Respect is the new ‘R’ Word

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we were all outside having a good time. The kids were playing on the trampoline and my husband and I were working away on our trailer. 

My daughter comes into the trailer all upset. “The neighbours just yelled at us” my husband and I just looked at her in disbelief. What do you mean they just yelled at you? My daughter told us they told them to shut up. They are being too loud. 

Of course, that was a no go, my husband went over there and spoke to them. The neighbour said “There is something wrong with your child, I think he is ‘retarded’.

My heart sank. My son was in earshot. He heard these complete strangers call him a name. The heartbreak on his face was just devastating. 

Are they serious? Are they really upset to hear kids in the backyard playing? My mind was racing. How low can people be to call my child names? How low can people be to yell at children for playing in the backyard? I am disgusted.  

Growing up in the 80s the word ‘retarded’ was thrown around like confetti. It was the popular insult of that time frame. 

“I used the wrong font on my essay, I am so retarded” back then it just seemed to the best and easiest way people would use to describe when they did something stupid. 

Back then I would fluff that word off like it was just another word, it certainly never sat well with me, but I never gave it a second thought till I had kids. Till I had a child with special needs. 

Hearing this word now kills me. It runs through my body like a bunch of knives being throw at me. This word to me is a swear word. This word needs to go. 

Every day a mother was a special needs child struggles. We struggle with everyday living needs of the child. We struggle with trying to understand why our child, our beautiful baby has to have such a hard life. We struggle with how this is so unfair. 

“I think he is retarded” It’s just booming in my hears. At this moment I stop breathing. I wanted to lose it. The mama bear in me wanted to tear those people apart limb from limb.  My kids were watching me, like hawks. So I quickly scooped them all up and went inside and let my husband handle it. 

After everything settled down, it really sank in. I should have been harder on them, I should have stepped up and told them that the “R” word is not okay. Maybe they would think before they threw that word out there, maybe they wouldn’t, but I just wanted to get my kids out of that situation. 

My son who is 9 years old, has ADHD, High functioning autism, social anxiety and a learning disability. He is smart and funny and full of life. I wouldn’t change him for the word. These labels do not define him. When I look at him I don’t see these labels, I see my beautiful baby boy who makes my heart melt every day. 

Many people don’t see firsthand what it is like to have a child with a disability. I do my best every day to educate people. In hopes that one day these words that people throw around gets thrown in the garbage. That one day instead of judging from afar they would just come and ask questions. I promise you I won’t get offended I encourage it. 

Since my son is high functioning, just by looking at him you wouldn’t know.  Some people would think since it is not severe they have it easy. The reality is quite different. 

What people see in their eyes is a boy that has behavior issues. They just assume that he is just not being raised properly and that, of course, is all their parent’s fault right? This is what happens when you don’t ask questions you just assume. 

My son has extreme sensory issues. He does not like loud noises, crowds, extreme tastes like sour or spicy, bright lights or weird touches to things like slim.  

My son has no social clues. In his mind when he is having a conversation he has no idea what is a civil conversation or when someone is making fun of him. He has no idea what too loud is. He has no idea when it is okay to speak or wait his turn. 

My son has anxiety. When something is new he doesn’t know how to react to it. When something is changing he doesn’t know how to react to it. 

My son lacks planning skills. It is hard for him to plan, manage and cope with the tiniest scheduling change, in school and at home. My son can do many great things, but if there is an obstacle or something goes wrong. He doesn’t know how to handle the situation. 

My son has difficulty following simple instructions. My son CAN do a lot of tasks, but when told verbally, sometimes things get lost in translation. “Clean your room then you can play on your Nintendo” What he may hear is “Clean your room” or “You can play on your Nintendo” Breaking down how you word things with him really helps. 

To a person that doesn’t see these things first hand, to a person who doesn’t have these difficulties could assume these are things someone can get over. That these things are easily ‘fixed’ I promise you, these are not behaviour issues. These are his everyday struggles and will probably have these struggles for the rest of his life. 

This word is never okay to use, in any situation. This word needs to be wiped out of your vocabulary. Knowing 1 child with a disability doesn’t mean you know them all. It means you know that 1. Each child with a disability are their own person, they have their own struggles and their own gains. It is better to ask questions then just stare and make rude comments. 

Just because one child doesn’t learn the same way as other children, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them. It just means that we as parents or caregivers or family need to find a different way to teach them. 

You as a parent will learn how to thrive and grow and change to understand the needs of your child. Yes, you will feel frozen at times, just know it will get better and it will get hard but you will figure it out. 

It is okay to feel sad. That your child will not have a ‘normal’ childhood. It is really hard, but know that you can make their life the best possible way to make sure they are happy and healthy and smiling. 

Be thankful for the little things. I am so thankful when my son puts his shoes on the right way, I make a big deal about it, “Amazing job buddy” Or when he parts with a stuffed animal that is broken because he gets so attached to things. 

Try not to read into what people say to you. I know it is hard and I find myself really overthinking what people say. You will find yourself annoyed with peoples positive attitude because it may seem like they are minimizing the magnitude of your child’s challenges, you may find yourself annoyed with peoples negative attitude towards your child because they don’t recognise your child’s progress.  

I am grateful for the times that we live in. There is so much new information out there that helps people educate. We now live in an age with the internet. We can now connect with other moms that are deal with the same things we are. We have support when we feel like we are all alone.  To share our experiences. 

My hopes are that one day, people will ask questions. My hopes are my son will not have to live in a world where people are so mean and so quick to say hurtful words.  

My hopes are that respect becomes the new “R” word.

My son is a “mamas boy” — and there is nothing wrong with it.

The other day I got accused of raising a mamas boy… like somehow that is a negative thing? 

“He is weak” 

“He needs to toughen up” 

“He is spoiled” 

“He is insecure” 

As I wrote mamas boy, in the search engine, most of what came up were “how to make sure your son doesn’t turn into mamas boy”  “Watch for signs”  Like somehow being a “mamas boy” sounds like they have a disease. 

All this is completely false and garbage. Being close to your mother does not make you all these things, in fact, it is scientifically proven that because of the closeness they develop a great scene of security. Their emotions are stronger and become more independent as they grow up. 

“Mamas boys” are also less prone to violence against women and have more respect for them.  Boys are all-around stronger because of it, emotionally and physically. 

Sadly it seems once it gets put out there on the internet or in people’s minds that, it’s tainted. People are more likely to agree with what society says then what science backs up. 

As mothers we already feel guilty about so many things, we already feel judged about everything single thing we do, now we are being judged because our boys are close to us? To me that is bullshit.  

Okay so let’s get a little more into the research… 

In 2011 there was a study by Science daily of a mother-son relationship. They stated that a son that is not close with their mother or has a rough relationship with their mother tends to grow up as delinquents or grow up to have relationship problems and to be disrespectful towards a woman. 

In 2010 There was a study by American Psychological Association stated that boys that were close to their mothers experience better physical and emotional mental health. 

So if my son wants to cling to me, because I am his safety net, because the world is a scary place. I am going to embrace that. 

Do not allow other people to tell you that it is wrong, don’t ever allow other people to make fun of you or your son because they feel this makes them weaker. This does NOT make your son less of a man when he is older. 

Those people who continue to tell you these things are stuck in the ages where men are not supposed to show their emotions, which I promise you are obnoxious because no one wants to date a robot with zero emotions.  

Loving your mother and wanting to be near your mother and help your mother around the house, does not take their ‘manhood’ away. 

Your son loving you to his fullest means they respect the role you play in their life. Your son needing you means that you are doing your job as their protector. 

I am going to continue to bond with my son, I am going to hold him close because time goes by fast, they grow up fast.

Not everyone is going to like you — It’s okay

I am not going to be liked by everyone, and I am at the point in life… fuck it. 

I am too quiet, which is their eyes means that I am stuck up and don’t want to talk, or too shy.  

I am too loud, which means that I am too outspoken, I am too wild. I give my opinions to much, and I talk too much. 

To some people, I am just a mom with four kids, who probably lost her mind because I have four kids. Who is a hot mess, who doesn’t have enough time to do her hair to its in a mom bum 95% of the time. 

To some people, I am just a mom, who has it all together because her kids are so polite and I look like I have my head on my shoulders. 

Do you see what is happening here? You are either going to be too much for someone or not enough too others. Which if you think about it I am both, quiet and loud and I am okay with this. 

As women, we continue to judge ourselves so harshly because we want to fit in. We over-analyze every little thing we do. We end up wasting so much time on thinking of what other people might be thinking that we miss opportunities to really live our lives. 

And for what? Why do we need approval so bad from others? Approval that no matter what we do there is always going to be someone that doesn’t like you, doesn’t like one think about you. So screw it!

This is YOUR life, This is YOUR journey,  So what, you are not everyone’s cup of tea?

If you want to be a stay at home mom… do it

If you want to be a working mom… do it

If you want to do both… do it

If people don’t like the way you talk, the way you laugh, your sense of humor, screw them. 

If you have dreams like becoming a singer, painter, candlestick maker, do it, chase that dream!

If you want to breastfeed, do it

If you want to formula feed, do it

If you want to wipe out your boob and feed your baby in the middle of a park, do it! 

It is time to end this bullshit. Stop apologizing for who you are. Be wild, Be free!! Own the hot mess you are! Or own that you have it together! 

Stop doubting the choices you make, because they are YOUR choices. People are always going to have opinions, people are always going to think they know better then you do because they have been there done that bought a T-shirt. But they are not YOU, this is your family, not theirs. 

People are not going to like you and that is okay, hey some people might not like you for no apparent reason, because they can. Is this ridiculous, fuck yeah it is, but it’s okay. 

Be who you were meant to be, not what others want you to be! 

The ones that are there for you, the ones that are in your corner those are your people, the ones that don’t care for you at all, the ones that judge everything about you, are not your people. 

And they are not worth your ever loven time.

Badmouthing, and its negative effects.

Kids growing up with their parents separated is hard enough. They have to figure out how to live with each parent separately. They have to deal with different rules that are set in place at each house. 

When you separate I understand that it is hard not to think about all the bad things that they did or will continue to do. It is hard to separate your feelings towards the other person when they really upset you. 

Whatever you did, or didn’t do, or whatever the other parent did or does not do. Should not be stated to your child. Badmouthing their mom or dad can have a huge negative effect on your child. 

It really hurts them. No matter what you do, your child will continue to love you unconditionally. It hurts them more when it is someone they love and look up to, putting down the other parent. 

It causes so much conflict in their heads. They have no idea what to do. It causes them to have to choose a side. Children are so loyal to their parents. They will have so much guilt and pain, that they will have no idea how to express these feelings, because they are scared to tell the other parent what happened in case that causes a fight. Which will cause them to retreat from both parents. 

Just like you would not accept yourself to choose between one of your children, you should not accept your child to choose which parent to love and be loyal too. 

Your child has some parts of you and some parts of your Ex. By bad mouthing each other causes your child to feel like some parts of them are wrong, some parts of them you do not like because it matches the other parent. This alone will cause them to hate how they are. 

We tell our kids not to bully, to treat other people the way we want to be treated,  but yet we talk poorly about the other parent. We say all these negative things about your ex which could cause your child to think that is okay or to grow up thinking that we are liars. 

It is important to find a way to separate your feelings towards the other parent for the sake of your child. They want to have a positive and loving relationship with both of you. How you feel should not determine how your child feels about the other parent. 

What goes around comes around. 

I am sure we have all heard this saying. Whatever bad things that you say about your ex will just come right back at you. Your child will start defending the other parent and then start to resent you or they might start using the same behaviour towards the other parent thinking that it is okay or back at you. 

If your opinion of your ex is true, or if it is not it doesn’t matter. You don’t want your truth to be your kids reality. It could have physiological effects on your child. 

Leave the negativity out of your child’s mind and just spend time with them, they just want you both to be happy. 

Dear bullies, Thank you.

In our public school there weren’t the popular kids and the unpopular kids. It was a small town and everyone knew everyone. Everyone was invited to each other’s birthdays because our parents grew up with each other and honestly we were young and innocent and hate wasn’t even thought of. 

Once we made it to high school that is when it all changed. There were clicks. Everyone went into their little groups. Band kids, jocks, popular girls and computer people. I trotted into school like everything was going to be the same. I was wrong. 

The popular girls never bothered me, they stuck to themselves talking about all pretty and pink things. The ones who ended up bullying me were who I thought were my best friends. Right, I know plot twists. It all started because a boy liked me and not them. A boy of all things came between us. I never even thought twice about pursuing it, because your girls come first right? 

They came in like a force of nature. Pushing me down in the halls, writing bad things on my locker. Spreading outrageous lies about me. The thing is they knew all my secrets, they knew exactly what would hurt me the most. 

Your worst enemies are the ones that know you the best. 

I was holding myself together with duct tape and happy thoughts. I didn’t want to go to school, I would do my best to hide.. It was a terrible feeling. I felt sick, I would barely eat anything. I refused to talk to my parents about it because I figured they wouldn’t understand. 

No matter how hard I tried to understand why they were doing these things to me, it felt like I would never belong anywhere.  

But honestly I want to thank them, of course I will never forget the pain that they put me through, I will never forget the way they made me feel like I was shit on their shoe. 

People who put others down, are suffering from a battle that we just don’t see, they are going through something that they refuse to let anyone know and project it on other people, this taught me compassion. 

This taught me to love all walks of life, to treat others the way you want to be treated no matter how they treat you. 

This taught me to look beyond what they looked like and connect with their experiences in life, to stop and listen. 

This taught me to be strong, because no matter what comes at me now, I will know how to handle it. 

This has taught me to see the signs in my kids if they are being bullied. This has taught me to know how to speak to them about bullying. 

I am not thanking them for their behaviour and I am not giving them credit for my happiness, but that experience has taught me so much. 

I am thanking them because they showed me what not to be, they showed me that no matter what pain or suffering that I go through, I will use that to be more kind, to be more passionate to be more open and listen to others suffering. 

I chose to use the darkness that surrounded me and become a flower. I outgrew your words and your hate and became the person that I wanted to be.

Distant Memories

When I was younger I felt the days went by so slow. Sitting at my desk in school, watching the clock, tick tick tick. Waiting for the bell to ring, then booking it out of the school as fast as I could. 

Summertime, daydreaming when I am finally old enough to do all the things that only adults can do. Daydreaming  by my big willow tree on my farm. It was my favorite place to be. 

Now that I have kids, I want it to slow down. Life seems to be going 100 miles per hour. Like driving in the fast lane with no cars. Never in the slow lane. 

Just busy parenting, keeping the house in order and working. I find myself often just sitting and watching the kids play in the pool. Thinking “Where did the time go?, I swear it was just yesterday they were babies” 

I will be the first to admit that I struggle to stop and smell the roses. I will be in the middle of laundry or dishes and the kids ask to play “Let me just finish these” The dishes and laundry will be there later, your kids grow up so fast. 

A first birthday is so exciting, yet you mourn the fact that your baby is growing up. To be honest for me, it seems to be every birthday. Even with 4 kids you would think that I have learned by now, they do in fact have to grow up. Not stay babies forever, since my oldest is 11. 

The pain of childbirth and holding your new baby in your hands. 

Watching them take their first steps and eating solid foods for the first time. 

No sleep and sore nipples. 

Them exploring the amazing adventures the world has to offer. 

Becomes a distant memory. 

I know I cannot stop time. All we can do is soak it all in because one day, I will miss the house being a mess, I will be sitting in my living room missing the sounds of little feet running in and yelling “Mommy, look what I did” I will miss cutting the crust of the sandwiches. I will miss this. All of this. 

I am going to try my best to take it all in. When my son wants a random hug, I will get down to his level and give him a big hug and hold him there for a minute, even if he squirms. When they ask me to play, I will set down the laundry or dishes and go and play with them. 

Don’t get me wrong I am excited to watch them grow into amazing adults and see where life takes them. — To watch their little personalities grow to be big ones. To see their drive to get their dream jobs. 

I hear people say “Make these the best days of your life!” But I don’t want these to JUST be the best days, I don’t want to be sad when it’s all done and my best days are behind us. Instead I am going to make these days happy and fun and full of life. I want to continue to have the best days when they are older too and have kids themselves. 

I am going to continue to help my children have the best tools to be able to grow up and be respectful, caring adults. 

I am going to have more movie nights with all the fixings, popcorn, chips and candy. 

I am going to put my phone down and computer down and soak in the laughter. 

I am going to make more time for myself and my husband so that we have enough energy to keep up with them. 

I want to look back at these days and remember that I enjoyed every single moment of them being babies and small kids and teenagers. I don’t want to look back and regret that I didn’t put down my phone or laundry to look at what they were doing. 

I want to look back and know that everything I did, helped shape them to be amazing adults. 

Believe it or not

As a mother, when you hear the doctor tell you, your son has autism, ADHD, Social Anxiety and a learning disability your heart sinks. 

Was it something that I did wrong? Was it something that I didn’t do? 

Was it  because I let him watch TV when he was 2? 

All these things running through your head, even though you knew in your heart that something was different about him. 

While you try and convince yourself that he has all these things. I didn’t realize it was so much! 

You have to convince yourself and try to come to terms with all these new things that just got thrown at you, you now have to convince your family that all this is true. 

The constant “well he isn’t like that with me” “Wow I just don’t see it?  “Maybe he is just trying to get attention, with all those kids there you know” And the worst one “Are you sure the doctor wasn’t just saying that because they want money?” 

Well family; 

You are not there when he has those meltdowns because his schedule is slightly off. 

You are not there when he cries so hard before bed because he is scared he wont wake up.

You are not there when he says the most horrible things just to hurt me and I somehow have to figure out how to harden my heart because I know he truly doesn’t mean those things. 

You are not there when I ask him to do a simple task but then hits and kicks me and then tries to break down his door, then cries because he hurt his door. 

You are not there when he starts smacking himself in the head because he got a question wrong in school. 

You are not there when he gets so attached to a coat that you have to search every store possible to find the exact same coat and sneek when he is sleeping and change the coat so he doesn’t notice. 

When we are at family functions, we leave when he is about to have a meltdown. We watch the signs. We try to avoid as many triggers as possible so that we can all enjoy ourselves including him. 

You are not there doing a grocery shop, trying to figure out his meal plan because he needs to have different things in his diet to make sure that he lives the best possible life without having episodes. 

You were not there when I got the phone call that he tried to throw a desk and threw shoes at a teacher because she told him that he couldn’t do something. 

So yes, family. YOU might not see it, YOU might not believe it, but I can tell you with my heart that he is. 

Yes, he is the sweetest, most caring bundle of joy. With the biggest imagination possible. He is so smart when he is able to sit for more than a couple minutes. 

I am doing my best with this whole new thing. I just hope one day you will understand the lengths that I go through every day to make sure that you do not see it. That he has the best possible life. 

The P Word

The P word that no one wants to talk about.  

The P word that every mother dreads. 

The P word that a lot of mothers say they won’t get it

Postpartum depression. 

It is 100% real.

It is not in a mother’s head.

It is not something you can just “get over” 

It is not something that is ‘cured overnight” 

It cannot be fixed “by getting out” more. 

The P word makes you feel sad, and cry even when you have no idea what you are upset about.

The P word make you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep

The P word makes you sleep way too much.

The P word makes you eat too much, or might make you not eat at all.

The P word makes your body feel like you are in so much pain but have no idea where it is coming from.

The P word will make you have mood swings like no tomorrow.

The P word will make you feel out of control, can’t remember anything.

The P word will make you feel disconnected to your baby, this does not mean you don’t love your baby, but it may feel that way. 

The P word might happen right after your baby is born, or it might happen months later. 

You are not alone!! 

No there is nothing wrong with you, I promise you, it will get better. If you or any of your friends are feeling these symptoms, please talk about it, call your doctor, talk to your spouse, your friends. You don’t have to battle the P word alone.

Being a mother is a thankless job

Being a mother is a thankless job. 

We do the things, and don’t expect a thank you, or a good job. 

We don’t wait to be asked to do something, we just do it.

But it’s always nice to hear and when we do hear it, it makes us feel more appreciated that someone noticed that we did something, even though that something happens every day. 

Even though we have done all the things and more. I still ask myself “Did i do enough?” “Did I miss something that I should have done?”

To be seen and encouraged by the people that mean the most to you, the people that you do the most for, it’s just amazing. 

What I long to hear, and I promise it’s pretty simple spouses and children… 

“I noticed that you cleaned _____  and it looks awesome”

I am constantly cleaning the kids’ bedrooms, and the kitchen and the living room and doing the laundry, but I feel like it’s just expected and it’s kinda sad. I promise you it’s not some magical cleaning fairy. 

“Thank you mom for everything you do”

I am constantly picking up after them, constantly finding this and that. “Mom where’s my ___” the fact that you don’t even have to finish the sentence means I am paying attention more than you think

“Thank you for spending time to prepare this dinner for us”

Man, the amount of time lately that I have been making all the meals, I cannot wait till we can eat take out again without being scared. I would rather thank yous then, ew this is gross or why did you make this tonight. I wanted that. 

“Wow you have a way with the kids, you are amazing”

Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, sometimes I feel like the kids are just feral and It’s really hard sometimes to get them under control. 

“The kids and I are so lucky to have you”

I feel like I am just here to make sure the house runs smoothly, sometimes I feel like I am a robot and everyone just expects me to pick and clean up after them. 

These simple words.. These simple thank yous just make everything better, they just make it seem like you are completely appreciated in the house! 

I know they do me! 

Little ones, big emotions

There are a lot of things that we wouldn’t even do as an adult. 

Do you expect your kids to do things that you wouldn’t even do as an adult? 

Do you ever yell at your kids to calm down when they are upset for a good reason? Are you able to calm down right away when you are upset because someone told you too? 

I know personally that I can never calm down when someone tells me, in fact it makes me more upset, because now I am upset that I can’t calm down. 

Kids care about one thing, being able to get their needs met, whether it’s being fed, being hugged, getting that toy that they want, you playing with those toys, you listening to their stories. 

Whatever it is, there is always a good reason they are upset, even if we think it is silly. 

I found once I understood this, my focus changed. From “uh, these kids never listen” to “What is it they really need right now” 

Those freak out, those meltdowns and those storm out of the room moments, are not ‘bad behavior’ they are your child telling you something is wrong. We as adults, as their parents need to help them find a different way of showing their emotions. That is the only way they know how. 

It is amazing when you can defuse a melt down, instead of escalating the situation to the beyond out of control, no return freak outs. 

Figure out what is upsetting them if you have not already, they might need something that they just can’t get, or can’t have. You might have told them not today. The thing that they need or want is very present in their emotions. 

Help your child express themselves in a different way, Telling them to calm down, telling them you need to stop will only make things worse because if they could calm down then they would have already.

This would be like your best friend or husband telling you to calm down when you are upset with something that was really important to you. 100% that would make it worse would it?
“Don’t tell me to calm down!! This is upsetting to me” well your child feels the same way.

Connecting with your child a different way, will help build your relationship with that child, instead of your child thinking “mom never understands and just yells at me” it will turn into “my mom really cares about why I am upset” and they will start to learn to control why they are upset and it will become easier to calm those little/big emotions down.