Music calms the savage stepmom

Music_image001My stepdaughter, Eliza, has an incredible musical talent.  She now plays three instruments and is learning to sing.  Every day I get to hear her practice.  She does a half hour on the piano and a half hour on the viola.  She also just got a guitar and is doing very well on it.

Music has an effect on us that we don’t always acknowledge.  It creates new neuronal pathways in our brains.  Making it easier to learn new things in general.  Classical music and music that is instrumental can release tension in our muscles and minds.

We all have our favorite music to listen to.  My husband likes old country music and good old rock and roll.  I have always been more of an easy listening fan.

Just before Christmas I bought a Roku for the TV.  I added the Pandora channel.  I have had so much fun customizing channels to my listening tastes.

James Taylor, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Adele, Rascal Flats are some of my favorites.  Of course Eliza’s include One Direction, Demi Lavato etc.

If you have never used Pandora it will play music similar to the artist you choose and then you rate it with a thumbs up or thumbs down.  As you do that a station with just your tastes is formed.

We are enjoying the musical world around here.  I hope you are too.


life-reflectionThe year is coming to a close and like most people I have been reflecting on my life.

I read a post by a young mom talking about taking her son to the bus stop and how he grabbed her hand.  She realized that wasn’t going to happen forever and it was a special moment.  Then the self torturing voice in her head kicked in reminded her that she “should” be taking him to the bus every day, etc. etc.  The post goes on and it is excellent!  I will include a link at the bottom of this post.

This week I let one of my sons down.  The same son who used to come home from school excited to see my face.  The same son who I delight in listening to as he tells a story.  The same son who is a great dad and husband.  It wasn’t anything I could have done anything about, but it let him down all the same.

As I sat berating myself, my sweet husband sat down and reminded me of the things I have done right.

As a mom, as a parent, we want only the best for our children.  We would fight a cougar with our bare hands to defend them.  We struggle through being the disciplinarian, the nurturer, a bread winner, a listening ear, we want to be it all for them.

I’m not a young mom anymore.  I am old (ish).  I’m a grandma.  I’ve lived to eat my own words on many accounts.  I’m finding mercy for my own parents on many of the things I used to judge them for.

I recall vividly, telling a lady from church that my children were never going to… (I had a list).  She laughed at me and smiled in the way more experienced people do.  She said that I would see when I got there.  She was right.  My children are not molded to my choosing.  They are their own individuals.  They each have unique and often conflicting opinions about things.  They wonder how they could have come from the same family and be so different.  They are wonderful, talented, fascinating people.

Before I had children I had a thought that no matter what I did one or more of them may not like it.  If I was a working mom some of my children might not like that.  If I was a stay-at-home mom some of them might not like that.  If I home-schooled or if I sent them to public school.  If I made them do chores or expected them to do certain things.  If I was strict or if I was lenient.

The thing I hadn’t anticipated was the self-doubt.  I can beat myself up with the best of them!

I don’t think there is a parent out there that doesn’t go through some periods of self-doubt.  We wonder if we are going to scar our children for life if we send them off to school with their hair a mess, because we woke up late.  How much therapy is our weakness going to put them through?

We worry that other children will pick on them or judge them or lead them down the wrong path.

We worry.  We worry.  We worry.

Having them grow up doesn’t stop the worry we have for our children.  It doesn’t stop our love or our concern for them.  In fact we find that we have new people to love and feel concern for… like in-laws and grandchildren.  Our love grows and increases even more than we anticipated.

The oddest thing happens when our children set out on their own.  They find out that the way their family, our family, did things is not the way other people do them.  Suddenly the parenting we thought we had done well with, comes under the microscope.

Suddenly we may find that we are failures in our children’s eyes.  Suddenly we are renewed failures in our own eyes.

Here’s the thing though… the only person I know who wants us to believe that we are such failures that we can never be redeemed is Satan.  Every negative, hurtful, shameful thought that we have about ourselves is on his agenda.  If he can destroy us, if can destroy families, the very connection that holds us together as a society, he is happy.

The atonement is there to provide us with a way to be forgiven.  It is also there to help heal those we hurt.  Even if we didn’t mean to hurt them.

So I openly admit that I am an imperfect mom.  I am an imperfect person.  Sometimes I baffle myself.  I will keep Daring Young Mom’s words in mind as I do my best.  Here is a link to her blog.

May we all be awesome.