Do you cry?

I used to view myself as a rock solid fortress.

No one dared to break through that barrier.

I had my game face on 24/7.

Then I became a mom.

Every emotion that I once kept guarded became free flowing, real and uncontrollable.

Life became real. Unconditional love became real. Heartbreak and joy became real.

It only intensified as each new life joined mine.

I literally got choked up watching Frozen.

Commercials, tv shows, new stories.

Tears.

I never cried unless I had good reason.

Now I am touched and enlightened by everything.

Punishments make my heart swell up inside me.

The little eyes looking at me in disbelief as I lay down the law.

Yes, it hurts me little one. Mommy doesn’t want to, but mommy also needs to be your teacher, your guide.

Drawings, stories, pictures.

All of them are all of you and because I am so blessed with being your mom, these things are so special to me.

Seeing their faces light up when they know they have done something good.

Watching their excitement over the little things we take for granted.

All these things move me, because I get to be a part of your learning, your exploration, your adventures and your triumphs.

Oh how I wish that disappointment, failure and sadness were not a part of life.

My heart aches at the pieces I sometimes have to pick up and for the life struggles you will have to face.

My heart never wants you to feel those lows.

Do you cry?

Do you cry on the inside because you never realized how much you could love?

Do you tear up imagining what life would be without them?

This once hardened, straight faced girl has become this selfless, kind hearted and dedicated woman.

All because of you.

Those 4 sweet faces have created a being that never truly knew her capacity of love.

The ups. The downs.

The good. The bad.

Thank you my loves. My heart is full and overflowing.

Not just for you.

But for everyone who knows the power and pain of true love.

You have opened my eyes, you have taught me about compassion, kindness, sacrifice and strength.

You have made me a better person.

Thank you.

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Don’t you dare judge me

Never in my life did I expect to be where I am now.

Everything I imagined my life to be has turned out differently.

I grew up thinking that when I had children, I would have a boy and a girl, like my parents did.

I have 4 girls.

I imagined being married living a middle of the road kind of life, like my parents did.

I imagined myself in a different life.

That is not where I am now.

Life is a sequence of cause and effect.

Every choice, every mistake, paves the road you must travel on.

Do you think I love the daily struggle to keep myself and my family afloat?

I have dealt with a massive number of downslopes over the past few years.

I was cocky after I filed for divorce and that was a huge mistake.

I didn’t realize how complicated things could get until one obstacle after another was thrown in my path.

After I lost the house I was 2 weeks away from buying, life took a turn for the worst.

Things have been mostly tragic since.

You think I like living that way?

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish things could be different.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t put my best into making everything go as smoothly as possible.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t work towards change.

Do you think I like living this way?

The circumstances of my life, messy and unpredictable, but never a reason to be any less of a good person or mother.

Always looking for a way to improve.

Even if it is a small change.

I have had to ask for help. I have swallowed my pride and accepted help I did not want to believe I needed.

Do you really think I like living this way?

I am certainly not the person I used to be.

I am a better person.

Don’t you dare judge me.

I have cried wondering how I was gonna pay the bills.

I have spent many sleepless nights wondering about the days to come and what new issue will arise.

I have persevered through many anxiety ridden days hoping that my family is happy enough.

I have sacrificed my needs to make sure my family has what they need.

I always try to display my best self, but some days my best isn’t always up to your standards.

But, don’t you dare judge me.

Life is perfectly imperfect and no matter what happens, I never give up.

I have conquered way too much to be judged by the likes of you.

You don’t control me.

You have no right to judge me.

Life sentence

I am doing a life sentence. No, I didn’t murder anyone, I merely got a divorce.

November 13, 2015 is when it was official, but somehow I am still dealing with the mental and verbal abuse.

He doesn’t specifically call me names, not to my face anyways. He saves that for telling the kids so when they get back home with me, I can hear all about what daddy said or what there soon to be wicked step mother has said about me.

And I don’t mean to retaliate, but I am almost 40 years old. Getting really tired of having to hear highschool drama. I bite my tongue most of the time. I know, just say nothing. But, it’s hard not to when it is so hurtful.

But, the never ending abuse is that no matter what I do or say, it is never the right thing, by his standards anyways.

I am not him, and I will make certain never to be. I don’t parent like he does, but that doesn’t make me a bad parent.

Their clothes aren’t new enough, or don’t meet his approval.

A long sleeved white t-shirt and pink sweatpants does not make a kid a hobo. As he called her that right to her face.

Loud flowery pants are not ridiculous if the kid likes to wear them. Kindergarten is not a fashion show and why can’t she within reason make some of her own decisions. It’s called having a mind of her own.

They obviously frown upon that considering they are all treated like little soldiers.

And it all comes back to me. I am a bad parent for allowing my kids to make small choices in their lives. Why does it matter what design was on her pants. She didn’t look “ridiculous”, she was happy with them and you made her feel bad.

They have clothes on their backs. Yes, the majority are hand me downs, because I just can’t afford to hit the malls and buy them the latest and greatest.

They have plenty of food to eat. They have a roof over their heads, running water and electricity. They have heat. They do homework and go to school each day. I buy them new shoes one at a time as I can afford it. They have backpacks and lunch bags to carry their stuff in. They have beds to sleep in. We do stuff as a family. I make homemade meals most nights.

I punish them when need be and revoke privileges when necessary. I take care of them when they are sick and I urge them to talk when I know something is wrong.

We play, we laugh and we love.

I don’t do things his way, but that doesn’t make me a bad parent.

I shouldn’t have to always defend myself. I shouldn’t have to always feel judged and scrutinized. I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder constantly worrying that if I don’t do something to his standards that he will threaten to seek full custody or call children’s services on me.

I shouldn’t have to live with constant anxiety.

And yet I take the abuse. Being talked down to like I am a child. Berating me and my decisions.

It is a life sentence of constantly having to hear about how bad of a mom I am because I don’t force my kids to clean baseboards as a punishment.

Because a coat is old and worn and needs replaced, but I just don’t have the money for it right now. I don’t even have a coat.

Or hear about how my one daughters hair was a mess because she didn’t want it pulled up and quite frankly doesn’t give two shits about being perfect all the damn time.

I have to hear about how he gave me everything in the divorce and how he still needs to pay for two households.

I am tired of being beaten down and harassed about everything he doesn’t agree with.

It is abuse.

When my kids are skipping school, not doing homework, running the streets with no clothes, malnourished, doing drugs, stealing, living with no heat or electricity, unclean and unhappy, then he has every right to attack me.

But, that is not the case.

Every day of my life revolves around the lives that I carried in my womb for 9 months. Every sacrifice I make is for them so that I can give them the best that I can give them. I give them my best, always. Doesn’t that count for something?

It doesn’t make me a bad mum.

And yet I am bullied and broken down and because of him, I feel like I am.

I have no leverage to make it stop. He won’t stop and I don’t know what to do. There are no laws or rules that can make it stop.

I just want to live in peace. It has been nearly three years since the separation and I am still being punished. I am still being treated like I am garbage. I am still being made to feel inadequate. I am still being bullied and talked down to.

It makes me sad, it makes me want to cry at times. It makes me angry. It makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. It makes me second guess myself and feel like I am not good enough.

I received a life sentence of being treated like shit from a narcissist. An angry bully who feels superior.

All because I wanted a divorce.

I can draw!

Somewhat.

I am a super creative person. Crafty and artistic.

I laughed recently as I was cleaning out the closet and reorganizing some boxes.

On any given day, I can pretty much guarantee that if you need or want to do some kind of project, I have the tools necessary to complete it.

Need a basket? I have some, with or without a handle?

Iron on letters, ribbon, artificial flowers, several types of adhesives…beads, buttons and yarn. To name a few.

I am literally a tiny craft store.

A lot of my stuff comes in handy when a makeshift repair needs made. Like a jewelry making ring to act as a zipper pull.

But, drawing is something I am only so so with.

I used to put little notes in my 9 year olds lunch bag.

But, that got boring. Recently, I began making drawings of some of their favorite characters.

I google pictures of them, and after my kiddos go to bed, I draw.

So now, it has become such a hit that I get special requests.

My preschooler doesn’t do lunch, but she has begun to make requests.

I don’t draw every night. Sometimes I am just too tired. I have also tried and failed with some.

There are way better artists out there.

But, I can only imagine the smiles on their faces when they see what I have drawn.

My oldest has started to hang them on the bulletin board in her room.

She loves Mario and a game called Five Nights at Freddies.

We all like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

It’s fun to see what I can actually draw.

It is also super fun to do something special for my girls.

Meant to be a mom

It occurred to me just a but ago, while I was making an ass out of myself to entertain Peyton, I am meant to be a mom.

Go back about 20 years and I would tell you differently.

I was never really around kids and babies growing up. I didn’t hate them, but I also had no opinion on them.

I have never been able to pinpoint where exactly in life I belong, but I sure as hell didn’t envision myself having 4 kids, all girls.

I have had my doubts, and haven’t we all. That moment where you just don’t think you can take much more.

My journey is a little bit different than most.

I also never planned to get a divorce.

Of all the obstacles I have faced in life, getting a divorce has been the most difficult.

The challenges continue.

You resolve one issue and have another one. Or there are things that remain hurdles and you just have to realize that it comes with the territory.

Like they say, “there are no winners in war”, and divorce is just that. No matter how ugly or amicable they are.

There are still casualties.

Through it all, I have primarily remained unchanged when it comes to how I am as a mom.

I have changed. I have grown. Life has changed. It is all just part of the aftermath.

I realized, that even though I didn’t see my life going in this direction, I had no planned direction to begin with.

I am literally writing my book of life as I go along. The following pages are blank, and I can write them as I wish.

Even though I didn’t go to college, get a degree, buy a big house, travel and whatever else goes along in the package of a “successful” person, I am successful.

I am good at being a mom. I am meant to be in this position.

If I were to sit down and list all the tasks and duties I perform just to keep them alive and well, the list would have no end.

Add in all the extras and well if it were a job, I would be getting totally screwed on pay and benefits.

But, I don’t bitch. Even though I struggle every day with the complexity of life in general.

I sometimes get tired. I get angry and sick just like everybody else. I am not perfect.

When I truly look at where I am, I am doing something I love. I am caring and nurturing and loving and it comes naturally.

I have improved my motherly abilities and damn it, I am proud.

4 little lives depend on me and I go above and beyond for them.

I am truly meant to be a mom.

If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would have 4 beautiful lives to love and to hold and to help them to grow, I would have just laughed.

I have been through so much in recent years. I have quit and given up on things. But, my love and desire to be a mom is still as strong as ever.

I have succeeded at something.

Self Conscious

My skin has always been an issue.

I always wished I were one of those girls walking around with flawless skin.

Adult acne, due to hormones, was always a problem, up until now.

Us moms, our bodies go through so much shit as we age and go through pregnancies and beyond.

I am not at the beyond yet, but I know it’s around the bend as I approach 40.

This last pregnancy left me with a new skin problem that has really trampled my self esteem.

Mask of pregnancy or Malasma.

It it characterized by brown or dark patches of skin, mainly on the face.

Finally, my skin is pretty clear of acne, but now I have brown spots.

I guess I just can’t win.

So, today I finally got a haircut after many months.

And, I am sharing my face. Make up helps. But, it still looks like I have a 5 o’clock shadow above my lip and my forehead is affected too.

But, I have this gorgeous little girl now.

I have a 5 year old who also has marks on her face. She was born with a port wine stain on the side of her face and up around a part of her eye.

She rocks it! She is so beautiful. She is fully aware of them and just says that the birthmark just makes her her.

So, even though my spots aren’t as dramatic as my daughters, they are there. I am sure my anxiety fuels me feeling bad about them too.

Feeling good today with my haircut and not caring what anybody thinks.

I hate Wednesdays

Every week, Wednesday is a crappy day.

I call it transition day.

That is the day I say my super “goodbyes” and “I love you’s” before they get on the bus.

That is the day I have to ride my preschooler to school and not come back for her.

Oh how my heart aches.

I know it is only a few days. I know it gives me more of a chance to relax and breathe. As much as I can with a three month old in the house.

But, I hate them.

Every Wednesday I think about my girls almost non stop. Hope they are having a good day. Which I basically do every day, but Wednesday I know I won’t get to see their smiling faces as they get off the bus. I won’t get the chance to ask them “how was school?”.

I don’t get to pick my 4 year old up from school and spend the next few hours with her without her older sisters.

Not to mention, Wednesdays seem to be particularly rough for her. Sometimes having break downs in school.

Wednesdays may be hump day for those who work. Yes, it’s the middle of the week and getting closer to the break the weekend offers.

For me, it’s the beginning of the count down until I see my girls faces again. One of the worst things about divorce.

So this morning, as I drove my one princess to school, we laughed and we talked and her happiness made me smile.

That song “Feel it still” was on the radio. (The only thing I can think of when I hear it, is that dude on the treadmill). I don’t normally listen to the radio because it is not my genre of music, but she was grinning and grooving. Like any mom would, I joined in.

I captured that moment at a red light.

And it has had me smiling ever since.

So, I am going to try to make the best of the time they are away. Because, in a few days, I have the opportunity to make more memories with them. That is something to look forward to.