How to ruin your day in three digits or more

I feel the need to document some really poor parenting.

For the past week or four I have noticed that my kids frequently yell at each other. They are short, angry, stomp around, accuse, and to be quite frank, have exhibited some very poor family togetherness.

Wonder where it comes from.

(For the sake of honesty and to ensure that I don’t paint them as hopeless riffraff, I will say they also like to play hide and seek and build reverence forts together on Sunday. But that’s about 20% of our family time.)

So last night for FHE I printed off some questions and taped them to the back door. Things like, “Was I kind? Was I patient? Did I speak with Love?” etc. etc. For FHE we role played getting along and talked about asking ourselves these questions when we talk to one another in anger.

This is the part where I freely admit that these children have learned this behavior from me. Me me me me me. I am the one who is short and sharp and irritable and stompy and rude. I’m the one who blows her top when they don’t jump to my command or forget to take a water in their lunch. I’m the one who chases them out the door throwing a coat at them instead of lovingly calling them back in to remember.

Part of my problem right now is finding balance. I’m working four or five days a week subbing at the schools (which BTW feels like seven days a week) and it’s taken a toll on my patience level. I can be so kind at school to the little kids but when I get home my hair frizzes, my mascara starts to sweat and I become Seriously Stressed-out Mother.

Back to last night’s wonderful FHE. All weekend I’ve been thinking about this lesson and working on these skills in order to prepare for Monday night. I felt a difference, I felt more loving, I noticed my actions and tempered my manners.

And then this morning I woke up and made the classic motherhood mistake. Ready for it?

I stepped. On. The. Scale.

And just like that my day was ruined. I couldn’t think of a nice thing to say to anyone. I was instantly obsessed with the fact that I had snarfed down six (count ’em) chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon, after a weekend of pizza and sugar, and the results were not good.

And just like that, all I could do was yell.

On my behalf, I will say that the bombing in Paris really upset me–follow my logic here–and on Friday I began to think that for all we know America is next, and what if they take out the pizza places first? What if I can’t get chocolate chips and butter? What if life as we know it changes and I’m forced to grind up my wheat and mix it with a little toothpaste just to get a sugar fix?

So you can see that the scale wasn’t wrong and the folly of my not-so-logical weekend eating binge kind of all caught up to me all at once.

Enter yelling at my kids.

They left half an hour ago and all I can do is sit here wondering how in the world I can ever apologize to them.

But this requires more than an apology. This will require more than celery sticks and chicken broth and learning to abhor carbs again.

This reminds me of Moses, when he talked with God and learned a bunch of great stuff, and then God left him and Satan came tempting him? My sister Koni used to talk about this idea of a circle of light that comes through learning and then testing to see if we can keep the light we’ve gained.

Today Satan came tempting me after a weekend of feeling that light, knowing that I can help my little family use loving words and it will bring a feeling of happy to our home. Satan came and jumped on my shoulder and I piggy backed him around all morning. I should have stopped to pray. I should have taken a moment to ask  for help.

I didn’t.

But I will. I will be a better mother today. And tomorrow. And forever. They need me to give them a safe place and words of love and darn it, cookies or no cookies, I will do it.


Because living in Europe is not perfect

I know that living over here in Europe and car hiking through grown up Disneyland is amazing. I love it, really I do. We are moving in two months and part of me is heartbroken. The villages and castles and locals and all the things that make this such an amazing experience.

But man am I fat.

I have got to get out of this place, it is officially killing me probably with heart disease which I think comes from eating too much. If I eat one more brat or frikkadel or frikken anything I’m pretty sure I will explode. At least my pants will explode. Oh whatever, I only wear elastic waist these days anyway.

I can’t bring myself to tell you what the post-England vacation scale told me this morning because the number was so bad I almost barfed, and not from bulimia. I really need a diet friend so I’m going to get chummy with myfitnesspal and get skinny before I move to Vegas where people don’t wear any clothing. Because there aren’t enough clothes to hide all this.

The worst part is the up and down I’ve experienced over here. It looks something like this: Go on vacation, gain 8 pounds. Come home, lose 6 pounds. Go on vacation, gain 8 pounds, come home, lose 6 pounds. If you take 12 vacations over the course of 3 years…you can do the math. It’s so depressing. And yes, I’m a big whiny baby who has nothing to complain about except, I kind of do. Dieting is not easy when you go someplace and they have something amazing to eat that you know you’ll never try again…so you eat 3 helpings of it. One for you, one for your mother, and the one your kid refused to touch because it was “foreign.”

Have I mentioned that we still have two vacations to go on? Stupid vacations.

To any friends or family members who wish they lived here, let me make you feel better. It comes with a price. No one speaks the language and if they do, they drive on the wrong side of the road. Recycling is awesome but I have four garbage cans in my kitchen. They only collect our one little “real” trash can twice a month.

When my husband is in Japan on business and the neighborhood internet goes down there is no one to call and I can’t ask our neighbors because they don’t speak English.

With security checks and base traffic, I have to drive half an hour to get to a post office.

I have to drive half an hour to pick the kids up from school.

I have to drive an hour and a half to spend two hours with my girl Christy, then drive an hour and a half home to get the kids off the bus. And I do.

In order to get the car oil changed in my German wonder car I have to drive 45 minutes to an auto parts store, use sign language and tears until I can get someone to help me find and buy the correct filter, drive another 15 minutes to wait in line for an hour (engine off no matter how hot or cold), and then, when I’m ready to run someone over, I finally get my turn in the waiting room. Last time it took them over an hour.

I get to do that today.

So yes, living here is awesome. And yes, I will move back to the states and be happy for my skinny, easy access, English speaking, large roadway, Jiffy Lube American way of life.

And just for the record, Europeans aren’t skinny. They’re just not obese. Kind of like me right now.