If you look at my Nook or home library, it will be full of three types of books. Books on self-help, parenting, and nursing textbooks. Okay, so Fifty Shades of Grey may be entwined some where in between. 🙂
Some of my favorite books are Drama of the Gifted Child, which was actually mentioned in The Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom, Real Marriage, and Loving Kindness. I read four or five books at a time. Right now, I’m reading Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, Wild, and just finished Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom.
In my quest to become the best parent I could be, I realized that WHILE reading these books, I stress out. The stress seems to stem from the notion that I feel like I haven’t done anything these books are suggesting I should do. I start thinking “OMG, thee impressionable first five have gone with my daughter!!!! Is she doomed? Will she resent me for the rest of her life??? Will she suffer from depression due to my parenting??? Will puberty be my payback?” That’s when I have to put the book down and try to convince myself that I can’t look back at what I’ve done.
I always tell O (my daughter) “don’t make the same mistakes momma does or just because someone else says something or does something dumb, doesn’t mean you have to.” Unfortunately, I have made duplicate mistakes with her a number of times. Namely when my patience runs thin or my own frustrations get the best of me and in that moment… I can’t control my own emotions or reactions to the situation. I’m praying daily that I practice what I preach and control myself by giving myself a timeout and a chance to breathe.
I don’t think we should coddle our children from emotions though. We are human and like I tell my mom and sister all the time, “the world is not going to cater to my kids like you guys do.” Tough love. It’s hard, but I refuse to raise entitled and spoiled children.
My daughter is a mini replica of my husband and myself. I see how she gets frustrated sometimes and it sends chills up my spine because I feel like I’m staring into a mirror. Those are the moments I pray she hears my voice again saying “O, do better than momma, teach kindly and patiently.”
The postcard photo I posted rings so true for me and most of my girlfriends I’m sure (J. Peddy… I know you feel me). I think we all think we are damaging our kids to a certain degree especially when we read these books and aren’t doing half of the suggested material. What I come to learn is that I can pick and choose what works in MY household and reiterate to myself every second of the day that I am doing the best that I can and reinforcing more than anything else that “I love you, O. I love you Husb. I love you, Will.”
These books are tools and guidance materials, not the bible.
This is me. Postbaby 7 weeks. I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but I had this indelible urge to write again lately. I know in a short month, I will have to prepare to take on the end of my Master’s program, so I’m voraciously doing some leisure reading and beginning to chronicle my journey as a mom of two.
My daughter loves her brother. Yet, she has shown signs of normal regression. Wanting to try all of the babies things. Needing extra attention. Oh gosh, the baby talk… cute until it gets annoying. Hahhahaha. Yes, I keep it real.
At the beginning when I got home with the baby from the hospital, nothing about my daughter’s behavior annoyed me. But set in sleep deprivation, the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy!!! Can I tell you something?” Me: “can you tell me without saying, ‘can I tell you something?'” haha, the annoying sound of the pump machine at night, homework, life, taking care of a newborn… oh, did I mention SLEEP DEPRIVATION??? then my patience becomes nonexistent. But I am praying and hoping (although I heard from my friend that “hope is not a strategy) that I find that place of reassuring guidance, love, and patience that my daughter needs right now. I hope I have the fortitude to learn to balance my needs FIRST without feeling GUILT.
This is when I began experiencing empathy for the first child. I’m the second and the last in my family. I wish parenting came with instructions or at least pictures to show you which is the right way up or down. 🙂 I say this, because recently, my husband and I have been having warfare with our daughter during homework time. Mind you, my husband is a great instructor who is energetic and fun, but even he gets worn down when my daughter for the 100th time says “N is a U.” Yes, they look similar, but that’s no excuse to get it wrong more than 20x in my opinion. Yes, I can be a bit tough but I have been way too liberal in my child-rearing of her till this point (great she just came in here and found her bike we were supposed to give her on her birthday!!!). I always allowed for her to just putz around and do things at her own will. Well now, we are interviewing and testing for private schools, so now the tides are changing. Something in me got triggered. I realized I can’t be lazy to raise a successful child.
Right now, I’m trying to analyze what kind of learner my daughter is. In the process, I have screamed my head off because my expectations are so high. I keep telling myself in a Finding Nemo like trance, “she’s never seen this… she’s never seen this.” But I can’t use that forever. SHE HAS SEEN THE ALPHABETS for at least two years now!!! Hahaha.
But at the end of the day, I come to conclude that none of this has anything to do with my daughter. It has to do with me. My demons. I have to disconnect from my past and embrace the woman I am today. I’m no longer the kid that was average in school because no one encouraged anything in me other than to be pretty. More than anything, I wanted to be viewed as “smart” like my sister. Actually, I knew I was probably smarter than my sister (I think my parents knew it too… sorry hyung)… but I never tried, because things came easily for me to just pass. I suppose this is my biggest regret. I never lived up to my full potential or got to discover what I was good at or even excellent at. I was a quitter. I never looked to the end of the road to discover that hard work and effort pays hundreds folds more than quitting. That discovery only comes with age and wisdom.
I’m fortunate though. I’m not my immigrant parents who couldn’t spend the time with their kids even if they wanted to because they were working hard in a foreign land to provide for their children. I have the ability to provide the opportunities for my children that my parents did not possess. What my kids do with these opportunities are my responsibility until it becomes time for them to bear the burden of the cross on their shoulders and learn to use what weapons and lessons I’ve given them into their lives on their own accord.
I will write about what I learned about myself during homework time in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.
It’s been a long time since I last posted. Lots has changed. I’m expecting my second baby in about two months. The pregnancy was easy and hard at the same time for various reasons. I was expecting twins, but one did not make it. That will be something I get into at a later time.
But I’ve been practicing the art of putting “me” first. I don’t have time to worry about what other people are doing. I keep trying to make other people happy to the point where I leave no reserve for myself and that turns out horribly in the end.
This was the interview. It says to only give 70% of yourself to your children, because if you give 100% you will end up hating them. Haha. But I really think that this rings true. No other person will understand this feeling unless you are a parent.
My therapist says I tend to guilt myself too much for things I have absolutely no control over. Things like other people’s happiness, their health, their wealth, and I tend to feel guilty if I am not able to provide those things for them. So I have to now make a concerted effort to really not give a sh!t when there is nothing I can do. I literally have driven myself to physical exhaustion and at the end of the day, I don’t even get a “thank you for helping me.” Life lessons are hard learned sometimes.
I had to post this picture, because it is so true. I never thought of it that way… but a strong man loves me… and I accept it.
Recently, I’ve had a lot of health ups and downs. And lately, I’ve been worn out and tired. The husbinator works a lot to afford us this amazing life that God has blessed us with. And although there are moments of feeling overwhelmed and angry… I understand it now and accept that this is my life. These are my circumstances and I need to focus on what is good about my life.
I have found that I have made some amazing friends through O’s school. There are friends who “say” things like “yeah, call me whenever you need to talk or help with O.” And their are those friends… who come over and really take care of you and your child. The friends who offer your their bed to rest in while they entertain “YOUR” kid. How amazing is this? I’m blessed.
I haven’t been writing much lately because I’ve been feeling like I should keep things to myself… but when good things happen, I need to share.
I never realized how people you never expected will step up and really offer their helping hand with no expectations. That is friendship.
Happy New Year’s Everyone. Yes, my greeting is a bit behind. I apologize.
It’s been hard getting out of Winter Wonderland mode and returning to the reality and hussle and bussle of carpool, drop offs and pickups, and life. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things.
I visited my grandparents with my sister, Husb, and O during the holidays. And it’s always a very emotional situation for me. You realize that people do not age gracefully and it is difficult to fathom a person who was once vibrant and full of life become so incapacitated by their age, disease, and situation.
What dawned on me was… I will never know the grandparents I once had in this lifetime anymore. I will no longer be able to enjoy the delicious foods my grandmother once made and that I so took for granted. What I would do for just one more taste. If I had known the last time she made me my favorite dish would have been my last, I would’ve have enjoyed it more, appreciated it more, and thanked her more. Oh, those what ifs.
That’s when you realize, life… there are no guarantees. It hit hard. And I realized that, I just needed to live. Allow others to have their own opinions. And move on.
I needed to most of all… see the truth in people and my relationships with them. For so long, I think I crucified my husband. But like Ne-Yo’s song, “Let Me Love You…” how could you know what love is, when you have never had it. I get it now. And all along, I think I knew just denied that I was deserving of this blessed and generous life God has afforded to me. Why? Fear… of course. Fear that it would be taken away from me because I didn’t think I was deserving of it. But I accept it now. God wants me to have this amazing life and fully embrace it.
My husband… he’s simple. And I now understand the way he is capable of showing me his love. He’s my unconditional. I put that man through hell and back and then some… and the poor sap, is still here with me. (cue the violin… hahahahah). But I get him now. And I get his love. And I accept it as it is… not as I want it to be.
These life lessons have been hard acquired. But the best part of it is that its been acquired.
I am telling you… self-awareness, a little bit of therapy… and a lot of reading… really are lifesavers to live a great life. I have such great family and an amazing set of friends. What more could a person ask for, right? Everything else is icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong… I’ve dealt with difficult things, even in my moments of catharsis and revelations, but I have learned to let those feelings exist in that moment and then let it go. (Man, therapy and Mr. JM… thank you). Whereas before, I would have over-analyzed, over-scrutinized, internalized, and revolted.
My sis… she will be on a new adventure. I hope it changes her to accept life’s mysteries and start learning to embrace the goodness within her own life as well.
The season is coming to an end. I don’t know if I’m happy to see 2012 come to an end. As hard as this year proved to be, I feel like I learned so much more about myself and have learned to allow myself to have boundaries. As a person, I feel I have definitely inched closer to becoming more whole. Mending the broken pieces within my mind and soul, that were once hidden and locked away deep inside, has been healing. You come to realize, at the end of the day… none of it really mattered. All that matters is how I deal with the now.
I understand the importance of walking through difficult times with humor and dignity rather than with anger and hostility, because in the end, I’m the only one who is angry.
I am vulnerable. Sensitive. And it’s okay. I can, finally at age 37, allow myself to feel these feelings. I can admit that I need help… and most of all, that I need my husband. I used to think being needy equated with being weak. My mindset has changed a bit. I’m still a strong person, but only when I need to be.
I also am thoroughly embracing the fact that my boundaries with people are more clear cut. I understand and accept that not everyone is a friend…and that is okay.
Watching O grow these past few months has been truly rewarding. Parenting, even with all the stress and fatigue, is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Her dad and I feel so truly blessed. We thank each other daily for helping create this little raggamuffin.
And what I appreciated most has been knowing the value of my friendships. I love having my meetings with my BFF and other girlfriends… and even if for just a moment together… I love the feeling of leaving with the stress of the world off my shoulders because they took off some of the load. I am so blessed.
I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. I pray that you find even more joy, love, health, and happiness in the new year.
I can’t even put into words the magnitude of grief I feel for all those affected by this senseless act of violence. I won’t even probe on gun control at this time. I just want to express my deepest of sadness and condolences for those poor kids and staff who lost their lives to someone who was afflicted by mental illness. It does not even make sense to me why he had to go to the school to do more damage after he had already killed his mother. WHY???? WHY???? WHY???? The kids? They were merely 6 years old. What did they do?
While my mom and I sat in pure shock… she told me an old Korean adage. That “life without children is freedom from stresses and fear.” I told her, but a “life without children is a life without knowing love.” What’s worse? I can’t even fathom the grief the families must be going through because I am sitting here still in disbelief and tons of sadness. To know such pure love of innocent youth and to have that unconditional bond be so abruptly taken away is the worst form of punishment on earth. But to seek comfort, I hope they feel blessed to have known each of those pure souls for even those short six years.
I ache wondering if the children suffered. If it hurt. And I pray that they didn’t. I pray they didn’t have enough time to know fear or to feel pain. And I hope that all twenty children and seven adults closed their eyes and went to heaven immediately.
He did the cowardly thing taking his own life. I hope he is burning in hell and feeling the wrath of all those he affected. And yet, I wonder too… what torment did he go through in his lifetime that he so viciously and maliciously wanted to afflict the same grievous amount of hurt onto the world.
It’s crazy that in my last post, I prayed for a more evolved, positive world… and just a few short minutes later… this tragedy was on the news. I prayed to God that He would help me understand this. Why things like this happen, because right now, I still can’t seem to find a justification. Not for this one, not for the Wisconsin, Virginia, Columbine, movie theatre, mall or all the other mass shootings… I need to know why.
My friend, George Mitrospetros, wrote it best on his Facebook wall:
Sorry for all the errors, but I wrote this truly disturbed and in a state of utter disappointment at the world we live in.
It is true too, that the media needs to stop sensationalizing this situation. Because it is going to prompt the next idiot to do something worse to top this and become a household name. Remember the innocent people and their sacrifice. Not the killer.