How do I help you?

Is it our familial DNA- nature- or nurture that causes one to slit throats? My brother prepared me for life with my son who takes after his father. They all know how to “go for the jugular” and it takes every bit of patience and love in me to ignore- to not react in a way that lets him know it kills me… But he knows, so he keeps cutting.

My brother tormented me growing up. He knew I loved my kittens so he would force their tiny paws on the scorching metal of the car in summer, just to make me cry and scream! He spit in my hair and in my food on the daily. I got used to not eating. He hated me because I was the baby of the family and got our mother’s attention when she had so little time to give. When he tormented me, I would tattle on him and thus he would gain mother’s attention. Negative attention is better than no attention in the eyes of a child.

My son’s dad would go from 0 to 60 in his consequences for the littlest thing our son would do. He would determine how to hurt him the most and use it to gain control when our son would deviate from what was expected. My son would work hard all day long to earn “wrestling time with dad.” Yet, in his excitement, he might prematurely jump on him. Rather than give a calm warning or reminder to wait for him to be ready, his dad would heavily chastise him and send him to his room for the rest of the night. My son would cry and cry and wonder why his dad hated him so much. He wanted to die because he could never do anything right.

Here we are now- three years after we left- with these ideas about himself ingrained. Any time I give a consequence or must raise my voice, he reverts back to a time when he was treated with injustice. He claims we don’t respect him as he cusses up a storm and uses physical means as an attempt to “control the girls’ behavior.” I calmly remind him that I cannot have him around the girls when he acts like that but that I love him and will talk with him when he is calm.

He continues to slice at me with comments that he knows hit a chord: “You hate me. I’m just going to go kill myself. Can you look up for me ways to kill myself? Dad’s wife is a better mother than you. You treat me like shit! You only use us for the child support money.” Breathe deeply. Don’t react. Lord help me.

I finally declare that if we don’t care about him nor respect him and it is so horrible to be in my home and if she is such a better mom, then let’s call your dad and tell him that you need to live with him for awhile: Let the back peddling commence, “Uh, no! That’s not what I want!” As I pick up the phone, “Don’t! I just want you to respect me!” He sobs.

Inside I am crying. The tears are welling up. But, I have to push them down. But why? Isn’t he pushing and slicing so that I will bleed too? Isn’t he trying to get me to feel as much pain as he is inside? Perhaps we should cry together instead. For it pains me greatly to see him in such torment. In time, given space, it passes and he returns to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I love you.” We hug for a long while and I tell him that I love him too. His words suture the wounds just a bit, but they still hurt. And I know it’s only a matter of time before the knives come out again and he starts slashing!

*I hope that my story can help someone out there who also struggles with similar parenting issues. Thanks.

To my dearest girls,

Find your tribe! Don’t settle for those who exclude or make you feel unwanted. Dance to the beat of your own heart’s rhythm. If they look at you in a weird way because your moves weren’t choreographed, then look them straight in the eyes and keep dancing. You are a leader with a brilliant imagination and an expansive love for others. Only follow as a way to lead until you reconnect with the one who makes your soul leap: Then follow him, for I will have prayed that he will follow God. Make many friends in diverse places, but know that they will never fill that void within your heart. Instead, practice your breath.. Breathe Love into the void… Exhale the Love through your arms. Remember that “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Go ahead and manifest your dreams, you have been given the power: Accept it. And finally… Never forget that my love is with you always!!!

Love,

Mom

Ode to the Middle Schooler

I can’t make you care about World Civilizations, Algebra, or Astronomy.

I recognize you’re growing older and wanting your autonomy.

I can’t make you fight for what you deserve or make you rise to be a star.

I recognize that you’re confused and trying hard to find out who you are.

I pray and pray for you to choose love, life, and laughter… while you go astray.

But I also beg the Lord that you don’t forget my love along the way.

There’s a delicate balance between my responsibility and yours.

Don’t ever forget that when He closes windows, He opens doors.

I’ll practice letting go… to cease control.

So that you can fall and fail to help you become whole.

Love, Mom

I Choose You

All on my own- I got it- Hold my hand all along. Babe. I choose you.

They stay away- Fine- Can’t handle you’re mine. Child. Scoobee-doobee-bop-eh-dop-bop-dee. You’re my three.

Nights out on the town- Done- ‘Til your fever is gone. Hun. I choose you.

Sacrifice, compromise, improve – all for your benefit. I never could imagine life without you in it. Baby, you make it sweeter! Protection, commitment, celebration to lift you up through pain. Loving you without condition means fighting for you with no refrain. Darlin’ you’ve got my heart forever!

I may be tussled and wrecked- Okay- But your needs are checked- Sunshine. Skeede-dedaddly-bah-bahpti- You’re my three.

Think twice on that cookie- Stop- Get back to school, no hooky now. Bae. I choose you.

Breathe through the tough parts- 3-2-1- You’re all my sweet tarts. Love. I will always choose you.

Sacrifice, compromise, improve – all for your benefit. I never could imagine life without you in it. Baby, you make it sweeter! Protection, commitment, celebration to lift you up through pain. Loving you without condition means fighting for you with no refrain. Darlin’ you’ve got my heart forever!

Give It Up For Parenting

I’m not immune to it: The frustrations. The anxieties of parenting. My faith in God isn’t a miracle drug that wards off any negativity. Well… Actually… I’m wrong. It is a miracle pill that prevents and cures these feelings.

I choose not to take it.

When I’m frustrated at the world or other adults, I become impatient, on edge, quick to reprimand rather than listen. The horseplay and constant loudness- you know… Those things siblings do to infuse a solid bond in their relationship- become unbearable.

Even when things are seemingly good, there are times when the anxiety creeps in. For instance, one child gets moody and mean when I try to soften his frustration with a joke. Usually, space is the best solution. Then we talk a few hours or a day later. I know he wants me to know that his thoughts, feelings, and concerns are serious. I know he doesn’t like to be “made fun of ” even if in an endearing way. (Most boys would think laughing about their outrageous farts was funny). He sees it as an attack on him. I apologize, show empathy, and do better next time. But in the moment, I feel like a shitty mom when I accidentally offend my child.

I get drained: Low to no energy. But I know it’s essential that they continue to have opportunities for exercise through play. So I muster every last bit of energy to go to the skating rink, to a friend’s house to swim, or a bike ride around the neighborhood.

I get cloudy. I can’t see my dreams or what I’m working so hard for. I think, what’s the point of all this? Yet to think this way is… Well… Asinine.

I am extremely blessed. My kids are going to be okay! Even if I bum around the house for a day, they’ll still go to college. Even if I fix a smoothie and popcorn for dinner, they’ll still fall in love someday. These trivial concerns are privileges. What the hell am I worried about?

I am a good mom with loving children. Take the pill… The miracle drug… Give these cares to God. I don’t need them.

Parenting

Younger Millennial and Generation Z Parenting

July 10, 2019

Preface: I am technically a millennial- even though I can’t even spell the word without looking it up (i.e., Born: 1977- 1994)[1].  My primary language doesn’t include emoticons and I didn’t have immediate gratification via social media that linked me to the entire world.  My adolescence and early teens graced me with the benefit of building patience while the dial-up network plugged me into a word-only chat room.  As a young adult, I still used a real camera and developed my pictures at the store.  When I finally bought a smartphone (i.e., after my first child), I took pictures and videos to post on Facebook so that my friends and long distance family could share in the delight of my children’s developmental milestones; however, I still sought camaraderie with other young parents.  We chatted IRL about our struggles, successes, and silent serenity. We weren’t aware of “Mommy Groups,” except those who met at the park in the day or the wine bar at night.

The younger millennial and Gen Z (i.e., Born: 1995-2012; Schroer, n.d.) mommies are lucky and cursed.  They are fortunate to have a network of other first-timers or veteran moms to with whom they trek this “uncharted territory” in life.  Yet, these Mommy Groups- as I have heard from younger moms- can bring out the competitiveness in woman on such a mass scale that they feel overwhelmed by “What kind of mom they should be.” 

A Letter to the Young Millennial and Gen Z Mommas,

Listen up!! Mommy Groups are supports not sideshows.  They are fantastic for recommendations and tips.  However, once members stop empowering new parents and start passive-aggressively shaming and outdoing other parents, it no longer serves its purpose.  If you find yourself overly bragging about your kid, ask yourself, “What am I missing from my own sense of well-being?”  If your words make someone feel inadequate because they don’t have a certain [expensive and unnecessary] product, ask yourself, “What am I missing in my life?  What do I need to feel whole?”  Not only ask yourself these questions but take charge of finding a solution and making self-care a priority!  If you cannot look to your momma-sisters and empower them, take a moment to reflect on what you need.

Perhaps you’re exhausted and posting is your only connection to the world.  Perhaps you are stressed, and you just can’t find the gumption to give yourself a compliment.  Here’s a little secret: Unless you are a cracked-out mess who neglects your child or have abandoned your family for a fling in Vegas, you are the perfect parent… Perfectly Imperfect… You are doing everything right… Except flaunting the “status” of your child on social media to make yourself look good.  Don’t mistake this as saying that those videos of first steps and silly slogans coined by your toddler are unwanted… Those are adorable and loved by most friends and family! What I am saying is that new parents must be careful not to put themselves up on a pedestal by the way they portray their child.  

To the moms who feel inadequate or “not good enough,”

Do you love your child?  Then you are a “perfectly imperfect” mother who is doing an amazing job with your little one. You will make mistakes.  Be confident in those mistakes because they lead to growth.  We can’t know what is right until we live it. We can’t think about what ifs and do more, more, mores.  Make and take time for “no action…” to sit quietly in your own space… without shame.  Be mindful of your own need to compete with your support network…  Shape your world in a way that makes your dream for your family come true!  Never forget that you have the most powerful job in the world! 

With love,

Just-Another-Mother-Who-Came-Before…

Final Words: Mothers bear the burden of the world, not only their own but of each “world” or paradigm that a child develops.  She is responsible for the way they love, treat others, and the skills they learn toward success or failure.  She is responsible for her little man seeking a strong and compassionate woman rather than one who trains him to harden his heart.  She is responsible for her girlies feeling whole enough to tolerate only honor and laughter rather than disrespect and tears.  Mothers- and some lucky fathers- are guardians of little galaxies in training to be guardians of future galaxies.  

So, take care of each other.  Encourage and show love to other moms.  Let them know that despite feeling ragged and rundown, they have made it one more day as Creator of Life…


[1] (Schroer, n.d.)