Tag Archives: Perspective

World's Best Teacher

teachers

Ben works as a paraeducator in a first – third grade Autistic classroom.  As much as he loves the job, he finds it difficult to understand the cattiness and gossip mongering that the teachers–all female–participate in.

One conversation he recently overheard had to do with home school.

Teacher one: I can’t believe so-and-so decided to homeschool their kids.

Teacher two: I know.  She isn’t even educated enough to know how to work with her kids on math and reading.

Teacher three: And her kids will inevitably come back to high school with zero social skills.

Teacher one: Oh my gosh, a roommate of mine in college had a former roommate who knew a girl who was home schooled.  She was so awkward.

Teacher four: Yeah, I knew a girl [who was homeschooled] and she had no idea how to talk to people.

Teacher two: Seriously, parents who think they can home school their kids are ridiculous.  Their kids are going to be way behind the rest of their peers and go to college completely unprepared–if they do go to college.

The conversation just gets worse but I’m going to end there.

I know I probably won’t home school my kids.  It’s not because I’m afraid they won’t be social or will be behind their peers, it’s because I can’t emotionally handle that plus a husband who is working 70-90 hours per week.

At the same time, if I feel that one or all of my kids would be better suited at home, I would have no problem pulling them out of their classrooms and teaching them.

What I find ironic about this conversation is these same teachers often complain about how annoying parents can be.  These parents want this, these parents want that, and often the parents don’t think the teacher is giving their kid enough one-on-one time.  But, when a parent decides that rather than complain about the teachers and the free education their kids receive they will home school them because they think it will be better for their kids, the teachers still find fault.

My husband said it well.  These teachers (not all teachers) feel like home school is their enemy because it means they aren’t good enough.  That isn’t true.  The truth is, sometimes a parent feels their child needs something more.  Can you really blame a parent when they see their kid struggling and want to give home schooling a try?

There are so many things to write about regarding home-schooling.  So many myths to debunk.  For right now, I want to conclude with this thought: With all the resources available to home schooling parents, do we really their kids will grow up to be unsocial and academically behind adults? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to give these parents all the support they need in making that big decision.

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Filed under Parents Supporting Parents

Getting In Touch With Depression

Depression is an oft used noun in today’s vernacular.   It is also commonly misunderstood.  To better comprehend the complexity and seriousness of depression, I am going to describe the mental illness and provide excerpts from my personal journal to frame understanding.

Lost and Hopeless

I wish I were somewhere else.  I can’t be a good wife or parent.  Ben, and the kids, would be better off without me. I feel like I’m living life in a fog–the only happiness I feel is filtered through the murky vapor of sadness…or whatever it is.  I know it’s my fault I feel this way.  I need to be stronger, should be stronger, but it’s hard when hope feels so far away.  I can’t even see it on the horizon.

Some common symptoms of depression include overwhelming “hopelessness, helplessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, and self-hatred.”  Depressed people exhibit a constant low mood and often lose their ability to experience happiness with activities that they used to enjoy. (Source: Wikipedia.)

I have never contemplated suicide, but I have had a few periods in my life–as a teenager, a sophomore in college, and after this miscarriage–that I convinced myself the world, and my family, would be better off without me.

I Am Grateful, Dang It!

I have so many blessings in my life:  Beautiful children, an amazing husband, warm shelter, delicious food, and supportive family members.  Yet I know that I’m not worthy of them.  The negativity that surrounds my thoughts is proof of what an ungrateful wretch I have become.  I can hardly say a kind word to my husband, let alone give him a compliment; my eyes are constantly flashing with anger over the little things my kids do that are a normal part of their development; I avoid my friends because I am sure they notice how deficient I am in so many areas.

A common misconception is that a clinically depressed person can snap out of it if they try to develop a more grateful attitude, pray more, or have more faith.  This is false.  A depressed person is already hard on themselves.  They recognize how great everything is around them, but they cannot bring their mood up. It’s a brain thing.

I remember looking at myself, as if from above, and shaking my head.  Obviously, I told myself, I am unfaithful.  Worthless.  With these phrases incessantly going through my mind, I had trouble sleeping, eating, and facing the world.  I would wake up and cry knowing that I had to parent my kids that day; me, an awful mother, would be alone with them.  A miserable place, indeed…*

*After I finished writing this post, I saw how much I had written** and deemed it necessary to break it up into two more manageable posts.  I will post part two sometime next week.

**Seriously, this took quite a bit out of me so you had better appreciate it.  Frankly, if I don’t get like 1000 comments I will probably never write again.

Image courtesy of FreeImages.

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Filed under Depression

Nightime is My Time

During the day, as my house gets messier and messier, I remind myself that I will have all night to clean.  Bedtime is at 7, afterall.

Every spilled cup, dropped toy, thrown food, and emptied out bookshelf will be tidied once that glorious hour comes.

Don’t worry, I tell myself as I look at the torn apart living room, once the kids are in bed you’ll clean it in a jiffy.

The only problem is, I also save other things for after bedtime: Blogging, eating, resting, and reading.  A few hours really doesn’t give me enough time to adequately do all these things.

But, day after day, I keep to the same schedule. Putting myself in the same silly situation–being completely exhausted by the end of the day and having absolutely no desire to complete any of my tasks, only wanting to eat and lay down.

Now that I have simplified my life, I don’t feel the need to put off the cleaning tasks until the kids are in bed.  It’s just a matter of doing it.

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Filed under lessons from a rocking chair

A Word About Holidays

Ben and I are horrible about celebrating holidays.  We would completely forget about them if it weren’t for commercials and blogs.

True that.

It isn’t that we don’t appreciate the reasons behind them–although I still don’t understand the purpose behind Halloween–it’s that we are busy.  Also,  we are very limited financially.

I’m not complaining about our situation, because I feel we are truly blessed, I am only explaining.  We live in a cozy apartment,  eat delicious foods,  have reliable transportation,  have insurance,  have jobs.  There is no reason to complain.

However, when it comes to the holidays there is a certain amount of pressure.  Buy this,  buy that,  decorate!  For a person who still hasn’t placed photographs around the apartment we have lived in for over a year,  it’s a bit overwhelming.  Compare, compare, compare.  I feel myself giving excuses to people and myself.

At least I used to.

Now, I realize that this is how Ben and I are.  We work hard to keep our kids healthy and happy while seeing after their spiritual, mental, and physical needs.  We don’t really think about the extra things–like gifts or decorations on holidays–because the struggle is intense.

At the same time,  our home is our haven.  Sure,  we rarely have holiday decorations on the walls or doors,  but we do have each other.  And the love is palpable.

It’s in the clean laundry piled on the couch.

The dishes in the sink.

The toys strewn across the floor.

The boxes of diapers and wipes stacked behind the television.

The well worn couches.

Our lives may be a bit messy and we might be forgetful about traditional holiday things,  but we sure as heck love each other.

I don’t know when our lives will be less messy.  We will soon enter a new chapter of our lives: Medical school.  It will be hard.  So very hard. We are lucky,  though,  because we have each other.

Maybe once we are settled we will celebrate holidays differently.  For now,  we try to celebrate them daily,  (at least the religious ones) and remember the most important thing: Family.

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Moving Forward

A Little Memorial

We held the memorial service in our living room–a fitting place since most the events happened there–with us, the kids, and my mother-in-law.  It was an emotional and peaceful service.  Short and sweet.

All About Science

Every person handles loss differently.  For me, I use my knowledge of science and reproduction to obsessively deduce what has happened.

Because of the severity of the miscarriage–the intense contractions, bleeding, and clotting–it would seem that I was about 8 weeks along.  Unfortunately, the hCG levels  remained at a 4-week level. Slowly increasing.  Very slowly.  This left the embryo in a very inhospitable environment, especially since the amniotic sac was already having trouble connecting to the endometrium.

My body rejected the growing baby.

Moving Forward

During the memorial service,  a little voice whispered, It’s okay.  Your baby is safe with me.  Keep moving forward.

Moving forward doesn’t mean forget, it means continue to live.  I have much living to do with my sweet husband and beautiful children.  And with myself.

I have kept myself secluded inside my house.  Afraid to be outside,  unsure of how I would react to questions and condolences.

I feel myself ready to take baby-steps.  Taking short walks around the neighborhood.  Cooking meals.  Talking with neighbors, friends, and family.   Big gatherings, like church, are still too much.  Too painful.  But I’m emerging.

On Life

Many friends have brought over flowers.  They bring much comfort.  Their vivacious beauty reminds me how to live: It’s more than smelling the flowers, it’s nurturing them.

On returning home from our short getaway,  I ran up the stairs, into my babys’ rooms (they were sleeping) and scooped them into my arms.  I smelled their delicious scent and smothered their smooth faces with kisses.  Lots and lots of kisses.

Healing

I’m not as brittle as I was a few days ago.  I feel strong.  Powered by my husband’s love, my children’s affection,  and the Plan of Salvation, I know I can heal.  The pain will remain nestled within my heart,  nudging me every now and then (like all day today),  but I feel its rawness dissipating.

I am coming back,  armed with a new perspective and knowledge from my experience.

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Filed under keeping the faith

The Domain of Endless Possibilities, Otherwise Known as Rambling Thoughts

My time is severely limited at the moment, so a few cluttered thoughts will have to suffice for a post.  Good luck wading through them.

I sit in my bed and compose the most perfect post, with the best words, grammar, and punctuation.  I wait until I am sure Andrew has fallen asleep and slowly sneak out of the bedroom.  I grab my laptop and start typing.  Then I see the mess in my living room and I smell the kitchen (after one meal, mind you) and realize that the post will have to wait.  I sigh, push the computer off my lap, and head into the kitchen.  Everyday I am stunned–and exhausted–by the mess one tiny toddler can create.

My well designed plan to control the constant chaos in my life has been struggling lately.  Mostly because the kids are fighting their bedtime harder and harder everyday.  If they go to bed later, I start cleaning later, and my well intentioned writing and blogging desires become unattainable.  The heat, which I prefer to winter’s cold, creates a sauna-like atmosphere in our upstairs apartment.  The kids have trouble sleeping, and I understand.  Nevertheless, it slows down my routine and leaves me more than drained.

Interestingly, rather than feeling irritated, I find myself accepting the changes without too much complaint.  If a clean house makes me less frazzled the next day, I will gladly choose cleaning over blogging.  Even if I am choosing to do something less than desirable.  Frankly,  I think that’s the idea behind adulthood: making decisions that aren’t always convenient or fun.

Too often I am hung up on the inconvenience of my current situation but this frustration is not helpful.  In releasing it, I am freeing myself from bondage of self-induced dissatisfaction.  Being home with my kids all day everyday can be difficult and there are times when I yearn for a break, any kind of break.  But right now that is not possible, not for me or for Ben.  He and I are okay with this reality.

I can’t really think of a fantastic ending, especially since this post is primarily a mixture of rambling thoughts and my kids are currently engaging in a few dangerous activities, but I don’t think that life has any real endings–only many beginnings.  I think that this marks my beginning of adulthood.

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Filed under lessons from a rocking chair

A Tale of Nursing

To all my male readers: You are excused from reading this post.  Unless you really want to, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Andrew lost weight at his last doctor’s appointment. His weight has been teetering at the edge for the last two and causing me a bit of worry.  My kids are short.  I understand that, but to go from gaining 3 or 4 pounds a visit to gaining a half a pound and then losing a pound usually signifies something else is happening.

Talking with the doctor, we narrowed it down to one thing: a reduction in my milk production.  I had a feeling this was happening.  Andrew has been waking up a couple times at night absolutely famished.  Considering he usually sleeps through the night, this was a bit odd.  I understood this could be due to a growth spurt, but he wasn’t getting any bigger.

My doctor suggested I start supplementing.  I was devastated.

I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding.  In the first few months, it hurts horribly.  I crack and bleed and nothing soothes my throbbing breasts.   I cry and push my feet into the ground until the baby is latched, then I clench my teeth the entire feeding.  I develop serious tension headaches because the stress.

Why do I continue?  Because I give myself a goal after each baby is born: if I still hate it by month 3,  I will stop.  Somehow this goal gives me the stamina to continue.  That and my pride.

Once the pain subsides (around month 3),  I begin to enjoy it a little more.  Around month 5,  it starts hurting again.  For 2 weeks out of the month, it is painful and I, once again, cry during feedings.  I persist because by that point, my babies will not take a bottle.

I enjoy the bonding moments my babies and I share during those 10-20 minutes, but I don’t love breastfeeding.

However, when I realized my milk production was decreasing, I was disappointed.  I have sacrificed so much to continue breastfeeding and it seems so…unfair to have this happen.   And I fought.  I tried to feed Andrew more, tried drinking and eating a little bit more, but it still wasn’t enough for my poor little guy.

It was then that I realized that breastfeeding was something I thought I could control.  It seems natural that I would produce something that keeps my baby happy and healthy.  The practice was, in many ways, defining me in my motherhood.  I felt cheated.

Until I realized my goals were warped.  Raising a healthy baby should be my first priority and if I must combine nursing with supplementation to achieve this? Then so be it.

It makes me wonder what other priorities I need to readjust.

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Filed under Reflections