Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mama, Mama….Mama?

Working from home is a gift in many ways. I don’t have to change out of my jammies to write an article or to make phone calls. I can take my children to and from school every day and get them to their activities.  I can get dinner started while I’m making my final edits for the day.

But there are some downsides. The money is great, but I never know when I’ll have work so it’s not as secure as a steady paycheck. And my biggest complaint is having to work when my children are home.
It never fails that as soon as I am on a roll and those perfectly paired words are flowing from my fingertips, I hear the words, “Mama?” And just like that, everything zaps from my brain and I forget what I was writing.

I’ve tried to teach the children that “when you see Mommy typing on the keyboard, don’t interrupt unless it’s an emergency.”

I quickly learned that my children don’t understand what a true emergency entails. In the past few weeks, I’ve had to inform the children that locating honey mustard, telling me the remote needs new batteries, and asking me if Harry Potter is a real person are not emergencies.

Not to mention that over the past years, I’ve seen the kids do really amazing stuff--lots of times. So, it isn’t necessary that I look at you to see that part of the Kleenex stuck to your nostril when you blew your nose, or that your hair looks crazy when you are only half-way done blow drying it for school, or that the dog looks like he’s smiling when you pull on his cheeks in front of the fan. It’s all great stuff, but trust me when I say I can live another 38 years without seeing all of those amazing feats.

After several outbursts of “Mama?” I find myself angrily announcing, “If you’re not bleeding, on fire, or have bones sticking out, don’t bother me!”

The announcement is usually met with a surprised, “Geez, okay!”

Apparently, I’m the one with the problem.

Then I start to feel guilty. It must be a product of my early Catholic upbringing.

I try to remind myself that there was a time when I longed to me a mother. I longed to hear the words, “mama” and know that I was the object of a young child’s affection.

I’m not sure if I will ever work in an office away from my children. If I do, I’m sure I will miss those sweet little voices calling from the next room, “Mama, I spilled my milk on the couch and the dog is peeing on it!”

What’s funny is that while I type this blog, I can see the reflection of small green lights reflecting on the computer screen. I realize my son is standing behind me with his spy goggles on—he’s giggling. I finally hear,

“Hey, Mom, look! I found my spy goggles!”

Yes, it’s all wonderful. It’s great. Thank God for the bad times in my life or I would totally take all of this for granted.

Whenever I feel like slamming my fists on the computer and screaming, “Can’t you see Mommy is freaking working!!!” I just remind myself of the day that my ex-husband stood in the doorway of our bedroom and told me that he would take the children away from me and that they would never live with me again. He had the job and the money and I believed that no judge would let a single, jobless mother keep her children.

I’ve been wrong about so many things in my life. I’m so glad I was wrong about that. I pray I never forget how lucky I am to hear “Mama?” whenever I start to write what could have possibly been the next Pulitzer Prize winning story.

I may never be a famous writer, but I know I will always be the most popular person in this house.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nothing is perfect

Well, the search for the perfect job is finally over. No, I didn’t get a job. I can’t even get an email back from people to let me know they chose not to hire me. I’ve just decided to quit looking for it.

As the last few dollars in my bank account pad my slowly dying ego, I have come to the realization that my idea of the perfect job doesn't exist. Life is what you make of it and you either make the best of it or you suffer through it.

When I first started my quest for employment this time last year, I was picky. After 5 months and no response from potential employers, I decided that being picky was a luxury I couldn’t afford. I began to spread my search and I finally got some responses.

About the time I finished school in November, I began to spread out even more—I applied to entry level jobs that I thought I would enjoy. I finally started getting called in for interviews. I thought the tide was turning.

Today, I realized I may be spreading out a little too wide. I looked at a job description on Craigslist and read the words, “We work with Urine,hair and saliva...we do not work with blood.” And I thought, Hmm. Body fluids don’t really gross me out too much. How much does it pay and when does it start?

Yes, my search has grown very wide indeed. Who ever said the job market is picking up must live somewhere besides coastal Georgia.

To be honest, I really don’t care where I work at this point as long as I know it’s a place that won’t wear me down and turn me into someone who is a miserable person to be around.
I don’t want to be one of those people who can’t pay her bills any longer, but who refuses to roll up her sleeves and dive into the trenches to make ends meet.

If there is anything that I have learned these past few years, it’s that the rough times are temporary and sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and take care of business.

I’m lucky I have a skill that allows me to pick up contract work and make some money here and there. It’s also a skill that gives me joy and satisfaction. I think eventually my professional writing will pick up enough that I can go a few days without checking Craigslist for possible jobs that may or may not include bodily fluids.

But until that day arrives, I’ll keep hammering away at life and praying that I continue to grow and learn from the experiences around me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I'm Baaack!

Okay, so I got scared and I stopped writing the blog for a bit. It’s been hard to not write. Writing helps clear my head. It’s therapeutic. It’s what I do.

This past week has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, but the ups have inspired me to write again.

I got this amazing message from some sweet ladies in Chicago. They reminded me that I need to keep being honest and I need to keep writing. I needed to hear that message so badly. It got the wheels turning about going back to the blog, but I didn't put anything on paper.

New friend, new advice...
Yesterday, I received a very touching email from a new friend. She wrote, “Keep your head to the sky and when people, things, whatever gets in the way, take a deep breath and say from the deepest part of your soul ‘TWO TEARS IN A BUCKET—MOTHER F***IT!!!’ Trust me it works.”

I sat in my car on Friday with the sun shining in my face and cried a little as I re-read her email. I said those words, and it did work. I reminded myself that I didn’t go to hell and back so someone could scare me. I didn’t fight back for so many years so that I could sit in my car and feel sorry for myself.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m gonna repeat myself.  “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” If you have ever been through recovery, you are familiar with that phrase.
Keeping secrets can make you sick. Those secrets start to attack you and make you feel guilty. Secrets take away your power to be your true self and to believe in yourself.

I started this blog to unload the secrets that were making me sick. I didn’t do it to make anyone look bad or to vilify anyone. I did it because I learned that the more I kept secrets…the sicker I got. I mean physically ill. I had stomach ulcers and head aches and I was so moody and emotional…I have no idea how I survived or how anyone survived being around me?

But I’m not sick now. I’m just really sad and I hate being sad because I have so much to be happy about.

I’m sad for several reasons.

I’m sad because I have to go back to court and pay another lawyer a whole bunch of money (that I don’t have) again and dig up a past I want to forget about. I have to find the strength to fight again and I’m tired of fighting.

I’m sad because I have applied to over 50 jobs and I haven’t had one positive response. I don’t get it.

I’m sad because it’s embarrassing. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of trying to find jokes to make it seem funny. I’m tired of having to find faith.

But I have to remind myself that I am here for a reason. I’m being tested for a reason. I don’t have to understand the reason, but I also don’t have to let it destroy me.

I didn’t come this far to quit or to run and hide. I came this far so I could show the world that anything is possible--that truth is powerful and love is real.

So, for those who want to see an end to this blog, I have a message for you. I’ll quit writing when I feel like it—and right now I don’t feel like it.

And for those of you who have reached out to me these past few months and told me that I need to keep moving forward, I have a message for you. Thank you for believing in me and pushing me back into the writer’s seat again. It feels great to be back.