December 10, 2010

Gourmet Friday

This is our current favorite recipe. I got it out of the magazine Real Simple and tried it mainly because it said it was a meal for people who don't like to clean up. All you need is a roasting pan, a couple of utensils and a cutting board. It tastes absolutely amazing!

I'm going to be lazy today and just put the link to it on Real Simple's site.

Chicken with tomatoes and olives

Life Lesson

Lots of people say things they will do when they reach a new stage in life without really knowing what they are talking about. I am no exception. I always said that I wouldn't be one of those overbearing moms who was a slave to her children's nap and sleep schedule, wouldn't overburden other people with rules for dealing with my kids, wouldn't get too worried about every little problem or hurt that my kids encountered. In most ways, I have followed my own "wouldn'ts". However, I've found that to be my problem.

Flexibility in parenting my kids, especially in some of the ways I've been flexible, isn't working. I've ended up being overwhelmed, undermined and submarined in ways I thought I was avoiding by not burdening myself or my kids with unnecessary rules. Live and learn.

So, I'm on a tightening up mission. Making (and enforcing) some new rules, and trying to decide how to communicate these rules to other people who take care of my kids. It is going very well with K. I've found that he craves more rules. Without them, he feels like he should be in charge of everything, then is overwhelmed by the power he thinks he has. It is very curious to watch.

Last week we changed the duties on his "Responsibility Chart" (a magnetic board with cool magnets that we got at Target) and he helped me choose which responsibilities he will have. Then he did a wonderful job of trying to do all of them. He seems so much happier with this arrangement! I hope that we can keep it up and that this change will make a long term difference.

There's nothing like confronting your shortcomings to make you feel like a failure, though. Between this rule thing and the making and sticking to routines that I've been attempting with the sleep training, it sure shows me that these things don't come naturally to me. I'm fine with ordering my own life, but I struggle when I have to do it for other people, even my own children to a degree. Maybe once we've repeated the new rules and stuff enough, it will get a bit easier!

December 3, 2010

Short Story

Her Body

She stood in front of the mirror in her little outfit, making those slight and not so slight turns to and fro that allow for what seems like a total picture of yourself. The skirt was shorter than she could (or should?) probably pull off at her age. The top was low, but not scandalously so. There wasn’t much fabric overall. That was the point, of course.
Looking at herself so attired lent itself to reflection. Having children had taken a toll on her body, but actually not in a horrid way. No stretch marks, expanded hips or rolls of fat. But there was the general squishiness of her skin, particularly in the stomach, that came from all the changes the body endured. Add that to the aging process and she could definitely see the difference the last few years were making in her skin in particular. The hips and waist had the turned out and thickened appearance that few (no?) mothers can escape. But again, not too bad in the scheme of things. 
Not too bad does not make her feel comfortable, though. 
How other women could go out in public like this, she could never understand. How anyone could feel empowered by being so exposed made no sense. Like most carelessly adopted beliefs, it probably had very little basis in reality for any of the women who so vigorously expounded it. Insecurity is often masked by an over-the-top show of bravado. The fact that bravado is supposed to be paraded about clothed like a woman of the night is obviously a falsity perpetrated by men.
Our particular woman is not one who pretends to be either fully self-possessed and secure, nor so insecure as to put on a mask of confidence when there isn’t any underneath. The outfit is not to be worn. At least not in public. On a particularly saucy day, maybe she would wear it for her husband. These outfits are for the benefit of men anyway. Her husband already knows her imperfections, and loves her for them, and in spite of them. Not nearly as scary a prospect as the dreaded public.
With her twenties far behind her, a redefinition of self is taking place. How can she be beautiful and desirable (goals that have been sewn into her understanding of herself for as long as she can remember) when she no longer fits the typical definition of either of those traits? At least in her own mind. Age changed her understanding of herself. Life feels so different that she can’t help wondering if anything is the same.