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What Happened to ME?

 

Dear Readers,

I have not posted here in a while. Life, as they say, gets in the way sometimes, even in the way of things that we love. But, I’ve come to the realization that I want to do more writing. I’d love to even monetize it somehow. And I won’t get that opportunity by ignoring the blog or the readers, will I?

So, I came back. 

It took a few tries. I had forgotten my password. (Am I the only one who hates everything having a password these days? Sheesh!) But, I figured it out and took a peek at the blog and found a draft from ages ago. I read it and, of course, it still resonated with me. So, upon giving it a little thought, I’ve expounded on it and posted it here. The newer writing picks up with ‘Am I complaining?…’

I am shocked that the passage of time has allowed me to think through this issue and come to a more positive outlook. I’m certainly glad of that, though. 

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment in the comment section or on Facebook.

THX!

Mama

 

freedom

For 35 years, it was all about me.

I lived where I wanted, ate what I wanted, did what I wanted. Heck, if I suddenly got the urge to go buy a half-gallon of Starbucks Low-Fat Latte ice cream and eat the whole dang thing right out of the container… I could. And I did. (At least once, that I care to confess.)

Marriage at 29 shifted things… a little. Not much. But after that I had to consult someone else before most major decisions.

But when our first child was born in September of 2004, my world as I knew it simply vanished. Now, I know this is a universal law here. It happens to every, single, solitary parent on the planet. However, no one prepared me for it. Even my mom. (Sorry, but if you did, I wasn’t listening, as usual.)

Now hold on a minute.

Stop.

I just wrote and wrote and wrote, re-read, then deleted a whole segment about my shocking difficulty with breast-feeding and the horror of postpartum depression. This is not the ME I am referring to here. No, that was some major crap, don’t get me wrong and probably has a lot to do with what I’m going through, but the selfish thing I miss the most is FREEDOM.

This isn’t about how hard it is to be a mother. It’s about loss of FREEDOM. Plain and simple.

I can not simply jump into the car and drive somewhere. Not to Walgreen’s, not to Starbucks, not on a crazy spur-of-the-moment road trip to see some band in another town. Now, I never did much of the latter when I was single, but I love the idea of it now. Because I can’t.

 

Am I complaining? Kinda. But not really. I love being a mother. I love having created a family. But I do, honestly, miss the freedom.

So, what’s a mama to do?

The answer is quite painfully simple: NOTHING.

Until the kids are out of the nest, until they have been properly emancipated, there’s no freedom for either of us.

Whoa. Think about that.

Putting it into perspective, I’m not the only one suffering from a lack of freedom. Would my first grader rather NOT have to get up, dress and go to school five days a week? Certainly. Does my fourth grader really lavish the idea of sitting in her desk for 80 minutes and have her fledgling writing skills assessed by the state? Nope. Certainly not. They have ZERO freedom as well. Hmmmmmm. My husband has to work to pay our living expenses and keep us insured and fed and protected. Would he rather go golfing or lounge in his boxers in front of ESPN all day? Sadly, yes.

So, I am gonna make an effort to stop this woe-is-me mentality and, although I may occasionally long for the freedoms of my young adult lifestyle, I will try to truly relish the moments of motherhood. These years are fleeting after all, right? Soon, the kids will move away and I’ll be able to have that freedom back. Okay, not exactly the same kind of freedom. Then it will be the freedom to shop for adult undergarments or pick the restaurant where we’ll use our senior discount any day we want to (assuming it’s before 4pm). But, that’s how life is, isn’t it? We will be totally blessed to have lived so long to enjoy it.

Life is like a really good book. The more chapters the better, huh? I’ve been told on more than one occasion that these parenting years are the ones we will look back on the most fondly. I hereby promise to make the most of them. No more belly-aching about loss of freedom. Nobody needs to eat a whole half-gallon of ice cream anyway, right?

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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Waxing Philosophical

 

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Sometimes Being a Parent is HARD. Period.

Okay, I debated it.

Hubby and I discussed it.

I sought council from friends, family, clergy, psychologists, et. al.

Then I did it.

I spoke to my children this morning before school about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

I didn’t use gory language. I didn’t focus on the madman. I didn’t use the words shot, shoot, kill or gun. I simply told them that something sad had occurred on Friday. That a man was upset and made a poor choice when he hurt some people, including some kids their age.

I explained that kids at school might be talking about it or they may overhear teachers talking… [In fact, I wasn’t sure if the Principal might say something on the morning announcements (God forbid).] I told them I wanted them to hear it from ME.

First, I assured them they were safe. I assured them that the teachers and staff at their school knew exactly what to do. I told them these types of things have happened throughout history, but they are very, very rare, which is part of what makes them even more sad. I told them again they were safe and very much loved.

Then I shut up.

And the questions started:

“Is the bad man in jail?”
“Did people die?”
“How did they die?”

It was not a fun conversation. It’s not one a parent dreams of ever having with their brood. But, I must say, I loved their thoughtfulness and their eagerness to ask questions. And their questions were completely appropriate, which kind of surprised me, although it probably shouldn’t have.

We focused on the heroes of the day: The school’s principal, teachers, the community’s first responders, the doctors.

I kept reiterating that they were safe and they were loved and that God was in control and to be trusted… No matter how crazy it all may seem.

I advised them, if a kid starts talking about it at school, for them to hold up their hand (in a STOP sign) and say, “I’d rather not talk about that.” Now, will that happen? I doubt it. I was a kid once, I know how much – even now – I enjoy discussing stuff like this. It’s sensational. It’s bizarre. It’s exciting, especially to a child. But I am hoping they can muffle the ‘noise’ on the playground or the lunch table and help squash the gossipy mess that spills out of kids’ mouths.

So, as I go about my daily work I can’t help but wonder what the conversation will be like in the car after school.

I hope this tragedy doesn’t come up.

But, if it does, at least I know I was the one who told them first and not some smart-mouthed kid who has been allowed to watch CNN all weekend and has all the gory details memorized. That was my greatest fear. I grappled with not saying a word. But I know it can happen. Some boy told my girl IN KINDERGARTEN what sex was – in his own graphic, yet amazingly accurate way. She luckily thought it was gross and went on about her business, but to think of her hearing about this from that same child sends chills down my spine.

Why is parenting so hard? Because we know crazy and evil exist. The kids see some in movies and books, but this is very much real and they need to know it, yet not fear it. Walking the fine line between equipping our children to cope and protecting their innocence is what makes it so difficult. At least for me.

I would love your feedback on this. What did you decide to do in regard to this subject? Do you find this kind of parenting thing hard? If not, how/why? What’s your secret? We all have our own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to parenting… I’d love to hear some thoughts on this.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Waxing Philosophical

 

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Mother Bird

Today, my little ones need me.

I know
one day
they will not.

I do my best, while they’re in my nest…

And hope
it’s not
forgot.

20120906-140606.jpg

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Worth a Thousand Words

 

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Play the Game

Okay. I admit I must be a failure. I must be playing the game ALL wrong.

My 7YO refuses to take a bath. I insist, telling her, “The other kids at school are gonna call you ‘Stinky’. You don’t want that, do you?” Doesn’t budge. I tell her, “You have to keep your body clean, to be healthy. You don’t want to be sick just because you didn’t bathe, right?” Nothing. I get more firm. “You have to take a bath. Mama bathes. Daddy bathes. Nana bathes. Mimi bathes. It’s what we do. We may not want to… but we have to. Now, get in the tub.” Tears start. (Hers, not mine.)

By this point, I’m angry.

Here’s a beautiful bathtub filled with just-right-temperature water complete with bubbles and toys and she refuses to get in. Refuses to take her clothes off. What do I do?

I call in Daddy.

He tries the same techniques, then HE gets angry, too.

What’s left? Giving her choices. It’s all the Parenting Rage to give them CHOICES, right? So, Daddy says, “You’re taking a bath. You may choose to get in yourself, or I will help you. Your choice.”

She continues to refuse. She continues to cry.

When I finally ask her why she doesn’t want to take a bath, she replies, “I don’t want to get wet.”

I’m flabbergasted.

We threaten with this: No bath. No birthday party. (There’s one on the horizon she really wants to attend.)

Nada. Just more tears.

Suddenly, out of nowhere we hear a small voice: “I wanna get in!”

It’s little brother. He wants to play in the bath. I say, “Okay, honey, jump in!”

Within seconds BOTH kids are naked, in the bath, having a blast.

I am exhausted and it’s morning. I just woke up.

I call my daughter My Dream Come True. Today, well, I guess I’ve still so much to be thankful for: She’s bright, creative, funny and has a big heart (especially for animals). This will of hers might come in handy some day. I hope she’s this stubborn when some idiot offers her drugs or asks her to marry him at age 16.

Sheesh!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Kids Do

 

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