Believe

As a parent, you constantly worry if you’re doing what is best for your kid. You worry if maybe you’re being too soft on them, or maybe you’re being too hard. Is your punishments enough to create a sense of better judgement in your kid? Are they ever going to learn how to be successful adults? Are we being their friend rather than their parent? Are we causing too much emotional damage that will cause them to one day tell those stories to a therapist on a couch one day? Are we the reason that they will be spending hundreds of dollars on therapy as adults? Or are we being overly sensitive? Are we being the type of parent that they will learn how to push around to get their way? Does their bad behaviors reflect on who we are as parents?

My kids are under the age of ten and yet I still worry constantly about how I am as a parent and how it will affect them in the long run. My oldest is sensitive. Boy is she sensitive. You raise your voice to her and she shuts down. And cries. She is a big cryer. And I am not saying that is a bad thing. It is great to be emotional and to be able to be okay with your emotions. My husband lack in the emotion department. It has to be VERY big for him to cry. Or to show any emotions. I find myself asking him what he is thinking all the time because his POKER face is just that darn good. Our youngest, however, is the complete opposite of her sister. She is tough. She is brave. She is fearless. She laughs at your raised voice. She snickers at your little pop on the behind and she only cries when she doesn’t get her way. That or she is overly tired. Our oldest is me. I was a sensitive child. Heck I am still sensitive today. And our youngest is their daddy. If you were to put us four in a poker game…..Myself and our oldest would be losing because we would show it on our face. My husband and our youngest would be winning because they could have the best or worst hand on the planet and you would NEVER see it on their face.

We constantly are adapting to this thing called parenting. I think that everyone is. It isn’t something that you’re born with. Kids are never the same. So even though I babysat a lot growing up, I wasn’t fully prepared to be a mom at 19. I did, however, know that my days of being young and carefree were over. It was time to buckle down and make sure that my child had everything and knew everything that I didn’t when I was her age. I find myself explaining things more to her, to them both. Why we do things this way or what this means. Instead of saying ‘Because I Said So’ I try to explain why I said so. That’s not saying my mom didn’t do it. She did. We were always informed if something was going to happen. I remember when my paternal grandfather was sick and in the hospital. I was around 7 or so. My mom took us three kids to the hospital and before we went in she explained that he was very sick and that he probably wouldn’t be going home. That this was probably our last time seeing him. That we should, if we felt like we wanted to, say our goodbyes and tell him that we loved him. She never forced us to say ‘I love you’ to anyone in the family. She always just kind of told us if you feel it. If you feel like you love your grandpa and want him to know it then you should tell him. I did. I told him. Even though I questioned his love for me on a daily basis. He was a weird old man. Who found humor in ripping hang nails off my little fingers or trying to set the stray strings of my brothers pants on fire. He was weird. But so was his son, my father. But I still loved him. He introduced me to Deer Jerky which I still to this day find the best jerky. Growing up in the south, Deer is something you hunt, eat and try ever so dearly not to hit with your car.

However, I think that the most important thing as parents is believing in your children. For every person who believes in themself was a parent that believed first. I like photography. It is one of my joys. It is one of my coping mechanisms for anxiety. I don’t like being the center of attention. there is something about being behind a camera that allows me to feel more confident. Then the editing process. I can spend hours editing photos. In that time…while editing I am calm. My anxiety doesn’t feel as threatening. My mom loves my photos. Especially of her grandkids. She loves how I can get her oldest grandson, who doesn’t smile, to smile. The full face tooth smile. No one else can get him to do that. But I can. My mom is always telling me how good my photos are. And I am usually very confident in my art. However, there is that one person that just ruins everything for me. Said person constantly tells me that another family member is better than I am. Said family member photographed an award show. Said family member is traveling all over to take photographs. I literately have limited my time around said person because I can only stand being told someone is better than me at pretty much everything in life for so long.

My husband is training to be a wrestler. His mom isn’t too fond on it because she doesn’t want anyone to hurt her baby. My husband is an only child so I completely understand that point of view. However, she is always behind her baby no matter anyway. She believes in him. She knows he can do anything and everything that he sets his mind to. That is one of the main reasons, I believe, for why he is doing amazing in his training class. Because his mom first believed in him and now he believes in himself. And I believe in him so much. I swear I am his biggest fan.

So as a parent…even though we all question our parenting styles or whether we’re hurting their emotional growth….the best thing that we can do is ALWAYS believe in them. Because if we don’t believe in them, as their parents, then who will? Who will be their biggest fan when they’re trying something new? Who will be cheering them on when they pass that test? Believe in your kids no matter what and they will grow into teens and adults who belive in themselves. Throughout everything my kids do right or wrong, I believe in them. I know that they are good kids at heart and that they are stil learning, growing and developing. It is my job as a mom to believe in them, nuture them and help them grow into happy adults. Money is great but it isn’t everything and I don’t want my girls growing up thinking that they wil only be happy if they have money. Happy is an emotion not a financial status. I believe in my girls. I believe that they will follow their hearts. That is the biggest greatest thing that I can do as a mom. Is believing in them. I will cheer them on. I will pick them up if they fall. I will wipe away any tears. I will fight with them if they need me too. And I will always FIGHT for them. Because they made me a mom.. The greatest thing that has happened to me.

Time never wasted

As a parent who suffers from an anxiety disorder, I constantly wonder if I am being the best parent that I can be. If I am going to cause my kids to have traumatic memories. If I am going to be the reason why they won’t reach their potential. Or if I am going to be the reason that they are paying hundreds of dollars a month for therapy. Also, my anxiety causes me to have the most outrageous fears. Like dying. I am terrified to die. Because no one will love them like I do. No one will fight harder for them than I do. Because the traumatic issues that it would cause them. I am constantly afraid something is going to happen and I won’t be around. This is also one of my fears that I haven’t really told anyone about.

So that is one of the reasons why I love being a home mom. I love being able to spend quality time with my kids. I didn’t have that with my oldest at first. And that is why she is so close with her granny. Because while I worked from the time she was 3 weeks old until she was 4… She spent the most time with her granny. Now that I stay at home… I spend as much time with my kids as I can. Even if that just means helping with homework. My husband likes to say that I am the hero of the family (although I never agree with him because I am not bringing in any financial means to our family) because I take care of everything in the family. From him to the girls to our parents and everything in between. From cooking and cleaning to paying the bills and grocery shopping. Field trips and school functions. The kids are my life. They complete me.

Therefore, I completely believe that any time spent with your kids is never time wasted. Especially when they’re young. They’re impressionable. Spending time with them helps them develop their fine motor skills. Handling situations. Dealing with emotions. Learning to share. And over all it helps them become better human beings. Also, it allows you to tap into your inner child which allows you to remain young at heart. Take a few moments out of your day…. and spend them with our kids.

Respect

There is a lot of debate that this generation of parents is raising a generation of snowflakes…. There are actually a lot of debates about what we should and shouldn’t do as parents. Like spankings are too rough for our kids. I believe in popping a child on the behind if the action warrants it. In our house…that is the LAST resort. There are many other punishments that our kids have to go thru before they get to the spanking portions. Actually, I think I have only popped our oldest once on the behind and that was for pushing her baby sister off the bed.

However, one thing that lacks in our society is respect. Now I believe that my kids should listen to and respect me as their parent. That I will always do what is best for them and to follow the rules that have been set. However, I also believe in showing my girls respect. If they don’t want to hug their uncle, they don’t have to. I am not going to demand that they hug someone that they don’t want to. I also believe in talking to the kids. It is showing respect in the simpliest ways. Instead of just yelling and that being the final word. I show my girls respect by having conversations with them so that they fully understand what is going on and why they are in trouble. (if they have done something) This is a time that I either call a ‘come to Jesus talk’ or Understanding time.

I have seen way too many parents yell or discipline their child with that child not understanding what they had done wrong. Kids are in school Monday thru Friday for hours a week. They are learning new behaviors and things from their friends and other kids that are around them. These behaviors may not be okay in your household. However, punishing without explaining why it is wrong is really hard for the kid to understand why it is not okay to not do that.

Now this is in no way of saying let your kid run their own life from the get go. Oh HECK NO. I believe in parenting. I believe in old school parenting. But I also believe in talking with your child. It is a simple respect thing. You show your kid enough respect to talk to them about what is going on in the house…then they’ll show you that much more respect because you are seeing them as a human being rather than just your child. your possession. They will also be more willing to come talk to you about some of their own issues. By showing your kids a little bit of respect, you’re opening an environment where they can feel comfortable with you. My mom did this with us all the time. She was a single mother taking care of three kids. Sometimes her check couldn’t cover every single bill and feed three growing kids. So she would sit us down and explain that her check was going to be short and that she wasn’t going to be able to cover this bill or that bill and it would usually be right before the next payday that it was due. Like this one time the water bill was due 2 days before her next check and we had already gotten an extension because bill just racked up being a single mom in a state where she had no family and the water was about to be cut off unless she paid the bill in full. So she sat us down and asked what we thought about the situation. She could either pay the bill or buy groceries. We chose food. We only went 2 days without running water. But we had planned ahead and filled up jugs so that we still had water. But it was things like that that made me respect my mom even more. She didn’t have it easy considering her entire family was on the other side of the US. She was literately doing this by herself. I still hold that respect for my mom and try to do anything I can for her.

Respect….it is a two way street.

you want your kid to respect other kids and other adults…. They learn that behavior at home. From their parents.

My baby forever

I think one of the hardest thing as a parent is the struggle of wanting my kids to be my baby forever but also being extremely excited about all the amazing things that they’ll do in this life.

My oldest is 7 years old. She is extremely smart. Since she’s only in elementary school….in the 2nd grade…..they’re on a number system for their report card. The actual alphabet grading system doesn’t start til 3rd or 4th grade actually. She’s has had all 3’s pretty much every report card since kindergarten. She is brilliant. I mean there isn’t a homework assignment that she has gotten that she hasn’t crushed. She makes us super proud. Our youngest….she’s a dare devil. I mean there isn’t anything she won’t try. She loves being flipped around. Jumping on the trampoline. Just fearless.

As I sit back and watch them grow, I find myself torn…. A LOT. There are times where I am so excited to see what they’re going to be doing. Who they’re going to grow into as adults. What they’re going to do with their life. Etc. I mean as all parents think, I believe my kids are going to be SUPERSTARS. (In all reality, I think my youngest is going to follow her daddy’s footsteps and step into the squared circle. She’ll be a high flying superstar ready to kick some ass) Then there are times where I just hug them and want them to be baby’s for the rest of their life. I have actually told my oldest on numerous occasions (because she likes to remind me she’s growing up) that no matter how old she gets…..she will always be my baby.

And that is the truth for almost all parents. We cannot keep our babies small in our arms. There are only so many years where they need us to carry them, hold them… But they will always remain babies in our hearts. They are going to grow up. And it isn’t something that us, as parents, are ever truly ready to comprehend. However, they will always be our special baby in our heart and mind. No matter how old or how far they go. But for now…. I’m going to enjoy them in their youth.

Security blanket

I grew up in a broken home. The papa roach song broken home hit pretty hard. for the LONGEST time I didn’t know that every kids was supposed to have a mom and a dad. I didn’t know that I had a dad. Because my mom refused to talk bad about him. Even though she had EVERY right to. He was an abusive alcoholic. He was mentally and physically abusive and my mom was with him for 10 years before leaving. Why? Because I was born. If he could physically harm the boys….what was he capable of doing to a girl? My mom didn’t want to stay around to find out what he would do to me. Other than smacking me as a baby, hard, and neglecting to change my diaper for a whole weekend….(only because court ordered visitations) My mom got out with three kids. She did it. She is my hero. I don’t know if you know how hard it is to leave an abusive relationship. So many people don’t get out. But my mom did. They remained married, but seperated, until my dad’s death in 2017. However, growing up, we didn’t hear my mom bad mouth my dad. She wanted us to make our own judgement. My brothers couldn’t stand him. They tried to give him a chance maybe once. I know the middle child tried once and then was done. My oldest brother lived with our dad when he was 18 for a few months. I, however, tried my hardest to know my dad.

But because my mom never once bashed my father, especially with everything that he had done to her, to us kids, made me respect my mom even more.

I honestly believe that the best security blanket that a child can have is parents who respect eachother. This is easy in a healthy relationship like mine and my husbands… I would not do anything that would disrespect my husband because I have too much respect for him. I weigh every decision that I make on my kids first, me and my husband second and then myself. However, this is even more important in single parents. When my oldest brother ran away….he ran to my dad who lived at state away. My mom and I along with my moms friend drove down to get him. This would be one of the first times I am seeing my dad since I was 2. I am my mothers daughter all the way around. I have a fiery soul. Which I guess could be because the Irish and German heritage and the auburn hair I was born with. So the first time we meet up with my dad…. I am told to give him a hug. That’s not a problem…. Its as he’s rubbing his stubbly beard across my head that he calls me ‘his babygirl’ being all of maybe 10 years old I quip back with ‘don’t call me that, you don’t know me.’ But that is a different story.

The real story here is the way my mother and father reacted around each other. They were so civil. They hugged. They talked. They let the past go. Even though my mom had every right to continue being pissed. To continue being hurt. To continue having resentment against the man who abused her and her children. But she didn’t. She showed my dad respect. And my dad showed my mom respect. After this trip….my mom would continue to call him periodically so that he could talk to their kids. Mostly me. My brothers remembered more than I did and didn’t really like talking to him. Each and everytime that they were on the phone with each other… They were respectful. They showed me that single parents could come together for their kids. It was a great thing. The only time my mom ever cussed on the phone to my dad was when my dad’s girlfriend (an abusive drunk who broke my dads ribs for talking to us) got on the phone and started cussing at me and my mother. That is the only time I ever heard my mom get heated towards my dad and his girlfriend. As I got older, I called my dad on my own… I had my own battle with the girlfriend….numerous times actually… Because she was just a witch. I cussed her out. I’m not proud of it now. But she tried to keep me from talking to my dad. She didn’t want him to be reminded that he had a life before her and she would spew violent nasty things to a 16 year old. So that German, Irish red head came flying out when I told her, don’t ever meet me in a dark alley….

The fact that they respected each other in my prescence showed me that my parents cared. It is a huge deal. So if you’re a single parent….. try to respect the other parent. especially in front of your kids. You loved each other once enough to procreate….try to be mindful of this because you’re kids are paying attention. They are absorbing everything that you are doing and this will in turn affect how they treat their spouse, baby daddy or baby momma whether they’re with them or not.

Don’t rescue

One of the hardest things that I find about being a parent is wanting to save my kids from everything. I grew up with a single mom and was left with my olders brothers a lot. Who in turned left me home alone a lot. Therefore, I wasn’t saved from a lot of the issues that I had to deal with that had lasting affect. Therefore, I want to save my kids from a lot of the things that could cause a lasting affect on them. Which is always why we’ve cut certain family members out of their lives…. even though said family members are going to social media to bash us every single chance that they get. (When you ignore one child in favor of the other… you will get called out on it…..and when you resort to acting like a child instead of apologizing….then you will get cut out)

However, how can kids grow into successful adults if you’re constantly saving them from their battles when they’re a kid? This is something that I am struggling with and learning to do every single day. So this is for me as well as any other parent. We need to teach our kids how to handle things so that when they’re older or even if they face situations like this in school, in public or at their grandparents….they will know how to handle it. We also need to teach our kids how to politely ask for help instead of demanding that we do it.
I am having that issue with my youngest nephew. Only because as a little toddler I didn’t make him act a certain way or say certain things so he grew accustomed to that…..now he is set in this behaviour and I am working on changing it. It is a learning process for both of us, actually.

Show your kids how to handle the things that no one showed you how to do. It will help them grow into great teenagers and even better adults. I understand that sometimes it is just easier to do it for them. Like there are so many situations where I am like, okay I’ll do this for you. Then they aren’t learning how to do it. They are depending on you to do it every single time. Instead, take two seconds to show them how to handle the situation. For instance, my kid is 7. She gets hungry in the morning. Usually while I am running around getting her bookbag together, cause I might have forgotten to sign her agenda. Or I am packing her lunch, picking up clothes….etc. She would come while I am in the middle of something…and want food. Then I would be like okay stop what I am doing go pop an Eggo in the toaster and wait… However, one day I was like hmmm. What if I move the toaster forward where she can reach it. So I did. I pulled her into the kitchen and asked her to get an Eggo…. She went grabbed it and was going to hand it to me… Instead, I told her to go towards the toaster. I said, do you see those two slots? -yes. Why don’t you put that Eggo in one of them? -ok… Now push the lever down. -ok. now you wait. It took just a few seconds of one day. Now every morning, I slide the toaster forward where she can get to it. And when she’s up in the morning and wants something to eat. She grabs her Eggo and pops it into the toaster. A simple thing. And now she knows what to do.

Bad week

Have you ever felt like it just wasn’t your week. Like this was just a bad day. A bad moment. We’ve all had those. Things sometimes just don’t go our way. Somethings are just out of our cotrol. And it makes it even harder if you suffer from anxiety or any other mental illness. It gets to you on a mental level that can be hard to describe to those who don’t understand what that is.

However, I don’t know who needs to hear this…. A bad moment, a bad day, a bad week…doesn’t make you a bad parent.

Your kid loves you no matter what. So you burnt the toast this morning… It is okay. It will be okay. Grab that TV dinner, throw it in the microwave and give yourself a few minutes to regroup. That is the great thing about TV dinners, I know they’re all the rage of being unhealthy, but they give you 2-5 minutes of a break. A mental break at that can be essential.

You’ve had a bad day…. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes the moon isn’t aligned with your sign (or whatever that saying is) and everything just seems against you. That is okay. you’re still a good parent. Once you’ve gotten them off to bed, school lunch packed, house picked up…. run yourself a nice hot bubble bath, pour you some wine and relax. There is always tomorrow. You will be better tomorrow.

You’ve had a bad week…. That happens. Bill pile up. Things happen. School can make the kids go a little extra crazy. That is okay too. Take a Sunday off. Stay in your jammies. Or do one of our family’s favorite down time activities. We get a bunch of pillows and blankets and put them on the living room floor. We pop some popcorn and grab other snacks and drinks and then make it real dark…. It’s time for a movie.

Just because something bad has happened doesn’t automatically make you a bad parent. Life happens and a lot of the time we don’t have control over what is going to happen. We don’t have any control over what the next person is going to do. You only have control over yourself and how you react to the situation. Instead of reacting negatively with the thought that you’re being a bad parent….take a second to remember, that kid adores you. You are their world. Readjust. Refocus. Pick up and move on.

I understand it can be an extremely difficult thing to do. I honestly have the most trouble with this myself. I am always having to remind myself its nothing to fuss about. Stop fussing. Because that voice tells me all the time that fussing makes me a bad parent. I have to remember that I need to readjust. Refocus and talk to my kids instead of yelling or fussing at them. But that doesn’t make me a bad parent. It makes me a loud parent. But even my talking voice is loud so. It is a learning experience. We all are learning and growing as parents Every. Single. Day. So just remember to relax. Take a breath and know that there is always tomorrow.