In the Moment

One of my biggest weaknesses is I am not good at living in the moment.

Something I could certainly learn from Buddhism is how to live in the moment.

I feel myself planning ahead constantly. Worrying about what will happen is X amount of days, years. Worrying about what will not happen in X amount of days, years.While all this is happening, I still manage to enjoy my life but not to the extent I should. How can anyone enjoy the present when one is furiously preparing for the potential things/events that may or may not happen? There is nothing wrong with making preparations and choices that can set us up for a potentially good future/outcome, but I feel I could do a lot more living and a lot less preparing.

When people ask me, “Are you where you thought you’d be back when you were a kid?” I have no idea truly what I expected exactly for myself, other than a career, so I have learned that things do not happen exactly as we expect them to be. Life is not some distinct map in which we knew exactly where to turn, or where we’d end up.

After being so ill in early pregnancy and seeing family and friends suffer through health issues, I feel it is time to focus on each moment. While holding a three-month old baby the other day it hit me that time is going so incredibly fast ( I can barely imagine my own being that little and wobbly) that I must savor and focus on the moment. No one knows how long we have and I’d rather not spend time worrying. For weeks, I have made an attempt to really focus on controlling my anxieties/worry. Watching other people in anxious states helped me to see how my own anxiety or worries can not only affect me, but also the people I love. I have noticed a big difference in the past few weeks, and so have the people around me. I feel the more I continue to live in the moment, while preparing for those events I must necessarily prepare for, I will live a more enriching life.

Life is happening now. Time to get off the computer. 

All the hoopla on education.

I am hearing a lot of chatter these days about homeschooling. It seems to be the current trend/direction that people are going in an attempt to either a: avoid the non-secular rules of public school (religious parents wanting more religion in school that the public school will not offer) or b: parents who are dissatisfied with the public/private options within their reach. I have mixed opinions about homeschooling, but while I think it could be a viable option for certain families, I think my biggest most pressing thought is: who can afford to homeschool? Who can afford to be at home until his or her child is ready to leave the nest? I mean, I am currently a “mostly at home” mom, but will I be home when my kid is older? Uh no. In this shitty economy, and in our tax-driven expensive Garden State, who can just stay home forever unless you are coming from old money? Even with cutting out the unnecessary stuff and living modestly, most people return to work. I think it is important for people to be able to create viable opportunities for their children, but the majority of Americans cannot afford to stay home and school their kid/s. SO in that case, what is our options if we don’t like our public school system, and furthermore, why is everyone so dissatisfied? There is a lot of vicious backlash and trash talking about teachers, which I feel is not fair, but we need to ask ourselves, why are people so afraid of/so dissatisfied with public education? A recent incident in NJ in which a teacher harassed a young boy with autism tells me clearly why parents are looking for a way out of the system, but it’s not just that.
There are so many numerous factors which make one question sending one’s kid to a public or even private school:
testing. No Child Left Behind. Overcrowding. Lack of responsibility/accountability in the higher-ups. Bureaucratic BS keeps bad teachers employed and hides bad choices/actions taken by the paper pushers/superintendents/principals. I used to believe in tenure as I felt it protected people who would wrongly get crap from pushy/helicopter parents, but I am wondering now if it works at all, and if it doesn’t, what can we do instead to get the bad teachers out, and keep the good teachers in our schools, paid fairly.
I personally am not satisfied with what I hear about my town’s schools. I don’t know what I will decide when it comes down to the wire in a few years, but I really wish there were better options for poor/working class/middle class (is there a middle class anymore???) families who don’t have the dollars to shell out for private school, or the desire or ability to school their own kids, yet don’t want to send their kids to their local public school system. I wish we put more effort/priority in public education in our country. What would it be like if we would actually return to teaching and less testing, and get the people who just want their summers off out of the schools? Get the burnt-out teachers out, and get the vibrant (old or young) teachers in. I went to school in the days when testing wasn’t the focus, yet there were still many teachers who did not belong teaching!
Maybe let kindergarteners enjoy being kids and not being pushed to be little automated students. Maybe even have art and music like when I was a kid.
Maybe revamp the whole entire system. And maybe then teachers, our good ones, would be happy, and the rest could just leave the field.

The Truth

If you want to know how close you are with your family, ask yourself how well your children know them.

Having a child really brings the reality of your family relationships to light, whether for good or bad. When someone has a child, he or she usually looks to bring the child into the family fold. How people respond to this child and spend time with this child usually says a lot about how close they are to you.

For me, having a child held up a looking glass into my family dynamics. It reflected the truths of everyone related to me both blood and married. The fact is, that picture is not always so pretty. This is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I think when you have a baby, you imagine being surrounded by a positive community of people, namely your family, as that is what a baby deserves and that’s what parents need to feel supported. This doesn’t always happen. And this is a let down, a grief, that things are not as you would like them to be, but if that is the case, it is up to the parents to build a team of people, a community or extended family of sorts to help lead the little one positively into the world and help the parents get through the newness of being a parent.

Family is not always blood, but rather a conglomerate of people that you “initiate” into the child’s world so as to protect and nurture the child, and parents too.

If you don’t like the support you have, go out and make connections with people–real connections beyond Facebook and text messages.

Build your own family. 

A Season

A very wise woman told me that a woman’s life has seasons. We all have time in our lives when our purpose or focus is shifted. For some it may be children, others work, others personal development or what have you. I feel my life is in the child/children season. No matter how much balancing I do, the weight of my world and focus spins heavily on my daughter. There are times when I see other women with great careers and jobs, and I feel terrible as I’m very educated and smart, yet I know I couldn’t part with how my life is today. It would kill me. That’s why I try to work evenings and late afternoons. The fact is, I cannot do everything 100% anymore. Once I became a mother, that 100% Laura-laura/hubby focus died. Sure, there are days when I wished I did certain things before becoming a mom, before turning 30, but you can wish in one hand and shit in the other…and see which hand gets fuller first, as my husband says. I have to be on this path for a reason. I would never ever give up being a mom or investing this time in her for anything. Yes, it means giving up big vacations and a bigger house. Yes, it means either holding off on furthering my education or slowing the track down…and holding off on some of my artistic plans (not writing thankfully). Yes, it means that I don’t see people as often as I’d like, but when I think of other paths I could choose, I get very upset. I went through a lot to have my daughter, and so did my husband. Every minute with her, even if I am not always very awake or peppy, is worth it. My season is child/children. I am planting seeds for my daughter’s environment and personality that will impact her for years to come. It sounds dramatic, but it is true. I can look back on my upbringing and understand why I am who I am. It is my time to invest in my daughter and my family. It means that I have to temporarily let go of other things.

The fact is she will not be small forever. One day she will not want me in her room or even probably sitting next to her (at least from ages 13-18). So I will have time for extra hobbies, more work, and “me” centered goals. but this time with her will not last forever. I have to live in the moment, in my season.