Posts Tagged With: Parenting

The Alone Life

So I’m a single mom of 6 kids, who’s interested??

Yup, that’s the opening line to my stand up routine… hence why I don’t actually have a stand up routine…

But really, who sees a mom to 6 kids and thinks “hey, I want in on that mess”?

Six kids… That is a lot.

Five kids sounded like a lot….

I’ve had it together for these past couple of months since Tag’s birth. I think where most mer mortals would have folded, collapsed at the exhaustion and stress, I excelled. I’ve always taken a challenge well and doing this “single mom to an infant plus five other kids half the time” thing was my biggest challenge to date. I’ve felt in control of my emotions and very “put together”, but not these last couple of weeks. Somehow I have turned into an emotional wreck every time a love song comes on. I cry, in public sometimes- Sabrina does not cry!

So what is it?  I have zero desire to date and zero time.

I am happy being single- While my friends are telling me “you just had a baby, you’ll be interested in dating later”, in my head I’m daydreaming about all the running adventures I will go on in this “later” they speak of.

I have no one to answer to, it’s pretty sweet. My kids roll with all my crazy antics: breakfast for dinner, last minute adventures, impromptu dance parties, and we have no one to judge us. No one to question why we spent money on unnecessary things. No one to check in with. No one to judge my kid messy car. No one to kibosh any stupid (yet fun!) ideas we have. We like it.

If I did have any free time a man is not what I would want to spend it on. I would rather spend more time with my kids, read more, run, go on adventures, write, maybe make that “money” thing everyone speaks of. So much to do, dating is not even close to the table…

So why the sadness as of late? I think I’ll chalk it up to my hormones being a mess post birth. Maybe exhaustion has finally built up enough and I can no longer ignore it. Or maybe it’s just normal? Maybe it’s normal to be sad you don’t have something everyone else (ok not everyone) has but not really want it in the end? Nah, it’s just hormones, I’ll take an extra placenta pill and call it a day.

There was an old woman who lived in a running shoe… I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

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All the man I need! (well… Tag and the 3 others I suppose)

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Categories: Single Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stop Praising Dads for Parenting.

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Take a hike! With your kids.

The biggest question I get asked if how I get my kids to hike as far as I do.

Well, bribery.

Yes my kids love nature, yes my kids like hiking, but even they hit a point where bribery is the only option. Even my kids need that carrot to keep them moving at times….

Well not a carrot. A carrot would not even work for my crazy vegan kids. It’s chocolate, gummy snacks, or treats of any sort.

Sometimes it is a playground at the end of the hike! By far my favorite hike to take “newby” hiking kids on, that is also close to Phoenix, is in Cave Creek Regional Park.

“Let’s go hike kids!”

“waaahhh I don’t wanna”

“We can play on the playground after”

“OK!”

Everyone wins!

Starting at the Go John trail head you have the one big climb of the hike, we call it the ant hill. Once you reach the saddle you have the best stop for a snack and take some pictures spot. Do not spend too long hanging out here, when kids get to thinking how tired they are its hard to get them moving again! When you come to a junction take a left on Overton. You will meander around the mountain for some more awesome views and some fun little downhill sections.

Eventually you will spot the nature center which is a great little stop to see some critters. You will also spot the playground which is a great end of hike motivator for the Little ones!  It’s funny how moments ago they were “so tired” after 3 (ish) miles but when they hit that playground they have all the energy in the world!

For a hike this length my Little People don’t have that many snacks, but if yours is new to this sort of distance plan on a little something at the saddle and maybe a couple more along the way. I tend to try and give them something “healthy” in the beginning, fruit of veggies, and use the sugary snack as a motivator to keep moving as the miles drag on. I usually plan on something they love (for us its chips) at the park as an added “yay you made it” bonus!

The best part about Cave Creek Regional Park is once your kids have mastered the short hike there are many options to add on miles and still have the playground as motivation! And for us parents, the views are all beautiful!

Do-

Teach your kids trail etiquette before you go. My rule for my Little People is the almost always move off the trail and let adults go by. It’s just easier that way.

Have snacks. Delicious ones. Probably chocolate.

Let your kids carry their own stuff. Camelback has the best kids packs on the market currently. Buy your kid one, go outside and use it!

Take time to hunt for lizards, watch a bug cross the trail or stare at the hawk flying by.

Buy good shoes. It’s important. Velcro is BAD for kids hiking (ask Tru, he lost 2 toenails last summer)

Use motivators when needed. Talk, play games, run, smile, give snacks. Have fun yourself so your kids can have fun too!

Don’t-

Give snacks every time they ask. Always give a “snack point”. “When we get to the saddle we will have -blank-“. If they start getting what they want by whining I promise you will regret it later in the hike!

Carry their pack. Yes they will get tired. Yes their pack is heavy. Do not let them get away with being lazy! Let them feel strong and capable.

Commiserate. Instead of complaining when they do, talk about how happy you are that your legs hurt because of how strong they are becoming. If you complain they complain and that is no fun at all!

So get out with your Little People and have fun!

 

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Screw the Village

I get the “it takes a village” mentality, but leave my kid alone!

I am very clear with my children that they do not have to feel obligated to talk to or listen to adults if they are uncomfortable. I am also very clear that they need to do things on their own when it comes to climbing, jumping, swinging. If you get yourself into a situation you better be able to get yourself out.

We hiked to Seven Falls in Tucson yesterday. The hike was uneventful and all around easy, nothing much to say about that. When we got to the falls the older ones got to playing and I sat with the baby paying little attention to what they were doing. Frogs were caught, rocks were climbed, people got wet. The usual.

Now Tenny is strong and a fairly talented gymnast. She loves boulder and got herself on this rock-

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And got down many times.

But at one point she was up there alone and two older gentlemen took notice of her trying to get down and offered help.

“No thank you” Said Tennyson

She sat back on top of the rock waiting. When I say I pay “little” attention to what is going on that’s not completely true, I knew exactly what was going on but did not intervene.

Tenny continued to sit  on the rock looking at the men out of the corner of her eye for a couple more minutes then went to go down again.

At this point one of the men jumped up offering her help again.

“No Im ok” she said. She climbed back to the top again and sat uncomfortable for another few minutes before hightailing it down and over to me.

“hey honey, did that bother you?”

“Yes. They didn’t listen to me.”

Now you see, the “helpfulness” was really not listening to my daughters words. Yes she is only 6, but she said she was fine and the men, adults, wouldn’t hear her. How scary is that when you are little? She went back up the rock multiple times not because she wanted to, but in hopes that these men would leave her alone so she could get down. I understand wanting to help children if they look like they are in trouble but she was not.  Maybe she could have fallen, but so what?

Tenny and I talked about the way she felt. We talked about how adults should listen to children’s words and if they don’t that’s scary. We also talked about how these men may have just been trying to help but we also don’t know and some people use “helping” as a way to trick children.

PLEASE hear my children. If you aren’t trusting a child’s judgment DO NOT push. Give a simple “can I go get your Mom/Dad for you” but do not invade their space or comfort zone. Adults need to respect a child’s words. Maybe you aren’t the “bad guy” but what happens when my daughter takes help from that person because she doesn’t want to upset the person offering help?  Children should not feel an obligation to accept help from an adult AND if they have already said no thank you, essentially telling the adult to back off, and the adult does not listen they should be wary of that person.

Tenny did what she was suppose to do and though I am sad she lost out on some fun playtime while she sat figuring out how to handle the situation, I’m glad I got to see her use her internal safety button and make the choice she thought was best. Strong looks good on Little Ladies…

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No One Gets Me!

My Mom was over tonight and she and Tajh went outside to take the trash and recycling bins out. Moments later she comes running in frantically-

“Tell your son no!”

Me- Deer in headlights

Mom “There is  lizard stuck in the old trash can and he wants to get it out!”

Me “Oh. Well Tajh, save it”

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That’s right, even my Mother who has watched me parent for 13 years got it all wrong.

Do I really parent that oddly? Maybe to “average” American standards, I’m not “average”.

This isn’t “normal”?

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This one time, in 5th grade, my teacher told us “to assume is to make an ass out of you and me. Yes, my teacher told a class of 10-year-olds this. Genius. Make no assumptions, ever.

I actually got asked the other day, “so do you just wear him (Tag) all the time?”

Yes, yes I do. If I’m not wearing him, I’m holding him. If I’m not holding him, I’m peeing, I will pick him up when I’m done. I treated Tajh exactly the same way and no, I do not have to wear him still today. He is by far the most self confident and genuinely happy person I know, adult or child.

Also no, babies can not be manipulative. Babies have needs, they cry when then “need”. I respect children (or at least try to) no matter how old they are. I actually have “A person’s a person no matter how small” (Dr. Seuss) tattooed on my body ( I have a quote obsession).  Just because they are littler then we are does not mean their wants and needs should be ignored.  If a baby is crying I will do whatever it takes to make them not cry. I will nurse all day, wear all day, pace while singing all day, whatever it takes. Again, I have done this with all my children and none of them still expect to be carried! They are all very capable and confident. I think 5 awesome kids says I’ve done something right.

Obligatory-random-adorable sleeping baby picture….

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But again, even my Mom after all these years misjudges how I will react. I suppose I can’t hold on to any hope that people will “get” me and maybe I’m happier with them not. I like being a little odd.

And don’t worry, our friends (turns out another one was hiding) were saved and ran off happily.

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Why is my baby always in white!

So apparently people have taken notice, little baby Tag is always in a white long sleeve onesie, ALWAYS! Why? Well mostly because I am crazy… but I do have a reason for this crazy (though it is just crazy…)

All boys clothes are “boy” colored. If it’s not crazy organic crunchy hippie mom stuff it’s usually brightly colored with trucks, trains, or sports on it. The crazy organic stuff is better, but still seems to try and “make” him into something. Or maybe it isn’t trying, but peoples opinions (even my own) about him change when he is wearing different colors/designs.

Tag is himself. He can not tell me what he likes, who he is, how he feels. When I look at him, when others look at him, I want them to see Tag, not “that little boys in the cute outfit”, just Tag. His face, his super lips, just him. Now maybe I’m off here and an outfit doesn’t change your perception of a baby or gloss over who they are, but why risk it? Or, really, who cares? ( I mean, white is easy to hang in the sun to get out the poop stains so maybe that’s my reason?)

Is he always going to wear white? Nah… But for now I want to just see my baby and learn who he really is before I start playing dress up with him (which WILL happen!)

I will leave you with adoable pictures of my baby Tag just in white-

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Things I Don’t do with Babies

Yesterday I was watching a Vlogger I sometimes enjoy. A family with a 2-year-old and a newborn. I don’t always agree with what they do, but sometimes it inspires me to make a new video that day which is cool. As I watched the Mom’s “Things I love and don’t love for this baby” I became more and more annoyed. I may have only watched 5 minutes before I turned it off and huffed away to clean something with grumpiness. Look, EVERYONE doesn’t have to do things “my way” but I feel like if your life is out there for all to see you do have some social responsibility.

So why was I so mad?

EVERYTHING within the first 5 minutes were products meant for you to not touch/pay attention to your baby. WHAT?!?! This mom does baby wear but doesn’t do everything the way I do, which is fine. It just seemed insane to me that she was promoting so many products on how to lay your baby here so it will sleep on it’s on, watch it on this monitor while it sleeps alone, strap in in here so it sleeps alone. I just can’t agree or listen to it.

So here friends, a list of what I do NOT do with babies-

  • I do not put them down.

While this may sound crazy, I really don’t. I baby wear all day. Maybe they are set down for a minute here and there, but always put back on. To me this feels right. They grow so fast and don’t want to be worn as soon as they can get around on their own, so why not soak up every minute I can being as close as possible?

  • I do not strap my babies into anything

Except to me or a carseat. No swings, no bouncy chairs, no Bumbo, just no. I refuse. At no point have I seen a need or will I.

  • I do not have them sleep alone

I co-sleep and can not be convinced there is anything wrong with it. Yeah don’t be stupid, if you have a sleep disorder, have been drinking, or smoke, DO NOT co-sleep. But if you are healthy babies can absolutely be safe and comfortable in bed with Momma. Again, they grow up so fast and I will happily have them close to me as long as possible.

  • I do not use disposable diapers.

I cloth diaper. Not only is it actually easy (another load of laundry isn’t really a big deal) they are so darn cute! The only time I use disposable is on a trip, because when you are living outside washing diapers does not found fun. But otherwise, there is no reason to NOT use cloth (and it’s actually a ton cheaper in the long run).

Now I’m sure there is a lot more I “do not” do, but those are the big ones I couldn’t stop reeling over after listening to unnamed Vlogger. In no way am I saying everything I do fits everyone, but keep in mind between my own children, fostering, and nannying I have probably cared for over 15 babies/toddlers. At one point I cared for 8 children 8 & under, and it really wasn’t as crazy as it sounds! Foster children did not co-sleep for the most part and that was rough on me. Getting up in the middle of the night, making bottles and putting a baby back in their bed is so much more difficult then rolling over and pulling out a boob… and falling back asleep before putting it away…

So do what you please, but if you Vlog about it know I will not watch it all, but I guess I’m still giving you views…

 

 

 

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28 weeks- Truth

It’s an interesting world to live in. One where you share your life publicly but feel like there are some things that should be kept private. Whether it be to keep it from family, try and pretend it isn’t happening, or to save someone else from ridicule. Maybe thats an honorable thing? To keep inside what you know will hurt someone else and what they do? But in turn if that hurts you, by lying to the world, is that ok? Who in the end is more important? Those that can learn from your story and benefit in their own lives? Those that harm you but you want to save? Or yourself?

I am 28 weeks pregnant and doing this all alone. Well, my kids are here and I have some really awesome friends that support me, but otherwise without a partner. It’s hard to even say, but though this wasn’t completely unplanned (the words “we should have a baby” weren’t spoken by me) it has still ended up here. At some point between lies and broken promises I asked for space and it turned into any pregnant woman’s natural disaster. I found myself loosing weight and vomiting constantly from the stress that was being put on me. When someone lashes out its always hard, when you are pregnant, it’s unbearable.

When I was pregnant with Tajh (my oldest) I should have been stressed out. Before I became pregnant with him I was not with his father. We were both living our own lives (after being together for over a year) but still spending time together (i.e. obviously sleeping together). I also had a pretty large drug problem. Prescription pills were redly available and I took full advantage of that. One night at a party I was the epitome of a “stupid girl” and did way too many drugs and made some terrible choices. I could use the word “rape”, that awesome trigger word that would get me out of all responsibility for my actions, but in the end I took too many drugs and passed out. I can not blame anyone except myself for that. While the boys (we were 18.. cause and effect just isn’t there yet so not “men”) should not have taken advantage of the situation, I should not have been so incapacitated I couldn’t protect myself. I am not minimizing rape, just speaking about my specific situation.

Enough on that, but basically Tajh’s Dad really had no reason to assume Tajh was his, and for the most part he didn’t. We both moved down to Tucson for school (living separately) and lived our own lives. I had a hard time being alone and moved back home after my first semester. Though he wasn’t totally involved I was thankful he spoke to me, came with me to appointments at times, and wasn’t as mean as he probably could have been. He could have used the “its not mine” and run away, but he didn’t have that in him. I will not give him full credit (who wants to give their ex credit), but in the end he chose to error on the side that the baby may be his and he should be minimally supportive. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but even though I was strong and confident in my decision to have Tajh no matter what, having him not run away was so important for me.

Today I am here. The father of this baby doesn’t answer my phone calls. While living his own life he has decided to completely avoid responsibility. Money might cover “things” but the baby doesn’t know that. The baby also does not know his voice, he has never felt the baby move, and never met my midwife. I would love to just be angry about all this, to have hatred for how terrible I have been treated, but really it’s just sad… I know what he is missing out on, I’ve done this before, but there is no way to explain that to someone who is on the run. When someone has hit “fight or flight” you can’t stop them. There is a large part of me that wants to hold all their “friends” who are supporting this flight accountable. How can you support him missing out on being a part of things? How can you support him not taking responsibility like an adult? But then again, real friends call you out on your bullshit… So I guess we see where they stand.

Look, I get it, life is hard. Im 28 weeks pregnant, running 30 miles a week, taking care of my 5 Littles 2 cats and a dog, trying to eat when Im stressed about all this, trying to be excited about this baby alone, creating my birth plan, thinking about how sad it will be to give birth alone (well with the kids there), but I’m doing it… Because I have to… Because I can’t run away. I have to show my children that running and anger gets you no where in life. You must always push through and do the best you can no matter what. Strong is beautiful and confidence should be the priority.

I really did struggle with posting this. I haven’t blogged recently because I was afraid of “letting it out” in some way, but I had to. If you read my blog and have been following me for a while you deserve to know what is really going on in my world, otherwise why should I have a blog at all? My desire to empower Mothers to be strong in their parenting outdoor wildly amazing children means I must tell the entire story. My kids and I are still adventuring strong. This week Little Tru (4) has 11 miles on his legs, which means I spent 11 miles next to him listening to his little stories and playing in the mountains! (ok 3 of those miles were during a Thanksgiving Day road race)  A pregnant Mom can still take her 5 Littles outside to play in the mountains! Men not needed 🙂

 

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Filling the Table

I always had the feeling that I was missing someone. I would count my kids and still feel like I had it wrong. From the moment Tajh started walking I remember having that panic moment. It continued no matter how many I had. Even at 8 kids I felt like someone was missing on a regular basis. Weird to say, but I never felt “done”…

Until about 8 months ago. I looked around and told myself I had everyone… no more were coming… I began looking up how I wanted to handle being “done” I don’t do hormonal birth control and I just “knew’ no more were coming, so research began…  I’ve had the question of whether or not this on was an “accident”, as rude as a question that is, I will say it wasn’t completely unplanned or planned.

Even with that being said, and knowing a baby was a possibility I hadn’t had that “feeling” of not being done. I still felt finished, my table felt full, my arms felt busy… And even these first 21 weeks I haven’t felt like there was another one joining us. I really don’t know how to explain it, but my family has just felt complete…

Some nights are busy with activities, drop offs, pick ups, and trying to get everyone fed and in bed (without leaving a giant mess) is a lot. I don’t always sit at the table during dinner, sometimes dishes need to be done, now, so I can function in the morning… Tonight as they ate, talking about their day while listening to some Cat Stevens I looked over..

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And suddenly my table did not feel so full….

I had that same feeling that someone is missing.. someone will be joining us soon.

To be exact, this someone-IMG_5707

 

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Don’t I Have Enough Already?!?

If you don’t follow my youtube channel (what the hell is wrong with you?!?)

Yes, I “needed” more!

 

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I found out I was pregnant the day before I left for my summer adventure with the kids.  The idea of living outside with 5 children and a dog while growing a human inside me sounded daunting, but I was all in. I made the choice to tell only my bestie Lala because I knew the worry that would come. I knew people would be uncomfortable with the choices I was making. Even without my Dad knowing, when he found out I would sleep in the middle of nowhere in my car when I didn’t have the kids he tried offering me money for a hotel. People, my family, anyone not living in this world of silly outdoor adventuring would not understand and I didn’t want to deal with the judgement.

Now living in a tent in bear country with morning sickness sucks. Where normally you can have crackers by the bed and try to curb the nauseousness upon waking up, I had to wait until children where awake, help get little people dressed, hike up a hill to the car, and start breakfast for a bunch of hungry heathens. By the time food was ready I was usually beyond the point of being able to eat and the drive to our next adventure would usually involve some stops for breathing breaks while I tried to contain the vomit. To make matters worse, when you have 5 kids and spend 10 hours a day hiking it’s hard to care for yourself. Often I would realize I ate one cliff bar all day… Not such an awesome idea…

My kids were great though. While they didn’t know they are very observant and kind and I found the older ones especially checking on how much I was eating. They figured I was saving all the snacks for them and would offer me theirs, and I would try to not dry heave in front of them. Carrying a 35lb toddler on your back up a mountain while doing your best to not vomit on yourself really keeps the day interesting. In case you missed it, here are a couple adventures we went on while in my first trimester-

So the kids would leave for a week and I would find myself recovering. Orange juice and apple juice became my crutch for a while. I would wake up and immediately drive to the store. Some mornings I could function ok after chugging some juice, others I found myself just trying to recover from the week prior. At some point juice just didn’t cut it and I moved on to root beer, yup, healthy. Root beer and a cliff bar was my diet some days, and I will not apologize for this! There is no good vegan food in the mountains of colorado! I was dying! All I wanted was something delicious, but I had no idea what that was. I really found myself longing for a bed, terrible television, and delicious food. Oh the dreams I had! Mind you, when I didn’t have my kids and actually had myself together enough to be around people that wasn’t easy either. I now found myself lying and coming up with excuses as to why I wasn’t drinking. Nothing makes you feel like an alcoholic more then people being dumbfounded that you aren’t drinking… *sigh*

So, We Survived! And now we are back to the normal grind of school busyness. Second Trimester and trying to run in the heat is pretty miserable, but I’m hoping to push through. We have some exciting adventures planned for the future!

Even with this giant mass growing...

Even with this giant mass growing…

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