15 March, 2014

"Play is the work of childhood". I have seen this phrase many times over the last few years. I like it, and always have. Today, though, I really thought on it. Too often, as an adult, we are aware that other people see us and judge us. As a child, you are not as aware, and feel more free to really be you and enjoy life.

As I was scrub-a-dub-dubbing my mini this morning after a messy breakfast, I enjoyed a little fun too. I pretended I was the firefighter minion from Despicable Me 2 (be-doh be-doh). As I was playing and laughing along, I thought of two different aspects.

One being the freedom I felt that it was just me and the munchkin so no one would pass judgement, and two, that when I am having fun and stressing less, my little has more fun too. I really want to work more at feeling free to play along and enjoy our time together. I want to have more fun and less stress. Hopefully, if I can make this a reality, my babe will have happier times.

As a parent, well thee parent, I have many roles and responsibilities when it comes to my kiddo's life, but I need to make sure that having fun is a major part of it. I need to focus more on enjoying our time together and making each moment worth remembering. As my little is getting older and more likely to retain these moments for life, I want them to be pleasant.

I do get caught up in wanting to make and see my mini smile and laugh, but I also get caught up in my adult stress and reality too much. I let myself get bogged down with chores and homework and let the pressure get to me. I worry about things that won't happen for a while, rather than focusing on what is happening right now. I let the realities of parenthood and adulthood weigh on me and distract me from the real joys of being an adult and parent.

14 March, 2014

When I was a child, the phrase that seemed to be the worst was my mother saying "because I said so". As a child, that seemed to lack any real reasoning. All she could come with was telling me to do things because she told me to.

As a mother myself, now, I have a whole new understanding. It isn't just "because I said so" it is "because I am your mother and I said so". These things are not intended to harm the children, they are intended to mold the child, protect the child. Well, at least in most cases it isn't a power trip, anyway.

I used to think, I will never use "because I said so" as a response, but, I will now admit, I have. But only because it truly does say what I mean. The simple phrase conveys that I am the mother, I know what is best for you, your compliance shows me respect, so therefor, do as I say.

I know that still kind of sounds like a bit of a power trip, but it is also in how and when I use it. Sometimes it is just quicker to say that instead of a full and lengthy explanation that a toddler won't really understand. Sometimes these words are used out of frustration because I have been "nagging and harping" for too long (or so it seems).

I don't know if I was right or wrong as a child, when I thought my own mother was just saying it in a way of "I am your mother, now do as I say" but I know that I have no intentions of having my own child/ren see it that way. I want to make sure that my child/ren have options when appropriate and feel involved in as many decisions as possible.

I think far too many children are exposed to situations and ideas that extend far beyond what is appropriate for their age group. Many have more expected of them than they should and less childhood freedom. This goes beyond the "babies having babies" thing when I say that there are too many parents out there that are not mature and ready to be a parent. I can look back on friends I had in my early twenties that had babies and kids that did things with their kids around that were some what inappropriate.

I have cussed and heard it come right back at me from my little one's mouth. Why is it that when ever you want your child to say something or repeat you, you get nothing, but as soon as something they should not have heard is uttered (or even muttered) within a five mile radius, they say it over and over? I am aware that my mini will repeat and so I have cleaned up my language, as well as been more mindful of what language and ideas are permitted.

I only listen to "adult" music with my headphones on and only play songs that are appropriate for toddlers and little kids through external speakers. I only use toddler friendly ringtones and we only watch movies that are family friendly and if something comes out later as being "scary", it is taken out of our rotation of movies. I have cut back our movie watching time also.

It is important to me that my child/ren be able to have a childhood while it is available. Adulthood is for keeps, I cannot get mine back or trade it in for another childhood. I try to remember, just like each passing moment with my kiddo is precious and fleeting, so is childhood. I would rather it be a fun experience worth looking back on and smiling.

06 March, 2014

     I like to consider myself truthful, honest and genuine, but I just had a thought that maybe I am not so much. I don't lie, well, not really. I do hold back sometimes, or "sugar coat" things or word them so that they don't seem so bad.

     I don't really think I am the only one who will claim to be fine when I am not, but I think we all do it for the same reasons. Sometimes, because we don't really want to talk about whatever it is, or because we just don't want to talk about it with that person. Maybe we just don't want to burden them with our problem/s for whatever reason.

     In reality, I think we all know, on some level, that sometimes that question is not genuine. The person asking is only being polite. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are those that are really asking because they care, but we all know who they are in our own lives and we know how to answer them.

     We all know who we can turn to when we need to talk about something, need to vent or just a sounding board. We know the ones we can trust our secrets with, just as much as we know those that are only looking for gossip or are just following etiquette.

     I used to answer that I was "tired" just because I felt like the person asking was just being nice and expected to hear "fine". So now, looking back, I wonder who is more genuine in these moments. Are those that ask out of some obligation to be "polite" or is it those that oblige and respond with "fine" or "good" out of the same respect.

     What would the world really be like if we only greeted people with real honesty and responded in like fashion? Does this social dance make the world really that much better? Is this a dying practice?

     I have seen various quotes pertaining to being "nice" to others because it can change their day, and read stories of simple acts of kindness that seemingly changed the course of someone's life. Not trying to discredit them or anything; mainly because I truly want to believe that such goodness still exists in our world today, but I wonder if false kindness does more harm than good.

     Is it possible that these little "lies" of interest or concern are capable of causing more hurt in the long run. It is very easy to misread someone, especially when we get so caught up in impersonal communications like texts and social media. It is easy to forget the power our words have, especially those that aren't spoken.

     Written words have power, and can be misconstrued. Written words are like art, they can have different meanings to different people. Songs, pictures, poems, paintings, all works of art that can speak to us all in various ways, even to one of us depending on our mood.

     The spoken word, though, holds much more power. Words spoken with a kind voice are taken one way, while the same words spoken in an angry voice convey a very different message. Our voice tone, our body language, our stance and gestures, the volume of our voice and the inflections we use, all combine to create the actual message of our spoken words.



03 March, 2014

     We recently had a visit from the other half. Fourth one since we officially gave up trying to make it work and first one since summer. It was awkward and I stressed about it up until it was over, which it was a really short visit so I felt like I had really over-stressed and over-prepared.

     I understand he has a life to live and other children. I understand he has a job and other responsibilities, I even understand that I am the one that moved us roughly two hours away. What I just cannot understand is the total and complete lack of concern or "attention".

     I have been thinking about this, much of my little's short life, as well as times during my pregnancy (since we were split up more than we were together) as well as throughout my life. I had an absentee father as well. I went on the emotional roller coaster of abandonment, unwanted, unloved and many other feelings and issues. I never wanted this type of struggle for my own child so I find myself in unwanted waters.

     My issues with my own father and his lack of involvement and contact during my life has left me with certain voids and apprehensions as an adult, among other issues. I have struggled with them more and more as I have gotten older. I know that I may never fully work through all the issues and I worry about the impact upon my own child who's father has shown no real interest or involvement.

     I struggle with certain aspects of our past in our current situation. I have chosen to leave my old life behind, and with it many of the connections I had have been severed. I have chosen to cut people out of our lives because they were not having good effects on me or us. With this choice, nearly two years ago, to move away, I also chose to move on...FRESH. Since the other half had not bothered to be a part of anything for nine months, I took that as an indication that he was not interested or intending to be involved at all.

     About nine or ten months after we moved, he emailed me and it sounded like just business, but then he continued to email, claiming he was not getting responses from me. I finally created a new email address and started communicating that way. He ended up making the trip and having a short visit about a year ago now, and a couple more during the summer.

     As I mentioned, he has other children. Children I had interacted with and gotten to know and come to care about. It is tough, but I choose not to really ask about them now. Not that I don't care, but because I don't feel like it is my business anymore. I left that part of my life behind and I am not wanting to overstep boundaries or cross lines. This truly is new territory for me and I am making the choice I feel is best.

     I often wonder if it is possible to ever really stop caring. How long will it take before I am no longer questioning if I am really caring or if I am trying to be nosy. I may come across as uncaring, but I give back as much as I feel I get. I rarely hear from the other half, and when I do, it is usually a simple "How are you guys" text. The messages come at irregular intervals, usually one to two weeks apart, but it has been longer, even over a month at least once.

     I question how much is actual interest, and how much is obligatory. I wonder how it can be, that a parent can show such little regard for their own child. I know my parental experience and connection is different, but he has chosen to be disconnected. He has never asked for much more than random visits. He has mentioned taking my child for a night or two "to give me a break" to which I replied "I am not looking for a break".

     I cannot speak for the future, but I know, for now, I am content to have my child with me, and not two hours away...especially if things do not go smoothly. I have no intentions of denying visits, but I worry about their sporadic occurrences and the impression they will have in the long run, especially as the years go by and my babe gets older and more aware.

     Currently, my mini only knows him as "The Guy". I haven't placed any parental/paternal title on him, because one, I don't think he has really earned any, and two, because I don't want my child to think that this kind of presence is acceptable for a father. I have considered using his actual name, but I feel that is inappropriate. In time, if his involvement doesn't pick up, then I may go that route, but if it does and/or I ever feel it is the right time to use a paternal title for whatever reason, then there hopefully won't be any (or at least as much) confusion.
     I realized something about myself today. I accept my failings as failure. I hadn't ever thought about it, but for some reason this crossed my mind today. I thought back about things I have started or set out to do and then never saw them all the way through or didn't continue them.

     In the past, I have tried to start new habits or give up bad ones, and done well....for a time. I once decided to give up caffeinated drinks, and I managed just fine for around two months, until I, with out thinking, had a sip out of a friends drink at a restaurant. Didn't think about it until later, but when I did , I saw that momentary slip as a sign to forgo the whole "giving it up".

     I really had no reason to actual give them up, I just did, and continued on with the choice until that one day that I had a sip of a drink to see how strong it was. Thinking back farther in my life, I can remember another time when I saw fit to end my avoidance based on an unintentional slip. I was 21 and had never had a drink, and really had no intentions of having one, but, while dining with my then boyfriend at a local sports bar/restaurant, we had a server who was in training and somewhere along the line my drink order was messed up. I had ordered a slushy drink from the non-alcoholic menu, not knowing there was an alcoholic version on the menu as well, just in a different color.

     I chose not to complain about my drink being the wrong color, thinking that was the only problem with it. Later I felt sick and light-headed, I thought I was sick from the food, my boyfriend had tasted my drink but didn't say anything at dinner, informed me that it might have been from the alcohol. After that, I felt that since I had already had a drink, might as well drink more, so began the first bout of my drinking days.

     There have also been countless times that I have tried to start good habits around my house, as well as in my general life. All have been abandoned for different reasons that I cannot recall, but I am sure that some were just giving in to the feeling of defeat.

     As I was thinking on this issue today, I connected it with New Years Resolutions. I am not a big fan of the tradition, but understand the meaning of it. I, as with many other holidays, don't like the calendar telling me when I can or cannot do things. As a child I liked to play dress-up, I didn't limit myself to only doing this on Halloween and just yesterday I used three packets of  Kool Aid to dye eggs with my munchkin. Easter is almost two months away still but I don't see why I cannot color eggs now.

     I use this same line of thought when it comes to resolutions. Start them whenever, the only draws to January first, that I can see, is that it is the start of a new year, and so a "new you" too, and that it is easy to track your progress if you have a notable start date.

01 March, 2014

      I really like this new trend of decorating with phrases, I have different forms of them all over our home. I have one in our kitchen/dinning area, one for in my babe's room and five in our living room. I am not done, by any means...we just need a bigger home. I would love for us to have a house that is all ours so I could feel more comfortable putting up the vinyl letters rather than having them still between the papers that are masking taped to the wall.
     So I went on a nice shopping day last weekend and I bought one of those black wall hangings with the white lettering. It is not the first one I have bought for myself but this one was more as a reminder to have around the house. It reads "BEHIND EVERY GOOD KID IS A GREAT MOM".
     To me, it sounds a bit wrong, almost like bragging, but for me it is just something to help me remember that I have a wonderful kiddo and so I must be doing more things "right" than "wrong". I would like it better if it read "BEHIND EVERY GREAT KID IS A GOOD MOM" but it serves its purpose for now.
    I joke about loosing my "mother of the year" title or chances many times throughout the year but I do actually have moments where I fear that I am lacking in my mothering skills, making mistakes or potentially messing my kid up, it is nice to have something that could catch my eye and remind me that I must be doing a pretty good job after all.
     I have a fantastic little and since I have been doing this whole parenting thing solo, it is a credit to me. I have taken charge of teaching, training and molding my mini to be this great and wonderful person. I have earned each moment of pride and each embarrassing instant as well.
     I am not trying to brag about my my munchkin being amazing and spectacular, because I know we all have awesome littles that we are proud of, and part of being a parent is the worry and fear, but a reminder that we are doing a grand job is nice...and probably needed some days.