Parenting: Frustration and Pride

Standard

Every parent on the face of our planet has at least once wished their kids have children just like them. Now, raising my own child, I do have to say, sometimes it’s like arguing with myself in the mirror.

My kid is definitely my mini-me, without a doubt. She has the same mannerisms, attitude, and hell, some of the same dislikes. Getting her to clean up one at project before she starts another is like pulling teeth (while I ignore the yarn I pulled out in favour of writing). Arguing with her about why it’s important to rein in her smart mouth, while realizing my mouth is the root of half of my problems in my past is very odd. Watching her read through a chapter book in an hour reminds me of bringing Stephen King’s Misery to fifth grade.

My child is definitely my child. She pushes every button I have, gets under my skin like there’s no tomorrow. However, when I hear about her standing up to her bullies at school, I swell with pride. Watching her befriend younger children makes me smile. Watching her excel in the things she wants to do (art, writing, reading.. soon sports) makes me ever so proud.

Just like every other parent on the face of the planet, I hope I’m going a good job. I hope I’m everything I should be for her. I hope I teach her right from wrong and how to be a strong woman. After stepping on a Lego a few minutes ago, after a long day of bickering about picking up toys and not using attitude.. I threw my hands up in the air and thought to myself “I hope she has a kid just like her.”

Just like every other parent out there.

Advertisements

Chasing it down.

Standard

I feel like I lost something along the way, like it fell out of my pocket while I was walking down the street one day.  It feels like I lost it at home, in the morning rush, while I was trying to get my child off to school so I could head to work.  I feel like I lost it at the office, in between the screaming customers and cranky coworkers.  I feel like I lost it while trying to balance the work I’ve brought home, with the work I already had set up for me there.

My creativity is missing, have you seen it?  My fingers used to itch with ideas to put on paper, with stories streaming through my head.  I used to have to STOP what I was doing, multiple times through out the day, just to write an idea down.  I could sit down with my cup of coffee and write and write, whether it was with my journal and pen or computer.

Somewhere this past year, I lost it.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t occasionally sat down by the computer, grabbed my notebooks, and… tried.  It just doesn’t come.  If I sit there long enough, the only feelings, the only things that come is stress from the job, and the feeling of failing at home (the result of working long hours and bringing work home with me).

My fingers don’t itch, my journal is sparsely filled with meaningless entries, and my blog is stagnant.  Don’t even get me started on my drawings or my knitting.  Lately, it feels like there is nothing left in my brain but stress.  There’s this underlying wave of anxiety lately, if I give myself a moment, it threatens to drown me.  I get up in the morning, get my kiddo to school, work 9 hours (often without a lunch, which was a big journal writing time for me), get the kid from school and head home with another 2-4 hours of work.  I manage to fix dinner, throw in some activities for the family on the weekend, and bam!  The end of the day is there, I head to my room to conjure up something to put through my pen and just end up with the same anxiety.  Unfortunately you can only write so much about one topic before you start pissing yourself off.  (Yes, that was a full admission that *all* writing I do is for myself.)

Things seem to be slowly calming down at work, I’m slowly (read: the difference is in literal minutes) working less at home.  I’m slowly starting to feel the real draw back to my ideas, but now it’s pushed by the irritation, the HATRED of how I’ve sold my mind short.  I think of all that I could put through my pen, I think of all the time I could spend with my daughter (my true muse) instead of hovering over my paperwork, and then stressing over everything else.  I think of how much I just want to STOP.

I think of how much I just want to walk away.  How much I want to just say “screw your fucking (insert inane purchase at any retail/CS job I’ve worked), I’m done.” and go home and write.  How much I want to listen to my daughter’s make believe stories and spin whole tales about each character… for the pure point of telling a great bedtime story.  I think about the years I’ll spend working, and if they’ll be limited by my disease, I think about whether or not I’m spending what limited working years I have working in a stressful environment.  If I’m sacrificing my “healthy years” (those of you who personally know me, just started laughing) slaving away behind work orders and phones instead of with my family and my art.  I start wondering what’s worth it, and what’s not.  I start wondering what I really want, and what just gets me by.

Then.  THEN.  I think about how much I enjoy my industry (even if I don’t enjoy my job anymore).  I think about the great example I’m setting for my daughter about work ethic when I show up to work every day, even when other’s would call off.  I think about my co-workers, who sometimes drive me up a wall, but whom I consider my friends.  I think about the joy I find when doing my job correctly, and getting out and finishing at 5.  I think about how much easier things are with my extra paycheck (yes, I’m *finally* not the breadwinner in my family), and how much quicker I can accomplish my material goals.  I think about how much easier it is to get yelled at by a customer then it is to try and crank out material and get published.

I ran away this weekend, my daughter and I came up north, to a part of wisconsin I’d like to live eventually.  My parents will eventually retire here, and this is one of the only places I feel like I’m able to let my mind wander.  After work on friday, I packed the car and we drove up here in the dark.  I needed a weekend away to clear my head, despite planning to come up here much more this year, I haven’t made it.    So this weekend it is.

Last night, while laying in bed, I realized that something has to change.  Now I’m not saying I am going to up and quit my job (despite the rallying cries to do so), but something… anything has to change.  I need to learn how to say no, how to go home at a reasonable time and instead of working at my own desk, how to walk away from my to-do list and pay attention to myself and to my family.  I need to learn to let my words and emotions flow through my fingers like they used to.  I need to stop fearing that I’ll offend someone with my writing, that I’ll upset someone at the office or in my personal life.  I need to stop censoring my thoughts and written word and maybe… just maybe my creativity will come back.  I need to learn balance, how to do the job I (used to) love (and learn to love it again), and how to nurture my family and my own pleasures.

Last night, and today, I’ve realized what I want and it’s not the feeling I get out of the way things are now.  I have to make a change, and I’m the only one who can do it.  It’s my life and I’m the one leading it… I need to get my priorities in order and enjoy it.

Life is a lot shorter than we’ve been lead to believe.

A Working Mom’s Exasperation

Standard

You asked why I don’t like you, but really you should ask why I don’t respect you.

I just got home, 12 hours after I left my house this morning.  I have to pull some over time because we lost a girl at the office.  That’s okay with me, extra cash on my paycheck never hurts, and I’m still home by dinner.  I guess me and the kid are going to head into the office tomorrow so I can finish up some stuff, that way I won’t have to spend that much extra time there next week.  I miss my kid during the week while she’s at school, I don’t like missing her any longer.  So we have plans to hang out with her aunt tomorrow and some fun activities for Sunday as well.

I work hard at my job because I pride myself in being successful.  I love my “grown-up” job because it allows me to make enough money to pay for my daughter’s school, clothes, and of course the basics.  I make enough now, that with some budgeting, I can afford fun stuff and vacations.  I work this hard because I like caring for my family and knowing I can provide for them, and I want to set a good example for my girl.  I love my “grown-up” job because I work during her school hours and a tad bit before and after.  That way she’s home with me as much as possible and we can spend time together.

I take pride in my home and in my family.  The majority of my actions are involving them.  I make decisions that will benefit not just me but my entire family.  I believe that raising your child is supposed to be the most important job of a mother.  I do my best to raise her right and be a good mother.  To provide a loving, stable home in which she can thrive despite life’s obstacles.

I have worked long and hard to fix my life after I divorced my ex-husband.  I worked all sorts of jobs until I found one that allowed me to spend more time with her and afford my bills at the same time.  I learned how to deal with the fact that she is in school now, and I miss her dearly when she’s there.  I bought and fixed up a house, and do my best to have a family dinner every night.  Call me traditional, but it’s good enough for me.  I went from a stay at home mom in an abusive relationship to a working mother who has found a career and is thriving.

You wonder why I don’t like you.  You stand for everything I strive not to be.  You are the stereotypical welfare mom.  You defraud the government for more welfare by claiming people you shouldn’t and by working for cash.  You work at a bar, and hang out there when you’re not working, all the while insisting that you can’t get a new job because there’s nothing out there.  Right.  Um retail.  You really don’t have any bills since you don’t pay for food, childcare, or medical.  I don’t even think you pay rent.  Get a day job.  You’ve been working that shit hole bar for 3 years.  Time to move on.  I don’t respect you because you are a poor excuse for a mom.  You choose your friends and your bar-job over your son.  You say “Oh he’s only with me 1 day this week” like it’s no big deal, when by friday, I miss my daughter so much by the time I pick her up from school that I want nothing more than to hug her, and I still see her every day. Your son will grow up to remember that you were not there when he needed you most.  You complain when the government finally catches you ripping off welfare and blame everyone but yourself.  Because obviously, since you’re a single mom, the world owes you something.  You shouldn’t have to work hard to take care of your children.  You shouldn’t have to work at all!  You shouldn’t have to spend time with your kids, because hey, that’s what your parents are for!  God forbid you use the money you *do* earn to buy your child food, when the government pays you for FREE.

So moral of the story here?  Don’t tell me you know how hard it is, when you clearly don’t know.  You haven’t had to raise your own child in 3 years, nor do you even pay your own bills.  Once you grow up and realise that you actually have to BE there for your child, that your child ranks far over your social life, once you get a job that provides for yourself and your child, or hell even SHOW interest or LOOK…. then I might respect you.

Everyone has their low points, hell, in the past 10 years I’ve been on a got-damned rollercoaster.  But you know what?  I picked myself up off the ground and improved myself and my life to benefit my children.  There’s nothing wrong with working at a bar, as long as you make decent money and spend time with your child.  But once a week, is not it.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but if your fun DIRECTLY IMPACTS YOUR CHILD, it’s time to stop.  Everyone hits a financial hard point, and some of us (myself included) have needed state aid.  But it’s there for emergencies, until you improve your situation, it’s not a way of life.  It’s there to help you up when you need a hand, and that’s it.  When you’ve been at the same rock-bottom-point of your life for 3 years, and you don’t see a problem with it, it’s time to grow up.  It’s not about you anymore, it’s about your child.

[I apologize to anyone if I offended them, this is my own personal opinion after being on both sides of the fence.  I do not have respect for someone who lives on welfare for years.  Nor do I have respect for parents who don’t see their children on their own choice.  I don’t have respect for people who are in a shit situation but refuse to fix their lives, even worse expect other people to fix it for them.  Sorry.]

Easter for the Non-Religious

Standard

It’s already Easter, March just flew by!  It seems I was just bitching about it only being February and BAM! Tomorrow’s the first day of April.  Easter weekend isn’t anything too special for my family, I haven’t been particularly religious since I was a kid.  Basically after the trauma of losing my Mother when I was in 5th grade, Christianity just morphed into “being a good person”.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, I just don’t believe in organized religion or practicing my faith with in a church.  What it comes down to for my family and I is regardless of what you believe, try and be a good person.  I guess I’ll find out if that’s the wrong answer at the end of my life.  *Shrugs*

Easter as a kid was a big production for our family.  We’d all go (were dragged) to church in the morning after raiding our Easter baskets.  After church we’d head to my grandparents house for an Easter Egg hunt and dinner.  It was usually my grandparents, my parents, my sister and I, my Aunt and her daughter.  Definitely some fond memories there.

Like I already said, my family isn’t too religious.  I intend on teaching Nood about Christianity (and other religions once she gets a little older) so she can make the decision for herself.  So our house is pretty tame on Easter.  Of course we do Easter baskets and egg hunts, and most years we go to my parent’s house where they do an egg hunt for Nood.  This year we’re postponing it until next weekend.

One of the wonderful things about this Easter is that I had Good Friday off.  So hurrah for three day weekends!  Nood had a costume party at school on Friday, so I gave her the option of staying home with me or school, and she chose home.  So we hung out all day and relaxed.  Saturdays are always filled with errands here, so it was mostly shopping and cleaning, which we got a lot done.  Today though, today was extra nice.

Ry had to go help his sister move, so we did the Easter Baskets/Egg hunt first thing and then I dropped him off at the train.  Noodle and I came back and hung out for a couple of hours this morning and then cooked lunch together.  She helped make grilled cheese (with swiss on everything bread!!) and tomato soup.  Lunch together today was different.  There was no whining about food or any of that, she actually talked.  Like told me her “great ideas” and what she wanted to do this summer.  She’s a very vocal child as it is, meals are usually just punctuated with complaints since she’s the pickiest eater alive.  So it was definitely nice.

After lunch it was finally in the 50’s outside and the sun was shining.  We headed out in the backyard for a few hours, I got some writing in and Nood ran around like crazy alternating between the trampoline and swing set.  I think the sun did both of us some good.  Afterwards she helped me shell all of our coloured eggs and make Deviled Eggs.  I even got her to try one.  She tried so hard to eat it without making faces or complaining.  I had to laugh and let up on her.  Ha.

It was just really nice.  I’ve picked up Ry already, and Nood got some bike riding time in on her new bike with the neighbor boy so everyone’s pretty content.  I’ve sent Ry out to grill the skirt steaks I stuck in a marinade earlier, and for now it’s eerily quiet as the kid relaxes.

I was a little bummed about moving Easter Dinner at my parent’s to next weekend at first, but I ended up having a blast with my kid.  I wouldn’t trade today for anything.  Besides, next weekend is a double whammy.  My birthday (I’m growing down now) and Easter.  Fuck yes, I’m going to eat everything and drink too much wine.  :)

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend too regardless of whether you celebrate or not.  Happy Spring!

Fathers Day and a One Year Anniversary

Standard

Let me start off this post with a belated Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful father’s I know out there.  From my friends, to my own Father to my boyfriend.

A Father is his son’s first hero and his daughter’s first love.

That being said, this Father’s Day was a bittersweet anniversary for Noodle and I.  One year ago on Father’s Day was the last time she heard from her father, Tim.  At this point I don’t even want to call him a father but I hate that stupid term “sperm donor”.  Anyway, last year at this time, he had already up and moved to Colorado after giving us only 3 days notice.  He had promised to call Noodle, promised her he’d be back in a couple of weeks, and promised me he was going for work and would send money as soon as he good.  One year ago on Father’s Day, he called for the last time and got mad that Noodle didn’t want to talk on the phone with him, since she was busy playing with about 15 children at a barbecue.

We never heard from him again.  Through a little digging on the internet, we found out what town he’s living in, that he’s unemployed and living off of his new girlfriend (what a surprise) and that he spends his time in the bottom of a bottle.  Tim broke my daughters heart as he broke each and every promise he ever made her.  While he was off starting another life for the 4th time, I was here dealing with a 4 year old who was facing the fact that her own father doesn’t love her.  While he was at the bar with his new girlfriend, I was rocking my child to sleep who had spent hours crying for her father.  While he was off doing what he wanted, I fed a brand new hatred for the man.

It’s been one year.  I knew he wouldn’t come back, hell, even his own mother has admitted that.  It’s been one year, and the hatred has just grown.  However I’ve become more confident.  Slowly my little girl stopped asking for her Dad, and slowly I realized I could do this on my own.  Slowly she got over losing him and slowly I got stronger.  A lot can change over a year, and my family is proof of it.  The anger I have against him has fueled me into making myself a better mom.  The burning anger at the memories of my daughter crying for her father, pushed me to spend a lot of time with her and realize I’d rather be with her than anything else.

It’s been one year since Noodle’s dad willingly left, and it’s given me one year to strengthen my family and my relationship with my daughter.  It’s been one year and she’s okay and I’m okay.  It’s been one year, and I can swear to god… if he ever comes near my daughter again I’ll rip his head off.  I will not let him do what he did to his son and pop in and out of her life.  We’re better off  with out someone who chooses drugs and drinking over his kids.  I’m glad he’s gone.

Happy Father’s Day (belated).  More importantly, Happy One Year Anniversary to Noodle and I.  Here’s to many more years!