Tag Archives: motherhood

Change of Pace

Change, starting over, life, repeat. And then again. And again. I think this is normal, or at least normal for me.

I have been absent on this platform for awhile now. I can chalk that up to the aforementioned mini-list that is my life. Marriage, children, divorce, relocations, etc. I think I am paraphrasing from the movie The Edge when I say, “Challenges never come in the form or manner in which we expect…” But it is through those unexpected challenges that we are supposed to grow as a person. I’m going to go with that, as an alternative thought process would be a bit too depressing for me to digest.

As a mommy of 7 children, who I homeschooled and was a stay at home mom to for most of their lives, the idea of them not being with me while still minors was not something I ever would have imagined. Yet, here I am. Sitting alone in an apartment ten minutes away from my children, picking up the pieces of my life and starting over. As with any major life change, it is daunting, to say the least. Looking for work, seeing them as much as possible, all while battling depression that is, at many times, debilitating. Then there are the ancillary fallouts from my life’s recent directions: the nearly lost relationships with my siblings and parents. It is NOT EASY. I cannot stress that statement enough.

I am sure I am not alone in my struggles. I am sure that other moms have had to leave their kids to get back on their own feet after a divorce. But to be clear, I did not actually leave them: all 7 are with their dad and are doing well, for the most part. And I see them as much as possible. The recent loss of my car has made that a little more difficult, although I am very grateful to their father for facilitating visits with them.

I have been open recently in conversations about my struggles and my depression, although I do not think I have ever used this platform to convey that reality. I wanted to share that now in case there are any other readers out there going through similar struggles. Struggles that caught us completely off-guard, or those that we “signed up for” and are simply navigating.

There have been so many days in the last few years that I think I cannot possibly take any more. No more challenges, PLEASE, let me deal with these first! Yet, they seem to keep coming. As a mom, I have had to act stronger than I am many times. I did that for years until I all but had a nervous breakdown a few years back. Then another one when we relocated to Arizona. Then another when that marriage also failed and I found myself for the first time in my life alone. As I previously said, perhaps there is some growth that is supposed to happen through all of this, or some sort of spiritual path I need to find or be on. Regardless, it does not make the pain and suffering much easier to digest.

I hope to be able to return to crazy kid antics soon, but for now, I wanted to get this out there for anyone else who may be struggling.

No Filter

I think that’s a popular Instagram hashtag – #nofilter … #Iwokeuplikethis. But that’s usually in reference to an amazing picture that claims to be unedited, even when it really is.

But I’m off track and this is not about a good picture…

Last week I was due for my annual microblading touch-up because #eyebrowsarelife, y’all. That means, my drop dead gorgeous microblading friend is going to be thisclose to my face for two hours, concentrating on said brows. Then she’ll post the before and after as always and put it on her Instagram feed.

So in preparation for my appointment, I woke up with a nice, big zit right next to one of my eyebrows. I don’t think I’ve had a single breakout in over a year since a farmer’s market chocolate binge. But there it was. No reason at all except to laugh at me.

I ambulated from the bathroom into the kitchen to make breakfast, grumbling to myself about how unfair life is. After breakfast, I sat with the 7 year old on the couch waiting for his bus to come. Out from bed and down the hallway came my delightful, chatterbox 3 year old. She perched herself in front of me and rambled to her little audience for a few minutes before stopping in mid- toddler speak.

“What is THAT?!” she asked, pointing to my unfortunate and unsightly overnight growth. Thank God for 3 year olds to direct your attention to what you obviously didn’t notice!

I texted my friend/drop dead gorgeous microblading artist and told her what happened. I mean, she was going to notice anyway.

Fortunately, she does have a filter app on her phone…

The Mom Playlist

Don’t get scared off just yet – I’m not going to link you to the Wee Sing tracks or 99 songs for your kids on a roadtrip. Been there, and it was torture (no offense mom, you were cute singing along with us).

But who am I really kidding? I traded in my cool card when I got a minivan.

Anyway, I still pretend. I love listening to rock, pop music and really anything with a beat, unless it’s country. My 14 year old is an old soul, and regularly requests Alice in Chains, 80’s music and wait, what?

The original Total Recall theme song? That’s not what I had in mind to jam to (is that still what the kids call it these days – jamming?) on the way to Sephora to pick out my birthday gift…

Okay. It’s only 3 minutes and 38 seconds and it’s not totally bad (a pun!). But then there’s a request for the Blade Runner theme song. Again, the original with Harrison Ford. The kid is old school.

And while I suffered through the music, I suddenly felt nostalgic, even though I never watched those movies until I was an adult (my parents cared about ratings). So guess what’s on right now?

Teaching Gratitude to Children – a Crash Course

Babies are born 100% selfish. This is not mean, or the ravings of a disgruntled parent, but simply a fact. They come into this world with traits and genetic predispositions, but otherwise, as other psychologists have said, babies are a “blank book.” It is our job to raise them and teach them.

And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but selflessness and gratitude are NOT one of the traits with which kiddos are born.

Having said that, how do we teach our beloved ingrates to be grateful? First, by example. Always thank your children and teach them to be thankful regardless of how they feel.

For example: I hate a meal a host fed me after inviting me for dinner. If I were a “typical” 2 or 3 year old, I might shuffle things around on my plate, my face contorted so as to properly show my disgust. I might even groan, or shove my plate or say how much I hate broccoli. But I’m an adult and I’ve learned manners. I’ll stomach the dinner and smile and thank my host graciously.

Are opinions bad? No. They’re normal. We’re not robots. We have feelings and tastes that aren’t the same as everyone else’s. As a parent, that’s annoying. As an adult, get used to it.

So, here I am: a mother of seven, beautiful, wonderful blessings. Seven children who also happen to be suffering from a serious case of complaining and ingratitude. And I, as their insufferable mother, am now suffering from a serious case of FED UP.

I wake up at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday to shower and make my sweethearts breakfast. I then get them up, pack 5 lunches, and send them off to school (OMG I miss homeschooling). Then, in the evenings, I make a healthy dinner. At this point, “thank yous” are whatever. But not complaining?! I would pay any amount for that! But ain’t no one paying me. Let alone, thanking me.

Enter my crash course (with a follow- up to be included in seven days’ time):

The rules are really simple: I’m not making s**** for a week. I bought all the ingredients for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Do the rest yourself. I even bought cereal (as a rule, I think cereal is garbage, with no nutritional value whatsoever)! If you make dinner, make it for your younger siblings also. If one of the older 4 doesn’t like it, make your own. I will make breakfast and lunch for my youngest 3 (6 year old, autistic, 4 and 3).

Here’s the catchy part: I didn’t tell them this is punishment, or that I’m sick of their complaining, wastefulness, ingratitude, etc. I announced it Sunday evening with excitement and anticipation. “It’s a learning and personal growth week!” I said. It is, actually. But it is also very much a fed up mommy wanting her kiddos to appreciate what they have.

As I write this, I close in on Day 1. Not huge, I know. But for this mommy, it’s everything:

They chose cereal in the morning because waking up and cooking? Who does that?! *Hand slapping face*

After eating and dressing, they packed their own lunches. One kid microwaved bacon, packed cheerios, applesauce, made a sandwich, and a drink!

When they came home, they relaxed a bit. Then the 14 year old browned some ground beef and made nachos for all his siblings.

Normal dish duty ensued.


I’ll update soon 😁

Angry Mom Rant

The title is a warning.

If you’re a teacher, on the PTA, or someone who doesn’t mind going broke buying school supplies, this blog is probably not for you.

I’m none of the above, except I used to homeschool, so I was an underpaid teacher.

We went school supply shopping for only 4 of the 5 kids attending school this year. The list for one of those kids was just the “basics,” meaning next week he’ll come home with more lists from all his individual teachers (the 5th, the high schooler, will do the same). So really, I bought for 3 1/2 kids. I’ll cut to the chase: $600. SIX HUNDRED F****** DOLLARS.

I sat in my closet, drowning in bags upon bags of school supplies, sorting them by child. Never mind that as I did, I realized I missed a few things. So let’s add about $50 to that 600 (enter every four letter expletive here). What I also realized is: This is the most disgusting, excessive experience I’ve had in FOREVER.

You know what’s even more maddening? 3/4 of everything I bought goes into community bins. No names, no nothing. Just bins that the teacher will store away without knowing who bought what. I’m not sure they care. Just as long as they have their Expo markers!

Before you even suggest that I’m against helping out the less fortunate and that’s what the bins are for, stop right there. Ask me for help and I’ll gladly give it! But do not make these ridiculous lists that send parents (or at least me) into a tear-inducing shopping frenzy that spans several stores, across several days, with all 7 children in tow. And before you begin to suggest I should have stopped reproducing at 1.5 kids, you don’t want to go there either.

Here’s how I know it’s excessive bullshit: I homeschooled for 9 years. We did science projects and art classes and everything else you can think of. And it was not “free education,” so every expense was out of pocket AND I was still paying taxes for Bobby down the street to go to public school. Sure, we went through pencils and erasers like crazy, but I can guarantee I never had to get so much crap like I just purchased over the past weeks. NEVER. And we got along just fine. I had a little stash of supplies that I pulled from now and then. But in 9 years, I never went through as many school supplies as I just sent with my children for their free, public education.

It actually made me sick. I felt wasteful. And I’m enraged that I had to spend so much to feel wasteful!

Mom Talk

This school year I will put my oldest five into public school after 8 years of homeschooling. It’s sad and not really a choice I wanted, but it is what it is and I’ll make the best of it (catch me at the gym with my little two working out, or wasting money at Target ✌). 

I realized first and foremost that I must learn to start speaking again in intelligible sentences and not Spongebob Squarepants quotes. Otherwise, attempts at making mommy friends and attending parent – teacher conferences, ARD meetings, etc, could be very awkward:

“Hi, are you Jacob’s mom? I’m Mrs….”

“I know you are but what am I?” 

I’m sure it won’t be all that bad. Like riding a bike again… After all, I believe I spoke in complete sentences and not one word commands before I had 7 children back to back. 

But I have noticed myself rambling on and on like a child monologuing about the 20th Transformers movie (or whatever number they’re on now) in repetitive, cringing detail. So far, while trying to get the kids successfully enrolled and placed, the counselors have been polite and simply smile while I drone on in a series of loosely threaded answers (complete with irrelevant and long – winded back stories)… But I guess they are counselors and are used to doing that…
SEE! There I go again! And I’m just blogging and not actually talking to anyone! 

I’m screwed. 

Maybe they have one of those books for dummies like “How to Start Talking Like an Adult after Years of Shut-In Mommy Speak.”

I’ll keep you posted on any progress…

Entitlement: It’s in the Cereal

Earlier today I was text messaging a friend of mine. We were having a very important discussion on lipstick shades and those with maximum stay-ability. I had been browsing through the MAC cosmetics store and found a perfect color… and so did my 9 year old daughter. It was a metallic purple and she just  had to have it. It was $18. No freaking way. 

First, I’m not uptight about makeup and dress-ups. It’s fun and little girls like to dress up now and then, and I’m perfectly okay with that. She has a few lip glosses and she and I make beaded bracelets together. But on the whole, she’s actually quite a tomboy (5 brothers). She has a baseball cap that she never removes except for family portraits, and only then at the threat of death. She loves tarantulas and snakes and hanging out with the boys… and lipstick. 
So when I told her no way would I even entertain such an expenditure, she got pissy and pouty fast. I was so unfair. 

I also relayed this portion of the shopping trip to my friend and she said, “They must be putting entitlement in the cereal.” Oh my gosh, YES. 

I’m not the first or even 10,000th person to write about this “phenomenon,” so I won’t provide links to studies or online help programs for managing entitled children. Instead, I’ll just rant about my own 😉.

When I was growing up, Al Gore had not yet invented the internet the way we know it today.  Very few people had pagers, and if you did, you obviously were dealing drugs in high school. My mom had a cell phone the size of a Smart Car and it cost a small fortune to make a one minute emergency call. I drove the ugliest car a teen could be doomed to drive, and only because the school was too far for my dad to conveniently take me and my mom to fetch me. But they were strict. I always thought they were way too strict. I was grounded all the time. And I don’t mean “go to your room filled with a stereo, TV, game systems, personal phone line and think about what you did”… I’m talking exile from the universe. For weeks. And after enough screwing up, I lost the privilege of driving the ugly car and walked to and from school.  And then, they hand delivered me to a “get your act together program” a thousand miles away.  And yes, it all seemed awful. But I certainly didn’t mouth off to my dad about how unfair he was. All hell would have been unleashed!!

I have a friend in the city I’m currently visiting. He worked his butt off and owns a very well known hair studio in the area. I get my hair cut at the cheapest places possible every two years, but ironically just had it cut last month. I wasn’t due, but my 9 year old certainly was. So we went in, she asked about purple highlights, and I agreed.  She was SO excited. The man worked for hours on her hair… coloring, washing, cutting and drying. Then he took pictures for his social media page. It really looked amazing. The price tag nearly killed me but it was already purple, so…

Immediately she wanted to throw it all up in that God awful baseball cap. I said no!! Leave it down for at least the day! Oh the go to hell looks I got… The stomping, the tears, the pathetic attempts at negotiating. It was enough to make me march her back to the salon and strip every spot of purple from her hair AND toss that cap in the trash. But no… we took her and her cousin to an indoor jump place instead (It is the cousin’s 10th birthday….). Did this improve moods? Nope. Just sulking, fiery eyes and demands for the cap. 

My 13 year old has major entitlement issues. He actually told me it is unfair that he shares a bathroom when I don’t. My head spun on that one. 

Truly, I could go on and on and on… But it’s not just the idea that kids feel they are owed everything, it’s a lack of gratitude. And some very serious flaws in my parenting that I need to quickly find and remedy before I contribute 7 more entitled young adults to an already me – driven world. A frightening world in which everyone is special and unique for no obvious reason other than they exist. Everyone is a unicorn. Or those who truly are underprivileged, should be given everything because they have nothing. And those who don’t want to work? Well, they should get something too… or hop from job to job until one “feels right” and they are appreciated for their awesomeness. 

I don’t have a solution, except the aforementioned one. But I am growing increasingly resentful of this behavior and am close to stripping my kids’ worlds bare: bed, clothes, food. Oh, and MAYBE I’ll give them a ride to school. 

Sigh… And Cry…

As I begin to write this, I am sitting in the car with my 5 year old autistic son. It’s the 4th of July, which means fireworks and panic for this sweet boy. Three of my boys are with their dad, or who knows… the heartache of divorce… 

I’m okay sitting in the car with my little boy.

I’m coming to terms with a failed marriage (twice attempted, twice failed, with the same person).

What should matter is my children, my relationship with them and moving forward. And what should not matter is the negative flurry of slander, hate and anger behind me. 

But it does. 

It hurts. It hurts real bad. And I hate giving power to that pain by acknowledging it… But I guess healing comes with acceptance of pain and failure. 

I have seven children. Two of my boys are autistic, my 16 and 5 year old. The oldest has grown to be such a delightful young man. He is smart, humble, quiet, gentle and kind. My 5 year old is still struggling through his emotions and anxieties, and this is also a great struggle for me. It’s hard to reach him at times and even harder to calm him in the midst of his “moments.”

What’s also hard is the backlash I have received from those closest to me.  My family seems to only be able to tolerate the older children in doses, and the youngest three scarcely at all. They are quick to point out my short comings as a parent… even quicker to jump on the backs of these three for simply being children. 

And then there is my ex husband’s side of the family… although only his parents have ever come to visit – and no more than a week a year, at most – there certainly wasn’t a shortage of pure evil, hateful messages from the siblings (who have NEVER visited in 16 years and never met the younger FIVE children). Thankfully, I’ve been able to keep a mostly loving and positive communication with his parents. As for the others, I should be strong enough to dismiss their unfounded judgment and just focus on the beautiful, innocent faces in front of me. 

But it’s hard. Real hard. 

I wonder… do my parents, his parents, [some of] my siblings and his siblings, random acquaintances, etc, ever stop to remove the log from their own eyes? Do they really think that through their actions they are lifting up a woman and her children? Or worse, are they trying to bring her to her breaking point?

I may be weak. They may hurt me a lot. But they will not break me. Let me be clear on that. They can block my messages and not make eye contact in church. They may say all manner of things behind my back – deserved or undeserved. They may try to turn my own children against me with their poison. Yes, they can do all this and more, while pretending to be righteous, saying their morning and evening prayers daily…

Meanwhile, I struggle to pray, struggle to bring my children to church. I wake up daily and make my kids food adherent to a diet for those on the spectrum. I cry and work through the tantrums of the little ones. I struggled for 8 years to home educate because I felt it was best for my kids. I try to help a very moody and emotional, freshly-minted teenager navigate through his complex emotions and new life changes. All the while, trying very hard not to let myself succumb to the negativity and hatred from those I love the most, outside my children.

Sigh… And cry…

Life is always a struggle. One beautiful struggle after another. And if I can come out of one, I trust that God will carry me and mine through the next battle. 

And when I cannot pray because in that moment my faith is lost, I hope that God sees me through those moments as well. 

And when I want to hate in return those who have hurt me over and over again, I beg that God give me the patience and love not to do so. 

After all, none of us are in any place to judge another. My struggles may be unbearable for many, but for sure, there are so many families in the world who face much worse. 

We are all broken. And those of us brave enough to admit that are just trying to find our footing each day. 

At the moment, it’s sitting in the car with my sweet boy so he feels safe with me from the noise of the fireworks… tomorrow I don’t know. 

Family Pics!

I’ve been neglecting my blog for far too long! I plan to start easing back into writing, as time permits. Until then, here are some proud mama pictures, taken by my good friend, Desiree. Enjoy!

Texas Winters