Don't take life too serious.

Conflicted Heart: A Stay at Home Mom Returns to Work.

Why does my heart feel like it’s going to beat right out of my chest? I swear I feel almost naseous right now. Ok, get a grip and just make the call.

“Good afternoon, Thank you for calling STS. How can I help you?”

“Hi. May I please speak with Barbara?”

“Sure. Can I ask who’s calling?”

“Yes. My name is Dawn and I’m calling to follow up on a job offer.”

“Oh yes, I remember you! Let me get Barb for ya.”

Ok. Now I feel like I’m about to cry. What the hell is wrong with me?

“Hi, Dawn! It’s so nice to hear from you. What can I do for you?”

“Hi, Barbara. I’m excited to let you know I’ve decided to accept the position offered and join your team at STS.”

***

As I hung up the phone, it hit me. These weren’t the regular rattled nerves I get when I have to make an important phone call. My body was freaking out, because my mind was processing what this phone call really meant. My time being a stay at home mom is over. This is so incredibly bittersweet for me.

conflicted heart

The Sweet.

I’m ready. I am tired of struggling financially. Surviving on one middle class income is next to impossible, and that is a fucking shame. Seriously. It can be done, but the constant stress involved just became too much for me. That kind of stress affects everything and everyone. At times, it put a strain on my relationship that has never been felt before. I can’t live like that, especially when I don’t have to. Money is evil. What’s even more evil is when there isn’t enough of that shit. I get that more now than ever before in my life.

I am more than only a parent. I want my children to understand and witness that. I want them to see me not only contributing financially to our family, but more so, I want them to know what I am capable of. I work in the field of helping people because my heart is in it, which makes me good at it. I want to use my gifts for a purpose greater than a financial reward, and I want to model that for both of my children. My kids will know and understand they are my heart, even if I’m not standing right next to them all day.

 The Bitter.

I have been given the gift of time over the past two years. Time to be busy with things that really matter to me. We all do things in our jobs that matter, but it ultimately benefits someone else’s interests. I’ve had freedom to invest my time in my family and myself. I’ll forever be grateful for that. I’ve had the opportunity to be around for the good stuff–little man’s ‘just because’ cuddles, philosophical and/or ridiculous kid conversation in the middle of the day, putting the sassy one on the school bus and being home when her school day ends. I’ll miss that. Terribly.

Even though there have been days I am convinced I’m screwing my children up, I like that I am the one doing it. Nobody will take care of, teach and love my children the way I do. I absolutely do not want someone else in charge of all that for 8+ hours out of the day, but there is not middle ground to walk on with this situation.

My oldest daughter went to daycare for the first three years of her life and she is thriving. It’s not that I believe any less will be true for my son, but it’s different this time around. I’m all he knows. I know no one is going to sing him My Little Sunshine at nap time like I have done for the past two years. Call me a wuss, but that stings a little. Actually, it hurts like hell.

What I know now…

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know now what I want to do in the mean time. Live. Authentically live. Being home with my kids over the past two years and creating this blog has given me the insight and experiences to help me do just that. Not that I didn’t live a fulfilling life before, but until now, I had baggage that constantly sat heavy on my heart. The baggage isn’t gone, but put away in a room that I am more confident exploring it in. Finally, my story will help me move forward, not continue to anchor me in heartache.

I have learned that I can be both vulnerable and empowered. Any mom will tell you that being around a reflection of yourself all day will certainly strip you down, and hold your ego accountable. And like raising kids, you can’t run from yourself if you’re going to write. Being Momma full time and reconnecting with the pen has taught me to finally stop running. I needed that lesson.

I’m really a ball of emotion, as my last few weeks in SAHMville come to an end. I’m starting to notice little things that I know I’ll miss, and new or familiar things I’m looking forward to experiencing. I’m trying to stay positive and open about what this new chapter will bring. If nothing else, having the opportunity to be a SAHM has taught me to just let life happen. And that is exactly what I intend to do.

 

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Momma has lost her mind.

“Do You Love Being Home?”… Why I Struggle With This Question.

From time to time, I venture out on my own. It’s usually to fetch more food for the fam at the dreaded grocery store or something of that sort. Some call this the Mom-cation. Sad isn’t … that swaying to Dido, sipping on a Dunkin’ coffee and gazing down the aisle of the overly packaged, processed food can be equated to “taking time for herself”.

While I’m out “on vacation”, I sometimes run in to people I knew in my past life. The life that involved my brain synapses firing in directions other than figuring out how to burn off four year old energy or reminding myself, for the forth time, to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner. I genuinely like running in to people I know, as long as it isn’t on the third day I have put off showering. The opportunity for adult conversation doesn’t come up much so when it does, even for a small talk quickie, I enjoy it.

I revel in the common, “How are the kids?”. I’m usually prepared for the, “Are you finding time for yourself?”. However, I dread hearing, “Do you love being home?” The first two can be answered simply and in truth with minimal guilt and judgement. However, “Do you love being home?” makes me want to run and find that family size bag of Doritos on sale that I am way too excited about.

Answering this question is tough. I don’t want to come across as an awful human being by admitting that some days being home with small children makes me envious of Thelma and Louise’s last road trip. I certainly do not want to sound ungrateful when the awkward pitch of my nervous laugh scares the elderly lady behind me. I stumble at best with my response to this one every time.

I find it difficult to articulate the fine line that weaves between raising your children and enjoying them. To me that line can be straight, jagged, strong and broken all within a ten minute time span and how do you communicate that without giving a bad impression. I was so tired of answering random questions from my four yr old today I found myself whispering “Please God make her stop” before I even figured out what was for lunch. I pulled so many things out of my 14mth old’s mouth and hands today that at a certain point I convinced myself that as long as it was the colored pencils, and not the crayons he was in to, he was fine.

I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as good days and bad days. There are good moments and bad moments and each exist in EVERYDAY. I do love being home with the little tyrants. I would hate to miss that moment when little man walks up to his sister and just lays his head on her shoulder. Or when my girl busts a move with me in the kitchen and tells me, “Mom, you’re an amazing dancer”. But those moments, the ones that fill your soul and the ones that frazzle your last nerve, are hard to portray in the realms of small talk.

Is there one question you get about being a SAHM or about your kids in general, that irritates you? Am I the only one that feels like driving to the grocery store alone and the two hours away from my family is a mini vaca?

Momma has lost her mind.

Coffee Dates: A Slice of Sanity for a SAHM.

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Something I look forward to every week, is coffee with the girls. Since I became a SAHM, I have been fortunate enough to gain a strong circle of new friends. Life seemed to have handed me these ladies, at a time that I had no idea how much I would need them.

It’s a pretty incredible thing to have other women in my life that are at the same stages I am. Even though the ages range, the point in life is the same, and the emotions that go along with that are understood. Either we never knew each other before we had kids or our previous friendship drifted for awhile, leaving so much to learn about each other. I know how rare it is to connect with new friends at this point in life – for this I am so very grateful.

One of the reasons I love these girls so much is because they are not shiny-happy people. We’ve all struggled in our lives in some way shape or form. There is a layer of empathy to having a shitty day that is humbling and appreciated. We don’t always have our shit together, nor do we ever really aim to.

We’re all currently on the same page financially as well. It is incredibly difficult to manage life with one income and all of us do that on a daily basis. Our coffee dates allow us to vent that stress, without the guilt factor. There is a level of ease in talking about anything, be it our relationships, finances, kids or ourselves.

We all have the same parenting style, when it comes to raising our precious little tyrants. It’s a beautiful thing. We don’t sweat the small stuff. We don’t judge each other on how she parents. We expect that each other would address a situation if you see a kid acting like an ass, no matter who they belong to. If a child needs something, we take care of it, even if it isn’t our own. As long as the coffee is flowing, so do the mornings.

We all have a slightly jaded, fun sense of humor. We laugh at our parenting failures as much as anything. We tell our stories, we bitch, laugh, talk about deep shit, gossip, cry, whatever. It is a little slice of “ahhhh” to the life that is being a SAHM.

There’s never really a dull moment. We are women who otherwise are with children all day. We talk, a lot. And we love it. It’s like excersice for our brains.

The only problem we run in to is Mommy brain. Our conversations are constantly interrupted by demands for puffs (a.k.a. baby crack), a foul odor starting to demand attention or a little boy’s attempt to give his Mother a heart attack. No doubt, not a single one of us will be able to remember what the hell we were talking about after whatever situation is handled.

I will be going camping with a few of these ladies in less than two weeks. I can’t wait. We have our list of who’s bringing what, we’re creating the greatest play-lists ever and we are ready to go – rain or shine. The Momma hats will be left at home that weekend and it will definitely be more than just coffee flowing.

So… cheers to the other Mommas in my life! You ladies are awesome. Every week I learn something new from you all. You keep me laughing and give me something to look forward to each week. I don’t know what I would do without you!

 

Momma has lost her mind.

Why I Effing Love the F bomb.

It’s a crowd favorite! Hope you enjoy if this is your first time catching this one. If not, perhaps it will help pass the time, while we wait for all the snow to officially melt!!!

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Spoiler Alert: I’m going to cuss.  I’m going to say things that may be offensive and probably shouldn’t come out of any normal Momma’s mouth.

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But in case you haven’t noticed, this Momma isn’t normal.

Shouting the word Fuck just because you can is never recommended.  It needs to be crafted in to conversation so as not to taint its beautiful, descriptive power.  Used in the wrong tone, this word can become scary and I for one stop listening when I feel intimidated. I recognize there is always a time and place.

Fuck is quite possibly a perfect word.  It can be the main ingredient to so many things – a joke, an argument, an attitude, an emotion or a statement.

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It would most definitely win a popularity contest against any other explicative within my generation.  It’s not the shock value that makes it such a lovely fucking word.  It’s the ability to encompass intensity regarding other words or events that otherwise are dismissed as “ordinary” or “normal”.

fucking cold

For example, if I hear hubby say, “it’s cold outside”, I may throw on a fleece and head out.  If he says “It is fucking cold out side”, you bet your ass I’m putting on a hat and scarf because now I’m thinking it is fucking nose hair freezing and not just normal upstate NY cold.

The word fuck embodies humor, and a raw-ness that our day to day lives need.   Without the f bomb would this (what I consider classic) moment be embedded in our brains?

Or how about this one…which I still quote pretty much every time I hear someone ask “What was the name?”

There is no pharmaceutical formula available that can give you the feeling of thrusting the word fuck off your tongue.  It can be such a therapeutic tool with the only possible side effect being a disapproving eye.

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A miserable mood can best be cured with a tall glass of what-the-fuck-ever.  A situation with too many variables is best known as a cluster-fuck.  When I have finally thrown my hands in the air it is usually due to a serious case of the fuck-its!

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It’s a grammatical orgasm if you will. Just try it.  Just shout out the word Fuck.  Now say Fuck!.  Try calling the person who just pulled out in front of you only to make a quick right hand turn without using HIS FUCKING BLINKER a Fucking Fuck!  It just adds a little more justice to the situation.  No one has ever died from whipping out a F bomb during an episode of road rage…just sayin’.

Being a Mom and being in love with the word fuck can be tricky.  I’d say the trickiest part is not the kids but being around other Moms I don’t really know.  I don’t drop the f word around small children (on purpose), like I said, a time and a place.

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However, if I am having an adult conversation and the little ones are not under our feet, odds are I’m going to emphasize some fucking part of the conversation with a fuck here or a fuck there.

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Do you know how many times in a day I call my ~on the verge of being a tyrant of a toddler~ son a little fucker?  It’s never out loud of course but it is definitely a regular reaction in my head.  Don’t judge me, I say it with nothing but affection and exhaustion.  The little Fucker just doesn’t know how many times in a day he cheats death and how his new, un-nerving high pitch whine can drive his Momma to want to jump out the fucking window.

The power of Fuck to arouse an extra layer of emotion is why I love to use it.  There is no better place for the F bomb than in a great song.  So with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lyrical fucks from the little folk singer herself.

 

 

 

Don't take life too serious., Momma has lost her mind.

Kermit The Frog Changed My Life.

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I had a co-worker once, who asked me if I planned to get my Master’s degree. With immediacy, my response was, “I have to.” At that point in my life, hearing her response, “No, you don’t”, just irritated me. What did she mean, I didn’t have to? Yes I did, so I could then do X, Y and Z.

Everything was linear. I always knew where the line started and where it ended. My ego actually took her response to be something of a challenge, as if she was doubting that I was capable of accomplishing what I said I was going to do.

I attempted and failed at grad school. I can say it was because I took on too much, working two jobs and attempting school full time; but I know that would be a cop-out.

When a person chooses to go in to the field of social work, planning to have a career helping others who have suffered dysfunctional and sometimes traumatic experiences; she damn well better make sure she has her own shit dealt with and put away. I did not.

I was triggered severely while interning under a social worker in an elementary school. I didn’t even realize what happened, until the social worker (a woman I will never forget) told me she suspected I had PTSD and that it was ok to step back and take care of myself.

So that’s what I did. I withdrew from the MSW program. It hurt. I was somewhat lost at that point because all I had ever paid attention to was getting to a very specific place in life. I never bothered to look around and actually ask what else I liked, enjoyed or even wanted to do. I got stuck.

I got back in to therapy, continued to work, started my family and was making a name for myself, within the company I worked for at the time. Once I had my second child, I was derailed again. This time though, I was the one throwing up detour signs.

At this point, I had started to become more aware of what was really important in my life. Having kids had a way of putting my ego to rest, while igniting a greater love in me.

While on maternity leave for my second child, I kept feeling these little tugs on my heart. It was a pull to walk away from everything I had worked for up until that point and choose to stay home with my kids. It was radical and a bit of an obnoxious idea at the time. It wouldn’t go away though. So much so, that I eventually had to stop ignoring it.

Again, I couldn’t help but think, “How did I fall so far off course?”

Here I was, handing in my resignation, diving in to a world that even six months prior, I would have sworn would never be me. I was a SAHM, doing dishes and playing peek-a-boo in the middle of the day. Who am I?

I started to understand what that co-worker meant, five years prior. She was trying to kindly tell me, that I didn’t have to do any one thing. Life should and can be about what we want to do. I’ve had to let go of the reigns. Life never seemed to allow me to hold them tight enough to go in the direction I was “supposed” to go anyway.

I still revert back to tunnel vision occasionally. Now, though, I recognize it better. I can see and feel when I am unbalanced and need to just let go. I believe fiercely that I have to work for what I want; but the difference is now, I’m ok with not always knowing what that is. I’m taking more notes on life instead of worrying about the test. There really is no test.

My sister used to always say, “Throw away the map.” I finally understood what she was trying to tell me, when I stumbled upon this thought provoking quote, from a very unlikely source:

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“As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you’re going to are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to refold it no matter how smart you are. So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can, pull over and have a picnic with a pig. And if you can help it, never fly as cargo.” —Kermit the Frog

Those words are never too far from my heart. I try to “pull over” and have as many picnics with pigs as I can these days. I’m diverting my attention back to what’s right in front of me.

I have no idea where my life will take me. However, I do know, had I never failed at grad school, I never would have been so determined to work through my own childhood trauma. I would never have decided to become a SAHM; therefore, I never would have started writing.

Who knew Kermit was so wise?

Can you identify one event, moment or word(s) that changed your life. Do you feel like you have become a better person for being thrown off life’s course?

better one

 

Momma has lost her mind.

10 Things My Four Year Old Said, That Left Me Shaking My Head.

She cracks herself up.

10.  “Knock Knock.”

Oh please, God NO!  Their attempts at learning humor can be painful.

nuff said.

9.  “Momma, how did I get out of your belly?”

I had a C-section, so I let my scar explain this one.  Don’t judge my avoidance at the “real” answer please.  My four year old always has follow up questions, and I’m not prepared to tell her how babies get in our tummies yet.

Really, kid?

8.  “You had a job?” 

Yes, child.  Your Mother utilized her college degree before you forced her brain to rationalize ketchup as an acceptable vegetable.  Thanks for the extra flavor of surprise in your voice when asking that.

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7.  “I don’t want you to be my Mommy anymore!” 

Ha!  …ok not gonna lie, this one stung a bit. However, I felt it necessary to tell her to “Get over it!” anyway.

Truth is a rarity.

6.  “No, I’m not lying”. 

All of a sudden, my little girl lies like it’s her job.  She won’t back down, even when the green marker on her hand matches the green hearts on the wall.

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5.  “Mom, come look!” 

Why.  Why do I have to see every color she uses on the picture, every attempt at a front flip and come listen every freakin’ time she tries to whistle!  I still can’t really whistle.  Hang it up girl, it’s not going to happen for you.

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4.  “Mom, I need you!”

I will never object to helping my daughter or doing something she needs me to do.  Having said that, her frequent idea of “need you” is just another one of her lies.  Her needs are confused with believing I am a maid, personal chef or another four year old.

Why?
Why?

3.  “I just want to be a princess when I grow up!”. 

I’m convinced four year old girls are addicted to pretty things. I went above and beyond to prevent this from happening but somehow my daughter still glorifies princesses.  Ugh.  For the love of God, could Disney just please put one of their female characters in freakin’ pants.

I'm one e-i-e-i-o from jumping.

2.  “Can we listen to my music?” 

I have come to despise nursery rhymes.  Kids are repetitive by nature, add a catchy sound and I’d rather hang out in a snow bank.

They will break you.

1.  “But_____.” 

Fill in the blank.  Four year olds are all aspiring to be sadistic little lawyers.  They think everything in their lives is up for debate.  They force us to say things we swore we would never say like, “because I said so”.  But nothing, child.  Please, for the love of all that is sacred to your Momma, just. don’t. argue. with. me.

The sweetness.

Anyone else notice a drastic change in their child’s fourth year of life?  Mine has started to look so much further than what is on the surface but at the same time, can’t stop laughing at words like poop and butt and poopy butt.  Her questions are more difficult to answer and her battles are harder to fight (and win).

Am I the only one that feels that a four yr old is equipped with enough energy and fury to put you on your knees some days?  Is there a question she/he asked you that left you speechless or laughing out loud?

Momma has lost her mind.

I’m A Good Parent, I Swear!

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Kid’s do as they see, not what they’re told. Lets be real, young kids do exactly what their little, psychopathic brains tell them to do.

Pre-kids, I was guilty of always judging a parent by her child’s behavior. If a child talked back to his Mother in public, I was appalled at her tolerance to allow such behavior. Now, as a Mother of two, I’ve eaten my precocious words and Karma is laughing her ass off.

Let me tell you what I do not spend my day promoting, but my kids seem to believe is acceptable, and some times hilarious, behavior.

  • Greeting someone with a smile and a slap upside their head.
  • Announcing of flatulence, giggling and then blaming the random stranger next to me in the check-out aisle.
  • Sticking one’s fingers in her ears while being asked a question.
  • Requesting an object, that is within reach.
  • Repeatedly kicking the person who is trying to clean the toxic poo from his butt.
  • Flushing the toilet…20 times in a row.
  • Telling one’s Momma NO! before she can even finish her sentence.
  • Loudly referring to a person sitting at the next table over as “funny looking”, and pointing of course.
  • Throwing a fork at the waitress walking by and laughing like a crazy person.
  • Pulling down one’s pants, just for the hell of it.
  • Sharing gossip she overheard while eavesdropping at the most inopportune time, like before school, when all the parents are really close by.
  • Feeding a home cooked meal to the dog and then pitching a fit worthy of leather restraints, in order to get yogurt for dinner.

I could go on…and on and on. But won’t. If you have small kids or have survived already raising them, you get what I’m saying. If you do not have kids, prepare yourself. Your children will make you look like the world’s worst parent, every chance they get.

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Luckily, parenthood has an ironic way of stretching your sense of humor and tolerance. Picking your battles, becomes a matter of keeping your sanity.

Babysitters and friends say to me, “You have such well behaved kids.” I always thank them and truly appreciate the compliment. I suppose as long as they have everyone else fooled, we are doing something right!

Is there one thing your kid does that sends you over the edge? What’s the most embarrassing thing one of your children has ever done in public? Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.

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Momma has lost her mind.

Crayola Turds.

I love when humor is handed to you. I think it’s the universe’s way of saying, “Here, you look like you could use this today.” This was one of those times.

Two days ago, I posted this picture on Facebook:

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You’d think after nibbling on one, he wouldn’t want to try it again.

I captioned it with a witty bit about Little Man’s teeth marks in the crayons.

Today, after I baked the most delicious concoction of a cookie my sweet tooth has ever made love to (desert is no joke in my house), my husband deemed the cookies, Crayola Turds.  Lets see if you can figure out why…

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Crude humor is second nature to me, so this is a level of funny that I couldn’t help but share. No, I did not plan for this joke by adding yellow and orange, Reese pieces to these magnificent cookies. And yes, I had to put the cookie in the diaper for the effect.

These cookies will now and forever be known as, Crayola Turds.

Now that is some funny shit!

 

Momma has lost her mind.

10 Ways Raising Young Children Is Like Working On A Psychiatric Ward.

 

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I can’t believe I never realized this before. My fresh-out-of-college position as a psychiatric assistant on a Mental Health Unit (MHU) schooled me on raising my young children. The resemblance of my day to day back then compared to now as a SAHM is uncanny. Let’s review.

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Gearing up for breakfast.

1. Meal Monitor

Three times a day, and for never-ending snack-time, I prepare food and watch kids eat it. I monitor breakfast and make note of any out-of-the-ordinary behaviors that clue me in to how my day is going to go. I always have an eye open for aggressive behaviors and flying food and silverware. It’s my job to make sure I handle it if someone loses her shit over spilled milk.

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2. Tend to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

I move into assisting with ADL’s, better known in my current position as brushing teeth, getting dressed and fixing hair. This seemingly simple routine can flip you on your head and have you chasing naked butts and fighting off fits. This is just as much true when working with a paranoid schizophrenic or manic depressive as it is for dealing with my Sassy 4yo and her completely wild little brother.

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3. Safety Checks

As I walk the circle that is my kitchen/dining room/living room downstairs, I’m constantly scoping out the place for hidden dangers or safety concerns. I’m eye balling the countertops (now easily accessible to Little Man) for a knife left on the cutting board. I’m confirming the scissors were put away after crafting (term used loosely…we were cutting Easter eggs out of construction paper). I never doubt the capabilities of my Little Man to cause bodily harm to himself or others. No one truly knows what he is capable of …it’s just better to hide the pens and lock up the forks.

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4. Take Downs

It was not a part of the previous job nor of the current gig that I enjoy. However, when faced with the choice to take down the one year old, with a hatchet coming at you, or bail…well, you throw on your Momma balls and proceed with caution. Although his daddy was dumb enough forgetful in leaving his kindling-cutting-hatchet where Little Man could get it, at least the blade was in its locked case.

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5. De-escalation Techniques

This is a priceless tactic I learned while watching people ‘go off’ for three years. A four year olds emotional instability is classifiable, for sure. The panic alarm in my Momma gut has learned to recognize the signs of dramatized, and some times verbally aggressive, melt downs before they happen. The future of everyone else in the household’s happiness rides on me being able to talk her through her four year old insanity. The tricky part is, and always was, not antagonizing with an over emotional reaction a.k.a. losing my shit.

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6. Art Therapy

On the unit, it was my job to keep the patients busy and from time to time talking. My best trick for down times was coloring. Adults are no different than children when it comes to the simple motions of adding color to a page. It encourages their brain to put color to their thoughts and words to their feelings. Crafting (again, it’s really just crayons and scissors) can be a therapist’s and a parent’s best tool.

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7. Delusions, Flight of Ideas and Manipulation

When you think of spending most of the day with a preschooler, one doesn’t first imagine taking on the role of psychiatrist. I am no doctor but I spent half my days back then trying to figure out if what was being said to me was a delusion, a lie or an attempt to manipulate me. If you don’t know already, four year olds are the most imaginative creatures on the planet. They are also liars. Bold face lying little fuckers. By the end of the shift day, the constant flight of ideas streaming all. day. long. will exhaust you.

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8. Elopement

Working on the MHU, it wasn’t uncommon to hear, “Shut the doors! He’s trying to elope!”. I quickly learned that eloping was just lingo for “breaking the hell out of there”. It’s like deja vu in my house these days because at least once a day I hear, “MOM! He’s out the front door!”. Little man has learned to turn a handle…and he is psychotically quick and daring.

I swear I didn't try to steal her pet.
I swear I didn’t try to steal her pet.

9. Job Hazzards

I was spit on. I was verbally thrashed at least a few times a week. I even had my ass handed to me by a woman in her 70’s that thought I was trying to steal her cat. This morning I poured juice in a cup and put a lid on it. I paid dearly for it. My adorable son crossed over and turned in to a swinging, kicking, flopping, screaming, completely unstable little being. There was no warning or reason. His little brain is just wired to flip the fuck out if things don’t go his way these days and I, unfortunately, am at the brunt of it.

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10. Shift Report

At the change of shift, a report was given. A summarizing of information pertaining to each patient was passed along. This now occurs for me when the hubs gets home regarding his (when they’re naughty they’re “his”) kids. While I am finishing up dinner, I’m usually reporting on crazy antics, steps forward and two steps back.

By end of the shift dinner time, I could give at least six examples why I can’t possibly show up wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. But I’m Momma, that’s what I do. Like I did when I walked the halls of the MHU, I’m constantly schooled by the very people I am there to help “get better” and am a better person for it. .

 

Don't take life too serious.

The Day I, Unknowingly, Became a Teenage Mother of Two.

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A woman made a judgment call about me today, based on my appearance.  Because my son is so adorable {says every Mother alive}, he eventually sparked a conversation amongst the lady and myself.  What happened next gave me something to think about the entire 20 minute ride home.

The woman behind me appeared to be in her 50’s, was well dressed and had an approachable air about her.  We made eye contact once I noticed her looking at my son and doing the “Momma head tilt”, while saying “Awwwww, he is adorable” (I told you).  She asked me how old he is and I told her 18 mths.  She then accidently pushed him a little while reaching for something and apologized profusely.  I laughed and told her “No, big deal.  He has an older sister at home that beats on him way more than that!”.

Suddenly, her eyes widened and she looked at me as if to say, “What the hell did you just say?”.  What she actually said, was “You have an older child at home?  You barely look old enough to have him!  I thought you were in high school!”

I laughed it off and told her my birthday was coming up and actually I’ll be turning 33.  She did the whole, “No way! thing and then said, “Well you look great!”.  I thank her and we exchanged a few classic lines like, “Have a nice day” and “Enjoy your weekend” and that was that.

I didn’t really feel the affect of that encounter right away.  It wasn’t until after I loaded up the babe and groceries, threw in Adele’s first album (Yes, it was a CD and Yes, I still listen to them)  and started driving home that the conversation replayed in my head.

I suddenly wondered, what was that woman’s impression of me before I told her I was about to turn 33?  She told me she thought I was in high school.  Could she have been looking at me and saying to herself, “Well no wonder she has a cart full of groceries at the ghetto grocery store, she’s probably on food stamps!”?

That’s a bit much I suppose.  She didn’t have that demeanor about her and I didn’t take her for a Republican.  After all, she was in the same ghetto grocery store, even if it was only to buy milk. And yes, I totally understand I just passed judgment on Republicans, no need to call me out on it.

Maybe, she felt sorry for me.  Maybe she wondered how such a “young” girl could let herself get pregnant with all the education out there these days.  I wonder if in that moment, she questioned my own Mother’s parenting ability.

Can you imagine what sped through her head after I said my 18 month old had a four year old sister?  It makes me laugh just thinking about her brain calculating my hypothesized age four years prior.  Her reaction truly was worth 1,000 humorous words.

Perhaps, she felt a sad sense of generational failures for me.  Maybe, she couldn’t quite wrap her head around history repeating itself for so many lifetimes.  Either way, She seemed to be a woman that wanted to hug me rather than hate me.

I have to say though, the amount of relief that was evident all over her face when she learned I was not, in fact, another teenage Mom was evident.

Regardless, this isn’t a piece about teenage pregnancy.  It’s really about how we all make judgments about other people.  We all react emotionally to how we see other people.  Our judgments and observations aren’t always cruel, they’re not always nice and no two are alike.

My mind started to pin point my own turns at passing judgment.  Being that I just left the grocery store, I thought about how I always look in other people’s carts at what they are choosing to buy.  I realized that part of me does this because I’m one meal short of begging people to tell me what to make for dinner.  The other part does it because I am judging how people live and have lived by what they choose to buy.

I will admit I notice if someone has fresh fruits and vegetables or whether they have junk food for snacking on.  I notice if someone chooses to buy a 5lb bag of potatoes or two boxes of instant mashed potatoes.  I also notice if someone has stocked up on frozen chicken nuggets, hotdogs and other processed meat verses a beef roast or chicken cutlets.

What I am actually thinking about people when I see one item versus another started to occur to me .  My own questions/judgments/observations are, “Do they buy fake mashed potatoes because they don’t know how to make real ones or is it because they don’t have the time to prepare from scratch?”.  When I see three boxes of processed fried chicken in someone’s cart, I ask myself, “Don’t they know how bad that is for them?”.  “Isn’t it more cost effective to buy a big package of chicken and then break it down for several meals?”.

As I am processing all this, I realize that even though my own judgments are usually never hateful in nature (unless I’m just in a snarky mood and probably with my beautiful sister) they are based only skin deep, just like everyone else’s immediate opinions.  My natural curiosity about other people’s lives is coated in my own experiences and that causes prejudice for better or worse.

I was a child whose mouth was fed by food stamps.  I’ve been an adult who doesn’t even consider how much money she is spending on food on any one given trip to the grocery store.

Today, I was a woman who lost track of her budget because her beautiful baby boy kept stealing my attention with his love of singing and smiling at strangers.  Today, I am a stay at home Mom who had to pull things out of her cart because she went over her limit and her debit card declined.  Twice.

Today, I was embarrassed as hell even though there were no apparent eye rolling, sighs of aggravation behind me.  I was so embarrassed that I completely avoided making eye contact with anyone in line behind me.  I can’t tell you how many times I apologized for inconveniencing everyone during the process of eliminating my overages.  It bothers me how ashamed I was actually.

Now, I’m considering what my lasting impression was on those shoppers.  In all honesty, and perhaps in their defense, they have no way of knowing I am a (almost) 33 year old woman who chooses to sacrifice financial security so that I can raise my children while they’re young.

By the time I got home, made lunches, put the kids down for their naps, warmed up my Dunkin’ coffee and sat down to write this all out, I realized, how many challenging levels there are to not judging a book by its cover.  I’m not sure that is possible at all.  What I have been reminded of by this experience is that there is always a story lying underneath the cover of any given book.  That should never be disregarded or forgotten.