I blogged earlier about traveling with these friends and ALL our kids. What I forgot to mention was how they each inspired me to see them in their mom role. Often our times together look more like the movie Bad Moms. We drink our parenting problems away as we vent and support each other through life. However on this trip I got a front row seat to how hard they each mom in unique ways.
Two mommed hard in the teenage phase. Dealing with hard conversations and boundaries while also exploring independence.
One was still in the littles phase while rubbing her daughter’s back to sleep and fixing her hair.
One amazed me with her awareness to allergies and health issues. I stared in awe as each meal was planned out.
Another handled a medical condition like a boss checking blood sugars and insulin levels.
Each of us doing the best we can, but having the support of each other. This is what being a mom should be like. Admiring each other as we parent that specific child to meet his or her needs in that specific environment. There is no one way or right way-but oh what a difference it makes when we celebrate and cheer each other on.
These three ladies and I committed 20 years ago to grow old together. Through children, marriage, divorce, hospitalization and more we have kept that promise. In this season of life, we are committed to each other and our kids. All four of us village parenting the highs and the lows together. Cheering, listening, crying and never judging. Sure we will make mistakes, but we will learn from them. So thankful to have this village behind me. We need each other.
All over social media proud parents are sharing STAAR testing success stories. Well here is mine!
Number one-my son showed up. No opting out. No playing sick. No fear or dread. We took the test and did our best.
Number two- he had no chance of passing unless he guessed well and then that would have been a shocker but no indicator of his reading or math level.
Number three-this test does not even almost tell me what he is capable of doing independently and hardly accommodates to his disability of being a slow learner 2 grade levels below 3rd grade or his IEP. If you want to know what he can do then give him a first grade test.
Even growing next year just proves he guessed better than last year. All this test does is gives a number to a failing system and makes teachers test prep as a form of curriculum.
I count having my first child in my mid-thirties a blessing because I had a lot of time to think about cool things I wanted to do as a parent. One cool thing is dressing a baby up like a man.
That hat was my grandfather’s so that look is extra special to my heart.
Another fave thing was taking the month to month pics the first year. This process was super hard and only got harder each month but love looking at the 12 months all together.
Poor kid endured big dress ups on every holiday! Here are some faves:
But two more cool things that I only do because I had lots of time to think about kids is….1. I have a Dr Seuss book that each of his teachers sign and I will give it to him at graduation. It is a great reminder of all the teachers that poured into him each year. I keep a school picture from each year so we can see how he grows. 2. Keep a frame with those school pictures as art on the wall.
I want this to be a daily reminder the time goes fast so make the memories and track them for the future. Thankfully I started these early so I have the keepsakes needed.
I am sure there are so many other ways to track the memories. Do you have any special ones you do?
This is the face of ADHD. As a teacher, I have often seen it as a setback. It keeps the student from working and keeps the student from sitting, but overall not a huge deal in the world of health problems. Then I became the parent of a child with ADHD. To be fair he is more ADD then anything else, but the new trend is to say it is all ADHD and that is fair since distracted decisions can be hyper ones too.
The truth is my son is the most amazing kid! He sees things outside the box for what they could be and not what they are right now. He is full of life, joy, curiosity and wonder. To be honest, entering school has beat a lot of that out of him as testing and being on grade level has overtaken his beautiful mind. He is a challenge to teach and parent, but no other kid will change you like he will…he just makes you see life differently.
As a parent, I can now see why it is considered a disability under Other Health Impairment and is under the umbrella of special education. His ADHD keeps him from learning, being organized, making transitions, keeping friendships, taking tests (and we know school has become one giant test), and socially keeps him acting at a grade level below his which really influences his behavior. As a parent, it is scary to think about him driving and working and even keeping a family…it really does make life as we know it hard, but he hardly notices it. As his parents, we have to teach him to manage it, overcome it and make adjustments to the way his brain works.
As his mom, we have to call in his prescription month by month as it is not refillable and we have to see the doctor quarterly to update progress. Getting medicines is not as easy as some may believe and is very expensive for all those teachers like myself that just said “medicate”. You have to be diligent in getting medical attention and be willing to pay for it. We tried everything before medication including CBD oils since we know all the risks and did not want to lose the personality of our son…but in the end we knew he needed them to function and to learn. It was best for him and we would never say no to medicating his epilepsy, so why say no to medicating this.
I write all this to say if you are like my brother and say ADHD does not exist…you are wrong-this is real. It is more than being a boy or just a kid if you truly have it…it may be over diagnosed…but it is real. If you are a teacher and say that discipline at home can fix it, wrong again. Discipline sometimes beats the kid down as my son was always in trouble. We said all too often, “try harder”, “pay attention”, “listen”…truth is he couldn’t and was trying harder than most. If you are a parent saying that medication seems wrong, maybe try other things first, but at the end of the day if it affects learning and day to day living then ask yourself “Would I not give him cough medicine if he was coughing?” I truly believe this is an illness of the brain and needs and the child needs extra help to do what others can do on their own.
Obviously, a true diagnosis takes lots of time, discernment and doctor approval, but I write this to speak up for the kids that need you to know the truth. The image above is my son 100%. I see now how much he endures to do very common things and how we need to support, encourage, but also teach him to manage his symptoms. I want to be sure I am not always beating him down with my misunderstanding. I also want to be sure I treat my students with this disability with respect as well. I need to create the classroom environment where these kids can thrive! The truth is we can all do better to understand this and support those that have it or the families navigating these murky waters.
Parenting is hard. Let’s face it there is no manual yet we all do the best we can. I found this in our backyard and it made me stop and think about how I can improve as a parent. My husband and I parent differently…not sure if it is a gender thing, but we do make different decisions at different times. Baths are optional for me, food can be eaten anywhere, matching is important…I cringe before teeth brushing time; the tough things in parenting scare me. I tend to avoid the meltdowns while my husband walks right into them boldly.
But one thing he has mastered is being present. He plays, he colors, he draws, he throws, he catches, he mows only when kid can ride with him. He seizes the opportunities to have togetherness. I tend to work, clean or be busy instead. I am a work in progress and I know it is an area that I need to improve, but I tend to take the lazy way out. It could be my number 9 nature where I like things easy and this is where parenting is hard; doing the things that tire you out as I do not have the energy of a 5 year old. But thankfully my husband is there to step in where I fail as I continually change to be better. I want my son to remember those times of playing just he and I and way more than I want him to remember the house was clean or I finished my last book. So I proclaim that this will be the area I focus on this next school year to follow the motto “Wherever you are-be all there!” I will focus on doing what needs to be done to be present even if it means the things around me are less than perfect. This motto will be part of my classroom as well as I miss great conversations trying to get all my work completed.
Thankful for the fathers out there on this weekend made for you. Thankful for you for all that you do that makes your kids smile. Thankful you carry the load with us mamas!