“Confessions Friday” – Christina Simon from Beyond the Brochure

This week’s “Confession Friday” comes from the very talented, wonderful Christina from Beyond the Brochure!

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When The Going Gets Tough, I Reach For…

Parenting. Any mom knows it will test even the most secure, steely-nerved of us (not that I have nerves of steel, mind you). As if taking care of the kids on two hours sleep isn’t enough, pressure comes at us from everywhere, fast and furious. Actually, it starts when we’re pregnant. Strangers question what we’re eating, pat our stomach, tell us that we’re getting heavy and ask if we’re expecting twins when we’re not.

Then, once we have the baby, this same stuff happens with more intensity. Are you feeding your child the healthiest food on planet earth? Is he/she doing enough academically? Baby sign language? Cloth diapers? And on and on. Blah, blah, blah. It can be exhausting. I wish I had done a better job of tuning out the competitive chatter when my kids were very young. Now I know it doesn’t matter whether kids can multiply or read chapter books in preschool!

Being a mom is rewarding, awesome and, at times, very stressful. I think I’m overly too sensitive and self-critical. I respect—and secretly envy—those moms who ignore outside, “competitive mommy” pressures. These moms are never in danger of acquiring “perfect mommy syndrome” which is that negative inner voice that tells you that you’re not doing enough as a mom. It requires a healthy does of self-esteem and skepticism to avoid this social pressure. It also requires a willingness to tell someone (or at least think privately), “I don’t want your unsolicited advice!” In extreme cases, “screw you” works too.

In my continuing quest to stay calm during times when it feels like everything is falling apart, I require outside help, the kind that is handed to me by somebody in a white coat, written on a pad with barely legible scribble. Yes, I’m definitely a work in progress. Yet, I’m seeking that priceless moment when I’m completely and calmly in control of each and every parenting challenge that confronts me without needing anything requiring a prescription. What causes me to stress out? Here are a few examples: a call from the school that my son may have a broken arm, the mean girl drama at school last year which left my daughter in tears or the mom who called me on the first day of school to ask me if I was the one who told the school her kid was a bully. My answer that it wasn’t me (and my refusal to say who it was), caused her to scream “Fu*k You” into the phone and hang up. I reached for my Xanax. It worked.

Christina Simon is the co-author of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. She blogs about this topic at Beyond the Brochure. Christina is the mom of two kids, ages 8 and 11. Her work has been published on Salon.com, MomsLA, Mamapedia, BlogHer, The Mother Company, Ecomom, and other sites.

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I’ve been nominated for the “Most Versatile Blogger Award”

The most gorgeous Jamie Lynn from I am not the Babysitter has nominated little ol’ me as “most versatile blogger”! I feel so special I could pee! Thank you Jamie!

To  accept the nomination I must do the following:

1. Nominate 15 Fellow Bloggers. Here they are in no particular order: 

Natalie at Mommy of a Monster
Elle at See Mom Work
Jamie at Minnesota Girl transplanted into LA
Megan at Sunshine Wonderland
Jasmine at So You Think You Can Mom
Eva at Tech Food Life
Christina at Beyond The Brochure
Maribel at Stroller Adventures in SoCal
Adrienne at Adrienne’s House
Julie at Skinny Jeans Mom
Jeanne at The Jolly Tomato
Aracely at DayTrippingMom
Jessica at Fresh Angeles
Debbie at Manhattan Beach Momma
Kim at House of Prince

2. Tell those bloggers that I nominated their lovely selves:
I’m still working on it…

3. Write 7 random things about myself:

-I don’t like bell peppers. In fact, they make me gag. 
-I’m naming my kids to have a family in alphabetical order. No, I’m not kidding.
-I love eating lunch outdoors, it’s my absolute favorite thing to do.
-I have a chocolate lab named…Hershey. SO ORIGINAL I KNOW.
-I have a cat named Liger. Half lion, half tiger (we were big Napoleon dynamite fans at the time).
-I love Martha Stewart. I like to think of myself as the half-assed Martha Stewart. All the same creativity without the motivation to spend  hours crafting. Or the skill for that matter.
-I’ll try anything once. No not that you perve, so stop asking.

4. Thank the blogger that nominated me:

Jamie, you’re freakin awesome. THANK YOU.

5. ADD THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD LOGO ON YOUR BLOG POST:

Becoming “The Help”

I had a very strange experience a couple of weeks ago. I was hired as the photographer of a 3 year old’s princess birthday party and I was suddenly transformed into “The Help”. Not by the parent’s doing, they were the most gracious and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I would die to work with them again. And not by the party guests either. They were all nice and happy to see me. It wasn’t but by the other “help” that I became “The Help”.

Let me explain.

I’ve worked in the customer service industry. I’ve worked in the social services industry. I’ve been a mom for 5 years. I know what doing something for someone else is like.
But this is different.

It was nothing spoken, it was entirely quiet.
It was that I knew without being told that I should park down the street
It was that I stored by camera bag and extra equipment with the bartender
It was because I didn’t eat
It was because I didn’t take a break
It was the looks all the other “help” gave to each other at the realization of the grandness and fancinest of the birthday party
It was the look on the guests faces when they realized there was a photographer at the party

It was like we were one tribe, the other “help” and I that is. We weren’t party guests: We were “The Help”.

It was a strange feeling, I guess because I’ve never been in that position before. Usually, I’m the fatso in front of the food line making sure I get the biggest piece. Or maybe because I sit and talk and dine at my leisure at parties (OK, lets me honest-anywhere).
I’m not complaining, I’m not whining. I would die to make that kind of money again like I did in those 3 hours.
Because of the money that I made from that party, my kids had the best damn Christmas of their lives. It was the first Christmas since we bought our house that we had money. Money to spend on our kids on stuff they didn’t really need, but totally deserved.
As I sat and wrapped their Christmas presents, I was surrounded by things that I was able to buy for my kids with the money that I earned.
Do you know how nice that is to say? I bought them things. Me. The stay at home mom that is financially dependent on my husband.
So, thank you to the gracious, nice people for hiring me to become “The Help”.

I owe you a debt of gratitude.

 

 

Christmas Recipe, straight out of Oklahoma

Merry Christmas Eve Eve my friends! I was sent this gourmet and delicious recipe from my husband’s family in Oklahoma. I hope you find it as delectable as I do. Enjoy!

Roast Possum

Ingredients:
1 possum
Bacon – sliced
Salt – to taste
Sweet Potatoes – chopped

Directions:
Catch the possum. (Or hit it with your car).
Dress it (in a sweater?) and soak in salted water for 6-12 hours depending on the size and age of the possum.
Pour off water and then parboil in salted water for 1/2 hour.
Prepare the dressing of bacon slices, salt to taste and sweet potatoes.
Stuff the possum.
Sew up cavity and place in a baking pan with just a little bit of water.
Place in over for 15 to 20 minutes (rare possum anyone?).
Pour off liquid and reserve it for later use (OF WHAT?!).

Lay partially boiled sweet potatoes around possum.
Place bacon strips across possum and potatoes.
Pour reserved liquid over all and let bake 1 hour longer, basting frequently (ah ha! there’s the extra liquid and more baking!).

Enjoy!

 

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Stay Tuned: “Confessions Friday” will resume again next Friday with a guest post from Christina Simon from Beyond the Brochure!
If you would like to be included in the “Confessions Friday” series, please contact me at: DesireeEaglin@aol.com

The kids are alright

The kids are alright…only when they’re not.
What is it with kids and their innate ability to seek out our weaknesses as parents and destroy? I swear on my life that my son has a meter buried deep within that tells him when to act out, when to make a mess and when to talk back.
He was born with this ability, I swear. He is the only person on the face of this planet that can get under my skin and rip my energy to shreds. And of course, on those special days of hell the baby feeds off that energy as well and creates an even bigger whorl of misery.
All that happiness, all that cuteness, all that heart-warmingness that a child can bring one day…can be replaced by the devil himself the next.

95% of the time I am the Hunter. I am in charge. I am aggressive and I am boss.

5% of the time I am the Hunted.

Thankfully, my meter points mostly towards the Hunter. Except in special and unique occasions that is.
Like, when I’m pregnant. Or when I’m not feeling well.

Add those two ingredients together and…BAM! My life, well it sucks.
I call my husband desperately every half hour, I leave the television on all day and feed the kids whatever it is they want to eat. “You want popcorn for breakfast? Done!”
But then…like a lion stalking its prey-I get better and pounce on those damn heathens before they know what hit them. The house is whipped back into shape, the kids actually get fed real food and their hineys get smacked for calling me a neenieheadedboogiemonster for the 15th time.

What is the worst you’ve let your kids get away with while you were sick?

Confession Friday – Megan from Sunshine Wonderland

The following post written by Megan from Sunshine Wonderland is the epitome of what this series “Confession Friday” is about. I champion her for being so honest and opening herself up. This is a prime opportunity to read someones confession and relate to or understand an opposing opinion.
I am proud to have this post on my blog.

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It’s ironic that Desiree asked me to do a guest post at the same time I was pondering one of the most hidden parts about me. One that I have struggled and fought with, been embarrassed with, been chastised for…
and finally come to terms with and accepted and moved past.
I could have picked an easy confession, like how I pick my nose or how much time my son spends in front of the television
or even the fact I changed my first diaper at 30 years old.
In this world of quick information, mommy bloggers and over sharing on the Internet I feel like I have seen it all; from the deepest secrets to lighthearted stories that everyone shook their head in understanding.

In high school, my dad began running around with a group of guys that he knew through the service club circle. One of these had a son older than me with a crush.
He had a crush on me.
I remember distinctly one party at a friend of my dad’s house. The feast was dwindling, the beer still flowed…and the boy followed me around as I walked around exchanging pleasantries with whoever greeted me.

I sat down.

He sat by me.

I scooted away and he pursued.
I shrunk away and escaped to my mom’s full table, sitting close so there was no more room, embarrassed and self-conscious.

He made me uncomfortable.

Not because he had a crush on me (even though no one had asked me out at that time and I was still a shy naive girl with a wall up over her heart).
No, he made me uncomfortable because he was born with Down’s syndrome.

With a deep breath and hesitation I confess that I have struggled most of my life being comfortable around people with special needs.

In this politically correct world, where even mentioning someone with a disability, only certain terminology can be used to identify them or else it is an insult.
How can it be anything but insulting to say that I would shrink from conversing with someone with special needs?

When I was very young, I would hide, inching around the other side of my mom’s body and avoiding eye contact.
In school, I tried to stay away from the wing that held their classes, songs, shouts and hushing coming from the open windows.
I avoided even talking to that boy, the one that was the love of the football team, who helped the coaches and stood by every game at the sideline in a Letterman jacket.
Some people run from bees or panic in enclosed spaces.
I would shy away from their blunt, innocent conversation and their too-close-for-comfort friendly aggression, struggling to be on the same wavelength.
I know they are sweet, funny, nice, and have just as many interests, passions, dreams and challenges as anyone else.
I don’t understand why I struggle to find common ground.
I have been honest about it, opening myself to criticism and confounded questions from friends.
I have tried to be open about it, only to be hushed and protected against those who would be angry.
I have fought against the awkwardness, starting conversations with the one who always says things that makes my polite side run, substitute teaching a middle school class full of raunchy commentary and tantrums, speaking in front of a group full of interruptions, distractions and questions.
I have shared their space while I waited for my son’s swim class, encouraging his friendliness and easy admiration of the bright towels.

I am happy to think that many who know me would never guess I have this problem.

I am hopeful that maybe others have had this same uneasiness and also outgrown it, worked past it just like me and maybe they too, can say “I understand” and nod.

Hopefully, someone will.

I am happy with the thought that my son will never learn that lesson from me, the discomfort that I was never taught nor shown by example.

I am happy that he will never hear this confession from me.

 

Megan blogs at Sunshine Wonderland.

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I want to be honest with all of you and say, that Megan is very nervous about criticism regarding this post. She has admitted to being a “people pleaser” (aren’t we all?) and does not want to hurt or offend anyone. Thankfully, this series and blog is not afraid of outliers in opinion or feeling. We’re all human, we all have feelings that we sometimes cannot control. “Confessions Friday” is all about posts like these and there will be tons more just like this one.

In high school, I was also extremely uneasy around adults or children that have developmental disabilities. I like to challenge myself and I took on a social work job as an employment specialist with adults with developmental disabilities. I worked there for 3 years and completely overcame my uneasiness. I love my client and still keep in contact with him even today.
I am confident that you all will understand and even relate to Megan. And you most certainly will not think differently of her.