I’m OK, You’re OK

Somedays that’s all we need to know

To Be or Not To Be March 26, 2009

Filed under: family,health,ponderings — meandmom @ 10:22 pm
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Angry that is.   My shrink is trying to convince me to stop being angry at the ex.  The ex that isn’t contributing to the finances right now….or for the past year.  The ex that didn’t show up to our family counseling session.  The ex that has yet to give The Daughter a birthday present.  The ex that tries to play all high and mighty with me regarding his visitation with the girls.  The ex that allows his girlfriend to discipline the girls when they are in his home.  The ex that closed down his business so he could file for support modification.  The ex that is costing me huge amounts of money in legal fees.

But I am angry.  I am angry that he continues to try to control me through the girls.  I am angry that he has the audacity to talk down to me and yell at me when I’m the one that keeps the girls clothed and fed and housed.  I am angry that he hurts them by his selfishness.  I am angry that he leaves me to care for their financial needs all by myself.

I don’t dwell in my anger.  But if I have to think about it or discuss it, it rises to the surface very quickly.   To be really honest, I feel like if I let go of my anger, it will be letting him get away with his behavior.  I want him held accountable.  I don’t know how to walk away from that need.

I realize that my children shouldn’t see my anger and I really try hard to not put any focus on it.  The reality of the situation is that they have a crumb of a dad.  They know it.  I know it.  I try not to stand in the way of their relationship with their dad, but I also struggle with the idea that they might be developing unhealthy ideas about what love is.  I don’t want them to think that they have to accept his bad behavior just because they share his DNA.

For more than 20 years I tried to figure out how to have a relationship with my dad who also financially abandoned me.  I don’t count on him for financial support now, but the same selfish choices that led him to ignore my financial needs as a kid are the one that cause him to emotionally abandon me now.  Oh how I would love to shield my girls from a lifetime of banging their heads against a wall.  I don’t suppose I can though.

That makes me angry too.

-The Mom

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From There to Here March 18, 2009

Filed under: love,Uncategorized — meandmom @ 6:05 pm
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Four years ago today I met a man that would change my life.

It was the first date I had been on in 18 years. That makes me sound old….I’m not really that old.

I was scared. I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect.

He was sweet. And quiet. And interesting. He made me laugh.

There was an instant connection. An instant feeling of security. An instant comfort.

I didn’t go looking for my next “forever” man that night. But I found him anyway. I would never have expected it….honestly, I didn’t even want that.

What do you do when you find the love you’re meant to have even when you aren’t ready for it?

The last 4 years have been full of adventures. The good kind and the bad. We still love each other. Even when he makes me angry, I still want to be with him. Even though I drive him crazy, he can’t bring himself to go.

Now we are trying to figure out what happens next and how to go about the doing of the next. Blending families is a tricky thing and calls for slow, steady movements.

I’m still scared. I’m still nervous. I’m still in love.

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

-The Mom

 

I’m Not Ready Yet! March 12, 2009

Filed under: family,love,ponderings,ZombieMom — meandmom @ 5:32 pm
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The Daughter is 12.  She has been 12 for 1 whole month.  That’s it.  One. Month.  And already everything is different.  Ever.y.thing!

Apparently, I was the only mom in the entire school district who didn’t let their 6th grader wear makeup.  And I was.  All of my friends have buckled to this campaign of breaking down the last bit of tween innocence.  I was holding down the no makeup zone all by myself.  So, I did what every proud role model does.  I caved.  I gave up.  I gave in.  I bought The Daughter makeup for her 12th birthday.  She doesn’t need it.  She’s the kind of gorgeous that you can’t even hate.  She looks like she came straight from Cleopatra via Kim Kardashian.  But sweeter.  And more innocent.  It makes me a little sad everytime she wears it.  Which, of course, is everyday.  But it makes her feel good.  She belongs again.

This has been the year of belonging.  Requirements:  Uggs, a Juicy Couture hoody, a cell phone, make up, 7 jeans.  Thank God for grandparents and Nordstrom Rack!  The Daughter now has one of each.  Not so much that she’s spoiled….oh no, she is a long way off from being spoiled.  Just enough so that she feels like she belongs.

I hate this part of growing up.  This belonging part.  But I remember wanting the same thing.  I remember that my mom, the ultimate rebel, didn’t want to make it a priority and it hurt my feelings.  So we save our money.  We go in halvsies.  We put things on our Christmas and Birthday lists.  We belong.

Only now there is a new requirment.  Facebook.  Once again, all my friends are starting to surrender.  One by one.  I worry about the ability for kids to hurt each other on FB.  I worry about how much faster and easier bad rumors spread.  I worry about how fragile reputations can easily be tarnished.  I worry about the in group/out group mentality of teens that was hard enough to deal with before the likes of texting and Facebook accounts.

So, what’s a mom to do?  This mom tossed and turned all last night.  Until finally I got out of my bed and went to hers.  She slept with me every single night for the first 3 years of her life.  It was the only way she would sleep.  I haven’t slept in the same bed as her since.    I curled up next to her and wept.  I’m not ready.  I’m not ready for her to be her own woman.  I’m not ready for her to encounter heart break and peer pressure.  I’m not ready to let her fight the battles that only she can fight.  Here’s my big problem though…..She is.  She is VERY ready.

So.  Again.  I ask.   What is a mom to do?  Anybody have any answers?  When did you or will you let your kids get a FB account?  How do you discern, as a parent, where the line is drawn between OK kind of belonging (clothes, curfew) and NOT OK kind of belonging (drinking, sex)?

Help a mom out……Hey! Is that a wrinkle hiding there behind the gray hair??

-The Mom

 

Apple Pie in a Bag February 25, 2009

Filed under: health,helpful tidbits! — meandmom @ 5:08 pm
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I thought I’d share one of my favorite parenting tips with ya’ll today.  I threw that ya’ll in just for my Grandmother….I’ll talk about her tomorrow so make sure you come back!

This idea developed because for a long time anything food related that was wholesome and natural…you know like fruits or veggies…..were completely rejected by The Daughter.  Thankfully she’s grown out of that stage!  This little treat still comes in handy though because right now The Littlest either has a bunch of holes in her mouth or teeth that are ready to fall out to make new holes in her mouth.

For school lunches or snacks I take my apple corer/slicer thing-a-ma-jiggy (you know…the one that cuts the core and 8 wedges of apple) and pound it through slice the apple.  Then I stick it in a ziploc baggie and splash it with a few drops of lemon juice.  I sprinkle in some cinammon and a scant little bit of sugar (sometimes I eliminate that step but don’t tell the kids!).  Then I shake it all up.

By the time the kids eat it at snack or lunch, all the flavors have permeated the apple slices and they taste just like apple pie!

Bonus: The kids can’t tell if the apple slices have browned at all….which is a very good way to avoid fruit rejection.

Try it….you’ll like it!

-The Mom

 

How Much is Too Much? February 24, 2009

Filed under: politics,ponderings,Uncategorized — meandmom @ 7:09 pm
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I was listening to the Today show play in the background on TV as I was getting ready for the day this morning.

The subject: Nadya Suleman and her mother. Apparently, the two of them had a televised conversation which became heated and uncomfortable. Nadya’s mother was trying to express to her daughter that having 8 babies at once on top of the 6 that are already at home, maybe wasn’t the best decision.

Nadya’s response to her mom was that she needed to “learn to let it go”. Wow. Really? Ummmm…..where are those first 6 children currently living? That would be At. Her. Mother’s House!

If Nadya was going to expect her mother and father to help raise her children….shouldn’t she have felt it necessary to request the option of adding 8 more? 1 more even?

Truthfully, I’m not sure who holds the original responsibility in this situation. Some are pointing fingers at the doctor that planted the maximum legally allowed embryos. I can understand that, to an extent. Some are pointing their fingers at Nadya. I can understand that completely! Personally, however, I’m kinda wondering what parent allows this kind of dependency to develop between them and their children in the first place?

Isn’t it our responsibility as parents to raise our children to be independent, contributing adults? Clearly there is an environment that has been nurtured in this situation that allowed Nadya to believe it would be okay to impose upon her parents in such an amazingly intrusive and overwhelmingly life changing capacity.

I look at today’s society and I see parents that love their children and want to give them what was not available during their own upbringings. We want our kids to play on Select Soccer teams and compete at state wide gymnastics in a way that was nonexistent 15 years ago. I know girls that The Daughter attended elementary school with who in 4th and 5th grade were taking vocal coaching because they like to sing. Uh….whatever happened to school/church choir?

I see 10 year olds with iPhones and Seven jeans. There are TVs and video game consoles in their bedrooms. Ski trips in February and Hawaii in spring.

I guess it’s all wonderful if you are affluent and can give that to your kids, but I wonder if we are teaching a level of expectancy that is unreasonable and unhealthy.

Somewhere along the way, spanking became horrific….it never was utilized much in my household, but boy oh boy….knowing that was a possibility kept us kids in line! (most of the time) It was a consequence. Oh, and things had to be earned. And big-time vacations were usually for mom and dad only….when the family took a vacation it was in a tent!

I think we need to really think about what we are teaching our children about their contributions to society and about their own responsibility.

Now, I’m not saying that there are no kids out there that are appreciative or responsible. The Nadya Suleman case is clearly the extreme. I just wonder what the generations that are currently coming of age will understand their legacy to be. So far, I don’t know that my generation is showing them the best example of how to do that.

Stepping off soapbox in 3…2….1

-The Mom

 

A New Day February 18, 2009

Filed under: family,ponderings — meandmom @ 6:56 pm
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Well now, after the heaviness of my last post, I need to take in a deep breath and just have a big ole belly laugh!   BWAAHHHBWAAAHH!

Much better!  I told you….there are some heavy thoughts running circles in my little pea brain (not much room in there I guess).  When I started this blog it was for my daughter and I to communicate some of those things that divorced families go through.  We haven’t done a TON of that because, although I think it is good for us to do, The Daughter and I are still careful about what we share.  FYI….anything I share here is something that she and I have already discussed in some fashion.

There are tons of families out there that face the hardships of making a new identity for themselves after a divorce.  I would like this to be a place where kids or moms or dads could know that they are not suffering through their process by themselves. And that everyone in the family has their own perspective and their own hurts, worries, concerns.

People sometimes raise their eyebrows at me over the fact that I include The Daughter in this discussion.  Here’s the thing, when I was 14 my parents divorced.  My mom and dad were very tight lipped about everything, just like they were told to be.  I understand the need for a lot of that, I do.  However, It was also very confusing to us kids as to why there was so much tension and frustration and why our parents couldn’t even tolerate being in the same room anymore and on and on and on.

I’ve chosen a more open, but careful, dialogue with The Daughter.  Part of that is based on my experience, part of that is based on her overly mature personality.  It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is working for us.  It’s important for kids to understand that their parents are people too.  And you know what?  Divorce hurts.  It hurts everyone.  Even Mommy.  Even Daddy.  And you know what?  It’s okay to hurt.  It’s not fun, but it’s part of life and we need to learn how to get through it.  It would have been helpful to me to understand that when I was going through it as a kid.

That being said…part of being ok is not dwelling on the tough stuff all the time.  So sometimes I want this to be a space just to talk about life, show pictures and silly videos,  and meet and communicate with new friends.

In that vain…..

The other day I finished my taxes and got them filed….yeah for me and for tax returns!  My own little economic stimulus package!  I also filed away all of the end of the year paperwork.  There is something very satisfying for me in that.  I love tidy little piles and things buttoned up tight and clean.  I feel that the hardships of 2008 are behind me and the goodness of 2009 is only waiting to happen.

Enjoy the DAY!

-The Mom

 

Today, Dedicated to the one I Love….. February 12, 2009

Filed under: family,love,Uncategorized — meandmom @ 6:50 pm
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I remember that night 12 years ago…….

I didn’t think my stomach pains were really contractions…of course I was in denial about much of my pregnancy.

I remember calling Grandma who lived in Germany at the time.  They called her out of class to come to the phone….you know that she had told the office staff that her first grandchild was due any day, so they were waiting.  There were no cell phones then.

I remember the sound of her voice when I told her I was going to head the hospital.  She had kept her bag packed in her car, ready and waiting for my call.

I remember it was cold and rainy at 11:00 at night on February 11th.

I remember they didn’t want to let me stay at the hospital because they felt I wasn’t close enough to delivery.  By this time, the contractions were regular and strong.  No denial anymore!

I remember saying to your dad “I don’t care if we just wait in the lobby, I’m not going home”.  I knew we were closer to delivery and that I would just turn around and come right back if we even got home.  I was right.

I remember that I would fall into sleep (or was it unconsiousness) between contractions as I lay in the warm bathtub.

I remember that when it was time to get out of the bathtub to get ready for delivery I thougt I was going to die!

I remember having to wear an oxygen mask because your heart rate started dropping.  That is a really weird sensation (not to mention uncomfortable) when you are trying to give birth.

I remember pushing so hard that I actually threw up.

I remember the most incredible moment….when you were finally placed on my stomach.  There are no words for that moment.

I remember the look in your eyes as you tried to take in this new world.

I remember when your Grandma got to the hospital, remarkably only a couple of hours after your birth.

I remember how she looked when she held her first grandchild for the first time.  She didn’t know you were a girl until that moment.

I remember the crack in her voice after I asked her if it would be okay to name you after her.

I remember those first quiet months of being at home with you all small and sweet and sleepy.

A few weekends ago I sat next to a man with a 3 month old on his lap.  She was fighting sleep and I watched as her eyelids got heavier and heavier….it took me straight back to those days.  Oh yes, I remember.

They always say it goes so fast.  It does.  It is unbelievable that you are 12 years old today.  Was that day really more than a decade ago?

You are everything I prayed for.  Everything I hoped you would be and more.  You are a beautiful girl, Daughter.  I am so proud of you…how you conduct yourself, what your goals are, how you care about the people in your life.

I love you more than I could ever accurately express with a written word.  Have the happiest Birthday ever!

-The Mom

mary