A mothers guilt

I have said those words to myself a thousand times, but typing those words out for all the world to see…(deep breath)..it stings a little…

A mothers guilt…this mothers guilt.

I can speak as a mom, and I by no means am trying to say ALL moms feel this way, or are this way, but I hope there are others who understand.

We have to make decisions that will affect our children’s lives. It will affect who they become, and there’s always going to be those stories they tell people about their memories of things, good, bad and in-between. I have stories about my mother. My mom lost her mother at a very young age, so she didn’t get the privilege (I mean that) to complain to her mom about how her own kids (one of which is me 🙂 ) were driving her crazy. Or ask her mom “how did you do it mom!” or to say what I have said a gazillion times to my mom “I’m so sorry for what I put you through”. Mostly I apologize for being a self centered, lazy teenager. And my mom smiles and says “you don’t have to apologize to me”. Yes I do. That’s how I show my mom how differently I see things now as a mother compared to how I saw them as that bratty teenager. And they are not just words to me, I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure my mom doesn’t want my apology because, well, because she’s mom. Mom’s understand their kids will make mistakes, lots of them in fact. Moms hope they can help avoid some obvious mistakes, but I’m learning sometimes us moms must sit back and let the rocks tumble. But when things go wrong and it hurts our kids we moms are always so hard on ourselves, that wonderful “mothers guilt”.

This is going to sound crazy, but I really got lucky with my girls. I was 18 when I got pregnant. I didn’t even know how to take care of myself let alone a baby or two!  Which meant I didn’t eat right, I didn’t sleep enough, or I slept to much, I skipped my prenatal vitamins a lot (they made me nauseous) I stressed myself to tears daily. I was unhappy. I was 18, unmarried, and my boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me after I got pregnant. I had to drop out of college, lost my scholarship. I lost my job because I got put on bed rest. I already felt the mothers guilt. I felt bad for bringing my kids into a single parent home, with no dad in the picture (at the time) and I had no money to take care of them. The depression I felt was actually my mothers guilt I’m sure.

As a kid I dreamed of a fancy future, a high paying career, I was going to be someone important! I always remember picturing myself in a loft downtown with an area for my art with paint brushes and a work in project sitting on an easel. Anyway, being an 18 year old unemployed single pregnant teen was the farthest thing from my dream. My dad was dying of cancer, my mom was in her midlife crisis and my best friend dumped me. I was a depressed wreck. But a miracle happened, well 2. I gave birth to two beautiful and healthy baby girls who brightened my world beyond my imagination. They had a few minor health issues as babies, but overall they were very healthy babies! By 6 months they slept through the night. They weren’t picky eaters, I just had to cut up the meat and hide it in mashed potatoes. They were full of smiles and giggles and they shined everywhere we went. I eventually got back to college. I didn’t think I could love anything or anyone as much I loved those girls! I was lonely sure, but I didn’t really picture myself with anyone. I accepted it was me and them girls forever. So I spoiled them, dressed them alike, gave lots of hugs and kisses, did their hair every day in pig tails, I enjoyed them because as far as I was concerned they would be my only children. Then life threw me a curve ball, well a lot of curve balls and with each of those came more guilt.

I met a guy, looking back I’m honestly mad at my mother for encouraging it. But she was just happy to see me happy again and the idea of me not having to raise my girls alone was nice. What a fool I was. I can’t express how much guilt I have locked away over this one, but it is what it is. Lessons were learned. I became a much stronger person from it all. And in 2002 I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. It was a very, very, very difficult and long delivery. I was in labor for over 27 hours and actively pushed for nearly seven hours, mind you this after having my twins by c-section. My son was 9 pounds and he couldn’t get out. I have guilt over picking that quack doctor.

From day one Ryan had health issues. He didn’t sleep, he was always hungry but like the girl from the exorcist, he threw everything up. It was awful. Jaundice, fevers, ear infections, acid reflux (I never knew a baby could have that!) eczema, sick all the time he was. The guilt over his birth still eats at me. I was again going through another pregnancy alone but this time also raising twin four year olds. The last thing I wanted was to be raising 3 kids by two different fathers alone, going through a divorce. What a catch I made my myself! At least I had a job this time. (there’s my sarcasm) Do I need to explain where the mothers guilt fits in this part of the story? God I hope not!

Fast forward through a lot of crappy choices that came with more of..you guessed it… mothers guilt.

Let’s see, I have no idea where to start on this part… Hmm.. okay, 2004 was the first time I took Ryan in for outside help. Ryan was always so much more work than my girls were. I’m sure I’m exaggerating but I honestly remember the girls always being so easy. You said “no, don’t touch that” they didn’t touch it. Shocking I know! I mean, they’d give me a poutty face, immediately followed by a big smile and a “shake that booty..uh uh..shake that booty baby” such easy kids. Ryan is a tester, a button pusher, he likes to test the limits and push buttons. He’s honery! Anyways, 2004 fast forward through alot of mis-diagnoses, therapy, behavior modification, medical tests and hospitalizations…and the overwhelming guilt that comes with all that… Ryan actually has Epilepsy, and ADHD. He’s a great kid though. He’s funny, charming, peculiar, artistic, loving, smart, jokester, thoughtful. But he’s had a rough road, course thank god he had me and his sisters because it takes a whole lot of love to get a person through what he was.

And the guilt over all the stuff I fast forwarded through? Well there’s just so much to explain, to sum it up, I learned how to be my child’s advocate. I learned how to navigate my way through the system. The medical, the insurance, the doctors, the school, IEP’s, I became obsessed with it all. Why? My guilt. It’s silly really. Most people don’t know about this stuff, we trust the doctors and the schools to do right by us and our kids. BUT I learned a very important lesson. We must educate ourselves too, moms (and dads if they are involved) are the most important person to stand and fight for our kids.

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A calm after the storm

The Storm Hit and stuck around for a bit

To sum things up, my family has been hit hard. The storm came and just stayed. It kept turning and moving and spinning. On numerous occasions I found myself dizzy from the whirlwind. Physically exhausted, mentally burnt, and wondering when it would stop hitting us with new blows. Just let up already! Hadn’t we survived enough storms?

Learning to find the Light

I’m learning to find peace and light in whatever little things I can. It’s to hard when I focus on the negative things. It’s scary and quite frankly there’s too damn many of them to think about. So I’m trying to focus on the things I’m thankful for. This doesn’t come naturally for me, I have to work at it. But I am starting to see the gifts and stay focused on them because it makes me feel better.

It’s Okay

For some reason things are okay. I say this shocked because I had “checked out” for a while. I didn’t focus on the parenting plans or behavior strategy’s. I didn’t even think about all the appointments I needed to make and all the things I needed to get done, doctors to follow-up with for my son. I just didn’t care, it was not in me. While my body got some much-needed rest, I cut myself off from the world. My kids saw that even Supermom runs out of juice. I didn’t harp on them about vacuuming, or doing their dishes. I didn’t notice if the litter box was getting scooped. I didn’t say a word when my son repeatedly left his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, right next to the clothes bin. I stopped pointing out that someone left the shower curtain open instead of pulling it straight to make the bathroom look tidy. I didn’t get up before the sun to feed the pets and start laundry and frantically run around the house before I had to leave for work. I didn’t have my usual “to do” list to remind me “don’t forget to do this today!”.  I stopped shaving my legs, I didn’t bother with painting my toes, I can’t believe how many gray hairs I really have when I don’t color my hair. I just pretty much stopped everything. My body caved under all the pressure and I physically had nothing left to give.

I felt guilty about it. I know my kids hated watching me fall down and unable to get back up. I was SUPERMOM with super powers controlling our world, not anymore. I hated knowing they had to see it, day in and day out watching me in my self-pity. We all only told a select few at first, I was embarrassed that I was now “unemployed” and without a plan. But once I got past worrying about all of it, I realized something. Something I needed to know all this time. The world didn’t fall apart. Everything was still okay!

My kids picked up the slack. Sure they all took advantage of not having to follow the rigid schedule of chores. They enjoyed mom not complaining about who did or didn’t do whatever. Who can blame them! But you know what? They knew what things were most important and what things could sit and wait. The pets got fed, but I didn’t do it! Every now and then a load of laundry was done, magically. The house was picked up, we all got fed, and somehow it didn’t matter that I wasn’t controlling it anymore. That’s when I started to breathe.

I still constantly apply for jobs, but I can even do it from my phone now. These smart-phones are amazing, just miniature computers in the palm of my hand! Instead of sitting at the computer, I played fetch with the dog. I watched a lot of junk TV with the kids. I even read a little bit. I looked at every option and decided I’m going back to college. I’m already registered. And guess what, I’m not even sure exactly what degree I want and it’s still okay! See, I’m a planner. I have to know everything in advance, schedule for it, arrange all the details. I’m learning I don’t need to do that anymore because things still work out. Even when the plan changes, it all works out.

Now when I decided to bring some structure back it wasn’t an easy task. My son is a very stubborn boy. We played “bull” for quite a few days trying to see which one of us was going to outlast the other. It was not fun and I wasn’t sure I had it in me anymore. At one point I was ready to throw in the towel and I got a call from a great lady who sat on the phone with me, reminding me how I did it before and telling me it was okay I got off track. That’s life! It was the perfect motivator and rejuvenated me, and then I realized he was throwing in the towel instead. I didn’t go back to all of the lessons and strategy’s we recently learned. I did take pieces of them though and found a way to make it work. Eventually he stopped fighting me. The power of a cable TV is pretty darn strong. I learned that’s the key, at least for my son. I don’t sit next to him constantly redirecting him to clean his room. He just didn’t get the TV until he did what I asked him to do. Slowly I realized his fights weren’t such terrible battles anymore. He was learning it was better to just get it over with and do what mom asked. I wince at typing this for fear that I may ruin the progress. (Knock on wood Heather, quickly before it’s too late!)

Today I made my dear son pick up the mess in the living room. It was his after all. I keep the remote until he finishes the job. He needed to clear his dirty dishes, pick up the wrappers and re-organize the stack of DVD’s he took out. When he asked me nicely for the remote I just calmly reminded him “Sure, once you finish picking up the living room”. There is no caving in from me, at least not today. I checked the room before I gave him the remote. Something I always needed to do before, but was too exhausted from work to follow through with. Now he doesn’t waste my time with 10 trips of me checking to see he had not done anything yet. I just calmly ask “Did you get the dishes yet? And the trash? And those DVD’s got put back in the proper cases right?” That last one took him a little while. He just kept whining and pouting how hard it is and why should it matter if they are in the right cases if they’re just his movies anyway? I just simply answered the question, calmly stating “because I said so” at the end. Eventually, after about an hour, maybe two, he finally did all the steps, properly. And he was proud of himself. (and I am proud of us both!)

I write this detailed reminder not for other parents who may read this and need the tips. I write it to remind ME why it’s working now. I’m not frantically pacing the house to get all the chores done and stressing about all those papers I still need to get done at the office. I’m not stressed out because I still haven’t had the time or energy to organize the closet. My mind isn’t racing with 30 things I need to make sure gets done at work because I’m doing 3 people’s work while they get to relax watching YouTube, frustrated at the lack of concern the owner has about his own company. I’m not angry anymore about the lack of involvement and interest he had. I’m not stewing over the fact that the owner is an unreasonable and unappreciative jerk blowing me off every time I discuss logical and necessary changes to be addressed. Sigh…I was overworked, unappreciated and undervalued which contributed to a toxic work environment, I’m not dealing with that anymore. I’m not thinking which step of the new behavior strategy I forgot to follow through with either. I’m not stressing. I’m breathing. I’m calm.

I’m still in a storm, but I’m okay, me and the kids. I understand the term “calm after the storm” and I have faith that it’s all going to work out. I just hope I’m right.

Time to recharge my soul

 

First I must apologize for my lack of posting and checking in on any of the blogs I like to follow. I have been hit by a wall (as Oprah says, life will give you hints and it starts with a whisper…eventually it changes to a thump on the top of your head! And if you still don’t get the message, life will slam you into a wall. It’s just trying to get your attention so you can hear the message)..Anyway, I needed time to recharge my soul.

So for the first time in 12 years I found myself unemployed. It’s not a good feeling, especially when you are the only person you can count on to keep the roof over your family’s head. I’m scared, angry, sad, devastated, quite frankly…I’m pissed off!

I worked my butt off for that company, I did everything in my power to benefit that company. Things weren’t getting done, see it was a small company so it’s more than difficult to “tattle” and even when you tried to casually mention anything it caused world war 3! So I stepped up and did it…all of it (besides the shop manager..he’s awesome, and engineering-that’s over my head)! And I loved it! I was amazing at it! But all hell broke loose when I pressed (mind you for over 6 months) for a receptionist to get hired, even part-time so I would have some help. Honestly I talked to “management” for over a year and things just would have continued to go downhill if someone didn’t do something. So I did what my mom taught me, I took charge! And there were no complaints, by all accounts I was doing a wonderful job, the manager at the time even got me an awesome raise! I was even told “exceptional work performance” hours before the new manager fired me.

See I learned a valuable lesson. I need to put myself first, always!

  • I never took vacations, EVER! I couldn’t afford to on the measly pay I got, but I accepted it.
  • My son has Epilepsy and requires more than the average kid. So I was scared if I got a new job the new company wouldn’t work with me for that.
  • I was comfortable
  • I only had a ten minute drive from home
  • I even had my own office with a window!

I had been there so long I didn’t realize how much of my own personal stuff I had there. I never thought about it, I didn’t plan on leaving. I had a decent raise for the first time and like I said, I was comfortable and enjoyed what I was doing. I was good at it and I felt good about it. I even started a spreadsheet keeping track of the money I saved the company on the purchases I got involved with for inventory. After about 9 months I finally pressed the owner about my mounting pressures and the need for some office help, attaching the spreadsheet detailing the over eighteen thousand dollars I had saved the company in roughly 9 months I had been tracking it. He called and cursed me out because no one asked me to do it!! Mind you, the manager he hired over a year before did and I had emails to prove our conversations. Owner apologized, and demoted me.

My love for the company and hope for it to be successful was shrunk down a little after that…okay, a lot. Long story short, about 2 very stressful months I was fired. Told to leave the property and not even allowed to take my personal items. My children’s drawings and pictures, nothing. I have been with this company since they opened this office 12 years ago and they have NEVER treated anyone this way. I thought of that company like family. I stuck it out when it looked like that place was going to close and I worked my ass off to better things there. Honestly, they hurt my heart. They hurt my children. And why? Because I spoke the truth…

I remind myself everything happens for a reason. Doors close so you can see the new ones that are meant for you. I have to remind myself that things will work out, as my best friend reminds me-they always do. 

Life Lesson #32912

Sometimes we need to be selfish and do something nice for ourselves. Let go of the guilt from doing it too!

Life Lesson #3272012

Don’t compare your life to others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.

Dude….that’s my mom

Warning: some language may offend some by reading this….if that means you then read the next blog instead of mine because today I just don’t give a shit.

I’m learning all about becoming my children’s advocate. And as much as I hate politics, there seems to be a lot of that crap when it comes to school districts, policies, etc. This mom has grown tired.

~I’m tired of adults acting like children.

~I’m tired of my teenagers being given the freedom that even some adults shouldn’t have…and having to force people to let my god damn kids be kids!! Give them rules damn it!

~I’m tired of having to flag my emails to remind me to follow-up with some other jack-ass to make sure they did their job.

~I’m tired of having post-its of all shapes, sizes and colors all over my world because if I don’t remember to do it…well damn it just won’t get done!

~I’m tired of people trying to walk all over me. (I have learned to be the pain in their ass if I expect anyone to honor their words)

~I’m tired of having to prove myself to anyone that I am not one to mess with. This lady has learned, I’ve walked a million miles (not literally just that life has not been easy) and I know I have to work harder to get what is right…that’s the deck I’ve been dealt. And unfortunately some of you have been dealt the other hand in my card game…good luck, may the best player win.

~I am just tired.

Here is the letter I emailed to my daughters school dean, her teacher, the acting superintendent of the district, and the president of the school board. (because guess what…I am that fucking mom the suits warned you about….maybe my kids are right..I’m crazy.)

Mr. (fill in the name here: because truth be told I wasn’t trying to get this guys attention. I should have had his attention months ago. I copied the higher-ups to this email because I’m god damn tired of wasting my time to tell you shit heads how to do your fucking jobs!)

I appreciate you addressing my concerns with my daughter leaving the school for school activities without parental consent.

My daughter told me you spoke with her yesterday and explained she is to check with you before leaving school grounds during scheduled school time, and you will then call me to confirm if it’s ok. I think it’s important to clarify our conversation because this isn’t how I understood things. Last night at conferences I also spoke to Mrs.(teachers name here) directly and advised her as well.

My daughter is 15 years old and has NO reason to leave school property, especially without my consent. I am NOT and HAVE NOT given my consent for her to leave school to ride along with her friend to collect payments from business’s (for the school newspaper). Shouldn’t the school take better precautions? What happens if the student that is driving gets in an accident and my daughter gets hurt? Isn’t this why there is permission slips required from parents for a child to attend a field trip? Who is liable?

I understand there are responsibilities for the newspaper staff. But it does not take more than one student to go collect a check from a business, which could just be mailed. If it is preferred a student go to the business that would best be handled by a senior staff member.

I am extremely frustrated how this issue has been handled given previous problems. I hope this clarifies any confusion on your part

Signed,

that thorn in your ass that copied your boss to this email!

Now, I type on my blog proud as can be. Mind you tonight was day two of parent teacher conferences and lo and behold I had finally gotten the Dean’s attention. Mr Dean of the school was very kind and clarified understanding my rules and that things will be corrected. He agreed with all I said and even apologized for the lack of his attention previously, and to be honest he seemed sincere. He seemed sincere that he agreed my daughter deserves to be a kid for the last few years she has to do so. He seemed sincere when he told me they wish more parents were this involved. He seemed sincere when he told my daughter repeatedly “one day you will thank your mom for this”. Either he was faking which would mean he’s really a good liar) or he realized how much this mom loves her kids and how far this mom will go for them.

I know my daughter will read this and likely be upset and embarrassed “what if my friends see that!”. But given the fact that my kids are used to my obsessive determination, they might just laugh at me. Maybe even tell a few selected friends about it. I would prefer they be proud of me. Even for a second admitting in their hearts that one day they will realize how utterly and completely exhausted I must have been with life, and I still made the time to address issues regarding their safety and education….repeatedly when needed. Sigh… Well a mother can dream can’t she!

Regardless how my kids react to this post, I must be completely honest… I felt like a total bad ass tonight! Although I would like to think this means the school will take me more serious in the future, past experience tells me they seem to forget quickly.

So until next time…at least for tonight I can scream “SCORE FOR THIS MOM”!

And if my daughters friends give them a hard time, hopefully they will just say “DUDE!…….that’s my mom!”

(Inside joke…note to my girls: at least I’m not spitting popcorn at them like your crazy grandma!  I love you mom!)

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