"I don’t know how you do it."

This statement has been said to me a lot.  I feel like it has been said to me quite a bit since I started school and it was also said to me a lot after I was widowed.  

Let me share a secret with you.  I don’t know how I do it either; I just do. 
When I was widowed, I did what I had to do to keep my sanity and to survive.  With that came learning a new sense of normal.  I had to learn how to parent alone and I had to learn what worked and what didn’t.  I think I did a decent job of figuring it all out and just doing what I needed to do to keep my children healthy and happy.  
Since I’ve been back at school, I’ve had a lot of classmates tell me they don’t know how I raise children, manage a family and go to school full-time.  I try to manage my time well, but sometimes I have to let things go.  I have two baskets of laundry sitting in my living room that need to be folded, but they’ll get done when they get done.  Is it ideal?  Is it the way I’ve liked to do things in the past?  No, but sometimes I just need to chill out and that’s where I was at last night.  They’ll get done.  My house isn’t a pig-sty, but I can’t be the perfectionist I like to be when it comes to cleaning and decluttering.  The kids and the homework have to come first for me to be able to do this.  I can’t stay up until midnight doing homework or I’m not productive.  I need about six hours of sleep in order to function (and I wish I could get more!!).  If I’m constantly exhausted, everything is going to suffer.  
I’m not Superwoman, by any means.  I just do what I have to do and I try not to complain about it. Being back in school is hard, but it’s also one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I love learning, but best of all, I’m learning so many new things about myself.  I’m challenging myself and I’m showing my children that education is important and that hard work is positive.  
Seven years ago, I learned that I am a strong woman.  I didn’t think I was, but I have since proven to myself that I am.  That strength has carried me through this semester and will continue to carry me through this journey and on to future endeavors.  

A lovely day off….

Let me begin by saying Happy Veterans Day to all the vets out there!

I got to enjoy a day off with the boys today.  It was enjoyable and productive–the best of both worlds.  We went to get Christmas photos done.  Now, I don’t usually do professional Christmas photos.  I usually take my own picture of the boys for our cards, but this year I just didn’t have the patience or time.  It was nice to get the boys dressed in their holiday sweaters and and go to the mall, armed with coupons, of course.  The little bit extra I spent, compared to my DIY cards, was worth it because it’s November 11th and the cards are done and in my house.  Now I just have to address them and mail them.  I even have the stamps. I’m hopeful that they will be addressed and ready to go by Thanksgiving weekend and my card recipients will be astounded that Amy the college student is still efficient with her cards.  🙂

We also lucked out and were able to get a picture with Santa today, too.  I am usually one to complain that this is too early to do all of this Christmas preparation because Thanksgiving is still about two weeks away, but I had to do these things when I had the time.  Once Thanksgiving hits, I’m going to be dealing with finals and end of the semester projects and such.

I also wondered how I was going to feel about the holidays this year.  Was I going to be stressed?  Was I going to be prepared and just pace myself to get through?  Was I going to be able to even get into the spirit before finals are over?  How the heck am I going to play Super Mom and Super College Student and give my family a memorable holiday season?  The one thing I’ve figured out over the last few weeks is that things will get done.  The most difficult part of my semester is over.  I will have three final exams, but they are spread out in a way that I should be OK.  I shouldn’t lose my mind too much.  I have convinced my hubby that we should aim to get some decorations up and at least our artificial white tree up over Thanksgiving weekend and then we’ll probably get our real tree the following weekend, but he might be on trimming duty.

It will get done, it will all be fine and I will enjoy it.  When you see these adorable faces, how can you not get into the holiday spirit?

Self-confidence is a powerful thing

I have never had a lot of self-confidence.  I’ve always had dreams and aspirations, but often times I’ve reached a roadblock and then stopped believing I could do whatever it was that I was trying to do.  Certain things seemed hard and I gave up.

I also have had a hard time believing that people like me.  This likely stems from typical childhood behavior with other kids.  It also didn’t help that I grew up very sheltered.  I didn’t go out to play and didn’t really do a lot of socializing when I was younger.  My mother was very overprotective.  I remember when I was younger and my friend had a pool party at the end of the school year.  She lived very close to the school and we were all going to walk to her house after school.  My mom didn’t want me to.  I think she insisted I get a ride instead of walking.  Hello??  Can you say outsider, weirdo, loser???  That’s how I often felt.

I recently read a parenting article here that spoke about the negative effects of constantly praising children.  I was frequently told how smart I was by family, but when I started to struggle in high school and later college, I lost my belief that I had a brain.  I should have asked for help, but instead I felt stupid and felt like I was too dumb for college.

Since I have been back in school, I feel like I actually have some confidence.  I am conquering fears and believing in myself.  Instead of saying, “I think I can do this”, I tell myself  “I know I can do this.”  I love what I am doing and find myself speaking in classes.  I approach people I’ve only met once instead of putting my head down and assuming they won’t remember me.  So what if they don’t?  If I re-introduce myself, they eventually will.  Being shy isn’t an option when you want to work in Communications/Public Relations.  This has been something I have worked on in the last few years and I am really pushing myself to conquer these fears as part of this journey.

Not finishing college this time around is not an option.  I have to finish.  But more importantly, I want to do this and I believe that I can.  It isn’t easy and I won’t get an A in every class.  That’s OK. As long as I do the very best I can and work hard to keep up decent grades and still finish my degree, I will be OK.

Earlier today, I found this great quote from Dr. Seuss:

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.