Rebuttal to Little Things Sarah Delgado: On the Definition of Parenting

A couple housekeeping items today before we get into it:

1. Yes, I realize today is Friday and I normally do a funny/stress free post about something completely stupid…..I promise the stupid is coming tomorrow or Sunday. ūüėÄ ūüėõ LOL!!

This piece crammed itself into my already full brain and I had to get it out to relieve some of the pressure. It’s also on a topic that I am passionate about and want to change the way we view childlessness……with that said…..

2. This post is a rebuttal to an article I read on the Little Things web page. The original piece can be found here.


Dear Sarah, first of all I want to offer my empathy. You seem pretty stressed out and overwhelmed. But you are in luck! Although I don’t have human children, I DO work in childcare. And I can come over anytime you need a date night or just a nap. ūüėČ

I wanted to address some of your 15 claims that somehow prove having a human child is better or vastly different than having a furbaby.

But first let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a 36 year old married mother of 2……cats. Yes, that’s right. My kids have 4 legs and fur. My husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years, and are members of the Childless Not By Choice community.

And adoption and surrogacy are not possibilities for us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to bring up something so personal to garner sympathy. I just want to bring to light a possible common thread the people you callously addressed in your article are more than likely facing.

And it sucks. You want a human child so badly but you come to the place where you realize you’ll have a new normal for your life and you work hard to accept it.

Then you read an article about how you really aren’t a parent because your kids don’t look like the traditional definition of a child. Even after the author of said article talks about the, “ever more fluid definition of family. Love has so many shapes and I love and honor all of them….”. Until apparently that love trickles down to a mammal with 4 legs and a tail.

Oof!

Now I do realize that you probably don’t realize how much pressure, stress and shame we are put under by society by not being able to reproduce or adopt, but it is very real. And we are all working extremely hard to change society’s mindset. It is getting better, but there is still a long way to go.

Now, about that list of 15 things…..

1. While it is true that dogs and cats age faster than human kids (I’m not even sure why you brought this up, but there it is), the flip side of the coin is that means we will lose our children in our lifetime. And if we keep adopting, this will happen multiple times.

Have you ever had to sit on the bathroom floor holding your cat while she’s having seizures and looking up at you terrified and you are helpless to stop what is happening and pray that you don’t have to put her down? But you do that night because there was nothing else you could have done.

The pain of losing a furbaby that way is something I don’t wish on anybody. And dammit if someone is gonna try to make me feel like less of a mom because the child I watched die in my arms had four legs instead of 2.

3. Hmmmm….So it’s frowned upon to drop your kid off somewhere to have them bathed. Have your kids ever spent the night at a babysitters house (who you paid) and had a bath in the process?? I hate to break it to you, but that my dear is pretty much the same thing. ūüėČ

5. When my husband and I welcome a new furbaby into our house, it’s for keeps. And while in some rare cases re-homing is the only option, that is a last resort and those parents that you describe are in the minority.

6. Part of being Childless Not By Choice also means we’ll never become grandparents of tiny humans. Thanks for hammering that point home.

7. This is almost too horrifying to even respond to. But I’m going to anyway. Those fellow pet parents that I know take way greater care of their furbabies when traveling then simply chucking Fluffy into a bag and stowing him under the seat. If we have to fly, we’ll leave them at a trusted babysitters or drive if we need to bring them along.

8. Speaking of horrifying………There is a reason responsible pet parents have adopted the hashtag “Adopt Don’t Shop.”

9. Do you know how often we have to buy cat food and litter?? And heaven help you if your furbaby is allergic to either one. So you have to keep buying different ones until you find the one that works. That can add up fast. And have you seen how expensive flea treatments can run? Then there are the trips to the vet for vaccines to keep them healthy. Oh yes, our kids get vaccines just like yours. The cost of which can add up fast.

12. Some say you haven’t lived until your dog has tried to hump your leg……several times a day. Our newly adopted kitten is also still trying to breastfeed….and he has sharp teeth. Such is life when you are a pet parent. ūüėČ

13. Try sleeping at night when you have just brought a new fur baby into your home and you are terrified of what he can get into in the course of a night because you are still grieving the sudden loss of your oldest cat. A death that you could not have been prevented and your mama heart can’t take another loss. Add to this your natural proclivity for anxiety and insomnia and you wonder how you ever sleep at all.

I think that about covers it. I do want to say that I wish nothing but the best for you. Enjoy your human child and be grateful you are able to have her and watch her grow up. But please never forget those of us in the trenches of grief. Who’s love of their fur babies in no way takes away from the love you have for your human kids.

No matter what we call them.

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Two of the three loves of my life. My boys. I captured this moment one night last week after Chad had gone to sleep and our Riley climbed onto the bed and curled up next to his daddy and fell asleep. In that moment my heart swelled with love so profound I couldn’t explain it…..I am truly blessed. ‚ô•¬†

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What a Difference a Year Makes and New Years Resolutions…

During our Christmas vacation, I shared the following photo on Facebook:

christmas 2015

The caption was as follows: “What a difference a year makes! Praising the Lord for his mercy and grace!”

Of all the 32 likes, I’m wondering if anyone thought about what this picture represented to me, beyond the length of my hair.¬† In contrast, here is a picture taken last year around the same time:

christmas 2014

Besides the shorter length of my hair is something that you can’t see; how broken I felt inside. See we had just come to the conclusion that we’d not have children.

I’ve blogged about this several times. My first entry can be found here. The rest can be found at the bottom of that same page under “related.”

At this time last year I was wondering what my purpose in life was. If I wasn’t supposed to be a mother, what could I do to fulfill myself? Would I ever be happy not being a mom? Would my marriage crumble under this stress?

It’s been an unexpected year so far. A year filled with joy and hope. I actually did give birth in February; to my blog. A place for me to give people hope and a purpose. And to remind them that they are never alone in their struggles.

I also learned more about the new community I was a part of: the awesome community of people who are Childless Not By Choice. A community that I am grateful for. The community is a place I can go when I’m feeling down or frustrated. And they are always encouraging, always supportive.

Through this community I’ve realized that each CNBC story is as diverse as the snowflakes that have yet to fall outside my window. Although each is unique, they are all valid and meaningful. There is a sacredness to each narrative.

I don’t know why my story has so far been hopeful. Yes, I’ve had days when I’ve felt a loss, but I’ve also had more days filled with promise. My marriage is as strong as ever. And I think I’ve found my purpose; as a blogger to help others understand the plight of the CNBC, and as a child-care provider. I’ve also realized the important role I play in the lives of my nieces and nephews (My newest niece will come into the world next week and I couldn’t be more excited. ūüėČ ).

So this year ends with hope. And excitement. I actually have a new years resolution that I think will stick. It’s a goal really (is there a difference? ). But I think I’ll leave it at that till I reach 200 blog entries. Don’t worry, I’m actually almost there. I have a few things to flesh out before I make the official announcement anyway. Till then, always remember you are never alone….especially as this year ends and another begins! Oh, and Jesus loves you ūüėČ

Cheers!

Here is a song I can’t get out of my head and I think it’s a great one to start a new year. While my situation is different, I think the lyrics still apply….living this year with anxiety and childlessness, I feel like the lyrics, “I’m gonna do all the things that you said I never could” still apply to me and the “you” in the song is anxiety and doubt.

SURPRISE…..IT’S ANXIETY!!

The following tale is true, but a few of the details have been slightly altered to protect the privacy of those involved……..

When you live life with anxiety, you are constantly learning new things about yourself–mainly what kinds of things can set you off. This can be a frustrating and embarrassing phenomenon. Case in point, when my husband asked me to marry him during a surprise proposal, I panicked. Instead of saying yes right away, I asked him why he was asking. Yep. Although we had talked at length about marriage and both knew that was where we were headed, I still made things awkward when he asked. Thankfully he’s taken my reaction in stride. We actually just celebrated our wedding anniversary a few days ago, so it all worked out. But I still get down over my reaction sometimes. I had always imagined that moment in my life, before it happened, and I imagined I’d react with a combination of jumping up and down and screaming, “YES!” Not meeting my own expectations in the moment is something I’ve had to forgive myself for. I also learned a valuable lesson: I’m not really into surprises.

Mind you, I can take the old, “what am I getting for my birthday or christmas” surprise. For the most part. A new exception has just been made. See, the other day¬†a dear friend of ours decided to surprise us by hiring out some maintenance work we’ve desperately needed done to weather proof our deck. It was supposed to be a surprise and of course my husband and I had no clue they were coming to do it. Now, in defense of our wonderful friend, the person they hired to come do the work didn’t call ahead to them to let them know it would be done that day.

When they came and knocked on our door, I viewed them through the peephole and didn’t recognize them, much less why they were holding a spray can reminiscent of a piece of pest extermination equipment. I watched them, and they seemed to disappear around the side of the house. I opened the door and was hit with a chemical smell. Then I began to panic. See, we’ve had a history of shady people coming up to our door in the last few years, and I’ve become quite nervous when someone knocks on our door without calling first. Of course this information was¬†not known by our dear friend. I was able to calm myself enough to call out to the person to see who they were. In the meantime, I had shut the storm door behind me.

After a brief explanation of why they were there, I felt much better and turned to go back into the house. The door wouldn’t budge. In my panic, I had LOCKED the storm door. And I didn’t have a key or cellphone with me to call my husband. I’m not sure what he would have done anyway as the door locks from the inside. Panic ensued once again as I racked my brain, trying to figure out how to get out of this one. Fortunately, the person that came to weather-proof our deck just happened to have some tools with¬†them, one of which was a screwdriver. Yep, they had to UNSCREW HALF OF THE DOOR¬†in order to create a hole big enough to reach around and unlock the door. At this point I was definitely looking forward to our anniversary dinner that would happen later that evening, and knew sangria would DEFINITELY be making an appearance.

Several days¬†after a surprise that bombed, things are much calmer here. Things have also been smoothed over with our friend and we’ve all learned a bit more about each other. They’ve learned that surprises are not the best idea for me, and I’ve learned to appreciate the thought that was behind the surprise. After all, isn’t that the most important thing?

So, if you also get anxious over surprises, do not fear (sorry, I see what I¬†did there ūüėõ ), you are not alone!!¬†

Cheers!

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*comic explaining that some surprises are not worth it, appears courtesy of: www.cartoonistgroup.com

Dear 20-Somethings: How NOT To Quit Your Job….And a Thank You! #100

I don’t know how it happened or what changed, and this is gonna make me sound super old….but it seems like young folks (I just aged myself again ūüėõ ) today don’t know how to quit a job. Whether it’s because the workload is too much, or they just realized the job wasn’t the right fit,¬†bowing out of employment gracefully has become a lost art. So the following is a list of what NOT to do, followed by what TO do instead…..(and it’s a short list. This isn’t rocket science! ūüėõ )

1. NEVER quit your job as a no-call, no-show:
DO give it a month. If you then still can’t find something about the job you like, kindly let your boss know and…….

2. DO give a two-week notice, no matter what. My last job by the end I was barely hanging on mentally. I still go through anxiety when I think about my former place of employment and as a result haven’t been able to go back to pick up some paperwork that I’d otherwise need. Yeah, it was bad. But I told myself I was going to show my boss respect that I hadn’t gotten in return. So I gave a two-week notice as is common courtesy.¬†Extending courtesy to those that you feel don’t deserve it is part of being a mature adult.

So there you have it! Oh and before I go, I have an announcement……

Do you know how many blogs I’ve done as of today?? No guesses? 100!! It’s weird to think I’ve done 100 entries here. I’ve written more in the last 5 months than I¬†did in all my years in school. Crazy! So I want to say thank you!

Thank you to Jesus for placing this blog on my heart and giving me the words each day.

Thank you to my wonderful husband, Chad, for encouraging me to keep writing and for supporting this blog every step of the way.

Last but not least, I want to thank YOU for subscribing and reading this blog that’s become my little spot on the internet. I hope I’ve left you encouraged and inspired to live life to the fullest, even in the midst of anxiety. I don’t know how long this blog will continue, but I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Remember you are NEVER alone and are LOVED more deeply than you can imagine!

Cheers!

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*meme demonstrating how important it is to hold your tongue at work appears courtesy: http://digitalb2b.ie/the-best-job-seeker-memes-of-all-time-part-2-by-siofra-pratt/

Witches, Water and Weather Watches….Oh My!

Summer is my 2nd favorite time of the year. It’s warm and sunny and my struggle with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is given a respite. Winter in my neck of the woods is pretty cold and gray, so spring and summer are a welcome change. But there is one thing about living in the midwest during the summer that I don’t enjoy: severe weather that turns into tornadoes.¬†

Now being a grown woman and considering the number of tornado watches and warnings I’ve lived through that didn’t actually turn into a swirling vortex of destruction, you’d think by now I’d be used to the weather and able to cope without anxiety. You’d be wrong. However, I have learned a few things through the years that have helped me ride out the storm, so to speak. Today I share them with you.¬†

1. When the weather gets a bit dicey, find a distraction that will still enable you to be tuned to the weather. Nowadays, weather stations do a great job at conveying severe weather over social media or via phone text. So put in a funny movie, make sure your phone is nearby and keep a tab on FB or twitter. 9 times of our 10, the watches/warnings will expire without much fan-fare.

2. If you can’t stand the thought of being alone during a storm, invite a neighbor or nearby friend over and have a storm party! Having someone with you can help alleviate some anxiety and help pass the time.¬†

3. Make sure your devices are sufficiently charged. Phone and computer. Do this when you know the storm is gonna hit, but hasn’t quite yet. This way if the worst happens, you’ll have a distraction, and will be able to call loved ones later.¬†

4. Decide where you’re safe place will be and make it comfy. If you don’t live where there is a basement, the next safest place will be a¬†room without windows-normally a bathroom. Grab a blanket, pillow, a good book, flashlight, your computer (off the power cord), phone, a bottle of water or two and fun snack-y type items. Then hunker down. If the electricity goes out, your computer will still provide a distraction. If that fails, crack open your book, use your flashlight and read aloud. Reading aloud may seem funny, but it really helps to drown out the sounds from outside. Worst case scenario, grab your mattress and get into the bath tub with your book and flashlight. Read aloud until the storm ends.¬†

The most important thing to remember is this: 9 times out of 10 the weather will pass without much drama. But if in the rare event it happens to be that 10, remember this sage piece of advice: if you see a woman with green skin accompanied by flying monkey’s,¬†dump that extra water bottle on her head and click your heels three times!

Cheers!

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*Good ol’ Jupiter helping¬†us in tornado alley get some perspective appears courtesy of: www.quickmeme.com¬†

Stress and Cat Chews

The last two weeks here have been pretty busy. Having a sick animal to take care of has forced us to move some things around in our schedule and I’ve found myself worrying more. I’m really on edge today as we look forward to her surgery tomorrow morning. She’s never been away from home without us. I’m not even sure she understands what is happening. Thankfully the procedure is outpatient so she’ll not have to stay overnight.¬†

It’s a simple operation. The vet will take out a couple of her teeth to relieve some swelling. We’ve started her on dental chews, and¬†hopefully this will help clean her teeth daily so we don’t have to do this again.¬†

In preparation for surgery, she is not to eat or drink after midnight tonight, just like if she were human. So I’ll have to put the food and water out of reach. I’ll also need to vacuum any pieces left behind, as sometimes our cats miss their mouth and crumbs end up littering the floor. And I don’t trust that she won’t eat off the floor if she’s hungry enough later.¬†

After surgery there is also care. During¬†a brief¬†call to the vet today we’ve been advised to put her on wet food for a day or so post-op.¬†She’ll also need pain medication¬†administered. This means stress over her care won’t end for a few more days.¬†

But there is good news. To make sure she has something to look forward to, I’ve told her she could do this when she’s all healed. She’s pretty¬†psyched and has already picked out one with polka dots.¬†11206042_10155659419485387_1722005188956902817_n

Please if you remember, send us good thoughts and vibes in the next few days. Thanks! 

You are not alone. 

Cheers! 


*cats donning four-kinis appear courtesy of: Pets on mom.me via Facebook