Posted in mental health, messy mama

Beating Kiddo Summer Anxiety – Week 1

Summer is upon us, y’all. It’s hot, I’m sweaty, and my child is cheerful before noon and I don’t get to dump him off at school. So, you know, I’m really enjoying every minute of this. 

So, my last post was all about Kiddo’s anxiety and how not having school 5 days a week, or at least a plan for his day, has really been bothering him more than we thought it would. I mean, I don’t blame him. I also need plans. So, I came up with this:
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It was just something I threw together so that we could both have a plan for the day if there wasn’t one. Things are allowed to be changed and adjusted, but frankly I have no real exciting plans this summer…. so this is going to help all involved.

Also, now that I’m taking a look at that picture after my first week of attempting this plan… I forgot about the “Letters of the Week” and those weren’t even addressed. So, things are going well.

Monday was our first go at this. We got on the couch, popped popcorn, got apples and peanut butter, and busted out some Transformers.
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This is where I learned that my child is a person that asks questions during the part of the movie that would answer the question if he would just WATCH IT HIMSELF. People that do this bring out a rage in me. But, y’all, I held it together. I made a snarky Facebook post about it and carried on with our day. He loved it. It was special. Day one: WIN.

Tuesday was Library day. Sweet. We signed up for the summer reading challenge and we already have like 67890 points, not to brag. So, Day two: WIN.

Wednesday was Water Day. Thanks to a friend who happened to invite us over for a water day already on Wednesday, this day was also a good one. Day Three: WIN. (also a win because I got to sit indoors while the kids were outside.)

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Thursday was Thanksgiving day. This is a day I wanted to devote to focusing on kindness. (Although he’s welcome to not be a jerk all the other days of the week as well. As am I, but ya know, one person at a time around here.) His little buddy broke his leg the other day, so we decided he needed some lovin’ in the form of a get well card, fun socks to sleep in over his cast, and coloring stuff! Day Four: WIN. 
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Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Tabitha, it’s only Thursday. Why aren’t you waiting until the full week is over to make this post?” Well, friends. I will tell you that my boy is going to Grandma and Papaw’s house for the week starting tomorrow. So, I’m gonna go ahead and predict that as a WIN. And that also qualifies as a “Friday – go to someone’s house”.

So, really, what we can take away from all this is that I’m an amazing mom and I win at everything.

Thank you, the end.

 

 

 

Okay, fine maybe not. BUT I did win at this for at least this week, right?

What are you doing to combat the summer? Give me some ideas!

XO
Tab

Posted in mental health, messy mama

Perfectly Picked. [A Messy Mama Post]

Soooo… it’s been three weeks. My bad. But also like, May took.me.down. The last month of school is the most ridiculous month ever. Why do we feel the need to shove everything in at the end? It stresses me out. I’m over it. Whatever, it’s over. Here I am. I’m alive. And sweaty. I’M SWEATY AND ALIVE.

At the height of my bad days with Kiddo, I remember being told by several people, “You were picked to be the parent of your child for a reason. There is a reason. It’ll get better.” And more things of that nature. And of course in the moment I’m like, Wow how sweet. Thank you so much. And then the cynic in me that we all know is there would be like, “GAAAAWWWWDDD Shut up with that. Technically I picked this kid because I adopted him and now I’m getting bit in the butt with this decision.” Yes, I know, that’s not a flattering thought to admit to thinking as a parent, but I’m always being real with y’all.

Fast forward to my current life, and wouldn’t you just know that those damn statements are true? Of course they are. Of course. Of course there is a reason I’m Kiddo’s mom. Of course. Now, let me explain.

When Husband and I were applying to be foster parents many moons ago, I remember one of the questions they asked us was along the lines of, “If it turns out that your child has some mental health issues, how will you respond?” (because many, many, many do) And I remember being like…. how will I respond? Uh, considering I’m riddled with mental health issues, I suppose that would be a non-issue around here. I’d just be like, Hey Pal, welcome to the family. You fit right in. And we all kind of giggled and a lot of other personal information was asked and we were approved and blah blah blah, four kids later – we adopted our boy. ❤ [I do realize that was super not a touching moment just now, but like…there’s other posts I’ve written about those times. Haha]

We started noticing a little less than a year ago that Kiddo had a touch of anxiety. He is extremely outgoing and obnoxious… unless there’s about more than 10 people. Then the fun and games are over for him. He shuts down and has to be slowly introduced into the situation. And if there is zero people he knows involved, then it’s tougher. But usually there’s always a friend if we are in a situation like that. He also, I’ve started to notice, needs to ask me what the day’s plan is. He asks me simply things like, “Is it a school day?” “Is it a church day?” Things like that. (He’s 5) He just wants to know what the goal here is. I get it, me too dude. So, really the anxiety was just coming around to being those simple things. Easy peasy, I could handle it. The “issue” never lasted more than 15 or so minutes and he would move on, get accustomed to the situation, etc.

So, when I tell you that we went to a birthday party last Saturday and he started hyperventilating and having a full blown panic attack, I am just as shocked as you are. The party was for one of his friends at a park. Now, there was also another party going on at the same time, so the people in attendance was doubled. Still, we’ve been to this park 3 billion times, I didn’t even think twice about it. Plus, there’s tacos and donuts. What is there to think about?

I noticed instantly he didn’t want to leave my side. It’s Texas, I’m sweating to death, I’m grumpy, I am Mother-of-the-Year and I push him off of me and say, “OMG GO PLAY OR YOU DON’T GET DONUTS.” Then I proceed to try to socialize with the other parents at the party. I see him sitting alone on a chair at the park just staring at me. (That sounds super creepy, it kind of was.) And of course, because I’m excellent at this, I walk over to him and I’m like, “DUDE WHAT’S UP?” And he tries to get me to play with him. Now, he’s an only child. So this is a problem I come across often. He’s used to playing with just me. GO PLAY WITH OTHER PEOPLE, BRO. But after a few minutes I notice this is different. He’s not even having fun with me playing with him, he just wants me next to him.

It finally looks like he might to to a slide, so I follow him over and kind of slow down to talk to another parent and he stops and comes back to me and shuts down. He refuses to go back to the slide. Finally, I pull him off to a bench and sit down and I’m like… what’s up? And he starts repeating over and over again, “I need to be alone. I just need to be alone. I need to be alone.” Now, this is something I’ve taught him to tell me if he’s feeling overwhelmed by a bunch of people. This is his little way of saying, “There’s too many kids for a second, I just need a break.” But he’s always just said that. He’s never repeated this over and over and over. He isn’t even looking me in the eye. I mean, he’s looking at me… but he’s not looking at me. Does that make sense?

Then he starts asking for his best friend that isn’t there. (His buddy was on a trip with his family and couldn’t come to the party) He started repeating it over and over again, “I need to be alone, where’s L? I need to be alone, where’s L? I need to be alone, where’s L?” He’s shaking at this point and can’t seem to take a deep breath. I grab him and we leave the party.

After it’s discovered that there is no way in hell that Mommy can produce his best buddy out of thin air, his focus is directed on needing Daddy. Someone I also cannot produce out of thin air, as he is at work. Thus, making this attack last a total of 8 hours. (With a 3 hour nap – of which my kid usually only takes 30 minutes, if at all)

My baby was emotionally drained. But by dinner I was able to produce Daddy and things got a little better. Unfortunately, he had a second attack the next day. Not as bad, but still rough.

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ALL OF THIS WAS TO SAY, I was perfectly picked to be my kid’s mom. I have had my share of panic attacks. I’ve had my share of emotional breakdowns. I’ve had my share of 3 hour naps in the middle of the day. I’ve had my share. And I loved my mom so much, but she did not ever handle my mental health the right way. She actually handled it pretty horribly. So, I did my best to do what I would have wanted, I held him. I talked to him like everything was normal. There was no shame. This was okay. It was all going to be okay. We all have days like this, and he isn’t alone. Mommy has hard days too. And we talked about it. We talked about how proud I was of him trying to find ways to express what he needed. I told him how proud I was of him to have picked a buddy that he can turn to when he’s falling apart. Even better, that buddy’s mommy is my fall apart buddy.

God knows what he’s doing when He gives us people. He totally knows. 

You are perfectly picked for this world, kid or not. You are put here for a reason, find it. ❤

xo Tab

 

Posted in messy mama

Messy Mama: When The Days End In Tears.

It’s been a long time since I’ve ended a parenting day in tears. Kiddo is always testing me, but the tears haven’t come so easily anymore. It’s more just eye rolls and mild threats to set all his toys on fire, no big deal.

But man, today was rough. I picked him up from school to news of a rough day. Fine. We all have our days. However, when I calmly and simply just questioned him about it, he threw a tantrum, the likes of which I had never seen before. He was kicking the back of the chair in my car, he was throwing toys, he was screaming like someone was pulling a limb from his body.

Alright, so then I told him he was not allowed to attend a birthday party this evening that I was actually really looking forward to going to. Of course that fueled the rage, resulting in him kicking my walls and screaming more. Not sure who this kid I brought home was, I’ve only seen him behave like this maybe three other times in his 5 years of life.

I made him clean his room and then went in an hour later to help him while we talked calmly about his outburst. He seemed like he was back to normal. So I decided maybe all he needed was some special love. So we sat on the couch and watched a movie together. Awesome.

Then comes a smooth bedtime routine, teeth, book, potty….then telling me to get out of his room.

…Uhhh okay jerk.

So I leave and he then starts screaming at me and demanding that I come back in his room to say prayers and tuck him in???

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Y’all, today has just been rough. I let a few tears fall and now I’m just sitting on the couch in silence trying to remind myself that these days aren’t forever. That it’s okay to be angry at these moments, but to also remember that this isn’t my every day. To just breathe. Let it go and let him sleep it off. We all have rough days.

And apparently this all started because some kid at school was annoying him.

WELL GUESS WHAT, PAL. YOU’RE ANNOYING ME.

Posted in messy mama

Adventures in Kid Birthday Parties.

Kid birthday parties are exhausting, y’all.

My mom used to groan every time we were invited to a friend’s birthday party and I, of course, would be so freakin’ excited. Birthday parties were the BEST. I mean, free cake? Sign me up. Especially since we never really got to have big birthday parties as kids. Sure, we’d get to have sleepovers, or dinners with friends, but the “big” parties were only for “big” birthdays, like turning 13/16…

So, now that our kiddo is in preschool, he gets invited to more parties than he used to. I always try to let him go, but gahhhh it’s exhausting. ALSO, why don’t adults get to jump in the bounce house? I think that there should be a separate bounce house just for the adults, complete with a bouncer at the door to keep the kids out. And by “keep the kids out”, I mean “violently catapult them back to their own bounce house”. Seriously, it really bums me the hell out watching my kid get to jump while I stand in the heat.

I remember we were at this one birthday party a few years ago and my wackadoo of a child was all wound up from the fun. He suddenly felt like what this party really needed was for him to cover the entire bathroom floor (and his body) in soap and then pee on it. So, you know, that was a blast.

At today’s birthday party he was given candy. yay. yaaaaaay. He’s currently in his bed singing Jingle Bells. Things are going well.

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All that to say, today’s self care comes to you in the form of Bob’s Burgers reruns and a Lunchable I stole from my child from the fridge. He owes me.

The End.

Posted in messy mama, Ramblings

Routine Shake-up

Spring Break is finally over. Thank you, Jesus. I definitely believe that both teachers and kids need a break, but man…that was a beating. Haha okay, not really. It wasn’t a horrible experience. We had tball practice, went to the state aquarium, put our toes in the sand, played with friends, and went to a high school baseball game.

Another significant thing changed, my husband started working a normal schedule. For the first seven years of our marriage, my husband has worked away from home for days at a time. He’d be gone two days, home for 24 hours or less. Lather, rinse, repeat. Two weeks ago he decided he needed a major break. He was getting burnt out and tired of missing everything. So, he switched to a job with the company that let him work a regular shift.

So now he’s home. Every day. And it is…an adjustment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ultimately happy about this. And even more importantly, I can see a big shift in our son being happy knowing that Daddy is home every day. They’ve even started playing in a rugby club together. And I get to have views like this a lot more.

(Watching Daddy play rugby after his own practice)

But this shift has also made me crawl into myself these past two weeks. I kind of shut down and mentally started checking out. My space and my routine were being invaded after seven years and my brain wanted to shut down. I felt like these weeks would never end, that this would never get better. I started feeling guilty that I wasn’t giddy that my husband was home every day. I love him so much, please don’t misunderstand, but my various disorders thrive on my routines and my alone time. I now have little to no alone time…and Spring Break was not helping.

So I broke down. I cried a lot.

But here I am, the start of week 3 and I’m getting better. Kiddo is back in school and we are developing new routines. And I spoke up and voiced how much I need to be alone sometimes. And he understood.

This is definitely another test in controlling my attitude towards the things life throws at me. My first reaction is always negative and bitter. I’m working on that. And this change isn’t forever, he will go back to his normal job eventually. But I am glad that he got a chance to take a break. He definitely needed it.

Although…I feel like I can’t be blamed for already dreading summer break. Guess I should start working on that attitude now… 😬

Posted in messy mama

Our Kid Is Finally Free.

I’ve gone back and forth about writing this particular blog for a while now because I know that it can open the door for a lot of people to have opinions that I don’t agree with. But I know that on the other side of it, there might be a parent out there that needs to hear that it’s okay to do what we’ve done and that you aren’t alone. ❤ So here it goes:

I put my 4 (now 5) year old on ADHD medicine and I love every damn second of it.

There, I said it. Only a few people in his life know about it, but I can literally feel the collective sigh of relief when he walks into a room medicated now. Not a sigh in a bad way, but a sigh in a way that says to me, “Oh, finally we can actually enjoy your child fully.” It is a relief for all of us, again, in a very good way. Mostly, it’s a relief for him. Despite the fact that I was spending our first three years together in tears every single night from sheer exhaustion and frustration, he was suffering more than any of us knew.

Let me start at the beginning. Most of my readers know, but if you don’t, Kiddo was placed with us at a year old as a foster baby. We adopted him before his second birthday! Around age 2 I could feel in my bones that something just wasn’t right with him, that he was struggling to understand. Not understand big things… understand the littlest things. I knew there was something not right in his brain. Simple concepts or directions for his age, he just wasn’t understanding.

We put him in a mother’s day out program at 18 months two days a week, upped it to three days a week when he was 3, and then upped it to 5 days a week at age 4/5 (this year). During those school times, he was struggling with behavior a lot. I would dread picking him up at the end of the day because I was becoming so afraid to hear what he had done. I was afraid we were about to get kicked out of the program because he was being so “bad”. He had zero impulse control. Nothing he was doing was evil, he just had nothing telling him to stop. No amount of timeouts, taking toys away, any other punishment…nothing was triggering any kind of alert to him the next time. Nothing saying, if I do this… Again, I could feel something was wrong. I took him a number of times to the pediatrician, seeing 2 different ones, that just assured me that he was “just being a boy”. To which I would leave upset because I knew it was more than that. And not only was it not “just being a boy”, he at age 5 and having been in a school setting for a few years… still couldn’t tell me what an A was. (not that I feel a child needs to know their letters as a baby, but uhhh… I feel like given his circumstances, he should have been able to recognize one.) When I’d show him any letter I’d get a blank stare and confusion. Something was not right.

Finally, after much fuss, we were able to get him in to see a behavioral psychologist…where before her testing was even finished she had a look on her face of confirmation that I was right. Something was not right. This wasn’t a little boy just being a little boy, this was a little boy whose brain wasn’t working the way it should for him. He needed help. And no amount of me taking dye out of his diet was going to fix this. (trust me, we tried it.)

You know when you don’t have something anymore and you realize how much you were taking it for granted? Well, that’s how I felt when Kiddo started being able to do all kinds of stuff within the week of being medicated. I was suddenly noticing all the things that we as “normal” people can do that we take for granted every day. Like, how he started singing along to songs on the radio. I never noticed he couldn’t do that before. He simply could not retain the song when he heard it. But within a few days, I was driving him home from school with a song playing on the radio like it always does and suddenly I hear a small voice from the back singing, “Lightening before the thunder, thunder, thunder…” and I started crying. Just little quiet tears running down my face. Or a few more days later when he hopped in the car after school and unprompted just told me all the letters in his name with this proud look on his face. It flashed a memory in my head of a year before that of him crying in my lap because he didn’t understand why the other kids in his class knew how to spell their names and he didn’t. Or how, like tonight, he can finally play with his trains that he adores without quitting 2 minutes in because he “just can’t do it!” and sobbing into the couch simply because he couldn’t pay attention long enough to find the piece that was literally right in front of him.

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A fear tactic that people use is this – “You’ll medicate your kid and then they won’t be themselves anymore! You’ll have a zombie!” To that I say, first off – thank goodness he isn’t himself anymore, he’s free now. And also, what terrible doctor is medicating your child? He’s not a zombie at all. He’s still wild and funny and obnoxious. He still tells long winded stories that make my right eye twitch with irritation… but now I see confidence radiating through him. He’s finally free. It’s like you can finally see that he gets to be in the world everyone else has been in this whole time and the excitement radiates off of him.

I struggled with medicating him because of all the negativity about it in the world. And I also viewed it how I view myself, he’s broken. I’m broken and I need medication and now my baby is broken. And then I realized…. just like me, he can’t help that he needs medication. He can’t help how his brain is. It just… is. So, why do we keep shaming people for that? For any kind of medication? Do you think I walk around saying, MAN I LOVE BEING BIPOLAR! GIMME ALL THESE DIFFERENT PILLS! I LOVE IT! No. Stop. Stop making parents feel like a failure if their kids, no matter how much they change their diet, or how much I HAVE NEVER GIVEN MY KID A SODA IN HIS LIFE, still need medication for a condition they can’t help.

Hey, how about we all just be kind people? How does that sound?

Also, I’d love that if you didn’t have a kid with ADHD, you’d stop sharing articles shaming ADHD. mmkay? Thanks.

I’m out!

TAB

feel free to like/share/comment/be kind ❤

Posted in messy mama

World’s Worst Mom.

Tonight was really rough.

Just…really rough.

When I was younger, I was certain that I was going to have a thousand kids. I was going to be the World’s Best Mom and I was going to have this SUV where I drove them all to sports practices and they would all tumble out of my car in a pile of laughter and baseball cleats… and we would all live happily ever after. blah blah blah, right?

So fast forward to tonight. Well, first let me tell you that my child spent ages 2-4 begging me to play baseball. We literally counted down the days to when he would be old enough to play t-ball and I excitedly stalked the website waiting for registration to open last year. Man, was that a nightmare. Have you ever had a 4 year old boy play t-ball? No? Well, let me tell you that 4 year old boys tackle each other for no reason, they chase butterflies, they twirl in circles in the outfield, they throw bats, they cry when another kid gets the ball… oh it was HORRIBLE for an anxiety-ridden control freak mother. I smuggled wine in to the games. No, I’m not kidding.

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The second the season ended though, he begged for the new one to start. So, we have spent the past year talking about how if Mommy and Daddy are going to dish out $150 for a season of t-ball, then he isn’t going to chase a freakin’ butterfly and if I see him football tackle anyone in the middle of the game, I will come out there and football tackle him and I have a good 250 pounds on him.

So, tonight was the night we had to go turn in his paperwork. He was doing so well in the line, standing so still and patient and he was so chatty and excited. The high school baseball team was there and he was watching in awe. One of the boys walked by and gave him a high five and it was just going really well! When we were leaving, I saw that they had this cool program at the high school for Pre-k-5th graders where they get to go out on the field at home games with the baseball players and blah blah blah, all this cool stuff and I knew he’d love it because he always gets so jealous when he sees kids on the field during games. So, I signed him up! While I was filling out the paperwork, the sweet mamas at the table were trying to talk to him. They were asking him if he wanted to grow up and be a baseball player and various other stuff and he was being so rude. He started shouting NO! and hiding behind me. Then one of the high school baseball players came up to him and wanted to give him a baseball and he refused to take it and ran away and I was so embarrassed. This was not good for my high anxiety. I apologized profusely, took the ball and thanked the sweet kid, and got out of there with my ungrateful brat of a child and quickly power-walked with him to the car. And that’s where my spiral downward really took off…

I want to start by saying that I’m not at all proud of what I said and did in these moments. But I feel like no one speaks out loud about these moments because it’s not pretty and frankly, I’m tired of feeling like I’m the only mom that has these not pretty times. And if everyone reads this and is like, “Wow…Tabitha is a terrible mother, I’d NEVER behave like that.” Well, then fine. I’m alone and a terrible mom. I mean, I already admitted to sneaking wine into a t-ball game. So, great. 

So, when we got in the car I started shouting at him. I started telling him how rude he was and how ungrateful and hateful he is. How Daddy works so hard to pay for him to be able to do all these awesome things and he just sits around and treats us like crap. How those women were asking him questions and he was being the worst child ever by ignoring them and being hateful. I started crying and screaming more. I told him how much I didn’t want to be around him. I was having an anxiety attack.

Then I took a breath and called my husband, who calmed me down a bit. I took a deep breath and I thought, okay, Tabitha…you’re the jerk. Let’s maybe forgive him for behaving that way. He’s a kid, he’s five. He’s tired, it’s an hour before bedtime, he hasn’t had dinner, and he didn’t know those people. Let. It. Go.  So, I got us dinner in a drive-thru and on our drive home I tried to change my attitude and my voice and I explained to him in a cheerful way all the cool things that this cool group did. How he was going to get to go to all the baseball games at the school down the street (which he always begs to go to).

Me: Isn’t that going to be so much fun??!!!!
J:  NO! I DON’T WANT TO! [crosses arms over chest, kicks feet]
Me: You know what? FINE. JUST FINE. YOU WON’T BE DOING ANYTHING ANYMORE. YOU CAN JUST GO HOME AND GO TO BED. FORGET IT. YOU CAN JUST NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN AGAIN. FORGET IT. [I’m screaming and crying and it was a LOT of me telling him how he’s ungrateful and hateful and how I’m never taking him to anything ever again. And now he’s crying and I’m getting mad at him for crying…]

We get home and I throw his food on the kitchen table and tell him to eat. I grab my food and go sit away from him in my bedroom because I’m afraid of anymore damage that will come out of my mouth. I need to be away. I’m crying and shaking. I call my husband… who says something that made me just… feel like dirt.

“It was probably his anxiety.” 

… wow. How could I forget? What kind of selfish jerk am I? My child has extreme anxiety. It’s hard when you have two people with high anxiety together all the time. Especially when their anxiety manifests differently. Mine is triggered by things I obviously can’t control, like *shocker* other people’s behavior, embarrassment…. [other things, but these are the ones right here in front of us today.] Kiddo’s is triggered by social situations with adults. Not kids, adults. Or new places he’s never been to, new activities that he’s never done. Once he’s done them, been there, met the people, he’s 100% fine. It’s that initial situation. But the first time, he shuts down. I always forget that because I’m so social. My anxiety becomes so high in social situations that all I can focus on is how *I* am handling the social moment, not how he is. And when he isn’t handling it the way that *my* anxiety wants him to, I explode.

So, what have we learned here? My poor baby was having a little anxiety attack and I was making him feel like trash. I am not at all proud. I feel HORRIBLE. I feel like the World’s Worst Mother. Go ahead and give me my trophy, because I deserve it.

I composed myself, and I went with my head hanging low into his bedroom and crawled into his bed with him and cried. I admitted how horribly wrong I was, how I said hateful, horrible things and he did nothing wrong. That it is okay to be afraid of strangers, he was right to be cautious. I asked him for forgiveness and I told him it was okay if he was mad at me. We had a really long talk and he was so loving and forgiving and I could see and feel the relief come over him as we talked about the whole thing again. Now that he wasn’t in the middle of a panic attack, he was able to see the situation and be excited.

We only learned about Kiddo’s anxiety about 4-5 months ago and I am having a really hard time looking past my own to see his in times like these. I pray he doesn’t remember these moments, that he can truly forgive me and move on. I know that I’m not really the World’s Worst Mom. I know that I can’t be alone in this. I also know that I did something that some parents don’t do, I admitted I was wrong. I asked for forgiveness. Instead of being prideful and just standing my ground even when I’m wrong, I admitted I made a HUGE mistake. And in that moment I saw God in my baby boy. Because only God could create a loving and forgiving heart like his.

Please tell me I’m not alone here. And if you are having a rough time with your kiddo, I pray this hard time passes, that you allow yourself to forgive and be forgiven as well. ❤

xo
Tab

 

 

Posted in messy mama

#MessyKindness

Hey there! You might be here because you’re a regular reader, or you might be here because my 5 year old put an item out into the world with a hashtag on it and it lead you here. Either way, WELCOME! And let me explain…

My last blog post talked about how bitterness is just making its way through my family right now and it’s not a good look on us. And when my child looked me dead in the eye and told me that he “was going to only be good for Santa”, I just about lost it. You know that meme going around online that’s like, “Have wrapped boxes under the tree that look like gifts and when your kid is being a scrooge, throw one into the fire”? I was at that level…just too lazy to have any wrapped boxes…or a fire in Texas. Instead, I’ve been trying to talk about kindness every day, even on days I don’t feel like being kind myself (which can be often lately). And then it hit me… Let’s DO something!

Enter my anxiety induced hour of my child painting at my kitchen table:

I got these little wood chip things at Hobby Lobby forever ago and never used them. I think they were like $2. After his wild painting spree that ended in me throwing him in a bathtub and scrubbing the wall behind him… We (I) wrote kind phrases and words on them.

I wrote #messykindness on the back and tomorrow we plan to go on a walk and/or drive around the neighborhood and/or city and drop these on doorsteps. I also plan to take him on a walk to find rocks to paint and do some more. ❤

So guess what? I now challenge you! Grab your kid, your spouse, your cat, yourself (🙈) and make some. Slap the hashtag on the back and leave them where people can find them. If you found one – AWESOME! Keep it as long as your heart needs it and spread the love!

And obviously tag me in your pics!!!

XO

TAB

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Posted in messy mama, Ramblings

Bless the Open Mess.

I started my morning at one of the three mom groups I attend. Yep, three. This one is run by a smaller church I go to out by my house and I joined so I could meet mamas that live by me. It’s free and it’s so calm and low expectation and I love it.

Anyway, I was running late and I was flustered because I wanted to feed my goddaughter before it started and my whole schedule of plans was just thrown off. I jumped out of my car and flung open my back door, only to realize that we went to Costco yesterday and I completely forgot to take the giant thing of toilet paper, the two boxes of Protien drinks, and various other crap out of the back…and it’s all on top of the stroller I need. Did I also mention that I’m currently doing the potty dance at this point? No? Well, add that to the list.

So, now I’m unloading my entire trunk as another mom with a car and a kiddo pulls up right behind me and starts getting out to go inside. I’d never seen this woman before and one of my jobs at this group is to make sure that other mamas feel welcome and just be a general talker and includer (perfect job for me, I know). I instantly start defensively making jokes about what a mess I am because I am embarrassed at how disgusting my car is now that I’m outside looking in and I kind of just want to crawl underneath it right now.

Finally, I get the stupid stroller out from under Costco Mountain and that sweet mama is still happily (I hope) standing there carrying on a conversation with me, laughing, as I’m packing my goddaughter up and flailing myself into various parts of my car trying to find things I’m missing. I’m so used to having a 5 year old, even after almost 2 full months of watching our goddaughter 5 days a week while her parents work, I still can’t get my act together.

Finally, I get into the door and I just take a breath and I’m like ….gosh I’m such a mess. And the girl is like, me too. It’s okay. And in that moment I was so content. That’s what the world desperately needs. Not just moms, but everyone. And not in the, “I’m going to share a funny meme about being a mess, but then try to still run myself into the ground to give off the appearance of having my act together” way. No, I mean in the way that we can all just take a collective sigh together every once in a while and genuninely just say, “I know….me too.”

It makes me so sad how many people are still stretching themselves so thin trying to be perfect, trying to make yourself be someone you aren’t so that people will like you. Stop. Stop being anyone but yourself. If your tribe isn’t a group of people that don’t greet you with a comforting sigh, then you’ve got the wrong group. That applies to men too, not just women. If your friends make you feel like you ever have to “keep up”, then it’s the wrong place to be.

If you got dressed today and drank coffee on time and put on makeup, then awesome! If you look gorgeous and match and neither of your shoes have crayon marks on them, awesome! If you had a morning that sounds like mine, that’s awesome too. And if you just had to go back to bed 30 minutes after waking up? …I’ve been there too. And that’s okay. Awesome. Take that nap. You must have needed it.

Open up your mess and let’s all just take one big sigh together.

[insert messy car pic]

xo

Tab

Like/Comment/Share with someone who could use a big giant collective group sigh. We got you!

Posted in messy mama, Ramblings

Dear Three Babies,

Hey there babies,

Well, y’all aren’t really babies anymore…are you? You’re actually more like little 3 and 4 year olds now. But to me, you’re still babies, little tiny ones. Ones that all fit in the palms of our hands.

Please forgive me babies, because over the past 3 years, I haven’t thought about you often. Not because I didn’t love you, but because thinking of you makes my heart hurt and it makes me cry. And honestly? It makes me feel guilty to think about you guys.

Not that I had any control over you going back to the people you were taken from, I definitely did not, but I have guilt for loving you so fiercely for the time you were in our homes and then having no trace of you around after you’re gone. And I feel guilty for not staying a foster parent. Maybe if we would have stayed foster parents, we’d get to have you back if you ever entered the system again.

Instead, I pray that you didn’t ever enter the system again. I pray that when you went home, it was for real that time. That you got to be happy and grow up safe and healthy. I pray for you three a lot. Even you, my little “Alphabet”, my one I know actually did get adopted by a different foster family. I pray they were the right home for you. I know God has his hand in all of it and I know all thee of you are growing big in His eyes. I just wish it was in my eyes too sometimes.

I do still love you all, I do think about you and pray for you. I know you weren’t meant to be mine forever, but I’m so thankful you were mine for a little while.

Love, Mama

This time of year always weighs a little harder on us. We became foster parents for the first time on Halloween 2013 and took ourselves out of the foster system one year after. Losing three babies back into the system was hard, so hard. I wanted to bond with the baby we just adopted and my heart was having a hard time. So we stopped and said we’d go back in a few months later.

We never did. Every six months we revisit the subject and every six months we say no. And every six months I break down over my three babies.

This year I’m also finding how much bitterness my heart is still holding on to and how much of it I’m harnessing towards foster parents that never had to give their babies back, they just got to adopt the ones they had. Instead of rejoicing with them like I should, I become hateful and bitter. I allow my heart to turn cold against them and I cut them out and I’m sorry. I’m working on it. This journey isn’t easy for anyone, in any way. Even for the ones that never had to give their babies back, they still had to live in fear. I know that. I know things weren’t sunshine and roses the whole time, I know. I’ll get there someday.

Today I walked away from a conversation with a friend who told me she feels a call to her heart to foster, feeling ashamed of how I behaved. I could feel the bitterness pouring out of me. I’m ashamed. Those kiddos, really the world, needs people with kind hearts who want to be there. I pray that my bitterness didn’t go home with her.

Today was ‘Reclaimed Sunday’ at the church I’ve been attending by my house and I forgot. I walked through the doors and simply just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t sit in on a day all about fostering and adoption right now, my bitterness wouldn’t allow it. So I sat in the lobby.

I know as the years go by, the days will be different. For all I know, I could have adopted 17 kids by this time next year, whatever God plans for us. (Oh sweet God, I truly beg of you not to)

If you reach out to a friend and you’re met with bitterness, please know that there is something bigger going on. Make sure you never let that bitterness truly affect you. Stay true to what you feel in your heart. ❤

XO

Tab