Author Archives: momtroversial

About momtroversial

I am a mom who often parents in ways that are considered too old fashioned or too unconventional. My husband went through a major mental health breakdown and took me on the roller coaster with him. At some point we will get off this damn ride. I recently went through a series of life altering events that have made me re-think my whole outlook on life. I am trying to be the kind of mom my work as a career nanny should have prepared me for but it does not always work. I hope to impact the lives of others that I KNOW are living with the same fears, hopes, dreams, anger, pain, joy, and more. Suicide and ink and children and life. That's about it.

Tattoos and Suicide Series: The break(ing) of me

So I have been running and not taking a break. I have been struggling my way through explosive meltdowns, tantrums, blackout rages, and frustration.  I felt it this week. I was there. Lost in the hole in my heart and in my head. Wanting something, anything to fill the void. I was hurting but I had and still have NO idea why. I am the one who always finds the sunshine. But right now. I just don’t know how much more I can take before I break myself. I tried to leave. I packed all my stuff. And I started to walk away. Because not only am I now dealing with this pain, his pain and my own, I am losing my shit on our son. He deserves the very best me and lately all he has is the worst. I am really trying and I knew the road ahead would be tough. But still, I could not have been prepared for the rollercoaster this has been. I have days where I walk on eggshells, I can’t really TALK to him anymore. Because he can’r remember anything, and he stresses out so easily.

And in all of this, I am losing myself. I know this because of an injury my son recently got. He fell and hit his head. It was an ER worthy injury. I prepared to be mommy and do it all when a little voice said to me “I want dad instead please” and my heart shattered into a million pieces. I was so happy he has accepted our new routine. I work 35 to 40 hours a week at 3 jobs to keep us going right now, KP does all the homeschooling and most of the parenting) But him not wanting me, and him being more afraid of how I would react about him not wearing his helmet than his injured head made me see I am on a spiral I need to get in check.

About every 4 or 5 years I have a break. A serious fuck it all snap out. Usually I know it is coming, and usually I can plan and prepare for it. Usually I can see the warning signs. But once, I couldn’t. On that day, my ex came home to hear shattering glass, and he followed the trail of broken plates, cups, mugs, and pottery on a trail to the basement. It was flecked with ketchup, and he thought it was blood. I never was allowed to buy glass ketchup bottles again. I had broken every single piece of glassware in the house. It was everywhere. I was sitting at the bottom of the basement steps staring at nothing. I had no idea what had happened. I was just. There. I don’t remember much about that day. It was one of the few times my ex did something decent. He cleaned me up, cleaned the glass, bought us all new plastic dishes. I worry now, watching my husband. Seeing his black outs. Feeling his anger when he can’t stop the mood swing. I do not worry he will hurt us. Thanks to the nerve disease, he has no strength to do so. But I do worry terribly about what will happen if I snap back.

I have a child now. I have too much to be thankful for. But I feel like I am being come at in a million directions. I feel like I have no control over this situation, and even though I seemingly live my life like a humming bird, I do in fact have a rhyme and reason. I do think things through and plan and manage. But I can not control this. And that scares the hell out of me. Meds help. But he is still so unstable. I also worry one day I will find him gone. He says he is no longer suicidal, Hurricane needs him. Great. But what about the days he feels like a burden since he can’t contribute to the house? What about the days he can not even get out of bed?  I am tired of being scared. And tired of being so wrapped up in my worries for him that my son is getting the heat.

I hit my break today with Hurricane. He got mouthy about me asking him to change his shirt because what he had on was not ok for being out today. He snapped at me and eye rolled, the whole 9 yards. So I told him he could stay with his dad and he lost it. Grabbed me and sobbed like he would never see me again. I wanted to and needed to stick to my guns. But I saw this broken little face. Who I could read was saying he needed me. The old me. The fun me. I just need to figure out how to be super wife and take care of my husband while also being super mom again. I just hope I can make my cape big enough to do both.

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Why Homeschooling stinks…

I have decided. Homeschooling STINKS. You moms who use the “perfect” curriculum and have their work all done and perfectly planned days? You are not human. Seriously. How are you pinterest perfect women doing this? Women who have large families and rock class time with ALL their kids? When I can not even manage 4 lessons in a day?  I am guessing you have amazing children who will actually listen (without eye rolling and attitude and insisting that they are smarter than their parent and the textbook we spent hundreds on) and get work done, right?  Or perhaps it is all 100% me failing as a teacher. I think I mentally took him back to school about 227 times today.

How in the hell could I have possibly thought that teaching this pigheaded, obnoxious, rotten little turkey myself was a good idea?  Every single lesson has been so much of a fight. Every single one. I am 3 weeks into my school year and I am ready to burst with loathing and frustration. Last year we went with “unschooling”. I basically taught him…nothing. And he passed his test with flying colors. This year I read an article about the amazing schools in Finland and decided I need to ship him off to live there until he graduates after 3 hours on the first day of school. Because every day is a battle. I now understand the 300 notes that were sent home from school on a regular basis about his behavior and his challenges. (OMG I gave her a crappy teacher gift of a mug and a starbucks card. I owe that woman a damn medal and a million dollars)

Today was the hardest day ever. We are heavily focusing on writing and language arts this year. He is learning how to write research papers and how to create storylines and idea webs. Vocabulary and spelling are an adventure not a myth. And he hates writing. He hates it with a passion. He wants to scream every time he has to write more than his name or a few numbers on a piece of paper. He cries about hand cramps and handwriting is even worse. Today stunk. Literally. As we sat there on hour TWO of a 20 minutes or less assignment, with the whining and frustration reaching the ultimate mega explosion level, it happened. He farted. The loudest most disgusting fart I have heard or smelled in probably my entire life. And I have been in the car with my uncles following a Burger King run. Trust me. It was nuclear. With tears stinging my eyes, and choking on every breath I said “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST PICK A DAMN SUBJECT FOR YOUR FACTWEB?”

“Fine Mom.” he replied, an evil glint in his eye. “I want to write my paper about farts.”

I took a deep breath. I looked him in the eyes. And I made a split decision. I said yes. His shock and sudden silence was overwhelming. And I realized, this is where I am going wrong with Homeschooling. I chose this journey because I didn’t want to stuff him in a box. I wanted him to be excited about learning. I wanted it to be an adventure. I wanted to see the spark. Instead I was making him do “busy work” instead of getting his hands dirty. I was asking him to be something he was not. I was trying to make him NOT be himself.

So now we are resetting. Today he wrote a very fantastic “Fact Web” on the science and history of Farts. (Moulin Rouge has a lot to do with this, and when his paper is done I will share it with you all.) We watched some pretty raunchy videos on YouTube about fart science. This afternoon we will check on his crystal growing experiment, do about a zillion multiplication facts, lose ourselves in the classic tale of Treasure Island, watch Bill and Teds excellent adventure for a little silly not at all accurate historical info and a lead in to a few of the people we are “meeting” this year.  It sure does stink. But its the smell of victory.


Tattoos and Suicide Series VI: Mental Health is a fickle bitch

When you love someone who has issues with their mental health, some days can be a long hard battle. When you also struggle with your own demons it can make it more of a challenge. I am solar powered. I suffer hard when the weather changes, and the last few months of cold and yuck were taking a huge toll on me. I have been feeling horribly unmotivated and I have been struggling to find and keep my inner peace and keep my cool. I seem to have gotten into a roll of being awesome at work and a total bitch at home, or awesome at home and so off my game at times my boss has sent me home. Twice. So today I woke up blessed to an amazing weather day. I had prayed for a break and a resolution, and woke up to sun on my face.

My husband was sort of…out of it, but I figured he was just tired. He asked us to go out for a big family breakfast road trip, which we have not done in ages. I was thrilled he was motivated! After the ride south and fat bellies, he stayed home while we all hit church. I had a great day with the kiddos in my program, they were all so awesome today, and well behaved!  I felt like the day could not get any better. I started to feel recharged. I made plans to clean my van while the boy broke in his new scooter he got for his birthday. It shoots fire, so what 8 year old wouldn’t be itching to break it in? But when I came home, it hit me. I went to talk to my husband and he was just…there. He was really out of it. He was moody, non communicative. Monosyllables. I could see he had been crying at some point. But as always he didn’t know what was wrong and didn’t want to or could not talk about it.

Heaven forbid he talk to his fucking wife about what is on his mind. I wish he would talk to me. Even if it made no sense. I do listen when I need to, and it is never a burden. Damn him. It makes me feel like he has no faith in me or trust. I know the reality is he does not want to burden me. But I married him for better or worse. Fucking talk to me!

He went and took a nap, so I went about my day, chalked it up to being tired. Got done with the van and watching the boy and having a good rebuilding day with him. Hurricane and I had a tough week. Hubby was awake and just rocking in his recliner. Eyes glazed over, still looking like hell. I asked if he had taken his pills. He then told me he had been out of them for a few days. After a call to the doctors office, and a call back from Dr. Giggles, came the battle. Here take these pills. Yes you need to take them. Because Dr. Giggles said to. Yes I called her. Because it’s been 3 days and I wanted to know how to dose you. Yes you DO need to eat. NO you are not getting fat. No, you do not need to get under 200 again, when you were that thin everyone thought you had cancer or AIDS. Yes you will. Ok now here take this one. YES the fucking yellow one again. (BREATHE MOM-T) Here honey, yes you do need the yellow one again now that you ate. Trust me. Thank you.

Seriously? I love the man but he is nearly 40 fucking years old and he can not remember to tell me to refill the damn pill box? I can not remember to do it on top of everything fucking else and 3 damn jobs. I guess I have to set an alarm on my cell so I can keep on top of this. If he had not pulled the suicide thing I wouldn’t HAVE to control his pills and keep them under count and key. But his dumb ass tried to OD before the BIG attempt and the madness started. Fuck you didn’t take your pills. And this is somehow my fault. Because even though I hear him in his sleep talking to his dad, telling him he hopes I know how much I am appreciated, how he does not know how I am doing it all, working my ass off at 1 part time and 1 might as well be full time but being paid for part time good thing I love it, job, and home schooling our son, keeping on top of most of the housework, he no longer can manage his own meds, that is my fault.

So, magic pills on board, and a small power nap later, he came back to us. He told me he felt weird and wondered if he had an episode, asked why he was so tired. I told him the yellow pills make him tired, and he had to take 2 of them today.

But now I worry about myself. Selfish bitch that I am. But how will this affect me tomorrow? All the calls, stress, pacing, pulling my hair out while talking in the calm therapist voice and trying to get him to do what he is SUPPOSED to do without it being an argument or me being a bitch. My IBD is going to kick up into high gear tomorrow. Fun time ahead. What? Why am I on the couch being lazy? Well, my stomach flares intensify when I am stressed. Why would I be stressed? Fucking wonder why.

Someone told me the other day, well his legs don’t work but he is still fine, he should get a desk job. Why are you applying for aid?  But he couldn’t. He is surviving day to day with this, because of his routine. Breakfast the same daily, watching the same shows while he eats, play the video game for a bit, run the vacuum, help Hurricane with homework, daily nap, working on his cards. It has to be the same, and changes have to be his idea or it throws the whole universe into a tail spin. He has to have some control. He can not control his legs anymore, really. He can not control his racing thoughts. He has finally started writing again. He let me read some of it. It was hard to swallow. His pain and his sadness come from years of scars he held in. One reason I let Hurricane explode out his anger and boil over with tears. I want him to deal with emotions and not be wearing the scars in  30 years.

Maybe. He will someday be there. But unless you LIVE with it, don’t judge it. Don’t pretend you know what is really going in here. Mental illness and health can be a powerful and painful experience. Don’t think I have not heard the quiet whispers behind my back that this is maybe on me. He was fine, and it was me that made him the way he is. These issues were bubbling long before I came around. I hear whispers that I am making too big a deal and trying to make myself a martyr. Until we moved in here even my AMIL (Awesome Mother In Law) had no idea how hard things were at home. She came to me last week and apologized. She has now seen some of the mood swings and the scary “black out” moments where he is totally not there and I am on the verge of calling 911.

Yes, I am lucky as hell to have her. But the comments about how it must be nice to live with someone who is taking care of 70 percent of the bills and the mortgage payment, how it must have taken SO much stress off of me? Yeah. No. Because every day we wake up not sure WHAT mood he will be in, how my IBD/Crohn’s is going to be affecting me, and how we are going to power through the day. But I never ask for help from friends or family, because I don’t need it. It’s my cross to bear, with a lot of help from God. I have recently exploded into my faith. Because it’s coming back to me. I am facing demons I have been running from for a long time.

I am seeing the strength in my corner. And seeing who I can count on vs. who I need to cut loose. I don’t like how things are. I could take a new job, be better off financially and more stable in other areas of my life. But money will not replace time. Time is what we need. Money will help. And it WILL come through soon. But every moment I am away from them already is pain. My husband tells me his secrets in his sleep. He told me his worries. He misses me when I am at work. He hates that I have to be the one to work and to be away from home. He knows I have days I love my job and others I want to walk away. He wishes he could see me more. He understands my time is being monopolized by Hurricane and home school in the mornings, and by work at night and when I get home I am just wiped out. But he misses me. I am working on that.

We are still struggling along. Suicide “survivors” is what I was labeled as. What we really are is suicide zombies. Day to day getting by. I hold a lot together on the inside, few of my closest friends know who I “really” am outside of this little internet world, and have told me my facade is much like in the movie MirrorMask. Which is why I identify with it so much. I have an ideal in my mind but allow the darkness to consume me. All while trying to be the light for two people who need me more than I ever thought would be possible. It’s like yin and yang, only in a spin that makes it all gray.


A mother who doesn’t love her son…

Hurricanes birth story. It was a series of ups and downs and insanity. It started when I found out I was pregnant. The immediate sick feeling I had in my stomach pretty much summed it up. Not happiness. More real. What in the actual FUCK am I getting myself into? And how the hell did this happen?

REWIND: January, 1998
A very young me sits in a hospital gown, freezing half to death. She can hear the doctor and nurses talking in the hall in hushed whispers, and her boss has paged her 3 times. She has been having major troubles with her uterus, and the pain had her scared she might have been having a miscarriage. Which would be a neat trick since she was not having sex with anyone. Finally, the doctor walks in. He has a really peculiar look on his face. The nurse will not look her in the eye.

“Go ahead and get dressed, the exam was fine. But we will have to go over a few things.” he says.
“I will be late for work, just tell me while I get dressed behind the curtain, please”
“I really…”
“Doctor- please! I need to go to work!”
*big sigh from the doctor*
” The procedure went well, [Nix], but… I am afraid I have some bad news. There was a significant amount more damage and scar tissue than we anticipated. If you ever decide to have children, you are going to find it very difficult, if not impossible to conceive and carry a child…”
“And?” says the foolish young 20 year old me. “Who’s worried about kids right now?”

Fast forward: March 2001
Miscarriage. How did I have a miscarriage? What’s a DNC? I am not even supposed to be able to get pregnant. How can I have had a miscarriage?

Fast forward:  May 17, 2006
*dials phone* “Hey sis? I need you to come over….Because I have to take a pregnancy test. Yes I am serious. My period is late. It’s probably nothing. I don’t want to tell him yet. He will flip. We have a 5 year plan! And I am not even supposed to be able to get pregnant!”
…..3 hours later….
This can’t be right. I go for my surgery consult next week. I will have them test me.

May 24:
Surgical consult time. Gall stones be damned they are coming out. Pregnancy test? No need. I can’t get pregnant. Required test for all women? OK whatever, give me the cup.  “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I AM PREGNANT?!?!?!?!?”

January 30, 2007:
Induction at 5 AM, still in labor at 5:30 PM. In walks my doctor, and he looks scared to talk to me. “So. There is good news and bad news!  Good- since I broke your water, you are having this baby today.”
“And the bad?”
*Awesome Doctor slowly backs out of the room ready to run* “My shift is over and [Bitch from Hell Doctor is my relief]

Sidenote: BFH doctor told me at my 4 month checkup I was morbidly obese and should have waited to get pregnant, and since I was already pregnant it was too late, but I needed to gain no more than 18 pounds my entire pregnancy. My husband was and still is a BIG dude. How can I have HIS linebacker child and gain only 18 pounds? I hated her. And now she was going to be the one to deliver my baby.

*In strolls BFH. Does cursory exam of my nethers*
“You are not progressing, and the baby is in distress. We are going in for a cesarean. These are the risks, sign this waiver, lets go”

Why isn’t he crying? The cord was around his neck several times. He was slightly blue. They wouldn’t bring him to me. I was in panic mode. He wasn’t crying. My mom looked worried but kept telling me he was fine. Then I heard it. The loud scream. They brought him to see me, and I looked deep into the eyes of my newborn son. And felt…nothing. Like it was just another day. When my husband came in for the first time to see us, to see him, he looked so happy. This look of pure joy to see his son. I felt…nothing.

Week 1- in the hospital. I had setbacks. Spinal headaches. Some infection they could not control. I could not breastfeed and the feeding Nazi was in my room telling me I HAD to nurse. I HAD to feed. It didn’t matter that I was sobbing uncontrollably, telling her even the pump on the lowest setting made me want to scream in holy hell pain. My son was a delight according to the care team. Nurses held and snuggled and cooed and fought over holding him. Family came and held him. I did some. I tried bonding. Skin to skin. Tried to not let the BF Nazi upset me. My savior. Nurse Babs. (Real name) She came in as I was crying and upset, not holding my son, because I was in so much pain. Feeling like a failure because in all honesty, I hurt. And breast feeding was the farthest thing from my mind. I wanted to love and hold my son. I wanted to care. And I felt.. nothing.

Week 2- We are home. We are getting into a routine. He screams, he eats, he pukes, he screams again. He never sleeps. He screams and screams. I feel… nothing. Wait. I feel something. I feel anger. Resentment. Frustration. He won’t. Stop. Screaming. He is broken. I want a new one. That is cute and doesn’t scream and throw up everything he eats and make me feel like hell. I kind of wish I never worried about him not crying in the delivery room.

Week 8- The only time he does not scream and actually sleeps is when he takes a nap in the sun next to the cat. I lay him on his belly on a blanket by the sliding glass door, while the cat snoozes out on the balcony, he snoozes inside. The only way he will sleep is sitting up or on his belly. I have told the pediatrician 20 times I think he has reflux but am rebuffed and told it is “colic” and will get better. He starts to scream at 4 PM and by 11 PM he has not stopped. King Pig has awesomely put away the clean dishes before he left for his night shift. Which includes the babies bottles, which are missing and he will NOT stop screaming. I try to hold him one armed and slam cabinets open and shut looking for the bottles with my other hand. My neighbor bangs/knocks hard on the wall. I am loud. I am bothering her. I am SO angry, I take the cabinet door and I open and slam it over and over about 10 times. I am done. I finally find the bottles and make him one. He spits almost the entire thing up. In desperation, I lay him on his belly in the bassinet. It is 1 AM. I am exhausted. He settles and dozes off. I do too, my hand on his back as he sleeps. I am awakened by the sound of my husbands heavy footsteps.
“Hey honey! How was your night?” he says
“A million times better since you are home. Please watch him for a few minutes. I need to sleep.  I am so glad you got off work early.”
“Honey, what are you talking about? It’s 7:22 AM!”

And then. I felt it. Something. I felt an overwhelming horrifying panic. I was gripped with the biggest wave of choking emotion I have ever felt, even still to this day. I sat straight up in the bed, and shouted “Oh my god the baby!!” and looked over at the bassinet. Where he was sleeping soundly. And right then. I finally felt it. That wave of emotion that they say a new mother should have. I looked at my sleeping son. Who had finally stopped crying and slept several hours. I watched his back rise and fall, and realized he wasn’t dead.  And I bawled. I cried so hard I peed. King Pig had no idea what to make of it, so he just wrapped me in a hug and let me snot all over his shirt. But I finally felt it. I was so connected to him in that moment, I could feel every breath he took inside my heart.  And now, I feel it daily.

I feel it when he calls me in his sleep. When he falls, when he fails, when he succeeds. When his night terrors grip him. When he watches for me anxiously out the window if my afternoon shift turns into a night shift and I see his little face peeking out watching to see if I am home yet. When he has a meltdown because the situation has overwhelmed him and the world won’t stop moving when he needs it to be still. When he comes to me with his grubby face and fist and no pants. When he argues with me, eye rolls, when he brings me he 3957th Lego creation that he has made, when he goes on endlessly about Minecraft. When he has a flash of anger and lashes out. When he bounces in my room way to early and hollers out “HI MOM!!!!!”  When he lays in his bed asleep. I feel it.  But it took some time. We had hurdles to cross. We had to build that bond. Maybe that makes me a bad mom. To not feel this overwhelming sense of emotion. But the reality is, love in any capacity is not an automatic thing. Love is built. Even from birth. I didn’t love him then. But now, my love has no description. No end to its capacity. New moms, know, it’s not always automatic. But it will come. In it’s time. And you will love every minute of it. But please know. It’s not horrible to feel or not feel. Let the love grow until you can not let go. ❤


Beyond the grave and timing is everything…

Tonight, my cats were being abnormally weird. It was right after I put the kid to bed, close to 11pm, one started chattering and looking at his door, the other started creeping toward the door then backing away like he was being stared down. I started to feel really cold and mildly uncomfortable, not in a bad way, just…weird… almost like I do when I have a panic attack.  I finally got the nerve to stand up and go see what they were after. What I saw had me stop dead. Very clearly on the carpet were the imprints of shoe prints standing by his door. There is NO WAY anyone could have come in or out. Where I was sitting I could see and hear everything that would be able to come or go in the house. Except one thing. Sprits. I am back and forth on my beliefs. Well. Not after tonight. My assumption was it was my father in laws spirit stopping by, maybe to check on mom since she was under the weather, and seeing Hurricane while he was here.  Even though it was late, I saw her light on, so I went to talk to ma about it. She told me to look at the clock. 11:17. So all this went down at around 11:11. Meaning, it was not her husband, but my dad stopping by. This number had been a huge significance for my family, especially my dad. He would call me or text me, always it was coincidentally 11:11 or 1:11. I got news about my court case on 9/11 at 11:11 AM. I got the call about his first stroke at 1:11 PM. It was always like that, still is. I call my mom or she texts me, I randomly think of my dad and look at the clock. So. I am guessing he stopped by. Hurricane has told me he talks to both his grandpas at night in his dreams. I suspect my dad came by to be sure I was not f*cking up the pinewood derby car. Building this car with Hurricane has been bittersweet. My father would have loved this whole process. Showing him how to guide the wood over the saw, helping him learn how to weigh and smooth things just with his hands. Encouraging his patience. Showing him how to turn the wood and cup his hands just so, so the lines smooth out and round, making it more aerodynamic. I am struggling with memories of my father, and happy moments all in one. Was it cats being cats? Or did my dad stop in to say hello? I wish I knew for sure! But I think I know the answer. Thanks dad. I think I got this. ❤ 


A little late but yes, we are HOME SCHOOLING

I posted this on my Facebook page. I was sure I would get a lot of flack. I ended up being lucky. Most of my friends were extremely supportive. 🙂  And, shockingly, so has my family. Within reason. Mom still thinks he is not getting enough socialization. Ah the Socialization myth.

Throwing this out there now so the storm of people who are going to tell me it is the worst idea of my life can get it over with. We decided to home school Hurricane for Second Grade. He started “School” on August 18. Yes, we struggled with this choice, yes we did lots of research, yes we are prepared for this, yes I have covered the social concerns, yes, I did have him take the proper assessment tests and more to ensure he stays on target. I even talked to my pediatrician and his OT. No one seems to worry about his education. He is smart as hell and soaks in things like a SPONGE. Most know with my creative personality and background with education, and the pursuit of my education degree, and my many school teacher friends, I have the resources at my disposal to keep his brain moving. I matched up planned his curriculum with the current one for the local public schools, and the expected common core/SOL gambit. But everyone has challenged his social side. A few people have mentioned they do not want to see him turn out as the “weird kid”. Newsflash. He already is. He is a combination of the outgoing friend of the world and introvert of both his parents. I have him enrolled in 2 co-ops who will meet 3 times a week, and have play dates and phys ed classes built in. Many of his current best friends are already home schooling. He is starting Scouts in September. He will be fine. I know many of you are going to argue against this, and for this, but in the end, hubs and I are his parents, this is the choice we think will work best for us, and we have agreed with my mother in law, if we see this being a struggle, or he seems to be falling behind either academically or socially, we will re-enroll him in school. Feel free to rant away, I am sure many people I know on both sides will chime in. But please keep it respectful if you comment. I don’t need feuding friends.


United in Play Dough – The Recipes that Kept me Employed and Sane

I know this is totally not on topic with the other stuff I have been posting. However, it may or may not give you a glimpse into my life, and I have a lot of people asking lately about ME. So here we go.

I joined a “moms” group where I was judged by my over exuberant balls out 10000 MPH personality, and my job choice as being beneath them. At first, it hurt me to be excluded. Then it angered me. I tried to join a conversation of women at a particular meet and greet, where I was there as a nanny. I had joined the group to keep my nanny charge in touch with his parent’s friends and their children. And when I made a comment contradictory to whatever it was they were discussing, one mom turned to me and said “I think I know a bit more about this. I went to school and studied this for 6 years. You are just a nanny.” The room went silent. I had already, in a short time, made my personality known. And my body language said it all. They all knew it was coming. So I told her all about me.

“I am college educated. I was in school for 5 years. I was one semester away from my FIRST bachelor’s degree when my father got sick the first time. His first coma and stroke of THREE after the meningitis. I thought I was going to lose him, so I took time off and joined the working world. While working full time, and helping my mother take care of my father, I continued taking a partial course load. I chose to take “low end” jobs as a nanny or daycare worker, because of the children. I was looking death in the face every day, and I wanted to see life. I wanted to see joy. Growth. Living. How better to do that than to help raise children? I also, in the midst of this, had a major health crisis and was told, at age 20, I may not ever have children. So I surrounded myself with the children of others and lived the joy.

Like you, many who meet me think I am uneducated and therefore, un-equal. Truth be told, I do it for one reason. Wonder. The absolute amazing wonder of children. The way a child can see a rock and be so excited because it “Is WHITE! And BUMPY! And the coolest rock EVER!” Or how they can see the sky and ask “Why is it blue?” How they learn something hurts by touching it instead of listening to your warnings, how they examine their toys to see how they work, or how they do things like use their toy tool set to disassemble their toddler bed at 2 in the morning. (Yep. Hurricane did that. Twice. At age 2.) And one thing I have learned from the kids is to NEVER judge someone. Meet someone new, be a little apprehensive, but be yourself and let your life shine. If they do not take you for who you are, make your own path, play in your own sandbox. Eventually someone else will want to play along side you. But never judge. You don’t know me until you ask.”

And slowly, after I walked out, head high, toddlers in tow, I started getting e-mails. From the other moms in the group who felt the first woman was way out of line. And they all started the same way. It was funny really. They all complained of one thing. They all missed my play dough. You read that right. My play dough. I am a huge hater of the stuff you buy. I read about the chemical make up of it and when I saw it is made with the same grade petroleum as in MOTOR OIL I had a problem. Kids eat this stuff. So I tried every single recipe in every single book I owned on children. And I hated them all. Then I thought back to the first family I worked for. We used to make it for the kids, all 11 of them, and it was amazing. So I spent hours in the kitchen trying to recreate it, and finally found it.

Years after the fact, I still get the occasional call or email for my dough recipe. Or for the directions on how we made homemade fossils. Or how we learned about how big dinosaurs really are with balloons and chalk. Last week I got an email from one of my earliest nanny charges. She has her own kids now. And she wants my play dough recipe. For my Meebear, and her new wee bear. Thanks for reading. The recipe is below.

❤ Mom T

Worlds Best Cooked Play Dough Recipe:

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 cup salt

4 Tablespoons cream of Tartar OR Alum

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions: Bring water and salt to a slow boil. Slowly stir in flour, and alum until fully combined. Add oil and remove from heat, continuing to stir until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Remove from pan and place on a lightly floured countertop surface. Let cool for about fifteen minutes, then begin to knead. Continue kneading, sprinkling with more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. The trick is to knead knead knead! The more you work it the smoother it becomes. If it still seems a bit dry, sprinkle oil on 1 teaspoon at a time while working it in. Store in an airtight container. Some people feel it keeps longer in the fridge. Optional- add food coloring or kool aid to the mix while blending for color, but it may stain hands! 🙂

Next up- homemade fossils!


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