Weekly Dates

As my kids get older, the quality time we have as a family and even just alone is a minimum.  Each day someone has something going on that takes away from the other two.  After a whirlwind first month of school and getting into our crazy schedule, I am seeing little lights at the end of little tunnels that were once very dark.

I love the time each week I get to have one-on-one time with each of my kids.  By far my youngest gets the best quantity of my time since she has me to herself every afternoon.  But it is during this time I get to see how she is maturing and changing each day.  It is during these afternoons that I love to snuggle with her and let her be her.

I love my weekly dinner dates with my son.  Yes it is usually McDonald’s but I will take a burger and fries with him over anything any day of the week.  He is the only male in the house.  He is the middle child.  He is the one I feel I need to learn how to connect with the most since I am obviously not a male myself…ha!  In our short little date, I find out so much about what is going on in his mind and his world.  This is where I am hoping the lines of communication begins and he knows he can tell me anything.

And as my oldest is changing and trying to find her way as an almost “tween”, I live for our late night drive to and from her one dance class.  I put my pride and guilt aside and recruited help on one night where it is just her and I.  It gives us a chance to just have girl talk.  I am not just mom but a confidant.  I hesitate to use the word “friend” here.  It is such a fine line to walk with any child.  But I think (or hope) that keeping that line drawn will create a special and unique bond that is even better than a friendship.  I see how she is entering into the years of struggling to find herself and to find where she fits in on top of peer pressure and everything else that comes with growing up and I am scared for her.  I know I wouldn’t want to be growing up in this day and age.  It is during this time, I see the amazing young lady she is and this is when she truly confides in me.

I am very proud of myself that I have been able to put aside my guilt, my pride, my desire to do it all aside.  Because let’s face it I can’t and no one can.  I am taking full advantage of my weekly dates more and more as each week passes because I see the small changes they make for each of them and for me.

Throwing in the towel

As parents I feel we all have days where we just want to throw in the towel and say “I’m done!”.

We do so much during the early years to teach our children manners, how to be nice, how to be helpful, and become good people in the world.  We know all our hard work is paying off when we are fortunate enough to hear another adult, who is not a family member, compliment on their behavior.  It is like a much-needed ego boost for us.  Or when you go to your child’s very first parent-teacher conference and you are told all the wonderful behaviors your child displays in school.  Isn’t this the point of all our hard work?

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Then they are home with us, where they feel safe, they become the polar opposites.  Yes this is a good thing.  They save up for us. They feel safe enough to let their frustrations out on us.  It shows us they care the most about us~well according to a lot of professionals anyway.  But I know I not only speak for myself, but for a lot of parents out there, we want that great behavior we taught them to be used at home too!

I am going to be honest~ real honest~ the past few months (maybe even longer) I have been feeling like throwing in the towel more times than I care to admit or ways I care to admit.  I can see how some parents just give up for a lack of better words.  When most of the days are spent redirecting then yelling at your children to do simple tasks that you know they are very much capable of doing and actually used to do when they were younger, you start to doubt your ability of being a good parent.

I hit rock bottom this past weekend.  After weeks of my children being down right bratty and slobs on top of it, I was ready to throw in the towel in more ways than one.  After one of my not so proud mommy moments of yelling at them, I finally stopped.  I sat on the arm of the couch looking at their little faces and started to cry.  I simply said, calmly, I’m done.  I can’t do this anymore.” They just looked at me.  I started to cry even harder.  I pointed out to them how the simple task of throwing out a napkin or a juice box straw wrapper has seemed to be impossible for them to manage.  Or the simple task of flushing the toilet (yes flushing the toilet) seems to be a concept they never heard before.  I pointed out how I am unable to shower without someone running into my bathroom crying or coming out to screaming, barking, or finding food in places it shouldn’t be.  I told them how they have no idea how hard it is for me anymore to get out of bed every morning.  I told them I am beyond done.  I said I could no longer live like this because I made it a mission to make their lives as happy as they possibly can despite everything.  I told them I fear they will now grow up and all they will remember is this~ yelling, crying, and just miserable moments in their childhood.  They just looked at me.

I went up to my bedroom and sobbed….hard.  Every ounce of me hurt.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt (I still do) feel like I am failing at this parenting thing.  I just didn’t want to deal with any of it.  The fighting, the yelling, the messes everywhere, just all of it…just done with it.  I kept thinking and even saying it out loud:

“How am I going to keep doing this?”

“I can’t do it anymore!”

“I am done.”

I know how all of this is age appropriate.  I know that everyone deals with it.  I know it will pass.  I know I am a good parent.  I know my kids are good kids.  I know.  I know.  I know.  But sometimes knowing it and dealing with it doesn’t help.  I was (still am) beat down.  I am exhausted with this parenting thing.  I don’t want to fail.  I don’t want to fail them.  I want a happy home.  I want happy memories.  I want to do this.  But when you struggle on a daily basis with your own battles, some days it is just hard to be the best you can be or need to be.  Some days, I want to just sleep.  I don’t want to be happy and smiley.  I don’t want to get out of the bed and feed the kids or get them to where they need to be.  But I do it.  I will continue to do it.  But throwing in the towel some days, just looks like the best answer.

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So after 20 minutes of sobbing, I came down.  They looked at me.  They knew I was broken.  And for the moment, they tried.  They know they need to step up.  Will it happen overnight?  I so desperately wish it would but I know it will be a continuous battle.  But it is a battle I am not going to lose or surrender to.  Although I wish I didn’t hit rock bottom in front of them, I am glad it happened because it probably needed to in order for some progress to be made.

Am I ready for another battle?  No.  But I will show up.  I am a fighter.  I will not throw in the towel and I will teach them to be their best with me not just with others.

Not The Mom I Used To Be

 

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I used to be~

I used to be more patient.

I used to be more fun.

I used to be more giving.

I used to be more gentle.

I used to be more kind.

I used to be more carefree.

I used to be so much more.

Now I am~

Now I am lucky to get through an hour without yelling.

Now I struggle to enjoy moments with my kids.

Now I wonder why I had kids if this was to be our life.

Now I am intolerant.

Now I am impatient.

Now I struggle to laugh.

Now I am not the mom I thought I would be.

I want to be~

I want so much to enjoy these days, months, and years with them because they are going by so quickly.

I want so much to be the fun mom.

I want so much to be loved by them.

I want so much to be appreciated.

I want so much to be happy.

I want so much to skip the hard years of parenting.

I want so much to be a confident mom.

I want so much to like who I am as a mom.

 

I am a mom.  I love my children more than anything in this world.  I am my worse critic.  I am human.  I wouldn’t trade all these struggles for anything.  I will continue to trudge through this thing called motherhood.  I will continue to make mistakes and beat myself up over all of them. I will be the mom I was meant to be.

 

Thank You but….

I am beginning to get a complex.  Over the past month or so, I have had several people comment on my appearance.  It is nothing bad.  They have actually been wonderful compliments.  But they seem to have emphasized how much my appearance has changed. You know that compliment…”You look SO GREAT!” or “You look AMAZING!”  It makes me feel great especially since my kids don’t really ever compliment me.  But when they emphasize certain words you begin to think did I look THAT bad before?

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I have to laugh to myself when the immediate comment following is about whether or not I am dating!  Apparently that is what adds to a woman’s appearance.  Then when I say no, I am bombarded with well why not?  Ummmm….not really anyone’s business why not.

I think unless you are in that person’s shoes you can’t completely understand why or why not a person does certain things.  I am very conscious of that because of my own situation.  I never assume or judge a person for any decisions in their life.  Everyone fights a battle that none of us understand.  Everyone’s life experiences affect everything they do in their life.  And it is important to remember that even if you are in a similar situation, it is your personal situation and it is not the same as anyone else’s situation.

So to the people who have complimented me…thank you!  The only thing different is weight loss.  I am not dating and have no plans for that anytime soon.  My kids keep me busy.  So busy that there is no time to keep up with all the things I have to do.  And any free time I do have, I don’t want to talk to anyone.  I would rather curl up and try to read a book all the way through.

And to all of you out there who find yourself in a similar situation….you owe no one any explanation for any decision you make. You do what it best for you and what makes you happy.  And take time to remind yourself about how far you have come and smile!

Holy Schedule Batman!

I spent a good deal of my day last week  making sure my calendars were up to date with all the appointments, practices, and events for the upcoming months.  I definitely need to start color-coding more consistently.  I looked at the calendar and when I look at the next 2 1/2 months…wow!  I am already exhausted!  And there is ONE appointment on there that is strictly mine…a haircut/color!  No wait….TWO!

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I am very conscious of not over scheduling my kids.  And if you would look at the upcoming months, they look to make a liar out of me.  But the truth is, each of them are involved in one activity.  But when you see it on paper it is a crazy schedule but somehow works. Yes there will be some hairy moments and I will have to realize I am human and can’t be in two places at once and need help.  It will all work out, I will not miss anything by choice, and all will be well.  OK I am probably fooling myself but I am going think positively!

How do all of you manage the craziness of every day life with children?

It’s Possible

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For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to pursue a career where it enabled me to be available for my family.  I knew from the moment I had my children, I was on a quest to find that something.  It became even more of a quest when I lost Ryan.  For the past 4 years, I knew I would have to find something to fit into my new life as a single mom.

I am so beyond excited that I am able to make this happen by finally taking a chance and stepping out of what I view as my comfort zone.  Although what I am pursuing I am in love with.  But parts of it, like anything new, I need to learn so I am confident in myself. I am going to be a travel planner with a wonderful agency called Practically Perfect Vacations!  I am taking my love of travel, particularly Disney, and helping others plan their own magical trips like I have been blessed to take with my children.

I am not sure who is more excited…me or my kids!  I just know, once again, my life is full of blessings and wonderful people who believe in me and encourage me.  I am so excited to have this fabulous opportunity!  I look forward to sharing my knowledge with all of you in addition to my crazy every day life adventures like I have been doing from the beginning.

To plug or not to plug?  I will simply leave it to you my dedicated readers, to check out my information in my About Me Section.

Reality Sets In

One day I woke up and reality hit me like a brick.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened but it was shortly after the year anniversary.  Suddenly I was faced with my life not only as a widow but as a single mom.  I was in charge of everything!  

This was not what I had signed up for.  This was not something my kids signed up for. I signed up for a life with my husband and children.  We planned on growing old together, travel, watch our children grow, deal with the growing pains of adolescence together….happily ever after was what I signed up for!

But now my reality is…

~Raising 3 children alone

~Taking care of our home

~Providing for our family

~Make ALL the decisions

~Deal with the “growing pains” alone

~Be a dad

~Teach my kids to tie shoes, ride bikes, throw a football, hit a baseball, fish, hunt

~Have the talks alone

~Raise a boy

~Raise 2 girls

~Teach them to drive

~Do the yard work

~Maintain the house

~Purchase appliances

~Be an exterminator

~Be in 3 places at once

~Have more “mommy guilt” than anyone will ever know

~Go to school functions alone

~Go to any social function alone

~Be alone

I think the whole idea of doing all of this alone is so overwhelming.  And when it set in, life got real.  My reality is all of this and more.  Not everyone understands it and those who know me, know I NEVER play the “widow card” ever! When reality hit, I had one choice…give up or keep fighting.  I chose to keep fighting.  It is a choice I make every single day.  It is the only choice I make without any reservation and it’s because of 3 beautiful individuals…they are my source of strength.

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