Basking In My Non-Perfect-Parentness.

It’s no secret that “perfect” parents do not exist. 

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In the beginning I think we all feel the need to be “perfect“. We have this vision of the kind of parent we want to be, and we’ll be so much better/cooler than other parents who can’t seem to get it right. We have all the answers. Then we actually have a kid and, oh shit, we don’t have any answers at all. We’re fumbling around like blind rats trying to juggle while walking a tight rope. Suddenly, we suck. The realization hits. This shit is HARD.

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I can openly admit to going through the “I have the answers” phase. I know I have made other parents feel bad, even if I really didn’t mean to. I was just all stuck up and thought I knew better than them and that’s why their kids were cray. I quickly grew out of that phase after the first year with my daughter. I think most parents go through a sort of transition with their first child. At some point we realize we aren’t perfect, nor will we ever be. And we loosen up, let go of things that really don’t matter so we can have some sort of sanity, and so we don’t destroy our children. 

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Today I am proud to say I AM NOT A PERFECT PARENT BY ANY MEANS. I know that being perfect in any aspect of life is impossible. But that doesn’t stop me from having mom guilt, judging myself, judging other parents, and feeling like shit when other parents on their high horses make stupid comments that I know are ridiculous, but still bug me anyways.

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Okay, so, there’s this mom whom I follow on Instagram. I typically like following her, but today she posted something that really got under my skin. She started off with how she’s not a perfect parent. I was like, “Cool, me neither. Love seeing parents embrace their non-perfectness.” Then I read on to her reasons for not being a perfect parent….like, letting her daughter eat junk food once a month, or have some juice when they go out to eat on occasions, watch the baby channel twice a day even though “it’s tv, and not good“, or the fact that her daughter has had chips, cookies and has even tasted ice cream! *GASP* 

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Seriously? It’s like that really skinny friend who is always whining about being fat, knowing you’re bigger than she is but continues to talk about it in front of you. SHUT. UP.

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I’m not saying it was her intention to offend me or any other parent. But she did. If she thinks those things make her far from perfect, what would she think about my parenting? I honestly felt that if I mentioned the things that make me a non-perfect parent, she would judge me hardcore. If those tiny little things make her not perfect, I must be a train wreck of a parent!

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If she really is that strict, good for her, if that’s how she chooses to parent. But, in all honesty, when I hear parents talk about little things like that I feel like they aren’t being honest, and are actually looking for praise. You know, for someone to say, “Oh, if that’s all you do wrong then you’re an amazing parent!” Like I said, if she really is that strict, good for her. Maybe I’m just getting offended because of my own insecurities. 

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You wanna know what makes me a non-perfect parent? (I can’t fit everything, but here’s a few):

  1. Rayne watches TV everyday. Anything from educational shows, not so educational shows, Family Guy *GASP*, American Dad *DOUBLE GASP*, and you know what? She’s watched Dexter with me. Yeah, that’s right, she’s watched Dexter. Get over it.
  2. She HATES veggies and is very picky about fruit. I would LOVE to feed her only healthy foods, but she’s picky and will have none of it. She eats whatever we eat. Which is anything from eggs and bacon, pasta, pizza, tacos, etc. I don’t typically eat or buy fast food, but, yeah, sometimes she has a freakin’ Happy Meal. 
  3. She drinks chocolate milk almost everyday. I don’t like giving her juice because she has had tummy problems with it in the past, and for the health of her teeth, but she is allowed to have Tummy Yummies (a juice with less sugar, plus vitamins).
  4. Speaking of teeth, she’s had two cavities already. Yep, I still feel awful about it. But what are you gonna do? She has a filling, and might have to get another for the second cavity. Yes, I try to make sure we brush her teeth, but that shits hard, and sometimes it doesn’t get done right due to her crying and kicking me away. 
  5. She doesn’t have a bath EVERYDAY. Sometimes, especially being almost 9 months pregnant, I’m too tired to get her in the sink or fight with her about a bath/shower. It’s not like I let her grow mold or walk around stinking. But sometimes I just don’t give an eff if she goes to bed with dirty hands, hair and feet. There’s always tomorrow. 
  6. Sometimes I raise my voice, or give a swat on her butt if it comes to that. Everyone has different opinions on discipline. Some people are very against spanking and whatnot. If you can discipline your child without ever losing your shit, that’s great. But I don’t see anything wrong with a little butt swat or a firm voice when it’s needed. You don’t know how sassy my kid gets or how difficult she can be sometimes. So I discipline how I see fit for our little family. And honestly, I hardly ever use a spanking. But I have no problem using it. I grew up with very harsh punishments. And I know I would never use any of them on my children. I never even feel tempted to. So when people say spanking your kid makes them think hitting you or someone else is okay, you’re wrong. I was beaten with a belt, hanger, phone cord, etc. and never once hit my parents or anyone else. And that isn’t counting the abuse I endured. I can honestly say I have never even thought of using anything close to that on my child. 
  7. I don’t care if she eats dirt. God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt. The end.
  8. She hardly ever brushes her hair. I do not brush my hair. I have thick wavy hair that only frizzes when I attempt to put a brush through it. So, I don’t think I should be able to tell her she has to use a brush either. It’s nice to get it combed out, but it really doesn’t seem important to me if her hair is out of place.
  9. I don’t care about what clothes she wears. I usually let Rayne pick out her own clothes, if she chooses to wear clothes at all. Obviously, if we’re going out of the house she needs clothes. But if we’re staying in, I don’t care if she stays in jammies all day or runs around in her underwear. And when she does wear clothes, they usually don’t match. Who really cares? Since when is a child’s outfit important? I think letting her wear what she wants and choosing what she likes gives her independence, and lets her express herself how she chooses.
  10. I don’t have a bedtime for Rayne. Yep, that’s right. I don’t make her go to bed at any certain time. If she’s up till 11pm, oh well. Usually I will tell her she’s gotta start calming down and getting in bedtime mode, but I never force her to go to bed at a certain time. BFD

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These are only 10 reasons off the top of my head that make me SO NOT PERFECT. I’m sure there’s a lot more though. My point is, I’m willing to admit these things, and I can’t say that I actually feel bad about any of them. My child is never in harms way, she is healthy, smart, kind, and constantly impressing me with how quickly she learns. I don’t have any concerns about her development. So what she watches TV? So what she doesn’t eat broccoli? So what she’s usually dirty, has messy hair and stays up late? SO EFFING WHAT?! She’s my daughter, and she’s wonderful, despite all these terrible things I expose her to. 

Here’s to kleenex, slippers, soup and hot beverages!

Over the past week, a cold has taken over our household. Infecting half of our population. Including Rayne and I. Sick toddler + sick mom = no sleep, irritability, crying, and used tissues EVERYWHERE. Also, watching a toddler vomit every time they cough too hard is not a pretty sight. I find myself slugging around in pajamas, slipper boots, and an over-sized Social Distortion hoodie, with pockets full of snotty tissues. While Rayne runs around in a simple attire of panties and a nightshirt, slipper boots optional. The thought of normal clothing and actually participating in life is exhausting enough, let alone attempting to do it. Therefore, I’m opting out until I have returned to better health. Besides, Rayne doesn’t mind my lazy apparel.

After days and days of cough medicine and natural remedies immune health drops, Rayne is just starting to sleep at night without being attacked by a painful, hacking cough. Still, it makes it’s random return throughout the day, but at least she’s getting some rest. I, on the other hand, find myself laying awake, night after night, long after I should have fallen quickly to sleep. A nice mixture of a scratchy throat, snotty nose, sinus headache and insomnia makes sure I’m not getting the rest I need to recover. So, as you can imagine, I’m dragging my 1/3 closed eyed carcass around, trying my best to live up to my motherly duties. Yeah….not so easy. Being sick always sucks, but being sick AND a mother, is just the worst and seems to drag on..and on.

Here’s to kleenex, slippers, soup and hot beverages! May they guide us through these trying times.

2012 With My Girl.

It is the 13th day in 2013, so this is a little belated. But I got to thinking about how fast 2012 came and went and how that is a whole year with my baby, gone. Sometimes all the days mesh together, and seem endless, yet at the same time, too short. We forget to stop and admire the little details that make everyday worthwhile. Once they’re past, that’s when we remember how much they really meant. My daughter is 2 1/2 now. Seems last week she was born. I know in another blink of an eye, she’ll be grown. I started going through photos from the past year of us. It makes me glad that I take a lot of photos of us. These are just a few of the photos of our 2012 moments.

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Although I grieve the loss of a year, I’m excited for another year of photos with my growing girl. No matter the ups and downs, the love and fun my daughter and I have are a constant.

DENTIST *Cue the horror music*

After finding a cavity upon my toddler’s toothers, I was struck with guilt, anxiety and embarrassment. I’ve always been obsessed with healthy teeth, and never thought my little girl would get a cavity so young, if at all. I felt very guilty at first and was sad that it happened on my watch. I felt like I let her down. With a few encouraging words from a few very kind people, I started to feel better about it and looked at it more as just a hump that we were going to get through, and she would learn a lesson from. So, I swallowed my shame and made an appointment.

Leading up to her first dentist visit, I spent a lot of time reminding her of where we were going and why, and making sure to encourage her to be brave. I was confident that she was prepared and understood what was happening. On the day of the appointment I wasn’t too nervous aside from my usual anxiety. The appointment was set for 1pm. The woman setting it was well aware that Rayne is 2 years old and has a cavity. I was confident that it would go smoothly and I would have been nervous for no reason.

We arrived at 12:15pm, I like to be early. Plus, I knew we would have paper work to do. We were dropped of by my grandmother, who drove away to get some errands done. We walked up to the door to find a sign that stated, “We will return at 1pm”. Hmm, Her appointment is at 1pm, and they aren’t even going to be back until then? I thought to myself, “why make an appointment that I’m set up to b late for?”. Then I realized the doors were locked and we were stuck there, in the rain. My toddler and I stood in the cold Oregon mist together, waiting for someone to return and let us in. She notified me that she had to go potty. There was no potty room around. So, at that time, I started to get aggravated. Then a young man in a leather jacket and combat boots walks up and leans up against the cold brick wall. Rayne was trying to keep herself busy by pulling on the locked doors. The young man looked down at her with a scattered glance and said, “I know how you feel kid, let me in and fix my tooth!“, in a rushed paranoid manor. He seemed to be on drugs. We were locked outside in that side of town, so it didn’t surprise me. But it did make me uncomfortable. Not that he did anything wrong, just that you never know these days, especially when you’re a young mom with your little girl and no one else around. The uncomfortable atmosphere started to make me even more angry. I wanted to turn around and bang on the windows. Suddenly, a woman walked up to the door from inside and unlocked it. My first thought: “You were inside this whole time and you have us waiting in the rain?”

With my frustration still fresh, I checked her in and sat to wait. After at least a half hour she was called back. The woman sat us on a metal fold up chair and told me how I need to hold her for the dentist. I positioned Rayne with her sitting on my lap, facing me, and waited for the dentist to arrive. After waiting for 10 minutes he walks up, puts his hand out for a quick shake, but doesn’t make eye contact with me. He puts on his gloves and sits across from me. I go to lean Rayne’s head back for him to look in but she was scared and latched onto me. I was trying to talk her into it. The dentist grabbed her shoulders and pulled her back. She clinched her teeth so he put his little mirror in and pried them apart and looked around. He called out the infected teeth to the assistant, told her to make an appointment for us with a pediatric dentist, then left. It was cold and quick. He didn’t once look at Rayne’s face or try to make her feel comfortable. She was nothing but a number and a set of teeth to him.

I was surprised when I found out we weren’t already seeing a pediatric dentist since the woman setting the appointment knew her age and that she’d need work done to the cavity. So I followed the assistant to make another appointment somewhere else. We waited for about 10 to 15 minutes for someone to set it up. The woman looked over the counter and explained that the only one they have is in Tigard, which is a 45 minute drive from our home, at least. She could only get me in at 4:50pm. Inside I felt an ‘UGH’ in my gut, but I went along with it.

I was so nervous today to take her to another appointment, knowing she needed fillings and that dentists are mean. I couldn’t picture her scared eyes again. But, after days of preparing her like the first time, we made the journey. We got lost at first, but luckily found the place 10 minutes before her appointment. I walked in and checked her in. The woman at the desk was kind. Not even 5 minutes had pasted when I heard her name being called. The pretty young woman took us to room 1, where she told Rayne how cute she was and tried to get her to show her teeth, but decided not to put her through unnecessary stress when the dentist would see them soon enough. She pulled out colorful toothbrushes and let Rayne choose the one she fancied. She thought bringing in a barbie dress up set would loosen her up. While Rayne played, she talked with me about how I brush Rayne’s teeth and floss. And gave me great tips on taking care of her teeth and explained what exactly they would be doing today. I very much appreciated how kind she was and how she tried to make us both feel comfortable.

When the dentist came in she immediately gushed over how cute Rayne is, and complimented her sparkly pink boots. In the same position as last time, I leaned her head back for the dentist to look in. She made jokes and encouraged Rayne along. Then proceeded to scrape out the bad stuff, and used an easy filling she called “Fugi” (not sure on the spelling). It was less than 5 minutes. Rayne was scared but was very brave. Unfortunately she started to cry after her dry little lip cracked and started to bleed. Other than that, she was totally fine. The dentist held a gauze against her bleeding lip, then let her up to hold onto me. She then went over everything the assistant had told me beforehand and answered any questions I had. Then she said to come back in a month for a fluoride treatment and handed us a bin of cool nick-nacks for Rayne to pick from. The assistant pointed out the pretty bracelets and the dentist pointed out the lizard. She made sure everything was good with us and said goodbye. The assistant helped us make another appointment for the fluoride treatment, I thanked her and she said goodbye. The woman making our appointment was even nice. I was so happy that Rayne and I had a positive experience with a dentist. It was so easy and welcoming. I didn’t feel judged or scared. We left happy and Rayne has fixed toothers, plus she now has a fancy blue bracelet.

It really made me angry that I felt like we weren’t welcome or taken seriously at the first dentist. Like we didn’t matter. If you want a job helping people, don’t be an asshole. But, at the end of it all we found a great dentist (even though it’s quite a drive) and we are set for successful teeth. PHEW!

 

Serious Mom Guilt.

Everyone knows being a mom is tough business. No mother is perfect, we all make mistakes. We just have to forgive ourselves and move on, trying to improve along the way. But ‘Mom Guilt’ is not so easy to kick. Especially in first time moms, like yours truly. I try my best to forgive myself and just go with the flow. But I recently discovered some serious ‘Mom Guilt’ and am suffering to the point of borderline depression.

A few days ago I was trying to brush Rayne’s teeth, since she can’t do it correctly herself. While her head was tipped back and I was scrubbing those molars, I noticed one tooth was not coming clean. A cavity! DEVASTATION. There’s something you should know about me. I’m obsessed with healthy teeth. I have nightmares of cavities and rotting teeth. So when I found this my soul was crushed. It wasn’t just crushed because of the disgusting thought of a rotting tooth. It was mostly because MY daughter has one. How could I let this happen!?!? She’s only 2. This is terrible! It’s very difficult when I try not to allow so much candy and juice, but she gets spoiled rotten by everyone else around her. I can’t even count how many times I’ve told her no and her Grandma, Aunties or Papaw has given in to her behind my back. It’s very frustrating.

Even though I wasn’t joyfully handing her candy everyday and carelessly allowing her toothers to rot, I still feel horribly guilty. I can’t imagine my little one not being healthy. And definitely not on my watch! It’s a very bad feeling to know I wasn’t doing the best I could. And how embarrassing to look a dentist in the eye and tell him your toddler has a cavity! I’m dreading the dentist. I feel like I failed. Yes, I know. They’re just baby teeth, she’ll lose them and get new ones. That doesn’t make me feel better. When we were little, three of my sisters had to get their 4 front teeth pulled out at a very young age. They didn’t grow back until they were between 6 and 8. I could never forgive myself if anything of the sort happened to Rayne. I know I just have to deal with it and move on. But it’s a hard pill to swallow for me.

This may sound very silly to most people, especially if they aren’t parents. But it’s something that’s really getting me down.

Have you ever felt like a failure as a parent? How’d you get through it?

The worst part about being a parent.

 We’ve all heard it before, “Becoming a parent was the best thing to ever happen to me!”. Before you have a child, you kind of just blow this statement off.  But when/if you’re lucky enough to experience having a child, you know that feeling. That sudden rush of overwhelming love pulling at you like an undertow, making your heart feel 50x bigger than you could’ve ever imagined it could grow. Life now has purpose, unlike you’ve ever known. You see the bigger picture. This is what it’s all about. And it’s true. As ridiculously mushy and sentimental as it may be, all of it is true. Having a child is the best thing to ever happen to you. Having said that, it is also the most challenging.

Everyone knows there are quite a bit of downfalls to having a child. Although, most of the people discussing these downfalls are not parents. But, it is a fact. I suppose it depends on the person as to which is the worst of all.

Some believe it to be the ‘Terrible Twos’.

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Although this is a VERY difficult part, as long as you keep your patience and understand that your child is learning how to express emotions they don’t understand and it’s your job to teach them, you’ll be alright. And truth be told, sometimes when they’re stomping their tiny feet and screaming at you, it’s hard not to laugh.

Some think the worst part to be teen angst.

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I must admit, this part really does scare me. But at the same time, I went through it and survived, and so did my mother. I’m aware it’s something I will have to deal with, but it wont be the end of the world.

A lot of people (especially people who don’t have children), think their inability to go out drinking and having a grand ole time with their kids free friends all the time is the most devastating part.

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I guess for some, this could be a real issue. But honestly, good parents lose interest in partying and prefer to spend time with their children. Even those who once were what some would call ‘wild’, change their ways by instinct. Most of the time this naturally fades.

This one is a downer…the ‘Frumpy Mom’.

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It’s hard, ladies. I know. With a baby on your hip, or a toddler at your heels begging for attention, it’s not easy to get/keep yourself lookin’ fly. There are times when you forget yourself all together. Your clothes are out dated and baggy. Your hair is a rat’s nest. And for goodness sakes, when was the last time you shaved your legs in private (or at all)?! But by taking the initiative to have some ‘me time’ every day, week, etc., you really can prevent this. Mostly it’s just a misconception that moms who take care of themselves are selfish. Which is complete hogwash. A woman who takes good care of herself, is always better equipped to take care of others.

Now, all of these things are not fun, but they aren’t the worst. In my opinion, none of these hold a candle to the real downfall of being a parent. The real horrible part of being a parent is the fear.

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The moment that little baby looks into your eyes, you’re suddenly aware of everything that could possibly ever go wrong and everything that could ever harm them physically, mentally, emotionally…any way possible. The world is a much more dangerous place than it was mere months ago. I know, because it has been the main thing raining on my parent parade.

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Driving is nothing short of terrifying. Any cough or runny nose could be a disease. Someone could break into your home any day now. What if you’re parenting them wrong and they turn out with some sort of dysfunction and need therapy? Is public school really safe?? What if other children corrupt them? What if they’re picked on? What if they can’t concentrate and the school board blames it on a learning disability? What if they try drugs?

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What if they have some sort of food allergy you wont know about until they almost die?? What if they break a bone?

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What if some psycho snatches them out of the cart in the grocery store while you’re checking prices on cereal??? The fear is infinite. There is always something to be afraid of because you want the best and only the best for your child, but you also know the world. It’s a rough one. Life is hard. You know they’ll get hurt. You know they’ll get sick. You know bad things will happen to them. But how do we stop the fear from taking over the millions of joys we should be enjoying?

If I knew, trust me, I’d share it with you. Unfortunately, I have no clue. I do, however, have some ideas on the subject.

Besides having to go through whatever is going to happen simply because “time marches on”, I think there are ways we can avoid living in fear and go through whatever happens with joy and faith. First of all, we can make the decision. I know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. But the truth is, determination has so much power that most people don’t use. If you decide to keep your joy and have faith that your child can overcome anything, that can be the first step to living a fear-free parenthood. And a lot of it has to do with our lack of faith in our child and how we raised them. We need to make sure we instill our children with strong morals, values and principals. Not just for themselves, but for the good of the world and how they treat others. Not only can we teach these to our children, but we need to lead by example. A child who sees their parent overcome a rough situation, is much more likely to overcome one themselves when it comes their way. If we teach or children to be strong and keep faith, while also doing it ourselves, maybe we can knock out the problem all together.

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I mean, fear will always be there. But it doesn’t have to control us. And I know I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter suffering from fear that holds her back. But it’s all easy to say and plan, but fear is the strongest, most controlling emotion next to anger and love. It wont be easy. But it is worth a good try.

How do you control the fears you have as a parent?