The Truth About the ‘Old Ball and Chain’

Only two months since my last post, not too shabby. ::pats self on back::

This post is a bit different, I’m going to talk about marriage. My marriage specifically. I’m usually pretty quiet about it, I feel like marriage is sacred between two people and when you discuss it openly it lessens it, like you’re letting others in to your secret. Today, though, today I’m going to talk about it and really open up about some vulnerable things that some may find uncomfortable.

I also want to preface this with a note that this is not about any other relationship than my own. This isn’t about single moms or separated-but-coparenting families, nothing like that, this is only about me and the man I’m married to.

I went to college. I had every intention of not having kids and working my whole life. Well now, I spent the first 8 months of motherhood as a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) and then started watching a child. Here we are, five years later, and I have a full daycare. I never would’ve planned this for my life but I love how things are unfolding and truly believe this is where I am meant to be right now.

When our daughter was born I had severe postpartum anxiety and OCD (you can read about it in previous posts of mine), it prevented me from enrolling her in daycare because I was so concerned about her being injured or killed at the hands of another that I would spend more time panicking than enjoying life. My husband never pushed me to do it, when I started watching the one child he said, “As long as you can cover your student loans then go for it.”

Five years later we have more in our world as far as bills, including a mortgage and two car payments, but he has not pushed me outside of my comfort zone as far as work. He supports me running a full-time daycare, he knows when things are stressing me out, he encourages me in my volunteer opportunities, he gets my anxiety and doesn’t hold it against me.

We’ve all seen those things floating around on facebook about how much at-home moms do in a day; there’s a popular one right now about a husband coming home and complaining that the house is a mess, is it so hard for his wife to just have a nice house for him to come home to? What he doesn’t see is all the laundry and cleaning his wife did while the kids went behind undoing it, he didn’t acknowledge that she made his favorite dinner, etc. Any at-home parent knows that feeling.

The truth is I do all of that, too. I’m the only one who woke up in the middle of the night with our daughter since birth. When she’s sick, I’m on it. I play nurse, coach, cheerleader, chef, entertainer, chauffeur, counselor, maid, the list goes on. I’ve complained about the lack of recognition.

The truth is, though, that I am able to be all of those things to our daughter, and to my daycare children, because of my husband.

He works about 55 miles away and wakes up at 3:15 every day to get to work early (because of parking), then naps in the car till his shift, works in conditions I certainly wouldn’t want to, drives an hour home (as long as there’s no traffic, then that can lengthen to up to two hours), spends hours doing homework because he’s also in the apprentice school at his job to advance his opportunities, he still cuts the grass, attends our daughter’s school events, AND volunteers with the VFW. After a 40 hour work week, ten hours (give or take) in driving, and 15ish hours of homework…he is working overtime this weekend!

The truth is, there is no backbone in our house. We are twin pillars. He is the provider, the hunter and gatherer, if you will. I am the nurturer, the homemaker.

My daycare income helps to pay down some family bills, extracurricular activities for our daughter, etc. I often feel badly because I’m not providing a major financial contribution to our home. Any time we bicker and money comes up I feel even worse. My husband is definitely the financial provider, but what I can’t contribute to there, I contribute to in many other ways. That doesn’t make either one of us superior or inferior.

So. There you have it. This is my public declaration that, while I work hard, my husband works hard, too. Every at-home parent would love a pat on the back, a “thanks for dinner, this is delicious!” because I know I’ve grumbled about those things, but at the same time, how often do at-home parents actually say, “Thanks, [spouse], for busting your butt every day for us to have this life. I appreciate you.”?

That is what this is about.

Thank you husband, my man piece, for busting your butt every day for us to have this life. I love you and I appreciate you and all of your sacrifices. I am blessed to have you. In your grumpiness, in your snoring, in your goofiness, in your dirty boots or your sexy basketball shorts, I love it all and I love you.

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There’s Always Gonna be Another Mountain

I really struggled with a title for this one, as it sits I’m starting this with no title at all.  My “But I’m an Atheist” piece was surprisingly popular, it provoked a lot of conversation.  This one is more for me to get things off my chest because I feel very weighted down right now and don’t have anybody to really talk to.

There’s a term for people like me, I’m an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.  An ACoA.  Apparently a lot of what I’ve considered my personality flaws are actually traits of other ACoAs.  There’s a whole laundry list of things that characterize us.  It’s pretty spot on.  If you’re interested, here’s that list:
ACoA Laundry List

The first one on the list is, “We become isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.”  One of my biggest weaknesses is my social anxiety.  I haven’t quite pinpointed what I’m afraid of, honestly.  I think it’s rejection, though.  The second item on the list is, “We become approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.”  While I can’t say that I’m afraid of authority figures, I can say I seek their approval.  I always wanted to be in the good light in my teachers’ eyes, I pride myself in being a lawful citizen with a spotless driving record, I’m trying to be as active as I can in my community, and all because I want to please.  I want to please everybody and have them think highly of me, or I fear that they will reject me.

I don’t know that I’ve mentioned this person before, but my dad dated a woman for 8-10 years, I’ll call her Cindy.  He and Cindy broke up 10 years or so ago but she and I have kept in touch.  She has a unique roll in my life because she got to see this part of my world from the belly of it; she saw that my dad couldn’t get us for custody visits because he was too drunk, he could cook for us because he was too drunk, he couldn’t do anything.  So she did it.  She’s a mom so she mothered us when he couldn’t be a father.  She went with us on trips to my grandparents’ house a couple times and she got to meet the unique duo that is my dad’s parents.  They always treated us so differently from our cousins, my brother and I, we got different breakfasts, less dinner, a different tone of voice, we couldn’t watch TV but our cousin coulds, but nobody believed us if we tried telling them.  Until Cindy.

Cindy saw it with her own eyes.  Once I became an adult and had a more hands-on role in my dad’s life, she and I got closer.  I looked forward to our phone calls, we’d text throughout the day, and one day she brought up how my grandparents treated me.  She went on and on, she even cried, telling me that it was wrong and cruel, she remembered sitting at the table helpless while my grandparents went on and on about how much awesome our cousin was doing but brushed off anything we did.  She saw it all.  I tried so hard to please them.  All the time.  As hurt as I am about it now I still find myself trying to please them.

Cindy also opened up to me a lot about how my dad treated her, which was terrible.  I’ve been in a domestic violence relationship, I know how hard it is to leave, but the people who were in my life during that point of my life, I’d never do to them what Cindy did to me.  I remember listening to how my dad spoke to her, the nicknames he gave her, how he’d treat her when she walked by, my dad was a jerk.  And that’s only what I saw once or twice a month, I know it was worse when we weren’t there.

Yesterday I called Cindy to catch up.  I’ve been so busy and have had some major changes in my life that I really wanted to share with her, she’d always been so supportive of the things I got into.  The conversation started great, we were excited to hear each other’s voices, we were laughing about things, then she asked about my dad.  I started going into it, not telling her the full extent of what was going on as of late because that wasn’t why I called, and her whole tone shifted.  She became cold and mean.

Another trait that ACoAs have is that we internalize everything.  We have terribly low self-esteem, we judge ourselves too harshly, if we try to stand up for ourselves we usually end up feeling guiltier than anything.  It’s no secret that I have anxiety.  I have all of these fears about what I’m doing with my life and the worst way people could perceive that; doctors tell me that’s my anxiety, my panic.  My church tells me that’s the devil whispering in my ear.  Through meds and prayer I’ve been able to squash a lot of the negative and climb above those worries.  Until that conversation with Cindy.

She found each. and. every. single. thing. I am anxious about in my life and she shoved it in my face.  She blamed me for all of it.  According to Cindy I’m a greedy bitch, I have a useless degree, who cares that I own a daycare, I’m just a glorified babysitter and her felon sister did the same thing, I’m worthless, she never loved me and was kind to me because she loved my brother more (which has always been a worry of mine with my own mother).  She called me a glutton for punishment, that I asked for all of this with my dad because I’m a sick control freak and this is my way of being able to pull the strings.  Then she said, “You are just like your dad.  I hate your dad.  I hope he dies because he deserves to die.  You’re just like him.”

I calmly said, “I’m done with this conversation, take care of yourself,” and I hung up.  Then I cried for two hours.

It’s one thing to have anxiety and panic disorder.  It’s chaos in my own head all the time.  I fear all of those things and have successfully convinced myself for years that it’s just me, it’s just the anxiety, nobody really thinks that.

But Cindy did.  Cindy said it out loud.  To me.  With no mercy in her voice.  Her voice was steady and strong and fierce.  She spoke with conviction.  Like those words were there, brewing for years.

And in her one tirade, her episode of word vomit, she knocked me down on years of self-help and confidence-building.  I really just feel so low right now.

Logically I know what she said isn’t true.  She’s angry and she’s projecting.  I was able to leave my sick father, start a good life for myself with a good man in a new place, and she’s stuck where she is.  She can’t leave.  She sees my dad around town.  I know she was angry and taking it out on me.  However, I can’t help but think of that saying, “A drunk heart speaks a sober mind;” she may not have been drunk with alcohol but she sure was with rage.  The mountain I’ve been climbing for so long, each insult she threw was a stick of dynamite and she lit each fuse.  My mountain crumbled and I’m left at the bottom, covered in the debris of my anxiety and fears, and I’m too weak to have even stood up for myself.

Now I have to go shower because I have church in an hour.  I feel much lighter having gotten all of that off of my chest.

❤ ❤

It’s Okay (Not to Be Okay)

I wasn’t expecting this.  I mean, I knew it would be tough, but I really wasn’t prepared for just how much would be expected of me.

My dad had his surgery, two weeks ago actually, and was discharged last week.  Everything went great, his sobriety this time around really helped speed up the healing and his hospital stay.  Since he’s been home, though, it’s pretty much constant texting between the two of us; he’s giving me all of these names and numbers, I have to do all of his phone calls, I have to schedule all of his appointments, record all of those appointments, familiarize myself with his care team..as much as I can at least since I’m 600 miles away.  He was supposed to have a lawyer come to the hospital to finalize the power of attorney stuff so it’d be easier for me and the lawyer never came so every single phone call I make is a series of hoops I have to jump through to prove who I am.

Between having a daycare and basically being a FT personal assistant it’s really so tricky.  I am so overwhelmed.  It’s really making my anxiety flare up because now my daughter, the super-sensitive four-year-old, has been extra needy and between her and my father I get less “me” time than I did before (and I barely had any before!).

I haven’t felt so isolated in a long time.  Nobody really understands about my dad, they’ll listen but the most I get is an, “I’m sorry,” or “That sucks,” but that’s it.  It does suck.  He’s an old 59 and because of his alcoholism he has brain damage so learning sign language is pointless, especially since we have no way of seeing each other, plus I have no time or money to learn it.  Our only option is the texting and right now, I hate to say it, but every single time my phone chirps my heart sinks a little.  I know he needs me, though, so I feel so selfish for even admitting that.  And to the world, no less.

I had a really good cry the day before his surgery.  I sat all alone in the living room after everybody went to bed and I just let myself release every single emotion I’ve had inside about all of this.  I do that every so often, a purging of my heart, so to speak, and it helps.  I don’t need to do it often because I feel like I’m pretty good about handling stress and emotion, but right now I feel like I’m overflowing already.  I’m filled to the brim and the slightest movement will create a waterfall.

I cried today already.  I had a moment alone where the kids were playing nicely and not arguing and it just happened, very unexpectedly, I just started crying.  I didn’t realize it at first but I just felt the hot water running down my cheeks and when I felt the tears with my fingers it was like the rest of my body caught up and I just started hyperventilating.

My grandparents, my dad’s parents, want me to keep them informed of the goings on with him and all of his medical stuff, which I get, they’re his parents, but for some reason only my grandmother talks to me and she has a failing memory so she doesn’t remember that I’ve told her all of these things so she just goes on to think I’m just not telling them at all.  Their oldest child, my dad’s brother, lives near to them so they include him in all of this (even though my dad doesn’t want that) so he’ll go and try to make all of the same phone calls I do just to get his own info and then tell my grandparents and they seem to think he’s the one doing all of the dirty work when, really, he’s just getting the simplified 10 second answer that I put 40 minutes of work into.

And I’m here overwhelmed, stressed, and shrugged off.

And so now I’m using my blog as an outlet for my frustrations because holy hell I just need to let off some steam sometimes.

 

“Cat got your tongue” seems a little too crude, even for me…

Hi again.  So life has been a whirlwind of adulting these past few months.  Let me tell ya, I want to go back to being a Toys R Us kid where I don’t have to grow up.  Throw in Discovery Zone and life would be much easier.

For starters, we have a pest control company who comes out and treats our property.  It’s a good system and we’re on a quarterly plan so they come treat every quarter and if I see an increase in bugs between treatments they come and take care of it for no extra cost.  Which is great because sometimes there’s a huge spider and my husband isn’t home, so I can call them.  That hasn’t happened yet but, I kid you not, I did ask about that.  Anyway, the most recent time they were here they were working in the garage (spraying the perimeter and the crawl space) and guess what they found?

That’s right.  Freaking TERMITES.  The past two years we have had a horrible flying ant problem and since they look so much like termites I really took to the study of them and know much more about flying ants than I would like to.  With that said, I also learned to look for termite trails and all that good stuff.  I thought our coast was clear.  In the garage, though, my husband is restoring a vintage truck so it has its own bay.  On the cinder block base of our garage, on the other side of that truck, were a couple termite trials.  So I blame him for not seeing them (but in reality I don’t actually blame him).  So they’re coming to do an extensive, all-day termite treatment and since they only take cash that’s $2,000 cash that we need to come up with.

Then.  My husband and I have been looking at newer vehicles for our family and the daycare for a few months, we had a timeline of when we were going to buy the vehicle because money would be different then, that time frame had pushed back a tad because of the termites.  Then my car, ol’ reliable, failed inspection baaaaaad.  It needed thousands in repairs just to pass inspection, thousands we didn’t have especially since we didn’t plan on keeping it for more than six months.  So a couple weeks ago we upgraded, bringing back those dreaded car payments a few months earlier than we were expecting.

So in one month we went from being comfortable to suddenly an additional $20k in debt.  Fun right?!

On top of all of this there’s my dad.  Clearly I have daddy issues (which I actually expand on) because he seems to be a common theme in my posts.  Anyway, his jaw had been hurting him for a while and his doctor kept shrugging him off, which was a very unwise move since my dad had cancer in his jaw eight years ago.  Long story short, the cancer is back and it spread.  So after many consultations and scans and poking and prodding, my dad was given two options:
1. Do not have surgery, but you will die in six months.  Painfully.
2. Have the surgery, we remove all of the cancer, but we also have to remove your                  tongue and larynx so you won’t be able to eat for months, we’ll rebuild a partial                  tongue out of chest muscle, you’ll go to PT to learn how to eat again, aaaaand                        you’ll never talk again.
Great choices, huh?  Spoiler alert!  He chose option two.

Now, my whole life I’ve known my dad as a drunk man.  I’d begrudgingly accepted it, went to therapy, came to terms with the fact that his disease was so far advanced that I had greater odds of winning the lottery than I did seeing my dad sober.  It is what it is and I accepted it.

For anybody with an understanding of alcoholism, his addiction turned into a disease many years ago, probably some 20+ years ago.  He literally needed alcohol to survive.  Due to some hospital stays and forced sobriety (after a ridiculously high ethanol drip at the hospital) his brain kind of did this “turn it off and turn it back on” kind of thing, advancing something known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, on the street that’s called “wet brain,” and it’s something that commonly affects drunks.  Ultimately, the alcohol caused irreversible brain damage to the part of his brain that handles memories.

Despite my understanding of alcoholism, there was always a small part of me (albeit jaded part) that held out hope that my dad would one day wake up and decide he didn’t need the alcohol.  I always felt like I came second to his drug, like I was never worthy.  Speaking of worthiness, since he is an addict he has a tendency to lie to people, he doesn’t do it to be malicious, but to hide his addiction.  He would tell me these things, mean things, about my grandparents, my uncles, and he’d go and tell them mean things about me.  I realized what he was doing when he was in the hospital back in 2009 so I started working on repairing relationships.

It has been hell.

My grandparents, his parents, have had a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that he is an alcoholic.  Truthfully they didn’t believe me when I first told them eight years ago.  It has been a really bumpy road, one that I’ve been traveling mostly alone, and still, despite doing so much for my dad, they don’t believe that I’m not some selfish, crazy teenager.  A selfish, crazy teenager that they “know” only because that’s what my father told them.

So my dad’s addiction damaged relationships with most of my family, damage that I fear is beyond repair, but I keep trying.  I’m having a really hard time coming to terms with not having a stable dad, not having a relationship with my grandparents, one of my uncles seems to think I’m just there, I can’t help but think he views me as just his brother’s bastard.  It’s been hard, and I see people, my husband included, who have these great relationships with their extended family.  It makes me envious.

Back to current day, though.  Want to hear something amazing?  My dad, the alcoholic, was so scared by his diagnosis that was scared sober.  I mean it.  He had his g-tube put in a couple weeks ago and had a 0.00 BAC.  The hospital has come to know him and this habit of having a heightened BAC so they have him come in a day before the surgery so they can actually detox and monitor him a bit so he’s at a safe level for anesthesia.  He was ready to go, though.

I spoke with one of his social workers yesterday and even she said there is no sign of alcohol usage.  His home is relatively clean (another amazing factoid), he’s gained weight (huge news!), he’s sober, though.  I should’ve played the lottery.

So where I stand currently with all of this information is here: my whole life I’ve wanted a real relationship with my dad, I’ve never even had a real conversation with him where he wasn’t intoxicated or under the influence of hospital meds.  Now, though, there is this little window where he is sober and it’s been used to discuss the hospital plan and discharge instructions, his will, lawyers, me being is PoA…just business, nothing that might work towards mending our relationship.  I wish he had this sort of realization years ago so that we had more time to actually speak with each other.

I feel selfish for being upset because I know my dad is dealing with way more than I’d want to, but I can’t help it.  That small little part of me that I mentioned just swelled at the thought of hope, but it was like a tease.  Like the sobriety was dangling there just out of reach for so long and now that it’s there it comes with a really horrible price.

He will not learn sign language, I’ve had dozens of people suggest that but he won’t do it, plus we have no use for it since, ya know, 700 miles separate us and he doesn’t have a webcam.  I don’t have time or money to learn ASL either.  Our relationship is going from talking every single day to a text relationship.  I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that, too, since he’s like the only person I talk to.  I talk to him about everything.  You know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?  That’s like my dad.  He’s almost 60 with memory-related brain damage, trying to get him to grasp everything a texting device can do is so hard.  It’s just a struggle.

I’m ending this here, it was just easier to type it all in one spot because not only is it cathartic to me, but people have been asking what’s going on so now I can direct them to this post.

Thanks for reading ❤

Holy Moly!

I feel like such a neglectful blogger!  I’ve thought so much about things I could write about but when I found the time to sit down and just chill there was no blogging happening…only Netflix binging.  For that, I’m sorry.  My apologies are going to fall on deaf ears here soon (or would it be blind eyes?) because I apologize so often for my lapse in posting!

Anyway, I was doing great with my weight loss, I hit 30 pounds down!  Then winter came and I couldn’t walk after work because it was dark out and I’ve plateaued so with spring coming I’m excited to get back on my kick!

Work is something to post about – in September (see?  Shortly after my last post..I got busy!) I officially opened up my own business!  I now own a legal daycare and man, it’s more than I expected.  I’ve always been a very hands-on caregiver, but now there’s tons of paperwork that comes along with the legal part of it and I just feel like I have no me time anymore, you know?

I’m in the process of filing my taxes (yeah, fun times!) and I had to find an actual accountant for this journey because in-home daycares have so many different write-offs and formulas for the percentage of the house used, etc. that it’s just impossible for me to do this myself (sucking at math doesn’t help me either) and I can use part of my car repairs as a write off since I do use my car for the business.  Well I had some major work done in July and I needed a copy of that receipt for my accountant, but the dealership couldn’t email it to me!  They could fax it to me but I don’t have a fax, so they suggested me driving over…yeah…with three toddlers in the pouring rain, 40 minutes one way just to unload all of them in that pouring rain for a piece of paper.  No thank you.  So instead I called my mom (who is in NY…I’m in VA) to see if they could fax it to her at work and then she could scan it and email it to me (all of this because I don’t want to drive over lol) so I could send it to my accountant.  So mom is on board, I call the dealership to give them the fax, and they figured out how to email it to me.  Insert blank stare.  You have no idea how frazzled I was about getting this invoice by a certain time.  So long (probably boring) story short, I got it, it’s uploaded for my accountant, and I didn’t have to brave the rain with three tots in tow.  I call that a win in my book.

What is not a win, though, is sick toddlers.  Seriously.  If your child has a cold and doesn’t feel well I can assure you they do NOT want to play with their friends, they want to be with their mom/dad because that’s where they feel the safest and most loved.  Plus, when you insist that they’re fine then their germs are spread to all of the other kids that they’re around and those kids get sick.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I may or may not be feeling some sort of way about this right now.

You know what else I’m having feelings about?  Friends.

I have two people I talk to on a regular basis, just two, and the closest one is two hours away.  Still no friends here locally because any time I chat somebody up and think we might be chummy, they find out I do daycare and I just become a babysitter to them (btw…daycare vs. babysitter is very different!), or they find out I’m atheist and suddenly they think I’m going to sacrifice their child so they avoid me.  Ooorrrr the worst one, they try to sell me things!

What happened to just being friends?  Why do I have to buy your wraps or leggings or shakes or lip stick or nail stickers?  Can’t we just drink coffee (Maxwell House is fine) in our sweat pants (the $5 ones from Walmart) and talk about life?  I miss those days.

I’m ending on that note because my child just fell asleep, a very rare thing in the middle of the day, and I’m going to watch TV and fold laundry!

Till next time my neglected readers ❤

 

I’ve Got the Eye of the Tiger, the Fire

Hello again!  I’m stoked to say that I’m officially down 7.4 lbs as of yesterday’s weigh-in!  I’m also down a whole shirt size and half of a pant size (I didn’t record my starting inches but I wish I had so I’ll be recording those from now on)!

On this journey I’ve decided to try some meal replacement shakes for the days that I’m too busy to eat a good meal which, let’s be honest, happens more than I’d like doing daycare.  I have a friend who sells Shakeology so I decided to look into that; she was kind enough to give me a sample and I will say it was pretty tasty (I made a chocolate pouch with one cup of 1% milk and a few ice cubes) – it was filling and not chalky at all.  Actually, here’s my review:

My Shakeology Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately what it came down to is that it’s too expensive.  It works superbly for her and her husband but I just can’t afford it off of a daycare income.  Sooo I started looking at other options and was suggested FitMiss Delight that I could buy on Amazon.  I know a few personal friends who use it and swear by it so that’s what I bought.  With Prime it cost $31 for a 36-serving container, it got here about 18 hours after I ordered it, and I just made my first shake this morning.  Here’s that review:

FitMiss Delight Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately, this stuff was AMAZING.  I made it with a scoop of powder, 2/3 c. of 1% milk and 2/3 c. of black coffee (Wegmans brand 100% Arabica Ground Coffee, Traditional, Medium Roast) and hoooo my gosssshhhh it was SO YUMMY!!!

I wasn’t going to do a review but it was just so good that I had to lol.  I also thought that I’d share a current photo of me because you can really see it in my face and that makes me feel good.

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Both pictures are taken without face makeup (I have mascara on a little eyebrow tint in the right picture) and you can see just how clearer my face looks, my jaw line is more pronounced, my cheeks are going down…this is all so exciting!!

I’m probably going to post again soon because I’m doing a very important walk in a week that has a fundraiser and everything so I’ll post either later today or tomorrow.  We’re puppy sitting this weekend so maybe I’ll post tomorrow because three boxers is a tad exhausting lol.

Till then…toodaloo! ❤

The Journey of a Thousand Miles…

I HAVE DONE IT!!!!

Not only am I blogging again so quickly, but I’ve decided that now is the time to lose weight.  I have always been chubbier than others but could never lose weight despite exercise, diets, medicine.  It’s incredibly frustrating!  After I had my daughter it was discovered that I have PCOS which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  For those who don’t know, it’s basically a hormonal disorder that causes a woman to get facial hair, acne, weight gain, and ovarian cysts.  It’s none too fun.

Anyway, I’m jumping on the “lose weight” bandwagon because it’s necessary.  I’m not happy.  Even if I don’t lose weight, at least I’ll be healthier in my diet and exercise.  I will also be talking to my doctor because we have talked about a second child and it’s going to be ridiculously hard to pregnant with PCOS.  From what I was told by a specialist after our daughter was born, my birth control that I was on masked many of my symptoms and since it regulated my hormones that’s how I was able to get pregnant (yes, I got pregnant with my daughter while taking oral contraceptives).  I want my doctor to know, though, that I’m not playing around.  I don’t want a magic pill to help me, but I do want to be healthier.  Especially as my daughter grows up, I don’t want her to be the girl with the fat mom.

So yesterday started my big steps – I did yoga and even danced…I HATE DANCING! lol  But I did it.  I do a dance party with my daycare kids each day and usually I sit back and watch, I take pictures, but I never get involved.  Yesterday I did and I even worked up a sweat!  The yoga was really enjoyable so I’m excited to do that again and I think after a little while I’m going to go from just crazy dancing to pop songs to actually doing Zumba but I need to work up to that.

I don’t have access to a gym (and the closest one is 40 minutes away…can’t do that…it’s a no) so I need things I can do at home, that’s why I chose these activities.  I’m big on drinking water already so that’s not hard, but I’m going to be doing a weekly weigh-in on Fridays, so maybe that’ll prompt me more to post (along with the post-in in my day planner).

I’m hesitant to post on my personal facebook about this because I have people who sell things like Shakeology and It Works! and they’ve already approached me about buying there stuff, I don’t want this to be what gives them more motivation to approach me.  It kind of stinks that I am scared to post there, but oh well.  I can tell you guys.

Just this week I’m down 1.2 lbs!

Why Can’t We be Friends?!

why can't we be friends

I really suck at this whole keeping my blog updated thing.  Again, my apologies for that.  I actually put a sticky note in my day planner so that I am faced with a reminder the same time each week!  I was reading a thread in one of my facebook groups about moms who have no friends and that’s what inspired this post.  As a matter of fact, this is the meme that was shared with that particular thread:

pathetic mom

What do you think of it?  The meme itself made me giggle because I actually know a few people like this, but also because I don’t have this option.  I moved to Virginia five years ago leaving my family a few states north and had trouble making friends because of the whole introvert thing, but then when I became a mom it got even tricker.  Suddenly people didn’t just judge me on my personality alone, they judged me on my parenting style, too.  Then, to really kick it up a notch we moved to a small, traditional, southern baptist town where everybody already knows each other (but the safety rating is awesome and the schools are unparalleled).  So now I’m known not only as the outsider, but as “that alternative mom.”  That’s fine, I am confident in my parenting style and life choices, but it’s damn lonely.

If you surf google for a bit about how to make friends as a mom you’ll find some pretty common suggestions:
– Put yourself out there (I do that!)
– Make the first move (I smile and say “hi” to everybody)
– Get contact info (Hard to do when I don’t get a smile or “hi” back)
– Plan the first playdate (Again, hard to do when I haven’t gotten the previous two steps)
– Be yourself (Ehh…that seems to be what people don’t like)
– Don’t gossip (in this town, I’m the source of the gossip so that’s fun)
– Talk about something other than your kids (which isn’t as easy as it sounds)
– Don’t shy away from moms who don’t parent like you (I’ll be blunt, if we witness you hitting your kid or talking down to them we don’t want to be friends with you anyway, but other than that this isn’t a big deal for me)

You’re getting the gist, right?

Whenever there is something kid-related or family-friendly going on in the area I try to make sure our calendar is open so that we can attend; not only do I want to meet people but I want my daughter to make friends, too.  One of our favorite activities is the library each week; they do a weekly story time so I get to talk to other adults and my daughter (and daycare kids) can play, listen to stories, sing songs, and do a craft.  It’s great for their growing minds and socialization.  Well.  For the first few months nobody spoke to me except for the women who were bringing their grandchildren, which I’m okay with but it’s not like they were jumping to be friends with me, you know?  There was one mom in particular there who was always cold towards me and I never understood why until I found out that she’s the other in-home daycare in town.  So basically I’m the competition and she has big pull here, so other moms weren’t talking to me for fear of betraying her.  On the days she wasn’t there, though, people spoke to me.  Mature, right?

I created a facebook group for the moms in our town hoping that it’d break the ice, we could chat about common things amongst the group and then we could add each other and get to know each other better, you know.  Well the group is doing fair, but once people find out that we do gentle/attachment parenting and we don’t go to church you’d think we were personally here from the bowels of hell just to sacrifice their children.

I have no problem keeping my religious preferences hush hush, I’m quite used to it actually since I’m the black sheep in my catholic family, but because of my daughter’s age (she’s three) it comes up pretty quickly.  I’m often asked if I’m sending her to preschool and “the absolute best preschool in town!” happens to be a catholic-based program.  I mean heavy catholic.  I’m okay with religion and I teach different ones at home, but I’m not going to pay (what I think is a high amount) for my daughter to go to a program that doesn’t teach much outside of the ABCs of the bible.  So I try to graciously explain that it’s just not for us and I’m often met with rebuttals ranging from “There’s a scholarship option if money is tight” to “Ohhh, do you go to a different church?”  I usually respond with, “That’s fantastic, it’s just not something we’re going to do, we really enjoy learning at home and while we’re out and about.”  My answer is apparently a big red flag because I have had two different moms completely stop talking to me because of that.

Another thing that is apparently taboo in motherhood?  Not drinking wine.  I don’t drink at all, but I don’t see why wine needs to be a part of a playdate?  I love coffee.  I worship coffee.  I pray to the java gods every morning.  Coffee is a much more suitable beverage when surrounded by kids (and trust me, I’d know).  I had a mom once ask me, “Should I bring a red or a white?” when I asked her and her sons over for a late-morning play date.  What?!  I can understand a glass or two after the kids have gone to bed, but after breakfast?  No.

You know what else seems crazy to many moms?  Enjoying being with your child.  I schedule activities that I know my daughter would enjoy because I love seeing her have fun.  I love seeing her learn and enjoy herself, it makes me happy.  So when I’m not going to leave my daughter with a sitter on a Saturday to go lay out on the beach with you (one, I don’t even know a babysitter and two, I freaking HATE the beach) that doesn’t make me a shitty person, it makes a happy mom.

I like to use my weekends for family time since that’s the only time my husband has off (as long as it’s not an overtime weekend).  Apparently that’s bizarre, too, because I’ve often been asked to just leave my daughter with daddy so I can go do things with other people.  That’s fine, my husband would be supportive of it, but I wouldn’t enjoy myself because I’d constantly be wondering what my daughter is doing and if she’s okay.  Plus, the only things anybody invites me to are those stupid MLM parties (Scentsy, Pure Romance, LulaRoe, ItWorks!, etc) or to those Painting with a Twist parties.  Those aren’t really my style.

I think my biggest problem is that I don’t like doing things that many others enjoy; for example, I prefer coffee shops to bars, museums to clubs, I’d much rather stay home in my jammies to watch a movie than go to a theater.  I like being home, I like doing things that are free, I absolutely hate being surrounded by tons of people, I definitely don’t want to have to buy things from you for us to have a friendship.

It would just be so nice to have a friend come over for coffee or something that understood the restrictions that come with having a kid, it’d be awesome if they had a kid so all of the kids could play together.  A friend who I could text with about the silly things in life and one I could meet up with after lunch to bring the kids to the park.  We could talk about everything from the kids to the weather to politics to husbands, everything.  I was told once that “in order to have friends you have to be a friend.”  I think that’s kind of a messed up statement.  In order for me to have friends I have to do things they like and enjoy, but nobody wants to do that with me.  Instead I’m mocked for my likes and dislikes, mocked for my lifestyle and choices, but I’m kept around because it’s convenient for them.  No.  That’s not how this works.

I digress.

Morning frustrations have put a sour taste in my mouth so I’m going to wrap this up before I sound too jaded lol.  I hope y’all have a great day!

I’m a Gentle Parent…Not a Passive One

gentle parenting not passive parenting

I never planned on having kids so, like many non-parent adults, I had views on parenting that I was certain would work best.  Those views were very traditional, strict parenting: spanking, time-outs, yelling, like hell the kid would sleep in my bed, etc.

Then I became a mom.  A mom who suffered from postpartum anxiety and OCD (my post about PPA/PPOCD)) and man, did my views change.  In helping heal my PPA I found that taking a gentle approach to my life truly helped me; I started meditating, I stopped stressing about things I couldn’t control,  I would practice my breathing and control my emotions before I responded to a situation and I found that it worked!  While I still have general anxiety, I’ve learned to regulate it without medication and, for somebody who has been struggling with it for almost 20 years, that’s a big accomplishment.

My daughter was very attached in her infancy; I had to babywear if I didn’t want to listen to her scream because if she wasn’t near me then she was just miserable!  I found that I loved babywearing, though, so it turned out to be a win for both of us.  As she got older and more mobile it became harder to wear her while trying to do things around the apartment so she’d just follow me and scream, out of frustration I’d yell at her to leave me along for five minutes, if she touched things she wasn’t supposed to I’d smack her hand.  Every time I did something like this the look on her face would break my heart but it’s the only thing I ever knew in regards to “discipline” and teaching.  She was a very high-needs baby, but also very sensitive, and that has carried on with her now that she’s a preschooler.

One day we were getting in the car at the mall after a play group and after telling her to wait by the car while I loaded in the little boy I watched my daughter darted into the road and a car had to swerve to miss her!  She thought it was funny and giggled as she ran, but out of complete fear I raised my hand and I spanked her butt.  I hit my child.  I was angry and so scared, more scared than I had ever been in my life, but I hit her.  I buckled her into her seat and I sat outside my car and I cried.  Man did I cry so hard.

While most people will read that and think, “Good, she deserved a pop for that!” I am still feeling guilt because of it.  It broke me.  I was spanked as a child and I grew to fear those spanked me.  I never felt respect for them, I never felt that I learned anything, I grew to be cautious of them; if I stepped out of line or said the wrong thing I could get hit.  I never wanted that for my child but there I was, hitting her in a parking lot.

Something needed to change after that.  I started applying my “gentle life” techniques to my parenting and it was like an instant change in our daughter.  She started listening more, she was more curious about life and was much more excited to show me things that she found in her world, we were interacting on a different level and it was incredible, I don’t even really know how to describe it.

I’ve shared that I’m a SAHM/childcare provider, my husband works long hours and, as a result, isn’t around much so it took a long time for our daughter to get used to him.  For the first year and a half of her life he was active duty but then after he got out of the USMC he took another government job with equally as long hours, often getting OT on the weekends.  Charlotte wouldn’t go to him much, she was wary of him because he has a strong presence; a stone face, doesn’t show much emotion, strong voice, and loud when worked up about something.  He was raised in that traditional, strict home as well and then joined the Marine Corps. where emotion was pretty much banned, so, in a nutshell, the man is far from Mr. Rogers lol.

I’ll never forget the day that he and I reached our breaking point in parenting.  While I had started to filter gentleness into my style, he remained the strict one.  We were packing our apartment to move to our first house and our stress levels were much higher than usual; Charlotte happened to touch something that my husband didn’t want her to and instead of saying, “Lets not touch that, we could get hurt,” he shouted, “NO!!” and smacked her hand and snatched up the case she had touched.  Instantly she came screaming to me, red, puffy cheeks and eyes, shouting, “Daddy scare me!”  He heard it.  As I hugged her and calmly said, “Daddy didn’t want you to get hurt,” she just cried and wailed, “No, daddy scare me!”  He acted preoccupied but I could see that her words were hurting him.

yelling silences message

That moment caused a fight between my husband and I (and in our five years together I can count our fights on one hand).  I described his actions as listening to a TV when the volume is too high: you can hear the noise but the words aren’t clear.  That’s what was happening with our toddler, a tiny human who was still learning how things work – she was exploring and instead of learning why not to do something, she was basically told to fear it because she couldn’t understand the message.

Since that day I’ve noticed an incredible change in my husband.  He is so much more patient with our daughter, he takes the time to show her how things work and explain why we do things.  He even invites her into the garage (his personal sanctuary) so they can work on his project truck together.  We had snow a few months ago and he went outside and built a snowman with her.  He encouraged her walk along side him while he put some chemicals on the lawn last weekend.  She gets so excited when she wakes up and realizes that he’s still in bed and not at work, because it means she gets to hang out with him.

I know that it made him sad that our daughter was scared of him for so long, his family would comment on it, he even made a remark to a friend of ours at a Fourth of July BBQ that our daughter would never want him to play with her the way our friend’s son was playing with her husband.  I’m so glad to say that in under a year that has changed all because of his new gentle approach to parenting.

We are often criticized for our choice to not spank or yell, because we choose not to isolate our daughter in time-out, that we still hug her when she’s sad or hurt or scared, but to those people I say, “Oh well.”  We are raising a child who is confident in her choices, who knows that it’s okay to be wrong from time to time, a child who isn’t afraid of an accident.

be it to teach it

I found this quote recently and I quite like it:

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”
– Haim G. Ginott

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Were you spanked as a child?  How do you feel about it?  Do you spank as a parent?  Have you asked your child what they think about being hit?  I hope y’all have a great weekend!  ❤

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

I started reading Harry Potter 17 years ago, at the same age Harry was when he and his peers started Hogwarts. I remember exactly where I was when I started reading it (in the car on the way to an amusement park), who I was with (my best friend at the time, Lisa), and how I felt (annoyed at first because I forgot a book for our hour drive but I was sucked in quickly). I grew up with the characters in those books.  I was picked on so often growing so I had such a connection to Harry, Ron, and Hermione because they were picked on, too.  I adored them, their talents and quirks, their friendship.

I remember where I was when I learned about Professor Severus Snape’s true identity (on the way to a camping trip in the Thousand Islands), who I was with (my boyfriend and some mutual friends), and how I felt (I was sobbing uncontrollably!). I had already graduated high school at this point and my car full of friends was teasing me about crying over “kid books” but Harry Potter, Hogwarts, was always my happy place. As Dumbledore said, I entered a place that was entirely my own.  They offered me the magic that my life lacked.  

Reading the news yesterday morning and seeing that Alan Rickman passed away just broke my heart, there is no other way to describe it.  It was like a piece of my childhood was gone.  It’s kind of poetic, in a way, that he passed after a battle with cancer.  You’re probably wondering, “Poetic?!  What the hell is lady thinking?!” but let me explain.

Voldermort was the death of the series and Snape worked with him as long as he could, he manipulated his odds against the monster, he shaped lives in the process, mine included, and he taught lessons that many will pass on.  In the end, though, the monster may have taken his life but Snape won, he was the bravest man we knew.  Alan Rickman made such an impact in the world that many generations are feeling the impact of his passing.

I was telling my dad about how sad I am about Rickman’s passing and he asked, “You still like that stuff?!” It was the perfect time to give the best answer…

Always ❤

RIP Alan Rickman

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