Mother’s Day YOUR Way

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(Photo courtesy of http://theeverymom.com

Happy Mother’s Day 2019— Even if you are not a mother or do not celebrate mother’s day for any reason, this post may be an important one for you.

Mother’s Day comes every year.  No surprises. In May on a Sunday there will be a mother’s day.  A common question to mom’s is, “How do you want/plan to spend your mother’s day?”  This question always makes me antsy at first.

For starter’s, I do not always go and visit my mom.  She lives 10 minutes from me and somehow, most often, I do not take the time to go over to her house to see her.  Sometimes the day falls on her wedding anniversary, but her and my dad are homebodies, so they are normally home.  This means that I really do  not have much of an excuse.  And a lot of people seem bothered by the fact that I don’t always have that in my plans for the day.

The second is that I almost always say that I want to spend the day without my kids.  Yup- I said it.  I don’t normally want to spend my Mother’s Day with the 3 reasons that I even “celebrate” the day.  And while it sometimes makes me antsy to say it to people, I have decided that from now on I will no longer feel guilty for that.  I completely understand that I should probably want to spend the day with them, but I don’t.  And I don’t apologize for the way that makes other people feel anymore, my children included.  Sometimes my kids don’t even want to spend the day with me.  OR rather, they are okay that I don’t feel we need to spend the day together,

And third is, I normally only want to have my house entirely cleaned by someone that isn’t me, . And for the past 14 years that I have been “celebrating”- I can tell you- that has never happened, even though it has been on my “what I want” list since Mother’s Day 2008 after I got married and had someone else living with Madison and I.

I think a lot of people assume that my not wanting to spend the day with my kids means that I must not love them as much.  I know this assumption to be true because it has been said to me. Although, Not true!!

I love all 3 of my kids.  I think the cards and gifts they make at school are adorable.  I love hearing them say Happy Mother’s Day.  I love when they sometimes make breakfast for me with or without the help from their dad.  All of those things are priceless and I am grateful for them.  I don’t want gifts that need to be purchased or are given just because it is believed that you should give your mom something.  I have them and that truly is enough (sometimes, too much to be quite honest)

And still, I would prefer to have the day to myself.  Binge watching my shows, showering and putting back on pj’s, writing, reading and listening to books/podcasts, cleaning, and sometimes even taking myself out to get something to eat if I want, etc.  Now, let me explain this further… I do these things anyway.  On any day that I really feel the need/want to. My kids are a little older so they do not need my attention 24/7 so it has become easier and easier to do them when time allows.  The difference between doing them any other time and doing them on Mother’s Day is that I feel less guilty doing them on Mother’s Day, so I crave this even more.

This year, Madison asked what I wanted. I told her for the house to be cleaned, she even told me that she knew that is what I was going to say.  It never got done.  I stopped expecting it to , but will continue to answer this way for Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas.  I am optimistic that one day it will get done.  Damian asked me if I wanted the day with or without  kids.  Without kids was my response, of course.  So his plan was to take the 3 kids down to see his mom and Grandma.  And I thought that was a lovely idea.  They would get to see most of the members of that side, hang out, and definitely well.  However that did not happen.  Mayci was refusing to go because she felt very strongly that because it was Mother’s Day, she must stay home with me and hang out. This is the first time this has ever happened with any of my kids.  Madison, a typical teenager, decided last minute that she didn’t want to go and was going o stay home as well.  Now, I know that decision had nothing to do with spending time with me and that is perfectly okay.  Myles woke up super late and ended up going with Damian- he didn’t even wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, he just simply rolled out of bed, brushed his teeth, got dresses, grabbed his electronics bag, and left.  Again, I wasn’t even bothered by it.

I will tell you that Madison and Mayci completely surprised me by baking a cake for me and making me breakfast this morning.  I was up pretty early, so I made some coffee and then headed to my desk to work on a project that’s deadline had already passed and I didn’t even realize they were upstairs working on their own project.  20190512_091927.jpgI love how they decorated the cake with cut up strawberries, because then it became a healthy cake for me haha.  Myles didn’t participate because he has had some pretty late nights and did not get up after the several times that his sisters told him to. (Perfectly okay with me).  So the girls and I had a nice quiet day at home each doing what made our hearts happy while the guys went and filled their hearts with joy.

I think the reason I chose to write about this is because I feel that we need a reminder constantly that what works for us does NOT work for other people.  And we need to be reminded consistently that this is OKAY!

I understand that there are mommas out there that would give anything to spend the day with their child that they lost, or gave up, or don’t have this weekend, or have longed for but cannot conceive, etc.  I know there are people out there that would give anything to see their own mom again or for her to be closer to them so they could see at all.  I also know that this feeling doesn’t come and only stay for the day for them but that it is in their heart daily and for all time and on a day like Mother’s Day, it stings just a little worse sometimes.  I know there are moms that have lost children, are longing for children, are estranged from their children, are exhausted raising their children, are loving their children, are struggling with their children, are praying extra hard for their children, and the list goes on and on and on.  I also understand that it may just seem that I am not grateful for what I have been blessed with. I no longer feel the need to justify why this is how I prefer to spend my day, it just is what it is.  And I am grateful that I have a husband and children that understand and respect my feelings when it comes to this.

Regardless of your status on this Mother’s Day— please be kind to yourself!  Allow yourself to spend it in a way that makes YOU feel good, not in a way you feel obligated to.  Make sure you allow yourself to honor your feelings and allow them to show up in whatever manner they may.  If the title of mom is one you hold dear than this is YOUR day for sure-but honestly—— so is every DAMN day.  Celebrate yourself today and EVERYDAY and do not let titles or “holidays” dictate your moves, wants, needs, etc.  If gifts and spending time with your children and/or your mom is what makes your heart happy than raise your children that way and be that example to them.

Most importantly- just remember to be gentle with yourself and others.  Days like these are sometimes extra hard for some however that does not mean that you need to feel guilty if it not that way with you.  It’s all about finding ways that make the day be about what it is meant to be.  Celebration of amazing woman- regardless of their status within the “mom” role.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Now let me get back to doing nothing….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

Finding my power in parenting

I went out for breakfast with a dear friend at the end of 2018 and as we were catching up with each other’s lives, she spoke to me about my “power”.  You see, she was breaking down for me my “power” as a mom.  I am in a constant struggle with finding my place as a mom which I know sound so weird since I have been a mom for over 15 years.  But for me- being a mom has never felt natural. It has never felt like a true calling.  I know that for many people that just doesn’t seem right, that I could feel this way. But it is in fact… the truth for me.  Let me explain why this one conversation and this word has had me thinking all sorts of things… and since it is me, you know it will be a LOOOONNNNGGGG explanation.

Because of this, my parenting style is quite different. I am all over the place with my kids and any given time. My love for them is real, my confidence in parenting- not so much. I do not parent each of my children the same way. What works for one, may not work for the other two. As they change in age, their needs and my requirements shift. Unfortunately these shifts do not always match their needs and can sometimes be excessive, but again, this is my truth.

D and I have a lot of help with our kids. With my steady work schedule and Damian’s not so steady schedule, we need the help. This is where things begin to get tricky.  I am so darn grateful for all the help that I receive.  My older sister, who is like the world’s greatest aunt, will almost always be willing to help out with driving and babysitting if necessary. She works full-time and some of the only times she is unable to help out is due to prior work commitments. My parents will almost always be able to help out on the weekends if need be. I tend to not ask them for weekday help because of their full time work schedules and I know they help out with my niece as well.  My in-laws are almost always available for the day-to-day help. Picking kids up from the bus, from school if they are sick, weekends if possible.  They are becoming more and more busy and in demand as they are gaining more precious grandchildren and they try to make themselves available for all of them.  And again- I am so grateful for ALL of the help that my entire family receives.

And yet, oh dear- isn’t there always a contradiction with me?  And yet, sometimes the help becomes too much for me. I have an issue with boundaries. I either have far too many and don’t allow people to even scratch the surface or I allow people to have no respect for them whatsoever and get all up into my space.  This is where the trouble lies.

I need help and I appreciate help. I sometimes don’t ask for help because of my pride, but I  need it almost all the time. I will never get a mom of the year award. (I wouldn’t really want that piece of junk anyway- I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to put it)  My children probably won’t look back at their childhood and remember many family game nights or amazing family vacations – and I am okay with that. However, I don’t want them to look back and only remember the crappy times and the arguments.

Okay— so I got into all of that because this is what made my dear friend start to talk about my “power”.  As I have been navigating through these various thoughts surrounding self-care, self-love, finding myself – I have been pulling away from many people. One of these people would be my husband. I notice that as I begin to change in some areas of my life, some areas stay the same and sometimes these are the areas that need the change the most. The biggest area is my relationship with my immediate family- Damian, Madison, Myles, and Mayci. These past couple of years have been the roughest. Damian and I have drifted apart, my relationship with Myles and Mayci is not nearly as I strong as I would like it to be, Madison and I have been the worst we have ever been. So it has been quite a relationship mess in our little Curtis household.

Without going into all the nitty-gritty details, in speaking with my friend she started to tell me that as a mom I have a “power” that no one could take from me in that I am my children’s mother. I am their mom. I carried each of them for at least 37 weeks in my body and I physically brought them out into the world.  I have held them while they are upset, nursed boo-boos back to health, cheered them on during their successes, scolded them for their wrong doings… But this still didn’t seem to sit with me well. I do love my children. My love for them may be displayed in ways different from other mommas out there.  I have done all of those things mentioned above– but there are other people in their lives who have done the same for my children(and at times even more)- that my children have bonded with more. And because of that, more often than not, I feel inadequate as a mom. Especially for Myles and Mayci. I believe that in my absence, they would not look for me or feel as though they need me for anything. I do not feel like I have that “power.”

My friend insists that this is not the case. That among all of my insecurities surrounding parenting, I still hold a position in all 3 of my children’s lives. And I am starting to realize how true this is over the past several weeks.  About a month ago, my father in law brought something up to my husband.  He informed my husband that Myles (my 9 yr old) told him that he didn’t think that I loved him because I never want to spend time with him.  I did speak with Myles and got the whole story, but we won’t even get into that today.  Regardless of the “actual story”, this situation got me thinking.  I started questioning even more so about my relationship with my kids and where I stand with each of them.  From that moment – I began to realize my impact on my children’s lives. I spend time with my son watching basketball or talking about school, cherish my girly time with Mayci speaking of princesses and goals, and am starting to actually enjoy my more “grown up” teenage talks about all of those coming of age topics with Madison.  What I haven’t done to be honest is change anything about my parenting, I have just made the time I am with my children more intentional.  I don’t even know if I have truly increased the quantity of time that I have spent with my kids,  but I sure as hell am focused on the quality of that time.

Have I fully embraced my “power”? I have no freaking clue.  Do I feel that my power is diminished by others? Yeah- I think I may still feel this way a little.  The thing that is different– I am  no longer allowing the bond that my children have with other people(grandparents, friends, other family members, etc)- to make me feel like less of a mom.  I am beginning to understand just how lucky my children are to have even more people they feel bonded to and how their worlds do not begin and end with me.

YES- as I always like to remind everyone…my relationship with my children is different. Many other moms would frown upon it- but I think that makes my dynamic even more special.  My children will have their own stories to tell. And while I hope that these stories are fun and light, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tell of the meltdowns,scary moments, and hard times.  Those times aren’t a secret.  They aren’t anything to be ashamed of.  They are a merely just another dimension of my phenomenal power!

To all you mommas out there (and daddys too)- I will not give you advice. I have no advice to give. I have no magic tricks, no mommy win stories, nothing… just words from my experience that I would hope you wouldn’t judge me for.  And if you do…that’s cool also.  What I will tell you is this: your relationship with your kids is just that. It is YOUR relationship with YOUR kids. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON can take that away from you.

Find your power! Own your power! Embrace your power! Cherish your power!

 

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Michelle,

20190320_122634.jpg**Let’s take a peek into a letter that I wish I could have received from future self when I was 19/20, pregnant and scared as all hell!**

Dear Michelle,

Oh dear, I hope that you are doing okay as you read this letter. At 19/20, pregnant, and scared… there are not many words that I know that can ease any worries, however, being your future self at 36– let me talk to you for a minute.

Things are about to get super real and you need to hear some things that you are not going to like. You and your baby’s father are over. You are done, no longer together.  This will feel like the end of world, but believe me when I tell you it is not. It is the best thing ever. Him walking away will save your life. SAVE YOUR LIFE!!  I can tell you a million times over that this will leave you broken, but you will NOT stay that way. There will be a piece of you that he takes with him forever, but you will not need it because in the end you will receive something even better.  So allow yourself to break down and collapse, it is not the end girl- you are truly at the very beginning. In fact, let’s talk about what is about to happen.

This pregnancy is going to suck. You will be tested in ways far beyond what you have seen and you will surpass each and every test. But listen to me girl- You are a f****** warrior! This pregnancy and experience could seriously break you down to nothing- however, you will not let it. You will cry, scream, yell, hide your feelings, feel as lonely as ever but will come out of this stronger than ever. You will lose friends and will piss people off because of some of the decision you will make, but trust me- it won’t matter.  First- you will experience some things throughout your this pregnancy that will cause some danger to both yourself and your baby. Stay calm, there are some people who are going to want to see you at worst and are going to try to make that happen.. and you WILL let it happen and will hate yourself for it, but again- keep moving forward. I still cannot tell you what made you decide to keep this pregnancy as opposed to terminate as you had done before but I think you made the perfect choice and on June 27th, 2003 you are going to give birth NATURALLY and CALMLY to one of the best individuals ever and it will be THE MOST POWERFUL moment of your life. And I mean that with all of my soul. I mean- trust me- it has been over 15 years and that precious child is a damn rock star human being!!!!

One of the other things that I want to talk to you about is your self-doubt and your  lack of confidence. I know that people think that you are the most confident and outgoing person of life. I also know that these thoughts about you is so freaking far from the truth. I know that you currently sit in your room alone scared to death of the life you are going to bring into this world. I know that while you are sitting there you have cried buckets of tears because you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. You never made it to NYU-nope. You never moved to New York and chopped your hair off-nope. You aren’t on your way to become a criminal psychologist- nope. You dropped out of college- yup. You passed on an opportunity to move to Chicago and start over and have no idea why- yup. You feel like your parents are so disappointed in you- yup, they probably are. You feel like you are alone and I stress that because this is going to follow you, but you will embrace the “alone” differently as you age.

I will tell you that over the next 16 years or so those same feelings and thoughts will continue to be ever.  You are going to still feel that self-doubt and have that lack of confidence. What I am going to say is that you are going to come so far.  But let me tell you about some of your feelings.  By the time you turn 36 you still won’t be where you thought you should be… your entire life will have changed. You will decide not to reenlist in the military. You will get married at 24, have 2 more super amazing kids before turning 30, live on your own, live with your husband’s parents, and then purchase your own home at 28.  These are all big events and you survive them all. Not all of them are easy but they have all been worth it.  You will haven’t made it to NYU, but your oldest daughter hopes to go to a school connected with NYU for dance. You did chop off your hair after you turned 36 because by then you were finally brave enough and confident enough to not give a shit about what anyone else thought.  You go back to college a couple of times and are currently active in school hoping to receive your Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology by the time you reach 38.  You still never went to Chicago and that desire and want is since faded.

So, no I cannot tell you what life would have been like if those things worked out different, but I can tell you how life has been.

It has been a roller coaster. You are on a “never-ending” journey of self-love and you are really working your ass off.  You struggle with being a mom, and know there is a shit ton of room from improvement- but have finally understood that parenting is a challenge. And while it was originally never in the cards for you, it is probably one of the reasons why you are not homeless and addicted to drugs.  You are thankful for each one of your kids and the special gifts you bring to your family. Your husband and you have ALWAYS had to work double hard to maintain your relationship- but neither one of you has yet to give up.

You are resilient, loving, empathetic, kind, sensitive, and a bad ass all rolled into one.  You can’t stand people just as strongly as you love them.  And this is all because of the person you are right now as you read this letter.

DO NOT GIVE UP! KEEP MOVING FORWARD! KEEP DOING THE HARD THINGS! Write as much as you possibly can. Talk to anyone that you can. Continue to build relationships with people. Do not be afraid to trust. Be honest and open and raw and real- even when it makes you or other people uncomfortable.

You got this Michelle!!!  Keep hanging in there… maybe one day when you are in your 50’s you can write a letter to your 36-year-old self…. I can only imagine what that letter will say….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

Regretting words…

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Oh how the above resonates with my soul. Especially over the past few weeks or so. I have such a hard time maintaining my anger and it scares me sometimes. You know me, all about being honest about my flaws. I am a hot head. I don’t recall always being this way, but am definitely one currently!

And my poor family always gets to be on the receiving end of my anger. Why do I allow those closest to me be the ones to suffer the most? I wish I had answers. What I do know is that I am not an easy person to live with. I do not always make my house a pleasant place for my family to feel comfort and safe.

How have I let it get this bad? Again, a question I fail to find an answer to. I feel like I let it get this bad for a couple of reasons. I felt it was safe. I still have no idea how to actually control my emotions/outbursts.

Safe? What? I know that is what you are thinking. Let me explain – at work, I cannot have outbursts because it could seriously impact my job. At school events, people may judge and stare, etc. At home though, yeah I will upset the kids and Damian, but they will get over it. They will love me no matter what and then we will just move on. Right? WRONG!!!!! Yes, it upsets all 4 of them. It makes them uneasy, anxious, nervous to even just be around me. They live in a constant state of thinking, “when is she going to flip out again?” “What am I going to do that is going to set her off?” It makes them not take my words seriously and sometimes not even want to interact with me at all. Trust me when I say that this is not the environment that you want your family to be in. Well, at least I do not. I want my kids to want to be home, to feel safe, to be at ease. I want my husband to want to talk to me. I want my family to feel safe and feel comfortable having their friends over.

Unable to control my own emotions? How is that even possible? For me, so damn possible. I know what certain triggers are, but that isn’t an excuse for my explosive behavior. I try to talk myself down. But I can tell you, it very rarely works. I give up after about 30 seconds and just go full force cruel and whoever is around. Sometimes it isn’t even the person that I am upset with.

Even with my answers, I know that they are not valid and are merely excuses. I don’t write this because I think I know the answers, it is actually the opposite. I write this because I need to get these feelings out and work through them.

I know that my family thinks I am just a mean person. I know that, it is a fact. There lies scars within each member of my family that I have put there because of my actions and my words. I tend to say that I know my actions are wrong, but if… However, there is NO JUSTIFICATION because of my actions. Yes, I think my children are spoiled and sometimes extremely lazy and irresponsible. Yes, I wish my husband would think that keeping the house clean was just as much a priority as I do. But these are in no way a reason for my reactions to things. I cannot change my husband. I can only guide my children. Yes, I have to repeat myself several times to everyone in my family, but again, clearly the outbursts are not working, because I am still repeating myself SO why do I do it? Why do I flip and then feel guilty after, upset everyone else, and still nothing has been resolved.

Listen, I don’t have answers. I know that it is a problem. I am working on getting professional help to aid me in handling these emotions and help fix some of the relationships that I am in the process of ruining.

I think that it is perfectly healthy to get angry. Anger is necessary at times. It is NOT okay to be cruel and outof control. I know this yet struggle with executing a tame version of my anger.

Go ahead and judge me for my honesty, judge me for not being a better wife, mom, person. That is okay. I can take the judgement. I cannot take the overwhelming feeling that I get after each “episode”. The guilt and sadness. Nope, I am not ready to apologize. I can say the words but am not at a place where I feel it will mean something. I will be ready. One day. Hopefully soon. And hopefully, long before it is too late.

Wish me luck on this ….

In all things look for beauty(I am still searching on this one),

*ME*