So I'm driving around in the car with my 13 year old and we're talking about all the random nonsense you talk about with your kids in the car; somehow we got on the subject of college, and he quite nonchalantly informs me that he isn't going to college, like ugh mom. I reach over to take his temperature, just to be sure he isn't delirious with The Fever, and then ask him oh, re-heally? This child looks at me and, with his mouth I spent nine months making for him, actually says, "Yeah, I'm just going to do what you did. You turned out fine."
He then had the honor and great privilege of being strapped into a moving vehicle he could not escape from while listening to his mother talk in very loud tones about exactly what is was that she did, and:
• how hard it was;
• how much cheap macaroni and cheese we ate for like ever while i was *doing it*;
• how many nights I was up until 4am working at a bar and back up at 8am with him and his brother;
• what it felt like to know I could do something really amazing with my life I just had no idea what it was or how to start;
• how long I had to wait and how hard I had to look for the opportunity to get out from behind a bar and into the workforce;
• how lucky I was that the opportunity ever came my way or that I had managed to piece together enough skills to take it when it did;
• and how much easier my life - his life - would have been if I had ever had the opportunity to further my education.
(...and yes, I said all of that without breathing, uphill, in the snow both ways, because that's what mothers do.)
Getting from where I started to where I am was exhausting. Where I am now is exhausting in a way that waiting tables never was; the mental walls I hit every day hurt so much more than my feet ever did, but the pain is so good. I love working in Silicon Valley. I love being an integral part of the virtual revolution. I love science and I love tech and even still, I would not wish the path I took to get here on my worst enemy, or even a teenager.
No one told me to pursue more (or any) education. I never had a parent, or a priest, or a mentor who said I had to go learn more stuff. I had teachers who said it, but I didn't listen because they're teachers...they HAVE to say that. My boyfriend jokes about and/or purposely hides his "useless" liberal arts Ivy League degree but being on the other side of it, I can see in ways he'll never understand how not-useless a degree is. Knowledge, training, education - they are more than tools, they are gifts we give to ourselves. That degree is a gateway to more than just a better job or a career path - it's the gateway to the self-confidence you'll need to go out and find your place in the big wide workplace.
I'm always going to be one step behind my colleagues -- always working that much harder to keep up, to grasp the concepts, to speak the language, to figure out what they know. Even if they don't know it, I will always know it. I want my children to know better. I want them to know every single little thing about that which inspires them. I want them to drive forward, not keep up. I want them to grasp concepts as much as they grasp tasks. I want them to think differently, bigger, broader, and deeper than I did. I want them to have the gift of instruction, of education, of knowing what is out there for them, beyond what they see everyday, more than what I can teach them.
This post was inspired and sponsored by Kaplan University.
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* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
† Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/accreditation-licensing.aspx# for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.
I was supposed to publish this post last week, because last week was my last week as a blog ambassador for simplehuman. (Hi FTC; that's a disclosure statement.) I wrote this post over and over and over, and finally had to stop and walk away, for no other reason than, ironically enough, it was grossly inefficient. I'm sure it was a good post, and will die an honorable death in my Draft Cemetery, but
you know how some people are really good at writing an exactly-three-hundred word post with a perfectly optimized-for-Pinterest photo and just enough but not too much SEO keyword inclusion that makes both their hoards of readers and their clients superbly happy? I am not those people.
My posts all take these Robert Frost Road Less Traveledesque segues into existentialism, my daddy issues, poli-sci, words that aren't even really words, and gravy recipes before I even decide what the point is, let alone get to it. Case in point? The 147 words I just typed that have nothing to do with the subject at hand AT ALL.
Ahem. Over the post year, I've been learning and advocating a lot for efficiency. I've toured headquarters dedicated to looking at the things everyone else overlooks and making them the centerpieces of efficient living. My fellow ambassadors and I have tried, tested, and paid forward tools for efficient living, from Jedi Mind Trick trash cans to co-dependent enabler dish racks. And despite all of that, I have managed to make my personal life as completely in/un/not-efficient as humanly possible.
- I moved to Northern California, so the mid-point Starbucks where I meet my kids' dad for his weekends with him went from being 19 miles away to being 360 miles away.
- My commute to work went from being over the dog toys and a left at the coffee pot to 2 1/2 hours. Each way. Uphill in the snow and barefoot.
- My kids who used to go to schools cleverly-staggered at 45 minute start intervals now attend three different schools each about three miles apart, each which all start within seven minutes of one another. And there are no school buses in this town. And everyone here drives Suburbans to each school at the same time.
- I replaced my neighbor who used to have an annoying husband and two kids with a neighbor with an annoying tribe of goats and one rooster.
- My tiny little entirely too small for us house has been replaced with one so big, I use a pedometer when I am making coffee in the morning.
- And I keep not going to the grocery store on the weekends like I used to before I had a commute into work and schools I had to drive kids to and roosters next door to yell at, so now I'm scrambling at 6:30 nightly to figure out something for dinner and going every.single.night which is a really great way to spend all your month's budget at Safeway.
But of course, all of that is happening so that I can live with my very best friend in the whole wide world, whom I can, like, see any time I want now and stuff, so there is efficient balance in the force, I think.
Still, with my simple, quiet existence gone and this constantly-running-and-juggling one with one commute and five kids and three dogs and a crazy wonderful boyfriend in its place, I am grateful for every small favor which comes my way, any shortcut my three hacker boys-man-children-things in my life read off the internet and try to pass of as their own to me, and any item around my house that makes the rest of life's details seamless and shiny.
I am glad to know that I don't have to even think about the trash, like, EVER AGAIN, that the kids shower stuff isn't going to collect that inexplicable gunk in the corners of the tub, that I'm not going to have to reach my arm into the dogs' kibble to dig out my 1 cup measuring scoop that I decided I could live without and have regretted deciding that every batch of caramel I have made since, because my dog food container has a scoop that magically or by voodoo hangs from the lid. Seriously, WHY DID SOMEONE NOT MAKE THIS SOONER? I am glad to know someone is out there looking at every single bit of crucial daily minutia and making it work better, so that I can worry about everything else in my life I need too. I'm am excited to see what else they come up with, and really, it needs to be this.
You're welcome, simplehuman.
Also, thank you for a really fun, really interesting, and really shiny year.
This post is sponsored by Clorox® Ick-tionary. Just FYI for the FTC.
My kids' last day of school is today and I really can't even wrap my head around the fact that this year has already ended. I mean, we JUST moved here before the school year had started and if the school year is over, that means that I like OFFICIALLY live in Arizona or something, doesn't it? Even my seven year old daughter remarked that this year went by really fast, and nothing at all ever goes by really fast for seven year old girls. One minute, I had a bright eyed and bushy tailed 1st grader, and two eager boys ready to enter jr high and high school all shiny and Axe'd to the gills. Now I have three large kids all somewhere on the pubery-spectrum, and all completely over it.
My house is about to smell *awesome*.
My children are all of the age when cleanliness is next to impossibleness. I keep telling my sons that no one makes out with the smelly boy, but they don't care. At 15 and 13, they'd rather be hung by their putrid toes than face the shower. For a while there, they were both showering really super regularly, but then I decided to move my daughter into my room so that the boys could each have their own room, and the daily (sometimes even twice-daily) showers came to a screeching hault. I can't imagine why.
Even my seven year old daughter is so totally over bathing, and this is the kid who just last year would take baths for days. I could plop her in the tub and go write an entire novel; she'd stay there, happily waterlogging away, for as long as I'd let her.
Of course, every blessing usually turns into a curse, if you just wait long enough. Case in point.
(That, my friends, is called a Poop-edo, or a Tubtanic, or how to get your seven year old son out of your one year old daughter's bathtub with little to no effort on your part.)
Those days of her daudling away hours in the tub are long gone, just like this school year is, but she takes swimming lessons so she's at least getting a decent chlorine-dunk twice a week.
Her brothers both take MMA. With adult UFC fighters.
You can't even imagine the smell.
So I'm pretty excited to spend all day, every day, for the next 70 days or so with them in our adorable, but not terribly large, house in the middle of the god-forsaken desert during summer.
And I haven't even started thinking about the trail of tears these children leave behind them everywhere they go. My son was home for 27 minutes today and it took me an hour to clean up the mess he made in that time. And then I remembered that it would have only taken me 16 seconds to yell at him for making it, and then I could have spent the rest of that hour watching him clean up after himself and knitting scarves for the winter THAT NEVER COMES HERE. I am slow, but I get there eventually.
Anyway. I've gone off topic. The topic at hand is the fact that my children are kind of gross, a-little-more-than-un motivated, and out of school for the summer, and (I think) competing for title of Best Mess Maker in Least Amount of Time. I call this The Alice Coup'r.
Or maybe their no-showering teenage-goopy butts are stuck in a tiny little house with me all summer long, because lord knows it's too hot to check the mail before 2:37 am, and what they are about to do to my poor house can only really be described as Stick(y)holm Syndrome.
Life with kids is epicly icky. It is also very, very funny. My car has had crabs, I've stood fascinated watching a child vomit out of their nose, I've attempted to catch vomit (#7), I've smelled wet sheets that were wet for all the wrong reasons. We all have.
(Well, maybe not the sheets bit. I think you're probably smarter than that. Please be smarter than that.)
And that's the beauty of the internet - we get to laugh at each other. With. I MEANT WITH. Clorox®, with the help of some of us who've been there & done that, created the Clorox® Ick-tionary – a wiki-style dictionary that we hope will become a new language of how we talk about messes and icky situations parents face, conquer, and laugh about.
It's kind of hilarious, really. From Board-‘oeuvres to Petrifries, if it's happened to you, it's going to show up in the Ick-tionary eventually. There are coupons for cleaning supplies to make your children scrub their black fingerprints off the walls with, interactive games to play (Match the Mess, which is kind of the safe version of Sniff the Stain, which I've done. In underwear I've found on the floor. I have no idea why. I am an idiot.) and new words to read every week. Each week will have a featured words - this week's featured word is Hippocratic Oaf (aka Germpocracy), which is something I won't be again for a long time because there is no more school to send my kids to even though they have Green 11's.
You can actually submit your own awesome words for messed up stuff to the Ick-tionary at www.icktionary.com. I think I'll have a few words up there eventually (this one is me!), but I don't think anything is ever going to top Secret Garden.