My dear girl . . .

"My dear girl, the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don't interrupt to say: "You said the same thing a minute ago"... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don't want to take a bath, don't be mad and don't embarrass me. 

Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? 

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don't look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life's issues every day... the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through. 

If I occasionally lose track of what we're talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can't, don't be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. 

And when my old, tired legs don't let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don't feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I'll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I've always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter. "

Original Text in Spanish and Photo by Guillermo Peña. 

Translation to English by Sergio Cadena


Sincerely,


Carly Alacahan 

President

I am the keeper

Thank you, Jocelyn Sandruck, for sharing this with me. And now, I share it with ALL. THE. Moms!

"I am the keeper.

I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.

I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.

I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets.

I am the keeper of preferences. Of likes and dislikes. Of nightly rituals and food aversions.

I am the keeper of reminders. To be kind, to pick up their trash, to do their dishes, to do their homework, to hold open doors and write thank you notes.

I am the keeper of rituals and memories. Of pumpkin patches and Easter egg hunts. I am the taker of pictures, the collector of special ornaments, and the writer of letters.

I am the keeper of emotional security. The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears.

I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities.

I am the keeper of worry. Theirs and my own.

I am the keeper of the good and the bad, the big and the small, the beautiful and the hard.

Most of the time, the weight of these things I keep resembles the upper elements on the periodic table - lighter than air, buoying me with a sense of purpose.

But sometimes the weight of the things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath.

Because these things I keep are constantly flickering in the back of my brain, waiting to be forgotten. They scatter my thoughts and keep me awake long past my bedtime.

Because all these things I keep are invisible, intangible. They go unnoticed and unacknowledged until they are missed. They are not graded or peer reviewed or ruled on by a court. And sometimes they are taken for granted.

My husband and my boys are kind and generous and they love me hard. And this is by far the greatest job I have ever had. But sometimes being the Keeper is exhausting. Because you feel like you're doing it alone.

So to all of you who are keepers, I see you.

I know the weight of the things you keep.

I know the invisible work you do, which doesn't come with a pay check or sick leave, is what makes the world go round.

I see you.

And I salute you."

#LoveHard

#ISeeYou

#Love What Matters

www.luckyorangepants.com

Carly Alacahan

President

Joyous Circles

"If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spiderweb of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

I pass this on to you, my (mom) friends, in the same spirit.

Life is good."

Credit goes to FB...where I get a lot of my inspiration (is that sad?)? 


Carly Alacahan 

President

Summertime!

I don't know you about you, but I remember summer as being the time of year where I spent the entire day outside, playing with my neighbors until the street lights came on! I remember knowing the Post Man's schedule, because we would ride our bikes and follow him throughout the neighborhood. Those were the days of the consistent neighborhood visitors- the post man was the same man, "Steve" for over a decade! My parents weren't afraid to let me go outside because even our trash collectors were a consistent group of men who came down the street twice a week rattling and clanking the cans and lids.

Ice cream truck music from a mile away, everyone started running to ask for $1 for a cone. We lined up sweaty and kind of dirty, throwing our bikes onto the grass, to be the first in line for a cone with "sprinkles." We sat there with little flies and zipping around our faces in the hot sticky summer heat, every SINGLE DAY.

I really want to make this summer the best summer ever for my kids. I mean- so much can change in one instant and I have learned from watching, reading and listening that happy times are fleeting and that their innocence doesn't last forever. That they worry-free days are limited and I am ON A MISSION to help preserve all of that for them.

Thing is... I kind of hate the heat. I don't like to sweat or feel sticky. I hate bugs. I don't eat ice cream.... And the thought of "running wild and free" sounds like a bloody nightmare. I don't fish (I don't like the slimy little suckers), I DO NOT collect bugs... and painting rocks can be very messy. I am also not living the same carefree consistent life my parents lived. My trash collectors are not the same- I have no relationship with them. My mailperson is a rando who doesn't wear a uniform and I yearn for a gate or bubble to keep my kids in. Alas... I find myself looking outside from my air-conditioned living room wishing I was more.... you know... uhm.... Into it. I am more of what they call a "glamper"...not so much a "camper."

So here goes nothing. This summer I am going to fight the bugs and help Elizabeth collect, name and love them. I am going to paint rocks and get dirty. I am going to make MUD PIES (gross). I am going to worry less and laugh more. I am going to sweat (goodness). My hair is going to get crazy and I am going to be a wild woman whose kids have the BEST. Summer. Ever. I had them share a plan with me of what would make this an amazing summer and I plan to quantify it when I hear whining, whimpers or see tears. I will let them stay up and catch fireflies. JUST KIDDING... I haven't seen one in years. I will let them do outdoor chores and together we will take selfies and document it all - because I guess otherwise it didn't happen...or something.

Do I sound bitter? I am not. I am scared. I am REALLY scared. Scared that I will be really dirty... and more so, I am afraid to let these little humans down with my preconceived notions of what is fun (I am kind of boring) and I am afraid to over plan and set expectations so super high.... That we end up falling short.

I promise I will relax one day. One day, I will enjoy a summer breeze. Until then, I am determined and scheduled to make this the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. #orbust

Because #glamping is just more fun- and maybe I am a little bit #Extra

 

Carly Alacahan
President

president@gcsmomsleague.org

Going to Bed

I thought and thought and thought... and nothing I would share would ever be this good. She #nailedit.

A Mother Going To Bed
By Joyce Meyer

Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired and it's getting late, I think I will go to bed". She got up and went to the kitchen and made sandwiches for the next day's lunches, rinsed out the dessert bowl, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box level, filled the sugar container, put spoons in the bowls, put bowls on the table, started the coffee pot for early the next morning, put some wet clothes in the drier, put a load of clothes in the washer, ironed a shirt, sewed on several loose buttons, picked up the games left on the table then put the telephone book back in the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied the waste basket, hung up the towels to dry, she yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom.

She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the school outing, pulled out a text book from under the chair, signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope, wrote a quick list for the supermarket the next day. She went and put both of those in her purse.

Mom then cleaned her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth, trimmed her nails. Hubby called out "I thought you were going to bed." "I'm on my way" she said. She put some water in the dog's bowl, put the cat outside, made sure the doors were locked, looked in on each one of the children, turned on the bedside lamp, hung up some shirts, threw some dirty socks in the laundry basket, had a brief conversation with the one child doing homework. In her own room she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack, added 3 things to her to-do list for the next day.

About that time the husband turned off the TV and announced to no-one in particular "I'm going to bed" - and he did.

Joyce Meyer said, "Let me tell you something women - you rock. I am telling you what - the details that women take care of and keep up with to run a house, you men, you have no idea what God has given you. You just don't have the slightest idea. 'I'm going to bed' and he got up and he did! And that is true. Women take care of all that stuff, all those little tiny things that nobody even pays any attention to, so you never ever have to wonder if you are a good mother. You never ever have to wonder if you are a good wife. You need to start celebrating all the things that you do, because you are amazing. I mean absolutely amazing. Want to watch? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_kohUz618o

Thank you for all you do every day, friends and fellow Moms.

 

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org

Braving the Wilderness

March, Spring is almost here! It means, also, that we are three months into the new year. Did you make a New Year's resolution? I try not to, but at the end of 2017 when I looked back, I realized I had invested a lot of time into my kids, my house, my family and friends. I had invested a ton of myself into my business and even the League. What I couldn't find pockets of were moments I had used to reflect or meditate- neither enjoyable for me, or even read, which is something I remembered enjoying very much. I also hadn't taken much time to write.

I decided to take a few reading recommendations from friends- I didn't want fiction for a change. I wanted something that would check the most boxes on my list of resolutions. Self-help, awareness, education, research.... and alas- along came Brene Brown. Have you heard? Well.... you are about to get more than you bargained for because I am going to plagiarize the $&^%^! out of it for this newsletter. I listened to the book first, then I went and bought the book because I couldn't very well underline and tab the audio book the way I needed to. Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown now has a highlighted section on every page, a mark in every margin and little folds here and there with scraps of paper sticking out in every direction. Some of my girlfriends would look at it and scream- but I know what I am doing here folks.

Brave. Braving the Wilderness. Our innate desire to belong. The Wilderness being our life, this world and the many parts that make it up. Friendships and family, the workplace and clubs. Brene eloquently shares four elements of true belonging and as I looked more closely at the four elements, I realized that, to me, these elements were paradoxical. I was challenged as I tried to put them into daily practice and I wonder what you will think. Here they are.

  1. People Are Hard To Hate Close Up. Move In.
  2. Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.
  3. Hold Hands. With Strangers.
  4. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

Where is your wilderness? What is your wilderness? Do you find these four elements of Braving the Wilderness to also be a paradox- especially in today's world? What does your WILDERNESS and my WILDERNESS have in common? Solitude perhaps, vulnerability and maybe...just maybe an emotional or physical quest. Wilderness. Belonging so fully to yourself that you are willing to stand alone is WILDERNESS. How often do YOU stand alone? Some days, I find motherhood to be the loneliest place in the world. Other days, my heart and soul could not be more full. Some days I feel all of the colors are gone- it's all grey. Other days, I am spitting out so much color I am overwhelming my audience. Wilderness, it can be dangerous and scary, warm and fuzzy... I am excited to be here.

Whether you read or not, I highly recommend this one. I couldn't get far enough out of the book to write about anything else. Thanks for reading!

Here's to our Wilderness; whatever and wherever that is.

 

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org

A Woman Rambles

And then, I got sick.

I am so scared to write this. I assume there is someone else out there either going through something similar- or something worse. My goal is to not offend anyone, downplay a situation by bringing levity to my own experience or possibly highlight or dig into a painful circumstance for someone else. However, I feel that this is a safe platform and you are my safe audience, and I am ready to share... in abundance so much more than you want to hear. Let's name this one A Woman Rambles, by Carly A.

Do you ladies remember Jessica Coffee asking everyone to consider donating blood after the disaster in Houston? I went. I was either in for the Oreo cookies, for the reward of having helped at a time we all felt so helpless or.... It was the universe. I don't know. But something got me there that day.

I showed up and met with a few of the other moms- Becky and Jocelyn...Jessica. We filled out forms and sat down. One of the first steps when donating blood is a quick finger prick, outside of answering questions around international travel, cold sores and flu. I went in for my finger prick and signed some papers. I asked, "What's next?"

Call your doctor. We cannot take your blood today. Do you have your period? Have you been sick? Concern washed over me but in my usual clown disguise I brushed it off. I am an active mom who eats well and feels great. What is wrong? "Ma'am, your iron levels are incredibly low and taking blood from you today would not serve you nor the person receiving your (rotten no good 0-) blood."  

OUCH.

I came out of the room somewhat embarrassed and ashamed, and of course, worried. I shared it with the group- at the time feeling friendly but not very 'personal' with any of them. That changed quickly. Within a week I was having tubes of blood drawn for all sorts of issues. I also came down with strep. Then Halloween I had a cold and a fever. I felt exhausted. My PCP asked that I get checked for... INTERNAL BLEEDING by ways of scopes. FUN STUFF ladies- Fun Stuff. I was referred to specialists ranging from Gastro's to Hematologists. My phone would not stop ringing.

I called Ali. Ali from our league. I was FREAKING OUT and knew she also suffered from low iron (sorry Ali... now I am talking about you, too. I didn't say your last name so no one knows...right?). She calmed me. Why was I freaking out? Because the doctor mentioned things like, "Internal bleed, tumor, cancer, bowel disease... just want to rule out a few things." The testing was scheduled. November 10th was THE DAY. I was going to find out what my fate was. I was going to go in a healthy-ish mom and come out potentially...dying.

It was the dying part that got me. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't be awake. I couldn't talk about IT, but I felt like horse &%^$ - and people knew. I was short with friends, I was angry. My temper flared. I cried, a lot. How could this be?

Blood test #3. Numbers declining. SCOPES coming up fast and furious. Night before the scopes I FREAK out. "I don't like that doctor. He didn't explain anything. He doesn't care about me. He just wants to go IN. I don't want to work with him! I think the problem is somewhere else." My husband sees my now visible anguish and makes the call. Cancelled. I find a new doctor. Now scheduled for the 22nd. Doctor gets sick. Now rescheduled for the 30th. Blood tests show no improvement- though I am drinking disgusting green juices, taking very strong iron pills and trying everything I can. OBVIOUSLY, I am DYING. I have a disease and it is going to make my children so sad. My kids! How am I going to tell them? I know... I will just take them to church. It is the best place to tell them. Friends often asking for updates. I didn't have any.  

Oh, my parents! I couldn't tell them yet. In fact, I will keep this a secret. No one will know. I will go "away"- get cured and come back. Perfect plan. Let me find an au-pair. I will survive THIS, and no one will ever know. These are the thoughts inside a desperate mother's head. I had watched my funeral playing out moments before I fell asleep EVERY NIGHT. And I woke to swollen eyes from crying about it every morning...for months.

Nothing- NOTHING made me feel better. Friends would call and try to cheer me up and talk sense into me. I didn't want to hear it- I couldn't digest what they were saying. Nothing made sense. My phone wouldn't stop ringing. "Pay your deductible. Schedule your prep. Preop is at 6am" .... I don't know about you, but I have a long list of friends who have been affected by illness. Whether it be their parents or children, and in some cases their self or spouse. My heart. I felt so much guilt. I suddenly started going through the many missed opportunities of my life, and I shut down. I also realized I AM A BAD FRIEND! I am the friend that throws sand over a problem... I glaze over things and bust out champagne. I ignore the problem. Always. It is actually who I am. I will never bring up your problem. I will ignore it with you and get you drunk and dance on furniture.... And you will hate me in the morning. You might even hate me that night.

"You're going to be okay- I Know it.... I will shave my head, too." "You are strong, Car. Don't be scared."  Who's going to take care of my kids? Will my parents be upset if I leave them with just Aleks and get a helper? How would he continue to travel with the kids? Who is going to go to their Christmas shows? Who will take them to plays? Who will put Elizabeth's veil on... dance with Brandon on his wedding day? What if Aleks gets sick! How will middle child Dylan make it without me? He is my human Velcro! I am crying writing this up because it DESTROYED ME.... And realizing other mothers go through it every day. How can this be real life?

I am not strong. I was scared. And nothing was making me feel better. Because of the circumstances, the guilt piled on. Cancelling meetings and lunches, chats with my business team or presentations. No-showing on friends and parties. Then I got pneumonia. I had people saying things like, "you have been sick for SOOOO long." Yes. I know. "Have you tried to go gluten free? I have been healthy since I gave up gluten." "Come out for a yoga class! It will help!" "When I gave up eating animal products, my health improved. You probably don't eat right." "You are burning the candle at both ends." Can you think of worse things to say to someone who is sick? Everyone meant well- but there was no winning with a woman facing her imminent death!

What I realized was that I talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. I didn't turn to friends right away. In fact, I wanted to hide. I did not call my parents and ask for support. They were, instead, surprised when they had to take an emergency flight out to Texas the day after my procedure. My dad sobbed begging us to tell him what had happened... but I was just not recovering well- nothing was found. You might remember seeing my mom and dad at our children's Christmas Party in December. That was that trip.  I didn't trust the doctors. I didn't trust my friends. I didn't even trust my faith. I was crippled by the "moms are strong" image I felt I needed to live up to. The same image that keeps so many of us quiet about so many things. It was the loneliest time of my life, but I fear I am not alone. We are so quiet, we keep things for so long.

How often are you keeping something painful and life changing to yourself because you fear that others won't understand? Kept silent by the fear that you won't seem strong? Silent because you are afraid to be judged or talked about? Worse yet... they will feel badly for you. Everyone will know. How many moms are struggling alone? I never thought a simple finger prick and asking, "what's next" would open this world of tests and tubes and scopes and scans. And that was just what it led to physically. Emotionally, I underwent a transformation taking toll of what mattered, what didn't and how I was going to live the last years or months of my life.

I wonder if that is how we should be living... I hugged my children more in the months of December and January than my parents hugged me my entire life. And while I still don't know what the heck is wrong I know one thing for sure. Death is not something any of us will escape. Living like we are dying is scary. Mothers and fathers are living like this around us every day. We are NOT alone and while I don't want to make this a support group- this is a support group. Whether we are supporting you through potty training or the kids going away to camp for the first time, whether it is a strange test result or a bad test result, whether it is dyslexia or Crohn's - WE ARE A SUPPORT GROUP and I hope if nothing else that this year we foster a community that is more open and honest, more vulnerable and less afraid. Because we need less judgement and less fear. Because it DOES take a village. And because I wouldn't have made it through these last few months without a little help from my friends.

To everyone who dropped things off, called or asked questions...or dealt with my being a raging lunatic. Thank you. I will never get all the thank you cards out- but I promise it is on the to-do list. I am grateful for you and hope one day, I can give it back.

Here's to Jessica Coffee and the finger prick... to finding out what the heck is wrong with me and in the meantime, seeing all that is RIGHT with me. Thank you, friends!

 

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org

New Year, New Laughs

I laugh loudest when I laugh with friends. When my laughter is among the trusted individuals who laugh with me. It is my mission to help create an environment where I am able to laugh loud, where there is trust and confidence... for only then can we freely laugh at ourselves.

"As children, we laugh hundreds of times each day, delighted by the newness of living. When we reach adulthood, however, we tend to not allow ourselves to let go in a good belly laugh. Inviting laughter back into our lives is simply a matter of making the conscious decision to laugh. Though most of us are incited to laugh only when exposed to humor or the unexpected, each of us is capable of laughing at will. A laugh that comes from the belly carries with it the same positive effects whether prompted by a funny joke or consciously willed into existence. When our laughter comes from the core of our being, it permeates every cell in our physical selves, beginning in the center and radiating outward, until we are not merely belly laughing but rather body laughing.

Laughter has been a part of the human mode of expression since before evolution granted us the art of speech. Through it, we connected with allies while demonstrating our connection with people we didn't know. In the present, laughter allows us to enjoy positive shared experiences with strangers and loved ones alike. Yet solitary laughter carries with it its own slew of benefits. An energetic and enthusiastic bout of whole-body laughter exercises the muscles, the lungs, and the mind in equal measure, leaving us feeling relaxed and content. When we laugh heartily at life's ridiculousness instead of responding irritably, our focus shifts. Anger, stress, guilt, and sadness no longer wield any influence over us, and we are empowered to make light of what we originally feared. Laughter also opens our hearts, letting love and light in, changing our perspective, and enabling us to fix our attention on what is positive in our lives.

It is easy to laugh when we feel good, but it is when the world appears dim that we most need laughter in our lives. Our laughter then resonates through our hearts, filling the empty spaces with pure, unadulterated joy. We regain our footing in the moment and remember that no sorrow is powerful enough to rob us of our inborn happiness. When we understand that uninhibited laughter is the food of the soul, nourishing us from within, we know instinctively that life is worthwhile." Madisyn Taylor, Daily Om

Sincerely,

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org

Emotional Vampires

The holidays, the time of year we are blessed to be around family. The time of year that we look forward to; making memories with our children, taking pictures and creating traditions. Some moms might agree that this time of year can also be very taxing. Being around family isn't always a favorite...and is there anyone who doesn't have the crazy uncle or aunt? Or the cousin that NOBODY wants to be around but everyone invites anyway... because, well, it's Christmas?

I found this essay to be relevant and helpful, and so, rather than rewording something that was already so well written, I would simply share it with you all. I hope you glean from it all that I did during this time of year. Sometimes breaking bread with family can lead us to a broken heart. Just know you aren't alone... somewhere across the city is another mom overcooking her ham and wishing her kids would stop dunking their breadcrumbs in their iced water.... So here is Madisyn Taylor's bit on relationships with vampires. 

"Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It's important to be surrounded by supportive, heart-centered people who make us feel safe and secure. It's equally important to pinpoint the emotional vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, leech our energy.

To protect your sensitivity, it's imperative to name and combat these emotional vampires. They're everywhere: coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. Most of us haven't been educated about draining people or how to emancipate ourselves from their clutches, requisite social skills for everyone desiring freedom. Emotional draining is a touchy subject. We don't know how to tactfully address our needs without alienating others. The result: We get tongue-tied, or destructively passive. We ignore the SOS from our gut that screams, "Beware!" Or, quaking in our boots, we're so afraid of the faux pas of appearing "impolite" that we become martyrs in lieu of being respectfully assertive. We don't speak out because we don't want to be seen as "difficult" or uncaring.

Vampires do more than drain our physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you're an unworthy, unlovable wretch who doesn't deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage that's more of a slow burn. Smaller digs here and there can make you feel bad about yourself such as, "Dear, I see you've put on a few pounds" or "It's not lady-like to interrupt." In a flash, they've zapped you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth.

This is my credo for vampires: Their antics are unacceptable; you must develop a successful plan for coping with them. I deeply believe in the merciful message of The Lord's Prayer to "forgive people their trespasses," but I'm also a proponent of preventing the unconscious or mean-spirited from trespassing against us. Taking a stand against draining people is a form of self-care and canny communication that you must practice to give your freedom legs."

I will add that maybe I wasn't always willing to give my freedom legs...until the vampires had to break bread with my babies. Food for thought over the next few weeks. Don't be afraid to "lay low" and avoid the heartache that can sometimes come from toxic family and friends. You aren't alone.

And now, eggnog and caroling... and a lot of jingling all the way!

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org

Can I Do More?

What are we preparing our children for?

I recently learned that in today's world, middle class parents are spending more time with their children than they did in 1965, when most mothers were not even in the work force. But with the ever-changing world we live in, what are preparing our kids for? And why does it feel like I am not yet doing enough for them?

We tend to think that if we aren't trying everything, we are basically doing nothing to prepare our kids for the unknown future. We have carved out time for the extra curriculars, the art and music, the brix classes and foreign language weekend classes. At night in the years as early as kindergarten, we do homework before and after dinner, rush through bath time and hope a short story is chosen for bedtime reading. Maybe this craziness, this parenting crisis- is just ME. Anyone else running like their hair is on fire? Yet, most days, it still doesn't feel like it is enough.

Tiger moms, hippie moms, helicopter moms or drones- Drone Moms (ha) our children's happiness is paramount for us all. The one thing we have in common is this undying desire for our kids to be happy. But how do we teach children to be happy and self-confident? Have we received unfair burdens? We are so busy shielding our kids from the worlds realities, the Oscar the Grouches of the world, but in this shielding and all of the teaching and the extracurriculars, are we in fact making time for happy kids? I often battle between the "cuddles in bed on Sunday morning" vs the "breakfast at the table and ready for church" Sunday mornings. Weekends getting ready for Monday or watching movies in our pajamas...? How can we be so stretched- is it because I cannot choose? It doesn't feel like it is enough- even being so stretched I often have guilty moments of "I can do more."

The first words whispered into my children's ears after birth, "I will try so hard to make you happy and to keep you healthy. I will try so hard to not hurt you." In our desperate quest to create happy kids, I might have skipped over sane. Sane kids. I have read books and listened to talks, I have seen counselors and priests... I have prayed a lot. There is no measurement of how I am doing as a mother- and it appears as though my own grading system is an unfair one. At the end of most weeks I try to tally up what went well and could have been better... but most nights I go to bed feeling like I could have done more. Cooked more vegetables, put more hot food on the table, volunteered more, taught them about more, read more, done more at their school, planned their outfits (so they didn't look crazy) more... more, more, more.

Today I have been in bed all day fighting strep or an ear infection or both. I think one of the kids I want to do so much more for gave it to me. I haven't been able to do much at all. Had bone broth and let them have dry cereal. I slept. I cannot do more today and it is possible that all of those nights doing more-more-more- have finally caught up. Again. You won't learn balance here, ladies. I am still on a quest to find the perfect parenting equation that makes me both a fantastic and inspiring mother, a reliable and responsible adult and a loving and healthy wife... but today it is Passion Tango tea with lots of honey and some very old magazines in bed. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to do more.
 

Carly Alacahan
President
president@gcsmomsleague.org