Enforcing boundaries

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Establishing boundaries and focusing on my own life and dreams does not come easily or naturally to me. This is what makes me a fantastic mother, yet a bit messed up as a person.

I am making progress, though. First of all, I finally have dreams for my own life. This is a somewhat recent event, and I am still in awe of just how great my life is now.  I wake up early each morning and work on achieving those dreams. I am trying to rely less on how I feel, or what my mood is. This is difficult sometimes. If I’m somber and introspective, it’s difficult to be motivated to join the group discussion for school. So I go for a walk, clear my head, then get down to business. Incidentally, this is what I do if I get writer’s block as well. It doesn’t happen often, I am blessed in that respect, but when it does, it’s time to get some fresh air and relax my brain. As soon as I step away from the computer, and away from the pads of paper, the ideas come gushing forth.

I gave up on dating, and my career took off. I know this isn’t the answer for everybody, but most people attract better relationship prospects than I do. Until I figure out why I attract psychotic people, I shall stay single. It may sound selfish, but I have just enough mental energy for my own life, and for my kids. Not enough to nurture clingy significant others. This is a huge breakthrough. In the past, I devoted all of my energy into my relationships, and was too mentally exhausted to care that I had no career options, and no future planned after my children grow up. My whole goal in life was to raise my kids.

In the short-lived relationships I had, I made myself too available. Many nights of sleep were lost because of other people’s crises. Which is not horrible if it’s a reciprocal relationship. Mine were all one sided. The one time I needed help or support, the man of the moment was not available. I deserve better. I turn my phone on silent, and no longer answer calls received at midnight or three a.m. My day starts at 5am and doesn’t end until almost midnight sometimes. These boundaries are for my own mental health.

By Dr. Perry, PhD “Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” ~John Mark Green I would like to share with you an acronym that I created for my patients who are dealing with the effects of a toxic relationship. This acronym […]

via L.E.T. G.O. of Toxic Relationships *NEW POST* — MakeItUltra™

L.E.T. G.O. of Toxic Relationships *NEW POST* — MakeItUltra™

Any Pinterest advice?

Do any of my fellow bloggers use Pinterest for business? If so, please share tips and advice!

For my social media project I had to sign my blog up for a pinterest business account and I have spent hours trying to figure out the new language of pinning. Ugh. Please help me.

Say Yes when your child asks you to play

Yesterday when we were at the library, my teenage daughter asked me to play a game with her. I reflexively answered no, because I was too engrossed in my newfound love of learning and I didn’t like the game anyways. I was hot and sweaty, and cranky about the noise level of the library. Remember the days when libraries were quiet and people were reverent about the shelves of books surrounding them, and respectful of those who wanted to read? I miss those days.  I’ll save my rants for another post.

I soon left, preferring to be in the quiet of my own townhouse so I could study. Before I even got there, I was mentally kicking myself. As soon as my daughter arrived home, I profusely apologized over not wanting to interact with her. Until recently, I had done a great job of keeping things in perspective. Everything about my life revolved around my kids.  And then I discovered a career that I love.

I always judged parents who valued their career over their children. As my dad was dying with cancer, he revealed that his biggest regret was choosing career over family for his entire life. He had multiple doctorates, and multiple failed marriages. Strained relationships with his daughters. I vowed not to ever have that regret.

And then I found myself declining to interact with my children. It crept in sneakily, it didn’t happen overnight. And it changes right now. Today, after my eight year old’s psychiatry appointment, we are going as a family to the library and I will play whatever game my teenager asks me to play. Time with children is so short. They are grown before you know it. My son will already be fifteen next month. He wants to go to college out of state. I need to reprioritize and enjoy them while I can. I won’t lose my writing gift, creativity, or knowledge if I do other things throughout the day. The whole point of my staying home this summer was to enjoy being with my children. I momentarily lost sight of that fact. I won’t lose sight of it again.

 

There’s no doubt about it. Mad Men is a must-watch TV show if you are a creative individual. Don Draper is the most creative alpha male on TV. Well, some might say Harvey Specter is pretty ingenious too, but… Don is something else. Dark and moody and mysterious, but also a genius when it comes […]

via Don Draper’s Guide to Fantastic Writing — The Art of Blogging

Don Draper’s Guide to Fantastic Writing — The Art of Blogging

Time flies when you’re being lazy

I am finally learning to relax. When school first started, I was frantically studying 14 hours a day, trying to learn the vocabulary of a new career path. I would snap at my children when they tried to talk to me, and finally my son basically told me to chill out. He is difficult to irritate, so when he snaps I know it’s time to make changes.

All of a sudden, about a month after the summer session started, school became easy. I’m still not sure why. I felt uncomfortable with my newfound free time and lack of sleepless nights; adrift. This was how I felt immediately after quitting my job as well.

Included in The 6 things I have learned so far is not having to run my household with military precision. It’s okay to lounge around, stay up past our bedtimes, and in general not have a plan for our day. This is a revelation, and I’m sure my children are glad I started thinking this way. We are able to relax and enjoy our summer. And wow, time flies when I’m being lazy. I still get my school work done, but not in the frantic, my life is going to end if I step away from this computer sort of manner. It’s a welcome change of pace.

A better day/yet another midlife crisis?

In my other blog, I posted yesterday about how I was feeling blah, and wasn’t sure why. The heat definitely had something to do with it, but I knew there was more going on. I only achieve that level of lethargy when there’s some huge life change that’s about to happen. And then I figured out what it was, as I lay in bed watching Netflix and sleeping.

My day wasn’t a total waste. I dragged myself downstairs to cook and clean for the kids at mealtime, but other than that, I basically just lounged around reading.

I have been spending more time reading grammar books and books about how to read poetry than I have on my actual school work. Something huge is happening. I am having more fun playing with words and analyzing words, rather than just letting them arrange themselves however they want. I am discovering the beauty of literature, and the genius of poetry. More about this can be found at Yet another life change? , my post from this morning in my school blog.

Today, I woke up at 5am, went for a walk in the cool of the morning, enjoying the sunrise, and then got to work. I have energy in spades once more. My daughters and I even baked a cake and rearranged all of the living room furniture. I dug out my dad’s book of poetry from the bin in the basement, and even opened it. What I was subconsciously fighting this whole time, with my adamant statements of “I don’t do poetry” was confronting this piece of the past. My dad has been gone for 11 years now, and it is bittersweet to even look at his printed name on the cover of the book. Oh, how I wish I could talk to him right now.

My mind is made up to apply to the Syracuse University graduate school program in poetry this fall, as well as apply to Lindenwood University for the Creative Nonfiction MFA program, as was my original plan. My lack of energy yesterday was the result of my inner battle with myself over what kind of writing career I really want to have. I was so determined to do memoir, yet the mathematics and analytics of poetry are calling to me. At least poetry can be about things other than myself, there is a wider range of options. And now my energy has returned, since I accepted that I will possibly continue having these mini midlife crises on a regular basis. At least it means I am still growing.

Better a Pool than a Storm Cellar

My anxiety disorder ramps up when I don’t have enough to do. Six essays and two stories due this week? No problem. I thrive under stress. This week is a slow week with my school work. So I found myself looking at my basement walls in my rented townhouse, debating on whether I was looking at black mold or just dirt.

After making four trips to the dumpster at 7am, and using an entire bottle of bleach on the floors and walls of the basement, I realized how dirty the rest of the house is. Hello, new project for the day.

As I was scrubbing the railings of our staircase, and smelling the chlorine from the bottle of bleach, I randomly thought about how I used to look down on stay at home moms who had a messy house. Of course, most of this was jealousy, as I worked a job that I hated and was hardly ever home. I prided myself on being supermom; paying the bills, cooking meals, cleaning, taking the girls to karate, the whole nine yards. I was also sick most of the time and exhausted. Definitely bitter and miserable. So I judged everyone who “had it better” than I did.

Now, after only being home for three months,  I know that being a stay at home mom is not all fun and games. And yes, the house gets messy and dirty faster than I can clean it. I like myself and my life enough to let myself relax now and enjoy being with the girls. I’m still healthier than I have been in years, and I’m pretty sure it is just dirt and not black mold down there. At least my basement doesn’t smell like a damp storm cellar anymore, it smells like we have a giant pool down there.

There’s no shame in accepting help

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I posted this picture on my Instagram yesterday (hillismorgan is how to find me there) of Grace wearing one of the outfits she picked out at Grace Abounds Wearhouse at the local First Baptist Church. All families who are registered with the local community outreach (food pantry) are eligible to shop for clothes here once a month. The church graciously gives six items per person per family each month. So between the three of us, we came home with 18 items of new clothes/shoes/purses. They have beautiful fall and winter jackets there as well. My bank account just sighed in relief.

To get there, I had to swallow my pride yet again and admit that we need help/are poor financially. Our lives are richer than they’ve ever been, but the bank account not so much. I just now reached the point where I can make eye contact with the food pantry workers. But we really needed some new summer clothes, so off the girls and I went. My teenager had overcome her anger/awkward silence phase of earlier in the week, and we are on speaking terms again. After the initial awkwardness of not knowing what to say into the intercom (we’re here for free stuff/we are poor/we have the flier from the food bank?), we were met by very nice people, and we spent almost an hour browsing. Grace tried on every single pair of shoes, all of the dresses in her size, and had a fabulous time. She wore her favorite outfit home, cartwheeling and skipping in her new skirt and boots. I’m glad I overcame my pride and admitted I needed help again. I’m getting better at this.

Grace told the other people who were waiting with us for the door to open that “Mama went back to school to get a better job” as I just smiled. I’m used to her being proud of me now. It’s a nice feeling. She gave me the ultimate compliment the other day, “when I grow up, I’m going to be an artist, like you.” So much better than my son’s comment several years ago, “wow, you’re pretty smart for a secretary.” It may be difficult to make it as a professional writer, but at least my family and I are proud of my career now. It’s worth the frustrations of being financially lacking right now. At least we have options for the future.

First Collaboration: What’s in my Purse

I am honored to be doing a collaboration with Kayla from KaylaMarie.She is a beauty and health enthusiast, and had a beauty journal when growing up, which I find endearing. Her blog features great tips, not just on beauty and health, but on a large range of topics. Such as “How to stay focused at work with 5 or less hours of sleep”, inspirational digital download quotes (my favorite is “you are your only limit”), and much more! For what’s in Kayla’s purse, please check out her blog.

The contents of my purse vary from day to day. Usually, it contains more books, pens, and notebooks than anything else. I am not a girly-girl. I stopped wearing makeup a couple of months ago. So, right now my purse would be considered boring to any fashion and beauty enthusiasts. Sorry, Kayla.

Today my daughter and I have multiple appointments, including the psychologist and the food pantry. So my purse is NOT Calvin Klein. I finally learned to check beforehand. I do have an interesting book in there; How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster. And the usual wallet, ID, credit cards, smartphone. And lots and lots of pens.

Thanks for reading and following, and thank you again Kayla for working with a newish blogger on a collaboration. And for explaining how a collab works. And for sending those life-saving screenshots through e-mail explaining how to link to your blog. You’re the best!