Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's Thursday

I am officially tapped out. That's it. I can only do three day work weeks. Preferably two days because that third one wipes me out.

I think I need to take a course on how to take care of this new age generation of children. I've raised three children of my own. I've run my daycare for the better part of fifteen years. I think I know a little about raising children. But apparently? I don't.

I have tried every thing I know how to try. I have monitored every move, intercepted the actions I want stopped as they are happening, I can't even take a bathroom break or turn my back without drama unfolding the second I'm not looking.

I am running out of ideas. Even if I felt like we were making progress, I would be encouraged. But it feels like behaviours have gone from bad to worse.

I am tempted to just let everyone do whatever they darn well please. Let them run wild. No rules. No guidance. No teachable moments. Just let them go. It certainly couldn't be worse, could it?

Yes. Yes it could. I know this.

I have absolutely no idea how teachers manage a classroom full of children. No idea.

I sit here and look at these words and I don't see my answers. I must keep doing what I am doing. I must be consistent. Unchangeable rules and expectations for all has always worked for me in the past.

I have a different crowd coming today. One of my regulars will not be here. Maybe the shift of personalities will do the trick. At least for today. It's the only hope I have. Other than the remote possibility that everyone phones in sick.

I was looking for the perfect quote to end this miserable post and I think I found it:

"It's Thursday, or as I like to call it: 'Day 4 of the Hostage Situation' "

Carry on! There is only one way through this. One minute at a time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cat Games I Play

I just finished playing a game of "Find the Cat Toys" with our cats. Namely "Jet".

Jet paces around here every morning with the desperation of a caged wild animal who is so bored they think they may die. He attacks the cat toy cupboard like he is dying of starvation and there is a morsel of food in this drawer that may save his life.

When I dug out the remaining two cat toys that were stored within (there are a total of eleven cat toys that usaually reside in this drawer), he scoffed at them because they were the least favored toys of all (thus, the reason they were still in the drawers) and he stalked off and started attacking the bedroom closet door he has learned to open (I wrote that sentence and realized he may have been seeking a lost cat toy within but I was wrong).

After a rousing game of "Find the Toy", I came up with six of the eleven toys. Five of the toys have been swallowed up by the house (perhaps) never to be found again. That said, I'm going to go check out my son's room some time later today. I'm sure I'll find some more in there.

As I tallied up the toys I found, verses the toys that are still missing in action I thought of the little game I play as I go in search of the missing cat toys. I know exactly which ones are missing (I just found one more when I heard the tell tale sound of the bell inside the plastic ball).

We are missing two cat nip "knots". These are Ray's favorite toys and before Jet moved in with us we always knew where Ray's missing toys were. He played with certain toys upstairs and other toys downstairs. We knew which toys we would find before we found them. My guess is that Ray has found a hiding spot that Jet (nor I) know about. He's "buried" them, the way a dog buries a bone.

We are also missing a grey mouse and a blue sparkly ball. Jet plays with these toys so they could be anywhere.

I play this game all day with the kids. "We are missing a Paw Patrol! Let's try to find him." "We are missing one of the stacking cups. Who can find it??" "Let's count the princesses and see if we have all of them!" "We are missing a green ball and a plastic ball. Let's see who can find them!" I don't know how many Hot Wheels cars we have inside but I know we have twenty one of them outside.

I wondered. Are these little games of "hide and seek" keeping my brain connections lubricated and connected? Are these mindless little puzzles helping my brain health? Plus there is a mild form of physical exertion required to seek out the missing objects, so maybe just maybe our little "Jet" is doing his best to keep my brain and body active.

I don't know what we would do without our little cats. They not only amuse and entertain me, they are good for my mental and physical health. They are my very own personal healthcare providers!

"You must get off this computer now! Too much computering is bad for you."

"I mean it! Off!! Right now!" With love, Jet

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

17 Ways to Build My Courage

I am six days into my "building courage" project. I wrote down a list of what I hope to achieve and I have left it in my line of sight every day since. It is a list of "small stuff" that seems to be making an impact. Amazing how every little bit helps ...

I wrote a little blog about it over at today. Come join me to hear the long version of this little story:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring is in the Air

The world feels all shiny and new when the sun's waking hours correlate with mine. It is a bonus when the sky is blue and the sun is warm. A few days of warmth and sunshine has made the world of difference within my world.

I have woken up ten minutes before my alarm clock all week. The best part of this, is that I actually climbed out of bed before my alarm went off. It is absolutely wonderful to start one's day feeling rested and revived. It's been that kind of week!

I have been able to take my daycare family to the park each and every day. Our afternoons have ended outdoors every day as well. We have been spending hours of our day in the great outdoors and though it hasn't alleviated all of the negative behaviours in our midst, there seems to be a lesser frequency when little people are not cooped up in close quarters. It has been good.

Our back yard "playground project" is almost complete and I could not be happier with the progress. My handyman finished up "Phase I" of the project yesterday and I am thrilled to be able to post a "final picture" of our new and improved playground.

I have found a "grandpa" who is all about finding ways for kids to use their imaginations with what he has on hand. He created a sandbox kitchen and is working on a "sand wall" where the kids can pour sand down various funnels, tubes and what-not to (hopefully) encourage a positive sand experience (sand throwing issues are epidemic this year). He made us a balance board, ramps for our little cars, sanded and oiled our play structure and yesterday he is built us a "roof"!! He returns on Monday to turn our (previous) dog area into a "zen-like" oasis to enjoy after the kids go home.

Back in my daycare world, we have five months of "winter" to undo so it's been a long, hard road. There is still a lot of work to be done but having the outdoors as our playground is a very good place to start.

It has felt good to soak up the sun, come home dirty and need to wash the day out of my hair. It feels like I've been waiting my whole life for this. Spring has arrived and it feels like it is here to stay. But here is a picture from April 26th last year, so I'd better not go counting my spring chickens before they are laid:

Happy April to you! May you wake up with the sun and let it shine upon your day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Living Safe

I need to get myself out of this perpetual downward spiral and I think I'm onto something.

I can do this. It is time to start a new chapter. I'm tired of living in my safety net. It's time to step back onto the high wire of life and take a chance. I don't have to start at the top. I'll work my way up there. Would you like to join me?? Click here to go to Christine Kane's "66 Ways to Build Courage" post. Print it off. Circle at least five suggestions. You can do five. I'll bet you could tackle eight! Come and join me on my adventure. I promise to write all about it and I would love to hear your stories as we make our way in this Brave New World together.

I wrote a little blog about it over at (

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Power of an Hour (alternate title: "One Week Early")

I have a little white board on the side of our fridge where I write down "up and coming events". My out-of-house excursion list is akin to a to-do list. Each and every time I clear off one of my must-go places, I do a quiet hurrah inside of my head and feel lighter as the board becomes emptier. I love when that little board is empty (which is never).

The must-go items on my agenda seem to pile up on me. The last time I had a new batch of places to go and things to do, the dates piled up in very close succession. "Blood donation; fund raiser outing; candle party" on Wednesday, Friday and Monday.

Three items I couldn't wait to rub off that board. Wednesday, Friday and Monday. That was a lot of places to go in a very short time period but I could do it. Wednesday, Friday, Monday. Then my board would be clean.

After last week's exhaustion level hit a peak I couldn't wait for Monday to be over with so I could relax. I even considered backing out of Monday's obligation due to my state of feeling overwhelmed. But it was one LAST day. I could do it.

I did hard things on Monday. I scooped the dead mice out of our window wells before my daycare day began. It was a two minute job but I hadn't managed to get it done. I did not want to draw attention to the fact there were mice in our window wells when my daycare family was watching me. Nor did I want to draw attention to the fact that I was "playing" in the window wells while the kids were around This is one thing they have not discovered on their own and I was not about to lead the way. My daycare days end and so do I. Thus, the dead mice kept falling to the forget file in my mind. Tending to that ugly little task felt like I had climbed to a new plateau. I was ready to tackle the day.

The day was ... a Monday. I will say no more but I just thought about six paragraphs during that "...". I could not wait for Monday to be over.

The kids left, I had to run over to my neighbors to get their okay to trim back their tree which hangs over and sheds into our playground (another task I had been procrastinating over for the past few weeks). The weight on my shoulders was getting lighter by the moment.

I had frozen hamburger in the fridge and planned to make spaghetti for supper. As my Monday progressed, I looked at that frozen hamburger and thought "You will keep another day! I need a brainless meal tonight", but after tackling two hard things at the beginning and end of that very day, I had the stamina to thaw out the hamburger and tackle making spaghetti for supper.

I had to be out of the house by 6:40. I had one hour and ten minutes to do all I needed to do. I got much done. Not only did I make enough spaghetti for supper, but I made a spaghetti and meat sauce casserole for lunch the next day. I was really on a roll. I thoroughly impressed myself. "I CAN do hard things. I can!!"

I raced out the door at almost 6:45. I had left my departure time too late. I was going to be late. In fact, I had to wait one minute for a train to pass and I was one minute late when I drove up to my destination.

There were no other cars around. This was a "candle party". Where were the other guests? Oh no!! I bet the party was at my friend's daughter's home, not here! I was at the wrong place!!

I rang the doorbell anyway, thinking I could get further instructions from my friend's husband and carry on my way. When my friend opened the door, she greeted me with, "Colleen! What a nice surprise!!" Surprise?? I thought I was supposed to be there. I confessed that I was a minute late but she advised me that I was a week early. Oh.

I was one week, minus a minute, early for that "very important date". I was so anxious to wipe off my white board, I arrived ONE WEEK early.

I was deflated. I could have been at home, settled in for the night and watching "Dancing With the Stars". Instead, I was a confused surprise guest at my friend's home.

She invited me in and we had a very good visit. A visit we would not and could not have had a week later when her house was full and she was hosting her daughter's candle party. Sometimes the best visits are the most unexpected ones.

I'm not very good at showing up when people invite me over. So I was really out of my league to show up completely unexpected. I'm not sure who was more surprised. Me or my friend. But the things I got done in that hour and fifteen minutes before I raced out the door, were more than I accomplish throughout the week most of the time.

I CAN do hard things! I CAN!! I just need to fool myself into believing I have only an hour to get them done.

Give me a week and I will take two. Give me an hour and I can get things done. Perhaps that is the secret to getting those hard things done. Set a timer and quit when the hour is up. I like racing. I hate when I think a task will take all night or an entire afternoon.

My white board is blissfully empty until "a week from Monday". I wonder. What will I accomplish between "now" and "then"? Will I wait until that magical hour before I have to race out that door next Monday? Or will I convince myself that I only have an hour to get more hard things done?

One hour at a time, hard things could get done. Just one hour. The secret is to follow through on that idea. For just one hour.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tapped Out

I walked into the week on "full" and I am stepping into the weekend on "fully depleted".

My daycare days have challenged me to the max and I'm completely tapped out. I have had hard conversations (more like texts and emails, as that seems to be the only means of communicating when small people are underfoot) with parents. I delicately worded what is happening within our days and hoping if I can get to the root of the troubles, the spiralling behaviour which has been happening as a reaction to the "actions" of others will start to dissipate. That didn't happen this week. We have a lot of "undoing" to do before we get back to square one again.

I was out of the house three nights out of five this past week. That exceeded my maximum by at least "two". Note to self: "Say YES to Friday outings; and "Thank you, but I just CAN'T to the rest". At least until I get my daycare days under control again.

I cannot wait to get this Satur-work-day behind me. I am hoping we run out of work before the clock chimes "5 o'clock". I wish I had a little worker bee running around getting my groceries and would have supper on the table for me when I got home (supper on the counter would suffice - sitting and eating at the table sounds like it would require conversation and I think my voice box and thinking muscle are running on fumes).

I feel like my thoughts are focusing on the negative FAR too much these days. Focus on the negativity and watch your mood follow your thoughts. It is time to focus on that which is good. This is my Saturday morning gratitude journal. These are the things I am most grateful for:
  • I work with and for the best parents I could ever hope to work for. The lines of communication between us feels open, well maintained and we can "do hard things" as long as we talk our way through.
  • I have friendships that survive the dry spells between visits and the desire to keep connected remains strong despite life's other commitments. I am so fortunate that I have invitations that bring me "outside my box" and people who accommodate my will to "live within my box" as much as necessary.
  • I have a home to maintain, clean and accommodate my chosen field of work. I could do every single thing I do, within the confines of my home. Investing in our home feels like an investment in my future because I hope to continue to make a living within these four walls of ours for as long as possible.
  • I have the means, desire and time to do what is most important to me. Dreams without follow through are wisps of energy that float up to the sky and get lost. I will continue to do small things which lead me down the path to where I want to go. One step at a time.
  • I have more things to do, than time to do it. There will come a day when I have too much time on my hands and lose the desire, ability and drive to do things that feel important to me right now. Savor this day. It may feel overwhelming at times but when I close my eyes at night knowing there was more I wish I could have done, it means I have more than I know what to do with.
  • I have a body that does what I need it to do. It sustains me, pushes through, allows me to sleep and propels me throughout each and every day with ease. That statement alone is worth more than everything else combined.
  • I am surrounded in a world of wonderful people. People who believe in me, listen to me, extend kindness, courtesy, invitations and conversation. I have a support network which keeps me standing when all I want to do is sleep.
  • I truly "have it all", don't I?
  • I am grateful. I am truly grateful.
Now I must pack up this body of gratitude and push my way through this work day. There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. It may be take out food and pajamas but that is worth its weight in gold to me. It is enough. And so am I.

Happy Satur-___-day to You! (fill the blank with whatever is driving your day today - I hope it is something that brings you joy)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Day of NO

So I lied. I have been a Fitbit wearer for two months and one week now. And I have not changed my lifestyle one little bit. I started drinking lots of water there for a while but I ran out of time to keep that up. Replenishing my water supply + all of the extra trips to the bathroom = too much time out of the room and daycare behaviours went WILD.

But I have been diligently tracking my steps and my sleep. I have learned two things.

1. I now know why I go through socks so fast. And it has nothing to do with the way I spend my weekends:

2. I am a VERY efficient sleeper! I maintain a "high honors" sleep efficiency rate. Yes, it is a rare day when my "sleep efficiency" dips below 90%. I excel at sleeping.

What does this mean to me? It means I understand what I need (sleep) to maintain my daily required (as in: the number of steps required to tend little people each weekday) step count.

Last night I only logged 4 hours and 49 minutes of sleep. I feel like a wet dish rag this morning. I need my sleep!

Shonda Rhimes, this "Year of Yes" thing has to be revised. I think what it needs to mean is "Know when saying 'No' to other people, commitments and obligations means saying 'Yes' to me, my sanity and my sleep efficiency".

I don't think I have the strength to unlock the door and let my day walk in today. It sure would be a good day to be sick. I don't get sick. Exhausted? Yes. Overwhelmed? Yes. Grouchy? You bet! Sick and tired? Only tired.

I just need a few more Sundays in my week and I'll be fine. I am counting on "the end of tax season" cuts down my bookkeeping hours. I really, truly need two day weekends again. My Fitbit tells me so.

But for today? I believe I will say "NO" to everything that is not absolutely essential and required. "I deserve a break today" ("YES" to McDonald's tonight!! I wish they delivered...)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Need a Nanny (or at least another Sunday)

Okay, that was nice. A completely relaxing and rejuvenating Sunday followed by a pretty decent daycare Monday. "Decent" describes my reaction to the stimuli within our daycare day. A rested and revitalized "me" is essential so that I can react in the appropriate manner in my daycare role.

My "decent" day was followed by a rather committed evening. It didn't happen by design but it happened. My income tax was ready to be picked up, I had a "decent" supper ready to go and someone dropped by to have a look at the work I want done around the yard. These events consumed every moment between the departure of my last daycare charge until about 8:30.

I am usually wound right down and nodding off to sleep by 8:30. Those three hours of consciousness without children in my midst have become as essential to me as my quiet morning hours. When the hours don't happen within their regularly allotted time frame, I still crave them. So I eat to stay awake and enjoy them.

I woke up with a queasy stomach this morning (digesting half a can of Pringles on top of an already full stomach was not a wise decision). I want to sit still and analyze my income taxes. I want to finish reading that chapter in "Rising Strong" (only three more lessons/weeks of my on-line course and I can take that off my to-do list).

I'm ready for another Sunday. And it's only Tuesday. And "this" is after entering the week feeling fully recharged after a completely indulgent Sunday. It is no wonder that I am having a hard time saying "Yes" to life.

Shonda Rhimes admits that no one can "do it all". She says if she is succeeding in area of her life, it means she is failing at another. If she is fully present at work, she is missing important "firsts" and events with her children. If she is present for her children, it means her professional life is suffering. Her answer? She has an incredible nanny, who "nannies" not only her children, but Shonda herself.

That's it! I need to hire a nanny to help me run my daycare (and "nanny" me a little along the way). Shonda? I don't think that's going to work for me. Do you have any other suggestions?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Day of Yes

I have just inhaled this day. When I woke up to a completely blank slate, I wondered how in the world I would fill it. One word quietly came to mind "laughter".

My Second Son dropped by a few nights ago and told me a traumatic little story about "his body calling the shots" these days and he had me clutching my sides. I laughed so long and so hard that it physically hurt me. I knew in that moment that the gift of laughter has been sorely lacking within this quiet little life of mine.

I laughed a lot this Sunday. I wrote a little blog about it over at

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Gonna Fly Now!

I have survived one of the toughest weeks in recent history. Why was it so hard? Because I made it that way. Me, myself and I. Yes, I lived inside a busy, frustrated mind this past five days.

A week ago, I got sidetracked by my reality and decided I couldn't live the life I am presently living until I die. So I got derailed trying to dream up ways to get from living to dying as contentedly as humanly possible.

I thought a "five year plan" would be a good idea, because I read that when you stop planning, you stop living. I have stopped living life the way it should be lived, so I took that comment personally. When I react emotionally to a problem, it rarely turns out good.

I played around with frivolous ideas and plans. I tried to get serious and devise a financial route from "here" to "there". I tried to focus on where I want to go, while taking care of four children, ages one to three years old. That is not a winning combination. Granted, I have had a very challenging time with "said children" lately and that was the root of my discontent.

We are coming out of a winter of too much indoor confinement, too many repetitive kinds of days which have led to repetitive behaviours which have been spiralling in a negative direction. We need variety, sunshine, new scenery and a renewed "me"  to break out of this spell.

I pulled out my "vision board" for my daycare and I have some ideas. Ideas bring light into my thoughts and that is always a good thing. I showed the kids the pictures of the "ideas" I have and they were quite excited about this hopeful new turn. I did warn them though, "It's a little bit like asking Santa Claus for a gift. You may want lots and lots and lots of things, but he can only bring you one or two. So I have to choose. Maybe we can only get one or two of these things. But this is what I'm hoping for ..."

So our "yesterday" was a good one. The day prior, I had unleashed my words to my friend who is a daycare provider. She brought me back down to earth and reminded  me to be realistic with my expectations of myself. I spoke with my parents about some of the behaviours which have been spiralling in a downward direction and we had some good conversations. These conversations are not hard to have because I usually lead with "what's happening, what I have done and what I will do to try to make things better". Then yesterday, I did my best to just be the best "me" I could be and move forward.

The day still had the potential to go terribly awry but I didn't lose myself in "two year old" drama. I just did my best and let that be good enough.

I closed the door at the end of my week and felt okay again. I sort of felt like Rocky at the top of the steps:

My victory lap included making a "real" meat and potatoes for supper and filling the house with the aroma of someone who cares once again.

It was a long week. But I survived and maybe I will even thrive now that I'm on the other end of a renewed sense of hope, goals and my eye on the immediate future I hope to create within this little life I lead. "I'm gonna fly now..."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lost in the Future, Savoring Today

I am writing over at MyKawartha today. This post comes to you from a dream, which I believe was my subconscious mind reminding me to get my thoughts back into "the present" and appreciate that which I already have.

I have been berating myself for allowing myself to stop dreaming, but I don't think my dreams have ever really died. I have simply not been "planning". Planning depletes me. Dreaming invigorates me. I think I'll focus on the dreams and let the planning take care of itself. Of course, I wrote a little blog about it:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Leaning Into Transition

The sun is waking up at 6:30, I spotted my first robin of the season, I heard geese flying overhead, there is a little bit of "green" showing up in the grass, the leaves on our lilac bush are starting to bud and we had one day of summer this past weekend. Then yesterday the clouds rolled in, the wind howled and it was miserable and cold and snowy.

We are somewhere in between winter and spring and it is mostly wonderful but I am just so impatient for the sun to come out and play that my mood has felt as stormy as the skies above, as we weather this transition. I feel like Mother Nature is messing with my mind.

I keep reminding myself that we had such a mild winter that I shouldn't feel so disgruntled over the fact that Spring has not quite made up its mind if it is here to stay, but I'm having a hard time convincing myself to look at the bright side. I'm ready for the sun. That is all.

I was berating myself for being so impatient with the weather. In the business of running a daycare, being able to be outside and let kids be kids for hours on end is a life saver. We survive winter. We thrive in spring, summer and fall. Our survival mode has expired. We are ready for the sun!

I started questioning why this winter in particular felt so hard. Then I realized what has tipped the balance this year. We have just endured our first winter without the TV in the living room.

In the past, when winter came upon us I would turn on the TV and it would act as a distraction when the games became too wild or behaviours I don't encourage started dominating the state of play. Distract, distract, distract. That was my sanity saver in the past. This past winter, we didn't have the same means of distraction so we would go downstairs or head outside or bring up a new box of toys to change the mood when the mood needed to be changed.

The kids are so "I've been there and done that ... ALL winter long!" that we are all at the end of our ropes. They are even acting bored when we go outside because we have been outside so much during the winter, that the outside toys have lost their lustre far before spring even showed up.

Yesterday morning, I physically felt "sick". There was not one thing wrong with me other than an extreme case of anxiety over the up and coming day, seasoned with a good dose of guilt and a dash of worry. I took my symptoms and worked through them. I made hamburger soup for lunch to ensure I fed my body and soul some good, hearty nourishment. While I tended to the soup, the kids dumped toys all over the living room (and played with the empty boxes). I just took long, deep breaths and endured a cold, snowy, windy spring day inside. Once I filled the house with the aroma of "home cooking" and let myself off the hook and declared it an "inside day", my heart lightened up and my nervous stomach relaxed.

I don't enjoy times of transition. I like to be on one side or the other. I don't like the state in between. I feel like the seasons of the year are mirroring what I am feeling inside. I think I need to look beyond the life I am living and set some new goals. In the meantime, I feel like I am stuck somewhere in between winter and spring. I know "this" is not how I want to spend the rest of my life. Can I commit to five years of "this" if Spring is waiting for me on the other side? How can I make my Winter more enjoyable if I tell myself I have five more years of "this" ahead?

I sat still and created two "Vision Boards" a while ago. I started off with my own personal "vision" but it quickly segued to a vision I wanted to create for my daycare. After I felt good about where my daycare was at, I came back to my own goals and they were easier for me to see.

I just went to my vision boards and discovered they are in perfect alignment with the goals I sat still and wrote yesterday. I was amazed when I read the quotes that I interjected into my vision. The one that grabbed my attention immediately was, "Begin Where You Are".
Yesterday I found myself stuck in the "How??" of it all. Today my answer came to me from a vision board I created a month ago. "You are the designer of your destiny You are the author. You write the story. The pen is in your hand. And the outcome is whatever you choose."

I choose to enjoy "Winter" for as long as it must last. I will utilize this time of transition and make it work for me. It will be as long or as short as it needs to be. But the reality is that transition is a necessary part of change. I can fight it or I can lean into it. I choose to lean into it and enjoy the state of being in between "there" and "where I am right now".

Right now, I may go and see if I can find a frame for my vision board and place it directly in my line of sight. I need to remind myself that I already know my own answers. The state of being in between two places is distracting me from what I know to be true for me.

What visions have you set? Are you in a state of transition? When you write down your goals can you connect the dots between your "now" and "then"? Come join me in this uncomfortable state of transition and try to take that first step in faith.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Reeling in Emotion

My heart is so heavy this morning, I can hardly function.

I have emotion sitting inside of me that is coming from (seemingly) no where. I feel anxious, my heart "hurts", I do not want this day to unfold. And there is no reason for it.

My "Living Brave" course is directing me to be curious about my emotion. So, this is me being curious:

What is the matter with you?
I have no idea. I don't want to function today.

Why? What are you feeling?
I feel exhausted. I feel overwhelmed. I feel scared.

Why are you exhausted?
I can't get enough quiet and sleep lately. I choose sleep over getting up early and then I miss the quiet time I didn't give myself in the morning and walk into the day feeling unprepared, unrested and inadequate.

Why are you overwhelmed?
Because I walk into my day feeling inadequate, it seems I never catch up to a moment where I feel like I'm "ready to go". The day walks in the door and takes over. I try and want to be "in the present moment" but if the kid's needs don't distract me from that savoring the moment I'm in, I do it to myself. I am sabotaging even the smallest goals I set for myself. Then I start spiralling. I'm not enough. I am not doing a good enough job. This is hard...

Why are you scared?
Because "this" is the life I have chosen. "This" is what I am successful doing. "This" is what I have always wanted. "This" is it for me. I can't see out of the moment I'm in and I feel anxious and scared and overwhelmed when I think of doing anything else. But I'm suffocating here.

What can you do to push through this and get to the other side? What is within your control?
In reality, nothing is within my control. I think that is what is paralysing me. I tried to control my own destiny by looking outside of my home for a source of income. I failed miserably. I wasn't happy, nor did I earn enough to pay the bills. I know I am exactly where I need to be right now. But I can make a plan. I need to make a plan. I will sit down with my "dream notepad" and sketch out a vision of where I want to be five years from now.

Will that help you today?
I don't know. I started the day with this very thought yesterday and once the kids walk in the door, my dreams fizzle and die. It is a minute to minute existence I live with, once my one to three year old friends walk in the door.

Can you do more than you did yesterday?
I don't know. I never know. I think I can do these things. But I can't. I swim in circles all day. I'm not going anywhere and I'm tired of swimming.

What else is going on inside of your head and your thoughts?
I called Mom to wish her a "Happy Birthday" last night and I even failed at that.

Failed? How can you fail at a conversation?
I didn't rehearse my words in my head. I didn't really feel like talking. I just wanted to do the right thing and I think Mom "heard" my resistance to speaking (but in reality, I believe she was feeling just as "resistant" as I was to having a conversation). I was disappointed that I went out of my way to ensure she received my letter/card on her birthday and she didn't trust the envelope (I sent it in an "Express Mail" envelope), so she didn't open it. Our conversations always go better when she is the one who has initiated the call. I know that. I think I even understand that. Her hearing is compromised so conversations are hard. She needs to be the one who does most of the talking. And you have to be in the right mood to carry a conversation. Thus, our conversations always go better when she is the one dialling the phone.

What else is going on?
I'm feeling "guilt". I know Mom is not particularly fond of birthdays. "Mother's Day" is her thing. Last year was a hard year for her because that was the age when her dad and two of her sisters died. I don't really know what she may be thinking/feeling to surpass that age. I really have no idea. I just feel like she may not have been in a celebratory mood on her birthday this year. I feel badly for not acknowledging that yesterday, even though it was in the back of my thoughts.

Do you expect yourself to be a mind reader, in your quest to be perfect at whatever you set out to do?
I guess so.

Do you think you may expect too much of yourself?

Where can you give yourself a bit of a break?
This is why I sleep, I pick up take-out food or cook something that is frozen, prepared for me and straight out of a box. This is how I nurture myself when I'm overwhelmed. But I can't get enough sleep. I'm back to where I was at the beginning of this question period.

Can you stop thinking? Can you write down what is tangible and somewhat within your control? Can you try to realign your thinking to what is right and positive and good in your world?
Yes. Yes I can. And I will.

I will do that right now, in between tending the little people in my midst. I can and I will. Right now.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Possibility of Making Impossible Dreams Come True

I was digging deep to answer some of the questions in the "Living Brave" course I am working through. We are four chapters into the book "Rising Strong", which is about picking yourself up after a fall (and so much more).

I had to go back many decades to unearth when I was going through the questions on "offloading hurt". The more questions I answered, the further back I had to go. As I worked my way through the lesson I realized the times I got back up again after a fall were when life came into focus, I realigned myself with new goals and I grew.

I have been stagnant for a lot of years. The most traumatic event was a bad work experience four years ago. There is a small part of me that still hurts when I unearth this experience but 99% of my thoughts pertain to the lessons learned and the compassion I gained. Each and every time I use this experience to tell a story I almost always end with, "It was a very good lesson for me."

I have moved on since then. I'm still incredibly gun shy about ever working outside of my home again so I suppose I gained a battle scar that still hurts when the weather changes. But all in all, I have moved beyond this little glitch in my story.

I was sitting still with these thoughts, thinking "I need a crisis in my life to create a need to push me out of this comfortable spot and back into the arena of 'living' again..." when I picked up the phone and talked with a friend.

It wasn't divine timing, yet it was. We had arranged to have time for a "phone visit" a week ago. The timing of that call just happened to be when I was focusing on the growth that always came after a fall, when I talked with her.

This friend has been through a lot the past few years. The second last time I spoke with her, she sounded defeated. I have never ever heard defeat in her voice before. It scared me. Then we spoke at Christmas time and she had a plan. She was in the process of signing up to attend the Hoffman Institute. The Hoffman Process was exactly what she needed to pick herself up and be in a place where she was ready to answer the question "Where do I go from here??"

It seems like the moment she came out of the darkness and had an idea of the direction she wanted to go, doors started opening. So many of these "doors" were in perfect alignment with each other and the plan she had set in motion before her world caved in around her. She is open and receptive to being an active part of her own life again. It is as if she has had CPR for her soul. She was exactly where I wanted to be. Standing on the other side of the crevice which almost enveloped her. She isn't at the top of her mountain yet but she is standing victorious and taking in the view before she starts her upward climb again.

One of the most amazing coincidences is how her present list of goals correlates with some of my goals. One of the goals I abandoned five years ago was fulfilling my practicum in order to attain my fitness trainer certification. I was "that close" to completion. I never followed through. My friend is exactly where I was when I abandoned ship. She has been given an opportunity to follow through and complete this!

Someone planted the seed of opening up a Bed and Breakfast when she was in the mire of not knowing where she was going to wake up in the morning (not quite, she was just "in between homes and lives" at that point in time) and now that she is coming out the other side of all of these life changing transitions, she is realizing the possibility of owning a B & B is something she is keenly interested in. She mentioned the idea of a business partner ...

Wow! My youngest son is "this close" to becoming an independent entity from myself. I am quite possibly five years away from making life changing decisions about where I live and what I do. I just read about 50 to 60 year olds giving up their dreams and not setting long term goals. All of these factors seem to be lining up in a row and suddenly I see my "impossible dream" could become a possibility if I am not too fearful to make a move.

I know my life is in need of a shake-up. I don't foresee any personal tragedies unfolding which is going to necessitate a "fight or flight" response for me (this has always been my motivating factor in the past). Maybe, just maybe I can peek in some of these doors and see what lies beyond. Maybe it is time to make a "5 Year Plan". Maybe ...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Noisiest Day

Yesterday was the noisiest "quiet" day I've ever had during my career of running my daycare.

When I discovered I would only have two children coming to daycare, visions of an easy day ran through my head. Then my day began and my dream bubble popped.

I have learned a few things during my fifteen years of daycaring:

  1. "One" is never enough. Kids love kids. Kids love action. Kids love playing. Even when they are arguing incessantly with each other, kids like to spend their day with kids. On the rare occasion when I have only had one child, we try to find other kids to play with.
  2. "Two" is better than one. For a while. When there is not a third child to trade off, interject new ideas and energy it seems that two children can run out of things to do and tire of each other's company. Sometimes. Not all the time, but a lot of the time.
  3. "Three" is okay. Much depends on the ages and stages of the children. We very often have "three" children here and there seems to be a good amount of trading off and playing, some disagreements but most of all it's okay.
  4. Even numbers usually work better than odd numbers. Everybody has a buddy and that usually bodes well for everyone concerned. Usually. 
  5. There is never ever ever a certainty when it comes to kids. What works one day, doesn't work the next. The only thing that is certain is that uncertainty is always a factor.
  6. What kids are arguing over one day is boring when there is no one else around to argue with. The most coveted toys of all are abandoned when no one else wants to play with them.
  7. Non-verbal days are hard. Very, very hard. That is all. 
  8. My favorite age is when children learn to blow their nose.
Yesterday was a day of "two", ages 1-1/2 and 2-1/2. The two and a half year old copies everything. Everything. So yesterday, he didn't talk. The one and a half year old had a runny nose. I quite literally had to wipe it every thirty seconds to a minute. Yesterday I logged 14,150 steps on my Fitbit (5.7 miles). I wish my Fitbit measured the decibel level within the house. It was loud. So loud. There was crying. Crying out of frustration (no, it wasn't me) over not being able to take a toy out of a shelf. 

It was such a hard day. I was talking to my friend who runs a daycare. I said, "I can't do this for the rest of my life." She replied, "You just have to do this until lunch. Then it's quiet time. Just an hour. That's all you have to do right now ..."

I hung up the phone and we went for an hour long walk. It saved the day. Then quiet time happened. It was the quietest quiet time in recorded history. I do believe my two young, noisy, non-verbal, runny-nosed, frustrated children were tired. They slept. They slept so well. It saved my life.

Then they woke up and we were right back to where we were before they closed their eyes. Sleep did not fix what ailed them. I felt like a referee in a boxing ring. Thank goodness they slept. 

The two year old was picked up just as he finished his snack. Then I was down to "one" again. Did I mention "one" is hard? "One" with a very, very runny nose? 

I so needed this week to end. Then I woke up to "Saturday". Another work day. But at least this day will challenge my verbal, mathematical and reasoning skills on an adult level. I want to stay home and bury my head under a pillow but at least I can "speak adult" today and the decibel level should be low.

My tolerance is not good right now. I long for a two-day weekend but it may not happen until May. Thank goodness spring has sprung. I do believe sitting in a sunbeam will do me a lot more good than burying my head under a pillow. I just have to get through the day. Then the next thirty six hours are mine, to do with as I please. 

I must go now. Our cat is attackinio9g 9999999999999999oik [the other cat just walked across the keyboard and typed that - it should say "attacking"] the closet doors and it sounds like someone is trying to break into the house. Where is that pillow??