Thursday, January 23, 2020

If Something's Not Working, Change It

Oh my gosh, I haven't posted in a really long time! Is Blogger even a valid blog platform anymore? Anyhoo, I thought I'd dust off the old keyboard and finish a post I had started to write way back in December of 2017. Over two years ago!

First I'd like to explain the title of this post. This is courtesy of my wise mama Barb. She has this knack of finding solutions to problems with ease, almost like she has an otherworldly insight into life’s problems. Anytime I bring an issue to her attention, without hesitation she will have an idea. It's always something simple and practical. One of her most common answers? "If something's not working, change it".

I have utilized this advice many times over the years. When Ellie’s therapies were beginning to be too much for us, we opted to take the summers off. Therapy-free summers were renamed "real life therapy", and we have not looked back. We actually see huge gains in Ellie's development during these breaks. When my corporate job was overwhelming, my mom suggested working 4 days instead of 5. I asked my boss, and after some planning and rearranging I was able to have Fridays off. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself! And since I wrote this post, I have quit corporate life and joined Jesse at Stafford Beverage selling booze! What a huge change for me, but a good one. I'm still adjusting to this new role and am finally settling in. Being home at the end of the day to get the kids off the bus has been the biggest bonus with this change. I am so grateful.

The whole point I'm trying to make, is that when you find yourself stuck in a rut, feeling down, and as if things are no longer working, take a step back and make a change. Try talking it out with the ones you love, lean on your mom, mother-in-law, husband, or best friend. Talking it out will help bring out alternative solutions to the surface. And hey, if it doesn't work that is OK too. You can just move on and try something different.

But that brings me to the reason I wrote this post in the first place. Sometimes, something isn’t working right before your eyes and you don’t even realize it. Like the time we found the note in Luke’s backpack. The guilt-inducing, I seriously suck as a mom note. I was sucker-punched, right in my guts.

It was after dinner one cold night in December in 2017. Jesse and I were cleaning out the kid's backpacks, and he happened to flip through one of Luke’s notebooks. Doodles filled the pages, Luke’s signature unicorns, detailed eyeballs and other colorful creative creatures. I like to think of this moment as a little nudge from the universe, because I’m usually the one who empties backpacks. But on this night, Jesse took on the job but he happened to flip through Luke's notebook, something I wouldn't have done. He handed the little notebook to me and nodded as if to say "check this out" with a concerned look on his face.

In Luke’s cute little handwriting was an “attention chart”. He had drawn a pie chart where he carefully outlined how much attention each of our kids receive. Luke: 25%, Will: 35%, Ellie: 50%. That equals 110%, not too shabby, eh? In all seriousness, I felt terrible when I read it. Absolutely terrible.

"Attention Chart"

I immediately called my mom. You see, I grew up with 6 brothers and over 100 foster kids in our home. Why did I not feel deprived for attention as a kid? I needed to know what the heck was I doing wrong, and how to fix it. I was crushed. She reminded me of our “hooky days”. Ahh, yes, hooky days!!! One of my most cherished memories! My mom would let me skip school and we’d spend the day just the two of us doing whatever I wanted. This usually would include trips to the mall to buy cassette singles and acid washed jeans. It was amazing and memorable.

After I got off the phone with my mom I excitedly asked Luke his thoughts “hey would you want to skip school and take a hooky day with me?” He was thrilled. “Heck yes!" He said. "Can Grandma come? Can we go to Walmart and Chipotle?” So that’s what we did. We had a blast, we found some fun things for his art desk. We went to Walmart, and Goodwill. We took our time eating lunch at Chipotle, and didn't rush like usual. We had the best day ever.

Hooky Day 2017
And now it is two years later. Today Luke took his 3rd hooky day since I originally found the attention chart! Each of our kids get one day during the school year to take a day just for themselves and we do whatever they want. I love it just as much as they do. But man! Sometimes life kicks you in the nuts with an attention chart and it requires change to be made. I must say I'm glad we found that chart Luke drew and that we could openly talk about it with him. Today was so fun, can you guess where we went? Walmart and Chipotle, and TJ Maxx as well. We rushed home and Grandma helped get his room all decked out just the way he wanted it. It was the best day ever. :)

New bedding and loving it!
Hooky Day 2019
Oh, and I had another realization through all of this; my mom and I are still taking hooky days together. Every year on the day of our birthdays we go shopping and out to lunch. We always get a cocktail with our lunch and we have a blast together. This year is her big 80th birthday so we are taking a hooky weekend to Utah together. I cannot WAIT!
I wonder if my kids will still want to take hooky days with me when we are older? I sure hope so.
Hooky bday with Mama
Is there something in your life that may not be working? Take a step back and look at your situation. Even the smallest change can make an impact. Think of my mom’s words next time you are stressing out, "if something’s not working, change it”. Try it, you'll see. And you'll laugh at how simple it is. Thanks mama Barb for always having the best advice.

For this week's post I'm choosing a song that reminds me of my kids, because I'm a total sap for mushy love songs. 

Little Hands - Inland Sky

1 comment:

  1. Hey! We are on the same wave length here. I just posted the other day for the first time in 2 years too. I have A LOT of catching up to do. The kids actually found the link to the blog and loved reading it so I thought, what the heck, I also love reading back on old posts so i am going to do my best to catch up a bit and keep writing! Love reading about your family and glad you are all doing well! I bet the store will be hit hard tomorrow with everyone buying booze since it is payday! XO