Featured

What is GRIT(S)?

I’ve been thinking about the name I chose for this site…”GRITS Online”. As every girl born south of the Mason-Dixon knows, GRITS stands for “Girls Born In The South”. And yes that is me. That is so me, that even when I don’t have my accent going, a simple “I’m originally from the South/Mississippi” has people nodding as if that one fact explains everything they know about me. It doesn’t explain everything, but it does explain a lot. What can I say, you can take the girl out of the South, but you can not take the South out of the girl!

Lately I’ve come to realize that GRIT(S) also means something else. It means those of us that have been through a rough time, are going through a rough time, or know that life is full of rough times, and yet we simply grit our teeth, grit our faith and grit in the belief that it will one day get better and keep going. The dictionary defines “grit” as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck.

I can not think of a better way to want to be described. I was recently talking with a friend who wasn’t afraid to call me out on my flaws. I love/hate/love those in my life who do that for me. At that moment I was leaning more towards the “hate” part until I was reminded that even my flaws can be a positive thing. I literally stopped formulating the diatribe of cleverly worded insults I was forming in my mind when I heard that. And suddenly the “hate” went back to “love” and then also more than a tad “annoyed” because darn it-I had a really good response formed!

When I told my friend that they laughed and said “That’s one of the things I love about you.” Well, there went any ounce of annoyance and my heart was once again full of love and gratitude for those God has placed in my life who aren’t afraid to remind me of my strengths and my weaknesses. And it’s both of those that make up “GRIT”. It’s the weaknesses in ourselves that we acknowledge and deal with and our strengths we use to overcome whatever life has dealt us.

So I’m proposing a new definition of the term GRITSIn addition to the whole “Girls Raised in The South”, how about it also stand for:

Girls/Guys Reveling In Their Stamina

And y’all…guess what another word for “stamina” is? GRIT.

So I now declare us the #gritsgang. I encourage y’all to share what you’re doing to overcome your rough moments with the hashtag, and I promise to be completely open with y’all with what I’m facing. For instance this week along I’m dealing with:

-School IEP meetings-always a good outcome, never a good thing to prep for

-Finances suddenly changing.

-Accepting a new freelance job that has me currently undergoing twelve hours of online training. I literally have a sign taped to my door that says “Do not disturb-text only if emergency!” Luckily The Ex has had the kids the last two days! It also meant having the cable/internet guys out here twice and the phone guys out here to help me move wires and set up my new home office-in my bedroom. This job also means committing actual day and time blocks, something I’m not one to do since my schedule changes so randomly from day to day, with three kids and an Ex who’s own work schedule is never the same two days in a row.

-Several close relationships/friendships being redefined. Sure it happens, and yes we all survive them, but it’s never an easy process.

-Accepting that it’s a holiday weekend and spring break starts Friday which means I have ten days of three kids home ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT and I’m not ready for this. It’s also a reminder Summer is getting closer and I’M NOT READY FOR THIS. And I love our church, it’s like our extended family. But this weekend means we will be there for the next four days at some point or another. Once I’m there I will love every single second-Easter is truly one of my favorite holy days and this past Sunday being Palm Sunday is always one of my favorite Sunday Services, and I got to be a part of three amazing services last week that left me so spirit filled I thought I might bust. But looking at the calendar and seeing all those dates I get overwhelmed, especially when I also know we have school and soccer practice (why did I let my child manage the team?) and shopping and errands so much else at the same time.

-My lawn guy’s mower broke. This might be the thing that breaks me because my OCD is strong so seeing my lawn unruly drives me nuts. I love our normal lawn guy, he’s so amazing and sweet and just as OCD as me about it which means I never have to worry if he’s gonna show up-he just somehow knows the grass is getting long and I hear him outside on his riding mower taming my almost 3/4 acre lot. But now I have to find a new lawn guy for the interim and I don’t wanna! I know #firstworldproblem if there ever was one, right? But hey…sometimes it’s the little things that push us over the top!

Stay strong Grits Gang!

PS-I promise I’ll come up with a catchy logo and slogan for us soon.

Hanging Tough…

Sunday was good…Sunday I was at the beach, enjoying some rare solo sun time, reading a book by oldest had recommended (yay for my kid finally being almost my contemporary when it comes to reading-love discussing books with her), texting a friend…later on went out to dinner with Auntie and toasted the fact that I had survived over a full year of this official single mom life…so Happy Father’s Day to me!

Monday was…busy. Tommy started his new daycare, Ani started a summer day camp, and I started realizing that just because someone says they want you to work for them, they hire you, you even fill out paperwork and take the online orientation…it doesn’t mean you necessarily have a job.

By Tuesday, FOUR jobs I thought I had fell out for one reason or another…I think. One place I still can’t get a return call other than a secretary saying “your manager will be calling you back…”. I also spent the day running around, after starting it with running nuts.

Wednesday I decided to not only keep applying to more jobs, I followed up with places I had already applied. Something that was taught to me over 20 years ago in “How to Get Hired 101”, but I was a teenager then…no wonder I forgot! Who truly remembers their teen years? Don’t we just block it out? But anyways…I hit the books, I mean computer, and my phone. And scored three impromptu phone interviews, two screening calls, and three interview requests. In four hours. I also found out several places had already hired someone else…and many of them hadn’t even looked at the applications yet. I get it, you’re busy and this is why you are hiring an admin! (Most of my applications were for admin/office/reception jobs…the same job I’ve been doing for twenty years…and love…cause I’m weird like that).

Thursday dawned…and set…and I ended the day with hopefully one, possibly two positions. I say hopefully because of my history with the last four jobs…so until I start working there…and collect my first paycheck…I’ll stay on hold.

But it’s Friday, and already it’s been a rough week. A week of ups and downs…and of realizing there is a certain type of desperation that lives online (not just with the job, but also personally, I ran into some weird situations). And as I gear up for a busy weekend I’m looking forward to a brand new week, and hopefully easier one. Well…maybe not easier…but if I don’t have to tell someone I won’t marry them even if they double my salary (that actually happened…and I didn’t even know the guy beyond his name and business) or realize I had been passed over for a job because “mommy” will work for free (also happened…told you it was a weird week), then I’m doing great!

Advertisements

#RealTalk

Tuesday morning I shared this to the GRITSOnline Facebook page:

UNCENSORED: This is the face of a mom who completely lost her sh** this morning…why? Because my toddler woke me up at 4:51 having taken his diaper off at some point and was covered in pee and made he was lying in a wet bed. At 5:37 he was pulling my pants down because I was using the wrong cup to make his juice. At 5:43 my 11 yr old came out-for the 2nd time dressed like she was going to church instead of Day camp and asking me for the fourth time about her lunch and snack. At 6:01 my teen got mad because I didn’t award her a medal for her telling me she was gonna actually shower today. So at 6:03 I called my ex and told him to get his a$$ over here. I have these kids 128 hours a week…and he didn’t stay up late last night folding laundry and watching the final episode of OITNB. By 6:30 he was asking why the toddler-now covered in juice, cereal and poop-needed a bath so I lost it. I walked away from everyone…played two rounds of Bubble Shooter before hopping in the shower. And as I climbed out to hear kids and ex banging on my door…I realized this is the side of life we never talk about…the moments we refuse to post online…the scenes in movies we laugh a little too much at because they hit way too close to home…and I had forgotten to wash my hair. Crap. And all before 7:00 am!!! So I while I will fake the hair being clean, throw concealer on the dark circles and once again PRAISE JESUS for coffee, sugar and music turned up too loud as I go about my day…I will not fake that my life is easy, that is always happy and that I don’t lose my sh** probably way too much.
#momlife #singlemom #crazymom

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor and closeup
The photo above is what was attached. I also posted it on my personal Instagram account, because…well, I’ll just say it…I have found a great community of fellow moms, crocheters (aka “hookers”…yes we actually call ourselves that), and other like-minded people via IG. Within a matter of hours, well…I had received a huge outpouring of love and support and comments like “go go momma!”. Well, okay so no one actually left that comment on FB or IG…but a friend who I texted about my morning said it.
And I meant what I said: we rarely talk about the hard stuff, and it’s normally after our hair is done, the makeup on and the house clean…in other words, way, way after it’s over. Not immediately after the craziness…or in this case, in the small break from it.
My day didn’t get any less crazy. I ended up dropping the younger two off at their respective daycare/day camps (aka BEST DECISION I EVER MADE), then drove over an hour to take my oldest to a doctor appointment that lasted seven minutes. One hour there and one hour back for SEVEN MINUTES. But it’s her psychiatrist, and considering child psychs are an endangered species in these parts, my daughter will actually TALK TO this psych, I don’t mind driving an hour only to have to sit in front of a computer monitor…because the doctor is actually two hours away, they Skype her into this office for appointments two days a week. But it works! And Lis talks to her! And in the last year we’ve been seeing her we’ve found new ways to help Lis and the rest of cope with the fun/hell/challenge that is autism+puberty.
And since they are working on the roads and we live in a tourism area, we left early…only to not hit a single construction zone or car packed with beach chairs and suitcases. So we went to the local library for Lis to find some books she needs for her summer work (Lis’ school and summer homework is another post entirely), then off to the appointment, then home for a quick powernap, then off to the high school to figure out her schedule, then to our actual local (as in-closer than an hour away) library for the rest of her books, then the grocery store for dinner stuff, then pick up Tommy, pick up Ani, then home to make fish tacos with a toddler on my hip, then bath, bedtime, dishes, emails, more laundry…is it any wonder I collapsed on my bed later than night?
And these are my days…every day. These are most moms (and dads) days. It’s non-stop crazy…to the point, we simply learn to deal with crazy and prepare for the REAL crazy stuff…emergencies and illnesses and unexpected company, and schoolwork that is due TOMORROW and your boss giving you an unreal deadline and all the million of other things that happen. And we don’t talk about them. We only talk about the times everyone is smiling, clothes all clean, no one arguing, asking for something for the 1000000th time…and you know what? Those moments last just long enough to take the photo we post.
The photo above? It’s how I look 90% of the time. Not gonna lie. The morning I described? It happens five or six days out of seven. The day spent running all over doing all those errands and yet not feeling like anything actually got done? It’s a daily occurrence. And yet we don’t talk about it. We don’t share those days. We shy away from posting those pictures. Why? I don’t know about you, but I think we all could use some more #realtalk.

Life…It Keeps Coming!

LAWD….Y’all….so much for my promise to post more often, huh? Every time I think life is gonna slow down…life throws me another curve! So much has happened in the last month…I need to get better about making time to update yall!

So what’s new? Well, I’m starting a new position soon that will require me to spend more time outside the home…a big switch since I haven’t done this in several years. But it’s a job I’ve done before (with another company), and LOVED, so I’m looking forward to doing it again, this time just a bit differently. I did all the new hire paperwork online, and so far everything I’ve read makes sense. Plus I have flexibility with my schedule, which I need with three kids going in three different directions!

With me working that means Tommy gets to go to “school”, aka daycare full-time. I think he will love it, we visited the place and he immediately found a friend and was happy to go along with the other kids. I’m looking forward to him finding playmates his own age as well since currently my not-even-two-year-old son thinks he’s twelve…because his playmates now are sisters and their friends, aka tweens and teens.

And school is out for the summer…we are preparing to move one into middle school and one into high school…and I’m totally not ready to have a high schooler! And now it’s summer and both girls have things they want to do, things they are signed up for already and have already said “I’m bored” enough to drive me nuts.

So that’s life here…it goes on!

It’s Been A Hard Day’s Night(s)

Sorry for disappearing on everyone. I had the best of intentions, lots of things worked up in my mind and on paper (well, on screen) I was working on and then had several major things happen in my life all at once. One of them was tragic, one was a sad but welcomed relief, and one was simply a majorly dodged bullet.

First the tragic-I am currently jobless as the three-yes, three, work-from-home jobs I had are no longer there. Two of them I had to quit when I was spending more money on equipment, supplies, gas, and babysitting than I was making. One seems to have simply disappeared. “Ghosting” is the word the cool kids use nowadays. My supposed employer ghosted me-as in, disappeared, won’t return calls or messages…I have no clue what happened but based on what happened with the other two I’m counting myself lucky.

Then the sad but welcome relief-after a long, long battle with many illnesses my sweet father-in-law passed away. I loved this amazing man and am honored to have known him, and now be tasked with raising three of his grandchildren-all who take after him in their own unique ways. But the last few months life had gotten hard for him, and I saw him two weeks before he passed and I simply was shocked at the shell of this once-great giant of a man I’ve known for sixteen years now. That day my mind went back to the first time I saw him, and it was like he was two different people. So while my sadness lingers, my heart is rejoicing that he is no longer in pain or suffering, but instead reunited with his parents and is probably up in heaven composing his ongoing-opus while building the biggest model plane in heaven. RIP, my sweet Music Man.

Then there was the dodged bullet…it’s a long, complicated story-too long for me to go in here…but a man I had been seeing, a man I had gotten close enough to start making him a daily part of our lives, turned out to be someone I didn’t know. Someone with severe emotional and mental problems and the day after I kicked him out of our lives I simply kicked myself at not seeing the signs earlier. I’m still discovering things days later, things he lied about and things he hid from me. All I can say is I’m grateful it didn’t go further than it did. Auntie has been amazing, offering her support and reminding me she didn’t see through the mask he wore either until the very end. That final night we sat in her room going over things and realized that we had just dodged a very large bullet. And I’d like to say I’m heartbroken…but the man I thought I knew and loved was not the man he turned out to be. So instead of being heartbroken I am instead grateful and taking the entire incident as one giant lesson learned.

One thing I accepted years ago that with my own struggles with anxiety and depression, plus my children each having their own set of needs to be met…I cannot take on anyone else’s problems. It sounds callous, but it’s true. I have enough on my plate without having to worry about another grown adult. Someone close to me says this is almost a guarantee I will remain single the rest of my life and I am actually okay with that. While yes, someone to hang out with and share my life with would be nice, it’s not needed. And while I don’t mind being with other adults who can physically and emotionally care for themselves…I cannot be expected to care for someone who will not take the time to take care of themselves first. It’s one way I do the same for me-I take care of myself by accepting my limits and refusing to deal with others’ problems.15623619_351586378537030_8524488047847276544_n

So yeah…it’s been rough. Today and the rest of the week I’m taking to reflect and rejuvenate and simply focus on day to day tasks like the never-ending pile of laundry I have, children that insist on eating dinner every. single. night (it would be nice if one night all three simply said “I’m not hungry, so don’t worry”…but I doubt it will ever happen…nice to dream though!). In the meantime I’m starting over again, facing each new day as it comes. Cause that’s what we do…after a long hard night/nights…we wake up and face each new day with a smile, knowing we are stronger, smarter, and most importantly…alive.

Weekend Activities

We had such a busy weekend around here! The kids got back Friday afternoon from a trip with Daddy to their favorite place in the whole world…Grandma’s House! To be fair my MIL is an amazing hostess so I can’t blame them. She and my FIL have mastered the art of making their house a peaceful home. For instance this is their front yard…

I mean…doesn’t that just say “come in and make yourself at home”?!? 

When they got back I had gotten a kiddie pool/slide for Tommy and Ani also loved playing in it…which was perfect since it was almost 90 degrees! 

They also headed for our “sandbox” I had made on our back porch. 

Cheap baby pool from Walmart+two $3 bags of play sand + old beach toys=hours of fun while Mom works from home!

Dinner was done on the grill, thanks to a morning trip to the grocery store where the guy in the meat & seafood department clued me in on some awesome fresh tuna steak they had just gotten in:

I made those, roasted red potatoes with rosemary (also done on the grill-just put the roasting pan over the flame and let them cook!) and cucumber-tomato salad which is a summer staple in our house as Auntie requests it weekly. I’m telling you-make friends with your grocery store staff and you will always know the best deals and freshest foods! 

Sunday we headed off to church and even though I’m not big into matching outfits for my kids, I proudly rocked my new tshirt from Imperishable Clothing Co. Their #jsbtee design caught my eye last year and I bought one for Tommy and then recently snagged their new rocker tee design for myself. 

I gotta admit, it made me feel way cooler than I actually am! And I had more than one person-young and old-tell me how much they liked it. 

After church we came home as I had some work due then it was more playtime and even a short nap before getting everyone organized for Monday. I have a busy week and lots of irons in the fire which is making me super excited at some new things I’m getting to learn and hopefully soon share with you!

In the meantime I shared this on the GRITSOnline Facebook page this morning as it seemed to fit the day:


Hope your Monday isn’t eating you! Have a great one #GritsGang!

Ugh. 

That’s the word for the weekend. And a reminder that if you say to yourself “gee I wish I had more time to catch up on my DVR and finish my book”, God will give you that time…in the form of a fever that comes on so quickly you have to leave church early on Thursday night and by 3:00 Friday morning are so ill you can’t pick your son up from his crib cause you ache so bad. 

Long story short: I have a fever, aches, and sore throat. After being unable to get the fever to break for almost 24 hours I made Auntie drag me to the ER only to be told “Well it’s not flu but you are sick”.

Gee thank doc, I could have told you that. In the meantime everything I had planned for this holiday weekend was canceled, including church and church activities the kids were looking forward to as much as me. All I can say is, ugh. 

In the meantime I’ve only enough energy to catch up on about half the DVR, I’m getting sick of pushing fluids and taking meds to keep the fever down that is also tearing up my stomach and I’m so tempted to persue that back surgery I was suppose to have two years ago (but instead ended up pregnant). 

The only good news to come out of the weekend is the one website I write for published two of my articles recently and they are getting pretty good views so yay me! 

And if you need me I’ll be over here slowly dying while parenting from my bed or couch while moaning over and over “ugh”.

Life, As It Happens

Wow…best laid plans and all. I had every intention of posting three different things last week…and not one post got done. What can I say except life interfered?

Auntie is sick, the kids were out of school Friday, and a part-time job I recently started quickly became more than what I was told with little support. Or communication. I hate giving up on anything, but the reality is I had to weigh the income versus the outcome (not just in dollars, though it did cost me some $$$, but also time and energy). And when I did, it was clear I couldn’t do it and still do everything else. So I had to resign. I was sick over it until I realized that my time was now clear for other opportunities and some of them have already happened!

Today being the Monday before a full moon, I was already ready to pull my hair out before 8:00 am. The girls weren’t listening, Tommy woke up being fussy, the house is a mess, we were out of cereal, bread and everything they wanted to eat for breakfast, and generally, I felt like I was behind before I even got my day started. I know these days happen, and it’s not a bad thing for the kids to see Mom get frustrated from time to time because it happens. We all get frustrated and overwhelmed from time to time. Unfortunately, they left for school before they saw me stop, take a breath and refocus.b3de588da03f26491c1de11367b48b26

Which is what I did. I got Tommy some breakfast (in his case fruit and crackers, score one for toddlers and their “snack all day” attitudes!), threw some laundry in the wash, and took a shower. That shower ten minutes, max is all it took for me to calm down, refocus and have a calmer outlook.

And when nothing went according to my eternal schedule it helped to remember that as long as it gets done, it’s okay.  The rest of the day and evening are already bookmarked with a soccer game, shopping for the missing breakfast items, dinner and a webinar that happens to take place at the same time bedtime starts! Luckily Lis is old enough to handle her baby brother with minimal help.

ravens-chix-chat-mommyhood-is-tough-and-honestly-i-stink-at-it-zkwswk-clipart

But that is a mom’s life. We get it done. Day after day, we find a way to get it done no matter what else happens. Even if it means we sometimes have to get overwhelmed and use it as the excuse for a peaceful ten-minute shower!

 

#mommyfail

Did I have the most amazing post to share with y’all! It was a delicious recipe for roast beef that I managed to use to make two meals that all of my family-each of them picky in their own way-gobbled up. It was totally going to be a #mommybrag moment. 

Until…Tommy was up and down all night long as high winds and rain came through. Whoever said the last child sleeps the best…lied. This kid is my lightest sleeper. He wakes up at anything, sometimes nothing. He’s also a wanna-be power napped which means if he sleeps for ten minutes he thinks he’s fine. He’s not…but he likes to think that. But him being up and down meant Mama was up and down. 

Which led to a grumpy, clingy morning while I tried to get some stuff done. Just when I had him settled for his nap and was literally typing up this amazing post, my phone rang. It was the school. Never a good sign. Uh-oh, I thought. 

Sure enough Ani was sick. Like got-sick-in-the-hall sick. Poor gal, she was so embarrassed. That meant I had to wake a sleeping toddler (a huge taboo, I know), throw a cap over my unwashed, I combed Mom ponytail and drive over to the school in my sweats. It’s moments like this I’m ever so grateful my kids go to schools where they don’t judge you based on looks. Cause I know I looked a sight. Picked up my ailing girl, made it home with only one minor incident, and headed inside to clean her up and try and get Tommy down for his nap. But he’s already slept his ten minutes so that was no go. 

The rest of day has been a mess of a hungry, bored tween, a grumpy teething toddler, Auntie and I trying to coordinate pickups for the rest of the week as Lis has soccer games or practices everyday, me on the phone with the cell phone company, me on the phone with the cable company, me on the phone with the phone company dealing with service/billing issues/tech calls. 

In between I’ve also tried to get laundry put away, trash gathered for the curb, sign homework papers and figure out dinner. 

Basically my #mommybrag? It’s more like a #mommystruggle. I know we all have days like this and I know bedtime is coming soon, but in the middle of the chaos it’s hard to remember these things. At one point I was simply counting each breath I took as I watch my house get slowly destroyed in front of me. Then I left Ani and Tommy with Auntie, snuck out of my house and did this:


This is me, sitting in my mommy-van (what my kids call my minivan, can’t imagine why!), eating a chocolate bar I found in my purse (score!), waiting a full fifteen minutes early to pick Lis up from her game. Please note the still unwashed hair, and lack of makeup. Not seen: the saying on my shirt:

“God bless this hot mess!”

At that point I felt like one! I ended up only eating half the chocolate, but just taking that fifteen minutes allowed me time and space I needed to go home and face the rest of the evening. 

I didn’t cook dinner-kids wanted quesadillas and I was okay with that! I didn’t put the laundry away. I didn’t do anything else on my to-do list. I did disassemble the car seat and wipe it out, throw the cover in the wash but that was about as productive as I got the rest of the evening. Instead of catching up on work I ended up taking a bath and relaxing in my chair while watching crap reality tv. 

The laundry and to-do list will still be there, but instead of stressing about it, I decided to relish in my #mommyfail. And I went to bed early completely happy I had. 

So no #mommybrag…except to say we all need to embrace the #mommyfail once in a while and know that tomorrow is a new day, and in my case a kid-free day as it’s their day with Daddy. Which means my to-do list and laundry and chores and work stuff? Will be that much easier and go by faster. 

So embrace the failure moms, know you aren’t alone and sometimes the best mommy brag we can do is admit our mommy fails!