Tuesday, November 12, 2013

21 Days... Acceptance

My children and husband decided to wake up several times last night waking me up to join the fun.  And I am exhausted.... but this did not stop me from thinking about my feelings. It was a good chance to reflect on them. 

For a long time I have struggled with the fact that I am exhausted almost everyday. I feel resentful that I have more responsibilities around the house than anyone else living in it. I wake up with a list of jobs; a checklist of things to do over and above the routine of everyday tasks that any mother ought to do.... Is this resentment and the exhaustion that accompanies it symptoms of a working mother? Or do ALL mothers feel this way sometimes?

This resentment that I am talking about follows me around like a dark shadow waiting for the noon sun to become one with me. It never leaves my side clutching my leg like an insecurely attached baby.

... and I wonder... why do I keep hanging on to this resentment? It is like I am mentally fighting my responsibilities...thinking that someday soon they will change... or maybe the number will decrease...or maybe even my Fairy Godmother will come and with a swish of her wand get them all done... or maybe even wishing the other inhabitants of the house take more on... I keep thinking that maybe tomorrow it will be different and I will wake up all refreshed with no items on my worry plate. That my children will either sleep through the night or wake up later than the 5:30-6:00 in the morning as they do on weekends. 

Yes, I have a lot of responsibilities (as all working and non working mothers do) and yes, maybe sometimes I am not appreciated by the little ones running around or the big one sitting by my side.... and maybe their appreciation will surface once I am old and grey and my value will by then be recognized.... but why do I feel this resentment knowing full well that I am the one who decided to forever change the course of my life the minute I said I do and when we decided to become 3 and then 4? It has been 13 years of the former and 8 of the latter. 

Deciding to share my living and personal space with a grown man and two little people should have triggered a switch in that silly mentality that believes that I can maintain the "me" factor. I read those articles that say, that a mother should continue doing what she loves and keep some time for herself, that a married couple with children should go out on dates... ok... When? and would I trust a baby sitter to make my kids laugh or read to them before they go to bed? My heart and mind would be at home the minute I step out of its doors. 

Since I am doing a 21 Day of cleansing, I have decided to look at this whole waking up in the middle of the night, exhaustion and the continuous pouring of responsibilities in a positive way....  I must ACCEPT that this will not change any time soon. To accept that things will not change means that I should let go of all the frustration and resentment that fester, freeing myself from the negativity that comes with it.... Basically, I need to just go with the flow! and maybe sometimes just let things go... not everything should be neat and tidy... not everything should be put away every single day... when we have guests then maybe I will fret.

This was the first day that I actually took the time to look at why I feel so negative about my kazillion responsibilities and why I struggle with the load... stressing and getting anxious whenever my husband or children ask me to do one more thing for them.  I panic that I might not have the time or that I may forget.... I need to accept that I am NOT a supermom... 

I just need to accept that I am the one whom they trust to get the job done and that I should take it as a compliment knowing that when the day is over and all my responsibilities for the day have been accomplished, that I did the best I could and have another chance to do them again tomorrow... maybe even a little better.

My friend shared this on Facebook with me.... it is a brilliant video and one that backs up my decision.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

21 Days... 2 in 1

When life takes your hands and guides you through a maze of papers, towers of jobs and a never ending list, you just have to keep working through the pile one paper at a time. And this was what has been going on the past two days. The list of jobs that I needed to tackle kept on coming my way and every time I thought I had finished and about to raise my hands up in triumph, I received another task. It reminded me of a cartoon I once saw of a man sitting behind a desk but all you see was the piles of white paper and a teeny bit of his bald head; I am not bald yet but you get the picture. 

In all honesty though, I welcomed the distraction. I had to veer away from the negative thoughts that were creeping through the little cracks in my mind of the impending meetings with parents.  

Having said that, yesterday and today have been good days. We had student involved conferences where the students come with their parents and we discuss their progress and some goals they need to work on. Being used to how it was in my previous school in Thailand, I dressed up in my professional clothes and faced the day. I received so many compliments and not because I am usually scruffy looking but because I was wearing a skirt and high heels on both days... so that was a moral boost... woohoo!

Another positive was that I connected with the parents and my students and it gave me the energy to face one helicopter parent whom I dreaded. I encourage my students to be independent learners and try desperately to teach them to move away from their learned helplessness. However, this parent still wants to keep a hold of her child... my analogy for this situation is that she is breaking his legs instead of offering him ways to improve his walking. Anyway, I decided, with the warm positive energy that I received from other parents, to compliment her on a job well done knowing that her traveling husband is not at home all the time. I thought... well I will try and make her feel good about her efforts even though she is very critical of the support her son is receiving and looks at our work and the decisions we make with a human sized microscope.

So spreading positivity, even though it is sometimes forced, made me feel better and would in turn encourage me to do it more often. it is a cycle after all... what goes around, comes around.

Furthermore, I also made it a point once my cleansing journey began, to hug and kiss my children more often than I had before. If my goal was to reflect on my day and think of a positive thought, hugging them and feeling their little bodies curl into my embrace made the task all the more easy. It gave me a good positive kick to stimulate my mind to work harder at finding the positives.

It was not a bad few days and I checked off all the tasks on my list. Recharging with positive energy from others sure helped me face the difficult situations and this might be a strategy that I will have to use in the future. One needs to recharge their positivity batteries before facing the events or people that suck all the energy out of their systems. I will start with my children... they are my saving grace as they say but most importantly my reason for sticking with this cleansing process. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

21 Days ... Day 6

Thinking of something positive today was especially hard. A month ago, I received a nasty email from an anonymous student who had hacked into his classmate's account. The email contained explicit words which were disgusting and hurtful. The school tried to find out who it was but they reached a dead end and there is no way forward unless they involved the police with a court order. It is considered sexual harassment and therefore criminal. 

All I wanted was for the student to be caught, to get answers and to take this as a teaching opportunity and guide him or her. If the student was not caught, s/he might do it again. But alas... nothing has happened since and despite the fact the Head was supportive and apologetic, I was left feeling shoved aside and that such an incident is no longer important. 

The guillotine of threats and life lessons should have come down on that particular grade. In my view, to get answered, the whole grade should have been gathered together and told it was a serious issue and that the school is thinking of calling the police in the hopes of fishing out the culprit who just needs guidance that this kind of act is unacceptable. 

Ironically, yesterday the whole grade was gathered to talk about little graffitis that have been written and sprayed on the walls around the campus and in the bathrooms. They were told that it was a serious matter and that it will not be taken lightly. So here I was standing listening to what was being said to these students and wondering if the value of my feelings as a person as well as being part of the school community was less than the value of the school walls.  

So what positive thing do I get from this? I am not sure... I keep struggling to get something out... 

Same day... but a little later....my son came home sad and he was acting strange,  being very uncooperative. I asked him if anything had happened at school. He said that during his PE lesson they had to pick a partner but his friend changed his mind last minute and went with someone else. So Jad felt left out and abandoned. We chatted a bit more and then I asked him if there was anything positive he could get out of this but he did not know WHAT WAS SO POSITIVE ABOUT THAT? He is only 8 so I did not pressure him into thinking. I thought if this is the beginning of a good lesson in life then I should demonstrate how we should do it. The two positives that I got out of HIS experience were; since he knows how it feels to be abandoned like that, that he would never do it to someone else and also the fact that he got to know the other student he had to partner with more. 

Now to get back to MY day.... What positive lesson should I get out of this? Any suggestions?

Looking for positives every single day is not as easy as I thought. I am still struggling to find one positive about what had happened this morning. Sometimes one cannot think of a positive... cannot turn a negative into a positive... 

Monday, November 4, 2013

21 Days.... 5 in 1

For five days, I have not written but believe it or not I have not forgotten about the 21 Days of positive cleansing. Even though I have not written anything during those days, I thought of one or two positives before my eyes succumbed to the exhaustion of the day. 

I am placing all the positives of the fives days that I missed in one post so here it goes.

1. We have finally received our shipment from Thailand and despite the fact that my husband is unable to lend a hand at all, due to his back surgery four weeks ago, and I feel exhausted putting everything in its place, I am blessed that we finally have a home to think of. And even though we will be asked to move house again in 8 months time, we can make the best out of these days and enjoy the home that is slowly coming together. 

I was so grateful to the movers who helped open the boxes and and get rid of the rubbish. They were so efficient and so wonderful that I wrote an email to their boss thanking them for a job well done.

2. On Friday, the kids had a halloween even in our compound along with an adult BBQ. I knew that I would have so much to do as the next day was my son's 8th snake themed birthday. I had to prepare something for BBQing and a side dish and then my girl's costume, my husband made my son's, then I had to prepare cookies for the treats when they come trick or treating, then blow the balloons for the birthday and make the snacks, then decorate the snake cake... and and and... AAAHHHHH... but I was so thankful that I was able to have a plan B, pizza, when my original plan of baking sausages wrapped in snake like dough were burned. Thank goodness for take aways and the flexibility of children. It was great watching them devour every last morsel of crumbs. 

3. I received two beautiful emails from my mom and dad who showered me with words of assurance and encouragement. Their words enveloped me, squeezed me hard and refilled my depleting positive energy. Even though we are miles apart and I only want to feel their arms around me, their emails are something that I can keep and re-read many times when I need to replenish my spirits again.

4. I am thankful that I reconnected with many old friends on my blog as well as from my childhood school. I feel supported and loved by them. I am confident to say that distance and lack of physical proximity does not in any way diminish the feeling of friendship one builds through labyrinth of the net. 

5. Even though I have been receiving some strong emails from one family about their son and they seem like they are out to nail me on something. The positive side of this is that it makes me a better teacher. I am pushing myself to work harder to prove that I am actually a good teacher and that my priority is their son. Rapport and trust will take time but I am working hard to build that.


It was a manic and busy few days but I managed to get through it. My mother advised me to slowly unpack our life in Thailand one box at a time and this is what I am planning to do for the rest of my 21 days... I will take baby steps every day looking at the positive side of anything negative that comes my way. I want to be a positivity Jedi being a master of The Force, the master of one... Me. I cannot force people or life to be positive towards me but I can be the one changing what is being catapulted towards me.

AND....Even though negative thoughts keep clouding my mind, I am making it a point not to dwell on them. Yeah, negative things are spewed, sent and shared but I will not let it deter me from my 21 days.