Are kids worth it?

I recently engaged in a discussion around what it’s like to raise a child; or multiples. The tone of the discussion was frank, lighthearted and a bit dark at times. Exactly the way being a parent is. Every parent feels this, and when you struggled to have your child, you will think this but may not be strong enough to say it out loud out of fear of seeming ungrateful. 

The conversation started with a non-parent reaching for the stars saying the want 4,5,6 kids and those who were already parents cackled heartily at the dreamer. Hit me up after you’ve had your first someone said. We all laughed again. Another person neatly declined the thought of procreating and honestly was met with a lil’ envy. Thinking about having more children comes with so much reluctance. Then you think, if my life is constantly on flames now, what’s a lil more heat? If you are lucky enough, you find out. There was also mention of the fact that people don’t always know what they’re talking about when it comes to kids. This is my FAVOURITE thing to say, why? Because no one person is the same. What worked for you wont work for others and people should really stop doling out advice on sight. Fingers on your lips as the ‘parents’ handle things their way. Here’s the thing, people get frustrated when something someone told them doesn’t work, not realizing that it isn’t intended for your child but theirs. Take suggestions and advice from people you trust but always try what your gut is telling you first. Most importantly what your kid is telling you. I cringe when I watch parents do what others tell them to do to their kids while the child have to be standing up for themselves because you’re failing at respecting their right to choose. Then they further get labelled as rude and treated as such. Meanwhile, you’re selectively deaf. Child-centered parenting is not indication of weak parenting. FACT. It was also mentioned that its gets easier the more you have, you can never be sure though. The thing about being a parent is that absolutely anything is fair game.

Frankly expressed was the fact that you get used to a new normal, then fall back into the pits of newborn hell. Caring for a loaf of bread sized human who can’t do much but expel rapidly out both ends and let you dress them up. The teething, late nights, fevers, protein spills, never ending cleaning, potty training, wonder weeks, regressions, illnesses, accidents, near misses, they anxiety, thin sanity, breastfeeding woes, greying, loveless marriages, nonexistent sexy time, schedules, frantic driving, arguments, tempers, tantrums, body changes, memory loss, irritability, tolerance and weight ballooning. You genuinely wonder if you were built for any of it and find that you build yourself as you go. You find your strength and uncover truths about yourself from raising your kids. The lessons learned in parenting happens when things occur but if you never have another child you don’t get to redeem yourself and quench that burning guilt. There’s also finances and another cackle happened this time with a few tears being shed at the mention of this topic. I love being a mother and at the crux of that is that pair of boots I also love but couldn’t buy last month, or every month if i wanted. Frankly, my savings account I throw money into the same way I do a wishing well, every now and then you know, just in case… as its been awhile.*Hears a knock on a door*… Me: home ownership is that you?…why no, no it’s not. It’s the need for another bloody winter jacket since your kid lost the last one you purchased just 2 weeks ago.

Hard truths was what I said, in addition to that most days I love being a parent. My main qualm is having to do everything by ourselves all the time because you cannot depend on anyone. People either don’t understand kids, have the patience or they romanticize how they were raised and want to pass that on. It’s difficult being a hermit parent because life happens but also you have to do that so you don’t end up raising a child that has to work to heal from traumas. You then rely on a daycare service which in itself gets paid out with the likes of a cash cannon. Someone else chimed in saying this also leads you lose 80% of your family, friends and about 80% of yourself. BIG FACTS.

The key I find is to treat kids like adults so they gain their independence early, even in their manner of thinking. Socialize them properly, hold them to discipline and you have a built in best friend. There is now a certain symmetry when you both understand and trust each other because a certain bond is there. There’s also so many joys that come with being a parent, their innocence and wonderment for the simplest things is so fulfilling and humbling. Being a parent most importantly comes from honestly asking yourself ‘Am I unfit?’ ‘Children are to be seen not heard’ is dead and should have been generations ago. It dumbed down a whole generation of people who have issues with basic communication. It taught people to not talk to each other and to be impressionist because we don’t want to face embarrassment. That was the key here, our parents didn’t want us to embarrass them so everyone walked around heads high like everything was fine. Meanwhile the truth was that mental illness, toxic behaviors, abuse and other issues needed to be out in the open and discussed. They created frail children in a new, mean world, not kids who would speak up when something wasn’t right. Let them speak and no matter what it is they’re saying, converse with them. Ask a million questions and teach them how to communicate. To bring this full circle, the minute your child needs to navigate the world without you present they need a sense of maturity and the ability to communicate so that you are aware of everything they experienced. They need to be able to tell you everything that happens to them in your absence, not cower and speak up for themselves and those without a voice. If you find that you need to control everything and try to do that to others around you, you are unfit. Watch your interactions with others and how much you try to influence people to ‘bend’ in a way that pleases you. Language, mannerisms, actions, choices and willpower are independent based on free thinking and should not be stifled or changed. Yes, choose the best people to be around but we genuinely all have rough patches. If you find that you cannot leave people alone and take them as they see fit then you cannot parent well. You need to be able to give them freedom to choose, fail and fight against all odds; they also need great examples that teach them how to celebrate in a way that doesn’t oppress others. Think about it, if you cannot just be and let people be themselves around you, when the dark days of parenting hit, you’re going to rage against your child. That, is the first step towards a traumatic life….

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Memories making me measure myself…

I wish you were here to meet my son. My father never needed to deny or not take care of me because my photo was permanently affixed on your dresser. Every time you looked in the mirror I was there. You acknowledged me. I wish I could talk to you so many times. Just to fill in the blanks in my life and understand me. My burdens are so heavy sometimes. My worries are circulating with no end and the pressures of life are seething into each other. I miss you so much on many days and get angry when my memories of you start fading. When little details are no longer clear it breaks my heart. You loved all of your family and I’m so glad you taught me that. Everyone that came your way was taken care of. Your palms were always open. In my weakest moments your memories are always there. When time brace against my responsibilities and I am just one woman against the world I feel you behind me. Every fall I take I scream at the audacity of the dips trying to keep me low knowing I have fighter blood in me. Today I cried because I couldn’t remember your face. It felt like the ultimate betrayal. The things that come with aging in life doesn’t discriminate. It was like you were forgotten and dashed. How scary it felt I didn’t dare utter but was sure to dig deep into my life and there you were coming back to me. Coming into a clearing. A love like yours was never again graced and though I aim to be like you, my ego knows I’m no measure. I need the conversations of an older woman I can trust. The ties that bind that makes you never ever to leave me. The woman that can tell me the history of my lineage and clear up why things are or will be. That female bond that binds in times that men cannot understand exist. The older, experienced wisdom that nurtures and soothes. I need access to your blueprint to mothering; it’s so bloody hard! I miss you so much and need the strength of you by my side but I get up; still. I try to move mountains with what feels like a pencil and use the rubber to remove the unnecessary figures from my life. Never forgetting what life with you was like and aspiring to that joy in my childhood life. You made the best roti I have ever had in life. I loved our supermarket trips. The hot patty lunches. I was so horrible to you when you tried to control me, not knowing better; I’m sorry. I wish you were here still grandmother; to just be.

 

….’As a child, there were them times I didn’t get it, but you kept me in line’…’All them grown folk things, separation brings, You never let me know it, you never let it show, Because you loved me enormously’…’And you never got a chance to see, How good I’ve done’…’I wish that you was here to celebrate together, I wish that we can spend the holidays together’ …’I thought you were so strong, You make it through whatever, It’s so hard to accept the fact you gone forever’….

Outwitting The Devil….pt. 1

I didn’t seek therapy when I should have…

This was from advice that I can now assume was made based on fear. Now, when I find myself out of clarity, not able to focus; I reflect on my choices. This instantly plunges me into a depressive state. I used music in the past to help with my moods, but it hasn’t been enough to quiet my mind. This week has been a dragging for me and I find  myself not being able to focus a lot. I keep searching for enough to do to exhaust me, I keep busying myself with list on top of lists on top of lists.

Upon referral, I purchased and started reading ‘Outwitting The Devil’ by Napoleon Hill. The very first chapter made me want to burst into tears. ‘If you wish to be of enduring service, not only to those now living, but to posterity as well, you can do so if you will take the time to organize all of the causes of failure as well as all of the causes of success’. Further, as I quote, ‘My experience has taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls ‘failure’ has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think….if he thinks accurately and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm himself with a new plan or purpose.“

At my lowest, I learned to be extremely calculating and present. I most importantly learned how life can be at a minimum. What is important and what is definitely a luxury. At my lowest I saw myself as my own salve, needing to pull back the covers and emerge as a viable, productive member of society. There was a major failure under my belt, but with this came a start to completing my degree, re-employment at my favourite place in the world and a school opportunity for my son. While my grades suffer a bit due to working, I can’t afford to quit and not be able to pay my school fee or my son’s. Either way, at my lowest or at my biggest ‘failure’, I was forced out of my own way.

‘Men are forced to change their habits and to think their way out of difficulty.’…’I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.’….

Delivery thoughts…

I had a hard flashback moment today. It was to the pain I felt during childbirth. I was brought back to the operating table and was feeling it when they made the incision in my lower abdomen. I could feel the pain again but pulled myself out of the thought. I remember screaming ‘Tam, they’re trying to kill me’ and saying ‘OW, it hurts!’. After that I was ‘out’. I would have liked it someone was telling me what they were doing as they went on, but it was a very painful, confusing time. I was ‘put under’ after all my yelling but I don’t remember much else. As I thought about this all today, I thought wow, this is how women die. In my most vulnerable moment, I couldn’t speak to say if anything was happening to me, such as shortness of breath or heart palpitations. I just know it is an experience I never want again. Though bittersweet, as I do want another child. I’m just hoping it can be a VBAC. I tell myself all the time that I’m going to be so much better in my next pregnancy. I’m going to eat well, drink more water, manage my iron and haemoglobin issues better. I’m going to be more prepared. More vocal, more involved in my delivery. I’m going to speak up more. I tell myself all these things but know once reality hits, ‘get the baby out safely’ will be my only focus. No one else will matter. That’s how it was with my son. No form of dilation was happening, and the only peace came with feeling my water break. I think that will be the difference in my next birth. An environment with warm water. A dredge for my tingling veins and disturbed body. It is the least I can do for pushing my body to do what it needs to before it’s ready. Birth is a very natural process, a severely underrated sentiment. The effects on the body is extremely life altering and has continues for years. Yet, that is hardly discussed! There is so much care needed for the mother but no one ever remembers this. My first birth felt somewhat like a plunge. Somewhat procedural, done on rotations or rounds. I don’t want that again. If I do have to be induced, I want to labor in the comfort of my safe, peaceful home. If my health allows, this would make me extremely happier and calmer for delivery. In reality, a hospital birth saved my life, but we weren’t prepared for the process at all. Looking back, we were too ‘limp’. No matter how many birth stories, YouTube videos and TLC’s ‘A Baby story” I watched, it was extremely too new and unlike anything we’ve ever been through. I want to be prepared to deal with it all, especially the doctors and nurse.

I’ve realized too, the older I get, that people are weird. You really must advocate for yourself and your body. There really are people so self-absorbed and miserable in the health field that do no deserve to be there. They give sub-par treatment despite it being YOUR worst moments. I want to be somewhat prepared for it all!

*Flashback post*-Dec. 29th 2013

It is what’s in your soul that will be the only thing that will carry you through,

When faced with adversity, when your pureness has been compromised,

Fly, fly on…..just keep swimming, it’s not the end,

 

When you gave of yourself and received naught,

It is not the end for you, your kindness has not met defeat,

It has instead met tests for a stronger self, don’t forget.

 

Fly, carry on as you are,

Don’t change when met with grunge, debris and a witless heart,

You have done no ill in being kind, extending a hand and trying to change the times,

Never change because you’re hurt, be yourself someone will see your worth.

 

Never beat yourself up. Never expect a beast to give you a rose.

You introduced your naked soul and were rebuffed.

Life goes on, no matter how tough.

 

When the dust settles it will be clear,

You made a clearing in a dark place,

You loved the unloved.

Sylvia….

I miss my paternal grandmother. I knew her when I was a young girl and even though she passed when I was about 12 or 13, I still very much miss her dearly. I didn’t treat her that well when she was here on earth because she was extraordinarily miserable. I mean m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e! I couldn’t fathom it, and used to wonder why the hell she was picking on me! My fondest memory of her is actually one where I got a whooping! Lol. She and my grandfather ran a restaurant in the city square where they lived-Papine, and one day I was on the rooftop patio clearing the tables and a guest left a little bit of beer in their Red Stripe bottle. I looked around and put that bottle right to my head. Next thing I knew she flew down on me and with her strong hands and gave me about 3 slaps across my back! I was so startled, I could piss myself! My mother is going to hear about this I thought!! She was an excellent, excellent cook and very protective. I did love that she took me everywhere with her and like a grandmother, was always teaching a lesson and extending a treat. I have a friend that reminds me so much of the care of a loving grandmother but I sometimes feel like I burden her too much. If Miss Slyvie was here, I wouldn’t care because grandmothers are not allowed to dislike you. If she was here, so many life choices would have gone differently, because her word would be one I could count on and trust. I also wish she was here to meet my son, who in his own way is the sweetest! Sigh, just musings today…nothing major!