Saturday, January 21, 2012

That which does not kill us...

Well hello! Yep that's right I am still alive. This last year has not been kind. Nope been kinda nasty, mean and ugly. Blogging wasn't up there on the priority list. Everyday life took everything I had, and on some particularly snarly days then some. But I am still alive. That horrible inspiring phrase, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." comes to mind. I hate that phrase. I really hate it when that phrase visits my life.  But it has and I am stronger, wiser, older, more tired, and slightly more cynical for the experience AND I am still here.

Things are starting to settle so it feels like it is time to refocus and look at priorities.  Of course that is a process and there isn't a finish line. So here are some of the priorities that I have decided to focus on right now:

  • Less processed food - more whole and organic foods (for the whole family)
  • Self-care (for me)
  • Resume therapy (kids, family and maybe me)
I am of course not sure how some of that will play out but those are the priorities I want to focus on right now. I want to blog regularly or at least not let eleven months lapse between posts! I think I have things to say or maybe I don't but I could stand to talk to myself at least :) No, I won't be an everyday or probably even an every week blogger but who knows.  

Thanks for stopping by. If you feel like it leave a comment and tell me what you want to read about. You never know I might oblige!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming out as a Trauma Mama

So I have been inspired tonight, not in the way that one is typically inspired but inspired non-the-less by Diana.  I am naming and claiming it.  "My name is Barb and I am a Trauma Mama."  There I said it.  I usually couch it in terms of my kids having "issues" or "special needs".  While those are both true, it goes way deeper than those labels imply.  I am have a bad habit of comparing my kids to other trauma kids.  I have the honor of knowing a lot of kids from hard places and the mom's and dad's that parent them, because I am a therapist who does attachment work.  (I know, I know how do you spell glutton for punishment?  But that is a whole other post.) I know my kids are not as bad as other peoples kids but Corey said is so well when she asked "Does that mean I can't complain? Because I really need to complain."

I love my kids and they drive me CRAaAaAaAZY!  Like many of my fellow Mama's I did this a really long time before I knew what was going on.  I had way too many social workers, therapists, family, friends, bystanders in W*l*art  give their two cents most of which, though probably well intentioned, was not worth two cents!

The Eagle is charm - all the way and then some.  The boy oozes charm from every pore.  Honey flows off his tongue (to others).  To say adults who know him casually are enamored with him doesn't even come close.  People regularly stop me and tell me how wonderful, intelligent, articulate and enthusiastic he is.  It is all true.  AND  He is also ultra controlling, manipulative, chatters and argues incessantly (and even more irritatingly is really really good at it) and is explosive and aggressive when he gets mad.  But with a few exceptions no one outside our house sees that.

Guess who ends up feeling and often looking like a raving lunatic?  Ding Ding Ding - Mama!

Then we have Turtle he is without a doubt a turtle.  He is an avoider to the maximum!  He is shy, down right skittish around other adults, has severe separation anxiety, clings to his Mama, wets and soils himself regularly, shuts down and won't talk when he senses the slightest threat.  This does not make him popular with adults!  AND  He has a great sense of humor, tender heart, very loving, and is incredibly tolerant.  But with few exceptions no one outside our house sees that.

Uhh - yah raving lunatic!  

So I am coming out!  I am a Mama parenting trauma and drama!  It never ends!  I am often tired and at the end of my rope.  I am a therapist.  I should know how to do this.  I do know how to do this. I am actually really good at this!  But my kids push my buttons the way no child who does not live with you can!  So I make mistakes - lots of them.  I do things that make it worse all the time sometimes.  I have possibly  undoubtedly caused more trauma, especially in the early days.  I have followed stupid unhelpful advice from stupid untrained professionals.  I completely and totally bought into the idea that it was all me and still think that sometimes.  

Whew there it is.  That wasn't so hard now was it. UH NO BUT I HAVEN'T HIT PUBLISH YET - DUH.  So here it goes.

P.S. Tomorrow I will tell the story of why there had to be a brief interruption to this post to give the dog a bath at 11:30 at night during a blizzard - it's a riot - really :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This is really a post script to my last post.  I was feeling pretty low when I wrote the post - so low that I didn't appreciate the humor of my "gifts" Eagle brought me from Canada.  I was handed a small ziplock bag with a bar of hotel soap and spirit stone with and eagle engraved on it.  You gotta laugh at that one!
The boys are are home.  The Eagle came home today and JackRabbit came home Thursday.  They had both been gone since Sunday.  I would like to say it is wonderful to have have them home and that I missed them terribly.  Instead tonight I find myself really sad with them both home tonight.  At first it was so sweet to see them together.  JackRabbit was so looking forward to his brother coming home.  He came bounding out of the house when they pulled up and helped his brother take things into the house.  They walked around with there arms around each other for about fifteen minutes.  Then things began to deteriorate.  Within the hour they were back to kicking and pushing each other, Eagle making threats and JackRabbit being passive aggressive and avoiding responsibility.  Kodak moment over.

As for me and the Eagle, he had been gone for a week with absolutely no contact with me because of his location in the wild and ...nothin'.  No show of emotion.  No "I missed you Mom.".  I hugged him - might as well have hugged the tree.  I asked him to sit with me and tell me about his trip... he sat on me and didn't say much.  Then within about an hour came the set up, "Mom can we go to the store so I can spend the rest of my vacation money?" He knew the answer and I knew what the next hour would look like.  Big sigh.  I was hoping for an evening.  Just one.  A little emotion, maybe even a tiny bit of desire to make a connection.    But as is all too frequently the case, my hopes and expectations were nothing more than salt in the wound, stinging and irritating.

I want to have some profound little nugget to wrap this up, but I don't.  So I guess I will sign off and maybe I will come up with a nugget later.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Making Bread

I am not the mother I thought I would be.  I have learned that she actually does not exist, she is a mirage.  Like the lush tropical mirage a thirsty weary desert traveler sees, she is not compatible with the environment.  Truthfully, the uber mother as I imagine her, is incompatible with the day to day business of mothering. Uber Mom's daily routine barely fits into the hours in a day without the addition of sweet cherub faced babes, let alone  actual kids.  If the uber mother lived in this house I am certain she would be in the corner rocking and whimpering to herself by noon.  I know she would not approve of leftover pizza for breakfast, let alone would she run through the food groups in her head and think "Hmm actually it has most of the food groups in it - I can live with it."

So what does any of this have to do with baking bread?  Well I assure you it is a long and curvy road but the gist of the journey is this: I am not the mother I thought I would be but one of the things I thought I would do as uber mother is bake bread.  Not that imitation bread maker bread, mind you, but mixed and kneaded by hand from whole grains kind of bread.  There are a lot of things about my journey of motherhood that are not what I thought they would be.  However, tonight on cooling on my stove are two lovely loaves of homemade whole wheat bread.  You see uber mom has been a monkey on my back so to speak.  She has been heavy and unnecessary baggage that I have been carrying around.  I beat myself up about the top 1000 ways I am nothing like uber mom.  Multiple times I would try to convince myself that if I would do xy or z I would become the mother I wanted to be.  I think recently I have been mourning the fact that I am not uber mom.  It is really o.k I'm not uber mom...sort of...I guess...kind of...maybe...o.k. I'm still fighting that one.  But I have decided that I can DO some of the things I thought I would do even though I am not everything I thought I would be.  So I baked bread - real bread - tonight.  Now - and here is where uber mom would head into the corner - there is noooo way my kids will eat the bread I baked - they don't eat much bread at all and whole grain bread - not so much.  Oh well - the bread is pretty good.  Maybe if you are lucky I will post the recipe :) tootles!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Birthday Extravaganza

Yesterday was quite the day!  First day out of school for my darlings.  My oldest K had his first "friend" birthday party (more about that in a minute).  Then K spent is first overnight at a friends for a birthday party.  Which caused massive jealousy and tears for C.  Then we went to get a passport for K.  Then to sooth the hurt of K getting a lot of special things over the past few days C and I had a special night out with a friend of his.  We went out for pizza and to the arcade then they went to the friends house for a movie marathon.  Whew all that led to one tired MaMa!

The birthday party was hard on K and on mom.  He invited twelve kids not including his brother.  One boy came for the whole time and one girl came for part of the party.  He was very disappointed and my heart hurt for him.  It did turn out o.k. We had a great time, at least on my part probably a better time than if all twelve had shown up.  But ouch!  Now I will say that there were a couple of reasons behind the poor attendance but one of   the reasons is K is not easy to be around.  Yesterday his anxiety was so high it was palpable and really it had been that way for about 6 days with end of school and birthday stuff happening.  I don't know if his friends can feel the anxiety the way grown ups do but they certainly notice the behaviors that it accompanies.  INCESSANT chatter, bossy pushiness, need for excessive reassurance, hair trigger temper, and last but not least grandiosity.  This is not fun for anyone even my dear K.  So it is no surprise that kids were lining up to attend two hours of this but still it hurts my heart to see him disappointed.

The fun isn't over yet.  C and I are packing now so we can go to see family and have a family birthday party.  Then the boys will be staying with their aunt and cousins for a week so I can go away for work for a few days.  Oh and I left out a ton of stuff is happening with PTA - very exciting but you will have to tune in later for that fun because I need to shake a leg to get ready to go.  Thanks for stopping by, toot-aloo.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The ugly truth

I really enjoyed my children tonight.  Why is this an ugly truth?  Because more days than not I don't.  Maybe there are moments of time here or there but for the most part I have not enjoyed them for some time.  I feel sad and guilty and probably fourteen other things admitting that.  Now first let me say that there are a number of reasons I don't enjoy my children - they don't make it easy.  They are not "typical" children.  And then there is me I have definitely not been my "typical" self the last few weeks.  But today I was reading "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilley and had a bit of an epiphany.  Here are some of the questions that Marla suggests you ask yourself to determine if you are acting like a martyr:
  • Do you complain that you are the only persona that ever does anything around the house?
  • Do you throw in the towel when you clean something up and then two hours later it is a messed up again?  do you say "Why do I even bother?"
  • Do you pout when you can't get your children or your spouse to do their fair share?
  • Do you know what their fair share really is?
  • Do you only clean when you are mad?
  • Do you hear harsh words come from your mouth when delegating jobs?
There are more questions but these are the ones that made me shut up (which is no small tasks).  Mouth agape - I have been acting like a martyr!  I have not been taking care of myself.  I have been running on empty and making everyone else pay for my low tank.  Sure my kids are challenging, my job is challenging, being a single mother is challenging I could go on but you get the point.  But here was the epiphany I have been making it waaaaaaay worse with my attitude and lack of self care.  

So I am going to make some changes.  What?  Well I'm not 100% sure but today I guess I started with just enjoying my children.  There will be more to come - stay tuned.