The Big Parenting Takeaways

In 13 years of being a mom, I’ve tried to teach my kids a lot. There’s three of them and one of me, and I won’t always be here. I didn’t think about this much until I had a stroke almost 5 years ago.

Unexpected Thoughts

After I recovered, I started thinking about the things I still wanted to teach my kids. I want them to grow up to be forward thinking, well mannered people. I want them to be happy with their lives and just be themselves,no matter where that may lead them.

I haven’t become a millionaire by working in the mental health field or blogging (as of yet) and I’m okay with this. I want my kids to find careers that they love, as long as it pays the bills. (No illegal things, I’m not bailing anyone out.)
Being the sibling of a kid with special needs isn’t easy. Cameron has really taken the brunt of this. He’s seen both siblings in some sort of therapy since he was three years old, beginning with Lily.

I’ve said before in The Siblings’ Turn that this will likely make him and in a different way, Lily, more caring and empathetic people. I can live with that. The biggest lesson? I want them to stand up for others who can’t do it for themselves and each other.

Matthew and I are wildly different people. One is example is that he’s a staunch Republican with a healthy love of guns. (Chillax, they are in a gun safe and none of the kids can even begin to figure out the combo) I’m a Democrat counting the days until we have a new president. This does have many advantages- one of them is that the kids see both sides of politics at home and get to form their own thoughts. We encourage this and watch the news almost daily. I want the kids to absorb and discuss what they see, then think it out.

Just Be Who You Are

Everyone has their own personality and in this house, it gets interesting. We tweak a lot of things for Julian, and everyone is used to it. Each kid is loved for who they are, and not who they “should” be. I don’t even know who my kids “should” be. Lily likes art stuff and hates math. Julian loves Minecraft and pretzels. He also loves “North Woods Law”. Cameron’s main loves in life are napping and playing basketball. Julian tends to be quieter than the other two, but that’s okay.

The lesson here? Be you. Go do awesome stuff with your life. Like others for who they are, not what you want them to be.

I have a zero tolerance for bullshit. My kids have learned this. I went off at a dentist office once because they couldn’t be bothered to call me about a canceled appt FOR ALL THREE KIDS because that dentist didn’t take their insurance. I took them out of school and on top of that, I had a horrible migraine.

We still got milkshakes after.

The lesson here? Milkshakes are even better when you don’t make it to the dentist, don’t anger a person with a migraine and don’t let people run over you, because that receptionist certainly tried.

Sometimes People Stink

This world is full of mean people. I don’t want my kids to be cynical and hardened but I do want them to stand up for themselves and not take crap from others. Lily is very sweet and gentle hearted. I worry that in the future, she will get run over. We’re working on this.

In general, I want my kids to be nice people. Give hugs. Give back to the community. Open doors for others. The small things count, and we work on this often.
Friendship is everything. I have a much smaller circle of friends than I used to, and that’s okay.

They know it’s okay to not need a roomful of friends to feel cared for. Sometimes just a handful is better. Thanks to my own changes in this area, the kids have absorbed a lot about what friendship means and what to look for in a true friendship. I hope they carry those lessons with them.

Love and Money

Then there’s love. I don’t care who they choose to be with, as long as they are being treated well, then I’m okay. I hope they find a deep, long lasting love and that they hold onto it with their whole heart and both of their hands.

Money isn’t everything but it certainly helps. Matthew and I have worked hard over the years to care for our family. I don’t want my kids to work so hard that they forget to live. This also goes for college.

You only get one body. Take care of it. I’m working on that one. They don’t want to have a stroke at 30, even a small one.
These are the big takeaways I want my kids to take from my parenting. I hope I’m somewhere on the path of getting them where they should be.

Photo credit: unsplash

Song Lyric Saturday 

Today’s lyric is from the Foo Fighters. I’ve loved this group since the beginning and I loved Dave Grohl when he was the drummer for Nirvana. (If you don’t know who that group is, please hit Google. They were one of the best grunge rock bands of the 90s.)

“It’s Times Like These You Learn to Live Again”

I’ve had to learn to live again- after my stroke, for example. The after effects weren’t the best and I live with them daily. Having to explain my short term memory issues can be really difficult. For a while, it was very hard to live with migraines until I got them somewhat under control with help from my neurologist. Now that I have medications to help and I have learned my triggers, things have become somewhat easier.

Learning to live again when you are stuck in a terrible situation is hard. I had to learn that I was worth a different life, one that wasn’t full of stress, sadness and daily verbal abuse. I was well on the path to divorce, as I’ve discussed previously, when Jake died. It took a year to fully feel like I was living again. The adjustment was terribly hard, and I hope it is something I never go through again.

I think I may be living my best life now, but it doesn’t mean that it has been easy to get here.

Question: Have you had to learn to live again?

ETA: I was lucky enough to see the Foo Fighters in concert. They came to Lexington in May 2018. I went with my best friend and it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

When Dave Grohl says light up the stadium, you light the place up

Longtime besties going to the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins is my #2 favorite drummer. He smashed those drums.

Chronic Conditions and Mommimg 

Being a mom is rough. There’s no easy path into it and don’t ask me to describe these preteen years.

I’ve discussed having a stroke in 2013 in a previous post, but today’s post is on what I deal with daily, and in one case, pretty often.

Another Wonderful Condition

Until I got to a rheumatologist, I’d never even heard of the term palindromic rheumatism. (Go ahead and search this on Google. I’ll wait.)

You’re back? Great.

I had been struggling for some time with severe joint pain, fatigue, swelling and some other not so great issues. My doctor ran blood tests for just about everything but my symptoms continued. Thanks to my family history of rheumatoid arthritis (thank you, Granddad) my mom’s issues with arthritis, and the fact my older sister has RA and lupus (that can occur), she decided to refer me out.

I had an ultrasound done on my hands, fingers and knuckles (absolutely not fun), got more blood work done and…”come back in a few months, your symptoms don’t entirely fit RA but they fit the diagnosis for palindromic rheumatism.”

I went back at the end of November for a checkup and my diagnosis got a shove into early onset RA. WONDERFUL. I was not thrilled, but not surprised. My March visit went well, and I finally started medication. It’s been a great help. I have a lot less pain days. I did have to deal with some really bad insomnia in the beginning and my appetite took a hit but I could probably stand to lose a few pounds.

Migraines Are NOT Fun

I started having them right before my stroke, but they became more intense after, which I was warned about. I’ve learned my triggers and if I can, I avoid them. Sometimes this isn’t possible but I lessen them when possible. Sometimes they come out of nowhere. Either way, they’re awful.

It’s like an elephant is sitting is on my head and playing a drum. Or the throbbing is like I’m at a rave but I’m not even at a club to enjoy the music. I’m nauseated. I’m lightheaded and thanks to aphasia, I may or may not be able to make sense when I speak.

These migraines can last a few hours, or two days. There is no timetable. I wish there was.

Day 2 tired pic

Me, on day two of a migraine

Both of these conditions suck. I get through them the best I can. That’s all I can do, right?

What I have written so far is not meant to get pity or anything like that. I actually hate the idea. I’m trying to describe what I deal with and let others know they’re not alone. Many moms deal with chronic illnesses including a few that I know.

My tips for momming through chronic illness:

  • Remember that you can only do so much. Our bodies shut down at some point, and pain will make that happen quickly.
  • Don’t shame yourself for what you can’t get done. Leave the dishes for tomorrow. Those towels can stay in the basket unfolded.
  • Build a support system. My kids know that when mom is “down” they have to help. They are really self sufficient, and are able to at least start their own laundry, cook using the microwave, and some other tasks. They’ve had to learn because I can’t always do everything (even without these issues). My husband also helps a lot around the house. If I’m in bed with a migraine, let’s just say the dishes may or may not be done. Priorities. I may not be able to handle the noise.
  • Let your kids know that you’re not okay, because they need to see that, but not too much. Kids worry about their parents when they are sick, in pain, or both. If they really want to know, explain things to them in a way they can understand.
  • Alter things for yourself to make the chores you need to do easier. This will make things easier on you when you need to get things done. Less pain, more work. 😄😊

I don’t have it all figured out. I just do the best I can.

Do you have a chronic illness? Do you have tips?

palindromic rheumatism info
migraine info