Thursday, September 25, 2014

Life life life life life...

I don't even know what to call this blog. Pointless rambling I guess.

This is the second, maybe third week my husband has been doing his new job. He's a chef, an amazing chef, and he was hired to be a personal chef at a hunting ranch. He's gone most of the week. I don't get how military wives do this. I just... don't. Especially with kids!

Our weeks are constant go go go, and then the weekends are "Holy shit my house exploded, I should probably do something about it." I work full time, kids go to school. I get up as early as I can muster to fight 3 kids into getting dressed, eating breakfast, and MAYBE brushing teeth and hair. (Don't judge me). Then it takes them 10 minutes to make sure they put everything in their bags, and then another 15 minutes to get into the car. We HAVE to leave our house by 7:05 for me to be able to drop all of them off at school (2 different schools) and get to work, semi on time.

I work all day, when I really could be more productive at home, and when I get off, I just want to go home, and just.... be. But no. I have to drive all over town (literally) to pick up the kiddos from 2 different places. By the time I scoop them up, we're home at least an hour after I've been off work. I still have to cook dinner. I still have to help get homework finished. I still have to TRY to get all three children in the bath and read with them before 8. It's a lot to shove into a couple hours. God forbid their karate uniforms get ruined and need to be washed, or one of the animals has an accident, or something ELSE goes wrong.

Our schedules should be streamlined, but they're anything but. It's crazy, it's loud, it's busy, and I'm tired. It's honestly like being a single mom. Luckily, when my husband is home, I don't have to cook. I don't have to do much of anything. But then, after those 2, blissful days are done, chaos ensues.

On my weekends, I really just want to lay around the house and never get dressed... but honestly, how fun is that for the kids? So... I have to force myself out of bed to drag 3 kids around town. One of them, who is autistic, I have to be EXTRA careful with. Yes, my 5 year old rides in the seat of the shopping cart. Bite me.

If I want to hang out with friends, I feel like they expect me to come to them, which is fine, but I literally have zero energy to deal with trying to catch up with you, and trying to wrangle my children. I'm tired. And every week, it's the same thing. There are so many things I WANT to do, but I literally can not muster the mental ability to do them. I can not reconnect with friends, so they're all slowly fading away. Sometimes, I just want to bitch. I want to cry. I want to drink. And I want to curl up in a ball, and just be...

But it's not my life.

There is no "message" in this. I usually try to do something... but can't today. My brain is in overdrive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Any form of abuse is not okay.

Let me tell you my story.
I was 15 when I met my ex husband. We had a child when I was 17 (pregnant at 16) We were SOOOOOO in love (insert eyeroll and wishing I could go back in time and slap myself) When my son was about 4 months old, I had postpartum, and xh was zero help. I was also still in High School. Trying to do my best so I could graduate. (I was NOT the "type" of girl that got pregnant in high school) I was exhausted, My son never slept at this point.
He was crying, I was standing, rocking him in my arms, trying to calm him. Ex Husband came STORMING into the room, screaming at me. I lowered our son from my chest to my stomach, and as soon as I did that, he slapped me across the face.
I immediately called my mother. By the time my mom got dressed and came to my house, he had convinced me he was so sorry, it was such a mistake, he's just very tired, it'll never happen again... and I stayed.
I finished high school without incident. During that summer (Conner turned 1) we fought, so much. He'd get in my face and scream at me, spitting all over my face. He'd push me, lunge at me, hit the wall beside my head, etc. But he never actually hit me. During one of these fights, he shoved me down, and I hit my face on the door. Soon after, the purple started showing on my eye.

 He denied he did it. Denied he even pushed me. MADE ME QUESTION if it had really happened.
He came home from work the next day, and I was putting on make up on the other eye, to make the black eye look like eye shadow. He started yelling at me, saying I accused him of giving me a black eye and all it was was makeup. I was the crazy one, and I made this all up...
Fast forward a few years, many fights later. Many bumps, bruises, and me questioning how clumsy I actually was. By this time we had another child. She was 1, and my son was 4.
I was 21, and I felt so worthless. He was the only man that would ever love such a broken woman. I had a nice body, but I had stretch marks. No one would ever want to see me naked, but him. I had zero self esteem.
We moved to Oregon for his job. This was literally a month after I found out he had been cheating on me, for almost our entire relationship. I blindly loved him, and believed he loved me. He was the ONLY person who could love me.
One drunken night, we got into a really bad fight. One thing led to another and he was physically on top of me, strangling me. I thought I was going to die, so I started punching the back of his head (up until this point, I had NEVER hit him). He then sat up, reared back, and decked me across the face. He chipped my tooth, and I was devastated.
I quickly got up and left the house. I called the police and they met me to get a statement, and took him to jail. Instead of anger management, we had to go to court ordered marriage counseling.
During these sessions, I learned a lot about myself, relationships, and what is okay and not okay behavior, on both parts. I WANTED us to work. I wanted our family to be whole. And I was going to try.
A few weeks later, his mother came to visit us. During her whole stay, it was like I didn't exist, to both of them. So, on her last night there, I thought I'd open the communication with him, and tell him how I felt. He waved his hand in dismissal of me and my feelings, and I had fucking had it!
So, the next day, I packed my stuff, my kids' stuff, withdrew half of the money from our account, and I left. I drove across the country back to Texas.
I'd be lying if I said I never thought about going back. Taking that first initial step to leave was so hard, and it was SO freeing. I'm sure I cried for half the drive back home. But I stayed strong. I stayed strong for me, I stayed strong for my kids. I was completely destroyed. A shell of a fun, life loving person. A broken, beaten, destroyed shell.
That was 6 years ago. Yes, I still have to see him because of our children. No I do not feel he is a threat to them, yet. I picked up my pieces, found confidence, and moved on with my life.
I am now in a very happy marriage with someone who loves me like there's no tomorrow. He doesn't call me names, he doesn't intimidate me, he doesn't threaten me, and he doesn't hit me.
NO ONE deserves to be in an abusive relationship. "It's not abuse because he doesn't hit me" is NOT okay. There are many forms of abuse. There is physical, there is emotional, there is verbal, the list goes on. You are worth more than that. You have done nothing to have that done to you. You don't deserve to be called names. Your feelings are valid, and you CAN get out. It's not easy, it's not fun, it's fucking hard... but it's worth it. It's worth it for you, it's worth it for your children, or future children, and it's worth it to your future self.
Please don't think this is normal, and it's okay. It's neither of those things. You are a strong, beautiful
woman person. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Edit: I honestly didn't expect this much of an overwhelming response. To those sharing bit of their story, thank you, for those messaging me, thank you. I will respond, I can offer an ear, a bit of advice, and a whole lot of encouragement. Seriously, big hugs to you all...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Your problems don't matter, anymore.

Last night, my daughter (7) was being really emotional. Super happy to downright distraught. She cried for about 5 minutes because her backpack was stuck in the backseat and she "had to pull it really hard!" And then, when she got out of the shower, her brother accidentally smacked her in the back of the head (I watched the whole thing, it really was an accident) and she was just so upset about the whole ordeal.

I hugged her, then, a sort of light bulb went off. "Is everything ok at school?" I asked her... Her big brown eyes looked up at me, and she sadly shook her head. I coaxed her a bit more, and this overflow of information about this girl that was so mean to her "for no reason". I could hear her holding the tears back through her words, and it was heart breaking.

We talked about this girl, things she was doing, things Rylee could do in the future to make things better. How to avoid this girl. Maybe not hang out with her friend that day because she was hanging out with the mean one. Etc. All the while my seven year old, 52 pound, baby was curled in my arms. She needed me. She was having issues, and she needed to talk it out.

While this moment was nice, it was also very humbling. What moments have I missed out on, talks have I not been able to have, and cues have I missed because I was wrapped up in my own adult problems? I think parents often forget, kids are kids. They're little, with young, ever-growing minds. They don't care if a bill didn't get paid, or if you're almost out of gas, or if you had a bad day at work. None of that matters to them, and it shouldn't matter to adults, more than their kids' problems.

Kids are only kids once, They're only little once. These problems, how ever trivial they may seem, are BIG deals! My daughter was just plain upset yesterday, and it was all because of this girl. All because she was having issues on the playground. She doesn't care how much money I have, if I have gas in my car, or if I have an impossible deadline.

From now on, I am vowing to be more present. Maybe I can set aside my problems when I'm around those little humans, so that I can be aware of their problems. So they can talk to me about the "big" stuff, without going unnoticed.

 We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

"Why even have kids?!"

I was asked this by new parents the other day, and it didn't take long to come up with an answer.

Their baby is just shy of 2 months old, and they're having a hard time. Babies are hard. Kids in general are hard. Are they worth it? Some days. There are more days of frustration, anger, and just down right tears. I can't tell you how many times my 10 year old has said something that has completely crushed my heart and made me question whether or not parenting was what I should be doing with myself.

They say things, and do things, and don't realize the full impact of their words. There have been times that I've had to stop in the middle of a conversation with one of my children, and just walk away. Either to hide the tears, or to hide the emotion, be it anger, frustration, or just sadness. It's hard.

The thing is... it's worth it. Those terrible, frustrating times are made up for, I swear. Whether it be sleepless nights made up for with that first smile, or the heartbreak of an older child's words made up for by a hug and an "I love you, Mom!" When you give them presents for birthdays or whatever, and they're just kind of "meh" about it... it's made worth it by that ONE present you get that gets a jaw drop, welling eyes, "OH MY GOD THANK YOU" reaction.

It's not just those rewards, it's the reward of watching a person you created, in every literal sense, grow.

There was an instant the other day that completely made my day. My husband was putting his shoes on, and I was leaving to go to work. My littlest child, (5 yr old HF autistic) said "Bye mom! I love you!". This.was.HUGE! It made my heart swell that my little one, unsolicited, unprovoked, just told me he loved me. This was one of those moments that all was worth it.

Just yesterday was a huge "worth it" moment. My 2 older kids were trying out for a karate class. This class doesn't except all families, you have to go through a process and be approved to be in the program. Part of the "initiation" is breaking a board with a kick. My daughter, Rylee, who's going to be 7 on Tuesday (oy), got a board about 1/4 of an inch thick. She broke it with her kick on her first try. She was way excited about it! Conner was next up, and the instructor said "I almost think I should give you a thicker board..." I piped up with an enthusiastic "I think you should!"

He left and returned with a board about 1/2 an inch thick board. Conner got nervous. The instructor had a little pep talk about believing in yourself, and BAM! Conner broke the board. I was facing him, and I saw the look of shock and excitement rush over his face (it makes me smile to even think about). His eyes began to well up with tears. He was so happy for himself. It opened a whole new world of possibilities for him.

I will forever remember that moment. The moment when he learned a very important life lesson, always believe in yourself. Now, that might seem like something small and trivial to you, and that's fine. I'm sure you have moments that I'd think the same about. But as a mom? I was SUPER proud of my boy. He overcame his doubts about himself, snapped this thing in half like it was nothing, and was so proud of himself he almost cried.

THAT is what makes it all worth it. That is what makes the sleepless nights, spit up covered clothes, skinned knees, nightmares, hurtful words and everything in between 100% worth it. Stick to your guns, there is a silver lining. It's coming, and it'll make you feel things you've never felt before.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I had a moment

My husband will be the first to tell you that my son and I go toe to toe on a fairly regular basis. He's almost 10, and he's in a major turning point in his life where he can't decide if he wants to be babied, or if he wants freedom. With freedom comes responsibility and if I weren't there with my eighty-billion reminders, he'd probably go to school naked, with no so much as a backpack, because I didn't remind him.

This is the last week of school, and this transition has shown it's ugly head more than once this week. Everyone in the house is stressed, but mainly me. As one of the "special days" he gets to take board games, a blanket, and a stuffed animal to school. He gets all this together, and is ready to head out the door, when I notice his hair. Typical "I'm growing my hair out and it's in a really awkward stage" sticking up everywhere, hair. So I tell him to go do something with it, to which he snaps back "It's MY hair!"

At this point, I have to bite my tongue, and keep myself from getting in a knock-down drag out fight with my 10 year old on this Wednesday morning. I tell him to fix his hair, again, and walk away. This moment of defiance is the latter part of this transition. The wanting independence. Not 5 minutes later, we're getting in the car, and heading to school. He's trying to situate this stuffed animal in he seat belt, "because he might get hurt". THIS is the former part of above mentioned transition... Again, I have to pick my battles. Do I yet again explain to him that he is almost 10?! No. I say nothing.

This morning was yet another FINE example of this transition. He takes all the clothes (that I have folded) out of his dresser and places them in the laundry room, in a giant pile. Never mentions it to me, just acts like this is something normal to do. So the clothes get washed, but not dried. Because I'm lazy... and forgetful... but that's another blog post. We're getting ready this morning, and he casually mentions he has no clothes, and that he is to wear a grey shirt. At this point, I lose my cool.

You want to be this free, totally independent child, but you fail to tell me the things you need from me until the morning of. Wonderful. So this leads to that knock-down drag out I avoided yesterday. I am at my wits end. All day, stewing about this morning. Then someone asks me a question. A question they didn't know would pull at my eyes, trying to make them leak... "When your son gets married, what song will yall dance to?"

Odd question, seeing as how that's at least almost a decade away. But I think about it... My first instinct isn't some sappy country song about moms loving their sons, or sons loving their moms. It's about the memories we've made with certain songs. The first thing that came to my mind was "Kung Fu Fighting". We have had countless dance parties to this song that included our very own made up dance routine. Another was "I'm Yours" This has been my oldest's favorite song, since I can remember. We have dueted it on many occasion.

It brought back memories, some distant and some not so distant, of my boy dancing right along beside me, singing his heart out, and loving every moment. This memory was brought to me right when I needed it. It helps me realize that yes, my son drives me INSANE sometimes. But so do my other kids. I love him to pieces, and I have so many stored memories of little moments that mean nothing to anyone else but him and I. I can't be mad at him for being in a perfectly normal transitional stage in his life, and that one thing is so easy to forget. Those memories are so easy to take for granted.

Big or small... memories matter, and I learned today that memories have the ability to keep you sane.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Autism

I really wish more people understood this. Being judged by friends and even family members when you turn down an invite to something, or when you have to leave early from another event is not an easy thing to deal with. In fact, it down right hurts and sucks. Sometimes, I wish I had cards to hand out to people. Something along the lines of "I'm not a bad kid, I have Autism, and I'm having a hard time."
In the last 24 hours, I've had 2 experiences with people being downright rude about my son. One instance was with a friend. Another, with complete strangers. I've felt the stabbing eyes before. I've heard the remarks made about my son being "bad". It's been suggested by family members that he down right be excluded from activities. "He just needs to be spanked" "You need to control your child" "What's wrong with HIM?" 
The answers? He is punished in age and developmental appropriateness, and there is nothing wrong with him. He's funny, bright, smart, and extremely loving. He INSTANTLY steals your heart, so watch out. His smile and laugh is infectious. He just works... different. When you're hungry, you can say "Dude, I need to eat" and he's learning that. But he doesn't know how to tell you something is wrong. He doesn't know how to tell you he is having an overload. He can't tell you he's overwhelmed. But he has cues. 
Unfortunately, we can't stop our lives FOR the autism, if for nothing else, for the sake of the older two children in our household. We find ways to manage, ways to introduce new settings, go out to different locations, etc. We don't know how things will go unless we actually try them. That said, if my child starts screaming in the middle of your dinner, I'm sorry. If we can get through a dinner, or an outing in general without a scream, normally a blood curdling-someone is murdering my child scream, We call it a win.
Often times I look at people's children and think to myself, 'my kid has Autism... what's YOUR excuse?" My son's excuse is not bad parenting, it's not lack of discipline, His brain works differently than yours and your little snowflakes. He sees and hears EVERYTHING around him. Things you and I don't see or hear. If you really think about it, think about the noises you COULD hear if you didn't naturally drown them out, it'd be frustrating, it'd get overwhelming, and you'd probably lose your damn mind. So I say he's doing pretty dang good. 
The fact is, our son has autism. We don't know what it feels like, and from what I CAN understand just being around my youngest, it sucks. But, it's his life and it's our lives. We don't owe you an explanation, we don't owe you an apology, and we don't need you to feel sorry for us. We don't need stares in the grocery store, or stories about what worked for your great aunt's-cousin's-friend's-sister's-boyfriend's brother's kid. From what we know, every case is pretty much different. Yes, they have similarities, but the things that work, don't, trigger, and upset aren't always the same. We do what we can, we do what we find works. He's working very hard, he's making HUGE improvements, and we're trying our best to help him in anyway we can.

Before you judge, don't. Just don't. It's that simple. It's a good rule to live by in your every day life, not just dealing with Autism. You don't know someone's story. You don't know what happened to them yesterday, 5 minutes ago, 10 years ago, or something their battling right this moment. The looks, whispers, "aw, I'm so sorry"s, and the like don't help. We love our son. He's different, yes. But he's not broken 

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NO!

It seems now days parents are having a harder and harder time telling their kids no. A screaming child at the store gets a toy, simply because their parent won't say no. An entitled teen gets a new cell phone, simply because they won't be told no. This kind of ties in to my "Don't Let Your Kids Be Assholes" post, found here. This is one of those things that causes assholes kids. Just for clarification, no I don't think kids are assholes. I think that can be very bratty, assholes just seems to cover more than bratty does, don't you think? ;)

It's ok to tell your kid no. It's ok that they don't get their way every single time.  It's ok if they cry and throw a fit because they didn't get something they wanted. You can't give them EVERYTHING all the time and sometimes that's a hard lesson for some parents to learn. It doesn't have to be an issue of if you can afford it, or if your child CAN have it. Fact is, you said no. End of story.

I feel like we are becoming weak as parents and more and more people are letting their kids run the show. You said no, and your kid throws a fit, so they get what they wanted before you said no? What kind of person is that teaching them to be? One day, they'll be at work, their boss will say no, they'll throw a fit and guess what? They'll lose their job. Their boss won't cave because little Henry threw himself to the floor because he couldn't have blue post-its instead of green ones.

Same with them being little. If YOU give them something, after you've said no, when they're with other people they take advantage of this. Which means what? Yep, that person has to deal with an asshole child. See where I'm going here? So, tell your kids no. Tell them yes! Let them EARN things, not demand them then throw a tantrum when they don't get what they want. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to future them. It doesn't teach them anything, and it does nothing constructive but makes them be quiet for that brief moment until they forget about the thing they wanted in the first place. I bet you ten dollars that they will ask for something completely different and unrelated in 2 more minutes.

This isn't just about not having to get them something you don't really want to either. It's about teaching them manners. If your child wants something, and you have no problem giving it, give them a chance to earn it. They'll value it more if they have to do something to get it. Like, "if you behave in the store, and I don't have to get on to you at all the whole time we're here, we'll swing back by and pick it up." Or if you're leaving, " Tell you what, you help me clean the kitchen/living room/bathroom/bedroom, we can come back tomorrow and we will get it." Give them something to go for, don't just lay down and take the beating of little fists!!

I'm getting off subject, say no. It's ok. No one is going to die because your child throws a fit. :)