Memories

What is your earliest memory? Mine would happen to be when we lived in Idaho near my moms family. I am not sure which was the very first memory but Idaho would have to be my first childhood memories. I remember my brothers going outside and making Barney footprints in the snow around our house before I got up so that I woud believe that barney came and visited our house… I remember chasing a rainbow thru the country trying to find the pot of gold at the end. I remember having breakfast with my mom and grandpa almost every week. I remember when I got my bike I wanted the training wheels off after a day or two because I was ‘too big’ for them and could do it without them. I remember when that bike got stolen, going to my grandpa’s to find a brand new big girl bike waiting for me. I remember my grandpa always telling me to grab the paper towels to clean up the pee of his elderly dog, whom I cherished. I remember meeting my grandma who had Alzheimer and her thinking I was my mom. I didn’t get to know her too well, she was sick and passed not too long later. I remember having group birthday parties. If you had a birthday in the same month, we held just one party. It was easier. I remember going to my aunts to make holiday cookies or having Thanksgiving at my uncles. I remember my uncles goat chasing me up a hay stack creating a life long hatred of goats. I remember one of my aunts scolding me for making a mess with a PB&J sandwich which caused a life long dislike of jelly and anything sticky. There are so many memories that I have of that place. We didn’t move back to my hometown until I was 5 almost 6. I honestly only had about 3 to 4 years with my moms family but they’re my earliest memories. Honestly, when we moved back home…. are some of the worst childhood memories. Suffering sexual abuse at the age of 5/6 was extremely terrible and difficult thing to cope with. It took about 11 years to open up about it to my family. That was very hard to do. But that is not what this post is about.

However, every day we are making deposits in the memory banks of or kids. Every day we have the opportunity to create a happy memory. A happy childhood. A happy thought. Happy kids turn into happy adults. Now that is not saying that you can’t discipline your kids, that you cannot correct them when they’re wrong or that you have to fake a life where you are constantly happy. It is saying that take time to do something with your kids that will create a happy memory for them. Do you want them to grow up remembering their childhood where mommy/daddy worked all the time and never read a good night story. Never baked cookies with them. Never sang songs with them? A childhood where they only saw their parents stress? Memories of their parents scolding them at every turn?

NO?

Yeah I don’t want my kids to think that either. Yes, I can be a strict parent and I can be a lax parent. I can get on the floor and pretend to be a horsey while the kids ride pretending to be cowgirls. We try to have an equal line. When the time warrants strict rules or punishments, then that is the parents that we are. However, we like to talk to our kids to explain what they did was wrong and discuss what they could do instead. We usually ask our oldest ‘now what is a different way you could have ….. ‘ because it shows her that she has different options in regards to her behavior and that she is making the decision to act out. Our girls know the basic rules. Even when we’re playing with them. They know there are rules. But we enjoy playing with them. We jump on the trampoline with them. We horse play in the living room floor. We throw blankets and pillows on the floor and lounge around with popcorn and drinks to watch some cartoon movie for the hundreth time. We make holiday cookies on Christmas and Easter. WE go swimming as a family. WE do family projects together. For instance, our house doesn’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down. And the oldest believes he squeezes thru the door. But she wishes we had a fireplace so that Santa could come deliver presents like he does in the movies….. So with construction paper…. we made a fireplace on the wall by the tree. Above the fireplace is paper lights that we also created as a family. Everyone helped, even the 2 year old. It didn’t take but maybe an hour to get everything together. But it was an hour that was spent as a family. TOGETHER. Creating a happy memory in the memory banks of our kid. Creating a tradition that they will remember and maybe pass on to their children. Like spending Christmas Eve dinner at my husbands mom is a happy tradition. Like going to an Easter Egg Hunt at my brothers EVERY SINGLE YEAR and then going out to eat as a family somewhere, most likely Chili’s.

It really doesn’t have to be an extravagent gesture to create a happy memory for your kids. It could be saying a good night song every night. Or in my oldest daughters case, it is the good night kisses. First on the cheeks. Then eskimo kisses and then butterfly kisses. Simple little things that are really going to stick with them. That lets them know you love them. That lets know that you care. It is beneficial for them as well as yourself. As parents, we are natually stressed. Think of these moments as a break from the stress. A tiny moment where you can put bills and money out of your head just for a few moments. It will be worth it.

Kids Change Everything

If you have kids, then you know that there are numerous books that describe what pregnancy will be like. They tell you what to expect from conseption up til you give birth. They tell you how your body will change, how your moods will swing. The books will even tell you all the gross, nasty details of actually giving birth. Never google what after birth looks like.

And movies kind of show you what is going to happen but never really prepare you. You see with my first kid, when it came time to push (which that labor story is pretty simple, both kids were born within 30 minutes of getting to the hospital) I thought I had to scream. Honestly, I started yelling like it was the end of the world. Like Bruce Willis didn’t sacrafice himself on that astroid in Armagedon and we were all going to die. Why? Because if you see child birth in any movie, you see the mother screaming so loud that those waiting in the waiting room hear them and think something is wrong. But I didn’t need to scream and maybe that is because of my wide hips. I was always told that I had birthing hips. Maybe that is why both of my kids were born quite easily naturally. No epidural needle has ever touched my back. And that is the way that I wanted it. Because my aunt got an epidural back in the 80’s and they never told her to not get up after getting it and it honestly messed her back up and now she gets these insufferable migraines.

Now, I have been around kids for a very long time. I have been babysitting since I was 11 (not always by choice, thanks to my oldest brother) But I never read anywhere what to expect when having kids would do to my already messed up mental health.

When I was a kid, my mom worked all the time. My oldest brother is 9 years older than me. And as time went on, day cares got more expensive. So by the time my brother was 13 he was watching after me and our other brother who is only 5 years older than me. But as my brother got older he no longer wanted his weird little sister tagging along with him everywhere with his friends. So I would be left home alone. I remember being in 3rd grade being home alone at night, making my own dinner (thank you tv dinners) and putting myself to bed by 7 pm because I had EOG’s the next day.

My oldest brother loves scary movies and those creepy clowns. And I think I hate them because of him. He thought it was funny to run around the outside of the house banging on the windows while I was home alone inside. Which is partially why I am always so anxious at night. alone.

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder when I was almost 16 because I was having constant panic attacks. In the middle of school. hyperventalating to the point that I almost pass out ( I did pass out once) So the school called my mom and she took me to the ER and my regular doctor shortly after where I was diagnosed. With this awful anxiety disorder. And my brother only continued to make things worse after that.

So, there I am with a kid. Who was premature. And so tiny. And I wasn’t as scared with her as I was with my second one which is weird. But there I was at almost 20 years old, responsible for this whole new human being. She was mine. My responsibility. And there my anxiety began to get worse. not that it wasn’t already bad. But it just made things a thousand times more there.

Before kids, I could push it so deep inside that no one could ever see. But now that I have kids…. that anxiety is so close to the surface. Because not only am I anxious about my actions and myself, I am anxious about my kids. And it is not the normal anxiety you feel like should you change jobs or not. Noooo

You see, what they never tell you in those expecting books is that you should expect your mental health to take a hit. You should expect to feel more overwhelmed because you’re battling a mental illness that now circles not only you but how your kids are. They never tell you that having kids changes everything.

My oldest daughter is the most sensitive child that I have ever seen. So when I am repeating myself for the 20th time in 10 minutes and I get a little aggravated so I get a little stern, she starts to cry and looks at me with these weeping eyse like I just killed her puppy. Which sends me into a whirlwind of am I a bad parent? This happens quite often.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was in this awful car wreck that totaled my SUV. which isn’t as easy as you would think consider half of my windows were shattered and the rear end was in my second row. I had to get shots every week from 15 weeks to 34 weeks to make sure that I didn’t go into preterm labor. It was a rough pregnancy. There was a lot of back and hip problems that came from that wreck that couldn’t be addressed because I was pregnant. And having a second child, made me that more anxious as a mother.

I feel like a failure as a parent. Yes my kids are spoiled and 90% of the time they earn every toy that they get. My 1 year old picks up trash and throws it away. They get this little mental ATM credit that they can use when we go to the store. My oldest will ask if she has enough credit to get a small, medium or big toy. But they also know that twice a year they have to donate toys to those who don’t have many like they do. So I am trying to instill some responsibility and make them humble.

But more often than not, I go to bed wondering if I was a bad parent today. Did I yell too much? Did I not show enough love? Did I not love one them enough? Did I break their spirits? Did I put them down too much? Did I crush their dreams? When I was my oldest age…. I knew way more than I should have and I was way more afraid than a child at that age should have. I want my kids to be protected more than I ever was. But am I a bad parent?

What I wish I knew when I was pregnant was that having kids will and does change every single thing. I wish there was a book that could help expecting parents who have depression or anxiety on how to cope with the changes of becoming new parents.