I miss writing on a more regular basis and particularly miss writing for me. I’ve been in a bit of a funk and realized that changing up my blog was something that could help. But what should I write about? Does anyone care what I have to say? Do I need a theme?
I first began blogging in 2011 when I was returning to college full-time. Sharing my fears, successes, struggles and head scratching moments became an outlet for me in the midst of exams, papers, juggling the kids’ activities and juggling housework. Then I joined the world of working moms and not only did I feel like I didn’t “have time” to blog, I felt like I didn’t have anything new to add. I was just another mom trying to figure it all out. Most nights, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a computer after being at one all day.
Over the last year, though, I have felt a pull to figure out how to fit in writing more for me. I’ve also felt like my outlook on life is changing as I get older and I’ve realized that being in my forties isn’t this depressing time filled with failing vision and sprouting chin hairs. Well, my vision has changed and I do check my chin regularly just in case, but my forties have been pretty damn fabulous so far. I’m making changes to make my forties good, though. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t care what people think and don’t care if I’m just another blogger out there. I have thoughts to share and I hope people read them. I hope people want to read about how I’m making these changes and why I feel so good these days.
I plan to post more and figure out a fresh new design for this site. I’ll be focusing on the fabulous, so I will kind of have a theme. There’s too much negativity out there and I’d rather focus on the positive. A Facebook page for the blog might eventually be coming and I’ll be using #focusingonthefabulous on Instagram and Twitter—join me in sharing the fab and share with your friends!
The start of September is almost like New Year’s Day for me. Just as I wonder on January 1 how the previous year went by so quickly, I often wonder in early September how the summer flew by. Wasn’t it just early June and my boys couldn’t wait to get out of school?
The back-to-school season brings a sense of hope for the upcoming school year. Each school year produces new challenges and I often hope that our family gets through it with minimal stress and meltdowns. As the boys get older, the homework increases, the after-school activities add up and the bedtimes get later. Meanwhile, I’m getting older and love going to bed earlier and earlier.
This year presents a new challenge for us. My oldest son will be in eighth grade and remaining at our public middle school, a decision that makes the most sense for us due to his special education needs. However, my youngest son, who will be going into the sixth grade, will be moving to a parochial middle school/high school in a neighboring city. A new school, new people to get to know, new policies and protocols, a different academic calendar….and new expenses. We are excited about this new adventure for him and this seems to be the best school after researching our options, but it’s not without its challenges for two working parents. There are no bussing options and we are still researching carpool options. It’s a lot to figure out and fortunately we have some flexibility for the first few weeks. By November we’ll be in a groove and then something will change—an activity will be added to the mix or our carpool will change. We know we’ll figure it all out, as we always do, but September is always a new beginning for many families. I look forward to it with excitement, hope and a little bit of parental trepidation. It isn’t just the kids who get nervous about back to school!
I want to volunteer. I want to do something that matters for others. I want to give back.
I do work with the PTO at the elementary school and have been involved for six years, since my oldest was in kindergarten. In fact, I was recently a volunteer at the school’s biggest fundraiser this past Friday night. It was exhausting and exhilarating, as it is every year. I wish I could have done more to help with this event leading up to it, but with school and the craziness that surrounds it, it’s hard. Putting together that particular fundraiser takes a lot of work.
But I’ve recently been inspired and would like to find a way to do something else, something that doesn’t necessarily involve my own children but involves the community. In an ideal world, I’d love to help out at an animal shelter and play with and walk pups who are looking for a home, but the local shelter here requires a consistent commitment for at least four to six months, so I don’t know if I’d be able to do that.
Even though 2014 will likely bring many new challenges for our family with graduation and job-hunting on the horizon, I’d like to find something that I can do to help others. I plan to do some research over winter break to see if I can make this happen. More to come…..
When I first went back to school two years ago, if someone had told me that I’d leave my family for six days to go to a public relations conference for students, I wouldn’t have believed that person. I am a homebody and I had only traveled by airplane twice before. I like spending time with my family. Why would I ever spend money to go to an optional conference when my family doesn’t take elaborate vacations because of the money pit of a house we are always doing work to?
But you know what? I did just that a few weeks ago–and we all survived. The house wasn’t a disaster when I returned, laundry got done, the Halloween candy was purchased (I returned two days prior) and my oldest son had his school picture taken. I have no idea if my husband sent my son to school in a wrinkled shirt–in fact, I don’t even remember what shirt my husband said they picked out–but that’s ok. I’ll get the picture back in a few weeks and even if it’s not what I would have wanted, I’ll get to look back on it as the year we all did something that was out of our comfort zones. And I won’t do a re-take.
I survived the flight to Philadelphia. Actually, let’s back up. I survived the TSA line, something that is very different from the last time I flew. I think I was most nervous about the darn liquid rule. I really didn’t want my makeup or skincare to get confiscated–that would have been an expensive loss! I survived the long days of professional workshops and later nights than I am used to. I survived rooming with people I don’t know that well.
And my family managed without me. Another step in me becoming a new person–one who is independent, one who sets a good example for her kids and one who is still learning to spread her wings!
Dismissal time from school—ask many moms who pick their children up and the stories will just start. You’ll hear stories of people nearly getting hit people or of cars getting dinged. You might hear stories about parents yelling at each other or using hand gestures to communicate their frustrations to each other. You’ll hear about mothers grasping the steering wheel in frustration while simultaneously trying not to curse with the kids in the car. (Oh wait, that might be me.)
Why does all of this happen? Why do normally rational people, who typically obey traffic laws, park wherever they want, despite the amount of cars that become blocked in by people doing whatever they want? Why do some people feel they can just cross the roadway with their kid’s hand clenched in theirs, even when they see a car coming?
I’ve always found the entitlement that occurs during pick up and drop off to be interesting. It’s so frustrating to me to be waiting to get to a safe spot to pull over to drop off my kids and the person in front of me is dilly-dallying. Is it really necessary to pull over (to the drop off area that is supposed to move quickly), get out of the car at a snail’s speed, get little Johnny out of the car, grab his backpack from the TRUNK (why doesn’t he have it in the backseat with him??) and then make a production out of the hugs and kisses you have to give him? The best is when the mom stands there and watches him walk up the steps and into the building and waves the entire time.
I somewhat understand why people are frustrated in the afternoon. People are rushing to get home and get homework done, or they need to go to an activity or they need to go to another school to pick up another child. The latter is my frustration this year. Both kids are in two different schools, but they get out at the same time. My oldest gets a bit nervous waiting for me, even though he now has a cell phone and calls to find out when I’ll be there, so I feel the need to rush to get to him. Even so, I still don’t park wherever I want and block people in so that I can get out first. That’s just obnoxious.
Do you have any interesting tales to tell about drop-off and dismissal at your kids’ school?
**Note: the drop-off scenario mentioned above does not represent a particular person. This represents a combination of many scenarios I’ve observed over the years.
I was recently looking for some information on my university’s website. As I was looking through the site, trying to find what I was researching, I came across the flow sheet for my major.
I got goose bumps.
Why, you wonder?
When I was trying to apply to my university in the spring of 2011, I remember printing out that flow sheet and bringing it to my meeting with an admissions counselor. Would they accept me? After all, my early college days left a lot to be desired. I brought that sheet with me to see if admissions could help me figure out where my transfer credits could fit into the program. I recall the counselor looking at my transcript, getting up and saying she needed to get something and she came back with this gigantic master list to see what courses from my previous college corresponded to courses at my current school. She also came back with a copy of the flow sheet and she was shocked that I had actually printed one from the website and brought it with me. (Maybe that was a sign that I was becoming a go-getter?)
I think I cried when I got home from that meeting. My previous college experience wasn’t a complete waste and courses would transfer. I was shocked and thrilled when she said I’d be accepted.
A lot has happened since that meeting and I have become someone I wouldn’t have expected to become. Going back to school has changed my work ethic and my drive to succeed. I have pushed myself harder than I ever expected to. I remember just wanting to get decent grades, get that “piece of paper” and be a good example for my boys.
Before I know it, graduation will be here and this experience of going back to school will be a distant memory, another chapter in my book of life. Until then, I continue to take it all in and enjoy the story that is constantly developing.