30 July 2016

Dear Mom Shamers.....

As I sit here, living in my imperfect world, I find myself thinking about the the judgemental assholes around me. As we become more engrossed in social media, the more stories we share, the more pictures we share, the more personal information we share, hoping that our posts will go viral and the world will come back with comments of love, respect and support. 
Recently, a child wandered into a gorilla enclosure at the zoo, a young boy was pulled by an alligator into a lagoon in Florida and the world reacted. Imagine the helplessness and horror these parents were experiencing. Imagine the grief of watching your child being dragged into the water by an alligator or a gorilla tossing your child around like a rag doll. 

Mom shaming.

Instantly, the world jumped on these parents.
"Why wasn't she watching her child?"
"Where were the parents?"
"They are so neglectful."
"Worst parents."
"They will go to hell."
"Arrest the parents."

They must of been pretty shitty parents for taking their children to the zoo and to Disney World. What is wrong with you society? Sitting behind your computer screen, spewing out venom. 

Hundreds of comments shaming the parents. Have you ever turned away for a second, turned back around and your child was gone? Damn right you have done it. We all have. Our hearts race and we vow to never do that again....only to have it happen the following week. When we hover over our children, we are accused of being a helicopter parent, if we step back and give our children some independence, we are accused of being neglectful. What the fuck? Seriously. Children are impulsive and unpredictable little beings. We work our asses off to make sure that they are fed, watered, loved and taken care of. Some days, the best we can do is to give our children leftover cheerios found stuck between the seats in the vehicle, or a box of Kraft Dinner, or 4 movies in a row on the IPad. Some days, all I say is "NO" over and over again and other days, I am the "YES" mom. Some days, all I do is kiss and hug my children and other days, I just want space, a vacation and a 60 of rum. 

Mom shaming.

Yes, I am also guilty. I can admit it. I have shamed and criticized moms while at the playground and on social media. I tend to shame them in my own head, rather than confronting or writing a nasty comment. A stranger pulls out their cell phone, takes a video or snaps a picture of a mom doing something that they think goes against the grain, goes against what they see as appropriate.  It gets posted online and the criticism and chastising begins. The victim, unknowing of the post that is soon to go viral. 
The stranger:
1) None of us are perfect.
2) We are doing our best.
3) Maybe you should mind your own business.
4) You made yourself look like a judgmental a-hole.
5) Invasion of privacy is not cool.

Motherhood is hard, so why are we doing this to each other? Why do we feel that it is our right to shame other moms? 
Breastfeeding in public. You are the best. Put your tits away.
Organic food. You must love your child. Go hump a tree.
Pinterest parties. You are the best. If Pinterest said that it's the right way, we all know, this must be the only way. Stop competing with other moms.
Weight gain. You must be happy and in love. You're fat and unhealthy.
Baby wearing. You have such a beautiful bond with your child. You're a follower of trends.
Formula fed. Great work...gives you some independence. You didn't try hard enough to breastfeed.
Working mom. Way to go! You're a horrible mom.
Stay at home mom. You are amazing. You're lazy as shit. 

Shaming. Shaming. Shaming.

Let's get back to the days when we supported one another. Let's get back to when we used kindness and love to carry each other through our days. We work hard. We try hard. We want to be acknowledged by others. Tell a stranger that they are doing great work. Pay them a compliment. Tell your friends that they've got this! It's hard raising children. Stop shaming and start praising. AMEN!

19 March 2016

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways.

I'll get right to it! I love my husband and he loves me....a lot.

My top ten list....

10) James loves me so much that he tickles my back every night and expects nothing in return.....sometimes.....occasionally.....I pretend that I am fast asleep. He loves me. 

9) James loves me so much that when I am going to the bathroom, he likes to visit and tell me all the really juicy exciting details about his day. I know that it's the perfect time to share stories, when I want 5 minutes of privacy, on my cell phone, checking Instagram and Facebook. He loves me.

8) James loves me so much that when I tell him "NO" he tells me that "NO" is the new "MAYBE", then he pokes me in the eye with it and slaps my forehead. You're hopefully picking up what I'm putting down! ;) He loves me.

7) James loves me so much that when I am taking my 3 minute shower, upstairs, in our bathroom, with the door closed, he comes in with the children and allows them to stare at me through the glass door and yell while he laughs and walks away to play his game on the IPad. He loves me.

6) James loves me so much that when I am telling him a story about work or his children, he nods and smiles, then when I bring something up later on, he stares at me blankly and wonders why I assume he knows what I am talking about. He loves me.

5) James loves me so much that when I tell him I need a vacation and some relaxation, he wonders what he can do for me that will cost $5.00 + tax. He's generous and he loves me. 

4) James loves me so much that within 5 minutes of delivering Adele, I yelled "GET IT SNIPPED" and he was on the phone and booked himself in without first reading the YELP reviews. He also allowed me to ask the doctor if he would forego the freezing just so James could experience some of the pain that I endured while delivering his beautiful children. He loves me. 

3) James loves me so much that when my head spins in a full circle and my eyes turn red and roll to the back of my head and smoke pours out of my ears and every single muscle in my body tightens and contracts, he cautiously and gingerly tells me that he loves me.

2) James loves me so much that when I asked him to go to the store for maxi-pads and tampons and for some Canestan because the antibiotics that I was taking made me want to rip my vagina off, he smiled and made his way to the local drug store. Upon his return, he had all of the items and a large bag of mini eggs. He wanted to distract the cashier from focusing on the other 3 items in the cart. He knows I love mini eggs. He loves me.

1) James loves me so much that when we were engaged, I got the stomach flu and lost control over all bodily functions and shite in the bed, on the carpet, on the floor, then managed to hit the toilet, he didn't say a word. He grabbed the yellow rubber gloves, held his breath, grabbed a scrub brush and got down on his hands and knees. He still wanted to marry me. He loves me. 

To all the men who nod and smile, I raise my glass to you! 



14 February 2016

I Am Doing Enough. I Am Good Enough.

My last post, which was over three months ago, was about how for a brief moment in time, my life was normal. Lots has happened over the past few months; we moved, Adele had eye surgery, we've had 3 developmental aides, with a new one starting next week and the craziness of going back to work part-time. I feel like my head has been spinning and that I get pulled in so many different directions. While James and I were laying in bed one night, I said to him that I didn't know if I was cut out to be a mom, a wife. It's hard to admit defeat sometimes, but when life is going at warp speed and not taking the time to enjoy all of the fruits and joys, it can really take its toll on a person. 
We have decided to go away next month for a few days to find ourselves once again, to reconnect with each other and our children. We desperately need a break from life. 

I've been back and forth with my thoughts on Down syndrome lately. That may sound bizarre, but as we get closer to transitioning from home life to school life, the worries are ever present. I recently went to our local school to talk about programming for Adele and what the next few years would look like for her. There really isn't a lot in our town, so it was a bit discouraging. James and I are tossing back and forth the idea of just keeping her at home for one more year and then enrolling her in our community preschool. She is involved in Special Olympics, swimming, four hours a week of therapy and community outings. Is this enough? How much programming do three years olds need? Children with exceptional needs, do we sometimes over-program? Do we feel that the more the better? At what point do we just sit back and let them be kids? Can we just let our children with Down syndrome, just be kids? I find that as a mom to a child with special needs, I stretch myself so thin that I forget that she needs to just be a kid. Do I always need to focus on developmental milestones? Can't I just let them come? I should probably increase her therapy hours; she is allowed nine hours a week.....why are we only accessing four hours? I know why.......

I have a developmental aide coming into our home. I have a speech therapist coming into our home. I have a physio therapist coming into our home. I have an occupational therapist coming into our home. I have our FSCD caseworker coming into our home. I fill out monthly paperwork to get reimbursed for our expenses. I book hearing appointments. I book vision appointments. I book pulmonary appointments. I plan family outings where Adele can get around and have fun. I buy developmental toys on a regular basis. I turn into 'THAT' mom when Adele gets sick. I panic, I lose sleep, I think about the little one with Down syndrome who just lost her life to a pulmonary infection. I think about her tiny little passages and if they can get her through this cold, this flu. 
This little being whose make up is different than others. A cold isn't always a cold. 

I am doing enough. 

My love does not waiver when it comes to my children, but I need some gentle reminders sometimes that this life that I have been given is for a reason. I have been given both girls for a reason. My patience, my strength has been tested time and time again. I've made it through the shit times, I've made it through the sleepless nights. I've come out on top each time. I remind myself that Down syndrome is a part of my life for a reason and when I look at our children, I see beauty, hope and joy. 

What is beautiful about Down syndrome?

1) Stunning almond shaped eyes
2) Sweet, smaller and gentle features
3) A little gap between her toes which will be perfect for wearing sandals
4) The weak muscle tone makes for the best hugs
5) That smile
6) The love, the unconditional, beautiful love
7) The joy
8) Beauty inside and out
9) There is no judgment
10) So innocent, so pure and so loving

When life gets overwhelming, when you read #theluckyfew, over and over again, when you feel like all the Facebook posts and Instagram pictures are what you strive to be, don't be discouraged. I wish sometimes, I would see that your day sucked, that you curled up in a ball and cried in the corner of your bedroom because the stress and worry took over. I want to see your true reality and not your projected reality. I have never been in competition with my fellow moms, I have never come across as the mom who always has it all together. I am real. I have cried. I have wished for normalcy. I have questioned myself over and over again. I have wondered if life would be more calm, less busy without a child with Down syndrome. I have let myself go there, because it is ok. 

Today, I pick myself up off the ground. I tell myself that my world is as it should be. I tell myself that what I am doing is enough. I ease up on myself. I remind myself that I am travelling this journey with some pretty fantastic people. I am thankful for what Down syndrome has done for our lives. I am allowed to feel defeated and show weakness because I am human, I am a mom. I am good enough for this role. I will stumble many times, but I will always get back up on my feet and will be grateful for the blessings that surround me.