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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Our Adventures Thus Far

So, I had every intention at the beginning of the year, to really be more consistent with the blog. I am just not feeling the writing stuff as much as I am listening to Podcasts and I have thrown around the idea of starting my own, with just Punky and I talking. We have some crazy fun conversations sometimes. But, I think since I’ve been following most of the same people here and on Facebook/Instagram I don’t really have anything new to talk about that I don’t already do on Facebook/Instagram.

But, I did come across the most amazing thing this month. It started with me being gifted a Birchbox subscription for Christmas. I love it. I am not a big make-up girl, but I love getting mail that’s not bills and it’s always like opening a present every month. I get stuff for my hair, perfume, and then random make-up things I play with or give away. All in all it’s been a pretty awesome thing. Upon seeing Mommy receive these fun boxes in the mail, Punky expressed that she wished people sent her mail.

So Kim and I looked into subscriptions for kids. There are a lot of them to choose from, but man, this one is my favorite. We got Koala Crate and I’ve been eyeballing it since I first saw it many moons ago in a Facebook promoted post or something. But, I’ve always been kind of skeptical about doing subscription stuff for Punky. She flakes out pretty easily. I bought a subscription to ABC Mouse and while she loved it, she needed a lot of help or had to use one of our computers when we needed it and the subscription soon lost its value. We got her a subscription to an android app for books. And she spent a great deal of time with it, I don’t remember what its called right now, Owl something or another, but it’s just books for all ages and topics and she just had to touch the picture and it read the book her. She played it for about a week and that too went off on the wayside.

So imagine my skepticism when I read I was going to have to spend $20 a month just to send my kid some trinkets in a box. And I didn’t get to pick the topic or the theme for the month. I didn’t know what would be coming until she opened it. I can’t prepare. It’s a bunch of crafts and I’m a crafty mom, but I don’t want to make a mess or have to do too much that I have to be involved in. So, all in all, this seemed like a bad idea, but Punky really wanted mail. They had a special for $10 off the first box and since I pay $10 for my Birchbox a month, I figured, we could try it out and see what came of it. And if Punky really didn’t care for it, or wasn’t engaged enough, I would just say $10 well spent, no more needed.

Our crate came today and I did a huge post on Facebook about how much I love and how awesome it was and it was only after the first of THREE activities. Now, I’m blogging about it, because I needed a better space to give me the time and attention our fun today really deserves.

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Punky immediately noticed there was a package on the porch and while she didn’t know it was for her, she sure loves opening the boxes that come to the house. She just loves it, no matter who it’s from. THEN, I read who the box was addressed to and it said her name and she was so excited that she got a package in the mail. She was just delighted.

We opened it up and found all these neat things she couldn’t stop touching. But, all the pieces were durable and kid friendly. So that was nice. She man-handled the latches on the cardboard for the windcar and it didn’t rip or break, and I was impressed. Because she is good at destroying stuff.

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We put the car together and there are four sails to go with it, made with different shapes, sizes and materials. She was able to follow my simple step by step instructions and put the car together, ‘mostly’ by herself. Which was awesome for me, because while I like to do things with my kid, I am not a sit down and play kinda mom. I really liked that everything came in the crate. Like, literally everything was in there. From the stickers to hold it together, to the oil pastel crayons to decorate. Once I sat at the table with her, I didn’t have to get up again to go get tape or scissors or whatever else might have been needed. It just came with it.

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So, I balked at the $20 a month when I went to check it out originally. But, since the box has come; I realize the $20 is probably a lot less than it should be priced. It’s affordable for the quality, attention to detail and the genius idea they have. It’s tailored to my kid’s age, so I don’t have to worry about it being too big for her or too little. They made WIND fun for my kid.

With the windsock, the second activity we did, she was able to see how the wind outside moves things and in what direction it moves. All the stuff came with it, down to the string you need to tie it to something. Seriously. Every piece that you need for these activities is in the crate. It’s so easy to use and it’s exciting to see her eyes light up when she makes something on her own and then gets to play with it.

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We took the windsock outside and let it blow in the wind, talking about how the wind moves and such. The final activity in the box was a “weather chart”. It has a laminate type surface and re-useable stickers with the different weather on it. Sunny, Windy, Snowing, etc. she gets to change her chart everyday to show the temperature and the weather and then check her windsock to see how windy it is. She’s absolutely delighted.

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As a mom who’s not hands on all the time, this is the perfect amount of activity and engagement for me. The supplies are phenomenal and the quality of the items inside are both kid friendly, simple, and well worth the money. I am looking forward to the next crate to come. I am hoping to blog on this each month, because this Koala Crate is not just teaching my kid about different things, this month being wind, but it’s teaching me ways to spend time with my kiddo that doesn’t involve disingenuous Barbie dialogue or playing an app on my phone.

So, if you are intrigued and you want to try it out, I think you should! They have crates that are specific to the child’s age. We have the Koala Crate for 3-4 year olds, but you can get crates for up to 16 years of age I believe.

If you want to try it out and you want the $10 off your first month. If you are skeptical like I was, use my code and you can get that $10 off using my code to refer you to this awesome company. http://doodle.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=RachaelF6

I’m excited to go on this Koala Crate journey with my kid and hopefully you will join us! #koalacrate

 

 

On This … Our Wedding Day.

Which was not to be.

We didn’t get married. We didn’t call to check on the status. Instead, I drove home from my parents’ house 3 hours away with a carsick toddler who had to pee (potty training) every five minutes down the highway.

By the time we got home, I had stopped at no less than 4 gas stations and hauled a toddler and her portable potty chair ring into their bathroom. Sometimes she went, sometimes, she had already gone. Thank goodness for pull-ups on long car rides.

I also got to clean up puke on the side of the highway. Lots and lots of puke. So much puke that I had to change my kid, wipe down the seat, and then put her back in it. Puke in the hair, puke on the hands, puke on her most favorite blanket. But, once she was done puking and all cleaned up, she was better. Feeling better enough to keep watching her movie.

Mommy was tired. Worn out and tired.

We had a nice visit with my family though. Lots of nice times and sweet moments. And it took my mind off the fact that we weren’t getting married. I got to spend time with people I love and people who were equally as disappointed that we weren’t getting married.

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It’s nice to have supportive family who love us so much. I really is. Of course, there are some well wishers and people who really do mean well – but let’s just say the one thing not to say to console a person who CAN’T GET MARRIED is to tell them that marriage is just a piece of paper.

Or that we don’t need a piece of paper to know how much we love each other.

That’s not the point. The love isn’t the point. This marriage, this paper that so many straight couples (who I love dearly and I know meant no disrespect) take for granted gives so many rights and privileges that we don’t have.

So, actually – yes. WE do need that piece of paper. To make our lives complete and legal and as equal in the eyes of the law, we do need that paper.

In order for Kim to make medical decisions on my behalf without the hassle of courts and lawyers and still the possibility of a judge declaring its not legal. We do need that paper.

In order for us to be equal parents to our daughter, make decisions in all aspects of her life – financial, education, medical – we do need that paper.

I think people forget, or they are just not aware of the many rights that you are afforded when you get married. It’s not about declaring your love to someone, we’ve been doing that for 11 years. Now, it’s about the same rights. The same standard of care we should be getting from our government in the form of taxes, spousal benefits, and guardianship of our daughter.

Its the legal aspect that means the most.

So do I need a piece of paper to tell the world I love the woman I have been with for the last 11 years? No. That’s a given.

I know the phrase “Its just a piece of paper” is one given out of love and consolation. One that is supposed to make us feel better.

Unfortunately. It only means that there are still people in the world, people who love and support us, who don’t fully understand the ramifications of our being unable to marry.

It’s not about religious beliefs. It’s not about love. It’s not about some ceremony or tradition. Its not about procreation or even raising a kid in the ‘right family.’

You can read about what it’s really about: It’s about the rights we don’t have.

It will come and I think that’s what is so frustrating. This delay is just a delay. An unnecessary waste of energy, time, and emotional heartbreak. In the end, what is another month, really? What has changed? Not much.

Other than the idea that we should have been getting married today. And we didn’t.

Surprise Visits, Starting School Again, and Lots of Playdates

We got a knock at the door last Saturday around 8:00 PM and it was my Mama. I was so excited to see her. She didn’t tell me she was coming and it was quite a great surprise. We were just getting ready to put Punky down for bed and they saved her from bedtime. She got to stay up for another 30 minutes to an hour longer than normal.

My mom and step dad live about 2 and a half, three hours away from us, so we don’t get to see them as often as I would like. I was really missing on my mama too! And, my step dad doesn’t generally venture of his own comfort places, so it was a great big deal that he came with her on their adventure.

He actually played the XBox 360 with Kim most of the night, but my Mama and I got to sit on the beds in our basement home and just chit chat. We played some games. They don’t have internet and don’t have a computer or Facebook or anything fancy on their phones, so when I pulled out the Nook and we played some “brain games” my mama was having a blast.

We didn’t get to bed until late, like 3 in the morning!

We, meaning Peyton, got up around 7:45 this morning and we were watching some TV while the rest of the house slept until around 8:30 or 9. It rained last night, so the wagon was kinda full of water, but Grandpa wanted to take Punky for a ride in the wagon and after much convincing and wiping down the wagon from wetness and she got in the wagon and went for an early morning stroll.

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Miss Punky isn’t really too warm and friendly with men she’s not been around much, but she really took to my step dad and it was a little shocking. I haven’t seen her warm up to a man that quickly. There are very few men she lets take her and do things without needing her Mommy or Mama to be around her.

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My mama and I took her to the bookstore for some new books. I am looking forward to purchasing some of the books we saw online though, where they will be cheaper!

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Before they went home again, we took them to the fountains out by City Hall and let them play in the water with Punky.  Its a great free activity for the kiddos in the heat. And of course, Miss Punky loves it!

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My step dad doesn’t usually come when my mom makes one of her rare visits, so it was a treat to see them all three together! I don’t usually spend much time with him, he’s kind of a homebody and tends to stay to himself during our visits too – he’s just quiet. So, it was awesome to get some time with him as well and I know Punky enjoyed it!

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We talk to my mom on the phone frequently, but she wasn’t really interested in talking on the phone – she doesn’t really know them very well, we don’t get to visit as much as I would like. But since they have gone home, she has been talking about them quite a lot and she can recognize them in pictures which was not the case before.

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So, in the move, we now have a backyard to let Punky play in – so she gets to be outside a lot more than she was before. Not to mention that she starts school again on Monday, and I’m so happy about that.

The other day, Punky’s aunt figured out a way to give her a TBall stand. So we spent a great deal of time outside hitting the ball with a bat. She’s not super great at it, but she’s super cute at it regardless!

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I just can’t get over how incredibly big she is getting. She’s so vocal and she has quite a mind of her own. This morning, she told me “I want to go potty training”. I have no idea where she got that from, but its adorable that she is articulating her wish to potty train. For now, we are not quite ready yet as moms, but we will get there. Right now, she will come to the bathroom with me and she will sit on her potty, so she gets practice.

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We also went to the first playdate of the summer. I know, I know – its halfway through summer. But with all the moving and crap going on, we just haven’t had time to do anything – or rather, Mommy has been too tired. But with Punky being out of school for almost a month, its been making me sad she doesn’t have companionship other than adults and I set up a park play date.  The kiddos in her age group have all been hanging around each other (well Punky has) for a little over a year. Its nice to see her grow up with kids, regardless of how often we see them!

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This week has been full of collages. I love this one of Punky and her very best playmate, I call her Cheeks on the blog. She’s pretty cute and shy, where Punky is more adventurous and loud. I just know they are going to be the best of friends, though I have a feeling …. when they get older, it will be my kid doling out the bad advice and being the bad influence!

Facebook feed was full of some collage challenges, which while they don’t mean anything, I thought the sentiment behind them were nice. I participated in both challenges.

SO, we had the “Super Mom Challenge” – you post pictures of you and your kid or cute pictures of your kid.

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And I don’t know what it was called, but the challenge was to find 5 pictures you thought made you look beautiful, so I had to break into the archives, back when I was a little more interested in having my picture taken. Normally, I’m the one taking the pictures, behind the camera, for a reason.

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So overall, we have been busy, keeping busy really.

I am headed to a baby shower for Kim’s cousin this afternoon, and I’m sure it will be super cute and who doesn’t love celebrating new kids coming to their giant Italian family! Literally, there’s a new baby or three every year. Its exciting and overwhelming the larger the family grows, the louder it gets at family gatherings!! Its so nice that I have seen a lot of these kids grow up though, its pretty astonishing that I have known them since they were little bitty and now there are a few graduating this year or just overall getting bigger! But I suppose when you have been with someone for 11 years, you invest in the family too and I most certainly am grateful for all of them!

The move has been pretty seamless – so far, I don’t have any complaints …. well, except that Punky doesn’t want to eat dinner. We have been asking that she take 1 bite of each food on her plate before she can have dessert. So far, she’s had no luck with this and has gone without dessert more times than she’s had it.  Otherwise, we are getting into a nice routine (I can’t speak for Kim!) and I think its going nicely.

I should have made a summer bucket list like the rest of you, but we have just been so distracted, its not been on the radar, maybe next year!

Oh and PS. If you don’t know the words to the “Hotdog Dance” from Mickey’s Clubhouse, you are missing out! (AKA: I envy you….)

Settling In and Smoothing Out

There are hard parts about this move and the transition from independence to the changes that we have had to come to terms with. I like to think the hardest part right now is that we had to take Punky out of school, because we got so backed up on tuition and it now needs to be caught up. It will get there, but it is a sacrifice that I am so very sad about – she was starting to thrive socially, her teachers kept telling me how much more she was talking and interacting. She’s a shy kid and she’s not exactly a social butterfly – especially when she started school, so to hear those things – made me so happy! And, now, we are back to an only child being at home with adults.

The good part about the move is Miss Punky is sporting the best tan on a toddler I have ever seen. Seriously. Grammy has a small pool and our little fish is out there in her swimsuit as often as she can possibly get an adult to take her out there. She goes on trips to the park with Papa in the wagon.

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Yea, we have a park – literally in our backyard. Do we live in the basement, yea, but we also live in a neighborhood. Last time I pulled Punky around in the wagon – over to the park that is pretty much right across the street, I got to thinking that we didn’t have this when we were living our apartment. We had a cluster of apartment buildings, but we didn’t have ‘neighbors’ or kids playing in the streets. We didn’t have houses to walk past and she didn’t really see lawns being mowed.

Another silver lining, new things to explore. Of course more thing to hurt ourselves on. I fell down one of the three sets of stairs today and busted my knee and threw my camera on the concrete of the garage in the process. I am currently wearing my knee brace, but I think I will live! Punky’s lip is healing up nicely, this morning it was scabbed over, and I was resisting the urge to pull it off, it fell off by itself this evening before dinner.

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My little monkey is such a little curious thing. So it was great to see her be able to explore and enjoy herself. Its super hot, so when we get the chance to make it to the park in the early hours of the day – when it is cooler outside, we take the chance. She finds all sorts of great things to play on and I love capturing the moments. With a pool and a park in our backyard, this summer may be the best yet, no matter where we live!

 

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Another weight lifted off my shoulders this week, when my FMLA was approved for my absences as work. It means that for all things that have gone this last year, my job is being held for me. Thank goodness it was approved. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have a job and I am not dismissive about the fact that there are a lot of things we need to work on and I have a plan in place – but its a weight that makes me feel lighter and a little more free.

With all the weights getting lighter from my shoulders, it feels like someone else is holding onto the reigns and keeping me afloat. My heart isn’t as heavy and for now, I will let someone else push me. (AKA, Miss Punky was insistent that she push me on the swing, no she did not want to sit on the seat, Mommy, you sit and I will push you.) Silly as it is, but being pushed on the swing – really gave me a sense of freedom and it was great to hang out with my little girl in what feels like the longest time we have ever gone since the last time we spent time together.

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We get to spend more time together lately, and with the basement being a smaller space, we spent it closer together. I really do love coming home from work and the three of us going down into the basement and sitting on my bed with  my little girl and talking about what she did that day. We don’t spend all night down there – we sit down to dinner with Grammy and Papa, that’s different for us to, cooked meals and sit down at a table together for dinner, we didn’t do that at our home. So many good things are changing as a result of something that may not have been so good.

Kim and I have things to talk about again. I mean, I can come home and we can just decompress and talk about our day and talk about something other than the mundane and same old thing. We have conversations. We are closer. The metaphor of the small space, the closeness of the basement means we are all becoming closer, bonding and in a way, regardless of what I expected – its a great outcome for us, so far.

 

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Of course, we have only been here for three days – its still the beginning and I have no misgivings that this will be the way this situation will stay. I am sure there will be days when the closeness is the last thing I want, when the lack of private space is the last thing I want, when the constant companionship is something I will want to get away from and have no where to go. But, for now, its just calm and comforting.

We are making new adventures. New memories. We are building new hopes and new plans and new situations. We are exploring, growing and expanding and in all of it, my only hope is that we can bring forth a sense of strength, courage, and determination to our daughter. She doesn’t have to know the circumstances of our situation, the analogies of the bottom in the life we are in right now  – she doesn’t need to know the tears shed behind closed doors or the decisions made in the conversations we have in the dead of night – in the whispers words we speak in desperation of what’s left for us to do.

Instead, she will only know happy. She will only know the memories and the joy. I will only allow her to know the light and the peace and the childhood that she is to have. She is not a grown up and by whatever means necessary, she will not have to be one as soon as I had to be one – I will keep her little and I will let her be a child for as long as I possibly can keep her that way.

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Being a grown up is over-rated and believe me when I say if I could figure out how to go back and make that part stop, be a child longer, savor the playful moments longer, linger in childlike joy and entertain my teddy bears and Barbies just a little more – I would! Alas that’s not allowed, once you are grown up, there’s no turning back and I will not force my baby to grow up. I won’t.

So we are making the best and we are slowly getting out of the holes and smoothing out the bumps. Its not a fix all and its most certainly not the end, but the beginning is looking bright.

Oh and as a side note, all heavy shit aside, I am so proud and pretty darn excited that my kid loves Minnie Mouse and Batman equally! 😉 Its a pretty fantastic thing to me. Raising a kid without stereotypes is my ultimate goal and so far, it’s working out. She thinks for herself and that’s just the way we want her to be!!

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Barely Afloat

I am pretty sure there is little else I can put on my shoulders right now, on my metaphoric plate of life. Literally, one more thing may cause me to topple over and explode – turn to dust, ash, disintegrate. And at this point, maybe that would be better.

In the last few months, I have developed what my therapist is calling Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. If you don’t know what that means, it means I am reluctant to leave my house – which is affecting my work attendance. By not attending work, affects our finances, as the only person making steady income to support our bills. Which means, we are very very behind on every bill we owe, including rent. A contributor to the reluctance to go to work is Kim’s health has been on the fritz lately, and I know I have discussed it here before.

She was having trouble walking, stumbling around, losing function in both her legs and her arms. She was becoming clumsy, dropping everything, the grip in her hands were gone. She was finding it difficult to see, focus on anything in her vision. She couldn’t hold our kid. She couldn’t help take care of her and it made me nervous to leave the house and leave the two of them without proper support.

It was starting to scare the shit out of me. Every doctor we went to see sent us to a new doctor, racking up more and more debt that we don’t have money for. When we Googled it, which remind me again, not to do that, I know – I know – we found that all the symptoms really pointed to something neurological, Multiple Sclerosis to be exact.

However, what we found out instead was Kim had developed Lithium poisoning. And Lithium poisoning is no joke. It can mess up a ton of things in the body and affects the body much like other neurological disorders.

We found out that due to her bipolar medication, Lithium, in three months, her kidney function was cut in half. She was being poisoned by the medication that was supposed to help her. This contributed to the symptoms that we originally were concerned may have been multiple sclerosis. The neurologist had her Lithium levels checked and they were well beyond a safe range and the psychiatrist took her off the medication for a bit.

So, while, currently we are seeing some improvement since she has been taken off it, she is still experiencing some of the symptoms on a smaller scale – like her hands still shake, but she is at least able to sign her name somewhat legible now. And, we are happy to know that she doesn’t have MS, but instead she was being poisoned.

**Which I know sounds terrible, perhaps even the same kind of terrible, but at least it’s been caught and likely reversible! I am trying to look on the bright side here!**

After the last three months of craziness with Kim’s health and my concern for leaving her alone with Punky, I wasn’t going to work and was focusing on taking care of things at home. What does that mean? It means we are so far behind in our bills and finances that we have to move out of our apartment and go live with Kim’s mom in their basement. Yes. We will be basement dwellers with a two year old. I’m so very not pleased about this, mostly because I feel like such a damn failure as a person, a partner, and a mother.

I’m 30 years old and we are going to pack all our things and go live with her parents. It continues to sadden me. I am so grateful that we have this option and we aren’t instead on the street somewhere, but it’s really a very humbling experience to know you can’t support your family or your kid the way you want to. I am still very grateful to have the support of her family around us right now when things are so out of whack mentally and physically with both of us. We both decided to break at the same time!

I’m also disappointed in myself that I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for so long that I broke our finances and was no longer able to be counted on to be a provider for our family. So while this is not the most ideal situation I would want us to be in, we will have more support from Kim’s parents while she is on the mend from her ordeal medically and I will be feeling more confident in leaving them alone – so that I can go back to work and start making money again.

Luckily for us, and one of the prouder moments of my last few months, Miss Punky isn’t the wiser of what’s going on. Its always my concern that she will never knew the struggles we go through – not like I did when I was growing up.

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Instead she doesn’t know what’s going on, but she’s still going to school, which we have had trouble paying the tuition on, but I just can’t let it go, yet. And she’s making friends and her teachers say she has really come out of her shell a lot! How in the world do I take that away from her!?

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She’s interacting, exploring and overall thriving in her toddler-age and that is something I am most excited about. So even though we have some troubles right now, the bright light of our life is always Punky, even when she’s driving me nuts – with whining and tantrums – a little hug or cuddle and my heart is unburdened a little and my spirit is uplifted just a bit more.

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We are in the process of packing up our belongings and finding a storage place to keep them for maybe 6 months or so, hopefully by then we will be back on our feet and house hunting. Rental houses, but house hunting nonetheless. I really don’t want to live in an apartment again. I would love to have Punky living in a house with a yard, where she can grow and thrive and play. And … maybe get that puppy she’s been asking for, thanks to her Mama’s suggestions!

So, while we are not really on the path I would like to be on for our future, it will only be for a small bit, a little while and in the end, the goal is to be better than we were to start with. Hopefully. Here’s to a big hope. So while this post may be full of what I feel like is overwhelming depression, we are wading in a pool of uncertainty, I’m not even sure where to begin – the future is in sight, the goal for better things is in our minds, but it sure does feel like a long way away!

Maybe Miss Punky will keep our spirits light by learning to play the piano! Or … just banging on the keys of the piano she discovered at Papaw’s house.

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The Year of 30

So, I have a few weeks until I am the big 3-0. I don’t think it has really hit me very much. I mean … not really. I joke about getting old and my knee is out of whack and I’m on a fair amount of meds. But in the end, 30 really isn’t much of anything. I guess we will see how I feel when I am actually 30. LOL.

What surprises me the most, is that my life has turned out the way it has. I thought, growing up, especially as a teenager, you were supposed to find your mate in high school, breed like rabbits, get divorced, and live forever unhappy.

And that just hasn’t happened.

Thank goodness for that!

Instead, I am spending my time with the little mini me that I have always dreamed of. I swear, our little chickadee is growing by leaps and bounds and if she doesn’t stop soon, I might just die of sadness.

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We have discovered that Miss Punky is obsessed with Batman. I have no idea how – because its not like we watch or read it. But she came home one day yelling out “Batman!” and “Fireball” that’s a new one.

She’s for real throwing fireballs at us. It pretty adorable, really.

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We had a pretty low-key weekend otherwise. I am working early every day this week, so it’s off to bed early for me. But, I just couldn’t go without sharing my most favorite pictures of this weekend.

Because let’s face it, a Batman tutu and pink converse is for sure the best fashion statement EVER.

I mean seriously. How can you not just die of absolute melting at this face? Maybe I’m biased?!

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She’s a singing fool. She knows all of “Ring Around the Rosie” and holds her own finger to turn around in circles for the song when her moms are just too tired to do it AGAIN. She does a generally interesting version of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” though the hand movements are spot on.

We introduced her to American Tail this weekend. My goodness, what a spectacle she made of herself! She was just so concerned every time the mice were attacked by cats. It was both heart warming and migraine inducing at the same time – each time the cats attacked, she shrieked and covered her mouth. It was super serious!

Don't mind me, yes it's another Batman shirt, because we isn't allowed to wear the giant tutu every moment of her life, like she would like.

Don’t mind me, yes it’s another Batman shirt, because we isn’t allowed to wear the giant tutu every moment of her life, like she would like.

So, we had a nice time at the park this morning, ran into some interesting people and had some interestingly dare-devilish moves from my monkey of a daughter!

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In the end, the weekend was full of some much needed Mommy, Punky time and we had a blast. It was nice weather and like my young babygirl who is now attempting to sleep, I am also exhausted and headed to bed. Not thrilled to start the work week, but we are truckin’ along regardless!

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Psst. If you haven’t noticed, there may be a new page up top.

17/52 – Windy Days In The Midwest

I’m feeling a little down today. Work was a bust and frankly, I’m exhausted with a migraine. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. In the meantime, here’s my most favorite shot from this week!

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Daddy Date Night and Other Musings

Tonight was the night of my hometown’s “Daddy Date Night”. I’ve never in my entire life understood the big deal behind this date night. Probably because I have never been. Well, I take that back. I went once, on the last year I could go in fifth grade and by then I was ‘too old to care”.

Looking at all the great pictures of my friends and family’s little girls getting all dressed up and going out with their dads, uncles, and other male figures in their lives. It made me really take notice that this will be a thing we may encounter with when Punky gets older.

Who knows if they will have such an event when she’s old enough for it, but given that it was around when I was in kindergarten in like 1990, I’m sure this time honored tradition isn’t going away.

She has plenty of male role models that can take her. In fact, unlike myself, growing up, she may have to pick who to take – they may all line up outside my door. In fact, considering the overwhelming love and support she has by one very doting godfather, super awesome and loving papas, and more uncles than one kid should ever have, I don’t think she will have a problem in this department.

It’s kind of nice thinking about them drawing straws to see who GETS to take her. LOL. Take a number – or well, she may be the only girl at the party with 60 gentlemen escorting her.

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So, its times like this that some people may worry about our daughter being raised by two moms. Where the Christian nay-sayers and the well to do marriage equality oppositions would be up in arms that my sweet girl just can’t possibly grow up a well adjusted, loved, and well rounded young lady without a dad in her life.

Well, it’s times like this – when my Facebook feed is covered with all sorts of families displaying their little girls and their male figures going off on dates. It’s times like this that makes me remember just how lucky Miss Punky is. She won’t ever want for a date to something like this. I am so happy to know she’s so blessed in that way.

There are plenty of opportunities I worry, as her mom, that she will miss out on things that other kids get to experience. And, when I saw the picture of my soon-to-be seven year old niece headed off with her male figure, my sister’s current beau, and not her father, it reminds me that she had two parents – a mom and a dad – when she was conceived.

In the end, she’s seen her ‘dad’ a handful of times in her life and I wouldn’t envy her experience for the world. That poor girl has had it tough in the dad department. People need to remember, that just because you have a dad, doesn’t mean you HAVE a dad. And, it’s times like this that I have to salute those men who stand up and take up that role for little girls like my sweet sweet niece – whom I have seen grow up and blossom from birth. I have seen her knocked down and kicked around by the dad she was given.

I’m not sure what I’m getting at, except that seeing all those pictures from the family and friends who have little girls old enough to experience something I’ve never really seen the value in – based on my own experiences – it flashed me forward to what our future may hold.

And all I can see if the line of gentlemen callers in her family and extended family that will be banging down the door to be the first to escort Miss Punky to her first “Papa/Uncle Date Night.” No dad required.

And we are just fine with that. She will have quite the choices to make when the time comes!

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14/52 – Discovering a Nurturing Side

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So my little one has been carrying around two very important babies lately. They both had the name “Ga Ga – Goo Goo” until just a few days ago. Now they are Molly on top and Shell on the Bottom.

That sling there, is a makeshift baby carrier out of my infinity scarf, because I can’t ever get those scarves to look right on me. So I put them to better use.

She has twins and she loves them so much, she popped them into the carrier and waddled around the apartment with them.

This week, I got a wisdom tooth out, and man have I been in some pain for the last two days. I have been hopped up on pain meds and Miss Punky has been (even if she bumps my sore cheek) trying her best to take care of me. Kisses and pets on the face come with the nurturing side of our little one.

Its refreshing and sweet.

We are exploring all the ways our darling toddler emerges into her personality. I love it. I love watching it.

We went to another little friend’s birthday party and it was a ‘dress up’ and be fancy toddler dance party. I picked up a cute little dress at a consignment shop and she looked damn cute in it!

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Her favorite part of going to other kids’ houses is to play with their toys, LOL.

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We took some time to relax and decompress together, which makes me smile so big.

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We also got her some new jammies. They are freaking adorable!

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