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!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

Who Am I?

One of my resolutions for 2019 was to maintain my blog… Well that didn’t happen! Life got busy… Life got harder… Life got more chaotic! I lost myself… So, I am trying again! Trying to blog, trying to maintain my sanity, but most of all… trying to find myself again!

So, who am I? Who is Candace? Not Candace the mom. Not Candace the wife. Not Candace the friend, sister-in-law, daughter/daughter-in-law, etc. But who is Candace the person, the individual?

Just yesterday afternoon I had a talk with Emma about boys (ugh, those stupid teenage hormones!) and why it’s ok to not have a ‘boyfriend’. I explained to her that she needs to focus on becoming who SHE is, without having another label. Now is the time that she needs to learn who she is, separate from everyone else. In having this conversation, I realized… I have no clue who I am, aside from a wife and a mom. This really hit me hard, when did I lose my identity? I have been a wife and a mother for so long that I have no idea what the answer to that question is. So with that in mind, my goal for 2020 is to find out, ‘Who is Candace?’!

As wives and moms we tend to lose our identity. We just take on new identities with the same title, like, Stay at Home MOM, HouseWIFE, Mark’s WIFE, Will, Emma, & Madisyn’s MOM, etc. Society no longer sees us as individuals. This year I will embrace the journey of finding out, who I am, again!

This time I WILL stick to my blog and I WILL take time for myself! Please join me on this journey as I attempt to put more time into who I am and less time spent on who I should be to others. Who knows, along the way you may find out who YOU are!

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, 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!