Memoir Project…Just a Glimpse

A skeleton with skin draped over his bones stands before me almost unrecognizable, except for his kind, blue eyes begging for someone to show him mercy. The tattered flannel shirt swallows his once muscular body. He has created his own personal Hell and his demons have forced almost everyone away. He has damaged too much, but how do I say that to my father?

‘Please Let Me Survive This’: Sub Pens Hilarious Account Of A Bad Day At School — Scary Mommy

This sub’s detailed description of kids’ bad behavior is going viral Parenting is hard work, but we sometimes forget the people at school put up with just as much bullshit as we do. That’s why this hilarious note from a substitute teacher about students’ behavior on a typical school day is going viral. The note was intended to give the kids’ usual…

via ‘Please Let Me Survive This’: Sub Pens Hilarious Account Of A Bad Day At School — Scary Mommy

Pinterest Success?

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I had a plan when I set out to Hobby Lobby. I was feeling creative and had a vision for the blank wall space in my kitchen. I just needed to get a few materials to start being an amazing DIY woman. I had pinned all of my favorite “Command Center” boards on Pinterest and knew exactly what I wanted! I threw my toddler in the car and headed to the store with ideas swirling in my head about how great this new ‘piece’ would look in my kitchen.

After about five seconds in the store, my toddler decided that this trip was not part of her plan. There was no way in Hell that she was going to sit in the cart, hold my hand, or act like an even remotely civilized human, but I was determined to start my project, so I headed to the chalkboards to get my supplies. I got to scan the boards for about 10 seconds before realizing that my daughter was pulling things off of the shelves. This back and forth went on for about 2 more minutes before I said screw it, grabbed the first board that seemed like it would work and checked out. My motivated mood turned sour fast, so I headed home, but I wasn’t completely disappointed. I had the board.

My husband hung it on the wall to see if it would fit, and it was perfect. It has stayed there exactly like that since the day of the purchase over a year ago. It has turned into an open forum for everyone who walks in the house. The latest purpose is a menu that my 10 year old son thinks we should have each night of the week. We have yet to have the right meal on the right day, but it is a wonderful conversation piece.

 

 

 

 

Lesson 1…Truth is Subjective

 

It is impossible to tell the truth from a lie when dealing with an addict. I don’t even know when the addiction really even started. As early as I can remember, my dad always had a beer in his hand, but that was just normal to me. Everyone drinks beer, right? A thirty pack a day was the standard in our house. No big deal. Long car ride equals pack the cooler for Dad. This is all I knew, and I was a happy child living a good life. I had two married parents who loved each other, they had jobs, paid their bills, and everything made sense from my perspective. Then, when I was around ten my dad had to get his first major back surgery, again, no big deal. Then another back surgery, which made sense, since he was a concrete finisher.

As I got into middle school, I realized that everyone else’s parents weren’t bringing beer to the football games. I didn’t realize until much later that my dad could or would never pick me up from school functions because he didn’t want to drink and drive. I respected him for this instead of being upset about it. So, I was already at phase one of dealing with an addict, making excuses. I just didn’t know it. I also didn’t know if he was already addicted to the prescription pills that he received from his back surgery. It wasn’t even on my radar. Fast forward four years, and another surgery. This time it is more serious. It is an eight hour whipple to reroute my dad’s stomach. Pancreatitis, which everyone thought was because of the drinking, but no medical professional ever confirmed this.  I’ll never know the truth.

The surgery turned out fine, and Dad was in recovery. Everything was going routine, but he had a stint put in, which caused blockage. This just led to more procedures, a longer stay in the hospital, and more prescription drugs. It started with a morphine pump and ended with refills upon refills of Oxycontin. I was only around 18 or 19, and I always asked myself, “Why would you give an alcoholic addicting drugs?” So that’s how it all started in my eyes, but I don’t know if that’s the truth. It is just my truth. The truth is subjective.

Everything got sketchy after that surgery. My dad would have “extra painful” days and double his pain medicine, so when he ran out of his first bottle early, it was a simple phone call to the doctor to get the prescription filled a day or two early. No big deal. I ask myself again, “Is this where the addiction started?” Not really a red flag when I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with narcotics or addicts. Although, I must have known in high school that things weren’t quite right considering I wrote an English essay about alcoholics.

Anyway, my dad kept milking the pain (or was the pain real?) and refilling the prescriptions needing them a little earlier each time. I always felt sorry for him because he was in so much pain, but then again he wasn’t in enough to give up the beer. He had to go in to talk to the doctors about responsible pain management, and he already knew how to play the game. He knew he needed to say the right things to get the drugs. Doctors were willing to keep writing the scripts, so he obviously needed the pain meds, right? This went on for what seemed like a long time, but I really don’t know the exact timeline. Everything kind of turns into a haze after awhile.

My dad was one of the most honest people I ever met before he became addicted to prescription drugs, but drug addicts become expert liars. My dad convinced our whole family that everyone in the entire medical field was crazy. Although, it wasn’t hard to agree with him because there were so many unfavorable interactions with the medical staff at various facilities that helped support his stories. And again, it did seem like the doctors had no problem refilling the scripts. The people that I dealt with in the medical field NEVER treated my family like we were people who mattered. It just seemed like we were a number or a business transaction.  Once the addiction became a problem, the doctors just wrote my dad off. It wasn’t their problem anymore, and he couldn’t force them to write scripts, so onto Plan B.

Go to different doctors in different towns complaining of pain and give a top notch acting performance (Or was it acting?) I’m not saying that my dad didn’t have pain; I do think he had physical pain, but there were layers of mental and emotional issues that he didn’t seek help for (or did he reach out?). There was always a doctor willing to give him one more refill. Trips to the ER became normal. One of the most shocking moments in my experiences with my dad’s addiction was when the ER doctor put the decision to write the script on me. I think that I was about twenty-two years old. That is another story for another time.  My experience with my dad’s addiction taught me not to trust medical professionals and to ALWAYS get a second or even a third opinion. The doctors don’t even tell the truth.

Go with your gut instincts no matter what, even when talking to someone you love or an expert in his/her field. The only person you can really trust is yourself. I am a better person, teacher, and parent because I learned that I cannot be passive in life. I have to have a voice and if something doesn’t seem right, I need to listen to myself and seek truth.

My Dad’s Addiction Made Me a Better Person

imageI should have written this a long time ago when the feelings were raw, but I didn’t, so here I am trying to bring back the painful memories of loving a drug addict. My hero, my rock, my safe place turned into my fears, my anxiety, my Hell. My dad.

My dad was the hardest working, honest, and loyal person I have ever met, and as I write these words I realize that those are the gifts that he gave me. I live my life with integrity and passion because of him, which is why a part of me died with him. My story, along with many others doesn’t have a happy ending. There are pieces to the story that I will never know. Most of the time life with an addict doesn’t make sense. I was constantly trying to put the pieces of our family back together, but I was delusional in thinking that I could fix my dad. There will be a series of writing devoted to my experience with drug addiction including the following topics.

  1. Truth is Subjective
  2. Loyalty
  3. Unconditional Love
  4. Compassion
  5. Commitment
  6. Grieving
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Persistence

Teacher Appreciation Day, Who Knew?

 

Awesome…19 days left until summer break, we just finished our state standardized tests last week, and I got to start this ‘highly regarded holiday’ day with my sixth extended, formal observation of the year. Did I mention that I’m an 11th year teacher rocking a Master’s in Secondary Education? How many more formal observations can I get before I qualify as an effective teacher?

This special day of recognition is meaningless to me. It is actually kind of a joke. I have been teaching in a secondary setting for over a decade. I don’t think that I have ever had a student recognize this “holiday”. Is it actually considered a holiday? Most teachers in this setting of teen spirit and hormonal catastrophe are unappreciated.  We work our butts off for kids who are at the age where no one (including their parents) wants to deal with their teenage angst, attitude and absurdity. Yet, I hear every detail of their lives for a year, then they disappear. I’ll never know if what I do matters because they never come back. There is no fanfare, no rewards, no ‘because of you, I accomplished X, Y, or Z’.

I suppose I should recognize the leftover cookies in the break room from the parent meeting last night as a fringe benefit… Or the free coffee and donuts four times a year?  Oh! Almost forgot, I get to wear jeans twice a month?  What am I complaining about?  The fact that I actually think that wearing jeans every other Friday is awesome, just proves how effective administrators have become to taking no real responsibility for creating a stimulating and fulfilling working and teaching environment.  Did you know that allowing teachers to wear jeans has become the single most used bargaining tool to convince teachers to take on more work and more responsibility?

I suppose I should be writing something meaningful or inspirational about this day. I should write teachers shouldn’t need external rewards and that mentoring children should be enough of a reward. But come one, most corporations offer incentives for seniority and a job well-done.

Instead of just posting a piece of writing with negativity that I’m spewing right now, sorry, but I’ve been beat down by the system. I did once love being a passionate teacher, and I’m finding creative ways to keep my passion alive, but education has changed drastically since I first started my career. I do know what teachers need, not want, and it’s not a hallmark holiday.

  1. Trust me. This goes to administration and parents. I know that is hard to do with all of the stories on the news today. There are teachers who break the trust, but for every one of those teachers, there are 1000 who are giving everything they have to help these children be successful.
  2. Support me. Teach children the importance of education. Kids need to be able to read, write, and problem solve. Don’t ever tell your kids that you hated reading or math doesn’t really matter. Don’t make excuses for your kids. School is their job!
  3. Respect me. Teach kids that the teacher should be respected at all times, and follow through with consequences at home if a teacher reports disrespect in the classroom. As a parent and a teacher, I know that most of the time the child/student doesn’t give the full story. Please don’t go above my head or be angry with me before having an honest conversation with me. Reach out as a parent or a professional if you have a concern. We will be more successful in helping your child/student if we are on the same team.

So if you want to recognize a teacher today parents or administrators, send a sincere e-mail asking, “How can I help?” Or even better, send a letter of sincere gratitude. It could start something like this, “because of you, I…”

Yeah, but She Doesn’t Work…

I have heard that so many times when talking to other moms about how I don’t feel like I am living up to my motherly duties. There is a divide between the working moms and the stay-at-home moms; who has it harder? Hands down, the stay-at-home mom. Not to sound like I hate being a mom, but you couldn’t pay me enough to stay at home with my kids. Everyone expects so much of the SAHM. I was talking with a mom one time apologizing for not being able to volunteer, and her response was, “That’s what the moms who don’t work do. Don’t worry about it.” That was food for thought. The SAHM should be able to volunteer in the classroom, bake the cookies, be on the PTO, coach the sports, give the rides, clean the house, wash the dishes, cook the dinner. In my head, I’m singing Cinderelli, Cinderelli, Night and day it’s Cinderelli. That is exactly who I felt like when I was home during my maternity leave. My own kids would ask me for things, and if I said no, the response was, “but you don’t even work.”

For the most part, the SAHM’s in my neighborhood rise to the societal expectations and beyond. They seem to be everywhere doing everything, while I can barely keep the train on the tracks. Some people would argue that parenting isn’t a sacrifice, but many mothers sacrifice part of their identities to raise their children. I am grateful that my career allows me to still keep parts of the person I was before I became a mom.

Sometimes, I am envious of the SAHM, and not because they get to stay home with their children, but because they WANT to stay home with their children. I stayed home with each of my kids for 6 months after giving birth. For me, that was the perfect amount of time. By the end of the 6 months, I was waiting for my alarm clock to buzz on that first morning back at work. “Please let me enter the world of people!”

I also feel admiration for the SAHM because they are the mentors for our community. I’m not saying that working moms aren’t mentors too, but I’ll never know where a working mom finds the time, energy or sanity to do it all! I admire the women who can! Either way, our kids spend a lot of time with the SAHM while we are at work. They are the first ones signed up on the volunteer list to host the class party or go on the school field trip. Personally, I prefer to send a case of water and some Oreos for the class party. I am almost relieved that I have work as an excuse from sitting on the bus and spending the day at the local museum with a group of 8 year olds. And that’s ok, or at least it should be.

Instead of beating myself up for sending my child in with the prepackaged snacks, I should be grateful that I can even send a snack. I shouldn’t look down on myself because I didn’t spend all night making a personalized cookie for each kid in the class. And I shouldn’t be jealous of the mom who took the time to make the personalized cookies. I am just now realizing that it isn’t a competition of which moms are doing more or who has it the hardest.

Finally, sometimes I feel sorry for the SAHM. I know when I was home, I didn’t get the time to eat a lunch in peace or have an hour break to run some errands. I’m not going to lie; I love that my working mom schedule allows for that mid-day free time. I can sit in the book store for 30 minutes and flip through a magazine without a toddler pulling at my leg. It is a small indulgence that is good for my soul. I feel that the SAHM’s work is largely underappreciated; it is just expected. At least I always felt that everything that I did when I was at home was taken for granted or overlooked. I didn’t get an e-mail saying, “Good job at loving and nurturing your kids this week! Go ahead and take the night off!” I didn’t get a bonus. Hell, I didn’t even get a paycheck! I didn’t get a gain in seniority. Although, how cool would that be if we got to move up the mom ladder with a rewards system. I know. I know. It should be rewarding enough just to watch our children smile, but seriously, I wouldn’t hate a free coffee if I did a good job at being a mom for a whole week!

Working mom or SAHM, we all need time for selfish desires that fuel personal happiness and fulfillment. I’ve come to accept what some might consider defeat… I know that I can’t do it all, at least not all the time.  Maybe I’m just a little selfish, and if I have a free minute, I want to catch up on the latest episode of Grey’s or have a cocktail with my husband while we make dinner together.

The point is we are all doing our best. I don’t go home at night wondering if the other moms did as much as I did that day. I am just grateful that I have the opportunity to be a mom in the best way that I know how to be one. Own what you do. If you are doing your best…that’s enough. The general message that I get from women is that they aren’t doing enough. It blows my mind because I am surrounded by phenomenal women.

5 Tips #SurvivingParenthood

We all have it. There is no escaping it.  Mom’s have dreams and aspirations that are put on the back burner because raising children is all consuming. It is especially rough to live in an era where social media is the ultimate bragging playground. The mom guilt really sinks in when we scroll through Instagram feed only to see a picture of a mom with two perfectly behaved children baking cookies and the caption reads. Just got home from work, cleaned the house, and got in my workout. Now time for some baking with my adorable babies. #beachready #workingmomsrule #yummycookies. It is annoying to even write that.

I feed into it too trying to make sure that my life looks as perfect as all of my friends, but there is no picture to describe how I really feel at the end of my day, but I usually feel exhausted and guilty that I did not accomplish all of my goals. One kid usually gets short changed, or I snap on my husband for no good reason, or my kids are eating their 3rd Happy Meal of the week, or the list goes on and on. And then I feel resentful because I know damn well there will definitely be no ‘me’ time. Are these other moms really this amazing? And if not, why do I let it get to me?

As a mom of 3, I have learned a lot about parenting. Having children who range from ages two to fifteen has really made me look at who I  am and made me question how I rate as a mother. How do I stack up in regards to having it all? What does it even mean to ‘have it all’? But, with social media, I have started feeling like I’m not doing too hot.

I don’t ever execute any of the thousands of ideas on my Pinterest Boards, I don’t make time to work out so I can post a picture at the beach with my amazing body, in fact, I have come to hate my body. I know that there is a big movement about loving yourself with all the imperfections and the no body shaming campaigns, but come on. There are things about my body that hell yeah I want to change. I don’t fill my calendar with activities to entertain my children.

Truthfully, most of the time, I’m so exhausted after work that I hope they will be happy just hanging out on the couch watching a movie, but that never happens. I am just surviving parenthood. I love my children with everything, but I find myself just going through the motions. I am just now figuring out how to find my happy place, which is unique to each person, so if you can do it all with a smile on your face, Go you! I just want to be happy. I want to enjoy the little moments and prepare for the big moments. So, how do I embrace this life without feeling resentful that I am bored most of the time?

  1. Drink alcohol. Seriously, I’m not saying go out and get hammered every night. But have a beer or a cocktail. Everything seems a little less intense after a drink.
  2. Laugh at the insignificance of it all. Remember life goes on…don’t let something small ruin your day. We really do have a choice when it comes to our attitude.
  3. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Find what works for you and own it.
  4. Understand that people are posting the best parts of their lives on social media. It is a one second snapshot of their reality. And good for them if they have really found the happiness that they display. Maybe I should reach out to them for some parenting advice.
  5. Never give up on yourself. Don’t lose sight of who you were before you had kids. I am still working on this. It is ok to be selfish sometimes. It is actually better for your whole family if you are…this helps with the resentment.

 

My mom has always told me, “Get busy living or get busy dying!” So go have a cocktail and focus on YOU!

 

 

Ready-Fire-Aim

Blogging 101…Research the title before you buy the domain. For most people, that would be the first move, but not me. I failed to tack on the extra ten seconds to do a simple Google search. My biggest strength and weakness is my passion. I get so excited about my projects that I just go for it. I thought I had the perfect, creative and catchy name for my blog that represents the constant chaos and love that surrounds me.  That said, I played around with the name in my head for just about a day (if I round up…) and felt good about it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am a ready, fire, aim kind of a person, so I let my excitement take over and pulled the trigger. Once my new blog had been set up, and I truly had a vision for how I wanted to tell people about my interpretation of life, which usually ends in a laughable life lesson, did I realize that I forgot to Google the term Lovely Haze. So I am off to a great start by unintentionally offending potential readers. If you personally know me, this is right in line with who I am. Welcome to Lovely Haze.

 

 

Let’s Start with the Title…

 

Gosh! The pressure of a title is a big deal! Shit Show was the first word that came to my mind, but that wouldn’t be completely true. Although many days feel like complete and utter chaos, and I wonder how I will survive my life; my heart is full.  Many of my thoughts revolve around the day to day struggles, and the importance of being honest about the realities of life. Let’s face it Life can be beautiful and ugly all at once. Lovely Haze represents my thoughts about the unconditional love I have for the disorder in my life.