Friday, September 27, 2013

My kid isn't like me

And thank goodness.

I don't just mean it in the way that we are simply different from each other. I mean that my kid, despite his DNA, isn't like me, very much. Sure, we have things in common. But I look at K like a completely different person. When he tries to do stuff (use keys, talk on the phone, eat, read, converse) I am beginning to see who he is as an individual.

It's nothing short of amazing.

More than just "Hey, he's smart." If I pay enough attention, I can see the little person he is in there. I can align with his desire to learn about how keys work, about how things fit together. He wants to communicate and I can help. And not just so I can brag to family about it later. Also, when he does less than desirable things (we're entering that phase at 12+ months), I can act/react the way that would be aligned with how we live and interact; he can see that while he's sad, and I'm sad he's sad, he just can't do some stuff, to his dismay. Like, we don't headbutt others when we are angry. Not cool.

All of the learning is becoming way more fluid. He'll get numbers, colors, and letters in school. And he'll pick it up, I'm confident. But the harder stuff is the stuff that's specific to him and us, as a family. He needs to learn about the way he interacts because we have an interactive business, family, and world. He needs to play by himself, not so I can be alone more, but because we have this community-oriented life and if he wants to take care of his needs, he needs to learn how to do that and ask our help, if needed.

Every night or day that I second-guess any of our "parenting" decisions, I have to talk myself down, explaining that this is how our world is, or this is who our kid is. From diapers, to food, to sleep, to toys, to whatever. This is us. This is our kid. This is our world. I didn't think that would be so challenging.

Preparing our kid for Ivy League schools is totally NOT the point. Neither of us went to those types schools. But we did take our education seriously, so K sees that about us. I don't care what K does with his talents or desires. I just want him to know we're watching and we want to encourage him and his uniqueness is welcome.

I know that our encouragement of certain things will raise eyebrows. "An actor? Writer? Artist? Chef? Philosopher? What will he do for money? Respectability? A job?" Yikes. If I spend too much time there I will completely discount my faith in my kid. Even if he's the smartest kid in the world, it's really none of my business what he does with it. I know I didn't "live up to my potential" according to hundreds of people, but hey, I like myself! I found an awesome mate. I'm not on drugs! And that's part of our family culture too. As long as you are happy, kid, we'll try to be as helpful as possible.

I will likely revisit this concept a lot. When I forget that K is his own person and start thinking that people are judging me because of how he acts, I will try to remember that we are our own people AND we are reflections of others. I will try not to make K do things because of the way it might look to others if he doesn't. That won't be easy. But I want K to feel okay about who he is. That's part of my job/responsibility as his parent. He'll have a lot of obstacles and I hope not to be a big one.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fall

it's the air
the swirling mix of fireplaces,
rotting leaves
the inhale, exhale of change
the sweet of apple
the earthy of pumpkin
rubber boots
wool sweaters
cinnamon sneaking into my teas.

Seasons shift
when I'm not looking
but it happens one smell

Monday, September 16, 2013

So what does it *look* like?

Okay, two posts on being "bigger" but what about the details?

I know how I am now:

1) I'm not satisfied at work
2) I am not interacting with people the way I want
3) My business is not a reflection of the amazingness of my world
4) I am not the way I want to be in my marriage
5) I don't dress the way I feel about myself
6) My enthusiasm is not shared
7) My generosity is not shared
8) My creativity is not shared to its full extent

That's all I need to dwell on for now. All of those things are ways that I limit myself in the world. Feels weird to admit any of that, but in all honesty, if I don't admit it, then it doesn't change (see Step 1 in the Big Book). And when I feel less sneaky, then I can get to shifting...sneakiness takes a lot of energy, doesn't it?

So that's what I see at the moment. And I'm looking into how those can and will shift as I transition.

1) Move to doing work that expresses my love for the world
2) Being honest and compassionate, showing up when I can and being honest when I can't (and not going to shame or guilt about it)
3) Creating a business structure that speaks to who I am, that serves others, and that brings in the Spirit that is ever-present in my life
4) Move beyond mere maintenance into goal setting and ideals...we are over the hump of crazy new baby life and I need to put more effort into our marriage...especially because I LOVE being married!
5) This is an easy fix. Several friends want to help and have ideas. I can dress better AND it can reflect my style.
6) I do not share my enthusiasm because it's intense. That's just silly. Intensity isn't bad. Why do I think that?
7) I am not generous because I worry about there not being enough. Also silly. And NOT TRUE.
8) I am really creative. I am artistic. I suppress this because it's not "lucrative" or fruitful. Also, I have perfectionistic fears of wasting things. This limits how I see the world and how I share it. Again, pretty silly.

So stay tuned. I will have a lot of time coming up to work on these things. I'm open to feedback, too.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Baby Stuff

I'm not sure why I want to bare all on this blog. I think I was perfectly fine hiding all my demons from the public (which is really, at this point, a group of my friends). But to write a blog called letting go, while not revealing things that I'm having a tough time letting go of, seems, well, disingenuous and silly.

So K is now 11 months. I actually cannot believe it. In that time from his arrival until now, he has moved rapidly through clothes, toys (well, sort of), accessories, gear, diapers, and eating habits.

We were given/gifted a LOT of stuff, thankfully. It seems to be the way of the world, to give baby stuff away. And I want to stay in that flow. Because it's generous and loving and decluttering (which is a big deal for me)...but what about baby #2? Some things were special/handmade, so that's a no-brainer--KEEP. But other things are simply cute or gender neutral (which works when you won't know the sex of the next kid too) or functional (for a wiggly baby, snaps are the devil and zippered PJs RULE). I want to keep those. I'm sure I won't be faulted, but I feel guilty. Because I should give stuff away. And I didn't need half of the clothes I got (K didn't wear a bunch of stuff--white, made for bigger babies, hard for us to put on him, etc), so that's easy, but I don't want to hog the clothes.

Also, will people feel offended if I give up stuff with stains? I have labored endlessly to keep things stain-free (tie dye clothing isn't just for hippies anymore!), but I feel bad when the stuff I have to give away looks like a baby wore it. ARGH! Part of my perfectionist ways most definitely include, and even highlight, my love of laundry and stain-freeness.

Luckily, when people have given me stuff with the caveat that they want it back, I am more than happy to oblige. I don't want to own most of the stuff, to be honest. And when the kids are old, save a few items that I want personally, I will likely not save much of that stuff. I'll leave the storage in the attic for the millions of art projects that I can't part with.

Okay, that's all. I just wanted to say I'm feeling bad about not giving up my baby clothes yet. And maybe I'm also giving myself permission to hold on to some stuff for #2 (and then giving it up THEN).

It's not all heavy, this letting go. Sometimes, logistics play a part...

Letting go of small

Man, do I want to stay small, hidden, and inconsequential at the moment. Well, sometimes.

Despite my loud mouth, my 'big' energy, and my often intimidating (unintentionally!) ways, I am practically addicted to staying small. Letting go of that smallness, that desire to hide, and the safety of well, playing it safe is really challenging.

And I am doing all sorts of things to keep it going. I'm worrying (great way to stay small, for sure). I'm making up arguments from imaginary people who have not said these things to me ("You can't make money with the B&B," "Writing is not a career, it's a hobby that pays poorly," "You don't look good on video so don't put yourself on YouTube," "Everyone else is craftier, more pleasant, more creative, and has more discipline than you."--the list goes on). I'm creating busywork that doesn't feed/foster my business. I am creating busywork that I can't do/am challenged by, just so I can make excuses about why I can't make money, as a self-employed person.

Ack. I think I solved my problem with why I can't sleep most nights.

But playing small is crazy. And letting go of playing small is one of my claw mark moments.

So no more playing small (declaration!). Part of being a good mom for me is showing K how to do stuff. Not just telling him, or having him watch it on TV or reading it in a book. Part of me leaving my job is about admitting to myself that since family is one of, if not the, top values/priorities in my life, spending more time at work clashes with that value.

I haven't spent a lot of time reflecting on why family is so important to me, but it occurs to me that with  my dad's very early death (cancer/brain tumor at 41, with 4 kids!), it's just about spending as much time as possible with the people I love. Additionally, when my dad was sick, my family got even closer and that really helped us all survive the death, in many ways, in my opinion. So spending more time being available to my family is just something that attracts me to a more flexible schedule.

Running a business is hard work. What makes it worthwhile to me is not just the flexibility, but being able to make an impact in other people's lives. That's a real thing for me. Not just "you're a great person, thanks for being our guest," but more along the lines of "My life will never be the same, you've helped me see how amazing I am, and I want to pass this great feeling on to others." That gets me up in the morning, that's what I think about on my way to bed, and that's what keeps me growing. K needs to know that. He needs to know that I am not choosing to work less, but I am choosing to work differently and that difference is aimed at being the change I want to see in the world.

This is deep stuff for a 1 year old, but I plan on discussing it later (like when he's 3...ha!) with him because I can't make him do stuff (get into college, get a good job, etc), but I can involve him in why we choose what we choose. What led us to the choices, who is impacted by those choices, etc. Most of the time, when people talk about living in poverty or struggling, they don't dwell on that. They mention it, say it was hard, and then say that they never felt a lack of love. I am not planning on poverty (I'm playing bigger!), but I don't want to worry about that. I want K to see that we are consciously making these choices. Also, I want him to see that I am not worried, that I have faith in the path ahead, and that I see this departure as a definite opportunity to see just how big I can get.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ah, the letting go that's a big deal--the job

Letting go of work. "Good" work.

Okay, I didn't want to write about this (there seems to be a lot of that on this blog, maybe THAT should've been my blog name!)...because I have feelings and assumptions about what it looks like to let go of a job that's provided so much for us. In fact, even when I wanted to let it go before, I found that I couldn't talk about it to people who didn't have jobs. They would've thought I was crazy.

On paper, the job rocks, I get it. But strangely, just like I might not have gone on a date with my husband if I just saw him "on paper,"  I don't live and die by things on paper. Resumes, job descriptions, dating profiles, company manifestos, etc. 'On paper' doesn't describe the feelings I have, or the eye contact between humans or skip in my heart or the way I like awake at night thinking about the amazing-ness of the universe. I can't capture that on paper (to my dismay).

Looking at this job, I can't compare the sheer glee at the sight of my son in the morning, when I get him out of bed, with a few more hours of pay. That goes away when the job increases its hours. No money makes the disappearance of that moment worth it. I already did it today to come in early to work. I didn't get to see my son's little face. The little person I worked so hard to create, protect, guide, and love...and yes, I know there will be times when I want to get out of the house, but that will be my CHOICE and that's the difference.

Also, letting go has always been a personal's about my choice and my "other" choices. When I choose K over FT work, I am choosing a lifetime of K (his happiness, bondedness, his reflection on work for money vs. family time, etc.). I can't guarantee that we can all sit around a dinner table every night, but I can choose to have the mornings free or lunches or whole days off...and in the end, money doesn't trump my kids. Money doesn't trump my kids. It also doesn't trump my marriage. When money starts to trump things that I consider THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO ME, then I am traveling down a slippery slope.

I see career parents, and it seems to work for them. They have made peace. But I don't want to make peace that way. It's not peace, actually. Not my peace, anyway. I don't like having to choose money or family...that seems silly (enter philosophical/political argument here)...but I choose my values. Those will prevail. I need them to.

So I am letting "The Job" go. And I feel lighter. I feel more congruent. I still feel a bit scared, but I don't want to let too much fear in, because that will crowd out my faith, confidence, and ultimate excitement about a new adventure.

I know I am meant for greatness. K knows, too. So this is where we start.


My favorite baby

My inspiration

My inspiration