Revisiting Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

I am revisiting being a stay-at-home mom since the pandemic and brazenly quitting my job. I haven’t done this since 2007, and I have to say it’s interesting? Well, first off, looking for a job, particularly now, is fairly rotten. I hit up all the job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, in addition to going to actual websites of places I might like to work, and I have not had much success. It takes forever, and you have to enter a lot of search filters, leaving you eventually tired, exasperated and cross-eyed. Plus, I don’t even know what I want to do. I clicked on a wide array of positions, including being a Door Dash delivery person, an online social media designer, a development director, and a reporter. I freaked out that I’d get murdered with being a delivery person, so I opted out of that search.

But, then, I stumbled upon what may be my real talent and niche: Camp Counselor Philanthropist! Since school has yet to begin here in our town (first full day is October 13 #brutal), I started Camp Alex: Endless Summer. It’s essentially impossible for working parents now when kids are home all day, so I am helping them out while simultaneously entertaining my own children by having them over for camp. Win-win!

Here’s a look at Camp Alex. First, we have Puppy School, in which the dogs do math and get grades. The kids do “drop-off,” bringing the dogs upstairs with treats, and I do “pick-up.” At this time, I am versed on how well they behaved. For example, today, Poppy got an A+ and Winnie struggled with some addition and got a B+

Didn’t make Honor Roll

Around noon, we have lunchtime, which consists of whatever I can find in my fridge that they might like: edamame, french fries, grilled cheese and gummies.

Healthy!
Questionable

Next, we have play time on the trampoline and on the slide. One of their favorite games, which I created a long time ago as a disciplinary method, is “The Crab.” It’s really quite simple: find some tongs, and chase them around with the tongs biting at their ankles (gently, of course) and their knees. This is the crab! They absolutely love it, and it only costs a pair of tongs! Cheap, officious and fun. Next, we have pool time, in the baby pool, and finally quiet time with puzzles and crafts.

It’s interesting how we fall into things and unknown talents, like me being a camp counselor, during difficult times. I’m making the most of my staying at home during COVID, because I know it could be short lived. I don’t miss being in the office cubicle even one bit. The paycheck? Er, well, that’s another thing. For now, though, these kids laughing is a pretty good payoff.

My kindness rock garden

Committing to a Good Day

Do you ever wonder when your to-do list will end? Will you ever get it all done? I have come to the conclusion that I will not. The dishwasher will always be full. Is that a metaphor for my glass is half-full and not half-empty? I sure hope so.

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My glass is half-full! This isn’t me, but I mean, maybe in my head.

There are so many things I need to get done in this house: paint the back, repair the basement sliding doors, get new floors, re-carpet the entire pee-stained rug in my daughter’s room. Okay, let’s be honest. I need to just get a match, light it, and start over here.

BUT! That is not the point! The point is I will NEVER get all of this done. My house will always need something! There will always be more I could do! Oh, and did I mention I have to go to Coinstar? With the amount of change we have collected, I will be able to  quell the nation’s coin shortage crisis while simultaneously buying $300 worth of groceries! Win-win! (Oh, right. I also need to go to the market).

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One of our coin jars.

Okay, so the point I’m trying to make is this– let’s go easy on ourselves. Let’s let ourselves off the hook, especially right now. These are not great times, and we need to be gentle to ourselves and our to-do lists. In fact, maybe we should burn those and just put one thing on the to-do list: Have a good day.

Right? Let’s just have a good day. Simple as that! Commit to the day that you will not berate yourself for ANYTHING. Commit to not committing. Wait, now I sound like a 28-year-old man who doesn’t want to get engaged.

Let’s be kind to ourselves today! I hope it’s a good one.

have a great day text beside white ceramic mug with coffee

 

Be a Good Friend–To Yourself

Today, I almost sat on a wolf spider that camouflaged into my couch. It was grey, and my couch is grey. I put him in a glass, covered with a piece of paper, and took him outside. He hopped away.

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Wolf Spider.

Then, I went to get water, and there was a spider that was next to my water bubbler. He was eating some sort of moth he caught, probably from when I had the screen door open last night. I thought to move him, and then I thought, “No, maybe I will keep him, or her, as he’s enjoying his time here, and he’s keeping the insects at bay.”

You may be wondering why I don’t just get an exterminator!

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Here is the one next to my bubbler

But, I have realized, that I kind of love spiders. I used to be grossed out about them. I was freaked out and would vacuum them up, or squish them. Now, I realize most of them won’t do any harm, and they’re sort of sad and victims, because they can’t see well.

I sort of feel like a spider today, and that I can’t see well.

I can’t see myself. 

Sometimes, I can’t see my own self-worth. I talk down to myself, am punitive, and I wish I was different. I look at other women and think, “Wow, I should be more like her. I would look so much better if I just had that Dolce and Gabbana belt or the blown out hair with spiral curls.” Or I think, “If I was just ten pounds skinnier, and I had some Botox.” Or, “I wish I made more money” or “I wish I had a boat.”

These are things I can’t fix. Well, at least not today. What I can fix is my relationship with myself.  

Then I think about all the amazing  gifts I have, and the people in my life, and how I can’t believe I talk to myself this way!  I think how we must be kind to ourselves, as we are our own best friends.

Our internal voice is the one we hear the most. I read this blog post today by Dr. Eric Perry, and it resonated- not only with me, but with many others.

Be gentle with yourself, at least for today. xx

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Random Acts of Kindness Go A Long Way!

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I have been surprised recently by how nice people have been to random strangers, like me! It began last week when I pulled up to the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, and the cashier told me the car in front of me paid for my breakfast. It was a “pay it forward,” she said that had been going on all morning. Every single car paid for the one ahead of it! I felt a little guilty that we had splurged on a couple of Coolatas, and my bill was $10.81, which is fairly egregious for Dunkin’, but I honked at the car in front of me and paid for the one behind me.

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Another act of random kindness was last night when I took my son fishing off the dock at the beach. Okay, I really shouldn’t say I took him fishing, because, clearly, I had no clue what I was doing.  (I watched a You Tube video on how to tie the lure on the hook) So my son’s line was all loose and all over the place, like he was in A River Runs Through It and fly fishing, except we were on the ocean. So, after trying to reel it in for about five minutes and getting nowhere, I implored a man who pulled up next to us on his boat to help us out. He looked like a fisherman, and, sure enough, he was. He took the time to explain to me and my son how to tie the lure and also how to fix the line. I was so grateful!

Lastly, the door to my fence blew off in the wind yesterday morning. My neighbor, and older man, came over with my dog letting me know he was out on the loose. Then, without me asking, he fixed my fence, nailing it back together and patching it up with wood he had in his garage. I didn’t even ask him to do this, and he fixed it! So I bought him a bottle of Merlot to reciprocate, which I know he likes from his daughter telling me so, and I left it for him with a note in his door.

I think in times like these it’s so nice when people do random acts of kindness. Not to toot my own horn (okay, I will…wait, stop, wait, yeah, no), I got the Citizenship Award when I was younger because I was always considerate of others’ feelings. I am trying to think of some random things we can now do to make other people feel better:

  1. Leave a flower on someone’s doorstep
  2. Buy a friend a subscription to a magazine they may like
  3. Write a real letter to one of your parents and mail it
  4. Watch a friend’s child for them for an hour so they can run errands or go for a jog
  5. Leave your favorite inspirational book for someone in their mailbox with a note

These are all things we can do to make someone’s day. Random acts of kindness can go a long way to improving all of our lives!