Parenting again: "I like this, this is fun, this feels good"

imageMotherhood doesn’t have to suck, or be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I’m having fun these days, like I am enjoying staying at home and being with my kids.  

All parts of it, and I can’t believe that only a year ago I had sworn off having any more kids.

There is this whisper in the back of my head

“I like this, this is fun, this feels good”

But I’ve been too afraid to say it out loud for fear that it won’t be any more, that suddenly things will change and it won’t feel easy, breezy and fun.

The truth is, that I KNOW it will change, it won’t always be this way, but for right now I’m enjoying what is.

Becoming a parent again allows the chance to do things differently.

I was CA-RAYZEE, the first go around with my son, and I say that lovingly because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

None of us do, and no matter the millions of mothers before me who had all sorts of opinions about how I should parent, I had to figure things out for myself.  

First time motherhood is not everyone’s challenge, for some it comes with ease and grace, I’ve seen people do it.

For some of us it is a challenge.

And for me, I had to learn by doing and experiencing.

I believe some things in life you have to experience in order to know. There is no escaping the pain of going through something challenging, the reward is in the wisdom you gain of having to go through it.   And yet there is still this drive to want to spare people from making the mistakes we made by providing them with all sorts of advice.  

“Don’t do what I did…..”“Don’t buy that…….”“10 things I wish I didn’t do when….”

Shortcuts are nice, and other people’s mistakes giving rise to practical advice can be helpful, but what about our own missed lessons to be learned if we just follow someone else’s path all the time?

If I had not had the experience of being a mother already and making mistakes that I made, I would not be the mother I am today.

I can rationalize and say that R was a more challenging baby, or R didn’t sleep, or R was like this or that, but what I realized is that I’m different this time because I am choosing to be different.

This time I am parenting by instinct, this time I’m giving myself a break, making time for myself, accepting help, getting out of the house and sharing responsibilities

I am not reading other parents blogs, expert sleep books, or filling my mind with “should's” of being a parent.

What works for you and YOUR LIFE, is what you ‘should’ do.

I don’t know if what I’m doing is right, but I know that this time I feel better, I’m less irritated and more joyful.

“I like this, this is fun, this feels good”

That whisper gets louder everyday

What Autism has taught me #2

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I made a new friend the other day at the park, our kids are in the same class and we politely started talking while the boys ran around. Her daughter was there also, playing in the sand and swinging alone and while we talked she would casually say things about her daughter, who she referred to as monkey:

“Monkey can’t eat soy, dairy, sugar or gluten, so these cookies are great!

That’s pretty normal for San Diego, so I didn’t think much about it but then she said

“Monkey couldn’t go to any of the private schools around here so that’s why we are at this school, which we love!”

This peaked my interest, so I asked:

“Why can’t she go the private schools?”

“O, she has Autism and is nonverbal so they can refuse to accept her.”

internal voice: WHAT! OMG, she said that so casually!

“You know, R has Autism too!!!” I blurted out, probably too enthusiastically.

“Yeah, but he can talk, Monkey is smart and can talk but she just refuses to, that’s so frustrating”

She didn’t even flinch when I told her R had Autism and responded as if I had told her the weather was nice that day.

The exhale I had in that moment reminded me that I tend to hold my breath in those first meetings with parents. I’m always wondering in the back of my head, do I tell them or do I say nothing?

Usually I say nothing.

It is not that I am ashamed of R and his diagnosis, or that we have a hard time with R being Autistic, I feel the opposite in fact, our life is so much more colorful, and magical with the way he views the world.

But in that moment my excitement was more about relief. Relief that I didn’t need to explain what Autism meant, or give an explanation that R is high functioning or that I didn’t have to feel her uncomfortableness of how to react, because I knew she just GOT it, and she didn’t care, it was no big deal.

I wonder if we both felt that same relief, because her next question was excitedly

“Where do you work out!?”

It was as if we got that elephant in the room out of the way and we were able to just be parents. There wasn’t the wonder of if I would disclose R’s diagnosis and I wasn’t faced with the uncomfortable worry of other people and their perceptions of Autism.

I’m not judging anyone for having uncomfortable feelings. I too, before I experienced Autism thought all sorts of negative stereotypes about autism that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself or my child if I’d had a choice.

But life handed us Autism and the only choice was to enter that world and become educated and skilled in helping R succeed. In doing so I realized that it was not as scary as I had thought and wasn’t going to be a horrible burden or a lifetime of struggle. I saw that my little boy was still the amazingly creative, funny, sweet, musical, engineer, lego loving kid that I had always known. I also realized that I have no idea what Autism really is.

All I know is every detail of how R’s Autism manifests. The saying is: “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

What was the same about my new mom friend and I was that we understood a language and lifestyle that comes with being autistic. When I told her we had to leave early for therapy, it wasn’t weird, in fact their ABA therapist was coming over later that night too.

I came home that night excited and giddy as I told Mr. Science all about my new friend and our day.

I know it may sound a bit over exaggerated to get so worked up over this moment but in a world of parental posturing and properness, It felt so free to just be ourselves, no apologies, no explanations.

It’s been a journey to where I am today with my sons diagnosis and I would be lying if I didn’t say at some point I just wanted him to be “cured”, or “fixed” but really if I stripped away the Autism would R still be R?

R has made leaps and bounds in his communication and ability to make new friends. I love that people see him for who he is and love him all the same, this makes my heart leap for joy. He has taught me to communicate clearly, to say what I mean and mean what I say, to set good boundaries for myself and for him, and to play and imagine and forget this world on a daily basis. I’ve been to outer-space and visited the moon more times than I can count!

I’ve moved beyond wanting to cure him of his Autism, my wish is to give him all the resources and support in the world so that he can feel good, confident and happy.

But, I think that’s what we all want for our children.

I guess we are no different.

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Thanks for reading!

As a side note I am reading an amazing book called Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and Search for identity by Andrew Solomon, which talks about families dealing with deafness, dwarfism, autism and other disabilities, its a a great look at how we view these conditions in our society and he presents some interesting ideas and comparisons that have really made me think differently about autism.

http://www.amazon.com/Far-Tree-Parents-Children-Identity/dp/0743236726/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457570774&sr=8-1&keywords=Far+From+the+Tree

This 9 months sentence, and I don't mean it how you think.

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Although I'm thrilled about being a mother again, this pregnancy was not planned. And as I'm starting to feel better and R is off to school I am very aware of the "free" time I have until I will be consumed with baby stuff, sleepless nights, and less oxygen to my brain. So the push is on to create a strong base in all the areas of my life so that when little M arrives I can work on maintaining what I've built.

Fire under ass currently lit.

It may be wrong to liken this to getting 3 months to live, but I keep thinking of that idea as time slowly ticks on and also moves too quickly at the same time.

Was this how my father felt when he was told the news of 6 months to live? How do you prioritize what is most important? What do you do first? What do you not do at all?

While this may be a very existential seemingly grim way of looking at this small amount of time I have before I become a parent of 2 and not of 1, it is the closest thing I can think of to describe the urgency to create, to do, to make.

I hear also the voice in my head to enjoy, to relax, to take a nap and rest, but while I know those are sound words and I do take moments to rest, the bigger urgency arises that soon I will be bigger, soon I will be tired, and soon I will have no energy to put towards these things I want to accomplish.

So I press forward, tying up loose ends, acting on creative impulses, creating creative habits, and only filling up my time with things that are urgent and bring me joy, leaving space for moment likes this one, sitting at a bus stop, where finally a thought came that needed to be written down.

Right or wrong this is my nature. Move create, move create.

We all have a limited time here, that is nothing new, but there is something REAL about having a deadline. And waiting until everything is perfect, or the time is right, or the right moment to present yourself to the world may be too late.

I’m all about the beautiful ugliness, and messiness of STARTING SOMETHING, I love seeing it, I am enjoying doing it, and hearing about it, and sharing it with others. Sure it’s great to hear about the success stories of people going through the tough ugly shit and then become something AMAZING, but I’m more interested in the beginners, the fumbling and bumbling and willingness to be BRAVE and to TRY, you just never know what may come from it. That’s inspiring.

Declarations, Proclamations, and OUT LOUD goals for Accountability

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For the first 20 weeks of this pregnancy I wanted to die. No joke. If I thought my first pregnancy was terrible with the nausea, this one really took the cake. I literally couldn’t make it to the bathroom to puke and so I would just do so on the floor. I know gross.

I even broke down at some point and finally was going to take the nausea medication but our dog, who doesn’t ever chew up anything of ours but mail and paper, ate my prescription. It was a sad moment, but I forgave him because shortly after everything subsided. Thank GOD!!!

Its nice to have the brain space to think about other things not related to food or not eating food. I have started to feel like my old self again, slightly heavier, and more round in the front, but myself.

Maybe it’s because I feel grateful for being spared the nausea for the next 16 weeks that has me in a creative frenzy, maybe it’s my nearing 37th birthday, but lately I’ve been feeling in the mood to get some things done, feeling inspired to create, to write, to make the most of this time I have before I will be writing a different story, which I know will be drastically different.

I'm ready to set some intentions and declarations, out loud this time to the internet world. I'd love the accountability and community, so if any of the following resonates with you, please join me! I’ll be your accountability buddy!

#1. 1 blog post a week: I’ve written for sometime now off and on, its comedic at this point how many blogs I have, but if you care to check any of my other writing out here are a couple of them: https://oneyearlovelife.wordpress.com https://authenticallyradical.wordpress.com

#2. Committed to drawing horrible pictures for my son's lunch: #Lunchnotes: Passion project, a project for no reason, a just because project, a creative habit.

#3. Diet of mostly positive, inspirational and awesome information: I’m in the infancy stage of creativity (again),and there is no room for negative self talk and nay sayers. I mostly got tired of wondering what my focus was, what I was trying to create,say, or wanting to do next and letting it get in my way, so I am allowing myself the time to just do whatever feels right, and screw the “why”, and listen to the positive voices that are doing things despite not having a direction. Hopefully my why will become clear but I’m happy with just enjoying the process for now.

I'll leave you with a list of a few podcasts, books, people I’m inspired by right now, 37 is going to be a great year!!!

People: Tiffany Han, Danielle La Porte, Brene Brown, Tara Mohr, Books: Girl on a Train, You are a Baddass, Playing Big, The Desire Map, The Fire Starter Sessions, The Gifts of Imperfection, 10,000 ways to listen, The War of Art Podcasts: The Good Life Project, Raise Your Hand Say Yes!, On Being On the Cue Books: The Creative Habit, Losing My Virginity: Richard Branson, Dolly Parton's Memoir.

Till next week!

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