Young Mom

The absolute Ups and Downs that has guided me through motherhood.

Sitting here- 19, in the car with my cousin Caitlin. We’re waiting to go to class. This is our first semester in college, and I chose to move away from my family and go to college North East and away from home. Caitlin and I just finished jammin’ out to Luke Bryan’s ‘Corn makes Whiskey’ and I start to investigate my hands.

“hmm, does this look weird to you?” I ask.

“Well, they look pretty blue.” Caitlin replys.

Waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Caitlin has aquainted me here at the doctor.

“What can I do ya for?” Asked the doctor.

“My hands are blue, and I don’t understand.” I reply.

(Doctor whispers something to the nurse.)

Kneeling in the hall of the doctors office, I call my mom.

“Mom, I’m pregnant.” I cautiously explain.

“Oh, geeze. Do you want to tell your dad, or should I?”

“Can you please?” I reply.

(My dad was sitting near, and my mom tells him without hesitation.)

“Goddammit!” Was his response in the faint background

Sitting here, 12 am. 6 months pregnant. Waiting downtown to pick up my boyfriend of 5 years (high school sweetheart), he’s incapable of driving at this point. He’s all wound up after a night out. He’s young, but newly old enough to legally drink. He is being feisty and just wants to pick a fight for the fun of it. I am driving and he is having fun calling me names, trying to get a rise by making me jealous. He starts to make Bruce Lee noises and pretend to karate chop me, and nips my face. I punch him back in the side of the head. I pull over into an outlet. I’m emotional, and he tries to calm me down, but doesn’t seem to work. Nearby security calls the cops.

“I see you left a mark on him, we’re going to have to take you in.” The cop says.

Sitting crouched here, in a holding cell. There is bologna on the walls, and recovering drunks sleeping on the floor. I am crying. I am in a nice long summer maxi dress, that I am dreading having touch the floor of this cell. Holding my belly, the sheriff comes and calls me over to tell me I have been released. I walk out to find my dad and his oldest brother. They both welcome me with the biggest hug and kiss.

Standing soon after child birth, November 2010. My first bon has arrived. Delivery room packed with family.

Kneeling by the tree, Christmas Day, with a newborn baby. My mom leaves.

Laying here, passed out mid daylight at a graduation party next door to my Uncles house. I have my best friend, my dad, brother, and my cousin Danielle with me. I’m drunk, incapable of taking care of my 8 month old. Danielle steps in and cares for my daughter for me. That day hurt. More than words can express.

Sitting here, in my car outside of the doctor’s office. I am interning for a requirement for the end of my trade school certification. On the phone with my first borns father. Arguing about if I even have what it takes to become something of this internship. Our relationship ends that day; I didn’t get the job.

Kneeling here- forehead to the floor, after opening the door to his room. My dads gone.

Sitting here, 21, living with my dad’s sister for she has taken me in. Contemplating life as it truly is. Pregnant with a new boyfriend I had met two weeks before my dad’s passing, thoughts of it being a sign for him to be in my life.

Laying on the couch, 14 hours into my second shift at my second job, trying to stay awake at knock hours.

Am I Standing here? numb. when all signs point to no, when his pupils are pin needle, when my gut aches. Knowing I am both paralyzed and color blinded.

“I do.”

Sitting here, in a crummy apartment, wondering where the rent money is. Working longer hours, sick. To make up for missing rent. Now, face to face with the culprit with my earnings as his loot.

“We need that to put a roof over the kids heads!”

“I’m leaving, I’ll be back later.” he replys.

“You’re not leaving with the rent money again!”

I couldn’t let him leave. I have worked until I was sick physically and mentally drained, I have driven countless hours of commute, I have sweat, been puked on, pooped on, insulted by customers, residents. I worked until I was delirious and driving home just to get by being the only bread bringer. I did the only thing I can think of.

“Sorry, we get a call. We have to take someone in. He had a mark on him.” -Officer

Crouched here, in a cell, once again. This time, he made the call.

Laying– Sleeping on this secret. Too ashamed to tell my family what happened, ashamed my marriage is quickly failing after only a few months of matrimoney.

Sitting here, in a salon chair for the first time. Only a few hours until my first shift of the evening. I get a call from my boss.

“Hey, there are police officers who are trying to reach you. They left me their number, it’s urgent you call them back. ”

I call them back, completely confused. My heart dropped, and knew what I needed to do. I called my younger brother to take me to go pick up my baby from Child protective services. I get there and spoke with the officers.

“Your daughter is completely fine! She was fast asleep in the back seat of your car, he on the other hand is in the hospital, recovering. He’s lucky there was an ambulance near by, he could have died.”

“I don’t care about him, his choices, or his state! All I care about is my baby! Where is she?”

In my car, Chin held high, late in the evening. I start to cry- hysterically. I being to pray to my father for the first time. I am angry, I ask for guidance. I beg him to give me a sign on what I should do. Hitting the steering wheel and stressing on my hair and face didn’t do much until I calm myself by burying my face to the palms of my hands in hopelessness. A song plays unusually loud on the radio. A song I never heard of before that day.

She had a dead-end job at the National bank

And a deadbeat husband that always drank

So when he didn’t come home, she had the gin to thank

For the tears in her eyes

So Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes.

Danielle Bradbery- Heart of Dixie

Standing on my own two feet, for what feels like the first time. Although I have made my own choices, they never seem to be the best. It was time to truly reach out. I ran to my dad’s brothers. I asked 2 of his brothers for legal advice being they’re in law enforcement. I told them everything, balling. I ran to my dad’s oldest brother for moral support and to help sketch out a plan to get out. I ran to my brothers for their love, and support. I ran to my mom for ammends and her help as a loving mother as she has always been. I ran to my cousin Danielle, who in essence is also my best friend to be my absolute own self and spill everything and anything with.

I stood there with dignity, with fight, with love and support all around me.

I’m standing here with a plan. I can’t just leave. I plan for a new place without him. I begged him to go away for 6 months to recover as if everything will be okay. I did all the necesary paperwork to protect my family. I got a roommate who can help, so I don’t have to work as hard. I plan to escape in the most subtle and discrete way. The process has begun.

Standing here, with a new job, new career, new car, new benefits. All within just shy of a year, I left toxicity and grew strength I never knew I had because I was oblivious to being weak.

I have fallen so low, I have dropped to my knees from experiences and choices I have made. I have had my lows, but I always got up because of my kids and learning to use my best judgement in the most difficult of times when I had made choices based off my worst judgement. Ultimately, I wouldn’t have ever done it if it wasn’t for me peeking out of the ditches I fell into to see whats around. Being in the now and aware and knowing it was okay to ask for help really changed my life because of that outlook. I didn’t just get up, I saw the hands reaching for mine. I learned to save my energy when I was wounded to give myself a clear mind and continue to fight.

Motherhood is hard, have being a single parent once or twice is extremely hard. Expect that there will be days of discouragement and then there are days you’re motivated, progressing, and feelings of accomplishment.

You’re a mother who is HERE and in the now with love in your heart, care in your touch, and fight that will never lose its strength.

Advertisements

Growing up with your own Tooth Fairy

When I was younger the Tooth Fairy existed! I loved imagining her, trying to catch her, and of course loved the nice green gifts she left. (There’s no pretending with that one!). It was just all together fun as a child. Now it’s my turn to have fun as a parent, and keeping the spirit alive and watch the creativity and imagination grow with your child. I came up with a fun little activity that starts off with a little bit of effort from you, but after their first tooth, they’ll keep it going as you will juist collect.

I usually have so much fun with my kids and do something creative to get their first tooth out. (We’ve all seen those crazy videos!). My daughter decided to tie a string with one side on a door knob, the other end to her tooth. From there, she Karate chopped the string! Floss works better, but all we had was craft thread that didn’t grip as much as we’d hope. On the third try, it popped right out.

On the Eve of the Tooth Fairy’s arrival, I typed out a note from her very own personalized Tooth Fairy. With this note, I gave her a name that I knew my daughter would just adore and addressed it to my daughter. I had to mention that her fairy will only take her tooth if she kept it well clean. This might save my butt one day if (hopefully I don’t) I forget to exchange her tooth for moolah. They might be heart broken, but first off, that’s life sometimes. Secondly, they’ll be motivated to keep their teeth clean. The next part of my introductory fairy note, I stated that the next time she lost a tooth was to draw a picture of what she imagined her Tooth Fairy looked like and tape her tooth to the drawing. I thought, this would be so much easier to snatch from under the pillow and by keeping these drawings over the years I can laminate and create a book. Starting with the introductory letter from her Fairy! Rhyming was definitely something I had to incorporate into as well, it just seemed that much magical. Below is the note I created to give you an idea.

With my first child, I was working a lot and wish I did something like this. Luckily, she has only lost two teeth and I knew I can come up with something to redeem myslef for it. I still have her last tooth (Not her first, which is a bummer.) Still, I made an introductory letter assigning her with a Tooth Fairy. The difference in letters is that I will state that her last fairy got relocated or switched jobs to be a garden fairy and planted her first tooth. Might be silly, but Hey! Just have fun playing pretend with them. In the end, you’re allowing their imagination to grow and this will be so much fun to look back on with the years ahead. I hope this inspires you to have fun with the magic of your little one and play along!

The 2 Methods I use to get my kids to act more respectful and responsible.

Oh the joys of having siblings. I grew up with three brothers, two of which were very close in age with me. I remember fighting with them all the time. I can only imagine how stressful it was for my parents to mediate and get us to stop fighting. Now that I am a parent, I understand that there’s more to it than just getting your kids to stop fighting and arguing: It’s how they handle problems on their own, cause and effect, it’s how future problems can get resolved, it’s how your child reacts to others emotions and cues, how they can identify the problem and learn from it.

I have tried many methods when my girls would fight with eachother. When I first started and they were younger about 3 and 5 years of age. I usually kept it simple and had them apologize to each other and let them know “sharing is the nice thing to do” and that was that. Now that they’re older it’s requiring more attention from me. The girls share a room, they have the same friends, share the same after school activities. They’re very close with one another. My girls are the best of friends but fight conistantly. This is getting to the point where I see a lot of anxiety arising, the same issues coming up, and yes, a lot of unnecessary “taddle telling.” Most of kids issues are issues that they can handle on their own with minimal interference from their parents.

Consistency

This is the first point I’d like to make because I feel it is the most important. I am not a very consistant person with much, but know it’s value. You can see results once you commit and stick with it, staying conciencous and catching yourself to stay on it is self discipline. I know when I slip with my consistency man oh man that hits hard. All of your work is just thrown out the window.

Methods

The methods I use now have helped tremendously and are so simple. The girls have gained so much respect for each other and communicate better in order to problem solve at home and in the real world.

  • 5 things they love about each other: When the girls start the name calling and disrespecting eachother over the littlest things, they come to me to taddle. Just today, My daughter came to me saying her sister said to her that she “wished she wasn’t born.” I can feel the hurt in her voice. I spoke to my daughter who said that to my oldest and explained to her why she shouldn’t say those things and the effect others get from the things she says. I sit them both down and usually start with the more calm child because it eases the child. who is more wound up. So, in this case, I started with my oldest who was hurt from her sister’s words. I have her list 5 things she loves about her sister. Typically by the first, the mood changes completely. My daughters usually mention each others laugh and they always start laughing. The end result from this technique always leaves them in a happy mood and grateful for eachother. Follwing this technique there is always an apology from what had happened, therefor it is more of a genuine apology, rather than forced.
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com
  • Respect and Responsibility Jar: This is a new tactic that has been working. Everytime the girls do something thoughtful that falls under the category of respect or responsibilty I would put a penny in their jar. Nothing is mentioned, nothing is acknowledged- By that, I mean I can notice it, or not. Although it is considered a reward system, I want to make it known that they shouldn’t get praised for doing what they’re supposed to do. So, do what you’re supposed to do and watch your jar fill up. Examples of which I consider penny worthy: Dishes without me asking, problem solving with siblings in a mature manner, reading or homework wiithout being told, getting ready for bed on their own by following their lists (wash face, brush teeth, brush hair, lotion, etc.), asking to help with dinner or help clean. These are just a few examples, but you can imagine the new things everyday that they come up on their own that allows them to be more independent, and thoughtful. Once they reach the top. They can cash it in and spend it on whomever or whatever they want.

These methods have worked almost immediately and with consistency you can see a huge adjusment to your children’s behavior. As a parent, you’re always looking to fine-tune your child’s moral compass, and sometimes you can feel yourself in a bit of a toungue tie. Explain minimal, and allow your beautiful offsprings show you their exeplamary growth.

Root to a Bully

Root to a Bully

“My kid isn’t mean, he/she is a sweetheart!” “Where is this coming from?” “Kids will be kids” “Your child is overreacting.” “My kid didn’t mean it.” “My kid is just cranky today.”

– Parent excuses

Planting the Seed:

Bullying can come in all shapes and forms and can also be misinterpreted by the word alone. Getting down to the nitty gritty of it, your child is mean and is harming others emotionally and/or physically- and get this, they might not know they are doing it! Who knows, your kid might be one kind kid, but struggle with social cues or their feelings. You may not even be considering that your child is a bully right now, or you might not think anything more than your child is just angry and that it is just a phase. The scale of this issue can get so deep and so complex and can lead to many opinions and arise by pointing fingers, but have you ever taken a step back and thought, hey! maybe it’s me?

Root Formation

It all starts with you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you at fault first hand, but it is your responsibility to give the child the greatest understanding and ease that they can receive. There is a circle in your child’s life and it’s the closest circle that affects your child the most. You, their biological dad/mom, their stepmom, stepdad, uncle, aunt, your best friend since grade school they call “auntie”, cousin, grandparent. This is your child’s circle, people they’re expected to trust. 

We’re all trying to figure out where we can place the band-aid on this issue, and as we are growing as a society we are also becoming more isolated. Cyberbullying is becoming more of an issue. Neglect is becoming more of an issue- and it will only get worse in this generation to come. By providing your child with greater communication skills, and by this, I mean personable. It can help with higher self-esteem and charisma with surrounding peers. By teaching your child how to interpret and process emotion, it can provide your child with a greater understanding of empathy for others. 

Feeding your plant

Rather than being an upset parent, or a sad parent, you should take it at a different angle and be a supportive and understanding parent. This sounds a lot easier said than done, but treat this as a milestone and grow as a family by introducing problem-solving to your child. 

  • What’s wrong?” Give your child the opportunity and comfort to allow them to express themselves freely to you. This might require time and trust from them and the consistency and patience from you.
  • “What had made you feel like this?” This can take a lot of interpreting on your part. Your child could be scared to fully express themselves, so you might have to get creative. Example: My daughter has “bad dreams” This could be her interpreting her putting into words on how she’s feeling. She’s telling me what happens in the dream as a metaphor, even though she doesn’t know what a metaphor is.
  • “Do you understand this feeling or problem?” The feeling that they can be expressing they might not understand. Anxiety, anger, irritation, isolation. They might not know what they want, and by wants I mean needs. If they are demanding a form of attention, the feeling might start with anxiety that leads to irritation, then anger, then end in feeling isolated. 
  • “How do you think we should fix it?” With the example expressed above, you already know the feeling. Asking them how they should be handling the situation the best that they can provide your child with an opinion and a voice that is heard. In essence, opening up communication, importance, value, and confidence in their decision making.
  • “Do you know what I think might help?” Follow up their ideas by providing your suggestions on how to make the situation better. This can help distinguish morals and weighing out choices in which is the best to make.
  • “I’m proud of you!” Allowing your child to problem solve on their own and giving them as much credit as they deserve in this because let’s face it. This is a huge accomplishment for them. 

Your child may not know all the answers to any of these questions, because the younger they are the less they understand on expressing themselves. They will lack the vocabulary and can’t put much into words. So knowing your child is a huge tool into understanding where they are coming from, so they can understand where you’re coming from. Analogies and metaphors could be a helpful tactic- The simpler the better. 

Growth

We as parents should take higher strides for our future (our kids). Not just for our sake, but for theirs. We’re paving something out extraordinary for them. They have all of the easiest resources and technology available to them making life that much easier. We work hard so they don’t have to? Wrong! It’s nice to think because we love them so darn much. Becoming a decent human being and the best being they can be is and always will be work for any individual. To this day I, myself still strive for that- As we all do! So when trying to really understand what’s going with your child, and you’re done with all the investigative work. Try problem-solving internally, rather than externally, and start with yourself and your Child’s close circle.