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Why I went back to work is a question I’m asked a lot. I took a job because staying at home with my kids was not mentally engaging me. What I mean is that although I have two little chatterboxes who are very active, there is no opportunity for mental stimulation for me. No participatory conversation that stimulated my linguistic skills, challenged my thought process, or helped to keep my memory sharp. The routine of my kids was lulling me into a lazy state of ambiguity. Kids wake up, feed them, pop in a movie, read a book or play a game it was all the same to me. The monotony of it all began to wear thin on me. I love my children, but I needed something more for me.
Although I would work from home at times, it was always difficult because conference calls would hastily be moved to the bathroom for quiet and working on a computer, I had to balance a laptop and a toddler at the same time. In the beginning it seemed a viable alternative, however the stress of multi-tasking and organizing family and business in the same area just didn’t work anymore.
I found myself dreading the day and looking forward to the time when my children would be asleep. That meant I could work uninterrupted, despite the fact that I was cutting into my precious sleep time. My sleep bank grew more and more depleted each day. Between the battles to get my children to sleep and trying to accomplish my projects—I was simply spent. An outside work environment seemed to be the best option and something crossed my desk that I thought that I would be interested in. It was an industry that I was familiar with. Unfortunately, the position that I desired, I did not get, but I received another offer for another position.
I was elated that I’d be able to leave my house and have adult stimulating conversations. I convinced myself that I’d still be able to come home and give my children their much needed time. For the most part I do give them their time, however the position turned out to not be what I expected. Can you say Boring, uneventful, and totally the opposite of stimulating to say the least, nevertheless, I’m sticking it out until I finish my books and can move on to something better.
I struggle to come home, cook and entertain my family. A mother’s job is never done, no matter if she works in the home or outside of it. Mother’s wear so many hats and balance many plates. No holiday can make up for what Moms give to their families. Although most Mom’s say they just want time for themselves, I believe that’s true, however I believe that we all want a choice in what we do. There should be no pigeon holing in telling a mother to stay at home or go back to work. Whatever you decide to do, soar in your goals. Your children will thrive because you do. My children are doing well now that I’ve gone back to work and that’s a beautiful thing.
As a mother, one of your main responsibilities is to protect your children at all costs. You teach your children manners, the difference between right and wrong, and how to be respectful of others. What do you do when the color of your child’s skin puts them in harm’s way? With the senseless shootings, violence and general racist sentiments ramping up I’m forced to confront a deep seated fear, that my child could be harmed. It will not matter that he comes from a respectable family, that he’s well mannered, Christian or any of the other self-ascriptions that I give him. He’ll simply be seen as black and dangerous.
He’s above average in height, one could describe him as a man child already at the age of 6. He’s extremely goofy. He believes that farts and belches are funny, loves super heroes and is mischievous like a normal 6 year old. He holds my hands when we cross the street and kisses me goodnight. He has no understanding of violent culture.
If people are cursing or fighting he says, “OOOOh Mommy, they said a bad word.” He’s focused on trying not to lie because he’s been taught that God does not like lying. He knows stealing is bad and that you should always ask first and say thank you. He also knows that people should keep their hands to themselves. But what happens if my child is somewhere and someone is threatened because he looks bigger and older than he really is? Add to that being black and you have a dangerous mix brewing that will eventually lead to horrible consequences for someone.
I watched the video of the pool party in Texas where the police were cursing and swearing at the black kids, “Get your asses’ home.” but the white kids were told “Get your butts home.” Now this may not seem like a big deal, but if you respect a population then you’ll treat them with a modicum of decency. This was definitely not the case in the interaction with the black kids. When the young girl is thrown to the ground and made to lay on her face while she’s in a bikini with the officer’s knees in her back, my blood boiled. What if that was my child? Where was the adult supervision? Who’s advocating for these children?
That’s my big concern in relation to this incident like so many others that we see and hear about on a daily basis. If my kid is at your house then there should be supervision. Even in the supposed gated communities stuff still happens. Remember, Trayvon Martin. An adult should’ve made sure that the kids stayed contained in a specific area. From the video, it looked like there was a lot of chaos. I’m not sure how much adult control was directed, but I do know that as a parent it is my job to protect my children as well as, any guests that may be over for a visit. Long gone are the days when a child can be dismissed to walk home alone, in some places that’s considered child neglect.
A Fla. Couple was investigated for allowing their teenage son to stay at home by himself because he was locked out. He had access to water, played basketball in his own yard, but the authorities were summoned because the young man was outside playing alone for 90 minutes. It’s absurd. What’s even more disturbing is the trend of free range parents, where children are allowed to roam to parks, playgrounds, etc. without supervision.
Each and every parent has the right to decide how to parent. But unfortunately for parents of black children our rights are limited because of the stereotypes associated with our children. I don’t have the luxury to be a free range parent. I have to know where he is and who he’s with all the time. I have to instruct my sons on behavior that although is normal for everyone, the same behavior will get them killed, wearing a hoodie, running with a group of kids or being in a car with three other boys. It saddens me that the simple joys of being silly and goofy have to be measured by surroundings and attitudes. My sons are my joy and life. No one has the right to harm them, but I have to prepare them for the day when something might happen. Although this saddens me—it is necessary so that he can survive.
Academy Award Winner, Graham Moore last night spoke about his suicide attempt at the age of 16 and always feeling different. I nodded my head in acknowledgement. There were lots of head nods and clapping last night. Many people agreed with him and understood him. What I wonder is how many people have really felt rejected and misunderstood?
Now, I won’t sit here and say that I’ve been ostracized, but many times I’ve not felt acknowledged. This feeling dates back to when I was a child. I grew up in a home where children were seen and not heard. I know this is one of the reasons that I struggle as a parent. My children are seen and definitely heard. I didn’t develop my voice until I was an adult.
I was never the prettiest, nor the smartest or even the sturdiest. I was clumsy, shy and lacked confidence. I didn’t have many girl friends growing up because there was always some drama. You know get a group of women together and something’s going to get started. I always hung out with guys. Men are easy. They either liked me, not necessarily as a girlfriend, more like a little sister or they didn’t. I was always the fifth wheel when I hung out with my girl cousins. My fashion wasn’t quite right, my hair was never right. I have long hair, always have and every woman who has ever met me or been my friend has always had something negative to say about it. I learned it comes with the territory.
I’ve never been hip, it’s always like the person who tries to hard. I gave up. I don’t have swag, sex appeal or any of those things that my friends have. What I do have is a large vocabulary that I like to flex regularly. However, it always seems to escape me that I’ve missed some cultural anthem that everyone is fixated on. Words, songs, clothes, dances you name it, I’ve probably missed it.
In reality, Graham Moore is right. It’s okay to be different, to celebrate who you are through your individual expressionist means. There are those that like colorful hairstyles, tattoos or body modifications. None of that works for me because as a professional I would never be hired. However, my quirkiness is expressed through the things I care about, such as causes and issues. I’ve been ridiculed and called a bleeding heart liberal as if it’s some sort of cancer that needs to be eradicated off the planet. Whatever, I always say. Although, its difficult to walk a lonely path, however if my heart tells me its the right one, I’d rather be alone.
As a writer I spend lots of time alone creating worlds and situations that spring forth from my brain. No one understands my passion for writing, why I love Politics the way that I do or volunteer as much as I do. Graham Moore reminded me that I am special, no matter how weird, different or lonely that I feel. It’s okay because people like us bring dimensions, color and variety to the world. To all who’ve felt odd or off there’s a place for you. Seek it out and claim your space.
My mini rant for the day. Winter Break, Easter Break and snow days are tools of the devil that torment parents. Too much time, over stimulated kids, too much energy in my children all contribute to my breakdown. With the cold, snow and my to do list, it’s been hard to keep up with my kids. It’d be different, if I could send them outside to play, not, it’s too cold. Can’t go to the library, it’s closed. My to do list today is long and has two meetings on it. So what is a Momma to do? I’m throwing my arms up because no matter what I do, my children don’t listen.
Case in point, the other night I tossed and turned in numerous attempts to get some sleep. My husband slept soundly beside me. Every five minutes some little person kept shouting out Mommy to annoy me. At first it was Daddy, but Daddy ignored them and slept soundly. I on the other hand heard every sound emanating from their room. After several attempts to get them to quiet down, I gave up. There’s only so much energy that I can expend.
Last night, it was Deja Vu all I heard was the TV. Suffice it to say, I’m tired and still busy. With the weather it’s been hard to take the kids places because its been so frigid. Prayerfully, things will get better later this week. Originally, I had some things planned for the kids, however my plans didn’t work out. There are still three more days left in the week. I have to get it together. My husband says “Take it one day at a time and learn to ignore them. They’re fine.”
My girlfriend yesterday reiterated the same message. That I have to learn to ignore and get my discipline game face on. She watched me struggle with my oldest yesterday and become completely flustered by him. It wasn’t pretty, however its my reality.
My reality, my problem, I’ll have to learn how to deal with this. Maybe once I figure it out, I’ll be able to write a book disclosing all my secrets. People say how this is such a wonderful time and that I should just enjoy it. That may all be true, however no one ever talks about how difficult and frustrating being a parent can be. Ignorance is bliss when you don’t know.
Jogging pants, yoga pants, large t-shirts and robes are a mother’s best couture staples. Ponytails are also a staple. For me it was always bun, now its a wrapped scarf. No dirt, food, snot, poop or pee can damage them. All new mothers learn very quickly that whatever is most comfortable for you to wear, you literally begin to live in that. Forget showers and grooming, kids take away time. Every mother adjusts, however most will say showers are a luxury. For me showers are a necessity even if I have to shower in front of an audience, like I’m a peep show exhibit in Amsterdam.
My couture staple is extra-large jogging pants with a big shirt and sweatshirt over it. I substituted my big blue fluffy robe because my husband complained. Now he groans about the sweatshirt, I just ignore him. A woman can only take so much. I’m sleep deprived and for me to really look nice, it takes an effort. I need a corset, moisturizer, make-up to cover up my under eye bags, a long hot shower, comfortable loose-fitting clothing and accessories to even get a semblance of the appearance of nice.
Being a Mom has taken away all my glamour. Often when I get glammed up, I’m usually exhausted by the time I’m dressed. And I always wear the same thing, something dark. I have several white suits, which beckon me, however I will not wear them for fear that a little person will muck them up before I get to where I’m going.
It would be great if some designer would invent sexy yoga and jogging pants. The problem is once you’ve had a kid everything sags, hangs and has moved. It’s hard to know where or how you used to be when you were cute. Pregnancy is hard on boobs, butt, and you’re midsection. Then add multiple pregnancies and everything deteriorates so much quicker.
My problem is that I’m tired and rushing, which is often. Jogging pants and a shirt are so easy to do. In the summer i have my go to sandals. In the winter it’s more work because I have to put on boots, however layering in my sweats is so comfy.
I know that I should take time and dress up, but it’s so darn hard. There’s only so much time in the day. And everyone always needs something. I’m trying to do better, especially adding my jewelry back into the mix. Since my children are not so much into the grabbing phase, I can wear some jewelry again. Baby steps, I have to remind myself. So the next time you see a mother in very casual clothes, don’t judge. Support her by giving her a compliment, it’s probably been a while since she received one. And if you see a mother dressed up, compliment her because you never know when she might do that again.
So I’ve resorted to making up words. Hyper-sick-roiditis, a parent who continually catches a contagious virus from their children. After having succumbed to another child inspired virus, I’ve decided to write the American Medical Association for assistance. I propose that all parents be given a booster shot similar to a child’s vaccination and create a schedule for parents to follow. This is utterly ridiculous. I’ve had hand and foot, the fever virus, all kinds of stomach viruses, walking pneumonia, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis triggered by exposure to a kids cold.
Yes, I said a kids cold. Those of you who might be relatively healthy and then have children know what I’m talking about. It feels like you’ve been slammed under a Mack truck. Every parent I know has a story where they’ve been so sick they felt like death was coming. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, however once you catch a kid something you’ll understand.
It’s like the germs are amplified a thousand times. No regular over the counter drugs work. Obscure concoctions of medicines have to be taken, at least that’s been my history. I’ve had more sickness in the last six months than I’ve had in my entire 43 years on earth. So as I sip my hot tea, my Vernor’s, my chicken broth and take my antibiotics I wish you all good health. I’m going to hide out in my bedroom until the weather breaks and I can open my windows. Maybe then the fresh air will flush out all the toxins in my house. Hopefully my children’s germs won’t find me.
A year and a half has passed and I can finally say that I’m really understanding what sent me over the edge with my depression. I have attached an article that discusses the link between breastfeeding and depression.
I breast-fed both of my sons and they are thriving. Thank God, I’m so thankful for that, but I do think that the issue of exhaustion, lack of family support and financial strain caused many of my triggers, which led to my depression. I feel like I’ve lived inside a tornado of spiraling and whirling that’s completely mixed up my life. It seems as if I’ve had more than my fair share of trouble, heartbreak, disappointment and sadness.
Finally, as Dr. Phil would say “Get Real” with your life. The things and people who I’ve been chasing I’m trying to let go because it’s just not worth it anymore. I’m turning my focus back to God and my family.
I don’t know how my current situation is going to play out, but I do pray that God works things out for me because I’m exhausted and truly understand that I don’t control anything.
I have to remember that I’m responsible for me and that’s it. My psyche has definitely taken a hit. I struggle to make decisions, move forward or even pursue a dream because I feel so stuck.
That’s what led me to where I am today. The feeling of being stuck in the mud. How could I possibly take care of another child when I don’t have anyone in my family willing to help me or even offer advice. How am I supposed to be a help mate to my husband when I haven’t even been able to contribute monetarily to our household. These are questions that plagued me before I had my second son. I thought that God had abandoned me because clearly my family has, but that’s another story. Abandon may be too strong of a word, but they’re not there and that is the bottom line.
I should be angry and hateful, but really I just want to move on with my life and do what God has shown me. He has shown me twice that I’m a writer and quite successful at it in the future. I just wish that could come now instead of later.
Not having family support increased my exhaustion levels, a dearth of financial resources sent my nerves over the edge with constant worry and my own everyday worries tipped my mental ship. Rage, fury and anger occupied my body while Aiden developed. The blessing is that he’s healthy because of it. No one really understands how much I didn’t want another child, but as always God knows what’s best.
Through my current situation I realize that the family that I so longed for is right in front of me. I have the power to shape it and be the example that I’ve always looked for. Having children is truly a blessing, but it’s also the hardest job that any parent will ever take on.I had no idea on the level of commitment that would be needed.
Mothers and Fathers have to be valued, loved and supported because they are caring for someone who will grow up and become a part of our society. Too many times I hear the negative comments deriding parents about their kids noise levels or a mother’s decision to work or not. It’s a shame because at the end of the day every person at some point in time had a parent, whether you want to admit it or not.
Treat parents nicely because one day you may end up becoming one and needing a helping hand. Trust me when no one’s there that’s a very lonely feeling.I don’t wish that on anyone. If you are a parent and struggling know that there is help available. You may have to search for it, but someone is going through the same thing that you are. Have hope and faith that things will work out.
Death is certain and unfortunately everyone will have to face their own realizations about it at some point in their lives.
I recently lost my beloved grandmother, who if you had never met her you had heard of her if you knew me. I simply adored my grandmother. The moniker that she went by was Bigmama.Our family had been blessed to her for 93 years and thankfully she knew both of my children. She was the last of my parental figures that left an indelible impression upon me. When each of my parents passed one after the other I always reminded myself that I had her. Now that I don’t a heavy sadness hangs over my heart, especially since our family can’t be what I feel like we should be and that’s close.
The sad part about death outside of the separation is how family responds to one another afterwards. Having lost both of my parents, grandparents, husband’s family, also I can’t help, but wonder if it’s just a normal part of life.
People that I knew growing up would lose someone close in their family and it would draw the family closer. Secretly, I envied families like that. I’ve always wanted that large family that enjoys special events, holidays and each other no matter what. To me the arguing, disagreements, fighting and not speaking to each other I thought was abnormal because that was my family life.
I often believed that it was relegated to one side of the family, but I now I know that I’m surrounded by it. The obstination, apathy, passive-aggressive behavior, selfishness and downright devilish. Growing up I abhorred this behavior and I always believed that things would get better when I got older, but it was all a lie. It’s the deck of cards that I have drawn. Nothing can change the fact that some of are close and others may never be no matter how much we pretend to be.
Emotionally I’m exhausted, which I believe is the real reason that my depression came back in the first place. My emotional dependency and strong desire for a positive, strong, tight-knit family. Somehow through all of this I kept viewing myself as the weak limb of this so-called body of a family.
Whenever someone needs something I’m always there, but when I need something the sound of crickets may greet me at the cries of my need. I’m fatigued, exhausted, tired and just plain worn out. Miles and Aiden have suffered because I haven’t been on top of my game. Today changes that. I’m no longer fighting for my elusive family. I fight simply and solely for my children and my husband. If you don’t fit that criteria too bad because I’m done.
I have no more energy to give anyone other than my children.
Two days ago I made a promise to them that if I could get it together they would never ever have to go to anyone for anything because the world will turn on you (it has on me several times) and I don’t want them to experience that. I know that inevitably that they will, but I want to be the parent that is there for them, non-judgemental (unless it’s warranted, i.e. discipline) supportive mentally and spiritually. I don’t want to play games with their emotions and mental stabilities.
Miles and Aiden and I are very close, but now I’m paying closer attention to make sure that their needs are met more than ever. My Bigmama gave me love unconditionally up until the day that she died and no matter what I’ll always have those memories. I just wish people could be more like her. I know that I will.
A Mom who wears many hats. I'm an Author, Event Planner, Community Activist and Business Strategist. As a Mom I've struggled with my identity. This blog is for anyone whose feeling lost, letdown or abandoned. This is a judgement free zone.