Internal struggles

I went from being a single-mom of a 3-year-old boy, to married (to love of my life) and trying to parent two additional children. I knew it would be hard, extremely hard, I just wasn’t sure how or how often it would be. I started doing research, trying to grasp at any straws of information on how to co-parent, how to handle girls and who were also older than my son. I had missed what happens from the age of 3 to 7….jumping in feet first. I have so many questions and even more prayers going up to God. Researching blogs of parents of step-children, of girls, of adopted children….anything. Honestly it just left me with more questions. Are my expectations too high? How do I approach difficult situations when their dad is not around…and even when he is standing in the same room?

We had decided before we got married that the biological parent would do the discipline. As parents we would talk about the problem and then whoever “owned” the child would handle discipline. We have a general house rule of “Be Respectful” which covers a lot. So, if we need to address a situation, we can, without having a full on parenting discussion. Those are kind of left for the “major” situations. We have adjusted and readjusted our approach on everything multiple times.

I want to be an example of someone living to be Christ-like, as a wife, mom, and just a person in general. I want to teach these values to our kids (which we agree on whole-heartedly). But how much do I rely on leading by example and how much do we sit and talk as a family about what it means to trust and rely on God? I don’t want to shove it down their throats, I want them to choose it for themselves.

I have been looking for advice on blogs and at church through pre-marital counseling and parenting conferences. I guess only time will tell if I’m doing anything right. Like most parents, I wonder if I’m made for this…wonder if I can raise 3 kids and have them turn into God-loving people…wonder if they will think as adults that I did a good job….wonder if I can ever live up to how great the parents of my own were (are).

I know this blog has been about something kind of different but it really is just my journey in life. I want to look back and see my growth or maybe where I can improve and areas I still need to pay attention to. Not sure really where I am going with this….eh, we will see.

Blog that I follow that have been helpful and inspiring that may help others in their own journey. 

Lil Blue Boo

Chatting at the Sky

Ashely Ann Photography

30 years …beware text heavy post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the past 30 years of my life have played out. Some of it makes me really happy, proud, and excited. Some makes me sad, frustrated, and hopeful that I’ll never make those types of decisions again or be in that situation again.

I had a bucket list, I didn’t complete most of it. But I did replace it with some things that were way more important and long-lasting though. I had my baby boy. I met my soul mate. I’ve realized how important family is. Less seriously, I went camping a LOT. I no longer really know what’s happening on reality TV, which means I’m living my life. I started to believe in myself and delve into hobbies more.  

I also have been determining where I stand on issues, religion, politics and what influences me to make those decisions or opinions. It’s interesting to see my thought process change throughout my life but my core values always stayed true to the intent.

Case in point – I believe in a god. True statement. But my idea of god has changed dramatically, from my opinion that god is a religious entity, to a god that watches over us without religious affiliation. Similar to how I envision my grandma watching over me. I still think about her often even though I didn’t know her well in my life-time, maybe because I am her namesake? Anytime I see the clouds make a smiley face, I say “Hi Grandma” and I hope she helps me make better decisions. Or if I’m having a bad day, I usually talk to her. I don’t know if she hears me or even if she agrees with me, after all  I didn’t know her. But it helps to think she is listening for some reason.

I don’t believe in a judgmental god, nor one that is tied to a specific religion or people. My belief in that has changed as I used to think you had to be a certain religion and follow a set of rules to be “saved”. I no longer feel this way. I’ve come to terms with the fact that everyone experiences god differently. I used to get upset or judge people when they didn’t feel the same as I did. I love my idea of god, I fully experience this while practicing yoga, out in nature, when I see a good friend or family member really happy, or when I think of all the things that had to happen for me to bring Smiles into this world or the odds of finally seeing my soul mate. (I’ll explain “seeing” in another post).

30 years is a long time, not in the sense that I’m old but that in the first 30 years of life you go through so much change compared to your last half of life (hopefully this is only the first half). 30 years full of learning how to be, who to be, and what you want to be. I want to be a compassionate, loving, happy person who seeks to help people around me do the same. I’m not trying to be perfect, that’s boring, but if I try to be full of compassion and happy, then those around me will be too. I’ve learned that I don’t want to be friends with grumpy, life-sucking, fake, or unhappy people. I also don’t like feeling like I’m competing with people who are supposed to be friends, which is something I dealt with a lot. Sorry if you are one of those people.  I’ve learned that only people who want help or to be happy, will be, and those who don’t, don’t need to be around me or the people I love.

I’m learning how to communicate. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of shutting down and walking away from confrontation or a situation that may lead to confrontation. I’m learning (mostly with the help of Mr. 72) how to address problems and fix them, instead of letting them fester and get worse. I still don’t have this down but at least I recognize when I’m doing it.

I’ve learned (and am still learning) to relax as a mom. My son is a hand full; some days are better than others. I’ve realized that all the books, websites, and advice are only as good as the person receiving it. If the advice doesn’t work for you then throw it away. Every parent has to decide what works for them and their child. Do I still feel judged for not doing certain things or doing something a certain way, yes, but at the end of the day, if me and Smiles are happy and taken care of, that is all that matters. I think kids should be kids, there is enough time for them to be quiet, well-behaved, and clean when they are adults (although, when his actions affect someone else or his safety, then we will have a problem). I want Smiles to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible.

I’ve learned what true love is, what a soul mate is, and what it means to love someone faults and all. And in turn, what it feels like to be loved in the same way.

I’ve learned that I want a simple life. I want to be surrounded by kids, family, and a few good friends. I want a career I am passionate about and that allows me to be creative. I’ve learned that my parents are usually right. I’ve learned that only I can make judgments about me. I’ve learned that I have a lot of pet peeves.

But mostly, I’ve learned that I’m still growing into the person I want to be. I look forward to the next 30 years…spending time with Smiles, Mr. 72, family, and a few close friends. Thank you to all my family and friends who have supported me along the way and helped shape me into the person I am now. I am immensely grateful for the patience it must have taken to deal with a personality such as mine.