I Don’t Play Barbies With My Kid

Boo! Hiss!

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Yea, yea, I’ve heard it before. You can’t go anywhere on the internet without someone writing an article or posting in a forum shaming moms who don’t “entertain their kids.” Like, look, I get it. There are some moms out there that are super duper hands on. They are never on their phone, they wouldn’t think of cursing when angry, they are crafty and ever patient, they are always preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, their houses are immaculate (somehow) and they make it their job to play with their kids.

I’m sure these moms exist. I’ve not yet met one, but these moms are moms first and human beings second. And their way of parenting, is ok.

I’ll stand up and say, “I am a human being first.” And my way of parenting, is ok.

I love being a mom, I wouldn’t have worked so damn emotionally hard to conceive and have her if I didn’t want her. I didn’t want to give birth or grow a baby. But I wanted her and I did what needed to be done to have her. I love her to bits, she is my whole world. I wouldn’t trade her for anything or anyone else in this universe.

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But I’m not playing Barbies with my kid.

Plain and simple, I don’t want to. And while I may not do that, I do lots of other things with my kid and at the end of the day, whether I am on my ass on the dirty floor to play Barbies or not, she knows I love her to the moon and back.

To say that parents today don’t value their children or enjoy them like they should is a veiled way of saying that you believe parents today aren’t good parents because they make their kids entertain themselves and do things for themselves.

Newsflash though, there’s no way to win in a society where a majority of people are out there saying “Don’t give out participation ribbons!” and are the same people saying “You are neglecting your child if you don’t spend every waking moment with them.”

Let’s take a step back and actually look at the life of the mom you’re judging. Take in what she goes through on a daily basis and try to actually understand why she does the things she does – before you lay down the assumption that your way is the only way and her way makes her a shitty parent. That’s a lot to lay on a person. Any person. But especially a person who is doing the best they can, with the tools they have and their own life experiences to guide them.

We don’t need anymore of that bullshit as moms. Nobody’s baby came with a user manual. We are all winging this journey. This shaming and judging one another spans generations. It’s not just the “millennial” generation that are always harping on other moms. It doesn’t start there. It starts with older sisters, moms, aunts, mom-in-laws, and friends who have “been there before you” and have just the right remedy for everything your child needs and never mind that this is a new time and an altogether NEW kid that may require different approaches to thrive and feel loved.

To paraphrase my good friend who said: To disagree with what’s best for a kid, is fine – but to assume different values are inherently wrong, is not ok. To have different values of parenting doesn’t make someone a neglectful parent. To have different goals for your children’s future, doesn’t make you a bad parent. 
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So do I play Barbies with my kid? No. I don’t. Because I think she should be able to entertain herself. She should be able to allow herself to be “bored” and then find something to do. She can find things that bring her joy and not something I told her she has to like or play by my preconceived notions and ideas of what she should play. She can use her imagination and create stories of her own concoction, without the influence or drive from one of her parents.
I don’t play Barbies because inevitably she will want to play as soon as I get off work. I struggle to stay at work with constant anxiety and tenseness for 8 hours. When I get off work, I’m tired. Yea, I only work at a call center and I work in my basement, that doesn’t count? Well, tell my anxiety that. Because I’m still exhausted when I work a full shift at work.
I don’t want to get down on the floor and brush a Barbie’s hair for 3.79 minutes to have to haul myself back up when she’s finished before I even sit down. Which in turn will just make me more anxious and irritated with my kid for forcing me to do it in the first place when I am tired and anxious. It’s not fun for anyone.
To those who think I shouldn’t have had a child if I wasn’t “interested” in playing with her, I send you to a list of things that might happen if you are a mom or parent living with depression and anxiety. To those who say I shouldn’t have had a kid if I was just going to be anxious and depressed, I should have known better. Those people, can go screw themselves. Mental illness is a real thing and it’s something that many people struggle with. It should not and does not define the caliber of parent I am or can be.
So I’m not gonna play with Barbie. You know what I will do? What I will do is encourage her to use her imagination and creativity by suggesting things she and Barbie can do together. This child f mine has FIVE imaginary kids that she plays with on the regular. Since before she could actually play, she was following some imaginary people around. They play hide and seek, tag, and sometimes even musical chairs.
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Imagine 5 invisible children with her as they wonder at the lights on the tree.

You could say that’s because she’s lonely and she doesn’t have anyone there to entertain her. I say, she has an exceptional imagination and she’s a joy to watch as the creativity of the stories she tells of their adventures spin around in her eyes as she tells them. It brings her joy to tell those stories and while I may not play Barbies or participate in the actual adventure, I do set aside whatever I am doing to listen to those stories, to give commentary and reactions. Because at the end of the day, my attention to her creativity and her imagination and what is important to HER is what I am hoping to foster in my relationship with her.
So does my daughter WANT me to play Barbies with her? Of course she does. And I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t feel bad sometimes when I’m on my computer or watching a tv show instead. Because I do. I feel that guilt every time I do something for myself.
However, realistically moms are human beings. They are people and they need attention, me-time, downtime, kid free time. That’s not wrong or bad.  The point here is, I may not play Barbies with my kiddo or cater to her every need or want at that exact moment, but that’s not a bad thing. I may take time for myself, I may send her to play with those toys so I can have a moment to myself. This is not a bad thing.
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When moms sacrifice everything they have, including their identity, their hobbies, their own self care needs, it causes poor parenting. It causes resentment and regret, guilt and depression. None of these would be a good model of parenting for anyone. Let’s just be real. These things are a real fact of parenting, and it’s not something we like to acknowledge or take ownership for.
Society and earlier generations say you have to be perfect, you have to be attentive and at the beck and call of your child. Being a mom is now your identity. You are no longer a person, an employee, a wife, a sister, an aunt. You are a MOM. You have no aspirations for your life or your family, and it’s selfish if you think you should or can have such notions.
I want my daughter to see what an independant woman looks like. I want her to feel what being empowered to make her own choices and decisions feels like. And come to terms with the consequences or rewards for those actions. I want to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity and that’s not done by playing or doing for her. It just doesn’t.
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My daughter is incredibly impatient. She wants things done, her way, right now. That’s not how the real world works. Does it help her to stop whatever I am doing to do exactly what she wants in that moment? Or is it better to allow her to make choices on her own. Or to control herself and be patient. Isn’t it more realistic to teach her that she can’t have everything she wants and that sometimes Mommy is busy? People are busy.
I let her do all sorts of things. I let her make her own sandwich because she actually eats it when she makes it and I’m right there watching her do it, no sharp objects are involved. Making up a game to entertain herself is just the same. She will learn what she likes to do and what she doesn’t like to do and she gets to decide that, it’s all up to her.As well as knowing that she’s capable of doing things for herself.
It’s about problem solving, critical thinking, curiosity and independence. None of these things are inherent in our DNA, and none of these things are bad. While some people think the problem with the world’s kids today is that they are being coddled to or fawned over all the time. That is likely a true statement. Its an unpopular belief among parents out in the wild to actually discuss and talk about the hard shit that you go through. If it isn’t roses and rainbows 24/7, you must be doing something wrong. But we shouldn’t coddle our kids or they become assholes.
Which way do you want it?
Reality check, people, moms need time and attention too. Period. It’s time we embrace the fact that our little people are in fact, just that, people. They have their own wants, needs, and personalities. They learn from us self-control, patience, kindness, and above all being a decent human being – so that 20 years from now you aren’t bailing them out of jail because they didn’t get their way, or someone didn’t do what they wanted or play with them the right away, and they resolved it by punching some dude in the face.
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So before you tell me to be a role model to my child, think about the perspective I’m attempting to give my child and the kind of life I want to provide for her, before you just assume that I’m a lazy, no good, neglectful mom. Perhaps I’m already the role model I want to be and the one my child (not yours) needs to have.
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I’m Not The Right Kind of Mom

I’ve struggled with whether or not to post this. Its been on my mind for a while. But, I do feel like moms get a bad wrap for not expressing “correct” feelings or for not being “the right kind of mom.”

It’s been weighing on me for months, really, this sense of not being good enough. Not being “cut out” to be a mom. Of questioning our decision to have a child and then myself in specific raising her. I’m deep in the anxiety that I was never meant to be a mom, that I am just not supposed to be a good one. I’m not alone. Which is why I’m not going to shy away from this topic any longer.

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And that’s because, the stigma about being a “bad mom” or a “hot mess” mom has a lot of negativity attached to it.  If you don’t love parenthood you are seen as a bad person. If you don’t want to spend all the time with your child, people look at you like you are lazy. If you don’t bathe your child every single night, you must be negligent.

Let’s get honest.

I spend a good deal of my day when I’m not working, being irritated by the singing, the talking, the climbing, the whining, the questions, the chanting of certain words like “mom” and “why.”  I spend a lot of time being annoyed by the repetitive statements or questions. I’m exhausted a majority of the time by finding my 4 year old under my feet YET AGAIN. The consistent need to be entertained and my consistent disinterest, is for sure in direct correlation.

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I’m not the mom that sits on the floor and finds joy in playing pretend with dolls for another time. I don’t want to oversee yet another one color painting and then clean it up. I don’t particularly care about bedtime stories every night or watching her make, yet another mess, with the bath water splashing.

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I’m not the right kind of mom, because we should all be loving every moment of this. We shouldn’t complain about the fact that our children are driving us nuts, that we don’t want to be surrounded by their kisses every second, and we should be grateful to have someone who loves us unconditionally. I find myself more snappy than loving, more stern than soft, more no than yes. And for that, I feel guilty. I feel like I’m screwing up my kid with my annoyance, with my irritation of her generally childlike antics, and my overall disdain for feeling smothered and claustrophobic by my child.

This is a side effect of my anxiety, I’ve learned after several months of therapy. Loud noises, repetitive statements, the endless questions grate on my nerves and I tend to lash out. I try so hard to be the mom I’m supposed to be and smile and bear it. I pick my battles, I hold off the sheer annoyance I feel, until I can’t hold it in anymore. And then for a few days or a few weeks, I withdraw into myself. I spend more time in bed than at work, I am less likely to go on adventures or rock finding excursion. I’m more harsh in my “teaching” and my sensitive little girl takes it to heart.

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I see it in her eyes when she hears “Don’t do that.” again when she’s singing the same sound over and over, louder and louder. I see it in the slump of her shoulders when I shake my head and nip the jumping on the bed, and thus landing onto me in the bud. I see the slight downturn of disappointment in her lips when she asks if we can go for a walk and I’m just not feeling it and instead say “Maybe later.”

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That makes me feel worse. Because I know she’s just being a kid. She’s not doing anything wrong and I love her to bits. I literally can’t even imagine my life without her. I’m in awe that we have a child every time I see her dance around the living room. But more often than not, I question whether I should be a mom at all. I clearly don’t enjoy a majority of it, and that’s a hard thing to admit. I don’t enjoy parenting, but I do enjoy my daughter.

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I feel like I have to justify that, because I feel like these words and sentiments automatically make people think I’m a monster. I’m terrible person, because I don’t enjoy or particularly like the idea of doing the “traditional” mom things. And I have been known to outwardly show it in the presence of my child.

I’m not the mom who enjoys going outside and playing hide and seek.

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I am not the mom who puts every single piece of scribbled artwork on the fridge.

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I am not the mom who watches movies with her without the cell phone in hand (because really? Who enjoys watching the same animated musical for the 60th time?) I am not the mom baking goodies and dessert for dinner. I am not the mom who cooks dinner every night, sometimes we feed her pizza, from the delivery and not with fresh garden products . OH NO!

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I am not the mom who schedules playdates. I am not the mom that does the dishes every night. I’m not the mom who bathes my kid every night and when I do – I leave her to play on her own. I’m not the mom who takes her to the park on fantastic weather days, every time it’s nice outside. I am not the mom who is actively sitting down to teach her how to read or write or memorize her numbers.

BUT. I am the mom who will cuddle her when she is sick, she can puke on me, and she has alot.

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I am calm and quiet when she needs someone to hug her after a hard day of being a kid. The mom that simply says, “I love you anyway.” when she’s mad enough to fling the hateful “I don’t love you!” around. I’m the mom that allows her to say “Mommy, that’s not right,” and she can speak her mind, voice her own opinions and feelings. I’m the mom with the patience for that.

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I’m the mom who stays up til late hours of the night to deck out a wagon that she will only appreciate for 20 minutes.

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I am the mom with the magic kisses for all her boo-boos. The mom who will help her crack the eggs, no matter how long it takes and how many shells I have to fish out – because I have learned this is an area I’m calm about. I’m the mom who fosters her sense of wonder and encourages her to ask those questions, even when I’m tired of answering them over and over.

I’m the mom who surprises her with elaborate birthday gifts like swingsets in the backyard.

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I’m the mom who will allow her to choose her own path – and that includes allowing her to wear whatever she wants,

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Encourages her to reach for the stars.

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Believe in fairies, and never lose sight of her imagination.

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I’m the mom that will open another package of beads that I didn’t really want to share when she asks if she can make a bracelet too. I’m the mom who diligently shows her how to thread the tiny beads onto the wire and teach her how to keep the wire sturdy and easy to work with.

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I’m not a June Cleaver mom and most days I feel like I’m failing at this, that I probably shouldn’t be a mom or I made a terrible mistake and I’m screwing up my kid in the process. If you feel like you are failing, I’m here to be a reminder to you that you are doing a great job. That while parenting isn’t rainbows and butterflies and it’s not all we post it to be; you are good enough. Your version of being a mom is unique. You don’t have to be good at or enjoy every part of it. Being a mom is usually a thankless, low paying, low incentive, morality draining job.

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But at the end of the day, you do the best you can and you know your kid knows you love them as much as you know you love them more than life without them. Hold your babies close and remember, this too shall pass and in the end, all that matters to raising beautiful human beings that you release into the wild to make their own way in this life.

Raise them with as little need of adult therapy as you can muster.

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Trapped Inside My Racing Mind

Dear Punky,

Mommy is so in love with you. So in love with your smile and your laugh. With your imagination and your creativity. Mommy is so in love with being your mom. So thankful to have that chance. But, while I sit here and think about all the things I am so thankful for and so happy to have, a weight lays heavy on my heart.

I will never be the mom who participates in school functions that involves ‘fitting in’ with other moms. I won’t be the mom who chaperones your dances (I’m sure you will be thankful for that). I won’t be the mom who is actively involved in a play date group. My mind doesn’t allow me to feel comfortable in any of those settings. I hope that when you get older, it will not weigh on your heart as heavy as it weighs on mine.

As you get ready to turn 3 and a half, AND A HALF (where did the time go), I wonder what I have done to facilitate friendships for you – or have I contributed in isolating you. I try. I hope you know that I try. I intend to do so many things with you.

Even a trip to the park makes me uncomfortable. Makes me tired. Makes my hands sweat and my mind blur out of focus.

Will that strange mom I don’t know try to talk to me? Did I encourage her to come over with some look or something? What is so interesting about me that she has to come over here and talk to me? What do I possibly have in common with that woman? What does my face look like right now? Oh my god, I know I must be the most awkward person on the planet. This woman thinks I’m weird. Oh look, I’m the weirdo who came with her kid to the park by herself and doesn’t make any attempt to talk to adults, just her kid. That mom says you are adorable, of course you are. Did that come out snotty? Shit, I didn’t mean it to. “Your little girl is brave!” Is she secretly judging my parenting, letting my three year old climb this gigantic damn tower. A tower that the sign clearly says is made for 5 and up! Is she waiting for me to fail. Am I waiting for me to fail? Do I look fat in the shirt, I probably shouldn’t have worn this color, the pattern is too much. Maybe I can go sit on this bench over here, oh, now the whole park can see all my rolls. You’re the kid with the fat mom, awkward mom.

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All these thoughts go through my head, in a matter of mere minutes in the park. I want to enjoy my time with you. I hide behind the camera instead, so that I don’t have to engage with random people. Oh, but look, now I’m the mom on the cell phone, not paying attention to her kid. The park is exhausting.  So when you ask me to take you, I want to say yes, and in most cases I say, “Yes, baby, we can go later.” Because I have every intention of getting off my couch and out of my laptop and taking you outside to play with other kids. But, my dear one, Mommy buries her head deeper into her own thing, so she doesn’t have to think about what will happen when we step outside the door and greet the day you are sure to have a blast in. SO we don’t end up going.

Let’s don’t forget the ride to the park.

Are you buckled in right? Is the carseat proper? Oh jeez, don’t post that picture, someone will surely have something to say about the way she’s sitting in there. It’s probably wrong. Look both ways as we drive across the street, what if someone side swipes us? What if she unbuckles herself back there? Those M&M’s you just had to have at the store and just couldn’t wait til we got home to open, I opened it. But then all I could think about is – it could choke her and then I won’t be able to get back there fast enough. Then I will have a wreck and I will kill my kid. Knowing my luck, I’ll be the one to live. I can’t live without this kid. And if we don’t crash, what if I leave her in the back, no baby don’t stop talking back there, I zone out sometimes and I don’t want to forget you back there. Sing me a song, tell me a story, and though I don’t sound like I’m listening, I am. Oh I am. It is reminding me that you are back there – because there are so many times that I have looked in the back seat and expected you back there and you aren’t. It only takes one slip of the mind. No matter how precious you are to me.

Sweet girl, I know you get sad when I go to work, I get sad too. Believe me – it takes every ounce of my energy to push myself out the door every morning. A battle, a war inside my mind. And I love this job. Don’t you know, this job is the best thing that could have ever happened to Mommy. But I still war with myself about leaving and driving there and being gone and not seeing all the things you are doing here. I would rather be sitting on our couch, watching you build a fort or serenade with a new made up song. But mostly, I would just like to zone out and not be in a car on my way to work, away from you.

What happens if someone tailgates me too close in the morning traffic? What if I sneeze too hard and close my eyes, veer to too much to the right and cause a wreck? What happens to you when I die? What happens to your mama? If I don’t make it to work, we don’t have the money for the new house we live in. If I don’t make it to work, you don’t get food in your belly. If I don’t make it home, who will tuck you in at night? If I don’t go to work, I can’t get you presents and fun stuff. But why go to work, it doesn’t pay enough to get you into preschool, where you could socialize, where you could be with other kids and not be sitting at home, bored and stir crazy. But to work I must go.

My mind is not that of a calm and peaceful stream. Instead it is a raging rapid of thoughts and worries. irrational thoughts. It should probably only get worse as you get older and though I am so thankful for all the things you bring to my life, I’m sorry you got me for your mom. Because it won’t be easy. It will be frustrating. For both of us.

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We will butt heads, we are similar in that way. Stubborn, strong willed, whatever you want to call it. My psychiatrist (that’s the fancy doctor who gives me medication for these thoughts that don’t quiet) just says I might be made to be irritable. Basically, this moodiness, this reactive nature I have is not going away, it’s not something we can medicate. It’s his clinical way of saying, your Mommy will always be a bitch. Always lash out and always react to the most ridiculous of things. So in some ways, I’m a lost cause, in that way. Something we just have to live with – work together with. My patience is thin, my nerves are short, my worries are plenty.

But I will always wrap you up in my arms when you are hurt. I will always tell you that your drawing is beautiful, even as you beat yourself up because you “messed it up” or “ruined it” because to me, all the things you do are beautiful. You are the beauty of my world. You bring the bright spots to my mind. I will always hug you and kiss you as I tell you that you can’t lock your Mommy out of your bedroom. Not because I don’t respect your need for space or “alone time” or even privacy at three years old; but because the only thing I can think about when I can’t get to you is that if you get hurt, I can’t be there at a moment’s notice to kiss it away, make sure you are alright.

When you jump off the side of the couch, I don’t scold you because it’s wrong, or that I don’t want to encourage your adventurous spirit. My heart catches in my throat every moment. And while you are having the time of your life, flying through the air, the end result for me is seeing you face first on the hardwood floor, bloody lips or worse.

I’m not the mom who will toss you up in the air and catch you. I’m not the mom who will encourage you to swim in the deep end. And for that, I apologize. Its selfish of Mommy, it’s not fair to you.

May you always keep your creative spirit. May you always keep your adventurous spirit, in spite of me.

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May you always know that I love you in the best ways I know how. May you always know that I want to keep you safe from harm, but I recognize I’m not able to do that. I also recognize you aren’t as breakable as my mind makes me think you are. You are a strong little girl. A smart little girl. Sometimes too smart.

So as you grow, let’s grow together, love. And hopefully, I won’t damage you. I won’t break you down to where I am. My hope is not to teach you to be afraid of the world. My hope is to help you venture out and see the world. My hope is not to teach you to mistrust everyone, to second guess a compliment or a friendship. I hope you don’t grow up to wonder what your friends really think of you when you aren’t around.

And maybe, just maybe, even when we fight and butt heads, because we will; oh we will, my love; you will know that I love you more than any person on this planet. In the whole universe. I keep you with me, you lighten my burdened mind and my worried spirit, even if it doesn’t appear that way.

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I’m a mom with agoraphobia with associated panic disorder and PTSD. It’s a part of who I am. It’s who I will always be. I’m the mom that is described in this letter and so much more that I can’t put into words. My mind doesn’t stop, my world doesn’t stop spinning, but my sweet sweet little girl keeps me grounded, here in the present and as light as my mind will allow me to be.

One Woman is Smashing her Fears to Bring Awareness to Mesothelioma

I was recently contacted by a man named Cameron Von St. James. He left me a message in my comments and as always, I was sure it was probably spam mail. I Googled his email address and noticed he had left the same message on several other blogs. That really wasn’t making me very optimistic about the message left on the blog. But he wasn’t trying to sell me anything and to my knowledge I didn’t get a virus from his message.

Instead, I received a very nice email in response to my attention to his comments. I was asked to feature his wife’s story on my blog and while it doesn’t really fit with the general topic of my blog, what it does fit with is humanity. It is an inspiring story about a woman who survived Mesothelioma.

When he contacted me, I had no real knowledge on Mesothelioma. I knew what it was, a cancer, but I didn’t know the symptoms, treatment, or know anyone who might have been effected by it.

Now, I know about LungLeavin’ Day and how it was started by one woman affected by this disease and how it is about more than what they set out to make it about. It’s about letting go of your fears, celebrating the freedom from those fears, and making people aware of the things that are most important to you.

Whether they meant for this event to mean more than their intended cause, it does. It also brings awareness to a cause that most people don’t really think about until it effects their family.

The best way to tell his wife Heather’s story, is to watch this video. I didn’t choose to write about her story because of the disease she survived. I didn’t choose to showcase her cause on my blog because of the message she gives.

I chose to feature this on my blog because I felt a kinship with a fellow mother. I felt a kind of warmth and connection to a mother who was told she would die before her daughter was two years old.

I am always applauding those people who are strong enough to share their weaknesses with the world. To help the world be a better place. To raise awareness to the next generation for understanding. And for those reasons, the connection and the bond across the world wide web, I wanted to learn more about the disease and the family.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer – generally a result of exposure to asbestos. Heather’s own father was in construction and like a true Daddy’s Girl, she liked to wear her father’s coat around the house and outside. Her exposure started from something so simple, so sweet as a coat her father wore. It likely smelled like him, it likely covered her in warmth like him, it likely gave her comfort and I’m saddened that the thought of that coat may not have the same sweet memories when she thinks of that coat. I hope that she does.

That coat made her a fighter. That coat made her a survivor. I don’t know Heather personally, but I do know that she is an 8-year survivor of a disease that doctor’s told her she had 15 months to live from. I don’t attempt to speak for her or her experiences, but I can attempt to try and put myself in her shoes.

I won’t ever know the thoughts that went through her mind during that time, and I will never be able to fully comprehend what it means to get that diagnosis. However, as a woman who does suffer from something that won’t be going away, a silent disease, an unseen disorder, I know the feeling of wanting the world to be more aware of the things you are suffering or bring awareness to the disease that affected her life so much!

Lung Leavin’ Day is celebrated by Heather and her family, and I’m sure it’s reached many, on February 2nd. Every year, this year being the 8th year she’s been cancer free, they stand outside in their backyard, writing their biggest fears on a plate, and then smashing those fears in the fire.

While it may be a simple thought, it seems to easy to do, and yet, to shed those fears, the admit those fears, to share those fears; takes courage. Heather has had courage for 8 years.

So you can go to the website for Lung Leavin’ Day and write your own fears on a plate, and virtually smash it. Why not try it? I did!

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Then I smashed the plate and it felt pretty good. It didn’t really take the anxiety away from me – obviously, but the sentiment behind it was very inspiring.

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**I am not paid for this post. It is simply a post for awareness**

If you would like more information you can visit:

http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/

http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/

Moving From Baby to Toddler

Our little Punky is going to be 2 in four and a half months. When the hell did that happen?! I’m STILL astonished we even have a child. I’m STILL astonished when I look at her and feel like I’m in a dream. Like is this really my life?

I know that work has been a little stressful for me and frankly, I’m pretty sure I had a mild nervous breakdown a couple weeks ago when the supervisor position went haywire. But, I saw a side of me that I haven’t seen in years. I don’t want to see that side of me. I’ve worked very very hard to leave her behind, the bitter, angry, selfish, bitch me has no place in this new life we are building with our most precious baby girl turned toddler.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am going to be getting my medication readjusted and I’m relieved about it. I’m not a nutjob, seriously, but I have a lot of mood problems and my hormones are still out of whack from having Punky, and my anxiety  is “through the roof” if you hear K tell it. So, I’m getting it fixed.

I also learned, while I have always known this, that my childhood was lacking in places I didn’t really notice until I had a kid. I know my parents did the best they could, I didn’t really lack for much, but my noticing it now, makes me even more determined to make sure that Punky has the childhood I didn’t have.

With that said, we do so much with her that I never got to do. Tuesday, we went to the pumpkin patch and she had fun, even though she didn’t have a nap and kind of started to melt down. In the end, I think it was a success.

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This picture warms my heart, I absolutely love seeing Punky and K together.

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Punky is checking out the chickens.

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Taking a little break and looking around the scenery.

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This last week or so we have been putting together Punky’s big girl room. We finally got the non-essential furniture out of there and now, I’m totally going nuts! We have picked the universe theme. I like the sciencey bit of it and she really enjoys the stars and the lights that go with it.

We live in an apartment, so we aren’t supposed to paint the walls, so I did have to improvise some of the wall decor!

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So, while Punky heads into being 2 years old, we are getting ready to put together her toddler bed, finish up her room and continue to make me thrilled to have the child we have, tantrums and all!!

My next post will likely not be until after Halloween or the Halloween party we are going to this weekend. More pictures of that to come, for sure!

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!