This Parent Thing is Bad for My Ego

I have an eleven year old now. I’d ask where did the time go, but it feels short and long all at the same time. We are in the middle of the journey, helping to shape, helping to mold, helping to guide, and it feels like it, it feels like we worked so hard to get here and we will have to work even harder over to get through the teenage years. This 11 year old is a blessing, and in ways he won’t understand. He is the baby we begged for, hoped for, crossed our fingers for after my first pregnancy ended during the second trimester. He helped make us parents, he helped heal the hurt, and he was a very real blessing. He has also been a challenge to parent from the very beginning. He came into the world via forceps because his heart rate dropped so low they just had to get him out. Ever since it has been something. I feel like God said you want a kid-I will give you a kid.

Having him was baptism through fire, and if you ever thought you had it together as a parent this kid will surely knock you down a few pegs and let you know that you do not. You never did, you never will, and the moment you are getting the hang of it, he will change things up so your parenting ego doesn’t get too inflated. It has its benefits not a lot phases me anymore, I know my kids have their own distinct personality which doesn’t have anything to do with my parenting. I have kids that like rules and order, and I have kids that don’t at all-not even a little.

The phone rings in the middle of the day, and I look down to see it is the school. Immediately my shoulders tense, a weight feels like it has been placed across them, and I briefly wonder: If I don’t answer it does that mean the problem doesn’t exist? Of course, I answer it because answer it or not I will have to hear about it. These phone calls want me to come to the office to talk about my son’s behavior, the teacher wants to basically vent because my son is disrupting their class and has all year, the reward program we had in place isn’t working, he lost his math book, he hasn’t started his science project that is due next week, he used writing time to type the letter 1 for four pages instead of writing, and the list goes on in a varied but similar fashion.

When I talk to him later the answers, the responses, and the whys are far more frustrating than the incidents. I was bored, it doesn’t matter what I do because I get in trouble anyway, they care more about if I am quiet than if I am learning, I was just sticking up for my friend, I am just a jerk, I am a bad kid, I don’t care, nothing ever changes so why does it matter, and the list goes on. This is the heartbreaking part. The part where I alternate being sad and being angry. He speaks truth and he lacks the wisdom to see the whole picture. If ever a kid had a support system this kid does. He knows for a fact that his parents, especially his Dad, will do anything to help him. That doesn’t mean we will do it for him, and that is what makes it so frustrating. He wants it handed to him on a silver platter, he wants it to be made easy, but it just isn’t, and for him, it never will. There are reward systems, there are breathing techniques, mind breaks, alternatives to walking around, talking out, and butting in that have been taught to him, and still here we are. It moves from school to home and self that is so hard because he internalizes it and wears it and it weighs him down.

He sees a therapist. We are starting to consider medicine. Every single person we meet is worried about middle school. It is one of the first things out of their mouths these days. Once he starts to fail or flounder in middle school it will be hard to stop. We need to set him up for success from day one. They all want him to succeed. They give him many chances, they spend a lot of time worrying, they want a fix and a change, but it won’t be that quick. Even with medicine it won’t be that easy. He is smart. Very smart. This is part of what frustrates people me included. Imagine what you could do if you put that energy toward something positive? But, he is the hardest on himself. The negative self-talk is strong, which starts the cycle of this mom worrying all over again. Wanting him to see his worth.

Yesterday was his birthday. It was a rough day for him. He got in trouble at school, I got a phone call, he had to stay after with the principal, and it just seemed to build. Not exactly how you want to spend your birthday. When he got home I gave him a card from his Pappy. After he read it he started to cry a little. He wanted to call his Pappy right away. I read it. It suited the day. It reminded him there are good days, and it acknowledged the truth that he has bad days, but still he needs to believe in himself, we believe in him, and he is special. It wasn’t long, but it reached him where needed to be reached. I am grateful for the relationship he has with his grandparents, his dad, and a select handful of other adults who see him for the entirety of who he is. It will be a difficult road, but hopefully with love and support he will make it through relatively unscathed and with the knowledge that he is loved.23905563_10155986380868086_5785062047597659629_n


Lucky in Friendship

In my life I have never been the type of person to have a large group of friends, a handful at most. Not only that, to this day, my dearest friends from each stage of life are still my most beloved. They have all been a gift, a blessing, my support system for every trial and tribulation. It takes me a while to be real with people. My trust is not easily earned. This may be a fault, I see it as protection, but once we’ve crossed the line from,“I am fine. How are you?”to “Cut the crap what happened?”, well I guess that makes us life long friends.

In looking back it seems that the universe/God must have known my journey would not always be easy. My heart would break over many things: parents, family, boys, children, purpose in life, and religion. It is because God saw fit to place personal angels in my life that I can remember a McDonalds sausage biscuit and coke at my mom’s visitation, a birthday cake with smiling faces and song in my dorm room when I was sure no one would be around to say Happy Birthday, it was cautious visits and gifts that only your best friends could bring after I lost my first baby, it was playdates and walks to just vent about motherhood that saved my sanity, and a girl’s trip to the city when I thought I would lose my mind if I didn’t get out of the house. It has been friendship, at these junctures, that was the guiding light.

This evening on my porch was a box. I grabbed it, put it on the counter and went about my business of making food, straightening up, and getting juice for everyone. I saw it sitting there, and thought about sticking it in the closet until tomorrow. We had a long day, there were a few things floating in my head I hadn’t really processed yet, plus I wasn’t expecting anything, so surely it could wait. Just as I was about to put the youngest two children to bed I grabbed it and brought it with me into my bedroom. Let me say, the thing about friends is that sometimes they know what you need even when you don’t. Inside the box was an ornament with a picture of me (as a baby ) and my mom. The back had a quote. It was one of those moments when you sort of pause and think-What did I ever do deserve so much love?

I am glad I opened the box tonight, I appreciate that all of my friends are more outgoing than I am and have pushed their way into my life, and I am honored to call the women who have held and continue to hold my hand-Friend.

Bittersweet Memories

Shoved back in a dark dusty corner of my daughter’s closet are boxes, old boxes, they have made it through many many moves. The moves to IN (all the many apartments and townhouses we lived in while there), the move to Germany and back (we kept them safe at my in-laws in KY), and our move to IL. Now they rest relatively untouched. The boxes are falling apart, they need to be replaced. I try to forget about them though. They contain pictures and albums from my childhood, college years, and young adulthood. There is one album that is at the very bottom, and I don’t like looking at it. I don’t like seeing it. Memories are tough. They are bittersweet. All life experience shapes, changes, and molds, I can’t turn my back on those experiences, but that doesn’t mean I want constant reminders.

Many years ago I wrote a note, and posted it in the back of the album. It has been on my mind a lot lately, so I went into that back corner, dug around to find the album, and flipped to the back.

Here is that note:

I could often feel you move and I would place my hands over my stomach so I could feel closer to you. It made me feel like I was already holding you and taking care of you. I would talk to you or lightly scold you and tell you to cool it with those kicks. I would give anything to see or feel you move again. How I would relish in it and know that it meant you were safe and happy. I loved you from the moment I knew you were mine. I couldn’t wait to hold you and see you. When they said you were going to be born so early I hoped against hope and prayed that you would be the miracle that made it and you would live. I couldn’t let go of that. If I did what would I have left? As time passed and it became clear that you would not survive I shifted to autopilot and did what I had to do.You had been loved by many and now you were gone. I’m still not sure what to do or think or feel. I know that long before you were born you were a blessing to this family. We will forever be changed because of you. We love you and always will.

My first child was born early. He ended up being stillborn. His name was Owen. Right before they told me he wouldn’t survive they did an ultrasound, and there he was sucking his thumb, unaware that my body was failing him. Instead of keeping him safe and allowing him to grow, my body couldn’t handle the weight and had begun the process of going into labor. I was too far along to stop it, that is what the ultrasound had determined.

I have 5 kids that drive me nuts on a regular basis, but the memory of my first pregnancy often floats in and out of my mind. I am lucky that I have an album full of sweet notes, cards, ultrasounds, and pictures of him after he was born. I only look at once every few years, but it is there when I need it. Back in KY he has a headstone if we ever want to visit. Since we moved away we haven’t, but if his siblings ever want to see it, we know it is there.

These memories are bittersweet, but they are there and they are mine, if I ever need them.


My Son Is More Than His Labels

From the moment my oldest was born he was a handful. That transitioned into the terrible toddler years because it lasted way longer than just the terrible twos. Now that we are nearing the end of elementary school we know that he has ADHD and Anxiety issues. It is difficult for everyone involved, and sometimes I forget to be his biggest advocate. Read more here :

The Laundry Can Wait Is a Scam

The advice I get the most is to just put off the dishes, the laundry, and enjoy life and the kids. I think I took that advice way too literally this week. Here is the thing they don’t tell you- If you don’t do it no one else does it. It doesn’t clean itself up. What?!! I feel like I have been scammed. This is total bullshirt.

I got a tree, I put it up, had the kids put ornaments on it, and pulled out the Christmas decorations. I wrapped a few presents that were flowing out of my closet, that way I could go and stash them in the basement crawlspace. I have been doing my regular job of chauffeur, grocery shopper, Costco shopper, and returner of the the crap that doesn’t fit, and miracle maker of Christmas. I took one night to hang out with friends. You know what I haven’t done? Everything else. I put it off.

I tried to go to my gym to work out, but they didn’t have childcare. What? I pay a lot, ok well I pay a little because it is a pretty crappy gym compared to most, but still I pay. I guess I don’t pay. I am a SAHM so I don’t have any money but my husband pays, and they do promise childcare for those moments when I am trying to shake off those extra Christmas cookies, and not having it available just makes me stressed, and when I am stressed guess what I do?– I EAT CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!

My kids woke up, as kids do, and I have to fed them breakfast and then pack their lunches, nothing out of the ordinary here, but there is no counter space. Like none. There is some chicken carcass, protein powder, spaghetti from a couple nights ago, mulled wine in the crockpot, maybe I should heat that up and drink it, close to 20 coffee mugs, and God only knows what else. Ugh. Whatever. I just add more things to the sink and cram a bunch of stuff in the corner. At the kitchen table there are plates full of food my kids didn’t eat for dinner . Cups full of juice, milk, and water they never finished. There are crumbs that I just wipe to the floor. The Christmas table cloth I got out this week has stains all over it, so I rolled up part of it because it was gross and had planned on washing it, but I haven’t really gotten around to it.

As I am getting the lunches ready I hear my 7yo upset and crying. Yelling and crying. It turns out that he doesn’t have any pants. Like none. He is just sobbing. The laundry basket in his room is overflowing. There are clothes making a trail from the bedrooms upstairs down the stairs, into the kitchen, and down the basement stairs to the washing machine. They are all filthy. There is a long trail. I told you I heeded the advice of those sage parents who came before me telling me to enjoy the moments and let the laundry collect cobwebs. Now it is 10 minutes before school and my 7yo is forced to wear a pair of his 6yo brothers pants, which are totally making him look like he is about to go wading in the pond behind our house. I don’t tell him that though. Of course, I tell him he looks great.

While in the basement I notice, smell, our kitty litter boxes. We have two for 1 cat. They are pretty full. Like, wondering if maybe we should just go ahead and get rid of the cat so I don’t have to mess with those kitty litter boxes, full. I don’t think that the kids will be thrilled but they don’t change the kitty litter so they shouldn’t get a say. The lady who scoops the poop makes the decisions around here.

Now today, without being able to exercise at my gym first, I have to ignore my kids for a full 24 hours while I stress eat cookies, drink week old mulled wine, and clean up the house and do laundry.

The Delivery of Hope

Sometimes life is hard. Like really really hard. There are days when it is overwhelming, and you can’t see sky because there’s so much shit on top of you. It feels like you are struggling, endeavoring to fight the fight, scratching and crawling, and endlessly working only to remain in the same spot. You don’t see any results, you don’t see anything positive, it seems like all is lost. The only thing you can do is keep inching forward, keep moving along because what else is there to do. If you stop, if you pause, if you wait, you’ll get buried. So you keep going.

Then one day you look around and the sun is shining, your kids are laughing, you are laughing, and you know that somehow you did something right. The birds are singing, the sky is blue, the water is glistening in front of you, and peace. When did this change occur? When did you stop drowning? It was incremental. All of your todays felt the same as your yesterdays, and yet, here you are in the middle of hope. You have moved away from despair and have edged towards happiness. Simply by keeping one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that is all you can do. Sometimes it is all you need to do.pexels-photo-311391.jpg

I Am So Basic

Suburban mom suburban life. Driving the minivan to soccer games. Walking kids to school in yoga pants and a messy bun. Just call me basic.

I take my kids apple picking, I drink pumpkin spiced lattes, we look at Christmas lights in the park. In the summer you can find me at the pool trying to look like I have my shit together.

Big coffee mug with a sassy saying helps greet the day. A large glass of wine or a vodka and soda helps me through homework, dinner, and bedtime. I go to Zumba because I love bread. Kale and quinoa are delicious, but so are all those chocolate chip cookies and Rice Krispie treats I make with the kids.

I pack lunches like a boss and make sure there is something healthy in there. I can change a diaper anywhere anytime. I wipe snot like a pro. I can carpool with the best of them.

I know what color plate and the favorite tv show. I clean house blaring Adele and Taylor Swift. I’m not even ashamed. We go to a Target just to walk around. I can always find something I don’t need.

I’ve got my Uggs and Northface coat, I wear flannel and brown boots over my jeans. I love my scented candles in the fall. We go to story time and lap sit. I take my toddler to get her nails done with me.

I Netflix and chill. By that I mean I Netflix at 9pm in my bed and fall asleep. If I have been made a hostage to my house by toddlers, I have no shame in breaking out for brunch and mimosas.

We do Taco Tuesday, but I swear it is because my 7yo loves it. Though I feel no compunction about taking a picture for Instagram with #tacotuesday.

I know who and what I am. I am totes basic. I admit it.23658557_534341356930231_4075186091503925079_n