Mom Mondays- Kimberly’s Story

I am so lucky today to introduce Mom Mondays! Each Monday I will be sharing an interview of a mother with a chronic illness and sharing it with all of you! My hope is that with time we will all have a chance to realize that we’re not nuts! We’re all going through a similar journey and are all doing our very best! I can’t wait!

I want to take this time to thank Kimberly for taking the time to share her story with me…and with all of you! Please check out her awesome fashion blog at Penny Pincher Fashion. She has great advice and tips on how to step our look no matter how we feel!

The interview is 25 minutes long, but definitely worth the watch!

If you are interested in being a part of Mom Mondays please email me and we can set up a time for an interview! The more the merrier!

Farah

How to Cure Over-Volunteering-itis

overvolunteer copyToday begins the first full week of school this year. Each Back to School season I find myself in the throes of being inundated with papers, sign-ups, and volunteer opportunities. Each summer parents grow with excitement as they begin the process of sending the kids back to school. Overwhelmed by the paperwork, but thrilled by the few hours of potential freedom to do as they please, we sign up to volunteer and be involved in our children’s schools. We are all suffering from over-volunteering-itis, a very common and curable disorder.

Except when you have lupus, the decision to volunteer becomes so much more difficult. You want to do it all. Your Type-A personality tells you that you can do it all. But, like a wolf stalking its prey, your lupus (Yes I take ownership of my lupus. It’s an unbearable pet I can’t ever seem to lose) is just waiting for you to become weak from exhaustion at what should be seemingly simple task.

Eleven years into having lupus and almost seven years into having children, I’ve realized that I can’t do it all. I can’t sign up for everything. I can’t push myself with the ferocity as I have years before. Last year’s attempt landed me into a spiraling flare that left me blinded with optic neuritis and weakened by my lupus. A flare that required six rounds of the chemotherapy Cytoxan. A flare that left me lying on the couch as my sons played trains and race cars around me.  This year I have to remember that I cannot be everything to everyone at the school. I can only be my boys’ mother, as simple as that may seem. I will carefully decide how I can be Supermom.

Even if you don’t have an autoimmune disease I know so many parents that over extend themselves and struggle with finding the balance between being involved and being stretched too thin. Here are the questions I’ve decided to ask myself to prevent me from over-volunteering.

1)      Why are you doing it?

I have a history of jumping in feet first to volunteer for all of the programs I can and last fall was no different. I became involved in the Halloween Party, the Art Program, and more. I couldn’t wait! I was like a bumblebee jumping from flower to flower to get in on all of the action. When people asked why I was so involved I told them I did it so I could be a part of my son’s elementary school experience and so that I could meet other parents. I’m not really a social butterfly, but I’m gonna fake it ’til I make it. If I’m honest with them (and myself), I did it because I needed to feel as if though I had purpose beyond dropping off and picking up my son from school. I was forcing myself into a part of a community that the former teacher in me misses.

 

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2)      Does your kid care?

We all believe that our kids remember every nitty gritty detail of their childhood. That they’ll remember every party we attended and every game we coached. Except they won’t. They’ll just remember bits and pieces of when you were there. What they will remember is how you make them feel. If I’m too tired because I rallied at the school then the less I can be patient and understanding at home. Shoot, I may just throw leftovers at them for dinner because I’m too worn out. Last year when I helped with the school wide Halloween Party even though I was flaring, I probably should have rethought it. Sure…  I painted games, I found items for the auction, and I decorated. Did my son care about any of this? No. He just wanted to go to the party. Did it matter to him that I had used my limited spoons to be part of the duo that put it together? No. He just wanted to pin the wart on the witch’s face and get some candy.

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3)      Is there another way to be involved?

By the end of last year I realized very quickly that I cared much more about being involved in helping my son’s teacher than I did in putting on a school wide event. I’m not made for the PTO. I’m more likely to be a Room Mom than anything else. Top that with the fact that I was a teacher and I know how much time the prep work and grading takes. To cure my “DO ALL THE THINGS” itch,  I began to help by doing things I could do at home. I cut out hearts, I decorated plates, I did things that I could do from the comfort of my couch in my pajamas and when I had time. I know that it meant a lot to his teacher and it made me feel good knowing that I helped her a little bit as she handled 24 five and six year olds day in and day out. My son thought it was great when he could say, “My mom cut those!” when he was in class. It’s the little things!

 

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So, after some trial and error I think I’ve figured out a healthy balance for being involved in the school this year. I’ll let you know in June.

 

Do you have any other suggestions on different ways to help you decide if something is worth signing up?

 

Social Media Makes Me a Bad Mother

SocialMediaBadMom

Oh My Gosh, I can’t breathe! I think. They’re too close. It’s too early.

It’s seven thirty in the morning. I’ve been up for thirty minutes, my husband has left for work, and as I try to sit on the couch so I can wake up my children climb on me.

Literally climb on me. Like I’m a  jungle gym at the park that’s just down the road. All I’m missing is a wood chip floor and a swing hanging off my back.

My four year old plops himself on my lap and starts rubbing my face. I hate when people touch my face. All I envision are little hands covering my nose and mouth making it impossible to breathe and easy for me to cry with fear. I much rather the vision to be of dirty grimy hands putting dirt into my pores, but alas my fear of suffocation overrides the Zit Creation concern.

He’s trying to be sweet as he coos, “Baby Mommy! Baby Mommy!” I am beginning to hyperventilate with the fear of suffocation. My six year old wants in on the action. He climbs up next to me and huddles so closely that he is now stroking my arm and mimicking his brother. My nerves are on fire and it hurts. My body is in so much pain, my neck feels like it’s being squeezed, and I’m starting to panic.

I just want them off of me.

Except instead of being able to ask my children to nicely get off, I sit there beginning to panic yet not wanting to break their moment of loving their mom. I want them to feel like they can show me love. I want to be able to accept that love.  I know it won’t be forever and I want to enjoy the moment instead of becoming the Hulk as he shakes off little villains. I take short shallow breaths as I remember memes telling me to love these moments. That every snot filled moment where they dribble green goo on your body are precious and I am such a bad person for not enjoying it.

Except I can’t. I’m irrationally afraid I may suffocate. I know it’s irrational. My mind understands this. My body can’t seem to catch on.

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Every day we see some version these memes on Facebook. They all have the same message. Enjoy these moments because they will be gone before you know it. Enjoy these moments because if you don’t you’re an unattached mom who doesn’t care for her children. Enjoy these moments because the ones to come aren’t as great as the moment you’re having right now as you’re elbow deep in poop while you clean up underwear filled with crap for the third time today.5e008b454e45acb7c128e45791f58da3

Enjoy these moments because if you don’t….we’re going to make you feel guilty because that’s what the Internet does.10151199_659183944117429_3781062308417268784_n

So, I sit there on the couch with my boys invading my space. I listen to their coos. I try not to scream and cry. I sit there because that’s what the Internet told me I had to do to be a good mom and to create memories filled with love.

Except I couldn’t…I eventually had to ask them to get off of me so I could breathe. I didn’t yell, I didn’t scream. I just asked them to get off.

And just like that I broke the moment.

Their little faces fell as I took my much needed space.

I felt horribly guilty.

Because all I could see in my mind was a picture of a mother with a child on her back that says, “You will never be this loved again.” While the subscript in my mind screams, “And you just pushed it away.”

Thank you, Internet. Now I can add being a bad mother to my list of things I accomplished before eight in the morning.

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I’m the Mom…

I'm the Mom

I’m the sick mom.

There. I said it.

I’m the mom who has to spend days on the couch because she can’t move. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who has to ask friends and acquaintances for help so she can go to doctors appointments, medical testing, and, most recently, monthly IV chemotherapy infusions. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who, as she silently winces in pain while switching out the laundry, listens to her six year old discuss upcoming activities. Only to hear him add, “If you’re feeling ok, of course.” Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who has to decide when to sit her son down and explain that we all have superhero immune cells that kill germs. Except Mommy’s are confused so they attack each other. That’s why she’s so tired sometimes. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who looks healthy, but haphazardly stumbles at the school pick up line.

I’m the mom that seems unintelligent because she stumbles over her words. She can’t formulate a coherent sentence or remember what was said a few moments earlier. She struggles to read bedtime stories because her vision comes and goes while her Central Nervous System is attacked. Little would people imagine that she graduated college with a degree in Biological Psychology, that she was a high school biology and chemistry teacher, that she was is smart, but she doesn’t feel that way anymore.

I’m the mom that people used to think had it all together…the mom that could fake it ‘til she made it. Except now faking takes up too much of her unavailable energy. She’s jealous of the moms that can do all of the school activities, PTO, Room Mom, play dates, and more. The ones that look put together, dressed, and beautiful. She’s not like them anymore…

I’m the mom that panics as her sick, fever ridden son coughs only days after her last chemo infusion.  She guiltily panics not because her child is sick, oh no, but because of what catching the virus can do to her.She has to tell her son that he has to cover his mouth when coughing because Mommy is on a medicine that if she catches those germs will make her really, really sick. “Will you have to go to the hospital, Mommy?” he asks. Her eyes glisten as she tries to formulate an answer that won’t make him feel responsible if, in fact, she has to go to the hospital at some point. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom looking for the silver lining in the chronic illness that has redefined her and her life. The silver lining that her sons will grow to be sympathetic and empathetic men. The silver lining that maybe she can help someone down the road travelling through a similar journey. The silver lining that maybe, after all is said and done, this is her purpose. Her legacy.

I’m the mom that thinks of her mortality. Prays she will get to see her sons graduate high school, college, get married, and have children of their own. Scared to leave a husband that needs her as much as she needs him.

I’m the mom scared about what may happen and how much worse it can get before it’s all over. Only to realize there is absolutely nothing she can do to change her future. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom guilt ridden because her children deserve so much more.

I’m the mom that struggles as a wife because her husband deserves a teammate. Not a liability.

I’m the mom whose home is a mess because she’s too tired to keep up anymore. Toys lay where they were placed. Laundry continues to pile up.  She seems lazy because she survives on the bare minimum during a flare. Sitting and knowing she is capable of so doing so much more, but her body refuses to allow her that luxury because of lupus.

I’m the mom that acts stronger than she is so no one will think of her family as victim to unfortunate circumstances. So no one will believe that she’s a whiner. So no one will think she is weak.

I’m the mom who’s not strong enough to fake being healthy anymore but refuses to let her children know she can’t do as much as the other moms. It breaks her heart because she knows they know. Oh….they know she’s different even if they don’t know it’s because of lupus.

I’m the mom who can’t give up on fighting to get better so she doesn’t have to be THAT mom anymore..

I’m the mom who works her hardest. Pushes herself beyond her ability. Ignores the aches, the screaming pain, the debilitating fatigue just so she does not to have to once again say…

I’m the sick mom…because of lupus.

 

Kids Will NOT Be Kids

Kids Will Not Be Kids copyThe other day the boys and I went to the neighborhood park with a friend and her two kids. The park was crowded as moms and children made one of their first outdoor escapes of the season. It may have only been 53 degrees, but shorts and t-shirts were perfectly acceptable. In fact, it felt downright balmy after the winter we’ve had. As I was keeping track of my oldest on his bike I turned just in time to see a plaid shirted boy about four years old (let’s call him AH) with his hands around my four year old’s neck.

I took a step to rush to his aide.

Then I forced myself to pause.

How would B handle this? What exactly is going on? 

You see, I live by the non-helicoptering parent philosophy. I let my kids fight with other kids and work it out. I let my kids fall and brush themselves off. It’s not because I don’t love my boys. It’s not even because they need to toughen up (I hate that philosophy actually). I let my sons figure out these situations on their own because I love them and I can not save them from every situation. Unless it is dangerous, I try to not intervene.

Eventually AH  kept bothering my son.  B yelled, “Stop bothering me!” and went on his merry way. When the little boy aggressively shoved B a few times I tensely watched B as he turned around, grabbed AH around the waist, and took him to the ground. AH left him alone…for a while. A little bit later when B was climbing the net and AH came to pull him down I intervened and told the little boy to leave B alone. The mother finally saw, halfheartedly scolded her son, “AH?? Did you just hit that boy? That’s not nice.” He rolled his eyes at her, she let him go back out to play and looked at me with a smile as she said, “Kids will be kids.”

Granted she may have been at her limit with him already that day. She may have had other things on her plate that were weighing heavily on her mind. She may be an awesome parent and this kid was just having an off day, but as I took a step back and we watched her son attempt to grab B by the throat again I could not help but think, “No…your kid’s a jerk.” I swooped in this time and told B, “It’s ok…Let’s go play something else.” Ten minutes later, when no other children would play with her son, she left.

We’ve all used the phrase, “Kids will be kids” when we see our children do something a bit off from the norm. Shoot, I’ve said, “Boys will be boys” when trying to explain my sons wrestling and rolling down the hill in our backyard. Typically we use this phrase to write off poor behavior instead of admitting that, in that moment, your kid’s just being an asshole. The phrase “Kids will be kids” releases parents from any obligation of actually having to remedy the poor behavior.

Kids will be kids copy

Take a moment to think about that. Replace the phrase “Kids will be kids” with “Kids will be assholes” and it completely works!

Oh your son just intentionally knocked down all of the magazines on the rack? Kids will be kids assholes.

Oh your daughter just yanked that crown from her friend’s head so she could be Elsa…again? Kids will be kids dipshits.

Oh your kid threw an entire plate of food onto the floor because they didn’t want to eat it? Kids will be kids dickwads.

Oh your son just put his hands around my kid’s throat because he thought it’d be funny? Kids will be kids sociopaths.

I admit, my parenting is less than stellar more times that I’d like to admit. I have days where I’m positive I sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Sometimes I just check out for a little bit so I may maintain my sanity. I do my best, but I struggle with my boys. They are energetic, physical, and rough and tumble. They are constantly wrestling, fighting, and on the move. Sometimes I worry that they do all of that too much, but they know what is allowed and what is not.

Wrestling when they both want to wrestle? Ok.

Wrestling when only one of them wants to wrestle? Not ok.

Biting? Never ok.

Hitting in a play battle? Ok.

Hitting to hurt someone? Never ok.

Hitting in self defense? Ok.

My boys know when they have crossed a very defined line I have set for them. They know there will be consequences. They know they are not allowed to be jerks. If they are jerks they will be asked to fix the mistake by apologizing, learning from it, and not repeating. They know we will leave a play date if they do anything that resembles being mean or doing something with ill intent.

I let my kids be kids. I just don’t let them be assholes.

My goal as a mother is raising kids who can share, be empathetic, and fun to be around. I try hard not to say, “Kids will be kids” because I know that someday these kids will be adults and no one says, “Adults will be adults,” do they? cada73e30734222a423d0a255312be77

Even Losers Are Winners

Woo hoo!

Good for you!

You had the poop kicked out of you!

You didn’t win,

But this trophy’s yours.

We got it from the dollar store.

So we hope you feel special.

We hope you feel great.

Even though your performance stank.

Now go with your mommy

Go with your brothers, too.

Because even losers are winners.

Just like you.

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Today’s society praises mediocrity. You don’t have to be the best to get an award. You don’t have to win to stand on stage. All you have to do is show up. Points aren’t tallied. Grades aren’t given. Everyone’s a winner. No. Matter. What.

I call bull.

Even worse? Back in the day, I was the loser and I still call bull.

Have you seen those adorable Lil’ Kickers soccer teams? You know the ones that has the kids running around, playing with their hair, picking their noses with the parents cheering on the sidelines, “Go get ’em, Tiger!” as if those boogers are the best things since sliced bread! Seriously, kid, go get ’em. I mean,  you are knuckle deep…you have to get something. I think letting your kids play to play is great. It’s wonderful for building self-esteem and for making them learn about team playing.

When they’re two or three.

Once a child knows the concept of winning or losing then I think it’s time to teach them that it’s okay to win and it’s okay to lose. I think it builds character, determination, substance. My child will feel good because win or lose, they did their best. Not because I have yet another Dollar Tree trophy on my shelf to show they participated in “Game 2343 of Season 3”.

I think that we overprotect and over sensitize our children. I think that by parenting in these ways not only are we setting our children up for harsh disappointments when we can’t protect them, but we’re also setting up the next generation for a sense of unearned entitlement. They live their lives believing that they should get that new job because they showed up to the interview or that they should get that apartment because they were nice. We need to instill good old fashioned ownership into our children. That it is their responsibility to do their best and to reach for the stars. Sure, I’ll hold them up so they’re closer the galaxies beyond, but I’m not building them the rocket. All I’m supposed to do is give them the tools. They’re supposed to take ownership and learn.

I will admit there were times in my life where I was bummed out I never got first place or even an acknowledgment. There were times where I feel like I was ripped off from the prize I had so earned. Yet, what it taught me was that life’s not fair. You can work hard and not get the prize you want, but then…then are those times that you work your behind off and sure enough…the world is yours for the taking.

So no, I’m not that mom. I’m not the one that’s screaming on the sidelines for my kid to keep scratching their behind while the baseball passes. I’m the mom that screams, “Do your best!” and “I love you no matter what your best is.” It is in that way, and that way only, that I believe losers are winners. Love doesn’t have a prize that needs to be earned. Almost everything else should.

The Disappearing Housewife

Name three things that shock you about that scene. Is it that they’re smoking? That they’re disturbed by the divorcee possibly ruining their property values? Or was it that she was pregnant and smoking?

How about when the kids run in and  Ernie is carrying a walkie talkie with a 3 foot antenna and Sally Draper is running inside a dry cleaning bag?

“Sally Draper, get over here!” Betty snaps with her cigarette limply held off to the side.

Surely, she’s going to take her out of the bag! I gasp at the sight of the child in the bag. All of my Mommy instincts are in overdrive to save Sally. Surely, Betty is going to tell Sally she can’t do that because she could get very, very hurt!

Except Betty didn’t. Betty’s main concern was not her child suffocating. Her main concern was that her husband’s clothes were not thrown on the closet floor. (Ok, I’ll admit if Don Draper was my husband I just may want his clothes thrown on the closet floor).

don draper mad men You see,  Betty was a housewife and not a stay-at-home mom. A completely different job than mothers that stay in the home have today. Sure, we all still do laundry, dinner, and childcare. Yes, we are responsible for the duties of household management. The difference is that the focus of our jobs have shifted and as our job descriptions imply we no longer are wives to the home. HouseWife Why the sudden change in terminology of our job description? Our “offices” are the same. Our pay hasn’t increased (not even with inflation!). Our little bosses are still little…and bossy.

So what is it?

Here’s my theory. Our jobs have been renamed and redefined because our focus has shifted from keeping home and husband happy to keeping kids and husbands happy. We are now hammered with article after article about how we can raise our children better. Every mothering style is under attack and every meal we prepare is under scrutiny. We are now in charge with raising children that are emotionally secure, overly safe, well rounded, capable of Pinterest worthy activities, and confident in all of their extracurricular activities. Secondary to that is the home. In fact, we’re lucky if we get to the home care with the amount of involvement we must have with our children.

Take a look at the covers of the Good Housekeeping magazines below. The first is from September 1978 and the second is from January 2014.

Housekeeping 1978

Parenting Mentions:
0 times
Housework/Crafts/Looks/Shopping Mentions:
4 times

Housekeeping 2014

Parenting Mentions:
2 times
Housework/Crafts/Looks/Shopping Mentions:
4 times

(The first thing I want to point out is who the heck crochets or knits a top in six hours? Seriously, I can barely make one in two years!)

Both years mention topics about housework, crafts, looks, or shopping four times each. In 1978 the readers enjoyed a novel and a bit about Jackie O. However the 2014 cover gives us two additional things to worry about instead…our kids and mothering.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think our mothers did a crappy job. I mean, besides the lead paint and the can opener cribs we all turned out relatively okay. I’m also not saying the way we’re mothering now is any better. We simply have two different approaches.

Our jobs as stay at home mothers have suddenly become more demanding because we are expected to be more to and for our kids now than ever before. I believe we run along with the Leash Theory. While there is an entire debate about toddler leashes (actually I was a victim of this pink plaid fashion statement in the eighties at the flea market) the Leash Theory has nothing to do with actual leashes.

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Photo Source: Fractions of the World

My version of the Leash Theory is that, depending on the circumstance, the amount of freedom a child has is dependent on the length of the leash the child is given. The shorter the leash the tighter the control and proximity to the parents. The longer the leash the more freedom a child has from the parent.

1978:

In home= Short Leashes We answered to our parents. We weren’t given choices. Our parents held expectations and we were expected to uphold them. We were required to help around the house… without argument. We obeyed the rules or suffered huge consequences. We were not our parents equal and they always reigned superior.

Out of home= Long Leashes We were allowed to play outside alone from an early age. We didn’t have to check in regularly. As long as we were home by the time the lights came on we were free to go and come as we pleased (assuming all of our chores had been completed). We were allowed to fall and get scraped knees and lose at a game of T-ball. Our parents didn’t save us every time. We were the Goonies without the treasure map! the_goonies_r4ntsc_001 2014:

In home= Long Leashes We give our children options to allow them to have opinions and teach independence. We coddle our children to build them up. We try to be more emotionally in tune, and consequentially more of their equal.  Discipline has “softened.” Our household chores, while present, become suggestions and as a result we take on more of the household burden. 

Out of home= Short Leashes We don’t let our children outside alone to play. We have tabs on them at all times. We fight their battles for them at school, sports,S and with their friendships. We hover over them if little Timmy ever gets a scrape. We are helicopter parents and now have added the constant supervision and over involvement to our list of things to do for our children.  helicopter-parentingSo, as we continue to add more and more to our list of mothering responsibilities the more our job titles continue to be redefined. Long gone are the days of caring mainly about the home and family. We are in deep in the throes of trying to be a stay at home mom that are responsible for every facet of their child’s success as well as maintain a healthy and clean home with perfectly organic well rounded meals.

We have taken such an opposite position from the roles our mothers played and the farther we swing from the way our mothers ran the home the more we will continue to witness the disappearing housewife. The Disappearing Housewife

Learning to Accept Help

Learning to Accept Help with lupus High Heels and Training Wheels

You need help. No, not mental help (ok, maybe that, but a little insanity in us makes us funny), but real physical, logistical help. Except if you’re like me and you’re more Type A then an apple at the beginning of the alphabet book then I already know that you’re not going to accept anything I write. You’re scanning the words looking for reasons to point out that you don’t need help. Perhaps you’re even thinking that somewhere deep inside of you there is a way you can do it all on your own and you’re failing because you haven’t figured it out yet.

I am here to burst your bubble, you perfectionist. I can guarantee that there are so many of us who need help but are too proud to accept it. Some of you may be on the brink of realizing you’re lost and alone. Perhaps you feel like you’re suffocating and overwhelmed.

If you’re a mom with young children and you’re drowning in a pool of slobber, snot, and diapers or homework, activities, and sports, then you may be starting to face the harsh reality that you can’t do it all on your own and you feel like a failure.

If you’re sick with an autoimmune disease (I don’t know, maybe lupus for example ;)) then you may be starting to face the harsh reality that you can’t do it all on your own and you don’t know where to turn.

If you’re both, then I’m amazed you’re not curled into a ball in the corner of the bedroom rocking yourself back and forth chanting, “I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Oh my gosh I don’t know what to do.” I suppose you’re probably too tired for that, though.

It may be time though, my sweet friends, to force yourself to accept support from people to help you in a bind. Even people you don’t expect will be much help may surprise you in the long haul. This includes family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. You’d be amazed at how many loving and supportive people there are that will help.

I have been blessed to have people teach me something that I've struggled to learn...accept help.

I’ll be honest…mine fell into my lap. We don’t live near family and we recently moved to our new home so it’s been a bit different. In September, when I was in a panic as my vision suddenly disappeared in my left eye while my husband was out of town, I had a wonderful neighbor (who had only known me for two or three weeks) immediately jump into action and pick up my kids from baseball practice as I rushed myself to the ophthalmologist urgent care.  I cried with relief that day.

Once my Cytoxan treatments started, I’ve had neighbors and new friends willing to help us during this time and while I don’t want to talk about going through Cytoxan all of the time (I mean, I am MORE than my current circumstances suggest), I do appreciate their concern.

I’m awful about asking for help. Asking for help makes me feel like a failure. Somewhere in my emotions I have this ideal that I should be able to do everything all.of.the.time. It’s a constant battle because I know that I can’t do it, but it doesn’t mean I won’t slave away until I do. I will always pretend to be supermom…even if it means wearing myself into the ground. I’m still learning that balance. I am embarrassed to acknowledge that I’m weak and that I don’t have my act together. I’ve never learned how to accept these offers of help from people.

Except these new friends haven’t offered to help, they’ve demanded that they help. At first I was taken aback and frightened like a lost little pound puppy, I’ve never had good experiences with people being all up in my business, BUT with time I’ve realized there really are people that want to help you with no ulterior motive.

I have been blessed to have people teach me something that I’ve struggled to learn.

Accept help.

And to them…I say, “Thank you.”

Now I’m trying to be better when people say to me, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.” I try to take them up on it. I ask them to watch my kids when I have treatments or appointments. I accept the meals they’ve prepared.

And each time, I cry. I cry with relief. I cry with acceptance. I cry with peace.

Because those things are now one less stress that I have to worry about.

Because no matter how Type A I am, I will never be able to do it all and I must learn to accept the love and help from those around me.

Maybe it’s time you should, too.

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Dealing with a Four Year Old Boy…Again

Boy_Pouting Blog

I walk in from the garage after throwing away some garbage and I’m exhausted. It’s been one of those days and I can’t seem to get caught up between raising children, cleaning, laundry, and figuring out what the heck we’re going to eat for dinner. (Raising kids would be so much more fun if I didn’t have to feed them!) Feeding Kids Not FunAs I walk back in I see my four year old scurry away from the counter as if though he was trying not to get caught. If he was a bit older I’m positive he’d have his hands behind his back, idly walking, and whistling like Alfalfa with his cowlick ever present to distract from the fact he must have been doing something wrong. My gaze sweeps between him and the counter, the counter and him. What has he just done??

And then I see it.

Marshmallows. The very same marshmallows that I have hidden and re-hidden from the child with a worse sweet tooth than me while PMSing.

I walk over to B and sure enough a white powdery substance lingers on the outskirts of his mouth. Sigh.

“B. Did you get into the marshmallows again?”

“Ummmmm,” he sticks out his bottom lip.

“Tell me the truth.”

“Ummm yeah.”

“Why did you get into the marshmallows? I need those for your party.”

“Ummmmm because….I didn’t think anyone was in the house.”

I want to laugh. Oh my Lord do I want to laugh, but I can’t. No, instead I tell him it was a bad choice and we go through the whole discipline routine.

I love that kid, but, God bless him, he is into something, doing something, or trying to manipulate something all the time. I’ve been mortified as he has escaped the house to have a neighbor find him while I was upstairs folding laundry. I’ve been frustrated as he threw away the dinner he didn’t want to eat only for me to find it in the laundry room. I’ve been exasperated by the darn marshmallows again when he told me he didn’t ask me for permission because his tummy ate them and he didn’t have a choice.

I don’t remember my oldest being this way. He was difficult and when he was three years old I really wanted to off myself, but he wasn’t this mischievous. The boys are polar opposites.

Or so I thought.

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I’m struggling over here with B like I struggled to get into my pre-pregnancy jeans after giving birth. You forget what it’s like to have a four year old in the house. I feel as if though I’m a new mom all over again with the wiley antics this kid has pulled lately. Fortunately for me my blogging reminds me of things that I don’t remember. Such as when when he handed me a bowl of urine or when I envisioned his inner monologue as an almost four year old.

I’m dealing with a four year old boy again and my youngest is learning the tricks from his older brother. Hopefully, I will get through this stage again unscathed. Hopefully I can do it as well or better than I did before.

Tell me about the stages you remember and forget? If you have more than one kid were they similar or completely polar opposites?

Boys Don’t Get as Many Choices as Girls

BoysGirls copy“Be a man!” I hear someone tell their son.

“Don’t throw like a girl!” Someone tells their grandson.

“Stop being a wuss,” I hear from the friend.

That’s the problem with feminism. We’re so concerned about equality for women that no one is looking at the inequality with boys. Maybe I’m hyper sensitive because I have boys. Maybe I’m too open in my thinking, but the bottom line is the same…

…Boys don’t get as many choices as girls.

Boys are to play sports or build things. People are concerned if they sing, dance, or play with dolls.

Girls can do all of the above.

Boys are to wear pants, sneakers, blues, browns, and grays. But don’t ever put on pink on your son.

Girls can wear anything.

Boys need to grow up to have careers and provide for their families in professions that appear masculine. Don’t you dare stay home or become a nurse.

Girls can have careers, provide for their families, or stay home and raise them with minimal judgement.

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All around us everyone cheers when glass ceilings are broken. We worry about the body image of our girls. We worry about their self-esteem and tell them “You can do anything a boy can do!” And this is wonderful. I’m glad we concentrate on helping young women grow to be confident, outspoken, and determined while maintaining their femininity and emotional maturity. I’m not downplaying what the woman’s suffrage has provided us the rights to do. I am fully aware that because of the women’s movement I’m allowed to sit down and write these words to you. I’m allowed to have a voice and speak my mind. I’m allowed to work outside of the home or stay home if I desire.

But at what and whose cost?

Around us everywhere boys are getting left behind in their “Emotional Education.” Boys are taught that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. That showing frustration in any way besides man-like roars is a sign of frailty. If they are, even for a moment, showing any signs that they are interested in something considered typically female roles, then parents and adults become concerned about the child’s sexuality. We’re all up in arms when little girls are wanting to have more masculine LEGOs, but what if a little boy wanted to play with LEGO Friends?

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Who cares?

I want my sons to be emotionally intelligent. I want them to be comfortable wearing whatever they choose. I want them to enjoy watching any shows they want.  I want them to talk to me when they’re frustrated or hurting. I want them to express themselves in ways more advanced than neanderthal-like grunts.

I want them to have the positive attributes that girls are allowed to have just as I would want my daughters (if I had any) to believe they can do anything a man does.

I completely believe that there are certain attributes of human personality that are intrinsically biased towards one gender or another. Boys are generally more physical, more territorial, more hunter. They wrestle more, they engineer more, their minds just work that way. It’s genetically ingrained from generations of survival of the fittest, BUT that doesn’t mean that my boys can’t be protective, nurturing, and gentle. In fact, I hope they are all of those things.

I want my boys to have the best attributes of both genders. Territorial and protective. Physically strong and gentle. Emotionally fortified and nurturing.

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At what point do we stop making a show out of the little boys that cry and let them express themselves? At what point do we let our boys wear a shirt with sequins and not care? At what point do we let our boys play castle games and not have to be the knight in shining armor? At what point do we just let them be happy with what they choose to enjoy and not what we think they should care about?

Let’s give our boys some more choices. We all know men can learn a thing or two from women, why don’t we just teach it to them while they’re young?

Tell me what you think at @HiHeelsNTWheels and my Facebook page! Let’s keep the conversation flowing!

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