Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unsolicited Parental Advice

I think I am a pretty easy-going person, but one thing that really gets me irritated is when people who don't have kids, or people new to the realm of parenthood decide to enlighten you with their child-rearing ideology.

If you don't have any kids, then my opinion is that you have no validation by giving parents advice at all. Unless you are a teacher. Your best bet is to just look at your friend or colleague and say, "I know nothing on this subject, other than what I've read, and I'm glad it isn't me." It's kind of like men weighing in on abortion.

If you have a baby, I feel worse for you, giving me parenting advice, because it shows you are still under the assumption you will have some control over this child when it becomes old enough to make decisions on its own. Either you will continue to live in a fantasy world, or you will get informed real fast, the first time your sweet child says that they hate you.

While having one child is definitely a learning experience, I feel like it is the junior varsity level of parenting. You don't make the senior squad until you have two children who now introduce the art of mortal combat with one another. This is when you begin to loathe the notion that having kids isn't as hard as people say it is, because anything you learned before becomes obsolete.

I also have to laugh at parents who are anti-germ, hand sanitizing fools. You are fighting an endless battle, and your kid may get sick more often because of it. A little dirt never hurt anyone, and the kid needs to build an immune system.

In the end, books on parenting are sometimes helpful, but the best place for guidance is probably your friends and family who have gone through it before. Books present a best case scenario, and much like the media, present situations in extreme opposition. Think back to when you were their age, and how much control your parents really had over you. Don't be dumb enough to think that you are smarter than your parents were. Kids are our karma coming due for all that we did and managed to get away with.

The sooner you accept that, the less you will be surprised by.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I need a girls night out.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught in the same old routine. Watching reruns, living by my DVR and yoga pants every day doesn't leave room to access the parts of me that are still longing to be carefree.

My kids are at a great age. At almost 12 and 13, and already independent, they have their own daily agendas. While I have no problem with the possibility of retiring young, I am glad that I will soon be moving home, where I have people that can go out and do things, although most have young kids.

My fear is that since they have small kids, they won't still be up for a old fashioned wild girls night out.

Sometimes, you need to cut loose and just laugh, whether it's due to the irony or everyday crap, or looking back on old times. But this is the reason I love my friends that I grew up with. There is no pretention or bullshitting...we know what we've all done and love each other regardless. There is a safety and sisterhood in that.

I hope moving home will give me the chance to do things with my own sisters to go have fun nights, but they are still at the point in their relationships where decisions lie heavily with their husbands. Once you are married over a decade, I find that I care less about my every move pleasing my husband, as I have largely put my happiness in life on hold to fulfill his career ambitions. Now that he is retiring, it's my turn to shout outloud what I want.

I also fear that moving home will come with its own set of issues. Dealing with people that I have had limited contact with over the past 12 years. Needy parents, family obligations...things that you can escape when you are several hundreds of miles away.

Army life has ruined me in that aspect. I am used to be alone, so I find myself craving this time to deal with my life and make plans. I am used to being self-sufficient, and leaning via phone on my few close pals. I have to leave my therapist and start anew...a daunting task when it's hard to explain the situation that brought you to therapy in the first place. It would be easier to write a book first and them make the new shrink read it as a pre-requisite. I don't think I have the energy to rehash the story aloud anymore.

I also go into this move, knowing that the army won't be getting me out of it in a few years by switching duty stations. That means it will be up to me to scrimp and save once I do get ready to move on, and it lies largely on my motivation...which is sketchy. I think it will be a great thing to touch my past by moving home, and reinforce roots there for my kids, that even if I move away, they are in a place they can continue to call home after high school, if they so choose.

Not long after my move, will be my 15 year reunion. I look forward to this event to reconnect with old friends. With my blog reaching people I actually know, I'm sure I will have some odd things to answer and it may be a little embarrassing since I am so forthright in my opinions and my life's trials...not something many people would put honestly on the web for all to read.

It's one thing to blog anonymously, or from far away from where you grew up. But seeing people who I knew in high school and am friends with on FB who read it, sets me up for gossiping and whispers at a reunion. Honestly, if you know me and expect to see me when I move home, then just put it out there. I'm a big girl, and I can take it. I know who I am, and I accept And love myself, flaws and all.

I think everyone should. It would make us all a lot more at peace knowing others struggle too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

When Deep in boredom, get a tattoo.

I've been thinking for a few weeks about adding a new tattoo to my collection of four. This one has the most meaning, but I wanted it to commemorate not the bad aspects of the last year, but the positives, namely, my strength.

So I went and did it today, and am quite pleased.

It says, "the strength of my character is defined by the weight carried by my shoulders."
But in French, the language of my heart.

I read a story about how the Army is finally doing four PTSD screenings for each soldier now. I hope that they make them more in depth than a questionnaire, and address with the soldiers that it doesn't mean your career is over, it means, get help BEFORE your self-destructive behaviors end your career.

Men think that they are held to a higher standard when it comes to admitting you need help, but to that, I say no one likes to admit they do. I have struggled on and off with SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder since I lived in Alaska. It's a deep depression that takes over mostly in cold climates due to lack of sunlight. Many women also suffer from baby blues, or more serious post-partum depression. Do you think it's any easier for a woman to admit she has a beautiful baby, yet is suffering because of the overwhelming nature?

They even made a movie with Sarah Jessica Parker, called, "I don't know how she does it."

How do women effectively have time to work jobs, take care of household duties and still have time and energy for romance? You men think we don't want to have sex as we get older, but did you ever consider we might just not want to have sex with you?

After two deployments, I'm like a camel. I can go months without having a sexual urge. It gets hard to flip that switch and become a sex fiend again after going that long. Plus, we don't have the time or energy to put back in to the relationships what was lost during your absences.
New mothers and mothers of young kids go through the same thing.
Sometimes you get so close to getting some, and then you make one dumb comment, and any warm and fuzzy feeling we had towards you is gone in an instant.

Now if Ryan Reynolds or Bradley Cooper showed up, I would probably rip their clothes off and have at it. But they didnt argue with me about running to pick something up from the store today. Lol. And they are hotter than my husband.

The point is, spend some quality time with your spouse. Learn to talk to them about things. When a wife knows you are sharing honest feelings, worries and concerns, we feel more emotionally attached, and you have a better chance at getting laid, as well as putting trust in your partner to be real and communicate honestly.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TMI...things to never post on Facebook

I am guilty of it. Many people are.

Posting TMI on status updates is uncontrollable. For some reason, mostly boring lives, we find the need to post everything we do for the world to see. But the worst offenders break down in to two catagories:

The ones who post non-stop boring stories about their kids, grocery shopping lists and other household duties.

And

The ones who post highly in appropriate content.
(I happen to at least find these amusing.)

Some of the highlights I've recently seen include:

"guess I shouldn't have had that Mexican food bc it's coming back on me now"

"after childbirth, my vagina can no longer hold a tampon."

"I've lost a lot of weight, but I don't know what to do with all the hanging skin."

"do balls sag? Bc mine are looking really low lately."

"I am not kidding you, that shit I took was at least a foot long."


And these are just the ones that I remember bc they made me laugh. I would probably post more graphic status updates myself if I wasn't aware that people actually read this stuff. But I am a person who has no issues bringing up bodily functions in mixed company. Other people are too easily offended if they know what time you take your daily crap, if you're constipated, or if you have multiple craps per day. (which makes me jealous bc I have to fight for one.)

The status updates I loathe are the ones that people never say anything real. It's all superficial, hunky-dorey BS. I see a lot of new mothers do this. My favorite new mother updates involve bitching about the fact that it sucks (ha) to breastfeed, and that it is making them second guess a second child. That's a real new mother. A fake new mother will post non-stop adorable ( or not so adorable) photos of their babies and want people to tell them how cute their babies are. But let's be real...a newborn looks like Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, or a boiled chicken. Very few are cute, and even less so if they are high maintenance.

Since I know about twenty fucking people that are knocked up right now, I am imploring you to put the funny and embarrassing stuff on your status updates. You can post pictures when they are born, and then once per month thereafter. The rest of your updates should amuse us veteran mothers of multiple children who know that the gig is up.

We know your kid has taken off his diaper and smeared his shit on the wall. We know you have caught your toddlers on the kitchen floor, eating out of 6 half gallon tubs of ice cream once they mastered getting out of their beds. We know they dumped a bowl of spaghettios on your couch, and filled the cats ears with ketchup.

Yes...my children did every one of those things, but I have heard other mother commiserate about the same stuff.

You cannot join the veteran mom club until you are over the amazing newness of your eating and shitting machine until you are willing to share the horror with the rest of us. And if your kid is perfect, then you are headed down a path of wild delusion and should put the shrinks number on speed dial, bc you will have one bumpy ride!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PTSD and how you can spot it...

The army loves to talk about PTSD, but when it comes down to it, they don't do a great job educating on it.

When soldiers come home, they are given a questionnaire about a month after they return. But did you know that PTSD often takes 6 months to show symptoms?

We all know our spouses are different when they get back, and often, we expect this as normal. Some researchers believe that if a soldier is not affected by war, that it is more detrimental in the long term.

My husband came back from his first deployment six years ago a different man. He often faked being happy and at ease when at home, but felt more comfortable when at work, since he had spent so much time being gone. He was often jumpy, irritable and what I didn't see was a film of depression creeping over him. It was simply easier to react to situations with anger than to address the underlying issues.

We've always talked about the events that took place during his deployments, so I figured he would be able to tell me about how it was affecting him, but he played it off well, not wanting me to look at him differently. The army teaches them to be strong men, and suck it up, as does society.

It took a second deployment and family issues to bring down the house of cards he had stacked up, as well as a breakdown. Finally, it became apparent that he was in over his head with these emotions, and needed to receive counseling to undo the brainwashing the military does to turn you in to a war machine, and back in to a feeling, caring person.

If you notice your soldier doing the following, please get help before it spirals out of control. As it was put to me, a soldier puts these uneraseable images of war into a shoebox, with the lid on tight. But at some point in his life, that lid will need to come off. It is estimated, that 50% of soldier from Iraq and Afghanistan wars will suffer PTSD or TBI, and 20-30% will commit crimes resulting from it.

Warning signs:
Irritability
Not finding interest in things he used to
Being jumpy
Driving erradically or road rage
Has a hard time dealing with crowds or public places
Restlessness or nightmares
Migraines
Memory loss

These are just basic symptoms, but bottom line is that if your soldier is not acting his predeployment self, please talk him into seeing a counselor just once...you can go with him for support. Better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When the wind and snow are blowin, it's time for a siesta.

I've been locking myself away lately. Too stressed to deal with more than is on my plate right now. With the weather finally being normal for this time of year, it's even more reason to hibernate.

Things haven't been that fun lately. I hate living every day, hoping it passes by fast, but I do. I'm ready to move, although, I'm scared to do it and be free of the army. It's scary, after all these years to not have someone dictate where you can live, your schedule...and worst, no paycheck.

The next few months will be sit and wait. I guess it's no less than what I've been doing all along, but this time, there are so many variables.

The good thing, is that I made it through the past 9 months, so what is 3 or 4 more?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Working Moms vs. Stay at Home...can't we all just get along?!

So, since I DVR everything, I am watching Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show from yesterday.
(Yes, I AM up early! I woke up at 6 and have been up ever since.)

So, this show is about who works harder, and blah, blah blah.

Whoa! Ladies...I've done it both ways, and there is no way to make the argument for one over the other.

First, it largely depends on the age of your kids. My kids are 11 and 13, so with me staying home right now, it's not even comparable to when they were 1 and 3. I can go back to sleep now, have plenty of time to get my duties done, and I am recouperating.

From what, you ask? The first 13 years of motherhood!!! I've been tired since the minute I peed on that stick!

But when I work fulltime, I am exhausted by the time I get home, have the housework to get done, help kids with homework, cook something edible, and it's busy. I have done this since 2003, and largely with my husband gone...so, as a single parent...but when my husband IS home, it's a completely different experience. My husband does housework, and when he's home, all the laundry.

Both sides have equal responsibility. If you stay home when your kids are little, GOD BlESS you, because it takes a calling. Seriously. I don't know how many times you can clean up the same mess in one day and keep your sanity. You are making a sacrifice to stay home, FOR YOUR KIDS. It takes dedication and love to never be away from them.

At least when I work outside the home, I feel that I am getting a break from my wife/mom side, and can feel like I am still able to hold an intellectual conversation. I had brain rot from listening to Barney. I had five minutes to myself when I worked. I actually worked less at work than when I had toddlers and stayed home!

I just think that whether you stay at home, work outside the home, or are blessed enough to have the choice, then instead of arguing who has it harder, why not support each other and leave it at that? We have enough bullshit to deal with in our relationships, asshole bosses, and tantrum prone children, so let's give each other a break and an 'atta girl.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why do I smoke...an essay.

I got reamed out by my husband and my therapist today for smoking two packs a day for the last month.

It did not go well.

In fact, it made me want to smoke while I was getting reamed out.

I know, I know...IT'S BAD FOR YOU AND WILL KILL YOU.

The problem is that it's not enough of a deterrent some days. It's a thought of relief.

I am going to get a prescription for the Nicotrol inhaler next week, but until then, I am going to puff away and love every second of it.

And everyone who doesnt like it can suck my balls.

At this junction of my life, I DESERVE CIGARETTES. Much like I deserve Valium.

Why did I start smoking? I was an idiot.

Why do I keep smoking?

1. To avoid risk of murdering someone.
2. Because it gives me something to do with my mouth and hands.
A. Which eliminates the need/desire/impulse to do any of the following:
a.Give random blowjobs
b.Eat
c.Tell people what I REALLY think of them.
B. Avoid exercising.
3. To not abuse alcohol.
4. To not become a pothead.
5. To not sell my children to the highest bidder.
6. To tolerate long phone conversations with uninteresting people.

I think that's enough to make my point.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Republican primaries fuel my inner fire.

I hope that some of you reading right now will take an open-minded stance as I launch my diatribe.

I grew up in a republican family. Mostly because they believe in strong defense of our country and foreign policy. But most issues, they fall on the liberal side of things.

I have spent the past 13 years teaching my children that intolerance is wrong. Everyone should have the right to work, have a family, and love in peace. I believe in religious freedom, and the right to practice your religion unbiasedly.

I also believe that until men start shooting babies out of their vaginas, and stop being absentee fathers, that it is up to women what to do with their bodies. I am against late term abortions because it is barbaric, unless it's due to the mothers health.

I believe in the right to bear arms. But I believe that it needs the licensing and registration of these weapons. I also believe banning assault rifles to the general public.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized and taxed, just as drugs and alcohol are. There are no studies that prove it is any worse than any legal drug we have.

I believe that a family is what you make it. I know many straight marriages fail, and there are broken homes. But the reality is that if you can provide for an unwanted child, why can't you take care of one? Love is love, and it knows no boundaries. As a military wife, family is a broad term. I have considered many other families and friends as part of my family. If you want to marry as a gay couple, get married. If you want to live together, then live together. If you want a polygamous relationship that doesn't exploit children, then go for it. They say it takes a village, so why prevent love from taking place.

I also believe that many of these issues will be addressed and voted on through ballot measures. Let the people decide, not the politicians.

Also, remember when selecting a candidate for office, that he or she is merely the front man for Congress. Congress is where the big votes matter. Pay less attention to who is President and do your research on who you elect in the smaller races, and look at their record. If they are useless, boot them out.

We need change in this country and we don't want to have to wait 15-20 years until the baby boomers are all retired to make those changes. Get motivated to do something. This is our country.lets reclaim and rebuild so that our children have a future.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lessons well learned, are best accepted after eating Mexican food.

"it's been a long December, and there's reasons to believe, that maybe this year will be better than the last."
-counting crows

My week sucked. Plain and simple. But it seems to be the average. There are less sucky weeks, and okay weeks. This one was grueling. And next week will be busy with it loads of VA appointments and frustrating non-answers.

But today was better. A talk with your best friends can set you right again, especially laughing about ridiculous things. Two of us have two sons, and one is good and the second sons are laughing evil. It's amazing how little they are when they can try to connive their way out of a situation or get what they want. We know it sets us up for some hell later...sooner, for me. I got three phone calls from Gavin's school this week. Not doing homework, not paying attention, socializing. That was pretty much me in 6th grade too, so I get it.

But what my kid doesn't get is that I know his moves, because I've done them. This kid manipulated his therapist!!!! He is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

I hope I can get them moved out of the country before they graduate school, so they can appreciate things a little more, and learn the important things in life.

Early semi-retirement is on the horizon for me, and I will be good with that. I can continue to blog about my life and get my books done.

If you were going to consider moving internationally, where would you move?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if you are all awake out there...

My comments have been dwindling to nothing. Is it my lack of witty reparte, or is it not though provoking enough?

I think I have developed agoraphobia. I hate going anywhere. And so I become more isolated. Sometimes I picture everyone in their lives, running around me on fast forward, as I sit and live each day in slow motion.

It's like being on death row, but having LOTS of last meals. :)

I am literally waiting to find out the fate of the rest of my life. It's been 8 months so far, and I have another 6 to go until I get half an answer. Even longer for the rest of it. And it's not like one option is awesome and one is terrifying. It's like, do I cover my eyes or my ears?

My situation is what it is, and it sucks, but I chose to stick through it and not bail, because that's who I am, and because I'm a little insane. But that's life. It isn't always good vs bad. Sometimes its bad vs worse. And most of the time, it's not as bad when it's over as it is when you don't know what the hell is going on in the middle.

On a brighter note, I grounded my kids today.

I made Gavin write me a report on the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park. A direct quote was, "Yellowstone is on top of a large lava field. That's hot! It also must be scary for Yogi the bear."

Gotta love it!

Taylor had to translate things from English to Spanish for me. He did a good job, but I think I see Rosetta Stone in our future.

See, it's the small things in life!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yeah, Happy Holidays...Now everyone, GO AWAY!

Don't get me wrong...I love a good family get together, or a chance to see friends.

But this year, we had chaos for two weeks straight.

My husbands grandfather passed away the week before Xmas, so there was a trip to Canada. Then my mother in law came for a night, then left for my sister in laws, then my father in law and his wife came for a night, then my mother in law came back for three days, then my dad came for three days.

That's a lot of bedding changes, my friends. And a lot of groceries.

Plus the kids are home from school and my husband is ALWAYS home now, which, after 13 years of him being gone all the time, takes some readjustment. I'm not complaining that he's not deployed, just stating a fact that now when I want some alone time, I no longer have a short field problem to send him off to.

You civilians say to military wives that you don't know how we do it, with our spouses gone so much, but we say we don't know how you do it, never having any down time! Lol.

I haven't know any other way to be married. So I hate it when I have to negotiate about what is for dinner, or little things like that. Plus, he is about to be retired, so he will never go away.

The grass is always greener on the other side, so what can you do? Plus, honestly, I am glad he doesn't have to deploy again. I can't imagine how bad it would've been with another tour of duty. I see guys that have deployed five times, and knowing what I know now, there is no way they can't be affected by war.

My moms friend that is a guy but not her boyfriend (haha) asked her why we women watch movies like "The Notebook" when we know it will make us cry. I said its to relieve pent up negative energy so that we don't get arrested for assault as much as men.

And it's true.

I HATE crying. Especially in front of people. But there are times when I get so angry, I have to lock myself in a room and get it out, or I would beat the holy hell out of someone. I use visualization techniques too, like on that show "Ally McBeal". Sometimes I am standing there, with a calm look on my face, but in my head, I am slamming someone's head against concrete.

As women, we get screwed. If you are emotional, then people think you can't hold it together, but if you aren't emotional and hold it all in, then you end up blacking out and waking up with your husbands severed penis in your hand, wondering, "What the fuck just happened?!"

So, I have nothing to do until Thursday...which means lots of reruns and the Iowa Caucas. And nothing chases my kids and husband out of the room faster than Dr Phil, Divorce Court and CNN.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year...new changes

This past year is hands down the worst of my life.

To recap, 5 deaths, had my marriage tested, and my sanity. For the first time ever, I questioned if I could go on. A redeployment, a move that never happened, and ultimate dissolutionment with life. Loss of friends that I thought were true was the icing on the cake.

But I made it.

I don't ring in this New Year with much optimism. I know that I am on a long road, with battles ahead. But I know I will win the war.

For you see, I am able to be greatful for the positive and the things I've gained. Inner-strength, the development and testing of my character, and a beautiful new niece. I've developed a relationship with my inlaws that did not exist for the past 13 years, and so has my husband. I have a supportive unit of family and friends who accept me and will have my back through the bad times.

Things that haven't gone as expected are clearer to me now as to why.

The universe has its plans.

Men plan and God laughs.

These are all true.

But I see people in two groups now...those that know they are fucked on Earth, and those that haven't experienced it yet.

I have had to support my husband through his mental wounds of war. I can't possibly understand all of it, but I respect it enough to be by his side, as I would if he had come home physically injured. I quit my job in order to simplify my life while in chaos, and put my family first.

It's draining. To be able to help someone mentally impaired and not lose your sense of reality. I highly recommend anyone who has a soldier with PTSD or TBI to attend as many appointments as possible. Things get missed, and loopholes are created. You fight for your soldier as he fought for our country.

This being said, many non-vets have mental health issues. Drug and alcohol addictions are just as challenging. Sometimes you can't answer why something happened. You can only work on the progress to make change.

I have a lot to be resolved this next year. But once you surpass the hurdle of what is going on, you can develop an understanding and an empathy.

This life on Earth is not meant to be easy. It's a test of who you are and how you tough through things. Being a military wife has given me training for this...being able to adapt to new situations, being self-sufficient, and not giving up.

I have been broken, but in the broken places, lies strength.

You never know what is coming down the road. I sure don't. I can see my future ten years from now and know that many of the issues that keep me up at night will be over, and there will be new worries. But I know I will be okay.

When you have those ugly times that want to pull you down, fight it with all you have. Use it to make you grow, rather than fall apart.

Life is hard, but look at what we learn. Hopefully, we will teach each other how to get through the bad times as a community, and lessen the notion that you have to be strong enough to fight it alone.

Peace and love for all...