Why I Didn’t Report

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TRIGGER WARNING

***This post contains details of sexual assault. Please approach with caution***

This post is not an easy one. This is a subject I stay away from because I fully support people’s rights to remain silent about sexual assault. The opinions of a woman or man can change so drastically once they share their story. Suddenly their every life decision is questioned by “Did/Do they act this way because of their assault?” “Is this why he/she does or doesn’t do this?”, “What parts of their personality are just results of their assault?” and worst of all “Are they telling the truth?”. Opening up about assault is hard and personal. Nobody owes anyone their story.

I have sat on my own experiences for over a decade. Today I saw a video on Facebook that stated since the #whyididntreport movement on Twitter, the National Sexual Assault hotline has seen a 42% increase in reports. That tells me that this movement has an impact. This tells me that women and men alike are finding their voice and perhaps over time we can break the taboo associated with being a survivor of sexual assault or abuse.

The first time.

I didn’t report for numerous reason, the number one reason being I did not know what had happened to me was rape. I was 16 and in my mind rape was what you saw on tv in crime dramas and horrid news stories. Rape was violent, screaming, fighting, kicking, clawing, fighting for life. Rape in my mind could not look like what happened to me.

I at the time was sexually active. I had only ever had one partner and I loved him. He was my first love. Sex still held a sense of sacredness to me then. We had broken up that day in one of those dramatic teens in love way, the kind where you know you’ll be back together in a couple days. I was upset and hurt so my friends had taken me out for the night to hang out and just have fun. One friend’s adult cousin tagged along. I knew him. I had been around him on many occasions and never worried once.

As the night progressed said cousin kissed me. I felt like his was the perfect revenge for my boyfriend who had broken up with me earlier that day. So I let him. I immediately felt tremendous guilt so at the first sign of the gathering dying down I bailed out to go to bed and sleep the guilt off. He followed me. He continued to kiss me at which point I knew where he was trying to go with it. I clearly, soberly, and audibly said “No intercourse.” I remember this vividly because as soon as the words left my mouth, my 16-year-old mind said “Oh my God, intercourse? who says that? Why would you use that word?”. He didn’t stop. I said “No” and swatted at his hands as he continued to remove my pants. He didn’t stop. I froze. I did not scream, I did not fight, I just laid there.

I thought of yelling for someone or dropping something loud to get someones attention in the next room but didn’t. One of my boyfriend’s close friends was sitting in the next room. Where one side of my mind was yelling “Get somebody’s attention!” the other side of me was panicking “What if my boyfriend’s friend came in instead? He’d see me under this guy and assume I wanted this. He’d tell my boyfriend and we’d never get back together.”

When it was over, he just left the room. I laid in bed and cried silently just hoping he’d never tell anyone about this. I never wanted anyone to ever think I would willingly sleep with this piece of trash. Though in my mind, at the time, I had. To me, I hadn’t been raped. To me, I had just had a bad careless sexual experience.

When his on-again-off-again girlfriend called me nearly a full year later to ask if I had slept with her boyfriend/baby daddy during one of their off-again phases, I shamefully and embarrassingly told her “yes”. There was nothing else I could say. Though he was a piece of shit human, I loved his family and was so afraid of damaging the relationship I had with them by openly saying out loud “No, he had sex with me. I just laid there.” because at that time I still couldn’t wrap my head around rape not being violent.

#WhyIDidntReport -Because society had already programmed me to believe it was my fault.

The second time was very different. I knew I was being raped. I knew I needed to get out. I knew I needed help.

I had gone to a party with friends at 17. I was a pretty responsible teen in terms of alcohol. I felt a compulsion to take care of my friends. I would nurse a fruity cocktail or take a swig of liquor, but sober was so important to me. I never knew if my mom randomly called and tell me to get home because she felt a disturbance in the mom-force. I couldn’t risk it. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been truly drunk. I would drink when I went out with my brother because he was my brother and nobody could hurt me if he was present. On this night, I was not with him.

Three guys show up to our party. One of the guys actually knows one of my best friends. She and he have an existing relationship and obviously, want to expand on it. I play the good friend and wing-woman and entertain his two friends with small talk and let her spend time with her love interest. They continually offer me whiskey to which I turn down multiple times. As the night is dwindling down and I feel we’ll be leaving soon I agree to do a shot. Everything went downhill from there. I felt fine, I felt sober. My friend and her love interest wanted to go to a bar. He says he can get me in despite being only 17. I can see she wants to go and I’m not keen on her going without me as she essentially lives with me at this point and if I lose her, my mom will come down on both of us.

On the ride to the bar, things get odd. I start to feel myself becoming loopy. My last sober thought was when we reached a 4-way in the road and I asked the driver where we were going because this was not the way to the bar they mentioned. He tells me he decided we’d just go hang out at his house instead. I, to this day, do not know where this house was. All I can recall is a trailer situated on a busy road, possibly a highway. I remember arriving. I remember running to the bathroom to throw up immediately after getting there. I remember my friend and her male friend suddenly being gone. They disappeared to another part of the house as I did not see her again until it was over.

**If you are triggered by stories of sexual assault I suggest skipping to #whyididntreport**

In the bathroom, I recall having a penis shoved in my mouth repeatedly as I tried to force myself to throw up. I remember being hit in the face as I couldn’t stop myself from throwing up on this person and it was making him angry. After this, I will admit that I became fully compliant to the best of my abilities in an attempt to make it all go faster and without further injury. I was stripped naked while still kneeling over the toilet as someone tried to penetrate me from behind. I was pushed into a bathroom sink counter and penetrated again by one of two guys. I was taken to the living room where these two boys continued to poke and prod at me. I at one point ran out of the house entirely naked to vomit off the porch. I remember rain and cars going by at high speeds. I was carried back into the house. When the more aggressive of the two was finally finished, I was stuck in a dark room with no furniture. There were only boxes in this room. I was angry and beyond sick. I began to throw up in the floor where I was laying. At this point, the second boy entered the room and continued to penetrate me from behind as I continued to dry heave into the floor.

I suddenly heard the familiar voice of one of my male friend in the hallway. I wanted to run to him. I wanted to yell to him but I could only gag and heave. When the second boy was done he left and I ran out of the room behind him, still naked, into the arms of my male friend. He must have thought I was just drunk and sloppy, but he gathered my clothes and dressed me with the help of my now present female friend who had apparently called him for a ride home.

I was angry for a long time wondering how my friend could have been just down the hall and not been aware of what was happening. Why didn’t she stop it? Why did my male friend not come in the room? Did he not hear me gagging? Did he mistake my heaves for sounds of sexual pleasure? To this day I still question my own memories. Was I actually drinking that night and don’t remember? Was I drugged? Do people in small towns like mine even get drugged? Am I missing pieces of that night? Do I even know what all happened to me?

I was dropped off alone at my brother’s house. He was out of town and I knew it would be unlocked. I found a towel, threw it on the floor beside his bed in case I needed to throw up even more, and crawled into bed sick, dirty, and still in shock of what had happened.

#WhyIDidntReport- I didn’t report this assault for a number of reasons. 

  1. Who would believe me? I was in an obvious drunk state to both my male and female friends upon leaving.
  2. I didn’t want my best friend to feel guilty because she had taken me there and I still do not think she truly knew what was happening in that house.
  3. I was afraid of getting in trouble with my parents for being at a party or getting into a vehicle with guys.
  4. I did not even know their names, only a nickname of one they referred to as “Bubba”.
  5. I was the grand-daughter of a local pastor and I couldn’t afford to be labeled as a liar or a slut while having my reputation dragged across this small town.
  6. It was so graphic, straight from a movie, absolutely no one would ever have believed me. If somebody told me this story I can’t say I myself wouldn’t doubt the details.

I have only shared this experience with maybe 2 people ever and never in this great of detail, people I trust and love. One of those people, upon hearing my less detailed account, their exact reaction was, “I’m sorry, but it sounds like something a drunk girl would do and feel bad about in the morning so claim it was rape.”

I never again talked about it with them. If this is how someone who knows me, loves me, trusts me views this then I could only imagine how others would.

There are so many reasons women don’t report. There are literally more reasons not to report than to report. I could sit here and give you statistic after statistic that proves to report it can often time lead to only more trauma.

I don’t know why I felt the need to lay this all out like this. I could simply have just told you why I didn’t report, but I needed to get it out there. I know people will have doubts, and I’m fine with that, but I also know women out there, who have been in my shoes will believe me. They will understand why I didn’t report. They will hopefully feel a sense of familiarity with my story and know they aren’t stupid or wrong for not reporting it.

A police report does not make your experience any less real. A police report does not make your claim any less valid. 

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The Most Impossible Task

The website I work for shared an article this week that made me come to a very disturbing revelation. You can find the article here.

It touches on a side effect of depression rarely talked about, the impossible task. It can be something as simple as brushing your teeth or something as big as planning a holiday dinner. It isn’t procrastination or laziness, it’s an utter sense of impossibility.

I related to it on so many levels as I have a laundry list of small impossible tasks, what I didn’t know is that my biggest impossible task wasn’t a common state of mind for everyone. That is leaving the house with my kids.

I honestly thought every mom hated doing this. I thought it was like changing diapers and middle of the night bedwetting. I honestly thought my friends who took their kids to birthday parties, park days, shopping, where the exception to the rule and I called them crazy. I’d laugh at my friend who took her kids to the pool every day of summer, the friend who goes to every birthday party, the friend who would up and take her kids for snowballs and a zoo day. They were crazy!

Today I saw yet another post about a birthday party where no-one showed up. Yes, I felt hurt for the kid, but I didn’t feel guilty. I did not blame other parents for not showing up with their kids. In my mind throwing a party and expecting people to come was the rude thing to do. I thought this because I assumed leaving the house was as impossible to everyone else as it is to me. I do not throw my kids parties for this very reason.

I still cannot fathom that people enjoy any aspect of park days and play dates. To me, it is just impossible. I will take my kids to my closest friend’s kid’s birthday parties because I feel that is my friendly duty, but it takes days sometimes weeks of hyping myself up and talking myself into it. I still end up with my stomach in knots the day of.

I find leaving the house at all hard, even when I know the destination is something or somewhere I will love, but taking the kids too is a whole other level of hell in my mind. I’m really just in shock to know this is not the norm. I can’t remember a time where this wasn’t the norm for me.

So, if I have backed out of plans with you, flaked on an event, not shown up to a baby shower or party, please know I meant no ill will. It doesn’t mean you mean any less to me. I just thought everyone understood this and knew how hard it was to go places with kids. I had no idea it was so easy for you, but for me, it is not.

I am not exaggerating when I say it’s too much. I am not making excuses. I am not wanting to avoid you. I just rather have all my teeth pulled without medication somedays than do any of those things. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this not being the normal way of thinking, even though it makes so much sense given just how many of my friends I called crazy for doing these things. In hindsight, I can’t think of any who don’t do things with their kids on a regular basis. Wow, just wow.

More power to y’all, but it’s my most impossible task.action-child-children-79990.jpg

I Saw You. . . Again

A follow up to “I Saw You”

I was so busy running around like a mad woman I missed you several times. The day was getting later, the kids were all screaming, my husband would be home at any moment and I’d yet to clean my house or even plan supper. All I wanted was to have it all done so I could spend those last few precious evening hours cuddled on the couch with a movie. I saw you out of the corner of my eye several times but kept on trucking, uninterested.

When I finally found a moment, I snuck away to the bathroom. Upon coming out, I ran into you again. I stopped this time, a bit in shock of your appearance. It was 5pm and you were without a bra. Your greasy hair was sticking in all directions. When was the last time you had a shower? Your shirt looked 3 sizes too big, a rip in the neckline, and paint down the front. Your fleece pajama pants stuck out like a sore thumb in this 108 degree Louisiana weather. I understand though, after kid’s and husband’s uniforms, pee soaked bed sheets, and endless cycles of dirty towels, your own rotation of stretchy pants and t-shirts loses priority in the laundry schedule.

I looked you square in the eye and asked you “What happened to you?”

My reflection replied, “You got to do better.”

I turned out the light to my bedroom and walked out.

Amazing how we can hurt our own feelings. I felt worthless the rest of the day. I avoided the mirror, so far as to pee in the dark the rest of the day. How did I get to this point? It was later that night in bed I remembered the mom in the mall. How could I have been so understanding of her, but not of myself? I could only speculate about her struggle but I know mine. I’m sure she feels like me when she passes a mirror in her worn out t-shirt, yet I could think she was the most beautiful thing to grace the Lakeview Mall.

Today my boys called me beautiful and smart. Last night my husband treated me like the goddess Venus herself had fallen into his bed. They don’t see what I see, they see the woman in the mall. A beautiful sacrifice of time and self-care. A strong woman who soldiers on despite days without a proper hair brushing or a real pair of pants.

Somebody out there thinks you have it all together. Somebody out there thinks you are beautiful in your motherhood. You are somebody’s idea of the good mother. You are someone’s mom in the mall.

You may not get hit on by men while you run errands. Teen girls won’t want to be you. Young men won’t refer to you as a milf, but to other women like you, to your friends, and to your family, you are beautiful.

They see you.

You should see you.

Stop Giving me your Bullsh*t Advice

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Photo Credit HoldinHolden.com

In the age of social media, parents love to give their advice, especially when it comes to discipline.

A recent viral post had me on edge as the comments about a 2-year-old’s meltdown in a children’s museum had other parents calling for an “old fashion butt whipping”. I’ll set all the science and statistics aside proving this is stupid and ignore that every friend I’ve ever had who ended up in prison or on drugs also had butt whipping parents, and get straight to why I wish you’d all shut the eff up.

Do I whip my kids? I have. yes. I grew up in that type home and naturally resorted to it, I learned very quickly though that I had no clue what I was doing. A pop on the hand for trying to grab the hot pot off the stove? Yes, I don’t think a “talk” to a 2-year-old will get it across and I rather a pop on the hand than a face full of hot grease. Trying to climb the table? Yes, a 14-month-old won’t understand a stern talk but a pop is better than a fractured skull. A meltdown in Walmart? Hell no. Let me explain.

Humans are not born with the natural ability to know what is acceptable behavior. Emotions are things we learn to process and respond to with time and time only. A 2-year-old who just got told he can’t have candy only knows “I am angry” and his only logical response to anger is to scream, cry, throw a fit. It is the only way he knows to process this information. He can’t go home and contact corporate with an angry letter. he can’t go pop open a bottle of wine and relax in the tub. He can’t call up his best friend to vent. The toddler is responding the only way he knows how.

According to the bullshit advice you get from every Tom, Dick, and Sally on the internet you should whip him. You do. Now, what did you just teach your child? Not to throw fits over candy? Not to scream in public? No, you just taught your child that his emotions are bad and he should not have them, or if he does to hide them with great care lest he comes to bodily harm.

Now imagine that thinking as an adult. When I am upset or overwhelmed I cry in my bathtub. As a child, I’m sure I threw a fit and screamed a little, but I, and only I taught myself as I grew older to respond in a different way that works for me. Now imagine every time I climbed into my tub to cry somebody twice my size came in and whipped me. You’d think that was insane! Is it? Eventually, over time, I would no longer cry, I would suppress my own emotions which we all know is unhealthy as shit.

I grew up in a home with two very loving parents who naturally raised their kids as they were raised. Fits weren’t allowed, they happened, but they were punished accordingly. I have a predisposition to depression and mental health problems so it was not good for my overall health in the end. I wasn’t allowed to be angry. Out of fear of punishment I turned to writing hate-filled self-loathing letters to myself. Over the years that no longer worked and as teenage angst grew so did my need to just be angry without being deemed “disrespectful”. I turned to self-harm. It was easier to angrily cut away at my body in silence than to have a typical fit (which for some reason is totally acceptable for adults and parents to have) and receive the punishment that came after for throwing said fit.

Kids have emotions too, stop punishing them for them. If you don’t want spoiled kids then just don’t spoil them. It’s that damn easy. Don’t give in to their tiny little terrorist demands, but don’t punish them when they give you a reasonable and age-appropriate reaction. Let them play it through. As they get older you can explain better techniques and how we handle feeling but I assure you, whipping them isn’t teaching them a damn thing other than “Your feelings are bad and your emotions will get you hurt”

Boys get even more flack for showing any kind of emotion. “That’s for girls!” yet every single female out here loves to complain about how you can’t find men who know how to communicate and be openly vulnerable with them. Hmmm… I wonder why? Maybe if mommy and daddy hadn’t beat it out of them by the time they started first grade we wouldn’t have this problem.

I’m 28 years old and I throw a LOT of fits. I’ll be damned if anybody is going to whip me over one. Next time you’re upset, overwhelmed, or just sad look at your response and them imagine you were going to be punished for it. Sucks huh?

I’m not saying don’t discipline your kids, as they get older they start to do things like lie, hurt one another, break rules, have at it! How you discipline your kids for actual infractions is your business and I’ll stay out of it, but the next person who tells me to physically harm my child for an emotional response he is having will get throat punched. Because if you want me to beat the natural emotional responses out of my child then I can beat the naturally stupid advice spouting out of you.

How to Look Like a Mom.

We’ve all heard the old adage “mom jeans”. We all know the mom look. At some point, I’m sure most of us have tried on an outfit only to look in the mirror and think “I look like a mom in this” therefore returning it back to the rack.

This morning I woke up in the same clothes I went school shopping in last night, sans bra. Who sleeps in jeans and a blouse? HA, not me, I also don’t wear those things to shop. I was already pretty much in pajamas.

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At what point does that switch flip in our brains where we actually want to look like a mom? When suddenly our whole closet is mom clothes and we throw it on without even a second thought?

Answer? We don’t. We don’t wake up the morning after delivering baby #2 and think “Omg, I would totally look hot in sweatpants and a t-shirt from the local tire shop’s 1998 annual bar-b-que”

No. It doesn’t happen overnight. My favorite example of this is the jump between season 4 and 5 of Desperate Housewives. Season 4 ends with a beautiful modelesque Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) and season 5 starts with her two kids later looking like, well, a mom.

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I hoarded all my pre-kid clothes because I had a banging wardrobe. I had belts that only went with one outfit. I had shoes that only went with one outfit, I had skirts in every pattern imaginable. Where was I going to wear an orange frog with purple toucan beaks and blue almonds skirt to? I don’t know, but when the time came I would have been ready.

 

 

I gained weight. I lost weight. I gained weight. I lost weight.

I ran out of space as the kids kept coming.

I got depressed and purged after I couldn’t button a single pair of jeans

I got too hot and flustered wearing a girdle, tank, bralette, blouse, shorts, belt for aesthetic only, and 3 layers of necklaces while trying to load and unload kids all day.

I couldn’t justify buying a $10 top when I could get one of my kids a whole $10 outfit.

I ran out of time to get dressed and ready to go anywhere.

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My “dress up” sleep pants

Eventually, all that leads to an empty closet from the constant giving away. I was no longer buying so there was nothing replacing those items. I could no longer take up valuable space with a slew of dresses I might wear once every two years. I got rid of it all.

Then there come the donated clothes. We, women, like to give our clothes to one another. It’s often things we ourselves can’t fit or simply don’t wear anymore. That’s how I ended up in a maternity shirt two days ago with a pair of gray slacks. Yes, slacks. I’ve never worn slacks outside of school uniforms 10 years ago. Somebody had given me a pair recently that hadn’t quite made their rotation through my closet and into the next moms closet. It isn’t until you’re living in sweatpants and t-shirts and the odd piece of random unflattering clothing that you even realize you have become a typical mom.

It takes at least half an hour working double pace to dress all my kids and have them ready to get out the door. Half of that time in which I’m just looking for their shoes. I usually have about 4 minutes and 28 seconds to dress. Mom clothes it is.

Yes, I want to be pretty. Yes, I have good, even unique, taste in fashion. I just do not have the time, money, patience, of physical durability to put it into action.

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I Saw You

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I saw your family first. I saw all three of your children and your husband as they made their way across the mall parking lot. The kids had on clean, matching, spring outfits. Your husband was wearing khaki shorts, loafers, and a stain free pressed pastel polo. I assumed you were all here for the Easter bunny to take a family photo together.

I didn’t see you then. I only giggled to myself as your kids were walking backwards while yelling “Come on Mommy! Hurry!”. I giggled because I could imagine wherever you were in the parking lot, you had sent your husband on with the kids so you could make sure you had wipes for when they asked for ice cream, double check you grabbed your phone keys and wallet, picking up the chips they spilled on the ride over so they didn’t become further trampled into the carpet when they reentered the vehicle. I knew that feeling too. I lost interest before I saw you though.

Later I ran into your family again by the Easter bunny. They had just gotten off the train ride in the center of the mall. Little matching spring outfits scurrying up to dad in his well put together attire to tell him all about your ride with them. I lingered and waited to see what you looked like out of curiosity. I imagined the mother and wife of this family must be well put together. I bet shes wearing a matching summer dress, she probably had killer hair, and her shoes will definitely be on point.

You came out of the train area just far enough behind them to have checked the carts for any items they missed. You were beautiful in the most heart breaking way. My over emotional ass almost lost it right there in the giant carrot and cabbage props of the Easter display. My kids were already being herded onto the ride before I noticed because I was so focused on every detail of you.

You were wearing a much loved and faded pair of black leggings. Your t-shirt looked as though you probably bought it years earlier in less stressful, more kid free times. The wrinkles of your shirt said you had grabbed it out of a laundry pile on the way out of the door. What was once some sort of event advertisement was now only pieces of vinyl clinging to cotton. A basic pair of flip flops, you likely owned for many summers, slapped the platform under your feet. Your dark hair was pulled back haphazardly into a low pony tail as though you simply needed it out of your way. If you were even wearing makeup it was so minimal it went unnoticed.

You were the walking embodiment of what being a mom feels and looks like in 2018. You were grinning ear to ear as your kids jumped up and down about riding again or seeing the Easter Bunny or whatever plans you guys had in store. You just kept smiling, but I saw you.

I told my husband about you. I felt you, a stranger, with every ounce of empathy in my body. You were so beautiful in the way I could see you pressing on. I know there was a time you took care of you; a time you probably couldn’t dream of leaving the house in anything less than jeans and mascara. Now, here you were so invested in your family that you had given up on yourself.

I’m not shaming women who don’t care about their looks. I outgrew that phase with my second child also. I see it all the time, but you were different. I could see how tired you were. I could see you drawn into yourself, avoiding the attention and scurrying your kids off to the next event. Your husband, attractive also, seemed to stand tall and gleam with the kids, while you drug up the rear picking up all the little pieces of clutter kids leave. I just imagined you crying in your tub at night when you’re alone, as many of us do. Then you get up the next morning and soldier on.

Teen girls won’t fawn over your style. Men won’t hit on you as you walk through the mall. Young men won’t refer to you as a MILF, but to women like me, you stand out in a crowd. You’re not alone Momma. You were Beautiful.

I saw you.

F*#% You Teresa

I’m so tired.

My husband just stomped off to bed angry. I snapped at him. Any human would have.

I’m exhausted.

I’ve had kids in my face all week. I do not mean whining and saying “Mom” repeatedly, I mean actually physically in my face. At every turn someone wants to show me a new karate move, eat my nose, or just hug me. It’s exhausting.

So forgive me if I snap when you happen to walk in at the precise moment the baby had FINALLY decided to get off my lap and crawl toward the electrical outlet. I was soaking up the 1.07 second of not having someone in my lap before I made myself turn around and go back to reality.

I mean it’s not like I’m not here with them 24 hours of the day or anything. I obviously need you to tell me how to take care of them since ya know, they die while you aren’t here and all.

I came over here to my computer to vent out my frustration only to find my note book full of lists, works notes, and the 6 years old curriculum goals lying in the floor with a big pile of puppy piss on it. In my attempts to save what I could I managed to spray myself with said piss. The whole note book had to be trashed and I can only hope it was nothing super important in there.

I’m not tired as in I need sleep, though I could easily sleep for 5 days straight. I am tired in that my mind can not focus. My body hurts. My creativity is road blocked. My happiness is hidden. Just trying to phonetically form words in the correct order takes concentrated effort and will. I sound drunk if I’m not putting all my effort into speech right now.

**The 3 year old is at this very moment begging to tell me a secret. He’s pulling on my shirt trying to pry my head down to a lower level so he can whisper it entirely too loud into my ear…… the secret was he wanted a corndog. A corndog of which he’ll just peel off the bread and eat only the wiener and cry if I only offer him a regular wiener.**

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“Look mom! Look at this game I have no idea how to play and need you to explain every move to”

This week I have been covered in feces of both human and animal, urine of both human and animal, numerous spit ups, mud, kitchen grease, and mystery liquids. I did finally shower tonight removing the shirt that contained 3 days of my own dandruff from my neglected scalp and no less than 5 different varieties of foods. Ironically it said “Mom of Boys” across it.

“Take care of yourself. It is so important to take care of yourself as a mom”

Fuck you Teresa! When? When the hell are we suppose to fit self care into this daily routine? When I shower? Yeah that’s 10 minutes of me trying my damnedest to shave at least a whole leg before I start hearing screams in the next room. Join a gym? When Teresa? When the fuck am I suppose to join a gym? Let’s say I even could afford a gym membership in the first place, when do I go? The 5 minutes before my baby realizes I’ve left the room and its time to fall into something head first? Maybe that 3 minutes when I’m walking through the house cutting off the lights for bed? Or maybe in the time it takes me to write this post? Surprise, this is being written in small intervals because my kids keep needing something “right now”.

“Pamper yourself! You deserve it!”

I know I fucking deserve it! I haven’t killed anyone yet and I’m doing motherhood unmedicated. How the hell am I suppose to pamper myself? After lights, cars, insurance, rent, and the wi-fi that fuels my sanity, that last $40 isn’t going very far. Get my nails done? Get a massage? Yeah I’ll squeeze that in right after I go to the damn gym. I feel the most pampered when I get to finish my cup of coffee while its still hot, which is never.

“Date nights are imperative to a happy marriage and happy parents”

Once again, FUCK you Teresa. I can’t afford the sitter much less the date night. My nearest family (aka Free Sitter) is 3.5 hours away. Shes wonderful and amazing but she has a life also therefore scheduling ……………………………..

*Sorry kid almost smashed his penis in the toilet seat and needed to tell me all about his brush with death.*

…………………. any sitter plans with her takes at least a months notice and are usually followed with me feeling tremendously guilty for needing her help so much and having nothing to offer in return after her long ass drive.

I’m tired.

I have three, yes three kids still in diapers pretty much. The 6 year old has problems with not shitting himself. DO NOT come at me with “Why?” because I assure you, even the doctors, psychologist, and psychiatrist can’t figure it out so you can’t either. The 3 year old is one of those defiant disorder kids you read about and good ole southern folks say “He just needs his butt whipped more” well FUCK YOU TOO Teresa’s dumbass cousin, because that it not the case here. I will not beat my kid black and blue. Guess what, it wouldn’t change him anyway!

Did I mention my vagina is still broken? I’m one week from my second post-op, the 10 week mark where I thought I’d be getting the all clear, only to find I still have undissolved stitches tonight. It may be closer to healed but it still looks like something Dr. Frankenstein created in his lab, a mangled mess of what once was a pretty OK looking perineum if there is such a thing.

I”ll never send another dirty photo to my husband again. Ever. Oh and his phone crashed so every photo I ever had of myself in the days of no lumpy baby belly, a pretty vagina, and somewhat less saggy tits, are all gone. No evidence of the person I once was.

I tried to go shopping yesterday, something I hate. I have an event coming up and my sister requested we all dress nice so we can take photos together. I went with $20 in my pocket, refusing to spend more, because honestly I can’t. After three stops I discovered I have absolutely no clue what size I am. I poured coffee down my legs and my husbands work van, because we missed the insurance payment on my car, before even getting to the first store.

I realized I also have no clue how to dress this new body I am in. There was a time I had the seriously the most killer closet in Louisiana, just ask my friends. Years of living with a bargain shopping mom had me set. I could go two years and never repeat an outfit or ever have an outfit cost more than $30 head to toe. All gone.

After getting stuck in one dress and having that moment of sheer panic thinking “I’m about to have to ask a stranger to help me pull this sequin dress off from around my neck and I can’t even see who I am asking. Oh God I’m wearing hospital issued panties today too!”, I just said “Fuck it” and went home.

That was my monthly allotment of “me-time”, running around town in my husband work van crying in dressing rooms for approximately two hours.

My 6 year old asked me what was wrong today when I was trying to put my makeup on for a second time. I really just wanted to hide this anxiety induced acne so my husband wouldn’t have to pretend so hard that I am somewhat attractive.

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Tell me I’m pretty anyway and I will hunt you down and cut you.

I just asked him “Did you know I use to be really pretty?”. He replied, “Yeah, then you had babies.” He went on to tell me I shouldn’t try to be pretty I should just try to be myself which sound great but I think myself is pretty on the inside, so why can’t I can’t be myself on the outside too. I think “myself” would be a wardrobe of glitter and rainbows. This week maybe more along the emo goth Hot Topic line, but most days definitely an adult version of the Justice line.

Turns out I’m fairly positive I have body dysmorphic disorder. The good kind though. The kind where I look in the mirror and see a size 6 but look on a camera or dress rack and realize I’m a size 12 built like a short linebacker. Camera adds 10lbs, my ass. Amazing how everyone else looks exactly the same size in that photo as they do in real life.

I’m just tired. I’m sorry if this isn’t funny or if you made it this far that there isn’t some happy surprise twist or realization about how I had some great epiphany that it’s all wonderful and worth it and yada yada yada, but my husband did get me Oreos and hid them in my super secret spot so that’s happy right?

“Motherhood is Magical!”

Fuck you Teresa. Fuck you and the fairy tale that guilt inducing society rode you in on.

**The 3 year old just tried to remove his own pull-up, getting poop all down his legs. I quit. Good night**

***YAY MY DOMAIN ALSO EXPIRED!!!!! $26 I DO NOT HAVE TO SPEND.***

*Cries into this morning’s cold coffee*

To the Child with the Anxious Mother

I’m sorry.

Im sorry we don’t do play dates. I’m sorry I’m yelling or upset before we even leave the driveway. You see, on top of the rush and hustle of getting you all dressed I’m fighting a battle with my own anxiety. I’m sorry I worry so much about the opinions of the other moms. I’m sorry I let that build up and explode into the car before you’re even all buckled, because deep down I was hoping one if you would feign sickness and I could cancel. I’m sorry I ruin your happiness before we even get there. I’m sorry I more often than not, choose to stay home.

Im sorry you dont have birthday parties. The only thing more powerful than my social anxiety is my financial anxiety, and birthdays are when they collide. I’m sorry I’m terrified to spend money on all the extras in fear I can’t buy you a gift you’ll love. I’m sorry I naturally assume everyone feels the same way I do, therefore no one will show up. I’m terrified you’ll feel disappointed or even hurt if nobody shows. I’m sorry we just buy a gift and cake to enjoy as a family.

I’m sorry I dont participate at your school. I’m sorry I never attended a field trip, class party, or school event with you. I’m sorry I used your younger siblings as an excuse when in reality, I was too scared to. I was afraid I’d do or say something to give your teacher, her aid, or another mom the wrong impression. I was afraid they’d judge you based off that impression of me. When I did attend your end of year ceremony, I realized I had missed the note about dressing you up. There you stood in your well worn uniform amongst all the kids in their Sunday best, and I fought back tears. I was humiliated and my anxiety was bursting at the seams, all for something so small. I’m sorry I’m just not good at this.

I’m sorry we don’t attend church. I met most of my childhood friends at church. Attending a church means acclimating. It means letting strangers become your friends and extended family. I’m sorry that I simply can not do that. I’m sorry I don’t want to let new people into our lives for fear they’ll harshly judge me as your mother. I’m sorry I would teach you our religion here at home rather than be expected to be a participating member of a congregation.

I’m sorry. Please know, I love you. I’m proud of you. I love showing you off. There is a whole world out there and I assure you, I won’t let you miss it. I’ll happily drive you to practice one day, drop you off at a friends, pay for the big school trip. I’ll encourage you and do whatever I can so you have a life of your own outside these four walls, but faking confidence is so incredibly exhausting. I’m sorry I’m happier, more comfortable, and a better functioning mom here at home in yesterday’s sleep clothes. I’m sorry.

I Just Wanted a Bath

Single moms, I salute you.
I usually wait until the husband is home to even attempt to bathe myself as anything involving a bathroom means certain emergencies in the area of childcare. Someone will lose a crayon, crap their pants, spill their juice, or try to bludgeon their sibling to death with a shoe if you choose to step foot into the bathroom.

Having two previous children and currently approaching the third trimester for baby number three, my recently contracted hellacious cough has all but obliterated my bladder. What does that mean? That mean whenever I go into a coughing fit I pee myself, pretty basic. No amount of leg crossing is going to hold that mess in when I can’t even catch my breath from the phlegm bombarding my airways.

So, as one can imagine, I felt gross and after ruining my last pair of jeans I needed to get to clean water. Husband was still at work and the teenager was out with friends so I thought I’d attempt it alone. You may wonder, “Well why not a quick shower?”. A couple reasons come to mind. I can not hear the blood curdling screams that would most certainly take place if I placed my head under the stream of shower water. I also can not see anything of the outside world from the confines of my master bath shower stall. So into the tub I go, all the doors wide open so I can hear any catastrophe in my house and see any disruption between me, my bedroom, the small hallway, and the door to the garage (which the toddler like to try to escape through).

Enter the five year old. 

The toddler plays quietly in my bed. I can hear his tablet and his giggles and all is well in the house. Five year old enters room and his very presence disturbs my toddler to his core. Toddler screams in unseen pain and darts for the door to lock five year old out. A brief fight ensues over closing the bedroom door. I shout and do my little “What the heck is wrong with you two?” thing and they decide it’s not fun anymore.

The five year old, who hasn’t spoken to me in hours, now decides this is the best time to ask me where plastic comes from. He then needs to tell me about every level and character in some game called PigMan (sp?). I decide to send him on a mission to get a moment of peace; I send him to get mom a little cup of sugar to exfoliate with. He returns looking very proud from what I could see through water filled eyes. I blindly dip my fingers into the “sugar”, and .002 seconds from coating my face in this white substance, I realize its flour. I was so close to antiquing myself true Jackass style. I wash the now dough from my fingers and send him to try again.

Five year old returns with sugar, I wash, and ask him to go dump the rest for me. All is well again until I hear *ssssshhhhhh* “Oh no!”. Look up to see a bedroom floor coated in sugar granules. Walking on sugar is the worst! We all know this. Being the helpful child he is, he runs for the broom. Meanwhile toddler has become interested in what is taking place. Sugar is all swept neatly into a pile awaiting me to get out and put into a dust pan. Toddler decides hiding the pile with a pillow would work better. *Plop* Goes a pillow on top of the pile sending sugar gliding in all directions across the floor once again.

The next 5 minutes are spent in utter confusion between me and five year old.
“Move the pillow”
“Now set it down”
“No not BACK on the pile”
“Omg. You put it back in the sugar”
“No don’t put a sugar covered pillow back on the bed”
“Why do these things happen to me!”

I dash sopping wet from the tub to broom to sweep up stupid sugar, leaving a wet trail from tub across bedroom floor.

Helpful five year old, “Mom, what do we do about this water now?”. I tell him just to grab a towel and wipe it up. I’m planted firmly in my now room temperature water and I’m not getting back up. I see him scooting toward me on a towel as he’s soaking up the water and I realize, he is using the towel I grabbed for myself to dry off with. The only clean towel in my bathroom.

Somehow in the middle of all this I managed to bathe, shave half my leg, and apply oil to my pregnancy dried hair. I completely forgot to finish shaving and about an hour ago, as I was preparing to run errands, I realize I never rinsed the oil out of my hair. As if having to look at my ever quickly changing body when I get naked wasn’t punishment enough.

The kitchen… the kitchen in which the flour and sugar was previously retrieved from? That’s a whole other story.

So, shout out to the ladies who can accomplish basic tasks without a spouse or partner! Apparently, I can not.

ventura

I Will Not Treat My Step Kids Like My Own

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Yes, I said it. I will not treat them like my own and the sooner you stop telling me and other parents too, the happier we will be. It’s a hypocritical statement and adds further pressure to an already strenuous situation.

I was raised in a blended family. I assumed all blended families were like ours. In our situation my mom and (step)dad were very much able to practice the “treat them like your own” mindset. Why? My mom’s first husband was completely out of the picture minus the random phone call once every couple of years. My (step)dad’s first wife, though a little more involved, never desired or asked for custody. She was fine with the occasional holiday and gave my mom the reigns and full “go-ahead” to raise her children like her own.

This raising resulted in my mom’s children calling her new husband “dad”, and my (step)dad’s son called my mom “Mom”. It irks me to even have to put (step) before his name just for clarity here. They were Mom and Dad, they had all the say, they handled everything. If they made us angry there was no “I’m moving to Mom’s/Dad’s”.

I assumed this was the natural order of blended families. When I became a step parent at the age of 18 I learned I was very much mistaken. My girls aren’t all that much younger than me for one. Something I thought would be a big problem, but turns out, the older they get the more I can appreciate that. My step son was 7 when his father an I got involved. 7 years old boys don’t care about much other than what were doing or where we are going so it seemed simple enough.

Here’s where I became confused. Their mom, his ex wife, was very very very much involved with her children. She had full custody and he had them every other weekend and holidays. I had heard of these schedules from friends but had never experienced them in real life.

A few years go by and all the children move in with us for a while. At which point I have given birth to my own bio-child. I began to see the backwards suggestion of “treat them like your own” at this point. Over the years of having them around I would just notice little things they did that would be deemed disrespectful by my parents or my own standards. I would think to myself “Do I say anything? Maybe their mom doesn’t see it that way?”

Once they moved in it all fell apart. The girls were entering the teen years, those extremely volatile drama filled teen years. I was only in my very early 20’s myself. They would act like I didn’t know anything when in fact I very well knew because I had JUST been in their shoes. One particular morning we had a knock down drag out fight over them intentionally missing the bus for the 5th day in a row. We yelled, we pointed fingers, we nearly came to blows. An inlaw showed up to diffuse the situation and she made the comment “If this was your child you wouldn’t talk to them like this” She was right. I would not be yelling like this because if it were biologically my child, I would have had the parental right to drag him by the hair of the head to bus stop. He would know better at this point than to miss it intentional or even accidentally. I decided I would never treat my step kid like my own at this point. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was not allowed to.

Even now with another one teen still under my roof I have to remind myself everyday that there are lines. The world doesn’t seem to see them though so they just prefer to point the fingers. When the school calls to tell my bio-son has been disrespectful I can punish him any way I deem fit. You all will hail me a good parent, a caring parent. When the school calls to tell me my step son has been disrespectful, I then integrate a equally age appropriate punishment on him then I am the evil step mom, I am playing favorite, I am bullying him. I have to walk such a thin fine line to know what is ok. Will this punishment cause problems between us? Will he get angry and pull the “I’m moving to mom’s!”. Will he try to cause problems between his father an I? All these things have to be considered with a step child, yet my own child nobody has any say and deems me wonderful for doing anything.

It’s hypocritical. I love my step children. I value how open they are with me. They can freely discuss things that most wouldn’t with their own biological parents. The girls are grown now and I love our relationships. They admit they were a bit rough on me in their early teens, but God has blessed them each with daughters of their own so I’ll just give them time to get their payback.

The step son and I get along wonderfully. I enjoy spending time with him. I truly truly love him. However, I am always one wrong disciplinary action away from being shut out. What can I do? Ask his dad to handle it? Hahahahahahahahaha……gasp…. Hahahahahahahaha. My husband has zero discipline will power. He’ll take your ps4 and cell phone today, then give it back tomorrow and treat you to a shopping spree to say “sorry”. I love that about him though really, he’s a softie. It wont affect our youngest because I’m all the backbone they’ll need, but doesn’t seem fair to his oldest.

In the end my step children will always be treated BETTER than my own. Never less, never equal, but better by the views of others.

Don’t you dare sit there behind our computer screen and go on about, “My house my rules” either because this is not MY house. This is our house. I don’t want war in our house. It’s not worth the turmoil all for the sake of being deemed “boss”. There is so much more to a blended family.

Please just stop telling step parents to “Treat them like their own” because the minute we do you’ll all be crying abuse. Those of you who yell it the loudest are the same ones who bash your exes on Facebook saying things like “His new girlfriend isn’t allowed to touch my child!” or “I hope she ever hurts my child’s feeling. It’ll be then end of her!”. Get off your high horses and walk one day in our shoes.

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