No one ever tells you how hard parenting might be, that you might have a child who often demands more from you than you believe you are capable. No one ever tells you that, should this happen, it will consume all of your time, thoughts and energy. No one ever tells you that special needs parenting will leave you exhausted, exasperated and lonely.
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Poverty in the USA remains a big problem. My biggest concern? Hungry kids. Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the US is hungry*? That is a staggering number. I recall the pastor of our church recently talking about how many students, even in an affluent area, are signed up for the local school lunch program. I look at my children and can’t imagine the heartbreak of parents who are unable to provide enough food for their children.
I found myself sitting in a break room with five or six other parents. Normally, I leave for a few, brief moments of alone time during C’s group therapy sessions; but they have an iPad set up so that we could watch this session. I was intrigued enough to stay.
I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.
When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.
Staying at home with my kids means I’m there through everything. Every smile, every hug, every “first.” That also means I witness every tantrum, every skipped nap, the monotony, and I can’t forget the body fluids. Oh, the body fluids. We may live on a university campus, but I think even our neighbors would be shocked by the amount of body fluids going on in here every day. I’m sure any parent who stays at home would agree that parenting in the trenches 24/7 can get really hard sometimes.
If you haven’t seen this viral video yet, by American Greetings and Cardstore, you must watch it! They created a real job posting, posted it on real sites and conducted real interviews. Their working job title was, “Director of Operations.” It gave me goosebumps! Enjoy.
Sensory kids are tough. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! For months, I had anxiety about potty training C. Would he be ready? Would he play games with us, like the first time we attempted? Would he have major meltdowns?
“I don’t know how you do it.”
I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.
Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!
I think this may have all been a little easier before C was able to articulate things. Last night I noticed that there was fluid leaking around his g-tube button, which meant that I needed to add 1-2 ml of water to the balloon for a tighter fit. He squirmed and whined as I tightened the fit of the g-tube button.
C and I are a little too much alike. And by that, I mean that he’s basically me in male form.
With his sensory processing disorder, health problems and the terrible twos, we’ve been dealing with some pretty intense behavioral issues. I’ve started to really crack down on the bad behavior. The result is an epic battle of wills between two people who are basically the same.
It seems like these days you’re expected to pick out a parenting style before giving birth. Are you going to practice attachment parenting? Free range parenting? Are you going to use the Ferber method? Extended breastfeeding?
There are just so many theories. Quite honestly, the parenting theories overwhelmed me when I had C. I had no idea what parenting style I believed in. Then I got a postpartum mood disorder, and I was struggling to tread water. I kind of fumbled through that first year and did what felt right.
Many times since C was born, I’ve found myself struggling to answer the questions, “What do you do?” and “What did you do today?”
As a mom, my days can be monotonous. I
sometimes often feel like I haven’t accomplished a single thing. C can demand my constant attention, preventing me from “doing” (read: accomplishing) anything else. Now I’m in the midst of my first week as a stay-at-home mom of two children, and simply meeting everyone’s fundamental needs can seem like a challenge.
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I was chatting with my sister-in-law about what it’s like to transition from one child to two, and she was offering me some tips. One of them struck me as a particularly awesome idea: a feeding basket. What the heck is a feeding basket, you ask?
I’m not sure why this article suddenly went viral, considering it was published in 2004, but “A Nation of Wimps” by Hara Estroff Marano has been making its way around social media this week. Published in Psychology Today, it discusses how micromanaging our children is negatively affecting childhood development. If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so. In my opinion, the article has a lot of merit.
Parenting has this way of making you blurt things out of your mouth that you never would have expected. Here are some of mine:
- How many times do I have to tell you not to grab your poop?!
- This baby better show us its genitals today! (I feel the need to clarify that this was said on anatomy ultrasound day.)
- Come here – let me get that wax out of your ear.
- Thank you for handing me your booger.
- We don’t pick Mama’s nose.
- He’s bathing in his own urine!
- I am not a tree that you can climb.
- DON’T EAT POOP! (This particular one was accompanied with a shriek of horror.)
There are some days that I really wouldn’t mind going back to work outside of the home. I do miss working in higher education sometimes, and when I have a particularly challenging day with C, the thought of going back seems very attractive.
Then I have moments with him when he’s very cuddly or he sees me from across the room and runs up to me saying, “Mama!” I love when he says a new word or his eyes dance when I read him a story. It makes me laugh when his favorite song comes on and he starts bobbing his head and dancing. When he sees a dog on TV, he says “woof woof!”
So yesterday was one of THOSE days. You know, the ones that make you want to run for the hills.
Or in this case, it made me want to run back to one of those cushy office jobs that I used to have. Where I spoke with ADULTS all day and didn’t have to constantly pull a climbing toddler off of the furniture.
As 2011 comes to a close, I’ve been pondering the life lessons that this year has taught me. Do you also find yourself reflecting on the past year? If so, what are some things that you have learned?
1. Becoming a parent is life-changing. Even though you have the entire pregnancy to prepare for parenthood, the actual transformation is almost instantaneous. Shortly after I had gotten my epidural in the hospital, Hubster went out to get himself dinner. We knew there was a long night of labor ahead of us. I’ll never forget how I shocked my nurse by choosing to lay in silence instead of turning on the television. I told her that my life would never be that quiet again and I wanted to relish in it. Wow, was that the truth. Leaving our home as a couple and returning as a family was an amazing experience for which I don’t think we could have emotionally prepared.
Over the past week, someone said to me that they’d love to be able to “just” stay at home with their kids. (They emphasized the “just.” This person did not have children.) Inwardly, I was outraged that this person thought that life at home with children was so easy. Outwardly, all I could do was smile politely at their ignorance.
When I was pregnant, one of the last things I felt like doing sometimes was reading. I was kind of a lazy sack at the end of my pregnancy. But looking back, I wish I had taken that opportunity to read some parenting books that I struggle to find the time for now.
There’s some things that I can no longer attend or do because C needs a nap, is fussy, or a barrage of other things. Yet, it’s funny because now there’s nowhere I’d rather be or nothing I’d rather be doing than hanging out with this teeny tiny little person.
It’s amazing how little it takes these days for me to feel like Superwoman! C was content long enough for me to pump while he sat by me in his Boppy. Then he hung out in his swing while I did dishes, changed the load of laundry and then made myself look presentable for the day. I even fixed myself a snack before he started to fuss! Breastfeeding makes me SO hungry.
How early did you start preparing baby clothes, sterilizing bottles, packing your hospital bag, etc.?
Earlier this month, I started washing all of my son’s towels and linens as well as all of his newborn and 0-3 month clothes. Last week, I sterilized all of his bottles, pacifiers and my breast pump. After having to make a quick trip to the doctor this week, we finished packing the hospital bag. Hubster installed the car seat last week. I honestly don’t know what else is left to do before he comes!
Did you have one moment where it hit you like a ton of bricks – the realization that you’re going to be responsible for a whole other little person? For life?!
I feel like I’ve had multiple mini-moments like that, but yesterday it hit me a little bit harder than normal. Like WHOA. I don’t think that I’ll fully understand what that responsibility and life change will feel like or really mean until we’re actually holding our baby in our arms. At the same time, though, it’s so strange to think about how our life will be changing forever.
Last night, I watched MTV’s “Skins” for the first time. Before the show premiered, I remember reading about the controversy with Taco Bell pulling its ads from the show due to content that they felt was too adult-oriented. There was also concern that the show was violating child pornography laws, since all of the actors are actually high-school age (unlike most shows about teens, with actors in their mid-20s).
I hope I’m half as creative as these parents when it comes time to host awesome kids’ birthday parties
I have to admit that sometimes articles like this overwhelm me. You mean just by smiling at my baby, I’ll be helping him develop social skills that will impact him for the rest of his life?! You’re telling me that simply playing with blocks, my child will be developing language and mathematical skills?! It makes me wonder if I’ll do enough of the little things correctly and if I miss something, will my child be irreversibly screwed up?!