Why I Joined A Mom’s Group With Social Anxiety

First of all, thanks to all the wonderful readers who had something to comment about on my last post. I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement. I definitely appreciate the stories you shared as well, it made me realize that in this vast web of internet, there are people out there who have been through what I have or at least can relate.

So, I joined a mom’s group on Facebook in our local community with the main motivation of meeting new mom friends. I don’t really have many friends in general, in fact, I have ONE friend that I work with and we hang out outside of work. She’s Punky’s godmother and she and her husband, Punky’s godfather are freaking awesome.

But they don’t have kids. They don’t really understand that it’s acceptable for a mom to talk about poop all day. They don’t get that it’s super cute when my kid says “No” to the side table drawer she’s not supposed to touch, because that’s the word she associates with the side table. She’s heard the word too much in relation to that darn thing! I’m quite sure she thinks that’s what you call a side table a “NO!”

I love them bunches and they love Punky. It’s just not the same when you don’t have ‘mom’ friends. This is why I sought out a mom’s group. Actually, I didn’t really seek it out, it sort of fell in my lap. I met a girl at Gymboree, who I swear just has to be my twin in so many ways – personality wise. She gave me a card for this group and invited me to join.

I wasn’t going to. I actually backed out of the first meetup with the moms. I made up some excuse for not being able to go. Then I kicked myself for it. I know I have to socialize with other people – I have to be able to show Punky how to socialize. I have to teach her that it’s ok to meet new people. I definitely wouldn’t wish the anxiety of social situations on anyone, especially my daughter.

So, I spent some time on the Facebook group, participating in discussions and learning about these ladies. I learned that we all parent differently, but in the end, I like to think that’s a great little friendship we have all developed. We don’t have to parent the same way, we don’t have to like the same things, we don’t have to believe in the same things. We can still support each other as moms and we can still have fun together and let our kids have fun together.

The rest of the post is pretty picture intense, since we have been on a lot of little play dates. My favorite so far was the concert at the park. Punky got right up there with the big kids and I was so out of breath chasing that kid around we had to leave early! She just danced her little heart out, she had free reign to toddle all over the place.

We go to the park every Tuesday, unless it rains of course, and she gets to play with a little girl that I will nickname Cheeky for the sake of this blog. She’s quite the little ham. We had a new mom and her sons join us last week and it looks like we are scheduled to have another mom join us at the park next week. I’m slowly getting out of my funk and I am making myself get ou there for Punky and for myself!

Waiting for the show to start.

Waiting for the show to start.

So we got to the park about 30 minutes early. That gave her time to eat dinner on the make-shift picnic blanket and hang out with Mommy before the show. I really expected her to just sit there and listen to the music.

Boy, was I wrong!

Rockin' Rob is talking with a puppet?! What?!

Rockin’ Rob is talking with a puppet?! What?!

That Rockin’ Rob show is awesome. My kid is the one shorter than most of the others and she’s headed towards the puppet in the blue and white tank and shorts!

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I was able to stop her from assaulting and probably stealing the puppet. But, at one point she made a beeline straight for the drums. I was absolutely sure she would embarrass me in front of the entire town sitting on the grass behind me! I was already chasing her squirrely butt all over the place!

I tried to give her space to do what she wanted, it’s a concert for kids after all and she is a kid. I also didn’t want to lose her in the crowd, she’s shorter than I thought! The last thing I needed was to try and explain to K just why I didn’t come home with the toddler I left with!

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Awkward attempt at social interaction.

So, K stays at home with Punky, so we are fortunate to have a stay-at-home Mama. It’s not easy by any means, and maybe someday I will get into the reasons why and how we are able to do that. But, that’s for another post. The reason I bring it up, is because Punky doesn’t go to daycare and isn’t really exposed to other kids her age. Well, other kids period.

I have begun to notice, that’s she’s not sure how to act around them. This last picture is her attempt to greet the other child. She walked right up to this little girl, whom we don’t know and have never met and proceeded to smack her a few times. It was more like “petting” and she was giggling, so I knew she wasn’t doing it maliciously, this was her way of saying Hello.

The little girl was not amused.

Needless to say, I removed Punky from the girl’s personal bubble and we went on dancing away.

In the end, I realized that I am going to be ok. I am going to teach my daughter better habits than I have. I can only hope that anxiety is not genetic, and in some ways she is probably predisposed to have some sort of mental illness – it runs in both sides of her genes. However, it’s all how you nurture a child as well and whether or not you help flip that switch.

So far, Punky and I are bonding over these play dates and these experiences, so in the end, it’s a great thing and I am so glad that I decided to do it. The more I get out, the more I meet new people, the less awkward I feel and the less anxious I am.

This weekend is a pool party for one of Punky’s cousins who is turning 1 and the baby shower we planned for a friend had to be postponed as she is currently in the hospital being induced due to some high blood pressure complications. So, as soon as we have the fantastic mustache and bowtie baby shower, I will be sure to post pictures of the awesomeness I helped to create!

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone! I have a few bloggers I follow and a couple ladies I know in person –  who are in the TTC cycles, so sending you lots of positive vibes and sticky notions. I am sending well wishes to those pregnant mommies who are getting ready to pop and those who have just recently started your sleepless nights, good luck to you as well! Babies and pregnancy all around me and I am loving every bit of it!

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Not Repeating The Cycle

People wonder why we don’t drink alcohol. Why there is no alcohol in my house and why we may take a sip or two of a wine cooler once a year. I’m not a prude. I’m not judgemental of those who drink socially. I’m not going to shun you if you have a little drink now and then.

The reason is simple. I don’t want to repeat the cycle of my childhood with my own daughter. I will not subject her to the trauma that I was afforded as a child.  I do my best not to call people out in my blog, because I do know people personally who read it. I have family and friends who know me outside the internet and will likely read it.

However, this time, the straw is broken. I am so fed up I can’t stand it. My little girl is playing happily in the livingroom where I am typing, my partner is asleep. The only way to vent this anger I have about to explode is to write it down. To share it with unsuspected internet followers.

For that, I apologize.

I will never understand why grown people find it FUN to get drunk. To get so wasted they don’t remember what happened. It’s so incredulous to me that grown people think it awesome to teach their teenagers that it’s ok to disrespect people and it’s ok to be violent. Especially when you are drunk, you just don’t know what you are doing, so it’s ok.

I will never understand why these grown people are parents. I suppose I shouldn’t say that, because if the grown people I am talking about were not parents, I would not be here. Yes, I am talking about my own parent. I am the product of alcoholism.

Growing up, I have learned, especially after having my own daughter, that our parents do the best they can. The baby doesn’t come out and hand you a parenting manual with their screaming first cries. Parents do the best they can with what they have. I get that. I give a little leeway for that.

Frankly, though, no child should have to hide under a bed with a pillow over their heads to muffle the sounds of glass breaking and screaming matches in the kitchen. No child should have to watch their parent dragged away in handcuffs – headed off to jail. No child should have to worry where their next meal may be coming from because their parent is too busy locked in another room drinking it up.

So, when people say that my daughter is at a disadvantage because she has two moms, I want to remind those people of my childhood. A child with two straight parents. A mom and a dad. I don’t ever claim that I had a worse childhood than anyone else. I don’t write this for pity. I write this for awareness. I write this to remind parents that their children should come first.

I understand addiction. I do. I was addicted to cigarettes. I am the first person to admit that I smoked throughout my ENTIRE 42 weeks of pregnancy. Demonize me if you must, I deserve it. I am so ashamed of those moments when I lit up a cigarette while my daughter was kicking in my womb. Thank goodness, she’s healthy and had no birth problems. I am still ashamed.

That addiction was a hard habit to kick. I have been smoke free for over a year now, so I know how hard it can be to stop something that has it’s claws in you. I also know how hard it is to make that decision to stop an addiction for the sake of your child. So, I don’t write this from a martyr’s standpoint. I don’t stand here and proclaim perfection.

Parenting is about decisions. It’s about sacrifice. I don’t care if you are a mom and a dad or a mom and a mama or a dad and a papa. It doesn’t matter your family dynamic. Children benefit from love and responsibility. Children benefit from support and encouragement. They benefit from parents who try their best and do what they feel is right.

Society says that children need to have a female and a male influence. I agree that children benefit from seeing gender roles that are set forth by society. I do not agree that they have to be a mom and a dad. I also don’t agree that children have to know the gender roles set up by society so that they can emulate them, because I don’t agree that children have to be what society wants them to be.

I got off on a tangent. What I mean is, children benefit from parents who teach them to love, respect, and encourage. They benefit from parents who show them acceptable ways to behave. They benefit from parents who care enough to put their needs before booze or addiction.

I’m so angry that I am 29 years old, and I am still affected by the parenting I was raised with. I am still crying – still having flashbacks of myself at 12 and 15. Then, just when I think it’s over, just when I think I am over it, something like this happens.

Something that makes me remember why I plan to teach my daughter about love, cause and effect, and learning from our mistakes. So many of the people I know, have never learned from their mistakes. That’s the biggest lesson of all.

I apologize, I am all over the place. My head is not quite here today. I just don’t understand how some people get so far off track. Anyway, thanks for being a sounding board for my rant.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I’m 29 today. I don’t write this post because it’s my birthday though. It’s just the time I decided it was update day! LOL.

Today was a pretty awesome day, though. My team at work decorated my desk and brought in lots of yummy food to eat. My best friend and her husband got me a sewing machine (That I really, really wanted and don’t know how to use!). K got me a necklace of a baby handprint and Punky’s birthstone and Punky bought me an awesome purse from Thailand (Etsy) LOL. All in all, it was an awesome day!

I also interviewed for the supervisor position at work. I’m hoping I did a good job. I’m pretty anxious about it. It would mean more responsibility at work, different hours, and likely a different dynamic at home; but it also means I would be making more money and would have more time during the day to spend with my family!

So wish me luck that I made a good impression!

I have been going on a calendar full of playdates. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that a damn big deal. I have a pretty difficult time meeting new people, so getting out there and meeting new moms and hanging out has been a challenge, but I am so glad I did it. Not only for Punky, but for me. I am meeting all sorts of fun new moms and they are generally nice and such a hoot. We parent all in our own way, but I have never felt out of place or judged and in the world we live in with Mommy Wars, I am blessed.

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I have been helping plan a baby shower for a little guy due in July, I believe. I made a banner and some invitations and cupcake toppers. They are all just adorable, I think.

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Speaking of making things, my Etsy shop was featured by Aela of Two Moms Make A Right. You can see the feature here on her Babble blog! It the 10 best Baby Shower Invites for LGBT couples. I was so grateful and excited to have the opportunity to be featured.

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So basically, this week has been pretty darn awesome! Hope everyone is having a grand week so far! Happy Wednesday! I’m now off to pin every sewing pin I can find on Pintrest!

Happy Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day I got a migraine and ‘the finger’. Oh, yes, my daughter gave me the INDEX finger. 

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I said, “Punky, don’t touch the flowers, they are not yours.” She proceeded to bend down and attempt to touch the pretties. I said, “No Ma’am. We don’t touch the flowers.” She whipped around and gave me this face. Accompanied by the finger.

We always say she’s a carbon copy of me, in fact, it’s been said on numerous occasions that I may or may not have impregnated myself. (As a side note: We really lucked out in the donor department and I am immensely grateful to him for making yesterday possible for us.) 

In the end, Mother’s Day was full of screaming, crying, a black eye, the discovery of all FOUR molars coming in and an early bedtime. Mommy is officially over Mother’s Day. At least for this year. 

Hope everyone else had a much better time than I did!!

The Story of My Life – Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2

K and I spent the entire night chatting about nothing and everything. It was never sexual, it was never overly personal, but I remember feeling those butterflies in my stomach. I felt the warmth in my chest that fills you up when you are crushing on someone. That night we exchanged phone numbers.

The next night we talked into the wee hours of the night. I was late to my class the next morning because I had been up too late. We never had any kind of sexual talk, it was never dirty, it was never scary. It just felt right.

I had met a few men online before, but never a woman. We decided to meet the next afternoon. I was scared to death. I had never been on a date with a woman. I had never met a woman with the sole purpose of ‘dating’. This was all very new territory to me. However, when we met for the first time, we clicked. It was perfect.

I still remember her pulling up in her dad’s huge green truck. Coming out of the truck in her black boots, jeans, and red hoodie. I just stood there like a lump – not really sure what to do or say. The first thing she said to me was “Can I have a hug?” She wrapped me up in her arms and it was literally the moment when I knew what true love felt like.

We went out to eat at Applebee’s and had awkward first date conversation. We went back to my dorm room and well, the rest is a fade to black moment. We spent the entire weekend indoors, watching movies, cuddling, hanging out. We ordered in and for once in my life I didn’t have to pay! This was a completely new experience and it was something I was slowly starting to love.

Over the course of two weeks, we spent our time online and on the phone, never too much time apart. We didn’t make anything official until I came home from a party, quite drunk and called her up. I had already puked my guts out in the hallway and she knew I was not quite right. It had been a really long time since I had drank that much alcohol. I asked her to be my girlfriend officially that night.

I’m sure she was skeptical, she was dealing with a drunk, bi-curious girl who didn’t know what she really wanted. Anyway, on May 1, 2013; 10 years ago, we made it official. If you asked me when I was 17 where I would be in 10 years, I would never have said I would be here.

If I hadn’t met K, I may have gone home and lived my life out in the small town I grew up in. With the reputation of slut and whore and been walked all over. I would have consented to having babies and drinking and drugging. Reliving my parents mistakes. If I hadn’t met K, I she hadn’t sent me that simple IM, I could have gone back home and lived my life as a sub-par person with no concept of what love truly is.

But, she did send me that message and she did take a chance on the bi-curious girl with no picture posted. We have been inseparable ever since. We have weathered the good and the bad in the last 10 years. She helped me through the death of Katy, who was in a car accident shortly after K and I started dating. She held me as I cried and cried that my best friend died before I could make up with her. She helped me learn who I truly am. She was patient with me as I tried to figure out where God played a role in this new identity that I had. She was kind when I was not sure I wanted to come out to my family.

She held my hand when my dad condemned me to Hell. She held me as I cried when he told me I made a deal with Satan. I stood outside the locked door as she confined herself during her Great Depression. I watched her deteriorate into mental illness and did what I could to help her. We have gotten through the failed jobs and the ‘woman we don’t name’ and we have come out on the other side.

We have had quite a few trials and tears. We have had a lot of bumps in the road of 10 years, in the end, I have learned that I know what real love is. It’s not sex. It’s not some superficial affection for someone else. It’s a willingness to stick by the person you love. It’s a need to grow with the person you love and not give up on the person you love. It’s accepting the good and the bad, the flaws and the faults.

I’ve learned, in the last 10 years, that love is not rainbows and bunnies. Love is hard work. Love is not kind, it is not patient, it is not easy, but it is unconditional. You can dislike the person you are with, but you will always love them. When you know there is something left fighting for, love is real. When you scrape to the bottom of the barrel of your sanity and your hope and you still find a reason to hold on, that’s love.

Here we are 10 years from now. Happier than we have ever been. We have a daughter whom we love more than anything. People say that children of gay couples are at a disadvantage. Well, I am here to tell them that I have seen what my life could have been in a straight marriage. I know how my kids would have been affected.

Our daughter is better for having two PARENTS who love each other. Who have weathered every storm and come out better for it. I hope to show her that love is real and it is worth waiting for. I hope to build up her confidence and her self-esteem so she doesn’t have to depend on someone else to make her feel some sense of worth. I hope to show her that it’s love that makes a family, not gender, not society’s ideals of normal.

No matter the gender of the parents, if love is the constant, the child will be forever at an advantage. I know she’s going to be more prepared than I was for what life throws at her, because she can see how her mama and I came out – she will know how we thrived in a time when we should have been knocked down, beaten, and torn.

The real purpose of this entry was to show the evolution of how I learned what real love was. K has shown me what it is to love and to be loved. I know now, it’s not easy, but if it’s real, it never is. In the end, happiness finds you, so when I stopped looking, love found me and my happy ending was 10 years in the making.

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The Story of My Life – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 –

I also learned that one of my very good friends was gay. This is really the first time I had ever met someone who was gay. It’s a funny story, how she came out to me and how I was introduced to the idea of being gay. We were both in a Diversity class. We had the class at different times, but we had the same assignment. We had to write an autobiography about our life. Oh, boy did I have things to write about. We had include our feelings about race, religion, sexual orientation and other such diverse things and how we came to feel that way. It was supposed to be a way of evaluating our beliefs and how our past has shaped our future.

My good friend, Katy, asked me if we could swap our autobiographies so that we could proofread them. I was fine with that, I didn’t have any reason to hide any of my past junk with her, she knew most of it anyway. When I sat down to read hers, she talked about being in Catholic school and being raised in a very large family. As I turned the pages, I learned more and more about her. Then she told the story of when she came out to her parents.

I was in shock. This was Katy. I didn’t know anyone who was gay before. And frankly, in my own autobiography, I talked about how homosexuality was wrong and God said it was a sin. I said that I didn’t agree with it and made some pretty upsetting comments about it. Needless to say, Katy and I had a nice long chat after our exchange of autobiographies and I decided that I loved her no matter what. I didn’t care that she was gay and that God couldn’t possible send someone like her to hell.

Anyway, college was kind of a blur and really it was pretty much the normal. I met a boy, I fell in love with him, we were together a good portion of my first year in college. However, right before the end of the school year, right after Valentine’s Day, he came out to me as well!

So, needless to say, we broke up! However, we stayed good friends and I enjoyed hanging out with him on different level. We had a nice, tight knit group of friends while we were in college and we all pretty much hung out together.

At one point, there was  a snag, a bump in the road. I accidentally outed my two best friends. It was innocent and at the time, I didn’t feel like I outed them, but looking back I know that I did. A few of our friends had come out and asked me if I knew whether or not Katy and Rob were gay. In my heart, I knew I couldn’t come out and tell someone that, it was a very personal thing. So, instead, I simply said, “You need to ask them that for yourself.” Of course, they automatically took that as a confirmation from me.

Look, I’m not proud of how I handled that situation, but I also didn’t know how to answer the question. I didn’t identify as gay at the time and I likely didn’t really grasp how important it was for either of them to stay hidden until they were ready to reveal themselves.

By the end of a very long gossip filled, rumor filled couple of weeks, Katy blamed me for our group of friends finding out she was gay. I don’t blame her for that now, I did, in a way, out her. I still feel terrible about that. She stopped speaking to me and in fact, was pretty vocal in her hate for me. I lost my best friend that day and it has haunted me ever since. Of course, now, I know how hard it was for her to be forced out in the open like that. I didn’t do it intentionally and I certainly didn’t mean to hurt her, but I did.

So, I lost my best friend and I started reaching out for new ones. My entire group of friends stayed friends with Katy and I was left with pretty much no one but Rob. He and I were pretty much inseparable for quite some time. This is when I started to wonder what it might be like to be gay. Yea, I know, it sounds like I just woke up one day and decided to be gay and the simple explanation could be just that. I had a realization that I wasn’t really as straight as I thought.

Once the door was opened, I wasn’t sure how to step through it, but I started to think that maybe I should. The door was never visible to me before. It was also not an option for me. I didn’t even know the possibility existed. I won’t lie, it WAS as if the door appeared one day and I was just … gay.

I started by being bi-curious. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had that label for some time. I wasn’t quite ready to sit down and decide that I was gay forever. I didn’t even know what that would mean. I hadn’t figure out the ins and outs of it all.

At any rate, I set up a profile on one of the dating websites for gays and lesbians. I didn’t put up a picture and I didn’t really fill most of it out. I didn’t initiate the conversations, I’m not really sure what the goal of this action was. Probably just to stick my toe in the water, look around, observe, I never had the plan to actually meet anyone or go on a date with anyone.

I had plenty of women IM me. They really did freak me out a little bit. They sent me pictures of body parts and wrote me some pretty explicit things. I was almost turned off by the whole idea of being gay. Not because I wasn’t gay, but because these women on this dating site were aggressive and they were quite … scandalous for me.

Then K sent me a message. Just when I was about to close the chat and shut down my profile on the site, her IM stopped me. I’m not exactly sure what she sent me, but it was normal. It wasn’t some naked picture or dirty text. It was a simple hello.

To be Continued ……

The Story of My Life – Part 1

This is likely going to be a very long post, but one that is necessary to capture an entire lifetime of lessons. The story starts more than 10 years ago. This is about to get pretty personal. If you know me personally, you may or may not know some of the details I am about to share.

I originally started to write this to get to the part where I met K 10 years ago and we fell in love, but to get there, the road is a lot more complicated that I expected! So, I will break it up into parts and hopefully we can all get through this together in one piece.

My story is a long one, but it has a good lesson and a nice ending, so hold on tight and ride with me through memory lane. The bumps are rough and the twists and turns are brutal, but we will come out on the other side with smooth sailing.

Meet 17 year old me.

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At the time, I was very, very straight. I actually didn’t even know that being anything but straight was an option. I didn’t know any gay people (they later came out) and I had no idea what being gay really meant.

I am from a very small town, where everyone knows everyone else. This picture was taken shortly after my heart was broken by my very first long term boyfriend. We had been together for a year and a half. My first … well, my first everything. When we broke up, my life spiraled out of control and I started my wild, dangerous path of bad choices and even worse consequences.

I started drinking and by the looks of this picture, you can tell I started smoking. This picture was taken the summer after my junior year of high school. By the time I started school, my senior year (summer is only 3 months, let’s just be reminded) I had racked up sexual partners in the near double digits. Male partners. I didn’t care who they were, I didn’t care how old they were.

Looking back, I was on a mission to find someone to love me. At the time, I thought that sex meant love. I thought that if someone wanted to have sex with me, well, they loved me. I was burned a  lot, taken advantage of, I had a lot of trips to the free health clinic and frankly, I had quite a few pregnancy scares. In the end, I was drunk a lot, I was high a lot and I had a lot of sex.

I wore clothes that were too small and too revealing. I partied hard enough to black out sometimes and there are parts of my crazy ride that I don’t fully remember. I was almost raped by three guys in a bathroom, I was out until the full morning light was coming up, I was gone from my house for weeks on end and no one really noticed.

At the end of my very wild three months of summer, I decided that I just needed to quit school and do my own thing. I was 17 and I didn’t need to be told what to do anymore. I almost dropped out of high school, my senior year no less. I had a very good friend to talked me out of it. He told me that it would be the worst mistake I would ever make in my life. So, I started my senior year.

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My self-esteem was shot. My reputation was shot. My place in the town I grew up in was at the bottom. The slut, the town whore. I was less than the dirt on the bottom of someone’s shoes. Of course, I only heard the rumors about me. The elaborations. Believe me, the real story was enough – the rumors were worse. I had made enemies, I was the mean girl in high school. I regret that. I regret being the mean girl. I regret being the whore.

Needless to say, I couldn’t stay where I was. I moved out of town in the middle of my senior year of high school. I moved to a town where I knew no one. I said no goodbyes to my friends and I had no one to hold me there. In fact, most of them didn’t even know I moved away until I had been gone for quite some time.

I moved to a place where no one knew me. Where the entire senior class had grown up together. I had no social life to speak of. I had 1 friend. She forced herself on me and we became great friends. Otherwise, I spent my days at the library reading, studying, doing my homework and acing my classes. I didn’t concern myself with boys, I didn’t concern myself with drugs or alcohol or sex.

Meet nearly 18, fully changed, almost graduated me.

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Moving in the middle of my senior year, changed my life. It also helped me to remember my worth. It put lifted my self esteem and I decided to make something of myself. I made the most of this new life that was handed to me and I did something different. I turned myself around. I went from an almost high school drop out to a high school graduate, bound for university life in the fall.

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After I graduated, I moved back home. I worked and kept to myself. I saved the money I needed to buy my textbooks and then when the three months were up, I headed off to college. My first year of college was full of making new friends, re-inventing myself and becoming a better person.

To Be Continued ….. (This story is a lot longer than I expected!!)