Society and it’s high expectations – aka: You’re not a bad parent.

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There’s a constant mental war going on inside my head. ¬†I believe every mother (and father) deals with it at one point, but for me, it seems like it’s waging every day. ¬†A rifle shot sounds as soon as I drop my daughter off at school, I mean come on, I must be a bad mother for working? ¬†Especially when I made a promise to stay at home with her when I was pregnant. ¬†On that note, another rifle shot sounds and I don’t know if a blended family is right for her.

Hot damn. ¬†The enemy line is approaching, when I yelled at her yesterday for sassing me when I asked her to clean her room? ¬†I must have wasted precious weekend time fighting with her. ¬†Hell, when I made her go to school when she was upset that other morning… that surely was the wrong choice. ¬†Explosion. ¬†Telling her we’d play outside tomorrow when she wanted to ride bikes and I was exhausted from work. ¬†More wasted time.

Yup. ¬†That’s it right there. ¬†That, is just a small portion of the mommy-guilt-war that wages inside my head. ¬†Being a parent is tough sometimes, I know for me that I feel a lot of guilt for what we *don’t* do, despite all of the fun stuff we actually *do* do. ¬†I think that no matter what we mothers do, how we act, or which decision we make, there is always the lurking thought when things settle down that maybe we could have done better. ¬†Maybe we could have made our child(ren) happier, or maybe we could have handled a melt down a better way. ¬†Parenting is not easy folks, at least not for me.

Growing up, my parents made it seem way easier than it is. ¬†My mother cooked dinner more nights than not, and my Dad never seemed to complain about work. ¬†Despite being booted out the door to go play as soon as we got annoying, I still held my parents’ .. well… parenting at top notch. ¬†Being children, we don’t realize that our parents were struggling too. ¬†Now that I’ve gotten older, and have heard some of the stories, chuckles, and tears about raising my sister and I, I realize that we just didn’t know. ¬†However, that doesn’t mean that the parents I was lucky enough to grow up with didn’t set some impossibly high standard for my own life.

For example, society has brainwashed us that a happy, healthy family eats together every night. ¬†That home-cooked meals create healthy, happy children. ¬†I know I’m speaking for more than myself here, but I know after a 14 hour day when I finally get home, just glancing at the ingredients to make dinner makes my brain hurt. ¬†So we’ll order something and eat something in our respective places. ¬†Later on that evening, when I’m back to work at my own desk, that guilt kicks in. ¬†I should have made dinner, we should have eaten at the table together. ¬†Despite the fact that we do more often than not, I will feel guilty for taking the easy route.

Of course I don’t remember the nights when we were kids that we got Wendy’s for dinner (one had just opened up by our house) because my parents were too exhausted to cook. ¬†Nope, I remember my mother’s home made chili going for hours and the corn bread from scratch. ¬†Instead of realizing that it’s okay to be lazy once in a while, it’s okay to be tired, I hold myself to that latter standard. ¬†My parents did it, with a lot more on their plate than myself, so why can’t I?

The end point of all of this, is that I, as well as too many other parents, might be being too hard on ourselves. ¬†With social media, technology as a whole we have too much to compare ourselves too. ¬†If that’s not enough, we have endless articles on what, who, how we are damaging our children. ¬†So we go about our days, pushing ourselves to line, and if we don’t accomplish what society has set up for us, we beat ourselves up. ¬†We double think what we are doing, and instead of enjoying the little moments, the happy moments, the good we *do* accomplish we are left feeling inadequate and lost.

No parent is perfect, and no childhood is perfect. ¬†As long as our kids are happy (despite having to clean their rooms, eat their dinner, do their homework and not be little miniature assholes) and healthy (as can be), we’re doing a good job. ¬†I’m not a bad mom for working my ass off or creating a blended family. ¬†You’re not a bad mom for not buying the latest gadget, and you over there? ¬†You’re not a bad dad¬†for yelling at your kid for talking back. ¬†Go ahead, take a break, just because your kids aren’t eating dinner 7 days a week at the kitchen table doesn’t mean you’ve ruined them.

Now if society and social media could just let parents know that once in a while, I think we’d all breathe a bit easier.

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Informed Decisions

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So my little girl isn’t so little anymore. ¬†This fall she’ll be starting Kindergarten, complete with school supplies list and mandatory physical. ¬†Which in my house means starting up vaccinations. ¬†When I was pregnant with Noodle, I started researching vaccinations. ¬†I read the pros as well as the cons, including side effects, effectiveness and statistics. ¬†I read many many testimonies from the government/doctors/concerned parents on why parents should insist on every single vaccination out there. ¬†I read testimonies and studies against vaccinations, I read studies about side effects as well as studies regarding the effectiveness in relation to age at time of vaccination.

The long story short is, at her first pediatrician appointment, I sat down with her doctor and asked his opinion before I made my final decision. ¬†He was very helpful, he mentioned studies I had already read and brought up other statistics I hadn’t heard about. ¬†What tipped the scales for me was “Regardless of what the guidelines are, remember, it is your child, not the governments. ¬†You get to make the decision.” He went on to say that he had chosen a delayed vaccination schedule for his children and after some discussion I chose that route. ¬†With the pediatricians help, I decided to delay vaccination based off of several studies until age 4/5 (Kindergarten). ¬†He also explained the different types of exemptions in the state of Illinois, which helped me continue to delay-vaccination through pre-school.

Now we could argue left and right when it comes to the old classic of no-vax vs vax. ¬†That’s old news to me (hello ladies from CafeMom). ¬†What I’m actually getting at is making an informed decision. ¬†We as parents are forced to make serious choices, some with possible negative outcomes, several times before our children are old enough to move out on their own. ¬†Hell, my own Dad will argue that those decisions don’t even stop there. ¬†You know what? ¬†We may even make decisions that other parents or even strangers think are not the best, but what matters is that YOU believe it’s the best. ¬†Just make sure you make an¬†informed decision, do your research, talk to professionals if it applies and make sure that you weigh in the pros and cons from both sides. ¬†Whether we’re talking about vaccinations, changing school districts, to moving across the country, even to start a new healthy diet or exercise. ¬†We run the show, and I want parents to remember that. ¬†Ultimately we are the decision makers, we need to make informed choices for our children and do what we think is best.

Today, as I expected and as Noodle’s previous pediatrician warned (we switched doctors due to a change in insurance), I came across negative opinions. ¬†Those opinions from the nurses and doctors bordered on bullying. ¬†However, once I sat down with her new doctor and made him aware that I was very educated on the topic and had come up with the delayed/selective vaccination schedule with her previous pediatrician, it went much smoother. ¬†It was much easier to get my point across and come up with a schedule that I agreed with. ¬†The fact that I showed knowledge impressed not only the doctor but the nurses as well as the doctor’s assistant.

I’m glad I made the choice I did. ¬†I feel it was fit for my family. ¬†Raising kids is tough, making the decisions that effect their lives is even tougher. ¬†It helps if you do a little bit of research and go with what you’re comfortable with. ¬†Just remember they are our children, we need to make the best decisions for them, for our families.

Fathers Day and a One Year Anniversary

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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!