Thursday, May 28, 2009

What 'completes' me

I recently watched Jerry Maguire. I hadn’t seen it in years, and it’s kind of the last time Tom Cruise wasn’t creepy. Besides, my husband was out of town – the kids were in bed and I had poured myself a bowl of cereal for dinner – a chick flick was definitely in order. As for the movie, let’s face it - we’re all sitting through the whole thing just to hear Tom tell Renee, “you complete me.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this notion of completeness. It may be a male idea altogether. A woman who doesn’t think she has something to improve upon is a rare commodity. I did have a close friend who one day declared herself ‘state of the art.’ Many hours on the therapist’s couch and hundreds of miles on her running shoes, not to mention checking off many of her life’s goals had preceded this – and my dear friend was a truly remarkable woman. I think I was so struck by her declaring herself ‘complete’ because it’s something I can’t actually imagine.

I am in a constant state of self-improvement – or at least trying. You may be familiar with the internal refrain, “I should lose 10 pounds/volunteer more/see my friends more often/make more money/be a better mother, wife, friend/etc. etc.” One of my favourites is that I think I should give blood. I really do want to give blood. I know there is a need for my blood. So what’s the problem? Well, it may have something to do with two kids in kindergarten, a business, a house, husband, extended family, friends – not to mention all the other new projects I am working on. So I don’t give blood YET, but it’s a handy thing to feel incomplete about in the meantime.

I once asked my (older and wiser) brother when he thought we got to be ‘complete.’ He answered, ‘if you’re lucky, about 3 minutes before you die.’ Perhaps he’s right. Maybe the point is the journey towards completion rather than actually attaining it. Jerry Maguire was lucky – all he needed was his wife! I’d ponder this more, but I’ve got a whole pile of ‘shoulds’ to get to before the kids get home.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

Imagine learning about a world where you had no context and no reference points. This must be what it's like to acquire vocabulary as a three-year-old. I love my daughter's turns of phrase because they almost always make sense. To her. One of the perks of working from home is being exposed to what she has to say throughout the day. Here is what she might experience:

She occasionally enjoys a bowl of Raisin Brown cereal.

But at the coffee shop she likes to order a bright yellow croissant. (Butter croissant.)

For lunch she's partial to a girl cheese sandwich.

And her favourite flavour of ice cream is choc-lick.

After she bathes, she'll slip into her bath-rope.

If she's going away, she'll pack her things in a soup case.

And the worst part about summer is most certainly when I have to apply the sun-scream.

Surely your little ones must say these kinds of things too. Please write to me and tell me what's on your kid's mind. I'd love to hear.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's mom is full of woe

I know it’s Thursday today without even looking at the calendar or doing a quick mental check. I know because my patience and energy for my kids are on their last legs. I fear that the week takes its toll on me, little by little, until I become the dreaded Thursday mom. For example, we ate breakfast this morning in total silence – my son immersed in the Lego magazine, my daughter daydreaming about who-knows-what and me catching up on some work on the laptop that I am embarrassed to admit has been spending more time on the kitchen table than it ought to. What’s worse? I LIKED the silence, I was grateful for the silence.

It occurred to me some time ago that I am a much better mom on a Monday than I am on a Thursday. On Mondays we chat about the week ahead, what we did on the weekend, who would win in a battle between Yoda and Dumbledore (jury’s out), etc. I am patient, interested and enthusiastic. So what happens to my reservoir of motherhood as the week goes by? And more importantly, how can I avoid this every week? After all, it’s not the kids’ fault that it’s Thursday. I’ve heard the adage that parenthood is a marathon and not a sprint, but I didn’t realize that for me the marathon would begin anew every seven days. I guess I need to work on this, particularly since there are about 800 more Thursdays until my kids are more or less grown. On the bright side, this does give me ample time to get it right. And in the shorter term, we’ll all look forward to Friday’s mom who knows that an afternoon at Grandma’s and takeout sushi are in the cards.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Short Cuts

Everbody uses short cuts to save themselves time, aggravation and effort. Who wants to spend life in line ups, traffic or any situation when there is faster, better alternative?

Now, when the occasion merits, I've been known to be something of a "crowd snake." I've got a skill (and enthusiasm) for sussing out the fastest line, the table that's about to open up in the crowded cafeteria, the empty seats in the movie theatre. I'm quite proud of it, actually. It makes me feel efficient.

Yesterday, with 20 minutes to spare before a meeting on the other side of town, I dashed into the supermarket. If I didn't do it then, it wouldn't have gotten done that day. And it had to get done. I plotted my course through the aisles and with military precision grabbed what I needed.

Ready to pay, I scanned the check outs and weighed my options. (Fifteen minutes to get to the meeting now.) Four people ahead of me in line at the "8 items or less" counter; nobody at the self-serve check out. I know it's a risky move, but I proceed to the self-serve aisle. I begin to scan my items.

"Put your item in the bag!" the invisible cashier tells me.

What? It is in the bag! I've put my item in the bag! The "real" cashier has to come over and help me out. "This is supposed to be faster," I mutter to myself.

Ten minutes until meeting.

"Take the item out of the bag," invisible cashier demands.

Out of the bag? Why do I have to take the item out of the bag?? I just had real cashier help put the item in the bag. I glance behind me, customers gracefully moving through the "8 items or less" aisle. The real cashier has to come back. Again.

"This aisle is supposed to be faster," I mutter to her. "I chose this aisle because it's supposed faster!" I'm freaking out now. Everyone who was ahead of me in the other aisle is finished. They're probably in their cars. They might even be at home by now, happily unpacking their groceries.

I pay. I literally run out of the grocery store. I race to my meeting.

You know, if the idea is to make life simpler, easier and more efficient, I’m all for a little self-serve. Clearly, however, this “short cut” didn’t turn out to be the big time-saver I thought it would. On the way to the meeting I couldn't help but think that in life, in work, sometimes you just need to slog it out and that short cuts just don't pay.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.