I’m so excited…and I just can’t hide it!!

Today I received excellent news: I was chosen to preview a book that is being published and review it here on the blog!!!! For some people that may not seem like a huge deal but for someone who is in the midst of writing their first book, to me…this is HUGE. I don’t know the rules of what I can/can’t share yet, but the book is sitting right behind me and as soon as I am done with this post I plan to dig in to it.

As a writer, one of my favorite things is hearing people’s opinions of my work. Good, bad, and ugly. I enjoy the ugly the best, because it helps me know whether I’ve gone ’round the bend, or if that person just isn’t in my demographic. Both are valuable feedback, so I’m really excited to be a part of the team (which, let’s be honest, is my standard operating function).

I am additionally¬†excited because soon we will begin adding to our brood. My Toddlerface is now 2 years old and I’m ready. I will admit that there have been several days lately where we have just been SO bonded and I fear changing that, but outside of the fear, I’m ready.

ALSO…I started working with a coach! I stepped out in faith when I quit my job in January, and it’s time to take the necessary steps to get my book published and figure out how to do good work in the world. For any one who doesn’t know me, I consider parenting and child care to be guerrilla warfare on society. I am not the sort of person who wants to be at the forefront of change, but I truly believe that by putting good people in to the world I facilitate changing it for the better, and that is always my goal. Look out world, I’m coming for you!!

My core desire is to empower mothers, and parents in general, to have options in parenting. To educate parents so that they feel empowered to make choices based upon what they feel is right for their family, regardless of whether it was how they were parented or what their limitations might feel like at the time. I believe that being an informed and empowered parent changes the lives of our children, which changes our world.

I would also like to have an impact on the way families choose child care. Many families default to certain forms of care, and I would love to help them get clarity about what they really want/need, as well as help them retain good relationships with their caregivers. More often than not, between teacher burnout in centers and nanny turnover in the private sector, there is a lot of inconsistency in the lives of children and their caregivers. I feel strongly that a large part of that is due to a lack of communication between parents and caregivers, be they preschool teachers, daycare providers, or private nannies.

I am also hoping to start using Periscope for my own Scopes in the next few weeks. I want to open a forum for people to ask questions in a real-time environment. I don’t know if people will show up, but I’ll be there either way. Obviously so much is contextual when dealing with children and parenting, but over time I’d love to have it evolve in to a Q&A where people can email questions before hand, but get real time feedback and discussion. If anyone has parenting or child care related questions, feel free to email me at inthemomcave@gmail.com and I’ll answer them here on the blog. I have 22+ years of child care experience that includes a variety of capacities, and my wealth of knowledge is open to all of you.

For now, I’m going to grab my tea (Good Earth tea for this evening) and dive in to this new book!!! I am so excited about life right now. Wishing everyone a very happy Friday night!!

XOXO-E

 

There is no try, there is just do…right?

Today has been a strange day. I had nightmares last night (an active shooter at my child’s school and a snake about to bite me) and woke early this morning. I started the day tired, which is more the norm for me than I would like to admit.

I decided that I would make myself something AWESOME for breakfast because I deserve good food too, right? Yes, yes I do!

I took one sweet potato, five mushrooms, 1/4 of an onion, two eggs, a couple spoons full of fresh bacon grease, and the leftover enchilada sauce I had. I cooked the veggies first, then added the enchilada sauce and a few shakes of chipotle powder for a kick. Once the sweet potatoes were soft enough, I cracked the eggs on top and put on a lid. I ended up with something that was SO good I ate all of it. Not half like I originally intended. The. Whole. Thing.

   
 (Update: I’m trying to post pictures again, hopefully it works) For some reason I can’t post pictures of it right now, which is a great time to invite you to head over and check out my Instagram (@inthemomcave) where you can find pictures of my food, my kids, and my dog.

After baseball, we spent some time hanging at home…it is Saturday after all. Today is a brisk but beautiful day in Northern California, sun is shining, all that jazz. Our kitchen has a great window, and I love staring out of it while I day dream. I mean…wash the dishes. As I was standing there, something caught my eye: a basketball.

My stomach sank, my heart got heavy, and I felt choked up. Never again will I hear the Moody Teen outside sinking threes like Curry. Never again will I see the Dancer pirouette through my kitchen. All because I couldn’t buy in to the lie.

I know the saying, “There is no try, there is just do”…I know it well. Yet here I sit, trying hard to figure out why. Feeling the weight of their absence in my life. I can should myself in to oblivion, it will do nothing for the situation. The truth is that I stand behind the statements I made, regardless of the fact that they were private conversations. I wish I had a chance to explain to the boys, to tell them the truth. Who knows if it would change their minds but it sure would help my heart.

There is no try here…*sigh*.

How to un-link your Apple products (and stop your privacy from being violated)

Have you ever had your privacy violated? Has someone ever read your private thoughts/conversations? If so…this post is for you, and to stand in solidarity with you.

Recently, some things came up in my professional life that bled over in to my personal life and I decided that some changes needed to be made. After much stress, running many budget numbers, and endless hours of conversation with my nearest and dearest friends…I resigned from my job. As a personal assistant as well as a nanny, I had been given a computer to help with my boss’s admin work (I am also a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) and part of my resignation included giving back the computer.

Before returning the MacBook, I made sure to delete my info. I did NOT to a factory reset, which is a huge part of why I am writing this post. I disallowed the computer in iTunes, erased mail/messages, erased passwords in Chrome, etc. I felt good about it, and returned the computer. I am not a very “tech” person, though I can troubleshoot like a BOSS!

A few days after I returned the computer I received an email with some very personal information in it. As it turns out, somehow my former employer got in to my texts and emails on the computer, and read them. All of them. When I say “all of them” I don’t mean parts and pieces, I mean every. single. word. that he could get his eyes on. The kicker is that I did not use his computer as my method of communication, I sent these texts and emails from my phone, but due to Apple allowing message sharing between devices, he was able to see them. In my opinion, a person of sound ethics would never violate the privacy of another human being like that. On the off chance that the desire was so strong that one could not help it…I cannot imagine EVER turning to said person with private and confidential information and using it against them.

I know where my mistake was made, and I’m writing this to share with the world how to not be like me. When I set up the MacBook initially, I had to allow it access to my Apple ID, which was separate from my iTunes, but when I was breaking everything down, I forgot to change that ONE piece. One tiny misstep, and here I am.

If you own Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macbook, Macbook Air, WHATEVER) and you intend to stop using them, you MUST follow these steps to separate the device from your Apple ID.

  1. Sign in to your apple ID from a device that is NOT the one you will be removing. https://appleid.apple.com
  2. Scroll down to the DEVICES category
  3. Click on the device you want to remove
  4. Remove the device from your Apple ID

Now, AFTER you have completed those four steps, reboot the device you want to erase, and reset it back to factory settings, there are myriad YouTube videos to talk you through the process.

I have since changed every password I have. I did so the day I got the scathing email. To any one who has had their privacy breached, I stand with you. I feel your pain. I feel the “Big Brother”, ominous feeling that you cannot shake. This has been a time of intense learning for me, as I am a very trusting person with an open heart. I don’t believe the world is out to get me, and if you had asked me a year ago if I thought that this person would have read my diary if I left it on the table, I would have said there was no way in hell. Yet, here I sit.

As time goes on, I will be okay. The violation of my privacy will blend in to the mushy memories of things that are unpleasant and I’ll find a way to trust and feel safe again. All of the other feelings surrounding this past couple of months…those will take a lot more to recover from. I don’t know when my heart will heal from the rest, but I do know that I am resilient.

I am not normally the kind of woman who worries about her weight. I struggled when I was younger, but as I’ve grown, I’ve felt more and more comfortable in my skin. In the last few years I’ve lost weight, had a baby, and now am moderately over where I’d like to be.¬†Having typed all of that out, I have to say that recently it has been rough for me to feel good about myself.

A few years ago I took up hiking. I had a lot of “free” time, and used it to get through the stress of my divorce. As a result, I lost some weight. I felt great, and it was awesome. Unfortunately, losing weight got me a *LOT* of attention. It was nice to hear compliments, and at the same time, it felt like suddenly I was “worthy” of more…and that felt very backwards. I heard often how I was beautiful, how good I looked in clothes, and more. Stuff that we all want to hear, right? *hrmph*

What I was not prepared for was the attention. I say “stuff we all want to hear” with a flippant and sarcastic tone, as we may THINK we want to hear it, but when it starts to flow it is uncomfortable. It caused me to question everything. Was I not attractive before? Was I not worth the attention? Was I not already beautiful? So much shifted for me when I lost weight that I felt constantly at war with myself. On one hand I felt amazing because I was constantly pushing my own physical boundaries. On the other hand I was uncomfortable with and confused by the attention…even from family members. People would go on and on about how I looked, as though some how now it mattered.

My journey with myself has been hard, and I know that is the case for many of my friends. I no longer need make up to leave the house, and my stylist knows that I am “hair lazy” and cuts my hair so that it needs minimal effort to be amazing. When I lost the weight I heard from moms at my sons school all the time. I got invites to parties (which I declined, as these were not my friends), and a lot of attention from people in the world. When I got pregnant with my daughter, people commented on my pregnancy, but when I didn’t go back down to a size 10 afterward…people just stopped.

I have an amazing group of people who love me, and for that I am grateful beyond measure. The more I delve in to the BoPo movement (body positivity) the more I realize I am not alone. I’m not the only curvy girl who has gained and lost. I’m not the only one who eats organic/clean/healthy and still weighs more than “she should”. Yet, I continue to see these images…every. single. day.

Images of women who have been face-filtered on InstaGram, photo shopped in the media, and augmented in ways I can’t articulate in mass media. When I was a kid I saw women growing older in media, but now we barely have that! Golden Girls was MY JAM as a kid. Seriously. I love the hell out of those women and aspired to be them…even Estelle Getty who played a character OLDER than she was!! Look in the American media now. Find me the old, wise women who are showing their age and not feeling self-conscious about it. Please, seriously, find them.

This brings me to how I have been feeling lately…

Emotionally, y’all, I have been a mess. It has been really hard. When my emotions get twisted, things just get wabi sabi. So, with everything up in the air…my sense of self has been too. In my heart of hearts, I know I am grounded, but I struggle. I am blessed with people who help me see the light in the dark, and for that I am eternally grateful. I just wish our kids in the world had more light spots in the darkness. I can force my way through, when needed, but I want better for my children.

I’ve been delving in to the BoPo movement online, InstaGram and Periscope mostly, but blogs too. I want to shift the energy, I want to help, but I don’t know how yet. It will happen, as we all work together, but some times I feel impatient. We deserve more. Our marginalized people deserve more. Our elderly, our people of color, heavy set people, thin people, able and other abled bodies, transgendered people…where is the representation? I want more, for myself but more for my kids and the future generations.

I will have much more to say on this as time goes on, but right now, I just wanted to get this out of my drafts and in to the blog-o-sphere.

 

 

Emotional Exhaustion

I know that I am not alone.

I am not the only one who has mediated her umpteenth fight today. I am not the only one who has navigated the world with an over tired toddler in tow. I am not the only one who is sitting in front of the computer after too many hours of constant touching/pulling/nagging/bickering/loving/hugging/cooking/cleaning/etc.

I do know that tonight, I have hit the point of emotional exhaustion.

Have you ever loved a child that you didn’t birth OR adopt? A bonus child, a step-child, someone who has become a part of your family in some way? Parenting is really, really hard work y’all. Parenting a child that isn’t yours…is another beast altogether. Parenting a combination of children who are yours and children who are not? Tonight, lead to exhaustion.

I wear many hats, and one of them is nanny. I am a nanny, but for the families I’ve worked with for the last 12 years my job has entailed much more than what one might think a nanny does. I am second mother to these children. They are raised alongside my own children. I consider them bonus kids and would do anything for them.

When your own child pushes you to the point of no return, for most of us, there is no option. You cannot “quit” your kids. Don’t even get me started on the people who abandon their children…there is a special place in hell for them in my personal opinion. I joke with all of my kids that I want to sell them on eBay, but we all know that is illegal. When a child who is not yours pushes you to the point of no return…or worse, pushes your birth child to the point of no return…how do you recover?

In my heart of hearts, I could never walk away from my bonus kids. I have a hard time going on vacation without them. There are times though, when I start to question my own commitment…and whether it means I need to be committed.

Tonight, I sit here feeling a level of exhaustion that I can’t even seem to articulate. The endless days of pre-teen have worn me down. My teenage bonus kid who is sinking further and further in to the abyss of high school has left me feeling old and inept. My preschooler has started testing boundaries with me and with his mom. My toddler, who is mostly agreeable, has decided recently that sleep is for some one who isn’t her. I. Am. Tired.¬†Weary. Exhausted.

*I wrote this several weeks ago, and felt the need to publish it “as is” instead of edit it or let it go.