Anniversary

Today is very near a bad anniversary for me. I wanted to share about it tonight because I want to always remember how far I have come, even if it’s just a little bit. Someone close to me at the time made some really bad choices that landed them in a heap of trouble. Worse, my kids were there. Thankfully no one was hurt and the kids were unaware of what was really happening.

I went over the details of those days again and again. So many “What Ifs” came to mind. I was feeling like I was a horrible mother because I allowed my kids to be with this person that day. I felt a lot of shame, I was angry at myself, and I felt worthlessness. But looking back today I have a different perspective. Someone was watching out for us, keeping us all safe. I also needed to accept the reality of my life.

I realized I had choices.

My life was unmanageable. Once I accepted that—slowly, very slowly my life began to change. I made different decisions. I took time to think, not react. I adopted catch phrases to help me slow down like, “You might be right,” during an argument. I began letting go and detaching from this person. I also began living my own life.

Today things are very different. I am learning how to take care of myself. I have no control over anyone but myself. I am learning I can support my kids but I don’t have control over their pain.
It’s better, but not perfect. I think they call that progress.

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Can I Bitch?

Well I’m going to anyway.

So, I’ve been a mother for what feels like forever a long time. I have been single-mothering-it for a few years now. Not as long as some, but more than enough for me.

I am getting married in October. Yeah! To this amazing, awesome guy who says to me, “You should really try to spend more time by yourself. Get out of the house and do something for YOU.” And he really means it. I know, awesome.

However, finding something to do for me, that fits around the rest of the family’s schedules is like threading a pool noodle through a needle. But I did my part and thought of something I’d LIKE to do for myself. Tai Chi.

Not only does it get me out of the house, it’s great for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis who need to stay active without hurting themselves. Bonus! Problem is…scheduling. There are 3 places that teach Tai Chi here. ALL THREE of them have their beginner classes on the same days, at the same time. Really people? Seriously? Of the 2 offered nights, only 1 is good for me. But it coincides with the fiancés martial arts class. So now I have to hire a babysitter.

I didn’t really have the money for the class, much less the money for a weekly babysitter. But this will be GOOD for me, right? Today’s the first class. And youuuuu guessed it. I have a sick kid. Luckily she isn’t all that sick (tummy ache, no vomiting.) So it’s still a go.

Then the babysitter calls and says she is puking. OK. Now I text another babysitter. And wait. She says yes. But I have to pick this one up. OK.

I call the pediatrician and schedule an appointment for the girl on the couch to make sure her tummy ache (which really has been coming and going for 3 weeks) isn’t something more serious. But it’s at 4:00 pm.

So, I will grab the boy off the bus at 3:40 and pack the sickie and the boy in the van to go to the appointment. Hopefully I don’t have to hit the pharmacy after. We should be home 4:45? 5:00? Just enough time to get everyone home and settled on the couch. Then I need to cook something for dinner. Something for dinner…dinner…I forgot I needed more oodles of noodles for the girl for dinner. So I have to add a trip to the store. Also need cat litter.

OK, dinner is cooking, noodles have been purchased…now to pack everyone BACK into the van to get the babysitter by 5:30. Get back home and instruct sitter to feed everyone the dinner(s) I cooked. Then RUN out the door to go to my new, stress-reducing, calming, soal-centering class without getting a speeding ticket by 6:00.

Isn’t it great to do something for myself?

Meh…

ImageI feel so…meh today. I haven’t been sleeping well. I have been feeling like crap because all my joints are aching. I actually wake up in the middle of the night in pain.

I haven’t had motivation to do much. And yet…I still have to care for and feed my children.
Therefore they watch endless hours of TV, that beautiful babysitter, so that I can do the same.

Pizza delivery for dinner again. Just like last Sunday. Yup, this sucks.

My New Year Started with a Slap

OKSlapShot

I’m back from 10 days off from work and I’ll tell ya…vacations with children don’t always seem like vacations to me. Sometimes I need a vacation from my vacation.

We had a great time seeing family. My kids played with 2 soon-to-be-cousins and had a great time. The parents of said children were also great. It’s nice to meet other parents who actually supervise their children. That being said, coming home was a tad rough.

I don’t spank my kids. I was never spanked (truly.) My brother raised his 3 without spanking. But my son…he REALLY tests my boundaries. Like…a lot. My daughter has always been a rule-follower. A side-eye glance from me and she usually toed the line. But my son, God love him.

So, while on vacation I witnesses some very consistent parenting and was really jealous. I know what my faults are in parenting, but I don’t always know how to fix them. Consistency is a problem that my son capitalizes on frequently. While watching these parents in action I learned a few other things like: following through with discipline. A kid who realizes you are going to follow-through might not be tempted to act up again. Especially when they use spanking. Therefore spanking might only need to be used a few times.

Here’s why I mention spanking: because it’s something I haven’t tried yet. When we created the new house rules, one of the rules was No Hitting. My son usually doesn’t hit on purpose but somehow he hits his sister about 1x a week. He will more likely be playing, get riled up and fling something that hits you. Or he will be happily dancing with his sister, being silly, she will shake her booty at him and he will decide to tap her on the butt with a plastic wand. Only, it’s not a tap. Yes, this is what happened last night.
I heard the *snap* from 2 rooms away.

Luckily his sister didn’t cry but I. Had. Had It.

So the No Hitting consequences changed that minute. I calmly told him to go to his room. I calmly went in and talked to him about what he did. How do you think your sister feels? Does she like being hit? How does it feel to be hit? Is it nice even if it’s an accident? And so on…He admitted he didn’t know what it felt like to be hit. So I spanked him 5 times, fairly hard, with my hand. He laughed afterward and said it didn’t hurt. So I got the wand and asked him if he thought this would hurt worse. He didn’t know. So I spanked him with it and you could tell it stung. His eyes welled up (insert sound of my heart breaking).

We talked about what it was like for his sister. Everything was going along nicely then all of a sudden she gets HIT with this wand and it HURTS. Suddenly the fun vanishes. And this happens to her weekly. How must she feel? I reminded him that I always love him even when he makes poor choices. I reminded him that he is a good boy who sometimes makes poor choices. But he had to stay in his room for the night and no electronics that night or the next day.

You want to know something? His reaction to being separated from the rest of us was worse than the spanking. Very interesting. Let’s hope this helps. I just don’t know. He’s 7 and even if he seems old enough to control his actions, he clearly can’t or won’t do it. Disciplining children who don’t have the capacity to do as you ask seems silly. It’s like slapping a cat for not being a dog.

I’ll update as news unfolds.