Saturday, November 29, 2008
I'm Erin. I'm the writer of this blog, The Erin Experiment. This blog started out as an experiment to learn about web 2.0 and social media. I've safely moved past the web experimentation stage and now post social media tips under a separate blog: http://emediaconsulting.blogspot.com.
This blog has evolved from a web experiment to a landing page of thoughts and ruminations about my life, my stepmotherhood and my elusive dream to be great at something.
For whatever reason, I feel compelled to tell people who don't know me personally my match.com-esque stats: I'm 32, I have brown hair, green eyes and a nice-enough size ego to fit into my size 14 jeans. I recently started fitting into my size 14s again after I changed my lifestyle and started eating healthier and working out more.
I work out at the gym and at my local pole dance studio. Yep, you read that right, I pole dance. Not for money, just for honey. I started taking lessons at a local studio (Flirtease Dance and Fitness (formerly known as Tease Workout) last year and now I'm hooked (literally and figuratively). I occasionally write about my pole antics on this blog; however, (full disclosure alert) I'm doing the social media campaign for the studio, so I write a lot more about it here and here.
My life's aspirations include fitting into size 10 jeans, launching my own social media consulting company, and bonding with my fellow stepmothers via books, blogs and social media sites. I'm so enamoured with the idea of helping out my fellow stepmommas, that I created Stepchicks, an online community that hopes to debunk the wicked stepmom myth one blog at at time.
I am married to a cool guy who has his own blog and a book deal. Thanks to a few blogging faux pas on my part, I don't refer to him by name on this blog. He will forever be referred to as "my husband" on this blog unless I slip up.
I also have two stepkids, who shall remain nameless, that are currently 7 and 12. I love the dickens out of the little kiddos; however, I'm human and I'm flawed and I can't help but ponder if I'm doing this whole stepmother thing right.
I try to write several times a week on this blog in hopes that I can capture people's attention and get them talking. I like to talk. I also like to write, so when I'm not wittily introspecting my stepmom life away on here, I'm writing on my social media blog as well as on MomsLikeMe, an online community for moms.
If you can't tell, I'm a bit of an adrenaline-driven success junkie. According to my friend Katy and nearly everyone else who knows me, I am also tireless, driven and maybe even a bit manic. I will wake up and post something on Twitter at 5, Facebook at 6 and LinkedIn at 7. That's just who I am.
There's probably a bajillion things about me that have yet to be uncovered. Stick around, grab a subscription and hang on for the incredible adventures of a pole-dancing, social media blogging stepmother.
Who here uses Twitter?
If you're not familiar with it, Twitter is a microblogging platform where you can post updates 140 characters at a time.
Capt. Obvious moment alert: if you didn't know what it was, you probably aren't using it are you?
I've challenged myself to find the top 10 "Must Follow" Stepmoms thanks to this blog post: Construct your own ‘Top 10 Must Follow’ List as it relates to your own Niche
So stepmommas, get your Twitters out and let me know who you are. Leave your Twitter name in the comments or shoot me a reply at twitter.com/EHal76 so I can find all of you lovely ladies.
Shameless self-promotion opportunity: Want to learn more about Twitter and other social media tools? Visit my other blog, MeMedia: social media for non-techies (http://emediaconsulting.blogspot.com ) for daily doses of social media instruction.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Except for when I do.
This blog, for one thing, could become a source of animosity if she knew about it. I haven't shared it with her and unless it gets turned into a book or sitcom some day, I probably never will.
While this blog is about me and the roller coaster that is being a stepmom, I have written a few things that probably wouldn't go over well with her. Every once in a while I worry that she'll find my blog, read it and will raise hell with my husband because of it.
On a few occasions, it's caused me to rethink the topics I blog about.
One of the other topics I've kept off limits with her is my pole dancing classes. I'm always sure to cover up or not wear my "I do my own stunts" pole dancing t-shirt and "iPole" hoodie when I see her. I'm even a little nervous about wearing them around the kids. I've caught both of them stealing glances at the skinny lady doing a spread eagle on the pole on my t-shirt.
My stepdaughter knows about the pole in our basement. In fact, she's even climbed up it, but more because she thought it looked like a fireman's pole and she wanted to test her strength. I have mentioned to my stepdaughter that I take a class sort of like ballet that I use the pole for but that's where it ends.
I do wonder if these two things about me will ever reveal themselves to her. I'm pretty sure the pole dancing will, particularly if I am feeling SMILF-y and I accidentally forget to change my pole t-shirt. As for the blog, unless something major happens with it, I'm probably safe, but I still wonder: what would she do if she found out about these parts of my life?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
In all seriousness, I'm thankful for you: the person who's reading this blog post right now. I have been able to meet so many wonderful people -- online and off -- because of the fact that I blog. My 2008 wouldn't have been as good had it not been for you.
So thank you, whoever you are, that is reading my blog. It means a lot to me that you took the time to sit and read what I had to say.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
After a little shameless self-promotion on my part, I'm excited to announce that The Erin Experiment has been added to Alltop.
To borrow their words, "Alltop is is an 'online magazine rack' of popular topics." I'm in the Parenting section.
Of course, I'm at the bottom of the section, but that's okay. According to this little button that will grace my page for as long as I'm on Alltop: I kick ass.
Congratulations on making it to another Thanksgiving. You're 32 years old and probably at the beginning of the best years of your life. I get the feeling major changes are heading your way in the next few years. Keep up the hard work and stop being so critical of yourself.
Instead of writing letters to yourself, you should be working right now. You've got enough stuff on your plate to make Martha Stewart jealous. Why is that by the way?
Oh yes, the baby void. You're replacing one obsession with another.
Your body couldn't get pregnant again so you decided to kick your mind into high gear and be great at something that wasn't parenting-related.
Self, never forget, you are great at a lot of things. You're an amazing wife, stepmom, daughter, sister and role model. You've done things in your life that some people only dream about. Do not ever lose sight of that.
Do not beat yourself up for discontinuing the infertility treatments. That decision helped propel you to make a lot of changes -- changes that have improved your life ten-fold.
While we're talking about improvements, please keep on track with the healthy lifestyle. You've lost 20 pounds so far and you're looking smokin' hot. Keep it up. You'll only look hotter.
Also, be sure to keep up with the pole dance classes. In addition to those amazing pipes dangling off your shoulder blades, you are a much sexier and calmer person when you pole. Be sure to show your husband a trick or two every once in a while. It'll keep him lusting after you for years.
As for your husband, continue to be kind and compassionate. Never forget you took a vow to love, honor and cherish. You also vowed to stick by his side through thick and thin. You married for life and married for love. You married to have a partner in the foxhole with you. Be sure you swallow your pride every once in a while and make sure you apologize. Haven't you figured out that's half the reason why you get in arguments.
Remember to not be a doormat and to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves.
Remember how you got to where you are and who helped you get there.
Remember to keep dancing even if no one is watching.
Remember to call your mom and your grandmother as often as possible.
Remember to love. Remember to live.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
You know where else you can find me? On Chicago's MomsLikeMe mom online community.
I was recently asked to be a discussion leader for the stepmom forum. At first I was excited to be asked. Once I set up my profile and started chatting with the other moms I became super excited to have been asked. (I know, I'm trying to calm it down with the excitement).
There are a lot of cool moms on the site. Almost as cool as you guys :-)
If you're interested, I do believe they have other momslikeme.com city sites available. Check them out and see what's available and let me know what you think.
Care to connect? You really can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook:
So instead, I've tamed down my blog headline in order to ask you about your sex life.
Are you gettin' enough?
This recent blog post on WSJ.com, 101 Days of Sex: Making Time for Intimacy, offers an interesting perspective on sex: does it get in the way of your work/life balance?
When I first read this post, I immediately defended my sex life in my mind (yeah, I know. I broke my own blog rule talking about my sex life). As a married woman with children in her house most nights of the week, I get ample pickle tickle.
But then I heard about these sex pacts that couples were making and it got me to thinking: Maybe I'm not having enough sex.
Several of the couples mentioned have embarked on 30- or 100-day sex marathons in an attempt to rekindle.
While I applaud the nookie marathon, my first thought is: ouch.
My second thought is: I've got a career to work on and blog posts to write, social media campaigns to work on. I can't be knockin' boots every night.
But my inner Obama stepped in proudly announced: Yes I can! I can knock boots, get pickle tickles or whatever other euphemism for sex I can come up with every night if I wanted to.
I just choose not to...every.single.night.
Now if you will excuse me... ;-)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Dear Cold That Is Infecting My Body The Week of Thanksgiving:
Kindly get the hell out of my system. Just because I have not played dorm mother to your ugly mucous posse for the last 6 months does not mean you can take up residence now.
I do not find it at all humorous that you decide THIS WEEK to pay a visit. I'm already dealing with your second cousin twice removed, Aunt Flo, this week.
Not only is it not funny, it's freaking inconvienient. I have work to do and I have to host a salt-free, no alcohol Thanksgiving this year. I really don't need you gang banging my immune system at this particular moment in time.
Be warned cold: I will go to all measures to remove you from my body. I don't care if I have to swallow and spit, you will be gone by week's end.
Every weekend I head to the Super Wal-Mart down the road (It's cheaper, folks. Have you not learned how frugal I am?) and pick up our weekly rations:
- Peanut Butter for my Stepson's sandwiches
- Jello cups (2 12-packs)
- 18-pack of 90-calorie granola bars
- 100-calorie popcorn or Pringles Sticks or Saltines
- Bananas or apples
I usually head to the grocery store on Sunday morning while the kids are at church with their mom. I like to put the food away while they aren't home so they don't pilfer through the bags, opening up the food I've just bought that's supposed to last through the week.
Inevitably, by Tuesday evening or Wednesday, most of the food I bought on Sunday is gone.
Most people would suggest I just buy more food. This would probably be a good idea if we weren't trying to live on a budget in my house. Besides, I've tried the balls-out approach to pantry filling and the shelves still turn up empty by mid-week.
This pantry raping has me stunned.
I've resorted to hiding food in other places in the house in order to keep enough food around for Friday's lunches (which I make Thursday night). Anyone want some shoebox Saltines?
I'm all for a healthy diet in my house and I'm sometimes thankful when all of the snacks have disappeared. I've already lost 20+ pounds by cutting out my snacking and eating healthier; however, when my housemates start infiltrating my reduced-fat string cheese stash, I get testy.
Compounding this issue is the fact that we encourage one of the members of my family to eat as much as she can. If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, let's just say that someone in my house has issues with eating or lack of it.
What's a stepmother to do?
There are days when I feel like I can't win for losing amid this battle of the pantry. I can either break my budget in order to keep everyone swimming in reduced fat this and that or do I maintain my current food-hiding, 'so sorry, you ate all of it already' tough love ways?
Thoughts, ideas, and suggestions, as always, are welcomed.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm never too busy, however, to read some of my favorite bloggers. Thanks to a nod from Nilsa at http://newsomi.blogspot.com/, I'm excited to award Superior Scribbler Awards to:
1.) 101 Smackdowns for your Inner Critic smacks my hypercritical self back into a more relaxed state
2) Stepmother's Milk was where I met some of my best stepmom blog friends thanks to Izzy Rose's witticisms about stepparenting
3) Breakfast at Lani's who provides a fun insight of her newly-married Suburban Seattle, aka Stepford, Stepmom life
4) This reading is manic! It's got to stop! is a recent find thanks to Blog Secret. It's a great blog from an incredibly funny woman who I know I'm going to enjoy reading for a very long time.
5) Ritch In Love sets the stage for a wonderful marriage between two best friends.
Of course, with this award comes a few rules:
- Every superior scribbler must name 5 other super scribblers. (see above)
- Link back to the author and the name of the blog that gave you the award. Nilsa over at SoMi gave me this Superior Scribbler Award.
- Display the award and link to this post, which explains the award.
- Visit that same post add your name via Mr. Linky List, so the award creators can keep track of who the superest scribblers are.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Consider this Angry Chick Playlist:
- Fighter, Christina Aguilera
- Not Ready to Make Nice, Dixie Chicks
- Numb/Encore, Linkin Park
- One Step Closer, Linkin Park
- Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Smashing Pumpkins
Yes, it's a short list, but I've usually lost my voice by the end of the last song.
While I appreciate your cleaning my house last week because I'm apparently too busy to do it myself, I would like to take this moment to respond to the cleaning supply list that you left on my counter:
- Soft scrub for showers. We already have a shower cleaner. You'll need to use that until we run out. Even then, I'm buying generic. Request denied.
- Clorox disinfectant. We've had that in the house and have since run out. I'll approve that one.
- Pledge. We have a full can of the generic Pledge. You'll need to get used to the fact that I'm frugal, if not cheap, and will not buy you brand name products just because you ask for them. Request Denied.
- Some floor cleaner for bathrooms. You used up the bottle I had. I guess I'll have to buy another but you can bet your ass it will be generic.
- Swifter (for dusting). Bite me. I use microfiber cloths with the generic dusting spray. I will not support your Swifter habit. Request Denied.
- Paper Towels. It is more economical to use napkins for my family so we do not buy paper towels and napkins. We economize. I don't care if they're 2 cents, you're not getting them. Request Denied.
Ms. Cleaning Lady. You may think I'm some rich bitch snob who finds cleaning beneath her. You would be wrong. My husband hired you because I am utterly exhausted at the end of my up at 4:30 a.m., 60-minute commute, sit all day behind a computer and then come home, make dinner, help with homework, do dishes, work out, make lunches for the following day, and write for three-plus websites day. Somewhere in there, cleaning has to take a backseat and since no one in my house except for me gives two shits about putting in the hard work necessary to keep a house clean, then guess what, you were called.
So guess what, Ms. Cleaning Lady: You can go fuck yourself and your I-want-brand-names-only cleaning supplies. I already deal with a laundry list of "I wants" and "I gotta haves" from numerous people in my life. I will NOT put up with it from you.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We'd follow you if we knew who you were!!!
Well judgment and feelings be damned! I have a few things I would like to get off my chest:
Monday, November 17, 2008
I really did intend on writing a little piece of awesomeness this morning, including links to some great stepmom bloggers, writing awards, a really cool blog project I'm participating in tomorrow and my very own special announcement.
Unfortunately, I'm too out of it this morning to formulate coherent thoughts, so the blog post that I intended to write will have to happen this evening. Please do stop by again y'all.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I'm a big fan of the show CSI (Crime Scene Investigation/Investigator for those not familiar with the acronym). In the show, and I would imagine in real life, the investigators comb through crime scenes looking for clues as to what caused the death. They talk to people who knew the victim, look through their residence for clues, and try to piece together what the person was like.
Now maybe I watch too much of this show, but I often wonder: What would a CSI think of me? Here's a stab (sorry, crime humor) at what my profile might show:
- Needs order but not to the extreme. The shelves of her bathroom closet are organized and compartmentalized but the space below is pure havoc.
- Has a Madonna/whore complex. Clothes in the closet indicate she's a typical suburban parent; however, the stripper pole in the basement and filled "goody drawer" near the bed prove she's got a wild side.
- Frugal. Clothes have labels like Old Navy and Target; Kitchen pantry shows signs of children but is fairly sparse otherwise.
- Intelligent and well read. Has historical anthologies sitting by her bed with a particular love for English Tudor history. Has many classic novels in her large book shelves; all of the books look well read.
- Doesn't define herself by the appearance of her house. Lack of painted walls and art in the entry spaces indicates interior design is not a priority. Dining room is painted but contains no decoration other than a vase on the table.
- Likes to surround herself by memories. Walls of family pictures adorn several walls in her house. Several portraits reveal a lovely wedding and adoring husband.
Friday, November 14, 2008
He scheduled them to arrive at 7 a.m. this morning which is probably a blessing in disguise because I will have been long gone on my way to work.
I'm already scared of being judged. I know the purpose of the cleaning service is to clean (DOH!) but I don't want this person (or people) to think "What a freaking slob" while scrubbing my toilet.
I would be mortified.
I would also feel like I needed to roll up my sleeves and help and, frankly, what would be the point of that?
So last night, I cleaned. Actually, I straightened up and, you guessed it, everyone else did not.
Most people who know me would say that the dirty version of my house is the clean version of a most other people's, but I still can't help but fret that I'll be judged by the grime in my bathroom.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Erin Experiment
eMEdia Social media for non-techies
Stepchicks Debunking the wicked myth one blog at a time
And then, of course, there's the pole signature...
TeaseWorkout A workout for your mind and body
I don't usually use all three and I have to delete the one(s) that don't pertain to the recepient which can be lots of fun.
I'm also ecstatic to report that I'll be adding one more signature to my email: Discussion Leader for the Stepmom Forum on ChicagoMomsLikeMe.com. This is a recent addition and one that I'll certainly be giving bigger attention to once we're up and running next week.
In my 32 years on this planet, there have been two pieces of advice she's given me that have consistently proven to be true whether I wanted to agree or not:
- Always march to your own beat
- Without fail: Positive likes positive
Always march to your own beat wasn't typically hard to adhere to. I'd always been different -- in grade school I was the one with the divorced parents; in junior high, I was the new girl; in high school, I was the mouth-wired-shut freak and the mom-had-twins-when-I-was-a-senior girl. By my 30s, I'd turned the unique thing into a personal branding strategy.
Positive likes positive. That one was always harder to stick to. When everyone else was getting married and having babies, not miscarriages like me, trying to remember to be positive was like trying to remember the name of the 42nd pilgrim at the first Thanksgiving.
Despite my misgivings, my mom continued to extol the virtue of positive thinking.
After I decided to stop trying to have a baby, I went into overdrive. There was a void in my life that I needed fill...and boy did I fill it:
- I starting writing on my blog more
- I started Twittering
- I got a new (digital) job
- I started contributing more to a journalism association I'm a member of
- I figured out search engine optimization and how to improve a site with it
- I travelled to Austin, Paris and New Orleans...twice
- I networked...and networked some more
- I started pole dancing classes again, eating healthy and working out more
Somewhere in there I declared a truce with my infertility.
All of the positive changes I've made in my life have reaped positive rewards.
- I've lost 21 pounds in 2 months
- My digital hobby now has a client base
- I'm considered a "connector" who knows somebody who knows somebody...
- I'm writing two of my own blogs with another awesome opportunity on the horizon (more details when I'm able to share with everyone)
- I'm working on developing a program that could have a significant positive influence on people's careers
So Mom, you were right....again. Positive does like positive.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I never understood the difficulties of being a stepparent until I became one.
I was, and still am, a stepdaughter. How my stepfather didn't ship me off to boarding school is still beyond me.
My stepfather "inherited" me when I was 13. He should have been knighted or sainted or whatever other honors can be bestowed among people who agree to parent a child that isn't biologically theirs.
When you agree to become a stepmom, you are parenting a child that did not emerge from your womb. There was no elation when the stick showed positive, nor was there ever a 9-month window to feel the a fetus kick its way into a living, breathing, crying extension of yourself.
As a stepmom, you've married into an already formed family. Even if the family didn't get along, you entered into a pre-set list of criteria for bedtime rituals, ouchie maintenance and milestone celebrations. The only thing similar to this feeling is in-laws that may or may not really like you.
Stepmoms are typically considered among their non-stepmom friends as glutton for punishment or incredibly strong-willed. Phrases like "Well you knew what you were getting into when you married him" come to mind. So does "I don't think I would have the mental strength to agree to that."
Any stepmom that has with a good relationship her stepkids and their mom is truly blessed. Some how, some way everyone has managed to make it all work out.
Getting to that point -- making it all work out -- can feel like torture at times. A stepmom may have had in her mind a way things should be, but quickly finds out that's not the law of the land. For a stepmom, it's their way or the highway. Stepmoms quickly figure out to hold their tongues even when they are desperate to mention that something could be done a different way.
Despite all of the fairy tales that would have you think otherwise, not all stepmothers are evil and they are all human.
When a stepchild asks "Will my parents ever get back together?" Her heart can't help but break a little
When an ex-wife asks "Could you not talk about that with my daughter?" She can't help but feel sad that she was just trying to help.
When a husband mentions that plans and finances have to be completely reconfigured to accommodate the braces and private school that suddenly became necessary, she lets out a whimper and reminds herself that she signed up for this life the second she said "I do."Most people don't understand the range of emotions stepmoms deal with on a daily basis. They are not high enough on the family food chain to make final decisions and they rarely have total control over the goings-on in their own homes. No matter how strong or independent she is, a stepmom gives up control over a large part of her life when she enters her blended family.
So the next time the word "stepmom" conjures up a negative emotion in your mind, ask yourself: could I do all of that?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
She's due in June so she can't be too far along, but nonetheless my mom was nervous to tell me about the pregnancy. She knew I was still grieving the loss of my own baby and the additional inability to conceive again.
When she told me, I realized that most of my grief had passed. I was genuinely happy for my cousin and his wife and having just come home from a vacation in France, sans kids, I realized how blessed my own life is without biological children.
Then the tables turned. I didn't tell her at the time, nor have I ever, but I worry about how my mom is with my decision to forgo biological children.
My heart goes out to my mom when she hears that so-and-so is going to have another grandchild. My brother and sister turn 15 in a month and won't be procreating any time soon. This means for my mom to be a legitimate first-time grandmother, she'll be in her late 60's, early 70s.
Unlike how I was with my stepgrandparents, my stepchildren have a hard time picturing my parents as their grandparents. To them, it's Stepmom's Mom (they call her Dobby), and Stepmom's Stepdad (who they sometimes call 'Two Step' because of the multiple stepfamily levels).
Both my kids and my parents enjoy each other's company. My stepson loves to curl up with my mom and he loves to play with the toys at their house; same thing for my stepdaughter.
We all get along, but attempts at figuring out grandparent monikers for my parents have been all for nought because the kids just don't see them that way.
And so I wonder. Does my mom's heart break a little every time she hears that someone else is pregnant or someone else will be a grandmother? I know she's proud of my accomplishments but I sometimes wonder if she wished I would have tried harder to get pregnant like she did.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I went to BlogHer in 2007 (which was coincidently when I found out I was pregnant) and met so many great bloggers I could hardly contain my excitement then.
Fastforward two years. I've got more blogs in my portfolio, including my new blog, eMEdia social media for non-techies, and I feel much more comfortable mingling with my fellow bloggers.
If any of my blogging friends are going to be there, let me know! I'd love to do a meet-up!
We're so busy, in fact, that the floors sometime don't get swept for weeks, the toilets may be cleaned once a month if they're lucky and don't even get me started about the lint collecting on my baseboards.
I find it difficult to do all of my things plus keep a really clean house. The cleanliness of my house won't necessarily get me new work so it becomes priority number 5 on my list.
My husband has suggested on several occasions that we bring a cleaning lady in once or twice a month to clean the house. We've had this discussion for a year and like going to a counselor, I still haven't committed to it.
There are several reasons why I'm resistant:
What kind of message does that send to the kids? "Stepmom and Dad can't keep the house clean so they hire someone; however, you HAVE to clean."
I've actually agreed to the cleaning lady so long as she comes on the weekends the kids are with their mom. I'd prefer they not see that we've brought someone in to help us keep the house clean. I remember getting down on my hands and knees to scrub baseboards, meticulously sweeping and folding clothes when I was a teen-ager and I really believe that sort of housework work-ethic made me the kind of neat freak I am today.
It's that housework work ethic that's presenting the biggest obstacle to my hiring a cleaning lady. I've always lived under the impression that if my house was too big or I was too busy to clean it, I needed to move to a smaller house or do fewer things. Growing up, I lived in a modest house and the entire family kept it clean. My stepdad did the outside chores and my mom and I handled the inside ones. I still have fond memories of my stepfather, a perfectionist, instructing me on how vacuum like I meant it.
We, as a family, kept the house clean. We didn't rely on anyone to come in and help us. Even with two baby twins in the house, we kept the house really clean. Sure there was clutter, but the house was clean. You really could eat off the floor.
And don't even get me started on the chorus of "This room is a pigsty" that I remember hearing throughout my youth.
My upbringing is what's preventing me from hiring a cleaning lady. Intelligently, I know that it's a smart choice to bring someone in to scrub and sweep because my schedule is too packed, but the rest of me is screaming that the family should be the ones keeping the house clean.
I can't tell you how many times I've resentfully scrubbed a toilet, folded laundry, dusted and swept while the kids sit and watch t.v. and my husband plays on the computer. Everyone makes the messes, so everyone should pick it up is my theory.
So I'm torn. Do I agree to the cleaning lady and get over my 1990's sense of how a family should be or do I resist and make everyone pitch in more, potentially resenting everyone in the process?
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I may have just volunteered myself to be my stepdaughter's pom-pom coach for next year's youth football/cheer league.
After a disappointing cheer season with girls who seemed to be in it only for the exposure to the boys, my stepdaughter, her mom and I decided to talk to the cheer director via email.
The response, which I received this morning, mentioned how everything -- including the coaches for cheer and poms -- are volunteers and right now, there's not going to be a varsity program if they can't find coaches.
This got me thinking.
I was in poms once in seventh grade. I loved it. I'm a natural born dancer and really dug that I got to wear a uniform and shake my pom-poms.
I tried out for cheerleading throughout junior high and high school and never made it. The one year I had to start working, the high school cheer coach told me I would have made it on the squad.
I'd always harbored resentment toward cheerleaders because I never was one.
I decided to take a different path toward school spirit and became a football stat girl. We were the ladies that got to stand amid the big, sweaty players and record the yards they ran, threw, kicked, returned, etc. I learned more about football in those two years than I did in my entire life. I paid attention to the games and knew what was going on; it's been instrumental in my cool factor with guys ever since.
I've never regretting my decision to not keep trying out for cheerleading, but I do regret the negative emotions I've had because of my stepdaughter's involvement. My stepdaughter, like me, likes to dance and would much rather be a pom girl than a cheerleader next year.
Which gets me back to my email this morning. I think I may volunteer to coach. I can't put a dance together to save my life, but I'm all for being a role model and for doing something both of us might like.
We'll see. I may be shaking my pom-poms before you know it.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Not because I have sad or bad news to deliver; in fact, other than a few household budget cuts, I have a lot of positive things going on in my life right now which is precisely why this blog post is so hard to write.
I think I'm standing on the edge of burnout.
According to our good friend Wikipedia, Burnout is "a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest (depersonalization or cynicism), usually in the context of work...Burnout is often construed as the result of a period of expending too much effort at work while having too little recovery, but it is sometimes argued that workers with particular personality traits (especially neuroticism) are more prone to experiencing burnout."
Ever since my return from vacation, I've found it extremely difficult to pull my stuff together and focus...on anything. I've started writing 10 blog posts since coming home, but have posted 3 of them because that's all the energy or attention I can muster.
I continue to accept new projects outside of work because they're exciting and good for my resume, but then grow tired quickly at the end of my work day and am not able to put as much energy as I'd like toward them.
I was sick over the weekend and I'm starting to think that was Mother Nature's way of telling me to take a chill pill and relax a bit.
But I have a hard time relaxing. I'm an overachiever and I don't think I have an "off" switch. I will continue to plug away, accepting new projects and doing more things in an effort to build my resume and to keep myself from inhaling the contents of my fridge.
Right now, I'm even impressed that I've managed to focus this much attention on this blog post and haven't thrown it in my drafts folder like so many others. I think my wit may be stuck in France without a passport.
Are we Supermoms or second moms?
Are they our kids or our stepkids?
I have another question to throw out there: What do you call your stepkids' mom in front of other people?
I go back and forth between the kids' mom and my husband's ex, but I'm considering calling her Mom 1.
It's easy to say and fits nicely in a sentence or on a blog:
"Hey! Of course I can go out tonight, the kids are at Mom 1's house tonight"
I'm curious what other people call their (step)children's biological mother. Do you have a non conventional name for her or am I analyzing this too much?
I stood in line because there were that many people out to vote at 6 a.m. in my sleepy Chicago suburb. Our polling place sat a quarter mile from another, bigger polling place. Both had lines out the door and down the sidewalks.
It was the sort of picture that made me proud to have registered to vote some 14 years ago.
I wish I could have brought my stepkids with me to see the positive side of American politics in action. It was history-making.
We will keep the tv on all day long at our house. My husband considers Election Day a national holiday and won't sleep until the final results are in.
We're all pulling for Obama in my house. Each of us -- my husband, myself, my stepkids -- have our reasons. My husband wants change, frankly, so do I. We've both always wanted a person in the White House that came from meager beginnings and really understood how difficult the success ladder is to climb. My stepdaughter wants to be the first female president and doesn't want any other woman standing in her way, and my stepson thinks Sara Palin is a dork.
We'll watch the results like some people watch the Oscars. Who's wearing what, who's saying what and who's winning the ultimate prizes.
But for now, I'm just happy. I got out and rocked the vote.