The Pity Party

We all have those days when for no reason at all we just feel a little blue or out of sorts. There’s nothing that actually triggers this feeling of despondency, we’re just not ‘elated’ with life today.

I woke up a few days ago with this feeling and I automatically assumed it was going to be a low key day, a ‘downer’. In an attempt to bring myself out of it I decided to go for a long walk. Maybe a solitary stroll would clear my head and give me a positive perspective. I started out head down, staring at my feet as I walked, focusing on the steady rhythm and eventually letting my mind wander. What was my problem? Life, for the most part, was good, great in fact. I had my health, my home, my family, my friends. I’d suffered no setbacks, so what did I have to feel blue about? And yet I did,,,,, so I forced my thoughts into a deep analysis to find the source of my malaise.

A quick review of past days revealed no concerns; no issues had arisen to warrant a shift in mood, and while the immediate future held no planned excitement, it also held nothing to dread. In fact, it held nothing at all. Was that my problem? That life was mundane and uneventful? Ok, there are worse crimes in life than monotony and this dawning made me angry with myself, resentful even. What right did I have to mourn a boring existence when there are people in the world with legitimate issues to cry over?

I wandered for a while reprimanding myself for this self-indulgence and then it hit me. What’s wrong with a little self-pity?  Everyone has the right to wallow a little. Life isn’t always thrilling. Each day doesn’t dawn sunny and bright with the promise of joyful events. Some days are cloudy and grey, and we’ve nothing good to anticipate other than our continued existence. Ok, so what’s wrong with that? Well for starters, some days I want just a little more. How human of me!

As I allowed this revelation to sink in my stride increased. In fact, there  was a definite spring in my step now and I decided I liked the direction these thoughts were taking me in….it absolved me of any responsibility for my mood  (I like that best of all…pass the buck!)  Like most, I’ve worked hard, still do, and for the most part my life is good, very good. So if I want to indulge myself in a little ‘pity party’ who’s to deny me? I’m entitled. I’ve earned it. And as long as I refrain from inflicting my mood on others, who am I hurting really? Allowing myself to host my own pity party gives me the opportunity to take stock. For the things in my life that go wrong I cry a little, or rant a lot. And for the things that go right, I celebrate. Either way, I’m letting it out and in doing so I’m dealing with life, even the boring parts.

After letting this sink in I felt better. My mood had lifted and I was happy again. And while I wouldn’t recommend dwelling on the things that make one blue, I also wouldn’t recommend ignoring them. Indulge yourself in a little self-pity. Wallow a little; hell, wallow a lot! You’ve earned it. But once it’s over (the party, that is) it’s over; move on to all that is good in your life.

Now I find myself looking forward to my occasional pity parties because I’ve come to realize that without these ‘low’ days I’d never recognize or appreciate  the ‘high’ ones, both giving me cause to celebrate… they’re therapeutic and, thanks to the addition of a nice merlot, they’re also much more festive than they used to be.

We all feel blue, often for no reason, and next time you do, crack open a bottle of wine and have yourself a good ole fashioned pity party. It’s good for the soul.

Pity party

Man of the house

The role of the Matriarch or the ‘woman of the house’ is sadly (still) undervalued when compared to that of her male counterpart. For starters our mandate is bigger, much bigger, and we manage to accomplish more with fewer resources, and in less time. We also do not expect constant applause for everything we accomplish – we just get the job done….. because somebody has to do it, and women won’t typically wait to be asked, unlike men.

I’m a ‘doer’. I see what needs to be done and tackle it because it’s easier than trying to find someone else who is willing. My husband, on the other hand is a ‘don’t do it if you can find someone else to’, and he has perfected the art of this search. You would think this strategy would backfire on his reputation but it hasn’t. When, and if, he completes a chore, family and friends rally around him with such accolades and recognition, you’d think he won an Olympic gold medal. It naturally follows then, that such a positive reaction would spur him on to do more, but no. He’s ok with his ‘moment’ in the spotlight, then comfortably retreats to his lounger and a good book, or more often than not, a nap.

The woman of the house on the other hand, does the laundry, cleans the home, buys the groceries, cooks all the meals, plans and prepares for the gathering of friends and family, including holidays, diarizes and reminds the man of all family birthdays so when he calls to wish them a happy birthday everyone says, ‘Isn’t he sweet? He remembered my birthday!”, when the truth is he can barely remember his own. And we do this every day. (Maybe that’s why we typically live longer – lethargy is a killer)

I suppose to some degree we do this to ourselves. Women don’t need to be told that the laundry needs doing, or the house needs cleaning; we see it, clearly. Men appear to be oblivious to obvious chores because they’re ok living with dust and dirt, and if they’ve run out of socks and underwear they just recycle the same pair until clean stuff miraculously appears.

What would it be like if we traded roles for a month? Men would adopt the role of housekeeper, caregiver, nurse, secretary and janitor;, in short, nothing would get done. Women would……oh God, wait now, it’s coming…..help me, what….what would we do? I mean after we play 18 holes, we’re spent, and must retire to our lounger, then what? We could change the beds, or tidy the washrooms, or walk the dog, or get the mail, or vacuum the rugs, or cook the meals……wow!, that’s a lot of important decisions to make….we’d better rest while we mull this over……and if we time it right, while we’re snoozing somebody else will tend to all those chores. Ahha!  OK, now we’re thinking like the man of the house!

Maybe our roles are what they are because we’ve made them so. I love it when my husband helps around the house (it does happen on occasion) but truth told, I usually redo what he’s done because it doesn’t meet my standards. (you know, if he did it more often he’d probably perfect the effort…but I suspect that’s part of the strategy….don’t do well the things you don’t want to do at all) 

I’m always amazed at peoples’ reactions when we entertain. I spend days planning the menu, cleaning the house – I want everything perfect. Twenty minutes before guests arrive, my husband screeches into the driveway (from golf) and runs upstairs to shower. He emerges just in time to ‘set up the bar (this involves taking glasses out of the cupboard and placing them on the counter) and arrange the music for the night, and when guests arrive he’s front and centre welcoming them with just a slight hint of exasperation to reflect his preparation efforts. He makes it look so easy. 

After a life time of doing what I do I realize I do it well and that’s what gives me satisfaction. I go to sleep each night content with the knowledge that I’ve made good use of my day. I suppose it all comes down to expectation. I expect a day of hard work and production from myself, and I expect my husband to mow the lawn, bash the bugs, and play a respectable round of golf. I guess we should all just stick to our strengths!

Man of the house

Super Woman and me

 

There’s a secret society of women and mothers                                                                              Who’ve sacrificed all for the better of others

So if you’ll consider I’m sure that you’ll see                                                                                       We’ve so much in common Super Woman and me

If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t be here                                                                                     So for just this one day please lend me your ear

From the day you were born I was your biggest fan                                                                    And each day with you fashioned the woman I am

When you couldn’t sleep I walked with you nightly                                                                      When you needed comfort I held you more tightly

I bathed you I burped you I saw you were fed                                                                               I sang to you daily and tucked you in bed

The day that you started your first day of school                                                                            I ran home and cried like a big hopeless fool

I took you to swim class I watched every game                                                                              I got to know all your friends and I knew them by name

When you started driving and would head out the door                                                          I’d spend my nights worrying and pacing the floor

The night of your first date I watched from afar                                                                      And I wondered if they knew just how lucky they are

The day that you graduated for me was the proudest                                                             And when they called your name I cheered the loudest

You got your first job and moved out on your own                                                                 And I smiled with pride at the seeds that I’d sown

Then I met the one who would soon claim your heart                                                             And I knew that our life path was destined to part

Because life is a lesson and as we all know                                                                                 We need to move on if we are to grow

My support for your happiness is unselfishly driven                                                              And I trust you’ll use wisely the freedom you’re given

Because the raising of children is a labour of love                                                                  And believe when I say you’re a gift from above

That said it’s not stress free raising a child                                                                              They could make your life easy or they could run wild

And just when you start to enjoy the seeds that you’ve sown                                               They pack up their stuff and move out on their own

So while a mother is loving and tireless and giving                                                                   It’s the children they raise that make her life worth living

We don’t wear a cape and we don’t strut our stuff                                                                    And we don’t sing our own praises nearly often enough

But if you should take stock I’m sure  you’ll agree                                                               We’ve so much in common  ……. Super Woman and me

 

wonder mom        happy mothers day

Children

I remember the day each of my three children was born. They came in kicking and screaming and from the moment they arrived their personalities were firmly established. As first time parents we were so sure our children would be different, perfect even! We would teach them how to behave; manners, how and when to speak, who to play with, what to play with, and what they should aspire to when they grow up. (we refused to allow our son to play with guns – only ‘educational’ toys would be allowed, until he figured out how to make one with lego, then proceeded to blow the heads off his sisters Barbie dolls) Oh yeah, we had it all figured out.

Unfortunately, so did they, and we learned quickly that children are born with their own personalities. There’s no way to mold little minds and those well behaved little darlings don’t always behave so well. Makes you wonder who’s raising who!

As the youngest of three I was somewhat anonymous. My brother, the eldest and only boy, was worshipped because he ‘carried the name’. He was given free reign throughout his teen years, and eventually he was given a car because a man needed transportation. My sister, the middle child (and don’t think she doesn’t play that card at every opportunity) was fiercely independent. Strong willed and determined to ‘raise herself’ she challenged my parents, causing enough of a distraction for me to slip under the radar, so I was quite innocent to the antics of kids……until I had my own.

Now that all three of my children are grown and starting families of their own they feel more relaxed about sharing stories of their youth and I’m more than a little surprised to see what I missed.

I recall one wintery day when returning from a walk I noticed footprints in the snow that wound around my house. Concerned some thief might be casing the joint to attempt to rob us I followed the tracks through the snow and eventually stumbled upon a case of beer chilling in a snow pile outside my back porch. It never occurred to me my wholesome, innocent children could be responsible – I just assumed would-be thieves were planning a party under my porch. Little did I know my under aged son was preparing for a party. I later found out that the little darling was also the one who bought beer for his under aged friends because he always looked older and could get away with it. (this kid had hairy legs and a mustache in grade one so by age 10 he could easily pass for ‘age-of-majority’. Needless to say he was a popular kid in high school) I just couldn’t believe my innocent babe would do such a thing.

My younger daughter used to suffer with migraines in her youth. During one supposed bout she was flat out and recovering in our basement rec room, under the diligent care of her older sister and a friend. It was years later I found out it wasn’t a migraine at all.  Apparently she and her friend were drinking at a friends house (under age, of course) the night before, and over indulged. She called her older sister for help getting home, who came to collect her with her boyfriend, in his fathers car. The motion of the car wreaked havoc on her churning stomach and she proceeded to vomit all over the back seat. The kids all pooled their money to have the car professionally cleaned but the smell was so firmly entrenched in the upholstery the parents eventually had to sell the car. How’d I miss that?

The kids laughingly recite these stories (and many others, I’m shocked to discover) now, in their adult years. They said they made a pact in their teens to always bail the other out if it was needed. Apparently it was needed a lot. I just can’t believe I was so naïve to think my kids were different, or worse, that I could be so deceived by them. What a shock to discover they were like everybody else’s kid,,,,, normal!

My only consolation is that everything that goes around really does come around (and if it doesn’t I’ll help it) My eldest daughter is now raising two girls, both ‘spirited’, and she too is discovering the challenges of an independent mind. You think they’re a handful now,,,, wait’ll those teen years sister. (I didn’t drink until I had children) I had a friend who joked that she’d come into a room to break up a fight between her kids and would fling her slipper at them. It didn’t matter who it hit because it didn’t matter who was at fault, she’d say, “ eventually they all do something wrong”.

Now, well past the danger years where children do stupid, reckless things, I have the luxury of simply observing. I was lucky because despite my apparent naiveté, my kids turned out ok. I didn’t have issues with drugs or police, no serious infractions (at least none they’ve confessed to yet) so I’ll watch with interest to see if they do any better. The tables have turned.

Angel vs Devil