My Ten Moods, Oh, and Then There is Me

It has been said that women are moody, inconsistent, and certainly hard to read.  I have taken classes and read many books on the differences between men and women.  I have seen countless ideas and suggestions on how to better communicate and improve relationships.  Much of them, I have found to be useful.  Why is it then, that we as women are built this way?   Why am I so moody?  Why can’t I just make up my mind and stick with it?

I think I figured it out, well maybe…

The decision to be a stay at home mom was a very difficult one for me.  I loved my job.  I loved the people that I worked with and I loved challenging myself.  I loved my children more.  I found myself at work, wanting to be home.  Needing to see their faces and know what they were doing.  I felt displaced.  So, my husband and I decided to take the jump and this is where I found that moodiness, can actually be a gift, dare I say, my survival. Luckily for me, he supports and understands me-no matter what.

Within a day I have found myself trying to walk just four steps across the kitchen, but failing to do so because of the small paperweight perfectly placed between my legs wrapping his chubby little meat clamps around my thighs.  I have had to end a telephone conversation due to incessant crying of a tired baby or the ever present full fist shoved carelessly in my mouth(and down my shirt).  I have had to peak out of the shower to put shoes on a doll, and been woken up 13 (+) times in one night because of a scary dream about a skeleton.  I need a break.  I need some time to myself.  My husband offers that I go and do, and how do I respond…”It’s okay.”  Why?  Because even though I am about to pull the hair right out of my head, I love these sidekicks so much that even when I am away for just 2 minutes, the silence about chokes me.

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I lost a dear friend recently.  It made me sad for him, but the thing about loss, it also brings back every other loss that you have had and I couldn’t help but think of my mom.  I miss her so much.  The news came in the middle of the day.  Just me and the sidekicks at home.  I shed some tears and was encouraged by my sidekick number 1.  She sings a pretty good “be happy” song, and then hands me a Barbie to play.  I’m breaking on the inside, but this sweet little angelic soul just makes me the happiest mom in the whole world and I am overwhelmed with being blessed too. I feel them both, at the same time, and equally.

Cleaning the house often consists of  sweep, sweep, “stay away from the doggie door,” sweep sweep, “oh no, not another spilled cup -stay off of the counters,” sweep sweep and so I find that at the end of the day, I am proud that I was able to sweep the whole floor, (even if the first half probably needs to be done again).  It is an accomplishment.  Go me!  I had a shower, I swept the floor, and the kids are alive-I am the best mom in the whole wide world!!  (someday’s that’s about it).  Compare that to my previous job where I was accomplished, awarded, successful, and really felt that I mattered everyday.  I may not even remember some of the techniques I once used when I finally return to work outside of the house.  I traded all that for my sweeping success?  Yes, yes I did, and I would do it all over again for those sweet smiles and “I love you”‘s, but I still miss it and sometimes want that too.

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I have to be moody, because I am full of emotions.  100 different emotions battling inside me at any given moment.  I need this ability.  I need to be able to feel everything or I am afraid I would crumble.  This is the gift of a woman.  The gift of a mother.  It is the reason that I am able to hold a crying baby in the middle of the night, covered in puke or diarrhea and think-“Thank you, God, for this blessing that is mine.”  It is the only way that I spend 24 hours in a day in only the company of two sidekicks under 5 and say, “Please, bless them with safety that I can do this all over again tomorrow.”  It’s the only way I can get up on only 4 hours of sleep and still smile and say, “Where’s my kiss princess, and I love my little man,” and mean it.

I have to be moody.  I have to change my mind, because I am choosing someone else (my family) over my needs, and I want to, but sometimes it is a battle.   By choosing their needs, they become mine.  I am changing.  I am so much more now, because of them and the choices I have made.  If I didn’t have the ability to do this, inside of me, pre-wired, I wonder if I would have been able to make these decisions.  Would I be good at this new job?

All at the same time: I want them to grow to be respectful, kind, and happy, but I want them to stay my tiny little kids too.  I want them to learn to sleep through the night on their own, but I want them to still run to me when they have a nightmare.  I want to take a weekend and get some peace and quiet, but I don’t want to miss a single important thing-like tucking them in at night. I want to read my own book, but I also want to see their faces when I tell them a story about a Llama. I want to still learn and grow and achieve, but I want to be the one to see them reach their next milestone. I am battling every day.

I am embracing my gifts and talents in very unique ways.  I am seeing how things that once were a hindrance can play a role in my life.  I am realizing more every day, as I watch the perfect souls of my children, how we are made, just…..as……we…..should…..be.  I AM WOMAN (WO-MOM), HEAR ME ROAR!

Originally posted at: http://meriannboxall.com/my-ten-moods-oh-and-then-there-is-me/

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Myths About Marijuana

Drug use in America continues to increase among pre-teens, teens and young adults.  Despite major efforts from law enforcement and drug task forces, substances of misuse are available to anyone seeking them and too many others caught in casual situations who are encouraged to experiment.  Marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the country.  More than 1.2 million Americans ages 12 and over participated in substance use treatment for marijuana in 2006, making it the second most prevalent substance of concern behind alcohol.  The percentage of Americans seeking treatment for marijuana use more than doubled from 1993-2005.

Young people who use marijuana or alcohol tend to be more prone to denial, justification and rationalization than users of ‘harder” drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.    There are many individuals who have smoked without experiencing significant consequences, because many of marijuana’s effects develop gradually and are therefore difficult to recognize, and because societal attitudes toward marijuana are ambivalent.

Some individuals adhere to beliefs about marijuana use that make it more difficult for them to recognize the harmful impact of use on their lives.  Below are discussed four myths concerning marijuana and it’s use that will assist parents to generate in their children critical thinking concerning about the choice to use in discussions with their children.

Myth#1:  Marijuana is all natural; therefore it is safe and healthy to smoke it. (“God put it on the earth for a reason.’  “It grows in nature, so it’s fine.”)  Today’s marijuana is not the same substance as the plant that grew indigenously in nature.  The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  The average THC content in seized street marijuana more than doubled in 14 years, increasing from under 4% in 1983 to 9.6% in 2007.  This increase is attributed to decades of cross breading and cultivation techniques used by people intending to synthesize a more potent substance.

The belief that marijuana is healthy because it grows in nature presupposes two ideas:

If something grows in nature then it must be healthy.  Using this logic, one could argue that rubbing poison ivy on one’s skin or eating poisonous mushrooms is healthy.  In truth, some things in nature are healthy for consumption while others are not.

Plants that grow in nature were intended to be smoked by humans.  If marijuana exists for some cosmic purpose, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was intended to be smoked.  Perhaps human beings weren’t designed to smoke anything, since inhalation of smoke is a tissue irritant that is initially rejected by the body.  Tobacco, opium and coca all occur in nature, but I have encountered few marijuana users who believe that smoking those substances is healthy.  Historically, marijuana has been used for other purposes (e.g. rope, clothing, mats, fishnets and oils).

 

Myth#2:  Marijuana is harmless.  (“No one dies from it.”  “It never hurt anyone.”)  There is an element of truth in this belief, given the lack of strong evidence that marijuana use causes fatal overdose.  However, overdose is just one way in which substance use can be fatal.  In the 2002 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, marijuana was the only substance involved in 2 overdoses, 35 deaths and 69 other drug-related deaths.  A national estimate of deaths associated with marijuana only is 581, but that figure might be low as some metropolitan areas do not include marijuana in toxicology tests and others do not report any toxicology results.  This number also excludes any deaths in which any substance besides marijuana was also detected.

Recent advances in technology have allowed scientists to unlock some of the mysteries of the brain.  THC molecules bind to receptor sites in areas of the brain responsible for the regulation of the functions found to be adversely affected by marijuana use, giving us an explanation for how marijuana does what it does.

For example, marijuana use can cause significant impairment when a person drives a vehicle or operates machinery, which undoubtedly poses a risk for accidents, legal problems and fatality.  Chronic use has been linked to cancers, respiratory ailments and immune system malfunction.  Marijuana causes sleep stage irregularities, affecting memory, immunologic functioning and subjective well-being.  Marijuana-related memory impairment can have vocational and educational implications.  Chronic use has been linked to reproductive impairment.  Young people with Axis I conditions (e.g. ADHD, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders) are prone to self-medicating with marijuana, but use can exacerbate their symptoms.

Some teens used marijuana extensively during the pivotal developmental stage of adolescence.  They self-medicated with marijuana when they experienced aversive emotional states, whereas their non-using peers were developing healthier coping strategies.  Impairment emotional regulation and amotivational syndrome are often the results.  Having trained their minds to depend on foreign substance to achieve homeostasis, these individuals are left with few coping tools after they abstain.  Some individuals would consider prison, unemployment and even death as viable alternatives to life without marijuana.  Knowing the potential negative consequences of marijuana use might help clients make more informed decisions about use, abstinence and recovery.

Myth#3:  Most people smoke marijuana.  (Everybody does it.”  “You can’t tell me you haven’t.”)  Slightly greater than half of young Americans have tried marijuana at least once.  Findings from the 2007 Monitoring the Future Survey suggests that 42% of all 12th graders have used marijuana at least once, 32% have used in the last year, and 19% have used within the last month.  Findings from 2006 suggested that 57% of Americans ages 19 to 30 had tried the substance at least once in their lives, 26.5% had used in the last year and 14.9% within the last month.  However, most Americans do not continue to use the substance or use it regularly, as is the case with the typical client in treatment.  If it were true that most Americans used regularly, that would not prove that marijuana use was harmless for all people.  Nonetheless, individuals who present with cannabis-related disorders might be prone to rationalizing their use based on a belief that ‘everyone is doing it,” whereas knowing that abstinence is not atypical might be encouraging for some individuals who choose not to use.

Myth#4:  Marijuana makes you creative.  (“It expands your awareness.”  “It opens you up to new possibilities.’)  Some people think that marijuana use could enhance creativity given its enhancement of the senses and subjective nature of the concept of creativity.   However, when defined as divergent thinking, creativity is not enhanced by occasional use of marijuana and is diminished with regular use.  In a series of experiments in 1960s and 70s, participants evaluated their work as more creative when they were high than when they were abstinent, suggesting that people think themselves to be more creative only when experiencing euphoria.  Clients who value their creative works are encouraged by the fact that many successful artists are abstinent or in recovery, fueling confidence that one can be creative simply by using one’s natural abilities.

As parents it is important to be informed and have the answers to arguments before they arise.  An informed parent is credible and it is difficult for a child to argue with the facts.  Sharing opinions, values and beliefs is also an important part of parenting.  Have the conversations, someone will be, make sure you add your voice.

 

In Pursuit of Motherhood Perfection

                As mothers, we will never be good enough.  Historically, and I know this from my mother and grandmother, they too felt inadequate.  In their time, the expectation was that they have a clean house, good food on the table and well behaved children.  The way they achieved this was through time spent cleaning, cooking, sending the kids outside, yelling and discipline, and a spank now and then.  They now wish that things would have been left and they would have spent more time with their children.

                If I am to believe what all of the blog posts are saying, the expectation today is that it’s all about the kids even to the extent that we should have dirty houses, quick meals, constant playing, and absolutely no yelling.  Cherish every moment, and allow them to express their individuality.  Not all, but the pattern of children now is a large group of entitled and disrespectful children that our elderly population just doesn’t get.

What are we to do?  Well as for me, I am just going to do the very best that I can.  I am a firm believer in all things in ration.  Every day there are things I wish I did differently or better.  Every night I accept my imperfections and forgive myself, starting tomorrow anew.  What I know about myself and my raising of my children is this: If my child doesn’t listen, I might yell.  If they misbehave, are disrespectful or rude, there will be consequences.  They will know right from wrong, and know that God exists, watching our every action-but that there is great forgiveness.  They will learn to play on their own, outside and in-this may include tv or a video game now and then-all things in ration.  They will learn please and thank you and to send a card in the mail when words just aren’t enough.  They will have a clean house and a good meal and it may take me all day sometimes.  I will work and will sometimes text and be on the computer-there are others things important too, even if not as much.  Through this, when they are older, they will realize how important it is to work hard, and also that they need to call each other and their friends once in a while to say hello. In high school, they won’t have large holes in their ears or tattoos on their arms, and their pants will cover their underwear-they can show their independence elsewhere.  They will know they are loved, they are important, and that they are amazing souls that I am so blessed to be a part of their lives.  They will know what it feels like to dance in the kitchen, and run around on hands and knees playing horses with me.  They will know that my Barbie likes to flip her hair, and that my truck runs into a lot of things.  They will know they can tell me anything and that I will help them, without judgment-but hopefully with advice.  I will hug them every night and every day. I will drop everything to come to their rescue when they are hurt or need me.  I will kiss them when they will let me and through my relationship with their dad, I will show them what love and friendship looks like.  They will laugh and will know the meaning of family and that it is the most important thing above all else.

I will know, in the future, when I am doubting my decisions and full of “I wishes” that in the moment, I just did the very best that I could, and hopefully, when I pick up the phone to call them, on the other end will be a well-rounded, confident independent child that loves me as much as they know I love them.

Trying

My daughter asked that I play Polly Pocket with her before bed tonight.  I decided instead to watch 15 minutes of Grey’s Anatomy before I put her down.  Shame on me, I know.  One day I may live to regret this moment, at least that is what most of the articles I have been reading on proper motherhood have been saying lately.  I probably will, but I think that sometimes the expectations of being a good mom, are set a little high.  After all, I don’t think they take into account just how tired I am feeling right now.  Just last night I chose to sleep on the tile floor outside of my daughters bedroom.  Why? Because I wanted her to be heard when she said she was scared. I wanted her to feel supported, while still finding her own independence.  This is why I was tired and chose instead to take this much needed break, even when her cute face was asking for a little of my time.

I know that I am not perfect.  Sometimes I yell, sometimes I get after her when she looses a special necklace that I asked her three times not to touch, or when I trip and fall on a blanket left in the middle of the floor after I asked her to pick it up.  I do. I wish I didn’t. I wish I was not the yelling mom, or the one that was a “bully” as the newest articles are saying.  Every day I want to do better.  Every day I wish there was something that I did differently.  Sometimes when she says I am “texting on my computer too much”, or “cleaning too much”, I want to drop everything and focus on her.  I do. I wish she didn’t see me this way, but I also know that I am trying to be a mom full time from home, while still keeping a job.  Not as important as my child rearing, but still important.  I clean the house for her, and for my son, so when he crawls around with his belly dragging on the floor, it doesn’t come up black.  I pick up toys and have her help, so when she wants a certain one, the next day, it will be where we can find it.

I’m not perfect and I know I will have regrets.  I do every single day.  But every night as I go to bed, I forgive myself for my shortcomings.  I remember that I love my children more than anyone else ever will. I tell them everyday.  I show them everyday.  Maybe sometimes I yell.  Maybe sometimes I show disappointment and encourage behavior changes.  Sometimes I just don’t have the patience I should have and sometimes I am just plain grumpy.  I try not to be, but occasionally, this is the sacrifice for me worrying about their future and staying up at night, or not sleeping because one or the other was sick or scared, and sometimes it’s the lack of taking even 5 minutes of “me time” in a day.

I can’t remember the last uninterrupted shower that I took, or full nights sleep without a small hand, or dreams of shortcomings waking me.  I’m a tired mom! I’m not perfect.  I never will be, but I do cherish every breath.  I feel so blessed everyday and I just do the very best that I can in each moment to give my children the best life, the most love, and best mom they can have.

Nurtured Heart

While reading the book called Transforming the difficult child by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley I took away some great ideas that I think will help me when raising my daughter even if she does grow up to be a little angel.  Don’t we all hope!!  This approach is based upon (which we hear it all the time) positive reinforcement.  All too often we give our children more attention with more passion for the bad behaviors which they show-so they continue in that path.  What if we gave them the same passion, excitement and attention instead for following the rules, doing good things, and being kind-then maybe they would continue on the positive path.  As Mothers trying so hard to do everything right, what if we showed as much happiness and excitement when our child put their dishes away, as we do anger when they leave them on the counter, maybe in turn they will put the dishes away.  I know this is hard sometimes because our lives are so busy, but I am going to make a conscious effort to show my daughter just how happy and proud I am, when she puts her shoes away instead of leaving them by the door.  Because I am a Mom I will passionately love the positive choices that she makes so she will continue to make them.

Sex Education in Schools

The talk of sex education in schools is now ongoing in every PTA and school board room across the country.  The topic moved quickly to the front burner when President Obama discussed opening sex education topics to all grades K-12 in July of 2007 at a Planned Parenthood Conference.  So controversial, this option is being debated by parents, administration, and board members in nearly every meeting. I am a mother, and this impacts my child’s education, so I too, will attend meetings, discuss and debate this topic until we come up with the proper solution.

I wonder when it became the sole responsibility of our public educators to teach my child the ways of the world, the difference between right and wrong, and the best and easiest ways to safely break the rules.  I want to be involved in my child’s life, and in her growth and learning.  I want her to grow up with a respect for herself and for others.  I want her to grow up with a positive self image, a belief in things good, and the ability to stand up for what is right.  I want her to know her options when it comes to the choices she makes.  I want her to know how to protect herself even if she makes the choices that I would not like her to make-but when did that become the responsibility of my public educator? Will it even do any good?  The rate of STD’s in adults are also on the rise, and we know better, and we know our options we just don’t follow them.   No I don’t want them to have that conversation, instead I will sit with her, have conversations, discuss the consequences of sexual activity, and the options she has if she makes that choice.  I will be involved in her life and teach her that nobody has the right to look at her or touch her inappropriately-I don’t want her Kindergarten teacher to do that.  I know these conversations or uncomfortable and hard, but I am her mother.  I will fight to keep that right, the right to educate my child as I see fit, the right to ensure that she has the knowledge she needs to function appropriately, and the support she needs to make good decisions.  Not my public educator, I will have these hard and important conversations, Because I am a Mom.

Our Mother

Our Mother was committed to create an information site with forums and articles for Mother’s around the world, empowing us to believe that we can make a difference in the future.  This wonderful woman, passed away before she was able to see her dream and ideas come to fruition.  In dedication to her, we, her daughters, are committed to leaving her legacy behind, because of the mother that she was, and the mothers that she raised us to be.

Thank you mom!

To Our Hero

Just dropping a note like you always do,

To tell you we’re proud you’re our mom, and that we’re part of you.

We know that you’re dancing and singing today,

Like you did with us in the kitchen, almost every day.

Some of our best qualities we learned from watching you,

We’re all strong; we’re proud and independent too.

A lady poised and classy is the face you showed the rest,

But the mom at home in sweatpants is the one we loved the best.

Your sense of humor was one of a kind and we’ll cherish the times we all laughed,

We’ll always remember your witty one liners, your stories, and jokes where you only told half.

You were always there when we needed you to be,

Our proms, our weddings and firsts with our babies.

We’ll get through each day with our game faces on, because you taught us to,

We’ll talk to you often and think of you each day, because we still need you.

The family traditions you started for us, we promise never to quit,

Especially the one where you’d give us the angels and holding hands, we’d all talk and sit.

Even though our time was too short, our memories, they are not small,

Of all the mothers in the world, you far surpass them all.

You always let us just be who we are, and supported us when we were wrong,

“Your mine – so be proud of who you are,” you’d say and help us along.

You always knew things, both the good and the bad, before we even could say,

And we know things too, “we’re important”, and “your loving us today and every day.”

Your time here might be done, but we need you still,

You know, there are spots in our souls that only our mother can fill.

Mommy-Friend we love you most – love always – your girls