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Is it a full moon???

I probably shouldn’t be posting so early in the evening. Something is bound to happen. But for now, I am going to vent.

As I sit in a waiting room, I can’t stop thinking about all the different parenting blogs and articles that I have read since adopting three beautiful kids.

  • Love and logic
  • Choose only one thing to work on at a time
  • Learn to let things go
  • Let kids pout and be disapointed
  • Give 4 positives to 1 negative
  • Do not lecture
  • Acknowledge your child’s emotions and feelings

And so on it goes…

Please tell me I’m not the only one that reads these articles and blogs and think, “Well… I’ve totally screwed my kids up!” And then go into a frenzy trying to make up for all the damage??? Anyone? There’s got to be a mom out there who thinks the same way I do.

Or are you also like me and think there’s way too much going on for me to constantly worry about how I’m talking to my kids 24/7. I mean… I’m human right?

I do have a small fear. That since my kids are adopted, I fear they will leave me when they are 18. I have told them they can if they really want to but that I will always be their mom and do their laundry on the weekends. I will never stop loving them and mothering them. My youngest says she’s never leaving. My middle child just stares at me probably counting down the seconds until he’s 18. And my oldest just wants to go to college.

What if the way we handle situations as parents affects our children as adults? What if the way we talk to them affects how they see themselves? What if the way we talk to our kids affect how they interact with us?

Now, hear me out. I know there are psychological things that occur in a child’s brain that affects how they talk and deal with certain emotions. But why do I still get so impatient at times?! I know that it took me a while to come around and realize that my parents were right and that I was a total ass hole to them. But that doesn’t make me feel better. I seriously loathe watching my kids make the same mistakes I made. I try to instill my wisdom on them, but to no avail. Sucks.

And then there’s this:

“Kids are much like us only they are at the beginning of their journey.” –Floyd Hawkins, Fort Osage School Board

My heart should ache with compassion towards my kids because of how limited they are on the beginning of their journey, not harp on them, lecture, or make them feel bad because they forgot to flush. But seriously I have told you 79382739847 times to flush the toilet. So now, I’m just pissed. But why do I get so upset about those little things? Maybe it’s because I have said it 28374028374 times?? Maybe??

But when a kid hears this all they can think of is:

  • “I can’t do this.”
  • “I’ll never be good enough.”
  • “I never do anything right.”

But to me it’s common sense. FLUSH THE TOILET! Can someone please right an easy to follow hand book so that our home can be rainbows and butterflies all the time? HA!!! HA!!!! HA!!!!!! (I’m literally laughing out loud right now. Literally.)

Oh and I know that veteran parents that have already raised their kids into adults are taking deep sighs as they read this. But seriously… it’s what’s on my mind with my pre-teen and teens. Can’t help it. Yow!

But I seriously LOVE motherhood!!!! 🙂 ❤ It’s the hardest job I’ve ever loved doing.

Until next time,

Jessie

 

 

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Raising Kind Kids

It might be the teacher in me or it might just be my personality, but I am always trying to teach my kids to be kind. I hate it when my three kids argue with one another. I always stop them and give them the words they are lacking so they can get along better. I wasn’t raised with my three older sisters; they fought but we didn’t. So I guess I don’t understand why my kids hate each other sometimes. I LOVE my sisters so much and couldn’t imagine life without them.

Not only do I want my kids to be kind to one another but I want them to see the needs of others and react by helping. If I’m doing the dishes, ask to help. If my husband is mowing the lawn, ask to help. Why is that so hard?

Research shows that kids up until the age of 13 are very egocentric, but does that mean I can’t teach them to think of other people before themselves? I guess knowing this piece of research should help me be more patient in this matter and in fact, it does, a little. But I still get so heart broken when my kids choose to worry about themselves over helping the family or doing something they hate because someone else may really enjoy it. I don’t always want to sit on the floor and play barbies but my daughter really loves it so I do it. I don’t always want to sit in the sun while my son plays flag football sweating my balls off but I do it because he grins from ear to ear to see me watching him. It’s called sacrifice my friends. But how on earth do I teach that to my egocentric children?

I know that I need to model. And boy do I model. I help people getting into their car with bulky items. I grab carts on the way from others who have their hands full. I help the homeless. I volunteer. And I sacrifice at home. But that doesn’t seem to be enough.

This is coming from a conversation with my middle son. He seems to really have a hard time understanding someone else’s point of view and how their opinion and thoughts matter. So I may have had a long 30 minute conversation with them. I know, I know. Parenting experts say that we shouldn’t “lecture” our children, but my goodness sometimes it is so needed. So I tell him all about thinking of others but he continues to argue with me over and over about himself and how unfair it is that he had to play a video game he didn’t want to play with a friend who was staying the night. I’m sorry? He felt “owed” to play a game that he wanted to after the friend left instead of mowing the yard because he played a game his friend wanted.

Deep breath inserted here.

So we talk and we talk and we talk until I realize that we are going in circles and nothing is getting through like I thought it would, so I leave and finish dinner. He comes in right as I am getting ready to put it on the table and does he ask if he can help? Nope. Even though I gave specific examples of maybe pitching in when I’m doing dinner. Sigh…….

Guys, parenting is hard. And I think it’s harder parenting older children that I didn’t get to raise from birth. Just saying. They come with their own ideologies of life and I am standing on my head trying to find ways to teach them.

I know we should just be patient and wait. Time is of the essence here. But it’s laborious and hard.

Thanks for reading…

Love, Hot Mess Mom

Trauma Kids

Okay guys. My heart is heavy tonight. It could be exhaustion from teaching, working out, doing the dishes, working out some more, cooking dinner, allowing my son to drive me to pick up a prescription, giving my daughter a bath, reading with her, showering, and then reading a book for school. Or I’m PMS’ing. Ugh… womanhood. Either way, I’m emotional and here’s why.

I have been asked to attend a trauma conference in St. Louis. This will take place in November. I am actually very excited about it even though being away from my sweet little family will be more work than being here. I mean can I get an Amen for that? Seriously, meal prepping for the hubs, writing out schedules, arranging drop-off and pick-up for my daughter and so on… wow. But even with all that, something in my heart is breaking.

Because I am going to this conference I have been asked to read a book. If you’re an educator and you hear the words, “book study,” you cringe a little. My eyes were wide when I saw that I had a month to read 90 pages. But once I got started, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s titled Help for Billy by Heather T. Forbes, LCSW and I recommend it for anyone that will come in contact with children. This book breaks down what it’s like for children who live or have lived in traumatic situations and how adults respond to them. How adults respond to them…. That’s where my heart breaks.

I am blessed to be called Mom or Jessie by five children who have come from some sort of trauma. My two step-children are products of divorce, single parent homes, and the struggle of finding their way in the world. And then there’s my three children who were adopted from foster care. I sometimes forget all of their different circumstances because I am in momma mode. I am helping with homework, cooking, cleaning, playing, laughing, and being my regular ole’ goofy self. But then there’s a melt down in the middle of the fun. There’s a smart ass remark when asked to do something. There’s a fight over something all the time. It’s exhausting and my “adult like responses” mirror my exhaustion. I am ashamed.

Did you know that every thought we have in our brain makes a little path in our brain? If the thought is repeated over and over again, the path gets deeper and deeper. If it’s only a few times, it doesn’t last long. How I respond to my children at home and in the classroom makes a little path in my kids’ brains. What I say is internalized into their little minds as a positive or negative pathway. For some reason it is so much easier for me to stay positive at school. I get in teacher mode and can rock the stress all day long. I come home and BAM… I just can’t.

And here’s where I cry. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have. I’ve lost my patience with my unique children. Has that caused internal negative thoughts making deep, deep, deep pathways in their brains? I mean, I understand this all too well. I have baggage I carry around with me because of what adults said to me as a child. Will I do the same to my kids?

I read silently to myself with tears streaking down my cheeks realizing I had escalated situations at home that could have easily been avoided with a little more “Mister Rogers” approach. I couldn’t take it anymore and I walked down the hall, still crying mind you and whispered into my middle son’s room.

“Are you still awake?”

“Yeah.”

“Um. So I’ve been reading this book and it’s made me cry and I just want you to know that I love you okay? Like I love you a whole lot. And if I ever say anything that makes you feel otherwise, you have to tell me, Okay?” He’s laughing at me and I have to laugh as well. I mean I came barging in 20 minutes or so after he’s gone to bed, crying and professing my love for him. It’s quite comical. But I do love him. A whole lot.

So anyway, read the book. You won’t regret it. And say I love you a little more. And maybe give an extra hug instead of a consequence. Just saying.

 

Just another ordinary day…

It’s been six years since my mommy died. Actually, it’s been six years today that my mommy died. Somewhere around 3:15 pm to be exact. Every year I post a picture or two or more of my beautiful mommy on social media and say, “Six years ago today, I lost my beautiful mommy.” It seems so cliche and even a little embarrassing to do that. Those that actually remember this day care, but otherwise, it’s just another ordinary day. But I don’t want to do that this year. This year, I want to let everyone know what it’s like for those that have lost their mommies.

  1. I have been dreading this day…. wait… let me back up a minute. I have felt this day coming all summer. Since May, which is when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. Then Fourth of July rolled around and I remember Joe and I doing sparklers and snappers and snakes in my mom’s front yard to cheer her up. But she was too sad that day and stayed inside. I knew it was her last Fourth of July and she probably did too.
  2. I suppose I could choose to be super happy today. I mean, it’s just a “day.” My mom wouldn’t want me to be sad today. But, I can’t stop thinking about her. The poem I wrote her… When my mom died, I inherited a trailer and a truck load of stuff. My mom’s prized possessions. Plants I would later kill (not on purpose), clothes, clothes, clothes, shoes, purses, unopened mail, opened mail, pictures, furniture, collectables, elephant anything and everything, coffee cups, blankets, sewing stuff, magazines, books, oh and clothes. This stuff sat in boxes for the good part of six months before I could finally open them. And when I did, I would hold her clothes to my nose hoping to catch a whiff of her perfume. I even smelled her hair brush to catch a whiff of her scent. That may sound so weird, but I did it. I dug and I dug and I dug through everything looking for a piece of my mom’s soul. Maybe something of her was left behind that she wanted me to find. And there it was, a poem I had written my mom in the early 2000’s when I was in high school. She had framed it. She FRAMED a poem written in terrible cursive on a piece of notebook paper that was torn out of a spiral notebook, fringe still present. It had been folded and unfolded a dozen times. And she FRAMED it. With it, a pin that read, “Never Give Up.” That poem was a source of inspiration for my mom to keep going when times were hard. MY poem I wrote her on a whim just because. I can’t stop thinking about that today.
  3. My mom never got to meet three out of my five children.
  4. My aunt (her sister) and my grandma (her beloved step-mom who raised her as her own) are gone too. The three power house women of my childhood and young adult years are all gone. Now it’s my turn to step up and be a power house woman for my children, cousins children, and so on. It’s hard and it sucks and I just want to call anyone of them up and say, “Hey!! How the hell did you do this?!”
  5. I still have to do laundry today, go to the grocery store, cook, get ready for school to start for me and my kids. But all I want to do is snuggle with the Pooh Bear she got me when I was 12 and cry into it’s stiff fur.
  6. By the way, I hadn’t cried all day until I was taking a shower and thought of that damn poem. And then I just burst into wailing spasms and tears. Out of nowhere. So for those that think I can just “get over this” or “choose happiness today” my soul has another idea that I can’t control.
  7. I honored my mommy and her green thumb on Mother’s Day by planting a million and one flowers in flower pots. I have flowers everywhere. It’s beautiful. Only a few of them have died. So there! Take that mother nature!
  8. She was my number one fan. Even when I did stupid stuff, I was still her “smarty pants.” I have a pillow she found for me right before she passed away that says, “Smarty Pants.” I keep it on my chair in my classroom and I share her story with my students every year. She never graduated high school and she died knowing that I had finished my last class of college and was going to student teach the 2011-2012 school year. She was very proud of me.
  9. My face is getting older and it’s changing to look just like my mom’s. I catch a glimpse of her in the mirror most every day.
  10. Today is August 9th.

So you see, this day pops up on the calendar every year. I know it’s coming. But that doesn’t change my mind and my heart. Today is a day of missing someone I yearn to see daily. So today, I give her the time and I remember all the little things I thought I had forgotten.

Thank you for sharing this day with me.

Love, Me

how parents really feel about game night

I grew up on Monopoly. My three big sisters would come over for the weekend and my dad and my mom would get out the vintage game of Monopoly. There would be cardboard pizza, Doritos, Deans dip, and Pepsi. Mind you this was the 80’s. I remember my mom scratching the middle of the board for good luck on landing on free parking. She wanted the jackpot. Those are happy memories and I cherish them always.

But…

Now I’m the mom. And this is how game night goes for me…

“I don’t want to play Life, it takes FOREVER!”

“I don’t want to play Monopoly, Mom always wins.” (I really do, it’s genetics)

“Harry Potter Trivia is too hard.”

“Apples to Apples, Apples to Apples, Apples to Apples!!”

“We always play that!”

“Let’s play something new!”

“No!! Then we have to take the time to learn it!”

“It’s settled, we’re playing Apples to Apples.”

Once a game has been chosen, I have to pour myself a giant glass of wine. I mean GIANT. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing games with my kids, because I really honestly do. It’s just hard to play games with them. 9 times out of 10 someone will cry. Someone will yell. Someone will be annoying. Someone will be annoyed. Someone will be loud. Someone will argue about the rules. Someone will spill something. Someone will whine.

But you know what… it’s the most beautiful moment. Even though I roll my eyes and groan whenever someone mentions, “Let’s play a board game!” I know that I am making the best memories for my kids. Sometimes I’m just tired. Sometimes I just want to lay in bed and read a book that I want to read. Sometimes I just want to binge watch whatever show I want to watch. Which, I don’t even have a show I binge watch because, well, let’s face it, when do I ever have the remote? Except, I have made it a few episodes into season one of Gilmore Girls and I have to say, I LOVE IT!! But anyway, who has time for that?!

While I want to have some peace and quiet, some mommy time, some tranquil evening with me, myself, and wine; I always end up having fun and I usually leave the table with side cramps from laughing so hard. So all in all, game nights are needed, just maybe not always wanted, but totally worth it.

Yours Truly,

True Life Hot Mess Mom

my wish

That my kids will…

  • stop looking at me like I’m crazy when I ask them to rinse their dishes
  • use toilet paper after pooping
  • dry off after a shower instead of drip dry through the house
  • stop whining
  • chew with their mouths closed
  • stop putting weird things in the bathtub with them i.e. Q-tips
  • pitch in without being asked
  • complete homework assignments…on-time
  • stop lying
  • think of others instead of only thinking of themselves
  • show compassion to one another
  • wash their hands more often
  • change their underwear everyday
  • wear socks
  • stop running in the house
  • stop arguing with me in that high pitched annoying whiny voice sound that peals the paint
  • pick up their socks from the living room floor instead of stepping over them
  • put away what they are playing with instead of getting something else out causing a tsunami of toys
  • stop whining
  • eat faster
  • not ask me 100 times where we are going or what’s for dinner
  • did I mention stop whining?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids more than anything in this world. But sometimes, I look at them and think, “umm…. is this deja vu? Because I feel like we’ve had this conversation before.”

It’s not like I’m asking them to saw off their right arm, I’m just asking for them to act like people, little people, but people never-the-less.

Yours truly, True Life Hot Mess Mom

I miss my balls…

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any worse as a hot mess mom, I do. I have relented to taking showers every two days. I’m only shaving once a week. I have been spot cleaning my jeans with really yummy smelling soaps from Bath and Body Works so I feel like it’s better than washing. My kids are back to wearing dirty clothes off the floor (I had such a good system for laundry when school started. That’s over.)

Dinner has now consisted of the following:

Monday: pasta something

Tuesday: Mexican something

Wednesday: salad night

Thursday: breakfast for dinner

Friday: pizza

Saturday and Sunday: whatever is in the fridge or maybe something fancy like baked chicken (ha. ha.)

At least we aren’t having chicken nugs and mac n’cheese once a week anymore. My husband is happy about that.

And then we have weeks like this week. It’s parent teacher conferences for me and I seriously love meeting my students’ parents and sharing how awesome their kiddos are, but my family at home gets neglected. Since my loving husband is in charge of feeding my family this week, I hit the frozen food section at the grocery store and I hit it hard. I’m talking, hot pockets, waffles, pizza, more hot pockets (I have a lot of kids to feed), and bananas. I had to get something healthy right? I was actually embarrassed when I loaded up the conveyor belt. I tried to avoid eye contact with the checker outer girl for fear of judgement. But I honestly can’t help it.

I used to LOVE to cook. Trying new recipes was my favorite thing to do. It also was my husbands favorite thing I did. We ate healthier. We tried new things. Now it’s whatever I can muster up the energy to throw in the oven, set a timer, and forget about. We are gaining weight and the kids are starting to get picky because we aren’t trying new things. I see moms posting on Facebook or Instagram pictures of their five-course meals and I’m thinking…. wow…. that’s exciting and yummy. But…uh… we’re having hot pockets tonight. Gourmet cuisine for my family. Only the best frozen food will do.

Last week, I was exhausted because it was a Wednesday. For some reason Wednesdays wipe me out; truly suck the life out of me. So what was for dinner? Well it wasn’t salad night because I didn’t feel like chopping the fresh romaine. I’m too cheap to buy romaine already chopped. So I raided the freezer. We had two open bags of french fries, a ton of milk, cereal, and bagels; and that’s what we had for dinner. French fries, cereal, and bagels. Yum. My kids looked at me like I was crazy.

Me: I’m sorry guys, but this is what’s for dinner. Enjoy.

Oldest boy: It’s no big deal.

Me: No really, I’m like the worst mom ever.

Oldest boy: No you’re not! This is great!

Youngest daughter: We’re having cereal?! And french fries?!

Me: Yes, eat it or don’t. I don’t care.

Middle son: I miss my balls.

Me: I’m sorry, what?!

Middle son: Ya know, the chocolate balls cereal. I miss my balls.

My husband, oldest son, and I look at each other and lose it.

Me: I will pick up your balls on Saturday when I go to the grocery store.

To parents everywhere…

God made babies cute for a reason. He really got us with those sparkly, crisp eyes and wet smile. Their soft wispy hairs that never lay down. Their warm soft forehead smells soothing when you kiss it. You inhale their goodness and instantly feel relaxed; at home. Their limber little bodies fit perfectly against your chest in your arms as you meet their needs. The suckling from a bottle with big swallows makes you stare so long your neck hurts. One limb goes numb, then another, but you’re not moving. It’s taken you an eternity to get this sweet little thing to sleep and your show is about to start. As you wait for that one last sigh that shows you he’s down for the night, you count your blessings. Your eyes trace every inch of his face: his shiny nose, rosy cheeks, long eye lashes that are just unfair, down to his dimpled fingers wrapped around your thumb. This. is. love.

It’s at this point, as parents, we start to picture what their lives could turn out to be. Maybe he’ll be athletic like Dad or artistic like Mom. Maybe he’ll marry his high school sweetheart or maybe he’ll meet a nice girl at college. He’ll be momma’s boy no matter what and you make a vow to be a cool mother-in-law, not a scary one.

But then, things start to happen too quickly. He’s crawling, walking, talking, throwing fits, picking out his own clothes, making friends and having sleep overs, getting picky about food, having a favorite band that you totally hate, having that one friend that you love yet seven others you can’t stand.

And then you realize: he’s a person. You have created a human. I mean sure, you knew this the moment he was born, but it’s different now. He’s a walking, talking, decision making human-being that looks and sounds a lot like you. Cue the heartache. That moment you realize that the dreams you had about him when he was a baby are probably not going to happen like you’d hoped and that’s okay. Acceptance. Accepting who your child has grown up to be all the while still picturing him in that onesie you loved so much, yet he’s standing right in front of you as a grown man.

To me, that’s why God made babies so cute. It’s like He knew that as they grow and separate themselves from us, the parents, we aren’t always going to like them. We aren’t always going to want to be around them. They’re going to break our hearts in two, stomp on them, and then walk away. For a bit. They’ll come back, they always come back. But the waiting is hard. It hurts. No one said parenting is easy. No one said parenting is fun. Yet, as parents, we have a longing to parent and to love our snotty nosed, sassy kids because we can’t stop picturing how cute they were as babies. We can’t stop picturing how much we loved them.

Here’s to parents everywhere, you’re doing a great job. Hang in there.

Love, Jessie

It’s official…I’m a Hallmark Mom

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While catching up on some “Home Improvement,” an advertisement for a new movie caught my eye: “Love on a Limb.” It was so cheesy and so cute that I marked it on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget to watch it. Yes, I hate to admit it, but I marked my calendar to watch a Hallmark movie! What is wrong with me??? Since I’ve turned 30, I just feel old, act old, and have more grey hair.

And now, I watch Hallmark movies.

But it was so good!!! The guy asked her mom’s permission before taking her out on a date!!! What year is this?? To make it even better, Little Miss was able to watch it with me without any concern for what was happening. This morning she said, “I can’t wait until next Saturday so we can watch another movie together!”

Um yeah. Did I mention there is a new Fall themed Hallmark movie on every Saturday for the month of October? Every. Saturday. Night.

I’m officially a boring, cheesy, true life hot mess mom. And I’m taking my kids down with me.

I seem to remember a little girl who did the same thing…

As a mom, I love to vent about my kids to my sisters, friends, and anyone who will listen. Some of the things they do just baffle me and I can’t help but talk about it. Plus, my kids are my kids and I love them so much, what else am I going to talk about?

So when my kids are being pains in the neck and giving me a run for my money, instead of curb checking their faces, I call Dad; or I text him while I’m balling my eyes out at 10 pm. And when I do, I get a response like, “I seem to remember a little girl who did the same thing.”

Ugh! Yes, I know, I was a pain. I lied. I talked back. I threatened to run away. I called you names. I moved out. I was in a hurry to grow up. I did the polar opposite of what you wanted me to do most of the time. I thought I knew everything. I took advantage of you because you were always there. I was a childish, immature, selfish girl and I’m sorry, but now I’m frustrated and I need to know how you dealt with me. I need your comfort and wisdom so I don’t high five my kids’ faces. 🙂

And then I hurt. I mean hurt. I can’t believe I ever made my parents feel the way my kids make me feel sometimes. How awful our human nature can be. So heartless, selfish, and inconsiderate. I know we are just people, but when you finally reach a point of maturity and realize that the way you saw the world was so skewed, you feel awful.

That’s when I text my dad at 8 pm, which is past his texting curfew, (yes he has a texting curfew) apologizing for everything I put him through and then apologizing for taking 16 years to apologize to him. Ridiculous I know. I’m such a girl… really I’m an emotional hot mess mom…. but whatevs…

So here I am. Parenting so hard. Feeling awful for making my dad feel the same way I’m feeling right now. But some day, my kids will come to me about their kids driving them crazy and I will say, “I seem to remember a little girl who did the same thing.”