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Mom's Nag Pad is a place of support for women and moms. I hope that while you're reading the stories about the crazy lives of others, you'll remember yourself and pick up that dream deferred. Like me, everyone should indulge a dream!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Small Bites in Action

This week my husband will be out of town (he's on his way to cover the Saints in Miami), so we four girls are on our own. You never realize what your spouse really does until they're out of the picture for a few days. My husband does all the grocery shopping (mostly because he doesn't like me adding things like cleaning products to the cart), half of the driving of kids to schools and some of the cooking. I've already told my older girls that we'll be getting organized this weekend.

All the laundry has to be done and the outfits for me and the youngest will be ironed and chosen for the week. I have to have her at her friend's house every morning for 7:15 in order to get to school and since I already hate being up early, the more organized we are, the longer I can sleep.

We'll make three or four extra dinners this weekend, so that we'll only have to reheat during the week, and one day I'll take the girls out or bring food home. My mom will help out on those days when I have class, and my oldest will slip into Dad's shoes for evening pick-ups.

So let's all take a deep breath and get ready for next week!! Go Saints!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Go Saints!

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on their first ever trip to the Super Bowl!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back To School

The nervous energy is back. I left work at 2:30, came home and made dinner for the family and plan to be at school early so that I can go to the bookstore and get supplies. After one semester I feel invested in this portion of my life and will work very hard to see it through. I'm also trying to plan my days in such a way that I don't lose my mind!

This will take another family meeting. Since I've been out of school, the girls have gotten a little lax on their chores and I got a little tired of staying on top of them. But everyone has to pitch in if this is to work, so whenever I can make double dinners I will. I'll save laundry for the weekend and make an extra effort to make extra time for my youngest. It's very easy for the youngest to get lost in the shuffle of our very busy schedules.

Bathroom update! The painting is done, but I still have a lot of little things left like putting up the shower curtain, curtains at the window, caulking the surround, etc. I wanted to have all of this done before tonight, but a sinus infection got in my way. Keeping to one of my resolutions, I'm going to take small bites and commit a half hour each night until the work is done.

Off to school!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy 50th!

I'm pretty sure my husband had a good birthday. We had a family brunch at his brother's house, then he went to the Saints game, where I think the Saints won 45 to 14, but don't quote me. I got him a really nice Oster blender because he likes to make smoothies. That was the good news.

The bad news is that my perfectionistic sixteen year old is still moping about getting a 'C' on a quiz. I hate to see any kid put this kind of pressure on themselves. It's hard for kids this age to see the big picture because their worlds tend to be a very small sphere which encompasses their family, friends, and school. This morning I gave her a suggestion. Try thinking about someone else for a while, like one of the children at my literacy center. Her home burned down just before Christmas, now she and her pregnant mother are homeless. The child's reading library was also lost, so I suggested she and her little sister go through our children's books and see what we can give.

Maybe she could think about the people in Haiti? If getting a 'C' on a quiz was the biggest problem teenage girls had in that country, it might be the best day of their lives. So come on you teenagers who are so connected and into saving the world! Why not get together with your friends and figure out a way to help someone in real need? How about remembering that five years ago, your city was also devastated and that many people came to your aid to help rebuild your life and your city?

It's just a suggestion from your Mom.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Disaster Relief

As a Hurricane Katrina survivor, you can only watch the unfolding events in Haiti and put your head in your hands. The earthquake was devastating and the overwhelming majority of these victims have nowhere to turn. The displacement is gut wrenching with little hope of stability for some time to come. In New Orleans, we discuss everything as 'before Katrina' and 'after Katrina'. Five years later, there are still parts of this modern American city that look like the hurricane hit yesterday. If you're able to help at all, even in the smallest way, I encourage you to do so. Five or ten dollars from millions of people can go a long way to begin the recovery and healing of this island nation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One more hurdle....

Today, I finished my last Mardi Gras costume for the Zulu parade. For those non-New Orleanians, it is the rare person in the Big Easy who does not participate in Mardi Gras in some fashion. When I was a stay at home mom, making Mardi Gras costumes was a major part of my sewing season. And as excited as you are for the season to begin, you're just that ecstatic to see it end. I made fourteen costumes this season while working full time for Americorps and going back to school. I almost died. Lesson learned: edit your schedule to prevent insanity!

School starts next Tuesday and of course, I'm nervous. My husband's fiftieth birthday is Saturday, I'm painting my bathroom on Sunday, and volunteering on Monday. Don't feel too sorry for me. If I didn't really enjoy this level of activity, I think I'd stop before the next project took shape.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day of Service

As an Americorps member, monthly service projects are required, and usually enjoyed. To celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday, January 18, I will be volunteering at a local elementary school. We'll be painting, landscaping and organizing the library.

With the tight schedules we all enjoy, the idea of volunteering is sometimes met with a wince and a faint promise to pick up the baton on another occasion. It' s like trying anything new and unknown. If you give volunteering a chance, you'll find an enjoyable experience underneath all the work. I'd like to challenge everyone to do more on Rev. King's birthday than go to a sale or sit in front of the television all day. Give a little of yourself to your community and make it better for all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

When did high school get so hard?

My sixteen year old is starting to have more of those days when she wishes she had stayed in bed. As a junior at one of the toughest high schools in the country, in addition to half days at the performing arts high school, she's starting to get in the car at the end of the day looking like a fifty year old man who's been laid off. She's got teachers who give her biology finals with two hundred questions and science projects which need the signature of the President for completion. When did high school get so hard?

I get it. I know it's the preparation ground for college, but teenagers shouldn't be having this kind of stress over papers, tests and grades. There are times when the pressure gets so great and she has been so overworked that I want to call in sick for the kid. It doesn't help that she's a perfectionist when it comes to her grades. Where does she get that from, I wonder? Possibly from the woman who's trying to juggle family, work and school at one time.

Well, it's taken me years to figure out that perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be. In the end you make it look so easy that others continue to pile on the work. At the end of that self perpetuating hamster wheel, you're either forced to keep up the facade, chuck the whole thing, or look for the non hostile middle ground. I've told her to start looking for the middle ground now. Anything's better than trying to pull off the perfect Martha Stewart Christmas for people who are just as happy with styrofoam plates, paper napkins and pigs in a blanket. Oh wait, are we talking about me again?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Heat Is On

On December 22nd, I walked out of work relieved. I was going to have almost three weeks off and I could get all kinds of things done. Well, here it is, January 10th, and I'm looking at my bathroom, my still unfinished bathroom. I've got an article to write, some sewing to do, and preparations for the beginning of my Spring semester at school. I get depressed just thinking about it.

I'm going to take a couple of deep breaths, then I'll remember my mantra for the year; small bites. I'll work for an hour in the bathroom and for an hour each day until it's ready for painting on Saturday, the last thing I need to do. I'm completing one last costume today. I'll do some reading for class. I'm breathing easier already.

Gotta go now. My six year old has asked for a stretching partner. She's a gymnast and this will help knock out the exercise for today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to the grind!

Today was the first day back to work for me since December 22 and let me tell you, it was not easy. I had gotten used to sleeping past six and wearing my pajamas past lunch. It was a nice long vacation and I was sorry to see it end.

Only one thing made me feel good about going into work today. I'm an Americorps member and I work at a family literacy site. Just before Christmas, two of our moms took the GED test and they both passed. One of them came in today to have her childrens' language skills evaluated, and the look on her face is something that can't be described. I think people who get their GED, especially those who have dealt with the hardship of teenage pregnancy and poverty, appreciate it far more than the average high school graduate. I had to drag my college sophomore kicking and screaming to every Senior activity, convinced that she would have been sorry if she missed these events (and I was right, of course). These two ladies will have a graduation ceremony with GED graduates throughout the city in May and I can assure you, they'll be floating on air the entire time.

What, fitness again?

Okay, I dusted off my "Dirty Dancing" dvd and shared a nostalgic evening with a finely muscled guy who reminded me of the late Patrick Swayze. I worked up a sweat and reminded myself that I'm not really that good a dancer. So, in essence, I kept my promise to start working out.

I thought about getting the Wii, until I spoke to my sister. She got the Wii fit and told me a few things that would ensure my burgeoning relationship with the Patrick wannabe. This game apparently weighs you, and if it doesn't like the pressure you're putting on the scale, it tells you. It also critiques your exercise prowess, and if you're struggling, it tells you that, too. If I wanted that kind of abuse, I'd go to a gym and let the trainer pistol whip me! Has anyone else tried this thing?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

47 and Unaccomplished

I am 47 and unaccomplished

I didn’t necessarily look forward to this birthday, but I didn’t exactly run away from it either. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not want to be 16 again. I had my first real boyfriend, who proclaimed his love for me on our first date and would have been pleased to marry me when I turned eighteen. The idea was totally foreign and the relationship ended quickly. For the rest of my high school career, I had no pressing desire for a steady boyfriend, but to be free of any domestic entanglement. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 22 again. I had just graduated from college, with a faint desire to become a television reporter, because it was what everyone suggested. I could write. I was pretty. I could speak well and I was photogenic. I returned home to find I had a niece by my younger brother and his 16 year old girlfriend. The idea was totally foreign to me and I had no desire to be a mother. I had been a part time mother to my brothers and sister while I was growing up because both my parents worked. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 29 again. I was married and had a child. I had a husband and a daughter whom I absolutely adored. But I also had a demon chasing me, which left me feeling unable to protect my own child, because I felt too duty bound to others. The work needed to rid myself of that demon took many months and travels to parts of the mind best left unexplored. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I know I would not like to be 35 again. Family DNA caught up with me and every physical ailment which plagued my family began to plague me, no matter how much I exercised and no matter my diet. I had no right to complain because I was not dying, just inconvenienced. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would not like to be 40 again. I looked around at my life and at the lives of some of my friends. Financially, I was not where I wanted to be. Career-wise, I was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to make my living as a writer, and while I continued to work at it, no favor was forthcoming. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I am 47 and unaccomplished.


I would like to be 10 again. It was the first time I remember the pretend play between my sister and myself. It was the time I could remember the doors of imagination opening wide in my heart and mind and it was the time I could conceive of a future where fantasy could be the workplace of my soul. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would like to be 12 again. It was the first time I learned creativity from my mother. Though of little means, I learned watching her how I could change my surroundings with paint, wallpaper and fabric. The four walls around me needn’t be a constant diet of beige and white. I learned that if I didn’t like where I was, I needed to make a change. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable. I am 47 and unaccomplished.

I would like to be 26 again. It was the time I walked away from the career many would kill for. I decided I didn’t like television news as much as I thought I would. I didn’t like covering murder, suicide and sewerage disruptions in a small town. I didn’t like living away from the love of my life, whom I thought I would never have. I knew I wanted to be at home with the children I thought I would never want. I missed home. I wasn’t cosmopolitan and I no longer cared if I set New York on fire. I am 47 and unaccomplished.


I would be 47 again. I am still married to a man who is so sentimental and wishy washy in a house full of women, that he can not eat if one of them is unhappy. For my birthday, I received flowers, a gift card from Victoria’s Secret and dinner from one of my favorite restaurants. I asked for sledge hammer, but that was okay.

I am a mother of three little women, who are being raised in an age where the world is really their oyster. If they want to run for president, that’s good. If they want to run a multi national company, that’s good. If they want to be the best snack mom at a suburban elementary school, well, that’s damn fine, too. I like everyday of every age after their births when I remade the decision to stay at home with my children because it was what I wanted. It was something I could give to them, something my mother could not afford to give to me.

We’re at a point in our lives where a mother and daughter can be friends. We don’t talk about sex and that suits me just fine, too. I haven’t quite forgiven her for my name, but that may come in time.

And though I am still not where I want to be financially, and have made very little for my writing efforts, I am a writer. Aside from the unintentioned dream of a husband and children, it is the one thing I’ve always wanted. It’s the one thing I have accomplished.

I am 47.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

They had it coming.......

They knew! I warned them. "We will be taking down the Christmas decorations after the first of the year, probably Sunday." I gave everyone a task and was hoping to knock it out in a couple of hours. And of course, they acted like this was the first time they'd ever heard of the plan and we'd live with Santa staring us in the face for the next couple of months. Why is it that they love to have the Christmas stuff out but seem completely befuddled when it's time to put these things away?

It's not like I asked them to spend New Year's Day like my mother does, which is cleaning everything in the house (and I do mean everything) to within an inch of its life. My mother will be 70 years old in February, and if she can clean a whole house by herself, I think my young and physically fit family can give me two or three hours to put Santa back in his box.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Renovations continue......

I'm painting the tub tonight with one of those kits from Home Depot (about $40). So far, so good. The fumes are vicious and you do need one of those special ventilation masks for the job. You have to let the tub cure for 5 days before running water. With every step of this bathroom renovation, I feel a little more confident with what I can do (past painting and sewing). The key is to know when to hire a professional.

To get my youngest out of the house today, we went to the store to pick new accessories for the bathroom. The activity was totally lost on her, as she was more concerned with how to pull off a cartwheel in the very crowded aisles. You need a lot of patience to shop with this one, and perhaps a straightjacket. Just when you're ready to pull your hair out, she says something that completely charms the cashier, and once again you realize how lucky you are to have this child.