Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little White Lies

          We've all been there.  We find our self in a particular situation:  a few minutes late to an appointment; an invite from friends when you’d rather stay home in your jammies; or that little person tugging on our pant leg for a treat.  And before we know, it just slips out – a white lie.  Everyone does it, so there can’t really be any harm to it, right?
          I’ve compiled a small list of white lies I have used and (believe) have been used on me.  Any sound familiar?

          Lies We Tell Others:
·         I just got your message/text.
·         My e-mail has been down for a day (or few days).
·         My alarm didn’t go off.
·         I can’t get a sitter.
·         I was just about to call/text/e-mail you.
·         I was stuck in traffic.

Lies We Tell Our Self

·         I’m not too young to wear that.
·         There’s nothing wrong with my driving.
·         I can get that done in ten minutes.
·         I’m fine.
·         I don’t need help.

        Lies We Tell Our Children
(Note – these work best with small children J)

·         We’re out of ice cream/popsicles/chocolate.
·         The (insert store) is closed.
·         Mommy didn’t bring enough money.
·         It’s past your bedtime.
·         If you eat ______  it will make you bigger/stronger. 
                    Now, this list certainly isn’t complete, and you could add a few of your own.  I’m sure you (and I) could easily justify using these in any given situation.  Unfortunately, because white lies are so common and viewed as benign, many of us don’t think twice before they do it.
          It’s also easier to lie when you don’t have an audience.  Andrew now knows what traffic is.  Dare I use that lie in his presence and he calls me out on it?  That would be a bit embarrassing, don’t you think?
          But lies have consequences too.  We have to decide how it will affect our image.  (And, if we really care.)  I am always 10 minutes late to social events.  (Even before I had children to blame!)  So, what’s better?   I claim there was traffic, or just admit to my friends, “I’ll be ten minutes late.”  Honesty is the best policy, right?  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pet Peeves

          I’ve been finding myself a bit short on patience lately and getting (even more) easily annoyed.  I’ve noticed my peeves keep cropping up as well, as if to tempt me during my time of stress.  This got me wondering about the origin of pet peeves.  Who was peeve and why didn’t people like his pets?  So I consulted Wikipedia, my go-to resource for the people by the people.  Here’s what I found…
          The phrase was first used around 1919.   “The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning "ornery or ill-tempered.  Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.  These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.”  
          Hehe – the personal hygiene got me.  Most of my pet peeves happen to involve complete strangers.  Perhaps I feel more secure firing frustrating glances at people I don’t know.  Perhaps my husband is just extra clean ;).  Here are the top five.  Enjoy!
1.    Blinkers – use them when you are turning, turn them off when you are not.
2.   Speed limit – feel free to use this as a suggested minimum – not a mere suggestion.
3.   Early people – I am never one of you – no need to remind me.
4.   Whiny adults – Stop it!  Do what you’re supposed to do.
5.   Toilet paper – No, that last square and the shreds attached to the roll are not enough!

        <Sigh>  That was cathartic.  I can now go about the rest of my day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


         My blog went on vacation so the teacher in me could focus on getting back to work.  The week before school begins has always been a bit whacky for me.  I try to make a plan and stay the course so I can get as much done in as little time as possible, so I can also squeeze the last bit of summer out for myself.  The addition of children has added another layer to this oh-so-exciting week.  Here's what happened this year...
          The nanny started Monday plus they were going to daycare Tuesday.  I had planned three days at school, one day for me…perfect…until Andrew got sick.  Focus shift.
          Monday was still alright.  I went to school with a plan.  Unpack supplies and organize the room.  I know how easily distracted I can get in my classroom, so a plan seemed reasonable – as long as I stuck to it.  A handful of other teachers were also there so we chatted about our summers.  Not exactly a focus shift, but a nice social distraction from the real task at hand.  I didn’t do everything I had planned, but it was OK, I had all day Tuesday.
          Andrew was still sick.  But I could take Alex and hopefully Andrew would last two hours in my classroom.  Armed with snacks, trains and DVDs we headed in.  I was really going to need to stick to my plan today because I had a constant distraction accompanying me.  Andrew can focus on a task for about fifteen minutes which gave me a few decent chunks of time to make headway on my plan.  All the while I was juggling my focus.  Doing my thing while entertaining questions, fetching art supplies and two trips to the bathroom.  I probably got an hour’s worth of work in the two hours we were there, but I still had Wednesday & Friday.
          I had an appointment at 8:30 which I expected would last 30 minutes, then I was going to stop at WalMart to get plastic bins, then arrive to school at 9:30.  That was my plan.  I was still in the waiting room at 9:00.  I know, how often do doctor’s run on time?  But the office opened at 8:30, I thought I was golden!  No worries, I’ll just run in and out of WalMart.  Have I written about being alone, in a store, with no time constraints, yet?  Moms, you know what I’m talking about right? 
          I got to school at 10:30.  I had three hours before I had to leave for another appointment.  I still had Friday.  My “me day” would have to be postponed until Monday.  I was trying to stay focused, really I was.
          By Thursday, I was worried Andrew still hadn’t gotten any better.  The poor kid was living on every possible bread product, bananas and watered down Gatorade.  His year-round olive face was gray.  The Mom in me said I should take him to the doctor. 
          I went to school Friday morning.  Sometimes worry won’t let you focus.  I got a few things done.  I sped off to Andrew’s appointment where I received my favorite “it’s just a virus” diagnosis.  (He did at least give me a lab slip if he didn’t get better in another day or two.)  After lunch at home I went back to school.  We had planned on going to Vermont but, again, the Mom in me said, “No.”  Gotta focus on getting Andrew better.
          So, what’s the point of this blog?  (Other than to hear about a crazy Jess week!)  When I sat down I was first thinking about the word “focus” and how it can be the easiest and hardest thing to do at the same time.  Being a Mom, I alternate between short-term focus, focus shifting and focus juggling.  These three also happen when I am being a teacher.  Things get a bit trickier when I am doing them at the same time.
          The lesson I learned by the end of last week was this.  It is definitely helpful to have a plan.  But you have to allow for some flexibility.  You don’t want to feel overwhelmed and disappointed.  Being focused is important too, but so is focus flexibility.