Posted in Third Family

We Can End the Cycle!

I want to preface this blog post by saying that I love my parents (all 3 of them) dearly. This is not meant to be a bashing post. I have prayed about how I would write this. I have had major anxiety about it. Writing has always been a way for me to cope with anxiety and trauma. So with that being said I feel that if just one person can read this and relate and realize that they can break the cycle then something good came from my experiences.

I have always had a fear of speaking out about my childhood because I don’t want to hurt my parents but I feel like in order to grow as a mom and a wife I need to be honest with myself. Also I hope this post helps others see that you can overcome your struggles through childhood and still be a better mom.

As I mentioned in my last post, my childhood was not easy and I was very lonely and sad most of the time. I was bounced from my mom & dad’s (my ‘stepdad’ but I refer to him as my dad) to my grandmother’s (my biodad’s mom) throughout my entire childhood. I never felt settled. As a child that was very confusing. The worthless feeling of having 3 parents yet none truly wanted me 100% of the time. My choices as a mom are because I never want my kids to feel the way that I felt.

My biological father is an alcoholic. He was MIA for my entire childhood and now into my adult years. My grandmother took over his visitation schedule and I am forever grateful for her and the love she showed me. She has always been the one constant in my life. He always had a different girlfriend and she (and even her kids at times) were a priority over me. He does not know my kids, I can count on 2 hands how many times they have seen him. My youngest has only seen him once and she was a baby, so she doesn’t remember him. The one memory that I have of him that stands out the most from when I was growing up, was when he got into a horrible car accident caused by him drinking and driving. His best friend at the time bailed him out of jail and brought him home to my grandmother’s. I just happened to be there for the weekend. When he arrived he had a brace on his neck and his face & body was badly bruised. I still remember the way he looked to this day! He made a promise to me that night that he would stop drinking. That, was just the first of many broken promises.

As I said, my grandmother took over his visitation schedule. I would go to her house on the weekends and in the summer. He was never around. My grandmother made sure that when I was there I didn’t feel like I was less than. I feel she tried to overcompensate for him and give me all the things and love that he should have given me.

My mom and dad have been together since I was almost 2 so I don’t remember a time where my (bio)parents were ever together. I have always been closer to my dad though. Out of all 3 parents, I have always been more comfortable going to him if I have a problem. I wanted that kind of relationship with my mom but unfortunately due to her upbringing she just didn’t know how to be that mom. I understand that now as an adult, but it doesn’t take the pain away that I felt as a child.

I have 2 brothers. My mom and dad have a son who is 2 years younger than me. My biodad and (former) stepmom also have a son that is much younger than me. I don’t have a relationship with either. I have not seen my youngest brother since my early teens. It used to make me sad, but now it just makes me hurt for my kids. They have 2 uncles that they don’t really know. I have tried in the past to reach out, but I don’t want my kids to feel that they have to beg for a relationship with their uncles.

Throughout my entire childhood when I lived with my mom and dad I never felt like I was good enough. When I was younger my biggest longing was to feel loved by my parents. I would act out, but not anything above normal acting out. I just wanted them to notice me. My brother was more athletic, smarter, more popular, just all around a better person. I constantly felt compared to him. If I got good grades, his were better. If I tried out for a team and made it there was always a ‘reason’ my parents wouldn’t allow me to do it. When I lived with my grandmother I ran track and I was really good. I won races, I enjoyed it, I made friends. But when I moved back to my parents I wasn’t allowed to run anymore. I started working at 15 because I had to, it wasn’t an option for me not to. My entire paycheck would go to my parents, I didn’t see any of it.

I have tried so hard to use my experiences as learning tools in how I choose to parent and raise my kids. I check in with them to make sure they are not feeling the things I felt. Especially Emma. She reminds me a lot of me growing up. The route I have chosen to go with her is when I hear her cry out for attention I listen. I reassure her that I will always be here for her. This has not always been the case. I did not truly see her anxiety until this last year (See How Did I Not Know). I refuse to have her feel like she cannot come to me. I never want any of my kids to look back on their childhood and feel sad or unloved.

There was a point in time that I voiced my feelings from my childhood to my mom, dad, & brother. I was met with blame, no understanding and guilt. My brother has told me that if I just would have done everything “right” and the way my parents told me to, then I would have had the same treatments he did. As I said before I did 90% of the chores/housework. I cleaned up after the dogs. When I vacuumed the floors there had to be lines in the carpet that all went the same way. I did the dishes and when I was old enough I cooked dinner. It doesn’t seem like a lot right? However, I was required to do all of that, work, and go to school. This is where my obsessive cleaning comes from. I have to constantly remind myself that a dirty dish in the sink, the carpet not being vacuumed a certain way, etc is not going to make my kids and husband love me any less. I know that back when I was growing up the times were totally different, both parents worked, we were latchkey kids, etc. However that doesn’t take away the favoritism that was shown. If my kids are feeling that there is any sort of favoritism going on in my house that I make sure they know they are all loved equally.

I had a great group of friends in high school. My parents didn’t like any of them. I have caught myself judging my kid’s friends unfairly. Only one or two of my friends saw firsthand how my childhood was. It was not pretty at times. There were major fights, screaming (from both sides), etc. Most fights led to me being asked to leave the house. Because of this I spent a lot of my ‘free’ time alone in my room. There were many nights that I cried myself to sleep just wishing that tomorrow would be different. I know my parents loved me. But that didn’t change the hurt thatI felt. I promised myself I would do better than my parents. Just because my kid’s friends haven’t always necessarily been who I’d pick for them doesn’t mean they are bad kids. I noticed a problem and vowed that I would be the end of that problem. I let my kids choose their friends and (within reason) let them find out who is good for them. I am proud to say that they are pretty good judges of character.

I was in elementary school the first time I was molested by a relative, this relative (years later) actually went to jail for doing this to another member of our extended family. I have a lot of guilt that if I just would have spoken up it wouldn’t have happened to anyone else. I never told my parents, at least not until this person passed away. I was already married and had my son when he passed. I was asked if I was going to attend his funeral and I said no. When asked why, I flooded my parents with years of trauma all at once. I was looking for reassurance, for understanding… I was met with anger and guilt. I did not attend the funeral and to this day that phone conversation with my mom rings in my ears. We have never spoken about it since that day! When my daughter told me that she was molested by a classmate when she was in elementary school… I took a totally different approach! All of those feelings came rushing back for me and I vowed she would not feel an ounce of what I felt. We did everything we could to help her cope. She talks about it openly and not once do we make her feel like it was her fault.

Most of what I did when I was a teen was a cry for attention. I drank, I smoked cigarettes, etc. I got attention but it was always negative attention. This negative attention ranged from yelling & screaming to physical altercations. There were times that my mom would just look at my dad and say ‘You need to deal with her, I just can’t’. Sometimes I just wanted her to look at me and say ‘What is going on? What can we do to fix this together?’ When I see my kids making choices that aren’t wise I go to them and talk to them and try to find out why they are making these choices.

As I said in the beginning, I love my parents but sometimes it is best to love from a distance. Some parents have a hard time acknowledging when they messed up, this is why if I handle a situation unfairly or not in the best way with my children I make sure to apologize right away.

I know that my mom had a very hard and tumultuous childhood. I know that has impacted the way she raised me and our relationship now that I am an adult. I see that and I want to make sure that cycle ends with her. I want to learn from the mistakes of all 3 of my parents. I want my kids to be comfortable coming to me with anything. I want to be a stern parent that gets respect, but I also want my kids to feel respected. I want to be the disciplinarian parent, but not physical discipline.

If you are a parent and can relate to my childhood, know that the cycle can end with you.

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

Anxiety as a Mom & Wife

Do you ever feel like you are in a fog? Like an all day fog?

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do you can’t get ahead? Do you ever have days where every little thing makes you cringe or every small noise makes your skin crawl?

Anxiety is a REAL thing! It is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It is also one of the things that society views as a weakness. There are so many bloggers and vloggers and social media influencers that are trying to break that view. But, still we look at moms and think… “It is her job to have it all together!”

“You have an amazing life, there is no way you suffer from anxiety!” YES! I have actually been told this! Yes, I do have an amazing life! However, anxiety does not discriminate. I have 3 kids, that means 3 different schedules, 3 different personalities, 3 kids needing my attention at the same time. I also have to make sure that I make time for my husband.

There are mornings I wake up ready to start the day… then there are mornings that I wake up and hope that it’s 2 am so I can go back to sleep. I use to be the person that has to set 15 alarms and even have my husband wake me up. Now most mornings I am the first person awake (before my alarm goes off). I attribute this to my anxiety. My brain’s need for control. My body has adjusted to this need and automatically wakes itself up fearful that I have overslept and then my entire day is off track!

Over the years my anxiety has gone from mild to where I suffer daily. There are many things that are considered triggers for me, as well as ways that my anxiety manifests itself. One of those ways, unfortunately is anger. I try my best to control it, but I am far from perfect. I wish I didn’t have to apologize for being angry and ask forgiveness from the people who mean the most to me. I wish I could control it 100% of the time. I am learning to cope with my anxiety but it is an ongoing journey.

One is of my triggers is my kids. I absolutely LOVE my kids! They are my greatest accomplishments. However, they each have their own ways of triggering my anxiety. There are things that a ‘normal’ mom wouldn’t be so concerned with but I fret over daily. It could be something as small as a wet towel in their bedroom floor. Growing up I had a rough childhood that left me feeling on edge and uneasy. I never want my kids to feel that way and it pains me when I let them down. When I see my kids looking at me, almost pleading for me not to fly off the handle when they make a little mistake, it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

I also have a hard time when others (especially my husband) are critical of our kids. I take it personally and it makes me feel like a failure as a mom. I love my husband and I wake up everyday with the intention of being a perfect wife. Like I said, I am far from perfect but when I don’t reach the level of expectation I put on myself, it triggers my anxiety. The one thing that I would like for my husband to understand (well actually anyone that is involved with someone who suffers from anxiety) is when we are in the middle of an anxiety/panic attack if feels impossible to control. One of the worst things that you can say to someone having an anxiety attack is ‘calm down’… They will not ‘calm down’ they will begin to feel even worse because you’ve now made it known that there is a ‘problem’. This will just be one more thing for us to be anxious about.

Another major trigger for me is clutter. I walk into a room and I say “Ugh the house is a disaster!” My husband’s response is “The house looks great babe!” In his defense my house is very clean. However, when I see dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, pictures out of place, etc I feel very uneasy. In the 2 years that we have lived in our current house this trigger has gotten worse. I find it hard to get to sleep unless the house is almost immaculate. This goes back to my childhood, our house had to be pristine. Even the carpet had to have vacuum lines going a certain way. I was responsible for 90% of the chores/housework and the feeling of dread (now I know this as anxiety) when my parents came home from work and things were out of place it was all on me. As a mom and wife I have continued to be the one that takes care of 90% of the housework/chores and I still get that same anxious feeling when something is out of place. It is not because of what my husband and kids expect of me, it is what I expect of myself and I feel as though I am letting my family down.

I hope that my family knows how much I love them. I hope they know that when I’m acting like a complete lunatic, it’s not because I’m mad at them. In fact, most of the time what I need in those moments of anger; is compassion, a hug, some alone time or just some kind words.

I said all of that to say this, anxiety is a real thing and it is different for everyone! If you suffer from anxiety please know that you are not alone. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have a loved one that suffers from anxiety, be a sounding board for them, hug them if they need a hug, take over household duties for the day, take the kids to the park or something and give your partner some alone time.

Lastly, we all need to go easier on each other. We never know exactly what someone has going on in their brain!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Emma, Madisyn, Third Family

Madisyn & Emma’s Bedroom Makeovers!

We have been in our house for 2 years and we had not painted a single wall. Well that changed this past week!

Madisyn – Before

Let’s start with Madisyn’s room. I began by removing her bed and going through all of the extra ‘stuff’. Her closet was just packed full of clothes she never wears and clothes she isn’t going to grow into for a few years, so needless to say, we downsized. I ended up getting rid of quite a bit of things she just didn’t use. Because let’s face it her 3 favorite things to do in her room are:

  1. Playing school games on her iPad with her friends.
  2. Making and playing with slime.
  3. Playing with Rylee, her guinea pig.

She has been begging for a new bed for a few years now. So we finally decided to take her to Rooms To Go. She chose this one in white, and I absolutely LOVE it! Her need for order and open space was what she put first when searching for the perfect bed, she is definitely her mommy’s daughter! The steps have drawers so she no longer needs a dresser AND it has a built in desk, awesome, right?!?!

Emma – Before

Emma’s room was even more cluttered and messy! Typical teenager’s room *insert eye roll*. She had a whole mish-mosh of decor, stuff she’s collected and just randomness. It took a little longer to de-clutter since she’s more of, what my grandmother would call a ‘pack rat’. Like me she gets bored with the same decor and set up in her room, but we both agreed minimizing the ‘stuff’ and maximizing the ‘space’ would make her feel more grounded. Those that know Emma, know she needs minimal distractions and structure to help with her anxiety.

Madisyn’s room was a bright pink color on EVERY wall, which may work for some people and I love pink, but only as an accent color. Emma’s walls were 2 different colors – 2 walls were baby blue and 2 were a pale yellow. Neither girls were happy with their current colors and I thought about giving them a choice for the walls, but honestly I prefer letting them pick a ‘theme’ for decor on one wall. When we were getting our Palm Bay house ready to sell, I really enjoyed the Greige color that Behr offers at Home Depot. It goes with everything and just looks so clean and sleek! And it is a color that will work in any room.

Normally I really try to get any project I start finished in one day. I get really anxious knowing that there are things out of place. But I am proud to say that we began the process on Saturday after a long morning at volleyball and ended the process last night. So all in all it took us 5 days to complete 2 bedroom renovations. I also added the kids bathroom and then the Master Water Closet (check out my 3rdMomof3 Facebook page to see those transformations) in those days because, well I’m crazy, so my hubby says! It kept me occupied while I waited for the girls beds to be delivered. The girls helped dad and I paint their respective rooms. We only had one mishap, when Madisyn (accidentally) decided to paint an outlet (her roller slipped) and caused the power to go out in her room. Thankfully daddy came to the rescue and changed the outlet!

Madisyn’s bed was delivered on Tuesday so we were able to complete her room first. Originally both beds were supposed to arrive the same day. But I am kind of glad Emma’s was delayed by a day. For Madisyn’s ‘themed’ wall she chose, you guessed it, Volleyball! We call it her VolleyWall! We originally weren’t going to purchase a new bed for Emma, because she has gotten a ‘new to her’ bed since we moved. However, I had a plan in my head to give her more space and also give her sort of a ‘quiet haven’. I decided to get her an inexpensive loft bed. We didn’t want to make a major purchase, because since she’s growing like her brother she will grow out of a twin bed in a few years. She was super excited to pick her themed wall. My Hero Academia and other Anime shows are her passion right now! So, obviously, this was her theme. It’s so awesome that she has her own little space, under her bed where she can cuddle with her dog and read all of her books. We will add her Magic Curtain posters from all of her plays once I get all matching frames, but she really didn’t want a whole lot on her walls.

Overall, I am so pleased with how their rooms turned out! I’m going to add more photos to my Facebook Page. These are just the before and after of the whole room! Let me know what you think!!!

More renovations to come in the near future!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

Just Say NO!

*Ring Ring*

“Hello?”

“Hey! Uhm, can you do me a favor?”

Does this sound familiar? If you are anything like me you hear this often… Why is that? Probably because you just can’t say no!

I am a ‘YES’ person. A ‘yes’ friend, a ‘yes’ mom, a ‘yes’ daughter/sister/in-law, etc. I always put myself and my needs last. Last year was a really emotional and mentally exhausting year for me. I found myself more anxious than ever, I was pulled in so many different directions. The one thing I can say when I look back on 2019 is that I did not make myself a priority. Not only did my health suffer (I had a major epileptic seizure), but my relationships suffered.

I started feeling resentful and frustrated. I was putting the needs of others before myself and sometimes before my own family. Why? Honestly I have no answer to that! All I can say is January 1, 2020 I woke up feeling different… My mindset was different. My entire outlook on my life and the direction I want it to go was different. How? I made a vow to myself that I would no longer be a ‘YES’ to everyone else person, but I would be a ‘YES’ to me person.

This includes my own children! I have always been the mom that says yes to everything… “Mom, can you take me to so and so’s house?” “Mom, I forgot my uniform can you bring it to me?” “Mom, I have a project due TOMORROW can you help me?” My answer to all of these and so many more has always been YES! I never want to see my kids disappointed or upset. But in saying yes to everything it has become expected from me and that is just not okay! Especially when there is a lack of gratitude on their part. When they started feeling entitled to hear ‘YES’ from me I decided that I created this monster, so I need to tame it before I send them out into the real ‘NO’ world!

I always say yes to friends and family. I will be the first one to come over if you’re having a bad day. The first one that will drop everything and be there! There have been times where I have been in the middle of a project or doing something with my kids that I have gotten a text, a phone call, a knock at my door, etc and I have dropped everything to be that ‘YES’ person! I love being that friend and confidant. I love being a shoulder for someone to lean on or an ear if you just need to vent. However, I have realized through the awful year we had last year that just because I am a ‘YES’ person doesn’t mean that others are. I have learned who will be in my corner & my family’s corner when we have a need.

If I don’t make myself a priority how can I really expect anyone else to? 2020 is my year to get back to the basics of who I am! I can say no to others and it is up to them to be okay with that. I can put myself first and not feel guilty!

We all have heard the saying “Just Say No (to drugs)”… Well my new slogan is “Just Say No (if it doesn’t make you happy)”!

Posted in Third Family

Family Annihilators – New Normal?

It seems like every single day I log onto social media I am bombarded with articles, stories, etc about another husband/wife & dad/mom that has chosen to end their family’s lives. I find myself trying to find out as much information about these cases that I can.

I relive my past with every story that I see about families being murdered by a father/mother (see https://3rdmomof3.com/2019/01/30/leave-or-stay/ for my post on my experience). It is something that is always on my mind. Could this have been me? Could this have been my kids? Was I going to be another headline? Yes! I strongly believe that my kids and I would be dead. As much as that statement puts a lump in my throat, it is my reality! It is something that I still deal with on a daily basis, even though my abuser is dead.

I read all the comments on the stories. The ones that get me are, ‘Why didn’t she just leave him?’ ‘It’s her fault because she didn’t leave’ etc. We as a society choose to blame the victim or make excuses as to why these things happen. Some say ‘He was such a good person’, ‘You never saw him angry’, ‘He just snapped’, well honestly abusers have the capability to change their personality to suit the environment they are in. And most times they don’t just ‘snap’, there are always signs… But the puzzle pieces don’t always fit together until they commit the unthinkable! Instead of judging we need to be better understanding.

Family Annihilation does not discriminate based on social class! One of the most recent cases that has been on the news is the Todt family. The father was a prominent Physical Therapist, a family man, a very giving man (according to multiple charities), etc… But he made a choice, he chose to murder his wife, their 3 kids (ages 13, 11, & 4), even the family dog! Why? Some say it’s because of the Federal charges coming his way due to fraud with his physical therapy business. Some say he didn’t want his family to suffer financially if he went to prison. Some even may say it was because they were being evicted from their Florida home. I say he was selfish, he did not HAVE to hurt his family. This was HIS choice, not theirs!

Another case is the Watts family… The father (again) seemed to be a family man, a doting father, a loving husband, we even saw videos showing all of this on social media. Obviously we don’t see that he’s having an affair on his pregnant wife, he’s leading a double life. He was very good at hiding this other life, even the couples closest friends didn’t know. People that knew him say the same things ‘He was such a good person’, ‘You never saw him angry’, ‘He just snapped’… I have seen so many people online bashing the wife and blaming her, he even blamed her at first. He said she murdered their daughters and that’s why he snapped! In the end, he confessed that he murdered all 3 of them because he didn’t want his daughters to be left without a mom or a dad. Again, selfishness, this seems to be the most common denominator in these cases, right?

I have been there, I’ve had that same fear that these moms must have had seeing what was about to happen. I am one that has survived a family annihilator. I know that if I wouldn’t have had the strength to leave, my kids and I would be one of those headlines.

As a society we cannot let this become our new normal! Check in on your neighbors, check in on your family members, even I need to be better at this. If you are in an unhealthy situation there are ways that you can get help without the other person knowing.

Posted in Third Family

Dear Candace,

Letter to the 16 year old me

It gets easier, I promise! I know, I know, such a cliché thing to say. But it’s true.

Those girls that you want to be friends with, those boys who don’t notice you, that team you didn’t make, that argument you had with your mom over chores. I know it hurts and I know you think it’s the end of the world… it doesn’t matter now!

Being 16 sucks! It is hard and emotional and lonely and so many other things. But it gets better! Your life doesn’t end at 16.

You will go through some horrible things in your life, bullying, sexual assault, divorce, domestic violence, car accidents, death of family members, etc… But you will also go through some amazing and wonderful things, like, being a mom to 3 of the most wonderful children, being a wife to a man that would move mountains for you, having a blessed and fulfilling life!

You now have a 16 year old son. Look at the things you are going through… how would you help your own son navigate these challenges? If he were at a party, would you tell him not to take that drink? If he were in that class, would you tell him to study harder and make sure he did that paper? What about when someone is making fun of him? Would you tell him to just hold it in & silently struggle or would you tell him it’s ok to tell an adult, even if it is one of the popular kids? What would your advice to him be? He will see you go through some of the most difficult times of your life, but he will learn to deal with ‘life struggles’ by watching you.

You have 2 daughters now, they are beautiful and precious little girls! And they are going to experience some of the same taunting and peer pressure that you are dealing with. What would you tell them? Would you say that ‘You are beautiful, no matter what anyone else says!’? Would you tell them that it’s ok to be an independent female and focus on yourself? Your oldest daughter will go through some unimaginable hell, but it will be your job to guide her through it. Even though you will feel like there is no positive end in sight, trust me, she has your strength and will come out on top! Your youngest will be a bright light in your life! She gets her independence from you and she inherits her stubbornness from you (sometimes not always a positive, lol)!

Trust me, you will have an amazing life! And all of those things that you have to endure will only make you stronger!

Posted in Third Family

Good Moms Have Bad Days Too!!

There is such pressure that moms should always ‘have it together’! I have always struggled with putting on a facade that everything is perfect. Through certain things I have experienced, I realized recently that it is ok to not be perfect. I don’t have it together. It is hard to admit this, but I think about other moms that may be feeling the same way that I am and I don’t want them thinking they are alone. Because I hate feeling like I’m alone. We live in a society where moms are expected to always be happy, to always have well behaved kids, to have a perfectly clean house! Why do we place theses expectations on each other? Why do we place them on ourselves?

I have learned a lot in my (*gulp*) 16 years of being a mom. There is a stigma in the air about admitting that you don’t always have it together as a mother. I myself have silently judged other moms for having a bad day. But let’s reflect for a moment, how would I feel if I could hear those same judgements about me when I’m having a bad mom moment or day? I would feel horrible!

Having a bad day doesn’t make you a bad mom… It makes you human! Humans make mistakes!

I always told myself I would never yell at my kids, I wouldn’t say bad words, I would always have a perfectly clean house, my kids would always be well mannered and be civil members of society. Well, as it turns out… I yell, I say bad words, my house isn’t spotless 24/7 and my kids can be terrors sometimes. But does that make me a bad mom? Absolutely NOT!

There are days when being a mom is just HARD! The kids are fighting, the husband is upset because the kids aren’t listening, the house is a disaster, the laundry is piled high, and you just want to lock yourself in your room and eat all the junk food you have carefully hidden from said kids. Guess what?!? It is totally OK to do this! Take a time out! It is OK to tell the kids that you need to take a time out, they need to know that it is healthy to remove yourself from a situation when you overwhelmed. As moms, I know that we feel we will be judged for admitting we need to take a ‘time out’ but we need to support each other.

Trust me I wish that I was like the Brady Bunch mom… But let’s face it… I’m more like Roseanne Connor! I am never going to be Carol Brady… And that is OK! I am learning (it’s only taken me 16 years!) that it is ok to not have it all together! When I first became a mom, I had no idea what I was doing… and now, I still have no idea what I am doing. But what I do know is, good moms have bad days!

At the end of the day, as long as my kids know that I love them, I am a good mom!

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

Only Child vs Multiple Children

How many kids should you have?

“You should only have one, kids are expensive.” “You should give your child a sibling, or they will grow up socially awkward.” “You have a boy and a girl? You should stop now.” “You have all girls, are you going to try for a boy?” These are the obnoxious questions/comments that we as parents hear all the time. But does anyone ask the kids how they feel? Well, I decided that I would get their take on living in an only child vs multiple children household.

What is it like being in a household where there are multiple children? I asked my 3 kiddos the same 5 questions and here is the feedback they gave me…

Emma, Madisyn, & Will
  1. Do you like having siblings? Why/Why not? W – “Yeah, I guess. Because it’s not always quiet.” E – “Yes, because I’m never bored.” M – “Sometimes, sometimes they only want to talk to their friends.”
  2. Do you ever wish you were an only child? Why/Why not? W – “Sometimes, (in typical teenage fashion) I don’t know why.” E – “Sometimes, because the arguing and fighting is stressful!” M – “Sometimes, because I would get more time with you and because it would be less expensive…” (my very logical thinker!)
  3. Why do you think your parents had multiple children? W – “I don’t know. That’s weird, I don’t know how to answer that!” lol! E – “So you and daddy would never be alone.” M – “I know this, cause you told me, it’s because you wanted one boy and one girl. And then you wanted 2 girls because you never had a sister and you wanted Emma to have a sister.”
  4. What is the best part about having siblings? W – “There is always someone to do something with if I get bored.” E – “I get to spend time with them whenever I want.” M – “I’m never alone. When we take vacations or if you/daddy or my friends are busy, I have someone there.”
  5. What is the worst part about having siblings? W – “The arguing.” E – “We don’t always agree and we argue.” M – “Sometimes they are annoying (I include myself in this, lol) and they only want to spend time with their friends.”

So as you can see there were multiple times that they gave pretty much the same answers. Even though they argue and fight this shows me that they are all 3 more alike than they care to admit sometimes.

What about the other side? If you have siblings there has probably been a time in your life that you’ve thought about what life would be like in an only child household? I know I have, so I decided to get answers from someone (well, the only person I know) that is an only child. When I asked my niece, Amber if she wanted to be interviewed for a blog post she said “Yes! Of course. I’d love to!”

Amber
  1. Do you like being an only child? Why/Why not? “I do because I have no siblings to argue with. But I like being near you guys cause I can hang out with them and send them home or I get to go home.”
  2. Do you ever wish you had siblings? Why/Why not? “When I was younger I did because I would get bored.”
  3. Do you consider yourself spoiled because you are an only child? “Yeah, especially by my grandma cause the other 2 grandkids are older.”
  4. Why do you think your parents only had one child? “I actually know the answer to this! Because of all of the issues I had when I was born and when I was a baby. They didn’t want to put themselves though that again.”
  5. What is the best part about having siblings? “Well, this is kinda the best and worst part… getting all of the attention from my parents. Best part – They are always there… Worst part – They are always there…” lol
  6. What do people assume about you because you are an only child? “That I am very spoiled.”

So you see, there really are pros and cons to each side of the debate about what is better… Having an only child or having multiple children.

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

SAHM… Is it a REAL ‘job’?

My journey of being a stay at home mom began 9 years ago. I was working full time, 50-60+ hours a week. My husband worked from home and I was becoming resentful. Resentful because he was watching our kids grow up. Resentful because he was able to be involved at school. Resentful because I didn’t know my kids as well as he did and the only time I really spent with them was bedtime & the weekends.

One night I finally just poured out my heart to my husband. I finally just let him know all the things that I was feeling and do you know what he did?!? He wrapped his arms around me and just said to me ‘Give your notice at work, we will figure it out’! I just broke down… was this going to become a reality? Was I really going to be able to spend all my time with my kiddos?

The next day I went into work and gave my 2-week notice. Even though I was so excited, I was also super nervous! I have been working since I was 15 and I always enjoyed working but ever since my oldest was born I knew my ultimate goal was to one day stay home and spend my days with my kids. I went full force into the stay-at-home-mom role! Throughout the years I have been the room mom, the PTA/PTO mom, the team mom, etc.

So, is being a SAHM a REAL ‘job’? I have been told NO! Since all 3 of my kids are in school all day, I’ve gotta be just sitting home and watching tv all day, right? “You don’t ‘work'”… “It isn’t hard”… “Your kids are older so you don’t have to do anything for them”… “All you do is hang out with your friends during the day and go to Starbucks”… Just to name a few things that I have been told! Yes, people have actually said these and much more to me! Well, in all of the jobs I have ever had, none has a schedule like this one!

My day starts at 6:00 am. I get my oldest up and out the door for school (yes, I wake him up, yes I know he is old enough to get himself up, but I remember how hard it was for me to wake up in the mornings, so I don’t mind). Then my youngest gets up at 7:00-7:30 to get ready for school (she is a morning person most days so this isn’t really a struggle), I take her to school at 8:15. I am back home by 8:30 to shower, get ready, and get my middle schooler up, then we head to her school at 9:00. And once all 3 kids are at school, this is when I make my Starbucks run, the one thing that gets me through my morning is my Starbucks Refresher, so yummy!

Once I get home I begin my cleaning routine. I do, at the minimum, 2 loads of laundry a day, I clean the bathrooms 4-5 times a week (teenage boy, need I say more? lol), the kitchen is the center of our house, so that gets cleaned 3-4 times a day, the hardwood floors get vacuumed daily (we have 3 dogs, that shed… A LOT!), the carpet gets vacuumed at least twice a week, once a week I deep clean the kids bedrooms (they clean them throughout the week, but I like to do a deep clean just for my sanity), all of this takes like 2-3 hours (sometimes more, depending on the day and how my cleaning OCD is that day). Ok, so now my day is done right? Uhm, nope! I get started on organizing our calendar, go through emails (so many emails… school, sports, etc), and now working on my blog.

The momi-van pulls out of the driveway at 2:50 to pick up the youngest kiddo from school. Thankfully the oldest’s school is super close to our house so he usually walks home, unless he has 2 1/2-3 hours of soccer practice, then we will pick him up at 5ish. At 4:00 the middle schooler gets picked up. Dinner gets made by me on nights that we don’t have sports or other activities, the other nights everyone has to make their own dinner. The nights that we do have sports/activities I am back in the car again, to football games, soccer games, etc. On Thursdays I take Madisyn & her friend to volleyball, thank goodness for moms that carpool! Some days there are field trips, class parties, sports games, theater plays, errands that need to be taken care of, on top of the daily to do’s.

I know there are moms that work from home, work outside the home, and still do some of these things that I do daily. But stay-at-home moms (& dads) don’t seem to get the same respect because society doesn’t see it as a REAL ‘job’. Just because you don’t get a paycheck doesn’t mean you don’t work.

So, is being a SAHM a REAL ‘job’? ABSOLUTELY!!! It is the hardest and most rewarding JOB I have ever had!

*Side note – I am very grateful that I have a husband that works from home so I do have help with the kids, if I have to ‘call in sick’ or can’t be in 2 places at once.*

Posted in Third Family

How Did I Not Know!?!

Middle school is awkward for everyone! Don’t say it wasn’t for you, because we know, that’s just not true. Middle school is when everyone is going through body changes, hormone changes, trying to find themselves, etc. I remember how horrible middle school was for me. We knew with Emma’s mental illness and anxiety, the transition would be trying but we were not prepared for the hell that we were about to endure!

Emma has overcome so many obstacles in her life. She has dealt with things that would make an adult have an emotional breakdown. She was doing so well, she was excelling in school, she was making friends, she was living her best life. And then it happened, Middle School happened. Hormones happened. Friendships were lost. Emotions were confusing. Life was too hard.

We started getting phone calls about Emma’s behavior about the 1st month of school. She was getting into arguments with her peers daily, she was being disrespectful to teachers and administrators, she was having more and more emotional outbursts! We had several meetings with the Dean and her teachers. We were all at a loss as to how to help her! Her grades were horrible, she was failing EVERY class! She refused to do her schoolwork and homework. So, needless to say, home-life was very tumultuous because her outbursts were occurring here as well!

One day I received the worst phone call I have ever received! I saw the school’s name pop up on my phone, and the first thought that popped into my head (the thought I now regret & kick myself for having) was ‘Great!! Here we go again!!!’. But this call was different, the voice on the other line was a voice of concern and worry. And then I heard the words that made my stomach turn! ‘Mrs. Third, we need you to come to the school, Emma is ok right this moment, but it has been brought to our attention that she has been cutting her wrists!’ My heart sank, my hands were shaking, my emotions were all over the place! How could I NOT know this, I am her mother! I have failed her! My sweet girl has been hurting all this time and I just didn’t see it! These are thoughts that raced through my mind on the drive to her school. When we arrived at the school we were guided into the Dean’s office, as soon as I saw Emma, I lost it, I just grabbed her and hugged her. She was very emotional and was trying to be strong in front of me, but I could tell she was at the end of her rope and she was relieved that her dad and I were now aware of what she had been hiding. Looking back, there were signs I should have seen… Long sleeves ALL THE TIME… Hiding in her room… Freaking out if I came into the room where she was dressing/showering/etc (because she also had cuts on her thighs). But individually these signs didn’t raise a red flag.

We were then told (with Emma out of the room) that she was asked multiple questions before we arrived, the most troubling one was ‘Emma, do you have a plan?’ Emma’s response ‘Yes!’ (I thought I was going to be sick!) My daughter, had a plan… to remove herself from this world! She was 12 years old at this time! We were given all the pamphlets and resources they could give us. We started making phone calls that day! Most therapists had waiting lists or their hourly rates were outrageous!

In the meantime one of the resources they gave us was a number for a mobile crisis intervention line. One evening she started making suicidal remarks so we called the crisis line and they sent someone out. She was able to calm Emma down and referred us to a counselor that specializes in child & teen crisis situations. We started seeing her the next day, that first session was over 3 (yes THREE) hours long! This counseling center also has a housing unit for kids/teens that are in need of 24/7 care.

After about 3 months of intensive therapy, lots of crying, some minor & major setbacks, and everyone working together for Emma, I am happy to report that Emma has ‘graduated’ from intensive therapy, her grades are up, and she now has a behavior chart at school… This is the exciting part… the scores range from 1 (worst) to 3 (best)… and she has had ALL 3’s from every teacher the last month!

We still have daily struggles, but she has not had any more major outbursts or expressed suicidal thoughts!

If someone you or someone you know is struggling please reach out! There is help out there! Remember YOU matter!