I have a special guest post today from Elizabeth (Confessions From A Working Mom). I read this and there are absolutely so many parts I could have written myself! Hope you enjoy it...
On the outside, I am someone who seems pretty self-confident.
I've gone out to dinner and a movie alone, and really enjoyed myself.
I've gone to work on Fridays (ok, ok, and sometimes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and the occasional Thursday) without a lick of makeup on my face, and my unwashed hair in a greasy ponytail.
I've even ended friendships I found toxic, making a clean break without looking back.
But on the inside, I care-- desperately, passionately, all-consumingly-- about what others think of me. When I think I've offended someone, or think I've made a bad impression, I can keep myself awake for hours at night, conjuring up fictional "what I should have said" conversations. I can obsess over the most minute details; does so-and-so think I don't like them, because I didn't stop and chat with him/her at work today? Will so-and-so be angry with me because I skipped this week's playdate to hang out with a different group of friends?
I could go on and on...
It's a tough dichotomy: being who you are without ruffling somebody else's feathers. How do you do it? If you stray too far to one extreme, you can come across as callous, unfeeling, even disengaged. But on the opposite end, catering to another person's feelings 24/7 can compromise your personality, and leave you struggling to find your center, your balance, your sense of self.
Is there a happy medium?
I think as I get older, I get closer to finding that happy medium. I learn-- through my own experiences, and through the shared experiences of my family and friends-- that it's ok to be me. That doesn't mean I don't worry about the consequences of my sometimes-bad behavior. On the contrary, I think it's just my human nature to focus on things I can't control (or, more rightly said, things I can't control as much as I'd like to).
So the next time I see you on the street, and I don't meet your gaze full-on with a wide, white smile, don't worry... I'll do enough of that for the both of us.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer. She is currently a resident writer for OnlineSchools.org, which researches areas of higher learning, online colleges, and education. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing down her toddler, who is usually trying to chase down the family dog, who is usually trying to chase down the mailman.
I think it was on Speaking From The Crib that my favorite scene from Goodfellas was recently mentioned. Karen Hill tells her husband, Henry, that she needs some money, and when he asks how much, she basically holds her fingers apart to indicate her response -- and she's not indicating she just needs a little bit, she's indicating the size of the stack she needs.
Well, okay, so the money is completely and totally dirty and she now has blood on her hands and all that, but still... That would be like a dream come true for me, if only The Husband could legally (you know, without killing people by stabbing them in their neck repeatedly with a pen -- and I know that wasn't Henry Hill doing that, but man that part stands out) make so much money that I could ask for it like that.
(That pen part was so gross.)
So I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I have a sweet deal, and I know it. For the most part, I can't complain. (That doesn't mean I don't complain. My friends know this. Sorry, ladies, and thanks for listening.) Anyway, I stay at home, and currently I do not do anything to bring money in to our household.
I know, I know, what I do is invaluable -- blah, blah, blah. I get it. And I'm happy doing it.
At the same time, I would like to buy my girls kids' meals once in a while without being wracked with guilt.
And I know a lot of SAHMs are in the same boat as I am.
But I want to form a very special kind of support group. For women whose husbands majored in Finance. Or Accounting. Anything where they work with numbers and/or money and they monitor the checkbook and credit card balance with the white hot intensity of a thousand burning suns.
The Husband is incredibly awesome with money. He is pretty much a genius with all things financial. I find great peace in that.
However. (You knew it was coming.) I would also like to be able to go to the store when my older daughter's dresses are so short that she looks like she could be in a Hannah Montana video (I've never seen one, actually, but I saw her performance on DWTS, so I'm assuming that she's going the skank route now) to buy her some new dresses without having to ask, or without having to explain that getting 4 brand new dresses for under $22 is a really great deal, and on top of that, these dresses are going to be worn again by our younger daughter, so I'm doing pretty dang well.
I can't remember the last time I paid full price for anything, or when I've purchased something that wasn't on a rack that didn't have a HOWEVER-MUCH-PERCENT-OFF or a CLEARANCE sign above it. I shop for myself and the girls at Kohl's and Target. I get our shoes at Payless.
I do not mind shopping like that. I don't think I would change how I shop even if I had unlimited funds.
I just wish that I could get some credit for being a smart shopper. And I don't mean credit like credit credit, like Visa or MasterCard, I just mean for The Husband to not hyperventilate when I come home with a shopping bag -- which really isn't all that often.
Even when I did earn my own money, he took a lot of interest in it. And I don't mean interest like interest interest, like 8.250%, I just mean The Husband always wanted to know how much I made. I was in direct sales, and he didn't ask me how the show/party went, if I had fun, he mostly just wanted to know about the bottom line.
(To be fair, I think he's just wired like that. I mean, being that way makes him very good at what he does.)
And when I do manage to earn some "fun money" for myself, I would like for The Husband to not ask how much I spent or what I spent it on. Because I do not ask him how much his golf shoes cost. I do not ask him how much it costs him when he goes to play 9 or 18 holes.
And if he thinks that he needs a new pump for his fish tank, I take him at his word. If he says the cleats he wears for softball are falling apart, I believe him. I mean, he would know best.
Just like I would know best if the girls' toes are poking through the tops of their shoes or hanging over the edge of their sandals, if their shorts are too short, if they need haircuts. Or if I need new shoes -- because, believe it or not, I don't buy shoes on a whim. Or if, God forbid, I need a haircut. (Just wait until I need to get it colored!)
But also, sometimes I'd like to take the girls out for a treat now and then. And I can't help but notice... When he takes the girls out (which he does, often, because he's an amazing father), he doesn't have to call me and ask if it's okay if he swings by Wendy's with them. He doesn't call and ask if I think it's okay to buy them a movie.
I have asked for an "allowance" of sorts, but I'd kind of like it to come with no strings attached -- if I'm given money to do with what I please, I would like to do just that without being asked where each nickel and penny went. Is that too much to ask? Between his natural inclination to be so into money and its comings and goings, and it technically being his money, should I just let it go that I feel like I need to provide a spreadsheet with how much I want to spend and when? Will I ever really feel comfortable spending money, am I always going to feel like it's someone else's?
"I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void." (<--- That's a line from one of my favoritest movies, which I want to buy on DVD because I only have it on VHS, but I always feel like that would be wasteful spending.)
Everyone knows Max and Ruby, but not everyone knows Max and Ruby's parents.
Until now, they have silently endured the constant barrage of questions about their parenting skills. Until now, they have left "WHERE THE &%@! ARE MAX AND RUBY'S PARENTS?!" alone.
Mom's whiskers tremble as she sniffs, "I've been called neglectful. Neglectful! I do not neglect my children!"
"We're bunnies," Dad interjects. "What do people think we're doing off-camera? But it's children's programming, for Peter Rabbit's sake! They can't show that!"
Mom places her paw over Dad's to calm him.
"It's just difficult, you know?" Mom says softly. "I mean, we are rabbits, and we only have two children. All of our friends and family have 4 to 12 little bunnies at a time, and we have just our little ones."
"And that's not to say that we don't love them!" Dad adds.
"Of course! We adore Max and Ruby... Ruby and Max. You just... You have no idea what it's like to be the only members of the Leporidae family that can't reproduce like everyone else..."
Dad shakes his head and puts his arm around his wife. "We're not the only ones," he says.
"No," Mom shrugs, "but ours is the only family with it made obvious for the whole world to see day after day after day on television."
Which begs the question: Why? Why allow Max and Ruby to be showcased on their own television show if it would bring such scrutiny on their family?
"It's simple, really," Dad states. "Grandma can only watch the kids so often. The Huffingtons are busy with their own brood. I mean, you only see Baby Huffington on the show, but they've got a whole litter in there. Anyway, we just don't want to give up, and having the kids on the show means constant supervision. Which gives us more time to..."
"The cameras are on them all the time," Mom smiles as she interrupts. "We never miss a moment, really. And Ruby's so great with Max."
When asked about the suggestion that Ruby is actually a little bossy with Max, Mom's fur bristles.
"She's had a lot of responsibility put on her at an early age, and we realize that. I wouldn't call her bossy, though. She's a natural leader."
When the subject of Max's penchant for making mischief comes up, it's Dad who speaks up, his tail twitching roughly.
"These kids don't have it easy, you know," he says, pointing his paw. "Their family isn't like the other bunnies', and they get teased. Sure, they have their friends, but the Bunny Scouts aren't the only ones at school. Not every family is as non-judgmental as Valerie's or Louise's."
"Even Mr. Piazza wants Roger to keep his distance from Ruby!" Mom exclaims before dissolving into tears. Through her sobs, she explains, "He's afraid if they wound up together, Ruby wouldn't be able to procreate like the other does!"
Dad comforts Mom and waves off an offer of carrot juice.
"No, thank you," he says. "I think we just need to go."
And with that, Max and Ruby's parents hop along, hoping that their side of the story will be heard and understood.
If you're a parent of preschoolers, then you can probably look at that picture and name each and every character. You can probably also sing through each and every theme song.
C'mon. Just admit it.
Have you ever seen one of these live shows? My mother-in-law got us tickets to see The Backyardians Live when they were in town two summers ago, and I have to admit -- I was impressed! The show itself was really fun and well done, and I loved how involved the audience got -- both kids and parents! When we went, my girls were 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 and they both enjoyed it thoroughly. I would definitely take them to see Storytime Live -- and I was actually offered tickets to see it, but unfortunately there is a conflict in my schedule so I wasn't able to accept them. Boo!!
But if you're in the Central Florida area, I have a treat for you! I was offered a Family 4-Pack of tickets to give away for the 4:00 pm show on Wednesday, August 4that theBob Carr Performing Arts Centre!
I'm making this super easy, too! All you have to do is leave one comment (as well as a way to contact you if it's not available through your profile) with your favorite Nick Jr. show -- or at the one that annoys you the least! :-)
I will use the Random Number Generator and announce the winner on Wednesday, July 28th. Then I will give your name to my generous contact at FAIRWINDS Broadway Across America, and your tickets will be available at Will Call on the day of the show.
Sound good? Good! And good luck!
Nickelodeon and FAIRWINDS Broadway Across America - Orlando bring Storytime Live! to Orlando for four performances only, August 4 – 5, 2010. Storytime Live! is the first-ever live family theatrical tour featuring characters from four of the current top-rated preschool shows on television today : Dora the Explorer, The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets! and Ni Hao, Kai-lan;. Preschoolers and their parents can see their favorite Nick Jr. characters come to life in one action-packed on-stage adventure hosted by Nick Jr.'s Moose A. Moose and Zee. The tour will visit more than 70 cities in 2010.
Tickets for Storytime Live! in Orlando start at $16.00 and can be purchased at the FAIRWINDS Broadway Across America – Orlando Box Office, Amway Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations. Online purchases can be made at www.OrlandoBroadway.com. To charge-by-phone call 1-800-982-2787. Group orders for 20 or more may be placed by calling (407) 423-9999 x17 or (800) 950-4647. For more information, visit www.nicklivetour.com.
Photo Caption/Credit: The entire cast of STORYTIME LIVE!, including Dora in her princess costume!
For the month of July, Leigh from Leigh vs. Laundry wanted to brag on her man! Let's hear all about...
Let me tell you how awesome my husband is. His love is shown to me in the smallest ways that seem to matter the most. After seven years of marriage, I know that if we walk out of a store together, that my husband will not only open the door for me, but also grab any bags and carry them to the car. I haven't carried even the lightest of bags to the car since the day that we started dating. I remember when we were a new couple and had a conversation about what it would be like to have children together. He said something that made such an impression on me. We were talking about teaching boys to respect women and he told me that if we ever had sons that they would learn how to treat women by watching how well he would treat me.
Now, we have two sons and he truly lives up to his promise. He always listens when I have something to say and makes it a point to make sure that our oldest boy does the same. I always feel like I've been heard and valued. He has never raised his voice at me. Not once and when we do have arguments, he fights fair. We made a deal when we got married to never call each other names or bash each other in front of other people. We've managed to uphold that promise. We are a unified team and I know that our children learn from watching us interact in such a loving way.
We have been blessed in that he has not had to make any huge sacrifices in my honor but he still takes every opportunity to treat me with the love and respect that I deserve. Everyday is an opportunity for him to be an honorable man. He is my best friend. We laugh together often and make the other laugh on a regular basis. He buys me flowers for Mother's Day, my birthday, Valentine's day, and our anniversary. He tells me that I look pretty. When I cook a really yummy dinner, he smacks my booty. He'll watch really bad reality television just because he knows that I like it. He'll only make fun of it every now and again as we watch it. He never ever makes me feel stupid for reading People Magazine. So, I feel blessed to be with a man that loves me for me. He knows that I'm not perfect but he takes me as I am and treats me the way that no other fella has. He is also the only man that I've ever met that is not afraid of me. I am one lucky lady!
Yes, Leigh, you are one lucky lady! Thank you for sending this, and congrats on 7 years with your man!