Neglectful Parenting

The news and social media has been a buzz with a public service announcement or warning for parents via a video of a dresser falling on a child.  The parents shared their story to remind parents to be safe and what could happen. For the most part all of the comments I have read in regards to the video are pretty positive toward the parents but one stuck out to me. One comment that summed up the pressure parents feel and which actually hurts our children more than anything.

Sure there were comments putting down the parents and saying how they should not have kids unless they can watch them all of the time. However, it was the comment  about how the parents were neglectful because it took them around 2 1/2 minutes to get to their children’s bedroom and render aid.  It does not matter how long it really took, it is this kind of attitude that ruins people. Okay, not ruin, but it does not help. Here was somebody accusing others of being neglectful because of 2 1/2 minutes.  Did this person know how big the house was? Did they know where the parents were in the house or what they were doing when it happened?  What really made them neglectful parents? If 2 1/2 minutes away from my children makes me neglectful, especially when they scream then I ought to join those others parents through the publish shaming them receive.

What happens if my child get hurt while I am in the bathroom? Oh wait, I cannot do that unless they are in there with me because I cannot possibly let them out of my sight or I am neglectful. No more taking a shower alone, letting my kids play in their bedroom without me. I cannot let them go outside or do anything alone because if they get hurt then it is my fault and I am neglectful because it may take a minute or two before I can come to their aide. The thing is, society has it all wrong. It is not neglectful. I do present the idea that it is more neglectful to not allow them out of your sight.

Never allowing children out of your sight neglects their need for independence from you. Of course this is just observation and opinion, so I will not go into detail but I will give you the opportunity to think about it yourself.

There are many ways to neglect children, but it probably does not include many things so easy to dismiss as such.

Parenting is never easy and it especially is not easy when the whole world judges you and has some voice (directly or indirectly). There will be accidents, there will be preventable a and there will be times that you feel like a complete failure, but those things are not what makes you a neglectful parent. You look at what you do provide, who they are, what time you do give, and what you teach and then decide what kind of parent you really are then make improvements where need to be.

Minecraft Mom

Christmas break has done me in. It is now the beginning of 2017, just a few hours in, and I just want to cry. So, while trying to get my youngest back to sleep I realized how much being a single parent is like playing the game Minecraft. You got that right. I did say that.

My daughter begged me to get the game and I have to admit, in my reluctance, I did get it and we have enjoyed playing it together.  So how does it relate to parenthood? I will explain-otherwise this would be a pointless thing to mention.

I spend my days doing many things. Taking care of kids and repeating many of the same things over and over again. In Minecraft you repeat many thing. Things get broken and you have to rebuild or make new things. It is just the regular mundane things.

Then there are the zombies and other creatures. If you are not prepared for them they will kill you in the game. Well, as a parent those monsters come at you in many forms including, but not limited to, child temper tantrums, financial crises, and anything that could possibly wear you down. In the game if you do not go to the sleep the nights seem to take forever. Same in real life.

In life we gain experience through tasks amd other things. The same goes for the game. Extra experience points for the harder things, such as killing zombies. If you die in the game you lose your experience points. I tell you what, being a parent is no different. When things go wrong you feel like all the experience you ever had, and what you learned, gets thrown out the window. You feel like you are starting over. Sometimes your “hearts” have just taken a good beating and it takes awhile to gain your energy back.

In Minecraft there are baby zombies. I swear the person who developed that part of the game had a two year old who was fully into the terrible twos.

For some reason when you play the game you keep going back for more. Not doesn’t matter how often you die either. It is like you do not mind the challenge. There seems to e enjoyment.  Maybe it is the challenge of finding the end and all those end pearls-do not ask me about those a I still do not understand them. Well, the same goes for parenthood. I keep going no matter how hard I have been it-just hoping my efforts pay off.

I am sure I could make more comparisons but I am beat. I have half a little heart left of however many I get per “life” and so I leave it there or here or wherever it ought to be to end this thought of mine.

Snow

Snow

I have two children who ride buses. I am the first one on my street to start shoveling snow. I must otherwise I cannot get my son on the bus. By the time the second bus arrived I had shoveled a second time. Two shoveling trips before noon meant we got plenty of snow for fun.

Snow also means towels all over my floor to soak up all the melted snow  that gets tracked in on boots and the wheelchair. Not to mention whatever comes in on the winter clothes which pile up at the doorway.

After helping three of my children into all their snow gear and then back out again after they came back inside I contemplated on my mother. How in the world she did this with so many children I do not know. I respect her efforts.  I am sure it was probably very tiring to go through this process many times a day with her children during the winter months.

This is what makes memories though. Playing in the snow, eating it too, hot chocolate, snow angels, shoveling and all thing associated with fun in the snow.

Enough Already!

I do not know what it is. I do not know if it is the holiday pressure to be a great parent at this time of year or if it is the feeling that I get from the lack of holiday spirit because of said pressure. Whatever it is I find myself utterly dreading this time of year. Personally, I think life just finally caught up to me and I have way too much on my mind to get into the spirit of things, although I will still do my best for the sake of my children.  If is something I must work on.

A lack of holiday cheer has definitely added to my ability to have as much patience as I normally have. I finally cracked. Okay, not really. I am sure that would be a gross mess and nobody wants to see that sort of thing. I just had it. A lack of sleep and a complete and utter inability to keep on top of my children’s messes threw me over the edge. Okay, I know, not really over the edge but I think you get my point.

Everywhere I turn in my tiny little home my children are creating a mess. They do it while laughing too. Really?! Are they laughing at the mess they are making or laughing at the idea I will have to clean it up?  In all honesty I do know they are laughing because they are happy and having fun. I do not fault them for that. I do enjoy their happy voices.  I just do not enjoy the disaster that is always left behind.

So began my “get the house organized to save mommy’s sanity” project. I had to start with some clean rooms. So I swept everything that was on the floor in the bedrooms (there are benefits to a hard floor home) and put all of it I the living. Yay! Instant clean rooms. Of course, my living room was a compete disaster.

The next day I started organizing and going through all of it. Two things happened. The kitchen then became a disaster and every time I turned my back on the living room disaster all my efforts thus far became undone. I owe that to my son who enjoys dumping things out. Really?!

By day three I was exhausted and not getting anywhere. So I turned my attention to the kitchen. I spent all morning on a project designed to keep that room organized and clean. Yay for a clean kitchen.  Now off to my living room.

I don’t know if my living counts as a living room. It is a room with chairs, and on that particular day a huge pile of stuff. Three or four bags later of trash and an equal amount of donations my living room was finally clean. I felt good. I felt my patience retiring. I felt success and hope that I had not been there a few days before.

I don’t really know if there is much to the point of my sharing this, except that I know we all have those moments. We all break down, lose patience, get tired, frustrated, and so forth. These are not bad feelings to have. We need them to get us moving and to inspire us to grow or make changes in our lives. We cannot just bury them and pretend they will go away because they will surface at some point. We must acknowledge them. We cannot become better people until we do. And no this is not an excuse for bad people to use when trying to justify abusing others or doing things that are just wrong.

My tiny unclean home

Every once in awhile I tend to want to just throw absolutely everything out. To just get rid of it all. I am so tired of picking everything up. I am tired of everything getting thrown on the floor as soon as I pick it up. I spent a good portion of yesterday getting my kitchen organized and clean-sure doesn’t look like it now. Today I did the same for the living room. Same thing-doesn’t look like I touched it in weeks. Granted, it isn’t that it is a large mess it just looks like it because my house is so small. But why do I even bother to have a clean house or to even attempt to clean it while children are awake?

I often wonder if there is something wrong with me.  Why can’t I keep my house clean? I must be a horrible housekeeper! Why do I even try? However, I realize those are not very positive thoughts so I gather my energy and get to work. I keep trying because I desire good. I desire peace of mind. I desire that my children at least get a minute of a clean house every once in awhile so that maybe their memories will not be just on the idea that I failed to clean well.

I have to admit that I also envision myself in a larger home. A home where there is a nice living room free of children’s mess and a family room that can be a huge mess all of the time. That room, in my dreams, is also out of sight from the living room. Get the idea?

the great thing about my house is that I rarely have visitors. That works well because I don’t even have a couch. Which I sometimes enjoy because that means I do not have to clean out under the couch cushions-because I don’t even have a vacuum. Yeah-poor me.

The benfit of my house is that there are no carpets. I got rid of the rugs-they were a pain. When it does come time to cleaning I just sweep everything into a large pile. That works well for a few benefits. The whole mess gets put into the middle of the room and the rest of the room looks clean. Want to get a room clean real quickly? Just sweep everything into the next room you need to clean. Tah dah, room clean in a minute.

I do have to remember though that it is okay to not have things perfect. Messes are a part of life. Having a home that gets cleaned and messed up often does not really mean I am a horrible housekeeper-it just means we live in our house.

Bathroom Medicine Cabinets.

Bathroom Medicine Cabinets.

I don’t know who deemed the bathroom cabinet be for medicine, but I have to wonder about the real purpose.  In my home it holds the toothbrushes. Why? Well, I will just tell you why-after all that is the point of me starting out with this paragraph.

About a year ago I used to keep medicine I that cabinet above the bathroom sink. You know the kind: mirror on the door and a once open a few shelves for bathroom related items.

About a year ago, the same time as my last mention of it, my second to youngest got a hold of some medicine. As I was walking in the bathroom she was walking out of it saying, “yuck.” A quick call to poison control, followed by several minutes of waiting since their lines were busy, and I learned she would be okay. By then my oldest was crying and begging me to take her to the ER because she thought her younger sister would die….

Let me interject here: I don’t know about other parents but when you have to call poison control you feel like the worst parent in the world. Then they ask for information and you somehow think they will send police over to remove you of your parental duties-because obviously you are not a good parent because, well, that is how you feel.

Okay, back to the story. My daughter had no ill effects. She was fine. The medicine was gone and that meant no more medicine in the cabinet…until one day in a hurry I put my son’s medicine bottle in there when I was in a hurry.

Yeah, I learned my lesson, again, when this time my youngest climbed into the sink, opened the cabinet and somehow took the child safety lid off the medicine. A new bottle of medicine dumped-no she did not swallow any.

I know I am not alone in my experience. I do learn though from these incidents–I hope. All medicine these days are in a basket high up–along with the toothpaste (my children like to make messes).

Today I was reminded why I do put them high up as I caught my youngest in the cabinet again. All she found were toothbrushes.

My point in sharing this all is because things happen in life and we can beat ourselves up or learn and adapt. Should I teach my kids to stay out of the cabinet? Of course, but I am also not going to keep dangerous things in there for them to get a hold of when I am not looking.

Kids get creative and often innocently get into trouble. Hopefully we can do everything to prevent tragic accidents, but sadly sometimes things still happen.

Anyway, bathroom cabinets are great for non medicine things when you have young children around. They are excellent for holding, or hiding other things. Oh, who am I kidding, you can’t hide anything from children.

Graduating

A few months ago my son was let go from his physical therapist. A few months before that his speech therapist let him go as well.  It was not because he made so much progress that he no longer needed services but because he is so slow with progress there is nothing more they can do. In all honesty I did not mind.  Most of what they did with him were every day things for me to do with him.  I also was fine with it because I live in a small city where there is not enough pediatric therapists to handle the demand and need.

About six months ago my oldest child started therapies.  I could not believe I had missed her needing help for so long, but was grateful to get her started. This week she retested and graduated out of physical therapy.

Graduating from physical therapy means you have made enough progress to catch up to your peers.  She caught up to her peers. It did not come easily. It required daily exercises (often forgotten or put off for the end of the day) and commitment. Her exercises were difficult but she persisted. I reminded her she would need to continue in some capacity at home so as not to lose what she gained, but she gave me no opposition to the idea.

As I think about it I have opposite feelings toward each situation. One I am just relieved because I needed things taken off my plate (of which I have to reassure myself is not bad) along with knowing he just does not make progress quickly; the other I am excited because of the progress.

This is the life though. They still have occupational therapy each week. I can do that.