Blasphemy! I know, I know! I am a terrible mother. I am not saying that for pity of martyrdom, but seriously, there are key childhood, key baby moments that I just do not have the answers to. But my dear penguin, before you take to the therapist couch just yet and carry all of my baggage with you ( Vera Bradley or Tumi please), please know I have very solid reasons for not knowing some of these answers.
Maybe it’s turning 40 this past year. Maybe it is because she just went to her first dance (daddy-daughter dance) and then I saw pictures of the eighth grade dance on social media and immediately thought “ahh, I can’t take it, that’s next. And then the prom”. Or maybe it’s the People magazine article I read on the opioid crisis among young adults and that sent me tumbling down another rabbit hole all together. But anyhow, I saw this beautiful advertisement on Zulily for one of the chalkboard milestone fill ins that are so popular these days and I started thinking, “I don’t know the answers to those questions “.
The parent fills in X for age, then other answers such as “I can ___”, “My favorite toy___”, and “My favorite foods___”. Oh my did I start feeling like a failure. I immediately asked Tommy for answers and went into a diatribe of “was she going to end up with an empty, or half filled baby book and just a box of keepsakes from her childhood like he has in a closet of his married home”!?!?!? Yes! I spin out easily and fast. Clearly these meds are not working. Which he did mention, have you started the new hormones? I digress.
Tommy , your daddy my dearest love penguin, says your first words were something of the “da-da-da-da” nature. Leaning towards “daddy”. I do not disagree. I am sure even at just a few months old you knew who would be the calmer of the two of us. Please know I have a good reason for not having these answers.
I truly do not remember exactly when you took your first steps. I was too busy trying to protect you from hurting yourself when you did.
I am not sure what you favorite foods were. I only wanted to feed you the healthiest and the best and whatever had the least like-ability you wouldn’t choke on it.
I do not think you had a favorite toy because I did not let you sleep with anything. I did not let you sleep without being held for the first two weeks of your life and then after that you slept without anything close to you, on a breathing monitor with a video monitor. I did this because I was scared of something happening while you slept.
So, no I don’t have all the answers from your baby days. I don’t know all of your first. There were days I was so anxiety ridden with something happening to you that those days led to sleepless nights. I’ve just tried to protect you since the day you were born. I don’t have the answers because I was too busy loving you.
*Disclaimer: I do not insinuate that parents who do know the answers love their children any less. This is my blog. My thoughts.
I realize my post earlier today was short and puzzling. That is okay. But, I have made an astonishing decision while watching T.V., which for some reason I tend to think a lot while doing. Part of the reason I could not seem to connect my thoughts to paper earlier is my depression and anxiety. But, I am trying something new to see if it works.
Acceptance. I am going to accept that I am on a carousel of cleaning, laundry, etc and move on. I know it sounds weird, but I have been stubbornly fighting it ever since I became a stay at home mom. “What do you think housewives do?” You ask? Well….I’m not saying I thought I should never clean, but I guess I really thought it was more balanced. I know, delusional. I have been causing myself the anxiety by fighting it all this time. I must accept that I am now Cinderella before the ball and there is no glass slipper in my future.
The glass slipper in this case would be my anxiety going down, having more patience which will lead to a happier home life. This may seem delusional too. Maybe it is? Maybe I’m hungry and my blood sugar is low and I’m not thinking clearly. Who knows? Really at this point I’ll give it a try though. I really have to relax. I don’t mean sitting around, I mean mentally , and if that means just accepting that I am to clean up behind everyone and take care of everything then I’ll give it a whirl. My body cannot take much more of this constant stress and anxiousness.
So, here we go. Acceptance.
Well, old friend, it sure has been awhile. I have no idea where the time has gone or the pen or the paper. No excuses for why I haven’t written. I have tried to keep every little detail, every memory tucked away in a special folder in my mind and heart. But, it sure does feel good to have the keys below my finger tips and hear the tapping of them in my ears as I pour out the song of my heart from the last year of mountains and mole hills.
I have joined the class of women I often have blogged about before. The women who get to exercise at 6:30 in the morning. The women who go to their children’s school events. YES, those women. I am that woman now, that mom. I joined the stay at home mom club back in May 2018. There was no ceremony, no pinning, no certificate even. Just a miserable job, a discussion over bourbon with my husband, a 2 1/2 month notice -that turned shorter thank you JESUS– and then one day I just became a stay at home mom. I dropped the penguin off at school in my pajamas and I picked her up in my pajamas. I’m not going to lie. There was only two weeks left of school at this point. Wait a minute, actually, the first week she continued to go to after school care so I picked her up around 5:00 in my pajamas. That’s right, that’s why I didn’t get the certificate, because I didn’t start running at 6:30 a.m. right away.
Sarcasm aside, as much as I can push it away anyhow, I am not going to gush about how I love being a stay at home mom. Don’t get me wrong. I do love being a stay at home mom. But not exactly for the reason that I expected or that other SAHM might love about it (I don’t know for sure what other SAHM take away from it so please no hate comments). The one thing I know is that I am grateful for my husband that he heard my cries of anxiety and unhappiness in the workplace. I am grateful that he has a financial plan in his head that allows me to do this at this time of our child’s life that is so crucial. Whether I worked or not, he would still be driving a truck for at least another three years only coming home about 1 1/2 days a week. As parents we felt the need to have one parent be more focused on the penguin inside the home and I DO realize what a blessing this is. So please don’t ever mistake my sarcasm for me taking anything for granted.
Full disclosure. I just deleted 2 more paragraphs I wrote. My heart has quit singing and my mind has closed off the folders. There is no more for the keys to tap out today.
The Penguin and I were discussing a certain bathroom event and decided we needed to come up with a term we would both be comfortable using. I could have used the proper terminology, sure but, but that would lead to a whole other blog post. Agreeing on a number system, she then broke down the entire number codes for me.
#5-diary (diarrhea) and throwing up
#6-peeing, diary, AND throwing up
There you have it peeps. The decoded bathroom numbers according to an eight year old.
#parenting, #motherhood, #reallife, #thebelleandthepenguin, #pottyhumor
Who knew Chick-fil-A could be a fine dining experience? Take a Penguin with you and you will see. Despite the intermittent play breaks it still takes her a good thirty minutes to even eat her food. Plus she must decide the difficult decision of keeping her treat or turning it in for ice cream. There are list involved sometimes.
During one of these visits while she pondered life across from me, I just couldn’t help but smile. Smile and thank God for this opportunity that my husband was giving me to be a stay at home mom with her. I was immersed in her conversation while at the same time so delighted not to be at a workplace. I could feel the freshness and weightlessness of the genuine moment we were sharing.
“It’s weird I like these cherries, I mean , I didn’t always like them.”
“Okay, and then what happened?”
“But, I drink cherry coke, and that’s cherry…..so, I don’t know”
I’m just smiling from ear to ear.
She flips her hair.
“Was my hair like this when I was five”?
Then I just laughed and was so thankful I had not missed a moment of what just happened.
I have pondered the nature vs nurture debate quite often when it comes to my anxiety. It always seemed that nurture would win in the cause category until recently. If I were to make a list of MY anxiety, it may still beat out another hypothesis as the root cause, but I am learning, in the parenting game, things are not always what they seem. I know one thing for certain. Someone without anxiety cannot understand another person trying to explain the reasons why and how to them, which make dealing with it quite lonely at times.
I contributed most of my anxiety issues to my grandmother. I learned as an adult, due to multiple tragedies in her life she had much to be anxious about. But when I stayed with her a lot growing up I didn’t understand that. As my anxiety began to take hold, I thought it must be because I was exposed to hers so much. Then I learned my daddy has it too, which would make sense. Except, except I never knew growing up my Daddy had anxiety.?
Now I see my seven year old experience it. She has exhibited signs since a young age and it manifest in different ways. But, I make a very contentious effort NOT to expose her to my anxiety. So much so that I have other family members help rationalize situations for me so I do not let it get the best of me. Believe me, I’ve come a long way since she was an infant! But to see her with it breaks my heart because I know how she feels. Could it be a manipulation at times? Sure, I am aware of that, just as I am aware of what true anxiety looks like on the face of my seven year old.
My husband, as great as he is, is not someone who understands. Oh sure, he understands my anxiety for the super Center and that look I get when I am about to melt down. But he doesn’t understand this gut wrenching, deep breathing anxiety. The kind that has kept me up all night to write this at 4:15 a.m
I only hope she can hold on to the parts of her soul that are wild and carefree. The parts that laugh at everything with a giggle that can warm the coldest of souls. The wander I see in her eyes as she studies something with her mind working on how it may operate. I want her to hold onto the part that operates on stuffed animals with ketchup and gloves and leave the heavy burden of anxiety to me. I’m her mama, her keeper, I can carry the load for us both.