Today I am gripped with some level of anxiety and tension. More often than not, this is how I spend my days, but this week has put a lot on my plate.
I try to keep my head above the water the best that I can. Most people do not realize the level of stress that I have to deal with on a daily basis, or the amount of underlying conflict that falls into my lap, because I choose not to vent about it on social media and lower myself to that level as much as possible. Sometimes I vent to people I can trust if something is really getting to me, and usually the response I get is “I don’t know how you do it.”
While I prefer not to get into too much detail, I will say this: I am a mother. And a mother’s job is to protect her children and advocate for them whenever possible, regardless of the consequence to herself, and especially when her children are asking for help and their voices are not being heard. If you are fucking with my children, you are fucking with an angry lioness.
My children are caught in the middle of a situation where their parents are divorced and both are in new relationships. As much as we (I) have tried, the relationship that we have can only be described as hostile the majority of the time. They are dragged into situations that they shouldn’t be, because they should be allowed to just be children and not have to worry about things like finances, child support, etc. I absolutely believe that if I have free access to support such as a guidance counselor through my benefits at work, my children should at least have the opportunity to go and talk to someone. I can’t imagine being them at their age, and having to experience the things that they go through. I don’t think there’s any harm that can come from them knowing they have options and that they have unbiased, confidential services available to them. If anything, this can only be viewed as a positive thing, because if there’s one thing I don’t want, it’s for my children to grow up feeling like they are alone or like they don’t have anyone they can talk to. My biggest fear is losing them to depression in their teens, like so many other parents have dealt with. Why wouldn’t I extend that help to them, if they are asking me for it? Over and over?
Apparently the other side disagrees. And I can only wonder how they could possibly deny these children that opportunity. So I am frustrated, and angry, and doing my best to deal with those emotions in a positive way. And rest assured that I will ALWAYS find a way to be there for them, to help them, to guide them, to comfort them, regardless of what anybody ever says or does. Advocating for your child means being their voice when they don’t have one. And fighting for their rights. They may be small, but they are people too! Their feelings matter! Their opinion counts! And anyone who disagrees with that is just plain fucking stupid.
Here is a poem I have always kept in my mind since the day I stumbled upon it:
Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte