Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

I feel as though no one tells you what parenthood really has in store for you. Like, not the funny little things … like how even babies get erections and it’s totally normal or how potty training is MESSY. Or the multitude of stages kids actually go through. Or about how tired you’ll be. Or the craziness that parenthood just is in general. But I think that the thing that you really go into parenthood not expecting – and wind up getting slapped in the face by – is the feeling of not doing enough, being enough, feeling like you’re just plain not good enough. And I’m not going to sugar coat it for you – if a parent says that they’ve never felt any of those things than they are lying. You will feel this way about something.

Whether you delivered by c-section or vaginal, with drugs or natural, adopted or foster, breastfed or formula fed, co-sleep, spank, work or stay home…. you will have feelings of inadequacy in some way when it comes to parenting. And you know what? You shouldn’t. These children were entrusted to you, to raise with your abilities and your strengths and weaknesses. There was no mistake.

And there is no expectation of perfection except those that we put on ourselves because of what we think that parenting should be based on what we see in the media.

Going into motherhood I never expected to be faced with so many issues and obstacles. Currently I am dealing with my pre-tween who absolutely hates it at my house, thinks I’m a terrible mother and would prefer to not even visit me. Yet, here I stand. His mother, trying not to give up on him. Taking him to his appointments and his practices and trying so hard to have him know I love him. And he is smart, empathetic, polite and talented. But I feel like I am failing him.

Take my 3 year old. He is destructive – he used a 60 inch television that we had for 3 days as a slide. He is rambunctious and challenging. He is also sweet, loving and genuinely happy. Two days a week he goes to speech and occupational therapy for areas I haven’t been able to help him. I feel like I am failing him.

I wasn’t prepared for therapists and psychiatrist’s, speech and OT. I wasn’t ready for the simple things either though. I wasn’t ready for potty training or temper tantrums or straight up MELTDOWNS. I wasn’t ready for a c-section, VBAC, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and anxiety or the fact that you will WANT to wear depends after having a baby. No one prepares you for these things. And it feels like no one understands what you’re experiencing or where you are. But they do. You are not alone.

The pressure we put on ourselves and the impossible standards we try to live up to are leading us into lives full of worry, fear, anger and shame.

We need to all let go of this need to be “good enough” because we already are.

We need to embrace the wonder and amazement that is parenting even through the darkest days of it because our children continue to grow up and we should be enjoying these times while we can. We also need to be making ourselves a priority. It is impossible to fill others cups when our own cup is empty. My amazing friend explained Rachel Hollis’ theory to me. As moms we are constantly tipping our glasses over to splash water on others… giving our little bit of energy to our kids, our husbands, our jobs, our homes. But a glass that is constantly ripping over becomes weak and eventually breaks. Instead of tipping what little water is in our glass onto others, fill the glass to the top and let the excess spill out onto everyone else. By filling your cup first – through self care and self love – the energy we gain will naturally just spill onto all those around us. Leaving us intact, rather than broken and leaving us, and everyone around us, happier.

Take a bible study. Join a gym. Get up an hour early and spend some quiet time with yourself. Or with God. Enjoy your cup of coffee.

I know this is easier said than done but I’ve found I deal with the trials, tribulations and heartache of parenthood a lot better when my glass is a little fuller.

Where are you struggling with parenting? Let’s see if we can work through it together.

Ask Me Anything

Here’s your chance. I’m opening up my blog to any and all questions. Personal. General. Want to know my favorite pizza? Ask away. Wondering about my relationship goals? I’m an open book for this post. I’ll pick a few of my favorites to turn into a post.

Make sure to comment or message me your questions by tomorrow evening.

A (busy) Day in the Life of the Bad Ass Boy Mom

Let’s be honest, all of my days are busy, but let’s go ahead and pick one of the busier days to do a “day in the life of” post. I kept track of things as they happened so this post would be as accurate as possible. With my recent health issues, my normal Wednesday routine has changed quite a bit and isn’t nearly as busy as it was a couple weeks ago. Yes, you can call me crazy.

6:15 a.m. – my alarm goes off. I shut this alarm off. Some days I get out of bed and other days I finally roll out bed around 7.

6:22 a.m. – get myself out of bed. Ugh. So not a morning person.

6:23 a.m. – start coffee and go let the dogs out.

6:30 a.m. – pour myself a HUGE cup of coffee with an overabundance of creamer. Let’s get this day rockin’.

6:32 a.m. – check my emails and scroll Facebook for a few minutes while I try to wake up.

6:40 a.m. – get myself dressed, throw some leave-in conditioner in my hair to try to tame the frizz, brush my teeth and throw a layer of mascara on. Trust me. This is not a daily routine but I will be leaving the house today and this is the only time I will get an opportunity to do any of these things.

6:45 a.m. – write. I force myself to write something every day as part of my 2019 goals.

7 a.m. – kids still aren’t up. Put on eyeshadow and eyeliner as well. Holy crap. This never happens.

7:15 a.m. – still no kids. Get to work on my normal routine and start putting the dishes away.

7:30 a.m. – still no kids. Is it the apocalypse? Guess I’ll start making breakfast anyway.

7:45 a.m. – eat my breakfast. Holy crap is it nice to not inhale my food.

7:54 am – Oliver starts stirring. I’m finishing my breakfast before I run in to get him.

8 am – get Oliver up and dressed for the day

8:10 am – Oliver gets his breakfast while I try to figure some things out for the blog on my computer

8:12 am – Gabe instinctively knows that I’m trying to get stuff done and finally wakes up

8:15 am – Gabe already starts asking to watch YouTube videos

8:20 am – Gabe starts on his breakfast

8:35 am – Get Gabe dressed and shoes and socks on everyone

8:45 am – let the dogs out again before we leave

8:50 am – Gabe decided he wants to finish his breakfast

8:55 am – get the kids in the car to leave

Normally I would be dropping Gabe off at preschool but today is the first day of my new bible study and I dont want to show up late.

8:57 am – go back inside to use the bathroom

8:59 am – double check we have the pacifier and llama for Oliver

9:01 am – leave to church

9:15-11:00 am – moms bible study

11:15 am – get home and start getting lunch ready usually chicken nuggets or leftovers – today we had chili

11:25 am – let dogs out while kids get started eating

11:27 am – start eating my own lunch track my meals as I eat

11:36 am – finish lunch and start clearing the dishes. The running water reminds me that I have to pee.

11:51 am – Gabe needs his “butt yiped” yay me!

11:52 am – put the kids laundry away while listening for sounds of destruction and fighting

12:06 pm- put Oliver down for a nap only because the hubby is home from work today, usually he sleeps in the car while Gabe is in speech

12:08 pm- get Gabe ready to leave for speech

12:18 pm- leave for speech

1230 PM- head home to wait for speech to be over

12:37 pm – time for some alone time

1:08 pm- leave to pick up Gabe from speech

1:15 pm- pick up Gabe

1:27 pm – get home and get everyone ready to leave at 2

2 pm – leave to tour a preschool closer to our house

2:05 pm – preschool tour

3:10 pm – snack time

3:15 pm – shampoo the carpets because my dogs are disgusting freeze babies

3:44 pm – switch the laundry

3:50 pm – feed the dogs

3:54 pm – change into comfy clothes I’m so hot I can’t even stand it

4 pm – email preschool

4:05 pm – spend some time with Gabe playing

4:30 pm – add meal recipe into my meal tracking app and start thawing shrimp for dinner

4:40 p.m. – start making dinner

5:10 p.m. – get everyone to the table to eat said dinner

5:15 p.m. – eat dinner

5:40 p.m. – get the kids into the bath

5:55 p.m. – get kids out of bath and dressed for bed

6:05 p.m. – clean up the kitchen

6:20 p.m. – fold a load of laundry

6:30 p.m. – Oliver’s bedtime

6:40 p.m. – fold another load of laundry how do we have this much laundry??

6:50 p.m. – do Day 1 of my bible study

7:00 p.m. – work on my blog

7:30 p.m. – work on odd jobs around the house like picking up toys, cleaning up the bathroom, switching the laundry, etc.

8:30 p.m. – bedtime for Gabe

8:45 p.m. – take a shower thank God

9 p.m. – spend the next hour with my hubby and write down my 10 gratitudes for the day

10:15 p.m. – bedtime so I can get up and start all over again tomorrow

This is one of my busier days. Some days we get to do art projects and spend more time playing together, other days I’m strapping them in and out of the car as quick as humanly possible to get from one place to the next. I know that my days aren’t perfectly put together. I’m sure that there is a way for me to be more concise and more organized. If you have any suggestions for me, I’m all ears. Any questions, lay them on me.

This Crazy Thing Called Step-Parenting

When my hubby and I met, neither one of us had any intentions of getting into a relationship. We both had complicated situations going on and we both already had children. Fortunately for us, life had different plans for us and here we are 8 years later, married with not only the two children we brought into the relationship but two new little ones as well.

One of the things that has continued to be difficult for us both is step-parenting. Because just like with regular parenting, the kids change so much throughout the years and the way you parent them has to change a little bit as well. Being a step-parent has been one of the most challenging and most rewarding things that I have ever done. Especially as our relationship continues to grow.

B was turning four when we met. Maybe I’m a terrible person, but there wasn’t an instant love, like, bond when we met. What there was, was this inherent need to keep him at a distance. What if we broke up and I not only lost the man I was dating but also this new little person? How do I form a relationship with him without getting in the way of his relationship with his mom? So many “what-if’s” ran through my mind. It didn’t help that the relationship with his mom was bumpy, always making me worry that we wouldn’t get to see him or that she would just keep him from us (which never happened, it was just one of my worries).

But people expect you to love these little people instantly for some reason. “Love them like they’re your own,” they say. The love for my stepson was one that developed over time, just like with any stranger that comes into your life, not like that of a baby that you carry for 9 months. But honestly, for me, who struggled to feel that instant love with my own child, it was even a little harder than it probably is for other people. I treated him with love and cared for him and wanted nothing but the best for him, but the love didn’t come right away. Now though, I would not only llama mama anyone who ever hurts him but I love him exactly like I carried him for 9 months.

We’ve had our fair share of struggles over the years as well. From the “you’re not my mom” fight to flat out being a jerk because he can be. There was the lying stage and the stage where he always made D ask us for everything. It really has been hard in so many ways. The hardest part was when he wouldn’t listen to the things I said, because I’m not his mom. He would constantly push back against everything and I would be chastised for punishing him and feeling sad that we couldn’t form a better relationship. It was a hard time in my life with him.

I think one of the hardest things that’s affected our relationship though doesn’t have anything to do with him at all. There is this whole other relationship that comes with having a step-child and that is the relationship with the other parent.

I know that not all step-parents have this struggle but the other parent is one that affects lots of people. This person will always be their mother or father and while you aren’t trying to replace them, the child at some point and most likely the other parent, will think that you are. There really isn’t a way to convince them that you aren’t but don’t ever give up on loving them. There will be the constant power struggles over the rules that are set and allowed. At times you will butt heads on exactly how to have duel homes with duel rules. There will be battles of will throughout. Some times you will just not get along and not agree. At some point there could be a friendship. Even if it solely revolves around the child. But what will always be there is your desire for the kids to have the best and to be loved. Because of that desire you will continue to fight the fight for them.

I love B just as much as any of my other children. And even though I didn’t give birth to him, life gave him to me regardless and I couldn’t be any more proud to call him my son. There have been times that our relationship has struggled immensely – I won’t call out any behaviors specifically but will say that things weren’t always easy. But I have watched him grow and mature and continue to become an amazing, respectful, empathetic young man that everyone wants to be around.

I don’t know that I’ve got this whole step-parenting thing down. I struggle still knowing whether or not I’m overstepping in certain areas, whether or not he feels like he is the same as the other kids and just generally trying to make sure he knows that he is loved as much as the other kids. I struggle every day trying to make sure that he is happy and knowing that there isn’t a whole lot I can do from a distance. But I will never stop trying.

That is my biggest piece of advice I can give step-parents. Never give up. No matter how much the kids butt heads with you, no matter how shitty a relationship might be with the other parent, no matter how hard it gets – and it will – NEVER GIVE UP. Because these kids need you to love them and care for them and show them that they are worth the fight to you.

If you’re a step-parent, I’d love to know your struggles and triumphs or ask me questions about mine.

When the Doctors Don’t Have Answers

For the past two months I’ve been struggling with syncope, which is a sudden temporary loss of consciousness. The problem is, when I faint, I have full awareness of what is happening, yet I am unable to move, speak or open my eyes. These fainting spells leave me in complete awareness, lasting anywhere from 2-15 minutes before I am able to “wake up.” I spend days at a time feeling as though I have vertigo and then suddenly, one day, my vision closes in on me and I essentially faint. My eyes flicker as I try to open them, my eyes will roll and if they don’t my pupils are constricted. My right hand will twitch as well as the right side of my face. My body is completely tense. These spells typically happen while standing, although at my last hospital visit it happened in the upright sitting position.

I’ve had two hospital stays. They have me on a constant heart monitor which has presented nothing of significance during any of my spells. They’ve run an MRI, CT, ECHO, EEG and EKG. Still nothing of significance has presented itself. They are at a loss and so am I. This last visit they didn’t run a single new test, leaving me frustrated and at my wits end. All I want is some answers to this apparent medical mystery.

So I write this blog post. Hoping that someone out there has experienced this or is a member of the medical community who might have some insight. I have had to stop working and they now want me to completely stop driving as well. I bawled my eyes out to my last nurse because I am expected to carry on my life normally although I have four children at home and there are times that I am alone with them.

What do you do when the medical field has no answers for you?

 

 

Goals for the New Year

I’ve decided that this year won’t be filled with broken resolutions but rather filled with starting a new goal each month that will hopefully become a habit. 2019 is going to be the beginning of the rest of my life. Where I make myself a better person, not make a resolution. I feel as though resolutions always end up as a broken promise and I am sick of breaking promises to myself. Working on being a better me is all encompassing and there are so many ways that I can do that without setting up one monster resolution that can end up feeling daunting. There is no failing in making yourself a better person.

My major goals for the year are –

  • trying to make things better between D and myself
  • trying to donate more of my time to amazing causes
  • trying to find ways to take better care of my body, because I only get one and I need it to last – this includes exercising and eating right
  • trying to fix my financial health
  • trying to express myself more – hopefully through writing

My monthly mini goals are:

January – track spending
February – show my love to the hubby every day
March – read every day
April – Start gardening
May – Find something to donate each day and donate it all on the last day of the month
June – find something fun to do with the kids 2 days a week
July – train for a race and complete one by the end of the month
August – find somewhere new to explore each weekend
September – take a personal development course
October – discover new workout classes that I wouldn’t normally take
November – volunteer at a food shelf
December – adopt a family

Please note, all of these goals say “try” because that’s all I can do. Try. I have my mantras all written out and my affirmations hanging from my mirror. Every day I plan to write down 10 things that I am grateful for and have given myself grace knowing that it won’t likely happen everyday. I want to live a more positive life starting with being a more positive person.

Each month I will focus my energy toward my mini goal for that month, working towards completing that goal. For the items that are something that can be done every day, I hope that I form a habit of doing them and can continue with them well in to the future. All I want to do is be able to live a happier, more fulfilling life and I truly believe that begins by setting goals.

So no broken promises for me this year. This year I’m going to do things as they come to me and just work on being the best possible me that I can be. I hope that others will do the same.

Suffering through the pre-tween years

I don’t recall how I behaved at the age of nine, but if I were any where near as bad as my nine year old, I would hope someone would’ve put me in my place. I swear that you’re only warned about the issues of the teenager years, when your child is working on figuring out who they’ll be, struggling through becoming an adult and developing so many parts of their personality at the same time. APPARENTLY THOUGH this is something that happens throughout a child’s entire life. Apparently, I haven’t read nearly enough parenting books.

I honestly can’t sit and think of how much I’m failing as a parent, struggling as an adult and overall just failing him. How can I feel so much pressure to do something perfectly when no one else in the world has ever done it? I see their smiling faces and perfect outfits and amazing lives blasted all over Instagram. They make their lives seem so beautifully in place and, well, my life…? My life is dirty floors, dishes overflowing in the sink, disheveled children in unmatched clothing and myself just getting off the hot mess express. So why in the world would I think that I’m going to be able to raise tiny humans into decent human beings?

D and I struggle constantly. I can’t speak for him, but it seems as though he feels unwanted since the births of the younger two. And he seems to struggle a lot with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to his heritage. All I want in life is for him to be happy and to feel loved and accepted, but for some reason he doesn’t seem to get those things from my household or myself, regardless of how hard I try. It’s been a difficult stage and even more difficult to find the time that he needs alone with me.

Apparently he is going through a stage and there are other parents that are struggling with some of the same things I am. We have two big issues. The first is his intense emotions: he feels like everyone hates him one minute – crying and vulnerable – and the next minute he will hate everything and everyone in return – sometimes screaming at the top of his lungs. The second is the constant power struggle – he wants to be the one making the rules and will do anything he can to play everyone to get his way.

I’ve decided that the best thing I can do is meet him in the middle.

I need to make time for him. Time spent with just the two of us. Even if it’s just a quick trip to the store since we have such a busy schedule.

Work on helping him understand the emotions he’s feeling so that he doesn’t hate me and so that I don’t end up like Britney Spears circa 2007.

So I as I continue to understand this developmental stage, likely finally getting a grasp on it just as he enters a new stage, I have to wonder. How many others are experiencing heart break during this age?