Miss, Ms.,Mrs.

I have graduated to Old Broad or Seasoned Dame status. (Both terms casually used by my dad) And I think that is why I have come to expect a certain level of respect from younger generations.

I have been known in the past to tell young patients at work not to call me ma’am because it makes me feel old. But recently, my daughter was on a zoom call with a friend, and as I walked by the camera and said hello, her friend responded to me using my first name.

“Hi, Eles,” she said.

My step faltered a bit. I was actually surprised to hear this little kid address me as such. For a minute, I wondered if I should correct her and tell her to call me Mrs. Jackson. But I really like the little snot and didn’t think that she should be that formal. I wondered if her mother was nearby and heard the trifle blasphemy her daughter had just uttered. If I were to express my shock at being called by my first name, would she jump on screen and immediately apologize for her child’s discretion?

I have my own daughter use formal greetings with my older friends. And she is to call my good friends by their first name preceded with a Mrs. or Ms. respectively. And I guess that is the same level of greeting I would like when being addressed by her friends. But I didn’t think the situation was that serious to reprimand the girl. To ask her mother to show her face so we could discuss it together and correct this recklessness. But it did make me try to figure out why I care the small amount that I do.

And like I said, I think my age bracket has me feeling that I deserve it, doggone it! That’s all I can come up with! This classy contessa would like this semblance of respect from anyone under the age of, say, 25.

Mrs. Jackson. Ms. Eles. Or just plain Miss.

But no. Not ma’am. Still don’t like ma’am.

We Are Not Our Hair

Illustration credited to arielbrands.com

India Arie wrote a song back in 2006 titled “I am not my hair”. She goes through reasons why a woman may change her tresses — whether by choice, damage to it, or some physical ailment. But the premise of the song, is that hair does not define a woman or give her a certain title and we should not be judged by a hairstyle.

A few weeks ago, the kid and I were scrolling through IG. As we swiped by a black girl with a bone straight weave, she ooohh’d and aaahh’d and stated how she wanted her hair like that. When I swiped to a black girl with a beautiful and natural twist-out, she said it was just okay, but not what she wanted.

A few natural styles

My daughter is only 11 years old. She has beautiful long hair that she has worn “naturally” since birth. Only on occasion do we blow dry and flatten it, which we did recently after getting our ends clipped. The sad thing, is that this is the only time my daughter feels she looks her best. I know it is because society tells her that. It’s what has been pumped into her from early on. From Disney and beyond, all the pretty princesses and popular girls have long straight hair. Not the tight, coily and thick hair of ethnicity. So this is, in essence, forcing her to believe that straight hair is the only style for success, acceptance and beauty.

The kicker is that my own parents don’t help. Anytime they see my kid with her hair blown straight, they rave like lunatics on how gorgeous it looks. My mom might take pics and share them with aunts and uncles. But the same excitement isn’t shown when she wears her hair naturally. There really isn’t any type of compliment given at all, actually. This is so odd to me, seeing how both my parents grew up during the height of afros. And both sported them proudly. So, it baffles me that they no longer promote the natural nor respect it, and have adopted societies idea of what is prettier.

I get this same treatment unfortunately. On the rare occasion that I blow out my hair, I get folks at my job, who NEVER speak to me, complimenting me on it. Saying how long it is, how pretty and silky — wanting to run their fingers through it. But these same folks only nod at me in passing when I sport the coily bun or two-strand twist.

What gives, people?!

I know this has been an issue for many for a long time. Like I said, there are songs out there written about it. I wish I would have involved myself in it all before, so I could have started on my daughter early on. It is now a journey for me to be sure I do more to get her to appreciate her natural beauty and to love it. To flaunt it. And to know she has options.

Who knew that a song from 15 years ago was going to become my theme song for 2021?

Mommy and Me

I have never really had the greatest relationship with my mother. Years of the prototypical “you should be more like your sister” and other sad conversations — let me know I was never one of her favored people in the world.

Of course, the teen years were the worst — going through the typical angst with a woman who didn’t take the time to help me through them, but rather expressed her frustration of trying to decide how to feel about me. Observing your mother fight with her own feelings of whether to like you or tolerate you, and seeing tolerance win every time, is a hard sight to see.

This volatile relationship hasn’t really improved over time. It has become one of toleration from both sides now. Which brings me to my issue.

I have lived out of my parents home for a longer time than I was there. And yet, to this day, it saddens me that my mother still has the same idea of me as the young adult who left her home and had to spend the night before her wedding at a relatives house because of an argument.

My mother has become what I will call a “selective recluse”. She won’t do things like: go out to eat at restaurants, travel or spend the night at a local hotel. She intensifies fear of the world because of crimes she hears about on tv (that may not even be anywhere near her home). However, she will drive to a Marc’s Discount Store on the other side of town to find her favorite popcorn brand on sale. Because of this selective ailment, there are not a lot of circumstances where I can spend intimate time with my mom. It is only if she comes to my house for dinner, invites us to her house, or we are invited to my sister’s house together. I say that just to acknowledge that there is never a good opportunity for my mother to spend time with me to see me as anything other than her mouthy teenage/young adult child.

In conversations that we have today, my mother still references my personality as the one I had at 22 — or some such young and immature age. She still comments on her lack of understanding me, my supposed temper (which is really just any time that I disagree with her), and still rates me with my sister.

I know that my mother loves me. She has shown that. But it’s a tight parallel with the knowledge that she doesn’t like me much. (She’s shown that as well.)

I do believe and strongly feel that it’s my mother’s loss to keep such a negative idea of me rather than getting to know the woman, wife and mother that I have become from my life and experiences since being out of her home. But it still hurts and sucks sometimes.

I guess that is my main point.

A Walk in the Park

There have been a few times throughout this pandemic that I have found myself not coping too well. I get overwhelmed and frustrated and just have an overall “ugh” mentality. I can wake up and as soon as my eyes focus — I dread the rest of the day — when I haven’t even taken a fully conscious breath.

Because of this, I have read a few articles of ways to better deal with this Covid melancholy. One suggestion was to make sure that I “be in the moment” and/or “stay present”. I can see the wisdom of this advice and thought that I’d put forth some effort in trying it out.

Which takes this story to this past weekend. I woke up feeling the gloom and thought it’d do me some good to go for a long walk. The hubby and I had unfortunately gotten into a tiff the night before and the kid was already giving me a hard time to start her school day. I layered on some clothes and leashed up the pups to get out and enjoy the fresh revitalizing air.

I thought that I would enjoy the sounds of nature and the sight of colorful piled up leaves, but all I did was ruminate on ways to prove to my husband that I was indeed the correct participant of our argument. Then, I moved on to making my daughter’s bad attitude in the mornings my fault. Maybe if I have her go to bed earlier, or perhaps if I wake her up with soothing sounds and a gradual light alarm clock, our mornings could run a lot smoother. I got myself all upset about the new schedule my boss made at my job and felt the fire in the pit of my stomach at how helpless I feel to do anything about that. I kept trying to reset and start over by pushing those thoughts out and trying to visualize my surroundings. But I ended back home with the same negative attitude I had when I left.

In short, I realize that I need detailed instructions on “how to be in the moment.” It is something that I obviously have never done, and now feel that it will take way more work to master than I would have ever thought necessary.

I don’t want to give up 100% on this idea. But it’s obviously a work in progress. I need something else to try in the meantime. So I’d like to know other ways you folks are resetting during this stupid time in our lives. I need some ideas on how to rejuvenate or I’m going to lose it! Please. . . Any suggestions?

Solitaire

I have been struggling a bit lately. As I am sure all of us have for many a different reason. Surprisingly, one issue (of many) I find myself having a hard time with, is “me time”.

This has been a problem for me for quite a while, but I don’t think I ever appreciated the little amount of time I used to get before having the entire family quarantined. I miss the days of having a few hours to myself while the kid was in school and the hubby was at work. Before we went on lockdown, filling that time with vacuuming, running errands, grocery shopping or cleaning the bathrooms didn’t really feel like a treat. But, I now realize that it happened a few times a week that I found half an hour to sit and quietly read or watch an uninterrupted episode of Community on Netflix. There was once a month where I found all of my chores completed and actually had a Friday afternoon that I could watch a nostalgic movie or binge something new.

I don’t quite understand why doing chores with everyone in the house makes me feel watched and judged. As if my husband will come behind me and tsk at the amount of dishwashing liquid I used for the dishes. Or time how long it took me to walk the dogs. But for some reason, things around the house aren’t done with the same ease and relaxation as they were before, due to the constant company I now have. And I really miss it. I feel that if I were to watch an afternoon of tv, the kid would then think she could watch a full evening of it. Or the hubby would roll his eyes the next day when I say: “I’m tired.”

I realize that this annoyance falls into the category of: “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. But, not only am I sad because of the lack of alone time, but I also fear that it’s affecting me in a weird way. I feel like I am going to lose my mind not having any moments to myself. It makes me wonder if we were created to have a little solitary time or did we just evolve to need such a thing?

I already see how this has made the dogs super dependent. They used to be at home for hours by themselves. Now, they get anxious if we leave for two. We come back to the youngest pup wired up like a spring and on our heels for the rest of the day. Which causes me to wonder how all of this is affecting the kid. She, too, has no time away from us parents. What is this going to do to her psyche and independence? I shudder to know. (Especially if it’s worse than what I feel it’s doing to mine!)

If you have any ideas on where I can get the alone time that I need, or where I can kick these two to get some — please, please, please, share your thoughts!

Am I My Own Enemy?

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We have all muttered the words, “I need more time”, no matter the circumstance. And in this busy day and age, none of us would be accused of exaggerating.

When Covid hit — if you read my post, Quarantining Sucks (Quarintining Sucks) — you know that I was okay with quarantining. Being in the medical field, my weekly schedule didn’t really change all that much. But, for the weekends, I was looking forward to getting chores done.  Sitting outside reading books. Tackling home projects. And most of all, writing!

Fast forward six months, and I have to admit that I have nothing to show for the little extra time I have. Only a couple of projects have been done to completion. Some I’ve began and not finished. I have inexplicably tired of reading on the patio (but this may be due to the amount of bugs that interrupt) and I haven’t written a thing outside of my monthly blogs.

So, when I get upset and feel down that I don’t have the time to be the author that I want, and that I can’t relax and read as much as I want, or that I can’t enjoy the outdoors and chill on my patio like I want — is that really the case? Or is it that I am the only true culprit for these things not taking place? Is it that I’m actually lazy and undriven and it doesn’t matter how much time I’m given . . . I’m never going to have the amount of zeal needed to amount to more?

Yowser! What deep concerns, right?!

I like to think that it’s because my schedule hasn’t really changed, as mentioned. Or I could say that it’s because the whole family is here all day with me and although there’s a little more time, there’s not a lot of alone time to dig into things that I’d like to without extra distractions. Or how about it’s the health issues that I have that cause me to be tired and only have the energy for some tasks but not all?

So, am I my worst enemy? Who or what is actually to blame?

For my sake and sanity, I am going to say that it is a mixture of all of the above. My circumstance, health, as well as laziness.

I have more thoughts on this covid-causing time of self reflection. But I’ll save some for other blog posts.

I’ll take what’s behind mask number 3

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So . . . yes I did laugh when I first saw this post. But, that’s not the only reason I’m blogging about it now. I am writing about it because it is funny and so true!

I work in the medical field and have to work with folks in masks all day. When patients come in to the healthcare center, they are masked — as mandated. But once they get with me for their procedure, they are able to take their masks off since they are in the unit alone. Since day one, it has surprised me almost 100% of the time what is revealed once a person takes off their mask!

As I walk with them through the department to get changed into a gown and go through their questions for safety to enter the scan suite, they are masked. In talking to them, I start to form an idea in my mind of what the person looks like. The dilation of their pupils as they answer certain questions, the crinkle of skin as they squint to laugh at something and the sound of their muffled voice — all starts to form a picture. And as stated, the face I see in my mind’s eye has been wrong pretty much this whole time.

A person who I imagine clean faced has a goatee and ‘stache.  Someone I envision with flared nostrils, (usually from being aggressive) has a cute button nose. And yes, there have been situations like the one depicted in the photo. Man could I go on about some of those. They can really be surprising.

It really trips me out how far off my vision can be.

There’s no real meat to this blog. Just the fact that the meme is actually a bit true; and that you can never base your emotions off of someone’s eyes. I don’t care what the books say about a person having “kind/warm eyes” or that Belle could see the compassion in the Beast’s eyes — you need to see the whole face to know if it’s something you like or find attractive.

I have never professed to be a facial profiler — let alone for the fact this title may not exist — but this pandemic has certainly proved to me that I have no skill in determining, even for a second, what will be behind a mask. Do you?

Parental Validation: A Mother’s Redemption

I have always found it challenging to be a mom. Parenting in general brings about an increased level of stress and difficulties, as I’m sure any parent will agree.

From early on, I felt like I couldn’t handle the “mother” role as well as others. My kid, although a good child in general, has a few traits that really, really, really (really really) test my patience, sanity and self-control. And also challenges my parental esteem. I have had the privilege of working part-time since she was born, which means that my days were spent with her more than those of my husband. I would have days of such stress being with her, that I would call him at work and ask him to come home early. Some days, as soon as he arrived home, I would hand her to him and walk right out the door. No destination, just the need to get away.

This situation of feeling spent has continued on as she has gotten older. It just kind of morphed into other habits that still cause the same frustrations. Having to repeat instructions multiple times and getting a crying fit or hysterics when telling her a chore that needs to be accomplished for the day. Telling her to do anything receives some kind of negative response, no matter the item. And no amount of discipline or consoling or coercing has changed it.

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with ADD. That was a sad, yet enlightening time. Having some kind of explanation for having to repeat myself so many times in one day was comforting, but having a label for my child was depressing. However, I looked forward to the medicine helping with certain aspects of which I now understood to be frustrating for her as well. But, the meds didn’t really change anything. I still get the meltdowns and still have to repeat myself all day to get just one or two things done.

No matter who I spoke to, I didn’t feel that anyone understood my struggle and no one was able to make me feel as though I was handling motherhood properly. My husband told me that I was expecting too much of the kid and of myself. (Very wise counsel and probably very true) But nonetheless, I continued to worry that I wasn’t adept at handling our situation well and it would push me down sometimes and became hard to fight the internal fight of not being good enough.

Enter Covid-19.

Being a medical professional, my schedule never changed. But my husband now works from home and took over the kid’s schooling during distance learning. His interaction with her obviously increased, now including areas neither of us ever had to deal with before. I am still part-time, so we were able to tackle a few things together, but I cannot begin to tell you the vindication I felt about two months ago when my husband uttered the most justifying pillow talk ever heard. He rolled over in bed to face me and said, “It is very difficult being here with her everyday.” I had to kiss his face, because he finally felt the frustration and the struggle! Although I felt sorry for his grief, I also feel so much better knowing that I am not the massive failure I’ve been feeling I am. And although we have been raising this little stinker together this entire time, I now feel like we are partnered even better because he can finally relate to the times when I tell him, “I’m punching out” when I’ve had enough for one day. He has now experienced on a fuller level all that is “her”.  He is now familiar with the different layers of her psyche. Now I don’t have to give full details of how the day went to get him to understand the progression of annoyance. I can mention a few key words or just give him a look and he can relate to how things went and how I’m feeling.

redeemed

I don’t know if I should be as elated as I am, or if this just shows how defunct we both are! lol But I really do feel validated and redeemed as a mother and no longer alone!

I don’t want to portray the kid as a complete evil entity nor do I want to sound like a whiny baby — things could be worse. I am thankful that they are not. And overall, she is a good girl. But it really is taxing to have to deal with crying fits E V E R Y day, and the emotional wear and tear that comes with that.

What are some of your parental struggles and accomplishments? I’d love to hear them!

Do as I say, not as I do

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This sentiment has been heard within the realm of raising kids for centuries. I have never brainstormed the suggestion until recently.

I guess on initial thought, the idea that a parent should train children through example makes sense. You can’t expect to raise a kid to be a law abiding citizen if you take them with you on stealing sprees monthly at the local mall.

However, I am now finding some fault with this advice.

Think for example of the parent who is trying to raise a toddler to say “please” and “thank you”. That parent can use it all day when asking the kid to do any old thing. But when they ask the kid to repeat it back, the kid looks at them defiantly without uttering a sound. Take that same parent a little later in the day who stubs a toe and yells out an expletive in pain, and you have that kid shouting that word at any given moment, unmerited, for weeks!

Take personal examples of how I try to be a good Samaritan around the kid. I can take on a job that my husband usually tends to, to show her that chores aren’t gender specific and that we all work as a team. Or maybe I’ll let the person with less items in their cart go ahead of me in line at the grocery store. Or perhaps take the neighbors newspaper to their front porch if it’s raining so they won’t have to walk down the drive to get it. But the one day that she catches me roll my eyes behind my husband’s back, she decides that is the behavior she wants to imitate. Or the day I wake up needing a veg day and binge Netflix for 6 hours, she then thinks to copy me and do it herself the very next day! She doesn’t want to write out Thank You cards to folks when they give her a gift like I always do. She doesn’t want to help dad with the yardwork so he can be done faster so we can all spend the evening together. Nor does she want to walk the extra block to give the dogs more time outside since they’ve been cooped up all day.

I’m not trying to make out like my kid is some awful little snot. (Although that might be exactly what I tell you on any certain day based on her attitude.) And the few items I mentioned aren’t the highlight of my good deeds either. lol My point with this is that kids, for whatever reason, tend to flock toward the ill-favored. The unsuitable. The unpleasant. It sometimes seems like no matter what good things we do all day long and have a habit of doing regularly, they somehow want to make your negative habits their norm. So why can’t us parents be dealt a little bit of slack and be able to tell them to do as we say and not as we do on the rare (or not so rare) occasion? It’s not our fault they don’t always follow our good examples is it? I say no.

So when I eat a fifth cookie after a dinner with no vegetables, no you can’t have another one also. Why? Because it’s not healthy to eat that many cookies. I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can.

When I run a quick errand in my slippers and pajama bottoms with a sweatshirt, yes you have to put on real clothes. Why? Because wearing pajamas out doesn’t look good from so many different aspects.  I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can.

If I answer back with “That’s what she said. . .” after someone says something where that response perfectly fits, no you can’t say it when you hear the proper set up for it! Why? Because you’re too young to make sexual innuendos. I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can!

You get the gist.

Not everything I do will be fit for a kid to follow. And I’ve earned a right to some things that a kid isn’t entitled to just yet. So, I really think that I should be able to say those words without feeling guilty. Who knows — maybe some day I’ll say it and not have a second thought about it. Not feel like I’m letting the kid down with my bad parenting. I don’t know. Maybe some day.

 

C-O-N Spiracy

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I do not consider myself to be a paranoid person. And I don’t tend to jump on board with most folk’s conspiracy theories about the government and “big brother” watching my every move. Even if they are, there is nothing I can do about it. So, I don’t fret over it at all.

But I do want to share two recent trivial stories that have me wondering if there is some actual truth to other’s suspicions.

Okay. First story: I was at work and went on Google, looking for some new work shoes. I went to the Dansko website and a few other places to search for clogs. I didn’t purchase anything, just browsed a little. That evening, when I got home to my personal computer, wouldn’t you know, an add popped up for Dansko shoes! Now, you may not see this as odd, or you may see this as mere coincidence. Or you may say that me logging onto the work computer recalled the info I perused once I logged onto my home computer. But the thing is, I wasn’t the one logged in at work! My co-worker was! So, how in the world did info from his log-in at work generate info to my computer at home?!

**Insert audible gasp by audience.

Okay. Second story: The kid was sad that she probably won’t be going swimming anytime soon and lamented that she wished she had a wade pool to dip her feet into when the weather warms up. So, I’m at Walmart the other day. I see kiddie pools for sale and text my husband a pic of a specific pool and ask if I should purchase it. I explain that my reserve is because I am certain our Labrador is going to be all up in her pool and will probably tear it up with his nails. The next day, I’m on Instagram and don’t you know, an add pops with the slogan to the likes of: “Tired of the dog ripping your pool?” And there is a small pool made of whatever kind of material, that won’t rip or tear if your dog jumps in.

**Insert an “Oh my” from one extremely nervous woman.

I have many more similar stories to these, but you get the gist. You may have an easily explained interpretation of how this can be. There may be some simple technical reason that this happens. But as for now, I am starting to marvel a bit more about what all the government — or whoever else has access to all of our electronics — can see, do or hear regarding our daily goings on.

Do you have similar stories or situations? Maybe some even better or spookier than mine? If so, please share! Let’s compare and create new conspiracy theories!