Respect is the new ‘R’ Word

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we were all outside having a good time. The kids were playing on the trampoline and my husband and I were working away on our trailer. 

My daughter comes into the trailer all upset. “The neighbours just yelled at us” my husband and I just looked at her in disbelief. What do you mean they just yelled at you? My daughter told us they told them to shut up. They are being too loud. 

Of course, that was a no go, my husband went over there and spoke to them. The neighbour said “There is something wrong with your child, I think he is ‘retarded’.

My heart sank. My son was in earshot. He heard these complete strangers call him a name. The heartbreak on his face was just devastating. 

Are they serious? Are they really upset to hear kids in the backyard playing? My mind was racing. How low can people be to call my child names? How low can people be to yell at children for playing in the backyard? I am disgusted.  

Growing up in the 80s the word ‘retarded’ was thrown around like confetti. It was the popular insult of that time frame. 

“I used the wrong font on my essay, I am so retarded” back then it just seemed to the best and easiest way people would use to describe when they did something stupid. 

Back then I would fluff that word off like it was just another word, it certainly never sat well with me, but I never gave it a second thought till I had kids. Till I had a child with special needs. 

Hearing this word now kills me. It runs through my body like a bunch of knives being throw at me. This word to me is a swear word. This word needs to go. 

Every day a mother was a special needs child struggles. We struggle with everyday living needs of the child. We struggle with trying to understand why our child, our beautiful baby has to have such a hard life. We struggle with how this is so unfair. 

“I think he is retarded” It’s just booming in my hears. At this moment I stop breathing. I wanted to lose it. The mama bear in me wanted to tear those people apart limb from limb.  My kids were watching me, like hawks. So I quickly scooped them all up and went inside and let my husband handle it. 

After everything settled down, it really sank in. I should have been harder on them, I should have stepped up and told them that the “R” word is not okay. Maybe they would think before they threw that word out there, maybe they wouldn’t, but I just wanted to get my kids out of that situation. 

My son who is 9 years old, has ADHD, High functioning autism, social anxiety and a learning disability. He is smart and funny and full of life. I wouldn’t change him for the word. These labels do not define him. When I look at him I don’t see these labels, I see my beautiful baby boy who makes my heart melt every day. 

Many people don’t see firsthand what it is like to have a child with a disability. I do my best every day to educate people. In hopes that one day these words that people throw around gets thrown in the garbage. That one day instead of judging from afar they would just come and ask questions. I promise you I won’t get offended I encourage it. 

Since my son is high functioning, just by looking at him you wouldn’t know.  Some people would think since it is not severe they have it easy. The reality is quite different. 

What people see in their eyes is a boy that has behavior issues. They just assume that he is just not being raised properly and that, of course, is all their parent’s fault right? This is what happens when you don’t ask questions you just assume. 

My son has extreme sensory issues. He does not like loud noises, crowds, extreme tastes like sour or spicy, bright lights or weird touches to things like slim.  

My son has no social clues. In his mind when he is having a conversation he has no idea what is a civil conversation or when someone is making fun of him. He has no idea what too loud is. He has no idea when it is okay to speak or wait his turn. 

My son has anxiety. When something is new he doesn’t know how to react to it. When something is changing he doesn’t know how to react to it. 

My son lacks planning skills. It is hard for him to plan, manage and cope with the tiniest scheduling change, in school and at home. My son can do many great things, but if there is an obstacle or something goes wrong. He doesn’t know how to handle the situation. 

My son has difficulty following simple instructions. My son CAN do a lot of tasks, but when told verbally, sometimes things get lost in translation. “Clean your room then you can play on your Nintendo” What he may hear is “Clean your room” or “You can play on your Nintendo” Breaking down how you word things with him really helps. 

To a person that doesn’t see these things first hand, to a person who doesn’t have these difficulties could assume these are things someone can get over. That these things are easily ‘fixed’ I promise you, these are not behaviour issues. These are his everyday struggles and will probably have these struggles for the rest of his life. 

This word is never okay to use, in any situation. This word needs to be wiped out of your vocabulary. Knowing 1 child with a disability doesn’t mean you know them all. It means you know that 1. Each child with a disability are their own person, they have their own struggles and their own gains. It is better to ask questions then just stare and make rude comments. 

Just because one child doesn’t learn the same way as other children, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them. It just means that we as parents or caregivers or family need to find a different way to teach them. 

You as a parent will learn how to thrive and grow and change to understand the needs of your child. Yes, you will feel frozen at times, just know it will get better and it will get hard but you will figure it out. 

It is okay to feel sad. That your child will not have a ‘normal’ childhood. It is really hard, but know that you can make their life the best possible way to make sure they are happy and healthy and smiling. 

Be thankful for the little things. I am so thankful when my son puts his shoes on the right way, I make a big deal about it, “Amazing job buddy” Or when he parts with a stuffed animal that is broken because he gets so attached to things. 

Try not to read into what people say to you. I know it is hard and I find myself really overthinking what people say. You will find yourself annoyed with peoples positive attitude because it may seem like they are minimizing the magnitude of your child’s challenges, you may find yourself annoyed with peoples negative attitude towards your child because they don’t recognise your child’s progress.  

I am grateful for the times that we live in. There is so much new information out there that helps people educate. We now live in an age with the internet. We can now connect with other moms that are deal with the same things we are. We have support when we feel like we are all alone.  To share our experiences. 

My hopes are that one day, people will ask questions. My hopes are my son will not have to live in a world where people are so mean and so quick to say hurtful words.  

My hopes are that respect becomes the new “R” word.

My son is a “mamas boy” — and there is nothing wrong with it.

The other day I got accused of raising a mamas boy… like somehow that is a negative thing? 

“He is weak” 

“He needs to toughen up” 

“He is spoiled” 

“He is insecure” 

As I wrote mamas boy, in the search engine, most of what came up were “how to make sure your son doesn’t turn into mamas boy”  “Watch for signs”  Like somehow being a “mamas boy” sounds like they have a disease. 

All this is completely false and garbage. Being close to your mother does not make you all these things, in fact, it is scientifically proven that because of the closeness they develop a great scene of security. Their emotions are stronger and become more independent as they grow up. 

“Mamas boys” are also less prone to violence against women and have more respect for them.  Boys are all-around stronger because of it, emotionally and physically. 

Sadly it seems once it gets put out there on the internet or in people’s minds that, it’s tainted. People are more likely to agree with what society says then what science backs up. 

As mothers we already feel guilty about so many things, we already feel judged about everything single thing we do, now we are being judged because our boys are close to us? To me that is bullshit.  

Okay so let’s get a little more into the research… 

In 2011 there was a study by Science daily of a mother-son relationship. They stated that a son that is not close with their mother or has a rough relationship with their mother tends to grow up as delinquents or grow up to have relationship problems and to be disrespectful towards a woman. 

In 2010 There was a study by American Psychological Association stated that boys that were close to their mothers experience better physical and emotional mental health. 

So if my son wants to cling to me, because I am his safety net, because the world is a scary place. I am going to embrace that. 

Do not allow other people to tell you that it is wrong, don’t ever allow other people to make fun of you or your son because they feel this makes them weaker. This does NOT make your son less of a man when he is older. 

Those people who continue to tell you these things are stuck in the ages where men are not supposed to show their emotions, which I promise you are obnoxious because no one wants to date a robot with zero emotions.  

Loving your mother and wanting to be near your mother and help your mother around the house, does not take their ‘manhood’ away. 

Your son loving you to his fullest means they respect the role you play in their life. Your son needing you means that you are doing your job as their protector. 

I am going to continue to bond with my son, I am going to hold him close because time goes by fast, they grow up fast.

Not everyone is going to like you — It’s okay

I am not going to be liked by everyone, and I am at the point in life… fuck it. 

I am too quiet, which is their eyes means that I am stuck up and don’t want to talk, or too shy.  

I am too loud, which means that I am too outspoken, I am too wild. I give my opinions to much, and I talk too much. 

To some people, I am just a mom with four kids, who probably lost her mind because I have four kids. Who is a hot mess, who doesn’t have enough time to do her hair to its in a mom bum 95% of the time. 

To some people, I am just a mom, who has it all together because her kids are so polite and I look like I have my head on my shoulders. 

Do you see what is happening here? You are either going to be too much for someone or not enough too others. Which if you think about it I am both, quiet and loud and I am okay with this. 

As women, we continue to judge ourselves so harshly because we want to fit in. We over-analyze every little thing we do. We end up wasting so much time on thinking of what other people might be thinking that we miss opportunities to really live our lives. 

And for what? Why do we need approval so bad from others? Approval that no matter what we do there is always going to be someone that doesn’t like you, doesn’t like one think about you. So screw it!

This is YOUR life, This is YOUR journey,  So what, you are not everyone’s cup of tea?

If you want to be a stay at home mom… do it

If you want to be a working mom… do it

If you want to do both… do it

If people don’t like the way you talk, the way you laugh, your sense of humor, screw them. 

If you have dreams like becoming a singer, painter, candlestick maker, do it, chase that dream!

If you want to breastfeed, do it

If you want to formula feed, do it

If you want to wipe out your boob and feed your baby in the middle of a park, do it! 

It is time to end this bullshit. Stop apologizing for who you are. Be wild, Be free!! Own the hot mess you are! Or own that you have it together! 

Stop doubting the choices you make, because they are YOUR choices. People are always going to have opinions, people are always going to think they know better then you do because they have been there done that bought a T-shirt. But they are not YOU, this is your family, not theirs. 

People are not going to like you and that is okay, hey some people might not like you for no apparent reason, because they can. Is this ridiculous, fuck yeah it is, but it’s okay. 

Be who you were meant to be, not what others want you to be! 

The ones that are there for you, the ones that are in your corner those are your people, the ones that don’t care for you at all, the ones that judge everything about you, are not your people. 

And they are not worth your ever loven time.

Dear new mom,

Right now, everything seems so overwhelming. You may think you have no idea what you are doing. You might even be questioning every move you make. You know what is best for your family. For your new baby. 

I promise you, that none of us have it together. We might look like we do on the outside. We might look like we do in all of our social media outlets, but what you don’t see in the picture is the toys that are scattered all over the floor that we have already picked up a thousand times. What you don’t see is a few seconds before that picture one of our kids just ate cheerios off the floor. Some of us might look like we have it all together, but on the inside, we are losing it. 

I promise you, that all that worrying is normal. No matter what age your children are. We are always worrying about them. If we are doing the right thing. If we are doing enough. Are they getting enough food? Are they learning enough in school? Worrying means that we care. We all want what is best for our children. 

I promise you, that we are all struggling. Struggling is a big part of parenting. It is a learning experience every step of the way. Babies bring new changes that we didn’t even know were possible. As kids grow up, they are new challenges every day. Family and friends and strangers will judge your parenting choices, but they are YOUR choices. What works for their family might not work for yours and that’s okay. They all mean well then they give you parenting advice, they really do. Sometimes it comes off as pushy, or judgment. Follow your gut. 

Being a mom for 11 years I have gone through a fair share of struggles myself. I have learned a lot of lessons, I have made some mistakes, but my kids are doing great. I have learned that I can still do this even on the little sleep that I get. 

Motherhood is intense, it can be really hard sometimes, but it makes you stronger. It makes you realize that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought was possible. There will be times where you have reached your limits. There will be times that your heart explodes with so much love and happiness. 

Just know that you are not alone. That we have all been there. Cry if you need to, ask for help if you need it. 

Motherhood is not easy, but you’ve got this!

Badmouthing, and its negative effects.

Kids growing up with their parents separated is hard enough. They have to figure out how to live with each parent separately. They have to deal with different rules that are set in place at each house. 

When you separate I understand that it is hard not to think about all the bad things that they did or will continue to do. It is hard to separate your feelings towards the other person when they really upset you. 

Whatever you did, or didn’t do, or whatever the other parent did or does not do. Should not be stated to your child. Badmouthing their mom or dad can have a huge negative effect on your child. 

It really hurts them. No matter what you do, your child will continue to love you unconditionally. It hurts them more when it is someone they love and look up to, putting down the other parent. 

It causes so much conflict in their heads. They have no idea what to do. It causes them to have to choose a side. Children are so loyal to their parents. They will have so much guilt and pain, that they will have no idea how to express these feelings, because they are scared to tell the other parent what happened in case that causes a fight. Which will cause them to retreat from both parents. 

Just like you would not accept yourself to choose between one of your children, you should not accept your child to choose which parent to love and be loyal too. 

Your child has some parts of you and some parts of your Ex. By bad mouthing each other causes your child to feel like some parts of them are wrong, some parts of them you do not like because it matches the other parent. This alone will cause them to hate how they are. 

We tell our kids not to bully, to treat other people the way we want to be treated,  but yet we talk poorly about the other parent. We say all these negative things about your ex which could cause your child to think that is okay or to grow up thinking that we are liars. 

It is important to find a way to separate your feelings towards the other parent for the sake of your child. They want to have a positive and loving relationship with both of you. How you feel should not determine how your child feels about the other parent. 

What goes around comes around. 

I am sure we have all heard this saying. Whatever bad things that you say about your ex will just come right back at you. Your child will start defending the other parent and then start to resent you or they might start using the same behaviour towards the other parent thinking that it is okay or back at you. 

If your opinion of your ex is true, or if it is not it doesn’t matter. You don’t want your truth to be your kids reality. It could have physiological effects on your child. 

Leave the negativity out of your child’s mind and just spend time with them, they just want you both to be happy. 

Milestones

As I sit here on my back deck, soaking in the nice weather before this huge thunderstorm jumps in and wrecks the nice weather we have been having. 

Although we do need some rain. We just planted some grass seed in the back. Our yard seems to have a water draining issue, we fixed it, but now we need the grass to grow back! 

Anyways, I was scrolling through some mom facebook groups. I noticed A LOT of moms comparing their kids to other kids or asking when will my baby walk, or talk or sit up. 

I will say this. I am no expert but I have been a mom for 11 years and I have 4 kids. Let me tell you. NONE of them hit their milestones at the same time. NONE. They were all different, but they hit them. 

We need to stop comparing our kids with other kids. Everyone is different. It does not make you a crappy mom because little Stevie started walking later. It does not make your child better than other kids because they hit their milestones faster than others. 

Some babies are fast talkers before they walk and vice versa. Kids develop at their own pace. 

Do your best to stay off of Web MD because all of a sudden everyone in the house has a disease and it will just freak yourself out. 

If you honestly have concerns about your child, then call your doctor. Going on social media for your answers will more than likely just cause yourself to have a mini heart attack because Janets daughter is already playing the clarinet at 2 years old. 

Let your kids develop at their own pace. Do not try and rush them. Show them encouragement. Don’t show them you are upset because they aren’t hitting those milestones.  Keep telling them they can do it but support them when they cannot. 

We are their number one fans and that’s all they need.

Believe it or not

As a mother, when you hear the doctor tell you, your son has autism, ADHD, Social Anxiety and a learning disability your heart sinks. 

Was it something that I did wrong? Was it something that I didn’t do? 

Was it  because I let him watch TV when he was 2? 

All these things running through your head, even though you knew in your heart that something was different about him. 

While you try and convince yourself that he has all these things. I didn’t realize it was so much! 

You have to convince yourself and try to come to terms with all these new things that just got thrown at you, you now have to convince your family that all this is true. 

The constant “well he isn’t like that with me” “Wow I just don’t see it?  “Maybe he is just trying to get attention, with all those kids there you know” And the worst one “Are you sure the doctor wasn’t just saying that because they want money?” 

Well family; 

You are not there when he has those meltdowns because his schedule is slightly off. 

You are not there when he cries so hard before bed because he is scared he wont wake up.

You are not there when he says the most horrible things just to hurt me and I somehow have to figure out how to harden my heart because I know he truly doesn’t mean those things. 

You are not there when I ask him to do a simple task but then hits and kicks me and then tries to break down his door, then cries because he hurt his door. 

You are not there when he starts smacking himself in the head because he got a question wrong in school. 

You are not there when he gets so attached to a coat that you have to search every store possible to find the exact same coat and sneek when he is sleeping and change the coat so he doesn’t notice. 

When we are at family functions, we leave when he is about to have a meltdown. We watch the signs. We try to avoid as many triggers as possible so that we can all enjoy ourselves including him. 

You are not there doing a grocery shop, trying to figure out his meal plan because he needs to have different things in his diet to make sure that he lives the best possible life without having episodes. 

You were not there when I got the phone call that he tried to throw a desk and threw shoes at a teacher because she told him that he couldn’t do something. 

So yes, family. YOU might not see it, YOU might not believe it, but I can tell you with my heart that he is. 

Yes, he is the sweetest, most caring bundle of joy. With the biggest imagination possible. He is so smart when he is able to sit for more than a couple minutes. 

I am doing my best with this whole new thing. I just hope one day you will understand the lengths that I go through every day to make sure that you do not see it. That he has the best possible life. 

The P Word

The P word that no one wants to talk about.  

The P word that every mother dreads. 

The P word that a lot of mothers say they won’t get it

Postpartum depression. 

It is 100% real.

It is not in a mother’s head.

It is not something you can just “get over” 

It is not something that is ‘cured overnight” 

It cannot be fixed “by getting out” more. 

The P word makes you feel sad, and cry even when you have no idea what you are upset about.

The P word make you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep

The P word makes you sleep way too much.

The P word makes you eat too much, or might make you not eat at all.

The P word makes your body feel like you are in so much pain but have no idea where it is coming from.

The P word will make you have mood swings like no tomorrow.

The P word will make you feel out of control, can’t remember anything.

The P word will make you feel disconnected to your baby, this does not mean you don’t love your baby, but it may feel that way. 

The P word might happen right after your baby is born, or it might happen months later. 

You are not alone!! 

No there is nothing wrong with you, I promise you, it will get better. If you or any of your friends are feeling these symptoms, please talk about it, call your doctor, talk to your spouse, your friends. You don’t have to battle the P word alone.

Being a mother is a thankless job

Being a mother is a thankless job. 

We do the things, and don’t expect a thank you, or a good job. 

We don’t wait to be asked to do something, we just do it.

But it’s always nice to hear and when we do hear it, it makes us feel more appreciated that someone noticed that we did something, even though that something happens every day. 

Even though we have done all the things and more. I still ask myself “Did i do enough?” “Did I miss something that I should have done?”

To be seen and encouraged by the people that mean the most to you, the people that you do the most for, it’s just amazing. 

What I long to hear, and I promise it’s pretty simple spouses and children… 

“I noticed that you cleaned _____  and it looks awesome”

I am constantly cleaning the kids’ bedrooms, and the kitchen and the living room and doing the laundry, but I feel like it’s just expected and it’s kinda sad. I promise you it’s not some magical cleaning fairy. 

“Thank you mom for everything you do”

I am constantly picking up after them, constantly finding this and that. “Mom where’s my ___” the fact that you don’t even have to finish the sentence means I am paying attention more than you think

“Thank you for spending time to prepare this dinner for us”

Man, the amount of time lately that I have been making all the meals, I cannot wait till we can eat take out again without being scared. I would rather thank yous then, ew this is gross or why did you make this tonight. I wanted that. 

“Wow you have a way with the kids, you are amazing”

Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, sometimes I feel like the kids are just feral and It’s really hard sometimes to get them under control. 

“The kids and I are so lucky to have you”

I feel like I am just here to make sure the house runs smoothly, sometimes I feel like I am a robot and everyone just expects me to pick and clean up after them. 

These simple words.. These simple thank yous just make everything better, they just make it seem like you are completely appreciated in the house! 

I know they do me! 

Little ones, big emotions

There are a lot of things that we wouldn’t even do as an adult. 

Do you expect your kids to do things that you wouldn’t even do as an adult? 

Do you ever yell at your kids to calm down when they are upset for a good reason? Are you able to calm down right away when you are upset because someone told you too? 

I know personally that I can never calm down when someone tells me, in fact it makes me more upset, because now I am upset that I can’t calm down. 

Kids care about one thing, being able to get their needs met, whether it’s being fed, being hugged, getting that toy that they want, you playing with those toys, you listening to their stories. 

Whatever it is, there is always a good reason they are upset, even if we think it is silly. 

I found once I understood this, my focus changed. From “uh, these kids never listen” to “What is it they really need right now” 

Those freak out, those meltdowns and those storm out of the room moments, are not ‘bad behavior’ they are your child telling you something is wrong. We as adults, as their parents need to help them find a different way of showing their emotions. That is the only way they know how. 

It is amazing when you can defuse a melt down, instead of escalating the situation to the beyond out of control, no return freak outs. 

Figure out what is upsetting them if you have not already, they might need something that they just can’t get, or can’t have. You might have told them not today. The thing that they need or want is very present in their emotions. 

Help your child express themselves in a different way, Telling them to calm down, telling them you need to stop will only make things worse because if they could calm down then they would have already.

This would be like your best friend or husband telling you to calm down when you are upset with something that was really important to you. 100% that would make it worse would it?
“Don’t tell me to calm down!! This is upsetting to me” well your child feels the same way.

Connecting with your child a different way, will help build your relationship with that child, instead of your child thinking “mom never understands and just yells at me” it will turn into “my mom really cares about why I am upset” and they will start to learn to control why they are upset and it will become easier to calm those little/big emotions down.