The Plight of Parenthood

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I remember when I first brought my daughter home from the hospital. It was the middle of the night, I was in immense pain, and I had a screaming infant in my arms at 2am. My shit bag of an ex-husband slept through it all, including the my own screams for help. So as I tried every trick I could think of, while sobbing and terrified that I would somehow fuck up that little being that was struggling in my arms.

That pure terror still exists 12 years later.

I’ve spent the last 12 years trying to do the best I can. I’ve admittedly made several mistakes, as all parents do, but my end goal is an aware, well adjusted young woman who stands up for what is right. There’s always that uncomfortable feeling that you’re doing something wrong. There’s that terror, that somehow you messed up.. that maybe that one time you grounded them you messed up their outlook.

It’s even worse when you’re tasked with helping to raise someone else’s little girl.

It pains me to be the one to teach a little girl about how to take care of her body. It saddens me to be the one to break it to her that the world isn’t the nice little place Sunday school had her believe. It’s thrilling, yet incredibly sad to be the one who teaches her how to ride a bike, roller skate, and play sports. It enrages me, that I am the one who has to advocate for her mental health, physical health and social skills.. not her mother.

When you spend so much time beating yourself up over your parenting, it’s incredibly difficult to see another parent ignore, neglect and refuse to parent their child. Being inadvertently handed the job of teaching a little girl everything she should’ve learned from her own mother in the last 9 years, and being forced to cram it into one summer is absolute bullshit. It’s even more daunting to know that a vast amount of what you’re able to teach and expose a child to will be undone with inattention, ignorance, and laziness over the course of 6 months.

It’s like trying to cram all of the anxiety of parenting over the course of 9 years, into a single summer.. knowing damn well that it’s just going to start all over the next summer. Unfortunately though, all you can do is try your best. It’s incredibly difficult not to lash out at the biological parent who is dropping the ball, who is ignoring their own kid and refusing to face the struggle of parenting their own child. It’s just rough.

Here’s to to raising someone else’s kid. Here’s to hoping that I can pick up the slack. Here’s to hoping I can help undo years of damage with the help of therapy. Here’s to hoping.

 

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Time keeps flying..

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Holy crap, it’s already August! Where did the summer go? Hell, where did the first 8 months of 2016 go? It’s almost time for school to start back up for my little one, and she’s not so little. She’ll be going into 4th grade this year, and it still feels like changing diapers and tying little tiny tennis shoes was just yesterday.

She’s super excited, I can’t blame her. She’s now at the age where picking out school supplies is super fun, as well as new school clothes. She’s looking forward to seeing all of her school friends again and is super excited to see who her new teacher is this year. Here I am, panicking because I have a 9 year old instead of a toddler. I have a 4th grader instead of a pre-schooler. Where did the years go?

Hell, time has flown for me too. In 9 years, I’ve been through 2 major relationships, I’ve bought a house, gotten sicker, and gotten better and all of the nitty gritty in between. It’s been one hell of a ride these past 9 years, hell, most of my life, but what I’ve made of my life makes me proud. It definitely has taken some hard work, and there’s a lot more work to do, but I’m where I feel I need to be at this point.

What’s next? I don’t know. I’m planning on some minor remodeling in my home, it’ll take time, but it’s all things I want to be done. Other than that, just planning on enjoying life a little bit more now. I have the peace I’ve been wanting, it’s about time I take advantage of it.

Cheater Cheater – Bullshit Eater

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You know I love social media. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and someone finally weaseled me into a Snapchat (which I’m still trying to figure out how to work.) and I love it. I can keep track of my far-away-move-here-now friends, as well as family I don’t see as often. I use it to store some of my pictures, and share the ones I really love with my friends.

However, these past few weeks have gotten on my nerves. Facebook has that “People You May Know” feature, that with the last update it is now in the middle of scrolling. It’s constantly pulling up two of my exes from a decade ago, as well as my most recent ex’s family. More of an annoyance than anything. Then, my most recent ex, you know the one who used me to get himself where he needed to be, then cheated on me and stole a lot of my shit, Ryan? Yeah that one… decided to follow me on twitter. Creepy. I texted him and he insisted that I was in the recommended people he follow.. so I looked, he follows like 20 people. Basically, he follows me, his mom and sister, and a bunch of news crap and sex accounts. Whatever. Not my deal, if he wants to look at the dumb shit I post, then sure!

Well then, back on Facebook a few days later, a girl named Sarah popped up in the “People You May Know” feature, but I couldn’t see any mutual friends. Her name looked reeeeeallly familiar. Then it clicked, Ryan had used MY Facebook to look her up a few times. When questioned about it, it was supposedly because his buddy was dating her… so it was needed to repeatedly look at her profile. Well, you know hindsight is a bitch, and we’ve all found out how much I got cheated on, so I figured, what the hell. Clicked her page and there he is. Looks like they’re together now.  I’m guessing she was one of the girls he cheated on me with.

Honestly? I’m not even mad. She looks sweet from her pictures, and took him off my hands, so have fun. It gets my mind thinking though over the past few days. Why do women help men cheat on other women (what happened to women sticking together?), and don’t they expect to be cheated on? I mean, it seems logical to me, if you help someone cheat on their significant other, do you really expect them to be faithful to you? Honest question. I’ve never been on that side, so I really don’t know.

That and I noticed that she has kids. I don’t know if she’s letting him around them or not, but has he told her he’s a sex offender? That she will most likely be investigated by DCFS for Neglect? If someone had told me that all in the beginning, I would’ve run for hills. Hell, for all I know, they’re living together and he’s still registering at his family’s house. I actually feel sorry for the girl, if I knew what I was getting into when I first met him I would’ve ran. Hell, it never even sank in towards the end that he’d never be able to do anything with the kids like graduations or parks… it’s the little things for me.

I thought I would’ve been upset or something similar when I figured out who he had cheated on me with, but nope. It’s just sorrow for this new girl Sarah (subnote: that would be 3 ex’s now who date girls named Sarah after me). I  hope he’s been honest with her, and doesn’t damn near ruin her life like he almost did mine. Lying is a tricky game, and one he’s going to eventually fuck up.

Either way, I need to find away to avoid that “People You May Know” section. Exes, bros from high school, and apparently side chicks are popping up way too quick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress: It’ll Make or Break You. (Hint: Make isn’t fun either.)

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There’s always another curve-ball it seems like. It’s always one thing after another, or at least that’s what it seems like this week. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep a brave face on, to keep the smile going.  It feels like I’ve been asking for a break from the Universe for years now, but that’s how it goes.

After my surgery, I was positive that things would get a bit easier.  I mean, hell, I wouldn’t be admitted for sleepovers at my favorite hospital every month.. so that would be a bonus? While that’s absolutely true, I haven’t had more than a couple bad days with my Crohn’s Disease since, life just throws one more thing at me after another.

So surgery happened, and then the headaches/migraines started. MRIs (and the different variations of that I had done) showed nothing. The doctor ran all the neurological tests, and nothing. Tried some pills, and after a month and change, I occasionally get a day where I only get a headache for part of it.

I finally start getting used to the headaches, and learn how to “head them off” when they start, and start altering my lifestyle to maybe get rid of them all together. Stress makes everything worse, so why not lower stress in addition to exercise (hello weight gain from new headache medicine) and eating better. Things are looking up!

Until my car takes a big giant shit on that plan. My transmission hates me, so after it started slipping gears, I took it to my mechanic, who despite my insistence that I just had one done, blew $150 and gave my transmission a flush. That didn’t work, so I took it to a well-known transmission joint. They kept it for a week, changed out the valve body and a couple of other things.. and nada. So I took it back again, and for the tune of $1500 to $1800, they are fixing it. They said it would be a week… that was more than two weeks ago.

We rented a car for the first week and a half, but after running dangerously short on money (and hello beginning of the month, also known as *ding* your mortgage is due) we returned it.. after being told, oh, it’ll be done by Monday at the latest. Well, that was this past Monday.

While all of this is going on, Ryan’s job runs out of work. So when we need the money the most, we’re relying on my income and side jobs. It kind of works out, I was able to drive his truck to work this week a bit, but of course the side jobs come out of the woodwork on days I have to work.. so I was out of luck. Thankfully Ryan’s brother lent me his car, which was a life saver. Lets just say I was having an anxiety attack before he offered.

It doesn’t help that the guy snaps on me whenever I call for an update (because they have YET to call me to let me know what’s going on). So after a long day at work, where my office is SEVERELY understaffed temporarily (of course, while all of this is going on.. seriously, I must have some bad karma or something) and I’m running at stressed-the-fuck-out, I get to call this guy, and get snapped on, when I’m just looking for an update on when my life might get easier.

Then add into that, my daughter’s school is nothing but a pain. School starts on Tuesday, and of course, they have yet to send out ANYTHING about transportation or, I don’t know, school supplies or even her teacher. I’ve been trying to arrange a bus to pick her up from daycare, and it’s a major pain in the ass. Meet and Greet is on Monday (and I have no idea who her teacher is) and I promise this right now, if I go in, and they don’t have transportation set up, I will have a melt down.

All of this is going on, and it takes a toll on you. Ryan and I have been fighting like cats and dogs over the stupidest shit, just because we’re both so stressed out. It’s hard to remember that the other person didn’t cause this. Then, I find myself snapping on Noodle over stuff I normally let slide.. and then apologizing to her and beating myself up over it for days. It’s not easy, and I’m just waiting for a call that something else has gone wrong.

I’m trying to focus on the good things.  Like we both *do* have incomes, and mine is stable. Noodle got to go to the summer camp at her daycare, so instead of dealing with me being stressed out, she got to go mini golfing, to the water park and beach and to a festival. While I beat myself up about this being a stressful summer, I have to remind myself, Noodle’s had a pretty good one! I have to remember, I have my house, which thankfully didn’t incur any damage in that tornado that plowed through town last week. As of now, my car is being fixed, even if it’s a major inconvenience at the moment, in the years past, we didn’t have cars, or relied on one. Of course, even though my body isn’t completely okay, my Crohn’s is damn near in remission for the first time in just under a decade.

I’ve got to remind myself, while things are stressful right now, I’m damned lucky to be sitting at home, writing, with a cup of tea, a sleeping child, and my dogs (and asshole cat) lounging on the couch. They could be a lot worse, they have been a lot worse. We are lucky.

Smiling.

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Birthdays usually don’t go as planned for me. Not to say that they’re horrible, but more like I seem to have child-like expectations and the day seems to miss it’s mark.

I have to say that this year I was more than pleasantly surprised. We really had no concrete plans, but I enjoyed almost every moment of it. Now, at the end of the weekend, sitting here with my cup of tea, I am happy.

Ry, the kids, and I went up to the lake house to see my Dad. I love it up there, from the quiet (my aversion to people) to nature, to spending time with my family… I almost hate coming back. We spent some time outside, the kids got to go on a walk on the shore to collect shells, and ate some delicious food. Between spending time with my family and getting some quiet moments, it was perfect. Ry and the kids picked out a matching bracelet and ring set made from spoons and we did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

After all of that, we made the trek home. While we were up north though, Zach and Ryan built me a tea case. From cutting, sanding to assembling.. it was all them.

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I absolutely adore it! I love handmade gifts, and the fact that both of them worked together on it makes me tear up. I love it.

So here I am, end of the day, kid in bed and tea in hand. It was a good birthday thanks to my family.

Stress, Happiness, Family, Home and Work: Rambling Does a Soul Good.

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This last year has been turbulent.  There were so many ups and downs (it seemed like more downs than anything to be honest) and to be completely honest, I was burning out and pretty damn near miserable.  The worst part is?  I didn’t realize how miserable I was, despite it tearing apart my life.

When you’re not happy, it truly does impact all aspects of your life.  A big part of my issue was work itself, and after I started burning out, I no longer wanted to be a part of it.  I felt helpless, taken advantage of, and angry.  Little did I know, I was taking all of that home with me.  My relationship with my boyfriend suffered, I was working 60+ hours a week, and was so crabby during what little free time I had, I threw most of it on him.  My daughter felt the brunt of it as well, I snapped on her for simple things more times than I’d like to admit.  Of course, working so many hours, made me feel like I missed out on her life (which I did, and I regret wholeheartedly), which made me resentful, which made me angry… and the cycle continued.

The stress from work, and my by that point, unhappy home life impacted my health.  In 2013, I had no hospitalizations.  In 2014 through now?  What, 3?  4?  With several ER trips in between?  It’s been ridiculous.  Crohns isn’t caused by stress, but it most definitely is impacted by it.  So, on top of everything at work, and at home… add in hospital trips.  When you add in hospitals, you have to remember to subtract pay and add stress at work from missing work.  Take all of that and re-route it back into the unhappy job, which leads back into the unhappy home.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

Towards the end of the year, I realized that work was my main issue, and was getting the impression that I was bringing it home and affecting my family.  I made a goal to make it through Christmas.  I had talked about it with Ryan, and once Christmas was past, I would make a decision and decide whether I would leave or stay.

Oddly enough the timing of that final conversation coincided with a demotion.  For whatever reason, my management decided instead of making changes I had been asking for, that it would be better to put me back into the customer service pool and bring back an old coworker as the new supervisor.  I jumped on it.  Sure, I was a bit angry, not at the demotion itself, but at the lack of help I had received, the lack of support I was given and the lack of training (which is improving markedly since then, might I add) for my position.  However, I knew I wasn’t right for the position yet, and at that point, I didn’t want it anymore.

Once I was firmly back in my customer service position, I vowed to leave work at work and to bring the happiness from home there.  I had never been good at separating work and home, never.  Not even when I first started working at 15 years old.  This time I was determined.  That was the first step.  Within a few weeks I was getting comments from family, friends and coworkers that I seemed markedly happier.  Little fights with the boyfriend seemed to happen less and less.  I started to sleep better at night and I realized that it was because once 5pm came along, I *refused* to be aggravated about work, I *refused* to be angry.  If I did manage to bring home those feelings, I did something immediately to put it out of my mind.

Since then, as the weeks pass, I realize what a mess I was.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I wasn’t eating well, and I was perpetually grumpy.  My Crohns Disease started to flare again around Christmas, and I have been back in the hospital twice since then (one was just an overnight, the other almost a week).  The downtime while being sick really pushed home the changes I needed to make.  I have been doing great leaving work at work, and enjoying my home life.  My stress levels were markedly lower once I started focusing on how much I enjoyed doing silly little activities with my daughter, once I started working on my hobbies again.  I started to tweak my diet and cut out some of the fattier foods I eat and try to cut down on coffee.  I quit smoking again (wish me luck) even… that’s the newest, I haven’t had a cigarette since Saturday.

Needless to say, I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself.  I’m enjoying my life a lot more now, and I finally feel like I have my priorities straight.  It took a long time for me to realize that my family and my health come first, no matter what.  No more going to work sick, no more sending my daughter to school with a cold, no more rushing back after hospital stays.  No more bringing home work and no more stressing about it after the day is done.  The benefit also crosses back into the office.  I feel happier heading into work (or at least the dread of a new day isn’t there anymore) and I take my lunch breaks and work on something I’d like to.  When you feel better, you tend to have a higher quality of work.  I  also make it a point to enjoy cooking (like I used to) and my family is benefiting from home cooked meals again.  I’ve even done my best to bring as much music and art as possible back into my home, which is one thing I noticed fell out of my life this last year.

So while I still have quite a bit going on with my health (new doctor, new medications, and new symptoms – a blog post for another time), I’m enjoying myself, my home and my job a lot more these days.  I wish I would have listened to my friends and family earlier, maybe I would’ve caught on to how miserable I really was.  However, you can’t change the past, you can only create the future, and more importantly, make sure you enjoy the present moment.  Here’s to hoping for a better year, a healthier life, and more happiness through out it all.

Not so little anymore.

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She LOVES painting birdhouses. Wonderful gift!

Today I have a 7 year old.  My little baby isn’t quite so little anymore.  Seems like just yesterday she was hauling diaper across my backyard after she figured out how to run, now she’s in her last week of 1st grade.  Not to mention the 5 inches she grew over winter.

She did have school today, but was thrilled she got to wear a birthday crown and the class sung to her.  It’s the last week of school, so they have nothing but fun stuff to do.  She was excited to go, where as I was kind of sad we didn’t get to spend the entire day together.  Story of being a parent I guess.

After school and work we had a birthday party for her.  My parents and step sister and brother came over for dinner.  Despite the rainy beginning to the afternoon, the weather was warm and sunny, nice enough that we were able to grill and eat outside.  My parents brought this adorable cake (pink inside in the shape of a 7) that Ashley really got a kick out of.  She got plenty of gifts from all of us, a lot of outside toys and sports equipment which is just what she wanted.  Grandpa and Grandma got her into painting birdhouses last year and surprised her with two new ones, paint and a paintbrush set.  I think she was most excited about those.  That or the pair of roller skates I got her that she refused to take off.  She was definitely a happy girl, which made my long day at work worth it. 

I think the cutest thing though was her garden.  Ry put up a little white picket fence around a corner of our yard and let her plant a ton of sunflowers.  We even made her a sign and hung her gardening tools on it.  Then they stayed up late around a fire talking, her request over the weekend.  Listening to them just melts my heart.  She loves him so much it’s adorable.  I’m glad she has such a great father figure in her life.

Speaking of fathers, or DNA donors.  Her biological father sent some cheap gift again.  The fool hasn’t talked to her in more than a year, hasn’t seen her in more than three years, and hasn’t paid child support but just once in 5 years and still has the gall to send a crappy $10 gift.  Not even a card this time, at least last year she got a card with some sob story about his phone being shut off (read: he was getting married and having another kid).  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I had been giving her the gifts her sends but last year I found it in the trash shortly after.  She hasn’t even asked about him since her last birthday, and only mentioned him once when she asked if it was okay if Ry was her step daddy since she didn’t have a real one.  (Which yes, I explained that she did in fact have one, but that it was up to her who she considered her Daddy or step daddy, and just reiterated that family is about love, not just blood.)

I’ll have to think on it.  She’s a happy, well adjusted kid, and I hate to disrupt that.  Eh.  We all know I’ll fork it over, and keep my lips sealed about all the nasty things I want to say against her father.  The wonderful thing about children?  They remember who was there for them, who wiped their tears, kissed the owwies and who reads the bedtime stories.  She’ll come to her own conclusions (or rather reiterate them again and again as she gets older) and until then and beyond we’ll continue to be there to support her and love her to pieces.

I just hope Tim realizes that he’s doing her more harm than anything and just stops interrupting her life with cheap gifts.  She’s happy and deserves to stay that way.

Anyway, she had a lovely party, and I enjoyed seeing my family.  Noodle is all tucked in bed and it’s back to school tomorrow.  Here’s to another wonderful year with a wonderful little girl.

I love you Noodle!  Happy birthday my not so little one!