Sunday, August 21, 2011


Today on my Facebook page I posted this status-
"I enjoy watching men interact. It's fascinating. One will be talking and the other one jumps in with a bigger, better story, interrupting the first story. Then there's a few insults thrown in and they walk away feeling bonded. I don't get it. If that was my friend, I'd walk away with hurt feelings and thinking that they hadn't heard a word I said.
I believe I've discovered why men's relationships are more peaceful than women's. They're unaware that anyone else is involved in the friendship."

This prompted many comments from my women fans that were basically all slamming other women. You can't find one to trust, it's all drama, they hold grudges, they're too sensitive, so on and so forth.

I must admit that not long ago I felt the same way about women. I found it difficult to have relationships with them. I dreaded meeting someone's new girlfriend because I knew we wouldn't get along. So I know where this is coming from, but this also devastates a part of me.

I made a conscious decision about a year or two ago to go to every new 'meeting of the girlfriend' with a positive attitude and a feeling that we were going to get along, and an amazing thing happened. I have gotten along with every new woman I met. I haven't become super tight best friends with all of them, but at the very least I would have a pleasant evening and enjoy their company. Now there have been a few that I have become super tight with and I value these relationships above most others. I have finally found people who understand where I'm coming from, who tell me to take care of myself, who erase the guilt that comes with being a mom. I could not live without these relationships, without the support and understanding that is bred in these relationships. I think this change was due to my change in attitude. Women, or people in general, are not stupid. We know when you've already made up your mind to hate us. When you think we're untrustworthy, we're gonna be nothing be drama, etc, you carry that air when you meet us. You make us uncomfortable, which makes it very difficult for us to ourselves. In my case, I either become very quiet, or I become defensive, either of these are not conducive to making new friends. I know for a fact that changing my attitude was exactly what changed the quality of my relationships with other women.

The other thing that makes me so sad about this is the loss of support and love for other women. Even in this advanced society women are expected to take on the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and child rearing, and many are holding down full time jobs, or more. As a woman, I think we are charged with supporting each other in the daily struggle. I find that these ways of thinking make that almost impossible. I think any woman out there with kids and/or a job, maybe just a woman with a bitchy significant other, can understand the pressures we are facing. Why are we not taking time out of our lives to build each other up, instead of tearing each other down? How can you look at another woman and, instead of seeing a fellow soldier in the trenches, you see an untrustworthy, dramatic, bitch? How can you make that decision before you've even spoken to her? I will not deny that those women exist, bad people exist in any group you want to talk about, but I truly believe that horrible people are not the majority. If they are in your group of friends, it just might be time for another group of friends. I have learned that my awesome friends generally choose awesome girlfriends.

I am sorry for the women that are missing out on the great quality of friendships that I have been blessed with, and sorry for the women who are torn down by the very people who should be showing the most understanding and compassion. This is a sad thing indeed, for both sides of the story.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Little Blog Discusses My Sex Life - A Lot

I'm sure we've all heard the jokes about married sex, yes? Oh, don't get married... That'll be the end of sex, and then all of your friends sit around and laugh. We've all been there, on one side of that conversation or another, I'm sure. Now, all the articles and advice columns say that that isn't true, or at least doesn't have to be true, and here are 25 ways to overcome it... blah, blah, blah. I'm going to tell you something that they never tell you. It's true.

I don't believe this is due to marriage however. When my husband and I were first married our sex life was uncontrollable, just as it had been before we were married. Then the children came along. That is what changed everything. Let me also tell you that the change in our sex life isn't something we wanted, or enjoy. In fact we discuss it and complain about it all the time, but we feel stuck in a no-sex rut.

I am the queen of day time sex. Come night time I just wanna lay around and watch tv and unwind, but there is something about morning or early afternoon that really works for me. For the last two years what hasn't worked for me are the kids screaming in the morning, knocking on the door, expecting breakfast immediately, and crawling into bed with us. This is not a situation conducive to sex, at least not for me. Daytime isn't any better. Then they want me to fix toys, play cars, watch movies, fill juice cups, wipe their ass, get snacks.. I never have 10 minutes to myself, and I'll admit a quickie here and there is great fun, but I don't want my entire sex life built on those.

We've tried switching it up and having sex at night, but damn, we're just so tired. My hubby gets up stupid early for work and pulls 12-14 hour days and then comes home and does the dad thing and helps around the house. (I'm lucky, I know.) I've been with kids all day, which leaves me physically exhausted, yes, but also stressed to the max and emotionally wiped out. I also have to find moments in between parenting to work. I've been balancing and juggling all day and I am just so done. The last damn thing I want to do is actually put any effort into having sex, and he feels the same way.

We've read the articles and tried it all. Scheduling sex, having dates, having quickies when we can, cuddling and holding hands more often... it doesn't make any difference. We've heard all of the lines about putting your relationship before your children, but that isn't really possible now is it? He doesn't rely on me to make him food, or teach him how to tie his shoes. He simply doesn't need me like they do, so it's very easy to put him behind them in line, on the same level as myself actually.  It's not that we don't love each other or aren't attracted to each other, we just don't have it in us at the end of the day.

We talk and dream of the days that the kids will be bigger, making their own breakfast, he'll have a better job with better hours, maybe the kids will be out with friends even, or at least too old to want to have much to do with us. Yes, sex is now in our 10 year plan.

My children have killed my sex life. Someday, when they're all grown up, maybe expecting their first child, I'm going to have them read this.. and I'll expect an apology, and a look of fear, or perhaps disbelief,  to sweep across their sweet, unknowing faces. Inside I'll smile as I watch the circle of life take hold and plunge them into their own seemingly endless no-sex rut- and I'll go home and do things that make their dad's eyes roll back in his head. Someday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Being a MOM

I am writing this after sending my kids to bed an hour and a half early because I just couldn't take their behavior anymore. The incessant whining, pushing, talking back, rudeness, and the temper tantrums all got to me today and I just couldn't handle it anymore. I felt like a ball of rage. I wanted to scream and hit and kick. I wanted to show them, I wanted to make them pay for the hell that they put me through this week, but I didn't, and even in the midst of that- I love them with a love that they will never comprehend until they experience it for themselves. I still look at them, peacefully in their bed and think, "How lucky am I?" That is what being a mom is for me. It's dealing with torture and smiling, it's going against every bone in my body and functioning solely on love. It is showing love non-stop after my children have done/said something that would have gotten anyone else run over with the van. And sometimes it's knowing when to put them to bed because I've run out of effective, rational parenting skills.

This is my dream come true. It's not rainbows, butterflies, and lollipops all the time. It's real life and sometimes it's gritty. Sometimes I don't know what's going to happen from minute to minute. Sometimes I don't know what's going to come out of my mouth when I open it, and sometimes what comes out of my mouth is neither helpful or true. Sometimes what comes out of my mouth is mean and uncalled for. Being a mom is screwing it up daily and knowing that your kids will still love you tomorrow and give you another chance, just like you'll do for them.

Being a mom is also full of priceless, amazing moments. When you come stumbling down the stairs after being up all night with a puking kid, you haven't showered in 4 days, and you've been wearing the same clothes since God only knows when, but your son looks at you and smiles this amazing smile, sucks in, and says, most earnestly, "Mommy, you're sooo beautiful." Or your daughter picks clovers and dandelions for you and delivers them like they're 12 dozen red roses. Or she says, "Can you smile, Mom? I really love your smile."  My two year old will often climb into my lap, put her hands on my cheeks, and just rub my face while looking deep into my eyes. She doesn't say any words, she doesn't have to, I know exactly what's going on. She loves me, despite my imperfections and my quick temper, she thinks I'm the best mommy ever. There are moments, while laying on the couch with a sleeping baby, where even through the sleepless daze, I feel so blessed. My children move me to tears constantly, and usually for all the right reasons. I have never met three people so innocent and pure, so hopeful and resilient. They are my inspiration- even on days when I wish I could bury them in the backyard. My fervent wish is to be the mommy my kids think I am. I'm failing, but I keep trying. Being a mom is real life. It's messy,  littered with human waste, and smattered with just the right amount of heart stopping, breath taking, and blinding love- given and received. It's everything I ever wanted, and nothing I expected.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This is How We Became a Family

I'm not sure where this one will go, so let's just jump in and figure it out, shall we?

The best place to start a story is at the beginning and this particular story begins when I was four. When I was in preschool we all wrote down what we wanted to be when we grew up, drew a picture of it, and then the school made a big book of all of them and sent it out to every family. As you can imagine it was full of fire fighters, doctors, lawyers, veterinarians.. the usual- and then, there was my page. What I wanted to be, really, really, wanted to be, was a mommy.  As the years went by that wanting never went away, in fact it just got stronger and stronger and more consuming with every year that passed.

I ended up getting pregnant senior year of high school, not recommended, and I was so excited- and scared. I wanted to be a mommy, but I wanted to be a good one, and I just wasn't ready for that yet. My boyfriend at the time and I argued endlessly about giving her up for adoption or keeping her. As it turned out, we weren't afforded the luxury of making that choice. I miscarried over Spring Break, technically I guess I didn't miscarry and I had to have a D&C, whatever. It was heartbreaking and still to this day brings tears to my eyes. I miss my daughter every day and I wonder what she would have been like, who she would have turned into, what her smile would have looked like, everything and anything. As I always do, I tried to take it in stride and pretend that I was ok with it, after all I wanted to give her up for adoption anyway so it wasn't like I was planning on having her, right? Well, as it turns out, there is a huge difference to the heart between making a choice to give someone up and having that person die before you even meet them. As I got older though I started to look at that as a necessary evil. What other way can you look at it without being depressed? Life went on, I dated, fell in love, fell out of love, and everything was fine.

In 2005, after five years of going to doctor after doctor with no results, I was diagnosed with a neural tumor. Not cancerous or anything, but scary nonetheless. What had happened was the nerves in my spine had just kept growing and growing and created a huge jumbled mess, about the size of a football. (Don't even get me started on how the hell a doctor can NOT notice a football sized growth for five years.) Surgery was scheduled and I was going in to be fixed. Because of the nature of the tumor, and the fact that it had wound its way through my intestines and around my ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bladder, the surgery was very long (14 hours) and I didn't have the best odds. I had about a 20% chance of living through the surgery, a smaller chance that I would retain bowel and bladder control, and an even smaller chance than that that I would ever walk again. I am happy to report that I'm alive, still walking, and do not wear a diaper. The other side effect of the surgery- I cannot have children. My fallopian tubes are crushed and my ovaries are non-functioning. My tumor produced small amounts of testosterone, and when it wrapped around my ovaries, it ruined them. As if being diagnosed with something scary and rare (20th person on the planet to be diagnosed), going through a surgery from hell (I was basically cut in half and put back together- recovery from that SUCKS), and spending an entire summer thinking I was saying goodbye to my friends and family for the very last time.. now my life long dream is gone. I was devastated, and then felt ungrateful because I knew I should have been happy enough to just be alive, but I had serious thoughts that not being able to have children made life not worth it all.

About a year and a half after surgery I met my husband. It was instant attraction and we both knew from the beginning that this was "the one". We knew each other for about 3 months before we started dating, got engaged 6 weeks into our relationship, and were married a year later. The hardest thing I ever did was tell him I can't have kids. He's wanted kids his whole life, just like me, and I was afraid that he'd leave. However, my hubby is nothing if not amazing, and he told me that if we wanted kids we'd just find other ways, and if we decided that we didn't want kids, he'd be happy with just me. He is a wonderful man, and I love him more and more each day.

At first we looked into IVF and other fertility treatments, but, wow, is that expensive and we were young and just starting out. $10,000 a month sounded like a lotto winning, not what you pay for fertility treatment, so that was out. When that went out so did donors, surrogates, and every other medical treatment we were looking at. Next, we decided to look into adoption. That too was astronomical. At that time we could afford to take care of a kid if it showed up on our doorstep, but there was no way that we had $20,000 to $100,000 upfront. We were back at square one and had nowhere to turn. I once again felt my dream fading and I was once again devastated. One day we were sitting on the couch watching tv and it was like one of those brilliant a-ha moments- I turned to him and just said, "foster care". I called the agency the next day and 10 days after our wedding, we started the process of becoming licensed foster parents.

The process of being licensed is intense and feels like it lasts forever. There are multiple visits to your home, some unannounced, there are FBI fingerprint/ background checks, 20 hours of mandatory classes which isn't a lot, but still, you turn over all of your bank info, they talk to your family and friends- sometimes without your knowledge, you have to go to a doctor and be completely checked out to be sure that you're healthy enough- they don't want to put kids in your home and then have you drop dead, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. It is, in short, the most intrusive thing I have ever been through. I viewed it as a test, and I think it is, to see how much you really want to do this. We were told that the whole process could take about 2-3 years before we have kids in our house. I gladly signed up to live like that for the rest of my life if I had to, anything to be a mom, any hoop, any obstacle, anything.

Six months later we got a call at 9pm from our case worker asking us if we wanted three kids. Hell yes we did!! We were told to pick them up at the agency the next morning and that is precisely what we did.

I remember the very first time I saw my precious babies. They walked in with a caseworker and stood with their backs to the wall, wringing their hands, and staring at the floor. They were so scared, so lost.. and so damn beautiful. The two oldest were cajoled into coming and sitting by me to color, the baby was put in my arms and we just got to hang out there like that for about an hour. My son, then 25 months, introduced me to his teddy bear and told me all about his love of fire trucks. The baby, then 5 months, fell asleep in my arms and my oldest, barely 3 at the time, had nothing to do with me. Not that it mattered, I loved her instantly, she was, and still is, my soul mate. I would like to protect my children's privacy, so here's some vague back story. Two of my children were physically abused- beaten and burned mostly.. one of my children was sexually abused and repeatedly raped at the age of  23 months and has permanent physical damage and deformation.. one of my children tested positive for cocaine at birth and has Sensory Processing Disorder, which is a blanket diagnosis that encompasses anything from ADD to autism, and we're awaiting further testing.. all of my children were exposed to mass amounts of alcohol during the pregnancy and we are fortunate that this has had no impact on them, we were also the 8th home for the oldest, 6th for the middle one, and 4th for the baby- and she was only 5 months old. As you can imagine, being a parent is hard enough, but trying to parent three strangers that went through all of that is nothing short of absolute hell. They are angry, with every right to be that way.. they don't trust you, here again, understandably.. they want nothing to do with you and blame you for everything that has happened- not because they truly believe it's your fault, but you're the one that's there so you get the brunt of it. Children are not meant to deal with adult issues and it's not pretty when they're forced to.

Wow, this got long. I'll finish it up quickly.

The statistic is that 50% of foster kids go back to their biological family, so even though I now had them in my home, there was no guarantee that they were going to stay. The next year with them was tough. They came around and accepted us, started calling us mom and dad (NO, we never asked them to, or referred to ourselves that way) but the hard part was their biological dad. Their mother had signed away her rights, but he was still holding on for dear life, not that I blame him at all, I wouldn't let them go without the fight of my life either. He was doing anything in his power to screw us over legally. He called CPS on us for mosquito bites (literally, yes), refused to give the kids their clothing or toys, would show up for his visitation when and if he felt like it and do nothing but try to get info out of them about us and where we were, we were dragged in and out of court for every appeal and every stoppage he and his attorney could think of, it was an insane year, but he finally ran out of appeals and we were cleared to adopt. We adopted our three kids one year after they came to live us to the day. The judge asked me on adoption day if I had anything to say. I was crying so hard that day that I couldn't speak so I never got to tell him, but this is what I would have loved to say...

These kids are my dream come true. I hoped and prayed to have kids some day. I went through a lot to get here, and at no point in my baby dreams was I even close to how incredible this would be. We may not have become a family in the normal way, but we are a family. I was put on this planet to find these children, and they were put here to be with me. My entire life is complete and I love my children in a way that I cannot express with words. Thank you so much for allowing me to adopt them because without them I would be completely lost.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leave It to My Husband to Ruin Everything And Then Make Me Realize He Was Right

The Mormons came to visit us again yesterday and like always, it was a great evening. We have come clean with them and told them that we are in no way planning on quitting smoking and we're also not going to be baptized into the Mormon faith. It's a wonderful religion, but I don't do religion period, and I don't care how awesome you think yours is. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they took the news and I love that they still make us part of their week, even though it isn't getting them anywhere.

There is one of the guys in particular who has really bonded to me, it was an instantaneous clicking, and I adore him. He's 19 and he's just such a nice kid that I can't help but to feel a little tugging on my heart. So he walks in yesterday and the very first thing he says to me is, "I saved $10 this week using my coupons!" Yes, this makes me feel all proud, especially since those were the coupons that I gave to him. He's really getting into this coupon thing and I could not be happier. I gave him more of them yesterday and I hope he gets to use them. I'm infecting the world, one teenage boy at a time. It's my dream come true. Anyway...

So we're sitting there and he asks us why we came to the decision to not join the church and then he says this, "I love you guys and I worry about you." When I look up he's sitting on the couch crying. Crying because he's so upset that I'll be going to hell. It was very touching, I have never in my entire life had someone cry for my soul. What a moment.

As usual, after they left The Makeshift Dad and I were discussing the visit and you can damn straight bet that the crying came up. We both felt that it was very moving and perhaps one of the most loving things we've ever encountered. Now it's no secret that this young man, although he likes my husband, mostly just digs me. So I took the crying very personally, and was telling my hubby that I don't think I've ever had a friend that was so concerned about me that they were in tears. It was a wonderful thing.

My hubby says this... "I'm not sure it's about friendship for him, I think you remind him of his mom." My initial reaction went something like this-  "HIS MOM?!? His fucking mom?!! I'm still in my 20's for fuck sake, for a few more months anyway, there is no way in hell I remind anyone older than 10 of their mom!" Leave it to my husband to take a touching moment and turn it into something ugly. Fucker.

The more I thought about it though, the more I felt like it was a compliment. I do like to "mother the world", be it foster children, or animal rescue, or hanging out with the teens that have uninvolved parents around here. I do kinda give off that mom vibe. What I'm wondering is why I had such a volatile reaction to something like being called motherly. After all, I AM a mom so one would hope that I had some motherliness about me. Perhaps even to the extent that strangers could pick up on it.

The question today is, Why was I offended that someone would relate to me using my most favorite role that I play?? I do love being a mom. I may bitch about it, but nothing else in this world gives me as much pleasure and feelings of meaningfulness, worth, and completeness. Yet, when someone tells me I remind them of a mom my initial reaction is to become instantaneously spitting mad. Paradoxical.