Mother Guilt vs. Boundaries

Why do we allow ourselves to be consumed by mother guilt?  I can’t help but wonder if secure women are secure mothers and  are they consumed with Mother guilt as much as the insecure mothers.  What do insecure mothers do to help themselves escape this insecurity rut or gutter that they are in. I could go back to my childhood and pick it apart as my psychologist does, but I’m not sure we will find the answer there because every mother has a different story to tell. I believe all mothers must suffer from some sort of uncertainty about their mothering tactics. I can’t help but believe that this is a normal reaction, as here we are, responsible for these little human beings development and I think society tends to hold mothers responsible for any negative issues a child may have.  I equate it to the mentality that says if a house is messy, OBVIOUSLY the woman isn’t doing her job. You don’t generally hear people blaming the dad for children’s issues saying things like, “it’s because their dad is lazy” or “their dad didn’t teach them manners”,or “no wonder they have issues, their dad is such a drama queen”, or my favorite “what do you expect, their dad IS crazy”.

But people don’t hesitate to throw a mother under the bus for being the failure of child rearing.  And then we wonder why some of us are so insecure?  

I cant help but wonder if this is much different than the social pressure women feel to be thin, and have a perfect figure? 

Oops, I went on a tangent, Sorry.   Back on track… 

Taking the focus off of women…

 I feel like most insecure people are probably emotional people.   Why are emotional people and their feelings so easily tossed to the side like they aren’t important or they are overreacting?  Do you want to know how many times I’ve heard “you’re overreacting” in my lifetime? Wait …maybe that’s it. Maybe part of the answer is seeing that when we are insecure, we actually make ourselves easy targets.  That’s it!! If someone is secure, they probably don’t worry as much or care even, about what others say, because it doesn’t matter to them, because they are secure in themselves. Geez, it’s a circle of nonsense, that makes perfect sense. 

Follow me if you will.  

I’m an insecure person, in turn making me an insecure mom, which means I suffer from “mom guilt”.   Which then means some people will see this weakness and use it to their advantage. Those people may be friends, spouses, teachers, our own children, anyone!  So how then do we learn to protect ourselves without losing the person that we are?  

The answer…we must be strong enough to set boundaries.  We need to respect our family enough, we need to respect AND love ourselves enough to set boundaries.  What does that mean? It means we need to be able to say NO, and stick to it. It means we need to believe in our choices, our wants and needs.  We need to believe that we are worth it. Then, we need to make sure that we stick to them. 

I realize now, that the older my children got, the less boundaries I set.  I also realize now, that it shouldn’t of been LESS boundaries, as much as DIFFERENT boundaries.  But I was worried they would hate me, worried they would think I didn’t care. Well that didn’t work out so well for me.  

Boundaries need to be set with everyone in our lives.  We have boundaries at our job, we have boundaries when we are driving, boundaries with our finances, boundaries with our neighbors…but we often seem insecure about setting personal boundaries, especially when it comes to boundaries with people we love.  Because we insecure people don’t like to make things uncomfortable for others in worry that we will make someone mad. I used to think that setting tough boundaries would make people dislike me which would be painful to deal with, when in fact, I now see that setting boundaries is necessary to help to protect me and my relationships with people, especially people I love.  

The people that have hurt me by leaving my life, will be surprised if they decide to come back.  They will find that they don’t get to simply waltz back in and get a welcome back party. Rather they will find some rules and/or boundaries have been put into place since their departure.  Not because I don’t want them back and not to punish them, but to show them that I have gained some self respect and I want to protect myself and my relationships with my loved ones.  

Do you have boundaries?  Do you respect yourself and your loved ones enough to keep those boundaries?  

Don’t wait, your opportunity to do this for yourself may not be there tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come. 

My first set of boundaries are now posted right at the front door of our home.
Continue reading “Mother Guilt vs. Boundaries”

The Biggest Betrayal of All

Today is a different conversation. Today I will focus on telling you my story of Betrayal.

As I’ve shared with you before, I am 47 years old, I’ve been a mother for 30 years.  That means I have never lived the adult life without having my children in my home. I didn’t participate in the sports, clubs or groups most people do in their 20s or 30s.  Instead, if there was any extra time or money at all, it always went to my boys, no contemplating necessary.  I remember feeling guilty for buying a new to me vehicle when my oldest was graduating high school.  He came home one day, saw the new vehicle in the driveway, and was said something very similar to, “I’m the one graduating and you’re the one getting a new car, how does that work?”  Maybe he was joking, maybe not either way  I felt horrible.  I asked their dad if I should return it, and get something much cheaper so we could also buy him something newer.  Of course, this did not happen, I’m fairly confident that dads usually don’t suffer from an unhealthy feeling of “dad guilt”.  LOL

I decided the moment my first son was born there was nothing more important to me than being a mom.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always been so indecisive (afraid I’ll choose incorrectly) and this decision was now made for me so it only made sense.  I believe though, that I really was meant to do this.  I’ve never thought or claimed that I was the best one, but I always felt quite sure that I wasn’t the worst either.  I always tried to put my children’s needs before my own.  I made my life circle around my children.  I always took the jobs that made it possible for me to go to all of their events and to drive them to school or from school if I had to.  I told more than one employer that I was always mom first, therefore my job would always come second to my family.  I passed up opportunities because they would not allow me to be where I needed to be when I needed to be there for my children.  I was passed over several times by employers for jobs and/or promotions because I wouldn’t have been as reliable as they wanted or needed me to be.  I never complained nor did I blame anyone.  I felt it was the right thing to do.  I always said that when I decided to be a mother I put myself second to my children, it was that black and white for me, no grey area.

I realized recently that my oldest 2 sons have been a more active part of my life, even lived in my house longer than I was with my own parents.  They have been in my life longer than any man, any pet, or any belongings.  Who would I be without sons anyway?  When my husband and I got married, I had such a hard time wanting to change my name.  Not because I wasn’t proud of him or didn’t want to share a his name, but because I was so afraid of what it would be like not to have the same last name as my boys.  Even now, 5 years later I JUST started having a couple things with my new last name displayed at home.  I never wanted to because I felt like it was leaving out my boys and I didn’t want to cause any sort of disconnect.   

I hear people talk about their children leaving home, and how excited they are for it to happen.  They make all sorts of big plans, remodel their house, move away, almost like they are starting a new life.  I won’t even make plans for a holiday because I want to be home JUST IN CASE my boys want to come home.   Heck, when even with a teenager in the house, who is quite capable of being alone for a while, I insist on being home at a decent time if I leave the house because I don’t want them to feel forgotten or alone.  I did go on a honeymoon with my husband, and traveled with him for quick weekend trips to watch my oldest son play football when he was in college.  I called home every day, more than once, to check on them and make sure everything was alright.  How can people be happy for their children to grow up and leave the house?  I struggle greatly with feeling like once my boys are all grown, I will no longer have a life purpose.  I suppose that’s because I really don’t know how to be an adult without the “child at home” responsibilities.  I’m 47 years old, and I haven’t done that yet. 

Why do I have such a hard time with this?  How do I find myself?  In 2 short years or less, my youngest will leave home.  I will no longer see a beautiful face of one of my sons every morning.  I will no longer hear “I love you” from any of my sons mouths on a daily basis.  The days of getting to hang out with one of my boys and talk about nothing, or laugh at something silly on TV, will be over.  Honestly, I can feel my heart start to palpitate and my stomach turn just from talking about it. How do people just do whatever they want to do without even considering their children? Yes. It’s safe to say I can be pretty  judgemental when it comes to moms and their kids. Yes I realize its shitty of me, and who the hell do I think I am? Relax, at least I can freely admit it. And rest assured, I’ve learned that it’s not me actually judging other mothers, as much as it is me justifying my going overboard. My lack of self esteem and feeling of inadequacy certainly contribute to my uncertainty of my mothering mentality and my need to reaffirm to myself that giving up so much for my children and always putting them first is the right thing to do. Now this is me and how I think, but all mothers think differently and all mothers “mother” differently. I’m only explaining to you how I’ve done things to help you understand me.   There are good moms, and there are bad moms, I am no expert but I think we probably mother the way we needed to be mothered, whether we were or not.

If I struggle with an abnormal amount of worry that my own children wont accept me or love me, can you imagine if they suddenly told me that they want nothing to do with me, and they hope I spends the rest of my life being lonely and miserable. Well, that’s what happened. Son 2 misinterpreted, misheard, is mad about something he wont be honest about, or his wife has decided to sideswipe me. What happened for certain, I’ll never be sure . What I can tell you, is he threw me out of his life, forbid me from seeing my grandchildren, and then with his known habit of “story telling”, he convinced son 1 that I am a horrible shitty person and for probably the first time in his life, son 1 chose to believe his brother.

I have not seen my 29 or 27 year old sons in 7 or 8 months, nor have I seen my grandchildren. That clinically depressed state I told you I was in for the year of 2018….well 2019 didn’t get any better. In fact, it got even worse. You hear about parent estrangement and grandparent estrangement. You assume these parents must be abusive, alcoholics or drug users. If you do some research you will find that now days this is fairly common, and not just to the “bad” parents. A mostly narcissistic generation has decided to put a stop to the “respect your elders” and done away with respecting your parents because they are your parents and they love you.

I never thought this would happen to me. With all of my self loathing, my feeling of always being “less than”, the one thing I thought I could count on was my children, MY family. After all, I put them and their needs, often times even their wants, before everything else….and now….I get nothing but hate, mean comments, and disrespect in return.

I’ve had some hurtful things happen in my life.  I can honestly tell you, this is the most horrible pain I have ever felt.  I’ve been kicked in the ribs and punched in the face, and I would gladly have both of those things happen again rather than feel this betrayal.

In my opinion, that’s exactly what this is.  Betrayal at its highest level. I understand disagreeing with your mom, I understand arguing with your mom. I understand avoiding too much conversation your mom, I even understand being outright mad at your mom. But wishing hardship on her and telling her that you best never find out your name passed by her lips….that is too damn much. I’m a true believer that a mom deserves a certain level of respect if for no other reason, simply because she gave you life.

Earlier this year, I was so hurt, so mad, that I found myself wishing I had given those 2 boys up for adoption. At one point I actually said what a waste it was to stay by my sons side when he was on life support after his wreck. I went back and forth from sad to mad. No where in my mind is this behavior ok. No where in my mind did it make sense. I didnt have a great relationship with my mother, but this never crossed my mind. I cried nonstop for weeks, I again found myself suicidal, I obsessed about it every minute of every day. My husband, my younger sons, my brother, my sister, a few of my amazing friends, even a couple friends of the older boys rallied around me to help ease the hurt. Probably what actually pissed me off more than anything, is seeing them (son1 & son 2) not just pretend like I dont exist, but they havent kept in touch with my parents (their grandparents), their dad or stepdad, but worst of all, they cut ties with their little brother. (Son 1 talks with son 3 a little- but not at all with son 4) (son 2 hasnt kept in touch with either of his little brothers) Let’s add to the situation, son 2 and his wife havent kept in touch or let the children keep in touch with her mom or stepdad either. Hmmmmm. See a pattern? Bottom line, dont think that this couldn’t happen to you. Dont take your relationships with your loved ones for granted and dont forget to tell them that you love them, because you never know when the tomorrow you are expecting will never come.

I have attached a link from Psycology Today about family estrangement.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/domestic-intelligence/201512/the-persistent-pain-family-estrangement

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One of my tattoos, I think it speaks for itself, its meaning is pretty obvious.

The Depth of My Self Loathing

There are so many things running through my mind today.  So many things I want to share with you before I get to “where we’re really going”.

I’m going to start with the wonders of being a grandma.  When I saw my grandson for the first time, I was convinced that the reason people have children in the first place is so that one day they can hopefully become a grandparent.   How many times have you heard people say, “There is nothing as great as grandchildren”?  I thought it was the most awesome feeling I had since giving birth to my own children.  The difficult part is when you see things you want to help with, or give advice about, and know you need to let them figure it out on their own.  I do think that however being the maternal grandmother must be easier than being the paternal grandmother.  I say this because I feel like it would be easier to talk with your daughter about their new baby than it is to talk to your son.  But, I suppose that depends on the relationship between the mother and daughter.  If it’s the “close like sisters” relationship, it’s most likely a pretty good situation for them both.   But, if it’s the “not close like the other sisters”, then I’m guessing it can be a pretty slippery slope. 

Part of the amazing feeling I thought, was seeing the son of my son.  It was such a proud feeling seeing my flesh and blood move forward to a new generation.  The fun part, lol well let me tell you, the fun part is a grandma gets to do all of the fun things without dealing with all of the not so fun things that come with having a child.  I remember my mom telling my grandma that she didn’t want me to have a bunch of junk food.  I also remember my grandma saying, she was my mom’s mother, therefore she still had the final say, at least when we were at her house.  (That meant a lot of cookies, ice cream, noodles and hotdogs whether my parents approved or not)  J  I remember my parents not always being thrilled with one of my four grandparents for one reason or another, however they were always respectful to them both no matter what they were thinking, because they were their elders, their parents, the people that gave them life and cared for them for all of those years. 

The bonus soon after, was when my son married my grandson’s mother.  She already had a little girl, so now we had two grandchildren!!  Our grandson spent a pretty fair amount of time with us.  I didn’t work on Friday’s so I would often times pick him up early from daycare and we got to spend the afternoon together.  We even had a few sleepovers!  He loved to work with grandpa in the garage and he got to use his very own set of “kiddy” tools.  My dad, their great grandfather, even built a sturdy swing set is his shop which is 4 hours away.  The steel legs were so long he had to bring them down on a trailer.  All of that, just so our little peanuts would have a safe swing set that would last.  We didn’t get to see our granddaughter as often, which was due to her spending 50% of her time with her biological father, but when we did we relished the time we had with them both. 

This is a good spot for me to back up the story just a bit and we will visit a completely new subject for a moment.  As I briefly mentioned in an earlier post, my health had started to suffer.  One thing that I struggled with greatly was my anemia.  If you’re not familiar with anemia, here are some of the symptoms that I was dealing with.  Fatigue, (I would literally fall asleep standing up making supper, then go to bed and not sleep because of my insomnia–stressing? yes)  I had a lot of dizzy spells, horrible headaches, physically felt weak on a daily basis, constant body aches, my memory wasn’t always at its best, and I was always filled with bruises.  After over a year of receiving iron infusions, the decision was made that it was necessary for me to have a hysterectomy.  I have very strong feelings about the negative impact this surgery has on women, both physically and emotionally.  I have always opposed hysterectomies unless it was a matter of life or death.  After a second and third opinion, I finally agreed that this was going to be my only option or I was going to have to do regular iron infusions for another 10 years or more.  For those of you who do not know, iron infusions are EXTREMELY expensive even with medical insurance coverage.  It also meant that I missed an afternoon of work every couple weeks which meant even more money and a not so happy employer.  This is a great place for me to tell you that if you are ever faced with this surgery.  PLEASE O PLEASE do your research.  I am known for over analyzing and doing a ton of research on practically everything.  I did a ton of research, asked a lot of questions, and still ended up on the ugly side of this procedure.  I’m going to get graphic here so brace yourself.  A woman’s uterus has more purpose for her than holding a fetus.  The uterus helps keep other organs in place.  The uterus is located between the vagina and rectum and there are ligaments attaching it to the cervix and the fallopian tubes.  If the uterus is a secondary sex organ.  Many believe that if the uterus and/or cervix is removed a woman’s “sexual abilities” can be altered.  More than that, when the uterus is removed, the other surrounding organs lose stability and can “fall” and this is called Pelvic Organ Prolapse.  There are several different kinds of prolapse all of which are not fun to deal with. 

Now that you’ve had your female anatomy lesson for the day, I will tell you that 3 weeks after my hysterectomy, I prolapsed.  It doesn’t matter which kind, what matters is it is life changing both physically and mentally.   Important parts of my life were now changed for the worse and I was DEVASTATED.  In fact, devastated might not be a strong enough word.  I fell into a deep depression.  That self-worth issue I’ve mentioned a few times, well it was never great for me anyway, but if it was ever going to be the lowest of low….now was the time. 

At this horrible point in my life, all I could see of myself was: 

·       I was no longer a real woman, I was a broken woman, what good was I to my husband now?    He’ll probably just cheat on me now since I won’t be any good.  Obviously I’m a bad wife now. 

·       Will I ever enjoy love making with my husband again or is that part of my life over?  

·       I couldn’t give birth ever again.  (I had no intention of it, but now it was a definite never going to be an option) My husband didn’t have any children, what if for some reason he decided he wanted one of his own and now I CAN’T do it for him….he will leave me for sure.

·       I can’t lift heavy things anymore, so I’ll need to ask for help which means I’m not the strong independent hard working woman I had always tried to be before.  My husband will get tired of this quickly, he’s sure to get tired of me.

·       I can’t lift my grandson.  How can I be a good grandma if I can’t even lift him or carry him when he needs me?  He will hate me.

And not hysterectomy related, but because of my depression these worries were now intensified.

·       I only had 1 son left at home, once he leaves I won’t “really” be a mom anymore and I’ve been a mom since I was 17.  Now What??  I will no longer have a purpose.  I’m soon to be a useless human being. 

·       I’ve put on so much weight, everyone is going to look at me like I’m a failure because I can’t keep weight off.  My grown boys will be so embarrassed by my fat ass and not want to admit I’m their mother.   

·       I’m embarrassing my parents, again.  My husband will leave and I’ll be the loser daughter again.  How could they possible even love me anymore? 

·       I’ve failed at everything, I’m a horrible friend, a horrible mother, a horrible grandma, a horrible wife, why even continue on this earth?  Life would be better for everyone if they didn’t have to deal with me and my crap. 

Needless to say, my Psychologist and husband were very concerned and things had to change quickly because it was no secret to either of them that I was thinking of ways to “leave”.  I was having dreams of my deceased friend from a couple years prior where he was waiting for me to come join him.   I was ready to die.  I was planning to wait until my youngest son graduated if I could, but if I couldn’t between his grandma, his dad and his stepdad, he would be fine, and probably be better off without my crying ass around anyway.  I have always been scared to die, because I’ve never completely trusted or understood what comes next.  I was no longer scared, I was more scared to stay. 

This is where I was mentally for the entire year of 2018. I quit checking in on people, I quit going places, I started buying things to try to help me “cope”, but nothing helped.  I had some good days, but more bad days . 

This brings us to 2019. I will leave you today again with this thought…giva a compliment, the smile you give someone might be a life changing moment, and as always, dont wait to tell your loved ones that you love them, because tomorrow may never come.

Mental Anguish Confronted or Not…

My Take the Key Tattoo to remind me of my sons accident and to bring awareness.

This is the tattoo I had put on my forearm to always remind me of my sons accident. A constant reminder to never waver on taking the key of a loved one if you feel their thinking is impaired at all, and also as a conversation starter. Many people have seen my tattoo, (probably more so before I added so many more) and many have asked of its meaning. I’m then able to share our story in hopes of saving a life.

I want to visit the statement I made yesterday about thinking hospitals should offer some sort of counseling for this sort of trauma situation, or at least advise the patient and their family to seek therapy and perhaps give a list of options. The last I knew, my son still hadn’t dealt with this incident in its entirety. They fix you up the best they can and then send you on your way. Now, when he was in the hospital, those first couple days, we found out that he no longer had health insurance. His father in fact had lost it and not kept it up without any word to our children or myself. I often wonder, was it because he didn’t have insurance that they did only what was necessary, or is that the way it is for everyone? Since that time, I have had friends in the hospital after motorcycle accidents, and even when they have insurance, no one suggests therapy to them. I personally think this is horrible. Our mental health is as important as our physical health. In fact, if our mental health is horrible, it will take a toll on our physical health as well and then they will both be injured.

In our situation, mom telling a mid 20 something year old he should seek counseling was not enough. He always responded with, “I’m fine”, or “mom you have no idea what all I’ve dealt with”, “this is just another example of my bad luck”, “you’re over reacting”, or my favorite, “it was way worse for you then it was for me”. Let’s be real here, had a doctor written a script for him to seek therapy, and told him how important it was for him to follow through…he probably would have. After all, they did just save his life, they must know something. But a dramatic mother suggesting it??? Forget it, probably not going to happen. ………and it didn’t.

I’ll be honest, it took a while for me to seek therapy. My son was the injured one, I needed to get a grip and move on. I was a MOM, therefore I did not have time to be weak. Immediately following the accident, I was on hyper drive. My employer had given my job away two days after the accident, so I was busy looking for a job and trying so hard to be there for my sons every need and more. While at the same time trying to be mom for my other 3 boys. I had come so close to losing one, I was convinced I needed to be with him as much as possible. All I could remember was not taking his key, the call, his bloody face, the look of fear in his eyes and “I’m scared”. I was his mother, I failed to protect him once, there was no way I was going to fail again.

Even after he was able to walk on his own without difficulty and eat real food, I found myself constantly worrying he would make a dangerous choice so I hovered like I had never hovered before. After all, it was my fault this had happened to him….I felt so sure of that. More surgery, court, a girl giving false statements because she was afraid of admitting she made the choice to get on a bike when she shouldn’t have. My son looking at who knows what for his future. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I promised him we would rule the world together. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I failed him and I needed to make up for it.

After I started my new job, I reluctantly left him at home to fend for himself. My new workplace was less than 2 blocks from an ambulance station. This is when I found that sirens would debilitate me. I would find myself sitting on the floor, under my office window, shaking, crying and many times texting my boys or searching the local emergency Facebook sights to see if they were all OK. After my health started to become an issue due to my stress taking its toll, my doctor finally convinced me it was necessary for me to seek therapy. I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. Which basically meant I had a ridiculous amount of anxiety, debilitating panic attacks, and insomnia. “Complex” because if I understand correctly, I had dealt with many large life stressers that for me, was just too much, and this was the final straw. They explained it to me like we all carry a backpack through life. Every persons strength and their abilities to cope are different. In life we continue to add to our backpack while we move along. Sometimes we may need a little help, some of us will ask for help, and some won’t. Either way, if we don’t take a break but we continue to add to our backpack continuing to make it heavier, at some point either the backpack breaks, or we injure ourselves carrying too much for too long. I was told I had carried to much for to long for my ability. My biggest stresser????? MOM GUILT. DAMN THAT MOM GUILT.

Not just mother guilt about the accident, but this brought up mother guilt that started when I was a new mom at the young age of 17. All the things I should have, could have done differently, all of the mistakes I made. All of that low self worth and self hate came back like a vengeance. I was convinced that I was a bad person and now my punishment for being a bad person was being doled out to my children as well.

A year or so later one of my dearest friends disappeared. We knew it was most likely drug related and that he didn’t want to face anyone so he just bailed out of town. He had become like a brother to me. Here I will add that my brother had not been in my life for about 5 years so this friendship was very special. My husband and I had a very good relationship and we talked about everything, but talking to a friend that isn’t your spouse is a different talk. ya know? Months later…we got an update on him, he committed suicide. The shock, the hurt, the sadness was just so much to bear. The feeling of guilt that “was I a good enough friend”, and “maybe I should have looked for him and helped him”. GEEZ…DAMN THAT SELF GUILT JUST DOESN’T STOP. However…..I must tell you, there WAS a silver lining to my world that same week. I thought for certain it was a higher power telling me that everything would be ok. Telling me that life wasn’t just about hurt, reminding me that good things do happen. This was the week that my first grandchild was born. MY HEART OVERFLOWED. I had been spending a lot of time crying again, but now I had the promise of new life, the promise of innocence, and that gave me strength to trudge on. After all, I wasn’t just a mom now, I was also a grandma. The relationship I had with my Grandma was one of the best relationships of my life. I wanted more than anything to do for my grandchildren, what she did for me. Now as wonderful as this was, this feeling of excitement and love was accompanied by fear of not being a good enough grandma, the fear of failing…..AND….. the cycle of low self worth continues.

Now, I’m going to back up a bit. As I told you early on, there is so much of my story that I left out. I’m going to sum several other things up for you. When the boys’ dad and I divorced, I tried so hard to be enough for my younger 2. It was a huge stress because my youngest was definitely a daddies boy. I worried every day that they would want to be with their dad instead of me. This was a new feeling for me, because my older 2 didn’t have active fathers around and I always knew they were going to be with me. This time I was worried that these 2 would not want me, after all, I was such a horrible mother (or I thought). I had to make some very big and very tough decisions when we divorced. We were behind on our house payments, behind on insurance, behind on car payments, utilities…every bill we had, we were behind on. I decided to take a job in another town (the oil fields actually) and leave my youngest 2 in our house with their dad while I went to work 9 hours from home in an effort to get caught up financially. I was not going to let us lose everything we had worked so damn hard to get. After all, we had so little as it was, I would rather make the tough decision and hold on to some dignity rather than ask for help or rely on government funding for single moms again. I have carried a ton of MOM GUILT about working away from home for those 5 months. Yes, I came home to be with my boys every 11 days and stayed for 3 then would drive back to work for another 11. Yes, I made better money than I would have staying here, and got things caught up, but even with all of that, I felt like I was a mom that left her boys (for just a small moment in time), and that made me a failure in my eyes. I don’t think anything could ever make me feel like I did enough, had enough, or gave enough to my children. All I ever really had for my children was my word. When I said I would make something happen, or I would do everything I could do to make it happen, I meant it and lived up to those promises as best I could even when it was nearly impossible. After all, my word was the only thing I had that no one could take from me.

This is where I must leave you for now. (I do need to take care of my daily duties even though I could write forever) 😉 My thought today for you is to always do your best to remind yourself that you are so much more. And again, most importantly, please show and tell your loved ones how you feel while you have the chance, because I can’t stress enough to you….you never know when tomorrow won’t come.

Where Should I Start?

I suppose I should start at the beginning. I was 17 years old, a senior in high school when I got pregnant. I was a cheerleader, basketball player, I loved running on the Varsity track team and in 4H. I don’t think I was considered popular, then again, looking back there were 31 people in my graduating class, I guess we were all popular lol.

I was the oldest of 4 and I was somewhat of a tomboy. I never really did much for “girly stuff”, and most of my best friends were boys. I loved sports, 4 wheeling, cars, snowmobiling, motorcycles, & getting greasy. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom and I never really knew why. I look around now, and it seems to me that young moms and their daughters are either close like sisters, or NOT CLOSE like the other sisters. Almost like a competition for the mother, rather than being the mother. However I dont have any girls, so I most definitely am no expert there. Fast forward to 3 months after high school graduation. I gave birth to this little human. My entire pregnancy I had gone to counseling and did all of the ground work for adoption. I had plans to go to school, I even had track scholarship opportunities. But when he was born, and I looked into those beautiful eyes, I knew at that moment all I wanted to be was a mom.

Let me stop a moment to say I admire young women who pick adoption as their choice, it just wasn’t going to be mine. I took that little boy home with me, not knowing what our future would bring, but no matter what it was we would face it together. I remember rocking him, snuggling with him, telling him one day we would rule the world, and we would be the greatest mother son team there ever was.

As you can imagine, my self esteem was in the toilet. All of my classmates left for college and there I was, living the “adult life”. A guy that I had been friends with all through highschool, wanted to date. I was never interested before, but I guess since I figured no one else would want me, I hooked up with him. Fast forward 18 months, I’m alone and pregnant again. I gave birth to another boy. Scary…yes. My aunt, friend, sister, mentor if you will, told me that there is only so much time in a day. If I had 2 children I could still do anything I could do with 1, the only difference would be that they would share the time rather than just the 1 having all of the time. And so our “trio” was born and now there was 3 of us to rule the world together. My boys and I moved to another town. There I went to school, graduated, got a job and we were on our way. I met a guy, we dated, got engaged, moved to another town and got married. He ended up being a cheating, abusive puke and I left him the first year. I had some good friends that helped us out. My boys went to stay with my mom and dad for several weeks while I slept on the floor at a friends house and continued to work and save money. My self worth was pretty much in the toilet and wasn’t going to get any better for many years.

Fast forward…..gave birth to my third son, got remarried, bought a house, my husband adopted son 1 & son 2 and we were a family, life was good. We were pretty broke, but we had a lot of friends and supportive families. I wanted to give my boys all I could. They started soccer when they were 4, played many years until they “graduated” to football. Son 1 and Son 2 took after their mom and loved sports. If we didn’t have the money for them to go to camps, or to have the best shoes or gloves or what have you, we would go without something else, put it on a credit card, apply for grants, whatever we could do to be sure they got to play. Son 3 had extreme allergies and asthma, so sports weren’t in the cards for him, at least not at a young age. As the boys got older, it became obvious that they were going to continue to be in sports for as long as the sports would allow them. We continued to bust our butts to be sure they had the best of things, or at least better than what we could really afford, but we did it anyway.

I remember making this comment referring to son 1 & 2 a lot, “it’s my fault they had such a crappy young childhood, they deserve this.” I always felt like I was such a failure. Watched my younger siblings do big things with their lives. That drove me even more to try to make sure my children loved me so that at least I could say I was a good mom. Yes, that is some rediculous thinking, but at the time…it made perfect sense.

In 2002 we had our youngest son. Now we were a family of 6. We were a good family. I was always embarrassed of how broke we were. I would try to hide it from the older boys by always making sure they had nice things. No, maybe not as good as the “rich kids”, but definitely better than we could afford. Life was pretty good for us. We bought a different house, son 1 and son 2 graduated high school both with football scholarships. Son 3 was our brain, our analytical one, the super smart kid. Son 4 was growing up, he loved animals, fishing, hunting, and helping his dad. About this time, things had slowly been going downhill with their dad and I. We went to marriage counseling for a LONG time. Without details (because I want to keep some things private for our family and don’t want to publicly air any of that laundry) the boys’ dad and I divorced.

Fast forward to my 2 oldest are both established at college, son 3 is in middle school, and son 4 is in grade school. Everyone is good, myself, son 3 and son 4 went to counseling for a while to help manage our feelings and to be sure our heads were in a healthy place.

Yes, I gave you the VERY SHORT VERY FAST story of my first 24 years as a mother. The most important part I feel is that you know that my boys and I had good relationships. Son 2 had a few outbursts as a teenager, but I don’t believe they were focused against me solely, he just had some typical teenager “I need to take control of my life” moments. However in a nutshell, we were tight.

The time came and we found out that son 1 was using and/or involved in drugs. Son 2 quit college after only a year and was AWAL for quite a while. Neither son 1 nor son 2 graduated college. Son 1 did go for the 4 years of his scholarship and played ball. We went to almost every game and gave him money when he asked because I thought if I made it easy (granted I couldn’t do a lot, but it was a lot for what I could do) he would graduate with a degree and have a better life. Both boys went through a time where they didn’t come home. Son 1 was too busy worrying about drugs, and son 2 was hiding from us all. I remember sitting home one Christmas and the following Easter crying, waiting for them to come home to see us. I remember son 3 and son 4 with teary eyes not understanding why their big brothers didn’t come home to visit and all of their friends’ older sibling did. Son 4 asked me at one point, are they mad at us? The time came where son 2 finally just showed up on our doorstep and apologized. Son 1 was rarely reachable as soon as football was over his fourth year. I ended up having a parent come to my work and tell me that my son hadn’t been to class in weeks and was ready to get kicked out. My boyfriend and I left our jobs midday, drove to the town he was at, found him, took him to see his advisors, teachers, tried to help him get on track. A few weeks later we ended up going to pick him up and brought him home. He lost his car and most of his other posessions. My now fiance’ got him a job at his work and we told him he needed to buckle down. I look back now, and see how many excuses I made for both of them. I refused to see it all for what it was. I suppose you call it, ENTITLEMENT and a bad case of a mother’s “love is blind” complex.

Fast forward…I got remarried (yes, again) all boys are doing well. The oldest 2 are working and living with friends, son 3 is doing well in high school and son 4 is doing well in middle school. Now this is where I will slow down. This is where my life started to “unravel”if you will. The Summer of 2014 is a summer I will never forget.

My husband and I ride motorcycles. Son 1 found an interest in bikes as well and I thought maybe it would be the thing to help keep him focused and work hard. I co-signed a loan for him so he could buy a motorcycle. He didn’t have a car, but he said he would pay extra every month and get it paid off quickly so he could buy a car in the winter. I was so excited that he showed interest in something I loved and I really thought this would be the thing to help.

One summer night we (husband, son 1 and I) were downtown with our bikes. We all had a couple drinks over the course of a few hours, but we were pretty strict about no drinking and riding so we we didn’t over do it. At least, we didn’t think any of us did…

Hubby and I went home about 11:30ish and went to bed. Before we left, we asked my son if he was ok. He said yes, but even though he said he wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t going to ride home. He would leave his bike parked. I’m a big person on taking the key. This night I didn’t. I felt confidant that he wasn’t going to ride. He had been making good decisions and I so I trusted him to leave it parked. A very short time after falling asleep, my cell phone rang. It was a friend of son 1. Apparantly he had not only chosen to ride, but he had a passenger, and they had been hit by a drunk driver. He didn’t know if my son was dead or alive. He only knew that it was really bad. I had to tell my sons, his little brothers, that he was in a bad motorcycle accident and they needed to stay home while we went to the hospital. I’m going to tell you, this was the most horrible night of my life hands down. I can’t tell you a lot about that first night. I only remember pieces after that call for about a week. I remember yelling at his friends asking them why he was on his bike. I remember seeing him, all bloody, his face was mangled, tubes everywhere, doctors and nurses fast and furious and so many cops. I remember seeing it on the news, my sons shoe laying in the middle of the street and his crashed bike laying there on its side. The street where it happened, was still shut down the following morning. Did I mention that seconds before he took off on his bike that night he sent me a text saying I LOVE YOU.? Surgery after surgery, my unconscious son, laid there, machines breathing for him. More bones broken than I could count. Police constantly bothing me, making it sound like my son was a damn hoolagin. For days he layed there on life support. Because of the injuries to his jaw and mouth, we didn’t know if he would be capable of breathing again on his own. He bit off almost a 1/2 inch of his tongue. The plastic surgeon said it was the worse injury of its kind he had ever seen. I left his side once while he was in that state, and that was only because people practically carried me out to take me to eat something. Dealing with the guilt of not taking his key just in case he decided to try to ride. Dealing with the guilt of not realizing he was over the legal limit. Dealing with the guilt of feeling like you left him alone and this is your fault. And then there is seeing your child lay there,while you are helpless. Seeing the look of straight fear and tears in their eyes when they are just barely conscious for a few minutes. When they try to write on paper to communicate, and you can barley read the scribble, but it says “am I dying” or “I’m sorry” or “I’m scared”. A mother fixes things for her children and kisses their owies away. This wasn’t happening this time.

I won’t go into more detail than that, just know it’s not something you ever want to see. Please, please, please, if there is even a remote possibility of a question of sobriety and driving or riding…just TAKE THE KEY.

Weeks later, my son left the hospital. his trake was removed, he passed physical therapy, jaw wired shut with physical therapy for that to come in the future. Mental injury no doubt. I was very upset to find out that the hospital doesn’t even suggest to patients that they see someone to help deal with their trauma. That should be part of the deal when releasing. Some of his injuries were life changers, but he came home. Shortly after, he was charged with DUI and something like vehicular assault or something like that. He had a passenger and she was injured also. Thankfully not nearly as bad as he was. The lady that hit them, was also charged with DUI, HER 9TH ONE. We supported him for several months, helped him to get back on his feet….again. I’m not complaining, there was never a question, we were glad to do it, because that’s what you do for your children. That’s what you do for family. I didn’t tell you about this event because I wanted you to know about his wreck, I told you because I want you to know that since this event, I haven’t been the same. I’ve always had anxiety, but nothing that was debilitating. After his accident, I was scared to drive, scared to ride, loud noises shook me, sirens put me in a panick. I started to grind my teeth, if I was lucky enough to fall asleep I had nightmares, regular panick attacks, and obsess about my children and their safety. I started therapy and slowly started to find myself again and get comfortable in my skin. I understand how lucky we are that he survived. I am ever so thankful, and I do know people who have not been so fortunate. Everyone deals with situations differently, everyones level of strength in different situations is different. This was more than I could handle, and it was definitely a life changer for me. One thing for certain, it did teach me this, NEVER TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED. Life, people, can be lost in an instant and there is nothing you can do about it. Hell….that alone scared the shit out of me.

I will stop at this part of the story for today. What I want to leave you with today is this…if you are a parent, know that you cannot protect your children from everything, every day for the rest of your life. Know that bad things might happen, not because of how you raise your children, but despite how you raise your children. And just simply, sometimes…bad shit happens. Tell your children you love them. Tell your parents you love them. Tell the people you love, that you love them today. Never wait for tomorrow, because you never know when tomorrow won’t come.

Welcome Humble Mothers

I invite you to join me on my journey. My journey of motherhood. All journeys are difficult, and all journeys are different, but this journey is mine. I will talk about where I came from, where I am now and how I got here.

Let me introduce myself. I am a 47 year old mother of four boys (29, 27, 23 &16). An active mother of two, and an “inactive” but still very proud grandmother of two. It’s been 7 months since I’ve seen my two oldest children or my grandchildren. Dealing with estrangement is not something I ever imagined would be part of my life. It’s the most depressing, embarrassing, humiliating, and both saddest and maddening situation I’ve ever been in. The questions you ask yourself are hard, and the answers even harder. The surprise however, is that the answers you actually find are not what you expected.

For the first time in my life, I am learning that I am not responsible for the choices my children make once they are old enough to choose right and wrong. As mothers, we can only do so much, teach all we can, but one day our children will be responsible for their own choices.

“I TAUGHT THEM BETTER THAN THAT” passed over my lips countless times. But at the same time that I said those words, my ‘mother guilt’ set it and told me how horrible of a mom I must have been. What I am finally accepting is that our children may become someone we dont know. But we need to realize that can happen despite us, not because of us.

I’ll be honest. My therapist suggested I start blogging. So here I am, not sure what I’m supposed to be doing, but if nothing else, I’m putting my thoughts on paper ie screen, and hopefully someone else who has a similar story can benefit from mine. Worst case….someone gets a good laugh? I guess we will see.