Mom Anger … the struggle is real.

I’m a natural-born control freak. I’m a mom of three. The words control and kids are not two that tend to blend well.  The combination of these two means I get angry a lot.

I get angry when I can’t go to the gym when my kids are sick.

I get angry when no one eats the dinner I made with complains of being hungry an hour later.

I get angry when it feels as there is constant squabbling in the first hour of my little ones emerging from their beds.

I get angry when I just want to watch a television show with guns and sex for entertainment but can’t.

I get angry when I have the flu but no one cares.

I get angry when I just want to eat a meal in peace rather than be asked for something every time I attempt to put a fork to my lips.

I get angry when all I want to do is read a book in silence for 10 minutes.

I get angry when I just want to take a shower but everyone needs to poop all at one time.

I get angry when i want to eat a piece of chocolate without hiding in a pantry or separate room.

I get angry when babysitters cancel last minute.

I get angry when I want to leave the house without it taking 30 minutes to get everyone out the door.

I get angry when everyone has clean clothes and I can’t find a pair of socks for myself.

I get angry when other moms say that they never get angry. I get angry when getting angry as a mom is taboo. Getting angry is part of the job of a mom, how you handle that anger is another factor in the equation. I have no fear of my anger, no shame either. I face my anger straight on, I accept it and recognize it. I express it to my spouse, my mom and my friends. As a MOPS Coordinator I share it with my members to let them know they are not alone in their anger. “Mom anger” isn’t just for control freaks, it’s a reality for all moms. Rather than denying that it exists, I embrace it, I deal with it and I use it to motivate happiness and solutions to bad days and terrible mommy moments. Without anger you can’t have happy. Deal with the anger to get to the happy.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words …

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My eldest drew me a picture. Not just any picture but a picture of our “home”, our home through his mind’s eye. A picture worth a thousand words, if not even more.

So what thousand words is this picture worth?  Let’s proceed through the Halperin Chateau…

First, my growing artist drew and labeled an X-Box. We do not own an X-Box nor has he ever played on one. I’m not sure where he saw the spelling, but apparently he feels that we need one from its high placement on the top of the home diagram. I suppose the snap shot is balanced by the incredibly large and full book shelf in the same room (his bedroom) as the X-Box. However, I am surprised by the lack of Legos to be found.

A picture worth a thousand words.

As we move through the “house” we enter my daughter’s room on the top right. Here we see her in a crib, as she sings “A-A-A-A” very loudly … according to my son, the creator. This is a true statement. The girl is always singing or talking or yelling or screaming very VERY loudly.  I ask my self on a daily basis if this is a girl characteristic as my sons don’t hold the same desire to be like a squawking bird 24/7.

A picture worth a thousand words,

Moving towards the second level of the home my husband and I are pictured.  Dad with a very large head, which I completely understand in a figurative way and Mom with a small head. My first born has me saying “YOU”. When I asked him why he pointed me in the room to the right of Dad and Mom. In the adjoining room is my youngest son. My little trouble maker can be seen in his crib “shaking his butt” saying “Mmmm”. This is also a true statement. For months we have been blessed with the struggle of the word butt and our middle child. He is constantly using the word, thinking it’s the funniest four letters in the human language. I grew tired of the word after the very first day he used it. I grew even more tiresome when he started dropping his pants and shaking his bare bottom at cars as they passed by our floor to ceiling windows in the living room. A constant battle that I seem to be losing daily. And yes, I am usually reprimanding him with an array of remarks that being with the word “You”.

A picture worth a thousand words,

Finally, located in the playroom (where the illustrator never can actually be found alone because he believes this room to be “scary” when entered on his own) is my son, the artist.  I’m happy to see that he understands that having a rug is important enough to be labeled, as are “Toys” and “TV”.  I find it humorous that the television is on since there more of a chance of me taking a shower by myself than that television has a chance of being turned on. I’m pretty sure this is a plea to watch more TV. Also, (again) we the viewers are faced with another snap shot of a typical household battle … seen in my son’s dialogue bubble are the words “oh my god”. A daily struggle between parent and son is hashed out over these words regularly. He uses them when out of my view but has yet to realize that as his mother I hear EVERYTHING. What is even more puzzling is the fact that whenever his brother or sister use the phrase he is quick to reprimand. Though I would have rather avoided having ANOTHER conversation around the use I asked him why he  used the phrase which he responded with “My brother and sister were annoying me.” What could I say? I couldn’t argue with the kid, the endless shaking of the butt and the loud singing can even be daunting to an almost six-year-old.  Then in closing his case, he told me that he only drew the words, he did NOT say them. Well played son, well-played.

A picture worth a thousand words,

So here live the Halperins, amongst the TV and rug. What makes me happy is that we are all together. What’s important  is that each of us are pictured smiling. What brings a smile to my face is that mommy and daddy are holding hands and “kissing”.  According to the Polaroid produced from my little man’s ever clever mind, the Halperin family pretty much has it together. No matter who may dropping their pants, shaking their butts, singing loudly (when they should be napping) or when un-approved phrases and imaginary electronics make it into a family portrait. The Halperins have it together … somewhat.

A picture worth a thousand words,

 

Parenting Pop-Quiz

Pop

Since the birth of my twins I’ve been receiving somewhat of a pop quiz from the Texas Twin Project (my babies are TX born).  An assortment of questions ranging from what my little ones eat to when I read them stories to how I handle stress when I am in their presence. The questionnaires have been popping into my inbox every six months. Usually around 30 pages long and containing what feels like a million questions.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Truth be told I look forward to these pop quizzes. They keep me in line. They demand that I stop and take a deep long look at my skill set as a mommy. Filled with questions that ask me how I am treating my children as a whole and individually. I answer the questions with complete honesty. Thinking over my interactions with my minions. Analyzing the last six months of bed times, meals, arguments, hugs, games, books and struggles. Was I right? Was I wrong? They even ask if I think that I need improvement in my skills as a parent. Well, mommy do you????

A parenting pop-quiz.

Though just a simple email, just a series of questions, a click of a mouse and clatter of computer keys. Simple tasks that mean so much more within my mommy self. A parenting pop-quiz that makes me answer uncomfortable questions while confronting the struggles I face as a wife and woman who is a mother of three.  Why do I react to each twin differently? Why do I yell on bad days? How can I laugh more? Emphasize the good I am doing rather focusing on the bad I wish I would stop doing.

A parenting pop-quiz.

In fact, I like this questionnaire so much that I wish I received the same one in regards to my first born. Making me check-in with who I am as his mother. How I interact with my little man. How my mini-me is growing with me by his side. Though I am not receiving any formal questionnaire when it comes to my eldest, the one that hits my inbox every six months makes me create somewhat of an informal check-list and quiz within my mommy brain, taking in to account the words I’ve said and the actions I’ve taken when it comes to my little boy. My own version of a parenting pop-quiz.

A parenting pop-quiz. Holding me accountable for holding one of the most important titles in the world: Mommy. The brilliant minds behind the questionnaire never send me any results or data quantifying how great or bad of a mommy I am. They don’t need to. The questions they ask are enough. The reminder each six months gives me a reality check, gets me interested in the mom I am and the way my children are being cared for. I would say with each day my grade is different. Sometimes I am an A+ and other days I probably deserve a big fat F. Some days I’m a cool C+ being an average mommy, but other days I’m above average with a B+ or an A- after scoring big with no tears, easy school drop-offs, crafts executed with Pinterest quality and five star home cooked meals.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Have you taken your parenting pop-quiz this month??? What grade would you give yourself? How would you improve your scores?

 

81%

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A little over a week ago I was presented with a figure … 81%.

Eighty-one percent.

That’s the percentage of time that we spend involved in activities  NOT present. Not mindfully living the moment. That means we are somewhere else in our minds, whether that be in the past or in the future, rather than in the present. We are thinking of something that happened or predicting something that will. Not giving our complete selves to the person and/or activity we are engaged in at that exact moment.

I can only wonder if this number is behind the increased divorce rate. Or behind the lack of committed relationships and actions we all exhibit. Our minds and thoughts being pulled in a million directions by the pings of emails, texts, Facebook alerts and the technology of our world.

Yoga has taught me so much about being in the present moment but I have to admit that though I am focused on the moment in class and mindfully living out each pose, it’s difficult to extend that mindfulness into my daily life. Especially when it comes to my marriage.

Inside the walls of my marriage I take the “mindful time” opportunities we have for granted. Like many couples in the throes of raising little people, we find ourselves talking about the events of our children’s day or planning out the events of the following day to meet their needs as parents. Then the other part of our time is dispersed among chores, work, bills and then zoning out after our greatest treasures are fast asleep.

I don’t want to be part of that 81% statistic and I certainly don’t want my marriage to be within the grasps of that number either. In order to escape the villain of 81, I searched my mind for mindful moments, to identify and understand them in order to make sure I acknowledge those moments as they come to play out in my present moments before they passed by without a mindful thought.

The evening of Valentine’s Day we put the kids to bed and found ourselves on the couch just talking. Not watching the latest Netflix documentary. Not checking off the DVR list. Not a Smartphone in hand or a laptop on a lap. Just us, just talking. Mindfully talking, completely in the present. Before we knew it two hours had passed feeling like an instant. For me, such a talk is equivalent to a diamond ring. I’m a planner, a person with so many ideas filling the nooks and crannies of my brain. Sharing all these thoughts with the man I vowed my life to, makes me feel complete and cared for.

The act of teaching lead to another opportunity where I found ourselves immersed in the present moment. Completely focused on one another, my husband recently gave me my first tennis lesson. To be taught such a craft, the teacher and the student need to be in sync. My husband needed to be focused on my needs and my body movements just as I needed to be focused on his words and his movements. Being focused mindfully in the present lead to an encounter that was loving and tender.

I love the gym. I especially love the gym childcare. But I really love it all when I find myself in the lounge with my husband, just talking. Just he and I, coffee cup in hand. No televisions to be watched, no phones pinging away, no children competing for attention.  Our attention mindfully on one another as we talk about everything and anything … mindfully.

I’m grateful for the fact that I’m lucky enough to have my husband home for lunch and dinner most days of the week. When we sit across from one another, talking about the day. Or rolling our eyes at the dramatic tendencies of our children.  Or laughing at the weirdness and innocence of our household. Or sharing in the stress of whiny children who seem to be able to get along with everyone BUT their siblings while asking for a glass of milk or seconds each time we raise our own forks to our lips.  Eating our meals, not so mindful of our food, but definitely mindful of one another.

81% is just too much of life to let it go by quickly and without full acknowledgement.

I need to make my mindful presence in my marriage more often.  Rather than waiting for the moments we are alone I need to start taking advantages of the opportunities that pop up on a regular basis. As hard as it may be when children are screaming or dogs are scrambling under our feet. We vowed through richer or poorer in sickness and health and well past death do us part, so why not live all these vowed moments, good and bad completely mindfully.

How will you spend your 81%?

 

Mirror Mirror On the Wall.

broken-mirror

One of the people I love the most heard a terrible secret. What made the matter even worse was the secret came from my own mouth.

I made the mistake of uttering the words that are a deep and dark secret within. A single sentenced leaked from my lips that make up the paragraphs that I utter to myself throughout the course of every day.

I spoke the words to my husband, forgetting my eldest was in ear shot, not out of neglect but out of feeling bogged down under the feelings of the adjectives I spoke ….

“I just feel gross and ugly.”

Hearing me, my oldest son responded, “No you’re not! You’re the most beautiful person!!”

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I made the error in thinking that once I made peace with my weight that somehow I would be fixed. I was wrong. What I hadn’t known was the extreme focus I put on weight and what I ate would transfer to focusing on the faults of my appearance. A deadly obsession that seems to latch on like a life-sucking leech to a new life-source each month. Who knew that skin, eye brows, a nose, facial shape, eye shape and all the rest could be the source of much dismay???

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

To be in such distraught while looking in the mirror makes mornings sort of daunting. Being envious of the way others appear make getting ready for a public outing somewhat sad. Far from shallow, I believe everyone else to be attractive, pretty or beautiful as I stand alone in a category of misfit or outcast. I can only describe it as feeling like a handmade rag-doll that though made with hands of love, her physical characteristics are mismatched and awkward.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I want to be able to see what my son sees. I want to be at peace with who I am and what I see, but I know I am not alone. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of American women don’t like what they see in the mirror, all of us struggling each day with feelings of shame and inadequacy about our physical selves. Just the other day I read that 91% of women would not use the word beautiful to describe themselves.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Self-esteem at the reins of my body image.  A pesky little monster making me feel inadequate among the outside world, bullying my internal world with snide remarks and negative commentary on how I look. My body image a complete mess, broken and cracked. But smashed beyond repair? At present, more than a decade of self negative talk, it feels like that I’ll always be that awkward rag-doll made of bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit so well together while everyone else is a shiny new Barbie or Ken doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

The answer to my problems seem to lie in my internal “mirror”. I just need to fix it, to make it a mirror of love and acceptance. I need a hugging mirror. I need to embrace who I am at the present and not for an image of perfection that I seem to be striving for each day, one body part at a time. I think my children are the most beautiful creatures on earth, each one made up of pieces of myself and the love of my life.   It’s so easy to love their parts, then why can’t I love my own?

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I find that my thoughts drift back to the idea of embracing. Embrace > The word I keep fixating 2016 to.  Embracing my body and all it’s parts, not as something that needs to be changed but as a unique and beautiful creation that allows me to relish and live in the experiences of my every day life. A vessel that I can physically love my children with, hold my husband with and enjoy laughter and long talks with close friends.

Embracing the inner mirror.

An obvious beginning of a longer process, one in which I come to accept my body and physical attributes as they are in this very moment. When one day I’ll be able to say “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? You are.

 

 

365.

Calendar

365 days. 24 hours in a day with a minimum of 12 hours in which we are awake. 365 times 12 equals 4380. Roughly 4400 opportunities in which I can embrace the now.

4400 moments to share and love, showing myself and the ones who mean the most to me that I’m present and living mindfully.

In order to become more mindful of the present and to take advantage of these 4400 embracing opportunities I’ve devised a list of ways in which I can make the most of my 12 hours in each of my 365 days. My list is made up of actions or thoughts that I can practice in order to live presently rather than taking advantage of the present. I hope that my list will encourage you all to devise your own for these 365 days of 2016.

Each time we get into the car rather than becoming frustrated take the time to kiss each of my children.

Each time my child becomes frustrated with a puzzle or math assignment or opening a door, I will take the opportunity to let them know how proud I am of them for trying.

When I have nothing else to give or say, what I can give is a ten second hug to my little ones.

Each time I do something for someone else I will remember to do something for myself as well … even if that is sitting down to a hot lunch in the middle of a busy day.

Each time I have the extra time to give each child a separate bath I will, washing their hair slowly and rubbing their back gingerly rather than rushing a long to just get them clean.

Each time my children sing, I will comment on what beautiful voices they have rather than saying something like “Can you do that in the other room?”

Each time my husband asks for a kiss I’ll give him one.

Each time I leave the house I will tell my husband I love him.

Each time my husband enters the house I will give him a hug hello.

Each time I find myself getting angry I will ask first if it’s my perception and my doing or if it is the fault actual person or thing.

Each time I’m feeling blue I will remind myself that displacing the anger or hurt on someone I love isn’t going to solve anything.

Each time my children run through the house laughing and chasing one another out of fun and not anger, I will bite my tongue and enjoy their innocent laughter.

Each time my children ask to wear a favorite shirt for the fourth day in a row I will let them … as long as it is clean.

I will smile and say hello to at least one stranger a day.

I will be sure to always say thank you and ask how a person’s day is who is working to bring me customer service.

I will take more pictures and actually print them out of moments that I really don’t want to forget.

Each time my children ask to be carried to bed I will embrace them, hold them close and make the steps to their room.

Each time my children ask me to read a book or play a game I will let the dirty dishes and To – Do Lists go.

Each time I think of a friend or family member I will reach out to them.

Each time I think of calling my mom I will pick up the phone and dial … and not wait until nap time.

Each time I think of my husband I will take advantage of technology and send him a text.

If I am having a bad moment I won’t let it turn into a bad day. I always will take the opportunity to reroute where that moment is leading me.

Each time I think of taking a nap I will at least close my eyes and count to ten.

Each time I remember something from my childhood with my Dad I will call him to share the memory.

Each time one of my children sits next to me  I will scoot closer and hold their hand.

Each time they pull a stool up to investigate what I am doing I will share with them the steps rather then shooing them a way.

Each time my kids shed a tear I will do my best to make them smile.

Each time I find myself not mindfully in the present, I will take a moment to think of all the wonderful things, activities and people I cherish, I will reach out and touch that person or thing and dive deeper into my abilities.

 

 

 

Throw a Hug Rather Than a Punch.

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Rather than fighting the forces of nature, why not embrace the season of life we are all in. Why not give a great big bear hug to the now we are in rather than throw a punch with what we think we should be doing . How about caressing the present instead of coming at it with blows.

I will admit my guilt when it comes to questioning the present rather than just accepting it with open arms. I’m guilty of wishing for 7 pm to come faster, for the weekend to arrive sooner, for quiet instead of loud, for sleep instead of chaos. Wishes that are only fighting the now.

I question if the way we spend our days is “enough” that if we are using our time wisely, that maybe I should have the kids in more activities or if I should be dedicating my time to even more causes and people.

I wonder if I let the kids sleep too much.

I wonder if I should have them in the “real world” more often.

I wonder if I am boring with a ten o’clock bedtime.

I wonder if I should dress sexier or drink more until I become sexier.

I wonder if my husband and I are spending too much time on the couch.

I wonder if I should be enrolling my kids in some sort of program to create geniuses rather than letting them run through the house like screaming maniacs as they pretend to be holding some sort of makeshift light saber?

I wonder if my husband and I should be having more sex.

I wonder if my kids are getting enough exercise during the winter months.

I wonder if my kids brush their teeth efficiently or if they’ll become toothless at ten.

I literally lose hours of sleep each week with the number of different “wonderings” that fly through my mind as I lay in bed.

Living in a decade of long days but short years. When feet grow quickly and hearts grow strong. An era when innocence becomes something you want to hold onto. A time in which we should really be throwing a hug instead of a punch at the life we are dealt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch. After all, my days are made up of last times. I’m not saying that today will be the last time  for everything but eventually these times and daily happenings will be a thing of the past, things that I will crave as my babies grow taller and older, and as I grow, hopefully wiser and finer.

Throw a hug rather than a punch at the daily last times.

The last time my babies will be in cribs, I cringe at the idea of what my mornings will be like when all three have the run of the house.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my kids will nap, I can only imagine what “adventures” will be had when there isn’t that short window of calm.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when my little ones will have butts little enough to fit in my lap.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when they let me choose the books to read while finding my narration fascinating.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my husband and I will sit on the couch with all three little ones asleep, in 10 to 15 years we’ll either be sharing the television with teenagers or worried about where they are and what they are doing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my little girl won’t care if her hair is brushed or if her tights match her shirt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time that hugging mom really tight and screaming her name when she picks you up from school is cool. (The day that my children no longer do this I may fall into a deep depression as I fall down the ladder of  cool people in their lives).

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

It’s okay to be who we are. It’s okay to do what we do. It’s okay to embrace our lives as they are, to love it and live it instead of planning it or molding it to what we think it should be like. It’s okay to be self-centered bitches thinking our lives and our time are important. It’s okay to make our own schedules, goals and memories. It’s okay to not follow the rules while making our own. It’s okay to throw a hug instead of a punch.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Every mundane, loud, quiet, scary, funny, sad and loving moment takes place as a piece of a divine puzzle planned for each of us. In the end, no matter how much we choose to fight it, no matter how many punches or blows we throw, it’s all going to have the same ending. The difference lies in the path to that destination, will we come out bloody, black and blue from all our resistance or will we come out wiser and finer from all that hugging and embracing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.