Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm working on it

Our family is in limbo.

We know we'll be moving, and we know where we'll be moving. The big question right now is when.

When it comes to the United States Army and being efficient......yeah, most people, at least on my end of things, would never put those two together. I understand this. We've been in the US Army for over 8 years, and getting orders is never a quick thing. Half the time the family isn't included. Or you only get the first page, and have to wait for the second page and that will take more time. It is the nature of the beast. I mean, getting anything done in the Army that requires more than one person and one sheet of paper takes forever.

Anyway, I am getting a tad antsy about knowing when we'll be moving.

I also have a new responsibility at church. I've done this same thing two times before, as well as running it. I've been to one meeting so far, and I feel like my head is going to explode. We had to meet in the kitchen of our church building (the rooms were being used) and then it didn't turn out to be a meeting, as we were going to do some visits, which I wasn't prepared for. I have no idea when our next meeting will be. Two of the four of us don't even have the internet at their house, and one of those doesn't have a computer.

Right now my goal is to try and find positive, constructive ways to make the changes necessary for things to run the way they need to. Sadly, right now, all I can think of is saying "What the crap are you guys doing?? How do you even function??? This has got to change!!!" Obviously, that is not the best way to bring about change. I'm still working on it. Who knows when our next meeting will be, so I better be ready when the time comes. First one is slightly passive aggressive: bring an agenda. Because I think that is the best starting point....

Add to my admittedly small frustrations is the weather. Fall is coming. When we came home from California three weeks ago, leaves were already starting to change. The clouds have come back, and the temps are going down. The Northwest barely had a summer, so I'm not liking this change much. But since no one can control the weather, I just have to go with it, and bust out my vitamin D.

Can you tell I'm working on being positive? Sometimes it's really hard. Today it isn't so hard. Tomorrow is looking good too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I should really go to bed

But instead I am up. And I'm thinking about an experience today that I'm trying to wrap my brain around.

Here is the background:

Yesterday, as my kids were heading out to the bus stop, I noticed that there was a different sound that morning. It ended up being two small four-wheelers and a mini motorcycle being ridden by what looked like to me 10 year olds. They had helmets on, so I wasn't exactly sure of what neighborhood kids were doing the riding. It was also trash day, and both the recycle truck and regular trash truck were out. As well as the multiple buses and cars that come through the neighborhood at that time of day. These kids were going around and around the block. I think I came in and got something to eat and read my blogs. I could still hear them going outside. I went to my neighbors house, who has a big window in front making it easier to see, and she and I watched these kids for a few minutes. As we were watching, the police show up. And perhaps this is where I made a mistake. But as the policeman was talking to the kids, I went over to make sure he knew just what they were doing, and how long they were doing it. At that point I recognized one of the kids. First bit of information is that the four-wheelers are illegal. I told the police officer that they had been out there for over an hour, and that no, it was not a late start day. Also that they had been going in and out of the bus zones while the buses were picking up kids. I told them they shouldn't be doing what they were doing, and that they better get home. I didn't even know where these kids even lived. So it wasn't as if I could go and talk to the parent.

Today, while looking for my independent Blondie, the parent of these kids confronts me and tells me that I was rude to her kids.

It did not go well. I was extremely tired today, but as it was also Superhero's birthday, I had pushed myself to get some important things done. Then had fallen asleep while my husband took Superhero and a neighbor boy on a bike ride. I had just woken up from my accidental nap, and I am being yelled at because I told some kids that they shouldn't be doing what they are doing. I mean, someone had called the police (I later found out who it was) because of their behavior, so it isn't just me that thinks this.

I was tired, it was unexpected, and I did not respond in the best way.

Also, I am one of those moms that is going to get after your kid when you're not around. I have gotten after several kids in the neighborhood multiple times. Usually it is because they are bullying my kids, or walking through my backyard (our owner refuses to put up a fence). It is equal opportunity for me. If I'm watching your kids, they are treated like mine. I'll put them in time out, get after them to clean up. I hope that others would do the same for mine. I forget sometimes that there are these crazy parents that not only do they not discipline or have expectations for their kids, but will get upset at you for calling out their kids for their poor behavior.

Like I said, things did not go well. My plan for now is this: To go to her tomorrow and apologize for my reaction. It was not a good one. But also to be clear that I will get after her children if they are doing something that will harm them or others. And especially if they are doing something at or to my kids. And it just might be rude. I know I can't have high expectations of what she'll say. I expect I'll get called psycho, like I overheard her calling me earlier, maybe some other colorful things. Whatever. I need to apologize for how I reacted, but also make clear what kind of parent I am. I don't mind getting yelled at for doing the right thing. I only wish I had been the one to call the cops.

Luckily, we'll probably be moving soon. So I won't have to deal with her for much longer. And, the weather will start to get cooler, and the kids won't be outside as much.

And now I'm going to sleep on these thoughts. I may wake up and decide not to do anything at all. Lets see what the morning brings....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A bit of a rant

This last Sunday was Fast Sunday at church. Meaning that most of the ward (congregation) fasts. And rather than have scheduled speakers for the meeting, those who feel inspired to do so, can go up to the pulpit and bear testimony. These Sundays can be awesome or make you want to hide under your pew and hope there aren't any non-members in the crowd.

This past Sunday wasn't too bad. But then someone got up, someone who I like, and for whatever reason started talking about how women don't need the priesthood because we get to have babies. And other stuff.

My head exploded.

Here is the deal people. Men in our church get the priesthood regardless of if they are a parent. In fact, they get it at 12. And as long as they don't royally screw up, they can keep it, use it, for the rest of their lives, regardless of if they are married or not.

Women get nothing at 12. Women may or may not get married. And even then, they still may not have kids, some by choice, some because either their body or their husbands does not want to do what it should. 25% of pregnancies end before they are full term. That means 1 out of every 4 pregnancies people. And unfortunately, some of us women get more than our share of losing pregnancies, or just not getting pregnant at all.

My point: priesthood does not equal motherhood.

Am I saying that I want the priesthood??? Heck no. While I believe that at some point women in our church will have it, that isn't what this post is about. What I am looking for is more women in leadership positions. Having their opinions count just as much, and the men not holding the priesthood over our heads like they have some higher authority, that somehow we women don't have access to....uh, no. I would also like to have women valued not because they can have babies but because of who they are. Women that aren't married have a lot to give. Women without children have a lot to give. And I think they are sadly undervalued in our church.

Recently I heard about this Mormen Men blog. He writes about how feminism in our church is emasculating the men, and how the men need to take back the power, and get these women to be more submissive, to get these men to get their 'Game' back. (and yes, he capitalizes it) I didn't bother to read the blog, but then my curiosity got the best of me after I read a bit of his ex-wife's blog. He had cheated on her, but because she wasn't as submissive and willing to lose this amount of weight, or grow her hair out, so he said it was her fault. I wish I were joking. Unfortunately, he has made both of his blogs private because of all the hits he was getting from this blog. While I am a more moderate type of a feminist (I don't want the priesthood, just wish there were more women voices being heard, and our issues taken more seriously) I was truly laughing out loud at this guys blog.

After hearing what my friend had to say from the pulpit (and knowing she was about to go and teach the young women pretty much the same thing since she also shared that from the pulpit) and then reading this man's blogs....I just could not believe it.

Luckily, for the most part, my parents did not display this attitude in our home. My parents come from very strong mothers, who when they had to, did what they had to do, regardless of what society may have told them about mothers working or women getting college degrees and actually using them. I have been a very independent person my entire life. I cannot even imagine having to 'submit' to my husband, do my hair they way he liked, and pretty much be subject to his every whim......I wouldn't last a month. I also believe that while being a mother is a HUGE part of my life, there are also other parts that are also just as important in the shaping of who I am. Just like having the priesthood does not define who a man is, neither does motherhood. It is only a part. And I hope that this attitude, especially in our church, becomes what is being taught, rather than this other stuff that makes my head (and my heart) feel like they are going to explode....

I had an experience about five or so years ago. We were currently living in San Antonio TX. Before we lived in Texas, we had lived in Germany for two and a half years. When we got back to the states, we made a short visit home, which is Southern California for both my husband and I. About two months later, my grandpa passed away, so I flew back for two weeks with my kids. But I really wanted to drive and spend a longer time, and really wanted to spend some time at my sisters house. She lived right off the route I would take, and I wanted my kids to be able to spend time with their cousins. My husband was very concerned about me. It is about 1400 miles from San Antonio to Los Angeles. He told me he didn't want me driving at night, and that I had to be careful getting a hotel etc. He almost didn't want me to go because he thought I wouldn't be safe without him. Which really ticked me off. Tell me I can't do something and then watch me do it. Obviously, I made the trip just fine. Yes, it was hard. Driving with two toddlers that far isn't exactly a picnic. But it was worth it. We had a small get together since it was my kids birthdays. Both my side and my husbands side of the family were invited. My father in law, who on his fourth wife finally has a doormat he can walk all over, said that if I were his wife, he wouldn't 'let' me go. LET me??? Are you serious??? My husband didn't LET me. I didn't 'ask his permission'. I have encountered more of this attitude with my husbands family than with mine. So I know my husband still has bits and pieces of it floating around in him. He has come a long way in the ten years we've been married. Since that first long drive, I have driven many places, many of them hundreds of miles away, all alone, with no problems. I spent a year on my own while he was deployed. I have had to be alone numerous times as he does military training. If I subscribed to this other way of thinking (submitting to my husband and other stupid things like that) I would be a mess. I HAVE to make decisions for myself. I have to be a strong parent to make up for him being gone sometimes. To deal with and help my children deal with our moves.

My daughter has a very strong personality. The attitude from my father in law would damage her. She would just rebel. I want to raise her, within my church, to know she is heard. That she is a multidimensional person, and she is valued because of who she is, not because she has a uterus and ovaries. I want to be an example of that. She is too young to really comprehend what was being said from the pulpit that day, so as things come up, we'll deal with them. My husband probably isn't 100% with me on this, as I know he was taught somewhat differently and had very different examples of women in his life. But I think he will come around as time passes on as he realizes what it means for this little independent soul we have running around.

I see a better future for women, just as our predecessors saw for us. I am grateful for them. I hope things are even better for my daughter, so that things like what I heard this last Sunday aren't heard from the pulpit anymore.