I think we’re alone now

My favorite thing about this blog was that it is like free therapy. I work through what I’m thinking about or how I’m feeling (usually both) when I’m writing a post and once I’m done I feel like a little weight has been lifted. I still like that, but its not my favorite thing anymore.

If I had written this 3 weeks ago, I would have told you that my favorite thing about blogging is that it works my mind. It challenges me to sit down and compose something, whether its a stupid limerick, posting a few photos, a satirical story about motherhood, or an emotional confession.

Today, I think, my favorite thing about writing this blog is that I feel like I have a support group out there in cyberspace. A few of you post comments on the blog post itself, but I have received a lot of private Facebook messages, emails and phone calls as well. And those messages have all clued me in on one thing: I’m not alone in the way I’m feeling about anything. Not about my relationship with my mom, my selfishness as a mother, my self doubt, being medicated, having a therapist, suffering from miscarriages, feeling crazy. Nothing. It’s a nice feeling.

Thank you for making me feel less alone. Thank you for the encouragement, for keeping me in your thoughts and letting me know that you feel the same way. I’d love for more of you to comment on the blog itself. Oh, and here’s a confession to finish off the week: I titled this post with the name of the song that’s in my head right now. It has nothing to do with the post itself. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it? And it’s the Tiffany version. Sing along with me if you will.

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When Someone You Love is Toxic

I cannot shut my brain off. With all the stuff I’ve been doing and thinking about, I still have my mom on my mind.

I haven’t talked to my mom in almost three weeks. When we spoke last, I told her that I never wanted to talk to her again. I told her to never call my house. I told her she was toxic to me and that I couldn’t deal with her anymore. Now I’m feeling guilty. I’m not going to get into what she said to me during one of her more disturbing delusions, but it was bad. And I snapped.

I feel justified in being angry with her. I also feel justified in having the pity party I’ve thrown for myself. That justification doesn’t make me feel any less guilty though. My husband wonders why I continued to have a relationship with my mom after I moved out of the house at 18. And my answer to that is why I am feeling guilty for cutting her off now: she can’t help that she’s mentally ill. She didn’t choose to swing a pendulum between depression and crazed delusions. She didn’t choose to have an illness that has a social stigma attached to it, that requires her to take heavy duty drugs with long term health consequences. She can’t help that when her medication levels aren’t perfectly balanced she thinks horrible thoughts and spews them all over the people around her. This is why I have a relationship with my mom despite the pain it sometimes causes me.

For a long time, our roles have been reversed. I have been the parent, offering advice and consolation and helping make decisions. I have been the voice of reason when she’s upset about something childish or when she’s being irresponsible. I have kept my own problems to myself so that she doesn’t have more to worry about. When I was going through miscarriage after miscarriage, struggling with the despair and worry and struggles with my faith, I kept my mouth shut. Because I learned a long time ago that when I share those things with my mom, she ends up getting so worked up, so distraught, that I find myself comforting her when I am the one that wants and needs to be comforted. But I still hold out for those rare moments when she is the parent. When she says something I need to hear or shares a legitimate memory with me about my childhood and what she did to calm the storm of my personality.

Deborah and Tamara

The only picture I have of my mom and me as a child. She had labelled the back: “Tammy and Mother, January 5, 1976.”

The other reason I have a relationship with my mom is that I love her. I can’t help it. She may be crazy, but she was a good mother too. She was loving and affectionate. She shared her love of art with us. She made brownies/cookies/cakes with us and let us lick the spoon or beater. She taught me how to make a daisy chain so I could wear a crown. She kept us well-fed and our house clean and homey.

I don’t truly want to cut my mom from my life. But I have needed this break from her. I’m surprised that she has respected my boundaries. She used to call me everyday, sometimes multiple times per day and has still managed to respect my wishes and not call once. I keep thinking about how I would feel if the last words she ever heard me say were the ugly ones that came out of my mouth in anger and disgust. Can I live with that? I don’t think I can. I don’t think I can live with the toxicity of our relationship right now either. I have so many emotions to work through about her. Talking to her brings them all up like a piece of bad fish and I’ll vomit my negative emotions all over the place. The place I share with my children and husband. And that’s not fair to them.

What do you do when someone you love is toxic? Do you hope the good of the relationship outweighs the bad? Do you make the allowance that you are willing to suffer for the possibility that the relationship will be worth it? Or do you end that relationship and gather up all the good memories to live off of forever? Is it even possible to end a mother/daughter relationship? I don’t think you can. But I haven’t really tried. Not really. I’m still not sure that I want to. Maybe that makes me a masochist. Or maybe just idealistic. I’m certainly conflicted.

10 Things I Wish For My Kids

I wish:

1. That you find self-acceptance at an early age. My babies, loving yourself for who you are is a beautiful, beautiful thing. The earlier you can do this, the better your life will be.

2. That you experience real love in your lives. Being loved, really loved, by someone else is such a treasure. Don’t settle for second best. Don’t rest until you feel this big, crazy, amazingly powerful love that fills you so full that you could burst apart at any moment. It’s worth the wait.

3. That you don’t let others’ opinions change your outlook on life or on yourselves. There’s a Dr. Seuss quote that sums this up quite nicely. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” It’s true. The people who love you will love you no matter what you choose to do with your life. They may not like it, but they’ll still love you.

4. That you follow your hearts. Don’t do something because you think you should or because everyone else is doing it. Do the things that you love. Live without regrets.

5. That you have fun. Life will always be filled with seriousness and responsibilities. Have fun anyway. All work and no play makes for a sad, boring and lonely life. Your kind of fun may be different than others. Don’t worry about that. Find what works for you and never stop doing it! (Unless it’s drugs or alcohol. In that case, your mama says, that stuff is artificial fun and will make you miserable in the long run. Listen to your mama!)

6. That you never stop dreaming. There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer. It means you have ideas, passions, goals and most importantly, hope.

7. That you never give up when you want something. The things that are the hardest to attain are almost always the most valuable. Don’t give up when something you want seems unattainable. Work hard and know that when you finally succeed, the elation and pride you’ll feel is incredible!

8. That you always stand up for yourselves. I don’t care what’s PC. Some kid knocks you down, you get up and knock him right back. Don’t take shit from people.

9. That you don’t let anyone hold you back. Not everyone will be supportive of your choices. Don’t let that stop you! The person who is holding you back may be doing so out of jealousy, fear or worry – it doesn’t make a difference. It’s their hang up, not yours.

10. That you live healthy lives filled with laughter and love. Take care of your bodies. Take care of your minds and hearts and souls. Laugh often, love unconditionally without the fear of being hurt. If you can do that, you will live happy lives. And that’s every mother’s greatest wish for her children.

(Note: I would always wish for you to have confidence, but you both already have it in spades. This morning, Caylie, when I asked if you wanted to wear a sparkly headband you said, “Mommy, I don’t want to be too pretty.” And Chase, when I asked you yesterday if your first day of camp was fun you said, “Of course it was fun. I was there!” Yeah, I think you’ve got the confidence thing covered.)

beachkids

What I Did on My Summer Solstice 2013

I guess I should have posted this one yesterday, but someone *cough* was too lazy to download her camera until now. June 21st, 2013. Summer Solstice at Ferry Beach. Go to the beach at 6 p.m. and you get it all to yourself! We wanted to see the Super Moon rise over the ocean, but alas, it was too bright and too hazy to see.
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IMG_2171 IMG_2181 IMG_2186And the pièce de résistance: Caylie’s Summer Solstice “Moon Rising” Dance.

The Selfish Mommy

During my husband’s vacation a few weeks ago, I drove down to Norton, MA for an overnight  girls’ day out with my good friend Heather. While I was hanging with Heather and visiting places we used to hang out when I lived in Rhode Island, I had a tiny epiphany. I don’t feel like myself anymore.

What does that even mean?

I was sitting in the passenger seat of Heather’s rocking hard-top Jeep and I was thinking to myself: “I don’t think I’ve been living for me for more than 5 years.”

That sounds so selfish. But it’s true. I have been living for my kids. They always come first. That’s a given and I won’t ever change that. Parents have been making sacrifices for their kids for generations. The good parents, at least. My problem is that I have been putting my kids first and my husband second but forgetting to even put me in the lineup.

I’ll admit that I’m a pretty selfish person. It’s probably why being a mom has driven me a little crazy. Because I have to share everything I have and all that I am all the time, 24/7, with 2 other people. Three other people if you count my husband (which I won’t since he doesn’t generally make me feel like he’s sucking my life’s energy from me on a daily basis).

Sometimes I don’t want to share the couch cushion I’m sitting on with someone else’s butt cheeks. I don’t always want an audience when I’m on the toilet or in the shower or getting dressed. When I shuffle out of bed in the morning, I don’t always feel like making breakfast, or answering random questions or breaking up sibling fights.

The Peppermint Patty I just stuffed in my mouth whole because a kid walked into the kitchen? Yeah, I’m not sharing it. Too bad kid. Not this time!

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I guiltily admit that when I am sharing my time, my husband’s attention, my food, and my stuff I feel a tiny bit resentful. Not all the time. But every once and a while I’ll think, “can’t this just be for me?”

I chose to stay home with my kids and I don’t regret it. I love them. And while I can imagine life without them I think it would feel empty and meaningless now that I know what life is like with them in it. So why do I feel so guilty that I want my own life? Why does American society make moms feel like Mommy Dearest if they do something for themselves without thinking of their children first?

I feel like I’ve woken up after a really long sleep and I’m in the mood to be productive. I have all these things I want to be working on, but don’t have the time. Because I need to spend that time parenting my kids. I spend all my time parenting my kids. 95% of the time, that’s okay with me. When I’m not pulling my hair out in frustration, I enjoy being with them. They’re funny and cute and give really good hugs.

Though, I can’t lie. I’m very excited that summer camp starts tomorrow.

The Secret of the Poor Loser

Why do we second-guess ourselves? Why do I? There’s this online writing class that I have been debating with myself about signing up for. One minute I’m clicking on the link to sign myself up and the next minute I’m up out of my chair and walking away from the computer. Because I’m scared to commit to this class. So why am I doing this?

I tell myself that I’m worried that I won’t have the time to complete the assignments since I’m home all day with the kids. It’s true, but there are a few hours in the day when my husband is home and I can sneak away to write.

I tell myself that I will have major writer’s block and sit in front of my computer with a brain empty of ideas. Or that any ideas I have will be lame or over-done or clichéd.

I tell myself these things, but they aren’t the reason I can’t bring myself to commit to this class. I don’t want to suck. That’s the reason. I always try and play it safe and do things I know I will succeed at. Because I’m a poor loser. As my husband can attest to when we played Russian Monopoly together the first time (yes, I said Russian Monopoly) and I upended the game board in his face upon losing. Since he has done this as well, we laughed about it later. Still doesn’t change the fact that I hate to lose.

I’ve never taken a writing class online. I’m old in regards to the Internet since it was just gaining popularity while I was completing college. But I’m not blind to the way the Internet has broken down communication. This idea is an entire blog post waiting to happen. Another time. But I’ve received peer criticism of my writing in person – as in face-to-face – and it wasn’t very pleasant. I can only imagine the horror of hearing what people will have to say now that they will never have to look me in the eyes while they are ripping my stuff to shreds.

That’s losing to me. Being ripped to shreds by your peers. I know I’m smart. I’ve been known to even have a good idea or two. I know I’m a decent writer. I have some confidence in these areas. That’s the secret of the Poor Loser, though. S/he can make you second-guess yourself. “You’re good, but what if you lose this one time?You know you hate losing! You might embarrass yourself royally. Don’t do it!” It’s the Poor Loser whispering in my ear, making me want to walk away without trying.

There is, however, one thing the Poor Loser hasn’t quite figured out about me. There is one thing I hate even more than losing. Being told what to do.

So tell me not to do it. I dare you! (Please?)

My Day in Limericks

There once was a mother named Tam
Who decided to go on the lam
She realized one day
She went the wrong way
And ended up back with her fam

There once was a young girl named Cay
Who never got out of my way
Hit in the head
She looked really dead
Till she jumped up and down shouting, “Hey!”

There once was a fellow named Chase
Who had the most beautiful face
With a smile so fine
It was almost divine
He doesn’t belong in this place

I wanted to spend the day writing
Instead I broke up lots of fighting
My energy spent
I didn’t make a dent
On the pile my desk has me sighting