Asking for Help

Parenting is not easy. Parenting in the 21st Century is not easy. Parenting during a Global Pandemic is fuckin hard!

Today something happened. I was sitting at my kitchen table just finishing up my 2nd period class when Kev walks in the kitchen and carelessly looks inside the fridge, as most hungry boys do and then walks over and glances inside the pantry. I can tell right away that he wanted my attention. I waited a bit, pretended I was busy on my computer. One of the attributes I have been trying to instill in this kid is being able to advocate for himself. I mean he’s 18 years old after all, which means he should be able to do such things right? At least that’s what all the “professionals” and our “well developed society” tells us. See, there is this magic spell that happens when someone turns 18. They rapidly become these responsible adults who have their lives all figured out. They know exactly what they want to do as a career, they never need assistance in “adulting” like making their appointments, paying all their bills, and of course making this world a better place since we screwed it up to begin with.

Anyway, he asked, “Mom, are you busy?” I looked over my computer and said, “I happen to be on my prep right now and then lunch so I have a few minutes. What’s up?”

I had him sit next to me and it happened.

He asked for helped.

He advocated for himself.

He admitted that he can’t do this thing called life on his own.

You see, he’s not doing so well with online school as a freshman at UNM. He doesn’t get to hang out with his peers or have access to the resources had he been able to live on campus. That’s right, he had to move back home thanks to good ol’ Rona. So now he’s stuck in his room trying to navigate online courses with nobody to really help, because let’s face it, when everyone in the household is busy doing their own thing; working, schooling, appointments and such, there just isn’t the time to do what is necessary to succeed. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone else, or is it just my family?

I refuse to feel guilty anymore. I refuse to accept the reality that we push our children to have their life figured out by 18, 20, or 30. Hell, I was married and divorced at 19 years old!! Started having babies at 21 (not married by the way, tsk tsk) and changed my major/careers at least three times. My husband barely found a job he is satisfied with in his forties.

So as I sat and listened to my son, looking into his big brown eyes, tears forming, I knew this was the first step for him to finally get the help he truly needs. If you have followed and read my blog for a few years, you know that I haven’t held back with my struggles with my son. If you know me well, you know how much my heart aches for that kid to have a successful life that he feels good about. Notice that I didn’t mention happiness. With everything going on around us, I have come to believe that it is not our job to make anyone happy. Happiness is truly a state of attitude and not a state of circumstance. Parenting is definitely not about making our children “happy,” otherwise everyone will end up exhausted and disappointed.

Kevin was never a happy child. I tried so hard to make that kid happy. Let’s just say that we both ended up angry, confused, and hurt. So now as I try to navigate this new normal, and I am not just talking about the Pandemic, but the new normal of what it means to raise children in this world where anxiety, depression and self-harm is a way of life, it is important that I truly understand what is going on.

So what is going on? Our kids are struggling and we need to be there for them. Not to criticize that they should already know better, not to shame them because they make poor decisions, or live a life that is different than what we imagined when we knew of their existence.

The conversation that followed in my kitchen today- Kevin wanted help but he didn’t want the shame that came with it. He was afraid of what other people would think of him because he needed a little professional help. I did my best to comfort and encourage him to take that leap of faith and give it try. After all, I’ve been on anti-depressants for a few years now and have worked with a therapist to help me navigate the depression and anger that lingers in my soul. I do it shamelessly because of the difference it has made in my life. No one questions taking Tylenol when they have a headache, and no one questions the diabetic when they need to take insulin. We shouldn’t question the mental health of our fellow brothers and sisters.

You know what? Kevin is a good kid. I always knew he was a good kid and I believe he will be successful. Right now, we need to realize that our children are really hurting during this time. So much of the world around them doesn’t make sense and as much as we want to blame our political leaders, or stay in our anger of the situation we are in, it won’t do any good for our children.

We need to hold them and tell them– no– promise them, that it is going to be okay. Somehow or another, it will work out. Sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned, and sometimes we really struggle and life really sucks, but that doesn’t mean they suck. I tried to explain to Kevin that what he is going through is “okay.” It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be unmotivated, it’s okay to be confused, and hurt. I tried to explain that if we were not in a Global Pandemic his experience of college would be dramatically different. He would be able to hang out with his peers who have walked before him and show him the way. He would be having fun going to college parties, meeting new friends and girls. He would be having study dates, going to football games, and playing his trumpet at Popejoy Hall.

See, we have a responsibility to our children, to help them help themselves. To give them the hard answers that life IS hard. But what makes our lives so meaningful are the relationships we have around us, those relationships that refuse to let us fall, that refuse to let us stay stuck, that refuse to allow anger and hurt to drive our depressions.

Let’s be kind, most of all, let’s just BE THERE for our children. Whatever that may look like is what it should look like. Doesn’t matter if your child is 6 or 18 or 21. They need you, whether you are their parent, relative, teacher or friend. If you know them, you know what they need, what they need to hear, and what should be done.

We are in this together so let us BE THERE for each other as we navigate this bullshit virus and win at this crazy game called life.

Love Always

Politics Begin with Me

When it comes to the world of politics it seems that we have replaced our own morals and values with that of righteous arrogance and dehumanizing other people.

I am just as tired as the next person and even discouraged with our own behavior when it comes to discussing politics. In some ways I am actually a bit terrified with the darkness that seems to be hovering around when I read comments and posts about our politics. For some reason we think it’s okay to berate, insult, and name call in the name of politics.

I get that we all have our own opinions about how our society should be ran. We all want lives that have meaning. fulfillment and enough money to live comfortably. We all want to have freedoms to express our rights and the rights for others. Yet, as soon as a decision is made in regards to something we don’t like, we spew out the insults and force feed our opinions onto others thinking it will somehow mend the differences.

Are we really going there? Are we really going to call our leaders “Idiots” because they have a different approach on how to deal with the current situation? Are we really cutting off relationships because of disagreements on issues that really don’t have anything to do with us individually?

Do we not teach our children not to name call? Do we not teach our children that we should be kind to others ESPECIALLY to those who are different than us? Do we not teach our children to work out disagreements by listening and understanding the other person, EVEN WHEN we don’t agree with them?

Why then is it okay to react in ways that are so childish- yet we hold higher standards of behavior for our children, when we ourselves can’t even live up to those standards.

Maybe we should stop and reflect on our own issues and find out why we are so angry and quick to insult and belittle our brothers and sisters.

It’s easy to write a blog post (ahem) or post on social media our opinions about our politic views without ever reaching out to the people we should be discussing these issues with. Do we email or write to our representative on how they should serve the people who voted for them? Do we participate in political protests? Do we go beyond the voting booth and actually volunteer at a shelter or adopt the unwanted baby?

How can we teach our future generation to be better when all we are showing them is that it is okay to throw tantrums by name calling, holding on to our own righteousness, and declare our ways higher than the other party?

It’s ironic how we want to live in a world where Black Lives Matter, LBGTQ have the same rights as straight people do, a world where EVERYONE has the right to pursue happiness. We do this by condemning the racist and shaking our fists, telling them they need to change, because we know that racism is wrong! Then with the same breath condemn the person who is not of the same political party, as if the other party is nothing more than a lower standard than our own. Hmmmm isn’t that the definition of racism?- to believe that certain people are below us due to the color of their skin? How are we blinded with acting in the same way with people who have different political views from us? Why is it so easy to dehumanize a person due to a “label” and feel justified to insult, berate and name call? Maybe we need to realize that there is another war going on- a war of Partyism- a war against worldview defenses and affective polarization.

Is not our mission here to remove all traces of bias, hostility prejudices, intolerance and hate from our world? I confess that I have tried to do so, not perfectly, and certainly not in my politics. I may have a beautiful life, but an ugly politics, all based on my own beliefs and values. And let’s face the truth- our beliefs systems are not always accurate.

Until we can entertain the thought that we could be wrong, until we can live out the Golden Rule to those of a different political party, until we can give kindness, mercy, love and peace to EVERYONE, will there be a nation we can all be proud of. That is the kind of politics I can stand for!

But let it begin with me!

Love Always