Pamela Llano Zesty Mom
Scrolling through pictures on my phone, I'm realizing how many things I chose not to share in the last few months. Not drama or negativity or any sort of dirty laundry that I would prefer not to share in any case, but good and happy things. Things that were actually worth sharing.
It wasn't entirely intentional~ it was mostly just busyness and life, but aside from that, I sorta had this low level feeling of discomfort around the thought of sharing so many happy things~ like I just wanted to keep them privately to myself and my own little world.
This would be fine, except when I thought about one partial reason~ A part of me figured there would be a few people would see my happy stuff, curl their lip and flare their nostrils in disapproval and shoot unhappy downer vibes my way.
That's the thing about the wonderful world of the internet~ it's hard to filter out the rain clouds. If you share your sparkle, someone wants to dull it. I don't know why some people have such disapproval for an abundance of fun, or why they feel others should be doomed to a linear progression of blah.
Logically, the number of effs I should give about what those people think is zero. But, there must be some underlying subconscious parts that do care, or at least that wanted to protect my happy stuff and didn't want to put myself in the target range of unpleasantries.
I recall back in the earlier stages of my divorce, and prior to that, my ex husband's deployment, I had dealt with similar issues of some people thinking (and saying) I wasn't appropriately somber. That's right~ too happy~ too many smiles ~ too much laughter and fun. Whatever...
When I think about it, it actually makes me laugh more.
Then again, I started thinking that perhaps, a good deal of my reluctance is my own upper limit problem, which is entirely in my own head.
Denise Duffield-Thomas talks a lot about money blocks ~ how women will often subconsciously create a maximum cap of how successful they can be. There's a whole lotta psychological reasons, but it boils down to because they aren't comfortable getting too big for their britches.
I bet the concept works for other success as well. Like, it can feel weird to be really happy and blessed, especially when there's a lot of unhappy stuff in the world.
I realize however, that all of this is ridiculous.
If one of my offspring or a friend told me they were hesitant to share good news, whether because of Potentially Negative Nelly's or because they felt uncomfortable having something so awesome, I would surely suggest they let that nonsense go and share away.
Fun is a good thing. The world needs more things to smile about, right?
And since I would tell my kids or my friend to let their light shine and share their smiles with the world, I think I'm gonna do the same. (Plus I really wanted to get 4 blog posts in this month, and this will help me hit the mark! Ha!)
So, without any further psycho-analytical ramblings, here are a few random and wonderful blessings from the last few months I would love to share....and also, here are some happy thoughts cards to print and spread smiles if you are also inclined.
Life is Good Indeed, and I am so Very Happy to be able to share it.
If you're happy and you'd like to share, I'd love to see what's making you smile as well!
Post a picture on the Facebook post and share it with a friend.
Easter Sunday and my family rose with the sun. Not so much for the religious symbolism, but because we would be serving brunch at this annual fundraising event for my kids' youth group.
As a non-morning riser myself, I was not at all looking forward to he alarm, but somehow I woke up over an hour before it was set to go off.
One of the first things I thought (aside from why is no one making me coffee?) was how much I appreciate that Easter is a season of rebirth and renewal. That's because this year, I once again didn't exactly pull off my Lenten goals.
The thing I wanted to give up for Lent this year was trying to solve problems that weren't mine. I wanted to let go, to loosen the clenched grip, to release the emotional attachments to outcomes. Basically, to quit freaking out.
The problem was that more days than not, I completely forgot I was trying to do this.
Often I didn't remember until I had already stressed myself out, or in some cases completely flipped my shizzle sticks.
Then, in hindsight, I would lament my wayward ways. I didn't actually vow to do better, but I really did hope to improve. I'm not however all that convinced that I did.
This isn't the first year I have managed to NOT pull off my Lenten goals.
Perhaps I need a better plan because it's not easy trying to work with less tangible concepts instead of actual things.
One thing I am better at than I have been in years past is not being mean to myself about it. (Thanks in part to the lovely Christine Arylo who is always uber encouraging to be gentle with ourselves)
In years past, I would have had much more negative commentary on my failure. This year, I'm chalking it up to reality being harder than philosophy.
In any case, even though Lent is over, I still would like to work more on this Letting Go Idea.
Maybe a vow would have helped?
Maybe some sort of alarm upon waking or reminders on my phone throughout the day?
I could just go low tech in my efforts to rebirth my aspirations of being a less stressed and calmer person is to hang sticky notes all over the house.
"Keep Breathing and Let it Go, Lady."
"Everything is Going to Be OK"
"It's OK for people to make choices that appear to be bat poop crazy. You don't need to fix it."
"It's Not Your Problem."
Maybe at least a better definition of what I'm actually trying to do?
I suppose that would be: I want to learn to let go of caring to the point where it physically effects me and I don't sleep and feel like vomiting over other people's problems, but I want to still continue caring in a way that a nice person would?
I'm not sure that entirely makes sense, even to me, but I'm still going to shoot for it anyway.
I'd love any wisdom or thoughts on how to keep caring, but not caring at the same time, so please share in the comments below if you have any ideas.
Happy Easter to those who celebrated, and Happy Spring to the rest of you!
Why are there are so many things in life to get upset about?
Things that don’t go your way, things you want to fix and things you can’t control.
Injustice, unhappiness, pointless messes and all kinds of unpleasantries.
While some portion of these things may actually be problems to solve, I’ve been noticing lately how many things that people (myself included) get their panties in a twist about that aren’t even their responsibility.
Moms may just be the worst at this. (I know this is a sweeping and generalized statement that is not actually supported by any research, but it sure seems like a lot of us mamas get into this habit of wanting so badly for everything in our happy little homes to run smoothly and be not just ok, but friggen fantastic for everyone involved.)
I don't mean to sound bitter, but the unfortunate reality is that’s probably never going to happen.
And the more energy a person expends on trying to make it all wonderful and sunny for every person every time, the more wrinkles and misery we suffer from feeling like failures when we can’t.
Even if you do manage to get your own household all happy for five minutes, the outside world is still full of all kinds of things that don't jive with your vision of a good life. And sooner or later, they will invade your bubble.
As part of my own efforts at working towards a more “No BS” life, I’ve been taking baby steps in letting go of things that don’t serve me well.
I'm realizing that worrying about problems that aren’t mine definitely generates stomach aches and furrowed brow lines, both of which fall into the category of not serving me well.
So, the other day when I found myself getting my blood pressure up thinking about some misunderstanding that I wasn't able to communicate my way through, I started working on a handy list to help me remember things that I can't control and therefore am NOT responsible for.
Some are easier than others, but I thought I’d share here in case anyone else finds themselves getting all upset when they really don’t need to.
A List of Things That You Can't Control and Are Not Responsible For (Even if You’re Someone’s Mom)
Some people will love you and think you are fabulous. These are the right people for you. But, no matter how many of them there are, there will always be some others who think you suck.
Sure, self reflection is good, but no matter how much work you do on your own self, it’s good to be aware that someone out there won’t like the way you live, the things you say or do and basically, the fact that you are YOU.
Maybe you're too loud or too quiet, too opinionated or too easily swayed. You can't please everyone.
Dita Von Teese was right about this at least... "You can be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
I struggle with this because I dislike being disliked, but really, I can't do much about it. Yes, it's a bummer, but I'd probably be better off just focusing on enjoying the time I have with people who don't think I'm lame.
Yeah, this is a loaded topic. I know my parenting decisions have baffled numerous friends and family members and vice versa.
But, you don’t have to totally understand what someone is doing in order to be respectful.
If you are truly listening to your own inner wisdom, and choosing love over fear as often as you can, then you are answering to your own higher consciousness~ and that means more than anyone else’s opinion.
If your friends disagree, that’s OK. If they make you feel bad for following your heart, you might need different friends.
This one is really hard if you want to raise independent thinkers because that means sometimes they will not think the same way as you. On some things it doesn’t matter, but on matters of health / safety / values etc, that’s when you have to be a parent and not a peer.
I struggle because I want my kids to actually understand, and not just comply. And often they do get it, but realistically, I can’t expect them to see the world with the eyes of a 40+ year old mom because they haven’t been alive that long, and they don’t have my life experience. Sometimes, I just have to be the bad guy. But we all thought Snape was a bad guy too, and look how he turned out in the end!
I was once very close with a person who I felt comfortable letting see my dirty dishes and other messes because they always seemed supportive and never judgmental in the least. Then, one day they were upset with me about something completely unrelated, and chose to tell me that I was one of the worst housekeepers they had ever seen.
Uh, OK. That’s not a very good insult. I know I’m not a good housekeeper. So what? That may not be my gift in life, but at least my kids are awesome.
Truthfully, I was more hurt that this person had been judging me all along than to think what they said was true.
I’ve had people misinterpret my writing a number of times, and while it never feels great to have your words twisted, it’s way harder when it comes from someone you care about than a stranger.
To be honest, this has stalled me more often than I care to admit. I wonder how David Sedaris manages to write all he does and still be on good terms with his family? All I can do is be conscious that I’m trying my best when creating and hope that it’s taken in the spirit intended.
Danielle LaPorte wisely said that life is too precious to spend with people who make you crazy. And trying to please people who can't be pleased can sure as heck make you crazy.
In pondering all of this, my inclination tends to lean more towards just saying Eff it to the Negative Nellie's than to wishing them blessings on their journeys. But, I'm hoping there's some happy middle ground where I still try to be a nice person, but also be OK with the fact that I'm never gonna make everyone else happy. In the mean time, I might as well at least make sure I'm happy, and hopefully, the people who matter to me will be happy too.
How do you deal with people you just can't please? I'd love to hear in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please "like" it on Facebook and share it with a friend.
This weekend, I got to play the role of Unpopular Mom.
There was a point where I thought I may have even been cast as:
“The Meanest and Worst, Most Unpopular Mom Ever in the History of the Whole World”
But I may have been slightly exaggerating.
So, why, you may wonder, was I so unpopular?
Well, because I wasn’t on board with a weekend long, co-ed sleepover for teens where sleeping in a giant cuddle puddle was an acceptable option.
Unreasonable, I know.
I personally don’t think co-ed sleepovers are a good idea, even if plenty of other really good parents are fine with the concept.
It’s never been my cup of tea.
We’ve been to lots of campouts and a few overnight events in homes where entire families, including teenagers crashed, but I was there and the vibe was different.
I did try to be open, and do diligent discussions, which kept being steered towards why I didn’t trust them and what I was afraid they would do. It was meant to dispel any fears, but it really just generated a whole lotta stress, and sort felt like an interrogation of my instincts.
I’ll tell you what a horrible exercise is~ coming up with bad things that “could happen” to people you like. I highly recommend NOT doing it ...for real….because it’s truly terrible and not in the least bit helpful.
My brain is quite adept at coming up with worst case scenarios, and even if I knew they weren’t going to happen, it certainly didn’t make me feel any better about the idea.
The stress and pressure of the forced discussions felt awful. I became angry and probably did most of the “What Not To Do” examples in a parental communication book.
Stay Calm (Nope)
Avoid yelling (Whoops)
Don’t lecture (Fail)
The list could go on...
The thing that was so hard to articulate was that it just didn’t friggen feel right.
I really don’t think every gut feeling needs to be dissected and analyzed to death in order to be valid.
Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts, even if you can’t explain them, and it would be nice if people would respect and honor that.
So, I went against the popular vote and went my own way. I stuck to my gut and vetoed my kid staying the night.
I tried to explain my reasoning, but it’s possible that they may have only heard “Blah, blah, blah..”
Unfortunately, lots of fast pace plans had been rapidly put in place for out of town friends to come and special dinners to be made, and all sorts of fun to be had. It was somehow assumed I would be on board, although I'd never said I would be and wasn't involved in any of it.
In fact I’d told my kid numerous times prior as well as mentioned it to the host that I was in fact not comfortable. Still, it was assumed I would or should be.
Because everyone else was.
It was a big deal for some of the young people involved, and while I don’t enjoy disappointing people, that didn’t somehow make it convincing for me.
I’m actually pretty sure that my own kid was more annoyed and embarrassed than devastated, because my kids have always been around me and my tendency to stand my ground. Poor things.
But the other kids...well they are used to way different rules, or a lack thereof. They know me mostly in fun ways and they generally seem to like me. For them, well, they couldn’t understand my problem.
And now, they might just think I’m the devil, or at least a completely lame and overprotective MOM. (I imagine this to be said with an accompanying uggh noise and facial expression, including full eye roll…”Ugggg, Pamelaaaaahhh….”)
This does make me a little sad, because I really like all the kids involved, and it’s no fun to be the bad guy.
But, the thing is, I would encourage every one of them to listen to and follow their own gut feelings always, no matter if they couldn’t explain them and other people wanted them to go against them.
Trust Your Gut Kids!
The world is full of messages that encourage people not to think, but instead to follow the herd, as though someone else knows better. Forget that ridiculousness.
We all have some internal wisdom if we can slow down long enough to quiet the outside voices and our own chattering minds in order to actually hear what our instincts are telling us.
So, that’s what I did. Stopped and got quiet, listened to my instincts, and said no.
It made me feel like a very unpopular mama, and just about took every ounce of Zesty out of me. But, at least I was true to my mama instincts.
The kids still got to get together and have fun in the day, and most likely, the ones who stayed the night didn’t commit any atrocious acts of inappropriateness.
I saw some of the other kids upon the drop off of my own, and I got a hug and smiles, so at least they’re still polite, even if they don’t like my decisions. They’re good kids after all, and the world will be a better place with them in it.
Maybe someday they will look back and see my point, or maybe they will always think I was wrong. Either way, I hope they know they are loved.
And I still don’t think it’s a good idea. :-)
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments below! (But please be gentle, whatever you may think~ this has beaten me up enough already)
And if you liked this post, please “like” it on Facebook and tell a friend!
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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