Wednesday, April 29, 2015

True Beauty

I watched my daughter stomp around in her princess dress, tiara placed on her head, and pink princess shoes. She screamed angrily, "I a beautiful princess!"


We are told from an early age that beauty is on the inside, and while this should be true, it's not. It's a nice thought. It's a nice thing to say when our 3-year-old is screaming that she's beautiful and we want her to ACT beautiful. However, in today's world, outward beauty is what counts. You wear nice clothes. You fix your hair. You put on makeup no matter where you go. It was probably torture for my mom to learn that I attended many college classes make-up free and wearing a baseball cap. (I wasn't alone!)

The truth is, too often we define our beauty based on other people's opinions. You lose weight, people notice. You gain weight, people notice. We look in the mirror and we don't like who we see regardless of our pant size!

I have short hair. I LIKE having short hair. It's easier to fix and it's fun. I have had people tell me that they like it. I've had people tell me I'm crazy and women should have long hair.

If you're a mother it goes even farther. You have people trying to tell you how to raise your children.

Life would be so much easier if we didn't care what others thought. If we did what we wanted to do and if people don't like it then, oh well, it's not their life. Right? You can't make everyone happy all the time and while you're using all of your time and energy trying to make everyone happy you find yourself far from happy. What about YOUR happiness?  We need to CHOOSE to be happy. You like short hair? Then cut it. It's YOUR hair! You want to go to the store without make-up and wear a baseball cap? Good for you!  There is no law that states you have to spend 45 minutes styling your hair and putting on make up! You don't want to travel for every holiday because you want to start your own traditions with your children? Well, it's your decision to make and if that makes you happy, then go for it! Wait, you're not a size zero and you're happy with yourself? That's awesome! You ate an entire cheese cake last night? Well, if it didn't make you sick, then I think you're totally cool and I hope you enjoyed it!

A lot of us spend too much time worried about what others think.We spend too much time trying to keep other people happy. I'm not suggesting we become narcissists, I'm just saying that maybe it's time we started liking ourselves for who we are and stop worrying about what others think. Why do we care so much? I'm a people-pleaser. I have this habit of going out of my way to try and make others happy. They can criticize me and manipulate me, use guilt, even come up with crazy schemes just so they can get their way and I just take it.

It needs to stop.

It needs to stop for ALL of us.

Deep down inside we're all like my 3-year-old. We're all dressed up and just waiting for some one to tell us we're beautiful. Well, guess what?  You ARE beautiful!

Now it's time to believe it!

Friday, April 24, 2015

World's Okayest Mother

I have seen a lot of coffee mugs on Pinterest lately that read, "World's Okayest Mom."  Every time I see it I can't help but smile. We, as mothers, are all pushing forward, being the best we can be for our children. We are overwhelmed and exhausted, but we're doing okay. Right?

In my house we are all about feeding our children healthy foods. We "encourage" them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. We don't eat a lot of processed foods and eating out is a rare treat. That being said, I currently have the biggest bag of Totino's pizza rolls that you can buy in our freezer. We have Pop Tarts and sugary kids cereal because while I want them to eat healthy, I also want them to be kids. A big part of being a kid is fun food like Cap'n Crunch, a cold soda, or a candy bar they get to pick out in the grocery check out line from time to time.

I make my kids clean their rooms. Their cleaning consists of straightening up a bit, shoving things under the bed, and tossing things in the closet. They come to me with smiles and say, "I think it's clean!" Most of the time it's not clean. There are comic books on the floor, markers strewn about, and Legos (evil, evil Legos). They stand, smiling, awaiting my reaction. "Is it clean enough?" The truth is they could spend ten more minutes cleaning it up a little more (and they know this or they wouldn't have thrown in "enough" at the end of their question), but I can see the floor now, and childhood is calling them. Yes, it's clean enough.

I drive them to therapies and appointments. There are days when I grow tired of hearing, "Mom?" from behind me. I find myself longing for quiet or the selfish need to be left alone so I can listen to one song while I drive. There is also the thrill of going to the bathroom without a 3-year-old chasing you down the hall shouting, "I help you!" (I wonder if her eagerness will remain in about 45 or 50 years when I actually might need help.  HA!)  There are nights when the two youngest gremlins keep popping out of bed to ask for help with a blanket or to complain about something. There are mornings when they are up too early and I haven't finished my first cup of coffee.

I spend my days doing laundry and cleaning, yet it feels as if there is never anything to show for it. The house isn't spotlessly clean and the laundry is still piled up, even though I do two or three loads a day. Most days there just doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done.

My eldest states that he is tired of therapies. He should be. He's had therapies since he was 2. Sadly, there isn't a time in his life that he remembers NOT having therapies. Truth is, I'm tired of therapies too. There are days that if feels like a mundane routine. Yet, we keep going. We keep trudging forward.

My children don't wear ties and speak eloquently. They're not fluent in three different languages. My house isn't spotless. I don't vacuum while wearing a dress, heels and pearls and I don't have dinner on the table (homemade chocolate cake for dessert included) the second my husband gets home from work. I wipe Kaitlyn's snotty nose 20 times a day. I deal with accidents and bathroom messes. I clean up vomit and spilled food.

When my children are sick I take care of them. When Kaitlyn is struggling to breathe I hold her and we use her nebulizer. I read to them, watch TV with them, play with them. I help with homework and projects. I have awesome conversations with my boys. I try to teach them responsibility by giving them chores and saying, "I can't," just makes me want to push them more.

There is nothing special about me. I'm just an okay mom . . . and I'm okay with that.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why I'm Hard On My Special Needs Child

There was a time when I had to constantly say, "Use your words," to my Apraxic child. He would sigh in annoyance, take his time, and then speak. I honestly can't remember the last time I had to tell him to use his words. He does it on his own now. No more signs, no more gestures, no more tantrums. He slowly says what he wants to say. I stop what I'm doing, focus on him, and listen. 

When he tries to eat with his hands because using silverware is difficult we still tell him to use his fork. When he walks around with his shoes untied, we make him stop and try to tie them (even if it takes 5 minutes and multiple tries). When he struggles to brush his teeth, read, write, even hold a pencil, we keep pushing him to try. There have been numerous days when I've made him go back and brush his teeth again. He sighs or rolls his eyes, but he doesn't argue. He knows that trying is important. Practice makes perfect, right? 

I've had people tell me to just let him eat with his hands. "He's a child, what will it hurt?" I've had people ask me why I don't buy him Velcro shoes since tying is difficult for him. The zipper and button on his pants are difficult? Well, just let him wear track pants every day and then he won't have to worry about it. 

Sure, all of these things would make it easier for him and no parent wants to watch their child struggle, however it would hurt him more than help him. There will come a day when I have to send my special needs child into the world. It's not a kind world filled with rainbows and butterflies. Birds won't follow him around singing and he won't suddenly emerge in cartoon form into a dream land with no worries. The world is cruel and it will not bend over backwards to make my child's life easier. By doing that for him now I would be doing him a disservice. 

Am I hard on my special needs child? You bet I am. My job is to prepare him to go out into the world one day and to be ready. I do not want a 30-year-old son walking around with his shoe laces flapping about his feet, eating with his hands, shrugging his shoulders and saying, "I have Apraxia," just because things are hard. My dream for this kid is to see him succeed. To see him EASILY do all the things his little brother can do and hear him smile and say, "I have Apraxia, but I still did it!" He has his own voice and it is my job to help him find it and one day, when the time comes, go out and use that voice! 

So far, it seems to be working. He works twice as hard to do half as much and he's okay with that. He's comfortable with who he is and he has accepted the challenges in his life. He is happy, ornery, and has such a positive outlook on life! So, the next time you see me pushing him or encouraging him to try just one more time and you say, "You're too hard on him," I will smile and say, "Thank you."  I AM hard on him, but he'll be all the better for it one day! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Much Better Place!

First, I read about people bashing Kelly Clarkson because of her weight. Then I read about people attacking Pink because of her weight.


Do people not have lives? Why are we so worried about how others look or how much they weigh?

There is always that person who fixates on weight. You see them and the first thing out of their mouth is, "You've lost weight," "Have you gained weight?" or "You're actually keeping the weight off." These are the same people who will tell you they ran into so-and-so and "she's gained a lot of weight."

Who cares! Get a hobby! Worry about your own weight and stop fixating on others.

I have learned that those who fixate on other people's weight aren't the most likable people. I am raising my daughter in a world where she will always be under a magnifying glass. It's sick! People preach about how we should love ourselves, but how can we when we live in a society who frowns upon anyone who isn't sickly thin?

I was shocked to read that people were attacking Pink because of her weight. She's healthy and she's NOT overweight! Once upon a time Marilyn Monroe was the pinnacle of beauty and she wasn't sickly thin! How easily we forget. How sad that things have reached this point. It has become ridiculous!

Wouldn't it be great if we all saw what a person was like on the inside instead of focusing on their outward appearance?

For those who always point out other's weight and/or flaws, go take a long look in the mirror. None of us are perfect, physically or otherwise. It's time to start looking past outward appearances and start appreciating people's inner beauty.

The world would be a much better place for sure!