Monday, December 17, 2012

In Times Like This...My Heart Aches For Those Lost

In times like this, when we are overwhelmed reading the horror story coming out of Connecticut, it's easy to be overwhelmed with fear for our own children.  I understand, and feel guilty of this myself.

Friday my kids were in school.  They're in a JK/SK-split classroom.  They're four.  They're in a class of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old.  My children, and the children they share their day with, are all amazing and wonderful children.  I cannot help but imagine the horror of this happening to my own precious babies...all of those children who are still just full of love, and wonder, and who still believe the world is good and kind.

I was taking a nap with our little one, and it was one of those naps where I spent half the time just laying there, thinking of how lucky I am to have the kids I have; the life I have.  And when we got up, Little Daughter asked for Dora, so I turned the tv on.  I was immediately plunged into something no one should wake up to.  The news of another school shooting...one that claimed the lives of children just like my own.  Children who were still in that stage of life that makes them completely innocent, easy targets for violence.

It took my brain about 30 seconds to comprehend what I was seeing, and I immediately changed the channel to cartoons for Little Daughter, until I could get her distracted with colouring behind the couch.  (Out of view of the tv.  I know she's too small to understand what "school shooting" means, but my kids are NOT exposed to that kind of stuff, no matter what.)  I turned the tv down, and put on a cd of songs about teddy bears that has been sitting here since the beginning of time, and I tuned back into the news.  My heart almost exploded, and I checked the time.  1:40pm.  Older Daughter wasn't in school.  She was safely with Daddy at a Dr.'s appointment.  But The Boy was still in school.  I had to change it.  My mother's heart couldn't take it.  I was between panic and tears...I don't think it's something any parent wants to see when they know a piece of their heart is still at school.

My son came home safely, of course, at his usual time.  Of course he did.  That's not their school.  But it didn't stop me from standing at the bus stop 10 minutes early, just waiting for him...just to get him away from all of that, back to the safety of our house as fast as I could.  When he stepped off the bus, I picked him right up and hugged him for way too long, and he told me I was squashing him to death.  I was just so...thankful...so very thankful that he was home and safe and hadn't had to live through that horror.  

I am sure I'm not the only one who wanted to just grab my kids and run...run...  But where do we go?  And what exactly am I running from??  It didn't happen here.  It didn't happen to them.  But it certainly DID remind me why I wanted to homeschool...one of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool.  Children cannot be killed in a school shooting if they're not in school.

I wish I could say that I have regained my senses, and realized something that has taken away my fear.  But I have not.  I have to send my kids to school again, as it's the last day of practice before their Christmas concert later in the week.  I have to send them because I cannot zip them in a bubble.  I have to send them because my fear may be rational, however it could quickly become very irrational if I hide them from the world.  I have to send them because it didn't happen here.  It wasn't their school.  I cannot show them the terror I feel because I do not want to raise them to be afraid.  I want them to be aware of the world we live in...but not today.  Not at four years old.  For now they need to believe in good.  They deserve to believe in it, because it exists.  Even in the middle of chaos, it exists...

But, it isn't going to stop me from never being able to take a nap while they're in school, ever again.  I will never be able to pretend the world is this wonderful place where our children are protected from this kind of pain and fear and horror because they are innocent.  I will never take for granted a single second, even when they're tired and fighting.  I will be thankful that they are here, because for 20 other families, they will never have that chance again.

I don't know if there's any sense to this post, other than to get off my chest what has been weighing so heavily on me since I first heard this story.  If there is one thing I do want to say that I think matters more than anything else, is that we need these stories to focus on the victims.  The world has a problem separating the famous from the infamous, and we need to stop giving publicity to the killers.  We need to stop making them names we remember, while we forget the names of the innocent people whose lives were cut short by a person who very clearly was mentally ill.  



These are the names that need to be shared.  These are the names of the people who went to school that day, and had no choice in what happened.  These are the people that need to be remembered.  The name of the person who went into that school and took their lives is a name that needs to be forgotten.  He should not be who the focus is on.  Murdering innocent people should not make a person's name go down in history.


From one parent to another, my heart aches for the families of all of the victims.  All of them.  And also to the parents of children who survived that ordeal.  And to the loved ones of the police, firemen, ambulance drivers...all of the people who had to walk into that scene because it's their job.

My heart hurts from this.  This isn't something that should happen.  Not ever.

So again I will log off and be with my children.  Because this kind of thing just reminds us all how lucky we are to have these kids in the first place...makes us hug them tighter.

Love and light to all those affected.  I am so very sad for everyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whole For The Holidays

Swiped this image from HERE.
So I'm not sure why, exactly, but it seems to me that this time of year there are a lot of babies being born.  Maybe it's the spring mating season thing?  I don't know, and I don't pretend to really care why.  The thing I do care about is that during the "holiday season", we're all ready wracked with enough insanity, before we add to it the babies.  

With every pregnancy announcement and upcoming birth, those of us who call ourselves "intactivists" just get STRESSED RIGHT FREAKIN' OUT.  I swear, I have an ulcer.

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like knowing that people you've spoken to about circumcision a dozen times (at LEAST) over the last several months, very likely just had their newly born son circumcised.  And it's not as though they didn't know the facts.  If they ignored the sea of information I gave them, the decision to cut him would have been completely based on the husband's insecurity with his own genitals.  ("What's wrong with being circumcised?  I'm circumcised!  And my son will be too!")

What really GETS to me about this time of year when it comes to circumcision is that these adults are thinking of all of the super cute little outfits they're going to buy for their son.  They're thinking of the gifts that they'll have for him under the tree.  And they'll be spending two months flipping through flyers and websites, looking for that perfect gift for themselves.  'Tis the season for giving (and receiving), right?

I have this "crazy" idea.  How about instead of worrying about which Christmas sweater you're going to buy your son, you just leave your him with the foreskin his body was meant to have, and call it even.  It'll save you $24.99, and save him a lifetime of living with your idea of what his genitals "should" look like.

How about you just forgo the circumstraint, the tearing, the screaming, the trauma... 

How about you just love your son for the person he is, without thinking that his penis was made so horribly wrong that it must be "fixed" before he goes home from the hospital because, *GASP*, what if someone was to see it intact?!  The HORROR!!!

How about this holiday season, you leave your son's penis alone.  Give him the gift of a whole, intact body. Your son's "package" came perfectly wrapped, exactly as it was designed to be. It's a gift that keeps on giving all throughout his life, and one that he'll never grow out of.  (Which is more than I can say about that ugly sweater...)

Christmas sweater...see what I mean?!
(Swiped image from HERE.)
If you need more information, here are some links.  

www.WholeNetwork.org
www.Dr.Momma.org
www.SavingSons.org
www.4Eric.org
www.IntactAmerica.org
www.CIRP.org
www.NoCirc.org
www.circumcision.org


Also, if you have any questions and need someone to talk to, please, email me, chewygranolamomma@yahoo.ca
or send me a message via my Facebook page.  (LINK HERE.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Crafts For The Kids

I had a friend just send me a msg., asking me to re-post a link to a craft that I shared on my Facebook wall.

While I was searching for it, I found more.  Tons more.  I thought I'd share them with you.  (I'd LOVE to see the results!!)

http://www.betterbudgeting.com/christmasornaments08/handprintornaments.htm

http://www.examiner.com/article/crafts-for-kids-how-to-make-reindeer-handprint-ornaments
http://www.holiday-kids-crafts.com/santa-crafts-handprintsantaornament.html
http://thesnailstrail.blogspot.ca/2009/10/o-christmas-handprint-tree.html#
http://funhandprintart.blogspot.ca/2011/12/adorable-handprint-christmas-tree.html
http://funhandprintart.blogspot.ca/2011/12/adorable-handprint-christmas-tree.html

http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-handprint-ornaments/
http://www.nestofposies-blog.com/2011/11/salt-dough-handprint-ornaments.html
http://517creations.blogspot.ca/2011/12/late-christmas-craft.html
http://www.allyshints.com/2011/12/handprint-christmas-ornaments-another-fun-gift/

http://funhandprintart.blogspot.ca/2011/12/footprint-mistletoes-diy-decorative.html
Green and red paint, yellow marker.

I'm sure I'll find more along the way, and I'll keep adding to it.  But this should give all of you something to do during that super-long Christmas break that is coming up!!  (Stock up on supplies now before the stores get even MORE chaotic!!)

Have fun!!  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake for The Boy

Baking fairy  :)
So my Little Daughter is having her 2nd birthday party this coming Saturday at my In-Law's house.  (I love them, they are amazing.)  We're ordering a cake for her from a place in town because of the number of people that will be attending would cause me to have to spend 2 days baking, and I have no time for that.  Plus, the cakes we buy there have always been great.  (They cost too much, but they know that no one in the world has that much time or toy-free space to work in, and we're screwed if we don't get one there.  They could probably charge twice the amount, and some of us would still get our cakes there out of nothing but desperation.)

Anyway, because our son can't have refined sugars (and I'm not even trying the substitutes because they aren't healthy for ANYone), I have been in kind of a pickle.  What do I do about him not getting any cake?  Doesn't seem fair that he'll have like 25 people around him eating it, but he can't.  He's four.  I'm not about to let that happen.  So I did some research and found a recipe that looks like it has some serious potential to be tweaked into an edible sugar-free chocolate cake.

**I do want to mention that I'm writing this in trust that the recipe and additional information I found will work out.  I don't KNOW if it is going to work well, yet, but will update with how it worked out.**

Here's the recipe, and I found it HERE:


Oven preheated to 375 degrees. Square 8" pan greased and ready to go.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix together in a bowl. Add to the dry these mixed wet ingredients:

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then removed from the pan to cool on a rack.

This cake gets that reddish tinge from the cocoa powder, where red velvet cake possibly originated from. The baking soda and the vinegar react to form this great squishy cake. You need the vinegar to activate the baking soda. You won't taste it!

Now I'm going to have to replace the sugar with honey.
How much honey does it take to replace a cup of sugar?  Oh, I looked that up too.  (I found the following information HERE.)


How should I alter my recipe?

1.  Use Less Honey:  I’m sure you realize that honey is much sweeter than sugar, so in recipes you need to use 1/3 less to achieve the same results.
2.  Reduce Liquids:  Unlike sugar, honey contains water, so reduce the liquids to about 1/5.  In addition, you might add a small amount of extra flour and baking soda if you are baking a cake, for instance.  This will help it to rise up nicely.
Another good quality of honey is that not only does it contain water, but it actually attracts moisture.  This is a great thing for baking because your cakes will stay fresh and moist.
3.  Adjust Your Oven Temperature:  Also, cakes and breads made with honey are much better looking than cakes made with sugar.  You will find that the cakes and breads are a nice rich, golden brown color.   Adjust your oven temperature down alittle (350 down to 325) to make sure your cakes aren’t too brown.  As each oven is different, start out with a small adjustment and change it if you need to next time.

What Kind Of Honey Should I use For Baking?:

For baking, it is best to choose a mild honey, like blossom.  The clearer the honey, the easier it is to use for baking because the flavor is generally milder than darker honeys, so it won’t interfere with the flavors you’re trying to obtain.

Well, "honey fanatic", I'm using organic raw honey.  It's fantastic, and has a more mild taste than the nasty honey I bought the last time.  *You can read about it HERE.*
Organic, raw honey
FTR, when it comes to helping my son find a way to navigate his life without refined sugars, I can completely and fully set aside my own beliefs in veganism.  The truth is I would do anything for any one of my kids, no matter what.  No. Matter. What.
Now...frosting.  (It's NOT cake without frosting!!)  I found this recipe HERE.
Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 cup frosting
Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
~This Chocolate Buttercream uses healthy, whole-food ingredients. Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free (when using sunflower butter), Gluten-Free, Paleo, and Vegan.
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup mashed sweet potato*
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons nutbutter of choice (I used sunflower seed butter. Tahini or almond will also work well)
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk (coconut or almond work well)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the cocoa powder to create a chocolate syrup.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend together the dates and milk to create a sweet milk. Blend until smooth. More dates will create a sweeter frosting, less dates will create a darker frosting.
  3. Add the sweet potato, nut butter, and vanilla to the blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Stir in chocolate-coconut syrup mix until well-incorporated and smooth.
  5. Use right away or keep in fridge until later use. The frosting will become more firm while in fridge.
Notes
*I used baked sweet potatoes and take the skin off before mashing.

~Now, we don't have Coconut oil.  GASP!  I know.  Crazy.  So I'll be substituting margarine for that...unless I go all nuts shopping and just spend the $12 for a jar of C.O.
~As for "nut butter", I'll be using peanut butter.  The Boy is a super-fan.
~Also, I'll be using regular 3% milk, not almond milk.  I buy the "vanilla" almond milk, and that is sweetened.  I'm not doing all of this so the almond milk can mess it all up.

Clearly I'm going to be cooking some sweet potatoes, and stopping at the Bulk Barn to get some supplies. 
 I have some real work ahead of me. LOL I hope the Baking Fairies help me out.  Baking has never really been my strong point, but this amazing little boy deserves to have something that makes him feel special, and not just "different".
  *fingers crossed!!*

Another Baking Fairy.  LOL


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taking Off The Paper Wings. (Truth Post Part 2)

Let me begin by saying that I think there is a very good reason, besides hormones or lack of sleep that makes so many mothers feel like they are losing their mind.  I think another reason may have to do with what I am calling the "Caterpillar Complex".
Let me explain:
I feel like a caterpillar that knows it should become a butterfly, but who can't because it needs to stay a caterpillar for the good of all those around it.  So, instead, it makes some fancy paper wings.  It gives the illusion of everything being super great...wonderful...as it should be.  Other butterflies see it and think it's one of them.  (Oh, aren't you perfect and beautiful like us!)  And sometimes when it just quickly sees a glimpse of it's reflection, it really thinks it is one for a second.  And, for a second, it has that feeling of being okay because it believed it had become what it was meant to become...that everything really IS great and wonderful.
But it's not one.  Not really.  And the truth always returns.  Those wings are made of paper.

Here is a message sent to me from a friend who is feeling the same way.  (Published with permission.)

"So, lately I've been really reflecting on myself and the important things that life has to offer and I realize that I put my priorities so far out of order it felt like there was no turning back. I explained to H[ubby] that mothers are garbage dumps, or at least the level ground beneath them. Everybody comes along (kids, husbands, and so on) and starts to dump all of their garbage (drama) on the mother, until she is completely buried and nobody can find her. They forget that under that pile of garbage is where she lies, that she even exists. Then, she has a really good cry, which burns off all of that garbage that so many people have piled on top of her, and she is free again. Free to bear the burden of everybody else's problems. I explained this to him because he has never understood why girls need to cry every so often to recharge.I watched that video that B*** posted, about the guy with cystic fibrosis. I thought about donating $10 off of paypal. Then instantly I was wracked with guilt. I can spare $10 for a man, for his life, and continue to play our video games. GO ME! :(not. WTF is wrong with me? That's like saying that a mans life is worth only $10. I would have instantly given him everything we have on paypal, but I'm getting E***** new diapers. Does he desperately, can't live without them, NEED THEM? Not necessarily. So now I'm in this huge moral dilemma with myself, and I realize that a big shift, a big spiritual change is coming.I am so exhausted. Each and everyday I do nothing with anybody. The kids ask me to play, I say maybe later. They want a drink, I grumble in a few minutes (then I do give it them, don't worry!), the point is I have been walking around in this muddle. I've become lost under the title of mother and wife and forgotten that I actually exist somewhere in this life. I've been eating nothing but shit again. And I'm paying for it. My emotions are all over. I was waiting for a book to be ready at the library for over 5 weeks. I finally got it, and was so excited. That was a week ago, and I haven't even opened it. Why? I don't have enough energy to start reading a book right now. SERIOUSLY.I can't keep living like this. I need to get healthy not only for my children and my future but for my SANITY. Money be-damned. If we can spend XXX amount of money on shit foods for months as well as the good stuff while the good stuff is barely touched until the very last minute.. then we can afford to lose the shit and eat more raw.I feel like so many changes are happening within me right now that it is making me dizzy, because they are happening at lightening speed. If we live with less (let go of clutter and silly belongings, maybe sell them and use that money to donate) our lives will be easier to manage. Maybe I won't feel so overwhelmed, that I walk into the kitchen, move three dishes around in the waterless sink, throw my hands in the air and walk away. I might actually get some dishes done. But as it stands right now, this very minute? I feel like I don't even know how, or what, or why, or whatever."

xoxo  Thank you Lady P. for letting me share that.  (I removed the names for her privacy.)

It makes me wonder if one of the reasons so many of us are losing it is because we're in a time of change.  The time is upon us where we looking back on what we wanted once upon a time, what we have now, and where we want to be in the future.  (Perhaps the overwhelmed feeling is because we suddenly realize that we're not where we want to be...yet.)

I can't help but think that any time we are going through a major change in our lives, even if it's one inside of ourselves, it's going to come with some growing pains.  Even a butterfly has to go inward and close off for a time before it reemerges as that magnificent being.

I think this all goes perfectly hand-in-hand with some information passed along to me from the Dr.Sears website.  It's called "Avoiding Mommy Burnout".  And it HITS HOME.

Here's a little of it.

"
Burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion. A mother feels burned out when she has been out of balance for too long. With so much energy draining out of her, she reaches a point where she feels she has nothing left to give. Yet baby continues to need mom, and mom needs to go on coping. Moms can become unhappy, angry, and most of all tired. This can often lead to questioning mom’s ability to care for baby and blaming herself for not enjoying motherhood.
Women who are the most highly motivated to be good mothers are most at risk for burnout. You have to be committed to parenting and working hard at it in order to burn out. Mother burnout can be one of the side effects of attachment parenting, especially in families where there is a high-need baby."
*My "baby" isn't high-needs, but having three children in under 2 1/2 years has made the children (in general) high-needs.  (Not blaming them.  Just explaining.)

"Modern mothers are expected to do it all: keep a perfect house, raise intelligent and creative children, provide their husbands with companionship and sex, and have a stimulating life of their own on the job or elsewhere. A new mother who tries to live up to this image of Supermom is headed for trouble. Learning how to be your baby’s mother is a more-than-full-time job. When too many other demands are placed on a mother, giving her more to do and less time to care for herself, she is in danger of burnout."


*I am fully expected to keep a perfect house and raise these children to be amazing, all at the exact same time.  I also feel like I'm expected to want to be intimate with my husband, and really engage with him and care about the things he talks about.  Being tired is no excuse for not giving a crap about the shift changes at his work.  

Also, on top of all of that I don't have a life outside of our home.  When I talk about it, I'm told that I "could", and I'm told it's my "own fault" that I don't get out.  Yet I live in reality and I know that up until VERY recently, my husband has been unable to care for the three kids on his own for any real length of time.  He'd swear up and down he could do it, but I've taken a shower and come out to chaos...  So no.  I really could NOT just go out and get a life.
(Thanks for making me feel like this was all my own fault though.  That was really great and super helpful.)


I'm to the point that I realize that I am absolutely ready to take the steps to become a real butterfly...and my kids are old enough that I can actually leave them for a few hours without the sky falling in on all of us.  And, even if the sky DOES fall in...it's not actually the sky.  It's just my husband learning how to do this with three toddlers.  And we'll all make it out the other side okay.  Maybe we'll look like something the cat brought in, but we'll brush ourselves off, and be okay.  We'll all be okay.

I realize now that the expectations that I have put on myself are much greater than the ones other people have for me (people outside my home, I mean).

I realize that my husband has no effing idea wtf he's talking about.  And he can't.  It's not even his fault, either.  He's never here.  He is standing in the dark, telling me about the light.  But he hasn't seen it, so he's talking out of his ass.  (Seems that's been going around lately...LOL)


I am able to see that where I am now (as an individual outside of the roles I have), is not what I want for myself.  I'm not saying I don't love my roles, I'm saying I need MORE, because I AM more.

I am able to see now that I have been out of balance for a very long time.  I have made everyone else the priority, which I don't think is horribly wrong, but in doing that I completely lost myself.  I have become overwhelmed knowing that I am emotionally and physically exhausted, but cannot stop doing what I've been doing.  
My family needs me to fulfill the roles I have here (mother, wife), and as much as I have wanted to take the paper wings off for a long time and grow some real ones, guilt and fear have stopped me.  I see that what needs to happen is that I need to find a way to even out the scales a little bit...find a more balanced approach to all of it.

My family are going to be my priority no matter what.  They are my heart, my whole world, and are the center of my being.  I love that I get to have all of these people in my life every day.  But, instead of just making sure they are taken care of, I'm going to make sure I'm taken care of too.  Like I posted a while back, we're no good to them if we're not around.  (We're also no good to them if we are half the person we used to be.)



Even the most beautiful paper wings don't make a caterpillar a butterfly.
I think that along with growing my own wings, I'll be teaching my children that it's okay for them to grow wings too...that staying a caterpillar only to the benefit of everyone else, is not healthy.  I want my daughters to know that when they grow up, they can be MORE than a wife and mother.  They ARE more than any role they have.  They are an individual within those roles.  And I hope by showing them this, that they will find a better way to balance their lives when they're grown.
Also, I want my son to know that he too can grow wings, and he should not define himself in any label.  We all have the ability to be ALL that we are, not just my girls.  My son has watched me put everyone else first, and has watched the steady decline of my sanity in doing so.  He is all ready a boy who anticipates the needs of others, and has grown to be someone who will give away the only toy he has to play with so another child stops crying.
I've raised some very compassionate children.  But I think there's a thing as too much.  I don't want my children growing up to give more than they have, because then the only thing that changes is the name of the person who is going without.  I think that it's necessary to keep those scales level.  Keeping your own head above water is okay.  You can't really help anyone else when you're drowning.

I will show them that a person doesn't have to sit idle while everyone around them grows wings and flies off.  I need to teach them by example.  My job is to ultimately teach my children how to live independently from me, and I've been doing them an injustice by allowing them to see me sitting around with those paper wings on, pretending to be okay (when very clearly I wasn't, and it's stupid to think they haven't noticed).

It's time to stop being a martyr, since by definition there's no chance for a happy ending.  It's time to live what I want for my children, and lead them by example.

I got off track for a long time, but I'm working my way through the brush to get back to where I belong.  I have no doubt I'll find what I was looking for, and I have no doubt that in the end we will all be better for it.



Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking Off The Paper Wings. Part 1.


So for almost 2 years now I've been writing posts for this blog.  I have had fantastic intentions.  Really.  And sometimes I miss the mark without really realizing it.

I think the problem was that I was standing in the dark, talking about the light, yet had never really seen it.

Confused now?

Let me explain.

I have lived in this world where things are black and white.  Right and wrong.  This or that.  And as much as I have been able to find that place where I believe that any mistakes a person made with their children, they did the best they could with the information they had at the time (hence the name of my blog), I don't think I was really, fully living it.  I thought I was...but now I see it differently.

I've come to see something I never saw before.  I think it's the truth...the "light", so to speak.

I'll start by telling the truth about myself, and that will make what I say at the end make a little more sense.

You see, sometimes I get overwhelmed being at home every day.  I don't drive, and I live out of town.  The only thing within a 20 minute walk from my house is the post office, and a convenience store.  I have no friends here, and my only contact with other adults is through Facebook.  (Sad, I know.)  I do see my husband a few hours a day, but it's after he's worked 12 hours a day, and he's all talked-out.  So I spend my days surrounded by my kids...and only my kids.

I sometimes feel like I want to run away.  I want to just put on my shoes, my coat, and run* as fast and as far away as I can go.  But I don't.  I don't run away because my kids would think that it's because of THEM that I lost my mind.  And really it's not them.  It's me.  Me.  It's me who has become lost and overwhelmed.  It's not their fault.  Not really.
*(Reality...there would be no "running" involved, unless a dog was chasing me.  I've had one too many kids to be able to run anymore, and just don't do it unless it's a life or death situation.)

Sometimes I want to hide in my bed, under the covers, with the bedroom door locked.  Just so they can't get to me.  But I can't.  I can't.  They need me to get up with them, get them fed, get them dressed, and interact with them.  Because they're just little.  They are still completely dependent on me.

I have lost my cool with them before.  I have yelled at them.  Yes, even I have yelled at my kids.  Mrs. Says-She's-Perfect.  And I don't WANT to yell at them.  I don't want to see that look on their faces when I yell.  I don't want to be THIS mother.  THIS mother is not the person I really am.  THIS mother is a woman standing on the edge some days, who WANTS to jump just so it'll all go away.  But at the exact same time I just couldn't.


There are times that my kids want to climb up on my lap, and I just feel anxious.  I am just touched OUT.  I have been holding them, and hugging them, and touching them, and BFing the little one...all. day. long.  Some days I am completely fine.  Other days I wish I could just slip out of my skin because I can't handle the touch of one more person.  Any person.

Which brings me to my husband.  There are times he wants to be intimate, and I just want to drop kick him in the throat for even suggesting it.  And it's not that I don't love him.  It's not that I don't find him attractive.  And it's not that our sex life is lacking in any way.  It's just that sometimes I feel like he's just one more person that wants something from me...someone else who wants to touch me!  GAH!!  


I never used to feel like this.  For a long long time I really was one of those people that were THE attachment parent, just completely taken by the love of where my life had taken me.  I never yelled.  Ever.  And I was just thrilled to get the kids a drink four hundred times a day, and listen to their endless stories about Dora and Boots. I was happy with things exactly as they were.  I was just in awe of them.  They were absolutely perfect, and anyone who said otherwise could kiss my arse.  (Clearly they were crazy for thinking my kids were loud and crazy and overwhelming...) 

It was like that until I was about half way through my pregnancy with Little Daughter.  My hormones went insane during that pregnancy, and so did I.  Afterwards things got slightly better, but only to the point that at least I wasn't a screaming maniac anymore.  But I've never gone back to being that person I was prior to that pregnancy.  And it's not that I didn't plan to have her.  We planned her.  She's always been wanted, long before I did get pregnant again.  And it's not as though she's ever been hard to deal with.  She's never ever seemed like a person who made "more work" for me.  Ever.  She's been an absolute pleasure, right from the start.  


So what happened?  Why did I go crazy, and STAY crazy??

I tried talking about it with my mother (maybe that was my 1st mistake), and she told me that it's "normal" to be like this because I have three kids.  Certainly SHE would have been this way too...which, I guess, is how she judges what's "normal" or not (how she would have reacted).  She told me to "get over it", because living in "LalaLand" (her word for the happiness I lived in prior to becoming crazy) wasn't normal in the first place.  She said that THIS is how everyone is.  She said I worry too much.

Suddenly I was worrying about worrying on top of the rest of it.

So instead of asking for help, I tried to suck it up.  I tried to just swallow that anger I felt.  I tried to pretend that everything was lovely, even though I had days when all I wanted to do was just leave.  I tried to just bury my feelings, because I was being selfish worrying about myself in the first place.  (I have kids that need me to worry about them.  What kind of mother sits around worrying about themselves?!  A horrible one.)  Time went on, and the un-like-me version of who I'd become just stayed.  Over time, it just became who I was.

Recently it's all just come to a head.  I can't do it anymore.  I can't live like this, and I can't deal with my life normally.  I can't look at my children for another day and know that I'm being anything less than the mother I used to be, to them.  They deserve that person.  They deserve better than this...than ME.

I looked up PPD, thinking that possibly there could be something there...how long does that last, anyway?  Apparently not 2 years.  I guess it's not that.


The very worst part of this is that I have felt completely ashamed and alone for a long time.  Because this isn't who I am.  THIS isn't the person I am!!  The person I am believes that children should be treated with kindness all the time.  They should feel safe every minute, and never be afraid.  (Especially never ever afraid of their parents.)  Children should be held as much as possible, and our job is to love them every second of every day.  Children should never be yelled at.  Children are a beautiful gift and should be treated as such.

And it's not that I don't believe those things.  But I've seen the light, as I said.  The truth is not the same as that make believe world where children crap rainbows, and mothers have a never ending supply of patience and overwhelming joy of just because they are a mother.

The truth is that my kids crap CRAP, just like your kids.  And everyone else's kids.  The truth is that sometimes it all gets to be too much.  We get lost along the way, while taking care of the people we love more than life itself.  And then we feel this enormous guilt when we aren't thoroughly over-the-moon happy every second of the day.  Because a GOOD mom would be!!


The big picture here isn't hard to see.  It's not that I don't love my children entirely and completely.  Of course I do.  Of COURSE I do.  I love my children more than anything in the world and would die without them.  I would kill for them.  I would give anything to make them happy...and I have given up everything I ever was to try to make that happen.

I am failing miserably.



I've lost myself.  And I know I'm not alone.  I've had this entire awakening after speaking to a woman online that I've never met before.  She has a group on Facebook full of women who are just done.  Done.  And since then, I've had two other friends come forward and tell me that they're standing on the edge.  (They did not know I was writing this until after they had already told me how they were feeling.)

I'm going to post a link to a couple of sites for you to read more about exactly what I'm talking about, and help explain it a little better.

Sepia: Homeopathy’s Wise Woman

Sepia Moms




After finding all of this information and having that so-needed conversation with a kind stranger, I've had a very deep "ah ha" moment.

Every time my children scream/screamed in the night and I go/went to them, I deprived myself of sleep.  It took a chunk out of my soul*.  I still do it, and always will, because they need me to.  (Doesn't change the fact that it's taking a chunk of me every time I do.)

(*using the word "soul" here because I don't really know another word to describe what I mean, other than that one.)


Every time my children screamed in unison and made my head feel like it was about to explode and I kept my cool, it took a chunk out of my soul.

Every time my children screamed in unison and I yelled back to stop, it took a chunk of my soul.

Every time I have swallowed my own feelings for the good of the kids, it took a piece of me.

Every time I did not, it took a piece of me.

Every time I pretended it was all okay when I really just wanted to reach out and beg someone for help, it took more.

Every time I tried to talk about it and I was silenced and had my feelings left invalidated, it took more.


I am now to the point that I feel like I've had holes punched into me.  I have holes in me...many many holes.  I feel like I have no more to give...but I have to.  *Oh...that's another hole.*

Knowing that this can even happen has shown me something I never knew before...something I never would have seen, otherwise.

I now understand it when I have a mother tell me that she screams at her 4 year old son 20 times a day, and she's proud of it.

I now understand when a mom tells me that she 'HAD TO' leave her baby to CIO, what she means.


I now understand how a person could leave their newborn with their parents for a weekend and not feel horrible about it.

I now understand that these people may not be these bad, intentionally mean people so many people assume they are.  They are not even necessarily people that just don't know better, like I prefer to believe.  Maybe they do know that what they're doing is wrong (or less than ideal)...but they are just so full of holes that they are doing the best they can..even if compared to that "perfect" image, they're doing a piss poor job.

Maybe they started out with holes.  You know?  Maybe they came into motherhood with holes, and never even knew it until they had children.


Maybe they are just made of something less virile, and the holes get punched out of them easier, or faster, than some other people.

Maybe instead of suddenly telling someone that they're a horrible person for spanking their child, we can tell them that we're sorry that they feel like they have to do that.  Maybe we can find some kindness for them...understand that maybe doing that makes them feel like a piece of shit.  Maybe they wish they could do better, and by talking about it, someone will hear that silent cry for help.  Maybe what they need are some other (more peaceful) options, and less judgement.  Maybe we could just set down those stones and lend a hand?  Just because some of us can stop short of hitting our child, doesn't mean that everyone else is going to be able to.  I imagine that the people that spank/hit their children have more holes than I do.  My heart hurts for them.

Because I know that after I raise my voice at my children, I am judging myself more harshly than anyone else ever could.  I know that in those times I lose an extra large chunk of myself.  Self-inflicted punishment, because I am not the mother I wish I was.

What needs to be done is some healing, I think.  Some coming clean and facing the truth.  I think that it's only THEN that a person can go forward and try to change things.  (Until then, the day is about guilt and trying to hide the truth.)  We can't fix what we do not recognize.

I have ordered Sepia (free), and will try to see if that is the answer to what I really believe is a mixture of depression and feeling like I'm not living my life the way it was meant to be lived.  I don't know if it's going to work, but it's a legal option to fix me.  I am still BFing Little Daughter a million times a day, so whatever I choose has to be both legal and something that won't hurt her. I have chosen not to approach my Dr. because I don't want anything in my body that will go into hers that is not 100% natural.  This is my problem.  Not hers.

I have high hopes that this will help me be able to turn things around...to finish what I started by talking about it.  Being honest about this has already improved things.  Since I spoke to that woman online last week about how I have secretly felt for a long time now, I have raised my voice to my children twice (which is a great improvement).  I feel like just SAYING it somehow freed me.  It released some of that pressure of having to just PRETEND all the time.  And being honest about the fact that I'm NOT always happy with my life as it is, has made me appreciate it more now than I have since I was pregnant.  It's made me look at myself and ask myself what I can do to make ME happy.  Because it's become very clear that I have done absolutely nothing with MY life in five years.  Since the day I got pregnant with the twins.  Every day for five years, my life has been completely devoted to them.  And the person I am...the person I am outside of my roles in my home...that person has been STARVED.

I coloured my hair.  I bought some kick ass heels.  And I'm going to go out for dinner with a couple of girls I know that I haven't hung out with in years.  No husbands.  No kids.

I've come to realize that I am a caterpillar that needs to keep moving forward if I ever want to be more than a worm with paper wings taped on my back.
I'm not looking for friends when I write this.  Nor am I looking for enemies.  The reason I had to write this is because it's not just me.  It's not just those few friends I have.  It's not just those few women in that group.  It's many of us.  Many of us who are too afraid to say the words, to look less than perfect, to allow ourselves to feel the feelings we keep bundled up inside ourselves because both fear and guilt keep us from saying it.

This is something that needs to be said.  I can't go another day letting someone out there believe they're alone in feeling like this.  You're not alone.  Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Sugar-Free Halloween

As some of you probably know, my son is not able to process refined sugars.  That means anything that says, "Glucose", "Fructose", "Glucose/Fructose", "sugar", "organic cane sugar", "organic cane syrup", or any type of fake-sugar-sweetener are no-nos in this house.  At this point we've found he can manage to eat raw honey and minimal amounts of pure maple syrup.  So.  Where does that leave us for Halloween??  Do you think they're staying home?
Hell no.

We've got a plan.  A great plan.  It involves family members being given "special treats" for the kids ahead of time (we did that today), and when we show up at these pre-determined destination points, the kids will get the treats they're allowed to have.  At this point the oldest two are 4, so it's not such a huge deal if we don't spend countless hours hauling 400 lbs. of candy up and down every street in Stratford.  (We don't live in Stratford, but it's where we go for Halloween.)  Those houses were given a mixture of food snacks and other non-food items.

What items you ask?


Well, we have "Larabar".  It has peanuts, dates, and salt.  : )  And The Boy loves them.  (We don't actually have the "peanut butter cookie" flavor...here it's just called "peanut butter".

Lara Bar

Then there's good old fashioned raisins.  Ours are "President's Choice Organic".

Raisins
Also, sugar-free apple sauce.  Of course, ours is in individual cups, not giant jars.  LOL


unsweetened apple sauce
And these (that are to DIE FOR!):

  
And at one stop, we've left them some "Sugar free brownies", which are actually black bean brownies.  The kids love them, and the only "sugar" in them is raw honey, which is fantastic.


Find the recipe HERE.

And finally, the last food item we've given to our "stops" is a baggie of "Cheesies" for the kids. I know that the baggies are kind of...not Halloweenie, but oh well. It's that or nothing.
Find more info here.

Other than those things, the kids are getting painting sets, glow sticks, stickers, crayons, pencils, and whatever other non-food items my in-laws give them.  All in all, I'm not concerned that they're going to be disappointed.  They all know that there will be no candy.  It's not fair if one of the twins can eat it, and the other can't.  And the little one isn't even two yet.  She does NOT need candy...not even a little.

So yeah, Halloween will happen here.  It'll still happen for us.  It'll just be a little different than it is for other kids.  And I don't feel like it will be in ANY way "worse"...under my breath I actually say it's going to be better.  All of that candy stresses me out anyway, even if a child isn't allergic.  That refined sugar isn't good for any of us, and there are much healthier options available.  Even if you have to do a little extra work to make it happen.

*I'm not being a Negative Nancy, just sayin'.

Anyway, to those going door to door, stay warm and stay safe.  And if you ARE getting "sugar candy" (as my son calls it now), eat a Mr.Big for me.  LOL

Friday, October 26, 2012

Breastfeeding FTW!!


Am I somewhat happy about the fact that my daughter is 23 months old (today), and still breastfeeding?
No.
Not at all.

I'm freakin' ecstatic!  LOL!!  Seriously, I could dance.  I feel like we've won some kind of battle.  Little Daughter is now officially the child that has been breastfed the longest of all the kids.  Her brother was weaned at 22 months because I was pregnant with her, and it was a high-risk (no sex) pregnancy due to my history of preterm babies.

I know that for some of the moms out there, my 23 months is laughable.  For us, this is a milestone.

When she was born they scooped her up and had to take her to suction out her throat and nose with a tube-suction thing, but within a couple of minutes, she was returned to me.  Immediately I asked if someone could help me a bit, so I could breastfeed her.

The nurse (oh...she's a story for another day...) told me that it wasn't necessary.  I insisted.  She told me that she may not nurse much, but "I guess you're welcome to try."
She latched like a champ.  She knew what to do.  (Well, she knew how to do it well enough for me to be happy...for a while...let's not forget my Damaged Boobies.)  She proved the nurse wrong.

Wonderful, touching moments.  After the nightmare we lived through with the birth of our twins, and the months of tears trying to teach them how to breastfeed on my own, at home, this was a very very very welcome change!


                         

Over the past 23 months, we have had our share of ups and downs.  More than a few times she's bitten me.  Badly.  (HERE is a story about that.)  But we kept on truckin'.  She deserves nothing but the very best, and because she is the last one, will never have to be pushed off the breast for any reason.  She will get to wean on her own time.

The truth about her is that she is certainly more...attached...to her boobie than our son ever was.  By 22 months he put up no real fuss when I told him that his bubbies were all gone.  He was only nursing before bed, really, so didn't care when it was gone.  Instead of falling asleep on the boob, he'd fall asleep laying on my chest, while I lay on the couch.  But Little Daughter is still on the boob about 15 times a day.  Or more!  I'm obviously more than a milk supply...I'm comfort.  Which is why I can't see this ending any time soon.  And that's okay with me.  Like I said before, she's our last child.  She'll get all the time she needs to stop on her own.

I don't really have much more to say other than we're going to celebrate.  I'm going to sit on the couch and give her the one thing she likes better than cake.  Bubbubs.  : )
                              


xoxo  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'm Not Perfect

I'll begin by adding the post that has inspired my blog post today, written by Single Dad Laughing.  (You can find his blog HERE, and his Facebook page HERE.)  *My comments are below his blog post.*


"As a warning, the following post was written in complete desperation. I have recently learned some very sobering truths from people that I love dearly. These truths have set in motion a quest within me to do whatever I can to make a change. Today is not geared at funny. Today is geared at something greater. Read it to the very end. I promise you will be affected in a way you have always needed to 
be. I spent more than twelve hours writing this post because its message is that important to me.


I wonder. Am I the only one aware that there is an infectious mental disease laying siege on us right now? There is a serious pandemic of “Perfection” spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I am passionately and constantly hurting. It’s a sickness that I’ve been trying to put into words for years without much success. It’s a sickness that I have personally struggled with. It’s a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and hating myself.

And chances are it’s hit you too.

What is the disease called ”Perfection”? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help you better understand it. We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured. “Perfection” is much different than perfectionism. The following examples of “Perfection” are all real examples that I have collected from experiences in my own life, from confidential sources, or from my circle of loved ones and friends. If you actually stop to think about some of these, you will cry as I did while writing it. If you don’t, maybe you’re infected with way too much of this ”Perfection” infection.

“Perfection” is a wife who feels trapped in a marriage to a lazy, angry, small man, but at soccer practice tells the other wives how wonderful her husband always is. “Perfection” keeps people from telling the truth, even to themselves. My husband is adorable. He called me a whore this week because I smiled at a stranger. When I started crying, he said he had a game to go watch. I love him so much.

“Perfection” is a husband who is belittled, unappreciated, and abused by his wife, yet works endlessly to make his marriage appear incredible to those around him. ”Perfection” really does keep people from being real about the truth. You would have laughed, guys. She said that I suck at my job and will never go anywhere in life. Then she insinuated that I was a fat, rotting pile of crap. Isn’t she the best?

“Perfection” is a daughter with an eating disorder that keeps it hidden for years because she doesn’t want to be the first among her family and friends to be imperfect. She would give anything to confront it, but she can’t because then the “Perfect” people would hate her as much as she hates herself for it.

“Perfection” is when a son has a forbidden addiction, and despises himself for it. “Perfection” makes us believe that nobody else could understand what it is like to be weak and fall prey to the pressures of the world.

“Perfection” is a man who loathes himself for feeling unwanted attraction toward other men.

“Perfection” is a couple drowning in debt, but who still agree to that cruise with their friends because the words “we don’t have the money” are impossible ones to push across their lips.

“Perfection” is a mom hating herself because she only sees that every other mom around her is the perfect mother, the perfect wife, and the perfect neighbor. I’d give anything to be Mrs. Jones. Today she ran 34 miles, cooked six complete meals, participated in a two-hour activity with each of her seven children, hosted a marriage class with her husband, and still had time to show up for Bunco. What this mom doesn’t know is that Mrs. Jones is also at home crying right now because the pressure to be “Perfect” never lets up.

“Perfection” is a dad hating himself because he can’t give the same thing to his kids that other dads do, and then hates himself further because he takes his self-loathing out on his kids behind closed doors. You know what would have been nice? If you were never born. Do you realize how much money I’d have right now? Now come give Daddy a hug because I can force you to give me validation.

“Perfection” is a child hating herself because the boys at school call her fat, and when she goes home she tells her mom that school was fine. Her mom never stops to question why her daughter doesn’t have any friends, because her mom doesn’t want to think that anything might be less than “Perfect”.

“Perfection” is a man feeling like a smaller man because his neighbor just pulled in with a new boat.

“Perfection” is a woman who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. “Perfection” makes it so that she never will because of the things people will think if she does. How could I make my suicide look like an accident? If I kill myself, I don’t want anybody knowing that I ever had any problems. She never stops to look at why she wants to do it, because healing means admitting imperfection.

“Perfection” is a man who everybody heralds as perfect, and inside he is screaming to be seen as the faulty human being that he always has been. Because to no longer be “the perfect one”, that would be freeing.

“Perfection” is a woman having an affair because she’s too afraid to confront the imperfection in her marriage.

“Perfection” is a twelve-year-old boy killing himself because he is ashamed that he can’t stop masturbating.

Stop, and read that one again.

There is a twelve-year-old boy buried 20 miles from where I sit because the “Perfection” that has infected the people around him infected him to the point that he deemed his own life worthless. “Perfection” pushed him to take his own life over something most of us would consider negligible in the life of any teenage boy.

“Perfection” is my friend’s cousin swallowing hundreds of pills because she just got the news that she was pregnant, out of wedlock, and the shame was too much to bear. She was only attempting to cause a miscarriage. 24 hours later, she closed her eyes and never opened them again. She is dead because of the “Perfection” infecting those around her. We’d rather you die than shame this family. Thanks for taking care of that, honey. By the way, we’ll do the right thing and make ourselves out to be the victims now. We have to. We’re infected with “Perfection”.

I could go on. This is all a small sampling of the disease called “Perfection”. You have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, and children who are ALL these things, yet none of us will ever know. “Perfection” is a hideous monster with a really beautiful face. And chances are you’re infected. The good news is, there is a cure.

Be real.

Embrace that you have weakness. Because everybody does. Embrace that your body is not perfect. Because nobody’s is. Embrace that you have things you can’t control. We all have a list of them.

Here’s your wake-up call:

You aren’t the only one who feels worthless sometimes.

You aren’t the only one who took your frustrations out on your children today.

You aren’t the only one who isn’t making enough money to support your lifestyle.

You aren’t the only one who has questions and doubts about your religion.

You aren’t the only one who sometimes says things that really hurt other people.

You aren’t the only one who feels trapped in your marriage.

You aren’t the only one who gets down and hates yourself and you can’t figure out why.

You aren’t the only one that questions your sexual orientation.

You aren’t the only one who hates your body.

You aren’t the only one that can’t control yourself around food.

Your husband is not the only husband who’s addiction sends him online for his sexual fulfillment instead of to you.

Your wife is not the only wife that is mean and vindictive and makes you hate yourself.

Why didn’t somebody, anybody, put their arm around that 12-year old boy and let him know that they loved him and would always love him? What was he being told and taught that he would end his own life over something that almost no teenager can control? Maybe that beautiful and wonderful boy would still be alive if even one person had broken down the “Perfection” that completely controlled all those in his life from whom he desperately craved validation.

Why didn’t somebody, anybody, tell a beautiful pregnant girl that there was nothing so big in life that it couldn’t be made right. Maybe that incredible young woman would still be alive. Maybe her now one-year-old child would be learning to walk or say “Mommy” right now. Maybe.

Maybe.

The cure is so simple.

Be real.

Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people’s lives. Be honest about who you actually are, and others will begin to be their actual selves around you. Once you cure yourself of the disease, others will come to you, asking if they can just “talk”. People are desperate to talk. Some of the most “perfect” people around you will tell you of some of the greatest struggles going on. Some of the most “perfect” people around you will break down in tears as they tell you how difficult life is for them. Turns out some of the most “perfect” people around us are human beings after all, and are dying to talk to another human being about it.

You’ll love them for it. And you’ll love yourself even more.

Let’s not forget this quote: “I went out to find a friend and could not find one there. I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere.” Somebody who is being a friend doesn’t spread “Perfection”. Somebody who is being a friend spreads “Real”. Then, and only then, can we all grow together.

I am not perfect, nor do I want anybody to think of me as such. Here’s my dose of real:

I once stole a box of money that was meant for a child with cancer. There was more than $150 inside. That was 12 years ago, and I still hate the person in me that did that.

I believe in God, but not religion. It took me 30 years to find the courage to say that. It took me 30 years to believe that I could be a good man and still believe that.

I once got so angry at my wife that I hit the wall. The dent is still there, haunting me every time I see it because I never thought that was something I would do.

I once sat in my bedroom crying uncontrollably because I felt like everybody thought I was fat and ugly. I was a full grown man.

There are some people I avoid bumping into in public because I feel like I’m not as good as them.

I judge people harshly who share the same features that I hate about myself.

Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m not funny. Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I stay at home on a weekend because I just don’t want to see the “Perfection” going on around me. Sometimes I want to drop-kick a perfect person’s head across the room.

“Perfection” infects every corner of society. It infects our schools. It infects neighborhoods. It infects our workplaces. This is not to say that there aren’t a lot of genuinely, happy people. I am one of those people. Most of the time. There is nothing more beautiful than a person finding true happiness in who they are and what they believe. No, this is not me trying to diminish the happiness in others. This is merely me pathetically attempting to put a face on a problem that I see everywhere but few people ever notice.

This is me, weeping as I write, asking the good people of the world to find somebody to put their arm around and be “real”. This is me, wishing that people would realize how beautiful they are, even with all of their imperfections. This is me, sad and desperate for the girls in this world to love themselves. This is me, a very imperfect man, trying to help others feel a little more perfect by asking you to act a little less perfect.

Will you help me spread “Real”? Tell us below just how perfect you aren’t. You never know who might be alive tomorrow because you were real today. You never know who needs to feel like they aren’t alone in their inability to be perfect. Even if you comment as an anonymous guest, please comment. Tell us what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable. Get real. Let’s see if we can get 1,000 people showing the world that we’re not defined by perfection.- Dan Pearce Single Dad Laughing"

I am so very thankful that someone found the words to say what has needed to be said for, well...ever.
People really do live their lives trying to keep up the illusion of perfection.

The whole thing can be really disheartening for those of us who know our lives aren't always rainbows and butterflies.  It can make us think that we must be the only dumbass out there who can't seem to manage to clean the entire house, cook healthy and nutritious meals three times a day, have the dishes done, keep up on laundry, all while raising their perfectly angelic, clean, fully clothed, wonderful, never-argue-about-anything children on a daily basis.
(Oh, and I don't want to forget those other people that always seem to not only be able to have a shower every day, but to stand in the bathroom for however long doing their hair and makeup just so, and they always have clean clothes on...they don't seem to ever have the peanut butter hand prints or snot streaks on them I have...)

So I want to stand up and say, I am not perfect.  I wish I was.  Badly.  Almost desperately.  But I'm not.

Sometimes my house looks like a tornado went through it, but instead of the tornado lifting up the furniture and moving it, or destroying the frame of the house, it only picked up a hundred tiny toys, random socks and pants, and bits of small paper, and scattered them around the living room, kitchen, dining room, and in every bedroom.  (Must have been a small tornado, I guess.)

Sometimes I make my kids pasta with plain, jarred spaghetti sauce because I'm too tired to cook them a real balanced meal, because I spent the whole day trying to make my house look perfect.  I try to make things better by giving them peanut butter and apple slices for their bedtime snack.  But I still feel like I failed.  Worst mom ever.

Sometimes I yell.  Sometimes I see one of my kids running with scissors toward another one of the kids and my brain goes numb and I scream, "DON'T RUN WITH SCISSORS!!  NOOOOOO!!  STOP!!!!!"
Immediately the child will look at me with that look...the one that hurts more than those scissors would hurt if they were just suddenly stabbed into my chest.
Or when I'm trying to make supper between refereeing fights over princesses and super-guys, trying to unload the dishwasher, clear the table, and drying the little one off (she stands in the dog's water bowl, you see...), while my husband lays on the couch because he worked all day... Sometimes when I hear that high-pitched scream from Older Daughter, I snap.  Sometimes I yell that if they don't stop fighting and get along rightthissecond, I'm going to throw the two of them right in the tree, "and I'm not joking!"
The sudden quiet isn't as sweet as it seemed it would be...I know they stopped because I yelled.  And suddenly that silence that I thought I needed so badly is louder than the noise they were making.  It makes me feel like a piece of crap.
                     

Sometimes I just want everything to go away...  I want to stop feeling like I'm doing such a horrible job of this.  I want things to be that perfect vision I have of how everyone else is doing it.  I just want to be good at this, and to not BE exhausted or overwhelmed, or angry that as hard as I try, it's NEVER PERFECT.

Sometimes I put my daughter in disposable diapers because I'm so tired that the thought of washing out the cloth diapers sitting in the bathroom makes me want to cry.

Sometimes when Little Daughter (previously referred to as Baby Piranha) screams for chips, I give them to her.  I don't WANT to give them to her, and I feel like I must be the worst mom on the planet for giving in...but I just want her to please stop crying for them.

On the good days I get a few rooms cleaned up, some laundry done, and make some pretty fantastic meals, all while the kids play nicely.  Some days I can get Little Daughter to eat veggies and dip in place of the chips she screams for.  Some days I can reach out and swipe those scissors as The Boy runs past me, and I don't need to yell at all.  Some days I am great at being good enough.  And I really think I need to embrace the notion of not being Mrs. Cleaver.  As hard as I try, as much time as I spend working toward perfection...I'm NEVER going to be perfect.  Ever.

I don't know if that fear of a seeing my child running with scissors is ever going to be something that is quiet enough inside of me to keep me from yelling like I'm on fire when I see it happening.  And I don't know if that's really even something I would WANT to happen (that's some dangerous shit!).  But it sure would be nice to step back and just learn to be okay with being imperfect.  I think it would just be so...freeing.

My mission is to be more forgiving of myself.  I have never expected perfection from anyone I've ever known, and preach "nobody is perfect", and "everyone makes mistakes", to my kids.  I think it's time I live it.

And that's not to say I'm ever going to stop striving for more...to be better...to know more.  But I'm going to stop expecting that one day I will be perfect.

xo.