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You will wear yourself out worrying about your children.

You will stay up nights with newborns, croupy children in fully steamed bathrooms, 4 a.m. calls to get to the ice rink or gym, Will struggle to think of new and creative ways to feed your children and feed them dinner every day. You will buy the clothes and the shoes and the bows and the tie and the socks that match their favorite team’s colors or the colors of their birthday balloons. They will tell you that they no longer like that color, or team, generally at the party that you have worked long and hard to create.

Your children will not remember any of those things.

They will remember the time that you were at your worst and said or did something humiliating. They will not remember the numerous apologies. They will remember it and tell it to their significant other, friend, colleague, and therapist for at least 25 years or more and repeat it over and over until it grows in strength and horror. They will only remember a small part of the situation magnified many times.

You will go to four different stores to find the toy that they love for the Holidays and then, empty handed, will secretly buy it on Ebay. You will not want your child to know that you went without something else so that she would not be disappointed. You will want to be the person to make their magical dreams come true and worked many extra hours to see the sparkle in their eyes and the grateful smile that made it all seem worthwhile.

You will go to great lengths to settle for something so simple as their smile more times than they will ever know.

You will love your children more than they will ever love you. You will try to give them roots and wings and tell them to call you anytime, day or night. They will not call when you think that they will but you will settle all of your anxiety, anger, guilt and fear just to hear them say “Hi Mom.”

You will show off their photos and run out of places to hang their artwork.

You will carry scars that they will never see from giving birth, adopting, raising, and being the recipient of their anger and disappointment thousands of times over.

You will jump through hoops, stay up late, drive thousands of miles and hear that you never did anything for them. And, besides, they never asked to be born anyway.

Your heart will break when that vision of who your child will be crashes to the ground and splinters. Your heart will break when you have to seek professional help for that child or when someone says that it is time to let go.

You will defend the child’s behavior to your spouse, in-laws, teacher, medical professional and law enforcement. But you will pierce your own heart wondering what you did wrong to make him or her turn out this way.

Everything bad that the child does will be blamed on you and their lack of a proper upbringing or careful mothering.

You will never stop having to give money to your child. Period.

You will wonder how it took them two years to develop a vocabulary, and yet, they won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

You will fight for them with principals, teachers, doctors, other family members, and your significant other.

You will give them your last shred of energy even if they are dancing on your last nerve.

You will try to get through their adolescence, realizing that you have failed miserably to learn anything useful to use with your other children. You will realize that none of them behaved the same through those stress-filled teenage years and you will still be shocked and hurt to hear what they each have to say to you.

You will wonder why it hurts each time anew to be the least important person in their daily lives and how much time they want to spend as far away as possible. You will wonder why you have chest pains and stress headaches when they say that they do not want to talk to you, see you, or hear from you.

You will hear things like:
“I hate you”
“You never loved me”
“You were a terrible mother”
“Steven’s mother has food on the table waiting for him when he gets home”
“Sara’s mother lets her go to the Mall alone”
“This is disgusting and I will not eat it.”
“Why can’t you love me unconditionally?”
“Jessica’s Mom lets her……”

You will learn that you have no privacy whatsoever. Not even in the bathroom.

You will come to appreciate that newborns stay where you put them down and cannot say “No.”

You will question your sanity, your finances, your sense of values, your desires, work hours, choice of toys, organic produce, abilities to love and nurture another, the fear that comes with hearing about horrible things happening to children and pray that you never have to make those choices.

You will not know why it seemed so much easier for someone else to raise their children, if a tutor or a second language would have helped them to succeed, or if changing doctors would have affected the outcome.

You will cry more than you laugh and panic more than you sleep.

You will never stop apologizing and wonder why it is always your fault when they do not become accountable. Or accepting.

You will be amazed that you have done so many things over so many years and the time, money, heart, and strength it all took.

You will wonder why children will turn their back on you and seek solace and comfort from some other woman or man who “knows how to be a real parent.”

You will wonder what your life would have been like if you had never done this or had more than one child.

You will wonder if any other mother is going through these things.

You will realize that despite all the drudgery, hard work, sleepless nights, lack of money, hurtful words and withering embarrassment, you would have done it again.

dorothy parker_keeping children home

If you are a Mom, have a Mom, want to be a Mom, or know someone who fits into one of these categories, please share.
Don’t Worry. They won’t be mad. IT’S ALL MY FAULT, ANYHOW.


reflective lake moving

What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are small matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


When a New Year approaches, we reflect, consider, and if introspective, relive those moments that were not so pleasant. There are moments when anger, frustration and pain ruled instead of kindness, empathy and consideration.

An apology that comes from the heart, with a sincere effort and thought within us to treat the situation or person anew, can help to heal a hurtful situation.  Mumbled words, if any are even said, are not contrite. Rather, they are said so that we can hurry off with a presumed clean slate and feel good about ourselves. However, apology and contrition is meant to be about the other person. The bad behavior is not to be rewarded or wiped away quickly before a Judgment Day.  The behavior we show all year long is that which recalls for us how we should behave, could behave, and strive to behave.

An apology is hard to make.  It is difficult to genuinely consider another’s feelings and acknowledge that what was said was inappropriate. There are feelings and painful experiences that we know nothing of and don’t acknowledge.  You have many of your own.  Saying “I’m Sorry” like you have a rash that you have to get rid of quickly is insincere. Even if you don’t think so, the recipient knows the difference.

But if the only way to get you to take the first step is to “fake it,” then at least keep repeating the apologies or attempt to say “I am Sorry” until it makes an impact.  When you internalize the effort, you come to see the needs of someone else.

We are not merely meant to apologize and assume we have a clean slate. We are meant to give an apology with forethought and a desire to improve the situation, recompense, and consider how we could behave better in the future. There is no confessional booth waiting to tell us to say three verses and give charity that can heal the hurt or harm that someone can inflict on another.

Expecting someone else to continue to relieve you of your momentary guilt or an effort to cleanse your spirit and soul is unrealistic. The only person who can make a difference in how you think, feel, amend and behave is you.  No one else is responsible for your bad behavior. No one made you hit someone, or verbally abuse them.

Part of apologizing, genuinely acknowledging the sorrow in the sorry, is recognizing your part in the hot-tempered situation and endeavoring to improve.  It means taking and accepting responsibility for personal development. Each person has an ego and removing it from the heated argument is difficult. However, that is the difference between us and animals; we must think first then react, not the other way around.

Each time a people, or person, believe that they have found the reason to treat someone, or some race badly, they have stripped away another piece of humanity.  The empathy and effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes slows down our racing adrenaline and forces us to think about why we are sorry and why the other person deserves the apology, but most importantly, why they deserve the mercy of compassion.

We were raised to believe that G-d is more merciful than man. I have seen it many times, and discussed it with my family, as they too acknowledge it. Some people grow up as bullies; a negative reinforcement of their bad behavior teaches them that if they scream or belittle someone else, they get what they want. So, the bullying behavior becomes ingrained as something that gets results. Bullying can begin in childhood or when they get to be physically bigger and more intimidating than someone else. Cyber bullying and the harmful, devastating and often permanent losses are public reminders of how deep and harmful the infliction of pain.

My husband is a fully grown man and a very hard worker; he manages others too.  He is quiet, but aware of the personalities around him, and understands that a gentle or encouraging word is more effective at accomplishing something or making someone else feel good about helping.  However, when he is screamed at and told that the other person does not care or does not want to hear “no” or any other response, my husband does what he has to in order to get the job done and avoid another confrontation.  The fact that he does what needs to be done, despite the verbal abuse, and recognizes that the other person has issues, only shows his character and that he is thoughtfully aware of someone else’s needs.

However, the bully will rage another day because he saw that his screaming got him what he wanted.  It is an immediate action taken to receive an equally fast reaction.  There is no long term peace, nor understanding, because his gut reaction to behave badly means he is only thinking about himself. Getting what he wants is tantamount; the other person is merely a means to an end, a messy delay to getting what he wants as quickly as possible.

However, someone who asked in a nice way, or was honest enough to ask for help because of circumstance, would certainly get your input.  Compassion, empathy and kindness breed more; we increase the positive side of our humanity and try to forgive those sides of ourselves that are more ego-driven.  We acknowledge the incident and resolve to increase our personal Heavenly, G-d given attributes.  We cannot forgive another without forgiving ourselves. We cannot make a change within until we try to make a more positive change around us.  We must be the change we wish to see in the world and only we can make the effort to heal the World.

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