Happy Mother’s Day!
On this day we take the time to honor and give thanks for all you do. Mothers are the glue that holds our families together. When we need someone to listen to our problems mom is always there by your side. She guides us safety away from harm’s way. Mom’s work is never done there is always laundry, dishes, housework and dinners to cook. So on this special day made for moms put your feet relax with a good book or movie it’s your day so make it special.
In honor of earth day I am sharing an old post from Ranger Rick., ranger-rick8607065.html
I saw this article and would like to share it with all you parents who have a son, Emily
French Kenny put the beautiful words together for this article on sons.
My boy. I realized recently that I talk and write a lot about Ella, but not so much Ethan. I think that’s partly because having Ella is what made me a mother, but it’s also because I know what’s it like to be a little girl and then a big girl and then a woman, and there is a part of me that can’t separate my journey from hers simply out of insight (and fear) for what she will have to face.
But, oh, my, Ethan.
Sometimes I simply can’t get enough of him, and I wonder if my lack of sharing has been because I just want to keep him all to myself.
When I was pregnant with him, I couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to love a little boy as much as my girl. Mothers with boys would say to me, ‘Oh, just wait. There’s something about having a boy that is so special.’ And they were right. Sometimes I think my heart is going to burst when I look at him. He’s at the age where I have the overwhelming feeling of wanting to ‘eat’ him, consume his whole being into mine. I don’t know if this is about him being a boy, or my baby. Perhaps I’ll never know.
What I do know is that parenting has felt easier with him. Part of me suspects that’s because he’s the second child. I’ve relaxed as a mother. I’m less concerned about whether I’m doing things ‘right’. But I also wonder… does it feel easier because I’m loving him, while I’m raising Ella?
I was having a conversation with one of my sister wives the other day and I recalled a quote by Michelle Obama, “We love our boys, and we raise our girls.”
Her point being that we raise our girls because we know they must be strong. We know we must prepare them to cope with a harsh world. We know we must teach our daughters to love themselves despite a world that tries to tell them they are not enough. We know we must teach our daughters that it’s ok to feel, to cry, to listen to their intuition, because we know the world is going to try to tell them the opposite. We know we must teach them to SPEAK UP. We know we must teach them how to be safe. Because for women, and especially WOC, safety has never truly been a right – and certainly not one without some kind of consequence to our body or soul.
On the flip side, we love our boys. Meaning, we sub-consciously (or consciously) believe that the stakes aren’t as high for boys and, therefore, preparing them for a harsh world isn’t as critical of a priority. In simply loving them we pass this thinking onto our sons – perhaps to the point of entitlement… and perhaps, unwittingly, in perpetuation of this newly-named culture of toxic masculinity.
Lately I’ve been catching myself…
Though Ethan is still young, I have to wonder, do I ‘correct’ him as much as I corrected Ella at this age? What subtle ways am I teaching him that his way through the world – whatever way that may be – is a right, while teaching Ella that her way depends on her ‘right’ behavior, whether or not her ‘right’ behavior has anything to do with the outcome? Conversations that some parents have with their daughters about safety is not unlike the heartbreaking conversations POC must have with their children, in an attempt to lessen the chance of being shot for knocking on someone’s door after missing the bus, or getting arrested because they made a ‘white’ person feel uncomfortable.
But I also wonder, am I encouraging him as much as I do (and have done) with Ella? Do I protect him as much? Am I as careful with this sensitive, beautiful, joyful little boy, as I am with my daughter? After all, his spirit is just as fragile.
Because the truth is, his gentleness, his sensitivity and his tendency to emote, can and will be seen as weakness as he gets older. In this way, the world will teach him that he is not enough, while also showing him, in a twisted way, that he sits atop an arbitrary and dangerous caste system.
Put simply, our world is harsh for boys too.
So as a mother of a son whose perceived skin pigment and perceived gender are such that he may walk this world with a privilege most others cannot enjoy, I must ask myself how I may be perpetuating a system that really benefits no one, except for a sliver of individuals who hold the most power in the world. And worse, a system that may give some people – my son included – a false sense of benefit.
Like our daughters, we must teach our sons to love themselves despite a world that tells them they are not enough. We must teach our sons that it’s ok to feel, to cry, to listen to their intuition. We must teach our sons it’s ok to love. We must break the cycle of insidious, rigid gender norms and an idea of masculinity that leads to mental illness and devastating violence that we’ve seen increase at an abhorrent rate in our country.
As Jordan Stephens brilliantly lays it out for us in The Guardian:
“Accepting the patriarchy from a place of false benefit will prevent you from ever truly loving yourself or understanding others. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to have loved your mum and dad growing up. It’s OK to have missed them or wanted more affection. It’s OK to take a moment when you’re reminded of these truths. When you allow your brain to access these emotions, it knows exactly what to do. So nurture yourself. Talk honestly to the people around you, and welcome the notion of understanding them more than you have ever done before.”
Sometimes it feels so easy and natural to just love the heck out of this boy. But the world can do just as much of a disservice to our sons as is does to our daughters. Only once we realize that we all suffer under the current system of white patriarchy – one that thrives off scarcity, shame and harmful stereotypes – can we begin to face it head on, and be the kind of change that POC and minorities – and our sons and daughters – need us to be.
We must do better by them. We must love and raise our daughters. We must love and raise our sons. And we must raise them into strong, kind, brave, thoughtful, compassionate people.
And I’ll be honest, it scares the hell out of me. Because who am I to break a system so powerful and so engrained in all of us?
But we can.
We must be in this together.
I would like to introduce you to Mary Winfield from Indiana this month’s interview she is a blogger who blogs about special needs parenting and homeschooling. She is the mother of two boys (ages 3 and 2), the oldest is special needs. She loves to read and write in her spare time. Know let’s sit back and visit with Mary.
1. How long have you been blogging?
I technically started my blog about a year and a half ago, but due to family struggles, I took a break not to long after launching. I have finally just started being consistent and getting back into it a few months ago.
2. What made you decide to start blogging?
The short of it is that I read a post that changed my life and helped me in a profound way. After reading the post I realized how important it is to find people in similar situations as yourself and encourage and learn from each other. I blog about special needs parenting and homeschooling and there is so much to be over whelmed by for both of those things. I thought that if I could help someone else along my journey I should. And I thought blogging would help me connect to other people in my situation.
3. How do you manage blogging and attending to your family’s needs?
The eternal question! I am a planner. I find solace in many lists. I have found that setting up a schedule with tasks that need to be done each day scheduling times to do them around naps, bedtimes and other activities helps me to be more present with my family because I don’t have half my brain on work. I know there is a set time for me to work and I need to focus on my family during the rest of the day. It is also so important to be flexible. The world isn’t going end if my blog goes up a day late o r I take a couple extra hours to reply to an email. My family is first priority and the blog will eventually get done.
4. Do you struggle to come up with topics to write about, if so how do you handle it?
Since I am so new to blogging so far, I haven’t run into that problem yet! Also topics for special needs parenting and homeschooling are endless!! I like to plan out my blog posts about a year at a time and then write and schedule them 6 months in advance. That me to do all the research and brainstorming in one big batch so I don’t feel like I need to be thinking of ideas.
5. Have you had much success with blogging?
In the traditional sense probably not yet. I don’t make much money from my blog yet (but that is pretty typical of new blogs). I have made some wonderful connections to people
that I have learned so much from, so that has been a success. An organization for special needs homeschooling reached out to me to work with them on their website and that has been so amazing. I have also gotten a couple comments or emails from people who said that a post I wrote really helped them, and that is the biggest success! I hope to someday keep growing my blog but for right now I am trying to enjoy the victories as they come.
This month I am here to introduce to you she is mom of five sharing with us her struggles and triumphs of coping with her life.
There are people in the world that think those of us who have large families are crazy. Well let me tell you part of that is true, but it can also be an exciting ride. It can be hard to raise a large family these days with the economy the way it is; along with the fact that everyone seems to be only looking out for themselves, yes I am guilty of it myself. Even with that said, we had five beautiful children and here is our story. I never really had a plan for my life, average student and my big dream was to be a singer, teacher, and mother. One of those dreams came true on April 16, 1993, when my oldest was born, and he was planned/unplanned. You see with my family history I wanted to make sure I could have children just in case. So we decided to have our first child, we tried and tried, then when we stopped, bingo baby number one. Then the next three years were like a dream. Bought a trailer, had a miscarriage and another child. So here I am a young mother of two, who by the way finish college during that time. Thinking, what am I doing, two sons under the age of 2. We stayed home a lot, and I didn't have to work. Life was good until my husband's work changed, he became an over the road truck driver, and everything changed. We sold the trailer, and I moved in with my parents, with two toddler boys. It was hard at first since I was a single mother, even people in our new town thought so. Then tragedy struck, or maybe a sign. My husband got into an accident and lost his job. Well, he made it through and came home to be with us and work close to home. That's when we decided it was time to try for that girl I always wanted, then ten months later son number three. I struggled with that fact for a long time, and I believe that is why my youngest son and I don't have the best relationship now. So, moving forward, after number 3, I wanted to do something outside the home, but working wasn't worth it, so I went back to school. Got another AA degree and we decided to try one last time for our girl. Well everyone you better believe your mother when she tells you to be careful what you wish for, we got ourselves girls alright, twins. A new beginning, we had to buy a house and a van. The year I was pregnant with the twins, I couldn't even live in my house because it was a fixer-upper. So we stayed, get this, back at my parents. The home was livable, and the girls were born, now it's time to start raising these little ones. Let me tell you when I was in it, it was just like breathing. I was a natural, yet I always forget to care for myself. I got heavier, sadder, and lonelier since my husband was never really home, he either worked nights or was on the road. I became restless and resentful. We fought all the time, and the kids would just be off doing their own thing. Now don't get me wrong, they were feed and went to school, but when Dad was home that was a whole different story. Fast forward, the kids are older now, and mom and dad are fighting more, then all hell breaks loose. First, our boys are getting into trouble, then all the house repairs that we have been doing for ten years takes its toll. We can't pay the mortgage or get anything extra, and all we fight about is money. But what about the kids, when you are in it you just go through the motions. Husband leaves and kids have to deal with a sad/angry mom. By this time the only ones left at home are the younger three since I tried so hard to keep it together for the kids. We lost the house and decided that 20 years was worth at least another try. Until our youngest son starts acting out and getting in trouble at school, and that made it hell on his sisters, so I pull them out to homeschool, major fail. Mom leaves dad after a significant insult/heartbreak and this time kids take sides, but soon realize that no matter what is happening between us, we are still together as parents. So at this point oldest two boys are out of the house. Youngest son and one daughter with dad, and the other with mom. School is on hold, and everyone is just trying to get through the day. The whole thing is a big mess, and I blame myself. Ok so things weren't going so well, but trust me there is a happy ending to this chapter. A year goes by, and mom and dad are back together and doing better than ever. My oldest has a job and finishing college; he's 24. My second son is in a relationship with a wonderful woman, going on four years now, he's 23. My youngest son got his GED and lived with us, since we found out he has some health issues, but doing well, he's 19. Then we have my beautiful twins; the girls are getting their GED, they are 17. You know when I look back on all those years it seems like yesterday, then I think wow we have come this far and gone through so much and still standing. I just wish I knew about online businesses back then; I believe things might have been a little different. Then again probably not since they say you can't change the past and if you did have a chance to go back you would still make the same mistakes. So, now I am starting a blog for me. I realize now that I spent the last 20 plus years caring for my family and not myself. Well, it's my turn, and my Lifestyle Blog is going to be one of the best. My content will be cooking, crafting, gardening, reading, self-care, and learning about essential oils. Transiting into my second act and I am going to love it. Oh and by the way I did achieve all those dreams, I am a mother of 5 young adults, I was a preschool teacher for ten years, off and on, and I sang in the church choir. So I guess my new project, starting and growing my blog. If you want to hear more about this amazing women check out her social hangouts at www.pinterest.com
I would like to introduce to you Courtney Stiver, she is sharing one of her valentine projects. Check it out and let me know what you think I always enjoy feedback
KID FRIENDLY BATH BOMBS- VALENTINE’S DAY STYLE!
THE CRUNCHY MINIMALIST
Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that people either LOVE or hate. For me, it's a total love. Growing up, my mother always made sure to celebrate each and every special occasion in the biggest way possible. This didn't always mean spending a fortune on new and unnecessary toys and clothes but by spending time together- decorating, making a big dinner and enjoying the day together as a family.
Now, as a mother myself I enjoy celebrating with my children in the same way my own mother did. Holidays are exciting; they give us something to look forward to in the midst of the everyday busy lives we live. I'm not sure I've met anyone who hasn't enjoyed a celebration and for children- celebrations are almost magical.
A tradition that I've carried from my mother is a hands-on craft to celebrate the day. Some of my fondest memories are being in the kitchen with my mom getting our hands dirty and spending time together. It didn't exactly matter what we were making or doing, what mattered most was that she let us help, she let us learn with our hands, she let us be kids.
Valentine's Day is about loving yourself, loving others, doing something you love- and for my kids, that's bath time! One of our favorite hands-on and safe DIY crafts is bath bomb making. Taking a bath is without a doubt our favorite time of the day- throw a bath bomb in there and it's almost impossible to get them out before their fingers start to wrinkle. The scents are amazing, the colors are captivating and the possibilities are endless. Below you'll find the step by step instructions on how to make your very own Valentine's Day bath bomb. While fun, keeping my children safe and healthy is my top priority. All off the ingredients in these bath bombs are all natural and/or organic and the best of quality. The links to each is included.
What you'll need:
1 cup- Baking Soda
1/2 cup- Citric Acid
Food grade and organic
1/2 cup- Cornstarch
1/2 cup- Epsom Salt
2 TBSP- Coconut Oil
Organic, cold pressed and unrefined
1 TBSP- Vanilla Extract
Organic is best
10-12 drops- Food coloring
*artificial food coloring has been linked to ADHD, food sensitivities and allergies.
(silicone works best)
In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients- coconut oil, vanilla extract, food coloring
Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Mix together with your hand until completely incorporated.
Be sure the mixture is soft and squishy, though not too wet.
Be sure the mixture is soft and squishy, though not too wet.
Distribute the mixture in the molds. Be sure to pack down the mixture into the mold firmly.
Allow to dry overnight. Pop the bath bombs out of the molds.
Store in sealed container.
*All of the specific items used in this tutorial can be found in this link.
*Please be sure to use an essential oil that is safe for children.
It’s February and cold outside! Come on in and warm up and relax as we introduce Brook Pittman mother of three autistic children. Brook is going to take us on her journey of how she copes with her children.
1. What is it that you would like the world to understand about raising children with autistic diagnosis? I would love for the world to understand that raising kids who have Autism is difficult, our path is hard to navigate and you are always second guessing yourself and your choices, almost as much as the never-ending train of people closely watching you. We all feel this as mothers at some point I believe, but when things are as complex as they are in our life, those eyes seem to be waiting for something to criticize. I know many people are talking about how beautiful and eye opening it is and what a blessing it is to have a child with Autism. Truth be told, I have three children with Autism, beautiful, amazing, smart, and charming little souls, but if Autism did not grip their lives the way it does, my life would be complete. It absolutely breaks my heart to see them struggle with everyday things that people take for granted.
2. What resources have been most helpful to you? I have
had so much help, thank goodness! It truly does take a village, and more so as your child gets older. I think some of the best advice I got was to bring my kids out in the community as much as possible (which is not often as it can be extremely overwhelming) but to make sure that people in the community know them from when they are young and see them as they grow. People will recognize them, and help them and treat them with respect. The more people know. The more people care. I have had some great community resources that have helped. Respite workers, therapists, Other families, behavior consultants, friends, families. Make a team for your kids. People who are invested in the well being of your child.
3. What educational choices have you made for your children? Are they homeschooled, private school, public mainstream or a specialized program? We have actually had experiences with all of the educational choices. We started with Public school for our oldest in her first year. After that we felt it was best to put her and her younger brother into a private school (which we had to drive to a neighboring town everyday to get to). they went there for two years and it was wonderful. The kids thrived and progressed. Then we had to move away. The place we moved to did not have a private school that would accept us, so we ended up in the public school. That was an absolute disaster. At best. We ended up pulling the kids out half way through the year, as it was actually making our children both greatly regress. At that point, for lack of any other options, we tried home schooling. Thankfully I was able to have some help (with funding) so we made it through (barely). I must give mad props to anyone who is able to home school their kids. The amount of work and patience that goes into that is well beyond my scope or ability! I also am physically disabled (I have a brain and spinal condition that affects me in a million different horrible ways, but i won;t get into it! lol, but it makes this journey a little more taxing. )
We have now put our girls into a new private school and our son into a specialized therapy/school (we moved to another town again to get access to these). All of the children are doing AMAZING in their new places. The progression is astounding. The change in behaviors. The reduction in aggression from our son. I could go on and on, but point is we are all VERY happy with the change.
4. For parents just starting their autism journey what do you feel are the most important first steps to take.
I think the starting of your journey with Autism it would be good to remember
1. Your child is still the person they always have been. A diagnosis will never change the wonderful little person that they are and that you love.
2. Don't feel guilty about grieving when you get the diagnosis. You have to let go of your expectations of what their life was going to look like, so you need to grieve that loss.
3. Don't ever be embarrassed by their often wacky behavior. People will stare, people will give you weird looks, and sometimes they might even say rude, jackass things. Don't let it get to you. Easier said than done, but you will learn that other people's expectations and judgement weighing on you takes your patience away from your child. and your child needs it more. Your child is the important one. If other people want to judge and be asses then so be it. It is none of your business what other people think of you, right?
4. Don't wait to get help. If you suspect that something is not quite right, don't wait to get help. So many people wait, put it off, think, oh well, they will get over it. they will outgrow this. he is just a late talker. She just really likes to spin. I know it is scary. I know you don't want your kid to have "something wrong" but don't let your ego make their journey even harder. The earlier they get help, the better they will do! :) Make sure to find a behavior consultant (they may call them something else in different places) but someone who is able to help guide you to the services that will benefit your child.
5. Have you read any books on autism that have helped you? I have read a few books that have helped. I know that there are some mixed feelings on Jenny McCarthy but I liked her books, I read them as we were just in the midst of the diagnosis process and they helped me have some hope and opened my eyes to looking at different ways to help the kids. I have also read the Un-prescription for Autism which has tons of great info. AND Nutritional Deficit Disorder super awesome.
If you would like to find out more about Brook
check out her website www.brookpittman.com/
I am introducing Nick Kidd he today who is sharing his thoughts on being a father. I found it a very interesting read and thought some of you might enjoy this post.
5 Delightful Truths I Will Teach My Kids I’m only 26 years old, but the thought of being a father has always been on my mind. I have amazing parents who taught me so many lessons that made me the man I am today. And it makes me wonder, what lessons would I pass on to my kids?
After a lot of thought, this is what I came up with.
Don’t be afraid to actually try and make your dreams happen What is that little idea in the back of your head you keep putting off— that opportunity you keep letting pass you by? Why haven’t you tried it yet?
All of us have some idea, big or small, of what we want out of our future. Some of us have big dreams, like becoming an astronaut, being elected president, or being a Hollywood actor. Others have ideas we keep locked away because we’re scared to actually try them.
Quit saying “One Day.”
Too often, we have an idea and we just sit on it. We think and ponder, but we never act on it. Then it eventually slips away and we say, “Eh, that’s a crazy idea anyways,” or “Maybe one day.”
Quit talking yourself out of trying. One day means never. Turn your dreams into plans and act on them. My dad always told me, “Look before you leap, but do leap!”
Give yourself permission to fail
I’d rather fail than never try. I’m impulsive and as soon as I get an idea, I charge into it full force. I have piles of failed projects, but those are my favorites because they taught me the most. The greatest champions also failed the most.
Legends are more than their achievements — they are the result of their sacrifices and failures.
It’s all about iteration. Hell, I’m an artist; my life runs on iteration. Trying new things, then trying again and again in different ways until I get it right.
It’s okay to fail. You learn more when you fail. No one remembers you for your failures. You don’t think of Jordan as a failed baseball player, right?
The most common life regrets are the things we didn’t try.
Travel the world as soon as possible, as often as possible. Make little trips and big trips. Go on adventures and go alone if you can. Buy experiences, not material things.
I took 10 days off to backpack through Italy and it was the best thing I ever did. Now I’m obsessed with traveling.It’s not as expensive as you might think.
Use apps like skyscanner to find flights and stay in hostels or use Airbnb. It’s not as scary as you think. The people who stay in hostels are usually there for the same reasons you are. They’re just there to travel and meet new people, so you end up making new friends.
Never settle on happiness
Be a little selfish. It’s okay to sacrifice and give for those you love. But you should never settle for scraps just because you think it’s all you deserve.
If you are not happy, admit it. Say it. When I was in an unhappy place in my life, I pushed it away. I said “Maybe things will change. This is just the way the world is.” I had settled for a life that I wasn’t happy with, just because it was the one that was given to me.
Throwing away the cards you’ve been dealt feels like madness, but I can promise you this: when you let your desire to be happy guide your decisions, you inevitably find it.
Fill your cup so that you can fill others.
When I was young, I was overflowing with wonder and joy. I wanted to help everyone around me, so I let them walk all over me. I just wanted to be loved and make others happy.
But when I got older, I realized I was letting the opinions of others dictate my decisions. I wasn’t making decisions for my own happiness. Thus, I had little of it to share with others. I became cynical and spiteful.
How are you supposed to be this radiant bundle of joy when you aren’t actively consuming it? Yes, fill the cups of others, but How are you supposed to be this radiant bundle of joy when you aren’t actively consuming it? Yes, fill the cups of others, but fill yours too. fill yours too.
True love does exist
There are a lot of fairy tales we learn when we’re young. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Olive Garden’s unlimited bread sticks, and our movies and books are filled with love stories.
Love stories are filled with ridiculous situations and characters, but they give us something to hope for. When we’re older we realize that the world doesn’t work that way. However, don’t lose faith. True love is one fairy tale you should believe in.
Don’t settle just because you think soul mates don’t exist. Keep searching until you find someone you can’t live without, someone who can’t live without you.
Find someone you don’t deserve.
Find someone who might actually love you more.
Find someone who makes you feel free.
Check out my story on True Love for more.
Be better than me
We have a responsibility to ensure that the next generation is better than our own. This is exactly what I’m going to tell my children. It’s a challenge, not just to them, but to me.
We should challenge ourselves to pass down not only our successes, but our failures. Our failures are what made us who we are. Our failures corrected our ps and altered our paths. There is no better teacher than failure.
“We are what they grow beyond.” — Yoda
Challenging them to be better than us makes it our responsibility to set the bar high and enable them to succeed.
I want to share a story of Christmas long ago.
Growing up in family of nine, Christmas was a lot of fun. First there was the tree: Daddy was always late picking out the tree, and he was always waiting until Christmas Eve he claimed he could get a bargain on it My goodness, he would come home with some ugly trees! Once decorated, the tree looked amazing; the sparkling ornaments and beautiful lights truly made it shine.
The lights were first. Daddy would have us inspect the tree to make sure they were displayed with no two matching colors touching. When that was done, the tree decorating began. We made sure the big balls were on top and the little ones on the bottom; oh yes, Christmas tree decorating was an art like no other.
Now for the presents, My mom would always tell us “if you see a toy on TV, don’t ask for it.” My parents refused to go around to every store while shopping for presents, because the toys we saw on TV were popular they were sometimes hard to find or out of stock. Mom would have us look throw a toy catalog and pick things out as it made it easier to shop. Christmas morning, Santa would come bright and early as all our eyes and hearts would glow with excitement and anticipation for the presents placed neatly around the tree.
After the presents were opened, we went to church. We would have a bit of time after church to play with our new toys before we were off to the Bronx to visit my aunt, where we would pile nine children and my mom and dad into her into her apartment it was a little squashed but a lot of fun being with family! I would have to say the favorite part of the day is being with my family “Oh the joys of Christmas long ago.