Parenting: One Part Helplessness, One Part Hope, And The Rest, Blind Faith

“Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.”

 

When I hear this sentiment uttered, it evokes an image of an elderly grandmother as she glides past a mother and her prostrated, screaming child in an aisle at Target.  The child is having a full blown meltdown and the mother, exasperated, is attempting to do everything in her power to just get that child up off the floor and the hell out of the store.  The grandmother, an “all knowing” smile on her face, chuckles to herself as she walks by while whispering this statement to the mom.

 

milliemeltdown

Did someone order a massive public meltdown?

We have all been there.  You know—those terrible and terrifying moments of parenting when all you can think is, “I have no idea what I am doing, but I hope to God it’s the right thing.”

 

I recently wrote a post called  https://manvsmommy.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/adhd-how-my-son-is-already-failing-the-first-grade/.  Many people commented, but even more people sent me private messages or approached me personally.  The circumstances of each person’s story varied, but the feelings shared were all the same, those of utter and complete helplessness.

 

“I work on her reading every night with her, but she’s not improving at all.”

 

“I’ve taken him to every feeding specialist there is, but he’s just not eating well.”

 

“I tried a new psychologist yesterday, but she seemed like all of the rest.”

 

“I tried a new medicine, but her asthma attacks are still so severe.”

 

The desperation in their accounts is palpable; it is laced with a sense of helplessness and a desire for a renewed sense of hope.  As parents, we try everything for our children. No stone goes unturned.  No book, pamphlet, webinar, or podcast is missed.   We are willing to listen to people screaming from atop their soapboxes if it means that there might be some answer to the challenges we face with our kids.

 

Feeling helpless as a parent has become as much a part of me as feeling like a successful one.  I do all I can for my children; I am trying my absolute hardest—but at times it seems insufficient.  I can read the books, study them, highlight the important passages, and then put their suggestions into play.  I can talk to the doctors, see new doctors, and take suggestions from other parents in similar situations, but nothing appears to change.   At one point, we just have to accept that we have done all we can do and let our faith do the rest.

 

Parenting is one part helplessness, one part hope, and the rest, blind faith.

 

As helpless as I feel, I have faith.  I believe that although I might not see immediate change, the fact that I am doing everything I can is enough.  I know that my heart is in the right place, it is with my children every day.  I understand that I will not feel helpless forever, and that there will be times where I feel completely ahead of the parenting game.  I trust that my best is good enough and that as long as I keep fighting things will continue to keep moving in the right direction.

 

The periods of time when I feel most helpless are also those that require me to have the most hope and the largest amount of blind faith.  I do not do it alone.  I count on my husband, my family and my support network.  It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child; it takes a village to raise a parent.

ADHD: How My Son Is Already Failing The First Grade

*I will preface this blog post by stating that I adore Man’s teachers, his school and our school district.  They have been completely supportive since the day we began our journey.

 

The phone rings and I see the number of Man’s school pop up.

 

My heart begins to beat faster, my chest tightens, and an overall feeling of complete anxiety fills my body.

 

“What happened now?” I think

 

I toy with the idea of ignoring the call.  Maybe if I don’t answer it the problem will go away, magically disappear into the vastness of my voicemail, left to be dealt with at a later time when I feel more up to it.  That thought is shoved out quickly and replaced with, “I have to deal with this right away, or I might never call back.”

 

“Mrs. R, this is Mrs… the assistant principal.”  I wonder why she even bothers to introduce herself at all anymore; she calls more often then my best friend or some family members.

 

“Man is…”

 

That blank is often filled with information on some physical altercation or some refusal to do his work all day, thus a removal of some important activity has occurred.

 

This same information comes almost daily in the form of e mails from his teacher, the school psychologist, or the special education teacher.

(*I will add that all of these women are lovely ladies dedicated to their jobs and helping Man. He does not make it easy.)

 

Man has ADHD and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  Many people are misinformed, or just have some preconceived notion of what ADHD is, so here is a very brief description-

 

ADHD is NOT:

Just being hyperactive and unable to sit still.

A behavior problem.

Caused by poor parenting and lack of discipline.

Magically treated by medication.

Something small children just outgrow.

Treated with sports or other physical activities.

Just a child being lazy.

 

ADHD IS:

The inability to regulate one’s emotions.

An inability to identify and pick up on general social cues.

An inability to filter out the input around you, therefore, causing extreme distractibility.

An inability to control impulses.

Abnormal levels of activity.

Difficulty organizing and staying on task.

 

This is just a brief overview of some of the characteristics associated with this disorder and a child can have some, many, or all of the characteristics.  Additionally, any one of the symptoms may be more present and cause greater challenges than others.

 

Man has begun first grade this year and the transition has been TREMENDOUSLY difficult.  In kindergarten he was able to have some freedom to play and roam; the expectations were not as high.  Now, in first grade, he is expected to sit still for longer periods of time, do much more class work and pressures have increased one hundred fold.  In many ways, he is crumbling under these pressures.

 

When Man crumbles, it isn’t into pieces — it’s into a fine dust, a total and complete meltdown.

 

There are days when he absolutely just. Can’t. Sit. Still. long enough to do any work.  He refuses.  He must suffer the consequences accordingly.  There are rules of the classroom and he is given plenty of leeway, but at some point, something has to give and his work must be completed.  It often is not.

 

readpic

 

There are days when he calls out so often that no other student can get a word in edgewise.  He is so enthusiastic, so excited about the information in his head and he wants the class to know his thoughts.  When Man is an active participant, which is every day, he is truly an active participant.  But you can’t cut people off; you must give others a turn.  You have to raise your hand and wait patiently to be called on, as do all the other eager and smart students in the class.  He often cannot.

 

There are social situations that Man seems to perceive or interpret incorrectly.  He often uses his words once, but then if a student does not immediate do as he has asked, he will use force to get what he wants.  My sweet child (and I don’t say this because I am blind, he truly is the sweetest, most sensitive child you will meet) sees this as a slight or an insult, has absolutely no impulse control and goes right to pushing or hitting.  He uses the method of a child half of his age to get what he wants.  It happens so fast, so quickly that even when someone tries to stop it, it often does not happen in time.  He feels terrible when these events occur. Yet he cannot control them.

 

The phone calls and e mails begin to flood in.  Man had a difficult day; he refused to do his work all day.  He comes off the bus looking neutral.

 

“What was the best part of your day, my love?”  I ask, praying for something positive.

 

“Seeing my friends at lunch.”

 

“What was the worst part of your day?” the silent prayers beg that he doesn’t burst into tears for the third day in a row.

 

“They took away recess.  I had to go to the assistant principal again.  Bad kids go to the assistant principal.”

 

“You have to try and do your work,” I explain, “I know it’s hard to concentrate.  And you’re not bad.  You’re having some challenges and we are going to work it out, I promise.”  I make a promise I’m not sure I can keep.

 

“I can’t focus, mom,” he cries, hysterically, “Help me.  Help me be able to concentrate.”

 

Other days the conversation goes more like this:

 

“Man, I got a call that you hit someone today.  You KNOW you can’t do that.  You MUST respect personal space.”

 

“I know mom, but they…”

 

The explanation as to what the child did is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that in his mind, he truly believes he was slighted in some way.  Or, in some situations, he uses his words to try and mediate once, and then the impulse control takes over and he just takes care of the problem physically.  This is UNACCEPTABLE.  I imagine a long list of parents who assume my kid is an asshole, a bully, an undisciplined, unmanageable, jerk who just goes around hitting and kicking.  I know I would be thinking the same thing.  However, this is just NOT the case.  He does use force, and it’s a huge challenge, but it’s not because he’s a bully or just a mean and nasty kid.  It is because he literally has no impulse control.  He has no impulse control in many other areas as well (think calling out in the class, taking someone’s turn during gym or music class, etc.) it’s just that in this area, other kids get hurt.  I want to call all of these parents, apologize to every one of them.  Give an explanation of the situation.  I’m not sure that would do anything.

 

I want to help my sweet boy.  I want him to feel smart, for he is truly brilliant.  I want him to feel socially accepted, for he is the nicest, kindest, most loving child.  I want him to feel happy every day, because that is what a six year old deserves.  I’m not sure I know how to do that right now and it terrifies me.

 

I wish society understood just how difficult this disorder truly is.  I want parents to understand that it’s not that our children are undisciplined or lazy; they actually work twice as hard as a typical child to function day to day.  I want schools to get their act together and begin to design programs that work for children who are wired this way.  Why is my child made to feel less than every day because he cannot fit into the mold of the current educational expectations?  We have to do more for children as a whole.

 

man1stday

A smile for the first day of first grade

Will Someone Tell Me How I Can Do More?

I spent this past weekend away, while my husband remained home with the kids.  While away, yet another confusing, senseless mass shooting occurred at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.  When I arrived home this evening, my husband and I traded stories and caught up on each other’s weekends.  The shooting was near the bottom of the list of things we discussed.  I noted our numbness, our easy acceptance, our lack of surprise and shock.  We discussed it with banality.  There was a deafening tone of acceptance that this was no longer a unique occurrence.  It was discussed with such dullness that one would never have guessed that we were talking about what is now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

 

Something feels different this time.  Something inside is not sitting right.

 

I haven’t shed a tear or watched hours of coverage into the night, something I have often done during past tragedies.
Following both Sandy Hook (Man AND Lady Vs Mommy. Written in Memory of Those Murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary) and Paris (Bombs of Kindness) I immediately wrote reaction pieces- my sadness and fears emptying from my heart and into posts.  This time, my heart is silent.

 

I haven’t changed my FB profile picture, or posted any memes in memoriam.

 

pulese

I haven’t dedicated any posts containing heartfelt sentiments and prayers for the victims and their families.  (Though I did share one post on my private page that I found summed up the impact of the tragedy on the LGBT community rather nicely.)

 

I haven’t read article after article soaking up any information that could possibly help it all make sense.

No calls to action or petitions have been signed or shared.  I have barely even attempted to shoot down angry trolls with my witty and condescending rhetoric.

 

Nothing.  Not. One. Damn. Thing.

 

Why, I ask myself?  Why can’t I hop on the grieving bandwagon?

 

It’s because in doing so, I feel like a fraud.

 

With every passing tragedy, I talk the talk, but the truth is I have no idea how to walk the walk.  I am so tired of absolutely nothing changing, nothing getting better.  I cannot make my profile picture, a temporary, memorial meme; if that is the only thing I am willing to do to bring about change.  Expressing outrage via FB and other social media outlets isn’t doing a damn thing, and I want to do something.

 

What more can I do?  I have signed all of the petitions.  I make phone calls to my congresswoman, whom already supports a ban on assault weapons.  I vote in all of the elections for representatives who share my beliefs.  But really, this does not seem like much.

 

I, like all of you, am outraged.  I am disgusted that so many hundreds of adults and children have died, and likely hundreds more will have to die, for people to understand that guns ARE part of the problem.  I am confused by how people think that hate and bigotry is not at the root of all of these mass shootings.  I am exhausted of the finger pointing and the bickering among politicians and political parties shutting down any chance for change.  I am sickened by the divide in this country that grows deeper with every tragedy.

 

These atrocities will continue to happen, and, unfortunately, I feel that part of the onus has fallen on us, the citizens of this country.  I implore you, how can I help more?  Please, share in the comments section any ideas on how we, as individual citizens, can do more then just share FB posts.  It is up to every one of us to do something, or none of us have the right to express outrage and sadness when something like this occurs again.

Bad Mom? When Being A Parent Isn’t Enough

There are days when parenting gets the better of me.

 

Hell, if I’m being honest, it’s more like weeks, maybe even months, where being a parent takes every last bit of inner strength I have. I’m positive that there are days most parents have felt this way. Days when they feel like one more little thing, one more whine or “no” out of their sweet child’s lips they will absolutely lose it.

 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, that feeling like this for a day here and there, well, that’s normal. However, feeling like this more often then not, that seems excessive. I used to take pride in the parent I was, my skills, my way with my children, my ability to handle the things they threw my way. Now, I feel like a shell of my former SuperMom self—more like the villain battling SuperMom for control of the parenting realm. At this time, I am less then ideal.

 

How did I get to this point? When did this happen? Can it be fixed?

 

I am plagued with these questions hourly. The only answer that I can conclude is Man’s ADHD.

 

What comes along with this diagnosis, I truly wouldn’t wish on any parent. I am at a loss daily as to what to do for him, how to help him, how to help myself. ADHD turns my sweet, delicious, brilliant, happy Man into a ticking time bomb, and no one—I mean NO ONE—will swoop in at the very last second with the secret code to stop it from exploding. While Man was out of control out at dinner with friends this evening, I looked at my fellow mom friend, sobbing, and just said, “What do I do? I have absolutely no idea what to do with him anymore.” Her answer was perfect, “I don’t know,” she said supportively, “I think you’re doing everything you can.”

 

Yes, I am doing everything I can. Therapies, charts, doctors, reading and learning new information, working with his classroom teachers, providing him safe opportunities to play and learn—we do it all. But it comes at a high cost—the cost of my patience, my happiness, and my sanity.

 

I have a half of a blog post written busting the many myths about ADHD. However, I think there are only two real myths that require clarification. The first is the myth that ADHD is not real. Seriously people, it’s real; it’s very real, and it’s very difficult. I don’t really give that much of a crap if you think it’s real or not, but I need you to keep it to yourself. I don’t have the time to explain to you that my son’s actions are not due to my poor parenting skills and that no; he does not need a good dose of punishment to teach him.

 ADHD Wonka

The second myth is that ADHD is simply when a kid can’t sit still and pay attention. If you believe that, I’m happy for you, because you have not experienced what it really is, which is so much more.

 

For Man, ADHD means having no impulse control. Oh, that doesn’t sound so terrible, you might be thinking. Let me explain what having no impulse control means. It’s the inability to stop, think, and reason before performing an act. Any act. Especially the scary ones. So your child spots a random ball in the street; most often they stop and think: “Are there cars coming? Mom said not to run into the street. I will stay here and ask her to get it.” If they are old enough, they will stop, look both ways, and if the coast is clear, go and get the ball. A child with no impulse control would be out in the street getting that ball before I was even finished typing this sentence. Just this evening, I watched Man fill up his straw and spit it at his friend across the table. “All kids do stupid things like that,” you may be thinking, so what makes Man so different? The difference is that even after being reprimanded and punished and provided with an explanation as to why that was not proper behavior, he did it again no fewer then five minutes later. If we hadn’t upped and left the restaurant, he likely would have done it again, and again. No impulse control means NEVER EVER stopping to think prior to engaging in an action.

 

messyman

What? I wasn’t supposed to empty all of the toy bins at once?

ADHD also means having difficulty processing and controlling one’s emotions. Thus, once you have passed down the sentence, the punishment, the discipline that everyone thinks is so lacking in parents of children with ADHD, Man goes berserk. Again, you might be muttering, “My kid does that too!” Does your kid do that for 45 minutes at a time?

 

Let’s recap a small picture of what I have shared. A child with no impulse control, who does almost everything without thinking, then breaks down for an excessive amount of time over the punishment given. This happens all day, every day, from morning until night. I save him from himself, I attempt to teach him why he can’t do it again, I discipline the behavior, and then I stay calm as he has a tantrum for an excessive amount of time. I watch as my discipline fails. He will never be able to internalize, stop, and think, before doing the same action again and again. This is a small peek into my day with Man.

 

Did you know I have two children? I read recently that the siblings of ADHD kids are called “ghost children.” It is so true. At times, she is so invisible that when I realize she has been standing there, or that in leaving a destination because of Man’s behavior means she has to leave too even though she was perfectly happy and appropriate. I don’t have enough for my Man, which means that I have less than enough for my sweet Lady.

 

This has left me feeling like a less than perfect parent. How do I help him? How do I keep my cool? How do I give them both my all without emptying myself out? I have to be doing something wrong. It should be easier then this. I should be happier. I should feel better about myself at the end of each day.

 

fam adhd

Loving our Man.

Snow Day Survival Guide

The word from the National Weather Service is that some snow is headed our way; just how much, of course, is still under debate. The Numerical Analysis weather model, European model, America’s Next Top Model- it doesn’t matter at all, as we have learned the hard way, they are all crap. At this point, it’s just easier to prepare for the worst, pray for the best, and watch the progression from the safety of our kitchen windows with a hot toddy in our hands and fuzzy slippers on our feet. When all is said and done, we will open our front doors and peek outside warily, attempting to keep the huge pile of snow that has blow up against our door from crashing into the house. We will bend over just enough to stick that good old trusty wooden ruler- you know the one you have managed to keep since elementary school (because why would you ever get rid of a ruler, there are always things that require measuring), into portion of the snow at least five inches from the house- far enough as to not measure the remainder of the snow drift, half of which has already begun to melt on your feet, the other half carried off by small child hands and is aggressively melting on top of one of the many electronic devices you have used to maintain sanity. This will accurately allow you to see how many inches of the fluffy stuff you will spend the remainder of your day removing from any path of access to the street. Rule of thumb, if the ruler disappears altogether, you’re looking at potentially two snow days from school and a hiatal hernia.

snow kids

Mush! Mush!

The biggest fear parents have is how they will entertain their children for hours and possibly days on end without CPS being called. We all know that excessive isolation for an extreme amount of time can cause us to do things that we might normally never consider doing. It’s entirely possible that while you’re emptying the dishwasher for the umpteenth time, because the dishes are never ending when four or more people are stuck inside for days on end, the sound of your children’s endless whining maaaaaaay cause you to suddenly snap. Instead of placing that fork back into its rightful place in the drawer you hurl it across the room. It’s sent flying through the air where it finally lands in one of the kid’s eyes, consequently impaling it and finally just gouging it out of the socket altogether… What? It could happen.

Right -so in order to avoid that you MUST be prepared with the essentials, lucky for you I have some suggestions on how to pass the time.

Basics:
Movies
Alcohol
Art Supplies
Alcohol
Baking Supplies
Alcohol
Lego projects that contain 1000 or more pieces
Hot Chocolate
Oh, this imperative, ALCOHOL
Pediatric Benadryl (this is especially important if you’re against giving the kids, you guessed it, alcohol)
Ingredients for s’mores
Lunch and dinner for at least a week
Food coloring and balloons
Bubble bath
Melatonin
Puzzle books
Flashlights
Xanax
Gloves/scarves/hats/boots
And finally, alcohol
Randoms:
Cotton balls
Band-Aids
Gauze
Boo boo buddies
Bacitracin
Rubbing Alcohol
Ace bandages
An eye patch for each child and at least one for an adult.
Anything else that can be used for first aid when you all go stir crazy and start acting like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. If one of your kids starts to talk to a mysterious imaginary friend named Tony and moaning phrases like “Reeeed Ruuuuuuuum”, it’s obvious that you have failed at shopping for at least one of the items from the “basic” list-namely alcohol. Please note- rubbing alcohol can serve as both an antiseptic and a numbing agent for basic feelings of frustration.

snow day

Make sure to get the neighborhood involved in activities. You’re all in this shit together and attempting to go it alone is highly discouraged. Keep rotating houses, one house does a movie, the next an art project, after that they bake somewhere else and so on, until those days stuck at home begin to fly by.

We’ve been lucky so far this year (or unlucky depending if you’re a believer in climate change- which, if you’re not, I give you permission to “unlike” my page right now) and coming up on the end of January and this will be our first real storm. Brace yourself fellow parents. Good luck and God speed.

 

kids in snow

Snow days are worth it just for the photos alone!

National Lampoon’s Swimming Vacation

So, the family went for a swim lesson.

 

Man's first lesson a few weeks ago on vacation.  This was the moment we knew he was ready.

Man’s first lesson a few weeks ago on vacation. This was the moment we knew he was ready.

Man has not been the easiest child to get into the water.  Well, to get his face and head into the water.  So when it seemed like he was really getting better at it, I jumped and signed both kids up for lessons.  Aside from one previous lesson, today’s was the first with a potential teacher who could work with them for years.  I was super psyched that they were super psyched.

We locked our clothes in a locker that had an electronic key code. Man and I figured out a great code together –3698, he was so proud.  I watched as he pressed in the code joyfully. We walked gleefully, all of us super duper psyched, and it began:

Man gets into the water.

Man goes under the water for 1/5 of a millisecond.

Man freaks out and wants to get out, completely ending the lesson before it had really begun.

As he starts climbing out, his little wet body crying for mommy’s arms, the teacher suggests he stay in and maybe I, you know, leave the area for a bit.

I completely respect this. I leave.  Outwardly, though spectators would likely say differently, I feel like I’m cool, calm, and collected.  Inwardly, I’m no longer super duper psyched, but have worked myself up into fearful mommy.  I hate fearful mommy, and I rarely let her out, but swimming turns me into a (really awesome army) helicopter mom.

I don’t hear any more crying, so I relax.  Lol, actually, I pace up and down the hall until there are only three minutes left in the lesson.

Man is happily swimming and learning.  I am again super duper psyched.

The kids play with friends in the kiddie area until it’s time to go.

Lady does not want to leave.  She demonstrates her protest by removing her bathing suit and tossing it into the pool.

Pool staff starts swarming in and ushering her out of the pool.  There is absolutely no nakedness allowed in the pool.  (You can, however, take one of those foam noodle things and use it to spit water at people, as Man had been doing.  Go figure.)

Semi-wrapped and both shivering we usher ourselves back into the locker room.  I unlock our cabinet, turn around to pick up my naked and dripping Lady, and Man relocks the cabinet with a new, not previously agreed upon code.

Thank god my friend was there and was able to go get a staff member, because the other option was taking them home in jackets (we live less than 3 min away), dropping them with my husband who happened to be at home sick, and then going back for the locker.

Traipsing them around the gym naked while I hunted for a staff member was NOT an option.

So here we are, locker opened, kids getting dressed.  Lady is excessively brushing her hair and getting a blow out with a friend.  Man has shoved open the door of another locker from the inside, revealing that he now has his shirt on his bottom and his pants on his head.  “It’s funny, mom, right?” Only in hindsight, my sweet, frustratingly delicious Man.

Oddly enough, ultimately, the lesson went rather well.  Man learned that he can be fearful, without letting it stop him from doing the things that scare him.  If he never learns to swim, I’d be happy knowing that he came away with such an important message.  No, that’s just not true, I really think he needs to learn to swim, not Michael Phelps swim, but feel safe in and around water.  Plus, I’m super duper psyched that he is managing fearful situations with more courage than I’ve seen before.  As for Lady, I’m taking bets on how long it takes for her to get herself thrown out of the pool for good.

Still fully suited up.  She took her clothes off after this lesson too... I should have anticipated what was coming today.

Still fully suited up. She took her clothes off after this lesson too… I should have anticipated what was coming today.

This Lady Sucks: Fanning The Flames Of The Mommy Wars

Today I read a blog that just downright pissed me off.  It was a post called UNPOPULAR OPINION:  Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Is Not a Job, and the only credit I can give this woman is that she realizes hers is an unpopular opinion.  Otherwise, it enraged me so much that I feel I need to write my own rebuttal.

This post angered me from beginning to end.   I can’t even begin to quote the sections that aggravated me the most because I would basically just be cutting and pasting her post into mine.  However, I will highlight the most irritating points for you.  Be sure to read it for yourself as well. http://www.xojane.com/issues/being-a-stay-at-home-mom-is-not-a-job?utm_source=FBPAGE&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=Issues

–As a side note, do not read it when your kids are in the room, as you might throw out a random “fuck you” here and there.

The title sums it up well – she basically explains how being a SAHM is just a privilege, not a career.  Well, there I will agree, being a SAHM is not a career, if only for the simple reason that your demotion is inevitable; eventually, your children will grow up, move out and require less of your time (hopefully).  But as far as it not being a job…well, that’s just bullshit.  If you are not at home taking care of your children, then who is?  It’s the person you employ to do so.  Be it a nanny, au pair, baby sitter, day care, etc. you have hired someone, for pay, to care for your children.  In simpler terms, you gave this person—now say it with me—a job.

Being a stay-at-home mom is for the weak!

Being a stay-at-home mom is for the weak!  (Say’s this lady only…)

“For every mother who is happy with her choice to be a stay-at-home mother, there are at least three who are using its tribulations as a means to smugly declare their superiority to anyone within earshot.”  The author goes on to say that she detests the moms who just sit and complain about being SAHM’’s.

I have so many issues with this implication, so let’s start here.  How many people do you know who complain about their careers?  I don’t know a single person who at one time or another hasn’t gone on a rant about how work sucks.  Hell, they make movies, television shows, and write books on this very topic.

Next, maybe they “complain” about being a SAHM because the idea that sometimes it sucks really scares them.  I often find that if you truly listen to what another mom is “complaining” about, you’ll hear that she is just asking for a little validation and support, a reassurance that she is not alone in her feelings. I know I often feel guilty about having downbeat feelings towards my own parenting.  These are my children–aren’t they supposed to bring me the ultimate joy?  As it turns out, not all of the time.  It makes me feel better to know that sometimes other moms feel the same.

I also wholeheartedly find fault with labeling SAHM’s as “smug”.  Yes, some women are smug. So are some men. To say that this quality is specific to SAHM’s is ridiculous. Some of the smug women out there apparently happen to be moms. F off.  Wait, was that too smug for you?

This is where she tries to blame society- “…stay-at-home lifestyle is an incredible freedom they were in no way obligated to participate in, or are actually working to support the children they decided to contribute to society.”  Talk about smug…she’s just downright condescending  and wrong.  We are raising the next generation; what could be more valuable than that? P.S. – I have no idea about this “freedom” she speaks of.  Today, I turned around and looked at Man, hot on my heels, “What are you doing?” I asked, “I’m being your shadow, I’m going to be right behind you everywhere you go.”  Inmates are freer than that.

I could just go on and on, like when she compared parenting to other hard work, like camping or having sex with someone she loves. (Dude, I feel so sorry for you.)

It was a little gem when she called being a SAHM a hobby and compared it with an addiction to heroin. (Neither of which are actual hobbies, by the way.)

I love when she suggests that people who retire early to take care of their elderly parents don’t suddenly say they have a career in the health care profession.  (No, they say it’s now their job is to care for their elderly loved ones.)

I have grappled with finding my own happiness and self satisfaction being a SAHM.  I have questioned if being “just a mom” is enough for me (here is a past blog post on the very subject- https://manvsmommy.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/some-people-call-me-a-space-cowboy/ ).  However, it is not based on any of the fabricated reasons that this woman acerbically states.  I want something that is just for me, a day when a sense of accomplishment is not based on how much food I got Man to eat.  I also want to be at home with my children at a time when they need me most.  I studied hard and I have a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology.  I worked for a long time with adult stroke patients and veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury; I absolutely felt like I was contributing something valuable to society.  Then I gave birth to two beautiful children and began my current job as a stay-at-home mom about four-and-a-half years ago.  I am confident that I am raising them to be the best adults they can be so they can contribute something to society in the future.  This is also, in part, my contribution to society.

This woman wants to perpetuate the “mommy wars” and I won’t stand for it.  All moms work, and we work hard.  Whether we stay at home and work or have a career outside the home PLUS the job of being a mommy in the home, it’s time to support each other, not deepen the divide.

Not only is it my job to clean up that mess, it's also my job to teach him to clean up the mess that he made.

Not only is it my job to clean up that mess, it’s also my job to teach him to clean up the mess that he made.