Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Thinking Girl's Halloween

Last weekend I took my teenage daughter shopping for a Halloween costume.  Sigh.  Just that first sentence can cause anxiety for many parents:  overpriced skimpy outfits designed to make your sweet girl look like a stripper.  The trip was my idea, as too many years in a row she's left her costume choice to the last minute.  One year she was certain she was going to be a goth nerd, had it all planned out.  Then two days before Halloween she asked me to find her a bee costume. 

Plenty has been written about the trampification of Halloween, so I checked out Party City's website for what they thought were appropriate costumes for girls.  Looking under the "Careers" category, I thought I'd find doctors or athletes.  Instead I found:

"Cupcake Cutie"--What do you suppose that pays?

"Miss Demeanor"-- I have heard of career criminals, but they say crime doesn't pay.

And one of the more modest costumes from the Teen section, "Crystal Ball Gypsy"--Now here's a career choice I'd never considered, perhaps because I clearly don't have the chest for it. (And where's her crystal ball?)
My younger daughter is easy--she always wants to dress as something creepy, anything as long as it's not "cute".  We'd gotten her costume (from Party City, I might add) weeks ago.  Zomberina, hopefully not a career choice, but not too skanky, either.  
So my older daughter and I went the local thrift shop to get ideas for her.  The problem is that while she's a teen girl and wants to fit in, she's also sort of a braniac bookworm so she wants to dress as something interesting.  She'd thought of going as a character from one of her favorite book series, Divergent by Veronica Roth, but it's not an easily recognized costume.  Last year she went as Katniss from The Hunger Games and all day at school people asked why she hadn't dressed up.
When we couldn't find anything else she liked, she decided on going for her first idea.  I pointed out that she'd spend all day explaining to people what she was supposed to be.  "Well," she said, "I'll just tell them I'm a Dauntless member from Divergent.  And then I'll tell them to try reading the book."
You gotta love a self confident bookworm.
This is basically what she's wearing to school today, with the Dauntless "tattoo" on her forearm:
Looking cool and promoting literacy--it's what Halloween is all about.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mental Health Mornings

We are on our second week of Late Start Wednesdays and I have had an epiphany of sorts.

Our school district rolled out this new plan just before the school year started, as we were all happily buying items on the school supply lists, counting the days until out little angels were back in class.  The idea is to add extra time to the rest of the school week and leave Wednesday mornings for teacher collaboration. Can I just say, parents don't enjoy having the school schedule tampered with.  When you have everything planned out so you can just get everyone where they need to go on time, it's hard to appreciate any need for change. Since I work from the home this wouldn't mean more than a slight adjustment to my schedule, though I will admit I wasn't thrilled with my kids hanging around the house any longer than necessary.

The first Wednesday on our new schedule I figured I'd get up at regular time and get stuff done while the kids slept--kind of like summer vacation, without the summer or the vacation.  I must mention that I get up at the crack of the crack of dawn--usually by 5:30am--as that's what time my crazy, hard-working, business-owning husband gets up.  Something about birds and early worms, I don't know, it's too darn early.  I don't drag my sorry carcass out of bed because of any sense of wifely duty, but because he is just too darn loud in the morning.  If I'm going to be annoyed anyway, I might as well be up and ready to take a swing at him.

So that first Wednesday I got up with the best of intentions--kitchens would be cleaned, laundry would be washed, my inbox would become my outbox.  The reality?  I lost all five lives on Candy Crush (what human could clear all that jelly?!), checked out Facebook and flipped through TV channels.  Nothing got accomplished, zip, zero, zilch.

So this week I was determined to make better use of my time.  I would exercise before the kids got up!  I would be all done and ready to move on with my day before the school bus pulled out of the neighborhood.  Hard working husband got up and left the house at 4:30am, however, and I have a strict policy that feet do not hit the bedroom floor before 5am.  No exceptions, no way (unless, of course, it involves me hopping on a jet to an exotic location).  So I figured, as I sleepily said good bye, that I'd just stay in bed till 6am. 

Once again, no was body parts were exercised and no work was completed.  I was still too sleepy for coherent thought and it was too dark out for my morning walk.  Instead I sat on the couch and was amazed at the sheer number of infomercials.  (Did you know that Chuck Norris is still alive?)   I might as well have staid in bed.

And that's went it hit me, like a light bulb above my head, a message from God, a voice of sanity in the wilderness:

I should have just staid in bed.

All this time I have felt guilty if I didn't get up with my husband and get something done.  He works so hard and I feel lazy if I don't put forth the same effort.  If I'm not doing work for our company (which I've learned  should not be attempted before 9am when the caffeine has had a chance to kick in), I should be doing something that seems worth trading a paycheck for.

But you know what I realized?  I do work really hard.  Even if everything I do doesn't create any income, it's not like I'm sitting home all day eating bonbons and watching soap operas.  Okay, I'm on Facebook way too much, but the rest of the time I'm doing something essential--invoicing customers, paying bills, taking dogs to the vet and kids to the dentist, grocery shopping, arguing with grumpy teenagers, writing, looking fabulous--all day long.

And you know what's important for good health?  Sleep!  Actual studies by actual scientists show that people who don't get enough sleep have a harder time regulating their body weight. Sleep could practically be considered a type of exercise.

So next Wednesday I will be doing something beneficial for both my physical and mental health.  I am going to sleep in.  And if my husband complains, I will suggest he do something for his health and let me sleep.