walk my papers through the system. I was arrested within 24 hours. However, in order to report it in the first place, she had to sign a form stating that she could not control me. My dad knew she had no way to win. He picked me up the next day and I went to live with him.

All this to say, neither of my parents were saints. I didn't get much approval from my dad, though. If I got an A, he'd ask why it wasn't an A+. Short version: his lack of time, affection, and approval resulted in my desire for approval from men... men that looked, basically, like him.

Once I became an adult, I gave it some thought and figured: I'd be sad when my mother passed. I would be crushed when my father passed. I spent some time obsessing about cherishing every moment with my dad. Thankfully I got past that because it is not a healthy state!

My mom passed away last year. I was sad. I miss her. Often. But I wonder if I called it. I don't know if I'll be as crushed as I predicted when my dad goes. I've known him longer now. He has done a lot for me, but... well, he is a personality. You would just have to meet him. People either love him or hate him - no middle ground.

Overall, I think my father has been my favorite parent. I think it would hurt my mother to know that. If the tables were turned, I doubt my father would be hurt, but he'd sure complain about what an idiot I was. Why was he the favorite? My mother and I were very close for short bursts of my life, namely while I was pregnant with Tyler and Sasha. She was incredibly supportive.

Are your parents still together? I wonder if that has any bearing on how strongly a favorite is... favored. Do you prefer one parent over the other?


Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 28 with all the carnival links.)

  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.
  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?
  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.
  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.
  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.
  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.
  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.
  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guests hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?
  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.
  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at Strocel.com tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.

01 August 2012

Being Vegetarian

Today, August 1st, marks one year since my decision to become a vegetarian.

Awesome, eh?

I had a lot of assumptions about becoming vegetarian. Well, actually one major one, I guess. I never thought about the time I might need to "grieve" the "loss" of meat. I figured I would just dive into this head-on and everything would be fine and dandy. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I felt extremely ashamed of how much I wanted to eat meat (mostly chicken) and I allowed myself to have a couple bite size pieces after the first month. I knew that I could always go back to my meat-eating diet, but I am someone who doesn't like to go backwards and this idea was not a real option for me. So I pressed on.

And I realized something: Gentleness, with myself. Of course I wanted meat, I'd been a meat-eater my whole life! It isn't easy to turn 26 years of meat-eating (give or take) into a meat-less diet, in spite of how determined I was to make this work. I allowed those feelings to be present, to remind myself that I might not be able to turn my palette around in just one month after years of being a carnivore. I knew I had to take it easy on myself, so I did.

I still love New England Clam Chowder and every once in a while, I eat it. I love won-ton soup, and I eat that too, carefully eating only the noodle and not the contents of the won-ton (go ahead and laugh. I do too.). Sometimes, I might eat a shrimp, or two. For the most part, though, I've lost the taste for meat. It still smells good to me when it's cooking, but I don't want to eat it. If I did, that would be OK, too, because being vegetarian, for me, is a process. It isn't over and it wasn't quite instantaneous. It will continue to evolve over the years the same way that I do.

I love being vegetarian, really and truly. Even though I have some trouble coming up with things to make for dinner (still), I have no intention of changing this lifestyle and I only look forward to feeling awesome for the remainder of my life.

05 July 2012

Weeding My Thoughts

Welcome to the July Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindfulness and Nature

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared their experiences of mindfulness and the natural world. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Sometimes, I have a hard time controlling my thoughts.

This has been happening to me more often as of late and I knew I needed some sort of outlet, a distraction that would help me regain control. I've always believed in the power of good, old fashioned manual labor to help anyone work through her problems and I can't think of a better place to labor than in nature.

I find that one of the best ways to silence my thoughts is to get in the dirt, literally. I had an opportunity to go to my mother's house recently and I was able to help her a lot with her very large yard. I shoveled and transported dirt, mowed the lawn on her tractor and did a decent amount of weeding, in addition to planting a few new plants.

As I gripped the overgrown grass with one hand, gathered it in a clump and sheered it at its base, I found I suddenly had no room to think of anything else. I became focused on the moment at hand, the weeds immediately before my eyes left naked after I removed their cover. I couldn't stop until I had made the whole area even. My mind was deep in this task, the same as it was listening to the sound of the shovel hitting the dirt or the feeling of the newly grounded plant placed gently into a hole. I knew I needed nature to help my mind and it came through, as it always does.

At the end of the day, I was tired. The kind of tired when your whole body has been working all day long and couldn't possibly do anything else. Each day I was there, doing this work, that is how I felt. And I loved it.

Being mindful of my thoughts enough to stop them from spiraling out of control is not always easy. However, nature has a way about her that always brings me back, back to a state of mental control where I can watch my thoughts without being consumed by them. Thank you, weeds, for being both a source of endless frustration and endless awareness.


Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has found a connection to nature in her very own backyard, thanks to her chickens.
  • Healing Gemstones and Crystals for Children Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses which genstones and crystals are best used by children to support physical, emotional, and/or spiritual healing.
  • A Gardener’s Meditation Andrea at Tales of Goodness shares how she finds peace and renewal through gardening.
  • Weeding My Thoughts Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro discusses how nature keeps her in the moment and stops her endless stream of thoughts.
  • Grounded in Nature Rani at OmSheSaid shares her walk in nature, and through expressive words, shares this journey to coming home.
  • Embracing the Magic of Moonlit Nights Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares ways to embrace the magic of moonlit nights with your children and as a woman.
  • Meditation for a Mindful Mama Alinka at Baby Web guides you through her research on the science of meditation, its numerous benefits, and presents to you a life changing meditation exercise.
  • The Wild Within Naturemummy at Motherhood: My Latest Adventure reflects on the soothing qualities of wild places.
  • Nature’s Lessons in Mindfulness Tat at Mum in Search wants to bring the same mindfulness that comes so easily in nature to her relationships.
  • On Manicured Nature: We Roam in Small Spaces Featherstory at The Aniweda Dream shares her gratitude for her limited natural settings and her plans to expand her children's experience with the natural world.
  • Garden (Time Out) Meditation Do you ever need a time out for yourself? Amy at Anktangle finds that during a difficult parenting moment, taking pause to spend a few minutes outside is just the thing she needs to be able to experience renewed patience, focus, and energy.
  • Nature Makes Me a Better Mother Terri at Child of the Nature Isle could not imagine parenting without Mother Nature.
  • Natural Renewal Karen at Playful Planet shares her experiences of reneweal in the natural world.
  • Natural History Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets out into nature, 200 years ago, and isn't sure she likes it there.
  • Nurtured by Nature Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares with us how being in nature helps her feel centered and connected.
  • Mindfulness and Nature Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores the connection between mindfulness and the natural world.
  • A Sense of Awe and Wonder Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the feeling she never fails to get from the natural world and how it guides her to the mindfulness she craves.

21 April 2012

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Getting into grad school: I'm going to get a Ph.D. Wow. Sometimes, I take a look at that statement and I catch my breath. I will be the first person in my family, on either side, to obtain this degree. I'm really proud of that fact.

My sinuses: My sinuses are beating up my face. This has never happened to me before and I thoroughly feel for those of you who have yearly allergies. Yuck. Good to know I have sinuses....

Pasta: Sometimes, you just need to make pasta for dinner because all other options require work. I love the old standby I have in pasta.

Echinacea and Goldenseal: They've been helping me along and I'm so glad my mom bought them for me :)

Warm days: I've really enjoyed going outside with H & P after dinner nearly every day to play with chalk and blow bubbles. I am, however, looking forward to the rain we're supposed to get tomorrow so that the Earth can be a little squishy.

07 April 2012

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Easter break!: Even though the semester is almost over and I have so much to do with my students and not nearly enough time, I'm reasonably glad that I have two extra days off for break than originally planned.

Tired kids: A couple nights this week H & P were so tired they fell asleep within 10 minutes of their heads hitting the pillow. Granted, extreme tiredness is not always a good thing, but its incredibly helpful at the end of a long day when I need to get things done. Mostly though, when they're really that tired at the end of the day, I know that they had a lot of fun and got a lot of exercise.

My camera: Still love it, even though I don't use it as much as I'd like.

Peanut Butter: I love peanut butter. I eat it every day. It makes my cinnamon raisin anything taste better.

No alarm clock: OK, even though my break is technically about a week long, I only get to turn off my alarm for three of those days. However, I relish those days. Even if children still wake up at the "normal" time without an alarm...

31 March 2012

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Getting away: I needed to get away. Like whoa. I've worked nearly every single day since January in either one form or another and I'm tired. My mother's house is a perfect retreat.

Fresh air: It works wonders on children. Not quite as well on Piper as I would have liked, but still it does them good to run around for an hour or so outside without me having to curtail their exercise.

My congregation: You know I love my church, but this Sunday is my pastor's last day after 35 years of service. I can't be there, but know what they are doing for him literally brought tears to my eyes. It reaffirmed why I love them so much and why I'm so proud to be a part of them.

An interview: I'm not going to tell you what it's for, but I'm grateful for it. You'll know when something happens.