Monday, August 12, 2013

The Horrible Parents Club

A friend of mine was recently accused of being a horrible parent. In fact, I think it happened a few hours ago. He wrote a post in reply to that.

Dear World,
I am a horrible father. I woke up at dawn today to get everything ready for my 5-year-old's first day of Kindergarten. I spent the next few hours playing with my new-born daughter, until it was time to pick up big sister from school. I let her go play next door while little sister napped, did some cleaning, and checked in with school. While big sister began eating dinner, I spent some much needed “me” time trying to socialize online. Mommy will be home in a couple hours, then it is time for big sister to go off to bed for another exciting day of school tomorrow. Little sister, mommy, and I will spend some time cuddling and playing, and then I have several hours of homework to do into the wee hours of the night. I will get a couple hours of sleep, and then do it all again tomorrow, with a smile!
I am a horrible father because I do not currently have a job. I understand the importance of having a parent at home for my precious children; we choose who works by current earning potential. But, I am a horrible father.
I am a horrible father because sometimes my house isn’t spotless. I am in the middle of 12+ years of clinical and administrative medical studies, and I know that even though it is driving me into the ground now, it will provide a beautiful future for my angels. But, I am a horrible father.
I am a horrible father because I censor my children from ‘certain’ people. While it is important to let my children learn all cultural aspects of our society, I do not think it is appropriate for a 4-year-old to come in contact with marijuana. But, I am a horrible father.
I am a horrible father because I do not advocate for illegal substance use. I don’t spend all my time rallying for other families who have lost their children over drug-related charges because I don’t have that time to spare, nor would I advocate the intent. But, I am a horrible father.
I am a horrible father because I let other people have time with my children. I know, a loving auntie who treats my little girl like a princess is such a bad thing! I have taken the time to gauge who I can trust with my children, and who I cannot. But, I am a horrible father.
I am a horrible father because I don’t keep up with everyone else’s drama. I prioritize the time and effort I do have to make “home” a great place for the girls; making nutritious meals, cleaning, and striving to improve our lives every day. I know, I should keep track of extended family drama, but my girls are more important. I love my babies, but, I am a horrible father!
So look at this horrible father and pass judgment over me! I don’t mind at all. Take a moment and ask mom if I am a horrible father; she’ll probably slap you. Take a moment to ask big sissy if I am a horrible father; she’ll laugh and say, “No! I love my daddy!” Take a moment to ask my baby if I am a horrible father; she’ll just look at me and smile the cutest little smile! I almost feel sorry for them, not knowing what a horrible father I am.
So I promise, world, that I will try harder every day to be a better father to my children. Your judgments and personal agendas are far superior to those of my family unit. So, I am sorry for being such a horrible father.
 And I realized that some folks would see a jobless parent who stays home with their children as a bad parent. Someone who has set aside the drama of their childfree life in favor of worrying about the important things. 
 I am a jobless parent. I do not get paid money for the work I do, but I am working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day for the last 3.25 years since my son made his grand entrance to this life. I kiss boo boos, I wipe noses, I potty train, I fix broken things, do more laundry than should be humanly possible. I cook, I clean, I shop for food. I teach, I learn, I go on walks that are very very slow. I pick up the same toys 50 times in one week. 
 I have chosen to stay home. Daycare would cost about what I could make. Well, a GOOD daycare where I knew my kiddos were safe. I have chosen to be here with them day in and day out for as long as I can be. As they grow, their demands on me will be less, their time in school will be longer, and I can rejoin the workforce when this job requires less of my time.
Some parents might call me too strict, as I expect my child to learn manners and be polite. Or some might think I am horrible because I let him explore the playground without me hovering at his back. I might be terrible because I let him get muddy in the creek, but you could call me simply awful for the times I say please do not play in the dirt right now when we are not equipped to do a clothing change on the fly and have more places to go before home. I might be horrid because I want him to eat his fruits and veggies, and some might call me wrong because I have let him have days where he has had three small bags of M&M's and later on a slice of pizza was dinner. 
Parents are judged a lot. Everything we do that someone sees is criticized. Everything our children say and do is held up and examined by other people. I have been guilty of this. A child was rude to Liam, and I mean downright MEAN. I immediately had the thought of "What on earth are his parents teaching him!" I am sure that some parents who have seen me with Liam and Evie think I might be doing things wrong. Everyone has their own way of being a parent. But unless you are hurting your child or neglecting their basic needs, maybe its time to find a way to realize that there is no One True Way. If your kids are fed, clothed, have a warm bed and a set of arms to find comfort in, maybe someone should find a way to tell you what you are doing RIGHT. All too often I see criticism from others in the parenting community, online and in person... I want to start telling others what I see that was RIGHT, not wrong. 
I am tired of parents beating each other up. Lets all just be parents together and learn from Bambi. If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all! 
But if you want to call me a horrible mama for being jobless and having rules, feel free. I will OWN that role! Welcome to the Horrible Parents Club. Pants are optional, but healthy foods are a must, and you must hold hands when crossing the street. Bed time is at 8, and yes, you have to take a bath at least once a week.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Else Can I Do?

I don't know what to do anymore. I am lost. I tell Liam that it is time to sit on the potty and I get a SCREAMING tantrum from hell. He hits his sister, takes away any toy she picks up, totally ignores me when I am talking to him even when I am face to face with him. He freaks out when I give him water or any food he suddenly decides he doesn't want and dumps it on the floor and throws the cup or plate at me. I don't know what I have done wrong to get to this point with him. I talk to him on his level, simply, face to face and he will not listen. I tell him to not throw BEFORE He throws, I put him on a time out when he does something wrong. I praise him when he is good. But this is just getting worse and worse. He is a little monster sometimes and it is driving me up the wall. He NEVER does it around people, only when its just me and him and Evie. Dan has seen a small fraction of the behavior I deal with for hours on end every day.
Maybe he is bored I thought, but every activity I give him to do is done for 20 seconds and then discarded and he is off and running pulling the dogs hair, running over Evie, taking her toys out of her hands, shoving her off of whatever she is standing on.... He will happily sit and stare at TV for hours if you let him, turning away only to kick or push Evie if she gets near him.
I don't what what to do anymore. I have tried so many things and nothing seems to be working. I end each day in tears because by the time its bed time I have had to yell at him to get him to listen at least 10 times. "Do NOT hit your sister, No, put your hand down, Stop Liam, STOP! NO HIT. NO HIT NO HIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I said no hit, go, time out, now" as I am trying to comfort a screaming baby who just got smacked.
He identifies with bad guys in TV shows, he saw Caillou being a brat to his sister, so he started talking to Evie that way. We nixed that show, We're about to have to nix Jake and the Neverland Pirates because now he steals her toys and says he is Captain Hook taking all the treasure.
My poor baby is covered in bruises. The more he hurts her the less time I have to spend with him because I am trying to calm her down which only makes things worse. I try to have fun time with just me and him, I play with him, I listen to him and talk with him about good things. We have good moments, but the bad moments are getting worse and worse.
It is breaking my heart, I don't want him to be a bully.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Liam's Third Birthday!

I know I am not good at sending thank you cards. I will openly admit this. I do not have the time these days to sit down and send out cards. I feel bad about this, but also hope that everyone will understand.

So, here is my thank you card. This time, right here, right now, when I am getting to sit down for 10 minutes (and then get interrupted after 5 minutes and come back 2 hours later to rush to finish up the post in 15 minutes) and write a blog post and put up some pictures for everyone. This is my thank you to everyone. To the gift givers, the trash picker-uppers, the food buyers, the yard work doers, the chair scrubbers, the guests who came to celebrate that Liam turned three. This is my thank you to you for today and every other day that you celebrate my son and my family by thinking of us and helping us and being so kind and thoughtful.

And with that said, lets show off some pictures!!!!

yup. I made that. yup, we have leftovers.

he ate 5 slices of watermelon. 5!!!!!

He was doing really well about sharing his new toys

Nym licked Dotty's elbow, she was offended.

Evie got to nibble on a mint leaf, it was a hit!

I am sad that Liam decided not to be part of this picture, but stopping play time for 10 seconds was too much to ask!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Good with the Bad

I've been thinking about writing a post for a while. SOooooOOOoooOOOOOO much has been happening. Those of you who follow The Daily Liam and The Daily Evelyn know that my updates have been a bit sparse.

A few things have been on my mind. Bad dreams. My Non-sleeping Toddler. New Life Changes.  and a few more. So I will just go down the list. I will alternate good and bad and end on a good note. Just because I can.

Bad:  Bad Dreams
I've been having some dreams where bad things are happening to the kids. First one was a house fire when I was 3 houses down the street and somehow running back was like jogging through molasses. The other was where Liam went under water in the bathtub and when I pulled him out he wasn't breathing, I started CPR.. and then jerked awake and had to go into his room and just hug him for a long while. This one haunts me. I can still see his hair floating out, his face all calm and peaceful like when he is sleeping. Last night it was that someone was trying to take Liam, and I pushed them down the stairs and they broke their back. I guess I am in some sort of worry mode.

Good: Big Brother Liam!
Liam is turning out to be a good big brother. He shares toys, is pretty darn careful of where he is crashing and where his limbs are landing when Evie is nearby. He asks if she is ok when she cries, he brings her her toys, he offers her his food. But he isn't so good that it makes me worry he is not still thinking about himself as he should be right now.

Bad: Liam Won't Sleep
Liam still has not slept through the night. In his 2 years and almost 8 months he has only slept about 15 nights without waking up at least once and/or not getting up early (like, 5:30 am early). We are in an ongoing process to figure this out. Right now we are on limiting nap times to two hours and delaying bed time another half hour later.

Good: New Life Changes
I am implementing a rule for me and Liam... Dan can choose to follow it if he wants or not. But I am not feeding me or Liam any food that has a TV commercial. Other than Cheerios, the occasional mini bag of M&M's and a rare treat of delivery pizza. Already I have found that I am happier and have more energy. I am cooking more at home and finding some simple recipes that I can make even while bouncing Evie in her chair as she sits in her chair in the middle of the kitchen.

Good: Evie Is Growing!
Evie is such a happy baby. She is full of smiles and giggles, she is rolling over and starting to get good at pulling things into her mouth. She is content and just goes along with the flow for the most part and really only cries when something is wrong like being hungry, really wet, super tired or being stuck on her tummy now that she can roll.

More good than bad.... Not too shabby really!

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