Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Friday, May 27, 2011

Mommies and the Pool

Two years ago I took the time to learn to swim.

I am not particularly, um, how shall I say.... in shape.

This is apparent whether I am in a swimsuit or not.

With that said, I do not wear swimsuits that would subject the rest of you to nightmares about whales, cottage cheese, and porcupines.

I wear "size appropriate" swimwear. 

In fact, I purchase my swimwear from the following website:

http://www.alwaysforme.com/plusseparates.html

They have great stuff for water aerobics, if you have a bigger chest, etc, etc. 

I've had more than one person come up to me at various pool parties, as they sit in the heat and ask where I get them, and they add that if they had a suit like that, they'd probably get in the pool.

Age and pregnancy do all kinds of things to people-- I'd love to still look 19 again, but let's face it, that's not happening.  I get not wanting to wear a bikini.  Boy, do I get that.

Me, on the far right, at 19.


So today at my daughter's pre-school swim party I wasn't completely surprised to find that I was the first mommy in the pool.  It was also related to the fact that my daughter and her friend ran in, full speed.

It was a small party.

I will never see most of these people again.

I don't care what they think.  I know I'm fat.

And I definitely didn't get the impression that anyone else cared.

It was clear they were being too self-conscious of themselves.

What stunned me, though, were the skinny, completely beautiful women who waded into the pool in full cover-up.

Women who were not remotely overweight. 

Really?

I convinced my very attractive friend to ditch the cover up and get in the freaking pool.  She said "I have another 10 pounds to go...."  and I said "You're gorgeous, I have another 50 to go, get in here, it's hot."

She did.  I think she had a blast.

Out of about 20 moms, 5 moms got completely in.  All of us in various shapes and sizes.

It was a pre-school swim party, not a beach party at the Hard Rock. 

It made me sad. 

How could these completely beautiful women be so self-conscious?  What on earth is wrong with our society that if you're not perfect you're not even good enough for a pre-school party at the Y?

And what kind of model does this set for our daughters?

The dads, by the way, jumped on in. 

While I am frustrated with my weight and very excited about my impending breast reduction so I can actually run and exercise again, I don't think that I'm less.  I would never want my daughter to feel that she is-- for whatever reason-- less than.  Being overweight is one component of me.  It's not one I'm proud of, but it's a little hard to hide (and big, baggy t-shirts in a swimming pool actually make it look much worse, by the way).  Personally, I think it's taught me a bit about humility.  It's the one area I am failing at.  But does it define me???  I don't think so.  And if someone else defines me solely by that, they are nuts.  And missing out.

But back to the moms-- they weren't even close to fat.  Not even a little.  And yet they shrouded themselves as if we were hideous.  Were there bodies perfect?  I doubt it, but is anyone's?  No. 

They looked so uncomfortable in their own skins, it was sad.  I wanted to hug them all,  tell them it would be okay.  Tell them that it really doesn't matter.  Tell them that their children don't care what they look like in a swimsuit, just that they play.  Tell them not to stand on the sidelines, watching, while all these precious moments go on without them. 

My daughter will not remember my swimsuit.  She will not remember that I was the fattest mom there.  She will remember that I helped her be Sleeping Beauty while she floated on her back.  And maybe someday, she'll appreciate that I had to check my ego at the door a long time ago when I became a mom.

And I hope the other moms weren't really saying "Wow, can you believe that Mrs. Bean had the nerve to get into the pool looking like that?"  From the looks on their faces, I didn't pick that up (disgust is easy to sense!). 

In fact, what they thought or said really doesn't matter to me at all.  I had a great time playing with my daughter, my son and my daughter's friend. 

Life is too short to watch from the sidelines.

Jump in.
Me, not at 19.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grill Girl

I just read through a few articles on USAToday about grilling.  They all were directed at men.

Sigh.

Really?

REALLY?

And then I thought about it.

I am one of the few women I know who grills.

I learned to grill after an ex-boyfriend who ripped me off was forced to leave his tiny gas grill behind.  I loved grilled food.  There it sat.  And one day I thought, screw it.  I'm lighting up that puppy.

Thank God (truly) that my friend Steve was there and grabbed the lighter fluid out of my hand-- it was a gas grill.  He politely explained that it was not necessary.  Oops.

Since that nearly explosive moment about 12 years ago I have become a grilling machine.

If it can be grilled, I will grill.  When people offer me a George Foreman, I'm confused- why not use a real grill?  Man up.  Foremans are for wimps. 

Grilling, to me, is the simplest way to cook.  Heat up the grill, throw it on, set the timer, let it rest, then eat.

Wait--- did you say set the timer?

Yes.

My poor husband has had to suffer the humiliation of having a wife who grills.  Apparently, every time I grill something, he loses part of his man card.

The problem, it's not his forte.

With that said, he's come a long, way baby.

He is fascinated that I can cook a steak perfectly on the grill.  I explained that I bring the meat to room temperature, and then based on the thickness of the cut (for fish as well), I refer to my handy dandy Better Homes & Garden cookbook, set the timer, flip half way through.

Ta da.

But, of course, that involves reading and following directions.

Which also is a notch out of his man card.

Sigh.

So over the past 10 years, I've "allowed" him to grill from time to time. And I am a giant pain in the ass.

"Um... honey... make sure you heat the grill first..."

"Um... honey... remember the meat keeps cooking once you take it off the grill..."

"Um.... honey... it heats faster towards the back...."

"Um... honey... I think it's probably done..."

"Um... honey... IT'S ON FIRE!"

He shuns my carefully calculated cooking technique for the more authentic "Man-Meat-Fire-Ug" technique.

I am always polite as I eat his offerings.  And he truly has improved dramatically.  He made some pork chops on the grill last month that were perfect.  I was genuinely impressed.  He also grills all the burgers and hot dogs for my annual client picnic- quite well, I might add. 

I still am not ready to relinquish the tongs, quite yet.  I like my veggies, fruit, shrimp-- you name it, I'll grill it. 

Plus, my husband's former inability to grill is the reason we are together.

We took a break while we dated. He went on a date with a woman much more suited to him than me, to be honest.  She was very nice.

He invited her over and cooked her dinner.  Chicken on the grill.

He burned it.

The date took a downward turn, apparently, as they gnawed charred chicken parts.

It did make me jealous, however, to find out he had moved on.  Jealous enough to realize that maybe it was time for the break to be over.

Had he pulled it off, who knows?  Mama Bean's World may not exist.

So maybe my hesitation to turn over the grill is really my way to hold on?

Or maybe, darn it, I just think it's fun to cook with fire!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Me, Valium and the Apocalypse

I cannot, for the life of me, take painkillers.  I am actually allergic to an entire drug class- hives- but I'm a light weight when it comes to them.  Fortunately, I have a very high pain threshold, so it very rarely causes me problems. 

Last week I was supposed to get an MRI.  The woman asked me if I was claustrophobic.  I said I didn't think so.  I had been to tanning beds, gotten the kids out of those stupid tunnels- honestly, I didn't think it would be an issue.

Although the brochure mentioned something about a peaceful environment, headsets, etc, this was NOT what I experienced.

There was no headset offered for calming music.

Medication was not offered.

There was, however, a fairly bitchy attendant who was annoyed I was early (I brought a book, no need to rush- I'm fine waiting). 


She was then further annoyed that I couldn't get situated on the "plank" easily (I'm having back problems, so I'm not exactly nimble).

Then slam, bam, into the can I went.

At 15 seconds I politely said "Um, could you please get me out?  This is not going to work."

With her graceful and sweet disposition (ha), rolled her eyes and said "You know, the next time someone asks if you are claustrophobic, you should say YES."  Then hastily told me to get dressed and they would work something out at the front on my co-pay.

Ouch.

I'm very polite.

She was not.

The gal at the front was polite, explained it happened all the time (maybe you should talk to Mrs. Sunshine back there...), suggested I do an opensided MRI or take medication.

Sounded GREAT to me.

So I rescheduled at Steinberg Diagnostic which is almost like going to a spa.  Great staff.  I explained my freak out.  They said no problem, they had drugs, music, etc.

Boy, they weren't kidding.

Since I had freaked out the first time, I was a bit chattier than normal because I was nervous.  They gave me 2 valium.

Oops.

I like valium.

I had it one time before and it was wonderful.

It makes me smile.

A lot.

I can never have a prescription for valium.  It would be bad.

I got into my gown and it started to kick in.  I had a little trouble with the ties, but managed to get everything in place.  I think.

I probably should have just taken one.

Oops.

So then I sat in the waiting area, with the other folks.

"Cops" was on TV.

I really don't care for the show.

But on valium.... well, it was a different story.

It was the funniest show I had ever seen.

I laughed.  And laughed.

I sounded like my husband watching "America's Funniest Home Videos."

"He's got a crack pipe IN HIS PANTS..."  ha ha ha ha ha

"Look-- he doesn't have any teeth..." ha ha ha

And then all the news about the rapture- HILARIOUS.

"The end of the world is tomorrow- isn't that too funny?"

The woman who had brought her father in for his MRI, had tears in her eyes.

Not because her father was sick- from me.  She was shaking she was laughing so hard.
And if you think I talk a lot.....well, give me a little valium.

And then there are the texts to my husband.

I also apparently text very funny when stoned.

The MRI went flawlessly.  I didn't need the opensided.  The one I went into was much bigger than at the previous facility (which honestly looked like something out of the late 60's).

I had some tunes.

I was digging it.

"Do you need a break?"

"Nope- just pretending I'm on the beach... keep going..."

I don't even know how long I was in the Tube of Despair.

In my head, I was 20, sitting on the beach in Florida.  It was nice.

I did, for a brief moment, consider if the rapture occurred, since I was being magnetized, would I get sucked up to heaven faster... and it was really hard to keep still and not laugh.

Sometimes, I really crack myself up.

I'm happy to say I survived.  Both the MRI and the End of Days.

But if the apocalypse were to start, I'm taking valium.  Just one this time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Emily on her Engagement

Dear Emily,

Congratulations on your engagement!  I am truly very happy for you!  I will miss hearing about your travails in the dating world, but I am very happy that you found someone with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life.

As you know, I am quite happily married to my husband.  Most of the time.  Over the years, we've watched our friends marry, divorce, remarry, redivorce, etc.  In fact, now that we're in our 40's, we go to more "Just Divorced" bar nights than bachelor/bachelorette parties.  I've learned  a lot watching them.

One of the things that I've learned is that adultery does not mean being an adult.  I have found that most people get very upset when they learn that their spouse is dating/fornicating/fooling around with someone other than themselves.  You would think this would go without saying, but alas, it does not.  Depending on your definition of "sex"-- Republican or Democrat-- dating while you're married is generally frowned upon.  So if I could leave you with this tidbit- try to avoid having sex with other people. 

Also, just a heads up, every day for the rest of your life is a really, really, really, really, really, really, really long time.  You are going to get extremely bored with each other.  Again, this doesn't mean date other people.  Just to clarify.  You're going to need a life.  Your own life.  With your own purpose.  It keeps the conversation going.  Trust me.  It's not the sex that burns out, it's the conversation that's difficult to keep going.  Shopping lists, mortgage rates, home repairs, car pools are not exciting topics. 

As I'm sure you already know, it's not going to be unicorns and rainbows every day.  We have an 80% marriage.  About 40% of the time we are sickeningly in love, 40% of the time we are fine, 10% of the time he's a complete jerk and 10% of the time I'm, um, well, unpleasant apparently.  I'm good with that.  It's the days that the 10% is back to back to back that make is a bit less than easy.  Again, this does not mean to go date someone.  I do recommend taking a lot of pictures of the 80% good times so you can look at them during the off times.  It will make you want to stab him less.  There will be days...

I hope you have fun stuff that you can do together that you actually enjoy.  Dating is a fake period where you pretend to do stuff that you hate.  Forever is forever.  If you don't have a together hobby, find one.  This will help the conversation.  It also resolves the perpetual question that resonates in everyone's marriage "I don't know, what do you want to do?"  Which results in sitting on the couch watching bad pay-per-view.  We like to shoot things.  And fish.  And do karaoke.  Okay, I like karaoke.  So maybe marriage doesn't end the fake stuff....

My husband is always there for me.  Every.  Single. Day.  When I wake up.  When I go to sleep.  When I turn around.  When I come home from work.  Always, always, always there.  Right there.  Be sure to have a quiet place to hide...

But seriously, I am very happy for you.  Getting married is one of the best things I've ever done.  There's something about having someone on your home team, cheering for you every step of the way. I love my husband more now than I did 10 years ago- no joke.  And it's not just because we have a mortgage (although, after signing I did say- genuinely- "Wow, now I REALLY feel married...").  It took me awhile to adjust- I had always done everything myself-- but caring for another person and being cared for-- it's an amazing feeling.
I wish you happiness.  At least 80% of the time!

Love,

Mama Bean

The Supporting Roles in our Lives

I found out today that someone who I know through work has stage 4 cancer.  I'll call her Sally.

We aren't terribly close.  I'm not even sure I know her last name without looking in my email address book.

However, she has played a fairly important role in my life.

When I first started in my current career, she worked for our divisional office.  In a field of largely alpha males, she always gave me a wink and a smile.  She helped me out.  She helped me succeed.  We both were from Ohio and she took me under her wing. If I needed a report, it was moved to the top of the pile.  Girl power. 

When she was laid off, I went to the divisional vice president and told him I thought they had chosen the wrong person.  She laughed, told me not to worry, she would be fine.  She was. 

About 5 years later, she returned to our firm and started working for a group of advisors in different office.  She is excellent.  My interactions were limited to a few polite calls as she patched me through to the other advisors, but we always took a few minutes to catch up.  Just last week I told my business partner as we started to interview people-- "I want to hire someone like Sally." 

She was always happy.  Upbeat.  Positive. Kind.  Always willing to lend a hand.

I don't know that I've ever told her that.

When I was growing up, our neighbor across the street, Mr. Wheeler was always there.  He taught me how to play tennis.  If I got locked out, I would wait at his house.  He and his wife always had a popsicle for us on hot days.  Every day when I came home from high school, we'd chat for a few minutes at the mailbox.

On "Decision Day"- back in the day when colleges notified you via giant envelopes in the mailbox- I came home after school to check, before my waitressing shift started.  It was a little earlier than I normally would have been home. but there was Mr. Wheeler waiting for our daily chat.  I had applied to Cornell and he knew it.  I didn't realize he knew it  was "the day."  He was the first person to find out I got accepted.  Then he surprised me-- he had learned the alma mater and started to sing it to me.

When he passed away my sophomore year in college I was overwhelmed with sadness-- had I ever told him how much his friendship meant to me?  I'd like to think he just knew.

I think about the smaller roles that so many people have played in my life- from the receptionist at the Y who smiles every day, the checker at the grocery store who asks me what I'm making with the odd produce that I buy, the manicurist who remembers me every time I go in- even though it's only 2-3 times a year, the dog groomer who felt terrible when she accidentally shaved my dog, the woman I sat next to for a year in spin class way back then who always saved me a spot-- those are the people who are truly the icing on the cake.  The extras, so to speak, in the screenplay of my life.

And I'm always happy to find that I, too, play a role in their lives.  Sometimes I feel like I lead a fairly invisible existence to any one outside my family.  I don't.  I'm their Mr. Wheeler.

When my husband went to the grocery store with the kids, the checker commented on how great the kids were, what a good mom I am and how I'm always so cheerful.  She enjoyed when I came in.  Really?  Someone noticed?

When I helped a client whose wife had passed away, he shared how he and his wife always looked forward to seeing me-- I was a part of their routine.  They'd go to lunch, after we'd meet- I was a part of their lives.

Or when people comment on how much they like to read my blog- it makes me happy.  I'm not changing anyone's life, but I'm making them smile.  Maybe I change the outlook of their day?

Some days the world seems like a huge, isolated place, but in reality, it's not.  We all are a part of so many people's lives and we don't even realize it.  This year I said I would be more grateful.  Today I am grateful for the back up singers, the extras, the people in the supporting roles- whatever you call them- I'm glad they round out my life. 

So on the days when you are feeling lonely, don't.  You may be someone's Mr. Wheeler or Sally and not even know it. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taking Wrong Turns

I love a good adventure.

A friend of mine in high school made a comment- completely out of the blue- that has always stuck with me:

"Hey- did you realize that every driveway in the world is connected?"

Think about it.

And yes, I know there are oceans, etc, etc, but the concept that all of our homes are connected together is really quite profound.

And, to take it to the next level, if every driveway is connected than it is basically impossible to technically be lost.  Misrouted, perhaps, but never lost.

I think that strategy works well for life in general.  I've always hated when you're going through a rough period and people say "You'll get through it."  Of course.  Forward is the only direction in life that I'm aware of-- am I missing something?  Sometimes forward feels like dredging mud, but still, life slows down for no one.  There are a lot of speed bumps.

For me, the speed bumps have been the best part. 

When I was a senior in high school, I applied to be a Rotary Club Exchange student.  I wrote down that I wanted to go to Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.  I was accepted into the program.  They weren't sending students to Kenya due to the AIDS outbreak (it was 1988), they never sent girls to Egypt and I was eventually rejected from South Africa because I was over 18 (there's a nice twist to this...).  So I was given the choice of Costa Rica or Ecuador.  I enjoy the beach, so I picked Costa Rica.  Two weeks later, I got a call, they had made a mistake- it was Colombia or Ecuador.  I picked Colombia.  Since I didn't speak Spanish, I figured a larger city was better.  We completed the 28 page visa application, I deferred college and I waited for my family assignment.

Two months before my departure date, I received a letter from the Roberto Gonzalez family. 

From Ecuador.

What?

The letter was beautifully written.  They looked very nice in the picture.  I had no big plans other than to be an exchange student, so after 48 hours of thought I figured "Why not?  If it sucks, I'll come back home."

So I moved to Ecuador.  For a year.  I honestly did not think I would last more than 2 months.  I ended up having the time of my life.  My "family" was wonderful and I made some of my very best friends.  It completely changed my outlook on life as well as my career choices. 

I even met the daughter of the family I would have lived with in South Africa-- she was an exchange student in the same city, believe it or not. Apparently, the student they had selected got sent home early for misbehaving.  And to be honest, she was a little uptight and nothing like Albita, my exchange sister who was wonderful and fun.

Nice wrong turn.

I blogged a few days ago about how my decision to be a mom was made.  Oops.

I even met my husband because I had been on a date with his best friend that didn't go well, met a colleague of theirs and she set me up with Shane. 

My career was also a giant wrong turn.  I applied off a classified ad as something to do until I went to grad school.  Now I have a career and a business that I love.

And today.

I had written on the calendar "Skip, UNLV."  I had no clue what on earth I was supposed to do with my son at UNLV.  I searched their website and other than graduation, I didn't see anything.

So I did the next natural thing- I posted it on Facebook.

Turns out my friend Paula was doing a presentation on creating a backyard habitat.

Hmmm.... I thought... that must be it.  We garden.  We like bugs.  We've been talking about attracting more bees and birds....

So we signed up (well, sorta- we actually just dropped in).

On our way to the museum where it was being presented, we stopped by the student union to get directions.  There was a sign directing people to a Family Day event that the school district was sponsoring.

Ooops.  That was where we were supposed to go.

But since I had told Paula we were going to her seminar, I told Skip we'd check it out on our way out (it ended after the seminar).  Plus, the habitat presentation really sounded pretty cool.

It was.

I learned SOOOOO much.  Paula is so smart and you can tell she has no idea that she is.  She said more in one sentence than I think I learned in a quarter of high school biology.  No joke.  I didn't realize that cotton tail rabbits were born hairless because they are born in dens and that jack rabbits have hair and nest above ground.  Makes a lot of sense.

Paula has the amazing ability to pull complicated science concepts together, into very practical, logical explanations.  Of course butterflies go to flowers that match their color so they can blend in.... that makes complete and total sense.  I had never put any thought into it.

And did you know that the Mexican Primrose is white and then turns pink once it's been pollinated?  I had no clue... how cool is that?  "No need to stop, Mr. Bee, I'm good to go..."

For three hours Skip and I listened, watched, toured the gardens as Paula and her colleague taught us some really cool stuff.

They even gave us a book on desert tree selection-- which Shane and I had been discussing just last week.

Nice wrong turn.

After, we stopped at the Family Day event.  Turns out, the target market was specifically low income families.  There was a lot of information on services and programs that wouldn't apply to us.  It was about encouraging your kid to stay in school.  How important college is... we've got that handled pretty well at our house right now.  I'm sure it was a great event, but for us, it wasn't what we were expecting or needed.

Creating a backyard habitat, however, was right up our alley.

Which connected us right back to our driveway.

Via a few wrong turns.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How to Not Get or Keep a Job- largely deleted due to Blogspot error. i promise it was really funny.

I am very nice.

I promise.

This past fall I decided to change my staff at my business.  I had a wonderful part-time, semi-retired assistant.  As technology became a larger portion of the workload and it became clear that I needed more help, she came to me and said it was time for her to retire.  She worked with me for 5 years. 
I also had a fabulous assistant who followed me to three different employers. 

I'm a good boss.

Honest.

HOWEVER....

I have standards.

Like showing up.

On time.

Every day.

I know, I'm a slave driver.

This is a problem for 30% of the population, I've found.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Letter of Advice to my Children on Mother's Day

Dear Skip and Zoe,

Yes, I know that's not your real names, but let's be honest, the internet is a creepy place and I don't want anyone to  know your real names.  Go with it.

First, thank you for being spectacular.  I mean that.  You are both such unique, spirited, brilliant children that I stand in awe of you on a regular basis.  I adore you.  But I'm still your mother, so I feel inclined on Mother's Day to give you some genuine motherly advice.  Try not to laugh.

Be kind.
Always.  To everyone.  To animals. Even the jerks in life.  It will allow you to sleep better at night.  Zoe, you have a temper.  Keep it in check.  Skip, this doesn't mean to let people walk over you.  Just be kind.  Put yourself in the other person's shoes.  Please note, that this does not guarantee that kindness will be reciprocated.  It probably won't.  But please, more than anything else on this list, be kind.

Find something to smile about every day.
Life is an amazing thing.  No matter how badly your day is progressing, there is someone who wishes he or she had it as good as you.  Maybe it's a pretty flower that you see, a sunny sky, an older couple holdings hands, the person you love- just find one thing.  The world is full of bitter, angry people and they cause most of the problems.  Don't be one of them.  And if you have a hard time thinking of something, know that you are very loved by your parents.  And if we are dead, well, enjoy the life insurance proceeds.

Stand up for what's right.
Speak up.  Your gut will tell you when.  When you look around and see things happening that you don't agree with, do something.  Doing nothing is just as bad as going along with it.  You will sometimes be disenfrachised for it, but in the end, doing the right thing always works out for the best.

Show up with your A game when others are depending on you.
Whether it's volunteering, school, or work, bring your best.  It's okay to slack off from time to time, but when the curtain goes up, give it your best.  Always try for the 100% at school, not the 80%.  If you don't try, you'll never reach it.  In my experience, it's not too hard to get to the top of the class because everyone usually quits.

Read.
Read constantly.  Read different opinions.  Read to escape.  Read to learn.  Read to think.  Please promise me that you will never stop reading.  It takes you so many places and brings you so much.

Ask a lot of questions.
Don't ever be embarassed to ask. Neither of you have an issue with this now-- stay like that.  Whether it's at school, the doctor's office or a church, if something doesn't make sense, ask.  Most people appreciate your interest.  Plus, just because someone has a title doesn't mean they know what they are doing- which you can tell from their response.  A professor once told me that he only trusted people who were 51% convinced- he knew that had looked at every side.  Don't believe things just because.

Participate in life.
Don't be "too cool for school."  Don't sit out.  This is a one shot kinda existence.  Dance at weddings-- not that I have to tell either of you that.  Laugh at movies.  Cry when you're sad.    If you love something, go for it.  Skip, your dancing inspires me.    Zoe, your passion for everything is truly awesome.

Fail.
It's not the end of the world.  Try for 100%, but don't worry when you don't get there.  Chances are you will have many more successes than failures, but I promise, you won't appreciate the success until you've failed once or twice.  Anyone can play it safe in life-- don't.  

Be your own boss.
I know you both very well.  You are my children.  You are smart.  You are creative.  You will never be happy being Employee 34987 and working in a cube.  Save up, learn and then venture out on your own and do something you love.  You are both already smarter than the majority of adults I know.  You will be fine.

Have fun friends.
Don't hang out with whiners, complainers, trouble makers, etc.  Hang out with the kids who laugh and enjoy life.  Keep them as friends forever.

When you get married, make it forever.
Yes, things happen, but go into it thinking it will last forever.  Marriage is a great thing.  It's not very popular as I write this, but trust me, wait for the right person, make it work and you will be so grateful.  Your dad is the best thing that's ever happened to me.  Ask him.  He'll agree :)

So that's all I have for you for 2011.  Every year, I'll come up with something else.  Like adding to your chores.

Know that I love you.  You make ME smile every day--

Love,
Mama Bean

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On Being a Mom

I really had no intention to become a mother.  When my husband and I married, this was a part of the deal- no kids.  I love what I do for a career.  I like to travel.  I generally find most people's children irritating after extended periods.  Sometimes that period is 10 minutes.  Sometimes 2.  And don't even get me started on babies.... no need for me to hold your child, honest.  Anyhow, it really didn't fit into my chart during those "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" motivational seminars that were so popular in the 90's.

Bet you didn't know that about me, huh?

So how on earth did I become a mother?

Honestly....

I had a little too much to drink on Christmas Eve, 2 months after we got married.

And 39 weeks later, my amazing son Skip (for blog purposes) was born.  Before my first anniversary.

Wow.

Pregnancy didn't even phase me. I blew off my birthing classes because I had been trained as an advanced responder for the Red Cross on how to deliver a baby.  Surely, I could pop one out.  People had been doing it for years.  I wasn't particularly worried.

On our way to the hospital, 1 exit before, it hit me.

I was going to be a mom.

Oh- and I had to get this giant thing out of me somehow.

If you know me, you know I am fairly calm.  I joke that if I had been on the Titanic I would have gotten everyone off and saved the vodka.  But seriously, in a pinch, I'm a good go to person.  I become calm in chaos.

This is why, when I started to say "Wow, we're having a kid..." my husband thought I was being funny.

The down side to being funny most of the time is that sometimes, I'm NOT actually being funny.  Which sadly and often, makes it even funnier to others and less funny to me.

My son arrived a few hours later via emergency c-section. 

And I was a Mom.

A completely unprepared Mom. 

Fortunately for me, my son was quite understanding.  He is mellow.  He is patient.  He rocks.

If God gives you what you can handle, he took one look at me and said "Let's go easy on this one...."

I did read a few books.  My pediatrician gave me great advice- breathe out and relax before you pick up your child- they can sense it.  That was helpful. Check.  Get the baby on a schedule.  Check.  Try not to leave the baby in public places unattended... well... I used to lose purses a lot, so I had to try hard on that one.  Check.

I had never wanted children because so many people I knew complained about it- the sleepless nights, the crying, the poop- ee gads.

What no one mentioned is that it's fun, too.  Because of my kids I've gone down slides, swung at the park on a beautiful day, built train tracks, colored pictures- the list goes on.  All the fun things of childhood that I had given up as an adult.  I get to do them all over again with 2 of the coolest people I know- my kids.

And trust me, as a business owner, having kids is way easier than starting a business.  Lack of sleep and piles of crap are common obstacles in both worlds.

Even though it would be really nice to sleep in past 7 or to go to the bathroom without an interruption, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

People say your children are a reflection of you.  I disagree.  I am a reflection of my children.  I'm kinder.  I'm a better person.  I'm more conscientious.  I have a better sense of what's truly important.  I value time more than anything now.

I honestly feel guilty because I've learned more from them than I could ever teach them.

So yes, I'm a mom.  I drive a crossover, not a sports coupe.  I live in a tract house, not a fancy townhome on the golf course.  I take weekend trips to Knotts Berry Farm, not Maui.  I wear sweats in public... okay, I always did that...  

I tell my kids that Mother's Day is the single most important holiday of the year.  They laugh. But it's true for me.  I don't care if I get nothing more than a hug, some great homemade cards and cereal in bed-- at 7 am.  I've got everything I never knew I needed.

Happy Mother's Day to all the great mom's out there and all the great people who fill in for the ones who aren't!