Doubting Your Parenting Abilities : How You Know You’re On The Right Track

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My short one came out of her room the other night, talking about how she only had one pair of jeans and couldn’t find her leggings. I asked her if she had gone through her clothes lately to see what fit and didn’t, and she exclaimed she did (she didn’t) and actually got teary eyed.

In reality, it’s about the time of year where I buy her a few pairs of jeans, some decent tops. Then in the spring, she gets tank tops and a few shorts. Then around her June birthday, she gets clothing from her grandmother (who picks out really good stuff). We’re not destitute, my child does have some leggings (they’re just too bright colored! Not cool enough for her punk look she has going on) and she has jeans, somewhere.

Yet that night, I sat there after she went to bed and beat myself up. My god, my child only has one pair of jeans that she wants to wear! She had a growth spurt and didn’t have anything to wear! I must suck as a parent. Then I thought about how I picked on her for her part in her hair the other day. I told her she looked like Avril Lavigne, instead of remembering how we chuckled about it, I worried that maybe I had hurt her feelings. After that I worried about how cooped up she has been since it’s winter. I felt like a bad mom because I hadn’t done anything outside with her (despite her thinking she’s too cool to play in the snow).

It was a long road down into a worry filled well of self doubt. Then I remembered what I’ve told numerous other mothers, and reminded myself that I need to take my own words to heart.

If you worry about how good of a parent you are, you’re fine. It’s when you stop worrying, stop caring, that’s when you’re in trouble.

A lot of my friends have children now, and a lot of them are reaching ages where they voice discontent with their parents. Time and time again, I see my fellow moms on facebook beating themselves up over whether or not they’re a good mom. Hell, I’ve even seen a couple dads do it. Our kids whine, our kids complain, and we look at other parents and compare ourselves to them. Are we good enough?

We wonder if not buying our kids the newest tablet makes us a bad parent because “all my friends have one! Why can’t I?!” We wonder that the new tablet we did buy our kids makes us a bad parent, as we’re being bombarded left and right by the news and other parents about our children’s time spent on electronics. Our kids don’t seem to have the right looking clothes, or the right sizes (damn those growth spurts!) or the right BRAND of shoes. They don’t have the newest gaming console, or maybe they do? Does that make us bad parents because they’re spoiled? We had to ground our kids for not doing their chores, and we can hear them crying in their rooms. Did we make the right choice? Our kids don’t have set chores and we all help out, are we ruining our children?

Noticing a trend here?

We all worry, and in this current day and age, we are blasted with articles about different ways to raise our children. Every time we turn around, we have social media posts from other moms and dads about how their way is the best way, some of which blatantly say those of us who parent in a different way are damning our children. The fact is, is that my generation, our generation is has so much information about how to parent thrown at us, we struggle a lot with double guessing our own decisions.

I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon, but at the end of the day we need to realize something. We need to realize that we worry about our parenting because we’re trying to do our best by our children. I’m sure we’ll all make mistakes, we’ll all look back and regret some of the choices we’ve made raising our children.. but that’s what makes us good parents. Worrying at night if you did an okay job, proves you’re on the right track.

It’s when you stop worrying, that you have a problem. When you give up on parenting the best way you know how. It’s when you stop caring, that you’re not doing right by your kids. We just need to remember that when we’re beating ourselves up over things, actions, choices, and such.

So to all those parents who haven’t yet purchased the new Xbox.. or who did! You rock! To all those with kids who swear up and down that they have NO clothes to wear! Hang in there! To all those parents who kids are grounded because they acted like an ass.. you’re good! To those parents who just discovered a mountain of clothes in their child’s closet! Buckle in, you got this!

To all those parents, who collapse at the end of each day, wondering if they’re doing a good enough job at raising their kids, relax. You’re doing great!

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Actions, not words

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People expect you to put a lot of stock into the words that come out of their mouths.  If you say it, I’m supposed to believe it with out a doubt… even if your actions prove otherwise? 

Let me just clarify that for the internet.

Nope.

I’ll listen to what you have to say, but ultimately?  I’m going to judge you by what you do, how you act and the pride you take in said actions. 

If you take the time to explain to me that I shouldn’t think you’re a douche, that your priorities are in good order and that you give a shit about your family… you should probably act like it. 

A bit more than a week ago, someone freaked out on me because I suggested that maybe they had handled themselves wrong in a situation.  (It involved drinking, fighting, calling parents drunk, getting mad and putting said parents through hell, then dropping a bomb on said parents and asking them to pay bills for them.  Then going on a tangent about what horrible parents they are when the reaction received wasn’t getting money thrown at them.)

I was informed that they were completely sober, weren’t scumbags, and how they were offended that I’d rather my daughter spend time with my neighbors than them. 

Sidenote: wasn’t true, is now.

Whatever.  My daughter’s birthday was coming up and as some of you know, I’m changing medications for my Crohns Disease as it is acting up.  I have a lot on my plate and dealing with that chaos is not on my to-do list. 

On Monday, my family came over for my kids birthday party.  This person told me she was coming, along with her boyfriend.  Let’s just say, thank god I had enough sense not to tell my daughter that they were going to be there.  Of course, for a child’s birthday party, a child that she told me she loves to death, she blows off, with out a call, text, birthday card, nothing.

So here we are, a week later, and I still haven’t heard anything.  My daughter thankfully hasn’t asked, but it’s quite telling that her scumbag bio dad sent a gift but a member of her own family completely blew her off. 

I’m very lucky that I have such a wonderful family, my life has gone through some tough times and I’ve needed support badly.  Each and every time my family has been there, except one… Only when it’s convenient for her.  I’m not even upset about that though, I’m used to it after a decade.  Apparently after dragging all of us through hell and back when things aren’t picture perfect in her life, I can’t even expect her to show up for my child’s birthday party, much less even call to say happy birthday. 

I guess the emotion I’m more or less feeling is disappointment.  I can ignore being treated badly, I can pretend it doesn’t bother me when someone doesn’t care about anyone but themselves.  However when it extends to my child from someone she loves, I have to put my foot down.  Thanks to my ex husband, my daughter understands that some people are just self absorbed, but that doesn’t mean I need to expose her to them.  Family is more than blood and she deserves love. 

So after a week of waiting for a phone call, I’m ok with walking away from that portion of my life.  I have been making great strides to give my daughter a happy and healthy home, and in order to do that, sometimes you have to cut out the negative.

Adios, you may think it’s okay to treat your family like something you stepped on walking the city streets, but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with it forever.

Frustration and Insomnia

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These past couple of days have been really frustrating for me, to the point where it’s keeping me up at night.  I haven’t had insomnia in years and quite frankly, I’m not too happy to be reunited with this old “friend”.  Everything has just been so incredibly hectic lately, both at work and with my family.

One of my family members is in hospice right now, and while we’re not super close, it has hit me pretty hard.  Not just because I’ll miss him, but because it’s reminding me of my mother.  Saying goodbye on Friday was painful, not just because of the impending loss of life, but because I know the pain his direct family will feel.  I remember it from when I was a kid.  Watching him in his bed brought up a lot of memories I didn’t really want to remember.  I’ve been trying to drown out those memories with great memories of him.  My favorite was the summer we spent at his house (my mother had passed and my dad had to work).  We’d get dropped off in the morning and picked up at night.  I remember sitting on the porch, watching him mess with the guitar.  I thought he was so cool, I even bought him (a really girly haha) earring because he was the only guy in my family who had his ear pierced, and sure as shit he put it in and rocked it.  I’m trying to remember that, and that’s how I will remember him, not ridden with cancer.  Yeah, I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole situation and battling the memories of my mom being sick and worrying about his family.  I’m just.. yeah.  Out of words.

Work has been… well… work.  It goes through waves, it gets really hectic and we get behind, and then it gets better and we’re on top again.  The stress from that on top of my family issues and my (3 week) cold has just really got me down.  I was reminded how much I appreciate my “work family” though on Friday.  One of our CSRs called off (despite it being hell week) on Thursday and had already planned on being off Friday through Monday, so on top of it being super hectic, I had to do her job as well.  On Friday, I was just having a super hard time (mostly getting my brain prepared to go to hospice that evening) and, for lack of better terms, I was a hot mess.  My coworkers did their best to help me out and let me know that they understand.  Small favors with the literal work, and dealing with my moodiness and rapid breaks.  On my drive down to hospice I realized (yet again) how grateful I am for the people I work with.  Sure, we all get on each others nerves and we’ve had our bumps in the road, but every last one of them has proven time and time again that they’re just a different extension of my family.

Today I’ve calmed down a bit.  Caught up on some work I left behind Friday afternoon ( I left early to beat rush hour to get to hospice ), went shopping with the boyfriend and kid and relaxed.  Tomorrow I’m going to take the monkey kid bowling, she’s been asking to go for quite a while now.  I think some hang out time with her will definitely cheer me up.

I just have to remember to keep my chin up.

What Family Means and Blood Brings Troubles

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I’m aware that I’ve touched on this subject before, if not numerous times, but I need to get these words out of my head and into the world. 

Family to me isn’t as traditional as most.  Of course I have my immediate family; my Dad, Sister, Step Sister and Brother and step Mom, not to mention my daughter.  However, short of a couple cousins (whom I adore), a handful of friends replaces my extended family.  That’s just the way it is, there is no regret, dislike or anything else, it just worked out like that.  As kids my sister and I were never real close with my Dad’s side of the family, and once my Mom passed away her side of the family kind of drifted off (as did us kids).

During all of this, I met several great people who looked after me.  A couple of my friend’s moms are 2nd, 3rd and 4th moms to me, as well as random friends who have known me for years.  These people slowly became what I considered family.  There was no blood involved, just friendships that developed over time, and because of that, we spent time together when we wanted to see each other instead of at obligatory family functions.

That is what family is to me.

Some of you know  I have a “half-sister”.  My mother had a baby when she was in her late teen years, and instead of becoming a teen-aged mother she gave her daughter up for adoption.  My “half-sister” is 16 years older than me and apparently lives down south (I thought North, but whatever.)  I’ve only met her once in person, and I was too young to remember.

When she was in her twenties (late teens?) , she found us (through an aunt of mine I believe) and began to contact my parents.  I honestly don’t know my mother’s true opinion of it, but my first memory of her isn’t pleasant.  Lets just go ahead and say that the year before and after my mother passed, my half sister didn’t exactly make it easy on us.  (Think Dad unplugging the phone at 2am when we’re getting drunk-dialed-screamed at from another state, while cancer-ridden-mother tries to sleep.) After she blew off my mom’s funeral she disappeared again for about 7 years.

She surfaced again when I was 18 ( thanks to the same aunt – also the same aunt who blabbed to my Dad that I was pregnant with Noodle – Seeing a pattern here?) and called me.  This time it was to talk about how the fact that she was adopted, that my mother chose to let two wonderful people raise her was the reason she had a drug problem.  She then berated me for choosing to give my own son up for adoption, and then asked to live with me.

After that conversation, fast forward another 4 years or so and she resurfaces.  This time she’s pregnant and needs advice on adoption.  Oy.

Now apparently she’s straightened her life out.  Facebook allowed her to find me and my younger sister, and after almost a year, things finally went south.

[ My sister and I, especially I, have never pursued a relationship with her.   Yes, she is blood related, but we also have never met her (where we can remember) and only know her by the warpath she left behind.  Being friends with her on Facebook made me uncomfortable, it’s hard to talk to someone who expects a full relationship out of you when you’ve never met, much less have nothing but blood in common.  I didn’t mind a few jabs here and there and a “like” on a photo, but beyond that I shied away from it.]

Today she messaged me… again.  This time she asked if she should continue to attempt a relationship with my sister and I.  I was honest.  I told her that I didn’t see a point, that we could most definitely keep in touch via social networking but beyond that I couldn’t see a relationship developing and that I wasn’t really interested in working on one.  I told her my views on family and encouraged her to appreciate her loving parents and her own daughter and friends.

The response I got back set me off.  She resorted back to what she always did.  Her Bio family means so much to her, and when Mom died, it hurt her real bad.  – Excuse me while I try not to get mad again –

Yeah.  You know what?  ’97 may have been a long time ago, but it’s still pretty damn fresh to me.  I have absolutely no sympathy.  There is a huge difference between losing a bio-mom whom you met once (and then ditched the funeral for – as well as both grandparents funerals) while you’re in your twenties… and losing the Mom who you saw every-single-fucking-day when you’re in 5th and 3rd grade.  Big-fucking-difference.  It would be different if she hadn’t spent years in a drug-induced stupor, harassing me and more importantly harassing my mom when she was dying.  It would be different if she didn’t wait until she was in her 40s to try and nurture a relationship.  But it’s not.  That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s going to be.

I promptly told her what I wrote above ^^, as well as the fact that she shouldn’t go around digging up 16 year old graves to make herself happy.  I wished her well and again encouraged her to appreciate her own family and friends and that I didn’t want to dig up aforementioned grave again.  Then I promptly un-friended her and blocked her.

Maybe I should have had a little compassion, maybe I should have handled it better.  Truthfully?  I don’t care.  I lost all compassion for the situation years ago when I was berated for the same choice she later made.  I lost that compassion when she blamed putting drugs up her nose on my mother (which FYI : No one forced you to do drugs!).  I don’t care.

I’m glad it’s finally done, I hope that’s the last tie I have to cut.  It took me 26 years to divorce myself from her, and I wish it happened earlier.  She needs to move on, she needs to love her own family and nurture the relationships she’s taking for granted.  She needs to realize that we don’t know her, and we don’t want to get to know her.  We’ve been trying to heal the best we can, fix our own issues and problems, and speaking for myself, I cannot take on hers too, again.  I’ve been spending the last couple of years eliminating negativity from my life, and that was one of the relationships I put off getting rid of.

I forgive her for the person she used to be.  But forgiveness isn’t for her, it’s for me, it’s letting myself move on, and get on with my life.  I don’t want to be reminded of what she put my family through and what horrible emotion she invoked.  I forgive her for what she did and has done, but that doesn’t mean I want to be best friends.  I want to be done.

 

 

Family is not blood.  Family is love and caring.  Family is made of the people that stand by you day in and day out.  Family is made of people who love each other, not for their own gain, but just because.

A Reminder (We take things for granted)

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Yes, I’m posting about the shooting in CT today.  If you don’t want to read it, don’t.  This is the garbage that is running through my head. 

Every morning during the week I wake up and take Noodle to Kindergarten (and daycare).  Every morning it’s the same ordeal.  I drag her cranky butt out of bed, convince her she’s not wearing her princess dress to school, and get her moving.  I brush her teeth and grumble when she doesn’t hold still as I do her hair.  I get ready while she eats, and I complain when she picks at her oatmeal or cereal because I want her to have a full belly at school.  I finally push everyone out the door and head down the street to daycare.  Noodle and I have a routine.  When I take her into class we have our “bumps”, we’ve been doing this since she was about two years old.  First a double high five, then a double fist bump.  Then we bump elbows, and then we head bump.  (For those wondering, yes, she’s made me see stars a few times :))

As a result of a couple of weeks of overtime, she spent more time in the care of her teachers, and even though overtime has tapered off, she still misses me more than usual at school.  She now wants a few extra hugs and kisses, and occasionally follows me to the door asking for another one.  This morning, I was running late.  I did our routine in a hurry, I hugged her, and when she followed me towards the door I shooed her back to her teacher.  One more kiss and I was out the door.  This morning, I felt aggravated because our routine has gotten longer.

At work today I received a text message from a friend asking me if I’ve seen the news.  I was working, so no TV for me, but I hopped online and quickly learned of the shooting.  The children.  The 20 children.  I felt numb.  Then, in an instant I felt the urge to leave.  I wanted ever so bad to go and pick up my daughter from school and just… hug her.  I wanted to hold on to her and never let go, thankful that it wasn’t her school.

I thought of how I had rushed my child into school, how I had essentially brushed off “one last hug” and hurried on my way.  The tears started welling up in my eyes.  Then it occurred to me.  More than a dozen parents out in CT, were having that same exact thought.  The difference?  Instead of leaving work, picking up their children, their GRADE SCHOOL children, and hugging them, they will never see them again.  They don’t have the option that I do, that you do, that your neighbor does.  Their child(ren) is(are) gone.

So here I sit, in front of my Christmas Tree, thinking about the Christmas Shopping I have to do tomorrow, it’s hitting home that 20 sets of parents are now not so worried about gifts.  They are trying to plan funerals in the place of a holiday dinner.  They are putting their children in the ground and wishing that they re-did a million moments in their short lives.  Instead of hanging decorations and lighting candles, they are feeling the most immense pain a human being can feel.  The loss of a child.

In human nature, when something tragic happens and we lose a loved one, we always vow not to take things for granted, to be better people.  However, no matter how hard you try, trust me, you still think you haven’t done enough.  You weren’t kind enough, you didn’t do this or that, or this.  What we should be doing is cherishing every moment we have with our children, enjoying as much as we can.  Pick our battles and smile often.  Because as 20 sets of parents figured out tonight, as millions have before, you never know what could happen and it could all be over in an instant.

I believe I’m done writing for the night.  I’m going to go snuggle my sleeping child and mourn the children who no longer live.

 

The things I hate about you… and by you I mean Crohns.

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I feel a bit blah today.  I know why too, and I hate it.  Just like I did last time.  Prednisone.  The oh so wonderful steroid that helps so many of us Crohnies, kicks my ass.  Yes, it helps with the fistula and it helps push my disease closer to remission, but good god do the side effects suck.

I’m not sure what it is about this time, but the side effects have popped up in half the amount of time.  I’ve only been on a heavy dose of steroids for just over a week and I feel like I did three weeks into steroids last time.  My body aches, my joints sting, and my skin hurts, especially around my face and shoulders.  My brain is foggy too, which was a huge complaint of mine last time around.

The point of taking steroids this time is to get my body healthy enough for surgery, which I’m willing to do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to complain about it.  I feel hung over, even if I haven’t had a drink in longer than I can remember.  I feel blah.

It definitely doesn’t help that this week was very busy, especially the last half of the week.  We had two girls out, and I have been playing catch up on top of it after missing days for my hospital stay last week.  Combined with the extra hours I picked up to help out and these stupid drugs I’m on, I’m exhausted.

I got a lot done this week.  I feel like I’m caught up at work for the most part, and the house doesn’t look too shabby.  Bills are paid and errands have been run.  This week was hell, just like last week was, but at least it was productive.  This weekend looks much better though.  Ryan is going to be working a short day tomorrow, so that means lounging around the house until he gets off of work and then relaxing for the rest of the weekend, until my drive to clean and organize steps in anyway.

As always though, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, as I always do when I get sick.  It seems like when you’re down and out with your health, your true support network shows through.  As always, I am reminded how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life, and how happy they make me.

I’m lucky to have a job that I love and that accommodates me with my odd health schedule.  I may want to torch the place half the time, and bury my coworkers in the back building, but hey, who doesn’t?  I’m lucky to have coworkers who give a shit about how I feel and my overall health… even people I don’t work closely with every day have shown concern.  From truck drivers to stores, every day someone new pops up and asks how I’m feeling and how I’m doing back at work.

Of course I’m extremely lucky to have my parents.  My dad took Noodle for a couple of nights while I was in the hospital last week and spoiled her.  My sister apparently took her to the zoo, but I wouldn’t know first hand, I heard from my Dad.  I’m glad that I have such a lovely family who looks out for my kiddo and takes care of her so I can rest and heal.  My friends have played a huge role, from my “cafe-mom” friends to Katie and Ingrid (Girls I grew up with).  My neighbors even brought over a meal when I got home and have cut me some slack for my crap-mood.  Yet again, I’m reminded that family is not just blood.  Some times people who aren’t even related to you, step up more than blood does.

I am more than grateful for Ryan too.  When we first got together, I was concerned about how he’d react to my Crohns Disease.  I mean it sucks, some days I hurt too much to eat, or am feeling run down enough to just want to lay in bed.  (Granted, I’m still more active than half the people I know haha).  I worried what he’d think about my having to get Remicade Infusions, or when I’d end up in the hospital again (we actually started dating right after my last obstruction ~ cute note ~ he had offered to bring me a bag of books while I was in the hospital, it’s what peaked my interest to begin with. :)).  I was concerned that he wouldn’t be happy with a girl who was sick, and who will be sick until there is a cure found.

At this point though, I’m extremely glad I met him.  He has been by my side every step of the way.   He comes to damn near every doctor’s appointment, and has only missed one infusion (due to work).  He spoils me when I feel sick, and picks up the slack when I’m down.  When I realized it was time to go to the hospital, he came with, helped me with Noodle (ie: getting my Dad to come get her, packed up her and my stuff, and took care of her for the first 8 hours we were there.)  He listened to me bawl because of the pain, then again because of the heavy drugs (I don’t know, I’m a crier on pain meds).  He listened to the pros and cons brought to us by the surgeons, and he met my doctors.

Most importantly, he sat there and held my hand, only leaving when I made him.  I don’t know what I was so worried about.  Crohns Disease hasn’t made me a worse girlfriend, just like with being a mother, it just made me a little more unique.  Luckily for me, I found a man who loves me for who I am, even if my body is a bit off.  It’s nice to know that I am not going through this alone, that Noodle is not going through this alone.  Not only do we have the support of our family and friends but Ryan.  We’re very lucky.

So worn down I feel today, but all in all I’m not in a horrible mood.  I’m am looking forward to spending time with my kid and the boyfriend this weekend, and just enjoying snuggling in in the morning.  My Crohns may be kicking my ass right now, but that’s not going to stop me from baking cookies with the kid, having a sci-fi marathon with the boyfriend, and enjoying my weekend.  So for now, I’m going to drink this last bit of coffee and wait for dinner to finish.  It smells awesome, and I’m sure since Noodle and Ryan cooked it, I’ll eat every bite.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoys this first couple of days with the Autumn chill and rain.  Happy Friday.