Tag Archives: stress

How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

“This is Not What I Ordered”

We just got back from Spring Break 2016.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that being the party hardy family that we are, we went to Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or were asked to be hosts of the MTV beach party.

You are very close.

We rented a car and drove for a total of 2200 miles and 42 hours.    (Is Road Trip still an MTV gameshow?)

I called the local rental company I happened to be on the website of and asked the guy who answered what the difference was between a standard SUV, a luxury SUV, and a premier SUV.  He told me to rent a Standard and they would give me an Expedition.  Part of my goal in renting a car for the road trip was to try out a bigger car and see if I liked to drive it.  I said Okay fine and didn’t think about it.

Until I worried it wasn’t going to work out.

I called Thursday to ask if we could rent a day early and they said sure.  The person on the phone said nothing about not getting the car I had been promised so I tried not to be worried about it.  I just couldn’t believe there was an Expedition in Helena.

(When Kevin wanted to rent a convertible for an anniversary trip, it took them a week to get one up here.  This isn’t really convertible country.)

I showed up on Friday to get the car and they had a

Dodge Ram Truck

for me.

I was told it is in the same category as the Standard SUV which I had ordered.  I asked if no one noticed I would be driving it ONE WAY to MISSOURI when they put it aside.  The lady at the desk said that she didn’t think it would work.  I agreed.

I then went outside and looked at what they had available.  The minivans were on recall and so I basically had the option of a Dodge Journey.   It had three rows but it is smaller than our Pilot and therefore did not reach my goal of trying a bigger car.

It also changed the plans of how we would pack.  Unfortunately, I did not change WHAT we would pack, causing a tiny panic when trying to fit everything in our suitcases for the flight back.

(We decided to fly back so we could spend more time at different sites and less time driving.  It would’ve been a great idea and we would’ve had plenty of luggage, had we gotten a larger car.)

So that is the start of our week-long trek across the US of A.

Join us next time for “My Rapid City is Faster than Yours” or “Nauvoo; Naw Problem.”

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

How I Keep Calm in December

Sometimes, hearing or reading things about focusing on the REAL message of the holidays wears me out.

Because, deep down, I think we all try to focus on family and love and giving during this time.  But for some of us there is A LOT of family and love and giving and the REASON for the season can be overly stressful.

It’s just really hard to be popular.

KIDDING

But if it is important to focus on family and friends, then I think it’s important to show up to my grade school kids’ Christmas show at 12:30.  Then it’s equally important to show up for my middle school kid’s band concert that night at 6pm.

And there is the church party we go to and help out at so that everyone is fed and welcomed.  Plus the women’s meeting I’m partially in charge of.  (If I don’t show up, there will be no cake.  Might as well cancel the whole thing.)  We also enjoy throwing a skating party for my husband’s patients.  They get to skate, make some crafts, see Santa, eat cookies.  It’s a lot of fun.  (Just an FYI: we kind of have it down but throwing a party for 200-400 people can take time.)  We also do a few other things in the community in order to spread the spirit of cheer and happiness.  I even volunteered to make a fruit salad for a gathering I don’t plan on going to because there wasn’t going to be enough food.

I think all of these things spread the spirit of the holidays.  Being together; sharing; listening to children sing off key.

But that also means that we, as a family, together, loving one another, have 3-4 activities a week.  This is doable.  With constant ordering out of food, it’s even not that hard.  But it can get stressful.

And let’s be honest: If there are no wrapped presents at all, the reason for the season would get a little squashed in disappointment.  (I blame the parents’ of my kids’ friends.  If THEY didn’t give their kids anything, their kids wouldn’t go to school and talk about their new toys and then I could give my kids a nice stick with a pocket knife and tell them to make a toy.)

So this year I’m not listening to or reading any “How to Focus During the Holidays” articles or podcasts.  I’ve decided to use that time to wrap the gifts I purchased for loved ones.

On Thanksgiving.

This Devil of an invention DOES NOT apply to this post.

This Devil of an invention DOES NOT apply to this post.  This stresses out the best of us.  Especially now that it has a pet reindeer.  REALLY?

I Need a Sign for Days I Try to Hide Out

There’s this odd phenomenon in my life and I want to know if others have it as well.

On certain days, when I know I don’t have to go anywhere until my kids come home, I’ll shower, get half ready, put my pajama bottoms back on and wait to put any make up on.  And I love it.

BUT if the doorbell rings, I panic.  How dare someone randomly stop by on a day when I don’t put base on until 3:05pm?

Today, it was UPS.  The package is still on the porch.  And it will be.  Until 3:10.

But then I think: why do I look as comfortable/bad as I can when someone coming by brings complete and utter terror?  Should I make a sign to put on my door?  What should it say?

I really am home, but until I’m no longer in my pj bottoms, I will not be opening this door.

Leave whatever you’ve brought and back away slowly.  Any resistance will be met by a Medusa-like creature.

Real people with real lives don’t come out until after dark.  PS  What’s your blood type?

Unless you have chocolate cake, don’t ring the bell.

What would your sign say?

You can see if I'm in my office as you walk to the door.  (And I know our lawn is AMAZING)

You can see if I’m in my office as you walk to the door. (And I know our lawn is AMAZING)

There Are Always Distractions

photoThis makes me happy.  Obviously, someone else gets distracted by the Entertainment Weekly cover as well.

Vacation Dilemmas

I have a dilemma.  It’s a dichotomy.  I have a dichotomical dilemma.

When I’m in charge of a vacation, I spend it stressed something will go wrong.

If I’m not in charge of a vacation, I spend it stressed because I don’t know what’s going on.

See?  A dichotomical dilemma.

I did go to Spain with my über planning niece Jenny.  I enjoyed that.  So I guess that’s my solution.  I can vacation with over-the-top-detail-oriented people.  They’re the only people I can truly relax with.

Maybe because they’re most like me.

Being in Southern Utah does help...

Being in Southern Utah does help…

I Had a Perfect Plan Until I Went to my Kids’ School Open House

OK.   I’ve planned 2-3 hours a day to write.  I have an amazing schedule. It has different colors.  And a place for everything.  It’s an amazing schedule. AMAZING.

Then I went to my kids’ school open house.

And I signed up to bring snacks for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas.

And I signed up to volunteer in the classroom.  Because supposedly it shows I care.  And it helps my kids succeed.  And having a relationship with your teachers is supposed to be a good idea.

And I told the PTO I’d help in any way they need.

And I told my son’s 5th grade teacher that I’m not as flighty as I seem.  (Seriously?)

And all three kids are in piano.

And 1st grade means reading really boring books every night.

And 3rd grade means working on math facts every night.

And there’s dinner.

AND THEN I SAW THIS:

I am doomed.

I am doomed.

So we’re gonna see what happens in September.  And if men in white coats take me away, we’ll know my plan didn’t work.

(When times get really tough, I figure I’ll just remind myself that at least I’m not dancing on a stage half nude surrounded by giant teddy bears and Robin Thicke dressed as the Hamburglar.)