So hard to be a mom

This is just some random thoughts about motherhood as I’m laying in bed unable to fall asleep.

It’s tough to be a fun, likeable, and patient mom a lot of times. To be like that most of the time is almost impossible.

I have unreasonable expectations of myself that I need to be this way and that as a mom. How do others make it seem so effortless?! Is it so?!

I’m feeling particularly vulnerable tonight with a cough that hurts my chest and feeling exhausted from arguing/ disagreeing with my 8-year-old son about daily life issies: fighting with his sister, who does what first, why does mommy do this or that, it’s not fair, I wish you’d, etc. All my insecurities surface and I blame myself for the these conflicts.

I know tomorrow will be a better day as I recover from this cold and begin fresh. A solution to this may be shifting my mindset that it’s inevitable that I’ll let my kids down. This is just a part of life, being human, and growing from mistakes. Whew…it’s hard stuff: growing pains for both kids and parents.

I try to remember that they are only young once and I try to enjoy this time. But when you’re in the thick of it with kids testing your limits and finding theirown personalities, you just want to be left alone to eat a whole bag of chocolate/ chips/ tub of ice cream in the comfort of a dark closet in the most stretchy pants ever.

Thanks for reading this far! I tried to write a bright and happy post because Christmas is a day away, and I didn’t want to be a party pooper. But I couldn’t. My heart is not there.

I’ll get in the spirit soon as I recover and have a long reconciling talk with my son tomorrow. Now I need to get some rest. Feeling better after I’ve shared. Thanks for reading!

Have a great Christmas eve and stay well during the holiday hustle and bustle!

Studying is for me…not for grades

Study

Growing up in an immigrant family in California I hated hearing “you must study hard!” My parents insisted, more like commanded, doing well in school. They told me countless times that to secure a prosperous and stable future in America was to study hard. I didn’t really know what that future looked like, but I imagined it would be a future without language barriers or money troubles.

To make this vague future a reality, I’d sit for countless hours at my desk staring at textbooks, solving math problems that seemed to have no answers, and daily working with private tutors to help me with my homework. Studying wasn’t intrinsically motivating for me; it was something I had to do well to make my parents proud. I wish that all my efforts translated to good grades but it didn’t. I struggled, did not understand what I was doing, and panicked everyday in school. My studies were aimless.

It wasn’t until I met an encouraging English teacher in 11th grade that I slowly came out of my shell and cultivated confidence in myself. His class was structured differently and he focused on helping his students develop their own voice. I was thrilled that he did not drill the dreaded five paragraph essays.

Instead, he had us read Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Faulkner. We had opportunities to explore different genres of literature and to apply it to out own lives: write and present acceptance speeches for pretend awards; write poetry about a favorite topic; write about personal experience and describe what we observed. Until I met him, I did not know that words could beautiful and useful.

His personal belief that I had potential fueled my desire and perseverance to do well in school. I wanted to study for my benefit and for what I could learn and gain from it. In a way, my newfound goal was synonymous with my parents except that it was self-willed and not externally imposed on me.

For years I wanted to go back and tell this amazing teacher of the positive influence he made in my life, but I never got the chance. I kept waiting to get one more degree to show him that I was succeeding academically. I thought it wasn’t enough and I had to prove myself more. By the time I was a doctoral student and I tried to find him, it was not possible.

All I know is that this special teacher turned my life around and showed me that studying is not about grades. It is about deepening the meaning of my life with what I learned. I am so glad he reached out to help an awkward teenager and to inspire me to rethink my life and studies.