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Archive for February, 2020

Parenthood

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Being a parent is both the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done or may ever do, in my opinion anyway. I know many out there agree with me. Here are some of my thoughts and reasons I feel the way I do…

I love being a mom for many reasons. I learned the truest meaning of unconditional love when I looked at my now 17 year old for the first time. I never loved anyone as much as I have my own child, until I had another. I love them equally. I don’t always like them equally, let me make that clear, but my love for them both is immeasurable. Right behind that is my love for my mother, husband, and closest of friends. I love many and a great deal, but no more than I love my children.

Getting random hugs, without any ulterior motive and hearing them tell you they love you can change even the hardest of days sometimes. Spending time with them is such a joy, even when you’re just watching a movie or playing at the park. Sometimes the simplest moments are the best!! Getting handmade projects from them is such a treasure, totally brings smiles to my face. When you watch your kid make a good choice, do something for the first time on their own, or help someone else, the pride you feel is immense! The list goes on!!

Being a parent means making sacrifices, to give them what they need and sometimes simply to see them happy. Making sacrifices for our kids and others we love is something we all do throughout life. Something I’ve learned however is that there should be a limit to that.

One should never sacrifice or compromise their values, become someone they aren’t and don’t like, or forget who they are to begin with. In the end, doing these things not only hurts you, but it also hurts your kids, the ones you swore to protect. It’s not always easy to see, but sometimes giving in to our kids and their whims to see them happy, covering for them in the name of protecting them, stepping in at every turn to keep them from harm only does more damage than it does good. There needs to be limits on what we’ll do for them in order to truly give them the best childhood and greatest chance at having a good adult life as possible.

I have told my 17 year old, I won’t be the parent who supports a bully or worse. If you act out, you will be put in your place, just as I will fight to protect you when you’ve been hurt, to a point. Hurt my child and you will hear about it from me, however my children need to learn to fight their own battles and in a healthy way and if they’re the one that starts the fight or acts out, they will face the consequences. Good and bad, there are reactions to what we’ve done in life that we must all deal with and I’m working on making sure my kids know they’re not exempt from that.

There are those parents that act like their kids are never in the wrong and almost worse yet, those who see what they’ve done and find no fault in it. I feel that only enables people to feel entitled and keep acting out, making poor decisions, etc because they never have to answer for what they do.

Being an enforcer is hard, really hard actually and I personally find no joy in it, but it needs to be done sometimes. I used to be way to lax on my 17 year old, as our time together was limited and I didn’t want to be the bad guy for that brief time we shared. That was a mistake, as my kiddo needed that discipline and structure. Of course, you can go too far the other way too, being too hard on your kids and going too far.

Finding a healthy balance feels unobtainable many days, but it’s something I keep striving for. Whether it’s what we give them, allow them to do, what we allow them to get away with, how we punish them, how we reward good behavior, what’s sick enough to take them in, what we let them figure out on their own, or what we take care of for them, it’s a daily balancing act.

We want our kids to be well rounded, self sufficient, hardworking, healthy, successful, and happy, all while we’re trying to be that for ourselves. (All while our own parents had wished this for us, it’s a cycle that keeps going.) We do our best everyday and that’s all any of us can do, but it can be easy to second guess our decisions, especially when you’ve got others around you judging your parenting skills.

“That’s now how we do it in our house…” Well, good for you, you do things your way for your family and I’ll do things my way for mine. Seriously, why do we pick one another part for another’s methods??

“I would never let my kid eat that.” That’s your choice. Why worry about what I feed my kids? Is it your business? My kid is healthy and that’s what matters.

“Where is your kid’s coat??” She was wearing it and this the third time in 20 minutes that she’s taken it off, but you seem to have assumed she doesn’t own one.

Instead, we should do this more often…

“Hey, here’s your daughter’s coat. I see your hands are full, I get it, happens to me too.”

“Here, let me open the door for you.”

“Do you need help?”

Tone too! This is huge! You can say something kind with an arrogant or judgmental tone and turn it into something ugly. It takes a village to raise children and honestly, get through life. We should worry less about others doing things differently than us and focus more on being supportive of and encouraging one another. This would make for a better society. Being a parent is hard enough all on its own, we shouldn’t add to the stress.

There’s no need to harshly debate infant feeding methods, whether or not to homeschool, curfews, what shampoo you use on your kids, chore lists, consequences for our kids getting in trouble, whether or not to let your kids have juice, how to potty train, co-sleeping, etc. Calmly and kindly discussing these issues is fine, but there’s no need to be mean or rude and nor should we insert ourselves in another’s situation acting like a know it all. Your kids are yours and theirs are theirs, no one kid or situation is the exact same. If we really want to help a struggling mom or dad, fine, but there is a good way and definitely a bad way to handle things.

Right now, I’m dealing with a 17 year old that has been making a series of bad choices for years and over the last few years, it’s just been this downward spiral. It’s really hard watching your kid do stupid things, throw many chances given to make things better away, and dig their heels in, so stubborn and unwilling to do everything possible to learn and grow.

When some around you treat you like it’s all your fault, like you’re a failure, or like your kid is simply a lost cause and you should just wash your hands of it all, you find yourself feeling hopeless and depressed, also very angry and defensive as well. Now, some have been incredibly supportive and doing what they can to help and that’s something I greatly appreciate. These people are part of my village and I’m glad. I work hard to be a positive part of theirs as well. I just wish there were more among us that were like that sometimes.

I also have a daughter that turns four in April and that has its own set of challenges, but also its own greatness as well. Both of my kids bring immeasurable amounts of joy and stress to my life. Even in my toughest moments, the happy moments makes it all worth it. I look back and try to learn from the toughest moments and cherish the best ones and I look forward with hope. May my children find their wings and learn how to fly on their own, but may they also know home is also wherever I am.

Wings

 

Lying in a pool of sweat and poor decisions

Feeling weak and afraid

With years of addiction weighted on her

She lifts her weary head, trying to find the light

 

A heart once made of gold

Had turned to stone over the years

As the granite begins to crack

Sorrow and anguish pour out in a steady stream

 

Crying silent tears, she whispers softly

“Please, help me.”

Pain turned her towards temptation

Temptation that promised to ease her suffering

 

That suffering did lessen for a time

She even found herself feeling happy

But that was only an illusion

Once it faded, the pain was even worse than before

 

It crippled her, a little at a time

She didn’t even notice until she was so far gone

Ashamed, she withdrew from the world

Until she was all alone, feeling helpless and powerless

 

As her longing for change grew, a spark ignited and grew within

The darkness that surrounded her didn’t seem as confining

Within it, she found some strength to stand

A light started to shine in from the East

 

She turned her gaze towards it and could feel its warmth

Slowly, she moved in its direction

Talking within her own mind along the way

Hoping and praying for a new beginning

 

“Please help me.”

She said again, but louder this time

A sense of peace began to fill her soul

The chains fell from her like heavy weights

 

Wings that had been pinned down for so long emerged

Bent and unsteady still from years of damage

They fluttered with uncertainty, rather irregularly for awhile

It was going to take time for healing, but the process had begun

 

As she opened up about her past

Letting down her guard and letting herself begin to trust

Making amends also to those she’d hurt along the way

Her wings gained strength and her aura glowed with such radiance

 

One day, as she sat on a lush green patch of grass

She saw a purple butterfly nearby

Silently, she watched it flutter to and fro

Admiring its beauty and confidence

 

It landed on her bare feet and seemed to look at her

Staying as still as possible, she basked in this great gift

A sense of calm filled her soul as it stood upon her foot

She tilted her head ever so slightly, her dark brown hair caressed her cheek

 

The clouds parted and the sun shone through

The butterfly flew away towards the East

Turning her head towards the path it took

She saw a little church across the way

 

She stood, as she felt this strong urge to draw nearer to it

Hesitantly, she made her way inside

At the back of the sanctuary, she sat quietly

Bowing her head, she spoke silently

 

“I’ve made a mess of things and I blamed others for so long…

Including You, feeling abandoned

Now I see You never left me

It was me who left You…”

 

Tears touched her olive cheeks

Letting them fall, she apologized and asked for guidance

Though she’d begun to heal and move forward

She still had a long way to go

 

After awhile, she stood up to go

Drying her face with her sleeve

She looked back briefly and smiled

I’ll be back, she thought with resolve

 

As the sun hit her face once more

Her wings expanded and this time fluttered with more certainty

Through Him, she found strength within

Strength that gave her the courage to move forward

 

Her story doesn’t end here

In fact, it’s just beginning

She’s found the path towards redemption, peace, and belonging

Proving that even in the darkest hour, it wasn’t too late

 

She knows she’ll fall along the way

But knows who is there to catch her when she does

As the sun begins to set, emitting gorgeous hues of purple, red, and orange

Her wings lift her up and she soars off into the sky, finally able to fly.

 

 

A Monster Within

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The wind howls fiercely

Lights flicker and windows rattle

Darkness looms

An eerie presence waits

 

As the storm rages on

The darkness grows stronger

Sorrow cripples

Shadows move within

 

“It’s almost time….”

Calls out a sinister voice

Evil clutches her soul

As she prepares to rise

 

Tired of being brought down

Fed up with being disappointed

Done with heartache

She follows the shadow down a dark path

 

Red colors her mind

All else before her turns to ash

Ready to claim the dark destiny that awaits

“Join me and never fall again…”

 

Monsters aren’t just in movies

Or in the books we read for fun

They’re lurking within

Offering to take away the pain

 

“Take away my sorrow and fear.”

She cries out loud to the shadow

“Rise with me and I shall….”

It extends its gentle hand and she accepts

 

As the darkness fills her soul, she smiles

Music fills the air and she dances

Swaying to the beat, feeling free

Unaware of the shackles on her soul

 

She’s handed over her light

In the hopes of escaping the pain within

And for awhile, it does dissipate

The high won’t last, but how wonderful it is

 

The monster within is satisfied in the moment

Darkness presented something so tempting

A hurting soul longing for something special

Found beauty within its promises

 

Some days, good does triumph

And then there days when it does not

As she delights in the evils caressing her skin

She lets loose a sensual sound

 

“Take me!” She moans

Pleasure fills every inch of her

As she climaxes, she grips him tightly

His form is very pleasing

 

“Surrender.” He whispers against her ear

“All of me is yours.” She smiles and licks her lips

Thrusting, their bodies move together with a magical rhythm

As she cries out in ecstasy, she climaxes again

 

Hours pass and then days

Her joy seemingly unending

Bliss colors everything

She’s hooked

 

With that look of hunger in her eyes

He knows he’s won completely

Grabbing her hips, he pulls her close

“You’re mine.” he says with certainty

 

As the weeks roll into months

She’s become addicted

Fully under a spell

Blissfully unaware

 

All is silent and dark yet

She finds herself alone

An ache comes over her

Nothing takes the pain away

 

She cries out for him

Nothing

She’s in agony

Shaking, just begging for a fix

 

And like a merciful lord

He appears and injects her once more

Giving her just enough

Watching her succumb gives him joy

 

Body, mind, and soul belong to the darkness

Just another soul for it to devour over time

Its power grows with each victory

Be careful, you could be next.

Author Joanne Reed

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