Overthinking has held me back from writing a blog these days. Facebook has been a place for me to share my ups, downs, frustrations and joys in parenting and life. Today I woke up, worked out, showered (Yay!) and decided to start blogging weekly! Life is all about stories and when you’re brave enough to share your own, it can truly add value to others’ lives. Many other strong women have helped me get where I am today. As a mom who messes up daily, I know that it is part of the business of parenting, and I continue to set new goals and strive to move forward and become a better person, mom, wife, and friend than I was yesterday!
For 10 years, I taught preschool to children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. For the 6 years following, I was a behavior specialist working with teachers, parents and specialists helping children with varying levels of behavioral challenges and Autism in the inner-city. When I was 14, my sister with Down Syndrome was born and since that day, I always knew I wanted help others with special needs. I have always dove into subjects of interest and tried to learn all there is about that subject and field and then apply it so I got my BCBA following my M.Ed.. I know how to write behavior plans, how to set up behavior charts, how to de-escalate situations, how to motivate children and how to help children with severe self-injuries learn more effective and safer ways to get their needs met. I poured my heart and soul into my job and truly enjoyed what I did. I still have very fond memories of the after hours home services I did, connections I made with parents, and all the challenges and struggles children overcame through the years. I can honestly say that the children and parents taught ME about life, perseverance, strength, courage and compassion.
I continued my job as a BCBA/behavior specialist until my son was 2 years old. I decided to leave my position and stay home with him because deep in my soul, I felt that being there for him, to experience the parenting experience morning, noon and night was what I wanted. He had a speech delay and was aggressive with other kids (biting) and leaving marks on other children when he couldn’t get his needs across.
He ended up getting speech therapy and became MUCH better about using his words to get his needs met. He also learned social skills from his grandmother’s home childcare and early intervention play groups. Behavior charts worked for him in learning to potty train before 3, to use his words instead of aggressing and to use nicer words (less whining). Right now, we are in need of a brand new one because threenage year is in full effect! Since then, I have had another baby and I believe some of the behavior comes from being jealous.
I now run my own business in health and fitness (one of my other passions) and I pour my heart into that when the children are in bed and one day a week when both are in school and child care. I am completely in love with the freedom I have gained, and ultimately enjoy the ups and downs of parenthood, and have a completely different outlook on what being a stay-at-home parent is all about. What I have found in the last year and a half staying home with my 3-year-old son and my now one-year-old daughter is that no amount of education, training or experience can prepare you for the throes of parenthood! Yesterday, I was punched. My husband had a toy thrown at him. Earlier today, when I sent my son to take a break and let him know that I would in fact carry him up the stairs when he wouldn’t walk, he looked me right in the eye and said that HE would carry ME! Several times, I had adrenaline pumping through my veins when both children were climbing where they weren’t supposed to, running toward the road and jumping on furniture! I will say that although I use all the techniques I have learned through the years, there are times that I yell when the shoes aren’t going on after the 3rd time I asked and feel the patience pour out of me when I see my son push his baby sister down or say he will punch her in the face (WHERE did he get that?) I KNOW that toddler hood comes with emotional ups and downs, that children test their limits with adults and they are still learning to communicate, but there are definite times that I still question my own parenting skills despite all I know. Each day, I wake up before the children and workout or have my cup of coffee and some “Me” time and clear my head so that I can have the patience and perseverance to lead my children into a day another exciting day of learning, playing, and navigating this crazy roller coaster we call life. Oh, and I plan on creating a behavior chart for this stage my 3-year-old is in! No more playing around, lol.
Each day, I focus on creating a day of fun and adventure and keep things positive. Sometimes that’s hard when there are tantrums over the placement of the sun or when we can’t have candy for breakfast, but we do our best! At the end of the day, I accept the things that went well, the failures and triumphs, and try to remember what matters most- the love, the cuddles, the funny quotes, and be grateful for all the gifts we are blessed with in this life. I truly enjoy these moments at home with my babies. I have found that life is all about balance and I’m constantly trying to find that to be a better mommy, wife, person and to just be me authentically. I have realized that the more I acknowledge my imperfections, the better off I am and the more I can live wholeheartedly.