Monday, November 17, 2008

You're a Good Mom, Charlie Brown

I have three shows this week. Normally, I book a sitter for Monday night so I can go to my Monday Night Acting Group. It’s so good for me- actor turned mother who fears losing her identity since the arrival of her two beautiful dependents- to get out and do scenes with the other professional actors, weekly. But since I have three shows this week, I figured I’d skip Monday night tonight, and spare the sitter. The boys will have her for 3 nights. Let’s not make it four. And so it was me putting the boys to bed. As, in a perfect world, I want to always do. But it wasn’t so simple.
Tonight, Nathan did not want to wear any of the pajamas in his drawer. His favourite pajamas are probably still in the dryer and I simply told him to choose a pair from his drawer. He’s 4. He can do that. Jake, on the other hand, missed the window of opportunity to go down naturally, and was now overtired and when I put him to bed, he screamed for me… which was particularly hard to take, since Nathan was still not willing to put pajamas on and I wasn’t going back in to comfort Jake until Nathan was dealt with. (I know the books say to let them cry themselves to sleep, which I find hard to do. But then they learn to fall asleep on their own. But in other countries, babies sleep with their parents until they’re 3 or something like that, so I usually end up waiting until Jake is completely asleep before leaving his room).
Long story short, I yelled at Nathan. After I begged, pleaded, joked, played and counted to three about three times. Like, I really yelled at him to pick some pajamas and put them on. He still refused so I told him, fine, see you in the morning. I told Jake to go to sleep. I went downstairs. Nathan followed. I sent him back upstairs. He refused. I threatened to put him outside (terrible, I know). I went back upstairs and to my room. Nathan waited in the hall. I read a book. Nathan cried. I calmed myself down and went to him. He agreed to put on the Charlie Brown pajamas. Still angry, I scolded him for being so unreasonable (he’s 4… what am I thinking?) and I told him he would get no stories since it was by now 9 o’clock and too late for stories. I went to get Jake. I went back to Nathan’s room and told Nathan that I would read Jake and Nathan one story only. But from now on, Nathan was to listen to Mommy. Put on his pajamas when I told him to. (Was that it? The thing that made me so angry? I’m still upset). Nathan agreed and the three of us read a story. I told Nathan I loved him. He seemed good. Then he said: “Mommy, sometimes I’m mad at myself.” I guess he was regretting some of his actions. I told him I knew what he meant. And that I sometimes get mad at myself too. Sheesh. Like when I’m impatient and yelly. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so yelly. It’s because I have been going to Monday night acting group and it’s a good balance for me. But I didn’t go. And I didn’t go to yoga recently either. But I did kiss Nathan extra tonight, and I did tell him I was sorry.
So, was it a good thing I stayed home and put the kids to bed myself? Yes and no. No because I really lost it on Nathan, but yes because I am showing him I am serious and must be listened to. When I went to my room to calm down, I picked up a self-help book (I always have one on my bedside it seems, since beginning this whole parenting thing) and read that if you tell your children that you love them, that’s a good thing. So, I feel better. Now back to reading the other self-help book, on women reclaiming their identities after marriage and children. You see why a girl like me needs to get out…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Am Not My House

Ugh. I need to clean this place. Specifically do the dishes. Both boys are remarkable down for a nap at the same time. It’s just after lunch, and since everyone has a bit of a flu-ish stomach, lunch was half a bagel and some apple juice. Easy. And easy to convince the boys to nap today. We’re all feeling a bit yucky. I look around at what needs to be done, in the quiet of the nap time, and I am overwhelmed. But then a light thought comes into my head: I want to make a goal collage. And hang it over the couch. I know it seems a simple thought. And that’s what I need: simple. But I have been racking my brain to find the best piece of art to hang over the couch for a while now, and it’s stressing me out.
I think I am complicating things. I had been a renter for so long, that now, a home owner, I think I have to live in a perfect house with perfect decor, to maintain the value of the property. But, then I become precious about this house, and I sweat the small stuff, and I lie in bed worrying about the framed pictures and where to hang them. And then I look at myself in the mirror, and I sweat the small stuff with me, not just enjoying my good health and fabulous functioning. Lord, I am back to my pre-baby weight (sort of re-distributed, but I am back at yoga, and feeling fit) and I can carry around about 70 pounds of children at once, Nathan being about 40 pounds, and Jake weighing in at 30. Like this house, I’ve got good bones. God, I need to loosen up a bit! And the thought of a goal collage, with a dog, and a cottage and an Oscar Award, and a tropical vacation, all Elmer-glued to a big, purple piece of Bristol board, made me laugh. It made me relax. It made me happy. That’s what owning a home should do: make one happy. Not make one panic. I’m done with panic. I’m up with happy.
I read somewhere recently that our house reflects our inner thoughts. Ugh. Again, too much pressure. I give you that there is some wisdom there. I know that since my children were born and since my husband and I decided we needed to buy a house to give security to our children’s future (this is what happens when you have children… you are a bad parent unless you own your home) my inner thoughts have been a bit scattered. I want to simplify my inner thoughts. Just be happy. I want to simplify my home. Just be homey. The money will come to pay to mortgage just as the air comes for me to breathe.
I am not my house. I suppose I am and I am not. I am my children and I am not my children. I guess I decide. For instance, the moment the idea of the flu was uttered outside of Nathan’s kindergarten class yesterday, I empathetically watched him for any flu-like signs. And then when he got a fever, I immediately felt flu-like myself. I mean, I could lay down. Maybe I should lay down. But I want to get to that goal collage first. Just slap up a sign of happiness, like throwing on a bit of blush. And the dishes? I trust that they will eventually get done.
Thank you, God and The Universe, for this home, and for my health. I bless my healing and the children’s healing. And I give myself permission to love this house in whatever state it is in. But could you send us new windows and doors soon? (Did I mention we bought a fixer-upper?) Thank you! Maybe I need to add those windows and doors to the goal collage too!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Audition: Slave Girl to Past Lives

I said I’d start blogging. Well, that’s what my horoscope suggested I do. “If you don’t write your own blog already, start one now.” I’d hate to go against the stars. So I’m blogging. And what am I to blog about? My kids. Because they ‘re small, and they have taken over my life, and I worked really hard to find myself, and now, I think I’m lost again. And it’s because of the kids.
It’s like this. I’m in my late thirties (pretty late, don't tell the casting directors) and Nathan just turned 4 and Jake will be 2 soon. Mackenna, my step-daughter is 9 and a half, and is primarily with her mom. When she is with us she is a pleasure, but she’s a kid, too, so add some more time and emotional demands to the pot. I’m an actress. And a writer. I perform because I need lots of attention. It took me years and years to get to where I wanted to be career-wise, and I don’t want to let it completely slip because I had a family. But it’s hard. I go from obsessing over the audition for that new TV series, and then wondering if it’s okay for me to be gone for a week to shoot the pilot or if that would be a sign of a bad mother, to simply thinking only about the children, and then getting resentful at the end of the day when I have done nothing but food preparation, feeding and clean-up, carrying, nursing, soothing and reading, playing outside, and inside and on the computer and being patient with self-centred little boys.
In my attempt to retain myself, I have re-ignited my spiritual quest. I stumbled upon 10 cassette tapes by Joseph Campbell at Value Village today, as I was dropping off the high chair. Clearly a sign that the Universe is supporting my journey. I have begun reading books about past-lives, and this is an Earth school, and I got my palm read and apparently I’m meant to help people. My boys don’t like to fall asleep without me, so bed time is a long and delicate process. As I was cuddling with Nathan, waiting for him to fall asleep, I had this flash of Nathan and Jake being my captors in a previous life. You know, like I was some beautiful slave, and they owned me, and loved me, but wouldn’t give me my freedom. (Remember the slave girl and the master in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments?) Funny how lifetime after lifetime, I’m still being held captive by them. So, if the palm reader says I’m to help people, it’s clear that I should start by helping myself.
I’m going to start blogging. About suddenly being a Mommy. It really is so miraculous to have children, and everything else falls away as less important than these beautiful creations of mine. But it’s good for them too, to see me at my best, successful and self-assured, balanced and fit. I’m going back to yoga regularly. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it. And I allow myself to earn gobs of money doing what I love. Even if I have to be away from the boys for a 12 hour day once in a while to do it. They’ll survive. I love them so completely, but if I don’t love myself FIRST, then I’m not doing anyone any favours.
The beginning of that horoscope said “If today is your birthday: The coming year won't be quite like any other. Your dearest wishes, highest hopes and brightest visions will edge slowly but surely toward glorious fulfilment.” I’d better get ready. Cuz this ain't no dress-rehearsal...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suddenly Blogging

Hi there:
So, I'm finally an adult. With husband, kids and house. It happened so fast. I'm just starting to figure out that I'm in charge. Well, I'm supposed to be, anyway.