Expectations Bring Disappointment

13827334_1224274674283506_1815827477_n

Today Caleb and I had a play group to go to. It’s one we used to go to every other week, but it usually wasn’t at the park with an entire daycare full of kids running around playing. For a split second, my expectation for him was to sit with the group on that parachute you see in the background. What on Earth was I thinking!? My child LOVES other kids, he loves the park, and he’s never been a fan of circle time. That split second was over, and him and I went off to play on the play equipment.

Sitting in the circle he started to cry. I can only imagine what was going through his sweet little head. “Why is mama punishing me? I just want to play!?” “But mama, why can all those other kids play, and I can’t?” “Mom, I just want to go play with these new friends!”

Well of course! How on Earth could I expect my two year old to sit, listen to instructions, and ignore that all the other kids are playing at a place he usually loves. My expectation ruined the fun for him, even if only for a minute. My expectation made me, just for a split second, frustrated that he wouldn’t conform to my will. No way. That’s madness.

This kind of thing happens a lot though. We go to the grocery store, it takes me an hour to shop, and I expect him to sit in the stroller quietly… HAHA! That’s hilarious right? I have to change my expectations and prepare for the realities. I bring snacks and toys, we sing silly songs, I get him involved… BECAUSE HE IS TWO AND THIS IS NORMAL CHILDHOOD BEHAVIOR! We go for a walk longer than five minutes. Do I expect him to hold my hand and comply to where I want to go the whole time at my exact speed? No way! I slow it down, I let him point out all the things around him, and sometimes I even let him walk a few steps ahead of me, because I trust him to not run off, and know I’ll be able to run with him even if he does.

I see parents at restaurants that spend the whole time yelling at their kids for one reason or another… “Well kids never learn if you don’t make them.” But what if what you’re expecting them to learn is just plain unrealistic? Sitting still is not something kids are meant to do till they are seven or older. Kids are meant to run around, stretch, and play! One moment parents are telling their kids to get out and move, the next they expect silence and still bodies. How did we get to these crazy expectations being normal to everyone around? Why is it that if kids don’t comply to these insane ideals they are labeled bad? Labeled as less than the kids who somehow do indeed comply? What a shame that all is…

Just take a deep breath parents. Your kids aren’t bad, they are just kids! Change your expectations and you’ll see that too soon enough.

YOU ARE LOVED

 

Still a Good Mom…

29e80813-b1a9-489b-af61-442b7ce7dbd5

When I started this blog, I was so sure I’d be a perfect mom. I mean really, the original name of the blog was something like, “Becoming a Young Mom, and How I Did it Right.” Barf! Am I right? It quickly became “How I Did it Peacefully,” because right is a very subjective word, and I mess up all the time. ALL THE TIME. I tried for a long time to still put on a facade. I wanted the world to think I was a super mom. Perfect house, perfect kid, perfect put together life… Well I’m here to tell you, it just isn’t so.

I get angry sometimes. Caleb will be extra clingy for one reason or another, and every hair on my body stands on end. I might even yell. I might even lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes while he cries, because I need five minutes where no one is touching me; poking, prodding, squeezing… But, most of the time I’m not. Most of the time I feel like having this small little boy around me 24/7 is the most awesome blessing that has ever been given to me. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I put the TV on all day long and I just lay on the couch, because the idea of doing a craft or having a conversation exhausts me past my breaking point. TV all day or a mean mom? I’ll go for the TV every time. But, most of the time I’m so happy to take Caleb to the park, play dates, do the newest cool kid craft, or play make believe. Most of the time I don’t ever want him to leave my side.

This is one of the hardest things in the world for me to admit. 99% of the time I honestly don’t feel like I need a break. 99% of the time I really think I’m doing okay. Then that 1% where my nerves are just fried, I wish someone, well someone like his Mimi because I’m neurotic and really don’t trust many people with him, would come get him just for a night. He’s spent maybe five nights away from me since he was born. Maybe ten times he’s gone with her for a day. That 1% of me isn’t a regular thing, and yet I still feel so much guilt about it… but why?

Don’t even get me started on the house. This week we had kind of an inspection. Not on our house from our landlord, but he’s trying to sell the house so the state inspection people had to come and measure stuff. I took three days cleaning the house. Twenty loads of laundry, seven loads of dishes, a full bottle of Windex, and an emptying of the vacuum five times later, our home was presentable. While I was putting away the clothes I ask Corey in exasperation, “How is it that I did all of these things AND went to school when I was younger?” He looked at me and laughed then responded, “You didn’t have Caleb.” I mean, I get the kitchen clean, and every toy is pulled out in the living room. I fold the clothes, turn my back, and the pile has become something to play in. I’m honestly not even mad, in fact I’ve accepted it, but when my house is a disaster (think dishes from a week ago and mysterious sticky spot on the kitchen floor), I’ve been home all day, and I’m still exhausted at the end of the night I do feel really guilty… but why?

This morning I woke up and my house was essentially still clean. The living room has some toys on it. I asked myself if I wanted to pick them up and decided to sit down and watch a movie while Caleb was still sleeping instead. I started to think about all of the things I’m doing wrong. I though about how I lose my patience, or I don’t always make the healthiest foods, or how when his doctor asked us how much milk he drinks, I had no freaking clue. But, I looked around at the fun art on the walls. I looked at the pictures of us together. I looked at his toys and thought about how much I love watching his imagination at work. I walked in and watched him sleeping next to his daddy. He is strong, healthy, and loved. He doesn’t go without. He has at least one close friend, and he has all the family he’ll ever need. He isn’t afraid when I life my hand that he’ll be hit, because we never hit him. He doesn’t have to worry about eating quickly or hoarding food, because we never let him go without. His body is respected. I do everything in my power to raise him peacefully. 99% of the time I succeed, so why do I fixate on that 1%?

… I’m still a good mom.

YOU ARE LOVED

Sami, What Do You Think About Addicts?

25525_1227662581045_7173687_n

Good question internet people. Good question indeed. First, let me ask you something: when you think of an addict do you think of loving, hard working, strong women like my mothers pictured above? Probably not. Do you think of people who get up and go to work every day as a managerial team? Do you think of people who would give the shirt off their backs to anyone they met? Probably not, because society presents an addict as someone who lives for nothing besides the next high, someone lazy who uses those around them, and someone who deserves to die. I have a serious issue with that.

My city is currently plagued with heroin use. In the last seventy two hours, TWELVE people have overdosed, with one dead, and another on life support. The girl on life support is only eighteen years old. The people in my community have been very vocal about what they are feeling towards the dealer(s), users, and anyone else involved. For the most part there is an outcry to send people after the dealer. Totally, get that person off the street. On the other side of things, the thing that is breaking my heart, there are people shouting their hatred for the addicts. Now, I get it. Don’t get me wrong, I was angry for a long time even at my parents. How could they chose drugs? How could they become so sick that they’d have to die to stop the addiction? Well… there is no easy answer. These people spilling anger out into the public, have every right to feel anger. These are people afraid for those around them, afraid for their parents, children, friends… these are people who have no idea how to help those around them, and are putting up a wall to keep themselves safe. I have the utmost respect for their feelings, but I can’t help but feel serious sympathy for the addicts and their families who are being forced to see the hatred directed at their loved ones who are on the brink of death, or already dead.

Drugs change your brain chemistry. One taste of a serious chemical can hook you. It’s not always as easy as just stopping. Most addicts don’t even recognize their own addiction until it’s too late. “I feel great!” “I just need a little extra energy today!” “Just one more time!” That’s not the person talking, that’s the drugs, and it’s a tragedy. If these addicts don’t know they need help, or can’t admit it, they won’t be able to receive help, and that’s another tragedy. You might ask, “Okay Sami, but they still decided to try drugs in the first place. It’s their own fault right?” Yeah, I struggled with that question the longest. My first instinct was always to agree, and it fueled a lot of anger for me, but then I asked myself… what led up to making that decision? Was it ignorance? “I’ll just try it this once with my friends. I’m sure once won’t hurt.” Was it depression? “I just want this pain to go away, my life is truly that miserable, maybe this will help.” Was it a cry for help? Was it an accident? Oh what, it can’t be an accident, it’s always a choice! Well…

My mothers both had serious medical conditions. They were PRESCRIBED the drugs they were addicted to. Then, they were prescribed more drugs be a certain doctor that I’d like to have fired. Then, those drugs called to them. It made their pain, mental and physical, go away. It helped take away their sense of responsibility. It made them feel good. Addiction took a bite out of them like a literal monster and didn’t let go until the day(s) that they died. Do I WISH they had enough control to stop? That they could have resisted their impulses to pop another pill? Of course I do… But, I don’t know that they could have.

So here’s something that might shock some of you… I, too, am an addict. Let me explain for a minute before you judge the heck out of me. After my C-section they gave me percocet. Within a week I was mostly healed, I didn’t need the pills, and I gave them up, because at the time I was a happy new mom who could totally get through the little bit of pain to be the best mom I could be for my son. Well, a year later my back started killing me. Someone close offered me percocet, and I took them. And took them. And kept taking them. I’d take them at night, and the thoughts in my head wouldn’t go around in circles any more. I could relax and fall asleep. I’d take them in the morning, and everyone around me was a little bit less scary. My anxiety would go away… One night, after an especially stressful day, I thought to myself, “Damn, I really need another pill.” And that’s the same night I flushed what I had left, because I realized I had become an addict and needed to stop. I didn’t WANT to be an addict, I didn’t want to abuse pills, and I didn’t think I’d ever get to that point. I naturally have an addictive and obsessive personality. I can’t drink or take pain pills without forming an addiction. That experience gave me a new perspective to look at other addicts through. If I, someone fiercely opposed to using drugs, can become an addict, literally anyone can.

So, to be honest, I don’t have any real answers for you today. I asked more than I answered in fact. I ask you to take a step back before you point the blame and hate at people with an addiction. Think about their family witnessing your words. Think about the hurt they are already feeling. Think about the pain that’s already in the world… instead, spread some love.

 

YOU ARE LOVED.

I Help?

c8

I stand at the sink washing the hundredth dish of the night, when this sweet boy comes in. “What you do mama?” he asks me. “I’m cleaning up baby,” I tell him. He walks around for a few minutes, comes and watches me wash a few dishes, and then he takes a few steps back. He asks me, “I help?”

Way to melt a mama’s heart. I told him that he could pick things up from the floor and put them in the trash if he wanted. He did just that, and he did it happily. I thanked him for helping me clean our home. We finished up our work together, and went into the living room to snuggle a while.

I’ve never made him clean up. I will almost always ask him to pick up his toys, and often he will, but if he doesn’t I do it for him. Usually if he sees me cleaning up his toys, he comes to help me. When I do my own household duties, I try my best to do them cheerfully, because I have little eyes watching. He sees me happy to do these things, willing to do all of these jobs to help our home, and he picks up on it. He will now happily help without asking, because we always made it just another part of the day for our family instead of a chore, a pain in the butt, that just had to get done, because I said so.

Our family works together to make a home, and he is part of this wonderful home. And… I am so grateful.

You Are Loved!

Toddlers: The Personal Space Invaders

13472321_1091579457571026_1540693574_n

Last night my sweet, adorable, loving child decided that the only acceptable place for him to be… was glued to me. Now I love snuggling, really, but snuggling (that really means being climbed all over, pushed, prodded, and jumped on) for ten straight hours is just really not my cup of tea. I would stand up and the banshee scream would come out of his small body. I had to go potty at one point and actually shut the door. The poor thing stood outside the door and cried, but my skin needed just a moment to relax and not be touched before going back into the prison like state this little being had put it in. I had been feeling a little ragey and really needed that few minute breather before I made bad choices.

I’d put him down, and he’d cry to me, “I want huggies, I want huggies!” I’d comply every time, because I will NEVER say no to a hug from my child. He’d lay right over my whole chest, and despite how much discomfort I was in, I took a deep breath focused on how much I loved him. Because… my mommy intuition knew there was a reason for his extra lovey and needy state. Sometimes you really do have to drop everything and just BE there for your child, because a need might seem silly to you, but make all the difference for them.

Him and I had just been away from Corey for most of a week, then with him constantly for two days because his days off came up right when we got home. Yesterday his daddy went back to work, and his sweet heart just couldn’t deal with it. He really missed his daddy, and was using my touch to console himself. I just couldn’t bring myself to be the strict, mean mommy that put him down and left him to cry out his pain. I know when I used to miss Corey so severely, before we lived together, I would have done anything to have someone hold me and tell me it would all be okay. Of course I want to be that for Caleb.

I can’t always/don’t always do the right thing. Sometimes I just NEED my space, but last night I knew that he had to come first. Today, he’s been eating like crazy, so I suspect he was also having a growth spurt yesterday and probably feeling some pain in his joints not helping with his already broken heart. Soon as daddy got home last night he was, of course, fine again… but all in all I don’t regret giving him that extra love yesterday.

I’m really not sure of the point for this post, but I felt compelled to share about this scene with my sweet boy. Today, I look at him and I am just filled with love and I’m so grateful that he will always know love, because not everyone has that privilege.

 

Remember, YOU ARE LOVED.

My Child, My Hero

13339497_1085103528218619_2346646109253478207_n

Caleb… Goodness, my friends… I love this child more than I can ever imagine, and I love who he is. At only 2.5 years old he already has this incredibly bold and defined personality, and I feel so blessed to be part of his life. Getting the chance to watch and facilitate his growth… There are no words to describe how full my heart is because of him.

He is smart, inquisitive, and full of imagination. I love watching him play out different scenes with his toys, have conversations on the phone with those he love (even when they aren’t on the other end), and explain the world around him in only ways he knows.

He is stubborn, strong willed, and knows what he wants. I love that when he doesn’t get his way he will try to convince us to give in, and does so (most of the time) without any tears. I love that he has full choice over things like food, clothes, and (when possible) sleep and that he knows it. He’s not a picky child at all, and I really believe we don’t make a big deal over food. He picks out what we have for dinner a good percent of the time, and I love that he uses his deductive skills to make those kinds of choices.

My favorite part of him though is by far his heart. He is sensitive, compassionate, and incredibly empathetic. I love that despite his independence, he looks for connections. He will come to me, give a great big hug and kiss, tell me he loves me, and go right back to playing. I love that before naps he comes over, snuggles right into me, and will rub my arm until he falls asleep. I love that when he sees another kid crying, he goes right over, asks them what’s wrong, and will rub their head until they stop crying. I love that if someone asks him to stop, he listens. I love that he always wants to share and make sure that everyone around him has a toy so they are happy too.

This small human is like a dream to me. I could not ask for anything else in this crazy life. Even in my darkest moments, I look to him and I’m filled with hope for the future, because he’ll be part of it. He is the future.

Respect Begets Respect

I strongly believe that the word respect has two very different meanings. Some people use the word in the context of treating others compassionately, or as they would like to be treated no matter what their sexual orientation, gender, race, or economic status is. The other definition, one that is truly cruel, is that some people deserve to be treated better than others, and if they aren’t treated that way, they will then in turn not treat others as even human.

I refuse to let my son grow up believing the second. How will I do that? By respecting him. I will show him what respect truly looks like, because I don’t want him growing up feeling like he is ever worth less than the next person.

In our home, respect is simple. Before anyone does anything, we think of how it will effect someone else. We show a little compassion, and with it comes respect. Manners also play a big part in how we treat one another. If Caleb says please, the chances of us doing something for him go up. We never had to teach him to say please, but instead from day one when we wanted something from him we would say please and thank you as well. His fourth word, was really two words, and was “thank you.” That says a lot.

We also respect his autonomy. He’s still working on that with us, but I have great faith that by us giving it to him, he will in turn give it to us. If he doesn’t want hugs or kisses, we don’t force them. He doesn’t need to sit next to us if he doesn’t want to. We ask, or in important and much needed cases explain why we have to, before diaper changes. Giving him that respect, we’re teaching him that he has control over his own body. In the future that can only aid him when it comes time for romance, or the unfortunate sexual attack. Teaching him to respect his own body as well as others starts from infancy.

Another area we work hard on to show respect is during discipline. We try as hard as possible not to yell, and we do not hit. You can’t teach a child not to do these things by turning around and doing them. Children learn by example. Instead, as we would with any adult, if Caleb has done something wrong we pull him to the side, remove him from the area he’s misbehaving in, and explain what he’s doing wrong. We do not shout, we do not hit, but instead we change the circumstance and ability to get into trouble. Occasionally there will be a tantrum. We pick him up and give him a hug until he’s able to calm himself down and talk about why he can’t do what he’s been doing. Sometimes he doesn’t want that talk, so we let him lay on the ground or sit in a chair until he calms himself. The beauty of it all, is that it works. He learns, not because he’s afraid of us, but because we took the time to explain. We don’t judge him as bad because he’s doing something we don’t like. Instead, we take the time to teach him what to do instead. These fits or moments in general are so rare, because of the mutual respect we have for each other.

Respect means that every person (big or small, black or white, poor or rich) deserves to be treated the same way we would like to be treated. Not only is it respectful, but the only way to be truly ethical.

The Best Human Being I Know

10398452_988708991191407_3418415943530178590_n

This incredible human being is someone we lovingly call Mimi. Her name is Misti, and she was born on February 6th, 1967. Her younger sister, Robyn, was my mother. Now, Mimi is the woman I consider my mother, and my child’s grandmother. I am one of at least 21 people who feel this way, despite not being grown in her womb.

As a child, I spent an incredible amount of time at her house. A good chunk of age three and four, and every weekend or school holiday through sixth grade I was guaranteed to be at her house. She had these super powers to know whenever I was about to get in trouble for something from my parents, she would just appear and grab me up. I’ve heard stories of when I was a baby, my mum put my diaper on way to tight once, and my legs were losing circulation. She appeared and remedied the situation immediately.

This amazing woman was not only my savior, but a savior to many other children. Her and my uncle made a choice early on in their marriage that they wanted children. Not being able to conceive originally led them to look into fostering. When they went in to start, they were told to look around their neighborhood, and that’s just what they did. This woman ended up taking in children, with a variety of ages and special needs, at least twenty one times. She never received any help from the state, but gave them, and me, the most amazing childhoods. There was one kid that they took in who had many problems… He was still wetting the bed, and on many medications when he first came to them. By the time he left, they had gotten him off all of those medications and helped him grow into a strong, hardworking man.

She took me camping, taught me to cook, showed me how to shave my legs, and what a body positive attitude looked like. She showed me that growing your own food is magical, how relationships are supposed to feel, and that you should never be ashamed for how your brain and body work. She taught me how to love, forgive, and move on. Never once did she ask for anything in return. Her entire life has been about giving.

When my moms died, six and a half years ago, there was no question. I went straight home with her that night. Not only had she just lost her sister, but she now had to deal with a teenager who lost her parents, and wasn’t overly willing to gain a new one. She was so ready to be my parent, and give me the world, but I was not ready to let someone be my parent. I had spent so much time being an adult that reverting back to a child was hard for both of us. I did things I wasn’t proud of, but she never stopped loving me and fighting for me. When others told her to give up, or spoke harshly about me, she stood her ground and defended me.

She has been through more hardship than the average person, and dealt with a lot of selfish ungratefulness. She now has a biological daughter, and still gives her love to others. Her home is open to those in need, and she’s the first to offer help when people are in trouble. She finds herself hurt on a regular bases, but continues to have a shining heart.

My Mimi is the most amazing person in the world. The picture I chose is one she might not like, but I truly love it. Her smile, watching my son and her daughter open their Christmas presents, is so genuine. It’s a reflection of who she truly is. It shows her inner beauty, as well as outer. I love her, and just want her to know how grateful I am to have her as my mom.

I Wrote a Thing…

For the last few months I’ve been working on writing for money. What can I say? I’m a stay at home mom with no income, and having income while staying home sounds like the best goal while I’m in school. In order to earn this money, I’ve been submitting things to local papers and magazines. I’ve had a lot of interest in my pieces, but haven’t made any money. After a lot of debate, I’ve decided to self-publish through Amazon.

I want to share with you my first publish. It’s ten pages long, and totally the secret to life. As parents, we don’t have the time to read a whole self-help book. I condensed what could have been drawn out as a 200 something page guide to life and parenting, and now I can offer it to you!

Click Here to Go To Amazon and View My “Book”

51glpNJ3tOL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

This guide is listed at $2.99, the lowest Amazon would let me go, but it’s available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers! If you get a chance to read it, please review it! Thank you so much!