There are really good people out there.

As I returned to work after a 2 month vacation, I was overcome with brotherhood. Some people go to work without thinking twice about the people with whom they work.  I have always accumulated wonderful friendships with my co-workers. This was reassured this week when we all returned to the grind.  It was like a family reunion. Smiles, hugs, laughing, sharing stories.  As a mother, wife, and teacher, my socializing is done with things surrounding my three titles.  I am not out partying or gallivanting. Sometimes you are forced to be friends with people because of the titles that define you. Maybe they are not necessarily people you would have befriended normally.  However, I feel truly lucky to have found some really great friends at my place of work.  They feel like people I would have made friends with even if we weren’t working together.  My laughs and smiles and hugs are genuine.

Have you seen that saying posted often on Facebook about good friends are people who can go a long time without seeing each other and when they do it was like no time had passed?  Well that’s how I felt.  I left work on Monday beaming.  I hope to hold onto that for a long time.

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Holiday loss of innocence

I knew this was going to be the year.  I just wasn’t expecting the gush of emotion. My daughter comically found out about the Easter Bunny earlier this year.  Much to my amusement, as she unearthed her gifts hidden in my bedroom closet, tearfully exclaimed,  “I know there isn’t a giant bunny that comes into our house!”  Then through some causal conversation, she admitted she had figured out the tooth fairy.  I was relieved about the tooth fairy because  she lost her latest tooth on a Friday night after a long week of work.  I could barely keep my eyes open and dreaded waiting until she fell asleep.  But the real tragedy came this last weekend.  I had the feeling she already knew and just didn’t want to admit it.  She had been asking for a very expensive robot that I’ve been trying to talk her out of for the last year.  As we were discussing what she wanted to ask Santa for, the robot came up again.  A brokenhearted look washed over her face. Her sweet smile vanished and was replaced by tearful eyes and a quivering chin.  With those tears in her eyes, she asked if Santa was real.  I did not answer with a yes or a no.  I merely asked what she thought.  She announced, “No I don’t think so.  If the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are not, then Santa can’t be either.” She continued to sob.  I couldn’t help but smile at this innocence.  It was heartbreaking, but adorable all at the same time.  I still gave no affirmative answer.  She admitted she didn’t want to stop believing; her classmates still believed so she wanted to keep up the charade.  I reassured her that would be fine; no one has to know.  Then she questioned if Santa was “daddy”.  “Really?!?” I replied, “You think daddy gets you all your cool Christmas gifts?” With a delayed but amused look she realized, “Oh, you mama!”  Of course kid!

Holiday weekend memories made

I truly love to spend the holidays with my family, daughter, husband, parents, siblings from out of town. More memories to create for my daughter. This year my sister and I have finally accomplished a little holiday dream we’ve been dying to share with my daughter. We’ve taken her to the city to see the Christmas Tree(s) and holiday lights. As a frugal mom I accomplished my meager goals! Daughter was free on the train. We stopped at the Cultural Center. Not only was it gorgeous and decorated for the holidays, but also free! Millennium Park, State St and Michigan Ave windows all free. We enjoyed many picturesque moments with more Christmas Trees than one could imagine. On the flip side, we probably will never do this again. It was a nine hour day and 6 miles of pounded pavement amongst unbearable crowds. All that with a 9 year old girl. She whined almost the entire time. Begging to catch a cab or go home early. I bribed her with brownies and hot chocolate. There were glimmers of joy at the cultural center and at The Bean, but the triumphant moment was her at the American Girl store. She was in all her glory. At the end of the long day, on our train ride home she proclaimed it was all worth it. She has deposited wonderful memories in her memory bank.

Creating memories for my child.

Regularly as a working mom I feel guilty. I’m not home after school to check in on my daughter’s day. I’m not there to offer freshly baked cookies warm from the oven as my mother did. I cherish those memories. But I just cannot offer the same ones to my daughter. I must work. My time is limited; I cannot bake homemade cookies. My child’s memories need to be modernized. When I arrive home at 6:00, we enjoy dinner together. This is when we discuss her day. When she was younger I would read to her nightly. As an independent reader, she enjoys doing that alone. Now I’ve had to make it mandatory that we watch a movie or tv show or listen to music as a family a few times a week. Occasionally we play a game together. She has resisted a bit. She wants to occupy her time with her technology. I insist. She eventually gives in and enjoys herself. She may not appreciate all this now. My hope is that when she is grown, she’ll reminisce on her memorable times with me.

Modern moms, don’t give in to technology and your kids wanting to be left alone. Make time for family. You may not see the rewards of it now or ever, but it is necessary!!

A day off: no kid, husband, or work!

What does a mom do when she has a true day off?  The husband and daughter have plans for the entire day Sunday. I’ve been thinking about it for days.  My first thought was laundry and cleaning.  Ugh…that’s what I always do on a Sunday.  I have no responsibilities for almost an entire day; I have got to make the most of this it.  Who knows when I’ll have this opportunity again.

I want to eat something I cannot eat often: my favorite Thai food!  The entire order. And nothing else for the whole day.  I don’t have to be a good example to anyone.

I’ll shop for what want and how want. No one will be tagging along rushing me out of the store.   I’ll get some goodies for my lunches and perhaps use a coupon or two at Kohl’s.

The weather for this last weekend of Summer 2018 is absolutely beautiful.  I am going to head out to my favorite bike trail.  I’ll  ride as far as I want without an 8 year old anchor whose legs can’t go farther than 2 miles.

After I have checked all these off my list, then I will probably do a bit of cleaning and laundry.  It does need to be done today.  These required chores won’t be a bother after I have enjoyed my few “me” things.

Meager treats for this mom will help to give me a recharge so that when the family returns I will joyfully be ready for our busy week.

Is my desire for chivalry dueling my modern lifestyle?

I am the Meager Modern Mom.  As my self prescribed name suggests, I am trying to live a modern life. It comes with its challenges.  Parenting in the 21st century with technology is difficult.  I struggle with balancing my life as working mom who loves her job and wants to be there for her daughter.

I seek out a cushion for comfort in this conflicting modern lifestyle.  I long for people to behave in certain ways.  One of them being chivalrously.  Is that wrong while trying to live modernly?  Is it wrong to expect a male person to allow a female person to go ahead of them while using public transportation?  Am I looking more for courteous behavior?  Perhaps a younger person allowing an older person to go ahead of them on that bus. Or how about I was here first! Get out of the way! Ugh…. So many people I encounter don’t seem to act chivalrously or even courteously.  Day after day of traveling with the public and people just walk in front of others without what seems like regard for others.

Is being modern about every man for himself? I think while we share a space with each other, we should continue to be chivalrous, courteous,  and still look out for ourselves.  That is the kind thing to do.  At least that’s what I’ll teach my daughter.

Rainy day to do list…

We are getting some much needed rain on the beginning of this holiday weekend. While it is a seemingly gloomy day, a meager modern mom can make the most of it. My plan is to first complete the things that must be done so that when the weather breaks, we will be able to enjoy it.

On the other hand, a dreary day makes me want to be lazy. I want to be a couch potato. More reason to get the chores out of the way. I’ll complete my to do list so we can lounge with a movie later.

So far we got our haircuts. Next we’ll do our weekly cleaning and laundry. Together with my daughter, I’ll cook ahead some dinners for the week. We also thought it might be fun on a drizzly day to make some baked goods together.

After spending the day delaying our gratification, we can enjoy the cake we baked with a well deserved movie. We’ll curl up in blankets. As a family, the three of us plan on assuming the couch potato position in front of the tv.

The holiday weekend will be restful and enjoyable with a lot accomplished.

How to stop Bullying.

Bullying is all over the news, in our the schools, and in so many parts of our lives now. It has become an epidemic. How can we stop it? We educate our kids at home and in school. There are organizations, movements, protests, etc. to fight and stop bullying.

But how can we truly combat it when so many adults on TV, radio, and social media are bullies themselves? These public personalities are role models whether they like it or not. Whether they signed up for it or not. The reality is that people look to them for what behaviors are socially acceptable.

Why do I accuse them of bullying? While listening to the radio today, a well know commentator was using malicious names to refer to people with whom he disagreed. He’s not the only one who name calls. So many of these personalities do this. In twitter posts, newspaper articles, YouTube channels, Instagram posts, etc.

As a parent I am appalled. I teach my 8 year old to be nice to people; don’t say mean things. I teach my students that you don’t have to like everyone, but as a member of society, you must treat everyone with respect. How can these lessons be enforced when our children can turn to TV, radio, and other media outlets and see well known adults doing exactly what I tell them not to do? We can speak our peace and get across our message without calling others names.

If we stop this name calling, perhaps we can make a dent in stopping the bullying. We must model proper behavior.

Fear, Anxiety, Anger….midlife crisis??

A friend sent me an article on Gen X women’s midlife crises with a note, this is so us.  As I read, it talked about depression and worry.  I defensively thought this is not me! I am not depressed. I am grateful for what I have: a home, job, family, friends, etc.  Worries, of course, everyone has worries.  But a midlife crisis? Come on.  But I continued to read, hmmmm….  Stress about family, work, money approaching life changes, yes that is me.  But I will disagree! It is not a midlife crisis; it’s just part of our psychological life cycle.  Happiness, fear, anxiety, anger, and happiness again. It’s ok to feel this way.  Maybe having these feelings when we have no real reason to have these feeling is a first world problem.  However,  it is real and normal to feel this way.  Life cannot be peachy keen all the time.  That’s not real.

So today’s message is worry about money, the kids, your job.  Just don’t let anyone make you think that you are in the midst of a crisis.  It is just part of our lives and it is ok! The fear, anxiety, and anger shouldn’t last forever. Being able to deal with these feelings helps you deal with life’s issues without going into crisis mode.  So my friend, this is so us!

My struggle with her independence.

As a modern middle aged mom, I  try not to be an old curmudgeon. But I can’t help it when it comes to the safety of my daughter.  The small neighborhood we live in does not have sidewalks.  This never bothered me until I had a kid.  No sidewalks mean she has to play in the street, walk in the street, go to her bus stop in morning traffic in the street.  The street on which we live is the main thoroughfare so there it has a lot of traffic.  The speed limit is only 30 miles an hour on all streets in our neighborhood.  However, I find the curmudgeon within coming out with a shaking fist as my neighbors come speeding past us on the way to the elementary school bus stop.  I’ll look at them and use my fingers to point at the speed limit and show the numbers 3 0.  Ugh!  Once the person driving waved back with a genuine smile.  I was not waving at you; I was warning you to slow down so the kids in the neighborhood can safely walk to their school bus.

What am I to do?  I work hard to make my daughter independent; put your meal dishes in the sink, make your bed, put away your laundry, etc.  She’s in 3rd grade now.  My brother walked alone to kindergarten 4 blocks away.  She’s even told me that she doesn’t want me to pick her up from the bus stop in the afternoon so she can be more independent.  I only did on the first day of school.  Now I stand at the end of the driveway so I can watch her.  I have to have faith that the speeding neighbors will not hit her as they speed down our sleepy streets.  Fingers crossed.

 

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Dress for your health

I am a middle aged mom who’s not ready to throw in the towel.  I want to look good; I dress for myself.  I think people should dress for themselves.  If I look good, I feel good.  Why do some people leave their homes in sweats or pajamas?  They look a mess, and I can’t imagine they feel good about themselves.  A positive attitude is healthy and can ensure a productive, stress free day.  Why not dress well?

Keeping up with modern fashion does not have to cost a lot of money.  Honestly, I shop at Kohl’s and Walmart.  Kohl’s offers so many coupons, discounts, and Kohl’s cash.  They also have some great and fashionable clothing lines.  Walmart is very inexpensive and they have some cute, new clothing lines for all sizes.  I also shop both places for shoes with competitive prices and attractive styles.  Marshall’s and TJ Maxx are some of my favorites too.  Always low prices and fashion forward clothes.

Don’t say it takes more time to dress nicely.  It does not!  It takes the same amount of time to grab a cute blouse and flattering slacks as it does a t-shirt and sweats.  Not much effort here and the benefits are profitable.  A pep in your step leading to a fulfilling day!  Try it and feel better improving  your healthier lifestyle.