Tuesday, October 16, 2012

to do...

My summer "to do" list. I did everything but one, so it must have been a good summer!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

exhale...

It needs to be said that I feel much better today than I did last night. The world looks a lot different in the morning.

There's something both cathartic and terrifying about making your feelings public. When I finished writing and hit publish, and then, for some reason unknown to me at this moment, posted the link to FB, I immediately went oh crap, oh crap, or crap! How many FB friends do I currently have? THAT many people are now witness to my mental breakdown of sorts. Oh crap! But as terrifying as it is to be judged or proven a fool, transparency is the one thing that I admire in the people I look up to. And transparency is publishing your faults to all of your FB friends to see.

So, yes, that was yesterday, and this is today. I suppose sometime in my sleep my "mommy-balls" began their protrusion... ya, I said it.

Thank you to everyone who offered support!

Love Always
Joan Blondina

Monday, March 12, 2012

when you are completely and totally at your wit's end...

something has to change. I never write in my blog, but I am right now because I have to be able to remind myself of something. Lately I have been overly stressed. It's clear as day. I am not my usual self. The reasons are beside the point. The point is that something HAS to change. It was my mom who helped me figure that out this evening, and as soon as it dawned on me, I logged on to blogger and began to write it down.

Today my morning started off wonderfully. I felt so positive and full of energy throughout the day. And then I cam home from work, and my feeling toward life went for a nose dive. Jeremy, at only one year old, managed to push every single one of my buttons until I was a crying mess. Seriously, it was me rocking him to sleep, my tears dripping on to his yellow pajamas, pleading "buddy, please". Not good. As soon as he was asleep (45 minutes later) I called my mom, crying, saying "why is it Jeremy's mission to prove that I am an unfit parent".

After a loooong, long conversation, she convinced me that there was nothing wrong with Jeremy, but that I have the problem (in nicer words than that). I am not coping well with the demands of being a mom. I fall apart when things get loud, when demands are put on me, and when I can't sit and have quiet. And Jeremy being a "spirited" kid, I need to grow some serious mommy-balls, so to speak.

In our conversation, I realized that the only way for me to be a more affective parent is by putting myself first. This totally goes against how I have been parenting Jeremy since he was born. I have always followed the principles of attachment parenting, but I thought that AP meant being selfless and self-sacrificing. But it's really not working! My mom said to me, "You have to go to yoga. You have to start going out, like gong to the movies", and she's right. It's been a year of me neglecting myself. Feeling totally guilty about everything I do that's not for Jeremy. It's really not working. "Even Michelle Obama puts herself first", says my Mom. "Michelle puts herself first, and when she's good, everyone else in the family falls suit. Plus it's a good lesson for your children". Mom, you are so right. I need to care for myself, so I can be a better Mom. Not this stressed out, anxious mom who walks on egg shells and lets her baby bring her to desperate tears. I know deep inside that when I take time for myself, when I go to yoga and exercise and meditate, I can deal with everyday stress like a champ. When I don't, well, I am who I am today.

So, at the end of our conversation, I decided that yes, the mommy needs to be happy and healthy for the children to be happy and healthy. You can not grow a garden in bad soil, I thought. If you want your garden to grow, you have to have healthy, nutrient rich soil. The same goes for your family. This is my new mantra.

So, thank you Mom for your wisdom. And thank you to those who have been telling me this for a while. It wasn't until tonight, at a very desperate moment, that I was able to hear it.

Love Always,
Joan Blondina


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

changing course...

It's becoming more and more clear to me that my professional life has moved in a different direction than I ever thought it would. I have always been a motivated person, but as of late, I seem to be anti-motivated, in a way. I took a masters degree  in social work policy with the hopes of working my way to the top of a system I saw as cruel, corrupt, wrong... A few years in my field later, and I could not see a more different future for myself.

When I decided to get into social work it was because of this core belief: I am only as strong as the person beside me. In other words, unless everyone is happy, there is no happiness. I still believe that to some degree. I still see myself as connected to my fellow community members. But I am not convinced that social change happens from a position of power.

I am leaning more toward a sense that good things happen when people are good and bring out the good in others. Good things happen amongst simple social interactions and connections with others. Good things happen in nature. Good things happen when people feel inspired. Good things happen when the librarian smiles at you, or when a stranger compliments your hand knit coffee cozy, or when a child at the park innocently asks you to push them on the swing... good feelings are contagious.

I no longer see myself as the CEO of a non profit organization, or sitting on the board of directors for a social service agency, or "fighting for change" in an advocacy campaign. I just don't see this as energy well spent. Not that I don't care about people anymore, but I don't have as much faith in those processes. As I see it, issues can't be pushed... they are better off being guided; disagree if you like.

These days, I see myself talking to my newly-landed neighbour about their feelings of depression and isolation. I see myself participating in my community garden and offering extra veggies to my neighbour. I see myself discussing with my children's school about the benefit of nature in their education. I see myself living by example in hopes that others will see my humble happiness and want to join in. I see myself going to work three days a week, doing my best to help out however I can, going home at the end of the day, and continuing to do my best to help however I can. That is all.

My dream is now to live a simple, humble life, free of unnecessary static and fuss. I am just not meant for any other life. I am glad that I know that about myself.

Joan Blondina

Saturday, January 7, 2012

longing...

Oh how I have been torturing myself the last couple of days with books about gardening and spring. It all started when Jeremy innocently pulled a gardening book off the bookshelf and onto the floor for my longing heart to see. Before I knew what was happening, I was on my tablet reserving a book from the library titled "Gardening Wisdom". I then felt this nagging need to leaf through some March and April volumes of Martha Stuart Living I have stashed away. Bad idea. Now spring is on my mind, and it isn't going anywhere. My poor little heart can't take this! We haven't even had snow yet; how will I survive? In order to get through January I think I need to head to the nearest garden center, sniff that earthy smell and get it right out of my system. It's all I can do to stop myself from grabbing my copy of "Waldon: Life in the Woods" and running for the nearest mossy rock...

All I wan to do it work on our garden. Or, rather, work on our lack of garden. When we bought our house the state of the outside was pretty unsightly. We had every intention of gutting it all and restarting this summer, but all we could manage to do was dig up the flower bed along the front of the house and plant a few perennials. By the end of the summer the backyard was a jungle of thistles and weeds up to our shoulders. We swore that we would get a head start on landscaping this fall, but a crisis of the bathroom-pluming type occurred, and nothing ever happened outside. So here I am, knee deep in the dead of winter, fantasizing about plants and flowers and herbs and that amazing mud smell left after the snow melts. And about lavender. And my dream of having a little lavender farm. And there's not a darn thing I can do about it! 

in love with a big lavender bush...
Please, little heart, find some patience...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

every day, in every way, it's getting better and better...

With the approaching change in our calendar year, I feel compelled to write something; to somehow explain how beautiful life is where I am; to articulate how true and how real many of those tear-jerking John Lennon songs have become to me (Imagine, Let it be, Beautiful Boy...). It's no secret that I had a rocky start to the first quarter (or two thirds?) of 2011. Despite the birth of a perfect and healthy son, it took a while for me to figure myself out after all was said and done. I guess it's fair to say that I am no good with chaos, and as much as I see myself and a spontaneous and adventurous person I also need calm, especially at home. So when a notably 'spirited' baby boy was plunked into my arms I was totally thrown off. But I don't want to spend too much energy thinking about that part of my year today. Today I want to celebrate everything that is good in my life!

As cliche as it may sound, my life has exploded with joy and purpose because of Jeremy. Jeremy will never know how much he means to me. He came at a time when I honestly felt like I had life figured out. Easy-peasy. These days I am even more challenged to live my life with intention, because each decision I make affects my family. Simple choices, like what kind of music to listen to while cleaning the house matters to me. We chose with intention when it comes to what kind of toys we have (or don't have) in the house, the way we dress Jeremy, the things we do together as a family, the food we eat (and don't eat) and where we sleep. And each and every day when I see my little bub already turning out to be a marvelous child I am thankful that I had the stregnth to trust my intuition about what kind of family life I want to have.

Life here is rich. The three of us are a bunch of hams, making up silly songs all day and dancing around. We have a cute little home in an alright-for-now neighborhood. Life is also (mostly) peaceful. When people comment oh how happy, calm and good natured Jeremy is, my heard does a little jig because that has always been my wish for him.  I can't imagine what the year(s) ahead will bring.

Eternally grateful for the blessings I have,
Joan Blondina