Sunday, October 30, 2016

Getting My Feet Wet

Let me just tell you, glancing at your resume for the first time in...oh...6 years or so can make your stomach drop.

Because though I've been slowly and surely developing a freelance writing resume for some time now, I've pretty much ignored my teaching resume. I can only do so much, after all! They are two totally different resumes.

Before I had my son, I taught high school students with learning disabilities and attention disorders. I enjoyed it, especially the progress I helped my students make, but we decided it worked best for our family for me to stay home with our children while they were babies.

Fast forward six years. What in the world? They are not babies anymore.

My son is now in 1st grade (!!!!), and my daughter is in preschool. As any teacher knows, teaching is more of a calling than a profession. You don't make a lot of money, and it's much harder than people think it is, but if you are born to be one, you simply can't stay away from it for too long.

This summer, I started to get my feet just the slightest bit wet again in the teaching world. I tutored three different high school students, juggling it all around when my kids were occupied at camp or with sitters. Even though it took a lot of childcare and scheduling organization, it felt so good to get back in touch with that part of my life again!

So now I'm wading in the waters again, just a little deeper-- tutoring students with reading issues during the school year. That's when I decided to peak at my teaching resume and update it, as I hope to find something part-time at a local school in the next year or so. Guess what? I couldn't find my resume! HAHAHAHA! (<------ maniacal, nervous laughter).

Commence searching the net for what a teaching resume even looks like...

That's where I am right now, folks. It's fun, overwhelming, exciting, nerve-wracking, and who knows what else, all churned into one big knot in my stomach. Mostly exciting though.

I'll be sure to keep you posted! In the meantime:
How about you? Do you work full-time or part-time, or stay at home with the kids? Have you re-entered the work world recently? How did it go?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Close to Home

There's this t.v. show I like; I've mentioned it before-- 90 Day Fiance. I know, I know. Even the name sounds ridiculous.

[1st Side Note: The premise of the show is this: Each couple has 90 days (regulated by U.S. law) to get married once they are granted a K-1 Visa. Most of these couples meet online or on a trip and then one of them moves to the U.S. during that 90 Day period. The show documents the process. Kind of fascinating, right?].

[2nd Side Note: At some point, we must truly own who we are to live our best lives (at least, that's what I believe). We all do things that aren't glamorous, so let's just let it all hang out. This is one of my things.]

Hey, I never said I was too cool to watch TLC.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing about the show is this: I recently realized a major reason why I like it so much, and it has nothing to do with it being crazy or juicy or unrealistic. It's because, in many ways, I can relate to it. It's actually not unrealistic. It's real people, doing what some consider 'crazy,' and others consider... life.

I didn't meet my husband online. I'm not from another country than he is, and neither of us needed to get special Visas to get married. In that way, I feel fortunate. How lucky I am to have met my husband at the mere age of 20, in college! How quaint!

As I watch the women on the show, however, the ones who have traveled across the world to [hopefully] be with the person they love, well, it gives me pause. These women from all parts of the globe may have thick accents and may be struggling to assimilate to a new culture, but when I watch them talk to their families on Skype, it hit me: they are me. I am them.

I live across the country from my family. I am homesick every day. Yes, seriously. Every. Day.

I hate flying, and yet I've done it every single year of my life, countless times.
Because that's what you do for family.

I try to Facetime with one of them at least a couple of times a week. Just like the women on the show, I chose to move here to be with my now-husband, and I had to make a life for myself in a new land. I did choose it, and with no regrets. But that doesn't mean it was an easy decision to make, and that it isn't still hard.

I did have it easier than the women on the show do. I speak English. I have a driver's license and a college degree. I don't experience culture shock (wait, that's not entirely true-- I do experience Minnesota culture shock now and then, even after living here for 12 years), but not in the extreme amounts the women on the show do).

Still, I understand their vulnerability, and despite all our differences, I feel a surprising sense of kinship with them. Sitting on our big yellow couch in the evenings, I find myself rooting for these couples, even though my heart has been calloused against all the failing "reality show couples." I want it to work out for them.

Because while their trials and tribulations are televised to entertain, they have also connected to me in another way. Say what you will about 'reality shows,' but they aren't always as "unreal" as we all like to say.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Everyone's Fighting a Battle

I was checking out of the library with my daughter last week when I happened to see a little sign posted above one of the librarian's desks. It read: "Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."

[The origin of this quote is uncertain, but according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, author Ian Maclaren originally wrote it as: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle;" he's also quoted as writing in 1897, “Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle.”]

Whoever wrote it (and whatever version you read), wow. 

I've seen it before, and I think remembering its message is one of the keys to compassion and kindness. It's so easy for us, all caught up in our own lives, to forget that every single person around us also has their challenges-- whether they let you see them or not.

And no, most people won't let you see their hardships. Especially the person you assume "has it all"-- trust me, they're fighting battles just like the rest of us. Ones we know nothing about.

This hit home recently: We have a rather grumpy postal worker. She never smiles at a greeting, never says hello. She looks angry. My son, ever-attuned to rudeness or injustice, exclaimed loudly "I hate that lady!" Hey, he's aware of subtleties, but it doesn't mean he can use them [yet]! Yikes.

Anyway, he went on to ask me why she was so "mean." It would be easy to write her off as just a nasty person, right? But how many people are truly and inherently mean? Who at their core doesn't have a good soul? Very few. I think it's probably more accurate that she, like all of us, is fighting a battle of her own, and hers is likely a very hard one.

I took a deep breath and explained to my son that some people have extremely hard lives, and that she must be going through something difficult (I didn't think it was necessary to list all of the true possibilities of hardship-- those would rest too heavily on his soul). He actually did seem to understand what I meant, at just age 6. I think little ones understand it more than we think. I was proud of that moment. I was proud I took the time to explain it, and that my son took it in. 

I want to teach my children compassion and the ability to look beyond initial impressions and assumptions. I hope that instance was one small step towards reaching that goal. 

How do you teach your children the meaning and importance of kindness?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama