Monthly Archives: August 2013

I have a crippling fear of failure.

I’m excited. There’s a feeling that’s bubbling in me, underneath the surface, that is filling me with hope. My creative wheels are turning and there are soft whisperings that have me looking forward to what the next few years might have in store.

James and I give each other one thing to work on every year. It could be anything at all…sort of a free pass to name the thing that has bothered us or that we find irritating, or possibly a bad habit that has started that the other one doesn’t appreciate. Or maybe there is a need that goes unmet that we would like to highlight. It has been good and productive and healthy to have this in our marriage.

This year (because this is something we do in the summer) James didn’t want me to change anything, but rather, he wanted me to give some of my time and energy to a…hm…shall we say, project?

I was upset that he named this thing because in my heart of hearts, it’s what I would love to do. I didn’t even acknowledge it for years because it seemed too far off, too lofty, too ambitious. I’ve only mentioned it to a select few and, even then, it’s hard to utter the words. Lately, it has been creeping up. I get excited, then I push it back down. I get an idea, then I quickly push it away. I get affirmation and then I go to great lengths to sabotage the compliments. I reason it all away.

Why? Because I have a crippling fear of failure. It would take a substantial amount of time for me to give you all the reasons I am afraid of failing, and I won’t go into them on this blog, not now, but the way that it manifests in me is that if I don’t start, if I don’t try, then I won’t fail.

I suppose that I’m tired of doubting my abilities and, evidently, so is James. He sees something in me and wants me to see it too.

Why is that so hard?

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Glue & Scissors

I lost it the other day.

Upon exiting the washroom in our hallway I noticed something that made me stop in my tracks and my brain explode out of the side of my head; there was a pair of scissors staring me in the face. There they were, perched on the lowest shelf in the hall laughing at me. There weren’t markers everywhere or toys all over the floor, but it was enough to turn me into a crazy mom.

I yelled for the kids and proceeded to turn into an irate ape. I pointed at the scissors and loudly asked, “Why? Why? WHY? Why are they here? Why are they here!? “

I got the typical shrugged shoulders and non-nonchalant “I dunno” reply which just fuelled my anger even more.

I didn’t care who put them there and I didn’t want to know. What I did want to know was why the scissors travelled from the kitchen table, past the bookcase and into the hallway to sit on a shelf when the bookcase that they walked past had just been tediously cleaned and sorted and organized with brand new boxes (that I paid a pretty penny for).

I hauled both kids over to stand in front of the craft supply boxes. I furiously extended both arms and pointed both hands to a specific box that was labelled ‘Glue & Scissors’. I yelled again, “Look right here. RIGHT HERE! What does this box say?” They both mumbled under their breath, “Glue and Scissors”. “That’s right! Glue aaaand Sccccciiiiisssssooooorrrrrsssss!” I said as I slowly pointed to the words. And then I think my brain broke because I proceeded to say glue and scissors a million times over and over again, changing my tone and volume and speed and inflection every time.

I began extending my arms over and over again as though I were on the tarmac directing an airplane, “GLUE and scissors. GLUE and SCISSORS. glue. and….wait for it…SCISSORS! glueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissors. glueandscissorsglueandscissors. glueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissors. glueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissorsglueandscissors. GLLLLLLUUUUUUUEEEEEE and scissors. Glue and SSSSSSSSSSIIIIISSSSOOOORRRSSSS!

I think that it was just one of those ‘the straw that broke the camels back’ scenarios. I loaded the kids up the week before and took them all the way to Ikea to buy boxes that were on sale so we could try to start the school year slightly more organized. I spent two days putting the stupid things together, another half a day sorting through all of their crap and then a few more hours organizing and labelling. A lot of my time and energy went into this.

So to come around the corner and see a pair of scissors lying on the shelf (not to mention it’s just been the kids and I and a messy house for most of the summer so I’m pretty much at my wits-end) was enough for this mommy to act like a toddler.

Surprisingly we went on to have a fairly good evening after that.

They haven’t left the scissors out since. Toys on the other hand…

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Beauty

We are constantly bombarded these days with ideas of beauty and what beautiful is; our own inner voices, our family and friends, the media, the world around us. Girls seem to be more obsessed than ever to fit into the societal views of beauty, trying to acquire flawless skin, perfectly applied eye make-up and the ever illusive “thigh-gap” (I read an article about this new obsession…kinda crazy). Older women rush to the spa to get skin treatments and injections, paying thousands and thousands of dollars so they can keep-up with their daughters. Every things seems to be competing for some of our head space (because if it gets in our head then we’ll obsess and spend money on trying to ‘fix it’, right?). It’s loud and it’s hard to shut it off.

Beauty is a touchy subject for me. I say touchy because I find that I am far too frequently in sync with the cravings our society has for beauty. I want the youthful look and slender build and Banana Republic’s 2013 fall wardrobe (I think I actually had heart palpitations when I went into the new store). I enjoy Vouge and often peruse The Sartorialist. It’s not that I think these things are wrong in and of themselves, it’s that I know I get carried away and allow them to take up too much time. I often put too much stock in a materialistic definition of beauty and I become shaped by all of those voices that begin to chat away in my brain. I begin to compare myself to those definitions and I fall short, because they are unattainable. Seriously, I’ve had three kids, my body will not look like a 16 year olds.

But the funny thing is that when I think about the woman that I want to be and become, these definitions of beauty don’t hold a lead role. Sure, I hope that I look as good as my mom does when I’m 58, but I long for a different beauty as well. A lasting beauty. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately and it’s probably because I’m nearing my 30th birthday.

We are told to take care of our future. We put money away and make plans upon plans upon plans to ensure our comfort and our childrens safety. We are told to eat healthy and be active so as to ward off heart disease and strokes…which are all important. But I’ve been wondering why more of us (and maybe this takes place but it’s not talked about as much) don’t plan for how we want to age in character and faith and personality. I’ve been thinking about how I would like to age in many areas.

I came across a quote that I wrote down quite a long time ago. Unfortunatly I didn’t write down the author, but it goes like this:

” This is what beauty says, All shall be well. And this is what it’s like to be with a woman at rest,

a woman comfortable in her feminine beauty. She is enjoyabe to be with. She is lovely.

In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You relax and believe once again

that all will be well.”

This quote resonates with me, but I feel so far off. Mentors seem as though they are a thing of the past, but I bet this is where they would come in to play. I’d love to have a mentor, a Ruth or an Ester type, a godly woman to look-up to and ask questions to and  see how she walked through all of the long rough years.

When I look at my peers and at older women around me that I know and admire, they don’t fit into these silly cookie cutters that the world has made for us. They come in all shapes and sizes. I find that what makes these women beautiful are their lives and their stories, their love and their passion, their flaws and their humour. They have something that a cosmetic stand or Botox add cant sell.

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom…

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31: 10, 26,

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Cottage Life

 

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It’s not you, it’s me.

“This is not a holiday” I said to my mother, “I don’t get to sleep-in!” Not that I normally sleep-in on a holiday, or ever for that matter, but waking up anywhere between 5:30 and 7:00 is not ideal. Summer holidays are for kids and students…not for stay-at-home mothers.

Every day feels like utter chaos. Between carting kids around to camps, pools and play-dates, doing errands with the kids, cleaning up a zillion times a day because they are at home playing with every single toy and craft all at once whilst dragging in every little pine-cone, flower, rock or blade of grass they can find, breaking-up arguments because the kids are tired of each other and the house and being quiet because their shift-working dad is sleeping, and feeding Amelia 65 times a day (not to mention taking care of a very mobile baby on top of all of that) I’m totally done by 8:00pm (and if the kids aren’t all in bed and asleep by 7:59 I turn into a crazy rabid she-wolf that devours young children).

My mother responded to my cry for help by saying that it’s true, a mother’s holidays aren’t July and August but instead are June and September (and I’m sure she was using the word ‘holiday’ lightly, since it’s still not a holiday). June because it’s nice out but the kids are still in school and September because you’re just so freaking happy that the kids go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove my kids, but I’m also not a saint and I know my limits. I’ve reached my limit. I want 5 minutes to myself and I want to clean the house and have one corner stay clean for longer than a blink.

All of this is a lead-up for me to say to all my friends that I’ve been wanting to get together with for ages and keep saying we should grab a coffee…it’s not you, it’s me! Rather, it’s my house and my kids and, well, summer. I miss you, I really do (and I reeeally want to drink that coffee), but it’s just not working out right now. I do hope you can understand and forgive me because I already feel guilty about yelling at my children for the 5,349th time today. Maybe once things get sorted out and I get my act together we could try again? Maybe in, oh, I don’t know, 5 years?

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