Shedding The Shame of my Alcoholism

I have had no trouble writing about the challenging times in my life.  I have willingly and gladly left myself open and vulnerable to the masses week after week by openly sharing about my parenting struggles.  I have operated under the belief that no shame can come from speaking my truth, a truth that I have no control over.  Parenting my son, and simply being a mother in general, is difficult.  I regale you with personal anecdotes to help spread awareness for those like him and advocate for families like ours.  Sharing these stories is necessary for our survival, it is empowering and inspiring in a way that keeping them secret is not.

However, I am simultaneously buried deeply under my own shame and stigma.  I have only shared part of my truth with you, my friends.

The truth is his, my name is Laura, and I’m an alcoholic.

I think when people consider the term “alcoholic” or “addict,” they don’t picture their next-door neighbor.  It most certainly does not conjure an image of the mom two doors down, the parent of two well-kept children, the one who usually has a smile on her face and the one you share a laugh with as you both walk back to your houses after the school bus has collected your kids.  I don’t think they can fathom that it can be the seemingly pleasant, although somewhat disheveled, woman they have grown to know and love.  The one who gets her kid to therapy appointments on time, who never misses an event at their school, has a delicious meal on the table each evening, and who seems to have it mostly together- at least as together as any parent of young children can.  Alcoholic to them is some abstract term, a definition for the drunk living on the street who is intoxicated by 8AM.  The one who can’t hold down a job, who smells like they haven’t showered in a week, and looks like it too.  In this modern day, I would like to think that that isn’t the truth.  That, by now, people would understand that alcoholism comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and colors and hues.  That it does not discriminate between man or woman, rich or poor, or brilliant or uneducated.

It hurts my heart to say it, but many people, many peers even, still think of an alcoholic or an addict as some random loser, no one that could possibly live in their neighborhood, and certainly no one that they could know or care to rub elbows with.  People still seem to think that having this disease is a choice, something someone can control.  That if we really wanted to stop drinking, we would just put our mind to it and do it!  Let me be the first to tell you, no one, NO ONE, wakes up one morning and says, “Hey, today, I would love to become a slave to alcohol and/or drugs!”  No, it’s something we are born with, that was imprinted on our DNA while we were still in the womb, we have no more control over it, than we do our eye or hair color.

image1

The freedom of sobriety

What no one shares about getting sober, is that it gets significantly harder before it gets easier.  You put down the drink and everything you have wanted to numb, everything you have fought so hard not to deal with, is now uncovered, naked and raw, and you are no longer allowed to reach for your anesthetic.  Learning to live that way, happily, is harder than I can describe in words.

Over the last two years I have only begun to fight my way out of the deep cavern of alcoholism.  I have clung to every bit of hope and strength I could grab onto and let it guide me out of the darkness and into the light of a world I have never known.  A life I never thought possible.  One that I never thought I deserved.  Can you imagine living in a world of shadows- being there in body but not being truly present, ever?  Knowing, deep down, that there was so much more to life, however, not knowing how to get there or if it was even possible to do so?

The shame and stigma of this diagnosis has held me prisoner for too long.  It has kept me locked up in it’s dark, cold jail, behind the bars of secrecy.   Many years ago, it stopped me from getting the help I needed sooner.  Today, it stops me from using the power of my writing and my voice to advocate for women just like me.  The forgotten women who want to get better but are too frightened and ashamed to say, “I need help.”

For me, the last step towards truly achieving a peaceful sobriety is wearing this title proudly and openly.  Getting sober and since maintaining sobriety is the hardest and the best thing I have ever done.  I am so fucking proud of myself, so why shouldn’t I share that?  I want to climb to the top of mount Everest and shout it to the world, “I AM SOBER- SEE ME LIVE MY BEST LIFE!!”  I want to hang my sobriety majestically from a bedazzled sign around my neck.  I want to march down the street, rally style, carrying my message of hope and change.  I need the world to know that I am not ashamed of who I am.  That I too am a survivor and that my fight is no less than anyone else’s.

I share this to give a voice to all the women who live in shame and secrecy.  I share this to let women who might be struggling know that they are not alone, take the first step, get the help, the rest will eventually all fall into place.  I promise.

Parkland: What Am I Allowed To Feel?

Man hold up his hands like a gun and takes fake shots.  He laughs maniacally at the video he’s watching.  It’s one of those silly kid’s videos where guys are using Nerf guns to shoot each other in idiotic places.  He thinks it’s hysterical.

“Turn that off right now!” I say curtly. 

“What’s the big deal?” He asks innocently.

“You know daddy and I don’t like guns or shooting or when you watch videos of shooting!”

“It’s just a Nerf gun mom, it’s funny.”

“Well, one day it could be a real gun!” I say as I rip the iPad away from him.

He looks at me, his already giant doe eyes even larger.  “Mom, I was watching that!!”

“Well, now you’re not.” I spit back. 

I take a deep breath; my emotions are running high.  I have just read another article about the Parkland shooting and I’m sad, scared, angry, defeated…

“I have to talk to you about something, buddy.”

“Ok.”

“One of the reasons daddy and I don’t like you playing with guns or thinking they are just fun toys is because one day, it might be hard for you to tell if someone has a toy gun or a real gun.  One day, someone might start shooting and it won’t just be pretend.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, you know all of those lockdown drills you guys have?  It’s because someone with a real gun might come into your school and start shooting and they want to make sure you know what to do.  That happened today at a school in Florida.  Some people even got killed.”

“Stop saying that mommy, you’re scaring me.  I don’t want to hear that!!”

“I know little buddy, and I don’t want to have to tell you this, but I do.  It’s important that you know that guns are dangerous and that they are not toys and they can hurt people.”

I’m crying now, and he looks at me a little lost.  He continues to back away from the conversation, scanning the room for his iPad so he can remove himself from this discussion altogether.  He can’t handle what I am saying and, quite frankly, I can’t either. 

A million thoughts are racing through my head: “He needs to hear this stuff, it’s a matter of life and death.” “He’s only seven, I shouldn’t be scaring him like this.” “Am I doing this right, because I’m not sure how to have a conversation like this with my seven-year-old?”  “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD!!!”

This morning they read the names and descriptions of the 17 killed on NPR.  I began to cry again.

Then, just now, I read some of the text exchanges between parent’s and their children.  I began to cry again.

Then I began to feel guilty, am I allowed to cry?  Am I even allowed to feel this way?  It wasn’t my school, or my children, or even anyone I know.  My sadness cannot take away from the sadness and distraught felt by the friends and family of whose lives were taken.

My emotions are so confused and disconnected.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am heartbroken.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am angry.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am helpless.

There is so much I’m feeling, but mostly, I don’t feel it is my right to have any feelings on this matter at all, not until it happens to someone I know.

And there it is… “Not until it happens to someone I know.” 

The likelihood of it happening to someone I know is significant, it’s only a matter of time. 

That fact alone gives me the right to feel!

To feel angry!

To feel that nothing, NOTHING is being done!

To feel scared because we are all just sitting around waiting for it to happen again!!!

This didn’t happen to me, it happened to every single parent and child in this country and somewhere along the way we’ve been told to accept the fact that there is nothing we can do. 

In the end, why feel at all if those feelings aren’t going to amount to anything.

If These Walls Could Talk

It’s impossible not to feel overwhelmed with sentiment and emotion as I pack up my family and ready us to move out of the first home we ever owned.  A decade ago, a young, excited engaged couple made the traditional migration from a thrilling life in the big city to settling down into quiet suburban living.  In the years that followed, we filled this home with a marriage, two children, pets, ups, downs, and in betweens- moments of love and laughter have bounced joyfully off these walls, while times of sadness and regret have seeped deeply into its cracks and crevices.  I can see the memories in every corner of every room- from smalls scuffs left on the baseboards from tiny kicking feet to art projects depicting our happy family taped lovingly to bedroom walls.

I go through the house daily, methodically emptying drawers and clearing shelves.  In this endless quest, items that were once thought to be gone forever begin to resurface.  I come across a bag containing the clothes Man wore home from the hospital- I had put it away for “safe keeping” in his closet over seven years ago and then, naturally, forgot it existed.  I inhale deeply, it has since lost its newborn baby smell, but the memories of that day come flooding back as though it were yesterday.  He was so small, a mere 5 pounds and 13 ounces, that he didn’t fit into the newborn sized onsie we had purchased for him and we had to fashion an outfit out of clothes the hospital provided.  A smile breaks out on my face and a tear streams down my cheek as I am swept up in the joy of the memory.

I move on to my bedroom closet with a broom stick in hand to help knock down items stored long ago on it’s very top shelf.  A white, pleather bowling bag falls and almost hits me in the head.  I rifle through its contents and find Madonna style 80’s lace gloves, handcuffs, edible underwear, and other kinky goodies.  Holy shit, the gag bag from my bachelorette party!  I am inundated with more memories; a bonfire on the beach, lobster dinner al fresco, and penis shaped shot glasses filled with too much tequila.  Suddenly, I feel old and tired; I’m so far removed from that young and carefree bachelorette.

All this mess, all this purging and packing, it has been an emotional roller coaster.  I am tense and exhausted.

I have spent months endlessly scavenging furniture stores and websites for new and fabulous items, vowing to fill our home with beautiful and CLEAN couches and rugs that have not been stained by children and gnawed on by pets.  Countless hours have been devoted to choosing the perfect wall colors to compliment the new and attractive “big-girl home” I am determined to have.  Walls filled with color that have not been marked up by crafting projects or dirt stained little fingers.

All this time, all this effort to create a new, improved, beautiful home, a home that is nothing like the dirty piece meal house I live in now.  I am anxious and feel undue pressure.

There has been so much time and effort dedicated to salvaging what we can still use, tossing the old and searching for the new, that the meaning of the move has been lost on me entirely.  This house, no, this home, wasn’t born out of “stuff” it was created by the people who dwell in it.  I have completely overlooked, or quite possibly just ignored, the fact these walls have seen the growth of family.  To avoid the overwhelming emotion that accompanies leaving my home, I have placed more value on the items inside of it than on the feelings, sentiment, and memories that it holds.

I became a wife in this house.  My husband and I were just three months shy of our wedding day when we moved in.  I can see us as newlyweds, glowing with love and enthusiasm, unmarred by the life that was to unfold before us.  I can feel the love that we had for each other, new and eager to please, carefree and wildly passionate.  I learned how to be a wife in this house, how to be a partner.  I learned about communication and compromise and how to come to resolutions together as a team.  I hear the fain echo of words spoken in times where we both thought we would never make it, where we were ready to give up on our marriage and go our separate ways.  I sit now in our bedroom and see the spot where he stood when we decided that we loved each other and our family far too much to give up and decided that we were worth fighting for.  I feel surrounded by the love we share now, as we have come out on the other side stronger and even better than before.

me and jord 2

Wedding day!

I became a mother in this house.  I can see the spot where I peed on the stick for the first, and second time.  I still have the same garbage can that I tossed those pregnancy tests into after they gave me the answers that I was hoping for.  I sit, right now, in the very bed that I napped together with my babies, desperate for some shut eye.  I can see the chair I sat in as I pumped my milk, praying that just one more ounce would come out.  I can feel the relief in the room where I decided to stop pumping and just feed my child formula, because I wasn’t a failure, I was just doing what I had to do.  I can picture the messes made and the floors littered with clothes that my then undiagnosed ADHD Man created in his tornado phase.  He moved swiftly and with purpose destroying much of our house.  I can sit at the table where he used to feed his little sister and speak the words, “Millie’s talkin to me!!!” I can relax on the couch where he first held her the day we brought her home.  I can return to the spot in my closet where I would hide and cry because motherhood was not what I expected and it stunned me to think that I was not as happy as I “should be.”  I can feel the warmth and the love of all the moments of laughter, triumph, fun, enjoyment, first times, and continued successes that this house has brought us.

I became a sober woman in this house, deciding once and for all that I could no longer successfully drink.  I see the spot where I crumbled in fear and desperation as the realization took hold that I needed more help that I had been willing to admit.

I became a student in this house.  After picking myself up and dusting off the remains of my unhappiness, I sit at the very computer where I filled out the applications and the wrote essays that would take me on this next journey in my life.

fam school

 

I grew up in this house, becoming a woman that I am proud to be- a happy woman, the woman I always knew I could be.

every-mom

 

We became a family in this house.

family 6

If my walls could talk, they would tell me of failures and triumphs, of sadness and successes. They would share with me the pride with which they have surrounded me and my family.  There is no new couch or new rug that matters more than the growth and the memories of the home that I have built with my family.  I will cry when we leave all these memories behind, having safely stowed them in my heart.  I will open the door to my new home with excitement and eagerness for the new memories we shall continue to forge together.

 

 

I Would Die For My Children, But I don’t Just Live For Them

I don’t often begin writing a post with its title.  Most of the time, I have an idea that I want to express, so I sit down at my computer and within about 45 minutes, it’s gushed out of me with the emotion, power and force of Niagara Falls.  I then go back and spend an inappropriately excessive amount of time trying to come up with a catchy title that screams “click bait.”  A few weeks ago, I read a comment on a friend’s post. A mother had—and I’m paraphrasing here—stated that she lived for her children and that they were her absolute everything.  Reading such a comment left my stomach in knots and my brain reeling.  With my body tingling and tightened with angst, a realization formed: I just don’t feel that way about my kids.  Of course, as a parent, I was immediately flooded with guilt—this line of thinking just felt all wrong, it felt selfish.  I’m a mother, damnit, I’m supposed to live for my kids, aren’t I?  I hesitated to add my own comment, sheepishly returning to the post multiple times throughout the day and reading what other parents had written before finally deciding to comment myself: “I live for myself,” I wrote, “and my kids benefit from the happiness that I exude because of this.”  I left this provocative statement hanging on that page for all the world to see.

There it was, a perfect blog topic.  A controversial feeling that only the boldest of parents would express publicly. Parental condemnation click bait!!!  However, I didn’t know what exactly I was feeling and couldn’t yet quite put it into words.  A million false starts of a post in my head never made it onto the computer, and then, this week, two things happened. I heard the incredible Brene Brown speak (if you haven’t read her books, get them) and we attended a back-to-school picnic at my children’s elementary school.

Brene, in all her glorious wisdom, talked about the concept of “belonging”.  She began with the following quote from Maya Angelou: “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”  Was she talking about me? Has she been following along on my journey this past year?  This quote, stated so simply and eloquently, encompassed the very journey of soul searching and self-actualization that I have been on lately.

This is what the journey of motherhood has been for me; trying to find out where I, both as just Laura as well as Man and Lady’s mom, fit into this complicated world.  And the answer was right there in front of me in 1000-pt font and illuminated on a giant screen: nowhere, but also everywhere.  To belong doesn’t mean to “fit in,” to perfectly fit some mold; it means to always be your most authentic self.  When you’re authentic, real, and true, there is no place you don’t belong.  Honestly, most of my life, even before having children, was spent attempting to achieve this.  I essentially thought that having children would accomplish this very goal for me.  I would finally belong somewhere concrete, I would belong to motherhood.

I was wrong.

From the time Man was born, I lived and breathed for his every need and want.  As he got older and the demands of his ADHD took hold, my mood, my sense of self, my very being, revolved around his various successes and failures.  If he had a play date where he didn’t destroy a friend’s home, I was thrilled for a month.  If he pushed a child down the slide at the park, my week was over.  Everything he did dictated everything I felt.  Add the fact that I had another typically-developing child just 18-months his junior who also needed my love and attention and by the end of the day I had nothing left but my congratulatory glasses of wine and my misery.  I wasn’t belonging; in fact, the opposite was happening, I was losing myself more and more with each passing year.

Last year I decided that I had had enough. I stopped drinking, returned to school to pursue my dream degree, and again begin the lifelong pursuit toward finding my most authentic self. I have never been happier or felt more of a sense of belonging.  Furthermore, my time with my children has become more meaningful, fun, and contented; I am able to be present for them in a way I never was before.  In allowing myself to accept my truth, that I needed more than just motherhood to complete me, I have become the best versions of both Laura the person and Laura the mother.

 

fam school

Family back to school day!

 

Yesterday, at the kids’ school picnic, I was reminded of just how significant this journey is and how important it is to be steadfast in its pursuit.  Usually Man shies away from big events like these. They are too crowded for him and very overstimulating.  However, due to the way the day’s events unfolded, I unexpectedly found myself standing on the school playground watching my kids play, feeling miserable – a feeling which had become all but foreign to me in the last year.  Instead of adopting an attitude of belonging, I let my worries and fears about Man get the best of me.  I watched every move he made, I saw every social success, every stumble, and everything in between.  Instead of allowing myself to see what a HUGE step and triumph this was for him, or to even enjoy some time chit chatting with lovely ladies who I don’t often get to see, I was an emotional mess.  My mood was, once again, tied to his every move, and ironically his moves were mostly absolute perfection.  I was transported right back to a year ago and it was a harsh reminder that that person no longer belonged on the playground.

There is no doubt of how much I love my children. I would take a bullet for them, donate a kidney, and if it was possible, painstakingly remove every obstacle and hardship that this world will throw their way.  I love them with every fiber of my being.  I would die for them, but I can no longer just live for them.

mothers day

 

Dear Mr. President; Love, A Jewish Mother

Dear Mr. President,

Over the past few months, hundreds of bomb threats have been called in to Jewish Community Centers (JCC) around the country.  Yesterday, a bomb threat was called in to two such centers just miles from my home.  My friends and I have children of preschool age, many of whom attend school programs at various temples across our county.  Frighteningly, these children participated in lockdown drills yesterday due to their schools’ proximity to the JCCs.  Many had police presence within their schools for the remainder of the day and this morning, welcoming their children to school.  These children are between the ages of one-and-a-half and five.  That’s right, toddlers and small children of the Jewish faith around my county are being escorted into school by police simply because of their religion.  Their parents are frightened to send them to school.  The children themselves are confused as to what is going on, and in turn, scared.  Let me reiterate just how young these children are.

I watch you sign bill after bill allowing guns to be places in schools.  Why?  Because you claim that you want to keep students safe, and this is how it will be done.  I watch you make speech after speech about closing our borders.  Why?  Also, in your eyes, in an effort to keep the children and citizens of your country safe.  You will no longer allow refugees into this country.  Families and children whom are being killed daily, hourly, in the name of religion are being deemed unsafe by you and your cabinet.  However, your silence with regards to what is happening in your own country is making my children, my friends children, and my families children unsafe from fellow citizens born and raised right here on U.S. soil.  This threat isn’t come from any refugee or immigrant, it comes from our neighbors.  Yet, you remain relatively silent.

You put a woman like DeVos in power because you preach the idea of a free and better education of a parent’s own choosing for our children.  My friends send their children to these temple schools, yet are now considering removing them for their own safety.  I ask you, is this your definition of proving an education of a parent’s own choice? I want my children to learn their letters and numbers, shapes and colors, play skills and interpersonal skills; but I also want them to learn about their faith.  These threats are making that impossible and your stance, or lack of stance, on the issue is allowing this to continue.  My choice is no longer where my child will get the best education, it is where they will get an education safely.

I have heard you make one single speech on this subject.  You claimed that, “No one was less anti-Semitic then you.”  You pointed out that you had a daughter and a son-in-law of the Jewish faith, and three grandchildren.  Are your grandchildren getting threatened every day?  If so, how can you stand by and watch that?  No, Mr. President, having family members by marriage, does not make you anti-Semitic, it just makes you another person who has Jewish relatives, plain and simple.  I watched your Press secretary, Sean Spicer, claim that it was ludicrous that the murder of two innocent Indian men in the name of hate, could have anything to do with you and your rhetoric.  Are you blind? Deaf?  Ignorant?

You campaign promised to “Make America Great Again,” to make it safe again… Is this what safety now looks like for my family?  You spend so much time pointing out the threats from other countries that you have turned a blind eye to the increasingly severe threats right in our own back yard.  You want to spend 45 billion dollars to increase our defense fund.  Why not spend that money on programs to teach the people of our country tolerance, love, and acceptance?

Fellow citizens filled with bigotry, and the numbers of those citizens are growing exponentially every day, need your guidance.  They need you to denounce the killings, the prejudice, and the threats.  They need to see that you are a man of peace, and love, not one that drives this country through hate.  What kind of a leader are you if you can’t keep all of your citizens safe, not just those of religions you deem acceptable?  Please, I beg you to do something about this, something meaningful, something drastic, something now.

 

Love,

A Jewish Mother

Confession: Being A Stay-At-Home-Mom Just Isn’t For Me

I have a confession to make, and some of you might cast immediate judgement—I truly do not like being a stay-at-home mom.  Thinking back, I’m not quite sure what my original plan was, six-and-a-half years ago, when I had Man.  At that time, I was a speech therapist working with the elderly population in nursing homes.  I told them that I would be returning after four months, but in the recesses of my mind I wasn’t convinced.  When Man turned three-months old, I barely knew how to take care of him myself, let alone teach someone else how to do it in my absence.  Therefore, I resigned from my job with the plan of returning to the workforce when he was one.

Surprise!  When he was nine-months old, I became pregnant with Lady.  It seemed unrealistic to go back to work for just six months before leaving so I again delayed my return to work.  I told myself that I would give Lady the same whole year that I gave Man.

Flash forward a bit to Lady’s first birthday and it grew obvious that Man was not like other children.  His then-undiagnosed ADHD and SPD made him VERY dangerous.  You must believe me when I say I literally could not take my eyes off him for fear that he was either in mortal danger or putting his sister in danger.  At that time in his life he was climbing on counters, getting into ovens, running out of the front door of the house daily, and unplugging any wire he could get his hands on.  He was one of those children who defied the laws of babyproofing.  I was his babyproofing.

As the years went on he remained dangerous in many ways and I just didn’t trust someone else to take care of him.  If he pushed some kid down the slide at a park, I, his mother, needed to be there to smooth over the destruction.  I know how overwhelmed I felt taking care of two toddlers, and I felt that there was no way I could ask someone else could do it.  Maybe, in the back of my mind, I was just scared to return to work after three-and-a-half years away, and this provided an adequate excuse.

Man entered Kindergarten last year, and in many ways life became easier. However, I had grown so unhappy over the years that the thought of going back to a job that I didn’t love seemed intolerable.  I had always wanted children.  There was never a doubt in my mind that starting a family was one of my number one goals in life.  So, imagine my surprise when after some soul searching I realized that being a stay-at-home-mother was not for me.  It took me six long years to admit that to myself.  I was under the impression that once you had kids, you were supposed to enjoy taking care of them.  Sure, not every moment of every day, but yes, ultimately child rearing was supposed to be satisfying.  Personally, for me, it did not bring the level of daily satisfaction that I want out of life.

We scrimped to hire a babysitter and for the first time in six years I had a helping hand.  Over the past six months, I have never felt better.  Much of that is due to the fact that I am now able fill my days with something in addition to child rearing.  A few months ago, I made the decision to fulfill a lifelong dream and applied to schools for a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling.  I start school tomorrow and I could not be more excited.

Of course, because the world works this way, my babysitter is on vacation for two weeks while I am beginning school.  Therefore, my mother is coming to help with the kids while I am in class.  We were going over the schedule:

“Are you getting home first or is J (my husband)?” my mom asked.

“No, I won’t be home until about 9:30 in the evening, I have a board meeting at the place where I volunteer right after class.”

“Oh, well… how are the kids handling all of this, Laura?” she questioned in her most “I’m not judging you, but really I am judging you” tone.

“The kids will be fine.  They want me to be happy and being home with them all day did not make me happy.  They have had me all to themselves for six and a half years and now it’s my turn.”

‘Uh huh…” she replied and abruptly changed the conversation.

The change in conversation was her signal to let me know that she didn’t agree at all but wasn’t going to engage me in a debate.  In her eyes, staying at home is most important, and above anything else, my children need me whether I was happy or not.  And P.S.- children are the light of a mother’s life, so why wasn’t I just happy?!

I disagree.  I feel I have been there for them and will continue to be there for them every day of their lives.  I love them so much, that I put my own feelings aside to fulfill the obligation of being their parent.  I thought that that was what was most important.  But, after a few years, I wasn’t being the mom I could be.  I was a shell of myself going through the motions.  I wasn’t present and I certainly was not giving them the mother they deserved.

I don’t like being a-stay-at-home mom and spending my days being at the beck and call of my children and my household.  I hate running them from activity to activity and bringing them to play dates just to sit and watch them play with another child.  I get bored after about five minutes of pretend play; please, PLEASE, do not make me serve fake food to that imaginary family one more time. Pretty please?  I do not want to beg anyone to eat his dinner anymore, standing over him imploring him to eat one single bite after one single bite.  I just can’t do it anymore.  I feel guilt and shame even admitting this because it makes me feel like I’m a horrendous mother, but I want to spend some of my days doing something else that stimulates me differently.  It’s what I need to be a happy person.  And as a happy person I will be a better parent when I am with them.  It’s not as though I don’t love my children and garner great joy from them, of course I do, but that joy is even greater, even more valuable, when I’m doing tasks outside of parenting.

So tomorrow, I turn my family upside down to do something just for me.  I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Well, if you didn’t want to take care of your kids, then why did you have them?” And the truth is, I feel very selfish doing this.  Nevertheless, I also know that I have no chance of being truly happy if I don’t.  I know I am no less dedicated to them as I was when I was staying at home all day; I am still caring for them.  I am showing them that it is never too late to follow a dream, while working towards creating the happiest home I can for them.  In my heart, I know I will still be here for them—I will still be their mom. I will make sure that they feel loved and cared for and if they need me, no matter what I’m doing, I will be there.  But I will no longer be resentful.

I Am Every Mom

I’m often asked why I blog.  Initially I stayed anonymous, but over time the anonymity began to dissipate and by now, most people who know me also know my blog.  Occasionally, one will question why I write, why I allow myself to be so vulnerable by sharing my life so publicly.  It didn’t begin this way. Initially I was attempting to write one of those funny mom blogs… but I was the only one who found them funny.  One day I was struggling, and I wrote a piece that reflected that struggle.  The response was overwhelming.  People were commiserating with what I was writing, and it made me feel better.  No, it made me feel fantastic.

As the blog progressed and my goals grew loftier, I often tried to find a unique spin on parenting topics- I mean, how else was I ever going to reach a million readers and launch myself into mommy blogger stardom?? I would write something and hand it over to my husband to critique, he would hand it back after correcting my horrendous grammar and exclaim that it’s ready for publishing.

“But what did you think of it?”  I always pressed. His words said “great,” but his face said, “meh.”

“It was good.  You know I think your best posts are the ones where you write about yourself and your struggles,” he would bravely respond.

And he was right; I would always connect the most with people when I wrote from the heart.  You see, I’m not unique, I’m just like you.  My voice is all of yours… just posted publicly to 1,700 people.

Like all of you, there are days where I’m Supermom!  I’m totally rocking parenting—everyone is following directions; there are no major tantrums; we’re on time for most things; the kids are happy and smiling and so am I.

But, I also admittedly have horrendous parenting days where it seems like the Joker has swooped in and kicked Supermom’s new, larger, mom ass.  It’s even accompanied by the crazy Joker perma-grin affixed to my face.  I wear this to convincingly pretend that I’m not ready to run from my house screaming at any moment.  Those are the days I wonder exactly what I was thinking when I agreed to let my husband touch me with his penis.  I immediately flash to the moment, seven years ago, when I did the happy dance as I tossed my last package of birth control in the trash basket.  Oh, right, like most of you, I asked for this.

Like so many of you the absolute best moments of my life (except for maybe my wedding day) are the moments I’m watching my children be happy and carefree.  I never knew true, pure love until they were born and I wouldn’t give that feeling up for anything.

family-hospital

Becoming a complete family of four!

I’m not unique; I truly miss the days of spontaneous, uninterrupted alone time.  I crave some time to myself that is not at midnight when everyone in the house is finally asleep.  Sometimes I spend most of my day ignoring what they are doing and playing on my phone.  I just need to escape for a while and not be present that day.  If one of them is bleeding uncontrollably, of course, I’m right there.  But seriously, go and pee by yourselves, I know you can do it.

I too struggle to find the balance between being Laura and being Mom, and blending the two is not as seamless as I thought it would be.  I worry that I have lost myself, and if I try to find her, I am being a selfish and bad mom.  I have to believe the struggle is even more significant when you are a working mom and have to wear the office hat and the mom hat—kudos to you ladies.

I, along with my lovely gym companions, constantly wonder if my body is ever going to return to its pre-baby figure.  Once upon a time there was a woman who could walk around in public without a bra and eat foods other than lettuce without causing her to bloat and still look pregnant.

workout-goose

Will I ever be fit again?

I have come to rely on the circle of moms whom I am lucky to call my friends.  I have lifelong friends that I will forever cherish; however, there is something special about mom friends.  Parenting can be a lonely, isolating job, and having a person who can truly understand my day to day life has become vital to my happiness.  This is especially important when parenting a child with special needs. Not many people “get it” like those that are in the trenches right along with you.

I am like every mom who just wants her children to grow up happy and healthy.

I am like every mom who looks at her children and is just floored by the fact that she created such angelic beings, that they came from her!

I am like every mom who sucks at crafts and just didn’t sign up for this crap when they popped out a kid.

I am like every mom who wants to provide her children with a loving and nurturing home.

I am like every mom who would rather gouge her eyes out then hear one more thing about Minecraft.

I am like every mom who brims with pride when her child accomplishes a feat.

I am like every mom whose heart breaks when her children are sad or disappointed.

I am like every mom who sprints from her house screaming “freeeeedom” when the door shuts behind her for a coveted date night with her husband.

I am like every mom who feels overwhelmed and just wants to give up sometimes.

I am like every mom who has let her kids eat popcorn for dinner because the eating struggle is real, people!

I am like every mom who does the best that she can.

I’m not unique; I am like every mom…

I am like you…

silly-family

I am every mom just enjoying her family.