Do What You Love

As adults, why do we keep settling for jobs that don’t make us happy? My father used to tell me that your job wasn’t supposed to make you happy, and for the lonegst time, I believed him. I kept pushing through jobs tryong to figure out if they make me happy or not. Then I would remember that my job wasn’t supposed to make me happy. So, I would settle into different possitions and be miserable because that is what I was supposed to do.

 

As I sat miserable at work, I would try harder and harder to fill my home life with things that made me happy. I found an amazing man who agreed to spend the rest of our lives together. Happy. That man came with the best bonus son anyone could ask for. Happy. My two kids have grown into resposible, mature young people. Happy. Rooster crows and duck quacks are my alarm clock. Happy. I get dog snuggles whenever I want them. Happy. I have FIVE goats. Happy. My homelife has made me happier than I could ever imagine. But, no matter how happy I am at home, I am still miserable at work.

For the past five years I have spent 40 to 50 hours a week sitting at a desk with minimal face to face interactions with people. I have become complacent, overweight, and miserable. It used to be only Monday mornings where I would be filled with anxiety, dredding to go to work. Now it’s every day. My complacency has caused me to faulter on my attention to detail and work ethic that I’ve always prided myself on. Despite all that, I keep pushing along.

About a month it hit me. I spend half my time at work and commuting. That means half of my life is spent in misery. Is this REALLY how it’s supposed to be? Was my dad really right in what he said? Am I really destined to be in a job I hate for the rest of my working career? I love my dad with all my heart, and he taught me some amazing life lessons, but I’m going to cal bull shit on this one. There is no way I am supposed to be miserable in my work. Therefore, I am going to do everything I can to change my current situation.

I have no idea what I am going to do, and I know it won’t happen over night, but I am going to get my shit together and find something I am passionate about. Maybe it will be working in retail again. Maybe it will be working in healthcare, dealing with patients. Maybe it will be wokring for myself. I have no idea. Whatever it is, I refuse to be miserable doing it. I need be working with people and having face to face interactions with clients. I need to be active. I need to be HAPPY at my job. I WILL be happy at my job. I am going to do what I love.

All Of These Emotions Are Normal: Getting Your Child The Help They Need

Having the suspicion that your child has a learning disability can be nervewracking. Having your child tested for learning disabilities can be emotional. Getting the confirmation that your child has learning disabilities can be a straight kick to the gut.

As a parent, all we want is for our child to do well in life and school. As they are babies, we dream of the day they get the “Good Reader” award in Kindergarten, make the honor roll in Junior High, and win a science scholarship in high school. We somehow manifest this perfect child in our minds where nothing bad can ever touch them. Then school age hits. You notice your child is struggling but you don’t want to see it. You start to see a trend in their grades, notes from the teacher, chats with the teacher’s aids…but you still don’t want to see it. You even start to see them struggling in the same areas you did when you were in school, so you look away even more. All of these emotions are normal.

As a parent of a child with documented learning disabilities, I went through all of these. Even after growing up in a family where more than one person had documented learning disabilities, I still went through all these emotions. There was no way my child was struggling because there was something “wrong” with him. My child was going to be that shining example of a student. To top it all off, there was no way any of this was MY fault. All of these emotions are normal.

When my son was in second grade, I finally put my emotions aside and stepped up to the plate. I had to do something to help my son. I was scared shitless and had no idea what steps I really needed to take. All I knew is I had to start somewhere. I advocated for him during parent-teacher conferences and finally convinced the school to test him. Yes, I had to CONVINCE the school. That was the first moment of clarity I had through the whole processes. That moment when I realized no one else had my son’s best interest at heart. No one else was going to figure out how to make learning better for him. No one else was going to get him the help he needed. It was up to me to make all this happen. *insert superhero music*

Even with this moment of clarity and the sudden superhero feeling, nothing could prepare me for when they gave me the test results. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I’m pretty sure I just sat there staring at the teachers sitting at the table with me. This one of the few times in my life I was actually speechless. They went over what the different results meant and what measures would be taken to help him overcome these issues.

In my mind, I desperately tried to find the reasoning behind all of this. Was it something I did while I was pregnant? Was it because I wasn’t a stay-at-home-mom when he was a baby? Did I not breastfeed him long enough? Did vaccines do this? Did my divorce cause this? I wanted a reason all of this happened, but there wasn’t one. All of these emotions are normal.

At first, I met with the school twice a year. Once in the fall, once in the spring. We combed through each aspect of his Individual Education Plan (IEP) with a fine-toothed comb. Everything he did was monitored and measured. He had certain times set aside each day to meet with different specialists. They helped him with his language deficiencies and worked with him on coping with his color blindness.

Initially, I was worried he would start to feel singled out from being pulled out of the classroom. As a young boy who often came home feeling like his classmates were laughing at him because he couldn’t read as fast as them, having him taken out of the classroom was a major concern for me. Luckily, he ended up finding comfort in the space away from the other students. There he didn’t feel pressured and could take the time he needed. As the years have gone by, his need for additional help has dropped off a bit. Instead of leaving the classroom several times a day, now he only leaves once. He is more confident in his abilities, making it easier for him to ask questions in class and ask for additional help when he needs it.

It has become so much like second nature to him, the other day he asked me why he even needs an IEP anymore. I explained to him that it’s what enables him to have extended testing times, the extra help with reading comprehension, and other parts he had “forgotten” were only applicable to him. We talked about his different deficiencies and how they make his learning style unique and how it will affect him all through his school years. I told him his IEP will follow him all through school, even if he gets to go to the same private high school I had gone to (a dream of his since he was 5), even through any SSATs, SATs, or ACTs he takes.

He then proceeded to poke fun at his different learning disabilities, showing me that they weren’t a disability for him at all. He realizes that all of this has helped to make him the student he is today. He knows his strong points and what he needs to work on. He is more aware of his learning needs than most 11-year-olds I know and I couldn’t be more proud of him. I’m glad I got over my personal fears as a mother and became his advocate. Even after he looked at me with a huge grin and said, “You know my learning disabilities are all your fault, right? No one in daddy’s family has any of these.” And then I threw him out of the car and made him walk to soccer practice. My response, “No honey, daddy’s family has their own set of issues you’ll learn about as you get to know them better.”

To any parent who suspects their child is having trouble in class due to learning disabilities, you are their only advocate. You have to be the one to talk with their teachers and have them tested. The worst thing that can happen is they can find ease in learning again. Yes, it is scary but you have to remember that it is scarier for you than it is for them. They are the ones who have been living with the frustration of not learning the way everyone else does. They are the ones who have been picked on for being slower on assignments. They are the ones living with learning disabilities day in and day out. As their parent, they look to you to help them. They need you advocate for them, to be pushy about getting them tested, to make sure they have all the resources they need to be able to finish school and become a productive member of society. All those emotions you are going through, they are all normal. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to feel like it’s your fault even though you know it’s not. It’s ok to cry through all of it. It’s ok to have a moment where you feel helpless. All of these emotions are normal, and so is your child. Learning disabilities don’t make them different or make you a bad parent.

If you suspect your child has learning disabilities or is struggling in school, act sooner rather than later. They will thank you for it at graduation.

 

 

 

Not Going Anywhere

About a month ago I decided to shut down Mommy Undressed. My kids were a little older and I no longer had poop stories or sleepless nights to talk about. I had been in a relationship with a man who more or less hated my blog and it sucked the fun out of me making fun of myself as a mother. I no longer had fun doing what I had always loved to do, writing. I tried to write about other things but let’s be honest, nothing is as funny as parenting. Please excuse the horrible posts from the last few years.

Then, in walked this gorgeous 23-year-old who seemed to have a thing for older women. Actually, he was 33 and had a kid but he still liked older women so I went for it.

Long story short, nine months into the relationship I pounced on the opportunity to keep him around for a long while and proposed to him. You read that right, I proposed to him. *chest bump, ladies* So, now I’ve got this young hot stud (who comes with a funtastical little dude) in my life who will be waiting at the end of the aisle for me in August. The kids are 9, 10, and 11 and we are swiftly coming up on the teenaged years. Needless to say, I now have PLENTY to write about without anyone bitching about it!

So, stayed tuned, life on the farm with a blended family is promising to keep us on our toes and provide me with more than enough material. Also, teenager’s hormones suck ass.

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Valentine’s Day Bull Shit

Ok, so you hate Valentine’s Day…we get it. Someone pissed in your Cheerios and now you’re all kinds of upset. It sucks to be you, truly. All you have done for the past week is bitch and complain about how single you are, how you won’t get any presents, how stupid the cards are, and how you should show someone you love them all the time. I get it.

What you don’t get is that this day actually means something to some people. However, you shit all over their little heart filled day so you can feel better about your current situation. Let’s take a look at why this day of red, white, and chocolates is so important.

  • Chocolate: Women need chocolate to function much like men need steak. Can we live without it? Sure. Is life better if you give it to us? Abso-fucking-lutely!
  • Cards: They’re dumb and we don’t need them to function like normal humans. However, have you ever noticed how horribly most men describe their feelings? Let’s be honest, 80% of them are shit at it. Therefore…cards. Hallmark does fabu job at putting words in their mouths…words that won’t land them on the couch again this week.
  • Lingerie: What says “I Love You” more than a push-up bra, crotchless panties, and a piece of string up her ass? Pretty much nothing. Don’t deny it, men. If your woman walked into the bedroom tonight wearing see through anything with her nipples showing, you would want Valentine’s Day every fucking day of the year. Also, women rarely get headaches when wearing lingerie. You’re welcome.
  • Flowers: They wilt. They die. Dumb, right? Well, kind of. I’ve said this about flowers before, it’s not the actual flowers that mean something, it’s the act of getting them that means something. It means that someone took a moment out of their busy day, thought of you, and then acted on that thought. That’s pretty fucking cool because how often do people actually ACT on their thoughts? Other than serial killers, not very many people. She doesn’t like flowers? Fine. Whatever. Remember what I said about chocolates?
  • A night out: Sure, you can go out any night and, chances are, you will probably have a better chance getting a reservation at that place she likes any other night as well. Unless, of course, Metallica is in town. But answer me this, how many places are set up to be all romantical shit every other night? That’s right, none. They probably won’t have that Prosecco she likes either. Suck it up, dude, and take her out. You can complain to your fellow penis people about it on the 15th.
  • Oral sex: Steak and a blow job day is on the 15th. I think you can take the plunge into her nether regions for a few minutes on the 14th. She will thank you tomorrow.
  • Sex: I don’t think I have to explain this one, but as a warning, if you don’t do at least one of the things above…you’re probably not getting the sex tonight and you can kiss your steak and a blow job tomorrow goodbye as well. Whispers: Lingerie doesn’t cause headaches.

Basically, all roads lead to sex and sex is important to couples and booty calls and one night stands. Our world revolves around sex. THIS is why Valentine’s Day is so important to some people. Some of us want to get our rocks off tonight. Some of us NEED to get our rocks off tonight! So, while you’re all over there getting pissed off at people for being in love on a Hallmark holiday, remember we’re all just trying to get laid over here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave my everything because I’m planning on a little V-day lovin’ tonight.

OES: Old Egg Syndrome

I need to explain something to all of you. It’s something I feel goes unnoticed on a daily basis by the majority of people, but it’s plaguing more than most people realize. I’ve only just come to terms with the fact that I myself am struggling with it on a daily basis. Because it is my struggle, it is also my family’s struggle because they have to live with me. This struggle is called “Old Eggs Syndrome.” I am now in my 6th month of being 37 and Old Egg Syndrome has taken hold of me and my life. It makes me confused, anxious, and weak.

Symptoms of OES include:

  • Weeping when seeing pregnant women
  • The urge to adopt all the cats
  • The urge to adopt all the dogs
  • The urge to adopt all the rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, and chinchillas
  • The urge to hatch chicken eggs in your kitchen
  • Rubbing your belly when someone talks about babies
  • Feeling your ovaries try to lash out when you ovulate
  • Excessive hugging of small children who aren’t yours
  • Excessive morning kisses for your own children
  • Holding your 10-year-old like a baby
  • Failing at reminding your 7-year-old what it was like when she was a baby
  • Fighting the urge to suddenly let all your kids sleep in bed with you because pretty soon they won’t even try to come into your room unless they are looking for your hidden whiskey stash
  • Asking your kids if you can  hang out with their friends while they all still think you’re a “cool mom”
  • Insisting your kids listen to your 90’s grunge playlist because Kurt Cobain was the shit
  • Staring at your old maternity photos in bed while sobbing into your wine glass after the kids go to sleep
  • Talking to all dogs like they are toddlers
  • Cradling your bottle of wine before opening it
  • Warning your significant other when you are ovulating
  • Wondering if this will be the last time you ever ovulate
  • Thinking you’re having a hot flash every time you break a sweat
  • Wondering if your IUD is destroying your ovaries

I see pictures of babies, and I want all the babies. I see pictures of goats, and I want all the goats. I go to a friend’s house where I am approached by their dog…I now want all the dogs. I sit on my couch at night thinking back to the cat I saw at the animal shelter last month and can picture myself covered in all the cats. This morning my left ovary whispered to me, “Time’s almost up,” and then kicked me.

My kids already tore my stomach muscles and gave me arthritis in my hip, but my ovaries don’t seem to give a shit. They just keep pumping out little old eggs like it’s nobody’s business. Other people drink because of life’s stresses and struggles. I drink to shut my ovaries up. The struggle is real. So, if you know someone suffering from OES, do at least one of the following:

  • Buy them the world’s biggest box of condoms
  • Buy them a vibrator that will put all penises to shame
  • Call them every time your baby wakes up in the night to remind them what no sleep feels like.
  •  Offer to pay for their hysterectomy
  • Bring them all your poopy diapers
  • Keep them drunk until they are done with menopause

Frick and Frack

When I was younger, a lot younger, we used to have two ducks. Their names were Frick and Frack. Although my memory is most likely skewed, seeing as how I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old, I do have a memory of these two ducks. My mother used to talk about them constantly, she still mentions them from time to time.

In my head I picture them as two feathery ducks following my mother about the yard, quacking joyfully. Frick and Frack, her two loyal ducks. Now, years later, I can’t help but think of the waddling pair when I look at my two children.

My two children, as they joyfully quacking at each other as they waddle their way to the bus stop each morning with their bulging backpacks. My two children, as they follow me through countless grocery and department stores. My two children, my little ducks.

It’s because of all their human waddling and quacking that I’ve started referring to them as Frick and Frack. Each time I do I magically jump into my head and envision my mother with her two joyful ducks following her around.

Granted, my ducks are not always joyful. In fact, when they are together they are often quite miserable. Squabbling, yelling, making each other cry…an all out verbal cage match during most waking hours. The only peace I get is when one is engrossed in the Xbox  and the other is envisioning themselves as a Teen Titans Go character. Even then my little ducks can’t let go of the previous argument and come to me looking for resolve and validation.

It is then that I magically jump back into my head and envision a lovely candle lit two duck dinner that I get to enjoy all by myself.

Snapped back into reality, mainly because I’m out of wine, my two little ducks are suddenly quacking joyfully again. Waddling around the house with their imaginations running wild like only Frick and Frack can.

This is parenting, folks. It’s all about the rollercoaster of emotions and duck dinners. The moral of the story: Children are like ducks. Unfortunately, you can only eat one of them when they piss you off.

 

I Don’t Need to Feel Beautiful to be a Mother

I don’t feel beautiful anymore. I don’t even feel pretty. The word “attractive” doesn’t cross my mind unless I’m thinking about Mike Rowe or Bruce Willis. That’s a lie, the word “hot” crosses my mind when I think about them. “Fucking Hot,” to be exact. So no, I don’t feel beautiful or pretty. I feel…average.

Average Brandi, the woman who is a little larger than most 37-year-olds in the area. Average Brandi, the outspoken single mom. Average Brandi, the woman who spends time in the mirror each morning wondering where all the fun went. Average Brandi, the mom who is constantly asking other parents to be her Rent-a-spouse. Average Brandi, the woman who is used to feeling alone while surrounded by people. Average Brandi, the woman whose body hasn’t been a Wonderland in years. Average Brandi, the woman who loves her kids more than life itself. Average Brandi, the woman who has somehow helped two children thrive in a one parent household. Average Brandi, who constantly feels like she’s holding the world on her shoulders. Average Brandi, the woman who isn’t average at all.

I may not feel beautiful anymore, and I may no longer turn heads. Men don’t think I’m irresistible, and I’ll probably never be sexy again. I’ll never have that certain something that turns anyone on, or produces the feeling of passion in a person again…and I’m ok with that.

I’m ok with that because to two people in my life, I’m not average. To them I am amazing. To them, I make a difference.

If I only get to be those things to just two people in my entire lifetime, I’m ok with that. Why? Because I’m a mother. Those two people call me “mom” and that’s all I need in my life. It is all I need to feel complete, whole and wanted. Nothing in life matters more than that.

I am a mother. I am strong. All beauty aside, I stand tall. I am a pillar of strength for my children. I am their advocate. I am their everything. Even when the day comes where they rebel against me, I know it will pass and I will once again be “mom”.

I don’t need beauty or sex appeal to be who I am because I am a mother.