8/15/15

5 years. That’s how long this blog has existed, in one form or another. That’s also how long I’ve been a mother, how long Leo has been alive. It’s hard to fathom. The twists and turns and loops we have traveled in those years boggle the mind. (Yes, my mind IS easily boggled, thank you smartass in the back, sit down and shuddup. I have a point, let me get to it.) Somewhere along the way, I got overwhelmed and stopped posting here. I never stopped writing, my “drafts” folder is overflowing with partially finished, half edited entries, like my own personal pseudo – blog. Or diary. Or trash can…I just stopped hitting the “publish” button. I stopped because of time, because of embarrassment and depression and worry about what “they” thought, and because I thought what I had to say was too trite and lame to inflict on the hapless  internet at large. But then today something happened. I realized, as I watched my 5 year old run through the grass and splash into the lake with absolutely no fear, when a year ago he wouldn’t even go more than ankle deep into ANY body of water (including a bathtub), that even through my dysfunction and mess and staggering failed attempts at adulthood, I’ve gotten somewhere. I’ve managed to help a tiny human grow for 5 years – as of two years ago, not one, but TWO tiny humans have grown with my help, as a matter of fact! I like where I’m going, and I’m ready to talk about “it”. I’m ready to be me, over here in my little messy corner, in all my weird, crazy glory. So here’s to a new year, and (another) fresh start.

Hello, my name is Skye. 5 years ago today, my life changed forever, and it was the scariest, most amazing and harrowing experience of my life. And I’d do it all over again. Stick around and I’ll fill in the gaps my most recent disappearing act left in this rambling mess of blog. Or not. because you know, that’s how I roll on here.

Peace and Love ❤ Skye

Thank You, Leo

I haven’t gotten much right in my life. I was not an easy child, and although I do know I was loved, I have always been impulsive and precocious, quick to jump in to trouble. School was a horrific experience for me. I was smart, but not at all good at being smart in the ways that brought praise and good grades. I drove more than one teacher to distraction, and failed more than one class. When my teachers started talking about colleges I rolled my eyes, as I considered the combination of my inability to function or cope in an academic environment and the fact that in my family, college simply wasn’t an option. I was also a bully magnet – that annoying, loud mouthed kid who didn’t even have ONE similarly irritating friend to their name. And I’m not the kind of person who can take rejection, disdain and insults in stride. The end result being, by the time I made it to my teen years, I was a screwed up mess of self- loathing and raw angst. We all know how that fares when one is female and moderately cute. I went from being a bully magnet to being a bad boy magnet. My parent’s hair turned white overnight, and my self – esteem, already in tatters, completely fell apart. I fled to Guatemala at 18, got sick, came home, worked a bit, fled to the Dominican Republic, and got sick and came “home” again. Two years later, I was getting married. No where along the way have I had a successful “career”, made it to college or even managed to sort of make up for my history of preemptive failure – at least in my own eyes. And then, in November of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. Whether I was ready or not, whether I was capable or not, a baby WAS coming to live with us, and as completely lost and terrified as I was, I knew, for the first time in my life, that I couldn’t back out. My biggest fear was – and still is – that I would fail miserably. The jury is still out on whether or not I have – but I do know one thing. IF I fail, it won’t be from lack of effort. It won’t be because I gave up before I even started, or because I was too overwhelmed to see things through. Being a Mama is the FIRST thing I’ve done in my life that has unequivocally NOT been a failed attempt. Leo and his brave Daddy are my anchors. I can’t even begin to appreciate them enough. And Motherhood has changed me in every way conceivable. Being Leo’s Mama took me down my path to where I am now – firmly in my “crunchy”, Montessori teaching, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural parenting niche. He’s shown me that I do indeed have strength that I NEVER imagined, and his love and faith heals me daily.

Lets Make a Demanding Job Even Harder.

Let’s all keep pointing our fingers at each other and judging. Because, really, raising a healthy, happy, sane human being from a tiny fetus in Mommy’s belly all the way to adulthood isn’t NEAR difficult enough. Let’s deny each other support and kinship, let’s judge based on skin deep choices, and let’s teach our kids that there REALLY ARE two “sides”. THEM, and US. And THEY are always, always wrong. Not just different, WRONG. And they’re probably going to hell, too. Let’s teach our kids that it is not okay to see things from a different perspective, and that all we really need to be is RIGHT. Because that strikes me as a sane, healthy message to pass along to the next generation. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that we have to swallow OUR beliefs, or deny our confidence in our choices. I’m just saying that it’s possible, whether we agree with the choices other parents make or not, to love the person. To support the journey, without expectations. Without the “I’m your friend, now you must be just like me” clique weirdness. And to just – stop taking it all so seriously. I’ve had some CRAPTACULAR Mom moments here lately. Leo has turned 2. The times are upon us, and they are hard. I’m working now and I have less time to “keep up appearances”. But you know what? I am a DAMN good Mama. Warts and quirks and all. I love my child more than life itself, and every. single. exhausting. stressful. day  – I am doing my absolute best. And I don’t need to be worried, on top of everything that really IS worth worrying over, that should I post a picture of my beautiful boy doing something cute while wearing a disposable diaper, I’ll then be judged as “not crunchy enough”.  We still use cloth part time. Not that it should matter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I don’t need to feel ashamed either when Leo falls down and needs some “ninny” to soothe the owies. In public. Around here, he’s been “too old” to be breastfed on demand for a year and a half. Suddenly I am TOO weird and “crunchy”.  There is no end to the things we as parents, and especially we as Mamas – will judge each other on. I, for one, am ready for it to stop. I’m ready to go back to just being me, and Leo being Leo, and if he’s heard (loudly) as well as seen – well, he’s a toddler, and I’m his Mama and we’re trying. And I’m ready to STOP with the judging other Mamas, too. It makes me feel icky. And I do it. It’s not enough to put ourselves out there and say “accept me as I am!” It’s pointless to demand that others stop judging us if we (as those in the RIGHT, of course) continue to judge. No matter WHAT side we’re on – vaxing or non-vaxing, cloth diapering, stay at home or working, breastfeeding or formula feeding – we WILL screw up. Badly. And we will need support. We will need each other. Deal with it.

The Big (anti-climactic) Reveal

I’ve changed a lot of stuff around here. Obviously. There’s a new blog name and a new job. Yes, ladies and gents (Ha! Seriously If any “gents” other than FireDaddy voluntarily read this, I’ll eat my… cloth diaper stash. Just saying.) I, Skye the Crunch, have joined the ranks of working Mamas. And while I know it’s not for everyone, frankly, it seems to work for us quite well. Mostly because of the job itself. I am a Primary Assistant Teacher at a nearby (sort of) Montessori School, and Leo is now a member of their fantastic Toddler program. We both love it, to the point that I firmly believe that our TERRIBLE day on Thursday was partially a direct result of Leo’s anger over my inability to provide him with the routine that he so loves at school. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. The 45 minute each way drive is rough. Leo’s been doing well but having some growing pains (his nickname is “Jaws”. I leave it to your imagination to conclude why), and I am daily reminded of how much I DON’T know about kids and how to teach them. But all of these things have an upside, as Leo and I are being given opportunities to learn and change, and I now get a full 90 minutes of NPR a day. *SCORE* Not to mention the amazing opportunity I have to learn first hand more about Montessori education and parenting. As a family, this is EXACTLY what we needed. Transitioning into being a Montessori Mama has filled some of that “void” I’ve felt in my parenting.   And ya’ll- it WORKS. Which needs to be a post all its own. For now though – anyone still following, reading, clicking – thank you. All of this upheaval has been good. I needed it, as a blogger, and as a Mama. As always, Peace and Love ya’ll!

Worst. Day. Ever. (Or at least, in a really, really long time)

My son (who is usually known to you as Leo)  slammed my face in the microwave an hour ago. And that officially put the finishing touches on what can only be classified as a colossally monstrous day. At the risk of indulging in that oversharing thing I’ve been told I tend to do, allow me to mention that – *ahem* – my Aunt Flo is visiting. I am a hormonal mess. Last night was my fourth consecutive night dealing with a double ear infection suffering, angry in the extreme, toddler.  To add insult to injury, my left boob has decided that NOW, as the aforementioned toddler suddenly attempts to nurse like a newborn (ie: CONSTANTLY) is the PERFECT time to develop what I have since learned is referred to as a “bleb”. (Seriously, that’s what it’s called. Google it if you don’t believe me.) I’ll spare you details. Suffice it to say that it hurts and it makes an all night nurse session all the more difficult to tolerate. All of these things, on their own, make for a rough day, or at least a grumble or two. Together, I think I am safe in my categorization of the day as the WORST.DAY.EVER. And that, my friends was BEFORE my son, who also experimented today with multi-hour tantrums AND smacking Mama as an acceptable form of self-expression (It’s just a phase it’s just a phase it’s just a phase…) decided that slamming the microwave door – despite my face being in the way as I took his warmed carrots out of the microwave – would be an EXCELLENT way to have fun. A split lip – and crying session in my shoe closet – later, and peace is somewhat restored. Thanks to my excellent online breastfeeding support group (newly christened the “Ninny Ninjas”) I now know what is wrong with my misbehavin’ nip. I have a treatment plan, and I am no longer convinced that a 10 inch needle and lots of pain is in my immediate future. I have made peace with Leo, and am less inclined to do violence to harmless (and defenseless) inanimate objects… Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes (or busted lips – other than the one I already have, of course) in it. The only wisdom I can leave you with is this: Motherhood is NOT for the faint of heart. Be strong Mama’s, and cuddle on.

Mommy War BS

A while back, TIME had a very controversial cover. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the one I’m talking about. The photo of a 3 year old nursing standing on a stool, while certainly a bit shocking to some, wasn’t really that big of a deal, in my opinion. The big deal is the words they chose to caption the picture. “Are You Mom Enough?” The outpouring of bloggers and posters lauding, decrying, and just basically ranting was so enormous that I chose to keep my mouth shut (and my fingers away from my keyboard) and stay out of it. I was angry, I was appalled, but TIME had all the attention they needed and I didn’t intend to help them out any. Until now that is,  since it seems that in the aftermath, EVERYTHING I say or do as a Mom, especially online, is being seen and viewed in the context of that horrible “Are you Mom enough?” caption. Those are TIME’s words, not “ours” collectively as Attachment Parents and CERTAINLY not mine. As women, as Moms, we HAVE to stop taking those words on by hearing them in our heads every time anyone talks about or posts about doing things differently than we do. Yes – I’ve made some “different” choices. They’re right for me. They’re right for Leo. I DON’T THINK I’M ANY BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE BECAUSE OF THEM, and I’m not making those choices – or talking about those choices –  to try to make other Moms look “bad”. I’m sharing. It’s what I do. I’m a sharer. This isn’t a competition. Most days, not only do I NOT feel “Mom enough” – I’m just trying to survive and do my best. Showing other parents up isn’t something that even enters my reality. So – lay off. This is MY reality, and I’m doing my best. I’m sure you are too. I don’t expect my reality to look anything like yours. That’s the fun of it all, isn’t it? Being different and learning from each other? Instead of worrying about how our choices are being seen – let’s all be HUMAN enough to rise above this media driven “Mommy Wars” BS and stop attacking each other – or feeling attacked. There’s no need. You ARE Mom enough, and so am I.

Validate Me

Recently, via a questionable Facebook post and the intervention of – well, let’s just call  it the universe and leave it  at that –  it was brought to my attention that I am constantly in search of  – *gasp* – VALIDATION. Initially, the realization mostly concerned my need for my parenting practices and choices to be validated. I can easily explain that phenomenon,  simply by alluding to the battles I have unwittingly sparked, beginning during my pregnancy when I announced my decision to use cloth diapers, breastfeed *as long as the baby wanted* and allow the child to sleep close to us. Once Leo made his appearance, the battles, and the criticism escalated, until I suffered from such a terrible case of “defensive crunchy Mama-ism” that I became one of *those* horrible, judgmental “natural” sancti-Mommies. And then – reality beat the crud out of me and left me confused,  humbled and desperately seeking – validation. Ok, so that all makes sense, right? Well, it does. And it’s TRUE. But as I mulled things over, another, extremely difficult to swallow realization made it’s way into my conscious and has refused to make an exit. In therapy, over the past few months, my lovely counselor has introduced the concept to me of a “frozen need” that is causing me to partake in an endless round of unrealistic expectations, desperate hope, self – sabotage and ultimately, crushing sadness and depression. Until now, WHAT form that “need” took alluded me. Until last night at about 2am. In the ultimate “duoh” moment, it finally all fit together. I spent  my childhood attempting to reach  high –  and when I say high, I mean, REALLY high – expectations, and surrounded by endless demands and very few moments of true acceptance. I’ve never “fit in”. Anywhere. I consistently find myself in one sided, demanding relationships, and I am ALWAYS desperately trying to “prove” my RIGHT to be treated as an equal – to any and everybody. I vividly remember telling someone that I felt like a “second rate human” as a child, and I honestly, ALWAYS feel that I should put others ahead of myself, to an extreme that leaves me broken, exhausted and barely functional. See where this is going? The “Aha moment” of my desperate need for acceptance and validation has brought me to a place of semi-peace, in this moment anyway. I’m not 100% sure where this will lead me, but every small understanding, no matter how tiny, at least lets me know I’m getting somewhere.  I am slowly beginning to make sense to myself, and ultimately, to be in control of what I DO with these needs and thoughts I’m carrying around.