Is it just me who struggles with meal planning? No? Okay then, let’s talk a bit about this beast…and then we’ll talk about this working mom hack I’ve come up with to tame the beast. The act of meal planning has slowly become the bane of my existence on Saturday mornings. I usually wake up dreading the task of searching for, syncing up, and then breaking down recipes for the week ahead. It’s tedious. It’s time-consuming. It gets on my last nerve. That said, it is a necessary evil for productivity and time-management during the week, especially when you’re a working mom. Unless, your ends allow you to pay a meal delivery service (mine don’t) or you’re okay with the anxiety that comes along with “What’s for dinner?” (I’m not.), meal planning is something you have to do to get through the week as smoothly as possible. But it still sucks.
Can we talk about the fact that my baby is no longer a baby? She is eight years old and as confident and fearless as she wants to be. She is everything her mother dreamt of being and more. She is my dream personified.
History is repeating itself in my home.
15 years ago, I sat in 7th grade staring at my textbook. The subject? Math. Stupid, dumb, why do we need it, math. Okay, so I know why we need it; I just don’t like it. Or better yet, it doesn’t like me because I actually do like math. And one day, I would like to make it my bitch, but unfortunately it’s way too slick for me. I grasp a concept and it throws a letter or two into the mix. I solve for y and it tells I’m wrong because I initially solved x wrong. Math and I have just never seen eye to eye. That whore.
Now, though, math is playing a really shitty game of “I’m going to screw over your child’s life” and that’s a game that I’m unwilling to play.
See, when I first started having trouble with math, I was much, much younger than 13. I wasn’t a 7th grader, but a 4th grader. My theory is that I missed one day of school and my fourth grade teacher taught everything I would need to know to advance in my understanding of math that day. And because I wasn’t there, I missed it and thus have struggled every since. My friend, who was in the same fourth grade class as me, does not believe this to be true and insists that I didn’t miss enough that day to explain away my pitiful math track record. I disagree, but whatever. I don’t remember having problems in math before I missed that day, though. I don’t remember having math at all before that day. I was smooth sailing before then, so what happened?
Jam is a second grader. Can you believe it? According to my archives, I started this blog over 3 years ago before she even began kindergarten. I remember writing about those trying times and wondering what the future would hold.
Well, I guess it held second grade because here we are.
Last year, with Jam being hospitalized and all of us being extremely traumatized from that ordeal, we decided to ease into the school year. We started late, took our time, didn’t sweat the BS, and for the most part, everything went smoothly. Would you believe that this year has been the total opposite? Like the complete opposite of last year. Between both my husband and I starting new jobs, Jam starting school, plus some of other family drama that spilled over into the fall, this school year has been quite the challenge. I’ve had to set some boundaries that I’ve never had to set before and it’s difficult. Challenges that I never thought I’d have to deal with are starting to come to ahead and I’m not sure how to respond. I guess we’ll just have to see how that plays out.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Denny’s. All opinions are my own.
I’ve always been a “do-gooder.” From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people, show them that someone cared, and just be there. I’m sure that totally explains my initial desire to go into law, and my subsequent career in social work. Just a natural “do-gooder,” I guess. Unfortunately, I think that my desire to help comes from the fact that I really, really wanted someone to help me as a child. Coming from a family that had very little, I can attest to what it feels like to go without. And quite frankly, it sucks. It’s like you’re living on the outside of life. You can see all these things happening around you, but you’re not a part of them. It’s like everyone is leading a life that you can see, but can’t touch. Like I said, it sucks. One thing that being poor taught me, though, was the importance of caring about other people. When our family had nothing, there were so many people that reached out helping hands. From helping us get furniture, to making sure that my brother and I experienced childhood things like amusement parks, slumber parties, etc, to giving us clothes and shoes when we needed them. As a child, I admit that I thought it was super embarrassing to be wearing my friends’ hand me downs, but I was thankful nonetheless. When I look back on those times, it’s amazing to me how far I’ve come and how those experiences shaped me into the person I am today. One of the beautiful things that my childhood experiences gave me was the ability to care. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have been the person that I am today, had I not gone through what I went through as a child. I can’t say that. I definitely think that hardships mold you and can make you into a better person if you allow them to, but do you have to go through hardships to become caring? To be a better person? Absolutely not. I mean, if I have any say so in it, my daughter will never go through a hardship that I and her father can’t handle. However, my expectation is that she still become a caring person and that begins by becoming a caring kid.
Summer is almost over and Jam and I finally made it to the pool. Sad, I know. And what makes it even sadder than the fact that it’s late July and we haven’t gotten to the pool, is the fact that our apartment complex has a fully accessible pool that’s open 7 days a week. Yep, this is an epic parenting fail. Well, maybe not epic since last summer we didn’t go at all because I couldn’t find the access card, but a fail nonetheless. This time I made sure that I got a new access card well before summer started, but I also knew that Jam would be swimming and going to the water park with the day camp she attends. I wasn’t too pressed about not utilizing our pool, but there’s still a sense of “not appreciating what you have” that I feel. I digress though.
Even though it’s summer, there aren’t many days that lend themselves to us having a leisurely dip in the pool. We’re always going, going, going, so when I realized that it was a Saturday evening and there was actually some down time available, I jumped at the chance to finally get over to the pool. Jam, of course, was ready and willing and we made our way over. And get this…not a soul in sight. The pool was completely empty. At first, I thought it was closed or had some deadly chemicals floating around in the water, but after searching for signs and checking the apartment’s Facebook page for updates, I gave Jam the “go ahead” to jump right in. And jump right in she did!
My baby swims.
When she was just a little baby, Jam loved the water. She was one of those babies that was just at home in the water. As we would wash her up in her little tub, she would splash, put her head under the water, stretch her arms and legs out, and just be. It was the cutest thing ever and anybody that saw her do it would comment on how she’s “such a water baby.” I’ll never forget the time she got in her first kiddie pool, wearing her first tiny bathing suit. There was so much wonder and excitement in her eyes. And she splashed, rolled around, and laughed for hours. It was perfection.
Fast forward to this weekend and I saw the same wonder and excitement + bravery. Running and jumping in the pool and everything. And then she started swimming. Just out the blue. Never having had a lesson in her life, but always watching everybody swim around her. It was magical, especially as a mama that never learned how to swim and one that’s had such trouble learning. Her stroke isn’t perfect and she can’t hold her breath for very long, but she swims and she’s learning.