This afternoon I put on some Beatles and while singing to The Padawan watching him dance to the music I grew up on, I was reminded of growing up in my Dad and Step-Mom's house. We had 6 kids and a daycare of sometimes 12 kids in a 4 bedroom house in the Mather area of Sacramento. It was crowded to say the least... But man, it was some of the happiest years of my childhood. We didn't live extravagantly, in fact... we were pretty broke. Vacations consisted of camping trips and eating out at a restaurant happened once in a blue moon. My Dad had the most hideous two tone brown dodge van at the time, the kind you would pray no one would see if you had to be picked up from school. At least I remember on a couple of occasions I didn't take the bus home. I would thank my lucky stars if my Dad was running behind and most of the kids had left school already, I wouldn't be seen getting into the Brady-Mobile as we so aptly named the van. But I loved that van too. We'd all pile in there, sing Beatles songs at the top of our lungs. My Dad would agonize over teaching each kid a separate harmony so we could all sing together and we'd be off to whatever destination, singing along together with huge smiles on our faces. During those days my Step-Mom would cook dinners like the macaroni goulash she would teach me to make, it took the longest time for me to learn how to cook for less than 8 people. We'd all sit down around the dinner table, sometimes my Dad would put Miles Davis or John Coltrane on in the background and we'd just have dinner together... simple, perfect, just a family eating dinner together. We'd talk about our days, our interests... I'm sure my Dad would tell us some corny joke. It was nothing fancy, but it was great.
Now that I'm a mom, and for all intents and purposes a step-mom. I find I'm constantly going back to these times in my head to try and figure out how to be a better parent. Especially being a step-parent, it can be pretty challenging. So I try and remember how my Step-Mom went about things. I find myself in awe of my Step-Mom and Dad and how they raised 6 kids during that time on a shoestring budget. I mean, it's not to say they were perfect or didn't make mistakes. They totally did... But given the circumstance and looking back, they did pretty fucking good with all of us kids. I don't remember ever feeling like I had to go without or not feeling loved. I also know my parents were broke with 6 kids in the house. Even recently when we took the boys to the Monterey Aquarium for the weekend, it cost a small fortune, how did my parents ever take 6 of us kids anywhere without breaking the bank. What I've come to realize is we just need to keep it simple and go back to basics. I don't know if these days kids expectations have changed, or if us as parents think we need to go above and beyond to keep from feeling like we are depriving our kids. It may be a little of both. All I know is I was completely satisfied and felt more love than ever as a poor family in the suburbs of Sacramento during the 90's.
For a while there, I felt like we were really in a grove. I was cooking dinners and we were eating together. We were doing crafts with the kids. We had more of a routine. After the holidays everything sort of got scrambled and we unravelled. We really just need to get a better established routine and I'm hoping over the summer we can perfect that.
We've been going to some pretty awesome parks in the area lately and I was telling The Old Man we should do more board games. Just simple things like turning off the T.V. and putting on music. I mean really it just seems like... DUH! Of course, but when you get wrapped up in schedules and homework, dinner and baths, karate, then soccer is coming. It seems like we constantly have something going on. But now is not the time to be a lazy parent. Especially with the boys getting older. We really need to create a more solid routine for them. I've known this for a while and we've done better, then life will get crazy and everything unravels and we fall out of step with the routine, then I start feeling like a bum of a parent.
I know I have to step up my game, or at least I feel I do. I've been stressed and a bit depressed lately. I'm not the best mom I can be when I'm in a dark place. But I realize, every mom and parent is stressed. It's all part of it. I can't feel sorry for myself. I have a job to do, and that's to be the best fucking mom I can be. The more I sit around and feel sorry for myself, the less time I'm available to the kids.
I know we are moving in the right direction. As of today The Old Man has had 3 interviews in the last week. So I know we just have to keep doing what we are doing, and something will come around. Then once we can move... that will be huge!
It's such a difficult thing living in this house. I have never, ever once felt like my house. No matter how much we paint, replace, repair... It's just not my house. On top of the fact that its not worth the money we put in to it and I hate the street we live on. It makes me feel trapped, this place is really just to small for the 5 of us and it feels like we are treading water just to keep up on basic chores because we don't have enough room and the walls tend to close in on me sometimes. The main house (minus the converted garage which is now our bedroom) is less than 900 square feet. And not to mentionhis ex lived here for 7 years, then we all lived here together with the kids, his ex and her girlfriend. It wasn't a happy time and it brings up really bad memories that sometimes I feel like I'm stuck with forever. Maybe it's a bit petty of me. But hey, it is what it is and living here drives me up the wall most days. But we are working on moving. Hopefully by next year. We will see. And I know really, I shouldn't bitch about it. At least we have a roof over our heads, right?
For the time being I have to look at the big picture and celebrate the things we do have. We do have a house, our kids are happy and thriving. Things could be a lot worse, I know that for sure. Just because things aren't exactly ideal right now, doesn't mean we aren't making progress to get us to the point we want. And that's what The Old Man keeps telling me, one day I guess I will actually get it... but he keeps saying we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And it's true. Patience is not a virtue I possess. If it takes us a year to get to where we want to be, or even two... in the grand scheme of things... what's a couple of years?
One Love <3