It has been a whole year since my break up. It has been over 365 whole days. I took a break to myself. Took some times for a couple of vices (politics, chocolate cake, and work). But I am a human and a woman after all. Some earlier this year I made plans to start searching for a new partner. I wasn’t sure at the beginning what I wanted. I knew I wanted a good time. Not like a sexy good time but the kind of time where you go out, you have fun, and you say to yourself, “I’d like to do this again.”Though I have become more open to the idea of dating it has been a struggle. It’s easy to say I would like to start dating again than actually dating.
I found out there are a lot of scumbags still out there. There are guys scumbags but feel the need to put on the appearance of one. Congratulations, you are still a scumbag. Then there are the guys that believe the some how are getting passed over for scumbags. They are your emo boyfriend from high school revisited. Unaware they are the just as much of a scumbag than the guy supposedly their exes left them for, they sit around moping about the last girlfriend. Sometimes the girlfriend before that. And the one before that girlfriend. Oh, this is before you make arrangements for an actual date.
But now I am a mom. My kid comes first. So now it’s about a person I am cool with bringing around my kid. Hell even letting them know I have a kid. You are always constantly worried about if this person will harm your child. You also have to take into account that this person might also have the opportunity to influence your child for the better or the worst.
So now I am picky. I am pickier than I was 2 or 3 years prior. I do go on dates. I have fun on these dates sometimes. But now my bar is raised. I won’t settle. I have high standards. Probably the standards I should have had from the beginning.
So my son is 22 months old. He has gotten to the point where if he soils his diaper he tells me or tries to take it off. He will even pick up his own diaper and throws it away. So of course from time to time, I might mention this to a friend or two. So to my surprise, I received a lot of, “So you are going to potty train him right.”
I think what caught me off guard the most were the friends that didn’t have kids that were admint that it was time of me to start potty training. How does one who have never give birth to child all of sudden decide that a child is capable of knowing they are ready to to go to the potty. Now let me remind you… my son is a little over one in half and close to 2 years old or 24 months. Most girls start at around 2 and boys somehwere between 2 and half to 3 years old. Although my son is able to understand that his soiled diaper is not something you would like to keep in his room, he doesnt seem to understand the process before the soiled diaper. He knows during. He will hide himself. However there are still sometimes he will go and still keep playing. I just know he isnt ready yet.
But this isn’t about if my son is really to potty train as much as it is people feeling the the need to tell me how parent my child espcially people lacking the life experience. As if I am not potty training just beccause I like changing diapers. I know I am new mother. I am always look for ways to do things the right way. So I am open to sound suggestion… when I ask for it. Even if they did have experience I didn’t ask you for your input. And maybe that is rude but, its also rude to interject when no one ask you to.
I know I sound angry, but I bit perturbed. I don’t want to force my child to do something he isn’t ready for just only create self doubt in his abilities to do anything not just potty training. So I can say oh my son is already using the potty. Parenting isn’t just about hitting milestones and it especially isn’t about hitting them early.
Yes, I stress about being a mommy. A couple days ago I was walking to one of my best friends about my blogging situation. He is a hipster and will say it without any issue. Like most of my friends very childless and hoping to stay so. He asked me about things that I cared about as a mom. I started listing some things. Then he started listening something things. You know the outlandish stuff like essential oils ( which supposedly can make you or your kid really sick) and gluten. I started laughing.
Don’t get me wrong gluten is a serious thing… to kids gluten allergies. We all hear about that mom or see some form of them as characters in a TV show or movie. Still, to this day I don’t believe that kids should be vegetarians because of watching, “About a Boy.” But let’s be honest we have all been there. My irrational obsessive over parenting for awhile was fear of Autism that was constantly being brought up by my ex and his family. Which got slightly worse after my son’s pediatrician was worried about my son speech development. At 18 month my son only knew a handful of words such as hi, my sister’s name, my given name, and Duchess (our chihuahua). One of my close friends is Autistic, and I love him very much. No one wants their kid to have autism. I was obsessed with anything that could cause Autism. “Could be his diet… All the stress I had during my pregnancy… can gluten cause Autism.” I am joking about the gluten. 2 months later my son speaks in full phrases. In fact this morning he handed me my Xbox one controller and asked, ” Do you want this?” Maybe later I guess.
Again… don’t take it the wrong way. Mommy sense is the best thing ever. It what helps you know your kid is in danger. And not everyone gifted with mommy sense. Sometimes I wonder if I have strong enough Mommy sense. But sometimes in an attempt to keep kids safe we not only are going overboard but we are also harming them. You have heard it before and most people call it helicopter parenting. But I am not just talking about helicopter parenting. I am also talking stressing about every little thing. Do your research and maybe not microwave your kid’s food in plastic or recycle more. But don’t break out into a hot sweat over little stuff.
I am the oldest of four. I am 60 parts my father and 40 parts my mother. I can tell you neither of them knew how to deal with the person they helped create. Now, it’s sort of a given that parents have no clue what they are doing with their first child. Hell, I have no clue what I am doing. It’s sorta sad, because had they taken the time to actually listen and communicate effectively it would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. But… Let me tell you a story.
A couple of days ago my mom and I were having a conversation about her belief that turning the other cheek in certain situations or even apologizing. I told her she went about it all wrong. There was a certain situation in which my aunt got upset with me when I was 12 and cursed me out like a grown woman. My other aunt lied and said I had yelled at that swore at me. I called out for her to try to explain not yelled. But I was forced, not asked, to apologize to that aunt. I took it as my parents didn’t trust my word. I also internalized that as that I wasn’t worthy of respect. It wasn’t until I was an adult to work through the pain and anger that I didn’t even know I held on to that day.
However, the conversation got me to think about not just learning from my mistakes as a mother but my parents’ mistakes. I also learned I have to undo the mistakes I left behind with my son. This a growing person who is learning who they are. It’s my responsibility to make sure my son functions at a healthy emotional level. I don’t him turning 29 and realizing that he is acting out on a situation that happened to him over 15 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents. I also completely understand that working with the tools given to them by their parents. Let me tell you my grandparents are like a bag of knotted rubber bands. I think my parents did the best they could with what knowledge they had. I wish they would have handled it differently, but wishful thinking in the past gets us nowhere… on both sides.
I cry all the time, and I hate it. I am not talking about when I am sad. I mean, I cry about anything really. This isn’t who I use to be. I was a total G or gangster for those of you less knowledgeable on slag. I cried when loved ones passed, when I hurt myself, or at the end of “Ferngully.” But by the time I had reached my mid-20s my tears sorta just dried up. I cried only one time, and it was only to remind people I was (still is… I think) human. I knew it was the beginning of the end my certified g-ness when I cried in the drive-through of a Jack in The Box.
I was 7 months pregnant. At the time there was one car between my son’s father and I so sometimes I would drop him off at the VA on the way to work. So when I go to pick him up… he is nowhere to be found. I had been in gridlock traffic for an hour. At this point, he was staying downtown. So I am circling the streets of downtown Houston calling my boyfriend who’s phone is dead. I had to eat something so after calling my boss to let them know that I was probably going to be a whole hour and a half late, I stopped at Jack in the box. I order a breakfast combo but when I receive my order there is no hashbrown. I started to cry. This wasn’t “a one tear down the face” cry. This was “a are you trying to kill me” cry. I marched back in and demanded a refund… still crying mind you. That is the day that broke me.
This year, I had to talk myself to watch half the nominated films this last Oscar season. You know how weird it is to yourself in the mirror before watching “Moonlight” because you know you are going to cry. Anytime a mother is having her child taken away I cry. I cry watching very dramatic tv shows I want at some point during the season. I cry during some the comedies sometimes. I can’t watch local news without crying. I am an emotional mess. Emo will have you.
I know that some of this that I am a mom now. Mommy’s get the feels about a lot of things. It’s like you are walking around the earth, and it was just you. Some of you are married before or you had boyfriends or girlfriends here and there but you were only truly responsible for you. Now you get pregnant. You have a baby. Now you are responsible for this tiny human being not just from a physical standpoint but an emotional one. I think my emo state is optional. I chose not to be cold and on caring because I can’t afford to be. It sucks, but there will a huge payoff.
I have always thought of myself as homely. I am a home girl. I wear jeans, t-shirts, and Chuck Taylor tennis shoes. I read books, play video games, and worked as a writer. I was too busy for makeup. It wasn’t until after dealing with my post-partum depression and help from friends that started looking ways for self-care.
This blog was one way, and my appearance is another.My appearance has always been a big deal for me. However, sometime in high school, I wanted people to take me seriously I stop wearing makeup. I stop dressing up unless asked. Now don’t get wrong… I like I stated I love jeans and t-shirts, but I also make a conscious choice of what I am going to wear. But getting myself back into the idea of self-care was a struggle.
My first time applying makeup was in early middle school. I was still applying my make up like an 11-year-old. I have the artistic skills of a toddler. It is literally the grace of God that I can apply my eyeliner in a straight line. So I had watch video after video, which was cathartic as well, to get an idea of what I was doing. Then next it was purchasing brushes, applicators, primers, and etc. Not to mention a very unproductive visit to Sephora where I left looking like an Oompa Loompa. I eventually figured it out how to do a simple beat. I am still learning.
I think people don’t understand how small things help with maintaining your overall mood. I needed something to remind me that I am human. Taking care of myself helps tremendously. At the end of the day if you look good you feel good.
Every two weeks my partner and I have couples counseling. I am a strongly advocate couples counseling for relationships with one or two combat veterans. However… listen closely… don’t judge me but … I hate it!
Therapy by yourself is awesome. You sit there. You bad mouth who you want. You cry while only your therapist sees you. You talk about those horrible things that you want no one to know about but you.
Therapy with another person is completely different. It’s almost like having a major ego trip. You have to sit there in front of your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife and be told you were wrong. In counseling by yourself the counselor is going to say you are wrong, but you are alone. He doesn’t have to hear it. You can go on about your day without your significant other knowing. My personal issue is the rawness of it.
I hate telling people my problems. I just recently got comfortable talking to my personal therapist. Now I have to talk about these horrible embarrassing things that happened in front of our therapist and my partner. You just leave with that feeling you had of when your parents told you were grounded. I am not saying our family therapist chastises us (she is one of the better providers are the Debakey VA). It’s the idea that you are to old for this crap.
Yesterday, my partner called at around 11am and asked, ” We have couples counselling at 1500. Do you want to go?” I groaned,”Not really but I will.”
I am not quiter. This relationship isn’t easy but is any relationship easy? So there are times I am going to do things I don’t want to. There are times I am going to have to make sacrifices. Like watch tv shows I don’t like. Listen to terrible music. Go to my couples therapy every two weeks.
I was in needed a little encouragement, so I called my mother. I have said previously that I am always second guessing my decisions, and I was doing so right then. My mom is really good at laying all the cards on the table…Like a psychological tarot card reader. So after everything was said, the first idea that popped into my head was, ” I am sure someone made worse mistakes. Then I thought about it. That has nothing to do with me!
We are so pre-disposed, in our society, to compare ourselves to others. For some reason it’s worse with women. Oh and don’t get me started on this better than the next mother. I thought I was passed this. I remember being in one of my mentoring groups (within my churches youth group) and leader cackling like a crazy woman as she talked about how she was grateful to God he was waiting to send her the perfect man because her friends had marital problems. She came off as bitter. I don’t ever want to seem bitter.
Yeah, I had a list of things that I wanted to do by the time I was 30. Just because it isn’t going the way I would like doesn’t mean I have to tear people down in my heads. Insecurity feeds on shared misery. The funny thing is I couldn’t even think of one person I wanted to feel better than. I am glad I took the time to stop myself before searching. So I am taking the challenge to try to break this habit.
So I decided this weekend to go visit my sister, who live outside the city in Webster, TX. I haven’t had much time to watch local news this week so I had no idea that crazy thunderstorm was going to come through. On top of that, flooding was expected for most of Houston. I figured I’d spend the night with my sister and wake up the next morning to realize it was a false alarm. It wasn’t.
Webster was relatively okay, but I remember last Memorial Day when people actually died trying to get into the city. My neighborhood (Third Ward) was flooded as usual. I called my partner not just check on him but our neighbors as the storm drain in the courtyard doesn’t drain properly. I wasn’t going home anytime soon. Highway 288 (The Nolan Ryan Expressway) was underwater because of Brays Bayou. They even found a dead body later that afternoon. I wasn’t going to risk having not only my tiny GTI but my son for that matter get in caught in the flooding.
I spent most of the day live tweeting while watching the news. I was able to have good discussion on city planning, climate change, re-gentrification, and flood planning. It also gave me time to focus on my writing.
I had been working on this story plot for almost 6 years ago. Second guessing myself as kept me from being able to actually write a novel or graphic novel. I made goal to start re-writing my first chapter this month. While watching the news I starting writing my store again. I am so proud of myself. I am so amazed at what I was able to do when I didn’t second guess myself. I have been learning this past couple of months about listening to my instincts, and reaching for my goals. I hope that I have the fortitude to keep up with this.
When it comes to parenting, my brother and I are total opposites. My brother is more conservative, and I am more liberal. So when the conversation about the LGBTQ community and our children I had a ton of eye rolls for my brother. I won’t tell you the details of our conversation, but I am interested in people believe hiding the truth from your kids is protecting them?
By the time I was about 6, I already knew that boys could like boys (or girls could like girls). I also knew that there were people out there were born one gender and wanted to be another. My parents were really open with explaining things to me. Although my mother was very devout christian that didn’t stop her from having a gay best friend or loving those who were gay. In fact my mom has encouraged me to bring all my friends around my son. I learned from my mom that everyone deserves love and respect. This is one of the reason I chose the partner that I have.
” I don’t care how uncomfortable your lifestyle makes me…everyone deserves respect,” he said to me bluntly one day.
The last year has opened my partner to meeting people from walks of life that he hasn’t been expose to either from the small town he is from to the military. Not only has this allowed him to grow with his relationship with Veterans who don’t live the way he does but it has opened him up to view points on how to deal with those veterans.
Well couple of days ago while book shopping for my little one my partner pointed out that there was a adult novelty shop across the street from the book store. I waved it off. “My mom’s agent’s office was on the sunset strip.” I realized that the bookstore happen to be in area where my gay friends and I frequently club. I decided that would be open and honest with my son the way my parents were with me. I hope that some day after I taught him everything it is to be a decent human being that he will treat others with dignity and respect. I am not saying that you need agree with everyone’s way of living, sexual preference, or even their views on politics. I am saying to… just be kind.