February vacation week is upon us in Massachusetts, and I am stressing out about it. Winter break in December was brutal. I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids, ages 8, 5, and 2. My...
I often feel like I am misunderstood. Friends will comment on how well I am managing the difficult parenting situation I have been given. They see my strengths, and though I see them too, I also see the work. The energy — both emotional and physical — that parenting has taken. I see the missed opportunities my kids have had because of my fear of not being able to handle a situation.
My hope is that my children see me model this and it becomes something they copy and do themselves. My kids are 8, 5, and 2, so too young to really understand what it means that their "Pop" served in Vietnam. However, I do expect them to thank my father-in-law. Someday they will know and understand the sacrifices he made. And they can be just as proud of him as I am, and just as proud of him as I was of my grandfathers.
I'm not talking about joking around and being silly — my husband and I act that way with our kids all the time. The type of teasing I am talking about is humiliating or shaming kids. I am talking about words and actions that are unkind and meant to embarrass. For example, think about when an adult gives a negative remark about a child's appearance. I recently witnessed a father say, in front of his child, 'He needs to lay off the ice cream or he's going to be fat like me,' and then chuckle about it.
Like, he really LOVES it! He loves the recital and performing on the big stage. He enjoys the choreography and often reminds his dance teacher if she does the wrong step. He is constantly dancing at home. And if his teachers put music on at school for indoor recess, he will dance there too. It gives him joy and pride. He knows and loves his 'dance girls.' We are truly grateful for dance and this studio. They even allowed my son and my daughter to perform a short duet last year to a song my son composed on his iPad. I mean, how cool is that!
I sneak upstairs and wash my face. I put in one contact lens. Then I hear screaming from the preschooler — 'Stop sitting on me! Stop bothering me!' I go down the stairs — half blind — hop the baby gate, and pull the toddler off his sister. I bring the toddler upstairs while I finish getting ready. Desperate to just get out of the house, I allow him to bring his potato chip breakfast upstairs, too.
As a mom of a special needs kid, I know how stressful, difficult, and frustrating it can be to plan a family trip. Here are some awesome places to go with the family that...
"Over the years I have had mixed feelings about 'autism awareness.' It has never sat quite right with me, and being a completely burned out mom with three kids, I've never had the energy or time to really think about what I want to say. But the past year has hit us hard at home and at school. Now that my son is getting older, his behavior and quirkiness are more obvious to others, including his peers and his younger sister. It is making me realize awareness is not enough. What I need, as a parent, is autism acceptance and autism appreciation."
Now, as an adult, and 17 years after that first win, I get even more satisfaction from watching the Patriots crush their opponents every playoff season. Why? Because of the absolute laser focus of this team. Year after year it is still incredible and is truly so far above anything that has ever been seen in sports before. How they do it is really so simple. They make a plan, execute a plan, and achieve the goal.
And then there's the 'mom guilt' I am so tired of. I feel guilty I don't play with my kids enough, guilty they have too much screen time, guilty I made them chicken fingers twice in last week for dinner and a frozen pizza once. I just want five minutes of not being needed. I want to go to the bathroom without an audience. And then I feel awful that I have mom guilt. It's so confusing, and raw, and overwhelming.
I know there may be a time down the line when our decade-plus age gap could lead to heartache for me. However, we have a whole wonderful life to live together now, and I refuse to spend a minute of my time on the pointless emotion of worry. He is truly my soulmate — who cares if he is old?
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