Posted in Third Family

Love Story- Guest Blog

I am so excited that I was able to write a guest blog for another mom blogger. Feel free to read all about my Love Story and check out Jessica’s site and give her social media a like!
https://loveinjune16.wordpress.com/author/sortinglifesissueswithjessica/
https://www.instagram.com/loveinjune16/
https://twitter.com/jrenfro99

Sorting Life's Issues with Jess

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Fairy Tale Love Story

I always loved fairy tale stories. I always dreamt of being a princess and finding my prince. Little did I know in early June 2007 my fairy tale would begin!

It was just when online dating was just beginning. I was a single mom to 2 little kids. I had my hands full so dating was sort of difficult. I created my online profile, mainly for chatting in my spare time. One evening I heard that ding on my computer and thought, ‘Oh great, another weirdo that I will just ignore’… but this profile was different! This picture caught my eye! Something told me to respond.

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So I did. We chatted online for a while and then exchanged numbers. I was so nervous for that first phone call but decided to just see what would happen. I mean, it’s not like it was going to go…

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Posted in 3rdMomof3, Surviving

Leave or Stay?

*Warning, this post contains sensitive material about domestic violence and suicide, reader discretion is advised.*

Have you ever considered leaving your abusive spouse? Have you stayed because of your children? Have you stayed because you are too afraid to leave? Have you stayed because your spouse threatened to harm themselves if you left?

I can answer YES to all 4 of those questions! A lot of people don’t know this about me. I usually don’t speak about my first marriage. It is too painful to talk about and too hard to explain over and over. Only those closest to me know the real story. (I want to begin by saying that this is NOT a story about my current husband or our relationship.)

It all started in 2002, that is when I first met my ex-husband. We began dating and were expecting a child after only a few months. We did the ‘right’ thing and got married. I was six months pregnant and standing in front of a court house doing what I thought I should do. In December I gave birth to my first born, my only son. He was the light of my life! He made the pain of the abuse bearable.

The first major assault occurred after my son was born. I stayed because I though it was the right thing to do. Until one night I made my ex mad. I must have said something wrong, right? I mean he wouldn’t have waited until I put my son to bed to corner me in the kitchen, unless I did something wrong… Right? It’s gotta be my fault that I ended up going to the hospital, right? It’s my fault that my ex decided to shove me so hard and I hit the stove with such force, that my upper arm immediately began to swell. And if that wasn’t enough and my tears & pleading didn’t get to him, he tried to shut me up by punching me in the back of the head multiple times. The last blow to my head caused me to briefly loose consciousness. When I came back to I realized what was going on. It took me a long time to convince him to take me to the ER, as I thought my arm was broken. I packed up my son and we headed to the hospital. I made sure I told my ex that I would just tell the doctor that I fell down the stairs. I must have been very convincing because he left me alone with the nurse in triage, while he went to the bathroom to change my sons diaper. I told her everything! She immediately called the police and had them wait behind the doors so that I could take my son from his arms before they arrested him. I was so scared that he would do something to my son if he saw the police before I took him. I grabbed my son and headed to the triage room again and didn’t look back. I could hear the police tackle him because he was fighting them, I could hear him yelling for me, but I didn’t turn around.

When our case went to court he asked me to drop the charges and say that I made everything up. I stood my ground, testified against him and they ordered anger management, parenting classes, a restraining order for myself and my son, and probation. You would think that would be the end of my story right? Unfortunately it’s not.

Time went by and he did all of the ‘right’ things. He attended his ordered classes, he got a job, he did everything that I had wanted him to do before. I saw him bettering himself… or so I thought. I decided to give it another try, for the sake of my son. He deserved to have 2 parents right? I ended up getting pregnant again, you know the saying that it only takes ONE time? That is very true!!! I was happy and sad at the same time. I was going to be a mom again and it was the one thing in my life that I could do right! But what if he hit me again? What if he broke his promises?

Well, you know what happened??? He did hit me! He broke every single promise that he had made! He told me he would kill me, my kids and himself if I ever left! I was so scared, I thought ‘if I don’t leave my kids and I are going to die, but if I stay we will die’. I knew that I had to make a choice, so I eventually got the courage to kick him out!

Fast forward to 2009. I was remarried and we were so happy. My ex didn’t see the kids and they didn’t remember him. I was so happy that I never heard from my ex and he didn’t ask to see the kids. My husband was their daddy, he took care of them, he took care of me… We were a happy family of 4. One night I got a phone call, a phone call from someone I had never met, someone claiming to be my ex’s cousin. I didn’t believe him when he said that my ex-husband shot himself, that he left a note and I was the only person he mentioned. I told him ‘Good, I’m glad he’s gone’! Again, at this point I didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until I received yet another phone call… This time it was my dad, he told me he was on the computer looking at my ex-husband’s obituary. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… So many emotions filled me… Sadness, Anger, Resentfulness, Hurt, Sympathy for his family, and Relief for myself and my kids! Relief that I would no longer have to look over my shoulder, I wouldn’t have to worry about him ever getting visitations with my kids, I wouldn’t have to fear him any longer! I was finally FREE!

My husband gave my kids his last name, and we have added another child to our family. My kids became OUR kids and they have never known or felt any different. Our son found out about my ex a few years ago and he stated that that did not change anything for him. He doesn’t remember anything about our past life. As a mother and father, my husband and I have chosen not to tell our daughters. Our older daughter was only 6 months old when we met, so my husband is the only father she has ever known. Due to her inability to process information maturely we ask that if you know our family that you DO NOT bring any of the information in this blog up to her. We have made a beautiful life for ourselves and are incredibly blessed and I thank God daily that he brought us out of the trauma we were living in and sent my husband to rescue us! This year marks 10 years since our 2 older kids and I have been free!

If you are in a relationship that is abusive, it doesn’t get better, he won’t change, he will continue the abuse. Just like with me, it is NOT your fault! You didn’t do anything that deserves abuse! It may look like he’s changing but he’s not. He will tell you anything you want to hear so that you will stay. There are other options. There are places you can go, people that can help you leave. We as a society need to come together and put an end to domestic violence. I know it’s not easy to leave, trust me, but I didn’t want to end up another statistic. I knew that my kids and I would end up on the news as another murder/suicide headline. So if you need a friend please reach out, my email address is 3rdMomof3@gmail.com or you can reach out to me on my Facebook Page. It has taken me 10 years to tell my story, but as I see more and more of the same headlines, I just know someone out there needs to hear it. Needs to hear that it’s ok to leave.

If you are in an abusive relationship please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Emma

“Don’t Judge Me”

In a world where everyone has an opinion and judgement about everything, how do you survive as a special needs parent?

“Don’t Judge Me!”

I use this phrase A LOT! Most of the time I just quietly say it to myself… Other times I wait until I am alone and I scream these 3 little words! Why do we judge each other so harshly? I’ve been on the other side, I have caught myself saying ‘why can’t they make that child listen?’ or ‘if my child did that I would do this!’ Why can’t we as a society help each other? Even if it’s just a knowing nod, or a smile saying ‘I get it!’.

My daughter, Emma, has suffered severe trauma at the hands of another child and has encountered many bullies, both children and adults. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, Social Anxiety Disorder, she’s on the verge of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, among other things she has going on. She also has an IEP at school. It’s not as extensive as it used to be, but she will still need some help all throughout school.

(A little bit of a backstory as far as school goes)

At her previous school she did not get the help that she needed, and unfortunately that caused her to fall further behind. However, since she has been at Avalon Elementary she has flourished! Last year, her 4th grade year, she finished with 2 A’s & 2 B’s! This girl had NEVER gotten an A before attending AES! She has had phenomenal teachers and they make sure that she succeeds! This year she has learned so much and is starting to have confidence in herself with her schoolwork. I have cried many many positive tears in the last year & a half because she has grown so much as a student! I never thought that was possible, as we were told that it would be unlikely that she would ever be on grade level. As a mom, that judgement devastated me! I have had some of her teachers and administrators from AES tell me how upset that they have been because the other school(s) held her back from reaching her potential… All because they didn’t want to deal with or didn’t understand her disabilities. Emma has said to me ‘Why do people judge me? Why don’t they understand that everyone isn’t the same?’. I wish I had an answer for her, except ‘people are just mean and opinionated sometimes’

Emma has daily struggles with expressing her emotions. She has the biggest heart of anyone that I know. I love that about her! Even with a big heart she still gets angry, frustrated, flustered, etc. Unfortunately, her most substantial obstacle is, expressing those emotions in an appropriate way. It makes me so sad when I see other parents judging her when she gets upset. All they see is this perfectly ‘normal’ looking 12 year old that towers over others her age showing emotion that most adults have trouble expressing! She gets angry and reacts, this is when I have to remove her from the situation so that she can collect herself and once she has a ‘time out’ she realizes that she should react in an appropriate manner. With Emma’s problem solving skills she operates as a younger child. I will say, though, since we have been living in Avalon her anxiety has gotten so much better.

Is Social Anxiety Disorder real?

Absolutely!!! Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Can you see a migraine? How about PMS? No, a person can tell you their symptoms but you can’t actually walk up to a woman and tell that she has PMS! So as a society we need to STOP judging others! We need to build a support system for each other and allow a safe place for other moms that are at their wits end or that just need to vent can do so! We hold everything in because we are afraid of the judgement! I’m tired of holding it in, sometimes being a mom is hard, sometimes it’s just downright unbearable! Most of the time it’s the most rewarding part of my life but there are times where I just sit in my room and cry.

(This is a time that I am afraid of judgement but I have to be completely transparent and honest with this topic) Sometimes I wish that her disabilities were more noticeable when you look at her. Maybe then other kids and especially adults wouldn’t judge her, or me! It is so hard to be out in public at an event or in a store and she has a ‘meltdown’. Not because I can’t handle the meltdown, because I have gotten better at figuring out what needs to happen, but because of the stares. I know what their thoughts are ‘That child is nothing but a problem”, “That mom has no clue what she’s doing”, “That child is just a brat”, I could keep going! I know these are their thoughts because people have actually said these things to me, or even worse, to Emma! I just look at them and say (the times that I don’t break down in tears) “You don’t know her story!!!” Even people that have known her for years judge me and judge her, those people are not involved in our everyday lives. I have learned to keep my circle small and only include those that I truly trust.

In closing, I want to say to those mommas that can’t see past this tantrum or this meltdown, or this days judgement from others… it gets BETTER! Emma has come so much further along than any of us ever thought possible! We have so many people to thank for her accomplishments and those people chose to help and guide her instead of judge her! The incredible administration at her school helps her find ways to deal with peer situations without judging her! She gets good grades at school, because her teachers believe in her and do not judge her! She has the most amazing Choir Director/Music Teacher that has taken her under her wing and has encouraged her to strive to do her best and does not judge her! Her ESE teacher saw such potential in her and introduced her to Magic Curtain which she loves and didn’t judge her! The director of each play she has done has helped her and been so patient with her and didn’t judge her! There are countless others that have continued to help my little girl see that she is extraordinary!

So see everyone, if we help others and not judge them we can help them reach their potential!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Emma, Madisyn, Mark, Third Family, Will

Embracing the Chaos

Welcome! My name is Candace. I am a mother and wife. This is our journey… our chaotic and enjoyable odyssey!

Follow along as I begin this adventure in sharing our chaos. Normally I just post random things and small blips on Facebook or Instagram. However, some things need a more elaborate post. I have started and failed at keeping my blogs up to date a few times now. Nonetheless, I am prepared to do at least 3 posts a week. Sometimes I will add more, but I’m striving for at least 3. Three seems to be our magic number: 3 kids, 3 dogs, Third as our last name, etc.

One of the reasons I have struggled with my blogs before is my fear of not having anything to say that will make a difference. Lately, however, I have realized that the everyday chaos in our household (the positive and negative chaos) can be informative and helpful. If nothing else, but to show other moms that you aren’t alone. From struggles with a teenager, a tween-ager, a child with special needs and their daily endeavors, etc, to the unexpected food fights, the kids events, community events. I may even include some reviews here and there of restaurants, events, and many other things. I have a lot to say and can’t wait to share my adventures with you.

I have always had a fear of others reading what I write and judging me. But I have realized that this is me! This is my life and I am here to embrace the chaos!