Arbitrary Rules…

I just read this on Quora and really liked the lesson

RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.

When I was at one of my lowest (mental) points in life, I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by. I had therapy once per week, and on this particular week I didn’t have much to ‘bring’ to the session. He asked how my week was and I really had nothing to say.“ What are you struggling with?” he asked. I gestured around me and said “I dunno man. Life.” Not satisfied with my answer, he said “No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home after this session, what issue will be staring at you? ”I knew the answer, but it was so ridiculous that I didn’t want to say it. I wanted to have something more substantial. Something more profound. But I didn’t. So I told him, “Honestly? The dishes. It’s stupid, I know, but the more I look at them the more I CAN’T do them because I’ll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher sucks, and I just can’t stand and scrub the dishes. “I felt like an idiot even saying it. What kind of grown ass woman is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with *actual* problems, and I’m whining to my therapist about dishes? But my therapist nodded in understanding and then said: “RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.”I began to tell him that you’re not supposed to, but he stopped me. “Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist, so stop giving yourself rules. ”It blew my mind in a way that I don’t think I can properly express. That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times. I felt like I had conquered a dragon. The next day, I took a shower lying down. A few days later. I folded my laundry and put them wherever the fuck they fit. There were no longer arbitrary rules I had to follow, and it gave me the freedom to make accomplishments again. Now that I’m in a healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and put them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry. But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson: THERE ARE NO RULES. RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE!!!

As I read this it really sunk in… we have all these ‘rules’ but who gave us these rules? It is like we read it somewhere or our parents told us this is how its suppose to be and now they are just imbedded in our heads.

I have always made a meal together with the family even if I had to make separate meals because the kids wouldn’t eat what I was making but I made it all together regardless last night, I made the kids dinner first then mine and my husbands later when he got home from work, It was amazing… I was able to eat my whole meal without being interrupted several times. And the best part was…. my dinner stayed warm the whole time I was eating it because I wasn’t getting up several times to help the kids!

We set the bar so high for us that, rules so high to follow that we just mentaly cannot take it anymore.

How about today you do something different, live on the wild side.. throw out some rules that you have been doing for many years for reasons you have no idea why but because you felt you HAD too…

Dishes need to be done right away after dinner…. why? the dishes will still be there later. Watch that show before the dishes get done…

Laundry cant pile up… why? The laundry will still be there later… read that book that you have been dying to read.

run the dish washer twice…. because life is too short. Stressing over these arbitrary rules…

Drink wine in the morning and coffee at night… 😉 rules….

Normalcy…

“The kids need some sort of normalcy. So that is why they need to go to school” This Is what I keep hearing… Okay cool, I get it, I honestly do. 

What kids see as a normal school year… school trips, seeing friends, hugging their friends that they haven’t seen in forever, hugging their teachers that they haven’t seen in forever, fun recesses, pizza days, milk days… a normal school year right? 

That’s not what’s going to happen when they go back this fall.  

What they are going to get is… 

No school trips… they can’t gather in groups to go on a fun trip somewhere and learn… it is not safe. It would be too much for the teachers to make sure no one touches anything, everyone washes their hands, not to mention the bus ride there?

No backpacks… Some schools are telling parents their kids are not allowed to wear backpacks, but lunch boxes are okay… so please enlighten me on how they are supposed to bring homework home? Or library books? Or projects back to school… you are telling me my kids will have to lug all this by hand? Including their lunch box? 

No normal recess… Some schools are making little circles for your kid to sit in and play outside… that means they have to stay in this circle alone… no playgrounds because it would be too much to clean… no playing with friends because you have to say 6 feet apart. 

Wearing a mask… This alone is not ‘normal’ I am not saying that people shouldn’t wear a mask, yes safety first… but can you honestly tell me that a child is going to want to wear a mask on their face all day?? Some schools say they can take the mask off in class? Okay, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose they are still around a teacher and other students? Can you honestly say that a kindergartner is going to wear this mask all day? Oh, you have to teach them that wearing a mask is important, well we have to teach them that picking their nose is bad but oh there is little jimmy digging for gold when no one is looking. 

No pizza or milk days… Yes, I get it, this one is a luxury, but some kids thrive for these days, these little incentives helps kids want to be at school. These little incentives kids get excited about. 

Bullies or the kids who think they are funny… What about the kids that don’t like teachers? Or bullies… what if a kid gets mad at the teacher and spits or coughs obnoxiously at them because they don’t want to listen? What about the bullies that will spit and cough and push or steal other people’s masks because they just don’t like your kid? Send them to the office? Well have you seen the office, it’s a tiny little space there is only so much space you can send a kid to wait for their parents to come and get them. 

No hugging or touching… No hugging has been a rule since the dawn of time for schools, but your child hasn’t seen their favourite teacher or their best friend and god knows how long, you’re telling me that they are not going to want to hug them? “Omg Stacy I haven’t seen you in forever!” *big hug* nope, not allowed that… No touchy. 

Cleaning… There has been back and forth with this one… one day it was closing every Wednesday so they can do a big clean, then its kids have to go back to school 5 days a week and they will have to clean at night… then it’s the kids and teachers have to clean… because that sounds safe to me and not like the teachers don’t have enough to do. 

And that’s is me just hitting a few things… These things are not normal. The kids will not have a normal school year. I get that some parents cannot afford to not to go work… I get that. But please stop telling me that kids need some normalcy and put going back to school on that list because I promise you it will NOT be normal for them… it will cause them 10 times more stress then you think.  

Do I have all the answers to make sure everyone is happy with that choice in how schools will be? No. 

Can I help you make the choice to if you should allow your kids back to school? No. Every family is different, you make the choice what sees fit for your family.

Is there one option better than the other? No. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Sending your kids to school you are possibly sending your kids into an unsafe environment, keeping your kids home they are not getting the socialization, but even if you do send them I doubt socialization would happen anyways.  

Parenting right now, in this pandemic is a dumpster fire. There seems to be no right choices on how to do things. There is no parenting book on “How to raise your kids in a pandemic” We are all losing our minds here and brains are hurting, from overthinking our overthinking, trying to figure out the best plan for our kids. There seems to not be enough wine or coffee to fix things.

Just breathe. We can get through this.

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 laundry,

I have noticed you are always here lurking in the shadows.

You tend to spread throughout the house. 

You are on the floor in the bedrooms.

You are on the floor in the living room. 

Sometimes, and I mean rarely do you actually make it to the basket. 

Sometimes you are clean and end up back in the laundry room. 

You are always losing your sock partner, it’s like you don’t even care.  

I feel like you are using me, to pick you up and clean you. You can’t even be bothered to change yourself to the drier. 

You pile up so quickly, I feel like I can’t breath! 

I feel suffocated! 

I constantly have to fold you and put you away. 

Sometimes I find you hanging halfway out the dresser.

So today I have decided that we are breaking up. 

I am going to enjoy this cup of coffee, while you lay throughout the house.

I’m going to pretend you are not here later and enjoy a glass of wine. 

I am not sorry, I don’t care about your feelings. You clearly don’t care about mine. 

I bid my farewell laundry.

 Today you do not exist! 

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.

Self care should not be optional.

As mother’s or women, we are told that we must take care of everyone else before we can take care of ourselves. 

Even as far back as the 18th century woman stayed home and took care of the farm and the children. That was our role. 

If we decided to do something for ourselves we were considered selfish or a witch. 

By constantly taking care of everyone else, you end up losing yourself. 

Putting everyone first before yourself doesn’t make you a good mother or wife, you’re not being your best self by not taking care of YOU

You end up just in survival mode. Just simply going through the emotions. Pretending like everything’s okay. 

A mombie. 

Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to involve spending money. Take a longer bath, read that book that has been collecting dust on your dresser. Do that free online course that you have been wanting to take, or even spend a little money to do something for yourself.

 IT IS OKAY!! 

Today, I added some 2 things to my amazon cart and freaked out because it was 30 bucks and I went over and over again in my head all the things that the kids said they wanted or needed and I hummed and hawwed at the fact oh maybe I shouldn’t get it. But I did it. I hit the order. I felt a little bad at first but at the same time pretty excited, happy that I got something for myself. 

Self care should not be optional.

According to a survey by healthy women and working mothers,  78% of moms put off doing anything for themselves first. Mothers were 5th down the line… they came after their pets even!!

I get it, there is not enough time in the day. I feel at this point that is just an excuse… take some time. Set that time aside. As your spouse, okay it’s time for me time… or even later when everyone is asleep. Have that extra long bath or shower or watch that show you have been dying to watch. Yes you might be tired in the morning but coffee could fix that! 

I promise once you take that time for yourself you will feel so much better!