Apology to my children


1- I am the one who ignored his red flags. 

2- I am responsible for bringing him in my children’s lives. I took the risk with all our hearts and time by bringing someone in who I should have known was capable of having a negative impact. I was selfish in not considering how it would affect my kids to see me so close to an unhealthy man again. 

3- I pray my children forgive me.

4- I have completely closed the door.

5- I will again show you that strong independent amazing mom who makes you proud to have. Our lives will only continue to get better, be better and fulfilling.

12 things I learned from my mom

Today I woke up to the news of a friend’s mother passing. They were very close and I cannot even imagine the pain that she’s feeling. I can’t help but fear how will I handle that loss. This made me realize that I need to tell my mother how I feel about her.  Not how much she drives me nuts and annoys the hell out of me sometimes. I need to tell her the amazing things that I see in her, the amazing things that she taught me and how grateful I am to have her as my mother.

  1. You’re always there for family, no matter what. 

Growing up my family was very chaotic and dysfunctional but one thing was always for sure, no matter how angry you were at each other when trauma or hardship fell on a family member my mom threw it all aside and was there, even if it was her worst enemy. No matter how crazy my mom’s sisters are, that’s one amazing thing about them. 

  2. Her never-ending ability to be there for me and my kids.

I was 18 years old, alone and single, pregnant with twins. My mother was my Lamaze coach, bought me nearly everything I needed for my babies, and stood next to me during delivery. Five years later I was pregnant with my son, again alone from a failed marriage. My mom’s husband’s uncle had committed suicide, and he was like a father to her husband. The next day I went into labor, my mom came rushing and stayed with me, held my hand and fought the doctors to keep me safe. She helped raise my kids when they were young, giving me the needed breaks for my sanity. She was a cheer leader at their school and sports events. She is the best grammy, devoted and loving. 

  3. Strength.

My mom is the strongest woman I know, both physically and mentally. My mom has lost everything and stood strong and rose from the ashes, dusted herself off and was ready for more. She proved a woman can do anything a man can. She taught me to never depend on a man or anyone else. To be independent and strong. 

   4. No matter how hard it gets, you are mom.

I’m sure my mom had many days she wanted to run away, abandon all the responsibilities of raising kids and live a different stress free life. It’s hard work and too many times you feel unappreciated. You’re always on duty and your life revolves around what the kids need. You want new shoes? Too bad, kids need them first. My mom taught me to sacrafice my wants for my children, that they come first. And you work as hard as you can to give them a safe and good life.

 

 5. Even moms get weak and that is okay.

All the stressors of life gets heavy, even for a super-mom’s shoulders. The load sometimes becomes too much to bare and you fall. You get off track, you get a little selfish and want to put yourself first for a change. This is normal. It’s okay to fall. It’s even okay if you need a little pill every day from your doctor to help deal with the stress, as long as you get back up. You cannot stay down. You must regroup and get back to doing what needs to be done. No if, ands, or butts.

   6. Home-cooked meals are the best.

There is absolutely nothing like a home cooked meal made by my mom. Even as an adult I think my mom’s food is better than mine. It’s the love and memories from all the years she created full course delicious meals on a very limited budget while running on fumes. Everyone sat down to eat and chatted about their day, together. It kept us close.

   7. Have respect for what you have.

My mom came from a poor family. Her father’s parents came to the United States as immigrants from Croatia. Her mother grew up right here in South Omaha on 13th Street. They had 7 daughters in a very small home and it was normal for my grandmother to take in neighbor kids or relatives who were in need. While they didn’t have much money, they appreciated what they had. The small home was well kept and always clean. Growing up my mom was this way as well. We didn’t have much money but anyone on the outside was always impressed with our immaculate yard and home. Laundry & dishes done daily, vacumming and sweeping. No one came to our house messy, ever. 

Once my sister spilled red kool-aid on our new cream colored carpet in the living room. Quickly she tried to clean with bleach to remove the stain before our mom had a chance to see it. Long story short we all had to spend a whole weekend bleaching that carpet to match that stain, with windows open and gasping for air. My mom was raised to respect and take care of what she had, to take pride in yourself, your home and your family.
 

 
   8. The kids are a reflection of the parents. 

As kids, we were always clean and had nice clothes. Me and my sister’s hair was always braided or in pig-tails. We were taught respect and manners. It was obvious my mom worked hard at being a mom like she had with the many stories she shared about her childhood. She took pride in that and made sure to carry on those values with her children.

  

   9. Work hard.

My mom always worked too much. Probably 60 hours a week or more, whether it was with one job or spread out with two or three. She strived to have nice things but knew the value of hard work. My mom was never afraid to get her hands dirty. Whether she cleaned apartments for side money, or took on projects like a rental house deal, she never cut corners and always cleaned everything so it was fit for a king. And she never let the long hours at work affect her home. That woman would run on just a few hours of sleep. She never slept through the night, she would get up to switch the laundry over and fold the finished load through the night.  I’m sure it would have been easier to cut herself some slack, but she never did.

   10. Most importantly she taught me the importance of tradition. 

The Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts

Santa Claus 

The tooth fairy

Holiday dinners with close family and friends

Family vacations

It was not uncommon for a last minute invite from my mom to one of our holiday dinners. If she found out that someone she knew had no plans for the holiday my mom instantly opened our home so that person would not be alone. My mom would stay up all night baking pies, up at the crack of dawn to start the turkey, everything from scratch, everything amazing. When I hear of other families memories, I think yours could not compare to my mine. When I come across somebody whose family does not celebrate; on one hand (now that I’m the parent hosting these dinners) there’s a bit of me that feels jealous. Like that would be so nice to just sit home and relax on that day off. But if they have small kids, if they have little children, my heart breaks. The loss of those memories those kids are missing out on makes me sad. 

    11. Be silly, be you and laugh

I love my mother’s laugh. It’s contagious. She’s comfortable with who she is and doesn’t worry about what others think. She is who she is and I love that. She taught me to love myself and not give a shit what other people think. 

   12. Sometimes be impulsive

When you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s easy to forget how to have fun. You get stuck focusing on all the responsibilities you have, bills that are due, groceries to buy, appointments to make. You forget to live life. Sometimes you need to buy yourself those shoes, or do something crazy like get a tattoo. Sometimes be spur of the moment. 

   I’m so very grateful for my mother. She taught me so many wonderful things about being a strong person and a wonderful mother. Because of her I have raised great kids who are thoughtful, loving and kind. She taught me to believe in myself, to value who I am and to be proud of what I’ve accomplished. On a rough day at work I can hear her telling me how smart I am and how impressed she is with me. That helps me regroup and get back to being my fierce self. She reminds me to know my worth and never settle. She has become my voice of reason when my frustrations cloud my emotions. I could not be who I am without her.

Mom, thank you for being you. 

Total bad ass

Dude….that’s my mom – http://wp.me/p271pb-3T

Feeling blessed

Today was a typical Sunday. I did laundry, we took a mid-day nap, we made dinner together, we ate together and teased each other, I did the dishes while my daughter ran to get us ice cream. I finished up some chores and we ate ice cream then my daughter shaved our family cat. Towards the end she needed help holding him. She hated to ask me, you see I’m allergic of cats. Quickly she finished then told me to go shower while she cleaned the mess. Once I finished, concerned she asked if I was okay. Normally I am sneezing, eyes burning, crying for benedryl. I don’t know why but that meant so much to me, her concerned if I was okay. 

I adore my kids.They remind me all the time how much I’ve taught them, how much respect they have for me. They make me proud of my life. 

Still growing



My mind is complicated chaos

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I’m lost and empty. I’m guarded and blocked. I’m afraid of any more pain so I hide and avoid living. I am a very fragile person, yet fiercely strong and independent. Complicated chaos.

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Normally when I feel like this, my words flow yet I’m sitting here blank. I have spent the last week drowning myself in quotes from pinterest, hoping something will turn my outlet back on. Looking for my light-switch. Searching for my mind. My heart, mind and soul is so utterly confused and blocked.

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I miss my friend. He wants more than my heart can handle so I took a step back. To breathe, to evaluate myself, and keep things in my comfort zone. To stay protected from the complication that comes with relationships, the pressures, the disappointments, the failures. I’m not ready, I’m terrified. I may never be ready. It’s possible I will stay guarded forever. He’s human with a heart fully invested while mine is still padlocked behind steel doors. He’s broken at the idea that it may never be “us”. He’s hurting, trying to cope and I’m selfish because I just want my friend back. I want the blunt sarcasm. I want the light hearted conversation and the inside jokes we carry.

But I don’t want the pressure of dealing with parenting issues with the ex when there is so much disagreement, bitterness and hidden resentment. Raising kids together when you’re both on different sides, arguing over the expenses and how the kids should be raised. Speaking negatively of the other. That hits too close to home for me, triggering memories and definitely not what he said I was walking into. I literally play a movie in my head of the arguments, tears, frustration, expense and requirements of xanax to cope with co-parenting small kids again. The thought cripples me. He sees me as this amazing mom who raised her kids alone and sacrificed everything, put her kids above all, financially and emotionally provided everything they needed. I did things with my kids that apparently not every mom does-I spent time with them, I enjoyed them, I did activities with them..I colored with them, we painted, created art, cooked, I read to them and with them. I devoted my life to them. I solely supported my family, paid for daycare and sports, clubs, activities completely by myself. I was a supermom, but it almost killed me.

My heart was broken by life, the struggles, the fighting for my kids. And I fucked up a lot too which left this darkness of guilt inside me. The stress of living that life was too much for my fragile mind. I had mental breakdowns in front of my kids. They sometimes had to scrape me off the floor from anxiety attacks and calm me down so I could breathe. I fought with their dads in front of them, screaming matches because I had a fight in me as big as the world and I never backed down. I would become enraged by my ex-husband’s disappearing acts for the bar, cheating, drinking and gambling. When I spoke my mind to him, his reaction was awful and usually ended in a physical fight and when I was in those moments I never stopped to notice that my kids were watching, I didn’t care. I was depressed, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, and usually medicated to stay afloat. I’m traumatized by the battles with their dad and his then wife, they were a different kind of cruel. Maybe they killed that fight in me. I waved the white flag and surrendered to their evilness. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how deep those wounds are and how truly scarred my heart is. Maybe I’m too afraid to get back in the ring of life, even if I want to.

If someone can’t come in and give me complete trust that they will not bring any negative energy in my life, I will walk. I’ve been used, abused and taken advantage of so I learned to do for myself and on my own. Less drama that way. Yes it’s lonely, but it’s not scary.

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It is necessary to put yourself first

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This is a difficult lesson for a mom. Especially a single mom who over compensated to make up for the crappy men I chose to father my children.

So what I volunteered for school and sports. So what I threw numerous class parties; because mind you I always made the effort to do as much for all 3 of my children, so it wasn’t JUST what I had to do for you, but your sister and brother as well.

-valentine’s with a whiney mother who complained the whole time but I managed to keep the kids unaware of the “mommy” drama while I plated 29 plates of cupcakes, cookies, candy & poured 29 cups of fruit punch while keeping the classroom of kids occupied with senseless games and listening to that whiney mom..that yes cost me money I didn’t have and time off work.. along with
-Halloween party with 30 rolls of toilet paper so the kids could wrap each other as mummies, and again treats and goodies to sugar up all the 5th graders
-dressing up as the “candy witch” for Halloween (several years) and combing the halls of the elementary school with a cauldron full of candy to pass out to all the kids, teachers and parents (which the kids loved..teachers not so much..lol)
-softball field 6 days a week for 4 months every summer for 5 years; while working my full time job and a part time job to help pay for these things
-spending every Friday night or Saturday morning driving you across town for a job that was all about teaching you the value of earning your own money; even though it would have been easier to just give you the $12 you earned in the 2 hours of driving I did
-Working the concession stands several times at high school games to help raise funds for the student council – of which my daughter was president and vice president 
-donating blood twice (and doubles once) for same student council, even with my anemia knowing I would suffer for weeks to build my iron back
-volunteering to host the 6th grade graduation ceremony – not because I had a 6th grader that year but to be involved in your school- having to stand on my feet for nearly 4 hours (miserable!)
-all the baked goods I stayed up late to make, after working all day, for school and sport bake sales 
-attending nearly every single parent teacher conference and definitely every single awards ceremony or art show. Taking the time off work wasn’t an issue for this mom because I was going to show my kids how proud I was and how important they were to me (& remembering how sad I was when I was a kid and my mom wasn’t there)
-sitting through more than my fair share of 3 hour musicals, sitting right in front even though I absolutely hate musicals
-volunteering after work or a Sunday off that I should have been sleeping or catching up on laundry to help tear down play sets or paint and build the new ones
-going to thrift stores and searching for costumes for not just your character in the play, but kids I didn’t even know, and paying for the ones we found, and refusing to be reimbursed
-spending ridiculous funds that I couldn’t afford to spare on raffle tickets, and jars of shitty $10 soup mixes, cookie dough and family sets of $30 sweatshirts and tshirts promoting your school plays (even the teacher was blown away at my orders)
-helping sell hundreds of chocolate bars over the years to send you on weekend out of state school trips
-being your parent and your friend, always proud and accepting of whatever choices you made. Never asking you to “hide” or “pretend” who you are and encouraged you to be proud of yourselves
-never wanting to deny you opportunities that I missed out on so I made sure it happened, whatever the expense; even though in your whole life I was never able to afford a family vacation 
-doctors appointments, counseling appointments, orthodontist appointments, eye and dentist check ups- all of which I had to constantly request time off work to do..the job that paid for our roof, food, and all mentioned expenses
-attorney fees to stand up for you to ensure you were treated right because of the awful stories you came home to tell me in tears; and I’d curl in a ball on my bedroom floor crying feeling so helpless and worried when you were there..just so after a 2.5 year court battle finished, 6 months later you drag me back to say you want to live with said crazy step mom (obviously she wasn’t as crazy as you said..why did I spend nearly 10 grand on the attorney again? That’s right, because you felt unsafe with her!)
-6 months later you decide you want to live with your dad… after
-I bought a 4 bedroom house blocks from your dad’s family so you could be closer to them
-which meant I had to buy you a car for school, COULDNT AFFORD IT BUT DID IT

I can’t help but remember dad not there and refusing to participate in any of your fundraisers or even help with ANY of the costs. Didn’t get involved with you until he looked like an idiot in court. Aunts not there, charged me to babysit you. Grammy was there for a lot of it, but ALWAYS your exhausted overworked single mom. I fought to raise you into good people who know the value of love and to work for what they belive in. Over the years I fought the schools, doctors, your dad and his “crazy vicious” wife, I stood through court battles that dragged out for years, ALL in your honor.

Clearly it was too much. I forgot about myself. Doing so, I also taught you to forget about me. How dare I expect you to grow up and respect me for my sacrifices, or to value me enough to also show I’m a priority in your lives.

I know I’m not perfect, I’m full of flaws. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and having my children so young, they grew up watching me beat myself up over and learn from the mistakes. And yes, the last few years have especially been difficult for me and my traumatic life finally took its toll on me. I’m sometimes emotional and usually stubborn.  But I can honestly say I always did my best, tried my best, and loved with my whole heart and accepted the lessons life presented me with. Yes, sometimes I’ve had to learn and relearn some of the lessons. But my god, if you think you’ve had it rough, try to live in my shoes and we’ll see how great you do without one person to count on and no stable support system or even a close friend to call.

My mom always told me “when you grow up and have kids of your own, you will understand.” This was always in response to my judgement and opinion of her choices and her mistakes. Being a stupid selfish kid, I “knew” I would do better. I wouldn’t do this or that. I wouldn’t allow that or put up with that. I would be better. What. A. Stupid. Kid. I. Was.

I’ve learned not to judge others; life will put me in my place eventually to show me I need to understand everyone makes mistakes but that doesn’t mean they are bad people. I’ve learned I’m not as perfect I once thought I was. I’ve also learned life flies bye; I’m going on 38 and somehow don’t realize how I got this old so fast. I’ve learned people that shouldn’t let me down, most definitely will; Usually in the worst ways. I’ve learned I should have made myself a priority; becoming a mom, I immediately forgot that. I’ve learned that I don’t even know “who” I am. I’ve learned there isn’t a rewind or reset button, and by the time I realize I need it (been a bazillion times) the damage is done. I’ve learned I need to be my own friend first; if I can’t enjoy myself, how can I expect others to? I’ve learned my dysfunctional life trained me to make poor decisions in who I let inside my walls; and it’s something I’m working on and probably will continue to my whole life. I’ve learned everyone needs to be around good positive people, distance yourself from negative ones; it will drain you. I’ve learned life is preparing you for the next chapter; because some of my most miserable times prepared me and gave me tools to use in my next chapters. I’ve learned I need to say “no” more; going out of my way for others doesn’t earn their loyalty to me. I’ve learned people don’t want to hear about all the really awful things I’ve survived and conquered; they usually pity me instead of respect me and the stories make them uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say to the unimaginable; and the ones who are intrigued and want to learn more are the ones who are the most fucked up and will use the information to tear me down tomorrow. I’ve learned bad people can hide in good programs/organizations so don’t trust everyone just because they’re involved in good things. I’ve learned enough is enough; no more judgement or listening to others opinions. No more desperation of wanting others to like me, who gives a shit what they think. I’ve learned I truly can’t count on anyone but myself, and that’s okay. I’ve learned life will change in a minute; so if I’m struggling, I just gotta remember “today will never happen again”.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to let go and move on. I’ve done the best I could. And when these selfish kids of mine grow up and have children of their own, my mom’s message will ring true to them as well. And for the other people? Well they can all just kiss my ass!

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