Posted in Motherhood, Product Review, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Joys of Good Customer Service

Recently, I’ve gotten into the Amazon reviewing game, and I find that it’s a fun little side hobby where I get to try products out for less cost in exchange for honest Amazon reviews. Now, I don’t expect much when I apply for products to review. As a matter of fact, a lot of my time is spent weeding out sellers who try to scam the systems that are set in place. I’ve applied for numerous products, and when confronted with a problem with a code that I’m given, often times, I’m ignored. Which is fine. I don’t mind. I know that this is something that people take advantage of, and so I don’t expect much.

Which is why my latest encounter was such a pleasant surprise.

I applied on one of my various websites to review a teething necklace at a pretty steep discount. Surprisingly, I was approved, and I was super excited to use the code I was given and purchase the product. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the code when I input it into Amazon…the discount wasn’t what the website stated it should be. I emailed the client, and let them know that there was a problem, fully expecting to get the brush off one more time.

Yet, almost within five minutes, I had a response from the fantastic rep. She apologized for the mixup and went in to fix the code on Amazon’s end. She then told me that there would be an approximate four hour waiting period for the code to work, and that I should try again sometime after that. This entire exchange was super pleasant.

More than four hours later, I tried again, still to no avail. I wrote her back, telling her of the same issue, and offered to apply for a different necklace or get another code. I was floored by her response.

Awe, you are so sweet, thank you!!  You and one other person had the exact same problem.  I think it’s on Amazon’s end not being able to input the new code.   What I did for her was just sent her one directly to her house (I keep some on hand exactly for this reason :).
I’ll send you whichever one you prefer at no cost.  I’m truly sorry that this turned into such a pain.
If you send me your address, I can get it into the mail for you  in the morning.
This woman, who didn’t owe me anything, apologized to ME and offered me the necklace at no charge. She was so kind didn’t have to do anything for me, someone who is just trying to test out some things in exchange for reviews.
She didn’t ask me to, but I’m going to tell all of you, that Snuggle Bunny Beads TM is one of the most amazing companies I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with. Once I get my necklaces (because I went ahead and bought the other one anyway), I will definitely post a review here.
So thank you again! If you’re in the market for a good new mom gift, these necklaces are awesome, and I highly recommend them!
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Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

You Are Worth It

How often do we think about the lives of people who walk past us on a day to day basis How many of us think about the consequences of our words and how they affect other people? How do we deal with loss when it happens?

The school I work at was hit hard this weekend. On Saturday, one of our freshman students committed suicide. She had apparently been bullied by some girls and decided to end her life. Yesterday, for me, was spent talking with other teachers to try and find out who knew this young woman and lend my support to those people. Today, back at work, I see the consequences of the actions of a few. Never in my eleven years of teaching have I ever seen such solidarity from the students at my school.

We are a school of over 2000 people. This morning, about fifteen minutes after I arrived at work, there was a large gathering of students out in the hallway outside of my classroom door. At least 100 students. And they were all holding hands and praying together, those who knew her, and those who didn’t. I didn’t know this young girl, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel something. Life is precious and no one should ever feel that they are alone or worthless. No one should ever feel as if killing themselves is their last option.

Some of my students came by the room today, tears in their eyes. Although I have been a teacher for eleven years, I am not equipped to handle their grief. So I did what I could. I hugged them tight. I told them that they are loved. I let them know that I was there for them. The school has offered extra counseling services today, so I let them know of that. And I tried to let them know that even if they were feeling sad, there was someone out there who cares for them.

I remember being in middle and high school. I remember being bullied…no, tormented…by people all throughout those years. I wouldn’t wish that kind of a hell on anyone. But I had people who reminded me that I was worth it. I had a mother and father who tried to talk to me about what was happening in my life. I had people around me who listened when I talked. It may not have been much, but it was enough, for me. I only hope that people remember that sometimes that’s all that it takes.

No one should ever have to bury a child. I feel extremely sad for this young woman’s family. They now have to go on without her, and instead of seeing her bright face, they have to see her as a cause. She has become a rallying cry against bullying. She has become the poster child for what happens when people ignore an epidemic of words. It is not what her legacy should have been, but it is what it has become.

I pray that her family and friends find peace. I pray that people see this and see it as a dire reminder of what our words mean and how they can affect others. I hope that those people who bullied her feel a change of heart. I have heard that students in this building are looking for the people “responsible.” I pray that they look inside of themselves and find that the anger they feel would be better channeled into something else.

To those of you out there who may be feeling the same way, remember this. You are more than just a name or a cause or a face. You are a person who is loved, who has loved, and has affected more people in your lifetime than you will ever know. Talk to someone. Don’t take that last step off of the precipice.

If you or someone you know and love is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.  And if you are passionate about helping people who have hit this place, consider sending a donation to To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit that seeks to bring help and attention to people who self-harm, are addicts, are depressed, and are considering suicide.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

Stressing Out

Ah, another musing brought on by a conversation with a student. If ever there was a career that made you think more about life and how we live it, teaching would be it. I never ceased to be amazed by how much I end up learning from my students.

Anywho, today’s musing comes from my conversation with a student about stress. And it made me think, how much stress do we put on ourselves that is unwarranted? How much stress do we try to take off of the backs of other people and place it on ourselves? How much worldly burden can we take on before it breaks our own backs?

I know I’ve done it before. I’ve sat down and worried myself over things that were needless. “What if I didn’t do this correctly?” “What if my principal didn’t like my lesson?” “What if I forgot my lunch?” All of these simple worries, scattered throughout my mind, each one a feather on their own, but together, a pile of worry that slowly takes a toll.

And it starts with the mental. You start losing concentration on everyday tasks. You try to calm yourself but can’t seem to think about anything else. Then it moves onto the physical. Your heart beats at ten million beats per minute. You get that sinking feeling in your stomach. You try to distract yourself with menial tasks, but keep coming back to the problems that burden you. They may not even be your burdens. Maybe you’re worried on behalf of someone else.

And what does that bring us, all of this worry? Are we better for it, in the end? I don’t think so.

Instead of enjoying the simple things that lay in front of us in abundance, we get mired in the quicksand of our worries. We can’t enjoy things for we are blinded. It hurts, it brings us down, and it affects those we love as well.

I’m not saying that all anxieties and worries can be put off easily, but we have to have something that we can do to save ourselves. Maybe it’s those coloring books that are all the rage. Maybe you get up from your desk and take a walk to get a cup of coffee. Maybe you write about it. Maybe you listen to music. Talk to someone. Something has to help free you of the burden and make you feel better.

For me, it’s a mix of things. Sometimes I’ll watch video of my son. Sometimes I’ll read. I do like to color. And it doesn’t always work, but for a moment, at least, I can clear my head and try to see the light through the clouds.

I hope that those of you who are suffering from some sort of worry today find a way to move past it. I hope that you find something that makes you feel even a tiny bit better. I hope that you make this day a positive one, and move forward with whatever it is that you’re doing.

If any of you have any tried and true methods of stress relief that work for you, let me know in the comments. And let me know of a time in which this has happened to you. I look forward to reading it.

 

~Aly aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

On Being a Mother and a Teacher

Sorry about being away for so long…not that it was super noticeable. Such is the life of a mother, I suppose. I came down with a pretty bad cold, and then ended up on Spring Break…and that meant taking care of the Goober. Now I’m back on track and ready to write more about stuff and things!

Today’s thoughts come from a conversation that my students were having yesterday. They are often times some of the most insightful people I have in my life, surprising me at the most interesting moments. Yesterday was no exception.

So, I had given my students an assignment to simply write about their Spring Break. I know it wasn’t particularly interesting, but when you’re coming back from a long break, often times a simple, “Hey, we’re back here and we have work to do” assignment works best. My students were in various phases of their work. Some of them had thrown themselves into the writing, and others, per usual, were spending their time talking with someone next to them. They’re Juniors, I get it.

All of a sudden, one of my students pipes up with some random commentary. I’ll try to do her justice in my recollection of what she said.

“Mrs. A? Can I just talk for a minute? As I was writing, I had a thought. I’m almost an adult. I’m 16 years old. Soon, I’m going to be out of my house, going to be away from my family. Mrs. A…I’m scared. I don’t want to leave my mother! I just want to spend time with her. I think I realized that over spring break…I just wanted to be with her and spend time with her. And it makes me sad and scared to think that soon, I won’t be able to do that.”

Now, my students don’t normally talk a lot about their families, and when they do, I almost never get thoughts like these. Most of the time, it’s “Ugh, my mother is so annoying. She got mad at me over nothing!” But this…this conversation left me with a lot of thoughts. I listened to the rest of the class talk with her about their own thoughts on the matter, and it made my eyes tear up.

I think that part of it is again my newfound motherhood. That and my own connection with my own mother. It’s amazing how in hindsight we see things with such clarity. And it’s amazing how this one student sees with clarity right now how her relationship with her own mother is going to change.

While not everyone has a great relationship with their parents, seeing that they still exist makes my heart warm. We all go through growing pains with our parents, but knowing that time with them is precious is a valuable lesson to learn. Hearing that some of my students appreciate their parents gives me hope.

Do any of you remember having that feeling at any point? Are there any memories of your parents that you’d like to share? I look forward to seeing it in the comments!