Hurricane Season is In Full Swing: Be Prepared

As a lifelong resident of Southeast Texas, right on the Gulf of Mexico – I know a lot about hurricanes. In my almost 40 years of living, it wasn’t until 2005 that I had to evacuate for a hurricane, Hurricane Rita. Rita came about a month after Katrina devastated New Orleans, as well as Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi. I was working in management in the hotel industry at the time and our hotel was at capacity with evacuees as our city is just about 30 miles after you cross the Texas/Louisiana border. We erred on the side of caution and emptied the hotel because we knew the hurricane was coming and our staff needed to leave and prepare their properties. Well, early the following morning a mandatory evacuation was ordered. I hurriedly took pictures of our property for insurance purposes. Packed as much as I could into my little Honda Accord, put my sick child with a 103 fever in her car seat, grabbed my mom and my Granny and hit the road. My husband followed behind in his truck, my dad, and his two babies on the back (his motorcycles) and we followed the evacuation route. Houston was being evacuated as well and we couldn’t go that way because well millions of people in cars, including residents of Louisiana as well were leaving a major metropolitan city. Bottom line, the state informed us we could NOT go through Houston. We hit the road at 9am and it was 4pm before we made it to our destination which would normally be a 3 ½ hour drive. It was a pure mess. We kept getting turned around and told we couldn’t go this way or that. When we needed gas, we stopped and were limited to 10 gallons per vehicle. Let’s not even start to talk about the price gouging that was going on at gas stations, hotels, and stores. One of the craziest experiences of my life. We were gone from our homes for about 3 weeks. You could not enter the city because of all the dangers present. Places that were there when you left were now gone. Power lines were down everywhere and the only sound you could hear was the hum of generators and chainsaws clearing paths. The devastation was far spread and almost the entire city was without power, water, and the basic essential services. Three years later came Hurricane Ike. We were a little better prepared for that. We left early, before they called for an evacuation and a lot of people didn’t leave because of the total crap show 3 years prior. My parents stayed and I was worried the entire time. We came back home immediately after the storm. First, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home for essentials to carry us until stores were back open in town, we gassed up our generator, and enjoyed the cool days thanks to a cool front that almost immediately followed the storm.

For almost an entire 10 years we didn’t have to leave or worry about a storm, until 2017. Harvey was a doozy! Harvey had its own personal party on the state of Texas’ back. Harvey made landfall in the south, did a loop de loop, went back into the water, made landfall again, loop de loop and changed course, over a 4 day period we amassed over 60 inches of rain in my area. It left almost no spot untouched by water from South Texas to Louisiana. The wettest tropical cyclone in US history, tied with Katrina as the costliest, displacing over 30,000 people, and prompting over 17,000 high water rescues. We were a virtual island. There was no way in or out of our city. Harvey was so extensive, the name has been retired and there will never be another Hurricane Harvey again. Our home was flooded and we were one of the ones that needed rescuing. Then again in September 2019, Imelda came out of nowhere and flooded us yet again. Cars were stuck on interstate 10 over night, deer and other wild animals were being forced to find higher ground, and we were once again an island. We only moved back into our home at the end of January of this year.

Hurricanes form in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean from low pressure systems that travel into extremely warm water.  Warm air rises, causing an area of low pressure below.  Air from the surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushes into the low pressure area.  Then that “new” air becomes warm and moist and rises too.  As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place.  This system begins to rotate and grow by feeding off the ocean’s heat and evaporating water.  As the storm spins faster, the more defined the “eye” becomes – the storm’s core.  Planes fly into the eye of the storm to measure pressure and gauge the intensity of the system.  Like a tornado or earthquake, a Hurricane has a rating system from Category 1-5. 

  • 1: Minimal damage at landfall, wind speeds 74-95 mph.
  • 2: Moderate damage at landfall, wind speeds 96-110 mph.
  • 3: Extensive damage at landfall, wind speeds 111-129 mph.
  • 4: Extreme damage at landfall, wind speeds 130-156 mph.
  • 5: Catastrophic damage at landfall, wind speeds 157 or higher.

How can you be prepared for Hurricane Season?  Preparation during a pandemic is most important because preparing for a Hurricane is not normal and is a stressful situation.  During a pandemic, there are extra precautions each of our families must take.  Have your emergency kit stocked and ready when the season begins June 1st.  You’ll need a kit for emergency supplies and a backup supply of any medications, preferably one months worth.  When or if you have to evacuate, you never know how long you will be gone.  Your kits should fit your needs.  Hand sanitizer, masks, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, basic sanitary and hygiene needs for everyone in your home.  The best thing to do is have this already done and not wait for the last minute.  I can assure you the basics will disappear quickly from store shelves once a storm is announced.  The following suggestions should help you decide how to assemble your kits.

  • Stay at home kit (2 weeks worth of emergency supplies) Include everything you need to stay home for two weeks. Food, water, cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products and personal hygiene items.
  • Evacuation kit (3 days of supplies in a “go bag”): This kit should be lightweight, a smaller version that you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. This should be a three day supply of food, water, hygiene items, cleaning and disinfectant supplies that you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer (make sure it is at least 60 percent alcohol and disinfectant wipes). You will also need cloth face covers, masks, scarves, bandanas, anything to cover your nose and mouth. Each person in the home should have their own bag. We are still in a pandemic. Continue to social distance and adhere to the guidelines.
  • First Aid Kit: This should include what a first aid kit would normally have, as well as a one month supply of any prescription meds, fever meds, medical supplies and equipment that you or another family member may specifically need.

Remember, you may lose power in a hurricane, and if you have plans to stay home you have to stock up with that in mind. Non perishable food items are best or things that can be cooked on a gas top. I have cooked on a gas stove without power in a storm because that was my option and to keep food from spoiling. My advice is to plan accordingly, plan ahead, and this year…2020, plan with the pandemic in mind.

The Heart of It All

This post is dedicated to a very dear friend of mine.  We have never met in person before but we have been friends for about six years now.  We met in a BabyCenter birth month group in 2013, only to have our sons be born on the same day and both be curly headed lefties.  Her son still has his beautiful curls, but mine decided he hated getting his hair combed.  We’ve bonded over many things over the years, but what I am about to educate you on concerning her son Brexton “Rex” will inform you about an unknowingly common condition, and make you love her as much as I do.       

When you find out that you are expecting, so many emotions flood your mind. You’re happy, scared, you immediately start planning, you think about eating better, exercising more – even if that’s already your routine, and you are more aware of everything concerning your health and wellness. You can’t wait to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, see their image on an ultrasound for the first time, you even anticipate holding them. However, my friend isn’t able to hold her child when she wants to, be with him constantly, and being that we are in the middle of a pandemic; restrictions are even tighter. Her son is in the PCICU, where he went as soon as she gave birth to him. You see little Brexton was born with a very complex list of CHDs or congenital heart defects/diseases. His parents were informed early on of his heart issues during a routine ultrasound and they were referred to a specialist, but the knowledge does not prepare you for when you have to meet the issue face to face. Knowing that immediately, or within days of giving birth that your newborn will have to undergo major heart surgery is a lot to take in. Then to be told that surgery may not be an option and he should be put on a transplant list is devastating. However, all is not lost – so keep reading about his condition(s) and what can be done.

What is CHD?  CHD is a problem with the heart that a baby has at birth.  The heart forms very early during gestation and is the first functional organ to develop.  Before you are even aware you are pregnant, your baby’s heart has already formed, is beating, and pumping blood.  CHD is the most common birth defect and affects 1/100 babies born in the US each year.  That statistic gave me great pause because I have two children with perfectly healthy hearts, but either of them could have been that 1/100 – as well as yours.  1 in 100 is not a big exponential number, it is not like the chances of you winning the lottery or being struck by lightning.  Out of that number, about 25% are born with a critical CHD.  Brexton falls into that critical 25%.  He was diagnosed with a complex CHD which include:

  • Double outlet right ventricle – In DORV, the pulmonary artery and the aorta — the heart’s two major arteries — both connect to the right ventricle.  In a normal heart, the pulmonary artery connects to the right ventricle and the aorta connects to the left.  This creates a problem because the right ventricle carries oxygen – poor blood, which then gets circulated through the body.
  • Double outlet left atrium – DOLA is a very rare condition.  In a child with a DOLA defect, their left atrium drains into both ventricles and the only outlet for the right atrium is the atrial septal defect.
  • Complete atrioventricular canal – CAVC is a severe congenital heart disease in which there is a large hole in the tissue or septum that separates the two sides of the heart…right and left.  The whole is where the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) meet.
  • Coarctation of the aorta – A narrowing of the large blood vessel (aorta) that leads from the heart.
  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation – a disorder where the valve does not close tight enough.  This causes blood to flow backwards into the upper right chamber when the lower right chamber contracts.

Of all the ways a heart defect can affect your baby, Brexton checks every box.  It affects his heart chambers, his septum, his valves, and the arteries and veins.  There are no definitive causes for CHD, only guesses.  Whatever the reasoning for Baby Brexton’s condition, he has two parents that love him  beyond this world and two brothers at home waiting to meet him.  Brexton will need his parent’s to not only love and care for him, but to be his advocate.  They will have to fight to make sure that the doctor’s are doing the best for him and they will need “Rex’s Hero’s” to be their advocates, cheering them on, assuring them they are being the best parents, they are loved and we care.  Support is a critical component at this time and going forth.  We need to stand behind them doing research to give them information, encouraging them with emotional support, and reassuring them every step of the way that you have what it takes to care for this beautiful boy you created, you carried, and brought into this world.

Brexton was able to have his surgery at exactly two weeks old. The doctors were able to repair his aorta and add a shunt. They also put in bands for his pulmonary arteries. They were unable to fix his leaky valve at this time, but he is being observed intently. He is stable and 3 days post op they were able to close his incision. He is technically on the transplant list, but through the good thoughts and prayers of all of you who share and read this, he will be perfectly fine. We are putting it out into the great beyond at this very moment. If you take the time to read this, leave a comment or just the hashtag #RexsHeros. We can’t take anything in life for granted, and this beautiful baby should be more than enough reason to realize that.

Brexton’s room being turned into a surgical suite to close his chest.

I have also attached a GoFundMe account to this post to help the family with expenses not covered by insurance. If you find it in your heart to make a donation, bless you.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/baby-brexton-congenital-heart-defect-and-surgeries?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

Would You Like to Be Rex’s Hero?

This is baby Brexton, his family affectionately call him Rex. Rex’s mom is a dear friend of mine and my heart has been broken these last weeks knowing what she’s enduring. This beautiful little boy will be 3 weeks on Monday, but at just two weeks he had major heart surgery. Brexton was born with a Congenital Heart Defect or CHD. A friend of the family has set up a Go Fund Me to absorb costs that insurance will not. Mom and Dad are traveling between two states separately to be with Rex as well as to be with the other two boys of theirs. Insurance is not covering everything and this is difficult for the family. I will have Rex’s full story up soon as well as an in depth story about CHD. If you would like to become a hero for Rex, I am putting the link to the Go fund me in this post. Thank you if you make a donation, but prayers and well wishes are just as welcomed!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/baby-brexton-congenital-heart-defect-and-surgeries?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

There Will Be Hard Days…

“You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment!” – Aly Raisman

Today was a hard day.  I’m sure that it was a hard day for many of you because there will be hard days.  Some days it is as if you wake up to a universal conspiratorial plot to decimate every part of your life.  Even with the universe conspiring against you, you have to make the decision whether you are going to show up or cover your head and stay in bed.  It started last night just as I was going to bed; I have to walk around the front of our bed to the opposite side to get into bed and just as I walked around there was this BIG spider staring me down.  If you know me, you know I HATE spiders.  They give me the ultimate “heebie jeebies” and just writing this I feel icky.  I was faced with the dilemma: do I kill the spider, or do I just walk out the room and sleep on the sofa because my husband was at work?  When I tell you, it sat there and watched me as I cringed and gave myself the biggest pep talk of my life to end it’s life…it STARED ME DOWN.  I mustered every ounce of bravery within, heart beating out of my chest like one of those cartoon characters as I wondered if it was going to pounce or send out a signal for reinforcements when I brought the slipper down on it.  I was so scared and was just close enough to assassinate this invader of my space, but I was far enough away to pull or strain some muscle in my side as I did the deed.  I cleaned the corpse and went to bed.

Wait, that’s not all. At 3 am it sounded as though someone was breaking into my house. As a certified gun owner, I picked up the hammer…an actual hammer that you nail things with to go investigate. The culprit, my 6 year old playing in his room! I told him sternly to go to bed, and back to bed I went. I put him to bed at 9pm and he was asleep before the spider incident. Dad later reported he was awake at 5 am when he came in from work, so that gives you an idea of how school transpired today. My flood insurance dropped me after (1) claim on my rental property, so while trying to teach a cranky 6 year old, I’m tag teaming with dad on phone calls trying to find a replacement before the expiration date. Emails were constant, I had deadlines for other things on my list and life was beating me down hard. Oh yeah, because of the whole arachnid incident and 3am fiasco my sleep was not very peaceful so today was a three cup of coffee type of day. I called myself punishing my son for his lack of productivity and sleep, but I thought about it and realized I was risking my sanity so I allowed him a limited amount of video game time, early bath, and when I put you to bed tonight it means GO TO SLEEP.

Today was definitely a day where I could have covered my head and stayed in bed, but what good would that do? All the stuff I got accomplished today would have been waiting for me tomorrow – only doubled. Breaks are deserved and they are allowed, but schedule them accordingly. So when you feel that hard day coming on, find the positive somewhere. Remind yourself that it is just temporary, tomorrow is a brand new day with new opportunities. Talk with a friend – my lack of sleep and eight legged freak may be nothing in comparison to someone in need of a listening ear. Turn up the music and go for a ride. I had to go to the pharmacy this evening and I drove through, turned up my music and took a 30 minute drive all by myself. Assume control, do you know what that means? You are in control even when you think you aren’t. Your life is ALWAYS under your control no matter what your circumstances of the day may be. The question you have to ask yourself is, are you going to control the day or let it control you? There will be hard days, but they will not last forever. That my friends is the comfort in hard days.

Dear Mama’s, Let’s Stop the Mom Shaming!

Mother’s are the flowers in the garden of life. — Thomas Fuller

“Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” – Maria Shriver

Being a mother is one of the most rewarding things a woman can ever experience.  It is also one of the hardest things we go through in life as well.  From the time we learn that we are carrying a life inside of us until the moment we see them face to face, there is a constant worry.  If that isn’t enough, we worry even more once they are here because we never know if we are doing the right thing, and may constantly question and second guess every decision we make for them.  When I was pregnant with my youngest, eleven years after the first I was nervous.  I was older, I’d experienced some health issues that I hadn’t with my first child and was not sure how it would affect my pregnancy.  I decided to join an expectant mom’s group for the month that my baby was due.  Let me tell you about this group – they are some amazing women from different backgrounds of different ages, and our kids – who were not even born yet is what brought us all together.  Six years later and we still communicate, send gifts, letters, texts, birthday cards, and support even when our own families don’t.  This is a true example of a support group.

Not everyone is lucky to find such an amazing and diverse group of women. We don’t “mom shame” either. Speaking with someone today made me realize how often people, women, mom shame without even realizing what they are doing. I’ve noticed in this “social media” age, mom shaming is much more prevalent than it once was. Or is it just more accessible? What is mom shaming? It is when a fellow mom criticizes, degrades, or gives their unsolicited advice to another mom for her choices in parenting because that’s not “how they would do it.” Sometimes it may be a friend who comes over to the house and decides that what you feed your child is unacceptable, how you handle your child is unacceptable, or you should just do it like they do it. It can even be someone who knows not one thing about you – a complete stranger. Our society has created ideas and certain norms for how parents should parent, but no one knows that except you. You know your child better than anyone else because they were once that little bean growing inside of you. The only person who knows what your heartbeat sounds like from the inside. In essence, an extension of you.

This is a plea to mom’s everywhere, let’s stop mom shaming. We have to band together and support the differences that make us unique and make our children unique. If we all raised our children the same, we would be raising an army of robots with no ability to independently think. What you think is problematic may be the perfect solution for me and vice versa. As I said earlier, we start this job already in a state of constant and instantaneous worry – why would you, as another mother, want to put someone through that headspace where they’re once again questioning their choices. My hope is that we could all band together and create a “Universal Mom’s Group.” Our slogan would be, “Birth may be pain, but we don’t mom – shame!” That is just me and my wishful thinking. I do believe that before we critique another mother’s parenting style and skills, we should take a moment and think; how would I feel if someone told me this?

Knowing that mom shaming is a problem should encourage all of us to not participate in it. Times are hard enough with all the decisions we’ve had to make over the last several months, the limited amount of time women get to themselves; especially as a mother, and the fear of the unknown. What is known is that words are powerful, and once you release them, they are out there and will not return void. Choose your criticism carefully, and know that what another mom is going through may not be what you are going through. Treat each other respectfully, ask how they are doing, be inquisitive without being nosy – show you care. If you are reading this and you are in my motherhood support group, thank you. Thank you for your support, your judgement free advice, and for being the great group of women you are. To all the good moms that I know who support other moms – and I know a lot who do, thank you too for showing women can support each other in one of the most stressful, worry-filled areas of our lives. Non critical moms are the real MVPs!!💋💋

The Most Dangerous Gang

I am in a gang.  A notorious gang.  One that has crossed international borders and consists of millions of members.  We don’t traffic in any illegal substances, the only drugs we push are vitamins and the remedy for the common cold and flu on occasion.  As one of the leaders of said gang – I DON’T RUN ANYTHING…the lackeys do, also known as “the children!”  If you think about motherhood, it is simply a gang.  Orders are given, sometimes they are accepted and sometimes they are ignored, no one gets whacked, but the leader eventually wants a new identity and witness protection.  I realized the ruthlessness of my gang today after 5 months of quarantine with them and almost 17 years of running this show.  I stood in the shower, I couldn’t cry, couldn’t scream, all I could do was stand there and hold myself up against the tiles while letting the water beat the crap out of me.  I literally had to water board myself!  It is crazy that your children have driven you to the point of self torture!

Make no mistake; I love my children and I want to spend as much time with them as I can, but I really started losing it today and my daughter goes, “You need a spa day!” No honey, I need a weekend away, by myself, where I can lay in a bed and order room service and not answer to the word “MOMMY!”  Once upon a time, we’ll say January and February 2020 B.C (Before Covid) my children would get up in the mornings and get dressed and go to a place called school.  Those 8 hours were mine!  I could peacefully get things accomplished, I could carve out time for myself, my grocery bill was significantly cheaper, and I was supposed to be less stressed when we moved back home – not more.   After months of living in around 800 square feet while our home was ‘flood renovated” I was ready to pull out my hair and take a long walk off a short pier.  Quarantine with the “Dos Loco Martins” has me feeling a different kind of crazy.  Most days it’s welcome to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the dog is Nurse Ratchet and the inmates are running the asylum.

Have you ever seen the movie, Analyze This with Robert De Niro? I’m like his character in the movie in the gang I run. I am not ruthless like Paul Vitti, but you may find me having an anxiety attack, crying for no reason, and generally having a hard time. Unlike De Niro’s character, I am not afraid to talk to my doctor and I may need a slight increase on my anxiety medication dosage. My gang is probably similar to your gang if you are reading this. They wake up everyday with a point to prove: she thinks she is the leader of this merry band of misfits, but boy is she mistaken. Regardless of my anxiety and my desire to run, my band of misfits are also my reasons I keep going, I don’t give up, and why I don’t run! My tears and anxiety are temporary and so are my children’s childhoods.

On a serious note, I can talk about my anxiety and how and what makes me feel the way I do because I regularly pray, meditate, and speak with healthcare professionals. If you know of anyone in trouble or in need of professional help, please encourage them to get the help they need. 💋💋

I Don’t Know If I’ll Be Alright…

Yesterday I spent most of the day doing a whole lot of nothing because last week was both draining physically and mentally; and to be honest – emotionally too.  If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I also started the homeschool journey with my 6 year old son.  The same week, my husband went back to work after being off since February from having surgery and rehabbing.  We were all getting back into a schedule and acclimating to our old-new normal.  I got up to cook yesterday evening around 4, my daughter’s favorite; chicken spaghetti.  There is Fettuccini Alfredo and then there is chicken spaghetti.  She likes them both, but my chicken spaghetti is only second to my lasagna.

I was standing at the counter slicing hot chicken to add to my cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, rotel, and sliced mushroom mixture. (Can you picture it yet?). We were just conversing and she was saying how she loves my chicken spaghetti, something she does almost every time I cook it.  We started to talk about other things as well, school and where her friends were thinking of going to college, etc.  It hit me like a ton of bricks,  my daughter is graduating in less than a year from high school.  Yes, I know I discussed this before but I thought what if she decides to go away for school?  I’m that worrying mom.  I’m the mom that makes her daughter text pictures with her text to let me know she makes it to her destination.  I hate to be that way because I ran the streets like Usain Bolt when I was her age.  However, things were quite different when I was her age too.  I was either with my besties from church, my bestie from almost birth, or my brother.  Now, by the time I was her age I did have a boyfriend and she does too…I married my boyfriend from then.  I say this to say, if she changes her mind to not stay home for school, I may follow her to college.  I think I will be too worried about her safety and whether she made it to her destination and back.  I watch too many real crime shows where the college co-ed doesn’t make it home.

I want her to go out and experience life.  I do and I don’t want to keep her in a bubble.  I would like for her to see the world and experience life.  I don’t want her to follow my path.  There is nothing wrong with my path because it was mine to take.  I want her to have fun, finish school, establish herself and allow everything to fall into place once that is done.  If a detour comes, I’m going to be there every step of the way because that it was a good parent is supposed to do.  Support, love and care for their children under any and all circumstances.  I’ve seen people support their children when they’ve done wrong and wondered how can you still support him/her? This was before I had a child of my own, and now that I have my own children – I understand.  As a parent you love them unconditionally, but you can still stand against what they do and let them know they have to “stand accused.”  I pray daily that I am raising my children right and I will never be in that position.  I pray that when I fuss at my daughter about something she knows she should have done she will not resent me.  I pray that my children understand when I talk to them in my “mom voice” and take their things away when need be, I still love them unconditionally.  So no, I don’t know if I will be alright.  Who knew that 17 years would fly by so quickly?  I have regrets along those 17 years; I regret that I didn’t put her in dance as a young girl as much as I loved it.  I asked her, she said no and I left it at that.  We were talking the other day and she tells me, “I wish you would have put me in dance when I was younger.”  I regret not listening to myself and just doing it.  I hope she will not change her mind and stay home at our local university.  She can stay home, in her room, eat as much chicken spaghetti as she would like, with more freedom than she has now, and give her mom just a little more time.

To any parents reading this, time is the most precious thing we possess. One minute they’re in diapers and before you know it you are filling out college applications and crying yourself to sleep. Enjoy the time, all the time you can with your children and never take it for granted especially when they’re little because they really like you then. Once the hormones kick in, there are good and bad days and you never know what day is a good day. Will I be alright? Only time will tell…

What Is It You Do?

#momlife

I love the show Everybody Loves Raymond. It makes me think that if I lived across the street from my in-laws, that’s how life would be. I’m certain that I would not be as patient with my mother in law as Debra is with Marie because my mother in law is Marie to the 25th power. My father in law is more laid back than Frank and my husband is now an only child. I said that to say, one of my favorite episodes is when the twins are in preschool and their teacher wants to hold them back from going to kindergarten. After a parent/teacher conference the Barone’s are in bed asleep later that night – well Debra is and Ray pinches her awake. He’s upset that she’s not concerned about the boys not moving forward to Kindergarten and they begin to have their normal back and forth. She gives him a little dig, “Maybe if you were home more often, Michael would know how to cut paper!” His response, “You’re home all day, what do you do?” He realized as soon as he said what he said he completely made a ‘grave mistake.’ He hurriedly said “I’M SORRY!” That’s right you’re sorry, she reiterated. NEVER, I repeat – NEVER ask a stay at home mom what she does all day! I thought that things were busy before starting homeschool, but the busyness has increased ten fold. I have a shift working husband, a young child and a high school senior. I cook almost daily or at least enough for two days at a time. When I’m exhausted I use the crockpot and when my husband says: “Let’s just order something or pick up something,” I could dance all the way to the restaurant. My home is almost 3000 square feet and you can imagine what it takes to keep it clean. The constant dusting and mopping because the floors are the wood looking tile that shows everything. I sweep twice a day and we are not going to discuss laundry. What do I do all day? Work and think about all the shit I have to do the next day and the day after that. Guess what I did today? I sat in the recliner, scrolled social media, read, listened to music, watched my children play fight, watched my husband sleep across the room from me in the other recliner until he said he was going to lay across the bed. Also known as…absolutely nothing. I’m not cooking because there are ample amounts of leftovers and a steak that has marinated for 5 days in the fridge that can be split between 3 people. Hit broil on the oven, place steak in cast iron skillet and cook until level of doneness is achieved. (These are the meals they get after or while I’m working my tail off.)

Spaghetti with Meat-sauce & Salad and Toast
Okra Stew

Being a mother is busy, it’s messy, it’s sadness, it’s happiness, it’s elation and all sorts of other emotions. Add in the fact that you are a woman and oftentimes a wife along with it and BOOM, it’s a series of emotions and explosions.  You never know if you are giving enough time to you or them and somewhere; someone or something suffers.  This year is going to be a series of explosions and emotions because my baby girl, my first born, the one that taught me to be a mother and gave me the “on the job training” is graduating!  Over the years she and I have been mother and daughter, besties, laughing buddies, make up sharers, teacher and student.  Now, I have to make sure she has the best opportunity that is out there for her post high school education.  We have to work on college essays, SAT – which she was supposed to take in March and well PANDEMIC, applications for colleges and scholarships as well as keeping her grades at an A average for her to graduate with honors.  The last part, I would be proud of her even if she didn’t.  She is supposed to have a 4.0 or higher to graduate with honors…she has a 3.91.  You know what Mama Bear did, she figured out exactly what grades she needed to make with her current GPA and presented it to her daughter.  I explicitly told her that there wasn’t any pressure, because it isn’t.  If she wants to be an honor graduate that is her decision.  She has to make the decision to work hard and not get “senioritis” and to continue to work as hard as she has the last three years.  We’ve paid for college already, (she goes to private school) she has to do her part in making sure she secures a scholarship, which I know she is more than capable of doing.  She’s a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, she is a member of several clubs at her school, and a talented artist.  She believes in social justice which is a big part of her school’s motto.  I think with the protest during the past months, we’ve had conversations with our children prematurely or because they started the conversations themselves.  Between the state of our country and the uncertainty with this pandemic I am grateful that she has chosen to go to college in our city which has one of the best Engineering programs in the country.  My hope is that come graduation, she can have a normal graduation that doesn’t require social distancing and limited amounts of people because we have a BIG extended family.

My daughter’s painting.

What is it I do? So much, that at the end of the day I am so tired and exhausted that I can’t shut my mind off which leads to inability to actually sleep! Some days I completely shutdown as soon as my head hits the pillow. However, there are at least 2/7 days where I’m up writing things down or reading just to shut everything else out. Hey, I’m a WOMAN and that is my super power which allows me to do what I do. My husband has never asked me that question since I have been a stay at home mom. I think he knows better, especially at this point in our lives when everything is in a state of constantly moving and when my feet hit the floor in the morning I morph into an octopus.

Week One Is A Wrap!

Well, I can honestly say that we completed week one of homeschooling with only a few tears and with very little frustration. I was scared going into this endeavor and I’m not going to lie, I’m still scared and a little apprehensive. I am not going to show my son that I am. I am going to approach each day with confidence just as I want him to, but I want you guys to know…I’m shaking in my boots here. Each day we went into our class, he approached it with a little more confidence than the day before. Day one was of course the worse because he wanted to see his old teacher who he never was able to say goodbye to, he wanted to be with his friends – who are now all scattered, and I don’t believe he wanted Mommy to be his teacher. Through it all, he continued to shine day after day. He proved that he retained some things, forgot some things and showed me he knew things beyond his age group. These first two weeks will be us getting acquainted with one another as teacher and student, learning where I need to put a greater effort in my teaching him, and my continued learning of the homeschooling process and how to approach it. Social media is an amazing avenue to meet a variety of people and I have met some amazing women who have chosen homeschool for their children. With the pandemic and having to make the decision whether or not to send your child to school in person has given these amazing women the opportunity to come together and educate the “newbies” or give refresher mini courses on the basics. When I say these women are amazing, it doesn’t do them any justice. They are all from different backgrounds, family dynamics, ex-teachers and just good old-fashioned humans helping other humans in the most difficult of times. I chose a motto for our class, actually two that we say everyday before we begin our work. (See picture below).

I interpret the first saying that no matter what, we are going to make sure everything we do is counted. The amount of work we do will be counted. The effort we put into the day, will be counted. We will be counted because every time we step into that room or any room in our home to have class we will work to make sure it counts. The second one means just what it says: You are amazing just the way you are! No one can make you feel any less, don’t allow anyone to make you feel any less, and if someone says any different tell them you are amazing just the way you are. After writing this, I’m not as apprehensive or scared as said I was initially because I am amazing just the way I am. I’m not going to allow self-doubt to seep in and ruin what can be the best year of my life, teaching my son. I missed a big gap of time with him right after he turned one because of a broken leg that required me to be immobilized and unable to do the things a mother does with her one year old. Maybe time is being kind and giving me those moments back. Maybe not those exact moments, but the ability to make something new with him, something that we can share for years to come.

If you are a teacher or homeschool parent and would love to share your knowledge, I am a well; waiting to be filled. Feel free to share whatever you think is helpful to this mom teaching on a Kindergarten – 1st grade level. 💋💋