Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mother vs Mother or, Mother Supports Mother

Oh no, I feel like this post may offend at least one reader, but I know in my heart that I need to get it out of my head .

How many of you are competitive, or feel the need to one up others? I lack that feeling of trying to out do people, but I realized the other day that I offer up advice too much, I offer experience that was MINE and every one's  experiences are different. Sometimes I even find myself apologizing to the individual because once I reflect on what I have said, I feel like a total jerk for coming across as pushy or aggressive or a know it all, all the while at the moment my intentions were pure.

I remember as a child having friends in the group that were always trying to out do or one up everyone else. I have a child exactly like this...(reason behind this particular blog)

All in 1 day........

Hunter : " (Excitedly telling his youngest brother) I got to whatever level on whatever game in however many minutes!"

Bubby: " I can get to whatever higher level on this better game in half the time!"

Couple of hours later.....

Ukie: " I am learning how to throw the football pretty far now!"

Bubby: " I am better at football than you, and my football is better than yours."

This is an every day behavior to puff himself up, make himself look better and be better than others. He's always been like this.

In a group dynamic you are going to find 3 typical types of people...

1) What I like to call the "Initiator" or"Seeker"
This is the person who will initiate the conversation within the group, seek information or advice.

2) What I like to call the "Know it all" or "Advice columnist" or "The Experienced One"
This is the person who is the first to offer their wisdom, first hand experience, or the person that feels the need to be at the top of the groups social pyramid.

3) What I like to call the "Compliant One" or "Following the Leader"
This is the person that just agrees with the leader, or likes things only because others in the group do, even if secretly they really don't like whatever it is.

I was very much a number 3 person in my younger years...You can stop laughing now, I know, it's hard to believe that I would just agree with people and keep my opinions to myself, but it's the truth.
I wanted to be liked and belong so badly that I found myself a sheep following the rest of the herd who was chasing after their Shepherd. It never dawned on me at that time that I would have true, real, mature friendships if I only stated what my true thoughts were.

As I get older, and as I watch my children grow, I see characteristics in my children that I saw in my childhood groups. I have always taught my children that having their own opinion is important to being true to who you are...and let me tell you...this mentality has become a hostile issue. I have 4 children who aren't afraid to state their opinions and who aren't afraid to fight for their cause...even though 3 of them are probably incorrect at the moment.
As a child and teenager I was a follower, I was headstrong and stubborn in my own world at home, but in the social scene, being liked and accepted was more important than being independent. I had just begun to find my backbone, and my independent thinking abilities when I met John, then I became a docile and obedient girlfriend. It didn't take very long before  I was nothing but a shell of a human, no emotions, no opinions, no voice and eventually I found myself unable to feel ...anything.

I was given advice from other women on how to "just leave" and the experienced ones would try and help me as much as they could, but in a frustrating time in life, sometimes advice and others experiences (though valid and ultimately helpful) can seem overwhelming and unattainable. You get in a mindset that you'll be able to figure this or that out on your own, and though you appreciate all that others are doing for you, it can sometimes just be too much.

Since our lives have become so social through Internet connections I notice, as I am sure you all do as well, that it doesn't take but a spark to ignite an entire fiery explosion when it comes to opinions. What happens though is that we have somehow forgotten that others are ALLOWED to have opposing opinions and they should without judgement. If everyone thought the same way..well, then you would all be juicing, dread locked, non shaving hippies...or something along those lines.

What makes me sad though is that these opinions bring such separation among the troops, and I see mother against mother, and shame throwing like it's the super bowl. Vaccinate/ don't vaccinate, circumcise/don't circumcise, hospital births /home births, vaginal deliveries/planned c-sections, home school/public school, spank/don't spank. Tell me this, when did judging and shaming become our responsibility? When did acceptance of other people rights and opinions die?

As the years come and go I find my soul becoming more and more sensitive. It is a strange feeling for me because allowing myself to feel emotions let alone show them usually was followed by punishment and ending in a fight. I remember when a friend of mine died in 2003, I felt so sad, but I was at work when I read the paper so I tried my hardest to hold my emotions back until I could get home. I hitch hiked home, walked in my apartment door and the tears began to flow, I couldn't control them any longer. John was furious that I was crying over some guy that I hadn't seen in years, and accused me of loving him, and blah blah blah. Crying was a weakness that John preyed on so learning how to bury them was a survival technique.

Geez...that went off track for a moment. SENSITIVE..that is what I was getting to.  I am incredibly sensitive now, and I have feelings that get hurt easily and often times for no other reason than I am open to energies that allow me to empathize and sympathize now.
I feel judged quite a bit. I see the disgusted stares by older people when they see my
 dreadlocks..I am sure they assume that I don't bathe or wash my hair because that is a stereotype. I wish that they could understand that the pain that I live with , the nerve damage that I have in my arms, prohibit me from being able to brush my own hair. Before I dreaded my hair I was having to try and teach my teenager how to properly brush someones hair or I had to rely on Casey to do it. Dreading my hair also gave me a self love that I have never experienced before. It opened up a door for me to walk through into self acceptance. I love my dreadlocks, and sorry, I have no future plans of ever taking them out.

I have felt judgement because I've seen the looks I would get when I would put my young toddler in a booster seat instead of a full car seat.  15 years ago I was taught by a police officer that the shoulder strap holes need to be above the shoulders and as they grow taller and when their shoulders are above those holes, that is a sign that you need to upgrade to the next size car seat, so that is the rule of thumb that I have always gone by for 15 years and 4 kids. The car seat movement is very new, and I am old. While I appreciate all of your dedication to your car seat safety concerns, my 50+ pound 4 year old was safe and now that she is 5, I feel she is even safer. I do appreciate all of you car seat ladies though so please do not let this blog post piss you off too much.

Breast feeding mommies....I love you, I appreciate you and I am sorry if you have every felt like I pressure you or anything. I know that some of you are on your last babies, and I just want to help you succeed.  I pumped like a mad woman with my first much so that I would pump 6 full bottles in the 15 minute scheduled pumping time. I remember crying as I was laying in recovery after my c-section because the nurse came in and had me pump and I only got an ounce out of each side and I was convinced then and there that I would starve my poor preemie baby to death. The nurse laughed in amazement (as I cried in fear and frustration) and informed me that she had NEVER seen any mother pump 2 ounces of colostrum the first time pumping. So for me, breast milk has never been an issue, but my heart hurts for you mommies that struggle getting you milk supply up, I instinctively want to give you the same HELPFUL advice that I was given with my baby because I remember so vividly feeling like my amount was insufficient (even if it wasn't, I still felt that feeling). I am sorry if you ever have felt attacked or invaded by me or my advice. I was dedicated to breastfeeding my youngest, I had made that promise to her and myself when she was still in the womb, and then when she was born, that wonderful and euphoric fantasy became a painful and frustrating reality. I wish that I had her checked for tongue tie because I feel her latch would not have been so painful, but, I didn't and I would be lying if I said that I was a pro. I cried every feeding for the first 8 weeks, and then from there my toes would curl from the pain and anxiety of knowing that her initial latch would be so excruciating. It would only hurt for a second or two and then she would be fine....I am not even going to talk about teething and biting, that would be another blog post.
Anyway, I just don't understand the guilt....I know it is there, and I know many women who have it, but why??? Is it a societal guilt? Is it a peer guilt from the other mothers? Is it a guilt stemmed from feeling like you failed? STOP allowing guilt to creep in...If you gave it every try and attempt, you SUCCEEDED!!!

Oh and lets talk LICE for a second (no, no one here at my house has it...but...) I remember the first time I had to deal with lice as a parent, it was terrible. For some reason when a kid gets lice, it is an automatic assumption that its because they are dirty or their living environment is filthy...quite the opposite...lice prefer clean hair because it is easier to attach their eggs to. Because society thinks of lice as gross, disgusting, and a "dirty" epidemic, it creates an embarrassment for the mother (and probably the fathers too, but I am speaking from personal experience.). Used to be that when a head check was done at school, the kid was then sent home....

Classmates: " Where is Tommy, he was here before lunch?"
                     " He got sent home because he has bugs"
                     " Ewwww, gross"

Great, now Tommy has a stigma and Joey's mom won't let him invite Tommy over for sleepovers again.
OK, so.....where is the Mom, Super Action Team showing up at Tommy's house to help his already stressed out, frazzled and embarrassed mom treat the house?
The first time we had to deal with it, I was so embarrassed and I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how to treat this problem. I shampooed everyone's head, I washed their bedding, and a week later, did the same routine. I was too embarrassed to ask for help or advice and it was from fear of being judged.
And while we are on the topic of head lice...I just want to express my disgust at how expensive it is to treat something that is a yearly epidemic?? I mean, come on....
I have 6 people in my house, and while I used to be able to just shave the boys heads, they are teenagers now and their hair is important to them, and I am not about to shave my daughters hair..yeah that's out of fear of her dad freaking out on me.
OK, so 6 people, if you get the whole kit, your looking at about $20. You will have to buy 2 since you'll have to do it all over again in 7 days. so $40....BUT...there isn't shampoo to cover everyone (especially if they have thick hair like my family) so you'll have to buy 2 extra bottle each time and the cheapest that I have found them is about $7, so that is another $14. EXPENSIVE.
I believe if one of the major shampoo companies (lets say Suave just as an example) would start making, and selling family size lice shampoo bottles for the same price as their normal family size bottles, then you could actually treat your whole family for $6. And not mention, having the bottles right on the shampoo isle instead of on another isle where it's noticeable, then it would be less obvious that you're dealing with lice.
To prevent, i have come up with the best cure-all. I buy a family size bottle of shampoo (Treseme ...sp?) for around $6, I pour about a third of it into an extra bottle that I keep around. I then buy lice killing shampoo for about $7, (I prefer the non pesticide, natural type) and pour the entire bottle of that into the shampoo bottle, and then I pour a good amount of Tea Tree oil in (bought a bottle for $6) and shake the crap out of that bottle. Since my kids are on an every other day cycle for bathing, they wash their hair with the shampoo every other day. I have instructed them to put the shampoo on as soon as they get in and allow it to sit for just a few minutes and then rinse it out. We are lice free and preventive (and I am pretty creative, but, you all knew that already.)
I will admit though that when I am in Wal-Mart and I am buying the Lice shampoo, I am embarrassed to be seen buying it. Thoughts run through my head like "Oh look, that girl with the dreadlocks has lice", things along that line.

I am guilty of judging people, we all do it, but I try and make a conscious effort to try and save the judgments until I know the person and they give me a reason to judge. LOL , I was telling Hunter about what the post was going to be about and then I looked at him and said..."Uhhh, I am being judgy by posting about others judging others.....I'm a judger judging judges who judge". Yes I know I just made those words up, but they are fun to say.

I am a sensitive soul who is no stranger to feeling judge.....I feel judged for my weight, my kids, having so many kids, my house, feeling like I am messy and dirty, for having dreadlocks, for not dressing nicer, for having been a spanker of children, for having previously been a vaccinating parent, and now, not being a vaccinating parent, for having a rude son, for being too hard of a parent, for not attending every fight with a kid, for staying on top of their behavior, for freely offering my uninvited opinions, for being lazy, for being gone all the time, for hiding in my room for days, for not working,  you name it, I have felt the judgement over it, and it is a terrible feeling. It creates a feeling of unworthiness, of failure, shame, embarrassment, and even depression and isolation.

How about being judged off of the word of others who dislike you? I had many people think that I was a terrible, absent, meth head mother who cared more about getting high than seeing my kids, when in reality, John was playing the "great dad" card. I was told what days to come visit and what times were best, and it was always when his girlfriends weren't home, this gave him room to convince them that I never came to see my kids when he had them. I was looked at like I was garbage and a horrible mother, and in the meantime I was working my ass off going through treatment, securing employment, working through bumps in a relationship, finding safe shelter, and preparing a safe and healthy life to bring my kids home to.

I have a difficult time when it comes to memes on Facebook, especially ones that present addicts in a stereotypical or less than human way.Today there is one going around with a man showing that he has no teeth in his mouth and his hand is messed up. I read the meme and it angered me right off the bat. There are a million different scenario;s that could be behind this picture...sad! I know that it is so easy for people to make fun of the meth addicts with no teeth, or laughing at them on a video as you follow them around a store recording them (which is just really an a-hole move), but coming from a woman who fights addiction every single day of her life, it's not funny to me. Passing judgement on these humans, it is sad, and calloused and it all boils down to the fact that this person made a different choice in life and that addiction is not the person, addiction is the sickness that they struggle with daily. Here is the thing non addicts (which lets face it...every one on the planet has an addiction to something) don't really understand about the average addict....most addicts already hate who they have become, they are already ashamed of how far they have fallen, and most addicts are disgusted at who they see in the mirror, the last thing they need is for people to make fun of their self destruction. For those of you with christian beliefs, this is where the verse "Love the sinner, hate the sin" comes in to play.
I was a meth addict for a very long time, I never stole from others, I never ripped people off, and I may not have lost my teeth or had pick marks on my face, and tob the outside world I looked pretty "normal", but I was every bit as much of an addict as those people in the memes.  I can promise you that when you judge those who already are their worst judges, you are just as much a part of the drug problem as they are if not worse. Instead of judgement, offer a listening'd be surprised to hear some of the heartbreaking stories that lead them to their addictions. Instead of judgement, offer comfort and empathy, they are after all still human and have feelings. Instead of judgement, offer kindness and humanity, ask them if there is anything that you could help them with, even a kind gesture of hygiene products can make a world of difference.and make them feel cared about. Instead of judging an addiction that you know knowing about first hand, offer to be educated about it so that you can try and get an understanding. No sin is worse than another, no ones addiction is worse than another, but, everyone's story offers forks in the road, and some just chose a different path.

As mothers, we ALL have the same end goal, to raise healthy, happy, responsible, and functional adults. We need to begin to defy the societal stigma and support instead of separate, unite instead of divide. If you do not agree on the topic at hand, it's alright to still support that other mother in her loving decision. If you choose to vaccinate, and someone else chooses not to, did you make your choice from love and concern for the well being of YOUR child? I can guarantee that the other mother did as well. As parents we make choices and decisions based on what we know, what we are told, and what is expected of us, and now, with the technology that we have, we are also able to make our choices based on our own research. I could care less what your choices in your life are because it is YOUR life and I support your choices for your children because they are YOUR children, I love you for loving your babies, that's what matters the most to me.

Whew, that was a long one, sorry about feels good getting it out of my head though because its been rolling around in there for the last two nights preventing me from getting good sleep....
I hope none of you took anything I said in here on the offensive side, it genuinely is just my opinion on things.

I love all you wonderfully amazing humans and I hope your day rocks...
Peace and Blessing to you all!!!


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